Taking our inspiration from a recent New York Times article on the work environment at Amazon, we decided to focus on the positive and incorporate the concept of leadership principles into our firm. These 8 ideas represent who we are and what we believe – they are the foundation for what we are building. I would encourage you to read the article and think about the guiding principles of your firm. How closely does your team aligns to these principles? At the end of the day, consistency breeds trust and these hang on the wall of our office to remind us of the firm set out to create.
I&A Guiding Principles
Start with why
It is critical for our organization to understand why we exist. All of our decisions and collective actions should be reflective of our guiding principles and core values. When contemplating difficult decisions, we will always take a step back and start with why.
But never be afraid to ask why not
There is no monopoly on good ideas. Just because something has been done a certain way does not make it the right way or the best way. Innovation and constant self-improvement are the bedrock of sustained success.
Without our people, we are nothing
Our employees are the highlight of our firm. This organization will relentlessly pursue and retain top talent. Every day, all employees should be identifying talented individuals and roles those individuals would fit in within the organization (even if that position does not yet exist). Maximizing our human capital is how we maintain our competitive advantage.
Leaders are followed
Leaders inspire action; they do not demand respect. The hierarchy in the company is not a carefully constructed pyramid. Power is not arbitrarily distributed from the top down. The hierarchy of the company should be seen as self-evident.
With the current pace of technological advancement, disruption is as inevitable as it is relentless. Industry tends to view it as a negative and fears its power. But, living in fear is a choice; the only cure is to embrace it. Technology, especially disruptive technology, should be constantly researched, understood, experimented with and incorporated into the organization. Employees should not be scared to make their jobs more efficient or, if possible, completely automated. Those employees should be emulated and valued.
Adopt an entrepreneurial spirit
Each and every employee is expected to embody an entrepreneurial spirit. This does not mean each employee is expected to invent a new company or business line. It is a mindset. Entrepreneurs challenge the status quo, see opportunity where other see none, and, the hardest part of all, execute on it.
Vision without execution is hallucination
Execution is paramount. Good ideas are encouraged to be openly shared and vigorously debated. But, good ideas are everywhere. A good idea with a failure in execution is a wasted opportunity. Not all good idea are expected to succeed; unforeseeable and uncontrollable events can cause failure. Successful execution is controlling the things in your power as well as baking flexibility into plans for the inevitable curve ball.
Mediocrity is shunned
If playing your C game is acceptable or, worse yet, applauded, then quit now. Employees and their colleagues are not to promote or tolerate mediocrity, it does not advance the organization’s goals and lowers the collective morale. Strive to be better, each and every day.