How does an entrepreneur create a leadership culture? How do you build an organization that continues to grow and build, maturing beyond the capabilities of its founder and original leadership team? To be a successful leader today, you must be able to expand beyond your own leadership capabilities to create a culture focused on excellence.
You must successfully develop other leaders who are able to leverage your core strengths while using their own to help further the culture of excellence you started when you founded the business. To be successful in succession planning, you must create leaders in all areas of your business.
For many baby boomers that plan to leave or sell their business, I suggest you begin looking at your organization from the point of view of the culture you have created. I find innovative cultures in most small and large businesses, but once an entrepreneur gets beyond $10 million and less than $50 million, the culture seems to fade away. Once a company exceeds $50 million the innovative culture begins to return. So how do you create a stronger leadership culture in your mid-market business?
When I work with entrepreneurs in this size range, we work together to create their leadership culture and pipeline. I get them to evaluate all the leaders across the organization and we often discover that beyond one level down they don’t have much leadership depth. All their direct reports are good at doing their roles, but they aren’t very effective at attracting and recruiting great team members. So we go to work on developing a stronger leadership pipeline.
I ask them what they did to attract their current team and how might they help their leaders take a more active role in recruiting future leaders. During this initial stage of the project, I suggest they begin creating their own succession and exit strategy. For many great entrepreneurs, they discover there is no one on their team who could step into their role if something should happen to them. If you plan to build a lasting legacy, you need to create a stronger leadership culture.
I believe there are several qualities all great leaders possess. If you are hiring people, you would do well to focus on these intangibles during the interviewing process. These skills come directly from work done in emotional intelligence. These skills help you select stronger leaders for your business. Without these skills you will never be able to create a culture of excellence, no matter how hard you try.
In the past, you may have been able to create successful growth culture without all of the skills, but the rate of change has so increased over the past several years that to build a strong multi-generational organization, your leaders must possess these skills. Just as importantly, the millennial generation of business people put a much higher premium on the quality of their leaders and mentors than past generations have. So, if you want to build a great team moving forward, you must work as hard on developing your leadership culture as you do on getting new clients.
Next week, I talk about the four capabilities your team leaders must possess if you hope to build a stronger culture. We share the four key skills of an emotionally intelligent leader and how you might evaluate them during your hiring process. These capabilities include:
- Social Awareness
- Action Bias
If the people you interview and hire have these skills, you might be surprised how quickly your organization grows and prospers. If the people you hire don’t have these skills, you could be in for a very bumpy ride as you move toward to your successful succession and exit of your business. See you next week on Tuesday.
This blog was originally published on High Growth Business Report.