“The only sustainable leadership is thought leadership.” It was a powerful statement, one that resonated with me throughout the summit, after Bill Taylor, Cofounder and Founding Editor of Fast Company and the author of Practically Radical and Mavericks at Work, made the statement during the opening of this years Milestones in Leadership Summit in Southern California.
Think about it for a moment, the only sustainable leadership (in business) IS thought leadership. Companies that create a culture of innovating and leading through new ideas and pathways of thinking and conducting business will be the only sustainable business in the future. In other words, these companies will stay competitive and profitable, because they serve not only their employees, but their customer base and community through thought leadership or new ideas.
The eight-hour conference provided powerful key concepts and takeaways that any business, who wants to truly succeed, should adopt. This years theme, “Simply Brilliant! Rethinking the Logic of Your Own Success,” made a world of sense and there was no shortcoming on delivering on that value proposition.
During the conference, Bill Taylor was joined on stage with Peter Salvati, a member of DPR Construction’s Management Committee, and Garry Ridge, President, CEO, and Director of WD-40 Company.
All three gentlemen and mastermind business executives provided insight into not only their own core concepts of business and personal success, but what made their company’s succeed in a competitive environment.
The summit promised several key learning objectives and they delivered on each intention. Below, I list the key learning objectives and some of my notes from the summit for each objective. An entire book can be written based on the eight hours of information distributed at the summit, so I’m just briefly touching on a few of the shared ideas.
Key Learning Objectives from Milestones in Leadership Summit
Use strategy, culture, service and creativity to create exceptional performance.
One of the key takeaways and questions presented at the summit was, “Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?”
As a company, you need to keep pushing yourself to keep growing and evolving. If you continue to do the same thing day in and day out, you will yield the same results from the past. If that is your goal, then consider yourself a success. If you are seeking greatness and growing beyond your competition, then it is imperative you demonstrate your status as a thought leader. To accomplish this, you need to teach your customers, suppliers, and even your direct competitors what you know.
Embrace people-centric approaches to leadership to get extraordinary contributions from your employees.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” (African Proverb.) A very profound statement, yet true.
Create a people-centric leadership within your organization. Your greatest corporate assets is not your building, your product, or your brand image; it’s your employees. Allow your employees to learn from their mistakes rather than punishing for the mistake.
Create a program for good talent that leaves your company, thinking the “grass is greener” elsewhere, to return to your company when they realize the “grass is not greener” elsewhere.
Create educational opportunities for your employees, helping them gain new knowledge that will help them help your company to grow.
Think differently from your competitors by championing the most compelling ideas and doing things others won’t do.
What is your company’s purpose? Most may answer, “to make money.” That should not be your primary purpose, since the majority of businessess exists to make money.
Part of being successful is that a company should be the most of something, what is your organization the most of? Most affordable? Most accessible? Most Community Oriented? The most successful companies do not just out-compete their rivals, they redefine the terms of competition by embracing unique, one-of-a-kind ideas with clarity and purpose.
Connect and be compassionate to produce outstanding results.
People want to deal with local companies. Connect with both your employees and your community.
When I was in college, a professor made the statement, people help you get where you want to go in life. Nothing could be further from the truth; connect with your employees and community. Become compassionate about what you do and who you do it with and do it for within your organization.
“Stand for something special”…the only real way to stand out from the crowd.
This final learning objective can be summed up and accomplished if you follow all the other objectives.
Create a company culture of compassion and connectivity. Engage in thought leadership, forging a never before walked path for your organization by thinking differently and investing in your core and educating your employees, vendors, customers, community, and even competitors.
In closing, many statements and quotes where shared and spoken during the summit, but one stands out as very prominent, which I want to leave you; “you’re only going to be as good as you allow yourself to be.”
For more information on the Milestones in Leadership Summit, visit their website.