Consensus Culture – Leadership Insights for Success

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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

-African Proverb

This is a guiding principle of my leadership style. I am able to affect rapid changes and make a difference quickly all on my own, but together, along with my team I can translate my will into less immediate, but broader, long standing actions. My desire alone for change may indeed move things along – however at times marginally. In order to make a real positive impact I must embrace my team’s strengths, listen to their ideas, and empower them to act- which translates into a collective desire to move the needle toward success.

Fostering ownership and pride in any project creates an effective, positive and sustainable work environment. The mark of true leadership is to trust that those who support you and the company could step up in your absence if needed. A good leader can delegate – a great leader empowers its people and keeps everyone on the same path to achieve their goals.

When a leader is confident about his team, he knows their innate capabilities and is a champion of encouragement and teamwork. If as a leader you can step away from the day to day and offer high-level experienced strategy while delegating your competent team to implement the details – you will see the direct effects of your vision turning into a reality. If you are spending too much time in the minutiae, then you know you’re in need of a corrective course.

Regardless of your business model or product initiative, I am convinced that the company and its leadership should focus internally before any external success can be achieved. As a leader you must trust your instincts and the smart people you hired to be on your boat as you all row toward the same winning shore. As a leader you must ensure that you have the right teammates and that they all share the company’s vision.

As the Chief Executive of a not-for-profit, serving the disabled with a dedicated staff of more than 500 men and women, building and maintaining a unified team where everybody contributes to the company’s mission, vision and ensures the highest level of services is a tremendous challenge I face.

However, I owe my success to looking inward to balance my own perspective, process and transparency in order to ensure operational standards will continue to be realized. In creating a consensus culture, a few key factors must be considered to achieve success. Identifying your goals are a wonderful start but a few additional tips will help you make these lofty goals a reality. They include:

· Communication - Ensure company communication, brand messaging is consistent and accessible – this will ensure from top to bottom, everyone understands the company values and business ideology.

· Clarify budgetary issues – identify key projects and initiatives, when everyone knows the proposed budget, programs and ideas will be realistic and goals are more easily attainable given cost/profit and loss

· Cross-Departmental Training – offer your people a chance to learn new skills and the job training. This will pay off such huge dividends as investing in your people and their career development fosters loyalty. Your people are your company’s best asset.

· Work-Life Balance – Embraces this philosophy whole heartedly. Don’t just talk about it – really enforce your work hours and respect employee’s time out of the office.

· Charity - Encourage cultivating external company relationships, fundraising and other philanthropic efforts – celebrate when your teammates stay active in their communities and as a company look to align with a cause. When we look to encourage diversity and build our best human capital we want to encourage those who are involved outside of the office in important endeavors. Highlight to your team your passion projects and this will maybe spill over to your team. Employees will be proud to be working for a leader and a company that encourages the value of giving toward others.

Leadership of any company large or small can be challenging. However looking to a philosophy of shared values and skills makes you a more effective leader and creates an environment where everyone is not just encouraged to work together, but is truly united to achieve continued success. Embracing a consensus culture will allow your company to really go much further than you ever thought possible.

Charles A. Archer

Founder and CEO, The THRIVE Network

Author of Everybody Paddles: A Leaders Blueprint for Creating A Unified Team

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