We have all encountered innovative leaders who inspire their teams to unleash creativity by encouraging contributions, fostering an environment of trust and growth. The integration of different leadership styles influence teams to produce creative products or services with fresh ideas, generating stellar results.
In the pursuit of a great example of a company that has accelerated innovative leadership into action, we brought our 2017 Class of PENTA Mentorship Scholars to visit the executives at Columbia Tech, a contract manufacturing, engineering, DFM, and global fulfillment company that prides itself on “Time to Market Warp Speed.” We knew they would be inspired by what the company manufactured, however more importantly; we were looking forward to our mentees’ response to the dynamic, innovative, and world-class approach to their development of culture.
Chris Coghlin, its energetic Chief Experience Officer (CEO), set the tone for this visit by encouraging the students to resist job hopping as they build their careers. He persuaded them to discover a role that would make them truly happy, to find a company in alignment with their values, and to stick with that company for the long haul. His words both surprised and made an impact on the students, as they began to see themselves in their future careers.
At PENTA, we seek job candidates with extraordinary skills, but equally important, we look for good character and strong community-centric core values in alignment with our Company’s values. This ensures an environment where great people enjoy working together for the common good. This culture is thriving at Columbia Tech where they have a different word for their employees – naming them Caring Associates. These Caring Associates live and breathe a world where people have tremendous respect for one another, where they truly care about the organizational mission, and recognize that their contributions are valuable to the success of every project. The company treats its Caring Associates like an offshoot of its family, and everything thrives.
Innovative leadership inspires constant change and new challenges. It stimulates conversation and pushes teams to the next level. While participating in today’s program, the students observed a quote on the conference room wall from Good to Great author, Jim Collins. It reads, “The only way to deliver on the people who are achieving is not to burden them with the people who are not achieving.”
How many times have strong leaders disappointed by allowing mediocrity in their organizations by keeping team members that were not A-Players? How many times over the years have you ignored the signs of an employee just going through the motions and delivering only what was expected and never stretching beyond to help the organization by contributing inspired and creative ideas? How often have you made extraordinary work ethic part of your hiring criteria? If you are creating an innovative environment, in order to succeed, you need to ensure you have the right team in place.
Innovative leaders do not fear shaking things up, making change for the good of the organization, and will risk doing so for the health and well-being of its team as a whole. Having the courage to address poor performance or lack of passion is a must for leaders to fully make an immediate and lasting impact on the growth and success of their organizations.
In top performing companies, there is a necessity of strong work ethic, commitment, dedication, and the importance of work place happiness. Happiness that fuels you with energy to begin each day in hot pursuit of each and every goal.
Enlightened leaders take a more holistic view of their teams, gaining deeper insights into their personalities, goals, values, and skill sets. Over the years, numerous assessments have entered the market testing emotional intelligence, behavioral styles, dysfunction, and more, providing information to management for better engagement of teams stimulating improved results.
Companies are successful because of their teams. When the team is happy, challenged, valued, and supported, they will outperform their goals. Even in a world where online communication has become the norm, there is no replacement for the value of interpersonal communications within high performance teams. Creating and leading a culture of success on every level is contagious and invigorating, especially as more people are searching to work in environments that have these characteristics.
So what are some of the traits that make an exceptional innovative leader? We believe that some of these characteristics include: being open to new ideas, honestly assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the team, having a high risk tolerance, the ability to take action, desire to participate for the betterment of the team, ability to facilitate collaboration, having true confidence, ability to have fun and spark creativity, and paying attention to what is happening within the organization so you can immediately address and improve anything important.
As the marketing partner of so many organizations over the past three decades, we have worked with all types of leaders. Innovators ignite a passion to become aligned with a mission to accomplish the impossible. They inspire their teams to new heights because they are willing to take risks and are confident in their ability to effect change by taking action. Their organizations are top performers as products and services come alive, and they earn universal trust and confidence supported by a reputation for excellence. Innovative leaders are fearless zealots that seek to motivate and empower to reach success collaboratively with their teams.
What kind of leader are you?