(Editor’s Note: From time to time, we want to feature blog articles from other authors that highlight a particular issue related to leadership and personal development.)
Company culture and vulnerability were discussed in-depth at this year’s Inc. Leadership Forum. Here are some conference takeaways from Caitlin Florance, Marketing Partnership Manager for Hiscox Small Business.
I had the privilege of attending the Inc. Leadership Forum in San Diego and gained some valuable insight on how to be a successful leader and business owner. Two major themes at the conference were company culture and the power of vulnerability.
Company culture is an important aspect of any business, big or small. All business owners and partners need to agree on one culture that will shape the way their business operates. If you are a business owner, it is imperative that you “walk your talk”. If you are passionate about your company and the success of your business and you practice what you preach, your employees will take notice and follow and respect you as a business owner and as a person. This is the key to a successful business culture. Norm Brodsky, entrepreneur, columnist and co-author of “Street Smarts: An All Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs,” spoke at the forum and was asked a question from the audience, “How do you measure your company culture?” He simply replied by asking two questions back, “Do your employees stay with the company? Do you have a high customer retention rate?” Happy employees make happy customers – it all starts with the company culture and hiring the right employees to fit that culture.
The second topic, the power of vulnerability left a lasting impression on me – Success is how you go from failure to failure. At the forum, research professor and author, Brene Brown led a discussion on how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way people live, love, parent and lead. Vulnerability is seen by many as a sign of weakness – being fearful, timid and shameful. People protect themselves from being vulnerable by putting up a wall, a mask, a “game face.” Though this wall may protect us from emotions that we are scared to feel or don’t want to feel, it also prevents us from being creative, innovative, authentic, accountable, and adaptable to change… all attributes that a successful business leader needs. Dr. Brown closed her session with a quote, “Courage and comfort do not coexist. If you get into the arena, you will get your ass kicked. So, you need to ask yourself, what is worth doing even if you fail?”
I leave you with a final statement – Start a business you’re passionate about. Establish a culture that you can live by day in and day out. Hire people that fit your culture. Most importantly, be prepared to fail a few times, but remember that success is not measured by your failures, it is measured by how you overcome those failures.
Caitlin Florance is the Marketing Partnerships Manager for Hiscox Small Business.