Our Insights

A person stands on the edge of a white platform, looking through a telescope at a large, detailed planet against a blue background with scattered square patterns, suggesting exploration and global perspective.

Leadership Today for Leadership Tomorrow

July 9, 2024
Read Time: 

Jack Welch, a legend for his time spent as CEO at General Electric, once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

I always like to say that if people come into Lewis Media and can’t immediately pinpoint the executive leaders, then that’s a good day because it means everyone in our company is conducting themselves as leaders should. No power trips, no barking orders, no micromanaging. We thrive in a culture at LMP that grows leaders, each in their own way and right giving them ownership of projects, deadlines, collaboration, and the ability to own their actions. 

I recently attended a conference that focused on the crisis of poor global leadership and how we can use creativity and curiosity to help overcome the crisis. One of the keynote speakers was Mark Miller, VP for High Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A.  He said, “Lead with your heart but follow that with skills.”  That struck a chord with me because it’s how we all lead at Lewis Media.  Mr. Miller asked us to start every day with the question “What am I capable of today?”  That’s a heart and skills kind of question, and one that we’ve challenged all of our team members to contemplate daily.

I have always believed that excellence is a practice. If you practice it long enough, it becomes ingrained into your very being and then you are able to be an example of what you ask others to become.  We live in a shortcut world. We communicate in snippets. We ask AI to think, write, draw, and create for us. Deadlines are not seen as true responsibilities.  We avoid conflict and conflict resolution.  Is there any wonder that an entire conference was focused on the crisis of global leadership?  We need excellent leaders, but they aren’t magically going to appear — they need to be taught and given the opportunity to develop the necessary leadership skills.

The conference was filled with impressive corporate leaders, film makers, authors, and master storytellers. My top takeaways are below and are hopefully helpful to you in your company as you seek to continually build leaders.

  1. Strong leaders help their teams see the unseen and ask the “what if?” and “why not?” questions to solve problems.
  2. Collective leadership, achieved by empowering a group to come together for the greater good has its benefits:
  1. Teaming up combines team strengths to tackle problems, issues, and challenges more effectively
  2. Prevents silos from occurring
  3. Fosters an environment of it’s more than just about me (that’s a refreshing UNCORPORATE idea, isn’t it?)
  1. Leadership is poetic! It’s about bringing something into existence through imagination and vision (this piece of advice was my personal favorite of the conference from film maker John Bucher)!
  2. Worry is a misuse of imagination. Failure is inevitable, and the best leaders accept it as part of the process rather than allowing it to hinder innovation and creativity. (My second favorite piece of advice from John Bucher)!
  3. Good leaders lead well when others are not at their best. They take this as an opportunity to offer compassion and understanding, and show a willingness to step in and help get the team over the finish line.
  4. Most potential leaders get stuck in “positionships ” staying in the weeds and managing too tightly rather than striving for true leadership by taking a step back, considering the big picture, and designing a path to get there.
  5. When effective leaders walk into the office (in person or virtual) each day they must leave behind their need for power, the fear of being wrong, the fear of delegation, and any misplaced emotions.

Sure, some leaders are born, but most are taught.  Our responsibility as company leaders is to grow new leaders by example, by mentoring, and by letting everyone within the company have a chance to lead – lead a client, lead a team, lead a project, or lead a presentation. It’s imperative that we train the next generation of leaders so that they’re capable and confident when it’s time to pass the torch. It’s how we go about our workday, every day, at Lewis Media. I fully believe it’s why we have a 75% client retention rate of 5+ years and an 80% employee retention rate of 8+ years. 

Come in, any day, and visit us. We want to introduce you to our leaders… all 40 of them!

Beth Saunders