4 characteristics every leadership team should invest in

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Throughout my career as an entrepreneur and investor, I have had the opportunity to work with business leaders of all caliber – and with varying degrees of success. Over time, I was able to discern the distinguishing features that separated those who could build great businesses from those who would be limited in what they could accomplish.

Over the past decades, I have invested in gastronomy, hospitality, sports teams and real estate (among others), and this knowledge has always benefited me.

Whether you are a fellow investor looking to start a new business or a business owner looking to attract financial partners, here are four characteristics that I think are worth investing in.

1. Agility

No matter what industry you are in, being a business leader is not for the faint of heart. Today more than ever, trends are fast and fleeting. Thus, a management team must be willing and able to pivot quickly to better serve its customers, even if this requires rethinking key strategies.

Here’s a good example: Warby Parker opened as an online eyewear retailer in 2010. Customers could order personalized test kits from home before making a purchase, eliminating a long and expensive trip to the store. ophthalmologist. However, customers had to get their prescriptions elsewhere before they could place an order. The company realized that this added friction to their buyers’ experience, so they adapted.

In addition to launching an app-based vision test, Warby Parker opened 140 in-person stores with licensed optometrists. While this may seem like an unexpected step for a digital business, especially as the retail industry declines, Warby Parker has used its physical locations to provide a better end-to-end shopping experience for its customers.

Now, as the $ 3 billion company prepares to go public, it is anchoring its growth strategy on opening more outlets.

2. Aware of their communities

Businesses are accountable to their communities and therefore have a responsibility to contribute and improve them. So when I meet a management team that shares this mindset, I am encouraged. This signals to me that they not only intend to do good, but are also forward-thinking enough to understand the benefits these initiatives can have for employees, let alone brand their company.

The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is a shining example of the impact of corporate sponsorship. While activism has always been an important part of the Ben & Jerry’s business, the founders took their commitment a step further by launching the foundation almost 40 years ago. They were so determined to raise awareness in the community and champion social justice that they launched the foundation with a personal gift in addition to an annual commitment linked to the performance of the company.

Key to the foundation’s continued success is that it has been designed to involve Ben & Jerry’s employees at every stage, from grant making to award decisions. To date, the foundation has donated more than $ 50,000,000 while promoting community and employee engagement and involvement throughout the company.

Related: What’s the Real Difference Between Leadership and Management?

3. Intentional

Despite the prejudices that one may have about my profession, I am not a gamer. I prefer to place my bets on a plan – and a team – which shows deliberate thinking. That being said, I can embark on an adventure knowing the plan is risky, and there’s almost always a chance it won’t work. But I believe the way someone calculates and executes a strategy speaks volumes.

In 2013, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings released a memo to employees and investors detailing his vision for how the company would grow from an online distributor to a leading producer and award winner. Emmy and Oscar for original content. He predicted that it would take five years of deliberate work for Netflix to catch up with HBO, the international market leader. At the time, Hastings was chasing a juggernaut, but he was convinced it could be done.

Hastings has since led Netflix to become synonymous with online streaming. The company has seen consistent revenue growth each quarter since 2013. Its content has won 112 Emmy and 15 Academy Awards, along with hundreds of other nominations and accolades. And, even as new streaming platforms emerge, its subscriber base continues to grow.

Related: Power with a Purpose: The Four Pillars of Leadership

4. People-oriented

Ultimately, business is first and foremost about people, be it employees, customers, board members, or social media followers. In my experience, the most successful management teams never lose sight of this.

Zappos has built all of its activity on customer service. In fact, 75% of purchases are made by loyal buyers. But the company took its commitment even further during the Covid-19 pandemic by launching its Customer Service for Anything (CSA) initiative, in which they opened their phone lines to anyone who wanted to call about anything. what. Aiming to promote human interaction – and reduce the harms of mid-life isolation – the hotline received more than 1,000 calls in its first week. And while I can almost guarantee that many of these calls didn’t have much to do with shoes, they may have started a relationship between the caller and the brand.

No two investment opportunities are the same, and not all management teams will be able to achieve them. But, having the right people in place – and being aligned with your key values ​​- can definitely help put you on the path to success.

Related: The Problems With Servant Leadership


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