Q. Tell me about your most important leadership lessons.
A. I studied a lot of philosophy at Jesuit High School in Dallas. One of the things that really struck me was that most people seem to think that there’s a separate code of conduct in business from your personal life. And I always believed they should be the same.
So we have what we call foundation principles. They are talked about and emphasized around here constantly. They’re all almost corny, a little bit Golden Rule-ish, but it causes two things. It causes everybody to act as a unit. Even though we’re sort of liberating everybody to choose the means to the ends, we all agree on the ends, and the foundation principles are what cause us to agree on the ends.
Q. Talk more about those principles.
A. We preach a lot here that team is one of the most beautiful of all human experiences. You do great things together, and you go home at night feeling wonderful about what great things you accomplished that day. That’s what people want, and that’s what wise and sophisticated leaders help cultivate and know that people want. Every bad boss you or I have ever had thinks that what people want is the exact opposite of that. The way we create a place where people do want to come to work is primarily through two key points. One of our foundation principles is that leadership and communication are the same thing. Communication is leadership.
Anymore, Corner Office is the article I turn to first in the Sunday Times. This week the interview is with Kip Tindell, CEO at Container Store. The excerpt above contains a challenging thought, an important thought, about integrity. Though the lesson has to be carried farther, Toastmasters need to remember that you can't talk one way and act another. It just won't wash.
Tindell returns to the idea of integrity at the end of the interview
Q. Is there an expression you often use that is, in effect, No. 8, the one that is not on that list of the company’s seven foundation principles?
A. Yes, and it sums up a lot of things. We talk a lot about a person’s wake, like a boat’s wake.
Q. Explain that.
A. Most people’s wake is much, much, much larger than they can ever imagine. We all can’t imagine that we have as much impact on the people and the world around us as we really do. That’s just a way of getting people to see that everything you do, and everything you don’t do, impacts your business, the people around you, and the world around you, far, far, far more than you can imagine.