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Leadership Journey: Make Things Better

In the fall of 2018, I spoke at Women in Manufacturing’s national summit in Indianapolis, IN.  The theme of the conference was Making an Impact. As I told my story of turning around the family business, I drew the parallel between how as manufacturers we make things, but we also have the opportunity to make things better. So many ladies shared similar stories to mine. This event marked the beginning of “Make Things Better” which is my way of asking others to go on a leadership journey with me to improve workplace culture.

Two years later, I continue to share my story. Since COVID-19 has prevented me from meeting with others in person, I decided to write a book. Leading with Grit and Grace will be published in December 2020. It is a gift for anyone looking to improve their corporate culture.

In manufacturing, command-and-control became the main leadership style during the Industrial Revolution.  Today, advances in technology demand change and change happens very quickly. So, I found a better leadership style…a coach approach. Employees who feel empowered will make decisions that improve their work processes. This change in leadership style allowed Onex to become more efficient and agile in response to market changes. The added benefit? As we improved our internal trust and respect as an organization, we were happier in our work which gave us a contagious enthusiasm when interacting with clients.  Improving our processes led us to want to help others improve their processes and thereby a ripple effect was created.

Lessons to Lead By

The journey to organizational culture change starts with you, the leader. You must have the courage to take the road less traveled when you identify that change is necessary. Your leadership journey will not be easy but filled with twists and turns. Knowing that life is full of adversity, prepare to forge ahead and celebrate the successes along the way.

Others will join you on the journey. As a leader, you must inspire personnel to solve problems while continuously improving processes. Don’t hide the failures but learn from them becoming more innovative and creative with each iteration.

As the leader, you must check your ego at the door. Admit you do not have all the answers and allowing those closest to the problem to help you solve it. Everyone wants to feel their work is important. Ask their opinion and wait patiently and quietly while listening for the answer.

With a lot of determination, resilience and persistence (Grit) while leading with empathy and compassion (Grace), you will accomplish goals you once thought were unattainable. In all that you do, remember to make things better.

Are you feeling inspired to make the necessary changes to make things better on your leadership journey? Reach out and let’s have a conversation!

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