The House that Leadership Built

It doesn’t always take a HBR case study to learn about what makes a company wildly successful. There are surprising moments when the essence of what makes companies great becomes strikingly clear. This week I found myself in the middle of a strategic planning session with a group leading a company that had experienced significant gains and growth over the past five years – seriously like 10X growth. This company never really had a structured, formalized planning process before. Concerned with the continued success of the company, they decided that more management structure and controls would be helpful. And I can’t disagree with that.

However, as we worked through the process of vision, strategy, process analysis, SWOT, market concentration decision, competitive analysis… one of the team members told a story that their efforts so far had enabled an employee to gain both the means and the confidence to buy their first house. He gave a bit of color about how proud he was of the young man and happy he was for his team member. I was struck by two things. First, he made it very clear that there was a connection between an employee’s confidence in their company and their decision to make such an important, life-changing investment. Second, amidst all the planning, this leader could have focused on revenues, profits, or personal bonuses. Instead, what stood out to him was that the life of one of his employees had just got better.

There’s no profound management technique or process at play here, but there is something deeply significant about this connection. Reflecting on what made this company great and contributed to their rapid rise and success, I am reminded of the reality that leadership matters.

The driving force behind this company’s incredible market share growth over the last five years wasn’t their product—many companies had access to the same product. It certainly wasn’t their sophisticated management system. What set them apart was leadership. End of story, thank you Mike.

About the Author

Paul Doyle
Paul Doyle is the founder of LeaderWork. He brings more than 35 years of diverse business experience, including 15 years as a CEO, leading manufacturing companies. Paul has been active in North America with companies ranging from $20 million to $450 million in revenue.