According to Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures, CEOs have three jobs: Set the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicate it to all stakeholders, recruit, hire, and retain the very best talent for the company, and make sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
It seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? But as any CEO can attest, getting your ducks in a row can take years of trial and error. And even more than communicating the vision and strategy of the company, you need to make sure that your stakeholders are fully aligned and bought into what you are selling them.
On the Unmessable show, Duke Rohlen, serial founder and private equity firm KKR's go-to CEO for investing in and leading MedTech companies, discussed how consistently getting his team aligned proved to be his hardest challenge in each of the five companies he founded and sold. He believes that prioritizing team alignment has been instrumental in his companies' successes.
Here are some practices Rohlen uses to set his businesses up to perform at their highest capacity:
Create an empowering company culture from the get-go.
A thoughtful company culture can set the tone for expectations early on, but too often, it's a topic that's pushed to the wayside. Harvard Business Review found that "the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company." Making company culture a priority and refusing to drift from it once it's been set can go a long way in heeding the results you want.
Creating a great working environment isn't about fancy work stations or free refreshments, Rohlen said. Similarly, building a great team isn't about finding and hiring the most skilled talent. It's about bringing together a mix of experts that have different perspectives, but a shared overall objective.
Company culture is established based on a shared group's belief system, company values, assumptions, and behaviors. Getting this one thing right early-on can lead to elevated productivity, higher rates of employee happiness and an overall sense of community as culture accounts for 21.6 percent of worker satisfaction. In other words, it can directly boost your bottom line.
Heavily invest in and encourage relationship building company-wide.
As Rohlen clued into early on, research shows that happy people are better and smarter workers. One of the main drivers of employee happiness is meaningful relationships at work, and not only with co-workers but with bosses.
A Gallup report, however, found that only 30 percent of the U.S workforce are engaged at work. Meaning the majority of workers are not emotionally or intellectually invested in the company they work for, which directly impacts performance. Rohlen invests a great deal in spending quality face to face time with his teams. If you can make it a point to carve real time out of your workday to cultivate these valuable relationships, you're already in a stronger place.
Create and align on your organization's future.
There's real power in structure, and aligning your team to all row in the same direction will unquestionably catapult your company or team's performance. If you can organically generate a compelling organizational future that is bold and your team can own, you are ahead of the game, but I've also heard from a number of top executives that hiring an outside consulting firm that specialized in this area helps speed up the process by a mile and yield far better results.
Given that 47 percent of people actively looking for new positions cite company culture as the main reason, you may not be able to afford leaving this type of structure up to chance. Mapping out your organizational future may be just the reboot you need to move forward methodically.
Lead with a compelling purpose.
Effective leaders recognize that the most rewarding aspect of building a successful business isn't in the money. It's in helping others build themselves and work towards a bigger purpose.
According to a recent talent trends study, thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose. In partnership with purpose, Rohlen believes that fostering a company environment that values integrity will not only lead to better morale and performance, but it can also have a lasting effect in the lives of the individuals you work with.
As a leader, you can lead with integrity, and through your actions, encourage your team to do the same. By making this an integral part of your company's culture, you'll find how things like employee happiness, stronger performance, and deeper engagement can propel your organization toward incredible growth.