Three companies – one from each size category – won the "Leadership" award, based on the topics raised in employees' responses. The winners are: Anthony Bucci (RevZilla), Joseph Carberry (Medical Solutions Supplier) and Stephen Collis (AmerisourceBergen). We asked them to provide some quick thoughts on three leadership topics. Responses have been lightly edited for space.
1. Communicating to employees your vision of the company's direction
Carberry: The two rules that we live by in our organization when it comes to communication are "Radical Transparency and Radical Candor." There are many methods of communication that we use including daily, weekly and quarterly meetings with our team that are structured in a productive, time-sensitive manner, but ultimately it's the substance of these communications that really matter. We have found over the last decade that the more your employees know (whether it's good or bad) and the more truthful you can be with them, they will have the comfort and security it takes to execute in opportunity and rise to any challenge. Of course the more we can reinforce our vision the better, so we also use a daily morning email, a quarterly newsletter and quarterly themes that help as reminders.
Bucci: Schedule it, then communicate it. Then over-communicate it. We have a weekly town hall to talk about the state of the business and cultural goings-on. Each quarter we talk about performance, celebrate wins and more importantly our misses and learnings. In those weeklies and more formal quarterlies, I'm always thinking about ways to continue to make the RevZilla DNA stick. We dust off the vision each year, but talk about our mission of "advancing the experience of the motorcycle enthusiast" much more often. It's the filter and the "why" behind all of our decisions. When I think I have said it enough times, I typically try to find a new way to say it again. There is no such thing as a company that has its mission or vision reinforced too many times.
Collis: I enjoy getting out to our offices and engaging with our associates to hear how they're bringing this vision to life and how I can better support them. We provide some structure to do this, like regular coffee chats to connect with associates but I'm also delighted at how often these conversations happen organically. While we certainly use traditional corporate tools, like a newly revamped intranet, it's the accessibility and interactivity of our leaders that I think has differentiated us from so many other companies of our size.
2. Managing from a big-picture perspective versus "in the weeds"
Bucci: More and more as we scale, my co-Founders and I are challenged to think about the bigger picture strategies and force ourselves out of the startup weeds systematically and regularly. Our recent joint venture with Cycle Gear's owners is a great example of thinking about where the industry is going and how to create value and defensibility by beating our competitors to where things will ultimately converge within our industry. The "maker" in us still wants to go up and down the org chart every day and tweak the little details, but the seasoned operators know that that doesn't have the best return on our time investment at this stage. It's a daily struggle.
Collis: I am humbled by my responsibilities of both leading a company that makes a significant impact on the healthcare industry by creating efficiency and increasing access to medications, while at the same time ensuring that individual providers and patients get the medication they need.
Carberry: I think the only real way to lead any group of people is from a big-picture perspective. I believe that my fundamental responsibility as a leader is to develop perfect teams and develop perfect processes. Obviously perfection is impossible but aspiring to do this creates an environment where creativity and problem-solving become part of the culture. My goal is to allow our employees the space not only to make mistakes but to help drive the direction of the organization in every aspect of the business and not just in specific examples.
3. Empowering employees to build future company leaders
Carberry: We have a very strong "promote from within" mentality, and strive for an atmosphere free of the politics that are found in so many companies. I think that politics stifle both corporate and individual growth more than anything else. Mistakes happen all the time but in our culture they are seen as learning opportunities and not as an indictment on the individual or team. This is the reason that our organization is "flat" in nature. We don't believe in Middle Management. We have eight people on our leadership team and the rest of the organization is served directly by them. There is a saying that "the bottleneck is ALWAYS at the top of the bottle." As leaders, our focus is the development of our staff and the practice of harnessing their creativity and genius to affect change in Medical Solutions Supplier.
Collis: I'm especially proud that leaders from several of our acquired companies are now on our executive leadership team driving company strategy. It's a reflection of how we've integrated cultures as we've grown and provided opportunity for our associates to mature as leaders within the company