9 Lessons for Growth-Minded Leaders
STP’s CEO Patrick Murray shares the most valuable lessons he’s learned from his time spent building and leading a rapidly growing operational outsourcing business.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at the Villanova University Leadership Symposium, a three-day event exploring the themes of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leading with a growth mindset. It was an honor to sit on a panel with a number of amazing local leaders in front of such inspiring, dedicated students.
Because I feel so passionately about all of these themes, and believe they serve as guideposts for everything we do here at STP, I wanted to share what I spoke about at Villanova with our clients, employees and the broader industry as a whole.
Throughout my education and career, I’ve learned quite a few valuable lessons about what it actually means to be an innovative leader, how to cultivate a growth-oriented mindset, and the best ways to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.
- Ignore the Naysayers:
People love to tell you why you won’t be able to do something. After all, it’s easier to deem a task or a goal impossible than it is to actually try to make it work. But to be an effective leader, you have to be able to separate valuable advice from negative noise.
- Manage Risk Taking:
Understand what your challenges are going to be, and put plans in place to mitigate them—but keep in mind that even a pitch-perfect plan can’t possibly account for every problem you’re going to face. Be prepared, but be adaptable.
- Understand the Real Problem:
When challenges do arise, take the time to study them instead of just reacting. Often, you’ll discover that what you originally thought was the problem is actually just a side effect. Once you identify the core issue, you can better resolve it.
- Connect with People Authentically:
Being a great leader is all about building trust by making real, authentic connections. Achieving your vision depends on buy-in from your entire team, so let them get to know you. If they feel connected and invested, they’ll be far more likely to perform at their best for you.
- Create a Blame-Free Environment:
Building trust means giving people room to make mistakes. And mistakes are in fact incredibly valuable—they show us what isn’t working, bringing us closer to what will. Nurture an environment where people feel free to take risks and make mistakes without fear of blame.
- Establish Core Values as Your Guide:
Your growth vision is your what. Your values determine why and how. Work with your team to determine three to five guideposts for your workplace, indelible values that won’t be compromised (creating a blame-free environment is one of ours at STP).
- Know Your Numbers:
All the connections, core values and innovative ideas in the world won’t add up to anything if you don’t have a solid handle on your business metrics—your revenue goals, budget, profit margin, growth rate, etc. Not a numbers person? Hire someone who is, but it is mandatory to know the basics.
- Identify Your Path Forward
Your strategy brings the road ahead into clear focus. Work on strategy first to set the path, no matter how daunting that may feel. Taking action on tangible next steps–like sending the email or making the phone call–will bring you closer to realizing your goals, one small step at a time.
- Don’t Let Perfection be the Enemy of Good:
The hardest thing in the world to do is just get started—and if you wait for everything to be perfect, or you let fear of failure paralyze you, you never will. Believe in your ideas, cultivate your vision, understand there will be mistakes, challenges and roadblocks, and take the leap anyway.