I recently went to two different events on leadership and startups within the same week: NAAAP Miami Leadership on the Horizons (LOTH) and Capital Days hosted by Venture Cafe Miami. If there’s one word to describe the commonality of these two unique events is consciousness. This world has never been as conscious as now. People are no longer convening only for more new business ideas like how to make more profit or create more innovation. The new generation of workforces and companies are looking to do everything with purpose and intention. If businesses want to be the leader in their industries, they need to think intentionally: how are they serving the world with a conscious purpose?
Conscious leaders bring their whole self to their leadership positions. You need to know who you really are and focus on the influence you could have on your team and your community. A leader’s role is to create a culture of trust and care and the effect their organization could have on the community the organization serves.
In LOTH and Capital Day, I witnessed the increasing consciousness of leaders from startups to large corporations. Leaders from all backgrounds are gathering to discuss the importance of intentionality. One of the most impressive leaders on the panel was, Sabrina Javellana, who became the vice mayor of Hallandale Beach at the age of 21. She is fully aware of who she is and how she wants to serve her community. She spoke eloquently about her plans to improve her community and how she managed conflicts, including a protest outside her office building. It is no wonder she said that her team respects her as a leader, even at her young age. I don’t know about you, but I am sure I felt quite lost at 21! Without being conscious of who you are as a leader, you cannot maximize your reach and impact.
Questions for you: Who are you without all your roles and achievements? Would you still be the leader you want to be? How can you put in more intention in your actions?
At Delivering Happiness, we live and breathe culture. We start by defining our personal values and purpose and tie them to the team’s purpose and values. While organizational culture wasn’t quite “a thing” before, I now see that every successful startup knows the importance of culture.
Incubators, accelerators, and even some venture capital and private equity funds provide coaching on culture for their portfolio companies. Without conscious intention, culture becomes a culmination of default behaviors and values - good or bad.
For example, a venture capitalist in a breakout session said that his group could not find startups by people of color or women, but later, he realized it’s because their office had mostly white males. Since the deal flows they review are mostly referrals from friends and their friends are more homogeneous than diverse, it was more difficult for them to find startups by people of color or women. It’s no wonder that the startups by minorities that are overlooked are often the best investment deals. That same venture capitalist has since learned that to find these companies, they need to be conscious of who they are asking for referrals.
To create a diverse and inclusive culture, we need to go out of our way to get to know people that are different from us and create meaningful connections using our values. Our shared values will create commonality and trust regardless of the color of our skin, our gender, or our age. With a culture vision in mind, we can create a more diverse, value-driven, and high performing culture.
Questions for you: How did you come up with your company values? Do your employees feel ownership over them? Is your culture aligned with your values?
Investors are starting to invest in companies that do good in the world; we call this socially-conscious investment. I have learned that investors are starting to care a lot more about what impact their money is making. For instance, investors are trending towards concerns around diversity and their environmental footprint. There are plenty of stats out there that show investing in companies with a diverse team could return a higher return on investment.
Female-founded companies in First Round Capital’s portfolio outperformed companies founded by men by 63%. With growing concerns about climate change, innovative companies are also coming up with disruptive inventions that could provide a huge return. If you look at Tesla, the company’s purpose is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport and electric technology.”
Questions for you: What is the higher purpose of your company that can inspire not only your team but your customers and investors?
One word to summarize all these together would be intention. If we set an intention to everything we do, including how we invest our money, time, and energy, you would be surprised at how much more meaningful our lives could become. Where could you use a little bit more intention at work or in your life?
As a leader, learn from our DH Global CEO Jenn and DH Spain CEO Carlos on how to create a sustainable, profitable company culture: