Leadership at its Best

Rarely do I post blogs this closely together, but when something eventful occurs, it seems appropriate to make an exception!

It was announced Monday morning that QLI has once again been recognized as the #1 Best Place to Work in Omaha in the large company category for 2015.  This is the fifth time this honor has been bestowed on QLI – plus the unusual distinction of having also been awarded the Sustained Excellence Award.  It is great to see QLI again being recognized.

QLI is the birthplace of MindSet; it is the company where our philosophy and teachings were first developed and where they have been most fully implemented.  This latest recognition is a reflection of an exceptionally talented leadership team that makes the cultural health of their company a priority every day – and in every interaction.  Understanding theory and technique is important, but it is of little value without a team of leaders who have the talent and determination to make it come to life within their work setting.

So how is it that QLI continues to build and protect such a dominantly healthy culture?

It starts with a supportive Board of Directors; with drive and focus supplied by a brilliant CEO, Patricia Kearns; advanced by a gifted group of top-level leaders who unanimously recognize the importance of culture; and brought to life every day by a carefully selected, talented, and well-trained group of supervisors throughout the QLI system.

QLI goes all in on culture, meaning that cultural health is an unrelenting focus for leaders throughout their company.  QLI is committed to protecting a culture that can attract and retain outstanding employees, encourage both personal and professional employee growth, and assure employees the opportunity to work in a positive and dynamic environment.  And QLI has something else that I find to be unusual: they have a clear and explicit strategic vision for cultural health, including overtly specified attitudinal and behavioral expectations for the members of their staff.

Another key to QLI’s success is how they go about identifying individuals who they select to assume supervisory roles.  QLI has long understood that the ability to lead humans has little correlation with technical expertise or seniority, and after selecting wisely, they invest a good amount of time, energy (and yes, money) assuring supervisors have great support from colleagues and access to quality leadership training.

QLI operates under a system I would term “team leadership” – and again, I find it to be rare.  Leaders throughout the QLI system possess a common understanding of the leadership principles under which QLI operates, as well a common, shared knowledge of leadership terminology and practical implementation techniques.  These shared values and this common language allow leaders at QLI to be unusually supportive of one another across divisions and departments.  Corporate silos don’t exist.  All are committed to the same leadership philosophy – one that emphasizes high standards, a positive work environment, innovation, and employee growth – and mutual support is the norm.

QLI avoids the deadly sin of comparing themselves for the purpose of matching others.  When it comes to how QLI builds culture and staff pride, QLI strives to differentiate themselves from others – and so far, one would have to say their approach is paying substantial dividends!

Of course, there are literally over 100 specific tactics and techniques that QLI uses on a daily basis to create and protect their unusual work environment.  MindSet and QLI are now discussing the possibility of hosting a leadership insight event later this spring that would give attendees the chance to see a more detailed look behind the curtain at QLI’s leadership approach and the MindSets it uses to engender such a remarkably healthy work environment.  We will let you know when and if that gets scheduled – it should be an intellectually engaging and fun event!

Related: What HR Should Be – This cultural success wouldn’t be possible without the buy-in, and leadership, from the HR department. What does this look like? Skipping over the referees, cultivating real HR “leaders” – not managers, and more as we explain in our “What HR Should Be” blog.