Leadership Case Study: Strength the Company Culture in Q&A Session

Starting from this post, I will start with a series of articles about leadership skills learned from people around me as I found it is an effective way of learning leadership skills. All examples will come from my working environment. The questions will be grouped based on the topic or the situation.

Question: What’s your most unforgettable moment in 2019?

The leaders should take each opportunity to motivate and inspiring the employee.

  • How was the question answered?

Tony started with the wins of 2019, say new product lunch, become market leader, etc, all about the great progress the company made in 2019. Then he turned to the difficult moment in 2019, he highlighted that lot’s of people working collaboratively together to solve these touch problems.Then he pivot the topic to: we cannot control our customer, but we can choose to be great. He named a few examples(male and female one for each) and stressed that these people made great achievement because they wanted to be great. He then concluded that we can choose to be great.

  • Learning

Tony first highlighted the wins, in the mean time, he identified the culture element that made us through the highlights and lowlights, and he ask us to keep working on these elements.

Question: in one year if you search XX(company name) in google, what do you wish to see?

Similar to the previous topic, the leaders should take each opportunity to stress the important values that we hold: focus on the income metrics not the outcome metrics.

  • How was the question answered?

This is a prompt question, and Tony talked about some fillers on the very beginning. Then he mentioned that he would like to see the stories about the impact we make to our customer, to the local merchants. He also mentioned that he didn’t want to see the valuation, market share, etc. He said these are the outcome metrics that we can’t control, and we should continue to focus on serving our customers.

  • Learning

Highlight the real important things that lead to your success, and pivot the team’s attention for chasing the outcomes.

Question: There has been ongoing negative sentiment in the industry about the gig economy startups, their profitability and success. Many companies in that space have not been able to keep up the industry expectations after they went public. What have we learned from that and what is our action plan to stay successful? How should we stay motivated ourselves that we are not heading in the same direction as those others?

  • How was the question answered?

Tony started with the setting the tone: not going to talk about any bad things of other companies, but don’t buy in everything on the press. Then he agreed that as a company, we will be inevitably measured by the outcomes: the growth and the profitability of the business bing the two most critical metrics.

He acknowledged that it is very hard to achieve both growth and profitability, but we are rewarded only by doing hard things. Then he highlighted a few critical things about achieving growth and profitability: being creative in growth, and being discipline in budgeting. He shared a few examples about creating growth without spending lot’s of money on marketing, and a few example about what it means to be discipline in budgeting: hiring the right people instead of hiring lot’s of people.

He then expanded this topic to highlight the culture of “And, Not Either/Or”. He mentioned that we need to achieve “And” in all areas, improve the efficiency AND share the benefit with the drivers, etc.

He then covered another culture element: focus on the income metrics, not the outcome metrics, say build the basics right. And only this way we get rewards.

  • Learning

Instead of trying to explain why there were negative sentiments, he created a narrative that these outcomes are many times beyond our control and we should focus on the foundation of our own business. And he always landing his reasoning in the company culture.