I began my post university working career at a company called White Wall Web. They were a web application development company in Cape Town, South Africa, and at the time they were relatively small with under 20 developers. The owner/managing director Peter Flynn was very involved in the day to day running of the company at the time.
Initially employed as a developer, my business analysis qualifications led me to work on a large project where I got to work closely with him, and during this time I got to learn a lot about how to form and grow a company, as well as little details like payroll and why the overall health and well being of individuals in the company is very important.
Peter explained to me his concept of running the business much like how a kingdom in biblical tradition functioned. As the kingdom/business grows, each individual employee prospers and grows, and it’s the king/owners responsibility to provide for those individuals. And therefore, by extension, provide for the families of the employees of the business.
One of the things that really resonated with me was how passionately he spoke about how he felt each month when he paid us our salaries in the online banking app, and how it gave him immense joy and satisfaction at having grown a business that was able to pay us in order for us to provide for our families.
This helped reframe my own thinking around my career, priorities, and leading.
If the team succeeds, then everyone succeeds.
For me, chasing personal milestones isn’t as important as the teams success, because if your individual work in service of the team is of a high quality, you’ll usually get recognized for this. And from a leadership perspective, the success of the entire team is ultimately a metric of your success as a leader. If those individuals succeed, then you succeed as a leader.
I should note though that it’s really important as a leader to understand the individuals on your team, what their unique goals/desires are, what they aspire to be in the long term, and align those with the goals of the team. That way everybody wins 🙂
I’m grateful I had the opportunity to learn from someone like Peter so early in my career. You can follow his latest venture, LegalTech software as a service platform called Libryo.