In April last year, I made a conscious decision to replace the word ‘Manager’ in a number of job titles within the company with ‘Leader’. It might seem like a small change to some people, but to me the two words are of highly varied meaning. A manager is a middleman, a person who processes information, follows rules and facilitates orders. Leaders are driven to do something more, and the hint is in the word, they are empowered to lead. A Leader is an ambassador for purpose; they carry the torch on behalf of a company and make choices that will gain results for both the individual and the business.
At ESG, any team member with the title ‘Leader’ is asked to demonstrate these qualities. They are given the autonomy to go out and build what they will with their role. Of course they are still given the support they need in order to reach their goals but they are in no way burdened by the cumbersome task of having to report on every movement they make to upper management as is the case in a corporate organisational flow. And the key to engendering this culture of real, honest Leadership is instilling the knowledge within any team member that there is room for personal growth and development.
I have to say, almost 12 months have elapsed since we made this title switch and it is one of the best things we have ever done. ESG is now in year 3 of our five year plan, to double the size of our business. To achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves it was impractical and illogical to continue running our operations the same way as we did when we were a $5M company.
We believe in challenging the status quo. When you run a company that deals with similar customers and partners from year to year, it becomes imperative that you pick through every detail of the business with a fine tooth comb to reflect on what is working and what needs rethinking. I am often sharing one of my favourite quotes relating to this, “The very definition of stupidity is to continue to do the same thing and expect different results”.
Instead, it is my opinion that risks should be taken and changes made on a regular basis. That is what makes the business healthy and prosperous. In ESG’s 90 year history, I don’t think that we could ever be accused of playing it safe. It is the kind of ethos that dates back to our Founder, Earnest Sime, and which then has grown over time through Kenn Sime and now Malcolm Sime, our Company Chairman.
It is the style of leadership that drives me personally and it is through this kind of leadership that I can really see tangible and positive effects on all the other Leaders within our business and, of course, the growth of our company.