Founding and leading GANDT has been one of the most challenging, educational, and rewarding experiences of my life. I am incredibly grateful to have built and been surrounded by my team, and I am constantly looking for ways to improve in my role and foster a more beneficial environment for the people I work with.
Cultivating leadership skills is a lifelong process, but one thing I certainly attest to after six years spearheading the company is how important it is to create an inclusive culture, based on the values of respect and empathy. Recently, I had the chance to reflect on the sentiments expressed by the founder of Kind, and his words rang true for what I am trying to accomplish and build in my role as leader of this ambitious and talented group of individuals.
Focus on core values
A willingness to understand and appreciate others on their own terms is vital. Sincerity, curiosity, mastery, transparency, and approachability — are the critical qualities that contribute to a truly effective team and are something I have learned to look out for and encourage others to consider in our hiring process. People first, skills second is the principle we follow. I now understand that the road to success is long, and the better we are at nurturing our culture, the better we will feel and be positioned to grow from within our core values.
Of course, it is a two-way street. This applies to all of our company-client relationships as well. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and we have active discussions surrounding the type of companies and people we would like to work with and why. Talent and skills contribute to our success, but we are willing to go the extra mile for each other because we have built a culture based on values representing who we are and want to be.
Discuss what matters
Empathy plays a big part in this. As illustrated by the example of Kind, it is inspiring and heartening to see that the company continues to live by these principles, regardless of size. Beyond just a marketing gimmick or a means to an end, kindness and openness are ways of living and leading the company.
At GANDT, we are still early in our evolution as a group — we have many years ahead of us to explore the various ways we can apply our core values and working principles in our daily lives. However, the frequency with which the topic of culture comes up in our company shows me that it is already an active part of what we do. Work is more than just taking care of client requests — we share a common vision of how we want to establish ourselves as service providers in our society. We are united in how we want to be perceived, work, and live our lives.
Leadership by example
Going forward, it is important to me that our actions continue to speak louder than words, and that we continue to create a company culture that reflects who we want to be. The term “Kind” might be more self-explanatory than GANDT, but we determine what it stands for. We determine how those who work with us will see us. I know we have built a solid foundation, and I hope that one day we can serve as a positive example to others companies when it comes to fostering a culture of empathy without losing your competitive edge.