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Stupid things leaders do: A guide to not ruining your culture

Posted in ,   |  February 21, 2019

Success in business starts with having the right mind-set.

And often, it begins with the leader of an organization and trickles down from there.

An Omaha firm has built its training and consulting practice around that theory, with impressive results for clients.

Blake and Brett Hoogeveen of MindSet LLC will be featured speakers at the annual Prairie Family Business Association conference April 11 and 12 in Sioux Falls.

Their topic: Stupid things leaders do: A guide to not ruining your culture.

As leadership coaches, consultants, trainers and speakers, the brothers are committed to helping individuals and businesses maximize their performance.

Brett has a technical background in engineering and leadership experience in health care, marketing and insurance. Blake has experience ranging from a Fortune 500 company to a midsized company and a startup.

We learned more from the brothers about the advice they’ll share in Sioux Falls.

You offer a broad range of expertise. How would you describe the focus of your presentation for the Prairie Family Business Association?

This presentation topic is so much fun. Instead of talking about the topic of leadership and culture in glowing, aspirational terms, we get real and share some of the biggest mistakes we see organizations making, often unintentionally, that are inhibiting their ability to create the culture and employee engagement they say they want.

Without giving away too much, the topic of your talk involves stupid things leaders do. Could you share one or two of those things?

Culture is something that everyone thinks they understand. But in order to create it, you really need to get specific. One mistake we see all the time is organizations mistaking their organization’s mission/vision/values for a definition of the culture they want. There is nothing wrong with having words on a wall somewhere that say an organization stands for integrity, trust or excellence, but many companies stop there and think the culture will take care it itself. It won’t. Leaders need to be deliberate about envisioning the exact culture they want – and then invest in relentlessly bringing it to life.

Are there basic steps a business can take to assess its culture and determine how it could be improved?

Absolutely. The standard starting point is completing a culture survey. Our company, MindSet, offers a survey tool we believe is the best in the business, but there are plenty of other options on the market as well. From there, the formula is simple: determine the culture you have, envision the culture you want, and set to work closing that gap.

What are some of the most common challenges you encounter when working with family businesses?

In our experience, family businesses are often ideal clients. As you can probably imagine, one of the biggest challenges with the work MindSet does on culture is getting buy-in from executive leadership. When a family business decides to invest in culture, they can usually make decisions quickly, and we are usually off to the races in no time.

You’re also a member of a family business. How does that help you advise others in similar situations?

Well, MindSet is a small business, but we treasure the opportunity to run our consulting and training company as a family. When our father, Dr. Kim Hoogeveen, founded MindSet, he set out to change the way organizations view leadership and culture. We relish the opportunity to help him build upon that mission.

What’s one key takeaway you think attendees will be able to use right away in their business after hearing you speak?

We pride ourselves on giving advice on leadership that is functional – stuff that will immediately help leaders build a better business. One takeaway will relate to the topic of instilling a greater sense of pride and loyalty in employees. Pride is the greatest long-term motivator for employees, and unfortunately, many leaders are pathetic when it comes to helping employees feel proud to be part of their company or feeling like their company is proud of them.

To learn more and register for the Prairie Family Business Association conference, click here.