Accessibility– makes a huge difference. Anyone can email call meetings, but being out there and having an aligned, honest culture that supports it is key. As well as being open to feedback –you will find out as much from the guy in the back as from your senior management.

To create change as a leader you have to change the culture down to every single person in the company. You cannot do if you are not accessible to every person.

Honest feedback : The way you start sets the tone for your leadership style.

Make yourself one of them

For example: On Mindy Grossmans first day at HSN, she went through orientation just like everyone else, to see what everybody else feels when they come into this company for the first time (15 people — a guy who is in backstage TV, somebody in production, somebody in planning). Everybody had to go around the room and say what their job was, including her. The impact that had, and how viral it became organization wide, it made a huge difference, because it was a signal of a new management philosophy.

To come into an organization that you love, you care about, and you’re helping to not just drive the business, but people’s lives. If they love what they’re doing and they’re excited and they’re engaged in the culture, then you’re contributing to their growth, their development and their talent. Leaders need to be and have people who not only can manage change, but have an appetite for it.

Need more core qualities of leadership- outside of the business strategy, focus & implementation of what it means to motivate people, and the psychology of what makes someone successful vs. just the quantitative part of it. Ability to motivate, relate to and inspire people.

Unhealthy environment – fear is not a motivating factor you may get a little bit more out of someone in the short term, but long term it completely erodes your business and your culture – you risk to lose good people, not be told the truth & setting a tradition / pattern of the business. Prior to Mindy HSN had about seven C.E.O.’s in the previous ten years. In that kind of situation everybody freezes — where you have a lot of leadership changes, changes in strategy and perhaps not the best leadership style —when someone new comes in, most people think, “O.K., we’ll wait this one out.”
So there’s an impact when someone says: “I want to be here. Here’s why I’m here. I’m here to listen and understand what we need to do.”

Command-and-control leadership? – It’s not culturally relevant anymore- generations and global trends have highlighted the idea that you need somebody to tell you what to do and not think for yourself, is not a fruitful culture. You eliminate intelligent, inspired talent, who want some form of entrepreneurial environment to be able to exercise their talent. Empowering and challenging the staff vs simply telling them to do something creates a more creative environment – as they might be able to see better way.

Teaching of skills and implementation of strategy & business models is key – aligned business strategic decision and corporate communication must be implemented to ensure those who need to be led have a clear concise direction to follow – without fear – opening up to possibilities to staff and the organization of newer perspectives and interpretations –is a process of cultural & organizational growth.
Having worked for some amazing leaders and of course the opposite –we develop a clear path of what we know we don’t want to be and the perspective of what had lasting, sustainable impact. But at the end of the day, as the leader you have to own it.
There is a window of time to create change and inspire the organization to all go in the same direction. You need evangelists to be able to do that, who share your passion and your vision for where you want to go- and be one yourself.

A very quick assessment of how many of those evangelists exist is necessary, who to recruit, and who are the “blockers,” / the toxic personalities who need to go.
Time to “size people up” – Initial conversation to get a real sense of a person’s quantitative and qualitative skills. One of the first questions to ask is, “What’s X (insert company name)?”

For example MG – HSN Anyone who said, “Oh, it’s just a television shopping network,” was not going to get where we were going. Asked what they thought of our customers, and anybody who talked down was never going to get it. Asked what drove them, what they were passionate about. “Why are you here, and why are you staying?”
Culture amongst staff and employees – energy-givers and that this person is going to be able to inspire people. Are they going to be optimistic about where they’re going? Are they going to attract people who are like that? To stand up to management when they believe in something? Passionate – people who are going to be able to make the company look at things in a different way. Question – “Give me an instance where you really believed in something and you were able to change the course and it was successful, whatever that was.” Important -don’t want people telling you what you already know, or not telling you what you need to know.

Sources: Interview by Adam Bryant of HSN’s Mindy Grossman – New York Times