“A successful company is one that can learn effectively.” – Arie de Geus, author of “The Living Company”
A living company is never static. Bursting with kinetic energy—the energy of motion—a living company is always looking forward, transforming its momentum into something useful. Arie de Geus describes living companies as learning companies, those who consciously choose to observe, absorb, adjust and mature as they go. And, who tend to succeed as a result.
These organizations rely on having a team of individuals whose skills and passions develop in tandem. The outcome is not just one, but a community of leaders who step forward together for the greater good and sustained livelihood of the company.
A commitment to learning
One of the core values at MSA is the Commitment to Learning. This means a dedication to supporting the professional growth of staff by investing resources in ongoing learning, training and technology. To support this core value, we are excited to launch our first MSA Leadership Series course, which will serve to develop and enhance the skills of those community leaders.
The leadership series started last week and will run throughout the next 12 months, with the goal of challenging individuals to dig deep and decipher if, why, and how a leadership role might suit them. Ten individuals at MSA were invited to enroll in this first leadership series and were required to submit a letter of intent and interest prior to admittance. Participants will be challenged personally and professionally throughout each of the five sessions and will engage in thought-provoking experiential learning focused on leadership and business skills. There will be classroom assignments, individual study, peer networking, and yes – homework. Sessions will also involve examining one’s own behavioral and personality traits, personal and shared values. Industry consultant, Geordie Aitken from Aitken Leadership Group, will lend his expertise and lead a portion of the sessions focused on self-learning and discovery as individuals contemplate the duties, joys and sacrifices of leadership.
Some of those who go through the course may, in fact, become leaders at MSA. Others may choose otherwise. “Quite simply, you’re not made a leader, you decide to become one,” comments Gil Hantzsch, CEO at MSA. “This experience is intended to help those who appear to have decided to become one. To borrow from the “Great Game of Business” by Jack Stack, “You gotta wanna.’”
ESOPs and the servant leadership model
As an employee-owned organization, MSA adheres to a servant leadership model and succeeds by the sum of its parts. “The fact is, continues Hantzsch, “organizations need people doing leader-like things at all levels of the organization. An organization that relies too much on one person—or a small group of people—to make every decision is crippling itself. An organization having a group of people aligned around a common goal and empowered to make decisions is one that will thrive.”
Director of Human Resources at MSA, Craig Fields, shares a quote from “The Leader of the Future: New Visions, Strategies and Practices for the Next Era” about the active nature of servant leadership. “Servant leaders are not bystanders or simply holders of positions. Their leadership responsibility is for the long term and not for their own short-term benefit.” Fields went on to say, “By continuing the development of all our employee-owners, MSA will be here—and will be successful—for the long term. We’re excited about the new leadership series and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the participants, and on our company as a whole.”
MSA is dedicated to creating an engaging learning and development experience for all employee-owners, whatever stage of their career. We believe that the more we continue to learn and grow, the stronger we’ll be, both for our clients, as well as for each other. “After all,” finishes Hantzsch, “leadership, at its most basic level, is about people. More specifically, it’s about helping others reach their full potential…the release of human possibility.”
Welcome to our wonderful first class of the MSA Leadership Series as they begin their journey. We look forward to sharing your insights and experiences throughout the year and thank you for saying, “I wanna.”