How to Create a Winning Organization

How to Create a Winning Organization


About 10 years ago, I took over writing the Cameron-Brooks Quarterly Career Tip from our President and CEO, Chuck Alvarez.  As it’s been a while since his last Career Tip (and he always gives great advice on managing a career), I sat down with him to ask what traits the most successful Cameron-Brooks Alumni have in common.  And, as always, Chuck offers specific and actionable advice.

Face Obstacles Head On

“In my almost three decades of JMO recruiting, I’ve been lucky to work with many JMOs who are now in the C-suite and other key leadership roles in corporations.  It’s been interesting to study the building of successful careers, and I’ve tried over the years to find the common threads to this level of success.  So, what have I found out?  First and foremost, top performing leaders have an intense drive especially in the face of challenges and obstacles.  A lot of people in business quit their jobs and companies way too early and miss the opportunity to strengthen this grit muscle.  One of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday, has a great quote that illustrates this: ‘The one great thing that all great men and women of history have in common is overcoming obstacles.  Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for the blaze that was their ambition.  Nothing could stop them; they were (and continue to be) impossible to discourage or contain.  Every impediment only served to make the inferno within them burn with greater ferocity.’  Everyone I know who has achieved top success has this grit and drive and toughness to stay with difficult goals and find ways through the brick walls.”

Be a Lifelong Learner

“Another trait that is always present in high performing leaders – they are students and sponges for learning 24×7, 365.  They are always great readers not only in their chosen field, but broadly across many topics to stay on top of their game and build the knowledge base to lead their organizations to win in their markets.  Often, you’ll see they are inspirational teachers setting a high bar for others around them to learn and grow. And it’s not like they have more than 24 hours in a day.  Rather, it’s that they are consistent and opportunistic in their learning, whether it’s from a good book, asking great questions, listening to others, and just engaging and using their communication skills to soak up ideas from their environments.”

Embrace Humility and Servant Leadership

“Lastly, this is the big one – humility.  More than any other trait, humility will motivate thousands of people to follow you.  As these leaders grow in their influence in an organization, they have to lead through others.  That means trust.  Great people will only follow a great leader and the stakes go up as you get more and more senior.  So often, promising leaders stall in their careers because it’s all about them.  They go through their business careers proving to others over and over that they are not very trustworthy.  You’ll get a lot out of your career if you just help enough others get what THEY want.  Serve them.  Serve your organization with loyalty and humility.  Go out of your way to give more than you take, and I assure you, you’ll end up getting much more than you believed possible and it will surprise you how many people on your team will sign up for the journey under your leadership.  It takes humility, but it’s also more fun and infinitely more rewarding.  Lastly, one of my favorite quotes from quite possibly the greatest athletic coach of my lifetime, John Wooden: ‘It takes time to create excellence.  If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.  Make each day your masterpiece.’ This type of success is a journey in leadership that takes time and commitment.”


All the best,