Andy Zimney is an exploratory leader.
He confronts ambiguity with an open mind and a willingness to explore in order to find out what he needs to move forward. His Exploratory Leadership skills are put to great use with his role as Senior Consultant and Culture Advisor at Employee Strategies, a firm dedicated to developing thriving work cultures and great places to work.
Andy has spent the past two decades collecting a wealth of experience as an executive leader, entrepreneur, and stage improvisor (he’s funny). We had a conversation with Andy about work culture, playing your part in a team, and leading with curiosity.
What gets in the way of a thriving work culture?
Leaders are busy! They have so many responsibilities—many of which are just easier to see and manage than work culture. Companies fail when they start to believe that because culture is a little ambiguous it’s unmanageable.
What makes a great place to work?
Regardless of age or role, we all generally want the same three things: We want to know that we are putting our strengths to good use; we want to know how our work contributes to the team and our business goals; and we want to know that our work provides real value to the world at large. The trick is designing systems, nurturing behaviors, and installing symbols and rituals that bring those things to life.
What is it you love about working with teams?
I’ve never met a team that did not want to succeed. When they get stuck, it often feels like some invisible force is holding them back. Helping them to make the invisible visible and break through is incredibly rewarding.
What must an individual focus on in order to contribute to a cohesive team?
The most significant predictor of team success is vulnerability. Teams that can admit mistakes, have candid conversations, and are willing to sacrifice their wants for the greater good always come out on top. If you aren’t leading with vulnerability, you’re probably holding your team back.
How do you apply your entrepreneurial spirit to your role within an organization?
Every entrepreneur needs to lead with curiosity. Every one of our clients has unique needs that are not readily apparent from the get-go. It really is a process of courageous co-exploration.
What are you reading?
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. A great read on the basics of organizational health.
Life on Purpose by Victor J Strecher. The science behind the link between purpose, health, and happiness.
The Great Bridge by David McCullough. The epic story of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Andy’s work at Employee Strategies is what Exploratory Leadership is all about. He begins his work by emerging a need which isn’t apparent, and explores with his clients in order to achieve their goals.
Andy will be sharing his experience of being an exploratory leader within an organization at the Studio/E #ideaSLAM on Thursday, August 16. Come hear his story and share your wisdom.