An essay by RAD’s Founder and President Steve Reinharz
I am hardly an impartial judge, but in my not-so-humble opinion, RAD is nailing it. We’re pushing the envelope in the innovation we deliver, while racking up achievements that do our team proud. Despite this track record, I still hear comments cloaked as “constructive criticism”. I should spend more time “running the company,” less time seeking the media spotlight. Focus more on “being a CEO,” focus less on engaging with stakeholders at every level. Okay, fair, I do jump at every chance to share RAD’s vision and mission – participating in conferences, panels, webinars, and posting away on social media. There’s little about my job that I enjoy more than being an enthusiastic evangelist for our paradigm-breaking technology solutions. We’re doing amazing things and making great stuff that’s revolutionizing the security services industry! When it comes to spreading the word, I can’t help myself.
However, there’s an equally important component to RAD’s success that I speak about less often, something that explains why I choose to balance my time the way I do. It’s RAD’s culture.
RAD is growing at an astounding pace, and that couldn’t happen without an A-list team of talent working together within a culture that empowers them to thrive. Attracting such employees, keeping them motivated and delivering to their full potential, and doing so without high churn-and-burn, requires a different approach to corporate growth and development. RAD’s governing philosophy centers around the principles of “EQ” – the emotional counterpart to “IQ” – and infuses our culture to its core.
Today, EQ theory is widely taught as part of business management education. It contends that certain personality traits, more so than raw intelligence, lay the foundation for great leaders.
Self-awareness, self-regulation or composure, internal motivation, empathy, and strong interpersonal skills are the five traits most often cited. A robust EQ Executive Coaching industry exists to help individuals master these skills. However, when I graduated from University and launched my entrepreneurial career, EQ didn’t exist. The term was first coined by social psychologists in 1990 but didn’t enter the business vernacular until the mid to late 90s. By then, I was already running my first company.
That first venture was a security integration firm, which I ran for eight years. The company followed a traditional business model in every way. There was a real brick-and-mortar office, regular hours, an established org chart, plenty of in-person meetings, and clearly defined, pre-scheduled time off. That’s how all companies operated back then. I learned a lot during those years by observing employee behavior. There were clearly certain corporate policies that enhanced performance and those that stifled it. Most importantly, I learned that teams – rather than individuals – facilitate the most meaningful accomplishments. Creating the right team-centric work environment unleashes the full potential of the group.
It was also, during those years, that I first encountered the concept of EQ. To be honest, much of it seemed intuitive. Afterall, anyone choosing an entrepreneurial career path has to check a lot of those boxes in terms of high-EQ personality traits. However, EQ theory crystallized the extent to which my personal leadership style was impacting our corporate success. Focusing on and improving my EQ skills became a priority.
Fast forward to today. EQ is no longer reserved for executive management. A generation of young and progressive entrepreneurs have embedded EQ principles within the business strategies the drive their start-ups. They do so out of necessity.
Technical skills, across the board, are now the cost of entry for any tech start-up. So is experience in every business area, including solution creation, market evaluation, finance,
technical engineering, regulatory compliance, legal, material science, cloud and mobile systems, and security best practices. But the bar had been raised even higher. To recruit, train and retain the caliber of talent most capable of harnessing the promises of emerging technologies, employees must be provided with a work environment that best encourages an open mind, a positive attitude, and a collaborative culture.
It’s one thing for high-EQ executives to lead by example, setting the tone for their organizations in hopes that their personal style will have a trickle-down effect on corporate culture. It’s another to establish a doctrine that weaves EQ principles into the corporate fabric, mapping desired outcomes to specific policies. That’s what RAD has done. Here’s how:
SELF-AWARENESS: At RAD, we leave our egos at home. Self-promotion, defensiveness, and empire-building are habits driven by ego and not compatible with the RAD way of doing things. That’s true for our employees, and it’s true for me. As RAD’s President, you won’t find me hiding behind an executive desk, dictating policies rather than leading by consensus. RAD also aims to put employees in positions where they can make their greatest contribution to the mission. In my case, that happens to include acting as the company’s most visible advocate, public liaison, megaphone, and technology evangelist-in-chief.
COMPOSURE: Honesty and responsibility is expected from everyone at RAD, 100%. This means no half-truths, no saying things that are deliberately misleading, no finger-pointing or covering up for other employees. As a result, our team is empowered with accurate information that allows us to operate and innovate with less wasted time and effort.
INTERNAL MOTIVATION: The success of RAD’s culture is predicated on excellent performance across the board. When you have the right players on your team, all of whom are fully capable of managing their time and tasks in pursuit of a common goal, we believe they should be free to similarly manage their personal lives and responsibilities. RAD’s unlimited PTO program, flex time, and “office-less” corporate structure allow salaried employees to work when they want, from where they want. Hierarchical oversight is minimized. Performance is project-driven, not hours-driven. It’s the embodiment of a self-motivated workforce.
EMPATHY: Professional thoughtfulness is critical to RAD’s success. This is particularly important when employees are spread across time zones, managing their own work schedules, and yet coordinating as a team. Everyone understands the importance of planning ahead and anticipating the needs of colleagues expecting deliverables. Communication is key. So is respect for each other’s time. We try to keep meetings prompt and to a minimum, meaning we avoid talking to impress and focus our time on achieving results.
SOCIAL SKILLS: With a fully remote workforce, social skills are all the more critical. We’re a tight- knit group that has known how to use technology to stay connected and work together long before the pandemic introduced the rest of the world to Zoom. Our positive energy is contagious, offering support and encouragement to fellow team members and helping to resolve crises proactively.
SO WHAT‘S THE PAY–OFF?
Just as high-EQ individuals make for highly-effective, inspirational leaders, high-EQ work cultures create exceedingly productive, motivated employees. Carry that one step farther, and the EQ philosophy extends to clients, investors, and other stakeholders. Technology solutions created by an EQ-empowered workforce will be thoughtful, performance-driven, deliver honestly against expectations, and deliver value based on merit – just like the team that developed it. EQ must start at the top through executive leadership, but its benefits extend to every individual it touches when executed as a corporate strategy.
So there you have it; there is a method to my madness. All that time I spend sharing a vision for the future of security services and how RAD technology is defining the new paradigm does not mean that I’m MIA elsewhere, ignoring more traditional CEO duties. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. By creating a corporate culture driven by EQ strategy, you can feel confident that RAD’s tremendous team has all the direction, structure, support, and focus necessary to deliver on our mission. Plus, they’re enjoying every minute of it. And isn’t that, ultimately, what the role of CEO is all about?