Power of Leadership Style

What is your leadership style and how does it inspire (or deflate) your team?  A winery's culture is influenced by its team members, but begins with the owner or operator's vision for leadership.  As many proprietors enter the industry with a vision to make (rather than sell) wine, leadership style may be a secondary consideration or ignored all together.  Those who do thoughtfully construct a vision and corresponding plan to achieve it tend to enjoy better results according to my experience in the industry.

A recent HBS article by Mitch Maidique examines the six styles of leadership as determined by his Purpose-Driven model.  For wineries with complex teams including vineyard, production, sales, finance and marketing, the Level 5 Builder is my recommendation.  This style looks beyond the Achiever at level 4, who is driven by goal setting and winning, adding a broader approach to "build an institution".  A Builder never reaches the end point-- successful and motivating leadership is a process that requires research, planning, motivation for execution, and reflection. Builders "...have a grand vision for the future of their organizations, and they infect others with their energy, enthusiasm, and integrity."

Maidique notes that people are a blend of the six styles, so there is an element of nature versus nurture at work -- personality and choice affect leadership style.  Since leadership is both a process and mindset, it is important to be aware of your leadership tendencies, and develop a proactive plan to become or enhance the style that will best suit your business.  

Some of my favorite books on leadership include John Wooden's Wooden on Leadership and Good to Great by Jim Collins.   Gaining knowledge about leadership best practices is an excellent start.  The next step is to use independent research to evaluate your company's leadership strengths and challenges, cooperation between team members, and cultural dynamic.  I thoroughly enjoy offering these services and learn immensely each time I'm involved in a visionary project.


Characteristics of Good Design

Recently, while speaking at SOWine2, I had the opportunity to enjoy a design presentation given by Richard Roberts, Creative Director at Palazzo Creative in Seattle.  I was pleased to connect a name and firm with some work I'd already admired -- Palazzo did the re-branding for L'Ecole 41, a known Walla Walla based winery, which I saw during the Taste Washington event held in Portland two months ago. 

Richard noted that good design has three key characteristics: consistency, transferability and ability to project extrinsic cues about the brand promise.  For a new brand, design consistency is about keeping look and feel similar throughout all marketing materials.  (In a broader marketing sense this also means consistent messaging, placement and promotion.)  With an established brand like l'Ecole 41, consistency can be more challenging -- with a redesign, there is a question of what design elements should remain the same and what should stay in the past.  I love how Palazzo maintained the brand's iconic school house image, but elevated its positioning by transforming it into a more serious package with less classic color and polished design.

Transferability means that the design works in different mediums.  For wineries, this typically means that it works for logo, packaging, and marketing materials.  A very important area for wineries to consider is how the design will appear on the shelf.  I've seen beautiful work that just doesn't work given the rather small amount of label "real estate" on wine bottles.  Additionally, fonts and nuances need to be easily translated to other marketing arenas.  L'Ecole 41's new website features its revised logo with the new color palette and tone.  An example of poor transferability would be a wine label that doesn't translate to a website, ad or other collateral.

The ability to project extrinsic cues is perhaps the most challenging since it's multi-dimensional.  The l'Ecole 41 label sends a message of an upscale experience that has an element of the old world but is not stuffy.  It speaks to the very good and consistent quality in the bottle.  When designing for a wine brand, you must always consider what message the design is sending, and make sure that it appeals to the audience of buyers you've targeted.

This of course means that you should start with the buyer in mind... in my next post, I'll discuss how to get the most out of your experience working with designers and creatives.