Anyone who has overseen an award-winning business for 20 consecutive years of double-digit percentage revenue growth warrants our respect. When they have done so by creating a company culture that attracts, retains and empowers their workers to persistently perform at the highest level – a massive asset in the current economic climate – then it is no surprise that many are keen to learn from their example.
The business leader in question is William ‘Bill’ A Hindle of HindlePower, who is now sharing the secrets of his success in two forms: a book provisionally entitled Business Culture: Create Your Masterpiece – which will be published by Kallisti Publishing in 2023 – and ‘The Hindle’ a week-long leadership retreat at an inspirational chateau in Provence, France.
His thought-provoking views are proving to be relevant for current and aspiring leaders, regardless of their businesses’ location, size or sector.
Wheel of sustainability
Hindle has quite the story to tell and at the heart of his guidance in both the book and the leadership program is what he calls the ‘Wheel of Sustainability’, eight interdependent elements that he suggests must all be in place for a successful culture.
This includes aspects such as mutual trust and respect, putting people in the know, motivation, camaraderie, maximizing the passion of employees, leading with heart and soul, and the benefits of gainsharing.
"I feel better equipped to deal with the challenging situations that life often throws."
But it’s not just the ‘Wheel of Sustainability’ that has stimulated the thinking of attendees at the leadership retreat. Tim Neeves, CEO of Prospect Arts, an award-winning production company, was also drawn to other insights.
"Bill suggested that it’s essential that we, as leaders, understand the concept of paradigm, are self-aware enough to appreciate how we view the world, and can recognize and understand the differing perspectives of our clients and employees," he explains.
"I think I’ve always been empathic to others’ point of view, but since the retreat I’ve just been more cognizant of it. I feel better equipped to deal with the challenging situations that life often throws."
Neeves has also become more open to innovation. "Bill is willing to roll the dice, try new things and see what happens. His philosophy is that you'll never know if you don't let it happen. I contrasted that to meetings I’ve attended where pragmatic characters were too keen to shoot down new ideas and play devil’s advocate."
Business through art
It was there he concluded that great leadership can only occur when "we lead from the left side of our brain, the right side of our brain and our heart, together". With that in mind, the program encourages attendees to try out oil painting in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh.
"Bill believes that there is a strong synergy between art, business, and leadership, and as a film director I was already aware of the importance of using both the analytical and creative sides of the brain," Neeves reflects.
"What I didn’t expect was how the act of painting pushed me out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t painted since childhood and felt that there was the potential for judgment and embarrassment if I messed up, but Bill and his team created a relaxed atmosphere. The first time we painted I just let go and enjoyed the experience.
"What I didn’t expect was how the act of painting pushed me out of my comfort zone."
"To my surprise, I created something I was quite proud of. The second time I tried hard to emulate my ‘success’, I was focused on the outcome and it didn’t turn out so well. I couldn’t get the colors right and grew frustrated. The third time we painted I let go again and it worked better.
"As business leaders, it’s easy to try to control every situation, close ranks and become risk-averse. Painting with Bill helped me to open up and follow the process without getting too results-focused. Sometimes, it’s surprising where that can take us, and I felt there was another lesson there for me to reflect on."
But perhaps the biggest impact on Neeves was Hindle himself. He is fulsome in his praise.
"Bill has become one of my favorite people and I’ve met a lot," he says. "He runs a hugely successful business, yet he isn’t at all corporate and wears his heart on his sleeve.
"He’s got a beautiful sensitivity to him, and his personality is infectious. The way he delivers ‘The Hindle’ reflects this. It could be academic and functional like many leadership programs, but because Bill is Bill it’s unique, believable and engaging.
"He’s someone you want to be around. I guess I want a bit of what he’s got!"