In the wake of last year’s historic merger between AIMs VT, QNAN and SA to create a single unified AIM body, AIM Group, 2014 marks a new era in AIM history and a highly anticipated opportunity to consolidate the talents, energy and resources of the individual AIMs to deliver a united AIM that is stronger, smarter and has infinitely greater reach and influence than ever before. As the newly appointed CEO of AIM Group, I thought it would be appropriate for me to take a minute to share some of my ideas on leadership and the future of AIM here on Management Insider.

 I believe a united AIM will be uniquely positioned to be a leader in the advocacy and professional development of business, management and leadership in Australasia and I know I’m not alone when I say I’m excited to explore the many challenges and opportunities this merger promises to deliver.

I’m inspired by the challenge that our Professional and Corporate Members have given us….to take the history, strengths, and regional heritage of our past and propel AIM into a high-performance national and international future.

In my experience, the most effective way to create a high-performance culture is by continually revisiting and re-enforcing 7 simple values and practices:

  • Being fiercely customer focused – businesses get it badly wrong when they lose focus on their customers.  For AIM, the needs of our Professional and Corporate Members must always be paramount.
  • Integrity and Honesty – these are often espoused values that in my experience are rarely followed. Most of us are happy to be honest when news is good, but shrink from delivering difficult feedback.  If you truly care about people, and not just say you do, you have to be prepared to respectfully, skilfully and clearly deliver the hard messages.
  • Ideas, Energy, Commitment – Ideas are the currency of the engaged mind.  Energy shows you’re serious about making positive change.  Ideas and energy, when coupled with a personal commitment, make a formidable combination.
  • Proactivity – there is one thing I can almost guarantee, and that is that the AIM Board and Executive Team don’t hold a mortgage on good ideas.  I encourage every member of a team to speak up and share how we can improve our business. You can’t fix a problem unless you know it’s there and if no one speaks up people will be doing that same dumb process or procedures for decades to come!
  • Right People, Right Role – businesses are built on skilled and engaged people capably serving their customers and staff – the critical element of this model is getting the right skills and energy into roles that can make a real difference for customers and staff.
  • High Expectations– in simple terms I get paid to be unreasonable – to set stretching goals, to challenge people to do what they thought was impossible, to get people to move from asking why, to asking why not, to constantly ask “Are we the best in the world at this?”
  • Communication – finally, communication is at the heart of collaborating successfully with each other and with customers. It’s essential that leaders employ a range of communication tools to keep every team member and every customer up-to-date and engaged. 

For me, a high-performance culture is about creating an environment where people achieve things they never thought possible.  The magic formula for creating a high-performance work environment includes a compelling vision and a clear strategic plan to achieve it, clear accountabilities, great personal commitment to the cause, clear and visible measurements that ensure everyone is exposed to the positive and negative side of performance, and a culture that seeks to celebrate success while still constantly striving for more. 

So I look forward to communicating my vision for AIM’s future, to creating and implementing a clear strategic plan and demonstrating my enormous personal commitment to the AIM cause in the coming months and years. As a unified body AIM Group has the potential and the opportunity to grow into an innovative, dynamic and high-performance entity that will not just advocate and support great management but will help shape and influence the leadership landscape in Australia – and the world.

Daniel Musson is the Group CEO of the Australian Institute of Management.