Values Based Leadership in ‘Wind In Your Sails’

| | General Leadership
Values Based Leadership in Wind In Your Sails

In his book Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Success, David Greer features ten entrepreneurs who have overcome incredible challenges to lead their companies in new ways. Today’s guest post from David highlights how two of those entrepreneurs overcame their challenges by staying true to their values.  

In reading their stories, consider: how can you leverage your values to lead the way in transcending the challenges you face?

Bart Copeland, CEO ActiveState

How cool is it to lead a company where everyone is known as Activators? At ActiveState, Bart Copeland nurtures an environment that attracts and retains amazingly talented engineers. While the company was doing well, achieving steady double-digit top-line revenue growth, Bart, the senior management team, and the board of ActiveState realized that their competitors were achieving triple-digit revenue growth. They also realized that their sustained growth would eventually level off and if that happened there was a good chance that the incredible people they had would consider going somewhere else.

What they did next demonstrates Bart’s complete commitment to the people at ActiveState. They empowered the whole company to be involved in what should be next. Employees and management came up with ideas, developed a business plan, and presented to a selection committee. It came down to two ideas, one of which was selected, and approved by the board.

The net result was the release of Stackato a new and critical piece of infrastructure for cloud computing. All of a sudden, people all over the world are looking at ActiveState and saying, “Holy smoke, what has happened to ActiveState? They have completely transformed themselves.”

As ActiveState leads an entire industry into an amazing future, they stay true to their commitment to their employees. The Activators are thrilled to be involved in such leading edge technology—stretching themselves and the company to an entirely new level of performance.

Geof Auchinleck, Co-Founder Neoteric

Geof Auchinleck and Lyn Sharman discovered a need for more automation in healthcare, and founded Neoteric to meet that need. They discovered a massive gap in how blood units were handled in hospitals. Blood matching before operations requires a huge amount of time and great expense, to say nothing of the risk it poses to patients. By using Neoteric’s technology, hospitals could move to just-in-time blood delivery.

Geof and Lyn built Neoteric into a very successful company before positioning the company for a sale. Fortunately, one of the core values of Geof and Lyn was open communication. While Geof lived in Vancouver, Canada, and Lyn lived in Warwick, England, they got together on a regular basis to discuss the business and their lives. They made sure those discussions included what each of them wanted an exit to look like and a valuation that they each could live with.

Haemonetics, a leader in the US blood supply market, made an offer to Geof and Lyn to purchase Neoteric, but it came with a deadline which Geof and Lyn worked diligently to meet. At the last possible moment, there was a glitch in the patent review. With Lyn already in the pub in Warwick, and only an hour to the deadline, Haemonetics required Geof and Lyn to sign an indemnification document so that Haemonetics would not be liable should there be any action involving these patents.

After the deadline, Geof received a call from the CFO of Haemonetics saying the deal was off. What he said next demonstrated his integrity: “I can’t do this to you. The deadline was one I made and one that I can change. It is unfair to Lyn and you to hold you hostage on the patent issue.” The CFO went on to present to the board and two weeks later the deal closed. After the acquisition, Haemonetics kept all the Neoteric employees, further demonstrating their integrity. Both Geof and Lyn were committed to high integrity before, during, and after the acquisition.

Knowing your values and living them every day takes conscious effort and hard work. tweet this

It is also key to being an effective leader – as demonstrated by Bart, Geof, and Lyn.

What value could you leverage as a leader to address a challenge you are facing right now?


David GreerDavid is the catalyst who gets you to fully live your dreams now. After time with him you feel equally scared and hopeful – scared at the audacity of your dreams, and hopeful because you have someone in your corner with the experience and desire to see your dreams become real. David and his wife Karalee are committed to each other and their three children, spending time supporting them in the many and varied activities they are involved with. They live in Vancouver, Canada.


Image Source: Lurens


Enter A Comment

Nisha   |   17 April 2015   |   Reply

Both Goef and Bart are great leaders. Thanks for sharing their stories David and Susan.