We just ran across a section called “Corner Office” by Adam Bryant at the New York Times. There are some really good interviews with some notable business leaders. Here are some interesting highlights…

“Say Anything but phrase it the right way” – interview with Robin Domeniconi of Elle Group
Q. How do you create a culture of openness with your staff?
A. “I’m not shy about saying to them: “I don’t understand how to do this. I have this idea. But you’ve done this before. How does this work?” And this might be with someone who works, maybe, three levels below me. It doesn’t matter. Because I know once I understand something, I can guide it. And that’s basically what my role is — to guide the ship.”

Our take away…don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know or understand or how to do this right now.” Being honest can make your colleagues and friends give you a new found sense of respect.

How to Shape the DNA of a Young Company – interview with Jeremy Allaire of Brightcove
Q. How has the culture evolved as your company has grown? How do you maintain that original DNA, as you call it?

A. “It’s a huge challenge. One point is that you always need to have everyone feel like they’re on some broader mission. In the early stages, the mission is: Are we going to survive? Is there a product? Does it work? Is anyone going to want it? Is there a market? They’re like existential questions for a business, but I think those core mission tenets remain important through that growth stage….
…The other thing is to hold onto that feeling of being a start-up, and it actually relates very deeply to how you go to the next phase of growth. Companies that figure out how to really become significant in scale reinvent themselves and create completely new things. Just as an example, a little over a year ago, we created a start-up inside the company to create new products. That was so galvanizing and so energizing, and it kind of cascaded across the company.”