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Leadership is most important commodity for business success
Leadership is most important commodity for business success
As seen in Inside Business

Businesses require an immense variety of wares to operate in our fast-paced world. In this era of virtual offices, e-commerce and Skype business meetings, one might suggest the internet is the most important commodity to a successful modern day business. It is no doubt important, but I’d argue the single most important commodity for today’s businesses is the same as it has always been, way before the internet and other forms of modern technology.

The greatest commodity to an organization and its success is leadership!

Leadership sets the course the business sails. Leadership overcomes the inevitable challenges and accomplishes the mission. Leadership directs, steers, guides, motivates and builds teams and creates the positive operational culture, which ensures success. And the really great leaders do it consistently to a high standard of excellence.


The Hampton Roads Chamber has a leadership philosophy of “Excellence In All Things” derived from an extrapolation of the great Vince Lombardi quote, “The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.”

Our belief is that the same is true of organizations; an organization’s quality (and success) is always in direct proportion to its commitment to excellence.

For an organization to succeed and thrive, leadership cannot start and end in the C-suite. Every employee should be a leader in his or her own right. It has to be part of the organizational culture.

We in Hampton Roads are uniquely postured to learn from the best. We have a sterling example of this right in our backyard, the greatest military in the world. Yes, our business community can learn a lot from our military community.

From the time a civilian enters basic training, leadership is instilled. The same leadership proficiencies that characterize a military leader can be applied to any business environment to enhance probability of success. Our military is steeped in excellence. Exceptional is expected especially when lives are at stake and margins for error are extremely narrow.

The landscape of business is constantly changing and people who are unwilling to let go of legacy thinking will be left behind. True leaders are able to improvise and adapt, problem sets military leaders face constantly. An organization that lacks true leaders who can do this will inevitably flounder.

Individuals who energize and encourage others, remain positive and committed to the mission and vision, and consistently take pride in their work and their organization are the real leaders.

Military veterans, with their proven leadership and military techniques, when applied appropriately to an organization’s culture and business processes, can bring great value to corporations, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations and educational institutions. All of these organizations can benefit in vast and immediate ways through the application of military skills to their operations.

Many of the region’s top military leaders and veterans are chamber members, frequently attend our meetings and events and are always happy to discuss their techniques with our business community. I encourage you to take advantage of our region’s military population and engage them on these topics.


The Hampton Roads Chamber mission is to set the conditions for businesses to succeed, so we work tirelessly to provide opportunities to develop our local leaders through programs and initiatives. One of the ways we accomplish this is our program, LEAD Hampton Roads.

LEAD Hampton Roads has a 30-year history of identifying, educating and supporting strong leaders through its programs and events. One of the program’s mainstays is the State of the Region Address, which brings both military and business leaders together to hear the latest on local economic concerns and developments. Plan to join us at the 18th annual State of the Region address on the Southside on Oct. 4 and Peninsula on Oct. 6.

I believe leadership is the most important component to an organization’s success. Without quality leadership reflected throughout all the levels of an organization, stagnation and poor performance run rampant. Poor leadership results in unmotivated employees and a negative work environment. Productivity decreases and with it, the bottom line.

The Hampton Roads Chamber understands that outstanding leadership is the single greatest commodity of an organization and we work tirelessly to provide opportunities to develop our local leaders through programs and initiatives. That’s how we mean business. That’s how we practice leadership. That’s how we lead.

How do you?


Bryan K. Stephens
President & CEO
Bryan K. Stephens is President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber.
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