Confessions of an Unorthodox Leadership Style

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Confessions of an Unorthodox Leadership Style

By | 2017-09-15T09:49:43+00:00 January 24, 2013|Intranet Software, Leadership & Strategy|

At Intranet Connections, we recently started “walk and talk” meetings to get outside in the fresh cool air, inspiring creativity. Plus being a dog loving office, it is good to get the pups out for a mid-day walk.

Appreciating a Rich History & Client-Loyalty

It was on one of these Strategy Walking Meetings that I started to think about how far we have come with our intranet software. We are heading into our 13th year and we are celebrating with many clients as they are entering a decade with Intranet Connections. A big thank you to all of the loyal clients listed here and the more than 150 unnamed others:

  • NASA Langley Research Center
  • US Fund for UNICEF
  • Canadian Direct Insurance
  • City of Stockton
  • Texas Bank and Trust
  • Dairy Council of California
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta
  • First California Bank
  • Signature Healthcare
  • Wausau Paper Corp
  • Titan America
  • Aggregate Industries
  • DUSA Pharmaceuticals
  • City of Niagara Falls
  • Bank of Jamaica

The ‘Atypical’ Leader & Leadership Style

As a female entrepreneur who runs a fairly “atypical” company, in a fast-paced online technology environment, I have employed a rather unorthodox leadership style. I am very much aberrant, as I rarely brought in traditional industry methods for running a software company. I have often made key decisions based on my instincts and core values. I like to fly under the radar. And largely, I have built success based on my weaknesses. I’ll explain that last one.

Unorthodox Leadership Style

I have heard that many successful entrepreneurs secretly worry they don’t know enough. That’s certainly the case with me! It wasn’t until I hired a leadership coach that he opened my eyes to just how beneficial weaknesses can be and how it helped me build success.

Weakness 1: Shying Away From a Top-Down Management Style

Benefit: Since I am the type of manager who is informal and collaborative, I tend to hire intrapreneurs; people who have that entrepreneurial streak in their DNA and work best with a leadership style that empowers and supports, giving them the freedom to run their own show. In return, this type of employee tends to take more ownership and build towards team accountability versus impressing the “boss”.

Weakness 2: Flying Under the Radar

Benefit:  I prefer to promote the passions of others and am always looking for growth challenges within my team. I am the last person to be out there promoting myself because I truly believe I lucked out. I have been super lucky to surround myself and work with amazing, talented people. I am always learning. Transparency is the benefit that came out of my desire to fly under the radar as we promote customers over product and value-add over self-promotion.  That is not strategic messaging, that comes strictly from an authentic place.

Weakness 3: Avoiding Business Projections & Forecasting

Benefit: Focusing on productivity over projections has allowed us as a software development company to be incredibly agile. I believe we have succeeded because of an ability to adapt quickly, be nimble, and jump onto new technologies without much risk. We are smart about it.

Weakness 4: Relying Heavily on Instinct & Core Values

Benefit:  Truly, I started as an end-user and I still am an end-user at heart. I started my first intranet as an employee in IT. I built the intranet from the perspective of what employees would want from their intranet. My #1 core value is simplicity because I am the kind of person whose brain buzzes at complexity. So I hired incredibly smart people who can build complexity in business process, producing a lot of power within our software, but then I layer that with simplicity in the user-interface. Our brand message has not wavered over 13 years. Simple and easy-to-use. Packaged and out of the box. Plug and play. We do the work for you.

We’ve KISSed Traditional Leadership Goodbye

On our walk, as I enjoyed the banter of strategy among my team, it occurred to me that there are a hundred small ways in which our intranet software makes life simpler through automation and delegation utilities. When I started Intranet Connections, my motto was KISS, which is still applicable today. However, as intranets evolve and the path of growth extends into the future digital workplace, we have moved from the KISS concept into a customer-centric version, focused on what can we do to “make life SIMPLER” for our customers. That goes for not only our software but as a company in general.

Have Your Own Unorthodox Leadership Confessions?

My own path for growth and leadership is continually morphing but what always remains true is my humble gratitude to my team and our customers.

What about you? Are there ways in which you have found success through unorthodox leadership styles and practices?


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By | 2017-09-15T09:49:43+00:00 January 24, 2013|Intranet Software, Leadership & Strategy|

About the Author:

Carolyn Douglas, Founder of the software Intranet Connections, started her endeavor of creating intranets out of a passion to cater to employees rather than technology. Her philosophy is your intranet can have all the bells and whistles but without employees using it, your intranet is gathering dust. This commitment to simple and easy to use intranet software, combined with amazing customer service that delivers the best of employee engagement ideas and practices, has secured Intranet Connections as one of the leading intranet solutions since its inception in 1999.


  1. Roy Osing January 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Nice post Carolyn! Enjoyed it. Looking forward to our Workshop in February. Keep up the good work.

  2. Peter Barron February 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Awesome article Carolyn! As a student of leadership styles, this was so affirming and supportive of what I’ve experienced with SQBox over the years. I believe it starts at the top, so IC’s success is NOT surprising!

    All the best,


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