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Watch: Can Your Workspace Make You a Better Leader?

Sara Armbruster, Vice President Strategy, Research and New Business Innovation at Steelcase, spoke at the 8th Global Peter Drucker Forum about the concept of “The Entrepreneurial Society.” She discusses her belief that the workplace itself can help leaders lead better, and, in turn, help others around them succeed.

As leaders of our organizations we’re facing unprecedented challenges. The pace of work has accelerated. We’re constantly under a deluge of information and expected to rapidly shift between various contexts throughout the day. Our schedules are more fragmented and span multiple time zones. As a result, we feel a loss of connection with people across our organizations. And we’re experiencing heightened demand to be more agile, innovative and growth-oriented.

As the business world is changing, so should the way we lead. The concept of “The Entrepreneurial Society,” which I had the pleasure of deeply contemplating and discussing at the most recent Drucker Forum, offers guidance for leaders today (though Peter Drucker saw it coming in the mid-1980s). The notion of enabling employee ownership, responsibility and autonomy is key for driving innovation at any organization. Empowering others can alleviate many of the mental and physical challenges we as leaders experience daily.

Many leaders recognize the need to foster a culture of entrepreneurial behavior, and are looking for tools to help them do just that. I believe the workplace itself can help leaders lead better and, in turn, help others around them succeed. Think about your own work environment and ask yourself:

  1. Does my office facilitate connections and collaboration?
  2. Does my work setting make my job easier?
  3. Does my office encourage flexibility and autonomy?

To read more about these concepts, visit my Drucker Forum blog.

As approaches to leadership evolve in this new world of work, it’s critical the office also evolves to support these expectations, challenges and behaviors. It’s critical executives lead by example. This means stepping out of the corner office and moving around the space. In doing so, we enable an entrepreneurial culture, and can unlock the true promise of our organizations.


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Steelcase-18525_Sara-ArmbrusterSara Armbruster, Steelcase Vice President, Strategy, Research and New Business Innovation, oversees strategy creation and corporate business development, as well as Steelcase’s design research activity. She also oversees Steelcase Health, Steelcase Education and PolyVision. Her responsibilities include driving business growth in strategic markets, investments in internal and external growth opportunities, and creation of new business models.

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