AP Interview Room

Incorporate Autopilot Leadership

to Promote Social Innovation

Dorothy Lam

Dorothy Lam

Co-Founder & Chief Catalyst
Dream Impact

Co-founder of startup platform Dream Impact, Dorothy Lam has come across with many startup entrepreneurs. Based on her observation, many startup founders are entrenched in putting out fires daily and keeping themselves constantly busy without reflecting on the deeper causes. As an entrepreneur herself, Dorothy understands the same challenges when operating a startup – growing the business with limited time and resources, as well as balancing the long-term development of the company. Dorothy was first introduced to Autopilot Leadership two years ago and started adopting it to Dream Impact ever since. How exactly can this leadership model make a difference to managing startups?

Founded in 2017, Dream Impact is not only a co-working and event space; but also, a bridge to connect startups and a driver for the greater social impact ecosystem. It is committed to help social-minded startups grow and promote collaboration with corporations to derive innovative solutions for resolving social problems, thereby enhancing their impact on society.

Holistic Managerial Mindset

Having learned about Autopilot Leadership two years ago, Dorothy was amazed that it was more than just a framework to help with business administration; but also, a managerial mindset that ranges from practical tools, such as meeting facilitation and questioning techniques, to interpersonal skills, and the "Dao Tian Di Jiang Fa" business strategy.

Last year, Dorothy took the initiative to invite the Autopilot Leadership Lab to conduct a strategic planning workshop for her company's management team, which she was also involved with the entire team and benefited a lot together. “The process helped me organize my ideas and allowed the team to identify the common goal, external opportunities, internal resources, capabilities and so on. Autopilot Leadership improved the team’s performance and gave me a clear idea of what kind of business partner I needed to make up for my shortcomings.”

According to Dorothy, the incorporation of Autopilot not only increased meeting efficiency; but significantly improved the attitude and commitment of her team members towards their job as well. “They have become the leader of themselves and taken responsibility for their decisions. We have created a future together and move forward in the same direction,” She believes that a successful leader should be invisible and let their team run their own operation for the long-term development of the company.

Let Go to Allow the Company to Grow

With limited resources to grow a startup, many entrepreneurs are often too hands-on with their work and overlook the macro view of their company's long-term development. As a result, the rate of business growth becomes non- proportional to their workload. If this is the case, Dorothy recommends to improve productivity using Autopilot, in order to let employees take charge of their work and empower themselves to handle issues on their own.

Don't Forget to Formulate Development Strategy

Establishing a long-term development strategy is particularly important for startups, even when it means slowing down the development of their business, taking the time to carefully plan their direction, and laying the foundation for the company to go further. Dorothy admitted that when first incorporating Autopilot into Dream Impact, it took her five months to derive the company's strategy, after engaging different stakeholders to establish a common goal for driving social innovation.

The unexpected pandemic has undoubtedly drawn back economic activities, causing many companies to slow down their business, minimize daily operations and even force employees to take unpaid leave. On the bright side however, Dorothy suggested it is in fact a good opportunity for Startups to lay the groundwork for a long-term development plan; which was why she also made use of this time to formulate a community development strategy for her company.

Autopilot Smoothens the Transition between Generations

Dorothy is also the second generation of their eyewear family business. She joked that this invisible leadership mentality could be traced back to her genes, which her father allowed her to explore her own business in the past too. As a startup entrepreneur with a family business background, she sees the benefits of Autopilot in managing a traditional enterprise. “As many family businesses pass on to the next generation, the young generation often share different values and new ideas on how business operates, and may even focus on sustainable development and social benefits. Thus, the skills of Autopilot can certainly facilitate business transition between both generations by re-establishing a new business model, decision-making procedures and feedback mechanism.”

In summary, Dorothy believes Autopilot is a management philosophy that requires daily practice in order to improve personal and business leadership skills.

If you also wish to explore how Autopilot Leadership can inspire your company, transform its culture, and lead it to success and achieve business continuity, schedule a one-hour free consultation session with us today via hi@allab.com.

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