As I virtually tuned into Day 2 of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, I had no idea what the CEO of one of my favorite companies had in store for me. As a lover of their stretchy pants, lululemon is a company that has mastered the art of community and is also a company under the direction of the amazing Christine Day. No matter if it is the US, Canada, or Australia, lululemon stores have a way of feeling completely the same yet uniquely local. And according to one of the most powerful women in business, building a vibrant community will build your business.

Not all of us are community managers, and as the newly minted Levo community manager I understand that on the surface I may be more jazzed about this particular topic. However, the advice Christine had to offer can be tailored to any job, for any leadership position, and to any company so that the community that you do work within promotes success. While many of you aren’t in control of your own companies, you can have an impact on the culture and the community around you by keeping Christine’s leadership lessons in mind.

Teach Leadership Not Rules

When we care about our branding, often the first thing we do is try and protect it. However, putting constraints on individuals who are representatives of the brand can easily turn to micromanagement and the extinction of creativity…because people are too scared to act for fear of breaking a rule. Christine explained that at her company, rather than teaching and managing to a set of rules, they teach leadership and develop judgement so that each store, each community, can be unique yet maintain a very consistent culture. It gives the freedom to act and true ownership over the brand. To build healthy, valuable communities around a brand, there has to be consistent vision and purpose, says Christine. Identify companies where that vision is very clear and satisfaction will follow.

Build a Place where Everyone Can Do Their Best Work

Who wants to be good at something when they can be great somewhere else? Christine explained the ways in which lululemon focuses on having a personal, meaningful contribution to a role. We all become the best versions of ourselves when we can maximize what we are great at and minimize what we totally stink at. Figure out your strengths and find a job that completely and utterly puts you in the position to thrive in your strongest skills. Even if you’re not in the place where you’re the one building that type of workplace, you can find a company where that has already been developed, and join them. Quit working in a job that you’re bad at!! Even Einstein would agree… “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Best to Market not First to Market

We know and love the mantra, “perfection is the enemy of done,” but Christine suggested something slightly in between: “best, not first.” Within any community, whether you’re launching a product or unveiling a service, what is important is that it is absolutely the best out there, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it is perfect. Being the best means that you clearly understand and surpass your competition, but Christine made it very clear that there is no sense in hating your competition. Just be better than them. Being better pushes you to the top. Just because there might be a person or company who beats you to the scene doesn’t mean that they’ll stay there.
Photos Courtesy of lululemon and Mind Body Green.