Bonnie Hagemann MES Fall 2018Bonnie Hagemann explains how making money for your business is similar to beekeeping.

Fun fact: Locally sourced honey will cure your allergies.

This is the technique that Bonnie Hagemann, CEO of Executive Development Associates, used to inoculate her body to the local allergies in Kansas City, MO.

But, rather than buying the honey, Hagemann raised a colony of bees and produced her own. After spending two Saturdays taking eight-hour classes on how to become a beekeeper, she bought two packages of bees, harvested her own honey and, eventually, her allergies disappeared.

Hagemann started her Midsize Enterprise Summit Fall 2018 keynote presentation with this story.

Hagemann doesn’t credit getting the honey itself for curing her allergies. Rather, she says it’s because she created an environment conducive for the bees to make honey.

Midmarket IT leaders ready to take the next step toward becoming CEO will need leadership skills. Hagemann says leadership skills are not unlike her beekeeping.

“As a leader, if you want to make money in the company, you don’t focus on money. You focus on creating an environment that is conducive for the employees to make the money.”

While researching beekeeping, Hagemann found out that bees like fruit trees and berries. She planted an orchard that consisted of apple trees, pear trees and cherry trees, along with blackberry bushes and clover, to keep the bees on her property and producing honey.

CIOs need to create workplace environments that allow employees to succeed, which in turn makes money for the company.

Leaders can accomplish this by creating a compelling vision for their organization that articulates a realistic, desirable and positive future for their companies.

Hagemann highlights four pillars midmarket IT leaders should follow to instill a vision to create future successes.  

  1. Culture. Make your employees happy, make them want to remain with the company
  2. Connectivity. Everyone wants to be part of their company’s story
  3. Clarity. The story must be crystal-clear
  4. Courage. You need courage to create and lead for a bold vision

Hagemann says IT leaders should trust their vision because it will guide them through the fog.

Hagemann had to wade through the fog while harvesting for honey, but she was able to achieve her end goal. CIOs who adopt the same mindset and bring their vision to fruition will earn more money for their organizations.