What would you tell an up and coming executive about running a successful company?
Answer: Running a successful company is not just about the sales of your product or service. It is just as much about the people you have hired to complete the mission post-sale. Of course, there needs to be a need in the marketplace for your product or service, but once that’s been established the focus needs to be on developing a diverse and competent team to create an environment that your customers or clients will benefit from when they work with you.
I can clearly remember selecting the wrong people for important positions in the first few years operating my business. It created setbacks and a less than desirable client experience. You cannot do it alone. If you look back closely on almost anything in your life you ended up succeeding in, I bet there were more people involved in a support role than you originally thought. Running your business will be no different.
What is a core passion or peeve of yours, in life or business?
Answer: Forward. That is one of my core passions in both life and business. I do my best to concentrate on where I want to be and how I want that future to look, and then I set a course to make it happen. Many people, including myself, struggle with enjoying the present. Now that I am in my forties that it’s gotten easier to “be present” because I have a life perspective that goes back decades.
Forward thinking, forward doing and pushing forward in the growth of my abilities and my teams’ abilities are what drives my and most organizations and keeps them relevant in a changing economy and workplace environment.
Keeping up on best practices and current trends is a never-ending process… How do you keep up?
Answer: Keeping up with all the relevant information that drives your business can be daunting. At my organization, we spend a tremendous amount of time on continuing education and compliance education to keep our professionals at the forefront of our field. We belong to trade organizations and continuously confer with others in our industry to make sure we understand the direction that our industry, and therefore our companies, are headed in. We also subscribe to relevant publications and online sources that provide pivotal data and insight to help us make educated decisions about product development and client service models.
In the overall scheme of things, how important would company culture be and why?
Answer: Company culture drives your entire organization. It starts with your top executives, right down to the college intern you just hired. Company culture is important to not only hire and retain the right employees and drive employee loyalty, but also to foster a mission and client oriented outlook. A toxic culture is the death gurgle of an organization, especially when it is a small business. Just look to the recently headlines regarding the termination of the Uber CEO and founder and you will see how a culture damages the entire brand.