In each “On Leadership” column, Allen Lima Leadership Executive Director Matt Childers talks with a regional business leader.
I have been compiling this column for the last six months. I have really enjoyed interviewing and “picking the brains” of some of our most interesting and successful leaders our region has to offer.
You might say they are the “Best of the Region,” to steal a phrase. Their insight and perspective has been fascinating, unique and compelling. In addition, I wanted the readers of this space to be able to consume examples of real-world “Leadership” and be able to apply these lessons and models to their organizations and lives.
In the next two editions of this column, I am sharing some of the highlights from the first six months.
Please enjoy from Mark Bagley, superintendent of Van Wert City Schools:
Mark: I think you look at climate and culture. Climate is more the temperature of the group, and culture is consistent expectations for a long time. When you are hiring people or a team, you have to look at how they will enhance our culture? Over the course of a long time, are they going to enhance our school district, and will they bring value to being that servant-leader and to help grow other leaders? I do not want a top-down approach, I would like a team that builds each other up. The greatest saying for this is “We is greater than me!”
Brian Garver, vice president, KeyBridge Medical Revenue Care:
Matt: You speak to many groups and organizations about culture. What is it about culture?
Brian: I connect culture to the leadership of the organization within. It’s the leadership’s ability to invoke the right type of culture. That’s leadership’s responsibility, and it’s often overlooked. I see it over and over, organizations that make culture a high priority, these organizations thrive and they grow. They put a premium on their people. As Woody Hayes said, “You win with People!” That’s what I have witnessed at the Powell Company and here at Key Bridge.
Matt: When you hire, what do you look for?
Brian: That’s a complex question. I will try and simplify. I look for integrity, confidence, I don’t just look for a brilliant mind, I look for a person that wants to share their talents. That’s important for us here at KeyBridge, to be a larger member of this team.
Matt: What advice would you give to young college students?
Brian: For one, to be able to articulate what you are passionate about and great things will come your way. Attitude is everything! Any great coach will tell you attitude is the core of winning teams and winning players.
Mike Swick, President and CEO Lima Memorial Health System:
Matt: What do you look for in executive-level hires?
Mike: Personality, a positive attitude, and a shared vision. I like to talk about “renters vs. owners.” Those are the type of people we are looking for. We hope to have “owners” be a member of our team and be our biggest cheerleader here at Lima Memorial Health System. The other thing we look at is work ethic. We want to see that reflected in the resume. Lastly, we have a social responsibility. You have to remember to give of your time.
Matt: A little bit more on your executive hires?
Mike: A leadership skill you learn is to not hire people like you. I want to hire people that are smarter than me. I do not want yes people. I have to have the confidence that this person is smarter than me and will be an asset, not a threat.
Jessika Phillips, President, NOW Marketing Group:
Matt: You mentioned earlier customer service. What do you say to your team about Customer Service?
Jessika: I always say it’s not what we do, but how we do it. Our message is bigger than our product or service. We like to add value as if we were a member of their team, and they become part of the “NOW Family,” as we like to call it.
Matt: Expand on that?
Jessika: Everything our team members do for our customers is based on “Customer CARE,” an acronym we use: Capture the attention of the ideal audience, Articulate their message, build real Relationships for repeat business, Exceptional experiences. That’s our process.
Matt: How has your leadership evolved over time?
Jessika: I would say I am always learning. I have learned not everyone communicates the same way. Some may prefer written words, while others need to talk it out. I have learned to identify whom I am working with and what best serves them.
Matt: What’s the best advice you have received?
Jessika: The quote I live by is, “Act like everything is rigged in your favor.” Mindset is everything. When you have a good mindset, you are hopeful, and you have your goals that you are passionate about, that energy is contagious. Mindset is the most important investment you can have as a leader and as a team.
Allen Lima Leadership is currently taking applications for the 2020-2021 Class until Aug. 31.