I enjoyed another connection with a top-shelf leader here in Tri-Cities: Bill Johnson, the outgoing president of Mission Support Alliance. I didn’t know he was leaving when we had the interview, but glad that I had the opportunity to glean some nuggets of wisdom from him. Enjoy my takeaways:
- When Bill showed his expertise in finance by teaching others what he knew, he was seen as a leader, and this helped him move up the ladder again and again.
- His #1 strategy for work-life balance was to hire/trust strong leaders on his core team. This often includes removing those not-as-strong with courageous conversations. With these trusted advisers on the right seat on the bus, he doesn’t take work home.
- His 3-year plan upon taking this top leadership position was: year 1: build trust! year 2: build communication systems and year 3: build performance. It actually happened more quickly that that, once trust was established. It was essential to establish a common view of success with his core team.
- Once his core team was locked in, they did a personality survey with a consultant so that they knew how each other worked and communicated. They also consistently did book studies together, with each meeting being a chapter discussed, led by each member of the team.
- It was important for he and his core team to re-establish values first before developing major strategies and annual goals. Total alignment was the key.
- He had a leadership development plan for leaders and upcoming leaders at every level of the company, each unique to what they needed to develop.
- Bill believes in business rhythms to improve communication on a regular basis. He told me of the meetings he leads (or participates in) with the various groups that make things happen. This allows issues to be resolved more quickly.
- All the major inflection points in his life came about through his interactions with a mentor.
Who is your mentor right now? Time to seek one out, in order to get to a breakthrough in your life or leadership?