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Michael Glimcher – Culture Differentiates

Michael P. Glimcher,Chairman of the Board of Glimcher Realty Trust spoke at the TechColumbus 2011 Leadership Series meeting sponsored by Vorys.  Michael has been a trustee of the Company since June 1997, was appointed President of the Company in December 1999, and appointed Chief Executive Officer in January 2005.

Glimcher Realty Trust is a retail real estate investment trust (REIT) and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of malls, including enclosed regional malls and open-air lifestyle centers, as well as community centers.  Glimcher Realty Trust, as the company has been known since 1994, is a public company and controls from its Downtown headquarters a portfolio of 26 shopping centers across the U.S.

A Brief History

“I drove out here from Boston to visit a relative,” recalls Herbert Glimcher, who founded The Glimcher Company, the REIT’s predecessor, in 1959. “I had $50 in my pocket.”  The company began building fast food stores including McDonald’s and strip centers.  In the 1980s the company developed its first enclosed malls, including Indian Mound Mall and River Valley Mall, and has since built Polaris Fashion Place and acquired Eastland Mall. Since the company went public in 1994, Glimcher shifted from a focus of being a development company to being an operating company.  With this shift, it was important to change the company function, its leadership team and its culture.

Leadership in Tough Times

Fresh on the heels of the Great Recession, senior leaders are changing their perspective. They have managed their companies through a period of sustained and painful adversity. They have a heightened awareness of what makes sense — and what doesn’t — for their businesses.   They are keenly aware that success in the new era will require new skills and capabilities.

Michael talked about the tough economy and the tough lessons that allowed Glimcher to endure the economic crisis and position them for success going forward.  He shared some of his lessons learned over the past 15 years.

Given the latest research by Gallup on employee engagement and the importance of working for a supervisor who cares, Michael’s emphasis on creating a nice culture is a differentiator for Glimcher.  What Michael calls “nice” is described by Gallup in the following questions (this list includes 4 of their 12 key questions to evaluate engagement):

  • In the last seven days, I received recognition or praise for doing good work
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, cares about me as a person
  • Someone at work encourages my development
  • At work, my opinions seem to count

In a world where we face a great deal of uncertainty in all areas of our lives, Glimcher promotes a culture of respect resulting in greater employee engagement, greater productivity and greater customer satisfaction.  All of these contribute to company sustainability and success.

As with other successful leaders, Michael has focused his attention on knowing his business, hiring the right leader and creating a culture and systems that promote effective operations.  Additionally, he built a company that supports the wellbeing of his associates and the community.

What is next?  Michael is looking at “infill sites” and acquisitions as key drivers for the next 3-5 years.

For more information on Glimcher, http://www.glimcher.com.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Mike Sayre – Leading with Purpose

In our ongoing series of blog posts about Inspirational Leaders, this post features Mike Sayre talking to a Capital University MBA class. Mike’s sense of vision and professional integrity has long provided a role model for many in the community. He is a regular speaker in my MBA class sharing his experiences with these emerging executives. Following is an excerpt from his inspirational presentation in his own words:

I only have one major point to make tonight…if you want people to follow your lead in and out of turbulent times, you need to lead consistently and decisively no matter what your business or the economy throws at you, and that all starts with tying why you work to why you live and your own personal purpose in life.

In March of 2006, I was asked to step up from my CFO role and take a bigger role in the company as its CEO, working arm and arm with the founder and chairman to develop and implement a new strategy for profitable growth. This was my first CEO job. And for all of my 25+ years of leadership experience starting and growing companies, I was not totally prepared for my new role! Somebody else had always been the CEO! Well, I learned an awful lot over those four years, in and out of turbulent times, while we achieved record earnings, expanded our operations into Europe and Asia and built a high performance organization highly acclaimed by some of the largest electronics manufacturing companies in the world!

Why was I unprepared and what did I do to successfully lead the organization in these unprecedented achievements for PDSi? I began to get it when my executive coach back in 2006, told me “You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself.” Then he pushed me, kicking and screaming, into writing my deepest feelings, thoughts and beliefs all out.  In several 2-6 hour intervals over a couple of months, I wrote, unfettered by form and content, about why I lived and why I worked…pages and pages, streaming thought processes that no one will ever read. This was for me and no one else and I gained clarity about my personal purpose I never had before.

Weeks after, I was asked about a mission and vision for the company. So I used the clarity that had come from my writings and to develop a simple philosophy card. The card spelled out a mission to improve the lives of our shareholders, customers, associates, suppliers and communities in which we live, a vision to be the best in the business at developing collaborative technology solutions for leading technology companies, and operating guidelines based on the Golden Rule of treating others like we would like to be treated. This process of writing it all out and then organizing and reducing it all down to fit on a small card absolutely aligned my work and my life and gave me a sense of my own personal purpose I never had before.

My basic DNA did not change! However, my level of understanding and passion about why I lived and worked, how we should work together and with others, giving back to the community and the importance of the alignment between my life and my work (a lot less balancing!) became very clear.

That understanding and passion made me ever more fully committed to my life and to my work as part of my life. I immediately empowered myself to prioritize work and family time, events and challenges as time and events in my life without trying to constantly “balance” between my work and my life! Sometimes work gets more time than family and sometimes family gets more time than work…it depends on what’s going on, but I look at it all as my life, not my life and then separately my work.

Another advantage of the card was that I/we could use it as a tool for consistent communications and decision-making. “Treating others like we’d like to be treated” had a way of making very difficult decisions much easier and quicker, taking less of a toll on the rest of my life.

So if you’ve never done it before, set aside meaningful time (ASAP) and fully answer in writing the following questions, without concern for form and content (just write and spend some time on it…):

  • Why do you live? Then keep asking yourself why you gave that answer and continue writing your answers in great detail (a minimum of 5 “whys”) until you get to the real core of your beliefs and motivations.
  • Why do you work? Same process with the minimum 5 “whys.”

Then, if you can’t tie why you are living to why you are working today, figure out how you get those two more in alignment! Give your life and your work more meaning and collapse them into one co-mingled set of priorities and challenges, rather than constantly striving to “balance” between them…be committed to BOTH and prioritize accordingly.

Do you have a personal purpose statement?  Our leadership coaches are available to help you explore your purpose and principles.  This is often the fist step in our leadership coaching process.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Nando Parrado at World Business Forum 2010 – Crisis Management and Living Life

Nando Parrado spoke at the World Business Forum 2010 about Effective leadership amidst chaos: The Miracle of the Andes. Fernando Parrado is one of the survivors of the airplane crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 in the Andes in 1972 – one of the greatest survival stories ever. After the accident, he helped publish the bestselling book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. In 2006, he co-wrote the New York Times bestseller Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home.

Please watch the short video to hear a brief summary by the speaker in his own words. His message was one of humility and perspective.

1.  Luck plays a role in our success.  I survived because I chose a seat in the plane in row 9.  Everyone behind this row was killed.

2.  No one knows how you will react in crisis until it happens.  We did things we could never have imagined to survive.  You cannot think like you are sitting here, you must put yourself in that spot with no food for days and slowly freezing. The search for us had been called off and we had no idea when or if we would be found.

3.  We learned what is important in life.  You never know what will happen so do the things that are important every day.  What is most important is the love you have in your life.  Life is measured by the extraordinary moments that take your life away and it is all rooted in love. Kiss your partner.  Maintain your connections with those you care about.  Make each moment count.  Be grateful.

It has been to spend almost 2 days listening to great business and political leaders talking about what they did to create professional success.  Now, near the end of the 2 days, we hear from an amazing individual who talked about what it is to be a person living in the moment rooted in what is really important to him, love.  His message calls me to stop and think about who I am beyond my contribution to my profession.  If I were to die, then be given a second chance at life, what would I do with that precious time?  Can I live my life that way now?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

AG Lafley at the World Business Forum – Becoming a Creative Culture

A.G. Lafley is the former Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer goods company.  He spoke at the World Business Forum about customer centric growth.

In response to the question, what would you recommend we do tomorrow when we go back to work, Mr. Lafley talked about the following components necessary as the foundation for a creative culture.  He recommended looking at how you are doing in each of the following areas:

1.  Openness.  Be open to new ideas and disruptive technologies.  There are innovations that will change many facets of our lives very quickly.  If we are not identifying them and bringing them to market, others will.  These changes may come from within our industry or others that impact us indirectly.  If the washing machine changes, detergent may change dramatically.  Is there something you should be more open to?

2.  Curiosity.   Get curious about something you would like to learn more about.  Depending on your role, you may want to learn more about items that directly impact your tasks.  As a leader, you may want to learn more about concepts like governance or social media that are changing very quickly and are changing how we lead and interact with our stakeholders.  What questions should you be asking?

3.  Connecting.  With the advent of technology, we are able to connect with colleagues and customers in ways not possible a few years ago.  Who do you want to connect to (a thought leader or mentor)?  Who would you like to connect to you (customers, employees)?  Do you want to be more accessible?

4.  Collaborating.  With companies subcontracting, outsourcing, and collaborating in ways never imagined a few years ago, what are you doing that you should shift to someone else?  When you shift the work, what have you made time to do more of?

5.  Courage.  Have the courage to make the tough decisions like introducing a disruptive technology or making a business decision that will create long term value for the company but frustrate some customers (like discontinuing a mediocre product line).  What one action can you take that you have put off because it just seems too daunting?  Is there a small experiment you can engage in that will seem less daunting?

While these qualities were not limited to leaders, these qualities are very similar to those discussed by other presenters at the forum.  Steven Levitt talked a great deal about the spirit of curiousity and acting like a scientist.  These qualities are very similar to those demonstrated by some of the worlds most successful scientists.

Where are you demonstrating these qualities in your work?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Carlos Brito from World Business Forum 2010 The Power of “Dream, People, Culture”

Carlos Brito talked to the World Business Forum about – Building a Performance Culture.   Better than you: How to Building a Cohesive Team of High Achievers.  Carlos is the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev. During 5 mergers and acquisitions we continually asked: why is it that our performance is better than these other companies.  We found the “Dream People culture”.  This is not about theory – it is about practicing what we believe in.

1.  Dream – have a big dream, stretch and be credible.  Define big by we know 70-80% of how to get there.   Inspire, align and drive commitment.  Set the bar higher.  Anchor everything in the dream.

2.  People make companies great.

  • Great companies are formed by great people.
  • Great companies hire the best people,
  • Great people attract more of the same.  Poor performers attract more of the same.
  • Great people with the right training and opportunities get better and so do we when we work with them.
  • Great people like meritocracy – they want feedback so they can continue to improve.
  • As a leader you must be the coach – spend time with the people – this is everyone’s job!

3.  Culture of Ownership – owners make better decisions because it is their company and they are committed for the long term.   Need to worry about both short term and long term.  Long term thinkers do not take short cuts – it takes time and patience to succeed.

As the CEO, I talk about every time I meet with people.  This is what we are all about.  It is what brought us here to be at the top of our industry.  It is my job to make sure everyone knows this.

Brito’s discussion is consistent with those of Collins and Welsh.  While he talks about his experience through his own lens there are several commonalities:

  • Leaders build the organization by setting a vision
  • They invest in people through hiring, development and processes that give feedback to encourage employees to improve.   They put the right people in the right jobs.
  • They have processes to face brutal facts in their performance (using meritocracy – evaluating people and recognizing the best).
  • The use discipline and rigor in their daily business created by a culture of ownership.

As I listen to these speakers talk about their research and their experiences, I hear similar themes.  As our world changes, leadership is critical to business success and while we may use different words and models, there are very strong common themes coming from research and from experience.  What are you doing as a leader to evaluate personal and organizational leadership to ensure your success?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Jack Welch at World Business Forum 2010 – CEO Number 1 Job is Leadership

Jack Welsh, World Business Forum 2010Jack Welch former CEO of GE and top selling author of Winning spoke at the World Business Forum 2010 hitting the topic of Management Fundamentals and success.  Key points of his message were very close to the themes from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great.  Collins is primarily a researcher and Welch is primarily a CEO.  They both focus heavily on the importance of leadership, growing your people, creating a vision, establishing clear process and accountability to move the business forward consistently.

1.  My main job as CEO is fielding the best talent.   Most managers are not getting this!  There is no where enough attention to leadership development.  What keeps people from doing this?  Insecurity.   Boards not paying enough attention and allowing this to continue.

2.  Rank and build talent.   We are not spending enough time focused on those doing a great job because we are focused on improving the bottom 10%.  We need to celebrate the winners and helping others understand how to be top performers.  Those who are not winners here will likely become winners when they find where they best fit.  Teams perform better when we build on the talent and cut those not meeting the performance standards.

3.  You Must add value beyond what is there. When asked a question from the audience about a new product – his response was clear – we must all be focusing on adding value.  Do not invest resources unless there is a real need.

4.  Technology creates opportunities to gain efficiencies and improve customer intimacy. His reference to technology is as an enabler to make large businesses more effective and efficient and thus more competitive.  With growing competition we need to leverage technology.  For most companies it is not our business, it improves our business and must be seen through that lens.

5.  Fear is dead as a management tool.  You better have a vision and be able to communicate what is in it for others if you want them to follow you.  Transparency – everyone knows everything now.  As a Leader, you better have real logic behind the decisions rather than just your title.

6.  I see a different world going forward.  People have changed habits.  People are doing more with less.  As an economy, we are moving to a 2-3% growth rate.  People are buying fewer services, using less labor, and using fewer materials.  Technology is on exponential growth path changing how work is done.  The combination of these 2 factors:  lower demand and more technology mandates we change how we do business.   It calls for real innovation to improve efficiency.

By putting the right leaders in place and maintaining consistent focus on their continued growth – even when they are the best in class – you will WIN as a business and we will win as a country.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.