Leadership Style: Mike Muench, former CEO of Line 6 and Mike Vo, President of Miss Professional Nail

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2—TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and leadership style. Guests include Mike Muench, the former CEO of Line 6; and Mike Vo, the CEO and President of Miss Professional Nail.

The show begins with Muench and his fascinating work history at IBM and Apple that shaped his leadership style at Line 6.  Then, Mike Vo is next at the microphone with some essential advice on creativity and productivity that he has learned while growing a successful beauty and nail-polish business.  To hear the entire show, please click http://tiny.cc/muench_vo

MIKE MUENCH leadership style

When asked about impactful moments that shaped his current leadership style, Muench pointed to the bigger picture—his eclectic blend of work experience that spans a few decades.

My first job out of college was at IBM, which was regimented and formal,” said Muench.  “My next job at Apple was less formal, more chaotic and during a time of great change and growth for the company,” said Muench.  “I was able to parlay these experiences into my last job at Line 6.”

Muench described the corporate culture at Line 6 as a combination of the formal structure he experienced at IBM—and the fun and creativity that he found at Apple. 

“Line 6 was a company that matched nicely with my work history,” he said. 

Finding Balance

Muench described how his leadership style changed after leaving Apple.

“At Apple, I was used to people doing their own thing and spending a lot of time exploring creative options,” he explained.  “At Line 6, I had to learn when and how to step into the process so I could help people make decisions and move forward.”

Muench’s experiences remind us that effective leaders are often required to fine tune—and even drastically change—their leadership style, depending on the corporate culture and goals.

“Knowing when to insert yourself into the decision-making process is key,” said Muench.  “It’s also a learned skill.”

Game Changers:  Passion and Communication

“I’ve seen it over and over again,” said Muench. “Employees with passion are key to a company’s overall success.  Passion is great, when you can get it.”

Muench described two kinds of passion:  Passion for the company and its products; and an employee’s passion for their particular job and space.

“If you have an supply-chain executive who is passionate about logistics, that person is likely to be terrific employee,” he said. “Likewise, passion for the company and its products drives motivation and helps employees make meaningful connections to customers.”

If passion is defined as the lifeblood of a company—Muench defines communication as the force that keeps that blood pumping.

“There is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to the vision and purpose of the company,” said Muench.  “It’s easy to get caught up in deliverables, but effective leaders must constantly remind employees of why we are here.”

Recognizing that companies have multiple audiences is fundamental to great communication, according to Muench.  “It’s important to understand that what is important to one department or group, may not be interesting to another.  Messaging must be tailored accordingly.” All of this can be figured out within ones leadership style.

What Are You Reading?

“Right now, I am reading California: A History, by Kevin Starr; and also Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August which is about the beginning of the first world war,” he said.

““It’s important to look back,” said Muench.  “History happens in small events, and it’s fascinating to understand the circumstances that preceded big historical moments.”


leadership styleMIKE VO

Mike Vo joined us today to discuss his tenure as president and CEO of Miss Professional Nail, a Los-Angeles-based beauty company that specializes in manufacturing high-end nail polishes, treatments and private-label nail polishes.

Prior to leading Miss Professional, Mr. Vo practiced law for several years.

“My background in law has definitely shaped my leadership style,” said Vo.  “I am more structured, methodical and I’m probably more risk-averse than most people.”

However impactful his legal training was, Vo says his mother had the greatest influence on his leadership development.

“She started the business in 1984 and her entrepreneurial skills were very inspiring to me, as I grew up.” he said.  “She allows me to explore and learn within the company.  I’m very fortunate to have a mother that fulfills this mentor role for me.”

360 Degrees of Creativity

Vo takes a solution-oriented approach to solving problems and challenges at the company—and he empowers his employees to take the lead.

“I insist that employees who come to me with a problem, also offer solutions to those problems,” said Vo.  “I urge people to delve into the creative process and present their ideas or make proposals.  They’re the ones on the production lines.  They’re the experts and I rely on their creativity.”  This type of leadership style helps to empower employees within a company.

Vo also brings clients into the creative process.  Clients are encouraged to “experiment with colors” or “help with packaging ideas” in an effort to expand creative development beyond the walls of Vo’s office.

“There’s nothing like trial-and error,” said Vo.  “I love inspiring others to take chances and to develop their creative talents.”

Practical Advice

Whether you’re starting a new company or leading an existing company, Vo advises others to “remain flexible” and “to take risks even though failure is a possibility.”

Effective leaders, according to Vo, “Know how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on when things don’t work out.”

“Loving what you do is critical when growing a business,” said Vo. “This helps you to keep going during the setbacks.  Passion for what you do is more important than the dollars that are made, because it’s passion, not dollars, that keep you motivated.”

What Are You Reading Right Now?

“I am currently reading Shake the World:  It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life, by James Marshall Reilly.

Vo added, “I love reading about people who have made changes, and people who have taken a different approach. This book is just terrific.”

How Do I Connect?

For additional information about Mike Vo, please visit LinkedIn or go to www.misspn.com.

Date: August 21, 2013