Date: November 12, 2013
To hear the entire show, click http://tiny.cc/montagnino_neubauer
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.
Today’s guests are Jim Montagnino, CEO/President, NC4; and Laura Neubauer, CEO, Deliver-It.
Montagnino and Neubauer show the possibilities that can only be realized when leaders push themselves out of their comfort zones – whether as an introvert actively networking during a large conference or a CEO letting go of the need to do it all and allow others to take part in the journey.
Montagnino has spent the past 30 years holding various management positions in the technology arena, and about the past 12 years with NC4, which spun off from larger company in 2003. At NC4, they are “revolutionizing safety and security” with software that is “built from the patrol officer’s viewpoint.”
At the Speed of Technology
“The processing power that I have in my pocket right now in my smartphone is much more impressive than some of the computers I had at the start of my career,” comments Montagnino. In order to keep up with this fast pace of technology, he says: “I’m not afraid to say ‘I don’t get it, explain that to me.’ I’ve seen way too many managers who are afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’”
Perhaps because of this pace, Montagnino can be found hard at work at the 3 a.m. hour. “I often will wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, get whatever is on my mind squared away, and get a couple more hours of sleep before I start my day.”
Congrats are in Order
As for his development, getting out of his comfort zone was a critical learning. Introducing yourself to others at conferences is something Montagnino says he does well enough, but detests doing as an introvert. The solution, he realizes, is simply to continue to push to overcome it.
But perhaps Montagnino’s biggest leadership progression is in how he encourages others. “I’m much quicker now to congratulate people on doing a good job and thank them…in the past, I was much more apt to think that it’s ‘just their job.’ The biggest change in my managerial style has been to recognize how important it is to stop and recognize [others].” This recognition can take the form of small gestures such as gift cards to a “night on the town” for stellar employees nominated by their colleagues.
What are you Reading?
Montagnino recently read “The Wisdom of Teams,” as NC4 works to improve team performance company-wide.
How Can I Connect with You? You can connect with Jim on the NC4 website at www.ncworldwide.com or find him on LinkedIn.
Neubauer runs Deliver-It, a regionalized overnight company that “competes directly with major national carriers with reduced rates and enhanced service.” She got her start in the transportation industry when she put herself through college as same-day messenger driver, and decided to stay in this line of work.
She also runs a non-profit, 4 Every Athlete’s Dream, to keep youth playing competitive sports by providing financial aid and equipment.
Open to Mistakes
The biggest transformation in Neubauer’s leadership journey was letting go of the need to know it all. “When I first started out in the workforce, I thought I had to know all the answers…You work with the emotion of fear.” To help her shift from this mindset, she recalls a previous employer that encouraged making mistakes with a “Horse’s Ass” award, given to an employee that had tried something and failed.
The other lesson she appreciates is one of passion. “I don’t love boxes and envelopes…I’m just really good at my job. So what I actually love is building winning teams.”
To that end, Neubauer cautions: “Don’t stop when it feels like you’ve arrived at success, because your competitors are still playing the game.”
Ownership and Open Books
When it comes to hiring talent, she needs a staff familiar with the delivery industry but that is also flexible enough to wear several hats. “I equate it to the clown act with spinning plates. We need talent who multi-task, solve problems, and most of all, deliver an excellent customer experience.”
As a manager, Neubauer has struggled with control, and has trained herself to guide her staff instead of doing everything on her own. She realizes that, “the job will get done somehow. It may not get done the way you would do it. And that’s OK.”
Beyond simply delegating key work, she works to ensure that each employee feels a sense of ownership. To do this, Neubauer says: “I run a completely transparent company. Everything is an open book to all my employees.” In this spirit, she ensures they have also a voice: “I have them write their own job descriptions. I have them re-write the organizational chart every year. I have them write their own reviews.”
And when it’s time to get creative, she encourages her staff to imagine the possibilities. To get the creative process jumpstarted, Neubauer loves the question ‘what if?’
What are You Reading?
Neubauer has enjoyed the short snippets in Richard Branson’s “Like a Virgin.” “I love his out of the box thinking and his customer service experience.”
How Can I Connect with You? To reach her for either Deliver-It or 4 Every Athlete’s Dream, visit www.deliver-it.com or find her on LinkedIn.
Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.