As I write this week’s article, I have a smile on my face. One of the most relaxed entrepreneurs I ever met at VIM Executive Coaching had a highly successful bedding company! Well, not just bedding but complete bedroom suites and fixtures. They manufacture in the U.S. and overseas. It is a complex business model selling into all kinds of channels. The entrepreneur and his staff have multiple challenges across several countries and markets.
The company has a national headquarters in the Mountain States, manufacturing in North Carolina, warehousing and importing activities in California. For most executives and entrepreneurs, the challenges of keeping the far-flung empire together would be a stress-filled, nerve wracked exercise. Yet, every time I have met this entrepreneur, he had a smile on his face and a calm demeanor. In fact, when he came into my first office that day, he had an unusual request: to help him train two of his key employees to be more effective, calmer and more reflective. Over the months of training at VIM Executive Coaching, the key employees became exceptional employees. I so much as told the entrepreneur how special his employees were; he smiled and said, “Russell, I have no doubt.”
A Mystery Man? Not Quite.
My “rested entrepreneur” is neither the kind of person who would like to live on a mountain top, nor is he a recluse. He loves to be around people, and in fact, he loves people. Maybe that is one of his secrets. A life long practitioner of the “hard” martial arts, Tai Chi and meditation, he is a kind and gentle soul who took a natural liking to business. Though it sounds contradictory, he has made his life work because he likes to bring people together, solve problems in a team approach, and to encourage everyone in his organization to trust one another and to work together.
He credits his entrepreneurial success to “being a little slower” to respond to situations than other entrepreneurs who have a habit of leaping into things without thinking. He believes that situations develop the way they do for a reason, and he wants to understand his role in their development. He takes his time hiring new people because he understands the importance of fit within his organization.
When there are employee conflicts, he calls people into his office (or in remote situations) and has them fully express themselves without a lot of judgment or interference. Employees have told me that in some cases, he has had people say nothing for a few minutes, but to do deep breathing to still their minds.
He is not a mystery man, but he is quite unusual, I would agree. Employee conflicts don’t always work out, and he admits sometimes it is better for people to move on, but overall his approach is appreciated and effective. Most of his staff openly enjoy his “restfulness,” and his ability to quietly see and perceive things for the way that they are.
Encapsulating VIM Executive Coaching
Few entrepreneurs or executives I have ever known have been quite the man who heads the bedding and furniture company. His approach might have been borne out of years of meditation but the respect he shows for each employee no matter their position with the company, the way in which he first reflects on problems and responds to them, is what VIM Executive Coaching strives to accomplish with every one of our clients.
Ultimately, what makes any company successful is neither its product nor its advertising, but its people. This is, I know, a very old hat and trite expression. Leaders may be visionary, creative or inventive and I believe we can all point to examples, but the best leaders of all are responsive. They take their time in plotting the best course for their organizations and they are authentic in how they convey that course.
While entrepreneur and restful are not often associated, I submit it is far better than reactive and capricious.