2023 Letter to Executive Leaders
I love the time between Christmas and January. For me, it is a time of renewal. A fresh start. It is also a time of reflection on what went well, what went wrong, and where I failed to execute or make a difference. Mostly, it is a time of planning and looking forward personally and professionally. If you are like me, you are looking to be better and do better in all areas of your life. But also, if you are like me, you fall short time and time again. You start off strong, but the messy middle gets you, and by the end of the year some of those personal and professional goals have fallen by the wayside and you cannot wait for the year to end so you can begin again.
Leading takes personal courage. Running a business is not for the faint of heart. There is a war being waged against you and your company. You are competing for sales. You are competing for employees. Your bottom line is being attacked by inflation and supply disruption. I contend that we are not leaving in peacetime, we are at war. To lead well you need integrity, grit, courage, and a clear and compelling vision that you and your team can execute on and be held accountable to. It also means you need to be decisive, make tough decisions, act, and innovate. When President Truman used the phrase, “The buck stops here,” he meant that he, the executive leader, had to make decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.
What are the tough calls you need to make this year? How does your team look? Do you have the right people working for you or do you need to make some tough calls? Are you giving your team what they need to be successful? Are you giving them direction, support, training, feedback, and does accountability go both ways? Sometimes employees exit. Other times you must let them go. Turnover is not always a bad thing. Having new people with different personalities, skills, and energy can be exciting for both you and your customers, but make sure you are ready to give them what they need, especially what they need from you.
How is your company growing and changing with the times? Are you operating in excellence with a mindset for continuous improvement and innovation? Our organizations need us as executive leaders to be fastidious about these things. Our people crave structure and clear direction. They need standard operating procedures. Our managers must manage to the standards that we have set as a company. And as I said earlier, we all need to hold our teams accountable and be held accountable ourselves.
Our industry is evolving. We need to evolve with it. How are you serving your market? Do you expect to retain your customers with lackluster customer service and poor quality or performance? We simply cannot. We must invest in some tangible and intangible things that will make a difference in the lives of all our stakeholders, including ourselves. You want the quadruple bottom line: to be the employer of choice, the provider of choice, the investment of choice, and the corporate citizen of choice.
At United Catalyst Corporation, our vision is to create a world class organization that improves lives. Our mission is to create recycling solutions that improve the bottom line of the companies that work with us through accurate, reliable, and scientific processes. We must do this safely and in an environmentally compliant way. Every day, I must manage the daily priorities of the company against this vision and mission. Every day, I must ask if we are giving you, the recycler, what you need to be more profitable while sustaining the United Catalyst economy. We are doing that. This year we finally made public the beta program for the United EcoSystem a revolutionary tool that will help you compete at a higher level: to buy cars better, dismantle, process, and ship converters more effectively and with better inventory management, tracking, and higher profits. This is an investment that we have been making behind the scenes for years to give you an advantage in the marketplace. I don’t mind saying that we need you to complete this project. If you are interested in seeing the demo or participating in the completion of the project by becoming a BETA member with early access to the EcoSystem, please reach out to us via the information below for more details.
2023 Leadership training and development recommendations: Anything by John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt, and Ken Blanchard. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, How Successful People Think by Maxwell; Free to Focus, Your Best Year Ever, No Fail Communication by Hyatt, Leading at a Higher Level by Blanchard.
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