MReport May 2018

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22 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY Giving an example of a setback she had early in her career, Feltgen says that commitment and patience are also about developing resilience when things don't work out. "Early in my career, I worked for a company that filed for bank- ruptcy and went into liquidation. As I faced unemployment for the first time during the recession of the early 1990s, I learned that the person I am is not defined by the job I happen to hold at any point in time," she says. "I also learned that I have more control over my own attitude than I might have thought. I developed a resilience that has served me well in the ups and downs that have oc - curred since those days." Remain Grounded I t is important to balance emotions while making tough business decisions. And this comes only with experience. Recounting a lesson he learned through a setback, Jones says, "Often a setback is exactly the catalyst that brings forth focused effort that solves the real problem." Recently Jones had a branch that was mar - ginally successful in a market where he was personally and emotionally invested in and had a leader who he liked a lot. "The leader abruptly resigned and successfully solicited the four top bankers to leave with him. I immediately became more involved, retained the individuals I desired, let other model mismatches go, and was able to recruit an amazing team based on what was always an outstanding opportunity," Jones shares. "I let my personal emo - tional investment in the market outweigh the appropriate hiring and retention decisions. This ultimately set the market back, was expensive, caused immense frustration, and resulted in good employees leaving the organiza- tion for the wrong reasons." Brunker also believes in the im- portance of being willing to make tough decisions. He says, "At times, leaders become emotionally connected to what they have built due to pride, relationship, or other factors. You must step away from the connections, look at the facts and the long-term outlook and be willing to make tough decisions if appropriate." Using your head over your heart during a setback can also be valuable according to Barrent. "Setbacks can be a directional change for the better and a learn- ing experience," he says. "When one door closes, you may be disappointed, but it also may be the best thing for you." Find the Right People P erhaps one of the most important lessons that most leaders advice on is surround- ing yourself with the right people to help you grow. "What does lead to success over time is surrounding yourself with smart people and learning as much as you can from them," Dubeck says. "Try to affiliate yourself with leaders who know how to put the right business components and people together to take advantage of market inflections. When you have the right mix of strategy, corporate support, and industry talent, you can succeed in any market." Millon agrees, "Surround yourself with a team of smart, loyal, hard- working professionals. Stick with them and build something great." The right people also includes having the right team, when you are in a leadership posi - tion, according to Thorpe, who believes that as a leader it is very important to value employees and build strong employee relations. "Employees who are appreci- ated and valued will trust their leaders. They will put their all into the job every day," he says. "Recruiting and retaining top tal- ent is much easier as like attracts like. This positive environment and culture manifests itself in many ways—high performance, loyalty, and employees that care." For Feltgen it's not only col- leagues, but also family that defines a successful profes- sional. "I'm fortunate to have encountered many people who encouraged my development and career over the years," she says. "Teachers who taught me the im - portance of a good education and managers who taught me great leadership skills and gave me the courage to stretch myself and try new things. My father, who was legally blind but accomplished great things in his life, taught me to never give up and to find joy in life and my husband and partner, has been enormously supportive of me and my career." Finally, as Hardwick, quoting what author and speaker John Maxwell taught him, says that any great company or enterprise first originated as a "thought" that took much time and energy before becoming fully developed. "The ability to fully vet thoughts and really develop worthy thoughts into action plans that become a reality is a process, not an event," says Hardwick. Critical thinking is highly valuable when one invests the time and energy to read, study, learn and seek the thinking and advice of others who can bring value to the process." RADHIK A OJHA, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master's degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Dallas, Texas. You can contact her at Radhika. "It's critically important to truly identify on a daily basis what is important and focus most of our energy on that." —Mike Hardwick, CEO, Churchill Mortgage

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