What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
I have a firm belief that one never improves while being comfortable. Challenging yourself by identifying your own weaknesses and seeking out ways to turn them into strengths is the best way to focus on both professional and self-improvement. Recently, I’ve put effort into refining both my written and verbal communication skills, and articulating my message well to the audience I’m speaking with, whether that’s executive leadership or my team. As I continue working on my communication skills, I’ve shifted more of my focus to my creative thinking skills as well. I challenge myself to think differently and be uncomfortable with my ideas and vision to trust where they might be taking me.
What’s your go-to productivity trick?
I’ve spent the last 18 months in more virtual meetings than I care to admit. While not a direct productivity trick, I’ve recently identified meetings that I can take on my mobile, rather than computer. I use these opportunities to step away from my desk and spend time outside. The 30-60 minute calls I’m able to take outdoors while remaining productive is a great mental refresher for me. When I return to my desk, my mind is clear and I’m ready to tackle the next task on my list.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
As I look back at my almost twenty-year IT career, I realize how fortunate I’ve been to be influenced by countless, amazing people. From those that saw my potential early on and challenged me to grow, to those that have more recently challenged me to trust my abilities, and everyone in between, they’ve all made an impact on how I approach my work. But if I were to pick one individual who had the biggest influence on me, it would be a leader from a company I interned at while in college. I was asked to complete a task and, being a young and eager person, I said, “No problem,” but quickly followed up with, “How do I do that?” I remember the leader looking at me and saying something along the lines of, “If I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t need you. Figure it out.” That small interaction flipped a switch and I still reference it to this day. I’ve learned to just “figure it out” and use the resources and people around me to validate my thoughts.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
It’s hard to pinpoint a single behavior or trait that leads to success. It’s really the balance and combination of many traits that I believe lead to personal and professional success. You may have a trait or a behavior that’s stronger than others, but again, it’s the balance that those strengths, along with the weaknesses that develop you as a person.
What led you to this career?
At an early age technology fascinated me. I still remember my grandfather telling me to stop pushing all the buttons in his car when he was driving us somewhere. It was hard. I had to figure out what they did and why they did it. It was a natural progression from there into the IT field. About four years into my IT career, I was given the opportunity to manage an entire department. That first year was extremely challenging as I learned how to manage and lead people – there is a big difference. Once I got through that discomfort, the rest is history and I’ve spent my entire career focused on leadership and how technology can enable business.
What’s the one thing that has surprised you about working at Involta?
I’ve known the name Involta since the company was formed in 2007. I’ve watched it grow from the single location in Marion, Iowa to where we are today. It’s amazing to see the commitment that each team member has to our customers. It’s driven by our culture and commitment to our brand promise.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
“You work in IT – can you come fix my computer, phone, or tablet?” While I’m a constant learner and have built my career in technology, I’m not the person you want to help fix a computer or phone problem.
What’s your favorite piece of technology? Why?
I wouldn’t say I have a favorite piece of technology, but as an avid golfer I’ve enjoyed the benefits of what technology has done for the game of golf. I’ve been a streaky putter for as long as I’ve played. However, I recently purchased a new putter and it’s neat to see how the newest technology that went into making that putter and understanding how it makes me a better golfer.
What is your favorite hobby?
Golf is a top favorite. The constant challenge, being outside, and being able to play with others or by yourself make it a great hobby for me. My kids are showing an interest in the game and it’s great to get out and play with them. I also really enjoy playing a round by myself. Being alone and focusing on what is in front of me is a relaxing mental reboot – sometimes. It depends on how the round is going!
What is one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit?
I’m a natural early riser in the mornings, but I’m trying to make the time consistent. I feel that developing a strong morning habit sets you up for a successful day.
What’s the best advice you were given? From who?
Another golf reference, but I apply it to my every day. My grandfather used to say, “The shot calls for an 8 iron, hit an 8 iron. Don’t hit a hard 9 or a soft 7.” How is this my best advice? I use it to ensure I do the right thing for the task in front of me. Don’t make a tool or process that isn’t designed for the task at hand and force it. You’ll have the best consistent success by using what is called for.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
I work from our headquarters every day. The commute from the office to home is a quick mental slow down after a busy day. From there, spending time with my wife and kids to getting out and playing a quick 9 holes after work are ways that help me unwind.