Less About the Work, More About the People
Every once in a while, we come across an experience that not only sticks with us but shapes who we are as leaders. For me, one of these experiences happened a few years ago when I was meeting with a couple members of our team after a target date had been missed on a major product initiative. To this day, I can still see their faces etched with looks of anxiety and dread. I may be the CEO, but I’m still a person – just like everyone else – so to see them anxious or really petrified to see me gave me pause to say the least. Braced like students sent to the principal’s office expecting to receive a reprimand or punishment after pleading their case, I think my response surprised them. Instead of yelling or delivering some kind of repercussion, I asked to see an in-depth view of the process to understand all of the finer details going into this project. Upon reviewing this, I realized that when we set the target date we weren’t looking at all of these finer details and our time frame was perhaps too aggressive for all that was being asked. I knew these men and women; I knew how hard they had been working with efforts that went above and beyond. Looking at the facts this one was on me, so I apologized – becoming vulnerable before my team. I recognized I had been focusing on the wrong thing.
Throughout my experience, I’ve
learned that nothing shuts down an
individual quicker than being shot
down or attacked by their peers for
being vulnerable. In our culture, being
vulnerable can be seen as a weakness. Vulnerability though, is a strength and
if allowed to flourish helps to create
open communication between ourselves
and the people we lead. For us, it’s led
to learning from these missed dates
and discovering ways to make our
processes better so that in the future we
won’t miss these dates again. In being
vulnerable, we set an example
for our team as leaders by putting the
focus where it always should be – on
our people doing the work and not so
much the work itself.
Ray L. Chambers - Chairman, CEO & President
Ray Chambers joined Muncie Power Products as Vice President of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Division in 2004. He became President of the company in 2009, and was named to his current position in January 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He is a thought leader and visionary within the industry.