George Pace, Founder of Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors, talks with our president, Steve Gilman, about the many hard-fought leadership lessons he’s learned over his career.
George helped pull a community’s largest employer through dire straits and back on the road to success. In recognizing the larger overall effect that his actions as CEO would make on the community at large, he lived a very real leadership lesson: this wasn’t about him. It’s about the employees, their families, the customers, and the community he serves as a leader.
That experience greatly shaped his philosophy around leadership and continues to guide him today. He shares the importance of listening more than you talk, why you should hire people who are smarter than you, and how to empower your team.
Get everybody rowing in the same direction.
It’s the best way to ensure success as an organization, whether you’re in a fight for survival or you’re trying to stay in first place. Good communication is key to making that happen.
You don’t know everything.
And that’s OK. George recommends surrounding yourself with experts –especially those who are good at what you are not good at.
It’s not about you.
It’s all too easy to focus on yourself in today’s world. But if you keep the focus internal, George warns that you aren’t paying enough attention to what’s happening around you — and that’s when you (and the brand) can get into trouble.
Hire an active listener.
An active listener is the one you want on your team because they are open to changing their mind. A selective listener has an agenda and can end up causing problems for an organization.
It’s really about the customer.
A customer service problem is usually reflective of a problem within the organization. Companies that set up reward structures in ways that promote staff looking out for their best interest often result in a poor brand experience for the customer.
Brand = your core reason for being.
Your brand exists for a reason, to solve some kind of a problem and bring value to the consumer. It’s as simple as that.
Listen more than you talk.
It doesn’t matter if you are in an entry-level position or in the C-suite, it’s a good lesson to learn. Good leaders know they don’t have all the answers and aren’t afraid to let others know that. Be open to others and they’ll be open with you.
Your brand promise must be authentic.
If not, your audience won’t buy into it and that leads to chaos, which leads to no one really understanding what your brand is about.
What He Does
George’s leadership experience as a Senior VP of Marketing for Del Monte Foods and CEO of Rocco, Inc. has made him a sought-after leader on many corporate and nonprofit boards, including Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Summit Financial Group, Shenandoah Valley Organic, Lantz Construction Company, and Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. He is also the Founder of Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors.
Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors
Words of Wisdom
“At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. Just be open and straightforward, and you’d be amazed. It knocks down a lot of doors.”
As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.
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