Meet Bill

Q & A

Tell me about a time when things changed radically for you at work. How did you navigate that change?

The world is in a constant motion of change, this is extremely true when it comes to work no matter what field or sector one operates in. There are many times throughout my career that I was asked to leave my current role/responsibility to take on a new opportunity to help the organization or to fill a gap. One example was when I was leading a large operations team of over 125,000 employees, large P&L responsibilities, and I was asked to move into a developmental role with only a scrum team with little short term P&L responsibilities. Navigating that change was difficult at first because I felt a loss, or like I had done something wrong, I wasn’t feeling or seeing the opportunities in front of me. I had trust in the leaders around me, spent time understanding the vision and ask, and turned the fear into excitement to jump in with both feet to help the organization. Ironically, the time I spent in the global development role was one of the most educational and rewarding positions I have ever held. I fostered learnings and relationships both internally and externally that I would have never had time to do in previous roles. The opportunity really made me think different about vision, and the importance of strategy to grow/succeed 2-5 years out.

Tell me about when you last had to leverage your conflict management skills.

Words like cost cutting, organizational design, simplification, streamlining, etc. seem to always have a very negative reputation in most organizations. Not only are the projects seen with great amounts of defensiveness, many times the people working on those projects can be treated differently or harshly. I found this to be true during my most recent work on the reorganizational design project. Leaders who were once open and transparent instantly became guarded and unresponsive to discussions. And it makes sense, no one wants someone else to come in and tell him/her how to run their business unit. Also, many times leaders are more worried about keeping head count from a numbers view to justify certain titles and rewards structures versus making sure the right teams are in place with the right skills to propel the business into the future.

In my experience there are a few things that help navigate with conflict. First, communication! Projects involving cost, restructuring, or change there can never be enough communication. Vertically, horizontally, at all levels, and many times. Be transparent! Let people know what is going on, explain the why, explain what is in it for them, and give them opportunities to ask questions. Now there are certain topics that cannot be discussed or changes that have to be kept guarded especially if people’s current roles may be changing. By being transparent, there should be very few surprises when changes are implemented. Also, transparency allows others to feel like a part of the process, not like the process was done to them, this makes a big difference when implementation comes into play. Finally, build trust. Trust goes along way during times of conflict and change. Others may not like what you have to say, may not agree, but if you have trust they will be more willing to join you on the journey.

How has integrity played a role in your work life?

Integrity is the basic foundation of a great leader, period. In most cases, people choose to work for other people based on their style, integrity, and vision, not because of pay, benefits, rewards. Trust is non negotiable.

I was working on a multimillion dollar project that involved large scale changes to 1000 of retail locations, impacted tens of thousands of team members, and had commitments to the board and to external investors. As the project started to execute, I determined that the data used to make the recommended changes was flawed and ultimately the whole project’s execution plan was based on a bed of bad data. Stopping the project and rerunning the data would mean weeks/months of delays to the timeline, missed financial targets, and embarrassment. Many leaders on the project wanted to continue with the project and try to make adjustments on the fly hoping to avoid the embarrassment of trying to explain the errors. To me this wasn’t acceptable. Ultimately, I stopped the whole project. This was not negotiable.

How would you define success for someone in your chosen career?

The definition of success to me is creating a strong culture that others can grow and thrive in and do their best work. Success is surrounding yourself with people that take the work seriously and not themselves too seriously. Culture trumps strategy always. I feel companies spend too much time on the “what” and not the “how” which is why most plans fall short, or targets/goals are missed. If you build a team and a culture that is strong the what becomes less of a burden.

What’s been your most rewarding team experience?

My most rewarding team experience is when I was a Market Vice President. I was able to build a highly engaged, highly functioning, highly motivated team that focused on the success of the total team versus their own individual successes. During this time, I was able to grow and develop multiple team members that were promoted into Vice President roles, we were able to execute the largest retail acquisition in the company’s history up to that point, we were able to hit/exceed all financial targets/goals for 5 consecutive years, we grew Market Share every year, we had the highest customer and employee satisfaction scores, and we were able to have fun and enjoy the work.

What is your strategy for getting a high standard of work from your team?

For a team to have high standards and be highly productive, they need to know what is expected of them and how they are doing. My strategy is constant communication. Performance cannot be a once a year conversation, it should be daily, weekly, monthly. There should be no surprises. A great leader listens to their team members and is there to help them through challenges and offer advice, to be available. A great leader needs to understand what motivates their team, what their strengths and weaknesses are and help guide them to their own solutions. Also, a great leader tailors their communication style a bit to each individual person. People react and retain communication/directions in very different ways, as a leader it is important that you understand this from your team.

How do you set expectations when giving an employee a new assignment?

When setting expectations or a new team member on a new assignment I have to spend a lot of time explaining the what and why of the project. Give the background, how we got to this conclusion and to define what success looks like. To be there to coach and mentor early on and not just throw them in hoping they will figure it out. I have found that spending this time commitment in the first 60 days pays off ten fold through the life of a project.

How do you coach a subordinate to develop a new skill?

To coach a new skill, I have to be honest and transparent with the team member and explain the benefit moving forward for them. By building trust and by giving them opportunities to try and flex their new skills. One mistake leaders have is that they don’t allow their teams into situations to learn, grow, and to possible fail short term to learn, you have to stretch your team.

Interests & Hobbies

Supporting underserved healthcare population

Landscaping & making everything grow

Fatherhood & Sports