Leadership Outside of Your Walls by Jim Johnson

Last fall, I began something with my leadership team that has proven to be very meaningful and productive.  We periodically will get outside of the office to meet with community business leaders and entrepreneurs to learn how they succeed in their areas of expertise.  These “field trips” have so far taken us to a local pickle factory (Sechler’s) where we learned how the new owner of this 90+ year old business increased profitability  through simple innovation.

We’ve met with a sales executive and process improvement executive at a local, family-owned bakery (Aunt Millie’s).  We learned how innovation has increased their local sales reach to the other side of the planet. We discussed strategies of employee engagement and how to build a lasting company culture.

Soon, we will be meeting with an executive who has vast experiences in community outreach initiatives as well as experience in serving the Governor of the State of Indiana (now Vice President of the United States).  One of our focus points will be how leaders can (should) positively impact their communities through their invest of time/talents.

These experiences have opened our minds to how we lead, how we serve our teams and our members (customers) and they have pushed us to continually challenge ourselves to innovate.

If you lead a group of leaders, I encourage you to periodically go beyond your offices and discover what gems your community has in it.  There is so much to learn from the leaders around you.


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