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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Sep 13, 2017

Rick Nelson is a leader, and as the CEO of Direct Technology, his team went from 12 people in 2006 to over 650 employees today. Rick shares how his Air Force background serves him today, and speaks candidly about owning up to his own  strengths and weakness. He explains how he tackles today’s business challenges, and how he values quality people over people skillsets.


Key Takeaways

[3:53] Almost all issues, challenges, and opportunities exist within people. Individuals want to know they are contributing in a meaningful way to something that has a purpose, and that they can grow personally and professionally within the organization.  

[6:00] Rick looks at challenges by root cause analysis. He asks himself what he’s trying to accomplish; is it broken; and if so, why? He asks why, seven to ten times to get to the root cause. With the root cause, he calls in outside help, develops the vision, describes the vision, gets leader agreement, and executes. They ensure the mission is consistent with the goals.

[7:30] Rick talks about a challenge buying a sizeable organization and integrating it into the company. It meant aligning the company vision, getting individuals aligned with their work, with their units, and then into the overall company. 

[8:59] Rick realized that maintaining a consistent customer experience meant he needed to delegate the assignment to others with a better ability to focus on customers, so he could maintain the big picture. 

[13:50] For Rick, personal coaching provided great value to him, and he saw a need for business coaching. He recommends not waiting for a catalyst. Get an an outside coach.  

[21:47] Rick talks about creativity, rigor and tight discipline in business. Each business has its own story, but they all sell (creativity), deliver (rigor), and get paid (tight discipline). All problems relate to these three areas. Business problems are innately hard to solve. Coaches have solved this problem before.

[29:02] Pride is a powerful motivator, but if you hold on to it, and it leads you to insist on your way instead of the right way, it can be a problem. Focus on giving your best effort, and letting your pride show in the excellence of your performance. Vulnerability and candor inspire people to follow you.

[33:29] Veterans bring skillsets and the capacity to drive further, faster, than others. If you start with the individual, and look at the characteristics gained by their military experience, including EQ, you’ll see an outstanding person. Rick talks of veterans he has hired that he calls business athletes.

[40:41] CEOs need a succession plan. He and his partners worked the succession plan into the development of the company from the beginning when there were only 12 people. 




Facebook: @DirectTechnologyInc

Twitter: @DTChief

Twitter: @DirectTechHQ

LinkedIn: Rick Nelson

LinkedIn: Direct Technology