Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Do Your Leaders See Around Corners?


To quote Matthew Kobach (@mkobach), "Twitter is a key that unlocks thousands of doors, some of which you never even knew existed." As a member of the Twitterverse for 13 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. I recently connected with Mitch Pisik from Tucson, Arizona, and invited him to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A discussion about leadership and the employee experience. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

Mitch Pisik, CEO of Pisik Consulting Group, is an Award-Winning Business Consultant, Executive Coach, and Leadership Trainer who has worked with over 1,000 executives in hundreds of companies in dozens of industries ranging from sole Entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 global businesses. Previously, as CEO, he turned around and grew four diverse private equity owned portfolio businesses for 15 years; and before that, was a senior executive at some of the world’s largest global companies for 17 years. On the social media front, he has written and posted a daily LEADERSHIP message on Twitter and Linkedin since 2013, and to date, has posted 2,267 of them.

QUESTION: How can a CEO be an effective brand ambassador?
MITCH PISIK: A CEO’s primary responsibility is to be an enthusiastic and compelling ambassador for his/her/their company, brands, and people. He/she/they should use his/her/their gravitas and power to be highly and frequently visible; be seen pro-actively identifying and taking advantage of virtually every opportunity to speak, present, write, and perform in multiple venues to explain/illustrate/demonstrate the positively differentiated and innovative benefits of his/her/their brands. And always portray/comport one’s self with a degree of professionalism and authenticity such that the message is received with resonance, is memorable, and garners raving excitement from the targeted audience.

TWEET THIS: A CEO’s primary responsibility is to be an enthusiastic and compelling ambassador for his/her/their company, brands, and people. ~@mitchpisik #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Have any Presidents/CEOs impressed you by their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, how?
MITCH PISIK: I worked with a multitude of CEOs and senior execs during the pandemic. Although most had not prepared for the dramatic changes and challenges that were thrust upon them, many quickly realized that the world has changed, and virtually every business process needed to change, and immediately. The best execs also realized that what did not change was their vision, mission, and long-term priorities.

Two especially impressive leadership teams were those at Wegman’s grocery chain and Kendra Scott’s retail chains. They pivoted early, and executed their new plans virtually and flawlessly.

QUESTION: What three traits define a good leader?
MITCH PISIK: Here are my three:
(1) They have an unwavering focus on building world-class teams:
--A players hire A players.
--B players hire C players.
--C players will put you out of business.

Do not settle for mediocrity when building your team. If management does, it will be a decision that they will regret; and inevitably, it will be deemed unacceptable by your accomplished employees who possess talent and ambition. The ramification will be the demise of the organization.   

(2) They understand how to motivate and inspire their teams. They do NOT believe in the Golden Rule of doing onto others as you want them to do onto you. They do onto others as they want to be treated. I always taught my people to: Treat everyone fairly, but differently.

(3) They can see around corners. They have a capacity for innovation and creativity that fosters products and services that even their customers did not realize they wanted and had to buy until they saw it. As Henry Ford said 100 years ago: "If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse."

TWEET THIS: A good leader can see around corners. ~@mitchpisik #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite leadership quotes, and why?
MITCH PISIK: "They don’t care what you know until they know that you care."
(I do not possess pride of ownership, as I did not write this one. Author unknown.).

This fosters/supports/emphasizes a foundational cultural value of successful companies. If your people do not trust/believe/respect you, then they will not perform for you. This quote resides on the same plane as another of my favorite quotes: “Numbers tell but stories sell.” People are motivated by emotions substantially more than by logic. And lastly, a third favorite quote is one that I did write:
"'Who you know' let’s you know who to call. 'Who knows you' let’s you know who will take your call.'"

QUESTION: What three leaders from business or history inspire you, and why?
MITCH PISIK: Here are my three:
(1) Jack Welsh: He fostered unprecedented success through unwavering expectations for performance.
(2) Sun Tzu: Those who follow his advice from The Art of War will inevitably be successful in business and in virtually all aspects of their life.
(3) Niccolo Machiavelli: This 16th-century author of The Prince expels advice that is invaluable to all business people.

QUESTION: Lastly, one of my favorite quotes about leadership is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): "Leadership is a gift, not a position. It doesn’t require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to trust and be trusted – and block and tackle for others." What does this quote mean to you?
MITCH PISIK: There are multiple priorities for a successful Leader.  These include (though are not limited to:
(1) Create new Leaders.
(2) Be a servant Leader when appropriate.
(3) Provide the training, resources, and support to foster an environment where success is most likely to flourish.
(4) Stay in business (which is the ultimate responsibility of a business).
(5) Ensure clarity of direction and the definition of success. Assist and encourage. And expect outstanding performance – and celebrate and reward accordingly.  

My thanks to Mitch for sharing his leadership insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Jacqueline Brandwayn via Unsplash.

Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchpisik.

Connect on LinkedIn at

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