The Monthly Leader Review Volume 1, Issue 1
January 2006


Welcome to the first Monthly Leader Review. The MLR will be launched once every month and will consist of an interview with a leader in the world of business, community and sports. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide practical insights into how today's top leaders motivate, manage and lead themselves, their teams and clients during these fast changing times. Hopefully these insights can assist you in both your personal and professional life.

This month I am very happy to be interviewing Todd Hutsko, Vice President Sales, Customer Marketing and Supply for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare - His team is responsible for the Wal-Mart account. He has an extensive 16-year background leading teams in sales, management & marketing and was also a 4-year intercollegiate athlete.

I hope you enjoy.


The Leader Interview
  • Todd Hutsko, Vice President Sales, Customer Marketing and Supply - Wal-Mart Team

    Todd Hutsko, Vice President Sales, Customer Marketing and Supply - Wal-Mart Team

    Steve Gavatorta: What motivates you?

    Todd Hutsko: Two things motivate me; My kids and winning. My kids motivate me because I realize everyday they are watching and emulating what I do as the leader of the family and as their father. I can’t tell them to do as I say not as I do. That wouldn’t be leading them. They will closely watch my actions. We have a family motto that I expect the kids to live by and they expect me to demonstrate day in and day out. It is called being a Hutsko. To be a Hutsko you must Never Quit, Never Cheat and Always do your best. The second thing that motivates me is winning. The opportunity we have everyday to make a difference and making a difference is winning.

    Steve Gavatorta: How do you motivate your team at GSK?

    Todd Hutsko: I motivate the people on my team by empowering them and making them part of the solution. I have learned that people who are passionate about what they do are people who are motivated by the fact they are making a difference and that what they are doing is important to the organization. They must have a feeling of self-worth. I truly believe that all people want to make a difference or a meaningful contribution and be the best they can be. The difference between those who are motivated versus those who are not motivated is passion alignment. Understanding what each persons passion is will help you position them and align them to be motivated and exceed their potential.

    Steve Gavatorta: Describe your leadership style?

    Todd Hutsko: The first thing I would say about my leadership style is that it is evolving. I think it has to evolve to continue to be successful. Given today’s flat organizations and need for specialized functional focus, my leadership style favors that of the servant leader. Servant Leadership is about being vulnerable. Vulnerability is being honest with your feelings in the context of your work, being open about your fears, doubts and concerns. Being vulnerable takes self confidence and courage. It means you must let go of the old notions of control. Said a different way, power doesn't come from the ability to control; however, it comes from realizing we can't control everything and we must depend on others. Being a servant leader, empowerment and trust are key; however, it is more important that the team realize you are there to support/serve them. You must put others ahead of your own agenda, possess the confidence to serve others, initiate service to others and not be position conscious. I say that because any sustainable and successful business must be run in a fully integrated holistic approach (knocking down silos and linking Sales to Marketing to Finance to Supply, etc) - because most leaders have not grown up in some of the functions that they become responsible for functions that they have no real experience in. They must rely and empower the functional leaders that report to them

    Steve Gavatorta: Who do you consider a good leader/role model & why?

    Todd Hutsko: My favorite leader from a sports perspective is Vince Lombardi. Realizing he is not a Servant Leader, the things he stood for and that I admire were his Will and Passion for winning and his leadership view that the TEAM will be bigger than any individual. My favorite quote from him that describes his passion for winning is..."Winning is not a some time thing: IT IS AN ALL THE TIME THING. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do things right ALL the time. Winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing." Running a football team is no different than running any kind of organization or business. The principles are the same. The object is to win. Win fairly, win squarely, win decently, win by the rules.....BUT WIN. This winning attitude is something that inspires me personally and is how I try to compete in life and business. My favorite business leader is Sam Walton. Sam Walton was a man ahead of his time and was a Servant Leader ahead of his time. He possessed a high level of courage and vulnerability. Sam served his people and empowered and motivated them. Sam's genuine willingness to serve his people created a culture that was focused, disciplined and uniquely supportive of him as a leader. He used some key principles that are discussed in Jim Collins book GOOD TO GREAT. He got the right people on the bus, empowered them/motivated them and served them. He utilized what Jim Collins calls the hedgehog concept, which is to understand what you are deeply passionate about, what you best in the world at and what drives your economic engine. He also embraced the Stockdale paradox, which is about confronting the brutal facts, never losing faith that you will prevail in the end. His culture still exists today and is the foundation for the 1.5 million associates that Wal-Mart employs around the world. Today, Wal-Mart is the world’s largest corporation and clearly is winning.

    Steve Gavatorta: How do you continue to lead through times of adversity?

    Todd Hutsko: My perspective is that real leadership begins with adversity. Anyone can lead and say the right things when things are going well. I welcome and enjoy adversity for two reasons. First, adversity shows the true character of the people on the team and the leaders on the team. Leadership begins with adversity and will end with adversity. It is an opportunity to see how you’ve faired as a leader and a team. It helps you find the gaps and constructively focus on the areas for improvement. Personally, I live for adversity. Adversity is the equivalent of a major sporting event. You prepare and prepare then finally when adversity hits its game time and time to perform/win.

    Steve Gavatorta: During these fast paced times, how do you lead during change and ambiguity?

    Todd Hutsko: I like to keep the end in mind. We need to understand what the end game is to the change and the benefits the change will bring us. I believe clarity of roles and responsibilities along with what is important and what we can control are critical. Reminding the team to stay focused and score carding our progress is very important. The big learning for me this past year is that any kind of change (good or bad) takes time for people to progress through the change curve. Simply put, change is change and people are usually apprehensive about change.

    Steve Gavatorta: Do you have any suggested reading on Management, Motivation and/or Leadership?

    Todd Hutsko: I personally like and recommend a couple of books. Good to Great by Jim Collins, The Servant Leader by James A. Autry and Made in America Sam Walton with John Huey

    Thanks for your time!

    Hello, I'm Steve Gavatorta & welcome you to the first addition of the Monthly Leader Review. I hope you enjoy the interview and find it helpful. Please feel free to forward it on to others - there is no fee for signing up. For more about me, simply click on the link below.

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