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The Monthly Leader Review Volume 1, Issue 10
October 2006

Dear Steve,

We're coming to the final quarter of a very fast year and hard to believe the 10th edition of The Monthly Leader Review. It really has been a very fast 2006 as well as a quick 12 months. With that said, about a year ago I had the chance to meet and briefly work with one of the kindest people I've ever met as well as a great source of knowledge around the world of coaching, training and development.

The person I'm speaking about is Paula Gee, who I met last year while conducting a workshop. I was very impressed with her knowledge and as I said, kindness. So I'm very happy to share her thoughts on leadership with you in this issue. First, a bit about Paula.

Paula Gee has over 30 years experience in sales/marketing management and training and professional speaking environment. She has held management and training management positions in companies throughout several industries: medical device, banking, chemicals, education, institutional foods, and engineering materials. Her area of expertise is in analyzing markets for business development and assessing talent for human development. Her firm belief is to provide products and services that are seen as practical and value- added in the eyes of the customer.

The October Leader Interview
  • Paula Gee, Manager, Customer Service Training - Abbott Diabetes Care

  • Paula Gee, Manager, Customer Service Training - Abbott Diabetes Care
    Paula Gee

    Steve Gavatorta: What motivates you?

    Paula Gee: Interesting, challenging work.... the kind of work that requires problem solving, collaboration with a team, commitment and drive. The outcome of the work I do is to help individuals and organizations realize their greatest potential. When I see an individual learning and grasping new ideas, implementing new ideas and getting better results...that really motivates me to keep doing my work. When I see change in an organization that really takes hold, and things begin to move forward with better results....that really motivates me.

    Steve Gavatorta: How do you motivate the teams you work with?

    Paula Gee: I have found that adults like to know the big picture. Employee surveys tell us over and over again that employees like to “be in on things” and be told about what is going to happen that might impact them. The first thing I do is to “Set the Vision”. People like to know where they are headed. After the Vision is set, I need to make sure we have common goals. This needs to be a collaborative effort. Individuals are given tasks that make up the work of the team. You have to “inspect what you expect” by giving feedback and coaching. “Ownership of the work with authority” is one of the greatest team motivators I have seen. When goals are met, I am a big believer in “Celebrating Accomplishments”.

    Steve Gavatorta: Who do you consider to be a good leader/role model and why?

    Paula Gee: The “role model” I use for my Leadership modeling is based on two of my managers from my experience with Eli Lilly. Ron Laughlin was my District Manager and Bill Brooks was my Regional Manager.

    I'm still using the principles I watched them use over 30 years ago.

    • Share the Vision

    • Set Goals

    • Give people the tools to do the job

    • Hold people accountable

    • Celebrate Success and Have Fun along the way

    These two managers were responsible for the promotion and development of many sales people who eventually became leaders of the company.

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

    Paula Gee: One of my principles is to “Be Authentic”. Often during difficult times employees and team members want to know how “you” really see things or feel about things. My practice and beliefs are, that coming out of the “Servant Leader” mode, that I have to assess the risks to the team, the company, the customer and to ourselves. I like to be able to give “The Facts” surrounding the situation.

    The “Inspirational Leader” mode steps in when I want to help remind people of the choices we all made to be a part of the project or organization. I remind people that as adults we all have to make choices and take responsibility for the choices. I remind people of the “Vision” that we shared when we started, and help to “reframe” the current vision.

    The “Counselor Leader” comes into play when individuals or the whole team struggle and need to vent or discuss their doubts and concerns.

    Underlying all of this is my ongoing work to make sure I am rightly aligned myself.

    Steve Gavatorta: Describe your leadership style?

    Paula Gee: There are two components to my Leadership style. One style I use when dealing with teams and direct reports. The other style I use when dealing with upper management and executives. Words come to mind when I think of my Leadership style....Inspirational, Servant, Counselor. I have always felt that my role as the Leader of any group was to serve the needs of the group so they could serve the customer or deliver the “end product”. My goal is to build “Confidence and Competence”. I want them to know they are all “Leaders”. Actions I take to Inspire, Counsel and Serve are

    • Make sure team members have the resources needed to do the job...ask them for the needs

    • Make sure the right people are on the team

    • Give timely and supportive feedback

    • Celebrate the process and milestones along the way

    • Review with them the talents and strengths they are using to accomplish the work

    • Listen to them when they are struggling and help them see how far they have come towards the vision or goals

    • CELEBRATE the accomplishments of the team, and learn from the missed opportunities

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

    Paula Gee: I think the thing that keeps me sane is knowing how to prioritize and do the things that need to be done that have the most impact. In my current work, I deal with change every day. This change has to be developed into training materials, training has to be scheduled, and effectiveness has to be measured. I have to know that I am asking people to work on the “right things”. The most important thing is that I have to over communicate what I am accomplishing and working on to the rest of my management team. Having a high degree of “Trust” in me and my whole team in knowing that we are in agreement about what needs to be accomplished and in what priority....is what helps me lead through change and ambiguity.

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

    Paula Gee: One of my favorite books on Leadership is “The Performance Culture” by Darrel Ray. Darrel works with organizations to build a “culture of performance”. He teaches organizations how to build leadership into every level of the organization. I think this is the real mark of Leadership - teaching others how to manage themselves. I also think John Maxwell’s books on Leadership are some of the best I have found.

    Steve Gavatorta: Thanks for your time


    Steve G

    Hello, I'm Steve Gavatorta & welcome you to 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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