First in The Wise Ones Series:
Jim Schell is a successful entrepreneur, published author and turn-around expert. He was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bend Chamber of Commerce. I'm fortunate to serve with Jim on the Looking Forward team, where we seek opportunities to connect business leaders in traditional and new economy sectors.
JT: How do you define having a good “work ethic?”
JS: I define a GOOD work ethic as one which balances work and play in an equitable manner. The work part of the equation is the old, reliable stuff: being accountable, showing up on time, being results oriented, etc. The play thing is taking the time out of every day, week or year to take care of your personal needs for relaxation and family.
JT: Why is having time to play important to a work ethic?
JS: No play makes you dull, in every way.
JT: At this point in your career, do you rely more on instinct or experience to make decisions?
JS: I think instinct and experience combine to become wisdom. I define wisdom as intuition grown old. Wisdom is what happens when you’ve tried a lot of stuff for 80 years and watched some of it work and some of it fail.
JT: What do you believe new economy leaders can learn from traditional leaders?
JS: The number one thing is the importance of community. Community is where their businesses will succeed, their kids will grow up, and their family will prosper. The new economy folks need to learn to volunteer time, energy and yes, money, to help their community keep up with the expanding needs of its citizens. (This is especially true in Bend, where it’s expanding so fast.)
JT: What do you believe traditional business leaders can learn from new economy leaders?
JS: How to get the most out of their time. New economy leaders, mostly through technology, get more work, or at least information, out of an hour then traditional folks do. Related to this is their penchant to be able to work anywhere, not just in the office.
JT: What has been the hardest leadership lesson for you to learn?
JS: The hardest lesson I’ve learned in my career is to delegate. Most serial entrepreneurs have this problem because they don’t want to supposedly waste time teaching someone else to do the job when they can do it faster and, they think, better by themselves.
JT: So what is the benefit of delegating?
JS: Leverage is my favorite word. Delegating allows leaders to leverage their skills, time and assets to build something bigger. One dentist can only take so many patients, but one dentist leading a team of ten can build a profitable company. And that is also, by the way, why I love connecting people. When good people get together they can accomplish so much more.
JT: What legacy do you hope to leave?
JS: I want to make the region and community in which I live a better place to live, work and play. I know I can’t measure it but I can feel it.
For more about Jim's accomplishments, check his LinkedIn profile.