Our January webinar focused on “New Year, New Year You,” discussing strategies for focusing energies and efforts on how employers and employees can maximize their work experience and stay relevant in 2023. When we were putting this session together, we realized this topic should be discussed throughout the year instead of just at the onset of Q1. To keep this conversation going, we invited the Executive Vice President of Client Experience, Nick Smith, to share his thoughts on leadership, personal development, and his enthusiasm for staying relevant with Abraham Gonzales-Pollick, our interviewer and Vice President of Client Development.
What about this topic did you find most interesting?
Leadership. Leaders need to be able to teach, lead, and inspire. These three qualities are really important to me.
You must meet people where they are and have an improvement plan. If I give you a definition of leadership, it’s about having a vision and a plan. Both components are essential so you know your direction and how to bring people along, so they feel your success. Growth is hard. It’s like working out and getting in shape. If you’re not willing to change, you’re not going to. Instead, become a change agent out there in the marketplace.
From a leadership perspective, it’s something that gives you power, will, excitement, and joy, but sometimes it’s painful. And if you’re willing to endure those things, you’re already a step ahead. If you look in your pocket right now and pull out every key in your pocket, you say, “I got my door key. I got my house key. I got my car key.” I want you to find that key to success. Show me what that key to success looks like, and I guarantee you will have the wrong key because all those locks are a little bit different. Again, leadership is about having a vision and a plan.
In a 2021 Forbes article, they highlighted two “keys” to staying resilient and relevant in business. “Out-inventing self by introducing new offerings or products to your customers, [to] drive the relevancy,” and “keeping pace with your customers and tuning in to their needs [to] enable your company to provide offerings that are based on what your customers want.” What else would you add to this, Nick?
Collaboration is one of the most important things; being accountable is the other, especially if you’re going to be a leader and a person on the team headed in the same direction. I love that you say that because you said something compelling. At the start of this, you said, “meeting people where they are,” and sometimes, depending on the project we’re working on, only some have to take charge. Even if you are the leader of the leaders in a room, that doesn’t mean you always have to have the mic.
When it comes to maximizing your personal work experience, should employees at any level be stepping-up and raising their hand to take on special projects, wait to be asked, or something else?
People are often afraid to step up, be in the limelight, or be the go-to person because they’re afraid of failure. When you give a person an opportunity that you know they want, you put them in a position to succeed. This works as a motivator. It will propel them to be more active and do more because they’ve had that success to get them started. You know, people thrive on success. So when you ask me why other people will step up, it is because they see everybody else marching in tune. And when you find yourself dancing to the right tune, to the right message, and you’re following the right people, you’re joining a journey to success. You not only want to be a part of it, you want to step up and improve that process and be part of the success story.
What are your thoughts on how a leader shows up, stays resilient, and is relevant in the workplace or with their business in mind?
Being a part of a team and consequently in a position where you could influence the direction, and the team’s vision is why you must have that other element—the responsibility piece. Being overbearing, being too much of a leader, must take shape at the right time, from my lens. I have somebody like you on this call. You’re leading me at this moment. I can understand my role, and you lead at the right time. You don’t have to lead every day. You need to be a part of a team that everybody can count on.
Ultimately, it comes down to leading, teaching, and inspiring others. We become, and help others become, critical thinkers who embrace innovation, an adverse perspective, a new thought, or conversation. While initially uncomfortable to many, these changes will allow those involved to be more receptive, more engaging, and more invested in success.
If you’re unsure where or how to get started, Vensure’s Client Development team can do just that. Learn more about Vensure products and our ability to help guide your team in everything from employee life cycle and compensation analysis to turnover analysis. Visit https://www.vensure.com/lp/client-development/ to get started.
About Nick Smith:
Mr. Nick Smith serves as the Executive Vice President of Client Experience at Vensure Employer Services.
Before joining the Vensure family through National PEO in 2018, Mr. Smith held the role of President and CEO of HR Betty. Mr. Smith has been instrumental in bridging the gap between all Vensure service departments by putting client relationships on the front burner and turning everyday interactions into memorable experiences. At National PEO, beginning in 2014, he served in various leadership roles, professionally and personally. From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Smith played as a linebacker for Notre Dame under legendary Head Coach, Lou Holtz. Coach Holtz impressed upon Nick that leaders are built from hard work, discipline, and by asking the right questions. These three elements are evident in his leadership style today.
Mr. Smith joined the Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee in 2012. Through his association with the Fiesta Bowl and other Committee members, he has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and teachers and hundreds of nonprofit organizations.
About Abraham Gonzales-Pollick:
Mr. Abraham Gonzales-Pollick came to Vensure with a deeply rooted passion for client service, organizational strategy, and building relationships! He started his HR career journey after 14 years of being an entrepreneur and running a successful general contracting business. He has more than 25 years of client service and product management leadership experience, 15 of which have been spent in the PEO space. Mr. Gonzales-Pollick is a highly regarded keynote speaker and global facilitator on several development topics, serving on boards for non-profit organizations for over 10 years and leading as board chair before giving light to new passions. Today he mentors young entrepreneurs in building the future! Abraham holds his B.A. in organizational management with a minor in social-culture anthropology and MPA studies in product development.