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7 Questions with Chuck Wooten
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7 Questions with Chuck Wooten
Name: Chuck Wooten
Current title: COO
Current organisation: FLC, Inc.
Seasoned senior exec with a 21 year (senior level) military career, Corporate executive, CEO of a boutique business development firm, nonprofit COO. 3 separate careers, all at senior levels of responsibilities.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Recruiting management candidates with the right mix of experience, dedication, and competence to lead their teams.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Following my military retirement, I faced the reality of having to start over in my new civilian career. I performed my way to the top by going the extra mile and doing things that my peers were not willing to do, but were important to leadership. I was promoted to increasingly more responsible positions, which led to greater success, culminating in various C-suite assignments.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The beginning (around 6:30) is for me to spend some quiet meditation time, followed by reviewing my "big rock" issues for the day and finally by reviewing my schedule with my assistant.
The middle of the day is reserved for business lunches and if I'm fortunate, time at the gym.
The afternoons are a continuation of the morning and I continue to work systematically on my "big rock" priorities, hopefully completing all or at least some of them.
The end of the workday (the final 30 minutes, or so) are reserved for going over the next day's "big rock" issues and solidifying my schedule for the following day.
After I arrive home, unless there's an emergency, I force myself "off the clock" and that time is reserved for family matters, reading, a little TV or just talking about the issues important to my household.
I'm usually in bed by ten p.m.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
We're not in the (fill-in-the-blank) business, we're in the PEOPLE business. Our people are watching and mimicking everything we do and say. Our greatest responsibility as leaders is to develop those entrusted to us, challenge them, recognize them, trust them, and empower them and they will amaze.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
As a lifelong student of the art of leadership, I've read countless books on the topic. My response is not so cut-and-dried. I heavily invest my personal and professional development and am currently involved in "A Hero's Journey" by Darren Hardy. This material from the time I began it, has been a game-changer. It proved to me that everything I know about leadership is WRONG and then goes on to demonstrate new ways to approach people, situations and how the new approaches positively impact performance, culture and most importantly--results.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Leaders are not born...they're cultivated. Leadership is learned over a period of time--a long period. In a large enterprise, it starts with leading each person by example. That is imperative. Next, there must be a deliberate path in developing each person. That path includes classroom, reading, and most importantly, practical application with constant feedback to praise or correct each situation. Over time, true leaders will emerge from the pack.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I joined a large organization that had virtually no plan or investment (budget) to develop the people beyond where they were when they were hired. This is a major limiting factor to any organization. I observed this (and the corresponding results) during my initial 30-day assessment of the organization. I developed a focused training approach for every level of the organization and personally delivered curriculum for a variety of topics. This approach, over the period of a year, turned out to be a game changer for the success of the organization. The staff flourished and were excited about the work they were doing. Informal competitions began to spring up and every operational metric saw improvement. This was an exciting thing for me to watch unfold.