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7 Questions with Jonathan Sheeley
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7 Questions with Jonathan Sheeley
Name: Jonathan Sheeley
Current title: Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions
Current organisation: Maranatha Baptist University
My name is Jonathan and I lead an incredible team of advisors, recruiters, and marketers with the same goal: to change lives. I began my job intending to transition out at some point but fell in love with the people and the work three years later. Today, I manage 7 in my office and 35+ in associated roles and jobs. My job is to train them to be the best at their roles and keep them motivated.
My wife Nicole and I have been married for just over five years and we have a son, Christopher. My family is my life. They keep me sane in an otherwise insane industry!
I enjoy smoking meats, playing golf, American Muscle cars, and cooking good food.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
I find it most difficult to find other people to talk with that see the future clearly. I love communicating vision and purpose but sometimes, it's nice to have a conversation with someone else who has the same kind of mind.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was hired initially as a student worker. I made friends with the full-time staff and when I got the chance, performed my graduate assistantship with the man who saw something in me as a way to pay for my master's degree. A year and a half in my master's my wife and I decided that I needed a break from full-time academics. There was a director's role open in the department that I now run. Through some hard conversations and praying, I accepted my current role in January of 2017.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am usually up between 5:30-6:00 with my son. I usually drop him off at 7:30 so we enjoy getting ready together in the morning.
By the time I am in the office at 7:45, I am making final preparations for the day based on what I noted the previous evening.
I try not to have meetings before 9:00 a.m. so that I can clearly think about the day's activity.
Between 9:00-noon, I am in and out of meetings. Mostly with direct reports and some task groups.
Four days a week, I take 1.5 hours for lunch to read. Currently, I am readying a Monday/Thursday book and a Wednesday/Friday book to accomplish my goal of 25 books this year.
From 1:30-4:00 is either personal work time or private meetings. 4:00-5:15 is condensing the day in my Full Focus Planner and making preparations for the next day. I do a lot of cooking so I get right in the kitchen as soon as I am home but 50% of the time we put Christopher down at 7:00 before my wife and I eat alone.
7:00-9:00 is dinner, conversation, tea, and cleaning the kitchen. Both my wife and I try to be in bed by 9:30.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
If you have the correct motive for leading, to complete the responsibilities that no one else will in order to make the employees and thereby the company successful, people will respect you and work alongside you. If you desire to get away from responsibility by climbing the org chart, people will resent you and try to get away from you.
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?
Patrick Lencioni's "The Ideal Team Player."
I lead mostly young people who need constant feedback. Since I am younger, I enjoy working with them so intensely. Recently, one of my employees had some issues outside the office and we discussed the concept of a team player. She was under the impression that we kept people around for everything but team unity. Once we walked through the reality that all employees must be simultaneously humble, hungry, and smart she began to understand why sometimes, we let people with great expertise or certifications go. They don't fit our team. They cause issues. They don't keep our momentum moving forward.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Start small. You bring existing leaders together and let them brainstorm. Let them work on solving each other's issues. Once the middle managers enjoy spending time together, the flow of communication between high-level executives and part-time or full-time staff will be much better. The middle management will have the best grasp of the institution's operations and culture. if you invest in them, they will invest down and up the chain of command.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Several times a month I bring the three marketing groups to come together and discuss strategy. One of the team members clearly wasn't having a great day so I privately asked what was going on. She answers politely that it wasn't my business. A couple of days later in a similar team meeting, I could tell that the fog was over her head. She and I locked eyes at one point and she came after to tell me about one of her family members having serious health issues and it was conflicting with one of her assignments. Because I was able to see her pain, she and I were able to adjust her load in order to save her the emotional distress at a time of grieving. If I didn't know her usually bubbly personality, I wouldn't have seen the issue. Had I not asked twice, I may have lost that team member. Today, she is one of my most valuable team players.