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7 Questions with Richard Nortier
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7 Questions with Richard Nortier
Name: Richard Nortier
Current title: Director of Marketing
Current organisation: The Chicago Faucet Company
Richard (Rick) Nortier is currently the Director of Marketing for Chicago Faucets, the leading manufacturer of faucets for the most demanding commercial applications.
Prior to joining Chicago Faucets, Rick's professional career started as a development engineer for Sloan Valve where he designed a number of innovative touchless faucets and flushometers. After earning an MBA in Marketing Management from De Paul University he moved into product management where he oversaw the lifecycle of some of the very products he designed. While at Sloan, he joined the ranks of "inventor" and is named as an inventor or co-inventor on 24 US patents.
From Sloan he moved to the Building Technologies division of Siemens, taking a role in their strategic marketing group. At Siemens, he was able to support all major disciplines (building automation, fire/ life safety and security). It was here he was exposed more to the "smart services" business and related analytics.
Rick has been married for over 25-years and father to a daughter and two sons (all of whom prefer to remain somewhat anonymous).
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Stepping into a leadership role means you are no longer required to be the technical expert. Yes, you have broad experiences to share but you are no longer "doing." Coaching others to complete the work and excel is much different and takes a conscious effort. Resisting the urge to jump in is not always easy.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Chicago Faucets was in need of a new marketing director and a recruiter reached out to me based on my prior marketing and product management experience. I was interested in the role as it was a great opportunity to lead a team. Plus, there was no "matrix" involved as in many large companies. Everyone was on my team which affords a lot more flexibility. Although I was not rushing back to the plumbing industry, it was an opportunity I knew I could not pass up.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start the day at 5 am with a workout, a mix of cycling, strength and yoga. I spend about 15 minutes journaling to clear my head and set priorities. I am an avid road cyclist and average 6,000 miles per year. Then it is a raw vegetable smoothie, a shower and to work by 8 am.
I start the day with 60-90 minutes of focus time dedicated to key items. No first thing meetings if they can be avoided as they tend to kill my momentum. On Mondays, I have two tactical team huddles, one with the marketing focused team and one with product management to review their top priorities for the week. I have monthly 1:1's with my team members. I try to let them drive the meetings to allow them to focus on what is important to them and their needs.
I set a 60 minute block of focus time in the afternoon to pick up from the morning. These focus times are set on my calendar and are generally immovable objects. I try to push most meetings to later in the day. I still have energy to engage but it seems to work better for the team as well. Everyone wants to get going first thing in the morning. Meetings near the end of the day seem to be a good way to close things out.
If I am in the office, the commute is only 30 minutes. When I get home there has usually been a prior negotiation over who is making dinner. I do enjoy cooking (cleaning up less so, but I do it). Afterwards it is usually hanging out with the family and then heading to bed around 9 pm where I read for about 30 minutes before turning off completely. I read quite a bit over the course of a year. I enjoy non-fiction on topics such as history, biographies, and leadership. Some of my recent favorites: "The Trillion Dollar Coach", "The Wiseman: Six Friends and the World they Made", and a new biography of Winston Churchill.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Don't compromise your values.
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?
"Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership" by Kevin Kruse. I am currently re-reading this as it is a great book and a lot of "you can do that?!?" moments. It is still in progress but it helps to force me to look at situations more openly, to let the team do the work they were hired to do. As a runner up, "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanger is good. It won't make you a coach but certainly helps with the right mindset.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Trust. While trust is earned, I start with trust and if it is violated I deal with it accordingly. Set the example.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
The one meaningful story that comes to mind from my time as a director of marketing is when the CEO told me that I was the first marketing person he ever worked with that was so focused on results. "I got the impression that all you guys just think things up in the shower every morning, but not you!" That was one of the best compliments I ever received. It's not about what I want, but what I and my team can deliver for the organization. I have a budget to defend after all!