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7 Questions with Robert C Belcher
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7 Questions with Robert C Belcher
Name: Robert C. Belcher
Current title: Vice President of Operations
Current organisation: TW Metals, LLC.
With over 14 years of experience in distribution and manufacturing businesses and 14 years of military leadership experience, Rob brings a deep knowledge of how to deliver continuous improvement and measurable growth to TW Metals. Prior to joining TW Metals, Robert was the President of EBSCO Manufacturing Group where he led four manufacturing companies. Prior to that role he led Ram Tool & Supply company through subsequent periods of recession and rapid growth as the Chief Operating Officer. He has also held leadership roles at market-leading companies such as Stryker, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. Prior to those roles in the private sector, Robert served as a Submarine Officer in the United States Navy, where he developed an expertise for leading teams through uncertainty and high stress to achieve superior performance.
Rob holds a BS in Economics with a Japanese minor from the US Naval Academy, and MBA from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a MA in Strategy from the Naval War College.
In his spare time Rob enjoys spending time with his three children, golfing, outdoor recreation, martial arts and exploring Pennsylvania on his Harley.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Leading change within organizations, especially in environments of uncertainty, and ultimately sustaining change once made. It is important to not only communicate the value, but create a shared picture of the value for all stakeholders to accept and buy-in to.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Following retirement from the military, I focused on continually challenging myself with stretch roles and building a foundation with experience in all disciplines across the business spectrum. Starting out initially in blue chip companies, I learned "best in class" processes in operations, business development, and talent management. Moving on to family owned, entrepreneurial companies, I learned how to be customer-centric, nimble, and rapid growth oriented. Both of these experiences led to providing a diverse skill set, deep team building experience, ability to differentiate quickly, and obtain a business acumen skill set to maximize profit/value generation.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It is important to have structure that incorporates management, leadership, development, and strategic thinking. I ensure I provide time every morning (usually 60-90 minutes, prior to normal business hours) to think about the day, think strategically, and prioritize. I guard against letting the urgent overcoming the importance. After that I divide my day into thirds. The first third is spent on operational and tactical communication (projects, planning, report/KPI interpretation). This is where I ensure alignment, identify support needs for my team, and make sure the organization is on task. The second third is spent on leadership. This is where I conduct one on ones, discuss performance, focus on talent development, and improve my skills as a leader. It is essential during this portion I think about the future state of the team and business and build the toolbox. The last third of my day is focused on strategy. Where is the business today, where is it going, and executing or planning to get there. This can include anything from business development, market analysis, growth planning, and risk assessment.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Check in with your team. Even high potential employees can get overwhelmed and frustrated. Frequently ask how they can be supported, what roadblocks they are running in to, and manage priorities appropriately.
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?
5 Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni. This book uses a scenario based lesson on how to build a high performing team by focusing on the right foundation. This helped me understand the impact of humility and trust on establishing the right team dynamics to create accountability and deliver results.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
By thinking generationally about developing talent. Often raising talent is thought of only in terms of filling gaps. One person retires or moves on and we scramble to backfill them. This is dangerous, short sighted, and sends a harmful message to the rest of the organization. Succession planning and talent assessment supported by development planning is essential for building leadership capacity and enabling growth. This should be an ongoing initiative, not something that is only visited annually. One on ones, quarterly assessments, and regular discussions are essential to create a valued, forward leaning workforce that can grow in capability and leadership capacity.
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 was once fired from a role the very first day I started. I made a mistake that embarrassed and caused my boss to fail. It was a rough day. The next day he called me in and rehired me to that role. He did so to teach me about accountability, managing up, and responsibility. It hurt, but I learned a good lesson there about owning my mistakes and ensuring I focused on the details.