Name: Garrett Frazier
Title: IT Manager
Organisation: Cox Enterprises
During my 19-plus years at Cox Enterprises, I worked in various departments, including dealer support and fraud investigation, before settling into information technology at Cox Enterprises. While working at Cox Enterprises, I accomplished several goals, including being promoted to lead, then supervisor, and currently a manager in Information Technology. I earned my MBA with a concentration in information technology and obtained my green belt certification. I obtained a certification in Human Center Design. I believe in team building and developing myself and others, creating relationships that benefit both parties. I help individuals find their career path and look for opportunities to develop both interpersonal and technical skills. I enjoy exercising, spending time with my family, and watching sports in my free time. Some of my favorite books include "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," "Never Eat Alone," and "Number One Rule." I am an analytical thinker who is motivated by a challenge and inspired by the saying, "If opportunity does not knock, build a door - Milton Berle."
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Garrett's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
My biggest challenge as a leader is balancing the needs of the team member versus the needs of the business. I believe in developing our team members and giving them the latitude to obtain more skills and prepare them for future responsibilities within their current role and future roles. However, business needs must be met, and as a leader, I must make sure that needs are being fulfilled, and if not, then I failed the business. I have to find that balance of giving the team members what they need from leadership while still supporting the business and moving it forward.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was in IT and had a meeting with my director with the intent of having a discussion of what else I wanted to do within the company. I remember to this day what I said to him: “I like where I am, but I am ready to do something else.” My director asked me, "OK, what do you want to do?”. I looked at him with a blank stare and said I don’t know and became quiet. My director guided me to partake in the shadowing program that we have at the company to get an idea of what you may like to do. After going through the shadowing program, I discovered I wanted to be in leadership. I wanted to have the ability to influence change and develop people in their careers, as well as develop and challenge myself. The most interesting thing about this story is that no matter how much I tried to move away from leadership positions, I always found myself in a leadership role.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Time management is very important, and I structure my day like a to-do list you would make at home. I put reminders on my Outlook profile of things I need to do for the day and do my best to stay on that schedule. If it is something that I cannot get to that day, then I put it on the schedule for the next, and so on, until I have finished the task. The reason for putting things I do not get done that day is to keep it top of mind and make sure that it does not fall by the waist side. The one other thing about how I structure the day is that I try not to put everything on the daily to-do list, have my day packed with things to do, and spread it out over the week. This will prevent you from not getting to everything you have on the list and possibly burning yourself out.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
You must work hard to be fair to everyone, regardless of your own basis, and let the work speak for itself. Treating everyone the same is paramount, and you must be aware of your actions toncy in treating ensure consiste everyone.
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?
Never eat alone by Kieth Ferazzi
This book talks about how to build relationships and how building relationships is beneficial for everyone involved. Keith described that when building a relationship, you should first ask what you can do for the other person and not for yourself. The reason for this is to foster trust that you are not looking at what you can get out of the relationship but what you can bring to the relationship. I used this philosophy with someone I do business with, and it gave me an opportunity to build a relationship with this person when in the past we could not even hold a five minute conversation. We were able to have purposeful conversations and be honest with one another.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Hold yourself to a standard and never deviate from that standard.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I was mentoring one of my direct reports through monthly one-on-ones. We talked about several things in the meetings, from life to career goals. I offered different perspectives on how to handle different situations and the next steps in career progression. After several meetings discussing various things on his career path and other topics, he mentioned his next step for his career progression. After hearing what he wanted to do, I gave him names of people to reach out to, ask for shadowing opportunities, and to reach out and determine what type of experience is needed. After about a month and a half of doing these things, he was identified as a potential candidate for an opening in his desired department. He went through the interview rounds for the position, and I was notified that they would be choosing him for the open position. I could not say anything to him about the situation; I just had to play it close to the vest until something could be disclosed. Once he found out he had the position, he came to me and thanked me for what I did for him and appreciated all our talks and mentoring sessions. This experience is an example of how using your leadership as a resource can be beneficial for you.