Name: Matt Walsh
Organisation: The Splish Netowrk, Inc dba Splish Naturals
As a serial entrepreneur, I have been building companies and teams most of my life; from selling sweet corn as a youngster, door-to-door to being CEO of my latest endeavor. Outside of my entrepreneurial spirit, I love my family most. I also love living in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains where I find a sense of peace and calm. Over the past 17+ years I have worked within the spa, salon and wellness industries as owner, consultant, and director for brands such as Rock Resorts, Vail Resorts and The Ritz-Carlton. I've helped prospective spa and salon owners open their new spas and salons and have been a guest speaker at events such as ISPA, Americas Beauty Show, World Beauty Show, American Spa CBD Summit and many others.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Matt's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Patience with myself. Ss my mother used to always tell me, Rome wasn't built in a day and that's something I find myself recollecting when I feel I am not moving as quickly as I think I should.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
As the oldest of six kids, seems like I was destined to lead. Whether babysitting my younger brothers and sisters at a young age, or developing strong, loyal and committed teams within my own companies or within others such as Vail Resorts and The Ritz-Carlton. I managed a family owned music store at the age of 15 and was smitten with the role and opportunity. Leading has always just felt "right".
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Truth be told; I'm a slow starter during the day but a strong finisher. Not sure if morning brain fog keeps me from fully functioning early or not but as the day wears on my energy levels rise as do my creative juices. You are more likely to find me working hard at 11 pm versus 8 am. Yet, when with staff, I work with them, not above or below regardless the hour of the day. And I keep a current calendar. It gives my day structure and keeps me on time whether for myself or with others in or out of our organization. I also prioritize my day, first thing in the morning, despite mornings not being my strong suit.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
There are no straight lines. I often thought that experience would straighten lines out, but that was pure fallacy. No matter your endeavor, you are likely to discover you need to pivot and perhaps pivot again but you cannot let obstacles or course changes deviate from your original intentions and goals.
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?
I'm a Civil War buff. Although I don't have a particular book in mind, I have always been fascinated with the tenacity, creativity of southern army generals who were almost always out numbers and outfitted than the northern army. I don't take sides, however, the southern generals had to rely on taking calculated risks and apply a level of creative thinking if they were going to win a battle. Higher up generals also empowered their lower generals to make decisions that might be best for the entirety of their armies. Northern armies had great generals too, but they also had larger armies and access to more supplies than their southern counter parts. Creative thinking, willingness to take on certain, calculated risks and empowering my teams. (this might be a bit of a controversial answer, but one I reflect on when I find my back against the wall and brute force won't take me where I need to go)
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Listen to what people say and share with you. Chances are, they are imparting wisdom from their own experiences. Don't be dismissive. Learn all you can, when you can and from whom you can.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I never seek recognition, but I received a text recently from two employees I had not been in touch with in over 5 years expressing their gratitude towards me and how I solidified their love for the work they do and all that I did for them during our time together. I never expected this but I will say, it made my day.