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7 Questions on Leadership with Nicholas Guthrie

Name: Nicholas Guthrie

Title: Vice President of Operations

Organisation: NA

I've spent 25 years in a leadership role from small unit leadership to executive level.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Nicholas's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

What I've found most challenging as a leader is leading the right way when a superior doesn't value people in the same light that I do. In a few cases I've worked for CEO's or Owner's that portray a character that cares for their employee's however they actually do not. Only the higher level's of leadership figure this out otherwise the "culture" of the company would dissolve at that point it becomes very difficult for me to lead with morals and ethics knowing that essentially I'm leading with integrity and values and the company and leader I represent does not.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I became a leader in the Marine Corp. I was a leader when 9/11 happened and was a Platoon Sergeant in Iraq during Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Since them I've gravitated towards leadership roles in the business world.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake at 430 am and run for 5-6 miles everyday while listening to a book or a podcast. I then read and journal for about 20 minutes while having coffee. Typically, I work until the work is done. When traveling I'll work in the evenings when at home I'll spend the evenings with my family. I try to go to bed by 1030

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Some things are going to be out of your control. Politic's in business can get pretty dirty at times. Do the right thing even if it isn't the popular thing. You must have a moral compass

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?

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. I rather enjoyed this book about leadership and business. It used several case examples on how and why businesses rise and fall. The ones that fall typically don't have their own true long-term success plan built morals ethics and values.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Practice in humility.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I remember when I took over a Branch as a young GM (32 years old) I had 60 employees and while the Branch was making profit it was a toxic environment for the employee's. Everyone was over worked, tired, frustrated and it seemed like if one person was out sick, on vacation or out of the office the whole place would crumble. That's how lean it was being ran. Sales was missing deal's, operation's couldn't keep up. People were cursing each other by 9am everyday... Nonetheless, I removed some of the cancerous employees and hired several less qualified people for their attitude's and banked on my own abilities to teach them the business. That first year was tough. However, we became a fantastic team. In fact the best ran team in the country beating out everyone on profitability but more importantly I built a place that people were able to thrive in. A place that people wanted to come to work at. When I got promoted, at my going away party I had several employees in tears. It was truly heartfelt.

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