Trevor - Tell us where you are from and about your career to date.
Scott - Dallas, Texas. Graduated from Texas Tech University in 1992 and immediately began a career in home improvement sales and distribution. Served many roles in operations and sales before my first shot at General Manager for a lumberyard in 1998. Bounced around, a little, in the lumber industry before I received an opportunity as a Regional Vice President for a multi-hundred million dollar company in 2005. Served as a VP for 2 ½ years before I became completely disgusted with the position and office politics. Ended up walking away from that company at the beginning of 2008, with nothing lined up, and moved back into lumber sales for a competitor. I own Gigs-N-Rigs, Got Green Cups?, and work as a quasi consultant for Dropping Almonds. Dropping Almonds is very much in its infancy…
Trevor - Your book Dropping Almonds is brilliant. I really enjoyed reading it. What prompted you to write it and what is the key message in it for any one interested in business?
Scott - Thank you for your comments and thanks for the review. I very much value what you’ve said about the book. As an executive, I saw so many things that were incomprehensible and disappointing that I HAD to write a book. When I received the position and became an executive, I thought I’d gain knowledge of how the company operated and discover hidden secrets of upper level leadership and direction. In reality, I was surprised at how confused and watered-down much of the leadership was in the company. There seemed to be more focus on posturing and political bantering within the executive management team than what clients and employees required in the field. My key message has two parts: 1.) Always be honest with your direct reports, peers, and supervisors & 2.) Keep business and processes SIMPLE for clients and employees.
Trevor - Who have been role models to you during your career and what were their best qualities?
Scott - My role models, oddly enough, haven’t been great thinkers or gurus in a field. As I mentioned in the book, my stepchildren have been great role models for me to become a better father and Christian. I’ve worked with some wonderful General Managers that I’ve learned a tremendous amount from in my tenure as a GM and VP. There is an employee named Daryl that I worked with over the past several years. He’s been through two bouts of cancer and he’s got to be in his mid-sixties or later. He worked in a door shop as a laborer and could outperform anybody that was working beside him. Prior to his door shop position, he excelled at anything the company assigned to him. In the past 5 years, he’s been my biggest inspiration and role model. He didn’t make a bunch of money, and he didn’t understand strategy (I didn’t either), but the guy knew how to service clients and work hard to meet the demands of a marketplace. I would recommend that people adopt the qualities of a Carpenter turned leader about 2000 years ago to understand how to motivate and manage people, especially those that follow you.
Trevor - What are you reading at the moment?
Scott - Last night I was reading up on Herbert Hoover. My youngest was assigned a Presidential project and we were surfing the net reading about Hoover’s accomplishment and time during the Great Depression of the States; “A chicken in every pot and car in every garage.” There were high hopes for Hoover when he was elected and then the Depression set in. I’ve also been going back and forth between “Too Fat to Fish” by Artie Lange and "Simplicity is the Key" by this well known Englishman.
Trevor - You and I both comment regularly on Tom Peters Blog – what is your view of Tom’s impact on business over the last 25 years?
Scott - Great question because I enjoy the blog thoroughly. Tom’s been iconic over the past 25 years and his network of people is impressive. Tom has a target audience of executives to middle management in my opinion; I’m not sure if front line employees understand the cross-functional dynamically hillbilly-whilly-nilly lingo of Mr. Peters and some of the items he proposes, but much of what he says makes sense and interprets well to daily business activities. Sometimes I get a little worn out with his lists of 250 “whatevers” and 110 “gottahave” ideas that get promoted. Give me a few points that I can remember and implement, that’s all I really need. That’s why I loved Nebraska football (American) in the 80’s and 90’s, they ran the ball over and over and kept the offensive scheme simple. No bells and whistles, just simple offensive schemes that made them a great team.
Trevor - Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of business in the US and why?
Scott - Both. I’m not impressed with the US government’s involvement in bailouts and mortgage recovery programs. The more the US government becomes involved in decisions of big business, the more debt our nation assumes to finance bad leadership, corruption, and greed. With that said, I believe more Americans are looking for opportunities to start their own businesses to escape the large umbrellas of “Corporate America”. Small businesses and independents may have some great opportunities to react and respond to needs of consumers in the marketplace over the next 25. As Americans though, we can’t just rollover because of our current financial crisis, we must work a little smarter, create new ideas for world markets, and return many of our cities to manufacturing hubs.
Trevor - Any plans to visit the UK?
Scott - Possibly. I’m graduating another son from high school in 2010. We were considering a trip to Africa for the World Cup, but we’ve pondered the opportunity of England as well. I think we’ll probably end up in England and catch some of the Cup at some of your local pubs with you and Annie in tow. By then, you will have climbed Mount Everest after a successful marathon run. Best of luck with the fundraising, your training, and reward of helping out others through Running for Carers.