In a melodramatic attempt to close up my time here at Centresource, I figured I would reflect on some lessons learned…
As a manager, you set the weather.
Our CEO, Nick told me early on “you set the weather for your department”. At the time I had never heard the expression before. Here’s how I understand it… do you remember when you were a kid? You came home from school, finished your social studies homework and curled up on your family’s corduroy couch. You armed yourself with a bag of pretzels in one hand, Capri-Sun in the other and an episode of Thundercats on the TV. Life was sublime… that was until your dad walked in after a bad day at work. You didn’t know exactly what it was, but in an instant you could feel the entire climate of the house change. You were suddenly nervous that the TV was too loud, you franticly cleaned spilled pretzel crumbs and feverishly went through a mental list of overdue chores you had yet to complete. You were just waiting for the parental hurricane to blow your way. The same is true in management.
As a manager, if I don’t mentally buy into a new policy, system or project my staff will sub-concioulsy pick up on those feelings and manifest them throughout the department. As a person in leadership your first priority should be your attitude – if you love your job and your company, and project those feelings with intentionality, chances are the morale of your team will improve exponentially.
A company’s value is the sum of it’s people.
As cliche as it sounds, I didn’t really understand the depth of this principle before this particular position. Centresource at any given time has a mosaic of founding employees, brand new hires, single 20-somethings, married 40-somethings, night-owls, early-birds, authors, coders, designers, musicians & competitive eating champions. This dynamic and ever changing make-up, removed from talent or aptitude, actively sets up the entire culture of the organization. People don’t often give due credit to the weight of a company’s culture on it’s overall performance. As a manager, it is your daily (and typically unscheduled) duty to navigate these sensitive waters. If someone feels for instance devalued in a particular exchange with a co-worker, it is your job to investigate what brought them to this point and how to initiate at times company-wide changes to make sure the situation never happens again. Learning how to be a culture-protector is definitely not part of the job description, but turned out being one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Problem-solvers are a manager’s most valuable asset.
Probably my biggest personal take-away from my time here at Centresource is the deep appreciation for problem-solvers. I would rather have 5 problem-solvers working for me than 1 wildly talented, rock star, rich, good-looking, successful problem-finder. You know the old chinese proverb about teaching a man to fish (if not, look it up)? Do you know why he really did it? So the guy would leave him alone and go away. Your staff doesn’t realize it but constant low hanging questions are kryptonite to a manager’s spirit. Sure there are some we have to field, but in my experience most questions asked of me on a daily basis are well within reach of the person asking. Problem-solvers within a company are worth their weight in gold. The person that comes up to me and says, “I found this problem, I researched it, I asked some folks about it and I came up with these 3 possible solutions. What do you think?” would get a kiss directly on the mouth (we are still working though the HR ramifications invoked by that stunt). There are some amazing problem-solvers within the ranks at Centresource… and to them I am forever grateful.
In conclusion, it has been an absolute pleasure working here. I will take away nothing but good memories and always think of my time here as an invaluable step in my professional journey. Many thanks to the entire staff – keep up the world-class work!
Editor’s Note: Jason is leaving the Centresource family to become a partner at Tyemill, a company that specializes in ecommerce solutions for active brands. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors, and trust he won’t become a stranger (he’s already threatened to crash our annual retreat)!