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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 structural thinker. He is trying to apply inno- vation and technology to solve these prob- lems. That's his bailiwick, and even though he's doing something completely different, he's leveraging the strengths and talents he developed along the way. We have an opportunity to learn from our experiences, hone those specific skills that we are best at, and then leverage those skills in whatever we're doing. That's why I thought of those folks. They are clear communicators, directional leaders, and boundary breakers, and they're diverse in their approaches to dif- ferent problems but grounded in their method- ology with which they approach them. Matties: What advice, John, would you have for our industry leaders today? Mitchell: The first thing I would say is every- one's an industry leader. I don't care if you don't have any reports. I don't care if you're an individual contributor. You still have the opportunity to be a leader. Every one of us has not only the opportunity but also the respon- sibility to be a leader. We can lead out on issues. We can raise concerns. We can do the best work we possibly can. We can share ideas to improve things. Everyone should think of themselves as a leader, no matter how many reports they have or don't have. My other advice is to be transparent, nim- ble, and innovative. Don't be too stuck in the way things have always been done. I really think that we should find ways to explore new opportunities. We don't need to only do what we've known; we can take the opportunity and change like this, whether it's good or bad, which provides us that opportunity to act. My last piece of advice would be to take action. Don't over plan. You need to take some steps. Just do something and learn from it. Matties: You're right. The past often gets in the way of the future. Nolan Johnson: Within the confines of IPC and the work that you're doing, how do you push leadership as a culture down into your organi- zation? Mitchell: When I first interviewed to come to IPC, one of the questions they asked me was, "How have you been successful in the past?" The answer to that is the answer to your ques- tion because I've brought in good people, and I've gotten out of their way. Don't microman- age. Allow people to be leaders, ask them ques- tions, and listen to those answers. If you're the president of an organization, your line manager probably knows more about that product than you ever will. Thus, listen- ing and having the opportunities to have them be listened to not only improves your business, but it will also improve their sense of worth within the organization. That's part of the lead- ership responsibilities as well. You give them the opportunity to say, "I don't know what the answer is going to be on this. Here's an oppor- tunity for you to come up with a solution, and please do so. Let's see it." Mistakes are going to happen, and that's okay. We're going to learn from and say, "We spent $10,000, but hopefully not that much, meaning a lot of money on whatever that solu- tion was. Is there a better way we could have done it where we only spent $25 on that?" And then we do it. You learn, and it grows, but you give people the opportunity—a safe space if you will. Matties: John, thanks again for taking the time to help keep our industry well-informed. We greatly appreciate that, and we wish you all the best. Mitchell: Thank you so much. I always enjoy talking with you. SMT007 Every one of us has not only the opportunity but also the responsibility to be a leader.

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