CEO Joel Manby on How Leading a Company With Love Works

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Lead With Love

Joel Manby is the incoming CEO of SeaWorld and the former CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment.  Herschend is the largest family owned theme park in the US owing 26 locations including Dollywood and Stone Mountain.  If he looks familiar, you may recognize him from his appearance on CBS’ Undercover Boss.

Joel’s is the author of Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders, a book about practicing love at work.  Talking about love at work may seem strange coming from a hard-charging executive who spent years in the automotive industry before joining Herschend.  After reading this book, I could tell that Joel meant every word of it.  Still, I had to start with the question about love at work.

This is a business book, but the title and the theme are all about Love.  Joel, you were an executive at GM, Saturn and Saab.  It’s all about metrics.  Numbers.  Results.  But, you say no, Love Works.  Tell me more about your transition from hard-hitting analytical executive to someone who sees love as a business success factor.

It’s still about metrics; the key question is which metrics? At HFE we measure all the standard business metrics including financial results, customer scores and employee scores. We all have to hit those numbers. In addition, we are also measured on HOW we go about hitting those numbers. We are all evaluated on the seven words outlined in Love Works. In fact, the top raises are given to those who hit both measurements; and all senior leaders are expected to be good at all of the above.

 

“Stick to your values in all circumstances.” –Joel Manby

 

 

Success Defined By Love

How do you define personal success?  Corporate success?

I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement:  to love God and love others. I can achieve that in a number of personal endeavors; but feel blessed to be able to achieve it in a growing, profitable business. Corporate success should be defined the same way:  ultimately, what is the mission statement of the company? Ours is to “create memories worth repeating.”

Do You Make These Résumé Mistakes? 17 Résumé Don’ts from the CEO’s Desk

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  1. Don’t use a functional (non-chronological) résumé format.  You’re not fooling me with that.  Don’t make me work to figure out what you’re hiding. Even if you get far into the hiring process in a non-traditional way, most companies will still want a traditional résumé at some point.
  2. Don’t ignore metrics and quantifiable data.  Businesses exist to move the needle.  Explain in numbers what you personally did to help your organization improve.  Did you save the company a million dollars?  Did you improve sales beyond your targets by 23%?  Did you renegotiate a major contract increase by 29%?  Did you improve customer retention by 5%?  The language of business is numbers.
  3. Don’t send résumés to the CEO if you’re applying for positions deep in the organization.  Try Human Resources.  Try the hiring manager.  Maybe try the department leader.  Sending it to me doesn’t help.  Do you think I read a résumé from someone I don’t know and immediately drop everything to make a phone call on your behalf?

Delivering Happiness — At Zappos and Beyond

I recently visited Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in Las Vegas.  Sitting in his condo in a room lined with hundreds of plants and overlooking the Vegas skyline, we talked about his success and what’s next for Zappos.

Zappos.com is an online retailer with a specialty in shoes.  It has branched out into other clothing lines in recent years.  It is known for its exceptional customer service.

A Very Different Company

Zappos is different in many ways.  Here are three:

Finding the Needle in the Office

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What needle?

The expression “moving the needle” first appeared in England during the industrial revolution.  The reference was to gauges on steam engines.  During World War II, it became a more common term in reference to aviation gauges.  In business today it’s synonymous with making progress.

I’ve seen three major types of people in business.  One person can describe the needle, the other can move the needle, and rarely someone can do both.  What do I mean?