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By Tom Gibson, Partner & Sr. VP – Nashville

The Last Lecture By Randy PauschI remember reading the book “The Last Lecture,” the author was a Carnegie Mellon Professor and he was telling his life story so his young children wound have a memoir. In the book, he states “you can’t choose your parents but in my case I won the lottery.” I have often used that quote in reference to my own parents. My mother was a registered nurse and a well-read intellectual woman. My father was a very charismatic businessman who was driven and entrepreneurial. He put himself through college in the depression and founded a regional full service insurance agency in a small town in Northern Indiana. My brother, David, joined my father in this business and ran the agency until his retirement a decade ago.

"rEvolution" book coverJohn Phair recently gave me a book titled rEvolution: Turn Crisis Into Clarity and Ignite Growth.” The author, Tim Leman, is the current CEO of the Gibson Agency. In the book, Tim has some interesting observations. In the initial chapter, he points out the importance of a business having a strong foundation, being cutting edge, flexible, a great culture and being results driven. As Tim transitioned into the role of CEO, he wrote a letter to his partners in which he challenged them to be more agile and went on to say he felt the Gibson Agency had been intoxicated by success and had become stale. He challenged his partners to recreate the business model. In business, we all know that change is inevitable and businesses need to have the ability to look objectively at their operations. This involves asking the hard questions and accepting a certain amount of conflict. Great ideas come from provocative debate and this should be encouraged.

As Tim was transitioning from a partner to a leader, he came to realize success is about shifting from a self-focus to one that is focused about growing others. To accomplish this, you need to communicate and be team focused with a sense of purpose. He came to realize that influence is a better driver of success than coercion, collaboration is a building block to success, and there must be a mutual purpose in place for the team to succeed. He went on to state that the key growth strategy is to focus on the needs of the existing client, keeping the clients you have, growing those relationships, and landing new clients.

In order to execute on any strategy it is important to understand the businesses core values and to stay focused on those values. I was particularly cognizant of how the core values in the book are very universal to any service organization.

  • Clients come first: In our case this could be the tenant, the owner, or, in some cases, the Hospital System
  • Integrity Matters: Always do the right thing
  • Talent Wins the Game: Hire, develop, and support good people
  • Foster Collaboration: Great ideas area achieved through partnering
  • We Work Harder: Nothing will work unless we give maximum effort
  • Optimism Reigns: A positive attitude and outlook impacts results
  • Be Committed to the Long Haul: Independence allows us to make an enduring difference

As an organization, we need to be particularly focused on these core values to drive our continued success.


We’d love to hear your thoughts on this post! Do you have any addition core values to add to the list? Add your thoughts by clicking on the “Leave a comment” link at the top of this post.

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