Rick Nelson is a leader, and as the CEO of Direct Technology, his team went from 12 people in 2006 to over 650 employees today. Rick shares how his Air Force background serves him today, and speaks candidly about owning up to his own strengths and weakness. He explains how he tackles today’s business challenges, and how he values quality people over people skillsets.
[3:53] Almost all issues, challenges, and opportunities exist within people. Individuals want to know they are contributing in a meaningful way to something that has a purpose, and that they can grow personally and professionally within the organization.
[6:00] Rick looks at challenges by root cause analysis. He asks himself what he’s trying to accomplish; is it broken; and if so, why? He asks why, seven to ten times to get to the root cause. With the root cause, he calls in outside help, develops the vision, describes the vision, gets leader agreement, and executes. They ensure the mission is consistent with the goals.
[7:30] Rick talks about a challenge buying a sizeable organization and integrating it into the company. It meant aligning the company vision, getting individuals aligned with their work, with their units, and then into the overall company.
[8:59] Rick realized that maintaining a consistent customer experience meant he needed to delegate the assignment to others with a better ability to focus on customers, so he could maintain the big picture.
[13:50] For Rick, personal coaching provided great value to him, and he saw a need for business coaching. He recommends not waiting for a catalyst. Get an an outside coach.
[21:47] Rick talks about creativity, rigor and tight discipline in business. Each business has its own story, but they all sell (creativity), deliver (rigor), and get paid (tight discipline). All problems relate to these three areas. Business problems are innately hard to solve. Coaches have solved this problem before.
[29:02] Pride is a powerful motivator, but if you hold on to it, and it leads you to insist on your way instead of the right way, it can be a problem. Focus on giving your best effort, and letting your pride show in the excellence of your performance. Vulnerability and candor inspire people to follow you.
[33:29] Veterans bring skillsets and the capacity to drive further, faster, than others. If you start with the individual, and look at the characteristics gained by their military experience, including EQ, you’ll see an outstanding person. Rick talks of veterans he has hired that he calls business athletes.
[40:41] CEOs need a succession plan. He and his partners worked the succession plan into the development of the company from the beginning when there were only 12 people.
How to contact Rick:
My drive is to make my team proud of me.
Surround yourself with people who smarter than you, and think differently than you.
Prioritizing and deciding which strategies to execute is THE job of the CEO.
Consulting firms often answer challenges that haven’t been answered before.
Delegating areas of the business is hard for an entrepreneur, but necessary for a CEO.
Delegation builds mutual trust.
Don’t create an environment that doesn’t allow people to bring you unfavorable information when it’s timely.
Organizations really do only three things: They sell, they deliver, and they get paid.
At some point you think you can’t get there from here. In the end your body can take you farther, while your mind rests.
Hiring great people is the best way to build an organization.
Rick Nelson is the current CEO of Direct Technology. Rick has over 20 years of experience in process improvement, workflow methodology, and organizational management. He has spent the last 15 years of his career in the technology arena leading the growth of two privately held firms to sustainable profitability. Rick joined Direct Technology in 2005 to lead Business Development efforts.
Rick and the company’s business and technical leaders are focused on leveraging world class development practices to solve complex business problems for their clients. Often described as sincere, funny, passionate, hard-charging and dynamic, Rick’s energetic spirit and passionate leadership are the hallmarks of his professional career.
Rick was born in Northern California, graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor’s Degree and later earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management all while working for United Parcel Service (UPS). It was during his 11 years at UPS that Rick learned the value of workflow efficiency.
Rick is a proud husband and parent of two. He loves a challenge and loves to be outdoors. When not working on the business, you can find him cycling, paddling, boating, or running the Western States Trail.