Leadership in Hard Times and Innovating to Win with Jon Bolen


Shownotes

(00:43) Intro

(2:40) Introducing Jon Bolen

(3:30) What is Jon reading?

(6:29) Jon’s unique approach to leadership through the pandemic

(11:27) ENTOUCH’s culture

(13:33) What does ENTOUCH do?

(18:56) Will the pandemic have an effect on the way people think about climate change?

(21:53) Setting boundaries while working from home

(25:24) Keeping a strong culture without going in to the office

(27:58) ENTOUCH’s innovation in its field

Quotes

“The recognition that this is the time we’re being called to be leaders. This environment isn’t going away...So it’s our job to help [our clients] through that, not sit on the sideline with other people waiting for it to be over.” (9:33)

“When we think about climate change, we’re always thinking about cars and smokestacks, and you know, all of the sort of dirty technologies. We never really wrap our heads around the idea that the offices we go to work in, and the houses we live in are actually the largest culprit. And the simplest way to impact your energy consumption in a building is to make it smarter.” (15:23)

“Climate change is going to create this long term test on our resiliency, and it’s going to take technologies like ENTOUCH to enable the facilities teams to battle that.” (18:15)

“It wasn’t uncommon at all for one of us to hear a conversation on the other side of the room and kind of lean back and think ‘You know, I think I can add value to that.’ Go over, and it turns into two to three people jumping in front of a whiteboard and solving a problem that otherwise might not have gotten solved.” (26:11)

“I think all companies have to think through, how do we create that really, really neat lightning in a bottle that you get when really smart people collaborate; and do it virtually.” (27:20)

Links

Shawn Black

Jon Bolen

ENTOUCH

Book Recommendations


Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Leadership in Hard Times and Innovating to Win

Shawn had the opportunity to chat with Jon Bolen, CEO of ENTOUCH. They talked about being a leader through uncertain times, ENTOUCH's innovative mindset, and cultivating ENTOUCH's strong culture.

LEADERSHIP THROUGH A PANDEMIC

Jon's company has been able to stay above water throughout the pandemic and economic collapse. In fact, they did not have to furlough employees, while other companies' hands were forced. He attributes much of this to a strong mentality of not being a victim of the pandemic. He wants to be the antithesis of sitting around and waiting until the world goes back to something resembling normalcy.

While Jon is not necessarily happy or thrilled about what is going on, he is content, knowing that he is leading. He is in charge and challenged every day to try to impact his customers' and employees' lives in a positive way. He finds value in preparing for every unexpected turn in the road and making the most of the hand he is dealt.

"The recognition that this is the time we're being called to be leaders. This environment isn't going away...So it's our job to help [our clients] through that, not sit on the sideline with other people waiting for it to be over." (9:33)

ENTOUCH'S INNOVATIVE MINDSET

ENTOUCH is committed to providing a healthier planet and delivering sustainable solutions to reduce energy, raise profitability, and streamline facilities management. ENTOUCH realizes that carbon emissions are not limited to transportation, mining, and other "dirty technologies." A large portion of carbon emissions, which we can realistically reduce, occur in office buildings and homes.

The most productive way to cut carbon emissions in homes and office buildings is through smart controls, which ENTOUCH specializes in. They have created an opportunity for their customers and facilities managers to have digital control. Now, through the pandemic, they can control office building environments with the touch of a button from miles away.

"When we think about climate change, we're always thinking about cars and smokestacks, and you know, all of the sort of dirty technologies. We never really wrap our heads around the idea that the offices we go to work in, and the houses we live in are actually the largest culprit. And the simplest way to impact your energy consumption in a building is to make it smarter." (15:23)

"Climate change is going to create this long term test on our resiliency, and it's going to take technologies like ENTOUCH to enable the facilities teams to battle that." (18:15)

ENTOUCH'S STRONG, COLLABORATIVE CULTURE

Jon believes that the key to a robust and healthy culture within his company stems from one core principle - truth and transparency. He asks a lot of his staff, but he makes sure that everyone knows exactly what is going on. There are no questions about what the expectations for each person are, or what the expectations of the company are. Jon goes as far as giving his entire staff the same presentations that he gives to the company's board.

The pandemic and working from home has brought unique challenges to company culture, and ENTOUCH has not been immune. Typically, employees work in an open office that encourages collaboration for problem-solving, but working from home brought isolation to their strongest minds. Now they are learning to connect via unplanned virtual meetings throughout the day to capture the best ideas brought forth through collaboration.

"It wasn't uncommon at all for one of us to hear a conversation on the other side of the room and kind of lean back and think 'You know, I think I can add value to that.' Go over, and it turns into two to three people jumping in front of a whiteboard and solving a problem that otherwise might not have gotten solved." (26:11)

"I think all companies have to think through, how do we create that really, really neat lightning in a bottle that you get when really smart people collaborate; and do it virtually." (27:20)

Jon and his team provide an excellent example of how to lead a team through uncertain times while maintaining the things that set you apart from the competition.

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