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A Conversation with Todd Gilbert of Valley Companies

This week, Kyle jumps into the Conversation Series… I called an old friend to see if he and his views saw anything different than mine and with his spot in the industry being so different than mine, I had nothing to lose. The takeaways from the call were interesting, wide, and enlightening to me.  I asked his permission to share those takeaways with you.  Enjoy my conversation with my friend, Todd Gilbert of Valley Companies.

How are Things Going?

It was no surprise to have Todd tell me how good things were with his family and how truly blessed he was.  I had to go with another question in to get to his business.  He spoke fondly of his team and how proud he was of the grit they continue to show.  He said he was disappointed on how COVID has made a couple divisions miss seasonal timing in certain markets and the way our government continues to operate in a vacuum.  Todd continues to wonder why Government will not learn or lean on those like us who are making safe, consciousness decisions for our team members, customers and society.

There is no doubt that Todd and his views align with mine perfectly.  We both agree that supply chain has shown many ways that others could look at with ways to deal with adversity.

Teams Dealing with Change

Both Todd and I went into remote teams and dealing with the change with much concern.  We both are enlightened that we got this right, with limited, if any, problems, and able to execute the heck out of the changes.  We are both in agreement that the workplace probably looks different in the future.  However, we both had a little issue painting a completely clear picture of it.  We agreed that as this transition continues post-COVID it will be powerful and transformational to many workers, how they work and what they do.

I found it very interesting that because of Todd’s team culture, his team was able to flex and cover non-traditional roles, something that probably doesn’t work as well if his staff was still in the office.  I was completely impressed with his stories of how his team figured out the will.

More of the same, but yet different

I found Todd’s words powerful when he said that our drivers don’t want to be called heroes, but they just want to do their job.  He finds that his drivers answer his thanks with a no thanks needed, thanks for the job.  They just want to do their job and be part of the solution.

Next topic from Todd is how his company continues to evolve in exciting new ways (watch for big things from Valley Companies), but still the driver remains in the center of that.  He talked about diversification opportunities, controlled growth, efficiencies and how they are going to do things better.  It motivates me to be more creative in my approach.

The Power of Trend

I must admit, I am not a huge trend guy.  I track using comparatives and results versus goals.  Todd was telling me that how they started to talk about trend during these COVID times and that has allowed him to rally his teams around things that matter.  It has also motived his trend that his business is up in all measurements of trend over the past seven weeks.  That is completely impressive.  One that he and his team should be proud of.

Easy take away for all: Talk about trend!

Family Business

I have always looked at the opportunities that family business has allowed me that you can’t get anywhere else in life.  I talk openly of my time with my mom and dad.  The many lessons they taught me that prepared me for life.

If was fun to talk with Todd about the same experiences.  It came up early in our conversation that supply chain has exercised resilience better than almost any other industry.  It was fun to hear our conversation come full circle to how our family businesses were better prepared in our minds for the deep changes due to our resilience that was taught to us through our parents and in our family and our business.  It was fun to talk about those lessons that we learned.  I encouraged Todd to continue to listen to his dad, Jerry. Everyone knows I would love to talk to my dad.

Think of things that are important and make them more important

As I was talking with Todd, it became clear that one thing we have done well through this time is to identify what is important to each of us and make them more important.  Sounds simple.  Have you tried it?

If you have not yet, consider this to be the one thing you can do better for yourself.  Todd and I are fans of John Maxwell’s book “Intentional Living”.  Maxwell speaks of your circle and how to manage it.  Both Todd and I spoke to increasing our influence in ways that matter to those that are in our circle.

Have you intentionally looked at your life and what makes it up?  Where you spend your time, who you spend it with and what you are doing?  You should.  You will find out interesting things about yourself.

My wish for you is that you fill your circle with people like Todd.  People you can call, talk shop, appreciate the investment of time and spirit into each other.  If you do not see this in your circle, go find it!

This Father’s Day Weekend

If your father is still with us, please express your appreciation, love, and thanks.  If you came from a home in which your father was a true influencer of your life and in a positive way – please share that with your father.  It is that man’s ultimate compliment.  Tell them why you are thankful and how their influence has made you better today.  Todd gets the chance to tell his father his thanks and gets to share the story of this article and how resilience came to the surface in our conversation.  Do the same.

If you are a father on this Father’s Day weekend, look at things that you are doing, could be doing, and should be doing to mold the children in your life.  It does not matter if they are one, 16 or 40; you have an influence on them and use it for good things.

If your father is in a family business with you or your children are in a business with you; express your thanks for being able to work together, learn together and remain a quality family – all at the same time.  Express your desire to be able to continue to do all these things, simultaneously and successfully going forward.  Share a moment of appreciation of how darn cool it is to be able to work with family!

Remember, leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.  Use yours wisely!

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