045 Pandemic Post-Mortem – How To Lead Effectively In Times of Crisis with Doug Hart

“Looking back at it now, there’s a time and place to be aggressive, but it often makes sense to slow down a little bit.” – Doug Hart

Today my guest is Douglas Hart, Vice President International at Terminix and President, ServiceMaster Canada. I enjoyed Doug’s straight-shooting approach and practical nature. No leadership platitudes here, just real-world advice from a leader in the trenches.

Doug and I go back many moons, having competed in various tennis tournaments as kids.  Was great to hear about his career and catch up after 25+ years.  The power of podcasting!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

– How slowing down can help you accelerate your long-term performance as a new leader,
– Why changing your leadership style may not be the right move in a crisis,
– What approach worked effectively for Doug this year, and how you can leverage it,
– What surprised him most about 2020 so far…
– and a lot more!

If you find this episode valuable, please subscribe and rate us on Apple Podcasts!

Move towards the same vision

I went from being a marketer to hiring 14 people from different disciplines. It was my first experience in leading teams. I didn’t have a ton of experience in some of their functional areas, but I definitely discovered early on that you have to trust people in their ability to do their functional position, provided I’m guiding and coaching, but to get everybody aligned to the same objective and the same vision – I think that’s critical. That’s probably the first real lesson I learned in leadership.

Slow down a little bit

When you’re a young and ambitious leader and you’re highly motivated, you want results, one of the things you can do is sometimes not include people the way that you should.

I had opportunities to leverage more functional expertise and peple with more experience than me, and in fear of slowing me down in terms of trying to find consensus, I potentially at times did not seek that alignment and just went forward.

Looking back at it now, there’s a time and place to be aggressive, but it often makes sense to slow down a little bit. You’ll still get there, you’ll still be highly successful, but bring in all those resources and get alignment – you’ll be much better off for it in the long run.

A New Hybrid

I’m of the feeling that I think there’s been learnings here that not everybody needs to go to the office every day, for full business hours. I think that’s not a necessity any longer. We are likely going to move to a hybrid solution where we will actually move to a smaller office footprint and figure out how that looks like. We will also give people flexibility to work from home.

I don’t think my leadership style has really changed, but I do enjoy and I do miss having at least some degree of working together in person. Some of these water cooler conversations, or just bantering around the office – those build relationships.

Post-pandemic, we’re going to have a new hybrid. It’s going to be somewhere in between the old and the new.


Links and Resources

Connect with Doug: LinkedIn

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer

Doug’s Productivity Tip: Keep your schedule structured and do some physical activity 3-4x per week.