I Had to Make it Work | By Mark Ballo
When you ask someone what makes a leader, you will hear a variety of different answers, but at the end of the day, only two things really matter. You need to be honest, and you need to care. You need to care about what you do and be passionate enough to put in the hours and to put in the work.
My job as Des Moines Regional Manager is to oversee everything that happens at the Des Moines branch. This includes overseeing the service department, the sales department, even the building, and the fleet. I own everything that happens here. Every mistake is on me, and every win is on me. I am one of the most competitive people in this company, and to me, it is important to win.
When I lead, I think of myself as the conductor, and my people are all part of a choir. I’m there to demonstrate and make sure everyone is going at the right pace and hitting the right notes. I genuinely believe improvement doesn’t come just by practicing. Bad habits are hard to break, and the reputation of doing something wrong over and over is only going to enforce bad habits. You need to coach someone to mirror you and correct their bad habits. It’s also essential as a leader to point out these bad habits.
I want always to be honest with people. I don’t want people to be surprised when they want to know what I think of their performance. I will always let people know if I think they are falling behind. You can manage results, or you can manage the processes. If you manage the process and make sure we are doing everything we are suppose to, then the results will follow.
Most people want to belong. Most people want to win. Salespeople have to be able to walk, chew gum, and kick a can all at the same time. It is so important for me to not only show them how to do this but to move out of their way when they are ready to run.
What motivates me to win is my family. My first love is my family. When my family heard I was offered this job, they were so excited about something new.
(In 2010, Mark was transferred from the Sales Manager of the Oelwein facility to Des Moines to start the CITY depot location as the Des Moines Regional Manager.)
Failure wasn’t an option. I was NOT going to let my family down. I was NOT going to let the Wetlaufers (CITY’s presidents) down. I knew they all believed in me, and that’s why I never once thought what if this doesn’t work out. I knew I had to make it work.