Leave Things Better

A job well done means we leave something better than we found it. This never seemed as paramount as it does for me now, as I prepare to hand over the reins and retire at the end of this month.

I am very proud of the team who will carry forward our company’s commitment to be admired for both its performance and its people. As I leave, it reminds me again of the importance of the people equation.

We have been able to attract some really good people — some of the best in the nation — to work at Marco and lead our efforts. They are wise, often beyond their years, which makes me even more confident in the future of our company. They know their areas of responsibility well (and have made me better because of it).

Some of the people on our leadership team today joined Marco early in their careers and were mentored along their paths. Some were spotted from afar as top talent that we wanted on our team and joined mid-career because of the culture and opportunity we offer. Some even gave up something pretty great to come here because they believe in what we’re doing.

This does not happen by accident, although a little luck doesn’t hurt. Attracting good people takes intention and constantly looking around corners for the best and brightest.

Job knowledge or a certain pedigree are just part of the equation. When building a team, they need to fit the organization. If I had to pick, I would choose good people over a good strategy any day. The results will speak for themselves.

Attracting the “Right” People

All organizations can attract people. But are they the “right” people? For leaders in our organization, we look for these key attributes:

  • Business acumen — The right people know how to count, they own the numbers and execute accordingly. They don’t need an MBA, but they do need to really understand the profit equation for your business.
  • Strategists — You need people who initiate new ideas and create strategy that makes your business better. That’s a different skillset from executing. It takes vision, problem solving, outlining key steps and often being willing to take some risks. (Assess your risk tolerance).
  • Get it done — The best ideas go nowhere without execution; the best people “get it done.”
  • Dual leadership — Lots of people can manage their respective areas well, but I also look for leaders who are active and engaged in their community and industry.
  • Model culture — Culture is dynamic and needs to be modeled from the top – every day. People are always paying attention. What leaders say and how they act matters.
  • Trustworthy — It maybe goes without saying that leaders need to be trustworthy, but not everyone is. High integrity is essential. It means doing the right thing even when it is hard or no one is looking.
  • Supportive — The best people are cheerleaders for others. They recognize good work and genuinely seek ways to support and sponsor others across the organization. They’re not worried about who gets credit.

Are the people around you making you better? Would you trust them to carry forward a vision and leave a legacy for your organization?

I can confidently say YES to each of these and leave Marco with peace of mind after 37 years. I wish the same for you one day…


How are you accessing good IT talent? The responsibilities have widened beyond technical components to include business acumen, financial management and making decisions to improve operations. Listen to what's changing and steps to take in this podcast

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Team