March 13, 2013

Cover Story

CEO of the Year

Effective leaders often credit their team members for successes and achiev...Read More

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Are you a credible leader?

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Are you a credible leader?

Sarah Ryther Francom

March 13, 2013

From the editor:

Every morning I receive management tips from Harvard Business Review. Reading the tidbits of leadership inspiration is a refreshing way to start each workday. A few weeks ago, HBR sent a message connecting leadership to credibility. The message was simple: you can’t be an effective leader if you’re not a credible leader. If your team doesn’t believe in you and your ability, you will not be able to lead them in the mission you (and your company) seek to fulfill.

The brief email continued by offering advice on how to build credibility—the advice, too, was simple. It read, “Make an effort to establish [credibility] from the beginning by showing your willingness to work hard, modeling the behaviors you’re trying to encourage in others, and keeping promises and meeting deadlines. Always be prepared…Hold others accountable, treating them fairly and consistently. And, use your power and influence for the benefit of others.”

In this issue of Utah Business, we honor eight chief executive officers who have proved to be credible leaders in their companies and the community. The CEOs honored are Josh Coates of Instructure, Jeffrey Johnson of Progrexion, Mike Nadon of Cementation, Sterling Nielsen of Mountain America Credit Union, Drew Peterson of Veracity Networks, Pat Richards of SelectHealth, Wayne Searle of SME Steel and Dave Zitting of Primary Residential Mortgage.

As I interviewed each CEO, I was amazed at how strong, clear and decisive, yet humble, these leaders were when discussing their roles. They each exuded a passion for their company and their work—a passion that I believe likely inspires and motivates everyone involved with the company. But what is even more telling are the words that came from their colleagues when speaking about the CEO’s leadership ability. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

Randy Christensen, vice president of sales and marketing for Veracity Networks, said of Drew Peterson: “His passion is very contagious and we all catch a piece of that, and you just want to perform well for him because he’s putting it out there every single day 100 percent, and it just makes you want to do the same.”

Scott Burt, Mountain America board member, noted how Sterling Nielsen led the credit union to unprecedented growth during the recession. “Sterling has been the driving force that has carried us through the most difficult economy we have experienced in our lifetime. He has been the steadying mind making the adjustments that have made it possible for Mountain America Credit Union to be moving forward with strong earnings and strong employee support.” 

Jon Pixton, CFO of Progrexion, said CEO Jeff Johnson is “truly concerned about all the stakeholders in the business. His goal is not to maximize profits. He really wants everyone to succeed.”

It’s evident that these eight CEO of the Year honorees are more than heads of their companies—they are credible leaders who have had a real impact to their companies, the community and those they’ve worked with. Read their stories beginning on page 62.

Leadership doesn’t start and end with a management title. As that HBR email noted, leadership takes work. We hope that these stories of leadership will inspire you—no matter your title—to step up and be a credible, effective leader.



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