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The Power of Being Yourself with Jim Eickhoff

Having a servant heart allows leaders to help their people shine and succeed, and who wouldn’t want that?

In this episode we’re joined by Jim Eickhoff, President and CEO of Creative Dining Services. He shares valuable lessons on effective leadership, the importance of authenticity, and the impact of creating a vision that puts the team first. Join us as we explore Jim’s experiences, his unique approach to developing genuine connections, and the role of mentorship in achieving success.

After You Listen:

Key Takeaways:

  • Dress for your ambitions, be authentic, and create a vision that inspires your team to succeed
  • Value the mentorship of leaders who share their experience, they can deliver tough messages that propel your growth
  • Have a servant’s heart, understand and support your team holistically, make others shine and succeed

Things to listen for:

  • [02:43] Lightning round with Jim
  • [05:03] Prioritizing serving your team, not yourself
  • [11:14] Appreciating different communication styles
  • [17:46] Respect and positivity – essentials for effective leadership
  • [23:25] Jim’ advice for his younger self
  • [25:03] Craig’s takeaways

Jim’s Transcript:

[00:00:00] Craig: My boss called me into his office, sat me down very early in my career and said, Craig, know that you want to do more here in the future. If you’re going to do that, you’re gonna have to make some changes.

Welcome to Executive Evolution. I’m Craig Anderson. After spending 25 plus years in corporate America, I learned a lot of leadership lessons the hard way. I created this podcast so you don’t have to. So as he sat me down, he was both my boss’s boss, but really a mentor to me.

Somebody who was looking out for me, and this was very early in my career before he even had a leadership role, but he sat me down and he said, Craig, if you want to continue to progress, you’re gonna have to change some things, particularly the way you’re showing up every day. This may sound terrible to a lot of people, but what he was really getting to was the way I was dressing was not the way I was dressing as someone who wanted to show up, and not because I couldn’t afford better clothes, because I was trying to be cool or send a message that I wasn’t taking it all that seriously.

But in fact, I really did have big goals and that one conversation really changed the course for me, and it’s the importance of having a mentor. It’s a little different than a boss. A mentor is someone who’s looking out for you and helping you benefit from their experience. And whether it’s a tough message or not, or even the right message, it was the right message for me at the time.

Today in our interview with Jim Eickhoff, CEO of Creative Dining Services. We have a great discussion about his executive evolution and one of the things that really stood out to me was an amazing mentoring program he was part of in his first leadership role. So now let’s move on to this week’s episode of the Executive Evolution Podcast.

[00:01:48] Craig: Jim, welcome to Executive Evolution. Thanks for joining us today.

[00:01:52] Jim Eickhoff: Hey, thanks Craig. Appreciate it and looking forward to our, time together today.

[00:01:55] Craig: Oh, it’s gonna be great. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of good information to share. So, Jim, before we jump in to the lightning round, maybe you could tell folks a bit about Creative Dining

[00:02:05] Track 1: Services and the work that you do.

[00:02:06] Jim Eickhoff: Yeah, sure. Absolutely.

Yeah. Creative Dining is a contract, hospitality and dining management company. in the areas of corporate dining colleges and universities and retirement communities. we provide delicious, yummy food, days a week, provide that opportunity. And we’re in 14 states. We have 70 clients and about 1500 employees primarily in the Midwest.

[00:02:28] Track 1: and one thing that always impresses me, Jim, is I see you so often or out in the field right in the thick of it with your team staying on top of things and just helping them out. It’s fantastic.

[00:02:38] Jim Eickhoff: Jim, are you ready to jump into the

[00:02:40] Track 1: lightning round today?

[00:02:42] Jim Eickhoff: I’m ready to go.

[00:02:43] Track 1: All right, so we’ll start out with what is your favorite leadership book?

[00:02:47] Jim Eickhoff: You know, a book, entitled Leadership Jazz by Max Dupree. he’s since passed, but the chairman of the board for Herman Miller, Michigan. And really the concept of the book is all about matching one’s voice to one’s touch. the voice is the expression of one’s belief. So what, do I believe on as a leader? But then the touch is what I’m gonna demonstrate in my competence and in my resolve to continue to, mentor, lead an organization. key factors are, is one, you gotta reach out to others.

That’sthat’s the success formula. It’s out in the field being with your people out in the line, wherever it is that have to be with your client and your employee base. And then the most important thing is not to make a casual promise. Don’t make flip. Oh, we’ll do that. Hey, I will. make that benefit plan better. You’ve gotta make sure you can deliver. ’cause as a leader, your words mean a lot. And a lot of times people are gonna say, Jim said, and you better be able to deliver it, not make a, like I said, a casual promise.

[00:03:41] Track 1: I like that. And that’s such a temptation. ’cause you always wanna solve the problems as a leader when they come to you with something. Yes, we’ll get on that, but there’s 50 of those things in a day if you’re not careful.

[00:03:51] Jim Eickhoff: You I’m a fixer natural tendency, on a personal side, my wife says, look, I’m gonna share something with you, but you don’t need to fix it. and I had to learn that early on, that, I can’t always fix things. I can have suggestions and brainstorm, but my tendency man was to say, I’m fixing it. gosh, you know what the old adage is? There’s no I and we, and if you try to fix it on your own, you’re gonna be in for a long haul and a lot of times, a lot of failures. If you just try to do it by yourself,

[00:04:14] Track 1: and it’s hard when you’re the C E O and you’re in a leadership role, you know, you can’t fix every problem immediately, and the problems that come to you tend to be pretty complicated. They’re just not flip answers usually.

[00:04:25] Jim Eickhoff: know? AndAnd a lot of times I think people look to you and you assume they’re looking to you to fix it. but I think a lot of times people may have a solution. then what I’ve learned as a leader, I need to sit back and ask, what do you think that the answer could be to this certain situation? And a lot of times there’s fantastic, for resolution that I would never have thought of, quite frankly. And,I think they’re waiting for,leader to say, so your spin on that? How would you fix that?

[00:04:47] Track 1: Oh And that’s what I used to tell my sales teams all the time was like, you guys are out there all the time, so you probably know what we need to do more so than I do. So let’s talk through and brainstorm and come up with it. ’cause they know they’re out there

[00:04:58] Jim Eickhoff: every day. Right.exactly.

[00:04:59] Track 1: Next question in the lightning round, who is your leadership crush?

[00:05:03] Jim Eickhoff: Youwhen it got to be who’s kind of inspiring to you and I, there’s a long list of,personal mentors, but I think when I got into the more of the executive leadership role, I think Patrick Luconi was one that for me impacted just his approach, that whole idea, especially with his book, hungry, humble, and Smart. I think there’s so many, elements that, speak to, what makes a good leader. And we all have in, places where, um, got an ego-driven leader. And man, it’s hard to follow because it’s all about them and very little about the rest of the group.

So, you know that humble aspect of saying, look, you know what? I’m here to serve you,is critical. And you gotta have drive and desire. wanna have that, hunger to be successful and noted for all the right reasons in your company. And that whole idea of smart, you gotta know your business. Um,you’re gonna be out there communicating it

to your employees, to your direct staff, to the leadership team, or to the community, better have that, knowledge base of who you are as a company, where you’re going, and then that, smarts to kind of navigate that future vision, uh, people are looking for.

’cause they want that inspiration. Where are we going? Where’s that magnetic north going? So that’s where Patrick kind of goes with a lot of his books and, podcasts and his stuff is, pretty inspirational for

[00:06:12] Track 1: Yeah, it’s also laser focused on effective leadership and there’s so much in what you just unpacked there around both the humility that we’re all here, it’s all the same team. I’m just in charge of it, but I’m not doing everything every day. You guys are doing it. So how do I create a vision so you know where we’re going? just set the boundaries ethically and all those other good things. But when we stand up as the big Eagle leader and it’s just like all about us. know it’s not about them. And what are they following at that point? this is interesting ’cause now I want to ask you how you would define leadership in 10 words or less, because maybe some of that will sneak in here.

[00:06:47] Jim Eickhoff: Leadership is being true to yourself with a servant hearted attitude to make others shine and succeed in their work. I didn’t add those letters up and numbers up, but I think we’re close I’d sure love just to put on my business card, servant leader. I think people are hungry to work for somebody. Who really has them, as in your direct reports, really focused in on their whole being What’s happening with their professional life, their personal life, their physical life, their spiritual life. All these things are important. when you have that attitude, people want to follow that.

It’s different because it isn’t about a number or your GL code or any of those kind of things. we’re really looking at from my lens folks that have that servant’s heart. And a willingness to slow down enough to pay attention to people.

[00:07:41] Track 1: we were talking before just with keeping people and, andkeeping your employees on and when they know that you really care about them and you’re engaged with them, it’s a very different dynamic when that job for, you know, cents more an hour or $2 more an hour, or whatever it is, right. you can’t find a lot of workplaces where the leaders actually are integrated and care. Are engaging every day, and there’s huge value in that.

[00:08:07] Jim Eickhoff: one of the things too I’ve learned is,you gotta be vulnerable. And that kind of ties into that, that, humility or that servant’s heart, you say, I don’t know, an okay thing because it makes you a human being. It makes you like normal. And a lot of times people, have all the answers and you’re going, wow, man, I’m afraid to make a mistake.

Or I’m afraid to say, I don’t know. And then it just trickles down that everyone’s afraid to say, I don’t know something when alls you really need to do is say, Hey, you know what, time out. I don’t understand that. Or I don’t know how to get it. Let’s get it together. And I think that’s where that whole day of being vulnerable is a leader.

It’s an okay thing. I,I really believe so.

[00:08:38] Track 1: And as you’re saying that, I was thinking of like Jim Collins, good to Great where he talks about, there’s gonna be roadblocks, there’s gonna be things that get in our way, and if we stand up as leaders and blow a bunch of smoke that those bad things aren’t happening, lose us. Now the trick is you also have to say, but I’m still confident we’re gonna get there. gotta get through some obstacles and these are right in front of us today, but we’re not losing sight of the goal.

[00:08:58] Jim Eickhoff: That’s where that vision a leader is critical. You keep that vision ahead, but it’s okay to kind of. How to navigating between that and,and where you’re today.

[00:09:07] Track 1: well those are great. So Jim, take me to your first leadership role. We talked a little bit about this, you know, we all have that first leadership role. What was your first big leadership role where you were taking a team of people and moving ’em forward?

[00:09:20] Jim Eickhoff: for the Service Master company and you start out in management so you don’t, work through some process. So I was 22 years old, fresh college graduate. I was a night manager of a housekeeping department at a hospital. I had 20 people, my belt. And alls I can say is I was a novice. I probably knew what to do. And so when I started out, it was, okay, I’m the manager. You know, you kind of feel cool about that. You tell your friends, Hey, I’m the manager and parents are fired up. Hey, I’m the manager. man, when you get there, I’m going, Hey, I’m the manager.

What am I supposed to do? a novice. out that,end up having to learn an absolute ton. When you have 20 or so people you know right out of the gate. I think most responsibility I had before was managing my little brother mowing yards or something like that.

[00:10:07] Track 1: oh well, you know that brothers being what they are. That might’ve been even tougher. I don’t know. you’re 22, fresh outta college, leading a bunch of people who are probably older than you, or at least the same age, but probably older, and somebody thought you could do it, how do you handle, I don’t know how to do it.

[00:10:25] Jim Eickhoff: I think that’s,how organization gets is set up. That was one of the beauties, um,having a, an area manager and an a, director at that account. They really adopted back in the, early eighties, that mentor model. part of your day kicked off with, okay. how did it go last night? what things did you come across? Did you get stuck any place? and you would also hear, Hey, I heard, some rumblings that you made a call. And you know, it’s that idea of the care front. You know, they’re not attacking me as a person. They’re saying, Hey, here’s something that happened that maybe, probably wasn’t the best call on, you approach that particular situation.

So part of that was those daily debriefs and that the coachable, teachable moments, allowed, uh,to say, gosh, you know, I wasn’t feeling threatened by the conversation. I was, again, being able to, find myself in an area where I could be transparent and vulnerable, but at the same time, no, the expectation was there. I think I had a group, especially in some of those special areas like flurry finishing. You I had the book knowledge, I called it the Head Knowledge of how You’re supposed to do it, and they laughed at me. They literally were laughing at me and I go, well, you just look at my outcome. And then you can critique my A to B to C to D. Now, I might not do A to B to C to D, but look at my floor. Look,what’s the outcome? that’s where I learned a real lesson real early. I was like, maybe I don’t need to be all that worried about how you get from point A to point B. As long as you get to point B with the desired outcome, the high quality results. And satisfaction from your customer or your, team that you’re working with. that was probably the biggest learning I had, that those those early years.

[00:11:55] Track 1: and, and it sounds like that came from experience, maybe benefited by the mentoring ’cause I’m just fascinated that you actually had that kind of intentional mentoring in that role.

[00:12:05] Jim Eickhoff: mean, it was of it, download and upload of every day. It was pretty cool.

[00:12:09] Track 1: Wow. And is that something in your experience where you see that a lot, where that mentoring does exist a lot of entry-level leaders?

[00:12:17] Jim Eickhoff: I think it starts out well intended. I think we all get that time crunch and we tend to forget about it unless you’re very set up a little mini system,know, whether it’s go back in the day it was your daytimer, now it could be annual reminders in your

calendar, but, or you’re saying, look, use some, you daily check-ins. that’s part of our process. We have team huddles,for example, at our accounts where the leadership team will say, Hey, here’s what’s going on today. Here’s what’s on the menu. Here’s some key features. Hey, here’s we’re shorted a little bit. But that’s where everyone is together. And then at the end of the day, you wrap it up with the same kind of concept, well, well what do we gotta get better at? what do we need to do to make adjustments for tomorrow? And so we’ve tried to get that pattern. But depending upon your work environment, I think it’s even more challenging now with this trend of a lot more remote working. what modality am I gonna be checking in with people before I could walk down the hallway or go visit an account. And when Covid started, we were not even allowed to visit our accounts. So how do you check in and, do those same things? So we’ve been adaptive. I,think it’s just a self-discipline, like a lot of things. If it’s important, you’ll prioritize it and then you just gotta do it.

[00:13:21] Track 1: Yeah, and that’s, so interesting is when you say that all the different modalities now where people are all over the place and the things you kind of, from that early leadership role that in-person check-in and you know, all the way through your career until fairly recently, You always saw everybody every day.

So even if I didn’t necessarily have to schedule it, ’cause I was gonna walk by you 10 times and say, Hey, come on in. Let’s talk about this for a while. How have you had to adapt your leadership style to that now? To this kind of different ways I talk to people. ’cause you’ve got a big footprint in this current role.

[00:13:51] Jim Eickhoff: I think something that I still continue and I think it’s just because it was a habit, it kind of assisted in our environment today. I’ve always been a note writer, a handwritten note writer. so for every manager, we have 300 plus managers or so, people that lead people and they get a handwritten note on their birthday from me.

They get a handwritten note for their work anniversary. then when I go to the accounts, I make sure that I personally go in and introduce myself to the staff. So I think those are three habits that I’ve continued. it’s old fashioned, but it sure gets remembered.

it’s something so different in, world today, people feel appreciated and,know, loved a little bit more, I know that there’s a mutual, colleague of ours, rock Robinson. he was a prolific hand note writer, and also he would like to get out leadership books to people and he would always write in and say, you know,

hope you enjoy the book Rock. I go, why do you do that? He goes, nine outta 10 times, no one’s gonna throw the book away because you wrote a note in it. And then I thought

back on that and I go, you’re right. I got a whole shelf of books behind me that I have people’s notes and haven’t thrown away ‘ cause there’s a cool note about something unique about me typically in the note. And so I’ve kind of done the same thing.

Get a book on leadership, sign it off, and maybe do a couple highlights in there. Say, Hey, find the highlight and let me know what you think. And

[00:15:07] Track 1: I, love that last idea. So especially, just find the note and let me know what you think. so when you’re going out? ’cause as I said earlier, I always see out in LinkedIn, you’re always out in the field, you’re in with your teams and the staff, right, in the kitchens and all those areas.

Do you see the impact right up front when, from all your handwritten efforts and those intentions to reach out and how does it impact them?

[00:15:28] Jim Eickhoff: it’s funny ’cause with 1500 people in the organization, I’m one name easy to remember. I can’t remember everybody. there is that recognition, you see and it’s a relaxed, typically when executives come into, place of business, it’s, oh, the boss is here and you get these glazed look.

Or Oh my gosh,why is Jim here? I think that’s the message I send even in advance saying, look, you don’t do anything special for me. I’m out there to catch you doing great things, and I wanna have you show off to me some of the innovative things that you’re doing that maybe we can learn from you at this account that we could transfer to another account. And that just changes the whole visit mentality. And um, youtake the time to talk to the cashier. I mean,he talks to the cashier and we kind of check out, even at restaurants, you just do your thing, check out on your way. But when they know the CEO is popping in, a lot of times you learn something about them and you find out actually some real gems about maybe how we could be doing as a corporate office to serve them better. it’s in a benefit area or a wage issue, they feel heard. And so you take that time to listen as you walk around.

[00:16:29] Track 1: and you spoke earlier about never making those promises, right? Those quick promises with the feedback, how does that go? Because probably, you’re making yourself very open and I’m sure they are bending your ear with a hundred things when you’re on site. How keep a track?

[00:16:43] Jim Eickhoff: yeah, well, you know, what I look for are themes so a lot of times I may hear someone say, gosh, a, b, c, about a situation. You you know what? You’re the third, fourth person that said that in the last couple of weeks. You know, we’re really gonna take a look into that now. I said, no promises, but I say, you know what? I’m concerned about that.

If that,that’s impacting you and how you’re viewing, this situation, I bet you there are others like you. And I appreciate the fact that you said something. cause a lot of people won’t say anything. And, youwe’ve changed some of our benefit packages because of what people have said.

We’ve seen a theme, what’s too confusing or it’s too, youcumbersome to do A or B, and so we’ve changed it or enhanced the benefit. those complaints that tended to go away. And then when you go back to the account a little bit later, Hey, you listened to me, didn’t you? Youkind of one of these,

I did listen, but it wasn’t just because of you, it was a result of a lot of different listenings that, uh, had the opportunity to work through.

[00:17:29] Track 1: and I wonder, Jim, as you’re sitting in this leadership role now on this side of your career, and you talked about like the mentorship and realizing that as long as we’re getting to be the right way, that’s where I really wanna focus. So what are the big lessons in your leadership style today that came out of that first leadership experience for you?

[00:17:47] Jim Eickhoff: I knew I was a leader. You know, you get the title, you get the, youpay grade and all that kind of thing. But, and I got the authority because of all that, but it didn’t mean I was a leader. it’s that automatic thing that comes with titles and,a role. still gotta earn the respect and the ability have that tag of being a leader. ’cause that means the whole team rallies around, me as that guide, as that, post to say I have that accountability. and I think for me, the things that have been really, critical is that you’ve got to make sure as a leader that you are absolutely very positive publicly. You must find something great or good to say about a person or a team or a situation, even though it might be dire. times right now we’re short staffed due to the, you know, the environment that many of companies are facing today. And it’s like, gee, that short staff’s impacting quality or production. The question is how do we turn that negative scenario into something positive? And it’s, Hey, thanks for being here. Thanks for pitching in. acknowledging people forfor their presence. then the other part, that’s the public face, but then that private face is If there’s something you you’re concerned about or negative, don’t, do it in this in a public format. I personally believe that people don’t get up in the morning and say, I’m gonna go make Jim’s life miserable today, or their boss’s job miserable today. I just don’t believe that. I think there’s a lot of things that contribute to an attitude or, a serious issue with mental health today. We gotta find out what those root causes are and ask questions, but the most deflating thing, and I think all of us have had a leader in our career, especially have been 40 plus years, got a leader that just motivates by negativity and man, it’s almost like I can’t wait to find another opportunity. may that immediate response of like, okay, I’m gonna respond because I have to, ’cause they’re the boss. It’s a different word than leader. and so I think that’s how are we gonna make sure we, wepraise in public and then, care front in, in private, people don’t do that well. There’s so much in what you just said there. I think about like, leader is having the

[00:19:46] Track 1: title is like the lowest form of leadership. You’ll do it because I have a title and you don’t. you’ll get things done, but you’re gonna lose people in droves.

And again, going back to a lot of the themes I’ve heard Jim, right? It’s about the people. It’s about praising, it’s about vision and building people up and then showing them. I almost think back to when you talk about your mentorship opportunity, saying, it sounds like a good day, but hey, I heard about this.

Let’s talk about this. behind the scenes, where can I help you grow? Where can I help you learn, but not shaming you in front of everyone? It’s fun. Maybe in a sadistic way for a moment. But it really doesn’t serve her long term leadership strength.

[00:20:20] Jim Eickhoff: Yeah, I, I had another great, direct leader, Firestein, and, he worked with me at a couple different, opportunities and one of the things that he did, and I’ve stolen it, so sometimes great, getting the best form of flats to steal an idea from somebody. we had events, no titles were on anything. It was just your name and where you’re from. And you could be in a room

with the EVPs SVPs general area, all the way to the admins, the admin assistants in the office. And it was just name and where you’re from. And it really just kindneutralized this whole issue of titling and this all of a sudden, oh, that’s the so-and-so, and

I love it when I out into an account and I just start chatting and they have no clue who I am.

’cause there’s new employees and they may not know who I am initially. And then you loop back later. I. and they’re going, wow, I didn’t realize you were the president of the company. You’re so nice. It’s like, well, a president’s mean or something, or what, so I just find that to be, a great compliment that makes me feel good about how I’m approaching people. that’s just a good lesson for,listeners to say, you know,look, lead with your title, you’re gonna be treated differently for some reason. Be treated for the real you. I also, encourage new managers to be themselves. How often have we hired people? and man, you’re impressed with them.

You’re impressed with their credentials. you’re impressed with their, references. You’re impressed with the interview. They get onboarded and all of a sudden there’s something very different. who is this person that we hired? this beautiful,

unique person, and now somebody so different. a lot of times it was a mini promotions so now they’re the manager. They act like the manager. so we often say, we are hiring you for who you are. There were dozens of other people that applied for this job. We hired

you be you don’t be a textbook person that you think, oh, this is what I’m supposed to do now as a manager, throw that away.

You were hired because of that personality. You displayed In your previous role, your intuitive nature, your competencies, just continue that on. like I said, you see it once in a while where you get people suddenly being, the manager and what happened to the cool contributing servant leader we saw, two weeks ago. that’s a big tip. Be you and that, that’s why you’re in that role.

[00:22:26] Track 1: No, and I love that, and that’s such a great opportunity when you go back to the mentoring of the leader, right? Just remember them, I know you’re under pressure. I know you’re feeling a lot, but I hired you to be you not to be some other person.

Who’s wears a hat and a,cape or whatever you wear as a leader.

Right. And it’s so interesting because when you can be that we haven’t really touched on it, but part of it’s like authenticity as a leader, if you’re trying to be somebody you’re not, . If you’re really a good, nice person who also wants to lead people, that’s gonna come through. If you’re a jerk and you’ve got a leadership title, you’re probably still gonna be that jerk who’s publicly shaming people or whatever it is. So hire the person you want and be yourself. Put yourself in a position to be yourself. All right, well, so Jim, here’squestion I always like to close with is, if you could go into a time machine, pick anyone you want.

Go back to 22 year old Jim working as that night manager. What is the one piece of advice you would give him that would’ve helped him sleep better at night and be more effective in that role?

[00:23:25] Jim Eickhoff: I think the biggest first one is listen, to the people that work with you. I think

I discarded too much expertise and,and sound experience because of me being the manager. So I’d say and then apply what you’ve learned. think the other part about it is don’t deflect. Take the blame and the heat and own it. You know yourself. If you’re the cause of it, don’t try to point a finger at somebody else. of that is that competitive nature that we may have,you know, and say, oh, it’s not my fault, youyou don’t get in trouble. take the heat and,own it. And boy, a lot of times, andthat’s something different too, you know, we recognize at our company is like when people say, Hey, I screwed up. oh, that’s okay. we get a little upset with leaders when they start trying to blame, oh, those people can’t get here on time.

We can’t. I’m like, wow. You’re just blaming them as opposed to owning it up and trying to figure out a different way of approaching it. I think I mentioned a little bit earlier, but really I just remember to uphold the stars,uphold the people for their unique talent sets and give credit where credit is due. And you’re gonna get a loyal group of people. And I wish I would’ve more focused on that, you know, 40 years ago.

Yeah, I’m not a real,media guy, but, got a profile on LinkedIn and obviously access through, ww creative You kindour story and we got a lot of video clips about who we are. So those are the main elements. And if you look, reach out to me,and be part of that LinkedIn network.

I think it’s a powerful tool and just, reference that, uh,you’re listening to the podcast and I’ll make sure that get connected.

[00:24:52] Track 1: Excellent, and we’ll drop all those links in the show notes. Jim, thank you for being on the podcast thank you for the great work that you’re doing out there.

[00:24:59] Jim Eickhoff: you, Craig. Appreciate it.

Boy, I really appreciated that interview with Jim. Jim has such a great breadth of experience and you can kind of see how the early leadership roles mentors really influenced who he is today as a leader and how he is showing up the c e O of Creative Dining Services.

As always, I like to leave you with my takeaways from this week’s episode of the Executive Evolution Podcast, and I always like to categorize those in the areas of competence, competence, and calm in the area of competence. Mentoring not only. The benefit of having a mentor in your career, but also if you’re at a higher level in your career, where can you be a mentor?

That’s a level of confidence that you can either gain from being a mentee or you can provide by being a mentor. So find those opportunities where you can in the area of confidence. And this one really resonated with me because it’s something I learned in my leadership journey. Be yourself. You were hired into that leadership role for a reason, and if you’re trying to be someone you’re not, everyone’s going to sense that inauthenticity.

So be an authentic leader. Be yourself, and that’s going to gain you confidence because you’re not pretending to be someone else. And then in the area of calm, The idea of don’t deflect and own your mistakes, and that may not be something that you would think, oh, owning mistakes is really going to make me calm.

But it really will because when you’re covering up for those mistakes or you’re anxious about having to talk about those mistakes that will disturb your peace and your calm, own it, and then work from it to do better next time, that’s how you can establish that calm. As always, thanks for listening to the podcast.

Remember, you can go from being an accidental leader to the greatest of all time leader. All it takes is developing your confidence, competence, and calm. We’ll see you next time.