A Leader Provides the Vision, the Strategy, and the Resources
President, Smith Phillips Strategic Communications
What makes a leader? The best leaders are visionaries. They don’t just think in terms of what the organization needs today, but what it will need in the future. And they implement strategies that will achieve those short- and long-term goals.
The best leaders are also great mentors and motivators. They make sure the right people have the right roles and give staff the resources they need to achieve common organizational goals, as well as staff members’ individual goals.
I don’t really think I need to re-invent myself
to stay engaged.
What is the difference between a leader and a manager? A leader provides the vision, the strategy, and the resources for the organization to succeed. A manager oversees day-to-day operations, making sure that the organization is implementing those strategies and achieving the vision. They work hand-in-hand, of course, and each is essential to the success of the organization.
How do you motivate yourself to see things anew every day? I’m not worried about seeing things anew. I’m a consultant, and my focus is on each of the public relations and marketing programs my team is implementing. So, I’m more concerned with whether each program is as successful as it should be and what, if anything, needs to be adjusted. That’s what I focus on every day.
Leadership comes in all forms and, often, throughout organizations.
What are the biggest challenges you face today in 2022 as a leader? In this age of remote work, I think the thing I worry most about is whether I’m giving my employees what they need to succeed. In the past, when you saw everyone regularly in the office, it was easier to maintain the constant communication that’s necessary for success. But my employees are spread across the U.S., which requires a concerted focus on communication. On the flip side, being able to employ people from all over means we can hire the most qualified people and that geography isn’t an issue.
Do the C titles make a difference and if so, how? I don’t worry about titles. Leadership comes in all forms and, often, appears throughout organizations. It’s generally easy to find where real leadership lies within an organization.
From historical figures to people in public eye, who would you want to be your leader/CEO? One example from history who jumps out at me is Abraham Lincoln, who created a cabinet of men who were generally better known and more widely respected and built and led the team that saved the Union. In the process he earned their loyalty and adoration. Of course, he wouldn’t know what to do with today’s parking industry!
What are the essential ingredients for a successful team? Common purpose and commitment to the organization’s mission and goals are essential. When it comes to the day-to-day success of the team, respect for other team members and effective communication are also vital.
What is your dream job? I’m happy with my current job, but maybe I could moonlight as a guitarist in a blues band every now and then.
How to re-invent yourself daily to avoid being complacent. I don’t really think I need to re-invent myself to stay engaged. As a PR consultant, I’m lucky because I work with a lot of different companies and their people on different types of projects related to parking. So, if I’m jumping from parking consulting in the morning to parking technology in the afternoon, I don’t have time to get complacent. Having so many different types of clients keeps things interesting. And parking itself is advancing so much and so rapidly, it’s impossible to get bored!//
Bill Smith, President, Smith Phillips Strategic Communications