By: Natalie O'Laughlin on October 14th, 2013
CEO Spotlight: Joe Mechlinski of entreQuest
This month we interviewed, Joe Mechlinski, CEO and co-founder of entreQuest and New York Times Bestselling Author of Grow Regardless: Of Your Business's Size, Your Industry or the Economy…and Despite the Government! We thought during this time of economic hardship, Joe might have ideas on how we can continue to move forward and grow. Read the full interview below!
Helios HR: What’s your culture like at entreQuest?
Joe Mechlinski: Our culture is a reflection of our core values:
- Keep your word. It’s important to us because we believe in the work we do for small and mid-size businesses. We recognize that you’re only as good as your last meeting. In a world filled of broken promises, a lot of talking and not a lot of walking, we think by keeping our word, it sets us apart as a competitive advantage.
- Grow Regardless. Obviously this doubles as the name of our book. It’s really about not settling. It’s taking full responsibility and accountability of the situation. Our culture as a lot of heart, hustle and humility.
- Demonstrating passion for what we do. This is reflective of the idea that we all get to be here, don’t need to be here. We express gratitude for our work, our health and our clients.
- Delivering a remarkable experience to our clients and community. This is the art of going the extra mile, finding the way to go above and beyond.
Our culture is best described by those four values.
Helios: How you have embraced change both internally and with clients as you have grown your organization?
Joe: Embracing change is the topic of the day for anyone who has been in a leadership position in the past 10 years. I don’t think there really is an option. Everyone has had to embrace change; otherwise they shrink or kill their company. How we embrace change at eQ is by waking up in the morning and not looking at it like it is a negative thing. The thing is we say we don’t like change, but we watch different movies and wear different clothes every day. Human beings don’t dislike change, we dislike the pressure. So long as we are looking and listening for change, we can thrive on it. (Footnote: I have A.D.D. and I love change.)
Helios: You wrote one of the New York Times Bestsellers, Grow Regardless. Can you share some of your personal experiences that led you to write this book?
Joe: Small businesses are one of the biggest underdogs in this country in my opinion. We are underserved and undervalued. We aren’t represented in the media or being taken into consideration with what’s going on right now with our government. Yet, small to mid-sized companies are 50% of the country’s GDP and are the job creators in this country. It’s personal to me- I grew up in a town that had one of the worst graduation rates in the state. Had it not been for my dad working at a small business and watching him grow his career through that company, I may not have ended up that way. The intention of the book was to give back, to share my thanks and services to the small and mid-size businesses.
Helios: With what’s going on right now with the government shutdown, what do you recommend contractors do to move forward?
Joe: Go back to the way we started. Your culture and core values are the decision-making framework during good times and tough times. Try to create distance and space for stimulus in your response. It’s easy to make a quick decision with furloughs and laying people off. When you think of your vision and values, they should help you through those times. Be really thoughtful in how you respond, and don’t be so quick to make those short-term decisions. What you lose may have bigger impact over time. It’s not about thinking long-term versus short-term, it’s thinking about both. If politicians thought about it that way, their actions wouldn’t take them just to their next election.
Warren Buffet has a famous saying, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” Everyone thought in 2008 it was beyond his time and that the world was passing him by, but Warren Buffet reinvested in some of America’s biggest companies. He invested into Goldman Sachs and since then, he’s made 40% return on that investment. Now in this time instead of being fearful, instead of cutting back and thinking short-term, make the investment. At the moment it may not look pretty, but in the end, Washington and our country will figure this out.
Since 2001, entreQuest (eQ) has been in the business of helping organizations grow regardless of their size, their industry or the economy. To learn more, please visit www.entrequest.com.