90 Ideas in 90 Minutes: Vince Shiely

partner, Lubar & Co.


The following are the ideas presented by Vince Shiely, at partner at Lubar & Co., at the BizTimes Media 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event:

1. Integrity
“‘I will do exactly what I say I will do when I say I will do it. If I change my mind, I will tell you well in advance so you will not be harmed by my actions.’” – Author Unknown. Openness and transparency should be values held dear. Be honest, even when no one is looking or could ever find out.”

Vince Shiely

2. Focus
“Successful value-creators focus on what makes their businesses successful. There are times in my career I spent 50 percent of my time advancing the strategy of the business, and 50 percent keeping it from being distracted. Businesses, large and small, can generally handle only three significant initiatives that support your strategy. I call them the ‘three legs of the stool.’ Anything more and you are likely spreading your resources too thin. Whatever your focus, make sure your strategy can adapt to a future that is hard, if not impossible, to predict.”

3. Treat everyone with respect
“My father always said, ‘You can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats the help.’ If you can’t be truly interested, don’t fake it. People know. I was fortunate to work a summer as a forklift driver at Allen-Bradley. I learned more in three months about personal motivation and style than I did in every organizational behavior class combined. The factory floor is one of my favorite places on Earth.”

4. Read, learn, be curious
“Our chairman, Sheldon Lubar, says he has the “curiosity of a kindergartener.” I think that’s why we get along so well. You never, ever, stop learning. You are never too old to dig into the details. If you don’t read, start! Get your hands on the ‘Accidental Superpower’ by Peter Zeihan as your first adventure if you don’t already have something on your nightstand. It will make you feel good about your future!”

5. Take care of yourself
“If you only take one thing away from this list, read ‘Younger Next Year’ by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge. Contact me if it changes your life. As a corollary, if your personal life is a mess, your business life will also likely be impacted. Find a good work/life balance. Success is hard work in business, and even harder in life. Sleep is more important than you likely believe. Love music!”

6. You never have it made
“Our parish pastor often said, ‘You never have it made.’ You are never done. Make sure you are on a LEAN journey. If you aren’t, you will lose. As one of my mentors at Allen-Bradley would say, ‘If you bend over to smell the roses, someone will eventually come and kick you in the ass.’ Hubris is the ultimate enemy of success.”

7. Idea
“Great businesses have an ‘Idea’ that the majority of the organization understands and believes! Make sure you know what your ‘Idea’ is. An ‘Idea’ is generally what makes you different and more competitive than everyone else. It’s the ‘why’ you and your team come to work every day. Success does not occur overnight. My partner, David Lubar, says, ‘Yard by yard, it’s hard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.’ Make progress one step at a time and adjust your game plan as you receive feedback.”

8. There is no substitute for time
“Don Davis, friend and retired chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation, once told our leadership group when asked what made him successful, ‘I am not exactly sure how to answer that, but I can tell you I didn’t get there by coming late and leaving early.’ Even better, make sure you are on ‘Lombardi time!’ If you believe you have found a shortcut, double-check your thinking. Find an area where you can make a unique and substantial contribution to the organization and get it done.”

9. Find your friends and sell more to them
“I learned from Randy Carson, mentor at Allen-Bradley and ultimately CEO of Eaton’s Electrical Group, ‘The business strategy with the highest probability of success is to find your friends (your current best customers) and sell more to them.’ Listen to your customers! Understand their problems and help them find solutions.”

10. You accomplish nothing on your own
“If I have accomplished anything, it is because my God, my family, my close friends, my mentors and the exceptional management teams I have worked with in my career made it possible. Awesome people make great value-creating organizations. The most significant organizational challenge in a business is rarely working harder; it’s working together. Getting the right people on the bus and developing a productive culture that makes the organization greater than the sum of its parts is how you win. Culture trumps strategy!”

Click here to see a video of Shiely’s remarks at the 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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