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Goering Center news

Maximize your effectiveness as a leader

By Lisa Jonas

Since joining forces with Leadership Excelleration 16 years ago, the Goering Center for Family and Private Business has “graduated” 460 up-and-coming leaders into Greater Cincinnati’s family and private business community. Every March we welcome an eager new class into our Leadership Development Institute — a mix of high potentials and seasoned but evergreen owners, presidents and CEOs who are committed to continuous development. What an impact we have made. Today, 62 new leaders join the program annually. Most years, there is a waiting list. Those who take too long to commit are often closed out and have to wait an entire year to try again. Each year, they do.

Why is that? Why have we earned this reputation for excellence?

Ask Verst Logistics

Paul Verst is the CEO of Verst Logistics, a 3PL service provider to the top global brands. The company was founded by Paul’s father in 1966 and today, his son, Chris Verst, and nephew, Kyle Stadtmiller, are being groomed to carry on the family business. In their early 30s, both have earned the right to be called high performers in their respective roles. Paul is doing a great job exposing them to the many functions within the company, and both are being mentored by Verst’s leadership team.

It was Chris and Kyle who approached Paul in 2018 and asked Paul to invest in their professional development. Kyle was a new father, had a new role in one of the plants, and found himself managing a team for the first time in his career.

“The biggest benefit that I took away from the class was understanding how I am wired as a leader so that I can be conscious of the positives and negatives that come with it,” Kyle says. “In the past I have taken on too much responsibility, did not hold others accountable and ultimately, did not create a culture where team members can grow. Since the class, I have been working on letting others take on more responsibility. Now I allow them to fail and learn from their mistakes.”

Diane Egbers is the CEO of Leadership Excelleration. She developed the program and will be the primary presenter in the 2020 class.

“The strengths assessment is critical. We spend about 75 percent of our time in those top two or three strengths. So it is really important to know when that is effective for others and when it is not. You must understand how your style is impacting the people you are challenged to lead,” she says.

When Chris joined the Verst team, he was fresh out of the Navy. He had leadership experience, but knew he was going to have some challenges coming into business.

“I was looking for a program to help transition my leadership skillset from the Navy to the private sector, and the Goering Center was the answer,” he said. “And I also wanted to build connections in the family and private business community with leaders of all levels and from different fields. Here you learn from the people in the class and it is also facilitated by experts who have done this for years.”

Diane says that the right time to take the Leadership Development Institute is when you are serious about growing as a leader.

“Sometimes you may already be managing a team and you are seeing what is working and what is not. Other times, you know you are about to step up into a new, more challenging leadership role.”

“It was very satisfying for me to know I had the confidence of my dad and the leadership team to put us in this environment and give us the tools we need to continue moving up in the company and hopefully someday lead it,” Chris says.

The Leadership Development Institute will kick off March 11. At each of the 10-session, half-day workshops, participants gain self-awareness, learn how to maximize their effectiveness as a leader and apply that knowledge in ways that optimize their company’s performance.

If you are serious about growing as a leader, the time to register is now.  Because for the Leadership Development Institute, our “wait list” means you are waiting until next year.

2020 leadership class forming now

LDI consists of 10 half-day sessions. The concepts covered build upon each previous session and provide continuity for development in multiple leadership disciplines.

Topics include:

  •  Strengths based leadership
  • Personality style preferences
  • Performance coaching
  • Relationship management: emotional intelligence
  • Relationship management: conflict and negotiation
  • Team effectiveness and development
  • Cultivating a culture of team engagement
  • Leading change
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Leading for high performance

Featured image at top: From left, Chris Verst, Paul Verst and Kyle Stadtmiller. Photo/Jay Yocis.

Lisa Jonas is program director for Goering Center. Reach Lisa at or call directly at 513-556-7403.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business
Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit

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February 12, 2020

It’s a new year, filled with new plans, hopes, dreams and expectations. As a business owner and leader, you’ve invested the time and energy to create annual business plans, strategies and budgets, and now the hard work is behind you, right? Wrong. In reality, the single biggest factor of whether you achieve your annual plan is based on one thing: Execution. The discipline to execute and get the right things done separates great teams from good teams. Sadly, Cincinnati Bengals fans know this all too well after the 2019 football season. Well-conceived game plans don’t win football games, consistent execution does. Or as Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” In his book The 12 Week Year, author Brian Morgan writes, “The marketplace only rewards those ideas that get implemented. Leaders can be smart and have access to lots of information and great ideas; they can be well connected, work hard, and have lots of natural talent, but in the end, they have to execute. Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and individuals execute better than their competition.” Organizations that consistently achieve their plans typically focus their efforts on a handful of mission-critical initiatives and break them down into bite-sized chunks. In his bestselling book, Traction, Gino Wickman refers to these shorter-term priorities as “Rocks.” The concept of rocks actually comes from Stephen Covey’s book First Things First. Picture a glass cylinder on a table. Next to the cylinder are rocks, gravel, sand and a glass of water. Imagine the glass cylinder as all the time you have in a day. The rocks are your main priorities, the gravel represents your day-to-day responsibilities, the sand represents interruptions and the water is everything else that you get hit with during your workday. By putting the big stuff in first (rocks), the daily responsibilities second (gravel), the interruptions third (sand) and then everything else (water), it all fits. Most importantly the rocks get your first and best attention to complete. A leadership team that utilizes Rocks operates in a 90-Day World as Wickman describes it; evaluating, establishing and achieving business priorities every 90 days. This exercise of giving weight to the most important things drives clarity and alignment of the leaders and the organization. Each Rock is assigned to a single person to own the responsibility for ensuring it gets done. This shorter-term agreement and focus on the most important items dramatically increases the probability of achieving the desired outcome, in turn, achieving the annual plan. Organizations that utilize the methodology in Traction, called the Entrepreneurial Operating System or EOS®, focus on just three to seven 90-day Company Rocks. Each Rock must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). Leadership teams review and discuss the Rocks each week to determine whether they’re “on track” or “off track.” This creates awareness and accountability among the team so that people don’t get distracted by the day-to-day stuff and forget to focus on what’s really important. This year, consider how focusing on less might actually help you accomplish more. Break your organization’s annual plan down into prioritized, bite-sized chunks and hold yourself and your leaders accountable every week for 90 days to execute the plan.

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