Chris Wood, Managing Partner, at Paige Technologies in Overland Park, KS, is one of the metro’s top leaders in the IT staffing and consulting industry.
“We are aggressive, results-driven and committed to our clients. We find the right candidates for the right jobs. And we’re committed to success – ours and our clients’,” explains Wood.
“Paige Technologies has always been a people business. We employ the best, represent the best and recruit the best,” he adds.
Wood joined Paige Technologies in 2006 and became a partner in 2011. Recently, Paige Technologies was recognized as one of the metro’s best companies in the Thinking Bigger Business 25 Under 25 Class of 2013 awards program.
For this month's Leadership Profile report, Wood shared with me his thoughts about:
- Customer Service
- Networking in Kansas City
- Driving Growth
Question: What would your employees say are your best leadership skills?
Wood: At Paige Technologies we go to great lengths to create a company culture dominated by a passion to serve our purpose. Our employees would likely say that my best leadership skills are centered on creating the long-term vision for the organization and then providing the strategy by which that vision is achieved.
The final component my employees would add is that my leadership skills are highlighted by my ability to get out of their way and let them excel at their job.
Question: From where or from whom did you learn your leadership skills?
Wood: I believe that leadership skills are learned and honed over a lifetime. I have always gravitated towards leadership positions in every aspect of my life. What I have learned along the way is that good leaders can be found in all walks of life, and leaders cannot be defined by one or two definitive statements.
I have learned leadership skills from my parents, my wife, my teachers, my children, my clients, and my employees.
In addition to extracting every possible learning opportunity from my daily life, I have spent my professional life studying some of the great leaders in history; Rockefeller, Lincoln, Ford, Gandhi, Jobs, Welch. There are many great lessons to be learned from past leaders, the one common thread is that they all had a vision and could inspire others with that vision.
Question: What was the best part about being named as one of the "25 Under 25"?
Wood: Accolades are great, and we will never turn them down. But receiving the award was not nearly as important as WHY we received the award. At Paige Technologies, we're fully engaged in the company's most important initiative ever -- to build a better workforce for Kansas City's future. In fact, that's our purpose. From there, we're consistently developing and executing core strategies to fulfill our purpose. This visionary, local leadership position benefits our customers by perfecting the art of attraction and retention, ensuring civic sustainability, and creating co-destiny.
Question: How does a leader help his/her employees provide excellent customer service?
Wood: As a leader I help our employees provide world-class customer service by reinforcing the value of every customer interaction regardless of the outcome.
We strive to be an employer of choice and feel that treating every customer as part of the family helps to solidify this objective. When someone calls our office they don’t get a receptionist, they get a staff member that is fully capable of handling their call or directing them to the person that can provide them the best service.
There is an old story by Loren Eiseley called “The Star Thrower,” in which a traveler comes across a man throwing starfish back into the ocean to save them. The traveler asks the man why he thinks he can make a difference as there are thousands of starfish on the beach. As the man throws another starfish into the sea he says, “It makes a difference to that one”.
Question: What are the best ways for business leaders to network with other business leaders in the KC metro?
Wood: There are so many ways to network throughout the metro it is difficult to identify the “best” way. It is also very easy to get caught up networking for networking’s sake and never really get anything out of the activity.
What is of equal if not more importance is to be able to nurture the network you have. I have had success seeking out other leaders that I am interested in meeting by just picking up the phone and calling them. My recommendation is to find out where your “tribe” congregates and go there.
- As the great Charlie T. Jones once said, “you are the same today as you're going to be in five years except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read.”
Question: As a leader at Paige Technologies, how do you drive growth for your business?
Wood: As a leader at Paige Technologies I drive growth by being a “Chief Value Architect.”
By helping to add value for our customers outside of our core service I can ensure that we are building a sustainable organization that is constantly growing. In addition I think it is important for any organization in growth mode to fill its engine with the rocket fuel necessary to blast into the future: employees, company vision, and a team of consultants where necessary.
We are fortunate to have assembled some of the best possible business partners: Alterra Bank, Tarsus, The Third Door, Erickson Solutions Group, CBIZ, Hr-haven, and Franklin Executive Solutions. They are all instrumental in propelling Paige through the third millennium.