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Positive core values remain critical to success in leaders

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Leadership is still a critical aspect of running any small business or organization. And here in Northwest Indiana it is those small business owners, CEO’s and entrepreneurs who truly keep the economic engine running.

Today, I would like to introduce you to Marti Masterson, entrepreneur and small business owner for the last 17 years of the Masterson Insurance Agency in Valparaiso. Marti’s agency handles life, personal and commercial insurance lines.

Q: Marti, what five words or phrases would you use to describe a leader?

A: • Consistent

• Persistent

• Respectful

• Risk-taker

• Visionary

Q: From your perspective and experience, how much do positive core values play in the role of being a leader?

A: “After being in business for 17 years and sitting on numerous boards, I believe positive core values are essential for those in any leadership role. A leader must have integrity and pursue excellence, just to name a few core values. If positive core values are not part of the person’s character, why would anyone what to follow or become involved with that individual?

“Too often people fail to remember that positive core values are what maintain and gain business. Negative core values drive people including customers and centers of influence away. These values must be part of any marketing message.”

Q: What has been the one most consistent or repetitive challenge you have faced in any of your business leadership roles?

A: “Having served on various boards and organizational committees, one comes upon people with the ‘my way or the highway attitude or mentality.’ There are people in other leadership roles that are not open to listening to potentially contrarian points of view.”

“This mindset continues to be a consistent and repetitive challenge. Just imagine how much further Northwest Indiana would be if those people who thought negatively or think they have all the answers would actually start listening to the ideas of others?”

Q: Are there any final thoughts or words of wisdom you wish to share?

A: “From my perspective, I have learned a leader is someone who listens first to understand. These individuals are professional at being objective and open to the ideas of others. They are humble and will step out of the spotlight to benefit the organization.

“Effective leaders continue to educate themselves and consistently work on self-improvement. And what truly separates great leaders from everyone else is their ability to make decisions while accepting the responsibility for consequences of those decisions, good or bad.”

More than two years ago, I interviewed Gary N. Kriadis, CEO, small business owner and entrepreneur of Hobart Electronics, a second-generation manufacturing firm, regarding leadership. In reviewing his remarks about leadership, he and Marti share the essence of leadership begins and ends with positive core values. If you want to improve your business results, increase sales or create a culture of high performance, the first place to start is with leadership through positive core values.

My thanks to Marti Masterson for her time. I will continue to interview local business leaders and will be asking the same questions. The goal is to provide additional insight as to how to improve small business here in Northwest Indiana.

P.S. Shout Out – To all entrepreneurs, small business owners and entrepreneurs who continue to lead with positive core values while building and supporting the economy here in Northwest Indiana.



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