Ask Ryan – Answers 2020

Author Headshot - Megan Podell
Megan Podell
Aug 10, 2020

As a Christian, how do you intentionally live out biblical principles in your business?

I’d have to say my father taught me more about this than anyone, as I got to work closely beside him for 20 years. He rarely had to tell people he was a Christian, and he certainly didn’t need to put Bible verses all over the walls. He lived it out every day by caring for people regardless if they were customers, vendors, or employees.

When you live it out on a daily basis, it just becomes a way of life. When you treat people the way you want to be treated, it shows. Your company will stand out when you care more about people than making a buck.

I wish I could say I’m half the man he was. I can tell you however, that it is my utmost desire to continue growing and to carry on the legacy he started here at PWI. This is one of the reasons we now have our Core Values posted on the walls throughout our facility. Our Core Value #4 says it well, “We do the right thing in every case, regardless of the cost.”

What's the most undervalued trait in leadership?

A lot of things came to mind when I first saw this question. Traits like honesty, integrity, and humility. But I believe those are generally “valued” by most people following any leader.

Your question was what trait is the most undervalued. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no VISION, the people perish”.

I believe this is true in any organization whether it’s a church, a school, non-profit organization, or a thriving company.  When a leader can clearly communicate his VISION to the team consistently, it gives hope, purpose, and reminds everyone why they are on the mission.

What's the number one thing to look for in team players?

I cannot answer this without referencing Pat Lencioni’s book “The Ideal Team Player”. It has become a motto of sorts around here. The (3) key traits to look for in a team player are: HUNGRY, HUMBLE, SMART.

It’s hard to say which is the most important to me. It is easier to teach someone about products or processes (smarts), or to get them excited about what we do or where we’re going as a company (hungry) than it is to build humility.

When someone is not HUMBLE, they don’t belong on your race track of thoroughbreds. We call people without humility donkeys and it’s hard to win any race with a donkey.

So, my answer to this question is Humility. When someone is humble, you can teach them to do almost anything, and they’re happy for the opportunity to serve the team.

How has COVID affected PWI and what is your outlook?

It has been very tough to navigate through the last several months, but I’m so grateful for a team that has rolled with the punches on almost every turn.

I’m proud to say that we have maintained approximately 90% of our staff through all of this, and now that things are picking up again, our team is ready to hit the ground running again.

The second quarter of this year was not profitable, but we are thankful for the orders we did receive.  They helped keep our company afloat through this dark time of not only COVID-19, but the political and economic unrest we have all been facing. We’re also grateful to not be burdened with a lot of debt which is dangerous in economic times like we all went through.

PWI as a team is excited about the bright future ahead, and we are confident that Q3 and Q4 will be a lot smoother sailing, especially as we get through the other side of the upcoming election.

Do you have any recommendations for leadership books?

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
Ideal Team Player by Pat Lencioni
Good to Great by Jim Collins
EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & David John Mann