Courier Staff Writer
There is no success in business without a leader’s momentum, prioritizing work and sacrifice, said David Drewelow.
Drewelow, head coach at ActionCOACH in Cedar Rapids, instructed participants in the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce’s six-week Leadership Class Wednesday morning.
Drewelow said his goal is to start an office in Ottumwa next year.
“I want someone here who can provide this service to Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Fairfield, etc.,” he said. “I want to get somebody here because I think this town has a lot of potential.”
In discussions throughout the community in the past couple of months, Drewelow said he’s heard a lot of negativity.
“Are things so much worse here than in Oskaloosa, in Fairfield, in any other town?” Drewelow said. “I’m not saying this is a negative town, it’s just what I’m hearing.”
Kevin Palmer, salesman for Precision Equipment, said if there are positive people, they will create a positive business environment, just as negative people will do the opposite.
Why are there traffic jams near car accidents? It’s because “people want to see the bad stuff,” Drewelow said.
“An attitude is a decision,” he said. “You can tell right away whether you like someone, whether you want to do business with someone, by their attitude.”
He said he offers leadership classes because everything falls on leadership.
“You don’t have to be a mayor or a chamber executive director,” he said. “It’s people like you. Seventy percent of jobs created in a town like this are created by people like you, small business owners.”
Participants went on to discuss three “laws” from the book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” by John C. Maxwell: the laws of momentum, priorities and sacrifice.
Momentum, Drewelow said, is a leader’s best friend and can make a leader better than they are.
He used the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team as an example. No one expected the team to even medal, but through momentum they gained in winning each game, they ended up winning the gold medal.
Momentum creates change, he said.
“It’s like adrenaline,” he said. “But momentum is a leader’s responsibility. It doesn’t just happen.”
Jill Hatfield, agent in training at American Family Insurance, said she worries she doesn’t have a lot of momentum in her work and is sometimes her own worst enemy.
While Wapello County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.6 percent (second only to Lee County at 8.9 percent), according to August statistics from Iowa Workforce Development, Drewelow said that isn’t the number we should focus on. It’s better to focus on how many are employed, he said, since those no longer collecting unemployment and those with part-time jobs do not figure into the 7.6 percent figure.
As part of the Law of Priorities, Drewelow said activity does not necessarily equal accomplishment.
“Instead of focusing on getting more done, a leader should focus on getting the right things done,” he said.
They need to hone in on their priorities and look at tasks they do that could be passed on to someone else, such as an assistant. The most important thing leaders need to do, he said, is create a plan so they can figure out what is the most important.
The Law of Sacrifice, he said, means there is no success without sacrifice.
“If you aren’t willing to sacrifice, you won’t be successful,” he said. “Leaders are asked to give up more than others.”
Linda Gardner, owner of Bailey Office Equipment, said she left financial comfortability years ago to start her own business.
“It’s been 25 years of sacrifice,” she said. “But the positives outweigh the negatives. There were unforeseen blessings we did not factor in.”
Luke Willis, owner of Alive Landscaping, said he sacrificed time in his years of school, training and working under others.
Drewelow recently had the opportunity to sit down with Maxwell, the author of the book the leadership class is reading. He asked him how he was able to narrow down what he does to six or seven items.
“A lot of people focus on money, but it’s not about that,” he said. “If you focus on how you impact and influence people, you will make money in the long run.”