Polen Capital CEO Stan Moss sat down with Don Yaeger, host of the Corporate Competitor podcast, to share lessons from his collegiate football career that shaped his leadership style.
- On the importance of storytelling: Building great teams starts with trust, and storytelling is a direct link to that trust. With every story, people learn more about their teammates and forge deeper bonds. At Polen, we believe in creating a safe space for people to tell their stories and bring their true, authentic selves to work each day.
- On what football taught him: The value of hard work, discipline, and the willpower to do things others won’t do – such as commit to twice daily practices in the Alabama heat.
- On focusing on what’s next: Moss reflected that his high school accolades helped him get into college, but once he got there, no one cared. The past was past, and you had to prove yourself every single day. As his grandfather used to say, “Winning isn’t something you own – it’s something you rent. And you have to pay that rent each day.”
- On taking responsibility: Taking ownership of a costly error during a 1990 Alabama game against Florida imparted a life lesson to Moss. When bad things happen, leaders must take responsibility. When good things happen, there are many who can take credit.
- On high standards and instilling pride: At Polen, we are intentional about high quality, whether it’s our office space, the food we bring in for employees every day, to our strategies and the presentation of materials we give our clients. We focus our attention on the here and now. If we can create an organization that’s high-quality across the board, where people feel proud to put on our jersey, that’s what we want.
- On advice to create a high-performing culture: You want to get the best talent possible into your organization. Once you attract that talent, you need structure and resources for team building. Examples of this at Polen range from our individual employee budgets for continuous learning to our Culture Club to our tri-annual meetings that are all about personal and professional development. We want each person to bond with their teammates, to the point where they truly want each other to be successful. This permeates throughout the organization and supports a culture of winning.
We want a growth mindset, a culture with a foundation of trust. This builds people up to where they can succeed and not have a fear of failure.
—Stan C. Moss, Chief Executive Officer
Please note that this document is a condensed summary of the full interview conducted by Don Yaeger.
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