Students interested in a career in business were treated to a talk by Nancy Koeper last week. At the North-west region president of UPS, Koeper’s talk focused on what it takes to rise through the ranks of leadership and manage a successful company, even in difficult economic times.
While the lecture touched on many topics and personal stories, some of the bigger points Koeper made were about the attitudes and methods necessary to succeed in a competitive business world. She encouraged students to see every assignment as an opportunity to move their career forward and grow. “During my career, I have taken every assignment that’s been offered to me,” she said, then added, “I don’t slow down or stop folks. I am a life-long learner… and always remain constructively dissatisfied.”
Koeper told her audience that there are four essential qualities that distinguish exceptional companies. “You’re going to want to write these down. First is constant evolution,” she said before explaining that companies need to adapt to the changing times, and accept new technology and innovation rather than fight it. Number two on her list was that good companies ask tough questions. “Why are we doing this? Where are we headed? Is this really the best way to get there? They have the foresight to look around the bend and to anticipate and plan.” Her third and fourth qualities were self-discipline and courage, respectively.
Another piece of advice for effectively managing employees was to have clear expectations. “I have found in business and in life that people will either live up to your expectations, [or] they will surely live down to them. If you tell them long enough that they’re a failure, they’ll believe it and they’ll be it. But if you motivate them to always reach higher… you’ll have constant and continuous improvement.” Clear expectations need not be expressed and established through traditional means though – she told her audience a story in which she purchased and personally presented a self-help book entitled, “The Energy Bus” to each business manager in the company and asked for a follow-up email about their thoughts and ideas for implementing its concepts in their management style within the month. “It simply was what my people needed in order to move forward… They identified so much with the story of the book, and they were left feeling renewed and inspired.”Dovetailing off of inspiring and empowering employees, Koeper explained that taking a personal vested interest in the company can have a very powerful effect on the motivation of employees. “As John T. Maxwell said, ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’”
After the main talk, both students from BC and students watching the presentation from Spokane were given the opportunity to ask questions, which ranged from business strategy to application advise and economic predictions. The tape of the presentation will be available for later viewing in the Library Media Center. For more information about BC’s Business Leadership Club and other presentations they will be giving in the future, visit their Facebook page or send an email to BLCprogram@gmail.com.