A native of Union, S.C., Reese’s unusual career path includes earning a master’s degree in engineering as well as his stint in the Army.
WS: How did your Army experience affect your career?
Reese: When I became an engineer, it was too slow and boring for me. So I went into the Army expecting to get sent to Vietnam. But I was sent to Germany at the last minute and dropped into a major spot, a position way over my rank of second lieutenant. I was 22, managing 20-year Army veterans, E-6s, E-7s (senior non-commissioned officers). And I liked it.
WS: Why did the Army make you a major?
Reese: They were shipping field-grade officers to Vietnam. That left them with some holes to fill in places like Germany.
WS: How were you able to lead Army veterans double your age?
Reese: I learned to manage not by telling them what to do but by getting things out of their way so they could do their jobs. It wasn’t about giving orders, even though people might think that.
WS: So did that experience convince you to set your sights on becoming a CEO?
Reese: It taught me that leading people requires empathy. And I found I could rally everyone around a vision, so I figured I could do that in business, too.
WS: What other skills does one need to become CEO material?
Reese: I used to lecture at Harvard Business School, and the advice I gave was always to be worth more than your employer’s paying you. That way, they don’t have control over you. You can decide where to go next. Just make sure you’re learning along the way and having fun. Then one thing will lead to another.
WS: You’ve been at Iron Mountain for 20 years. But some folks must job-hop to get ahead, right?
Reese: Yes, but don’t change jobs just to get more money. Benchmarking yourself solely against your peers’ pay is bad. In my experience, these people aren’t successful. A better question is, “Does my company recognize my value?” or, “How am I progressing?”
WS: But it’s common for hotshot employees to keep score based on pay. Why is that bad?
Reese: The worst situation to be in is when you’re paid more than you’re worth on the outside market. We buy companies and we run into this a lot. It’s fairly tragic for those individuals. They know they’re overpaid and that sooner or later the market will catch up with them.
WS: But if you’re paid well, why make waves?
Reese: It’s fine to be paid well if you’re making a clear contribution, if you’re producing value for your employer. But if the company’s growth has outrun your own and you’re coasting, find a new challenge. I tell my employees I want to help them find their fit. I’ll say, “If you’re not happy here, raise your hand and tell us. We’ll work with you on a transition.”
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/7880/put-pay-in-perspective "