Leadership Lessons from Steve Muskopf: Pay it Forward

A few years ago, I was promoted to Director at IGS. Despite the fact that this was an ultimate career goal of mine, I wasn’t sure where to start and how to shift my mentality. I decided it made sense to reach out so someone who had been there before.

I reached out to Steve Muskopf who at the time was a Director of IT Solutions Delivery at IGS. Steve was well respected by his team and business partners. We were peers in the organization but didn’t know each other all that well. Since he had transitioned from a tactical role to strategic a few years prior, I thought he would be a great person to chat with.

I had just hoped that Steve would have a few minutes to grab lunch and share some tips. Instead, he spent a lot of time prior to our meeting preparing a list of helpful guidance. We had a very great dialogue about Steve’s shift from a tactical role to a position that’s more strategic. Not only did I learn a lot from our conversation but I often think about the list that he shared with me.

I think the most important thing I learned from my meeting with Steve was to make sure that I take the time to mentor/help others. Steve didn’t have to take the time to help me out. He simply did it because it was the right thing to do. I don’t think I will ever be able to pay Steve back for his help but I will absolutely try to pay it forward.

Here’s the list that Steve shared with me during our meeting…

  • Remember to delegate – don’t be critical to the day to day operation
  • Don’t be the keeper of information – share it so you aren’t dragged into tasks that could be handled by others
  • Setup time just to think about what you want to accomplish and what has to happen to get there
  • When asked to build out a new process/feature, ask yourself if you would be doing/creating this “thing” if you were setting up a new system or company
  • Always think about business value and longevity of something new
  • If you are doing the same thing every day, question it
  • Involve others in an idea so they can help champion it
  • Don’t force things on the business – truly listen and see how you can achieve both their goal and yours
  • Look for ways to get new perspectives – move people around to stretch them and challenge status quo
  • Ask lots of questions – throw out stupid ideas. Be curious about everything
  • Find someone who disagrees with you and get their perspective

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