Brad Pierce on Leadership Courage – 2017 NBAA Leadership Conference Video Interview

I was recently honored to participate in a video interview on the topic of Leadership Courage.  This video was presented to attendees at the 2017 NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) Leadership Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  I’ve transcribed the contents of my interview below for your reference, though I’m keenly aware that the spoken word doesn’t always translate grammatically correctly to written text.

I hope that you’ll find inspiration in my thoughts to reach higher and to live your life in a courageous way!

— Video Transcript Start —

I’m Brad Pierce, I’m President and CEO of Restaurant Equipment World.  Our company serves over 100,000 customers in 110 countries and all 50 states domestically.  We sell everything from pots and pans up to and including the kitchen sink.  If it’s in a foodservice facility and it’s not food, chances are my company supplies it.

Aviation was a passion of mine even before joining the company.  I was spending a lot of time in the car traveling.  One day I decided well I’m going to take the airplane down to Fort Lauderdale… and flew a little Cessna at the same time, went to Fort Lauderdale, met with the customer, had a fantastic lunch and ended up actually closing the deal.  Flew back and I still had an afternoon that I could do more work.  I said, “huh, there’s something to this.”  I found that when I would go and see customers in person, that we would close the deals.  I often joke that when the wheels of my airplane touch the ground, the cash register rings, because it happens every single time.

You need to have courage in order to embrace change.  The business aviation aspect of our business is just something that is so critical and core to our growth.  Spending resources on what is quite frankly a very expensive proposition for a business, it takes courage to take that leap of faith to talk to family members, in our case the family business that’s perhaps the hardest board you can have is people that you’re related to.  To have the courage to stand up for what you know is right for the business.

If we were to continue to do things the way that we were doing them, we would be irrelevant and not exist today.  When it came to using business aviation, I absolutely positively felt that this was the right path for our organization.

Leadership courage is doing the right thing even when no one else is watching.  It takes leadership courage to take calculated risks, to reach new heights, in your business, in your personal life.

I believe it takes courage to show up at the airport and race over when you have a call at 7 o’clock at night and they say, “Brad would you like to save a life tonight?”  Absolutely, absolutely positively.  It takes courage to blast off into the unknown.  That particular day, I raced to the airport and I said, “Where am I going?”  They said, “We have no idea, it’s somewhere in South Florida.”  I said, “Who am I taking?”  They said, “We don’t really know, we just know that there’s a match for an organ patient.”  I said, “Okay, sounds good to me.”

It takes courage to say “Yes” even when there are unknowns, because you know you’re doing something that is going to be worthwhile, that is going to turn out really, really well, despite… being a bit scary.  You have the courage to just go and do it, to say “Yes.”

Living life in a courageous way and doing the right thing always leads to phenomenal results.

— Video Transcript End –w

I would like to close by extending a very special thank you to Jet Professionals (a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Jet Aviation, a General Dynamics Company) for sponsoring my leadership courage profile video.  I’d also like to express a huge THANK YOU to conference co-chairs and truly fantastic people, Reggie Arsenault (Jeppesen, a Boeing Company) and Josh Mesinger (Mesinger Jet Sales), for an doing such an amazing job on the entire conference!

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