Welcome to Part Two of my conversation with Micah Rowland. Micah isn’t your everyday builder. As Chief Operating Officer of Fountain, he builds people, teams, and processes that have taken multiple companies from 50 to 300 people and beyond, and $5 million to $35 million in revenue.
After starting his career as a software engineer, Micah Rowland earned a Stanford MBA before switching tracks to management consultancy. This unusual path from engineering to business led him to roles with industry leaders, such as McKinsey & Company and Starbucks, where he worked in global strategy and brand management before gravitating toward startups in the SaaS space.
Over 17 years, Micah has worked with companies ranging in size from 30 employees to over 100,000 and multiple startups from Series A to Series D funding. Through this journey, he has learned how to solve problems in everything from leadership and organizational development to operations, strategy, and pricing.
With Fountain, the Series A-funded startup providing hiring automation software for today’s high-velocity service economy, Micah now helps to solve problems on a different scale. He credits being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them for sharpening his leadership, coaching, and human development skills. In fact, developing those skills has led him to discover what he most enjoys about his work — helping people grow both personally and professionally through the rewarding friendships he’s been able to build in the workplace.
Key Takeaways From Micah Rowland
- In a coaching relationship, the most important characteristic is teachability
- You must be open to being told that you are wrong or that you need to modify your approach
- It’s up to the coach to create an environment where the learner feels secure
- The McKinsey model says we ALL have an obligation to dissent, to disagree and even create conflict when we aren’t aligned
- Manage that conflict in a way that doesn’t allow the team to be torn apart by disagreement
- Consequences for failure aren’t borne by a team member, they are borne by leadership
- Fear is the number one inhibitor of creative thinking
- Fear prevents an individual from taking initiative
- An organization without creative and inventive thinkers won’t scale or be able to retain key talent
- An investment is made with an expectation of return
- When a leader provides personal or professional development for a team member, it’s a gift
- A gift becomes a powerful motivator, especially when you see what others did for you
- Make sure you aren’t treating human beings as objects
- Leadership is about people and if you are going to be good at it, you have to care about people
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
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