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Day in the Life of a Leader with Marc Kirby, VP of Finance at Coastline Family Farms

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In this week's article:

  • Meet Marc Kirby of Coastline Family Farms!

  • Learn about approaching problem-solving as a group

  • Understand the difference between micromanaging and empowering your team to develop into leaders themselves

First, a few metrics:

Time as VP of Finance at Coastline: 5 years

Total management experience: 26 years

Currently managing: 20 employees

Marc's leadership style:

How do you get ready for the day?

My day starts with a quick review of the priority list I prepared before leaving the day before. The list quickly focuses my attention and if an issue has erupted, expedites the reprioritization of tasks at hand. Next, I review cash position and a few sales metrics from the prior day before attending the morning sales meeting. Here I only listen, except when questions and opportunities come up that require back-office involvement. Following the meeting I check in with my staff, which in reality is saying hello and allowing them to ambush me with questions they may have.

How do you approach problem-solving?

My preference is to involve team members with daily involvement in the area of issue. They are the experts on the intricacies of the functions involved and will be great resources in the process. Next we review the problem to ensure full understanding by all involved, after which we proceed to potential solutions, proposed by team members. Each potential solution is then considered and weighed by the group. During this process the leader can allow the group to come up with their best solution or help guide them in one direction or another depending on other company needs. This can be a sit down meeting or as simple as a huddle in a hallway.

What's an example of a challenge you're facing right now?

Our industry is currently faced with a diminishing number of ever larger customers who control most retail outlets and therefore feel they can dictate price. In the name of "delivering savings to the customer" these behemoths are ignoring the effect the current economy is having on the production side of the industry.

How do you motivate your team to perform well?

Empower your team. Make sure each one knows you expect them to be the expert in their area and that it is not only "OK" to do, but that you want them to feel comfortable making decisions about their area. Set loose parameters and encourage them, but let them know that you are there when they need you. Mistakes are not the end of the world, they are learning opportunities used to help develop and grow your team.

Who are your leadership role models?

Kraig Kramers, Colin Powell

What advice would you give someone new to leadership?

Leadership matters to your people. You can choose to be the micromanager, always looking over the shoulder of your employees, causing them to be afraid to take a step on their own and eventually leaving out of frustration. Or, you can empower your team, help them grow and develop, learn to evaluate and take risks, develop into an expert and eventually become a leader themselves. Always try to surround yourself with people smarter than you are. They end up making you look good.

Is there someone you'd like us to feature in an upcoming edition of Day in the Life of a Leader? Contact us below and let us know!

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