Page 3 of 5

Heart of a Leader Part Two

Hi Everyone,

This week we are back on track with my favorite book, “Heart of a Leader” and today we are starting out with, “Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal”  That quote was from Don Shula, former head coach for the Miami Dolphins.  I remember this quote very well, because people that think they can keep doing the same thing year after year and expecting the same results are in for a rude awakening.   I am always changing things, because I know that success this year doesn’t mean we will have the same success next year.  Now, it also doesn’t mean you have to change everything, but maybe just refine what you have done in the past.  Also, celebrate quickly and then move on, I had a boss with Walmart who would review our numbers at the end of the month and if they were good, he would count to 15, and then say OK, we celebrated, now let’s focus our energies on next month.

Next up, “In managing people it is easier to loosen up than tighten up” If your not sure how much direction people need to do a task, it’s always better to over supervise than under supervise in the beginning.  Now think about that, isn’t it easier to start off tough and then be nice than start off nice and then get tough.  Why? because if you find your people are better than you thought, and you loosen up, they will like you and respond in a positive way.

Last up is, “It’s more important as a manager to be respected than to be popular” Think back to a leader you had–a teacher, coach or boss who got great performance from you.  More than likely that was a leader who combined tough and nice.  You knew that person cared about you, but that he or she would not let up on you in the quest for excellence.  Remember that a great leader will push you beyond your comfort zone in order to achieve excellence, you may not like what they ask of you, but you will remember them as a leader you respected!

Finally, please reply if you are enjoying this blog, I know I am enjoying writing it, and I hope I have helped some of you to become better leaders.  Have a great week, and we will see you next Friday.



Leadership McKean

Hi Everyone,

I know I promised on my last blog that I would continue with a review of “Heart of a Leader” but last  Friday we had our class for Leadership McKean, which is a program that the chamber administers.

We had as one of our speakers, President Judge John Pavlock of the McKean County Court.  John told a story about when he was a boy he had a new bike.  While he was out riding he noticed that one of the tires needed air.  He went to a station were he knew they had an air hose, but it wasn’t out.  At first he was afraid to ask where the hose had gone and was going to leave, but he got up enough nerve and ask the owner if the hose was available.  The owner not only said yes, but he showed John the proper way to use the hose and how to make sure he had enough of air in the tire.

Later in life when John was in college he was home for the summer and he was looking for an intern position.  He went to his county courthouse and ask the District Attorney if  he could use an intern.  The DA said he could, but he didn’t think the commissioners would approve the expenditure.  John ask if he could ask them if they would approve his internship.  The DA said he could, but he didn’t think it would work.

John went home and wrote a letter to the commissioners explaining how he could help the DA office, and at the same time they could help a local student pursue his career in law.  The commissioners agreed, and John had his intern job for the summer.

So remember to never be afraid to ask for something when you are pursuing your education or career.

We hope you are enjoying these blogs, if you are please leave a reply.

We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and we will see you next Friday, the first day of 2015!

The Heart of a Leader part one

Hi Everyone,

Many years ago I was given the book “Heart of a Leader,”  it’s a very small book, but I have used that book for the past 17 years, and as small as it is, I learn something every time I open it.  So the next few blogs are going to be a review of that book.
“When you stop learning you stop growing” I thought this was a good one to start with. Every day I learn something, and I love it, rather it is something on the computer, Facebook, Twitter, or from the many books that I read, I love to learn something new.

I think that really when you stop learning you’re done. Norman Vincent Pearle once said, “When I stop learning, I might as well lie down and die” I truly believe that. When I retired from Wal-Mart in 2010 I had all these visions of not doing anything, but I soon realized that it was affecting me mentally to not being active or using my brain. So that was when I took the job as Executive Director of the Chamber. Remember this is a big part of being a great leader.

“Leadership is a high calling” In past blogs I have talked about taking care of your people, well as leaders we sometimes concentrate on results and if that is your leadership style, the result will be that things like moral and job satisfaction will fall by the wayside. This type of leadership becomes getting as much as you can for as little effort as possible.

Leading at a higher level is the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care, and fairness for well-being of all involved.  It’s only when you realize it’s not about you that you began to lead at a higher level.

Finally, “What we give our attention to, grows” The more attention you pay to a behavior, the more it will be repeated. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. So accentuating the positive and redirecting the negative are the best tools for increasing productivity. Focusing on the negative often creates situations that demoralize people. When good performance is followed by a positive response, people naturally want to continue that behavior.

Next Friday we are going to start with,” It never hurts to toot your own horn once in a while.” See you next week, and have a great weekend!

Leadership Four

Hi Everyone,

Last week I said we would start with  “communicate all that you know.”  In my lifetime I have seen two types of leaders, one keeps all their knowledge to themselves, and in turn doesn’t want their team to leave them, and doesn’t encourage them to go to the next level.  The second, and I hope I was this type of leader, communicates all that they know.  The biggest thrill in my life was to see people get promoted, and at Wal-Mart I am happy to say that many assistant managers on my team went on to become store managers.  At the chamber the same thing has happened, many of our folks have gone on to great jobs, and although I really wanted them to stay, I was very proud that they were taking the next step to a better career.

Next is, “If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever.”  I have been so fortunate in my work career.  The chamber is my third career, and like my career as a retailer, a store manager and now an executive director, I can honestly say that I loved all three jobs.  Some had more stress then others, but  I live for the challenge and all three gave me plenty of challenges.  Now the chamber is really the love of my life, and I can hardly wait to get to work to take on a new challenge, and the best part is that I can share those results with my community.

Finally, “speak to people coming towards you before they speak to you.” I always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them I would call them by name, but even if I didn’t I would still speak to them.  I was at St. Vincent’s Hospital a couple of weeks ago walking down a hallway, and a gentlemen was walking towards me, and I didn’t know him, but  I said, “Good morning”,  he also said good morning, and then he said, “are you lost” and I was, we both laughed, and I said, “Yes I am looking for the elevator.”  He showed me the directions to the elevator,  and we then struck up a conversation about Erie which led to Bradford, and I found out he was doctor at St. Vincent’s.  I felt really good after our talk and went on my way.  Try it on Monday morning, and let me know how it goes with the first couple of people that you speak too.

Have a great weekend, and we will see you next Friday!

Leadership Three

Hi Everyone,

Today is the third installment of my leadership ideas.  If you remember I closed last week with telling you that this week we would start with “cool under pressure.”  You never want your team to see you panic, and it sort of goes along with last weeks tip about not entering your business in a bad mood.  This is probably one of the hardest to do, because all jobs have pressure, and sometimes that pressure is too much, and you will occasionally lose your cool.  My suggestion is to pick yourself up, and start another day!

Listening is up next, and a good leader listens to his team, and then gives them direction.   I find that the people around me have some of the best ideas, and you have to remind yourself occasionally that your not always right.  So listen to what your team is telling you, and that doesn’t mean that you just listen to your managers, but listen to everyone in your organization, you will be surprised at some of the suggestions they will give you, and it will make your organization stronger.

Energize your team is another good one.  How do you do that?  I would suggest daily meetings where you can put in use listening, and coming up with a plan for the day or for the week.   Just don’t micromanage, come up with a plan, delegate who will do what, and then stand back and more then likely everything will go as planned.  One reason I like the meetings, is that you don’t want to do projects over because someone didn’t get proper instructions.  So make those daily meetings a most, and energize your team.  One last tip, is have a cook out or a breakfast and thank your team for what they do.  Believe me food is always a great reward, and have fun with it.  The results will amaze you!!

Next week we will start off with “communicate all you know”.    Have a great weekend, and we will see you next Friday!

Leadership two

Hi Everyone,

Last week I promised that I would give you leadership tips every Friday, so here is today’s. ” Walking around looking for something good”,  is my favorite, it seems that supervisors or managers are always walking around looking for something that is wrong, but a leader walks around looking for good things.  Isn’t that a great idea, and think how that  employee feels when you point out the good job they are doing.

This week we had two Medal of Honor recipient’s in town, and one of them, Lt Colonel Harold Kritz spoke at the Zippo induction of the Zippo Medal of Honor lighter and knife.  Lt Colonel Kritz said he had been given a tour of both Zippo and Case, and the thing that jumped out at him, was how the employees took such great pride in the products they were producing.  He said this is what American made products are all about, taking pride in what you make.  Lt. Colonel Kritz is a great leader, and that message says it all!

Next up, ” how you enter your building”.  Have you seen your leader walk in looking distressed or depressed, what message does that send to the employees.  They have to know that something is up, and I can assure you that their productivity for the day will be shot.  It is your responsibility as a leader to enter your business everyday with a smile on your face, and say hello to everyone.   You would be surprised how that makes your employees feel!  If your having a bad day, keep it outside.

Next is team building, when  I opened the walmart in Bradford, my goal was to have the best team that walmart had ever seen, and the way I did that was hand picking my team, and then spending a lot time teaching.  I would always tell them that if they screwed up, they needed to tell me, and I would help them with their problem, but if they didn’t tell me and things went bad, they were on their own.  We also had staff meetings everyday, and we made sure that we had a mission, and that we had the right people in the right places.  Team building also includes sharing your ideas and your experiences, although I always hated losing a manager who was promoted, I was also very proud that we had done our job in preparing that person for the next level.

Next week we will start out with “cool under pressure”.

Please let me know what you think of this blog, and let me know what you think leadership is!

Have  a great day!



Hi Everyone,

It’s been awhile since I have put out a blog, so today I want to get back on track.  

I recently attended a chamber meeting in Philadelphia, and we talked about my favorite subject, leadership.  So for the next few Fridays,  I am going to share some of those thoughts and ideas that I have about leadership.

Today will be four bullet points:

Reward, delegate, motivator, and servant leader.  So let’s start with reward, are you rewarding your employees for your success? because more then likely your success is because of your employees right?   Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart said, “If you take care of your associates, they will take care of your customers”  So I have always believed that, and I hope you do too.

Delegate, you can’t do it all yourself, and if your a good leader, you shouldn’t be doing it all yourself.  With delegation, you can see if you have the right managers on your team, and if you have trained them properly, they will delegate the way you would want a project done.

Motivator is one of my favorites, because you see instant results when you motivate your team, and they get excited, and most of the time your project will be successful!

Finally servant leader, and I have a favorite story on this one.  When I first started out at Wal-Mart in Olean, N.Y., I came in one morning very early, and I noticed the store manager was in the back room helping the overnight crew unload a truck that had come in late.  He was having a good old time, white shirt wasn’t white anymore, and the associates loved having him help unload the truck.  I joined in as other managers did, and then when we were all done, he said OK, lets go have breakfast, and he took the overnight crew out for breakfast.  What impact do you think that made on that overnight crew? I can tell you it was a big impact, because the overnight crew seen a true servant leader.

Next week I will be talking about walking around looking for someone doing something right, think about that one!!  See you next Friday!

Chamber News for March 10th

Business After Hours: This Wednesday, March 12th from 5-7pm plan to join us for Business After Hours at Moments to Remember, 62 Main Street, Bradford. Building connections with others in the business and professional community is a great way to expand your reach, and Business After Hours is a perfect opportunity to connect through relaxed networking. Complimentary refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres, business card drawing, and a chance to join in our community update announcements – don’t miss it! Free and open to the business and professional community – come and see what our host, Moments to Remember, has to offer throughout their new expanded showroom!

BACC Annual Meeting and Awards: If you are the primary contact for your company (or an individual member), make sure to watch your mail for the Annual Meeting and Awards ballot, invitation, and ticket/sponsorship opportunities. The mailing went out late last week, and you have two weeks to get your vote in – ballots due Friday, March 21st. If you have sponsored the event in the past, we hope that you will consider returning as a sponsor again this year. If you have not, there are reasonable sponsorship rates for companies and organizations of all sizes, starting at just $50 for an Advertising Sponsorship.

A Conversation with Avi: The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s Education Club proudly presents an evening with Avi, Newbery Award-winning author of more than 70 books. Wednesday, March 19th at 6:30pm at the Harriet B. Wick Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Doors will open at 6pm. Refreshments provided by the Pitt-Bradford Hospitality Program. Avi will share how his stories came to be, his thoughts on using adolescent literature in the classroom, and excerpts from his books, including the most recent story – Sophia’s War. Following the presentation, Avi will sign books you bring, or you may purchase one at the event. Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Wayne Brinda by March 14th at

How to be a successful leader!

Hi Everyone,

Over the past 17 years, thirteen with Walmart and now almost four with the Chamber of Commerce, I have seen many books or articles on “How to be Successful”  but I have never written my own thoughts, and today I thought, what the heck, let’s give it a try.

I spent 13 years with Walmart, and retired in 2010, played golf for a couple of months, and then I interviewed for the Chamber of Commerce.  Now, I could give you a long explanation of how I was successful at Walmart, but the short answer is this, I knew I had to work harder than other managers, I had to take on more responsibility than anyone else, and I took every opportunity to attend leadership classes at Walmart along with reading every leadership book that was available.  I found that the message was always the same, take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.  Be a servant leader, and don’t be afraid of change.  So I carried those thoughts throughout my thirteen years with Walmart, and I retired as a store manager of my hometown Walmart.

In July 2010, I became the Executive Director  at the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce, and I could have probably sat back and ran the office, take care of our members, cut ribbons for grand openings, have business after hours, and probably our board of directors would have been happy.  That didn’t happen, after being in the job for about 3 months, I suddenly realized that this was my chance to once again make a difference.  So with the help of a fantastic board and staff, we started to change things at the chamber to be more successful.  How did we do that?  by challenging the status quo, never be afraid to change things, and wow did we change things.  Over the past 3 years and 6 months we have increased our membership, changed every one of our events, added events, and added programs that benefited not only our membership but the entire business community.

So my new leadership message was taking care of our membership, and they will take care of our town.    Today for the first time in years our unemployment is under 7%, and we do want that number to go lower, and I know it will.  Remember that servant leadership message? I still try to do that every day.

Now the last thing that I am going to tell you to be successful isn’t for everyone, you have to be thinking of your job 7/24.  I know that probably isn’t for everyone, but over the past three years, I have been complemented for the job I did as a Walmart store manager, and my success was based on that 7/24 rule.  You can still devote time to your family, but I did consider Walmart associates my family and our staff at the chamber as my family, so that is how I do things.

I guess I will close with these words, you have to decide what you want out of life, and I wanted more, and I wanted challenges, and thanks to Walmart and the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce I have had plenty of challenges that really gave me a lot of satisfaction.  So, to be successful, take care of your people, be a servant leader, don’t be afraid of change and I will leave this optional, be a 7/24 leader.

Have a great day!!

Ron Orris

Why should I shop local?

Three years ago the Chamber and our Business Committee started an advertising plan to ask shoppers to shop local, and we are seeing positive reaction to that advertising.

Yesterday I visited several of our merchants in downtown Bradford, and I am happy to tell you, that they all had a great  weekend and were very grateful for all the customers that came in their store.  It was so great talking with them, and seeing their enthusiasm when talking about the rest of the holiday season.

Being an independent business person isn’t an easy career, believe me, I did it for 30 years, but it is a great job, because you meet some wonderful people who loved it when you called them by their first name, and were always so appreciative to have that special personal attention.  I noticed that yesterday when some of our merchants were waiting on customers, and I have to tell you, It brought back a lot of great memories of my years at James R. Evans Men’s Store.

One of my stops was Man’s World and I had a chance to  talk to owner Joe Butler, who was so proud of celebrating 40 years in business.  Congratulations Joe and Mike Butler on 40 years of serving the Bradford Area, and believing in Bradford!

So ask yourself this question, why should I shop local:

1.  Your money stays in the community.

2.  This is my favorite, the more local businesses we have, the easier it is to attract people to move to our town.

3.  Who do you go to when you want a contribution for your organization?

4.  Job creation

5.  Customer service is better

6.  Personnel connection

7.  Product knowledge

8.  Shopping local retains our community

9.  Local shops value you more

10.  It just makes sense

I could go on and on with reasons. but I think you get the message.

To all those folks who started the season off by shopping a local merchant, thank you for supporting these wonderful entrepreneurs!

So let me close by saying, spend some of your holiday money at a local stores, and by the way buy one of our Chamber gift Certificates, because all the money will be spent at a local chamber member business.

As always, stop on down to 121 Main Street, have a cup of coffee with us, and give us your ideas!!


« Older posts Newer posts »