Over the past several Power Ideas, we have explored the issue of High Impact Leadership. In this week’s Power Idea, we will put a wrap on this series in the form of some opinions from our Founder and CEO, Jerry Houston. We’re sure you will find Jerry’s thoughts interesting, and hopefully thought-provoking as each of you determine what type a leader you are, and whether you believe that your style of leadership is having High Impact in your organization.


Much has been said about being a High Impact Leader over the past several Power Ideas. If you have missed reading any of these articles, either go to our website, www.hpisolutions.com and click on Power Ideas, or ask our Client Relations Coordinator, Kathy Huska, kathy@hpisolutions.com, to send you links to the articles. We promise they are worthwhile reading.

As I thought about writing this article, I pondered what high impact leadership is all about. As luck would have it (maybe it wasn’t luck?) I had the opportunity to visit with a company in the Chicago area today, whose leader exemplifies what we mean by high impact leadership. Michael Muth, President of SLIDE Products, is an example of living the very definition of high impact leadership. All throughout the small manufacturing company there are signs of high impact leadership. Michael has taken a small, organically grown company, and made it even better by increasing productivity by 40%, and yet has reduced needed headcount in the process, increasing profitability significantly.

The key word I take away from my visit with Michael is culture. Michael has garnered a culture of involvement at every level of the organization. Having taken hundreds and hundreds of company tours in my 25 years in this business, I can quickly assess culture, just by watching the interaction of the leader with his or her people. The ease at which people interact with their leader is obvious. It was also obvious that he enjoyed interacting with and introducing them to his visitors.

SLIDE lives by their culture and values statements. Everyone participated in the development of their culture statements and is expected to live by them. Apparently from the results, it is working well at SLIDE. Not only do the manufacturing systems work well, concern for safety and quality is evident throughout the manufacturing process (which has the potential of being volatile due to the type of aerosol products that are manufactured). The pictures and writings of “accomplishment events” displayed in the employee lunch room are further evidence of the regard leadership has for its people, and vice versa. When Michael replaced a light bulb in the employee lunchroom during the tour…I was sold that this was truly a high impact leader in action! No task too big or too small.

High Impact Leadership is all about caring more about those you lead, than about yourself. It is a leader that realizes that the more he displays care for his team, the more his team cares about the overall success of the organization. For example, this is made evident in a company program that focuses on personal financial management skills that helped employees to reduce personal debt as a group by over $71,000 in the first period of the effort. It is also evident by making a decision that one employee, who is not buying into the culture expectations, will be asked to move on. Employees want to be treated fairly above all else. As a result of all this, Michael’s company is prospering in big ways, and everyone who works at SLIDE is benefitting from the success. I think the thing that most impressed me about Michael and his high impact leadership was self-sacrifice. You would have to visit Michael’s office to see his desk…it tells the story of servant leadership better than anything I could say!

So, ask yourself, do I display a High Impact Leader style at my place of work? Do I involve my employees in decisions that affect them? Do I share vision, mission, values and culture with the team? Do I share and communicate the results we are getting as an organization when we work collaboratively and vigorously together? If so, congratulations! If not so much, there is always time to make some changes. Just don’t wait “too long.”