A CEO leading with a sense of urgency and fun

Group Listen now for CEO Mike McGuire’s take on culture, leadership and being asked where to find the macaroni.

“Everything I learned, I learned at the corner Jackson and Main.”

Much of Grant Thornton CEO Mike McGuire’s approach to leading an 8,800-employee firm was formed in his youthful years in the family grocery store. While in conversation he riffed on technology, tax policy and standards-setting, he ultimately returned to the early roots of his business principals.

In McGuire’s episode of the On Life and Meaning podcast series, he explained the foundation of his leadership: “I told my dad, ‘You totally changed our family when you bought that store.’ My dad taught me that work could be fun. He taught teamwork, collaboration, how to run a business. It was the best thing that ever happened to our family.”

These lessons were carried by McGuire out of the grocery store and into the corporate world. In his current role, he feels strongly the responsibility to train, motivate and inspire his employees. The purposes, he said, are to deliver quality services to clients and to ensure that employees enjoy a rewarding experience. “I thrive on watching our people succeed. We hire people for the long haul. I tell people when I hire them, ‘I want this to be the best job you ever had.’” The firm’s hiring, McGuire said, favors the curious and courageous — people who propose innovative ideas and persist in seeing them through execution. “Our clients that need to adopt new technologies or innovate need to do it yesterday, not in three to five years. We have a sense of urgency. ‘Status Go’ is the way we do business, the way we serve our clients and the way we run our business internally.”

Just as in his dad’s neighborhood grocery story, McGuire said he seeks to create an environment where people care for each other. And he apparently exudes that same aura of familiarity and helpfulness. “Something odd happens when I'm in grocery stores. Every three or four times I'm in one, people stop me and say, ‘Where can I find the macaroni?’ or something. They think I work at the store.”

Play the podcast to learn more about being a go-to leader whose authority comes through in various settings.

Mike McGuire’s podcast is part of the On Life and Meaning series hosted by Mark Peres.


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