2015 C-Suite Awards presented by Venue & Lead Magazine
What is the most challenging aspect of being leader?
Being a leader is very challenging. First and foremost, the challenge is to make sure you have a correct vision and then you can get your people to follow you. I am in the people business and it’s not an exact science. After you get the people on board to follow you, you hope that they can execute the plan that you’ve laid out.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
As a young man I didn’t take advice very well. Like most of the Millenials these days, I thought that I knew everything. I remember working for Uncle Teddy – he wasn’t my real uncle but I used to work with him and I called him Uncle Teddy – and he used to work us very hard and he paid us very little. I used to ask him, Uncle Teddy, why do you work us so hard and pay us so little? And he used to laugh and laugh and say that he was building character and that one day I would thank him. So somewhere I linked up that hard work is what makes you successful.
What aspects of your personality have contributed to your success?
I think all leaders need to be somewhat humble, they need to be determined, they need to have confidence. So certainly, I hope that I have those traits. I think it is more than just having personality traits, I think it is how you conduct yourself on a daily basis. I think it’s an attitude that has served me well over the years, that if something goes right with my company I typically give the credit to the team members or the individuals and if something goes wrong I typically take responsibility and try and fix it.
How do you think your employees would describe you?
I hope my employees would describe me as passionate about what I do and as caring about them. I know some of my employees would tease me about my hair – they still do that! – or about what they think is my obsession with the thermostat in our office.
What aspect of your company are you most passionate about?
At the heart of Lang Financial we are a personal services company, so I am most proud of our associates and our clients. It has been a real pleasure for me and it has been very rewarding to see the growth of my associates over the years. We have many long-tenured associates and to see their professional development and growth and to see their families grow up and to see them do everything in the community that they want to do has been really good for me.
On the other hand, the clients. We have had some clients for ten, fifteen, twenty years. We’ve had some clients that started with one person and now are over a hundred employees. I am very proud of the fact that they put their trust in us and I am proud that we are able to deliver them good advice.
What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Well I am an accountant by education and accountants typically do not do crazy things. So I started thinking about some crazy things I’ve done and if we rephrase the question and said, What are some of the dumbest things I’ve done? Well, there are a number of those! Then I started thinking about the really dumb things I did and you think back to when you were a kid. One time I swam across the Ohio River.