Courage, Tenacity, Passion

Becoming Fearless

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When you walk into a company that has a great culture, there’s something different in the air. It’s an unmistakable sense of unity, excitement, and fun among all the employees. Cultures like that aren’t built overnight or by accident. The glue that holds these cultures together comes from fearless, intentional leaders and employees who can all rally around one thing. Their secret? Vision.

John Oechsle has over thirty years of experience in creating revenue growth and merging companies to establish global leaders in businesses across industries. His role as the CEO of Swift Page has given him the opportunity to help businesses big and small grow and find incredible successes. Along the way, John and his team have forged the company’s totally unique vision: Swift Page Nation. You can listen to his Onward Nation episode here.

Each employee claims membership in Swift Page Nation and has earned the title of “Swifty”. The Swifties are a special bunch, and John will be the first to tell you that. Above all, Swifties are fast-paced (obviously), innovative, fearless, winners. In their niche, Swifties have to be able to handle speed, adapt to changes, face their fears, and always want to win. It’s this mentality that makes the Swift Page Nation so successful and so satisfied at work.

The speed, innovative mindset, and desire to win seem simple enough. But being fearless? A lot of people come to work to find stability and a safe place away from their fears. But not Swifties. John and members of Swift Page Nation who have earned the Fearless Fleece have all completed their Fearless Challenge. The challenge is simple: do something, personal or professional, that scares the hell out of you. It sounds crazy, but the results show. John gives the example of an introverted developer who met a new person on his train commute to work every day for 30 days. Now, that developer teaches classes and gets up to speak at all Swifties meetings.

The Fearless Challenge has a nice parallel in something John and his team did that’s not only fearless but freaking insane: two large mergers in one day. For anybody who knows about mergers, they’re complicated, complex, and they often fail. Doing one takes guts. Doing two is crazy. Doing them on the same day? John’s gotta be from another planet. John lays out three eras during the merger process that are a perfect metaphor for personal growth from the Fearless Challenge: the transformational, conversion, and growth eras.

The transformational era is the hard part. This is the enormous investment that involves a ton of work and change, whether it’s changing how a company operates or changing the way you act in the face of your fears. Once much of the work is done and the resources are gathered, conversion means turning what you or the merging companies have learned into something newer, bigger, and better. Finally, that new thing can see positive growth as it proceeds forward into the future.

Regardless of whether you’re staging a big corporate merger or taking a personal leap to face your fears, John’s three keys to success remain the same: courage, tenacity, and passion. Having courage means facing down those big problems, acknowledging them, and putting forth an action plan to fix them. Tenacity means having the ability to get going when the going gets tough and keep moving forward despite all the obstacles. And passion means having a drive that you and others believe in and a joy that inspires everybody involved, whether its 300 employees or just one you, to give it all they have.

It’s not easy. It’s not pretty. But being a Swiftie, being fearless, being innovative, and being a winner? That vision is always going to be worth following. Just ask John Oechsle and all of the phenomenal people at Swift Page Nation.

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