“Every Project, Every Team, Every Business Needs a Leader To Thrive.” Words of Wisdom with Tim Davis
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Davis, President of The UPS Store, Inc. and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Tim was born in Memphis…
Chris Quiocho, Follow Chris for Millennial Leadership in Business
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Davis, President of The UPS Store, Inc. and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Tim was born in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated from The Citadel with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa. Tim has responsibility for the performance of The UPS Store franchise network, with over 4,600 locally owned and operated locations in the U.S.
Chris: What is your “backstory”? Can you tell us about your military background?
I became president of The UPS Store, Inc. in July 2012 after holding various progressive roles in the company since 2002. I am a former U.S. Marine Corps captain and Gulf War Veteran, and I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Chris: What from your time in the military, do you think most prepared you for business?
In my seven years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, I developed skills that prepared me for the business world including leadership, integrity, self-discipline and work ethic. Overall, the drive to keep moving forward and prevail is something I learned in my time in the military.
Chris: How would you define your leadership style?
My leadership style is focused on continuous improvement and determination to succeed. The more success you gain in an organization, the more pressure develops to keep the successes coming. There is no finish line. I don’t take my foot off the gas even when business is going exceptionally well. Sometimes you’ll face a setback, but you have to stay determined to achieve results.
I believe every single person in an organization contributes to great results, which is why self-education and personal development are so important. With determination and a focus on continuous improvement, we can make ourselves and our workplace better.
Ultimately, these concepts contribute to what I think is most important in any large or complex organization, and that is a true sense of inclusion and teamwork. It’s vital that everyone on that team be truly engaged in the process and have a sense of ownership in the strategy as well as the tactics.
Chris: What are your “6 leadership lessons businesses can learn from based on your military experience?” Please share a story or example for each.
Teamwork. Veterans know that the success of the organization is dependent on the hard work of every team member. Teamwork is essential to get the job done and the same is true in business. To grow a business, it takes all team members working together toward a common goal. From the franchisee to the in-store associates, every role is essential to keeping things running smoothly.
Leadership. Every project, every team, every business needs a leader to thrive. It’s crucial for employees to understand what’s expected of them to be successful. Within The UPS Store network, it’s critical that franchisees know how to lead their team of associates and communicate expectations and business goals. This is very similar to the order and structure within the military and helps provide employees a sense of ownership. This in turn, makes them more invested in the company.
Ability to follow and execute a plan. In the military, we’re used to taking charge and executing a plan in order to achieve the mission, and we’re used to handling situations when the plans go awry. We undergo extensive training that helps us prepare for those moments so that we can make the best decisions. In business, especially with a franchise system, it’s the same idea. Franchising allows individuals to start a business with a proven model and established resources. At The UPS Store, we’re very proud of our comprehensive training because we believe it helps set our franchisees up the best opportunities to fulfill their dreams and handle whatever challenges come their way.
Thriving under pressure. Through my tenure with the military, I saw firsthand how things don’t always go exactly according to plan. The ability to think quickly and stay calm under pressure comes in handy in business. Employees look to a leader during high-pressure situations and it’s essential to be able to steer a course and if needed, make adjustments to the plan. Adjustments are a natural part of leadership.
Here’s what I tell new franchisees of The UPS Store: When you have that bad day you’ll stand at the cross roads. .You can associate yourself with the positive or the negative. When things becomes challenging — go back to the basics of working the plan. Know the going will get tough — rise above it, have a positive attitude and focus on the things you can control.
Work ethic. Discipline and hard work are both things learned in military service that are essential to being successful in business. It’s important to be passionate about your business and continually push yourself. Success is often a moving target so it takes determination and focus. The ability to work hard with drive in order to create your own success is something veterans understand and appreciate. A strong work ethic demonstrates to your team that you are as accountable to them as they are to you.
Ability to adapt. In business and the military, we face changes and setbacks every day, because all competitive endeavors are fluid environments. Competitors love to throw curve balls. Whether it’s a new emerging technology or a failed plan, we have to be able to adapt no matter the situation.
Chris: The future of many industries rely heavily on millennials and gen-z in regards to consumers and talent. Can you tell us something you or your company is doing to stay ahead with attracting both?
In our “always on” culture, customers, especially millennials and gen-z customers, are looking to get products and services conveniently and right when they need it. We continue to grow our footprint by adding more convenient locations and expanding our non-traditional locations, including hotels, convention centers and universities. We recently launched our new store-in-store model, where The UPS Store exists inside of another retail location, such as a pharmacy, hardware store and grocery store — to be a one-stop-shop for customers. We also are willing to meet specific market needs. For example we have begun installing storage lockers at universities to make it easier for students to pick up their packages after hours. These storage lockers accommodate our younger audiences who crave convenience and don’t operate under the traditional definition of a work day.
Chris: Can you tell us one person in the world, or in the US whom you would want to sit down and have a drink or cocktail with?
I’m not sure we’d be drinking cocktails, because I suspect he’s a tea or water drinker, but I would really enjoy meeting the Dalai Lama. It may sound trite to answer that way, but I can’t think of a better example of someone who can convey happiness and the spirit of living a good life while accepting all the things life throws at you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama of day-to-day occurrences, so I think it’s important to develop an inner peace that keeps us happily engaged no matter what.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS