“For me, leadership means that you get your energy from watching others grow and be successful…. even more so than your own personal accomplishments.”
Jim Hall has an unstoppable drive and intense work ethic which clearly manifests in his ability to lead a people-focused team. Today, he’s a leader in his industry and hailed as a pioneer for inspiring non-tech businesses to become technologically savvy. He is passionate about building a solid culture-positive team of like-minded individuals. Jim Hall currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for N2 Publishing, where he will focus on high product quality, improving the client experience, and daily operations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
In my youth, I was very competitive in sports and had serious ambitions to become a professional athlete….in ANY sport. When that didn’t work out in college, I got my English Degree so I could graduate and started a career in sales. The competitive nature of it and measurable results were a perfect fit for the mindset I had developed in my younger years. It didn’t take me much time to settle down and realize that I was much more passionate about leadership and business in general instead of just trying to win sales contests all of the time. I became passionate about startups and building teams, so took my shot three different times on joining a startup company. The first one was N2 Publishing. I walked away (on good terms obviously) and was fortunate enough to rejoin the team six years later. So, I am right where I wanted to be all along….just took the long road to get here!
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge in my career was joining N2 Publishing at the Chief Technology Officer in 2013. I was the first full time employee on the “tech” team and was given the task of building that team from scratch. I was very fortunate and a bit lucky to get the correct people on the team very early on during that process. Those team members became great leaders within the organization and helped us attract and develop an amazing team. I trusted the N2 Publishing philosophy of looking for great PEOPLE first and to not make any bad decisions on talented individuals that were not a good cultural fit.
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
For me, leadership means that you get your energy from watching others grow and be successful…. even more so than your own personal accomplishments. Not only do I believe that there is value in leading/coaching people in their careers, but also being vested in coaching them to be better PEOPLE. My high school basketball coach was the first coach that I ever had that I felt TRULY cared about me as a person more than what I did on the field/court. That has stuck with me my entire life. It’s the old saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Great leaders love the people they work with and do everything in their power to put those people in a position to succeed. When I see that quality in people, I share the importance and value that it can provide in people’s lives…..inspiring others to lead is about the impact it will make on others.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Professor Warren Rosenberg at Wabash College. I didn’t have the greatest situation at home growing up, and that reality was hitting me pretty hard at times in college during my freshman & sophomore year. Mr. Rosenberg was the first person to challenge me to not make excuses and that I was in control of my future. “It isn’t your job to raise your parents” was one of the early statements he made that really stuck with me. A handful of times I was in his office in tears, and he would always be there to listen. More importantly, he always helped me process things in a way that was very healthy. I learned that I should be able to care and love my family without having to put my life on hold to do so. His guidance played a MAJOR role in setting me on the right path to take personal responsibility for my life and to not blame my situation or other people if things didn’t work out like I wanted.
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
The only difficulty I have had is moving away from my daughter (lives with her mother in Indiana). We have a great relationship and I can’t imagine a world without her. She is now in college and we connect multiple times a week via text/twitter/facebook. Technology makes things much easier to be a remote parent in the world today, but that doesn’t change the fact that I missed many events and moments over the years that I often regret. Otherwise, I have been very blessed in my career to have a great balance with my professional and personal life. The past five years at N2 Publishing has easily been the best when it comes to work/life balance.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
Actually, I have found the opposite to be true. I am a big believer that action creates motivation (not the other way around). Any time I have success in one aspect of my life, I get energized in other areas as well. I break down my goals into three categories: Health, Personal and Professional. I really enjoy the process of checking off those goals and every time I do, it gives me an energy to check off another one….in ANY category.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
- Be intentional and set goals in your personal life. It is much more likely that a leader will get over worked vs. over relaxed!
- When leaving the office, keep track of your tasks/to do’s in a way that allows you to turn off your subconscious mind when you go home. You can start back on that list first thing tomorrow…. stop stressing/worrying about it while you are home and with family!
- Get healthy. Unhealthy people often don’t have the energy or desire to accomplish great things in their personal life. Eat well. Exercise. Just like we are proud of our careers, we need to be proud of our health!
- Embrace EFFECTIVE delegation. Delegating doesn’t mean giving work to others that you don’t want to do yourself. I have seen many leaders struggle with delegating “important” tasks to others. Those tasks are most often the best learning experiences for future leaders on your team!
- Great Leaders develop other leaders…not followers. If your life is out of balance, then others will not want to follow your example. In other words, there is actually a benefit in your career to being balanced (if that is what it takes to motivate you).
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride?
My four children. I’m not the best in the world at showing it all the time and I often get stressed that I am too hard on them at times. But God has blessed my wife and I with FANTASTIC kids. They do have things I could brag about when talking to others, but I am most proud that they are great people and they truly care for others. I think it’s easy for parents to take too much credit for their kids’ success….and, it’s also easy to take too much blame when they struggle. I have those same challenges for sure, so it’s important for me to say that this feeling is much more about pride and less about “accomplishment.”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I was able, I would inspire a movement to give kids more hope & opportunities in their lives. Obviously, many kids come from broken homes. Some parents are overwhelmed and possibly not able to provide the care that is needed. Many of our schools are also unable to support the needs of our children — especially in highly populated areas. I would like to inspire a generation of American businesses to get more involved. Have the government give more advantages/tax breaks/whatever it takes to make it a top initiative.
What is the best way for people to connect with you on social media?
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Medium magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live