Garett-PatStealth has always encouraged ongoing learning – in any form – for our staff members. And two members of our Joplin, MO, office take this to heart with their participation in Leadership Joplin, a program to identify, cultivate and motivate future community leaders.

Pat Nagel, Videographer, was part of the 2015 class, has served on the Steering Committee since 2016, and co-chair of this year’s program, while Garett Jeffries, Managing Director, is a member of the 2019 class.

“It’s a great way to get to know Joplin and how the city works,” said Garett. “The program helps you get in touch with other business leaders to understand what’s going on in the community and how we can help give back.”

“It goes beyond networking to really give you great awareness of the community and the resources available,” said Pat. “You gain a better understanding of what’s here – and the ways you can better help and get involved.”

The Program’s Purpose

Leadership Joplin is in its 36th year with more than 925 graduates. This informative and thought-provoking program of 12 sessions introduces an average of 30 participants per program year to the community and exposes them to its challenges. The program provides a strategic curriculum to enhance participants’ leadership skills, and creates a dialogue for discussion on relevant topics and assessment of case studies, ultimately supporting the Chamber’s strategic initiatives and goals.

“During my time as a participant, Leadership Joplin helped me better understand my community and the ways I can fit in and give back to the business community at large,” said Pat. “The most insightful aspect of the program was taking the Color Code personality test. It not only helped me better understand myself, but also taught me how to assess my coworkers’, peers’ and clients’ color codes to better understand how to work and interact with them.”

In fact, Pat was getting so much out of the program that halfway through it, he expressed interest to the coordinator about serving on the steering committee. When an opening became available shortly thereafter, they offered the spot to Pat.

“Having lived in this area my whole life and working in TV news, I’d had exposure to this, but the program offers an even better understanding of how things work,” said Pat. “It exposes you to all of these other professionals in the Joplin area, and I thoroughly enjoy helping to see them grow in the program just like I did.”

Garett recounted similar insights regarding his time so far in the 2019 program. “It’s helped me understand the professional makeup of the Joplin area, including people and businesses in healthcare, media, HR fulfillment, architecture, engineering and more. I now understand which businesses are growing and what the industry will look like moving forward,” he said. “I’ve also taken time for a lot of self-reflection with the Color Code personality exercise. It’s really helped me understand my motives and drives in a way I didn’t realize before. I’m a Blue, focused on intimacy, service and connections, which is why I often react with such emotion when speaking with people. Now I know why and can view things more objectively.”

The Leadership Experience

governor_postThe program meets every two weeks for a day-long session, and members are also asked to attend other community-related functions, such as First Friday Coffees, business networking events the Chamber hosts at a different local business each month, Business After Hours, a more causal networking event, Good Morning Joplin a quarterly, more formal meeting with a speaker, or any board meeting for a city program.

In addition to the standard class experience, the group also takes longer excursions. For example, Garett and Pat recently had the chance to take a trip to Jefferson City, MO, to visit the Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison, where they toured the license-plate facility, which is where all of the license plates in Missouri are made. They also toured the furniture, sewing and uniform divisions. They spoke to people imprisoned for murder, rape and other such crimes, who now help mentor other prisoners to help them channel their anger into positive activities and to become better people.

Following the prison visit, the crew shared dinner with their state legislators. The following day they toured the capitol building and Supreme Court, and sat in on house and senate sessions, and even met with the governor himself, who posted about the encounter on Facebook.

Another event included Law-Enforcement Day, where the class met with the Sheriff’s Department, Joplin Fire Department, SWAT, FBI and the K9 unit.

“We were able to see one of their dogs in action, seeking out drugs, as well as climb inside the fire truck, witness the throwing of a flash bang, and gain a better understanding of the most common drug problems in the area, how to recognize people using drugs and how law enforcement plans their raids,” said Garett. “While children often have the benefit of a fire-truck tour and discussion with law enforcement during grade school, it’s definitely a truly unique experience as an adult.”

The Program

Both Pat and Garett see immense value in the program, and how it demonstrates and showcases the true sense of community in Joplin.

“When you’ve never lived in a town that is so community-centric, it’s hard to understand that until you see it in action,” said Garett. “Leadership Joplin provides access to understanding the overall purpose or end goal for our community, which is truly empowering.”

Learn more about Leadership Joplin or Leadership St. Louis | FOCUS, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a similar program for your emerging leaders.

As always stay tuned until the next time we go Off the Radar.

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”


Recently, someone confided in me that their company was a hard place to work. “Why?” I asked innocently – maybe – or maybe not!

I love to accumulate these stories because it reaffirms my conviction about my days in corporate America. It was so bloody hard…to quote our friends across the pond!

Why was it so hard? Everyone in the company constantly second-guesses every decision. That’s not only stressful, but also rapidly starts to get into office politics – managing up and managing peers and managing a team and managing the work!

Is that enough managing for you? It sounds ineffective – not to mention exhausting – to me.

Let Me Tell You A Story…

In one of my first jobs as a manager I had a great boss, Bob (name changed to protect the innocent), who was analytical and finance based. Come to think of it, every boss I’ve had was analytical and financed based, which is wrong, but that’s fodder for another blog.

So, here I was barely out of college, and this guy’s expression often brought to mind a cartoon bubble over his head, reading, “Are you sure?” Why? He didn’t want to make a mistake. He was barely out of MBA school, and he really didn’t want me to make a mistake either.

I think as an employee, I tried even the best person’s nerves. Why? I was constantly offering tons of ideas and different (non-analytical) ways to look at problems. I was the opposite of a linear thinker. In fact, they once sent me to a training program about how to communicate in a straight line. It was quite effective, but I ended up with a tick.

Back to the story…so I said: Bob, this isn’t going to work for me. I am about to launch this campaign, media buy, mail piece, big event, fill in another project, and you are just now asking: Are you sure?

No. No one can ever be 100% sure! But, I’m relatively confident in the campaign approach, yes – otherwise, I wouldn’t be launching it. Instead, what if we debrief after the campaign vs. second-guessing right before launch and causing delays? We shook on that deal quickly and never looked back.

The reason I’m sharing this story is to illustrate that you cannot be a very good marketer if you can’t get the campaign launched because of internal roadblocks – or politics!

So let’s look at some ideas that worked for me in a far off time and crazy land called Corporate America!

Rule 1: Don’t Stop A Project On The Start Line; Instead, Rehash And Debrief On The Finish Line.

This makes for a good partnership between analytical types and high performers because both love metric-driven campaigns.

Pro tip: To be able to debrief, you must set up metrics before your campaign launches.

Rule 2: Set Up Time To Keep Your Boss Informed!

I preferred one-on-one meetings weekly with a standing agenda. I would print it out/email it to the boss ahead of time, which allowed him to add anything he wanted to talk about as well. This organized approach helps drive connection and seek input into performance without the second-guessing or input coming at the wrong time. Pro tip: Here’s a sample agenda you could use:


    1. Staff challenges/concerns
    2. Project/campaign discussion
    3. Ideas I have!
    4. Boss’ pain points? (Remember, your boss most likely has a boss, too!)
    5. Metrics from last projects/campaigns
    6. Agree on top priorities until the next meeting

Rule 3: Keep The Boss Informed And In The Loop To Avoid Surprises Or Confusion That Cause Internal Roadblocks.

There are some widely held beliefs that managing your boss or ‘managing up’ into the organization is negative. It’s implied that people who manage up well are horrible at managing everything else; they are just politicking up.

While, each situation is different, and this may be the case in some instances, what I’m talking about here is dispelling this belief. Your position, as a manager, is to keep everyone informed, but most importantly, to keep the boss informed.

Pro tip: One way to avoid being painted with the ‘managing up’ swath is to make sure you don’t go around bragging about how well you manage up or how well you manage your boss. Just do it, and call it keeping everyone in the loop to stay on the same page throughout the project/campaign. Bosses can be very insecure; so be sensitive to the optics, while ensuring you get your job done – and done well.

Rule 4: Assessments Are Your Friend.

I am an advocate of assessments. The first thing I do on my first day at a new job – and still to some extent in the entrepreneurial world – is talk with my new boss to give him or her insight into my strengths/weaknesses. I offer an assessment that explains how the boss can best manage and motivate me.

This can be a great way to not only share how you’d like your boss to manage and motivate you, but also what you’d rather a boss not do. For example:

    • I don’t respond well to micromanaging. I will keep you in the loop throughout projects/campaigns so there’s never a reason for second-guessing that can delay a project or campaign launch.
    • I have had great success analyzing a project/campaign after when we have results, which enables us to adjust for the next one.
    • Let’s set a plan now for continuous improvement.

Add your own spin to this list to set the stage from the get-go as to what will work and what you know won’t to ensure your boss and company get the most out of your performance. My superiors loved this approach and so did my subordinates.

Pro tip: There are a lot of assessment tools out there, such as CliftonStrengths or RichardStep Strengths and Weaknesses Aptitude Test (RSWAT), and you can do this very easily. Try it for yourself to see how insightful it can be. And then, get to the point you can talk about it: “These are my operating instructions. This is how you get the most performance out of me!” Who would say no?

 Rule 5: Get A Mentor!

People love to help one another. Please let the universe confirm this! Peace, love and apple pie – I do believe that. Find someone you admire or someone that has done it before. Someone like that can really give you a roadmap.

Pro tip: The truth of the matter is: You have to work for quite a few frogs before you find someone who is brilliant to learn from and work with through the end of your career.

In general, I think the higher you go in an organization, the better the boss. There are several reasons for this: First, lack of widespread managerial training. Second, I think management is a skill some people have and others learn, but everyone is not a good manager. Some of my most valuable lessons came from working for really bad examples. The good news is people like that can make subordinates look fantastic!

The Bottom Line

While there’s no one right way to navigate the politics of the business world, these five rules should help put you on the right path. I wish you luck in working the internal maze of corporate America!

Want to chat more? Reach out today.

I am a goal-oriented person. I set goals in every area of my life.


I once worked for a brilliant leader who had a saying: A’s are good in high school but bad in business. This was something he said often and was meant to be thought provoking.