Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 Questions for Brian Garvey

Let's face it, most mentoring programs suck! We pair an upstart performer with a more Senior team member or an Executive. Two scenarios usually take shape:
1. The upstart preps for the meeting and the Executive asks to reschedule.
2. The upstart spends the mentoring sessions opposing the Executive's viewpoint and she puts him on the "people to fire" list.

There is an exception to every rule! 8 years ago my Boss asked me to spend a few minutes each week with one of our new hires. The intent was to answer questions and provide situational guidance....what happened was something completely different. Our sessions were highly productive for 2 reasons:
1. We spoke it terms of business solutions (not products and services).
2. We actually enjoyed talking to one another.

The Mentor was I and the Mentee was today's guest. Since our first mandated call nearly a decade ago, both of us have found different careers, but we have seldom missed our Friday evening call. This week's discussion involved the questions below.....which Mr. Garvey was kind enough to contribute to DFTR.

1. You are a project management professional – tell us what that means.
Technically, I am not a project management professional. That title is a professional designation known as a PMP by the Project Management Institute. I am, however, a Business Development Manager in the project management industry. Businesses rely on projects to sustain, change and improve their business performance. There is much to gain from choosing the right projects and completing them successfully. But that's easier said than done; most companies struggle with some aspect of their project portfolios. I work with a select group of companies to improve the way they manage their project portfolios, programs and individual projects.

2. You have an MBA in finance and could be a CFO by now, but you continue to endure the sales game….why?
Business exists to create customers, and I believe there are specific ways to create customers (through an organized effort on behalf of all members of a business for positive reasons that customers and employees love). I pursued my MBA because I wanted to learn more about business. I saw it as an investment in my personal learning and it has benefited me in many situations. But it's only one piece of many lessons I've learned about business. Why am I not a CFO by is interesting; accounting is not. I choose to endure the sales game because it's where customers are created. Sales is also the discipline where most organizational leaders come from.

3. People may not know that you are a culinary expert. How has your career as a chef complimented your experience in corporate America?
I do love to cook and contemplated a lifelong career as a chef. A restaurant is a business, and I've learned many lessons there as well; as many if not more than I learned in the MBA program.
Lesson 1- when everyone pulls in the same direction, a group of people can create amazing customers.
Lesson 2- don't let one bad review define your talents.
Lesson 3- I'll probably never like rice pilaf.

4. You are a guy who got married young, had kids, and have managed to stay married. What does that family foundation mean to your professional career?
Good question! I've heard thousands of managers over the years say employees need to keep personal lives away from work. I never understood that because my personal life is a huge reflection of what defines me. It's also impossible for me to keep my work life away from my personal life. My wife and I have many dinner conversations about work! One area affects the other. Admittedly, I believe the point is to keep the downside in check. If I'm having a terrible day at work then I don't go home and "kick the dog." The opposite is also true. So what does family foundation mean to my professional career? It's a very simple law of nature-- loyalty. I will do almost anything for those who have my best interests at heart.

5. There was a time when IBM was the training ground for a lot of other companies. These days, I think its Iron Mountain. What has being an Iron Mountain alumni meant to your career development?
Iron Mountain. The goose with the golden egg. I wonder if there's any other company 5 times larger than it's nearest competitor. The people I met at Iron Mountain have meant the most to my career development. They still impact my professional development today, even though it's been nearly 5 years since my resignation. It may seem unlikely, but I learn and grow every week because of the people I met at Iron Mountain.

Brian Garvey is a man who continues to win as a professional by the virtue of his tireless work ethic, solution oriented approach and his continual quest to try new things. 
Get to know Brian better @
Don't Forget to Remember!
- Dave Kovacovich

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