Leader2Leader: Kevin McLeod

Photo By
Hannah Ziegeler

Kevin McLeod, Vice President and General Manager at Rogers Athletic, sat down with us to talk leadership, video games, and more.

What is your leadership philosophy?

Don’t stand still. I think leaders should do something, even if it’s wrong. My leadership style has always been a lot of doing and not a lot of talking. I have absolutely no problem with failure. I just want people to move forward.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Vision—far and away. And the ability to communicate it. That way you can have a clear view of where you’re going. The first ships sailing from Europe to the U.S. knew which direction they were going. A lot happened along the way, but they stayed the course, and that’s what matters.

What does success mean to you and how do you measure it?

It’s imperative to set clear objectives. Whether it’s for on-time shipments or sales goals, everyone has to know precisely what the target is. The ultimate success is attaining the goal; however, no matter what happens, much can be won along the path. If you’re going in the right direction, then even if you didn’t attain your specific goal, there’s still an element of success to be found.

Which mentor has had the most significant impact on your development?

When I started at Stryker, Jim Heath was my manager, then turned mentor. We still get together today. At Stryker, we worked very hard. Because of this, we didn’t have a lot of [outside] friends and contact with family kind of fell off. At one point, Jim changed that view for a lot of us. Watching how he could be a terrific father and a great leader at the same time changed the way I saw my work.

Which daily routines have helped you as a leader?

I need to make sure that I take time to think. Sometimes I get too busy and forget to take a step back and remember my goals and the objectives. To keep everything in focus, I take 15 minutes to think. Sometimes it’s during hot yoga, but other times I am just in a hotel room by myself. Ultimately, the exercise is about remembering why I’m here.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in life?

It’s not how you fall down, it’s how you get back up. Do something, fail, then get up and try a different way. People learn the most through failure. The most important thing is how fast you can realize your mistakes, pick yourself up, and try again.

What excites you the most about the future of Southwest Michigan?

The potential. I’ve lived in four or five different places, but my wife and I always made sure we came back. Now, as our family ages, we stay because there’s growth, positivity, and that neighborly Midwest feel. I look forward to this region growing even more and becoming the staple in the state of Michigan.

Which song would be your theme song?

“Won’t Back Down” by Eminem. I like to argue, and I like to win. That quality gets me in a lot of uncomfortable situations, but at the same time, it’s what drives my success. I just don’t give up. I believe that when you’re passionate and devoted to your cause, you are going to make progress.

What is something unique about yourself that other people may not know?

Most people don’t know that I’m addicted to Xbox. My favorite game is Call of Duty. I have a strict rule for myself about video games: I only play when everyone is in bed.

Which upcoming summer movie are you most excited to see?

The Scarface remake. There weren’t many movies to see in the ’70s when that movie first came out. I was under ten, but I still knew about it—everyone knew about it. I would see that movie just because it’s historical. Hopefully, the new director puts in a few more explosions.

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