As president of The UPS Store, Tim Davis is in a unique leadership position. He not only oversees employees at the corporate headquarters in San Diego, but he's also responsible for fostering relationships with the franchisees that run more than 4,500 The UPS Store locations across the U.S.
Prior to joining The UPS Store, Davis was serving in the United States Marine Corps, where he picked up seven years' worth of valuable lessons that helped him pave his way into a corporate leadership role. Here, Davis shares his best advice for business owners and aspiring leaders.
1. Critical feedback is essential
Davis quickly learned the value of feedback during his time as a captain in the Marine Corps (no longer on active duty)—especially when it was negative. "You were constantly in situations, either in real life or in practice, where you were going to be evaluated on what judgment you used and the quality of your leadership skills," he says. "And let me tell you—your peers would absolutely set you straight in a second if you were out of line."
When feedback is an important part of the culture, Davis explains, it's easier to understand that it's part of the development process. "You could be accepting of it because you know everyone's really trying to make the best organization possible," he says. "You see it for that and not as a personal attack."
2. Don't overthink opportunities
Transitioning from the military into the private sector was a "leap of faith" for Davis, but it paid off. Looking to change your career? He advises to just make a decision and embrace it.
"I've seen people torture themselves over one decision that felt so big at that moment, but in truth, it wasn't the key to their success or failure," Davis says. "It's really a series of decisions that make your career, make your life, or make whatever trajectory you're on."
3. Money is not the best motivator
"Financial rewards are often dangled out as carrots and talked about frequently as a motivator," Davis notes. "But people want to have a purpose. What I think motivates people most is connecting their purpose with the purpose of your company."
"Our franchisees do heroic things for customers," he says, recalling a story of a Minnesota franchisee, who spent four years trying to reunite a son with his veteran father's mementos. "That's one reason why I'm excited to come to work every day."