Bob Gaby, CPA, has over 30 years of technology consulting and public accounting experience. He is a founding principal of Arxis Technology, Inc. (ATI), a management and technology consulting firm located in Simi Valley, California and a partner in Arxis Financial, Inc., a full service accounting firm affiliated with ATI. ATI sells, implements, and supports several top mid-market business management solutions including Sage 100 ERP, Sage 300 ERP, Sage 500 ERP, Sage CRM, SAP Business ByDesign, Intacct, SugarCRM and SAP Business Objects.
ATI has qualified for Accounting Technology magazine’s “VAR 100” for the last eight years, has been recognized by Accounting Today as a “Technology Pacesetter” for the last nine years and was recently voted as one of the 20 Best Places to Work by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
Bob is also a frequent speaker for the California Society of CPA’s and college universities on a variety of technology topics with a current focus on “Computing in the Cloud.”
Members of our team have had the privilege of working with Bob for over 20 years and we jumped at the opportunity to share Bob’s approach to leading his teams and developing leadership in others.
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
BG: Legendary basketball coach and player John Wooden because he was a master motivator who led by example and demonstrated a high level of integrity and genuine humility. I also admire his ability to be focused and disciplined. He also managed to make family, friends and faith priorities in his life while serving as an inspiring leader.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
BG: I struggle holding this to one single characteristic. Perhaps the best way to say it is that character is most important and the broad definition of character encompasses integrity, honor, respect, patience, generosity and humility. Within this set of defining characteristics, humility is crucial. There is no “I’ in leader. Leaders must set self aside if they are to lead for success or for the greater good.
John Maxwell said it best – “Leaders cannot rise above the limitations of their character.”
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
BG: The things that I look for in up-and-coming leaders include:
- Passion for what they do.
- Desire to take ownership of tasks and projects and effectively delegate and enlist help to successfully complete a given task or project.
- Ability to listen.
- How they respond to adversity – do they stand firm in their character or will they compromise?
- Willingness to serve irrespective of the task. For example, our best young leaders are quick to assume responsibility for difficult and/or less desirable tasks.
- Strong work ethic.
ConvergenceCoaching:How do you develop leadership in others?
BG: I follow my 5 Es of Leadership:
- Encourage – This really goes without saying. Who doesn’t enjoy some encouragement when they are trying to reach a goal or objective? I don’t believe there is a leader that has not received a few encouraging words along their road to becoming a successful leader.
- Educate – Investment in future leaders is key. Coaching, mentoring and supporting instruction in soft skills is very important to me and my firm. Character is a choice, talent is a gift, leadership is taught.
- Empower – Future leaders must be empowered to lead at various levels as they mature into practice or firm leaders. The leader switch isn’t something we wake up and turn on one day. Leadership skills are honed and sharpened over time. Like many of us experienced as children, our privileges and ability to make choices on our own were limited. Over time, as we proved ourselves responsible, our scope of personal responsibility and authority was widened.
- Engage – Never miss an opportunity to ask how someone is doing, if they need help or just offer an ear to listen and lend encouragement. Keep the door open for both formal and informal communication.
- Excite – Passion is infectious. Your personal leadership passion will transcend to future or younger leaders.
ConvergenceCoaching:What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
BG: My advice would be to:
- Look for opportunities to demonstrate ownership and to delegate to others to gain support without abdicating responsibility.
- See challenges as opportunities.
- Remain humble and always keep in mind that leadership is not about popularity.
- Serve the needy, undesirable or unwanted.
- Never compromise you character or integrity.
- Study what has made other great leaders successful.
- Be patient.
ConvergenceCoaching:What three words best describe your leadership style?
- Inductive– Let’s make sure we have considered all key people and factors.
- Principled – There are moral boundaries we cannot ignore or violate.
- Purposeful – Before we set out on a task or project, let’s make sure we know and agree on the ultimate outcome or objective.
In considering Bob’s answers to our questions, we are thoroughly impressed that his leadership philosophy is so well-defined and specific. Many people have a general leadership approach in their minds but few have taken it to the level of outlining their philosophy as Bob has done with his 5 Es. He has inspired me to draft a leadership philosophy of my own. If you haven’t already documented yours, I hope that he has inspired you to document your own personal approach to leadership and leadership development. We would love to hear your thoughts and are also curious to hear what else may have been sparked for you as a result of this interview. Please comment below and feel free to post any additional questions that you have for Bob.
Lastly, if I had to describe my impression of Bob as a leader – I would say “Confident.” He communicates his ideas in such a self-assured manner and this kind of confidence, balanced by humility, drives others to want to follow him.