Leadership Spotlight: Kurt Siemers, CEO, Kennedy & Coe
We feel really fortunate to feature Kurt Siemers in this month’s Leadership Spotlight. Kurt is a genuine leader and friend of ConvergenceCoaching. As the President and CEO of Top 100 Kennedy and Coe, LLC he has driven incredible growth and change in his firm. One of the pioneers of “value pricing,” Kurt and the people of Kennedy and Coe have shifted their client relationships from compliance-based to value-based and we admire the strength of their commitment to deepen their relationships and shift their business model, too. Not always a popular strategy and certainly not easy to implement, Kurt met with resistance when he initiated the move to value-based client agreements. Clear in his vision and certain of the benefits to his firm and its stakeholders, Kurt remained committed and his firm has made the transition – leading the way for other firms to follow.
Now Kurt is preparing to turn over the reins of Kennedy and Coe when he officially retires in March. Watching him prepare for his transition, groom his successor and other key leaders and encourage his partners has been a privilege.
We are very happy to have him share his leadership insights with you – so we recently asked him these questions and here are his replies:
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
KS: John F. Kennedy for his ability to dream and challenge others to see as a possibility what may seem like the impossible. His ability to communicate his vision so clearly so others want to adopt it. His powerful quote of “ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country” is one example of his leadership ability to share a vision and bring others to that vision. Another example is his vision of putting a man on the moon that moved our country to do so-even after his death.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you think the single most important leadership attribute or characteristic is and why?
KS: Courage! The courage to venture into the unknown. The courage to share a vision as big as “a man on the moon,” the courage to challenge others to let go of the status quo, the courage to make difficult or unpopular decisions when they need to be made, and to encourage others when they lose confidence in the journey. All of these are examples of courage needed to effectively lead a group to a significantly different destination. Certainly courage can’t stand alone-it must be coupled with many other important leadership attributes to be effective. Others that I find extremely important are humility, transparency, vulnerability, caring as you listen in order to understand, and to help others feel engaged are just a few.
ConvergenceCoaching: What do you look for in young up-and-coming leaders?
KS: I look for someone who is passionate about others being successful, who is willing be transparent in their behavior, who has an appetite for continual learning, exhibits both a positive attitude and gratitude, and is both humble and confident at the same time. They are always looking to the future and have a vision of what that future might be.
ConvergenceCoaching: How do you develop leadership in others?
KS: I look for ways to have them experience leadership opportunities that challenge them. Opportunities that allow them to both fail and succeed. I also look for coaching moments to engage with them regarding what they are thinking, how something they tried worked or didn’t work, and ask them for input on how I might better show leadership to encourage our discussion relating to their insight. The most important is to let them lead and help them learn from their experiences. At Kennedy and Coe, I encourage them to always consider the well-being of our people in their decisions and actions. I also encourage them to deepen their personal understanding of our VIP REACH (core values) and mission (To Enhance the Well-Being of our People and the Clients We Serve.) and to consistently demonstrate that as a role model, as well as in their communication with others.
ConvergenceCoaching: What advice do you have for those looking to step into a leadership position in their firms or businesses?
KS: Understand yourself and the “why” of your firm or business and make sure your beliefs and actions are aligned with both. Be transparent. Encourage others. Express gratitude daily (to both yourself and others). Use every day as an opportunity to learn something new. Take on a leadership role because you want to help others (what’s in it for them and not what’s in it for you). Accept the idea that you are not in the leadership role to be popular, you are in the role to lead and leadership requires you to deal with conflict and disagreement at times.
ConvergenceCoaching: What three words best describe your leadership style?
KS: Authentic, courageous, creative.
Our ConvergenceCoaching team has been honored to work with Kurt and his team! And, we agree that courage is one of the most important traits to have and develop. How will you demonstrate your courage this week? As always, we would love to hear from you!