Dan McKenzie is the CEO of Ensignal Inc as well as CFO of Golden Wheat Inc.

Ensignal began in 2000, with an acquisition of a 14 store operation headquartered in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

Over the ensuing time frame, Ensignal has grown into sizeable regional Verizon Premium agent, with 94 locations in eight states.

The company’s primary market focus has always been in the rural markets of the west. For strategic reasons, Ensignal has intentionally avoided putting store operations in Kansas. Current employee count is in the 350-365 range.

Dan believes success comes from having a strong and consistent focus on three key areas:

Knowledge is the most vital component of success. Knowledge of your industry, your product, your peer companies, and competitors is critical. Knowledge of acquisition targets, not only the company but the executives—their interests, their aspirations, their personalities…all these are critical.

Knowledge of your employee’s abilities, where they need development, when they need confidence, when is the right time for them to “fail”. Failure is the best tool to teach leaders. Assist them in learning and understanding the difference between ego and ability.

Objectivity in decision making is the second component of success. Separating emotions, opinions and organizational politics away from decision making is difficult, but critical to maintaining successful organizations. Creating objectivity in decision making is difficult to do, and very difficult to maintain as organizations grow larger.

Ethics and Values is the final key. Knowledge can be gained through intensive learning and teaching. The ability to become objective in decision making can also be learned through example and consistency in decision making. Ethics and values, however, are deeper ingrained in personalities. Core beliefs of what is right versus wrong, fairness in dealing with delicate situations, and most importantly, the ability to acknowledge your own mistakes and shortfalls are the final piece to success. The inability of leaders to see, or even acknowledge their mistakes has led to many spectacular failures not only in business but when you look back at history, the same faults in world leaders have changed the course of the world.

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