Advice & Whiskey with Geoff Steele

When Geoff Steele took the reins of the historic Gillioz Theatre, he was taking over a treasured Springfield landmark—one that had gone through some very public financial difficulties. Steele has ushered it into more successful times, so we sat down for a few cocktails at Civil Kitchen & Tap to talk about what it takes to revitalize a business.

Geoff Steele knows his associates’ success starts at his own leadership.

“Part of what we say is, ‘We’re continuing to live our history.’ We do celebrate our history, but we don’t celebrate it in a way where we put it in a case, ‘This is where it was at this time.’ We say the story’s still being written.” 
 

“I think you have to ask the real question of ‘What’s the mission?’ Your idea of success for your business may be different than my idea of success for your business. I work at the pleasure of an executive board. The first thing I had to do was ask them, ‘What’s it going to take for you to think I’m successful?’”
 

“Ultimately it all comes down to leadership for me. Eighty-five percent of the problems I have are probably as a result of my inadequacy in leadership. I need to do a better job of equipping my people to define what my expectations are and providing an environment for them to shine to fulfill that expectation.” 
 

“Now, when someone’s not doing well, I say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take that off your plate.’ What ends up happening is they’re not performing very well because it’s not in their natural DNA. So then they come to work, and they’re like, ‘I don’t have to do anything I don’t like.’”
 

“We have to know our mission. We have a lot of great ideas that don’t meet our intent. Now I’m chasing rabbits. You have to resist it because the new stuff is fun. The new stuff that doesn’t work doesn’t mean it’s bad stuff; it just means it’s not the most intelligent and intentional way to get there.”

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