Part 3 of 3 – In this post, we complete our interview with Jim Carchidi, CEO of JFC Staffing Companies.
Here’s what Jim’s direct reports have to say about his leadership and its impact:
“Jim has been instrumental in creating a culture at JFC that most only get to read about in business books. The work that we do can be difficult, while also being very rewarding. Throughout our journey, Jim has a keen way of keeping us focused on why we are here – to positively impact lives. I am so blessed to work with such an inspirational leader. He means it when he says “You are my #1 customer.”” – Michelle Serafin, Chief Operating Officer, JFC Staffing
“I’m so very grateful I’m a member of a work family with the enthusiasm and servant leadership of Jim at the helm. He is our beacon that shines brightly with positivity and sincerity, leading us on a people-centered mission that brings meaning and purpose to countless lives. As CFO I’m proud, and blessed, to be in an organization where fiscal fitness is maintained and strengthened by a balance and blending of sound decisions centered around making a positive difference in people’s lives. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, my favorite definition of success is ‘To know you have made a life breathe a little easier, this is to have succeeded’. Jim is the catalyst that drives that success!” – Cathy Reichelderfer, Chief Financial Officer, JFC Staffing
“It means the world to have Jim as a leader in our organization. When we meet its easy to feel as if anything is possible and you just know that the future of the company is very bright! He is genuine and always speaks from the heart.
Jim’s energy and enthusiasm are second to none. The way he interacts with everyone in the company is inspiring. He truly makes everyone feel as if they are part of his family.” – Mike Murtha, Executive Vice President of JFC Global
Geoff: What’s your view of community involvement and what do you encourage?
Jim: It’s so much better to give than receive. Years ago, we institutionalized it so that it would have more impact. We made a conscious decision – every year, we invited any JFCer to pitch an idea for any charity and an employee from that charity in front of senior management team. We select one and give 100% to that charity. It’s something that has a massive ripple effect. We learn about fellow JFCers and enhance our relationships. We suggest volunteer hours at PA Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House, soon to roll out a credit for hours they can volunteer during the workday without taking PTO. It’s who we are and part of our bigger vision. And it’s another way we contribute to growing our people as professional individuals.
Geoff: What else do you do to celebrate success and increase employee engagement?
Jim: We’ve already talked about the ACE program. We also have a Fun in the Workplace Committee. Once a month, a team is responsible for creating some kind of fun activity during the day. A theme, like the ’70s, or Halloween, and every branch makes videos and pictures for Fun in the Workplace Fridays. Ice cream parties. Food Truck Fridays.
One of our core values it to celebrate and have fun often. Celebrating the small milestones to help build momentum. Sometimes the goal creates a self-defeatism. By celebrating the little ones, it’s a step toward the goal.
Monthly, I do a live video feed to everyone. Today we had the graduating class of 2018 highly trained on emotional intelligence. They have a class project. This year they made mentorship more fun. They tied me to a chair and put duct tape over my mouth to introduce their project. Laughter is the key.
Geoff: You recently shared an email with me from an employee:
“Recently I’ve been going through a rough patch emotionally. [A recent] event reminded me why I want to be a lifer here. Recently, I’ve had some absences and I know some of you have questions. Unfortunately, at this point in time I don’t have any answers. My girlfriend became ill last week and after many tests, different opinions from different doctors, and hours waiting in the hospital – they are still unsure what’s going on.
But when life can get negative, it helps to focus on the positive. And the past week has reminded me why I love to work for JFC. When I called Ken and explained the situation, he let me know I could focus on my loved one and I could let my team take care of the rest. I am glad to say they didn’t disappoint.
Ken – I’d love to ACE Zach & Lisa for taking care of all client issues during this time, collecting time cards, and reaching out to give support
Kianna – I want to ACE Cindy & Jan for helping deal with client issues & for reaching out to give support
Kim – I would love to ACE Kianna for reaching out and giving me her support, but I really need to ACE Ken for his support during this time. From the first frenzied phone call I gave Ken he has had my back. I’ve kept him updated throughout and he has been unwavering in his support. He is the type of leader JFC prides itself on and I know this is why Kim elevated him to this position. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Ken!
This ordeal has taught me a lot about myself and now more than ever I am so proud to be a member of the JFC family. Jimmy, thank you for creating this culture that we all can benefit from. With that being said, let’s get back to making this GM! #HereWeCome
What stood out for you?
Jim: The best byproduct is seeing others grow and mature; we’re really a family and treat each other like one. The sincere support they gave this young man resulted in his sending out an email about what we did for him and helped him get through it. It’s not an act; it’s who we are at our core. It makes me feel like a humble parent.
Geoff: How do you deal with the stress of running a business?
Jim: It’s a journey, not a destination. Always being mindful to center myself when I feel the pressure. I’m in anxiety more often than not; always in the future. I learned that the power of our minds. Be in the moment not trapped in the past or the future. It gets to me. I’m not a Zen Buddhist. But I’m better than I was.
My old nickname was “Jimmy Meltdown”. I lost that name. A lot of leaders get tunnel-vision. But experience can help. You have to watch out for biases. Situations are always different and have uniqueness to them. The word I’d like to be described as is “curious” it helps me limit my stress.
Geoff: What’s your proudest moment of leadership?
Jim: It’s tough to single out one moment. The turning point where some of my fellow peers who have known me for 18 years came up to me and said that I was dedicated and am learning and open and vulnerable without being defensive. I was able to become and grow into a professional. That turning point was when I started responding instead of reacting. Prior to that my emotions got the best of me.
Geoff: What’s your advice to someone in a senior leadership position?
Jim: Always be learning. I can’t stress that enough. It doesn’t mean, “I don’t have time to sit down for half an hour and read.” Don’t look at it as time; just start by reading 3-5 pages of a book for the next month and see where that takes you. It’s the little milestones that breeds momentum.
Feed your mind and feed your body. Your physical health feeds your mental health. Drop and do five push-ups and five sit-ups to start.
Jim Carchidi is an (extra)Ordinary Leader – an every day person doing extraordinary things.
© Geoff Davis, 11/23/18