“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves; those who work hard and play hard.” -Colin Powell
To run a company with the kind of efficiency and professionalism that Life Leadership has come to sport, it is equally as important to have a world-class employee base as it is to have a world-class community of members and customers. CEO Chris Brady put it best at a recent “All Hands Meeting” at the World Headquarters, when he reiterated that for Life Leadership members and customers to reach their potential in sharing the life-changing information around the world, the “hard work to reduce complexity–and truly organize–and make everything simple is the responsibility of the office staff.”
Needless to say, Life Leadership’s behind-the-scenes team is second to none. With Rob Hallstrand and Chris Brady at the helm, each department–from Accounting to Customer Service–is committed to nothing less than excellence. Recently, in July 2015, the CEO and COO came up with an idea to honor the employee of the month with a prestigious Golden Rascal Award. Among many qualities, Character, Hunger, Work-Ethic, Creativity, Team Ego and Excellence were all major factors in the decision-making process to determine who would win the first-ever Golden Rascal Award. Coming out of Life Leadership’s highest attended Leadership Convention weekend to date, the decision couldn’t have been easy–as everyone had worked very hard to make sure everything turned out smoothly. In the end, Mr. Chris Janes from the Media Department was presented with the Golden Rascal Award at the “All Hands Meeting” in July. Read on to learn more about who Chris is and how he contributes to the Life Leadership vision.
Life Leadership Interview with Chris Janes
First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I was born and raised in Michigan. I am the middle child so I have one older brother and one younger sister. Growing up, as the middle child, I was the peace-keeper and just tried to fly under the radar as much as possible. I wasn’t really a trouble-maker…I can’t remember a single fight that I had with my parents ever. I graduated from high school in 2008 from Howell High School, and I went off to Adrian College–where I played football and studied Mass Media Communication. I graduated from college in 2012, and then I was hired by Life Leadership in the fall of that same year. I’ve been with Life Leadership for almost three years now.
I work in the Media Department for Life Leadership, so I’m a part of the team that helps edit, produce and make all of the CDs and audio files that go out on subscription. We also do all of the video work for the videos on the Life Library and the Life Training Library. Additionally, we are tasked with the uploading and all of the administrative responsibilities of LIFE Stream. So you could say that we do quite a variety of things.
Now that you’ve been employed at the Life Leadership World Headquarters for almost three years now, what are the highlights of your job and how do you envision your future with the company?
Some of the highlights would definitely include the relaxed nature of the job. It’s not like a typical company where everything has to be “by-the-book.” There is a lot of flexibility, and they allow us to work independently without constant manager supervision. The management really encourages us to take leadership in our own jobs, and there’s not a lot of micromanaging that goes on–which is really nice. This allows us to find our own way of doing things, and in turn, find our own work-flow to complete our projects. Other than that, the people are really great, and that definitely makes for a friendly and inviting work atmosphere. As for my future here, I want to be a big part of the company by helping make world-class products, and doing the best that I can to get the best products out to all of the people that use them.
What do you think caught the CEO and COO’s attention when they awarded you the first-ever coveted Golden Rascal Award in July?
I guess that it was just my willingness to help, because in June, we were rolling out a lot of products and we were launching LIFE Stream. There were also a lot of changes being made to the website, and that was obviously on top of everything else that we had to get done in terms of the new packs that we were introducing. We created the PAiLS Pack, the Conflict Resolution Pack, and the LLRC Course 3. And so, with that–on top of doing everything with LIFE stream, we were pretty swamped. I think they gave me the Golden Rascal Award because of my willingness to continue to work hard and do whatever needed to be done to get all of those jobs finished. There was probably 3 or 4 weeks straight where I was working 10-12 hour days just to make sure it would be done in time, so I think that’s probably what it was.
Very good! Now we’ll ask some fun questions. I know that when interviewing potential staff members, the Life Leadership Executive Team will usually ask this question: If you could have any superpower, what would you have?
Well, I was never asked that question all of those years ago, but I would probably have to say flying. I’ve always been interested in flying; and growing up, I always thought about being an air force pilot. Unfortunately, I was always too tall to fit in the cockpits. 🙂
Since your job is literally listening to almost every audio that we’ve ever produced; which speaker do you like to listen to the most, and why?
Probably Chris Brady, because he’s entertaining, engaging, and then also very informative.
Which audio is your favorite?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. It’s one of Chris Brady’s…Oh, I think it’s “KISS and Make up” from the LLR series. It’s just such an interesting story behind the band, KISS, and how they applied these little principles to become what they are known as today…And that they were doing all of it before they were even famous!
How did it feel to beat COO Rob Hallstrand in “The Office” Basketball League back in Michigan? 🙂
Exhilarating! Euphoric. I was always there while they played, but I was always working. Then one day I decided to go see what it was all about, and I ended up winning like 2 out of the 3 games.
What was your move like from Michigan to North Carolina at the end of 2014? Why did you decide to stay with Life Leadership and make the move down?
As soon as they announced the move, I was immediately interested in going along. I didn’t have anything necessarily tying me down in Michigan, so it was an easy decision. The transition was pretty smooth, and the company did a great job of helping with everything and giving me the leeway to get down here and find a place to live. It wasn’t overly hectic at all.
Tell us about one of your most embarrassing experiences.
Well…I’ll give you one that I can mention. 🙂 I used to work as a camp counselor at a summer camp in between college semesters before I got hired by Life Leadership. My last summer there, I was a camp director for middle school aged kids. One time, I had to type up a flyer to let the parents know that something had been cancelled. At the bottom of it, I meant to type out, “I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.” Well, I didn’t think to proofread it, and “inconvenience” is one of those words that I always have trouble spelling. So when I typed it out, it was autocorrected to “incontinence.” As I was passing them out, a parent read it, laughed, and she said, “Did you mean to type it like that?” I had no idea what she was talking about, so I looked at it and was immediately super embarrassed that a lot of parents had already read the flyer. That was a pretty embarrassing and awkward time…
Well, to wrap up, what are some of your hobbies?
I love to travel, camp, go hiking, hunting and fishing, watch sports, go to concerts and sporting events, watch movies, listen to music, and spend time with friends and family.
Life Leadership is blessed to have hard workers like Chris Janes as part of the office staff. The countless hours that go into making the materials the best that they can be are very much appreciated. From the entire Life Leadership community, Congratulations on winning the Golden Rascal Award, Chris!