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Leadership lessons from the ice cream truck

September 23, 2013 Blog 1 min read

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called “Connect, Then Lead” about an article I’d read suggesting that effective leaders take the time to connect with their staff. It resonated with me because we’ve always placed an importance on relationships, going all the way back to the early days of Frank Moran. We used to joke about how long it took Frank to get from the front door to his desk in the mornings because he always stopped to talk to staff along the way. I learned from Frank’s example early on, so you can imagine how excited I was when Vince Selasky of our Marketing team had an idea: he suggested I man the ice cream truck that comes to our Southfield offices every other Friday during the summer.

So on September 6, that’s exactly what I did. Lori, who usually passes out the ice cream, gave me a quick tutorial on the varieties and their locations in the truck, and then it was on. “I didn’t realize you were qualified for this!” joked one staff member. “It took me 33 years, but I finally found my calling,” I joked back. It was so much fun, and the looks on people’s faces as they took a double-take approaching the truck were priceless.

The most rewarding part, however, was having the chance to thank the people that I might not always run into in the hallways. It goes back to my servant/leadership philosophy. When my kids say, “So, Dad—are you the boss?” I tell them, “No. I have 2,000 bosses. I’m here to serve everyone at the firm and am responsible to them and their families.”

As you can imagine, staff love the ice cream truck—there’s nothing quite  like free ice cream on a hot summer afternoon—and getting to be a part of that experience was so rewarding. Watching staff come together, enjoy a treat, and stand outside and talk with one another—it was just so warm and collegial. It made me proud to be a part of our great firm.

What about you? What are some of the ways you interact with colleagues? And is there anything better than an ice cream social in the summertime?

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