Jim Dore, Executive Business Coach with Vistage, the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization, joined Discover Lafayette to discuss his career and passion for helping business people become leaders in their field. Jim’s role in serving as Vistage Chair is to lead and challenge executives from small and midsize businesses as they learn how to make thoughtful decisions and become accountable for their actions among their peer advisory group, thereby increasing overall business results.
For most of his professional life, Jim Dore worked with Global Industries, the oilfield service and diving company started by his brother, Bill Dore, in 1973, that grew into a billion-dollar company. First hired as a teenager, Jim worked alongside his brother and grew his management skills over the years. He led teams and established markets in the U.S., Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Mexico. During his time with Global, he finished his higher education, earning an MBA from UL-Lafayette as well as attending classes at Harvard Business School’s Strategic Marketing Management Program.
As Global Industries grew, the company purchased other companies that facilitated their growth and success. One in particular that Jim remembers with pride is the purchase of The Red Adair Service and Marine Company which Global Industries purchased in 1993. Adair had a worldwide reputation for excellence and wanted to sell his company (which specialized in extinguishing and capping oil well blowouts) to someone he could trust….and he trusted Bill Dore. On Red’s worldwide exit tour as he introduced the Global Industries’ team, the company gained great recognition and trust within the industry which significantly helped their company achieve widespread renown and acceptance in the oilfield patch.
Working with family members can be tough and Jim shared that his brother could be a taskmaster but always had the company’s best interest at heart. Bill Dore had predicted in the early 1990s that Global Industries would become a billion-dollar company one day, and sure enough, it did! Bill Dore retired at the age of 60 years after netting $700 million dollars according to published reports, and Jim, his younger brother, retired at the age of 55.
The Vistage process involves several avenues of working with executives who are looking to finetune their operations for success. There are one on one private sessions that Jim Dore holds with each executive to discuss their concerns. The CEO peer advisory members also meet monthly to discuss common issues that all of the execs face, even as they hail from such diverse backgrounds as insurance, oil and gas, engineering, and until recently, Ruffin Rodrigue of the restaurant industry. Dore stressed that some of the best questions come from people outside the field of expertise of the CEO asking for guidance. Group sessions allow the members to discuss issues openly while retaining the understanding that what is said in the room stays in the room. Privacy and trust are paramount.
Having the ability to talk with other business leaders is important mentally and physically according to Dore. Significant emotional events can throw anyone for a loop and it is important to have a safe outlet in which to discuss your problems. Jim encourages people to join a group with other CEOs, even if it’s not Vistage to be able to let off steam and bounce your ideas off other trusted individuals.
Vistage Group sessions allow for open discussions. “You may get questions which make you uncomfortable but accountability is important. If you don’t do what you say you will, the group will call you on it. If you’ve been talking about a topic for six months and haven’t acted on it, the group may challenge you and say it must not be important to you!”
One of Jim Dore’s favorite leadership truisms was delivered by the legendary coach, Lou Holtz, which Holtz set forth in a 1988 film, “Do Right.” While the message is simple, it is also a wonderful way to look at life. The rules are simple: (1) “Do what’s right and avoid what’s wrong.” (2) “Do everything to the best of your ability.” (3) “Show people you care.”
Dore believes that “the fabric of a real leader is giving back to the community, and he brought up the example of a close friend of his, Ema Haq. Haq is the owner of Bailey’s Seafood and Grill as well as Bailey’s Offshore Catering company and is known for his abundant generosity. Dore explained that Haq “has far exceeded being a real leader” insofar as his generosity goes. At times, “Ema is so generous, especially in these COVID times that he needs to be reminded to take care of himself and his business”…. Jim will tell him, “Give until it feels good, but not until it hurts.” Dore points out that we have to keep ourselves healthy and whole so that we can help others thrive.
COVID times have shut down the opportunities to interact face-to-face with others, to network, to meet new people. This reality has challenged all of us, including CEOs of small to medium-sized companies. LinkedIn is a great tool for sharing instructional videos of what your company offers and to build your connections. Dore shared the success of one of his Vistage members who developed a virtual reality program for competency training that could walk clients through a problem they experience in real-time. The technology we enjoy today has helped us learn to pivot with the challenges COVID has thrust upon us. Other social platforms that are useful for business are Instagram and Twitter; Facebook is more suited for family and friends.
Jim Dore stressed that a few key skills he has learned over the years are imperative in becoming a good leader. First, listen to your employees. Many are doing the job of three, four or five people during these COVID times and it is challenging for them. You have to acknowledge the stress people are under and communicate that you understand that. Second, trust is key…and you will gain your employees’ trust if you listen to their concerns and respond accordingly. Dore calls the best talks with staff “Carefrontational Conversations” as you must truly care about the individuals you speak with as they share their frustrations and concerns. Transparency is another important tool and it is important to keep your employees informed of the business conditions of your company; they may not realize how tight cash is and expect a raise or bonus when this is impossible…..keep them informed so that they have a true picture of the situation at hand.
Dore has given his time to help local nonprofits such as Maddie’s Footprints and LAGCOE. He’s enjoyed helping volunteers with organizations such as the Leukemia Lymphoma Society learn how to make the “ask” when raising much-needed funds. Dore mentioned that LAGCOE has a bright future and looks forward to a good year in 2021; its board is in discussions as to how to best pivot to meet the changing times as it adapts to the current realities of the market.
A John Maxwell Certified Speaker, Trainer and Coach, Dore ran for Louisiana State Representative in 2019 and then volunteered to coordinate Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s transition team. He has also served
For people interested in one on one coaching, Jim Dore offers services through his company, Beyond Consulting, where he teaches process and team work to help people reach success. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or @beyondconsultingllc . For more information on Vistage, visit their website.