George W. Bush Imparts Leadership Values During ISSA Fireside Chat

November 2, 2018

Rising above politics is a good example to follow, especially during tumultuous times.

This was the underlying message of a heartful—yet humorous—question and answer session with former U.S. President George W. Bush during the cleaning industry’s largest annual event, ISSA Show North America. During the hour-long fireside chat with ISSA Executive Director John Barrett, Bush offered a glimpse into his experiences as a president, family man, and citizen, in addition to the below tips that cleaning industry professionals can take back to their organizations:

Embrace inclusivity for maximum impact. Through the George W. Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, the former president and his team work to bring women from other countries to the United States to open their eyes to new possibilities and teach them about democracy. To Bush, women are the key to peace in the Middle East, and strong women—from his wife to his daughters—have had a drastic impact on his life. Anybody who excludes women from their industries or leadership opportunities is making a grave mistake, he said. Working with veterans who are quick-thinking and bring decision-making skills and solid work-ethic to the table is another way to enhance the workforce of the industry.

Look to others for advice. In the cleaning industry, there are so many different areas organizational leaders need to master, from tactical expertise to labor issues and sales and management techniques. It can be hard for leaders to admit where they fall short, but sometimes admitting to shortfalls can be an ingredient for success. As a leader, look to outside experts who can help to make educated decisions, and be sure to value—and not dismiss—their expertise. Hiring the right people just to make you look good will have a negative impact on your company culture.

Remember your influence. How other people live matters to U.S. security and impacts our society, Bush said. We have a responsibility to help others and stay engaged, as disengaging ourselves from those around us can have adverse results.

At the end of the day, it’s uncertain whether the decisions we make will have a lasting impact, Bush said, but added later, “It’s amazing how people can influence people.”

By Kelly F. Zimmerman


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