When Chris Goodrich joined Weatherhead Executive Education’s 2021 cohort of Leadership Deep Dive™ (LDD), he was already a successful leader who possessed a clear vision of the legacy he wants to leave behind. For Goodrich, an engineer, real estate developer, and a true servant leader, “It’s really about how you’re able to help people along the way to reach their goals.”
He insists that people are the lifeblood of any organization. Goodrich calls his people-centered approach to leadership “transformational management,” as opposed to the more task-oriented “transactional management” traditionally practiced in many businesses.
Developing people is the hallmark of Goodrich’s leadership style, both at work and in his personal life. He is a father who loves spending time with his children, and one way he does this is by coaching basketball. Coach Goodrich looks for opportunities to develop not only his players’ athletic skills, but more importantly, to foster positive character traits that cross over into all aspects of his students’ lives.
Goodrich brings this same mentality to his work relationships as well. He is the executive vice president of First Interstate Properties, a property development and management firm with an impressive portfolio across Northeast Ohio.
Mentoring is integral to the culture at First Interstate, and Goodrich embodies that principle by empowering and uplifting all who work with him. In fact, he asserts that the highlight of his career “won’t be building a tower at University Circle. It won’t be my involvement with Legacy Village or all the other projects that we do.” For him, the greatest achievement is in helping his coworkers to reach their full potential, even when this means some end up leaving the company to advance their careers elsewhere as their skills grow.
Recently, this scenario played out with one of First Interstate’s senior directors.
“He was a great professional and got an unbelievable opportunity, which again, I’ll be proud of eventually – someday,” Goodrich recounts with a rueful smile.
Instead of reacting to quickly fill the opening, Goodrich decided to be more deliberate in his response. He worked with company ownership to examine how they might take advantage of this opportunity to positively transform the organization. He asked himself, “Where can we grow other people? And how will that benefit them? It’s not just backfilling a position.”
Goodrich and First Interstate president Mitchell Schneider identified potential that already existed within the organization and promoted a promising internal candidate. Then they followed up by strategically elevating several other staff members in a wave of promotions that eventually cascaded throughout the company.
Goodrich credits LDD with helping him present this solution. His experiences in the program enabled him to go deeper, to think creatively and strategically to achieve the best results for the company as a whole.
“The morale boost is just fantastic as you build people up. When you create that culture of working hard and supporting each other - we’re all going to learn and grow and be prosperous together.”
Participants in LDD explore the four essential levels of leadership: starting by looking inward at the self, then advancing outward to team, organization and society. During this process, Chris learned about the concept of Resonant Leadership. Through assigned readings and targeted exercises, he gained a deeper self-awareness and understanding of how he is perceived as a leader, which in turn helped him to better connect with those he mentors.
“It was a breakthrough for me… resetting myself, getting back to what my true beliefs are – bettering myself as well as those around me.”