Tom O’Neill lives and breathes The Nerdery core values. They are integrated into the work culture and are role modeled in everyday decisions. Like no other innovative leader I’ve met, Tom has received remarkable mentoring from The Nerdery co-founders. He says, “I was set-up for success”.
This podcast mentoring conversation with Tom changed me. In a world where ruthless, reckless, and combative leadership is part of the daily news cycle, I have found refuge in this mentoring conversation with Tom. Humanity in the workplace. Core values put into practice.
Tom put together a video acknowledging what he learned from Mike Derheim, Mike Schmidt, and the late-Luke Bucklin as the baton is now in his hands as CEO of The Nerdery. The Nerdery is an example of how leading with core values front and center are the glue in any organization.
Life can be so uncompromising when we are delivered painstaking and sometimes unimaginable growth opportunities. How did Luke’s vision influence the company? How did Mike Derheim, Mike Schmidt, and Tom lead after the tragic loss of Luke Bucklin in 2010? What led to the decision to continue growing the company from 100 employees to 500-employees?
Tom’s inviting laugh and passion to facilitate others’ success, tempers the uncompromising challenges he has faced in his life. Discover how he grew up and what he learned from other ventures he started during his college years at Winona State University, Minnesota. His family life. His passion. Our mentoring conversation is filled with valuable insights about life and leadership. Tune in.
Tom O’Neill. The Nerdery is a custom software design and development company built on the belief that passionate nerds are the driving force behind business breakthroughs, redefining what’s possible through technology. Headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, The Nerdery has offices in Chicago, Kansas City, and Phoenix.
Founded by Mike Derheim, Mike Schmidt, and the late-Luke Bucklin, programming pioneers, in 2003, Tom O’Neill became CEO in 2016. Tom has been instrumental in growing with The Nerdery founders. He joined The Nerdery in 2004 as a programmer. He launched their Chicago branch as VP of Software Development returning to Minneapolis as Chief Operations Officer. In 2014, Tom became President. Then, CEO. At The Nerdery, they build more than software, they craft products, services, and experiences that better people’s lives. www.nerdery.com
Download this episode. (right click to download)
- Answer the following questions after listening:
- What was Tom’s entrepreneurial experience before joining The Nerdery?
- Based on what you heard, why do you think The Nerdery is successful?
- The entrepreneurial lifestyle is highly unpredictable and vulnerable to change on a dime. How did surviving co-founders, Mike Derheim and Mike Schmidt, lead after the death of Luke Bucklin? What was Tom’s role in the transition?
- The Nerdery core values are – Constantly Push Boundaries, Integrity In All Circumstances, Be Humble, Win By Empowering People, and Solve Problems Pragmatically. How have these values influenced the development of The Nerdery’s vision to be the best place in the world for NERDS to work?
- Identify your core values and practice them every day.
- Read Good-to-Great by Jim Collins.
- Implement Level 5 Leadership by Jim Collins in Good-to-Great
- “You might assume that the leaders behind the great companies are high-profile, well known individuals. However, the study found the good to great leaders shared a common set of characteristics: They set up successors for success, they are extremely modest, they have unwavering resolve. Ultimately, they cared and focused a lot more on their companies, than their own personal profile or success.”
- “Level 5 leader—an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will”
- These leaders are ambitious about the company, not themselves.
- Humility + Will = Level 5.
- “It is very important to grasp that Level 5 leadership is not just about humility and modesty. It is equally about ferocious resolve, an almost stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.”
- “Level 5 leaders look out the window to apportion credit to factors outside themselves when things go well (and if they cannot find a specific person or event to give credit to, they credit good luck). At the same time, they look in the mirror to apportion responsibility, never blaming bad luck when things go poorly.”
Mentoring Conversation Resources
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap… And Others Don’t by Jim Collins.
- https://youtu.be/ViLmmHJxnVQ What Tom has learned from co-founders.
- https://youtu.be/O-LoWsOkP3k 2016 MNFLL Animal Allies Coaches Training @ The Nerdery (Kids Competition in Robot Building)
- Connect with me today, email@example.com to become a Level V leader. A new WeMentor Entrepreneurial Leadership and Mentoring LAB for solopreneurs (those in a solo practice) is starting on April 20th.
- Our LABS help you integrate your mind, your heart, your body, and your leadership practices into a way that works for you. We can help you become a more effective leader through mindfulness yoga, design thinking, focused planning, and leadership development that combined, leads to revolutionary change. Learn coping strategies, stress management skills, a brave leadership process, and design thinking to innovate your life and your business! Respond today!
Trust and Faith in NERDS, Episode 66 www.nerdery.com
Next Monday’s Mentoring Conversation
A third mentoring conversation with James Eder of Causr.co. We continue to explore the entrepreneurial software landscape in London, England.