Jim Hayden

Q: What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?

No filter. Tell it like you see it. After placing more than thousands of people on boards in the past 15 years, leaders want leaders who will tell them what they “need” to hear versus what they “want” to hear. This philosophy has directly benefited my company because of truly — I mean truly — moving the football down the field for our clients. 

Trying to pinpoint a style of leadership was tough for me. I think it stems back to my childhood. I am number 10 of 12 children and lived in Asia for four years with different sets of siblings. You must learn to get along with the family unit, which probably started my style. I learned to truly love other people to the core started with my family. I use the term today of being a mile wide and a mile deep with relationships. After an incredible career in healthcare from clinician to administrator and leading a billion-dollar organization with 13,000 employees, myself and my staff dealt with thousands of people on the worst day of their life, and our job was to make it just a little bit better; it was always about patient care. Then, serving on a huge hospital system board as chair that was doing $37 billion in revenue 16 years, it always came back to people and learning to love others. This is what I cut my teeth on when I started Board Developer, serving and loving others. I believe if you work hard, you get lucky, and I’d rather be lucky than smart. 

What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?

The largest impact for our business was trying to navigate board meetings remotely and making decisions to bring people on boards without ever meeting them. Now, with people expecting to either work remotely or a hybrid model, we need to make sure people actually have the ability to work remotely. About six months into the pandemic, I wrote an algorithm that took our assessment results and compared it to thousands of people to assess their ability to function well in a remote environment. We are now still proving the hypothesis, but the results have been astonishing. Simply put, some people are not wired well to function in a remote working environment while others thrive. This tool has been the result of the pandemic and it has become a game changer for our clients as they are now able to assess this ability or lack thereof prior to hiring.

What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?

All too often, we live in our personal and professional bubble. If we are going to truly impact our economic growth, we have to lean in and think outside our comfort level. Get involved with activities that you can provide your professional acumen to make a difference. Just think, if every one of us engaged on one more activity by serving a nonprofit, coaching a leader or working with a for-profit board of an organization with the motivation to improve economic growth within our community, imagine what kind of impact we could have. We can’t do it if we don’t try. 

What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?

Hiring right. We have actually cracked the code with predetermining a formula to determine fit for role and fit for culture. With remote or hybrid working, we can now determine if your new hire can actually work remotely before you hire them. And from a culture perspective, we can empirically determine fit with the team before they start. 

A couple of people who are very familiar with the new or existing role take an assessment to future determine fit for role and fit for culture. Once you have determined a few finalists, you simply ask them to complete a different assessment to see how they are going to fit within the team. We have been providing this tool for years for our clients and not one time has a potential employee declined taking the assessment. 

While I believe the résumé, interview and references are vital and you can determine a tremendous amount of knowledge, we believe that’s only about one-third of the selection process. The last two-thirds are fit for the actual role within the organization and fit for culture within the leadership and team. After watching this evolution for years, the profound impact now is immeasurable. If you hire right the first time, you will save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. 

At a board level with our clients, our largest continued impact are aha moments in board meetings. These are those nuggets that move the needle with an organization. Having been a witness to these events for decades, watching our clients grow because of these meetings provides such a motivation for our entire team.

Name of Leader: Jim Hayden
Position of Leader: Founder & CEO
Organization Name: Board Developer
No. of Years with Organization: 15
Main Local Office Address: 120 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Suite 303, Tempe, AZ 85281
Phone: (602) 803-5000
Website: boarddeveloper.com
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 1
Year Established Locally: 2007
City Nationally Headquartered: Tempe, AZ


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