Frank Krejci shares his ‘North Stars’ for executive growth
When you visit the office of Frank Krejci, President and CEO of Milwaukee-based Strattec Security Corp., the first thing you’re likely to notice is that he has two stand-up desks.
“I don’t like to be in one place long,” Krejci says with a chuckle.
Today, stand-up desks are considered to be a healthier option for executives than traditional sit-down models. But Krejci embraced the stand-up options year ago, long before they became hip ergonomic gold star options.
Krejci has a knack for seeing around corners and anticipating “what’s next.” That kind of visionary thinking enabled him to position Strattec, a manufacturer of locks for automobiles, to pivot to be on the cutting edge of its industry as the automotive industry adopted electronic entry technologies when he was named to the top posts of the company in 2012.
Krejci recently gave the keynote address to the members of the CEOs of Growing Businesses in a seminar presented by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. In his presentation, Krejci shared his list of North Star executive growth strategies.
- Confidence. “Without confidence, you don’t get anything done,” Krejci said.
- Communication. “When communicating, it’s just as important or more important to ask questions,” Krejci said, adding that communication with his executive team has been especially critical while navigating through the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Listening with humility. “You’ve got to recognize you don’t have all the answers,” Krejci said. “Ask open-ended questions to your people.”
- Gratitude. “Especially in these times, recognizing what people are going though is important,” Krejci said, recalling that he once brought in a Brinks truck to deliver cash bonuses to inspire employees after a fire destroyed a plant while he was leading a furniture company in a previous executive gig.
- Focus. “We can get buried in a zillion assignment all at once,” Krejci said.
- Delegation. “You gotta leave some latitude in the ‘how.’ Avoid the micromanaging,” Krejci said.
- Have fun. “We do a lot to celebrate the victories. Taking a pause to celebrate the victories means a lot,” said Krejci, who has been known to dress like Cupid and personally deliver long-stem roses to all of the female employees in his office on Valentine’s Day.
- Fairness. “The principle of fairness can go a long way if you do it right,” Krejci said.
- Team building. “We need at least one suggestion from each of you about anything that can make this company better,” Krejci tells his employees on a regular basis. He then builds a to-do list of the best suggestions.
- Synergy. “Sometimes, companies take the best financial deal, and that’s not always the best way to go. Choose the right partners,” Krejci said.
Written by Steve Jagler.
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