Atwell values in action: how continuous improvement drives our teams forward

Here at Atwell, one of our core values is constant improvement. We are always seeking growth, development, and continued education opportunities for our employees at all levels. Whether a team member is new to the company or has been working with Atwell for decades, our leadership is passionate about challenging our team to keep expanding their comfort zones and tackling new projects. One of the greatest examples of this passion in action comes from our Chief Financial Officer, Rod Petschauer. We sat down with him to learn more about his approach with his team, as well as what skillsets he’s developing for himself. 

How do you motivate your team?

I am constantly seeking ways to stretch my staff’s comfort levels and give them opportunities for new work assignments that they have not previously undertaken.  It’s important to me that my team feels engaged and challenged. These types of growth opportunities can be great motivators for future success.

What’s your advice for delivering feedback?

I’m very, very intentional about delivering feedback that is always immediate and consistent for both positive feedback and constructive criticism.  My team is provided with feedback as quickly as possible and frequently throughout the year, so there should never be a surprise in a review.

Feedback isn’t like wine – it doesn’t improve with age.  That’s why getting right to it and communicating things quickly is essential.

What action steps do you take to remain an advisor to clients?

In my position, my clients are all internal to Atwell.  They include the project managers, directors, vice presidents, and senior executives throughout the organization, but to me, they are clients, nonetheless.  I ask my team to view Atwell, SCS, and RVI employees as clients and to treat them accordingly.  As a leader and advisor for my internal clients, I use my expertise and experience to thoroughly analyze the firm’s financial/operational issues and develop a plan with a clear and concise conclusion.

What skillset are you currently developing?

The organization’s recent substantial growth, both organically and through mergers and acquisitions, has certainly challenged me to develop a new skill set.  Our acquisition activity during the past 12 months has been at the highest level we’ve ever had. Getting a transaction completed is one thing, but integration is when the fun can really begin!  The process of shifting from acquisition to integration tasks has required a new skillset I didn’t previously rely upon but has inspired development and investment for ease of adjustment as well as a positive workplace environment for all involved.

What’s one lesson you had to learn as you started taking more of a leadership role?

One thing that was never taught in undergraduate accounting or during my MBA studies was an appreciation for human nature.  As I grew into a leadership role, I found that understanding human nature is critical to effective leadership.  I sincerely believed everyone was wired and thought just as I did, so it was a profound insight for me when I realized that was not the case. We’re all wired differently, so the approach I need to lead and mentor staff varies from staff member to staff member. That was a major epiphany for me.

Additionally, I had to learn how to delegate tasks to be an effective leader.  I was accustomed to doing everything myself but delegating and giving other team members opportunities to grow is an essential leadership skill.

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