By May 21, 2024 No Comments

From a business point of view, it was my aha moment. As a child, we went on vacations, but not elaborate vacations. I grew up in New Jersey, so our trips were simple—like going to Hershey, Pennsylvania. You saw the chocolate being made as if the factory was under glass. You saw the workers as they went about their responsibilities with great pride and joy, as if they were the only ones in the factory. What also left an impression on me after all these years was touring the factory and seeing the chocolate being made by hardworking local people from beginning to end.


Years later, my significant event, aha moment, happened when I was managing a facility in Bedford Park, Illinois. As I was touring my own operation, I realized the confidence the Hershey organization must have had in their people as literally thousands of people walked through their factory each day while they made their famous chocolate bars. I stopped and wondered, can a customer walk through my operation unannounced and still be impressed with my organization? I asked myself, “Do I run a Hershey factory? Can my customers walk through my operations anytime, and would they be proud of what they saw?”

From that day forward, I challenged myself and my staff to inspire those in their care to be as confident in their people and operations as Hershey is in theirs. If they could do so, their customers would enjoy the same experience in one of their facilities—confident and excited to see their products are in our hands. As a leader, regardless of your area of responsibility, you have your own “Hershey factory.” You need to make sure your customers are equally proud of what they see in your facilities, people, and solutions. From that significant event forward, I combined that vision and the empowerment of my people, who felt valued in everything they did, to create their Hershey experience.

It’s like the old saying, “You don’t want to walk through the kitchen in a restaurant.” I wanted to start bringing everybody through the kitchen. Every year, I would send my leaders a Hershey bar and my Hershey aha moment story to remind them of this standard.

On a personal note, a defining moment was when I got my job at UPS. I was hired to be a part- timer unloading and loading trailers. My dad, who had come from Italy at fourteen, sat me down. He was a great person, rest his soul, and very straightforward. He said, “Look, two things I want to share with you. I don’t know what this UPS does, but listen, whatever they ask you to do, say yes and thank you. Then learn your job and learn some more because the minute you think you know everything, they’ll pass you right by.”

UPS had a promotion-from-within policy, and every time there was a new opportunity, regardless of where it was, I would think, Am I the right guy for this job? Then I would remember my dad’s words over my shoulder: “Just say yes and thank you,” and I would turn to my wife and say, “Hey, hon, let’s pack the kids up. We’re going.” That mindset was significant and impactful for me growing up.



Later, I realized a significant lesson from this experience. It was clear UPS had more confidence in me than I had in myself. As a leader, I realized you often need to have faith and confidence in your people, and many times it is before they’re ready for it. They may not have the skills, confidence, or expertise at that point, so you believe in them until they’re ready to believe in themselves. You bridge that gap of confidence and knowledge until they reach the point where they can say, “Okay, I’ve got this.” Then, as a leader, you step back and become their cheerleader because they don’t need to be over-managed; they’re ready to run.

Those were the two events for me: The Hershey moment shaped how I would run my operations and how I want to be perceived by my customers, and my dad’s advice taught me how to approach my work and professional growth.


Take Your Leadership Skills to the Next Level with Tighten the Lug Nuts: The Principles of Balanced Leadership. https://tightenthelugnuts.com/


Rocky Newsletter April image

Let’s work together. I am a practitioner as well as an educator and motivator, and an experienced senior leader and CEO with over 45 years of boots-on-the-ground experience. I led one of the
largest rebranding initiatives in franchising history – The UPS Store, revolutionizing the $9 billion retail shipping and business services market.

I believe that none of us can achieve success without some help along the way. For each of us, there is a person, a mentor, who we are grateful towards and who can help us get to
where we aspire to be. Sharing stories and experiences as a speaker is a way of recognizing the value of these experiences and giving back to the next generation of leaders. It also is a way of
demonstrating in words and deed the value I am placing in mentorship. As for me, I have been fortunate to have worked with and mentored by some incredibly special people, and none more
incredible than Coach John Wooden.

I have broad experiences to share that can help others as they grow and take on new challenges. During my time as president of UPS Supply Chain Solutions, I integrated over 20
acquisitions that became UPS Supply Chain Solutions. I steered UPS’s entry into the health care industry and created the mantra, “It’s a patient, not a package. ®” With the ability to see a clear
vision of the changing business landscape, the passion to develop strategies, tactics, and metrics to drive desired results, and the passion to develop the Best, The Brightest, Most Informed, and Best People in the industries they serve.

Please give me a call today at 610-322-0720 or email at [email protected]


Looking for quick morning leadership advice in under 5 minutes?
Check out Rocky’s Leadership Library podcast.


For more information visit our website https://www.3sixtymanagementservices.com/. My book,
Tighten The Lug Nuts, will also serve as a workbook for these important topics and discussions.

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