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Leading in Times of Challenge with Jeff Russell

Jeff Russell Headshot

Jeff Russell is the president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. He began his career interning with The Members Group and went on to work in a variety of senior leadership positions within the financial services industry. 

Jeff Russell Leadership Tips

Russell says he was once told that the two most valuable leadership experiences are scars and scoreboard (or P&L). No one wants scars, but the reality is those lessons make you better prepared for the next crisis. 

During the financial crisis in 2008, Russell kept his team clear on their goals. As the leader, he says he needed to take on the hardest role at the time. Russell says that the mantra — seize the day, but don’t be stupid — is important. During an economic downturn, many companies are built or scaled. There are opportunities there to take advantage of, but you need to do it in a responsible way. Unlike the crisis in 2008, which Russell says was like being chased, where you just run, the COVID-19 pandemic has been more like a minefield, where you need to slowly navigate your way through. Without facts about the future, Russell also says people need to be ready to adapt to figure out the next step, or plan b, in order to serve customers.

Listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.

The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here

Leading in Times of Challenge

Leading in Times of Challenge is a podcast featuring Greater Des Moines (DSM) business and community leaders.