Presidential Point of View--With Carl Iseman

September 28, 2007

As President of your organization what does an average day look like?

An average day: I start every day with 1 hour of exercise since I truly believe that a healthy body generates a healthy mind. Once getting to the office, I first check on all of my projects in the field and then recruiting productivity of each of my facilities. Next review current receivables and payables...the morning is spent with the numbers. Afternoons are spent working on new revenue generating ideas, business improvements, checking on the competition and following up with those I need to respond to.....a lot of this follow up to insure that we met and hopefully exceeded our clients expectations...many calls to moderators and other clients. In the evening I check on projects in the field just to make sure my clients are getting the service they expect, wherever they are.

What was the best business decision you ever made?

The best business decision I ever made was to purchase my second focus group facility, AIM Columbus. This second facility created much synergy and gave me much more flexibility to insure I always have the capacity to support my clients.

As a business leader how do you measure success?

I measure success both qualitatively and quantitatively. Increasing sales, improving bottom lines and increased productivity are good, but only short term measures. Our reputation with clients and in the profession, the level of satisfaction amongst my employees and clients are much more important in the long term. High ratings from our clients, both on the Impulse survey and in our internal customer satisfaction programs are really what define success for me. Happy and productive employees who grow with our business and increasing numbers of clients who refer new clients to me are what we strive for....the bottom line is a direct result.

Are there certain qualities that you look for in people you are hiring?

I always strive to employ people who have a dedication to learn and improve while doing all they can to be a team player who subscribes to our basic objective that they'll do whatever it takes to insure that our clients are enthusiastically satisfied. We look for people who have established track records while also looking for those that appear to have the desire to excel and the potential.

Who do you admire the most in the research community?

I admire several people who are dedicated to the development of marketing research as a profession, have committed significant time and effort to MRA, while doing an excellent job in their own're right up there along with Merrill Shugoll, Jon Last...people with great leadership abilities who care!!

How would you describe your leadership style?

Leadership style: I like to think of myself as a team builder and personal objective is summed up in my definition of management:

  • The accomplishment of predetermined objectives through others.
  • I like to identify people with potential, work with them to understand their needs, help them reach their personal and professional goals and then get out of their way when they've earned their autonomy.

Please list 3 words that describe yourself

Confident, understanding and curious.

What inspired you to get into the market research industry?

I wasn't inspired, I was desperate!! After 20 years as a hospital administrator and VP in a very large retail corporation, I knew I wanted more independence and autonomy...I wanted to be the master of my own destiny without being beholden to a Board or other controlling body...owning a focus group facility gave me the freedom I desperately wanted.

How do you motivate your employees?

I motivate employees through caring and understanding. I want people to enjoy working at AIM, I want them to have a sense of ownership and share in the success of the company. We celebrate a lot, we feel for the personal trials and tribulations of our staff, we understand that work is something we all have to do, but we also understand that there's life after work and we respect that. My office is an open door, I'm not Mr. Iseman, I'm Carl to all staff and clients. And finally and most importantly, since I strongly believe we are only as good as our staff, we encourage their participation in planning and evaluating how the company and its employees will progress.

What do you do for fun when you aren't working?

I have a lot of varied interests; however my wife and my daughter come first. I'm my daughters self proclaimed coach and am proud to watch her grow into a young adult who cares deeply about people and the world around her. In the time left over I work on restoring my classic Porsches, relaxing on Martha's Vineyard and tend my gardens both there and at home, read climbing books and work on my art collection.

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