President and CEO, Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
The difference between Management and Leadership. Business is two things. First it’s policies, procedures, standards, practices, etc. These things you manage. Business is also people, and these you lead. I’ve often said: “As soon as you see the need to have to manage someone, you’ve lost.” I’ve also learned that managers focus on doing things right, and leaders focus on doing the right things. Finally, managers help people make a living, leaders help them to make a life.
What’s been your biggest success?
My greatest success that has led to other results is developing a sense of self-awareness, which has allowed me to realize that “I am the biggest screw-up in the building.” Through this realization I’ve been able to reduce the anxiety around me and help people to realize that what we do, and how we do it, while important, pale in comparison to why we do things, and heating and air conditioning are the what, but improving the quality of life is our greater why.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
Hands down this has been my father, Jim Isaac. Of all the books I’ve read, seminars I’ve attended, podcasts I’ve watched, and speeches I’ve heard, the person I quote the most is my father. He instilled in my brothers and me the values and importance of running a true equity business, where we exist first and foremost to support the business, not the other way around.
What are your hopes for the Rochester community this year?
Growth, in population, employment, graduations, income levels, tourism, etc. I learned long ago that growth leads to a lot of great things, and Rochester needs that injection to get the momentum back.