By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Misty Mayes, the Founder and President of Management Solutions, played competitive sports of all types throughout school, so it is only natural that teamwork and team play are key components of her business philosophy.
“I’m a big proponent of mental toughness,” she says about a trait that all successful athletes display.
Mayes also believes in having fun.
“I want happy, engaged people,” she explains. “I want people to enjoy where they work.”
Those factors – competition, happiness and fun – are integral components of the environment that Mayes works every day to maintain at Management Solutions.
“We compete all year and give prizes at the end of the year,” she says of four cross-cutting teams at the professional services firm. Staff are involved in events like the Knoxville Marathon and golf tournaments.
“We have team lunches where we share a meal, play a game and there is only one rule…you can’t talk about work,” she adds.
There’s also an annual music video produced by the staff. Last year’s product was special for Mayes, particularly since she is the equivalent of the Executive Producer. Because of her father’s illness and death during the production period, she thought 2014 would be devoid of a video. Her team showed its colors, producing the video that was shown in December as a tribute to Mayes.
As she continues to grow Management Solutions, Mayes draws on a strong philosophical base and a set of guiding beliefs.
“Imagine what you could do if you were not afraid to fail,” she asks.
To reinforce that philosophy, Management Solutions advances four key beliefs:
- Every person is capable of positive change.
- Every organization is capable of positive change.
- Positive change starts with a belief that things can improve.
- Inspiration creates the vision for what improvement can look like.
Mayes also advocates a core set of values – confidence, partnerships, discipline, passion, understanding, and wisdom – and a set of best practices that include: (1) equipping people; (2) rewarding performance; (3) having adult conversations; (4) practicing transparency; (5) being timely; (6) following through; and (7) maintaining a long-term focus.
The process to be hired at Management Solutions is, as you might imagine, one that Mayes takes seriously.
“I want them to interview us as we interview them,” she says. It usually involves three or four sessions before a decision is made.
“We’re not just hiring the individual,” Mayes notes. “We’re also hiring their family.”
In addition, she says, “I’m looking for stellar character. You can train people, but you cannot instill character.”
Once hired, Mayes gives new employees three books to read. They are: Mindset by Carol Dweck, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson, and How to Stop the Pain by James B. Richards.