IAI’s Remarkable Women Edition Recognizes Lisa A. Maddox, CFE, CFI

The International Association of Interviewers teamed with General Dynamics for their annual recognition of remarkable women in loss prevention. Lisa A. Maddox, CFE, CFI, area security manager, east, for Manheim, is one of the 2017 honorees.

How do you make important decisions as a leader?

The criteria used for my decision making is: how can my contribution reimburse the company for what it has given me? It is not about what I like or how the decision will benefit me. It is about how my colleagues/customers will reap the benefit. The keys to success of decision making are people, values, solid strategies, customers, and organizational synergy.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Dianne Early was my market vice president for a year at my current job. She transferred from the sales department. Her subordinates at the time were all male and tenured and had very little intention of accepting any, “change management.” She quickly impacted the department by assembling a support cabinet and challenging the norm. She would not accept the response, “We have always done it like this.” Although she irritated her team by challenging and moving the needle, it ultimately opened their eyes to not be so accepting of old behaviors. We ultimately became the top market in the company. She transitioned some of her leaders that were “stuck” in old ways, and some of them changed their behaviors. Dianne was soon promoted to a senior VP. She continues to be a mentor for me in the organization.

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What is the most important characteristic you believe every leader should possess?

There are many qualities a leader needs to have in their repertoire, but the two that stand out to me are to be “visionary” and “influential.” As a visionary, you must balance practicality with idealism. You see yourself in the future, but you must motivate others in the present. To be influential is not to be a “command and control” authority. The power to influence others comes from listening, earning respect, having gratitude, and being persuasive.

What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

A mistake a leader can make is to rush their decision making. In today’s competitive world, most organizations are in a constant flurry of change in an attempt to keep up with the demands of their market. In this turmoil, employees may not fully understand their relevance and roles. Sometimes, we just need to slow down in order to explain how they will fit into the new picture. People need to know the personal impact of the organizational change in order for them to fully commit to its success.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

The advice I would give is to be a compassionate listener. There is a nothing worse than not being heard or having your thoughts/opinions bypassed by a leader who has an already-established agenda.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I am striving to be an agent of change while always adapting to my environment. I pride myself on being approachable and able to communicate at all levels of the organization, from executives to hourly employees. It is not always easy to be in a role where you are exposing wrongdoing, but having an open door and communicating well have always helped me as a leader.

As you reflect upon your career, to what do you attribute your high level of success?

I think I have achieved success by maintaining a high ethical standard in all that I do. I am always willing to adapt to my environment while surrounding myself with inspirational people who influence me. I am continuously looking in the mirror to identify which areas I most need to change and adjust.

What woman inspires you the most and why?

Toni Morrison has had a great impact on my life. She is a novelist and the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize for literature. Her books are so enthralling. She focuses on epic themes, vivid dialogue, and detailed characterizations, and she takes on the tough issues.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It is a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” -Oprah Winfrey

What is one of the great books you have read?

One of the more recent books I have read is The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self– Not Just Your “Good” Self – Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdanand and Robert Biswas-Diener. The book focuses on positive emotions and tells us that “anger makes us creative, selfishness makes us brave, and guilt is a powerful motivator.”

Check out the other IAI Remarkable Women honorees.

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