How Mike Vinton leads The Vasco Group to new levels of success Featured

8:02pm EDT August 31, 2011
How Mike Vinton leads The Vasco Group to new levels of success

Mike Vinton was just venturing into the business world out of high school when he found his vision. There was a catch — he didn’t have any formal education on how to operate a business, much less on being a leader. However, it didn’t stop him.

“I knew at that time, there was no doubt in my mind that was the kind of work I wanted to do,” he says, after a stint on a tennis court project in Michigan inspired him to be a sports contractor.

“When you fall in love with doing something, you will know it,” says Vinton, president of The Vasco Group. “It’s just an overwhelming desire to get up and go do it. And somehow, some way, in spite of any circumstances good or bad, you’re going to make it happen. You become willing to do just about anything.”

Despite the obstacles faced, being relentless and doing the right thing along the way brought rewards. Vasco’s 2010 was the best financial year in its 44-year history.

“If the spark starts to burn inside any man ? if it truly is a passion, a vision ? he will go to just about any length to explore that to make it happen,” Vinton says.

Once illuminated with a vision, the would-be leader would do well to seek out mentors.

“Watch other leaders ? what they are doing, how they act, how they treat people,” he says. “Just try to do what the winners are doing.”

People that are successful usually are willing to share advice.

“The big part is asking for help,” Vinton says. “Once you ask, I’ve found that people want to help. I’ve been blessed in that respect in that people have always taken me under their wing and helped me.

“Mentor other young people that want to be leaders. Read leadership books nonstop, and study leadership styles.

“I heard someone say a long time ago that if you want to keep wisdom and knowledge, you’ve got to give it away. That was always modeled for me and that’s what I try to do as a leader today.”

Pick a mentor that works in a different industry.

“Choose people that you came across in relationships,” Vinton says. “I had a commercial real state developer take me around and show me his properties. We would discuss what a leader would do in certain situations.”

Then as you develop your skills, the time comes for more specific mentoring. In a competitive field, it’s a reality check that no one is going to share tips to a possible competitor. But a suitable alternative can be found through associations. Securing a board position on an industry association puts you in touch with professionals from all over who are open to helping.

“I’ve never had people in the industry help me until I was part of national business organizations that did not include local contractors,” Vinton says. “I got many contacts that way.”

The camaraderie will help develop the principle to treat other people as more important.

“One of the most important leadership principles is servant leadership,” Vinton says. “Learn it, teach it and model it for young leaders that serving people in your area of influence is more important than yourselves. Give others the credit when things go well.

“As a leader, be intuitive and aware of the people around you and make yourself available to them on their time.”

How to reach: The Vasco Group, (800) 487-0422 or www.thevascogroup.com

M&A synergy

When it comes to acquiring another company, there are two tips that shouldn’t be overlooked: Be patient, and see that synergy ? when a combination is greater than parts alone ? is a component of the decision.

“Make sure you have synergy between the two companies ? that the company fits with your core competencies,” says Vasco Group President Mike Vinton, whose vision included company expansion into other cities and states.

“Get your key people together and ask, ‘Does this create synergy or does this create division?’ That’s a huge thing in making sure that synergy is a part of it.”

Your management team needs to have complete buy-in that the two companies can work hand-in-hand, each pulling its own weight, with no negative feelings.

As the team gets on board and supports the decision, not just the leader’s edict, negotiations can go forward. Timing is everything in acquisitions.

“Don’t be in a hurry,” Vasco says.

Take your time, and be ready to cancel negotiations if a red flag appears.

“I walked away from a deal once. The fit was not good. Three months later, he called me back and said he was ready to start talking again. We did a deal within a month.”

How to reach: The Vasco Group, (800) 487-0422 or www.thevascogroup.com