LaRese Purnell is out to build Cleveland’s leadership talent

Good leaders take the time to develop even more leaders. It’s a simple concept, but one that often gets lost in the sheer volume of things that must be done in a typical business each day. When you view it as a priority, something that is just as important, if not more significant than those many tasks on your to-do list, it becomes easier to do, says LaRese Purnell, managing partner at CLE Consulting Firm.

“It’s not about micromanaging, but giving people the power and allowing them to find out what their passion and purpose is in their different roles,” Purnell says. “I just listen to them. I listen to my staff and I get to learn some of the gifts and qualities they possess that aren’t always told on a resume. You need to create opportunities to receive feedback and input.”

Purnell is a 2018 Smart 50 honoree, an accomplished financial expert and the author of the book, “Financial Foundations.” At his firm, CLE stands for Creating Leading Enterprises, a mission that is an extension of Purnell’s faith-based dedication to helping other people achieve excellence.

As you’ll read in this month’s Smart 50 profile, Purnell embraces opportunities to make a difference. He also believes in the value of hard work. He wants those he works with to understand that it’s rarely easy to get to the top.

“Most entrepreneurs you meet, they’re used to working 80 hours a week,” he says. “You’re not an entrepreneur if you’re not willing to work hard. That’s in their blood. You have to be willing to work hard.”

As an organization that seeks to help entrepreneurs hone their leadership skills and become better at guiding others, Purnell takes into account the frenetic pace most leaders work at when he schedules his firm’s training sessions.

“You have to understand the plight of entrepreneurs in today’s world,” he says. “They can’t come to an eight-hour class from 8 to 4 on a Friday when it’s the busiest day of their week. You have to think of ways to capture them. When we do training, we do them on Sundays. Most people don’t make big commitments on Sunday.”

Purnell believes that by stressing mentorship and training for leaders, he can help Cleveland continue to grow economically.

“When you’re the owner of a company or you’re the one in the C-suite, everybody knows you’re in charge,” he says. “I like to empower the people around me to use their skills.”

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor at Smart Business Network