Speaking of success

Louis Provenzano can tell his employees how great Language Line Services is, and he does so every chance he gets. He can talk about all the potential his company has for future success, and he does that, too.

But in order to achieve those lofty aspirations, Provenzano would need to get his employees to believe his words and be willing to put their own skills to use to reach those goals.

“Play to everybody’s strengths, provide them the opportunity of using their own individual strengths and continue to excel,” says Provenzano, president and chief operating officer at the interpretation service provider. “When you’re a successful company, people expect more. My biggest challenge is how do I make people do more and really feel good about the direction of the company.”

Language Line provides over-the-phone interpretation service in more than 170 languages through the company’s 7,000 employees. The key to future growth would be Provenzano’s ability to tap into his employees’ talents and fuel their drive for personal and companywide success.

Smart Business spoke with Provenzano about how to build a team that can help drive growth.

Set clear goals. I had to set the standards to make sure everybody would sing to the same music and have a methodology of going out into the market and explaining our value. It really is making sure that the team really understands their roles, how they can prosper in their roles and how they can use the tools that we currently have in the organization.

Goals have to be very well articulated from the president’s office. You have to ensure that the entire company understands what needs to be accomplished. Setting the goals and objectives and requirements has to be well-articulated. Everybody needs to understand that and understand what their contribution is to achieving those company goals.

Build strong bonds. The thing that a good leader does is they bond with their people, their customers and with their shareholders. Listen and pay a lot of attention to suggestions. We’ve introduced kaizen here at Language Line, which is a continuous improvement methodology.

If you spend a lot of time in the trenches and a lot of time with your customers and ask what their biggest pain points and challenges are and what they need to be more successful, guess what? They will tell you.