Knowledge Institute Podcasts
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger on Economic Development
Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger discusses the increasing value of public-private partnerships in economic development on the state, national and international level.
Hosted by Jeff Kavanaugh, VP and Head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute.
“I've learned over the years that a strong leader without a following will fail much quicker than a weak leader with a strong following. So, you have to lead the people. You're not going to do it on your own. You just can't.”
- Jim Schellinger
Before Jim took on this role and went into serve the state, he had a career in architecture. He shares his background.
How did Jim develop expertise in the area of economic development?
Jim talks about economic development and how two major biggest turning points affected it. First, the internet. And then second, this digital age where it's so disruptive.
What is it that sometimes people may get wrong or misunderstand in some of the things that Jim has seen?
Jim shares his thoughts on public partnerships, public-private partnerships and then when you put academics into the equation as well with colleges.
How can businesses try to make investments or partner with public organizations whenever there is this whole election cycle, how do they balance that? And how has Jim seen to be successful regardless of who's in office?
Speaking of education, when Jim looks at the technology partnerships they have, what are some of the most interesting ones that stand out when they work with the tech community?
Looking back at his career, what are some of the factors that enabled Jim to be successful as he has been and what are some things that people can take away from that?
What are the three things that a business leader listening to this can take away as they try to get the most from their investments, especially in partnerships with the public sector?
Jeff Kavanaugh: Welcome to this episode of the Knowledge Institute, where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. Economic development is essential to prosperity but in these disruptive times, it's hard to plan for the future and to partner effectively. Indiana is a state that seems to have it figured out, not only have they attracted many billions in corporate investment. They have consistently ranked in the top five States as a good place to do business and unemployment has been at historic lows. Jim Schellinger believes strong economic development is essential for a healthy economy and population. Jim's work as the Secretary of Commerce for state of Indiana, has a direct impact on millions of Hoosiers and significant impact across the US and globally. Today I'm very happy to be joined by Jim to discuss economic development in these disruptive times. Welcome, Jim.
Jim Schellinger: Thanks, Jeff. It's good to be with you.
Jeff Kavanaugh: You bet. Well, before we get started, I've noticed in your background that before you took on this role and went into serve the state that you had a career in architecture.
Jim Schellinger: I did. I grew up in South Bend, went to the University of Notre Dame, got my architectural degree. In '84 I moved down here. I went into work for a company called CSO Architects. I went in as a graduate architect in 1984 and 35 years later, took a 18 month leave of absence at that time to serve Governor Pence as the president of the IEDC and since governor Holcomb has asked me to stay on as Secretary of Commerce. It's all I ever wanted to be was an architect and I felt it was a special career in that we serve people. We had a chance every day to alter the face of the earth and in doing so help people's lives and I find this role to be equally meaningful because every day we get out of bed and we're able to help people in their livelihoods and families and their businesses and it's, and that's what grows our state. And there can be no higher calling. It's the highest honor I've ever had in my life.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And IEDC is Indiana Economic Development Corporation. How would you say you came to develop expertise in the area of economic development?
Jim Schellinger: Well, for me personally, it's just been, it's very similar as attracting architectural projects and competing and going after things. It's really the same formula. It's just a different, different tasks, different points in time, a little bit different subject matter. But there's so many similarities where you get to go, you have to learn about a company, you have to know what they do. You have to understand how they operate. You have to know what makes them profitable. You have to understand, which is really hard for architects sometimes that as much as a person cares about their building, they're much more into building and protecting shareholder wealth. And these are so many things that are in common with the Economic Development Corporation, which by the way, Jeff, as you know, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation was formed in 2005 as a public private partnership. When the Department of Commerce, the State Department of Commerce was shut down by governor Mitch Daniels on his first day in office.
Jim Schellinger: He did so to put a real emphasis on economic development that so every person in his administration, every governor in their administration thereafter, we would have economic development as their top priority because that's what builds our state, that's what fuels our state. And if we want to take really, really good care, one time I was asked this by your colleagues at Infosys, Robbie Kumar, he said, "Jim, tell me about your state in terms of how you take care. Everybody takes care of that middle 60%." he said, "Everybody takes care of a state, but how do you take care of that upper 20 and that lower 20?"
Jim Schellinger: And I said-
Jeff Kavanaugh: ... you mean age wise?
Jim Schellinger: Yeah. I said, "Well you hit it Robbie. That 60 has to take care of both those." And I said, "That's why we stress cause what's most important to that 60, economic development." So if we build our tasks base, we build our businesses, then we're able to fund those essential things we need that are mission critical.
Jeff Kavanaugh: And full disclosure, as a native Hoosier, myself, very highly interested in this discussion. Economic development's been around for a while and noticed some of it earlier in my career, but it's really come to the forefront. Could you talk about economic development and how two major biggest turning points effected it. First, the internet. And then second, this digital age where it's so disruptive.
Jim Schellinger: It's incredible. I just learned the other day that I think Lao Niu is a Chinese term for old cow and I'm way back, I am so much older than you, but interestingly enough when I got out of school, everything was manual. We drafted, we learned to letter the same so that two architects could work on the same drawing and letter exactly the same. And then in the early 90s we bought our first two computers and we bought them to do, and we had word processing for the administrative group to do specifications. But we bought two CAD, basically computers to do CAD work on to do signature ends because it's a repetitive building. And I still left the company 35 years later, I was the only one that couldn't efficiently operate CAD. I still did everything by hand. And I was the last one standing with the drafting board in their office.
Jim Schellinger: If you went into an architectural firm today, it's completely different. There's no drafting boards, there is no big print machines. Everything is done in a high tech manner. And interestingly enough, I'm glad you brought this up because the governor, he'll tell you and he'll talk to people about our businesses and this is relatively new. Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is. He'll say, "We are advanced manufacturing and tech. We are AGCO bio sciences and tech. We are life sciences and tech. We are aerospace and defense and tech. We are logistics and tech. And we are information technology tech." So it's really permeated everything. And I can tell you just personally, there's hardly a day goes by I don't go home and there's not a box on my porch from Amazon. So just in general, how commerce is done now is completely different.
Jim Schellinger: It goes at the speed of business, everything is quick and that's why we do what we do here. And that's why we were formed to be a public private partnership that can respond at the speed of business. And we report to a 15 person private board chaired by the governor and he makes those appointees. So I think we're fairly unique in that in how we operate as a state. But even though you still have the technology things and technology does so much. And interestingly enough, I love Infosys when they came here, they want their software to be designed appropriately so they're recruiting a lot of liberal arts people. That's changed in business, especially in technology and I think that's why it's beyond its years. But I think in the end of the day it's still blocking and tackling. You still have to have people that can operate the technology.
Jim Schellinger: You still have to have the basic demographs of state things like low taxes, reasonable regulations. You have to balance budgets, you have to have good credit ratings, all these things, we have great colleges and universities. There's no one silver bullet for economic development. It's everything. And I don't know that any state that's doing it quite like we are and that's why I'm so proud to be able to tell our story across the world. A story I will tell you, Jeff, I had nothing to do with, I was in the private sector enjoying it.
Jim Schellinger: I stepped out to do my duty for 18 months. I've been here now almost four years and I find it again to be very meaningful, but in the end, I didn't write one sentence of this, and actually three Republicans, consecutive governors with majorities in the House and the Senate are the ones that developed this amazing atmosphere from an $800 million deficit and 11% unemployment to a $2.3 billion in reserves. We have Triple A credit rating, the highest rating you can have. Our unemployment rate is 3.2, and I'm a Democrat appointed by two Republican governors because jobs and economic development are nonpartisan in our state.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, it's good to hear that. It really is. If you think about especially people, maybe business listeners to this, what is it that sometimes people may get wrong or misunderstand that are some points you'd like to make that you think business leaders or others might be able to take advantage of some of the things that you've seen?
Jim Schellinger: Well, as you've probably already surmised, I'm not a real smart guy. I'm pretty much a simpleton. I always say I've never had original idea in my life. The governor and I got to meet, Benjamin Netanyahu not too long ago and we were waiting in his office, his conference room, and his Chief of Staff said, "You're going to love the Prime Minister. He's a really smart guy. He's got a 200 IQ." And I had to ask if that was good. So most of the things I think about, I take right back to the basics and I will tell you, I sometimes am troubled by this, I think that our younger generation and millennials and the people that have grown up in the digital economy, they are going to knock it out of the park in terms of the things they're going to do that we're not doing well in society, such as partisanship politics, such as diversity and acceptance, and lots of other things because they don't even care about these things.
Jim Schellinger: And they wonder why we do. But there's still a fundamental threat that I think sometimes we better make sure we hang on to. For instance, I told you we were taught as architects, every one of us to print identically. And architects used to have impeccable printing. Today, the young architects, they rank right up there with a doctor's prescription. You can't even read it when they write because they don't write. They type. Ironically enough, there's a font in the software that is the way we printed. So it looks like the way we printed, because we used the Frank Chang style printing. So I still think that no matter how technologically we become as people, no matter how advanced we become with technology in economic development in the foreseeable future, always has been, and I hope while he's will because I think it enriches human beings.
Jim Schellinger: It's still a people to people thing. You still have to, as governor, we talk here all the time about taking Indiana to the world, bringing the world to Indiana. We do that every day. And the governor always says, the ones who show up to play are the winners. And I can tell you as I go around the country, 54 international trips in 32 months to 28 nations, I can tell you that is absolutely true. That when I get in front of a customer and I can look in the eye, they're always amazed. You came all this way to see me and a lot of these trips, my first priority, Jeff, is to go in to meet with people that are invested from that country in Indiana to say thank you. I could've done that on a computer. I could have sent them an email. I could've sent them a text.
Jim Schellinger: Three years ago I might not have been able to do that, but I could've done that. But when they say, well, why are you, okay, I'm here to say thank you, you had 49 other choices to invest and you chose Indiana. We're happy about that. We're proud of that. We take that very serious. Now, how are you doing and what can we do to help you be better and more successful? That's why I go. And then the second priority is to meet with Indiana businesses investing in those countries like Eli Lilly and Cummins, and Zimmer Biomet and the list goes on and on and on, because it's a two way street. And we're thankful that they've invested in those countries. And we also know that when they invest in and do well in those countries, they do well back home with their headquarters. So I guess a long answer to your question is I just think the people to people exchanges are absolutely crucial. They always have been. They always will be.
Jim Schellinger: When I was at my architectural firm, one of the things I would do later as I got older, and I wasn't as active day to day on a drafting board. I would, every time I'd come home from somewhere, I'd stop and visit a client just to say, "Hey, I'm just passing through. How you doing?" Thanks for your, and it always inevitably ended up too, I just was going to call you. We got to expand this, we've got to expand that. But I think having that customer contact and focus and genuinely caring about the people you serve, it's sort of like a dog senses a person when they're afraid. I used to have a paper route, my older brother would say, "You get bitten because dogs know you're afraid of them." And I'm embarrassed to say the kind of dogs that used to bite me.
Jim Schellinger: Little Schnauzers. Little, little dogs, but it's just like the same with people. People can understand when you generally care about them and when you're there to serve them and it goes beyond and thank God it does because [inaudible 00:11:30] it goes beyond commerce. So most of our relationships begin with friendships, cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, and when those things are thriving, then the commerce follows.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Once again, you're listening to the Knowledge Institute where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. We're here with Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. And Jim, I think it's interesting. Maybe it was 15 years ago, I don't remember. I subscribed to the Economist for a long time and I remember when I started seeing advertisements from the state of Indiana show up. I thought, is this right? And it was interesting it did, that was a sign to me that you were reaching out internationally. But anyway, I just anecdote. Beyond that, what are your thoughts on public partnerships, public private partnerships and then when you put academics into the equation as well with colleges?
Jim Schellinger: Yeah, it is interesting. You're right, 15 years ago, your timing is impeccable because that's when the IEDC was formed and we started doing that and we have incredible marketing team here at IEDC. I'd put them up with any fortune 500 company there is, and we've done things where we used to have up by the Illinois border of the toll road when Illinois was raising their taxes, which they still are. We'd say, "Are you Illinoised out yet? Indiana: A State That Works dot com." Six months later, we changed them to, "Are you still Illinoised out? Indiana: A State That Works dot com." When we put, we advertised for a Superbowl in New York and the four quarters of the stadium as they came out, it said, "If you can make it here, you'll make a lot more of it in Indiana. A state that works dot com." In Atlanta, we sent billboards that said, "Does your commute feel like a part time job? Indiana."
Jim Schellinger: You know, there's 169 hours of commute. Ours is 23. So it's a full contact sport and what we do is not unlike the military action, if I might use the analogy loosely, we will send our marketing teams into a given, well, we're always marketing, always. Internationally, nationally, in the state. But when we're going to focus on an area of the country at a given time, then we send our marketing teams in like three months in advance to really get our name out there. And then we come in on the ground. So sort of like the aerial attack and then the ground attack, and again, we do it and we do it very well. But I will say it's interesting, I love to talk about our universities. A lot of people think I'm a Notre Dame bias, which I bought because I, my experience was different at Notre Dame.
Jim Schellinger: I love Notre Dame. But, I grew up there, so I always sort of took it for granted. We lived in the shadows of the dome and I lived at home the whole time I went to school, and worked at a tool and dye shop. But Notre Dame is an amazing school. IU is an amazing school, the Kelley School of Business and all the other great schools in the arts and the theater and the things that they do down there. Music is incredible. You go to Purdue. First-person to step on the moon is a Purdue grad. The last person to step on the moon was a Purdue grad. And the only person to successfully land a plane on the Hudson river, Sully was a Purdue grad. And that's just aerospace and defense. That doesn't take into consideration how good they are at agriculture. Vincennes University didn't top advanced manufacturing university in the country. Ivy Tech, the only statewide community college in the country. 120,000 students.
Jim Schellinger: You've got a Rose-Hulman the number one undergraduate because they don't have a graduate program, Engineering. And I always like to talk about little Hanover and we talk at Ball State but little Hanover down in Southeast Indiana only has a thousand students but they can boast the graduation of a sitting Governor and a sitting Vice President. And I have to mention Ball State because Mrs. Holcomb, our first lady went to Ball State. And so many other great people went to Ball State. Of course, David Letterman.
Jim Schellinger: But I think our governor, Governor Holcomb and the presence of the universities have engaged unlike ever before. So we have taken them on trips with us, international trips, national trips. They've been a part of talking with people about the state of Indiana. A lot of people want to come here. I met with a company yesterday that's talking about, they're already here, but they're going to, they've just, they acquired what's here and they're going to put all their focus on Indiana and the number one reason they told me was because how important it is for businesses and educations to, it's like our colleges, universities to interact with them.
Jim Schellinger: But make no mistake about it, we can't just start at the post secondary level. We have got to be talking to young people in grade school, junior high, high school to acclimate them of what's out there for them. Number one questions seniors and juniors, mom and dads get today, today, is where's your son or daughter going to college? And we have to acclimate young people, especially in the perfect storm of where there's a high unemployment rate, we're the number one concentration of manufacturing, we're a digital economy now. With the internet of things, so many technology companies want to be here to serve these manufacturing companies going into the digital economy. We have a great ecosystem for that. A great ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. But we've got to be able to educate people to these jobs. Some of the jobs you see in industry, if you've ever been to a, recently to an advanced manufacturing car manufacturing assembler, it's like a high tech lab.
Jim Schellinger: I mean, you could eat off the floor. So it's much, much different than it used to be for kids that, young people that want to make a living with their hands and want to start work and start making money right away instead of having a looming student loan over their head. There's a lot of great jobs out there and I think kids, we just need to educate that. And so I think that there's no separation between academia and the business world because you cannot have a growing com, you cannot have a thriving business without a quality workforce.
Jeff Kavanaugh: When you think about these relationships and the investments, it's a pretty longterm view. How can businesses try to make investments or partner with public organizations whenever there is this whole election cycle, how do they balance that? And how have you seen to be successful regardless of who's in office?
Jim Schellinger: Obviously there's subtleties to who's in office, up, down and in and out. I don't think who or what parties in office matters as much. It didn't matter to me in the private sector. What mattered to me was how the economy was doing and how prepared we were when the economy was up, how we were dealt with that. When the economy was down, I led our firm through five downturns. The first one, we didn't do very well because I didn't prepare for it. The next four we did well because I knew how to deal with it. So I think as businesses look more toward the economy and how that's going to happen, what's going to happen and I mentioned workforce. Workforce is a challenge now today more than ever, but it's not just because there's low unemployment, it's not just because of that. It's more than that.
Jim Schellinger: It's the skill level. So when you come out of school, if you're going to go to work at advanced manufacturing, the skill set you need technologically to do that is pretty, pretty high. You really got to work hard at that. So it's a matter of all these different things that you have to do at the same time. And we did a study, Jeff, back in 2014 at Indiana Economic Development Corporation. We said, "Okay, we're a magnet for business. We've got the greatest sandbox to do business in. Low taxes, low reasonable regulations, balanced budget, cash in hand. What's our next threat?" And we determined population scarcity. Indiana was essentially the birth rate out paced the death rate, otherwise we'd be an out migration state. Last year we had 31,800 people come to Indiana to be a part of our workforce because we have started to acknowledge the fact that we need to have cool places to live, work, play and stay.
Jim Schellinger: So in the study, when it said population scarcity, it came back to say there's three things communities are doing that are successful, small and large, in growing their population base. One, they're focused on quality of place. Young people, the millennials, like my sons, they're going to choose where they want to play and where they want to work and then they're going to go find a job once they're there. And that's a fact. In fact, I've run into several those instances amongst my sons. But that's a fact. And they want to know, and these aren't they want to know that the side streets drain okay. They want a mixed used housing on the river. They want recreational things to do. They want athletic events and retail opportunities. They want think tanks, and they want all these different things that are great.
Jim Schellinger: They live in urban environments. They want to be able to walk. They want to be able to ride their bike to places. So as again, I think it will be very successful. But what we did to counter this and then it said, the other two things, regional planning, don't just focus on your city or your County, regionally plan, because your region has to be interesting. And then third is have innovation entrepreneurship at the very heart of your DNA. Those three things. So we put out an RP, back in 2015, four regional cities initiative, we called it. So it criteria, so many hundred thousand, 200,000 people, at least three counties, a metropolitan area, and on, and on, and on. We got seven responses back. There were 420 projects, quality of place projects, and for what was going to be two $42 million grants, 84 total. We were going to get back in private sector investment, $3.76 billion.
Jim Schellinger: It was so successful that we ended up giving three people the grant. So 126 million. I can't remember the exact number of projects, it's well over 200, but the capital investment from the private sector is 2.1 billion. So Jeff, architects aren't known for their business prowess and this. I'll be the first one to admit it, but I can do the math on that one. I mean, that's a heck of a return on the investment. And moreover, if I could take people to these communities up in Northeast Indiana, 11 counties are participating in it. And Allen County is obviously where Fort Wayne is, our second largest economy in the state. Allen County doesn't have anybody on their actual regional development authority. They did it on purpose to show it wasn't going to be Fort Wayne centric, but they have six people or five people from around those counties, 11 counties pulling together like they never did before, not fighting each other, fighting for their region. And the power of regionalism cannot be overstated.
Jim Schellinger: And so I think that businesses are starting to realize that they bring people, they pay them a good wage, but they need a quality place for them to live, work and play. And the value proposition we have, Jeff, here in Indiana is we have low cost of living. So not only do we have cool places to live, work and play. It's affordable. So it costs you 100 bucks in Indiana will cost you a whopping 139 out in California. It'll cost you 121 in New York.
Jim Schellinger: I say to these young people, like my kids out in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, they got to get together once a year and circle around a table and say if they want to up their release on that one bedroom apartment they're all sharing. If they're in Indianapolis they could have a beautiful house. It's just a, and all throughout Indiana our real estate's very affordable. It's just a great place. And that's why so many Hoosiers, and we're working on this, we like to call it the battering program, or we're bringing people back. And I think a lot of those 31,800 were probably, or at least a quarter of them are people coming back.
Jeff Kavanaugh: If I could jump in, when I graduated college, Indiana was 49th out of 50 in the ratio of basically engineering and technical talent that would graduate from some of these good schools and go somewhere else. And the ratio of the migration. So it's heartening to see the in-flow.
Jim Schellinger: And you're right. And I wanted to do that. I, because I had done a project and it referenced a house in Santa Barbara. I thought, I'm going to go to Santa Barbara when I graduate. When the reality of it came up, I thought, I come from a big family, eight kids, and my parents, I thought, yeah, I don't want to be that far from home. But I want to be away from, I want to be in a more metropolitan area.
Jim Schellinger: But you, Jeff, you hit the nail on the head. So many people don't realize how good the Midwest is, especially if they were born and raised here until they leave it. And inevitably they come back, especially when they're going to start a family. People say, "I loved San Francisco. I loved New York, or I love this, or I love Boston or Seattle. But when it came time to start a family, I came back here." Because it again, and that's something we got to get better at. We talk about recruiting people, but the most important thing I failed to say is we need to retain people. And that again is an educational thing. It is to show them what we have to offer them here in the state of Indiana.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Speaking of education, when you look at the technology partnerships you have, what are some of the most interesting ones that stand out when you work with the tech community?
Jim Schellinger: Well, it's interesting. I think everything I talked to you about as far as taxes, regulations, balanced budgets, reserves, credit ratings. I think things like infrastructure and the roads, the governor's 20 year roads plan, $60 billion going into that, three billion a year, fully funded. All these things were premeditated. Our growth in advanced manufacturing, premeditate. Aerospace and defense, agribusiness, premeditated. All that thing. We have three international ports in Indiana. Unbelievable roads and interstates, but the thing I think really was not necessarily predictable that's happened is this influx of technology into Indiana. It's taken us, we're a little bit in aw. I mean, we planned a lot of it, but not all of it. We're growing at two times, almost three times the national average in technology coming into Indiana, so companies like Infosys, obviously Star, Salesforce, Wipro, Exact Target, Appirio. These are great companies.
Jim Schellinger: And they're common here, it's really interesting. Chris Barbin from Appirio when he brought his, the rest of his, the other half his operation out from San Francisco, he said, "I'm doing so because my Indiana employees are loyal." Now, I didn't know what that meant at first, but what he meant by that is if he gets them, he can afford to give them a good wage so they don't jump ship. So our technology companies here are spectacular, our international companies and our manufacturers who need those, they're right here for them. They're in their backyard.
Jim Schellinger: They got the colleges, the universities, they got the ecosystems, they got the internet of things and the customers here and they got places where they can afford the salary inflation. That's what I'm told, is on East and West coast, the technology companies and others are struggling about salary inflation. They can't pay people enough to live a quality life. So person say out in San Francisco in the Silicon Valley, beautiful, wonderful place, might change jobs six times in two years, but only between two companies. Back and forth, back and forth. So here, it doesn't happen here.
Jeff Kavanaugh: When you look back in your career, what are some of the factors that enabled you to be successful as you've been and what are some things that people can take away from that?
Jim Schellinger: Well, obviously I had tremendous parents who, interestingly, when Bernie Sanders announced he's going to run for president, and he said, "I know where my roots are. I'm from Brooklyn. And my parents were financially challenged. They had to work every day to make ends meet." And my wife said to me, she goes, "Jim Schellinger, wasn't that kind of like you guys? Eight kids in a small little house. I said, "No, not really." I said, "My parents didn't work every day to make ends meet." I said, "It was mathematically impossible. My parents worked every day to keep that from us. We didn't know that we were financially or economically challenged. We thought we all had silver spoons in our mouth." And they gave us a great education. They sacrificed, and they made sure we all got to go to college. So that's the beginning. And in having great teachers. And I happened to go into a company that was outstanding and I had a mentor who was just, taught me so much, but I think that the secret sauce for, especially for young people today, is get involved.
Jim Schellinger: I had a group recently who wanted me to come speak to them. This was back when I was still practicing architecture. And I had 30 young people in a conference room and they said, "Tell us how you built your network. And I sort of go, I have a network. I said, "Yeah, I guess I do." I just don't think about it. And I didn't set out to build my network. I got involved, I volunteered for stuff. I got involved in things. I went to stuff. I inserted myself, not even knowing that that's what it would result in. But the beauty about Indiana, the secret sauce is involvement. Philanthropy. The things we do in Indianapolis, we have 15 major sporting events coming up within a 24 month period. There's so many great people that made this vision happen, but it was because they got involved. And if you're going to be successful as a business in Indiana, one of the major things I would tell somebody as a business or as a person, get involved. Because we do things collectively and I think it's what makes us special.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Well, there's a lot more I'd love to ask you, but I know that you're running short on time, so I'd like to wrap it up and by saying, what are the three things that a business leader listening to this can take away as they try to get the most from their investments, especially in partnerships with the public sector?
Jim Schellinger: I think you cannot look at your investments. I don't think that's what's important, and I'm going to use a quote here that's from coach Lou Holtz, former coach of Notre Dame. He says, "There's three things you have to do as a leader." Now the rest will work its way out. The money, the investments, will all work its way out, but you have to have a good leader. And the first thing a good leader has to do is they have to be committed to excellence and all your team needs to know you're committed excellence and they will follow you toward excellence, but they need to know you are committed to the very best you can be in excellence. The second thing he says, "You have to be trusted." Your employees must trust you and it's not something you can just buy or act like, they will or they won't.
Jim Schellinger: And then once they trust you, the third thing is you have, they have to know you care about them individually. And if you get those three things done, surround yourself with smart people, which by the way, never been very hard for me. The long has been really line to surround myself with good people. And then let them do their thing. But make no mistake, those soft things that we'd call or they'll come with the hard skills, you'll figure that out. But the soft skills and understanding that, one time I was asked by a Harvard MBA student writing his thesis, he interviewed me and he said, "What's the most important thing in leadership?" Followership. And I said, because let me tell you something, I've learned over the years that a strong leader without a following will fail much quicker than a weak leader with a strong following. So you have to lead the people. You're not going to do it on your own. You just can't.
Jeff Kavanaugh: Thank you so much for all your great comments and wisdom and insights. Everyone, you've been listening to the Knowledge Institute where we talk with experts on business trends, deconstruct main ideas and share their insights. Thanks to our producer, Catherine Burdette, and the entire Knowledge Institute team. Until next time, keep learning and keep sharing.
About Jim Schellinger
Jim Schellinger is the Secretary of Commerce for the state of Indiana, serving as a member of Governor Eric Holcomb’s cabinet and leading the state’s domestic and international economic development.
Secretary Schellinger previously served as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation under Governor Mike Pence, helping lead Indiana business growth and Hoosier job creation efforts as well as key initiatives like the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the state’s $1 Billion Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. Schellinger was appointed to the role in August 2015 after serving two years as a member of the IEDC Board of Directors.
- Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Selected Links from the Episode