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20 Questions

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20 Questions

20 Questions with Julian Scadden

President and CEO of Nexstar Network

Originally published
Originally published: 5/1/2023

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Julian Scadden, President and CEO of Nexstar Network Nexstar is a member-owned organization that drives business growth and development through continued education and the sharing of ideas. 

The two discussed secret talents, motivation, employee expectations, organizational values, and more.

1. How would you finish this sentence, “I need to get a new…”?

I drive a 17-year-old vehicle. It's been very well maintained, and I like it. But I need to start shopping for a new car before it’s too late.

2. What secret talent do you wish you had?

Oh, playing an instrument hands down. I wish I could play. I don't care if it's guitar, piano, or anything!

3. My dad always said?

I was going to leave home and the state where I was raised, and it was a big deal for me.  I took my dad out for lunch, told him all the pros and cons, and he said, "You can always come home." When he said that, I felt empowered to go. 

4. What is your favorite website?

I’m an ESPN sports guy. Checking the stats, and breaking news. Yeah, you'll catch me on the site pretty often.

5. What always puts a smile on your face?

This is another softball answer. Children. I'm very fortunate that I have five beautiful kids and all I have to do is see them. One girl and four boys - 28, 24, 20, 12, 7.

6. What would people be surprised to know about you?

I'm more of a compass than a roadmap. I’m regimented and have a lot of discipline. The truth is that I'm as intentional as people may think. I'm like a compass. I know the direction I'm going and will find any way to get there. I'm not stuck on a prescriptive path. The general direction is fine with me.

7. What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

Sleep on it for a night. Tough decisions need some thought. If you decide in the moment, it'll still be right tomorrow.

8. In twenty words or less can you describe Nexstar?

To turn the world's best tradespeople into the world's best businesspeople with an ownership structure of being member-owned and member-led. 

9. What has been your most recent "the buck stops here moment"?

It was a collection issue.  A longstanding member missed several of our monthly dues. They were upset when they received a reminder phone call and wanted to talk to the person in charge. And I said, "I'll take care of it. Let's sit down. Let's talk. I want to hear what's going on." 

10. What would colleagues say they expect from you?

They expect transparency and authenticity and I do my best to provide that in every aspect of my day.

11. How do contractors build high-performance teams?

I think the foundation of any great business is built on clear, measurable KPIs and metrics, but a high-performing team is given not only direction but the empowerment and the equipment to do the job. 

12. What’s your motivation?

My motive in life is to have deep, meaningful relationships. And I have been fortunate to find that here at Nexstar.  I want to know that it all meant something when I'm done. And this is the perfect place for that.

13. Who was your business mentor?

Jack Tester was my mentor. I was a member of Nexstar and Jack was my business coach. He watched me grow that business. He knew the type of operator that I was. And when I stepped away from that business  I told him I wanted to be a Nexstar coach. He agreed it would be a good idea and we aligned.

14. What are your core organization values and how do they impact your success?

M1 – members first. Live business excellence as we teach business excellence. Culture of caring and no enabling. Bring more energy to work than you take. Bad news early, good news often. See it, say it, directly and with respect.

15. In which areas of management do you excel and why?

I’ve learned how to read people and can attract talented people. I can tell which players will play well with each other. This makes it easier to build great teams.  I’m also good at conflict resolution. I can sense when something is off, and I’m always willing to sit down and talk. That's my super skill. Most managers avoid conflict and aren’t good at conflict resolution. 

16. What fundamental business areas are you focusing on right now?

We’re focusing on service levels for our members. I want to ensure we hire enough professionals to be there for our members when they need us. If you need to reach your coach, we want them to be available. For example, If you needed to send one of your staff to training, we want to make sure there is training reasonably close and that it’s available for you in the timeframe that you want. 

17. Does Nexstar offer services other than business management coaching to owners?

Yes, we do. Over the past few years, we have grown to have coaches for every function in your business. And we’re working to communicate that.  We have coaches for software, inventory control, accounting, and marketing, for service managers and sales managers. Just about every aspect of your business you can think of.

18. Was this planned growth?

Yes, rather than looking for ways to grow outside of our established core we decided to grow vertically as our members’ organizations grew. We decided to invest more resources deeper into and across our members’ organizations. We coach and train at all levels of their organization.

19. What should contractors be focusing on right now?

It's not sexy. It's not new. It's workforce development.  Finding the next leader as well as finding young people to join the trades. It's workforce development. 

20. What is the most exciting thing happening at Nexstar right now?

We've launched a new exciting mission and vision. Nexstar will advance the careers of 250,000 employees of our member companies through direct coaching and training within the next five years. We're no longer talking just about the owners of the business. We want to help advance the careers of our member employees. 

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