The Lighthouse Series features a weekly Q&A where we ask five simple questions to one of our CEOs. These questions are matters of the heart, mind, and business. We hope that this is helpful to fellow CEOs as they muddle and model their way through the fog, winds, and frightful waves currently underway.
THIS WEEK'S CEO: BARRY CONLON
Barry Conlon is the CEO and Founder of Overhaul in Austin, TX. Barry is a dedicated supply chain security professional with more than 30 years of experience within that discipline. Founder and former CEO of FreightWatch (now Sensitech), Barry is considered one of the originators of modern-day supply chain security standards and best practices that have been adopted by shippers of high-value freight worldwide. Barry is a former member of the Irish Defense Forces, Irish Special Operations Unit, Army Ranger Wing, and gained unique security operations experience in all aspects of Special Forces Operations during his eleven-year tenure. He moved from Ireland to Texas and became a citizen in 2011.
1. How are you feeling at the moment?
Doing well. This is a very interesting moment in time and one that we’ll be reflecting on for years to come. We’ll all remember where we were and what we were doing, similar to an event like 9/11. There are many challenges right now, and the damage to the world and the economy cannot be understated.
Yet for Overhaul, there’s a bittersweet undercurrent since the word “opportunity” could be used to describe the entire situation. Our solution brings comfort to those who do have it and makes those who don’t, want it. We’re offering something that is indispensable, especially at this time when we can actually see the impact of strained global supply chains. We are well-positioned to emerge from this crisis stronger than we were before.
2. How do you prepare your week when it is hard to predict even what the next day will bring?
It’s certainly a challenge to root yourself in time and even remember which day it is when every day seems like Groundhog Day. My schedule has gotten more crowded because every discussion now needs to be an organized meeting. There are no more organic office conversations happening, so even those need to be planned like our “watercooler” Zoom meetings.
Ultimately this period has brought me even more clarity on how I should organize my day, my involvement in the right meetings, and discipline around spending my time where it will have the most impact. Strangely, social isolation has helped increase my efficiency and be ahead of the day; otherwise, it would get ahead of me.
3. Do you have a priority checklist? If so, can you share a couple of things on it?
I do. I keep a list of my strategic goals for this year. At Overhaul, we use mind mapping software to set targets for each year. Each priority is broken down into strategic and tactical steps. By defining each goal and using the mind map as a North Star, we’re able to continue moving the needle collaboratively. Having focus like this is critical in a world full of uncertainty and distraction.
4. Who do you seek out for advice on your business (excluding investors)?
Right now, more than ever, it’s important for me to connect with people. I always prefer a call to an email, a Zoom to a call. The human connection is important and worth the extra effort. Apart from relying on colleagues at Overhaul, I do rely heavily on my BOD as sounding boards for Overhaul related business discussions. You need a place where you know candor is a given and your ideas will be challenged. It's essential to have that trusted channel. Outside of work, it’s my family and a few close friends.
5. How are you keeping yourself sustained and finding moments of relaxation?
Exercise. My goal is at least one hour of highly intensive movement daily, usually in the evening. Cycling, outside in nature, or inside on the Peloton is my go-to and really helps me think, problem-solve, and wind down. Regarding other ways I’m keeping myself relaxed, well, let’s just say that it’s always spin before gin. I also love to read. Hard to find the time, but I always end my day with the feel of a good book and a few chapters.