I also look for individuals who are life-long learners, who show evidence of trying to take the extra measure to gain an insight, gain expertise, make a job switch that maybe was a bit of a detour or side step but broadened them out. I think it's very important for that to continue right on through all the decades of one's career. Just because you get to a certain level doesn't mean that stops. What do you do to stay abreast, did you go to any seminars last year. Questions like that.
As far as red flags, sometimes you just can tell. Some of this is gut reaction. But what I watch out for are those folks where things just seem too cut and dried. I need people who are willing to realize that problems that come up are not going to be all cookie-cutter types, so you need someone who has a broader view.
The other thing I look for is how much the individual uses the pronoun I -- do they take success through the group's success, so it's not all about them. Someone who is able to admit that they had a really good team, who is really broad enough to bring in others, I think that's good.
8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief finance positions?
This is a privately held, family-owned business. We celebrated our 80th anniversary of operations last year. We're into the fourth generation of the O'Connor family. That alone is very, very different. There's a culture here, there's a respect here that they show to employees that you don't find in many larger corporations just because of their size. Here, we've got a fair number of longer-term employees on both the executive and hourly and non-exempt levels. We have individuals down on the machine floor who are third-generation employees. That gives our company a cohesion. We have a fairly large union workforce here, but we've never had a strike. You can count on the fingers of one hand where there's been any kind of grievance -- maybe twice. That's really rare.
The fact that we are privately held also allows us and allows me to take a longer-term view. I'm not just thinking about the next quarter and what does the outside world expect. We're not just running this company for the short-term bottom line that the marketplace is expecting. That longer-term view is particularly helpful when it comes to what investments we're going to make and what is the payback.
Another thing is because of our size, we don't have a lot of layers of management, so we are quite agile. What sets us apart is that we can make a decision very, very quickly. There have been times when we've made some fairly significant decisions within a few business days, as opposed to having to work up the line. That bureaucracy is not there. We meet face to face. It's very open management that is practiced here. The CEO is very, very accessible. That helps.