LOS ANGELES (AP) – Sheryl Palmer knows what it takes to navigate the complex, multiyear process required to transform untamed, vacant land into a modern, newly built residential community.
The veteran homebuilding industry executive has been CEO of Scottsdale, Arizona-based homebuilder Taylor Morrison Corp. since August 2007. The company builds homes in California, Texas, Florida and six other states under the Taylor Morrison and Darling Homes brands.
Palmer recently shared some of her insights and experiences as CEO with The Associated Press. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity:
Q: What advice would you give your younger self about managing people or running a business?
A: Be really comfortable in who I was and have the confidence to trust my judgment, my gut. Have the confidence not to have to know it all and to pull on resources around me. And have the courage to have a view. As a young manager there is this tendency to feel like there’s an expectation for the role, as compared to understanding that you took the role and how does your best self show up? That’s part of the natural maturity of business and leadership. I think it would be: patience, curiosity and confidence.
Q: What have you learned about problem-solving over the years and tackling difficult challenges?
A: Take the time to really seek to understand and garner the experts around you. And in some ways that takes confidence and patience, again, and curiosity. You don’t have to jump in. Don’t think you’re always expected to know every answer. When things get tough, make sure you use the platforms available to you. You won’t always be right, but so that you can make the best educated (move) based on good information. Combine that with your gut and that generally serves you well. I find when I don’t do that, and I don’t listen to my gut because I feel the pressures of other forces, that’s generally when bad decisions are made.
Q: How much do you pay attention to your competition, and what do you try to learn from them?
A: I pay a lot of attention to my competition. Data, information are a good thing, and sometimes you learn great ideas and things that work really well and then you have to ask: “How does that apply to what we do?” And sometimes just as valuable are the things that you learn from them that you don’t want to touch. Information, the more you can have, the more our teams can have about what’s going on in the marketplace, allows our team members to deal with our customers internally so much better. I spend a great deal of time, and I like to think my team spends a great deal of time, being knowledgeable about what’s going on in our marketplace and why these things are happening.
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