Robert Thikoll – Vice President at Ingersoll Rand

At the end of the day, despite all the technology at our fingertips and the light speed of information flow, human relationships and interaction are what make an individual successful or not successful.”

Robert Thikoll joined Ingersoll Rand in October 2014 as Vice President of Operational Excellence.

Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR), a $13 billion global business, advances the quality of life by creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments; its family of brands—including Club Car®, Ingersoll Rand®, Thermo King® and Trane®—work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency.

In his role as Vice President of Operational Excellence, Robert is responsible for growing and developing Ingersoll Rand’s commitment to operational excellence through lean transformation. He and his team provide thought leadership, influence and hands-on engagement to lead the comprehensive implementation of lean initiatives throughout the company. He partners closely with presidents and senior leaders of the company’s strategic business units to help identify, lead and execute lean objectives to drive growth and margin expansion, along with growing the company’s winning culture.

Robert held roles of increasing responsibility with Danaher from 2000-2015, including vice president, global operations for Danaher’s Beckman Coulter Life Sciences in Indianapolis, Indiana. While with Danaher, he won many accolades for premier performance in his global facilities. Prior to Danaher, Robert had eight years of lean experience with Aisin Takaoka Company, a tier-one Toyota, supplier living and working in Japan, and Intat Precision, an Aisin Takaoka subsidiary.

Rob has dual bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Japanese with a minor in Asian studies from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

People need to build their day around their own biorhythm. If you are high functioning in the morning, then you should plan your challenging meetings for early, if you build up momentum as the day goes by, then you should be planning strategy and or difficult discussion for the afternoon. In my case, I am best in the morning – shot out of a cannon, so I am heavy with big meetings and thought leadership in the morning. Later in the day I concentrate on emails, then block time at the end of the day to really focus in on mentoring and one on one meetings.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Greater than 50% of creating a strategic vision or solving problem is alignment of the team. Bringing the team along in a collaborative manner where everyone has a voice; bringing 100% of their brain power to bear is key.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Technology expanding exponentially and the possibility for disruption in the market place that no one, NO ONE, can anticipate at this exact moment.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

At the end of the day despite all the technology at our fingertips and the light speed of information flow, human relationships and interaction are what make an individual successful or not successful. For me its all about people. My habit is to default first to mentoring and developing people.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Your elbows are too sharp! There are lots of ways to get from A to B without mowing down anyone along the way.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

You can balance an egg on one end any time of year – not just on the equinox. Meaning that the hardest of hard problems can be solved without any sort of “special aligning of all the stars”.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Daily Management. Plot your trend versus target state to show winning or losing, pareto the gap to target, countermeasure to normal either with quick fixes or problem solving

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Never ever force what you have seen or have done in the past with success on a new team that you THINK has the same problem or opportunity. ALWAYS seek first to understand why problem they are trying to solve and then tailor your skills and advice to meet their needs. Must create pull for your services – you can never push ideas or vision on others.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Going too hard without bringing along the team can only resort in failure. Failure in terms of miss on timing of delivery of results or even outright failure. I was guilty in the past of trying too hard to have all the answers and push those onto the team. Painful when progress slows to a crawl versus flying forward at light speed.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Big shift of American palates from American/European greasy or fatty food toward Asian food which tends to be less fatty and healthier. I believe investing in Asian food restaurant concepts is a smart move.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Remote control helicopter. Hours and hours of fun of the whole family.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Customized ERP systems that are tailored to the accounting practice and business model specifically. Silverware software out of Phoenix Arizona as an example.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Who (solve your #1 problem) by Geoff Smart and Randy Street – Gh Smart. Best interview technique I have used.

What is your favorite quote?

“I am still learning.” -Michelangelo