Balancing your experience while recognizing changes that may have taken place in the market is so crucial.
T.J Maloney is the Chairman and CEO of Lincolnshire Management. Since joining the firm in 1993, Maloney has been closely involved with its portfolio companies and served on its investment committee. Lincolnshire Management is a private equity firm in New York. The firm focuses on acquisition in middle market companies in a wide array of industries. Maloney’s personal philosophy and background in operations roles has helped to shape the collaborative approach that Lincolnshire Management is most well known for in the industry.
Maloney practiced merger, acquisition, and securities law in New York, prior to joining Lincolnshire Management. In addition, he has served as the interim CEO of Credentials Services International, Inc. and the COO of TGB Corporations prior to that. During his time at Lincolnshire, TJ Maloney has served on more than a dozen boards. These include Polaris Pool Systems and Wabash, among others. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston College and his Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School.
Maloney credits his interest in running businesses to the fact that his father was a business owner. This attracted his interest and, upon joining Lincolnshire, where he delved into improving operations for the portfolio companies. His leadership style is one of collaboration and mentorship, which is apparent in the way he builds relationships throughout his company and with the management of portfolio companies. He also prizes work relationships with new employees because he believes there is something to be gained for both the mentor and mentee.
In 2007, Maloney received the Richard J. Bennett Memorial Award. This award was presented at the Fordham Law School in recognition of corporate leaders with the highest moral standards. For T.J., this recognition of good character and ethical business practices is something to be exceptionally proud of. TJ has lectured at several universities, including the Columbia University MBA Program. He has served on the Board of Trustees at Boston College and Fordham University, and is a former Chairman of the Boston College Wall Street Council. He also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the English Speaking Union of the United States, as well as the Board of Trustees of The Tilton School.
Where did the idea for Lincolnshire Management come from?
My father had his own business, and I worked for a variety of different companies in various roles from sales to engineering, quality control, and collections. I began my career as a lawyer after graduating from Fordham Law School. When I initially joined Lincolnshire, I spent a lot of time focusing on improving the the operations of the portfolio companies we worked with. I learned early on the need for operational expertise.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Usually it begins with a couple cups of strong coffee. It is important to have a balance of meetings and time to focus on your own work throughout the day. I prioritize having time to read material about the industries and relevant data we associate with. It’s also important to take time out to think about where we can improve.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I handle investing in companies through a distinct step by step process. The first and most important at Lincolnshire is having a collaborative team discussion. Our team does extensive research. For example, there are some instances when we’ll hire a consultant who knows more about that specific industry. I also make sure to spend a lot of time with management.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Over the years, I’ve come to learn I’m very interested in understanding the areas where a company’s operations can be improved. Lincolnshire Management operates by working with a strong network of industry professionals who are all available to our portfolio companies. We also have a focused strategy that aims to enhance value through operational improvements.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have learned that being curious, a perpetual learner, and staying humble thoughout the entire journey is a strong key to success in this industry. It’s also important to realize that there is always something new to learn from experience whether that be from peers, reading, or from being generally more industry aware. Ultimately, I think communicating with trusted teammates is the most valuable habit anyone can form.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d say three things. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is not true. Even when you have had experience in an industry, you must always take a fresh look in an investment opportunity. Balancing your experience while recognizing changes that may have taken place in the market is so crucial. I’ve also learned that you learn as much from your failure as you do your successes.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think mentoring new hires right out of school is actually very beneficial to all parties involved.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’ve learned to trust my gut reaction to every investment. I’ve also learned that it’s vital to spending time evaluating the management that will be running your portfolio and understanding their character, motivations, personality and their drive.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always have people working with you that you know you can trust.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I can’t think of any one failure in particular, but I’ve learned that you learn as much from your failures as you do your successes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One piece of advice I’m willing to give that is vital in private equity is that developing relationships with the management teams of portfolio companies is very productive in helping drive the company’s performance.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 on snorkeling gear for a trip.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
In my industry, we utilize Pitchbook, Preqin, and CapitalIQ for research and fundraising. They’ve been helpful for building out our portfolio companies.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Candide by Voltaire is a great read. It highlights how rewarding focusing on your business and your work can be to your life.
What is your favorite quote?
My family has been my biggest motivator throughout my entire career. In addition Robertson Davies (“Fifth Business”) and William Boyd (“A Good Man in Africa”) are both amazing authors I admire. I also admire Winston Churchill as an influential speaker.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.