Nobody understands better than Glenn Hansen how powerful the intersection is between business concerns and personal life.
Glenn's abilities are legion. He leads, he trains, he turns cultures around to get results business leaders genuinely believed were impossible. He's a motivator, a strategist and a results-getter who defies expectations. His focus is business, but he found long ago that what goes on in the business is rarely separated from family life for his clients.
“I tell my clients I’m not a therapist, but somehow I get used in that sense," said Glenn. "Today I met with a client I’ve helped with things in business, but he also shared some very deep personal things with me, and so I’m able to be there for him and encourage him and offer some help."
The Genesis of Glenn Hansen
Originally from New Jersey, Glenn caught his first sight of the West Coast at age 13 when his dad’s business moved the family to California. Glenn was only there for three years before his family moved on, but he determined to go back. After graduating high school, he packed up and headed west again to attend Long Beach State University. He graduated with a degree in communications and remained in California, where he started building the foundation of a professional career that would only get better year over year.
“I’ve always been passionate about pursuing constant, never-ending improvement,” said Glenn. “I read all the time how to get better and contribute more to the people I serve. Any success I’ve enjoyed, it’s been because I helped other people be successful.”
Glenn's earliest work was in sales, then sales management at the Federated Group. His ability to train and build teams, execute strategy and exceed goals were quickly apparent. Early in the 1990s, he helped bring Best Buy to the West Coast and oversaw stores that brought in annual revenues topping $400 million.
During his decades in the corporate world, Glenn developed the knowledge and expertise he now uses in his engagements as a Partner with OneAccord. His areas of focus—leadership, management, culture, teams, high-performance execution—apply to businesses of all industries, allowing him to help virtually any company that's feeling stuck or facing a downward spiral.
And his ability to turn companies around is well established.
The Turnaround of the Century
“The most common thread is a leadership problem,” he said. “It’s either a leadership void, more commonly it’s a business owner or CEO who has a temper, a short fuse, is abusive towards people. And the CEO in most organizations, whether they realize it or not, they’re the cornerstone of culture.”
Transforming culture is something Glenn does best.
“One thing I’m able to do is go into a workplace where the morale is terrible, the people don’t trust each other—they may not like each other, that kind of thing—and I can turn around that culture within three months. I’ve got a very prescriptive approach to doing that and I’m able to do that in a way that true team synergy becomes the heart of the culture.”
Glenn joined Scott to conduct an assessment of the company, which had been losing $1 million annually. The year prior, it had lost $2 million. As Glenn dug deeper, he found morale was terrible, turnover was high, the company was experiencing a leadership void and nobody was prospering. The company, which was owned by private equity, had talented employees, but the environment was so toxic that it didn't matter. Nobody could be successful in such an unhealthy atmosphere.
“I told the board representing the private equity group I had a plan for profitability," said Glenn. "I couldn’t guarantee it, but I believed in it.”
The ownership decided to bring Glenn on as an interim CEO, then changed their mind and sold the assets instead. The buyer was a sales manager in the company named Will Alt. He founded a new company with the assets and engaged Glenn as the chief operations officer on a fractional basis.
“I told the sales team, who rarely made bonuses and were making about $40,000 a year or less, that my goal was to create an environment where they could make over $100,000 a year,” said Glenn. The sales team was dubious. Glenn was not.
His two-year plan started with the culture. He worked with the team to help them clearly define their mission, vision and values, set goals and determine the steps that would get them to these goals. Within a year, the team at Critical Power went from toxic to strong, healthy and effective. Instead of wariness, the team was marked by confidence, trust and teamwork. Every individual was confident that every one of their colleagues had their back.
This altered culture, combined with Glenn’s strategic two-year plan, led to a profitable first year. Nobody on the sales team made $100,000, but they did enjoy their work and kept going strong. The first year was so successful, Glenn had to update his plan for year two.
In its second year, profits tripled and several salespeople broke the $100,000 mark for the first time.
The Intersection of Business and Life
Glenn’s success healing toxic cultures transcends the workplace, because business doesn't exist in a vacuum.
“Regardless of what the business is, I think first and foremost it’s about the people,” said Glenn.
This was abundantly clear in an engagement involving three brothers who owned an e-commerce company that was losing money. During the initial assessment, Glenn discovered the two older brothers had a volatile relationship. He mentioned this during his presentation and they agreed to work on it.
The oldest brother was a former Marine with a temper he had a hard time controlling and a belief that leadership was a one-size-fits-all proposition.
“He felt like a Marine style of leadership should be in the workplace,” Glenn said. “When you’re in the military you need a certain style of leadership, because when you’re on the battlefield, it’s war, you don’t have time to talk things through. But in the workplace, if you use that style of leadership, you create war, you create battles.”
While Glenn worked with the elder brother on his temper and leadership, he also worked with the middle brother, who had fallen into a pattern of using passive aggressive tactics in response to his brother’s temper.
At first, things went well.
“And then one day, after several months, the eldest brother started to go off on me, red-faced, with foul language," said Glenn. "I didn’t let him get more than five to ten seconds into it, and I did what I taught the younger brother to do. With hands up, palms forward, I said, ‘I’m done with the conversation,’ and left the room.”
The eldest brother apologized shortly thereafter, and Glenn pulled everyone into the conference room.
“I told the eldest that I cared about him and his brothers, but was not willing to have someone in my life who at any minute could go off on me in an abusive manner, and that if it ever happened again, that would be the end of our relationship. It wasn’t a threat, but a consequence.”
This proved to be a seminal moment. The eldest brother promised to never lose his temper again, and he was true to his word. From that day forward, he never blew up at his brothers again.
A few months after the engagement ended, Glenn called the oldest brother to check in and see how things were going. The brother told Glenn he couldn’t wait to get into the office every day to work with his brothers, and that their relationship was better than when they were kids. They had gone from not being able to stand being in the same room to traveling to China together to visit their manufacturer.
As the brothers' relationships improved, so did the business situation. They went from losing $400,000 to becoming very profitable.
“Relationships matter big time,” said Glenn. “I knew without that relationship, the work we did on the business wasn’t really going to work.”
This kind of outcome is what has kept Glenn pursuing this kind of work.
The Intersection of Glenn and OneAccord
Glenn has been with OneAccord for ten years, leveraging what he learned throughout his career to help others find success.
“I had left my corporate job. The values of the senior leadership changed and the values of the company changed and I wasn’t aligned with them anymore. We parted on the best of terms. I had learned so much, grown so much and had some great achievements, and I wanted to be able to find and contribute to others.”
It was around that time that Glenn met the CEO of an electrical contracting company who needed help with his sales team. Glenn knew exactly how to help, so he called a good friend, Dave Parker, co-founder of OneAccord, to learn how to create a contract. Dave walked him through it, then suggested they talk further about the bigger picture.
“Even though we were really close friends, I didn’t quite know what he did,” said Glenn. “He came down to California and we talked about OneAccord.”
Glenn explored the company, met the team and decided to join as the California branch.
“I was so impressed with the people, the culture,” said Glenn. “I’m able to contribute to the lives of other people in this business. It’s a redemptive work for the business and the people, and I love being part of this great organization with so many incredible people of amazing business acumen and tremendous character.”
Glenn operated out of California for five years before moving to Bothell, Washington. Today, he continues helping business owners who are facing tough problems or want to grow but can’t seem to.
The Intersection of Plans and Surprises
The integrity Glenn brings to his work is nothing less than a reflection of who he is outside the office.
Glenn married his wife, Alessandra, 15 years ago. They were both single parents at the time, and combining their families meant raising five kids together. The kids grew, went off on their own and left Glenn and his wife with an empty nest about five years ago. They started thinking about downsizing to a smaller house, but then their plans took a sudden turn.
Glenn received a call from a niece he hadn’t seen in more than a decade. Her husband was in prison and she was in the process of getting a divorce. She asked Glenn, if anything ever happened to her, would he take care of her kids? Glenn talked with his wife and thought it over for several weeks; promising to take care of four children, ages five and up, was a commitment he took seriously.
Glenn called his niece back and assured her yes, he would take care of her kids. Shortly after this conversation, his niece committed suicide and Glenn was true to his word.
“We went back and brought the four kids home,” he said. “My wife did an incredible job preparing their bedrooms to make it super special just for them.”
Since then, things have gotten busier. Glenn's dad moved into the spare room, the four kids asked to take on the name of Hansen and Glenn's older kids have started to marry and have kids of their own. Recent holidays have seen four generations of Hansens gather at Glenn's busy house to celebrate.
“There are a lot of Hansens coming around now,” said Glenn.
OneAccord helps business owners meet their goals by not only laying out a plan of action, but walking alongside them and guiding them through that plan to the finish line. This series highlights the people who make that possible.