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The FORT with Chris Powers


Aug 31, 2021

As President and Chief Operating Officer of Vari, Jeff oversees corporate strategy and has led the charge for the development of VariSpace, the company’s new commercial real estate venture.

Jeff has 38 years of corporate leadership and board experience, spanning nine industries. His “people first” approach to operational models was born working for Roger Staubach and developed over 12 years working at Southwest Airlines. He began his culture tutelage at Southwest under Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus, and then spent another eight years fine-tuning people-centric strategies for the company’s Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly.

On this episode, Jeff dives deep into the concept of Servant Leadership and how it played a critical role in his corporate career. He also discusses his learnings from working under several incredible CEOs, why leaders need to be 'available', his work with Vari, advice for fathers, and more. Enjoy!

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-ukCn1_iymI

Follow Chris on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/FortWorthChris

Learn more about Chris Powers and Fort Capital: www.FortCapitalLP.com

Follow Chris on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chrispowersjr/

Follow Fort Capital on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/fort-capital/

(03:02) - Jeff’s Background and Career

(12:15) - What does ‘Servant Leadership’ mean to you?

Halftime by Bob Buford

(18:07) - Jeff’s Experience Working at Southwest Airlines

(20:39) - Working with Pat Lencioni of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

(22:26) - The Transition out of Southwest and into Vari

(27:00) - Did Vari already have a Servant Leadership path in mind & what did you do to make your mark there?

(31:01) - What are workspace solutions?

(31:56) - How do you see the office industry going forward?

(35:52) - What’s your target market tenant?

(37:52) - In-Office as a Competitive Advantage

(40:13) - What traits and characteristics make a great CEO?

(49:30) - Great Availability Is Better Than a Great Vision 

Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon

(52:01) - How do you convey to your employees that you’re ‘available’?

The making of a Corporate Athlete - Harvard Business Review

(56:01) - What are your biggest takeaways from working at Southwest?

(58:15) - Why do people generally not reach their full potential?

(1:00:15) - What have you enjoyed most about mentoring young people and how do you approach it?

(1:06:28) - Words of Wisdom for Future Father-in-Laws

(1:08:14) - Advice on Being a Good Father

(1:12:46) - Advice on Having a Good Marriage

(1:15:24) - Do you have a childhood experience that shaped who you are today?

(1:18:26) - Is there something you believe in that most people around you don’t?

(1:22:26) - Do you have a morning routine?

(1:23:41) - What’s the best advice you can give young people?

The FORT is produced by Johnny Peterson & Straight Up Podcasts