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Mr. Jenkins was kind enough to spend some time talking with me this week for the Leadership Interview Series. He currently serves as the CEO of a local Utah startup called SchoolPulse; a text-based platform that offers students the opportunity to speak up about their feelings in a way that is easy and familiar to them.

  • 17% of students report serious thoughts of suicide
  • Students are disconnected from schools due to COVID
  • 50% of students with emotional/behavioral issues will drop out
  • 464:1 student/counselor ratio creates an impossible task that leaves us all frustrated and overwhelmed
  • Data shows that for every dollar invested in PBIS, and in the wellbeing of students, $140 is saved in remedial efforts.

SchoolPulse empowers students and schools to be more proactive in promoting mental wellness and improving the suicide prevention mission of every school. Research and data clearly show that teens that are happier, better adjusted, and feel connected, perform better academically at all levels, and have an overall better attitude with a focus on mental health.

As a former green beret and a Colonel in the Army, Colby has a unique perspective on what it means to be a team player and a team leader. This is one of the reasons SchoolPulse decided to hire Mr. Jenkins as the CEO. He shared with me 3 of his top leadership principles that can apply to any startup or established business.

Hire the Right People

"In terms of ideas for managing a small company, from my experience, it begins with first the team that you put around you, and you partner with. Make sure you hire the right people. People who are comfortable in the scrappy startup environment that you can trust are self-starters who take the initiative. They may be tackling a problem for the first time for the company. If you hire the right people, you can build their skills and competencies as you grow."

"I think having them share experiences where they've been in environments or been assigned to unconventional projects and having them share their ideas for working through those times are crucial questions to ask during the hiring process."

Communicate and Prioritize

"At SchoolPulse, as we are a new company, the sky is the limit in terms of opportunities, so we have to communicate our priorities and prioritize our human capital and financial resources so we can do one thing well before we do others. Prioritizing our efforts to communicate between teammates, building relationships of trust, and gaining feedback is critical."

You Don't Know Everything

I think it's also important to recognize as a leader that you don't know everything. Having the humility to recognize that you may not know the answer. You may not have all the answers, but you need the capacity to unlock your team's potential. You do that by being authentic. You have to say things like, "I don't know the answer; what do you think?"

As the leader, you need to organize or lead all the ideas to resolution. Find owners, and make sure the resources are assigned to accomplish the assigned action.

Conclusion 

Colby shared an experience from his active military days. He said, "I was in an environment where some of my peers participated in some vices I don't. I was feeling left out. I remember my teammate pulling me aside in our quarters. He made the point to me, 'Captain, we're glad that you are not with the other guys right now. We want you to be our team leader, not our team mascot. We are glad that you have values that you don't compromise.' 

"That really hit home to me that you don't compromise on your team values to take the easier path."

Thank you Mr. Jenkins for your service to our country, and for providing a great interview today.

If those of you reading know a leader in Utah that has wisdom and advice to share, please connect with Adam Torkildson. 

About the Author(s)

Adam Torkildson

Adam is a long-time resident of American Fork, UT. He serves in several local service organizations and advises several startups that he's invested in or founded.

Owner, Tork Media

Key Topics

Utah Leaders Interview Series with Colby Jenkins