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Guiding Leaders to the Top
TO THE TOP OF THEIR GAME
When Mark Taylor became a Vistage member in 1995, he was a self-proclaimed “micromanager on steroids.” He ran a small engineering tech company and served as its programmer, salesperson and bookkeeper.
Taylor says that even after he hired capable employees, he’d check “every invoice, every sales proposal and every line of code to make sure everything was right.”
He worked from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., with little time for his wife and three children.
“Despite my efforts, I failed in my previous business. I wanted to learn from my missteps and had everything invested in making a new venture succeed,” Taylor says of the tech company he led at the time. “When I joined Vistage, I learned how to be a CEO. I learned how to hire and create an executive team — and I was finally able to let go.”
Taylor led his business to become the 58th fastest-growing company in Michigan. After selling in 2005, Taylor and his wife relocated to New York City to work for the company that bought his. Once his contract was over, Taylor asked himself, “What now? What do I want to do with my life?”
I get to do what I love every single day.
2022 Don Cope Memorial Award Winner
SERVING AND SUPPORTING OTHERS
Taylor says he searched for an opportunity that would challenge him while also providing a platform to serve others. “I started thinking about becoming a Vistage Chair. I knew the role would allow me to learn, seek, grow and develop — and to have a community of people I respect supporting me every step of the way.”
Taylor’s former Chair encouraged him to go through Vistage Chair Academy, a rigorous program to help executives transition into CEO coaching. He then built his first CEO group in 2009 — in the midst of the “Great Recession.” Since then, Taylor has grown his Chair Practice to 127 members in 7 groups. He has won every award and recognition a Chair could receive and has served as a Vistage speaker, presenting nearly 100 workshops to help members be more effective leaders.
At ChairWorld this past February, Vistage CEO Sam Reese presented Mark with the Don Cope Memorial Award, the highest honor a Chair can receive. “Mark has always been a trendsetter and early adopter. He leads multiple Leadership Development Programs for his CEOs’ staff. When we introduced the Vistage Executive Leadership Program in collaboration with Stanford, Mark helped launch the first cohort. He has also dedicated countless hours to educate fellow Chairs across the globe, motivated by one goal: to support peers so they could provide greater value to their members. You’d be hard pressed to find something Mark wouldn’t do to help anyone in our community.”
‘I GET TO DO WHAT I LOVE EVERY SINGLE DAY’
So how does a micromanaging businessman become one of the top-performing CEO coaches in the world? It comes down to caring, Taylor says. “I love every single one of my members. I care about their issues.”
Taylor adds that he was also “really blessed” to be trained by fellow Cope Award winners Bob Dabic, Richard Carr, Jeanette Hobson and Bob Duncan, who also served as Taylor’s Best Practice Chair, a coaching mentor for Taylor.
“I was always inspired and in awe of these people and didn’t think I’d ever live up to their level of excellence. When I was struggling as a new Chair, Bob Duncan never said no; he just gave and gave and gave of his time,” Taylor says. “You give value to your members, to your fellow Chairs, to the whole community, and it always comes back.”
Taylor says that reward increases whenever he thinks about his “day job.” “I get to do what I love every single day and I don’t feel that it’s work,” he says. “We are able to impact so many lives — CEOs, their employees, their families and the people in their communities.”
“I am sincerely honored to receive the Cope Award. I know it would not be possible if not for all of the members who let me be a part of their lives and who share so vulnerably the things that are holding them back.