Many leaders base their success off of the accolades they’ve received and the achievements they’ve executed. Ben Goetter, vice president and general manager of Mortenson’s Phoenix team, has a different approach. His focus is on his team and his family.
When asked what his most meaningful accomplishment in his career has been, Ben answered, “I am most proud of the family culture we have created here in Phoenix. We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome to “lean in” with their whole self, every day. The family culture is our secret sauce that attracts and retains our diverse, talented team members and it's truly what makes our culture so unique.”
Since moving to Phoenix more than four years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he started his career with Mortenson 23 years ago, Ben has planted strong roots in the Valley and has led several landmark projects including the new American Family Fields of Phoenix where he was lucky enough to partner with his beloved Milwaukee Brewers, Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale and now is playing an integral role in the new Arizona State University Multi-Purpose Arena.
His influence has created significant growth in not only revenue but also in employee diversity and his focus on cultivating a safe and family culture has positioned Mortenson as a consistently ranked top place to work in the Valley in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
An excerpt from the Phoenix Business Journal, dated May 13, 2021:
What accomplishment has meant the most to you in your career? Although we are still early in our journey, I am very proud of the family culture we have created here in Phoenix. We want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome to “lean in” with their whole self, every day. The family culture is our secret sauce that attracts and retains our diverse, talented team members and it's truly what makes our culture so unique. A value for me and Mortenson alike is to push the boundaries when it comes to inclusion and diversity. My No. 1 career bucket list item is to build a leadership team here in Phoenix where over 50% of the leaders are female and people of color. Whether it be director of operations, senior superintendents, or our chief estimator, the ultimate goal is a leadership team that reflects our communities, because I believe the more diverse the voices at the leadership table, the stronger we are. With three daughters of my own, I am personally vested in knocking down the barriers of entry for them, so they have opportunities if they choose to follow their dad in the construction world.
How have the events of the past year amid the pandemic affected your leadership style? Overcoming a pandemic is not done by one individual leader, you need a team of leaders. Delegating both responsibility and accountability to the other key leaders in the business was critical to us successfully managing our business during the pandemic.
What business lesson did you have to learn the hard way? Bad news doesn’t get better with time. But dealing with bad news the right way, builds character and will help shape a strong leader. If you have bad news, share it with your leadership and customer immediately. Throughout my tenure, and for many of our customers, I have learned trust boils down to alignment, honesty and expertise. Although it may be a difficult conversation, your leadership or customer will appreciate the transparency.
What is the most important business lesson you have learned from the impact of Covid-19? Everyone handles a pandemic differently. As a leader you need to be empathic and patient of team members feelings, worries, and stresses because it is not the same for everyone.