Always Have A Servant Mentality: Leadership Advice From Larry Mondry
By Yitzi Weiner
“Always have a servant mentality. This is a simple one. You get what you give in this world. Remember to be humble, compassionate and committed to the growth of your people.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Larry Mondry, president and CEO of Stream — a leading direct selling company and provider of connected life services. Larry’s leadership philosophy is simple: leaders should be warm, transparent and sincere; but ultimately results oriented, expecting accountability from their teams.
What is your “backstory”?
I have what I guess you would call a “humble beginnings” kind of story. I started working when I was 11 years old as a stock boy pulling in $1.60 an hour. From there, I held just about every job you could imagine, slowly working my way up, all the while thinking of my family. My father was the only one on his side to survive the Holocaust, so I had this need to do the things my family never had the chance to do.
By the time I came to Stream, I’d built up a decent resume. I was drawn here because I felt like this was a very special company at a very special time in its history. I’m excited to be a part of making Stream even better, even bigger. And to me, there’s no greater feeling than success like that — not money, but accomplishment — fulfilling a purpose.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
The most interesting thing to happen during the course of my career was definitely having dinner at Bill Gates’ house. These were serious people in attendance, the brightest minds you can think of with their crazy, cutting-edge ideas. Warren Buffet was there. Someone offered to 3D print me an alarm clock, and this was back in 2004 or 2005.
We walked through Bill’s house, saw his trampoline room, his library with a personal curator and an original, 16-century da Vinci manuscript. Then, Bill walked through the door, and his little girls ran up to him, wrapped their arms around his legs to welcome him home. I was so struck by that because it reminded me that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. He’s a regular guy, a father, a husband. Success, being one of the most influential people on earth, didn’t change any of that.
Are you working on any meaningful nonprofit projects? How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
At Stream, we focus our philanthropic efforts on combatting homelessness in all its forms. Through Stream Cares and the Stream Cares Foundation, we do a lot of work and outreach, locally and nationally, especially with impacted children. We regularly partner with Splash for Hope to give homeless children a day of care-free fun at a local water park — a chance to really be a kid. And recently, many people in this country are facing homelessness as a result of natural disasters, so we’re doing our part to help bring some relief to those in need.
Can you tell me a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
It has not been just a single person impacted by this cause, but many. We have a large community of Stream Independent Associates living in and around Houston. These are folks we consider family and, after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the rest of our Associate base recognized they needed help, and fast. They came together to raise funds for relief and Stream Cares matched the donations dollar for dollar, in addition to our contributions to the American Red Cross. I can’t tell you how uplifting it was to see that kind of compassion and love on such a huge scale.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?
Hire for personality. A million people can do any given job. It’s more important to find that one person who really fits the culture, not just the resume requirements.
Trust your gut. To build on that idea: If someone isn’t right for a role, trust your gut. There’s never been a time when I let someone go, that I didn’t see it coming months in advance. You’re not doing them a favor by keeping them around if they could find the perfect opportunity somewhere else.
Always have a servant mentality. This is a simple one. You get what you give in this world. Remember to be humble, compassionate and committed to the growth of your people.
Your team is everything. Never assume you can go it alone. It takes more than one person to guide a ship. Nothing we do in the office, nothing we do in the field, is possible without the combined efforts of all of us working toward the same goal.
Win wars, not battles. Worry less about the little things. Instead, always look at the big picture. The rest will fall into place.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Jeff Bezos. From founding a monolithic company like Amazon in his garage, to pioneering recreational space travel — talk about drive. He’s innovative, but practical. He’s got a sharp business mind and he keeps the customer at the center of his universe. This guy has changed the world.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series in Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.