BOLD Leaders Have Humility: An Interview with Damien Harmon

I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of great leaders in my career.  As I applied the additional
lens of “bold leadership” to that list – Damien Harmon easily rose to the top. Damien Harmon image

Damien is VP of Operations at Bridgestone Retail Operations, and as I spoke with him, an important element of bold leadership emerged – and that was the notion of humility.  Damien shared that when you are humble, you are naturally able to make your purpose and message much higher than yourself.  It’s not about being right; it’s about having extreme focus on customer outcomes, and knowing you alone don’t have all the answers on how to get there.   

Damien shared that at BRSO, “We don’t have a burning platform in terms of poor performance, but we are clear on how our industry must change, and we have listened to our customers.  Now we must change to meet their needs while transforming an entire industry.”

In order to meet those customer needs, Damien knows from experience that every part of the organization needs to evolve.  “People can say ‘I’m in’ to an organizational vision or strategy – but they oftentimes don’t change their behavior, mostly because they don’t know how.  As a leader, I believe my responsibility is to help people change one step at a time; there is only so much that a person can digest at once.  When a company is going through large change, it’s critical to slow down and make sure you bring people along.”  Damien shared that he personally makes an effort to engage with and listen at all levels of the organization to gauge where people are hovering on the proverbial change curve.

Both Damien’s humility and tenacity stem from a strong personal foundation he attributes to his family, specifically his mother.  Her strength and commitment to focus on what’s possible are part of the unique DNA of Damien’s bold leadership style.

As we ended our talk, a couple themes emerged for me around bold leadership:

Bold leaders have humilityIt’s not about me.

Bold leaders enroll stakeholders at every level of the organization.  It’s about end-to-end accountability.

At Aveus we say that bold leaders cannot rest knowing there is a needed change that will further the company and its performance.  Is there a change in your organization that can’t go unaddressed?  What bold leadership approach are you taking?

Deborah is a retail and wholesale executive who has spent the last 20 years leading business teams to continuously improve the customer experience.