5 Minutes with Joe Crandall, CEO of Greencastle

By Greencastle Consulting

In our newest blog series, we’ll take a look at our greatest asset–our employees–and what makes them unique. You’ll learn about their leadership lessons, business tips, personality traits and anything from their favorite food to their favorite podcast (which is hopefully Shots from the Winchester!)

Today, we’re starting with our CEO Joe Crandall. It’s only fair that the captain of the ship is the first up. Joe bought Greencastle in 2019 and has since guided the company to stratospheric success–earning a spot on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list 3 years in a row, growing 125% since then.

And if you just can’t get enough of Joe, check out our podcast with him for more lessons learned, what it’s like being a CEO and what it feels like to chug a bottle of Woodford Reserve (you’ll just have to watch to understand).

And without further adieu, here’s 5 minutes with Joe Crandall….

What’s your biggest failure and what did you learn from that experience?

Last century, while platoon commander of SEAL Team FIVE Charlie Platoon, I failed as a leader. We were doing static line jumps and a couple of sticks ahead of us were suffering significant injuries on the DZ. As a leader, I should have stopped the evolution to prevent further, unneeded injury. I didn’t. As karma would have it, I was injured significantly on my jump. The lesson I learned was that sometimes as a leader you might have to make a hard call – albeit, the right call. Making the hard call sometimes means you are standing alone in your decision, but you need to be comfortable with that. I should have looked out for the team. 

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing now? How are you tackling it?

Biggest business challenge is always about Greencastle. I have a great team leading their respective areas, but sometimes forces outside your control cause business impacts that need to be addressed. Back to point number one, that often includes making hard calls that impact people’s lives. The way we tackle it is through thorough planning – preparing when things are going well. This allows you to have a plan that is not developed in a panic. Other ways we are tackling it is by following the EOS model, putting the right people in the right seats and holding everyone accountable. After that, you have the tools to respond to most outside challenges. 

What’s the more important lesson you’ve learned over your career?

Read the “The Go Giver” and never regret the past. I have had conversations that center on making better decisions at this point or that point in my life. “I wish I would have…” is not healthy. I couldn’t have made better decisions back then because I was ignorant and immature. As we mature, we understand things differently. I understand why some business leaders made the decisions they made because I now have a similar frame of reference. But when I was an employee, it baffled me why we did this or that. 

In your opinion, what’s the most important personality trait or strength someone needs to have to be a great consultant?

Depends. A new consultant at Greencastle needs to be hungry for knowledge and confident to put themselves out there in new and challenging situations. A mid-level consultant needs to start developing their leadership traits, learn how to do the consulting work, but also providing additional value outside of the project. Good enough is often just enough not to get fired or renewed. A senior consultant is almost a mini-business owner. They have to lead people, manage resources and grow their book of business. Overall, the client is looking for results. A successful consultant doesn’t confuse effort with performance. 

Who has been your most important personal mentor?

I have not had one consistent mentor. I have had mini-mentors – a collage of mentors.

What are 3 books you’d recommend and why?

“The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. “The Attributes” by Rich Diviney and most books on stoicism. The Go Giver because it makes sense and I have seen it in action. The Attributes because it is fascinating the level of details Rich goes into about selecting top performing people for even higher performing roles. And stoicism is a great approach to flourishing in the world we live in today.