Saturday, May 18, 2024

8 questions for GMI CEO/ president and mfgCON executive board member David Dalton

Since 2011, David Dalton has served as CEO/President of General Microcircuits (GMI) in Mooresville, NC. Dalton also serves on the Executive Board of mfgCON, North Carolina’s largest manufacturing convention to be held Nov. 13-14 in Durham. In the coming weeks, Business North Carolina will be spotlighting board members leading up to the event.

General Microcircuits is a global electronics manufacturing company specializing in circuit board assemblies and box builds. It has 110 employees in Mooresville, 160 in Costa Rica, and two alliance partners in South Korea and China. Dalton discussed his leadership role, and GMI’s new approaches over the past year.

What was your role before CEO?

I have always been engaged with our sales effort, as I enjoy the relational aspects. My job was Executive Vice President for sales, and I was part of our four-person management team at the time.

How many direct reports do you have?

I have eight on our management team, including me. It’s a perfect number because all facets of our business are represented. I expanded this number when I became CEO. It’s a great group.

Tell us about your new efforts in the last year?

A couple of years ago, I introduced a management system called the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). It’s based on the book, Traction. It has provided me and my team with critical discipline and focus. Most importantly, it has enabled us to identify those key issues preventing us from reaching our goals and more importantly providing a process to resolve them.

We were introduced to it a couple of years ago and launched it this past January. We will achieve a 12% increase in revenue this year, after two consecutive years of being flat. We feel EOS has been the key element of our success. We foresee this growth to continue into 2019 and 2020.

How has EOS affected your leadership style?

First, it helped me reorganize our leadership team. EOS takes you through a people analyzer to determine if your team holds your company’s core values. Then, per the EOS process, you ask  do they “get it,” and if they “want it,” and do they “have the capacity to perform the job they are in.” Obviously, the answer to those needs to be ‘yes.’

In some cases, you find an employee isn’t in the right seat.  If they exude the core values, its highly likely you can find the right seat for them in your organization.  As hard as it is to find good employees, you don’t want to give up on an employee who aligns with our core values. However, if the answer isn’t ‘yes’ to those “GWC” questions and they don’t exhibit your core values, then it’s likely in the best interest of the employee and the employer to disengage.

EOS has enabled me to be less of a micromanager, and be more on the business, rather than in the business. I still struggle with this, but I think my subordinates will tell you I have improved.  Doesn’t hurt when you have a great team supporting you!

In addition to EOS, discuss the CEO group with which you are involved?

Three years ago, I determined I needed outside input and external advice. Consequently, I joined Vistage, a group of CEOs in Charlotte that meet for networking, mentoring and peer advising. We meet once a month. In the morning we have a nationally known speaker, and in the afternoon, we do issue processing. I have used Vistage as my advisory group which consists of 15 CEOs. I have a chairman who leads my group and provides me one-on-one consulting, as well as identifying goals and holding me accountable to them.

Additionally, we identify issues within our organization and ask for advice. We are then required to come back the next month with what we did about it. Within my Vistage group, I have three or four other CEOs who are using EOS.

What have been your key challenges at GMI?

Three key issues: Finding employees who meet our six core values and meet the “GWC” criteria; overcoming electronics industry’s allocation problem in which there is more demand than supply for parts; and the tariff issue, especially concerning any component that is manufactured in China.

Have you had success finding key employees?

We have, because within our region  of North and South Carolina, many of our competitors have moved or gone out of business. We have been fortunate to hire some of their employees, many who have more than 15 years of electronics experience. This has been transformational.  Securing this much talent and blending it with our talented and seasoned team positions us favorably in the marketplace. We are also fortunate to be in the Charlotte region where a lot of people want to live.

A CEO is a demanding role, how do you handle stress and energy maintenance?

Our business is very stressful. If a customer emails or calls us we want to provide a valid response within a couple of hours. So, every second counts in our business!  To combat stress, it’s very important for me to exercise. My routine involves working out after work. Running and weight training are great tonics. I work in Mooresville but live in Charlotte, so I have a gym I use on the way home. On weekends, I enjoy being active in the outdoors with family and friends.


Norwood Teague
Norwood Teague
Norwood Teague is Executive Event Director for the NC CEO Summit, and mfgCON

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