Chris Ledesma | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Chris Ledesma

Background:  

Chris Ledesma, a senior vice president for Wells Fargo Bank, has served eight years on West Sacramento’s City Council and is the city’s Mayor Pro Tem. He is also a former city planning commissioner, member of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Team.

The Mistake:

During my first year as a city council member, I was caught by surprise at the number of things that come your way. You get invited to every event and you try to attend them all; you try to tackle every consent order item – you can feel overwhelmed.

If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have been a lot more focused on what policy priorities we need to address – how we can further the quality of life for our city, and how I can focus my personal energies to help move that forward.

It’s not only about you. It’s about where others want to go, and helping them get there.

The Lesson:

There were some big things we worked on in my first year. But there were others we didn’t. It’s true that all the small stuff matters. People need to know that their feelings mean something; all the parks get mowed and are ready for play days and picnics; and the water flows on time. That absolutely matters.

But they also want their leaders to focus on the big ticket items, the ones that will affect them and their kids in the future. It needs to be us saying, “Okay, this is going to matter to everyone.”

My kids are teenagers now. They’re millennials, and they’re on me all the time about people not thinking like them. And that’s part of what we’re trying to address here: That it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not only about you. It’s about others’ frames of mind, where they want to go, and helping them get there. That’s the important part.

Follow Chris Ledesma on Twitter at @ChrisLedesma2.

Pictured is Chris Ledesma. | Photo courtesy of City of West Sacramento.

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