Meet Dave Nelson, Armstrong Relocation and Companies, Chief Customer Officer, BeALifter Leadership Interview Series #5: 10 Questions with Bruce Waller

BeALifter Leadership Interview Series: Sharing Leadership Lessons with Bruce Waller…

10 Questions from Leaders that make a difference!

Jim Rohn once said, “Your success in the next 5 years will be determined by the books you read and the people you meet.”

This is a testimony to my personal leadership growth over the past 20 years. I continue to learn each day by connecting with some of the most talented people in business. In this series, I want to add value to your leadership growth by introducing you to leaders that make impact as they share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader or in their personal life. So let’s get started…

Today, we are going to hear from David R. Nelson, Chief Customer Officer, Armstrong Relocation and Companies, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Some of the words that I would use to describe Dave include strategic, visionary, wisdom seeker, and a team builder. I first met Dave when I joined Armstrong Relocation back in March of 2004 and was immediately impressed by his approachable leadership style and willingness to listen, learn, and share with others. He is currently part of the executive leadership team that is driving culture and seeing positive results.  N Pic - Dave Nelson Prof

Now, let’s hear from Dave!

1. Where did you grow up?

I was fortunate to grow-up in a humble, stable family in the upper Midwest. The winters were long and work ethic strong. I’m more grateful for one that the other; I’ll let you decide which is which is which! My values were strongly shaped by my parents.

2. How did you get started in business/career?

I began as a management trainee for a large national bank. Possessing an undergraduate degree from a small college, I immediately found myself in competition with fellow trainees from respected universities (some with masters) and upper-end society families. I feel I had to get better and be better in order to succeed.

3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader?

As a general manager for a family business owned by a friend, I suddenly found myself in need of a new career when that friend told me he was selling the business. I didn’t see it coming! After exploring my career options, I chose to accept an opportunity that required me to take two steps back in order to have the possibly of taking a quantum leap forward. The lesson I learned was “the best decision you can make in the moment is with the longest-term perspective in view.” My life has been greatly enriched because of that singular decision.

4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose?

Having accepted my first sales management position, and in analyzing the first year of results generated by my team, I soon realized that the joy I felt celebrating the successes of the people on my team rivaled the joy I felt in succeeding as an individual producer. Both were rewarding, but in dramatically different ways.

5. What is your most favorite achievement in your current role?

We celebrate our company’s top sales producers annually. My favorite “achievement” is to see someone I invested in achieve tremendous success, not only in sales, but in their career progression.

6. Is there any one person that inspired or mentored you along the way?

Steve is a long-time friend and mentor. While lacking somewhat in formal education and having a disdain for corporate polish, he has built multiple successful business. We share core values, but have differing strengths. Our honest, back-and-forth discussions over the years have challenged my perspective, caused me to think bigger and act with eternity in view.

7. Do you have a saying or mantra that you live by?

I believe that true wisdom principles are timeless. One of my favorites, courtesy of King Solomon, is “the man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

8. What book are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now?

Two recent books share a similar message of focusing in order to achieve impact, but expand on that message in meaningful, practical and complementary ways: “The One Thing” (Gary Keller and Jay Papasan) and “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” (Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling).

9. Can you sharer any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader?

Having my goals in view, I ask myself three questions on a recurring basis: 1) what should I start doing? 2) what should I stop doing? 3) what should I continue doing, but in a different manner?

10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?

Be humble enough to learn from every one you meet and every situation you encounter. Actively look for ways to add value to others. Align your team around foundational principles and shared goals, focusing on what is truly most important.

Some of my leadership takeaways include: Having a long term perspective for growth is essential. Aligning yourself with core values will help make decisions easier as you continue on your leadership journey. Asking yourself 3 questions will help you evaluate results to long term goals. Be humble, look for ways to add value to others, and focus your efforts on what’s most important.

What are your takeaways?

Thank YOU for sharing your wisdom and inspiring us to be better leaders, Dave! If you would like to learn more Dave and Armstrong Relocation and Companies, check out

Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. You can visit his BLOG “A Relocation Minute Update” with Bruce Waller at for more information on this interview or employee relocation resources, call 972-389-5673, or email Follow @brucewaller on Twitter too!

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