This interview with Harry Herington, chief executive of NIC Inc., a provider of online services for federal, state and local governments, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. How does your background as a police officer help you as a C.E.O.?
A. When you’re a police officer and you walk into a situation, you’re in charge. If you’re not in charge, you’re not going to live, or somebody’s going to get hurt, or something is going to happen. You have to take control. You have to manage the situation instantly.
You’ve got to assess the situation and make the right determination quickly. You learn how to read people instantly, figure out how to manage every aspect of the situation and prioritize. That’s the best M.B.A. I think anybody could ever get.
I’ve done some undercover work, too, and I’ve done raids. The people going in with you need to trust you, and I need to trust them. That’s one of the first things I learned. Who can you trust, and why can you trust them? Who’s got my back? They don’t have to like you, but if you’re the person going through the door, that person needs to do what you say. They’re going to respect you, because you don’t have trust without respect. I would never exchange that life lesson for anything.