Leadership on Parade: Fisher’s Difference Maker Chris Taylor a Natural Turnaround Specialist

Chris Taylor, Fisher’s Technology

Chris Taylor is suffering from an acute case of imposter syndrome. Or perhaps the president and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based Fisher’s Technology is a bit tongue in cheek when suggesting he knows nothing about the industry.

While the notion is wholly unfounded, it’s a shining example of how this executive can swing the cameras to shine the spotlight on the company’s crew of 160 quality employees, who have helped to complete the stunning turnaround of the organization. Taylor is right; he presides over a group of intelligent and friendly yet driven individuals who have amassed a wealth of knowledge to make the dealer a force to be reckoned with in the short 15 years he’s been at the helm.

Still, MBA holders from schools as prestigious as MIT—one of the many highlights on Taylor’s resume—don’t make a habit of faking their way through life. Taylor assumed control in 2006, assessed the situation and addressed the 1,000-pound gorilla on the shop floor—a fractured corporate culture that was closer to mutiny than nirvana—that needed ousting in order for the organization to move forward.

So while Taylor may not have fancied himself a turnaround specialist, repairing Fisher’s Technology is a feat worthy of the executive gods. “People and culture are everything in business and my number one priority is to create a culture that people love to work in every day,” said Taylor, a 2021 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “And when we have happy, enthusiastic, engaged people, we can’t help but deliver awesomeness to our customers.”

That team-first mentality, he believes, can often get lost in the daily monitoring of benchmarks and short-term business management. By cultivating a team obsessed with providing top-shelf customer care, the benchmarks invariably take care of themselves.

Prescription Change

It didn’t take long for Taylor to realize that Fisher’s Technology was capable of punching above its weight. When one extremely large prospect issued an RFP that clearly demonstrated a lack of understanding about fleet optimization—an instance where a compliant response would not have yielded the appropriate solution for the would-be client—Taylor gambled and went off the RFP script with his proposal, generally a major no-no. Still, it gave the impression that Fisher’s was looking out for the client’s best interest, and the bold stroke won the contract.

“It showed we are very good at our business and could beat the big guys without playing games or chasing price,” Taylor said. “Just do what we do.”

As an industry outsider assuming the mantle of responsibility, Taylor was able to leverage his fast-learner skills with the aid of big-picture managerial perspective. Two sources proved to be most critical in his development: the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Vistage. 

“My primary job at Fisher’s is to share a vision and build an organization of amazing people to execute that vision,” he said. “My ability to do so at Fisher’s has come from surrounding myself with other amazing leaders in YPO and Vistage.  On top of that, we have this amazing team at Fisher’s that I learn from every day.”

Same Page

The resilience of Taylor’s amazing team has been driven home repeatedly, and that was never more evident than when he needed to implement some difficult changes in light of the pandemic. Taylor was heartened by the accepting and supportive responses to his COVID attack plan, and morale actually increased—a byproduct of him frequently communicating the direction and goals.

Culture is not a destination point for Taylor, but rather an ongoing process. That continues to be a focus for Fisher’s, in addition to smart market growth and expansion. Plus, the exec always looks forward to having a blast in the process.

That same communication that helped bring the company through the worst of the pandemic will also serve it well moving forward. “Communication is, and always will be, the toughest part of business,” Taylor said. “We need more frequent and even more transparent communication within and outside our company.”

The Taylors have been married for seven years and have three children. They enjoy snow skiing, wake surfing, mountain biking, hiking, and golf, and reside in an area that would theoretically allow them to do it all in the same day. Traveling is another favorite pastime for the family, having visited more than 50 countries around the globe.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.