Growing Your Team With a Servant Leadership Style

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Leading large and diverse teams spread across the United States is challenging. Servant leadership sets a precedent for the entire organization.

As the chief operating officer at Versa Integrity Group, a fast-growing asset integrity management company, Anthony Chaney is responsible for about 1,000 employees and more than 300 customers out of 23 locations in the United States. His operations and people management skills are put to the test as he navigates many obstacles. 

Anthony Chaney is the guest in this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast. He shares with the host, Chad Franzen, his experience managing a large team with standard processes and a servant leadership style.

Listen to the audio interview

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Key Resource List 

SweetProcess — Sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit is required.

Versa Integrity Group

LinkedIn Anthony Chaney

Double Double by Cameron Herold

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Show Notes   

[0:26] Intro   

  • Chad Franzen mentions some of the past guests who have been on the show, including David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of the E-Myth. 
  • Chad Franzen introduces SweetProcess, a workflow tool that helps businesses streamline their operations even in life-or-death situations.   
  • SweetProcess offers a 14-day free trial without a credit card. 

[1:27]  Chad Franzen introduces the guest, Anthony Chaney.

[2:05]  Anthony gives an overview of what Versa Integrity Group is all about.

  • Versa Integrity Group is a full-service company in non-destructive testing, quality control, quality assurance, and inspection. It’s also an asset integrity management company for the petrochemical industry and beyond.

[2:30]  What’s the size of the organization?

  • Versa Integrity Group has 23 locations across the United States and more than 1,000 employees.
  • 80% of the employees are focused on operations. 

[3:40]  Anthony talks about what a typical day looks like for him as COO at Versa Integrity Group. 

  • Anthony works with stakeholders at all levels of the organization, including the CEO, daily.
  • He also ensures that the company’s visions and objectives are passed down to the bottom levels of the company.

[4:39]  What methods does Anthony adopt in leading the large team at Versa Integrity Group?

  • Anthony understands that he can’t be at every location to talk to everyone, so he creates a structure for communication.
  • He prioritizes the team and the clients as the most valuable assets in the organization.

[6:08]  Anthony explains his leadership style at Versa Integrity Group.

  • Anthony built a career leading from the wingman position.
  • He believes that you have to be a good servant to be a good leader.

[7:09]  At what point did Anthony adopt the servant leadership philosophy?

  • Anthony has been working since he was 14 years old, and he has always had mentors with 10 to 15 years more experience than him. 
  • Working with very experienced people taught him how to serve in a leadership position. 

[9:34]  Anthony gives insight into the process he uses to get everyone at the organization on the same page.

  • If you can’t have a good paper system, you can’t have a good software system.
  • The organization adopts applications and standard processes across its various locations.

[11:00] How does the servant leadership philosophy impact employee motivation?

  • All the leaders at the organization work for their team members. 
  • As the leaders put the team members first, the team members are inspired to put the customers first. 

[12:13] Anthony shares a significant lesson he learned from a mentor that sticks with him to date.

  • One of Anthony’s mentors, Ken Field, who worked at ConocoPhillips, made him realize that his career would be 80% perception and 20% reality.

[14:01] What tools does the team work with?

  • The team works with an internally-built billing and dispatching system called Versigo and an application suite.
  • The organization is always looking for better systems to enhance its operations.

[14:39] How can people find out more about Versa Integrity Group?

  • You can visit the organization’s website to get more information about their services.

[15:13] Anthony talks about his favorite books and podcasts.

[16:12] Outro

 About Anthony Chaney

Anthony Chaney of Versa Integrity Group

Anthony Chaney is the chief operating officer at Versa Integrity Group. With a track record of working in the oil and energy industry, he’s skilled in gas, petroleum, operations management, pipelines, and application programming interfaces.

A member of API’s Global Industry Service Committee and GPA’s Integrity Committee, Anthony holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Business Management from Florida International University.

Transcript of the Interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Chad Franzen: Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of The E-Myth, and many more.

Chad Franzen: This episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. Have you had team members ask you the same questions over and over again and this is the tenth time you’ve spent explaining it? There’s a better way and a solution. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop-dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. Not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations. Use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time, so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them to do their best work. Sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit card required. Go to, that’s sweet like candy,

Chad Franzen: Anthony Chaney is an accomplished leader in the testing, inspection, and certification field. As chief operating officer at Versa Integrity Group, he is responsible for approximately 1,000 employees and supporting over 300 customers out of 23 locations across the United States. He is a proud husband and father and member of API’s Global Industry Service Committee and GPA’s Integrity Committee. He is a confidant and coach for many professional colleagues within Versa and within the industry. Anthony, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?

Anthony Chaney: Good Chad. How are you?

Chad Franzen: Good, thank you. So tell me a little bit more about what Versa Integrity does.

Anthony Chaney: So Versa is a full-service company in regards to non-destructive testing, quality control, quality assurance, and inspection. So basically a asset integrity management company for the petrochemical industry and beyond that as well.

Chad Franzen: So you have 23 locations across the country and there’s a 1,000 employees that you are responsible for?

Anthony Chaney: Yeah, absolutely. So we go as far east as Orlando, Florida, as far north as Tioga, North Dakota, far west as Los Angeles, California, and then our southernmost office is Corpus Christi, Texas. Then we have quite a few offices in between. So we service everything from the entertainment industry for roller coasters to chemical facilities, downstream facilities, pipeline, things of that nature.

Chad Franzen: So what are most of those 1,000 employees doing?

Anthony Chaney: That’s a really good question. So we’re broke off, I would say probably 80% of those employees are purely operational-focused. So whether they’re the technicians in the field doing the non-destructive testing, the APIs doing their visual inspections, data processors, taking that data, processing it, cleaning it up so our customers can make very good, informed, educated decisions, because everything we do produces data, and then that cultivation of that data to represent to make those decisions, are critical for our industry. So that’s the bulk of what most of those guys are out there doing.

Chad Franzen: If it’s possible to talk about this, to describe this, what does a typical day look like for you as COO?

Anthony Chaney: Oh, that’s great. There is no typical day for me as COO, and that’s the fun part of being in the operational realm if you will. So I would say a typical day for me is looking at our stakeholders from our private equity company to my boss or CEO, and our company’s visions and objectives and making sure those are getting explained down to a level of the organization that can do something about it, to listening to what’s going on from those other levels in the organization and removing all those roadblocks, and doing everything they need to be able to get their job done. So I work for every vice president, every director in this company and every ops manager. So my days are pretty busy for the most part.

Chad Franzen: What ways have you found success in having to lead a 1,000 people across the country in 23 different locations? What ways have worked for you?

Anthony Chaney: The realization that you can’t be at all of those 23 locations and talk to every one of those 1,000 people, and I think the biggest part of growing through the ranks from being a tech in the field, to now leading an organization of this size, I think understanding who you work for, understanding who your competitors are, understanding who you work for, how you’re doing your job, and that’s been the most important thing. I’ve always had somebody we report to, but that’s not who we’re working for. Once you get past one ounce of leadership or supervisory role, even if you’re just the alpha dog on the team that you’re on, you by default are working for somebody else, you’re working for those guys besides you who are on the ground. I think understanding that and owning that and making sure everybody else in the organization understands that, that’s how we’ve been able to shift and really have a positive culture shift over the last couple of years within Versa and understand our clients are the most important. The guys in the field are the most important.

Anthony Chaney: We have some of the best support organizations in the world working at Versa, supporting our operational arm. So we’re a service organization and understanding that you’re always being of service, is the most critical thing to help and shift a 1,000 people at once if you will.

Chad Franzen: So what does that look like? I think we talked about it earlier before we started recording. You’re leading from the gap or you’re leading as a wingman.

Anthony Chaney: Yeah. I would say I built a career leading from the wingman position. So you may not be the top dog, but you’re the next one over, and being the wingman means a lot of things. Sometimes you got to take point and you have to lead. Other times, you’re working for those guys who are technically reporting to you, but you’re working for them. I think every part of leadership in an organization, if you want to be a good leader, you have to be a good servant. So understanding how to serve and be a servant, at the epitome makes you a good leader, because if you can’t follow and you can’t be of service, I don’t think you’re any good to any organization, really, especially not when your organization’s based on being a service provider.

Chad Franzen: I think a lot of people, especially when they first get into leadership positions, they feel like, I need to establish myself as the person who’s in charge. I don’t know if you even ever did shift your mentality, but when did you embrace more of the servant leadership philosophy?

Anthony Chaney: I’ve been really blessed through my career. I’ve probably been working full-time since probably right out of high school and worked full-time in the summer since I was probably 14. I was driving bobtail rigs to and fro when I was 14. So I’ve always worked, if you will, and I would say I’ve been really blessed every mentor I’ve had has had 10 to 15 years experience on me. So I never actually really enjoyed working with somebody my same age for a while there, and I would say it probably sank in maybe about five, seven years ago, somewhere in there.

Anthony Chaney: I was with a colleague of mine. We were sitting in the room and we looked around and we realized, Hey, when did we become the old guys in the room? It shift from us always having somebody there that had 10, 15, 20 years experience on us to go to and say, Hey, what should we do about blank, to being the guy that everybody was calling up asking, what should we do about this? And it was this comical turn, career-wise. We were both managers and been in different supervisory roles and things of that nature, but it really sunk in how critical the role we were in now was. So we were now responsible for everything we said, everything we did, everything we touched.

Anthony Chaney: So you go home and a lot of guys are like, Hey, we’re working for our family. At that point in my career, I had about 75 people reporting up to me and it was like, Hey, I’m responsible for 75 families not just my family, putting food on the table, things of that nature, and that’s when it really sunk in. That was that pivotal turn for me. I think I was always a good servant and good putting others first, but that’s when the criticalness of just how important being in a leadership role was. I think when you’re on the front lines, you can make a mistake that has a bad effect. I think when you’re in a leadership role, you can make a mistake that has a very, very overreaching negative effect, and you got to take that very serious.

Chad Franzen: Is there something you do to make sure, like a system that you have to make sure that everybody is on the same page? A 1,000 people, no matter how much of a good leader you are, a 1,000 people is a lot of people. Is there something that you do to document your process or make sure everybody’s on the same page?

Anthony Chaney: Yeah, we do. So software helps and we have a mentality like, if you can’t have a good paper system, you’re not going to have a good software system. If you can’t do it with a pencil and pad correctly, adding a layer of technology to it is just going to extrapolate your errors if you will. So what’s unique about us is out of those 23 office locations, there’s probably not two that look alike. They have their niches of excellence, what their subject matter experts say, or what that area has going on that’s a little more proprietary to them. So we do a combination of a lot of applications for how we do our visual inspections. We have company-wide templates that we try to do everything the same way, regimented across.

Anthony Chaney: So when we do our quality control and our quality audits, it all looks the same. So when we have one of our quality guys go in, when he is looking at a phase array report, a phase array report out of Orlando looks like one out of Houston. There’s not one simple process. There’s several layers where it’s everything from a fancy Excel sheet to a proprietary application that we use.

Chad Franzen: Would you say that the servant leadership style affects the culture of the company, like maybe they see you maybe putting yourself below them even though you work for them, so that leads people to do the same thing?

Anthony Chaney: I hope so. That’s the point, right? I don’t think we have any supervisor or above in the operational group that is not truly working for their guys and the people that report to them probably doesn’t want to hang out on a roster very long, because that’s who we are, and if you can’t put those guys first, they’re not going to put the clients first. Our clients are very critical to us. What we do in the industry is actually extremely important. We are driving quality and safety from a lot of facilities that aren’t easy places to work in. We have hazardous chemicals. There’s true dangers out there that we’re taking these products a lot of people take for granted. Our company’s one of the many companies that’s responsible for making sure what’s in the pipe, stays in the pipe. So it’s a very admirable role we play in the world.

Chad Franzen: Sure. You mentioned you had mentors who were like 10 to 15 years older than you and now you’re that guy. Can you tell me maybe something you learned from one of your mentors or maybe an example of a way that you noticed something that they did and you’re like, that’s how I want to conduct myself?

Anthony Chaney: I’ve been blessed. I still got great mentors to this day, but there’s several nuggets. From everybody you follow, you can take something, whether it’s comical that changed your perspective or not. One of my mentors, [Ken Field 00:12:29], he was a senior engineer, he worked for ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, had probably, oh, goodness gracious, he’s retired now, 20 some years experience on me. I was still getting my undergraduate degree at the time. I was going to school full-time, working part-time and he was teaching me everything there was about being an engineer in this industry. We called it mechanical integrity engineers. We would do pressure vessel calculations, things of that nature.

Anthony Chaney: We got to the point, he would sign off on things for me, and the one thing that he mentioned to me, he was like, Hey, your career is going to be 80% perception and 20% reality. He’s like, you’re going to spend 80% of your time explaining to people why you need to do that other 20%, how you can do it and painting the picture to get the business build, to get it sold, to get it bigger, things of that nature, and he goes, and you better well come through on that 20%.

Anthony Chaney: So that’s stuck in with me. So we spend a lot of time painting the picture of what we want to achieve, what our vision is, what we were trying to do, and then we got that other 20% that we get to execute on that vision and the promises we make. I think that rings to me every time I make a promise. It’s like, Hey, you may be only spending 20% of your time to execute everything you’ve been talking about, but you better make dang sure you come through on that commitment. So that’s one of those things that have stuck out with me for many years. I could probably go on and list the many different nuggets of wisdom from different mentors I’ve had of the years.

Chad Franzen: Sure, I bet you could. Are there any favorite tools or software that you have that you like to use?

Anthony Chaney: Oh, goodness. I don’t know if I have any favorite tools or software, to be honest with you. At Versa we have our billing and dispatching system. We call it Versigo. It’s a system that we have internally to us that we’ve homebuilt over the years, and then we have our application suite that’s proprietary to us and unique, but we’re always looking for partners. I got some meetings next week. We’re not a Software as a Service provider necessarily, so there’s always something better, something unique we can use, I’m sure.

Chad Franzen: How can people find out more about Versa?

Anthony Chaney: Go to our website, You can find out anything you need to know about Versa and more. It has all our services lines listed on there, our office locations. It may not have our newest, I think we op opened two new offices right at the end of last year, I don’t think it’s updated yet. That’s a good way to find out a lot about Versa.

Chad Franzen: My last question for you, do you have any books or podcasts that you’ve found valuable in terms of your leadership style or helped you along the way?

Anthony Chaney: Oh, my goodness gracious. I drew a little bit of a blank, but there’s several books that I’ve listened to. One of them, the latest one I’m reading right now is Double Double came off of one of your podcasts, so Cameron. I’m reading that book. I would say How to Win Friends and Influence People is probably a good basic book. If you haven’t read a business book and you’re trying to get into, how do I understand the dynamics of a team and what’s going on? I think that is a baseline principle book that everybody should at least read a couple of times. It’s been probably years since I read it, but if somebody’s getting started and just getting that business approach in books, that’s a great place to start.

Chad Franzen: Yeah, a lot of its suggestions are counterintuitive and it goes along with what you’ve been talking about, like putting people above yourself when you’re talking about yourself.

Anthony Chaney: Absolutely. There’s another, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. So there’s a lot of good ones out there.

Chad Franzen: Hey Anthony, it’s been great to talk to you, great to get your insights and hear your suggestions for operations. I really appreciated your time today. Thanks so much.

Anthony Chaney: All right, thanks a lot, man. Take care.

Chad Franzen: So long, everybody.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and/or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to, sweet like candy and process like Go now to and sign up for your risk free 14-day trial.

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