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41 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
How to Disrupt Yourself to Master Change and Grow Faster w/ Whitney Johnson
Guest: Whitney Johnson is the CEO of WLJ Advisors and one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world, as named by Thinkers50. She is an expert in helping high-growth organizations develop high-growth individuals. Whitney is an award-winning author, world-class keynote speaker, frequent lecturer for Harvard Business School's Corporate Learning, and an executive coach and advisor to CEOs. She is a popular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, has 1.7 million followers on LinkedIn, and was selected as a Top Voice in 2018. Her course on Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship has been viewed more than 1 million times. In 2019, she was ranked #3 on the Global Gurus' Top 30 Organizational Culture Professionals. In 2017, she was selected from more than 16,000 candidates as a "Top 15 Coach" by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. Episode in a Tweet: Dare to disrupt yourself by mastering change, speeding up your learning curve, and creating a better life. Quick Background: I met Whitney at a YPO Colorado event, where she led us through her Personal Disruption Framework. I enjoyed the course so much that I asked if she would come on Reflect Forward. Whitney is an inspiring speaker and an incredible human being. She and I talk about how to disrupt yourself in significant ways, like changing careers or moving to a new city, and in small ways like practicing a new hobby just a few minutes a day. We discuss the power of making lists and how focusing on your top priorities can shift your life and be more successful. We also talk about how individuals can make changes in their thinking, actions, and commitments to fix some of the world's biggest problems. At the end of the show, she shares her top piece of advice for leaders looking to be exceptional at what they do. She says, "Own your strengths. When you lean into what you do well, you can make a significant contribution within your sphere of influence. When you own your superpowers, you start to create powerful change." If you like this interview, make sure to check out her Disrupt Yourself podcast and her popular weekly newsletter, which you can find on her website. I get a lot out of her newsletter and think it's one of the best out there. https://whitneyjohnson.com/newsletter/
9 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Advice From a CEO: How to Handle an Emotional Employee
Human beings are messy, emotional creatures. We all feel anxiety, anger, fear, and defensiveness at points in our lives and often, we give in to these strong emotions. It gets even messier when we have emotional outbursts in the workplace, which can happen quite often. At some point in your management career, you will have to handle a situation where an employee is angry or upset. How you deal with this emotional outburst is crucial to maintaining a positive working environment and, if done right, can positively change the trajectory of the employee's experience. But let's face it, it can be overwhelming to work through an emotionally charged situation with an employee and it's easy to make things worse. The stakes are high, and a negative interaction could cause the employee to feel unheard or uncared about, decreasing overall satisfaction and could result in the person leaving the company. Appropriately connecting and communicating with an upset employee is essential to turn the situation around effectively. Listen to hear my tips on what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The question of the episode comes via LinkedIn. "Kerry, I have an employee whom I need to give tough feedback to, but he is a single thread. If he takes it the wrong way and leaves, I am screwed, and the company is screwed. What should I do?" Great question, and I have been there – more times than I want to admit. Everyone needs feedback to improve, and withholding feedback from this person keeps them from performing better and making improvements. So they deserve to hear the feedback. Check out the episode for more tips!
42 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Who Says Lawyers Aren’t Great Leaders w/ Phil Weiser
Guest: Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser was sworn in as the State’s 39th Attorney General on January 8, 2019. As the State’s chief legal officer, Phil is committed to protecting the people of Colorado and building an innovative and collaborative organization that will address a range of statewide challenges. Phil has dedicated his life to the law, justice, and public service. Before running for office, Weiser served as the Hatfield Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Colorado Law School. He founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. Phil also served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations and as a law clerk to Justices Byron R. White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court. Episode in a Tweet: When we build alignment around values and people have an opportunity to be heard, we can impact positive change in politics, business, and life. Quick Background: I met Phil through my good friend and attorney, Todd Seelman. Todd is an avid Reflect Forward listener and told me I had to have Phil on the show. I never thought much about attorneys as leaders, but once I met Phil, I began to understand just how powerful leaders they can be. Phil is a big believer that empathy is the most important competency for lawyers to possess. The best attorneys can connect with their clients and the opposition to find a mutually agreeable resolution in conflict. Phil’s grandmother and mother are also survivors of the Holocaust, and their stories of hope and belief shaped Phil’s life views. His mother was born in a Nazi concentration camp and is believed to be one of its youngest survivors. Phil thinks that he is where he is today because of the compassion of the U.S. and its welcoming of refugees as Europe was liberated. He is a product of the American Dream and holds firm in his commitment to making this dream possible for many others. Phil is also is dedicated to creating fair competition in business through sound antitrust policy (he breaks down the Google and Facebook anti-competition issues in simple terms in the show), improving our criminal justice system, and protecting our air and water. I love Phil’s thoughts on leadership and life, and I hope you enjoy this podcast.
10 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
Advice From A CEO: Don't Be Afraid To Speak Up
I have been giving talks to corporate leadership teams, including my own, on how to make it safe for people on their teams to speak up. Leaders are often in a position of power, and it's hard for employees to speak their minds in fear of the fallout. In one of my recent leadership talks, a person asked me, "How do you go about speaking up if you truly are scared of the outcome." This is a tricky question to answer. But it's such a good question. The reason it's hard to answer is that it depends on the situation. I wanted to answer the question carefully; I didn't know this woman's situation, and I didn't want to give her bad advice. Listen to find out my tips. Ok, the question of the episode comes from a listener of Reflect Forward and he asks, "Kerry, I know you use an executive coach. Do you also get coaches for your employees?" YES! YES! YES! Many of my employees have coaches and it's the best investment I have made in terms of people development. I hire coaches to help high performers gain new insights about themselves and others and help them build new skills. I hire coaches to help high-potential employees who are struggling. I hire coaches for employees at all levels of the organization, not just the executive level. I also use my executive coach for team coaching, which has been tremendous in helping us create a disciplined management system and has dramatically improved our ability to execute our strategy. Overall, the investment I've made in coaching has paid dividends. I think all leaders who are looking to be exceptional should hire a coach. And all leaders looking to develop exceptionally high-performing teams should use coaches to help develop their teams.
38 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work w/ Melody Wilding
Guest: Melody Wilding, LMSW is an executive coach, human behavior expert, and author of “Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.” She has coached hundreds of private clients, from CEOs and Fortune 500 executives to leaders from the US Department of Education, the Federal Reserve, and the United Nations. She teaches graduate-level human behavior and psychology at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York. Her writing is regularly featured on Medium and in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, Business Insider, and Quartz. Her advice has been featured in the New York Times, The Cut, Oprah Magazine, NBC News, US News and World Report, and more Episode in a Tweet: Melody Wilding turns the conventional approach to finding personal and professional fulfillment on its head, arguing that sensitivity is not a hindrance but a superpower—if managed correctly. Quick Background: Melody Wilding is the author of “Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.” She draws on decades of research and client work to examine the intersection of sensitivity and achievement in the workplace. Melody offers neuroscience-based strategies to break free from stress and self-doubt to find the confidence to work and lead effectively. “Sensitive Strivers” is what Melody calls individuals who are both highly sensitive and high performing. These folks are often so influenced and worried by how they appear to others. They struggle with overthinking, emotional reactivity, perfectionism, and an inability to set clear boundaries—which can hold them back from reaching their full potential as leaders and professionals. In this interview, Melody provides concrete steps to channel these qualities in constructive ways, overcome inadequacy, and thrive in the workplace, combining cognitive behavior, mindfulness, and neuroscience with communications, leadership, and career development skills.
16 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Advice From a CEO: Take Charge of Your Life and Be an Exceptional Self-Leader
Want to be an exceptional leader? Be an exceptional SELF-leader. Self-leadership is the way you lead yourself. It's taking full ownership of your attitude, effort, communication, and wellbeing. In this week's episode of Reflect Forward: Advice From a CEO, I share a few stories to demonstrate self-leadership in action and some painful experiences I went through to learn how to be a strong self-leader. As I have matured aka gotten older, I've realized how profound these experiences were. Throughout my life, I have learned the power of facing conflict head-on, advocating for myself, and taking feedback even when it was really hard to hear. I’ve learned how being accountable for my actions and engaging in hard conversations empowers me to make different choices in my life. I’ve learned not to be a victim of my circumstance; instead, I know how to change my circumstances to make my life better. I share these stories during the episode in hopes that you can see yourself in them. We all lose sight of the big picture. We all are guilty of having an inward mindset. We are all guilty of telling ourselves false stories that allow us to be victims of our circumstances. But we also have to power to change it. You, too, can be an accountable, self-leading kind of leader. And being one will bring you success. So how can you practice being a strong, successful self-leader? Listen to find out more! Question from the episode comes from someone who follows me on social media, "Kerry, how do you calm your nerves when you go on stage or in front of the camera. I hate public speaking, but I want to get better at it." I have been doing a lot of speaking for organizations and companies these days, and it never fails every time I am nervous. So here are a few things I do to calm my nerves. 1. Write out what I will say, whether it's a paid speech or an important message in a company meeting. Being prepared will make you feel more confident. 2. I always take a few deep breaths before I start. Breathing is the best way to ground yourself. If am really nervous, I go out for a quick walk. Fresh air and movement always make me feel better. 3. I talk about things I know, and I share personal stories. It's amazing what happens when you recall a story. It puts you at ease and allows people to connect with you. 4. Talk slower than you think you need to. It allows you to breathe and collect yourself as you talk. 5. Don't be afraid to use notecards and look at them if needed. Everyone understands you want to stay on point. 6. Smile. Smiling when you talk makes everyone feel more at ease, including you. 7. It's okay if you mess up, miss a word, or have to repeat yourself because you fumbled a sentence. People connect with humanity, not polish. You don't have to be perfect.
57 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Master Your Fear to Overcome Setbacks w/ Brandon Webb
Guest: Brandon Webb is a combat–decorated Navy SEAL sniper turned entrepreneur who has built two brands into an eight-figure business. As a US Navy Chief, he was head instructor at the Navy SEAL sniper school, which produced some of America's most legendary snipers. As an entrepreneur, Brandon crashed and burned his first start-up in 2009 and lost everything. After this experience, he created SOFREP Media, which he continues to run as CEO. He is also an author of several books, including his latest thriller, Steel Fear, and several nonfiction books such as "Total Focus: Make Better Decisions Under Pressure" and "Masting Fear: A Navy SEAL's Guide." Over his navy career, he completed four deployments to the Middle East and one to Afghanistan. He redeployed to Iraq in 2006 as a contractor in support of the US intelligence community. An accomplished and proven leader, Brandon was meritoriously promoted to First Class Petty Officer, ranked #1 in the Command, while an instructor at sniper cell. He has received numerous distinguished service awards, including Top Frog at Team 3 (best combat diver), the Presidential Unit Citation (awarded by President George W. Bush), and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with "V" device for valor in combat. Brandon ended his Navy career early to spend more time with his children and focus on entrepreneurship. Episode in a Tweet: Don't fight fear or try to beat it back; instead, embrace and harness it so you can triumph in even the most adverse situations. Quick Background: I reached out to Brandon after reading "Mastering Fear: A Nacy SEAL's Guide." While reading this fantastic book, I learned that Brandon was a fellow YPOer and knew he had to come on the show. I appreciated Brandon's views on mastering fear. My favorite line from the book is, "Fear can be a set of manacles, holding you prisoner, or it can be a slingshot, catapulting you on to greatness." While I haven't had people shooting at me as Brandon has, I could relate to his stories and appreciated how he overcame loss and tragedy to create a better life for himself. In this episode, Brandon shares his story of leaving home at 16, becoming a Navy SEAL, and losing his first business and marriage at the same time. He has overcome controversy, rebuilt his relationship with his father, and has followed his passion - writing. His media company, SOFREP, is a military-themed digital media company. SOFREP aims to be the "MARVEL" of military content and has already produced several hit online shows, books, and podcasts. It's a blend of video, digital print, podcast, and indie book publisher.
17 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Advice From a CEO: Great Leaders Make it Safe to Speak Up
This week's episode of Reflect Forward: Advice from a CEO is about the importance of making it safe for your employees and teammates to speak up. Being an employee-owned company, we at StoneAge encourage people to speak up…keeping it real is what we call it, and it's part of our Own It Mindset, which is our set of values and leadership principles. I believe we do a pretty good job of creating a safe space for people to voice their opinions and concerns, but no matter what we do, not everybody feels comfortable. Most of this fear is unwarranted, but we certainly have made mistakes, intentionally or unintentionally shutting people down or minimizing their comments. Another mistake we have made is overemphasizing the delivery of the message. I'll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of putting too much emphasis on the delivery. Now, the delivery of a message is important; the world is about influence, and everybody wants to be seen, heard, and valued, wishing to see their ideas and thoughts put into action. Doing this requires influence. And so often, a good message gets lost in poor delivery. Getting hung up on the harshness of someone's words and tone, there have been many times it took me a while to hear what was in the feedback because I was so bristled by the way it came out. If the pandemic taught me anything, we need to be more understanding and open to other people's ideas and opinions, so I went on a mission to care less about the delivery and more about the message. When I am triggered, I examine why to move through my emotional response quickly and get to the heart of what matters…the message. In this episode, I give my tips on making it safe for people to speak up while controlling your emotional responses. Then I address an adjacent topic in the question of the episode. One of my employees asked, "Kerry, I see that you are talking a lot about being cool, calm, and collected, and it's noticeable at work. And I wanted to understand what you do to keep yourself from getting amped up." Great question, and I am so pleased that my effort is paying off. Being cool, calm, and collected is my 2021 mantra. While I certainly misstep from time to time, I am finding that be intentional about my emotional responses is helping me stay grounded. Tips that I share include: thinking about how I want the person interacting with me to feel when they walk away, being intentional about the way I show up, getting exercise to reduce stress, and reframing the issue in the big picture rather than focusing on the minutia to keep things in perspective. Don't miss this episode for more insight and ideas on how to be a leader who creates safety and reminds level-headed.
56 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Use Gratitude to Become a Better Version of Yourself w/ Chris Schembra
Guest: Chris Schembra is the bestselling author of "Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection." Forbes ranks his book as the #2 book of 2020 to create Human Connection; USA Today calls him their "Gratitude Guru," and he's a Founding Member of Rolling Stone's Culture Council. He is the founder of the 7:47 Gratitude Experience — an evidence-based framework used to strengthen client and team relationships in profound ways. He's used the principles of gratitude to spark over 500,000 relationships around the dinner table, serving Fortune 50 CEOs, Olympians, Academy Award Winners, Grammy Award Winning #1 Recording Artists, Super Bowl Champions, and more. He's been selected #5 on the "10 Motivational Speakers that will Rock your next event" by Marketing Insider Group. He was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Smart Hustle Magazine and "People of 2017" by Clientele Luxury Magazine. Recently, he was honored alongside Michael Phelps, Chris Evans, Kid Cudi, and several others as "6 Successful Men Smashing the Mental Health Stigma" by Good Men Project. Episode in a Tweet: Resilient people are people that have a purpose. They are chasing a North star such as be less shitty tomorrow and solve other people's problems. If this is your purpose in life, then you will weather that next storm. Quick Background: I met Chris from my fellow YPOer Ben Wright, founder, and CEO of Velocity Global. Chris and I hit it off immediately, and I asked him to do a gratitude experience for my employees at StoneAge and it was a hit! I've joined him on his show: 7:47 Conversations (you can listen here), and now the tables are turned. Chris shares a raw and deeply personal story of growing up in a bubble that caused him to be entitled and a troublemaker. His doctors put him on meds at a young age which numbed him and dumbed him. Not remembering much of his childhood, anger and resentment ripped through him like a hurricane, destroying relationships and driving him to addiction. Rehab and jail set him on a new path, but there was still something missing. After coming back from working on a Broadway play in Italy, he found himself miserable and alone. Deciding he was not going back down the path of destruction, he started cooking, creating a signature pasta sauce. Then he began hosting dinners. And before he knew it, people from all over were joining his Gratitude Experiences, talking about who and what they are most grateful for. At every experience, Chris asks his signature questions – "If you could give credit or thanks to one person in your life that you DON'T give enough credit or thanks to, who would it be and what would you say?" People connect deeply on this question and the ensuing conversations, which forever changed Chris's life. He is now called the gratitude guru and is making headlines wherever he goes.
12 minutes | May 25, 2021
Advice From A CEO: Don't Take Things Personally
I once was told that taking things personally is one of the most selfish things a person could do. This statement stuck with me, and I found myself sharing it often. Not wanting to be a hypocrite (or selfish), I decided I had better start paying more attention to whether or not I regularly took things personally. To my dismay, I realized that I did…far more often than I wanted to admit. I also found that when I did, I felt bad about myself. I felt bad about other people. I felt bad about the situation. I felt bad about everything. Yuck. After suffering a bit longer, I decided it was time to stop taking things so damn personally. I want to encourage you, too, to stop taking things so personally. You will not only improve your life, but you will also improve the lives of everyone around you. You will be happier. And you being happier makes the world happier. And we all know that the world could use more happiness. Here are five things you can do to stop taking everything personally: 1. Don't make other people's rudeness, irritability, curtness, etc., about you. It's about whatever is going on with them. Smile, silently wish them well, and move on. 2. Consider all feedback constructive. The more you get, the better you will be, even if the input doens't feel valid. Make modifications and apologize when necessary. But don't take any of it personally; instead, be grateful for it. 3. Don't expect people to read your mind. If you do, you'll regularly find yourself disappointed. Face it, most of us aren't psychic so there is no point in expecting others to know what is happening inside you. Always be honest about how you feel and what you are thinking—candidness matters. 4. Don't make assumptions. You don't know what other people are thinking or feeling, so don't assume. Plus, incorrect assumptions cause undue suffering. If you don't know, ask. Even if you think you do, ask. Seek to understand. 5. Tell yourself a different story. Each of us views the world through our individual lens. We all have deeply rooted biases and personality types that influence the color, texture, and feel of that lens. Our lenses are shaped by our parents, family, friends, and communities and by our experiences. How each of us sees the world is very personal and very different. And that's what makes the human species so unique. But it's also our biggest downfall. We fall into the trap of thinking that our thoughts and feelings are THE TRUTH. "I am right and they are wrong." Even highly self-aware people find it difficult to break outside of their way of thinking. None of us know THE TRUTH. We only feel and see our own truths (which may be flat out wrong). So if you are taking something personally, recognize that the story you are telling yourself is just that: a story, and there's a good chance it's wrong. Why not tell a different story? One that doesn't involve turning angels into demons. Not taking things personally takes effort and persistence, but it's worth it. You'll be much happier and feel better about yourself when you can let things easily slide off your back. You'll be more open-minded and better able to take feedback when you let other people have their own opinions without becoming defensive or protective. Life is better when you turn your story from a negative one to a positive one. Question of the episode: This question comes from a person on LinkedIn who says, "I'm a new manager, and I am really struggling with delegating. How do I go about doing this effectively in a way that doesn't make me feel so awkward?" Listen to hear my tips!
45 minutes | May 18, 2021
You are Already an Entrepreneur; Now Learn How to Be a Great One w/ Sid Mohasseb
Guest: Sid Mohasseb is known as The Entrepreneur Philosopher. He is a published author, serial entrepreneur, venture investor, university professor, innovation leader, business thought provoker, and public speaker. At 16, he migrated from Iran to the US without his family. At 21, he started and later sold his first company, and at 25, he taught comparative Eastern and Western philosophy. Before the age of 30, he became the youngest partner of a national management consulting. Over the following two decades, he supported large-scale acquisitions and acted as a principal investor in middle-market companies leading company turnarounds. He also founded and led several early-stage and hyper-growth companies from inception to acquisition. His latest book is “You Are Not Them: An Authentic Entrepreneur’s Way,” where he shares how he approaches entrepreneurship as a master craftsman: an iterative lifestyle rather than a final destination. Episode in a Tweet: You are already an entrepreneur; now learn how to be a great one by leading authentically, creatively, and by navigating risk. Quick Background: I was introduced to Sid through a fellow YPOer and was immediately drawn into his story. His rise to success as an Iranian immigrant is inspiring and insightful. As an author, adjunct professor, a venture capitalist, a few times over corporate CEO, Strategic Innovation lead in Strategy for a conglomerate, a Harvard trained negotiator, a veteran board member, and a featured TED Speaker, Sid’s real expertise is in connecting theory and reality and helping people see the bend in the road ahead and make visions a reality. Sid and I talk about how to bring out the best version of yourself and navigating risk. Leadership is situational, personal, and unique for every leader, but Sid shares his belief that there are five universal elements that all leaders are impacted by. I love these because they are in alignment with reflecting forward. They are: 1. Three-Way Trust 2. Variable Communication 3. Overarching Courage 4. Situational Awareness 5. Constant Competency Sid and I also talk about his love of poetry and how he uses it to express his leadership philosophy. He also shares his thoughts on being an immigrant in America and how immigrants have shaped America and are critical to American entrepreneurialism, job creation, and overall society.
15 minutes | May 11, 2021
Likeable, Authentic, and Respected: Why Great Leaders Are All Three
In this episode, I tell a story about a conversation with a direct report and he said something interesting. He believed that a person's desire to be liked would lead him or her down the path to inauthenticity. He questioned, "If you have such a strong desire to be liked, how can you make the tough decisions, have the hard conversations, and be authentic in the face of a storm? How do you overcome the need to be liked and make hard decisions that might make some people NOT like you?" After thinking long and hard about this, I believe that being liked, authentic, and respected plays a significant part in exceptional leadership. Let's first establish that to be a good leader, you do not have to be liked. To be a good leader, you must be well respected and credible, which you gain by making good decisions, admitting mistakes, being honest, genuine and self-aware, communicating regularly and clearly, and living and breathing your purpose. These traits describe authenticity, and being an authentic leader is not only the best way to lead; it's the only way to lead. But in my experience, being liked by those you lead is helpful, and it brings a sense of fulfillment. When people like you, they want to be around you. They are more likely to ask your opinion and give their opinions. They feel more comfortable being vulnerable, making it easier and more fun to partner with you to get things done. When you are liked, it's easier to influence your desired outcomes because people are genuinely engaged with you and want to help. Being an authentic leader must always come first. Likeably should be lower on the list but not dismissed. Great leaders know how to blend them to maximize effectiveness. Learn to be okay with making decisions that everyone will not like; doing the right thing is always more important than making everyone happy. Question of the episode: "I'm struggling with some insecurity, some baggage, and I feel like it's holding me back from doing an outstanding job. What should I do?" Baggage does what baggage does…weighs you down and holds you back. My advice to her was this: Examine where your insecurities are coming from. Why are you letting your insecurities determine your future? If you want to let them go, dig in and understand where they come from. Did something happen where you were called a failure? Did someone not believe in you when you were younger? If so, forgive them for these insensitive comments. Why? Forgiveness is the fastest way to be able to say, "Thank you for your feedback. I'm going to take what serves me, and I'm letting the rest go because it's holding me back." The second thing I told her is this: "If you believe that you are not good at something but want to be, do more of it." Read books, hire a coach, ask questions of a mentor, and practice. It's okay if you make mistakes. You'll learn more by taking a few risks and learning what works and what doesn't work. The only way to do hard things is to do hard things. The only way to get better at doing hard things is to do more hard things. And as you do hard things and you find successes, even if they're small ones at first. As you push yourself, you'll expand your competency zone, gain more confidence and lose that baggage.
49 minutes | May 4, 2021
Lean into Your Passions and Be a Brand That Gives Back w/ Mike Arzt
Guest: Mike Arzt is the founder of The Public Works and has been a force of the winter sports industry for over nineteen years, helping shape an industry close to his heart. Mike grew up snowboarding the mountains of Vermont, where he decided to take his passion for the mountains, the snow and the sport and turn it into a career. Today, thanks to many years at some of the top names in the industry, Mike has an in-depth business knowledge of branding, development, athletes, and imagery that helped form The Public Works. Not to mention several passport stamps in search of the world's best snow. The Public Works is a full-service project management firm with expertise from industrial design, engineering, and fabrication, through creative and marketing deliverables. The power of strong relationships built on integrity and soul and shared passion for brand stimulation makes The Public Works one of a kind. Their Colorado facility, which is solar-powered, heated from downed beetle-kill wood, and utilizes biodiesel made from used fryer oil to power their fleet, is a fully equipped fabrication/manufacturing shop and photography studio. Mike is a big supporter of the First Descents, an inspiring and highly recognized leader in outdoor experiential programming. Through outdoor adventures, skills development, and local adventure communities, FD improves the long-term survivorship of young adults impacted by cancer and other severe health conditions. Their participants experience free outdoor adventure programs that empower them to climb, paddle, and surf beyond their diagnosis, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. Episode in a Tweet: Be a leader who lives audaciously, gives back and builds a brand that makes an impact. And never stop searching for deep snow on steep mountains. Quick Background: I met Mike at a First Descents fundraiser ski trip in Silverton, Colorado. We flew in a helicopter, searching for fresh powder, steep lines, and a bit of adrenaline. Inspired by Mike's love of snow, perspective on the outdoor industry, and his laid-back leadership style, I invited him to join me on Reflect Forward to talk about his passions: photography, snow, the First Descents, and being a leader worth following. Mike shares what he's learned working from some of the world's biggest outdoor brands such as Burton, Airwalk, and Helly Hanson and why there is nothing more freeing than ripping on a snowboard in some of the world's most remote mountains. Mike tells about his inspiring involvement with First Descents and how it changed his life forever. We talk about why brands need to take a stand, support a cause, and make an impact. Mike is a very cool cat, and I can't wait for our next ski trip…British Columbia 2022! You can find Mike on Linkedin and at The Public Works.
15 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Advice From a CEO: Six Ways to Be a Better Manager
Welcome to my first solo episode in my new Reflect Forward Series: Advice From a CEO. Beginning this week, I am going to a new format where one week, I will be posting my interviews with exceptional leaders. Then in the other weeks, I will be answering questions and talking about leadership…solo! This week, I discuss soliciting feedback from your direct reports and six ways to be a better manager. I recently had a conversation with an amazing woman trying to figure out how to be a better CEO. We talked about all kinds of interesting things, the most relevant being feedback and the importance of soliciting feedback from your direct reports and creating a safe place for them to do so. I shared our process at StoneAge, which includes managers get formal, direct feedback from each of their direct reports as part of our quarterly performance conversations. I share a story about feedback that I recently received from one of my direct reports via this formal process that was insightful, helpful, and valid. It's easy to be in your own head and assume that what's in your head is in everybody else's, and that's just not true. This feedback was a great reminder. Listen in to hear the story! Management Many attributes and qualities can be assigned to good managers, such as being a decent listener, accountable, organized, motivating, honest, and having a positive outlook on life. While these are all important, they are the minimum requirements of good management. So what makes a manager GREAT? 1. Connect Through Regular One-on-One Meetings The best way to build strong relationships is to have regular one-on-one meetings with each team member. Most people want to share certain aspects of their lives and appreciate when their boss takes the time to get to know them better, especially when it comes to personal and career aspirations. 2. Right Seat on the Bus It's not enough to have talent on your team; your employees must be in the right seat on the bus to do fantastic work. Great managers recognize their employees will be at their best when their talents and strengths align with their roles. It will result in happier, more productive, and engaged team members who enjoy their work. 3. Continuous Improvement There are many ways to make an organization better, and great managers are committed to continually improving. They understand that the intentional pursuit of honing processes, teamwork, goal-setting, cultural issues, communication, collaboration, and quality and content of work product will reduce obstacles that frustrate employees and make the organization stronger. 4. Good Decision-Making Leaders who make good decisions and empower their teams to do the same are highly regarded in most organizations. Good decision-making builds trust and credibility and creates success. Improve your decision-making skills by slowing down, listening more, and considering all possibilities. 5. Rally Teams Around the Bigger Picture by Tying it to the Daily Picture A job is just a job (aka a paycheck) when you can't see how it's tied to the bigger picture. Great managers understand that most of us want to be part of something greater than ourselves and tap into that motivation by ensuring every employee understands and cares about the company strategy and vision for the future. 6. Radically Candid I saved the most important for last; if you must pick just one of these points to work on, improving how you give feedback should be at the top of the list. Great managers are always candid and address performance issues directly and timely. Mastering these six points will not only help you become a better manager but, more importantly, will help you develop good employees into great ones. And that's the legacy all rock star managers should want to leave behind.
51 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
How Business Leaders Can Help Fix Our Broken Political and Economic Systems w/ Prof. Rawi Abdelal
Rawi Abdelal is a Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management at the Harvard School of Business. He's also the director of HBS's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, faculty co-chair of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, and the faculty chair of the HBS/YPO President's program, which is where I met him. During his 20 years on the HBS faculty, Professor Abdelal has served in many leadership roles and has twice earned the Greenhill award for service to the Harvard Business School. Professor Abdelal is an expert on globalization, geopolitics, and political economy. Widely published, he has written about the global financial system, international politics, the influence of multinational firms on world politics, and the transformation of energy markets. He is currently at work on two projects. One project, The Fragile State of the World, explores the interrelated challenges that undermined the first era of globalization and that threaten to destroy the current age of global capitalism. The second project, The Profits of Power, explores the geopolitics of energy in Europe and Eurasia. Episode in a Tweet: As global political and economic systems break down, business leaders can step up and help fix the problems that plague us by focusing on income inequality, creating dignity at work, and looking at education differently. Quick Background: I met Rawi when I attended the HBS/YPO president's program a few years ago, and I was struck by his speaking style, intellect, and knowledge of geopolitical systems. I love politics, some might say I am a bit of a politics junkie, so his lectures resonated with me. In December 2020, I invited Rawi to join me for a YPO fireside chat about the outcome and ramifications of the Joe Biden presidency. It was a fascinating conversation, and afterward, I asked him if he would come on Reflect Forward and he agreed. In this episode, Rawi and I talk about the state of global politics, why we have seen populist movements, and why politicians are unable to stimulate change. We also talk about how business leaders can make an impact by doing something about income equality, creating inclusive workplaces where people keep their dignity, and revamping our views on education by promoting trade school and alternatives to college degrees. Rawi also gives us insight into himself, sharing stories of deep shyness and how he has overcome his fear of public speaking. This is an in-depth and insightful interview and I feel fortunate to have spent this hour picking Rawi's brain and getting to know him better. You can find Rawi on LinkedIn or on the HBS website. Question of the Episode: Are you on Clubhouse yet? My Answer: I am signed up, but I haven't used it much; I plan to put on a Clubhouse event sometime this summer. Curious about Clubhouse? It is a social networking app that allows people to gather in chat rooms to discuss various topics. You can't see each other; it's just an audio platform where a moderator oversees the discussions and interviews.
49 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
How to Build Meaningful Relationships in Business and Life w/ Susan McPherson
Guest: Susan McPherson is a serial connector, seasoned communicator, and founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy firm focused on the intersection of brands and social impact. She is the author of The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Relationships. Susan has almost three decades of experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications, speaking regularly at industry conferences and contributing to the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Forbes. She has appeared on NPR, CNN, USA Today, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. Susan is a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and has received numerous accolades for her voice on social media platforms from Fortune Magazine, Fast Company, and Elle Magazine. She resides in Brooklyn. Quick Background: Even before the pandemic gripped the world, we had become a society engulfed in loneliness. People have hundreds of “friends and connections” on social media platforms, yet meaningful connection remains elusive. At a time when we are more physically distant than ever before—how can we reverse the growing trends of disconnection to forge meaningful relationships in business and in life? In this episode, I interview Susan McPherson about her “Ask, Gather, Do” method of connecting with others and her newly released book: “The Lost Art of Connecting: The Gather, Ask, Do Method for Building Meaningful Business Relationships.” Susan shares her philosophy on why building meaningful connections can be as simple as going back to basics such as being kind, reaching out to others, and smiling. My favorite part of the interview is when she explains how relationships are like constellations and have a ripple effect on people you don’t even know. We also talk about why being helpful is such a powerful way to connect with others and why it’s essential to understand yourself and your “Chief Differentiating Factor when building connections and why you should reach out to your connections during the pandemic. Susan is a beautiful person, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. Her book is timely and simply fabulous. Visit Susan’s website here. Get her book on Amazon here. Connect with Susan on LinkedIn here. Question of the Episode: “I am questioning where I am professionally and personally and struggling to figure out where exactly I where I want to be and what I want to be. I know that I can be a strong leader, but I don’t feel like I can do it in my current organization. I am not sure if it’s appropriate for me to be reaching out to you on LinkedIn, but I could use some advice on taking the next step in my career.” My Answer: First, absolutely yes! Reach out and ask these types of questions to people on LinkedIn. The purpose of LinkedIn is to build professional connections and to engage with people who inspire you. You never know what door will open and what advice you will get when you reach out, so don’t be afraid to do it. Second, career wellbeing is so important, and if you feel that you are in a dead-end job, I encourage you to look for one that is a good fit.
55 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
EP 12: How the Rise and Fall of a Career Led to Service and Impact w/ Paul Rees
Paul Rees is now the Director of Professional Services at Financial Force, the leading provider of ERP and Services Automation solutions on the Salesforce platform, based in San Francisco. Before this role, he was the co-founder of VFP Consulting, a fast-growing Salesforce and FinancialForce professional services firm based in Sacramento, California. Putting his business's growth in front of his family and personal health, Paul was forced to look at his excessive drinking and absentee life when he had a debilitating breakdown due to burnout. In the end, he made the difficult choice to leave his company and focus on his health and rebuilding his family. Paul has a fascinating story. Being deeply introverted and shy, he learned how to cope with chronic childhood illnesses and always being the new kid by creating personas through acting and music. When Paul started his career, he was miserable, always feeling exhausted at the end of the day because his job played to his weaknesses rather than his strengths. After learning more about himself through the Myer-Briggs and the StrengthsFinder assessments, his career took off, and he eventually started his own company, VFP Consulting. Quickly growing in the first few years, the desire to make the firm more successful consumed Paul. And he completely crashed and burned. Excessive drinking and complete burnout caused him to reevaluate his life, and he chose his marriage and his life over his business. I believe Paul's story will resonate with most of us. Why? Because so many of us focus on growing our careers and businesses at the expense of personal health and wellbeing. We don't fully appreciate our families and the health of our relationships. We sacrifice what matters most but don't always see it that way. When Paul broke down, he had to choose between his family and health, and his business. He walked away from the company he built to find balance and happiness again. Now, he isn't looking to advance his career. In fact, it's his mission not to. He doesn't want to be a CEO; instead, his mission is to stay healthy, balanced, and positively impact every person he interacts with. He finds daily satisfaction asking himself, "how can I make this person's experience better in some way?" and then acting in service of others. Paul is a profoundly brilliant and articulate person, and during this interview, you will gain so many insights and be inspired. I adore him, and I'm pleased to have gotten to reconnect with him during this interview. You can find Paul on LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulrees/ Question of the Episode: "I am a CEO and am looking at building my brand, and I'm not sure how to get started. Is it worth doing myself, or should I hire someone?" My Answer: YES! I think every CEO, leader, and professional should be using social media, particularly LinkedIn, to build a personal brand. People want to connect with you and get to know you. Social media is an excellent way to share your unique ideas and thoughts. I have not hired someone to do my social media, as I am the best person to convey my thoughts, ideas, and messages in my voice. Maybe someday I will hire it out, but creating my own content is rewarding and allows me to show up as my authentic self. If you have started putting out content that you craft (don't just share other people's content), today is the day to get started.
62 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
Why the Best Leaders are Catalysts for Change w/ Steve Burrows
Steve Burrows CBE is an experienced executive and a professional engineer. He has worked on some of the world’s most high-profile buildings and structures, such as Allianz Arena in Munich, the City of Manchester Stadium, the Beijing Olympics’ Birds Nest stadium (now called the National Stadium), and the Apple Campus. But he is not your typical engineer. His curiosity about the ancient past and how we should approach the future make him one of the most interesting people I’ve interviewed. He is a host on the show Time Scanners and produced the critically acclaimed and award-winning iMax movie Dream Big: Engineering Our World. He now owns a firm actively developing and advising developers of technology to disrupt the construction industry. And finally, I would be remiss if I left out that Steve was made a Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in 2009. Steve and I discuss how to build deep and meaningful connections with others, why developing a team is critical to success, and why leaders need to be catalysts for change. After listening to this podcast, you’ll love Steve as much as I do! And finally, my “listener asked” question is about the essential attributes a leader needs to be successful. I share my thoughts on why curiosity is fundamental to success. Why? Curious people desire to understand how the world works beyond what they experience, so they naturally ask more questions. This opens doors, giving them an advantage over those who are less curious. Asking good questions positions them to learn how to do a job better, faster, and creatively, leading to new assignments, promotions, and raises. Listen to learn more about my tips on how to expand your world and be more curious. Here’s how you can find Steve: https://dreambigfilm.com/ https://www.natgeotv.com/int/time-scanners https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-burrows-cbe-pe-ceng-fice-fasce-mistructe-leed-ap-7b49954/
49 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Disrupt Your Negative Thoughts and Overcome Your Destructive Core Beliefs w/ Jamie Gorrono
Jamie Gorrono is a Women’s Empowerment Coach and a bluntly put, an awesome human being. Through her coaching, she supports women going through life transitions who may feel unworthy, fearful, or lacking connection with themselves and others. Overcoming debilitating anxiety and depression herself, she has developed a unique ability to help others address their pain through the identification of Destructive Core Beliefs and change negative thought patterns. During her “Empowerment Experience”, her clients reinvent the direction of their lives and take charge of their happiness and self-fulfillment. Jamie and host Kerry Siggins talk about how to look at Destructive Core Beliefs, overcome fear, and change negative thoughts into positive ones to set your life in a new direction. This is a fun and engaging interview that all listeners will learn from, not just women!
53 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
The Potency of Blending Mindfulness Traditions and Startup Grit w/ Yosh Eisbart
Yosh Eisbart is a serial entrepreneur and a mindfulness practitioner. His most recent startup, Fulfilld, is and end-to-end intelligent warehouse management platform. In his 20+ years of leading, mentoring, and serving startup ventures, Yosh has come to learn the potency of blending Mindfulness Traditions and Startup Grit. He regularly authors and posts “The Startup Sutras” to capture and share the key lessons he’s learned over the years in an effort to help others avoid making the same mistakes he did, while hopefully being entertained. Yosh and host Kerry Siggins discuss the allure of startups, the value of being more mindful, and how to be a better leader.
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