Personal Leadership Development

The Skills You Need to Lead in Business Today with Nathan Kracklauer

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Traditional MBA programs boast valuable curricula, accreditation, and networking - but at what cost? Kevin is joined by Nathan Kracklauer, the co-creator of the disruptive 12-week MBA program. They discuss the promises and pitfalls of conventional MBA degrees. Nathan provides an insider's perspective on the core skills every modern leader needs to cultivate - a blend of the numbers and the people. Further, he shares the often-overlooked key to effective decision-making: alignment trumps agreement.

Meet Nathan

Nathan's Story: Nathan Kracklauer is the co-author of The 12-Week MBA: Learn the Skills You Need to Lead in Business Today with Bjorn Billhardt. He leads Abilitie’s research and development efforts as Chief Research Officer. He joined Billhardt’s first start-up company, Enspire Learning, in 2002 and was the principal author of courses for organizations such as Harvard Business School and the World Bank. Nathan has facilitated leadership seminars at major global corporations and at executive education programs at IMD Business School, London Business School, and the MIT Sloan School of Management. Nathan holds a BA in Liberal Arts Honors and a BS in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Born in Falls Church, VA, Nathan now lives in Karlsruhe, Germany, with his wife and two daughters.

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The Long-Distance Team. Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

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10 Truths for Winning in the People Age with Ilya Bonic
Personal Leadership Development, Professional Development

10 Truths for Winning in the People Age with Ilya Bonic

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There was the industrial age, the digital age, and now the “people age”. Ilay Bonic says the “people age” is characterized by the recognition that work cannot be done without people, and organizations must prioritize their workforce to succeed. The pandemic accelerated workforce trends and Kevin and Ilya explore topics such as the importance of empathy in leadership, the role of HR in the “people age”, and the amplification of intelligence through AI. Ilya shares stories and insights that highlight the need for organizations to adapt and embrace new ways of working to stay competitive in the evolving business landscape.

Listen For

00:00 Introduction
01:37 Guest Introduction: Ilya Bonic
06:01 Talent Retention Challenges
09:21 The 'People Age' Concept
15:00 Importance of Work-Life Balance
18:24 Empathy in Leadership
22:35 Skills as Work Currency
26:39 AI in Workforce Development
31:42 Personal Insights from Ilya Bonic
35:46 Closing Remarks

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00:00:08:05 - 00:00:32:02
Kevin Eikenberry
The world is different, the workplace is different. So it holds that work must be different. Yet as we all work and live through these differences, we need to see a bigger picture to help us get better results. Today we're talking about truths and principles that will help us see that bigger picture step back and they will help us work different and win bigger.

00:00:32:04 - 00:00:52:07
Kevin Eikenberry
Welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Leadership podcast, where we are helping leaders grow personally and professionally to lead more effectively and make a bigger difference for their teams, organizations and the world. If you're listening to this podcast, you could join us in the future for live episodes and get the information sooner. We'd love to have you do that.

00:00:52:12 - 00:01:12:15
Kevin Eikenberry
And if you want to know when they're happening and where to join us, you can go to our Facebook and join our Facebook or LinkedIn groups. And here's how you can find those. You can just go to remarkable podcast dot com slash Facebook or remarkable podcast dot com slash LinkedIn to get in on all the fun and join us live in the future.

00:01:12:15 - 00:01:37:14
Kevin Eikenberry
Hope you'll do that. Today's episode is brought to you by our remarkable masterclasses pick from 13 important life and leadership skills to help you become more effective, productive and confident while overcoming some of the leader's toughest challenges. Learn more and sign up at Remarkable Masterclass dot com. And with that, I'm going to bring in our guest if I can get my screens moved around here.

00:01:37:16 - 00:02:12:18
Kevin Eikenberry
His name is Ilya Banach. He is our guest. Let me introduce him and then we will dive in. Ilya Bionic is an Aussie native who is based in New York. He brings a global executives view to his work as Mercer's head of strategy. He worked with the leadership team to secure Mercer's business continuity response to the pandemic. He is similarly focused on Mercer's business evolution as we adopt various generative A.I. tools to augment our own workforce, enhance our business competitiveness, and continue to make an ever increasing positive impact for clients.

00:02:12:20 - 00:02:29:22
Kevin Eikenberry
He told me a few minutes ago he's been at Mercer for 30 excuse me, 26 years, and he is the coauthor with two of his colleagues of the new book Work Differently. Ten Truths for Winning the People Age. Welcome. I'm glad you're here.

00:02:30:00 - 00:02:37:20
Ilya Bonic
Thank you, Kevin. What a fabulous introduction and what I like most about it was how you said Aussie. Well.

00:02:37:22 - 00:02:40:02
Kevin Eikenberry
I don't know if I Did I say it right? I don't know.

00:02:40:04 - 00:02:41:19
Ilya Bonic
I would say all.

00:02:41:21 - 00:02:50:12
Kevin Eikenberry
you see? There you go. We're already off on a bad start yelling at me if you're on the.

00:02:50:14 - 00:02:51:04
Ilya Bonic
With.

00:02:51:06 - 00:03:12:01
Kevin Eikenberry
The good so that we've I've shared the bio. Right. We sort of generally know that you've been at Mercer a long time working in the organization, work with clients, and yet that's really only part of the story. And so as I know that, you know, because you've listened to other episodes, I often ask this question like, tell us about your journey.

00:03:12:06 - 00:03:26:14
Kevin Eikenberry
And I guess really what I'm saying is sort of how do you end up doing this kind of work? Because when you were ten, you weren't thinking you'd be doing this. You didn't know this kind of work even existed. Right. So like, how do you sort of end up where you're at?

00:03:26:16 - 00:03:54:07
Ilya Bonic
I had ten I didn't know. I did not know what to do. This my my dad was a steel fabricator. He ran his own business. And we never really misbehaved as a as a teenager, he used to take me to work with him and have me clean steel just to discourage me from from following his footsteps. I studied psychology in university or college, as he called it here, and I wanted to do drug and alcohol counseling.

00:03:54:09 - 00:04:16:04
Ilya Bonic
I did an internship, then quickly worked out. It was super interesting work. But why are the same people coming back week after week after week and they don't seem to be any better? And so very quickly, I worked out I like this work. I could see the impact that I'm I could have, but I think I'd be burnt out after a couple of years of not seeing as much progress that I like.

00:04:16:06 - 00:04:47:06
Ilya Bonic
So I shifted my study to organizational psych and then moved into a career there in a space that was in Australia. We see remuneration, consulting. Yep. I didn't even know how to pronounce the word. I walked out to my first interview and I said, I'm here for the renumeration consultants interview. Anyway, I got there, joined the small business, became a partner very quickly.

00:04:47:08 - 00:05:03:05
Ilya Bonic
I have a kind of creative bias to my work. That business is acquired by both the members, has given me terrific opportunities to work in Australia, in Asia, in Europe, and now here and here in the US. It's just been an incredible ride. Awesome. Yeah.

00:05:03:06 - 00:05:15:00
Kevin Eikenberry
Glad that you're here. And the book is called Work Different, so I thought we'd start there. What do you mean by work? Different?

00:05:15:02 - 00:05:43:02
Ilya Bonic
Yeah, I could say a typical boring response to that and say something like would have works changed forever. People issues are more complicated. Businesses can't succeed without people. And that's all. That's all true. Yeah, but what took us down the path of of writing this book was the experience we had with our clients, but also with this consultants running around own business.

00:05:43:04 - 00:06:01:10
Ilya Bonic
I'm one of the executives at Mercer and the same kind of people pressures that everyone has experienced over the last few years. I mean, I've been dealing with on a day to day basis, but maybe I'll just share a story to give you an insight into some of the things that we've been seeing and the starts of an airport.

00:06:01:11 - 00:06:04:20
Ilya Bonic
And have you ever been delayed at an airport?

00:06:04:22 - 00:06:09:17
Kevin Eikenberry
Well, if you've flown more than three times in your life, you have been delayed. Yes, I have been delayed.

00:06:09:19 - 00:06:15:06
Ilya Bonic
If you ever overheard a conversation that you shouldn't have when you're waiting at an airport.

00:06:15:08 - 00:06:19:11
Kevin Eikenberry
I'm sure that I have I'm not thinking of anything in the moment. But yes, I'm confident that I have.

00:06:19:13 - 00:06:45:06
Ilya Bonic
So he's his runway. Kyle and I, my colleagues who write the book or to the airport, taking a flight together, flight's delayed. And we're here, which had to be a very senior executive, super frustrated on the phone to one of their one of their colleagues. And the conversation goes something like this right here they are because we could hear it, but we couldn't help but listen, because it's in our space.

00:06:45:09 - 00:07:11:07
Ilya Bonic
It's like so it was just this frustration, like we're losing all of this talent. It's like we bring the best people into our business. We train them up. That's what attracts people to our business. That's what they like. But then two or three years later, they offer to our biggest competitors. And at this stage, at this stage, the executive names these companies as well.

00:07:11:07 - 00:07:32:12
Ilya Bonic
Again, a little too loudly. They go into it in a bit more detail. They go kind of get it. It's like we bring them in on this with this promise of training and development on this client base salary. But the benefits are terrible or average. We don't give them any incentive pay, we don't give them any long term incentive.

00:07:32:14 - 00:07:56:00
Ilya Bonic
We got rid of the retirement plans years ago. There's nothing really to keep them. So 2 to 3 years in, we've got some of the best talent in the industry. We've trained them and they leap and they go into bigger jobs, higher paid with all of the things that that we see. And the thing that really caught our attention was like they said, I don't blame them for leaving.

00:07:56:02 - 00:08:14:02
Ilya Bonic
I totally get it. What really frustrates me is the people that don't go, the people that stay behind, either they're not confident enough to pursue that other opportunity or they're not good enough to get that other opportunity right.

00:08:14:07 - 00:08:16:12
Kevin Eikenberry
The market's not not saying they're ready.

00:08:16:13 - 00:08:38:14
Ilya Bonic
Right. Snap. So how are we going to win if we don't have the best talent in the business and right. That was I know this has always been an issue, but in that period from 2022 to now, it's just been been magnified. And the way organizations look at this, the way employees look at this, the mindset, the way competitors look at it, it's all changed.

00:08:38:16 - 00:08:39:22
Kevin Eikenberry
It's all that.

00:08:39:22 - 00:08:57:01
Ilya Bonic
Kind of scenario that's prompted this kind of looking for these issues in a bit more detail and start to think about work must have changed. It has changed. Here are some different ways that we can think about work as we go forward to be able to make better decisions.

00:08:57:02 - 00:09:20:22
Kevin Eikenberry
You know, in my work, much like yours, and also in doing this podcast, I clearly read a lot. And and so, you know, most of us would say, well, we've lived through or in our history, there is the industrial age, and most have said, well then we had the information age. Yeah, and in the last year I've read a whole bunch of people with different next ages, right?

00:09:21:03 - 00:09:50:01
Kevin Eikenberry
I've heard the wisdom age, I've heard the context age. You guys call it the people age. And I want to talk about that in a second. But the reason that I preface it with all of that is that it's all about the same point that you've just made is that there is so much too much tumult and there's so much going on and there's so much uncertainty and there's so much complexity that we're all trying to to lift our eyes up enough to say, well, yeah, it's really changed.

00:09:50:01 - 00:10:01:13
Kevin Eikenberry
And it's not just the individual things that have changed, but the whole paradigm has changed. You guys call it the people age. Why the people age?

00:10:01:15 - 00:10:27:20
Ilya Bonic
We call it the people age because I think we discovered through COVID in particular that work just can't get done without the people. Be it before we went digital, we went digital and we couldn't come to the office. We had to rely on our people to do the work without missing a lot of guidance. In fact, I think the guidance was often coming from the people to the to the managers in.

00:10:27:20 - 00:10:30:08
Kevin Eikenberry
The best organizations. It definitely was.

00:10:30:10 - 00:10:47:19
Ilya Bonic
And then now with the emergence of I mean, you could argue and say, hey, this is the age of air, but it's not going to work. It's not going to have an impact unless the people are making decisions using that technology and applying it for productive ends to get whatever outcomes required. And so that's why we're calling it the people ages.

00:10:47:19 - 00:11:09:15
Ilya Bonic
I think there's been a greater realization that the heart of success in business is the people. And also if we are going to be successful through our people, we need to get the balance right because their expectations of what they want from work, what they want for their careers, that's changed as well.

00:11:09:17 - 00:11:32:18
Kevin Eikenberry
It's changed because they've seen a picture of possible cases and their deal and they're dealing and struggling with all of this change as well. On a personal and individual level as well as in as an organizational and and career level. So you mentioned I will get there, I think, probably before we're done a little bit. But the book is really organized around these what you call the ten truths.

00:11:32:18 - 00:12:01:04
Kevin Eikenberry
And I don't want us to just sort of list off the ten person everybody. You need to go by the book. Then you can get all ten. So we're going to I'm going to pick a couple. We're going to talk about a couple of them along the way. But before we do that, I want to say one more thing about this idea of the people that everything that you just said is sort of profoundly true, and yet all of those things that you just said about the people, except perhaps the last thing about expectations has always been true, Right?

00:12:01:08 - 00:12:11:18
Kevin Eikenberry
So why are we or why is it so important that we finally actually act on those profound truths?

00:12:11:20 - 00:12:35:10
Ilya Bonic
Yeah, You know, before coming on, I mentioned to you that I downloaded listen to some of your books, right? And the one year right before COVID was about being a long distance manager. And in your 2023 book about leading teams, I think you made a comment along the lines of COVID didn't make this happen. It just accelerated things.

00:12:35:12 - 00:12:37:07
Kevin Eikenberry
You guys said the same thing in your book.

00:12:37:11 - 00:13:05:20
Ilya Bonic
I think we're on the same page here is like these truths, I guess they're always there. They're just magnified through clothing and they become so much more important now. And to your other point is like once you've seen the other side, there's this there's no going back. So there's no choice but to deal with. I mean, take like, like the conversation that seems to be going on forever is flexible working and return to office.

00:13:05:22 - 00:13:24:03
Ilya Bonic
I mean, there's no five day week anymore. And if we've compromised on 2 to 3 days, that's still a lot different than we were before. And we cannot go back. And in fact, there were so many organizations, and I think the banks in particular during, you know, just after like, yes, we're going to get everyone back. Yes, we're going to do this.

00:13:24:05 - 00:13:44:23
Ilya Bonic
But they'd always backtrack because whenever the employees or people are, we call them contributors in this book have more power or more say, you couldn't do what the talent didn't really want to do. You had to follow this discipline, the laws of supply and demand. You can't go against the grain that way.

00:13:45:04 - 00:14:14:23
Kevin Eikenberry
Well, you said something that we've been talking about internally, and Wayne, my coauthor in The Long Distance Leader and the long distance team and long as a teammate, all those have been talking about and that word that uses compromise that I think that many organizations, leaders and contributors all feel like they're compromising. And so we're we may end up at something in a year or two that doesn't look that different from where many organizations are now.

00:14:15:01 - 00:14:27:12
Kevin Eikenberry
But hopefully it's going to feel different because as long as everybody feels like they're compromising, there's not there's going to continue to be this unrest. I want to react to that thoughts and comments about that.

00:14:27:14 - 00:14:35:04
Ilya Bonic
Maybe with my business leader hat on is compromise does not lead to outstanding performance. Right?

00:14:35:08 - 00:14:37:18
Kevin Eikenberry
Right. But isn't that how a lot of people can be.

00:14:37:19 - 00:15:00:07
Ilya Bonic
Trusted leads the ordinary. And so there's another thing about the book is like, yes, there's these ten truths. I'm glad we're not going through each of them, because the way I like to think of it is have it as a reference to your side and you come across on the issue. You just flick through. Is there a chapter that might inform something different or if you've got an issue, for example, like that airport scene that we shared, use it to diagnose the issue in a different way.

00:15:00:09 - 00:15:23:02
Ilya Bonic
And then and then maybe, maybe, maybe respond and then it's the same thing with this is compromise. All right, work with it. Understand the issue. But at some stage, an organization needs to make a decision around the direction it's going to go, the values it's going to have, what its strategy is going to be. And the government just needs to be more informed to make the right to make the right decision.

00:15:23:02 - 00:15:45:17
Kevin Eikenberry
But I'm probably it needs to be more holistic. Yeah, many have. You know, we said early and during and post-pandemic, we said stop writing policy and start doing pilots or try and stuff, right? Pilot. Not pilot, not policy. And I think that many organizations really still need to be thinking that way. And if they will, they'll be doing some of the things that you're talking about in this book.

00:15:45:17 - 00:16:05:08
Kevin Eikenberry
There's nothing that you said earlier you were talking about as as as contributors. And again, one of the truths everybody and Julia mentioned, it is this idea of we're not employees, we're contributors now and thinking about it differently. But as contributors have seen a different way of working and have seen even a different way of are there leaders leading that?

00:16:05:08 - 00:16:21:22
Kevin Eikenberry
It's hard to go back. And I think one of those areas, it's actually one of the truths about empathy, the idea that I believe that one of the good things that came from the pandemic is that many, many leaders figured out that they needed to lean into empathy, and many did.

00:16:22:00 - 00:16:22:23
Ilya Bonic
Yes, right.

00:16:23:01 - 00:16:45:08
Kevin Eikenberry
The challenge now is it's not like a switch we should be flipping off, but rather a skill set and a habit set and a mindset that we continue. You want to comment? I mean, I really wasn't planning for us to talk about that truth, but since you showed up, you want to say anything I like? I don't have a lower third to put up about empathy and accountability.

00:16:45:12 - 00:16:48:16
Kevin Eikenberry
But do you want to say anything about that is right.

00:16:48:17 - 00:17:15:15
Ilya Bonic
If we if we went into the the the COVID crisis as employees, you know, the moment the world stopped turning, we went digital to continue work. Leadership lost control of the business. Right. How do you control a remote workforce that you've never had remote before? Some have worked and it didn't work because we had brilliant leaders are still the same leaders going into that crisis as the one before.

00:17:15:17 - 00:17:58:03
Ilya Bonic
But I get work because there was a common purpose, which was essentially for all of us to survive. And behind that common purpose, I think the majority, the links in to work in a different, more constructive way than before would create a tolerance for error and to be able to work out new ways of operating, new ways of working ways that hadn't been hadn't been done before, and that the whole situation demanded more empathy on all sides.

00:17:58:03 - 00:18:23:20
Ilya Bonic
And of course, it helps that it's a health crisis, not necessarily an economic crisis, but the people just by nature of focus and I'm interested in how others are gave that opportunity for this characteristic to come to the fore. I don't think it's ever been more valuable. It doesn't also it doesn't look good on the leadership development consultant, but it doesn't come naturally to all leaders as well.

00:18:23:21 - 00:18:24:15
Ilya Bonic
And it's full.

00:18:24:17 - 00:18:49:01
Kevin Eikenberry
And that's why everyone is here listening to us, right? I mean, we are you and I are talking, whether it's live or later, to people who care about this enough to invest their time to listen. Right. So, yeah, yeah, that's for sure. One of the truths that I think I want you to talk about again from the perspective of we might always have said, Well, skills matter.

00:18:49:03 - 00:19:03:09
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah. So one of the truths is skills are the real currency of work. So I guess what I'll say is like, how is this different now than it used to be? Like, Tell us what this means. Put the put the put the the lens of the future on this point for us.

00:19:03:11 - 00:19:29:15
Ilya Bonic
So let me share 2 to 2 stories. First, to set the scene and then we can. The first one is in the book, we talk about the time when pretty much everyone was out of work or you had a lot of furloughs and you had this situation or dichotomy in the economy, right? One where there are organizations struggling to find talent to do the work.

00:19:29:15 - 00:20:00:16
Ilya Bonic
And I'd be like, stop shell stock bottle shops, the liquor, whatever. And then you had a bunch of other employers hospitality and transport and just had no work at all. Somehow your colleagues in the executive suite across different competitors and in particular found a way to cooperate and start to move talent en masse from areas of low demand in economy to high demand.

00:20:00:18 - 00:20:30:22
Ilya Bonic
We would not necessarily move the workers from Marriott overnight to work at Walmart, but we did in this time of need and I think it started to open up people's eyes as to what the possibilities of what the transferability of skills and knowledge actually were. An example for Mercer is a professional services firm, particularly in the line of business that I'm responsible for, for that first three or four months of COVID.

00:20:31:03 - 00:20:34:14
Ilya Bonic
Yeah, business tanked. I can't think of one.

00:20:34:14 - 00:20:40:11
Kevin Eikenberry
I guess that's about the best word to use. I know exactly how you feel.

00:20:40:13 - 00:21:01:14
Ilya Bonic
But another part of our business is focused on health. And so we had other parts of our business that actually had high demand in this situation. So picture like one one third of nurse with very little to do and two thirds of nursing with a lot to do in Canada. I remember this example because it speaks to me both.

00:21:01:19 - 00:21:28:15
Ilya Bonic
I'm happy about it and sad about it. In Canada, our investment business, which was helping, helps pension funds manage to get the returns for their employees for the long run. Because of the volatility in the markets, more work than we knew what to do with. Instead of hiring from the outside, we transferred people from my business, the career business, the human capital consulting business into our investment business.

00:21:28:17 - 00:21:59:21
Ilya Bonic
It never would have been done before, right? It's been considered no, exactly. An investment. Colleagues could could not believe how talented and how capable these people from another line of business were. And these people from the other line of business had never thought about it. Career investments before. I was super excited and when demand picked back up and you've seen this as well, it's like we had this shallow, we had this deep, deep.

00:21:59:21 - 00:22:35:01
Ilya Bonic
But then demand for our services have never been so they didn't want to come back. Yeah, so we had to hide from the outside while our investment business was all good. And so I think the so it's a it's a, it's a, it's a long way to start to answer this question. But one of the things about combing in crisis is opened up our eyes as to how much we had existing bias and stereotypes about people skills and what kind of work they could do as we move forward.

00:22:35:01 - 00:23:15:08
Ilya Bonic
And another thing that happening in kind of it is you saw unemployment dropped to record low levels, greatest level of job vacancies in US history, and not for one month or two, but literally for two years. So there's not enough people to do the work. And so organization and so not only that, but the cost of buying talent into an organization also skyrocketed to see even if you could find the talent, you couldn't actually afford to get the talent, which means that you need to turn internally to your build strategy and at the same time and so probably carrying on, maybe moving too fast, you got an emergence of a bunch of technologies that allow

00:23:15:08 - 00:23:45:14
Ilya Bonic
you to artificial intelligence to identify or approximate someone's skills and capability profile based on experience. You can do the same with jobs, so you can start to get more granular with the well, think about jobs and all of a sudden you have a possibility to unlock or remove the friction in career movement. When you start to think about skills and you can get much greater outcomes and productivity and high levels of satisfaction among employees by increasing mobility.

00:23:45:16 - 00:23:51:20
Ilya Bonic
Even you think with a skills lens or what will say a skills based globalization.

00:23:51:22 - 00:24:25:15
Kevin Eikenberry
So you hinted at and I want to go there just for a second, the that the last truth that I want us to talk about is one that gets into the idea of I you just hinted at it. I mentioned it in your in in the opening. And the truth in the book is intelligence is being amplified. And I'm confident, having read the book and I'm talking with Ilya Bartok, one of the coauthors of work Different Ten Truths for Winning the People Age In the People Age, I'm confident you and I can have a long conversation longer than this podcast.

00:24:25:17 - 00:24:41:19
Kevin Eikenberry
Just about. Yeah, I that's not really my point here, but I do want you to share this idea of intelligence being amplified to help people get past some of the worry excuse me, in anxiety.

00:24:41:21 - 00:25:08:20
Ilya Bonic
Yeah. Yeah. So you can see that there's a play on AI there. So intelligence and amplified. We have a view as many as the many others is that the combination of human plus the generative AI or the artificial intelligence that will come in the past will lead to a better outcome than either is seen as stand alone. So this is this is what we talk about in the book.

00:25:08:23 - 00:25:17:22
Ilya Bonic
We also talk about the fact that some will view I as a friend, others as a foe. If you just.

00:25:17:22 - 00:25:39:05
Kevin Eikenberry
Like everybody, I'd say just like people have viewed every big technological change. Yeah, we could go back and say that not just about the ones in our lifetime. We could say that about television. We could say that about railroads. Like we could keep going back and saying, Is it friend or is it foe? There is fear and there's opportunity.

00:25:39:11 - 00:25:41:11
Kevin Eikenberry
You're seeing it again in real time.

00:25:41:13 - 00:26:16:20
Ilya Bonic
Yeah. Yeah. And so here's one of the one of the reasons that I like doing what I do. I think there's never been as important a time for leaders, for the organization to step up and be proactive in addressing both the opportunity and the challenges that will come with AI, I think with our own employees is we need and encourage everyone to use AI every day, because if we fall behind in use of this technology, someone else is going to get it get ahead.

00:26:16:20 - 00:26:25:23
Ilya Bonic
The skills that I need for my career to be sustainable in the future, they're going to fade and I'm going to be left behind.

00:26:26:01 - 00:26:28:03
Kevin Eikenberry
That is a combination of irritations.

00:26:28:04 - 00:26:28:17
Ilya Bonic
Quite a.

00:26:28:17 - 00:26:37:08
Kevin Eikenberry
Mystery. Exactly the conversation yesterday, I think, you know. So please go ahead.

00:26:37:10 - 00:26:39:10
Ilya Bonic
You go.

00:26:39:12 - 00:27:13:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Now, you hinted at H.R. and you talk about this in the book. And I'm curious sort of what you see. You know, the role of H.R. was different and elevated for most during the pandemic, but now we are post-pandemic. And so what do you see as so if if you've written a book about the people age, if you're positing that we're we're living in and working at a people age, then how do you see the role of H.R. or as senior leaders or executives that might be listening or h.r.

00:27:13:16 - 00:27:21:13
Kevin Eikenberry
Professionals that might be listening? What advice do you have for that for them as they think about the role of H.R. now and in the future?

00:27:21:15 - 00:27:45:23
Ilya Bonic
You know, and I would say that it's really important to keep a focus on ensuring that the skills of the workforce are going to keep pace with developments in work so that we can do our best to keep the careers of our colleagues sustainable. There's not enough people to do the work today. That alone will be required in the future.

00:27:45:23 - 00:28:04:12
Ilya Bonic
So that's an important responsibility. The other is I think it's really important to have a business lens on everything you do, and that means balance. So one of the things about the book is it's easy to go through and say, Hey, these truths, yes, they might be obvious. It's a nice way to talk about them. And is the thesis that if you follow all the truth, he'll be in a good place?

00:28:04:14 - 00:28:41:00
Ilya Bonic
Not necessarily because it needs to be a business lens. We also talk about the sustainability, right? You can't deliver on the people agenda and opportunity and delivering on the business outcomes. So you can't deliver on the business outcomes unless you're delivering on the people place. And for me personally, if I was in the organization, I would dive deep into AI and do anything I could to ensure that my organization and my people are getting access to not only the best tools, but also that I'm building a culture of AI.

00:28:41:02 - 00:29:10:10
Ilya Bonic
And by that I mean on one hand you've got access to tools, but the tools won't give anything unless they're being used. So how do I maximize the adoption of the tools that I make available to colleagues? The theory is that there'll be a 5 to 20% increase in productivity for anyone who's using generative AI. And then there's a whole, you know, leapfrogging you can do if you want to be disruptive in your application of AI.

00:29:10:12 - 00:29:43:12
Ilya Bonic
But think about that 5 to 20%. If my workforce falls behind and doesn't use those tools, my organization becomes 5 to 20% less competitive. Yep, I very quickly start to decline relative to the competitors who are moving in this direction. And they will. So there's no time to be to be wasted. So I would just really, really encourage to jump on the AI agenda and get proactive to ensure that our workforce is sustainable for the future.

00:29:43:14 - 00:30:03:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah, I love that. And I think the only thing that I would add to that is it's we have to get people have access to tools and using tools, encourage use of tools and all of that. And then I think we have to help them think about it more than just, I can do it to do this thing today, but help them think about that leap.

00:30:03:18 - 00:30:19:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Maybe not the full Libra leapfrog of a strategic in the organization, but like starting to think about, okay, like, how could I? How could we really fundamental shift the work in a way that serves the business and me as an individual as well?

00:30:19:20 - 00:30:46:16
Ilya Bonic
Right? Right. And there's a cultural shift for organizations. What we found is when employees talk about AI and and their views on it, actually the majority are open to using the technology. They're not so scared. But one common question is, if I use this and increase productivity, who gets the productivity gain? What happens with that extra time? And I think what we should be doing is just sharing the gain.

00:30:46:18 - 00:31:01:17
Ilya Bonic
Part of it goes to the organization. Part of it should go back into a reinvestment in skills development or creating the time for people to be curious, to experiment, to do more than they could before. And we'll all end up in a better spot right?

00:31:01:19 - 00:31:28:01
Kevin Eikenberry
That is absolutely. I think we're where part of the Leapfrog becomes is if if if I as an individual have now figured out how to do my work 10% faster, if you think about it that way, then it's like, how do we think about how do we now maximize results, not just not just systematize and and and, and speed up the execution of but how do we start to maximize augment is that word that you guys used earlier.

00:31:28:01 - 00:31:42:01
Kevin Eikenberry
So we need to move on. And I've got a couple more things I like to always ask our guests. I'm going to shift gears on you and I'm going to ask you what you do for fun. What do you do for fun?

00:31:42:03 - 00:32:05:14
Ilya Bonic
What I do for fun. I like to play tennis. I'm struggling a little because I have sciatica from all the travel I've been doing this year. And I have I'm married. I have a daughter who's 20, son who's 16, going on 17. So I like to hang out with them as much as I can. They are both away from from home.

00:32:05:16 - 00:32:12:10
Ilya Bonic
It's Christmas. They've come home. So I'm looking forward to spending good time with good time with family.

00:32:12:12 - 00:32:27:08
Kevin Eikenberry
I am right with you on that. And so I don't have to ask you the tennis or pickleball question. You're in the tennis camp, correct? Yeah. Okay. So what is it? And you knew I was going to ask you this. Like, what are you reading?

00:32:27:10 - 00:32:56:18
Ilya Bonic
Yeah. So there's two books. One leads to the other and your theme of have I or intelligence amplified prompts this. I'm reading a book called I Human by Thomas Tomorrow premiers. It's and Kevin just like you. He wrote this book before he was exposed to the world in November. You wrote your book about long distance management before. Perfect timing.

00:32:56:18 - 00:33:22:06
Ilya Bonic
No, he's a psychology is to the take. He looks at everything through a psychological lens. So the thesis of the book is that I has the potential to change lives, even for the better or the worse. It's got the potential to amplify the worst parts of humans, you know, like selfishness, distraction, massive season predictability, impatience and the like.

00:33:22:08 - 00:33:43:19
Ilya Bonic
But then there's the other side of me curiosity, adaptability, empathy, humility that we need to to balance. And that reflects my interest in A.I. as much as they are for the purpose of building business and careers and the like. How do you get it right? It's a super complicated one. And that took me to another book. So it is this name I human.

00:33:43:19 - 00:34:16:19
Ilya Bonic
It sounds familiar. iRobot Isaac Asimov written in the 1950s I downloaded to listen to. It's an incredible book. First Asimov book I've ever read. It's got incredible insights about man and machine and the complications that go with it, and so many lessons to be learned as we go into. I guess this next iteration of work in the next iteration of life with artificial intelligence being a key component of it.

00:34:16:20 - 00:34:46:08
Kevin Eikenberry
You know, I love that I have not read it, but I bet I will now. And here's why. Because I think that so often people want to find it. And both of us as authors love it when people want to find the newest book. And oftentimes, if we go back 30 years, 40 years, 50 or 60 years, we will get insights that are every bit that will still ring true and may help us see things in a way that we haven't thought of or in the moment we're not seeing or able to see.

00:34:46:08 - 00:35:05:08
Kevin Eikenberry
Even the even the wisest authors of today might not quite see. So I love that I Human and iRobot are the books. We'll have those in the show notes for you. Everybody, here's the question that you most want me to ask, however, though, is where can people learn more about what you're doing? Where can they find you? Where can they get the book?

00:35:05:08 - 00:35:14:03
Kevin Eikenberry
I'll hold it up while you talk about it again. Work Different entries for winning in the People age. Where do you want to point people? What do they need to know?

00:35:14:04 - 00:35:19:21
Ilya Bonic
Wherever you buy your favorite business books and the Satcom.

00:35:19:23 - 00:35:46:01
Kevin Eikenberry
And Mercer dot com, that's for sure. So I appreciate that. Before we go, everybody, I have a question for all of you. It's the question of application. And so we spent the last 30 plus minutes talking some ideas about work differently, about the people age, about how we need to adapt and adjust as leaders and as organizations to be more effective.

00:35:46:03 - 00:36:05:03
Kevin Eikenberry
And so the real the only real question that matters here is now what what will you do as a result of what you've learned? Whatever items that you took from this, And rather than sharing what mine are and I've got notes that I wrote as we were chatting, the question is, what are you going to do with what you learned?

00:36:05:08 - 00:36:25:08
Kevin Eikenberry
There's something that you heard that leads you to a next step. If you just let that go past, like when this podcast ends, then you won't have gotten nearly as much from this. Then if you decide now to take that action, I hope that you will do that. Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. It was such a pleasure to have you.

00:36:25:09 - 00:36:32:02
Kevin Eikenberry
I enjoyed the book. Please tell Kate and Kai that I appreciate their work as well. And thanks so much for being here.

00:36:32:04 - 00:36:33:15
Ilya Bonic
I will.

00:36:33:17 - 00:36:55:03
Kevin Eikenberry
And so everybody, if you are here for the first time, welcome, you need to come back. And if you've been here before, you already know that back means next week. So wherever you're listening or consuming this podcast, podcast, hope that you will like it and share it and all those things. You know what to do. And then you'll be back next week for another episode of the Remarkable Leadership Podcast.

00:36:55:04 - 00:36:55:20
Kevin Eikenberry
We'll see you then.

Meet Ilya

Ilya's Story: Ilya Bonicis the co-author of Work Different: 10 Truths for Winning in the People Age with Kate Bravery and Kai Anderson. He is an Aussie native who’s based in New York. As Mercer’s Head of Strategy, he worked with the leadership team to secure Mercer’s business continuity response to the pandemic. He is similarly focused on Mercer’s business evolution as we adopt various generative AI tools to augment our own workforce, enhance our business competitiveness and continue to make an ever-increasing positive impact for clients.

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The Long-Distance Team. Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

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How Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others with Stephen MR Covey
Personal Leadership Development

How Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others with Stephen MR Covey

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You have probably heard of the “command and control” style of leadership. Stephen M.R. Covey joins Kevin to discuss the alternative – “trust and inspire”. Stephen says we underestimate the importance of trust by at least a factor of 10 if not 100 and highlights the high cost of low trust. Covey outlines five mindset shifts that form a more accurate and complete leadership paradigm (people have greatness in them, people are whole people, there is enough for everyone, leadership is stewardship, and influence is created from the inside out). He also touches on the evolving nature of work and the multitude of choices available to individuals.

Listen For

00:00 Introduction
02:35 Covey's Journey and Focus on Trust
08:08 Command and Control vs. Trust and Inspire
12:34 Five Fundamental Beliefs of Leadership
17:53 Shifting Leadership Paradigms
24:41 Personal Anecdotes and Application of Principles
29:44 Closing

View Full Transcript

00:00:08:10 - 00:00:38:12
Kevin Eikenberry
Few people would say that they want to be led by a command and control leader. Yet we see them everywhere and some say they don't want to be one. But the question is what is my option? Today, we will give you language and ideas for that other option. With the help of a multi-time bestselling author, welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Leadership Podcast, where we are helping leaders grow personally and professionally to lead more effectively make a bigger difference for their teams, organizations and the world.

00:00:38:14 - 00:01:01:14
Kevin Eikenberry
If you are listening to this podcast, you could be with us live for future episodes like I am right now. And you can do that by joining us on your favorite social channel. And the way to do that is to get connected with one of our groups so that you can find all that out. You can do that on our Facebook group or our LinkedIn group, although you don't have to only watch in those locations.

00:01:01:19 - 00:01:25:23
Kevin Eikenberry
You can learn more by joining those groups at either remarkable podcast dot com slash Facebook or remarkable podcast dot com slash LinkedIn. Hope you will do those things. Today's episode is brought to you by our remarkable master classes pick from 13 important life and leadership skills to help you become more effective, productive and confident while overcoming some of the leader's toughest challenges.

00:01:26:00 - 00:01:47:07
Kevin Eikenberry
Learn more and sign up at Remarkable Masterclass dot com. Our guest today is Steven m r Covey. I'm going to bring him in then let me introduce him. I see some comments have come in. I'll get those up in a second. Let me introduce him to you. He's probably one of the people that's here that you've heard of before.

00:01:47:11 - 00:02:11:00
Kevin Eikenberry
He maybe he doesn't need any introduction. I'm going to give you one anyway. Stephen Moore is the New York Times, Best New York Times and Wall Street Journal, best selling author of The Speed of Trust, a phenomenal book which has been translated into 26 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. He's also the author of another bestseller, Trust and Inspire How to Excuse Me, How truly Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others.

00:02:11:02 - 00:02:35:16
Kevin Eikenberry
And that's what we're talking about today. He brings to his writings the perspective of a practitioner as he is a former president and CEO, CEO of the Covey Leadership Center, where he increase shareholder value 67 times and grew the company to become the largest leadership development firm in the world. A Harvard MBA he co-founded and currently leads Franklin Covey Global Speed of trust Practice.

00:02:35:18 - 00:03:08:02
Kevin Eikenberry
He serves on numerous boards, including the Government Leadership Advisory Council, and he's been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for top thought leaders and trust from trust across America, trust around the world. And I'm going to tell you right now that if you're watching the podcast, excuse me, listen to podcast and you respond to me by the end of February 2024, you have a chance to win this copy of this new book, hardcover copy, not the one that I worked from, but one that I'm going to send to someone the way you get entered.

00:03:08:02 - 00:03:26:21
Kevin Eikenberry
And you can do that, whether you're watching this live now or listening to podcast is to send me a note on LinkedIn and say, Kevin Enemy in the drawing for a copy of Trust and Inspire. I hope you'll do that. Going to my LinkedIn, you see my name, that's how you find me on LinkedIn. Go ahead and do that.

00:03:26:21 - 00:03:32:03
Kevin Eikenberry
So without any further ado, Stephen, welcome.

00:03:32:05 - 00:03:41:17
Stephen MR Covey
Hey, thank you so much, Kevin. I'm really excited to be with you and with all of our guest today who had this conversation. So thank you for inviting me to be part of this.

00:03:41:21 - 00:04:09:15
Kevin Eikenberry
All right. We've got Boston and New Hampshire and Texas and who knows who else. Let's see what else we got here. This topic couldn't come at a better time. That's a good that's a good way to lead us in that. Daniel, thank you for for reading my notes. So, Stephen, before we get I want to talk about why this book, but before we get there, just really quickly, we all know knew who your dad was.

00:04:09:17 - 00:04:20:05
Kevin Eikenberry
That's that's a part of your life. I know. But tell us a little bit about your journey, how you end up doing this work, and specifically how your work ends up being focused around trust.

00:04:20:07 - 00:04:50:07
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, Great. Great. Well, thank you. Yes. Well, so I am the son of Dr. Stephen Covey, who wrote the Seven Habits. And I'll just let me just say this, if I could, upfront about about my father, because a lot of people have read that book and been influenced by the book or by him. And what I would say this, it's as good as my father was in in public, as a speaker, as an author, and he was very good.

00:04:50:09 - 00:04:51:22
Kevin Eikenberry
He was very good as.

00:04:51:22 - 00:05:11:18
Stephen MR Covey
Good as he was in public. He was even better in private, as it has been to my mother as a father, to his kids. He was the real deal. He was who you thought he was. And that's maybe the kindest and most accurate tribute I can give to him. Is that as good as he was in public, he was even better in private.

00:05:11:20 - 00:05:37:16
Stephen MR Covey
And so I feel very blessed and grateful to have been raised by him and by my mother. And so that's part of my journey is is having having mentors like that. And what a blessing that was for me. And so my my path took me. How I ended up getting into trust is that, you know, I became the CEO of the Cavendish Ship Center and we went all around the world.

00:05:37:18 - 00:06:05:06
Stephen MR Covey
Then we did a merger with our arch competitor at the time, at the time, Franklin Quest to form Franklin Covey. And these were great people with, you know, coming from both both companies, great values and everything. But we've been competitors. And so we were kind of had different views of the world. And now we're together and there's little trust, not so much that we done things to each other, but we just saw the world differently.

00:06:05:06 - 00:06:31:07
Stephen MR Covey
We'd been competing for years, sat there was low trust, and I saw how with this low trust, everything slowed down, Everything cost more. Everything got kind of got interpreted and politicized and the like. And suddenly we were not as creative and in as collaborative, we became internally focused and I began to see firsthand and witness the high cost of low trust.

00:06:31:09 - 00:06:52:21
Stephen MR Covey
And the value of the merger was not going to achieve what it was capable of achieving. If that stayed that way. So we began began to become intentional and deliberate about saying, you know what, We can't just assume trust. We have to work on building it explicitly, intentionally, on purpose with each other. And we began to do that.

00:06:52:22 - 00:07:25:23
Stephen MR Covey
And when we when we began to behave away and a greater trust, the trust did in fact, grow. And once we increased the trust and suddenly our collaboration went up dramatically, our creativity, our innovation, we could move fast. We were far more valuable added value adding to clients and customers. Everything changed, and I kind of came away from that whole experience just with some observations as having witnessed kind of the high cost of low trust and the great returns and and benefits that dividends of high trust.

00:07:26:01 - 00:07:46:12
Stephen MR Covey
And I came away saying, you know, trust matters and we all know that. But I think we're underestimating how much it matters by a factor of ten, maybe by a factor of a hundred. Trust matters. Trust is learnable. You can move the needle on trust. You can build it intentionally. And there's nothing more high leverage that we can do today.

00:07:46:14 - 00:08:08:03
Stephen MR Covey
And I looked around and I felt like most of the stuff on trust was either too soft, you know? You know, you know, like trust everyone or too academic and not practical and tangible enough. And suddenly I felt like, this is what I want to say. I found my voice because I was a little reluctant to follow in my father's footsteps.

00:08:08:05 - 00:08:11:22
Kevin Eikenberry
That just says, Put your father's name, for heaven's sakes.

00:08:12:02 - 00:08:37:16
Stephen MR Covey
That got his name. And, you know, no matter what I write, it's not going to be the seven habits. It's just the reality. And and so I was a little reluctant. But once I found my voice around trust that this is a big idea that we can get so much better at, Then suddenly the fear dissipated and I felt emboldened and really inspired to proceed down that path.

00:08:37:16 - 00:09:04:22
Stephen MR Covey
So I wrote the speed of trust, which is really reflecting these learnings and insights and then Smart trust and now this new book, Trust and Inspire, which is a leadership book. So that's kind of my journey. And it came about from my own crucible of being in the middle of this merger and experiencing firsthand the high cost of low trust, but then turning around and seeing the great return of high trust and saying, Well, what if we could get really good at this on purpose?

00:09:05:04 - 00:09:06:05
Stephen MR Covey
That was the idea.

00:09:06:07 - 00:09:36:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And in and I love that. And, you know, when I introduced you, I said, you come at your writing from the perspective of a practitioner, which is exactly what you just said again. And I think that's why speed one of the reasons why Speed of Trust resonated so well and why I believe this new book also a best seller, Trust and Inspire, is so valuable, is because it comes at it from a very practical perspective, although it does help us lift our eyes to see something that perhaps we aren't thinking about or thinking about in the best way.

00:09:36:02 - 00:09:59:17
Kevin Eikenberry
I opened by using this phrase command and control. And it's one of the pieces of this book, right? Like we've been leading by some version of command and control, at least not everyone, but societally by this model for a very long time. And so let's start there before we offer the alternative by saying, What do you mean when you say that?

00:09:59:17 - 00:10:02:18
Kevin Eikenberry
I don't make sure we're all on the same page before we go on.

00:10:02:20 - 00:10:29:16
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, it's just kind of the more traditional style of leadership, the more top down hierarchical kind of what we've grown up with. And and I'm just kind of putting it in those three words, command and control to capture it. But I'm acknowledging that we've made a lot of progress within that command and control paradigm. And, you know, there was the authoritarian command and control kind of flown out of the industrial age.

00:10:29:16 - 00:10:58:07
Stephen MR Covey
That's the real focus on efficiency and and scientific management and all these things. And that was helpful in its time. But there was not enough focus on people. So it began to be focused more on people and added things like emotional intelligence and strengths and mission and trustworthiness. And that was all really good. And the problem is for for most, we didn't shift the paradigm, the mindset of how we view people, how we view leadership.

00:10:58:09 - 00:11:04:16
Stephen MR Covey
So it just became a more enlightened command and control, which is a far better version of it, right?

00:11:04:22 - 00:11:27:17
Kevin Eikenberry
For sure. But part of what you're suggesting here, and I think the first piece of big value is to give us the alternative, like more than just sort of and you use this idea in the book of a continuum, like instead of just sort of moving in a direction which is what you've just described, you're saying if command and control is on this end, we've got to describe what's on the other end.

00:11:27:17 - 00:11:39:02
Kevin Eikenberry
So the title sort of gives it away. But what's the alternative then? The true alternative, not just the incremental improvement, What's the true alternative to command and control?

00:11:39:04 - 00:12:08:05
Stephen MR Covey
It's trust and inspire. Again, three words and trying to drive parallel command and control, trust and inspire. And that starts from the premise of a partnership and in is moving into the whole realm of inspiration as opposed to motivation. You know, command and control tends to be motivation, external, extrinsic, So heavy carrot and stick motivation rewards, nothing wrong with it, just incomplete and just insufficient.

00:12:08:07 - 00:12:34:04
Stephen MR Covey
Whereas inspirations, internal, intrinsic, it's inside of people. We're trying to light the fire within. And that fire once that we can burn on for months, if not years, without the need for constant external stimuli. So yes, I believe that the future of leadership is moving from some form of command and control, even the enlightened version of it, depression Inspire, which I believe is different in kind, not just different in degree.

00:12:34:06 - 00:12:59:06
Stephen MR Covey
You know, you move within the paradigm of command and control, and enlightened is different in degree. Much better version, but we need to kind of cross the chasm, if you will, take the leap in a sense, different and contrasting is fire, which really views people as whole, people with greatness inside of them. And our job as a leader is not to try to control them, to unleash them and see the potential in their talent and so forth.

00:12:59:11 - 00:13:24:02
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah, I love that idea, the idea of unleashing potential, which we can't unleash potential if we don't if we don't see it and people can't unleash it if they don't see it. And so I was going to go there later, but you just sort of led us there. So underneath of this alternative of trust and inspire are some beliefs.

00:13:24:04 - 00:13:48:04
Kevin Eikenberry
And and I and you hinted at a couple of them and I'm going to I'm going to give you the chance to just sort of lay them out. I'll put it across the screen and then then we'll talk about them a little bit. So here we go. The five beliefs that you think are needed, or we could call them at least one called mindsets that we need in order to really make this shift.

00:13:48:06 - 00:13:49:20
Kevin Eikenberry
Right. So what are they?

00:13:49:22 - 00:14:15:12
Stephen MR Covey
Starts and starts with this mindset, these beliefs. Collectively, this comprises a paradigm, and a paradigm came from the Greek right that paradigmatic which means a mental map or model. So it's trying to be a map that describes the territory. But you could have an inaccurate map. Think of the early cartographers and their maps of the world. You know, they kind of got parts of it, but it's incomplete, inaccurate map.

00:14:15:14 - 00:14:37:16
Stephen MR Covey
So we've often operated with an incomplete or inaccurate map of people and of leadership. These five fundamental beliefs collectively comprise a more complete, more accurate map of both people and a leadership. So here's what they are. First, I believe that people have greatness inside of them. I know this is one of the things that you talk about right, About Kevin.

00:14:37:18 - 00:14:47:07
Stephen MR Covey
The people have greatness inside of them. So if I buy that belief, my job as a leader is to unleash their potential, not to control them.

00:14:47:09 - 00:14:53:23
Kevin Eikenberry
Right. And if I believe that I don't need to command them, I can trust.

00:14:54:01 - 00:15:22:23
Stephen MR Covey
I can trust them because they have greatness inside them. I'm trying to I try to I start by trying to see the greatness because, like it was Emerson who said no, Thoreau is not what you look at. That matters. It's what you see. You see the greatness of people and and such that you can then communicate the greatness to them so that they come to see it in themselves and develop it genuinely.

00:15:23:01 - 00:15:24:16
Stephen MR Covey
And you can trust them.

00:15:24:18 - 00:15:46:23
Kevin Eikenberry
The alternative is if we don't see it, we won't. We will lead people toward it. Right? And if we don't see it, then then the whole idea of trust and inspire rings hollow. Because how can we trust them if we don't see the greatness in them? So the second of the five is I love that, by the way.

00:15:47:00 - 00:16:17:06
Stephen MR Covey
Yes, wonderful. I believe that people are whole people, meaning body, heart, mind, spirit. So if I buy that belief, then my job as a leader is to inspire, not merely motivate. Now, look at people. We're just economic beings only, you know, just the body. Then motivation would be sufficient. You know, just pay him. That's enough. But in addition to a body.

00:16:17:08 - 00:16:37:22
Stephen MR Covey
So they want to be paid. That's inappropriate. You need to do it. But they also have a heart. So they want to connect and to care and to belong. They have a mind. So they want to grow and develop and and improve. And they have a spirit. So they want to contribute and make a difference and matter and have significance.

00:16:38:00 - 00:17:02:23
Stephen MR Covey
So inspiring can take you to a whole different place beyond mere motivating. Only because they're whole people and they bring their whole steps to work. So that's how I view people as whole, people with greatness inside of them. So that's a more complete and expansive view, and I believe accurate view of people, then a more limited view that says, hey, maybe a few people have greatness inside of them.

00:17:02:23 - 00:17:19:08
Stephen MR Covey
They're called high potentials, but nobody else has, you know, or very few do. So I got to control everybody else. And, you know, and, you know, and others might say, you know what, at the end of the day, people are just economic being. So just pay. It's all about pay. No, that's a factor.

00:17:19:10 - 00:17:23:19
Kevin Eikenberry
But it's not the whole it's not the whole it's not the whole matter.

00:17:23:21 - 00:17:53:13
Stephen MR Covey
Right. Exactly. So that's a more complete view of people hope people with greatness inside of them. Everyone believes the next three or how I view leadership. So number three, I believe that there is enough for everyone that's in a abundance mentality as opposed to a scarcity mentality. So if I buy that belief, then my job as a leader is to elevate caring above competing.

00:17:53:15 - 00:18:34:17
Stephen MR Covey
Yes, let's compete in the marketplace, but let us care and collaborate in the workplace. But oftentimes, rather than abundance, people are scripted with scarcity. They have to compete with each other inside the workforce itself, and it flows out of a scarcity mindset. So I think, yes, scarcity might be good economic theory, but I believe that scarcity is lousy leadership theory because I think there's an abundance of everything that is good that we're seeking, of respect, of empathy, of compassion, of commitment, of creativity, of innovation, of trust, of inspiration.

00:18:34:19 - 00:19:02:12
Kevin Eikenberry
If you take all of that list of things you just said, we would all agree that the more caring there is, the more caring there will be and the more trust there is, the more trust there will be. And the more innovation there is, the more innovation there will be. So like by definition, we know this if we stop and really think about it, but if we look at the world like someone's going to win and someone's going to lose, like on the football field, much as we might enjoy watching that, or in my case, basketball.

00:19:02:14 - 00:19:14:19
Kevin Eikenberry
The reality is it isn't. That isn't the way the world is if we see the world in this way. So the second of the three beliefs about leadership is what.

00:19:14:21 - 00:19:55:00
Stephen MR Covey
I believe that leadership is stewardship, meaning is about responsibility, not rights, influence, not position. So if I buy that belief, then my job as a leader is to put service above self-interest. And here's the irony, Kevin, in the process of doing so. Self-interest is usually served, but it put service above self-interest. Why? Because I'm a steward, and I believe that this idea that we are stewards as leaders and that leadership is about stewardship, responsible, that's implicit, inherent with being a leader as opposed to rights that come with being a leader.

00:19:55:02 - 00:20:30:18
Stephen MR Covey
So I see myself as a steward and have a stewardship for those that I am serving. And then finally, the fifth one, I believe that enduring influence is created from the inside out. So if I buy that belief, then my job as a leader is to go first. Someone needs to go first. Leaders go first. So if they want more respect, they're the first to demonstrate and show the respect They want more openness, more transparency, more vulnerable, more vulnerable.

00:20:30:20 - 00:20:40:06
Stephen MR Covey
Vulnerability are the first to be open, transparent and vulnerable. They go first. They want more trust. They're the first to give trust.

00:20:40:08 - 00:20:45:14
Kevin Eikenberry
If they want the group. If they want the organization to be more positive, they've got to go. We could go right on down.

00:20:45:16 - 00:21:04:22
Stephen MR Covey
Go on. They go first. There. They work inside out, meaning they always look in the mirror. They start with themselves versus outsider in which is pointing the finger. As soon as they change, he changes, he changes. Then we can do this soon as a CEO is changes the board, you know, the market. Those are all factors. They're all real.

00:21:05:00 - 00:21:34:04
Stephen MR Covey
But an outside in is not how that's how we diagnose, but how we change, develop and transform is always inside out. And it's certainly true for us as leaders. So those five fundamental beliefs collectively comprise a more accurate and more complete, a more relevant and expansive paradigm of people and of leadership that tell you shift the paradigm, you're still in incremental improvement within a flawed, limited paradigm, you know, of command and control of some version of it.

00:21:34:06 - 00:21:41:16
Stephen MR Covey
But this is a more expansive paradigm of trust and inspires viewing people in a whole different in kind way. It's a sea change.

00:21:41:18 - 00:22:19:03
Kevin Eikenberry
It's a sea change. And and I really wanted to focus on the beliefs. And I'm going to ask a couple more questions here before we start to wrap up, because that the the value in this book, Trust and Inspire, starts with those beliefs. And so if you're listening or watching and and and you're nodding, if you're saying, yeah, I'm with you on that, or maybe I don't always live it, but I believe those things, then the book gives you the roadmap on what to do, but it has to start with those beliefs.

00:22:19:07 - 00:22:34:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And that's why I wanted to, to, to lead with the beliefs, because that sets the table. Ultimately, if you don't buy those beliefs that Stephen just shared, this book is going to be of limited value to. You agree?

00:22:34:02 - 00:22:35:02
Stephen MR Covey
Yes.

00:22:35:04 - 00:22:39:08
Kevin Eikenberry
And that's not what you wanted me to say. I know you're talking.

00:22:39:10 - 00:23:16:07
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, ultimately it does, saying that this is a more complete and relevant and expensive way of looking at people in the leadership. And and here's what I would say is that, you know, if I could paraphrase my friend Marshall Goldsmith, you know, what got us here won't get us there. So the kind of leadership that might have got us to where we are today might have been a version of command and control is not going to be the kind of leadership that's going to need to take us to where we need to go tomorrow with all the change and disruption going on with these younger generations.

00:23:16:09 - 00:23:43:08
Stephen MR Covey
And, you know, Gen Z and this upcoming alpha generation, which is completely different expectations with, you know, work from home hybrid, remote options that didn't exist a few years ago. With all these choices, we've got to lead in a new way. A new world of work requires a new way to lead. So we need to shift to stay relevant because the old command and control model, even the enlightened version, is becoming increasingly less and less relevant.

00:23:43:10 - 00:23:49:17
Stephen MR Covey
So hopefully that if maybe someone could buy that, then they could say, So let me take a look at these beliefs.

00:23:49:17 - 00:23:50:13
Kevin Eikenberry
Exactly.

00:23:50:15 - 00:24:11:10
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, but here's what I would say this on the beliefs. Like, you know, my guess is most of your viewers and listeners, because of the nature of this, you know, this is the Remarkable leadership podcast. So you're talking about remarkable leadership, which I think is trust inspire leadership. So the listeners are kind of attuned to this and they're hearing this from you and from your guests.

00:24:11:12 - 00:24:41:05
Stephen MR Covey
And so my guess is most people would say, I buy I buy those beliefs. But here's what happens sometimes. Sometimes our style can get in the way of our intent. So we might buy the belief that sometimes when the pressures on is very easy for us down to get in the way of our intent. You know, we've got to close the quarters, drop, the pressure's on to get the results, get the numbers, and suddenly we move into command and control because we it's our native tongue.

00:24:41:07 - 00:24:58:21
Stephen MR Covey
We know it. We're good at it. It's what we're raised in and the pressures on, we revert to it. You know, if I if I'm learning a new language and practicing the language every day, but then I take a hammer and I miss the nail and I hit my thumb, I'm going to curse out in my native tongue language.

00:24:59:02 - 00:25:01:00
Kevin Eikenberry
We're going to curse out in Korean, right? Or whatever.

00:25:01:00 - 00:25:27:08
Stephen MR Covey
That's right. That's right. Because because of the thrashes on and oftentimes our style gets in the way of our intent. And a personal note on this, I learned this from my kids later and where my style gets in the way of my intent. We go on a family vacation. You know, I got five kids. They got all these kids running around and and said, I get nervous around airports because I know everything that can go wrong and you got to be there on time.

00:25:27:08 - 00:25:44:07
Stephen MR Covey
The plane's going to leave with or without you. And so we go to the airport and here I believe in the greatness of my children, that they're capable of responsible. But you wouldn't know it to watch me in an airport because suddenly we go there and I turn into this command and control. Dad, that's just barking out orders.

00:25:44:11 - 00:26:06:17
Stephen MR Covey
No, no, no, no, no. No one's going to go eat. You're going to stay here at the gate. And you know, you can't go shopping and I'm just controlling their every move. What I learned later, Kevin, is that my kids came up with the name, their nickname for this, and they would say, Hey, everyone, Dad's got airport face, and airport face means I'm all freaked out.

00:26:06:19 - 00:26:26:04
Stephen MR Covey
I'm just barking out orders and commands everyone and here we are going on vacation and nobody is having any fun but that. You know, my style is getting in the way of my intent. My intent is I do believe in my kids, but the pressure's on and I revert to this heavy handed style. And you have a home.

00:26:26:04 - 00:26:46:09
Kevin Eikenberry
Alone moment right now. So so, you know, you hinted at this. You went back to say you answered part of the question of why is this so important now? And you talked about this. And in the book you talk about five factors. You talk and you hinted at them in the first four of them, I think pretty much everyone would say, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, right.

00:26:46:09 - 00:27:09:22
Kevin Eikenberry
The world's changing, the work's changing, the workplace is changing, the nature of the workforce is changing. But the last one of those five is the one I want you to say a little bit more about, because it, it fascinated me and it and it illuminated to me in a new way, I think something important. And you said so the the last of those sort of reasons why we have to lead differently is because of the nature.

00:27:10:01 - 00:27:17:19
Kevin Eikenberry
The nature of choice is changing. Say a little bit more about that because I don't think that's something people have thought about in this way.

00:27:17:22 - 00:27:47:21
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, well, if you think about it, with all of the advances in technology and everything else and the workplace changing, we've gone from what we might call multiple choice to infinite choice. There's just all kinds of options and possibilities, the advent of the gig economy and all these things where suddenly I can live here and work there. I have options and choices and I can do all these different things in a way I didn't have even a few years ago.

00:27:47:23 - 00:28:16:00
Stephen MR Covey
So before I might have had a number of choices. Now it's infinite for people, and so people get to choose where they want to be, who they want to work with and why, and they're going to choose to work with people where they feel trusted, where they feel inspired, and if they feel like they're just being commanded and controlled, they'll they'll go find a place where they feel trusted and where, you know, they because they have choices and options in a way they didn't have before.

00:28:16:02 - 00:28:36:02
Stephen MR Covey
I like to put it this way People don't want to be managed. People want to be led. They want to be trusted and inspired. And when they're just being managed and being commanded and controlled, they have too many choices and options today to stay there forever. That to say, you know what, I don't need this. I can go elsewhere and they will.

00:28:36:07 - 00:28:47:23
Stephen MR Covey
And we won't retain talent, especially the best talent, and we won't bring out the best in talent. We try to command and control our way. So it's got to be a new way to lead trust, inspire.

00:28:48:01 - 00:29:15:04
Kevin Eikenberry
I love that. So as we start to wrap up, I want to remind you all that you are listening to my conversation with Stephen McCubbin, the author of a number of books, including the newest Trust in Inspire, has been the focus of this conversation. If you missed it earlier, if before now, between now and the end of February 2024, you send me a LinkedIn note and say, I want a copy of the book, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of this book.

00:29:15:04 - 00:29:34:21
Kevin Eikenberry
I hope you'll do that and connect with me on LinkedIn while you're there. Stephen A couple of things before we go. I'm going to shift the you and I know like we were chatting before we went live and I suddenly realized it was time to go live like I know you and I can have very long conversation. We you go a long way, but I want to get to a couple of things that maybe you don't always get asked before we finish.

00:29:34:21 - 00:29:44:15
Kevin Eikenberry
And one of those is other than maybe not at the airport, but maybe after you leave the airport. But like, what do you do for fun?

00:29:44:17 - 00:30:09:12
Stephen MR Covey
Well, I love to go to sporting events as well as cultural events. So I love it. I'm I have a son right now, Kevin, that plays in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. So I go to a lot of pro football games, which is fun. I so I love sporting events, but I also love cultural events. I love to go to plays on Broadway in the West End in London.

00:30:09:14 - 00:30:32:12
Stephen MR Covey
And and then I love to go to concerts and so that's fun for me, kind of events, cultural events, sporting events and concerts, things like that. That's I find fun and I love to do it with my family and with my wife, with my children. I mean, I started with when I was this was clear back in 2007.

00:30:32:12 - 00:30:42:06
Stephen MR Covey
I took my young seven year old daughter to Taylor Swift in 2007. And I was I was a swifty before there were Swifties.

00:30:42:06 - 00:30:44:03
Kevin Eikenberry
Before the restrictive seven.

00:30:44:03 - 00:31:03:03
Stephen MR Covey
And so and I taking her to the three Taylor Swift concerts, you know, so now you're, you know, this huge thing going on today. And I feel like I was there before. This was so, so big and so things like that. I do I try to do it with my my children. You know, my kids are my hobbies in a sense.

00:31:03:05 - 00:31:08:20
Stephen MR Covey
And and I just love to spend time with my family. But doing activities, doing events are fun for me.

00:31:09:01 - 00:31:20:09
Kevin Eikenberry
I love that. One of the things I know we have in common is that we're both readers, and that's the only thing you knew I was going to ask you, but what are you reading, Steven, these days, or what's something you've read recently?

00:31:20:11 - 00:31:49:06
Stephen MR Covey
Yeah, well, you know, I really love some of the works of of Francis Frye and Ann Morris, and their earlier book Unleashed is terrific. They have a brand new book out called Move Fast and Fix Things. And and Francis invited me to endorse it, which I did. I really love the book. And the whole premise is bringing speed back into the equation.

00:31:49:07 - 00:32:11:01
Stephen MR Covey
It's and it's speed can get a bad name, you know, because you can move fast and break things in there. Their whole point is no novel is rethink speed, move fast and fix things. SAMILTON Eastley And that three, that resonates because my whole thing is on the speed and speed of trust. And so I really believe that that once you build this trust, you move fast.

00:32:11:03 - 00:32:18:06
Stephen MR Covey
And when you fix things as well, then you have a greater impact. So that's a great new book that's out there by and Morris and Francis Fry.

00:32:18:08 - 00:32:37:12
Kevin Eikenberry
We will have that in the show Notes has always and Daniel on LinkedIn says The Speed of Trust was workshop during his master's program at the University of Texas in Dallas. He loves the book he uses in his practice in Brazil, so that's probably a good place to take us now. Stephen, where do you want to point people?

00:32:37:17 - 00:32:46:03
Kevin Eikenberry
Where do you want to send people? How do you want to connect with people? What do you want them to know? Before we wrap up an hour for those who are watching, I'll hold the book up while you do that.

00:32:46:05 - 00:33:09:05
Stephen MR Covey
Well, thank you. I would say this that I got go to trust and inspire icon trust inspired icon, the name of the book. We have a website there with a variety of tools and things you can do and including how to connect with me via social media on an X on on Instagram and and LinkedIn and the like.

00:33:09:05 - 00:33:32:16
Stephen MR Covey
Facebook. So variety of ways you can connect that way and some different tools. And I think that again you know we hit today the fundamental beliefs, which I'm really glad that we did Kevin because it's easy to kind of skip the basic paradigm and kind of move right into the the stewardship ships and, and but those beliefs matter enormously.

00:33:32:18 - 00:34:05:22
Stephen MR Covey
And so I'll just give one little quick illustration if I could have a great example of trust in Inspire in Action of adopting beliefs like this and then doing this, the stewardship that followed that follow the stewardship of the model to trust and to inspire, which is all part of the trust inspire approach. But I think of what Satya Nadella has done at Microsoft, along with Kathleen Hogan, who is the the head of the Chief People officer, Chief human resource officer, a brilliant leader as well.

00:34:06:00 - 00:34:30:03
Stephen MR Covey
And how, you know, they came in and through a different approach of leadership and they started with a growth mindset for everyone. This idea there's greatness inside of people, growth mindset for everyone. And this idea of I've seen that and then trying to unleash it and and in their words, it was a model coach care approach, which is really modeling, trusting, inspiring.

00:34:30:05 - 00:34:58:14
Stephen MR Covey
And they and through this process, you know, at the time when Nadella came in, they the culture had become cutthroat, competitive internally. They were losing talent. They were not innovating anymore. They still were. Microsoft still big. But he came in and through his leadership style, his and and Kathleen's literally revitalized the culture. He modeled he trusted he inspired Kathleen model and inspired.

00:34:58:16 - 00:35:23:13
Stephen MR Covey
And they they began to win in the workplace, built a high trust culture that inspires. And they're throwing focus and thriving today. They began to win in the marketplace through collaboration, innovation, their cloud powerhouse completely reinvented themselves. And today they're one of only two companies in the world valued over at over $2 trillion. They've unleashed the greatness of the organization by first unleashing the greatness of their own people.

00:35:23:15 - 00:35:45:21
Stephen MR Covey
And that's the sequence matters the way that we sustain winning in the marketplace with customers and partners is because we first win in the workplace with our own people and track and inspire this kind of leadership. It starts with those beliefs. But then where you model, you trust and you inspire, that will be what unleashes the greatness. The talent is inside of people.

00:35:46:00 - 00:36:00:23
Stephen MR Covey
We need this in our world today. We need it in our not only in our organizations. We need it in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our society at large. And we can become presence by our leaders to be a model for all the world.

00:36:01:01 - 00:36:20:14
Kevin Eikenberry
You came here to learn how to unleash greatness in others. And we've talked about beliefs, we've talked about approaches, we've talked about ideas. And now I leave all of you with a question. It's the question I ask you. Every single episode of question is, Now what? Okay, now what are you going to do with what you've just learned?

00:36:20:14 - 00:36:41:23
Kevin Eikenberry
There's plenty here to think about. There's plenty of here to consider. And obviously both of us would hope that you'd buy a copy of Trust and Inspire. But beyond that, what ideas did you take from this that you will act on? Having an idea? Being inspired is wonderful. Taking action on the inspiration is what will start to make a difference.

00:36:41:23 - 00:37:04:18
Kevin Eikenberry
I hope that you will think about that and use this as more than just a useful way to spend your time on the treadmill or your drive to work, but rather to think about how how can this conversation and the outcomes that you choose change your work, change your results, change your organization. Steven, thanks so much for being here.

00:37:04:19 - 00:37:10:07
Kevin Eikenberry
It's such a pleasure to be with you. I've been looking forward to this. We finally got the chance to do it. Thank you.

00:37:10:09 - 00:37:18:11
Stephen MR Covey
You are welcome. Kevin Thank you. Love being part of this remarkable leadership podcast. And my response to that go first segment is.

00:37:18:11 - 00:37:38:15
Kevin Eikenberry
That leader focused leaders go first. And so if this is not your first time listening, what how you can go first is you can go write a write up review of this podcast. You can invite someone else to join you in listening to the one we just listen to or listen with us next week for the next episode of the Remarkable Leadership Podcast.

00:37:38:16 - 00:37:39:06
Kevin Eikenberry
Thanks, everybody.

00:37:39:12 - 00:37:39:23
Stephen MR Covey
Thanks.

Meet Stephen

Stephen's Story: Stephen M. R. Covey is The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, which has been translated into 26 languages and sold over 2 million copies worldwide and the newly released bestseller, Trust & Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others, which was named as the #1 Leadership Book of 2022 by the Outstanding Works of Literature Awards. Stephen brings to his writings the perspective of a practitioner, as he is the former President & CEO of the Covey Leadership Center, where he increased shareholder value by 67 times and grew the company to become the largest leadership development firm in the world. A Harvard MBA, Stephen co-founded and currently leads FranklinCovey’s Global Speed of Trust Practice. He serves on numerous boards, including the Government Leadership Advisory Council, and he’s been recognized with the lifetime Achievement Award for “Top Thought Leaders in Trust” from Trust Across America-Trust Around the World.

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Personal Leadership Development

The Art of Modern Leadership with Kirstin Ferguson

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How can we balance our technical expertise with emotional intelligence and empathy to lead with impact? Dr. Kirstin Ferguson joins Kevin to discuss the evolving nature of leadership. Leadership with the head involves four key attributes – curiosity, wisdom, perspective, and capability. Leading with the head is tangible, it is the things we are good at, and it is what we have been rewarded for. While these attributes are necessary, we also need to lead with the heart. Dr. Ferguson shares heart-based attributes, which include humility, self-awareness, courage, and empathy. Combining both our head and our heart makes us better leaders and sets our team up for success. She also shares insights into leading in a remote/hybrid workplace.

Listen For

00:08 Kevin Eikenberry on the evolving nature of leadership.
02:31 Discussion on Kirstin Ferguson's book about modern leadership.
03:41 Kirstin Ferguson's career journey and leadership experiences.
05:39 Evolution and concept of modern leadership.
07:01 Challenges in adapting to modern leadership expectations.
09:09 Leading with the head: curiosity, wisdom, perspective, capability.
14:34 Heart-based attributes of leadership: humility, self-awareness, courage, empathy.
18:36 Evaluation of modern leaders in contemporary settings.
23:25 Role of wisdom in leadership in the information age.
26:45 Challenges and strategies of remote leadership.

View Full Transcript

00:00:08:07 - 00:00:30:18
Kevin Eikenberry
Leadership in some ways hasn't changed ever. But context and expectations and the world in general has changed a lot. And so, you know, you know that that's why you're here and you want to get better. You want to make sense of the world. That's likely why you're here. You're listening. You're watching because you want to be a more effective leader.

00:00:30:20 - 00:00:54:23
Kevin Eikenberry
That's why this is created for you. And today, we're going to talk about the modern art or excuse me, the art of modern leadership. Welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Leadership podcast, where we are helping leaders grow personally and professionally. To lead more effectively and make a bigger difference for their teams, organizations and the world. If you're listening to this podcast, you could be with us in the future.

00:00:54:23 - 00:01:20:06
Kevin Eikenberry
Live like some people are right now. And to find out about how to do that and join a future live stream, you can join one of our social media groups which will give you all that information, give you some other inside scoops as well. You can do that on Facebook or LinkedIn to join us, Just go to remarkable podcast e-commerce, Facebook or remarkable podcast dot com slash LinkedIn.

00:01:20:08 - 00:01:40:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And if you do that, then you'll have the chance to find out when these are happening in the future and choose to join us then. Today's episode is brought to you by our remarkable Masterclasses pick from 13 important life and leadership skills to help you become a more effective, productive and confident leader while overcoming some of your toughest challenges.

00:01:40:05 - 00:02:05:01
Kevin Eikenberry
You can learn more and sign up at Remarkable Masterclass dot com and that's my cue to bring in our guest. And here she is, her smiling face. At 7:30 a.m. for her in Australia, her name is Kirstin Ferguson. Let me introduce her to you now and then we will dive in. She is a globally recognized leadership expert and one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world.

00:02:05:02 - 00:02:31:11
Kevin Eikenberry
Her career spans an impressive range of roles, from spending 15 years as a board chair and company director, including a significant appointment by the Australian Prime Minister as Acting chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Her executive experience includes being the CEO of a global consulting firm and a senior role in a corporate law firm. And she started her career as an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force.

00:02:31:13 - 00:02:53:17
Kevin Eikenberry
Kirsten, I believe you're the first person I've had on on the show who was in the Royal Australian Air Force in 2013. She was awarded as a member of the Royal Order of Australia, recognizing her significant contributions to business and gender equality. She holds a Ph.D. in leadership and culture and is an adjunct professor at the CU U t School of Business with honors degrees in law and history.

00:02:53:19 - 00:03:11:05
Kevin Eikenberry
She's smart, she's accomplished, and her latest book is Right Here Head and Heart The Art of Modern Leadership. It's been acclaimed globally and won many awards, and that's why she's here. And that's why I'm excited to have her join us. Kirsten, welcome.

00:03:11:07 - 00:03:14:09
Kirsten Ferguson
Kevin, what an introduction. Thank you so very much.

00:03:14:10 - 00:03:41:06
Kevin Eikenberry
Well, I called your mom. Listen, I'm so glad that you're here. And and obviously, when when I share a little bit about your background, it probably leaves people wondering with lots of sort of open loops in their mind about what might be true about you. I don't really want you to go back into that as much as answer this question, sort of what sort of led you to this point?

00:03:41:11 - 00:03:57:01
Kevin Eikenberry
Like, you didn't wake up when you were ten and say, I think I'm going to be a leadership expert, write books about leadership, and yet here you are. So tell us just a little bit about about what gets you to this place, a little bit about the journey from that perspective.

00:03:57:03 - 00:04:21:18
Kirsten Ferguson
That's a really interesting question. Look, at any point in my life, I don't think it would be one that my ten year old self would have thought was particularly interesting. But it's funny. I feel like I've come full circle. So you mentioned my Air Force career. I was 1917 when I went to our academy. Similar to your Air Force Academy, and I'd come straight from a private girls school, so it was quite a culture shock.

00:04:21:23 - 00:04:25:05
Kevin Eikenberry
I listen that word. A culture shock?

00:04:25:10 - 00:04:53:12
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah, exactly. But I did my first university degree there, and I end of studying history, which for anyone out there, you know, isn't the path to career glory. But it was particularly interesting and I did an honors year and a research thesis in leadership. Now, I didn't know then that I was going to be continuing to do that 30 years later, but obviously I had an interest in it from way back when.

00:04:53:14 - 00:05:15:07
Kirsten Ferguson
I think I've always been someone that says yes to opportunities, and so I've never had a linear career or even linear goals. I, you know, reinvent myself all the time based on what I'm passionate about and what I want to be doing. And as you mentioned in your intro, for more than a decade, I've been a professional company director sitting on boards.

00:05:15:08 - 00:05:24:04
Kirsten Ferguson
Then I started writing a book or two and now into my third. And I thought, okay, well, that's the next phase for me, and I'm loving it.

00:05:24:06 - 00:05:39:02
Kevin Eikenberry
So, okay, so the title of the podcast at the end of the live stream and the subtitle of the book is The Art of Modern Leadership. So we should probably start there. What do you mean? Ms.. Historian, what do you mean by modern leadership?

00:05:39:04 - 00:05:47:01
Kirsten Ferguson
Well, I can see you've got the book there, so you would have seen the first chapter. I couldn't resist a little bit of history looking at how we got definitely there.

00:05:47:02 - 00:05:48:13
Kevin Eikenberry
You've got a whole chapter on here.

00:05:48:14 - 00:06:15:10
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah, well, why it is that, you know, we've had this great man theory from the 18th century that's told us that leaders have to be all knowing. And, you know, the people at the top of the organizational chart, whereas modern leaders are around this every day. I truly believe that every single one of us is a leader, whether in our homes or in our community or in our roles, whether or not we're formal leaders and all of us have the ability to lead with our head and their heart.

00:06:15:10 - 00:06:40:00
Kirsten Ferguson
And I really believe that leadership is simply a series of moments and that every moment is an opportunity to lead a positive legacy and to lead with impact. And that doesn't matter what kind of formal position you're in. And all of us can think of leaders around us who don't have those formal titles but who leave positive influences on us every day.

00:06:40:02 - 00:07:01:11
Kevin Eikenberry
I often say leadership is a verb, not a noun. It's things that we do, not a title that we hold. You said something earlier as you with your history hat on, about sort of the great man theory of leadership. And and, and while I think that generally speaking, we have passed we've passed that chasm for pretty much everyone.

00:07:01:11 - 00:07:33:18
Kevin Eikenberry
But there's something in what you said that I think still leaders today at all levels struggle with, which is I'm supposed to have the answers. I'm supposed to know all the stuff. Like, I got promoted because I was good at it and now I feel like I don't have all the answers. And it leads to all sorts of issues and at least some counterproductive behaviors, but not necessarily with not necessarily with bad intent, but often perceived by their team with as massively bad intent.

00:07:33:20 - 00:07:34:00
Kevin Eikenberry
Right.

00:07:34:00 - 00:07:35:13
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah.

00:07:35:15 - 00:07:37:04
Kevin Eikenberry
I'm not about that at all.

00:07:37:06 - 00:08:01:22
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah. I mean, it has lifted the great man theory wall. You know, it in of itself has fortunately disappeared over the centuries. The legacy it's left is still very much with us and even if you think about the people we learn about in school, you know, the kind of leaders that we learn about, they're always the titans of industrial, the presidents or the kings and the queens of the explorers.

00:08:02:00 - 00:08:24:15
Kirsten Ferguson
You know, those individuals that stand out at the top of the tree because of their formal authority and control and command. And that's just not the kind of leader that we have around us anymore. And as you said, one of the other legacies of it is this idea that leaders are infallible, that we somehow know what we're doing.

00:08:24:15 - 00:08:30:04
Kirsten Ferguson
And every leader will tell you that is far from the case, but that any.

00:08:30:04 - 00:08:34:21
Kevin Eikenberry
Leader that has any amount of self-awareness is actually right.

00:08:34:23 - 00:08:58:18
Kirsten Ferguson
But what it leads to is, you know, this idea of needing to be the smartest person in the room and that robs the people you're leading of the opportunities to learn for themselves. It means as a leader, you're not using questions to really enhance the ability for people to make their own decisions. There's just so many things that go wrong, but it's still probably the most prevalent form of leadership we have.

00:08:58:18 - 00:09:08:22
Kirsten Ferguson
And so we've still got a lot of work to do around undoing and rethinking what it means to be a leader and rethinking how we define who our leaders are.

00:09:09:00 - 00:09:38:07
Kevin Eikenberry
And so what you've done with this book is create a simple but not simplistic way of thinking about it, head and heart. And so I want to dive into all of it a little bit. But but first of all, when you say leading with our head, we've really sort of been talking about that a little bit, but say a little bit more when what's the what's the the the good side and the dark side of.

00:09:38:12 - 00:09:39:17
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah.

00:09:39:19 - 00:10:05:08
Kirsten Ferguson
Well, first of all, I mean, it's obviously a metaphor and it is just an easy way, a simple way, as you said, of really capturing that idea because I think we all understand what that means. Leading with our heads is all the things that we're technically brilliant at. It's actually where we're most comfortable because it's tangible, measurable. You can put it in a policy, you can give a KPI on it.

00:10:05:08 - 00:10:32:12
Kirsten Ferguson
It's where we like to sit and that's what we've been rewarded for at school generally through promotions. And you know, it's just something that where we live. And you mentioned before, often leaders have been promoted on their ability to be technically brilliant or leaders in their industry, but that doesn't mean they're particularly effective leaders. And I will talk about that because that's what this ad of modern leadership is, balancing it with the heart.

00:10:32:14 - 00:10:38:09
Kirsten Ferguson
But the hits covers for attributes. And did you want me to just talk about what those are? Well.

00:10:38:11 - 00:10:43:16
Kevin Eikenberry
Shockingly, I have them to put down below you, as you say, That's the.

00:10:43:18 - 00:10:45:01
Kirsten Ferguson
Plan that Kevin.

00:10:45:05 - 00:10:53:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Had based afterwards. You were with me earlier when I was multitasking and typing them in. So, yes, that's what I was. When you were not having my full attention.

00:10:53:17 - 00:11:09:11
Kirsten Ferguson
And I know that we're going to talk about where people can go and test this for themselves. And we might have a look at yours. But just for anyone who's listening that wants to go to head heart leader dot com and then I'll explain what you can do there. But the first attribute of leaving with the head is curiosity.

00:11:09:11 - 00:11:33:03
Kirsten Ferguson
And it's not just being curious for something, it's truly being curious for anything and being willing to fill gaps in your knowledge and just accepting that you don't know everything. That's a big challenge. As we talked about before. The second is wisdom, and this is all around decision making, and that's being able to assess what's known and unknown, where risk and reward search for data and evidence.

00:11:33:04 - 00:11:38:04
Kirsten Ferguson
This is my worst thing to activate, Kevin, I can admit.

00:11:38:06 - 00:11:48:21
Kevin Eikenberry
So you go through the other two that I want to come back and ask you a question about wisdom, but to make it easier for everyone following along so far, the fact that we had based we've talked about curiosity and wisdom.

00:11:48:23 - 00:12:12:15
Kirsten Ferguson
Number three is perspective. And that's going to be the most important of the eight. And that's all about reading the room. And it's not just noticing what's going on in the room, but noticing who's missing from the room as well. And the fourth is capability. And that's all about having a growth mindset and not just being capable of whatever it is you do, but believe in your capable as well.

00:12:12:16 - 00:12:23:12
Kirsten Ferguson
And capable leaders also build our leaders behind them. You build a whole family tree of leaders. So therefore, head based, most people are pretty comfortable in this.

00:12:23:14 - 00:12:42:20
Kevin Eikenberry
But I have a couple of questions about that because even as you described them just now, there was there was an emotional component to them. Right. And we're going to get to the heart based piece in a second. But the way you described the example you gave for perspective was about reading the room, who's in the room, who's not in the room.

00:12:42:20 - 00:12:48:15
Kevin Eikenberry
So it was more than just observational action.

00:12:48:17 - 00:13:12:14
Kirsten Ferguson
Right. So in in my research, 20,000 people of 19,000 people or so, I've done it since January. Perspective relates most highly of correlates, most highly with empathy. All of these are not so binary as to be just I mean, remembering. It's a metaphor. So of course there it's a spectrum. You need everything. But we had to make a neat metaphor.

00:13:12:19 - 00:13:22:12
Kirsten Ferguson
And so that's now we've sort of divided a lot. But you're absolutely right. Curiosity and humility. The two that really balance with each other as well.

00:13:22:12 - 00:13:24:06
Kevin Eikenberry
And it to those other.

00:13:24:06 - 00:13:26:12
Kirsten Ferguson
Three, I don't want to know spoilers.

00:13:26:16 - 00:13:38:12
Kevin Eikenberry
I'm just trying to help. I'm just trying to help people who are, you know, doing listening while they're on the treadmill. Right. I have to. I recognize that now, if you're listening while you're on the treadmill or whatever else, you're multiple.

00:13:38:13 - 00:13:40:09
Kirsten Ferguson
I'm impressed. If you are.

00:13:40:11 - 00:13:58:01
Kevin Eikenberry
You should stop doing that and just listen. But then you should also just make sure you go to get a copy of Head and Heart by Kirsten Ferguson. So I've been telling myself all day, make sure I don't mispronounce your first name because I know it's been mispronounced a million times in your life with the R and with the R in the eye at the beginning being true.

00:13:58:01 - 00:14:00:03
Kirsten Ferguson
This is definitely not Christian, but it's also I.

00:14:00:03 - 00:14:02:14
Kevin Eikenberry
Know and I've been working hard.

00:14:02:16 - 00:14:14:04
Kirsten Ferguson
Americans that you I get a very different accent on my first name from you guys so we're very blunt. We just call it's just Kirsten whereas I get a kiss with an American undergraduate.

00:14:14:04 - 00:14:17:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Kirsten I'm just trying to make sure I don't try to and I.

00:14:17:17 - 00:14:20:04
Kirsten Ferguson
Haven't done that. You have not done that.

00:14:20:07 - 00:14:34:09
Kevin Eikenberry
So maybe that means that I have at least a little of this heart based stuff. So let's talk about the for heart based attributes. So thinking about the balancing out of the Yeah, of the head side. So what are these and.

00:14:34:11 - 00:14:34:15
Kirsten Ferguson
This.

00:14:34:19 - 00:14:36:22
Kevin Eikenberry
What do you mean by these? And then let's talk about the fourth. Yeah.

00:14:37:03 - 00:14:57:07
Kirsten Ferguson
And they are just as important as the head base, but they're much harder to see and feel and quantify and measure. But it's all about our emotions and how we view and are viewed by the world. The first is humility. And this means we're basically willing to seek out the views of others. We understand things are beyond our control.

00:14:57:07 - 00:15:25:03
Kirsten Ferguson
We're open, grateful for new ideas. So it's all about intellectual humility, self-awareness, which is really understanding the impact that we're having on others. Third is courage, and that's the courage to speak up for what we believe in, even in the face of pressure from others not to do so. And then finally, empathy, which is all about putting ourselves in the shoes of people with very different lived experiences to our own.

00:15:25:05 - 00:15:49:15
Kirsten Ferguson
So in a nutshell, they're the four and all eight are important. We have all eight. It's not a matter of people not having these attributes, but I do believe that when we talk about the heart based attributes, some of them haven't been encouraged to be used at work. So some people might think that empathy, for example, doesn't have a place putting together budgets and spreadsheets, and you leave that at home.

00:15:49:15 - 00:15:57:00
Kirsten Ferguson
Whereas in fact, all eight of these attributes combine to be what it means to be a modern leader.

00:15:57:02 - 00:16:30:10
Kevin Eikenberry
So I'm curious because because I've written a lot and thought about a lot about the empathy component in the time during and then since the pandemic. And so one of my observations so I want to share this and you tell me what you think and maybe what your research says about it. One of my observations is that one of the one of the many good things that came from the pandemic, of which there are many as awful as it was, and I don't know and don't anyone misunderstand what I'm saying here.

00:16:30:10 - 00:16:31:12
Kirsten Ferguson
I understand.

00:16:31:14 - 00:16:51:19
Kevin Eikenberry
But the one of the great things I think came from it is that many leaders suddenly realized that they needed to be empathetic. And I think whether they came to a cognitive realization or they just leaned into it as a human. But I think it happened. And one of the things I said was we got better at it for a while.

00:16:51:21 - 00:17:04:18
Kevin Eikenberry
Let's hope we don't lose it. So, I mean, that's sort of a societal comment or, you know, a global comment, not an individual leader comment. What are your thoughts about that? And maybe what is your research told you about that point?

00:17:04:20 - 00:17:27:10
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah, look, the pandemic was interesting because there were leaders who emerged from that you would never previously have thought were going to be brilliant in such an event. And that's because they're okay with uncertainty and they could lead with empathy. There were other leaders who clearly had relied on their position and their authority and their command and control who failed dismally and.

00:17:27:10 - 00:17:32:03
Kevin Eikenberry
Are still trying to bring people, everyone, exactly the old way. Right.

00:17:32:07 - 00:17:53:14
Kirsten Ferguson
I mean, it's sad that you need such an extreme situation for people to realize that empathy could perhaps know, play a part in being a good leader. But the reality is, yeah, there was some uncomfortable situations that leaders sort of confronted with the point that actually I have to check in on my people and check that they're okay and are they safe and well.

00:17:53:14 - 00:18:15:03
Kirsten Ferguson
Now that's what we would hope is an everyday occurrence for a modern leader and whether you're in a pandemic or not. But I do think and we spoke about I've sat on boards, I've chaired our nominations committees and remuneration committees hiring CEOs. We are certainly looking for leaders now who can do both, who can lead with the head in their heart.

00:18:15:03 - 00:18:36:02
Kirsten Ferguson
It is no longer sufficient to simply be technically or an industry leader. You must be able to lead with both your head and your heart, because otherwise every reputational crisis you ever see unfold, every scandal that emerges generally happens from leaders who can't get both right.

00:18:36:04 - 00:19:04:21
Kevin Eikenberry
So you mentioned it earlier that you have this assessment. And and I took the assessment today in preparation for our conversation, and you had a chance to look at it very briefly. And so I'm going to put it up on the screen for everyone to see. And I just got you comment on it and share and then maybe continue this conversation with mine on the screen.

00:19:04:21 - 00:19:11:10
Kevin Eikenberry
I know for all of you that are listening to this that you can't see it. I'm aware of this.

00:19:11:12 - 00:19:12:01
Kirsten Ferguson
I will.

00:19:12:06 - 00:19:31:19
Kevin Eikenberry
What Kirsten will will say a little bit about it. So here's the result. I'll let Kirsten let you talk. I'm going to put the I'm going to put the website for this up here on the bottom. And again, if you're if you're listening, it's you can take this for yourself at head heart leader dot com.

00:19:31:19 - 00:19:55:12
Kirsten Ferguson
So that's great and it's completely free. It'll take you maybe 5 minutes at most and you'll get this personalized report. Now Kevin has over excelled in every one of the eight attributes. No not at all. Surprise Kevin but what it's showing is you'll see a what do you call that? A smirk a second place I think is a name and a dark star.

00:19:55:12 - 00:20:19:16
Kirsten Ferguson
And you are the dark star and the light shading and the there are the average scores of events, thousand leaders I used with the university to create the scale. And so what we can see there is that the points of Kevin Star exceeding that shading on everything but self-awareness, you're right on the highest average on average they Kevin for self-awareness.

00:20:19:18 - 00:20:39:00
Kirsten Ferguson
But what it's showing is that if you scroll down a little bit, it'll tell us what your top eight are. And I think I saw really it your highest attribute is curiosity, which is not at all surprising when I think about the line of work that you are in. But what I'm really interested to see is perspective is number two.

00:20:39:01 - 00:21:03:22
Kirsten Ferguson
So I mentioned perspective briefly about being able to read the right in the research, which now, as I said, is tens of thousands of pieces of data that we've been able to look at. Perspective correlates the most highly with being a modern head heart leader. And that means that if you score high in perspective, you are most likely to have scored highly in everything else, which is exactly what you've done.

00:21:03:22 - 00:21:14:10
Kirsten Ferguson
Kevin And it's so important because what it shows is that you are reading the room and of course it could be a literal room, but more likely to be.

00:21:14:12 - 00:21:16:04
Kevin Eikenberry
Offered a virtual.

00:21:16:06 - 00:21:35:19
Kirsten Ferguson
You know, or it's more likely to again be a metaphor for your team or your organization or your industry, whatever it is that you're working in and you're weighing up all those signals in the environment and the context that you're leading in to make sure that you can take the best possible path. And you've seen a few steps ahead as well.

00:21:35:21 - 00:21:59:19
Kirsten Ferguson
And all of that is incredibly important for us to disseminate that information that's coming through. But as I said, you're also noticing who's missing from the room. And if you've got people in the room but they're not speaking up, you'll noticing that as well. So it's just an incredibly important skill for modern leaders to have. And I don't think it's one that's necessarily always been value.

00:21:59:21 - 00:22:21:15
Kirsten Ferguson
I think we've had leaders who've relied, as we've spoken earlier about, on their position and their authority, and you're either in the room or you're not in, you know, listen up and this is what we're doing. Yeah, that's not what a modern leader is all about. They're really trying to use those signals to adjust leadership style to be the most effective they can be.

00:22:21:19 - 00:22:28:10
Kirsten Ferguson
So it's a great report, Kevin, that anyone can go and get their own personalized report. And I'd love to hear how you go.

00:22:28:12 - 00:23:03:02
Kevin Eikenberry
Head heart leader dot com. I said earlier when we were going through them that I wanted to talk a little bit more about wisdom because I think that we've moved from an information age to a wisdom age and that while I'm not by any means am I disputing your your research? I'm not saying that at all. I do think that wisdom, though, is a really important piece, because we are we are we are inundated.

00:23:03:04 - 00:23:25:16
Kevin Eikenberry
We are deluged. You can we are diluted by all of the information available to us. And so wisdom and discernment, I think, is so very important. And so what else would you say about that One specific likely. Yeah, that would help anyone who's here think about what they might need to do differently.

00:23:25:18 - 00:23:48:15
Kirsten Ferguson
And we're not disagreeing at all. I mean, it made the top eight. I started with 54. So wisdom is definitely important. My challenge is it's my least effective. And perhaps I'll start with why I know I'm terrible at wisdom and it might resonate with others and it'll help explain why it's so important. So I'm really good at making decisions.

00:23:48:15 - 00:24:10:15
Kirsten Ferguson
I can make decisions very quickly and you know, I have no challenge around that. But about 80% work out, 20% I think. I probably should have thought that through a little bit better. Probably should have got a bit more information, a bit more data, wait up risk and reward, all of that sort of thing. And luckily they're generally never too significant.

00:24:10:15 - 00:24:49:07
Kirsten Ferguson
But I think everyone would understand what I mean about that. My husband, on the other hand, his scale he scores is number one for wisdom. So we're obviously a good partnership. But wisdom is all about assessing what's known and unknown, looking for that data and evidence and using reason and logic. And I think at the moment when we've got so much disinformation around that ability to use critical thinking and those skills to really be making the best decisions we can on information that's going to meet the needs of the situation or the context that we find ourselves in is incredibly important.

00:24:49:11 - 00:25:27:00
Kevin Eikenberry
I think that word context is so important because again, we may have a lots of logic. To me, wisdom means more Then and again, I don't think we're disagreeing. Wisdom is more than just the logic and more than just the rational. Right. And so even though it's one of the head based attributes, yeah, that the piece that is often missing is that is that you being able to decide without complete information or being able to decide in that in those moments of uncertainty and not being able to rely on a best practice because there's no such thing as a best practice for going someplace we've never been.

00:25:27:02 - 00:25:53:18
Kirsten Ferguson
And the pandemic was another fabulous example of that. We had very little information at the beginning, and yet we were having a making incredibly significant decisions in the face of no information. And I think some leaders did that very well. Other leaders really struggled really, you know, could not deal with the fact they weren't able to prepare a position paper and put all of the data and evidence together.

00:25:53:20 - 00:26:03:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah. So we've got we had a comment that came in and said the the biggest concern for any organization or community or I would say or leader should be when their most passionate people become quiet and useful.

00:26:03:15 - 00:26:18:10
Kirsten Ferguson
And that's a great comment and anyone who reads the room well will notice that. And that's why it's linked to empathy. If you're not reading the room, you don't even notice who's quiet. And that's the challenge for modern leaders.

00:26:18:12 - 00:26:45:04
Kevin Eikenberry
So we're going to talk about modern leadership. We've we've we've we've hopped around this topic a bit, but the idea of all of the people might not actually be in the actual room. And some of the people on my team, I don't see hardly ever once a year maybe. So what would you add based on your research and based on this work of head and heart leadership about doing it at a distance?

00:26:45:04 - 00:26:48:02
Kevin Eikenberry
Anything you want to specifically in the conversation.

00:26:48:04 - 00:27:12:15
Kirsten Ferguson
I spent the last sort of third of the book is all about how we lead in a remote workplace, and to me it is no different. So I, you know, it's I'm like you myself. I don't see my team face to face at all yet. We've still got a culture as a team. We're still curious. I'm still working with them on making great decisions and reading the room, even though I'm not physically seeing them.

00:27:12:16 - 00:27:34:13
Kirsten Ferguson
I think the heart vice attributes of having humility and self-awareness and courage and all of that still applies as leaders who aren't seeing physically the people we're leaving. We obviously need to make a lot more effort to find those moments to check in, and you need to consciously make time for that to happen. But you should be doing that anyway.

00:27:34:13 - 00:27:55:03
Kirsten Ferguson
So, I mean, I struggle even the big multinationals, for example, they will have CEOs and leaders who didn't see everyone in their organization of tens of thousands of people, therefore different. I mean, it might not even be in a different country. It could just be on a different floor in the building. It's still not seeing the role.

00:27:55:09 - 00:28:01:22
Kevin Eikenberry
And if you were if you've ever worked in that sort of situation, you know that every floor is almost like a different country, like it is.

00:28:01:23 - 00:28:22:18
Kirsten Ferguson
Right? Exactly. And then you ask any person who's had a toxic boss going into the office is a really challenging issue. So it's not as though there's a magic panacea if we're all physically together. So I don't see that thing. A modern leader has any physical versus hybrid differentiation at all.

00:28:22:20 - 00:28:41:21
Kevin Eikenberry
So in our book, The Long Distance Leader, which I'm working on the second edition of at this very night, we said rule number one is think leadership first, location second is really very much in alignment with what you're saying. There are differences, but they're nuanced differences. It's a small percentage of the total right?

00:28:41:23 - 00:28:55:22
Kirsten Ferguson
So hundred percent. And all these watercooler moments, it is a small percentage of the workforce that actually catches up with their boss at the WaterCooler or, you know, say it's just not how life is.

00:28:56:00 - 00:29:22:19
Kevin Eikenberry
And that's why on our our Slack channels include the watercooler channel that is not a lot. We are watercooler channel which today included people showing pictures of their Christmas trees, as it turns out. So a couple of other things before we finish up. Sort of shifting gears, we've talked a lot about your work and your research and it's clear that you're passionate about it.

00:29:22:21 - 00:29:29:14
Kevin Eikenberry
And yet I'm curious, what do you do outside of all of that? What for fun?

00:29:29:16 - 00:29:54:16
Kirsten Ferguson
Well, yeah, that's a good question because I'm now working on my next book as well. But I live on I live on the beach. I live in Australia, as you can probably tell in Queensland, on the Sunshine Coast, just south of the Barrier Reef. And I love living on the beach. So I'm down there all of the time and yeah, I've got a dog, it keeps me occupied and my husband and yeah, I've got a wonderful life.

00:29:54:18 - 00:30:01:04
Kevin Eikenberry
So know that everybody, she talked about the dog before, the husband just saying, listen, my husband.

00:30:01:04 - 00:30:04:18
Kirsten Ferguson
Often mentions that happens. Yeah.

00:30:04:20 - 00:30:07:17
Kevin Eikenberry
Well maybe that's feedback.

00:30:07:19 - 00:30:16:21
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah, exactly. You can just see the head of my dog there Hughie. he's asleep. Yeah, that's.

00:30:16:23 - 00:30:18:12
Kevin Eikenberry
That's what it was. But now I can see.

00:30:18:16 - 00:30:19:20
Kirsten Ferguson
So he is.

00:30:19:20 - 00:30:25:21
Kevin Eikenberry
The only question I knew I told you I was going to ask you is this one. And that is So what are you reading.

00:30:25:23 - 00:30:42:10
Kirsten Ferguson
Yeah, I'm currently reading Amy Edmonton's new book. Right Kind of Wrong. I met Amy last month in London at the Think has 50 gala and I think she's fabulous. I loved the fearless organization and I'm now loving right kind of wrong.

00:30:42:12 - 00:31:03:05
Kevin Eikenberry
It is on my stack. So doing this show obviously I'm reading books three this week for this podcast, but that is on my list to read. I have the copy and the time is hopefully coming soon where I can do that as well. So now the question you you've really wanted me to ask from the very beginning, Where can we learn more about you?

00:31:03:07 - 00:31:06:03
Kevin Eikenberry
Where can we get your book? Where do you want to point us?

00:31:06:05 - 00:31:17:10
Kirsten Ferguson
Well, you can visit my website, which is Kirsten Ferguson dot com. And as you heard, and that's the spelling, I'm not even going to say the wrong spelling, although that I'm confused everyone it's on the I didn't actually.

00:31:17:10 - 00:31:20:04
Kevin Eikenberry
Say it either I just into that it is.

00:31:20:06 - 00:31:21:16
Kirsten Ferguson
My.

00:31:21:18 - 00:31:23:02
Kevin Eikenberry
Dot com.

00:31:23:04 - 00:31:44:21
Kirsten Ferguson
That's it k iris t i n r and yeah. Go there or you can go to head hat later dot com. Pick up a copy of Hid Hat The Art of Modern Leadership on Amazon and everywhere. It's all over the world. And I love hearing from people that listen to podcasts and listen. So events like this get in touch.

00:31:44:23 - 00:32:06:02
Kevin Eikenberry
All right. So I want to thank you, Kirsten. But before we finish, I've got a question I ask all of you every single time we gather. If you've been here before, you know what it is. And the question is now what? What are you going to do as a result of this? Hopefully, one of the things you'll do is, of course, get a copy of the book, but go take the assessment.

00:32:06:04 - 00:32:29:23
Kevin Eikenberry
Go go to Head Heart leader AECOM and take the assessment. Guys, courage to do that. But beyond that, there are all a number of things that we talked about over the last 30 minutes or so that the value that you will get will be from thinking that through. What action will I take as a result of this, not just sort of, hey, they were fun and it was interesting, but what am I going to do?

00:32:30:00 - 00:32:52:17
Kevin Eikenberry
That is what will make the difference for you and for ultimately for your team. So I thank you, Kirsten, for being here. It was such, such a pleasure. I've been looking forward to our conversation and and it did not disappoint. And so for all of you who are listening or watching, I hope that you come back again for another episode.

00:32:52:17 - 00:33:12:06
Kevin Eikenberry
If it's on the podcast that you're listening, you know how to do this. Like give us a recommended version, give us a referral, tell somebody else to come join us, maybe go back in the archive. But don't worry about that. No guilt. Just go forward because every week we'll be back and I hope that you'll be back with us next week for another episode of The Remarkable Leadership Podcast.

00:33:12:11 - 00:33:13:16
Kevin Eikenberry
Thanks, everyone.

00:33:13:18 - 00:33:14:06
Kirsten Ferguson
Thank you.

Meet Kirstin

Kirstin's Story: Dr. Kirstin Ferguson is the author of two books. Her latest book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership debuted in the top 10 non-fiction bestseller list on release and has won numerous awards including being named one of the top 10 best new management books in the world (2023), Royal Society of Arts Career Book Award (2023), Australian Business Book Awards leadership category shortlist (2023), and North American Porchlight Business Book Awards leadership category shortlist (2023). She is one of the world's most recognized leadership experts and has been ranked as one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world. Kirstin spent fifteen years as a board chair and company director, sitting on a wide range of private company, large publicly listed and government boards. These roles also included an appointment by the Australian Prime Minister as Acting Chair and Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Kirstin’s executive career included roles as CEO of a global consulting firm and a senior executive at a leading corporate law firm. Kirstin began her career as an Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. In 2023, Kirstin was recognized as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant contributions to business and gender equality. Kirstin also has a PhD in leadership and culture and is an Adjunct Professor at the QUT School of Business. Kirstin also has honors degrees in Law and History.

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How to Play for Greatness with Skip Bowman
Personal Leadership Development, Professional Development

How to Play for Greatness with Skip Bowman

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Psychological safety is the foundation for effective leadership and team collaboration. Skip Bowman shares with Kevin the concept of "safe to great," which is based on creating psychological safety to enable individuals and teams to move from the comfort zone to the learning zone and ultimately to the growth zone. Skip emphasizes the importance of overcoming the instinct to control and the bias towards charismatic, dominant leadership, highlighting the need for leaders with humility and determination. He also addresses the challenges of virtual leadership and the need for effective communication and trust-building in remote teams.

Listen For

00:00 Introduction to the topic of the psychology of leadership, including concepts like psychological safety and growth mindset.
00:41 Announcement about future episodes and interaction opportunities on social channels.
01:25 Introduction of the episode's sponsor and the guest, Skip Bowman.
02:10 Brief biography of Skip Bowman, covering his background and expertise.
02:42 Official welcoming of Skip Bowman to the show.
03:17 Discussion about Skip Bowman's journey and the idea behind his book "Safe to Great."
04:04 Skip Bowman shares his early experiences as a diving instructor and how it influenced his understanding of leadership.
06:05 Exploration of the emotional connection in leadership and its importance.
07:15 Discussion on the concept of psychological safety in leadership.
11:32 Dive into the 'bright side' and 'dark side' of leadership as discussed in Bowman's book.
13:28 Examination of why leaders lean towards control and its evolutionary background.
16:25 Discussion on the growth mindset principle and its counterintuitive nature.
19:37 Exploration of the alternative to control-oriented leadership: the commitment method.
22:53 Insights on where leaders should start in shifting their mindset.
26:14 Discussion on the challenges of leadership in a post-COVID, remote work environment.
29:05 Personal insights from Skip Bowman on his hobbies and interests.
30:43 Book recommendations and further reading.
31:39 Information on where to find more about Skip Bowman's work.
33:21 Final thoughts and the closing of the podcast.

View Full Transcript

00:00:08:09 - 00:00:41:15
Kevin Eikenberry
Today we're talking about the psychology of leadership, of concepts that have gained steam like psychological safety and a growth mindset. But we're also talking about and in the trenches reality of leading for control and compliance or leading for commitment. We're talking about all this as a way to help us understand ourselves better and lead better. Welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Leadership Podcast, where we are helping leaders like you grow personally and professionally to lead more effectively and make a bigger difference for their teams, organizations and the world.

00:00:41:17 - 00:01:02:21
Kevin Eikenberry
If you're listening to this podcast in the future, you could join us live on your favorite social channel. You can get all of access to those future episodes, links to when they're going to happen, the calendar, when they're going to happen, so that you can interact with us and and see this content sooner by joining your Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

00:01:02:21 - 00:01:25:21
Kevin Eikenberry
Just two of the social channels that we happen to operate these live casts on. You can go to our to join our Facebook group by going to remarkable podcast dot com slash Facebook or go to remarkable podcast dot com slash linked and get you all the details get you up to date and I hope that you'll do that and join the hundreds of people that are on those two groups.

00:01:25:23 - 00:01:50:17
Kevin Eikenberry
Today's episode is brought to you by our remarkable masterclasses pick from 13 important life and leadership skills to help you become more effective, productive and confident while overcoming some of the leader's toughest challenges. Learn more and sign up at Remarkable Masterclass dot com. Our guest today is Skip Bowman. You probably know that you've read something that told you that I'm going to bring him in and then I'm going to introduce him.

00:01:50:17 - 00:02:10:10
Kevin Eikenberry
There he is. Let me introduce Skip to you and we're going to dive in. Skip Bowman is an author, consultant, keynote speaker, focusing on how to transform organizations to the green economy with a growth mindset and psychological safety. He grew up in Perth, Australia, has spent most of the last 25 years working in Switzerland, England, France and Denmark.

00:02:10:12 - 00:02:42:21
Kevin Eikenberry
After studying finance in Australia, he obtained his M.A. in Psychology and Languages in Copenhagen. He also has a master's in organizational psychology and completed additional training in cross country music, cross-cultural management, group dynamics, Coaching and Cultural Change. His book, Safe to Great, which, if you're watching him holding up safe too Great. The New Psychology of Leadership outlines his new psychology for leadership and an integrated process for implementing a growth mindset based on psychological safety and organizations.

00:02:42:23 - 00:02:49:00
Kevin Eikenberry
And he is our guest, and I'm glad he's here. Skip, welcome.

00:02:49:02 - 00:02:57:04
Skip Bowman
Great to be here. Kevin. I'm glad to you're happy that I'm here. We had a couple of technical difficulties, but I'm so glad we sorted it out. Thank you so much for being here tonight.

00:02:57:04 - 00:03:17:21
Kevin Eikenberry
And we've got a couple of folks from my team who are here. I'm going to put their names on the screen, but if you're here live, please let us know. Say hello. And as we're going to long have you have a question to ask us. So so Skip, I want to dive in and I want to find out like sort of tell us about your journey.

00:03:17:21 - 00:03:33:13
Kevin Eikenberry
In short, really, how did you end up getting to this idea? And we'll talk more about what it means in a minute. How do you how did you get to this place called Safe to great. Like, tell us the jury that leads you from Perth to Europe to doing this kind of work.

00:03:33:15 - 00:03:35:22
Skip Bowman
Yes, in one minute or less.

00:03:36:00 - 00:03:37:06
Kevin Eikenberry
Exactly.

00:03:37:08 - 00:04:04:04
Skip Bowman
Yeah. I mean, Australian I love diving, underwater diving, that is as a young kid. And I became a diving instructor in the early, late eighties, early nineties and I discovered that being a great diver didn't mean anything if you're trying to teach people to dive. So I discovered that sort of being a great instructor was about making people feel confident and competent.

00:04:04:06 - 00:04:22:05
Skip Bowman
And to do that, it was fundamentally some sort of magical sort of connection that you create between people. And this is my first experience. When I grew up at school and university, I never really thought about it, but I suddenly got that job and I loved it. I love teaching and I love instructing. I suddenly realized that there was something special.

00:04:22:05 - 00:04:51:05
Skip Bowman
If you made that connection, you could do something great. If you didn't make that connection, it was really, really difficult. And it went on to later in life where I learned languages, learned Danish and French, moved to different cultures, studied psychology, etc. So many of those successes are to do with the relationships that we have. And that has really driven why I've got a book in which you've had very happy to see people appreciate that which is growth mindset from a relational perspective.

00:04:51:05 - 00:05:08:15
Skip Bowman
How do we help? How do we grow, but how do we help others grow? So it started off as diving, but it's led on to my whole professional career. 25 years in leadership and organizational development, and I've seen that so often ignored at your peril. And when it's there, we get this multiplier effect. When the relationship arrived, we can grow.

00:05:08:18 - 00:05:12:06
Skip Bowman
And so that's what the book is dedicated to.

00:05:12:08 - 00:05:36:16
Kevin Eikenberry
So and that's and a story everybody, when you get your copy, which I hope that you will do, there's a longer story about this connection to diving that Skip tells in the beginning of the book. I love that you start there those because the connection between being an instructor, a teacher, whatever word you want to use there, and being a leader, they're connected and they're connected.

00:05:36:18 - 00:05:56:08
Kevin Eikenberry
They're connected because as leaders we are coaches and we are often teaching people things for sure. But I think they're connected and I think that we are of similar mind here that they're connected in in deeper ways than that. Like some instructors say, we're going to lecture and it's pretty much one way and some leaders kind of do the same.

00:05:56:11 - 00:06:05:21
Kevin Eikenberry
And we're going to head to all of that in a second. But do you have anything else you want to say about the connection between leading and teaching? I'm just curious.

00:06:05:23 - 00:06:32:21
Skip Bowman
I think there's an emotional connection. I mean, you're standing on the edge of a boat and you've got all this dark water in front of you and you're about to roll into shark infested waters. There's a certain look you have in each other's eyes. There's a certain look grabbing onto each other's shoulders before you know it. And they're wonderful metaphors for what is called in another great book, which is called Care Today, that when we show that we care about somebody, it creates a foundation for doing something difficult.

00:06:32:21 - 00:06:52:04
Skip Bowman
Now, in that case, it was rolling off a boat into the water, but it could be at work trying something difficult, learning something new, taking a risk, all those kinds of things that if we know there's somebody behind us who's taking care of us, so who kind of, no matter what is going to continue to care and want us to learn and develop it, that that makes all the difference.

00:06:52:04 - 00:06:56:19
Skip Bowman
That's like that's the magic. That's the magic dust, right?

00:06:56:21 - 00:07:15:01
Kevin Eikenberry
So I hinted at it. If people are watching, they see it next to your name. Safe to great. What's the basis, what's underneath this this approach, this new psychology of leadership that we're going to talk about today that you call safe to great? What's the basis of that approach?

00:07:15:03 - 00:07:36:07
Skip Bowman
Well, essentially, if we want to put some theory on that idea about that connection, we're going to put psychological safety on it. That's the big term that I mean, Amundsen sort of helped start with. It's not the first pass, but certainly has made it extremely popular and super relevant. And so safety becomes a concept that can say, do something about this.

00:07:36:07 - 00:07:57:13
Skip Bowman
Once we create that, it's kind of like the foundation. And the reason is really simple is if you studied psychology of leadership and performance, what we know is that when people are operating what we might call an unsafe or a fear zone, they're not very successful. They might be able to do things that are quite dramatic and powerful, but it doesn't lead to real sort of growth and learning.

00:07:57:13 - 00:08:20:16
Skip Bowman
We tend to be using our survival instinct rather than using anything that's really clever, right? So unless we create that safety and to use lots of examples of people have done extraordinary things under great duress, now that could be, you know, in in accidents around aircraft or could be like even the terrible World Trade Tower events, these are similar events.

00:08:20:17 - 00:08:20:23
Skip Bowman
If we.

00:08:20:23 - 00:08:21:08
Kevin Eikenberry
Really.

00:08:21:08 - 00:08:47:18
Skip Bowman
Look into the detail, there are great stories about people, everyday people, but also leaders who step into extraordinary situations and create just enough level of safety that people are willing to do and to achieve extraordinary things. Because what happens is, instead of us being fearful, we have to step out of that and to be able to start thinking and using our resources, but most importantly, to collaborate.

00:08:47:19 - 00:09:06:14
Skip Bowman
That's where the gold is. You know, it's when we work together that amazing things happen, whether it's on a basketball team or whether it's in a fireman team or whatever, it's the same challenge. So it unlocks everything. If you look at a great book, is is about the culture, co-written by Dan Coyle, fabulous book, again, about the power.

00:09:06:14 - 00:09:25:14
Skip Bowman
When we belong to something, we have a common trajectory and we create safety within able to do magical things together. And his study of so many different high performance contexts shows that we always say, you need emotional intelligence. No, what we need is that sense of caring and that safety has to be in place when it's there.

00:09:25:16 - 00:09:48:03
Skip Bowman
We can really challenge hard. Now that's the logic of safe to go right now. Psychological safety by itself is not enough. We need something that stretches us right, both relationally and in terms of getting the job done the task and that's what Grossmont that's where Count Rex work, gives some insight into what that could look at. But that obviously that is a concept.

00:09:48:03 - 00:10:15:07
Skip Bowman
The counterweight developed in educational settings like learning at university. What I spent last seven years as being outside, how could we use our existing theory and empirical studies of of performance at work to be able to say something meaningful about what growth mindset really is in practice? So how do we create that stretch in terms of relationship, in terms of task, get these, you know, to lift this set not just above what we might call a comforts zone to lift us into a learning zone, but also lift us into a growth zone of some sort.

00:10:15:11 - 00:10:37:06
Skip Bowman
That's quite a remarkable thing. And great teams do it. You know, Dan Cole talks in the culture Code about the SEALs. They do. It doesn't great basketball teams do it. I think it's back to this idea that greatness is quite rare. There's a lot of ordinary is out there and there's an awful lot of crap, right. Not to mention some really toxic stuff as well.

00:10:37:06 - 00:10:57:12
Skip Bowman
But we're we're trying to be inspired by what really great teams and try to then break it down to a set of principles so you can sort of say we need more of this. But I think with the big difference in the my work is I also look at the dysfunctional stuff. We have to understand that part of the reason we don't succeed is there are things holding us back, right?

00:10:57:14 - 00:11:09:20
Skip Bowman
And that can be in us and it can be around us. And those things matter when we're starting to have that calculation about is there a growth mindset or not? So that's part of the learning that's put into that book.

00:11:09:22 - 00:11:31:23
Kevin Eikenberry
So in the book you just hinted a little bit scared when you said in the book, you call it the the bright side and the dark side. What's this? What this sits on? And this gets to, as I promised in the open, that we'd get a bit of an understanding about ourselves and how we can move forward. And so in the book you talk about Bright Side, Dark side.

00:11:32:01 - 00:11:58:05
Kevin Eikenberry
Today we're going to start with the dark side. So not just because I think it'll make more sense for our conversation, because one of the things that happens and and one of the things I loved about the book is that we use you and I use some very similar language when we when we work with leaders And you you you have a section about halfway through the book where you talk about the dark side.

00:11:58:07 - 00:12:33:07
Kevin Eikenberry
And one of the things you talk about is leading for control. And so we often talk about leading for compliance, but we're talking about exactly the same thing right? And so my question is, why do leaders, leaders lean into control? Like, why is that so prevalent and why? Because here's what I know and everyone and first of all, Skip, the people who are watching and listening are probably doing this less right where we're talking to people who are working hard to get better.

00:12:33:09 - 00:12:52:01
Kevin Eikenberry
And yet all of us have leaned here and all of us have had a leader that leaned here and said and we said, I don't want to do that necessarily. And yet we do. Why do we lean in to control what you're calling the dark side?

00:12:52:03 - 00:13:28:02
Skip Bowman
There's a there's an evolutionary factor, right? And we just wired for it and that's a pity. But it worked 40, 50,000 years ago. Our brain hasn't changed much since then. So in reality, most great leadership is overcoming natural instincts. And that's it. Because what worked to save you from the from the Sabertooth tiger isn't very effective to understand the complexities of a supply chain meltdown post-COVID.

00:13:28:04 - 00:13:53:10
Skip Bowman
There are two very, very different tasks and the kind of cognitive complexity, etc. that you need to solve the the latter is very, very different. So we have to sort of get over the fact that that instinctively we look up to control, particularly when faced by uncertainty and challenge. Right. We tend to say, let's find the hero, let's find as I say, I said elsewhere, let's find Bruce Willis.

00:13:53:10 - 00:14:23:06
Skip Bowman
Let's let's find his father. God is going to get us out of this stuff. Great respect to him is wonderful, I'm sure. But. But we want the hero, right? And that's how we approach this part of our evolutionary makeup. Now, we've got another factor, which is that in terms of the way organizations tend to make choices about who leads, who they choose for project leadership, who they choose for line leadership directors, etc., tends to be people exhibit behaviors that we call the alpha male position.

00:14:23:06 - 00:14:47:06
Skip Bowman
So charismatic, dominant, controlling, right? Because they seem like the right things. The hat that sets an enormous bias that we have in organizations. Because when you actually look and measure it, great leaders don't really look like that. So they're actually much more humble. They've got a determination, they've got other qualities. And and that's primarily to because, you know, I don't want somebody who can defend me against a saboteur.

00:14:47:06 - 00:15:10:00
Skip Bowman
Tiger actually trying to find somebody who can help me, you know, man is something like the inflation problem in North America or help us get off gas in in Europe, because that leads to the kind of conflicts we have today. So these are very complicated issues that require leaders of different with a different kind of greatness. And I think we often need to challenge it.

00:15:10:00 - 00:15:36:13
Skip Bowman
So there's the human bias, but there's an organizational bias towards what I call hippos, which I've got a badge wearing, you know, ladies that are controlling. So that'd be the main reason because we face uncertainty. We saw it recently, which is kind of amusing, you know, in the face of where we go with social media. Mark Zuckerberg and and Elon Musk, one to have a cage fight in Congress.

00:15:36:15 - 00:15:38:23
Kevin Eikenberry
Is going to happen. Now, I don't know like.

00:15:39:04 - 00:15:40:05
Skip Bowman
You hear the fantastic.

00:15:40:05 - 00:15:53:22
Kevin Eikenberry
Conversation on the 20th of November is not going to come this isn't going to come live on the podcast until the 24th of 2024 of January of 2024. So I don't know, but I haven't heard anything about it in a while. Is it off?

00:15:54:00 - 00:16:02:13
Skip Bowman
I don't know. But it's remarkable. It's because when when, when stock.

00:16:02:15 - 00:16:04:04
Kevin Eikenberry
So we like skip.

00:16:04:04 - 00:16:25:07
Skip Bowman
Addresses it's it's it's funny like that but that's a little bit how the world the world works in uncertainty and we're facing a lot of that right now. Right. It's you know if we're looking at the traditional understanding of business planning, the level of uncertainty means that most companies are not comfortable to plan longer than six months. Boy, boy, we've never seen anything like that.

00:16:25:07 - 00:16:48:01
Skip Bowman
Right. So that means that everyone is looking for something that looks more certain and the human characteristics we like to look for. And that's why the growth mindset principle in my book is fundamentally counterintuitive. It's in fact, you don't want Bruce Willis. You actually want somebody who looks quite different to that.

00:16:48:03 - 00:17:19:06
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah, because what happens is and is that because we're looking for that certainty, then we look to someone who seems certain. Yes. Which takes us back to where we just were. So what are the what are the costs to us as organizations if we lean into or promote or search for that person leading from the place of control there?

00:17:19:07 - 00:17:43:16
Skip Bowman
The primary one is that when will we sort of a face, a leader who is overly coercive and dominant, etc., We tend to adopt a coping strategy or a resisting strategy. Right now, coping strategy tends to look like this. My boss is really aggressive and dominant, and after me. So what I do, I'm going to be nice to her, I'm going to be friendly, I'm going to do what they say.

00:17:43:18 - 00:18:02:03
Skip Bowman
But in principle, when I face uncertainty, I'm going to wait and see. I'm going to follow the rules. I'm going to be really cautious here. Right. And what we know from research into that, that's a really bad position. Just about any kind of business I'll get back there is that there is a slightly different alternative that but so that we hope for that.

00:18:02:05 - 00:18:21:16
Skip Bowman
The second position which is which is worse from an effectiveness point of view, is we resist. In other words, we start to yeah, we start to complain and bitch and whine and defensiveness. Yeah, we do all those things to try to get away with it, you know, to try to resist that, that unfairness that comes with it in various different ways.

00:18:21:18 - 00:18:47:00
Skip Bowman
The research is really simple that in shops around America, right, if you measure the level of pilfering, in other words, losing stock, you then correlate it to the level of toxicity of the leader. How controlling are they? And there's a correlation. So what we realize is the majority of people who steal in shops are the staff themselves, because they're trying to right the balance of feeling unjustly treated and that really matters.

00:18:47:02 - 00:19:07:22
Skip Bowman
That's just an example of it. So and so if we want to collaborate, if one do high quality, we want to innovate. I need people to not be scared about my boss. I need to be focusing their attention on solving the task. So what happens is controlling leaders. Everyone's only worried about what the leaders thinking, not what the customer is thinking or what they're thinking together.

00:19:08:00 - 00:19:37:08
Kevin Eikenberry
Yeah. And so the goal becomes satisfying the boss or keeping their being pain there as opposed to solving the real business problem or not really meeting the real opportunity. So I framed this conversation, skip around leaning towards control. So if we're not leaning that direction, what are we leaning toward? Like you, you've you've sort of helped us see that while it's natural and it's understandable, it's not very effective to always lean toward the control side.

00:19:37:13 - 00:19:41:05
Kevin Eikenberry
So what's the other alternative?

00:19:41:07 - 00:20:07:07
Skip Bowman
The alternative is what I call the commitment premium or the commitment method, right? And that's essentially based on a concept called autonomy, enhancing in the sense that we're trying to if I if I say to you, hey, what do you think, Kevin, as opposed to saying, Kevin, do this, what happens is I create the possibility of you saying, I like the bit where you ask me what I think.

00:20:07:09 - 00:20:31:13
Skip Bowman
And what we know from research is that that has a profound impact on on teams, on individual contributors, everything, because just small amounts of of, of autonomy, small amounts of choice means that I perform better. I think better. I relate to people better, I'm more resilient. I'm less likely to have stress. These things really matter. And they're relatively small choices.

00:20:31:13 - 00:20:59:19
Skip Bowman
But that small act of saying, What do you think, Kevin or Kevin, I see this really cool. Can we do more of it? Small change, but we're talking about a performance framing that's like 40 to 50%, right? It's it's really valuable. And that's the that's the thing which most people don't want to admit. I'm and if you look at the research done by loads and this is not research new it's been around for a really long time right This is not new right.

00:20:59:21 - 00:21:18:09
Skip Bowman
It's just become increasingly hard with the business models that we have today to be really effective with a control model. So commitments actually become increasingly necessary and increasingly important. But I'll as I'll get back to this, a small thing which I talk about in the book is our philosophy is we want to continue to manage 1 to 1 goals.

00:21:18:09 - 00:21:45:03
Skip Bowman
We want to manage individuals rather than thinking about how do we manage relationships between people. And that's that's a real shift in the safety model. And if you look again at the research, the latest that understand that for example, Pixar's you know at Catmull he understands his job is not is to lead the system he understands that really well and that's what turned around the fact that well created Pixar then turned around Walt Disney.

00:21:45:03 - 00:21:59:02
Skip Bowman
It's a fantastic story, but it's very clever stuff. He's not trying to lead it like a hero. He'd leads it in a fundamentally wrong way by creating a healthy system. Relationships that create the success that I get.

00:21:59:04 - 00:22:09:02
Kevin Eikenberry
Well, it's like, you know, you hire smart people, so then you need to unleash them. And if you bring in smart people, then why wouldn't you want to do that? Right? Ultimately, when it's all said and done.

00:22:09:04 - 00:22:15:12
Skip Bowman
Would you make them dumber with controlling leadership? That's the thing we know. So it's really curious. But anyway, good guy. I'm up for your question.

00:22:15:16 - 00:22:45:17
Kevin Eikenberry
No, no. So what's so people that are listening, watching are saying, I'm with you, Skip. I get it. I don't want I want to overcome nature and not necessarily from the place of control where where should people start? Like, obviously, we wanted to go buy a copy. Your book saved a great I'm talking to Skip Bowman, the author of Safe to Break the New Psychology of Leadership.

00:22:45:19 - 00:22:52:23
Kevin Eikenberry
But where do people start? Like, what should they do first.

00:22:53:01 - 00:23:13:19
Skip Bowman
As a who you are in the book, I'm going to talk about protected mindsets as being that, you know, we operate generally fairly protectively. Mindset was, you know, risk averse, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of loss, etc.. Right? So we tend to be a bit more predicted and protective than you might think. Even bossy people are essentially being protective is bossy.

00:23:13:19 - 00:23:34:03
Skip Bowman
People are scared of relationship, so they're protecting something which is their independence. So yeah, it's it's similar and it makes you feel strong too. Certainly strong. All flash, safe, invulnerable, perhaps a word you could use it. So where do you start? The start is working out where you lie. And that's sort of in this world of fight flight phrase.

00:23:34:03 - 00:23:54:06
Skip Bowman
I use somebody who, when faces uncertainly protectively, you tend to take control. If that's your journey, then that the like life for that matter, in a fantastic way. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Mr. Kirby will have said it's such a such an amazing book. I'm in this business for a long time. I still think that's a great book, and it was written a really long time ago.

00:23:54:06 - 00:24:17:09
Skip Bowman
But his point was, if you have an independent voice, which is somebody who does have fight, right, when you need to have a public victory, you've got to learn to work well with others. He's absolutely right. Okay. If you're if you're somebody who's struggling with assertiveness, tends to want to belong to the group, wants to value relationships and struggles to find their own voice, you need to have the product victory, as he would call it.

00:24:17:09 - 00:24:38:10
Skip Bowman
You've got to learn to be able to speak your mind, to hold accountable cycle. So you have to know that I have a third position which isn't really in in his stuff, which I call the Clam, which is a critical skeptical position. And in this position, we're actually have to do two things. One, you have to believe that you can set a positive goal and shape it.

00:24:38:12 - 00:25:01:08
Skip Bowman
And secondly, you have to stop me so bloody suspicious that everyone around you, because this is a very ineffective position to be in. Quite a lot of really clever people can be here. But once we know where you are, we can sort of start working out how do we bring together your ability to care and to date, in other words, to have that optimal combination of support and challenge in the way that you work together with others, the way you lead.

00:25:01:10 - 00:25:21:16
Skip Bowman
But it's not one size fits all. I challenged Adam Grant, who writes a lot on Instagram recently, etc., where he was saying, you know, we just need humility. I'm saying that's really good advice for somebody who's in hip hop, who's very controlling and dominant, but it's not good advice for somebody who's struggling with assertiveness.

00:25:21:18 - 00:25:44:00
Kevin Eikenberry
Right. That's not opposite ends of the spectrum. And so that's that really is great advice on one end. It's it's the opposite of what's needed on the other end, really. Yeah. I mean, we all need to be humble. Humble. But if humble, if you military becomes every strength, overdone is a weakness. Right. And so I think it's really a really excellent point.

00:25:44:02 - 00:26:14:19
Kevin Eikenberry
So in the world that we live today, you know, in a post COVID world where so many more people are working not in proximity as were before, I mean, that trend would have continued anyway. But we we matched the accelerator on that and didn't send everybody back in every in every organization. So my question is, how is all of this harder now?

00:26:14:19 - 00:26:35:12
Kevin Eikenberry
Like, what would you what would you say to those, like everything you said, apply so that people come together every day or whether they don't? But what would you say specifically to those who are leading at a distance that they might want to be aware of in relationship to safety? Great.

00:26:35:14 - 00:26:54:07
Skip Bowman
It depends on if you're if you're the leader at the distance, at the office or the leader the distance at home, I'd actually prefer you to be the one at home. The best thing about leadership is might the latest slightly weaker. That's always a good thing because the day at the office, you're going to be the king, Queen of all things.

00:26:54:09 - 00:26:57:06
Skip Bowman
And whether you like it or not.

00:26:57:07 - 00:26:59:23
Kevin Eikenberry
And even if you're not that you're perceived as so.

00:27:00:01 - 00:27:18:02
Skip Bowman
Of course this is it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, that's back to the the sort of survival evolutionary thinking that we have, you know, we so it's what they call the, the sales call and they call the authority boss. It's really and if the SEALs experience it, everyone does because they're the toughest people in the whole world. Right.

00:27:18:04 - 00:27:46:05
Skip Bowman
So it really matters. They're hybrid's a super curious thing. We're evolving to it this some technical issues. In other words, humans. Humans grow up with a certain distance between between between us, like only about a major in our intimate relationships. So working with cameras is really tricky, like, like you and I try to do here. So our ability to sort of on a what we call micro behavioral level to build trust is quite difficult.

00:27:46:07 - 00:28:05:07
Skip Bowman
Now there's also the time lag problem, that voice and sound a slightly lagged, which is good for us because we're not trained for that. A brain becomes tends to feel suspicious when we have a gap between sound of visions. So there's a lot of things at a macro level that are really tricky here. So the only way to solve that is, again, scope bold in, right?

00:28:05:10 - 00:28:24:15
Skip Bowman
If you're going to go bold on virtual leadership, one, you need a good camera, you need some good lighting. You look amazing, by the way. And that's really matters because I can build trust you because you're being vulnerable in the way you're lit. Because I can see you. I can. And I've got lots of leaders who seem to be doing the like the dark Lord out of Star Wars.

00:28:24:15 - 00:28:25:22
Skip Bowman
Right?

00:28:26:00 - 00:28:31:02
Kevin Eikenberry
It's got a hood on. Yeah. And witness witness protection, right?

00:28:31:04 - 00:28:33:08
Skip Bowman
Yeah.

00:28:33:09 - 00:28:58:02
Kevin Eikenberry
So I want to shift gears, Skip, before we got a couple of different kinds of questions. We've talked a lot about psychological safety to talk about about growth mindset. And so I'm curious, it's actually a question I ask all of my guests, but I think it maybe especially of interest, given what our conversation has been. What do you do for fun?

00:28:58:04 - 00:29:05:04
Skip Bowman
You're asking And also well, you're also asking an author has three children under the age of three and a half.

00:29:05:06 - 00:29:09:03
Kevin Eikenberry
So that's part of what you do, hopefully, at least part of it's fun, right? Yeah.

00:29:09:05 - 00:29:30:18
Skip Bowman
Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, this is, you know, personally speaking, I think one of my got I don't really have I have a hobby, which is like my wife and I bought an old French farm some three or four years ago. We're renovating it. So we've turned into placing a rent out. And that was just a project I mean, we love.

00:29:30:20 - 00:29:48:01
Skip Bowman
And he was like, is that a business? I don't know. I mean, I want to learn French again. I to I love old buildings. So there you go. So for me, you know, and of course, with the three small kids, you know, we're trying to build up a whole world around that. And and so I'm in dad mode.

00:29:48:01 - 00:30:12:08
Skip Bowman
And so that's pretty much what I what I spend and enjoy a lot. Because to me, spending time with the kids trying to trying to renovate learn French these are things that I for me challenges hobby I just you know I can't yeah I'm not very good on this so far I, I mean I'm I watch cricket because I really like that game but, but in principle I'll, I'll start thinking okay what could we renovate here.

00:30:12:08 - 00:30:29:17
Skip Bowman
So I have a life that is, is authorship and researching my next book etc. But otherwise I love I love projects. Learning French is one of them. Learning everything about, you know, old buildings and architecture. That's something I do. I just my brain just loves learning. I just love that I can't I can't resist it.

00:30:29:18 - 00:30:43:06
Kevin Eikenberry
So. So in all of that, you did you did sort of end with I love learning. So reading is one of the ways we learn. What's something skip, that you've read recently or maybe that you're reading right now?

00:30:43:08 - 00:31:02:08
Skip Bowman
I'd have to say a reread and then, you know, calls the Culture Code. I can really recommend that because these are great. The the funny thing is, is he actually refers to other researchers and writers, and I actually think he tells a story that sounds a bit you know, there's some really good authors that we're like, I need to be honest.

00:31:02:08 - 00:31:25:23
Skip Bowman
I think that quote Coyle tells the story about her research almost in a more, more intriguing way. I think it's a fantastic book. I would highly recommend it. I bought it from my wife who's just out of the new roles. And so you have to read this. This is such a good book. It's such a good, well told story and very solid research, and I can't recommend it higher than that best book I've written outright in a while.

00:31:26:01 - 00:31:39:11
Kevin Eikenberry
Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code and Skip Bowman. Safe to Great. The New Psychology of Leadership. So Skip, where do you want to point people? Where can they learn more about your work and that sort of thing?

00:31:39:13 - 00:31:48:09
Skip Bowman
I'm pretty lucky that Skip Bowman is a pretty unusual. You can you can get your Find Me or a previous vice admiral of the nuclear fleet in America.

00:31:48:11 - 00:31:50:18
Kevin Eikenberry
So it's not you know, it's not.

00:31:50:18 - 00:32:15:23
Skip Bowman
Like Virginia yeah it's a Skip Bowman safe to We're on a mission to make organization safer. Great work. There's lots of ways I got. Let's try to find people who want to read the book, get inspired, want to work with the teams using the book. We've got lots of resources on the skip dashboard at our website. So you there's lots of stuff we're giving away for free there if you get the book so that you can work with the teams on it.

00:32:15:23 - 00:32:39:00
Skip Bowman
I mean, this is a, an important idea. We've I think, you know, the next seven years we've got some big challenges with I am with the with the climate change issues whether you like them or not, some really big changes in our economies and how we make money and so on. So we're going to have to we're going to have to really work hard at being great leaders for these new times.

00:32:39:00 - 00:32:58:02
Skip Bowman
And leadership has changed, like you mentioning, it's digital and it's many other things. And I think I'm hoping the book starts to answer that question. What is the future of leadership? And so check it out and write to me if you got any questions. I do a lot of work on LinkedIn, so that's another place to see what I'm doing.

00:32:58:04 - 00:33:21:12
Kevin Eikenberry
Save numeral two great dot com or skip hyphen bowman dot com either one so you can get connected more, learn more and as Skip said, get a lot of the resources that his free resources he's been talking about. So before we finish the question that I like to ask all of you, every episode is simply this. Now what what action will you take as a result of our conversation?

00:33:21:12 - 00:33:43:17
Kevin Eikenberry
What insights did you get? But that's not really enough. It's not like I had an idea. It's like, What am I going to do? What action are you going to take first? What are you going to try? How are you going to think differently about growth mindset? And even though we've talked about growth mindset, we've talked about actions to take and not just a way to think.

00:33:43:17 - 00:34:08:02
Kevin Eikenberry
So how do you think what might you do to remove yourself or your team from the comfort zone to the learning zone to the growth zone? What have you learned today about how you can think and operate with psychological safety? More differently? Those are just a couple of things I wrote. The challenge for you is to take action on what you learned, because if you do and when you do, you'll get far better results.

00:34:08:02 - 00:34:18:15
Kevin Eikenberry
So, Skip, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being in us to get the technology fixed. And it was a pleasure to have you. Thanks for being here.

00:34:18:17 - 00:34:22:03
Skip Bowman
Thanks. Thanks, Kevin. Really love the opportunity.

00:34:22:04 - 00:34:45:23
Kevin Eikenberry
And with that, everybody, that means this episode of the Remarkable Leadership podcast is over. If it's your first, there's plenty more to see or listen to by going to wherever you listen to your podcasts or the remarkable podcast sitcom to see any of the past 400 odd episodes. But you don't want do that. Just subscribe wherever it is you subscribe.

00:34:45:23 - 00:34:51:05
Kevin Eikenberry
Because next week we'll be back with another episode of the Remarkable Leadership Podcast. We'll see you then.

Meet Skip Bowman

Skip's Story: Skip Bowman is the author of Safe to Great: The New Psychology of Leadership, a consultant and keynote speaker focusing on how to transform organizations to the green economy with a growth mindset and psychological safety. Australian-born and Europe-based, he has worked with global organizations for over 25 years developing unique programs and approaches that are captured in his recently released Safe2Great concept. “People first” is Skip’s mantra for success in business, leadership, and change. Only when people feel valued and respected can you fully realize the potential of a purpose-based organization. He uses two working languages (Danish & English). He grew up in Perth, Australia, and has spent most of the last 25 years working in Switzerland, England, France, and Denmark. After studying Finance in Australia, he attained his M.A. in Psychology and Languages in Copenhagen. Skip has a Master in Organizational Psychology (Denmark) and completed additional training in cross-cultural management, group dynamics, coaching, and cultural change.

If we know there's somebody behind us who is taking care of us, who, no matter what, is going to continue to care and want us to learn and develop that makes all the difference. That's the magic dust.

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The Long-Distance Team. Remote leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel, help leaders navigate the new world of remote and hybrid teams to design the culture they desire for their teams and organizations in their new book!

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