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Leadership Interviews

George Bradt - First-Time Leader

  

Foundational Tools for Inspiring and Enabling Your New Team

Published on April 17 2014
George Bradt, Managing Partner, Primegenesis,-TotalPicture Radio interviewGeorge Bradt

"People will follow a charismatic leader for a time... but it's all about the leader. On the other hand, they will commit themselves to the cause of a BRAVE leader over time."

According to our special guest and frequent contributor to TotalPicture Radio, George Bradt, 40 percent of first-time leaders fail within their first 18 months. "Leading is about inspiring and enabling others to do their absolute best, together, to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose." Welcome to a Leadership Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio, with Peter Clayton reporting.

Much of this book focuses on building relationships, building teams, and how to hire great people. HR leaders and recruiters will find a fresh approach to the recruiting process, including tools like the Recruiting Brief which will give you the mindset of a senior executive and what is most important from a leaders perspective when assessing candidates, including mission/responsibilities, strengths, motivation, and fit. As with his past books, First Time Leader is really a workbook, including many downloadable tools and forms such as The Recruiting Brief.

In our exclusive Leadership Channel podcast, Bradt delves into the BRAVE leadership components articulated in his new book, from the outside in:
Environment: Setting the context for everything else by understanding the historical background and competitive environment in which you are playing
Values: Understanding your mission and getting clear on what really matters and why
Attitude: Learning and observing the current strategy before trying to change things
Relationships: Understanding the heart of leadership. If you can't connect, you can't lead
Behaviors: Determining the course of action that will make a lasting impact on others

George Bradt - TotalPicture Radio Interview 'First-Time Leader'

Hi, this is Peter Clayton reporting. Before we get to our interview with George Bradt, co-author of First Time Leader, I want to remind you that I'll be at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee April 28 through the 30th covering the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Expo. TotalPicture Media has high visibility marketing opportunities available to a limited number of vendors, exhibitors and consultants for video and podcasts production. To learn more please contact me through totalpicture.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Welcome to our Leadership Channel Podcast here on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting. Joining me today is George Bradt, Managing Director Prime Genesis. Prior to founding Prime Genesis, George Served as Chief Executive of J.D. Power's Power Information Network spinoff and then General Management Marketing and Sales at Coca-Cola in Europe and Asia, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. As a principal of CEO Connection, George contributes to a weekly column, Forbes.com, the new leader's playbook. He is a frequent contributor to TotalPicture Radio and the author of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan, Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time, and his latest book which we'll be discussing here today, is titled First Time Leader, foundational tools for inspiring and enabling your new team.

George, welcome back to TotalPicture Radio.

George: It's always good to spend time with you, sir.

Peter: Thank you so much. So, right off the Amazon website here, 40 percent of new leaders fail within the first 18 months. True?

George: True and the scary thing is we can't change that number. The people we've worked with we've dropped that 40 percent failure rate down to below 10 percent, but we haven't changed the overall number and this has been going on for years and it's a real problem.

Peter: So, is there a common cause for this failure George?

George: Well it's three.

Peter: Okay.

George: When people fail, it tends to be for one of three reasons, either poor fit, they don't deliver, or they can't adjust to another change down the road. And what's interesting is whoever you talk to about this blames the other guy. If you talk to the organization, they say yeah, you know that new guy or that new woman she just didn't fit. If you talk to the new guy or new woman, they say you know that organization wasn't what they pretended to be. The organization will say, yeah he or she just couldn't get it done, they couldn't deliver and he or she will say they didn't give me the resources and support I needed to get it done.

Then on the third piece, that things change, everybody says yeah, things change. Nobody is prepared to step up and take the blame, but with a 40 percent failure rate, I am here to tell you there is enough blame to go around.

Peter: Well and it seems that a 40 percent failure rate and that's costing corporations a lot of money.

George: Absolutely. It's crazy.

Peter: Well isn't there such a thing, George, as a natural born leader? You know an individual with a lot of charisma and a gift for inspiring people, people like Richard Branson, for instance.

George: Yeah, maybe. Maybe. What happens is - and Branson may be the exception that proves the rule - but what I've figured out, we've figured out is that people will follow a charismatic leader for a time, but it's all about the leader. On the other hand, they will commit themselves to the cause of a brave leader over time. If you're the leader, when we talk leaders we say listen, you need to understand it's not about you. Actually, it's not even about your team. It's about the cause. Get people rallied around the cause and then they'll go forward almost no matter what you do and then you're job is just to inspire and enable them.

Peter: I think that really fits well within Richard Branson's model because his whole thing is about the cause, whatever it is he's promoting, right.

George: Yeah, he's fabulous. I was at a conference last year and got a chance to be part of a small group talking. The guy is just (A) electric and (B) really, really does care about his causes, about what he's doing. He's rare and special and terrific.

Peter: And I think it's that authenticity a lot of times that really shines through, especially with leaders, because there's a great sniff test out there now, which is called the internet. People who are authentic, other people are willing to follow.

George: Yeah, the model or the framework I like is be, do, say, where, and nobody is going to believe what you say because they'll just sniff it out eventually, which is why you're actions must match your words, but with that great sniff test out there that you've just talked about, just matching your actions to your words is not good enough because if they don't match your fundamental underlying beliefs, sooner or later you're going to get sniffed out, you're going to get caught.

Peter: Okay, so let's talk about First Time Leader. First of all, what's the difference between this book and from The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan?

George: Yeah, the co-author, Gillian Davis called me up and said 'listen, George, I've been working with entrepreneurs, I've been working with people starting up teams, I've been working with first time leaders and I've been trying to adapt the tools out of The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan and I'm having trouble because they seem to be for people leading big teams and is there a way to adapt these tools for people going in to lead small teams or people going into for their first time leadership role.' And I said, "Well, maybe, but why don't you and I just write a whole new book and look at it from afresh," and she loved that idea. So that's what we did. We started from scratch and said okay, what do I wish someone had told me when I was a first time leader and that's the sort of slant of the book.

Peter: Let's face it, leaders come in many forms and sizes so is the approach the same, meaning taking on a leadership role in a Fortune 500 company, a Coca-Cola, where you may be leading hundreds of people versus that of a small company or a startup.

George: I guess the NCAA final, basketball finals and in some respect it's really about shooting and defense and passing and teamwork and that's true for a grade school basketball game or the NCAA championship. But at the NCAA championship we're at the pro level, they have to take it to a whole different level. It's the same with leadership. The basics are the same. The shooting and the defense, it's all the same. When you're playing at the executive level, there are levels of complications that we really take into account in the new leaders, under the action plan. In First Time Leader, we've stripped away a lot of that and we really focus on the basics and in particular we've pulled in this model of BRAVE leadership, which we think is a framework that will work for first time leaders and it's something that they can carry through with them throughout their careers.

Peter: All right, so let's spend some time talking about this BRAVE framework, which is an acronym for behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and environment. So George, walk us through this a little bit starting with behaviors.

George: No.

Peter: No?

George: No.

Peter: Okay. You want to go backwards? You want to start with environment?

George: I do, because you want to go outside in.

Peter: Okay.

George: And you read it right, and the reason I don't want to start with behaviors is because one of the fundamental premises is you've got to start outside in. You don't start with what you're doing, you start with the context. So it's set up with these five questions. Around environment the question is where to play and this is about understanding the context, the business environment, the organizational history, the recent results. You've got to answer the question where do I play before you do anything else. That's step one.

Peter: Okay.

George: Then, once you've decided where you're going to play and I can give you examples if you want, but let me give you the headlines first.

Peter: Okay.

George: Then you've got to get values and that is what matters and why. This is about purpose. This is about mission, this is about vision, this is about values and these are, this is the cause. This is the thing that leaders need to rally people around, you've got to understand what matters. That's values. Then attitudes. Attitude is about how to win. These are about the choices, the strategic choices, the posture choices. Are we going to be proactive, are we going to be reactive and then the whole culture because culture is in the end the only sustainable competitive advantage. So you make those choices. Then we get to relationships, which is how to connect and relationships are the heart of the leadership. So arguably the environment where to play is the context. What matters is what matters and why. The attitude is how to win. All that sets up how to connect. This is about communication, this is about the organization, this is about building the team.

Once you've done that and only once you've done that then you can get to behaviors, which is what impact. That's about the operations, the milestones, the making things happen. If you start with behaviors, you're missing the context, you're missing the values, you're missing the choices, you're missing the relationships and it's harder to get people to follow you. So you're right, BRAVE is an acronym. I think it's important to build it from the outside in.

Peter: Oh, that's really interesting and while you were describing this, I mean one company and one person that I was thinking about is Tony Hsieh, who is the CEO of Zappos because culture is everything to that organization and it's foundational to how they approach their entire business.

George: Well, absolutely and Tony has one of the great where to play stories because he talks about playing tournament poker, which he does a lot and he said after a while, after playing tournament poker he realized it's all about choices and where do you bet and what do you do, whatever. He said the most important choice he makes at a tournament poker match is what table to sit at because if he goes into one of these big rooms with all these tables of nine people and he sits down at a table with nine guys who are on a bachelor party who have been out all night having a great time and are there for fun, he's got a far better chance of winning than if he sits down at a table with nine former world champions hell bent on getting their prize back. So where to play and that is why he chose to play in retail shoes because it was so broken he decided it was like the whole industry had just come back from a bachelor party and he thought he could win.

Peter: Your book is a tremendous resource for those who can plan and organize the transition to a new leadership position, but as we all know there are many situations where you may be thrust into an opportunity without having any notice or time to prepare so how do you approach something like that where you wake up one morning and all of a sudden you're presented with this opportunity and you've had no time to prepare for it.

George: I think that's why the frameworks are really so important. In particular, I'm really liking this BRAVE framework because it is so simple. You can literally in a minute say okay where do I play, I'm jumping into this role, what do I know, what do I know about the context, what really matters. Just stop for a second, how are we going to win, how am I going to approach this, who do I connect with, how do I connect with them and then what impact do I have to make. So you can go through the BRAVE piece really quickly and it sets up if you have a little more time BRAVE onboarding.

So I'm using this acronym, I'm kind of like Maslow running around the world looking for nails to hit with my BRAVE hammer. But BRAVE onboarding you ask the same questions and you take a stop and you say okay, how do I get a head start. Even if I only have a couple of minutes, what's the context, what matters, what's the approach? Then I've got to get my message right. I've got to figure out how I'm going to connect with these people even if I'm thrust in. If I'm being thrust on them and from my perspective, I don't have a lot of time to think about it.

From their perspective, it's the same thing. I'm being thrust on them, they don't know how to react either so I might as well control the dialog as much as I can by getting clear on my message. Then, in terms of behaviors, I want to think about the strategic process, the organizational process and the operating process so even though I'm being thrust in I'm thinking over the longer term.

Peter: It seems to me, George, that there would certainly be a difference for someone who was being promoted within an existing company versus coming into a new organization as a new leader. What are some of the challenges and differences in that kind of scenario?

George: It's really the context. If you're promoted from within, you are part of the context and you have a track record and people know you and even if they don't know you, they know people who know you and there are no secrets. What happens whereas you're coming from the outside, you get a completely fresh start in theory, to a degree? But that sets up a whole bunch of things like there is no honeymoon if you're promoted from within. Nobody is going to give you a day to find the bathrooms, they assume that if you're promoted from within or are transferred you're going to hit the ground running and be up to speed instantly.

The other piece then is timing. So when we talk to people about executive onboarding or onboarding, which obviously is my sweet spot, we tell them three things - (1) get a head start, (2) manage your message, and (3) build your team. What happens is if your coming in from the outside, you want as much time as possible between when you're announced and when you're going to get started because you can use that time between being announced and starting to jump start relationships, meet with some people, talk to some people before day one and enroll them as coaches.

If you're promoted from within, it's exactly the opposite. Because the minute you're announced if you're promoted from within, you're live in two jobs. You have to do the old job and you have to do the new job. So it's actually more stressful so what you want is ideally as little time as possible between the formal announcement and when you start when you're promoted from within.

Peter: There's a section of your book I'd like you to spend some time on. Many of my listeners are in recruiting and HR roles and you have a section that's titled How To Hire Great People, which really comes at this from a very different perspective than most of the folks who I've spoken to about the recruiting and HR functions. You would think, George, that this would be kind of obvious you know, the recruiting process, you know like things like why are we hiring but it's not.

George: One of the things that people are finding most interesting is the tool on the recruiting brief. One of the things we've done with a lot of our books credit Wiley because they're the ones that originally pushed us into this, but all of our books are designed to be used, not read. So they all have these downloadable tools and Recruiting Brief is one of the downloadable tools and you're right, I took a very different approach with that because in some ways it's like it's BRAVE recruiting again. But it starts with why. Why does this position exist, why do we need anyone in this position? How is our world going to be better off with this person because no one should ever start recruiting anyone for any position anywhere until they know why they need them. If you start there and then flesh out some of the obvious stuff, the objectives and the specific responsibilities, the relationships and the impact on the rest of the organization, you're getting a pretty good picture kind of what they're going to do and why.

The second part then gets at their strengths because as you and I have talked about before, there are really only three interview questions. Any question anybody has ever asked anybody in any interview or been asked in any interview is a subset of three questions. Can you do the job, would you love the job, and can we tolerate working with you? Your strengths, motivation, and fit. So in the Recruiting Brief we suggest fleshing that out. In strengths, stealing from Gallup are a combination of talents, things you're born with. Knowledge that you acquire through education or training and skills that you get through practice. It's a really nice way of thinking about what is going to be required of somebody, what's somebody's going to have to be able to do the job, strengths.

Then we get into motivation because if these people don't love the job they're not going to do a great job so you need to figure out how it fits with their likes and dislikes and then motivation. Then finally it's fit and fit is with guess what, the organization's values and then the work style of the company, the group and the manager because as you know people don't really leave companies they leave bad managers. So the fit with the supervisor is important and that then is a framework really encapsulated by the Recruiting Brief and as you've figured out the section on relationships is actually about half the book. It's the heart of leadership and recruiting and hiring great people is a big part of that relationship piece, but the reason I chose to answer your question by zeroing on the Recruiting Brief is that's the heart of it, that's the pivot. It's the difference between saying oh my gosh, we've got to fill this job and stopping and saying okay, can we take a look at this. Why are we doing this, what's the context, what matters, what are the values. How are we going to do this, how are we going to win on this, how are we going to establish relationship and what do we want this person to do.

Peter: Again, back to my original question and the Recruiting Brief was what really set me off on this because again, and in a lot of the situations and the people I've talked, I mean a lot of recruiters use SLAs (service level agreements), which are somewhat similar to the Recruiting Brief, but are focused on a completely different set of objectives.

George: Yeah, and I think they're wrong. It's not that I think hey, these are different ways to get at the same thing. I think a lot of recruiters go at this wrong and if leadership is about inspiring and enabling others, which it is and if onboarding is a crucible of leadership, which it is, the way you bring people in is critical. It starts with getting everyone aligned around what you need from this person, what the new person is going to do, whoever they are, in the role because this is how you combat that first issue, that first fit issue, which gets back to the 40 percent failure rate. A lot of that happens before the first contact between the organization or the organizations representatives and the candidate. So get people aligned. Recruit them in a way that it starts their onboarding and then you can go from there.

Peter: Another form that you have is called the Job Requirement Checklist, which really gets into a much more detailed thing unlike the Recruiting Brief, which really is sort of like an overarching look at the company and why you're bringing this person in. The Job Requirement Checklist gets into the details of the job itself.

George: Well, all right. So not telling tales out of school, you just got at the difference between Gillian and me. I wrote the Recruiting Brief because I think, you know, I'm the more experienced wisdom guy and I think strategically and what really matters and Gillian, who's an ex recruiter, she did the Job Requirement Checklist because she says hey, the devil is in the details and of course, the answer is we're both right.

Peter: They complement each other -

George: Yeah, it looks like we worked together on it.

Peter: Yes, exactly, exactly. George, I've really appreciated your time today. So, in addition to the book, The First Time Leader, you have a First Time Leader program. So tell us a little bit about some of the services that you're offering in addition to the book?

George: We built a whole program, we built it actually six months before we launched the book and the idea is we wanted to be able to help first time leaders however they wanted to be helped. So there's a whole bunch of information in my Forbes article, and by the way, at this point I've done over 200 of them, so there's a real body of knowledge there and a lot of its applicable to first time leaders and that's of course free. So that's a pretty good price. Then we've got the book, which actually takes a lot of some of the best learning from the Forbes articles and my own experiences and that's whatever it is -- $25.

We've got a series of videos, so we built a program to help first time leaders transition into new jobs. If you're going to your first job and it's sort of self-service program that we charge, I don't know, I want to say $500 for that and each of those steps has videos on it and then worksheets. We separated out the videos so you can just go look at the videos if you want for I think it's $99 and then of course we have coaching and we have workshops and we're doing public workshops for first time leaders once a month and we'll be doing workshops for corporations. So there's a whole range from free articles to books to videos to workshops to online workshops to private workshops to one on one coaching. So if you're a first time leader and you need help, which you do, we have a way to help you.

Peter: Super. George, thanks so much foe taking time to speak with us here on TotalPicture Radio.

George: Always a pleasure, sir.

George Bradt is Managing Director of Prime Genesis and co-author of First Time Leader published by Wiley. You'll find this interview in the leadership channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com along with resource links. This is Peter Clayton. Thanks for tuning in.

A very quick closing reminder here folks. I'll be covering the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Expo April 28 through the 30 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. TotalPicture Media has high visibility marketing opportunities available to a very limited number of vendors, exhibitors, and consultants for video and podcasts production. To learn more please contact me through totalpicture.com, LinkedIn or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I look forward to seeing all of you in Nashville.

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James M. Kerr - The Executive Checklist

  

A Guide for Setting Direction and Managing Change

Published on March 27 2014
James M. Kerr, BlumShapiro,-TotalPicture Radio interviewJames M. Kerr

The Executive Checklist is a new book I recommend for all talent acquisition and HR managers and executives, written by James M. Kerr,  a partner at BlumShapiro Consulting in West Hartford, CT. Jim specializes in strategic planning, corporate transformation and project & program development.

Welcome to a Leadership Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio, this is Peter Clayton reporting. In the introduction to The Executive Checklist, Jim writes,"What better way to simplify the complex than to create a checklist? Checklists are a modest way to reduce failure, ensure consistency, and safeguard comprehensiveness." One thing you'll appreciate in reading the book: the author's insights and recommendations are based on real-world experiences with clients like IBM, The Home Depot, Zappos, and JP Morgan Chase.

The Executive Checklist includes ten items: Establish Leadership, Build Trust, Set Strategy, Engage Staff, Manage Work as Projects, Renovate the Business, Align Technology, Transform Staff, Renew Communications Practices, Reimagine Organizational Design.

In our conversation, we focus on Engage Staff, Align Technology, and Transform Staff.

The Executive Checklist is Jim's fourth business strategy book. Check the sidebar for links to his website and other resources.

Adam Bryant - Quick And Nimble

  

Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation

Published on February 04 2014
Adam Bryant, New York Times Corner Office Columnist -TotalPicture Radio interviewAdam Bryant

Quick and Nimble provides a playbook for organizations of all sizes about the biggest drivers of corporate innovation.

In his new book, Quick and Nimble, New York Times "Corner Office" columnist Adam Bryant draws upon interviews with over 200 CEOs to identify the biggest drivers of innovative corporate culture, and he brings them to life with real-world examples that reflect the hard-earned wisdom of experienced leaders whose ranks include Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Angie Hicks of Angie's List, Steve Case of Revolution (and formerly AOL), and Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania.

Welcome to a Leadership Channel interview on TotalPicture Radio with Peter Clayton reporting. Though every company's culture is unique, a pattern and theme emerges through these interviews: to win in this economy, companies must be quick and nimble and attract the best and brightest employees by creating an environment where they can grow, contribute, and feel rewarded.

As the world shifts to more of a knowledge economy, the winners will be companies that can attract and retain the best and brightest employees by creating an environment where they can grow, contribute, and feel rewarded. Through the wisdom of these leading chief executives, Quick and Nimble offers a keen understanding of the forces that shape corporate culture and a clear road map to bring success and energy to any organization.

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Boards That Lead

  

When to Take Charge, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way. An Interview with Dennis Carey, Vice-Chairman Korn/Ferry

Published on January 03 2014
Dennis Carey, Vice-Chairman, Korn/Ferry Interational -TotalPicture Radio interviewDennis Carey

Welcome to 2014 and our first Leadership Channel interview of the new year! This is Peter Clayton reporting. Joining me today is our good friend and contributor to TotalPicture Radio, CEO advisor and keynote speaker, David Dalka. Joining David and myself is Dennis Carey, Vice Chairman of Korn/Ferry International.

Our focus today is on an important new book titled Boards That Lead, When to Take Charge, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way, published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Dennis Carey has placed some of the most prominent chief executives and corporate directors in the United States, including those at 3M, American Express, Goldman Sachs, GSK, Humana, MCI, and Tyco International.

In his fourth book on CEO succession and corporate governance, co-authored by Ram Charan and Michael Useem, Boards That Lead explores the central question: "Is your firm's board creating value-or destroying it?"

According to the authors, "Leadership at the top is being redefined as boards take a more active role in decisions that once belonged solely to the CEO. But for all the advantages of increased board engagement, it can create debilitating questions of authority and dangerous meddling in day-to-day operations. Directors need a new road map-for when to lead, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way."

Based on personal interviews and the authors' broad and deep experience working with executives and directors from dozens of the world's largest firms, including Apple, Boeing, Ford, Infosys, and Lenovo, Boards That Lead tells the inside story behind the successes and pitfalls of this new leadership model.

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Leadership Stamina

  

Research confirms that "power naps" really work. But how long should they be?

Published on December 19 2013
Jessica Payne, Ph.D., interview recorded with Peter Clayton at the NeuroLeadership Summit -TotalPicture Radio interviewJessiva Payne

Leaders are under ever-increasing pressure to make harder decision in less time, under more stress, and with less sleep. Given this is a recipe for poor cognitive performance, effective leadership at any level requres developing cognitive stamina - the ability to get the most from your brain.

In this exclusive interview with Peter Clayton, recorded at the NeuroLeadership Summit, Jessica Payne, Ph.D, one of the world's leading researchers around sleep, stress and memory, explores the foundations of developing cognitive stamina, drawing on a wide range of research as Director of the Sleep, Stress and Memory Lab, University of Notre Dame.

Watch the Video Now!

Jessica Payne's research focuses on how sleep impacts memory, creativity and the ability to process new ideas - in particular, how new information is processed and transformed by a process known as consolidation, which solidifies memories. Dr. Payne uses two powerful tools to probe memory - sleep and stress. Both provide important mediums for targeting the consolidation process in humans. Dr. Payne combines behavioral, pharmacological and cognitive neuroscientific (EEG, MRI) approaches to investigate these questions. Another line of research examines how disturbances in sleep and stress influence memory consolidation in people with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, and how this, in turn, influences psychological functioning.

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