Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Mar 29, 2017

Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos interview Tommy Spaulding - the author of “Heart-Led Leader.” The conversation explores themes on being humble, authentic, and honorable vis-a-vis grit, edge, and tenacity. Tommy wrote about Return On Relationship (ROR), and says that with authentic relationships, you get lifelong customers. When you have a genuine interest in others, they will ask you, “What do you do? How can I help you?” Tommy believes the greatest leaders are the ones that connect the head to the heart.

Listen in to learn more about leading with your head and heart..


Key Takeaways

[1:59] Tommy’s career started at Up With People. In the course of that job he met Ken Blanchard, who changed his life. Tommy followed his footsteps to become a thought leader, speaker, and author.

Tommy sees his success as being based on ‘heart.’ He categorizes thought leaders as either arrogant about success or humble about their path to learning.

[4:39] Tommy says within minutes of entering an event he can tell if the CEO is respected and loved. You can choose to work every day on being humble, authentic, and honorable. It’s Not Just Who You Know is about ‘net giving,’ not networking. Net giving is where your heart should be when you meet people. Don’t sell yourself, but learn about others, and how you can serve them and give to them.

[12:03] Leadership books must deliver bottom line results. Tommy wrote about Return On Relationship (ROR) to steer people toward relationship building. Authentic relationships become lifelong customers. Tommy reveals the ‘magical’ key to monetizing relationships. Without this key, the relationship will fail. When you have a genuine interest in others, they will ask you, “What do you do? How can I help you?”

[18:16] As Tommy met leaders, he observed the ones that people particularly loved. He started taking notes, and listing leaders that he felt were servant leaders, and interviewed them. The greatest leaders are the ones that connect the head to the heart. People want to follow them.

[20:31] Tommy defines a great leader as one people choose to follow, because they love and are loved. Tommy uses the example of Roger Eaton, the global President of KFC. He is not just respected, but is loved by his people. Tommy talks on love in the workplace. Millennials will not follow you, unless they know that you are creating a place of goodness.

[27:38] Tommy wants a Maserati, but he won’t leave Lexus, because of service manager Kelly Kennedy. Kelly provides incredible customer service, and hugs Tommy every time he sees him. Any leader would want customers to feel about their staff the way Tommy considers Kelly.

[36:54] In building authentic relationships with people, the goal is not get on their Christmas card list. The goal is to be invited to their Christmas (or Chanukah) dinner. Make a list of the top 20 important people in your life, and ask what kind of relationship you have. Ask, how would you love and serve them more? It can transform your life. It takes time. Tommy discusses authentic philanthropy.



Books Mentioned in This Episode

The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson M.D.

Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership, by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi, and Drea Zigarmi

The Heart-Led Leader: How Living and Leading From the Heart Will Change Your Organization and Your Life, by Tommy Spaulding

It's Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life (and Your Organization) by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships, by Tommy Spaulding, Foreword by Ken Blanchard


Tommy Spaulding is the Founder & President of Spaulding Companies, a leadership development, speaking, training, and executive coaching firm based in Denver, Colorado. A world-renowned speaker on leadership, Spaulding has spoken to hundreds of organizations, associations, educational institutions, and corporations around the globe. His first book, It’s Not Just Who You Know: Transform Your Life and Your Organization by Turning Colleagues and Contacts into Lasting, Genuine Relationships, published by Penguin Random House in 2010, quickly climbed to the top of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today national bestseller lists. His new book, The Heart-Led Leader, published by Penguin Random House in October, 2015 is a New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal national bestseller and was also listed on’s Top 100 Business Books of 2015.

Spaulding rose to become the youngest President & CEO of the world-renowned leadership organization, Up with People. In 2000, Tommy founded Leader’s Challenge, which grew to become the largest high school civic and leadership program in the state of Colorado. He is the Founder & President of the Global Youth Leadership Academy as well as the National Leadership Academy, a leading national non-profit high school leadership development organization.

Previously, Spaulding was the Business Partner Sales Manager at IBM/Lotus Development and a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. He received a BA in Political Science from East Carolina University (1992); an MBA from Bond University in Australia (1998), where he was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar; and an MA in Nonprofit Management from Regis University (2005).

In 2006, Spaulding was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award by East Carolina University (ECU) and in 2007, Spaulding received an Honorary PhD in Humanities from the Art Institute of Colorado. In September, 2012 Spaulding was named by Meetings & Conventions Magazine as one of the 100 MOST FAVORITE SPEAKERS in the nation.


Tommy resides in the Denver metro area with his wife and children.




Facebook: Tommy Spaulding
Twitter: @TommySpaulding

LinkedIn: Tommy Spaulding