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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!

Aug 22, 2018

This week, Jan returns fresh from a trip to Ireland, where he traveled and worked with his MBA students through his course at University of Colorado Denver. He and Jim discuss the parallels and running themes between the young professionals, and guests from recent podcast episodes. They discuss how leaders can foster an environment of vulnerability and purpose for young professionals. Finally, Jim and Jan share their ideas on how leaders and executives can create and engineer networked feedback loops in the business world.


Key Takeaways

[2:13] Jan recently took 12 of his MBA students to study in the Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom. Traveling between two locations provided a good comparison and contrast of business in the countries, and gave students a global perspective on startup companies, and what it really takes to study and then become a leader. It was not all fun and drinking Guinness however - many work days were very long, fast paced and in an environment that called for punctuality and professionalism from start to finish.

[5:26] Much like executives going through transition and transformation, Jan found the students are also looking for a place to be purposeful and have their contributions acknowledged.

[6:02] Leaders must frame and set expectations from the beginning, and hold the team accountable from day one until the even after the mission.

[7:31] In Ep 101, General Stanley McChrystal notes we should hold ourselves up to certain standards, rather against one another. In Ep 65, Maestro of the Colorado Symphony, Brett Mitchell, views success in his orchestra when they play with each other, AND for each other!

[9:54] The four ground rules of individual leadership:

  1. Take personal responsibility
  2. Be On Time
  3. Be Curious
  4. Have a Great Attitude, and Be a Team Player

[9:55] A strong leader with a broad vision sets expectations from the beginning, creates an environment where people can step up at different times, and creates post action reviews and feedback loops. When this is place, most of the people will do the right thing at the right time with minimal supervision.

[12:04] It is now becoming more common for executives to journal. Sharing written accounts of our feelings shows how we and others are processing events, and where we may be struggling. Fostering a culture where vulnerability is welcomed helps people feel safe to learn from their mistakes. It also supports two of the biggest challenges in today’s workforce: talent acquisition and retention.

[18:40] Leaders must figure out an efficient way to engineer feedback loops. One way may be the structured moving of employees to different geographical locations.

[21:05] For innovation, you need time to reflect. The environment has to be safe to make decisions and collaborate.

[22:05] Successful leaders and teams recognize their mistakes but act quickly and strategically to turn it around.


Quotable Quotes

  • “It’s not about measuring yourself against your peers.”
  • “Getting a group to hold themselves accountable is a fine art.”
  • “Executives should continually ask themselves whether they are creating the right environment.”
  • “We all learn when vulnerable.”
  • “If you don’t ask for help, you’re never going to learn and grow.”
  • “It’s what you do after you make a mistake that matters.”


University of Colorado Denver

Class Act

Ep 068: Everybody Lies: Data Tells Us Who We Really Are

Ep 101: General Stanley McChrystal on What Connects Us

Ep 065: A Maestro’s Secret for a High Performing Team

Positive Coaching Alliance


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Facebook: @westudyleaders

Twitter: @westudyleaders