Live Life With Intention And Exciting Transformation Will Take Place with Dr. Ian Brooks, MS
Living life with intention. Are you living with intention? If you arent currently would you know where to start? Start from when yourself. Learn why you make the decisions you make. Learn what is keeping you from focusing on what you want and what you can control. Once you shift that focus the world is yours through transformation. Success is within reach your reach.
Table of Contents
- Live Life With Intention And Exciting Transformation Will Take Place with Dr. Ian Brooks, MS
- Full Transcript Below
About Dr. Ian
Dr. Ian Brooks is the chief executive and founder of Rhodes Smith Consulting leading transformations of people and organizations for over 24 years. Dr. Ian has extensive experience in executive and leadership development, change management, business performance consulting, and communication planning.
Ian helps clients achieve their pursuits through:
Ian’s coaching is based on building client leadership capabilities and creating intentional scenarios to improve their team and organizations performance. Leveraging business and team feedback, Ian partners with executives in identifying behaviors, routines and measures for sustainment. Previous corporate clients include executives and their teams from Shondaland and Black Cultural Events, targeting improved employee morale and communication, delegation tactics, and executive leadership.
By creating leadership development programs, Ian facilitates leadership and employee learning to help companies advance by providing insight-driven solutions. He partners with managers to model and develop processes that help teams overcome performance-limiting behaviors resulting in more effective coaches and mentors for their staff. Previous clients include executives and leaders at the Guitar Center, Bank of America, and Palo Alto Medical Health (Sutter Health) focused on succession planning, talent development, line of business skill assessment and leadership coaching.
Organizational Transformation/ Development
Ian is an expert in change management and partners with organizations in realizing business strategy through human change. He defines new generations of solutions through research and experience with clients around the world. Clients have included Nike, Sony Inc., Warner Brothers, Fox Sports, and Illumina focused on technology implementations impacting employees globally.
In addition to the clients listed, Ian has worked as a consultant with IBM and Slalom Consulting; as well, as internally at Kaiser Permanente and the Department of the Interior. He is the author of the upcoming book Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story and is content creator and trainer of Organization Development & Change Leadership certification program, in collaboration with the Drucker School of Management.
Ian holds a PhD in Industrial /Organizational Psychology from Marshall Goldsmith School of Management at Alliant International University, a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a
Bachelors in Psychology from Morehouse College.
Rhodes Smith Consulting Website
Listen to more great episodes of The Business of Business Podcast here
Full Transcript Below
Live Life With Intention And Exciting Transformation Will Take Place
Tue, 7/6 6:08PM • 56:54
work, people, organization, understand, solve, person, talent pipelines, roles, leadership development, job, acknowledge, standpoint, leaders, individuals, thinking, development standpoint, leadership, visibility, talked, develop
Iam, Roy Barker
Roy Barker 00:07
Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host, Roy. Of course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a set of diverse topics. We want to do is maybe help you realize something that could be a good addition or a good fit for your business. But also, if you know that you’re struggling some areas. Give you some experts that you can turn to, you know, to help you with that to build some trust, but in today is no different. We’ve been waiting for a couple weeks excited to have Dr. Ian Brooks, MS. Live life with intention
He is the Chief Executive and Founder of Rhodes Smith Consulting. They’re leading transformation of people in organizations over 24 years. Dr. Ian has extensive experience in executive and leadership development, change management, business performance consulting and communication planning. Also, he is the author of an upcoming book Intention, Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story. And Ian, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
Dr. Ian 01:13
Hey, thanks, Roy. Happy to be here. You said a lot of great things about me and I can live up to it today. Yeah.
Roy Barker 01:19
Let me go. No, I’m a guest on the show. I’m like, yeah, I’m quitting right now. While I’m mad. Well, no, I appreciate you. And like I said, I’ve been excited to have you on because I think there’s so much to unpack. And, you know, I think we’ve talked about three or four for three or four different things. I think, if you don’t mind, kind of start off with, you know, how did you end up here? What got you into the business side? And then, you know, just kind of how you got to this point?
Sure. Yeah, it’s been a long, windy road, that it’s continuous, to say the least. You I arrived here, you know, doing leadership development and change management for people. Over the last 2425 years. I started off as a psychologist. So as a 13 year old, I decided that I was always curious about why people did what they did and why people thought the way they did. I was someone who always want to just be average. I don’t want to be too high, nor don’t want to be too low.
Because both of those offer judgment in a way that I didn’t want or had to sustain. So for me, it was about understanding why people did what they did. And that required me being able to listen actively. As well as understanding who they are meeting them where they want it to go and where they want it to be, as well as allowed me to be in the background, so I wasn’t being judged or out front. Live life with intention
So I started this journey as being getting into psychology. And I first, when I got my master’s in clinical psychology, had an opportunity to work in a 24 hour lockdown ward with adults. So imagine individuals coming straight off the street who have chemical imbalances. And they need be recycled back on their medications. They need therapy, both individual and group therapy which I was able to conduct.
And and I tell you it afforded me a chance to really see the see a lens to of people of the development. What they go through. And then that particular setting from a chemical imbalance standpoint. Whereby we’re really restricting them in that in a locked downward. Where they could not go anywhere without any supervision. O even leave without a key which only staff had. And then going from that environment and putting them into back to the day to day worlds that they were coming from.
Seeing some of that some of those differences. And I’m really offered and ushered in a new perspective of how people interact, and who we are as individuals. So I remember driving home one day. And thinking about a response that one of my clients had, and it was consistent response. Whenever I asked him, how’s he doing? He would always come back and say, doing the best we can. Right. And, you know, when he said that when he said we as he had many people who use answering for. But it got me thinking that, you know, we’re all trying to do the best we can. But that kid is different from where we all start not and our reference points. And so from that time, you know, I decided, Hey, I wanted to work with higher functioning people.
So I went made the transition to work with organizations. So that afforded me a chance to get my Doctorate in Psychology. More specifically in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, where I could focus on changes in management. If change management and coaching within organizations and people just one on one. Even outside of organizations, and it’s afforded me a chance to work with some amazing companies. And with some amazing people. And what I’ve come to realize, or along this journey is. I don’t know if we’re any different than the people in the ward, we can just cope better if things have just kind of worked out for us. But we all that narrative of we all just want to be better is is true for us all. And I’ve yet to meet anyone who isn’t and does not want to do that.
And so that, for me a chance to work again. With a number of different people from across great organizations. As well as author in a book that you mentioned, Intention, Building Capabilities To Transform Your Story, which just captures some of the guiding principles that I’ve picked up along the way of where I see people struggling the most from a development standpoint, VDM executives as well as just individuals in a day to day perspective, as we try to, again, Master our own intentions and be better. Live life with intention
Dr. Ian 06:06
Yeah. Wow, what
Patience and Empathy
Roy Barker 06:07
a journey. I mean, I guess that says a lot about you with your patience and your empathy. To be able to work. You know, with that group in the lockdown, it’s tough. And, you know, I believe me, I’ll say a prayer every day. Because I think we’re all one paycheck. Or one, you know, incident, emotional incident or tragedy in our life from being in that position. And so yes, taking the time to, you know, really understand that is, you know, you know, God bless you for doing that, for doing that work. I know, it’s hard to track, you know, everybody wants to be you know, with the glitz and the glamour. You know, that’s where the real work is done in the trenches. So I would absolutely,
Dr. Ian 06:47
it’s my tell you, it’s an extremely rewarding experience. One that I’ll that I will always treasure. But as you mentioned, people come from a lot of different backgrounds to get to that place. And a lot of different reasons that have sparked and having worked with adults in that setting. As well as with children, as well, in a very similar setting. I’m truly thankful for the the life that I can lead. And, and, you know, family, friends, colleagues, and being able to do some things that we reported to do. Live life with intention
But you never know. Just the slightest of instances that can actually influence people in such profound ways. That it carries throughout the fabric of their entire life. Right. It’s extremely powerful. It’s extremely scary. Yeah. And it’s one of those things where I, yeah, I do, I do think about it a number of times, a month or so. Just to be just be thankful. Because of this selfless work and a lot of ways. Yeah, I
Roy Barker 07:49
think we, you know, most of us could fill up our gratitude journals with, you know, just being where we are. And a lot of times we go straight in life, but we don’t think about no matter how bad your day is going there, somebody that’s having a much worse day. And we have, we were you know, we got shelter, food, and a place to go every day, you know, we’ve pretty much been good people in our life, you know, our families, our loved ones, we got all that we have a lot to be thankful for.
Dr. Ian 08:16
Absolutely. And it gives me my perspective on change and work with people because as you said, they can always be worse. So all we’re trying to do is just be better. Yeah. is never actually curing cancer. We’re not we’re not doing anything else. We’re just trying, we’re just trying to take steps forward. That’s it. Yeah,
Roy Barker 08:33
it’s a pretty good transition. Because, you know, one thing we talked about is leadership, and, you know, kind of the development model versus maybe the bringing somebody in from the outside. But before we launch into that, I think, you know, kind of what this does also to it. He said something, you know, about trying to find where everybody’s at, start from where they’re at. And I think we need to think a lot about that in the workplace as well. Sometimes we don’t we think this is a homogeneous group that everybody’s on the same level, everybody thinks the same processes the same.
I tell you a simple thing that really changed my mind about this many years ago was I went to one of these painting parties. And you know, the lady stands up the front says pick up brush to and doing green or whatever. I think what it taught me is that she said the same thing to all 25 of us. But we all had very different pictures. And so it just made me think about wow, you know, in the workplace. I can tell you one thing, and I could tell your neighbor the same exact thing, same exact way y’all could both be listening to me at the same time. You could walk away with two totally different Live life with intention
Interpret What We Here
Dr. Ian 09:52
thoughts on that. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And, and, you know, that’s, you know, it’s a great, great example of just how We interpret what we hear, and how we process but also it aligns to our own skill and abilities of what we’re actually able to apply. Yeah, both in sight and sound. And then action. Yeah. And when I step into an organization, I remind myself that I can’t judge the book based on the chapter I’ve just walked in on, right. So I’m going to see a whole lot, I’m going to hear a lot. But there’s so much other context around who each of my clients are the organization, the fabric, their own nuances, of which, in certain ways, I’m not going to know on that first day, I’m not going to go on that, in those first few weeks.
I will know over time, based off of consistency of behavior, consistency of thought, action, because everyone in my mind, in some ways you’re going to live, right, you’re going to live in a context of just outright live, because you don’t want to necessarily acknowledge the truth, you’re going to lie, either in the context of, you’re going to withhold information because you don’t think it’s relevant. Or you’re going to lie, because you just don’t know the information yourself. So it’s not like you’re admitting something, you just don’t know it yourself. Right, right. And so for me, when I’m walking in and working with leaders and executives, I then have to start with, what am I hearing, and not judging the book on what I’m seeing on this chapter, but now understanding the fabric of who I’m actually working with.
And I think it’s a great segue, because I even talked about in my book intention. One of the key points in this book, at the very beginning is the principle of view, which really underscores who we are as people, because we all have characters that we have in our own lives, right? That that of who we are, and how we show up. And our characters aren’t job titles like VP of this or director of that, or it’s not even the title of dad, sibling, you know, brother, Uncle, you know, it’s not a title defined by that. As much as it’s a title of Mr. No doll. So in certain situations, when someone’s challenged, how do they show up for the abominable snowman from no Bugs Bunny? cartoon, right.
With Abominable Snowman, we just wanted nothing more than a buddy. And here are Daffy and Daffy Duck and bugs money get lost. The bottom of snowman just found the pet. He now he’s just choking the heck out of Bugs Bunny, all because you just want to love them, they will hit a pet. But clearly Daffy and Bugs Bunny didn’t see it that way at all. But imagine how that transfers over to one job, and to one’s family life, where they want something so much and so bad, they just strangle the life out of it. Were all that to do with just let go a little bit. And they would get exactly what they want. Right? Live life with intention
Um, and so in that context, and as you described, as I have worked with my leaders, I tried to find who their characters are, not what they’re showing me. But do my interviews with their peers, or their direct reports. My conversations are with them on a regular basis to really understand who are your characters? And how are you showing up? Because as you described from that painting, each of us has our own characters on how our skills and abilities transfer over into what we hear and do.
And it’s my responsibility both for my clients, but even for myself to see how am I showing up in a way that’s authentic, but also acknowledges all the things and characters I’ve created in my life that have kept me safe? and kept me in this proverbial box that have made me successful? Or at least halfway successful? to move forward?
Roy Barker 13:50
Right? Yeah, and you know, one thing too, I think, as you were talking, it was even thinking like likes and dislikes, because if if you’re a spreadsheet person, that sit next to maybe somebody that really likes to read in the written word, you know, somebody tells me, okay, we need these numbers crunched in this, you know, I kind of get a little excited, like, okay, because that’s what I like to do. I like spreadsheets and numbers. Now, the person that’s more of the reader, the wordsmith, they’re like, I see three numbers together. Live life with intention
And, you know, I go blind for for sure. You know, so it’s like, I think that also has a lot to do is, you know, not to jump the gun but you know, trying to match the right person with the right project with the right job. And not not making not intimidating like, you’ve got to do this, like, Well, why can’t we just find you something that fits you? You can excel and then you know, we’ll find you know, just suit everybody to the right project, I guess is the best way say it.
Dr. Ian 14:50
Yeah, I think that’s I think it’s a great point to acknowledge where people’s skill sets and where can they all thrive, because I have yet to also meet just as I mentioned, someone who doesn’t want To be better, I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants to waste their time, right? And then that people want to excel in what they’re good at, and what they enjoy doing. So that person who enjoys Excel, crunching and looking at the numbers, etc, that’s a different skill set, as well as potential different project or role on a project and say someone else who’s, who has a different way of thinking, who just want likes the talking piece behind that, and all good leaders, you know, can they you know, acknowledge what their team’s strengths and weaknesses are. Live life with intention
Now, that doesn’t mean we keep keep everyone in their strengths and dismiss their weaknesses, as much as it is acknowledging what they’re strong at. And where we need to either coach them up from a leadership standpoint, or acknowledge that we’re just going to extend them a little bit beyond their comfort zone, so that they can be contributed in different ways. So it creates a little bit more of a challenge, but also doing so so we don’t impact their confidence, we don’t impact their ability to actually get their job done.
Yeah. Because at that point, you hit people who are then frustrated, or can’t deliver all around expectations that may or may not have been set for themselves, or were set by somebody else. It’s all due to just not knowing who your who’s on your team. And in that case, the effectiveness of that leader, being able to transfer that information over and getting the most out of the talent. And the thing, you know,
Roy Barker 16:26
you mentioned this a little earlier that, but I think it’s good for especially when we come into a new situation, we have to realize there may be a small person, we’re not gonna say everybody, but let’s say the vast majority of people, they just want to come in, they want to do a good job, they want to feel good. I don’t I have never met a person in my life. I don’t think that woke up in the morning and said, I’m going in to do a terrible job today.
Right? Yeah, maybe some people went in and said, I want to do as little as possible today. Yes, there are those people. But, you know, for the for the vast majority of people, you know, they want to go and they want to do a good job, they want to feel good when they leave. They don’t they don’t want to put themselves in a position to feel bad because they didn’t do something. Right.
Dr. Ian 17:16
Absolutely. And I think one of the one of the challenges is, you know, for some leaders, and as we look at people who may be, you know, air quotes, slacking are not bringing their true selves or, or they’re coming in wrecking things. When they come in, come in there, you know, for projects or work or otherwise, it’s truly understanding what’s their what’s their priority, and what’s their goal, right, it doesn’t align to mind the line to ours as as a particular team, or mine as a leader. Because everyone has a purpose, and sometimes someone’s purpose is to do as you mentioned, the least amount of work as possible.
But they’ve executed against that purpose. Now, in that respect, they’ve done exactly what they said they wanted to do. And they can walk away thinking, yes, I did exactly what I wanted. But it also on the other hand, that also has an impact to others. And now it causes conflict, unnecessarily, right. And so really, as as you know, having a lead a team of 25 people at its max, at one point, my one of my chief responsibilities wasn’t about the work, heck, I knew my team could do the work. Live life with intention
So it was less about that. And in fact, I was the newest person on the team, so that many of them had been in their roles two years, at the least, and longer when I took over the team of which I had never led before. And one of the first things I had to do was understand who they were as people, and what was their motivation? Why did they come to work? What was the reason why they stayed in the role so long? What was their motivations, their priorities? And that’s not only about the work itself, they’re doing, but where did they see themselves in several years?
Or what was their priorities outside of the work life right, outside of the four walls in which I saw them, you know, with their families, with their friends, what were their interests, what were the things that really captured their mind. And only then when I understood the balance between what they did at work and what their their families were and who they were as individuals outside of the four walls of which they’re being paid to actually execute something. Only then could I actually truly lead them in a way that was truly authentic to who they were as individuals, but also bringing the team together in a way that they could partner in different ways and expand upon their own interest to keep them engaged.
But oftentimes, we kind of jumped in the middle of saying that I know we talked briefly about this as well. Sometimes we can come in and we see things you know, first week we won’t change anything but that third week we’re changing everything. It’s like there’s something to be said for that. However, you know, they can go sideways very quickly and without truly acknowledge where where your team is. And where you’re trying to go? Yeah, they told me don’t change it the first day. So Live life with intention
Roy Barker 20:03
yeah, I’m just counting down till I can.
Dr. Ian 20:07
That’s right, I’ve given enough grace period. NET right now, you know, now it’s time to change because I’m frustrated by this stuff.
Roy Barker 20:14
You know, the other part of this is, I would suspect his communication, which is something I feel like we’re very short on a lot of times, but like, if we take that time to actually communicate, and find out once, you know, something went subpar, if it went wrong there dragon, a one that may be a good employ, that’s got some big burden that they’re carrying with them. And, you know, I gave you a good example, a friend of mine used to work in, in the senior living industry, and she had a really good caregiver. Live life with intention Live life with intention
And just no call no show, which is what most of the employees do, you know, they just find another job, and they just leave in that set. But this was a this person was different. And the staff said, don’t worry about it. It’s just normal. No call no show in this executive director said no, she actually went out to this lady’s house to talk to her say, What’s up, and, you know, found out that unfortunately, husband had gotten a DWI the night before. So they impounded the car. She had no way to work. No, no one to keep the kids. And so she’s like, no, why is easier just to not come in not call, I’ll go find another job.
But you know, she, this executive directors, like she was such a good person. And such a good worker, they could not let her go. And so what they ended up doing was helping her get some childcare rearranged her schedule for a couple days to let her come in from three to 11 or whatever. But you know, there was a solution to the issue. Now, right? Now, we have to understand, not always going to be that simple, you know, sure. There are no solutions, except for, you know, just agree to disagree and part ways. But right, let’s feel like it’s a lot of times it’s worth that conversation to find out what’s going on in their life.
Dr. Ian 22:10
Yes, you’re absolutely right. And to that very acknowledgement that very stories, one, actually taking the time to have the conversation, one to actually seek to understand, and that requires active listening. Well, you’re not listening for an end result. You’re just listening to what’s being produced, and what’s being in the moment, versus also having a communication of knowing where you’re trying to go. Like there’s a we’re trying to solve this together, right.
Oftentimes, I think we get in this this cycle of communication, where it’s unit unit directional, yes, where we’re just communicating what we think, or we get into arguments to win, not to solve, right, like, if you think about marriages that way, in any relationship where someone tries to have a position of power over someone based off what they’re communicating, based on the language that they’re using, and even the tone, and even how their posture, even in practice. That’s a surefire way to make sure that once almost stays in power and put someone else down. But then even in the example that you offered, that was of effort, both of driving to the woman’s home, having a conversation and understanding, understanding one, here’s what our policies are here at the organization.
That’s not changing. But secondly, what’s that policy in the context of the person of whom we’re actually working with? Right, and having a compassion but also, I’m sure setting setting expectation as they move forward. I think oftentimes, when I work with leaders, especially new leaders who are coming into organizations, you know, they want to demonstrate their power, because that’s how leadership is often defined, that I’m here and you’re there. I’m the one coming up with a strategy. And you will follow that strategy. Because if you don’t, then I don’t survive. So I need people who can do that.
And as such, we find ourselves, as we’ve talked about just starting to change stuff, because we need to set a tone. Right? When that tone might be the be one that is earmarked for something back in, you know, the 60s 70s 80s and not something that will really work isn’t it is necessary, as we move forward as being true leaders, and how do we get the most out of really good people? And, again, that’s, that is not always the case. Sometimes you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of the organization, the best interests of your team. And that best interest maybe, you know, we’ll part we’ll part part ways today, right?
And that’s fine too, because it isn’t the right fit. But when you can actually communicate expectations, acknowledgement, setting ground rules, and then allowing someone to meet it the best way that they can. And let’s talk about whether you are you are not in an open forum, and open way you’ll get you’ll be deep will be one feel a lot more respected. But secondly, they probably work a little bit harder, and they’ll try to meet those expectations. And then it comes down to choice if they don’t.
Internal vs. External
Roy Barker 25:26
Yeah, yeah. And one more thing, before we move on, I know, we want to talk about the, you know, external versus internal. But, you know, I see a lot of companies and I agree, we have to have, we can’t change what we don’t measure. And I’m, you know, I’m a numbers guy. So I love that. But yeah, thing I do talk a lot about is these, the metrics that we set, we can’t use those to turn around and beat people up with them. Yes. And I was like, because I’ve worked for a company like that once that we had these, but I mean, then it turned around to be a stick.
And so what happened was people figured out a way to work around these metrics, where we didn’t really know what the heck was going on. I mean, and it, it messed the whole thing up, because now we weren’t solving for what we were trying to measure for. We couldn’t do any predicting, and the employees may be getting away with stuff because they weren’t reporting correctly. But in because I will, what you’d said about this communication is that, you know, we can’t Well, I don’t like to always be my is right. And I think at some point, you know, we do have to make hard decisions. I’m not saying that they never come up.
But instead of always looking around to try to punish somebody to fix things. If we would, again, seek to understand what is the problem here, and, and get people to be able to feel like they can actually open up with you. Yeah, to me, it’s much easier to solve these problems, because I’ve worked with companies that were I can go in as a third party and do this mediation and say, let’s talk about this process, what’s going on, and they feel safe, because I’m not trying to hammer them or threaten their job.
I’m just, you know, I’ll just tell Switzerland, I’m trying to get to the bottom of this problem where we can document it and get it fixed. Whereas other people are like, hey, the first negative word, you know, the first thing you say you did wrong and coming out, well, you’re gonna be fired anyway. So try to hide it as long as you can. So anyway, I just feel like we, you know, we have to walk this balancing act.
Dr. Ian 27:28
Yeah. And we do have to walk balancing act. But I know, from a leadership standpoint, it takes a lot more patience than some of us are willing to actually offer it. Correct. to actually communicate, to actually listen, to actually partner to solve versus solving in ourselves and making unilateral decisions. Yeah. That takes a lot more effort than just making a decision and go, Yeah, because we don’t have necessarily time for that. Let’s sit down and drive to someone’s home and have a conversation. You know, a lot of executives in that are leaders in that place would pay, what’s our policy? What, how many times has this person done this?
Got it? That’s all the data we need. And let’s move on with our lives. Right? It takes a lot more work to actually do the right thing. Yeah. And I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why we all I think, tend to struggle with development and leadership, and even just change in general, and why he wrote a book about it. Because it does take a lot of work. And work, we may not necessarily see it, as you mentioned, it’s not something you can always measure, because people will work around, find loopholes in those measures. We always do. Yeah. Yeah,
Roy Barker 28:47
I look at it too, from the, you know, I do a lot of employee retention work. And so I look at it from that retention perspective is, in sometimes when we take the extra time, we can build a we build some goodwill with our people, where we can keep them and solve some problems, keep our people in place versus not, you know, because sometimes that unilateral decision, what I’ve seen is, you know, the first domino that drops, then we start having three or four more that say, I’m not dealing with that. So I’m just going to go ahead and be out of here. And now we’ve got other issues.
So anyway, not that it doesn’t need to be done. I’m not saying that. I know, like there are times where we have to make those quick decisions, I guess, done over and out and move forward. But I’m talking about developing leadership. That’s important because, you know, we were kind of joking before we came on here that you know, sometimes it’s better to develop prior. It’s sometimes it’s better develop internally versus bring somebody externally and I’ll let you explain those differences. But then, if we want to develop internally It’s a process and it’s a long run game. It’s not, you know, like we said is we can’t say, you know, Joe’s returned two weeks, we got to develop somebody to take his place. You know, it’s just it’s a much longer time horizon.
Dr. Ian 30:16
Absolutely. Any leadership development does take a lot, a lot of time, and effort. And as we were talking, and even as your question pointed out, you know, at times, it’s appropriate to go outside of the organization to hire certain level of talent. In those instances, I’ve found that successful or, or helpful to bring someone from the outside in, when when they have a particular skill set, we’re trying to integrate into our organization, be it on a particular product or particular leadership mindset, as we’re looking to change the culture. In those instances, it can be extremely beneficial to actually bring someone in, even in the example of what you offered, around, hey, we have Joe retiring in two weeks, we need someone in here.
Well, guess what, we probably need to hire someone, because we if we haven’t developed that skill, we haven’t identified that successor up to this point, then quite frankly, we don’t have it right. In this, we’re going to be scrambling anyway. Yeah. So who have we groomed in that respect, to actually take Joe’s place, as I’m sure his retirement, while it may be a shock, probably was anticipated in some way. Yeah. And so I think those are some of the key benefits of bringing someone in, again, when you look at the chase a culture, and then and it can infuse some key skills and behaviors and expectations into the organization, it really does prove beneficial, as well as if there’s some of the you know, last minute changes.
And obviously, we haven’t maybe maybe not done a good enough job from a succession planning standpoint. But as we talked about, you know, establishing an internal succession and talent pipeline is extremely important. As you talked about earlier, it leads into employee retention, because employees want to know that there’s growth opportunities here, it doesn’t mean that growth is defined by more money, a different title, that growth could also be, I get a new job, as in, I get to do different work, and I’m challenged.
And that doesn’t mean it’s for everybody, it does mean that you have an opportunity, if you want to move in this organization, way that you can grow in different ways. Having worked in that talent, talent development field, and specifically, you know, for leadership development, and, and even creating talent pipelines, I’ve realized that creating talent pipelines, as you mentioned, is is a is a marathon. You know, um, it’s something that you continuously plan for and, and identify in the respect.
That if you’re looking for a new role, that should have been identified, unless it’s a startup, you know, obviously, there’s instances where you can’t, but if we’re looking for to have successors for some key jobs, then we need to make sure we’re identifying those individuals with a two year runway, right? One, that they can build this the knowledge, skills and abilities across different industry or different experiences, as well as having the right level of visibility within the organization. Because the successor to a role is not the one doing the hiring. It’s the person’s boss who’s doing the hiring.
So they need to have trusted this individual who will be replacing me or you can actually do the job, right? They have trust in that. So what are those experiences that need to be created, as well as what are the what’s the line of sight and visibility towards, you know, my peers or to my, to my boss, that they have some level of visibility, and that they can build some trust. I have found that, you know, as I think about this last year, as I’ve been working with organizations, around their talent pipelines, they really don’t have them.
They’re not very strong, they’re very weak. Some of the top talent are leaving, because it’s a lot easier for people now to work from home and, and work remotely. And I think that’s going to be continuous narrative. As we start to open back up nationwide wide and as we are open now, nationwide, in a lot of respects, we’re going to be losing top talent. And those organizations that have done a strong enough job understanding that having succession planning for critical roles.
And they’ve started that prior to from a development standpoint prior to someone leaving and prior to the old poop move moments where Joe is leaving in two weeks. Those are the ones we’re going to be able to survive not only as a consistency of the fabric of the organization, not only the consistency of of projects, the consistency of the culture. But you also know who you’re, you’re being able to sustain momentum. And it’s tied to a strategic vision of where the company is going.
And those companies that are have done that very well or are doing that very well will find themselves consistently more successful than those companies that do not, and look to holistically or singularly hire someone from the outside to bring them in, because you didn’t will have constant churn, which is not what we’re looking for. Right? Yeah, and it’s, you know, a
Roy Barker 35:33
lot of times, you get some resistance for the cost of the development plans. And, you know, I think it’s definitely something that needs to be monitored, because if everybody works their way through the system, but they don’t get, they don’t finish it or get through it, or they don’t get the job, then, you know, at some point, it may just be a waste of time and a waste of money.
But I think the one thing to look at too, though, is that, you know, it’s the old joke that the the CFO comes to the CEO and says, hey, how can we continue to train all these people and have them leave? And the CEOs? Like, how can we not train them and have them stay here? So yeah, again, we’re gonna have to look at both sides of this, that, you know, there’s going to be some leakage, we just probably can’t capture everybody that would work through our programs.
But if we can capture most of them, I assume we would still be beneficial to you know, and again, when I say internal, I don’t necessarily mean we have to have our people doing the training, it could be a combination of our people, contractors, you know, programs, however, that looks but I’m just talking about, you know, the company spending the money on that pipeline
Dr. Ian 36:44
apps. Absolutely. And I think that that analogy you just made, that’s absolutely the case. The CEOs, right? How can we not, you know, train these individuals. But also, as we think about it, as well, the higher we go up in the organization, there are less roles available. And so in that context, you will always have some leakage, because there aren’t going to be roles for everyone. Right? The higher we get, the more seats that dropped out of this game of musical chairs that we call leadership, and executive level jobs.
So in that context, we have to be prepared for that, because we don’t know who’s going to stay who’s going to go both from the those we’ve invested in, from a talent perspective, as well as those who may just leave, who are not investing in right now, who’s jet who are individual sitting in critical roles. And, you know, one of the things that, you know, in one of my previous organizations, they, they did a really good solid job of that I was able to help lead from a development standpoint, or job rotations across different parts of the organization. And we focused on capabilities, our behaviors of communications, strategy, strategic thinking, their ability to influence their ability to partner and communicate.
We have this list of top talent that we just rotated across open roles and on different projects across different pillars within the organization, and afforded the organization to one have diversity of thought within those particular roles, as well as our top talent, being able to be viewed as top down and have that feeling of like, wow, they really want to invest in me to do something for six months, right. And we’re swapping talent out with each other so that, again, we could share in the benefit of what one skill sets are, again, specifically on their capabilities. More specifically, in that they’re how behaviors, you know, those those how activities or behaviors, we can always teach somebody how to make something or do something, we can teach them a process, right?
We can always teach them, especially from a leadership standpoint, we can always teach them the behaviors on how to be a good leader, you know, that takes a lot longer, longer time, a lot more reinforcement, a lot more visibility, then we’re typically afforded because as we just talked about earlier, our metrics are tied tied to what we do. We’re endlessly how we do it. And so it’s a little bit more challenging in that respect. But I will say that, you know, we that leakage of top talent should be something that we see as a rite of doing the right thing for our employees in our organization, knowing that someone’s leaving, not because they weren’t developed, but because we just ran out of seats, and ran out of projects.
And hey, we can say, you know what, we still did the right thing. And we’re doing the right thing by this organization. When we think about, as you mentioned, a retention perspective. People want to know, one clarity of their, you know, where’s the organization? What are their values? Do I trust my leadership? Do I have an opportunity to grow? And one of the things that we can do that I stress with our leadership teams, is that growth perspective. And being cognizant of that?
Do The Right Thing For Others
Roy Barker 40:12
Yeah, as well. Yeah, it’s hard when we lose those guys, you know, that we’ve developed and we hope may be our next leader to fill that position. But you know, I think we have to take the attitude of, like you say, we did the right thing for this person. And that’s really, again, we’re cultivating relationships, because you never know, when this guy may come back around. Again, it may go for a minute. But again, if we, if we part on bad ways, and we’re destructive, that’s not good for our image. And it’s not good for, you know, those people that we may be able to attract back in sometime,
Dr. Ian 40:50
yes, absolute to bring them back in. And that would be, you know, obviously, the, you know, those re patriots, if you will bring them back into the organization because they can take what they learn with us do it someplace else, get refinement, and then opportunities to come back. I think the other part to reinforce as well as we think about it from leadership development standpoint, or just development in general, and that it’s only that level of training and visibility, but it touches on job movement that we sometimes lose sight of, because again, as the higher we get up in the organization, those individuals tend to stay in their roles a lot longer, right.
And absent a organizational change, of leadership change, of either bringing someone in or politics playing itself out at those higher levels of the organization, those roles typically don’t open up all that often. So you’re more likely to see people leave as they get higher and higher. Because the chairs just aren’t there. And acknowledging At what point do we force change in certain ways, even though from a development standpoint, we made out invested in that person from a skillset standpoint, maybe they just developed in a one particular pillar, and now we need to move them into another area.
Right. And so, you know, just really having that transparency around, and visibility for all of those across organizations so that they know that there is an opportunity to develop either in a singular track, let’s say it’s marketing, or HR, or, or in a production group, or across many pillars, right? Because there’s different tracks that one can take in that development, but having that visibility, say, hey, it is possible. And just because we go to a new role does and we may not be successful doesn’t make us any less talented. It just means that it shows us where we have some more growth to do. Yeah, yeah, that’s also the acknowledgement as well.
Roy Barker 42:48
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, in addition to the self growth, and you know, learn the different skills for that person, maybe the other thing they do is learn a bit more about what these other departments do. Because, you know, I’ve seen that in big companies where it’s, it’s a one-track guy, he was always in operations, excuse me,Live life with intention you know, it gets to the top, but he doesn’t understand, you know, what is accounting and finance and quality assurance? You know, there’s this whole other part of a company that they have really no clue about. So,
Dr. Ian 43:20
absolutely. And that’s how you build that growth through that end to end view of Okay, what are you impacted by from finance, to marketing to HR? And you don’t need to be an expert in it, just to the extent that you understand the process, and what are the upstream and downstream impacts, right. Because when we bring you back to our group here in processing and production area, or operations, you understand now holistically how the process works, and also how to better lead. Yeah, as a result.
Yeah. And I think we sometimes lose sight of that. Actually, what’s funny, I with my team, when I originally took them over that 25 I actually broke them into groups. They it was it was a training team for just acknowledgement. And so, you know, they’d often come to me and they’d be complaining, like, Oh, this group does this or Oh, that group does that right? Or all the call centers want this? Or our instructional designers are can’t do this. There was always somebody else’s fault. I said, I said that was fair, right? A guy knows Far be it for me to tell you that you that these aren’t true experiences.
But I what I asked him to do was okay, you know, cuz I was just one day I was like, Okay, this is gonna be part of your development plans for all 25 I said, I’m gonna break you. First off, Live life with intention I want you to just list out your top five things that you think we have problems with this individually, just give them to me. And then once I got on my end, if you don’t have five, that’s fine. Just give me that no more than five but no more than five. Don’t give me everything. I didn’t want that.
Roy Barker 45:02
Yeah, that turns in 10 pages.
Dr. Ian 45:04
exactly five was already too much for 25 people, please believe me, that was already more than it should have asked for. But I was giving them some rope. And I knew that there’s be some overlap. So I said, Okay, here’s the list, and they removed any duplicates. And I said, Okay, that we have the list from each of you individually. Now, I want you to go in. And you could only select the five that you think, have the most impact if we were to try to solve five of these, which would those five be and you could only select five.
Now to see everyone’s thought, and we got down to those five, based off of just pure ranking of how many dots were next to him. And then I said, Okay, now we have our five, I’m breaking you into five different groups, right? You’re going to select, I mean, you’re going to randomly select one of these five projects to work on. And as part of this project is party is part of your development plan of understanding what is the root cause of this problem? Live life with intention I want you to set up interviews with the processes, and the people impacting these processes, upstream, our team and even downstream and understand where they think the challenges are related to this project.
And this problem that you see, we’re not placing blame. It’s not it’s you versus me, it’s seeking to understand. And the third thing is okay, once you understand that, I want you to come back to me and then acknowledge, and let’s talk about what is what is the true problem? Is it difference in strategy from one group to another? Is it because of resourcing is what is the what’s the reason that you now have uncovered, and that is what we’re going to solve? Once you get down to that theme or those themes. It was a good exercise for my team, to one develop it understand that, hey, we can all complain. Welcome to all worlds, all groups, someone else is doing something wrong, and it’s someone else’s fault. So check, we got that.
Now we’re actually I’m asking you to solve it. Now, I’m asking you to really think through organizationally, what are some of the decisions that were made? Why were those decisions made? How can we solve it? Because we’re not gonna ask them to solve it, this is our problem. Or if we need them, how are we partnering with them for a solution. That’s how we’re going to move forward. And I tell you, it was a very, it was a good growth opportunity for each of them to really acknowledge, as we’re describing, from a development standpoint.
That holistic perspective that we can get so entrenched in what we do every day, we lose. And we only see the negative sides of what others are doing to us, or against us. Yeah, lose sight of that, too. We work for one organization, we’re all trying to be efficient. Now that efficiency might be defined differently. And it often is, Live life with intention but we’re all trying to be efficient and successful. Right. So how can we all work together? Yeah, because no one wants to rework. And that was a good learning opportunity for them to think about it from business, but also change management as well.
Roy Barker 48:14
Right, right. Yeah. And sometimes it’s sometimes it’s very simple. When you start asking questions. It the the issue arises, and it’s something so simple as there was a miscommunication. You know, one thing I’m thinking about was a process that it was totally messed up. But as we started asking questions, it was like, oh, there was a miscommunication. About a year ago, half the people got the letter, it was a miscommunication. The other half didn’t. So we got people still working off this, you know, bogus plan that somebody had thrown out. Sometimes, again, it gets back to the communication aspect is, once everybody had the current and best available information, problem solved. I mean, it just,
Dr. Ian 49:02
yeah, sometimes just bringing awareness, as you mentioned, you don’t need to do anything. It’s like, Oh, got it. You can do anything. We really having the conversation was all we needed. Other times, it is like, okay, we need to work this out now, to see how we can help each other out.
Roy Barker 49:21
And I think the, you know, for me, the takeaway from this conversation is Live life with intention going to be the seek to understand I think that’s the biggest thing we can do and a lot of life not just at work, but in life as well when, you know, like we’re talking about our partner, you know, I usually do what I’m told so I’m stay out of trouble, but but, you know, when when she’s offered her game, it’s you know, like, I know, that’s not who you are.
So you know what’s going on, was it you know, the kids did, you know, the dog bite you on the foot or you know, whatever, but I know there’s something amiss and I think it’s just a good thing because if then we can have empathy for, you know, if they were lashing out at me it wasn’t because I did anything and I don’t have to feel bad. I don’t have to get mad if I miss a thing, and now we’ve worked through it, and it’s over. It’s not a thing anymore. Right?
Dr. Ian 50:14
Yeah, it’s about creating that transparency. And even as we described it earlier, as well, it’s, it’s, we’re in the conversations to solve this together, right? It’s only when we’re in the conversations to win head. The solve is my answer, not yours. Now, that’s when we find ourselves in a lot more trouble. Yeah. And a lot more contentious environment, then probably we should be. Live life with intention
Yeah. And that doesn’t mean it’s always gonna work out. It does not mean it’s always pleasant. Right? It does mean, it does take a little bit more time. It does mean sometimes checking our emotions at the door. Yeah. And really coming in from a place that we’re all trying to solve this together. Versus me versus you. Yeah. on ourselves. And I know, when I find myself, the me versus you situation. It’s gonna be you. Because I’m not gonna fight. You can have it, right. It’s not, it’s not worth it to me. And I’m happy to go. Yeah. Yeah.
Roy Barker 51:13
Yeah, yeah. You know, we think about those things if then, because you kind of have to think about at the end, what did I really win? Yeah. If our organization is in disarray, and you know, we didn’t work together to figure out that problem. You know, again, it’s like, sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard to check your ego and say, yeah, maybe I’m not wrong. But I don’t always have to try to prove our right that I am. I mean, there’s, you know, we can find that common ground where somebody else can have the thought that works. And, you know, we kind of go with that instead of standing on our it’s difficult. I mean, we just have, yeah, it’s
Dr. Ian 51:54
Yeah, it is. The I would say without question it is, is a challenge, especially when pride gets gets gets the better of us sometimes. And as we climb the corporate ladder and become more successful, it’s defined based on pride and our results and what we’ve done what we’ve been able to achieve. So the take a backseat or acquiesce can sometimes be a little bit of a challenge, to say the least. But what is our strength is also a weakness, but it can can be refined. Yeah. And I think that’s the benefit. Live life with intention
Roy Barker 52:25
Yeah. Yeah. All right. Dr. Ian, well, we’ve run way over. Sorry about that. But it’s such a good conversation that really appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. Before we go, first off, what is a tool or a habit, something that you use every day, either professionally or personally, that just adds a lot of value?
Dr. Ian 52:47
Sure, the first thing that I you know, do every single day is I work out. For me, it’s a habit. It’s just not merely of working out just for the sake of working out. it affords me an opportunity to one invest in myself in the day. As a leader, leadership, development coach, and speaker and author, I’m often given my time to others. That’s what I enjoyed. What it makes me a whole, it makes me excited.
That’s what I’m passionate about. But I also recognize the need to invest in myself. So for me, the habit that I do each morning is going to the gym and just giving reinvesting in my own health, because it also allows me to reinvest in my thinking, and just resettling and calming myself down, taking stock in my day, in where what am i prioritizing? How am I prioritize prioritizing my actions? And any, anything that does not fit that priority? I also give myself the opportunity to think through is that should I be doing it or not?
So the gym, in and of itself is an investment in myself, both from an health standpoint, physically, but also mentally, in taking stock in my priorities. And that may look like something different for each of us. But I do say the habit should be always invest in yourself, know, from a health standpoint. And then secondly, always react back home, what is your priority? And for me, I do that to Jim,
Roy Barker 54:15
I love that invest in yourself, because I don’t think we do enough of that, you know, we tend to want to give ourselves away in business and in life. So great advice. Thanks for that. So tell everybody, who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you? Sure. Live life with intention
Dr. Ian 54:35
I like to work with people who are passionate about taking the next step. Many people from my work with and the organizations you’re already successful, right? You’re good enough as is. I’m trying to take you out of the box, you’re in and take you to that next step. And so because of that you have a certain level of passion, dedication and commitment into yourself to get there.
Knowing that you’re going to do it the right way. And so those are the individuals I work with both organizationally, as well as individuals, I work with one on one. In that respect, I do work with a number of different organizations, both individually as well as doing large leadership development workshops, again, as well as work with people outside of organizations. So I can be found on my website, and that is that Rhodes Smith.com.
That’s our R H O D E S S M I T.com. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter at Dr. B underscore intention where you can find more information about myself more information about some my book material as well as some of the things I do day to day. as well. You can find my book on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble under Intention, Building Capabilities To Transform Your Story.
Roy Barker 55:54
Okay, awesome. Y’all reach out, let doctoring and help you I know he can help take you to the next level for sure. All right, thanks a lot. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. We appreciate all of our listeners for sure. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, if we’re not on one that you listen to please reach out I’d be glad to get it added. We also on all the major social media networks, we typically probably hang out there on Instagram a little bit more.
Pretty simple. So the pictures or pictures are worth 1000 words for me, that’s for sure. But anyway, y’all reach out we love to hear from everybody. If you have a show ideas or guest ideas, let me know. Also, a video of this interview will go up on YouTube when the episode goes live so you can check us out over there as well. So until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business. Live life with intention
Rhodes Smith Consulting Website
Listen to more great episodes of The Business of Business Podcast here