Bryan Bennett is the Chief Leadership Innovation Officer for the Elite Leadership Academy Company and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is the author of the Path to Elite Level Leadership, a philosophy of leadership based on the way athletes train.
Lawrence Brown and Bryan discussed the similarities between leadership and team sports, and Bryan shared his own origin story as a nerd before Nerds were cool. He believes that leadership should be approached in the same way that athletes approach their craft, with a continual focus on self-improvement.
Bryan grew up with three brothers and had two parents who provided a great family environment. His mother was very educated and had graduated high school after two double promotions and was still valedictorian of the class. His father was more hands-on and they both worked hard to keep the family in private school.
As a child, Bryan didn't participate in many extracurricular activities. However, this experience helped him to find himself and be brave enough to step out in front when he had to. Bryan was involved in nerdy activities like the science club, chess club, and National Honor Society.
His father had an inspiring work ethic that he was exposed to from a young age. His mother also had a strong work ethic, and the family would often welcome any guests to join them for breakfast on Saturdays. Bennett went to Butler University for accounting and then worked for three years at Coopers and Lybrand in Cincinnati. He then moved back to Chicago to attend Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School, majoring in marketing, finance, information systems, and management policy. Afterwards, he began working for Amoco in their financial analysis department. Bennett's journey demonstrates his strong work ethic and his drive to achieve success.
Bryan is a leadership expert who found his footing in his career when he became a database marketing executive. His job involved using his quantitative skills to analyze data and his strategic skills to consult clients on the strategies they should employ.
His role required him to lead teams and this experience helped him transition into a leadership expert. Bryan attributes his leadership skills to his upbringing and his parents who led in different ways.
00:01:58 Exploring Family Dynamics and Extracurricular Activities and Influence on Future Leadership
00:04:27 From Database Marketing Executive to Leadership Expert
00:07:50 Leadership Development and Career Advancement
00:12:00 Leadership Fundamentals: Vision, Living, Reflection, and Coaching
00:14:21 Conversation on Leadership and Followership
00:17:53 Leadership Assessment, Data Analysis, and Decision-making
00:20:31 Leadership Coaching and Managing Across and Upwards
00:23:45 Generational Leadership Perspectives with Bryan Bennett
00:25:10 Benefits of Having a Mentor and Sustained Relationships
00:28:27 Message to Millennials and Gen Z on Career Advancement and Finding an Advocate or Sponsor
Music Credit: Music Credit: Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera
[00:00:00] LB: welcome back to Cascading Leadership to show I am your co-host, Lawrence Brown, otherwise known as lb. Unfortunately, Jim is not able to be with us tonight, but I think that we will still have a great time with Brian Bennett, who is the author of the Path to Elite Level Leadership.
[00:00:18] Bryan Bennett: Thanks for inviting me. I'm Brian Bennett. I am the Chief Leadership Innovation Officer for the Elite Leadership Academy Company. I founded a few years ago and I'm also an adjunct at Northwestern University.
[00:00:31] Bryan Bennett: I teach analytics and marketing courses There. . The thing that my leadership philosophy is based on the way athletes trained, that's how it's called elite level leadership, is because the way athletes trained no matter how good they are, they continue working at their craft, the best ones to continue working at their craft.
[00:00:48] Bryan Bennett: And that's the have to see leadership should be, leadership should do the same thing. So I'm in beautiful San Diego, California.
[00:00:54] LB: Oh, okay. You didn't share that part. . Very different climate than where I am. That's,
[00:00:58] LB: that's awesome. Yes.[00:01:00]
[00:01:00] Bryan Bennett: I've
[00:01:00] Bryan Bennett: spent too many years in Chicago, .
[00:01:01] LB: It's interesting because today I was actually talking with one of our coaches at the university that.
[00:01:06] LB: and we were actually de discussing this idea of comparing leadership to team sports. . And so I really appreciate you saying that because it makes me feel like that I had some amount of knowledge around leadership today. One of the things that we always like to do with our guest is talk a little bit about your origin story as we talk about, so I'm not sure if Jim shared with you, but we are huge comic book fans and so we always talk about the, the old nerdy origin story of Yeah.
[00:01:31] LB: Of a hero or anti-hero. Cuz we like anti-heroes too. But so tell us a little bit about Brian's origin story
[00:01:38] Bryan Bennett: yeah I do write about origin stories, two different leadership, and I talk about leaders too. So they're interesting that you bring that up.
[00:01:44] Bryan Bennett: But, my origin story, I tell people I was a nerd before Nerds were good. Before it was cool being a nerd and I was in all the smart kids classes and stuff like that I didn't have a whole lot of friends and extracurricular activities. know, I was, had to forge, forge on my own a lot more.
[00:01:58] Bryan Bennett: And I think that [00:02:00] kind of background helped me to. Find myself a little bit more and to be able, be not to be afraid to step out in front when I had to be
[00:02:08] LB: So tell me a little bit about your your fam family dynamic. And I know you mentioned not really having, participating in that many extracurricular activities and that sort of thing, but what were some of the things first, with family and what kind of influence they had on you?
[00:02:21] LB: And then when you say you didn't really do extracurricular, so what kinds of things did you do?
[00:02:25] Bryan Bennett: I did
[00:02:25] Bryan Bennett: nerdy stuff like the science club, the chess club, national Honor Society, all that kind of fun stuff. Awesome. I've got three brothers. I'm the, I'm next to the youngest and both my good.
[00:02:36] Bryan Bennett: Both my parents who have, we've have gone on right now, but I had a great family environment. I can say, I said the best parents in the world, and they were both very different, like my mom was, very educated and oriented. She would've been Sheldon today if she had gone through the same route cuz she graduated from high school after two double promotions.
[00:02:55] Bryan Bennett: She was still valedictorian of the high school class.
[00:02:57] LB: Wow. Wow.
[00:02:58] Bryan Bennett: Yeah, she was a heavy [00:03:00] hitter. And so my dad was morbid into the what do you call it? The hand working with his hands more. Sure. But he worked hard and they kept us in private schools all our lives until we got to college.
[00:03:11] Bryan Bennett: And some of his, we went the private schools in college too. But we had a work ethic. And I tell people you never knew who was gonna at your table on Saturday morning for breakfast. , because even though we didn't have a whole lot, they were always welcome to come to our house for breakfast on Saturday morning.
[00:03:25] Bryan Bennett: So that was when my mom was doing that, so it was cool.
[00:03:27] LB: Yeah.
[00:03:28] LB: When you describe your dad, you, you're describing a strong work ethic and your mom as well, I think, in different ways. , because I think that it's always interesting to hear that there's def there's different elements to this, right?
[00:03:39] LB: And so there's no one cookie cutter way, and I'm sure leadership is fairly similar in that way, that there are different types, and I think we'll get into that a little bit. . Tell me about the academic journey, and then into those early years of your career.
[00:03:51] Bryan Bennett: I went to Butler University Undergraduate and accounting. Worked for three years at Coopers and Library in Cincinnati. Then I came back to Chicago to go to [00:04:00] Northwestern Graduate School at Kellogg. And my, major concentrations and marketing finance, major information systems and management policy.
[00:04:07] Bryan Bennett: So classic overachiever. .
[00:04:10] LB: Yeah, . I'm thinking like two of those would've been great. I think you said four or five.
[00:04:14] Bryan Bennett: I couldn't help it, then after that I left there and went to work for Amoco when I was still, before it was bp, and worked there for a few years and in their account, in their financial analysis department and, between that and a couple other financial related jobs.
[00:04:27] Bryan Bennett: And I finally found my real footing in my career when I took a job in as a database marketing accounting executive. And that applied, cause, the numbers are fun, but I always wanted to see action. I wanted to be part of the, the the strategic planning and so forth.
[00:04:41] Bryan Bennett: In database marketing, I got to use my quantitative side, analyzing the data and so forth. and I got to use the, my strategic side, let's say and ask and talking to clients about the kind of strategies they should employ based on this data. And some of my work led to the introduction of Rogan for Women.
[00:04:58] Bryan Bennett: know, Before pharmacy went [00:05:00] over the counter, we, my, my company did the analysis for it Come, I was working for, and we found that the 15% of people buying Royal Gain were women. We couldn't say whether it was for themselves or for significant other, but it set off the alarms that, hey, women have a balding problem also.
[00:05:14] Bryan Bennett: Men, maybe 78% of men have a balding problem, whereas 30% of women have a balding problem also. So they came out with gain from men in the blue box and we gain from men in the pink box. And that was part of my
[00:05:24] Bryan Bennett: analysis.
[00:05:25] LB: Nice. So a bit of a bit of a trailblazer there. Yes. So now, how did you transition into where you are today from a a leadership expert.
[00:05:34] Bryan Bennett: It so happened. Yeah I've always been, people can always consider me a leader no matter what positions I was working in. And, I was one of those people called those natural born leader, stuff like that, I think that was from my upbringing. Upbringing and, watching both my parents, they had, they led in different ways.
[00:05:46] Bryan Bennett: But with my, an analytics work, I had to do a lot of work with that and led some teams and so forth. And the thing that got me to an, to leadership almost full-time now is we did a analytics project and we're doing [00:06:00] healthcare during the early part of the century here. Where in the Hospitals were changing over to health records.
[00:06:06] Bryan Bennett: And so I was asking people, the conference I was speaking at, what's the biggest challenges they were having implementing healthcare analytics? And they would say, they gave us a survey, like about 200 people answered the survey and we compiled the survey. We found that by a long shot.
[00:06:20] Bryan Bennett: The biggest challenge was not leadership, was not the data, it wasn't technology, it was leadership. And I was in my first book. I put that in the analytics, my competing in healthcare analytics book, and I had a chapter in there about healthcare leadership. and seeing that was such a challenge, I wrote my next book on healthcare leadership and my third book now is now just on general leadership.
[00:06:41] LB: So then as you thought about you identified the gap, right?
[00:06:45] LB: Which is oftentimes the way that we do find a name and a place for ourselves is identifying a gap. , what was the what was the response to your finding and acknowledging this particular gap in leadership in that initial space? How did, how, what was the [00:07:00] response?
[00:07:00] Bryan Bennett: I had, it was, I got a lot of positive response.
[00:07:03] Bryan Bennett: A lot of good, people wrote, be used for the book. And I was speaking at a lot of conferences and it was a good journey. I, a lot of times I was speaking on leadership, not just analytics, but I'm focusing on leadership part of it. , and I tried to make it leadership as something that's interesting.
[00:07:16] Bryan Bennett: Like one of the topics I did was how leadership is I did the lessons from Hamilton on leadership and so forth, and but people really liked that.
[00:07:23] Bryan Bennett: One thing I did find out in my analysis is that, a lot of the people who I was talking to about leadership, they didn't want to, they didn't want to engage in some of the leadership stuff we were doing because some people don't want to be found out, so to speak.
[00:07:35] LB: So and so when you mean they don't wanna be found out, say more.
[00:07:37] LB: So I think it's a, I think it's a, I think it's a big point.
[00:07:40] Bryan Bennett: It's a big point, especially when you get into the upper levels of the suite of the executive suites. And something we found out more recently about that too is, they don't want someone to say that they're not a good leader, basically.
[00:07:50] Bryan Bennett: , even though they're in that position, they're in that positional leader. They don't want someone say that they're not. I interviewed a lot of leaders from the healthcare organizations, and a lot of the ones I talked to were really good [00:08:00] leaders. I could tell, I can tell a good leader. I tell people by, not just by what they tell me, but by talking to people who work with People who work with them say that they're a great leader. If they follow, go through the wall for them. I say, yeah, that person's a good leader. , if they just say, oh yeah, he's okay, or she's okay. It's okay. All right. I understand. I can read between the lines, ,
[00:08:18] LB: It's more what you don't say than what you do say sometimes, right?
[00:08:21] Bryan Bennett: That's right. That's right.
[00:08:22] LB: Can you say more about why you decided to draw out the correlations of teams and leadership and how that has helped you to help people to understand leadership?
[00:08:34] LB: Probably more
[00:08:34] Bryan Bennett: effect. You, I think it's important to have an example, something that people can relate to, to don't understand how this should work. And so when I start looking at the leadership process, I said, now what is the thing? What are the things? Who represents this the most? And looked at it least the athletes, cuz no matter, like I said, no matter how good they are, they know who, they know where they're good at.
[00:08:55] Bryan Bennett: And you don't see. Steph Curry going to dunk the basketball every time. You don't see Tom Brady trying to [00:09:00] run the ball up the middle, okay? They know what they're good at, and they focus on that, and they try to get better with that no matter, how good they are.
[00:09:05] Bryan Bennett: They could be a superstar, people, one of the pieces I use in my presentations is Michael Jordan. And a picture of him as dunking the basketball. So that's the way most people think about Michael Jordan. But his career progressed, he knew he couldn't keep taking that physical punishment, going to the basket.
[00:09:20] Bryan Bennett: The rules were ba different back then. You couldn't touch anybody nowadays. , but back then you got knocked on your butt if you came to the basket.
[00:09:26] LB: Too many times, , so old fashioned NBA basketball, right?
[00:09:29] Bryan Bennett: That's right. That's the way it should be . But they he realized he couldn't keep doing that.
[00:09:33] Bryan Bennett: So he started, he learned this wicked fadeaway jump shot from the side of the key. , which name was unstoppable. He learned how take three point shots and so forth. And so he had to evolve, how as good he was as he already was, he had to evolve. And the same with the same other players, other athletes.
[00:09:49] Bryan Bennett: And it happens in other professions too. Think about musicians, you know how they change instruments or whatever. People who sing chefs, they're a great example. They don't, the dish they come up with, they [00:10:00] end up with, it's not the one they started off. , they still help with something, the idea they want to do, and they work with it until they get it just right.
[00:10:05] Bryan Bennett: , so that happens a lot of professions.
[00:10:07] LB: So as you talk about the athlete, where do like coaches and GMs and what are their roles, from a leadership stand?
[00:10:15] Bryan Bennett: and they're very important roles cuz not only does the athlete know what they're good at and they have to practice it, then they have to, ex execute on it during the you game or whatever. The match or performance. Then they have to have the reflection cuz after every practice, I talked to a lot of athletes about this and after they re practice, they think about what they did and how they should, how they can improve on it.
[00:10:34] Bryan Bennett: Then they meet with the. and the coach tells him show us in the film or whatever, this is what you did. You should have done this, or you could have done this differently. That kind of stuff. So coaching is very important. Coaching, I call it that external voice, but you need the reflection also that internal voice.
[00:10:47] Bryan Bennett: , because you have to understand how you did yourself too. Then talk to coach. Coach either confirmed or are changes what your perception is.
[00:10:54] LB: For the folks that are our show is about moving the careers of [00:11:00] folks further faster.
[00:11:01] LB: . And so when Jim had shared with me your profile, I was like, oh, great, another person that we have leadership, and I don't know that we've a, had anyone that expressly talked about leadership as as an exercise form and function. We've had folks that have been on that have talked about what their leadership has.
[00:11:16] LB: I had a conversation today with someone, here's an example that said, I've been an Andrew, individual contributor for most of my career, but I've been struggling to find a role where someone will hire me as a manager because they say I don't have leadership experience.
[00:11:30] LB: Talk a little bit about helping to understand if I'm a person, fairly, let's say, midpoint of my career, early midpoint of my career. , what does an effective model for developing your leadership?
[00:11:42] Bryan Bennett: I can do into your model and say how she can get some experience at the same time. Okay. So a model, my model for leadership, I call it the elite leadership process, and you start off with assessing.
[00:11:52] Bryan Bennett: That's, you have to know who you are as a person and know who you are as a leader. . We do all kind of personality assessments, we do our own assessments, all kind of [00:12:00] different things. And once you have created that, then you go to the next step, which is putting the other vision based off of that.
[00:12:06] Bryan Bennett: Like for me, I know that, my leadership philosophy, I'm a empathetic leader. know, I use empathy one of my superpowers. , I get to know people, I get to build relationships with them because then they'll, they have some feel, know that they trust me and they'll do whatever I need 'em to.
[00:12:20] Bryan Bennett: So that's that, that, that's the the vision part of it. Visioning. And the third step is the living. That's where you execute on that strategy, that leadership, that vision, leadership vision that you talked about. You have to execute on that. Several tools you can use and use communication, motivation, observation, storytelling, social leadership, all these different things.
[00:12:39] Bryan Bennett: And so you maximize those. , then you come to the reflection and then the coaching part of it. And I tell people who don't have a lot of leader leadership experience, the best way to get it is go work at, go volunteer somewhere. , on the board or something. Or at their church or any kind of nonprofit organization, volunteer.
[00:12:57] Bryan Bennett: Cuz if you can lead volunteers, then you can [00:13:00] lead.
[00:13:00] LB: Absolutely a hundred percent agree with they on that one. That is definitely, cuz there's a different sense of, what's in it for me when you're working with volunteers and being able to pull being able to influence without having influence.
[00:13:11] LB: Is really critical. You were saying that folks really are leaders in a multitude of capacity. So you don't have the title of the ti Having the title of leader doesn't necessarily make you leader and not having the title of leader doesn't necessarily not make you leader.
[00:13:24] Bryan Bennett: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:13:26] LB: Something that's interesting is that I look at this every day because it's in the news. I think leadership is in the news every single day, at least the way that I view. When we are just everything. We can talk about the, we can talk about the recession, we can talk about the war, we can talk about these mass shootings and leadership plays a role in every single one of these dynamics.
[00:13:45] LB: , what's what do you think are some of the the gaps in your opinion around leadership today? And how can we help to close? .
[00:13:54] Bryan Bennett: I, I think, the biggest gap in leadership in talking about, government le business and whatever is [00:14:00] people are not doing what's best for their constituents.
[00:14:03] Bryan Bennett: Doing what's best for themselves. , and a leader has to look out who their followers and the environment. Not, I'm not talking about the, the environment. I'm talking about the environment they're leading in. But they have to focus, they have to understand who are the followers and what kind of, influence the followers have on the, on their, on the leadership model.
[00:14:21] Bryan Bennett: And if they're not trying to focus on what's going to take care of the constituents and that could be the board of directors, it could be your community you're supporting and all this kind of stuff. You have to focus on what's the most important. , people who. Who put you there in the first place, or who you're supposed to be serving or the shareholders, whatever.
[00:14:37] Bryan Bennett: Yeah. And instead of not just, this is for me, it's gonna make me rich, or whatever like that's not right.
[00:14:42] LB: Yeah. It's interesting that you say that because so when I think of leadership, one of the things that I've seen, and I shared with you earlier that I was I'm in a PhD program for leadership that I thought was a good idea when I started it, but, I'm gonna plug way and make it.
[00:14:54] LB: But one of the, one of the theories that I was fascinated by was exactly what we [00:15:00] talked about, which is pseudo transformational leadership, right? So it's folks with the transformational ability to move followers, to, to next level of accountability to the next level of output or outcome.
[00:15:12] LB: And, but they're doing it for the greater common good is the transformational leader in the pseudo is a lot of what we see. and I find that it's a little, it's quite frankly, it's a little scary because I wonder if we are able to identify the difference, and I think you did so well because you said clearly if it's in the best interest of the organization, if it's in the best interest of the outcome and not the best interest of the leader themselves.
[00:15:36] LB: And I think that, it's, it feels like we've gotten, we're at a crossroads. , it's perfectly fine to, to look out for self and not the constituents and, people who put you where you are or where you've earned the ability to be a leader. That they're actually doing what they're supposed to do.
[00:15:50] LB: The other part of this too is that have you, and I don't, and I, this is something that's been fascinating to me as well as the followership. Have you touched on any of those elements with followership in covering leadership? .
[00:15:59] Bryan Bennett: Yes. In our [00:16:00] part of our assessing process, the stepping and assessing is, looking at these, the leadership situational influences.
[00:16:06] Bryan Bennett: , that's where you it's usually a triangle. Starts with the primary influences are the leader, followers, and the environment. . Okay. And those models, that boxes, I call 'em, the little boxes have to be an equilibrium. have to be exerting the same kind of influence on the model for the leader to be an effective leader.
[00:16:23] Bryan Bennett: If the followers get out of the line and the, the leader doesn't change, then that's gonna be a problem. for instance, working in healthcare, when trying to do electronic health records, you have, doctors are very resistant to the change back in the. . , they still don't like it, but they do it now cause they have to.
[00:16:37] Bryan Bennett: , but, the leaders didn't really change and I worked as, some CEOs who said, you know what, the doctors we got, 20% compliance now. So what I'm saying, that's not good enough. Okay. You need a hundred percent compliance and you need to do what you have to do to get that.
[00:16:50] Bryan Bennett: . So you have to understand, the followers and the environment can change. Again, speaking, healthcare, that change, they had a lot of rapid changes in the five year span. And then they had Covid. . [00:17:00] Yeah. They had, you the leaders, a struggle to that.
[00:17:02] LB: You said that the way that I can tell a good leader is what the followers pretty much will say, like the employees will say, or the other stakeholders. Do you incorporate any of the assessments one or 360 feedbacks as as part of the leadership assessment for them to, or the leadership presentation for them to get a better understanding of what leadership is?
[00:17:23] Bryan Bennett: It's funny cuz one of the things we have done in our leadership classes before is we have a peer assessment. They do their own personality and their own leadership assessments that we created. They do a peer assessment where they, have pick out words that they describes them and their peers.
[00:17:36] Bryan Bennett: Pick out words that describe them and try to match 'em up and find gaps. , now we've come up with an another tool taking our original leadership assessment and allowing that to Use the same quantitative measures and turn it around. So I'm saying, in the original assessment, I'd say Brian does this as a great leader.
[00:17:53] Bryan Bennett: know, Whatever you, I do, I just, I do this as a great leader. Would you have your peers or your direct reports or your supervisor [00:18:00] do the same survey? Does turn around, says does Brian do this as a great leader? . And so then we have, we put up these radar charts and you see these big gaps throughout this on the nine dimensions that we measure and it's really illuminating.
[00:18:10] LB: That's that's good to hear because I think what draws out for me is that I'm that type of person or leader where I am, I constantly, reevaluate myself. So I will do, like I, I vacillate between being an i n TJ or e N tj. , and it's because I'm largely an introverted person, but I know how to, I turn it on when necessary.
[00:18:29] LB: . I've spent a good part of my career in sales. But when I need to recharge, which is to me, how I define what we are most, is I need absolute solitude, in front of my computers with my camera hand, and really not being bothered by the world is how I recharge. And but when I have.
[00:18:46] LB: That data helps me to identify, here are some opportunities. So I hear you on that. Like I see data points and I'm like, okay, what is it? What are data points? What are they saying? What do we need to do differently? . And so the other thing that I appreciate about it is that it's more objective, [00:19:00] right?
[00:19:00] LB: If that kind of makes sense, right? I feel like someone could give an opinion. , but when you gather that data and opinion becomes, you talk to 20 or 30 people, right? And now you've quantified it. I'm going that's a different conversation here, . Because now you have information in front of you that says, Hey perhaps this is this is different than what you think it is.
[00:19:20] Bryan Bennett: And that's some of the challenges of having some of the other evaluations is, if it's text-based, you. You've got all this data to compile and try to figure out how to make, how to create something actionable out of it. Whereas if it's quantitative based, you can say, okay, I got, I have a six, I need to get a, I need to get a seven.
[00:19:38] Bryan Bennett: What's the gap? What's my gap there?
[00:19:39] LB: Here? So the the path to elite level leadership is is the, is that a text that is more of a takeaway text, like you can read and help to level up your leadership Capabil.
[00:19:50] Bryan Bennett: it is because it's a very, it's very practical. , I've had, it's, it is very similar to my healthcare book.
[00:19:55] Bryan Bennett: Only I did, I wanted to make broader two indu other industries. Sure. And [00:20:00] people have, few hours and if you take it and there's a work way to go with it also. So you can take, you do the book. Do the workbook. And when people have taken it they've gone back to the workbook several times saying, oh, this is what I thought about this is what I learned about this.
[00:20:12] Bryan Bennett: And then they have something they can we can go back to.
[00:20:15] LB: I find that the, that's, the workbooks are very helpful because to me they're very similar also to journaling, which I think is very important from a coaching standpoint. Is that, we are amazing rock stars, whatever we wanna call it our own minds, because we tend to focus on, what we're doing well and we wanna feel good about that,
[00:20:31] Bryan Bennett: right?
[00:20:32] LB: And that's fine. But I think there's also this element where we also need to identify, how you can go from good to great, right?
[00:20:38] LB: And continue and continuously pushing, right? And I think that the other part is where the follower comes back in or. Or the employee or the other stakeholders because you, you mentioned something that one of the things that you said q all do is peers is very important. And we miss that a lot, right?
[00:20:53] LB: We miss, I think the two areas that I've seen that we tend to miss are. Managing across [00:21:00] and managing upwards. We always hear about leadership from the standpoint of, you have subordinates
[00:21:04] Bryan Bennett: managing the people below you.
[00:21:05] LB: Exactly. But exactly. Say a little bit more about how that leadership cycle really is not just about, managing, know subordinate employees, but really a full cycle of of approach
[00:21:16] Bryan Bennett: And I talked about the primary influences. We have a secondary influences also, which includes the peers and, supervisor. , no matter, where you are in the organization, you have someone, somebody you're reporting to, you have the board of director, you, you're reporting to the shareholders, and so forth.
[00:21:29] If you're a hospital director report to the community basically. So you have to also manage those influences too. . And those are, that's a very important part of the whole process.
[00:21:38] LB: When you think about, when you think about your career as you progressed into really being what, I'm not sure if you consider yourself a leadership coach, you sure sound like a leadership coach but so one, what would you self-identify as in this space? And two, what would you say? Some of your crowning moments of either, individually or like the impact that you've seen that you've made or that [00:22:00] your system
[00:22:00] LB: has made?
[00:22:00] Bryan Bennett: One of my crowning achievements has been having the, my leadership process adopted by the military for new leaders.
[00:22:09] Bryan Bennett: It's the program is run by the Navy by this Navy Foundation. But they get people from all branches of the military come in and take this. . So I wrote this about three years ago for them. And, know, I'm not a Navy person, I'm not a military person. So I gave 'em the framework cuz I read, I looked at their original program.
[00:22:25] Bryan Bennett: They didn't really have a framework. They were just talking about all the Navy stuff. Said, give someone a framework. . So the Navy stuff that, that relates to it underneath it, and they have something they can follow for the rest of their career. And they've been doing that, they do three classes a year of that now, and I did the first year and a half with them.
[00:22:40] Bryan Bennett: Now that they pass on to someone else who does it for me. ,
[00:22:42] LB: that's yeah you're very modest cuz that, that's a jump out your chair Achievement . That's a big deal. So kudos to you for. for achieving that. Cause I'm like, wow, the Navy , sometimes you're like at the, local uh, the local boy Scouts, we were we're great to have this opportunity.
[00:22:55] Bryan Bennett: San Diego's a military town. I didn't really know that one. That's where I moved here. You've got the Navy [00:23:00] based here. Top Gun used to be up here at Miramar. Yeah. Not far from where I live. But yeah, the Marines camp Pendleton's right by right nearby. And as an Air Force base somewhere, it's here too.
[00:23:09] Bryan Bennett: I can't remember where it is, but yeah I can hear the jets flying over sometimes and watch them. , it's pretty cool.
[00:23:14] LB: That would be very exciting. So I'll be sure to land on your doorstep if I'm ever out there in San Diego. ,
[00:23:20] LB: I know you mentioned also that you are you're an adjunct professor. Does the leadership piece play into any of the adjunct teaching that you're.
[00:23:27] Bryan Bennett: It, it does. From, how, how I lead my classes. , I'm actually, going back and teaching. We have a, an annual seminar for the students and it's like my leadership topic is one of the topics for their for the program in October. So that's always a, that's always a nice event. And I used to teach, in the leader in the, at Judson, a lot of their leadership programs too. .
[00:23:45] LB: The reason I ask that question is that I'm curious to know what you've seen from a, from a generational perspective on leadership.
[00:23:52] LB: Have you seen any, similarities, dissimilarities or anything that really has surprised you say in the last five or 10 years?
[00:23:59] Bryan Bennett: [00:24:00] I don't wanna talk about any, anyone too much. But the younger generation, , they expect a lot. , and that's a two edge sword cuz they expect a lot from their leaders, which the leaders should be delivering but sometimes they expect a lot given to 'em as opposed to earning it. And leadership's not something you walk into something you gotta practice and get good at every.
[00:24:16] LB: Yeah. So what would you, what would your advice be to, because I think this is something that is a recurring kind of conversation.
[00:24:23] LB: Are there leadership tips, cheap codes, hacks, whatever you want to call it, that you think would benefit this?
[00:24:30] LB: The younger generations, maybe the, millennial, gen z, gen alpha. What are some of those things, if any, that they could leverage that balances them out better?
[00:24:39] Bryan Bennett: I think, trying to think about leadership as a continuous learning process. One, read books about it.
[00:24:44] Bryan Bennett: And I, I started reading books about leadership when I was just, I was in college. , I remember reading Kim Black Blanchard's book, , the one minute manager back in the
[00:24:52] Bryan Bennett: day.
[00:24:52] LB: Oh yeah. Kim Blanchard.
[00:24:53] Bryan Bennett: Yeah, that's right. And he lives not, he lives up out here also.
[00:24:57] Bryan Bennett: So I, I've met him in a couple of conferences, but I [00:25:00] started reading it long time long along the way when I was younger. And also finding a good mentor. Coaching and mentoring are two different things. Coaching is more likely short term mentoring is looking for your long-term career.
[00:25:10] Bryan Bennett: , I found a great mentor and I was just out of graduate school and I'm still, I still in touch with him today. He was, I wrote about him in my book, but, He's one person. He took an interest in me. Yeah. I said, I talked to him once in a while, went out during my career and I tell him what I'm working on.
[00:25:25] Bryan Bennett: He says, oh, that's a good job, a good idea. You, maybe you should try this. He is always giving me good feedback. could call him up anytime I need I wanted to talk to him. Yeah. And. And now he's retired. He does that to me, sometimes. Calls me. Yeah. . And and I stop what I'm doing to talk to him.
[00:25:38] LB: There's you you called out something that I've not heard many people, if any, frankly about leadership and that is a sustained relationship. So people talk about like having a mentor, having a sponsor. , but really making a concerted effort to that sustained relationship is also something that I think is brilliant that you call out that oftentimes.
[00:25:57] LB: Because we've all been not necessarily a [00:26:00] millennial or, a gen alpha or whatever. , but we have all we, at some point, we were the younger generation. And I think that knowing what I know now, that is probably one of the most critical things that I would agree with you with, is that having the sustained relationship.
[00:26:14] LB: Because here's the primary reason for that. So you have someone that has been able to watch your career, watch you develop. So that's one. Two is that they're still in your life, which means that there's some sort of mutual benefit there and someone that can say, Hey, I've seen your journey.
[00:26:31] LB: I've seen the adjustments. , and they can help you identify whether or not they've been good adjustments or could be better adjustments. So I think that's, I think that's a huge one that I think will really help people and hopefully speak to them. So I appreciate. , this one,
[00:26:42] Bryan Bennett: one other thing I wanna add is, you find that mentor early in your career because if you wait till you get later in the career, like you're right director, vice president level, you won't find anybody right to lend value to you. You have to find 'em early on so they can walk with you throughout your whole career and know you, like you said, and be able to [00:27:00] give, comments and context.
[00:27:01] LB: . Any suggestions or thoughts around when you have, cuz I had this conversation to today too as well, around having someone that is a manager or leader that is not necessarily a good manager or a leader, what do you do?
[00:27:15] Bryan Bennett: You have a couple of choices. One, you can write it out. because it depends on, the person could have a relationship with someone there. , and that's why they're, that's why they're in a leadership position. You don't know how, why they were promoted. Or they could have been really good at, a lower function.
[00:27:28] Bryan Bennett: I talk about, the functional leader, they talk about the person who's a good salesperson or, good marketing person but really bad at managing people. Sure. . So you have to decide if you wanna stay there or seek it out. Yeah. One of the things that I learned when I was working on a project for Microsoft, they asked me to come in and build their first global analytics department, and they ended up talking about, the career paths and their job description and so forth.
[00:27:48] Bryan Bennett: One of the things that was important to them was to make sure that they had multiple career paths with. Because not everyone wants to become a manager and wants to manage people. But they are, they could be valuable working. I just wanted somebody about that earlier today. They're gonna be [00:28:00] valuable workers.
[00:28:00] Bryan Bennett: , you know you have somebody who's a good programmer who just wants to be a programmer, don't wanna be bothered with it, trying to manage and do feedback and all this kind, that kind of stuff. Yeah. So you have to recognize that too and give them enriching work to.
[00:28:11] LB: I love the way you answered that question because I think it also offers a solution to employers or organizations where this can potentially happen, where you have of the Peter principle where your people are getting promoted because they are subject matter experts and they keep, getting promoted but not necessarily maybe the best leader to, to, to your point.
[00:28:27] LB: So I think that's a great acknowledgement as well, that this is what organizations can do. And I think the other part that you mentioned was basically, stick it out. If that's what you feel like you can do. Or it may be time to, frankly, part ways and Right. I've heard people dance around this and I think that it's just a it's time consuming to think that, sometimes the reality is that we may not be able to wait it out, or it's it's advantageous for us to make that decision to go somewhere else or do something different.
[00:28:53] LB: And to look at it as just it being that. So I spend a lot of time with people with clients around, stop trying [00:29:00] to put the label on whether or not it's good or bad. Sometimes it's a decision that needs to be made, and it's not a question of good or bad, it's a question of whether or not it, it's better aligned with what it is that you wanna accomplish.
[00:29:11] LB: And then so it takes away some of the baggage around, oh, I probably am leaving because I can't handle. When it's really but why would you want to, it's not benefiting you. And in that, when you're talking about having an advocate or having a sponsor, it's great if you can get that out of someone that you're working already closely with that knows how you perform Exactly.
[00:29:30] LB: And sees you in a light of performance, but also sees you in the light of leadership and to your point. But they may also help you to identify that maybe. Individual con, individual contributor or a consultant may be the better space for you. And that's perfectly fine. It's still it still allows you to lead based on, what you're describing, because there's still projects that you may work on. There's other people you may take under wing and help after, coach training, develop them. So it's still are these multi-faceted ways that you can look at leadership.
[00:29:56] LB: So I appreciate again, some perspective on this because I'm really, I'm learning. Which[00:30:00] I always feel like I'm hoping that, folks can download these episodes because this is one where I think everyone can benefit from learning a little bit more about, even if it's one thing about leadership, because leadership to me is like sales.
[00:30:10] LB: You're either selling or you're being sold. And leadership is you're leading or you're being led. And so it's important in both those instances to be, has to be a more effective leader. So I look at it this way. So even A C E O right. Has to report to. A governing body directors, yeah. Board of directors. Yep. That's right. And and at the end of the day, they're looking at like their boss's air quotes again, are the consumers , the, not the consumers, but I'm sorry, the the shareholders, shareholders.
[00:30:35] Bryan Bennett: Yeah. Which ultimately is the consumer though, too.
[00:30:38] Bryan Bennett: Because they're not selling anything. You're not in, you're not in business anymore, .
[00:30:40] LB: Yeah, that's true . That's definitely true. ,
[00:30:42] LB: What would be the three things that you would say you would want them to really, take away from our
[00:30:47] LB: show today?
[00:30:47] Bryan Bennett: But one is that leadership is a process. It's not a skill. If you focus on skills, you're gonna, people get satisfied learning some skills, and then they and they don't do anything with them.
[00:30:57] Bryan Bennett: You have to have a practice and improvement process to become a better [00:31:00] leader. And two, and that leads to a second one, which is you have to practice it every day. It's not something you can take a day off or I say, oh, I'm not gonna leave today. I'm just gonna go into the office and sit around and playing play games on my computer.
[00:31:10] Bryan Bennett: No, you have to practice it every day. Okay. And there's a thing about the innate qualities of leadership. I'd say leadership is a lot like dancing. Some people are better at it than others, but everyone can improve with more with learning, with practice. . And so people who are innate and they can learn more and get better at it.
[00:31:25] Bryan Bennett: People who aren't as, as innate, they can learn more too. Become better. . and you kind measure, you can't, you have to have a quantifi way of measuring that. That's a tool that we're using to help people understand where they are, where the gaps are, so they can get better at it.
[00:31:37] LB: And Brian, I know you talked about, the tools a little bit. So this segues to our, probably our most important point of the show is that, so where can people find you and connect with you, and where can they find your book or books?
[00:31:50] Bryan Bennett: The the best place to, to look for tell you a little bit more about our leadership process and about the our assessment tools.
[00:31:57] Bryan Bennett: I think that's a very important thing, and that's the thing that we're really focusing [00:32:00] on right now is go to leadership analytics 24 seven.com.
[00:32:04] LB: That's alright. Say and say that again
[00:32:06] LB: for us.
[00:32:07] Bryan Bennett: Leadership analytics four seven.com.
[00:32:10] LB: And they can find you. They can find you there as
[00:32:12] LB: well.
[00:32:12] Bryan Bennett: And that goes to our website, goes to our main website, Uhhuh , and you can find everything right there.
[00:32:18] LB: For those of you that are LinkedIn nerds, he is also on LinkedIn, cuz that's where I found him and saw this amazing background this gentleman had. And he knows that I'm going to make the connection as soon as we get off the air. I'm going to connect for everyone that has joined us.
[00:32:32] LB: Brian, thank you again for being a part of the show. I hope that our audience will benefit from these leadership tips and the tools that they're going to go out. Take a look at and connect with you.
[00:32:43] LB: We appreciate you for joining Cascade Leadership the show.