LearnChair Radio Host Bob Dragone interviews the CEO of the Business Thinking Institute, Ram V. Iyer. Ram was invited to the podcast because of his innovative approach as to why businesses fail. As he notes, over 70 percent of businesses fail but not usually for the reasons owners believe. Ram subjected this issue to one of his annual “hard thinking projects.” and after much time and effort came up with his conclusions. Most owners think they fail because they lack something - funding, marketing or some other external reason. Ram discovered that the main reasons for failure are internal. In a recent article in businessthinking.com Ram lists 9 internal reasons for failure. For instance, people think that because it is easy to start a business it is easy to obtain success. Ram also notes that people have what he terms internal thermostats - the level at which they will be satisfied with the money they obtain. Exceeding this level causes them to lose what they have made. In such cases, Ram states that 80 percent of owners would have gotten better returns if they had invested their money rather than using it to start a business. Ram believes that leaders fail for the same reasons businesses do. The reasons are internal. People start businesses, call themselves a CEO and believe they are leaders. True leaders, Ram says, must work at being a leader every day. True leaders are aware of both their strengths and weaknesses, and work at improving both. Education is key, and true education is taking what you have been taught and adapting it to the needs of your daily life. Ram lists three characteristics of good leadership. Again, it is being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is having an open mindset. Third, always being teachable. His final lesson is when you stop learning you start dying. This is a novel approach to business success and well worth a listen.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews best selling author Jason Jennings on his work analyzing great businesses and great leaders. Jason discovered a number of years ago that his main goal is to find the world’s great leaders and great companies. As a result, he is a world renowned author of eight books on business and leadership based on his research of 220,000 companies. Jason publishes a book at two year intervals. He interviews 800-1000 executives each year as research for his books. What is not fully explored in one book often becomes the main topic of his next one. Currently, his research centers on explorations of culture and inclusiveness. He explains why these are important and what he has discovered so far. For example, he notes that the more a company looks like its customers the better its financial performance. Jason states that his biggest discovery is that great leaders do not recognize themselves as such. Great leaders, rather, are good, solid stewards. Do we currently have a crisis of leadership in America today? Jason feels that we have many great leaders but they go unnoticed. They do not bring attention to themselves and do not confuse leadership with notoriety. His prime example is given in an insightful comparison of Uber versus Lyft. Finally, Jason gives 6 characteristics of good leadership - a good moral compass, authenticity, good stewardship, purpose, a set of guiding principles and a balance of IQ and EQ. Jason’s comments on leadership are based on sound research and vast experience.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews chef and Texas barbecue master Jeffrey Hobbs on an exploration of leadership in the culinary field. Jeffrey is owner and operator of the Slow Bone restaurant in Dallas which is famous far and wide for its succulent smoked meats and excellent service. Jeffrey’s approach to the restaurant business goes beyond just serving good food, but centers on hospitality in all its aspects. Jeffrey describes his beginnings in the food industry and how he got involved in the hotly contested Texas barbecue arena. For those of you interested in what makes good brisket, sausage and ribs, Jeffrey’s approach to smoking these delicacies will add to your barbecue knowledge. The conversation goes beyond this, however, and really centers on Jeffrey’s leadership principles and how a good owner serves both his patrons and his staff. The interview reveals a man who is just as much concerned with doing his business right as he does for serving good food. Please listen to the interview if you want to learn more about Texas barbecue but let Jeffrey add to your knowledge of what good leadership is all about.
Are you interested in art and antiques? Do you want to know what are the best collections you should visit and who has the best private collections? What media is being avidly collected these days and who are the artists drawing the most attention? These questions are answered in this episode as LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews Miller Gaffney. Miller is an internationally renowned art and antiques appraiser who many of you may know from her two TV shows, Market Warriors on PBS and Art Breakers on Ovation. Miller explains how she got interested in art and how she developed as both a recognized expert and TV personality. In this lively discussion Miller talks about what’s happening in art and antique collecting and some of the pitfalls of the profession. How do you spot a forgery? What happens to stollen art masterpieces? This is a very concise and informative master class in art collecting from one of the world’s foremost experts.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews one of the world’s top leadership development experts, Sylvia Lafair, in this podcast. Sylvia explains how a childhood tragedy led her to become a psychologist and how her work with family structures evolved into her leadership development methods. Sylvia realized that bosses are like parents, co-workers like siblings, and wages like allowances. Her program is called Total Leadership Connections. Her insight was to recognize that people develop patterns that may cause them problems in a work environment. Her program is a deep dive into patterns as leaders. Her methodology includes what she terms OUT - observing patterns, understanding where they come from and transforming them into new patterns for leadership success. She also uses what she calls a SANKOSA map, a term that means clearing the past to free the future. HR.COM has judged Sylvia’s program to be one of the best for seven years running. Sylvia is the author of Don’t Bring It To Work, a book available on amazon.com that summarizes her approach and methods. Sylvia is also the author of GUTSY - How Women Leaders Make Change, where she urges women to stand up for themselves. Integrity is the one characteristic Sylvia believes every leaders should have because it integrates all aspects of a situation. You will enjoy listening to one of the world’s best leadership experts tell her story.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews one of the top ten leadership thought leaders, Arthur Carmazzi. Arthur explains how he got to this ranking by starting with his list of personal failures and how he learned from them. Rather than perpetuate the behaviors he found in companies he worked for that led to failure, Arthur began to study them. This became the basis for his leadership methodology he terms Directive Communication Psychology. As he began to practice his methods, others soon caught on and now Arthur finds himself serving an international clientele from his base in Bali, Indonesia. Arthur concentrates on cultures that perpetuate failure and how an individual can recognize these behaviors, change them and develop a personal leadership style. The individual is in control of his or her environment, and with Arthur’s assistance one can learn to be a leader as circumstances demand. Arthur also talks about his new book, Architects of Extraordinary Team Culture. a fun and interactive exploration of his leadership methodology. Rather than list characteristics of a good leader, Arthur emphasized the difference between competencies and skills and how an individual’s qualities can be developed to become a leader for any situation. This is a lively and informative interview, from one of the top masters in the leadership field.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews Danielle DiMartino Booth, the founder of Money Strong LLC and the former advisor to Richard W. Fisher of the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. Danielle is the author of, FED UP, An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America. Danielle explains what prompted her to write the book and why she is critical of the Fed’s broken policies. The interview focuses on Danielle’s views of leadership at the Fed beginning with the Fed’s mishandling of the subprime mortgage crisis a decade ago. She looks at the role politics plays in the Fed’s policies and the critical role played by the current Fed chairman. The Fed has been criticized for a lack of diversity, which Danielle explains both in terms of race and gender as well as a lack of diverse backgrounds among Fed leaders. Danielle looks at the technical challenges the Fed now faces to modernize the organization’s cybersecurity procedures and information management systems. Her list of important characteristics of a good leader highlight integrity as a primary one for all worthy leaders. Danielle’s interview sheds light on a host of current issues affecting the Federal Reserve and why we should care.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews one of the nation’s top thinkers on leadership, Mike Mears. Mike’s leadership expertise is based on practical experience in the military, business and government fields. A West Point graduate, Mike worked with Jack Welch at GE and was the founder of the CIA Leadership Academy. Bob and Mike explore why with all the experts involved in leadership development there remains a dearth of truly affective leaders. They surmise that while principles are taught they are often soon forgotten for institutional and personal reasons. Mike states his view on the best characteristics of a good leader based on his experience. Mike is known for his advocacy of “stamping out bad bosses,” but he prefers to accent positive features of good leadership development. In this regard, Mike gives his observations on what are the best leadership lessons any one should learn. Finally, when asked about who comes to mind when he is asked about great leaders, Mike relates his relationship with the late Secretary of Commerce, Malcolm Baldridge. Mike emphasizes the personal relationships a good leader develops that leave a legacy. This interview is a thoughtful guide on what you should do to improve your leadership skills.
R. Gaines Baty is the bestselling author of Champion of the Barrio, a book about the legendary Texas football coach, Buryl Baty. Gaines decided to write a book about his father to honor the coach’s legacy. In doing so, he learned much about the father who died tragically when Gaines was only four. He also learned the leadership lessons his father imparted to his teams of hispanic kids, who he championed and guided. Gaines interviewed over a hundred people who knew Buryl and who testified to the lasting impact he had on their lives. Gaines, who runs a recruiting firm is not a professional writer. Despite this, he wrote a book that remains among the top ten percent on Amazon’s list and is considered by several critics as among the best books on leadership written in recent years. In the interview Gaines relates how he came to write the book, the struggle to get it published and the leadership lessons he learned in this endeavor. If you are looking for a readable, inspiring book on leadership, please obtain a copy of Champion of the Barrio.
LearnChair Radio host, Bob Dragone interviews Caroline Avinger, the president of Protocol LLC. Caroline is an expert in teaching good etiquette and protocol. She explains why these are necessary skills for a leader to develop, since image and style have such an important impact on how a leader is perceived. Many people can benefit from perfecting their manners, since being a leader depends so heavily on developing a positive image. She also explains how developing good protocol skills affects a company’s bottom line and can increase profitability. Caroline explains her methodology and how her courses are structured to develop the necessary skills. With a few stories she relates that although many people balk at first when asked to address their manners, she finds them always appreciative they have had the chance to benefit from her skills. Caroline explains her approach for helping business people adapt to foreign cultures should assignments take them overseas. She stresses an open mind and a willingness to learn. These also form the basis for her views on what it takes to be a good leader. Do you think you can benefit from adding a little polish to your etiquette and protocol habits? Listen to Caroline to find out how it can be done.
Does your brain work for you or against you in making sound leadership decisions? LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone examines this issue with Joe Santana. This is our second interview with Joe, who is a leading expert, teacher and consultant on bias and diversity in the workplace. Joe’s current emphasis is on unconscious bias and how the brain works. His focus is on how we make judgments and how the rules we live by affect our management decisions. Joe asks how do people make good decisions when 95% of the time decisions are driven by processes we are unaware of? Being unaware of brain functions can cost a company millions of dollars in lost opportunity costs. Joe gives examples involving a penchant to hire fast and fire slow, continuing to stick to methods that fail time and again and failing to recognize changes in the business environment. Joe poses seven tips on how to better use our brains to make good management decisions. Among these are raising our awareness of how we make decisions, separating fact from opinion and challenging our beliefs. When asked what characteristics make for a good leader, instead of listing terms Joe explains processes that good leaders use to make sound judgments. Among these are freeing subordinates to examine all aspects of a goal rather than limiting the space they will work in. The is a fascinating mini seminar on a unique aspect of leadership development - managing our brains.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone takes a look at leadership in the arts in this interview with up and coming metals artist Calina Shevlin. Callie is an expert in the art of guilloche, a technique used to engrave the elaborate and delicate patterns found on top end Swiss watches Faberge eggs, and increasingly in fine jewelry. She is one of only 27 artists in the world who have mastered the machines and methods used to produce the guilloche patterns. Recently, Callie published a book, Guilloche, A History and Practical Manual by Schiffer Publishers. This is the most comprehensive text on the art of guilloche ever published and will certainly be the defining publication on the topic for years to come. In the interview Callie explains how she first became interested in guilloche and her search to find a mentor to teach her the techniques. After a time working for Swiss watch companies she has now established her own business to further the art of guilloche in own creative manner. Callie’s talent, perseverance and creativity are a lesson in leadership for those who have a vision and wish to establish themselves in whatever field they choose to pursue.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews renewable energy expert Doug Faulkner on his views regarding the current state and future of sustainable energy programs and clean water initiatives. Doug has 30 years experience as a senior federal government sustainability expert who is now active in the private sector. Doug defines sustainability as improving humankind’s quality of life through efficient use of the earth’s resources. Doug notes that we are in the early stage of an historic shift in the state of our environment. He notes that sustainability requires changes at the individual level, in the market place, in trade and takes advantage of developments in science and technology. Doug comments on the Paris Accord and gives his views on the future of sustainable energy programs under the Trump administration. When asked for his view on the requirements for a good leader, Doug lists deep knowledge of one’s field, adaptability, good communication, a good listener, emotional intelligence and strength of character. This is a very timely interview on a subject of great interest to many of our listeners.
Is there a spiritual aspect to leadership? LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone explores this interesting notion with Kerry Harmanis, one of Australia’s prominent mining developers and philanthropists. Kerry relates his journey from lawyer to fishmonger to mining magnate and how he developed his leadership style based on mindfulness and personal growth. Kerry states how he developed his style through lifelong practice of what her terms, “spiritual endeavors” - meditation, Tai Chi, yoga, stretching and other physical activity. Through his personal growth he developed a sense of compassion which he applies to how well he treats his employees and business associates. His endeavors allow him to see a bigger picture. Kerry notes the importance of giving subordinates responsibility and the freedom to exercise it. Kerry is currently recognized for his philanthropy which he claims to have developed through contact with the Dalai Lama. Kerry gives an extensive list to the question of what characteristics a good leader should have. He lists humility, integrity, practical values, compassion, unconditional giving and the ability to surrender. The latter involves letting go of issues and emotions that hold you back. This is a unique take on leadership and one well worth considering for developing anyone’s leadership style.
LearnChair Radio host Bob Dragone interviews world-renowned bluegrass mandolin artist Mike Compton. Mike relates his early interest in string band music and the influence of music playing relatives as the beginnings of his career in music. But it is the influence of American musical master Bill Monroe that early on caught Mike's devotion. Mike explains how Monroe took the music of the blues, country, Scots-Irish music and other forms to forge his own genre of Bluegrass music. Mike has mastered the Monroe method of mandolin playing and now spends considerable time and effort to preserve Monroe's music and pass it on to new legions of followers. Mike tours extensively as both a solo and ensemble musician as well as holding house concerts and classes. Mike is the host and chief instructor for the Monroe Mandolin Camp held each fall in Nashville. In the discussion with Mike we explore what influences Monroe experienced to form his drive and ambitions as a leader, from a difficult childhood to drive champion of his own music. Mike shares his opinions on leadership in the music business which include an honest relationship with the audience and the value of positive collaboration with other musicians and executives. If you are not familiar with either bluegrass music or Bill Monroe, here's your introduction to a music and man you should know more about.