Intentional Leadership Development with Rob McKenna [Podcast]

Posted on August 10, 2022 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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Dr. Nathan Regier welcomes Rob McKenna, PhD to today’s episode. He was named one of the top 30 most influential I/O psychologists, he is a TedEd speaker and features in Forbes. Dr. McKenna is the founder of WiLD Leader Inc and The WiLD Leader Foundation, as well as the creator of the WiLD Toolkit.

Dr. McKenna’s research and coaching with thousands of leaders across corporate, not-for-profit, and university settings have given him insight into the real and gritty experience of leadership. His clients have included the Boeing Company, Microsoft, Heineken, Foster Farms, the United Way, Alaska Airlines, and Children’s Hospital. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters on leadership character, calling, effectiveness, and leadership under pressure. His latest book, Composed: The Heart and Science of Leading Under Pressure, focuses on the specific strategies leaders can use to stay true to themselves and connected to others when it matters most.

Intentional Leadership Development Highlights

  • The top predictor of being able to lead under pressure is a sense of purpose. Being able to understand and articulate your purpose gives you a beacon in the storm but it also gives you a framework for making difficult decisions under pressure.
  • The pandemic has given us a front-row seat to the brokenness and also the capacity of people around the world. What that means is we need to invest in leadership development in a way that is an invitation into people’s humanity, to help them become more of what they were meant to be and live into their possibilities.
  •  If we want a better future, we need to begin to invite people into the preparation for this. Rob is deeply convinced that we are in an unprecedented time where whole and intentional leadership development matters. We need leaders who can balance peacekeeping with truth speaking, who can lead with a sense of purpose and see the capability and potential instead of barriers.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

VOICEOVER: Are you tired of the negativity and drama? Are you trying to make a difference only to be drained by people problems? The world needs more compassion, not just more civility and empathy. We need in the trenches compassion that struggles alongside people instead of against them. We need a radically different way to engage for breakthrough results. And now here’s your host, Dr. Nate Regier.

NATE REGIER: My guest today was named among the top 30 most influential IO psychologists. He’s a TEDx speaker and featured in Forbes. Rob McKenna is the founder of WiLD Leaders, Inc and the WiLD Leader Foundation and creator of the WiLD Toolkit.

NATE REGIER: His research and coaching with leaders across corporate, not for profit and university settings has given him deep insight into the real and gritty experience of leaders. His clients have included the Boeing company, Microsoft, Heineken, Foster Farms, the United Way, Alaska Airlines and Children’s Hospital. He has also previously served as the chair of the Industrial Organizational Psychology Program at Seattle Pacific University.

NATE REGIER: Dr. McKenna is the author of numerous articles and chapters on leadership character, calling, effectiveness and leadership under pressure. His latest book, Composed: The Heart And Science Of Leading Under Pressure, focuses on the specific strategies leaders can use to stay true to themselves and connected to others when it matters most.

NATE REGIER: Rob lives in Kirkland, Washington with his wife, Jackie, and their two sons. Rob, welcome to On Compassion.

ROB MCKENNA: Nate, thank you. You live long enough and you have a long bio.

NATE REGIER: I guess so, right?

ROB MCKENNA: Thank you. Yeah. It’s good to be here.

NATE REGIER: Well, I always laugh when people introduce me for a keynote or presentation and there’s this great introduction, everybody claps. I’m like, “That is way premature. I don’t even know what you’re clapping for yet.” You know?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. Well, the best part, Nate, is that first thing about named one of the top 30 IO psychologists and it literally says alive today. And my brother who was one of my mentors called me immediately after when that came out and he goes, “You do know that three of those people are dead, right?” So I was like, it’s very humbling to have an older brother like that, you know?

NATE REGIER: Maybe you’re in the top 27 now.

ROB MCKENNA: That’s what it is.

NATE REGIER: Well, when I met you last year, I was involved in a HR conference in Arkansas and I was walking by. I decided to pop into your keynote. The topic looked interesting and I’m so glad I did. I was sitting at the back thinking I was probably going to leave in a little bit and your message resonated so strongly and I felt like I’d found a kindred spirit.

NATE REGIER: I don’t know if you’ll remember that I really came up and accosted you and the people you were with and was like, “I have to talk to you.” And you were very generous. You know, we’re both psychologists who have ventured into the corporate space. We both are applying psychological principles to leadership. So I’m really excited about our conversation today.

ROB MCKENNA: [inaudible 00:03:04].

NATE REGIER: Your bio gives us the high level stuff, but what I’m really curious about, what are some of the formative influences or kind of branches on your journey that you’d be willing to share to kind of help the audience get to know who you are?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. Nate, thanks for asking. It was humbling to meet you and I love it that you come from a clinical psych background because I’m a clinician wannabe and most programs wouldn’t take me when I was looking at doing a doctorate. So I’ve been able to kind of spread my learning tentacles into clinical psychology after doing my PhD in industrial organizational psych.

ROB MCKENNA: One of the things that was very formative for me, and I’m taking you all the way back, is I was a son of a university and a seminary president. So my dad served in that kind of academic role. He didn’t come from that. So he was a first generation person to get into that. But for me, one thing that I witnessed is watching my folks attempt to lead in that kind of a position.

ROB MCKENNA: And I don’t know. At the time when you’re a kid you don’t know what’s really influencing you or informing you, but part of that I think that as I look back was my folks are amazing people and still alive today and have a tremendous, I think, legacy of impact. But at the time being in those roles was hard. It’s a very public role. We literally lived in a house that a six story dorm looked straight into my bedroom window. And so when you live in the middle of a campus it’s an awesome opportunity. Don’t hear me complaining for a moment. But I would say that the real story is that it’s a hard job with that level of exposure.

ROB MCKENNA: And if you’re doing things that when you look back on building campaigns, for example, it seems like a no brainer that when a president is trying to build a science building that there will be professors from the humanities who will be trying to sabotage that president because they don’t think the sciences are relevant or they’ll be parents who are frustrated because their kid doesn’t get to study in that building. You know what I mean? Because it won’t be done for four years and their kid will be done with college. And that people, even from the community who didn’t want certain things done at any given time are going to be suing the institution.

ROB MCKENNA: And so for my folks a lot of times I sometimes have described that our dinner table conversations were oftentimes as much like advisory board sessions with a kid sitting at the table then there were just normal family stuff because there were a few places where my folks could sort of really reflect the whole story, but that was part of it. I ended up studying, I think, because of some of those influence, studying industrial organizational psychology because I was really fascinated by leaders and organizations and how they work and I saw the impact of both businesses and nonprofits across the world.

ROB MCKENNA: And then after I finished all my graduate studies… I was mentored by my older brother, as I mentioned, who was responsible for building the Leadership Bench Program at Microsoft. So the other kind of benefit I had was just getting dragged around by my 17 year older brother into this new software company in Redmond, Washington. And so I was just getting exposed to stuff. I didn’t really know. I’m getting exposed to team building and him trying to build a program for developing leader capacity.

ROB MCKENNA: And I ended up studying this field. Through my thirties I was involved in multiple longitudinal studies of leadership which was a way gave me a lens on when you look at all the leadership literature on what the whole story, the whole psychological story is that’s going on inside of a leader. And so I started to build this passion for what’s become now my whole focus on what’s called Whole and Intentional Leader Development through WiLD Leaders.

ROB MCKENNA: That’s just a quick snapshot of some of [inaudible 00:06:57] deeply influenced by some of those experiences.

NATE REGIER: Wow. My parents are missionaries and watching them lead under pressure. We think about the formative influences, watching our parents going through these things and maybe not even really appreciating what it was like to be them at the time. We just kind of were there in their lives.

ROB MCKENNA: Absolutely, yeah.

NATE REGIER: So you mentioned WiLD. For those of you of course you are listening you can’t see, but I see the word WiLD behind you and I’m guessing it stands for Whole and Intentional Leadership Development and the I is lowercase. The other letters are uppercase. So what is Wild Leaders? Tell us a little bit about your company and your team?

ROB MCKENNA: So I love it that you identified the acronym. It does stand for Whole and Intentional Leader Development and it’s what we do all day long that was kind of this vision of mine, is provide a system for whole and intentional leader development that plugs right into an organization. So we talk about most organizations have a process for operations or for finances or for… You name it or for service delivery but very few of them have a system in place for developing leader capacity.

ROB MCKENNA: So what I’ve spent most of my career building and doing research on is, like I said, that, what does it mean to invest in a whole person as a leader and to give them insight into the multiple and nuanced pieces of their developmental journey? You know, someone asked in India a couple years ago. I built this thing called the Wild Toolkit, which is this system that embeds within an organization and is a part of their developmental rhythms alongside their functioning and leading inside the business.

ROB MCKENNA: And so someone asked in India, “How long did it take, Rob, to develop all this system?” And someone said, “His whole career,” because I think that in many ways what the Wild Toolkit has become was informed by… I’m an integrator. I think you are too. And so when I looked at the body of literature around what we know about leader preparation, it’s not just one thing, you know what I mean? It includes experiences and competence. It includes calling on purpose. It includes a network of support. It includes motivations and goal setting and a deep level of intention and agency. And so I was like, I think I could build up a whole system for that. And so that’s what I [inaudible 00:09:17].

ROB MCKENNA: So we do that and I would say primarily, Nate. Our mission is to prepare a generation of what we describe as courageous and sacrificial leaders, people that would bring the efficacy and the awareness of themselves and their own value, but at the same time, being willing to sacrifice that if necessary for the people they serve. So that’s what it’s been all about.

NATE REGIER: Wow. That’s neat. I love the acronym. I actually didn’t get it at first. One day I was reading some more of your material. It’s like, well, duh, of course. And people can learn more about the Wild Toolkit and the work that you do and learn about the amazing members of your team. I’ve gotten to meet a couple of them. We’ll put information in the show notes. You got a new book and you were talking about that book when I met you. The new book is called Composed: The Heart And Science Of Leading Under Pressure.

NATE REGIER: So you’re a researcher. I know it. I can tell. I mean, anyone who says the word longitudinal study, you already know what you’re talking about. I mean, that’s just the credibility right off the bat. Will you say a little bit about the genesis of this book?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. One of the studies I was a part of was called the Waypoint Project and it was started as a 10 year longitudinal study inside aerospace to understand how leaders learn and grow on the job. It was a replication study of some work that was done in the eighties called the lessons of experience, and it was to see whether or not those same experiences were equivalent for leaders in aerospace. And so we set out to sort of see if we can replicate that. And one of the things we realized is we were looking at the experiences of people that are so often crucible, high pressure moments that are that caldron of development.

ROB MCKENNA: It was like that laboratory is really hard experiences, really high personal pressure experiences. And so because we saw that we ended up every year, we would pick the next research agenda, not just based on theory, but also based on what we were seeing from the leaders that we were studying.

ROB MCKENNA: So we realized that we wanted to study that. I’m sure you’re familiar with this, but as we were looking for models, there were some models in the traditional leadership literature about this but the best model we found was Bowen theory with family systems approaches to human beings. And so what we found was that one of the fundamental tensions, didn’t matter whether the person was a parent or a president, was the tension between having a sense of themselves, deeply rooted convictions, understanding what it is they think is important and at the same time being connected into all that same information in everybody else. So how do I be myself, stay true to who I am and what I think should happen or is important as a leader and how do I also stay connected to what everybody else thinks is important?

NATE REGIER: Right.

ROB MCKENNA: So, that’s where that came from. And then I’m also a solutions person. So I was like, well, we found out that people had these default tendencies under pressure. Some people either leaned more heavily on themselves or more heavily towards kind of appeasing or pleasing others. But I wanted to know, what is it that allowed people to do both at the same time? So the second half of the book just sets up these strategies that we found as we went through that, as we continued on that research path, that helped people to be their best selves in those moments, both caring for others and seeing others, but also staying clear about who they are. So that’s where it came from.

NATE REGIER: That’s awesome. What I liked about the book was the way it… Well, first it’s easy to read and that’s not what you would expect from a psychologist researcher. So kudos for making something easy to read.

ROB MCKENNA: Thank you, Nate. Thank you.

NATE REGIER: Oh my gosh. I don’t know. I mean, I’m not going to say how much money I spent, how many years I spent learning to say things in really complicated ways and the rest of my career I’ve been spent trying to make it so that people can actually understand it because otherwise I’m not sure how anyone’s going to apply this stuff we’re learning.

ROB MCKENNA: That’s so true.

NATE REGIER: So thank you. No, the book is structured that way. There’s some great principles up front and then these little short, great chapters. And I want to highlight some things as we go. You talked about these tensions and I can tell that’s kind of a big thing for you, is living in these tensions, appreciating these tensions and the nuance of that. One of the things that I immediately just related to because it’s so part of my whole learning and career is that pressure impacts people in three fundamental ways. Thinking, feeling and doing. And this is a really familiar diad, the cognitive emotional behavioral triad. I mean, not diad, but triad.

NATE REGIER: I know you’re a self-efficacy fan. I’m a huge Albert Bandura fan. In fact, I live 20 miles north of Wichita State university and he was in the first graduating class in their psychology program. I’ve never met him personally, but yeah, Bandura’s a huge thing. So also for us our model, the compassion cycle identifies three things, open resourceful, persistent, which is the affective, the cognitive and the behavioral. So these are some really themes that repeat themselves. Will you say a little bit about the importance of these three areas?

ROB MCKENNA: Oh man. I love what you just said. By the way, I’ve been on lots of podcasts and I think you’re the first person who’s dropped Bandura before I did. Nate, I’m glad you’re my friend. I’m just saying. Can I say something about efficacy for a second?

NATE REGIER: Yeah.

ROB MCKENNA: One of the things that I’ve realized about this is that how important efficacy is. You know that sacrifice is a part of something that’s important to me but it’s so funny how you can’t sacrifice something you don’t have. And so developing that sense, that belief that I could actually do something or even if you think about learning efficacy, this possibility that I could change, has been such a key learning for me.

ROB MCKENNA: This is going to go down a little trail, but it’s what’s what you triggered in terms of that thinking, feeling and doing, like how change occurs is that when I built the Wild Toolkit one of the decisions I made was I wanted people… People could go buy the toolkit right now and pick it up and go use it. We don’t require people to certify, although we have all those processes. And so because of that, one of the concerns I had to address initially was that the questioning processes and the tools had to leave a person better than where we found them.

ROB MCKENNA: So there were a lot of questions that we avoided asking that might get them in a space of just complaining about things. A lot of like culture surveys need to be asked. In this process we didn’t include because we don’t want people just complain about their organization even if it’s bad and then leave them there. So because of that structure, we drew up questions that were while they were, there were some tough things to ask. They definitely had an appreciative bent to them. You know what I mean?

ROB MCKENNA: And so I didn’t realize at the time, but what was happening was because of the structure of the toolkit in that design and as further research was done on the area of developmental readiness, which has become a very popular topic over the last several years, that questioning process, it’s not the feedback reports people receive quite literally the process of asking of people, asking themselves questions was increasing developmental efficacy, you know what I mean?

ROB MCKENNA: So, so often we look at the feedback report as we say like, what is my profile when we want to look at something like this tool that we use. But in our case, it’s both the tool and the feedback report that produced that increasing efficacy. And what’s been fascinating that has just had me dig deep into the process of questions like how rarely we are asked questions that invite us into a conversation that we don’t have the answers to yet.

ROB MCKENNA: And so it’s been such a powerful thing in terms changing and me more deeply understanding the process of change that occurs inside of a person. And then the thinking, feeling and doing stuff is just, man, we could go all kinds of places. But the first place it took my brain was… You know, I studied under Alan Wicker when I was in graduate school. Alan did some of the initial work on the relationship between attitudes and behaviors. And it was interesting because what they found is that there’s no chicken or egg. Sometimes we need to change our mind to change our behaviors and sometimes we need to change our behaviors and that we’ll change our mind. It’s that dissonance and we’re going to reduce that dissonance somehow. And so that connection.

ROB MCKENNA: And then you invite in the feeling, the emotional part, which is so often has not been covered in classical psychology but family systems theories were deeply understanding that. So, I love where you’re going. That’s just what my thoughts were on that, just that connection between all of it’s crazy.

NATE REGIER: I love the whole thing of questions. We could spend a whole session on that. I’m a big fan of Bob Tiede. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s all about questions. That’s his entire thing. It’s just asking great questions and questions that generate efficacy, that help people empower, that get curiosity going. But in our research we found of these three dimensions, certainly openness or the emotional side is the least focused on in leadership development. It’s the one that leaders are not promoted for. It’s the one that leaves them struggling if they don’t have a handle on it or it’s imbalance compared to the others.

NATE REGIER: So a big part of your book is how leaders deal with the emotional world, the emotional side and the cognitive world. You talk about this distinction between thinkers and feelers and I want to unpack a few things partly because I didn’t fully understand it and I want some help. I know it’s oversimplified to say thinkers and feelers, but there’s also, I think, a lot of wisdom to understanding how each one can benefit us but can also become a liability. Will you talk a little bit about this dimension of that feeling side, that thinking side? They can be really beneficial but we also have to be careful.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. Well, one of the most interesting parts of that discussion, and that was my attempt in the book by the way, to bottom shelf some deeper concepts as you know. And so even using language like that has been interesting after the book published in talking through that. One of my main points on that was that so often in our business context that people who might express as being more feeler, emotionally oriented are kind of seen as soft. And so often, even though there’s a harshness to people that don’t have that empathy.

ROB MCKENNA: But here’s the big thing that we found in our research. This was fascinating, Nate. And it’s kind of why it troubles me sometimes when people say you overuse terms without including the nuance that’s around them. So for example, we want leaders with empathy. Okay. And that’s where it showed up in the book because empathy showed up as one of the key strategies for actually being a healthy composed person under pressure. It was one of the key strategies, but what we found and we actually thought about for about a week, we had a bunch of subject matter experts and PhDs arguing around a table, was that empathy was a different process than taking the perspective of others.

ROB MCKENNA: In other words, that emotion for people that feel very, very deeply, a lot of times… They were correlated, by the way, but also different because sometimes people who feel so deeply.. And every time I say this, there’s a bunch of people in an audience will nod. Sometimes we feel so deeply that our capacity to listen is decreased. We’re just overwhelmed with that emotion, that emotional connection to others. And so what’s interesting about it is that for folks who are lower on empathy, because the research on whether you can actually develop empathy is kind of mixed, that the strategy for folks who are maybe low on empathy is the active listening process.

ROB MCKENNA: I mean, I know I’m preaching to the choir now. But most people confuse listening with empathy. And They’re not mutually exclusive but they can run different pathways.

NATE REGIER: I’m with you. I’m with you a hundred percent. And I want to here give a shout out to a guest that hasn’t appeared yet on my podcast, but it will be. Her name is Kristen Donnelley and she is really into this idea of cognitive empathy or the perspective taking. I think it’s similar to what you say about understanding curiosity. And she has some really provocative things to say about empathy. And you know, if you look at the research on mirror neurons and stuff, some of this stuff just kind of happens pre subconsciously and automatically, and we can be overwhelmed by emotions. And I’m not going to go down this path, but someday we should talk about the difference between empathy and compassion. And that this idea of empathy fatigue, I mean, compassion fatigue is actually a misnomer. It’s the drain of empathy that becomes so self focused and self absorbed.

NATE REGIER: But while we’re on the topic, my favorite quote from the whole book. This is my favorite quote.

ROB MCKENNA: Oh, no. Okay.

NATE REGIER: Yeah. Here it is. And others might find great quotes. Here it is. Stop trying to be interesting and start trying to be interested. I think that is so good. Such a great turn of phrase because this really I think is a great way to talk about this idea of perspective taking. So tell us a little bit, unpack the difference between empathy and perspective taking and how this relates to composure under pressure?

ROB MCKENNA: Oh. So it was interesting. The perspective taking, the story I always tell is like, I was driving my wife to a restaurant one time and she was wearing heels. We have this ongoing argument about where we park. We don’t have this anymore because I’ve become a better human being. But as we have that conversation, she’s like, “The closer, the better of course.” And what she was talking about was, “Have you ever walked in my shoes?”

ROB MCKENNA: And I sound like a horrible person and I think I’m confessing that right now because I haven’t walked in her shoes, to quite literally to do that. And so that perspective taking process as a strategy was so key for people. And you can imagine. It was correlated with those. It was key for people who had a very high sense of self under pressure. They default toward, “I’m going to show you conviction when the pressure comes on,” For those folks, that capacity to put themselves in other people’s shoes and to actually actively listen was so key.

ROB MCKENNA: And Nate, one of the things… So if you imagine that paradox or that dichotomy… No, paradox of attention to self and attention to others. So I’m under pressure and I’m trying to do both. I’m trying to be aware of what’s important to me and stay connected to what was important to you, that that’s important. So one of the things I talk about is that with people who tend to… We have an assessment called the leading under pressure inventory. And so it gives people a sense of which way they go. It’s an extreme case, but I’ll say that one of the pieces of advice I will give to someone who rates very high under pressure on attention to self is I will say this to them, “Shut up.

ROB MCKENNA: And what’s interesting is that most of the time when I say that to somebody, most people think that they would say it back to me like, “No, you shut up McKenna.” But most of the time that person will say, “I know. This is a challenge of mine. How do I do that?” And what I tell them, it’s just a simple dare. I’ll say, “I dare you to go into the next high pressure meeting you have with your team to put the issue on the table, whatever it is. And I dare you to not speak for 15 minutes. And for that person, every part of their being will believe that believes that it’s my job to answer this for my team.

ROB MCKENNA: And so if I can get them to just listen for just a moment, it’s incredible what that 15 minutes will do. I also warn them though that people will not trust it. They’ll actually try to sabotage it because they’ve never seen it before. And so when it comes to that perspective taking, it’s one of the ways if you could get people who just…

ROB MCKENNA: Trying to be interesting, it’s not just about that. Sometimes conviction is not like someone that just tramples everybody, it’s someone that really feels like it’s their job to provide direction, you know what I mean? These aren’t bad people. Just like the people who are over on the other side aren’t bad people. But if I can give them some behaviors to begin to listen, could change things

NATE REGIER: It’s such a simple piece of advice and so powerful. And the deeper thing, and this is also in your book, is what if you worried less about what people are thinking of you and worried more about what people are thinking of themselves? That’s probably a deeper, better way to talk about this because that’s really the skillset that you’re asking us to do. Because yeah, it’s so easy to focus on that. We just got back from a two day training with a bunch of hospital executives around how our personalities impact whether we go self or we go other under pressure and you can really see how our personality influences that and how we can just start to…

NATE REGIER: It was fascinating actually. This group talked about one of the behaviors that bothers them the most is self-centeredness and yet most of them under pressure get so absorbed into their plans, their thoughts, their convictions, their feelings, that they have no idea what’s going on around them, you know?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. I have a question for you, Nate, about that. Because people assume. I think that the overarching narrative in culture is that self-centeredness is that kind of leader who tramples people, you know what I mean? It’s like that kind of leader. So we don’t like that over conviction side. But what I’ve found is that even those who are just absorbed in their default is to try to make peace and make everybody happy, that that actually is also they have a different sacrificial thing. So for them the selfishness is that compulsion to try to make sure everybody’s happy with them. You know what I mean, please everybody? So the sacrifice wouldn’t be to stop talking but to actually begin to speak and to show up.

ROB MCKENNA: And so it’s interesting because we don’t talk about that. I’m curious on your thoughts on that. That selfness looks different for different people.

NATE REGIER: Yeah. And I don’t know. There’s nuance between the word selfish, self-focused, self-centered. I think self-focused might be what’s going on because we get so… It’s not narcissism. We’re not enamored with our stuff, but we are so focused on our thoughts, our feelings, our plans, our worries for whatever reason.

NATE REGIER: My wife often accuses me of not listening, not paying attention and I’m so absorbed in my own stuff but a lot of times what I’m preoccupied about is am I doing the right thing? Am I saying the right thing? Am I acting right? Am I serving my people right? So I’m thinking about them but it’s my thoughts are a lot more important than their thoughts, which is really crazy.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah.

NATE REGIER: Well, okay. So maybe we can go down this concept of where are you focused? I love the chapter called the balcony or the pinhole, and it’s really about seeing the big picture. And you write about how important perspective is and you shared a little bit about that. But there was a little fact that you shared that I think is just fascinating. You said human beings are the only species that speed up when lost. What?

ROB MCKENNA: So I’m not sure I have the data to support it. You and I are also kind of empiricists. So there’s a part of us going, “Can you prove it, McKenna?”

NATE REGIER: I do have some data that can come compliment it though. But I want to hear where you came from with this or what’s that?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. By the way, that particular strategy, one of the place I was deeply infected by was some Harvard work that came out. I don’t know if you ever read, getting to yes or getting past no. They’re books by [inaudible 00:29:13]. And one of the things they talked about was that stepping to the balcony idea and that was a way for me to tell that story of big picture thinking like stepping back and emotionally speaking, what people were describing as a strategy. Because what we asked leaders was, tell me about a high pressure situation that challenged your capacity to stay true to yourself and connect it to others, this was the protocol, and then tell me what it is that allowed you to be composed, to maintain your level of differentiation in those moments?

ROB MCKENNA: And so the strategies emerged from that question in our research. And this one that emerged was a leader being able to… I love the stepping to the balcony idea but to step back for a moment. A lot of times in practice the behavior is I take a moment and I pause, but it also could be to step back and let me see the long view. Let me see both that dimension but also to see the way that my behavior is impacting the behavior of other people on the team, which is such a key.

ROB MCKENNA: And it’s also related to that concept of reading context. One of the primary leader jobs is to be able to read context quickly. And so we can’t do that unless we get out of that moment enough to say like, “What’s actually happening here” was absolutely critical. The speeding up thing is just trying to get people to pause and to take a moment. I think so much of what leaders does, once a month with teams of leaders that we work with, that’s what we do all day, all week long. Once a month we get them to stop, you know what I mean, and to take a structured pause to develop leader capacity, but also to see each other. So that’s where that came from.

NATE REGIER: Yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff. And you know, each chapter has just such a great nugget. Each chapter and with some great little questions, some things to reflect, jus things to kind of stimulate that efficacy around taking action on what you learned. I want to switch gears a little bit. I really personally connected with your chapter on blame or grace and the subtitle is recognizing contribution. You talk about the distinction between blame and grace and how this relates to responsibility as a leader. Will you share just briefly a little bit more about that?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. And also I’d love to touch on if we have moment or it could be a future conversation on the secret sauce in the book because we did study what were the most powerful strategies as well. I wanted not to dismiss the multitude of strategies, but also that one was the trickiest to actually study and code.

ROB MCKENNA: I heard a guy named Edwin Friedman who was a protege of Murray Bowen, the famous family systems theorist. And he was in front of 400 Microsoft managers and I had this video tape back in the day of him doing this talk. And he had described this concept of what is really the theory behind my entire book, of what it means to be a differentiated leader, to do those two seemingly contradictory things at once. And one of the Microsoft managers in the room asked this question. He said, “What is the litmus test for the person within any system who has the most capacity to lead?” When I saw the video, I wasn’t there, I saw the video of this. I was like, what is he going to say? Because he’s going to narrow it down. He’s going to bottom shelf oversimplify a deep concept. And this is what he said, Nate. He said, “The person with the most capacity to lead within any system is the person who can express themself with the least amount of blame.” And he said, “This is a person who will be continually defining themselves, staying connected to other people and not participating in the triangulation that’s so troubling across really chronically anxious organizational systems.

ROB MCKENNA: And then what was interesting, the follow up question was this. Someone said, “Well, what if you’re dealing with a family system and the only person who can do that is the 16 year old daughter?” And it was just a great question. And Friedman said that I would try to continue to work with that 16 year old daughter to maintain her capacity to maintain that level of emotional health. And he said in some systems there’s no 16 year old daughter, you know what I mean?

ROB MCKENNA: And so that blame thing is interesting because what he didn’t talk about was what is on the other side of that. What is the more appreciative side? What do we see? And I think things like grace. I think people who define themselves by one-on-one conversations as opposed to triangulation. Because gossip in organizations is just another form of blame.

ROB MCKENNA: And I think there’s a time to vent. I’m often asked like, “Isn’t there a time to actually vent? And I would say, “Yeah, I think we need that, but I think to check our intent behind that.” Are we just kind of stewing about things that we have no control over because our anxiety is turning into blame and just triangulation or gossip or is it with the intent that I’m going to try to change something in myself to show up better?”

NATE REGIER: Yeah. Love that. Love that. We talk about the three switches of a compassion mindset and one of the switches is responsibility. And when the switch is off, we are always attempting to isolate responsibility, which is called blame, pointing fingers. Who did it? Let’s get a root cause analysis, da, da, da. And when the switch is on the attitude always is, no matter what happened before I am a hundred percent responsible for my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. And that’s it. No more, no less. And it really requires an incredible amount of grace to own that and nothing more and nothing less.

NATE REGIER: So good. It’s, it’s such a great chapter. And you know, when you make a distinction between peacekeeper and truth seeker, it’s just a powerful thing. I was thinking about our idea of compassionate accountability. And I often say, compassion without accountability gets you nowhere. But accountability without compassion gets you alienated. And I’ve never seen a victim of domestic violence love their way into everything being better, love their way into fixing the abuser. But I’ve also seen so many examples of these bring the hammer down leaders who have alienated everybody and nobody wants to work for them and they have no engagement.

NATE REGIER: So maybe just give us a little hint to get people excited about this chapter, about what’s the difference between a peacekeeper and a truth seeker? Because they’re both important, such important roles.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. One thing I love about you, Nate, is you are like me. You love to get to the root of what words mean.

NATE REGIER: I do.

ROB MCKENNA: It was interesting. And I’ve used multiple words to define those two sides. My brother used to describe it as conviction and connection. In the leading under pressure inventory it’s described as attention to self versus attention to other. And so I describe it in the book as this truth speaker and peacekeeper as these extreme versions, and the point being that emotional pressure would cause us to move towards those default, to either speaking the truth with a lot of clarity and conviction or on the other side, is just spending every ounce of our emotional energy trying to keep the peace and make sure everybody’s happy.

ROB MCKENNA: And it was interesting because someone just two weeks ago said to me, I’d never heard this before, said, “When I saw peacekeeper, I thought of the old west.” So they didn’t think of peacekeeper the way I was describing it, you know, as someone who’s really [inaudible 00:36:53] make peace. They were actually describing the true speaker.

NATE REGIER: Yeah.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah, exactly. And so I tell people who are really high. They care so deeply what other people think need and feel. And I tell them the challenge with that from a leadership perspective is that you cannot keep everyone happy without lying to somebody. It’s just not possible. You know what I mean? It’s just not possible to do that. So that fundamental paradox is what the foundation of the book is about.

ROB MCKENNA: Can I tell you? I’m curious about your thoughts on the secret sauce. Can I tell you what it is that we found?

NATE REGIER: Yeah. Yeah, I want to hear it and I think listeners want to hear it.

ROB MCKENNA: It related to that, is like, if you look at all the strategies in the second half of the book that are very… Like you said, it meant a ton to me that you said this is an approachable book. You didn’t use that word, but it was easy to consume. All the strategies were important. I wanted to know if there were certain strategies that were more powerful from a research perspective, soaking up a ton of the variance in composure, what were those key strategies? And it was fascinating because the number one strategy of all of them. I always tell people, don’t dismiss the one that you’re picking from those other chapters. But if you had to pick across the entire sample the number one strategy was sense of purpose.

ROB MCKENNA: And it was not just a generalized sense of purpose, but a specific articulated purpose for why you are in that situation in the first place. And it’s been so powerful because our Wild Leaders team, every time we interact with an organization, whoever from our organization is involved with that client, we ask ourselves before the session begins, why are we here? So we think specifically about who the client is, who they serve and we think about who we are. And so why is that intersection happening? And the reason why we do that is because we know that if we anchor ourselves in that purpose, if something goes wrong, that will allow us to be our best selves in that moment of pressure.

ROB MCKENNA: Purpose didn’t just get popularized because it sounds good. It’s actually spending the time, which I know you’ll resonate with, taking the moment to actually articulate, write down, why are you in this moment? So if I go into an argument with my 20 year old son, and we do argue, if I thought at least recently about why I’m his dad in this season of his life and mine, it’ll go better. That was the number one. The number two was focusing on potential.

ROB MCKENNA: Purpose played a huge role in people’s capacity to show up under pressure. But even business leaders with very successful businesses spend so little time articulating, why are you in this? You know?

NATE REGIER: Okay. Well, there’s three things that we still have to do. So hang on, buckle up everyone, get another cup of coffee because we’re not going to stop this and do a second episode right now. So there’s two. The secret sauce. There’s another one. And I have a whole question around this whole potential thing and I know you have some things to say. So purpose. I’m want to just illustrate the power of what you just shared.

NATE REGIER: A year before COVID hit, we finally as a company after 10 years of being in business, we finally got serious about our purpose. It was always there kind of in the ether, not clearly articulated, sort of. But we got crystal clear about our purpose and we wrote it down. We got real clear about what does this mean for what we do and what we focus on every day. And I don’t know how we would’ve made it through COVID without it because we’re putting out fires every day. We’re responding to things. We’re pivoting every single day. We don’t even know what’s going on. But every day it was just like, what should we be doing for this purpose?

NATE REGIER: And it completely helped us keep focused, helped us stay together, helped us know exactly how to make decisions and not to get worried or not to get hung up on things that a lot of people were getting really excited about that distracted them. So it’s true. It’s true. And I’m not a big purpose preacher. My personality is not naturally tended towards purpose, values, convictions but the harder I worked at it, the more it pays off. So we’re living proof that what you’re saying is absolutely true.

NATE REGIER: And I promise to share a little research about people speeding up when they get lost. So just a question for you. I already know the answer, but I’m just curious what you would say. So research about when people get lost in the woods and when they get found and if they survive, do you know that research? About when you find people and you look at age groups, what age of person is most likely to be found alive? Any guess?

ROB MCKENNA: I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to this. I’m going to guess. Is most likely to be found alive?

NATE REGIER: They’ve all been lost for a long time. They’ve all been in the wilderness. They’ve all been under inclement conditions and they get found and-

ROB MCKENNA: I’m going to think it’s older people.

NATE REGIER: Turns out it’s children like under seven years old are the most likely and here’s why, because the older you are, the more mature you are, the more smart you think you are. And these people, they don’t pay attention. They don’t listen to their bodies. When they’re tired, they keep walking. When they’re thirsty, they just keep going. Children, when they’re hungry, they eat something. When they’re tired, they sleep. When they’re cold, they curl up under a tree. And adults just go faster and faster and faster when they get lost and they just don’t pay attention.

NATE REGIER: So I think under pressure, maybe the children realize that they can balance, pay attention themselves and pay attention to the world out there. And often they’re found very close to wherever they were lost. And these adults just keep thinking they’re going the right direction, walking in circles but it kind of crazy. Pay attention. I’ve read a couple of your white papers. Also there’s fabulous ones. To the listeners on here, go to the website, download the white papers. There’s such nice little bite size articles with some really good stuff. And I also want to talk about your faith here in a little bit too.

NATE REGIER: But one of the truths, one of your white papers was the 10 scientific truths about whole and intentional leadership development. One of them says readiness beats potential. Sounds like you’re not a fan of the term high potential. Does this have anything to do with your other secret sauce?

ROB MCKENNA: It actually doesn’t but I think it gives me a chance to unpack that really quickly.

NATE REGIER: Nice.

ROB MCKENNA: So the focus on potential strategy, it’s interesting because it was contributing on top of purpose. So it was the only variable that on top of purpose was creating some additional information and it was quite literally a person maintaining their capacity to see positive potential outcomes when everyone else only sees barriers. And I think more deeply from my own sort of worldview, I would say there’s a ton of hope in this because it’s maintaining that potential focus even when quite literally all we see is barriers.

ROB MCKENNA: And so it’s not optimism where the glass is half full or pessimism is half empty, it’s actually someone who can say like, COVID hit. What opportunities are in front of us that we didn’t have without COVID? That’s one way to think about that is, what potential opens up? It’s interesting that word, right? And I’m not against high potentials. What I think is missing from that conversation is that so often when we’ve had that focus on high potentials, what we have done is we have boxed people in. And in most cases we have said that 10 to 15% of the people in our organizations are our high potentials. And when I’m sitting in that room and I’ve heard that, it leaves me to say like, I’m probably in the 85%. So I either am one or I’m not.

ROB MCKENNA: And what we’ve found as we’ve invested in people like a regular system of development that’s occurring inside an organization is that maybe we could change the paradigm. As opposed to saying who’s high potential and who’s not, to saying who’s ready and who’s not, you know what I mean? Even just that subtle shift leans into the growth mindset literature. And I’m not saying that everybody’s ready. I’m not saying that at all. But instead of thinking about our 10 to 15% as being our high potentials, maybe now we’re saying maybe we look at the top 35% of people who are ready to edit and to grow and to learn and to adapt assuming that people are going to move through that cycle.

ROB MCKENNA: It’s kind of the point I was trying to make because most people who talk about potential, even when they kind of twist the words around, they’re still talking about you either are or you aren’t. And I think what we’ve seen is that even the most resistant people, when they’re provided an invitation into their own learning that’s thoughtful and architected, that some of those people will turn the corner and become ready. So that’s [inaudible 00:45:50].

NATE REGIER: I love that. And I see some additional problems with this concept of potential because it undermines self-efficacy because it implies some predetermined thing. And the second switch in our three switches of the compassion mindset is capability. And when the switch is off, you believe that capability is set, limited, whatever. But when the switch is on, you believe the capability is really about an interaction between the environment and the person. So when we say you’re a high potential it’s like we’re completely ignoring that your capability has a lot to do with how we treat you, how we invite you into the learning, how we invest in you. So I love this idea about who’s ready and not. Yeah, really like that.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. I resonate with all the things. It’s so funny. We are like minded for sure.

NATE REGIER: Well, I want to turn the corner here before we try to land this plane. Maybe it’s CTAC. It’s a familiar report for me. We’re both people of faith. I know that that’s important for you. You write about it in one of your white papers and I really appreciate kind of the authentic and open way in which you bring this into your work in a non labeling, non-judging, it’s just this part of who I am. A big theme in your whole philosophy, and I’m guessing it’s from your faith, is that humans make mistakes and that how we relate to our failures is one of the most important aspects. Our relationship with making mistakes and failure is such an important aspect of whole and intentional leadership development. Will you say a little bit more about your faith and how failure fits in?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. I was deeply affected by the song Amazing Grace. And one of the lines in the second verse is, “It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fear relieved.” And when I first read that I was like, “That is a weird line.” It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fear relieved. Because I experienced grace as being this. The fear relieved part, but what is it about grace that teaches your heart to fear? And one thing that I realized as I thought more deeply about it is that our realization of our need for grace is a realization of our mistakes. And I’m not talking about like, I forgot to take the garbage out. It’s like the bins are still in the driveway. It’s not that. This is like, I have wronged you.

ROB MCKENNA: And so as soon as I pay attention to that, I realize how deeply… It teaches me to fear because it’s like, holy cow, I need a lot of fixing, you know what I mean? And at the same time, the double edged awesomeness of it is that also relieves our fears because when it’s offered to us or we offer it to someone else, for something we don’t deserve by the way, that forgiveness that we don’t deserve.

ROB MCKENNA: When you look at the leadership research on powerful experiences, failures played a massive role. And these were not failures. Setbacks also played a role but setbacks could have someone did this to you. A failure is I screwed this up. The level of failure was difficult. And one of the things that I don’t resonate with as much is this idea that I think everything can be redeemed. So I wouldn’t say that, which is deeply rooted in my faith. But I don’t think that everything was good. You know what I’m saying? And that holding that tension is a core part because… I think if you look at the human experience and even the research on leader development, from my faith perspective, it actually looks like a gospel story, my own perspective. It just replicates that, like crucibles and failures and suffering and good role models and bad role models.

ROB MCKENNA: Do you know that role models were one of the most significant experiences that people have had in developing their leader capacity? And one third of the time they were bad ones. So it’s like the amount of screw ups in the whole human experience is profound. And you know, the reason why my faith, that whole courageous and sacrificial thing, it’s another conversation. But for me, it’s rooted in Philippians two. That’s a deeper conversation but that’s where that came from, this idea that I want people who are full of their own sense of their belovedness, but at the same time willing to sacrifice that self for the sake of others or at least consider when it might be necessary, which is kind of a profound and actually a dangerous proposition sometimes in our world, I think. But it’s what I believe.

NATE REGIER: Man. That amazing grace verse is real near and dear to me because it was sung at a funeral that I attended for a close family member just a few days ago. And I’ve never thought of that verse in this way until just now. And I want to run something by and see what you think just because I’m kind of stirred to think this way.

NATE REGIER: So purpose. The number one secret sauce is a sense of purpose and in our work with personality we find that certain personality types are more hardwired to see the world that way. They’re convicted. They’re passionate. They’re vision. They have this sense of purpose but what they also have is a keen ability to see danger, to see what’s wrong, to see what’s missing because they’re always scanning the horizon and they are natural protectors. It’s kind of in their blood. And if you’re going to be pre-programmed to see the future and see what could go wrong and protect people from danger, you’re going to be afraid. But what we find is these leaders it is like their kryptonite. Authentic fear is their kryptonite. It’s the thing that they don’t want to do because they’ve told themselves it means you’re not brave. It means you’re not strong.

NATE REGIER: And so I’m thinking as I hear this verse, if I’m that person, Amazing Grace, It was grace that allowed my heart to feel fear because grace then allowed me to take failure, not as something that makes me less than or a failure or to be ashamed of, but something to learn and grow from and become even a better protector, a better leader. So thank you for helping me connect some dots there.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. That’s amazing. I resonate with the person you described very deeply. My family calls me practical Patty because I’m like the person… My wife is practical Patty in other ways, but I’m always like, “Hey, kids don’t run on the rocks like that.” But it’s a little bit selfish because I’m thinking they’re going to fall then it’s going to ruin the vacation.

NATE REGIER: Right. Then you’ll be taking them to the ER instead of having your next thing.

ROB MCKENNA: You’re right. There’s this sense in which I scan the horizon and have that protector part of me but yet I also… That sense of purpose is so strong, almost overwhelming. And I think something else that you mentioned that is so critical that I hope people would understand as they listen to the two of us is that different leaders, the nuance in the wild stories of different people needs to be seen.

ROB MCKENNA: So while there’s there’s generalized researches… It’s why leadership stuff doesn’t always resonate with me because the five principles to leading well will always leave us wanting because you even describe… When you describe personality, there’s factors within that that get played out in different ways, in different people. You know what I mean? And so what I love in what you were saying is that, what would it mean for us to see people in a more whole way but also lean into some of the things we do see as general principles that work?

NATE REGIER: Totally.

ROB MCKENNA: And so that’s why I resonate with that person you just described.

NATE REGIER: So Bandura, back to Bandura. I can’t stop saying it. So when you were talking about role models, that research really… We’ve done a lot on how do you teach the principles of efficacy so a trainer, a leader, a mentor can build that into whatever they do? So like for example, how do you conduct a course to maximize the potential for efficacy? But one of the things that Bandura’s research found that you’re probably familiar with is some role models are more powerful than others at building efficacy, but people are inspired to feel more confident about themselves by watching other people, but only certain kinds. And what they found was the most powerful, influential role models were called coping models, not expert models.

NATE REGIER: The expert model is the video of Tiger Woods doing the perfect putt and it took a thousand takes to get that one on the video. That doesn’t inspire anybody because I can’t be like that. That’s perfect. But the coping role model, you’re talking about the ones that fell down, the ones that screwed up, the ones that pick themselves up, invite us to say “I can do that. I can do that.”

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. One of the things, Nate, that I’ve been struck by in the literature is a friend of mine, Bruce Avolio at the University of Washington has done a lot of research on developmental readiness and there’s links to efficacy in all that work. And one of the things he said in one of his pieces was that one of the ways to build developmental readiness, and I think you could plug in efficacy there, is through assessment. But he didn’t say why. And I think what’s interesting is that how questions, coming full circle to what we talked about toward the beginning, invite that readiness to open up in ways that people haven’t seen before.

ROB MCKENNA: And one of the things I talk to leaders about is that it’s not just the content of what you’re doing that’s important, but it’s also the architecture of conversations. And we do this thing on Fridays called the Wild Conversation. Every Friday since the beginning of COVID we’ve been doing it and it’s one hour, which just anybody can come and it’s between 40 and 80 leaders that come every week from across the country and the world. And we architected the whole process to open up that development. And so like quite literally from the first conversation someone has to the content, to the invitation, to the rules of engagement, everything is structured to open up efficacy, the possibility, the [inaudible 00:55:50], the belief that I could actually change something.

ROB MCKENNA: And on the role modeling side our hope is that people would say, “Oh, I could borrow some of this to go build more of this into what I do,” because so much of the time we assume that meetings are just about [inaudible 00:56:01], you know?

NATE REGIER: Oh, I know. What I liked also about your book is these are not prescriptions, these are strategies. And prescriptions don’t build efficacy, strategies do because I can apply them in lots of different areas and that’s something I carry with me that I can see working in lots of places. Is there anything else that, well, and there’s many, many things, but is there anything that’s burning on your heart or on your mind that you just feel the world needs to know right now or that you want to share that’s got you kind of fired up?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. I know that we all have the deep convictions about our work, but if there’s one gift that our last couple of years has given me, it was a front row seat to the beauty and the brokenness occurring within all kinds of people and leaders across the country. And I think that front row seat because quite literally, you’re doing virtual sessions over and over and over again. So it’s been thousands and thousands of people who I’m looking at their faces. And it gave me, I think, a deeper conviction about the necessity for an intentional and systematic investment in our people that truly is an invitation to their humanity, to see themselves and to move toward their aspiration for wholeness.

ROB MCKENNA: And so I’ve had this deepening conviction about our work and just the architecture and the things that we do. But I think the other big thing that’s sort of my manifesto, Nate, that I feel is like, if you think about the most pressing issues in our world and the tensions that are embedded in all of those pressures that no redemptive future comes. We talk all day long about the problems and the issues but so few of us talk about the leaders that are necessary. Every movement of change will require a person who is going first and going first well. And so that’s something that I do feel very deeply is if we want a different future, if we don’t like the current one, then we can’t just blame the one we have but that we need to begin to invite people into a preparation they’ve never experienced before. You and I say like, “Where was this when I was doing this 25 years ago?”

ROB MCKENNA: And I hope that people will approach you and will approach me as people that are deeply invested in trying to prepare this next generation in a more whole kind of way for what the future looks like, you know? And so I think about even people that are complaining about the election options they have. Well, if you want different options in the future we’re going to have to prepare a generation of different options. I feel that very deeply. And I’m not complaining about our current options, by the way. I’m not doing that. But I think if people are complaining, let’s make that investment now is what I-

NATE REGIER: Well, this is such a timely message for what we’re going through right now, what we’ve been through and what’s going on in our world and I think it’s evergreen. It’s always going to be critical.

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah.

NATE REGIER: Rob, thank you. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for your incredible brain. Thank you for all the research you’ve done, for what your team is trying to… the difference you’re trying to make and for investing the energy in engineering things so that they can be consumed. I think that is something we miss. You can be doing amazing work and coming up with the most incredible models and finding all kinds of cool things. But if you can’t translate it into tangible strategies people can go use tomorrow, we can’t change the world at scale. So thank you for how much effort you put into that.

ROB MCKENNA: Thank you, Nate. It is good to be in this fight together, you know? Yeah.

NATE REGIER: How could people get a hold of you or should they?

ROB MCKENNA: Yeah. Just go to wildleaders.org. And like you said, if you click on the resources tab, we just try to provide all kinds of things, like you said. Even when we produce white papers, that they would be approachable and approachable looking and consumable that way. So go there or go to contact@wildleaders.org. And if you want to get in touch with me, if someone’s out there trying to put a system in place for developing leader capacity, we’d love to talk to you. Or if we can’t do it, we’ll find someone who can, all kinds of referral partners like you all and would love to do that.

ROB MCKENNA: And I’d love to have people jump into the Wild Conversation on any Friday. It’s one of the best things we do. It’s one hour. There’s no cost. It is a crowd sourced one hour wisdom moment. So if you’re looking for [inaudible 01:00:37] to reflect, would love to have folks come. And then you can look out of resources, Wild Conversation. You can register and just jump in.

NATE REGIER: Yeah. And that’s a product of you responding to COVID and responding into pressure and saying, what is the bright, best thing to do?

ROB MCKENNA: Yep.

NATE REGIER: Wow. Thank you. I have a feeling we’re going to have some more conversations. I don’t know how wild they’re going to get, but thank you so much. And thank you for helping us fulfill our mission of bringing more compassion to every workplace. And one of our strategies is to partner with other entities to elevate the message and to amplify the message and you’ve helped do that today. Thank you.

ROB MCKENNA: Thanks, Nate.

NATE REGIER: Here are my top three takeaways from an inspiring and just really energizing conversation with Rob McKenna. First of all, the top predictor of being able to lead under pressure is a sense of purpose. Among the secret sauce that Dr. McKenna talked about, being able to understand and articulate your purpose gives you a beacon in the storm but it also gives you a framework for making difficult decisions under pressure. Second key takeaway is that the pandemic has given us a front row seat to the brokenness and also the capacity of people around the world. What that means is we need to invest in leadership development in a way that is an invitation into people’s humanity, to help them become more of what they were meant to be and live into their possibility.

NATE REGIER: The third key takeaway is that if we want a better future, we need to begin to invite people into the preparation for this. Rob is deeply convinced that we are in an unprecedented time where whole and intentional leadership development matters. We need leaders who can balance peacekeeping with truth speaking, who can lead with a sense of purpose and see the capability and potential instead of barriers.

VOICEOVER: I hope you enjoyed this episode of On Compassion with Dr. Nate. If you found new hope or guidance for your life, will you share it with your tribe? If you know someone who could be a great guest, please let us know. Are you ready for a practical way to bring more compassion to your organization? We have a solution. Visit www.thecompassionmindset.com. Check out the show notes for links and contact information. And remember to subscribe, rate and give a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening. Until next time, keep your compassion mindset engaged.

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