PoP 164 | Leadership Wisdom with Bob Vanourek

Leadership Wisdom

Today we’re talking about leadership wisdom with Bob Vanourek. He shares leadership tips and advice he has learned over the last 30 years.

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In This Podcast:

Poem, Teaching You, by Jackson Kiddard:

Anything that annoys you is for teaching you patience.
Anyone who abandons you is for 
teaching you how to stand up 
on your own two feet.
Anything that angers you is for teaching you forgiveness and compassion.
Anything that has power over you is for teaching you how to take your power back.
Anything you hate is for 
teaching you unconditional love.
Anything you fear is for 
teaching you courage to 
overcome your fear.
Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe

Useful Links:

Define your personal values by making use of this useful tool here.

Read the main tips from Bob’s Triple Crown Leadership book here.

Leadership Wisdom by Bob Vanourek

In this book, he speaks about:

  • Leading yourself
  • Leading others
  • Leaving a leadership legacy










Get Bob’s book here.

Meet Bob Vanourek

bob-straightahead-150x150Bob Vanourek is the former CEO of five firms, ranging from a start-up to a $1 billion NY stock exchange company and including winners of a state-level Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award and the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence.

He is author of Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse (2016) and the co-author of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a 2013 International Book Awards Winner, called “the best leadership book since Good to Great.”

Bob has been named one of the “Top Thought Leaders in Trust” for 2013 – 2016, as well as one of the American Management Association’s “Leaders to Watch in 2015.” Bob is a decorated Army officer and a lifelong student of leadership.

Twitter: @TripleCrownLead and @BobVanourek

Email: bob@triplecrownleadership.com

Meet Joe Sanok

consultant headshot JoeJoe Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is one of the world’s leading private practice consultants. He is the owner of the Traverse City counseling practice, Mental Wellness Counseling. Joe helps counselors to start private practices and grow them.



Podcast Transcription

Pop 164 | Leadership Wisdom With Bob Vanourek

[0:00] Music.

[0:23] Welcome welcome welcome i’m so glad that you are here today if you are planning starting or growing a private practice you are in the right place.
We are doing some great work here interviewing just some amazing people and today we’re talking all about leadership.
We’re talking about just some.
Greater vision,
and if you go over brightervision.com/joe they’re gonna give you a month.
Free and just incredible to see what they’ve done hundreds of their process which the last year.
It’s only 59 bucks a month and that includes all of your hosting and unlimited support I know that support alone.
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that covers your hosting all your fees everything is just turn key and is beautiful websites again of brightervision.com/joe had an over there.
Been rack and how was he wrong.

[1:48] We’ve bobby interact he’s with us today he’s done some incredible things and he’s a former ceo of five firms ranging from start up to one billion dollar in new york stock exchange company.
Is well he’s the author of triple crown leadership he’s also that recently he’d,
poetry prose and curious reverse as well he’s a former adjunct leadership instruct.
At the university of denver use a baker sky ledger which is in the top five percent of harvard business.
Magna cum laude a graduate of princeton and certified leadership instructor from harvard kennedy school of government.
And the fight the kappa society another phi theta kappa person he’s been named one of the top,
in two thousand thirteen to two thousand sixteen as well as one of the american management association se associations,
leadership leaders to watch in two thousand fifteen,
he’s also a decorated army officer and a lifelong student of leadership.
Bob is was just such a fun guy to talk.

[2:54] You know we all,
guides me that yoda obi wan kenobi that person that’s been there before.
In and buy really in this podcast dies in two.
And he dives into just have a r in science and experience,
of leadership so today without any further ado i give you bob.

[3:24] Music.

[3:30] Going to the practice of the practice podcast.

[3:32] Well thank you chose real pleasure to be with us today yeah yeah i mean that have harvard business school in princeton grad and you know you have just a laundry list of amazing accomplishments,
thanks so much for taking time out of your day to teach us all about leadership and what you clean,
how to thank you in all you can always tell a harvard man but you can’t tell of much that’s the answer to your,
i have to put that in all my real life experiences come from.
Running companies and being in the real world not so much for,
formal education is not true you know my graduate school work.
Was all-in kind of counseling and psychology and I feel like you know you learn some of the basic Theory but you’re really learning how to learn and,
so much of what I do now is things that I can have learned after I left school.
Absolutely as the tell us a little bit about some of the things you learn to after school as a co what are some of those,
and experience many tickets through your career and how that,
inform you and your leadership capacities well sure,
let’s see if i can try and condense thirty years and to walk two or three minutes,
when i enter the business world with my mba i really had a total misconception of what leadership,
was because what i learned in business school back in those days was all about finance and marketing and,
those kinds of things but was about leadership it you know didn’t talk about how you transformed people was all about transactional business things which are necessary there’s an overlap between management.

[5:05] Business so so i came out of business school with the idea that the leaders in charge leaders in control,
the leader has the answers you can never get too close to,
will you can’t let him see that you sweat because you’re the leader and they look to you.
And when i got my for.

[5:27] I was disgusted with what i saw we were acquiring companies firing the founders of those companies closing their plants and consolidating operations and i said,
this just doesn’t feel right my inner voice told me this isn’t the way you’re supposed to lead and so i literally joe,
that you with my dear wife sp,
a blessing and set out to find another way to lead and over the next thirty years,
i ended up running as you said in your kind introduction of five working as asians ceo working a different industries i work in entrepreneurial areas for,
at the first third,
ethical turnarounds in slowly over those years i learned about a,
different way to lead and when i.

[6:25] Which we just love it so do i love colorado for my wife and i honeymoon view it if you talk in boulder so you that.
Lol my wife my boot seventeen times we’ve lived in eleven states colorado’s by far our favorite but when i came out here i begin to teach,
and i began to write and speak about leadership and i reflected on those thirty years and that,
was what led to the book I co-authored with my sun,
triple crown leadership building excellent,
leadership wisdom lessons from poetry prose and curious verse so i can dance all,
all those decades of,
i love you i see that in there to tell us more look we’ve got.

[7:21] So many books from the ceo’s of the world about how i did it and how i was great or some management consultant who,
you know came out of hr at work with a bunch of clients,
or some fable about who moved my cheese i get it you know that was like there was a facebook.
I really want it more and you know what i realized because i’m not only been a student of leadership,
my whole life i’ve been student of poetry literature that the masters of literature,
over several thousand years go,
have already confronted these issues about the ego in about relationships and about,
teamwork and things like that reach shakespeare’s band of brothers in all read,
read the lord of the rings you go back to loud sui and.
When the leaders work is done the people will say we’ve done this ourselves I mean so I realize there were the,
great insights and too many people don’t read the classics anymore so i,
port through all the books on my shelf and when on the internet and i have seventy,
poems or prose passages each of which is on the left page and on the right page i do some commentary by interpretation of robert frosts the,
the road not taken or stopping by woods on a snowy evening,
or does he stanley’s what constitutes success how do you define success,
i mean if you have small business people in your audience they have to think about.

[8:53] What is my gold in life i mean is all about money and getting a mercedes and things like that or am i gonna do something a little more noble,
with my business here so how you define success the poet’s have dwelt with this and so,
so i have in the right-hand page my commentary of that practical applications when you read charlotte bronte is paul.
What does it mean to you and what can you apply today and so I wrote it and frankly the reaction from,
not only my friends and colleagues over the years but the leadership gurus of the world stephen mr covey gym closes,
Mary Posner,
i’ll give you one example.
I think the,
joe fifty printing sold six and a half million copies of they were kind enough to indoors our first,
book triple crown leadership,
what is the,
going forward but then I sent them each a copy of the book when it came out with a little handwritten note thanking them and Jim kozas about a week later sent me an email he said I got you a book,
I opened it up and I was I started to read it standing in the hallway with the envelope and I realized thirty minutes later.

[10:28] I was still reading what you wrote because it,
at the top of the industry has already read the book it written before it is really gonna suck at go,
wow that’s pretty cool and i think it speaks to creating something is different from the rest of the industry are there so many of those nine steps in that day has its place,
but when your when you take your own personal background enjoying literature and then have that inform a different aspect that you enjoy leadership,
it’s genuinely your own work and not that it’s not your work with the ninth step booker one of those but,
i think those are the,
what’s inspiring me beyond just you know what’s in front of me leadership but literature and all these other things that.
You know i love the heroes to tail and you know that shows up in so much of literature.
But then match that with leadership like i haven’t thought of the,
or if it’s amazing here how you’ve taken is to.

[11:36] Appear to be different types of your life and put them together into one book and now of course that stands out to people.

[11:42] Well i think you’ll really enjoy it as we’ll talk about later i have some excerpts from the book.
That sure that your listeners can get if they go to my website and i think to get a flavor for all how wonderful these masters have really captured what when the poets right when the great.
Writers of history right it touches your heart it elevates your soul i mean it really goes deep so if you like all rich a few passages from all that amazing yeah,
let’s do it alright well the book is divided into three sections leading yourself.
Leading others and then leaving a leadership legacy i just read your short paul but i want to take too much of your time reading but a short poem in the leading yourself section,
this is from a rather a loose of author jackson catered,
who died in nineteen o one not very much is known about him but it’s only seven lines joe and just and just really listen to this it’s called teaching you.
Anything that annoys you is for teaching you patience anyone who,
and is you is for teaching you stand up on your own two feet,
is for teaching you unconditional of anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome your fear and anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the universe.

[13:19] Wow isn’t that amazing seven lie.

[13:26] An author most of us have never heard of when i read that the first time i sit while patients have standing on your.
Unconditional love courage let go and trust the universe wow me neither universal timeless lessons from.
No but when you look at a pawn like that so you first discover it and.
Right away do you think what my analysis of this or how do i apply this week what’s your process of you discover a poem and then.
It leads to a discovery about leadership but what’s your process with that well first when i read this paul more many.
Like it i just kinda sit back and say while what a deep wonderful message i really just marvel at,
the beauty of the words and the insights that the author put into it but as i went through hundreds and hundreds of poems and prose passage,
how this one fits this one doesn’t and then i realize i could just have seventy or eighty poems are,
pros passages so i added at had to put them into some buckets innocent patterns and i really thought about what it,
and what is the essence of leadership so these three sections leading yourself.
That’s really where leadership has to start how can you presume to lead others until you’ve got your ego under control until you’re clear about how you define success and also you really have to get yourself straight get your moral.

[15:01] That’s it for character st first then it goes into the second section leading others and that’s what most of the books that are around,
how you lead others how do you build a team things like that so that’s where shakes.
What shakespeare put henry the first mouth those who fight with me today against the french will be my band of brothers is the king speaking kingston speak that you’ll be my band of brothers to the commoner,
soldier so i mean that was electrifying the audience and that’s been used over and over again about how the team of people come together as a band of brothers or sisters and it’s a whole different experience so i said that,
that probably belongs in that section then the third section was something i thought about and that is what happens after you’re gone.

[15:53] And what is your legacy and it’s not by that I mean how big were the sales and how big was the prophet now you really have to think about,
get it all fall apart after you left you know when you sold the business and you moved on but it didn’t crater.
I mean then that’s not the legacy she really have to look into the dna of the soul the culture of the organization.
Weather is a for profit business or health coaching practice or something like that did the,
people carry on was there something there that really made a difference that made them in the world a better place that’s the legacy you want to leave so sorry go a passage from that section if you later yeah that be great.
Because it’s one of my favorites it’s so palm can’t find here on page one fifty so palm by george per.
Is that who was a nobel laureate.

[16:49] In irish playwright cofounder the london school of economics he died in nineteen fifty but he wrote this as a dedication to was,
play a man and superman and he contradicts.
He contradicts shakespeare’s macbeth and get a real macbeth first.
Where Shakespeare says out brief candle life’s but a walking shadow.
A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing so that’s what shakespeare has macbeth,
say george bernard’s sure takes a totally different tack this is the true joy in life,
this is the true joy,
the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and,
grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

[17:59] I am of the opinion that my life,
i want the whole community and as long as i live it is my privilege to do,
for it whatever i can i want to be thoroughly used up when i die for the harder i work the more i live i reach choice in life for its own sake,
life is no brief candle to me,
it is sort,
to future generations love that idea of.
Continuing and like being completely spent at the and that you got your all and i feel like,
most of my life i really tried to like live it to the fullest even in college and traveling a ton and seeing the world and.
When you do that it you know it does have a phone is within it so.
So tell me i won’t go back to believing yourself portion shows a lot of my listeners are can earlier in their careers they might be in their twenties thirties forties you know,
what part is that especially when your income of that mid-life.
I think that the ego and they trying to make something of yourself and,
stand out is a big cut part of that section of life what,
what did you notice in the literature you wrote about in regards to leadership maybe during that time of life in leading yourself.

[19:24] Well i think a big company for me was back in the nineteen seventies when i was coming out of my old mentality of leadership and,
i been real boss i work for gave me some copies of some essays written by robert greenleaf on the leader is a servant.
And the,
greenleaf road and this is a concept that goes back thousands of years but he’s the one that captured in,
in the modern terminology the only people who can determine if you are a leader.
Are those who willingly follow you not those who begrudgingly complied because they’re fearful,
up how you can punish them or hurt them in some way that’s just begrudging compliance it really comes down to those who.
Because they believe that you are there to serve them not yourself not your ego not your.
Title your position not get more money to,
and so that was really a mind flip it over the years i work with colleagues i realized that leadership is not about,
one person in charge,
it’s not a solo act and sometimes you the boss are leading and sometimes you be quiet in unleashing other people to lead and so.

[20:57] How can you trust other people to lead it comes down to something i talk about in both their books triple crown leadership and leadership wisdom having a set of shared values,
that people buy into.
You have to find the behaviour that you want in the organization that comes through having everybody articulated their personal values.
share those and from the shared personal values you articulated a set of shared values this is how we’re gonna be hate here at google when syracuse to their turn around,
this is how we’re gonna behave at the new xerox with the new tyco these are people we interviewed for the triple crown leadership.

[21:39] Can we heard this over and over again we interviewed sixty one leaders in eleven countries and we cherry picked,
the best of the best what is Mayo Clinic doing what is Google doing what is eBay doing what are some.
Wonderful universities and doing educational institutions not,
profits habitat for humanity so,
sixty one organizations in eleven countries sweetie start five practices but for the young leader to go back to your,
should i would say define your personal values there’s a free exercise on our triple crown leadership website it’s called it said,
crowned leadership dot,
and there’s a personal values exercise which is free it will take you about fifteen minutes,
to go through the little format and define your personal values joe if there’s one tip i would give your audience,
please define your personal values there your moral compass what i what i know is that each and every one of us will confront ethical,
world famous and our life,
somebody will put pressure on us to do something that’s bad a boss your peers your tempted to do this other people are doing it here all the excuses everybody’s doing it business is business and got a,
this you gotta take advantage of the customer to make your body or lay off the employees if you don’t have your moral.

[23:13] This to find your personal values to find it will be so much easier as a young person to give in to those pressures and you begin that first ugly step down that slippery slope harvard professor,
christiansen says its easier to be ethical one hundred percent of the time,
why because once you make that first compromise and do something immoral illegal unethical it’s so much easier show.
To rationalize to do with the second time and the third time and all of a sudden like.
Benjamin franklin said hundred years ago when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas every,
what’s like doing that you know it’s all over so.

[23:58] When i think that the idea of the servant leader having your moral compass is why things like content marketing is working so well right now we’re,
you’re giving away free content you’re telling people that here’s how you learn and you just serving them,
and then actually they’re gonna build that trust with you and when they’re ready to pay for coaching and pay for counseling a paper whatever it is that they you know you need for their own steps forward,
the party built connection with you cuz you’ve done in an ethical way that’s really served them rather than just this top down approach that’s been so popular in typical leadership circles.

[24:32] You’re absolutely right when i do my leadership workshops i have a set of metrics that show that the world’s most ethical ca,
perform financially the world’s most trustworthy companies,
perform financially the world’s most admired companies you can be admired if you’re not,
ethical and trustworthy doing good things they out perform financially so it’s a myth that you have to,
what Corners in do all these mean unethical things in order to succeed financially the data shows that if your ethical trustworthy admired you’re going to,
outperform and so not only is it the right thing to do to begin with but you’re gonna have more loyal customers more,
or engaged employees more involved employees you’re gonna make more money over the long run if you run your business this way,
Ken and that’s the new Leadership Model that I believe is evolving not absolutely it’s listening I know I want to be a good leader,
serve i wanna have people come around me that want to be there.
I’m with you guys now what do I do how do I develop those skills to engage people differently,
so imagine me a counselor that owns a private practice with five or six other counselors there.
And they want to move for like a top down model two.
Well i’d say hi start by understanding that the leader serves start by.

[26:03] Defining your moral compass you know I don’t want to sound promotional here at all Joe but I mean I’ve taken 40 plus years of thinking about this stuff and condensed into two books,
one that i caught with my son triple crown leadership where we interviewed sixty one organizations eleven countries and the subtitle tells it all building ethical,
building excellent ethical and during organizations what we call the triple crown of leadership the three e’s excellent ethical during and,
we talked all these organizations around the world we define five practice,
this is that you can follow their,
are called head and heart you have to hire people for their head characteristics in their heart qualities their character their emotional intelligence the colors which is purpose passion and vision flexing between steel and velvet,
steal is your ability to at times exercise your power your position your authority guys and gals,
we’re gonna make our numbers every quarter we have to make or numbers but we’re never gonna break the law were never gonna do anything unethical that is,
steel five find you doing something unethical you’re gone everybody understand it with me but most of the time the red velvet.
Listening asking questions so you’re flexing between steel and velvet then the fourth practice was being a steward for your company giving everybody,
i give you some key words here now what you define the shared values for your organization as i said before you make people a steward.

[27:40] Buy ensuring everyone has two jobs they have their regular job,
in marketing or finance or whatever but they have another job there stewart for the culture you give them an ear revoke a bowl license to lead by the values.

[27:56] You are you are on a leash to leave by the values you don’t have to ask me you don’t have to look for a policy,
if you’re acting in accordance with our shared values that we have collaboratively said i will have your back every time.
I trust you i believe in you i’ve got your back i give you would you revoke a license to leave by the values and then the fifth.
Is called alignment most organization’s unfortunately i think ninety percent plus are not well i’d people are working at,
a picture how they fit in there confused and so we outline based on our research and by years of experience a ten step model,
for how to line in organization is the most powerful leadership practice filed so to answer your question,
you can start by reading triple crown leadership i mean i’m gonna make two bucks on the book as a rail heats it’s not gonna make a difference in my lifestyle i do this because i wanna share and then.

[29:00] My latest book takes the wisdom of the masters rudyard kipling theodor roosevelt handle,
shakespeare and it talks about how to lead yourself leaders have leave that legacy so.
So i don’t want to sound promotional but i really think i’ve tried to condense all that i’ve learned from all my mistakes over the years into these two books to,
wonderful so of every counselor in the world were listening right now bob what would you want them to know.

[29:30] There.

[29:36] There there are some clients that are not right for you.

[29:42] I learned long ago to customers not always right,
there’s some clients who were just looking for the transaction all way up.
You have to pick your clients carefully and be sure that they are open to the kinds of leadership and management skills that were talking about here some,
are really want to for you and so i know it’s a tough business coaching and counseling is,
tough business like to have every client but you’re wasting your time on some people so be selective and then.
Be patient with them your job is to unearth what’s already inside the,
hey baby know these things intuitively but other bosses parents bad organizations have taught them,
the wrong way so you have to continually ask questions and you’re gonna be frustrated because you gonna ask them to follow up on certain things in a month or two later they won’t have done all that you asked are you gonna,
it really frustrated have to be patient with them because they have a good soul inside of,
and if there really hungry for the kind of leadership that we’re talking about here and your fine program,
be patient with them and it will come I believe that there is a new paradigm of leadership emerging,
may not happen in my lifetime i’m a little too old for that it’s gonna happen probably your,
edit your it in your listeners in a lifetime is not gonna be about maximizing shareholder value.

[31:18] It’s gonna be about creating value for all your stake holders if you’re a for profit business how do you create value for your customers,
are you employees for kit for your community and for your shareholders and you have to prioritize those a certain way.

[31:34] My generation put the shareholders at the top that beans if there was ever a conflict between the steak older we short change the customer or sure change the employee or,
we laid off the employee we send a substandard quality product out to the customer in order to make our short term numbers,
well we read.

[31:59] Put the customer or the employee at the top.
If you do that if you do it ethically trustworthy you’re gonna,
have excellent,
but thank you so much for being and the practice the practice podcast if people wanna connect with you more new york city are giving away part of your book tell us how they can access that.
Yeah i have a website its bobpanoramic.com to be the and,
oh you are okay if you just click on that website you go to the home page you can download excerpts from for my new book leadership,
wisdom lessons from poetry prose curious first but yo i love to talk to people there’s no charge for e mailing me and bouncing ideas off,
that’s what i’m here for i want to change hearts and minds about leadership so you can email me at bob@triplecrown.com that was our first website triplecrownleadership.com bob@triplecrown.com and i’m happy to be in dialogue with your listeners,
wonderful but thank you so much for being on the pot,
so you don’t have to try to memorize that if your out running or stand up paddle boarding or hiking in the rocky mountains so i think so much about being on the program.
Awesome show great to be with you good luck god bless thinking.

[33:20] Music.

[33:37] Love bob’s final point there when he was talking about asking questions and to continually ask questions i think that’s.
For me one of the most important things and why i have such a wide range of people on the podcast i think hustler so i,
and just get stuck in their own point of view in their own field and just seeing people that even in their own special to their on next.
And the miss how it and what people are learning in.
Parts of the world spiritual leaders business leaders marketing people artists poets all these things that can influences,
and help us live a better quality of life than that often times just sitting in counseling offices or and causing podcasts and so for me it’s really important,
to look outside of our field and find leaders wherever they are they’re talking about innovative things that’s why i’ve had people like rob bell jonas l ride,
jay become the third largest head bobbing the podcast it’s so important to me for people there outside of our field i hope the you continue to ask questions and listen to podcast or just outside the counseling field as well.

[34:48] Thanks so much for listening and letting me into yours and into your brain brighter vision has been such a loyal sponsored they make amazing websites for fifty nine bucks a month.
You get a whole website the design the support as ceo so you can rank high,
and we launch really quickly actually of a friend from the interview on the podcast soon that’s at the beginning stages of launching accounts in private practice we went through his checklist.
And i asked and you want to learn how to make websites on your own or do you just want someone to do it and he signing up for brighter vision because,
he just knows that he doesn’t want to put in that time he’s gotta.

[35:33] So go check operator vision that come ford slash joe and yeah it’s some pretty dang awesome tech stuff going on over there.

[35:42] Music.

[35:53] This podcast is designed right after thirty two information regarding the subject matter covered is given with the understanding that needed to host,

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