Oct 5th, 2020
Buddy Hobart is the founder and President at Solutions 21; he's an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of Gen Y Now, Experience Matters, and just launched his latest book, “The Leadership Decade”. You can learn from Buddy:
- How our biases can prevent great leadership
- Why our new era of leadership may need new thinking
- Context and “Why” are a key leadership tool
- Why business owners need to shift their mindset from expense to investment.
Follow us and explore our social media tribe from our Website: https://leadership-hacker.com
Music: " Upbeat Party " by Scott Holmes courtesy of the Free Music Archive FMA
Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services
Find out more about Buddy:
Solutions 21 Website
Buddy on LinkedIn
Book: The Leadership Decade
Full Transcript Below
Steve Rush: Some call me Steve, dad, husband or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.
Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors and development experts so that I can assist you developing your understanding and awareness of leadership. I am Steve Rush and I am your host today. I am the author of Leadership Cake. I am a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I cannot wait to start sharing all things leadership with you.
Buddy Hobart is the founder and president of Solutions 21. He's our special guest today. He's a consultant and entrepreneur, author of five books, speaker and radio host. But before we get a chance to meet with Buddy, it's The Leadership Hacker News.
The Leadership Hacker News
Steve Rush: Two fifths of executives are citing that soft skills are going to play a key factor in ongoing post pandemic related uncertainty. In some recent research completed by Robert Half a global recruitment and advisory firm, 29% of employees are redesigning their job roles to manage the impacts of COVID-19. They've also seen a significant shift in senior figures who are looking to fast track digital transformation for the rest of this year. While a third are still reprioritizing their e-commerce strategies. In a statement, Robert Half UK’s Managing Director, Matt Western said, “the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us do business both now and in the future, remote working has enabled talent pools around the world to open up, which for some companies means that existing employees with key skills can be redeployed in the short term to deliver business critical roles.
While for others changing of customer demands means up-skill and a reskill has suddenly appeared particularly for digital transformation and e-commerce”. When we consider the term soft skills in the past, this has been linked to things like communication. In my experience, as a consultant and a leadership development coach, there is no such thing as soft skills, hard skills are the things that required that a very challenging through leading and managing, particularly in disruptive times. And if we consider that in some recent research completed by McKinsey's, they suggest that 14% of jobs over the next five years will have either disappeared or be completely redesigned in order to meet the digital environment that we're likely to be working in for the foreseeable future. So how far forward are you thinking as a leader and how much thought are you giving in the roles that you need not just today, but within the next five years, and will that need a redesign? That's been The Leadership Hacker News. If you have any insights, information you'd like us to share, please get in touch.
Start of Podcast
Steve Rush: Buddy Hobart is our special guest on today's show. He's a founder and president at Solutions 21. He's an entrepreneur, speaker and author of his bestselling book Gen Y Now, and Experience Matters. And his latest book, The Leadership Decade has just made Inc 5000. Buddy it is super to on the show.
Buddy Hobart: I'm excited about it. Thanks Steve.
Steve Rush: So perhaps for the folks that are listening, who haven't had an opportunity to bump into your work yet, tell us a little bit about the backstory as to how you've arrived at doing what you're doing?
Buddy Hobart: Well, we started 26 years ago; my background is in sales, so I started right out of University, was Xerox Corporation and started into sales and became a general manager of a business. And then I began to realize that as much as I enjoyed the sales process, I also enjoyed the organizational development and the people development side of things. So, on my 35th birthday, I quit my job, actually after probably the best year I ever had. I quit my job and started Solutions 21 and 26 years later, we're still standing.
Steve Rush: That was quite a stark thing to do. Haven't been successful in the world of sales. What was that kind of defining moment?
Buddy Hobart: I just thought that the people development side, when I was the sales leader, I saw all these resources going to the sales department. And then when I became the general manager, now I managed everybody. Sales, service, administrators, anybody, and within all sincerity, probably within a week. I was embarrassed with myself about how I had advocated for all of these resources to always be going to sales when there was a hundred other teammates that weren't getting nearly the same kind of attention, the same kind of resources, the same kind of bonuses. And so, we restructured some things and started to develop the business. And while we did grow sales, we tripled the bottom line by simply having people collaborate and communicate and having a more empowered workforce throughout the whole organization. And I realized I really liked that, that was a passion.
Steve Rush: So, you took that passion and created Solutions 21. What is the key focus of the work you do with all clients now?
Buddy Hobart: Well, it's evolved over the last 26 years, but really for the most part right now we are doing, we still do a tremendous amount of strategic planning. So, we work with mostly small to medium sized firms. Although we've worked with very large organizations around the world and we do strategic planning, helping them to decide what's the game plan, where's the bus headed? How are we going to get there? And so, we do a lot of strategic planning and then we do a tremendous amount of leadership development, both in the C-Suite in next leaders as well. So, who's that next generation of folks? Who are those succession candidates? Who are those people that are going to keep this thing going? And then also supervisory skills. So, you know, the folks out on the shop floor, the folks making things happen, how are they developing their leadership skill sets?
Steve Rush: And I guess that’s changed enormously over the last 26 years from where you started out to how things are today, right?
Buddy Hobart: Unbelievable, I think that's the focus of this next book is that, you know, the first books we wrote about generational leadership and how it was important for folks of my generation, I don't mean to be ageist at all in these conversations, but I'm a baby boomer. And so, folks from our generation who were the dominant generation for so long, the first books were about us understanding the next generations. But this book really is about 21st century leadership. And why it's critical that we leave 20th century kind of leadership techniques and tactics and ideas behind because frankly we have an entirely new workforce
Steve Rush: And that’s always going to be evolving too. Isn't it?
Buddy Hobart: I think it is. I mean, you know, the first books we wrote, we talked about how it was unprecedented, that there were four generations of breadwinners in the workforce. And if you stop to think about that, in the history of the world, there had never been four generations of breadwinners in the workforce. I mean, it just never happened. And as you and I are talking here today, there are now five generations of breadwinners in the workforce. So, I mean, until this mid-century, we're going to be in this kind of leap to leadership for this new group of followers.
Steve Rush: So, what was it that interest you and intrigued you about how different generations behave and how we need to kind of maybe approach them with subtle nuances and different maybe lenses? What were the things that kind of gave you that energy to get into the research and get into the genre?
Buddy Hobart: Well, it probably came from a friend of mine, so the first two books I co-authored with a gentleman named Herb Sendek and Herb is a major college basketball coach here in the United States and coach of the year, in the Atlantic Coast Conference, in the PAC-12 in the Mid-American conference, he's really quieted an established coach. And after the season, one year we were just chatting and he asked me, okay, well, you know what I do, you know, I used to play basketball, you know what I do, but I don't really know what you do. So, tell me about the consulting business. So, I told him about what we do and who we do it for. Clients around the world, and we were chatting and he said, well, you know, you really work across all industries and geographies. He said, but is there anything that you're seeing out there that is kind of universal across all businesses?
Now, Steve, remember this is before I did any research or wrote the book or anything. And I said, yeah, I, you know, businesses are having a hard time attracting and retaining young talent. Like they just can't get people to stay. And he said, why do you think that is? And I got up on my baby boomer soap box and I said, all of the prejudice things, all of the myths, I repeated everything. They're disloyal, they're job jumpers. There, you know, they're soft. They don't want to work hard. Like, I was as prejudice to baby boomers I could be. And Steve, he looked at me and he said, well, wait a minute. Like, what ages are we talking about? And again, I hadn't researched anything. And I said, you know, let's call them 25 something. And he said, Buddy I disagree. And I said, how can you disagree? You asked me the question. Like, how can you disagree? He said, Buddy, that's who I've been recruiting my whole career.
Steve Rush: Right.
Buddy Hobart: And man, it just hit me. And then he looked at me and he said something that I heard years later, actually from a four-star general. And he said, you know, Buddy, by definition leaders have followers. And if you can't adapt your leadership to the followership, you're just not going to be a leader for long. And so, it kind of hit me that I was off and to be completely transparent with you and your listening audience here, that my next thing was okay, open another bottle. And so that the book was born on the second bottle of wine Steve.
Steve Rush: And a lot of great writers need that inspiration. And whether it be wine or good conversation, right?
Buddy Hobart: The first bottle was a little bit more debate. The second bottle was a little more problem solving.
Steve Rush: Unleashing creativity, some would call it even.
Buddy Hobart: No doubt.
Steve Rush: So, as you were kind of going through that whole exploration, when you were writing Gen Y Now, did you bump into a lot of your own prejudices then also turned into learnings for others?
Buddy Hobart: Oh, my Steve. I mean, almost unbelievably so. So, to be again, completely transparent. Herb that evening and through subsequent conversations really did not convert to me. So, as we were writing the book, unbeknownst to him, it was starting to develop into a bit more of a point counterpoint. Where, you know, he would say some positive and strong leadership points and really advocate for these next generations. And then I was taking a bit of a counterpoint approach where I would almost debate him in writing a little bit. And I got the about the fourth or fifth chapter. And anybody that's written knows that once you get that deep into it, you're fairly committed, but I got to the fourth or fifth chapter and had a little bit of a aha moment. I had this kind of road to Damascus conversion as it relates to leadership. And I tore up those first five or six chapters and started all over again.
Steve Rush: Yeah, awesome.
Buddy Hobart: What hit me, Steve was one of the biggest things that converted me, where these generations. These newest generations in the workforce, they don't quite look at it the way we did. So, we being a baby boomer, we try to kind of bifurcate our lives. In fact, we created this term. We try to have like a work life and a family life and a social life. And we created this work life balance phrase. And I tease audiences like, how well is that working for you? It just doesn’t. We made a term up because we were so out of balance and these newest generations in my research in the first book, it hit me. They don't look at it that way. They don't try to pretend there's two or three of them. They know there's only one of them and time is life. And they don't try to separate that. They realize when they go to work, they're living, when they come home from work, they're living. The boss they choose to work for is a choice that the projects they work on, those are choices. And we baby boomers and then by extension Gen X, we didn't get that. We try to separate that and that's just not true. There is only one of us and when I saw the wisdom in that thinking, I literally tore up six chapters and start it over.
Steve Rush: Yeah, it's really interesting, isn't it? And you and I have spoken about this before, because we share this similar passion around how the generations more often have different perspectives on the world, and in essence, many conversations I've had with people that says, aren't you just Pidgeon holing people into brackets and giving them labels? And whilst yes, we're definitely generalizing. There is a fundamental shift in thinking that comes with the experiences, the belief systems and the revelations that each of those different generations have had. Right?
Buddy Hobart: No doubt about it. And you know, there's 78 million baby boomers in America. You can't put 78 million people in a bucket. You know, there are more millennials in China than there is population of the United States. You can't put 350 million Chinese millennials into one bucket, that's not fair. But to your point, there are certain things that define generations. You know, I'm fascinated at the moment. My mother-in-law's is moved in with us and she's 93. So, she's a member of that greatest generation. And she's a product of the great depression in World War II. And to ignore how that affected her as a young teenager, I think would be folly. Now are all traditionalist the same? No, by no means, but are folks who had those same similar life experiences, did they learn similar things? Absolutely. And I think it's ridiculous that I would try to apply my experience to everybody's experience.
Steve Rush: Right and I guess, whatever generation you're in, we always have a perception that it's moving faster, quicker than it ever has before. And a perfect example of that is 500, 600 BC Heraclitus famous Greek Philosopher said the only one thing that is constant in life is change. And here we are two and a half thousand years later, and we still have that lens. What do you think causes that Buddy?
Buddy Hobert: Well, a number of things. So, in this latest book, I didn’t quite finish my thought
when I was talking before about what got me interested in this and what really got me interested in this was my own prejudice and realizing the hurdles that I personally had to overcome to understand this. So, the first books were written to help other folks understand who this next generation of the workforce will be. Well, this latest book, The Leadership Decade really is not about millennials or any particular generation because frankly, that ship has sailed, right? I mean the oldest millennial this year is turning 40. So, that ship has sailed. We're not talking about these kids anymore. We're talking about generations and so when I started to write this book, I wanted to answer that exact question you just asked, which is why do we continue to think this way? And so I wrote an entire chapter on kind of the science around this and the biases we bring to it.
And the attribution errors that we bring to it. And one of the things in the book I talk about is the fundamental attribution error, which is where we fundamentally attribute to us, to ours, what is good and right? And we fundamentally attribute to the other, since they do it differently than us, we attribute how they do it to be wrong. Where instead of different equals different, we have this mental model of different equals wrong. And so, I think one of the reasons why that quote has been able to survive the way it's been able to survive is that we fight change. We want to attribute the way we do it to being the correct way to do it, versus embracing any amount of difference or change or innovation.
Steve Rush: And there's no doubt that we are in an era of incredible change and fast paced challenges that are coming through thick and thin, whatever you are and whatever you do. But what is also sure is what worked in the past from a leadership perspective is not going to be fit for the future. Right?
Buddy Hobert: Absolutely and I think that if there is a silver lining to COVID-19 and that certainly remains to be seen, but if there is, I think one of those silver lining, historically is going to be that it forced us into this new Dawn. And you hear a lot of conversation around this inflection point. And even prior to the global pandemic, we had researched the industrial revolutions and came to the conclusion that 2020 was going to be an inflection point and a launch into this next industrial revolution. And if there's a silver lining to COVID-19, and like I said, that remains to be seen. The one silver lining is going to be that it left no doubt that we are in a new century. That 20th century kind of tug of wars on what leadership looked like and what work looks like. Those tug of wars are over, in the 21st century is clearly one. And this inflection point has forced many of us to make very quick, very decisive decisions to be able to change quickly and adapt quickly, versus taking years to figure this out.
Steve Rush: Yeah, and for those of us that are in leadership and leadership development and have a responsibility, what an exciting place it is to be, to find new ways of working, to find whatever the new leadership playbook is.
Buddy Hobert: There is no doubt. Normally, Steve, when these things happen, they're a little bit more evolutionary, right? Where I kind of visualize this as like a daunting. Where, you know, the sun starts to peak up and gets lighter and lighter and lighter, and it takes some time. So, this was going to happen anyway. The statistics, the numbers don't lie, and so 2021, 2022, 2023, people are going to kind of be able to ease their way into this, where we went from 4.7 million Americans telecommuting in December to 75 million telecommuting in March. Like there was no daunting, this was a spotlight, this was a light switch that was thrown. And it forced us to understand we are in an absolutely new era if that is going to require new leadership skills.
Steve Rush: Yeah, so you call this the sweet spot in time, don’t you?
Buddy Hobert: I do, I think that small to medium sized businesses, as fortune 500, by the way, but small to medium sized businesses can be more like a speedboat. Like they don't need a lot of ocean to turn. They can make quick decisions, they can adapt, they can adjust. And I think there's a sweet spot in time where talent acquisition and make no mistake. The team with the best talent usually wins and small to medium sized business, have an opportunity to attract and retain talent that in decades past was kind of set aside for fortune 500 or fortune 50. And there is this sweet spot in time where the new generation of workers want to attach their career wagon to a strong leadership works. They want to work for people that are strong leaders. And at a midsize firm, you can walk down the hall and bump into the CEO. You're not really bumping into the CEO of a fortune 50, if you're a recent university graduate, you know, working on some of your first assignments. So, there is this wonderful opportunity right now for mid-market firms.
Steve Rush: Yeah, I agree. And within the book, The leadership Decade, you've got some great metaphorical stories in there and some lessons that we can pull on, I thought would be just really neat to kick around a few with our listeners.
Buddy Hobert: I would love too.
Steve Rush: So, in Gen Y now, you called out the platform is burning; and in this book, you call out another chapter, which is the platform is still burning. Tell us a little bit about that?
Buddy Hobert: Well, you know, the first books, Steve, I, you know, everything is a bit of a life lesson, right? So, the first book, while maybe it wasn't a mistake, I feel looking back in the rear-view mirror now, the mistake that I made was trying to kind of quote, unquote, sell the audience that this is what was about to happen and share with them some demographic numbers and share with them some, some data and some facts. And I thought facts would win the day and that leaders would understand this need to adapt, and boy was I wrong. It was not a fact-based situation. Once I started to do this brain research, it's emotional based.
And so, when I was pointing out, the platform was burning, what I realized, because we wrote this first book in 2008, and I am quite proud of the fact that going back all of those years, we were advocating for these newest generations because nobody was. They were all negative and negative books towards this generation. So, we were kind of pioneers in the advocacy for developing next generation leaders. And that kind of has helped us a bit, is those pioneers. And what I thought was laying out the data and letting folks know, for example, in the United States that, you know, a baby boomer turns 65, every eight and a half seconds, that every day 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65. That this generation who was the largest generation in the history of the world up to that point was slowly marching to retirement.
I thought pointing that out was going to be important and that folks would get it, but they really didn't. And the platform was burning because there was this kind of silver tsunami where we as baby boomers were all marching to retirement without having had a plan, a succession plan in place. And so, I was quoting John Kotter and his change management philosophies, where he said, if the platform is burning and you have no choice except to change or die, that you will change. And so, I thought people understanding those demographics certainties would look to change, but they didn't. They just kind of ignored it and believe that this too shall pass. And so, in the first books, I wanted to point that out. And in this book, what disappointed me in my research was that in many, many ways, especially small to medium sized businesses, they didn't get the demographic shift. And so, while they had all of this time to begin preparing strong succession plans and strong next generations of leaders and strong bench strength, they didn't. And so, the platform is still burning, except now it's burned where it's really close to now destroying many once strong, small to medium sized companies.
Steve Rush: And there's so much for each of the generations to learn from this kind of philosophy and thinking too, we've now got Gen Z coming into the workforce as they join. They're never going to have the ability to learn from baby boomers and vice versa. If we don't really grab the opportunity now.
Buddy Hobert: There is no doubts know, like I said, a bit of a mistake I made in the first book was I really kind of had that as a one-way street. I was really trying to get the more experienced generations in the workforce to understand the newest generations coming in. And it was really a one-way street. And now this next book that I have, The Leadership Decade is really about this. It's a two-way street. I think Steve you've touched on something really critical here is it is equally important for me as a senior leader or a senior manager or baby boomer. It's equally important for me to understand these newest generations of workers and the newest generation of followers as it is for these newest generation of followers to understand me.
Steve Rush: Absolutely.
Buddy Hobert: In the first books, I didn't get that Steve. I really had it as a one-way street, but there is no doubt that this next decade is all about the organizations who were able to collaborate across generations and understand this is a two-way street and all generations need to be embraced and deployed in the workforce to be productive.
Steve Rush: And very soon as well, you know, we're now seeing people live a lot longer, work a lot longer. There's less pressure on retiring at 60 or 65 or even 70 these days. And before you know it, we'll have generation alpha appearing around the corner.
Buddy Hobert: No doubt about it. And in fact, I'm going to go out on a limb, Steve and say like Generation Z. We know kind of when it started, but you really don't know the end of a generation until there's a Seminole event to define the next generation. And I believe COVID-19 is going to be that Seminole event. So, I'm going to say that we won't know this for a few years, but demographers are going to come out and say, this latest generation. The newest generation probably is going to be from 20 form the year 2000 to 2016. And the reason why I say 16 is because now, four-year olds are affected by COVID-19. They're affected by the global pandemic. They have to be home-schooled; they're going to remember this in ways that we can't understand at the moment. So, I'm going to say, Gen Z is going to stop at 2016 and this latest generation is going to start.
Steve Rush: Interesting.
Buddy Hobert: Think about that. If you're a 50-year-old right now, you will be hiring this sixth generation in 14 years before you retire, you'll be 64. You will be leaving these young folks that are in preschool now. Like it's weird to think that way, but you're going to be hiring kids who were in preschool now who are going to be completely different world views.
Steve Rush: Very true, very true. It's that lens that's really important. Isn't it? It's that being thoughtful and aware that creates that future leadership in others?
Buddy Hobert: I think so. I think that what Herb said is that a leader's job is to adapt to their followership. And I don't want the listeners here to think at all that, that I think leadership is something that is, I don't know, pliable or malleable, or that there aren't these bedrock principles. There certainly are, you know, honesty, integrity. There are certain bedrock principles, but the way that certain things are communicated and certain things are interpreted change from generation to generation. And one example that we've seen with the current pandemic is working remotely. Is that baby boomers grew up with this concept of being present meant you were a hard worker. So, coming in early, staying late, putting in the time, meant you were a hard worker. Being seen was thought as being productive, and now we have learned that that's not true and frankly never was. And people came to work and they might've stayed 12 hours and didn't do anything, that didn't make them a hard worker.
Steve Rush: Very true, really fascinating stuff. In the book Buddy, you talk about the commander’s intent. Tell us what that means?
Buddy Hobert: Five years ago, I had the almost unbelievable good fortune and was humbled by being invited to this place called the US Army War College, and the US Army War College takes American and global military leaders. And you need to be a Lieutenant, Colonel or above, and they put them in these cohorts and they ended up getting a master's degree in strategic leadership. And the last week of the program, they take civilians and they've plugged them into these cohorts. And we go to class with these military leaders, and I was able to see kind of how the best of the best work really, really hard at continuing their leadership development. And I met several military leaders. I'm happy and proud and humble to say, some of them have chosen to now come work for Solutions 21. And they taught me this concept of commander's intent, where it's way different than what I had heard in the business space, where we talk about vision and mission. And if I understand the vision, you know, we can move forward. Understanding the strategy and all that, all that's true. But this idea of commander's intent is to understand from the top. So, the CEO from the commander, all the way down to the shop floor, all the way down to the new hire. If we understand what the commander's intent, what his intent is for the vision and what his intent is for this mission, then we will be able to make quicker, better, more solid real time decisions. If we just know that person's intent, because it might not look exactly like it was scripted. But if we know what the intent of the action is, we can implement it effectively. And we've been using this concept now in the private sector and it's working almost unbelievably. So, it's been a tremendous benefit, especially when the pandemic hit for our clients, that whose employees now we're scattered to the four winds, working remotely to understand the intent. I think that's a different way of looking at it, than businesses have really done over the last number of decades.
Steve Rush: And it creates empathy for their leaders too. If people understand and have context as to why leaders are behaving in the way that they are, what their intentions and ambitions are, then people might not necessarily like the outcomes, but they will have much more respect and therefore likely to take more action.
Buddy Hobert: I think you say something there that's really critical. And that's the word context previous kind of 20th century thought processes and leadership processes really kind of announced decisions without providing context. And the word you just used, I think is critical for us to get is that in the 21st century, we need to also provide that context. And once people understand the context, they can make better quicker and frankly, more productive and profitable decisions.
Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely, hundred percent agree with that. The final thing I wanted to kick around with the Leadership Decade is something in the book that you call the linchpin model of change. And it's based around the kind of whole Gordian Knot story. Tell us a little bit about how that came about?
Buddy Hobert: I had a lot of information in the last books about change management, and we started talking about this philosophy in the linchpin model, because what we had seen along the way was people hesitating to adapt their thought process to this next generation. We saw this hesitancy of developing next generation leaders and training them and investing in them. We saw it because they were trying to invent the perfect answer. And they were thinking through the whole concept of, okay, should we do it remotely? Is this online? Like they were trying to create the best answer. And then things got watered down, and we came to this conclusion that this linchpin model of change is really the idea that needs to half of which is to do something. Get it started, you create a point where then you can make adjustments, instead of trying to allowing what's the saying, you know, allowing perfect to be the enemy of good, let's get something started and then begin to make adjustments; and as you saw in the book, I use this concept of safety. We do a lot of work in the manufacturing and construction industries. And I realized that safety is now in the DNA of every single firm that those people work in dangerous environments who are in construction, it's now in their DNA. But if you go back maybe only 20 years ago or so, safety was really a strong suggestion, but they've made it a part of their DNA. They took this linchpin approach where they said, and focused and repeated and repeated and repeated this importance and they changed the culture of their organization. And so, we think that developing your next generation of leaders needs to take kind of that almost overly simplistic view is just get started, almost a quote, Nike, Jus do it.
Steve Rush: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So, this is the chance of the show where I get to hack into your great leadership mind. So, I'd love to find out your top three leadership hacks, Buddy, what would they be?
Buddy Hobert: Okay, you touched on one that I want to pick up on when you use the word context. So, if I were to give three of the biggest leadership hacks, what leaders now need to get is we need to get this concept of explaining the why. We, you know, I've had rooms of 1200 folks or I'm keynoting or something. And I say, Hey, look, everybody answered this, and it has been global. So, answer this in your native language. But if you give somebody an assignment and they ask you why what's your response? And in like 14 different languages, I'll here because I said so. And so, we never grew up in an environment where we explained the why of an assessment. We told people what to do, and maybe even we gave suggestions on how to do it, but we never told them why it was important.
And that why is what you brought up earlier, it provides context. And so, when leaders hear someone asked the question why, they hear disrespect and they hear questioning of authority. When in fact they ought to be flattered by that because the person asking is looking for your knowledge and looking for your context. So, the first leadership hack would be to accept when someone asks you, why. They're looking for context and then really take it to the next level and proactively explain the reason for the assignment, explain the why. It provides context, it allows for the commander's intent and you will get a much better end product.
The next thing I might tell leaders as a hack, which is way different than what's happened in the past. Is that leaders today need to develop career coaching skills, not just mentoring skills and helping people, quote and quote, climb a ladder because that's what most folks entered the work world into this corporate ladder. Where now the newest generations of workers are looking at a chess board. They are looking at being able to move horizontally, take one step back, one step up, stay still for a while. And it's way different than a ladder mentality. And while it's true, the newest generations will have more jobs in a lifetime Steve, they don't have to have more companies.
Steve Rush: Right.
Buddy Hobart: If you provide them with opportunity within your firm. And you look at their career development like a chess board, and you look at them as being the queen on the chess board, if anybody there knows how to play chess, if you know the queen can move any way she wants, she's the most powerful piece on the board and in their career. They can move up, down, over one, sideways, horizontal. So, career coaching is going to be a critical leadership component moving forward. And then I would say my third hack would be, I firmly believe that words matter. And that we have to understand what we mean when we say things and how we feel with words. In the past, we looked at the leadership development as an expense. We looked at, if we had a good bottom line, maybe this year we'll do some training, we'll do a couple of events. We'll use this expense dollar. So, when times got tough, we cut that expense.
Well expenses, what’s it means, it's an expenditure, but the term investment is different. Are we investing in our future leaders? Because the word invest means to expect a return. And so, if we are investing, it's not dollar spent, it's an investment for a future return. And I think businesses, business owners need to shift their mindset from expense to investment. And then I think business leaders need to shift their mindset from spending time with my folks versus investing time with my folks. Those mean two completely different things. Spending kind is almost a burden where investing time has an expected return.
Steve Rush: There great hacks and great advice Buddy, thank you for sharing. The next part of the show. We want to explore; we call Hack to Attack. So, this would be where something hasn't worked out as well in your career or your life. But as a result, we've taken that as a lesson and it now serves us well as a positive. What would be your Hack to Attack?
Buddy Hobart: Probably I would hate to admit my naivety, but at times I have been naive in that. I believed a lot of what folks were saying and presenting to be more facts. And I would say that if I had one hack to attack, it would be to understand that there are many, many, many sides to a story and make sure you have all of the information before you make a decision. I would hate to admit that I have been naive along the way. And I have learned this idea that my folks here are probably getting tired of hearing from me, which is control your outcomes. I mean, those elements that you can control, you better control. Otherwise someone will control them for you.
Steve Rush: And I think we can all put ourselves in that space Buddy, that we've had the same kind of level of, I'm not sure if naivety is the right word. It could be maybe trust or overthrust or lack of ambition to control the outcome the way that we want to, maybe.
Buddy Hobart: Yeah, I know that I have been guilty of that and they threw several curve balls at me before I started the Solutions 21, until I began to realize that, well, I appreciate you saying that it's not naive, but in looking back, I think I was overly trusting. Let's say that.
Steve Rush: Cool, the last thing we want to do is give you an opportunity to shift back through the generations and you get to give yourself some advice at 21, Buddy, what's it going to be?
Buddy Hobart: Ah, okay. I can look at my 21-year-old self. I would probably challenge myself to begin working on wisdom sooner, where you would be able to combine the strength and the invincibility of youth with wisdom, you know, instead of waiting for things to come to me, I would have studied a little bit more about making stronger leadership decisions and think through things like developing my emotional intelligence way younger, way younger than I realized I needed to do it as I got older. So that would probably be it. I pray for wisdom every day still. And going back to being that age, I wish I had known then from a wisdom standpoint, what I know now.
Steve Rush: I love that. It's great. Wouldn't it have been neat to have been born with a wise developed brain and then, you know, maybe get more playful as we get older.
Buddy Hobart: Wouldn’t that be? I mean, you would combine all that strength, all the invincibility, all of those elements of your youth with just being able to make wiser and better decisions.
Steve Rush: I've always enjoyed talking with you. I loved reading your books, but I want to make sure that our listeners get the same opportunity. So how can they find out a little bit more about you, Solutions 21? And certainly, The Leadership Decade.
Buddy Hobart: I appreciate that. So, solutions21.com would be our website. So, s-o-l-u-t-i-o-n-s the numbers 21, 21.com, as well as theleadershipdecade.com. You can go to either one of those sites and find more about the book, find more about Solutions 21, find more about what we do and how we help organizations develop their next generations of talent and next generations of leaders.
Steve Rush: That's great, and we'll also put those links in our show notes, Buddy. So, our folk can also head over to there and access them straight away.
Buddy Hobart: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Steve Rush: So, there's no question Buddy, the work you've done continue to do is definitely going to help shape the next generation of leaders and on behalf of our listeners and on behalf of Leadership Hacker Podcast. Thanks for being on the show.
Buddy Hobart: I really, really appreciate it. It's been a pleasure all along.
Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.
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