418 episodes

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

The Leadership Podcast Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos, experts on leadership development

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 95 Ratings

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

    TLP410: Strategies from Women Who've Made It with Christiana Smith Shi

    TLP410: Strategies from Women Who've Made It with Christiana Smith Shi

    In this episode, Christiana Smith Shi, former Nike President of Consumer Direct and author of "Career Forward Strategies from Women Who've Made It," shares insights from her book on adopting a long-term mindset for career planning, rather than focusing solely on short-term objectives. She addresses the specific hurdles younger women encounter at the start of their careers and underscores the need to tackle these challenges to foster gender equality in leadership roles. Christiana differentiates between "fake it till you make it" and impostor syndrome, highlighting the need for confidence alongside acknowledging areas for growth. She offers actionable guidance on job applications, encouraging women to overcome self-doubt and rethink qualifications, and discusses strategies for negotiating salaries and benefits to help close the gender pay gap through evidence-based negotiation.   Key Takeaways   [0:19] Christiana shares a surprising aspect of her background – her proficiency in Swedish folk dancing. She talks about her latest book, "Career Forward: Strategies from Women Who've Made It," emphasizing a forward-thinking mindset for long-term career planning. Christiana discusses challenges faced by younger women entering the workforce and shares a real-life success story.    [08:27] Jan recounts a scenario of career overwhelm, leading to Christiana to talk about the concept of "turning into the skid" for career resilience. Christiana stresses facing challenges, conducting self-assessment, and making informed decisions. She also shares practical advice including time management and navigating the balance between high standards and avoiding perfectionism.    [13:47] Christiana distinguishes "fake it till you make it" as a confidence-boosting tool for new situations, emphasizing the need for self-awareness and skill development. Christiana discourages the use of impostor syndrome, inviting a rejection of the negative label and embracing learning curves.    [16:01] Christiana addresses the hesitation women often feel in job applications. Advising a shift in perspective, she encourages a broader interpretation of qualifications. Christiana emphasizes understanding hiring executives' perspectives and reframing qualifications to showcase applicable skills.    [19:15] Christiana discusses challenges individuals, especially women, face when seeking a raise. Christiana emphasizes a fact-based approach, advocating for documentation of expanded responsibilities and benchmarking compensation. She highlights the importance of timing, considering the company's context, and the need for allies to affirm contributions.    [25:41] Christiana recounts a defining career moment during partner election at a consulting firm. Faced with work-life balance challenges, the firm encouraged her to propose a solution, resulting in the creation of a successful part-time program. Christiana underscores the impact of assumptions on decision-making, urging individuals to turn assertions into questions and seek feedback from trusted networks to maintain a strategic orientation.   [32:20] Christiana reflects on her distinguished career, highlighting key lessons: taking responsibility and adapting recognition. She shares a pivotal moment of learning to own mistakes and acknowledges leaders who take responsibility for their teams. Transitioning from professional services to industry, she emphasizes the changing currency of recognition and adapting leadership styles to acknowledge efforts across diverse teams. Christiana encourages the value of research, meaningful feedback, and the ability to act on feedback for career growth.   [37:45] Christiana challenged listeners, particularly women in early or middle careers, to set their career GPS. She encourages individuals to define their impact, identify preferred skills, values, culture, and people. The challenge is to commit to deliberate actions each year, moving towards those career goals.   [39:16]

    • 39 min
    TLP409: The Audience is the Hero With Rick Tocquigny

    TLP409: The Audience is the Hero With Rick Tocquigny

    In this episode, Rick Tocquigny, a distinguished mentor, founder, and the voice behind the “Success Made to Last” podcast, as well as an accomplished author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, delves into the profound realization that serving others holds greater significance than mere personal success. This insight became particularly poignant following the loss of close family members. Rick places high value on asking meaningful questions and sharing narratives of resilience. He underscores the critical role of passing down life lessons to preserve family histories, drawing on examples like his mother's experiences during World War II. Furthermore, Rick highlights the imperative for startup leaders to align their actions with their core values from the outset, ensuring cohesion and adherence to these principles, especially in financially challenging times. He also sheds light on the importance of collaboration and strategic planning in the early stages of a startup, asserting that while monetary concerns are paramount initially, the synergy of a united team is equally crucial for success.   Key Takeaways:   [04:52] Rick shares that he started caring more about helping others after losing some important people in his life. He realized that making a real difference is more important than just being successful. Helping others and leaving a good impact became his main goal, even if it's not noticed by everyone. Rick also believes that it's all about making the world a better place, no matter what happens.   [11:11] He mentions that he appreciates a thought-provoking question and discusses the significance of curiosity and deep questioning. Rick also highlights that he finds inspiration in stories like "My Side of the Mountain" that explore survival and self-discovery. Drawing from their time at Procter & Gamble, he stresses the importance of asking insightful questions to uncover meaningful stories.    [16:22] Rick explains that his project of sharing life lessons began after losing his parents in 2003 and 2005. He realized the importance of preserving family stories, like their mom's experience in World War II, which inspired him to encourage others to do the same. While some veterans might be hesitant due to PTSD, Rick urges people to record stories for future generations, even if it means ensuring accuracy by gathering facts.    [19:16] He shares a touching story from his book about a teacher in Arkansas who rearranged her classroom, leaving her students confused. Eventually, she revealed that the desks and chairs were provided by veterans. This gesture was a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by veterans for the freedom enjoyed every day. Rick then emphasizes the importance of honoring and remembering the contributions of veterans and their families.   [23:54] Rick explains that if an organization's core values don't align with its strategic direction, they won't contribute to success. He also mentions the importance of integrating core values into daily operations and decision-making processes. Without this integration, core values can seem superficial and meaningless. Furthermore, if employees don't believe in the core values, they won't influence behavior or contribute to the strategy.    [26:40] He reflects on leadership in startup environments, emphasizing the importance of aligning core values from the beginning. Rick stresses the need for leaders to exemplify collaboration and alignment with core values, especially in startup scenarios where resources may be limited. He suggests that podcasts should focus on speaking to entrepreneurs starting their own businesses rather than Fortune 500 executives, as these individuals are navigating the real-world challenges of building a company from the ground up. Rick also highlights the significance of strategy and culture in shaping the success of a startup, noting that while culture is important, practical concerns like making payroll take precedence in the e

    • 37 min
    TLP408: Masterful Coaching With Robert Hargrove

    TLP408: Masterful Coaching With Robert Hargrove

    Robert Hargrove, the mind behind Masterful Coaching and a leader at the Harvard Leadership Project, delves into his coaching origins, advocating for a goal-centric approach that drives significant outcomes while redefining success. He highlights how, despite the challenges posed by organizational structures, there's a universal aspiration among individuals to thrive and impact positively. Robert underscores the critical role of authenticity and self-assurance when engaging with top executives, urging his audience to ambitiously envision beyond the usual limits. Further, he points out that the core of effective coaching lies in compassion and earnest support for both personal and professional development.     Key Takeaways:   [04:59] Robert shares the transition of his journey, recalling his early days organizing leadership weekends, driven by a passion to foster leadership skills. These became the foundation of his work in personal transformation seminars, leading to opportunities to implement similar programs in corporate settings, catalyzing cultural shifts and visionary leadership within organizations.   [9:16] He talks about coaching and how it's changed over time. He believes coaching is about helping people achieve big goals, not just getting better at what they already do. Robert thinks coaching should focus on winning and getting results, like in sports, rather than just learning skills. In the end, he is still passionate about coaching as a way to help people reach their dreams and make big things happen.   [15:23] Throughout his career, Robert shares that he has noticed a big change in what counts as success in business. It used to be all about making quick money for investors or climbing the corporate ladder. But with his approach to coaching, he's trying to change that. Inspired by thinkers like James McGregor Burns, Robert sees coaching as a way to lift people's goals and motivations, especially those in power like CEOs. His aim is to help them connect with their highest values and ideals, making a real impact in their lives.    [16:45] In his coaching practice, Robert considers the question of what "winning" means to individuals and businesses. While he believes in letting people define success for themselves, he also emphasizes the importance of elevating their understanding of what constitutes true success. He engages in dialogue with others, encouraging them to share their perspectives on this matter.    [19:14] He shares that the key to fulfillment for many seems to lie in discovering their passion, becoming a leader in their field, and making a meaningful impact on the world or within the organization. Robert also mentions that people inherently desire to excel and make a difference, but often encounter obstacles within organizational hierarchies and bureaucracies. Over his years of coaching, he has observed that many individuals express frustration with their bosses as a significant challenge. This highlights the importance of leadership coaching as a means to address such issues and empower individuals to unlock their full potential.   [22:57] Robert recounts working with a dynamic leader passionate about sustainability, but who lost confidence and became overly deferential upon promotion to CEO in a larger division. Despite coaching efforts, the leader chooses security over personal growth, prioritizing approval from higher-ups and conforming to corporate hierarchy.   [25:20] He shares his current focus on working with influential figures, including political leaders and celebrities, using their coaching skills for high leverage. Robert expresses a desire to collaborate with others, including the listener, to coach individuals on their list of influential people, aiming to expand it further and potentially advertise his services. He also introduces a new program called "Create a Legendary Company," which aims to help CEOs and entrepreneurs build companies that positively impact lives and ge

    • 36 min
    TLP407: Positive and Diligent With Justin Walker

    TLP407: Positive and Diligent With Justin Walker

    Justin Walker, a Navy veteran transitioning from solopreneurship, highlights his multifaceted hobbies like playing musical instruments, despite not being an expert. He introduces the concept of the "attitude and effort cycle," underscoring the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and diligent effort, regardless of motivation levels. In discussing leadership, Justin stresses the need for self-awareness, proactive behavior, and clarity to mitigate uncertainty, making connections between military and corporate leadership. He advocates for regular leadership assessments and acknowledges the environment's role in building team cohesion. Further, Justin's view on success has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach, prioritizing personal health, family, and embracing the journey. He advises leaders to concentrate on shaping the environment rather than exerting direct influence on people.     Key Takeaways:   [03:08] Justin shares what he does during his leisure time, such as playing the piano, guitar, and singing, despite acknowledging his lack of expertise. He reflects on his upbringing in a small Kansas town, where he recognized a need for change, and steering clear of a monotonous lifestyle. Shaped by his environment and personal choices, Justin's inclination to avoid stagnancy appears to stem from a combination of nature and nurture.   [06:25] He discusses the term "attitude and effort cycle," explaining the importance of either having a positive attitude or putting in effort to kick-start the cycle. Justin notes that even when lacking motivation, putting in effort can lead to a positive attitude over time. He also mentions an "attitude gap" in pursuing long-term goals, where motivation may wane but gradually returns as the goal nears completion. Justin also shares that his interest in discipline and ambition led him to explore the military as a way to develop and amplify these qualities, acknowledging that it was one of many paths for growth.   [11:44] Justin shares a personal opinion on the widespread desire to play musical instruments, suggesting that many people fantasize about being able to play like a rock star. He believes that those who recognize the importance of making time for personal growth are more likely to pursue their musical interests. However, Justin acknowledges that priorities differ, and for some, making money might take precedence over exploring musical talents.    [12:52] He discusses the importance of focus and the ability to navigate ambiguity in both personal endeavors, like learning a new song, and in the business world. Justin also highlights the challenges of being in the middle space of leadership, emphasizing the need for self-awareness and the ability to reduce ambiguity. He stresses the importance of taking initiative and not waiting for permission to figure things out.    [22:22] Justin draws parallels between operating on Amazon and the military, highlighting the challenges of navigating complexity within a large organization. He discusses two leadership approaches: technical problem-solving, akin to changing a light bulb, and adaptive problem-solving, addressing behavioral challenges. Coming from a military background, Justin emphasizes the shift in focus from technical to behavioral issues in a non-military environment, requiring guidance, coaching, and time for behavioral changes to manifest.    [26:43] He emphasizes the importance of regular check-ups and creating brief interactions in leadership to understand individuals on a deeper level. Justin highlights the opportunity for leaders to explore various aspects of an individual's life, such as mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, familial, and communal, appropriately. He also encourages leaders to adjust the environment to facilitate these conversations on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Justin also discusses the impact of high turnover and how structuring the environment, as seen in m

    • 40 min
    TLP406: Dream, Think, Do With Mitch Matthews

    TLP406: Dream, Think, Do With Mitch Matthews

    Mitch Matthews, a top success coach and host of the Dream, Think, Do Podcast, introduces his approach focused on ambitious dreaming, strategic thinking, and taking action. He underscores the importance of giving clients room to dream, followed by thoughtful planning and actionable steps. Mitch questions the prevailing hustle culture, promoting a balance between ambition and contentment, anchored in joy that aligns with core values. He advocates for valuing experiences over achievements, setting goals that foster feelings like joy, and rejects the notion of focusing on just "one thing," encouraging experimentation and learning instead. Additionally, he highlights the responsibility of true leaders in understanding and supporting team members through their personal struggles.     Key Takeaways:   [05:32] Mitch shares about his program helping people dream big, think better, and take action. Despite initial hesitancy around the word "dream," the guest emphasizes its significance in the process. He highlights the importance of creating space for clients to dream, followed by thinking and doing. The focus is on experimentation and learning from experiences to help individuals discover their purpose.   [8:51] He shares a story of someone who didn't achieve their dream outcome initially but found fulfillment by incorporating more of what they enjoyed. The example of Shawn Askinosie, a trial attorney turned chocolate maker, illustrates the importance of experimenting and taking small steps toward one's passions. Shawn's intentional exploration led to the launch of a successful small batch chocolate company, showcasing the power of experimentation and gradual steps in discovering one's true calling.   [13:24] Mitch reflects on the contrast between the hustle culture's emphasis on constant activity and the idea of contentment. Challenging the notion that contentment is incompatible with ambition, he touches on the pursuit of consistent joy, which, unlike happiness, is rooted in core values and identity, transcending external circumstances. Mitch also emphasizes the importance of experiencing joy as a key aspect of personal fulfillment and success.   [15:07] He discusses the concept of "reset week" and introduces a strategy called the GET Method to chart a course for the year. Mitch emphasizes starting with gratitude, as it induces a positive state change. Instead of focusing solely on achievements, the approach involves considering what experiences one wants to have in the coming year. He also notes that many goals are driven by the desire for specific experiences, such as joy and satisfaction. By prioritizing these experiences alongside goals, individuals can enjoy the journey without solely fixating on checking items off a to-do list.   [18:21] Mitch reflects on the notion of waiting for the "one thing" and advises against this mindset. He shares his experience as a recovering perfectionist, highlighting that perfectionism is often misinterpreted as procrastination. Perfectionists may struggle with completing tasks until they find the perfect way, leading to delays. He also emphasizes the need to overcome perfectionism by acknowledging that there isn't just one perfect way, but rather multiple experiments and trials that can help individuals figure things out through momentum and learning along the way.   [21:54] He expresses a positive view of therapy, emphasizing its benefits and likening it to a necessary cleansing process. Mitch advocates for seeking a good therapist, comparing the therapeutic journey to dating and highlighting its value even in different seasons of life. Therapy often looks back to address past hurts, while coaching primarily focuses on looking forward, helping clients identify and achieve their desired future.    [25:33] Mitch stresses the importance of true leaders understanding their team members and assisting them in addressing personal challenges. He advocates for transparency and openness abou

    • 43 min
    TLP405: Stress Inoculation With Eric Kapitulik

    TLP405: Stress Inoculation With Eric Kapitulik

    Eric Kapitulik, founder and CEO of the Program Leadership, highlights the dual roles of being an effective team member and leader across various teams. Stressing the importance of excelling in both, he notes that while organizational values differ, establishing clear values is crucial. He points out that effective communication and developing a culture of accountability are key to success. Eric emphasizes that maintaining long-term success, regardless of external factors, requires a steadfast commitment to promoting a culture of accountability individually and within teams. As the conclusion of the podcast, Eric relays a moving and powerful story from his experience as a young leader.     Key Takeaways:   [03:13] Eric reflects on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and shares the varying levels of resilience observed in people and organizations. He acknowledges the importance of teaching resilience, but emphasizes the deficiency in its practical development. Eric stresses the need for intentional stress inoculation, pushing oneself beyond the comfort zone, both physically and mentally.    [5:51] He shares his own distinction between labeling experiences as "challenging" instead of using the word "hard." Eric also shares that the only truly "hard" experience in his life is someone’s death, but with other challenges, viewing them as opportunities for growth and improvement rather than genuine hardship. He acknowledges the universal nature of facing challenges and highlights the importance of embracing them as chances to grow and get better.   [8:10] Eric mentions that, while he is the program's founder, he attributes its success to the collaborative efforts of the team. He recognizes that with effective communication and leadership skills, the program evolved and now collaborates with 160 athletic teams annually.   [12:14] He acknowledges the challenges of creating stable plans, as circumstances tend to change every six months, in discussing long-term planning. Despite having financial goals for the program, he emphasizes the importance of standards over goals. While goals focus on performance, standards revolve around behavior. The uniqueness of the program lies in the need to embody their advice authentically. Rather than solely concentrating on goals, he explains the significance of daily behavior in achieving success; when standards are consistently upheld, desired outcomes naturally follow.   [14:48] Eric explains the systemic nature of goal-setting within organizations, driven by the benefits of achievement and consequences of failure. Leaders are encouraged to identify and communicate their organizational values, which become the foundation of the company's culture. Daily standards, aligned with these values, are considered crucial for reinforcing the desired culture. He then highlights the challenge of claiming a culture, such as discipline, without consistent daily adherence to established standards. Eric gives focus on the significance of organizations being true to their stated values, implementing standards that support them, and fostering a culture of accountability for sustained success.   [17:44] He mentions the importance of reinforcing positive behavior in addition to holding individuals accountable for not meeting standards. Eric advocates for fostering courage in everyday situations, such as addressing bullying or having children take responsibility for their actions. He also shares the need for consistent debriefs within organizations to assess what's going well, what needs improvement, and promote a continuous improvement mindset.   [24:30] Eric emphasizes the importance of both individual and team roles in achieving success. He explains the dual responsibilities of being a great teammate and leader on various teams, and there is a need to excel in both roles. However, he acknowledges that values may differ across organizations but also stresses the importance of having clear values

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
95 Ratings

95 Ratings



Jan and Jim always deliver: great guests, stimulating dialogue and much to absorb!

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One of my go-to podcasts

I’ve worked with Jim and enjoy being able to benefit from his insight (and Jan’s) and the great guests they bring on. Great show.

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