DiscoverBranch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
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Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders

Author: Connection Builders

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Helping middle-market professionals connect, grow, and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. The success of your career starts with your ability to build meaningful connections.
43 Episodes
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Change takes on many shapes and forms and can be daunting for many people. Creating big change in an organization oftentimes requires a well-considered approach based on disruptive leadership. Today’s guest is Tom Bohn, President and CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG). In this episode, he talks to us about disruptive leadership and driving change in uncertain environments to take organizations to new heights. We ask Tom to expand on disruptive leadership as he walks us through its central pillars to kick things off. Following this, we unpack why change can be so unsettling for organizations and how you can make the process seamless. We also uncover some of the excuses people use to avoid growth, like fear of failure and a fear of not having all the answers. We then look at a practical example of how Tom coped with drastic change, focusing specifically on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at change more closely, we then speak with Tom about how to ensure diversity within organizations.  Key Points From This Episode: Tom’s thoughts on disruptive leadership and how it applies to the organization he leads.Why meaningful change is disruptive by nature. Three components from a cultural perspective that impact disruptive change.Common excuses used to not grow during a time of change.How Tom has coped with the drastic change caused by COVID.How leaders can best address angst.Tom shares why he is never unwilling to have conflict and to disagree with his peers.Hear how leaders can affect change in organizations to bring about more diversity.Tom shares how working with Parity has been a real game-changer.Thomas Bohn on LinkedInThomas Bohn emailACGStetson UniversityGood to Great on AmazonParityThe Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person on AmazonAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Creating an inclusive environment is key to a more equal society as well as success in our business and personal lives too. Here on the show today to discuss the important subject of diversity are Christine Nowaczyk,  Arizona Corporate Banking Executive for BOK Financial, and Rich Grant, Director of Business Development at Northlane Capital Partners. Rich and Christine bring their experiences of being minorities in their work environments to bear and share the ways that they are pushing the conversation about diversity and inclusion forward. We talk about the need for everybody in a team to work together to create an inclusive environment, especially the leaders who have the power to make decisions and hires that shape a company. To this end, they both weigh in on the value of simply being excellent as a way of reinforcing their value to their teams every day. We talk about the idea that diversity is achievable by simply being kind to other people and share some ways that can help us learn to listen to perspectives that are not our own. Our conversation also covers the importance of networking in success and the need to offer everybody equal opportunities to networks that can help them grow and flourish. For valuable perspectives on achieving a more diverse workplace and the professional and personal benefits of this, be sure to tune in today.Key Points From This Episode:How Rich is being intentional about having conversations about diversity in the workplace.Christine’s thoughts on the value of treating others kindly toward the project of diversity.How Rich sets an example as a Black man in a largely white industry.Christine’s approach to conducting herself and staying strong in a male-dominated world.The value of being good at what you do for encouraging diversity as a minority.Rich’s thoughts on the need for management to be on board with the diversity project.Not employing somebody as a token, but to recognize the value they can bring.The need for upper management to give everybody in the organization a chance to be heard.Different ways of learning how to see things from other people’s perspectives.Creating a safe environment that lifts everybody up.How Rich got to where he is by putting himself in uncomfortable situations.Giving people access to mentors that push them so they can grow.What Rich has learned about the willingness people have to work towards diversity.Lessons Rich has learned about the value of networking for increasing diversity.Normalizing a culture of inclusivity and diversity initiatives.Encouraging diversity is about more than just a wish: It’s about having a plan.Tackling the things that you can control as a way of encouraging diversity.Encouraging diversity through recruitment but also enablement afterward.Christine NowaczykBOK FinancialRich GrantNorthlane Capital PartnersAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Today we welcome back returning guest Jamil Sanders, Vice President and Relationship Manager of Key Private Bank in Cleveland, Ohio. In this episode, we shine a light on how accepting ourselves is the first step to accepting others. Jamil offers a wealth of wisdom and helps kick off our conversation by defining the importance of accepting yourself. He touches on the interconnectedness of acceptance and self-love, as well as why we should try not to take on the role of being our own harshest critic. Jamil then takes a moment to explain how he balances the dichotomy of being the best version of himself and forgiving of his flaws. By understanding that success and doubt come with ebbs and flows, he notes that keeping a constant balance of humility is one of the best ways to cope with unexpected adversity. For added perspective, Jamil references his wrestling experiences in high school. Later on in the show, we tuck into the importance of not just hearing those around us but listening to them on much deeper levels. To conclude, Jamil shares advice to those who want to want to make an active change to accept others and improve the lives of those around them. He suggests focusing on what people are and what they are not, as well as how we can have a more productive dialogue to encourage change. To hear more on why self-acceptance is one solution to many business problems, be sure to join us today!Key Points From This Episode:Jamil defines the importance of accepting yourself.Jamil balances the dichotomy of being the best version of himself and forgiving of his flaws.Jamil shares how he copes with success being met with sudden adversity.Hear Jamil's definition of success.Jamil touches on the virtues of using grace instead of blame.We talk about what it means to truly listen to someone and process how they're feeling.Jamil's advice to those who want to make an active effort to accept yourself and others.Why dialogue should be centered around finding likeness and not differences.A call to action for you to commit to over the next week.Jamil Sanders on LinkedInPast Jamil Sanders EpisodeAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Today we open a multi-episode conversation into what diversity means in our personal and professional lives. For this episode, we welcome back Key Bank VP and Relationship Manager Jamil Sanders to hear his insights on authenticity and diversity. Early in the show, we chat about authentically presenting yourself within public and private spaces. We then dive into the challenges faced by minorities in predominantly white industries. As Jamil answers our questions, he highlights the importance of mental coaching, knowing your value, and learning from failure as key in helping minorities to navigate the workplace. After opening up about his own experiences as a black professional, we take a look at what we can all be doing to promote equal work environments. We wrap up the episode with a call to action that will help listeners understand diversity issues. Join us to learn more about authenticity and diversity from our illustrious guest.Key Points From This Episode:Acting authentically in both public and private spaces. Challenges faced by minorities in predominantly white industries.Tips on how we overcome our limiting beliefs.Insights into showing your value without seeming arrogant. Why listening is key to building connections. Jamil’s process in dissecting and learning from his failure.Jamil shares some of his experiences of being a black financial advisor. How Jamil helps others to overcome the challenges of being in a white-dominated industry. Hear how recent news events and racial tensions have impacted Jamil’s life. What you can do to help resolve workplace inequity.We share this episode’s call to action on understanding diversity.Jamil Sanders on LinkedInPast Jamil Sanders EpisodeAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
For years, Dan Lee (Partner with Comvest Partners) was striving for results and results only. On every call, he was looking to make a quick win to add to his tally of success. Yet, Dan realized he was chasing success in the wrong ways. In this vulnerable and honest episode, Dan shares his biggest lessons in business so far and tells us the major mindset shifts he’s made in an effort to gain knowledge and provide more value. We begin our conversation with Dan by hearing about how the COVID pandemic was an ‘aha’ moment that lit a fire under him to make a change. He touches on how the bulk of his career was transaction-focused and why a pivot into business development changed all that for him. Delving deeper, Dan describes his shift in focus toward being a truer, more authentic version of himself. His notes capture what authenticity means to him, as we learn why the ‘all or nothing’ ethos isn’t practical, as well as Dan’s reasons for wanting to be good at several things instead of being great at just one thing. Dan is especially candid in this episode but in an inspiring and magnetic fashion. He shares the advice he’d give his 30-year self and why balance should’ve been his north star. To hear more on Dan’s impressive and evolutionary story, be sure to join us today! Key Points From This Episode: Dan shares some of his ‘aha’ moments brought about since the start of the pandemic.What led to Dan’s fundamental mind shift.The importance of looking at business development as itself, and not sales.How Dan’s core focus has changed in recent times.Dan touches on focussing on things as they are, and not how they seem to be.Hear about the advice Dan would give his 30 year-old-version of himself.Dan talks about why he’d rather be good at several things than great at one thing.Why it is important to consistently try to improve yourself.Dan fills us in on how his view on competition was an unhealthy one.Host Alex Drost leaves listeners with a challenge for the week.Dan Lee on LinkedInComvest PartnersAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Being true to our authentic selves is no easy task. However, we can use simple strategies to overcome the fears and barriers that hinder our ability to find our own voices and align our actions with those voices. Stephanie Gaffin, Co-Founder & Managing Partner with SLS Capital Advisors and The Gaffin Group joins us on the show today to discuss the power of meditation and journaling with regard to reaching a state of authenticity in the way we live our lives, the problem with social media and why it degrades authenticity, and the fact that our thoughts cannot always be trusted and we should not let them define us. Stephanie is no stranger to challenging situations, and she shares with us a story of how she turned one of her darkest moments into something much lighter and found herself in the process. In every single situation we find ourselves in, we have a choice as to how we respond. By becoming more mindful and more in touch with who we really are, we are far more likely to make better choices, leading to better outcomes. It's always daunting starting something new, but once you start, the hardest part is already over, and the benefits you experience from journaling and meditation will have you wishing you started sooner. Key Points From This Episode:Stephanie shares her definition of authenticity: Being true to who you really are.  The importance of human connection and why authenticity and vulnerability create better relationships. Aligning your thoughts and actions is key to authenticity. Stephanie shares a story about how a funny sticker helped her feel like herself again, in the midst of a challenging experience.Social media degrades authenticity because the audience only sees the "highlight reel, not the behind-the-scenes takes."Fear of judgment on social media prevents people from engaging and connecting in the virtual world.It's impossible to do things perfectly, and nobody expects that of us, so we shouldn't put so much pressure on ourselves. Learning to live in the present moment can help us manage our anxiety about the future. Stephanie's meditation journey and how this practice can help us overcome our fears and find our own authentic voices.Our thoughts are not necessarily true, and we should not let them control or define us.An experience that Stephanie had while skiing where she saw the benefits of her meditation practice.We can only be our true, authentic selves when we remove fear and anxiety from our thoughts and actions.Getting into the habit of doing something like journaling or meditating can be daunting, but you just have to start. Stephanie's call to action: Think about a situation that you have coming up and how you can show up to that as your most authentic self, and then do that. Stephanie Gaffin on LinkedInStephanie Gaffin email addressSLS Capital AdvisorsRight in the Middle MarketBrené BrownHeadspaceCalmAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Passion fuels authenticity, and authenticity drives change for the better. Everybody can find their passion, but sometimes it just takes a little fuel to ignite this process. As the Director of Business Development for BDO and the co-founder of 503(c)s 100 Women Who Care and 100 Businesses Who Care, Amy Whipple has made caring for others as well as connecting people her passion. She joins us today to weigh in on how to find this powerful emotion, the effects it can have, and a whole lot more. We kick things off by hearing about what passion means to Amy, and she talks about how passionate her aunt was, how it drew people toward her as well as helped her fight Lou Gehrig's disease. The key takeaways here are that good energy is infectious, and that passion can be a driving force to get you through hard times. From there, we dive into the question of how to find your passion, and Amy talks about how helpful it can be to keep doing new things because our passion could be lying on the other side of those experiences. We then get into the idea that challenges drive growth and fuel passion before wrapping up our conversation with a meditation on Bob Burg's notion of the 'go-giver'. By coming into any situation with an authentic will to help others, we will spread positivity, build community, and experience a life of abundance too. Key Points From This Episode:The meaning of passion for Amy and the role her aunt played in her idea of this quality.How living passionately drew people to Amy's aunt and helped her fight ALS.The responsibility of leaders to show passion in hard times and set an example.Amy's true passion for making connections; her excitement about learning from others.The contagiousness of good energy; the effects of bringing good energy to situations.Passion as the core driving energy that gets people through hard times.How masks are stunting connection, but technology can help open it up again.Finding the silver linings in our COVID world through passion.The work Amy does with her non-profits and how they help people discover their passions.How looking back at past overcome hurdles can drive passion and authenticity.The need for challenges because they drive growth – dig deeper if everything in your life feels easy.How valuable it is to try new things because new passions could lie in those experiences.The idea that 'finding your passion' is not a lightbulb moment; we can have many passions.Anchoring things you don't enjoy but are good for you in things you are passionate about.Rewards to be reaped by coming into every situation with a mentality of 'what can I give?'Perspectives on being a 'go-giver' when you have too much on your plate already.A suggestion to find time to give to others and make that a passion of yours.Amy Whipple on LinkedInAmy Whipple EmailBDO100 Women Who Care100 Businesses Who CareALS Therapy Development InstituteThe Go-GiverAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Today we introduce Branch Out's new mini-series theme: the power of authenticity. As one of the most essential success skills in business, its value should never be underestimated. We also welcome today's special guests, Jeremy Holland and Grant Marcks, who speak to us about how authenticity has impacted their careers and personal lives. The show kicks off with Jeremy defining authenticity, as listeners discover how this trait is defined by consistency of behavior and transparency. After hearing about the difference between consistency and frequency, we talk to Grant about the challenges associated with authenticity, especially when you're involved in a business that oftentimes spins on an axis of bad news. Adding positive notes to this, we find out how you can cultivate better relationships with clients and colleagues. Jeremy then tells us what gets in the way of authenticity and shares some personal anecdotes about insecurity and how he used it to launch himself forward in life. He talks about how a family health crisis affected his career and that by revealing his more vulnerable side to his inner circle, he was able to conquer some of the challenges which lay ahead. We then continue by practicing what we preach and find out how Grant has been doing as a young father, having taken on a new role during the pandemic. To find out more about authenticity and the power it has, be sure to join us today! Key Points From This Episode:Jeremy tells us about the consistency of behavior and why it's not about frequency.Grant talks about how you can face up to your challenges with clients and colleagues.Why perfection is worth giving up on.The value of creating relationships and rapport with colleagues and clients.Why cultivating relationships is like a gardener planting mystery seeds.Grant fills us in on his new role at Riverside.Jeremy shares what gets in the way of authenticity and how you overcome it.We touch on the effects of Zoom fatigue.Jeremy tells us about how embracing his insecurities has launched him forward in life.Grant's journey as a young father and starting a new business role during the pandemic.Jeremy Holland on LinkedInJeremy Holland EmailGrant Marcks on LinkedInGrant Marcks Email RiversideAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
In today's episode, we sit with Rob Meyers, President and Managing Member of Republic Business Credit, to discuss key factors that drive business development success. We cover topics including clear communication, setting expectations, and following tried and tested processes. Rob kicks off the episode by guiding listeners through the steps of a qualification call before talking in detail about how you can develop trust with clients. Listeners will learn that simple strategies like setting realistic expectations and consistent updates can benefit even the laziest salespeople, provided they follow the correct steps. Rob then takes a closer look at how to set expectations, especially when the goalposts are changing shape and are constantly on the move. The bottom line, says Rob, is that you're the janitor of your business, and you need to take ownership over issues, whether it's your fault or the clients. We then shift the spotlight onto the client, as Rob tells us about which clients are worth saving and why it's best to let others go. Rob shares valuable insight in the latter minutes of the show and provides insider tips for young professionals looking to make a break in the business development space. Perhaps his biggest piece of advice is elaborating on the preparation and reflection phases. To hear more about these phases and much, much more, be sure to join us today!Key Points From This Episode:Hear about a qualification call and its components.Why building trust with clients is so important, especially in the virtual world.How to ensure effective communication with clients.Ways expectations can be managed between clients and buyers.The importance of being the "janitor" in your business.How giving your potential clients guidance upfront can bolster the relationship.How to handle angry clients, despite your own performance.Rob's advice for young professionals in the sales industry.Hear about email etiquette — how to send and receive with a good mindset.Why it is good to prepare and to reflect on calls and sales.What makes sales fun, and how to make it more fun.Rob Meyers on LinkedInRepublic Business CreditAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Today we sit with Ryan Grand, Principal with HKW, an Indianapolis-based middle-market private equity firm. In this episode, Ryan shares his story and tells us how he landed a business development role by accident before finding that he unexpectedly loved it. We kick off the show with a breakdown of Ryan's professional history. After hearing about his transition into the field, Ryan fills listeners in on some of the challenges he faced early on before sharing his daily responsibilities, like nurturing relationships with thoughtful conversation and creating a pipeline of unmissable deals. But this is business, and some deals go to the wayside, with Ryan telling us how he adapts to missed opportunities. Toward the end of the show, we talk about Ryan's top-of-mind strategy and hear about how he keeps balance when striking a deal. Ryan goes on to tell us about some of the biggest misconceptions of business development and why only having a friendly nature might not give you the upper hand you're looking for. Bringing the show to a close, he leaves with details about the importance of keeping organized as well as notes on his transition to the virtual world in light of a global pandemic.  Key Points From This Episode:How Ryan was able to pivot his career.Hear some of the initial challenges Ryan expected to face.Why Ryan wanted to do transactions and the reasons he pivoted to business development.Ryan tells us about his daily responsibilities and the nuances of his BD role at HKW.Find out about Ryan's top-of-mind strategy and how the pandemic has shifted his mindset.How Ryan keeps balance when executing deals.Ryan shares some of the biggest misconceptions about business development.Ways Ryan copes with the 'big' personalities in the room.Why Ryan is committed to organization, and how he uses it as a tool for success.How relationships form the backbone to successful business development.How Ryan has coped with COVID.Why his pre-COVID experiences helped Ryan mesh with the virtual world.Ryan Grand on LinkedInRyan Grand EmailHKW Private EquityAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
We all talk about business development, but what does “business development” even mean? To explore this topic, we have a special two guest episode with Heather Madland, Partner and Head of Business Development with Huron Capital along with Polly Mack Director of Business Development for Gryphon Investors. We open the show by listening to our guests’ thoughts on business development and what it means to them. After hearing about creating and maintaining credibility and building your brand both internally and externally, Polly and Heather expand on the balance between being an expert and nurturing your brand. We then turn our attention toward the challenges that come with growth and change before hearing about what it takes to be successful in business development. So what does it take? Polly and Heather walk us through why reputation is so important and which soft skills you can make special use of, like empathy and cultivating a humble nature. Toward the end of the episode, we look at how to be an intricate communicator and why communication comes from listening. To find out more, be sure to join us today!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing today’s topic: what business development means and how to excel at it.Heather shares her thoughts on business development and what it means to her.Polly talks to us about thought leadership and how to maintain a personal brand.The heart of engaging with your market and why failure should be embraced.Hear about the challenges that come with growth and change.The best ways to approach business development.What it takes to be successful in business development.Find out about valuable soft skills that can benefit business development.How you can approach colleagues and clients using empathy.We go into the intricacies of dynamic communication.Why accepting faults and weaknesses leads to better business development.Polly Mack on LinkedInPolly Mack EmailGryphon InvestorsHeather Madland on LinkedInHeather Madland EmailHuron CapitalAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Branding is not just about what makes you unique but about how you portray that to the world. Your personal brand is the sum of how people perceive you, and understanding how to influence these perceptions is key to branding success. As the Founder and CEO of InTandem Marketing, Kyle Lindenboom helps businesses drill down on their brands by narrowing the gap between how they want to be perceived and how they present themselves. Kyle joins us today on the show to explore how to assess a personal brand and craft a vision for a desired future brand to help listeners identify potential gaps and areas for improvement. We start our conversation by hearing more from Kyle about what exactly a brand is and why it's critical for success. From there, we dive into the idea of personal brands, getting into some of the ways we can align our branding with our goals, and talking about how we get perceived through the way we dress, respond to messages, and more. We discuss the value of authenticity, awareness, and intentionality in building a brand, the centrality of expectations in brand-building, and a whole lot more on today's show, so be sure to tune in!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing Kyle and the brand-building services he offers through InTandem Marketing.What a brand is and the importance of understanding its components for building one.Connecting branding to the personal: What is a personal brand, and how is it communicated?The idea that a personal brand is the sum of all perceptions about somebody based on how they portray themselves.The value of being intentional about personal branding but staying authentic as well.How to be more aware of how your representation of yourself influences perceptions about you.Kyle's method of taking clients through the process of aligning their branding with their goals through a gap analysis.How valuable it is to know your target audience when building your brand.How your branding will create expectations about you; how to set expectations correctly.Kyle's thoughts on a branding exercise involving iteratively whittling down a list of brand goals.The idea that strong brands are focused and not concerned with pleasing everybody.Kyle Lindenboom on LinkedInKyle Lindenboom EmailInTandem MarketingAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
In today's business world, it's all about quick wins and immediate gratification. But this isn't what it should be about. If you want to create an impactful business that will generate consistent revenue and success, you need to go focus on relationships. In today's show, we talk with Bober Markey Fedorovich ("BMF") partner Mark Bober, who has 35-plus years in transactions, mergers, acquisitions, and litigation serving as a state witness. We open the episode by hearing Mark's thoughts on what business growth is and how to create it. After discussing his ethos on achieving long-term growth, Mark shares valuable insight into how you can create business opportunities by treating conversations, Zoom calls, and meetings as research. We then move onto the backbone of business growth — trust. In the latter half of the show, Mark talks to us about the key to his success and touches on how offering top-notch client service has been the main driver behind it. We also hear about why it's important to work well with partners and not just clients and learn that referrals often come from positive experiences of collaboration.  Key Points From This Episode: Hear about what business development means to Mark.Explore opportunity-generating events that promote business growth.Mark's take on networking and expanding your knowledge base.Why trust is such an essential factor to Mark and his firm. How your effort today can pay dividends in the future.The key to Mark's success in business.Marks talks about why client service is a cornerstone of business growth.Why it is important to work well with partnering companies and not just your clients.Find out about a customer's lifelong value and why you should strive to earn it.Mark's most significant challenges in business and career development.Discussion about the business impact of being introverted or extraverted.Why time is such an important factor in business growth.Mark BoberMark Bober on LinkedInMark Bober EmailAlex Drost LinkedInBranch Out Podcast LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
While personal growth is incredibly important for moving our careers and ourselves forward, it is not something that happens on its own. We need to set time aside to be intentional about our growth! Today's guest is Bob Doyle, President and CEO of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA), and he joins us on the show to talk about how he is investing in his personal growth. We begin our conversation with the idea that everybody wants to grow and get better and our intention to discuss how we can actually accomplish that. Bob has a whole list of personal habits and areas that he is trying to improve on, many of which fall into the category of what are conventionally called soft skills. For Bob, soft skills are so important for success that they might better be reframed as 'success skills.' We dive into Bob's morning routine, hearing him talk about how he begins the day with journaling and gratitude. We zoom into the importance of these two practices, highlighting the idea that journaling can help us to be more reflective and shift our mindsets towards becoming more grateful for challenges because they are often what make us grow the most! Bob shares a great quote about approaching self-improvement in baby steps, and then we dive into an exchange about how we can rethink 2020 as a year that encouraged growth in all of us. Toward the end of our conversation, Bob shares his current intention of becoming a better listener – a more active and empathetic listener. We explore how much people appreciate being heard and how listening well can make you a better leader and human being. Listen in today for actionable personal growth tips from Bob Doyle!Key Points From This Episode:Introducing Bob Doyle, President and CEO of the Michigan Association of CPAs.Today's topic: Investing in your personal growth through habits.The idea that people fundamentally want to grow.Bob's view that personal growth is a muscle that you have to exercise.The morning routine Bob practices for personal growth; journaling, gratitude, and more.How important it is to practice gratitude, even for things that seem hard or bad.Bob and Host Alex's journaling practice; the reflectiveness and intentionality it produces.Advice from Bob for implementing new habits by starting small and improving in baby steps.A way Bob has implemented growth at MICPA by making the move to virtual.The mindset piece of implementing good habits; it is essential to believe it is possible.Seeing 2020 as the year that pushed us out of our comfort zones and the growth this produced.Understanding that past challenges overcome have made you into who you are.Reframing soft skills as success skills to drill down on their importance.Bob's goal to become a better listener, and how he is training his team to do the same.The need people have to be heard by you, rather than have their problems solved by you.How Bob incorporates listening into his morning routine and the effects this has.Keeping a growth mindset because every moment is an opportunity for growth.A challenge from Alex for listeners to implement a journaling practice.How to get in touch with Bob online and learn more about what he does.Bob Doyle on LinkedInBob Doyle EmailMichigan Association of Certified Public AccountantsPenzuAlex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedIn
Continuing the discussion on investing in your professional growth, today, we have Mike Witzke, a partner with McDonald Hopkins, a Cleveland-based law firm with more than 140 professionals. Mike is the Chair of the Estate Planning and Probate Practice Group and practices in numerous areas. He focuses on helping clients protect and transfer wealth efficiently, and he works with high net worth families, primarily business owners, physicians, and athletes. In this episode, Mike shares his thoughts on what growth means to him, and we discuss ways to stay focused on continual growth and self-improvement. Tune in today!Key Points From This Episode:How to stay focused on your personal growth by setting up systems and habits.Make growth a priority! Saying you don't have time indicates that it's not important to you.By defining what you are trying to accomplish, you can plan the time you set aside for growth.Growth isn't linear, but Mike says you have to set specific goals in order to maintain progress.Creating tangible milestones by breaking big goals into smaller parts and having an accountability partner.Mike comments on the benefits of having a mentor younger than you if you're over 45.The importance of seeking out different perspectives and being open to honest feedback.You need time with that feedback, says Mike, to allow it to percolate before taking what you need from it and taking action.How COVID has presented an opportunity to use your extra time to work on these things.Alex provides a recap of the episode, from carving time out and building habits to finding accountability and being open-minded.Mike shares the final part of the puzzle, which is also the first step: commit to doing it!Hear what Alex's call to action is this week: set aside some time, even 30 minutes.Mike Witzke LinkedInMike Witzke Email Alex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a difficult thing to do, but it is absolutely essential for growth, in both a business and personal capacity. The world is changing at a rapid rate and if you aren't continuously growing, you are going to get left behind. Our guest on today's show, Elliott Holland, Managing Director of Guardian Due Diligence, believes that your most frustrating experiences will often be your biggest learning opportunities, so you shouldn't shy away from situations that are difficult or stressful. Elliott also shares why and how he maintains a practice that has been invaluable to his success in business; reflection. There is always room for improvement, and if you don't look back and figure out where you went wrong (or where you went right), you will struggle to move forward. Learning from the experiences and the reflections of the more senior people in your field will also benefit you greatly. Don't let fear prevent you from fulfilling your dreams; most people suck at the beginning, and you have to start somewhere! Key Points from This Episode:The world is rapidly changing, and it is so important to stay up to date in terms of your knowledge and skills. Invest in yourself in order to move forward and grow in your chosen career.Elliott mentions an example of how things can go wrong when people aren't keeping up with the times. Growth can occur in numerous ways, not just through books and the internet. Elliott shares examples of different ways of investing in oneself. As you grow, you will realize how much your younger self didn't know. Make sure that in every situation, you are either winning in monetary terms or you are learning and growing. Don't be too quick to walk away from deals that aren't working out; instead, use them as an opportunity to learn a lesson. Books are helpful, but the best way to learn how to negotiate is through on-the-job-training.Looking back at your previous work and figuring out where you went wrong (i.e., reflection) is an extremely valuable practice. Smart, dedicated, well-prepared people don't often make mistakes; look at their behavior and learn from it. See stress as a blessing because it means you are learning, but make sure you also take time to recover.Don't be scared to step out of your comfort zone; everyone 'sucks' in the beginning.Practice, practice, practice, and you'll get to where you want to be!Elliott shares some of the toughest things he has had to learn in his career.In order to grow, you need to let yourself be vulnerable and open to change. Knowing when and when not to trust your intuition is a skill that comes with growth. Listen to and learn from the more mature people in your space. Two calls to action for today from Alex: Take time to reflect on a past work experience and how you can improve, and reach out to a more mature person in your field to ask for their advice.Elliott Holland LinkedInElliott Holland EmailGuardian Due DiligenceAlex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
The beginning of the year is a time when many of us make commitments to professional and personal growth. So, to help you get off to the best start possible, we are dedicating the first few episodes of Season 2 to exploring what it really means to invest in your growth. Dustin Hill, today’s guest, is a Director at FINNEA Group, a middle-market investment banking firm. He joins us to talk about how mindset is a driving force for our success (or lack thereof). We kick off the conversation with a look at soft skills, their importance, and how they contribute to success. We also discuss having a ‘why’ and the role this plays in motivating us. Growth is not easy. In fact, we are hardwired to shy away from change, so how do we lean into it and accept it as par for the course if we are to grow? Dustin shares his approach to this and how talking to people who have done what he may be fearing sets his mind at ease. Another key part of growth we touch on is task prioritization and strategies you can use to separate responsibilities. No matter how busy you might think you are, if you are intentional about making time for what nourishes you and helps you grow, you will be able to fit it in. We wrap the conversation up by debunking the myth that growth means increased working hours and why progress rather than perfection counts when developing essential soft skills.   Key Points From This Episode:The difficulty that comes with developing soft skills; they are not easily quantifiable.It is so important to have a ‘why’ when it comes to personal and professional growth.How Dustin views growth and getting closer to your why. Work Dustin has done on his mindset: Why you need to change your perspective.Why making to-do lists can help you focus in on what is truly important for the day.The benefits Dustin has seen from turning off his text and email notifications.How Dustin deals with change and leans into it.Getting over fears and vulnerabilities looks different for everyone, so find what works for you.Dustin’s childhood and how his early life has framed his why and motivated him.Making time for self-reflection and how to use this to understand where you need to grow.Balancing the day-to-day grind with carving space for personal and professional growth.Professional growth should not be confused with doing more work.It is so important to distinguish between tasks that are urgent and those that can wait.How Dustin approaches task importance and assigns values to things on his to-do list. A call to action for you to start working on your mindset.Apply the 80/20 rule when it comes to developing your soft skills.The Eisenhower MatrixPareto PrincipleDustin Hill LinkedInDustin Hill EmailAlex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
Investing in People with Jeremy Holland Today’s guest is Jeremy Holland, Managing Partner of Origination at The Riverside Company,  and he understands that building relationships is the key to creating long term value. Jeremy joins us today to share the secrets he’s learned from the world of deals about why investing your time in people can help you achieve more than you ever thought possible. Jeremy explains that while hardly anybody is willing to invest their time in something that does not present an immediate benefit, the fact remains that the more you help others, the more they will want to help you later. What’s more, relational encounters are far more fulfilling than transactional ones. Jeremy shares some tips for how to build meaningful relationships with your team, stressing the value of private, candid conversations. Regarding external relationships with his firm’s clients, having a ‘how can I help attitude’ has proven to pay back its weight in gold, long term. We also get into the idea of goodwill impairments today – situations where an angry outburst can destroy trust built up over years; we talk about how to avoid having these, and the idea that if you take bad news professionally today, you might be able to turn it into the good news you were hoping for in future. For all you need to know about building long term value by investing in relationships, tune in.Key Points From This Episode:Jeremy’s belief that investing in meaningful relationships is key to creating long term value.Private, candid conversations with people as a way of building meaningful relationships.How much a person would appreciate honest feedback about their behavior.Using a ‘how can I help?’ attitude to build meaningful relationships outside of your firm.What it takes to truly invest in a person who can’t immediately help you: A time investment.The delayed, long-term payback that comes from investing in helping others.Examples of goodwill impairments and the work it takes to repair those relationships.How to curb a potential goodwill impairment by taking bad news professionally and scheduling a follow-up.The idea that you’ll often win the same deal later if you take an initial rejection well.Discussing James Carse’s idea that the vitality of a garden does not depend on a harvest.An example of how Jeremy helped an old friend get a job at a top tier firm.The immediate rewards in terms of fulfillment that come with helping others.Riverside Company Alex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
The Power of Resiliency with Kurt Wilkin Part of being in a leadership position is that you cannot take a “woe is me, hide in the closet mentality”; you have to take a “we are going to get through this mentality” or you may ultimately struggle to be successful. The winners in life are not the ones who never get defeated or never fall on their face. It’s how you respond afterward — it’s about resiliency and persistence and bouncing back off of the mat. Today on the show, we welcome Kurt Wilkin, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist of HireBetter, your strategic talent partner. During this episode, Kurt and I talk on the topic of resiliency and why it is something we all need to have the right mindset around. We are in a time where we are facing challenges that we have never seen before and Kurt shares some insightful thoughts on how to maintain a resilient mindset. As an entrepreneur, Kurt has experience growing, scaling, and exiting high-growth companies and now devotes his time to helping business leaders unlock their own success. His responsibilities include strategic client consultation, client satisfaction, recruiting, and practice development. His success as an entrepreneur stems from his ability to build long-term relationships with clients, attract a loyal team of dedicated leaders and associates, and consistently deliver on commitments. Kurt is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas, a Certified Public Accountant, and an active member and officer of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). He is passionate about entrepreneurship, is an active angel investor, and sits on the boards of several companies and nonprofits. Stay tuned for this interesting conversation with one of our leading experts on today’s episode of Branch Out. Key Points From This Episode:Kurt shares his general thoughts on resiliency.How Kurt maintains his resilient mentality while dealing with challenges: Leadership responsibility. What Kurt would recommend to someone who was crushed by COVID-19: Survival.Comfort zone versus growth zone: Growth requires discomfort.Failure is not an option: What does failure really mean?Kurt unpacks one of his most inspiring quotes. The way self-care ties into the concept of resiliency.Taking time for self-care will influence your productivity and effectiveness.Kurt shares his number one thing to do in order to remain resilient: Connecting with others.Kurt Wilkin LinkedInHireBetterAlex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
The Art of Managing Up, Down, and Sideways with Michelle AcciavattiIt doesn’t matter where you are in the corporate hierarchy. Nearly all jobs require working with people and managing up, down, or sideways. Today we speak with Willis Towers Watson market leader Michelle Acciavatti about the art of managing. Starting at the entry-level, Michelle gives tips on managing up and impressing the bosses by creating ‘presentation-ready’ work. A recurring theme throughout our conversation, Michelle emphasizes the importance of developing an empathetic viewpoint, thinking one step ahead, and trying to understand other perspectives. Linking to his and on the subject of dealing with unreasonable bosses, Michelle advises that listeners operate the framework that 99.9% of people are rational people. Empathy can help you understand their position. We then dive into managing down and why developing your team can free you up to do more tasks. We talk about the false conception that people need managing, when really, your role is to manage tasks, problems, and deliverables. Another key theme, Michelle discusses why teams need trust and honesty before sharing how you can develop this within your team. Finally, we tackle how to manage sideways, with Michelle highlighting the need to build strong relationships. As you move up, Michelle explains, having a strong team that can give you honest feedback is critical to your success. Tune in to hear more about the art of managing — these lessons will benefit you wherever you are in your career. Key Points From This Episode:The three vantage points to consider when managing up. Generating ‘presentation-ready’ work from an empathetic viewpoint.How to manage up when your boss seems like an unreasonable person. Finding common ground and operating from the framework that 99.9% of people are rational.Common challenges faced when managing down and why no one works for you.Developing the people below you instead of managing them.          Why trust and honesty are key in developing your team. How to build trust and honesty within the team that you’re working with.How not letting the ‘perfect’ get in the way of the ‘good’ can give you time to nurture your connections. Why building relationships is the most important aspect of your career. The importance of developing an honest team when you reach upper-management levels. Seeking out people with different perspectives and skillsets. Michelle Acciavatti LinkedInAlex Drost LinkedInConnection Builders LinkedInHave thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. growth@connection.builders
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