Ron Carucci: Preparing for Leadership | E39

#39: Preparing for Leadership with Ron Carucci

The next generation of leaders are rising to power! In #39, Hala yaps with Ron Carucci, founder and managing partner of consulting firm, Navalen. Ron has an impressive thirty years of experience helping executives tackle challenges relating to strategy, organization, and leadership. He has worked with start-ups to fortune 10 companies in over 30 countries. He’s also the author of “Rising to Power,” and his work has been featured in HBR, Business week, Fortune among other publications. In this episode, you’ll get a guidance on how to navigate a new leadership role by learning ways to avoid failure, how to improve self-perception to better manage weaknesses and why we should avoid binary decision making at all costs. Get marketing services like logos, whiteboard videos, animation and web development on Fivver: Learn new marketing skills like graphic design and video editing on Fivver Learn:…rand=fiverrlearn

#39: Preparing for Leadership with Ron Carucci

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[00:01:21] You're listening to Young And Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit.

[00:01:28] I'm your host Hala Taha, and today we're speaking with Ron Carucci co-founder and managing partner of consulting firm Navalen. Ron has an impressive 30 years of experience helping executives tackle challenges. Related to strategy, organization and leadership. He's worked with startups to fortune 10 companies in over 30 countries.

[00:01:49] He's also the author of Rising to Power and his work has been featured in HBR Business week and Fortune among other publications. In this episode, you'll find out why some leaders [00:02:00] fail while others succeed, how to improve our self perception, better manage our weaknesses and why we should avoid binary decision making at all costs.

[00:02:10] Hey Ron, thanks for joining Young And Profiting Podcast. It's great to have you on the show.

[00:02:13] Ron Carucci: Hey, Hala great to meet you. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:15] Hala Taha: Ron, I see that you are currently the co-founder and managing partner at Navalen, helping CEOs and executives pursue transformational change for their organizations and industries.

[00:02:25] How did you end up becoming interested in organizational change and how did you make your way to become an expert in this field? Could you just share a bit about your career path with us?

[00:02:37] Ron Carucci: I've always been fascinated even as a little kid. The organizing of human endeavor. If there was a fundraiser at school, if that was a neighborhood stickball game, if there was a block party, I want it to be the one organizing it.

[00:02:48] I loved the idea that people could come together and contribute things to a larger effort and produce something they couldn't produce on their own. That's always been fascinating. I began my career in the arts. [00:03:00] So in a field far away from the one I'm in right now, and I was in Europe, in the eighties working with a company that we had a contract with the military and state department to do work with a variety of departments in both state department and all branches of the military.

[00:03:15] And back then they didn't have the term diversity and inclusion, but had they had the term that's what this workshop would have been on. It would, it was on how to do a differences. And we were using a variety of arts and medium to bring about a conversation between military civilians, Germans, Americans.

[00:03:29] And of course the symbolism of being at our CAO of all places, the chapel was not lost on anybody. And in the middle of that conversation, a young soldier, not much older than me stood up and talked about how tired he wasn't being trained to hate. And my first thought was, wow, I can't believe something I did up here on the platform, made him think that, but then I wanted to know more.

[00:03:51] I wanted to understand what was he going to do about that? So even after we processed as a group for a few minutes, his views and other people weighed in about [00:04:00] whether they agreed or not, we went out for beers afterwards, cause you have Munich and you go out for beers. And I think that was at the beginning of a turning point for me, Hala I don't know that I could have named it at the time, but telling great stories.

[00:04:10] From the stage was an interesting thing to do, but engaging other people in their stories, that was really fascinating for me. And I learned early on that I bore easily and that was never going to be boring for me every day was a new story. And so I think that's where I began to move into organizational behavior and the field of industrial psychology and began to make my shift toward doing work.

[00:04:31] That helped bring about change.

[00:04:32] Hala Taha: Very cool. And so you said you started out as an art major. Did you learn everything about organizational change totally on the job, or did you have any formal, training and education? In regards to that?

[00:04:46] Ron Carucci: I went back to, I got my master's in organizational behavior and got training and took some entry-level jobs.

[00:04:50] I was able to, build on my experience in the arts and the performing arts. So I was able to make the shift in my platform, work more natural cause. I'd done training work and I'd done other [00:05:00] entry-level OD work before continuing on my career to purely into the OD space. The transition looks far more elegant.

[00:05:07] But it actually felt like when I was doing it.

[00:05:11] Hala Taha: And so how did you get the idea to start your own consulting firm?

[00:05:14] Ron Carucci: So I think that idea found me, I realized early on, I spent much of the early parts of my OD career inside big companies. And what I learned was politically it's very difficult to tell the truth and part of being a great OD practitioner means you have to be honest about what's happening.

[00:05:30] So I realized that what got me to some political trouble inside companies actually got me paid for. Outside the company, because as a consultant, you are expected to be a broker the truth. So I realized, if I was going to live out my passion for organizations, it was going to have to be by not being part of one.

[00:05:45] And so I joined a large consulting firms in your city and had a wonderful run there for eight years, but that firm got sold to a much bigger firm. And then when that happened, now you're part of a massive organization and it's about revenues and it wasn't about the craft anymore. So if you have friends and [00:06:00] I said, we love this work too much to just, to make money for the firm.

[00:06:04] We can go do this on our own. So really what launched our firm was our desire to work together as colleagues and friends, and to do great work for our clients. The goal wasn't actually to go start a firm. So when we started our practice together, when it meant was if we're wanting to do large projects, we need help.

[00:06:21] And so we had to hire people. So the idea of growing a firm was we backed into it by our goals for wanting other things in our life.

[00:06:29] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so a lot of my listeners are at this stage where they're an employee and they're considering becoming an entrepreneur. What were your major challenges when you decided to start your own business?

[00:06:42] And was there anything unexpected that you came across?

[00:06:46] Ron Carucci: It was all unexpected. I don't know that I ever set out to be entrepreneur. And it's funny when I think about the journey was certainly an entrepreneurial one, but whenever I hear folks thinking about, their frustrations and being a big company or [00:07:00] being in a cubicle farm, or I don't want to work for the man anymore.

[00:07:03] And they think the answer to that is go start my own business. I'm always really thoughtful about that. And you have to really understand the psychological and emotional challenges, of what it means to go start your own business and go by distance. Having a great idea. Doesn't make you an entrepreneur, having a great personality.

[00:07:20] Doesn't make you an entrepreneur, having the ability to sell things. Does it make you an entrepreneur? And so I tell people all the time, try a side gig, try a side hustle experiment, because just the idea of marketing. We started our firm 15 years ago, the idea of leadership and organizational work was a side dish that were not that many specialized firms working in it.

[00:07:39] It was a unique niche. We would, one of the best at it. 15 years later, everybody and their mother is a coach. Everybody, their uncle and their cousin is doing leadership and organizational work. They use the same language. They have the same website pictures. They have the same blog posts. There's literally tens of thousands of practitioners.

[00:07:57] Now more than there was then, which [00:08:00] means if we want to get picked, if we want to be in the decision path of a good client of somebody, we really want to work with, we have to find some way to set ourselves apart from all that noise. And we never saw that coming. We never anticipated that 10 years into our 15 year story.

[00:08:13] Now that became a major requirement and was an entirely new set of muscles. None of us had ever built before. And none of us wanted to. When you're thinking about going out and starting your own business, start with the acceptance of the fact. You may think that your idea is the most unique, brilliant thing in the world.

[00:08:28] And when entrepreneurs fall in love with their own ideas, that's the kiss of death. You have to know that there are already. The zillions of other choices for whatever is you think you're going to do. And if you're not so clear strategically on what you can do differently, what you can do better and be honest about that and what it's going to take to carve yourself a space in an already cluttered space or your first job exciting.

[00:08:51] Cause you'll set up your website and you'll put your business cards and you'll do networking meetings and you'll call yourself whatever you are, but you won't be getting paid for it. If you want people to pay you money for [00:09:00] this thing, you think you want to do, you need to really do your whole. Really recognize that you're in for a multi-year journey to get to the place where you really actually getting paid to do it and loving it.

[00:09:11] And I think a lot of people, especially in your peer set, Hala are just not clear on what that's going to be. They say, oh, I could do it, but I don't know that they're really prepared for it. That journey isn't require.

[00:09:20] Hala Taha: Yeah, I think you bring out a good point that you're marketing and positioning like really has to be super clear and on point and professional, and you need to stand out and your value proposition needs to resonate with the people that you're trying to target.

[00:09:33] So I think you bring out a lot of great points there. Something very fascinating I found about you is that, you've worked in over 30 countries. So that's a very diverse, that means you're probably very familiar with culturally how different countries work when it comes to business. So is there any insight you want to share to specific countries and how they operate when it comes to business?

[00:09:56] Ron Carucci: I think just going in and accepting that there are different cultural nuances and [00:10:00] expectations and law. If you have a desire to do business overseas, if you're going to have a website, just the fact that Europeans require you to say certain things about your website, that Americans don't yet, but we will, you have to know that there are going to be people scrutinizing your website differently in China than they are in other parts of Asia versus the middle east versus Europe.

[00:10:19] So I think recognizing that there are implications assuming that your consumer or your target customer is the same in those countries, that you're solving the same problem. So recognizing that what you think you're selling and what they're actually buying may be very different. How people treat hierarchy or honesty, or the idea of how people consume content or whether or not it's even okay to consume certain content and certain cultural context.

[00:10:44] How people treat women, how people treat younger people or older people. There are so many different cultural nuances that change how people will metabolize you, that if you don't know what those are, you're going to make a huge mistake. Early on. I was in Israel and I was told that I would [00:11:00] have to choose between working with Palestinian clients or Israeli clients, but I would never be able to work with both.

[00:11:05] And I was defined, and this is back in the eighties, this no conflict, but it's not like it is today. And I was in a Palestinian school in the west bank during the program were being paid for it. The school was very excited to have us there and I just used the word Israel and it was early on as I was introducing ourselves for an hour and a half workshop.

[00:11:26] The minute I said the word. You could tell the whole room shut down. And for the next hour and a half, it was torture trying to get people to participate in this workshop. I had no idea what I had done. I had no idea what, I had done, but a fact that I used a word that they not only do that relates to, did not consider their country to be, but I had offended them.

[00:11:46] And I hadn't even known that. If you want to do business outside the borders of your own country, do your homework.

[00:11:52] Hala Taha: Yeah. That's very touching. I'm actually Palestinian. So it's so funny that you're bringing this up, but yeah, I just think that [00:12:00] certain topics are just so sensitive and like you said, you need to do your homework and really be well versed before you go ahead and try to conduct business somewhere else.

[00:12:08] Where do you think people should start? Is it just researching online? Is there anything specific that you recommend.

[00:12:13] Ron Carucci: Study the country. What I get in your home country Hala, that was it stupid mistake. And what was so sad to me was this was a group of people at a school, who really needed what we had to offer and who really wanted us there.

[00:12:23] And we could have been very helpful too. Had I just been more educated and more informed and frankly, I was an African-American. I just assumed no, I could work with both. And it was just one word, that was before the internet was even a thing. Today, there's plenty of information available to you about the country, the laws, the culture, the people you're trying to serve, what they're trying to solve for.

[00:12:43] But I think that the problem is with Americans are arrogant. We universalize ourselves. We think we are we're the standard. So we assume that problems are challenges or opportunities we have in what everybody wants. And that's just dumb. And don't be arrogant about where you're starting from.

[00:12:57] Assume you don't know. [00:13:00] Because you probably don't and start from a place of, all I know is far from all the SNL and assume you need six months of education, go visit the country. Spend time there as a tourist, spending time talking to people in coffee shops off the beaten path. Just go be in the environment and meet the people you believe you can serve before you ever tried.

[00:13:19] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's wonderful advice. So you're also the author of eight book. That's pretty amazing. What motivated you to become a writer?

[00:13:29] Ron Carucci: I like my entrepreneurial story. I don't know that I started out to be a writer. I'm certainly not an author. Yeah. So people asked me, are you an author? I'm like, no, I am a writer.

[00:13:39] Writing for me was a way to solve problems. So all my clients would ask me or I'd start to see patterns with people. I was helping have intractable complex problems that, I didn't have an answer to, that they were asking when they were asking more intensely or they had gotten themselves sideways because of, and I didn't quite know how to solve it.

[00:13:55] Writing and researching became a way to go learn more, became my way of [00:14:00] how do I figure this out? How do I go here with other people? By nature. I'm an introvert. So I don't talk to people. So writing is a way to honor my introversion and just go inside and think and talk, I can do interviews and get data, but it's how I learn it's through writing.

[00:14:13] And then when I've learned, I can then go talk about those solutions. Now, writing is a way of marketing right today, any pathway to a client hiring me, goes to the internet, used to be that they talk to you first. And then if they liked you, they get your ideas. It's completely reversed. Now they vet your ideas for us.

[00:14:29] And if they relate to your ideas, I liked them. Then I'll talk to you. So people can't find my ideas if they can't find me and what I think and how I feel and how my experiences with other types of people like them. They're never going to call me. And so now writing is a way to make sure that people understand who I am and how I think and how I think about the problems that are facing and if they can locate their story.

[00:14:50] In my story, I raise the odds of call.

[00:14:53] Hala Taha: That's awesome. Very interesting. So for this interview, I definitely want to spend a good chunk of time on what I think is your [00:15:00] most popular book, Rising to Power. You co-authored that with Eric Hansen, who's also a managing partner at Navalen, and I know that my listeners love to learn about power and influence based on my downloads.

[00:15:12] It's their favorite topics. So can't wait to get into this. So let's just kick this off. Your book is backed up by a 10 year study that you and Eric performed on executive promotions, to assess why some leaders fail and other succeed in the study. You found that more than 50% of leaders fail within their first 18 months of a new position.

[00:15:33] So what are the reasons for that?

[00:15:36] Ron Carucci: Your listeners? I think this isn't just about career pathing of a top. This is about career pathing where you're at today. So if you aspire to take on a position in life. Or in your organization that has broader influence, broader reach, broader visibility. These findings apply.

[00:15:50] If you desire to go start your own business, they definitely apply. But mostly because people start out with assumptions. So even in the selection process, we set people up [00:16:00] to fail. So if you're in a job interview, when people ask you or say things to you, like sound like, wow, look at these great apps you've built at that last assignment.

[00:16:09] That's what we need here. Or, oh my gosh. You've turned around to Salesforce. Is we need that here. If you hear anything that sounds like people asking you to repeat your past successes, you are being set up to fail. Because the mythical implication is you have a mandate and a formula and the mandate is to take your formula and apply it here.

[00:16:30] So we've all seen the movie. I'm sure you've seen it. What happened to the person walks in that he may have this mandate to start doing what they dumb and they start repeating what they've always done. And they start pushing harder to apply their recipe on you and what happens. It doesn't work so that they push harder.

[00:16:45] They slap harder, people get more resistant. Then they go to their hiring manager and say, you didn't tell me it was this bad, or, oh my God, your people are dumber than I thought. And so now your diagnosis becomes indigent. And you have completely skipped over the most [00:17:00] important parts of what it means to begin in a new role or assignment, which is don't hit the ground running, hit the ground learning, and you've skipped the whole point of context of learning the context and accepting the fact that it has as much to change in you, as you believe you've been told to change in it.

[00:17:18] And if you skip that part, then what happens is within a year, we've all heard the classical. It wasn't a good fit.

[00:17:25] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's so interesting. And if I remember correctly, 67% of executives struggle to let go of work from their previous roles. So how does that play into failing.

[00:17:35] Ron Carucci: The class? That's like micromanage, right?

[00:17:37] So what are the things that happens when you elevate to a higher altitude in a rotation? Is your timelines change? The things you're responsible for are now measured in months and years, instead of weeks and months, the ambiguity and uncertainty that comes with decisions you make or outcomes you're controlling is uncomfortable.

[00:17:52] The role you came from was in the middle of the renovation or the bottom of the renovation is much more about today's results, tomorrow's results, and you [00:18:00] became really good at that. It's what you got reinforced for. It's what you got applauded for. It's what set yourself apart. It's probably what got you the promotion in the first place.

[00:18:07] So now you're in this uncomfortable spot of feeling uncertain feeling like an imposter. And one of the classic things we hear newly promoted leaders say is I feel like a fraud, I'm going to get found out. And so you naturally reach back for the things you're already good at. You reached back for the things you have accomplished before and you take with you the things you're good at under the justification of they're not really ready to take it on.

[00:18:29] So I'm just going to keep doing it until I think they're ready. The reality is they're never going to be as good as you at, right? Because you did it for much longer. You have to let go of what used to be good at, in order to get good at the things you're now responsible for. And if you never let go, we able to a micromanager and a control freak, and all these other labels that get put on people who are still doing the job they left.

[00:18:47] And you're never going to learn the job.

[00:18:49] Hala Taha: So in your book, you call this having an anthropologist mindset. Can you talk about that a little bit?

[00:18:54] Ron Carucci: Yes. What are the things I love about anthropology is you enter a space as a completely. Everything is data. [00:19:00] And the problem is when you come in from outside the organization, you really are alien, right?

[00:19:03] It was a foreign line. But when you come up in the organization, the problem is you already know a lot about the organization. You already have biases about the culture. You have biases about the people you're working with. If you got promoted in your own department, now it's more complicated by the fact that your bosses are now your peers.

[00:19:18] Pearson or your director ports. And so everything you know about them could be flawed. And so letting go of what you think, in order to learn becomes even harder, but you've got to start out with a notion of what does this all mean? How did it get to be this way? And even though you may think you have deep insights about what's happening and some of those insights may be correct.

[00:19:39] You should start with the assumption of this is all. And if I'd never seen it before, what questions would I ask? What would I want to know more of? How would I go about learning? How can I get reacquainted with people who I think I know, but now I now have a different relationship with, and really studied the environment as if it were a brand new world.

[00:19:58] Because you won't know how your [00:20:00] biases are getting in the way, unless you first discover what they are.

[00:20:03] Hala Taha: Yeah. Sounds very, practical and relatable, honestly, because I'm sure many of us are getting promoted and need to understand how to navigate the landscape. Once we do something else that really fascinated me in your book was this concept of summit shock or altitude sickness.

[00:20:21] And you relate this type of analogy illustrates how executives experience debilitating and disorienting. Items similar to when we climb high altitudes without giving our bodies proper time to adjust to lower levels of oxygen. So can you help us understand this concept of summit shock more and explain how idealization and cognitive dissonance play into all.

[00:20:43] Ron Carucci: Yeah, sure. If you've ever hiked up a mountain and suddenly you're getting nauseous, you're dizzy, you're struggling to breathe because the air has changed and your lungs are having to adapt. And great mountain climbers will climb up. They'll climatize the climb back down, spend more time there, climb up a little higher and they elegantly try and adjust to [00:21:00] help their bodies and their minds adapt.

[00:21:02] The same as 200 organization. When you get to the top of an organization, politics are different. As I said before, what they're measuring is different relationships are different. How you're expected to talk is different. Suddenly. Now people are concocting you, right? So now you're more visible.

[00:21:19] So your life now plays out on the jumbotron, right? People are making up versions of you. People are attributing words to you. You ever said you have to behave as if you have a Bullhorn staff. Do you have 24/7. And most leaders shopping and they want to be authentic. They want to just be themselves. I think I just want to be me and I have to coach my clients to realize well, yeah, but there's more than one.

[00:21:40] There's a lot of you. And if you're leading people who are further away from you or they're virtually in a different country, you're concocted, you're a version of yourself. And if you don't learn to control the narrative of how people metabolize you, they're going to make things up. You don't want him to understand.

[00:21:54] So yes, you have to be authentic and you have to be you, but you have to recognize that who you are [00:22:00] to the people you're leading, and guiding or responsible to when they're not directly in your presence 24 7 is different than it used to be. And many leaders just struggled to accept that.

[00:22:09] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love this topic.

[00:22:11] I love the topic of distortions and altered perceptions of people. So let's talk about this more. Once we take an elevated position in our companies, you mentioned a lot of distortions in your book, like larger than life, the megaphone effect, sifted data and aliens next door. Could you walk through some of these and explain it to our listeners?

[00:22:30] I think it's so fascinating.

[00:22:32] Ron Carucci: So the larger than life is the jumbotron issue, right? You give a speech on a video. And now, instead of talking to 30 people, you're talking to 300 people instead of talking to a hundred people, you're talking to a thousand people, the amount of biases and perceptions of issues of power.

[00:22:46] And she said, leadership is just a culture that you are now getting filtered. Is endless. And while you cannot control all those narratives, you cannot assume that what's in your head is being matched by their interpretation next book. So your

[00:23:00] requirement to lead out loud more to say things like what I want you to hear is this.

[00:23:04] I don't want you to misunderstand this. What I hope you'll hear is the reset I'm asking for your trust is this. If you took the job from a boss who they loved, If you took it to the job over from a boss, they hate it. You're now hated more, right? So there's a history. This story you step into, didn't start.

[00:23:21] And you've got to appreciate the biases and beliefs that were shaped by the story before you and speak to those honestly. You have to let people see who you are and know who you are in an inappropriate way. Obviously they have to be boundaries. You have to recognize that people will want to carry favor with you.

[00:23:38] People who used to go out for. Who are now two levels below. You are going to come up to you and say, Hey, how's it going? And they're going to want the inside scoop and they're going to want a special favors. And they're going to assume that we're still buddy, buddy. And, but now you have all this power, so you're going to help me out.

[00:23:52] And you have to set those boundaries and say, actually, no, I'm not. Or we used to be peers. Now I'm your boss. How's this going to go? I used to go [00:24:00] out for beers with you now. I can't. But now the flip side of that is you're going to be lonely. You're going to see everybody going out for beer. That you used to go with and you can't and how do you deal with that loneliness?

[00:24:10] How do you deal with that? We are different now and you can't give into the notion of, Hey, I'll go out with them and I'll be one of the gangs so they can see I'm still me. That's a bad idea. It's a two-way street of adjustment, right? They have to adjust to a new role of you. You have to accept the limitations of who you are now in this role.

[00:24:26] And that's really hard work.

[00:24:28] Hala Taha: Yeah, it does sound like a lot of hard work. So do we have to have like better self-perception and better understand our own weaknesses so we can manage them better?

[00:24:37] Ron Carucci: We do. We have to understand who we are. We have to assume as a leader, we're all better observers of our own reality, right?

[00:24:44] We don't have the luxury of being to see how we operate and how we're experienced. So if you don't have a source of reliable feedback of somebody, who's got your back. Who's got eyes on you, who can tell you in meetings when you're being misunderstood, when you is coming across like a jerk, when you're too passive, when you're too assertive, [00:25:00] when you're not listening enough, if you don't have somebody who's regularly helping you calibrate how your intentions and your impact are matching or not, you will dangerously widen that gap.

[00:25:11] And. It's obviously even more likely to happen at a higher altitude when there's more opportunity to be misjudged. And so you've got to have a source of feedback. You've got to have a source of calibration for people to be able to tell you this is working, this not.

[00:25:25] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so I know in your book, you mentioned the importance of detecting patterns to clear up any organizational distortions.

[00:25:32] Can you talk about this a little bit? Like why are patterns so important and how can a leader start to understand the patterns that are going on so they can clean them up?

[00:25:41] Ron Carucci: So there's economic patterns or cultural patterns. There are communication patterns, but let's do culture as example. So you may not realize that your culture is a very collusive one.

[00:25:51] That it's a culture of secrecy and it's a culture that doesn't value openness yet, or it's too afraid of candor, but at a certain altitude, you're just part of the [00:26:00] landscape. But now when you're in a leadership role and people are bringing you a distorted information or they're couching what they say, or they're not giving you the full scoop and you know it, or they're coming to you and saying, Hey, Hala, I don't know if you've noticed, but Bill seems to be in a bad mood today.

[00:26:14] Can you give me some coaching on how to work with Bill. Hoping that what you'll say is, oh yeah, it builds a jerk or I'll talk to them or, oh, I know Bill is so moody what you used to do. Now, suddenly you're seeing a pattern of, wow, we are not honest with each other and people aren't being honest with me now, suddenly the cultural pattern that you were once part of and participated in is now a problem for you as a leader.

[00:26:36] How do you become counter-cultural enough to get people to be more respectful and honest with you? And so now you have to decide, do I take the bait about Bill or do I say, that's inappropriate. Why don't you go talk to Bill about that? If you have a problem with Bill, why are you talking to me for, and maybe Bill has something going on at home.

[00:26:56] That's he's having a bad day. You have bad days. Why don't you give him a break? Now [00:27:00] you have a choice to say something honest, to help somebody be more successful, but that's counter. And risk having to say Jay, what are you, what made you such a jerk? Or, sorry, I asked, and to be immature about it, but that's what leaders do, right?

[00:27:13] Yeah. Leadership is the ability to disappoint people at a rate they can absorb. And the moment when someone's trying to invite you into an unhealthy pattern, you have to disappoint them.

[00:27:21] Hala Taha: This reminded me of another part in your book that I really resonated with, which was the fact that, nothing is more dangerous than pushing decisions up in an organization.

[00:27:30] I found out to be like extremely relatable and valuable. So can you share why pushing decisions up as detrimental to business and what a good decision-making framework looks like?

[00:27:40] Ron Carucci: So every decision comes with risk comes with accountability that comes with. And if you have a culture that's micromanagers, if you have a culture that doesn't value, empowerment, that decision rights have not been distributed to the places where they must belong, because a great decision is best made closest to the place that's most implemented.

[00:27:57] The further away from a place of impact, a [00:28:00] decision is made, the more unreliable it's going to be, but we think, I'm casting off risk. When I push it up to the people who I perceive have more authority, more power, and therefore are more protected from risk. I think I'm often. Of course that's not true.

[00:28:14] I still have to live with the implications of a decision because when it comes back down, it may be a bad one. And now I have to implement a bad decision. So the place to construct a great decision is for you to understand, what is the right amount of my intuition and experience, what is the right amount of data and where should I get the data from?

[00:28:31] And what's the right amount of other people's voices and especially disagreeing voices. That I need to include this decision. So then I get to an outcome we all can live with. Most people get stuck into dangerous binaries. We can either do this or this. And the minute you hear the menu of choices reduced to two, you can automatically assume you're going to make a bad decision because there is no problem in the world.

[00:28:54] There's no issue that you'll be solving for which there are only two options. And so if you're [00:29:00] only going to explore two, you should assume that some of the better ones got edited. And so what you want to do is open up the menu and ask your team what else could we do? Who disagrees with this?

[00:29:09] Okay. That's what your a fact-based says who's got dueling fact basis. And really open up the conversation to make sure that the right data. That you wouldn't normally have access to the right intuition, based on your experiences with the same issue and the right other voices who are going to have to live with the decision when it's made. Whether they agree with it or not have been included in the choice so that when you make the choice, you can move forward.

[00:29:32] And if you abdicate all that and push the decision up, you really impair commitment. To that decision, you impair the ability to learn, about why it might be flawed and you raise the risk that it's not going to go well, when you try and bring to life.

[00:29:46] Hala Taha: Yeah, I think that's fantastic advice. Do you have a real life example of when, you were in a situation and they were using just binary choices and that you helped them think bigger than that and found a better solution.

[00:29:59] Ron Carucci: Oh, so you see this [00:30:00] now today because our whole world is so polarized. Everything becomes politicized. So binary ism is. It's we there it's second amendment or gun control, border control or immigration. We're so predisposed to trigger happy binaries that we've come conditioned to see the world that way.

[00:30:14] And because so many of our debates play out on social media, we just have sequential posting, right? My conversations are I post the new posts. I'm not listening. So I was with a client once who was deciding whether or not to launch a new product that was in their pipeline. And the debate became down to launch or not launch.

[00:30:33] And so you had people advocating for their point of view? The reality was there was a need in the market for the product and there were flaws in the design, right? None of that was being discussed. It was just people whose bonuses were being padded by the idea of launching it. We're advocating to launch it to people who would have to live with the risks of cleaning up the mess when it got launched, we're advocating to not launch it.

[00:30:52] So nobody was stepping back and asking you the question. Do our customers want this and what need are we meeting and how can we best meet that need? So [00:31:00] I hold them out to say, let's discuss the benefits and flaws in the product. Let's discuss the need in the marketplace and what's going to happen. If somebody else launches a solution instead of us.

[00:31:09] And let's discuss the real issue here, which is we're trying to compete as a business and win, not cover our asses with watching versus. So once we dug up, the real issue being discussed was what's in it for me instead of how do we serve our clients and compete? We couldn't change the conversation.

[00:31:26] Hala Taha: Got it. Thank you for sharing that. So back to power, I know that there's three different types of power, positional power, relational power, and informational power. Could you unpack this for our listeners?

[00:31:40] Ron Carucci: Sure. And by the way, if one of my TED talks is on this very topic. So if people want to learn more.

[00:31:44] I can share here. They can go watch my TED talk on being powerful.

[00:31:47] Hala Taha: Awesome. I'll link that in our show notes.

[00:31:49] Ron Carucci: Partly why I say that Hala, how it is because we often associate power with positions, right? With if you have a big job, you have more power. We all have sources of power available to us.

[00:31:57] We all have relationships. We all [00:32:00] have sources of information and data. We all have something in our role that makes us influential by our position. But part of the reason we wanted to study power was we all have seen it abused. We all know what happens when people corrupt power, use it for self-interest use it for immoral gain and hurt a lot of people when they do it.

[00:32:18] So we assumed, yeah, that's what we're going to find. And that certainly was there. It was not the greatest abusive power. The greatest abuse of power we saw in leadership was the abandonment of it. People are too afraid to use the power that comes with their role and setting it aside in exchange for carrying favor, buying popularity, buddying up, doling out way too many yeses to please people because they didn't want to say no.

[00:32:42] And we labeled that abuse of power as, oh, he has no backbone or she's just in such your, and do we out with this it's every bit as destructive as selfish interest. Because you're confusing an organization you're diluting its resources, you're blurring its focus and you're institutionalizing [00:33:00] mediocrity. When you won't use the power that comes with your position.

[00:33:03] And so the beautiful part about having power is that somewhere in your sphere of influence is something that's unjust. There's a process that's unfair, there's a practice that's unfair. And with your position comes to the Buddhist or write that justice. You have information, you can change people's minds. You have the ability to help people see the world differently.

[00:33:21] With information, you have the ability to change distorted, narrow perspectives with your information and the kindness of your relationships. You have the ability to invest in people. You have the ability to help others succeed. You have the ability to help people discover versions of themselves.

[00:33:33] They hadn't thought of because of what in them. So our relationships and our information and our positions allow us to change the world for the people around us in ways. Not using those sources of power don't and we all want to have intact. We all want to feel a sense of purpose. We all want to feel like we matter.

[00:33:50] And it's your sources of power that allow you to have impact that allow you to make a difference around you. And so for goodness sake, use them.

[00:33:57] Hala Taha: Yeah. So what's relational [00:34:00] power. Like how has positional power or relational power and informational power different? Did you cover all three specifically?

[00:34:06] Ron Carucci: Yeah. So if I asked you in your organization who are the 10 people and any direction from you, bosses, peers, reports that you most rely on to get your job done. And who are the 10 that most rely on you. Those 20 people are people. You have power. You can influence with, they are trying to be successful in their roles and you can help them be successful.

[00:34:27] You have to find out how you can be more committed to them. I have one guy in my study. What are the most influential leaders in, I've ever met, but has been asking the same three questions, his whole career, even when he was introverted, he'd asked people, how can I be a better colleague to you? He'd ask, what are you working on?

[00:34:44] That's really important to you. What products are you working on or what assignments you're working on that are super important to you? And then he'd ask how come. What can I do to help you with that? And the amount of power in those three questions, your information power, the ideas you'll offer your [00:35:00] relationship.

[00:35:00] Power is the investment you'll make in your position of power may be the resources you'll help them gain or the connections you help them make, or the priorities you help them. Yeah. So just those three simple questions demonstrate, tremendous commitment and power to have impact.

[00:35:15] Hala Taha: That's awesome. So these days I know that CEO's are younger than ever less experienced than ever.

[00:35:22] What are the positive and negative implications of this that we should consider?

[00:35:27] Ron Carucci: Just, if you're going to rise to positions of power sooner in your career, then you're prepared for it. Just know you're not ready. And don't assume that you're entitled to the role. So many people, and this is, people characterize millennials this way.

[00:35:37] I'm not sure it's all true. But millennials were a generation, they were raised being told they could change the world and they believed us. So now we have to get out of their way and help them do it. But it doesn't mean they're ready to, so how do we help them get ready? And they have to start with the assumption of I'm not prepared.

[00:35:52] I don't have the emotional intelligence. I don't have the resilience. I don't have the experience-based. I don't have the knowledge base. So therefore, if I'm going to [00:36:00] start into a position where there are tremendous gaps and whether or not I can succeed, what am I going to do about that? It's okay. That those gaps are there.

[00:36:06] It doesn't mean you're flawed, but for goodness sake, if you try and hide those gaps and keep people from seeing them you're for certain gonna set yourself up to fail. So who could you surround yourself with? What coaching can you get? Where can you train? What experiences do you need for goodness sake, get a therapist.

[00:36:23] You should absolutely be in therapy. Every executive should be in therapy as an absolute requirement, because if you don't know your origin stories, you're definitely going to pass this pathologist on to people. You are not going to know your triggers. You're not going to know your reaction. And if you're moodie in the middle, you're going to cast a dark color of a top.

[00:36:40] If you're quote unquote results oriented in the middle, you're going to leave a wake of bodies behind you at the top. If you have quote unquote impatience problems, you're going to have rage problems. Those pathologies are going to get bigger with more influence. And so if you don't know your origin stories and how they have shaped who you are and how you see the world, you gonna hurt people. [00:37:00] So get help.

[00:37:01] It's perfectly okay. That you're arriving into a role in advance of when you might be fully ready for it. But if you don't take responsibility for those gaps, you're going to hurt people and you're going to burn your career.

[00:37:11] Hala Taha: Yeah. Absolutely fantastic advice. You recently were on my friend, Jordan Paris, his podcasts growth mindset university.

[00:37:21] And you mentioned that you believe that a lot of leaders currently lack strategic clarity. What is the importance of strategic clarity and how can we become better at that?

[00:37:31] Ron Carucci: So I just recently think put it at 15 year longitudinal study. So a follow up study to our 10 year study that you mentioned before on organization.

[00:37:40] And what predicts whether or not people will lie with withhold the truth and organizations and the absence of CG clarity, absence of knowing who you are. It makes it three times more likely that people will lie with all the truth in your organization. What's the first thing people want to do when they start a company, do their mission and values, dumb idea.

[00:37:56] But we all have companies that have billboards or posters that [00:38:00] talk about here's. Our mission is our purpose because our values and all people do is roll their eyes. Why? Because we're not living them. And we all know we're not living well. The minute you create duplicity like that, where you say one thing and do another you've now said it's okay in general to say one thing and do another.

[00:38:16] So now you've institutionalized duplicity. So if you don't really know who you are, you're going to make up as you go. And so if you go around your table of your company and you say, what's our strategy, you already know you can get as many different assets as there are people in the room. The fact that there are that many different answers to who you are and where you're headed means the resources are being diluted.

[00:38:35] People are lying and making things up to justify their jobs and their budgets. People are afraid of the truth. And you just create this fragmentation of an organization by simply not being who you say you are. So the first thing to know is knowing who you say you are, and then actually embodying who you say you are.

[00:38:53] And so that's what I mean by strategic clarity. And when you haven't got that, you are setting the stage for disaster.

[00:39:00] Hala Taha: Awesome. Thank you so much, Ron. This was such a great interview. Where can our listeners go to find out more about you and everything?

[00:39:07] Ron Carucci: Thanks so much, Hala. It's been a lot of fun. Yeah. So come visit us at hangout at Navalen,

[00:39:13] We've got some great videos and resources. If you are leading some major change or transformation in your life or somebody else's, we have a free ebook for you called Leading Transformation, and that's at We have a quarterly magazine, you can set up a, for free that has all kinds of things about self development, leadership, and teams.

[00:39:31] We're doing a whole series on teams right now. We have a phenomenal rich blog that has all kinds of insights and content by all of our writers. So it's a phenomenal content, rich environment to come hang out with us on. So come visit.

[00:39:42] Hala Taha: Great. Thanks so much, Ron. It was a pleasure to have you on the show.

[00:39:45] Ron Carucci: Hala my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

[00:39:48] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to write us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Follow YAP on Instagram @youngandprofiting and check us out at [00:40:00] and you can chat. Live with us every single day. OnYAP Society on Slack.

[00:40:05] Check out our show notes are for the registration link, you can find me on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name Hala Taha. Big, thanks to the YAP team for another successful episode. This episode, I'd like to give a special shout out to all of our listeners.

[00:40:21] It's so cool to hear from so many of you who are enjoying the show, whether it be an iTunes reviews, SoundCloud, or YouTube comments, social media posts, or private LinkedIn direct messages, it makes all this work so rewarding and gives our team the motivation. To keep going strong. Thank you for spreading the word about YAP and taking the time to give us feedback.

[00:40:43] We appreciate it so much. This is Hala signing off.

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