• Summary

  • We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.
    Copyright © 2016-2022 Rafti Advisors, LLC & Self Reliant Leadership, LLC - All Rights Reserved.
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Episodes
  • May 18 2022
    Joe Schurman teaches from his deep experience in the software, machine learning, AI, and processes that organizations need today as they transition to data-driven technology companies. He names some of the cloud services and tech tools he uses to lead clients to start with a user case, break it into stories,  build a team led by the solution owner, assign the stories to developers to build, and iterate product demos until the Minimum Loved Project (MLP) is achieved. Joe offers observations on investing the “right” amount of time in projects, and wisdom on developing a learner mindset.   Key Takeaways [2:06] Joe Schurman is a 2nd-degree black belt in Kung Fu. He once judged a competition in Las Vegas. He has four children; two daughters and two sons. [2:57] Joe is an expert on the fringes of what we can do with computing technology. What we can do changes every day. In the past couple of years, from an AI perspective, with data and automation, it’s taken leaps and bounds. [4:30] We’re still pretty far away from general AI, despite Sophia, an AI robot that was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship in 2017. Today’s AI depends on the programming we give a machine and its interpretation and output. Joe’s focus is narrow or weak AI. His business colleagues call it magic. Computer vision is an area he loves. [5:45] Joe uses a lab environment across Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services. The capabilities that have come up in the last year are “just insane” with what you can do with computer vision and building libraries of what the machine can see. [6:06] Joe loved seeing a computer vision capability demonstration at AWS re:Invent of tracking every NFL player on the field and predicting injuries and other types of output and insights in real-time. The machine used narrow AI to access a library seeded with “a ton” of data to interpret the action. [7:15] What you can do with this technology comes down to the data that you feed the engine. Think about the amounts of data that organizations have to sift through to generate reflective or predictive insights. Auto machine learning helps organize the data into useful information such as anomaly detection in software engineering. The data can also come from tools like GitHub and Jira. [8:25] Joe did a fun computer vision project on UAPs for the History Channel, working with some of the nation’s top military leaders, building a library of video and audio data to be able to detect unidentified aerial phenomena that were not supposed to be entering our airspace, and curating that library. [10:06] AI started with the idea of speeding up processes, such as getting an app to market faster or gathering insights quicker to make business decisions more timely. [11:28] AI can enhance human performance. Joe starts by finding people who know how to fail fast; to get a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) out the door. Solutions such as quality engineering automation, test automation, and monitoring services for DevOps detect bugs and performance issues quickly and ensure that the quality of the team is sound.[12:47] Joe notes the importance of individuals performing, contributing to, and collaborating as a team. Set your organization and standards governance up first. Look for a platform of technology to leverage that enables you to build and tinker. Finding the latest and greatest tool is no good unless it provides the right level of collaboration with their platform and connection to different processes. [14:53] When introducing ML to an organization, start with discovery, to understand the culture and talent within the organization. How are they communicating today? Joe sees the biggest gap between data scientists and data engineers. Projects tend to fail without collaboration, regardless of the tech. If the data scientists don’t understand the domain, then the platform is irrelevant,[17:28] Joe stresses the need for a methodology in place to make any of these aspirations work for your organization. After discovery, there’s an align phase. Focus on the outcome and the use case. The solution owner is crucial. The solution owner leads the technology team and brings them together around the client’s outcome to develop that use case.[18:12] If you can’t take an actual use case and break it down into bite-sized chunks or user stories, then the project will never be on the right track. Start with the use case to mitigate risks. Break the use case into user stories. Match the user stories with the number of engineers that can develop a number of user stories within a given time frame. [18:38] Those user stories given to the engineers are deducted into Story Points, in the Agile Process of engineering software. Price Waterhouse Coopers (PcW) has taken it to the next level, being able to do Engineering as a Service, being able to do it at scale, and being able to pivot quickly.[18:58] Joe explains what can happen if you have a great idea, ...
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    42 mins
  • May 11 2022
    Dr. Amer Kaissi is an award-winning Professor of Healthcare Administration at Trinity University, Speaker, Executive Coach, and author of Humbitious. A good leader often has a healthy balance of low ego and high ambition. If you’re looking to create long-lasting change and longevity in a company, it comes down to balancing the humbitious approach. Amer shares how busy business leaders can experience a sense of profound transcendence, get their ego in check, and practice a bit of humility.   Key Takeaways [2:30] Dr. Amer grew up during the Lebanese civil war and he shares how this profound experience has shaped the way he thinks about leadership today. [6:25] Jim Collins proposed a concept of Level 5 leadership, and this framework shaped a lot of what Dr. Amer’s book, Humbitious, is about. [8:35] In the short term, power and ego are very important. However, long-term leadership effectiveness has the humbitious approach. [11:10] The aggressive leader vs. the passive leader. Neither is a good approach, but every leader must find a balance between the two. [15:00] Dr. Amer shares strategies to work through imposter syndrome. [18:55] Genuine humility can be an indicator of a lack of confidence. These leaders need to have their voices heard. [20:45] Humble leaders might not feel the need to step up for themselves, but if you frame it from the advantage of the team, they will begin to understand why it’s important to speak up. [27:50] Dr. Amer shares the important impact of love in the workplace. [30:30] It was not too long ago that leaders would give advice to management to never show emotions because it was perceived as weak. Dr. Amer admits this is horrible advice. [31:30] Dr. Amer explores the importance of human touch in the workplace. Leaders are often afraid to have it be seen as an HR complaint. [33:30] We overcomplicate certain topics because we’re too afraid to have the conversation. Do you want to touch? Have the conversation. [34:55] Dr. Amer shares what role “transcendence” plays in a leader’s emotional wellbeing. [36:10] When you’re deep in nature, it can almost feel like your own ego is dissolving. [37:15] Arrogance can make you feel like you’re the center of the universe. [39:20] If you want to lead, you have to read. [41:35] Listener challenge: Humility is a strength, not a weakness. It’s a superpower when combined with ambition.   Quotable Quotes “Leaders who combine humility with ambition are those who will leave a long-lasting impact.”“Take some time to think about what you’ve achieved in the last five years. Most people who have imposter thoughts are comparing themselves to an ideal version that’s impossible to achieve.”“As we all know as coaches, a strength that’s overused becomes a weakness.”“The research was very clear that the NBA teams that touched more and celebrated more ended up succeeding more.”“Pause and reflect on all the things that are bigger than you. That may be nature, but it could also be the whole universe, history, or God.”   Resources Mentioned Theleadershippodcast.comSponsored by: Darley.comAmerkaissi.com Dr. Amer on LinkedInDr. Amer on TwitterGrab Dr. Amer’s book: Humbitious: The Power of Low-Ego, High-Drive Leadership Jimcollins.com Jeffreypfeffer.com Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin  
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    43 mins
  • May 4 2022
    Dr. Jeb Hurley is a leading expert on leadership and team dynamics in hybrid and remote workplaces. Jeb traces his passion for helping people become better leaders and keeping team dynamics healthy to his painful experiences with toxic managers, dysfunctional teams, and low trust cultures. Over the past ten years, Jeb worked with leaders and teams in Asia and worldwide while researching leadership from a behavioral science and neuroscience perspective. He developed deep insights into the root causes of healthy and dysfunctional leader-team dynamics through that work.   As organizations have increasingly recognized the value of influencing behavior and intrinsically motivating people, Jeb shares how to develop those skills by applying behavioral science in meaningful, proven, and sustainable ways. His insights will help you see how you can improve team performance and people's wellbeing.   Key Takeaways [2:20] There are two aspects of Jeb’s background: one is living a global life and career and two is holding the second shodan in karate. He expands on how both are related to being foundational in his path. [4:30] Jan asks Jeb where he would be if he was not able to ever travel again. [6:00] We humans are just simply wired for dysfunction because of our cognitive biases. Jeb explains how that is uncovered through his team trust dynamic model. [8:55] The main reason for bad self-awareness with leaders is the lack of trust. Jeb shares how leaders can operationalize trust. [12:10] Jeb breaks down trust in both behavioral and neurobiological aspects and how trust is wired in our reward systems. [14:50] The hallmark of high-performing teams is having tremendous clarity of purpose and alignment of their values. Jeb explains its importance and how these teams reject lone wolves. [19:05] Jim poses the question of the need for disruption when things get too comfortable and how that should be handled. [20:05] The real issue is that leaders assume value and purpose and they don’t test or revisit them. It opens up the opportunity for “values creep” into areas like mediocrity. [22:05] Jeb talks about the combination of behavioral science to identify what inspires people and influence as a powerful tool in leadership. [23:50] Jeb also shares the different building blocks of empowering team purpose and values, inspiring motivation, and nudging behavior change. [25:50] Finding the human solution to problems can reap the biggest results. [27:45] Jeb shares what his motivation triangle is all about and how it can help managers understand why their people do what they do. [29:25] Humans are driven by three core psychological needs: finding purpose in what we do, developing the skills needed to realize that purpose, and having the freedom to fulfill this purpose. [32:05] Jim asks Jeb where a manager’s responsibility starts and ends in the motivation triangle. [35:40] What Jeb has learned about leadership doesn’t come from studying leadership. He shares the one thing all leaders should focus on. [38:35] The Experience/expectation dynamic defines the essence of every relationship you ever had. Jeb provides some examples to explain its impact. [41:30] Jeb tells the story of how he and his partner started their company, Brainware Partners. [45:10] One of the best practices for nudges is that it’s not about the manager but it’s about the team solving a problem together. Jeb shares that’s what he observed in high-performing teams. [46:30] Listener Challenge: Put trust in psychological safety at the core of what you do.   Quotable Quotes “Eight years in Asia makes you realize that the Western constructs of how we go about seeing, behaving, and preaching leadership is very different from what happens in other parts of the world.”“It’s typically that combination of cognitive biases and not really understanding how to operationalize trust that makes it really challenging for team leaders and team members to be consistent in delivering performance and well-being.”“It’s (trust) not all about just simple logic, there’s a strong cognitive and emotional aspects or parts of it.”“What’s important is that everybody has this very clear sense that these are the values and this is what it means to be psychologically safe in this environment. So by doing that, those teams insulate themselves from lone wolves and toxic behaviors.”“Lightning speed is just really a relative thing. People pretend to get really busy doing lots of stuff but are they doing the things that matter that actually move the needle? I would argue, not so much.”“When we empower feedback, when we empower people in ways that build trust and psychological safety, it makes a huge difference.”   Resources Mentioned Theleadershippodcast.comSponsored by: Darley.comJeb on LinkedInJeb on TwitterGrab Jeb’s books: Team Relationship Management: The Science of Inspiring Trust & Peak Performance, The ONE Habit: The Ultimate Guide to ...
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    49 mins

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