Fred Halstead Show Notes Page
Fred Halstead’s positivity can drive people crazy, including his wife. But as a coach Fred knows he needs to empathize with others that are not like him. They may have regrets and need to work through their challenges before they can move forward.
Fred was raised in a western suburb of Chicago, Wheaton Illinois. His parents bought a property with seven acres a good-sized house, a guest house and barn. His father, an architect, who led the oldest architectural firms in the US, decided to completely remodel the old house. So, Fred and his two brothers and parents slept in the guest house for two years while mostly the family rebuilt the house. Work ethic and accomplishment was paramount. After the reconstruction was complete, Fred and his older brother returned from a weekend visit with friends to find Dad laying out an area for a new swimming pool. Dad decided that we’d have a pool and his brother Grey and Fred would dig it by hand, put in the rebar and then contract for pouring of the floor, walls and deck.
During high school he also gained the experience of team sports by playing on the football team and running track. Wabash College, a very small liberal arts college in Indiana, fit Fred’s need for a broad education. After graduation he attended Northwestern University Graduate Business School. When the Daft Board reclassified him and called him to military duty, he decided to volunteer for the Air Force. After OTS, he served as an officer in the Office of Special Investigations for four years, the last 18 months as commander of the office. Among several adventures in the Air Force, the best thing that happened to him was meeting and marrying Donna.
After three fairly short-term jobs in financial management, he began a career in executive search. Fred started his own firm, which later merged into an international firm. In 2003, after many years of assessing the talents of executives and culture of client’s organizations and considerable noodling about how best to use his talents, a new career in helping leaders become even more successful called. Halstead Executive Coaching was formed.
After 40 years of observing, assessing and coaching leaders, Fred wrote a book reflecting what he has learned. It is focused on skills needed to be an inspiring and highly successful leader. The inspiration and encouragement for the book, Leadership Skills That Inspire Incredible Results also resulted from the positive results of a highly interactive Program that he has presented to senior level leadership teams for the past five years.
Fred’s foundation and rudder are his faith and his two most important blessings are his faith and his family. Fred and Donna have two exceptional children who married extraordinarily well and they have three wonderful and sweet granddaughters all of whom live in the Dallas area.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“People can see through us very easily.” – Click to Tweet
“When we’re genuine people know it, when we’re not people know it.” – Click to Tweet
“You’ve got to figure out what is motivating you.” – Click to Tweet
“We are what we repeatedly do.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Fred Halstead’s positivity can drive people crazy, including his wife. But as a coach Fred knows he needs to empathize with others that are not like him. They may have regrets and need to work through their challenges before they can move forward.
Advice for others
Greatly appreciate all other people.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Best Leadership Advice
Understand what your strengths are and fully use them.
Secret to Success
The fact that I am a positive person and understand what my limited strengths are.
Best tools in business or life
Listening and asking powerful questions and genuinely encouraging others.
Contacting Fred Halstead
email: fred.halsteadec [at] yahoo.com
Resources and Show Mentions
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.
Jim Rembach: Okay Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who is going to be able to share a whole wealth of experience with us that I know is going to help us all move onward and upward faster.
Fred Halstead was raised in the western suburb of Chicago called Wheaton. His parents bought a property with seven acres, a good sized house, a guest house, and a barn. His father an architect, who led the oldest architectural firm in the U.S. decided to completely remodel the old house so Fred and his two brothers and parents slept in the guest house for two years while mostly the family rebuilt the house. Work ethic and accomplishment was paramount. After the reconstruction was complete, Fred and his older brother returned from a weekend visit with friends to find that dad was laying out the area for a new swimming pool and he had decided that he and his brother gray would dig it out by hand put the rebar in and then contract for pouring the floor, walls, and deck.
During high school he also gained the experience of team sports by playing on a football team and running track. Wabash College a very small liberal arts college in Indiana fit Fred’s need for a broad education. After graduation he attended Northwestern University graduate Business School. When the draft board reclassified him and called it a military duty he decided to volunteer for the Air Force. After OTS he served as an officer in the Office of Special Investigations for four years, the last 18 months as commander of the office. Amongst several adventures in the Air Force the best thing that happened to him was meeting and marrying Donna. After three fairly short jobs in financial management he began a career in executive search. Fred started his own firm which later merged into an international firm. In 2003 after many years of assessing the talents of executives and culture of clients organizations and considerable noodling about how best to use his talents a new career in helping leaders become more successful call, Halstead Executive Coaching was formed.
After 40 years of observing, assessing and coaching leaders, Fred wrote a book reflecting what he has learned. It is focused on the skills needed to be an inspiring and highly successful leader. Leadership skills that inspire incredible results also resulted from the positive results of a highly interactive program that he has presented to senior level leadership teams for the past five years. Fred’s foundation and rudder are his faith and his two most important blessings are his faith and family. Fred and Donna have two exceptional children who married extraordinarily well and they have three wonderful and sweet granddaughters and all of them live in the Dallas, Texas area. Fred Halstead, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Fred Halstead: I am Jim, and thank you so much for allowing me to spend this time with you and your viewers. I’m really excited about it and I would say I know you are such a skilled interviewer and this is going to be a lot of fun.
I appreciate that Fred. Now I’ve given—and just as so for those that aren’t aware, you may be watching the video we also have audio, so it’s audio and video podcasts so Fred’s going to be all over. And so I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you even better?
Fred Halstead: Thanks. My passion really revolves around something simple and that is whatever I can do to help other people be successful that’s really what stirs my passions and It’s just really exciting for me otherwise I’d probably be retired by now but I just enjoy so much what I do through my coaching.
As they say, why retire when you enjoy it you do it until you can’t do it no more.
Fred Halstead: Yeah, that’s right. When I started thinking about your history and where you are now and all of that I started thinking about what you just said and talking about the whole executive search component. You said something about your passion and things that charge you being about helping others be successful but how does that happen with a search process? You’re gathering some information and you’re going and finding somebody and you’re placing somebody but where do you actually get that fulfillment in that process?
There really it came for me from the hiring executives. It’s extremely important that one know what the company needs and what that person who’s going to be the boss needs or the chairman of the board what they need. So while you might be a parent what a CFO does and is supposed to do each company is different. And to bring out the information that you need to truly understand what that company and what that new boss truly needs in the person is helping them to be successful. And then on the candidate side make sure that they are actually a good fit for their sake as well as the company’s sake and to help them in the air view process.
Jim Rembach: You mentioned a really important word that I hear a lot lately and that is that whole fit thing. From a culture, from a DNA talking about team effectiveness talking about all of those things for me I also start immediately going to the whole customer experience the employee experience and the customer experience. And so from an executive search process I wonder how much importance was actually placed on those key things in regards to experience, experience of employee and experience of customer, did you see things and kind of change throughout the years or was it something that really wasn’t in place or it was always in place?
Fred Halstead: Well the experience is key and the experience is one of the keys actually, and it’s something that’s easier to identify and measure. So you usually start with that. You’d start with what has the person done? What have they accomplished? And then the even more important piece is what drives and motivates that person what is their character? I have seen very few people not be successful because of a lack of intelligence or knowledge. It happens. But much more often it happens because of a lack of character a lack of drive and skills that are somewhat innate and difficult to measure.
Jim Rembach: Okay so that leads me into the work that you’re doing now because if I’m talking about leadership skills that inspire incredible results, are we are we really dealing with essentially a very limited pool or source of people that could actually reach these heights?
Fred Halstead: Well the book is aimed at the same people that I typically coach, which is senior level executives, and yet when I give the program that’s based on the book, The skills that inspire incredible results, it just turns out it’s very interesting Jim I’ll ask, what skills have been most useful? What have you found is most practical? And part of that comes out in listening and asking questions particularly. It’s been very useful at home I notice a big difference in my kids. When I start asking them questions that begin with what, it brings them out just like it does with my subordinates and my peers and my boss so it turns out it has a very broad application for almost anyone.
Jim Rembach: What you were just saying also makes me think about something that I often talk about is that it’s a trickle-down effect of leadership. All of this money if not billions of dollars throughout the globe is spent on developing the very top level of organizations with the thought that all of that skill, ability, framework, processes, all that stuff will trickle down to the front line but that’s not what happens. So for me I like on the fast leader show is to bring it down to practicality purposes the people who are on the front line through the Call Center Coach Leadership Academy as well as that mid-level leader who could really benefit from a lot of things that those senior level people are getting but just don’t. When we start talking about the these leadership skills that inspire incredible results and you just talked about even in impacting the family at home, what does it mean for people from a overall organizational perspective to build skills in these core areas?
Fred Halstead: Well the implications are extremely broad. If you were to become a better listener and you are a leader in a company it is amazing what happens because the people around you are going to feel more respected you’re going to learn more. And that’s going to translate into you being a much better and more successful boss and a higher level performing person. The same holds true of asking powerful questions. And this is one of the most difficult things Jim and that is for highly successful leaders to step back and say I’m going to ask some questions here of you to bring out your best thinking rather than me tell you but I’m pretty darn sure I know is fact and when I’m pretty darn sure I know is what should be done. It’s really hard for people to feel like, okay I’m just going to spend a little bit more time here asking questions and listening and getting your best thinking. So then you end up owning what it is that you’re responsible for doing.
Jim Rembach: So obviously approach is extremely important and how you do that. Even in the book you talk about, in one particular section you say, people are smart but if your intention is to guide a person to your way of thinking or the solution that you know to be best, others will realize that fact and so that’s what you are talking about. But what else makes that a particular problem?
Fred Halstead: People can see through us very easily. When we’re genuine people know it. When we’re not people know it. How many times have you witnessed or heard someone else say, yeah the boss will ask me questions but I know darn well he knows what he wants me to do and I wish he’d just say it. Well that boss is a genuine. That boss isn’t really interested in learning what you think. That boss is interested in telling you what he or she thinks and it’s not even much of a foggy glass there that people can see right through.
Jim Rembach: On the other side of that coin because I’ve run into this problem to where I’ve tried to get people to share with me what they think and sometimes they’re just sit there saying, just tell me what to do.
Fred Halstead: Oh yes, absolutely. I run into that in my coaching. I’ll start asking questions they’re coming to me lying answers and I’m reflecting back to them. Okay here’s one question, Jim, this is a tough problem so I’m acknowledging that it’s a challenging issue. If you could think of just one thing that you might do first what would that be? Well, have freed you to stop looking at all the complexity of it and all that sort of stuff and just focus on okay, let me think if it’s just one thing I can talk about that and that gets the conversation going. And so the person goes from, I don’t know how many times this has happened in my coaching and it can happen in other people’s leadership is the person—no, I just want you to tell me, I don’t know I wouldn’t have asked if I knew to—ah –in not a very long period of time that all thinking, man, I figured this out I’m smarter than I thought I was and by the way my boss is pretty smart too because he helped me figure it out or she helped me figure it out.
Jim Rembach: Yeah. I think the important trap there as you were talking I started thinking about my potential impatience with that meaning that you asked and they come back and say just tell me what to do and my response has to be an additional question to what it should be.
Fred Halstead: Yes.
Jim Rembach: Get them to actually bring that out. And if they still are persistent and still, well I don’t know, I still need to ask another question. And then for me I just need to let it go if they can’t respond so maybe through time they start realizing that they’re going to have to think.
Fred Halstead: Well, I was to say you create a habit. So the expectations have changed and one motivation you mentioned it’s really tough to just sort of sit back and ask the questions when you think—I know what to do I’m just going to tell them. Well is that really in their best interest? One of the themes of the book is when you want everyone around you to be highly successful you’re going to be more successful. And one of the ways to have people around you highly successful is to bring out the very best in them rather than show the person.
Jim Rembach: I think you bring up a really good point and an important distinction that I often have to talk about and I think this is a great place. We, unfortunately, call coaching something that it really isn’t. So, coaching is when we actually help to bring out what’s already in the person. And if we’re going to be stopping and giving the answers we are no longer coaching we’ve just changed the dynamic we’ve just changed what that activity is it’s now we’re training or we’re mentoring no longer coaching.
Fred Halstead: Yes, that’s right. And that was really drilled into all of the students that the coaching program I went through and I’m sure it is in every coaching program but the one at University of Texas at Dallas was one of the first at the Masters level really would drill that into us. And it turns out that there is, and I think this is very true because I’m witness and leadership as well, there’s a real balance between what you said. Because we all have some wisdom and we’re going to cheat that person if we don’t bring out some of that wisdom mostly through the questions we ask but occasionally through a little bit more direction. So it’s not a total either/or but the more you balance it based on bringing out the best in them the better they’re going to be and the more successful you’re going to be.
Jim Rembach: Okay, so for me this kind of all brings it full circle Fred so I can see now based on what you described in regards to your executive search work and your coaching work how all this fits. Because there was a lot of inquiry there’s a lot of discovery there was a lot of this that went back so I can see how the transition became quite easy and where the parlays and also probably why your executive search organization was acquired and brought into a larger organizations because of that type of work.
Fred Halstead: Yes and this is sort of interesting that others can use as well. When I was in the search business of course I really started to ask a lot of questions and it was really important to me to understand what the needs were and understand what that potential candidate is in terms of who they are as a person as well as a leader. So there were several instances when I was interviewing the hiring executive and he’d say, Fred, you know a lot about this. I’m thinking to myself I don’t know much at all about it but I wasn’t fully honest I just kept my mouth shut and put it was all through the questions. I was listening and I was asking questions based on that so people think you’re smarter than you really are when you do that and in my case that was real important.
Jim Rembach: In the book you also talk about something I think we often fail to do, I think we’re all guilty of it I don’t think anybody’s immune from this particular issue. You talk about two things that are most important for us in regards to our development. You talk about having an accountability partner and then also having intentional peer practice. So why are those two things important?
Fred Halstead: A couple of reasons. One is the accountability partner—it makes us help to be more accountable because we’ve got someone who is assessing what we’re doing and saying and in a way is helping us. It bonds us to that person it creates a vulnerability which is very healthy in terms of saying, Jim, I really need to work on this. And you’re thinking, yeah Fred you do. And I’d like you to help me so I’d like you to just notice when I’m doing this or when I’m not doing this or how I am doing this and just let me know I would really appreciate that. It makes that connection it helps you and it helps them.
Jim Rembach: I would also think that it also takes away a lot of the fear in the whole thing it takes away a lot of vulnerability or add some vulnerability to it. We have to be able to get that type of feedback in a in a way by which we don’t feel intimidated by it so I can I think being more intentional is really important. What about the peer practice?
Fred Halstead: The peer practice came about as a result of the program I give I call stir and that is—let’s say there’s a group of 20 leaders of a company or a segment of a company and they’re all going through the program. These skills while on the surface are so just sort of easy to understand they’re all important, boy, when you start to try and do them it’s really tough. We practice we have people pair up and then they spend just 15 minutes each talking about a real business issue that they have and oftentimes we pair them with someone with whom they normally wouldn’t discuss that issue. So let’s say, it’s a marketing vice president and we’ll pair that person with the CFO well those discussions normally aren’t anymore than you got to watch your budget or whatever. But when you start asking, in this case the CFO, about a marketing issue you have that gives you the opportunity to have somebody think totally out of their real it lets them have that opportunity. It brings the two of you a lot closer together and become more appreciative of each other and you practice using those two skills in the book. It’s a tremendous way to build trust, camaraderie, and to build your confidence in the skills. I urge that people do that and I’d urge your listeners and watchers to intentionally go to appear with an issue outside the realm of your responsibility and say, Jim, I’ve got this challenge could you talk to me about it and help me think through it? Very powerful.
Jim Rembach: It is and I would dare to say that that person doesn’t even have to be in your organization because some organizations don’t go to people you still have to be able to seek out that type of person. We learn more in a community than we do in a class and we just have to be more intentional make sure that we incorporate that into our job.
Fred Halstead: The advantage of doing it in your organization is in its you’re building that relationship with a person within your organization which can help them and can help you in doing your work and getting promoted in all kinds of things.
Jim Rembach: And I think the important note here is that you have no excuse, you need to do it.
Fred Halstead: Well there are a lot of excuses, but yeah, it’s a good idea to do. Like all things you’ve got to figure out what is motivating you. I’ve really stressed that to him because these skills again are so difficult if you don’t figure out why is it then I’m going to really try and listen with more intensity because that’s hard. If I don’t know why I’m going to do that then it’s so tough to actually do it to understand yourself understand what motivates and drives you.
Jim Rembach: I think the same applies when we start even talking about the customer and the customer experience. We put ourselves into this type of learning and we start projecting that on to our customer it’s going to have a significant effect on our overall business because the customer experience didn’t they’re going to get affected.
Fred Halstead: Yes. I had an interesting example of that it was kind of outside coaching, a friend of mine who I’ve kept up with from my recruiting days, he’s never been in the same firm in fact we competed against each other and now we’re neighbors at a lake that we have a home, and he said, friend it was really interesting I had this big search it’s competing with other much larger search firms with the board of directors and we were selected. They told us the reason we were selected is because we the only firm that really got into and asked them about what it is they think they need the rest just told them what they offer they didn’t ask what that client needs but just what I can give you.
Jim Rembach: When I start thinking about the experiences that you’ve had and the journeys and the interactions and the people you’ve met I know it’s your finding and being able to leverage a whole lot of inspirational things and we do that on the show by quotes. So is there a quote or two that you can share that you like?
Fred Halstead: Yes. One of them is: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act it’s a habit.
Jim Rembach: Very practical but yet true.
Fred Halstead: Aristotle. Yes, very practical in my book, absolutely.
Jim Rembach: In addition to that and other things that we actually get a whole lot of value from and benefit is when our guests actually share times when they’ve had to get over the hump because there we find so much wisdom it goes back into that whole community of practice and sharing things and that’s one reason why I love to do it on the show. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?
Fred Halstead: Yes. I’m almost embarrassed to say it but I am a very positive person. When it comes to humps as I look back I almost don’t see any humps. As I reflect on that I have to be really careful my positivity can drive my wife crazy and I’m sure other people. And I have to be very mindful that other people aren’t like I am that most other people will have regrets they will get stuck and it’s harder for them to move forward. And in some ways the more I understand that and the more I can empathize with them the more I can help them to move forward beyond those humps. One of my humps I guess was the when I had open-heart surgery 11 years ago. The surgery wasn’t too bad I thought it was just fine, of course I was asleep. The recovery really stunk. That was a hump but gosh, it turned out great. The lesson there is to be mindful of everybody’s not like me and I’m not like everybody and to accept that work with it and really be joyful about it.
Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
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Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time to do the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Fred, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Fred Halstead, are you ready to hoedown?
Fred Halstead: I am.
Jim Rembach: Alright. What is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Fred Halstead: I would say that it’s confidence. I have a lot of confidence and yet it could be easily argued that I should have more.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? Understand what your strengths are and fully use them.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Fred Halstead: The fact that I am a positive person then I’ve come to understand what my limited strengths are and I take tremendous pleasure in using them every day.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your best tools that help you lead in business or life?
Fred Halstead: Listening, asking powerful questions and genuinely encouraging others.
Jim Rembach: What is one book that you’d recommend to our legion, it could be from any genre, and of course we’re going to put a link to Leadership Skills that Inspire Incredible Results on your show notes page as well.
Fred Halstead: Thanks. I think it’s the Fred Factor, it’s a very simple book and it’s short, and I love short books, it’s all about a postman who exhibits incredible talents in terms of customer service and love for other people.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/FredHalstead. Okay, Fred, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Fred Halstead: A great appreciation of all other people the why is because when you don’t have that when you don’t truly try and love other people you have to like them but you’re going to miss out on a lot because you’re going to spend time worried about what people aren’t rather than what they are and what they can offer.
Jim Rembach: Fred, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?
Fred Halstead: Yes, through halsteadexecutivecoaching.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Rembach: Fred Halstead, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links, from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
END OF AUDIO