Greg Young Show Notes Page
Greg Young needed to make changes quickly and radically to prevent losing market share. But he was ending each day with beating himself up because he was not completing his to-do list and it was getting longer each day. That’s when he realized that he needed to reframe his day.
Greg was born and raised in Bristol, England. He met his future wife when they were both 15. Unusually, they were born on the same day, same year and have been together for 42 years. Greg’s father was the local county Fire Chief and mother worked in a school. Greg’s mother died from breast cancer when he was in his early 20s, a disease that has claimed many of the female relatives in his life. His only sister has survived cancer and inherited his mother’s matriarchal gene!
Genetics played an important part in Greg’s life and inspired him to study biochemistry, which led to his first career in clinical research in the Pharma industry with Glaxo, now GSK. Moving up, meant moving around, he spent time with Schering AG in Berlin, then with Schering Plough Corp, now Merck. After that he was courted by a small Pharma company Amylin Pharma headquartered in San Diego.
His second career was a move into telecoms with his first CEO role. In that role he quintupled the size of the company in four years seeing the company change from being a traditional phone company to succeeding in the converged world where voice and data flow along the same wires. This was a big cultural change for the company moving from carrying a toolkit of screwdrivers and wire clippers to reprogramming faulty systems from the office helpdesk. It was here he learned key leadership skills are transferable, and as a CEO, you should measure your day not by what you do, but by what you cause to happen, and you do that by asking the right questions, not telling people what to do. Finally, if you’re going to make radical changes you need to get people to set aside their ego’s!
As it was his first CEO role, he felt it was important to have a coach and mentor, someone outside the system that he could confide in, and who understood that he didn’t know all the answers. The professional relationship was a good one because in 2004 together with a third person he founded LeaderShape Global, a leadership development organization.
Through his work at LeaderShape Global and co-authoring the book titled Leading Beyond the Ego: How to Become a Transpersonal Leader, he has a grand vision to shape the best leaders for the future who will lead beyond the ego (be a transpersonal leader) and leave the world in better place than they found it.
Greg currently lives in Oxford, UK with his wife Grainne and his daughters Emi and Ailis.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“If organizations are going to cope well and be agile, there’s no way that they’re not going to need to be radical.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“As a leader you need to be radical in your thinking.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“You can be as radical as you like, the challenge is bringing people with you.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“If we think about leaders today, they need to be radical, ethical and authentic.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“If you can be a robust, emotional aware leader, you’re going to have followers.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“There’s three things a leader does – generate followers, bring them to a place they wouldn’t ordinarily go and inspire new leaders.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“Those companies that act in a less than ethical way, they’ll be found out.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“Older leaders really need to be equipped to change themselves in order to change the organization they’re in.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
“Measure your day by what you cause to happen and not what you do.” -Greg Young Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Greg Young needed to make changes quickly and radically to prevent losing market share. But he was ending each day with beating himself up because he was not completing his to-do list and it was getting longer each day. That’s when he realized that he needed to reframe his day.
Advice for others
Show a little more modesty.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Trying to get my ego out of the system.
Best Leadership Advice
Measure your day by what you cause to happen and not what you do.
Secret to Success
Best tools that helps in Business or Life
Contacting Greg Young
email: gyoung [@] leadershipglobal.com
Resources and Show Mentions
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
180: Greg Young I needed to reframe what I considered to be successful
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.
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Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to give us greater insights into what it takes to be a better leader of self and others. Greg Young was born and raised in Bristol, England. He met his future wife when they were both 15 unusually they were born on the same day same year and have been together for 42 years.
Greg’s father was the local county fire chief and mother worked in a school. Greg’s mother died from breast cancer when he was in his early 20s a disease that has claimed many of the female relatives in his life. His only sister has survived cancer and inherited his mother’s matriarchal gene. Genetics played an important role in Greg’s life and inspired him to study biochemistry which led to his first career in clinical research in the Pharma industry with Glaxo now GSK. Moving up, meant moving around, he spent time with Schering AG in Berlin and then was Schering Plough Corp now Merck after that he was courted by a small Pharma company Amylin Pharma headquartered in San Diego.
His second career was a move into telecoms with his first CEO role. In that he quadrupled the size of the company in four years saying the company changed from being a traditional phone company to succeeding in the converged world were voice and data flow along the same wires. This was a big cultural change for the company moving from carrying a toolkit of screwdrivers and wire clippers to programming faulty systems from the office help desk. It was here he learned key leadership skills are transferable and as CEO you should measure your day not by what you do but by what you cause to happen and you do that by asking the right questions not telling people what to do.
Finally, if you’re going to make radical changes you need to get people to set beside their egos. As it was his first CEO role he felt it was important to have a coach and mentor someone outside the system that he could confide in and who understood that he didn’t know all the answers. The professional relationship was a good one because in 2004 together with the third person he founded Leader Shape Global, a leadership development organization. Through his work at Leadership Global and co-authoring the book titled Leading beyond the Ego he has a grand vision to shape the best leaders for the future who will lead beyond the ego, be transpersonal leaders and leave the world in a better place than they found it. Gregg currently lives in Oxford, UK with his wife Grainne and his two daughters Emi and Ailis. Greg Young, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Greg Young: Yeah.
Jim Rembach: Well I’ve given our Legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?
Greg Young: Yeah, sure. Jim that’s great because you’ve already mentioned one of the things and that’s leading beyond the ego. If we look ahead there is going to be some huge disruptive challenges that come forward, artificial intelligence, machine learning those sorts of things. So if organizations are going to cope well and be agile and come to that new situation there’s no way that they’re not going to be—got to need to be radical. As a leader you need to be able to be radical in your thinking but you can be as radical as you like the challenge is bringing people with you. If we think about leaders of today they need to be radical, authentic because actually social media dictates that they need to be those things. Then they not only need to be there but they need to be bringing people with them. So the way we think about it or the way I think about it is three uses of the word real. When we first engage with organizations what we come across and we find leaders who are rational, ego based as usual leaders, you probably all know some of them. What we want to be is radical ethical, authentic leaders but there’s an intermediary step in here and that’s being a robust emotionally aware leader. Because if you can be robust emotionally aware leader then actually what you’re going to do is you’re going to have followers. Because a leader—there’s three things a leader does. The first one is to generate followers, the second is to bring them to a place they wouldn’t ordinarily go and the third is to inspire new leaders. So it’s key that they generate followers and then you need to take them to a place that you need them to be and that’s going to be radical in the future.
Jim Rembach: Gosh, as you were talking I started thinking—and for me I think a lot of people equate the word radical with risk. When you start thinking about risk especially at a leader level when you have all that responsibility and also when you start taking into consideration that what I thought is statistic yesterday that said like half of the workforce is over the age of 50 and typically the people who are in that half are the ones who are the leaders who are now going to be relinquish that power. It seems to me like there’s—how can somebody build the confidence to be able to become radical, because I would dare to say that most of them—you don’t start that way.
Greg Young: You’re absolutely right. The organizations are in the hands of people like me white, middle-aged, older guys and you’ve got more generations of young people coming up now and to some degree we’ve got to step out of their way we’ve got to be open to change but you’re absolutely right radical equals risk and risk goes both ways. There’s a risk of not doing anything in which case actually your organization is vulnerable. So those organizations that do get it and are now making those radical changes. So, the challenge—partly a bigger challenge is for people in the upper age groups who are used to dealing with 20th century leadership, that’s where I learn my leadership skills in 20th century. Now we’re moving in to the 21st century and we need to be more collaborative we need to be less of knowing about what’s in your head but it’s about how you access the information it’s about bringing people on do know the systems and how to operate the systems as opposed to knowing everything and telling people what to do.
Jim Rembach: Okay, so I have to say that—the couple words threw out there and systems being one of them, when I first got the book, Leading beyond The Ego and when you look and you have these paper origami type birds I’m like, oh, this is going to be a little bit soft and fluffy and that’s not what
I found between these two covers it is very detailed, very technical, systematic, self-assessments checklists. There’s one thing that really stood out to me that I wanted to talk about and that is your eight I call, which is your eight integrated competencies of leadership. If we could talk about those a second I think that would be really helpful for a lot of our listeners.
Greg Young: Yeah, sure. The eight I call is—you’re right, eight integrated competencies of leadership. Actually what that illustrates is we make decisions based on different things. We always have our IQ, if you like, those intellection logic those things that are hardwired above a certain threshold. Actually that’s not going to help you any further in your career provided you’ve got a base level of intelligence but then you’ve got other things like personal preferences. For example if you’re familiar with things like Myers Briggs, some people have extroverted thinking and other people have introverted thinking these are all preferences are Jungian preferences again you can adapt those to a degree but those are the things that they come with. And then part of the other integrated competencies around emotional intelligence so this is how self-aware you are how you manage yourself, how socially aware you are and then also how you manage those relationships. So that’s so much but then there are other bits beyond the fact, what’s your purpose? What’s your personal conscience? What’s your self-determination? That’s about who you are and what you’re going to do with who you are. So you’ve said in the intro to me I’d like to leave the world in a better place that I left it. What I’m aware about is who I am as an individual, my values, my behaviors, my thoughts, my ethics, if you like, and then I can decide what I’m going to do with that. I can either just be or I can go ahead and do something about it. So that’s one of the reasons behind Leadership Global’s vision is to is to create the best leaders, the best transpersonal leaders for the future so we can have a better world out.
Jim Rembach: You talked through it but I think it’d probably be helpful to talk about what actually makes up from a categorical perspective these competencies. I did mention personal preferences, you mentioned the IQ, you mentioned self-awareness, self-management, social- awareness, relationship management, personal conscious and then self-determination. Now you also have a complimentary type of framework when you start looking at the eight I call it’s like, okay these this is makes up me but then it’s how do I actually go about executing so it’s the decision-making process piece. And you talk about five decision-making processes that we go through I think those are really critically important because there’s some that are conscious and cognitive and some that are unconscious, so let’s talk through those for a second.
Greg Young: Okay, so you’re right we’ve got five ways that we make decisions. The most obvious and the one that probably occupies most people’s mind is the rational, logical and this certainly takes place in big business. So, there’s a lot of analysis and a lot of decision making based upon market analysis segmentation all those sorts of things. It comes as no surprise that this is part of our conscious decision making process that rationale and logic but there are other influences in there and that is what we would call the three eyes, that’s intuition, instinct and insight. Intuition is something that it happens in the unconscious and it’s to do with that history those experiences that you have banked during your own personal lifetime, intuition the gut feeling that you have. On top of that you have instinct and that goes beyond your own lifetime. That goes into what we have as a species. And so we have instincts around—for example we see it in nature birds migrating and those are things that are instinct to these species and we have it ourselves and that has also in the unconscious. And then the insights of those things that kind of happen those aha moments when I’m walking the dog or in the shower and those don’t come to us by a logical process those come to us because we’ve cleared our brains of that important signal-to-noise ratio and suddenly that really multi problem comes out with a solution so that’s another decision-making process.
And then there’s a fifth element and this is an individual’s ethical philosophy. Often this goes beyond the culture that we’re in because the culture that we’re in can shift that way that our moral philosophy is. From country to country cultures to culture that’s contained in our moral philosophy but ethical philosophy is deeper so we’re looking at things like the greater good. What stakeholder we have and the decision that we’re going to make which stakeholder is it going to benefit? So those are the five elements that we’ve got—we’ve got rational, logic, intuition, instinct, insight and then we’ve got ethical philosophy on top of that.
Jim Rembach: So, I know that throughout the course of years even from up here perspective people who you’ve come across with that were in a leader role and the people who you’re working with in order to help them, when you start thinking about these five decision-making processes and you’re starting to say a particular person you’re working with needs the most work in one where do you often find that you’re having to spend a lot of your effort?
Greg Young: In terms of helping people with the decision making process then it’s a really challenging thing in business because often in an in a small business and the leader in that small business will be free to exercise their instincts and their intuition of what have you they’ve got instinct and they’ll just kind of go for it. When you’re talking about a large enterprise if somebody comes up saying, this is my decision trust me then there are a whole load of people around them saying, well what evidence is there so. So, there’s a huge amount of post hoc rationalization that then goes on to try and kind of look at that.
Also in terms of the ethical philosophy, we did some work with one multinational global organization around ethics in decision-making and ethical leadership and it was quite clear the primary motivation was the commercial success and if the organization could be ethical at the same time then that was a nice bolt on that that was nice to have. The people in the room these top 16 in the organization we asked them a simple question, why would it be a good thing for this organization to be an ethical organization? And they came up with 13 reasons and those reasons varied from building trust in the organization, and of course, trust has implications outside of the company with suppliers and customers and within the organization of retaining and attracting the best talent right the way down to it helps me to sleep better at night.
Then we asked them the next question we said, which of these 13 points that you’ve come up will confer a commercial advantage? And they work through each one and what they realized was each one of those irrespective of its impact or magnitude conferred a commercial advantage in the rhythm at that moment there was a big aha moment which reframed the whole thing instead of being commercial first and the ethics is a nice-to-have it was let’s bring the ethics and the commercial together because if we do that we’ll be more commercially successful than we were before.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s a really important point. I’ve mentioned this before on this show for those who are regular listeners but my next-door neighbor was the Dean of a University’s Business School for 23 years, very long tenure, and I was having a discussion with him about ethics a couple years ago and he basically said that, executives will not give any time to ethics or the discussion of ethics because they don’t feel that it makes them any money but it’s great to hear that you’re actually doing the work and they’re actually being able to see it so that we have a brighter future.
Greg Young: Absolutely. And there’s a downside as well to that in as much as—if you exercise unethical practice especially with social media now where virtually every bit of news gets out is circulated and goes viral those organizations who behave in a less than ethical way they’ll be found out and actually there’ll be damaged of reputation there’ll be commercial impacts, fines all manner of things we’re seeing it in some of the companies now.
Jim Rembach: And as they say once it’s on the Internet it never goes away.
Greg Young: Yeah, right.
Jim Rembach: What we’re talking about here about the personal development organizational development all of these things and being able to go through the effort of transforming yourself requires a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of inspiration. One of the things that we look at on this show to help give us some inspiration are quotes. Do you have a quote or two that you can share that you like?
Greg Young: I do, I do. It’s actually a quote from Leo Tolstoy, I’m not sure if you already know it, it goes “Everyone thinks about changing the world but nobody thinks about changing themselves.” And if you don’t run the way back to the beginning of this interview when you were talking about the older leaders they really need to be equipped to change themselves in order to change the organizations that they’re in.
Jim Rembach: Yeah, and that’s one of the things that we talk about on the Fast Leader show is the me first thing that’s an important thing it all has to start there. You also mentioned a really important point that I think everybody needs to be aware of is that you can’t do it on your own. You can’t oftentimes see yourself because your eyes point outward you need somebody else to kind of point things out and have that confidant. And I think you had mentioned even before that especially if you’re a person who like in in the top position that’s a very lonely spot because it’s hard to find people who will actually give you the truth that you need to hear.
Greg Young: Yeah, you’re right and something else, we’re always afraid of being judged I think as well. For me, the best thing I did was to get a coach because that was somebody outside the system I could be really open and honest with and I knew that that person was there in service of me. Even if I was just vocalizing stuff and somebody was seeing stuff back for me then that’s a great thing to begin with. But also develop the relationship with people around you so that you can be open and transparent. I think especially if you’re able to take your ego out of a system then being vulnerable in front of other people and asking them and just expressing that you don’t have all the answers that’s a real help, it’s a real help and it’s a real way of being more inclusive and getting the organization moving forward.
Jim Rembach: Well and it’s been found over again that that a huge trust building component is that people gain more trust in you when you have that type of humility.
Greg Young: Sure.
Jim Rembach: I know when you start talking about going from—being in the chemical industry going to CEO doing what you’re doing now there’s been a whole lot of transitions and I’m sure there’s a whole lot of humps to get over and a lot of things that you’ve learned along the way. Is there a story that you can share with us so that we can actually learn better?
Greg Young: I tell you one of my own bigger aha moments was in that role of my first CEO. It was an organization I was taking through a pair of radical change and that was, in telecoms we call it convergence which is when voice and data come together into one system, and the organization that I was leading was a very traditional organization and we were mostly used to working with telephone systems and many of the employees were an ex-state-owned organization so they were used to a very slow-moving organization no need to make things happen quickly or radically otherwise we’d lose market share.
And so I had a to do list as you do and every night I’d be going home and beating myself up because not only was I not achieving what to do list but he was getting longer and longer each day and I was spending longer and longer at the office and I was getting less and less sleep so you can imagine we could easily become a downward spiral. And then a personal aha moment for me was when one day I was out walking the dog I thought I need to reframe my day I need to reframe what I considered to be a successful day. In that moment instead of measuring my day by what I did I began to measure my day but what I caused to happen, oh there was another metric as well which was helpful my bin was at the end of the day, but let’s just focus on the first one. From that moment on I used to spend less and less time in my office and more and more time walking around be the business and simply asking the right questions in a really open coaching way. I had the intelligent people working with me they knew what the answer was they just needed to get that answer out there themselves. So the big aha moment for me was to measure my day not by what I did but what I caused to happen.
Jim Rembach: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Even if you’re an individual contributor I think you can also use that as a means by which you can get a sense of accomplishment because you’re contributing also to what gets done and so being able to understand that impact is important and you have to maybe go walk the dog to figure it out sometimes, right?
Greg Young: Yeah, oh, also pretty in that respect, yeah. You need to go and walk the dog and do the knotty problems, you’re absolutely right.
Jim Rembach: Okay so you got the book I looked at your organization as a whole I’m hearing States but it doesn’t look like you guys have a whole lot of presence in the States but you’re doing work in a lot of other parts of the world. You got the book here, you’re trying to promote it and of course family is important to you we didn’t talk also about the work that you’re doing in order to help create that gender equality in the workplace and you’re doing some important work there but when you look at all the things that you have going what would be one goal that you have?
Greg Young: Well, I always think and this is probably what led to the writing of the book, what’s my purpose? When I was in business I could help the people that were in the business but the kind of organization that we’re in now Leadership Global, then you think what sort of impact can I have on a broader audience? Jim, you’re absolutely right we don’t have a huge presence in the States right now but we’re working but what we do have is that we have presence in in India, Kazakhstan, Africa, South America and actually beginning the transpersonal message we’re getting—if you want to make the world a better place lead beyond your ego take your ego out of it. And that’s the thing that drives me right now is how many people can we touch to get this message across that actually taking your ego out of the system makes for far better leadership far better performance for organizations but it also leads to ethical organizations authentic leaders?
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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Jim Rembach: Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Greg, the Hump day hoedown is the 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. Greg Young, are you ready to hoedown?
Greg Young: I think so.
Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Greg Young: Oh, I’m still working in getting my ego out of the system, I can tell you because I don’t like being judged. So, yeah, get your ego out.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Greg Young: I would say that’s—yeah, absolutely miss your day but what you cause to happen and not what you did.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Greg Young: A survey in the UK as to whether your company is going to be in the top 100 or not and the most significant question in the battery of—the ones that they asked is that the senior leadership in this organization do more listening than telling. So, I think the secret weapon is to listen.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Greg Young: Empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of other people. And if once you understand them you know their motivations then you can leave the wrestle and they’ll follow you.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it can be from any genre, of course we’re going to put a link to, Leading beyond the Ego—How to become a transpersonal Leader, on your show notes page as well.
Greg Young: One of the books I’m using in the line of work I do is, To Kill a Mockingbird, I certainly recommend that as a leadership book.
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/GregYoung. Okay, Greg, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the knowledge and skills that you have now and you can take them back with you but you can’t take everything you can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Greg Young: Yeah, that’s the one I take. When I was young, I was a young Turk I knew everything I was cocky and you know what? Just a little bit of modesty take back and then you get people on your side definitely.
Jim Rembach: Greg, it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?
Greg Young: Sure, you can reach me on LinkedIn or if you want to email me you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Rembach: Greg Young, 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.
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