Catalytic Leadership

Be The Unicorn: Insights on Leadership, Success, and Impact with William VanderBloemen

November 13, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 17
Catalytic Leadership
Be The Unicorn: Insights on Leadership, Success, and Impact with William VanderBloemen
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What if the secret to becoming a highly successful leader was hidden in plain sight, nestled within your own life experiences? That's the question we explore with our guest, William VanderBloemen, founder of VanderBloemen Search Group, as he shares his unique journey of leadership, steeped in lessons from corporate practices, pastoral ministry, and entrepreneurship. Drawing inspiration from the stories of other leaders, William highlights the importance of every experience - even his first job as a newspaper boy - as vital stepping stones in our career growth.

Join us as we delve into William's data-driven book, 'Be The Unicorn: 12 Data-Driven Habits that Separate the Best Leaders from the Rest', a treasure trove of habits that set successful people apart. William shares how to cut through the noise and make yourself indispensable, emphasizing the power of self-awareness and the wisdom in Socrates' adage, "Know thyself." We also explore the surprising impact of quickly responding to leads, and how the right tools can facilitate personal growth.

In the final part of our conversation, William reveals how to elevate your leadership skills and stay ahead of the game. Hear his insights on the importance of agility, the value of surrounding yourself with younger leaders, and the necessity of remaining relevant over time. By taking a marathon approach to personal and professional growth, we can develop the humility, teachability and self-awareness needed to thrive. This episode is guaranteed to inspire you to take deliberate strides towards your own growth journey. 

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About Dr. William Attaway:

Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. I'm so honored today to have William VanderBloomen on the show. William has been leading the VanderBloomen search group for 15 years, where they're regularly retained to identify the best talent for teams, manage succession planning and consult on all issues regarding teams. This year, vanderbloomen will complete their 3,000th executive search. Prior to founding VanderBloomen, william studied executive search with a mentor with 25 plus years of executive search experience at the highest level. His learning taught him the very best corporate practices, including the search strategies used by the internationally known firm Russell Reynolds. Prior to that, william served as a senior pastor at one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the United States. William, I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for being on the show.

Speaker 3:

I'm thrilled to be here. Always good to talk to another, william.

Speaker 2:

Indeed right.

Speaker 3:

What a great name and you're one of the rare Williams like me. That's not a Bill or a Will and it's not a. You know, I'm not trying to be snotty, I just. I had a stubborn mother and the other words just don't register.

Speaker 2:

Exactly Well, Bill is something you get in the mail. I don't want to be associated with that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, you know what I think of? This is how old I am, william. I think of the. What was the school rock, you remember?

Speaker 2:

the schoolhouse rock yeah.

Speaker 3:

Schoolhouse rock. Yeah, and I'm just a bill.

Speaker 2:

Just a bill.

Speaker 3:

Ordinary bill. I don't want to be that, that's right, I love it.

Speaker 2:

I love it. That's brilliant, william. I would love for you to share a little bit of your story with our listeners, and I read some of the hot points there, but particularly around your journey and your development as a leader.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, it's just getting started Would be the. You know the short version. But I think, william, I think that I would never be able to do the job I'm being asked to do now had I not done every job leading up till now. And, honestly, that's, that's a. I just learned it by experience. But that's a great question I think people should ask themselves. Is they're considering a job? Is this a job that is using every bit of what I've learned up till now, or not? And you can't always have that. But, boy, if you can find one where you would never be able to do this job, if you hadn't done everything leading, then wow, you know, we would not be able to do executive search for pastors had I not been a pastor. We would not be able to do executive search had I not had some corporate experience, and the list goes on and on. But I think at my heart and maybe this is part of your listeners I am a serial entrepreneur. Um, you know, I didn't want to go into ministry because I thought that meant, like, just from what I grew up with, you wear a robe, you try not to make too many people mad and you come up with some good things to say about God that make people think and I'm like yuck, oh, but. But you know, god has a way of winning wrestling matches right, and he won that wrestling match. So I went into ministry and where it really clicked for me was when I am so old that you know Will Creek and Saddleback and those churches were just sort of hitting their stride and the idea that you would go reach new customers for lack of a holier way of saying it Well, now, that sounds like fun. I ended up with this. I can say it clearly now. I wouldn't have been able to say it clearly then, but hindsight, you know the whole 2020 thing, I think when I figured out you could make a job out of trying to overpopulate heaven, that sounded like a really cool challenge and I you know so because I've always been in sales, always, always been an entrepreneur. I was the kid who I had a newspaper route. One of the great losses in regulation of jobs and keeping kids out of harm's way at work is kids can't be newspaper boys or newspaper girls anymore, and that was just the best. Nine years old, I don't know if you had that job, but nine years old, I had to manage my own P and L. Like I went to the newspaper, I bought a certain number of newspapers. I went and sold those I had to collect. I mean you can't make that up anymore, it's just the best job there was. And I was the kind of guy that this is how you know me. I was this newspaper route. I was in a really small town in North Carolina and we had one customer at the end of a dirt road. It felt like it was about two miles long, it was probably 400 yards, but it was. It was long way right and I at the end of the road. The town's so backward and small that there is no leash law for dogs, so they could just wander around right. And this one customer had a really aggressive dog and I was the highlight of his day, every day. I mean he just waited on me and he would chase me. I'd never been so fast on a bike as those days and I so. Then I realized you know what I can buy out the three guys around me that have paper routes, and so I bought out the routes and consolidated them, had the set, the densest part in one route made it mine, sold off all the other routes back to them. So they had you know closer to their home and all that, and gave one of them the stupid dog. So not very pastoral, but that's me right there as a nine year old boy. So I love that you're reaching entrepreneurs and you're coaching them. There's just nothing better. It's the backbone of our economy. It's really what makes this country what it is and I'll thank you, guys and gals for what you're doing to go start things and try new things, and you know it's supporting more than you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I had the opportunity and the privilege to read your new book, and as I read this book, it's called Be the Unicorn 12 data driven habits that separate the best leaders from the rest and immediately you had me, because you said data driven habits and I thought yes, please.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

What prompted this, what prompted you to write this book?

Speaker 3:

Right now, a question that I've never been able to answer, and then a pandemic. Okay, a question I've never been able to answer. I don't know, william, if you've had this happen, but a handful of times in life I've met a person at a dinner party or a social function or an interview or whatever, but within five minutes I just knew they were a winner. I don't know if you've ever had that you, just within five minutes, like now. This one is special, right, and for a long time I've wondered why. I mean, I'm not the smartest guy in the room, but I'm not dumb and gullible. Why am I falling for this person within five minutes? Not in a romantic kind of way, but like why do I want to hire them? Why do I want to be around them? What makes a person that right? And I've never been able to figure it out. Then we had a pandemic. So in our search work, if a church hires us to find their pastor, or a school, the headmaster or the relief organization, their CEO, whatever it is, we do a search. Probably there are, for that one search, maybe 1,500 individuals that are potential. Okay, then you do some research and you pretty quickly call it down to maybe 100 or 150, something like that. You do phone calls, you do more research, you do maybe Zoom interviews. All of a sudden you're down to dozens and not hundreds. When you keep going down the funnel and get to the very best of the best the top say eight or 10 in any given search those people get an in-person, face-to-face, long format interview. Okay, it's just the way I was taught, it's the way we've done it forever. During the pandemic there was not a lot going on for us. I mean, churches and schools are our number one and two client. You know what I learned? Here's a business lesson entrepreneurs, if all of your clients close indefinitely, it will change your P&L. That's insightful. It'll free up your calendar. It'll free up your calendar. We downsized the firm. It was horrible and we did it all at once. So that was good. Don't drip your downsizing. If you got to do it, go ahead and do it. Then we said, okay, we could just close, but we're going to serve churches. We helped them. We ended up being kind of the go-to resource on PPP funds and several things that we just had to learn on the fly. We still had some time left over. We realized those long format, face-to-face interviews with those top eight to 10 candidates. Right, we realized we've now done 30,000 of those. We've tracked them. We're kind of maniacal with our data. We know where those people are. Have they done a good job? We said, okay, 30,000, that's the best of the people that we've interviewed ever. Who are the best within that 30,000? We figured that out. Then we asked the question do they have anything in common? The answer was yes. The answer was nothing like I thought it would be. That's sort of what birthed the book. Yeah, it's kind of cool. It's not William's opinion on what makes a cool candidate. That's not the book. There are way too many leadership books out there that are just because somebody said it, then it's so. This is a book that's pretty simple and I'm glad I've got many clients, particularly the best preachers I know make it look simple only because they worked really hard at it. The book may seem simple, but that's because there's been a mountain of research and three years of digging into what is it that makes those we call it unicorns, those wow, I like that person. What do they have in common? The cool thing is it wasn't what I expected I thought it'd be. They're all super intelligent. No IQ barrier, right. Or they all had the chance to go to really high caliber college or university nope, or they're from a socioeconomic group or racial. I think nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. Not even do they have great hair and shiny teeth. None of that was the common denominator. It was 12 interpersonal habits that they all practice and that's where we came to what stands out in the crowd a unicorn. But we're not just going to call it that. We're going to say this is data driven and lots of research to show you, if you've practiced these 12 habits, you will be one of those people. I tell people all the time. For 15 years I've gotten paid to go spot the next unicorn for a team. Got them pretty good at spotting them. Now I can teach you to become one, and that was an unforeseen happy circumstance of the pandemic.

Speaker 2:

No, I love that and I will totally agree with what you said. The thing I loved about this book was the data driven aspect of it. This is not opinion, this is not anecdote. This is data, data, data, data, data. Stacking under each one of these 12 habits and I was like, ok, wow, so many different perspectives and angles. But you come back to it you're like this is not refutable.

Speaker 3:

Well, and you read the list of the 12 habits, you're like duh, I could have written that. Well, you probably could have. I'm not a great writer, but I've got more research than you do. Yeah, that's right. And what we found is these 12 habits are common among unicorns and, incredibly uncommon among the rest of us, and I think that's really uncommon, which means if you actually take this book and read it and apply it, you will stand out of the crowd because no one else is doing it. Unfortunately, most people true confessions moment. I am one of those guys who bought a treadmill to become a runner and it ended up being a great place to keep the laundry that needed to be folded. You know, I think people can relate to something like that. You know. But if you take here's the data, this is all you have to do and you don't have to do all 12 at once. You can figure out what three you're best at and lean into your strengths. You can work on your weaknesses, but hopefully it'll help a whole lot of people. It's never been harder to stand out of a crowd than now. Well, entrepreneurs know this. Everyone's got a platform. The workforce is crowded. I'm too old because all these Gen Zs are coming. I'm too young because all the Gen Xers don't want me to have the spotlight. What you know? Ai is going to ruin my life. It's harder than ever to stand out and I think this book might help people be able to stand out in a really noisy world.

Speaker 2:

You know, when you talk about the standouts, you talk about making yourself irreplaceable, making yourself indispensable. What are some of the ways that you talk about that? You can do that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah Well, first of all, the good news is, these traits and habits are nothing that AI can do. I'm all for AI and tech, you know. I mean, you know human history is full of cycles, of we invent something that creates efficiency, it gets rid of some human jobs and it creates more opportunity for different jobs. So, and that's what we're about to face on a massive scale None of these 12 habits are repeatable by a computer. They are human to human skills. They really are. And you know, if you have entrepreneurs listening, they're the human soft skills. If you have pastors or followers of Jesus listening, it's kind of the second part of the Great Commandment how do you love your neighbor as yourself, not just be nice to them but like, be intentional in your relations? And in each of the chapters you've got a here's a case study on this habit in an entrepreneur. Here's what we learned from the unicorns. We interviewed them all and here's how you follow the next steps and path. So I think just reading the book is going to be a pretty simple guidebook for saying if I, if I apply these things, I will stand out the crowd.

Speaker 2:

No, this can be a little bit challenging to ask this next question, but as you look at the 12 traits, is there one that stands out as being the most important? I mean, they may be like trying to pick among your kids, like which one you like best, but is there one that jumps out?

Speaker 3:

Yeah Well, super question, william. I have what I call consultants disease. I start down a rabbit hole and I just keep going until somebody pulls me off it. So in the pandemic we got a lot of time. We took the once we had the 12 habits and we surveyed the unicorns to see, like, what are they best at? What percentage of them would rank this as their top habit? What percentage would rank this? So we had all that. Then we hired some psychologists and data analytics people. We surveyed a quarter million people on these 12 habits. It's so interesting because what we found between those two sets of data is there's one habit in particular that is least common among the unicorns and the single biggest blind spot for the general population. So self-awareness is the habit and the unicorns of the unicorns. Like I forget the percentages, but it's the lowest score of. This is my top gift. Of the 250,000 people we surveyed, 91% said that they were above average in self-awareness.

Speaker 2:

I love that.

Speaker 3:

I don't know, man, you probably got somebody that's got a math degree listening right now. I don't have one, but I'm pretty sure 91% of everybody is not above average at anything. So you see the value of the data. Then it's like I probably have a blind spot here and I probably need to develop this. And it is. I mean, I've got a religion and philosophy degree behind me there, which is super useful in entrepreneurship. So I tell my kids I got a sophomore in college. He's taking philosophy 101, actually with the same professor I had at Wake Forest and he hates it and he's doing terrible and he doesn't understand. Why are we talking about this? This doesn't make any sense. And I said Will you know what People with a philosophy degree do for their entire career? And what Dad Said they ask people would you like fries with that? So, it's not super helpful for business. But in philosophy I remember Socrates. You know he didn't write anything and there's very little. All of his teaching is oral tradition. He's probably seen as the cornerstone of Western philosophy and the one teaching. Everybody agrees that, he actually said, was know yourself, and I think he said it because it's hard. The most people don't. I think you used to be a pastor, right, you'll am.

Speaker 2:

Yeah absolutely.

Speaker 3:

Do you remember the first time you heard a recording of your sermons and you're like that's not my voice, I don't sound like that I believe I burned all copies of those that were in existence. I am so glad I finished my preaching before the digital footprint thing started, because it was not. I don't know why anybody came back to church. But, or, if you, maybe there's somebody out there that plays golf and they've gone to one of these places that you can get film and see how you're. I first time I watched my golf swing I thought, oh my gosh, this is horrible. So you know, I think of having a way to study yourself and learn some self-awareness. It's really hard, but if you can do that, man, you have set yourself way above the crowd. Yeah, and, and you know, as a first step toward that, this is not in your notes, but we continued down the rabbit hole and said, well, we've got all this data. I wonder if we could build a software tool, kind of like a disc or an enneagram or whatever, where people could take a really valid, structured, professionally done inventory to see what, what are my top three of these 12? What are my bottom three? And so we built that and it's a really cool starting place to say here's my. Where I need to be better. We even built a 360 version for teams where you know you could have your, your boss, take it about you and people that work for you, take it about you and then you really do hear what your voice sounds like recorded, because it's like, oh, but, but it's the, it's the first step. I mean you. So that's probably the least common gift and the most valuable, and I'm trying to figure myself out right now.

Speaker 2:

So so so on that first, second, like these are the assessment and the 360. Is this something that's available?

Speaker 3:

Oh, sure, yeah, yeah, go to Vanderindexcom Out.

Speaker 2:

Outstanding.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a super fact. I think it's going to be really helpful. I we've even designed it where this sounds kind of weird. We have seven kids, so everybody wonders if I'm Catholic or Mormon, but it's neither. Oh, but, uh, we're. We're taking it as a family. Oh, love that, which is kind of cool, like, and how do you guys see me and how do I see you, and where do I? How, what are we as a family? Or what are the three? Yeah, so it's going to be kind of a cool index. We're pushing the book out right now because it's launch, launch, launch. But we didn't want to stop there. I I decided when I wrote my last book I'm not writing another book without creating a software tool that helps people apply it.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, so good. You know, I think in the family application there is really helpful to my, my girl. We have two girls, one in college, one in high school, and they have both taken every assessment that you can imagine, because I want everybody in the family to take all of them. And so we've done the Mars bridge, we've done the disc, we've done the working genius, most recently you know, and so now here's a new one we're going to take. I love this.

Speaker 3:

And that right there that's. You're so ahead of the crowd. I mean, we have more tools available to us to know ourselves than ever before.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 3:

And then none of them are expensive.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 3:

So you know, when you're in a job interview and someone says, tell me about yourself, yeah, yeah, if you really know something about yourself and know what they're looking for Now, now you're not just telling your life story, you're telling how my wiring as a seven on the enneagram or as a D I or as a whatever is this, and here's where I've excelled with that and that's why I'm excited about interviewing with you, because you seem to have a culture that value will now Wow. You just gave a thermonuclear answer Like it's boom, because you took time to know yourself.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so good. You know the first of the habits in the book, the fast. When I read this like the first thing, I thought it was oh wow, I don't know if I'm the fast.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I'm not fast, I'm Dutch, so we are built for wind resistance.

Speaker 2:

You know, like this is so.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's great, but but and I honestly don't know how the chapter orders ended up the way it did, but I you could probably substitute a Senate a Senate and say the responsive yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good, that's good.

Speaker 3:

And it's basically do you get back to people or not?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

And the reality is nearly everyone stinks at this. Yeah, you were just horrible. We studied this data in the book. I won't bore you with it now, but we studied sales and marketing teams who literally pay thousands and thousands of dollars for software to let people write into the company and then no one ever follows up with the lead. When the research shows, if you get back to people within a minute of when they write in, you have an over a 98% chance of talking to that person, and people just throw it away and don't respond. We looked at dating websites and talk to like, the e-harmony people and the like. These are sites that are solely populated by people who are trying to find a relationship and they're lonely and they don't get back to people. And over and over and over, we saw the unicorns of ones that actually just get right back to people and it's super valuable Like, oh my gosh, you really got right back to me. So, yeah, I would affirm that.

Speaker 2:

I do a lot of work with marketing agency owners, and one of the things that they will often talk about in the group coaching that I do with them is the frustration they have with their clients who pay them to generate leads for them, but then the client never follows up with the lead. They literally are paying money for these leads so that they can generate new business, but they just go into the either.

Speaker 3:

Huge study was done some years back. I don't think this is in the book of people who use inbound software like HubSpot, incusionsoft, all those part-out, those kind of things. The study asked the question. You know the point of generating a lead is to have the next conversation. Right, it's just to have a sales conversation and that probably leads to one more and one more. Kind of like evangelism is not do you love Jesus or not. It's long, multiple conversation relationship. So the question was does how fast you respond to a lead determine how likely you are to get a conversation? And staggering amount of research done and what the found was if you get back to people within 60 seconds of them submitting their information, you have over a 98% chance of talking to them. You wait 20 minutes, it drops to 60%. You wait 24 hours, it gets to less than 1% chance of ever talking to this person again. Here's the punchline Average response time for all the companies that were surveyed 42 hours. Wow, they're literally throwing away any chance they have and the money they used hiring, part-out or HubSpot or IncusionSoft or whatever. If you just get back to people, you will win. It's shocking. Wow, that's where you get to. These habits are very common among unicorns, very uncommon among others, and every one of them is attainable. It's just a matter of you know, just do it.

Speaker 2:

And that's another thing that jumped out at me. In the book you believe, every one of these is tangible.

Speaker 3:

Completely Wholeheartedly. I think some are more aligned with personality types than others. I am a little OCD about getting back to people. I am one of those that's you know, fast, or responsive, or what do you want to call it. I'm probably not the best at self-awareness, so you know, part of the reason we did the inventory was to say where am I good, where am I not? How do I create a development plan for myself? But none of these are unattainable. It's not like I can watch Tiger Woods study a swing. When I tee it up, I am not hitting it like him. I don't care how much work I put in. You know I'm not going to win the slam dunk competition in the NBA. It's just not going to happen, no matter how much I work at it. These 12, though, are so uncommon among most people and so attainable that I really think we found like a little bit of a secret sauce to people standing out in the crowd becoming a unicorn.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, they move the needle and the data shows that that's right. If you want to move the needle, here is the recipe.

Speaker 3:

That's right, and it's a pretty simple recipe. Yeah, you know we touch. During the pandemic, adrian, we were all shut down. I had all these kids right and a couple of them they're grown adults. But she's like okay, while we're here, you're going to learn how to fold a fitted sheet. You're going to learn how to darn a sock. You're going to learn how to everyone's going to learn to make one of the family meals. You're going to learn how to cook a little bit. And our son was like I can't bake. And she's like baking is the easiest thing. You just follow the recipe and it will turn out fine. And he's like he followed the recipe. It came out like, oh my gosh, this is actually pretty good. Like yeah, and that's kind of this book. Just follow the recipe, you don't have to invent anything, just follow the recipe, it will turn out fine.

Speaker 2:

So somebody picks up this book, and I hope everyone of our listeners will, because it's worth it. What is the first step that you would recommend that a reader take to begin to stand out, actually?

Speaker 3:

the longer I'm looking at this. I think the first step is to take that inventory, because then you've got a roadmap for how to read the book. It's not a sequential. You can read this chapter and then this one and this one and this one. Publishers already like we got to get a workbook out, we got to get a team manual. So there are going to be lots of resources coming out. But I think the inventory I underestimated how valuable it is. We took it as a team here recently when it was in beta and it's pretty cool. It's simple, it's not, you know, super complicated. It's 84 questions. But that might give you a place to start and say some people are of the opinion you work on your strengths first. Okay, first, work on your strengths. Others are like well, I probably need to get better at these three, but you'll at least have a bit of a roadmap of where you're good and where you need some work.

Speaker 2:

I love that We'll have that link in the show notes as well, so people can do that and take that assessment. Let me ask you as far as you, William, like you're a leader. You're a leader at a different level than all of us. You've been doing this for a while. You've found great success, You've helped a whole lot of people and you've got a massive amount of data that you've pulled from to help you move forward in the journey and serve your clients at a different level than you could 15 years ago. How do you continually stay on top of your game? How do you level up with the new leadership skills that VanderBloomman is going to need five years from now from you?

Speaker 3:

Well, this is getting harder as I get older. One of the habits is agility, the 12 habits I mean. The fact of life is, every day I'm alive I get less flexible, literally, like I can't touch my toes as easily as I could before, and that dog will hunt in a lot of different categories of life. So I think the older I get, the more I have to be intentional about stretching myself, surrounding myself with younger leaders. I think we've had people come and go from our company for many, many years. We have very few bad leaves. We've had a few, but very few. We've actually, people we've hired and have worked alongside us have launched 12 different businesses after leaving here. Wow, it's kind of fun.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So they're like, ooh, I just learned how to do content-based marketing. I learned that I'm going to go whatever it is they're going to go do and that's kind of cool. But the one that stung the most I think of probably anybody that's left was a young woman. Krista is her name, and love or death serve as a reference. Like no bad blood. But she was. She just left to follow a dream job and move with her husband to a dream town, and no fault at all. But she was on our lead team at 24. And I can't tell you how much that challenged me and energized me and forced me into some agility that I didn't have. So I think kind of constantly reaching down to the next generation and say I want to learn from older, wiser people. It was the whole line. Why is wisdom wasted on the old and youth on the young? But I think one thing I'm trying to do is lean into these younger generations that are so stinking smart and so quick and think differently than I do. Even down to last weekend we had the I forget what kind of eclipse it's called when the moon passes in front of the sun.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the real eclipse.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And so we only had a partial viewing of it here in Texas, but it got darker and it cooled off real fast and everything and I was playing in a golf tournament and Adrian and the kids were off doing something. I texted her, I said it's getting dark and then she sent me back a picture. I'm like, how did you get a picture of that? And she said, oh, I asked the 13 year old and she knew, through TikTok, some video about how to do it. I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep up, William, but I'm committed to trying to reach down a generation and trying to stay on top and then also trying to get out of the way and not be the guy that has to be everything. So you know, one of the things we're going to have to do five years from now I have to be less essential. I have to be less relevant, and I've been on about a 10 year journey to try and do that. I tell people I'm trying to become less essential every year. It's a little easier than my ego would like. That's good. The world is going to change and it's going to change fast and I don't know that I'm supposed to be the guy at the tip of that change, so I don't know. That might not be a great answer to your question. I'm learning as I go.

Speaker 2:

I love that, and I think you just illustrated so many of the things that we talk about on the show the intentionality behind what you're doing. You're not just going to think, well, one day I'll just wake up and it'll be the way it needs to be. No, you're going to be intentional on this, you're going to be purposeful in this, and then it goes with one of your habits of being purpose driven the agility that you talk about. This is so critical and so many leaders I'll watch lose that agility, that flexibility, over time and it's like they just they calcify in place.

Speaker 3:

That's exactly the word. That's exactly the word I use. That is so good.

Speaker 2:

Yanks Like is that really who you want to be? Is that the story you want to tell?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Not me and the teachability, the humility and the teachability that you're exhibiting in this. These are things that I think every leader can learn from and should learn from, and if you don't learn from them, you will wish you had at some point.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I don't think anyone wants to just be an ordinary bill sitting on Capitol Hill, absolutely yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, so true. If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were 20 years old, knowing what you know now, and you could tell yourself one thing what would you love to go back and tell yourself?

Speaker 3:

Well, the problem with talking to a younger version of myself is, when I was younger, I knew everything.

Speaker 2:

As did we all.

Speaker 3:

I think I'm a lot dumber than I was back then. But you know, this is for my story. It might not fit for everybody else, but one. I don't know about the best or the single one thing I'd say, but one thing that pops into my mind as I hear your question is a slow down. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I think entrepreneurs if you're an entrepreneur out there, I think I know that your favorite book you've ever read, it's the one you just finished. So and what does that translate to? You read a book and you go back to your team and we gotta do this, we gotta do this, we gotta do this. And it just comes. You don't realize you're trying to share the newest, greatest, latest vision and it comes off as too much, too fast. And you know what I didn't realize, william and I made this mistake in my early 30s actually, so not 20, if you go too fast, you can erode trust, even if you never lie, even if you're never deceptive. There are people on my team that need me to go slow enough for them to process, and if I talk too fast, eventually they start asking the question what's he trying to hide? Why do we have to go so fast. I never knew that speed could erode trust, and I never knew that you really can sit in a mall on something for a while and learn. You don't have to be moving thing to thing to thing to thing. So I think the younger version of me would probably already know this, since he knows everything. But slow down. That's what's top of mind when you ask the question.

Speaker 2:

That's so good. You know you're a continual learner and typically on these interviews I ask if there's one book that has really changed your journey, one book that you would recommend that every leader put on the top of their to read list. Now I'm gonna put be the unicorn right, because I keep talking about that in this interview. I think it's really a critical book that's gonna help a lot of people. But other than that, is there a book that has made a difference in your journey that you'd recommend?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, I'd say the Bible, right, that's a good answer, good answer. It's always the answer what are you reading that's really influencing you? We ask candidates and they say the Bible. I'm like okay, except for the Bible. I will say you know, I'm a one year Bible guy. I read through every year. I probably think I'm maybe about 25th year. Wow. And last year my daughter said, are you gonna read that again? Like wow, I really stink as a parent, but my spiritual leadership right there. But I said yeah. She said do you ever learn anything new? And I thought, oh, now that's really interesting. And so I actually had a daily prayer that whole year. I need to do it again. God, show me something new this day.

Speaker 1:

Hmm.

Speaker 3:

I'm gonna read the same thing I've read so many times. Just show me something new. And that's kind of a cool way to approach old texts. Maybe it's an old book you've already read before. What can I learn? There's always something else, always right Now. Throw the religious piety out, forget Bible part for just a second, I would say. Without a doubt, atomic habits is just one of the best I've read. Remember my friend Craig Grishel, who's a pastor in Oklahoma and this and other galaxies probably, but he does a leadership podcast and it's one of the top leadership podcasts in the country. He only does 30 minutes. He only does it once a month. When he had James Clear who wrote atomic habits on, he went for an hour and 10 minutes only time he's ever gone over time and I don't know if we just have the same interests or need to learn, but I think atomic habits, that's pretty good. You read atomic habits with be the unicorn. Then you could actually develop the plan for doing the habits that here is a map for you. Follow these habits, you will be a unicorn.

Speaker 2:

How practical, how intentional, how purposeful. I love it.

Speaker 3:

I'm trying to learn.

Speaker 2:

As we talk about this today, people typically walk away from an episode like this with one big idea. If you could choose what that one big idea is gonna be, what would you want it to be?

Speaker 3:

You can stand out from the crowd, because I'm a nerd and have a bunch of data. I think we've been able to build a roadmap for that, and now it's kind of on you whether you're gonna do it or not.

Speaker 2:

I know folks are gonna want to stay connected with you and continue to learn from you, will you? And they're gonna wanna pick up a copy of the book. What's the best place for them to continue to learn from you? Connect with you, pick it up.

Speaker 3:

We never wanted to name the firm after me, in fact, I'd said no and I bought like 300 domain names. I'm like yeah, and you think you got a lot of books. I got more names than you do books. I need to get in a recovery group. It's not good, but like lifetime status with GoDaddy, oh God. So I gave all these domain names to the search engine experts, right, and said which one's the right one? We'll name the company after it, we'll run with it. And they came back and they said good news, bad news we found the right domain name. That's the good news. Bad news is it's your last name. And I'm like I thought I said no, no, no, no, here's out. Your last name is so screwed up that's how they said it too that you can misspell it into Google a hundred different ways and it will drive back to your domain. And they were right. So how do you stay connected? They just try spelling Google into Vanderbluemann, into Google, just any way you want. It will get you to our website. There are probably 4,000 free resources there on building and running and keeping a great team. Have them, run with them, get better from them. The book same deal. It'll be on the top of the website. There is a website with all book resources. It's called theunicornbookcom. But the easiest way is just. You can even do it on Amazon. Just try and type Vanderbluemann, it will get to me, because it's yeah. I used to hate my name growing up. Now I'm kind of thankful.

Speaker 2:

That's pretty remarkable. I love that. Yeah, william, thank you for today. This has been so insightful, so much wisdom you shared here and you've been so generous, and I appreciate that, thank you.

Speaker 3:

Oh, thanks for having me on, william. You're really good at what you do, you're easy to talk to and I appreciate you having me.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticaleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, non-profits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. And if you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticaleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic music playing].

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticaleadershipnet.

Interview With William VanderBloomen on Leadership
Data-Driven Book to Stand Out
The Value of Self-Awareness and Assessments
Leadership and Continued Growth
Catalytic Leadership and Book Announcement