Catalytic Leadership

The Leadership Journey: Dave Pennington's Strategies for Hiring, Onboarding, and Cultivating Success

May 23, 2024 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 53
The Leadership Journey: Dave Pennington's Strategies for Hiring, Onboarding, and Cultivating Success
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Catalytic Leadership
The Leadership Journey: Dave Pennington's Strategies for Hiring, Onboarding, and Cultivating Success
May 23, 2024 Season 2 Episode 53
Dr. William Attaway

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Unlock a wealth of leadership knowledge as we chat with Dave Pennington, the mastermind behind Penn Coaching and Consulting, who brings a business-savvy perspective to non-profit management. His cross-sector journey, from pastoral ministry to the boardroom, has equipped him with the acumen to guide organizations with a firm hand and a warm heart. Dave's stories and strategies reveal how to tailor your leadership approach to the tapestry of personalities in your team, emphasizing the value of tools like the DISC assessment in understanding and empowering those you lead.

The art of hiring goes beyond matching resumes with job descriptions, and Dave shares the secret sauce to finding the perfect cultural fit for your company. We dissect the critical elements of a job description that speaks to both skill and spirit, and why it's vital to involve your team in the recruitment process. This episode will reshape your view on hiring, highlighting the importance of finding candidates who not only excel in their roles but also resonate with your organizational ethos.

Once you've brought the right people aboard, the journey has just begun. Dive into the pivotal role of onboarding in making new employees feel at home and the long-term strategies that keep them there. We discuss the delicate balance between nurturing talent and ensuring longevity, unearthing the overlooked factors that drive employees away and how to create an environment that inspires loyalty. As we wrap up, we also reflect on the legacy of leadership and how caring for your team is the cornerstone of lasting success. Join us for a session filled with actionable insights that will revolutionize your approach to leading and growing your team.

To connect with Dave Pennington, visit penncoaching.com to access videos, ebooks, blogs, and more. Reach out on LinkedIn or schedule a no-obligation consultation call to start a conversation and explore how Dave can support your leadership 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.

Grab your free copy of Dr. William Attaway's new book, CATALYTIC LEADERSHIP: 12 Keys To Becoming An Intentional Leader Who Makes A Difference.

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Connect with Dr. William Attaway:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Unlock a wealth of leadership knowledge as we chat with Dave Pennington, the mastermind behind Penn Coaching and Consulting, who brings a business-savvy perspective to non-profit management. His cross-sector journey, from pastoral ministry to the boardroom, has equipped him with the acumen to guide organizations with a firm hand and a warm heart. Dave's stories and strategies reveal how to tailor your leadership approach to the tapestry of personalities in your team, emphasizing the value of tools like the DISC assessment in understanding and empowering those you lead.

The art of hiring goes beyond matching resumes with job descriptions, and Dave shares the secret sauce to finding the perfect cultural fit for your company. We dissect the critical elements of a job description that speaks to both skill and spirit, and why it's vital to involve your team in the recruitment process. This episode will reshape your view on hiring, highlighting the importance of finding candidates who not only excel in their roles but also resonate with your organizational ethos.

Once you've brought the right people aboard, the journey has just begun. Dive into the pivotal role of onboarding in making new employees feel at home and the long-term strategies that keep them there. We discuss the delicate balance between nurturing talent and ensuring longevity, unearthing the overlooked factors that drive employees away and how to create an environment that inspires loyalty. As we wrap up, we also reflect on the legacy of leadership and how caring for your team is the cornerstone of lasting success. Join us for a session filled with actionable insights that will revolutionize your approach to leading and growing your team.

To connect with Dave Pennington, visit penncoaching.com to access videos, ebooks, blogs, and more. Reach out on LinkedIn or schedule a no-obligation consultation call to start a conversation and explore how Dave can support your leadership journey.


Support the Show.

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.

Grab your free copy of Dr. William Attaway's new book, CATALYTIC LEADERSHIP: 12 Keys To Becoming An Intentional Leader Who Makes A Difference.

Discovery Call:
Book your free 30-minute strategic and discovery call.

Connect with Dr. William Attaway:

Website
LinkedIn
Facebook
Instagram
TikTok
YouTube

Dr. William Attaway:

I'm so excited today to have Dave Pennington on the show. Penn Coaching and Consulting helps business owners and leaders to insert Dave's proprietary strategic scaling framework into their companies to hire onboard, develop and retain highly productive employees. Dave has worked in management in three industries pastoral ministry. Dave has worked in management in three industries pastoral ministry, private education and the business world. Eight years ago he founded Penn Coaching and Consulting and currently serves as the CEO. He has helped accounting, medical, educational, printing, real estate, learning, development and tech clients. He knows how to lead and grow organizations and he's passionate about developing leaders. He knows what it takes to build and scale a business. He brings his 35-plus years of management experience to the table, leans into his clients' challenges and comes alongside to help them navigate the waters of business growth. Dave, I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for being on the show.

Dave Pennington:

Thanks, William, for having me. I'm looking forward to our conversation today.

Intro/Outro:

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.

Dr. William Attaway:

I'd love to start by you sharing some of your story with our listeners, Dave, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started?

Dave Pennington:

Well, I probably started more in the pastoral section of my life, probably did that for the most of my life and I was pretty much in, I would say, larger, midsize to larger, mostly on the larger size. So people don't recognize it. But if you're a nonprofit it's really not much different than for-profit. I usually say the difference is if you're for-profit you're trying to make money and if you're nonprofit you're trying to provide a service. But I always tell my nonprofit friends, if you don't run your nonprofit like it is a for-profit you will not have a nonprofit. You know.

Dr. William Attaway:

And so true.

Dave Pennington:

So you know, leadership is leadership and I, you know, I'm probably more administratively gifted and that's kind of been my strength really throughout my whole life. So I've developed people and built teams really all of my life and that's kind of how I got started. I kind of got pulled into the educational space. You know, I have a terminal degree and often in my pastoral realm it was a little bit of a dual role where I was maybe on a staff and then I was actually the head of school or the administrator of the school, and a few of them were good sides. I've actually been the head of school of five different schools and one was 630, one was 650. So when you have 650 students you got a lot of pieces and parts there, a lot of management, and all of that has just equipped me very well for what I'm doing now in the business sector.

Dr. William Attaway:

And you get the parent too right.

Dave Pennington:

I get the parent. Yeah, with the school I always say you know, you have the educators and the curriculum and facilities and the kids and the discipline and the parent. You know, and you know you might find this interesting I have a larger family. I don't know if you even know that, William, I have seven children myself four boys and three girls.

Dave Pennington:

And the last school I was kind of an interim head of school. You know I'd have young moms come in and they were concerned about different things and you know they were sometimes they'd come in a little jacked up. I would say, you know, just ready to kind of have me for lunch. And then I and usually you don't realize this, but if you're an administrator and you only have girls, then you don't understand boys, and if you only have boys, then you don't understand girls so I usually would just say, hey, well, let me show you a little bit about my background and I said you know, we've been married X number of years, we have seven children, four boys and three girls. And I'd tell them a little bit about my kids and you could just see that they would sort of start to relax and and then, usually before it was all over, I actually often had opportunities to counsel them and help them with their kids, because they were coming at it from one perspective and hadn't really thought through the holistic picture of things.

Dr. William Attaway:

So you know it's been interesting. You know, I find so much of leadership is just that it's helping people to understand different perspectives, because we typically have one way, one view of looking at the world, and what we get to do as leaders is we get to come alongside people and help them see things, maybe in a way they've never seen before.

Dave Pennington:

You think. Well, we do, and one of the things that I've learned is, in fact, I teach clients this we have what I call kind of a default leadership style. We tend to lead others the way we like to be led, which, I always say, works really well if everybody on your team is exactly like you, which is never the case. And so one of the assessments I use with leaders is I use DISC, if you're familiar with DISC.

Dave Pennington:

Sure, assessments I use with leaders is I use DISC, if you're familiar with DISC. And one of the ways I use it in fact, probably one of the more powerful ways that I use it is I talk about you don't lead everybody the same way. Now I tell them you can be a good leader and have one style, and that's usually what happens in most corporations or organizations. Wherever's the alpha sets the tone, the culture, and everybody adjusts to the alpha, and that will work. But what you're doing is you're forcing the whole team, the whole organization, to adapt to you. A much more effective way is for you to learn how to lead different people differently.

Dave Pennington:

And so when you, for example, if you're familiar with DISC, if I'm leading a high I who's a real connector, I'm going to say, hey, how are you doing today, how was the weekend? I'm going to chit chat. If I'm leading a high I who's a real connector, I'm going to say, hey, how you doing today, how was the weekend? I'm going to chit chat. I'm going to talk about family, I'm going to talk about all kinds of things, because a high I likes to connect and then maybe I'll get down to business. Whereas if I'm leading a high D, which is more of a direct person, I don't chit chat. It's like, hey, here's what I need, here's what I it by Got any questions? All right, see you, because they just want to go get the job done.

Dave Pennington:

And so I think of it like hats. So when I look at one person, as I understand the people that are working for me or working with me, I put one hat on for one person, different hat on for a different person, and I'm constantly changing my leadership style and I'm actually adapting my style to actually fit them so that I can lean in and help them better, because I'm not requiring them to adjust to me. And that works really well. In fact, it raises your leadership from one level, I think a couple notches, if you learn how to do that.

Dr. William Attaway:

That's so good. I think that's helpful for a lot of the people who are listening, who are are entrepreneurs, who are founders, who've started what they're leading and as they find success, they have to hire other people to help them with fulfillment. And then they have to learn how to lead those people, and I love what you said there. You know leading everyone. You can't lead everyone as though they're the same, because they're not. When you think about the people in this space entrepreneurs, agency owners, people who are starting something new when they start, they have to do everything and I imagine you've encountered this as well but over time you have to make a shift. That often is a very difficult shift for leaders to make. Do you see that? And how do you help people to make that shift?

Dave Pennington:

You know it is difficult because when you begin, you touch everything. I always say if you're a widget maker, you know you create the widget, you know you market the widget, you sell the widget, you package the widget, you ship the widget. I mean you do everything. But as your company begins to grow, you can't do everything, or else what will happen is you will cap out your company in the sense that it can't grow beyond what you can handle.

Dave Pennington:

One of the ways I've had a lot of success and this is a little counterintuitive maybe, but as I work with business owners or entrepreneurs that are developing something, rather than focusing on where they are currently, what they're doing, what stage of business they are currently, I like to project out of where they're going and help them envision okay, when you get this thing fully built out, what's it going to look like? What's your org chart going to look like? You know how many people are you going to have on your team? You know all those kinds of things. And so I always say you know, we want to begin with the end in mind, where we create that visionary concept of oh okay, that's where I'm going. Then we reverse engineer back to where we are right now. And then what happens is we get a strategy together, a plan, a strategy and a plan where we begin to build it out piece by piece by piece and you know sometimes what happens.

Dave Pennington:

And you're in that mid range, you're kind of doing a lot of the work yourself and overseeing things and you're thinking, ok, what's the next job I'm going to give away, ok, what's the next job I'm going to give away. And I always say you know, you want to start with yourself. You want to keep the things that you like doing and you're really good at doing and you want to give the things away that you don't like doing. That sort of exhaust you. You've learned to do them adequately, but they'll never be your love and you'll never really get great at them. Those are the people you want to find first to kind of replace you there, and that'll take a tremendous load off of you and allow your business just to surge ahead.

Dr. William Attaway:

You know, I think finding the right people is one of the biggest challenges that I hear from clients all the time, you know, trying to find the right people for their team. Where do you find the right people? Where do you find good people? I hear this all the time and I imagine you do too. Is there a secret sauce here for leaders? When they're looking for the right people, what do you tell?

Dave Pennington:

clients. Yeah, I think the secret sauce is, frankly, hard work. You know, most of the time the reason we don't get the right people is we don't really have clarity about the person we need to hire. You know, we know we need someone. We sort of think we know who we need. I always say we kind of hire from our gut. We find someone we like who might mostly fit the job but not exactly fit the job, so we will adjust the job. Hire from our gut. We find someone we like who might mostly fit the job but not exactly fit the job, so we will adjust the job to fit the person rather than finding the person to fit the job and to find that right person.

Dave Pennington:

Think of it like looking through binoculars you can take the caps off the binoculars and you're looking, and as you look you have to adjust the lens and as you adjust the lens they clear up and you get clarity about what you're trying to look at. I think the same thing is true with hiring. You know, I force people to actually do written job descriptions that do not just simply include training and maybe expertise and experience, but also that include things like aptitude and maybe even aspirational things, things they want to. You know they want to grow, and particularly that, whether or not they include culture. Because often what happens, you may find someone who's a heavy hitter but he doesn't really fit your culture.

Dave Pennington:

And if you bring someone in who's a heavy hitter, who doesn't fit your culture, that doesn't usually work very well. Sometimes you'll regret that because that person really needs to fit your culture when you bring them in. So getting clarity, I think, is where you start. If you get clarity, it's a whole lot easier to hit the target. In fact, I liken it sometimes. I don't know if you've ever shot a bow and arrows, but you put an arrow in a bow and you pull it back and you're like where am I going with this thing? You really need to have clarity about the person you want to hire and then don't don't settle for second best. I mean, really go for the person you need that's going to be happy in that job, that's going to do that job well and is going to fulfill really what you need.

Dr. William Attaway:

You talked about culture there. I'd love to dive into that for a second, because that's also a topic I'm hearing a lot so often. People hire for competency right, they may think about a little chemistry with them, with the rest of the team, if there's good chemistry there, but they're not thinking culture. How do you evaluate and determine if a potential candidate is a good culture fit?

Dave Pennington:

Well, I think you can do some of that through the process. I mean, you ought to have some people on your team, particularly, I'll call it your administrative level. When you're hiring someone, you not be the only person who's interviewing that person. Often, everybody has a perspective and typically, if you get, I'll say, a wider range of insight and input about a person, one of the things that's going to happen.

Dave Pennington:

You'll have someone say look, I like this person, I think this person's competent, but I'm just, I have a little concern that he or she might not fit our culture, and sometimes it'll be the opposite, which is, you know, I really think he can do a great job, but you know, what I love most about him is I think he fits who we are. You know, I think she fits. You know our team and our spirit of our team. I was just with a prospect yesterday and one of the things that they were very concerned about as they grow is to make sure the people they bring on their team are people that fit their culture. And you know, they know who they want, they know who works and they know who will not work. And often I think, as a leader, we need to make sure we're listening to others, not just thinking that we've got this. You know, I see what I need.

Dr. William Attaway:

Often others will give us the input we need to make sure we align the right person for the job, particularly with the culture. I love bringing other people into that process, you know. I think again, this is something where a lot of founders and entrepreneurs think that they have to be good at everything and they don't need anybody's help. They shouldn't have to need anybody's help when it comes to hiring, and that's a cute myth to think that you're great at everything. But I think it's just that.

Dave Pennington:

Well, I think you're spot on there because, frankly, we don't know it all and we don't see it all. We have a perspective, but sometimes our perspective is a little skewed. You know, maybe maybe a friend recommended this person. We don't want to disappoint our friend. I mean, you know we have our biases too, but you know if and the other thing I think it does is it builds confidence in your team, where you value them and you appreciate their input. Now, I know you can't do that with everybody in the organization, but particularly your leadership, because they're the ones often are going to be working with them even more than what you will, and so you don't want to bring someone in that they're like I don't know why I brought this guy in. I mean we can tell you he's not going to work right away. Like I don't know why I brought this guy in. I mean he's not, we can tell you he's not going to work right away, you know.

Dr. William Attaway:

So that collaborative I think wisdom that comes from you know, really allowing them to share honestly their concerns or, frankly, their positivity about the fact, hey, we think this is a great guy. Great guy, you know so good. You know we talked about in our previous conversation about a four-step process that you use and this, this. I thought this was so helpful and when I was, when I was capturing this in our conversation, I was thinking, wow, this is, this is so important, thinking about your team, thinking about developing people. I would love if you would share your four-step process that you so often walk people through.

Dave Pennington:

Well, we've actually touched on one already, which is the hiring process. So the first level is the hiring. Now, really, technically, I back up before that because I really start with the leader, and I may have mentioned this earlier, but I find that most small to mid-sized business owners or leaders are what I call player coaches. What I mean by that is they're playing a major role on the team. Maybe they're starting shortstop and they're coaching the team simultaneously get positioned to really receive the highest ROI return of investment on his strengths, his abilities, because he is a player and he's the coach. And then, once that happens, then we're saying okay, who do you need next? That then leads to the hiring part and really there we want to get into the idea of making sure the written job description, including the culture, all the things we just talked about.

Dave Pennington:

Next step for me is onboarding. When I say onboarding, people often laugh because if you've ever worked for other organizations or known other people, corporate whatever most organizations have virtually no onboarding process at all. It's like you know, here's your computer, there's your cubicle. I hope you make it. You know I's almost that brief. Read the office manual. If you have any questions, get back to me but other than that. And so a new employee comes in and as a new employee, you're a little nervous and you really want to do well. But even though you understand the job description and maybe you have experience in that role, you don't understand the new organization, the new culture. You don't know the right people in some cases who really are the key shakers and movers and decision new organization, the new culture. You don't know the right people. In some cases you know who really are the key shakers and movers and decision makers and all of that, and you know you have to learn that. So I really encourage owners or leaders, if you're like a leading manager, to actually help a new employee and say, look, hey, we're really glad to have you here. Kind of roll out the red carpet, if you would, we're really glad to have you here. I mean, we went through X number of applicants for this and you just rose to the top and we're just thrilled that you've chosen to join us.

Dave Pennington:

And I know this is a new job and I know you have experience. So I'm not trying to insult you in any way, but I do want you to. I want to share with you in this role. There's about three to five really key areas that if you do these areas well, you're going to be successful. And so I want to walk you through those and make sure you understand those, because I know when you come in you're trying to figure all that out and I don't want you to have to kind of search and hunt and peck and whatever, because you know sometimes that can take three months, six months, 12 months, 18 months, and you know it's frustrating. So I want to set you up for success and I really believe you're going to be a great valuable asset to this team. Now think about that. If you do that that's so rare. It's like you know the new employee can hardly believe it because you want that person to succeed, you know and you're helping him, you're kind of giving him inside secrets. If you would right up front.

Intro/Outro:

Yeah.

Dave Pennington:

The next phase for me is what I call development. This is another one, I think. That is we have a lot of misconceptions. Most owners or leaders expect their people to sort of develop themselves. I'm not saying that never happens, because sometimes you can get someone that you know he's going to grow. She's going to grow no matter what happens. She's going to develop no matter what happens because she's just that kind of person. But a lot of times what happens is they will rise to a certain level and then they just kind of flatline. They don't go beyond that because they're not being challenged and they're not being, you know, guided or directed or developed challenged and they're not being guided or directed or developed.

Dave Pennington:

This is probably one of the things that I've done best throughout my lifetime is really lean into people's lives, get to know them, because you know what, you know their resume, you know a little bit about their experience. I mean, you know all the external things but you don't really know them as a person. I want to know a little bit about their aptitude. Sometimes I find I may hire someone for a job over here. As I get to know the person, I find that you know what he fits really better over here and I wouldn't have known that if I just didn't lean in a little bit. Then one of the things I'm really concerned about is what are their aspirations? You know, where do they want to go in their lives? What do they want to do in their lives?

Dave Pennington:

So often when you work for an organization, I call it a win-lose situation. If the company wins and as an employee I lose, that's not a very motivating place to be in. You want to set up a win-win and, frankly, if you help the employee win in other words, you lean into him, you learn about him, you learn about his aspirations, you're willing to invest resources, money, time, energy, whatever's needed and really help that person, I'll say, grow to the top of his game. What happens is when the employee wins, guess what the company wins also. And when you invest in people and you really care for them and you want to see them grow, I think they work a little bit harder. But here's what really happens you create a stickiness within your company because that's so rare and so unusual to have a boss who really genuinely cares for you and wants you to succeed and is going to do everything he can to help you succeed. It's so rare. It's like, you know, it's like why would I ever want to leave here? I mean, I've got it made. This guy really actually wants to help me, you know.

Dave Pennington:

And then that leads to my fourth area, which is retention. And I always find it funny that most business owners think people leave because of money or lack of money, in other words, I can't pay them enough. That's not usually why they leave. They leave because they don't feel valued or appreciated, there's no opportunity for growth for them or, frankly, just poor management. And so what you want to do is you want to get the right people on your team and get them on the right bus in the right seat, all of that. But then you want to actually develop them and then you want to retain them. You want to keep them. I mean, you've worked really hard to get them there and develop them, so you want to retain them. You want to keep them. I mean, you've worked really hard to get them there and develop them, so you want to keep them. And I get it.

Dave Pennington:

Sometimes you'll lose some, okay, in other words, they get this opportunity, but here's the way it will typically work.

Dave Pennington:

They'll come to you and say, look, I knew that this day would come one day and I've kind of dreaded this piece.

Dave Pennington:

But they'll say you know, I've got this opportunity. I just feel like I need to take for my family's sake or whatever. It's just too good to turn down. But then they'll go on to say you know, I just want you to know, I so appreciate all the investment that you have made in me. In fact, probably if it were not for you, I wouldn't have had this opportunity to even take this job and I am just so thankful for all that you've done. And then here's what will happen Once they leave you, they will actually start sending you people to replace them, and often they send you really good people because they're so appreciative you know, it's kind of a principle of reciprocity they're so appreciative of all that you've done for them, they want to help you. And you know, if I'm going to lose someone, I don't mind losing them that way. That's a you know, that's a decent way to lose people if I, if I, need to lose someone. So those are the four steps.

Dr. William Attaway:

You know what I love about that, dave, is the intentionality of it is so purposeful. There's no step at which you can kind of drift through it. You got to be super intentional on this and the team member centric approach to it. You're thinking about them throughout that whole process. You're thinking about how they're going to fit, how they're going to develop, how they're going to grow, how they're going to succeed. I love that. I think that's such a fantastic model that every leader can learn from. When people feel valued, they lean in. When they feel like that you're for them, they lean in and they're not going to run down the street at the first opportunity.

Intro/Outro:

I think this model is so good. Flipping things you know on the way. It's opposite the way, the norm things.

Dave Pennington:

This model is so good. I think this model is so good Flipping things on the way. It's opposite the way the norm things. I had a conversation I think it was another podcast I was on and I was talking to this lady she's up in years now a little bit and she was talking about when she was in corporate. She was in sales and apparently she did really well.

Dave Pennington:

And you know how you have competitions in sales and you get these big trips where you're going to Hawaii or wherever. And she said you know the people that were running the organization just didn't get it. She said I had little kids and I had to have my kids take it. It cost me more to go on that trip. You know they could have given me the money. I would have been happier, you know. But that's a perfect example of someone setting something up based upon what maybe they would desire versus really what would be a help to the employee and just thinking I'll call it more employee-centric or team member I like that phrase better team member-centric versus company-centric, and that's a small little pivot. But man, it's a huge pivot and I think it's often what is missing within organizations because people often feel like they're just a number, they're just a contributor. They don't feel like there's much for them in the whole process. It's all about the company, about the organization, and that's not real motivating for most people.

Dr. William Attaway:

Dave, I want to talk about you for a minute. How do you stay on top of your game as a leader? How do you stay on top of your game as a leader? How do you level up with the leadership skills that you're going to need five years from now, two years from now, one year from now? How do you continue to develop so that your team will see you and benefit from you being the leader that you're going to need to be?

Dave Pennington:

A couple of things here. One of the things is I'm a learner, need to be. A couple of things here. One of the things is I'm a learner. I'm a big avid reader. I'm always reading and learning and trying to up my skills.

Dave Pennington:

I think one of the things you can do as a leader if you're not careful is you can get comfortable. I've climbed the top of the mountain, I'm at the top of the mountain, I'm good. No, not really. You always got room to grow and, frankly, if you're not growing, you're digressing, you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards. So I think having a heart to learn and grow, be teachable yourself, is really, really key.

Dave Pennington:

But for me, one of the things I try to do is I try to limit what I do to really work in my strengths, and the reason I do that is because if I'm working in my strengths, it's not hard for me, it's actually easy for me and it's almost effortless at times. And then I farm out things. Now sometimes it's to someone I have on my staff, sometimes it's a contractual thing, like I have a bookkeeper and CPA and all that. I don't do all that stuff. Could I do it? Yes, but it wouldn't be a good use of my time and so I want to farm out things that I don't really need to be doing. Same thing with the marketing. I'll be want to have enough space where I can continue to grow as a leader and I'm not just matched out all the time.

Dave Pennington:

Most leaders, if they're honest, they kind of run on fumes. It's hard to go very far on fumes. You really need to back off a little bit and really make sure you're not just busy doing things, but you're doing the right things, and that makes a huge difference. Do less but do what you do better, and I think that helps you stay in the game. It helps you grow and it keeps you from getting overloaded and just burning yourself out, and I see a lot of leaders doing that as well.

Dr. William Attaway:

As you continually learn and grow. I imagine, like most of the people that I talk to, you're learning from a lot of different people. Is there a book that has made a big difference in your journey that you would recommend to the leaders who are listening?

Dave Pennington:

Making it hard for me here, william. One book, all right.

Dr. William Attaway:

If you have to, you can have two.

Dave Pennington:

No, I'll tell you one, I'll tell you one. I recommend a lot. All right, if you have to, you can have two. No, I'll tell you one, I'll tell you one. I recommend a lot, and it's called Rocket Fuel.

Dave Pennington:

It's a Geno Wickman book, if you're familiar with Geno Wickman, yes, eos, okay, and the essence of the book is this they studied companies, corporations that were successful, and in every case there was a visionary, someone who was creative, had the ideas, a vision of where the company could go, and there was what he calls an integrator, an operational person, and the idea is, when they play nicely together in the sandbox and stay in their lanes which sounds easy, but not always that easy they stay in their lanes and the combination of the visionary and the integrator become, quote unquote, like rocket fuel and the company just takes off. And a lot of companies are started by visionaries and the visionary can take it so far, but visionaries are not integrators. If you want to take it to the next level, you need to get an integrator who can take care of a lot of the day-to-day, the operational things, the personnel, all those things that tend to wear you out, if that's not your sweet spot, and so that then you can really get to the next level.

Dr. William Attaway:

That's so good. Love that, Dave. As you think forward to the next 10, 15, 20 years, what do you want your legacy to look like?

Dave Pennington:

You know, to me it's all about impacting leaders. I call it the pebble in the pond concept. You know, if you throw a pebble in a pond there's a ripple effect and if I can impact the leader, it impacts everyone in that organization. I like to write, so I envision myself doing some writing here in the future. I'm also, I have a strong teaching background, I'm an adjunct professor, so I also see myself doing some course. You know, some course development.

Dave Pennington:

I've got a couple I'm working on right now, one in time management.

Dave Pennington:

In fact I've called it time management for busy executives and it's really principles that I have used and that I've used with my clients, that sort of simplify time management. What I find with a lot of the gurus, I mean, they're very competent and capable in terms of what they do, but their systems are complex and you almost have to adopt the whole system or it won't work. I work off of more concepts and principles and and and. Really simplicity, I think, is the key, because here's what I found If it's too complicated, people just won't do it, and it doesn't matter how good it is, if they don't do it they don't get any benefits. So simple ways that are practical, really, I mean, that's just kind of and I like to take complex things and make them really simple, clear and easy to execute. So I kind of see me staying in this leadership space, development space and doing some writing, digital writing and some course creation in the future and hopefully that will allow me to have a legacy and impact for the future as well.

Dr. William Attaway:

That's fantastic. Often, people will leave an episode like this with one big idea, one big takeaway. If you could define that takeaway, dave, what would you want that to be?

Dave Pennington:

I would say, if you really want to grow and you want to be successful with your company or organization, then lean in and make it about your people. The most valuable commodity you have as a leader is your time. You can't get more time. It doesn't matter how much money you make, it doesn't matter where you are on the ladder. You have a limited amount of time. You can't get more time Now. You can use it better. I get that, but you can't get more.

Dave Pennington:

And then the second thing that they think is the most valuable is money. But actually money is not the second most valuable commodity. The second most valuable actually are your people, because if you have the right people, you can always make more money, you can always grow your organization. If you really make it about your people, you're not going to go wrong in that. They will view that as hey, you know what. He believes in me, he trusts in me. I really appreciate who he is and what he's done and his investment and I really want to contribute. I really want to help make this company successful. And it just pays off, you know, in dividends. But you're not doing it to get, you're actually doing it to give. And I think people, you know people have a pretty good barometer. They know when you're really contributing and they know when you're really kind of trying to get back.

Dr. William Attaway:

And I think if you just really look at giving and they sense that you care about them. That makes a huge difference. That's so good. It's about the heart. It's about the mindset that you approach with. I love that. Yeah, I know people are going to want to stay connected to you.

Dave Pennington:

David, continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to do that? Probably a couple of ways. I'm on LinkedIn, so that's a good way to learn a little bit about me. I have a website, it's pencoachingcom. A lot of little videos, ebooks, blogs, all kinds of stuff on there. You can kind of learn a little bit about me there. If you really want to just even lean in more, there's a toggle there where you can set up a consultant call. It's a no obligation call where we just kind of get to know each other, have a conversation.

Dave Pennington:

No pressures. I don't pressure people, but the idea is, you know I learn, I learn about your company and really try to view what, hey, can I help you If I can help you. I share a little bit about how I would help you, how I would go about it, and you know if it works for you and frankly, it has to work for me. You know I'm I've been at this long enough to know that not every prospect is a good client and even if they're willing to pay you, that's not necessarily a reason to take them on as a client. It's got to work both ways.

Dave Pennington:

But if I can help you, I'd love to help you and if I can't usually I know someone that can I can refer you out to someone and say you know, that's not really my sweet spot, but I know a guy or I know a gal and I can connect you there of someone that can help you. And frankly, I'm just really also what I shared. I'm all about people, so I love to help people. Sometimes I'll just give them some free advice and it can be insightful and helpful, and we move on, we stay friends. They're not quite ready to engage yet, but maybe we stay in touch and down the road they engage, or maybe they learn about me and they send someone, a friend, to me that you know, that I can help.

Dave Pennington:

So it kind of works that way.

Dr. William Attaway:

Love that. It's a very generous way of thinking about the world and about business there, dave.

Dave Pennington:

I think that's a great model for us all Well it works and you know, and I think people, once again, if they sense your sincerity, people like to help people and they like to. You know, they like to both give and receive and when you come at it with kind of a wholehearted spirit, I think they sense that and it just connects you really at the heart.

Dr. William Attaway:

I'm so grateful, Dave, for your generosity today and sharing so freely from your own journey and what you've shared for the benefit of other people. Thank you.

Dave Pennington:

Well, you're welcome, William. It's been great to be with you.

Dr. William Attaway:

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 catalyticleadershipbookcom, 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.

Dr. William Attaway:

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, nonprofits, 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 catalyticleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic to book a call with me.

Intro/Outro:

Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic. 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 catalyticleadershipnet.

Dave's Journey as a Leader
Leading Different Personality Types
Finding the Right People
Retaining Employees
Continual Growth as a Leader
Making it About Your People