Join us today for the Interview with Dr. Kevin Gazzara, author of The Leader of OZ...

This is  the interview I had with professor, leadership coach, and author Dan Miller.  

In today’s podcast episode I interview Dr. Kevin Gazzara.  I ask Kevin about his experience with leading and building diverse teams and the strengths that brings. Kevin also shares what FLOW is and how we can achieve it.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1437: Interview with Dr. Kevin Gazzara about the Strength of FLOW and Diversity in Business

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1437 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:07] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I'm Dr. Kevin Gazzara. I challenge you to invest yourself. Invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having this ability to create an environment that helps us all get into flow is the key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend,

[00:00:53] What I think the main thing that you have to do if you're a leader and you want to bring people together is you have to [00:01:00] have them work together in things that are purposeful.

[00:01:11] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact others.

[00:01:44] In today's podcast episode, I interview Dr. Kevin Gazzara. I ask Kevin about his experience with leading and building diverse teams, and the strengths that brings. Kevin also shares what FLOW is, and how we can achieve it. I've got a [00:02:00] new book coming out right now, Called Inspired Living, assembling the puzzle of your call by mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures.

[00:02:08] You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over@inspiredstewardship.com. Inspired Living. That's inspired stewardship.com. Inspired living. Dr. Kevin Gza, CEO of Magna Leadership Solutions Management and Leadership Expert. Executive position intelligence coach, professor at five universities, speaker and Arthur of the leader of OZ or Oz.

[00:02:39] Kevin worked for 18 years at Intel Corporation in positions from program and product management to leadership development. He holds a BS in commerce and engineering and an MBA and a doctorate of management and organizational leadership. Welcome to the show, Kevin. Thank you.

[00:02:57] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Hey, Scott, thanks so much for having me on and [00:03:00] sharing me with your listeners.

[00:03:01] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. I'm honored to have you here. So I talked a little bit in the intro and your intro, you've done a lot of different things in a lot of different ways over the years. But I always tell people that I feel like intros never really capture the complete journey because there's always more to it than that, would you share a little bit about your journey and what's brought you to the point of doing what you're doing now?

[00:03:30] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I'll try to do that in a very compressed manner for you. Four and a half

[00:03:34] Scott Maderer: hours later. Yeah.

[00:03:37] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: We'll try to keep it to minutes, born and raised in Philadelphia area and Levittown, Pennsylvania. I grew up there moved to Phoenix about 30 years ago. And been here ever since but my I had the normal leave it to beaver the type of childhood [00:04:00] that people see on television so mom and dad, dad worked, mom stayed home, she was the housewife, two kids in the station wagon and the dog and living in the suburbs in a generic environment.

[00:04:14] So grew up in that environment. Great childhood, great parents, great family life and my, both my parents were religious and we were brought up Catholic as kids. And the interesting thing is we lived on a street that was very diverse from a religion perspective.

[00:04:39] So one of the things I would say I learned early on was the respect for for the different religions and how everybody saw everybody equal. I think that was really important as, as far as a foundation for me. So we used to Celebrate Hanukkah with our neighbors, and we, they used to celebrate Christmas with us, [00:05:00] and it was really a very nurturing collaborative kind of team environment.

[00:05:07] I did all my undergraduate work in engineering and business, my then an MBA, and then went off and did all my doctoral work in organizational leadership, which is my passion. I worked in industry for about 30 years, and I had a personal goal had a great mentor, had a great coach had a great financial advisor, which is really important, and my goal was to retire I do my next phase of life when I was 50, and I was actually able to do that actually left when I was 51, just a year after that.

[00:05:41] But I spent 30 years. My last 18 years were at Intel. I managed Intel's management leadership development for the world. We used to do 2500 managers and leaders in 10 different countries. So when I left, we had just finished training our first team. 40, 000th manager. So it was a great learning [00:06:00] environment, but ultimately what I wanted to do is when I turned 50, I wanted to give back, and work with small organizations. That didn't have 10 million budgets and help build their leaders. And that's what we've been doing. I left with two of my colleagues. We started a company called Magna Leadership Solutions. This will be our 18th year that we're going to celebrate.

[00:06:25] Every year has been better than the last. And we've been able to work with lots and lots of companies around the world, typically small companies. The smallest one we work with is about 60 or 70 people. Largest one we work with is hundreds of thousands, but we only work with a small division. So our sweet spot is typically in the three to five hundred range, up to a thousand people.

[00:06:47] And We've been able to work with them and we do executive coaching and we have a, what we call our leading forward Academy and we've able to really make cultural change [00:07:00] for organizations that are struggling in particular, if they're struggling to hire and retain their best people, particularly in manufacturing found that the work that we do helps the build the leaders and the supervisors, particularly the floor supervisors in a way, Okay.

[00:07:18] The people want to stay and that is so valuable to have a stable workforce these days. So life is great. I have no complaints. Yeah it's been a wonderful journey.

[00:07:34] Scott Maderer: Phoenix is a fun town though. It is a little on the warm side at times. Having been there in the summertime a couple of times.

[00:07:42] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Absolutely.

[00:07:44] Scott Maderer: So why focus on leaders? Why has that thread of working with developing leaders, whether that was when you were working for Intel or whether it's now why work with leaders? What's the buzz there for [00:08:00] you?

[00:08:00] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: When I first started I started as I think as everybody does get out of school and you're coming as an individual contributor.

[00:08:07] I started as a marketing engineer and then a product manager and then ultimately moved into to be a general manager. So I got to experience my first company was a company called Transamerica DeLaval worked in Trenton, New Jersey. And I was there for about 10 years and I was really fortunate to have.

[00:08:27] Just a group of incredible leaders and managers to work. So I really got a good on hands on training. And what I saw was that the organizations that had the good leaders were happy. They were productive. They were stable. People came in to work. They wanted to work together as a team.

[00:08:52] And the other organizations that were within the organization I work with that had more of the command and control leaders, [00:09:00] people were always unhappy. You didn't get the discretionary. Time from them, the discretionary work where at the end of the day our department five o'clock, everybody was still there.

[00:09:13] Not that we had to be so that we wanted to be. And then I could watch some of the other departments around some of the engineering departments that at 501, it was a ghost town. And I thought that's interesting. And. So we had a tendency I saw the kind of the best leading lead organizations got promoted.

[00:09:35] They got opportunities. It was just a better environment. So that's I thought there's the leverage point for organizations. It's not so much paying people more. It's really creating this kind of team culture environment. And I thought, boy, I bet you how hard could that be?

[00:09:56] And when I got into it I realized, oh [00:10:00] man, there's a lot of stuff that you can learn with regard to behavioral theory and so forth that I just really wanted to learn. And it was one of the reasons I ultimately. at 44 went back and did all my doctoral work and organizational leadership. So it's a good lever.

[00:10:18] A lot of companies don't take advantage of it. They just figure if you can pay people more that'll do it. And it just doesn't work.

[00:10:30] Scott Maderer: Or in the case of a few companies that I've worked for the beatings will continue until morale improves. That seems to be the philosophy sometimes.

[00:10:38] Yeah. But that idea of using the leaders to leverage that, so what is your definition of kind of a quote, good leader?

[00:10:52] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I I think for me I think there's a lot of traits and [00:11:00] behaviors that good leaders have. I think one of the most important things for leaders is they recognize that their job is about the people and it's to create more leaders, right?

[00:11:13] The best leaders create more leaders managers manage things, leaders lead, lead people, and you can see now. The no one gets a leader title in any corporation. It's always manager or senior manager, director, something like that. And what I found was that the best leaders were also good managers or recognize that they needed good managers to work for them.

[00:11:47] They, you don't if you're a leader and you're trying to do everything at a 10 out of 10, you're going to, fail. You just can't do that. People have certain talents. People have certain skills. People have certain passions, [00:12:00] right? And you really, the best leaders are in a zone where They're going after the things that they're passionate about because they're going to bring the energy and the focus there.

[00:12:10] Best leaders are really focused on the people, focused on developing others and I think the other thing that they do is they're great communicators. They take responsibility and they think of more of we than me.

[00:12:30] Scott Maderer: So earlier you mentioned growing up on a very diverse street with a lot of different religions.

[00:12:35] And I know some of your journey has been around faith and those sorts of experiences as well. Could you talk a little bit about your faith journey and how has that intersected with the work you do around leadership and how has that influenced your faith and how has your faith influenced the work you do?

[00:12:56] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Like I had mentioned, Scott, I was born and raised [00:13:00] Catholic, went to Catholic school my first five years, and then transferred over into, to public school. I think the thing for me, I would say I'm more spiritual than religious. That I believe it's interesting when we started Magnet Leadership Solutions my, I was Catholic, my one partner, Marlene was Protestant and my other partner, Dr.

[00:13:25] Ali Lakhani was Muslim. So there, we got a little bit of diversity right there and we just learn from each other. And it's really about respecting people for who they are. Then what they look like or what they believe in, and are, you just have to really ask, are they good people?

[00:13:46] And I think the thing that I learned growing up is always do the right thing, always treat others with respect own your own [00:14:00] responsibility be accountable, hold yourself accountable use the platinum rule, Rather than the golden rule is treat others as you would want to be treated, and the platinum rule is is treat others as they want to be treated.

[00:14:15] And I think if you can do that, you can be recognized as a person that other people want to be around and want to learn from and and I think that's very important. As a leader, I think you need to be approachable and I think with every religion. The foundational tenants of all religions even people that aren't religious have these foundational pieces.

[00:14:48] And if you're just genuinely a good person and goes back to what great leaders do is building other leaders and you treat others. More on a [00:15:00] parallel rather than a, and a hierarchy. I think you're going to end up in a really good place.

[00:15:06] Scott Maderer: And you've had the experience of teaching at a lot of different universities, including in diverse environments.

[00:15:13] Does, do you think that's influenced both again, that the views you do on with leadership, as well as your own. Views in terms of spirituality and faith.

[00:15:23] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Yeah I've taught at six different universities over the last 27 years. At one point in time I was teaching at all six.

[00:15:32] That was just a little crazy. And then when the, when the pandemic hit I paired a lot of things down and right now I'm just teaching at 1 of 1 of the 6, but 1 of the things at the end of 2008, 2009, I left Intel in 2007 to start up Magnet Leadership. And 1 of my very good friends and colleagues was [00:16:00] managing.

[00:16:00] Intel training and development in Israel. And so I had a chance back in the 90s. I started my first trip. There was a 96 to travel back and forth to Israel to X to do the leadership programs that we were doing over there. And a gentleman by the name of Dr. Shimon Namar was running that and in 2009, he left Intel and he was offered an opportunity to become a president of a university in Israel and he said he called me and I remember talking to him and he said, hey, I know that you've been teaching.

[00:16:38] I know you've developed. Curriculums for three other universities and leadership and at the master's level and the doctoral level. I'd like to partner with you so that we can create this leadership program for educators so that we can change the way we teach in Israel. And I was very excited about doing that.

[00:16:59] [00:17:00] So we developed a program. We launched it in 2010 and for 12 years, I would go over once a year. Which was a requirement to teach over there. But the interesting thing that we had done, Scott, was was a fantastic program. In fact, ended up on the, getting written up on the 1st page of the Jerusalem Post in the early teens when we were launching it.

[00:17:25] But the interesting thing was, is that we purposely, we would get anywhere between 18 to 24 students, and all educators, teachers, superintendents People directors for the different schools. And what we would do is we will put them together. And by the way, it was very diverse when they looked at the applications.

[00:17:50] So we had Jews and Arabs, Muslims, Bedouins. Druze Christians. We had this [00:18:00] gigantic mix. And what we would do is we put them together in teams, not only by male, female, but also that we would mix up all the religions. And then they would have to work as teams for the two and a half years to get through the program.

[00:18:15] And every year that I would go back to, to teach there. They would invite the other students that had graduated to come and see Dr. Kevin and visit with me because I would be over there for a week to 10 days or so each year. And the interesting thing is they all said the same thing by putting them together, they said what we recognized is we are much more alike than we are different and that was really one of the intentions.

[00:18:47] Of the program. Now, things in Israel at the moment are a little bit messy for sure. When COVID hit, they, I stopped traveling over there. So I haven't been over there since [00:19:00] 2020, but it was a great experience. Good learning experience for me, and it reinforced what my hypothesis was, is that we are much more alike than we are different and by getting people to work together and learn to appreciate each other.

[00:19:16] Yeah. I think we can bring the world closer together, although it sure seems a lot of that philosophy would would have some really good influence at the moment.

[00:19:28] Scott Maderer: I think, yeah, and not just in Israel but I think there's a lot of examples that we can use now of of polarizing behavior as opposed to behavior to try to bring people together.

[00:19:41] And that focusing on what we have in common versus what we have different, I think is a powerful leadership technique. It's a powerful negotiating technique. It's a powerful life technique. But I would also say, I think in a way it is something that requires. [00:20:00] energy and effort in terms of, I think there is a natural inclination sometimes to think of the us versus them, the dichotomy.

[00:20:10] We have a tendency to want to put things in boxes like that. What have you seen as some of the things that help people in those leadership positions to begin to recognize that focusing on the similarities instead of the difference is valuable?

[00:20:24] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I think the main thing that you have to do if you're a leader and you want to bring people together is you have to have them work together in things that are purposeful, right?

[00:20:34] It's just doing the team development or you mean

[00:20:39] Scott Maderer: doing a ropes course on the weekends while doing it? Yeah.

[00:20:42] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I'm not saying don't do that. I'm saying is if you're, if that's your dependency and how you're going to build a team, it's not going to work. What you have to do is we have found is give them a real project that they have to work on a continuous basis mix that, mix the teams up.

[00:20:58] have them have shared [00:21:00] ownership. One of the things that one of my managers at Intel did, which I thought was just absolutely brilliant was that he said, Hey we get everybody gets bonuses at the end of the year. And 1 of the things that I'm going to do is we're going to have 2 variables.

[00:21:19] You're going to have your performance. And the team's performance, right? And each of us are going to have a target. And the rule is going to be that if we don't hit the team performance numbers, no one gets their individual numbers. No one gets the individual bonuses. And that was a radical departure from what I had done in the past.

[00:21:40] And what it did was, is when we recognized that there were some, there was someone struggling on the team. Under resourced or whatever. I still remember having a staff meeting where one of my team members who was not hitting, who was not contributing to the team target. And she really, and she was really under resourced.

[00:21:58] She needed an additional head [00:22:00] count. And I still remember since. When I had a head that I could use for my department, I thought, boy she needs it more than I do. I need to take the hit. And I gave her my resource. And fortunately she was able to get her performance for her team up to the level that was necessary.

[00:22:24] And the nice thing is everybody got all their bonuses for the year. I'm not saying it's all about money, but when you have a common goal and you can work towards it. That solves a lot of the problems that usually exist with the individual recognition or compensation levels, right?

[00:22:46] That it's, it moves you more from the me to we.

[00:22:51] Scott Maderer: So one of the areas that I know you, you speak on and work with organizations and leaders on is this idea of flow. Can you [00:23:00] talk a little bit about what is flow? What do you mean by that? I think people may have heard the term but what do you mean when you talk about flow?

[00:23:08] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I use the the official definition of flow, which was defined by a gentleman by the name of Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And unfortunately, we lost him last year. He passed away. They did some amazing work. I had read his original book just called Flow. If anybody hasn't read that's one of my top 5 books of all time to read.

[00:23:35] To read and what he said was getting in flow as he defined in 1990 in the book. Was returned in the mid nineties to being being in the zone,

[00:23:50] Scott Maderer: right?

[00:23:50] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: So people, oh, people have heard of that, right? How do I get in the zone or be in the zone? And that's really what flow is.

[00:23:56] And the way Dr. [00:24:00] Chiksing Mihaly had defined it was you get into this sense of flow. When you have the right balance of challenge and skill, when your skill level is at the level of the right level of challenge, you get in the zone. And the easiest way, and there's lots of, there's 8 different elements that contribute to flow but the easiest way to determine whether you're in flow or not is where your sense of time is severely distorted.

[00:24:29] It's, you're working on something and you look up at the clock and it's midnight. And you swear it's nine o'clock. It's okay that must be wrong. I couldn't have, I could not have been here for working on this for two or three hours without noticing. That's flow. And the amazing thing about flow is flow doesn't guarantee productivity.

[00:24:49] What happens is the creativity just explode. You can't, you can get more, more productive. It doesn't, there's not a direct correlation to that, but you can get [00:25:00] you can certainly be more, more creative and it creates lots of other things to think about something that you're so deeply involved with.

[00:25:07] It's interesting. You become part of the event and so forth. And one of the things that we work with organizations is how do you get people involved? Yeah. into that zone so that the creativity just explodes. And there, and we have a whole process that we use and it's relatively simple, straightforward.

[00:25:32] But we find that most people, most organizations don't do anything about it. It's much more about just adding additional skills for training and giving them more tools or more software creating different processes. And what you really want to do is you need to find out if you have, if your challenge is too high and your skill is too low, you move into an area with what Csikszentmihalyi talks about as anxiety, [00:26:00] hang anxiety or stress related.

[00:26:02] If your skill is way too high and you're, And your challenge is too low. You move into a boredom area and anxiety and boredom keep you from getting into the flow. And the key is, so as a manager, as a leader, the 1st thing to do is we tell people, hey, you're going to track the work that you do.

[00:26:24] You're going to plot it on this diagram. You're not going to tell them what's good area and bad area. And then you do this overlay of this channel. It's called the flow channel. It will indicate what is what's, where is, where you are anxiety, where you are in, in boredom. And then we have a process there's 6 different elements that you can do to move anything from the anxiety or boredom area.

[00:26:55] It's pretty straightforward. It doesn't cost any money to do it. It's just paying [00:27:00] attention and it's allowing people to be flexible with the different tasks and the work that they do so that you can move people because there's people that are incredibly good at something. They've done it a thousand times.

[00:27:11] They're very efficient, but it's just boring as hell to them. And even though they can be efficient at it, It doesn't help them grow, it doesn't help them learn, and what you really need to do is something that may be in boredom for you may ultimately be in flow for someone else. And it's get, figuring out how do you get those people together quantitatively or scientifically so that they compare and the expert can transfer his or her knowledge to the other person.

[00:27:41] And then they can get into flow. And the other people can get out of the board in peace. So pretty easy, pretty straightforward. Don't see very many organizations doing it. Typically we can go in and in a day, in 8 hours [00:28:00] we talk about, you don't want it to, people hate reorganizations.

[00:28:05] They love rebalancing, right? So we tell people is do not reorganize your organization rebalance it let people. We have this process that I developed when I was doing, I did all my doctoral work in this area and flow was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Chixing Mejia's on my committee to help development assessment, but that I'm going to give away, by the way, at the end of the session today, the people can identify where the types of tasks that are most motivating and demotivating for them, but the.

[00:28:40] But the thing was, is we've developed this thing we call the task auction. And you get everybody together they plot all of their their tasks that they do. They bring it in we put the charts up on the wall and we've done it virtually and it works a little bit better, I think, live. And then with the manager in the [00:29:00] room, everyone gets a chance to sell Any of the tasks that they want to do.

[00:29:05] There's no buying that happens and you capture all the things that want people can sell and in whole or part I've got 4 hours of this routine work that I hate doing and I'd like for this project. I like to sell that right? And then you put it on Excel sheet. And then once you have the entire team listed there, and all of the tasks visible with the manager in the room, you, we have a process where they can we start an auction and anyone can buy any of the tasks in a whole or part, right?

[00:29:39] Sometimes two people say, hey, you've got 10 hours. I'd like to do 5 of those. The other person wants to do 5. Let's put you together. And typically, if you have a team that's doing similar type of things. It doesn't work with a very small team of people like where there's a purchasing person and a finance person and an [00:30:00] engineering person.

[00:30:01] It doesn't work real well, because you can't really transfer. But if you have a Customer support team, whenever it's doing very similar kind of stuff. It works incredibly well. Typically, we move end up usually end up 65 to 72 percent of the tasks can be moved, right? So when people are getting rid of the stuff that they hate to do, it frees them up to do stuff that they love to do.

[00:30:26] And then when new projects or activities come in, rather than just giving it to whoever has open hours. You ask them, okay, here's the project. Here's how here's the activity. Where would you put it on your flow diagram? Does it get it close to the flow area or not? And if it does, let's have a discussion.

[00:30:46] So you start delegating or assigning different projects and tasks to people that is going to be exciting for them, as opposed to what we typically do of who's got some [00:31:00] extra time.

[00:31:02] Scott Maderer: And it sounds like they may still end up with some tasks that are, yeah, they're in that boredom stage or in something else, but it reduces it so much that they spend a lot more of their time in that, that, that core area of flow.

[00:31:16] Is that right?

[00:31:17] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Here's the most interesting thing that we found is typically all of the crap work that nobody wants to do. You have this bucket of nobody wants to do it almost 100 percent of the time. It's all administrative work and the last one of the last teams that we had done and we did a case study on this was for an IT organization and you have these people that you're paying 100, 150, 000 and what happens over time, as we all know, is All support goes away.

[00:31:48] And then you end up having these 150, 000 engineers that are doing design work making copies and doing expense reports and making level one phone [00:32:00] calls and printing the thing

[00:32:01] Scott Maderer: out, stapling the thing, running it down the hall that Yeah, run it over to to nail it out or.

[00:32:08] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: or making phone calls that could be automated. Anyway, so what you, what 100 percent of the time, every team that we've ever done, that's what this happens. And then what the manager recognizes, like we said we did this in the case study, if anybody wants it what we did with the manager was the manager said, Hey, how about instead of me hiring this next 100, 000 engineer, how about we hire.

[00:32:34] a 40, 000 administrative person and all that crap work we're going to give to them and that additional time we're going to give you work that you want to do. Of course, everybody's bought into this, right? Because they've gotten rid of stuff they don't want. They're getting the stuff that they do want and it's better to spend 100, 000.

[00:32:53] You're going to spend 40, 000 and save 60, 000. It's just, Like it's a win for everybody, but [00:33:00] you have to be able to take the time in order to figure out who, who should be doing what. And like I said, we have a really easy process. It's usually can do in a day or so. And yeah, and then I think the other thing like we did in the case study was we were able to get our, the turnover, which I think was about, I want to say about 16 or 17 percent at the time.

[00:33:28] We were able to get it to go to zero for that particular organization and sustain it for 18 months, right? So when people aren't leaving job satisfaction went up 26%. People are happier. They're getting in flow. They're working more together as a team. And pretty much it hasn't really cost you anything.

[00:33:47] In fact, not only has it cost you anything, you save that extra Delta of whatever, 60 to a hundred thousand dollars. It's just super easy to do.

[00:33:58] Scott Maderer: Even if it didn't. [00:34:00] Save you in dollars. The end result is still often that you've got people just turnover lowering saves you money because it is it's incredibly expensive to hire train on board, get somebody up to speed.

[00:34:13] You burn a lot of hours and time and frustration and money doing that every single time. Even just lowering turnover would already quote, save you money, technically.

[00:34:25] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Yeah, in fact, 1 of 1 of the things there's a tool that we use and anybody can go and get it. It's online. Go to attritioncalculator.

[00:34:34] com and you base and you just say what's your turnover? What's their salary? How many people are in the organization and and you hit a button and it uses about 25 different variables and instantly will do the calculation for you. And typically. What you, what would cost you to take somebody organization offsite to, [00:35:00] to do the rebalance you pretty much get a return on investment in a day.

[00:35:04] Scott Maderer: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Easily. I believe that it's comparable to one of the things that I advocated for when I was in leadership, they never implemented it, but I advocated for it is that at the top of every meeting agenda. We had to list how much we're, how much this meeting is costing us per minute in terms of the salaries of the people in the room, just to get us focused on do a, do we really need to have the meeting and then, yeah, if we do okay, let's actually go in and do what we need to do and get the job done and get back out because I'd be sitting in a room with three VPs.

[00:35:43] For senior direct and I'm looking around going, how many, there's a

[00:35:49] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: ton of money going out the door here

[00:35:51] Scott Maderer: And we're not being efficient. We're just sitting here, not getting anything done. It's let's actually get something done if we're going to get it done. Yeah, cause meetings [00:36:00] run well.

[00:36:01] I don't mind being at them at all, but there, there are a lot of meetings I've attended that should not have been a meeting. Let's just put it that way.

[00:36:08] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Yeah. One of the things we did it when I was at Intel we worked with a gentleman by the name of Bill Daniels great guy. I consider him one of my mentors from wrote a book, great book also called Breakthrough Performance and what Bill came in and he designed, we used to call them Effective Meetings.

[00:36:28] We had a course for our course, I didn't tell everybody how to take one effective meetings. One of the things he did after the book came out was that you did all your meetings standing up. There were no chairs, that was a recommendation, no chairs in the room, because that speeds it up, I think, by 25 to 50%.

[00:36:47] So if you're standing up, you're more likely to get through things than if you're just kicked back and playing with your

[00:36:56] Scott Maderer: iPhone. And even things like just organizing the meeting. Like I, I [00:37:00] used to do this for several of mine where I would organize the meeting where if there were people that really just needed to report some information and that's all they needed to do, that was their only participation.

[00:37:10] Why don't we put them at the beginning of the meeting, let them do that and then go back to work and leave. They don't need to be here the rest of the week, but the number of meetings I would go to, and they're the last thing on the agenda. And it's So you may have sent through a 60 hour, 60 minute meeting to give five minutes of information, just put them in the front work smarter, not harder

[00:37:31] Again it's, but I think bringing it back to you, like what you're talking about with flow and the leadership work, I think a lot of times it's not it's not that people don't want to do those things.

[00:37:45] It's that people. haven't ever sat down and stopped and thought it through and said, wait what is our actual goal? What are we trying to achieve? Are we doing this in the optimal way? Oftentimes, cause they're so over [00:38:00] overburdened themselves with the 17, 000 things that they have to get done, that they're just running from fire to fire as well.

[00:38:07] Some of this is about stepping back and looking at it, the big picture, but that's a challenge for us a lot of times.

[00:38:15] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Yeah, and I think one of the best things you could do, and one of the things that we do is we have people do a task inventory. Where's all our time going? And pretty much everyone that does this says the same thing.

[00:38:27] Oh, I had no idea that I was spending this much time. And we used to have something at Intel called KTBR, keeping the business running. And typically when you do your quarterly objectives or whatever, they're more project based. But because nobody has really analyzed what additional brainpower and time that you have above and beyond keeping the business running most people take on the objectives for the quarter as if they didn't have another job, right?

[00:38:57] That's going to be part of their job. [00:39:00] And quite honestly, there's oftentimes there isn't any hours. Left in the 40 hour week, if you're just going to do your job keeping customers happy and developing, dealing with

[00:39:12] Scott Maderer: the normal stuff that you just have to deal with,

[00:39:15] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: the normal stuff and people don't get a lot of organizations, reward you for the project based stuff that shows up in your objectives, and they don't reward you for just keeping the business running. And the people that kind of figured out the formula, they do is they do a mediocre job on keeping the business running, just so the customers were just unhappy, but not irate.

[00:39:37] And then they would do all their project based, and they would get all the bonuses. And eventually the organization figured out, oh, this is a bad idea. So let's make one of the objectives of every Porter. about keeping the business running, right? And have a focus on that.

[00:39:55] Scott Maderer: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:39:57] So I've got a few questions that I like to ask all of my [00:40:00] guests, but before I ask you that, is there anything else about your journey or the work that you do that you'd like to share with the listeners?

[00:40:07] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: So to summarize everything, Scott what I'd say is as a leader first thing is get people to figure out where the hell all their time's going, right?

[00:40:18] It's a good activity for them. It's good activity for you with the intention of making it better not to micromanage them. So that's the first thing. Second thing is start having discussions with them. Start having discussions of what's motivating and demotivating, regardless of whether you plot or not, is what do you want to do?

[00:40:38] Keep a future focus so that you can, you really build them as leaders. And I think the third thing is is continue to work to become a better communicator, right? To be You know, to add elements in your communication and [00:41:00] holding people accountable where you're clear. And the 1 thing that we do know is the best leaders have 3 elements in their communications.

[00:41:11] It has a quantity element, how much I want, has a quality element, how it's going to be measured, and it has a pace, not a time. So I have a project with 10 elements over 10 weeks, is I want you to deliver one of the elements per week, as approved by finance or whatever, so that we have the project 10 of those finished at the end of that period.

[00:41:33] And if you can do that, rather than saying, hey, get the project done by the end of the quarter it'll be better for you. it'll be better for them. And you're typically going to not miss the deadlines that you, that most organizations miss.

[00:41:52] Scott Maderer: So my brand is Inspired Stewardship and I run things through that lens of stewardship and yet like leadership, that's one of those [00:42:00] words that I think means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

[00:42:03] So when you heard, hear the word stewardship, what does that mean to you?

[00:42:08] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Stewardship it's doing things. With the focus for others, right? It's more of the we than the me it's about taking ownership. It's stewardship means acting with or for others so that that we can collaboratively create a better world.

[00:42:41] Scott Maderer: So this is my favorite question that I like to ask everybody. Imagine for a moment that I invented this magic machine and with this machine, I was able to pluck you from where you are today and transport you into the future, maybe 150, maybe 250 years. But through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life, [00:43:00] see all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind.

[00:43:04] What impact do you hope you've left in the world?

[00:43:11] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I guess the biggest impact, I hope. That I've made both through organizations through friends and family through the thought I've taught at universities that for for thousands, maybe even tens of 10, 000 students that I've left them better than I found them.

[00:43:34] That they have reevaluated their lives from a perspective of saying, how can I just make more money or get a bigger title or rise up through the ranks? But how can I really make a difference? That I can build my own brand, but more importantly, can I can be of of support and servitude to [00:44:00] others.

[00:44:00] And if I, and if I'm looking back and, No, there would be people that I've touched in a student way or a colleague or a team way. And they've said that then I think I can rest in peace.

[00:44:19] Scott Maderer: So what's on the roadmap? What's coming next as you continue on this journey?

[00:44:24] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I I'm moving in I turned 68 last year.

[00:44:28] I'm going to turn 69 this year. I've been very blessed with, I have two beautiful grandsons, five and two. We have a granddaughter that's on the way. My daughter's 14 weeks pregnant. So we have a new daughter, granddaughter, and hopefully God willing in in October and my focus has shifted to doing, I think, more executive consulting a little less of a massive [00:45:00] 6 month programs.

[00:45:01] We've paired those back rather than doing a dozen of those a year. We keep that to a handful where it's much more manageable. Where we can, I can spend the time with the kids and help out with the grandkids. In fact, as soon as we're done we're taking care of the little 2 year old today.

[00:45:21] So we have him, he's going to, he should be up from his nap in about an hour. And I'll be able to spend the time with him in the backyard playing some basketball. golf or football or whatever he wants. He's a, he's very much a sports oriented little guy.

[00:45:37] Scott Maderer: That sounds like a lot of fun. That sounds entering that phase where you get to be granddad instead of always always teaching the other classes is sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun.

[00:45:50] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: Yeah. I think I'm going to, I'm going to, I'll keep my fingers both. Like I said I usually teach a couple of classes a year. And at the university I'll continue [00:46:00] doing our leading forward academy. And then for executive coaching people that I can really help. And the good news is I've got this great network of X until people that do a lot of work similar to me.

[00:46:14] That if I it's not a good fit for me or it just doesn't, it's too much of a time commitment. I've got two dozen people like I can hand that off to. Yeah.

[00:46:25] Scott Maderer: Awesome. So you can find out more about Kevin Gazzara over at MagnaLeadership. com. Of course, I'll have a link to that over in the show notes as well.

[00:46:40] Dr. Kevin Gazzara: I think I told you I would give away the assessment that we talked about, which was which ties with Flow. It's called the Task Quotient Assessment that I was fortunate enough that I worked with Dr. Chi Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. to develop. So I'm very grateful for [00:47:00] that. And normally there's a fee for it, and I've created a link for you that if people go to Magna Leader, M A G N A Leader, co, not com, co, forward slash and in caps GIFT, G I F T.

[00:47:16] Anyone can take the task quotient assessment. And what that will do is that will identify for them an ideal task environment of routine troubleshooting and project work, what that mixture is for them. And we know from my quantitative research study and over 10, 000 people taking it. That we, if you can rebalance your tasks around task types that we can raise your level of job satisfaction, motivation and engagement.

[00:47:50] And it's usually pretty easy to do so they can take the assessment anybody needs to, if they have questions, anybody can get ahold of [00:48:00] me. Kevin at Magna leadership. com to discuss this. And I'd love to go through the reports with them that they're going to get for free.

[00:48:10] And my promise is that you're only going to get my passion and you're not going to get any sales pitch. There'll be no sales pitch. I'm not going to try to sell you on anything. If I can help make you better a leader and get you into a place where you can do the stuff that is exciting to you. That's my reward.

[00:48:41] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode [00:49:00] please do us a favor. Go over to inspiredstewardship.

[00:49:05] com slash. iTunes rate. All one word. iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world. .


In today's episode, I ask Kevin about:

  • His experience with leading and building diverse teams and the strengths that brings...  
  • What FLOW is..
  • How we can achieve it...
  • and more.....

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The main thing that you have to do if you’re a leader and you want to bring people together is you have to have them work together in things that are purposeful. – Dr. Kevin Gazzara

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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