Recently, I was interviewed on Executive Leaders Radio, a popular Philadelphia-based program spotlighting C-Suite executives, aired locally and also accessed online. In the pre-meeting leading up to the interview, the host wanted to discuss my background, including what it was like growing up and how I became who I am today.
I was a bit surprised by this since I was prepared to discuss the usual leadership concepts about culture, client service, being cutting edge from technological standpoint and keeping the firm competitive and relevant in our market place. His questions forced me to think about the past… in a hurry. This for me was a little difficult since I am always focused on projecting into the future about what’s next and how to stay ahead of the curve both personally and professionally.
Since the interview, I’ve thought more deeply about how all of our past experiences build up to not only who we are today, but also how these experiences influence our decisions and if there is any bias built into our decision making process, which can be both good and bad. I think in the end we need to not live in our past or dwell upon it, but own it. Accept it. Respect where we come from, and recognize that it is important on how we choose to move forward.
From this perspective, we can become better leaders. Recognizing and embracing our past provides the opportunity to understand the basis behind our strengths and our weaknesses. And good leaders will surround themselves with those people who can help compensate for those weaknesses. Having this understanding should also make us better listeners when we are in the midst of a decision of which we are not the most comfortable.
If you have time, you can listen to the interview at http://126.96.36.199/hagaman-bill-2866.aspx. My portion is at the 14min mark.