How Leaders Build a Reputation for Being Trustworthy

Dr. Relly Nadler: We are always trying to bring cutting-edge leaders, authors, and gurus who can give you a little bit of that competitive edge. What can you do a little more? What can you do a little less? What are the things that will bring you into the top ten percent?

Today, we are going to talk about honesty and trustworthiness. How leaders build a reputation for being trustworthy with Ron Carucci. He’s got some really interesting things getting to the base, and common principles of being a leader.

We are going to bring Ron on and give a little bit of his bio in just a moment. Thank you, hold tight. You can hear some of the pearls coming from him.

Let me say a little bit about Ron Carucci here. Ron is the co-founder and managing partner of an organization called Navalent. It works with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, their leaders, and the industry that they are in.

He has a thirty-year track record of helping executives tackle challenges, strategy, and organizational leadership. I’m sure he’s in the thick of it today, helping leaders move forward.

He’s worked with startups to fortune ten companies, non-profits, heads of state, turnarounds, new market strategies, overhaul, and leadership but also culture and redesigning for growth.

He has helped organizations articulate strategies that lead to accelerated growth and design organizations that execute those strategies.

This is a perfect time to hear from Ron.

He has worked in more than twenty-five countries, on four continents. He is the author of nine books including the recent amazon number one, Rising to Power, and the forthcoming book, To Be Honest – Lead with Power and Truth, Justice and Purpose.

He is a contributor to Harvard Business Review where Navalent’s work on leadership was named one of the 2016 management ideas that manage the most.

He is also a contributor to Forbes and a two-time Ted speaker.

He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and two children.

So, Ron, let’s bring you on and we will jump right into it. I think Cathy will probably join us when she’s available. Ron, welcome to the show.

Ron Carucci: Hey, Relly, thank you for having me. Great to be here.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Yeah. Thank you.

So, let’s just start off a little bit. We always try to do this, and, probably, you do this too, to get a sense of the leaders that you are working with. What are some of the influences that have led you to be who you are?

Then we will go through a series of questions about some of your research and studies that I think our listeners will be really happy to hear.

So, give us a little background about who have been some of the major influencers in your life.

Ron Carucci: Gosh. I had been very blessed with some incredible mentors throughout my career. Some wonderful bosses who gave me some great opportunities to test my wings and try new things. Certainly, the management thinking, even going back to the classic of Peter Drucker, Tom Peters.

I think, there were some wonderful management thinkers early in my career that I found to be truly informative and significant that shaped my thinking. Certainly, psychologists like David Nadler and Richard Beckhard, who fathered the field of organizational psychology, which was also, certainly, very informative for my work as well.

Dr. Relly Nadler: I know David Nadler, given my last name is Nadler but there is probably somewhere we are related. But I know he has done some really informative work.

So, tell us a little bit about your background, what brought you to where you are today, and maybe some of the things that you do today to help organizations.

Ron Carucci: Yeah. So, I’ve been in the field of organizational consulting work for about thirty years. I began my career in a couple of big companies. I had the chance of working inside a couple of CPG companies: an energy company, and a technology company.

I learned in those early ten-fifteen years of my career that sometimes, politically, doing what I do can have some risks to it. I learned that what got me in trouble inside companies got me paid very well outside companies. So, I realized that if I was going to live out my passion for organizations it was going to have to be by not being part of one.

I learned that the way that I work and the kind of data that I have to reveal, the kinds of truths I have to tell leaders in order to get them to improve is sometimes best done as an outsider.

So, I went to work at David Ellis consulting firm.

After that, about sixteen years ago, a couple of friends from the firm and I left to start Navalent.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Okay, cool. So, really interesting what you’re saying. Tell me a little about, because we have a lot of people inside companies, what were some of the things – I’m imagining something along the lines of a truth-teller. But what were some of the things that got you in trouble inside a company but then a higher-paid consultant outside the company?

Ron Carucci: Well, early in my career I will acknowledge that I probably didn’t have the same levels of diplomacy that I do now. But you turn over rocks inside companies, large complicated systems are imperfect systems, and they are full of humans. So, when there are performance coaches, when there are performance challenges, of course, you are going to find human behavior behind a lot of that.

So, sometimes you have to hold up mirrors to say, “Hey, here are some of the challenges you’re facing. Here are some of the problems you as the leader are causing,” if you really want to fix the problems and improve the performance.

Well, sometimes, I learned that when you are in the same political, hierarchal structure as those leaders or in the same pollical system, they are a little bit more threatened by you having that information or having that point of view – as if it were a secret.

So, sometimes probably the way I raised those issues, probably wasn’t as diplomatic or alliance friendly as it could have been. So, for a variety of reasons I kept believing that my role was to, in order to improve performance, in order to help make things better was to raise honest information.

But it turns out that that was far more politically risky than I thought.

And then, after I finished with my collection of severance packages, I started working outside of companies and suddenly my voice was welcomed. Suddenly I was not only having them be glad to hear what I had to say but they expected it. Then I could be a little bit more direct, honest, and forthcoming without having to worry about the political implications.

So, I just decided I would try, and then I went to work for Delta Consulting Firm and got to learn and practice with the best of them.

You can listen to the entire interview above by clicking on the play button.

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