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How to Show Courage in Leadership

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It takes guts to show courage in leadership. Join us for a discussion on courageous leadership with entrepreneur Ryan Berman, author of Return On Courage: A Business Playbook For Change.

headshot of author Ryan Berman with image of man standing on mountain in the background to represent discussion of courage in leadership on the Leadership 480 podcast

A 480 PODCAST

How to Show Courage in Leadership

36 minutes | 6/24/2020

00:00:00 00:00

In this episode of the Leadership 480 podcast, we interview Ryan Berman on showing courage in leadership. Ryan is the founder of Courageous: a change company that develops Courage Brands™ and trains organizations to challenge norms, think bolder and take action on courageous ideas. Working with brands like Google, General Mills, Major League Baseball, PUMA, charity: water, Subway, and Caesars Entertainment, Ryan believes courage is a competitive advantage. Berman is the founder of his own Courage Brand: Sock Problems — an altruistic sock company “socking” problems in the world.


Beth Almes:

There's one quality that every leader wants, and yet when it comes down to it, so few of us have it, and that's courage. Hey there, leaders, I'm Beth Almes, and our topic today on the Leadership 480 podcast is courage. And I have a really special guest here with me today to talk about courage, Ryan Berman.

Ryan is a keynote speaker and author of the book Return on Courage: A Business Playbook for Courageous Change. He's also a marketing executive and founder of Courageous, a consulting company focused on helping companies operationalize courage in their teams and their brand.

And not only that, but he has his own courage brand called Sock Problems. Ryan, thanks for joining us today.

Ryan Berman:

Hey. How are you?

Beth Almes:

Good. So I'm excited to talk to you about courage today, because this is something that comes up a lot, especially in times of crisis.

And as I was reading your book, I was understanding your background is in marketing and advertising, but you chose to focus your book really on leadership and where courage comes into play for leadership. What caused you to write a whole book on courage and leadership?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah, well, for starters, I think, just to put a pin in the importance of courage today, I think it's very easy for leaders to talk about courage, and it's a lot harder to walk in it.

To be honest, I was just trying to write a book to position my last company, which is based in San Diego, not a terrible place to be during quarantine, by the way. And as I followed the thread, realized that this wasn't just a book about courageous ideas.

If you know anything about me, I'm definitely on record saying courageous ideas are the only ones that matter. We're living in this media obese time where we're inundated with thousands and thousands of messages, and the world doesn't care if you've worked on something for one hour or 100 hours, they just see the outcomes.

I thought that was the book I was writing, until I started to talk to leaders of Fortune 100 companies and realize that their organizations, many organizations weren't putting themselves in a position to accept a courageous idea. And if the culture wasn't courageous, if the leader wasn't giving their company the permission to accept courageous ideas, you're never going to get a courageous idea past the goalkeeper. So I just followed the thread honestly, and realized the difference between a relevant company and a company that couldn't reinvent itself was the amount of courage we saw inside an organization.

Beth Almes:

That's really interesting. And especially, you're talking about, brands don't set themselves up for being courageous. And one of the things that stood out to me was that, in the book you talked about, most corporations are focused on mitigating risk.

What they really end up doing unknowingly is mitigating courage. So how do they start to get comfortable with that risk, that courage takes?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah. I've actually said, popping off an elevator, it was at Caesar's Entertainment, and the elevator doors open. And there was a sign that said Risk Management, pointed a certain way.

Beth Almes:

Yeah?

Ryan Berman:

My instant response, and I know this says more about me than anything, "Is there a Courage Management Department here?" So it's a mindset flip. It is a mindset flip.

I think if you're risk averse, unbeknownst to you, you're courage averse. If you're talking about risk management, unbeknownst to you, you're talking about courage management. And I think courage is the gas and risk is the brakes to the car. And if you hit the brakes, the car doesn't go. So it really is how hard you hit the gas.

Can you do it in a calculated way? And when you shift that mindset internally, and you give your team permission to run courageous experiments, you're going to learn a lot fast. And I think it's going to move you ahead faster.

Beth Almes:

So when you talk about the leaders you interviewed for this book, was it mostly the Fortune 100 companies, or who were you talking to, to get your research?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah, all over the board. And I described the book a bit like a documentary. So curiosity got the best of me. And at the core, I'm an observationalist. So what it turned out was, I interviewed what I call the three Bs, the Brave, the Bullish, and the Brainiac.

On the brave side, I had the chance to sit with Navy SEALS and tornado chasers and firefighters and astronauts. And I was fascinated by how these people would put their lives on the line for a higher purpose. So I wanted to understand how they could do that.

And then the bullish, so leaders at Amazon and Apple and Google, Methods, so, Domino's, Harvard, just some of the top companies and institutions on the planet. And I was floored that the largest companies that we know about are also in most cases, the most agile. You'd think it was the small company that was nimble, but they had created processes and infrastructure that had pushed the companies forward.

And then, the final view was the brainiac. So, I went to television and radio school, and had no idea how we were wired, and wanted to understand who was really calling the shots here. So I spoke to Oxford PhD, Cambridge PhDs, people who studied at Oxford, clinical psychologists, immunologists, one of the co-writers of The Secret, and just really wanted to understand our central nervous systems a bit better. And you throw all that in the soup, and you come out the other side with the book.

Beth Almes:

Wow. That's an incredible group of people to get input from. And one of the things you said there reminded me, when we talk about courage, it's one of those things that so many of us assume, you either have or you don't have. And when you talk about, you interviewed firemen and military folks and others, I was struck by how you talked about, a lot of them did not think of themselves as courageous, that they, it was just something that they did.

Beth Almes:

At DDI, we often talked about things that are trainable, and then things that are hardwired in our personalities that are very hard to change. So, and you said that courage is really more of a trainable skill. So how do people go about developing courage?

Ryan Berman:

Great question. Yeah, first of all, I think, the hardwired part, the harder part is convincing people to be open to the idea of the training. And so, the big secret, the big joke is, I wonder if I could take the courage out of making courageous decisions.

Can I give you enough training, that it makes it a little bit easier for you to leap and to take action? And what I learned along my journey was, it didn't matter if I was talking to a Navy SEAL, who willingly knows that at the end of their training, they're going to see live bullets.

One of my favorite interviews is with a man named Jeff Boss, who was a Navy SEAL. And this is marketing, by the way. he describes the training as stress inoculation. I mean, what does that mean, right?

And the idea is, that they're going to see so much stress and training, by the time they see live bullets, they're used to it. Meanwhile, a bank teller who can be robbed at gunpoint, if I had a crystal ball and went to the bank teller I interviewed and said, "If you take this job, you're going to get robbed," do you think the bank teller takes the job?

Beth Almes:

Probably not.

Ryan Berman:

"Probably not. I'm opting out." But they still need to be trained. They still need to pass the modules in order to get the job. So they know that at the end of those modules, as they're working, that there might be a moment where they have to activate what they've learned in their training.

And that's exactly what happened in this scenario, where someone in Toronto had, was robbed at gunpoint, and her training just took over. And at the end of it, the robber said to her, "Thank you for not turning this into a homicide."

Beth Almes:

Wow.

Ryan Berman:

As she walks back to the cage, to tell her boss that she had just robbed, the reaction was, "Oh," the jaw drops, she sees their faces, and then she crumbles. And as she describes the moment, she's like, "Honestly, I just put into play what I learned in training. I almost went in to autopilot." And that ritualized, habitualized behavior is what got her through that particular moment.

Same thing on the Navy SEAL side. You see something long enough, it doesn't feel like courage anymore, because you've trained for it. It's taken the fear of the unknown and made it something a bit more manageable, which makes it easy for people to leap.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. It's a big concept we've had here at DDI. In training people, it takes practice. The same way that you would, training leadership skills takes the same practice it would take for a hard skill, but most people don't really think about it that way.

Beth Almes:

And one of the things that you had mentioned in the book that totally stood out to me was that, for a lot of truly perfectionistic professions, so things like professional music or sports, the vast majority of your time is spent practicing, with very small bursts of performance. But then, in business for most of us, every single day is game day.

So we don't make the time to practice and prepare and develop. So how do you, how do leaders make it a priority to practice?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah, so I had a soccer coach who once said to me, "Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. And are we playing at game speed?"

And again, the metaphor here was looking at our army, which I'm fascinated by. And I know not everybody is pro-military all the time, but I looked at basic training and it was like, "Wow, what a luxury. They get, they know they have people coming in from all walks of life. And the first 16 weeks you're in Fort Knox, in Kentucky, or some basic training ground, and they are walking you through their version of orientation." And part of that is seeing the values all over the place, or learning the rank structure, before you ever get a weapon.

You think about what we have at the workplace. You know, they get 16 weeks. Do we even get 16 hours for orientation, before we're handed a metaphorical run for the Wars of business?

Beth Almes:

Right.

Ryan Berman:

And I think the difference, really, is only on the leader's ability to make this investment important, and make sure that they're putting more than eight hours or 16 hours into your onboarding, into your orientation. One of the favorite notes that I heard that Uber evidently did is, they don't do just exit interviews, they do entrance interviews. So they start getting those good ideas before the Kool-Aid sinks in.

Beth Almes:

Right.

Ryan Berman:

And that's part of this process. That's part of this, I'm air quoting here, for those who can't see it, this orientation that we should be creating for our teams.

Beth Almes:

Yeah, that's so interesting, and it's funny. My brother's a military guy, and he's in the Army. And one of the things he often, he would say, he was working long hours, but one of the things I discovered was, he would say, I worked a 12-hour day.

He would often include his physical fitness in the morning as part of that, his exercise routine, everything like that. Whereas, I viewed that as very separate from my day, that's not part of work, and that routine of keeping themselves in shape, and practice every single day.

You talked a little bit in the book, too, about the ongoing fitness that an organization has to have, and leaders have to have, to be able to pivot really quickly. How have you seen that play out in some of the interviews you've done?

Ryan Berman:

In some ways, it's just a process conversation, and/or a permission conversation. My favorite new word in the dictionary, contrary to popular belief, because you would think it would be courage, is actually "experiments."

So are you creating budget and process for your team to experiment? And look, if you're going to hire someone like Courageous, then you're hiring us to help you deal with change. And there's three arenas where change probably has to happen. It has to happen on the conviction side of the business, which is the culture and the leadership side. There's a communication change mission, which is really a storytelling side. And then there's an innovation change part of our job, our business, which is really reinvention.

And what I've learned is, most companies are decent at the invention space. But they ride that wave, and they squeeze the sponge, and they're not creating process and infrastructure for that next wave of reinvention.

So to me, that's the experiment that should be happening. How are we figuring out what we should be spending our time on, and getting to our what's next, creating our next revenue streams, and not being passive about that. So when you actually apply process and budget, and you put a team together, and you're proactive about that next week, you actually have a fighting shot.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. I remembered a quote from the book, and that was from someone you interviewed. And I wanted to say it was an executive from Qualcomm, maybe, who said, who was saying that, "You have to stop doing what's making you the most money today." And I was like, "I don't know how you would have the courage to do that."

Ryan Berman:

Well, especially, when you're at a campus, which is what Qualcomm is. It's always good to have a campus, if you're a business leader, by the way. But they've got tens of thousands of employees, and I believe you're referring to the Roger Martin interview in-

Beth Almes:

Yes, yes.

Ryan Berman:

Roger, who ran IP for Qualcomm for quite some time, for our hour long interview, he talked about zombies. And he equated the zombie apocalypse to what I call the business apocalypse. And the zombie apocalypse is this, these slow moving zombies. We can see them coming from a mile away, but maybe we don't take them as seriously as we should.

You know, you see Airbnb to the hospitality business, and you wake up one morning and they've taken down your infrastructure. And the next thing you know, you're fighting this thing, you never thought you'd have to fight.

Beth Almes:

Yeah.

Ryan Berman:

So that's the slow moving zombies. So again, it goes back to creating process, putting dollars towards it, and being okay that it's not going to be perfect out of the gate. It could be a serious failure, but you take something from those learnings, and you pivot it forward.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. And when we think about that stuff, about the things that are coming in the future, and you know they're coming, and nobody's taking action to do it, one of the things that I was really stuck on was the role of the individual leader when the company isn't being courageous.

I think the way you phrased it was, "Why stick your neck out, if there's a chance you can get yourself fired?" We were going to do what we can to protect ourselves, regardless of what's good for the business. But I liked the point you made about the business is compensating you for great leadership.

So that dichotomy between, what do I need to do to keep my job and not get fired, versus being the great leader I am, is just so difficult. How do you balance the two with courage?

Ryan Berman:

Well, I guess I'd start by asking your audience to have a hard conversation with themselves, and really ask yourself, do you have a job, a career or a calling? And I can tell you, for myself, I wrote the book, like I said, to position a company in Fish Taco Land, San Diego, and everything I learned along the way pretty much gave me the courage to fire myself, and to move on.

And I felt in my heart that I wasn't being, I wasn't able to lead at the level I wanted to lead at. Now, does it make my partners, my old partners, bad people? Or does it mean that I'm right all the time? No, it just meant it wasn't aligned with my particular values.

So the fact that I leaped out of that to proactively start courageous, and I've now surrounded myself with people that share my values, and we're not afraid to share our point of view with the world, I can tell you that, every day, it's a little, this is pretty quarantined, but I feel like I get to do exactly what I was meant to do. And I'm not afraid to share what I'm learning as I go along the journey.

And so, for one, if I'm leading a company that has leaders, have you made it clear that they have permission to speak their mind? Maybe they don't feel that they can. Have you provided that permission?

Two, if you feel like you're at a company where you can't address a concern with courage, just rather, you have to suppress how you're feeling, maybe you're in the wrong company.

And that's the hard conversation you need to have with yourself. Now, the only way sometimes to figure out that for sure is to maybe speak up and see what happens. That's a dangerously, lonely place to be, and yes, it takes courage.

So, if I can give you the tools, which is what Return on Courage really does, to be calculated with your courage, and you can use that currency appropriately, then maybe you can turn your organization into the one you always wanted.

Beth Almes:

And I think that's such a powerful thing right now. You had talked about it in the book, not only the time you fired yourself, but at the beginning, you talked about getting fired years ago from a job, and it was your negative blessing.

Right now, there are lots and lots of people out there who have lost their jobs unexpectedly, especially in the pandemic, and are figuring out what their next step is. Do you have any advice for them on taking the next steps with some courage?

Ryan Berman:

I think, just like for me, even change drove me, and sometimes you drive change. And I mean, again, I was seven years out of college in New York City when a new executive creative director at a 700-person agency came in, and I don't think he even knew my name, which is, that also played to it.

I was mad, I was embarrassed. I felt like I was loyal to a company, and that loyalty was not rewarded. And for awhile, there was shame, and I felt bad about myself. And now, without that, there's no way. By the way, I'm on my third company as an entrepreneur. And I don't think, without that moment, I'd have become an entrepreneur. I don't think, without that moment, I'd move to Southern California, which is where I met my wife and I have my two kids.

So yeah, I do see that moment as my negative blessing. And now, it puts a little smile on my face that I had to go through some turmoil, and come out the other side of it stronger.

If I am in a situation now where I'm furloughed, or maybe I've lost my job, I think the sooner you can get past that poor me mentality, and you can start working on yourself, and understanding why you're wired the way you're wired, and what is it that you really want out of those eight to 10 hours you give to some company, moving forward, and get clear on that.

So not only do we have this paralyzing pandemic, even before this, I think we had a clarity epidemic. And it starts with the leader. And it starts with, we're trying to do so much with the little time that we have.

This would be the time I would unlock ourselves, and really try to understand why you're wired the way you are, get your values on lockdown, prioritize those values. By the way, if anybody wants a free Core Values Assessment, hit me up at ryanberman@couragebrands.com. I will send this to you.

And I realized a lot of us in the business world, we work on our brands for 80 hours a week. Well, you're a brand, too. And how much time are you giving yourself?

Beth Almes:

Yeah. And it's, at the company level, as well, you're talking about this a paralyzing time, for everyone, really. And what we're seeing across the board, in so many ways, is that it seems like companies are just freezing.

They're stopping everything, put a hold on every expense that's not essential, just kind of stop. And it's going to be hard to come out the other side when you, when we're just frozen. So how do you recommend that companies start thinking about leading with courage right now?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah. So the experts suggest that 95% of us are wired for freeze or flight, and only 5% of us are wired for fight. So if we expand on that, that means that 95% of companies are in preservation mode, while 5% are in what I would call liberation mode.

So if you're in a room with 100 people, and you looked around, the data suggests that 95% of us are frozen and stuck. Now, wouldn't you rather be in the five that are unstuck, that are moving, that are taking action, and experimenting?

For starters, start there, know that it's time to zag. If everybody else is going one way and they're frozen, what do you need to do to push forward? And I go back to the values of yourself or the values of your company.

And I got to tell you, if you haven't thought about your values once during this pandemic, you probably have the wrong values. Because this is the time that you should be honoring them and leading through them, and driving behavior through there, through the values of the company.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. I think going back to those values is so interesting. And the thing that we often forget to do, it seems like the non-essentials, when they're really the most essential.

Ryan Berman:

I mean, yeah, if you don't know what you stand for, you really never know when to take a stand. And one of the "Aha" moments I had on the book writing journey is that courage is needed in the messy middle. Courage is not a cherry on top moment that comes at the end.

You need it right there in the tough stuff. And again, when you have clarity as to what you stand for, it should help you make decisions, which pushes you forward.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. And one of the things that's been spinning in my head is the concept of courage versus resilience. So, prior to reading your book, I've been seeing it all over the news, and in our industry, and working with leaders, I mean, we see resilience all over the place. And that's great. You know, some days you just need the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, sure.

Then I read a different article recently, talking about how resilience can actually cause us to be really selfish, which is bad for leaders. And you kind of turn inward, and just start, you're just accepting what's happening around you. It's not really active.

And then, as I was reading your book, you were talking about the difference between change driving you, which I associate with resilience, versus you driving change, which would really be courage. So can you talk a little bit about the difference?

Ryan Berman:

Yeah. By the way, I adore bridging resilience with change driving you, versus courage, you driving change. And I think the difference is, and maybe we should do this through an exercise.

So okay, leaders, let's get a piece of paper and a pen out. Just what you thought you'd be doing. Don't do this if you're driving your car, by the way. But if you're at home, get a piece of paper and a pen out, and break a piece of paper into three sections.

From left to right on the top, put Proactive, then in the middle, put Reactive, and then on the right, put Inactive. And just start to write down, where are you being proactive in your business, where are you being reactive in your business, and maybe where you're being inactive in your business. And what I think you'll start to see is when you grow this muscle, the proactive, you're not waiting for the zombies to get you, right?

The proactive is the courage side. The reactive is the resilience side, and resilience is still important. I'm not buying the full selfish commentary. I get it. And then, the inactive, to me, that's sort of the freeze, right? That's sort of the worst of the three.

I think Roosevelt once said the hardest decisions, only the hardest decisions ended up on his lap as President, and the best thing he could do is make the right decision, the second best he could do is the wrong decision, and the third is no decision.

So, the importance of continuing to move forward, and to experiment and to test, and to me, I think, that's the difference. If you're being proactive, if you can stay ahead of the game and drive change, that's always the best. If there's going to be times where you have to respond to something, and that's where resilience can really kick in.

It's not that reactive is a bad thing in every scenario, it isn't. But inactive, "Hey, you know what you should do. And you feel like it's right, but for whatever reason, you're stuck in paralysis mode." That's the one that needs to get fixed first.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. And you know, that second one is, what if you make the wrong decision? And people get scared about that. One of the things you talked about in the book, too, is the courage of owning up to your mistakes, which is one of the hardest things we have to do as leaders. It's embarrassing. And it feels like such a failure, and like you can't recover.

And I hear a lot of lip service these days to companies that encourage failing forward, or that they think it's a great idea, that they're encouraging innovation. But what you hear on the back end is that they're actually very reluctant to do that.

They don't have a lot of tolerance for it. So how have you seen leaders or brands effectively own up to their mistakes in a way that pushed them forward?

Ryan Berman:

Well, first of all, you're, you're reminding me of my favorite T-shirt, which I think I should talk about here. So there's a few things in life that I really am against.

Like, I think hate is a strong word, but one of the things that really bothers me is, "Fake it till you make it." I think it's just terrible advice, and it's driven by fear. And so, I've made a shirt that I wear in many of my keynotes, and it's, Mistake It Till You Make It. And I think it's more realistic.

Beth Almes:

Yeah.

Ryan Berman:

I think, again, a lot of this is just process and communication, right, so if you actually have created a process for mistakes, for these little experiments and learning off those mistakes.

Google, specifically, Jason Spero, who's, interviewed him for the book, Vice President over at Google. He talks about creating that coverage, that shelter for his team, and he'll take 5% of his budget and give it to what I call an experimental taskforce.

He's like, "You got six months to come back with something that I can move 20% of my budget to." And he provides that cover to leadership. I mean, he's a leader in his own way.

Again, that's what I'm talking about. It's like, even if they didn't have something that they're going to move 20% of their budget to, there's going to be so many learnings along the way, on why they go into a category, why they don't. And that intelligence, that knowledge is going to, it's going to still be important for how they proactively take on the future.

Now, to answer your actual question in the book, the first chapter, I believe is the Domino's Pizza case study, and how they took a company that had three years of consecutive negative sales, where the stock price was at $2.84, and they had the courage to tell America that their pizza sucked, with their Oh Yes We Did campaign.

I mean, they didn't even do it in a small way. They, air quote again, this is the air quote, to me. They only waited till the NFL playoffs, to tell the world that their pizza sucked, and that they changed everything from the crust up. And, "Oh, yes, we did. Give us another shot."

How hard is it to change your behavior? You've had a bad experience with the brand, it's hard to change your behavior. Your vacuum breaks six times in a row, you're not like, "Well, maybe they'll get it right on the seventh time."

And Domino's had the courage to go back to the well, and changed everything of their formula. And that actually gave them, the testing came back that their pizza tested better than the competition. And that gave them the courage to be more courageous with an idea to take to the market.

If you look at their stock price, by the way, a decade later, their return on courage was through the roof. I believe they went from $2.84 to over $300, in a decade, and this is pizza. This is cheese sauce and dough we're talking about.

So I guess my point is, if a commodity business can do it, and reframe the way they think about pizza and get the mindset right in the company ... Not a small company, by the way, not a Silicon Valley company, either, a Midwest company. I think it's there for the taking for any courageous organization who wants to reinvent themselves.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. Coming from a background in public relations, any time you have any situation or a crisis, that's one of the first things you counsel every executive to say to the media, "Admit your mistake first." And I cannot tell you how many people are reluctant to do it.

They're like, "Well, I don't want to actually say it was a mistake. We'll just kind of gloss over it." But everybody is reluctant to say they made a mistake.

Ryan Berman:

Yeah. Ego, and it's human nature.

Beth Almes:

Yeah.

Ryan Berman:

It's human nature. This is probably a good time to plug a side project that we're working on right now, which is a book called, going to be called, The Two Yous.

It's more of a parable, where you've got this dueling battle happening in our heads between the negative you, negative self-talk and the positive view, which, there's a lot less than the positive self-talk then the negative. So I think the idea is, giving us permission to have that conversation with ourselves. And again, remember, let's stay human.

We're not perfect. And brands aren't perfect either, but yet we want to come off and portray ourselves as these perfect beings, when really, it's the imperfect, right? It's the approachable, the vulnerable, that's going to connect with people.

I always like to say, "Look, even in my family, my brother was branded the smart one in my family. And I was branded as good with people."

I grew up thinking, "Oh, I must be the stupid one. He's the smart one." And imagine growing up in a competitive family, going, "How am I going to actually do anything in this world, if I'm the dumb one?"

Beth Almes:

Yeah.

Ryan Berman:

I look back at this particular, my journey of the last 20 years of studying people, and I realized, "Oh wow, without making people feel, there's no behavior change. It doesn't matter how smart you are."

Think. If you don't make people feel, great. You made people think, but not feel? They won't do. And that's where I've made a career, is just trying to be emotional and vulnerable, and be human.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. So one final question that we ask everyone on the show. Can you share a moment of leadership that had a big impact on you and your life?

Ryan Berman:

I met my mentor very late in life. His name is Steve Wilhite. He was hired by Steve Jobs to run marketing at Apple. He describes himself as a used car salesman, because he spent such a long time in the car business before that.

Somewhere along the way, someone once said, "It takes you 40 years to figure out who you are and the next 40 to be that person." And that means, you've got to work on yourself, and you have to have clarity and self-awareness as to why you're wired the way that you are.

When I was able to meet Steve, it really put my life back in alignment, from the values standpoint, and realize that this is my, he's my cup of tea. And if I could design a life where I'm surrounding myself with people that share my values, but bring breadth of experience, but I have people that I like, that I trust, that make me better, that would be a life worth living, from my lens.

And the first 40 years, there's a whole slew of Maslow in there. And since I met Steve, since the book, I kind of feel like I was Rocky, like I got to go to the woods, and chop metaphorical wood, and work on myself.

This is the person I want to be for the rest of my life. And I'm grateful for all those people that I met along the way, Steve being one of them.

Beth Almes:

Great, that's a great story. And I love the association you've made throughout, about values driving courage. And when you know where you're headed, it's a lot easier to be courageous about getting there.

Ryan Berman:

Yeah, I always say core values are not eye rolls, they are the exceptional role.

Beth Almes:

Yeah.

Ryan Berman:

And where they're collecting dust on page 39 of some employee manual, they're just CYA values. You kind of miss the point.

Beth Almes:

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Ryan. I enjoyed our conversation. And thank you to all of our listeners who took time out of their 480 minutes today to spend with us.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Leadership 480 podcast, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and rate us as well, to let us know how we're doing.

Thanks for joining us, everyone. And thank you, Ryan, for being on our show.

Ryan Berman:

Thanks, Beth. Take care, everybody.


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