This episode dives deep into the greatest challenges facing entrepreneurs and the nation today with a great discussion on the principles of leadership.

David Burkus, leadership expert and author of the new book Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business As Usual. Forbes. David Burkus is a best-selling author, an award-winning podcaster, and management professor. In 2015, he was named one of the emerging thought leaders most likely to shape the future of business by Thinkers50, the world’s premier ranking of management thinkers. David was recently named one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Professors Who Inspire.” His work has been featured in Fast Company, Inc, the Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and CBS This Morning.

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is David Burkus?

In terms of priority, David is a husband and father first. Authors like Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink were the model David used to build his career as a professor and an author. In many ways, David stumbled into his career as a professor but he’s enjoying the ride and making the most of it.

Entrepreneurs probably always knew they wanted to be entrepreneurs, they just didn’t know their business model at the time.

  • Which work of Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink resonates with you?

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers made the biggest impact on David and inspired him to look deeper into the 10,000 hour rule and how people achieve peak performance.

Daniel Pink’s Drive explored the Self Motivation Theory which made a major impact on David’s life and perspective.

  • What is the business model of a writer?

The business model of a nonfiction writer is similar to that of a recording artist. The majority of the cash flow comes from the tours and speeches after the book is published, not from the royalties from the book sales. The book is a means to get the opportunities that come afterwards.

  • Why leadership?

Don’t write what you know. You should write about what you are hugely interested in and what you are curious about. The writing part of the book is the hard work, the research is where the fun is.

The area of leadership is still largely unexplored and we’re still learning about it. The new discoveries and strange things David has learned in the process is what keeps him fascinated in the subject.

  • What are the misconceptions about leadership?

By exploring the Great Man Theory of history, we discovered that there were common shared traits of notable leaders like charisma, intelligence, and being well spoken. It was a number of decades before we started studying the interaction between leaders and followers.

Many authors writing about leadership talk about how leaders “cast a vision” in order to get buy in, but this is not the case with real leaders. In actuality, we see that leaders are able to put to words and describe what their followers already feel.

  • What about the entrepreneurs that have come up with something new?

No one buys your product so that you will make money. Customers will buy your product for what they want out of it. If you help people get what they want, they will help you get what they want.

  • Why does it feel like there are no leaders today?

There is no shortage of people trying to lead today. You become a leader when you find yourself in the center of a community that is looking to you for guidance.

We see a lot of social movements spread much quicker now because of improved communication technology. Once you can pull away from focusing on yourself, you can scale your movement or business much faster.

  • What does it take for the average person to become a leader?

The first thing you have to do is smash the idea you have of the iconoclastic leader. You are a leader when you begin to worry about the concerns of the people around you and they begin to trust you.

Social media makes it easier to find your community, but you must resist the temptation to make the conversation all about you. We follow people who care about us.

  • What’s wrong with old management?

Frederick Taylor laid the theoretical foundation for the assembly line, and it worked really well during the industrial era. The principles apply less to the modern workplace and we need to approach problems in a different manner.

You should seek to solve your client’s problem. It’s more about what you need to ask, not so much what you need to say.

A leader should be looking for ways to remove obstacles so that those around them can do their best work.

The hiring process is broken. Trials are a more effective way of evaluating a new team member or involving the entire group in the hiring process.

Reference: Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business As Usual, David Burkus

  • David’s Takeaway

You become a leader when you experience the call that other people need you and you answer that call. When you feel that call, that’s when you are ready.



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