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May 20, 2019
200: Are You Letting Unnecessary Barriers Block Your Growth?
You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem. —Tim Cook On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Carla about knocking down barriers * How a pauper’s cemetery from the Great Depression inspired me * Evaluating why barriers are present * The importance of putting yourself in a spot to change your perspective I hope you enjoy today’s episode, and I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Make it a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is holding your or your organization or your community back? Why? 
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17 min
May 13, 2019
199: How A Chef’s Life is Changing Communities
I think that a feeling of pride is something that every community needs to move forward. —Vivian Howard On Today’s Episode: * I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vivian Howard of the TV show “A Chef’s Life” * Vivian’s journey with farm-to-table (before it was hip) * How the success of A Chef’s Life has affected the Kinston, NC community * Which recipe’s are Vivian’s favorites * The secret to Vivian’s authenticity on the show Vivian’s determination to make the community where she grew up a better place to live is incredible. In today’s interview, she shares how she went from wanting nothing more than to leave her eastern North Carolina hometown to coming home to open a restaurant and helping to grow the community. Vivian is a breath of fresh air and has some amazing stories to tell. I am so excited for Vivian to join us at Catalyst University on June 20! If you have not secured a ticket yet, you can register here. If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or you’d like to be one of the first 3 people to claim the special surprise in the episode, send me message or tweet me @ronkitchens. Enjoy! Always Forward. —Ron Question: Where did you grow up? What would it take for you to move back to your hometown?
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26 min
May 6, 2019
198: Leap Out of a Rut in These 4 Steps
Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out. —Eleanor H. Porter On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I are talking about getting out of a rut * Harvard Business Review’s research to get unstuck * When ruts are most likely to happen * LEAP: my preferred system to jump-start the team * Laugh * Exercise * Art * Praise Everyone can get stuck in a rut; that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting yourself (or your team) out of that rut. The system that I’ve used at Southwest Michigan First for years has been successful time and again to jump-start the motivation and gain back the momentum. Listen in to hear more about getting your team unstuck. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, and I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. See you next week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How would you get yourself or your team out of a rut? 
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21 min
April 29, 2019
197: How to Bring Civility and Unity Back
The issues that divide us are second in priority to the way we respond to each other. —Lucas Ramirez On Today’s Episode: * Lucas Ramirez, author of Designed for More, will be joining us at Catalyst University on June 20. * How the term “murmuration” goes beyond birds and is important to leadership * How unity drives all great teams * The importance of learning to redefine our flock * The danger of over-identifying with smaller groups Today’s episode is a re-launch of an interview I did with Lucas Ramirez last fall. Lucas has such an amazing outlook on how to drive unity and make teams thrive that I wanted to share it with you again in preparation for him to join us on June 20 for Catalyst University. If you want to connect further with Lucas, you can find him on Twitter and on Instagram. And if you would like to come see him and many other amazing speakers at Catalyst University, you can register here! Always Forward. Ron Question: How can you encourage a culture of unity and civility in discussions within your organization? 
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17 min
April 22, 2019
196: The Power of Enthusiasm to Inspire Trust and Motivation
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Carla about enthusiasm in the workplace * Tiggers vs. Eeyores * Make a plan and get on board * Building enthusiasm through gratitude When we talk about enthusiasm, we are not talking about a relentless, bouncing positivity. We are talking about a drive to approach all situations, whether good or bad, with a positive outlook and a drive to make the best decisions possible. The best ways to drive enthusiasm that I have found are to express appreciation and gratitude, as well as having a scoreboard that clearly lays out the goals and milestones for my team. I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Make this week amazing! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What tasks are a source of energy for you? How can you apply that kind of enthusiasm to your whole day?
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13 min
April 15, 2019
195: What Are the Four Tendencies of Habit Creation?
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. —Gretchen Rubin On Today’s Episode: * Gretchen Rubin, author of The Four Tendencies * What is really at play when creating habits? * The four personality types (tendencies) Gretchen discovered * Tailoring communications and workflow with these personality types * The one unifying leadership characteristic for all personality types Today’s episode is a re-launch of an interview I did with Gretchen last year. I wanted to share it with you again because Gretchen will be joining us on June 20 for Catalyst University and this interview gives such a great introduction to her and her works. I’m so excited for Gretchen to share more of her tools to guide you to success in June! If you’d like to join us on June 20 for Catalyst University, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is a habit you’d like to create? Why is it important to you?
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25 min
April 8, 2019
194: Inboarding: How to Develop and Hire from Within
Make a conscious decision to put people in opportunities that are beyond their comfort zone. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about “inboarding” (a method to help employees improve their knowledge and skills to grow within the organization) * The 90-day turnover problem * Providing safe space for your people to jump into new opportunities * The rule of the tall poppy * Don’t wait to develop your team In today’s time of full employment, it can be brutal trying to find talent. That is why I am so adamant about encouraging my team to find their own lane at Southwest Michigan First. I want people to have the job of their dreams, and sometimes that means switching roles within our organization. The beauty of inboarding is that when someone steps into a new role, you will already know that they are a cultural fit.  I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics. Simply drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have an awesome week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: If someone in your organization leaves, who would you delegate those responsibilities to? Has that person had opportunities to develop the necessary skills? What are you waiting for?
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19 min
April 1, 2019
193: How to Jump Into Fear and Discover Purpose
Impossible became “I’m possible.” And if I’m possible, everyone’s possible. —Jeremy Cowart On Today’s Episode: * Jeremy Cowart joins me to share his remarkable journey; Jeremy is an artist, the founder of The Purpose Hotel and will be joining us on June 20, 2019, at Catalyst University * The importance of being intentional about with whom you surround yourself * The Purpose Hotel and Jeremy’s humanitarian vision * How to move past resistance and fear After being named the “Most Influential Photographer on the Internet” by Huffington Post, Forbes and Yahoo in 2014, Jeremy Cowart’s goal in life became to use his creative platform to change lives. Jeremy’s approach to art and his dedication to his family make him a deep well of inspiration. He dives deeper into his story in his upcoming book, “I’m Possible: Jumping Into Fear and Discovering a Life of Purpose” which releases on April 16. (You can pre-order it here.) If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Jeremy tell his amazing story in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How do you ensure you are making the right decisions?
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29 min
March 25, 2019
192: Daring to Dream Big (and Speaking it Out Loud)
Today’s time of full employment is the time to curate an environment that’s supportive of employees speaking their dreams. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and my conversation about personal leadership plans * The importance of daring to dream big * My eclectic music tastes come to light * Speaking your dreams out loud * Being the hero of your own story I love Jay-Z’s belief in speaking things into existence. Too often, we stay in a role or job too long because it’s comfortable. I get it, dreaming big is scary. But if you do not speak your dreams out loud to someone who can help you grow, you’re never going to do great things. Do something scary and cut through the fear of admitting your lofty goals. Then, make a plan to make that dream happen. I’d love to hear what your dreams are. You can send me a message here or tweet me @ronkitchens. And if you have any ideas or questions, please feel free to connect with me as well. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What’s your dream? Who should hear your dream that can help you get there? Why haven’t you told them?
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20 min
March 18, 2019
191: How Mitscoots is Changing the World, One Person at a Time
Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. — Tim Scott On Today’s Episode: * Tim Scott from Mitscoots Outfitters, who is joining us at Catalyst University on June 20 * Mitscoots makes gear with a mission: get + give + employ * Leading with integrity as a foundation of your organization and business * The importance of quality * As business leaders, making the right decisions rather than quick decisions Today’s episode is a re-launch of a previous interview I did with Tim back in late 2017. I wanted to share it with you again because he shared some amazing insights during that interview. Tim will be joining us on June 20 for Catalyst University and I’m so excited for him to share more of his story (and gear) with you that day! If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Tim live and in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How do you ensure you are making the right decisions?
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30 min
March 11, 2019
190: How to Navigate the Ongoing Talent Shortage
The only way to thrive and succeed today is through accelerating people. — Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about the talent shortage * How lack of population is going to disrupt all areas of employment * Coaching green talent to accelerate and lead teams * My favorite metaphor about prospective employees * The importance of developing your team In a time of full employment, it’s scary to think that in just the Southwest Michigan region alone, we will be facing a 35,000-person shortage in the next 10 years. Holding onto your talent is becoming more important than ever. I hope today’s episode helps frame the conversation and gives you ideas on how to help close the gap. If you have any questions about today’s episode or if you have ideas for a future episode, please reach out. You can send me a message here or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are you doing to curb your talent woes?
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22 min
March 4, 2019
189: How to Be a Moment Maker with Carlos Whittaker
It’s my goal to help you live your life, not let your life live you. — Carlos Whittaker On Today’s Episode: * Carla interviews Carlos Whittaker, who will be joining us on June 20, 2019, at Catalyst University. * Being a “Moment Maker” is not about one moment * How Carlos’ father has been his biggest inspiration * How to pay attention on purpose and with purpose * Carlos’ thoughts on the biggest challenge facing leaders today Carlos is such a dynamic, engaging person. I’m so excited to welcome him to Catalyst University on June 20; his story is funny yet life-changing. You can follow Carlos on Twitter @loswhit and Instagram @loswhit. If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Carlos live and in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is a small moment that, in hindsight, has made a huge impact on your life?
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19 min
February 25, 2019
188: Embracing Your Authenticity and Natural Talents
The diamonds of the world are people who manifest their own greatness and their own unique capabilities. — Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about embracing your authenticity * How I felt cheated by a not-so-genuine tomahawk * Ensuring your brand is authentically you * Authenticity does not mean perfection * Valuing your natural talents Part of being authentic is the ability to resist trying to be someone else, which can be easier said than done in today’s world of self-help books. Rather than blindly copying behaviors, ask yourself how you can apply the lessons in your own life. Remember: even a really, really great fake will eventually be discovered. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message here. Always Forward. —Ron Question: In 15 words or less, describe your brand. Don’t include titles and roles, but rather talk about what sets you apart and makes you special.
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17 min
February 18, 2019
187: Why Fear is an Essential Part of Courage
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. — James Neil Hollingworth On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about fear and courage * Fear is part of the process * How writing Uniquely You required me to overcome fear * Courage requires you to move through fear and vulnerability * Reframing what you may see as a shortcoming as a gift instead The thing about courage is that it’s usually only after everything is said and done that people recognize an act as courageous. Typically, at the time, courage looks a lot like doing what is required. Firefighters who save people from house fires experience tremendous fear but push through because they know giving into fear is not an option. And remember, courage doesn’t always have to be a sweeping act; recognizing your fears and making a plan to overcome them is also incredibly courageous. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message here. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is something you currently see as a personal shortcoming? How can you reframe your mindset to see this as a gift instead?
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15 min
February 11, 2019
186: What is the Future of Team and Culture?
Exceptional leaders create a culture that engages hearts and minds, energizes action and executes with discipline. When that happens, the numbers and wins follow. —Urban Meyer On Today’s Episode: * A keynote from Brad Saar, president at Stryker Medical * Insight into Stryker’s culture * What Brad sees as the most important items for the future of team and culture * The advantage of knowing your team’s Gallup strengths * The importance of caring for and engaging talent * How regular evaluations fuel engagement I talk a lot about the future of team and culture for good reason. Data projections show that in the next 10 years the Southwest Michigan region will have a talent shortage of 35,000 people. The most important part of making sure Southwest Michigan becomes the magnetic region it deserves to be is by making sure that our local community has companies with amazing cultures and engagement strategies. Brad has made tremendous strides in creating such a culture at Stryker Medical. I hope you enjoy the wisdom he shares in today’s podcast. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message with any ideas, questions or comments. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Have you had your team’s engagement evaluated? If so, how has it changed your culture strategy? If not, why not?
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28 min
February 4, 2019
185: How to Harness the Power of Saying No
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. —Tony Blair On Today’s Episode: * Living in a “yes” world * Creating boundaries in order to continue growth * Saying “yes” to too many things will cause a loss of productivity * Harnessing the power of saying no * Valuing your time * Being either the curator or the victim of your own calendar Saying “no” can be hard, especially in today’s “yes” world. Knowing your priorities and boundaries are critical parts of learning (and practicing) saying “no” to things that do not serve your time well. The most important takeaway from today’s discussion is that if you do not take the time to curate your own calendar, someone else will end up doing it for you. I hope today’s episode was empowering to you and your leadership. If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are three things you currently say yes to that you should stop doing? How can you work towards that goal?
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12 min
January 28, 2019
184: Why Emotional Intelligence in Leadership is So Important
In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. —Daniel Goleman On Today’s Episode: * Sarah Mansberger joins Carla for another episode, this time to talk emotional intelligence (EI). * Daniel Goleman‘s five key elements of EI. * How “amygdala hijacks” can throw a wrench into any good intention. * The role that empathy plays. * Bonus: Brené Brown has a great video that illustrates empathy vs. sympathy. * How EI helps make you a better leader. Emotional intelligence in leadership is crucial to creating a contagion of positive emotion in the workplace. It’s an incredibly difficult skill to hone because it requires us to look in the mirror and become increasingly aware of who we are, how we react and what triggers us. But increasing your emotional intelligence pays dividends in employee satisfaction and engagement. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode with Carla and Sarah. If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Pick one of the five key elements of emotional intelligence that you think is most important. How can you begin to hone this skill?
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19 min
January 21, 2019
183: How to Use Relationships to Power Business
Leadership must be about something beyond self-interest, greater than self-promotion, and more noble than self-service. —Randy Ross On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Dr. Randy Ross, author of the new book Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships * Concepts to transcend business that can also be applied at home * The four principles to cultivate healthier relationships * How vulnerability is a building block of all four principles * How relationships power business * The importance of feedback seeking * Emotional bank accounts and how to keep those full Randy’s book comes out on February 5 and is available for pre-order right now; just follow the link in the first bullet point. And if you’d like to follow what he’s up to, you can find him on Twitter here and at https://drrandyross.com/. As always, if you have any comments, questions or ideas, please send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Which principle of relationship building can you apply in your life? How?
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23 min
January 14, 2019
182: Navigating Conflict and Tension in the Workplace
Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. —William James On Today’s Episode: * I share my feelings on Mondays and sunrises. * Carla and I talk through some important steps in navigating conflict: * De-escalating the situation * Gathering your thoughts * Getting clarity * Accepting the coaching if offered from a constructive source * Assume positive intent when faced with a situation. * My analogy of tweezers vs. chainsaws. * The importance of having a learner’s heart. Navigating conflict and tension in the workplace seems like a daunting task. I think my best advice would be to assume the best in people; conflicts are often manifestations of misunderstandings rather than blatant disagreements with malicious intent. As long as you keep your lines of communication open, most conflict should be able to be resolved quickly and amicably. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron PS: I misspeak at the beginning of the podcast; heart attacks are more likely on Mondays, not Sundays. Question: How have you solved conflict within your team? What strategy did you use?
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18 min
January 7, 2019
181: Appreciation: Write Your Thank You Notes
Appreciation acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts. —Alan Cohen On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I explore appreciation * Starting your new year on a positive note * Southwest Michigan First’s culture of thank you notes * Reflecting through the year and thanking the people that made an impact * My examples of the thank you notes I’m writing * Shameless plugs for my new book Uniquely You, coming out May 21! I hope you had an amazing holiday season and are ready to make 2019 your greatest year yet. Today’s episode focuses on a topic that we talk about a lot. Appreciation in the workplace is tremendously important, and today we talk about writing end-of-year thank you notes. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What was a pivotal moment for you in 2018? Whose mentorship or leadership did you draw from during that time?
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15 min
December 17, 2018
180: 4 Ways to Overcome Burnout and Disengagement
Leadership is an active role; “lead” is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry. —Bill Owens On Today’s Episode: * Carla talks with Sarah Mansberger, managing partner at Southwest Michigan First * What is burnout? * Difference between burnout and stress * The signs of burnout * How to prevent disengagement and overcome burnout Burnout is a very real concern in today’s fast-paced workplace and I want to make sure you have the tools to spot and overcome it. It’s critical that you take some time over the next couple of weeks to recharge your battery before hitting the ground running again in January. Remember: self-care is not selfish. I hope you have an awesome Christmas, Kwanzaa or that you had a great Hanukkah. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it brings you joy. If you have any suggestions for the podcast for next year, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Happy New Year, we’ll be back in your inbox in 2019! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you encourage your team to take time to recharge and lower their risk of burnout?
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17 min
December 10, 2018
179: How to Use Pressure to Your Advantage
A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure. —Henry Kissinger On Today’s Episode: * What an Instant Pot and busy seasons have in common * Use pressure to grow as a leader * Jon Acuff’s wall calendar * Dealing with unexpected pressure * Ask for help to not get trapped in your own head It’s the end of the year and, while things tend to calm down between Christmas and New Year, these last weeks can mean intense pressure to finish strong. But don’t let pressure increase because you’re focusing on too many things at once. Refocus on what’s really important. That focus will carry you through the end of 2018 and set you up for success in 2019. I hope you liked today’s podcast. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; hearing from the listening audience is one of my favorite things. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you reframe your perception of pressure to let it motivate you and your team?
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15 min
December 3, 2018
178: 4 Ways Admitting Mistakes Makes You a Better Leader
People don’t need you to be perfect, they need you to be present. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Mistakes happen; it’s how you deal with the aftermath that makes or breaks you as a leader. * Making and admitting mistakes is an essential part of leadership. * Why do good leaders make mistakes? * Admitting mistakes makes you a better leader in 4 ways * The importance of evaluation after mistakes are made We are all human. We all make mistakes. Carla and I wanted to talk about this topic because, traditionally, mistakes are seen as taboo to talk about. But the process of making mistakes provides so much opportunity for growth. And if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, which may mean you’re getting stagnant. Did you like today’s podcast? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Please, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; I always love hearing from you. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Admitting mistakes can be scary. How can you set the right example for your team following a misstep? 
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18 min
November 26, 2018
177: Hiring for Fit: Are You Doing It Right?
Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. —Howard Schultz On Today’s Episode: * The importance of hiring for fit for both organization and candidate. * Does the potential candidate add different insight to your team? * When considering a new opportunity for yourself, does the company’s culture fit you? * Use sites like GlassDoor and Quora to find out about a company’s culture. * Create your own career path and destiny. The importance of hiring for fit for organizations is obvious, but if you are looking for a new opportunity for yourself, it’s just as crucial to consider your own fit into the potential employer’s culture. After all, you’ll be spending half your waking hours there. Remember, with today’s low unemployment, now is the time to get the job of your dreams. Do you have any requests for a podcast episode? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; I’m always delighted to hear from you! Always Forward. —Ron Question: When considering a company’s culture, what is the most important thing to you? 
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17 min
November 19, 2018
176: 4 Ways for Thanksgiving to Inspire Your Leadership
With Thanksgiving and with your leadership, it’s all about the planning. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * How Thanksgiving dinner can teach us lessons for leadership * It’s all in the planning * Get the right people involved * Stay focused on the end goal * Be grateful * Good leaders are appreciative * People work harder for people they like (and we tend to like people that appreciate us) These last few weeks of the year tend to be some of the busiest ones at Southwest Michigan First. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for me to reflect on what I’m grateful for, do a little recharging and curate the motivation to finish the year strong. I hope you find some inspiration in today’s light-hearted message and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are you doing during this upcoming holiday weekend to recharge and set yourself up for an amazing finish to the year?
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8 min
November 12, 2018
175: Why is Putting “Family First” So Important?
My most embarrassing moment in life… When I didn’t put my family first. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * The importance of allowing your team to put family first. * Maximizing the relationship between corporate and the individual. * Content people work harder and are more engaged. * How this concept encourages staff to lead an integrated life. * Getting to know your team’s family creates a healthy work balance. Do you have any comments about today’s episode (or have ideas for another one)? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Which of today’s tips can you implement to put your family at the top of your priorities?
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17 min
November 5, 2018
174: How to Engage Debates Without Losing Civility
I get a choice every time I have to open my mouth: that it can be with civility and dignity and grace—or not. —Dana Perino On Today’s Episode: Midterm elections are tomorrow, so today’s topic of civility is perfectly timed. You’ll be hearing from Carla Sones and Sarah Mansberger, Southwest Michigan First’s in-house expert on leadership. Together, they share a wealth of knowledge about how to debate in a civil manner. Listen for insight on: * What a civil conversation is * Techniques to keep things civil: * Respecting the opinion of others * Finding common ground * Listening to understand, not to reply * What the downstream effects could be * Listening to the silence Most importantly, go vote tomorrow! Michigan listeners, you can use this website to see what will be on your ballot. Did you like today’s podcast? Do you have an idea for a future episode? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you ensure civility is promoted in your organization? 
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16 min
October 29, 2018
173: Why It’s So Important to Have Women in Leadership (Part 2)
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. —Sally Berger On Today’s Episode: Last week I shared the first part of a panel from a First Leaders breakfast that featured Danielle Anderson (Miller Canfield), Kathy Beauregard (WMU), Amy McClain (PNC Financial Services Group) and Anita Mehta (Stryker). Today’s podcast is the second half of this panel about women in leadership. Expect to hear thoughts on: * Mentors vs. advocates * Seeking to be of value * The importance of taking risks * How to find balance between being a mother and having a career * Knowing your resources at work * What recharges their leadership I hope you enjoyed gleaning wisdom from these extraordinary leaders in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you 
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29 min
October 22, 2018
172: Why It’s So Important to Have Women in Leadership (Part 1)
The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. —Ayn Rand On Today’s Episode: I recently had the pleasure to host Danielle Anderson (Miller Canfield), Kathy Beauregard (WMU), Amy McClain (PNC Financial Services Group) and Anita Mehta (Stryker) at a First Leaders breakfast. Today’s podcast is the first part of this incredible panel that focused on women in leadership. Listen in for insight on: * Which characteristic derails people’s careers. * The one characteristic that all leaders should possess and who embodies that. * How the panelists have experienced different treatments between men and women throughout their career. * The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. * Tips for active listening. Tune in next week for the second half of the panel. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me a message. or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you ensure that your organization strives for gender equality and allows opportunities for women to be in leadership positions?
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28 min
October 15, 2018
171: Collaborative Leadership: How to Encourage Cross Pollination
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. —Oliver Wendell Holmes On Today’s Episode: * What collaborative leadership means * Moving away from knowledge hoarding * Collaborative leadership needs to be present at all levels * Collaboration does not equal consensus Last week, Carla and I talked about micromanaging and how that can hurt an organization. This week, we dive into its opposite: collaborative leadership, which is the ability to engage people outside of your formal control and inspire them to work towards common goals. In order to have good collaboration on your team, you have to do a few things. Firstly, you must be a good collaborator yourself. Secondly, your team has to know they have the authority to make decisions. Lastly, collaborative leadership shouldn’t happen on accident. Make it a point to encourage cross-pollination between teams, and watch the magic unfold. Feel free to send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter if you have any comments or suggestions for the podcast. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Are you a good collaborator? How can you inspire your team to work toward common goals together? 
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18 min
October 8, 2018
170: How to Quit Micromanaging and Relinquish Control
Micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum. —Miles Anthony Smith On Today’s Episode: * Carla and Ron tackle the topic of micromanaging and how to stop doing it. * Micromanaging is the top complaint people have about bosses. * Accountability check-ins vs. micromanaging. * Tips to stop the hovering and increase productivity. * How to grow beyond direct supervision. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. It kills motivation, creativity and job satisfaction. It’s also one of the main causes of high employee turnover. Sometimes, we fall into a trap of micromanaging when we’re growing and not adapting. I had to do some major adapting when Southwest Michigan First grew to a point that didn’t allow me to directly mentor all team members. This article on medium.com talks about growing organizations and the pain points that come with that growth. It has been so insightful for us as we’ve grown. Maybe it proves insightful for you, too. Do you have thoughts, questions or comments about today’s podcast? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Is your organization or team at a point where you need to delegate more responsibility to ensure your team feels empowered? 
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22 min
October 1, 2018
169: How to Utilize Analytics to Power Business
The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight. —Carly Fiorina On Today’s Episode: * Carla and Ron talk about using data and analytics to drive business. * Using data to a point where your business is thriving. * The importance of relying on analytics, not serendipity. * How Ron found out early in his career that data can convey a strategic advantage. * Understanding what exactly the numbers tell you. It’s important that obtain methods to measure key areas of your business and that you understand the story these numbers tell. At Southwest Michigan First, we track many areas because this helps us map out where to go next. Research allows us to make informed decisions for the future. Without it, we’d be grappling in the dark and sailing without a compass. If you have any questions about how and why we track data and analytics, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Are you tracking data for your company? Can you decipher the story the analytics tell and use this information to grow your business?
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19 min
September 24, 2018
168: Knowledge Sharing: 3 Ways to Get Communication to Soar
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. —Benjamin Franklin On Today’s Episode: * Ron and Carla discuss knowledge sharing and communication. * Ron’s rubber bucket simile for communication. * How you can increase productivity. * Three ways that Southwest Michigan First drives team sharing: * Open office concept leads to more face-to-face conversations; * Various forms of digital in-office communication; * Team updates at scrum. * What you can do to encourage your team to shares. Knowledge sharing to cross-pollinate between teams is not just a “nice-to-have.” At Southwest Michigan First, we’re always looking for ways to improve. We use many different tools to talk to each other because no one communicates the same. From Slack to a puzzle table to our daily morning meeting at scrum, we do our best to keep each other in the know. If you have any ideas or examples that we didn’t touch on today, don’t hesitate to send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How does your organization talk to each other? How does each team stay in-the-know about what’s going on with other teams?
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21 min
September 17, 2018
167: How to Write a Book: 5 Simple Steps
Ron talks with Chad Allen about writing a book. Listen in to find out the 5 steps to writing a book, the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self-publishing, and why book camp is a great idea. Chad also shares a free tool for aspiring writers.
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24 min
September 10, 2018
166: Future of the Different Generations in the Workplace
Learning about the different generations in the workplace is a hot-button issue in today's world. This episode features a keynote that was recently presented by Von Washington, Jr. at Future of Generations, an event hosted by Southwest Michigan First. Von discusses the characteristics, myths abd stereotypes of each generation currently in the workplace, and talks about the up and coming Generation Z.
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27 min
August 27, 2018
165: Organizational Curiosity: How to Inspire Growth
In today's episode, Ron and Carla tackle the topic of organizational curiosity and how it can inspire growth in your organization. Listen to find out more about the different ways to stay curious, what Ron means with his "old basement couch" simile, and what Carla's thoughts are on constant, curious learning.
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17 min
August 20, 2018
164: How to Unify Teams in an Ultra-Divided World
The issues that divide us are second in priority to the way we respond to each other. —Lucas Ramirez On Today’s Episode: * Lucas Ramirez, author of Designed for More * How the term “murmuration” goes beyond birds and is important to leadership * How unity drives all great teams * Disagreeing without being disagreeable * The importance of learning to redefine our flock * The danger of over-identifying with smaller groups If you want to connect further with Lucas, you can find him on Twitter and on Instagram. Always Forward. Ron Question: How can you encourage a culture of unity and civility in discussions within your organization? 
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17 min
August 13, 2018
163: Best Places to Work Awards
You need to be the disruptive force of change, or you run the risk of getting knocked out of the competition. – Josh Linkner On Today’s Episode: * How can high-performance teams be measured? * Striving for continuous improvement * Applying for awards utilizes both self-reporting and outside interviewing for 360 feedback * Creating new peers versus traditional industry peers * Changing your best: knowing which way to change * Attracting new hires through awards Always Forward. Ron Question: Why is it important to find new and different ways to measure your team’s performance, engagement and commitment to the culture?
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20 min
August 6, 2018
162: Building High-Performance Teams
The right people are any company’s most important asset. The wrong people are a liability that you cannot afford. – Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Disruption is a form of change * Disrupt or perish * Kedging: finding a way to win, regardless of the circumstances * Having the right people on the bus * Hiring strategies * Setting the culture to be expectant of top performance Always Forward. Ron Question: High-performance teams aren’t built overnight. What can you implement to start driving your organization’s culture towards top performance?
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19 min
July 30, 2018
161: Leadership Coaching
By investing in yourself you make everyone else’s life better. No organization ever got weaker when a leader got stronger. – Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Coaching is not remedial, but to aid in better performance * Impostor Syndrome * Coaching to make your strengths stronger * Good leaders always need someone to cheer them on * Coaching can give insight into blind spots * Accountability to continuous improvement for yourself Always Forward. Ron Question: How would your leadership benefit from a coach? How can you budget for this important piece of continuous improvement?
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22 min
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