Adam Torres and Leigh Priebe Kearney, PhD discuss c-suite leadership.
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C-Suite leadership is at the core of many great companies. In this episode, Adam Torres and Leigh Priebe Kearney, PhD, Founder & President of LPK Consulting, explore c-suite leadership and the book Leigh released, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips To Success (Business Leaders Vol. 10, Edition 12).
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About Leigh Priebe Kearney
Leigh Priebe Kearney is founder of LPK Consulting and Osprey Leadership Consulting. LPK is a global firm comprised of experienced, driven and daring experts focused on delivering excellence at the “top of the house” by steering through the sometimes chaotic waters of business strategy and behaviors. With more than three decades of experience working with some of the most recognized brands and earning the respect of some of the world’s most illustrious leaders, Leigh has cultivated an individualized, science-based approach to break down even the most complex of human issues. Whether it’s confidentially working directly with CEOs, their high-performing teams, or boards, she delivers targeted, real-time, actionable interventions specific to the unique talent on the senior executive level to help them evolve into the true mainsail of their corporation.
People who excel in their fields seldom fit the normal population. The personality traits and individual strengths that make senior people truly successful are the same qualities that require special support and insights from an experienced advisor. Top tier leaders are resilient, driven, goal-oriented individuals who, for many years, have forged ahead without a trusted confidant. The experts of LPK are ready to partner with senior leaders to analyze, approach and tackle the human factors embedded in their organization.
About LPK Consulting, LLC
People who excel in their fields seldom fit the normal population. The personality traits and individual strengths that make senior people truly successful are the same qualities that require special support and insights from an experienced and trusted advisor. Top tier leaders are resilient, driven, goal-oriented individuals who, in many cases and for many years, have forged ahead without a trusted confidant. The distinguished experts of LPK Consulting are ready to partner with senior leaders to analyze, approach and tackle the human factors embedded in their team and organization. LPK will help you work through challenges, and set sail toward your desired destination while building strong, robust teams that will create lasting value within your industry.
Full Unedited Transcript
I’d like to welcome you to another episode of mission matters. My name is Adam Torres, and if you’d like to apply to be a guest in the show, just head on over to mission matters. com and click on be our guest to apply. All right. So today is a very special episode. We’re welcoming back to the show. Lee Kearney, who is the founder and president over at LPK consulting.
And I’m proud to announce an author in our recently released. book series, the best selling series. And Hey, Lee, I just want to say, Hey, welcome back to the show. Thank you. It’s so much fun working with you and your crew. So it’s a pleasure. Thank you. Oh my gosh. So we’ve, we’ve been on this journey now for, I don’t know, going on about a year or so.
I mean how do you feel? Oh, I feel excited. Like we’ve said before, there’s always a challenge, always a hurdle, but isn’t that what this is all about? Yes, ma’am. And we’re gonna, we’ll start this episode the way that we start them all with what we like to call our Mission Matters Minute. So Lee, we at Mission Matters, we amplify stories for entrepreneurs, executives, and experts.
That’s our mission. Lee, what mission matters to you? Good question. I was thinking about that, knowing about, thinking about today. And like many of us, we want to make a difference in the world, but I think the real difference I want to make is in individual lives. I would love to make an individual difference in someone who is actually trying to do good work for people, for the economy, for cultures, for other people and other organizations.
So I guess I’m looking for my mission as being a one on one impact. It’s great. Love bringing mission based entrepreneurs and executives on the line to share, you know, why they do what they do, how they’re doing, and really what we can all learn from that so that we all, you know, can grow together. So great having you back on.
And so we’re, we’re of course going to be celebrating and talking about the book and the writing. So driving excellence and transcending mindsets in CEO leadership. And the C suite. So we’ll talk more about this. But before we do, like, I don’t want to assume that all of our newer listeners or viewers caught maybe some of our previous work.
So maybe let’s just lay the groundwork with you telling us a little bit more about how you got started on this journey. Ooh, got started on this journey. Well, I think I have one of those non traditional paths, Adam, I have probably way too much education, but I think my big aha moment and how I got actually on this CEO coaching journey happened when I was taking a cultural anthropology course in at UNH as a physiologist.
I was working on doctoral work at UC Davis. And life in a bad relationship dumped me in a Colorado where I couldn’t do either thing. And there I was as a single mother trying to figure things out. So I took a job as a wellness director for a physical therapy business. And they put me through a leadership development course.
And in that course I learned that I knew how to think. I knew that my curiosity mattered. I had perseverance. And I could figure out problems. But I didn’t love hard science. So it was then that I saw a whole new world and being a good risk taker. I decided here I go. I’m going to start over again. I’m going to learn about the human condition.
I’m going to figure out some other version of truth besides the scientific methodology. And I’m going to figure out how to help driven ambitious people. So I’d say it’s a combination of. Just trying to figure out how to have positive impact. That’s great. And as you kind of, I want to stay in those earlier days just a little bit longer, only because, you know, there’ll be some entrepreneurs or some executives and some individuals watching this that maybe aren’t yet at the level of, of what, what you’re coaching and who you’re coaching, which we’ll talk about that as well today.
But in those early days, What are some of the things that helped you get through that helped you kind of push forward? I think knowing that everybody has blind spots. Is important and I had to learn my blind spots the hard way and I think it was in that very first leadership course that I took and I realized that I didn’t know how to think well and ask good questions, but I was keeping it in my head needed to get it out and into the discussion for it to add value that plus.
Knowing that I sort of was a non traditional female and that being an adventure traveler, being tall, being female, being a single parent in this CEO world meant that I had to access all of those differences and figure out how to, how to have them add value. And it took me years and years and years to figure out that some of all of that made me a bit intimidating that just surfaced this last week.
I was telling another 1 of my clients that they were scaring their team. They’re a little bit scared of you and that senior person didn’t see themselves as. Scary at all, or unapproachable, or intense, or driven, or any of those things. And so I think knowing my own blind spots, knowing everyone has them, knowing those blind spots are going to come up and go away, surface, come back and you need to have someone you trust point them out.
So, yeah, I think. Question, I hope, Adam. Yeah, no. And when I think about blind spots, like the, the, the main thing here is by definition, you can’t see them. So it doesn’t mean that you’re not a smart and capable CEO or person or this or that, it just means that like, you can’t see them like that individual that, that you’re, you’re mentioning just as an example, but we all, we all have blind spots, doesn’t matter without.
Having that other person, that other vantage point, or even that other trained professional kind of help you point out those blind spots. Like you’re not going to see them. You can go quite some time, like in the case that you mentioned that, that individual and their team like that, that can be a serious problem, but now it’s something that can be worked on.
It’s something that can change and like, ultimately like reframing that is going to, I mean, I, I feel like it can’t help improve the business or build on what they’re already doing. There’s another aspect to that too, Adam, and that is. The blind spots that matter are the ones that stand in your way of driving results, working with people who want to get things done.
Yeah, they’re driven. They’re bright. They’ve got values and passions themselves and deliverables and they’re intense. They’re high maintenance people. So just pointing out blind spots for the sake of pointing out blind spots is not what this work is about. It’s trying to figure out how to focus those strengths and keep the blind spots at bay so that you can accomplish the goals you want to.
That happens in lots of different ways. I think I, I value the research, the data, the various hypotheses we have about excellence and what drives the best of us to be better. Applying all of that to an individual is for me, a lot of fun. Yeah, let’s switch it up a bit here, Lee. So I want to get into the book a bit.
So driving excellence and transcending mindsets and CEO leadership and the C suite. So there’s a lot of different angles you could have taken. I mean, you’ve been in this field for quite some time, you’ve helped a lot of leaders. Like why this angle? Like, why now? Why you feel it was important? That’s a really good question.
And I think it has to do a little bit with the telltale signs of the pandemic. We lost human touch, but we gained a peek into individuals worlds through the video and in their homes. And I think in the words professional intimacy came to mind for me at that time, because it really does describe the sort of relationship a good executive coach with a very senior person has to have.
iT’s vulnerable. I mean, you have to share your thoughts and you have to share your goals. You have to let someone like me in to meet the players to try to figure out how you think to add value immediately and to get to know you in a way that truly is intimate in a professional setting. So. I think the, the pandemic kind of helped with that a little bit, and it got me to thinking about the individuals that I work with and what they’ve told me about why I add value.
And that’s how I came to the components of the book, by seriously asking just two questions of CEOs of the last five or seven years of my professional life. What value did you find and how did you get there? Yeah, I, I thought that your, your process was amazing coming to some of the content that you just mentioned.
And I’ll read off, you know, pretty, pretty high levels of some of the things that you wrote about. And then we’ll, we’ll dive into a few of them and for everybody watching, just so you know, we’re not going to hit them all. So we want you to definitely, I am a publisher, pick up a copy of the book.
You’ll see, of course, you’re going to see the link. In the in the show notes so that you can you can pick up a copy, but let, just to get into some of the content. So critical components of professional trust and intimacy with CEOs. Immediate resonance, daringness, absolute trustworthiness deep literacy and leadership, and the human condition.
Agen advising cusal of generic prescriptions, storytelling psychometrics in actionable success. So a lot, a lot of different angles that you came with this. And, and, and for you, by the way, to get all of this content into one piece of work, I was like, I was impressed. I’m like, I, I know whenever I bring on an ever bring on a new author, we’re going to be publishing them.
I’m always curious into how they’re going to have their content fit into deliver the most value, which you absolutely did. But let’s just start with maybe the first one. So critical components of professional trust and intimacy with CEOs. Tell us more. Well, actually. I think immediate rapport with an individual who doesn’t have a lot of time and really gets a lot on their minds and wants to get things done.
So you’re saying that you’re working with CEOs and they don’t just stop everything and it’s not like, Oh, let’s go like, not unless you’re daring enough to listen hard, yeah, quickly. What you can do to add value. I mean, those people are very good at deciding whether or not you’ve got something they need to know.
And so I think the daring component is really important. I learned early on that I get myself in a lot of trouble by Asking questions, even my family gives me grief, you ask too many questions and why are you asking this question, but those questions work wonders in the workplace and with with those who really need to think out of the box to get to us.
And there are, there are people all around senior executives who have their own agenda, even when they try not to. So, being able to have the willingness, the ability and the daringness to say what I see. that might help has proven valuable to those I work with. So I think I would start there, Adam. Does that make sense?
It does. And I think that I I’d like to hear a little bit more about just like, you’re like, what’s that magic or what’s that process that allows you to do that at this point? I mean, you’ve been doing it so long. Is it just, is it just something that you naturally were able to do or is there like something else there because or do you even know?
I don’t know. I’ve tried to answer that question to you for a few of my clients, so I might have all the pieces in my brain. But I think my own path of being sort of curious and wanting to know what truth was and how do you help? How do you help those sorts of anybody be better? What does excellence mean?
And I think I’m a pretty good risk taker. Yes. And I’m not afraid of hard work, and neither are any of the people I work with. So there’s a little, you know, I kind of understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t occupy their seat. So I have that added layer of responsibility on my shoulders that they do.
And so I think getting to the point quickly and offering some possible hypotheses based on the. Sort of diverse education that I have the years listening to these stories over and over and over again. Yeah, and being able to offer immediate advice and solutions for the current issue. That adds to the long term solution that combined with.
I mean, 1 of the things you write about is trustworthiness. So like, cause when I think about, I guess if we go far enough back, maybe the word would be confidant, but it’s not exactly what you do. Cause you’re providing advice. So then you’re consulting. So that’s, it’s different. When I think about like, you know, you’re the keeper of what’s going on in companies and you’re providing advice.
Like that’s a, when you use the word intimate more than once, like that’s accurate, like, what do you think helps you earn the trust or receive that, that other side of the relationship? Cause it’s a, it’s a two way street there. Yeah. Well, Adam, if you think about the people in your life who actually have your back, who really have your back, who don’t have a hidden agenda, who show up when nobody else will I, I think about that in my own life.
And wish I had that more so it’s easy for me to go to that place where I’m going to do whatever it takes to help you as much as I can. That makes me feel like a good person. So there’s a big me component here. I’m, I’m owning. I think it’s important to have somebody’s back when they really need it that beyond confidentiality, beyond privacy yeah.
So having, having your back, I would say, gets there. And I feel like, and this is just my, you know, from the outside looking in, and then also digesting your work, and then we’ve also worked with each other, so the other part about this is that once you finally do start working and you’re involved in that relationship, like, this ties into what you wrote in the book, like, it’s not a generic prescription.
The last thing that you want is you, you think you, you know, you give somebody your trust, you go down this path, and then all of a sudden you got, you’re like, Am I being handled? Is this part of a process? Does, does he or she say this to everyone? Like, I don’t, I don’t know. I just don’t feel exactly like, like on, like that’s the worst thing ever.
So when you wrote, I just laughed when I was reading that I’m like, avoid generic prescription. I’m like, here we go. Well, I, I have this wonderful man that I worked with now, three different CEO appointments. Yeah, publishing to start episode to apple now on a later stage, turn around, start up and the data.
I talk about collecting the psychometric data. That’s a baseline where my own database of 3500 plus people. I can compare and contrast. I can rack and stack you to what we know in all of the books that you can read and that are published about competencies and senior executives and all of that. We can do it.
Yeah. Then we need to figure out what your particular strengths are and how you’re going to influence people and what that actually means. And so the relationship is really 24, 7, 365. And this man just called me up the other day, we were talking about the cool new thing that might be happening. And of course it has to do with AI who’s not talking about AI these days.
And it’s amazing. And he laughs and chuckles and says, you know, you were right. And I was right. What was I right about? Well, the hardest thing I know about CEOs is that they care about their people, the ones who work with me anyway, and getting rid of the talent that’s not necessary anymore, or might be not building on the culture you want to build so hard, so, so hard.
And, and so he calls up to talk about what does that mean for the company? Am I on the right track? Can you think of anything else? And those sorts of relationships are fun for me. I feel like I’m adding value, but it’s just picking up the phone and saying, hey, this is what I’m thinking, what poke holes in my thinking, what would you add?
But it’s also based on a buildup of a relationship with all the factors in the book that you. Yeah. I think I want to switch up a bit here and for everybody watching, obviously pick up a copy of the book, like as I mentioned, and you can go and we’ll go further into that. But I want to talk more about specifically about really your work over at LPK Consulting and, and your process.
So we’ve kind of talked about a high level, maybe give us a little bit more of a deeper look into, you know, what you do and how you help people. Sure.
Let’s say that. You asked me to help you out. The first thing I would do is listen hard on what you tried, what you were trying to accomplish. I would let you tell me what you thought was important for me to know. And I would explain that we could take a really good stab. At having an insight session where we put our heads together to partner on potential hypotheses, we needed to go explore by administering about battery of tools.
Number 1 to do that sort of competency analysis and let you know what you’re good at. Because when you’re at the top of your game, chances are you don’t have any real weaknesses or you wouldn’t be where you are. But most of the people I work with don’t really understand how to use their strengths well and discriminatingly in the right way.
So we would start there and then I would need to know all of the individuals that You need to influence and how’s how are you going to get these results? I’m going to measure what success look like. And what are we doing here? Are we acquiring a company? Is this organic growth? Is this a startup? Is this biotech?
Is this bank? Is this manufacturing? I mean, what is this? What’s the competition? What are the players? And through that process of spending time in the shoes of that individual, we would both learn. I would learn a lot about the players and how well you figure out who someone is and what their strengths and motivators are and how well you aren’t influencing them.
So there’s a deep dive into the culture, into the team, into all the stakeholders. That then allow for a real heart to heart conversation on what might need to happen, what changes could take place, and what sort of resources do we have to accomplish all of that? And who should we partner with? And do we have all the information we need to move forward?
Does that answer part of your question? It does. And so as you’re, and, and I know that this piece of it, and we, we’ve had some conversations about this in the past. So you’re doing a seat, you’re doing an assessment, you’re doing a CEO download you’re figuring out the right questions. So there’s you did answer at high level and I, I just want to, I want the audience to know as, as we’ve gotten to know each other more, like there’s, there’s more to it.
It’s a, it’s a structured framework, even though it’s not a, you know, prescribed prescription, right? That’s right, and this, the structure involves. Taking the time and listening well to understand what you truly value and what you really want to accomplish for your life, but also for the business, because when those components come together, then there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.
And figuring out how to continue to learn about yourself and the self awareness component. That’s been top of the literature for decades. The most correlate correlated and to CEO success is how well, you know, yourself for real? What do you what else are you thinking about though? Adam? What do you want to know?
No, that’s, that’s good. Like my main, my main goal is to, is I like, you know, the individuals that watch this to understand the process and that for CEOs out there, like it’s, you know, it’s, it’s lonely at the top, right? Like you need somebody else outside of your organization. You need another, another vantage point.
You need those, those blind spots challenged. And that’s not typically going to happen inside your organization. Like it’s just, it’s just not going to happen. So that other, that other type of relationship is, is necessary. Sure. It’s probably important to add that those people that I’ve been working with my colleagues and my extended network of LPK have years of experience in this space in this work world.
So, if there’s a question we can’t answer, we probably have the network to find you the answer. And that feels, that feels really good being able to refer high quality consultants. And they’re, they’re hard to find. Well, Lee, I just have to say it has been so much fun having you back on the show, talking about the book, talking about what you’re up to, really how you’re.
Being of service to the CEOs and the, and the C suite out there that, that, Hey, they need you, that we need you. That being said, I mean, what’s next. I mean, what’s next for you. What’s next for LPK Consulting. What’s next? Oh, well, I do think that these components in the chapter that’s in this Mission Matters book need more content behind them.
So I’m now working on how to figure out my own continuous learning is this whole social content media world, which is brand new to someone who’s had human contact their whole career. So I’m being challenged as well to figure out How to get the word out there, how to share what I’ve learned, how to grow other people who have the drive and the wherewithal to do the kind of work I do.
So, that’s, that’s where I’m headed is trying to figure all of that out. Just like everybody else build the plane while you’re flying the plane. Oh, that’s amazing. And if somebody’s watching this and they want to learn more about LPK consulting or connect with you and your team, I mean, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Oh, you can get me on LinkedIn. I think on your particular connection, you can get me through email, through Instagram, Facebook. Cell phone. I think I’ve got the air, the social areas covered. And I’m happy to talk to anybody who wants to know more. Fantastic. And we’ll be sure to put all that information into the show notes so that people can just, you know, click on the links and head right on over.
And speaking of the audience. If this is your first time with Mission Matters or engaging in an episode, we’re all about bringing on business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives and having them share their mission, the reason behind their mission, you know, why they do what they do, like what gets them fired up and excited in the morning to, you know, go out there into the world to make a difference.
If that’s the type of content that sounds interesting or fun or exciting to you, we welcome you hit that subscribe button. We have many more mission based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. Leigh, really it’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much for coming back on the show and excited to continue promoting this book.
Everybody out there go grab a copy. Thank you, Adam. You and your team are very professional and on top of your game and it’s been a very easy process