Dr. Richard Winters
Fortifying and Empowered Leadership (with Dr. Richard Winters)

Mark speaks with Dr. Richard Winters. Richard Winters is a practicing emergency physician and executive coach at Mayo Clinic. As director of Leadership Development for the Mayo Clinic Care Network. He facilitates retreats and delivers programs that train leaders at healthcare organizations worldwide. He has served as managing partner of a democratic physician group, chair of emergency medicine, president of an 800-physician medical staff, and CEO/founder of a managed care startup. He recently released his book called: You're the Leader, Now What? Lessons from Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Richard Winters
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Show Notes

Today, Commander Divine speaks with Dr. Richard Winters. Richard is an author, speaker, and advocate leading with awareness and information. He is currently the Director of Leadership Development for the Mayo Clinic Network. His recent book, You’re the Leader, Now What? Lessons from Mayo Clinic is a powerful look at how to lead through creating other leaders. Dr. Winters, known for his well-researched matter-of-fact approach and humor, will walk you through difficult leadership scenarios, identify common pitfalls, and give you step-by-step approaches to solve some of your most confounding leadership challenges. Richard lives in Rochester, Minnesota, with his family. 

Key Takeaways:

  • GROW Model for Coaching: Coaching is a hugely helpful skill for leaders and managers in the world of work. The GROW model, which stands for Goals, Reality, Options, and Will, is a wonderful tool for coaching and setting clear guidelines for yourself to gain momentum and traction toward your goals.
  • Expert’s Role: Experts are a powerful resource when there is a unique issue that is specific in nature. As a leader, there are many situations where you or your team may know what to do. However, if there is an out-of- the-box need or want, calling in an expert can be one of the best ways to learn and develop both horizontally and vertically.
  • Immunity to Change: Finding out what you as an individual and or your organization are making assumptions about and then testing if the assumptions have validity allows growth and change. Often there are assumptions being made in communications or direction due to unconscious bias. Understanding that we all have blind spots, leaders need to constantly investigate what assumptions are being made and test them for validity.
  • Different Types of Leaders: There are leaders that are great in chaos and making decisions when things are rapidly changing. Then there are leaders who are wonderful at reaching out to colleagues to discuss and collaborate on changes that need to be made. The best type of leader can do both. However, it is not often you find the two qualities in one person.


“You need to call out the fears and worries. Those fears and worries are not just someone who doesn’t want change, and it’s someone who’s seeing perhaps parts of the problem that you’re not seeing, like real impediments to moving forward. And so if you know the fears and worries, then as you’re visioning, like how you’re gonna move forward, you can then take those into consideration, you can try to decrease the chance of those fears happening.” Dr. Richard Winters

“One of the biggest challenges also for complexity and chaos is, is fear and fear can immobilize, as you know, right. The fear response will lock people into fight or flight or freeze, especially freeze in the corporate sense. And I noticed, in your book, you talk about that, you know, is one of the kind of the foundations to being a good leader is to overcome or explore the fear and the things that are really keeping you stuck.” Mark Divine 

“Fear, like, you know, festers in silence, it’s like, it’s a monster that will just you can sit in a meeting, and oh, what a great decision then move out. And if you haven’t acknowledged the fears, and the worries that individuals have, your strategy is, is basically destroyed before you leave the room.” Dr. Richard Winters

“There’s so much about leadership that is taken for granted, that is really nuanced, right? Obviously, context, situation, perspectives, dealing with the different levels of development of all your team, who largely lack awareness of those different levels of development. So development, psychology comes in, social psychology, organizational structure, organizational psychology, there’s so much involved in this field of leadership.” Mark Divine 

“And our best leaders are very adaptive because there are times when let’s say, there are leaders who feel very comfortable about reaching out to colleagues, getting a bunch of people together and collaborating and moving forward. But that doesn’t work in times of chaos, that doesn’t work when you have this time pressure, and you need to make a decision. And then there are other leaders who feel very comfortable in that in that space of kind of chaos, where, okay, I don’t have all the data, but I’m just gonna, I’m going to make a decision, I’m gonna kind of project out in my mind, what might occur, I’m gonna kind of role play, and then I’m going to make the decision, and decide. These may be two different kinds of leaders. Our best leaders are able to do both.”  Dr. Richard Winters




The book: You’re a Leader, Now What?

Mark Divine  0:00  

Hi, I’m Mark Divine and this is the Mark Divine show. On this show, I explore what it means to be fearless through the lens of the world’s most inspirational, resilient and compassionate leaders. I talk to folks from all walks of life, meditation monks, stoic philosophers, motivational scientists, and leadership experts and authors, such as our guest today, Dr. Richard Winters. Richards, the author of You’re the Leader Now What: Leadership Lessons from the Mayo Clinic. He’s a practicing emergency physician and executive coach at Mayo, and director of leadership for their care network. Dr. Winter’s is a graduate of Mayo’s, Alex School of Medicine. And he’s board certified and does emergency medicine there at Mayo. He’s board certified from the University of California, San Francisco. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas executive and professional coaching program, and completed healthcare management executive MBA, also from the University of Texas. Prior to his work at Mayo, Dr. Winter’s served as managing partner of a democratic physician group, then the chair of Emergency Medicine and, president of 800, physician, medical staff, and co-founder of his own managed care startup. Richard, thanks for joining me today.



Dr. Richard Winters  1:11  

Thank you for having me.


Mark Divine  1:12  

Yeah, it’s my pleasure. So you’re at the Mayo Clinic, you’ve been there for a number of years, and you’re running leadership programs there. So I’m really excited to talk about that, before we kind of dig into your view on leadership and leadership development. Can you give us a sense for kind of what got you on the path that led to your, you know, the formative career? Like, what were your early influences? What was it that kind of got you interested in medicine? And then leadership? You know, what did all that look like?


Dr. Richard Winters  1:39  

Yeah, I mean, so I was born. And at that point, I knew I was gonna be running leadership development programs at the Mayo clinic, haha.


Mark Divine  1:45  

You’re born at a very young age. So was I, that’s awesome.


Dr. Richard Winters  1:48  

You know, it all happens, just like life does, by chance. And so honestly, I was a really poor high school student, C- sort of average, and did not do well in biology


Mark Divine 2:00

Uh oh


Dr. Richard Winters 2:01

And then got my act together and in college, and then decided I wanted to be a physician. And then went to Mayo medical school, had a great time there and learned a lot. Then went to emergency medicine residency, and after that started practicing. And, so as I’m starting, practicing and taking care of patients one by one, you start to see that there’s some things that might be done better, or that you have ideas for how things could be better. And to do that, then you’re kind of step into these leadership roles. And so as you step into leadership roles, how do you do that? Like, how do you even like I can, as I’m seeing patients, I can write an order. But as I’m in meetings with people, it doesn’t seem like the orders I’m writing are coming across as I wanted to. And so, I end up becoming chair of the department, ended up becoming president of the medical staff and went and got an MBA, and as MBA, you know, learn this whole new language, because I realized that the doctors were speaking a different language from the administrators. And in there, there was a course on coaching. And I always thought about coaching was being like, talking about feelings and things like that. And I didn’t really have a great understanding of it. But what I found was in the coaching training was a way of thinking about how I could be effective how I was thinking, and then really helpful was to be able to sit with others, and to be able to help them figure out how they can be most effective. And so really, from that point, then on leadership opportunities, you know, raised and then I was also coaching more healthcare leaders around the United States, and then somehow got to Mayo, and ended up to getting to this point where we’re talking right now.


Mark Divine  3:39  

that’s fascinating. We have a coaching program in my company, and we consider it to be a master skill for leaders. And I think you kind of stumbled upon that, right? I understand the University of Texas where you went and got your MBA, they have an exceptional coaching program. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you learned there, cuz I think that’s a good place for us to start kind of talking about leadership and leadership development, because coaching is so important.


Dr. Richard Winters  4:02  

Yeah. And so one of the things for me as I was, because I was practicing at the time, I wasn’t a college student. So this was, you know, mid career..


Mark Divine 4:08



Dr. Richard Winters 4:09

And looking for ways of applying exactly what I was learning. The University of Texas at Dallas has, I believe, the oldest graduate training in executive coaching.


Mark Divine 4:17

Is that right?


Dr. Richard Winters 4:18

And so it was great. So I was for the MBA program that was exclusively physicians, but then when I went into the the coaching program after that, it was people from all sorts of industries. And it was one of these settings where I’d go and I’d train, you know, probably six hours a week, after shifts and things like that. And it was all done online. And so, from a coaching perspective, you start coaching each other, you start coaching colleagues, you start learning what works, you start hearing from others, you know, that’s not really the right approach and adjusting your approach. So it was a very, very helpful situation.


Mark Divine  4:53  

Was there a particular model that they taught for coaching? I mean, a framework, um, can you describe kind of what what a framework would look like for someone if they’re like, Okay, I’m a leader, and I need to learn how to coach.


Dr. Richard Winters  5:04  

Yeah. So as you become a coach, there’s lots of models that you’re floating in and out of, I think the easy model for most people understand is the GROW model. It’s kind of the stereotypical coaching thing. And the idea is that as you’re talking to someone, the G is goals. So you want to understand what their goal is, what are you trying to get to.


Mark Divine 5:19



Dr. Richard Winters 5:20

And then R is basically the reality of what they’re experiencing. So what’s going on right now discuss what, how are you experiencing things? What are the things that you’re doing that are working and not working? And then O, is options. So now, given all that, how might you move forward? What are some things you might do?


Mark Divine 5:35



Dr. Richard Winters 5:36

And then way is actually the way forward that you’re going to choose into action. So yeah, as you think about a coaching engagement, you’re trying to understand, first of all, the goal, you don’t want to jump way for before you really understand what’s going on their sense of like their reality.


Mark Divine 5:46



Dr. Richard Winters 5:47

So it offers this really nice kind of successive way of going through just just thinking.


Mark Divine  5:52  

Right, I love that it gives you a model to think about your thinking. I actually went through training in the GROW model many, many years ago. And it was designed by a famous tennis coach. I don’t know if he was the author of Inside Tennis, or I forget his name now. But that’s where that came from.


Dr. Richard Winters  6:07  

Yeah, it’s been around for a while.


Mark Divine 6:09



Dr. Richard Winters 6:10

And I think on top of that, then the nice thing about that program is Robert Hicks is the individual who founded it. He had this idea that you’re either supporting, like action, or thinking.


Mark Divine 6:23



Dr. Richard Winters 6:23

Or you’re actually challenging action or thinking. And so it’s nice to think about that, as you’re talking to someone, am I supporting what they’re thinking? Or maybe I’m challenging them and challenging them in a way that’s actually helping them to, to think about things in a broader perspective. And the same thing as they move towards action: How can you support it? And how can you challenge it? So you can start to see these free frameworks kind of coming together, as you’re thinking about options you might support and you might challenge your options.


Mark Divine 6:45



Dr. Richard Winters 6:46

You might support and challenge, their sense of what’s going on in their situation.


Mark Divine  6:51  

I like that I’ve always looked at the coaches role is really kind of holding a mirror up to the client to help them kind of see the truth, maybe a little bit more clearly.


Dr. Richard Winters 6:59



Mark Divine 7:00

You know, devoid of their biases or fears, or, you know, whatever is holding them back from understanding. But also to provide some perspective or help them find their perspective. So that’s really cool. So then you brought these skills back as a leader into Mayo?



Dr. Richard Winters 7:13



Mark Divine 7:14

How did it evolve to where you were basically doing this as a full time thing within the Mayo? You know, family of businesses?


Dr. Richard Winters  7:21  

Yeah. So it’s interesting. So it’s not full time. So as a physician, I’m still practicing.


Mark Divine 7:24

Oh, you are?


Dr. Richard Winters 7:24

I’m still taking care of patients.Yeah.


Mark Divine 7:26

Ok, Right on, I didn’t know that


Dr. Richard Winters 7:27

And so that’s actually one of the special things about Mayo, is that for the majority of the leadership there, even a very high levels, they’re still practicing. So they have kind of their skin in the game.


Mark Divine 7:37



Dr. Richard Winters 7:37

Yeah. So prior to coming to Mayo, I was already coaching individuals in health care organizations. And it was one of these, like, how do I get back to Mayo, because I had gone to medical school here. And I had a conversation with one of my own MBA coaches, and he said, Hey, do you know the chief HR officer over at Mayo? And I said, No. And he said, let me introduce you to her. And so that’s what got me back into the door at Mayo. When I came here, then, so I’m seeing patients, and it’s, you know, one of the situations I think probably many people find themselves in is, I am a fish in a big pond, or at Mayo, we like to think of like, I’m a one star in a constellation of stars. And so as I got here, it’s seeing patients on the one hand, but then, on the other hand, taking on some coaching engagements, speaking a little bit more, having people get to know you, and then all of a sudden being able to develop programs, and then writing books and doing things like that. So it was a very successive sort of step by step thing.


Mark Divine  8:32  

Within Mayo, as an organization is coaching, mandatory, or is it like, hey, someone comes to you and says, I heard about your work, you know, I could use a little help?


Dr. Richard Winters  8:42  

So I think as we think about coaching, a lot of times people think about coaching from a corrective perspective, someone’s doing something wrong, oh, no, you need you need to go see a coach.


Mark Divine 8:48

Right, right..


Dr. Richard Winters 8:49

And that is one form of coaching at but that’s not the form of coaching that I think of in terms of the way most things are and especially at Mayo. And so all the senior leaders are offered coaching. And then there are anyone who’s a department chair or a leader administratively is also offered coaches. And then for people who are below like people who are not leading lots of people who do not have a lot of direct reports. And so an individual surgeon who may not be a leader, they have an opportunity to have professional coaching. So different from executive coaching, professional coaching, we have some funds that are set aside that you can put towards education or coaching or reading stuff, and people will use that for them.


Mark Divine  9:31  

That’s interesting. Let me just kind of clarify. So executive coaching is for an executive and a professional coach is for a non executive professional, but the models are the actual process is not going to be really different. Right? It’s just the the size of the problems maybe.


Dr. Richard Winters  9:44  

Yeah, very much and and obviously they blur because executives have professional, you know, problems or challenges they want to solve and vice versa. I think of executive myself as being those who really have a significant number of direct reports.


Mark Divine 9:56



Dr. Richard Winters 9:57

 And are oftentimes dealing with boards or that senior level.


Mark Divine  10:00  

Yeah, that makes sense. So I want to talk about your book. You Are the Leader, Now What?  Great title, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who have actually felt that like, Okay, now what? I’ve just been handed this massive responsibility. You know, there’s so much about leadership that is taken for granted, that is really nuanced, right? Obviously, context, situation, perspectives, dealing with the different levels of development of all your team, who largely lack awareness of those different levels of development. So development, psychology comes in, social psychology, organizational structure, organizational psychology, there’s so much involved in this field of leadership. So what kind of personal frame of reference do you have beyond the coaching frame of reference, which we want to talk about more. But what’s your leadership frame or style? Or, you know, what’s the didactic, around, around, what you consider to be leadership?


Dr. Richard Winters  10:51  

I think the key thing, particularly in healthcare, and I think really, as I’ve coached individuals outside the industry is that, we all get into leadership positions, because we’re really good at what we do, and people are looking to us to kind of step forward. As we’re doing the things that we do. We’re experts, and people come to us and they seek answers, and we give answers and we move on from there. But once we become leaders, then it’s no longer about what do you think you make the decision? It’s often more towards like now you’re facilitating, which I actually think about is like coaching, right? And so we’re facilitating groups of individuals, how do we all come together all of us with different perspectives to make decisions as quickly as possible in a way that allows us to see through each other’s blind spots and what’s going on outside, or we’re coaching as leaders and whether if I’m meeting one to one with a colleague, and trying to help them kind of make sense of the world, or even myself as a leader, trying to make sense of what’s going on there. I think the coaching framework, that facilitator framework, it’s not like an elective of leadership now, this is the requirement for leadership.


Mark Divine 11:50



Dr. Richard Winters 11:51

And so, the writing the book is like You’re the Leader, Now What?,  is oftentimes what happens is, as I’m coaching someone, they get themselves into a situation, or they find themselves in the midst of a challenge where their friends, their colleagues are disagreeing, there’s a lot of tensions emotions are running high, and then they’re looking to the leader to figure out like, what to do.


Mark Divine 12:10



Dr. Richard Winters 12:11

And the leader is like, geez, I, you know, how do I take care of this. And so, the intent, actually, as I was reading the book was, there’s some basic things about just how to approach these really challenging situations that if the leaders could know this, then I could really start to coach them about how they’re making sense of the world, as opposed to how to approach making sense of the world,


Mark Divine  12:28  

Right, that makes a lot of sense, I like that. Amongst the leadership theories, one of the most relevant and people would self identify with his transformational leadership. And I think coaching model, the idea of coaching and mentoring and evolving, transforming the individuals that you’re in relationship with is really almost a subset of that. But it goes beyond that. You have to focus on organizational systems, you know, that often might block or hinder or not be you know, optimized, right? Well, the first principle in your book is to question best practice, right? Because what’s best practice for one period of time might not be for the next. Like, for instance, in this post pandemic world, there’s a lot of new best practices that need to be evolved, right? And so while people are the leaders are waiting to go back to the old normal, then they’re asking the wrong questions, right? How do you coach people to question best practices and be open to something new emerging?


Dr. Richard Winters  13:24  

Yeah, there was a quote, I believe David Snowden, who wrote a great HBR article, he does a lot of stuff. But the quote that I remember from him is that “best practices are, by definition, past practices.” It just like crystallizes things, because so there are things and I can think about in medicine, you know, there was a time when we used to use leeches, and we used to do bloodletting. And that was that was best practice at the time. And I can just imagine the meetings with a call, you know, people like, oh, what are you saying, we don’t let the blood to help people get better?


Mark Divine 13:51



Dr. Richard Winters 13:52

That’s ridiculous, or really wash hands. And, you know, those sorts of things are best practices that doesn’t fit so much. And so we’re in this really evolving world where things are really complex? And the things we don’t know, we don’t know. And so how do we make sure that what we’re doing today even still fits. You oftentimes will have people in meetings, were using Mayo Clinic as an example, we have a lot of tradition. And that’s part of what’s really strengthens the organization is our mission and our values and this tradition of where we come from. And within that there can be a danger of individuals holding on to tradition. But on the other hand, to succeed, you have to innovate, and you have to break apart things and see things in new ways and perhaps approach patients in different ways. 


Mark Divine 14:33



Dr. Richard Winters 14:34

And so you often get this tension of the innovators in the room and the traditionalist in the room, figuring out how to how to make things work, and it’s really…okay, it does this best practice still hold. And so, let’s go through this process of trying to figure that out.


Mark Divine  14:50  

Yeah. Do you have a specific methodology or like trick to help people break free of some of those best practice patterns and to think about something New, or to?


Dr. Richard Winters  15:00  

Yeah, I love and I love how we started talking about frameworks because I’m gonna go back to David Snowden. He wrote an HBR article, I believe is, in 2008, about the Cynefin framework and spelled C-y-n-e-f-i-n. And he’s still very active. And what he talks about is just, what kind of problem are we facing? What kind of problem is this? And so it’s important for us as a group to understand just kind of what kind of problem is. And so there, it’s clear to me that the way I should sit down on this chair is bottom first, and it for everyone in the room, they would agree with that, right? A patient with a trauma comes in, and their blood pressure’s low and they’ve been bleeding, it’s there are things like we just all know in the room what to do. It’s common sense, it’s clear.


Mark Divine 15:40



Dr. Richard Winters 15:41

Those are things that don’t require a lot of discussion. But that’s the area of best practices. And then there are things that are complicated. And so as an emergency physician, as a patient comes in, and they’re having a heart attack, I’ll call a cardiologist, because they have expertise. And now now this next step of what to do with, I’m not going to call an orthopedic surgeon. And so this in this place of complication, we require experts, and we just asked experts what to do. And the experts kind of assess the situation, the data that’s out there, they may not always agree, but they’re making decisions about data that’s known and possibilities of what’s going to occur that are known. 


Mark Divine 16:13



Dr. Richard Winters 16:14

This is the easy side. What tends to happen, though, in leadership is we’re on this other side, which is things that we don’t know, or things that are complex, or chaos. And so in this place of complexity, we’re sitting in the room. And so, you know, COVID comes along, there’s a lot of things we don’t know. And actually, we don’t even know what we don’t know. And we don’t know, like if we were all sitting in the room, like what’s going to happen. Like five of us, we wouldn’t even agree upon the possible outcomes.


Mark Divine 16:41



Dr. Richard Winters 16:42

And then there’s chaos, which is complexity on top of like squeezed time, like we have to make decisions right now, in which case, you can’t get a bunch of people together, you just have to have a leader who’s going to step up and make decisions.


Mark Divine 16:53



Dr. Richard Winters16:54

The thing about best practices, we can be holding on to best practices, like for example, pre COVID best practices, which now six months into the pandemic, they no longer hold. And now we’re in this place of chaos, because we’ve been complacent. And so how do we all know, kind of which phase we’re in? And then how do we apply the best approach to that?


Mark Divine  17:15  

Right. And dealing with complexity, as you said, there’s it’s orders of magnitude harder than dealing with complication or the simple challenges. I mean, this is something that this you know, I come from the Navy SEAL background, I was a seal commander. Yeah. And we trained for VUCA, right? volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, we get very good. And we also there are certain strategy and tactics, but it’s mostly mindset. Right? And it’s the mindset of getting radically accepting of everything changing all the time. 


Dr. Richard Winters 17:45



Mark Divine 17:46

And so that any type of SOP or standard operating procedure, which you would call best practice that you develop, in, by definition, has to be flexible and also evolving. And so that takes a certain type of mindset to be able to navigate or get comfortable, because very uncomfortable for experts, and for people who’ve been trained in the more linear kind of models of thinking, to think this way. So how do you help clients begin to develop a mindset where they can deal with VUCA as a standard, right, as a matter, of course, or as a new normal?


Dr. Richard Winters  18:21  

Yeah, and I love the point you’re making, it is a very adaptive approach, as you were just talking about the Navy SEAL approach, very adaptive. And our best leaders are very adaptive, because there are times when, let’s say, there are leaders who feel very comfortable about reaching out to colleagues, getting a bunch of people together and collaborating and moving forward. But that doesn’t work in times of chaos, that doesn’t work when you have this time pressure, and you need to make a decision. And then there are other leaders who feel very comfortable in that in that space of kind of chaos, where, okay, I don’t have all the data, but I’m just gonna, I’m going to make a decision, I’m gonna kind of project out in my mind, what might occur, I’m gonna kind of role play, and then I’m going to make the decision, and decide. These may be two different kinds of leaders.


Mark Divine 19:04



Dr. Richard Winters 19:05

Our best leaders are able to do both, because what’s the worst, you know, you have a leader who’s then like, you know, command and control, and this is what we’re going to do that then all of a sudden, that chaos goes away, and they’re still commanding and controlling, that just doesn’t work. 


Mark Divine 19:16



Dr. Richard Winters 19:17

On the other hand, if someone’s trying to, like, get everyone together, when you just need to make a decision.


Mark Divine 19:20



Dr. Richard Winters 19:21

That’s not going to work. And so helping leaders identify that, you know, what kind of situation are you in? Do you really need to reach out right now? Or do you just need to decide based on mission values and what you think is the right way of going, understanding that you don’t have all the information that you need and understanding that, as you’re making a decision now, the goal isn’t necessarily to get things right. Your goal is to poke the reality the situation and see how it responds to your your solution. And then to adapt and continue on, versus getting a bunch of people together.


Mark Divine  19:53  

Yeah. I love that. That’s that’s a great distinction, and I agree with that. One of the biggest challenges also for complexity and chaos is, is fear and fear can immobilize, as you know, right. The fear response will lock people into fight or flight or freeze, especially freeze in the corporate sense. And I noticed, in your book you talk about that, you know, is one of the kind of the foundations to being a good leader is to overcome or explore the fear and the things that are really keeping you stuck. So how do you like, what is what’s the dialogue like? How do you get people to really overcome their, you know, their fear, or what I call False Expectation Appearing Real, or False Evidence Appearing Real.


Dr. Richard Winters  20:32  

Fear, like, you know, festers in silence, it’s like, it’s a monster that will just you can sit in a meeting, and oh, what a great decision then move out. And if you haven’t acknowledged the fears, and the worries that individuals have, your strategy is, is basically destroyed before you leave the room. 


Mark Divine 20:47



Dr. Richard Winters 20:48

And you can understand in a meeting where you have individuals together, that some people may not feel like they can speak up, there may be powerful individuals in the room, maybe they’re not this sort of individual that can just in the moment, make that decision. And so we need to as leaders and unroof, like what are the fears, and deliberately call out, what are your fears about moving forward. And it’s funny, because sometimes as I go in, and I’m doing, you know, consulting with organizations, that was one of the things a leader will say, is, whatever you do, don’t mention, like FTE’s, or don’t, whatever you do, don’t mention, you know, this sort of thing. And I’m thinking, that’s exactly what we’re gonna mention, because this thing of wishing not speak, you know, this Voldermort of a situation.


Mark Divine 21:28



Dr. Richard Winters 21:29

Is why things are not working.


Mark Divine 21:31

Love it.


Dr. Richard Winters 21:32

And so you’re really, you need to call out the fears and worries because they’re, those fears and worries are not just someone who doesn’t want change, it’s someone who’s seeing perhaps parts of the problem that you’re not seeing, like real impediments to moving forward. And so if you know the fears and worries, then as you’re visioning, like how you’re gonna move forward, you can then take those into consideration, you can try to decrease the chance of those fears happening.


Mark Divine 21:55



Dr. Richard Winters 21:56

And as you’re decreasing the chance of those fears happening, that’s going to change the options that you might choose to move forward.


Mark Divine 22:01



Dr. Richard Winters 22:02

And the ways that you can be successful,


Mark Divine  22:03  

That’s interesting. So that’s like bringing it into awareness, then you can objectify it and make it something that you can actually solve or work with. But if it’s hidden from awareness, then that’s just going to be an obstacle, right? It’s just gonna be an obstacle.


Dr. Richard Winters 22:18



Mark Divine 22:19

For me, when I’m working with leaders and clients, I find their personal story, and the masks that they put on, and their own biases, or you know, what the, what the psychology profession would call shadow, tend to be the biggest limiting issues in their capacity to lead. They feel like they’ve got to be perfect. And, you know, they’re, they’re hiding behind that perfectionism, or without understanding why or what’s happening, they’re being exclusive. They’re not not being an inclusive leader, because their hidden bias is saying, well, that person is not a producer. And so I’m gonna ignore them, or that person just got that quality. And a lot of times they’re projecting, but, bottom line is they’re not creating an inclusive environment. And so that shuts people down, it’s just the team done. Right? That was a whole foundation for a book that I wrote called, Staring Down the Wolf. And the idea was you got to stare down your own fear and biases and shadow in order to allow the team to really flourish. 


Dr. Richard Winters 23:14

Well said


Mark Divine 23:15

So how do you get into that underlying story with your clients? As a coach, as a leader? How do you help them stare down their fear wolves? 


Dr. Richard Winters 23:25

Yeah, that’s great


Mark Divine 23:26

And be more authentic, or what Brene Brown called vulnerable, although I don’t I don’t love that term, personally, but


Dr. Richard Winters  23:31  

yeah, yeah. So I mean, I think a lot of this comes from goal setting. And so oftentimes, as I’m meeting with a leader, there is an issue that they’ve been working on that they cannot get through, you know, Atomic Habits is a great book. But sometimes these atomic habits like they, they blow up, because there are fears and worries underneath them that are not the preventing things from working out. And so examples of things that leaders bring our example maybe that you were just alluding to, which is, when I’m in a meeting, basically, I, I speak up, I tend to take control of the room, it tends to silence people.


Mark Divine 24:02



Dr. Richard Winters 24:03

And what I’d like to be able to do is kind of just sit back and let the process work out. That’s an example. That’s where when I’m in a meeting with people, I don’t know, I keep quiet. And I’d like to be able to better express my ideas and my sense of what’s going on, and feel safe to do so. Or, I’m not good at delegating, or all these sorts of things. These are great goals. And I tend to find one of those goals that’s really important to them that they’ve had a hard time working on. And then I start to figure out, so what’s going on? What are the things that you’re doing that work against you, letting the rooms kind of speak and not speaking over them? What are the things that you’re doing? And so the person says, Well, you know what, I interrupt them or I control the agenda, or I keep reinforcing what I was thinking or all these things that they’re doing the actual things that they you know, okay, so now just stop that. But is that going to work? No, because they’ve tried to stop it and it doesn’t work. And so it speaks to as you’re talking about facing the wolf, which is, there are fears and worries that they hold about stopping, if I stop controlling the agenda, then maybe they’re going to come up with a solution that I don’t think is good. Or maybe I’m no longer a leader, or maybe I won’t be the person that they will go to. Or maybe the way a leader is successful is by overriding people. And so you have this tension then of foot on the gas pedal and foot on the brakes. Whereas yes, they would like to speak up less and allow the room to talk. But on the other hand, if they do that the fear of not being seen as a leader not getting their point across and not being able to move towards successful action, it gets intertwined.


Mark Divine 25:36



Dr. Richard Winters 25:37

And this is an example is where, again, from a framework perspective, this comes from Bob Keegan, out of Harvard Immunity to Change framework, which has been very, very, I think, helpful, great book to and Lisa Leahy is is a co investigator and co author.


Mark Divine  25:52  

Yeah, we use that, by the way in our coaching, it’s phenomenal. Let’s kind of build on this because,  The Immunity to Change and overcoming these things, then like I said, it can shut people down. Let me back up a little bit. DEI is obviously a big issue these days, right? And so boards are now like, like, okay, DEI is important. It’s on our radar. So we’re going to do these things. And usually, that ends up not really leading anywhere, because it’s DEI or inclusion and diversity is more than just a set of rules. Right? 


Dr. Richard Winters 26:23

Yeah. Right


Mark Divine 26:24

It’s it really comes down to what we’re talking about the individual leaders ability to include and to overcome their own biases and whatnot. And then immunity to changes is really prevalent, and so people are resistant to that change. But I think that from what I’ve learned, and as a leader, that there’s so much value in inclusiveness and diversity, not only is it being demanded at board level, but it’s being craved at the individual team level, right? And this, we’re seeing this big problem with disengagement and quiet quitting. And you know, the people literally just leaving the workforce in droves. And it’s because they’re not, they don’t feel included. And we can even use the term engaged, they don’t feel engaged. How do we, as leaders create more inclusive slash diverse, more engaged environments, so we can draw the best out of our teams?


Dr. Richard Winters  27:14  

They don’t feel included, and they don’t feel engaged? Because they’re not being included? 


Mark Divine 27:18



Dr. Richard Winters 27:19

And so, yes, you hire people with diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives. But if we’re running meetings in a way that we’re not listening to those, well, then what’s the point there? 


Mark Divine 27:29



Dr. Richard Winters 27:30

It’s like having the best players and you’re not putting them in the game.


Mark Divine 27:32



Dr. Richard Winters 27:33

A lot of this goes back on, really the process of how individuals are running meetings. And these complex situations, these challenges that are really thorny in the VUCA, sort of space. These are wonderful spaces that you want to really leverage the different perspectives of the room, you want to like, open up the wisdom of the room. And so how do you do that as you need to first before you decide what tends to happen? You know, we’re talking about the leader who speaks up too much, interrupts, they say something. And then there’s the individual who’s quiet, who doesn’t say anything, and then the individual can delegate who doesn’t want to do anything, because they have too much on their plate.


Mark Divine 28:05



Dr. Richard Winters 28:06

And then the meeting adjourns, and like, okay, good meeting. No, it wasn’t a good meeting, because actually, nothing happened.


Mark Divine 28:10



Dr. Richard Winters 28:11

And so we need to do is slow down a little bit upfront, and slow down can be, you know, 15 minutes, or it can be a retreat, I think it’s it depends on the timing, and really gather a shared reality of shared perspectives of what’s going on. And so…


Mark Divine 28:25



Dr. Richard Winters 28:26

And, given this challenge, what do you think, and we have to understand that in some situations, and depending on the kind of the culture of the room, people may not feel safe speaking up. And so how do you overcome that? I like this idea of, first of all, you ask individuals to think about it themselves, you know, give two to five minutes for someone to think about this issue by themselves, all their kind of own bullet points, and then Pair them into small groups to discuss together, and then have those groups report out to the larger group to the larger meeting the perspectives and in that way, the one person who may not have said things in front of the whole group, the small group can hear their perspective and speak out, you know, for the for the whole group.


Mark Divine 29:05



Dr. Richard Winters 29:06

There’s processes that we can use to kind of elevate the safety before we start to move to the options and way forward. 


Mark Divine  29:11  

Yeah, I love that. Yeah, psychological safety. Obviously, that is the, you know, the leadership term or the you know, the professional terms. Like, if that doesn’t exist, then your teams are not going to be engaged or, you know, felt heard. And so they I want to also tie this to some of Keegan’s work around growth organization, he uses the term deliberately developmental organization. I think this is also going to be a real imperative for leaders in this kind of new normal or as a new normal kind of evolves in the VUCA world that we’re in. Is that when we look at our teams, and we look at organizations as massive opportunities for growth, right, so leader does his growth, through coaching and leadership development, but what about the team? And it’s not like individual team members, just getting some coaching. And it’s like this team comes together. And they have these conversations as part and parcel of their daily work, where every day they come, they’re excited because there’s an opportunity to grow, they will they will evolve vertically, not just gain some new horizontal skill.


Dr. Richard Winters 30:14



Mark Divine 30:15

Is that a discussion that you’re having at Mayo? Or, you know, what are you guys doing as an organization to become a growth organization?


Dr. Richard Winters  30:21  

I mean, the challenge is, is that, how do you scale all of this? It’s, so it’s one thing to get the executives a coach, but are you going to offer ongoing coaching to everyone at every level? And so, you know, it’s a question there. And so…


Mark Divine 30:35



Dr. Richard Winters 30:36

There are things that just need to be a part of a common language for how we run meetings, how we interact with each other, how we support each other, building up this coaching skill is a key one.


Mark Divine 30:46



Dr. Richard Winters 30:47

And as you build up the coaching skill, that can scale at all levels, and so you can offer programs where people are learning, they’re practicing with each other. And these conversations are occurring in that way. I think that’s one way. The other way is, just as we’re developing leaders, and when I say when I’m talking about developing leaders, I’m talking about leaders at all levels, because we know like, there’s, there’s great research that shows okay, you were going to do this really thorny thing, who would you go to in times of trouble? It’s oftentimes the formal leader who people are afraid to go do. And oftentimes, it’s an individual who has no title, who is actually is the individual that holding this holding people together as actually the informal kind of true leader. And so we wanted to be developing leaders at all levels. And so how do we develop a common language, and I like things like Immunity to Change, like helping people understand how to go through their own professional goals and the things that have stopped them up. I love frameworks, like the Kenevin framework, I love the growth sort of model. And the more we teach people about that, I think, you know, the better it is, it’s difficult to deliberately developmental organization, because I think we do have to understand that people still, they may not trust the organization as much as the organization wants them to trust.


Mark Divine 31:57



Dr. Richard Winters 31:58

You know, when we have 360s, and you’re up for the next position? How safe do you feel speaking out your voice?


Mark Divine 32:05



Dr. Richard Winters 32:06

Is it a culture where you actually should be more quiet and and what you say may be used against you because there’s a lot of dynamics or I think that can be difficult for the true development deliberately developmental organization? 


Mark Divine  32:18  

Yeah, no, I 100% agree. And it’s kind of like Dalio, in his meritocracy said, it takes about 18 months for a new staff member to kind of align with that, or to really appreciate the power of that is similar with a DDO, it could take a long time, to transform a culture to be a growth or growth inclusive culture. And it can take a long time for new people to really oriented that because it’s so new. I think that’ll change over time, personally, but it’s a simple concept, but it’s not easy to implement. Let’s put it that way. That’s awesome. We got to wrap up here pretty soon. But um, I do want to ping on one other thing, and I think it’s so important, we talked about the importance of leading with story. What do you mean by that? And how do we do that?


Dr. Richard Winters  32:57  

I think is particularly for Mayo clinics. The reason I went to Mayo Clinic is because of the mission and values. I saw an organization that was really dedicated on serving the needs of patients. That is the primary value. And so as we’re going through difficult times, and COVID is a difficult time, right now, as we’re talking about AI and machine learning and all the changes that we’re seeing within the market, all the new medications and the technologies, there’s there are a lot of things that are changing. It’s really falling back on the stories of what we have done in the past, how we have overcome how we have lived our mission and values and and embodied them that really helped us to like kind of level set than how we move forward. The difficult thing is though, that some of the values, you see innovation, or you seem teamwork, or you seem see integrity, and we can think of you know, Enron integrity was one of the values. And you can see how organizations can, well, this is not really so convenient right now to have this value, that starts to really kind of eat organizations from the inside. And so these stories really display what the values are an action and then help the leaders embody them. And these are things to be doing during times where things are easy, but especially when it’s inconvenient, because that’s where really the organization’s move forward from.



Mark Divine  34:14  

I love that I think those stories become the guardrails, you know, when things get really chaotic, right, because it’s the story of you know, how the, you know, frontline customer service is handling the customer, right? And you could call those rules or processes, but it really is about the why behind it. That’s important. Right? I have to understand and that’s what you mean by the story.


Dr. Richard Winters  34:34  

Totally. Yeah. I mean, telling the story of a patient who’s come through the system and and has been helped, and the individual in the community, what we’ve been doing has offered opportunities and raise the health of the community. And I think each of our organizations have these sorts of stories and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. 


Mark Divine  34:52  

That’s awesome. A great place to kind of put a pin in this and thanks so much for your time. Richard has been amazing. You’re the Leader is your book. You’re the Leader, Now What?, came out as we record this you said about a week ago. So congratulations is putting a book out, as you know, a little bit of a challenge. 


Dr. Richard Winters 35:06

It takes a little time. 


Mark Divine 35:07

Yeah, takes a little bit of time to paint involves a good job. Do you have a particular website you’d like people to go to learn more about it? Or, you know, where can folks kind of reach out or connect with you? And I know you do speaking and other things, so…


Dr. Richard Winters  35:19  

Yes, so my name richardwinters.com is kind of the place where I think where they can go, and they can look for where to purchase the book and how to contact me.


Mark Divine  35:28  

Awesome. Well, Richard, thanks so much for your time today. I really, really appreciate it. Brilliant work. And I think a lot of people are going to learn a lot from that. And thanks for what you’re doing at Mayo. Mayo has been a real beacon of light in that whole medical world. And so I appreciate the work that the Mayo Clinic is doing as well. 



Dr. Richard Winters 35:45

Thank you for having me.


Mark Divine 35:46

Yeah. Appreciate it. Hooyah! What a fascinating conversation with Richard about his book, You’re the Leader, Now What, we talked about all sorts of interesting things. I love the GROW model. In fact, in my new book, Uncommon, I talk about the growth model, what are your goals, the reality, options way forward, and what are your tasks, and what help do you need? It’s a great model to use to help solve any problem or in any coaching relationship. We talked about ton of great stuff. So really enjoyed that. Thank you very much, Richard. Shownotes and transcripts are up at markdivine.com,  videos up on our YouTube channel. So check that out. If you’d like the video version, you can reach out to me or learn more about our work @Mark Divine on Twitter and @Real Mark Divine on Instagram and Facebook, or from my LinkedIn account. If you’re not on my newsletter, please consider subscribing go to markdivine.com to subscribe every Tuesday, Divine Inspiration will hit your inbox where I provide a synopsis of the week’s show, as well as my blog, as well as other shows where I’m a guest. And so it’s more interviews of me as well as other cool things that come across my desk and practices as well. I think you’ll really enjoy that go to markdivine.com to subscribe. Thanks so much to my amazing team, Jason Sanderson and Geoff Haskell to help produce this podcast and bring incredible guests like Richard to you every week. reviews and ratings are very helpful. So if you haven’t reviewed or rated consider doing so, is how other people find us and brings us credibility, and allows us to continue doing we’re doing. Thanks so much for doing the work supporting this podcast for being the change you want to see in the world. Together. We can do this at scale and navigate the VUCA world that is upon us. And it’s going to get Messier before it gets better. But we can get through this and thrive. Easy day. Till next time. This is Mark Divine


Transcribed by https://otter.ai






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