Jennifer Russell joins Alicia Dunams on ALL IN, talking about the nature of leadership, and the effectiveness of personal authenticity and reflection.
Jennifer is a co-creator of Mind Money Meaning, the co-facilitator of L7 Leadership Program, and the president of the California Leadership Center.
- Why entrepreneurs will change the world
- Why women need to view leadership as a craft to be mastered
- How true leaders focus on their people
- How personal alignment is the key to personal power
- Why a good leader is a bridge from emotion to logic
- How both male and female traits are needed in a leader
Keep Going ALL IN:
- Learn more about Jennifer at www.JenniferSRussell.com
- Mind Money Meaning
- Listen to more ALL IN podcasts here.
- Learn more about Alicia Dunams here.
Jennifer’s favorite leadership quotes:
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]“The World will be saved by the Western woman.” – The Dalai Lama #ALLIN[/inlinetweet]
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”Greatness demands both decisiveness and flexibility, courage and prudence, strength and vulnerability, action and introspection.” – Tony Schwartz #ALLIN[/inlinetweet]
Alicia Dunams: Hey, it’s Alicia Dunams here with ALL IN, and I wanna introduce Jennifer Russell. Jennifer, are you ready to play ALL IN?
Jennifer Russell: I sure am!
A: Excellent! Now Jennifer is a co-creator of Mind Money Meaning. Also, co-facilitator of L7 Leadership Program, and the president of the California Leadership Center. So Jennifer, tell us a little bit about yourself.
J: Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure. Really, I’m just a guide in the whole entrepreneur thing. I’ve probably been part of over half a dozen different organizations that I’ve helped to lead. And you know, what I Iove most is really is empowering the entrepreneurial spirit that I see in most people and using that to create a more contribution related culture, right? ‘Coz what I see is that deep down, entrepreneurs are here to save the world, they’re the innovators, they’re the ones that are up to changing our world in really major ways, they’re the ones that are creating jobs and helping our economy. And right now, what I’m up to is really supporting them in their endeavors. Me and my partner, Bryan Franklin, we’ve been working with entrepreneurs for the last, for him it’s about 15 years, for the last 5 or 6 years. We’ve helped thousands of businesses and transformed their lives. And so, I’ve been a long time student of influence and leadership, both in my own companies and in helping other people do it. I’m really excited; this is one of my favorite topics.
A: I know it is! I was one of those entrepreneurs that you’ve helped in your L7 program. So, I love to get started with a quote on ALL IN. So, what’s your favorite leadership quote?
J: Yeah, you know it’s tough… I think I have two. Being that we’re both women on this call, I love the quote by the Dalai Lama, which is now becoming more and more famous. It’s, “The World will be saved by the Western woman.” And one of the reasons that I love that quote is, I really feel like that time has come for a feminine paradigm or a feminine style of leadership to help her rebalance the equation in our world. And I really believe that the Western woman is really poised to do that. She’s from a very empowered culture, we now have more and more opportunity and chances to really take on leadership, and I’m just a big believer in helping women to take that on. I think the male-dominated orientation around goal-setting and making stuff happen is half of the equation of what’s needed in order to really create a world that evolves human kind and also takes into account the planet and sustainability, both for ourselves energetically and from a personal level, and from the world on a larger scale, an ecological level. So, I really believe that the Western woman is going to help save the world through her leadership. So that’s one of my favorite ones. A second one real fast… I’m kind of known for loving the idea of expanding your range, and it’s actually a leadership principle. I know you’ve been exposed to a lot of our information about range. To me a leader is intimately more trustable when they have the inner flexibility and range. Tony Schwarz has this wonderful quote and it’s really about that. He say, “Greatness demands both decisiveness and flexibility, both courage and prudence, both strength and vulnerability, action and introspection.” So, the true measure of greatness is out capacity to navigate between those opposites with agility and grace. So to me, that’s really a key principle of leadership, it’s that ability to be agile between those two. It’s not about being really hard, nor just being soft and vulnerable, it’s really about your ability to do what’s right in the moment, and that makes you a really good leader. So he’s a favorite of mine.
A: Absolutely! Being agile, being able to turn on a dime. Now Jennifer, I’d love to ask how you are showing up as a leader in your life.
J: Yeah, I’d say it’s in the back of my mind in everything I do. No matter what the situation, regardless of my actual role in that situation, I’m looking to see if there’s a leadership vacuum. You know, and I’m monitoring for that. Are we, in every moment, being led towards the intended outcome? And if we aren’t, it’s like have compelled to either subtly from the background or overtly from the front of the room, step in and lead. You know to me, leading is about creating a future that wouldn’t have happened anyway. Right, so when I’m watching moment to moment, me in a collaborative system, me with another person where there’s an end result that’s shared. I want to know if we are heading in that direction in creating a new future or not. And so, it’s really present for me everywhere, and in my life, I tend to take on that role. Socially I tend to organize our community, I led a camp at Birmingham, and I’m right now running 4 to 5 different companies right now that I’m also leading. So it’s really big for me how that is in my life, so yeah, that shows up in everything that I do. I look for how do I make forward progress in every moment.
A: Wow. And as a woman leader, that’s one of the reasons I wanted you on this show. To me, you exhibit ALL IN in everything, just as you’ve explained. And I love the quote talked about range, and being able to be agile, and I love that as well. So, in particular, since you are a woman leader, very much a woman leader in my life, I respect you, I love you, what advice do you give to women in being the source of leadership?
J: Yeah, you know I think it starts with realizing that leadership is its own craft and women should embrace it as such. I think often, we’re really good at our own craft, whatever that is, whether we’re healers, or whether we’re speakers or whether we help people write books for instance, or whatever it is that that craft is. We forget that part of being good at that craft is helping another person go from point A to point B, and so realize it as a craft. And I don’t mean study it by reading a bunch of books, but what I mean is watch from what’s actually creating influence in every moment and learn about that over and above your craft. So one is just have that orientation… you know I’ve mentioned that leadership is taking someone from point A to point B. Anytime you’re even having just a conversation, they’re even gonna leave of more of your point of view or you’re gonna leave with more of theirs. So, in every moment there’s an opportunity to lead someone, somewhere. I think true leadership in that point A to point B, is you’re willing in one hand to hold on with crystal clarity to your future vision and what you believe can happen so that every detail of that future is totally real to you. And therefore, you believe it and anyone that comes in contact with it, believes it, right? So, you have to in one hand, hold that future with crystal clarity as a leader. And then in the other hand, you firmly hold on to the reality of what is, what’s it like now and not shying away from any truth or any aspect of that present, regardless of how much conflict it is with your vision, right? And I think true leadership is really about holding on to both A and B, holding o to that future vision with utter clarity so that it’s so real, it’s almost like a picture that you can walk inside of. And as someone is listening to you speak, they can see it in total relief, right? But you have another foot so firmly planted in what is, what is reality? You’re not pretending like it isn’t what it is, you’re aware of the numbers, you’re aware of the results, you’re aware of those weaknesses and strengths and of those everyone around you. And when you can hold point A and point B firmly in your hand, you literally become the bridge. To me, that’s leadership, it’s becoming the bridge to those two. And so anything you, as a woman, can do to have total clarity about point A and point B, and really have both feet firmly planted, will make you a really compelling leader. So to me, that’s like my second point or my second piece of advice, I’ve got probably two more, but that’s really the key. It makes up for anything that you might feel that you lack. You know a lot of women would say, you know I don’t really have the right personality, or the right charisma, I don’t have a style. And really, if you’d just be clear about point A and point B, that’s half the battle. ‘Coz most people aren’t surprisingly, I mean having watched a lot of leaders, having helped a lot of leaders, they’re usually weak in either one of those. You know, the second thing and this to me is a really important one, because this is I think what women can teach the men about leadership, although it’s not exclusively a feminine idea, which is to really be what’s missing. This was a real wake up call for me. I noticed for a while going around, I kind of complaining under my breath of whatever that’s missing in the space that I was in. You know I’m in a space with a lot of people, and are upset that so and so isn’t doing what they’re supposed to, or upset of the quality of the conversation. And I noticed after a while that me sitting there in this complaining state was not only not leading, but it’s also just adding to the problem. And it’s a really easy place to go with our minds or monkey minds, we kinda go to that place. And a leader really understands what’s missing, the moment that I see what’s missing is… You know, let’s say a high quality conversation that’s authentic, that’ll actually move us forward. The moment I just become that, I embody that, I bring that, then it becomes a compelling kind of feel that’s created that everyone just wants to take part in because it’s usually better than whatever is going on. And so part of being a leader is to become what’s missing, and literally have a theatre in your mind where you’re in the audience clapping for yourself as you watch how you’re handling every situation, right? You know, you’ve gotta be that kind of person, so you’re not gonna be clapping there for yourself if you’re sitting there complaining about what’s missing. You are gonna be that kind of woman or man that’s gonna embody what is missing and have that be really really inspiring, right? And so, that would be a second piece of advice. Do you we have time for another one?
A: We do!
J: I’d say, the really really important is to have attention on others’ capabilities versus you and your style, right? You know when a lot of people ask me to talk about how do I develop my leadership style… and it’s easy to think of leadership as a set of characteristics like charisma, or a certain level of confidence, or you know those kinds of qualities that you wanna develop. But it isn’t leadership when your focus is kind of like, “Am I being the right way?” Leadership occurs when your commitment is out there, you focus is out there and you’re committed to other people being different in some way, doing something differently, having something different. You know, you don’t wanna focus on your style, what’s important is ask yourself, “Are the people that you’re committed to leading, being different in the specific way that you want them to be different, right?” You know, and if you commit to the outcome, your leadership style would like emerge from that and develop all of your strengths and weaknesses and all of your quirks will kinda coalesce if you’re committed to the outcome and committed to the other person, your attention is out there, not in here. So it’s really about that, you wanna make sure that the people you interact with that they’re becoming their most capable, their most inspired, their most competent, and if you pay attention to not only you or getting the job done. Usually most leaders begin an end, or is the job being done? Most leaders, if they check that box, they’re saying I’m a good leader. Well that’s actually the beginning – are you getting the job done and are you having them shine in their moments and that’s what created extraordinary results, right? ‘Coz it a leadership not through just action, which is the way I used to lead when I was younger, very masculine like let’s just get it done. Where now, it’s really a lot more about the feminine idea of inspiration, “How do I empower those around me instead of having the power and then inspire them to shine and be more capable?” And that’s really where leadership gets interesting.
A: And I love for you to expound on that, I meant that’s really powerful. I mean all of those 3 stuffs you’ve talked about, from point A to point B and that transformation and being able to enroll people to your vision but also be very cognizant of where they are at that particular point. And then being able to be outside of yourself and look at yourself in situations; are you coming from a place of complaining or problem or are you coming from a place of solution and being able to clap at yourself and say, “Who do I want to be?” And in that final piece that you shared in terms of really being outward in terms of your leadership, it’s not about who you are and being right and powerful, but how are you empowering other people?
J: Yes, absolutely! The more internally focused you are, the harder it is to get extraordinary results from everyone. You’ll find that it’s a virtual cycle that gets created when your attention is on how do I have them have a shining moment, how do I create that kind of interaction versus how do I get more confident, or how do I get more results our of them. And it’s a focus out there, but with becoming the bridge between what it’s like now and your future vision and having both of those working at once. If you triangulate around that, you’ll be an extraordinary leader.
A: And what does playing ALL IN mean to you?
J: Yeah, oh, playing ALL IN, you know that’s something that we talk about a lot in the programs where Bryan, my partner, and I teach together. We’re big believers in you know, when there’s a line in the sand, you wanna put yourself all the way over the line in any moment. It’s not just about playing hard, it’s really about when you put yourself all the way in, you’re more likely to create an extraordinary result. To me, playing ALL IN is specifically about aligning the parts so that you don’t have some of your parts moving in different directions. One of our definitions of power, it’s kind of a unique definition of being powerful which is a part of leading; you know are you able to compel or influence the people around you in a powerful way. It think there’s a misunderstanding about it where you think when you’re louder about it, that’s more powerful. But it’s actually a function of having everyone in your parts aligned in the same direction. Most of us are not aligned, really, around the things that we want. There’s a part of us that’s congruent, that feels good about what they do, and there’s another part that’s kind of in the opposite direction, not sure, maybe I’m a fraud, maybe I’m not quite good enough. There’s another part that’s wondering what the other person thinks, and there’s another part that’s not sure they can, and there’s another part that does believe that they can do some part of it. And all of these parts, we’re a conflagration of all of these parts. And when they’re all pointing in different directions, and your power is really the sum total of all of those vectors, if you imagine them all being arrows pointing in different directions, and if you sum them all up…. If you have some going in opposite directions, it’ll really cut your power. But, if every ounce of your being completely believes exactly what you’re saying, believes and is in that direction and is aligned along with you, then it doesn’t matter how loud you are or what your charisma is, it’s super powerful. So part of being ALL IN, literally all, I actually mean it very literally, like every part of your being is aligned and all faced in one direction, towards the thing that you want to create in the world, the outcome that you want to generate. So, that’s part of being powerful and for women specifically, it’s often also about integrating the masculine and feminine. You don’t have to be a man to have the masculine essence of goal-setting and making things happen and getting things done, right? And if being more feminine, you don’t have to give up your strength because there are strong models of femininity that are fiercely loving and compassionate, right? And so, a really good leader like I said in the 20 shorts quote, is the agile along both of those. Can you be compassionate and loving and listen and strong and powerful and getting things done? And can you integrate both your masculine and feminine sides without putting one out to dry, right? And what I see is women either get over masculine around leading, ‘coz that’s the model that we all grew up with, we all had male leaders as models. It hasn’t been until our recent history that there’ve been a lot of women in power. It’s only a generation or two back that we were even in positions that, in companies running them or in positions like in a political arena where we had say. We had masculine models and so many women started there and decided that being a leader was about being more like that, right? They’re living off the asset, that’s what’s most needed right now, that’s why I say the Western women will save the world. One of the assets that’s most needed is our ability to be compassionate, our ability to get into the other person’s world, our ability to inspire and attract people to us that want to help the future that we want to create. And some of that softness, that tenderness, that vulnerability, that compassion, alongside the strength and the ability to get it done is what makes a good leader. And integrating those both sides of you, bringing both of them to the party, having them both sign off to the leadership, to me is about being all in. I’ve seen the other side of it where some women want to lead, and they’re kind of wo-ho and they want to hold hands, and they’re so soft and they only want to talk about everybody’s at feelings… all of that is important too, but then they’re leaning on to the other side. They need to develop some of the masculine. And so if you can show up as a leader, developing both, integrating both parts, realizing your conflagration of those parts, and aligning them in a direction, then that’s a powerful leader.
A: That is well said. It’s funny, as the leadership training I’ve been doing over in the last couple of years and L7, one thing I get from women is that I’m intimidating, I’m powerful, all of these masculine energy, and so I’ve been really conscientious to being focused on fully being connected and compassionate. And it’s something that’s a stretch for me, it’s something that I wake up on a daily basis and say, “This is the type of woman I am, it’s connected and compassionate.”
J: For you, then your work is, “Okay, how do I bring compassion? How do I bring vulnerability? How do I bring in caring not only about the end result, but also about how they’re feeling throughout the process?” And if they’re feeling more capable, right? And so that they’re better suited to help you going forward and that you’re bringing out the most extraordinariness in the process, and they’re loving you for it, right? And so yes, so it’s about both, and identify, for any of you listening, identify where on the spectrum between those. You know, if behavioral flexibility is part of leadership, it’s that range that we talked about, find the areas where you’re weak and see if you can develop those as a leader ‘coz you’ll be infinitely more trustable. If all you are is hard, then someone won’t come to you and trust you with their weakness or a mistake they’ve made. And if all you are is soft, then they’re not going to feel like they can come to you with some hard facts or some hard feedback, right? So you really wanna be able to hold both, you wanna hold the sensations of both the intensity and the softness at once.
A: With that, behavioral flexibility with leadership. So Jennifer, anything else to add that you wanna leave the audience? Use this as our platform to share what your thought is on leadership, then we’re gonna be sharing how people can learn more about you.
J: Sure! I’d say, you know, you want to… As you’re aligning the parts inside of you – there’s masculine and feminine, there’s the parts that believe in what you’re doing, there’s the parts that don’t believe in what you’re doing. And then there’s the mind, the emotions and the body, right? What I noticed is that a powerful leader knows how to embody exactly what they’re saying, they can feel the power of it, and feel what the audience or whoever they’re speaking to, their team is feeling and then use their minds to create s structure of A to B that’s crystal clear. And so, for me can you come from all three at once, right? I mean we’ve developed this triune brain where we have the reptilian brain which is kind of the body, the instinctual, and that is really about ‘fight or flight’ is this safe or unsafe. And then you’re got the limbic brain, which is on top of the reptilian brain, and it’s all about the emotions and that’s about love and belonging. And then you’ve got the neurocortex which is all about the abstract, the conceptual level, right? Because we have all three of those all the time running, if you can come from all three, then you’re going to be speaking to all 3 parts of a human, right? If their reptilian mind, their animal brain is in fight or flight then no amount of reasoning with them is going to help them or help the project of whatever it is that you’re trying to create, they’re gonna be stuck. If they’re worried about whether they’re being loved or whether they belong, again they’re unresourced, untriggered and unable to really bring their full selves. So you, as a leader has to bring and align all of those together such that you’re not a head on a stick, nor are you running after them with a club, you’ve got all 3 running. So that’s just a really key concept in leadership that I wanna leave people with, and I just want to reiterate the becoming a bridge, clarity between point A and B and then you become that bridge. And then, I think if you can really live those concepts and in every moment see how do I align, and how do I create a clearer picture of point A to point B, then you’ll be an extraordinary leader. I have no doubt. I’ve seen a lot of leaders transform just because of those 2 major ideas.
A: Powerful, powerful, Jennifer. This has been amazing for you to provide so much insight, so much different from some of the other podcasts and experts.
J: Good, good! I mean, I’m glad; it’s so wonderful that you’re doing this because we all have come from a different perspective around leadership, and there are so many wonderful ideas about it. And I’m actually excited to see what other people that have followed this topic, as deeply as I, have to say, so… add to the dialogue.
A: Absolutely, add to the dialogue, make it complex and beautiful. So how can people find more about you?
J: Sure, sure! You know, there’s a couple of different ways. One of the best ways is go to my website, which is www.JenniferSRussell.com. It’s a great way to find out a little bit more about me, you’ll find some wonderful free talks and interviews that I’ve done on this topic. So if you guys wanna, you know, get some free stuff and share more about this and engage with me on this topic… It’s one of my favorites so I’d love to hear from you. And we’ve also created a lot of programs for entrepreneurs; we help them with their leadership, we help them create extraordinary results. You can find all of our programs there, in MindMoneyMeaning.com. But either way, look me up, we’d love to enter into this dialogue continue this conversation. Tell me what your leadership challenges are and I’ll write you back.
A: And thank you Jennifer, thank you for playing ALL IN with us. You added so much to the dialogue today and I appreciate you.
J: Oh, you’re welcome! It was such a pleasure. I can’t wait to hear it and let my audience know about your wonderful dialogue. Looking forward to it! Glad to elevate that conversation that you’re elevating leadership through all of these interviews. Hope you do one on yourself; you should have someone interview you.
A: Great! Thank you so much, Jennifer.
J: Yeah, you’re welcome.
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