Authentic Leadership with Dr. Matthew Hurtienne 

Dr. Matthew Hurtienne is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the School of Business and Director of the Doctorate of Business Administration at Concordia University Wisconsin.  He is also the Director of Morph Advisors Consulting.




Inside This Episode

  • Becoming a Servant Leader
  • Planning For the Unknown
  • The Power of Scenario Planning
  • A Timeline of Creating Buy-In
  • Building Relationships with Authenticity
  • Creating a Culture of Transparency
  • The End of Punching In and Punching Out
  • Commitment, Engagement, and Retention
  • Adapting Your Leadership to Your Team
  • Overcoming Obstacles with Persistence
  • Balancing the Environment and the Individual
  • Creating A Unified Organization in a Polarized World
  • Humility, Learning, Adaptiveness, and Performance

John Ryan
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 30. Welcome everybody. In today's episode, we'll be discussing authentic leadership with Dr. Matt Hurtienne. We'll be covering building relationships with authenticity, planning for the unknown, creating a unified organization in a polarized world and much, much more.

John Ryan 0:22
Leadership is about vision. It's about creating a vision and sharing that vision with others in a way that inspires them to walk with you towards its fulfillment. Along the way, leaders encourage, motivate, guide and even challenge people to bring their best each and every day. And it's all done through conversations. That's what this show is about better conversations for better leaders, everybody, and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host, John Ryan. And today we have a very special guest Dr. Matthew Hurtienne. Dr. Matt is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the School of Business and director of the doctorate of Business Administration at Concordia University Wisconsin. He's also the director of morph advisors consulting. Welcome to the show, Matt.

Matt Hurtienne 1:05
Yeah, thank you, john, thanks for the opportunity to be here and to talk about employee engagement and talk about leadership to two very important topics to me.

John Ryan 1:14
Excellent, I've been looking forward to our discussion. And I wanted to know if we could trace it back a little bit first, and talk a little bit about how you first became interested in leadership and business in general.

Matt Hurtienne 1:26
I think we all have our own journeys and pathways that gets to leadership, some of us may have had negative experiences, some of us may have had positive experiences. Either way, a lot of us kind of take a look at leadership a little bit different. I had the opportunity, and it seems a little going way back in history, back to probably when I was 12, when I was in for age, and so a lot of people think it's about animals and farms. And, and it does have roots there. But I had the opportunity to study forage study leadership in the forage programs, and feel very blessed that I had the opportunity to do that to meet with executives and business owners, and corporate CEOs and government officials during that journey. And that really led me into what is now called like servant leadership, and what is called looking at coaching and mentoring skills and how to help people be productive.

Matt Hurtienne 2:16
So my journey of leadership really started when I was 12. And then some of that leadership training actually allowed me to start my own business and entertainment business when I was about 15 years old. And I had the chance and the opportunity to manage and lead employees work with expensive expenses and incomes and just kind of monitor the budget. So that and that aspects. And then when I got out of high school and got into more of a professional role, because at that point, the little thing called iPod was coming out. And I sold my entertainment business at that point, but really started looking at how successful change was, and why was some change, not successful on some change was successful. It really led me in the journey of studying change, and studying employee engagement.

John Ryan 3:08
So you started your first business when you're 15. You said it was in the in the entertainment?

Matt Hurtienne 3:13
It was. Yeah. Is that yeah, it was. so I'm originally started as a desktop jockey service. And started in an extra those tied back to Ford's but yeah, so it started as a as a DJ business. And then it morphed into DJ sound entertainments, so music venues, and then also video for weddings. And then technology evolves. And we saw that technology was evolving. So we kind of got out at the, at the height before the iPods were released. And at that point, people started plugging in iPods for wedding receptions. And so we kind of we made the decision to to sell and invest.

John Ryan 3:53
Oh, awesome. So did you actually sell the business and divest? At that point?

Matt Hurtienne 3:57
We did. Yes, we did.

John Ryan 3:59
Oh, that's fantastic. Yeah, but so it sounds like technology that the iPod kind of was the disrupter and kind of change the business plan. And then you became interested in in change and, and how all that works. What is what are some of the biggest challenges you think leaders and companies are facing today? Around change technology, which interrupted your business? are impacted your business? Certainly are is an issue. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges companies are facing today?

Matt Hurtienne 4:29
Um, well, obviously, the easy answer is covid. But it really goes back before that, and it's something we've talked about before is something that's that's referred to as scenario planning. How do you plan for the unknown? Right? How do you how do you make action plans, not knowing exactly what's coming down the pike and that's something that scenario planning helps you with, since using planning kind of takes you from point A to point B. scenario planning helps with that to say, life doesn't go from point A to point B disruptions. occur, right COVID occurs, technology occurs, stuff that we would say in Human Resource Development world, let's say the external environment is one of the biggest predictors for the need for change. And it could be that technology, it could be a virus, it could be changing political system. But when we look at change, the biggest thing is trying to plan for the unknowns, but also limit the resistance. So the question kind of came up in, in a meeting I was at is how did we just recently make such a massive change in the business world? You know, how did we go from trying to figure out how to keep our doors open? And now people are in masks, or we're not used to that?

Matt Hurtienne 5:44
And essentially, that question comes down to if people understand the risks, and if people understand the need for change, they're more willing to change, right? So you limit that resistance. So the key now is in the business world is how do you? How do you make change? We don't always have a bad pandemic to help make that that change, or foster that change? How do you how do you? How do you educate your employees and your stakeholders to say, we have to take this next step. And if you don't take this next up, this is probably what's going to happen to urbanization. So essentially, for my business, when I was 15, and, and sold it a couple of years after that, we we saw that technology was going to be a disrupter. Right, so we knew we had to change. And we had a couple choices. And and we picked a choice at that point where we're going to sell and, and reinvest, if we would have stayed in the business, and, and kind of put a blind eye to the technology, that would been a very strong chance that we would have been bankrupt and didn't have any money to reinvest. So it really comes down to foresight, which is a scenario planning and really comes down to getting your stakeholders buying to the need for change

John Ryan 6:59
And so the strategic level of planning is that the biggest picture and then it goes down to scenario planning and then tactical beneath that, or there are other levels. In between that in your model. And the way you look at Yeah,

Matt Hurtienne 7:11
So the way I look at it as strategic planning helps you on on like a three to five year basis, really looking at where where your key metrics want to be your KPIs, solidifying your your mission and vision, which all helps to produce the culture that you want, right. And it helps helps to get the systems theory in place people working together to make sure that the company is moving in the right direction. scenario planning comes in and it's trying to take a look more at a five to 10 year plan. So you're not really looking at you're not redeveloping KPIs per se, in scenario planning, what you're trying to do is to say, where what could disrupt our organization, or what could really help our organization down the road.

Matt Hurtienne 7:57
So we talked about the oil crisis in the 1970s. Scenario planner was off, often it was used there. And he was very successful to predict that there was oil crisis coming. scenario planning has been used in the military tactics for a long time and been successful there. And then we see complex other scenarios that have been played out in a successful, the biggest thing is, what you're trying to do is take two to four different scenarios. And what what I like to say is scenarios that have high impact, and high probability of occurring, right, so you're spending your time on something that's gonna have a major impacted organization, and a major impact or major probability of it happening. And then you kind of sub divided down into those actions. So that's you spending your time with something that there's a good chance you're going to see. So down south in the Gulf, maybe some of the scenario planning could be around what happens if a hurricane comes through disney world? You know, how do we respond to that? Or what happens if the tourism industry dies off? And how does how does something like the resort communities stay active? And that's kind of what you're seeing a little bit of? COVID So when we talk about scenario planning, it probably wouldn't have been able to identify COVID-19 specifically, but there's enough history to show that there's there's been pandemics before and there's been major international sicknesses before and and depending on what industry you're in, that could have been something as bubbled up in this narrow plan.

Matt Hurtienne 9:29
So then you develop action plans, so that so that, when something similar happens, or when the iPod comes out, now you have a plan in place, so you're not making emotional decisions at a very high stress time you take that plan off the shelf, and you say, okay, we've already developed an action plan to this. And now we know how to respond to this, versus bringing everybody around together saying how do we handle this in a time of crisis? It's already been solved, or in higher education. We talked about this a lot is how do you If, if your customer base, so maybe that's even put it into like a restaurant industry, if your customer base grows by 5050 customers each night, that's usually a good thing that happens, right? That's usually like revenue. However, it may not be a good thing if you're not prepared for. So if you if you see your your customer base significantly increasing, you don't have a plan of how to grow with it, that could also cause a go bankrupt. and higher education we often talk about. If our population of students grow by, let's say, 200, how to respond to that, or if it decreases by 10%, how to respond to that, right. And then having those plans in place. So they I call them like sisters and brothers, it's hard to have one without the other. It's hard to have a strategic plan and not have a scenario plan.

John Ryan 10:49
So the scenario planning, please forgive me, I think I had them my model inverse, that actually this strategy is going from point A to point B, and then the scenario planning is considering the other factors, technology, environmental, political, all the things you talked about before that can impact our ability to get from point A to point B, and what happens if Correct, correct. If we're going our customer base by 50 a night, that seems great, but we have capacity issues, and then all of a sudden we have a line out the door? And what do we do about that? Same thing with students, and Kapow, that's really interesting. So something like this, tying it back into the vision and missioning in creating buy in, when you have a big stick, like the pandemic, and risk of fatality and long term illness and things like that people are pretty willing to change. And so this idea of creating getting on the same page, you can always count on a huge pandemic to influence that behavior. What are some other tools that leaders have to help create buy in at an organizational level beyond, you know, creating these type of global catastrophes?

Matt Hurtienne 11:57
So that's a really great question. As we talk about leadership, as we talked about management, and we talked about principles, it's really learning like an MBA program, or DBA. program. I really believe that you need to blend the methods of management's and leadership together into one, it's hard, it's like scenario planning and strategic plan is, it's kind of hard to have one without the other. If you want to minimize resistance, and you want to try to get buy in into where the company needs to, to evolve to, it starts years before that planning starts. It really starts with with the CEOs, this the C suites, and the supervisors building trust with employees, building that trust and relationship so that when you have to make a rapid change, that maybe is not fully understood by the stakeholders that they have trust that you're being led in the right direction, right, you may not be comfortable with the change. But if you can trust the people that are helping to lead the change, and evoke the change, they're more likely to support you, if they don't support and they don't support the change, even if it's the right change, in theory, change could be disastrous for not only the organization, but the customers in the service base that that they're serving.

John Ryan 13:20
So start with the relationship and it has to really be starting now. Like if you haven't already established that that's important, because you can't always plan on when that's going to happen unless you're doing really good scenario planning, in which case, you've thought through those particular issues that are there. So building relationship building trust, what about communication? Is there such a thing as over communication in terms of relationship building with within the organization?

Matt Hurtienne 13:46
Yeah, so trust, for me trust and communication kind of go hand in hand. So trust is kind of like the umbrella, right? So underneath trust, you would have communication and in communication, it's got to be authentic communication, communication, where you are developing a sense of understanding of what's occurring. So maybe showing your financial pictures to some extent, showing what's occurring in the marketplace. Having townhouses and allowing people to speak and ask questions that that you as the leader may not have even thought about it was just helps make a case better. And also looking at taking those critical voices that you know, that has trust of their peers, but aren't going to be the yes people all the time. And getting them in the room and really having some dialogue and really talking through about this is where we are currently This is where we think we need to head to this is the implications that we might have. And what are your thoughts? What do you think? Do you think this would be a good fit for our organization? Do you think this is going to be a good fit for for the people that buy our services and And what do you think are gonna be some of the stumbling blocks? And despite getting everybody on board and that communication plan helps build that trusting relationship?

John Ryan 15:09
So embracing the critical voices, the the naysayers, the devil's advocates, is that done privately is that done publicly that or both?

Matt Hurtienne 15:21
Both. Sometimes it's one in one, I've seen a lot of successes, recognize some consulting jobs that I'm doing it publicly, like, ask it for people to come out publishing minutes having having critical conversations and meetings. And, and I've seen, I've seen the difference between what was transformational change and transactional change, right? Meaning that we're going to get the whole run, instead of just saying, this is what we're going to do, we're gonna, we're going to take a little bit extra longer, we're going to read out our ideas, get some ideas that may or may not have even thought about as leaders, but also try to get the stakeholders on board with that change so that they support it, and they're going to be a Champions of it themselves. It seems

John Ryan 16:09
like there'd be a lot of research that supports greater ownership, the when you involve people throughout the organization versus just being a top down thing, is that true? Or is that just a my own thinking on to the matter,

Matt Hurtienne 16:21
it's true, and especially now, as we start talking a little bit more about the millennial generation generation. And a little bit with the exes. There was the point in time, that's, you know, you wanted to come in punch the clock, do your job, punch the clock, go home, spend, spend time with your family, well, now that set has shifted where the millennial generation wants to be part of that discussion. They want to, they want to have their voices heard, they want to, they want to be seen as somebody that can give back to their organization, and, and, and provide feedback and their own opinions to help make that organization more successful. So I think it really comes down to looking at how the business practices change, and largely change because of values and beliefs that the that's your staff brings to you, as they're trained in college, as they're trained, trained in university or wherever they come from you, you got to figure out what are their wants, so that you can try to get to what your needs are as an organization.

John Ryan 17:23
I know you do a lot of work with and research around millennials and the different value system and motivational hot buttons and things like that. What are some of the key differences between the millennials and other demographic groups around what it means to be engaged and what they're really looking for in today's work environment.

Matt Hurtienne 17:43
So one of the the definition of are kind of working on as a research team right now is looking at the amounts in which an employee is willing to invest in the success of an organization. So if you really think think back to that is ask yourself the question of how committed are you to the success of the organization you're currently in? Or how successful? Or how committed? Are you to the success organization that you may have left? And why did you leave? Right? So when we look at employee engagement comes down to a lot of vigor, like, what's their vigor? And what's their absorption? What's the dedication, which really means how much time and energy do the does the employee really want to put into that organization? How much do they want to be absorbed in it? But how? How dedicated are they? And and that becomes a really good question about retention, right? So there's a theory that if an employee is more engaged, the longer they will stay at your organization.

Matt Hurtienne 18:47
Now, it's pretty impractical nowadays, I think millennials and probably Gen. Z's will stay more than five years. But if the average is around three years, and we can keep them five years, we just we just, we had a positive incline on that, right? Especially when you look at it, an employee leaving cost us about $20,000 a year, but $20,000 every time an employee leaves. So we have to dive down and figure out what are some of these differences between generational what we call generational cohorts. So when we talk about years, birth dates, and when you see stuff on media and papers, it's the years fluctuates, but what really doesn't fluctuate is their life experiences and how those life experiences growing up really shaped their beliefs and values. So for me and my generation, you know, we want to work 60 hours a week, right? So that's like who we are 5060 hours a week or can we go to work, we come home and work and wake up and we work and we try to find time to sleep and and we're giving back to the organization you know 100% at work and at home and That's kind of what drives us. And that's good, that's a sign of engagement. But as we're studying millennials, it's a little bit different, they're willing to put in 50 hours, 45 hours a week, they really go above and beyond, but they don't want to do that all the time.

Matt Hurtienne 20:14
They want to do it when they find value. And it's that's to say, your agricultural business, and it's, it's high time, right? It's, it's, it's winter time, you're trying to get products out the door, to the shops, for the for the farming farmers to buy, you understand that you're going to have peaks and valleys, but they also want to have time, like the social life balance, they want to, they want to make money so that they can, they can go hiking and climbing and then have social time. But they also want that idea of community, you know, building that sense of community of going out and helping service projects, maybe even during paid time. But they also really want the sense of acceptance. Back. When I started in, in my professional career, I would hear older generation say, you know, kid, you're 18 years old, you can't, you can't talk now. And, and they didn't know I was running a business a successful business, and, and had questions at the time is do I stay in the market and just run my business, this could be my professional career. Um, so that comment kind of comes back to say, you know, we need to take the time to figure out who our employees are, and give them a voice and have that trust in relationships. With millennials, we hear that one of the largest engagement factors with millennials is who the direct supervisors, and the leadership styles that a direct supervisor brings to the table. And that's that's a that's powerful, especially as we talk about leadership here today.

John Ryan 21:54
Is there one management styles that millennials are seeking out more than others.

Matt Hurtienne 22:00
Um, that's also a good question. As a leader, as a manager, as a leader, as a supervisor, you have to understand who you're working with, and everybody, even if you try to put everybody into the same buckets, people are still going to bring like their sub ideas and beliefs to the table. But a lot of the discussions kind of go around servant leadership, and, and in traits that come along with servant leadership. Millennials want to be mentored, they want to be coached, they want to see where their what I call a progression plan is taking them, you know, how do you how do you move from, from Level A employment to level level B employment? And you know, how do you make strides in your own career. But they also just want to know that you trust them, and you're going to look out for them, which means sometimes, a good leader understands that you take the fall for the employee as well. If something goes wrong, like you show you build that trust, by by building those, those relationships, and so on, that you're there to support them, so that they can have a long, productive career.

John Ryan 23:10
One of the characteristics you identified in some of the articles you've written is persistence. Can you talk about the idea of persistence as it relates to engagement and performance? And does that change across the generations?

Matt Hurtienne 23:25
Well, I think, I think when we look at it, persistence itself in an employment context, it does link back to employee engagement. And, and this is how it occurs. Employees employee engagement looks at it's your willingness to help your organization succeed. And we kind of cover that definition already. Persistence is how well you're going to overcome challenges. So that you as an individual can be successful, but relating back to employee engagement, how the organization can be successful. So in the world of HRD, Human Resource Development, we off development, we often talk about this. The field of Human Resource Development, looks at ways to unleash human expertise at the individual level, the group level, or team and organizational level. So there's just like three levels that come with it.

Matt Hurtienne 24:20
Now, how does that impact persistence? Well, if you have a positive supervisor, you know somebody that's there coaching you, that's that's being critical like that, it's helping you to to learn and grow it doesn't mean I was given accolades, you know, some it's giving constructive feedback as well on how to improve if you have that trusting relationship built with your supervisor. If you buy into the mission and vision of the organization, if you trust your, your CEO and the direction that they're heading, you're you're more likely to to understand little Little episodes of Terminal Terminal organizations are human made entities, right. And anytime humans get involved, we have a tendency to make things really good. And sometimes we have a tendency to make mistakes.

Matt Hurtienne 25:13
The problem with persistence is there becomes a becomes a cliff, but that at some points, you're growing as an employee give up and either move on or get out of the marketplace. Or worse yet, stay at the organization just become disengaged was a, which is the opposite of engaged. That will more frequently occur when you have supervisors that aren't building those relationships. That's not building employee engagement. And that's where employees don't feel like their organizations looking out for their best interest.

John Ryan 25:50
So they become disengaged, the relationship has devolved, they're not moving forward and they become disengaged, can that be turned around? Or is that an individual decision they have to invest? Or is it both parties coming together?

Matt Hurtienne 26:07
Well, that's, that's a good question. Again. The tricky point of that is what drives motivation.

Matt Hurtienne 26:17
So most authors, and researchers and leaders would say motivation is often driven by the individual. So I used to be a high school basketball coach, and we would have this discussion of like, how do we get how do you get students to, to be motivated to excel on the basketball court. And really, what we found in that scenario was, we, as coaches tried to give every possible tool that, that the student or the athlete needed to be motivated, you know, praise, constructive criticism, a vision of where we're going, collaboration, but ultimately lead down to to the employee and receive that interest. And we see that in the business environment too. So motivation will be driven by the individual, but but I really believe leaders need to provide the tools so that the employee can make that that decision to be motivated at the workplace, they come in on a Monday morning after a cup of coffee and be eager and ready to go. Because you know, you can see your supervisor and the supervisor is going to have a smile on their face. And and you know that what you're producing at organization is doing the world good. or doing your sector well, and, and you're going to go home at the end of the day and feel of worth right. So to answer your question, it's with both. But ultimately, both the leader and an employee has to make the choice to be to be motivated.

John Ryan 27:57
So the company and the leader, the manager supervisor, they provide help to provide the environment. But the individual has to show up if they're not willing to because you like you said it was provided coaching, feedback with a vision where we're going, we had collaboration. But if that individual basketball player doesn't want to engage and participate in the drills and the practices, then they're not going to play their best when it comes time for game time as well. How important is social? You know, social emotional awareness and emotional intelligence, when it comes to leading is, especially in regards to the next generation?

Matt Hurtienne 28:39
Yeah. So when you're looking at emotional intelligence, and we look at social intelligence, it really comes down to like situational awareness, how do how do people perceive my actions? but also how do you perceive their actions? So when you talk about motivation, sometimes maybe you just didn't hire the right person for the job. It's something Something was when it went negative in the hiring process. And you kind of want to take a look at that to say, what what can we do better next time, maybe we didn't provide a complete picture of what the job description is.

Matt Hurtienne 29:15
So who we are as an organization. Or maybe we didn't develop a model of what type of employee that we're actually looking for. But if you do develop that model, and you do hire the right candidates, and then something goes, goes over a three, four or five years down the road, and what you saw is a very productive employee is now becoming a very unproductive employee or disengaged employee. You need to sit back and take take and have a thoughtful discussion with that employee to say as an employee, as a as a mentor, as a coach now is saying, you know, we noticed that that it seems like you're you're struggling at work a little bit or maybe not as content as you were previously and then also Much of find out is, in those types of cases not a situation at work is most likely a situation at home that you might be able to have some support or provide support. Or if you find out that it's something at work, and maybe it's just been escalating over time, and then something's started off with something so small that you can get back and fix it. Because remember, if you use your motional, emotional intelligence, if you use your social awareness, which relates back to social intelligence as well, you want to retain your good employees. And we do have ups and downs, and recognizing that you have a very good employee that has a down streak, take the time to build it. Because if you have that trust relationship, you should be able to have that open discussion to say, What can I do to help? I'll fix this for you. And sometimes it comes down to the discussion that maybe their organization isn't right for you. But what what type of organization is right for you? And how can I help you to move into that, that spot that you really strive for, and that again, goes back to the servant leadership?

John Ryan 31:07
Totally. You mentioned the idea of having an open discussion, you brought up the idea of bringing the naysayers and people who are critical and are willing to share their thoughts and feelings. You know, one of the issues that you address recently, in an article that you shared with me also from LinkedIn, was about the role of HR and the issue of handling the polarizing factors that are out there. And because though they do exist, and we live in a polarized world, any quick tips or suggestions on whether or not it is more productive, to bring those conversations into the fold in a corporation, or to leave them at the door?

Matt Hurtienne 31:49
Yeah, so that so when we go back to employee engagements, we go back to trust, and that all leads to increase production. So if we go back to a simple theory of speed of trust, which is probably a book that a lot of us have read, when trust goes up, production goes up at the same time, right. So when we're looking at at the discussion of polarized worlds, I believe that we need to have discussions within the workplace. And that should be easy to do if you've already established those relationships early on, where people can feel at home, at work, where they could feel like they can constructively but critically talk about what what they're feeling outside of work. But obviously, in a constructive manner.

Matt Hurtienne 32:43
I don't believe I come from a leadership world where I don't believe that people just leave their stress at the door when they walk into the organization. Some some do believe that and some of that goes back to different leadership styles. I believe that if we can minimize some of that stress that they're feeling in the outside world, we'll probably be able to have more production inside my business inside my organization. So how do we do that? One is give people a venue to talk, allow people to have the opportunity maybe like in a townhouse security sort of people could just talk about the topics that that's occurring. If you think about today, what's what's occurring in our world? We have we have politics occurring. We have the national election that's coming up. We have we have the Coronavirus and people becoming sick. We have the discussion that's going on with the Supreme Court. And then we have sectors within business sectors within our industries that are failing because because of course things are happening.

Matt Hurtienne 33:52
So it's almost like we have a perfect storm that's align and and by giving people a chance to talk and help inform each other. Take Take the topic of racial tension. I live about 20 minutes north of Kenosha, Wisconsin and a couple weeks ago we had a shooting that occurred a police shooting with an individual and that sparked protests and destructive destruction that occurred and and walking around even stores trying to buy stuff. I heard people talking very passionate about how they felt and a lot of it was we don't understand what's occurring or we don't understand what's happening. So I believe from an HR world if you give the people the opportunity to talk and the time it could be that much more productive on the back side, right? They're gonna be able to to come and speak with you training, training about different lenses that we may not be used to. The discussion that comes up later on this is how much time do we give Because time is money. And and I try to make the arguments and research will back this up is if you take that time on the front end, you'll get your dividends on the back end of it. So I do believe of opening that door safely and constructively to have deep and powerful discussions which would, which should improve the feeling of safety and security for each employee.

John Ryan 35:27
I think a lot of what you just said really ties together a lot of the concepts you've shared so far, servant leadership, open, honest communication, Authenticity, creating a space for people's voices to be heard establishing trust, all together in that space, the constraint, like I can see is his time. And obviously, you can't spend eight hours of your eight hour workday on that, but it sounds like a little bit of effort up front is going to really solidify, hey, I get your goat, you're acknowledging, you're saying I know you're going through some stress, we're all going through some stress, and rolling the same ship together. And we can still work together even if we have different opinions, because because I can't imagine you're going to solve the issues of racial inequality or the concerns around the supreme court justice or the National Action league in that our conversation or 30 minutes, it's not gonna be solved, but at least it's going to be expressed,

Matt Hurtienne 36:18
Correct. And if you if you build upon it over time, right, it's, it's maybe 30 minutes, 45 minutes here over Kringle, or some sort of like sweet treats and coffee or healthy food depends on what your employees want. If you build upon it over time, then then it's not a six hour day, it's not a it's not an eight hour day you're working on these topics, it's you may be able to get them down to 10 or 15 minute days, right, or maybe summit maybe. My other theory is if you start training people on how to have these discussions, they can take over some of these discussions on their own during breaks. And during lunchtime, or just after hours, right, they can do it constructively recognize that everybody has their own opinions and and recognize that it's not about the opinion, that will help us become a better organization or the difference of opinions. Other I believe diversity is very important. It's about how we, it's how we work together. It's how we trust each other. It's how we recognize that I need you, so that I can be successful. And we need the next person so that the whole organization can be successful. And we can do that through a diverse field of lenses.

John Ryan 37:33
So giving your employees the tools, like you said, the people near where you live, they're saying like, I don't know what to make around trying to understand it, and helping them have the tools to process and communicate more effectively. What are some tools in general, do you think that the next generation of leaders are really going to need going forward in the world that is emerging right now?

Matt Hurtienne 37:56
Yeah, so its ability to transform, its ability to recognize what you may be learning in your MBA program may be sufficient for today. But recognizing that you got to stay on top of it, you got to you got to recognize that as the Gen Z generation is starting to get in the workforce, there's a good chance you're going to be working with the generation that comes behind Gen Z's. And how are you positioned to do that? Which is why when we do a lot of one in one executive type coaching, we talked about the importance of coach and importance of mentorship of their staff, and the importance of being authentic. Because if you really want what's in the best interest of your employees, and you recognize that you may not have all the answers, that you're going to be able to transform in time. If you if you put down your coffee cup, as the old vision of the old manager, if you put down your coffee cup and say I know it all kid, you're you're 19 years old, you just got out of college, which would be awesome. Phoebe 19 out of college, let's just say you just got right out of college, sit back and learn. How's that? How's that new employee garden respond when we know when we know that they want to be part of the conversation. So the new leaders that are going to be successful are going to find ways for all employees to be part of the discussion and recognize that their opinion should matter. And coming up with a new design, coming up with a new process. And it's interesting when we go in and we meet with some businesses. We hear from some of the employees about what are some of the struggles hours and sometimes it's innovation. And then it's even more amazing that six, eight months down the road that that company is struggling because now they haven't evolved and now they're just finding it out. But if they would have taken the time to just sit back and listen to their their employees. Keep them out of bankruptcy.

John Ryan 39:55
I think a lot of the tools that you shared can help with that to help avoid those Difficult scenario from occurring, which goes all the way back to scenario planning and the what ifs and risk reduction and things like that, you know, communication conversations are a huge part of leadership. You know, Matt, can you tell us what is on on a personal level? Can you think of a conversation that you may have had that had perhaps the most significant impact on your life either personally or professionally?

Matt Hurtienne 40:23
It's very interesting that, that you're asked that and and whenever been asked that question of past, the first scenario always pops up and the first discussion house pops up. When I was 18 years old, I had a mentor and I just got into a public sector position. And that supervisor asked me It goes, where do you want to be in 20 years, and I said, I want to be a leader. And I just got out of for each I, you know, I was, I was doing things on the state level and helping things on a national level, to help the organization grow. And I want to do that here. And his comment was take the time to learn how to be an employee take the time to, to figure out what the employees wants.

Matt Hurtienne 41:10
Because if you take the time to understand that, you're going to become a stronger leader at the end. And now that I look 20 years back, that was very insightful discussions, because I had the opportunity to get involved with a union, which I didn't know much about a union at that time, had the opportunity to hear concerns that were expressed from like a management's employees vision. So that, that now that I'm in the, in the field than I am, and I could talk about both sides, I could talk about what it's like to be that employee that may not have had a college education at that point. And now I can communicate with CFOs, and CEOs that may have graduated from Harvard, from from my doctoral side and other experiences. So I think it's just taking the time now taking the time to understand the other points, the other reference points, so that, that you can help them in the long run.

John Ryan 42:12
Fantastic, that's great advice, got to learn how to follow before you can learn how to lead That's amazing. What, what is the best way for our listeners to get in touch with you stay in touch with you and find out more about what you're doing?

Matt Hurtienne 42:26
Yeah, that's, uh, thanks for asking that. So always open up for discussions, feel free to get ahold of me on LinkedIn is a good way from connecting that way. Another way to get a hold of me is through our consulting service, we just open up a new consulting business and in June it's called a Morph advisors. So we transition from high horizons and morph advisors just recently, and part of that is we are working with my my core founder is truly in the millennial range and experiences and he brings a whole different insights to our consulting services. So that's ww Morpher, advisors calm. So that's why we call it morph advisors. Or you can get ahold of me at m fortini. It's more for advisors. com.

John Ryan 43:15
Fantastic. Dr. Matt, thanks so much for being here.

Matt Hurtienne 43:17
Yeah, thanks for your time. Take care, John.

John Ryan 43:19
Wonderful. And for all of you listening. Thank you so much for being here and joining us on key conversations for leaders until next time, develop yourself, empower others and lead by example.

John Ryan 43:29
Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host john Ryan. If you enjoyed the show, please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review. For more tools to engage, inspire and empower yourself and others. Visit If you haven't already, you can connect with me on twitter @keyconvo and on LinkedIn under JohnRyanLeadership.

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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