The Finance Leader Podcast

055: Talent Management Executive Kevin Richie Interview Part 2

June 15, 2021 Stephen McLain Season 6 Episode 11
The Finance Leader Podcast
055: Talent Management Executive Kevin Richie Interview Part 2
Show Notes Transcript

This week, I am sharing the second part of a two-part special interview with Talent Management Executive Kevin Richie. Last week, I shared Part 1, which was a tremendous success. This week, the interview focuses on what it means to be successful and taking risk in your career.

For more resources, please visit stephenmclain.com. On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from financeleaderacademy.com. It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

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Stephen McLain:

This week I am sharing the second part of a two part special interview with talent management executive Kevin Richie. Last week I shared part one, which was a tremendous success. This week the interview focuses on what it means to be successful and taking risk in your career. Please enjoy part two of the interview with special guest, Kevin Richie. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 55. Last week, I shared part one of the interview with special guest, Kevin Richie, he provided some amazing insights into leadership, team culture, and a few others. This week, it's part two of that interview. And Kevin and I talk about what it means to be successful. And I asked him about what it means to take risk in the relationship to taking risk and having a successful career. But before we get into part two, I want to share again, briefly what Kevin said about leadership from last week, because it's important for us to understand how learning leadership is critical to our success. So enjoy this short segment from last week about what it means to lead versus managing.

Kevin Richie:

You know, one of the, I guess the backup, if I were to distinguish between management, and leadership, ever used interchangeably, there's tons of books written using both words. And you know, frankly, if it were easy and simple, there'd be no reason for all those books. If people could just show up on earth and do it well, there wouldn't be a lot of books about it. So clearly, there's a need for us to do it better. For me, it's really important because ultimately, you're impacting other human beings by being in a management chair or leadership chair. The distinguishing and you'll hear arguments around Are they the same are they different, ultimately, for me management, if you think of, for example, project management, that's about checking boxes. So I'm hitting milestones, I'm accomplishing tasks, things are done on time on budget. So it's really a checkmark, exercise. Leadership, to me is accomplishing all of that, but also inspiring the human beings that are on your team, and helping them develop and grow as individual humans. That to me is the distinguishing feature between the two. And for me, it's about serving those individual humans, helping remove obstacles for them, understanding them at a human level. So that when someone shows up to work, and you're working on a project together, and you've noticed that, you know, Suzy is just really not engaged today, it's knowing her well enough to be able to a pick up the nonverbals and then be asked her about it, and then see have enough trust between you and for her to tell you what's going on. Because clearly something's going on. She's usually high performer and today should just not showing up fully as herself. And that's impacting the work. So that would be the distinguishing feature. For me. And if you think about management or accomplishing tasks, you can use tools, whether they're digital tools or physical tools, you know, building a house or whatever it might be, those things tend to wear out over time or become obsolete, whereas human being should be increasing in value over time for the organization. So to me Our job as leaders is to facilitate that increase in value over time. Now, what

Stephen McLain:

Kevin said is important for us to understand why learning leadership can make a huge difference in our career. But I also know it's difficult to practice, when in reality you are facing many tough tasks every day with short deadlines, and you are trying to get things done before five more difficult tasks show up. But you can also apply leadership principles as you go. And you can do it at your pace. For example, try to practice better communication, start to trust your best performing team member with more responsibility. start to think about your vision and sharing that with the team. And there are many others start to adopt best leadership practices a little each day as you improve so you can improve the situation on your team. This will produce results it will now I want to share part two of the interview with talent management executive Kevin Richie, where we discuss what it means to be successful and the application of taking risk. Kevin uses a great example about how to solve problems. So please enjoy. So what do you think is the difference between a successful team manager and one who just continually is struggling to get the work done and to develop their team, just tell me the difference between the ones who are able to figure it out, and the ones who just don't seem to have any success at all?

Kevin Richie:

Yeah, a couple of things come to mind. So, unlike a lot of HR folks, I grew up as sort of a data guy, and a numbers person. And I was a trader, trading stocks and bonds and mutual funds prior to entering the HR world. So I'm a little bit numbers driven. So to me, the story is, in part in the numbers, so what is the team accomplishing? In terms of goals in terms of performance for the company? You know, are we getting closed down in time, you know, five days after the close of the month? Or is it taking us 15 days after the close of the month? There's a number of stories somewhere in that, that tells us whether we're succeeding or not as as a leader. And then it's sort of an evaluation, you partially trust, but partially, you know, what culture are we setting in the team? If we aren't hitting our numbers go goals wise? If not, why not? What are the obstacles? Are you asking for help when you need it? Are you taking time to ask the questions? Are you taking risks? In some spaces? We shouldn't be taking risks? Are you learning from your failures? You know, if you really missed it, and blew the numbers one month in terms of reporting, I once had a CFO estimated we will lose $50 million, and we lost $150 million. He didn't last very long in the organization. But are we taking the time with those small failures to say, hey, why did we fail? Why don't we learn from that? How can we make sure that doesn't happen in the future? Are we questioning the status quo? Gosh, maybe our processes broken is giving us a bad outcome every time? Well, if you see, the analogy I heard once was, you see these infants floating down in a river. And you're trying to pull them out and rescue them all as fast as you can. That might work for a while, but then you're going to get tired, what you need to do is find out who's throwing them in and go upstream. It's the same here with leadership and your team success. If multiple times a month or a year, you're failing every month, the same type of tasks, and you need to go upstream figure out what the problem is. Because clearly changing tactics isn't working for you. And then I think the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders, unsuccessful leaders rely on themselves way too much, and on their team way too little. They haven't built the relationships with their team. They haven't built the right team. In some cases. The number one dissatisfied of a high performer is a manager not dealing with low performers on their team. So I'm sitting here as a hybrid. There's a low performer next to me, and they keep causing us to fail as a team and my leader won't deal with it because they have their conflict avoidant deal with the conflict, inject the person who's not helping you succeed, get them in the right chair in the organization, if it's somewhere else, or get them out of the organization. One of the regrets I've had over the years, at times that I learned to be better at later in my career was, when it's not working, it's not working. And you've got to trust that it's not working and get them out faster than you, you probably feel like you should. Because you're a good human, you love people, you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or impact their outside life. Guess what? To me, it's to give them the most dignity as humans, it's freeing them up from something they're going to continue to fail that help them be successful somewhere else. Because if it's not working with you, it's not and you tried everything, it's not gonna work, it's okay, move on. they'll move on to another great,

Stephen McLain:

that's a great point. He tell me a little bit more about taking risk and the relationship to being successful.

Kevin Richie:

You know, this somewhat comes from kind of the Agile methodology. So if you think of, I want to give a tutorial on you know, agile versus other product development processes, but you know, waterfall versus agile, you know, the basic lesson is in Agile, figure out what things are going to make the most difference, you know, high risk, but high reward if they work. So, you know, identify those high risk, high reward things that you could implement that would benefit the company, and then go after them and fail fast, because you want the things that are potentially high reward to be tried first. And if they're not going to work, you want them to fail quickly, so that you can move on to the next thing, the next highest potential reward for the company and then go on. So as leaders, sometimes we're afraid to take risks, because we're afraid we're going to get fired, or, you know, we're going to be disciplined if it doesn't work. But if you look at any profile of successful leaders throughout history, it's the folks who took extra risk. You know, it's thinking of different examples, just, it's the ones who went ahead and tried to get the high reward payoff, knowing that they can completely fail. And ultimately, that led to more success over time. And now they're great historical leaders because of that, that high risk behavior they talk. So at a very small scale us as individual leaders and new managers be comfortable with risk. That's, that's why you get the bigger paycheck than your team members. Because exactly,

Stephen McLain:

I advocate for people to, especially if they're trying to move on and try to advance their career is to jump on some of those high visibility projects, which oftentimes some people shy away from because they're too afraid to get in, get into something that may get them in front of people that will judge them. And so I'm a huge advocate for jump on a high visibility project and just putting 100% into it and give it everything you got take the risk jump in front of people get a chance to talk about what you're you have contributed to the project. And don't be afraid to take that risk, just jump in there and get it done. Agree. And I think the you know, as if you're in a management position on that high risk project, my rule of thumb is if if it goes well, you give your team credit, if it goes poorly, you take the blame, you know, our job as leaders is to take the incoming, and to be that cover for our team. And it helps the team stay focused on the task and getting it done.

Kevin Richie:

Nothing lights me up more than how my team recognized, that's what I live for, as a leader. If they're getting recognized for good work, then I've done my job before failing, then I'm not doing my job, because I'm not getting the best and the most out of them.

Stephen McLain:

You know, and that goes back to building trust when you do that. Absolutely.

Kevin Richie:

Absolutely.

Stephen McLain:

All right. So we talked about some very interesting, and really good topics today, especially for, that leaders can use when they're leading their teams, and really trying to shape the team culture. Is there anything else that you'd like to share? Before we end our discussion

Kevin Richie:

of just knowing your target audience finance and accounting professionals, I would say I've had great partnership with those folks over the years. The best CEOs, their you know, their, their top three, or the CFO, the chro. Typically an operations person and you know, I think it's much like you've advocated really strong partnership. From an HR perspective, I think you make sure you're you're dealing with your your talent professionals in a way that helps them help you succeed. And I had great partnerships over the years with my finance folks. I usually hit my budgets and all those good things. But, you know, ultimately, we're all human beings with wants and desires. And all of us have the potential to be really great leaders if we just focus on on so I'm excited to see how you continue to help your your audience grow.

Stephen McLain:

Alright, thank you so much, Kevin, thank you for joining me on the finance leader podcast. I appreciate it. And I wish you all the best. Thank you so much.

Kevin Richie:

Likewise, take care.

Stephen McLain:

All right, thank you. I really like Kevin's answer on risk and how it shapes your ability to be successful in the long run. Again, I really enjoyed this interview. I learned a lot and I hope you did too. Kevin was a great guest and I will try to have him on the podcast again in the future. Now this wraps up season six the next few weeks I will be sharing bonus episodes as I prepare season seven which will debut on July 20. Thank you for the incredible support. Keep working on developing your leadership ability. It will give you an edge in your career. Thank you. This episode is sponsored by my course through finance leader Academy. It's called Advanced your finance and accounting career, developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart to advance your career. You must set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This Horse helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence. You can go to Stephen McLain calm for more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes with this episode. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast dedicated to helping you grow your leadership, because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at Stephen McLain calm and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you