fbpx

ET-075: A conversation with Mr. Jim Bishop

ET-075: A conversation with Mr. Jim Bishop

and your host Wayne Brown on November 28, 2023

and your host Wayne Brown on November 28, 2023

Episode notes: A conversation with Mr. Jim Bishop

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

Today we are heading to Indianapolis, Indiana to chat with Mr Jim Bishop, founder of Conjunction Leadership. As Jim himself says, he’s a normal guy much like you and me.

For 25 years, he thrived in the corporate world. He built teams, managed budgets, increased revenue, and facilitated over 20,000 hours of leadership programs. As he traveled the world, working with leaders and assisting customers, he became acutely aware of the misdirected energy within corporate structures.

Instead of channeling energy towards solving problems and boosting productivity, many leaders divert a significant portion of their efforts into navigating bureaucracy and hierarchies.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

In 2020, the world was just in a massive state of chaos. People were moving all over the place, trying to decide what this thing called life was about and how they wanted to work it.

And then there were many executives trying to scratch their heads thinking just what just happened and how to incorporate all of the remote work environment situations, as well as all the social unrest and social situations that were percolating. I just started seeing that many executives weren’t able to make that adaption very easily. And so it was at that point in time I realized my best gift was going to be realized on the outside of an organization when I was more neutral and I had more distance between me and my clients. They could trust me better and they were going to drop into their own story and their own authenticity a little better. So 2020 Conjunction Leadership was officially born.…

Today’s Guest: MR. JIM BISHOP

In 2020, amidst global unrest and uncertainty, Jim discerned a significant shift in the value proposition employees sought from their employers.

With traditional work methods undergoing a seismic shift, he realized many leaders would be caught unprepared, leading to a diminished work experience for both leaders and their teams.

Recognizing the urgency, Jim took a bold step away from the corporate realm to offer his personal insights and coaching expertise to external clients.

Today, as an executive coach certified by the International Coaching Federation, a leadership facilitator with Blanchard, and a practitioner of the Leadership Circle 360-degree profiling, Jim draws on a diverse range of tools and programs. This arsenal enables him to serve his clients with a harmonious blend of science and art. His firsthand experiences and broad client base equip him to connect with any executive, while also challenging them to step out of their comfort zones.

Final words from Jim:

The word of wisdom is to pay attention to it. Those things that you are feeling are… They are warning lights if you will. And if your car dashboard warning light goes off you can continue to drive with it for a little while but eventually a mechanic probably is going to need to look at it and figure out what to do. In our own life and our own way of leading those warning lights are consistently going off for us, sometimes it feels like in the quiet of the night when I’m quieting my brain something pops in and I just can’t get over it or it might be even worse than that where fatigue or even tension sets in and maybe your physical body starts aching more than it used to. If you don’t pay attention to those things it will eventually catch up and what you’re hoping is no one will see that. No one around you will understand that and you’ll just be able to be smart enough or strong enough to work yourself through it. And unfortunately, many of us aren’t. That’s our protective mechanisms coming into place.

What needs to happen is once you talk about it, once you experience it with someone else, especially somebody else who may have gone through that journey, what you realize is it’s really not that uncommon for people to be feeling that way and the wake-up call could be to your best future, ye. It could be those warning lights are trying to guide you into the most authentic leadership that you could ever possibly imagine, but when we feel a shift going on what we tend to do is hold on, react to holding on, and make sure that it doesn’t get away from us. Instead of leaning in and letting the messy pieces start reorganizing themselves back into something that’s better than it was to begin with. And I feel like that’s the value of a coaching relationship. I mean, maybe sometimes counseling might be appropriate depending on what’s showing up in your. Life but executives are probably ready to look into the future and already ready to go in a coaching space what they need to do is just help understand what has been disrupted what needs to be disrupted what needs to be bridged and where we need to grow and once we do that they’re really good to go…

Transcript:

[music]

0:00:02.7 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. Today we’re heading to Indianapolis, Indiana to chat with Mr. Jim Bishop, founder of Conjunction Leadership. As Jim himself says, he’s a normal guy much like you and me, and for 25 years he thrived in the corporate world. He built teams, managed budgets, increased revenue, and facilitated over 20,000 hours of leadership programs. As he traveled the world working with leaders and assisting customers, he became acutely aware of the misdirected energy within corporate structures. Instead of channeling energy towards problem solving and boosting productivity, many leaders divert a significant portion of their efforts into navigating bureaucracy and hierarchies. In 2020, amidst global unrest and uncertainty, Jim discerned a significant shift in the value proposition that employees sought from their employers. With traditional work methods undergoing a seismic shift, he realized many leaders would be caught unprepared, leading to a diminished work experience for both the leader and their teams.

0:01:17.8 WB: Recognizing the urgency, Jim took a bold step away from the corporate realm to offer his personal insights and coaching expertise to external clients. Today, as an executive coach certified by the International Coaching Federation, a leadership facilitator with Blanchard, and a practitioner of the Leadership Circle 360 degree profiling, Jim draws on a diverse range of tools and programs. His arsenal enables him to serve his clients with a harmonious blend of science and art. His first-hand experiences and broad client base equipped him to connect with executives while also challenging them to step out of their comfort zones. Team ET, as you listen into our conversation today, remember these three words, disrupt, bridge and grow. This is the process that Jim uses when working with his clients and coupled with the focus of shifting from reactive to creative, I find it a wonderful approach. So, if you’re ready team, let’s jump into this great leadership conversation with our guest Mr. Jim Bishop as he explains ways for helping leaders to ensure that work doesn’t suck out all of their energy. Instead, it helps us develop and end both leadership framework and unite our teams.

[music]

0:02:41.6 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:58.6 WB: Hello, welcome team ET, another wonderful week. This week you heard in the intro, we’re joined by Mr. Jim Bishop, founder of Conjunction Leadership. Jim, great to have this opportunity to connect. And We’re going to chat about what I know many of our listeners will probably find interesting. And that’s the fact that work doesn’t have to suck out all of our energy and leave us with very little left in the tank for relationships and family, etcetera. So Jim Bishop, welcome to the ET Project.

0:03:31.0 Speaker 2: Thanks. Thanks, Wayne, for having me. I’m excited to be here.

0:03:37.6 WB: If I’m correct, you stepped away in 2020 from the corporate life. Is that around about that time?

0:03:44.3 Mr. Jim Bishop: Correct.

0:03:44.4 WB: We’ll dive into this in more detail about what you’re doing now and what you’ve been doing since then. But I wonder just for the listeners whether you’d mind outlining your career journey as much as you care to, which I guess span from what I read about you 25 years or so. So I wonder if you mind just outlining a little bit of that.

0:04:10.8 MB: Sure, absolutely. So today I work as an executive coach, but I need to start where the journey started. I’m actually classically trained as a scientist and my education is in physiology and behavior. And now for a long while I worked in science, more technical consulting, if you will. And what that was, was working with our clients to help them implement our solutions. But most of the time they were asking me questions that had nothing to do with the science. It was mostly around people. And through that journey, I started recognizing I actually had aptitude and knack for this, and I loved learning more and more about it. So I just kept following that journey. It took me to work the majority of my career in life sciences and pharmaceutical development, both in human health and animal health. And in that journey, most of my experience was around leadership development, executive development, talent management, succession management, and then eventually moved into the world of executive development and coaching. And so it was in 2020, I had, oh, actually 2017, I pursued my executive coaching certification. I started collecting some clients pro bono on the outside, as well as doing coaching on the inside. And then in 2020, the world was just in a massive state of chaos. People were moving all over the place, trying to decide what this thing called life was about and how they wanted to work it.

0:05:28.1 MB: And then there were many executives trying to scratch their head thinking just what just happened and how do we incorporate all of the remote work environment situations, as well as all the social unrest and social situations that were percolating. I just started seeing that many executives weren’t able to make that adaption very easily. And so it was at that point in time I realized my best gift was going to be realized on the outside of an organization when I was more neutral and I had more distance between me and my clients. They could trust me better and they were going to drop into their own story and their own authenticity a little better. So 2020 Conjunction Leadership was officially born. And today I work primarily in executive coaching. I do a fair bit of team development with those individuals that I work with and ultimately we work in the culture space too to innovate how do we work together differently. So and much as you said in the beginning of it, my whole mission and purpose is to make sure that work doesn’t suck anymore for people. And we start with a leader, one person at a time who wants to be courageous in that journey, then take their team along in that journey with them and ultimately we start behaving differently and that’s what we call culture.

0:06:35.0 WB: So we’ll dig more into that as we go through the discussion. I know you traveled around the world and there were times where you felt you were burning out, too much travel, too much work, too many tasks. I’m just wondering if you reflect back over that career and I like to ask this to a lot of people so I’m not just picking your career but was there one major highlight, maybe there’s multiple, but if you could think of one of the biggest highlights during your career that really stands out to you, a positive highlight?

0:07:15.4 MB: Yeah, I mean every situation has a silver lining, right? And so my journey is actually Conjunction Leadership’s journey. I mean I think a lot of founders find it that way that they bring some of their mess into the world and that’s ultimately their message. But there was a point in time I was climbing the corporate ladder, if you will. I seemingly had what I wanted in front of me. I had the sponsorship and the advisors and all the right people helping me figure out what to do next. I had taken a slight left turn out of this people world as we were buying and merging a lot of different companies at the time and my role became a sales director at that point in time, a national sales director. And it was a slight deviation from being in the direct side of working with people but the main purpose was so that we could bring competitive organizations together and build culture in it. I found a tremendous amount of satisfaction and also a tremendous amount of success in that. I mean we had record sales, our team engagement scores were super high, all the metrics that you would look for were there.

0:08:15.8 MB: And it was at that moment when I realized, I mean on the personal side we also had number four… Child number four and child number five. It was a very busy time in our family life And I found myself traveling on the road almost all the time, visiting clients, working with my sales teams, keeping the numbers going. And in the back of my mind I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing because I was here to provide. I needed to provide for my family. And as long as there was a runway in front of me and my career had success, I felt like I was doing my role as provider. But there was a point in time, I remember going to bed late one evening after a really busy day on the road in my hotel room and just feeling that pit in my stomach of being ultimately alone and wondering, is this really getting me where I want to be? And it was in those quiet moments of reflection when I realized my personality and my being was more than just being a provider. It was also going more into the world of making sure that I was authoring the future I wanted instead of just reacting to the world around me and reacting to the advice that other people gave me. And you should do this or you should do this. And if you do this, then this is what comes next. And all of that was great advice if I wanted to be them.

0:09:28.3 MB: But I felt like I was following a path that wasn’t necessarily my path. And I started having to put together, how do I work in this world of business and in this world of people? How do I combine my family and my love of agriculture? How do I make sure that my family and my work get to be working together? And ultimately, how do I bring my kids even into my business a little bit? So there were a lot of these what I would call tensions that I was trying to put together. And I just couldn’t quite make them fit because the path that everybody was recommending to me was a different path. It wasn’t that path. But when I started creating it in my own and realizing I can take these two things together, and if I put an or between there, it’s either my family or my job, or it’s my work or my love of agriculture. And I started realizing I could change the conjunction and I could change the sentence. So if I said my work and my family and business and this world of people, executive development and agriculture, I could start putting all those things together in a sentence that made sense for me. But that was where I was standing at the edge of my courage because that’s where the path ended for many other people.

0:10:41.3 MB: There weren’t many others who have followed the path that I was about ready to take. And so what I stood for at that point in time was authoring your future based upon the conjunctions you choose. That’s still what I stand for today when I work with my executives. So many of them are in a space, both in their business and in their life, that very few people have followed before them. And so there’s not a lot of places they can get advice. And ultimately, my job as a coach is not to give them advice. It’s to help them hold those disparate tensions that they really want and figure out how do they put the and between it and then what is the corollary and corresponding sentences that they need to fill in to be courageous enough to make it happen.

0:11:21.1 WB: Right. And thank you. That answered one of the questions I had for you about Conjunction Leadership and the forming of that name where it came from. But now I understand. So thank you for that. If you look back at the corporate life compared to where you are now, is there anything that you miss from the corporate world? You wish, gosh, I wish I could be still doing that.

0:11:44.7 MB: Yeah, there’s a lot of great things. I mean, Corporate America had a lot to offer, right? One, it was, I’m going to say I missed the steady paycheck for sure, right? Now when you’re out hustling and trying to figure out your client base and also take care of all the book work and the accounting as well as doing your client facing work, there’s both of those things. But more broadly, I really miss the team part of it. I mean, in Corporate America, we have the chance to really put together some of the best teams. As we all know, sometimes some of the worst teams also exist and then we get sucked in with bad meetings and bad everything to try and make it all happen. So I have to believe that there is a way and I have been on some very, very successful teams. And I do think that that’s ultimately one of my strengths in helping executives manage some of the more pro-social skills of putting teams together rather than just looking at their subject matter expertise or the role that they play. And when you get the right combination of the team, it certainly is more than the sum of its parts.

0:12:44.0 MB: If you have a leader who doesn’t know how to manage a team, and if, or they put together a team of people of experts, then you get kind of… You may get less than the sum of its parts. You may get a bunch of experts who don’t necessarily know how to play together and they all want to win individually rather than win collectively. And so it’s that kind of collective team intelligence piece that I look for and how I work. But I think that’s what I probably miss the most of Corporate America is just seeing when that works and then watching the enthusiasm of a team and a leader who just get it and go set on fire.

0:13:17.2 WB: Have you done any team coaching training or study yourself? Or is it more from the leadership working with teams and understanding how to lead teams that you leverage?

0:13:31.7 MB: Yeah, so back to the business model a little bit, for many years, the 25 years plus prior in Corporate America, I worked in more of like what I would call the development capacity where we were putting together programs and putting people in classroom situations and or providing them with tools and templates and worksheets to help them… Help their job work better, talent guides or interview questions or those kind of things. And all of those programmatic pieces work up into a point. What I would see is people would come to the program, they might have an epiphany or a mind shift, and then they would go home and the environment didn’t really change. The people around them didn’t change. The leadership didn’t change. And so they felt like I learned something, but it doesn’t really fit. And it’s too hard for me as an in of one to try and make this shift in the culture. And so I would get constantly frustrated that we would do our best job in the classroom and then something would happen back in the job and it would all go away. And in three months time, nothing was happening with what we had helped them with.

0:14:29.5 MB: So now back to why did I choose the way that I choose. I mean, I ultimately we could work in culture and I get a lot of calls today from HR reps who say I’ve been assigned our culture project, can we help with that? And what they’re really talking about is more like the mission vision values type of stuff where they sit in a room and then they wordsmith it to death and they take hours and hours trying to debate whether this word is going to make more sense than that word. And ultimately what they get is the most neutral language possible because that’s what everybody agrees to. They slap it on a brass plaque and they put it beside the door and they say this is who we are. And then people walk past it every day and go, well, I see what you say, but that’s not how actually we behave. And similarly every company has honesty, integrity, and trust somewhere buried in their values. But how do we exemplify those? It would start wearing on me. So what I decided to do was what I noticed in those classroom situations was inevitably one or two individuals would come up afterwards and they would ask for something else. They would ask for, help me figure this out. And we would sit in the one-on-one and we would be very courageous about figuring out what needs to change and how do they make a difference for their team.

0:15:39.5 MB: So when I started this thing, I said, well, we’re not going to go to the end of the question yet. I mean, yes, we want to make work suck less, but we’ve got to do that first one leader at a time. And we got to help the leader get comfortable with what it means to lead in this different environment. What has changed, what hasn’t. They’re going to have to disrupt many of the things they already know about themselves and about leadership to learn to lead differently. They’re going to have to bridge meaning, setting new goals and where they want to be. And then they’re going to ultimately have to grow into it. So in my coaching, we work on that disrupt, bridge and growth model so that when they get to that growth stage, then we start bringing their team in. We start bringing in the team coaching and the team development and some of the workshops and some of the classroom situations to give them the common language to support that leader and that leader to be able to support them. And then when we do that, what I find is the common language and the common process makes a bigger, stronger, common culture. And then it comes really easy as to what are we going to put on our mission vision values and brass plaques? ’cause we’re already speaking a similar language.

0:16:39.0 MB: We don’t have to argue about what’s the meaning of this certain word. So for me, it always starts with a leader, then it goes to the team, and then it goes to the culture in that order, almost specifically. So.

0:16:51.8 WB: How does that challenge show up in the first place that the leader or the company realizes that they need to seek somebody like you to come in and work with them? Where does it come from? I’m just curious how that materializes.

0:17:06.7 MB: Yeah, I think what we’ve seen over the last three or four years is a pretty seismic shift in the coaching space. Coaching generally in the executive space had a feeling of I’m being punished if I have to have a coach. High performers don’t need a coach, but yet in sports, we never questioned whether or not the athletes at the top of their game have some of the most nutrition coaches and fitness coaches and all kinds of coaches working with them. But in Corporate America, there was this stigma. But I think what happened post pandemic, post social unrest, post everything that we’ve been experiencing the last three years is a lot of leaders realized something had changed and they didn’t. They were so busy controlling and optimizing and planning about how to keep the business running, how to keep people in their jobs, how to not have downsizing or downturns. And they were running the same play over and over and over again. And what they didn’t do was stop to reflect about what part of me has to change. So now two, three years post, what we’re seeing is a lot of people running around with pretty drained batteries. So the way that people find me is often…

0:18:14.6 WB: What’s on the horizon for you? Is there a change, a shift? Are you comfortable with the direction you’re heading with everything? What does it look like?

0:18:23.5 MB: Yeah. Well, just as we were talking there before the intro a little bit, I just came back. Once a year I try to go away on a little solo retreat, nowhere elaborate, just a small cabin. It doesn’t even have to have WiFi or internet. What I do is I just get out and clear my head, eat good food, walk, get some ideas, sit in the sun for a little bit, notice nature’s beauty. All those kind of things speak to me, but it gives me a chance then to kind of think through what does next year look like or what does five years from now look like? And that’s my time to start looking at myself and saying, what do I need to do to be able to hold more space or to be more bold for my clients? I would say the biggest shift is when I started to where I’m at now and the thing that I will intend to do even more in the future is just be more bold with my clients. And what I mean by that is sometimes they’re a client, they’re paying you. And for me, there was originally some of the old self was resurrecting itself, wanting to be the nice guy and the pleaser and making sure that that would earn more income, if you will, that they would continue to pay me.

0:19:26.0 MB: What I realized was, though, that’s not serving my clients very well, because if they just wanted someone to be nice to them, they could just go find that in their work. There are plenty of people around them right now that subordinate to their power structure and say, “Well, you’re the CEO. I’m not, so I’ll listen to whatever you say.” In this relationship, I really have to bring my best self to it, and I have to listen and understand, but not necessarily agree all the time. And they’ll want to hold on to that old self so hard, because it’s very, very difficult to shift an identity, right?

0:19:57.3 WB: Yes.

0:19:57.8 MB: And what I need to be able to do is just reflect what I hear happening. And so I’ll give you a quick example. I had an executive two weeks ago that pursued a 360 evaluation, if you will. They got some feedback back from their team, and the feedback was good. And part of the critique though, was sometimes they feel like this guy was moving way too quickly and way too fast and he didn’t take the impression that he was listening to a lot of people’s opinions. And so he got that feedback and then he immediately called me and wanted to go through it line by line and understand who said what and where did they come from, because he wanted to be able to go and correct all of those behaviors. And the manner in which he was asking me the questions were so rapid fire he was moving so quickly that I could tell he wasn’t truly digesting the feedback. And the irony was, the feedback was, you don’t listen to other people’s opinions very well and you move very quickly. And he was showing that same behavior to me.

0:20:53.1 MB: And in a moment of courage, I could have just sat there and said, “Well, what do you want to do with this?” And asked him some of the “great coaching questions.” Instead, I just kind of held the mirror up a little bit. And I said, “Are you open to a reflection?” Because here’s the reflection that I’m seeing is, the same behavior that they have given you feedback on is the same behavior you’re displaying with me. And if you’re showing it to me, I can understand now how they’re perceiving this in their feedback. And all of our coaching sessions are recorded. So, I just forwarded him the recording of our coaching session. And I said, “I just would invite you to watch this.” It’s in that moment when I run the risk of losing a client. I run the risk of pushing them away. But more times than not these people don’t have someone that pushes them in that way. That doesn’t push them to get better as they want to get better. Many people in business just push the leader to be a better business leader and make sure the income statement looks good. But they don’t necessarily push them to be a better human. And I realized that that’s the piece that I can bring to this conversation and where I want to grow.

0:21:56.5 MB: So, some of the other things that will probably be happening here in the near future, we’re putting books together and doing more podcasts and more of those kinds of things to get content out there for leaders that they can listen to or learn from rather than always having to be on the other side of a Zoom call. So.

0:22:13.4 WB: Yeah. I’ll come back to the book in a moment ’cause I want to talk a little bit more about books. But I’m wondering in the reflections, was there any thinking about AI and the role of AI now in the future within your organization, within the executive coaching space? What impact do you foresee that it may have, may not have?

0:22:37.2 MB: Yeah. I mean, I have clients today who find tremendous impact from AI situations. They were particularly like, I’m recording all of our calls. AI will summarize those calls for them and even timestamps where the moments are in the call when I want to bookmark it for them. What they can do is they go back and they cut that transcript out and throw it into a ChatGPT or to an AI tool somehow and say, what are three or four remedies to this situation? Or what would three or four different responses be to this prompt. And it gives them, it may not be the verbatims that they go back out and repeat, but what it does is help them see that there is another way of pivoting that conversation to something that’s more centered on the other person or more centered on the personal side rather than the professional side. I’ve encouraged some of my clients to kind of put their biographies together, if you will, or maybe little bio sheets and feed that through an AI tool and say, make this more personal. We want to toot our own horn and write our own resume. And that’s pretty easy, but it’s chronological and it’s dry. Most of our employees don’t really want to read something that’s dry about us. They want to know some of the personal facts.

0:23:47.3 MB: They want to know like, who are we as a person and how do we show up? And so, AI has all kinds of solutions, I think, but we’re just beginning to tap the potential of what it means in coaching. So.

0:23:58.9 WB: Yeah, sure. I’m also led to believe that you’re an avid reader and you like to digest one or two books every chance you get. What type of books do you like? What sort of books?

0:24:12.7 MB: I like all kinds. I love to learn from other people. So biographies or autobiographies are really important. But I also am a big student on kind of… Because I’m trained as a scientist and because behavior is a thing, I love to learn how the brain works. So, I read a lot of neuro books on neuro leadership or neurochemistry, understanding the difference between dopamine and serotonin as an example, and how do we help our executives get into a lower brainwave state. So, they’re not so reactive all the time and they can reap the advantage of a serotonin high rather than a dopamine hit. Just little things like that to me are fascinating. I love to read productivity hacks from other teams, other people, and if they’ve come up with something. And I love keeping my craft honed. So, I read a ton of stuff on coaching or social psychology, those kinds of textbooks or kind of background books. So.

0:25:10.0 WB: As you were developing your coaching, as you’ve been going through your career, has there been influences in your life, like mentors, coaches, advisors, people that you’ve followed that have had an influence on the direction you’ve gone, the interest you’ve grown?

0:25:27.5 MB: Oh, absolutely. I mean, even back in my… When I was telling you, I took the path into sales management for a little while. The commercial directors that were hiring me for those roles, the words that they would speak over me and to me about the reason that I was being brought into the role were because of my coaching ability or because my ability to work and build teams and work with people. They knew I could learn how to manage a sales book and how to make clients and how to work with all the mechanics of running a business. That was all stuff that I didn’t necessarily “grow up with” in the business, but in learning how to work with people, what I knew was I needed to draw upon the collective of my team to make sure that we got all those tasks done and it built the team rather than building an individual leader. I would say those were pivotal moments because in that time when I’m sitting in that hotel room questioning, is this going where I wanted to go? What I could see was the further I followed the path of what I should be doing according to other people, the further away I was gonna get from who I was as a person.

0:26:32.2 MB: And those two things were… That was the fork in the road moment for me. And I realized those, the people that were around me recognized these gifts and I needed to figure out a way then to commercialize those gifts. Corporate America, for all of its good, sometimes doesn’t put the role of people development or HR development or organizational development at the same level as they put commercial development. So, even the CHRO in most organizations still has to ask permission from everyone else before they implement something. They’re still getting permission from the rest of the team to say, is it time for us to do DEI training or is it time for us to change our performance planning process? And the CHRO doesn’t usually have the same seat at the table, even if they are at the table. And so, I recognized the further I went inside of Corporate America, might be more limited for me. One, I’m more boundary because I’m speaking corporate language and I’m living only in one corporate philosophy.

0:27:35.8 MB: And two, I just didn’t see a career potential there as much. So, for me going outside, starting this on my own, I can be industry agnostic, I can be culture agnostic, I can be client agnostic. And what that gives me is this kind of neutrality for people to be able to trust me a little bit better in that journey. So, those mentors in that journey were precipitously helpful, leaving Corporate America, if you will, shedding that identity, getting rid of it. But I’ve had some tremendous coaching mentors along the way too. And one very, very dear friend today still, when I’m stuck or feeling like I need to think differently, I pick up the phone and she’s there all the time just to help ideate. But it was her, that one individual sitting beside her at an event and she was coaching me but didn’t know… I didn’t know I was being coached at the time and she was asking me those questions. What would I be doing if I wasn’t working in Corporate America and I just started spouting out my vision and my dream and she started helping me put little steps in place to make it happen. And it wasn’t with the intention of leaving Corporate America but that’s where it ended up happening. So.

0:28:42.1 WB: It’s a great story. Is that the theme or the underlying intent within the book that you’re thinking about writing?

0:28:50.5 MB: No. I think it’s much more around… So, I’ll use this analogy, when we raise young children and you take your children to the pediatrician. The pediatrician is always helping you understand maybe what the next stage is gonna look like. This is what’s going to happen next time or we’re gonna need to do this or treat them this way next time or here’s some developmental milestones that they should be… They’re hearing. What we don’t have is that same thing for midlife executives or midlife leaders. You hit midlife and a lot of people start recognizing things have shifted for them. [chuckle] Maybe the value of relationships is something that’s more important to them and they realize the first part of my life so far I’ve sacrificed that because I’ve driven so hard for my career. Maybe it’s family and they realize I’ve kind of my kids are launching now and they’re starting to leave for college and they don’t need me but I still need them and I don’t know how to give that up because I’m always traveling or I’m always working.

0:29:51.3 MB: And so, I think the premise of the book much more is kind of I wouldn’t call it a roadmap necessarily but just what are some of those fundamental shifts that midlife executives experience and what are some of the remedies to those shifts and helping move through it. I can just say emotional understanding for most male executives is a really big shift because they start feeling a lot of things but they don’t understand what they’re feeling ’cause they only have… They have a very limited range of emotion that they can describe. They’ve let themselves be pretty stoic and boundary most of their career and now all of a sudden when my kids are shifting and leaving for college, I don’t know how to handle that emotion and I try to down regulate it and when I down regulated it shows up and everything else I do back on the job and so they they don’t make that connection between how I’m reacting to something that I can’t name. So, I think that will be a huge part of the at least maybe one of the first couple chapters in the book. So.

0:30:47.3 WB: It sounds like a very interesting book. Do you have a plan or a timeline that you’re thinking about for the book?

0:30:54.7 MB: We’re just in early stages of working and figuring out what the map looks like and then publishing and all that kind of stuff. So, words have been written but they have not been organized. I’ll put it that way. So.

0:31:04.0 WB: [laughter] Well, I definitely want to keep a close eye out for it. It’s certainly a great read. Jim, we’re getting close to the to the wrap-up and always ask of course where can people connect with you or follow you? What’s the best place to find you?

0:31:21.3 MB: Sure. The most real up-to-date kind of content is gonna be found on LinkedIn. Just that Conjunction Leadership is my business page or Jim Bishop, James D Bishop on LinkedIn. You can find me there and that’s where I’m most active. My website has good information and some downloadable things on it as well. There’s some of these podcast archives around there if you’d like to learn a little bit more about some of the things I’ve talked about that’s just at conjunctionleadership.com and so those are the two primary places today. Rest of socials… Not real active on the rest of the socials yet. My main client base just generally doesn’t hang out on facebook or instagram all that much yet. [chuckle]

0:32:01.1 WB: Final question if I may. Any parting words of wisdom to share with the global leaders.

0:32:08.5 MB: The word of wisdom is to pay attention to it. Those things that you are feeling is… They are warning lights, if you will. And if your car dashboard warning light goes off you can continue to drive with it for a little while but eventually a mechanic probably is going to need to look at it and figure out what to do. In our own life and our own way of leading those warning lights are consistently going off for us, sometimes it feels like in the quiet of the night when I’m quieting my brain something pops in and I just can’t get over it or it might be even worse than that where fatigue or even tension sets in and maybe your physical body starts aching more than it used to. If you don’t pay attention to those things it will eventually catch up and what you’re hoping is no one will see that. No one around you will understand that and you’ll just be able to be smart enough or strong enough to work yourself through it. And unfortunately many of us aren’t. That’s our protective mechanisms coming into place.

0:33:02.5 MB: What needs to happen is once you talk about it, once you experience it with someone else, especially somebody else who may have gone through that journey, what you realize is it’s really not that uncommon for people to be feeling that way and the wake-up call could be to your best future, ye. It could be those warning lights are trying to guide you into your most authentic leadership that you could ever possibly imagine, but when we feel a shift going on what we tend to do is hold on, react to holding on and making sure that it doesn’t get away from us. Instead of leaning in and letting the messy pieces start reorganizing themselves back into something that’s better than it was to begin with. And I feel like that’s the value of a coaching relationship. I mean, maybe sometimes counseling might be appropriate depending on what’s showing up in your. Life but executives are probably are ready to look into the future and already ready to go in a coaching space what they need to do is just help understand what has been disrupted what needs to be disrupted what needs to be bridged and where do we need to grow and once we do that they’re really good to go.

0:34:00.8 WB: I loved our conversation Jim it’s it’s given me a lot of clarity around different things that I’ve experienced over my career and continue to experience so thank you for that.

0:34:11.0 MB: All right well thanks Wayne. Thanks for having me it’s been a pleasure too.

[music]

0:34:13.8 S2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Protein Connection Program a show for executive talent development. Until next time check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars, and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

[music]