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James Brandon Chief Of Police Southlake, Texas

James Brandon Chief Of Police Southlake, Texas

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Chief James Brandon of Southlake, Texas joins us today. James and Ashleigh Casey, Assistant Chief, lead an extremely high-performing team of officers and civilian support staff. 

Southlake, Texas is a thriving community in the northeast area of Tarrant County, with portions in Denton County. Since 2005 Southlake has enjoyed the leadership of City Manager Shana K. Yelverton. I must give a special shout-out to Shana and her leadership team, especially Alison Ortowski, Assistant City Manager and Stacey Black, Senior Human Resources Director. These were the folks who gave me my first opportunity to serve leaders in city government. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing this work or this podcast. I owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for introducing a guy with a CEO background, who deeply believed people make THE difference, to the world of public administration.

At our first meeting, I told Shana that I wasn’t likely the right fit to help coach some of her top-level leaders because I knew nothing about the world of city government leadership. She insisted that I was likely exactly what she needed. “We don’t operate like just any city,” she said. I quickly learned how true that was. I remember sitting down with Shana one morning in her office, after engaging with many members of her leadership team, and saying, “I could take your team and be air-dropped into any organization in DFW and I guarantee we’d quickly figure it out.” They were – and are – that good!

You’ll see that high achieving spirit and competence in James Brandon. 

Here’s a video produced by the City of Southlake spotlighting James (something he hates passionately, but I’m pleased they did it). Click here (or the image below) to watch it on Facebook. 

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

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Jason Little: City Manager Melissa, Texas

Jason Little: City Manager Melissa, Texas

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Jason Little is our guest today. Jason is the City Manager for Melissa, Texas, a growing smaller community in the DFW Metroplex. Jason has been leading a high-performing culture in Melissa for over 16 years. He shares his leadership journey and explains how his high-achieving organization serves a community that is experiencing increased growth. Humanex is a firm Jason relies on talent identification, selection, and organizational culture. He mentions them and their contributions in the show. Check them out. 

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

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We encourage you to contact us. Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, insights, and experiences are welcomed. Thank you for watching and listening!

Personal Challenges In Professional Leadership

Personal Challenges In Professional Leadership

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My partner here at Grow Great, Lisa Norris, is currently navigating some challenges. Personal challenges. But not to worry. She’s doing well and holding up nicely even though these are weighty days for her. 

As we grow older life presents new and different challenges. Our families change. Kids enter the picture. They grow up. Form families of their own. Meanwhile, our parents grow older, and more feeble. We all face personal tragedies, sorrows, difficulties, and adversities. Don’t think Lisa and I are immune. None of us are.

“Leave it at home,” is an admonition I heard from the bosses of my youth. I continued to hear it. Repeated with such frequency you’d think they believed if they just continued to say it, then one day it might actually become reality. But it never did. And it never will.

We’re people. Humans with real problems. 

Yesterday I’m sitting with a city manager. A director who reports to him politely knocks on the door, quickly apologizing for interrupting our session. A phone call from school about an injured child has disturbed mom’s day. Mom is a director in a city government. Being a good leader and boss, the city manager quickly tells her, “Go!” At that moment, her focus – rightly so – is on her child. Instantly I thought – “What kind of director would she be if her child weren’t the priority?” We don’t often enough consider such things. 

I can assure you Lisa is such a leader, working hard to lead by example. She’s at the helm of a high-performing team, a team that daily produces an extraordinary amount of work. The conveyor belt that is their collective to-do list is never-ending. Often fraught with difficult deadlines. And it continues to be completed on time, accurately and vital to the benefit of the employees, the organization and the entire community they all serve. 

Are they perfect? 

Of course not. But they are always improving – a topic Lisa and I will address in the coming weeks. 

Here at Grow Great, Lisa and I have defined leadership as a triad:

  1. Influence
  2. A focus on others
  3. Doing for others what they’re unable to do for themselves

Compassion is defined as “a focus on others.” You can’t be a true leader without it because compassion and leadership are so focused on the same thing – others!

High performers are not excuse-makers. Neither are great leaders. This isn’t about those among us who seem to always have a drama-filled excuse for why work isn’t completed. Or why inaccuracies seem the norm. 

High performers are people who find a way to consistently achieve well above expectations. They get it done. Time and again. We can count on them without fail. No, they’re not perfect, but they’re always excellent. Even in recovery when things don’t go as planned. They’re the people we most want by our side because they are reliable, trustworthy and competent. 

Even when the phone rings alerting them of a sick or injured child. 

Even when they need to care for an aging parent. 

Even when personal challenges disrupt their day, week or month. 

No matter what high-performers and great leaders bring such high value that compassion and grace are easily offered to them. It’s the support they need in order to maintain their high value. It’s the service they deserve to continue their quest to be high-performers. It’s also the wise, smart thing organizations do to foster individual and collective growth and improvement. 

Leadership isn’t about perfection. Or being constantly trouble-free. It’s about how well we do under the pressures of difficulties. Even if those are personal. 

We must never let our difficulties define us as excuse-makers. Rather, we need to leverage them to propel us forward so we can become even stronger – more resilient – in our work. The value we bring is largely the result of those things learned when the storms are raging. It’s been said that great sailors learn to sail when the seas are rough, not calm. So it goes with all high-performers and great leaders. The best – most effective lessons of our lives are learned when we’ve been knocked to our knees and realize we need help getting to our feet. Great leaders help us up. They dust us off and encourage us in ways few others may be able to. They instill faith and confidence in us to get through the storm because they know the stuff of which we’re made. 

Resolve.

Grit.

No excuses. 

They love us enough to do for us – in those most challenging moments – what few others can. They lead us out of the adversity by trusting us to do our best – to do the right thing. And we love them for it. 

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

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We encourage you to contact us. Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, insights, and experiences are welcomed. Thank you for watching and listening!

Courtney Runnels Leading A Charge For Improved Mental Health

Courtney Runnels Leading A Charge For Improved Mental Health

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Courtney Runnels is a Crisis Support Supervisor for the City of Grand Prairie, Texas. She’s also our guest today to discuss how she continues to grow her impact to help her employer, and other cities, provide mental health services for employees and the community. 

Here are some useful links referred to in today’s show:

Readiness Group
Forged in Valor Counseling and Consulting – Counseling – Hurst, Texas
F1rst – PREPARE. ENDURE. RECOVER.
3FTL

Contact Cortney here:

Courtney Runnels, LPC-S, CART
Crisis Support Supervisor
Grand Prairie Police Department
1525 Arkansas Lane
Grand Prairie, TX 75052

972-237-8828 Office
Email: crunnels [at] gptx [dot] org

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

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Connect With Lisa On Linkedin •  Connect With Randy On Linkedin

We encourage you to contact us. Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, insights, and experiences are welcomed. Thank you for watching and listening!

Investing In Leadership Development & Growth

Investing In Leadership Development & Growth

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Grand Prairie, Texas – where Lisa is the Director of HR – is a high-performing culture. Under the leadership of City Manager Steve Dye, Grand Prairie has continued to invest in developing and growing both existing and emerging leaders. Deputy City Manager Cheryl De Leon spearheads an initiative to develop high-performing leaders in the city.

Today, join me and Lisa as we talk about the Grow Me Grand Mentorship program, a leadership program centered around mentors who serve 2 to 3 other city employees so the city’s high-performing culture can have the opportunity to continue to blossom for years to come. 

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

Check out the Hosts page for our profiles.
Connect With Lisa On Linkedin •  Connect With Randy On Linkedin

We encourage you to contact us. Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, insights, and experiences are welcomed. Thank you for watching and listening!

Facing The Uncertainty of a New Year With Optimism

Facing The Uncertainty of a New Year With Optimism

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Lisa texted this quote…

A positive attitude brings much gratitude. Think positive, be positive, speak positive. Do it every day, make it a HABIT.”

Facing The Uncertainty of a New Year With Optimism

This isn’t some touchy, feely kind of a thing. It’s more intentional, purposeful, tactical and strategic. As we enter a brand new year – another year of uncertainty – it’s urgent that we incorporate optimism, hope, love and fun into our leadership. And gratitude. After all, we’re hotting pursuing high performance for ourselves and our teams. 

Be well. Do good. Grow great!

Check out the Hosts page for our profiles.
Connect With Lisa On Linkedin •  Connect With Randy On Linkedin

We encourage you to contact us. Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, insights, and experiences are welcomed. Thank you for watching and listening!

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