How Can Leaders Maximize Their Potential and Create High-Performing Teams?  | Dr. William Sparks

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How Can Leaders Maximize Their Potential and Create High-Performing Teams?

In this episode of the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast, Dr. William L. Sparks and host Nicole Greer explore the intricacies of leadership and team dynamics. Dr. Sparks discusses the concept of self-actualization in leadership, the impact of a leader’s shadow on team culture, and the importance of understanding team and individual motivations. They touch upon the five dimensions of teamwork and offer strategies for enhancing team performance. The conversation also covers the necessity of leadership commitment to team development and the application of assessments to foster organizational change. Practical advice is given on implementing development processes and prioritizing personal growth. The episode concludes with resources for further learning and engagement with Dr. Sparks’ work.

🌟 Main Lessons & Ideas:

  • Discover the nine attributes of self-actualized leaders and how they can transform your leadership style.
  • Learn about the three unique team shadows and how they shape your team’s culture – whether it’s detached, dramatic, or dependent.
  • Dive into the five dimensions of teamwork that are critical for a high-performing team: communication, conflict management, engagement, purpose, and trust.


As the host of a podcast dedicated to exploring the intricacies of leadership and organizational psychology, I recently had the privilege of engaging in a profound conversation with Dr. William L. Sparks, a distinguished professor at the McColl School of Business at Queen’s University of Charlotte. Dr. Sparks, an author and authority on leadership, shared his insights on self-actualization and its pivotal role in leadership and teamwork. In this blog post, I’ll take you through the key takeaways from our discussion, offering valuable lessons and strategies for personal and professional growth.

The Journey to Self-Actualization in Leadership

Self-actualization is not just a buzzword; it’s the cornerstone of effective leadership. Dr. Sparks enlightened us on the concept, defining it as the process of recognizing and realizing one’s inherent gifts and potential. This journey leads to a heightened sense of purpose, engagement, and resilience which are essential qualities for any leader.  During our conversation, Dr. Sparks outlined nine attributes correlated with self-actualized leaders. These span cognitive, emotional, and behavioral characteristics each playing a crucial role in shaping a leader’s ability to inspire and guide their team.

The Shadow Side of Leadership

Leadership is not without its challenges and one of the most significant challenges is managing one’s shadow—the unconscious aspects of our personality that can negatively impact our leadership style. Dr. Sparks emphasized the importance of integrating leadership style and shadow to create a more self-aware and effective leader. This integration is vital for fostering a positive team culture and achieving optimal performance.

Team Dynamics and the Leader’s Influence

Our discussion delved into the three unique team shadows that correspond to different leadership styles: the detached culture of the shadow achiever, the dramatic culture of the shadow performer, and the dependent culture of the shadow asserter. Understanding these shadows and their effects on team behavior is crucial for leaders aiming to cultivate a healthy team environment.

The Five Dimensions of Teamwork

Dr. Sparks shared his insights on the five dimensions of teamwork: communication, conflict management, engagement, purpose, and trust. He drew from interviews with leaders who excel in each dimension, highlighting the significance of honest communication, effective conflict resolution, and the alignment of individual and team goals.

Strategies for Addressing Team Cultures

Addressing the challenges within different team cultures requires targeted interventions. Dr. Sparks provided practical strategies for dealing with anger and apathy in detached cultures, frustration in dramatic cultures, and fear and anxiety in dependent cultures. Leaders must work on their style and shadow while team members must be willing to engage at a new level.

The Leader’s Role in Fostering a Vibrant Culture

Creating a vibrant team culture is an ongoing process that demands self-awareness and continuous development from both leaders and team members. Leaders must be less directive and empower team members to take on more responsibility, contributing to the team’s actualization and performance.

Leadership Commitment and Team Development

A vibrant organizational culture stems from leadership commitment and team development. I shared a story about a young employee eager to learn, but he was stifled by a lack of leadership commitment to training. This anecdote underscores the negative impact of maintaining the status quo and the necessity of applying leadership and teamwork assessments prescriptively to drive meaningful change.

The Three Levels of Development

Dr. Sparks introduced the three levels of development in the actualized leadership and teamwork profiles. Moving from descriptive behavioral analysis to addressing deeper intrinsic motivations and eternal questions can be transformative for individuals and organizations alike.

Practical Challenges and Prioritizing Development

Finding time for personal and professional development is a common challenge. Dr. Sparks shared a valuable insight from his late mentor about prioritizing time for one’s number one priority. This perspective is essential for leaders and team members committed to growth.

Connecting with Dr. William L. Sparks

For those interested in delving deeper into these concepts, Dr. Sparks’ books, including his upcoming release, Actualized Teamwork: Unlocking the Culture Code for Optimal Performance, are invaluable resources. Listeners can connect with him on social media and his website to continue the conversation on building vibrant cultures.

In conclusion, our discussion with Dr. Sparks provided a wealth of knowledge on the complexities of leadership and team development. By embracing self-awareness, resilience, and effective teamwork, organizations can take practical steps toward creating a culture that not only thrives but also allows every member to reach their full potential.

Mentioned in this episode:


Dr. Will (00:00:00) – Very successful fortune 500 CEOs said one time, I have three things in my job description that provide the strategic direction. One, provide the necessary resources and remove obstacles.  Two and three, stay out of the way.

Voice Over (00:00:14) – This is the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast, your source for the strategies, systems, and insights you need to turn your dreams into your destiny. Every week, we dive into dynamic conversations as our host Nicole Greer interviews leadership and business experts. They’re here to shed light on practical solutions to the challenges of personal and professional development. Now here’s your host, a professional speaker, coach, and consultant, Nicole Greer.

Nicole (00:00:40) – Welcome, everybody, to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer and they call me the vibrant coach. And today I have one of the most intelligent, most amazing professors I ever had at Queen’s University and what I would actually call a friend and a colleague, Doctor William L. Sparks.  Will Sparks serves as the Dennis Thompson Chair and Professor of Leadership at the McColl School of Business at Queen’s University of Charlotte. Concurrently, he serves as the managing director for William L Sparks and Associates. He’s a leader, a team and organization development professional, and has a professional services firm where he serves organizations with his tools and his concepts. He is the author of Actualized Leadership: Meeting Your Shadow and Maximizing Your Potential. He wrote this in 2019. It was the society for Human Resource Management publishing that put it out on the market, which is an Amazon number one bestseller. And I have been a devotee of this for a very, very long time. His forthcoming book Actualized Teamwork: Unlocking the Culture Code for Optimal Performance will be released just in a few days, and his TEDx talk, “The Power of Self-awareness,” was released in 2018. He holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. Please welcome Dr. Will Sparks to the show. I’m so glad you’re here.

Dr. Will (00:02:04) – Thank you, Nicole. Wow, that’s a tremendous introduction. I’m honored and humbled and excited to be with you today.

Nicole (00:02:11) – And we had so much fun. As many of you know who are listening, I’m a big believer in education. And so I went and got my master’s degree at Queen’s and I had the privilege of being in the classroom with Dr. Sparks and Dr. Bennett and all those fancy people down there at Queen’s. I suggest you sign up today. That’s what I’m saying. So tell us a little bit about your first book because your first book and your second book go together like peas and carrots. So will you talk a little bit about actualized leadership for me for a moment and tell everybody about this?

Dr. Will (00:02:40) – Yeah, so the pea is the leadership and the carrot is actually teamwork. And you’re right, they go together. Well, Actualized Leadership was published in 2019 and it was sort of my, my effort to synthesize the research I’d been doing, a lot of applied research, in helping individuals lead and live at their highest potential. And so the essential thrust of that book is that if you want to live in your brightest light, you have to have the courage to confront your darkness.

And so, you know, there’s a tremendous opportunity for personal transformation and growth, but you can’t get there from just positive affirmations or hoping for the best or crossing your fingers. You have to actually have the courage to look at yourself in the mirror and face yourself in your shadow. It’s sort of heavily influenced by Carl Jung. Both of the books are. And so that was my, that was sort of my 2019 stake in the ground and I’ve done a fair amount of consulting over the years and applied research, the number of leaders and organizations, and was really humbled to have their endorsement as well. So this wasn’t just sort of a psychologist putting something out there. It was grounded in applied work with practical strategies for really helping an individual integrate that shadow component. And, in doing so, live and lead, at their highest potential.

Nicole (00:04:10) – Yeah. That’s fantastic. Yeah. So you have, like, a leadership style, but if that leadership style is not managed, not worked on, you don’t have the consciousness of it, your little leadership shadow will rise up. And so what happens in organizations when the leaders don’t have the consciousness of that leadership shadow? What happens?

Dr. Will (00:04:33) – A lot of damage is done. I’ve seen organizations that have, I don’t mean have just underperformed, I’ve seen some organizations that have been completely tanked because of the arrogance and the ego of individuals or someone not willing to have a difficult conversation, or there are a number of different ways that they’re unique. They’re three unique shadows. The fear of failure for an achiever. The fear of rejection for an affirmer in the fear of betrayal for the assaulter. And they show up in different ways, but they ultimately can do a tremendous amount of damage for the organization and certainly for the people that are trying to work, sometimes under that or inside of that shadow, if you will. And so there’s a real call to action. And I very often people are oblivious to the sort of collateral damage that they’re causing. I mean, metaphorically, there are body parts in people’s wake when they storm out of a meeting.

Nicole (00:05:30) – Oh, yeah.

Dr. Will (00:05:31) – Yelling at someone and they just don’t realize the tremendous damage that they’ve created. And then they wonder why people aren’t being creative or innovative or they’re not fully engaged. And quite often it’s an extension of the shadow of the individual. And so I think just part of it was just the self-awareness component of someone realizing that you have that and it’s a very Jungian sort of approach to say, and I think in Western culture especially, we think in terms of either or, I’m either a confident leader or I’m arrogant. And a Jungian approach would say it’s both/and. At my best, I’m confident and decisive and even maybe charismatic. At my worst, though, I can be arrogant, controlling, and manipulative. And that’s the assertive style. And it’s both/and so I think one of the things we have to do, the switches we have to make, is realize it’s not either or. At my best, I can be this, but at my worst, I’m that and having that awareness allows us to be more mindful of the shadow, what triggers it, what happens when it comes out. And hopefully with that comes a true intrinsic desire to be better integrated in management because we become aware of the adverse impact we’re having on others.

Nicole (00:06:46) – That’s right. And so if you’re sitting there thinking, what were those three again. So you can either as you take the assessment and, FYI everybody write this down, get your pen and paper, stop the treadmill, write down All right. So go over there and you can actually like Jimmy Cook up real quick what your style is and it will also show you your shadow. So you know when I was certified in your program. So for all of you HR people, you can call up Dr. Sparks and his team get up with Jane. She’s the deal. And, they will get you signed up to actually get certified in the actualized leadership profile and in the actualized teamwork. So you can do that and, you know, integrate this into your organization. So, like Will said, everybody understands I’m not perfect all the time. I’m not terrible all the time. It just depends, right? You know, I think stress plays a big part in how people bring themselves to the work that they’re doing, right? So, you can take that. So there’s the asserter, there’s the affirmer, and there’s the achiever. Just for our framework, will you talk about each one of those? You did talk about the asserter just now, which that’s what I am. And those of you who know me are like,hmm.

Dr. Will (00:07:59) – So the achievers are recognition driven, detailed, and organized. They’re detail oriented. They’re sort of uber organized. They’re very efficient. They tend to be a little more introverted and so famous achievers that these individuals have all been profiled by Harvard Business School, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, just having that, you know, that detail, orientation toward the task at hand, discipline, personal improvement, the shadow of an achievers of fear of failure.

And so when they get when they’re shadows are activated, they become, sort of critical, rigid, my way or the highway and their Achilles heel in an organizational setting is they become micromanaging, which creates the lowest performing culture, which is the new book Detached. And so the irony and let me go through all three, and then I’ll come to the irony piece for all of them. The second is the affirmer. They’re the relationship driven individuals, warm, friendly, you know, and these, Nelson Mandela, Charlie Brown, profiled by Harvard in that character that worried about others and so they’re sort of the glue that keeps us together. They truly have the heart and mind of a servant leader, loyal sometimes to a fault. They’re shadow is fear of rejection. And so under stress, they become conflict avoidant. They become overly accommodating. They sort of sugarcoat or self-censor, and all of that leads to a whole series of what I call a dramatic culture that has different, but also very dysfunctional aspects as well. And then the third is the asserter. Famous asserters are Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. And imagine both of them are. Planet Earth isn’t even large enough. So these are high power, results-oriented individuals who are confident, candid, decisive, strategic. But then the shadow there, and I’m also an asserter, the shadow there is the fear of betrayal. And so we have trust issues. We have control issues. We tend to be manipulative under stress. We’re arrogant under stress and it comes from painful insecurity. So we’re so afraid that the rest of the world is going to discover that we’re flawed and that we really don’t know everything, and that we’re not always right and so we always get in the first punch, and we want to try to convince ourselves that we’re right. And in doing that, we create a dependent culture in others which is just the irony there is what I wanted to get to with all three of these. The shadow brings about what we’re trying to most avoid in life, and so this concept is called paradoxical intent. It was first identified by Viktor Frankl, who is the very well-known psychologist and philosopher. Paradoxical intent essentially says the more you fear something, the more likely you are to experience it. It is the tragic irony of the human condition. So the achiever who’s driven the most for success in recognition and admiration, their shadow brings about failure and resentment. And so the affirmer driven for harmony and relationships and connection to others, their shadow brings about separation, you know, again, the very thing they’re trying to avoid when you avoid crucial conversations and you don’t call out performance problems, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’re going to be separated from your team. And that can happen where you’re actually separated from the organization. Or you may be demoted to a contributor role and you lose your direct reports. I’ve seen both of those cases happen more times than I can count with the affirmer. And then finally, for the asserter, again, we’re driven by value, loyalty, and independence. That freedom. We don’t like to be managed, but we demand loyalty from others. We’re very generous and the like, but our shadow brings about the kinds of behaviors where we can be controlling or not so generous. And it brings about a sense of betrayal and actually tethered codependence. We’ve created codependency in our relationships, and even though we’re driven for independence and freedom, our shadow brings about the exact opposite in all three of those cases. And so when people first think about that and they reflect about my life at work, they reflect about my life at home. Very often they have this light bulb, but they go, Holy cow, that’s exactly my situation. And what the book and what I’m trying to say, it’s very influenced again by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and saying we did it ourselves. And so if we’re going to remedy that situation and get out of that shadow and step into our brightest light, the first step is awareness. And then we have to have the courage to acknowledge it. And in doing that, we sort of liberate ourselves from that sort of nefarious power that the shadow has. But most people would either rather be sort of blind to it or don’t confuse me with the facts, or it just challenges the ego too much to acknowledge it. And, you know, I don’t have any judgment around that other than the shadow cycle will repeat itself over and over. And Jung was very clear with his patients when they experienced that, and they wanted to blame it on fate. He would say, well, stars aren’t in line for me. You’re not not meant to be happily paired or to be successful or whatever the challenge is. And Jung said, there’s no such thing as fate. It’s your shadow that has not been dealt with. And until you do it, you will continue to reap this pattern of less than optimal outcomes. Let’s say that, or it could be dysfunction until we give the shadow the time and attention that it’s crying out for.

Nicole (00:13:33) – Yeah, and don’t you love Dr. Sparks’ passion? Because he’s like, I’m trying to help you people. Will you just listen to me? You know, face your shadow.

I think that’s so fantastic. And, here’s the thing, the PowerPoint deck that we work from, there’s a slide in there that says, and I don’t know if I can get it exactly right, but it says in the deck it says this information does not comfort you. It disrupts and disturbs. So it takes really brave people, I mean, to say, show me my shadow and let me try to own it, because really the goal is to integrate your style, your leadership style and your shadow so that you’re aware of it. You’re not ignoring it, you know, it’s when you’re ignoring it that you end up in all the hot mess that you were just talking about.

Dr. Will (00:14:22) – Yeah, the philosopher Eric Hoffer said in order to dispose a soul to action, you must upset its equilibrium. Otherwise, we get comfortable. You know, it’s like the frog that’s being lulled to sleep and the water that is slowly being brought up to a boil, while it’s…

Nicole (00:14:38) – Boiled, right.

Dr. Will (00:14:39) –…asleep. And that’s kind of the analogy that I think about or the metaphor. And so self self-awareness, you know, does not comfort, as you said, it disturbs and it’s disrupts, but it’s in that disturbance that we are afforded an opportunity, a window is opened and it’s up to us to walk through it or step through it or climb through it, whatever you want to say. But there’s an invitation there. I think sadly, many people ignore it or they close the door shut with their ego and say no, I’m fine, everyone else is wrong. It’s everyone else and ultimately, what I found is that when people come to the conclusion that I can’t get there from here, you know, I’m not generating the results I want at work. I keep getting this feedback from my direct reports. I keep having this pattern in my personal life, or whatever that may be. When a person finally comes to that realization, very often there’s a sincere desire and motivation to embrace this sort of work because of the transformative power that it has. But it’s the deep end of the self-awareness pool, the shallow end, the string finders. The shallow end is I’m okay, you’re okay. Let me talk about my three strengths. And that’s as I say in my TEDx talk. That’s part of the self-awareness equation. But the other part of that is what about the counterparts? What about the dark sides to those positive qualities? Because it’s both/and it’s not either/or. It’s I have both the good and the dark. And until we’re willing to acknowledge and embrace that, then that darkness will come up under stress and will keep us right where we are.

Nicole (00:16:10) – Yeah, all of you that are listening, maybe you ran over there and did your, you know, ALP real quick. You’re like, uh-oh, I got issues. So there is a fix, right? Like there are things that we can do. There’s nine attributes that we can work on that will help us become more self-actualized. I wish you would talk about that concept because I think we all know Maslow’s hierarchy. Here’s another fun fact. When I was at Queen’s, Dr. Pamela told me that the pyramid was never an intent of Maslow. She said some graphic designer that was doing a textbook threw it in a pyramid, and it stuck. So it’s like you’re not here, and then you actualize. It’s like you move up and down that pyramid all day long and, you know, minute by minute. So, talk a little bit about self-actualization, because that’s the other thing that the ALP, the actualized leadership profile, measures. and you can actually work on that. And then we want to dovetail it with the new book. So kind of set us up with that.

Dr. Will (00:17:14) – So self-actualization is the concept that Maslow coined. And it actually wasn’t his. He borrowed that concept from a biologist from 1938, I believe, Goldstein, who used the term actualization to talk about the propensity of cells that are in a perfect environment to realize or actualize, they always grow to their highest potential. And so Maslow borrowed that concept to talk about humanity and sort of our striving to reach our highest potential. And so self-actualization is the process of growth, of realizing or actualizing the sort of inherent gifts and potential that I believe that we all have. We have to dust it off and sometimes rediscover it. And the reason it’s important? There are a couple of reasons. One is that self-actualized individuals have a greater sense of purpose in their lives, and so that just gives you more grit and it gives you more engagement. So when you’re living a purpose day in and day out, you know, you don’t feel like you’re punching a clock. You just really, and there’s some days I jump out of the bed and there’s some days that I don’t. I mean, you know, it’s like we’re all human, but you still have a higher level of energy and engagement. So that purpose piece is critical in that regard. The other, two others, one is that we’ve just finished some research showing that self-actualized individuals are more resilient than those that are lower. And so if you think about how important resiliency is bouncing back from setbacks, maintaining a positive attitude, a big part is being less angry or less intense, like less reactive, you know, like, okay, what can I learn from this. So the resiliency piece is huge. And then in the ALP framework, the other part of that is managing our shadow. So the more self-actualized we are, the less frequently and the less intensely our shadow will be activated. So it takes more for it to get triggered. And even when it does, we’re more likely to sort of manage it instead of just, you know, say whatever we say or shut down. And then, you know, we can’t you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube after you, you know, after something’s been said, so that is the self-actualization piece. The nine attributes are characteristics that we, research partner Dr. John Petit and I, discovered using Maslow’s framework that were specifically correlated in a leadership or management setting and applied professional settings. And so thinking objectively, having a hyper focus, those are an optimal time orientation means living primarily in the present moment. Those are the cognitive attributes, the emotional attributes having a high degree of self acceptance, trusting yourself, trusting others as well you know, that’s a key element. This is huge, especially for asserters. We have a low trust radius, and the reason we do is because we don’t trust ourselves. So we know what we’re capable of doing, and we project that onto others. And so that if there’s nothing else that anyone takes from this, if you are an asserter, be mindful that when you are accusing someone, whether you’re literally doing it or in your mind, you’re wondering very likely you’re projecting your guilt or your stuff onto that other party or that other person. If you just come away with that awareness, you can really tamper that down. And it’s and it’s powerful because you’re starting to realize, oh, wait, this is a reflection on me. And so there are emotional attributes and then, finally, there are behavioral attributes, speaking with candor, spending time in solitude, getting into that flow state. And so the full ALP will give you a measure on all of the nine attributes, and it’ll tell you where’s the one you really need to work on the most? And as you increase that, and enhance that attribute, you enhance your self-actualization as a byproduct of that as well.

Voice Over (00:21:02) – Are you ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference, or organization to help them with their strategies, systems, and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy, and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email her at, and be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

Nicole (00:21:26) – And I think that, you know, doing the full ALP and how you take the full ALP, call me, call Dr. Sparks, we’ll both take care of you. But you can take that assessment and it’s so plain and, you know, my experience has been that if I’ll show that to people, like they’ll have their lowest one and they’ll just start shaking their head like, I know I need to practice candor or, you know, I need to do this or that.

And then there’s all sorts of resources that Dr. Sparks has put together that we use when we coach people around the ALP. So I think it’s very valuable. All right. So that’s what happens to an individual okay. Now here’s what we all know, at the organization you work at, the place that you go to every day, all these humans that have a leadership style and a shadow come together and they need to work as a team. So, you know, the big question is why do some teams experience synergy and outperform the competitors, while others lag behind with low engagement and low performance? Because that’s the thing that, like you said, it’s going to put you out of business. If you don’t perform, you don’t have your people wanting to do the work, you’re in deep stuff. So tell us about that.

Dr. Will (00:22:36) – Yeah. Actualized Teamwork is the new book coming out later this month. It’s also published by Sherm Books and it is the sort of the, I can’t remember if I said it was the carrot or the pea, I think it’s the carrot.

Nicole (00:22:49) – It’s the carrot.

Dr. Will (00:22:49) – It’s the carrot. So this is the companion piece that focuses more on the culture of teams. Now, it’s similar in the ALP actualized leadership book in the sense that it provides a psychodynamic perspective into understanding teams and group behavior. And all that means is that there’s a recognition and an appreciation for the role of the unconscious in our behavior. And so you don’t have to be a psychologist. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to do this. You just have to have this awareness that at the individual level, my individual leadership shadow is activated and comes out. Well, the same holds true for groups and teams. There are three unique team shadows that are related to the three leadership styles. And so there’s the detached culture for the shadow achiever. There is the dramatic culture for the shadow affirmer. And then there’s the dependent culture for the shadow asserter. And, in the new book, if someone is not overly assessed and you’ve got enough gas in the tank for one more free assessment, you can go to for the actualized team profile, ATP free, and that will then link the leadership style to the impact you have on others. Again at your best actualized and at your worst in your shadow and give you a sense of those three unique cultures. So that’s, you know, that brings it full circle. In the book, I introduced to my knowledge, it’s the first time this term has been used, team-actualization as opposed to self-actualization. So there again, the full assessment measures the degree to which a team has actualized or realized their full potential. Same thing. Instead of nine attributes, there are five dimensions of teamwork, there are resources for each of those dimensions. Those dimensions are communication, conflict management, engagement, purpose, and trust. And so working on whatever your lowest is going to mention is another way to increase the team actualization score. And in doing that really the engagement of the members and, ultimately, the performance of the team as a whole.

Nicole (00:25:02) – That’s fantastic. Yeah. Tell us about, like, the leader that’s running the team. How does their style and their shadow impact everybody? Because, you know, I’m an asserter, but I might have three affirmers working for me and one achiever, and another asserter. So how do you put all those people together?

Dr. Will (00:25:21) – That’s a great question. My research over the last thirty years or so would seem to suggest…

Nicole (00:25:28) – Yeah, you’re holding up.

Dr. Will (00:25:30) – …would seem to suggest that there are primarily three different areas, or components, that creates team culture. The first is the broader macro environment that you’re operating in. And so let’s say you’re measuring the accounting department for an organization. The overall organizational culture is going to have an impact on that team culture. And so the broader context you could also think about in the macro environment, are you in an industry that is expanding and growing or are you contracting. And you’re, you know, having to lay people off, so that broader macro environment is the first component that impacts your team culture. The second component are the individual styles of the team members. So the example you just gave, we’ve got mostly affirmer’s. We’ve got an achiever in the group as well. And so that does have an impact on the culture of the team as well. But the third, and the most important, is the style and the shadow of the leader.

Nicole (00:26:29) – OK, wait, hold on a second. Hold on. I’m going to stop you. Did everybody hear that? Like there’s a huge responsibility on the team leader, you know. And, I know you, when you work with people, I do the same thing. The team leader is like, what’s wrong with my people?

Dr. Will (00:26:42) – Yeah, it’s exactly.

Nicole (00:26:43) – And I’m like, let’s get a mirror, right? Which is the ALP. But anyways, I just wanted to stop right there. 

Dr. Will (00:26:50) – That’s exactly right. It’s a fix them kind of thing. It’s like, well team and leader development have to occur in concert with each other. But the style in the shadow of the leader is the third and the most important. And so in my framework, assessing the culture of the team is an indirect 360 on the leader.

And so, if you have a dependent culture, nine times out of ten you’re going to have an asserter. If you have a dramatic culture, and we’ve got the research to show this, this isn’t just a framework. We’ve got the research and the validity and reliability. The technical statement that’s in the book that shows this, nine times out of ten, a dramatic culture is going to happen an affirmer. And again, nine times out of ten, a detached culture has an achiever, you know, style. The shadow is out. And so to use the achiever just for an example, they’re shadow’s out. They’re worried about failure. They’re critical. They’re working eighty hours a week. They’re burning their team out. They’re redoing all of their individual work. They’re micromanaging it down to the last detail. Everything is a “can’t miss.” We can’t miss this. And so, you know, over time you create a detached culture and that reflects the style and the shadow of the leader. And so, you know, you can only go to that well so many times. I’ll give a football analogy and, of course, now Joe Gibbs is a NASCAR, very successful in NASCAR. Growing up in the Carolinas, my dad, my late father, God rest his soul, was one of the biggest Sonny Jurgensen fans in the world. So we grew up pulling for the Washington Redskins, now Commanders. And so, love Joe Gibbs. He led us through those glory years of three Super Bowls and all of that. But, the knock on Joe Gibbs was that every single game was the biggest game of the season. And so their third game against the Cardinals wasn’t the, I mean, it was not the biggest game, we can lose this game and still win the Super Bowl. And so sometimes the players would say that by mid-season they were burned out because every single game was like, you can only go to that well, so many times.  And so, sometimes, and I’m a big fan of Joe Gibbs, but I’m just saying, like, that was part of the feedback about, you know, like after a while, people need to breath a little bit.

Nicole (00:29:00) – Yeah, of course.

Dr. Will (00:29:01) – I think you have to be mindful of that and understand that, at least in my framework, a culture profile of your team, gives you an indirect 360 and so but in that, again, that opportunity to sit down and say, okay, let’s talk about this. So what is the underlying reason? And in the actualized teamwork framework, there are three different emotions that you’re dealing with with the culture. So in a detached culture, you’re dealing with anger and apathy. And that requires a different set of interventions, if you will, that we use in the organization development, organizational psychology space that there’s a team development intervention. And I provide that in the book. Here’s what you can do with the detached culture. In a dramatic culture, you’re dealing with frustration and at the very extreme cases, even despair, because there’s a white elephant sitting in the middle of the room. There’s an obvious problem. We’re not talking about it. There’s usually a low performer that’s dragging us along and we’re all putting up with it, or we’re all on the road to Abilene. We’re doing something that no one wants to do. And so we gotta. There’s an opportunity to break that. But again, there are different interventions when you’re dealing with frustration. And then for the dependent culture, you’re dealing with fear and anxiety. And so that an asserter style, that shadow has created an environment where folks are walking on eggshells. They’re very, they don’t want to rock the boat, never disagree with the boss. And so you wonder why we’re not being creative and innovative. Well, the counterpart of creativity is fear. And so people are afraid to make a mistake. And so there’s a different set of interventions for dealing with fear and anxiety. And so the book is really targeted to say, hey, here’s the theory, but here are the specific interventions and strategies, this toolkit that you can use depending on what culture you may be dealing with.

Nicole (00:30:47) – Okay. That is so fantastic. Right? So just to recap, if you’re, you know, trying to keep up. So, I mean, there’s three different cultures that happen if the leader’s shadow keeps coming out and impacting. And so, we all know, Maxwell’s definition of leadership is influence, right? We know that the old adage, Will, do you know who said this first? “Lead by example.” Do you know who said that? That’s been around a long time.

Dr. Will (00:31:12) – Probably a great philosopher said it. Yeah. It’s in Western culture. Yeah.

Nicole (00:31:17) – So that is almost, like, one of those rare absolute truths, lead by example. And so people are not doing that. So you’ve got these three things. And I think a lot of people are probably really tuned in to what you’re saying about the detached culture and micromanaging. You know, I do a lot of recruiting, boutique recruiting, for my clients. And I’ll ask people, you know, what kind of leader is the best kind of leader for you? And people always, like 99% of the time say, I don’t want to be micromanaged. So that’s a real hot button out there with people is this micromanaging thing. But we’ve also worked for the guy that, you know, or gal that, is creating, that dramatic culture. Right? And, you threw in, you threw in that Road to Abilene thing real quick. So people are like, what’s that mean? If you haven’t signed up to get your master’s in organizational development with Dr. Will Sparks, you don’t probably may not know about the Road to Abilene. So it’s a great little video and your mentor put that whole concept together. So will you tie that in real quick in case I someone’s like, what’s that?

Dr. Will (00:32:24) – The late doctor Gerry Harvey. We lost Dr. Harvey in August of ‘15 to Parkinson’s, but he was at the time I was at George Washington University in the late ‘90s. He was one of the, if not the number one, sort of organizational psychologist in the country, very well known, very much in demand. And his great claim to fame was that, essentially, it’s not the inability to manage conflict that gets us into trouble, it’s the inability to manage agreement. And so he talked about how oftentimes teams and organizations, and even couples, you know, will agree to do something that no one wants to do. And so, you know, think about this. It’s a Friday night. You’re both tired. You come home and I’m worried that, you know, my wife, Erin, is maybe bored. She’s been home. We have a 16 month old now at home. And so she’s been home all week. And, I’m okay, let’s go out to eat. And what she really wants to do is just have a glass of wine and, you know, sit on the back porch, and that’s what I want to do, but I’m afraid. And so then she thinks, well, he’s worked all week. He wants to go out. He deserves to have a nice meal out. And so we both agree to go out to eat. And so we get to the restaurant. We don’t have reservations. There’s an hour and a half wait. We stand at the bar waiting thirty minutes for a drink, shouting at each other because it’s so loud. We finally get our drink. We’re sitting there. It turns out it’s going to be an hour and a half for a table, and we’re both thinking, why the hell are we sitting here? We’d been so much better if we just did what we both wanted to do, which was stay at home. But the heart of the Abilene paradox is a failure to communicate what we really think and what we really want to do. So we have a fear of separation. We don’t want to be separated from the group. So we all agree that something sounds like a great idea. No one wants to do it. And off we go. And it’s called the Abilene Paradox because Dr. Harvey was born and raised in Texas and in-laws lived in Coleman, Texas, and they recommended that he and his wife, Beth, they go have dinner in Abilene on a day that was 104 degrees, no air conditioning in the car. No one wanted to go. And yet they pile into the furnace, to quote Dr. Harvey, and off they go to have a bad dinner, and they come home four hours later, the dirt and that Texas dry heat stuck to him with the sweat, and they’re sitting out on the front porch. And finally he said, I wanted to have a behavioral science intervention. So I cleared my throat and said, that was a great trip, wasn’t it? And it exploded. You know, like, I didn’t want to go. You all forced me into it. You pressured me into doing this. And they all started laughing because they realized that no one wanted to go. And Harvey says, we do that often. We do it in our personal lives and certainly in our professional life. So that is the road to Abilene.

Nicole (00:34:59) – Yeah, yeah. And so, watch the video, you know, it’s like, oh, it’s from the way back, but very poignant and still going on today, right? So I just want to repeat what you said. And if I don’t say it right, you correct me. But he said, “It’s not that we don’t manage conflict correctly. We don’t manage agreement.” Is that how you said it? Say it, again.

Dr. Will (00:35:20) – The biggest challenge we face is not mismanaged conflict. It’s a mismanaged agreement. And so failing a managing agreement means, you know, if we all agree that something sounds like a good idea, no one raises their hand and say, hey, to be honest with you, I’m sure this is a great idea, but if you all really want to do it, I’ll go along. But I just want to put that out there. And very often that intervention opens up the floodgates for people to say, well, I didn’t want to say anything, but I don’t know why we’re doing this either. Like, why? Why are we going to do? And someone else chimes in and says, well, I wasn’t going to say anything either, but I feel like this is really going to be a waste of time. And, you know, and you can be just starting it, or you can be halfway down the road to Abilene, or you can be past Abilene and further west. There’s still time to like all the around the board and say, let’s exactly let’s rip it out, let’s, you know, pull the brake and put it in reverse, and let’s get back to, you know, doing something that we all really want to do and not this waste of time and resources.

Nicole (00:36:16) – Okay, okay. So I just think that’s really good. So you got to check that out. Google that up. That’s important. All right. So you said there were five dimensions that we can work on or we can pay attention to. Will you talk about the five dimensions for me?

Dr. Will (00:36:29) – Yes. And so, like I did in Actualized Leadership, I interviewed a leader for each of the five dimensions. And I’ll just briefly go through those. And I used an iceberg metaphor. So there are two that are readily visible. One that’s on the surface and then two below the surface. The two that are visible, communication is first, and that is really the lifeblood of how teams make decisions. And it has to be honest and direct, but it can’t be self-censorship trigger-coated. But you also can’t be screaming and yelling. And so it’s realizing the best way that each person likes to communicate and tapping into that. Marlene Hendricks is the chief customer experience officer at US Auto Trust in Los Angeles.  She’s an actualized affirmer. She’s certified in the ALP, gave a great interview for communication. The second is conflict management. And that is, again, that is having the, you know, you’re going to have conflict when you have people working together and it shouldn’t be avoided. There’s great synergy that can come out of managed and resolved conflict. Kathy Patterson is the chief human resource officer for Ally Financial. and so I interviewed Kathy for conflict management. On the surface is engagement and that you can see it, but sometimes you actually see indirect manifestations of engagement or lack thereof. And that is the degree to which people are, you know, they’re paying attention. They’re really, you know, they’re committed to what you’re doing. They’re participating in meetings. I interviewed Jonathan Halkett, who was the CFO of MGM resorts. And I have to say, out of all of the interviews I’ve done, that was the coolest because his office is in the Bellagio, in Vegas. And so I had to take three or four rings of security before I got to Jonathan.

But that was a great interview, and he gave a very thoughtful interview about engagement and how to increase that with the use of humor. And he goes, you know, we have a very serious job, but if you can’t find humor, then, you know, you get harder, essentially. Great message there. Then there are two that are beneath the surface. Purpose is the fourth dimension. And that is really helping people find a connection between what your team is doing and their own sort of internal calling of their own sense of purpose. And that has a direct impact on engagement. And so spending some time in helping others discover their purpose and, and get to what you’re doing in your team is critical. I interviewed Brian Savoia, who is the CFO of Duke Energy for purpose, and another great interview there. And then finally, at the deepest level, is trust. How do you build trust? How do you reestablish it if you need to? A great interview for that is James Jordan with the Charlotte Hornets. He has a very famous older brother, connected to the Hornets. And so, James used most of that, the interview before he, interim president and the COO of the Charlotte Hornets now. But he had a thirty-three year career as a US Army airman. And that’s the tip of the spear, coming out of helicopters. I think he had three or four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he really talked about how that service, you know, when you are literally in life and death situations and how you cultivate trust in others and also, you know, it’s what you do. It’s not what you say. People pay attention to who you talk to, who you don’t talk to, and all of those, and so some very practical, cool takeaways from James’s interview about how to build or maybe rebuild trust in a team setting. And so, again, in the full actualized team profile, you get scores on all five of those dimensions in addition to your culture score. And then just like with the ALP book, there’s a resource development guide for all five of those dimensions.  So if I want to work on trust or you want to work on conflict management, here are the resources, here’s a Harvard Business article, here’s a Ted talk, here’s a book, here’s an intervention or a team activity to help you enhance and increase that. And in doing that, you increase the actualization this time of the team as opposed to the individual.

Nicole (00:40:40) – So fantastic. So, you know, if you want to know how to build a vibrant culture, you got to get both these books, right? So you’ve got to get Actualized Leadership. I’ve got that one in my hot little hands. And then you’ve got to get Actualized Teamwork. So, my suggestion is, would you say so too, Will? The leader has to start with themselves because you said out of the three things that are going to influence how your team performs, the first thing is the leader style. So we got to start here.

Dr. Will (00:41:07) – Yeah, you do. I mean, I couldn’t agree more with that. More like it’s the same thing. We were sort of laughing about the leader that says come out and fix them.

And, you know, earlier in my career I took those gigs because I used to think, well, the worst that will be a net negative. I mean, a net neutral, you know, like I’ll do no harm. I probably won’t help any, but at least I won’t do any harm. And I came to the realization years ago that actually very often it’s not a net neutral, it’s a net negative. And the reason it’s a net negative is because the team members come in with their hearts and their minds, and they’re willing to engage, and they’re willing to put it on the table and be vulnerable and…

Nicole (00:41:42) – Play hard.

Dr. Will (00:41:43) – …stack hands and, like, really embrace this team building process. And the leader stands off to the side and he or she’s like, okay, I think you all finally, you know, you’ve gotten it now, and yet they’re not willing to do any work on their style and their shadow and the way they’re managing that team. And then what happens is that you don’t go back to where you were.

You go below that because people get so frustrated and they’re so disheartened, having been vulnerable, having fully engaged in the process and seeing no change in the leader. So team development, in my view at least, really has to start with the leader putting his or her profile on the table and saying, okay, here’s what I’m doing really well. Here’s where I think I’ve maybe done some damage, but I’m out of it. But then the team has to be willing. I mean, if the leader is saying, okay, if at the heart of my model is to say, if you want to actualize your team, be less direct. That’s one of the major messages that I’m sending in. It’s not due more. It’s actually due less. A former, very successful fortune 500 CEO said one time, “I have three things in my job description. Provide the strategic direction, one. Provide the necessary resources and remove obstacles, two. Three, stay out of the way. And three is the hardest, he said.

Because, you know, I feel like I need to be helping and they’re like, we’ve got it just, you know, provide those resources and keep setting the strategic direction and leave us alone and let us do our job. And so I think that if a leader is willing to say I’m going to be less direct, but then the team has to step up and they have to be willing to say, okay, I’m going to meet you at this new level of engagement because I have to do more. I have to be more accountable. I have to, you know, look around the corner. I can’t just do, if you ask me for X and Y, but I know that Z needs to be done as well. And you didn’t specifically ask for that. I’m going to start doing Z because I know that’s going to have to, you know, that has to be done. And I think that’s a frustration that leaders have sometimes. Is that, well, yeah, you did X and Y, but you didn’t ask me to do Z.

And so, you know, there has to be some give and take on both sides in order for that to truly work. But usually I think the team members are like, you know, thoroughbreds that have sort of been trotting there ready to, to race. And so very often they’re ready, willing, and able to fill that gap. But they have to have that commitment from the leader that they’re going to pull back and let them do their work. And the sort of the way they want to.

Nicole (00:44:07) – Yeah. Yeah. And so I just talk about that, net neutral or if  there’s a loss. So, that you’ll relate to this story, but, I was asked to go in and, you know, we have our leadership development with our managers, and I’m like, okay. And so I go in and do the leadership and I’m like, laying down all this good stuff. And, I mean, people are taking notes and we were having a good time.

And on a break, this young gal comes up to me and, you know, well, sometimes you can just get a vibe off somebody. I’m like this cares. Like I’m, you know, like, she is excited to be at training because, well, there’s three types of people that come to training. There’s learners, there’s hostages, and there are vacationers. And so, you know, she’s definitely in the learner category. She’s all excited. She’s been taking notes and everything. And she comes up to me and she’s like, Ms. Greer. I’m like, oh my gosh, call me Nicole. She’s like, Nicole, is my leader going to get this training? And I said, no, I doubt it. And she’s and she just looked at me like, oh. You know and that’s the net negative. So we have this eager, excited young gal who wants to help, but she knows she’s not the obstacle, the leader’s the obstacle. Isn’t that crazy. Yeah.

Dr. Will (00:45:23) – It’s back to business as usual when you get back. And the problem is that that usual very often becomes worse. So business as usual actually can, that’s why I say that negative peace, because of the resentment, honestly, and I understand. I mean, I would feel the same way. I’d feel like I got a little bit or I wasted two days and, you know, nothing’s changing. And so I think, you know, people say, well, they don’t appreciate what I did. And that’s like, no, it’s not that. Its people resent being played a little bit. And I would certainly feel the same way.

Nicole (00:45:53) – Yeah. 100%. Yeah. Okay. So, you know, I hope that you have been keeping up with all this. And if you didn’t you’re like, oh my gosh, I need these books. So, tell us where we can find Actualized Leadership and Actualized Teamwork. You know, I think they’re like twins. You need to get both. So, yeah. So don’t separate the twins.

Dr. Will (00:46:12) – Don’t separate the twins. Actualized Leadership is available for sale on Amazon and also on the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM. So if any folks are members of SHRM and they’re in the HR and talent field, I think there’s a discount on the SHRM site available there. And obviously on Amazon. The new book, Actualized Teamwork: Unlocking the Culture Code for Optimal Performance will be available for sale, or be available for delivery on May the 28th. The Kindle download is currently available now, and so if you want a Kindle version, you can order that on Amazon or preorder it if you want the hardcover, or hard copy rather, and that’ll be on the 28th of May.

Nicole (00:46:57) – Okay. All right. So get on over to the Amazon and do the “buy in one click.” I have buy in one click, Will, it’s so dangerous. Anyway.

Dr. Will (00:47:06) – Yeah, I know. Believe me, yes I agree with you on that 100%. 

Nicole (00:47:12) –That’s right, that’s right. But, I’m an asserter. I gotta have it now!

Dr. Will (00:47:15) – All right. That’s right.

Nicole (00:47:16) – Yeah, that’s right. So, that’s good. That’s good, okay. So let’s wrap a bow on this. So let’s say a company or an organization wanted to go through this whole process, lay it out for us. What would we do first? And, you know, what timeframe do you suggest? Because people are like, how do I start? And how do I work this into my calendar? Because I still got to like, make widgets and deliver service and do this thing called the business over here. So how do I work this into my culture?

Dr. Will (00:47:45) – Yeah. So I think that the starting point would be, you know, a leader and team development process. And, typically you can do a one day, you know, you’d be a little pushed.  Two day;s better because you get to sort of marinate a little bit in the reflection. You can do one day on the actualized leadership piece, and then the second day can be on the actualized team profile and the team development, making some commitments.

We actually have a two day template called Transformational Change that’s been used a lot in fortune 500 companies and nonprofits, and that’s a program that, folks, you can take both of the assessments and then work together as a team. The other way that folks have done it is we’ve done a couple of half day sessions over a quarter. You know, it might be that we can do a half day this month and we’ll do a half day in the following month. And, you know, try to try to manage it in that way, too. So those are some of the logistics of trying to get it there and introduced. Typically as high as you can go in the organization to counter the question the young lady had that you mentioned, hey, is my boss getting this and try to avoid that sort of, you know, outcome where, a team’s getting it, but maybe a leader above them isn’t. I think it’s important for everyone to have that same vocabulary. One of the things that we’re going to be doing later this summer, as well, going into the fall, is we’re going to be providing enterprise wide solutions.

So now we’ve got the actualized profile and the actualized team profile now have brand new report templates that we’re going to be launching officially next month. And you put those two together and it’s a very powerful leader in team development solution. We think we have some advantages over some of the other competitors out there because these are integrated together. They’re applied. They’ve been developed in professional settings. They’re both descriptive and prescriptive. So you know, everything’s descriptive, every assessment that’s worth taking. But what about the prescriptive piece? So what do I do with this? How do I get better? And we think we’ve gone a long way in answering that question as well. So in the summer or early fall, we will be really trying to provide enterprise wide licenses and solutions for organizations that, you know, just like they may license DiSC or MBTI or something along those lines. You know, we want to compete in that space as well.

Nicole (00:50:00) – Yeah. And so I just want to, unpack descriptive and prescriptive.

So, here’s another thing that happens everywhere we go. Right? So I’ve got several assessments in my toolbox. And of course, I’ve got that actualized leadership profile, which is awesome. But people take these assessments and we have a day of training, or a half a day of training, with one of these assessments, and then people take their folder and their report and they put it in a drawer.  And they never touch it again, because I’ve been in a room with people, and they hire me, come to do ALP, they hire me to come do whatever. And then I’ll say, have you taken another personality assessment before or a style assessment before or a leadership assessment? And they’re like, oh yeah, I think so. I think we took the one with the four letters or, you know, they’ll do all this kind of stuff. But, none of these things work if you don’t apply them, which is the prescriptive, right? 

Dr. Will (00:50:58) – I think one of the advantages that we have, and this sounds biased and it is biased, but I truly believe this, is that the ALP and the ATP for that matter, we sort of have these three levels of development you can do. It can be descriptive at the behavioral level. Here are the behaviors that are natural for you. Here are the ones that aren’t. And you need to be mindful of that. And here’s where you go in distress. And so that’s sort of at the behavioral level like DiSC. Very good at here are the behaviors you engage in and so be mindful of that. Don’t overuse a strength. Be mindful of maybe a gap or limitation in the middle part of the, if you think about a swimming pool and you go from the shallow end to the deep end, the shallow end is descriptive. The middle part of the pool is that much more prescriptive piece. So it’s understanding my leadership shadow. And so that’s getting into more of like okay now what impact am I having on others. And is that going to bring about the result that I want again professionally or personally. And so then there’s an intrinsic or internal sense of motivation to really develop that and work on that.

And so I think then people become more self-directed in their learning and growth because they want to figure this out. Sometimes with or without the organization. I see that quite often. Then at the very deepest end of the pool, and the ALP can take you there, it’s wherever the person wants to engage at the very deepest end of the pool, or what I call eternal questions that are associated with the three shadows. So for the achiever and the fear of failure, the eternal question is, am I worthy? And they’ve essentially struggled with trying to be worthy their entire life, and maybe they were always compared to a successful sibling. Maybe they never measured up and so they just, they thought a degree or one more, promotion or, you know, a new seven series or like, there’s some and it’s never enough. And so when you become aware of those eternal questions, that offers transformative development at the deepest possible level, the eternal question for the farmer and the fear of rejection shadow is, am I wanted again? They’re always struggling with wanting to be felt wanted, and needed. And that’s why they avoid conflict. And they’re always overly accommodating, and they’re taking on other people’s problems because they’re so desperately wanting to be wanted and connected. And then for the asserter, in the fear of betrayal, our eternal question is, am I safe? And so we always try to get in the sort of first punch. That’s why we are very slow to trust other people. We think we’re building a wall around us to protect us, but often, and sometimes tragically, too late. We realize it actually has become a prison that’s holding us back from the life and maybe the success in organizations that we’ve wanted. And so the ALP and the ATP can take you all the way from the shallow to the very deepest end of the pool. And I think that that is, again, those last two, the shadow and the eternal questions piece, very often folks are intrinsically motivated to develop and work on those, and sometimes it’s with the support of the organization. Sometimes it’s in our community working with others and the like. And so quite often see people that just have a true desire to develop and enhance that so that they can really achieve the life that they want again, professionally and personally.

Nicole (00:54:14) – Yeah. And don’t miss what he said at the very end. You know, this is not just for work. Your partner will appreciate it if you would notice your shadow. Yes. I mean David Greer is over in this other office going… So you know it’s helpful in all aspects of life okay. So that that kind of laid it out. How do we get this done. Because people are like, how am I going to work this in? Because we all have, the drama of how busy we are. And it’s not easy to fix all this. It’ll give you time back if you will do this work.

Dr. Will (00:54:47) – As my late Sicilian American, who I dedicated actualized leadership to, now the late Dr. Dominic J. Moneta, who passed away in 2021. He was the former undersecretary of defense and research and development. So Dom had all the secrets. I worked for him for twenty plus years, and he always said, “Will, you always have enough time for your number one priority? So figure out what you always find time to do.” And for many of us that will be social media. And that’s your number one priority. And so if we make our development, if we make our purpose and our potential our number one priority, we will find time for it. I know there’s a difference between being busy and being effective, active and being resilient or responsive. And so I think that if we make our development our number one priority, we will find time to explore that for sure.

Nicole (00:55:39) – Absolutely. Okay. So you can find the books on Amazon and we’ll have, you know, links to Dr. Spark’s website down below so that you can go and you can find all the things and do all the stuff. So both he and I would love to help you with your actualised leadership profiles, doing the team sessions, and then getting your culture vibrant. That’s what we’d like to do. All right. I’m so grateful you’re on the show today. Where can people link up with you? You’re on LinkedIn, right? And, tell us your website real quick.

Dr. Will (00:56:09) – I’m on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. I’m on Instagram at doctor_will_sparks and then my website is actually, again, just lowercase

Nicole (00:56:26) – Okay. That keeps it nice and simple. I’m so grateful. It’s so good to see you.

Dr. Will (00:56:30) – It’s so good to you. I really appreciate being on your show. Thank you, thank you.

Voice Over (00:46:52) – Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. If you found value in today’s episode, please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback helps us improve and reach more like minded listeners. Remember, the journey to building a vibrant culture never stops. Stay inspired. Keep nurturing your vibrant culture and we can’t wait to reconnect with you on the next exciting episode of Build a Vibrant Culture podcast.

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Name the challenge you're facing in your culture, and I will help you solve it.

From executive coaching, culture-shifting workshops, or long-term partnerships, my work is to help you develop your next leaders.

I was fortunate to learn this early from an exceptional leader. She took an eager, overconfident new hire and developed me into a capable leader.

I went on to lead marketing & training for 80+ sites across the U.S. Later, I went out and got almost every credential in leadership development you’ve heard of. (see the list)

Since that time, I’ve joined organizations in almost every industry to build VIBRANT CULTURES where employees take initiative and true ownership in their work.

Let’s build your leadership development strategy together.



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