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July 22, 2019
Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. —Conrad Hilton On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about how to keep going after a big win * Coming down without burning out * Why it’s so important to not make any rash decisions * Using the momentum to propel you forward Every year after Catalyst University, the Southwest Michigan First team has to deal with the challenge that sparked the idea for today’s podcast. I like to think we have gotten really good at keeping the momentum going, but only because we are very intentional about the process. Relishing the win and enjoying the feeling of accomplishment are two really important parts of that process.  If you enjoyed today’s conversation or if you have ideas for a podcast or think someone is a great fit as a guest, I would love to hear from you: drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: When your team has a big win, what is your method of keeping everyone focused while still enjoying the accomplishment?
July 15, 2019
Don’t confuse feedback with hate mail. —Jon Acuff On Today’s Episode: * Carla is joined by Sarah Mansberger to talk about feedback and criticism * How to deal with destructive criticism * The role of emotional intelligence * Be the water, not the gasoline * Feedback is an investment in your success Sarah and Carla’s conversation is really insightful and brings up many great questions to ask ourselves when dealing with criticism. They explore ways to navigate the uncomfortable feeling constructive feedback can provoke and how to mine for the good stuff. The truth is that feedback is uncomfortable; the proverbial growing pain in the growth process. I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics; just drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is your feedback process with your team?
July 8, 2019
It’s important what you feed your body and mind every day. Eat right, think right. —Sanjiv Munjal On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I dive into eating right for cognitive performance * How to start listening to your body differently * Keeping the brain fueled properly all day to think better, faster and clearer * The best foods for boosting brain function * Ally Glass of Ally G Cuisine and Whole-me-o-stasis shares tips on small additions and changes for big results It is old news that eating right is important for your body, but it is equally vital to eat right in order to allow optimal brain performance. Did you know that the brain only represents about 2% of body weight, but it demands about 20% of total body glucose use? I met Ally Glass of Ally G Cuisine while in Key West for vacation, and her insight on how food and executive performance are intrinsically linked blew me away. You can follow Ally on Instagram @ally_g_cuisine. I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics; just drop me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is your go-to meal to prepare your body for a big meeting or event?
July 1, 2019
Success is not final, failure is not fatal. —Winston Churchill On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about reinventing your leadership * How to avoid becoming stagnant * The ever-changing status quo and why reinvention is so important * Learning from the competition * The Olivia Pope question: “What do you want?” * Navigating the pressure of not having enough time in a day. I hope you enjoy today’s episode; talking about change and helping people reinvent themselves or their organization is a huge source of joy for me. If you’ve been mulling it over, take a few minutes this holiday weekend to jot down some ideas of how you can reinvent certain areas. I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics; just drop me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Have an awesome Fourth of July holiday! Always Forward. —Ron Question: Are 
June 24, 2019
It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts. —Napoleon Hill On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Jamie O’Kane, CPA and leadership podcaster at Abundant Beans * Jamie’s most impactful leadership lessons learned * Why helping people get unstuck and grow is a passion * How all the noise in today’s world is a challenge * What drove Jamie to start her own podcast My conversation with Jamie is so thought-provoking. She’s dynamite; she has really great stories about how she carefully curated her own leadership style and why that is so important to her. Jamie’s thirst for knowledge is palpable and I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed recording it. Do you have an idea for a future podcast or a person you would like me to interview? Please send me message or tweet me @ronkitchens. Make it an amazing week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: If you were going to start a podcast, what would it be about?
June 18, 2019
On Today’s Episode: It’s a special Thursday edition of the Always Forward Leadership Podcast! Tune in while you get ready for Catalyst University, because Heather Baker, Kim Weishaar and I talk about all the things you can expect at today’s event. We explain the best routes to get to Wings Event Center (there is a map here), clarify concerns about parking, dish all about the line-up and Makers, and so much more. New this year is the Catalyst YOU app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Don’t forget to download it before heading to the event; this app will be the ultimate tool in getting the most out of your Catalyst University experience. Search “Catalyst University” in the app store to download. We cannot wait to see you at Wings Event Center bright and early. It is going to be an amazing day! And don’t forget to tune in every Monday for the Always Forward Leadership Podcast for all things culture, team engagement, professional development and more. Always Forward. —Ron
June 17, 2019
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. —Steve Prefontaine On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I get all hyped up about Catalyst University! * This Thursday is the big day, and we cannot wait * Who we are most excited to hear from * Who is competing in this year’s Maker’s Mart * What to expect from this new summer-time Catalyst University As you can tell from our conversation, we are beyond excited about this year’s line up and schedule. If you still need a ticket, email me at ron@ronkitchens.com or Carla at csones@southwestmichiganfirst.com and we’ll make it happen. See you on Thursday! Always Forward. —Ron Question: Who or what are you most excited for at Catalyst University?
June 10, 2019
The song is the sum of all the work you put in. —Neil Giraldo On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Neil Giraldo, musician and entrepreneur, who is joining us next week, June 20, at Catalyst University * The value of recovering quickly from mistakes * Neil’s thoughts on finding and documenting inspiration * What drew Neil to start Three Chord Bourbon * Why giving back is so important to Neil and Three Chord Bourbon I am thrilled that Neil is joining us at Catalyst University next week so he can share even more insights with you all. Though it is coming up quick, it is not too late to secure a ticket! You can register here. To share any insights or ideas for future podcasts or people you’d like to be interviewed, send me message or tweet me @ronkitchens. Make it an amazing week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: Neil talks about the importance of giving back. How is your organization involved in giving back? What about you personally?
June 3, 2019
I’m a great Jon Acuff when I’m brave enough to just be that. —Jon Acuff On Today’s Episode: * Jon Acuff, bestselling author of the book Finish, joins me on today’s show * What you can do to finish what you started * How humor drives Jon to be productive * What the hardest part of writing is for Jon * What Jon’s tips are for goal-setting and achieving * Listen and find out how you can win a signed copy of Jon’s book Finish with the hashtag #iamafinisher I am so excited for Jon to share his humor and wisdom at Catalyst University on June 20! If you have not yet secured a ticket, you can register here. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, send me message or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What goal has been on your to-do list far too long? How can Jon’s advice help you finish it?
May 20, 2019
You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem. —Tim Cook On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Carla about knocking down barriers * How a pauper’s cemetery from the Great Depression inspired me * Evaluating why barriers are present * The importance of putting yourself in a spot to change your perspective I hope you enjoy today’s episode, and I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Make it a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is holding your or your organization or your community back? Why? 
May 13, 2019
I think that a feeling of pride is something that every community needs to move forward. —Vivian Howard On Today’s Episode: * I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vivian Howard of the TV show “A Chef’s Life” * Vivian’s journey with farm-to-table (before it was hip) * How the success of A Chef’s Life has affected the Kinston, NC community * Which recipe’s are Vivian’s favorites * The secret to Vivian’s authenticity on the show Vivian’s determination to make the community where she grew up a better place to live is incredible. In today’s interview, she shares how she went from wanting nothing more than to leave her eastern North Carolina hometown to coming home to open a restaurant and helping to grow the community. Vivian is a breath of fresh air and has some amazing stories to tell. I am so excited for Vivian to join us at Catalyst University on June 20! If you have not secured a ticket yet, you can register here. If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or you’d like to be one of the first 3 people to claim the special surprise in the episode, send me message or tweet me @ronkitchens. Enjoy! Always Forward. —Ron Question: Where did you grow up? What would it take for you to move back to your hometown?
May 6, 2019
Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out. —Eleanor H. Porter On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I are talking about getting out of a rut * Harvard Business Review’s research to get unstuck * When ruts are most likely to happen * LEAP: my preferred system to jump-start the team * Laugh * Exercise * Art * Praise Everyone can get stuck in a rut; that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting yourself (or your team) out of that rut. The system that I’ve used at Southwest Michigan First for years has been successful time and again to jump-start the motivation and gain back the momentum. Listen in to hear more about getting your team unstuck. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, and I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. See you next week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How would you get yourself or your team out of a rut? 
April 29, 2019
The issues that divide us are second in priority to the way we respond to each other. —Lucas Ramirez On Today’s Episode: * Lucas Ramirez, author of Designed for More, will be joining us at Catalyst University on June 20. * How the term “murmuration” goes beyond birds and is important to leadership * How unity drives all great teams * The importance of learning to redefine our flock * The danger of over-identifying with smaller groups Today’s episode is a re-launch of an interview I did with Lucas Ramirez last fall. Lucas has such an amazing outlook on how to drive unity and make teams thrive that I wanted to share it with you again in preparation for him to join us on June 20 for Catalyst University. If you want to connect further with Lucas, you can find him on Twitter and on Instagram. And if you would like to come see him and many other amazing speakers at Catalyst University, you can register here! Always Forward. Ron Question: How can you encourage a culture of unity and civility in discussions within your organization? 
April 22, 2019
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Carla about enthusiasm in the workplace * Tiggers vs. Eeyores * Make a plan and get on board * Building enthusiasm through gratitude When we talk about enthusiasm, we are not talking about a relentless, bouncing positivity. We are talking about a drive to approach all situations, whether good or bad, with a positive outlook and a drive to make the best decisions possible. The best ways to drive enthusiasm that I have found are to express appreciation and gratitude, as well as having a scoreboard that clearly lays out the goals and milestones for my team. I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics by dropping me a line or tweeting me @ronkitchens. Make this week amazing! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What tasks are a source of energy for you? How can you apply that kind of enthusiasm to your whole day?
April 15, 2019
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. —Gretchen Rubin On Today’s Episode: * Gretchen Rubin, author of The Four Tendencies * What is really at play when creating habits? * The four personality types (tendencies) Gretchen discovered * Tailoring communications and workflow with these personality types * The one unifying leadership characteristic for all personality types Today’s episode is a re-launch of an interview I did with Gretchen last year. I wanted to share it with you again because Gretchen will be joining us on June 20 for Catalyst University and this interview gives such a great introduction to her and her works. I’m so excited for Gretchen to share more of her tools to guide you to success in June! If you’d like to join us on June 20 for Catalyst University, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is a habit you’d like to create? Why is it important to you?
April 8, 2019
Make a conscious decision to put people in opportunities that are beyond their comfort zone. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about “inboarding” (a method to help employees improve their knowledge and skills to grow within the organization) * The 90-day turnover problem * Providing safe space for your people to jump into new opportunities * The rule of the tall poppy * Don’t wait to develop your team In today’s time of full employment, it can be brutal trying to find talent. That is why I am so adamant about encouraging my team to find their own lane at Southwest Michigan First. I want people to have the job of their dreams, and sometimes that means switching roles within our organization. The beauty of inboarding is that when someone steps into a new role, you will already know that they are a cultural fit.  I’d love to hear your suggestions for future topics. Simply drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have an awesome week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: If someone in your organization leaves, who would you delegate those responsibilities to? Has that person had opportunities to develop the necessary skills? What are you waiting for?
April 1, 2019
Impossible became “I’m possible.” And if I’m possible, everyone’s possible. —Jeremy Cowart On Today’s Episode: * Jeremy Cowart joins me to share his remarkable journey; Jeremy is an artist, the founder of The Purpose Hotel and will be joining us on June 20, 2019, at Catalyst University * The importance of being intentional about with whom you surround yourself * The Purpose Hotel and Jeremy’s humanitarian vision * How to move past resistance and fear After being named the “Most Influential Photographer on the Internet” by Huffington Post, Forbes and Yahoo in 2014, Jeremy Cowart’s goal in life became to use his creative platform to change lives. Jeremy’s approach to art and his dedication to his family make him a deep well of inspiration. He dives deeper into his story in his upcoming book, “I’m Possible: Jumping Into Fear and Discovering a Life of Purpose” which releases on April 16. (You can pre-order it here.) If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Jeremy tell his amazing story in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How do you ensure you are making the right decisions?
March 25, 2019
Today’s time of full employment is the time to curate an environment that’s supportive of employees speaking their dreams. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and my conversation about personal leadership plans * The importance of daring to dream big * My eclectic music tastes come to light * Speaking your dreams out loud * Being the hero of your own story I love Jay-Z’s belief in speaking things into existence. Too often, we stay in a role or job too long because it’s comfortable. I get it, dreaming big is scary. But if you do not speak your dreams out loud to someone who can help you grow, you’re never going to do great things. Do something scary and cut through the fear of admitting your lofty goals. Then, make a plan to make that dream happen. I’d love to hear what your dreams are. You can send me a message here or tweet me @ronkitchens. And if you have any ideas or questions, please feel free to connect with me as well. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What’s your dream? Who should hear your dream that can help you get there? Why haven’t you told them?
March 18, 2019
Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. — Tim Scott On Today’s Episode: * Tim Scott from Mitscoots Outfitters, who is joining us at Catalyst University on June 20 * Mitscoots makes gear with a mission: get + give + employ * Leading with integrity as a foundation of your organization and business * The importance of quality * As business leaders, making the right decisions rather than quick decisions Today’s episode is a re-launch of a previous interview I did with Tim back in late 2017. I wanted to share it with you again because he shared some amazing insights during that interview. Tim will be joining us on June 20 for Catalyst University and I’m so excited for him to share more of his story (and gear) with you that day! If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Tim live and in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How do you ensure you are making the right decisions?
March 11, 2019
The only way to thrive and succeed today is through accelerating people. — Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about the talent shortage * How lack of population is going to disrupt all areas of employment * Coaching green talent to accelerate and lead teams * My favorite metaphor about prospective employees * The importance of developing your team In a time of full employment, it’s scary to think that in just the Southwest Michigan region alone, we will be facing a 35,000-person shortage in the next 10 years. Holding onto your talent is becoming more important than ever. I hope today’s episode helps frame the conversation and gives you ideas on how to help close the gap. If you have any questions about today’s episode or if you have ideas for a future episode, please reach out. You can send me a message here or tweet me @ronkitchens. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are you doing to curb your talent woes?
March 4, 2019
It’s my goal to help you live your life, not let your life live you. — Carlos Whittaker On Today’s Episode: * Carla interviews Carlos Whittaker, who will be joining us on June 20, 2019, at Catalyst University. * Being a “Moment Maker” is not about one moment * How Carlos’ father has been his biggest inspiration * How to pay attention on purpose and with purpose * Carlos’ thoughts on the biggest challenge facing leaders today Carlos is such a dynamic, engaging person. I’m so excited to welcome him to Catalyst University on June 20; his story is funny yet life-changing. You can follow Carlos on Twitter @loswhit and Instagram @loswhit. If you’d like to join us on June 20 to see Carlos live and in-person, you can register here. If you have any questions or feedback, drop me a line or tweet me @ronkitchens. Have a great week! Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is a small moment that, in hindsight, has made a huge impact on your life?
February 25, 2019
The diamonds of the world are people who manifest their own greatness and their own unique capabilities. — Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about embracing your authenticity * How I felt cheated by a not-so-genuine tomahawk * Ensuring your brand is authentically you * Authenticity does not mean perfection * Valuing your natural talents Part of being authentic is the ability to resist trying to be someone else, which can be easier said than done in today’s world of self-help books. Rather than blindly copying behaviors, ask yourself how you can apply the lessons in your own life. Remember: even a really, really great fake will eventually be discovered. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message here. Always Forward. —Ron Question: In 15 words or less, describe your brand. Don’t include titles and roles, but rather talk about what sets you apart and makes you special.
February 18, 2019
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. — James Neil Hollingworth On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I talk about fear and courage * Fear is part of the process * How writing Uniquely You required me to overcome fear * Courage requires you to move through fear and vulnerability * Reframing what you may see as a shortcoming as a gift instead The thing about courage is that it’s usually only after everything is said and done that people recognize an act as courageous. Typically, at the time, courage looks a lot like doing what is required. Firefighters who save people from house fires experience tremendous fear but push through because they know giving into fear is not an option. And remember, courage doesn’t always have to be a sweeping act; recognizing your fears and making a plan to overcome them is also incredibly courageous. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message here. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What is something you currently see as a personal shortcoming? How can you reframe your mindset to see this as a gift instead?
February 11, 2019
Exceptional leaders create a culture that engages hearts and minds, energizes action and executes with discipline. When that happens, the numbers and wins follow. —Urban Meyer On Today’s Episode: * A keynote from Brad Saar, president at Stryker Medical * Insight into Stryker’s culture * What Brad sees as the most important items for the future of team and culture * The advantage of knowing your team’s Gallup strengths * The importance of caring for and engaging talent * How regular evaluations fuel engagement I talk a lot about the future of team and culture for good reason. Data projections show that in the next 10 years the Southwest Michigan region will have a talent shortage of 35,000 people. The most important part of making sure Southwest Michigan becomes the magnetic region it deserves to be is by making sure that our local community has companies with amazing cultures and engagement strategies. Brad has made tremendous strides in creating such a culture at Stryker Medical. I hope you enjoy the wisdom he shares in today’s podcast. Tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message with any ideas, questions or comments. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Have you had your team’s engagement evaluated? If so, how has it changed your culture strategy? If not, why not?
February 4, 2019
The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. —Tony Blair On Today’s Episode: * Living in a “yes” world * Creating boundaries in order to continue growth * Saying “yes” to too many things will cause a loss of productivity * Harnessing the power of saying no * Valuing your time * Being either the curator or the victim of your own calendar Saying “no” can be hard, especially in today’s “yes” world. Knowing your priorities and boundaries are critical parts of learning (and practicing) saying “no” to things that do not serve your time well. The most important takeaway from today’s discussion is that if you do not take the time to curate your own calendar, someone else will end up doing it for you. I hope today’s episode was empowering to you and your leadership. If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are three things you currently say yes to that you should stop doing? How can you work towards that goal?
January 28, 2019
In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. —Daniel Goleman On Today’s Episode: * Sarah Mansberger joins Carla for another episode, this time to talk emotional intelligence (EI). * Daniel Goleman‘s five key elements of EI. * How “amygdala hijacks” can throw a wrench into any good intention. * The role that empathy plays. * Bonus: Brené Brown has a great video that illustrates empathy vs. sympathy. * How EI helps make you a better leader. Emotional intelligence in leadership is crucial to creating a contagion of positive emotion in the workplace. It’s an incredibly difficult skill to hone because it requires us to look in the mirror and become increasingly aware of who we are, how we react and what triggers us. But increasing your emotional intelligence pays dividends in employee satisfaction and engagement. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode with Carla and Sarah. If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Pick one of the five key elements of emotional intelligence that you think is most important. How can you begin to hone this skill?
January 21, 2019
Leadership must be about something beyond self-interest, greater than self-promotion, and more noble than self-service. —Randy Ross On Today’s Episode: * I talk with Dr. Randy Ross, author of the new book Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships * Concepts to transcend business that can also be applied at home * The four principles to cultivate healthier relationships * How vulnerability is a building block of all four principles * How relationships power business * The importance of feedback seeking * Emotional bank accounts and how to keep those full Randy’s book comes out on February 5 and is available for pre-order right now; just follow the link in the first bullet point. And if you’d like to follow what he’s up to, you can find him on Twitter here and at https://drrandyross.com/. As always, if you have any comments, questions or ideas, please send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Which principle of relationship building can you apply in your life? How?
January 14, 2019
Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. —William James On Today’s Episode: * I share my feelings on Mondays and sunrises. * Carla and I talk through some important steps in navigating conflict: * De-escalating the situation * Gathering your thoughts * Getting clarity * Accepting the coaching if offered from a constructive source * Assume positive intent when faced with a situation. * My analogy of tweezers vs. chainsaws. * The importance of having a learner’s heart. Navigating conflict and tension in the workplace seems like a daunting task. I think my best advice would be to assume the best in people; conflicts are often manifestations of misunderstandings rather than blatant disagreements with malicious intent. As long as you keep your lines of communication open, most conflict should be able to be resolved quickly and amicably. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron PS: I misspeak at the beginning of the podcast; heart attacks are more likely on Mondays, not Sundays. Question: How have you solved conflict within your team? What strategy did you use?
January 7, 2019
Appreciation acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts. —Alan Cohen On Today’s Episode: * Carla and I explore appreciation * Starting your new year on a positive note * Southwest Michigan First’s culture of thank you notes * Reflecting through the year and thanking the people that made an impact * My examples of the thank you notes I’m writing * Shameless plugs for my new book Uniquely You, coming out May 21! I hope you had an amazing holiday season and are ready to make 2019 your greatest year yet. Today’s episode focuses on a topic that we talk about a lot. Appreciation in the workplace is tremendously important, and today we talk about writing end-of-year thank you notes. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What was a pivotal moment for you in 2018? Whose mentorship or leadership did you draw from during that time?
December 17, 2018
Leadership is an active role; “lead” is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry. —Bill Owens On Today’s Episode: * Carla talks with Sarah Mansberger, managing partner at Southwest Michigan First * What is burnout? * Difference between burnout and stress * The signs of burnout * How to prevent disengagement and overcome burnout Burnout is a very real concern in today’s fast-paced workplace and I want to make sure you have the tools to spot and overcome it. It’s critical that you take some time over the next couple of weeks to recharge your battery before hitting the ground running again in January. Remember: self-care is not selfish. I hope you have an awesome Christmas, Kwanzaa or that you had a great Hanukkah. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it brings you joy. If you have any suggestions for the podcast for next year, tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter or send me a message. Happy New Year, we’ll be back in your inbox in 2019! Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you encourage your team to take time to recharge and lower their risk of burnout?
December 10, 2018
A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure. —Henry Kissinger On Today’s Episode: * What an Instant Pot and busy seasons have in common * Use pressure to grow as a leader * Jon Acuff’s wall calendar * Dealing with unexpected pressure * Ask for help to not get trapped in your own head It’s the end of the year and, while things tend to calm down between Christmas and New Year, these last weeks can mean intense pressure to finish strong. But don’t let pressure increase because you’re focusing on too many things at once. Refocus on what’s really important. That focus will carry you through the end of 2018 and set you up for success in 2019. I hope you liked today’s podcast. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; hearing from the listening audience is one of my favorite things. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you reframe your perception of pressure to let it motivate you and your team?
December 3, 2018
People don’t need you to be perfect, they need you to be present. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * Mistakes happen; it’s how you deal with the aftermath that makes or breaks you as a leader. * Making and admitting mistakes is an essential part of leadership. * Why do good leaders make mistakes? * Admitting mistakes makes you a better leader in 4 ways * The importance of evaluation after mistakes are made We are all human. We all make mistakes. Carla and I wanted to talk about this topic because, traditionally, mistakes are seen as taboo to talk about. But the process of making mistakes provides so much opportunity for growth. And if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, which may mean you’re getting stagnant. Did you like today’s podcast? Do you have any comments or suggestions? Please, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; I always love hearing from you. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Admitting mistakes can be scary. How can you set the right example for your team following a misstep? 
November 26, 2018
Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. —Howard Schultz On Today’s Episode: * The importance of hiring for fit for both organization and candidate. * Does the potential candidate add different insight to your team? * When considering a new opportunity for yourself, does the company’s culture fit you? * Use sites like GlassDoor and Quora to find out about a company’s culture. * Create your own career path and destiny. The importance of hiring for fit for organizations is obvious, but if you are looking for a new opportunity for yourself, it’s just as crucial to consider your own fit into the potential employer’s culture. After all, you’ll be spending half your waking hours there. Remember, with today’s low unemployment, now is the time to get the job of your dreams. Do you have any requests for a podcast episode? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter; I’m always delighted to hear from you! Always Forward. —Ron Question: When considering a company’s culture, what is the most important thing to you? 
November 19, 2018
With Thanksgiving and with your leadership, it’s all about the planning. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * How Thanksgiving dinner can teach us lessons for leadership * It’s all in the planning * Get the right people involved * Stay focused on the end goal * Be grateful * Good leaders are appreciative * People work harder for people they like (and we tend to like people that appreciate us) These last few weeks of the year tend to be some of the busiest ones at Southwest Michigan First. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for me to reflect on what I’m grateful for, do a little recharging and curate the motivation to finish the year strong. I hope you find some inspiration in today’s light-hearted message and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Always Forward. —Ron Question: What are you doing during this upcoming holiday weekend to recharge and set yourself up for an amazing finish to the year?
November 12, 2018
My most embarrassing moment in life… When I didn’t put my family first. —Ron Kitchens On Today’s Episode: * The importance of allowing your team to put family first. * Maximizing the relationship between corporate and the individual. * Content people work harder and are more engaged. * How this concept encourages staff to lead an integrated life. * Getting to know your team’s family creates a healthy work balance. Do you have any comments about today’s episode (or have ideas for another one)? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Which of today’s tips can you implement to put your family at the top of your priorities?
November 5, 2018
I get a choice every time I have to open my mouth: that it can be with civility and dignity and grace—or not. —Dana Perino On Today’s Episode: Midterm elections are tomorrow, so today’s topic of civility is perfectly timed. You’ll be hearing from Carla Sones and Sarah Mansberger, Southwest Michigan First’s in-house expert on leadership. Together, they share a wealth of knowledge about how to debate in a civil manner. Listen for insight on: * What a civil conversation is * Techniques to keep things civil: * Respecting the opinion of others * Finding common ground * Listening to understand, not to reply * What the downstream effects could be * Listening to the silence Most importantly, go vote tomorrow! Michigan listeners, you can use this website to see what will be on your ballot. Did you like today’s podcast? Do you have an idea for a future episode? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you ensure civility is promoted in your organization? 
October 29, 2018
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. —Sally Berger On Today’s Episode: Last week I shared the first part of a panel from a First Leaders breakfast that featured Danielle Anderson (Miller Canfield), Kathy Beauregard (WMU), Amy McClain (PNC Financial Services Group) and Anita Mehta (Stryker). Today’s podcast is the second half of this panel about women in leadership. Expect to hear thoughts on: * Mentors vs. advocates * Seeking to be of value * The importance of taking risks * How to find balance between being a mother and having a career * Knowing your resources at work * What recharges their leadership I hope you enjoyed gleaning wisdom from these extraordinary leaders in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you 
October 22, 2018
The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. —Ayn Rand On Today’s Episode: I recently had the pleasure to host Danielle Anderson (Miller Canfield), Kathy Beauregard (WMU), Amy McClain (PNC Financial Services Group) and Anita Mehta (Stryker) at a First Leaders breakfast. Today’s podcast is the first part of this incredible panel that focused on women in leadership. Listen in for insight on: * Which characteristic derails people’s careers. * The one characteristic that all leaders should possess and who embodies that. * How the panelists have experienced different treatments between men and women throughout their career. * The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. * Tips for active listening. Tune in next week for the second half of the panel. If you have any comments or suggestions, send me a message. or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: How can you ensure that your organization strives for gender equality and allows opportunities for women to be in leadership positions?
October 15, 2018
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. —Oliver Wendell Holmes On Today’s Episode: * What collaborative leadership means * Moving away from knowledge hoarding * Collaborative leadership needs to be present at all levels * Collaboration does not equal consensus Last week, Carla and I talked about micromanaging and how that can hurt an organization. This week, we dive into its opposite: collaborative leadership, which is the ability to engage people outside of your formal control and inspire them to work towards common goals. In order to have good collaboration on your team, you have to do a few things. Firstly, you must be a good collaborator yourself. Secondly, your team has to know they have the authority to make decisions. Lastly, collaborative leadership shouldn’t happen on accident. Make it a point to encourage cross-pollination between teams, and watch the magic unfold. Feel free to send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter if you have any comments or suggestions for the podcast. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Are you a good collaborator? How can you inspire your team to work toward common goals together? 
October 8, 2018
Micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum. —Miles Anthony Smith On Today’s Episode: * Carla and Ron tackle the topic of micromanaging and how to stop doing it. * Micromanaging is the top complaint people have about bosses. * Accountability check-ins vs. micromanaging. * Tips to stop the hovering and increase productivity. * How to grow beyond direct supervision. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. It kills motivation, creativity and job satisfaction. It’s also one of the main causes of high employee turnover. Sometimes, we fall into a trap of micromanaging when we’re growing and not adapting. I had to do some major adapting when Southwest Michigan First grew to a point that didn’t allow me to directly mentor all team members. This article on medium.com talks about growing organizations and the pain points that come with that growth. It has been so insightful for us as we’ve grown. Maybe it proves insightful for you, too. Do you have thoughts, questions or comments about today’s podcast? Send me a message or tweet me @RonKitchens on Twitter. Always Forward. —Ron Question: Is your organization or team at a point where you need to delegate more responsibility to ensure your team feels empowered? 
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