005: Why Self-Awareness Plays an Important Role in Leadership With Don Antonucci

In this episode, Andrea invites Don Antonucci, CEO of Providence Health Plan, to share the lessons that led him to build a very successful career.

Don Antonucci joined Providence Health and Services in September of 2021 and leads Providence Health Plan as Chief Executive Officer. Don brings over 25 years of healthcare-related experience, including vast knowledge in the health insurance industry. Sharing in the organizational view of health care as a fundamental human right, he is passionate about leading the Health Plan’s efforts in promoting health equity and moving toward the shared vision of Health for a Better World.

By listening to the show, you’ll learn:

1) Why self-awareness is critical for career development and personal success
2) The power of curiosity in leadership
3) How to deal with mental health issues in an organization

You can contact Don on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dantonucci/

If you have any comment or insight about this episode, email Andrea at:
[email protected]

To connect with Andrea on Social Media:
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreapetrone/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ie_andrea

(These are auto-generated transcripts. Forget the typos)

Welcome to a new episode of The World Class leaders Show. Today I’m so excited actually to deal with Don Antenucci. Don is, is now a friend. Don and I met funny enough in on clubhouse, while we were actually talking about leadership and books and lessons, and I remember his contribution at the time was so great. And I said, No, I really want to be in touch with this person. And that’s what I did you know, we connected on LinkedIn and then we stay in touch we, you know, we liked our post and whatever. And that’s it. Yes, I really want to have Don in my show, because I think he’s gonna drop some Jensen about leadership career development, because his career is amazing. Just to give you an idea, Don Antenucci join Providence health and services in September 2021. And leads Providence health plan as a chief executive officer, Don brings over 25 years of health care related experience, including vast knowledge in the health insurance industry, sharing an organizational view of healthcare as a fundamental human rights, is passionate about leading the health plans, efforts in promoting health, equity and moving toward a shared vision of health for a better world. Welcome to the workplace leader Sheldon,

Don 1:21
thank you so much for having me, Andrea.

Andrea 1:24
Perfect. So I’m really happy to talk with you about leadership, because as I said, we are very much aligned, which is very positive. Let’s see whether we can maybe explore the areas where maybe we have a different views about leadership in Korea. But first of all, would you like to, to explain a little bit more about your career, your success? I mean, you are a CEO now of an organisation. So that’s a I’m supposed to be achieving for you. But would you like maybe to go back later to your career development? And how actually, that was developed?

Don 1:58
Yeah, know that. Yeah, thank you for that I, you know, I grew up in New York, in the Hudson Valley, New York area in the United States. And, you know, I went to college for political science, and then went to grad school for public policy analysis and administration. And at the time, I thought, I want to go into politics, and focus on that, and I studied health policy and environmental policy. And long story short, my first job and career was in health care at a health plan, it was called hip health plan of New York, I worked in New York City there. And that was my first exposure to the healthcare world. And I really started out in my career on sort of research, customer satisfaction studies, much more from a marketing analytic standpoint. since that point, I’ve moved geographically quite a bit. I’m now on the west coast. But over time, I went in my career from focusing on research, which I did for the first eight years or so. And then I moved into strategy and marketing analytics, and I got a little bit more excited. And then I moved into sales management. And for me, I almost was like, could breathe in my career, because for me, I was interacting with actual customers, interacting with people in the market and able to use all that knowledge. But I realised very quickly, like, wow, this is, this is what I like. And that’s where I really got an appreciation for leadership. And from those sales management roles, it led to a leadership role. So I began leading different organisations, health plans, growth organisations, in healthcare. And so for me, it’s been, it’s been pretty amazing. And I think that’s one of my, one of the things that I would share as a nugget upfront on leadership is just, you know, you got to find what you’re passionate about. And more importantly, maybe find what your strengths are, and, and where you feel like you’re not working, I think, where you feel like you’re just the days go by quickly, because you’re really enjoying what you’re doing. I realised I had found that when I started moving more in the direction of leadership. Oh, wow,

Andrea 4:11
that’s amazing. Actually, I would like to go back to your point in terms of strength and passion, because these actually are very important, intrinsic motivator factor, right? So I really would like to go back on this. But before that, would you like, I’m really curious, as I think many people in the audience today about your career progression, right? Because, I mean, you It sounds like you’ve been involved in a different type of roles. And but also then, at the end of the day, you know, you’ve arrived at what I think is an achievement, right? as a CEO, I’m sure you have other goals for the future. But do you have anything that you would like to share in terms of you know, some lessons that you really learn to have that sort of career progression? In other words, what do you think has worked very well, for you in that in that journey?

Don 4:59
Yeah. I started realising I was a little bit different early on, and I think everybody’s got a different path. In terms of leadership, I was always very used to work curious. That’s a big one. For me, I was always very curious about, about how to improve both what I was doing professionally, how to improve my leadership, and that curiosity was a major factor, I would say that curiosity led to a focus on self awareness. So there’s, for example, it’s going back almost 20 years now, a tool that I came across, we’ve all heard about Myers Briggs, and all that I don’t know if you’ve heard about the enneagram. But the enneagram, in particular, really opened my eyes to who I was. But more importantly, I started realising Wow, everybody’s not built like me. So on the enneagram, if you’re familiar with that, there’s, you know, categories of one, you know, basically nine different categories of types of people. And, and, by the way, with those tools, having been in research before, even if they’re 60%, or 70% directionally right, it gives you a lot of insight about yourself, but also gives you insight about others. So I realised very quickly, wow, here’s how I am. And this is not going to be the same for, you know, other people on that enneagram spectrum, even though that the same type of need, depending on whether they’re healthy or not healthy in their state. And so self awareness to answer your question was huge for me, because I was able to really take a step back and go, alright, you know, not only what gives me joy, but what are my strengths? What’s going to drive me and also be aware of like, what are sort of the negative attributes that you got to be careful about, given your type and who you are. So that that was really important for me?

Andrea 6:47
That’s awesome. I think I think, you know, you just hit the nail, because self awareness is by far, one of the most important factors for becoming a great leader. Because once you really be yourself awareness, in your way of thinking, acting, working, everything changed, because that is really interesting, because by the way, many people they don’t really spend my arm in my opinion, at least they don’t spend too much time on self awareness, isn’t it? Because they believe Oh, you know, I know already. What are my strengths? And already, what are my weaknesses? Yeah, they are important. But you know, how I know how to play the game. In there it I think they’re spending really little time on self awareness. Is that, do you agree on that?

Don 7:30
I think that’s right on. And I think, you know, sometimes people aren’t really even aware for themselves and what they really want to do, you’ll hear people say, well, it’s important for me to grow rich, or I, you know, I want to kind of, you know, success leaves clues. And I really would pay attention to, I learned a lot from watching really successful leaders, and I learned at all different levels. And I learned a tonne more from watching bad leaders. And I also, I think, learned a tonne by thinking to myself, nobody’s perfect, including myself, that everybody’s got strengths and weaknesses, because I think sometimes people think, well, what’s the recipe, you know, for success, and you can get clues from people, but you’ve got to be yourself. And so even if I think about, I’m in healthcare, and I’m leading a health plan, I know that what, you know, got me here, and that what I do today is very different. You don’t find many CEOs that are in clubhouse as an example. Well, I think, you know, you mentioned in one of your earlier podcasts, the importance of communication, and and I look at it, and I go, why wouldn’t you leverage all these great ways to communicate with people? And that’s how you and I connected? And I’ve always sort of taken that leap of curiosity and then followed it with action. And that’s that’s been important for me.

Andrea 8:51
That’s very interesting, by the way, and what what you just said, I think there is an element of the as well of, well, you know, if we go back to the strengths and weaknesses, I think, based on my experience there, we don’t really amplify as much as we should our own strengths. But unfortunately, what we do we tend to amplify our weaknesses, well, I think we should do more is actually amplify our strengths, because that is the best thing that we can do by using our own strengths. And he’s good at what you said, I think is very important. If we don’t know what the strengths are, you always start speculating or your own ability, right you to influence others to lead others but you have to assess where you’re where you really are in your journey. But the same time you need actually to. I’m not saying hide your weaknesses, but try to not put your weaknesses first, because it’s important that you say in other words, you focus on your strengths. The strengths are really the key for success. So I really love what you just said. And I think I would like to piggyback on what you said is you know, you mentioned the Curiosity elements, right? And that’s fine. Because, again, back to the motivation, intrinsic motivation elements. Again, you mentioned the big one, because curiosity, with passion with purpose, are some of the major elements for motivation. Is the do you think that is the key to your motivation? element, your motivation level? Is that right, that keeping you motivated these elements?

Don 10:23
Yeah, I mean, it’s a big part of it. So I just started a month ago in the CEO role for a new organisation. And when I came in, basically, you know, simplifying messages, making things clear for folks, but I talked about something called the three C’s to my organisation. So starts with caring about each other as employees about the people that we serve. If you’re authentically coming from a place of caring, that’s so important. Communication, communicate with each other, bring things up proactively, you know, communicate about what we’re doing. Yeah. And then finally, curiosity, be curious about, you know, everything, be curious about, hey, should we do more of this, the great thing that we’re doing is there another way to do something, if you can wrap those three together, you’re gonna end up in a in a great place. And the other real quick point I want to make is something that I found super beneficial for me over the past probably two years, really, is that if you, you know, if you can hold, kind of pull from both directions. So, for example, I was a big basketball fan growing up, and I loved Michael Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls. He’s got a quote out there that I love. And he basically talks about turning his perceived weaknesses into strengths as he played as an athlete, and I love that. But then there’s other great people that talk about double down on your strengths, forget about your weaknesses. And I find value in that too. If you can get to a place in life, professionally, personally, where you can kind of hold both things there, and then figure out, you know, what works for you in any given situation. I think that’s important. Because if I had just gone, you know, throughout my career and focused only on my strengths, and what I love to do, I wouldn’t be here. You’ve I believe you’ve got to round yourself out, challenge yourself, at least for me, that’s what I did. And that is a big reason, you know, you know why I’m here. So I think that’s important for folks to hear the same time if I only focused on, as I mentioned, being a researcher in customer survey research, and that’s all I wanted to do. And some people stay with that, and they love that as an example, then, you know, that wouldn’t that wouldn’t have been good for me, because it really wasn’t an area of strength. I got good at it. But it took sheer force of will to get good there. Now I can draw off of it and do more of what I love.

Andrea 12:53
100% right? And that’s the experience that you had in the sales role, as really helps you to actually improve your level of curiosity to understand probably better what the clients are looking for. Is it fair, assuming that

Don 13:12
it is, and so here’s what’s interesting, like going from, you know, that that research strategy into sales management, which isn’t a traditional path, usually, what I did that really quickly is I studied and read books on great sales, leadership and great salespeople. And what I realised quickly, I thought, well, all sales people do this. And you realise, no, they they don’t. And so I actually started to create an advantage for myself in just understanding sales leadership from other industries, and then applied it to the health plan, world and industry. And you know, when people asked me to, like, you know, high level on, you know, what makes great sales in health care or health plan or any industry, I always say, you’ve got to be known, liked and trusted. So awareness. And then also you’ve got to have perceived differentiation. And the best way to have perceived differentiation is to have true differentiation. But I also say, say to folks, too, there’s a funny quote by Frank Perdue, from the chicken standpoint that says, if you can differentiate a dead chicken, you can differentiate anything. And I do think there’s some truth to that. But I also think that if you’ve got that recipe of being known, liked and trusted, and you’ve used this word in the past on other podcasts, building that trust authentically and have that perceived differentiation. That’s how you are successful in growth.

Andrea 14:43
Totally right under percent. I agree with you. I would like to move a little bit more about your current role right now. And I would like to understand actually how you prepare yourself for this role, because it sounds like it’s the first time that you act as a chief executive officer. Is that right? Right. Yes, how did you prepare yourself? Did you mean, by the way, did you prepare yourself? And if you did, how did you do that?

Don 15:08
Yeah, a big way I’ve done that is by really, I’ve had the opportunity, as I mentioned earlier to watch really bad CEOs in action, whether I know them, you know, you know, from working in an organisation or just I’m constantly taking in, you know, different content, from articles and podcasts and things like that. And then I’ve also had the opportunity to watch really solid CEOs in action. And also, frankly, average you talk about average, we got to get beyond average, I’ve watched average, and I’m like, oh, man, if this if, if, you know, they could kind of focus on this, they’ve got these great attributes, but it’s really, everywhere else average. And so I look at all of that, observe it, and then really, again, try to make for myself, what do I want to do as a CEO and one of the biggest things that I’m focused on is really, you know, today at least is I think, it could be in a CEO role, you’ve got to focus on the broader system that can be the broader, obviously the broader organisation, but it can also be the broader field. So I’m really focused on you know, health, health for a better world and connected to that you’ve also got to focus on your calendar, are you doing the things that are most important, you know, for what you should be doing as a CEO? And then finally, and probably the most important talent, you know, do you have the talent? Are you coaching your team are you taking the time to give feedback, both you know, constructive feedback but also just reinforcing feedback so and what I would say I pride myself most on as I you know, from previous in my career, and what I plan to do going forward is is really developing leaders developing other leaders

Andrea 17:01
great and that’s great because essentially, to recap what you say if I understand correctly, you mean you know, you mentioned lesson learned from past experiences or from role models positive and negative, but also you mentioned be very be clear on your priorities as a CEO what you really need to do that makes it is going to make a difference for the organisation and finally developing talents really looking at the talents as the main really source of growth and your reason for growing organisation. So that’s awesome. I’m interested in terms of challenges though, I mean, you know, of course, you know, when when we jump in a new role, there is a level of uncertainty, right? Because we don’t know maybe either the organisation maybe the team we’re working with, or maybe some of you know, potential blind spots you know, we might find along the way so what was a maybe what is your major challenge maybe to you know, to reach you know, the goals that you are actually setting for the organisation right now.

Don 18:02
Yeah, I think the the major challenge for myself and probably any CEO or any leader really is making sure that there’s a level of trust among the talent on your team. And and just you mentioned something that’s really important to me that I always remind myself of in any role, but I think it’s most important for CEO roles is don’t ever get caught up in a bubble where you’re not connected. So you know, the other reason aside from all the great things that content on places like clubhouse or if I’m on Twitter or other places, or out in the market with customers is just really making sure that you don’t get into a bubble and have those blind spots I’ve seen it happen too many times to CEOs in particular where they’re disconnected from, from reality and you know, for me, I just never want that to be something that happens and so I I sort of construct ways that keeps me really having the pulse of what’s actually happening, whether that’s internal to the organisation through you know, roundtables or interacting with frontline leadership but you’ve got to make sure that you have that if you don’t you’re gonna you’re gonna put yourself in a bubble and and be blind to maybe what’s going on

Andrea 19:29
yeah, well you know, I think was Episode Two when to when I mentioned about complacency and that’s how I call it leaves you know, complacent on being a put, you know, our own status, not necessarily the ego by certainly our status on top of everything else and forgetting the, you know, we are actually maybe the beginning of that journey. You know, the fact that we arrive to a big achievement like leading organisation, actually for me is just the beginning of a journey is not unfold. The end of our journey, but unfortunately right some people unfortunately put themselves into this bubble where I say, I’m now it’s difficult to reach me, don’t come talking to me I’m there you are there. So we are talking about two different languages and that is unfortunately the beginning of a big failure. So I love what you just said, I think I 100% with you on that. And also you mentioned loneliness, right? Because it’s interesting how our brain works because you know, as we know, loneliness actually activates the threat system in our brain and then fortunately means that we are not necessarily open to be strategic to be innovating what we’re doing because we unfortunately too much concern worried about what’s going on. That’s Unfortunately, the consequence of loneliness as certainly as your accounts can actually work loneliness work in isolation, right? And how you dealing this right now you know, talking about loneliness, talking about trust, into the new COVID-19 area where unfortunately or fortunately, people there, they’re supposed to work, you know, more alone in so they’re not maybe spending too much time within the team. How are you dealing with this right now? Is it probably organisation or? Not much? Yeah,

Don 21:14
I mean, it’s been rough on people and especially being in healthcare, you realise that mental health, behavioural health issues are on the rise, you know, before the pandemic, across the world. It was it was already rising into occasion, but then pandemic hits. And you know, there’s some even global surveys that were done that show that’s top of mind for employers, I think, you know, 75% or more saying according to different studies, that they’re going to be focused on that. So what I do to that point, in particular, is one, I make sure I’ve really doubled down for myself, I’m a big believer in resilience. And you and I have been on different forums where we’ve talked about mental health and resilience. So I focus on a routine for myself, but importantly, as a leader, I always really start and I was lucky in my previous employer, we had a phenomenal leadership team and CEO that talked about hey, you know what, make sure that you’re taking care of yourselves first your family and then do what you can for your organisation. I think that’s, that’s an important message say, and by the way, with the with this whole great resignation, and sort of the changes happening in the world, I think employers that that don’t, or leaders that don’t get there are there they’re going to lose anyways because at the end of the day, it’s about people and back to that three C’s caring, you know, being the first one, if you don’t care about your people or your team or your organisation truly it’s going to it’s going to show up and and people are going to move with their feet because they’ve got options

Andrea 22:54
and you know, a few days ago that was the mental health day so we all know how that is important for everyone. I don’t still think there is too much or the right focus about mental health in the organisation unfortunately, and I’ve you know, I see this quite often unfortunately, clients organisation they are really stressing in a good way I mean, there are people because there is a lot of work it is a lot of work and there are objective I think COVID is probably amplifying the need of getting better performance due to maybe some drops or challenges or difficulties you know, that we all face it during the lockdown. But that is actually on people that is going only on people and i think you know that the stuff that you mentioned, I mean you I mean you didn’t mention the numbers but we all know what’s going on in the world right now in terms of the impact of mental health for employees into not only performance, but also their in terms of diseases and issues, etc. So it’s good honestly, to hear a CEO putting mental health resilience on top of the agenda and not putting this as just collateral damage or something unfortunate might happen when you really squeeze people which is a bad word using but that’s unfortunate sometimes what happens so what is your strategy of not essentially burden or increasing the burden on employees so then unfortunately, bring in mental health so you have a specific strategy that you are running organisation in order to preserve the integrity but also the mental health of your employees.

Don 24:31
Yeah, I mean, there’s, it’s so important that there’s resources, you know, available to folks, you know, meaning we’ve got different, you know, tools, podcasts, other things that are available to and we call the employees at Providence and also Providence health plan caregivers so that they have that especially, you know, when you think about some of the folks delivering care, it’s you know, they’re they’re going Through significant levels of stress and anxiety, and so that’s important, you know, again, communicating to folks, it’s things like, you know, take your time off, you know, it’s it’s all the basics that we all know. But it can be really hard, you know, focus on things like sleep, it and so communicating that I think is important. And I think the more as leaders that we can share what we do as well, it helps folks understand that or even the challenges to be vulnerable to, you know, maybe you know, maybe some of the things that you struggled with in the past I share. It’s It’s nothing major, but I share like one of the things I’ve done is, I used to get up first thing in the morning and be on the iPhone and looking at emails and notifications and all that. And I totally switched my routine a year ago, I get up, stay off of that, for first 30 minutes of my day, have some coffee, I read a book, a physical copy of a book. And I do it’s not I’m not a major sort of person on meditation, but I’ll do five minutes of you know, headspace the app and use that. And that’s been a great way and it’s had, you know, a great way of setting my day off right? And I don’t know if you’re okay, Andre of me asking you a question because you shared it the other day in clubhouse, but if you would share what you do from from a mental health standpoint, you shared a nice gem the other day?

Andrea 26:22
Yes. Well, for me, yeah. We spoke actually on Sunday about that, right? Yeah, so for me really is walking for his physical activity and for me is a big thing for a number reason actually is not only for that is, first of all, is clearly resting in and repairing if you like, you know, all the stress and the energy that we spent, when we were hyper focused, maybe another activity, which is essentially our work, right. But for me, it’s also in one of the most fantastic ways actually to generate insights. You know, when we are looking for the aha moments, for me, it’s walking, I realised that that is my best way to generate great ideas and strategies, and I need that. And it’s funny actually a great day actually, you asked that because at the beginning, I was quite skeptical about it because I’m on I must probably play tennis I do really heavy sport. And then I always thought you know, walking Yeah, but why walking, why just walking, what’s the point of walking. And then when I when I put it that as a challenge, you know, the 10,000 steps or whatever your challenge you start doing, then it becomes a habit. And then when it becomes me, then I realise all the benefits. Actually, I was going I was getting by just naturally working the park or whatever. And now I’m at the point that I can’t spend one day without walking for an hour one hour, because I know that is going to be my best time to get great ideas. So So yeah, what do you think about that, though,

Don 27:51
I love that. And you know, what’s interesting, too, we all put different content out on LinkedIn and other places I shared an article that I thought was really interesting, probably a couple weeks ago, and it was talking about the effects of at least I think it was only 15 minutes a week, if people just take 15 minutes a week to do what’s called an all walk. So go No, you know, no phone, no electronics or anything like that, but just go out and observe nature or observe your environment. And there’s a dramatic sort of improvement in mood and, and so you know, that got so many sort of likes and comments on it. And and I was it was great to see that because I think again, the pandemic I think there’s this realisation I mean, so many people are working virtually working remote. And to really take the time out of your day, it doesn’t have to be a lot but to do what you’re talking about really can open up your creativity and and I find too I like to you know, run I probably would, I’d like to run more than I do. But I’ll get out there and do a jog or something like that, that’s what I get some of my best sort of thinking and ideas and create creative juices start flowing.

Andrea 29:08
There you go. And it’s funny because I see many people they are unfortunately working really 12 hours per day right now and unfortunately that’s what is going on right now especially working from home remotely and they don’t have the time they always say I don’t have the time to ingrain that work you know that that resting whatever is gonna go whatever it means for you resting in their daily habits, but then they don’t realise what’s the negative consequence of not taking this is not just ideas but also rest because you know, we I don’t know whether you follow the flow state element but I’m a big fan of the concept of flow stay and you know, be so hyper focused on what you’re doing before a very small period of time, so then you can rest it because your brain needs more energy and will then understand it and once we don’t have any more energy in our brain, our brain is not able to perform any way anymore. So it’s completely pointless, keep working on it, because your brain has shut down. So I don’t know when that’s your experience do.

Don 30:08
Yeah, no, that’s right on, I think it’s, I think it’s so important it The other thing I posted, and I wasn’t, you know, I don’t do this often, but I just took a picture of myself a selfie, this was months ago, and I was doing a walking meeting and in terms of and I was just like, Hey, you know, getting out for a walking meeting. And, you know, back to leaders out there. And then just sharing things like that what you’re doing, again, the engagement, the simple picture, you know, me wearing my headset out, you know, doing a, you know, a walking meeting, wow, like, hey, encouraging people to take a break doing that I just think leaders are in a special position to just share things like that they’re doing and saying, hey, it’s okay. And also encouraging folks get up and you know, get out there.

Andrea 30:55
I love that Don. And I’m like to bring an example here, because I most of my work in is an oil energy. There’s also my experience in the past. And of course, I follow burner, Looney, we, who is the CEO of BP, and you know, in the industry is clearly one of the most influential leaders. And actually two days ago, he posted on he is very active on LinkedIn. And I’m actually I’m coming back to the end, because I have a question about this. But he posted about this, he said, You know, I openly mentioned my personal struggle, my personal problem from a mental health standpoint. And I mean, that post went viral, because that just the fact that, you know, the CEO is opening up to their people, they show trust, vulnerability, of course. And also, you know, that’s what I think employees are looking for. Because mentality is not something that you can hide, you should hide it, but if it comes from the leadership, he has a completely different taste. Right? Yeah,

Don 31:52
I totally. And you know, that reminds me and, and folks should hear this in your audience. They’re listening. But, you know, the whole iceberg analogy, no matter who it is, that you’re viewing out there, whether they’re a leader or an individual, like there’s a lot you don’t see under the surface, right. And that’s been my experiences. I’ve gotten to know different leaders over time, too. So I think it’s just important for folks to realise that, yeah, there’s a lot of people out there struggling, and it shows up in the surveys, but sometimes you read a survey number, and you’re like, Oh, that’s a lot. But it you know, so I think, to your point, vulnerability, or sharing what’s working for you, or kind of how you’ve changed things can mean a lot to people.

Andrea 32:35
Yes, totally. Right. So interesting, because we, you know, we talked about being open, transparent and vulnerable, we are people both so we, you know, with the stakeholders, and maybe as well on the media, and you are one of the CEOs? I know, not many they are active on social media, for example, so you didn’t have any problem sharing was going in your life, then, of course, you know exactly what kind of details you can share. No, but that’s not that’s not the point. The point is, you embrace, you know, social media, for example, to communicate what’s going on in your life in your organisation? Why are you doing this? And what is, you know, maybe the advice you would like to give to other leaders, they are, on the other hand, skeptical, they’re very, not very happy to share most of the personal life or situation. So what is your take on this?

Don 33:25
So back to self awareness? You know, and I kind of mentioned, I think I was a little bit different or unique in some ways, and not that other leaders don’t use LinkedIn. But I can remember 15 plus years ago, being on LinkedIn, and sharing with some of my leaders at the time that I was reporting into said, Hey, you should go on LinkedIn. And they’re like, why would I do that? And that now I look at some of those folks. And now they’re, they’ve embraced it years later, and they probably remember that conversation. But I’ve always been somebody that’s been focused on how do you leverage tools like that, and communicate, and, and also exposing myself to new platforms as well, and just trying them out? And I’ve also come to the realisation you know, especially for people that are sceptical about it, I don’t push it with my team or other other leaders anymore, because I truly believe if it’s really not part of who you are, you’re never really going to get there. Like if you hear somebody say, yeah, I’m not sure the value of it, or I just don’t know enough about LinkedIn. Well, the truth is, if you wanted to know and if you really wanted to use that, there’s a tonne of free stuff out there, right? You could figure it out, be curious about it, right? But if you’re not even curious about it, then which somebody says that that tells me that they’re not, you’re probably not going to do very well there or you’re just going to do the status quo. And I also think, you know, for me, I’m authentic. So if somebody comments or if they put something in whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, or whatever it is, it’s actually me responding right? And I think sometimes I remember getting yours To go somebody saying, well, this isn’t really you on Twitter, and I’m like, Oh, it’s it’s Yeah, it’s actually it’s actually me. So I truly view it as a vehicle. One of many that is just, you know, available to communicate. And then also how you communicate on LinkedIn is different than what you’d want to do on Twitter different than clubhouse, you know, Instagram, cetera. But I am, you know, you know, the the flip side of that is, I’ve always been just amazed at how certain people don’t use it, because the other thing I’ll hear is like, you know, wow, Don, you’re so active on social media and link and like, I actually don’t spend a whole lot of time Hey, if I read an article that I think’s valuable to the audience, or that’s interesting, I post it, you know, with some comments or, and so it’s part of an expression of who I actually am, which is why I think it works for me.

Andrea 35:49
And I think he’s very much aligned with some of the values that you shared before, I mean, you put the communication as one of the three C’s in your organisation. So I think what I like about that is you are very consistent, you know, in, you know, showing on telly, what are the values that organisation but also practice this value yourself, which is one of the best, honestly, the leadership trait, because that consistency is being the message is really where employees are looking for, because you, you do what you say, right? So that’s that. I think that’s, that’s great. I think we are I think we had a great conversation so far. I would like to, because I’m concerned about the time and I would like to, if you don’t mind on ask you some few, you know, quick question about because I asked the same question. As I always say, in my in my podcast, to the people, because I’m looking for some patterns. I’m very interested to see how people reply to the same type of question. Are you ready for it? It’s just a quick, quick and dirty back and forth. Okay, let’s, let’s, let’s do it. So number one, so why is the number one lesson that you really learn in your career?

Don 36:57
I think the number one lesson is just the importance of self awareness that I think back to the enneagram and other tools, if you’re not self aware, it’s going to be really tough for you to grow professionally.

Andrea 37:14
And actually also changing limiting beliefs sometimes, because if you’re not self aware, you don’t know what you are your limiting beliefs, your perception about things. So yes, love it. Alright, so number two, think about why it’s been your best performance ever, as a professional. And what I’m really interested in is, what were the conditions in place at the time that allow you to perform at your best?

Don 37:40
Yeah, the conditions are when you’ve got a team that you’re working with closely that has trust. And this, this is probably not something you necessarily would expect, but where there’s preparation, quite a bit of preparation and understanding of what you’re going to do. And then proactive and going so a lot of organisations get caught up in analysis, paralysis, and kind of sit there. I think if you can find that sweet spot of trust, preparation, and then go and learn, right? And do that’s what Yeah,

Andrea 38:21
oh, by the way, I’m a big fan of preparation. So whatever, you know, whatever normally I do with clients etc., it’s all about preparation. Preparation is a key for success. Actually, there was, I don’t know whether you had a chance to hear it. With us out there as a Grammy amazing podcast interviews a few days ago, and Novak Djokovic, I’m a tennis player and a tennis fan. Maybe that’s the reason why I was you know, really intrigued by the podcast. And he said something amazing. He said, discipline is the bridge between your goals, and then your success, your achievements. And I believe that discipline is by far, one of the most important. Yes, you agree. I love that. Yeah, that’s great. It’s a great quote, and I can’t forget it. Right. So The next question is on on the other hand, what is one thing that you probably would have done differently in your career?

Don 39:15
Yeah, I think it’s patients. Another concept is I think, and by patients, I mean, just in my own head. I think, you know, work hard, you know, and do things in the short term, but be patient because it’s a long game, I think about you know, my career been doing, you know, professionally working for 25 years and then you realise there’s still there’s still a lot of time left. I’m 50 years old, and I’m, you know, I still feel like I’ve got you know, time to contribute and do stuff and I think about all the different things I’ve done and I think for myself, if I could go back I would just say Hey, be patient like you know, yes. It would be the one

Andrea 40:01
love it. I agree with you impatient sometimes difficult if you are an ambitious and high achiever, right? So I think I understand very well that cool so what is your favourite business leader? So either as was one of your ex bosses or leaders in your organisation, maybe someone in the business world they you see from, from from the outside?

Don 40:23
Yeah, I think First off, I would say that I really pulled from so many different types of people. And but what I what comes to mind, at least most recently is, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s an entrepreneur. And the reason I say Gary Vaynerchuk is only because I’ve really learned some things from him, and don’t know him that have been very valuable, you know, some of the concepts on leadership and how he thinks about things. And again, I also realised that nobody’s perfect so I’m sure he’s not either, but I’ve really he’s really kind of changed some of my thinking, or expanded it in ways that I’m like, oh, he you know, it’s it’s been interesting.

Andrea 41:12
And Gary Vee is very practical and very straight to the point which is really, I think it really helps right now with all the confusion and complexity we all have. So I agree with that. And final question is about your account. I can’t ask him this question. Of course. So what is your favourite business layer business book? Done?

Don 41:33
Yeah, and that changes you know, quite a bit to over time the it’s one I’ve read recently. Start with why by Simon Sinek Yeah, and it just, again, I’ve used it already so much. I think I read it a few months ago and it really just crystallised some things for me about wow if I really take a step back and and focus on why first before the how and the what makes a world of difference. I mean, and it’s just and it’s not easy either to start with why that I think has been just a guide recommend that one to anybody

Andrea 42:12
and have a feeling is going to really help for building more patient right because you need to go deeper on things rather than rushing on doing That’s right. Yeah, it’s a great way to to end this amazing episode done where people should go to be in touch with you or if they want to know more about what you do in your organisation.

Don 42:32
Yeah, I’m on you know all the social media so I’m on LinkedIn you can follow me or send me a note to connect Twitter you know, would be the the top places to go and then you know, for health plan, it’s really based in the on the West Coast today. It’s Providence health. plan.com

Andrea 42:54
perfect. And given that you always reply to people, you’re very active, I’m sure that you’re gonna reply to people are gonna contact you out of the podcast. That’s right, Don, thank you so much. This has been just amazing.

Unknown Speaker 43:05
Thank you so much, Andrea.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Subscribe to the Newsletter


Insider strategies in your inbox every Thursday