Wilmien: Welcome to the purpose potential podcast. I am Wilmien Davis and I will be your host for today. Today’s interview is with Ian Hatton and we had such a great chat, here is a short teaser of what it was all about,
Ian: You know, for me and one of the examples that comes up for me straight away while you’re talking, It is such a simple example and yet I find it every time I’m doing something where the training that this issue comes up and that is that there’s this sort of myth with untrained leaders that think that their job is to be right.
Wilmien: I enjoyed this interview with Ian so much and we had a great chat and he’s so willing to share all the wisdom that you have gathered over the years. Because the interview was so long we couldn’t stop talking. I decided to cut it into two, so in two weeks’ time you will get the other half. Enjoy.
Wilmien: Hallo. I’m so excited to talk to you today.
Ian: Absolutely. Wonderful. It’s good to be here and to be having this chat. I’m really been looking forward to it.
Wilmien: Oh, great stuff. Thank you. Can you tell me and the listeners a little bit more about what you’re currently doing and a bit more about yourself
Ian: So I currently do most of my work is a training facilitation, for the Ken Blanchard companies is the, is the main thing that I do. Most of it is online, although I do do a fair amount of classroom type of training as well. And , so the classroom type work is leadership training and it is, helping senior middle and senior leaders to be better at influencing their people.
Wilmien: How long have you been doing this?
Ian: So my background is actually, so I was in the IT industry for a long time and then actually, ended up sort of in marketing and it the last eight years of my 19 year career in it and then switched to doing this sort of thing when I left Microsoft in 2000. And so I have been doing it since then probably since 2014.
Wilmien: Oh Great. And I wanted to ask you where you started off with, and it’s interesting to hear that you started on IT, I could say the word geek, that you started off in IT and then into leadership and many people might think those are two opposites. So how did you make that transition from the detail into the softer skills of leadership?
Ian: I think one of the answers in your question where you said IT detail, I’ve never been a great detail person. Uh, I kind of winged it through IT for 19 years. Yes, I started in mainframe operations, believe it or not. We’re talking a long time ago back in the early eighties, and then got into networking a lot of the networking stuff and then more into management and finally marketing. So, I discovered that even though I was quite good at stimulating some really big projects and rollouts and, and things like that, it was, the leadership pieces started to fascinate me more and more and the people piece. And so I’m not saying I was a great manager because I don’t think I was. And I don’t call myself a geek. I definitely was a techie for awhile though. And what happened was, I guess, my fascination in leadership just grew more and more. I’ve always had a fascination around people and people potential. And that’s really what drove it was a lot around people and, and their potential. So before I even left Microsoft, I’d already started doing a master’s degree in organizational leadership. Uh, I had been involved in a lot of the leadership discussions while I was with Microsoft. And I guess what happened was I found such a passion in that, uh, and even influencing markets, I guess his leadership too and was involved in a little bit in that, in some very big product launches for Microsoft. And, and from there it just became the passion. Maybe I can add one other thing and that is that I also saw any examples of really poor leadership, including myself. I made so many mistakes and I wanted to find the Beta ways of leading. Okay. That’s interesting, Ian, because you didn’t start off studying that. So that part shouldn’t be. One of my questions was, what are you passionate about, but I think you have clearly state that now, but that passion was probably not the, you decided to study or was it there and you rather decided something else might be better for me. For me, you know, it’s, it’s a very, uh, uh, I fell into it almost by accident. It was one of the career choices that was offered to me. Uh, and so I was aware of it as an option. Um, but initially I started to do some of the work in mainframe operations simply in order to pay my way through studying part time. Uh, and I wasn’t studying it at all. I was a, um, I’m not sure if I should send you what it was….
Wilmien: Oh, do tell.
Ian: I did a bachelor of theology.
Wilmien: Oh Wow.
Ian: Okay. So, and it took me a long time. I was doing IT all the time. I was in IT and he finished it just before I left. IT. That was the thing that I did and then we’re not finished it. I then immediately, actually, one of the reasons I finished it, let me be even more honest, is that I found, I discovered this master’s in leadership that I wanted to do, but I needed an Undergrad to do it. And so that’s why the IT finished, quite sort of in my mid thirties, I finished my degree and then went on to do the masters in my late thirties.
Wilmien: I never knew that. So you studied theology and from that while you were paying that off, you had to earn an income to be able to buy that, and as you finished on that, it created that springboard for you to go into the leadership that you are passionate about.
Ian: Another big factor for me was in my years in IT, especially the last sort of three companies I worked for including Microsoft. I did some incredible courses, some really good leadership training and I would always sit there and these courses, if it was self leadership or leadership or management or whatever it was, or team leadership, I would sit in these courses and think, oh, I want to be doing this, this, this teacher is doing what the facilitator is doing. And that also was a big thing stirring in me.
Wilmien: Oh, wonderful. Right. So how did you find that passion that you said about leadership? If you can explain a little bit more on that for me.
Ian: I guess there’s two main sort of developments. The one was just seeing the impact of their leadership and the impact of great leadership, inspiring leadership. I think that was one thing that really stood deeply inside of me because I kept seeing examples of people get promoted into management roles. Somebody because they’re the best performer in that specific role and then are often not skilled to, to lead and inspire and, and really make a big difference in people’s lives. And so that was the one thing was just this, this thing. So often the things that we’re breaking people down instead of building them up that we’re holding people back instead of releasing them of that kind of thing was one area, the other area was just starting to understand human potential. I remember one of the last sort of major things I was involved in at Microsoft involved doing a strengthsfinder assessment and getting some coaching on that and just discovering again, that unique potential every person has. And so to me, those two combined because great leaders will bring out and facilitate the use of those incredible gifts and talents that I believe every person has. So for me it was that sort of combination of people potential and the leader’s job in actually getting that to flourish.
Wilmien: Yeah. And you’re talking my language. I’m an absolute strength finder fanatic. I totally, I love the program, but I also believe it must come with coaching, I don’t think you get the full value if you only do the profile and not the coaching with that. But that’s very powerful if it’s used, if it’s used correctly, without boxing someone in, but showing them, as you say, the potential and the main themes, even though they are much more unique, but it is one of the most unique ones that I’ve seen out of many of the types.
Ian: And that also, I think just, you know, for me, I’ve already done one and a half thousand hours of coaching people using strengths finder. I’ve had quite a lot of experience with it and a lot of exposure to it. Um, and for me, that’s exactly the point is it deals with uniqueness, whereas you look at somebody, the others, I mean I’m also a lot, for example, and I’ve had quite a lot of exposure to NBTI. The difference for me is just that unbelievable uniqueness. You know, you take your top five strengths finder themes and you’ve got a $34, million combinations relatable. It’s insane. It’s insane. And that’s just the top five. You haven’t even gotten into the risk.
Wilmien: I love to tell people I coached a mother and her two daughters, all three adaptability in the top five, but each one’s adaptability played out differently due to the other four they had. The other day I saw two people that had three in the top five the same, but they are totally unique individuals and then you add values and your beliefs and you add everything into the mix and you get beautiful uniqueness. I get very excited.
Ian: I’ve done quite a lot of work with couples and even some premarital work with couples and again, I found in a couple where they both had responsibility and in the coaching day for Tara’s going to ignore the responsibility because they both had it. I actually made it the main focus of the code of the coaching. What happened was they began to discover how different their responsibility was and that was life changing for them. And of course now it’s sort of, you know, 10 plus years later. I think it’s about, it’s actually more, it’s about 11 years later and they’ve got three kids and they’d been married.
Wilmien: Yeah. And I think we can have a whole interview just around the strength finders stuff. Me and my husband has something they call opposing themes and that was incredibly interesting for us to handle some of the major clashes when we started to appreciate the differences, but understand the differences in each of us have to change something and then it started to work so much for us and not against us. So now we, we definitely, we all going to have a whole strength finder and share ideas. Um, I’m very excited about that. You also said, um, how you saw all the wrong things that leaders did and how they get to those positions and I don’t always know what to do and I found the same when I was still working at. So you’re technically great and before, because you’re technically great, you’re getting into a management position, but no way. I think at university they had like one semester of management that was not even practical. No way you get taught how to manage people and then people are being put in a position and I almost feel like they are working against them. I want to suddenly be good. What they love is not that interesting anymore, so it’s great that we don’t necessarily want to demote them, but then we need to add the skills because for so many years I studied all these skills of engineering or it or whatever, but they never had the opportunity to study leadership at your conscious. Give them a book in the hand or one small thing to help them to transform into being a great leader. What are your thoughts around that?
Ian: For me, one of the examples that comes up for me straight away while you’re talking is such a simple example, and yet I find it every time I’m doing some other training that this issue comes up and that is that there’s this sort of myth with untrained leaders that think that their job is to be right. So whenever there’s an argument or a discussion, they have to win the argument and what that don’t realize is every such argument that you win is another strike against winning the battle of the war. So you might win those little battles, but every one of them is leading towards the defeat in the war. And the war is staff engagement. The war is everybody bringing their based in being in flow while they’re working. The war is, um, you know, people fulfilling their potential. I’m becoming, you know, sort of the, the, the, the real brains in every team. And you’re limiting the team when it’s the leader who has to be the brains all the time. Know the Ken Blanchard says, no, one of us is as smart as all of us. And the job of a leader is to leverage that, that intelligence. And so really people are very untrained and you’re absolutely right. I mean, short courses is one way of doing it that certainly we’re, I’m involved. People need to read that. People need to understand, as we’ve spoken about strengthsfinder, but it’s such a broad subject, is way more to it than just strengthsfinder, so one of the pieces of research that I found fascinating was, and it was when they researched a 80,000 top performing managers, so the only looked at the ones use teams within the top 25 percent and they’re trying to find what did these managers, team leaders have in common and they couldn’t find anything. There was no sort of education thing. There was no gender or age or race or anything like that. The only thing that they found that they all had in common is they treated the people as individuals and Simon who teaches you that? Nobody teaches you that in a technical role. Nobody teaches you that. The way to work is to become a student of each of your people in learning to know them uniquely.
Wilmien: yeah. I can see that because when you just start off freshly in the company with your technical skills, you get rewarded for being great. You get rewarded for always having the bigger brain and knowing what you are talking about against the other, and there’s always a lot with the performance management stuff as well. A lot of push to be the best. You can be the greatest and if you come to that measurement and that is what you’ve been rewarded for. Why not doing the same when you’re a leader? It. It’s such a big shift. It’s actually an amazing big shift. Now you should not be the brightest because you’ve kind of, as you said, you can be later the intelligence and you can’t create that synergy. Someone gave me very good advice once I say for me, just get over yourself, but it’s someone that could say that was so much love and I realized I was so full of myself. You can’t look at other people around you and maybe get over yourself and get to the team because if your team is stronger, it will reflect positively on you at the end of the day.
Ian: Absolutely. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.
Wilmien: Oh, wasn’t this great. Part one of our two part interview with Ian. In two weeks’ time, you can hear the other half. Here is the way to get hold of Ian if you like and resonated with him.
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