Bill Sullivan served as a jet and helicopter pilot with the United States Air Force for 24 years, completing four combat tours in the Middle East as a member of Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command. Bill then transitioned from the military to the corporate world as a sales leader and in this podcast he provides fascinating insights into this transition and how he is using all of his leadership training and experience to be the best leader he can be to his team and his organisation.
Some golden nuggets from our conversation include:-
- Busting the myth that command and control are military leadership styles
- How to appeal to individual needs and create a culture and ethos around ‘team’
- “If you truly care about your team, you’ll get the best for your boss anyway”
- Leadership in times of crisis?
- Build the human connection first – start with a virtual coffee
- Get the process in place – do the right things consistently
- Maintain perspective – “no-ones shooting at us” (Bill’s of course not always been able to say that)
- Bill shares the story of Jim his brother – please listen because it’s his story
- The power of story to create openness, vulnerability and psychological safety
- Moments of gratefulness
- Leading with integrity – when values drive decisions
- How do you balance making each day count with keeping one eye on the light at the end of the tunnel?
- How do I make THIS day count?
- Reframing influence away from the connotation of manipulation to influence through building trust and integrity – unabashedly, pure unequivocal trust
- The role of Bill’s mentors in influence
- Trust as a matter of life and death – where you want to follow your leader into battle by creating true empathy and concern for those under your watch
- The power of “there I was” stories in learning valuable lessons around failure “replicate things that went well and learn from missteps”
- Leading with rawness and vulnerability
- Leadership development – how to deliver difficult news whilst still showing that you care
- Native American saying “Today is a good day to die” – learn why
The Man In The Glass – the Poem Bill referred to in the Podcast
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgement upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.
You can connect with Bill here on LinkedIn