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Imperfect Leaders

Imperfect Leaders

By Jeffrey Cohn
There’s no such thing as a perfect leader. The only question is - are you willing to listen and learn from the very best? . On this podcast we invite the country’s most admired leaders and experts - and ask them to share practical advice and personal stories - to inspire a future generation of talent.
www.imperfectleaders.com
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Why Beyonce Loves Lemon Perfect

Imperfect Leaders

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Million Dollar Listing's Josh Flagg - Discusses His Brilliant and Entertaining New Book "The Deal"
Josh Flagg has written a seminal new book called -  "The Deal" -  which I predict will soon become required reading in universities and business schools across the country - because it throws into stark relief salient lessons in business, leadership and life.  "The Deal" is as funny and disarming as it is practical and smart.  In today's conversation, Josh shares his unique perspective on real estate including the importance of having the right mindset, the art and science of valuation, and unwavering client focus. He also shares a little bit about how his personal perspective - and core values - were shaped at a very young age by Grandma Edith - a true icon and hero during Flagg's formative years. To share your thoughts and join the conversation join our community of rising stars at www.imperfectleaders.com  
23:50
September 25, 2022
Spencer Rascoff - Founder of Zillow and Pacaso - is a World-Class Coach to Future Leaders
Spencer Rascoff is the legendary founder and CEO of iconic companies including Zillow, Hotwire, and most recently, Pacaso – a real estate company that is totally democratizing second home ownership.  Like Mark Zuckerberg and Reid Hoffman – creators of Facebook and LinkedIn – Rascoff knows how to build a revolutionary brand that taps into the deepest of human emotions and desires – a skill that all great entrepreneurs possess.  Spencer Rascoff has already proven himself to be a Hall of Fame player – an entrepreneur who built billion dollar brands. Now he is ready for his next big challenge in life – becoming a Hall of Fame Coach – helping others start admired companies and develop into authentic leaders.  Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Spencer Rascoff - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
50:39
September 17, 2022
Why Beyonce Loves Lemon Perfect
Yanni Hufnagel - the founder and CEO of Lemon Perfect - is one of the most passionate entrepreneurs in the country - not just the $13 billion enhanced water industry.    He has created a product, a brand, and a values-driven corporate culture that is widely admired by consumers and celebrity-investors across the country - including Beyonce, Blake Griffin, Sloane Stephens, Jared Mccain, and C.J. Stroud.  After a decade coaching basketball - and learning from some of the most iconic head coaches in the country - Jeff Capel, Eric Musselman, Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), and Tommy Amaker (Harvard), including - he decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge.  After he raised his first dollar from a supportive investor, he knew he was all in, and there simply was no turning back.  It wasn't easy. There were a lot of dark days. A lot of tears.  But now the company is experiencing hockey stick growth straight to the stars.    Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Yanni Hufnagel - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com. 
39:17
September 05, 2022
'Power Moms' with Joann Lublin and Kevin Yorn
All leaders face obstacles in today's fast-moving, unpredictable world. But women - especially working mothers - 'power moms' - face challenges that most men can barely comprehend.  Almost daily, power mom's confront unique obstacles and unconscious biases. We are fortunate to have on today's show, one of the country's top experts on this subject - Joann Lublin.  She is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine.  She has also written two incredibly well-researched and insightful books on women and leadership, "Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World.” And, “Power Moms: How Executive Mothers Navigate Work and Life.” Also joining us today is my long-time friend and podcast co-host - Kevin Yorn - who has been an employer, partner, advisor, friend and father to working women his entire life. Both Kevin and I ask Joann for practical leadership lessons - for both women and men. And because Joann is an award-winning journalist, don't be surprised if she sometimes turns the table and asks us questions, too.  Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Joann Lublin or Kevin Yorn - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
50:52
August 07, 2022
Rinse. Wash. Don’t Repeat – with Bryan Leach – Founder and CEO of Ibotta
The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock is a TS Elliot poem that rings true with todays guest, Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Colorado based unicorn - Ibotta.  In the poem, Prufrock laments a string of intellectual dead ends and lost opportunities, and is haunted by what could have been - instead of his reality - struggling through never ending, visceral feelings of regret, shame, and humiliation. Leach could relate. Even though he was a partner at a prestigious law firm, he had these exact same feelings of dread and boredom.   Rinse. Wash. Repeat.   But unlike many of us, Leach had the courage to do something about it. He quit his job - and started a new venture. Success didn’t come easy. But it was a journey worth taking. Today, Ibotta is one of the most successful private companies in the country and is poised to disrupt the entire consumer loyalty industry.  Leach is a powerful leader who displays unabashed vulnerability - not afraid to do the hard work necessary to become more self aware and authentic.     Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Bryan Leach - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
51:08
August 04, 2022
I Got Fired By The President of the United States - Richard Spencer - Former Secretary of the Navy
None of us like to get fired. It can cause intense shame and humiliation. But imagine getting fired by then President of the United States (Donald Trump) with the entire country watching the drama unfold on Fox News.  This is exactly what happened to today's guest - Richard Spencer - when he refused to exonerate Commander Eddie Gallagher after breaking the Navy Seal code of honor. How did this make Spencer feel? Did he learn anything?  If he could rewind the clock, would he do anything differently? What is his 'True North' moral compass and why does it guide every one of his leadership decisions? Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Richard Spencer - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
29:41
July 29, 2022
Creating a Culture of Leadership Development, Todd Olson - Founder and CEO of Pendo
Leadership guru Simon Sinek once famously said, "Customers will never love a company until employees love it first."  Today's guest, Todd Olson, CEO and Founder of Pendo, takes this advice to heart.   Pendo is a software company that helps other software companies make their product even better. Olson and his co-founders have created a uniquely fertile corporate culture that attracts and inspires the world's greatest talent. This is a remarkable accomplishment given that Pendo isn't even headquartered in Silicon Valley - they are based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Olson and Pendo have worked hard to create a culture that challenges all employees to reach their maximum leadership capability and make an immediate impact in society. And that's precisely what the next generation of talent crave.  Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Todd Olson - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
52:04
July 20, 2022
He's not the next Elon Musk, He's the First Gene Berdichevsky
Gene Berdichevsky is going to change the world. Actually, he's already begun. The company he founded - Sila - has created a new technology that dramatically improves the performance of batteries in electric vehicles, smart phones, watches and so much more.  As CEO of the company, Gene has encountered a dizzying array of technical hurdles - but even more daunting are the leadership challenges he's confronted. In our conversation, he reflects upon these challenges - the incredible culture he's helped build - and the development steps he is embracing to reach his full potential Any comments, questions or thoughts to share with today's podcast guest - Gene Berdichevsky - join our community at www.imperfectleaders.com.
46:30
July 15, 2022
Culture Fit and Leadership Potential - with Chuck Muth of Beyond Meat and Coca Cola
When Chuck Muth was the Chief Growth Officer at Beyond Meat the company experienced faster growth than virtually any other food product in history.  The company went on to conduct an IPO - and saw its stock price soar to unimaginable heights, all fueled by the growth that Chuck led.  Earlier in his career, Muth worked his way up through the ranks at Coca Cola.  Muth makes a convincing argument that it's every leader's job to create a culture that helps talent reach their full leadership potential. The flip side of that same coin, if you're a talented-future-leader, be sure to carefully examine culture fit before accepting a job offer. If you pick poorly you'll likely fail. If you pick wisely you'll succeed beyond expectations. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
21:42
July 14, 2022
Shattering Wall Street's Glass Ceiling, Eileen Murray Paved the Way for a Future Generation of Talent
Eileen Murray is one of the most powerful women on Wall Street. And she has been for decades.  She was co-CEO of Bridgewater, the global hedge fund behemoth, a senior executive at Morgan Stanley, and a current board member at HSBC and the financial regulatory agency FINRA.  In this episode of Imperfect Leaders she shares perspective on governance, leadership development, core values, and technology. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
32:55
July 12, 2022
Ivy League Admissions - Kat Cohen, CEO of Ivy Wise, #1 Advisor to Prospective Students - Shares Secrets for Getting In To Elite Schools
Getting into a great school - from a private boarding school to an elite college to Harvard Business School - requires first getting past powerful gatekeepers. They’re the tough-minded admissions officers who put you through a rigorous interview and assessment process.  No one knows more - or provides better advice - on how to get past these gatekeepers - than todays guest, Kat Cohen. She’s the CEO and founder of Ivy Wise, the number one ranked advisory firm to prospective students. Ivy Wise has a perfect record. In the history of their firm, all of their clients have gotten into college. Of course they can’t guarantee everyone gets into Harvard. But you’ll get in to a school that fits your personality and your academic dreams.  Obviously school plays a big role in personal leadership development. It’s a uniquely fertile environment to try new things, to explore, to fail, to reflect, to grow, and to become more self aware. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
29:09
July 10, 2022
#1 Global Business Thinker, Roger Martin, Why is He on Speed Dial of Every Top CEO in the World?
Click here for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. Today’s guest – Roger Martin – is one of the smartest people on the planet when it comes to business and leadership. He was recently voted the #1 by Thinkers50 a ranking of the most influential global business thinkers. He is on speed dial of hundreds of famous CEOs across the world – from Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 50 giants. They call Roger when they are faced with a complex strategic or cultural issue that has no easy answer. Roger has a unique way of framing tough challenges and communicating in a crystal-clear way that helps top leaders rethink old mental models. He’s recently written a new book – which I loved – called “A New Way to Think” – and he’s published some of the all-time best-selling articles for the Harvard Business Review. In that context, he’s the perfect guest to help leaders – of all shapes and sizes – think about their flaws, outdated mental models, and imperfections. Just because you learned a new principle at a top business school, doesn’t make it right. In fact it may be dead wrong, according to Roger. He should know, he was the Dean of one of the top business schools in the country – The Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto – for 15 years! Nothing is out of bounds during our conversation – from money, power, politics, and capitalism, itself.
01:11:06
July 06, 2022
CEO of Adare Pharma, Tom Sellig, Articulating Core Values During a High-Stakes Interview
Tom Sellig is this week's podcast guest - and the CEO of Adare, an amazing pharmaceutical technology company owned by top private equity investors, Thomas H. Lee and Frazier Healthcare.    Tom was kind enough to let me sprinkle in a few questions that I often use during actual CEO interviews when Boards ask me to help them assess top prospects. Rising star leaders can listen and learn how authentic CEOs - like Tom - answer these questions in a clear and concise way. The truth is CEOs interview for jobs, just like the rest of us.  But understandably, their interview process is quite a bit more rigorous. They go through an intense, multi-faceted assessment process that focuses on leadership potential, culture fit, and the so called ‘intangibles’ that company's crave. It’s never too early to start thinking about these questions and learning how to tell your story - the good, the bad, and even the ugly - in an honest way that clearly demonstrates your leadership style, strengths and development needs.  After all, there’s no such thing as a perfect leader. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
39:22
July 03, 2022
Sequoia Capital Global Managing Partner, Doug Leone, A Venture Capital Legend
Hall of Fame venture capitalist, Doug Leone of #1 ranked Sequoia Capital, discusses the imperfections that will absolutely destroy you during a pitch. He offers practical advice for future founders and leaders. This podcast was taped during Doug's session with student leaders across the country!  Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
13:08
June 23, 2022
World Series Champion Dansby Swanson, Everyone has 'Major League' Slumps
World Series Champion, Dansby Swanson, explains why professional athletes should embrace their imperfections and their full range of human emotions - like frustration, anger and sadness. It frees up mental space and leads to enhance focus and success on the baseball diamond and in life. Swanson argues convincingly that it's important for all of us to experience all of your feelings - not just pretend that everything is wonderful all the time, because it isn't. Dansby is completely self aware and comfortable in his own skin. He even admits - with striking confidence - that’s he’s the more ‘emotional’ one in his romantic relationship with long time girlfriend and soccer superstar, Mallory Pugh. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
29:51
June 23, 2022
Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl: From Worst to First
Auburn Basketball Coach - Bruce Pearl - shares leadership lessons gleaned over the past 20 years. How did he redefine and reinvigorate the Auburn basketball program?  What are his key lessons of resilience, empathy and teamwork?  Why does he believe that character can be taught - and that challenging experiences both test and develop integrity?  Why does he think that it's foolish for everyone to think they have to become great leaders?  Why does he think people should spend more time developing their strengths, rather than spending 'wasted' time working on their weaknesses.  As he puts it, "you have to be good at something, before you can be great at it." Whatever he's doing is working. Ever since I was a little boy, Auburn University was known for football. If you were a top high school basketball player, you chose University of Kentucky, not Auburn. But all that has changed with Coach  Pearl. The program has leapfrogged many blue-blood programs and was #1 in the country - for many weeks - last year. Let's see what they do this year!   Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
30:35
June 21, 2022
Columbia Professor Emeritus, Robert Carter, The Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
Ever wonder why an astounding 95% of CEOs in Corporate America are white males?  Why do so few black people - and other minorities - make it to the corner office? Most companies talk a good game about building a robust and diverse leadership pipeline. Organizations claim to create cultures that inspire and enable people to reach their full potential. The best ideas win. Everyone has equal opportunity. Executives gain power through hard work and intellect. The best people will rise to the top.  But these are just the lies we tell ourselves, according to Dr. Robert Carter, the country’s most renowned expert on these topics - an acclaimed author and distinguished professor emeritus of psychology at Columbia University It makes us feel good. It makes us feel worthy. But there are deeper, psychological forces and invisible barriers at play. And even though we can’t see these barriers with the naked eye, they exist, and they are causing real harm and economic pain.  Agree or not, Professor Carter shines an interesting perspective on this complex topic, and helps us understand the root, psychological causes and structural barriers to achieving progress.  Perhaps we should take his advice seriously. Until we do the hard work necessary to become more self aware and empathic, we won’t be able to capitalize on the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
43:58
June 18, 2022
Paul Weiss Law Global Chairman, Brad Karp, Overcoming Introversion
Click here for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. Brad Karp has been the Chairman of Paul, Weiss since 2008. He is described by Chambers as “the best strategic adviser in the business,” “the best litigator in the country,” and “someone who every CEO in America should have on speed dial.” Brad is described by The New York Times and by Bloomberg as “the most connected lawyer in the country,” and by Best Lawyers as “the most talented, responsive, client-sensitive, creative, effective lawyer of his generation in the country, no question.” Yet - for the first time ever he admits to Imperfect Leaders that he had to overcome extreme shyness and introversion earlier in his career.  In fact, in law school he didn't speak up and voice his opinion nearly as much as he would have liked. This is almost impossible to fathom given his role as Chair of one of the top 10 law firms in the country and his role as an elite corporate litigator arguing his clients' point of view in front of crowded court rooms and tough judges.   But it's true. Brad of the country’s leading litigators and corporate advisers, Brad has successfully guided numerous Fortune 100 companies, global financial institutions and other companies and individuals through “bet the company” litigations, regulatory matters, internal investigations, and corporate crises.   Brad has been selected multiple times as the “Lawyer of the Year” and “Litigator of the Year.” Brad has earned dozens of industry awards and recognitions for his successful client representations and legal achievements as well as for his role as a leader in the legal profession, the business community and the public interest sphere. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
35:02
June 15, 2022
A Venture Capital Legend, Alan Patricof, At 88 Years Old, Still No Stop Signs
Click here for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. Alan is almost 90 years old and a living legend in the venture capital arena. He has been a pioneer in this industry for over 50 years.  Fifty years!  Let that sink in for a moment. When he first started there really was no well defined industry at all. It was a bunch of mom and pop players scrambling to earn a living. Amidst this backdrop Alan helped create two hugely successful firms Greycroft and Apax Partners, which played a fundamental role in consolidating this fragmented space.  Not one to sit still at the young age of 88 years old, he is now launching his third firm to much fanfare - Primetime Partners - focusing on a weirdly overlooked consumer base of 60+ year consumers. Virtually all of his former partners are investing in the new fund, signaling their confidence in both the business plan and Alan's potential to live to 100.  But don't tell Alan, that will only get him mad. He's convinced he'll live to at least 114. This is to say just one thing - Alan has been around the block a few times - so it might be worth listening to his advice.  His philosophy - and the name of his incredible new book - 'No Red Lights' perfectly summarizes his life philosophy. There's simply nothing he won't try. Don't believe me? Well, he's going to Burning Man this year.  To receive free podcast episodes each week, subscribe at www.imperfectleaders.com
46:21
June 13, 2022
Thumbtack Founder & CEO, Marco Zappacosta, The Ultimate Grinder
Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. Thumbtack - a marketplace for professionals who can take care of  your home - is a gem in the portfolio of Sequoia Capital, the legendary venture capital investors.   Through his vulnerability and thoughtfulness, Thumbtack CEO, Marco Zappacosta, has institutionalized a culture of leadership development and continuous improvement. In this podcast he asserts that life can be cruel - a leader's biggest strength can often be their biggest weakness. Just like one of our other podcast guests, Brad Smith, Board Chair at Intuit and Nordstrom, Zappacosta is completely transparent and shares his performance review with his entire company. To proactively keep things running smoothly, Zappacosta ensures rising star leaders receive plenty of coaching, mentorship, and developmental opportunities. It’s no wonder that pros earn billions on Thumbtack, delighting customers across the country.. Soon the phrase, "Just Thumbtack It" will be an action verb synonymous for taking care of your home. To receive free podcast episodes each week, subscribe at www.imperfectleaders.com
01:04:04
June 11, 2022
Cirque du Soleil CEO, Reigniting the Creative Spark
Where do Elon Musk and James Cameron go when they need a creative jolt of inspiration?  Both recently went backstage at Cirque du Soleil and asked an awful lot of questions. They were like kids in the proverbial candy store. So, who the heck is in charge at Cirque? The CEO - for nearly two decades - was a man named Daniel Lamare. I have been wanting to interview him for quite some time - to help unlock a few secrets of creativity. All of us get stressed out when the creative lightbulb doesn't come on as quickly as we'd like.  Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.  
39:26
June 04, 2022
TNT Analyst, Stan Van Gundy: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Click here for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. NBA Coach and TNT Star Analyst Stan Van Gundy has a unique perspective on talent. He believes that people who never fail, simply aren't getting out of their comfort zone - and that's a huge problem.  Coach Van Gundy has been in - and out - of the proverbial arena described so eloquently decades ago by Teddy Roosevelt. As a coach who led his team to the NBA finals, he knows what it's like to fight and sweat and bleed for your team. On the sidelines, in his unique perch, he provides expert analysis and shares insight that brings a whole new understanding to the game.  We hope you will enjoy Coach Van Gundy's perspective on talent, resilience, adversity and stretching way outside your natural boundaries. To receive free podcast episodes each week, subscribe at www.imperfectleaders.com
19:56
May 25, 2022
Real Estate Tycoon, Bernard Hurley: Breaking Bad
Talk about breaking bad. Bernard Hurley was locked up in a maximum security prison - serving what he thought would be a life sentence. Yet now he is one of the most successful business leaders and philanthropists in the state of Colorado.  How did he turn it all around?  If you want to learn about resilience - I mean, really learn what it takes to bounce back from extreme failure - don't just read a book and call it a day. Instead, listen to Hurley's lessons and insight. From solitary confinement in a maximum security prison to one of the most successful real estate developers in Colorado history, Hurley embodies resilience and passion, and shares practical advice for all of us, whether you're just getting out of prison or have a Harvard MBA and on the CEO track at your company. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
24:50
May 16, 2022
Chairman of the Boards - Intuit and Nordstrom - What are Your Crucible Moments?
Brad Smith is one of the most admired leaders in Silicon Valley.  But, when Brad was in grade school, a little girl he had a crush on made fun of him and called him 'stupid'. This had quite an impact. It's now a core part of Brad's authentic story.- or what I would call a crucible moment that helped determine what was most important in his life. In everyone's life, there are crucible moments, those intense experiences that help shape your core values and leadership style. It's important to understand and practice articulating these moments. They are an inexorable part of your personal story and personal brand.  People really connect to leaders who are authentic and have strong core values Brad Smith is the perfect example of a leader who is masterful at telling his leadership development story, including the anxiety and pain he faced as a child. These experiences helped shape the man and leader he is today. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
06:58
May 16, 2022
Mark Cuban, Shark Tank & Dallas Mavericks, Do You Know What You Suck At?
Mark Cuban - owner of the Dallas Mavericks and iconic Shark Tank judge - explains that all entrepreneurs and future leaders need to be completely self-aware.   They need to know what they 'suck at' and where they can improve. No one is perfect. I couldn't agree more. Click on www.imperfectleaders.com for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders.
22:45
May 12, 2022
Partners Group, Global Head of Health Care, Ben Breier, Don't Run Away from Your Deepest Fears and Insecurities
Click here for free weekly episodes delivered to your inbox and the opportunity to join live discussions with top leaders. Ben Breier is best-selling author of "Intentional Disruption," the former CEO of Kindred Healthcare, and top private equity at the Partners Group. He encourages listeners to confront head-on their insecurities, fears and leadership development needs. He argues that this process will help future leaders learn to of lead through uncertainty and volatility. To receive free podcast episodes each week, subscribe at www.imperfectleaders.com
30:12
May 12, 2022