#58: Lifelong Learning for Leaders with Dr. Deborah Watts

Dr. Deborah Watts has more than 20 years of experience helping people and organizations grow. Her passion is developing professionals into tomorrow's leaders and coaching leaders on how to optimize their performance as well as the performance of their team. Her experience has come from many unique opportunities spanning a wide range of disciplines and industries including organizations such as the Governors Literacy Foundation, RJ Young, Lands End, Humana, Harley-Davidson, Seaspan, Starbucks and Zillow.

Currently, Deborah is the Founder and CEO of Hayde & Company, a talent optimization consulting firm and the Director of Graduate and Executive Education at the University of Tennessee, Haslam College of Business.  She also serves as a Certified Partner for Predictive Index and Senior Consultant for the Leadership Pipeline Institute.  

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Follow the joyful energy. When Deborah felt a similar energy in the classroom that she had during her work in the motorsports industry, she set an intention to make a shift and she never looked back.
  2. Find your why. When you have a clear understanding of your purpose, even the most menial tasks have meaning. Without it, you may produce big results but still feel something is missing from your work and your life.
  3. Commit to the craft. Deborah built a powerful learning experience for leaders who are willing to put in the work to reach their next level. Be a student of leadership for your own benefit as well as to serve others.

From the Source

“Someone on the board had the idea of ‘Hey, we need to bring in a consultant to help us.’ Well, that consultant came from the Oliver group and the very first thing they did is have us take the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, and I was blown away.”

“We realized that if we wanted to go acquire these dealerships and then have them perform at a higher level, we had to invest in the people. So I think that was just a powerful experience for me.”

“I remember feeling that same excitement I felt for the power sports industry I felt in the classroom. So I thought, what do I do to make that happen?”

“I ended up teaching a class at a university in Europe, and it really started expanding how adults learn and how in the U S, how we only promote if you're going to manage people. Typically for the most part, you have to take that role of ‘I'm going to manage human beings to get a raise or get a better title.’ Europe has a lot of specialist programs. If you say, ‘I don't ever want to manage people, but I want to continue to grow’ then you move into maybe a specialist role.”

“When I was at the Ohio State University, I remember our janitor was awesome. He was super friendly, great guy. He was there when we woke up and there when we went to bed, and our dorm was spotless. And I remember us talking to him someday about ‘Where do you get this drive and passion from?’ And the way he saw it was, ‘I keep people healthy. I keep you all healthy. Because of me, you all get to stay healthy, come to school, get a degree and go do great things in the world.’ And so he had a bigger understanding. He understood the why behind his job.”

“I get the opportunity to work with a lot of folks that do have that combination of workplace, corporate experience, or non profit experience. And they also have the academic piece. And so together, I think in the classroom, it just equals some really powerful stuff.”

“There will be moments where you're thinking about your organization, like you just said, like where you're working and you think, ‘Is this my leader? Is this how they operate? Is this a place I want to continue to invest my time,?’ which is very valuable time that you're not with your family. You want to make sure where you do spend it is worthwhile. And so it does make you think. It absolutely makes you think, and it makes you take the stories that you're hearing and apply them to your own personal situation.”

Connect with Deborah

Website: https://www.haydeandco.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahwatts1/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drdeb5413

Email: [email protected]

C-Suite Insights at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business: https://haslam.utk.edu/c-suites-insights