Dan Sheridan: How to Run Happy – Leading with Positivity and Kindness

April 4, 2022
Up Your Creative Genius
Up Your Creative Genius
Dan Sheridan: How to Run Happy - Leading with Positivity and Kindness
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Show Notes

Dan Sheridan is President and COO of Brooks Running. He started his career 23 years ago as a National sales rep. He’s a graduate of University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.Brooks Running makes men’s and women’s high-performance running shoes, apparel, and accessories that meet the needs of runners of all levels. Entirely focused on the run, Brooks is dedicated to inspiring people to run and be active. Brooks creates innovative equipment that keeps you running longer, farther and faster—and with more enjoyment of the run.

Timestamp

3:03 Growing up in a leader-rich environment

5:50 Running the perfect business strategy

8:11 Setting the pace with customer centricity and communicating with clarity

10:03 Fumbling a project – and getting back on track

11:44 Navigating through problems in a pandemic

12:43 Acting like Brooks, whether in prosperity or crisis

16:55 Leading the pack with humility and kindness

20:19 Moving into the future with optimism

23:47 Getting everyone to Run Happy – managing one’s fears and motivations, step by step

28:05 The essentials of personal leadership development

30:13 Dan’s current reading list 

Social Media:

Follow Dan Sheridan on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-sheridan-2a04316

Brooks Running https://www.brooksrunning.com/

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Follow Patti Dobrowolski – Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/patti-dobrowolski-532368/

Up Your Creative Genius – https://upyourcreativegenius.com/

Patti Dobrowolski 00:03

Hello superstars! Welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius podcast – where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I’m your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to up your creative genius in any part of your life.

Patti Dobrowolski 00:39

Hey, everybody, it’s Patti Dobrowolski. Oh my gosh, I have one of my favorite leaders here today. I’m just saying that I have had the opportunity to work with this person multiple times. I absolutely love him, and you will too. So let’s welcome the recently crowned President and COO of Brooks Running – Dan Sheridan.

Dan Sheridan 01:04

Every time I see you, I just smile. Every time I see your name, every time I see you on a screen, I just smile. I mean, the energy is insane.

Patti Dobrowolski 01:15

Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, that is back at you because – So listen, I need to tell them a little bit about you so they don’t have to go in the show notes to read your bio – I’m going to give my down and dirty of it. Listen, people. He joined Brooks Running in 1998 – 23 years ago. And he really started as a tech rep – which is a junior role there – and worked his way up. And now he oversees, you know, the business and the brand. He was once the brand guru at Brooks, and he’s helped to build that business and brand over those years. Now he’s overseeing the wholesale business, the distribution partnerships, he connects with runners to build the E-commerce business and oversees the regional marketing programs. And let me just say that they grew 26%, didn’t you? It was like recently or is probably higher than that now. But he was given, in 2009 – which was way back in the Wayback Machine – 40 under 40 Sports Good Award. I mean, that’s kind of a big deal. He went to the University of Washington, and he got a certification from Washington Foster School of Business. So yes, Dan Sheridan’s here, woo! Dan’s in the house.

Dan Sheridan 02:30

I love it! Patti, you can be my promoter, whenever you want. I mean, the language that you use, I just – I gotta bottle it and take it with me.

Patti Dobrowolski 02:39

That’s right. Now, you know, Dan, you are honestly one of the favorite leaders of mine. When I ever get to be in a room with you, I’m like, yes, Dan’s gonna be there. So I want you to tell people, how did you get started? Like, tell us your story? I think you’re from Washington State, aren’t you? Yes. Tell us the whole thing, starting from the beginning, would you?

Dan Sheridan 03:03

Let me first say that I am humble enough to know that you’ve been in front of many, many leaders. So I don’t take that comment lightly at all. And I am a student of leadership – I’m fascinated by leadership, I think I always have been. Back to my childhood, my dad and my mom were fantastic leaders. They were teachers and led community work and students. And so, I was always under this kind of group of people that were just great examples for me. Growing up, I was a team sport kid. So I played basketball and baseball. I played a little football, I played soccer, swimming, the whole thing. I was in team sports and I tell people that that was literally my business school. That’s how I formed my leadership skills. Yeah, I was captains of teams and had to work with impossible people and –

Patti Dobrowolski 04:00

Welcome to the world of impossible people. That should be a book.

Dan Sheridan 04:05

Right? Well, there you go. So my journey is, I think, at times it’s unique. It’s probably really strange to some people that I’ve been with a company for as long as I am-

Patti Dobrowolski 04:17

23 years. 23 years – look me in the eye and say, “I’ve been here 23 years.”

Dan Sheridan 04:24

I’ve been here 23 years.

Patti Dobrowolski 04:25

I know.

Dan Sheridan 04:26

You know, I’m waiting for somebody to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, man, the gig’s up?”

Patti Dobrowolski 04:31

I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

Dan Sheridan 04:33

Yeah. So it’s awesome. You know, I’m such a fortunate person in so many ways. I think on the professional side, I started with a company that was tiny, we had 56 people. When I started, we shrunk actually to like, 35. We had a layoff in my first couple years, and now we’re close to 1200 globally. We’ve got about 550 in Seattle here and so I’m fortunate, right? I got with a great company with a great leader in Jim Weber. And I made mistakes. And nobody either knew about them or they weren’t begging people to kick me out. So I feel just incredibly fortunate and always have been that my journey was with one company that was growing the whole time.

Patti Dobrowolski 05:18

Yeah. And, you know, I mean, it took a dip. And so I think the whole running industry took a dip. But there was a point where I was like, Oh, I hope they continue through this, you know, and then oh, I hope their shoes will start to look cooler.

Dan Sheridan 05:36

I mean, we like to call them inflection points, Patti, we don’t know. Yeah, we call them-

Patti Dobrowolski 05:41

Yes, we do. On the S curve, that’s an inflection point, maybe go down, then you go up, and you have to leap off into something else or you become irrelevant.

Dan Sheridan 05:50

That’s right. I think every business does this, right, where you have these moments where there’s a gut check on your strategy. Yeah. On the addressable market that you’re going after? Yep. On, you know, the talent that you have? And are you developing talent within? Are you adding talent to stay relevant? And Brooks has had that over its journey. I mean, we’ve had, I don’t know, call it four or five owners over the years. And we’ve been fortunate enough, in the last, call it 15 years, to have Berkshire Hathaway as our parent company – which couldn’t be anything better for us.

Patti Dobrowolski 06:24

No, no, no doubt. No doubt, yup.

Dan Sheridan 06:27

So we go through these moments where it is a gut check on strategy. And here’s the beauty of our strategy. It’s pretty simple, you know, and Brooks has a simple strategy. We’re focused on runners. We’re focused on the run, we’re focused on getting people moving, we’re focused on what running means to people’s lives. And if we can deliver products and programs and services, you keep them running farther, faster, longer. We’re winning. And yeah, pretty simple.

Patti Dobrowolski 06:52

Yeah, it is. You know, secretly, I’ve been designing a shoe to present to you guys, when I see you, I’m like, I have to design some shoes that are cool. And so I’ve been just mocking up these shoes I got behind the scenes. I’m like, I have any, I want to talk to the guys in creative again, you know, because I always get to see them. And they’re fantastic. And I think that there’s a few things I could add to that little chemistry of that. So of course, that’s my secret dream.

Dan Sheridan 07:25

You’ve been on our journey. You’ve had many checkpoints with us that have helped us create our vision through your process, and it’s why you and I connected – and the value that you’ve created with us is playing out today. You helped us imagine the future for Brooks, and here we go.

Patti Dobrowolski 07:43

You will- I think to- you have Imagineers there. That’s what’s true. The people that work there really are Imagineers, you know, including Jim, but I think in your stream, you know, you have really galvanized the sales community. I mean, the team is just unstoppable. And so, say something about what you had to do to get them motivated to go, to get going.

Dan Sheridan 08:11

Yeah, it’s not about me. I mean, when I showed up here in 1998, this company had a customer focus that was incredible. And it was just part of the culture at Brooks. And so I got trained by people that were so intensely focused on our customer base, whether it was our customer service team, our marketing team, our sales team. And so there was no other thing to do, but focus on the customer. And what we’ve been able to do is keep talent here. You know, I’ve got colleagues that I’ve worked with for 20 plus years.

Patti Dobrowolski 08:43

Wow, that’s fantastic. That’s unheard of!

Dan Sheridan 08:47

Yeah! Especially in our industry, right? I think, you know, this is a very competitive industry in terms of acquiring talent and developing talent. So it’s customer focused, and we’ve been able to deliver on customer focus, specifically and run with our specialty run community around the world. And then we execute. You know, we used to have a sheet of paper as a one pager that just simply answered the question: why Brooks? And we would go through and list all the different programs that we had. But at the very bottom, we would say, we’re going to do what we tell you we’re going to do. And every day our sales team acts that way. If we can’t do something, we’re going to tell them, we’re going to be honest, we’re not going to sugarcoat it. And I think that creates an execution that’s clear to people. But ultimately, it’s customer focus.

Patti Dobrowolski 09:35

Yeah. So when we were working together, you were moving this supply chain, right? I mean, you were moving manufacturing to the US. Say a little bit about what that did or how that process went, because we didn’t talk about it afterwards, and I’m curious – like when you take something as much production as you were doing, what did you end up doing and how did it go?

Dan Sheridan 09:57

So point of clarity, not our manufacturing but our distribution.

Patti Dobrowolski 10:01

Distribution, your DC.

Dan Sheridan 10:03

Yep, we moved our distribution from the West Coast here in Seattle, to the middle of the country for a lot of reasons: One, we need to be closer to our customer base: just speed of delivery, cost, all those things. And you know, the short story-

Patti Dobrowolski 10:16

Price too, because come on, I mean, Washington State, you got to move to the Midwest.

Dan Sheridan 10:21

That’s right. You know, short story is: we fumbled. We fumbled the football on many different yard lines on this project. And we literally had a design that didn’t match our business model. And it took us three months to unlock the design to match the business model. And what it did is it created, you know, and reinforced a humility that we all needed in a checkpoint along our journey to say: Okay, how did we make this mistake? What were the things that we took for granted that we shouldn’t have? What was the expertise we needed in our teams that we didn’t have going on? Right?

Patti Dobrowolski 10:59

And then you hired somebody, brought them in to help. Right?

Dan Sheridan 11:03

We hired Christophe Mahaut in operations, we hired a whole new team and our distribution center, and we started to build depth in our operations. One, because we’re growing like crazy; but two, we learned along the way that, you know, you can’t muscle your way through some things – you’ve got to have experience and capability on your business. And so, we are now in such a great spot through the pandemic – you know, we grew 35%. Now you’re 31% and 21. And all of that was done on the backs of this, this distribution-

Patti Dobrowolski 11:37

Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. Now, has this supply chain, uh, COVID, did that impact you guys at all?

Dan Sheridan 11:44

It did, you know, starting in July of last year, Patti. I think, as everyone was starting to see – COVID, you know, impacted all the factories throughout Vietnam and broader Asia. And so our footwear and apparel factories were impacted pretty drastically. We focused on our people, obviously. And luckily, we kept them safe and healthy. But you know, the impact is massive in our industry. So we talk about it in terms of, it’s kind of like a crop that yeah, that just goes bad. And we lost a crop of shoes. And we estimate about 7 million units we lost in production as those factories were working through COVID. And so we’re digging out right now, like every day.

Patti Dobrowolski 12:22

Yeah, yeah. And when things like that happened, so what leadership things do you call upon in yourself? Like, I looked to see who you’re influenced by – you’ve got Simon Sinek there, you got Brené Brown there, you know, you have some other leaders in there. So what do you call upon in yourself to help you figure out what to do?

Dan Sheridan 12:43

You know, it’s something I reflect a lot on. I’ve been through a lot of change management at Brooks, whether it’s changing in ownership, whether it’s, you know, projects that have gone sideways, and the distribution center, one of those, now we’ve got a pandemic supply chain challenge, you know, we’re actually going to be impacted by this war that’s going on. And so, you know, in moments like this, the very first thing I always tell our teams is we’re going to act like Brooks, no matter what’s happening.

Patti Dobrowolski 13:10

That’s right.

Dan Sheridan 13:11

We got to know who we are, what are our values? What’s our purpose? So that’s rule number one, we’re going to act the same way we did in times of prosper as we do in times of crisis. So: focus on the customer, focus on the runner, focus on our employees, and begin to get into a faster cadence. One of the things we find in crises is, if you’re not telling your story, somebody is filling that gap, whether a competitor is or an employee is, somebody that may not be as engaged. So, we always get into the special cadence of communication, that maybe we’re not always in in times of smooth business journey. So, you know, communication is huge during crisis and change management. During the pandemic, you know, we would have four times a year where we do company meetings, we’re doing them every single Friday for an hour. Jim and I in the leadership team, we’re on a town hall, every Friday, just communicating what’s going on in the business decisions we’re making, taking questions from employees. So I think when you go through these moments, you got to act the same way you do in good times, you got to over-communicate, and you got to understand who your stakeholders are and who you want to communicate to. And that’s something that’s served us well. And then, I think, we lead with authenticity. You know, I’m the same person I am at work as I am at home – my wife would probably, you know, say that’s true. And that’s not always a good thing (laughs). But I’m lucky to have, you know, just my ability to act the same wherever I am. And so, I’m married to the love of my life. And I’ve got two great kids that are, I think, benefited from me being home the last two years. I don’t know, I have a 14 year old daughter and she and I are tight. My son is 12, and is one of my best buddies. And so, it’s good – I think that shows up at work too, people know who I am because I’ve been here a while and I haven’t changed over the 23. I’ve changed. I’m getting older.

Patti Dobrowolski 15:05

Yeah, that’s that’s really it, but you’re still fun – and funny, engaging. You know, these are the things that matter, really. And caring – I think this is one of the things that I noted – when I worked with you is that you were kind to people: you just were, it was part of your DNA. And I don’t know, all leaders are like that, you know, you sort of get full of what’s holding up your head, you know, what all the things you’re worrying about, sort of interfere with your ability to communicate with kindness sometimes, and I never witnessed that even when you were giving feedback to people, which was necessary and important and essential in the room. It was always done in a way that helped them to take the biggest leap. I was telling, you know, I’ve started to do this new thing with Draw Your Future, which is at the current reality, when you get to the challenges, I’ve started to ask people: Alright, so if every experience without exception is here for you to grow from, what’s the superpower that you’re getting from that challenge? Because I think that’s what we all learned in COVID – was we got to develop some superpowers, one of them was appreciation for whoever was running the household, because you got to see what they actually did every day, and then you got to pitch in. And then you got to be more in that – It was almost like we went back in time, you know, to a time where being with your family mattered, right? Because we’ve gotten so caught up in being out there, right? And so when COVID hit, how did you personally adjust? How did you adjust? Why did you have to pivot in yourself?

Dan Sheridan 16:40

Well, I think I appreciate those comments on kindness. I grew up in a household, I was one of six kids, Irish Catholic family, my parents were both teachers. And so I tell people that-

Patti Dobrowolski 16:53

That’s where your work ethic came from.

Dan Sheridan 16:55

Yeah, I also think humility is something that, you know, at times, I get maybe critique that, I don’t maybe speak or network enough into the industry. But here’s how I was raised: I was raised one of six. If you were cocky, or confident even, you got smacked down. I was second to youngest. So if you really got cocky – and that still exists today, to be honest with you. I’ve got five brothers and sisters that live within, you know, about 30 miles of me and, and to this day, we still have this relationship, which is rooted in humility, and kindness. And my parents may never explicitly said those words to us every day, but that’s what our household was built on – it was built on humility, kindness, and I would add humor at the end, because with six kids, you got to be able to laugh at yourself.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:43

Oh yeah, no doubt.

Dan Sheridan 17:45

The neighbors were laughing at us, believe me.

Patti Dobrowolski 17:49

Two teacher salaries, six kids, you know, that’s slim living. Next Friday, are we going to have enough food, right?

Dan Sheridan 17:55

Yeah, yeah, I got many stories about that. But my parents were incredible. And I know, I had a launchpad that not a lot of people had though, to be very transparent. I was fortunate for all the reasons – my race, just where we were in our community, and the people that surrounded us. So when COVID hit – to get back to that question – on a personal level, it was this pause in our life that actually I was thrilled about. I was traveling 25-30 weeks a year, internationally, domestically, wow. And my pace was at a rate that probably wasn’t sustainable for me, for my wife, my kids, my relationships outside of my wife and kids. And so, you know, we really paused as a family, and we started talking about our values – what are the values that we want people to think about when they think of us? And so I brought up, you know, “be humble and kind”. And that’s something now that we say to our kids, as they walk out the door, “be humble and kind, be humble and kind”, – and my daughter will say, “I’m being humble and kind.”

Patti Dobrowolski 19:01

Yeah.

Dan Sheridan 19:01

We’ve decided that we’re going to start to add to these values as a family and so they’re having input on it. They (my son and daughter) are very funny people. And so they’re starting to add. So I think during COVID, that spilled over into me as a leader, and I started to think about the kindness – one that the world needed, as we all know – but more so just what everybody was going through: employees, the stress that was on employees. My wife’s a pediatrician here in Seattle and she would come home and talk about the stress on kids and teenagers and, and just stress on the medical profession and so, I can see it throughout my everyday. So, we adopted “be humble and kind” and I’m going to get T-shirts made for the Sheridan family that say that.

Patti Dobrowolski 19:49

That’s good. You should let me design them for you. I’ve been doing this, my new thing. I’ve just done T-shirts, and they’re fantastic. There’s nothing too fancy about them, but they get the point. Well, I love that. And when you think about the future for you, what do you think about, like, did you know that you were going to move into the President’s role? We had a brief conversation, but did you know that it was a goal of yours? How do you figure that out for yourself?

Dan Sheridan 19:57

Oh, I’d love that. You know, I think I’d be lying if I said in 1998 I had this grand plan to become- At that time, there was not one person that would have bet on it either. Just for the record, I didn’t know what I was doing. Some might argue, I still don’t know what I’m doing. But you know, look, I’ve always been somebody that likes to be in front of the pack, not back of the pack. And I’ve been wired that way. I think it’s, you know, my upbringing – my parents are that way, and so I’ve been wired that way. So I always knew that I wanted to lead.

Patti Dobrowolski 20:39

Yeah.

Dan Sheridan 20:45

And, so that’s the first thing. And so yeah, you know, as my career started to progress, I knew I wanted to lead something – whether it was Brooks, or somewhere else in the path open for me to develop my career here. I think when I think about the future is one thing that I’ve been reflecting on a lot during all this change that’s going on, and uncertainty and fear and negative division that’s happening throughout the world, is that I think as leaders, you have to have optimism. If you don’t have optimism in yourself, in how you lead, progress is really hard to think about. And so I’ve been trying to practice optimism. I’m an Irishman. So, optimism is not the first thing that comes into an Irish brain. But, you know, I think leaders have to be optimistic. And if they’re not, their teams aren’t going to be, um, they’re not going to see the vision you have, they’re not going to see why you’re doing things. And so for me, the future is optimistic for my kids, for Brooks. For me as a person, I’m, you know, cresting 50, here, and so I’ve got a runway here that can still do great things in terms of my family and my professional life. So I think the future is optimistic. And I think we’ve got to get more people thinking about what we can do to make it optimistic for more people.

Patti Dobrowolski 22:23

Yes, yes. And I would agree, I think that when Brooks started to do “Run Happy” is when I was like, oh, yeah, now we’re turning. Now we’re turning, because we’re all about community now. And we’re understanding, really, we understand the neuroscience of what it means to get out there. And so if we can find a way to help people – you know, I still am fascinated with how, one out of eight people, even when they could die from something, will not make change – you know, that’s the stat – is that only one out of eight will actually make the change. So what do we do to show people in incremental ways how you can make change more easily by simply getting out and walking. Walk first, run second, that’s how I get – you know, I’m a cyclist, but every year, I’m like, you know, it’s good on your bones when you get out there and run. So start running a little bit, see what you can do in running. And then of course, I get obsessed with that – like every other, you know, any kind of athletic thing, you know, you just got to do it. But one of the things that I wonder about is when you think about that stat about people needing to change – and you think about how do people make change, you know, and how do people in their health make change – how do you all talk about it there at Brooks? And how do you think about it?

Dan Sheridan 23:47

Yeah. So there’s a lot of ways to answer this question. I mean, everybody’s different, right? So what are your motivations, your intrinsic or extrinsic motivations, right? You know, for me, some people may say, I have extrinsic motivations, you know, I want to move people in when I talk to them, I want them to develop underneath me, as I manage groups and teams and businesses. I have a lot of intrinsic motivation as well. And, you know, that comes out of a fear of people thinking “I’m not smart”, or a fear of not being in shape, or, you know, not being clear in how I communicate. So I think it really depends on this extrinsic and intrinsic motivation that people have. We have some good friends, we had this discussion the other night over a glass of wine around this topic. And so at Brooks, we think about that. And the truth is, Patti, that we have to do all of it because we want everyone to be a part of this brand. We want this to be the most inclusive brand in the world. Because running is the simplest thing to do – running and walking is the simplest sport to do. Really, all you need is a great pair of shoes –

Patti Dobrowolski 24:55

That’s right.

Dan Sheridan 24:56

To move and you can just kind of hit people with the reasons to move, you know, ultimately we believe running can change your day, can change your life. And I think all added up, it could change the world, not only in terms of health and wellness, but it may ease tension and debate and conflict in our lives. So we try and really think about everybody that’s invited to this game, which we think is the greatest game in sporting goods, and-

Patti Dobrowolski 25:25

Yeah, yeah, it’s the easiest, let’s be clear about that, you know, if you travel as much as you do, and as often as much as I do, and now we’re open again to travel. So we’re back on, the thing that goes in that suitcase are my running shoes, because I know that no matter where I am, I can either go to the gym and run – or I can get outside, which is even better, and then you know, do what everybody calls nature bathing. Now, it just cracks me up. Because you know, what that means is we were just going out and playing in the field before, and now we’re finding a place to run and you know, nature bathe. But what’s also true about that – and this is the research that’s being done around flow – that if you want to get into a state of flow, you add some challenge to it, and then you add some physicality to it, and then you add some drive to it. And then suddenly, you’re in a state of flow, as you know, when you go running, right. The greatest part of it is that it makes you feel so good. You want to do it tomorrow. And this is what people forget, yeah – once you get past the really hard hurdle of the first couple days, right? And you get into the first couple of weeks; and then the third and fourth, fifth week, you’re hooked. And you never want to stop. That’s what-

Dan Sheridan 26:46

Habits, habits, habits – and they can be every other day habits. Don’t have to be every day.

Patti Dobrowolski 26:51

No, I know it’s little tiny things. So you can hit the success button.

Dan Sheridan 26:55

My alarm goes off, the first thing I think about is coffee. Second thing I think about is: I just have to move before I go to work. I got to do something, right. And so, you know, some days that I don’t always get to it, but I think about it every single day. So that’s my habit that I think about and that’s something that I think doesn’t have to be every day – it can be every other day.

Patti Dobrowolski 27:19

That’s right. Well, I think I love this because what you said was: I think about it every day. And I do too. If I’m not on that bike, I’m thinking about it every single day. Because I know that it makes me feel better, and I know I don’t want to lose my shape. I don’t want to lose my fitness. It’s hard earned. Right? And so that’s it. All right, well, I know you’re busy. I don’t want to keep you from what other things you’ve got going. I love this. And I hope you’ll come back and talk again, just about as you ease into that President role. And you keep doing that – I want to hear how it’s going. So, just leave us with some thoughts. What would you say are some tips for people who need to pivot or want to step into leadership? What would you tell them?

Dan Sheridan 28:05

Yeah, I think this is such an interesting question for a lot of reasons. I think leadership roles, you know, there’s this debate of, are you born a leader? Or can you develop leadership? I think you can absolutely develop leadership.

Patti Dobrowolski 28:17

Yes, yes.

Dan Sheridan 28:18

I think you have to love it. You have to absolutely love leadership in every kind of fashion, right? You have to understand that it’s not about authority – it’s about responsibility. And that’s a Simon Sinek thing that I just gravitate to. You have to think about service in terms of leadership. Sometimes, you have to think about the hard decisions and everything that comes with it, and the responsibility that comes with it…but you gotta love it. And so when I talk to people, and they ask about leadership, I ask them, do you love it? And it doesn’t mean you have to love it 100% of the time – I have an 80:20 rule that I live by: 80% of what I do, I love; 20% I don’t – and if it ever gets out of whack for a long period of time, I’m probably going to shift.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:06

You’re going to change something.

Dan Sheridan 29:07

I’m gonna change. And so I think you know, somebody that’s thinking about a leadership role, you got to answer the question, are you going to love it? And you don’t have to answer it until you’re in it, right? But you got to love it to be in leadership. And I think if you can have an optimistic mind, you can communicate really effectively, and you can be authentic every day you show up, then you’re probably going to have a pretty good run as a leader and I’m still working all those every day.

Patti Dobrowolski 29:35

Yeah. But you’ve had a fantastic run as a leader. That’s what’s true. And your teams love working for you. You can see it in the room when I was facilitating those rooms full of people. I’d be like, whoa, this is incredible. At the end, you know, it just was so amazing to see the build and you create the environment for that. So, I would say, you know, always look at “Do you love it as a leader?” and just know that leadership is a skill you develop over time. And so what are you reading right now about leadership? What’s your, you know, just as something that you would tell us? What are you reading?

Dan Sheridan 30:13

So I’m rereading right now, Angela Duckworth.

Patti Dobrowolski 30:17

Yeah, “Grit”. Me too. Me too.

Dan Sheridan 30:20

She’s incredible. So I started reading it for a lot of reasons. One, we redid; rewrote all of our values of Brooks in 2021. And when we started to tell stories, we wanted stories attached to all the values. So new people coming to Brooks could experience the value instead of just reading on a wall. And one of our values is “Champion Heart”. And we were having a hard time explaining what Champion Heart was. And I said, it’s grit. That’s what it is. It’s grit. And so I’m reading that for a lot of reasons. But one of them is that I just think that there’s talent in this world, and then there’s grit – and you got to have both. And I think in leadership roles, you got to have a lot of talent. I didn’t go to business school, I wasn’t classically trained in business, I don’t have an MBA; I’m not apologizing for any of that. But what I do have is I have a work ethic, and I have a way to connect people and that served me well. So for me, I refresh myself sometimes by rereading books. I also think deeply in terms of just communicating with great leaders. And I’ve been very fortunate at Brooks to be under the guidance of Jim Weber, who’s been here for 20 years, and his leadership and many board members and the network in this industry. I refresh myself through leadership through people, and books, and podcasts, and you, Patti. I can’t let this end without saying that you are amazing. You have changed the way I think you’ve helped Brooks along our journey. Your ability to tap into people’s creativity is insane. So right back atcha – I love ya. I love seeing your name. I love seeing articles. I love it. This has been so much fun. Thanks for having me.

Patti Dobrowolski 31:43

Yeah. We’re into that Grit piece. Because this week, I’m – you know, I do coaching some classes, online classes, and this week is about grit coming up, because it’s the thing that separates whether you’re gonna get something done or not – you got to get in there and get your hands dirty. And I just remembered that about you going up with a supply chain issue talking to you in the lunch room, and you’re like – on your way there. And I was like, okay, here we go. He’s rolled up his sleeves, and there he goes. Well, that’s just one of the amazing qualities, only one of the many amazing qualities of you as a leader: your humility and your kindness. I’m just so grateful for you to take the time and to spend time with the audience today and sharing some of your wisdom because all those nuggets are going to drop and they’re going to go: Yes, I love that! So thank you so much for everything and for being here with me today.

Patti Dobrowolski 33:00

Oh, it was so great. And you know everybody listening in. You know, if you love this podcast, be sure to share it with your friends because this guy – not like he needs more visibility, his family will just give him a hard time about it – so we don’t want him to get too tease on that end. But these tips are important. So share them with everybody, and you know what to do. Until next time, Up Your Creative Genius. Thanks, everybody.

Patti Dobrowolski 33:28

Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today’s episode on Up Your Creative Genius. Then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring. So get busy. Get out and Up Your Creative Genius! And no matter where you are in the universe, here’s some big love from yours truly, Patti Dobrowolski and the Up Your Creative Genius podcast. That’s a wrap!

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