Episode 9 – Leadership Tips from Dr. David Bray

Episode #9
Original Air Date: 05.03.2016

31 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Dr. David Bray

Tune in now for our most intriguing episode yet. Dr. David Bray joins the crew to discuss his career leading up to becoming the CIO of the US Federal Communications Commission. He also shares his philosophy on "change agents" and how to empower the edge.

David was named one of the top "24 Americans Who Are Changing the World" under 40 by Business Insider in 2016. He was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for 2016-2021. He also accepted a role of Co-Chair for an IEEE Committee focused on Artificial Intelligence, automated systems, and innovative policies globally for 2016-2017 and has been serving as a Visiting Executive In-Residence at Harvard University since 2015.

David began working for the U.S. government at age 15 on computer simulations at a high-energy physics facility investigating quarks and neutrinos. In later roles, he designed new telemedicine interfaces and space-based forest fire forecasting prototypes for the Department of Defense. David passions include "near impossible missions" involving humans and technology in challenging circumstances. This included serving as the non-partisan Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission from 2013. Through the efforts of a team of positive change agents, he led the transformation of the FCC's legacy IT with more than 207 different systems to award-winning tech. This included rolling-out new cloud-based IT that achieved results in 1/2 the time at 1/6 the cost. He was selected to be one of the "Fedscoop 50" for Leadership in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and the recipient of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronic Association's Outstanding Achievement Award for Civilian Government in 2015.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"“Change agents” fits into this because, if you only do things from a top-down fashion, and you don’t empower the edge, you’re going to be less resilient and less nimble in a rapidly changing environment."

- Dr. David Bray

"Why is this important? What are three reasons why we should do this? And so that helps inform my priority structure. And even more importantly, however, and most people don’t do this, give me three reasons why we should not do this."

- Dr. David Bray

"There’s a difference between management and leadership. Management is when you do what’s expected of you....Leadership is when you step outside of expectations."

- Dr. David Bray

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ANDY CROWE ● BILL YATES ● NICK WALKER ● DR. DAVID BRAY

NICK WALKER: Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers. And whether you’re new to project management and just starting to think about becoming certified, or whether you’re a veteran project manager with a string of certifications under your belt, this program is for you. I’m your host, Nick Walker. And with me are some veterans who have been in the trenches and on the mountaintops, and they’re here to share their expertise with you: Andy Crowe and Bill Yates. Guys, good to see you.

ANDY CROWE: Good to see you, Nick!

BILL YATES: Great to see you.

NICK WALKER: Hey, I know you two have been looking forward to this podcast for some time, talking with our special guest today. And, you know, since we began these podcasts, it’s really struck me that the world of project management is big. And we’ve talked to people who have done some magnificent things, and in a variety of venues. But I have to confess I’ve kind of been looking forward to this guest, as well.

As you know, I’ve been in broadcasting for many years, first in radio, then in television. And so I’ve been aware of the workings of a particular agency that we’re going to be talking about today, the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, ever since the ‘70s, when I got my official FCC license to broadcast over the airwaves. But today’s technology is light years from the ‘70s. Today’s management and leadership concepts are light years from where we were back then. And that’s where today’s guest comes in.

BILL YATES: And I think we’ll find this is going to be one of these guys that’s incredibly intelligent, yet a humble leader. I can’t wait to hear his comments.

NICK WALKER: All right. Well, let’s get right into it. Dr. David Bray is the Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission and has led a transformation of the FCC’s information technology since 2013. David, thanks so much for joining us here on Manage This.

DAVID BRAY: Thanks for having me here, Bill and Andy.

NICK WALKER: Hey, before we talk about your project that revolutionized the technology at the FCC, give us a little bit about your background. I understand you began working for the U.S. government when you were 15?

DAVID BRAY: Yes. I actually had to get a work permit, and it was actually at an electron beam accelerator facility. They were throwing electron beams against the wall, and they were interested in individuals who could help out with doing computer simulations. And I was able to pitch in.

NICK WALKER: At 15. That’s…

BILL YATES: Yes. This is Bill. David, I think I was cutting grass at that age.

DAVID BRAY: Well, I was fortunate enough, my grandfather got a PC when I was five, and he gave it to our family. And no one else in the family really took to it, and I just was interested in both programming as well as taking the computer apart and putting it back together again. And so that apparently turned into a marketable talent of sorts.

NICK WALKER: Yeah, evidently. Now, I understand that you and Andy Crowe really go back a ways. And can you reveal a little bit about this without, you know, revealing any secrets here?

DAVID BRAY: Sure. Happy.

ANDY CROWE: Yeah, David and I both worked at an organization in Atlanta that did – it did web development. It did infrastructure development. And we crossed paths there back, I guess, right before Y2K? Is that about right, David?

DAVID BRAY: Yup, it was 1998, 1999. And, yeah, I was doing stints – it was a Microsoft consulting firm, and basically working with Andy. But also I would do trips with Habitat for Humanity. So I’d work for about three to four months, and then do a one-month’s trip with Habitat for Humanity overseas, and then come back.

ANDY CROWE: And David was always a big deal. But, you know, now since then he’s become a really big deal.

DAVID BRAY: Oh, no, I’m not. Hopefully I’m never a big deal.

NICK WALKER: One of the key words we want to talk about today is “change agent,” a change agent. Now, when you signed on with the Federal Communications Commission, you had a pretty big challenge. And you, with a bunch of other so-called “change agents,” really made a big difference. Tell us a little bit about that philosophy of the change agent.

DAVID BRAY: Sure. And actually I would say the philosophy of change agents actually goes back even further, actually. So shortly after I was working with Andy at that company, I signed up for what was called the Bioterrorism Preparedness & Response Program in 2000. It was at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. And this was 2000. We were only 30 people. And it was what we would do if a really bad day happened, public health-wise, for the nation.

And for those who remember, the Agile Manifesto came out in March of 2001. And I was a big proponent of Agile, partly because we had to do iterative development rapidly to get minimal viable prototypes out there. And at the same time, 2001, most of what organizations, large organizations were doing was large waterfall development. And actually there was a five-year plan, and there was an enterprise architecture. And here I was, this upstart, trying to say, well, we have to do Agile development because, quite frankly, we don’t have a deal with the terrorists not to strike until we roll out everything.

And it literally was September 11th, 2001, at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, when I was supposed to brief the CIA and the FBI as to what we would do if a bioterrorism event happened. Then of course 8:34 a.m. the world changed. We literally piled computers into cars and dealt with a response to the tragedy of 9/11. Did not sleep for three weeks. Stood down on October 1st, and then two days later ended up briefing the CIA. First case of anthrax shows up 24 hours later. And so even though we didn’t have everything we wanted, having minimal viable prototypes through Agile development definitely played a role.

And so “change agents” fits into this because, if you only do things from a top-down fashion, and you don’t empower the edge, you’re going to be less resilient and less nimble in a rapidly changing environment. And so my premise is, and this is what – after dealing with 9/11, with anthrax, we had West Nile virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome, monkey pox. It was a pretty busy five years for public health at the beginning of the 21st Century.

After five years of that, I went to go get a Ph.D. in a business school on how to improve organizational response to disruptive events, with the premise that we’re going to see more and more disruptive events. Whether they be caused by humans, whether they be caused by nature, or whether they just be as a result of globalization, all organizations, private sector or public sector, will see more disruption. And if you’re top-down, you’re not going to be able to respond and deliver results and have projects done at the speed necessary to survive.

ANDY CROWE: So David, I want to jump in with a question on this, if you don’t mind.

DAVID BRAY: Sure.

ANDY CROWE: You are in a situation now where you’re trying to be adaptive to a very changing world.

DAVID BRAY: Mm-hmm.

ANDY CROWE: And just listening to the things you rattled off, some of those I had forgotten, the anthrax and the monkey pox and all of these things coming. But obviously the world is changing really rapidly in a number of ways. Things are moving to the cloud. There’s security issues left and right. How do you prioritize? You’ve got a lot of different inputs telling you what should be top priority right now. And how do you prioritize those to decide? You said it’s not top-down. How do you manage that?

DAVID BRAY: Sure. So part of the philosophy of change agents is empower the edge and give them autonomy. And so, when I have one of my change agents come to me and say, “What is my role, how do I work,” I say my first request of you is whatever area or edge you’re focused on. In the case of the FCC, it’s a different bureau. We have 18 different bureaus and offices, doing everything from wireless devices to wired devices, satellites, international devices, things such as that, that range the whole spectrum of everything wired and wireless. And so I ask the change agent, be aware of everything that’s going on within your sort of team or organization, and sort of be an entrepreneur on the inside. And so then they should be able to tell me what are the top five priorities of that bureau or office and, similarly, come with solutions. So it’s not just bringing a problem. Come with potential solutions based on what they’ve heard from people, what they’ve discussed with people, what they’ve researched on how to fix it.

And so then, when I work with them, I want to know, like, well, you know, why is this important? What are three reasons why we should do this? And so that helps inform my priority structure. And even more importantly, however, and most people don’t do this, give me three reasons why we should not do this.

ANDY CROWE: Oh, I love that.

DAVID BRAY: Because most people don’t ask that. Is it something that, you know, is it just – it’s not the best use of money? Is it really hard to do? Is there another solution that somewhere else, if we collaborate with them, we don’t have to do it by ourselves? That why not, and three different reasons why not, helps inform my priority structure. And then, finally, we then work through it together. So I think that helps inform my priority.

And so I will walk – both listen to the different entrepreneurs. We also hold what’s called a “board walk.” A board walk is a short, 20-minute, standing meeting on Mondays and Thursdays. And in the morning literally everyone just shows up at – it’s at 11:30. Everyone’s standing. We go through, and each person walks through what are the most important issues on their different assignments. They only get about two minutes, so it’s really about where is it at, what do we need to do, any concerns, and we move forward. By the end of 20 minutes we end. If we don’t get it all done, we’ll meet it the next time. But it really is a shared situation awareness across the entire team, not just me, about what’s going on in the bureaus and offices.

ANDY CROWE: My head’s kind of spinning on your directive to ask them three reasons why we shouldn’t do it. You know, I worked with an organization years ago. I wasn’t an employee of this organization, but I did some work with them. And their philosophy was they had a minimal return on investment that they expected from every project.

So they would give – they would ask project managers, or not project managers, but change agents, if you will, to pitch an idea. And then they would put them in the center of the room, and they literally called it “bull in the ring.” And everybody around them would attack that idea pretty viciously. And people would leave in tears. People would leave frustrated. But there’s a self-awareness component to ask the person, okay, you’re telling me why we should do it. Give me three reasons we should not, to see if they’re able to step out of their advocacy and tell you that. Is that a successful strategy for you?

DAVID BRAY: Yes. So fortunately I don’t think we ever devolved people into tears. But we do find, like, by asking people why not, it allows them to have that sort of second- and third-order thinking about what would be the risk to this project? And I think that’s often something that we don’t think about, especially if we go back to a rapidly changing world.

One of your biggest risks is, by the time you deliver whatever the project is, the world might have moved on and be out of date. If you’re in the private sector, your market sector might have changed. Your audience might have changed. If you’re in the public sector, there may have been different pressures that are no longer present by the time you release. And so it’s really getting people to think about, not just why we should do a project, but why we shouldn’t do a project. Because then after they do those three “why we shouldn’t do it” top reasons, usually my next question is, okay, and how are we going to mitigate those reasons why we should not together?

So it’s actually then going to sort of another round, which is, if the reason why we shouldn’t do this is it’s not the best use of money, maybe instead of doing it on premise, we can do it in the cloud at one-sixth the price. That’s a good answer. Or someone saying, well, we shouldn’t do it because right now there’s a lot of resistance in terms of people like the existing system. Moving to the new system might make it, you know, it would be friction because they were going to be unfamiliar with it. All right. Well, we can do a big tent. We can involve people early and often in helping design the experience so that, when it does roll out, they’re familiar with it, and they’ve actually embraced it as opposed to something new.

And so having the change agent sort of be that entrepreneur on the inside, one, it’s much more exciting to them. You can actually attract a lot of talent simply because I’m now giving you a really big piece of being a creative problem solver. But then, two, for me, it’s how I can work with scale because, after I do that with one change agent and whatever edge they’re in, I can move to the next one, and another one, and they can all be working semi-autonomously, but also connected across the enterprise.

BILL YATES: David, this is Bill. I want to go back to that. I love this phrase of being entrepreneur on the inside. That resonates with me. And I want to poke a little bit more into that and just hear tactically what are some of the steps that you’ve seen that have been effective for you to grow people in that area? Those that may resist it, or not understand the value in it? How do you get them onboard? What are some steps that you’ve taken with them to coach them into that?

DAVID BRAY: Yeah, so that’s a great question. So when I arrived at the FCC, a couple things. The average, well, first they had had nine CIOs in eight years. So that’s always a good sign for the next Chief Information Officer, when you’ve had nine predecessors in eight years.

BILL YATES: Don’t unpack.

DAVID BRAY: Yeah. And the good news is that was two and a half years ago for me. So I seem to have…

BILL YATES: Good.

DAVID BRAY: …survived a bit. The second thing, though, was I did some research on the statistics, and it was the average person had been at the FCC for 15 and a half years as an employee. Which is pretty high for any organization. The average contractor had been at the FCC for 19 years. And we actually have more contractors doing technology than we do government employees.

BILL YATES: Wow.

DAVID BRAY: And so that was going to be an interesting dynamic because, if I’m going to be moving away from legacy IT systems on premise and moving to embracing cloud computing, I was going to be disrupting some of the profit models of the existing contractors.

ANDY CROWE: Right.

DAVID BRAY: Plus, with the government employees, I mean, they’re probably looking at me saying, my best friends, these contractors that I’ve worked with on average for the 15 years, have been with me through thick and thin. And here you are, the 10th CIO, I’ve already had nine in eight years, why should I trust and follow what you’re saying, when these people have been with me through thick and thin for 15 years? So it was a very interesting dynamic.

ANDY CROWE: And David, to that point, too, you know, I have – we have vendors that we work with that like to touch the hardware. They want it – they don’t want it in the cloud. They want it somewhere where they can put their hands on it and troubleshoot it and hot swap it if they have to or whatever. So I can imagine that you probably faced a lot of friction, not necessarily negativity, but a lot of friction at various points here.

DAVID BRAY: Yes. There was the friction of both, one, moving from on-prem to off-prem. There was also the what I would call “cloud fatigue.” Prior to my arrival back in 2010, some people had claimed they had taken the FCC to the cloud. And if having your home page in the cloud and everything else on premise is taking things to the cloud, then, yes, we did. But the reality is it was still 207 different IT systems, all on premise.

And what was really dire, and this is how I started to sort of get to your question about how did I motivate people, it was now consuming, everything on premise, the legacy IT, was consuming more than 85 percent of our budget just to maintain. And growing. And this was our IT budget. Plus the average age of these systems was more than 10 years old. And so things were getting close to end of life. Software was unsupported. Of course there’s huge vulnerabilities that also come with legacy software.

And so I was like, well, this is not a sustainable situation. This is in some respects a death spiral that, if we don’t pull ourselves out of, it’s going to end badly. And so creating that sense of urgency is the first thing you can do to motivate people. And then it’s – I often think that your role as a leader is to help people then feel like it’s not just that things are urgent and need to be solved, but I can play a role in helping to fix this. And so that was an art of listening to people.

One thing I’ll give real quick is, whenever I meet with a new team, I like to meet with people individually and say, “What brings you joy?” Which usually is not a normal question that any executive would sort of ask a person. But the reason why I ask that is I want to understand what are they passionate about? Why did they sign up for this job? And as a result, if there are opportunities along the way with whatever transformation we’re doing, where I can link someone’s passions and joys that they find at work with what needs to be done, they’re going to be much more intrinsically motivated to do that.

ANDY CROWE: So I’ve got to ask you, David, how would you answer that question?

DAVID BRAY: For me, really hard challenges that have never been done before give me joy, that require a mixture of both humans and technology.

ANDY CROWE: So for a pop culture reference on that, Snoop Dogg, the great modern philosopher, encourages us to keep putting paint where it ain’t. So maybe that’s sort of what…

DAVID BRAY: It is. Who knew I was doing nothing but [crosstalk].

ANDY CROWE: Solving something that’s not been done yet. Excellent. Excellent. Hey, let me ask you a question along this. You’ve got to be a key part of initiating a lot of these projects, and a lot of these big sort of meta directions for the FCC. How do you tee things up for success from a project standpoint? When you’re getting ready to initiate a project or to allow a team to initiate a project, what are you looking for from your standpoint in order to make sure this is going to be a success? Is it from a project standpoint? A team standpoint? Leadership? Passion? What are you looking for?

DAVID BRAY: So successful projects to me oftentimes is a mixture of we have done enough preparatory work such that we know whatever we’re getting into. We sort of have assessed the battle space in some respects. But we haven’t over thought it, or we haven’t spent so much time analyzing the problem that, by the time we do it, the battle space has changed. And so for me it really is like a sort of a gut check, or an intuitive check.

But when I meet with people, I say, you know, who are we including in this project? Who are our different partners and stakeholders? Who are we not including that we maybe need to think about? So I often will ask those questions. How will we know success? What’ll be our milestones? And I don’t want any milestone beyond, to be honest, three weeks. I generally prefer a milestone of getting toward success in two weeks. We generally do one- or two-week sprints.

We’re mainly an Agile development shop. We do do some dev ops. We don’t do waterfall unless we have to. And that’s when, you know, in the event that the Congress or the administration either passes a law or does a new sort of request saying we want all X features by Y date, you really can’t do Agile for that. You have to do waterfall. But understanding what are the milestones that we can begin to move forward, and so we can know when we need to pivot.

And then, finally, do we have a diversity of team members on that? And by “diversity” I mean cognitive diversity. One of the things I saw when I was with the Bioterrorism Preparedness & Response Program, and in later circumstances, if everyone thinks the same way, they’re going to have blind spots. Frank Lloyd Wright, amazing architect. Trouble is his buildings are falling apart. And it would have been much better to pair Frank Lloyd Wright with an engineer, so it would have been diversity of thought, and they would have produced better products together. And so when I do a team I want to have people that are both development, as well as engineering, as well as security, from the start working together, as opposed to in theories.

ANDY CROWE: There’s a great book called “The Medici Effect,” and it gets into this idea of bringing cross-disciplines together. It really explores how the Renaissance was kickstarted by the Medici family, and they brought in poets and scientists and doctors and artists from all over Europe, and really all over the world, and brought them together all in one setting and sort of sponsored their efforts. And this cross-pollination took off. So I get exactly what you’re talking about, about having cross-disciplines come together. I think a lot of magic happens, almost the more diversity of thought you introduce.

DAVID BRAY: Oh, yes, I agree. Magic happens. And also it’s really good for any manager or leader in the sense that you want the team to be debating amongst themselves as to the best way to go. And your job is to sort of have your hand on the throttle about at a certain point in time the debates need to sort of end, and we need to move forward and do something. You always want to make sure they’re professional. But if people are sharing different perspectives, the product will be much better than if people are not communicating, or if they only see it through a certain lens.

BILL YATES: David, that’s a great point. I want to – I’m thinking of another book that we’ve mentioned probably on a podcast before. It’s by James Surowiecki, “The Wisdom of Crowds.” And he talks about the power of parallel processing, you know, thinking of each one of us as a CPU. It’s great to have different minds with different experience, with different educational backgrounds and different industry experience, even, in the room to solve these big problems. When I think about the environment that you’re in – so the full-time employees are 15 years on average. Then you have contractors that have been there even longer. How did you create openness or an environment where people were willing to listen to people that maybe were from a different department or had a different perspective? How did you invigorate that or get them to embrace that?

DAVID BRAY: So one of the first things I did when I arrived was I put out some really big poster boards. And on each one of them I wrote either “What are our strengths as a team?” “What are our weaknesses?” “What are our opportunities or our threats?” And I put them on the wall and said, you know, “At any given time people can come forward and write on here what they think, and then we’ll come and discuss it 30 days in,” after I had just started. And I invited everyone to do it. And I said, you know, you can do it anonymously. You can come and write it, if you want people to see you. Whatever you want to do, feel free.

Now, the interesting thing was people apparently were much more willing to email me their thoughts personally and say “Could you put them on the board for us,” as opposed to writing it on the board themselves. And that told me something when I first arrived, which was the team was not ready to communicate. And I began to ask a few people why, to try and figure out, you know, I often feel like my job is trying to be Sherlock Holmes. Why is this happening?

And it turned out that my predecessor may have thought he was channeling Steve Jobs or whatever the case might be, would actually ask people what they thought in public and then proceed to shout at them as to why they were possibly not right. That doesn’t really encourage an open environment for communication, and that’s definitely not my style.

ANDY CROWE: Yeah, that can intimidate people, no question.

DAVID BRAY: So that explained the pathology I was seeing, which was nobody wanted to go and publicly be seen to write their thoughts on a board. So it took the next six to nine months of me doing intentional exercises. We would do all hands, but also I’d do it with smaller teams, too, which is – here’s the danger of if we don’t speak up. I actually worked them through a case study. There’s a Harvard case study called “Carter Racing.” And I don’t want to give it too much away, but let’s say it’s loosely based on the same data points involved with the Challenger explosion. And what you do is you work the team through it, and they all say, yes, you’ve got to race, you’ve got to race, go and do race anyway. And then you reveal that where this case the car’s engine exploded, that was the same exact data people were considering when the Challenger was launched.

And by not speaking up and sharing, or suppressing minority views that said, you know, it might be too cold, it might be a bad idea, the engine might explode, or we need more data, you know, in this case, you know, it led to a loss of life. And so showing people the value of speaking up, showing people the value of listening to dissenting viewpoints or viewpoints that might not be the majority. I worked them through exercises. And about six to nine months in, things really began to change. That’s also when we were doing the board walk meetings. And so people saw that they were actually expected to come up and talk about their project in front of everybody, and no one was shouting at them. And I would often give them affirmations and say, “Thank you for sharing.”

NICK WALKER: David, I’m wondering if I could just jump in with a quick question here. I’m an outsider to project management. But I’m curious, you know, you’ve had so much experience in so many different realms – in the military, in humanitarian projects, bioterrorism, cyberterrorism. Do all of these concepts work across the board in each of these arenas? Or do you have to skew them in different directions, depending on what arena you’re in?

DAVID BRAY: So I have found, I mean, this has been basically how I’ve approached sort of leadership, I guess since the early roles that I was put in in a leadership role. And it seems to scale both for private sector, public sector, you know, crisis situations, bioterrorism response, as well as more just sort of get stuff done on a more routine basis. It seems to work. And I actually think that we have these myths of sectors being more different than they really are.

I will say that every organization has cultures, plural; and that probably the best thing a leader can do is not come in and say I’m going to change culture. Because, one, it thinks it’s singular; and, two, it’s that maybe it’s much more better as a leader to come in, understand the narrative of the different cultures and what’s appropriate for them and how far they can go, and then help lead them there.

In fact, one of the things I do say to the teams when I usually arrive is that there’s a difference between management and leadership. Management is when you do what’s expected of you, whether it’s by your boss, your peers, your reports. We all have to meet expectations to a degree; and, if we don’t, then we’re quickly out of a job. But if all we do is meet expectations in a rapidly changing world, and I would submit we are in a rapidly changing world, both in terms of technologies as well as societies and markets, you’re going to fall behind as an organization, and that’s going to be detrimental to the long-term health of the organization. So you have to step outside of expectations.

That gets to leadership. Leadership is when you step outside of expectations. And it’s worth noting that the root of the word “leadership” is the word “leith,” which means to be sent unto death. And this comes from Ancient Greece because the leiths were the ones that carried the flag in front of the melee army. And that’s all well and good until one melee army meets another melee army. The first to die are the leiths.

Nelson Mandela said his most trying moment as a leader was when he had to turn to his own party, the African National Congress, and say, “We’re going to make peace with the white minority.” He almost had a coup. Yitzhak Rabin, an Israeli, it’s when he turned to his own Israelis and said, “We’re going to make peace with the Palestinians.” He was unfortunately assassinated by a fellow Israeli.

So leaders are being sent unto death. When you step outside expectations, you have to have a strategy for how you’re going to get that organization beyond its normal comfort zone, but not so far that it’s detrimental to you or to others.

ANDY CROWE: What a fascinating perspective, David. We deal a lot with the difference between leading and managing in our organization, as well. And so it’s a fascinating line to walk. And you’re exactly right. You know, management gets a bad rap. But managers have to produce key results. They have to meet expectations. You don’t want everybody leading.

DAVID BRAY: No.

ANDY CROWE: All the time. That would be a mess.

DAVID BRAY: Well, actually, here’s – yeah, you don’t want everyone leading all the time. I actually say I expect everyone to be leaders. But I do say, before you start to lead, make sure at least taking care of some expectations, else why should I give you credit? And I actually ask everyone in my organization to be leaders, but I say, “Have a strategy.” And that’s when we walk them through the why should we do this, why should we not do this, and how are we going to mitigate the reasons why we should not do this? And so in some respects, being a change agent in some respects is empowering your entire team, where appropriate, to step outside of expectations, as well.

ANDY CROWE: David, my head’s buzzing, and I am really glad and honored that you took the time to reconnect with me and to be a guest on the podcast today. This has given me a tremendous amount to think through. And this whole idea of being a change agent and successful change agent is really churning and resonating with me. So I want to thank you very much.

DAVID BRAY: Oh, thanks for having me, Andy. I really appreciate it. It’s been a fun conversation.

ANDY CROWE: It has been.

NICK WALKER: Dr. Bray, before we go, I understand that you’ve been named by Forbes magazine and the Huffington Post as the, quote, “most social Chief Information Officer in the world.” So how can we connect with you on social media?

DAVID BRAY: Sure. You can find me on Twitter at @fcc_cio. That’s Foxtrot Charlie Charlie underscore C-I-O. I did it in my own professional role as opposed to a personal account. You can also find me on Linked In as David Bray, and currently at the FCC.

NICK WALKER: All right. Thanks so much. Hey, we want to thank you for your time and for sharing your expertise, your views with us here on Manage This. Thanks so much, Dr. Bray.

DAVID BRAY: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

NICK WALKER: For all of us, we thank you for joining us today, and we hope you’ll tune back in on May 17th for our next podcast. In the meantime you can tweet us at @manage_this, @manage_this, if you have any questions about project management or any of the project manager certifications. And if you know someone who would be a good guest for the show, let us know. We want to hear from you. That’s all for this episode. Talk to you again soon. Until then, keep calm and Manage This.

One response to “Episode 9 – Leadership Tips from Dr. David Bray”

  1. Tosin says:

    Powerful episode. I love the support for diversity of thoughts, experience, and opinions.

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