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PODCAST: Fostering Positive Leadership

August 2019
Mickey Matthews
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Insights from Mickey Matthews, Stanton Chase International Chair

Are your executive leaders following the Golden Rule and treating others as they would like to be treated? How can you determine if your business requires positive leadership change?

“Positive leaders are those that are more authentic, humble, and demonstrate caring about others first, as role models and examples for all. With the rapidly changing and always dynamic social and political situations around the globe…true leaders need to be bold agile and rise above the fray to combat this negativity by getting back to the basics of treating others as we would like to be treated.”

In this exclusive interview, Hunt Scanlon host Michael Wasulko speaks with Mickey Matthews, International Chairman of Stanton Chase, to discuss how positive leadership is critical in today’s fast-paced world, what it means for your bottom line, and what companies must do to stay competitive.

Below you will find an edited transcript of the interview. To listen to the complete podcast, click below.


Michael Wasulko [MW]

Mickey Matthews [MM]


MW: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another informative episode of Talent Talks. I’m your host Michael Wasulko, and thank you for tuning in today to this episode. It is a pleasure to welcome Mickey Matthews, International Chairman of Stanton Chase to our podcast. Our topic today is fostering positive leadership in today’s hyper speed and always connected global environment. It’s my pleasure to introduce Mickey Matthews and get his insights on today’s ever-changing environment. Mickey Mathews, welcome to Talent Talks.

MM: Thank you very much Mike to you, Scott, Chris, and the entire Hunt Scanlon team for allowing me to join you today. Greatly appreciate it on behalf of myself and the entire global family at Stanton Chase.

MW: Mickey, for the benefit of our listeners, and to help give them a better perspective on Stanton Chase, could you please give us a brief understanding and history of your firm?

MM: Absolutely. Stanton Chase is a top ranked global retained executive search firm. We have 76 offices around the world in 45 countries. We are approaching our 30th anniversary next year. We were founded in 1990 as the merger of four boutique search firms, and we feel we possess the scale that our clients desire given our global footprint, yet we are unique in that we’ve retained our local entrepreneurial boutique roots, focusing on the industry and personal hands-on execution by our three hundred plus consultants worldwide, achieving excellence in the client journey and service.

MW: Well Mickey that’s quite a bit of information and a vast history of Stanton Chase! Thank you for providing our listeners with that information.

MM: My pleasure.

MW: So, from your experience Mickey, how would you define positive leadership in today’s growing industry?

MM: The speed of change, the omnipresence of real time information, and the increasing negativity in how people are treating one another in today’s always-on, global, connected world is raising the ante for CEOs and business leaders, I believe. Positive leaders are those that are more authentic, humble, and demonstrate caring about others first, as role models and examples for all. With the rapidly changing and always dynamic social and political situations around the globe, increasing protectionism, and dividing people, nations, and former allies, true leaders need to be bold agile and rise above the fray to combat this negativity by getting back to the basics of treating others as we would like to be treated. As business speed increases and economic borders continue to drop, while digitalization accelerates the pace of change, these positive leadership traits will become even more important as ethics play a key role the in development of society. Finally, authentic and positive leaders remain consistent in their values, beliefs, and respect for others. I believe this means focusing on and developing their team’s strengths and weaknesses, building on diversity and inclusion, and so much more.

MW: That’s phenomenal. So, what are some key signs to determine if your corporation and organization requires positive leadership change?

MM: Mike, we believe that in order to be a global leader and to achieve sustainability and success, companies must recognize these changes, must recognize these trends, must look around the corner anticipating these, and other directional headings, and proactively deal with this ambiguity, deal with change and the constant threats that are coming from the known and unknown sources every day. Globally, from a trend perspective, we continue to see evidence of geopolitical protectionism and some continued hints of heightened nationalism that’s driving very negative and exclusionary political immigration and trade policies. In our view this is not only highly counterproductive to the people and Wealth of Nations, but is a significant dichotomy from trends we see occurring in global business. As leaders of industry are witnessing positively the opposite of this isolationism, and instead are thrilled to see borders dropping, a trend toward multiculturalism, and while it’s taking a little bit more time to get some full traction real progress, towards diversity and increased inclusion. In successful companies the best in class we see are those that are innovative in their systems, processes, and products, agile in their actions, investments, and decision making and are collaborative and collegial across countries, divisions, and functions.

The best performing companies we track tend to be globally strategic but concurrently have excellence in execution. They are locally focused to deliver what their valued customers need with precision. Additionally, business models are changing, along with global economics to be more borderless, decentralized, and interconnected across the platform as opposed to top-down. So, the companies that can master this matrix with fluidity while delighting the customer at the local experience level will win. Finally, given generational demographic changes that are ongoing, successful companies and positive leadership inspires towards a purpose that unites and excites as a rallying cry and resonates for people and their employer brand.

MW: The more streamlined companies with the ability to actually make decisions quickly in an orderly manner and keep things transparent are the best ways to handle business now, internally and externally.

MM: I agree it is about speed; it is about transparency and responsiveness. This is all part of positive leadership. Couldn’t agree more, Mike.

MW: So, how can organizations solve negative leadership cultures now?

MM: We have to realize the importance of our position as leaders globally, and that we are indeed role models with our behaviors cascading throughout not just the global business community, but across cultures, across all employees, across borders, and people worldwide.

The impact we have and can have as positive leadership examples is significant and we must recognize that trust and treat it with the dignity and respect it deserves. To solve a negative culture and to drive positive transformation, leaders must be firm and steadfast and possess the principled values to do the right thing at their core. This consistency and transparency with speed is key in the messaging. We must mirror and act, evidencing strong ethical behavior and standards in everything we do and say, whether walking the floor or up to the boardroom at the C suite of Fortune 50 to Fortune 5000 companies internationally, both public and private. We must continue to embrace diversity, challenge older existing ways of doing things and operate with speed, transparency, and positive purpose.

MW: The one thing that definitely catches me is embracing diversity. When hiring new individuals that have years of experience that diversity leader that you bring on board, different perspectives, different ways of analyzing, really changes the brand.

MM: Agreed. Diversity and the inclusion of women — that’s not just a philosophy, it’s now a business imperative. Mike, customers are more diverse and that’s who you have to relate to and understand. We’re getting multigenerational, so to bring in different ideas, to bring in different perspectives, you have to be inclusive to listen to those different thoughts. So absolutely, successful companies are embracing and including that.

MW: To really drive that culture home, what policies and strategies should companies establish?

MM: As we get closer every day to 2020, the game changing executives will master the fluidity of business, the dynamism of the markets, the values, beliefs and demands of this new generation and diversity, and the rapidly changing and more localized customer requirements. Transformation will be the norm instead of the status quo, thereby requiring positive leaders at every level of the organization, not just the C-suite, to be entrepreneurial, flexible, decisive, and inclusive. Nothing will be simple. Everything will have multiple dimensions. Everything will be faster, will have different impacts and results requiring leaders to have the stamina, passion, a competitive nature, and a collaborative spirit to engage and empower, as success in the future will be achieved through teams not as individuals. Mike, our research shows us that the best in class positive leaders recognize value from diversity and are able to see through others’ unconscious bias, and can bring inclusion for those new and different ideas and perspective. Through this philosophy and foresight brings simplicity from the complexity and ensures engagement from diverse top teams worldwide, representing value for customers and meeting their desires.

MW: Well said. The one thing you definitely mention is the stamina, the passion, and the competitive nature to really be collaborative with engaged employees to have that passion, that competitive nature, and to see things through.

MM: It is. And that’s where also the authenticity comes in, in terms of being a positive leader. You have to be humble and you have to be authentic because people will see through it.

MW: It’s very transparent when someone tries to put up a fake façade, and is trying to manipulate the situation in a way.

MM: Absolutely. Couldn’t agree more.

MW: So we’re talking about the present, but what about the future? What challenges do you see developing in the next five or 10 years with the next generation of leaders?

MM: Workforce values are clearly changing with the influx of millennials, and as they move into leadership roles this is only going to accelerate. While at the same time technology is moving faster, is redefining processes in every business globally, whether large or small, whether in Singapore, Santiago, or Sofia, whether in manufacturing or services. And these forces have an impact everywhere around the world, while borders will continue to drop economically—again, in contrast to many of the negative protectionist geopolitical trends we see. Technology is rapidly transforming business to accelerate these trends, making scalability easier. Whether it’s industry 4.0 with 3D or advanced manufacturing in artificial intelligence or augmented reality, the rapid automation and digital integration of technologies will only continue to escalate and savvy companies and positive leaders will invite this just as they do with diverse and inclusive ideas. They’ll invite it rather than let it disrupt them.

So this rapid change in global business at hyper speed towards the unknown does raise the bar for positive leaders who can walk the walk of that authenticity, follow the golden rule putting others first, and being humble. With millennials we must embrace, include, learn from, and mentor them and other generations as their sense of purpose, collaboration, and diversity of ideas, perspectives, and experience are the future in our ever connected culturally sensitive world.

MW:  I couldn’t agree with you more especially in this day and age with technology advancing in the industry so quickly. It’s easier to ask the company for learning these new methods of technology.

MM: You have to be open and that’s what we say to positive leaders: you have to open your mind. You have to realize that it’s about change, everything can be changing. Technology is changing things. It’s becoming more multicultural. Millennials have different values and beliefs. That’s all a good thing, and to try and hold out or stay status quo you’re falling behind. So you have to be open, embrace it, and be inclusive.

MW: Like you said. definitely having mentorship, bringing on individuals who have years of experience – 10, 20, 30 years of experience can actually show those young individuals how to connect, not just through technology, but face to face with people and over the phone to really build that relationship.

MM: Absolutely. A mentor or a champion who also recognizes it’s a two-way street. They’re going to learn also from that individual some new things and that’s where synergistically the one plus one equals three and that’s what positive leadership is about.

MW: Well ladies and gentlemen, we’re out of time for this episode of Talent Talks. Once again it has been a pleasure to speak with Mickey Matthews, International Chairman Stanton Chase. Mickey, thank you very much for joining us here today.

MM: Thank you again Mike for your time and all the best to you and yours.

MW: My pleasure. Once again ladies and gentlemen thank you for tuning in to Talent Talks.  We’ll catch you on the next episode.


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