by Josh Webb, Southwest Airlines
February 28, LEAD YP members had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Bridwell, Chief People Officer at Ryan, Inc. In this role, Bridwell is in charge of leading, enhancing and communicating the culture of Ryan, Inc., to help attract top talent in the Dallas Region.
This year’s class was tasked with reading and discussing Bridwell’s book “The Newsmaker: A Leadership Story of Love and Honor.” The class held discussions on who was the best character and why as well as how the decisions of one person can have a lasting impact on those around him or her. Bridwell emphasized that people learn through stories and the importance of realizing how our decisions as leaders can and will impact those around us.
Following the book discussion, Bridwell led a session on leadership and culture. He posed a question to the class asking if culture is more important than strategy in business. As it turns out, culture was deemed significantly more vital than strategy in developing a good work environment.
“Culture drives everything in business,” Bridwell said. “You’ll manage your culture, or your culture will manage you.”
After stressing the importance of creating a thriving culture, Bridwell noted accountability is another trait good leaders posses. People typically have a negative connotation with “accountability.” However, the negative connotation only exists because people don’t know how to accurately define it. Bridwell explained that to be accountable, one must be able to focus on what is in his or her control, creating ownership of his or her own actions.
Bridwell also touched on the three types of accountability personalities:
- Engaged – people that focus on what they can control and make it happen
- Not Engaged – people who just go through the motions and just let events happen
- Actively disengaged – people who focus on what is out of their control. They like to play the victim and end up preventing things from happening.
The second half of the class focused on mentor/mentee relationships, featuring panelists Bridwell; Jason Hammon, Senior Vice President of Private Banking Team Leader at the Bank of Texas; and Ben Halliday, Vice President of Commercial Banking at JP Morgan Chase. YPer’s gained insight on how to create and maintain a good mentor/mentee relationship. The golden rule to a good relationship is to be active; the relationship will not build on its own and it cannot be forced. It’s up to us as young professionals to make the mentor/mentee relationship flourish.
The panel also emphasized that even if we have mentors, we too can be mentors to others. Whether we mentor someone on the same level as us or younger, we all have the opportunity to help and learn from others. We can learn from a mentor, but we can learn even more by mentoring someone else.