For this episode of The Evolving Leader, Heather Combs and I talk about how diversity of thought, experience, and opinion ultimately builds stronger leaders, leadership teams, and companies. Heather served in several C-level roles over the course of 5 years at 3Pillar before recently departing to become CEO of StraighterLine.
While Heather and I have some things in common — we met when we discovered we’d both rather actually watch a Nationals game than schmooze with others in a box — we also have vastly different work experiences, educational backgrounds, and strengths. And it’s exactly because we have diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets, I believe, that we worked so well together for half a decade.
One other key I would add, which is a must if this diversity is going to be something that you capitalize on rather than something that creates divisions, is that we operated in a space where we knew that we weren’t going to agree on everything. We accepted that dialogue, discussion, and always digging another layer deeper on tough questions would ultimately lead us to a place where we were stronger as a company and as leaders. And, as you’ll hear in the episode, there were many times Heather had to flat-out tell me that my ideas wouldn’t work and the many reasons why.
Tune in to this episode to hear:
- Why it’s always good to have tension between visionary leaders and operational experts who will be responsible for helping bring the vision to life
- How The Product Mindset went from an idea I had for a book one night at 2 AM to a reality, complete with a stage appearance at CES, a traveling breakfast series, and a series of workshops
- Why the 3Pillar value of “open collaboration” doesn’t equate to blanket agreement on everything, and a healthy amount of debate is actually good
Watch Episode 9: Why Diversity Builds Stronger Leaders
Tune in to the full episode of The Evolving Leader via YouTube below.
Listen to Episode 9: Why Diversity Builds Stronger Leaders
You can hear the full conversation with Heather using the Spotify embed or via links to any of the other platforms listed in the show notes.
- Connect with Heather on LinkedIn
- Learn more about Heather’s new company, StraighterLine, a student success and college readiness company focused on helping colleges and universities improve retention and admit more college-ready students
- Tune in to this discussion with Heather, and find episodes 1-9 of The Evolving Leader wherever you listen: