L3 Leadership Transcriptions: Jenni Catron on the Sacred Privilege of Leading Others

By November 11, 2019Transcripts

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Jenni Catron, Founder of the 4Sight Group.  It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos.

Jenni Catron: 00:00 Is that leadership is sacred work that we get the privilege of investing in people’s lives and influenced by definition means the power to change or affect someone. And I think if we could, if we could really internalize that definition of leadership that we have the power to change or affect the lives of others, we’d hold it with a bit more reverence and responsibility and recognize that it’s absolutely a sacred privilege to lead others.

Doug Smith: 00:28 This is the L3 Leadership Podcast, episode number 235.

Doug Smith: 00:45 Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership Podcast where we are obsessed with helping you grow to your maximum potential and to maximize the impact of your leadership. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host and in today’s episode, you’ll hear me interview Jenni Catron. She is the founder of the 4Sight Group, a consulting group focused on developing healthy leaders and thriving organizations. She’s also a leadership expert and speaker and has authored several books including clout, discover and unleash your God-given influence and the four dimensions of extraordinary leadership. She’s also served on the executive leadership teams of Menlo church and Menlo Park, California and Crosspoint church in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to ministry leadership, she worked as artist’s development director in the Christian music industry and she is just in a phenomenal leader. There’s so much wisdom in this interview. I wanted to interview her for three or four hours.

Doug Smith: 01:37 Unfortunately I only got an hour with her. But if you’ve never heard Jenni before, get ready to take some serious notes. This is a fantastic episode, but before we dive into the interview, just a few announcements. First I want to let you know that our L3 One Day Conference is set for 2020. It’s going to be on Friday, March 13th, right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We listen to everyone’s feedback from our first conference, which was last year and we are committed to making this year’s conference even better. And we are so excited. So make sure you save the date. Friday, March 30th put that on the calendar. Plan on coming. Plan on bringing your team. We will have registration up soon. We are almost finished with finalizing all of our speakers and I am telling you it is an amazing lineup. So get ready. This episode of the podcast is sponsored by Beratung Advisors.

Doug Smith: 02:22 The financial advisors at Beratung  Advisors help educate and empower clients to help make informed financial decisions. Find out how bare tongue advisors can help you develop a customized financial plan for your financial future. Please visit their website at bear tongue advisors. That’s Beratungadvisers.com securities and investment products and services offered through Waddell and Reed inc member FINRA and SIPC bare tongue advisers, Waddell and Reed and L3 Leadership are separate entities. I also want to thank our sponsor, Henny jewelers. They’re a jeweler owned by my friend and mentor, John Henne. Not only do they great jewelry, but they also invest in people. In fact, they give every engaged couple a book to help them prepare for marriage and we just love that. So if your need of a good jeweler, check out Hennejewelers.com. With that being said, let’s dive right into the interview with Jenni and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements. Well, Jenni, Hey, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and making time. And let’s just start off with you just introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Jenni Catron: 03:27 Awesome. Yeah. Thanks for having me on the show today. My name is Jenni Catron. I lead a company called the 4Sight group and, that’s an organization that’s designed to help equip leaders to be thriving and healthy and to help their organizations be thriving and healthy. So I know we’ll get into a bunch of that cause we both share the leadership passion, but, that’s what my day looks like. I spent the first decade of my career in the music business in Nashville, so I have, had a good season of corporate life and then I spent 12 years as an executive pastor before I started 4Sight. So, yeah, just kind of a fun and unusual journey and it’s been the thread through all of it is the passion for leadership.

Doug Smith: 04:08 Yeah. Can you talk about where that came from? Did that come just as a result of you leading in the workplace and you devote a passion for that or what drives that and why are you doing what you do today?

Jenni Catron: 04:17 Yeah, yeah. It’s, that’s a super great question because, you know, I was the kid who wanted to be a CEO of a record company growing up. You know, I just had my sights set on that. I’m, if you speak Enneagram I’m an Enneagram, three achiever, you know, on strengths and finally, you get it. Yeah. It’s, it can be amazing and it can be like exhausting. But you know, so super driven, you know, ever since I was a kid, but I thought I’d run a record company. I thought I would be, you know, a business girl. And, I did that. That was the first start of my career. But I think when I first began working in, you know, a professional environment, I really didn’t have a framework or an understanding of leadership. I really thought it was about position and authority and your place on the hierarchy more so than, you know, just a really healthy view of leadership.

Jenni Catron: 05:09 And I remember when I was promoted to leading my first team, so I had been promoted to the head of the department. I was like 23 years old and I had a lot of responsibility. I felt the pressure of needing to succeed. I knew that my bosses had taken a risk putting me into such a big position and every insecurity and fear started driving everything I did as a leader, you know, so I became that awful leader who’s micromanaging and you know, exhausting her team and completely oblivious, right? I mean, I was so like fixated on succeeding that I didn’t realize some of the damage I was creating with my team. And my boss at the time kinda sat me down. I came to him complaining and instead he sat me down and he said, Jen, if you want to work with widgets, go work in a factory, but if you want to work with people, you’re gonna need to learn how to love them, to lead them.

Doug Smith: 06:02 Wow. 

Jenni Catron: And game changer. I mean, that conversation has been the most pivotal conversation in my journey of growth and really that understanding that leadership was so much more about the people that I was leading than about what I was achieving. And so it just shifted the framing for me of the significance of leadership that I had a place of influence with this team that I was responsible for. And, and accomplishing and achieving our goals with them was so much more critical than just achieving the goal in and of itself. So that was kind of the that was the catalytic moment for me. And I would say everything pivoted from there, still was super focused on accomplishing and like wanting to succeed and climb the ladder. But it all became, it continued to grow in my awareness of the impact I was having on my team. And you know, how I was leading them would directly impact, you know, how they showed up, how they used their gifts, et cetera. So it just, it was embedded there. And then I just became this crazy student of leadership studying everything I possibly could to learn and to grow as a leader.

Doug Smith: 07:17 Who have been some of the major influences in your leadership?

Jenni Catron: 07:21 Yeah, yeah, of course. John Maxwell, I think it was a John Maxwell book. Yeah. Right. I mean, he just, but for the last several decades, he’s been that voice that for all of us trying to learn and grow, you know, he was that voice in his was one of the first books I picked up. So clearly his work, but then I would say disproportionately the leaders that I’ve served with have been really critical to my journey. Obviously, Alan, who was that boss who kind of sat me down and had a pretty tough conversation with me, that was really important. And then my team, you know, I mean I’ve made so many mistakes as a leader and it’s usually been in those moments where I was willing to get honest and they were brave enough to be honest with me that some of my best growth happened as a leader is because I was willing to hear and listen to the people around me and what they were observing or experiencing from my leadership. And I would say that some of my best teachers.

Doug Smith: 08:19 Yeah. Can you talk about that journey? I’m just curious where you were, you could say a task-driven leader and then you had to move to the relational leader part one. How long did that actually take you? Was that a hard period of growth for you? And I’m just curious, what are some of the tactical things you started doing? You know, did you meet with your team and say, Hey guys, I just had this wake-up call and I’m just curious practically how you carried that out?

Jenni Catron: 08:41 Yeah, great question. So I would say it was certainly a journey and I’m still naturally very task-driven. I mean and my team knows this now, so, you know, I hope I’m a more self-aware leader than I was, you know, here’s ago. But you know, that’s a journey of growth too. But, I know that I can have a tendency of if my day is super packed and I’m just go, go, go, go, go, go, go. I can walk into somebody’s office and be like, Hey, did we get, you know, this report ready or did we get this email sent out? Or do we get, and then I’ll catch myself and I’ll be like, Oh Hey, good morning Jessica. And my team like were honest enough about it that we, I’m kind of picking up myself, I’m acknowledging, okay, here, Hey there, I went to my defaults, you know, because we all default to whatever our natural inclination is and I’m tasked.

Jenni Catron: 09:30 So under stress task is going to come out. But I would say, and I would hope that my personal growth, my self-awareness has grown and that I will now catch myself when I’m lacking some relational intelligence. And so things like that’ll happen that I’ll, you know, I’ll just be in the zone and I’ll catch myself and I’ll acknowledge it. And then we both laugh and they’re like, and you know, and then it’s like, okay, yeah, I’m doing great, Jen. All right, let’s get, you know, back to this. But I will say that I have practically done some things. For instance, when I’m doing one on one meetings with my staff, I have a kind of framing in my mind of the first five to 10 minutes of that meeting or checking in with them relationally and I make it a task on my list to do the relational.

Jenni Catron: 10:18 Now that sounds disingenuous, but it actually works, right? I mean, I’m doing, I’m making it on my agenda because I know it’s important. So because I’m wired to think task. If I make it a task, it makes it a priority. And so it shifts something for me to say, Hey, no, this needs to actually be what I start with. I want to connect and I do really care about people. That’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t care. I do really care. And then I actually keep an Evernote file of like notes about, you know, Hey, they, you know, one of my staff, their kid had a basketball or a football game this weekend and you know, so if I just catch things that I hear people talk about that they have going on in their personal lives, I’ll make a note of it because I might not remember it.

Jenni Catron: 11:07 But if I make a note of it then when I have that space to just kind of chit chat, I know enough about their world that I can engage it. So I’ve done some simple things like that, and then you just see the value over time. I would say that because of being intentional to create space for the relational side of things, I now see the value in it and I can almost be too slow to jump into the agenda. You know, even on our staff meetings recently, I had to kind of tighten up the catch-up time at the beginning of the meeting cause I was like, Oh wait, we’re not getting to the rest of our agenda. So, I would say I’ve grown in it. I’ve had to be kind of purposeful and create some, some practical ways to, to build relationship. And knowing what does that, what, how does that best look for me? You know, what’s the best way for me to create an I? I like to schedule lunches with, with team members because that’s a great, I feel like I’m multitasking, we’re doing lunch and we’re catching up and you know, so I don’t feel like I’m burning regular time trying to just catch up relationally, which I’d probably sounds bad, but hopefully you hear the heart in that.

Doug Smith: 12:18 No, I’m, I’m with you. Yeah. And so it sounds like, so you talked about part of your goal and passion is to develop healthy leaders and healthy organizations. It sounds like part of the journey to becoming a healthy leader for you is self-awareness. And can you just talk to leaders listening to this, if, how can they become self-aware and on the road to becoming a healthy leader,

Doug Smith: 12:37 no matter where they are in their journey. 

Jenni Catron: Yeah, that’s so good. And that’s a big passion point of mine is the self self-leadership, the self-awareness piece. Uh, you know, I don’t remember exactly where I kind of landed on this, but one of my personal mantras became lead yourself well to lead others better. And that I just, I just began to recognize that if I’m that healthy as a leader, you know, I’m not going to be able to lead my team in a healthy way. And, uh, you know, I think again, it’s Maxwell, everything rises and falls on leadership, right? And so there’s a disproportionate responsibility to the seat of leadership. And if I’m not modeling it, I can’t expect other people. I can’t expect it of other people either. You know? So, the self-awareness piece, I think I, you know, I think what happened for me as I was, you know, just racing to accomplish so many things as a young leader.

Jenni Catron: 13:29 And pretty soon you discover you know, the blind spots and your leadership, either other people point them out or you trip up enough times that you recognize, okay, this is continually becoming a hindrance to my leadership. And I’ve got to develop, you know, the relational side of leadership. I had to develop that and I needed to be more self-aware that other people need more time to connect with, with me and with one another than to just be task-focused. And so I think it’s an acknowledgment that I need to be self-aware as a leader. And then there are great tools and resources to do that. Tons of great books written on emotional intelligence. There’s a book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0 that gives you an assessment on four different areas of self or of emotional intelligence that you can, you get a rating and understand like where your blind spots are in your emotional intelligence. And self-awareness is one of those four areas. And, uh, so I think you’ve got to, and I think sometimes leaders have to hit a few bumps before we’re willing to acknowledge, Oh, okay, maybe I do lack some self-awareness. There’s a humility in that and sometimes we’re not, you know, sometimes it takes a, a few bumps and bruises before we’re willing to acknowledge that. But personally, in my own story, I have just seen a willingness to be self-aware, such a critical part of my growing influence as a leader.

Doug Smith: 14:56 Yeah. Do you think that sets you apart as a young leader? I mean, I think that’s pretty incredible at 23, you were able to get that much responsibility. Do you see that as a great separator of people who continually go to the next level versus those who don’t?

Jenni Catron: 15:08 I really, I really do. And I think we’re going to see this more and more, you know, I think, historically we’ve, especially in corporate environments and we’ve seen people get promoted into positions where they were promoted to the next position because of all that they accomplished. They were an amazing salesperson. So they got promoted to the head of sales. You know, they were great at this particular function. And so they got promoted to oversee that team. And, what we find is that that rarely, you know, just because you are excellent at the function does not make you excellent at the leadership of that, that function. And, so there’s a whole like, you know, just set of soft skills, which is really a misnomer because these are some of the hardest things to do is to grow neuro-emotional intelligence and be self-aware and all of these things, but we call them the soft skills of leadership.

Jenni Catron: 16:02 And, I think that I think those skills are becoming more and more critical because we need leaders with intuition. We need leaders with good self-awareness, good others’ awareness, people who are good communicators are able to read a room like all of these, again, kind of soft skills are becoming more and more critical where most of the functions are in our, in our jobs today. Can, if anything can be automated, it will be automated and there will be a robot doing it and which leaves the people skills that are more intuitive and not, you know that’s where great leaders are going to excel is the leaders who are able to really understand and read people and lead people well. I think it’s going to continue to be a key differentiator.

Doug Smith: 16:45 Yeah. And so if it’s extremely important for us to develop ourselves and become healthy leaders, it’s obviously important as leaders to make sure that the leaders under us in our organizations are growing into healthy leaders as well. And you work with a lot of organizations on this subject and I’m just curious, you know, how can leaders make sure that not only themselves are healthy, but the teams that are leading their staff, their organizations so they don’t have dysfunction everywhere?

Jenni Catron: 17:08 Yeah. Yeah. And you’ve got to make space and time for this. I think this is one of the things that I see happen a lot is that we, we just, we’re afraid we don’t have margin or we don’t have time for the people development stuff. Because you know, most of our organizations and our companies were, our schedules are packed. We’ve got a ton of things going on. We feel like we don’t have margin for some of these things that feel more like a luxury. My conviction is that you, you don’t have, you don’t have time to not do these things. And I kind of put a lot of this in that bucket of team culture. You know, that like that the heart, the people side of your organization is exceptionally critical to your success. You’ve heard the adage that culture eats strategy for breakfast, right? That what’s happening with your people is more, is more critical and is actually likely to hold you back from accomplishing your vision, mission or your vision more than anything else that’s happening.

Jenni Catron: 18:03 In fact, it was reading a recently on most organizations that either are stagnant or in decline. There’s some internal issue actually holding them back. It’s not an external competitor. I mean there can be, and there are the exceptions, but by and large, the organizations that are either flatlining or in decline, they are, it’s an internal issue. There’s something with their people. It’s a people problem. And so we have to spend time on it. So to answer your question, I have taken a long way around that. But to answer your question, I think when you’re in the leadership seat, you’ve got to make time for this. And it could be as simple as, let’s say you’ve got a staff meeting and you decide that our team every month is going to read a book together and you pick Emotional Intelligence 2.0 you pick a leadership book, you pick, you pick something that you’re like, this is a topic that I want us to sharpen our skills on.

Jenni Catron: 18:55 And maybe you take the first 15 minutes of a staff meeting and you just discuss a couple of chapters and you just start talking about it and you’re starting to get your team to talk about these things. I’m a big fan of personality assessments. So if your company or your organization use Myers Briggs or disc or Enneagram or any of those personality assessments, don’t just do it and then put it on a shelf, like do it and then study it. And get to know your team, like really read their profiles. Have one on one conversations to say, Hey, so this was your profile. Tell me about what resonated with you. What should I know about your personality that would help me lead you better? You know, so as a leader you can use a lot of these tools and everybody loves talking about themselves. So if you do these kinds of, you know, assessments and things together as a team and you invite your team to tell you about how they work, what motivates them, what energizes them, where they get frustrated, you’re going to get valuable information that’s going to help you lead them better.

Jenni Catron: 19:56 And they’re also going to grow. Because while you’re doing that, you’re also saying, Hey, so here’s what you learned about yourself. Now what did you learn about your other teammates as you hear them share their personality or share with their learning from this book that you read, what did you hear? What did you learn about them and how is it going to help you better work with them? Now that you have more understanding of how they think, how they’re wired, et cetera. So again, but you can, you know, start somewhere but create someplace in some margin to, to focus on some of these team development skills cause it’s so valuable. Yeah. And I do want to talk just your latest book is the four dimensions of extraordinary leadership and it’s based on the great, the great commandments. Love your neighbor as yourself. Can you talk about the book and how leaders can implement this cause I think it ties into everything that you’re talking about?

Jenni Catron: 20:44 Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I actually like encourage people use this one you like, it’s a great starting point and especially if you’re a person of faith, the four dimensions, it’s because it’s built on the great commandment. When Jesus says love God and love others with your heart, soul, mind and strength, he’s implying that we need to love God and others with our whole being. And my question as I wrote, you know, as I was writing this is what would it look like to lead with all of who we are, heart, soul, mind, and strength. And very quickly on heart is that relational side of leadership. Soul is the spiritual side of leadership. And that, you know, if you’re in a, if you’re in a setting where maybe your spirituality can’t be as overt, still your integrity, your character, your morals, everything that’s based upon your, your spiritual life shows up in your work.

Jenni Catron: 21:31 So your soul show, it still shows up in your work. Mind is the strategy because there we need to set goals and tactics and make things happen. And strength is the visionary side of leadership because without vision people perish. So a great leader is leading relationally, modeling there, you know, what is important to them from a spiritual perspective. They’re strategically giving guidance and direction and they’re casting vision to help everybody stay in alignment and work and move together. And, that book, I unpack each of those four areas and I point out how each of us has a strength in one or two of those dimensions. So as we’ve talked about the relational side of leadership, the heart one was a little lower for me early on in my leadership journey. The mind and strength. I’m a big visionary and I can build a plan to make it happen, but I sometimes can bulldoze people and my heart and soul get a little lost in the equation.

Jenni Catron: 22:26 Well, the premise of that book is that Jesus doesn’t say love God and love others. If you have heart or if you have soul or if you have mind or if you have strengths, he’s implying that it’s all in you. And so what I’m pushing leaders on is all four of these dimensions are in you. So you need to tap into those and you need to bring the best of who you are to leadership. All four of those dimensions need to show up. And I give you some practical ways that they can and how you can develop them. But there’s also an assessment in there so that you can, you can assess yourself on, okay, which of these four dimensions is stronger for me? Which one’s weak or for me? And it’s a great tool to take together as a team because you can help one another. Understand, okay, this is why she immediately goes to building a plan and you know, giving us all the detail because she just naturally thinks mind first. This is why I can have a zillion coffee meetings with people, but I never get a plan done is because I’m hard at first. Well, there’s some wonderful things about that, but it needs to be imbalanced. So that’s what I, that’s what I dig into on the Four Dimensions.

Doug Smith: 23:26 That’s so good. You did write another book that I just wanted to touch on. I more or less want to talk or hear your thoughts on women in leadership, but I love the title of your book. It’s called Just Lead, No Whining, No Complaining and No-Nonsense Guide for Women Leaders in the Church. Why did you write this and, and what is your message to women leaders in today’s world?

Jenni Catron: 23:42 Yeah. You know, I wrote it because it was the publisher reached out and said, Hey, this book needs to be written. Um, at the time I was serving as an executive director of one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country. And it was, I was a female in the second chair seat. And in the church culture, that’s pretty unusual, especially seven or eight years ago when we wrote that book. And, but I also was like, I, you know, it’s that no whining, no complaining, like can guide, you know, so I’m kind of a no-nonsense. Like if God has equipped you if he has called you if you’ve been given the gifts of leadership or you’ve been put in a place of leadership, don’t shrink back from that. Do that with humble confidence, right? Like you’ve got to confidently go into a dual with a healthy spirit of humility, but don’t shrink from that.

Jenni Catron: 24:31 And that’s, I think the message that I feel like is so important for women leaders to hear today is don’t make the excuses, be respectful, but you know of, of the context you’re in and the leaders that you serve with. But just lead, just do it because we need you to show up with your gifts and your talents and your experiences and your opportunities because they’re unique and you’re going to bring a perspective that we need from one another. So I personally am like, I’m just a leader. I happen, I’m a leader. I happen to be a female. Right? I don’t, like, I don’t lead with, I’m a woman leader. I’m just, I’m just a leader. I feel like I’m called to lead. I’m passionate about helping equip leaders, and I happen to be a girl and, you know, and I try to, I try to look at it in that order so that I don’t get hung up by it. But I think I appreciate you asking the question and you know, and just, and just helping champion and champion women to lead. But yeah that’s kind of it.

Doug Smith: 25:27 No, I love that. And I would say one of the exact same page and I’m just curious, I’ll just leave this open, but do you have any advice to men who maybe have been leading for a long time and even making room for women or how to lead women if they’ve never done that before? I’m just curious if you have any advice for men?

Jenni Catron: 25:40 Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that I would just suggest recognize that sometimes women do. I mean, I’m telling women just lead, don’t hold back. Like, you know, show up and be present, bring who you are. But also many of them are, do, have some insecurities about leading and it could be their background, could be theological, could if they’re in the church context. Different churches have different perspectives on that. So there can be a lot of reasons why women will feel a little insecure to assert themselves. So anywhere where there’s a guy who believes in them and can help call that out. I say one of the best gifts we can give one another as leaders is to give the gift of belief that all of us want to be believed in. And oftentimes we need somebody to see something in us and believe something in us even before we believe it in ourselves.

Jenni Catron: 26:30 And I think that’s true regardless of gender. But I think especially for women leaders, I mean, I look back at my journey and there’s a handful of guys who were my bosses throughout my leadership journey who were super to see potential in me and to name it and to kind of throw me in the deep end. Like you said, that you know, 23 years old in heading up a department, you know, and, but they believed in me and I rose to the occasion. So I would say to the guys if there’s a young woman on your team, if there’s a woman on your team who you feel like has potential, promote her on that potential, not that she’s proven it right. Like, give her, promote her on potential or give her opportunity based on the potential that you see in her and then help just affirm that and give her, give her and then equip her. Like if she needs some, if she needs some resources or she needs some tools or development, then equip her. She might just need that little gift of belief to help, to help it come out of her. And that’s, I think one of the best things you can do.

Doug Smith: 27:36 Yeah. I want to think about your personal journey. And again, I don’t have as much context around this as you would obviously, but I do want to talk about transition and leadership. So again, you may have had more than this, but you obviously transitioned from the record company. You’ve been at two churches and now you know, you transitioned to your own thing. What have you learned about transitions as a leader and how do you even and process, transition? I’m just curious. I think it’s a huge topic that’s not talked about a lot.

Jenni Catron: 28:02 That’s a great question. Yes, it is a huge topic that isn’t talked about a lot and I think, you know, so in each one of those transitions I had to reconnect with my own sense of purpose and mission. Like I think a lot of ambitious leaders tend to kind of wrap our identity and what we do. It’s not a healthy thing, but I think we just naturally do that. And at each of my key transitions I had to really like just kind of wrestle through, okay, wait, who am I? What is true about my purpose, my identity, my calling apart from any role that I play? Because at every transition that’s felt a little rattled. Like, you know, Oh, I was this for so long and then, Oh, you know, can I be this? Should I be this? Do I fit in here? You know, you have all those, those questions.

Jenni Catron: 28:48 So I think every transition, getting back to that core sense of purpose about who you are, how you’re wired, how you’re gifted, just clarity of identity I think is so, so critical. And, and we, we face that when we do transitions and I think sometimes it catches us off guard. Right. The other thing that I would say is that every time I’ve transitioned it has required more patience with myself and more compassion with myself for adjusting to something new. And I feel like this is almost gotten worse the older I get because I think every transition, I have more years of experience under my belt. I’ve, you know, I’ve just, I’ve had more laps and I like feel like I’m more on top of what it takes to lead and that should be transferable in any environment. But with every one of my transitions it has, it has always taken me a bit longer to adjust, to get comfortable in the new space and you know, the new seat of whatever I’m doing.

Jenni Catron: 29:48 And so it’s required greater patience and compassion with myself in that I beat myself up sometimes of like, Oh, well I should be able to just jump right in and like tackle this. And I know fundamentally what I need to do in this role. But back to the relational side, there’s always the dynamics there. And then every new role is, is, you know, it’s different and I’ve got to learn new skills. I’ve got to learn new things about me. And so that, that part of the patience and compassion with myself has, it startles me every, I’ve only done a few transitions, but every time it takes, catches me off guard.

Doug Smith: 30:22 And in your new season, at least the season you’re in, now you do multiple things. I do want to dive deep into a just a few. I guess what I would like to hear about speaking. That’s probably my first one I want to learn more about. But, uh, your public speaker, you speak all over the world conferences, a lot of people listening to us, aspire to public speaking. Can you, obviously there’s really open ended. What are your thoughts on public speaking and those, what would your advice be to those who want to do it?

Jenni Catron: 30:46 Yeah, yeah. You know, so public speaking became a bit of an just an overflow of some of what I was doing and you know, the work that it snuck up on me, I guess I’ll say that. But I think it, I mean, if it’s something you are interested in maybe scares you and exhilarates you because typically those two things go hand in hand with public speaking if you’re, if you’re interested in it. I think you’ve just got to do it and you’ve just got to create the opportunities for it and, and give it, it’s going to take time. Right. So, I mean, when I first started speaking, I would spend, I mean, I still spend a lot of time in crafting my talks and rehearsing those. But I spent disproportionately more a decade ago when it was really brand new to me. So I think and study, study good communicators, but I think finding your style is probably one of the things that I would, encourage, you know, we all see some of our favorite speakers and we see their style. But I think getting comfortable with what is really what’s natural to you. Like, and there’s good, best practices around, you know, just how to start a talk, you know, energy, flow, all of those things and study those and get that, get that. But I think also having a sense of what is, you know, what’s unique about my style or my delivery and not trying to be something else. That’s probably been a big learning for me too, is being comfortable with what does, what does it look like for me to be a speaker?

Doug Smith: 32:17 Yeah. And is your opportunity something you pursue or do you let them come to you?

Jenni Catron: 32:22 They mostly come to me at this point because of, you know, the work that I’m doing at 4Sight. It’s a mix of consulting, coaching and speaking. And so most of it is come to me. Occasionally I’ll reach out for something that I’m like, you know what, I’d really love to be a part of this event for whatever reason. But it’s more so an overflow of the work that I do. 

Doug Smith: And let’s talk about coaching and consulting for a minute. So why do leaders even need coaching? And there are so many books out there. You can watch Ted talks. Why do they need a coach? Why do they need an outside party to come into their organization to work with them? 

Jenni Catron: Yes, and great, great question and great setup because we can, we have more information and more access at our fingertips than ever before. Right?

Jenni Catron: 33:07 Like, we can go listen to some of the best communicators, speakers and thought leaders, you know, with a quick search. The problem is implementation. You know, most of us have more information than we know what to do with, but we were terrible at implementation. We get stuck. And in fact, I think it’s a bit of information overload because we’re like, well, we could do this or we could do this or what if we did this or what if this happened? And so I think that the implementation side I think is where coaching and consulting becomes really critical. And I see myself when I’m working with the clients we serve, I see myself as that I’m their accountability partner of sorts and coming in and help in on the consulting side and coming in and, and helping organizations or leaders assess, you know, where do we need to focus?

Jenni Catron: 33:53 What is core to our purpose? Is there an issue with our team? Is there something strategically we need to focus on? And those are kind of our three building blocks of our framework is purpose, culture, and strategy. So I’m coming in and I’m assessing what’s going on in each of those three buckets inside your organization and where, where, what needs attention, where’s the, where’s the roadblock that’s inhibiting you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Uh, and then I become kind of that accountability partner to say, okay, here, now let’s build your plan. Let’s, let’s see what it’s going to take to accomplish what you want to accomplish. But now I’m the person holding you accountable to that plan because next week you’re going to read an article and it’s going to make you want to shift your, yeah, you’re going to want to pivot because you’re like, Oh, over here they’re doing this, or I just saw on Instagram that this company or this organization is doing this, should we be doing that?

Jenni Catron: 34:42 And so again, we have information overload and we lack the discipline to stay the course with something that’s going to end up having longterm impact and help us accomplish our vision. So I become kind of your accountability partner in holding you and kind of a, I talk about organizational anxiety all the time that that’s what’s going on for many of us is that there’s just kind of this anxiety of, uh, what should we do this or should we do this? Or what about this? Or, you know, and I’m, my job is to come and kind of quell that organizational anxiety and help you have the confidence to stay the course on the things that, you know, and we’ve done good work to define where you need to be focused. Same thing with coaching. Coaching’s usually a little bit more personal and usually at the executive level where we’re saying, okay, where do you need to grow as a leader? And then helping just kind of step by step, walk you through tools and resources or talk you through situations that you’re navigating in your business or in your ministry that help you, um, move forward. And it’s just, it’s that point of accountability and that’s that person who’s holding you to implementing the things that you’ve talked about. And I think that’s, I believe that’s the, the best contribution that consultants and coaches can make is to just be that person who helps keep bringing you back into focus.

Doug Smith: 36:00 That’s good. And if someone’s listening to this and they’re saying, wow, that sounds awesome, I want to connect with Jenni. How can people connect with you and your company?

Jenni Catron: 36:06 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Our website is get forsythe.com the word get Geet, the number four and the word sight, S I G H t.com. And my email is Jenny Jenni@get4sight.com come straight to me. So I always love connecting with people too.

Doug Smith: 36:21 Great. And we’ll include links to all of that in the show notes. One more question before we dive in the lightning round. You’ve written multiple books and I’m just curious, what advice do you have to aspiring authors and what have you learned about becoming an author?

Jenni Catron: 36:32 Yeah. So, writing is amazing and it’s the one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I’m writing a book in particular, but just write right every day, write everything you’re thinking about right? When it’s scrappy, right? When you don’t have anything to say, you might not publish it and, but, but that discipline of writing is so critical. So develop the discipline of writing. That is what I would say is the most important thing. You need to have a healthy discipline of writing and then you’ll begin to craft your, it’ll, you’ll begin to see some of your core themes, ideas, stories start to merge into something that may become a book. Uh, but I would say just getting the discipline of writing before even deciding, Oh, I want to write a book on this. You might learn a lot about yourself in the writing process that will ultimately help you, will lead to the book that you really need to do.

Doug Smith: 37:27 Love it. All right, let’s dive into the lightning round. Bunch of fun questions, and then I’d just like to take leaders through, first one is what is the best advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?

Jenni Catron: 37:36 Yeah, so that would go back to Alan, who had talked about earlier, you know, when he said you gotta love people to lead them. So that’s still the stickiest one for me.

Doug Smith: 37:45 Love it. If you could put a quote on a billboard for everyone to read, what would it say

Jenni Catron: 37:49 Lead yourself well to lead others better.

Doug Smith: 37:51 Best purchase you’ve made in the last year for $100 or less?

Jenni Catron: 37:55 Oh, that one’s tricky. I should’ve been more prepared for this one.

Doug Smith: 38:03 This gets everyone the same. Literally. It’s hilarious. Yeah. Yeah. And then everyone always says AirPods and there $160 but I let them go, AirPods are awesome.

Jenni Catron: 38:12 Yeah. It’s probably something really simple like a pair of shoes that are just comfortable and like, you know, cause especially when you’re traveling all the time, like good shoes matter. So, and I like shoes. So I’m going to say it’s shoes

Doug Smith: 38:26 other than your own. What are the top two or three books you find yourself giving away most often? At least in this season right now.

Jenni Catron: 38:31 Yeah. Yeah. There’s a great book by Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. It’s one of my all time favorites, Strengthen and Soul of Your Leadership. And then the Maxwell book that I first picked up when I was 23 was the 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a leader’s day. That’s the Maxwell one. And I give that away a ton too.

Doug Smith: 38:51 Love it. A top two or three podcasts you listened to consistently.

Jenni Catron: 38:55 Entreleadership, a StoryBrand and yeah, that’s probably the top two.

Doug Smith: 39:04 You may have already answered this, but what are you passionate about right now?

Jenni Catron: 39:07 You know what? I’m really passionate about healthy team culture, that the team dynamic is so critical and that’s, that’s kind of core passion for me.

Doug Smith: 39:16 Yeah. What do you wish people knew about your journey? That they may not know

Jenni Catron: 39:20 That it’s lonelier than it looks? So, you know, it’s, it’s fascinating you end up with, you know, platforms of influence and things, but you have to fight for community and fight for relationships in that. So yeah.

Doug Smith: 39:33 Yeah.

Doug Smith: 39:33 What’s your greatest challenge right now?

Jenni Catron: 39:39 Managing my time, which I usually pride myself in doing, but you know, a young, fast growing organization and I’m realizing I’m having to keep reinventing my schedule and what the priorities are all the time. So managing me.

Doug Smith: 39:56 That’s awesome. I wanted to ask this earlier, but we’ll make it a lightning round question. How do you deal with pressure? You even talked about, you know, 23, you had all this pressure, so you had to perform, I’m sure that kept you up at night, but how do you deal with the things that keep you up at night as a leader?

Jenni Catron: 40:09 Hmm. I journal a lot, so I like whatever I’m processing as a leader, I usually am writing it out. That’s probably the writer in me too, but I need to write it into process in some way that helps me like let go of it. And then a couple of good people in your life that you can, you can just kind of vomit too when you’re trying to make sense of stuff. And you know, I’ve got a couple of those people that I’m like, I don’t even need you to fix it. I just need you to hear it, you know? And those are important.

Doug Smith: 40:40 What are you dreaming about right now?

Jenni Catron: 40:43 I am dreaming about, I’m dreaming about an era of leadership in general where we have extraordinary healthy leaders, leading organizations and we don’t see headlines, just peppered with unhealthy, dysfunctional leaders and I feel like we just story after story of those, some of them large scale, some of them small scale. I just would love to see, and I would love to see this, you know, the next decades of leadership, not marked by leadership failure.

Doug Smith: 41:26 I love that. Absolutely love it. You get to meet with a lot of great leaders. I’m just curious, do you have a favorite question that you always ask every you meet with if

Doug Smith: 41:34 you’re out to dinner with them?

Jenni Catron: 41:35 Yeah. Who’s the person who’s influenced you the most and why?

Doug Smith: 41:40 And did you already answer that with Alan or,

Jenni Catron: 41:44 Yeah, Allen’s definitely one of them. I’ll give you another though. When I was 15, I totally like, so it’s crazy to envision, but 15 year old, I was super shy, very introverted anyway, but I was also super shy. I go into this little ice cream shop in my local hometown to ask for a job application so I could work at this ice cream shop. And, she hired me and a lady named Bonnie. And again, one of those people who gave me that gift of belief, like I was this shy, timid, 15 year old kid and she hired me, promoted me to manager within the first year that I was there. So, you know, I mean, just threw me in but believed, and I still see Bonnie to this day and I’m just one of those people who just extraordinary influence. And again, I think sometimes we think influence has to be grand, but here’s this owner of the small little ice cream shop in this little bitty town who sees this kid and says, I’m going to give her a chance and believes in me. And I think a lot of my journey of success, if you will, is because of Bonnie, because of her belief in me.

Doug Smith: 42:49 I love stories like that. At a high school principal there was similar, I mean, I can name a hundred people, but yeah, it’s just crazy. There’s subtle little things.

Jenni Catron: 42:56 It’s always somebody that’s just kind of ordinary in your life that has such extraordinary impact.

Doug Smith: 43:01 You, talked about time management. I’m just curious, what’s the greatest ROI for you right now? What’s the greatest investment of your time and resources outside of your family? You know, a lot of people say that.

Jenni Catron: 43:10 Yeah. I would say the things that I do for, I would say like the things that I’m doing to learn and grow for myself. So because my job is so, I have to, I have to share so much content with others by way of consulting or speaking, coaching, I’m always kind of output. Like I’m having to like give a lot of information. Time spent reading and learning is really, really, is really, really huge and it feels like a luxury, but it’s that time is, is, that’s huge ROI for me.

Doug Smith: 43:46 Do you have any unusual habits that enable you to be successful?

Jenni Catron: 43:51 I am religious about my schedule. I get up at the same time every day. I run pretty much every day. Then I read for about an hour and then I start work and then I shut down at a certain time. Every evening I have dinner, I have hang out with family, I go to bed at the same time, I sound boring. Yeah. I promise that that routine is so critical for my mental health, my physical health, the whole thing. Yeah.

Doug Smith: 44:29 You just run casually? I like to run. Are you a marathon or

Doug Smith: 44:32 anything like that? 

Jenni Catron: I did. I’ve done three half marathons cause I have a competitive streak in me. I’m not, I’m not fast so I’m never going to win them. So I have to set my own like internal goals. But now it’s more I say a run for treats. I just run to be able to, you know, stay relatively healthy and eat, you know, a few treats here or there. So, I’m not training for anything specific right now. My husband and I have also hiked, a number of mountains. He’s, he enjoys like we’ve climbed the fourteeners in California and all of them, not all 14 we did, we did Mount Whitney twice, which that one’s the highest in Southern California. We’ve done that one twice. We did Mount Lyle in Yosemite. we’ve done half dome, which is not a fourteener, but we haven’t done all of them.

Jenni Catron: 45:19 He probably has a zillion, a list, a zillion long have other ones he’d like to do. Yeah. And those are, I mean, I kind of love and hate them, but you know, those are, that’s another kind of fun thing we do just to, 

Doug Smith: That’s my next question. What name one item on your bucket list still left. 

Jenni Catron: Oh, you know. Okay. I want to go to Wimbledon. I’m a big Oh, 

Doug Smith: Awesome. Yeah. I went to years ago that was a bucket list or actually for my father in law and we went for his 60th birthday, 60th birthday. You gotta go. It’s unbelievable. 

Jenni Catron: That’s awesome. So I, I went to U S the U S open this year, which was phenomenal. But Wimbledon, I’m a I, so I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I love England. I love London. Um, I’ve been to the, I’ve been to Wimbledon but not during the tournament and so I would love to go to the tournament.

Jenni Catron: 46:05 That’s who I am. Just curious who your favorite tennis players, top male, female, top male has gotta be? Roger Federer. I just like, I’ve been a fan for so long and I just think it’s remarkable what he’s accomplished in his career. Huge respect for Serena and females. Harder for me because the female players bounce around a lot except for Serena. But I did get to see Serena this year and I was like, she’s just, I mean she’s just amazing. Like, so,, yeah, so I’m very intrigued by, um, Andrea, uh, the girl who beat Serena this year. Yeah. I’m forgetting her last name cause it’s hard to pronounce. She’s from Canada. I’m super intrigued to watch her career cause I think she’s pretty phenomenal too. If you can go back to your and have coffee with your 20 year old self, would you tell her?

Jenni Catron: Just chill out.

Jenni Catron: 47:01 It’s funny how many leaders, that’s the advice, like yes, relax, slow down. Just like take a breath. Like it’s all going to be okay, but I still have to tell my 40 something self that. So, yeah. So just, yeah, it’s just, it’ll be okay. Just breathe. 

Doug Smith: And at the end of your leadership journey, what do you want to be remembered for and what do you want your legacy to be? 

Jenni Catron: I want people to have said their life was better and richer because of however I was able to speak, encourage, invest in them. That, you know, the story of their journey is so much richer because our paths crossed. 

Doug Smith: Anything else you want to leave leaders with today? 

Jenni Catron: Ah, this is such a good interview. Thank you for this. This is fun. I think, just, you know, one of my deepest beliefs is that leadership is sacred work that we get the privilege of investing in people’s lives and influenced by definition means the power to change or affect someone. And I think if we could, if we could really internalize that definition of leadership, that we have the power to change or affect the lives of others, we’d hold it with a bit more reverence and responsibility and recognize that it’s absolutely a sacred privilege to lead others. So keep believing. 

Doug Smith: 48:23 Hey, I loved every second of the interview. Thank you so much for your time and thank you for investing in me and all the leaders that are listening to this.

Jenni Catron: 48:28 Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for hosting the conversation. Really grateful.

Doug Smith: 48:34 Hey everyone and thank you for listening to our interview with Jenni. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can find ways to connect with her and everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode235 as always, if you want to stay up to date with everything we’re doing here at L3 Leadership, simply sign up for our email list at L3leadership.org and when you do, you’ll get a free copy of my ebook and Making the Most of Mentoring, which is my step by step process for getting meetings with leaders and cultivating those relationships. I know to add value to you, so make sure you get a copy of that. And as always, thank you for being a listener. And if you are not subscribed to the podcast yet, please subscribe today and share this on social media. Share it with a friend that it will add value to. That’ll help us grow our audience and we really appreciate that. So, Hey, thanks again. As always, I like to end with a quote and I quote Gerald Brooks often, and I’ll quote them again today. He said, “It’s better to lose with character in life than to win with compromise.” That’s so good. Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.