No bullshit leadership

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What exactly is leadership, and what steps must you take to practice it effectively?

Chris Hirst is a change agent, widely recognized as an innovative and inspirational leader, and the author of “No Bullshit Leadership”. Prior to becoming a CEO, Chris Hirst experienced a really low period in his career and it drastically changed his life.

In this episode, we will talk about and get deeper into the art of moving from where you are right now to where you want to be. How Chris made the transition from engineering to advertising, and the factors that contribute to effective and successful leadership.

Chris Hirst Back Story

Chris was raised in rural Northland and worked at a factory for a year before enrolling in a four-year engineering program sponsored by Pilson Glass in St. Helens. His work perception was very narrow at the age of 18, so he opted to be an engineer. It wasn’t until he was right at the end of his degree that he decided to explore other career options.

 He eventually found work at an advertising agency, where he transitioned from advertising to consulting and leadership development, as well as teaching leadership. 

Then he was tasked with giving a leadership presentation to some graduates. Two days prior to the presentation, he worked on his speech and thought about what he could say that they hadn’t heard before and would be helpful to them. On Saturday morning, he had thought of an interesting idea: “No bullshit leadership”.

In This Episode

[13:36] Chris is asking himself a lot of questions at the end of his education: What am I going to do with my career? What am I going to do with my life?

[14:54] A line from Chris’ book “No Bullshit Leadership”: “You can learn as much from failure as you do from successes.”

[15:40] Chris was hired as part of the leadership group at an agency at the age of 32. His task was to fix the agency that the industry thought was unfixable.

[19:24] Chris went to Harvard Business School and returned with new energy, determined to leave.

[20:28] He was finally offered a position as CEO.

[21:30] The reason for the lack of success at the agency Chris worked at.

[23:18] What are the things you need to do to be a good leader? 

[24:16] In an organizational sense, culture is the environment you create as a leader.

[24:59] Your ambition as a leader is to create an environment that enables your team to either outperform the competition or achieve things.

[38:05] Culture is sustained through our behaviors.

[45:46] Chris explained an equation he made “leadership impact equals clarity multiplied by action.”

[50:05] The importance of decision making.

Impact of “No Bullshit Leadership”

Chris wrote “No Bullshit Leadership” to challenge our assumptions about what leaders look like and who they are. He wishes to persuade us that anyone can be a leader. We are given the necessary tools, guidance, and the opportunity to contribute our own ideas. 

Chris’s belief is that no matter whether you’re a school or a hospital, an advertising agency or a factory if you find a problem in the organization, leadership is always the main problem. It excludes a large number of people from believing that leadership is something to which they should, can, and should aspire.

It always comes down to leadership, so cut the bullshit. The only real answer is better, more effective leadership. 

Connect with Chris

On LinkedIn

On Twitter

On his Website

Buy the book “No Bullshit Leadership”