Welcome back to the Catapulting Commissions podcast with your host, Anthony Garcia! On today’s show, Anthony sits down with Anton Gunn, former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama, author, speaker, and leader in the consulting space. He was the first African American in history elected to the South Carolina legislature. He’s spent his life building diverse, high-performing teams in world-class leadership culture.
Anton’s background and history is one that he has kept close to him in his personal and professional spaces. Four–yes, four–generations of Anton’s family have served in the military. And that same service-based mentality translates into the leadership work Anton does today. He emphasizes the importance of coming from a place of service first. He breaks it down into three questions that leaders should be able to not only talk about but act on.
1 Do you care about me?
2 Will you help me?
3 Can I trust you?
That same mentality overlaps with many aspects of leadership. Anthony and Anton discuss diversity and inclusivity, and how these topics start from the top down but are seen and heard from the bottom up.
They go on to talk about communication. More specifically, how consistency impacts your company’s turnover. The most successful companies, Anton says, have two things: good habits, and good rituals. It’s one thing to make a statement, but it’s another to do it every day. A good ritual sets you up for success.
Anton’s tip is the “Sacred 60.” This is an hour of your day, every day, where you make it a point to touch base and connect with those you lead, uninterrupted. Showing your care makes a massive difference. When you only care about outcomes, they’ll quit on you. People won’t quit on those they care about. When people leave, it’s more often NOT about pay and more about a toxic culture. In short, to lower than turnover, improve the workplace culture. People are more than a cog in a wheel–treat them like it!
Being vulnerable, Anton says, is how you build trust. Be transparent about what motivates you. As a leader, connecting on a friendship level doesn’t have to be buddy-buddy, but there is mutual trust.
Anton walks us through some of the concepts in his book, Presidential Principals. He titled his book based on his understanding that the President is the highest office, or leader, or influencer, or impactful person in our world today. When you’re in that position, you have a disproportionate ability to impact lives beyond those who you see every day. Even today, we feel the impact of past Presidents. His book lets us know that you don’t have to be president to have the same sort of impact. Inspire people to action and leave a lasting impact. The most authentic leaders are living proof of what you do. Here, leadership is a verb, not a noun.
Finally, Anton shares his experience working with President Barack Obama. There are a few pillars to emulate:
1 Having an unquestionable commitment to his family.
2 Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
3 Never lose your cool. Period.
4 Always be bold and audacious in everything you want to do.
What You’ll Learn
In today’s episode, Anton Gunn shares with us his tips on shifting culture in the workplace. He talks about his practice, building habits and rituals, and how to make a lasting, meaningful impact on the world.