On the concept of “vulnerability”, very few leadership experts get naked and vulnerable in their work, they are more speaking down to you and at you….the purpose of this book is to show that leaders are human beings…
On the mic we have Andrew Temte, an executive, a musician, an educator, and a mentor to many in the business community, we discuss his new book “Balancing Act”, what inspired the book, what sets it apart, reader takeaways, leadership during covid, and playing music. We find out what’s next for the global leader and where people can pick up the book.
Andrew Temte Transcript
Amy Gabay 00:04
On the mic, we have Andrew Temte, an executive, a musician and educator, and a mentor to many in the business community. We discuss his new book Balancing Act. What inspired the book, what sets it apart, reader takeaways, leadership during COVID, and playing music, we find out what’s next for this global leader and where people can pick up the book. You can find more conversations on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.
Andrew Temte 00:35
My name is Andy Temte. I was born on Cameron Avenue in La Crosse, Wisconsin, right between 10th and 11th street there by Aquinas High School. So born and raised here in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and seven years of my life down in Iowa City, getting a Masters and PhD in finance from the University of Iowa. So that’s literally the only time that my wife and I have spent away from La Crosse. While we were down in Iowa City, built a business called the Schweser Study Program for the CFA exams, ultimately moving that business back up here to La Crosse. So my journey into leadership was very much aligned with what you call the accidental managers syndrome, where I’ve got a lot of technical skill that built up over the years and then started a business and all of a sudden was managing people, but with no training in leadership or management.
Brent Hanifl 01:34
So you also have a new book called Balancing Act. What kind of inspired that, you know, you already started with kind of your past and growning up in La Crosse and your process back here. But what inspired the book?
Andrew Temte 01:45
So back in 2016-2017, we’re in the throes of coming out of the great recession of 08-09. And leadership responsibilities were increasing exponentially, it kind of dawned on me that there was a gap in the market of leadership books that focused on mid-level senior executives within major companies, I wanted to write a book entitled Tales from a Mid-Level Senior Executive, so the tongue is squarely in cheek there, I started writing a series of small articles, you know How to Eat an Elephant One bite at a Time. And ultimately, over the course of that kind of three and a half years of writing small snippets of individual episodes, that it really came together that the concept that I was really talking about was the balance that we strike, the balancing act that we strike in many parts of our lives.
Brent Hanifl 02:51
So you kind of talk about it there with the balancing act of different parts of your lives. What else sets this book apart? Is it easily digestible? Can anyone kind of pick it up?
Andrew Temte 03:00
My main message is for those mid-level senior executives that I talked about, but it’s a very approachable piece of work, lots of individual storytelling from episodes in my life going all the way back to when I was a child, that have influenced me, specifically what I believe that sets this book apart from literally the 1000s of other business books that are out there, is the concept of vulnerability. Very few leadership experts really get, you know, naked and vulnerable in their work, they’re more speaking down to you and at you. Versus the purpose of this book is to show that leaders are human beings. All of us need to be bringing more of our quote unquote, whole selves into the world of work. The concept of authenticity really runs through this book. I’ve got a lot to say in this book, I’ve got a lot to teach. The subtitle is teach, coach, mentor and inspire. But it’s really told through my own failings, and my own failings that became learning opportunities that I want to pass on to others.
Brent Hanifl 04:17
The reference there, you know, being authentic, what has been the response to the book, you kind of talk about a few things there. But what do you want readers to take away from
Andrew Temte 04:25
Thus far, their response to the book has been really strong. The publication dates, not until April 6. We haven’t formally started selling a book, but we’re taking pre orders. So we’re really happy with the strong pre orders that we’ve gotten. There’s a concept that I introduced in the book called entropy. And you know, entropy is a mathematical physical sciences construct that comes from the laws of thermodynamics. I don’t want to scare anybody away. Because entropy also is a word that we all should know, that we’re all in a state of falling apart. You know, all systems fall apart over time, everything in the physical, natural world falls apart over time. And we, as human beings are in a continual state of falling apart. And we must then adopt continuous improvement practices to put it back together to reach that next best version of ourselves through and over time. So that concept of entropy, everything’s falling apart, but then continuous improvement and lifelong learning, to put it back together, this kind of creating a virtuous cycle of, as we’re falling apart, putting ourselves back together to reach that next best version of ourselves. That’s something I really want my readers to take away.
Brent Hanifl 05:47
Seems like it’d be something that’d be very helpful, even now, the past year with COVID, how has your day to day and almost like leadership approach changed when dealing with a pandemic, like we’ve had the past year?
Andrew Temte 05:59
Yeah. So from a leadership perspective, I’ve recognized that there’s a real need to be calm, and to be persistent and consistent, to be thoughtful and to be agile. And these are all words that I live by that are contained. The stories behind these words are contained in the book. The last word is industrious. And we live in a time, the last year has been a time of explosion of polarization. I don’t want to get political on anybody here. That’s not the point. But social unrest and a really, really strange election cycle, in addition to the pressure that we’re all under, you know, I sent people home on March 18 last year, everybody thought that, oh, this will last for a month or so. And then we’ll be you know, we’ll be back at it, we’ll be back in the office. And, you know, look, I sent people home to work from home who are now permanently working from home, they’ve got the pressure, I don’t have this challenge, because my kids are 27 and 29, respectively. But, you know, some folks have two year olds pulling on their leg all day, every day trying to balance work and life. And all of these societal pressures that we’re under, my management style has really placed an emphasis on being the guy in the room that’s helping to drive that calm, and that persistence, and that consistency, and the agility that’s necessary to make sure that we’re moving forward in a constructive fashion. And not letting all of these pressures spin us out of control.
Brent Hanifl 07:46
Yeah, I definitely think we all need some, you know, some calm in our lives. Something we always talk about on La Crosse local is, we know, we talked to a lot of musicians, we talked to a lot of artists that are kind of working their way through this as well. You also play for the popular brand, The Remainders, maybe a lot more people know you from thre, from Moon Tunes, and all the different fundraisers you guys do. How does some of those musical skills that you’ve learned over the past decades kind of transfer to leadership? Do you find similarities there?
Andrew Temte 08:14
Yeah, so this is a really important point back to the book Balancing Act. There’s another big thread that weaves through there, which is the concept of storytelling. And the leadership skill of storytelling is woefully underrated. You know, we need to tell the story of the businesses that we work for, the work that we’re doing, the goals that we have, the North Star, those all have to be told in very creative ways, within businesses, I’ve just found that, you know, my time as a musician has really helped with bringing those storytelling skills out. And it helps me tell a story in very different ways so that the story is consistent, but it gets through to more audiences, because you’re repeating the message over and over again, to create clarity within your organization. So there’s a definite tie between the musicianship and leadership.
Brent Hanifl 09:17
I know this year has been a big transitional time for everyone. What’s coming up for you, you know, you have the book, but what’s coming up for you? What are you excited about for 2021 2022 Even?
Andrew Temte 09:28
Yeah, well, the band has three shows booked for this summer. So we are really excited to get back on stage. We haven’t been in front of a live audience since November of 2019. We are really itching to get back out there. That’s one thing that I’m interested in. But from a business perspective, I’m really excited about the message that the book will send into the business community and some of the other work that we’re doing around reskilling and upskilling. I work on a consortium with the World Economic Forum. And they are driving what they’re calling a reskilling revolution. Many in education in the world of business, know that a lot of jobs are going to change over the next 10 years, there’s going to be huge demand, not only for upskilling in existing roles, but total reskilling because the job that you have today is not going to be there three, four or five years from now. So there’s a lot of really interesting work going on in upskilling and reskilling that I hope to be at the cutting edge of the conversation on
Brent Hanifl 10:40
Again, this past year has really kind of built some resilience and people pivoting and changing in many different ways and sometimes for the better. If people want to find out more, what’s the best option for them, where should they head.
Andrew Temte 10:52
Right now in pre publication mode, you can certainly pre order on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, the book is out on virtual store shelves. It’ll be on physical store shelves on April the sixth. You can certainly go to my LinkedIn page. I’ve got a number of articles there, and routine commentary, especially focused on education, upskilling, and reskilling, and then obviously the Facebook page for The Remainders. To keep track of what we’re up to there.
Amy Gabay 11:27
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