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Guest: Dr. Anthony Paustian; Topics: Anthony's book "A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change," plus leadership methodology, controlling social media, passion, rules and more.
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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Anthony Paustian to discuss his 2017 book, "A Quarter Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination, & Leading Transformative Change." The book is widely available but he has a few autographed copies left, signed by Al Worden who wrote the Foreword for the book. He said they are available at the website https://adpaustian.com/. Our program consisted of two segments over one hour twenty-seven minutes. Dr. Paustian started the discussion with a bit of his personal history and background which led him to tell us why he wrote the book and why he decided to use the Apollo program as a metaphor. This was one of several most interesting stories told us by our guest so don't miss a word of it.
Listeners asked him several questions by email such as who the book was directed at and did it win any book awards. Listener Sally wanted to know if it was as applicable to public service and elected officials as it was to those in the private sector. The short answer was yes though Tony had quite a bit to say about public service leadership and today's reality.
One of the main themes of the book and our discussion was the understanding that for quality leadership, we (and the leader) must remain focused on the job ahead. Listen to what he had to say about focus and getting distracted. By the way, several times during our discussion, our guest suggested that Apollo would not have happen today. Listen carefully when this topic comes up to see why he says that and repeats it a few times during the show. Do you have any thoughts on what he is saying as to why Apollo would not happen today? Surely you must so do share them with us via a blog post on our blog. What about your thoughts on focus?
Controlling social media was a frequent topic for us. Our guest had a lot to say about problems caused by social media, plus he offered concrete suggestions for controlling it and staying focused. Fremont John called and mentioned that the social media thing was cultural, especially with kids today. He had an excellent discussion with Tony on unplugging kids from social media and how best to do it. Note what he said about doing things on an incremental basis. His suggestions were excellent. Keep in mind that social medial remains voluntary, a fact that should not be lost as that makes controlling it easier to do.
I asked Tony about a section in his book dealing with Walking the Talk followed by common sense rules. Our guest opened up about the need to be authentic. He said if we faked it that eventually we would be found out and it would be costly for us. I thought this was one of our more important short discussions. In addition to being authentic, Tony talked with us about the importance of consistent behavior in leadership. This led to a discussion about changing behavior which is hard to do though our guest did a great job of addressing this issue in the book.
Marshall called to talk about the importance of getting recognition but that in his life having worked on cutting edge technology projects, he said there was little or no recognition, not even an understanding of what it meant to work on a cutting edge technology product. He seemed to think there should be some understanding and appreciation though none of that was there. Our guest shared some more stories with us to illustrate the points he was making to Marshall. They also talked perception and AI.
Ft. Worth John was our next caller. He wanted to talk about business relationships with the customer. He brought up SpaceX and other space companies. Listen to the examples put forth by our guest per the John Hunt comments. They agreed with one another regarding his SpaceX commentary and analysis. Listen to the show to find out what John said about SpaceX. We also talked about constantly planning versus actually doing. Tony cited JPL as a leader in this area. John's call was followed by a call from Bill in Raleigh who wanted to know more about the actual structure of the book. Tony described the chapter structure, the common sections in each chapter, then they talked innovation and the application of new ideas. Bill also asked if there were more Apollo related stories in the book. Tony then spoke about Alan Bean who recently passed away. Tony talked about Al Worden writing the Foreword for the book and the offer to get an Al Worden autographed copy of the book.
Before ending the program, I asked our guest about another book. He said there is a sequel coming out with Al despite the fact he recently passed on. He has the notes from Al's work on the book so he believes he can put it together. Check out the book information at Tony's website provided earlier in this summary.
Please post your comments/questions for our guest on the blog for this show. Visit his website and if you want to contact him, you can do so using our blog or you can post comments and question from his site.