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Build a Stronger Culture

Dr. Kevin Sansberry – Detoxing Toxic Workplaces – Joel Goldberg Media

Culture / July 23, 2022

As a keynote speaker, my talks can be tailored to a number of topics ranging from trust and purpose to mentorship and positivity. One subject I am consistently asked to speak about, though, is how to build a stronger culture.

In order to make anything better, you first have to be able to recognize – or at least accept – your own shortcomings. BattersĀ  modify their swing and pitchers are coached on new ways to throw the ball. When translated to teams in the business world, that can mean looking critically at accepted norms, questioning why they are that way and seeking out opportunities to improve. Change can be hard. And even though it may take some time or trial and error to adjust to a normal, the results will always be worthwhile.

build a stronger culture

Recently on my podcast Rounding the Bases, we pulled back the mask on workplace culture and got real. Helping us do it was the pro of power dynamics whose expertise is as innovative as it is disruptive. Meet Dr. Kevin Sansberry, the behavioral scientist, author and founder of KEVRA: The Culture Company who is leading the movement against toxic workplaces.

With an aptitude for authenticity and research-informed solutions, he’s at the forefront of a cultural revolution. By detoxing organizations and shifting mindsets, he’s improving the practices that help high performance teams cultivate genuine change…no pretense required.

SINGLE: Beating the Odds

In his early days, the chances of success weren’t in Dr. Sansberry’s favor. He was born three months prematurely to a teen mom who lived in an underserved community. “When people say I’m lucky to be here, that’s actually very true for me,” he said. But it doesn’t matter how many opportunities come your way if you can capitalize on the ones that do. Dr. Sansberry earned his elementary education at Academie Lafayette, a French immersion charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the early exposure to globally minded thinking and a culturally rich classroom environment laid the framework for the rest of his life.

DOUBLE: A Cultural Revolution

Dr. Sansberry’s expertise has started dialogue around the globe about DEI and how to build a stronger culture. Where’s the proof? In his podcast, The Toxic Leadership Podcast. It features guests from Ireland to India and has listeners in 74 countries. The show focuses on destructive leadership behaviors in the workplace. These are generally considered American-centric issues, but the truth is that they exist in organizations in all corners of the world. He raised the conversation that catalyzed a revolution for better, more equitable workplaces everywhere.

TRIPLE: Hard is Not Impossible

As a culture coach specializing in DEI, Dr. Sansberry regularly helps people identify and overcome biases, oftentimes ones they have had their entire lives. Adults lack the rapid neuroformation that they had as kids. Therefore, helping individuals learn to accept viewpoints that challenge their own beliefs can be difficult. “It’s extremely hard,” he said. “But hard is not impossible.” Clients who want to build a stronger culture need only bring a willingness to grow. Dr. Sansberry provides the research-based training experiences needed to do it.

HOME RUN: A Positive Place to Start

The role of diversity and equity inclusion in workplace culture is an important topic that will only continue to become more prevalent. In fact, Arthur Woods is another recent guest and subject matter expert who offered some impressive statistics to illustrate the importance of diversity to job seekers. You can read about those here. But according to Dr. Sansberry, you need two things to get started, whether on your own or in the workplace. The first is an openness…to expose yourself to new things, to own your opinions and to ask what else could be true. The other is listening to understand, not just to hear. “It’s a perfect foundation for anybody who wants to be a better leader and a better colleague in general,” he said. Who wouldn’t want that?

Listen to the full interview here or tune in to Rounding the Bases every Monday and Thursday, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Learn More About Building A Stronger Culture From Joel

Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.

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Full Transcription:

Joel Goldberg 0:00
Hey everybody welcome into Rounding the Bases the podcast about culture and leadership with a baseball twist presented by Community America Credit Union. So good too. I want to say good to be back with everyone here twice a week with you pretty much every week except for when we shut down for a little bit in between seasons, but usually do the recordings when I’m back home in Kansas City. Just got back from a very long week and a half road trip to California for baseball and it was our third straight, three city, 10-day trip. So don’t have any more of those. Just the quick week trips now quick and really quick. But it’s good to be back in the home studios. And we’ve got a great show for you today. A quick shout out to my friends at Chief of Staff Kansas City you can find them at ChiefofStaff kc.com. Recently had their president and owner Casey Wright on talking about the job market. They’re a great resource, whether you’re looking to hire, whether you’re looking to be placed, or whether you just need that resource. They’re so good about helping anyone anywhere, anytime, whether it be here in Kansas City or all around the country. So again, check them out at chiefofstaffkc.com. Today on Rounding the Bases we’re pulling back the mask of workplace culture and getting real. Here to help us do it is the pro of power dynamics whose expertise is as innovative as it is disruptive. I want you to meet Dr. Kevin Sansbury, the behavioral scientist, author and founder of KEVRA, the culture company that is leading the movement against toxic workplaces. We talked so much about this. This is such a deeper dive though. With an aptitude for authenticity and research informed solutions, he’s at the forefront of a cultural revolution. By detoxing organizations and shifting mindsets, he’s improving the practices that help high performance teams cultivate genuine change, no pretense required. So I’m excited right now to bring in to Rounding the Bases Kevin, and I said before we came on, as long as as long as there’s crazy stuff going on in the world and misunderstandings, you are always going to have a job. I want you to be employed by the way, too. I wish I wish the world were a better place. I know that you agree with that, too.

Kevin Sansberry 2:28
Yeah, totally.

Joel Goldberg 2:29
And you are busier than me all over the place, just like I am. So I’m glad that we had a chance to catch up. How are you sir?

Kevin Sansberry 2:37
I’m doing great. You know, you’re just getting done with a road trip. I’m starting mine on Sunday. So going to three states in three days. Doing a lot of great work though. I’m really enjoying the work and really enjoying the path to the work. But um, yeah, I just got to find like, like, you got to find those times to sleep into, you know, rest and be with family, all that kind of stuff. So that’s what I’m working on right now.

Joel Goldberg 3:01
You before we get into all of what you’re doing now you have I know we all do, by the way, but you have a fascinating journey. I think we all have fascinating journeys. But some some are a little bit more expected and, and others look nothing’s ever expected. Right? I mean, he can fully plan this stuff. But But I don’t think and I love saying this to guests. Sometimes if I were to tell you that this is what you would be doing right now, you know, 10, 20, 30 years ago? I don’t think that you would have maybe you wouldn’t believe that. I don’t know. But I don’t think you would have been surprised by it. Right? I mean, this has been such a long journey for you.

Kevin Sansberry 3:37
Yes, I grew up on the east side of Troost, Kansas City, Missouri. So I’m Kansas City, Missouri born. And my mom had me when she was 16. I was born at six months. So I was born, I was large as the palm of the hand they always used to say when I grew up, and you know so so so you know that that notion of like Oh, I’m lucky to be here is like a real thing because I didn’t almost didn’t make it right. And so being born and Eastside of Troost didn’t have a lot of opportunities, and you know, really just credit, my education. As a big part of my big part of my journey. I actually was in the second graduating class in Academy, Lofayette here, there in Kansas City, Missouri. So I grew up speaking French fluently. And I credit that to like, my first exposure to diversity and inclusion was when I was a kid, because I didn’t really have I mean, I had one person that was from America or what have you, but everybody else was from like Africa and Canada and Europe and all my teachers. So from an early age diversity became like a really important part because I had to learn all those cultures to fit into that classroom. And so it was really interesting, growing up in that environment and my background, further traveling me into school, got Got into psychology and learning more about people and learning, you know, the different intricacies of folks I didn’t think I would take into where I took it, which is, you know, my doctorate is an organizational behavior with a focus on toxic leadership. I didn’t think I was gonna go there. What really got me there was I started my research actually looking at criminology, and I was actually doing research in like serial killers and things like that. That was actually my research line originally. I don’t know what happened, but I switched it. But to be honest, like, if you look at the research line, most of the stuff that I studied for serial killer behavior actually applies to like narcissistic personality disorders, and corporate psychopathy, like it actually translates pretty well. Except it’s just a different outcome. You know, it’s like, killing the workplace profits, I guess, I would say in culture, and so I now do work in organizational culture and in DEI are all around the country of United States. And then I also have a podcast that we do we have these conversations related to toxic leadership, DEI and such Toxic Leadership Podcast, where that’s a global podcast, we have listeners in 74 countries around the world. Yeah. And now it’s become a movement in a revolution, because this is not, you know, toxic workplaces is not just an American centric kind of phenomenon, which I didn’t think it was, but I have like proof of it, because I’m talking to people from Ireland and India, like on a daily basis, almost, about their workplaces. And so now, it’s just, this is fun for me, but just the amount of work that exist. It’s like, oh, God, I gotta find balance.

Joel Goldberg 6:40
Right? I mean, I was half joking, when I said, you know, if, if the world could turn into a much, much better place, you’d be out of work, I guess that means that you would have done your job well, but the other side to that is, you and I both know that, that this will be never ending. So the positive side to it is that you are in demand, you will always be in demand that the flip side to that is that balance that you’re talking about? I’m going to get off topic a little bit here. But but anything in life can be toxic too if if you are not having that balance, right. I mean, you got to start, it’s got to start with you.

Kevin Sansberry 7:15
It does have to start with you. And even a research talks about how like, you know, there are there are a lot of behaviors that are, quote, unquote, have a toxic outcome on people are what have you. But an individual’s ability to maintain resiliency in the face of that is a thing that can happen, it can serve as a buffer. And so while we look at eradicating kind of toxic behaviors, and kind of increasing or promoting more positive cultures, there is individual work that needs to happen at the same time. Because believe it or not, people that work in toxic organizational cultures tend to change. And what that means is, if they’re not resilient, and creating buffers, their behaviors will start to change to survive in a toxic culture. So then what you’ll see is, even if they quit, or leave that organizational culture, some of the behaviors they learned in that previous culture actually follow them. And these are not necessarily positive traits, either. And so self care is is important, as well, as you know, the external piece and shifting the culture.

Joel Goldberg 8:20
They it’s interesting, going back to your background, that you said that you were, you know, surrounded by kind of a melting pot of kids from other places. And so you were exposed at a very early age to DEI, whether you knew that that’s what it was totally or not too. At what point did that kind of click for you and say, this, this is my passion, this is my path.

Kevin Sansberry 8:42
When I went back, I mean, like, you know, when we didn’t have, we didn’t have a school bus. And so my grandma would pick me up from school, or what have you. And we drive back east side of Troost. And like, when I would go back and talk to my friends that went to like other high schools in the city, who didn’t have the same environment that I had over and over at AL. And so like talking with them, I just saw how like myopic their viewpoints were. And I just saw how like, closed and closed in they were, whereas I just naturally took like, a broader perspective of things. And we’re able to like, you know, apply more critical lens to like, approach, you know, to approaches and looking at different perspectives and stuff like that. And so just from our early age, I kind of expected difference. I expected differences of opinion. And it actually worked for me. I was able to bring together multiple viewpoints and come up with great solutions and stuff like that. So yeah, when I was like in middle school, I guess I would say that age that’s where it clicked. I’m like, Oh, I actually have a something here, you know, and then it kind of expanded and I just naturally gravitated to, you know, focusing on DEI and everything that I do.

Joel Goldberg 9:50
It’s interesting. Previous guests that I had on Brian Roberts, who works for Lockton, he had grown up in the inner city in LA. And his parents moved them out of there. And they moved to a, a different neighborhood. And he, he got exposed to soccer and he started playing. And he said, a third of his team was black. The third was Mexican descent or Latin. And the rest were white. And he said, without even understanding it early on, that was, that was what he knew that was the diversity and and so it was such a different background and upbringing from most other kids, whether that be, you know, white, brown, black, or whatever it is where you tend to end up being in that one spot. Same thing, I saw an interview that I was just thinking about this, I was laying in the hotel late one night, last week, and I saw an interview with Ice Cube, and he was talking about his parents sending them off to, you know, white school, and then he’d come back into his neighborhood and the different perspectives. And I have to think that that background that you had, similar to Ice Cube was talking about similar to what my guest Brian Roberts was talking about. And then bringing that together into the workplace is everything, right? I mean, that’s what a lot of adults are dealing with, or trying to deal with, without having ever dealt with it before.

Kevin Sansberry 11:12
Correct. That kind of creates like a tacit advantage you didn’t know you had, because what it does is creates a more malleable perspective, which if you look at research on like, what makes the best leaders like have being open openness is a really great trait. You know, empathy is too but like, openness to different ideas, and innovation, like comes up a lot as it relates to like, what do we what do we need from leaders? And I think that, you know, exposure at an early age is kind of like creating those synapses in the brain of like, Hey, be open ideas don’t like get stuck on your own what you think is right. That that having that early on, isn’t it is some kind of tacit advantage, I would say because it it wasn’t anything I had to like force. It wasn’t anything I had, I’ve never read a book. It was just I was there, you were exposed to what you were learning the social cues. You were you were learning to understand somebody’s perspective, naturally, and it just yeah, it just really, it really helps if individuals do that on purpose as adults if they can, I think that would help a lot of situations.

Joel Goldberg 12:13
So how difficult is that for someone, I’m going to go back to something that you mentioned early in the interview about studying French as a kid, hang with me here. But I know for a fact I don’t know what the actual studies are. I noticed even myself right now that I found it very easy to learn French as a kid, because I was so immersed in it, love the knots, that’s immersed in it. But I mean, I was I was being taught at a young age. And so it was pretty easy. I’m not saying I was great at it. But it’s pretty easy. Now to try to learn Spanish as an adult, which I tried, was near impossible. So the point being that when you get exposed to something early in life, at least in my mind, that the brain is brain is a sponge, and you soak it all in and you get a little bit older, and it becomes difficult. So that’s my way of saying that is, is teaching DEI is teaching everything that you’re teaching, going into the workplace. How hard is that to get someone to potentially change if they’ve been doing something their whole way, since they were a kid?

Kevin Sansberry 13:18
Extremely hard. It’s extremely hard. And the difficulty, though, does not create an impossible task. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. It’s hard because, you know, like language, we have rapid neural formation as kids are learning anything, really. And that also means learning about other people. And so whether that’s the media you were exposed to, whether that’s the people you were exposed to what have you, so yes, the more exposure, the better. And the younger you are, the more effective it will be, I would say or the The quicker the acquisition would be. It does not mean the older you get, it’s, it’s not impossible. And so what happens is, as adults, when we talk about DEI in the workplace, your brain is not wired to say you’re wrong, your brain is wired to say you’re right, because you have all this confirmation bias based off of previous experience, and as somebody in the workplace when we talk about D you’re getting some completely different sometimes, or or you’re hearing something that’s counter to what you thought you believed. And so what it takes in that aspect is extra work. So the extra work is not only just going to like the training at work, because the training is not actually what changes you. What changes you is the work around the training. So I don’t like I don’t even hang my hat on doing like oh implicit bias training. Like I don’t even do those anymore. To be honest. A lot of the work I do are more developmental in nature where we do work outside the classroom, where it’s like let’s let’s be more interactive. Let’s utilize media ,let’s utilize, you know, talk to friends. Let’s utilize it can you visit a different place? You know what I mean? Like, be more experiential because adults actually learn from experience. More so than than anything, and so use that to our advantage. And so I think one carrot to take from that is, it’s not impossible. It’s just different. And so the learning just has to look different.

Joel Goldberg 15:14
It’s not impossible, it’s different. It’s a great way to put it to write. I mean, if we’re, we’re open to seeing something new or something different. Yeah, you know, there’s some hope there.

Kevin Sansberry 15:25
Well, and I’ll add one more thing. with adults, we just have to ensure that like, there is the psychological safety to learn. Because part of learning, a lot of people don’t realize, well, a lot of people realize it, because they make it but a lot of people, we don’t conceptualize the fact of learning is not I’m learning and I know everything, and I’m perfect. Learning is I make mistakes and learn what not to do, you. So you got to create environments where like, we can make honest mistakes and be able to atone for them, especially as it relates to DEI and learn, like, that’s how you learn. And so what we’ve created sometimes is this perfectionistic or deterministic system, where it’s like, everybody has to know all the right words, everybody has to come in and be accepting of every single concept. No, we need to have discourse, let’s talk about it. And let’s make mistakes. Let’s get messy together. And that’s how we create that culture where everybody’s learning. So

Joel Goldberg 16:21
Really interesting. So I’m gonna ask you the simplest question, or maybe the most complicated, I don’t know, but it’s your world. It’ll be easy for you. What is toxic leadership?

Kevin Sansberry 16:32
Oh yeah. Okay, so. So in beta, I’ll put it in basic form. So toxic leadership, are basically leadership behaviors, by their nature that create more destructive environments. And when it’s destructive, what that means is breaking apart relationships, versus constructive, which is bringing things together. So the way I look at toxicity is those behaviors that are like breaking things apart, which is trust, it could be productivity, it could be profitability, it could be innovation, whatever that that that measure you have it are their behaviors that innately, like limit those or negatively impact those things. And it’s also something that causes a it’s pervasive, so it spreads. So the impact of it spreads to other things, you know,

Joel Goldberg 17:20
And that I’ve got to think when we talk about workplace culture, that starts to happen. And it just, it has to get worse and worse and worse, right. I mean, that just that just snowballs.

Kevin Sansberry 17:35
It does snowball. And it snowballs, in a lot of ways, like one of the ways that snowball is is like, some of the toxicity that you see in the workplace. That’s one thing. But the snowball effect could also is snowballs into things you don’t see. And so what that looks like is let’s say you have a leader whose behavior is deemed toxic, and they’re yelling, they yell at people in meetings, right? Simple as that. You might not see yelling increase across the board. But what it might snowball into is turnover. What it might snowball into is I don’t speak up anymore, what it might snowball into with an increase in like FMLA utilization due to stress or what have you have parasomatic symptoms or what have you. And so like it the spread is not necessarily a one for one, the spread can be overt to other things, covert things can be covert things to overt things. And so yeah, that’s one way to look at it, too.

Joel Goldberg 18:31
One thing that is, I think, interesting, and, again, not a surprise, but just a reminder of the amount of work that we have to do is that this is applicable to every profession. In terms of toxicity in the workplace. This isn’t just Well, that’s it, and I’m sure there’s some industries have heightened or Yeah, yeah, there’s they’ve been slower to change, or it’s always been easier, quote unquote, easier to do it this way. But every industry, we all need help. I mean, there’s there’s no doubt about it. And so I think when, when you told me about the different types of clients that you’re working with, yeah, it’s very, that it’s very evident that that’s, that’s, that’s what I’m talking about that that it is across the board. So when you talk about working with a municipality like Minneapolis, or to sports or to Silicon Valley, tell me about that. Because that has to be really fulfilling for a guy that worked in the corporate world, to now be able to spread yourself as much as possible to it to helping change the world.

Kevin Sansberry 19:39
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, I’m based in Cincinnati. So some of the stuff that I’ve that I’ve seen, like I moved here, first off, so I moved here from Kansas City in 2019. And, you know, some of the some of the stuff that I’ve been able to be exposed to even just looking at different regions, is, you know, that there you also have different regions that you United States, there are certain like cultural norms that are pervasive too. But I work here in the in the city, municipality of Cincinnati with the Workforce Innovation Center. And getting through that I’m getting exposed to a lot of different industries. And then I’m also working in Silicon Valley and other municipalities. And like, it’s what what we see from a from a behavioral standpoint is there are there are behaviors that are generalizable across environment, but then there also are behaviors in industry that have like different context. So like if your organizational culture is have a hot what’s called a high power distance. And what that means is like, your title matters a lot. So if you don’t speak to the director, or your, your assistant, or if you can speak to the director directly, you gotta email him, you know, or something like, like, depending on your culture, certain behavioral norms will manifest a little differently. And you will also see things like, um, you know, we’re in a hyper creative space, and we have ideas, we have a lot of ideas. And sometimes people get passionate about ideas, and so people might yell more, you know, so it just depends on what I’ve done work in like hyper creative spaces, where you see a lot more emotional outburst pieces that are uncontrolled, are uncontained, from individuals with power. So you see that kind of thing. So yeah, there are industry differences. But universally speaking, there are some generalizable things that do manifest across industry that I think if we looked at, you know, leadership development programs, we’d be able to, like at least tackle some of them. But we don’t, that none of our programs are built to actually tackle toxic leadership, we, we do this toxic positivity thing, and a lot of training, where we what that means is like, there are a lot of leadership practices where we don’t address the harm that tends to occur, what we do is we try to just clouded up with all this, the positive stuff, servant leadership, I’ve heard, I’ve heard about servant leadership way more than I’ve met, servant leaders. And I do this for a living, and I’m exposed to leaders all across the country. So like, I hear people talking way more about it than I’ve seen it. And so it’s good for us to when we get into these leadership development programs, to not only look at the competencies that are necessary to add, but also talk to the staff of the leaders and say, what do we need to remove? What what is the impact of leaders here, you know, and like really good at what’s going on in the work in that in that particular context. And that’s what I think is missing from a lot of the different industries.

Joel Goldberg 22:31
Some of it Kevin is just working with a specific company, or maybe with a specific group within the company. Sometimes it’s bigger scale, too. And when you when you talk about, you know, dealing with racism and diversity and anti-racism, that that can scale real big into whole communities, even to I mean, what’s the, what’s the greater reach here in terms of some of the groups that you’re working with.

Kevin Sansberry 22:53
Yeah, yeah, no, a lot of the work that organizations are doing now. And to be honest, they need to do more of his like when we talk about DEI in the workplace. So we talked about anti-racism, when we talk about like anti-misogyny, any of these things. It’s not just a workplace imperative, it has a grander community impact. And so organizations that I work with, you know, sure, we’ll have our metrics related to DEI and things like that. And to be honest, a lot of the metrics that are right there are existing right now we’re really focused on the D part of DEI. The diversity because that’s easy to measure, you can measure diversity, right? But um, where more, more of the work needs to occur is how are we holding ourselves accountable to inclusion, and furthermore, to equity, belonging to me, you know, they say DEIB alot, and a lot of spaces, you’re in California, they say DEIB a lot in California. Well, belonging to me is an outcome of an inclusive and equitable environment. And so how do we how do we create? How do we measure? And how do we hold ourselves accountable to inclusion and equity to achieve belonging? And one of the biggest things that that’s missing from how DEIB is being articulated or operated, I guess, I would say, is that grander community peace, as you alluded to? So what that means is, what are we doing for the communities we serve to? Do we even know? Do we have metrics on that? And then furthermore, how are we getting the voice of our community involved in our in our business practice, because that that goes a long way, especially as it looks at how we hire for future roles. And especially as it looks at what our like, customer base looks like, because our customers are watching us. And so I’ve worked a lot with an organis- with organizations where we do we focus both on the external outcomes of the organization, but also the internal and too many organizations try to focus on one or the other or not, I mean, I think you have to do both. They go hand in hand. Absolutely. Absolutely hand in hand.

Joel Goldberg 24:58
Last thing before I get to my baseball themed questions. You’re talking about in terms of your upbringing and, and your studies, it sounds to me like, if you if you didn’t know the journey that you’re going on, we usually don’t that that you had that thirst for asking why? For for me, you seem like just listening to a little bit of it. You seem like that guy that was going to be on a path to maybe have that that doctor in front of your name to be able to? Is that what what your classmates and teachers have said? Oh, yeah, Dr. Stan’s Dr. Stansbury? Yeah, that’s believable.

Kevin Sansberry 25:40
It makes sense. Oh, I hope so. Um, some of the, I guess, looking back some of the comments, I remember when I was in school, as a kid, I did get the comment from parent teacher conference like, you know, great student, he just Yes, oh, he’s a wild imagination. I remember hearing that. You know, he talks a lot, you know, he’s a lot of ideas. I used to hear that a lot. And that’s cool. I love that. And that also is reflected in the work that I do, you know, just because the work of people. And people are like, the most complex entities on this planet. So it’s like, you know, there’s not one right way to shift behavior. There are a lot of tools we have in behavior, science, but like, based on culture, and context and things like that things change. And so I love the work that I do when I think a lot of the traits that I had growing up were prevalent. I originally wanted to get into, like, when I first learned what a doctor, it was, my original thoughts was I wanted to be like in clinical psychology, but I didn’t want to, like hear people’s problems all day. And that’s not that’s not what I wanted to do. But then for some reason, I got a job in human resources. So I that’s exactly what I did for a living for, like 19 years. So like, I just was drawn, I was drawn to like solving people problems. And some of those traits manifested as I was, as I was a kid. And so I just think, yeah, growing up, folks around me probably would have known I would have got into something related to solving people problems.

Joel Goldberg 27:05
It sounded like just in some of your descriptions that you were you were the academic kid, you were the you were the kid that that that excelled in the classroom. Sometimes you hear the story of the kid that all terrible in school, but ended up making it to be the big time and it sounds to me like like you, you are on that academic path.

Kevin Sansberry 27:25
I just liked, I like learning. Yeah, I didn’t necessarily, I don’t I don’t think I liked school all the time. But I definitely liked learning. And I like it. Because you know, everything was a challenge, you know, so I just liked the challenge of it. I can say now like my, my, I think my doctorate turned me into like a school person. Like I love school now because the doctorate was just it was hard. But it was fun, because I got to focus on something I wanted to focus on. Whereas growning up in school, you don’t get to do that. You got to go through all the Gen Ed’s and stuff like that. So

Joel Goldberg 27:56
Well, I don’t know too many kids that, that ultimately like school, but that but there are many that like, and live for learning learning. I think that that’s exactly what you just said. So I bring all that up to get to my baseball themed questions, because because that journey along the way, that doctorate and I’ll be impacted of what you’re doing on so many companies and communities around the world, really. You’ve done a lot and I know a lot more to come. So what’s the biggest home run that you have in your career?

Kevin Sansberry 28:27
Biggest home run in my career? Before I started my business, I would have said, you know, I, you know, traversed up the corporate ladder and was uh, you know, by the time I was 30, I was in a vice, you know, assistant vice president role and had a lot of staff and all that kind of stuff. But really, what I would say is the biggest Home Run is the fact that I was able to grow my my own personal business. From just a sole proprietorship, LLC, or what have you with me, we’re now I worked with some, you know, for other consultants who support the journey. And, you know, kind of taken us into a global global frame. I think that’s a professional homerun. I mean, I want to I want to hit this home run harder, farther, you know, as long as we continue on, but we got we got over the fence a little bit, so I’m feeling good about it right now.

Joel Goldberg 29:18
Yeah, you can you can keep hitting homeruns by the way, too. Yeah. And there will there will be many more. There will need to be many more. I would say in the case of the work that you’re doing. How about a swing and a miss Kevin and what did you learn from it?

Kevin Sansberry 29:29
Big swing and a miss is not you know, when I looked at my like career journey, I like negated or ignored my like, personal journey along with it. I really didn’t pay attention to myself. And when I was climbing that corporate ladder, I didn’t really care. I was tired of climbing a ladder. I didn’t care that I was sweating that I was slipping off some rungs like I didn’t I didn’t really I just wanted to climb it. That was my goal. And nobody could stop me. I was hyper focused and so like, not taking care or paying attention to my own cell. I was, like a big misstep because that could have ran, it went awry. And there was a lot of learning that I had to do. Working with and for myself, because now I’m, I’m the only one right. So there was a lot of learning that I had on my own personal journey about who I am and about what my preferences are about what I what days, I like to work, what nights I like to work, do I like working nights? You know, whatever. I like asking myself these questions, because beforehand, I really didn’t listen to myself. So that was a big swing and miss. And yeah, something something that I wouldn’t I hope, I hope others kind of wake up and do.

Joel Goldberg 30:39
Well gets back to some of the balance that you were talking about earlier, as well. Last of the baseball theme questions small ball. And it’s really to me a culture question, the bunts, the sacrifices, the defense, the speed is basically what doesn’t show up in baseball terms on the in the box score. It’s all those behind the scenes things. And that’s why I think it’s cultural, it’s part of who you are, what are the little things that add up to the big results for you,

Kevin Sansberry 31:04
Seizing the power of like relationships. And what I say by that is, I make time, like, I’m an executive coach, and I’m, I’m an executive coach, for some CEOs, I’m executive coaches for some, like high powered folks in the Midwest, and I’m an East Coast and West Coast. And one of the things that I still make time for is there are some folks who can’t afford executive coaching, where I’m like, Look, you know, let me give you some free exec, executive coaching, because I want to help, and I want to, like build those relationships and things like that. And then there’s also I like, I like want to make time and create space to help others grow. And so I want to build authentic relationships to bring people along the movement in the journey with me. And so I’ve coached folks that were that are like in New Delhi, India, for example, who listened to the podcast, and they were like, you know, I’m young in my career. And I just don’t know what to do, you know, like, hey, let’s talk, you know, and let’s get on a call. And so I’ll hop on a call with anybody just to provide advice or coaching or what have you. So those relationships are important. Because those relationships were something I didn’t know I had when I actually hung up my shingle, or what have you, and left the nine to five world to be a full time consultant. The relationships that I’ve built and cultivated over the years actually came out in full force. And that’s why I’m able to be so successful today.

Joel Goldberg 32:23
Well, you said something a little bit earlier, about people, it’s always about people who are in human resources. It’s still about people, by the way, it’ll always be about people. And it’s one of the secrets not really a secret, I think, to life, right. So as far as Kevin’s information, check out The Toxic Leadership Podcast. He mentioned being an executive coach, also a keynote speaker. And of course, a behavioral scientist. I said earlier, he’s got a lot going on, he is in high demand. Before we let you go, at least for this portion, and then we’ll jump over to YouTube real quick if if anybody wants to learn more, get a hold of you. What’s the best way?

Kevin Sansberry 33:07
Yeah, so I can be reached on thetoxicleadershippodcast.com. And then I also have a website where people can leave me messages or ask questions like I alluded to at, AskDr.Sansbury, or askDrkev.com. And so any of those webs, any of those website addresses will take you to me and all my socials. And you can follow us on any platform that exist.

Joel Goldberg 33:32
Perfect. So they’re all the spots. We’ll have that in the show notes. Kevin, really appreciate it. Always good to know that you come back to Kansas City, not that this is a total Kansas City podcast. You’re not that far removed from it. And I know you’re all over the place. So really grateful for the time that you spent with us and appreciate it. Congrats and good luck with everything going forward.

Kevin Sansberry 33:52
Hey, thank you for the invitation. I appreciate it.