56. Tri Cities Influencer Podcast featuring Scott Sax and Jennie Stults

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Speaker 1:

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. I'm Richa Sigdel and I'm Tri-city influencer.

Paul Casey:

We measure what we value. I love that because what gets measured gets done. If you want to make sure a new habit is going to occur, you've got to track it. You've got to measure it. So if you want to get better at whatever your goal is, track it.

Speaker 3:

Raising the water level of leadership in the Tri-cities of Eastern Washington, it's the Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast. Welcome to the TCI Podcast where local leadership and self leadership expert Paul Casey interviews local CEOs, entrepreneurs, and non-profit executives to hear how they lead themselves and their teams so we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience. Here's your host, Paul Casey of Growing Forward Services, coaching and equipping individuals and teams to spark breakthrough success.

Paul Casey:

It's a great day to grow forward. Thanks for joining me for today's episode with Scott Sax. He is the president and project manager of the Central Plateau Cleanup Company, and Jennie Stults, who is the business development director of Amentum. And they like hanging out together so we decided to do it together. And I asked them what's funny and they sort of give a yin and yang kind of answer that one loves green pens, one loves purple pens. So tell us the story of that.

Scott Sax:

So, yeah. That's something interesting that Jennie and I have discovered about each other. She asked me why I always wrote in green, and there all kinds of quirky answers that you could have like Navy captains always write in green. Well I wasn't in the Navy. But I do have a real story. It's a leadership story. I was walking into one of my plants in Colorado when I was running the site. The manager was with me, and he was signing a work permit to access the area, and he signed in red ink. And our control technician said, "You can’t sign in red. You have to sign in black." And he said, "Why?" He says, "Well, that's just the way you do things." And so when we went out, I figured out, "I’ve got to find out if he has to sign in black ink." And sure enough there was no real reason to sign in black ink. It was all stuck to the old xerox machines that you signed in black or blue in the 60s. And it stayed around and it just became a legacy requirement.

Scott Sax:

So from that moment on, I always signed everything in green ink to remind myself that you can change anything. Okay? And remind yourself that anything can be changed if it's inefficient, dumb, or just a legacy thing.

Paul Casey:

A great leadership principle from a quirky thing. I love it. I love it. It's sort of like the ham. "Why was the ham cut off?" "Oh, it's because my grandma cut it off because her grandma..." "Because the oven was too big, and we had to cut it off."

Scott Sax:

Right.

Paul Casey:

Well we're going to dive in after checking in with our Tri-City Influencer sponsor. Mario Martinez, Northwestern Mutual. Mario, what types of services do you offer?

Mario Martinez:

Hey Paul. Thank you for letting me be on here. We run bifurcated practices in that we focus in two areas of financial plans. The first one is we do protection pieces which include life insurance, disability insurance, long term care insurance, really the things that people should be focused on to protect their families, their businesses. And on the other side of our practices, we do investment services. And on the investment platforms we do both the brokerage platform, and we do the advisory level services. So depending on what someone is looking for as far as guidance on their investment strategies, we can curtail and build a strategy for them to make sense.

Paul Casey:

Mario, how can people get in touch with you?

Mario Martinez:

The easiest way you can reach out to me directly on my business cell phone is 509-591-5301. You can send me an email at mario.martinez@nm.com. Or you can reach out to us on our social media platforms, the easiest one being Mario Martinez Northwestern Mutual on Facebook.

Paul Casey:

Thank you for your support of leadership development in the tri-cities. Well, welcome Scott and Jennie, and thanks for being a part of this today. And we had the hard drive crash of 2020 in among the other crazy things that have happened in 2020. So thanks for coming back and re-interviewing here on the Tri-City Influencer. So tell us a little bit about your backgrounds so that our influencers can get to know you. Maybe a little bit of your journey to your current position and why you love what you do. They're just pointing at each other. It's sort of funny.

Scott Sax:

I‘ll go ahead and start since I’ve got the longer story because I'm way older than Jennie. So I started my career after college training sailors in the Navy Nuclear Power Program. In the center of Idaho there's actually an aircraft carrier and two submarines, or there was. And that's where they train sailors before they could sink their submarine. And that’s what I did. I was working for Westinghouse. I went from there to Plutonium Production for weapons at Rocky Flats in Colorado, and I've done a variety of things since then, came and ran the plutonium finishing plant here in the early 2000s, worked at Tank Farms as a chief operating officer. In the early 2010s, I went to the UK and I was in charge of all of the commercial nuclear fuel work for the United Kingdom. Came back, ran River Corridor Closure Project as a project manager and president, and starting Monday, I'll start kicking off my new job as the president and project manager for Central Plateau Cleanup, cleaning up the center of Hanford.

Paul Casey:

What a story. So all the Hanford people are just, "Yeah." Checking things off the list. "I remember that. I remember that." And the rest of us are, "All those sound like acronyms that I don't understand.”

Jennie Stults:

Every time I hear him talk about his career it's really amazing. So, yeah. He deserves all of a lot of credit.

Paul Casey:

Incredible.

Jennie Stults:

Yeah. So my career has been a little different. I've been mostly at Hanford. I started out at, well I actually started out way back when I was in high school. And then I went on, was at PNNL for multiple years. And then took a career change out to Hanford and I worked at Tank Farms, and when my second kiddo was born, I took a state job at the Department of Ecology, and worked on the flip side of being a contractor, actually doing the regulatory work, and did that till I think my youngest was in kindergarten or so, and then went back to the contractor, which was a highlight. I actually got hired a four, and went into a completely different kind of career into the hardcore DOD group out there, which was a great highlight. It was a big change for me, and really loved it. And I worked in Hanford for 13 years doing that work.

Jennie Stults:

And recently joined Amentum last year as a business development director. So I took another career change. So I've done a lot of different kind of things, which is good. I call myself kind of a utility player. But I've adapted because of different things, a lot of different challenges. And so I'm enjoying my current job. So that's a highlight too. So...

Paul Casey:

And what does Amentum do?

Jennie Stults:

So, Amentum, which is the parent company for where Scott has been, you've been Amentum and all the legacy companies, right?

Scott Sax:

Correct.

Jennie Stults:

Yeah. So we're a government contractor that has around 20,000 employees. And we just bought DynCorp, so now we're going to have 37,000, 40,000, I don't know, 20 some odd countries. I probably should know the tagline a little bit better.

Jennie Stults:

So all over. But our division that has gone there, and nuclear environmental, so we run a lot of the DOE sites, our partners on the DOE sites as well as other federal, state, local cleanup work across the US, and in the UK and Japan. So we've got a big division.

Paul Casey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott Sax:

So a little bit to add onto what Amentum is. So a lot of people know who Amentum is, and Amentum was born out of AECOM, which was a partner with URS which bought The Washington Group which bought Morrison-Knudsen, and Westinghouse. So a lot of the old companies that have been around Hanford for literally almost 60 years, since the beginning. So, a very big company and now Amentum is just focused on those government supports primarily for the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Department of Energy.

Paul Casey:

Okay. And why do you both love what you do? Got to love what you do. So what wakes you up with enthusiasm in the morning?

Jennie Stults:

So for me, personally I like to be challenged. I like to do a lot of different things. I like to take on new roles. That's what excites me. I think my thing in terms of leadership is I really like to work on teams. I like to bring people together and foster a sense of kind of collaboration. That really drives me. I don't like environments where it's just very you're one on one, and everybody is kind of free for all. I like to get consensus. So I think if anything that kind of drives me at work, is to work on new things. And for me, I'm not afraid to try something new. I like change. A lot of people don't, and that's fine too. So I'd say that kind of drives me for sure.

Paul Casey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Has virtual been hard for you being a team person?

Jennie Stults:

No. Actually in some ways it hasn't because I've gotten to do different things again. It just forces you to-

Paul Casey:

Another challenge. Yeah.

Jennie Stults:

Yeah. Yeah. And there's other things I like about virtual. I'm actually not too much of a people person believe it or not, but I do like to work in groups and teams, and so we've just tried different things.

Scott Sax:

I'll give you an alternate answer to that. I hate virtual, okay? I love to work with teams too, and I love to get stuff done, and the stuff I like to get done is executing projects, delivering products, all the people I work with have heard me say, "We deserve to provide the taxpayer a nuclear baker's dozen. We need to give 13 units for every 12 units of money they give us." And that's not the reputation of the Department or Energy kind of work in the nuclear cleanup. It's always going to cost more, take longer, et cetera.

Scott Sax:

And so that's what gets me charged up is working with a group of people to figure out how to do more for less, and save the taxpayers money.

Paul Casey:

Sounds like efficiency to me.

Scott Sax:

Yeah.

Paul Casey:

So give us a hurdle along your journey that you've overcome in your career.

Scott Sax:

I think my biggest hurdle, and I probably will never overcome it, is that self confidence in my own ability to get things done, and understanding what's possible. So I think there's always a little bit of insecurity when you're going into a job. "Am I good enough for this? Am I going to deliver or not for the people? Am I going to leave my guys that are working with me and for me lacking because of some weakness I have?" So I think the hurdle I have every single day is to strive harder and work harder, and I think that that's probably consistent with a lot of type A kind of people is that they have that little bit of insecurity that makes them think they're not as good as anybody else, so they work harder, or try harder.

Paul Casey:

Sounds like humility to me, Scott. Jennie how about you?

Jennie Stults:

So I probably have something very similar to Scott on that part. I think so my biggest hurdles in terms of growing as a leader and moving up or achieving more, have been because I am a utility person, I have quite often my career found being turned to the left because there has been a company project, and, "Oh, you were kind of on this trail, but oh my gosh, there's an emergency out here. So Jennie, you're perfect." And one day I'm out at the 100K area trying to figure out how to do X, Y, Z, and I've never done it before.

Jennie Stults:

So I think it's great to be a utility person. I think you need them. I think the hardest part for me with that is it led to sometimes hard to establish a path up into leadership. And so I guess one of my lessons though is you still need to be true to who you are. If you enjoy doing a lot of different things, then do that. Eventually it will work. It may feel like you're getting to the left, to the right, but the one thing I learned about all of my jobs, and I know Scott has probably had jobs where he thought he was going this way, and well I know he has, and you end up going a different way. You didn't get what you wanted. Is that, "I wouldn't be doing my job today had I not done all those different things."

Jennie Stults:

So at the time it feels a little bit to the left or a set back or different things, but in reality I think every time, I learn something. And so you just have to approach things that way, is you can't see it at the time, but six months later, a year later, you go, "Oh, well that's why that happened." So I think those are some of the hurdles, but I think it is how you face them when you do have those hurdles.

Paul Casey:

Would you also be an advocate of cross training for that reason? Being versatile to be able to be put in different places in an organization?

Jennie Stults:

I think so. I think that's one thing as leaders, that's hard to do when you have good people working for you, or around you or even up, is you do not want to let them go because they're there. But I think, and Scott might have some experience with this, is I think it does people good to be forced into different things. You learn some new tools, you learn adaption, you learn how... And sometimes it makes you better I found. I think I got better in positions where I was the least comfortable, but you really have to work hard.

Paul Casey:

What's your biggest ongoing challenge as a leader? What really stretching you even after all of your years of experience?

Scott Sax:

I'll give you two answers to that. One answer is directly with a current job, as we're about ready to kick off a transition and take over a major contract. And so establishing the vision, and bringing the team along, and establishing the culture we want, but also growing and learning the culture that's already existing in there. So I think that vision and that leadership part of that is really important for me personally. I'm not at the beginning of my career. So personally I'm at the end of my career. I'm not going to have a lot more jobs. So keeping that passion every single day to get up and drive and make a difference is different in the different parts of your job. So that's it. That's my two.

Paul Casey:

What does stoke that passion for you?

Scott Sax:

People. People. And I think in analogies, and I think in pictures. And so, and the things that really just absolutely turn me on is when I talk to somebody that has got a Ph.D in forklift, that just is absolutely a master in running a forklift because I'm not. And asking them how do they do their job so well, and what could I do to help them do their job better. It's real exciting. And so that does turn me on when you get to see somebody just do something that is just marvel.

Paul Casey:

Love it.

Jennie Stults:

So for me, I think you work on things all the time. It's kind of funny. And you go through one week, it seems like you're working on something the next week. So for me, it kind of varies depending on what I'm working on, but sometimes I think us type A people try and take on too much, and that's probably my biggest thing I work on, is-

Paul Casey:

I wouldn't know what that means.

Jennie Stults:

Yeah, I know. Setting those good boundaries. And so I have really tried to embrace that over the last few years, and chosen to build up my teams around me, and rely on them. And I have found a passion for doing that. I really enjoy mentoring people, I really enjoy working as a team and getting them, because sometimes it's amazing what ideas... I can't remember who. I think it might have been Patton who even said you just tell them where you want to go and they're all figure it out, and there will be a better answer than you could ever come up with. And I've seen that in action myself. I've tried some techniques like that, and it does work. So not just saying, "Oh I can do this because I can do it." but actually stepping back and letting other people start to shine, I think us leaders really need to embrace that, and I think it's something I work on myself is making sure. And I get a lot of reward out of it but it's tough still too.

Paul Casey:

It is. But it multiplies your influence, doesn't it?

Jennie Stults:

Yeah. Yeah.

Paul Casey:

If you both had a leadership philosophy that you put front and center on a bulletin board in your office at all times for everyone to see, what would those messages say?

Scott Sax:

So it's funny you ask that question because I actually have four signs that I've had with me, and I've added them throughout my career. And the very first one I put up on my wall was just sign that said Pride. And I had my favorite coach in college, a guy named Sonny Holland, and his leadership skill, and what I took away from him was you need to be proud of your individual effort contributing to the team's success, and if you are every single day to try to do that, you could be proud of your team. And I think being proud of something as a father, as a manager, as a teammate, is probably the thing that is my philosophy is, "Don't do anything that you wouldn't be proud of, and try to do things that you can be proud of."

Jennie Stults:

What's your other signs though?

Paul Casey:

Yeah, now we want to know because you said there's four.

Scott Sax:

There's four. "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Paul Casey:

Love it.

Scott Sax:

I put that one up when I was a maintenance manager. "The key to getting better is working smarter not harder." And I did that to keep reminding myself every single day that extra hours don't necessarily mean extra productivity.

Paul Casey:

True.

Scott Sax:

And then probably my favorite of all time is, "If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time." And so that ties back to that vision. You got to know where you want to go, where you're expecting to go, where you want your team to go, instead of just marching off smartly in all directions.

Paul Casey:

Good ones. Good ones.

Jennie Stults:

So I have two, or three maybe. But the one I would say the teams that work with me the most hear me say the most is, "We’ve got to get to point B first." So I see a lot, and I understand totally that you got to have a whole team that sees things all differently. But a lot of times in leadership you'll hear all sorts of things about a step that's 20 months down the road, and we'll have spent 30 minutes on it. And I really try and focus my teams on, "Yes. We have to think long term, but you also have to get to B." You know what I mean? "You're worried about G. Let's get to B first, and let's figure that out." And I think Scott probably sees a lot of that in his leadership that he has done too is we could worry about every single thing going wrong but let's try and figure out the near term, and then we'll keep going.

Jennie Stults:

And so I think that's probably the one, if you ask some of the people that work with me that hear me say that the most. The other thing I would say is a philosophy of mine is to do what you're doing today the best you can. So we all have things on our jobs that aren't our favorite, but you got to focus in, and I think as leaders, it's really important to remember that because you always lean towards the things you'd like to do. But I really do try, I'm not perfect at it, but I really do try to do my best at what I'm doing today, and sometimes that is stuff that you think, "Oh my gosh. Why am I doing this?" But sometimes you just got to do it and stuff.

Jennie Stults:

So that's something I try and always make sure the teams around me always know that you got to pitch in, you got to do stuff, let's all work together. And usually it works pretty good that way.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. I do one thing, I saw you do everything. So that's why you do your best at everything.

Jennie Stults:

Right.

Paul Casey:

Well before we get into our next question on vision and more of these guys; dream about the future, let's shout out to our sponsor. Mario Martinez, Northwestern Mutual. Mario, why should people work with a financial advisor?

Mario Martinez:

Hey Paul. That's a great question. Really I think there's two types of people who should be seeking out a financial professional. The one person is somebody who has very limited access to financial guidance. Maybe they're a younger professional, or somebody who just hasn't had an introduction to a financial professional yet. And the other type of person is really someone who has a lot of different exposure to different professionals. They just haven't found the one person that they really trust to take guidance from. So there's really an over information in that sense. So those are really the two types of people that should be looking to be introduced to a financial professional.

Paul Casey:

Fantastic. So Mario, how can people get in touch with you?

Mario Martinez:

The easiest way is to reach out to me directly on my business cell phone which is 509-591-5301. You can send an email to mario.martinez@nm.com, or you can find us on our business Facebook page which is Mario Martinez Northwestern Mutual.

Paul Casey:

So Jennie and Scott, most influencers I know have a little bit of visionary inside them, and as the leader we have to think about the next hill, even though as Jennie said, we get to point B first before we get to Z. So where do you take time to dream about the future? What does that look like for you?

Scott Sax:

So I find that I get my best dreams about the future when I'm really tired of fighting the daily mundane bureaucratical stuff.

I'm actually not known for my patience. In fact I'm pretty famous for my impatience.

Paul Casey:

Jennie, stop laughing.

Scott Sax:

When I get very impatient, I start grading even on myself. I just go out into the field and I watch work get done, and wander around and talk to people. And they just energize me. And most of the things that I can actually say about myself is I've had a tremendous number of ideas or great ideas, but I'm a good implementer of ideas. So if I can ask somebody, "What's your idea for something to make our job better?" and they have it, I love to grab that and run with it and turn that into the future. And so I think dreaming up what you can be and what perfect looks like is important. But again, embrace today and get everything you can get done today. And it enables a lot of stuff in funny ways for tomorrow.

Paul Casey:

And you listen to your constituents to help create the vision it sounds like.

Scott Sax:

Right.

Jennie Stults:

So I get a lot of my personal inspiration stuff because I'm a very avid reader. So I actually like to read different sources: leadership newsletters in my email, sometimes some of them speak to me. And I would say that's probably my biggest source. Sometimes I listen to different things when I'm walking or whatever else, but I tend to do that. I tend to go in batches, and try and really take on some things, especially when I'm finding some challenges, I'll go and look for some inspiration there, and, "How do you handle this? How do you handle that?" And so I think that probably is my biggest source of different things, is doing that, but there's all sorts of different inspirations. I think Scott is right. Every day you get inspired by co-workers, friends, family, whatever it is.

Paul Casey:

And you can learn from everything, right?

Jennie Stults:

Absolutely.

Paul Casey:

Yeah, I'm sitting at a conference, and I may not even completely connect with the person that I'm listening to, but my brain takes one of those concepts and runs with it in a applicable way for what I'm doing, or if I'm listening to a podcast, same deal. And so with the emails. And it's hard not to be compulsive because, "Oh, this newsletter came in. I've got to get something from it. Before I delete it, I have to..." And sometimes I can get a little OCD about that. But I want to learn from everything.

Paul Casey:

But let's go a little granular with your life here. What's yourtypical morning routine for both of you? Maybe before work, maybe once you arrive at work, do you have any rituals that help you start your day strong?

Scott Sax:

Well I get up, get in the shower, and get to work in 30 minutes.

Paul Casey:

And you probably have to get up early, right?

Scott Sax:

I do. And I try to get to work between 5:00 and 5:30. I did that primarily when I had little kids because I added all my time onto the beginning of the day, and tried not to take their time away from them at night, or on weekends. And so my days got longer. Now I just go to bed earlier. But so I get up, get to work, drink coffee, and I dive into those mundane emails that you're talking about, and try to get the routine stuff cleaned off my system before everybody else starts getting to work. And then I can engage people.

Paul Casey:

So many leaders I've interviewed use that morning time before they get interrupted by the flood of people arriving to really get some quality stuff done.

Jennie Stults:

So I have kind of a typical routine, at least when I'm working onsite or a project, I get up very early but I'm a very avid exerciser. So I usually am up about 3:45 and I'm exercising by about 4:15, and I really like to exercise before work. I actually get a lot of my creativity there. I do. I listen to podcasts when I'm doing stuff, I get a lot of great ideas. My team actually one time said, "You've got to stop running." Because I got on a running kick and I come into work going, "All right, I got it. This is it."

Paul Casey:

Something about the open road.

Jennie Stults:

I had a thought. So I have been accused of that. But, so I usually do that, and it's very good for me. It clears my head in the morning, it lets me focus. And I did start doing that similar to Scott because my kids were little, and that was the only time I had for a little bit of me time. And so but it does clear my head, and really get me focused and excited for the day.

Paul Casey:

It probably helps you avoid burnout too.

Jennie Stults:

It does. Yeah. Yeah. So that's my typical morning.

Paul Casey:

How did you both prioritize family time and yet still be high performers at work? I know the lines get blurred as you go through your career, but how did you make sure there was time for both?

Scott Sax:

I think the priest that married my wife and I said something to me when he was telling us how to be married, which I always thought was an interesting me for a priest to teach me how to be married. And I guess, but his explanation for that was, "I see all the problems when it's not working."

Paul Casey:

Oh, sure. Sure, sure. Yeah.

Scott Sax

Yeah. So I took his-

Paul Casey:

Research.

Scott Sax:

Exactly. But he said, "One thing you have to understand Scott..." and we had known each other for quite some time, "...is being a good father and being a good husband, one of your roles is being a provider and the way you're doing that. So providing and doing your work is a key responsibility for you as a family member." So that relieved a lot of guilt when you had to stay late or you missed a birthday, or you had to work on Christmas, or some of that stuff because that was part of my role as a dad and a husband is providing. And so, didn't relieve all of it. Okay?

Scott Sax:

I never missed my kids' sports and I was engaged with them in at least their goal setting of all their school. Their mom raised them. I have a amazing wife, and she did a lot of the different stuff to get them through their lives setting their goals and doing all that stuff. But I tried to never work on weekends. I tried to never take my phone out at a basketball game. And phones are detrimental to your family I believe. So putting your phones away and focused on conversation instead of texts, that is really important. So...

Paul Casey:

We'll tweet that. Phones are detrimental to your families. Scott Sax.

Jennie Stults:

So I have kind of a different thing because I had my first son when I was 23 I think, not quite 24. And so I've had a challenge of being a mom, and a single mom relatively when my kids were relatively young. And so it was a hard balance for me. I'm very open about talking about this because I think it is really important for people to know that some of us have tough barriers that way, and I never asked for anything special because of it, but it was a challenge. But I think that what I did myself is I looked for roles that I could do. So Scott talks about being the operations manager at PP and some of the other roles. I couldn't do those. It just wouldn't have worked with my family and my kids, that they needed me home at 5:00 so that I could take them to the sports and be there for the dinners. And we always had dinners together and everything. I just could not take some roles I would have liked to.

Jennie Stults:

But what I learned is that's okay. I had great roles. It just was different. So I think one thing I tell people when they come and ask me about advice for this, because they do know my story, is I tell them, "Look around and find the role that fits. Talk to your manager. Tell them your things, but tell him what you're willing to do." So me, I did a lot after my kids went to bed at 8:00, I'd log on the computer for an hour and a half and I'd work till 10:00 and catch up on those emails that Scott was doing at 5:00AM. I did them in 8:30 at night.

Paul Casey:

Sure.

Jennie Stults:

And I never missed deadlines. So sometimes I had to work Saturday nights when my kids were watching movies with their friends. I was working to get ahead. So I did what I needed to do, but I accepted the roles. And the other thing I did was, when I got asked to do some of these emergency roles, I would talk to the manager and say, "Look, I am a single mom. Here's my thing. But here's what I will do. I will work very hard. This is what I do, and I'll work with you." And after that, usually we can work something out. But you do have to realize I think when you do have family balance issues, but the other thing is it doesn't last forever. So my youngest just left for college. So I'm now free to go do whatever I want. And so, it's not permanent. You can work it out. So, I think people just need to try and learn that balance for them, whatever works for them.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. I love that. It's contentment with whatever situation you're in, and it's also being very clear with your boundaries, "Here's what I can do, here's what I can't do." And doing it with the utmost respect.

Jennie Stults:

Yeah, but you have to be prepared to work hard though if you do have some of those challenges. I mean I did when Saturday night and they had friends over eating pizza and everything, I would have loved to have just sat there and whatever. But, no. I was working. So it doesn't mean you don't have to work really hard, especially if I want to be a leader and go up. So...

Paul Casey:

Yeah. And if you want a special work arrangement, you got to almost work double hard to show that, "Hey, I'm on board."

Jennie Stults:

Yeah.

Paul Casey:

Well finally, what advice would you give to new leaders or anyone who wants to keep growing and gaining new influence?

Scott Sax:

Well I think being a new leader, leading is different than doing, okay? And I think having a mentor to learn your leadership stuff is very important. Colin Powell's Rules on Leadership are really my Bible on leadership. And I know which leaders in my career gave me the most positive attributes to work on. I also know which ones gave me some of the negative attributes not to work on. And so I think get a philosophy that's not perfect, but you can sink your teeth into, and anchor yourself with that. And that's what Colin Powell did for me.

Scott Sax:

Second thing is I think always listen and learn. You talked about cross training at the beginning of this, and I think one thing cross training really does for you is it some people think that if you're cross training, you can do all of it, right? For me, cross training gave me the ability to notice when somebody was exceptional at it. So I just knew enough to watch somebody and say, "That's the person that needs to be doing this, not me. I just know enough to appreciate real quality." So listen, learn. When you're in doubt, go do something. Find something you can do that day to cause the project, the team, the company to move forward. That gets noticed. You might not think it's getting noticed, but it is getting noticed, and those people that are always causing stuff to happen seem to advance. So that's what I'd say. Cause things to happen, continue to learn, and listen. Find your own mentor.

Paul Casey:

Good stuff.

Jennie Stults:

So, I would want to echo what Scott says about finding a mentor, and I think you need to look around for mentors. I've had some mentors. I will tell you my best ones were not the ones that were like me at all, and they weren't necessarily even the ones that I said, "Oh, this needs to be my mentor." But looking back on it, I learned the most from them. So Scott is a great leader but someone who's a lot like Scott, might actually find a better mentor in someone who's totally not him. So I actually think personally, I learn the most from mentors and leaders who I wasn't drawn to, but they challenge me in a different way. I learn something from them. Maybe even appreciation for finding someone else who is like them to counter me. So I think that but there's a lot of great leaders at Hanford as elsewhere. You can find a leader to be with that isn't in your field. I think you can learn a lot. I've learned a lot from people that have nothing to do with Hanford, and really pushed me in different ways, opened my opportunities.

Jennie Stults:

Volunteer is another one that I like to do. I'm on a board, Scott is on boards. Personally I've got a lot out of that. You meet a lot of different kinds of leaders that way because they're usually from a whole different wide variety of industries and stuff. And usually that way you usually can find some passion about some things, and really get into things. And then the other advice that I found in my career for being a younger leader when I was younger, and then middle age, and starting to be older, is look around. And I've coached this lot for people when they've asked some tips for success is, look around for those items that are getting just dropped. They're just going anywhere. They're the thing on the schedule that keeps pushing to the right and whatever, the things that people just are not that excited about." And even if it's not your favorite, try and embrace that and go after that because that's usually the stuff that actually you can shine at. Because to Scott's point, they'll appreciate you.

Jennie Stults:

So for me, I went and did the Department of Ecology job and did the regulatory thing just as kind of so I could be at home at normal hours with my kids and have a normal 8:00 to 4:30 kind of job for a while when my kids were young. But it ended up leaning me to a lot of things, and so a lot of times I do a lot of the regulatory work because it wasn't as high a priority as some of the other work. And so it made me shine in my career in different things and take on some new projects. So, I think trying to look for some of those. And I don't know about you Scott, but I've seen a lot of people shine just picking up kind of the stuff that nobody is picking up, and then all of a sudden you're looking and you're, "Wow they took off. Look at that."

Paul Casey:

The team says, "Hurray."

Jennie Stults:

Yeah, exactly. Don't know how they made that happen, but great.

Scott Sax:

I agree.

Paul Casey:

Great stuff. Well how can our listeners best connect with you both?

Scott Sax:

Well I'm pretty good at responding to emails, and so my corporate email is scott.sax@amentum.com. And be happy to respond to an email.

Paul Casey:

Thank you.

Jenny Stults:

And so my email just like Scott is @amentum.com jennie.stults. And I also am on LinkedIn. So people can connect with me there. And then Scott did mention the brand new website that's going to be launching for his company. So you can probably catch him there too and find out how to get him there.

Paul Casey:

Cool. Well thanks for all you do to make the Tri-cities a great place, and keep leading well. Let me wrap up our podcast today with a leadership resource to recommend. From a gentleman I met last year at a National Speakers Association conference: Kevin McCarthy. He specializes in blind spots that leaders have. And you might say, "I don't have any." Well that's why it's called a blind spot. So you can go to www3.blindspot.com, and you can actually take a little survey, 14 quick questions to reveal your blind spots. It's a free assessment. It actually comes with an eight page PDF, and Kevin McCarthy is his name, blindspots.com.

Paul Casey:

Again, this is Paul Casey. I want to thank my guests today Jennie Stults and Scott Sax from Amentum for being here today on the Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast. And we want to thank our TCI sponsor and invite you to support them. We appreciate you making this possible so we can collaborate to inspire leaders in our community.

Paul Casey:

Finally, one more leadership tidbit for the road. To help me make a difference in your circle of influence. The secret to leadership is simple. Do what you believe in, paint a picture of the future, go there, people will follow. Until next time, KGF, Keep Growing Forward.

Speaker 3:

Thank you to our listeners for tuning into today's show. Paul Casey is on a mission to add value to leaders by providing practical tools and strategies that reduce stress in their lives and on their teams so that they can enjoy life and leadership, and experience their key desired results. If you'd like more help from Paul in your leadership development, connect with him at growingforward@paulcasey.org for a consultation that could help you move past your current challenges and create a strategy for growing your life, or your team forward. Paul would also like to help you restore your sanity to your crazy schedule and getting your priorities done every day by offering you his free Control My Calendar checklist. Go to www.takebackmycalendar.com for that productivity tool, or open a text message to 72000 and type the word growing.

Paul Casey:

Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast was recorded at Fuse SPC by Bill Wagner of Safe Strategies.

67 episodes