60. Tri Cities Influencer Podcast featuring Rick Dunn

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Cynthia Marquez:

"Sometimes to begin a new story, you have to let the old one in." Author unknown. I am Cynthia Marquez, and I am a Tri-City Influencer.

Paul Casey:

One definition of multitasking is messing up two things at once. I love that definition.

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 Rick Dunn. Rick is the general manager of Benton PUD, and I asked him for a fun fact about himself. He said, "It could be quirky. It could be annoying, but it's about the dishwasher." Rick, really quick, tell us about that.

Rick Dunn:

Okay. I did have to quiz my wife about the things that I did that annoy her, that would be considered quirky, and I guess as we kind of talk a little bit further, you understand where this is coming from, but I've been known to reload the dishwasher after somebody else does it, because it's not done right, and there's an efficient way to do it. Right? Then to kind of add to that, I cannot allow the drinking glasses to go into the cabinet, not being in the proper order. Small, juice glasses then the medium ones and then the big ones. Anyway, that tells you a lot about me.

Paul Casey:

It does. It does, personality style gone crazy.

Rick Dunn:

Yes.

Paul Casey:

Well, we're going to dive in with Rick after checking in with our Tri-City Influencer sponsor.

Paul Casey:

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 a financial plan. 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. On the other side of our practice is, we do investment services. On the investment platforms we do both the brokerage platform and we do the advisory level services. Depending on what someone's looking for as far as guidance on their investment strategies, we can curtail and build a strategy for them that makes 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. It's (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, Rick. I was privileged to meet you. Man, was it? It's been probably 15 years ago. I had your children at Liberty Christian School when I was the principal there, and I hired your wife to teach second grade. That is bizarre.

Rick Dunn:

I am eternally grateful for that, and it is kind of amazing though. You know how this community works, is that you’ve really got to be careful and make sure you're nice to people. They can come back and intersect with you in a different part of your life.

Paul Casey:

I like that. Intersect with you. Yes. And more recently being able to do professional development with your awesome team there at Benton PUD. Thanks for hiring me.

Rick Dunn:

Absolutely. It's been great. Hey, you earned it. All right. It's not just a favor.

Paul Casey:

Well, so that our Tri-City influencers can get to know you, take us through a couple of career highlights that led you to your current position and why you love what you do.

Rick Dunn:

Well, I don't think you can really talk about your career highlights unless you give a little bit of background about your personal life.

Paul Casey:

Yeah.

Rick Dunn:

I grew up in Benton City, graduated from Kiona High School, went to Washington State University and got an electrical engineering degree, and like most people from small towns wanted to get out of here, and so we did and we moved to Phoenix. I was recruited by a couple of different companies, one in California and one in Phoenix, Arizona. We moved down there, and the reason I tell you that is, is I'm a high voltage power engineer. That's the best summary of my background.

Paul Casey:

You're electric, man.

Rick Dunn:

We are really electric. You go where the jobs are, and so the thing that brought us back to the Northwest is we just missed the Northwest. As much as I had a great job down there, I really didn't realize how much I valued just being here in this part of the country. As you leave college, you don't know exactly what you want to do, but we took a risk and we went down, and then came back after two years. A couple of summers of 115 degrees will do that to a guy, but I tell you as a set up, because then you have kids, and we had kids, we lived in Seattle area. That's where I worked. As soon as we had kids, we found ourselves coming over to the Tri-Cities all the time. My wife and I were on our way back to Seattle one time, and it was one of those beautiful summer evenings in the Tri-Cities and the smell of the alfalfa in the fields on the way past Prosser and that area.

Rick Dunn:

I looked at Marjean and said, "Why are we doing this? We should just try to move back here." Fast forwarding, I tried. I even put my resume in at Benton PUD, and they didn't even get back to me. I give, Steve Hunter's our assistant general manager and director of engineering operations a bad time. I said, "You didn't call me," so isn't that funny? I ended up back in the Tri-Cities and long story short, ended up in Hermiston, in Electric Co-Op, and then ultimately landed a job at Benton PUD. I am about high voltage electricity, and I'm a bit of an engineering nerd when it comes to that, but I think maybe to close it out when I was at the co-operative, I was sent away to training, to do a national training at the University of Nebraska.

Rick Dunn:

I went back there for a six week, very intensive courses, living in the dorms again. The idea is to train you up to be a general manager, and I remember telling the general manager at the time, "I want nothing to do with this, ever. You can't make me be a general manager. I'm an engineer. This is what I am meant to be in life." He said, "Yeah, but just go anyway, because it'll be good for you," and I just laugh about that now, because even as I'm in this job now, up until about a year ago, I was still saying the same thing. Anyway. I love being in an industry that really makes a difference in people's lives. I mean, not to be cliche or anything, it's just electricity that is kind of something that goes on in the background and when you don't have it, you miss it real quick. Right?

Paul Casey:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Rick Dunn:

I really do love that part of it, but I think as I think about Benton, and this community we live in, it's really about life-work balance and what this community has meant to me. Like you mentioned, that our kids in the school where you were principal. Those are the things that kind of come together in your life and you don't know exactly how they're going to weigh, and I've just been so fortunate to be able to balance all the different dimensions of my life. I look at this job now, that I have at Benton PUD, as somewhat of a getting out of what I might've naturally wanted to do and moving more into more of a service to other people. I'm kind of that stage of my life. Boy, it took me many, many months of thinking about it, but I came to this job really ready to do it, and I'm just so grateful for it.

Paul Casey:

Why did you resist initially, when you thought about being general manager, like, "Nah, I don't want to go there"?

Rick Dunn:

Well, I think, engineers naturally want to do design, and they want to create new things, and they want to watch things operate. I think it's a scary prospect to think you might be pulled out of what is really a defining passion. It's why you go put up with getting a bachelor's degree in engineering in the first place, right? All the suffering and late nights, so it feels like to go into "management" is contrary to really what drives a lot of people like myself who are mathematical and scientifically oriented, and liked getting out in the field and seeing things built. So the idea that you would then be locked down into a management job-

Paul Casey:

Leading people.

Rick Dunn:

Yes, and have to deal with these annoying people all the time. Right? I think, that's the fundamental issue, and I think also, I've been very fortunate. In the job I was in prior to the GM job was a senior director of engineering and power management, so that was fantastic. I mean, it's like the best job you could have, because I was able to stay close enough to the technical work, to kind of retain that anchor to what kind of defined me as an engineer, but also being at a director level where I could still get involved in some significant decision-making and problem solving, and working on strategic planning and different things, which I also enjoyed. It's kind of a nice balance and I thought, "Okay, well, that's it. I'm getting old and it's time to start heading out to pasture here in a few years. Why would I change now? I'm pretty comfortable."

Rick Dunn:

I think that's another reason that I kind of resisted, was things were going good. My kids were raised and mostly through college, I've got one left to finish up. He's getting his master's degree down in Colorado right now, but I was kind of looking down the road to just easing into retirement. Why would I go do this job and stretch myself, right, at this late date?

Paul Casey:

Yeah. You were at a crossroads, and you jumped and it sounds like you reframed it as, "I get to be a servant leader here, I get to pour into people. I'm going to say yes to this opportunity." What advice would you give to our listeners for when they reach a crossroads like that in their life?

Rick Dunn:

You know what? I do think that you have to be careful, and it's a little bit cliche to say, "Never say never," right? I think as you come to these crossroads in your career that you don't want to put definitive nos on opportunities necessarily. Right? Maybe the timing isn't necessarily right, but I've really listened to what other people have told me about myself and what I maybe mean to them, or maybe mean to the organization. Things that I'm not necessarily seeing or realizing is happening. I've been very fortunate to be, I don't know, an engineer that can get out of the cubicle and actually talk to people, and have a bit of interpersonal skills perhaps, and so I heard that from people. They think, "Oh, well, you're kind of a different engineer. You can actually talk to me and you make things sounded easier, and so I can track with you." I kept hearing that a lot.

Rick Dunn:

There's that, and then I think as you work for companies for a while, you do gain a sense of loyalty. I mean, we're all kind of team-oriented, and when you're working for a company, and you see a need and maybe your boss is saying, "Man, I have a challenge here. We need someone to step into leadership." I think that you need to be open to the idea that it isn't always about you, so when you talk about servant leadership, I think that's a good term, is you have to look at, well, where are the opportunities that I could serve? I've been actually, really surprised to some degree on how gratifying that can be. Now, I think that if you can balance your passions and the things that drive you with servant leadership, those things in combination, I mean, that's the sweet spot, right?

Paul Casey:

It is.

Rick Dunn:

I've just really been fortunate to have those opportunities within the industry that I'm in. I get back to your question, what's the advice I give to people, is just show some passion in your work and listen to what other people say about you. Maybe recalibrate the way you approach things, as you hear that. Don't limit your thinking about what the possibilities might be for you. It may not be the right timing, but there can be at some point in the future where things open up, just like what happened to me with this general manager opportunity. Is that I wasn't planning on it, and...

Paul Casey:

You should never fully close the door, right?

Rick Dunn:

I never fully closed the door. Right.

Paul Casey:

Left it ajar a little bit.

Rick Dunn:

Exactly, and I think it was around that whole loyalty and kind of serving orientation that I kind of gained over the years. Yeah, I think that's probably the best advice.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. I love that. Listen to others and how they see you.

Paul Casey:

Years ago, I had a friend who asked me a series of seven or eight questions about her, and said like, "What do you see most in me as my strengths? What do I talk too much about? What do I need to divest myself of?" It was a fun activity. I thought I'm going to do that with seven or eight of my friends, and people that I knew were really for me, I still have that sheet. It was like 2010 or '11. Now, when I teach on emotional intelligence, I said, "This is one of the ways that you can get feedback on yourself. I mean, go after it from the people who are for you and love you the way you are, as quirky as you are or not, and listen, and see if there's some patterns that develop, and it's like, "Wow, this is how I'm coming across."

Rick Dunn:

Yeah.

Paul Casey:

What's most rewarding for you in your job now, and how do you stay focused on that? I'm sure all the hassles, disappointments of being in charge trickle up to your level, woo hoo, as a leader, but what's the most rewarding for you?

Rick Dunn:

I mean, I still think the engineer in me likes to solve complex problems. I think the difference is designing a substation presents certain sets of problems, but operating in our business, in the power contracting side of things, for example. Developing strategic plans and different things present challenges, and so I still enjoy the complexity of the challenges, right? I mean, it's that kind of intellectual side of things, as opposed to the emotional side of it, but like I mentioned to you, I still value being a servant to others. I think for me, seeing the inherent value in people and not just making that a talking point, but actually making it a part of who you are is really rewarding to me. I guess what that translates to is, is I love just talking to anybody that will listen to me for more than a few minutes, right? That means anybody in any job capacity.

Rick Dunn:

COVID's been really difficult for me, because I took over March 1st.

Paul Casey:

Oh my goodness.

Rick Dunn:

Two weeks later, we shut the doors and locked things down, so one of my goals as general manager was going to be to walk around a lot and really engage with people, because I really liked talking to people. It's rewarding to me to talk to individuals. People don't need a whole lot of encouragement, and I know from being kind of on the other side of this, that it means a lot to hear from the boss, right? To get to know them and to see that they're a real human being. I like that part of it, and boy, I can't wait to get back to normal so that we can do that.

Rick Dunn:

One substitute for that, that I've kind of implemented here out of necessity, is to sending out an email to all the employees, to kind of make sure that they know I'm still here, and try to provide some encouragement and some strength through these really challenging times. I think it's a combination. Keep solving technical problems, but get a lot of reward out of just the simple things and the relationships with people. I think, to make room for those two things, people that have worked for me long enough and have been around me know that I'm an absolute... How do I say this? Disciplined daily task manager, and the reason that I bring that up is that if you're going to make room for the things you enjoy and you're passionate about, I just believe you have to have a process by which you intake information, and intake requests for meetings, and requests to review documents and things.

Rick Dunn:

I do it just really disciplined within... I use Outlook, Outlook Task Manager, and then people kind of, I think it's affectionately, call me the task manager, but they're referring to outlook. If that makes sense? Is that I have a real way in which I process incoming requests for things, because there is a lot of work that we do is very administrative and rather than grouse about it and complain about it, many years ago... In fact, it was a part of this management training I took back in Nebraska. Many years ago, I learned techniques and processes for how to bring paperwork into your office, and sort it and keep it off your desktop. Then when Outlook and email, and everything came out, I figured out a way to really use Outlook Task Manager.

Rick Dunn:

Hopefully I'm not droning on too long here, Paul, but I guess what I'm saying is, don't discount the value of having processes that are repeatable and allow you to efficiently take care of those administrative chores and tasks, that can take away and diminish your love of the job, right? If you allow it, and so I've really fended that off by having this process that I've had in place for, gosh, probably 15 years now. Then that frees me up, for the future, when I will be able to go talk to employees and things, but I've always done that in the jobs that I've had. I've tried to make room for that.

Paul Casey:

That's a great way of saying it too, it frees you up. By having these time management and priority management tools, you're talking my language now, then it does free you up to do the other things that give you that joy, but if you just let everything be reactive while you're sitting in the leadership chair, then it crowds all that time out. What is it? Parkinson's Law, work expands to fill all of the available time, and so you have to stay disciplined and say, "Is this what I should be working on right now? Am I the right person to be doing this? Or should I be delegating this to someone else, so I can do that relationship stuff? It's just so rewarding.

Paul Casey:

Leaders must keep growing or they become irrelevant. How have you matured as a leader in recent years as you moved up through the ranks?

Rick Dunn:

I think as you consider getting into leadership positions or management, one of the things that I noticed is that people were all, seemed to be looking for formulas and kind of the magic thing that you do to become a leader. There's lots of books and there's lots of things you can read about it, and I always felt a little funny, like, well, I don't really read a whole lot of leadership books. I actually, I really don't. What was the question? I'm sorry.

Paul Casey:

How have you matured as a leader?

Rick Dunn:

I'm sorry. Yeah. How have I matured, is I guess what I've allowed myself to do is really tap into some of my own natural abilities. Like I said earlier, kind of listen to what other people are giving me in terms of feedback. For me, the biggest thing I can do is listen more. I still struggle with it, but I've really recognized the value in letting other people talk, and let them tell you what's on their mind. I think as engineers, sometimes... Not sometimes, maybe all the time, we think we got the answer, right? So there's a tendency to kind of shut off, but I think that to be a leader and to mature requires that you do value other people, that you really see their inherent value, and that they may have an opinion that's different. They may have something that they know that you don't know, and really being open to that.

Rick Dunn:

I think, maybe additionally, I haven't looked for the big aha moment in how I'm finally arrived at being a leader. It's more about incremental improvement for me. I know, Paul, you and I have talked about this, that I really think that success in your personal life is really critical to success in your business life. Winning in your personal life, in incremental ways, kind of can snowball into good things. It kind of translates into just positive outcomes in your business life, too, if that makes sense?

Paul Casey:

Yes. Self-leadership always precedes team leadership.

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. I think I've recognized that, and your question was about maturing as a leader, and it's just recognizing that there's some principles on which you can operate and that you need to stay true to, that work throughout your career progression, that are really powerful, and I don't know, be careful that you're looking in books for. Now, trust me, reading books in leadership style. Well, those are all fine. That's all good.

Paul Casey:

Bill, let's shut this podcast down. He doesn't read leadership books, so let's just end it right here. No, just kidding.

Rick Dunn:

Right, right. Anyway, I just think that-

Paul Casey:

Yes. There's no magic bullet.

Rick Dunn:

... I think there's a combination. There's a combination. I think, be open, all of that, but don't look for kind of that magic formula that's going to work, find your principles. I think for me, it's just really trying to be grounded, and the fact that it is about people in the end. These things we do for careers, they're really about people coming together, aiming at kind of a common purpose together, and that you can't do that if you don't have that frame of reference, I guess, that really values people.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. When you hired me to work with your team, we talked about like, let's balance this with self-leadership, and personal growth, and leadership growth, because you were very clear of that. "I want my people to be whole. They're whole people, so let's try to take care of nurturing their personal growth because that's going to bleed over into work."

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. I think another thing is that a lot of the jobs that people do, frankly, they're very necessary, and there's no job that's not important to an organization, but some of them can be routine, right? They can also isolate people from kind of the bigger picture of what their company's doing, and what we're doing in our community. I think it's really important that we don't leave people like that behind, and so that's what we're doing with you, and that's what we're doing with some of the strategic actions that we're undertaking, is to let's really invest in our people. Let's make sure they know they're valuable. Let's give them opportunities to set some goals and it can be personal life.

Rick Dunn:

In fact, I wish it was first, right? Get some personal goals that you achieve and then bring that to work. Now, let's set some incremental goals for you. Maybe you're going to expand beyond the job that you have now and in a way that you never really expected, right? Because you start getting some wins in your life, and then it translates to work. Now you're looking for opportunities and things can go far better from there, right?

Paul Casey:

Yeah. It's a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, which comes from the book, Mindset by Carol Dweck, but if you have that growth mindset-

Rick Dunn:

I haven't read it. Sorry.

Paul Casey:

I know.

Rick Dunn:

But maybe I will.

Paul Casey:

But yes, it talks about if you have that growth mindset, you're never really just like digging in with a position. You're always like, "Well, I can learn something from this person in front of me, and I can learn something from this resource," but that fixed mindset's sort of like, "All right. I know it all. Whatever. Yeah."

Rick Dunn:

Right. I think some people definitely need help in seeing that, right?

Paul Casey:

They do.

Rick Dunn:

Because they go to work to pay the bills a lot of times. It'd be easy to kind of hunker down and even become somewhat kind of jaded in your view. "Well, I don't know if there's going to be any opportunities for me," right? I think leaders need to go in, identify people who may be in that situation, and help them see beyond kind of where they're at right now, and do it in small ways again,. It doesn't have to be some major dramatic changes. It's incremental.

Paul Casey:

Right. It could be a fitness goal. It could be a relationship, marriage goal, a parenting goal. Yeah, for sure.

Paul Casey:

Well, before we head into our next question and talk a little bit more about that to-do list that Rick has, a shout out to our sponsor.

Paul Casey:

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. 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. Those are really the two types of people that should be looking to be introduced to a financial professional.

Paul Casey:

Fantastic. 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:

Rick, most of our to-do lists are greater than the time we have to do them, so that requires a leader to have to triage tasks, delegate in order to focus on your most important tasks. How do you sort, you were talking about your Outlook Task Manager, how do you sort how you spend your time, and maybe any tips that you have for our listeners on delegation?

Rick Dunn:

All right. Now you're going to uncover the secret sauce in how I do things.

Paul Casey:

Let's go deep, man.

Rick Dunn:

All right. Okay.

Paul Casey:

Nerd out on it.

Rick Dunn:

This is proprietary information that we're getting into there. No, we're not. Yeah, we already talked about the fact that... I guess it starts with this. We have to acknowledge that how we operate in our jobs has changed over the years. Right? I mean, when I came out of college, there were no personal computers. I mean, it makes me feel very old, but I had a PC on my desk within about six months, but I was in the workforce when you still typed a memo, and then copied it off, and routed it around, and everything.

Paul Casey:

Mimeograph machines.

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. Now we've moved far beyond that obviously. Email has created this unbelievably open door policy, if you will, about who gets to hear what you're up to, up to the top of the organization, right? It's CC everybody. I try to manage that with people. I try to manage expectations up front, which is if you work for me, or you work within my organization, here's how I want to operate.

Rick Dunn:

We don't all need to see what everybody's up to at every moment. Right? You need to take some-

Paul Casey:

Reply all.

Rick Dunn:

Exactly. I start with that, because this is an acknowledgement that that's the world we live in, I think, so it starts with setting expectations with people and what communication that you want to see, and so I limit it. I start by the same... I have a lot of email, okay? Just like everybody else, but I can keep it reduced. When it comes in, it's almost always, "Can you take a look at this," or it's just letting you know, FYI. Right? I move emails into a task list, because that's how... Email is the way in which we take on assignments predominantly, right? I mean, that's the truth of it. I bring them in, and so I look at the business I'm in, and I won't tell the groupings, but I have about six different groupings in which stuff goes, and it goes into those.

Rick Dunn:

At the moment that I process it, I assign it a due date. It doesn't mean I'm going to be done with it, and I ask people, I set an expectation, "Tell me when you want it done," because I want to perform to your expectation and not be uncertain about it, and that really helps. Right? It helps you manage your priorities. As those things come in, I assign them to a task. I group it into a particular category, and then I put a due date on, which is going to pop to the top. Then I use a little bit of automation in Outlook, and I tell Outlook, "Hey, show me my tasks by these different groups. And then color red when they get overdue," so they come to the top of the stack that way. The way I come in to each day, literally, is I'll go through those different groupings and I see what's at the top of the stack.

Rick Dunn:

Then at the end of the day, I kind of follow your advice, right? I'm trying to practice what we're preaching here, and so I look at what's coming for the next day. By doing that, I'm not really surprised by what's coming tomorrow. I try to be just highly efficient in that realm. Then people still insist on giving you paperwork, right? I have a system for which I manage that, and you might think, "Oh man, we're getting down in the weeds now. It is important, because still paper does exist, and so I have an accordion file with A through Z on it, and when somebody hands me a piece of paper, I put it in one of those letter categories, and I go to my task list, and I just put in parentheses what letter it's in. Does that make sense?

Paul Casey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rick Dunn:

Now, I can couple together, the paper world and the electronic world in a very efficient package where it's just kind of integrated with managing email, and calendars, and things. That's where-

Paul Casey:

Is A top priority, B-

Rick Dunn:

No. No, they're just letters that tell you the topic or whatever.

Paul Casey:

It's how you file them, right? Okay.

Rick Dunn:

Yes, and I don't over complicate it. I try to make... You can spend more time getting organized than you do just doing the work. It's like, "Well, you could"-

Paul Casey:

You could.

Rick Dunn:

... "or you could use the actual process that's fast, seamless somewhat and integrate it. Right? That's my advice, is to take advantage of the tools we have, recognize how tasks are coming in, recognize how email influences you. It can also be a source of distraction. I turn off notifications. I do not have email notifications turned on. I think it really feeds the-

Paul Casey:

Squirrel.

Rick Dunn:

... attention deficit disorder. Yeah, that's happening in the work. Anyway. I hope that kind of explains it. I do that, and then I say, "Okay, now, if there's tasks that end up lingering too long, perhaps I'm not the right person to get it done, or I need to communicate with other people." And I'll find myself finally telling somebody, "Hey, look," I call it my whack-a-mole task management technique, is that it pops up, it turns red, and then I either get it done or I whack it back down in the stack. Right? If I do that multiple times, I'm like, "All right, I've got to send that to somebody else."

Paul Casey:

That's your trigger. Yeah, yeah.

Rick Dunn:

That's it. If it's been through multiple cycles, and it's popped up and I can't seem to get it done, then... Now, I will tell you that it's very important to me that I actually meet people's expectations. Right? To do that consistently I do think it's important that you get yourself organized.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. Good stuff. We talked about personal growth, self-care, being essential for mental health, especially in the land of COVID, and for top performance. What recharges your batteries?

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. That's a great question. It's certainly easy for me, now that I have my three boys raised and they're adults. I just think that what you can do from a practical standpoint, when you're raising kids and have a house full of craziness, and what I can do now, are different things. Okay? I don't want to stand in judgment of anybody, because I was the last person to get up early and exercise when I had kids in the house.

Paul Casey:

Sure, sure.

Rick Dunn:

But, now, at this stage of my life, it's very important to me. I'm not a morning person, but my wife, probably about eight or nine years ago said, "When are you going to stop talking about losing some weight and getting healthy, and do something about it?" I was, "Whoa."

Paul Casey:

I love you too, honey.

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. She ordered the DVDs and we started getting up in the morning, right, okay? We did that. We had kids in the house, and so we did it together. I think the reason I bring that up is, because it's an accountability mechanism to have somebody say, "Hey, we're going to do this together." What's become very important to me, and recharges me, is the morning routine where I get up early. I do a lot of prayer time and there's quiet time, and do some Bible study. That's my choice for how I wake up in the morning. Then I go, I do physical exercise. I do at least 30 minutes to an hour. I've kind of reduced it down to 30 to 45 minutes now. Get the mind, and the spirit, and the body kind of fired up before you get to the office. I tell you, it's meant so much to me. Now it's become just part of what I have to do to stay recharged, like you're saying, but it does take discipline.

Paul Casey:

It does.

Rick Dunn:

It takes commitment, but the thing I've learned, and I know I'm not the first person to experience this, is once you've integrated some lifestyle like that into your world, I don't know what to do without it then. Right? I mean-

Paul Casey:

Stability.

Rick Dunn:

Yeah. I will tell you this. I've told a lot of folks this, is don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or something, right? It's about the long haul. I've really found that that's important to do that. Then I like to come home in the evening and even go for a walk or something. Just simple things. It doesn't have to be major. You can join a health club, but I've got a loft upstairs, and a rack of weights, and a DVD player, and Tony Horton on the other side, so I can do it at home, and make it happen and stick with it. Yeah.

Paul Casey:

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

Rick Dunn:

I think I said it before, but I'm going to reiterate it. No matter what job you're in, no matter what aspirations you have, I think, in terms of leadership, that it really does start with how you look at other people, and how you value them. Just knowing that every person comes to work for reasons that you don't totally understand, but I do believe that there's dignity in all work. I was taught that by my mom, and by my grandparents. You get up, you work hard, you take care of yourself, you take care of your family. I think that, as you're in your job, look at that and understand that, and everybody brings a little something different to the table, right? No matter what the job is, so value people, and don't just say it, actually do it.

Rick Dunn:

That means you engage with people. You have mutual respect for them. You listen to them. We're not perfect people. I have my moments, right? But I think when you do that, then you're going to find your way into leadership roles, because people naturally gravitate to folks who listen to them, and who care about them. Of course, you got to be competent, and so I say, dig into the technical things, learn your job really well. Do more than the minimum. I do a lot of reading. I spend a lot of time outside of work. I love my job, so it's not terrible to do that, but I think, really learn your job. Sometimes even over prepare a little bit. Be someone that people can count on.

Rick Dunn:

The simple things. Show up on time, get the task done when people ask you to, communicate with them and don't leave people hanging. All those things kind of work together. They have, for me at least, and opportunities have opened up. When people have confidence in you, like I said earlier, then you go, "Okay, well maybe I could do that, right?" Then they believe in you, and then other people believe in you, and you can find yourself being a successful part of a team. The next thing you know, you're promoted to general manager, and you didn't even want to do it, right?

Paul Casey:

Don't let this happen to you. Yeah.

Rick Dunn:

Exactly.

Paul Casey:

Rick Dunn's rules for life. I love it. Rick, how can our listeners best connect with you?

Rick Dunn:

Okay. I'm going to give you my email. Is that what you want me to do? Oh wow.

Paul Casey:

You can, and then it'll go into a folder. Our listeners will at least know that.

Rick Dunn:

That's right. I'll whack-a-mole you. Yes, yes. No, I'd be happy to communicate with folks. It's D-U-N-N-R, so it's dunnr@bentonpud.org.

Paul Casey:

Well, thanks again for all that you do to make the Tri-Cities a great place and keep leading well.

Paul Casey:

Let me wrap up our podcast today with a leadership resource to recommend. It's one that I want to provide for you, and it is a sheet of the top traits of terrific team leaders. It's 11 habits, inspirational habits that you as a leader can do to inspire your team. What you do is you open up a text message to 72000, seven, two, zero, zero, zero, and type the two words team lead, put a space in between, team lead, and I'll be happy to send that little tool off to you. The top traits of terrific team leaders.

Paul Casey:

Again, this is Paul Casey. I want to thank my guest, Rick Dunn from Benton PUD for being here today on the Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast. We also want to thank our TCI sponsor and invite you to support them. We appreciate you making this possible so that we can collaborate and help inspire leaders in our community. Finally, one more leadership tid bit for the road, to help you make a difference in your circle of influence. John Maxwell says, "The leaders take the vision from me to we." 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 deep desired results.

Speaker 3:

If you'd like more help from Paul in your leadership development, connect with him at growingforwardatpaulcasey.org for a consultation that 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