Inspiring People & Places: Episode 42

Title: “Fostering Growth and Developing Strategies that Work with Doug Reed, President and CEO of Meridian Associates”

Episode Summary:

On this week’s episode, BJ talks with Doug Reed, President and CEO of Meridian Associates, Author of Lead a Movement: The Insider’s Guide to Powerful Strategy Execution, and coach. Doug breaks down his philosophy surrounding team development, exceeding your own expectations, and how much the day-to-day matters when growing relationships inside, and outside your company. 

Connect with Doug on LinkedIn here.

Learn more about Meridian Associates!

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: Mike Meddock, SME

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Episode Resources:

Lead a Movement: The Insider’s Guide to Powerful Strategy Execution by Doug Reed

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
-African Proverb

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” I always say because teamwork is a core value at MCFA.

Most people hear that and think it means “nice” or “soft.” “Go along, get along.” Cocktail hours with co-workers. Kumbaya stuff, right?


I’ve never seen a group of high performers that didn’t push each other, didn’t challenge each other, or didn’t push back passionately to defend their ideas. And I’ve never seen a winning coach that didn’t look at their team and challenge them for more!  

Steve Jobs once shared the following story:  

“When I was a young kid, there was a widowed man who lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He’s a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn.

One day he said to me, ‘Come on into my garage. I want to show you something.’ And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, ‘Come on with me.’ We went out into the back and we got some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks.

And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, ‘Come back tomorrow.’ And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.

I came back the next day and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful, polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful, polished rocks.

That’s always been, in my mind, my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other, and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these beautiful stones.”

Sometimes we want to “keep the peace,” “let it slide,” or “take it easy.” Teamwork is recognizing that the team is counting on the individual to be the best they can be and pushing each other to get there.   

Progress and success require tension. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

So, what is your project team relying on you for?

BJ Kraemer, President

Recommended Reading:

In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. 

Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.

Inspiring People & Places: Episode 41

Title: “Understanding How Education Makes a Company with Mike Meddock, Chief Development Officer/Principal at SME”

Episode Summary:

On today’s episode, BJ sits down with Mike Meddock, Chief Development Officer/Principal at SME. Mike shares his journey opening offices around the country, how he has developed an educational program within SME, and how training your team is one of the most important aspects of being a leader.

Find more about SME here.

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: Mike Meddock, SME

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Click here to listen on Spotify.

Click here to listen online.

Happy Father’s Day!

“Being a dad isn’t just about eating a huge bag of gummy bears as your wife gives birth. It means being comfortable with the word ‘hero’.”
-Ryan Reynolds

I was interviewing Jan Tuchman (Former Editor and Chief of Engineering News-Record), and I had to pause a second to compose myself. You see, one of the most important rules of podcasting is: Never let them see you cry.

I was on the verge. 

I had asked Jan, “If you could spend a day with anyone (alive or not), who would it be?”

Her answer was if it could be anyone, she would spend it with her dad. She just wanted one more day with her dad. 

Think about that. 

As a father and son, that answer really hit me in the feels. And like I said, I had to take a second. 

Fresh off two weeks away at Army Reserves, I’m dedicating tomorrow as Mother’s Day Part II in my house. And Sunday, while my kids will want to make it a special day for me, I’ll be focused on making it a special day for all of us. The best present is our presence. And, of course, I’ll find time to spend with my dad and make sure I tell him how much I appreciate all he’s done for me. 

If you are a father, son, daughter or wife, I challenge you to do the same. 

I leave you with this poem:
“You Got it From Your Father. It was all he had to give. 
So it’s yours to use and cherish, for as long as you may live. 
If you lose the watch he gave you, it can be replaced. 
But a Black Mark on Your Name, son, can never be erased. 
It was clean the day you took it, and a worthy name to bear. 
When he got it from his father, there was no dishonor there. 
So Make sure you guard it wisely, after all is said and done. 
You’ll be glad the name is spotless, when you give it to your son.”
Happy Father’s Day!

BJ Kraemer, President