The Business of Being Authentic

With his engineering background, Rodger Price is most in his element when he’s planning and designing development systems for his clients. His analytical mind and specifically tailored programs, combined with his background in corporate talent management, give him a unique perspective for developing leaders and teams. We sat down with Rodger, who is the most recent addition to The Complete Leader faculty, to talk about his development philosophy and the importance of being true to your design. 

What is your favorite part of coaching leaders?

I have always enjoyed seeing that light bulb go on for people. It’s remarkable what learning will do for your career. I like to help people learn, and I enjoy learning myself as well.  

I started my career as engineer, but after being a part of a leadership development program at the company I worked for, I realized that I had more passion for employee development than I did for engineering, so I made a shift into corporate HR. After that, I was inspired to become an executive coach. Ten years later I’m still passionate about what I do through my company, Leading by Design.

I believe that we are all uniquely designed. The challenge, especially for leaders, is to be true to your design—in other words, to be authentic. But you need a plan if you are going to lead authentically, and that’s where I am able to help (and where my background as a recovering engineer pays off). 

What is your specialty when it comes to coaching?

There are really three things that I consider sweet spots: Designing the development experience and modules, the delivery of those modules, and one-on-one coaching. 

My coaching is based largely on listening and creating a safe space for my clients to gain their own clarity. I share insights, ask questions that will help them gain courage, and help hold them accountable to their goals. Sometimes this includes loving someone into being who they are meant to be. 

It’s all about discovering what it means to be someone worth following. Also important is creating organizational clarity around these four concepts: 

  • Why do we exist?
  • Where are we headed?
  • How will we get there? 
  • Who will we become as we do this? 

We work to help companies discover their purpose, vision, mission and values. Everyone has their own buzzwords and definitions when it comes to these concepts. I believe that a rose by any other name is still a rose, so I won’t argue about the vocabulary we use. The power comes when it moves people to action.

Four things that are critical for organizational growth are learning how to hire well, how to fire well, how to develop employees as individuals, and how to develop them as a group.

If you could give only one piece of advice to leaders, what would it be?

Figure out who you are and live into that the best you know how. There are too many people trying to be what culture or the latest book tells them to be, but you have to put it through your own filter and if it doesn’t ring true, then find your own way and your own answers. 

You can start by asking the people who know you best. For example, when I made the jump from engineering to people development, I was tentative but my wife said, “That’s perfect for you.” So often the people around us know us better than we know ourselves. Try new things—anything that will lead to self-discovery. You’ll start to find out who’s in there. You might not get rich but you’ll have an amazing life.