Name: Christopher Lind
Title: VP, Chief Learning Officer
Global Leader in Learning & Workplace Technology. Chief Learning Officer at ChenMed. Host of Learning Tech Talks. Devoted husband and father of 7 under 12. Living life at the intersection of business, technology, and the human experience.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Christopher's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
There are two things I find most challenging that happen to also be the things I find most interesting and engaging. The first is the dynamic nature of being a leader. While there are consistencies, nothing is ever exactly the same. With every situation, there are nuances and complexities that need to be considered. The second is the paradoxical nature of leading well. For example, leading well requires being highly focused on results while also being highly focused on the well-being of the people responsible for achieving those results.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Generally speaking, I don't see becoming a leader as a moment in time. It's a conscious decision we make whenever we're choosing to relentlessly pursue what's right while simultaneously putting the needs of others above our own. From a "people management" standpoint, it came very unexpectedly. I was interviewing for an individual contributor position and, during the interview, was describing my vision for achieving what they were looking to accomplish through my contributions but, more importantly, by bringing others along for the ride. The hiring manager called me the next day and asked if, instead of taking the individual contributor role, I would be interested in managing the team.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It's a constant balancing act since for me there is no "work day" that's separate from the rest of my day. It's just life. As a result, I'm intentional about scheduling all the most important activities that need to be done that day on my calendar to ensure there is adequate time. This isn't just work activity and meetings but things like exercise, family time, etc... From there, I mentally prioritize what can shift and what can't, so I know when and where I can flex if needed. Like many things in my life, there is consistency throughout the week (timing of exercise, meals, meetings, family) but hold it with an open hand to ensure that routine never gets in the way of the most important things.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
During a recent mentorship meeting I could sense something was off. While we went into the meeting with a plan and agenda, it was obvious that there was something more pressing for this individual. I pressed in and opened the door for them to talk about what was really on their mind and we proceeded to spend the entire time talking about a personal situation that was completely consuming them in the moment. While it wrecked our formal agenda, it was an important reminder that people aren't robots and taking care of the whole person IS the key to their growth and performance, not a barrier to it.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The most impactful book, which technically is a library of books, on my leadership is the Bible. I continue to find it to be an infinite supply of wisdom hidden throughout the stories and characters of the text. It has been and continues to be instrumental in helping me continually navigate the delicate line of truth, compassion, and accountability that is so critical for leadership success.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Stay humble no matter how far you go or how high you climb. As a leader, you will never arrive or have all the answers.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
A former direct report sent me an unexpected email detailing the specific ways my leadership had influenced their personal and professional journey. I had no idea the impact my seemingly small choices and actions would make on another person's life. It served as an extremely humbling reminder that you never fully know the impact you're having on someone else and an encouragement to relentlessly pursue continued growth and to always lead to the absolute best of my ability.