Ep. 100: Rachael Bertrandt Crump - Global Leadership Perspectives

Rachael Bertrandt Crump, CPA, CGMA, Global Corporate Controller, Principal Accounting Officer at Insight, joins Count Me In to talk about her perspective on global leadership. While working for a leading provider of computer hardware, software, cloud solutions and IT services to business, government, education and healthcare clients, she has developed many skills and understands what it takes to be a global leader. From personal attributes to the importance of organizational culture, Rachael discusses how individuals and firms can truly grow global leadership talent. Download and listen now!

Contact Rachael Bertrandt Crump: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachael-bertrandt-crump-cpa-cgma-303b057/

About Rachael Bertrandt Crump: https://www.insight.com/en_US/about/management/rachael-bertrandt.html

Leadership Article with Rachael: https://profilemagazine.com/2020/rachael-bertrandt-insight/

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:
Adam: (00:04)
 Welcome back for the hundredth episode of Count Me In IMA's podcast about all things affecting the accounting and finance world. Once again, I'm your host Adam Larson, and I'm pleased to introduce the featured guest for today's episode Rachael Bertrandt Crump. Rachel is a Global Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer for Insight, a leading provider of computer hardware, software cloud solutions, and IT services. In her conversation with Mitch, she discusses what it means to be a global leader, the importance of culture, and how to develop top leadership talent. Let's head over and listen to the full episode now.

Mitch: (00:44)
So our conversation today revolves around a leadership article that you wrote earlier this year about being a global leader, to kick off the conversation. Let's first start by getting your definition of a leader. You know, I'd really like to get an idea of who it is that you see as a leader or who can be a leader in the organization, and then particularly for this conversation, we're going to focus on global leadership and global organization. So what does all of that really mean to you? What does that look like?

Rachael: (01:12)
Sure. So to me, my definition of a leader is anyone or someone who's driven to influence a particular outcome. So really in any organization that can be anyone who has a passion or a drive, around a particular topic, or to achieve a particular outcome. So if everyone can be a leader, right, and an organization just isn't what we might do in our nine to five or how we interact during that work time. I'm a firm believer that, you know, we're training our future leaders, in all of our organizational units today, in our family units, and our schools and the volunteer work and everything we do. And those are, those are our future global leaders, global citizens. So it, it's almost  most important that everyone who steps up to lead is their leading, where their passion drives them to. I think that the diversity and experience that everyone brings, is really what, what kind of brings out passion in someone. And, and that's what makes a good leader to me.

Mitch: (02:30)
Well, I really liked the fact that you brought up, you know, home in school particular. Just my personal background, I actually come from classroom teaching before I started this. I was working with students and coaching and, you know, I think a big part of that growth in an individual is the leadership that they see on a daily basis. So now from our perspective, you know, obviously more professionally, the organizational culture will certainly shape a leader as well. So I'm curious, you know, how exactly does that happen and can culture affect an individual's ability to be a leader, particularly globally?

Rachael: (03:12)
I absolutely believe that that culture, impacts leadership. I think it can propel leadership forward, kind of that Lightspeed, if you will, but I also think the wrong culture can stifle would be leaders. particularly if they have less direct leadership experience and they're looking to step into, you know, a leadership role, whether it's, you know, official or unofficial. They can lose confidence if the organization and the culture doesn't embrace diversity and experience. I think that, you know, maybe many decades ago, experience was measured mainly, based on jobs months, years, sorry, days, months, years in a job and now I think there's a lot more that defines experience based more than just on kind of the time in the seat or the time in the job and I think it's that, you know, that diversity of experience that really gets about how global organizations can be so effective today. Someone coming into the workforce today that, and I use myself as an example, you know, went to the same university in Wisconsin, got the same degree I did, you know, few decades ago. Their experiences actually entirely different than mine. Their context, how they learn the tools, the office tools with which they learned on, and that puts them at a different starting point than it did me, and that experience just because, you know, I've been in the workforce, then maybe I've learned my tools on the job. Doesn't put me, you know, necessarily at an advantage, from a leadership perspective over what their experience might have to offer. So I really think that that is, you know, important in our global organizations today, that we acknowledge the diversity in experience, and how people, how people achieve experience in what we define as experience, because I think that's what really takes, an organization to the next level. And culture has to embrace that, right? I mean, culture can be a whole other  podcast, right. But, you know, culture really has to embrace diversity and to draw it out, to draw out your, your future leaders, because I mean, if we don't, if we don't train ourselves, train up ourselves, right, we're going to be in a, I think a world of hurt, we'll be at a disadvantage, as an organization.

Mitch: (06:01)
Well, you certainly make great points, and I think the one thing that I want to emphasize is, you know, there has been a shift in what someone's experience is, you know, you mentioned that the time piece of it, and I think a lot of businesses today are recognizing that certain skills certainly differentiate, applicants, regardless of, you know, how many years they have on the job, but to your other point, you know, culture, it certainly has existing barriers still when it comes to leadership development. And while, you know, there might be a shift in mindset as far as experience and skills and whatnot. What are some of the other barriers that you think are really affecting these organizations? And then what is hindering individuals from reaping some leadership development from their organization?

Rachael: (06:52)
So I tend to believe that that we ourselves and our unconscious bias is one of our biggest barriers to effective global leadership. We have to think bigger than our own, you know, kind of universe right in the moment. And that can be super fun, mindblowing, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. I also think desire and passion have to come naturally. I believe every human, you know, it, they have it for something in their life, but it, it  they have to feel it and want it for it to come out, and kind of break through their own natural barrier. And then, you know, kind of along the same lines, we're, we're our own best advocate and our own worst enemy, maybe. But other barriers showing compassion and empathy and being vulnerable. So when you think of global leadership that the people that you are leading likely are, you know, very, diverse geographically, across many different regions. And, and so you're serving them as a leader and you're not in there, you know, you're not in their seat. You don't know your day to day in your region likely looks very different than their day to day in their region. And so really being vulnerable and having, that empathetic view for what they, you know, may be going through, I think really makes a difference as to whether you'll be an effective global leader or not.

Mitch: (08:33)
And then, you know, obviously ideally these individuals are able to develop their global leadership skills. You know, organizations recognize, as you said, the unconscious bias, or maybe there are, you know, other avenues to really taking advantage of, leadership development for their employees. So what are the ultimate benefits that, and why should people be so focused on overcoming these barriers conscious or not? You know, as far as internally, externally, personally, anybody who's involved with the organization, what does strong leadership really do for the organization and its talent?

Rachael: (09:11)
Yeah, for sure. I believe strong leadership builds an organization to be resilient, for what's to come in the future of that organization. There's, there's lots of variables in our daily world, particularly in global organizations. So having that strong leadership to build the base of trust, that helps you deliver today and, and in the future as an organization. You know, becoming better global citizens with more awareness is, is really, you know, where strong leadership can help play in. You know, it's interesting, as, as we kind of work through in a day to day type of scenario, I believe that, you know, everybody plays a leadership role in it's almost conversation by conversation, and you know, you don't, you don't always agree a hundred percent. There's not, you know, a hundred percent euphoric kind of level that you get to. But if you have that trust and that strong leadership, you can step back and say, look, now I might, I might not agree with where Sally or Fred is going, but they have the best interest of the global organization in mind, you know, the teammates, the shareholders, whatever that organization serves. And I trust him so I can get behind I'm in, might not have been how I would have, you know, kind of set out to do it would have been my initial response, but because I trust them, I'm going to get behind their idea, and, you know, the more, the more that you have that the further the organization can go at a faster pace. When you think of the global scale of operations, I, I mean, it's just almost a 24 hour clock, right? And so if you, if you don't kind of have the majority of, of the teammates and of the organization going after the same, kind of outcome you could really stifle. And so I think that's, that's where strong leadership really comes in is, is building that foundation of trust and, you know, getting, getting the whole organization behind, behind a similar objective.

Mitch: (11:37)
I really liked that response, and very often we have these leadership conversations and trust is really the foundation. It's the word that comes up so frequently when we talk about good leadership. So I think that's really important to point out. And, like I said, I really liked that being able to, you know, just trust in somebody and listen to what they have to say. So I think that leads us nicely into kind of just this last question I have for you. You know, when you are seeking to build this trust, or you want to develop leadership, you want to develop the leadership skills of others, you know, really improve the talent within your organization. How can confirms go about doing that? What can organizations do so that they are constantly developing a leadership at the top, but then also the future leaders of the organization?

Rachael: (12:27)
Yeah. So I think a couple of things there, you know, look around to organizations you want to emulate and, and don't just look at what may be an exact pure organization, because maybe that's your differentiator right? In your marketplace is, could be your, you know, your leadership, approach in your organization. And so if you look, just, just look around and see what you, you know, want to be like from a leadership perspective. I would also, on a global basis considered cultural training. You know, there are business classes at universities around the world that, you know, really we'll spend a whole semester on cultural training within business. So find one, that sounds interesting, reach out to the professor, you know, see if you can bring them into your organization for a day or, or, or a few, however, that looks. But most important to me, is to handle internal development, look for your leaders internally, at insight, we refer to each other as teammates, and we believe teammates are our biggest assets with the highest rate of return. And so make the investment in your teammates and you won't be disappointed. I think you'll enhance the trust factor, and, and it'll help propel the organization while you're building your future leadership base.

Closing: (14:03)
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