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Dean Croshere

“I'm a businessman who believes the secret to professional success is to treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Emotionally, I mean.”


About Me

In my career, I've worked for, consulted for, drank beers with, and been the leaders of one or more of hundreds of companies—big ones, small ones, failing ones, soaring ones, all of them. I've watched them succeed. I've watched them struggle. I've watched them fail. I've come to believe that the difference between leaders who succeed and leaders who fail is more a question of personal growth than it is of any particular skill.

The more I talk with leaders like these, the more I realize that the struggles they are having at work perfectly reflect their inner demons. Managers and employees each externalize their internal conflicts and thus create unresolvable problems. By taking the time to understand their internal world, managers can better relate to the outside world and thus have better conversations and more success.

The tools for doing this: Attachment theory, emotional awareness, and assertiveness are all concepts that have entered the national consciousness. They're often used for marriage and personal issues but are rarely discussed in the context of business and management.

I want to change that. These concepts show up in topics like these:

  • How your attachment style is keeping you from getting a raise
  • The way you talk to yourself predicts how you will talk to others
  • Why taking responsibility for yourself can lower your stress levels
  • Is it OK to tell your boss what you want?
  • Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are/were famously mean bosses. Does a CEO have to be mean to be successful? (hint: the answer is that the mean/nice framework is a poor way to think of the issue)
  • Why too little conflict in the workplace is a bad thing
  • Ignore it, choose it, change it, or accept it: how to focus on what matters to you
  • Coordination neglect is causing chaos in your organization

A brief history of my career:

I was 24, and I had a single year of experience working in a factory. That factory, which made maraschino cherries, was about to be shut down, and I was just a few weeks from getting a placement in the South Pacific. My boss called me into his office. He said, "I know you are considering joining the Peace Corps. How would you like to do something like that but get paid?"

Two months later, I had given away almost everything I owned and flown across the world to take this crazy job opportunity. My boss had promoted me to be the managing director of an essentially brand-new factory in Thailand. While in Thailand, I spent time hanging out with the local managers of many Fortune 500 and other companies you've heard of. And, you know, it's Thailand. Prostitution and corruption were a part of daily life, as were beaches, art, wonderful people, Buddhism (I learned about spending hours sitting on the hard floor in meditation the hard way), and violent coups.

Eventually, that factory was acquired, and I went to USC to get my MBA. I was a consultant with a company that got acquired and then DOO for a company that IPO'd for $1.65B. Now, I run a boutique consulting firm. We work like a special ops team that rescues venture-capital-funded companies. We do both management coaching to support their management teams towards a clearer direction and engineering to save their struggling hardware and backend software development. With our spare engineering time, we do development projects related to climate change and water well monitoring in Africa.

But that isn't the truth:

Or, at least, it isn't the whole truth. I made a lot of mistakes throughout my career, decisions I am not proud of. As I reflected and took responsibility for my mistakes, I began to see the world in a whole new way. My journey into adult behavior, assertiveness, and leading from desire has led to a new degree of clarity in the world.

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