Episode 1

Who is Jan and Why the Quest for Gravitas ?

In this episode, Jan provides the background on her transformation from farm girl to Automotive executive and her passion for authentic leadership. You’ll hear about the questions that will be asked and answered during the podcast series and the type of guests we can expect to hear from as we launch the quest to find GRAVITAS

00:27  Jan’s background

02:45 Moving to America

04:04 Dial it back, tone down the personality

04:52 The dream job

06:10 Now what? aligned to purpose?

07:04 Start my own business, are you crazy?

07:50 Launching Gravitas Detroit

09:34 What is authentic leadership?

12:28 Have you given yourself permission to lead?

13:18 The industrial revolution model

15:18 The types of guests you can expect to hear from

16:06 Staying true to yourself

Jan Griffiths:

Hello, and welcome to episode zero of the Finding Gravitas podcast. In this episode, I'll share with you my story, my mission, why I launched this podcast and exactly what you can expect here. If you're looking to become a more authentic leader, then this is the podcast for you. I'm gem, your podcast host and the CEO and founder of Gravitas Detroit. I grew up on a farm in Wales. The Welsh are a fiery, feisty, passionate kind of people known for their rebellious spirit. I'm a Welsh farmer's daughter. I spent my days riding my horse on the farm and doing all the things farmer's daughters typically do. I was supposed to grow up and marry the farmer next door. But I didn't want to do that. I wanted more. There was a fire burning inside of me a desire to achieve something more and to see the world. It didn't know exactly what it was, but I wanted it. I studied Business at the University of Wales in Swansea. And then one day when I was out riding my horse, my mother started yelling at me to come into the house to take a call. Remember, these were the days before cell phones a call about a job. It was a temporary position in the purchasing department at a company called BorgWarner. A successful global automotive supplier, producing transmissions for the European market. I accepted the job was a very basic purchasing assistant administrative type position. But it was my first job. So I took it. And on the first day, I walked into that manufacturing plant. For the very first time, I had never been inside a manufacturing plant before I had no idea what to expect. And I loved it. There was something about the smell of the oil and the coolant in the air, the buzz of the equipment, the intense feeling of pride and workmanship, and deep desire to do well. That fueled me from day one. And every day that I worked at that plant. We were a family. We had each other's backs, and we work together to make life better, both professionally and personally. My career blossomed, and I moved to the US at the age of 23. Still with BorgWarner landing in Muncie, Indiana. My career progressed rapidly, covering multiple industries, automotive, the appliance industry, and healthcare and crossing functions such as purchasing supply chain manufacturing, sales and program management. I worked with some great companies, GKN Teleflex, Bosch, and Maytag. These rich experiences allowed me to study many different leadership styles and behaviors. Some I adopted and some I did not some I found resonated with me that I really liked. And some I wanted no part of. I always had a sense that for each career progression within each company, there was an expectation, a mold that I was expected to fit. And I did well assimilating into each company culture to be what they wanted me to be. I figured out the political culture, the model, and I learned how to assimilate into that model. I've been told over the years to dial it back. Don't be so direct. Sometimes you're just too much. I had to throw a blanket over my personality to dampen it down over the years, and that didn't feel quite right to me. But I knew I had to do it to fit the mold that was expected of me. In 2009, I had the opportunity to work for private equity, Platinum equity, and I loved it. My strong personality was allowed to thrive even encouraged. And I learned so much about business from an all encompassing macro business perspective, not just the functional view.

Jan Griffiths:

In 2013, I moved into my dream job, a C suite position as vice president have global supply chain management for a $3 billion auto supplier. And this culminated into being named into one of the top 100 leading women in the automotive industry. I was in my element. For the most part, I was able to employ a leadership style that felt right. Yet something still wasn't quite right. I've known for many years that my passion is leadership, and helping others become great leaders of their own lives, and of other people. I thrived when I was planning, structuring and leading team meetings, to develop real vision and purpose, taking the teams off site, opening up discussions on the barriers and challenges ripping off that band aid, getting down deep into the issues, getting into cultural issues, and the global complexities that slow down, or even prevent decision making, and often make life miserable for people if they're not addressed. Still, something wasn't right. I wasn't fully aligned with my mission and purpose in life. Did I even know what it was? Was I so constrained and defined by the life of a corporate VP on this never ending treadmill of emails and meetings and PowerPoints that I had forgotten, to look up to determine exactly where I was going? At this point, I was 52. And starting to contemplate retirement, you know that point in time that we like to define in our lives, that we either defined by a number that's an age or a pot of money that we plan to have at a certain point in time, and then a miracle happens, and we retire and do something. I loved the idea of starting my own business, and focusing on my true passion, leadership. But how the thought of leaving this well paying dream job to become an entrepreneur and a startup business seemed ludicrous. Taking my income to zero practically overnight. Who does that? Well, I did. I channeled that rebellious wild spirit and I made a choice. I could either stay the course and stay safe in my corporate role. Or I could get out and do what I love. October 2018, Gravitas Detroit was born, a company committed to creating the leaders will need for the future. authentic leaders, leaders who Ignite and inspire people lead with purpose and vision. You know, the leader, I'm talking about that boss, the one that has your back, the one that you trust, the one that encourages you, believes in you, supports you, helps you see your full potential works through all those limiting beliefs and doubts, and creates a safe environment for you to learn, to fail, to learn, to fail, and to innovate. This type of leader is typically comfortable in their own skin, people gravitate towards them, they have a certain presence to them, a positive energy, they're kind, caring, in actually quite nice. This kind of leader is truly authentic, and possesses that ultimate leadership quality. That irresistible quality that pulls people in that quality is gravitas. The company is called Gravitas, Detroit, because it marries together. The hard work, the hustle and the grit of the city of Detroit with truly great leadership, or gravitas. In this podcast, I will be talking to leaders across many different industries and cultures on a quest to find gravitas. We all want to be that authentic leader, and we may even see ourselves as an authentic leader when others do not.

Jan Griffiths:

The question is this. What exactly does it mean to be an authentic leader? In terms of every day leadership behavior, how exactly do you nurture trust? Are you really practicing empowerment or just giving it lip service? How do you develop a compelling vision? Connect each and every person to the vision? How do you take care of all of your stakeholders? Does the customer come first or your employees? What does true collaboration really look like? And feel like? Can you really be that transparent and honest? Are you concerned that vulnerability will be seen as a weakness? Are you conducting the dreaded traditional annual performance reviews? In an attempt to hold people accountable? Or is there a better way? How do you foster creativity and innovation? How do you drive out fear and create a safe environment for people to flourish? How do you maintain positive energy? How do you increase speed and agility? How do you handle this world of social media? And where's that line between personal and professional? isn't even there anymore? Are you engaged on social media? Are you a thought leader? If not, why not? What's holding you back? You want diversity? You're told it's the right thing to do. You want cognitive diversity, but you don't know how to find the right people and take a leap of faith sometimes. What happens if you don't fit the mold and do things differently? You concerned about looking weak? If you're not seen as being in command and control? What is that thing called servant leadership really mean? And does anyone practice it? Why would you want to dance in the office? Give you team flexibility? take time off? Do you where your hours worked? or vacation days forsaken? Like a badge of honor? Do you stick to your meeting schedules or allow them to drift? Focusing more on tasks and busy work than true leadership and one on one human connection? Do you schedule off sites to connect with your team? Do you invest with your people? What about leadership training and support? Are you doing enough? So many questions? Do you feel that you are leading 100% aligned with your values? And what you think leadership should be? Or are you forcing yourself into a traditional corporate mold or a mold defined by someone else? Have you given yourself permission to lead authentically to lead with gravitas? These are questions we need asked and answered. If we are to embrace the seismic shift that's taking place in the workplace today, and unleash the human potential that exists within us and around us. We are finally evolving from the model created during the Industrial Revolution. When this idea of the factory, this idea of the institution of scalable efficiency was born. We're finally now living in a world where technology is advancing at an alarming rates and that model just doesn't work anymore. AI and automation are expected to replace one in five of an organization's current jobs. But this is only half the story, as AI and automation will also create 58 million new net jobs by 2022. According to estimates from the World Economic Forum, humans will move away from the more mundane detailed repetitive tasks will have AI and automation to handle that humans will move into a more creative and cognitive place. The traditional employment model of a boss and a department full of employees is also shifting. We're now talking about a platform for talent or a talent ecosystem. intelligently matching skill supply with work demand. This skill supply could come from a full time employee within the company. It could come from a contingent worker, the gig economy is on the rise or crowdsourcing.

Jan Griffiths:

Teams are scattered often on a global basis. And speed and agility are certainly the name of the game. We won't have time to play games in the boardroom, to posture to position, the toxic cultures where the blame game thrives will become a thing of the past. authentic leadership will be the only way forward. In this podcast, we will hear from leaders in senior level positions across multiple industries will get perspectives from global leadership coaches from millennials and others. Finding Gravitas explores what made these authentic leaders who they are today understand what they consider to be their gravitas and what do they do every day to practice great leadership. I love talking to and learning from great leaders about how they lead their stories and experiences and you're listening to my passion and purpose come to life in this podcast. As my career progressed, I developed this skill of assimilation into cult different cultures. And I became the leader people wanted me to be, I stay true to myself some of the time and later most of the time, but still trying to fit this mold of what someone else thought it should be. I didn't realize for many years, that it was okay to be myself, and lead the way I thought was true and correct, to be authentic. Until a few years ago, and executive coach Sherry Walsh gave me the feedback that the way I was thinking was actually the right way to lead. She, along with a few other people in my personal life, gave me permission to be myself, and I want to give this gift to others. My hope is that by hearing the stories and experiences, you'll find the behaviors and practices that resonate with you and strengthen your resolve to fully embrace your authentic leadership style and ultimately attain your gravitas. This is the start of a journey. A quest to find your gravitas. Allow me to be your guide, and subscribe today. Visit us at gravitas detroit.com or email me directly at jan@gravitasdetroit.com

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Finding Gravitas
Finding Gravitas
The Authentic Leadership Podcast

About your host

Profile picture for Jan Griffiths

Jan Griffiths

Jan Griffiths is the founder of Gravitas Detroit, a company committed to helping you unlock the power of your team through authentic leadership.
In January 2020, Jan launched the Finding Gravitas podcast where she interviews some of the finest authentic leadership minds in the quest for Gravitas.
Gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership.