Season 1, Ep. 10: An Interview with Howard Wright

Take care of people—the top priority of Howard Wright, CEO and Founder of Seattle Hospitality Group, a portfolio of five companies with nearly 1,000 employees. Listen in to this episode as Howard shares with Daniel the lessons he learned throughout the last 19 months leading in the hospitality and tourism industry during a global pandemic. They talk about mandates, the importance of margin in a calendar and the value of listening.

View Transcript >>

(We use an audio transcription service so please disregard any errors below.)

Daniel Harkavy (00:02):

Everybody Daniel Harkavy here. And welcome to another episode of the questioning leadership podcast produced by our executive coaching firm, building champions. You all know we’ve spent the last two and a half decades, coaching business leaders in all sorts of organizations here throughout the U S and fortunately on a few other continents as well. And one of the greatest privileges that I’ve had is to just sit front row with these leaders and to learn from them. And I’ve wanted to package all this learning and to share it with you and my team. And I felt like one of the best ways to do this was to just create this questioning leadership podcast for me to bring curiosity and to ask questions that, that help leaders to divulge what it means to them to be a great leader. And today we get to do it again. So stay tuned here. We’re going to be with my friend Howard Wright. He’s the CEO of the Seattle Hospitality Group, Howard and I have been journeying together for the past 19,20 months. And right at the beginning of the pandemic, you will here just faced immense difficulty. He focuses on many different businesses and he brings just some absolute wisdom to leadership and to all the different organizations that he gets to serve. So again, grab your journal, sit back and enjoy this conversation of questioning leadership.

Daniel Harkavy (01:34):

All right, everybody, as I shared, I am here with an exceptional leader who I am really excited about the opportunity I have to learn from him as well as the opportunity I have for him to educate and to teach all of you. So with no time wasted Howard, right? It is wonderful to have you today.

Howard Wright (01:55):

Thank you. Good morning, Daniel, anytime together as always a pleasure. And I look forward to the, to the friendly exploration together. Thanks.

Daniel Harkavy (02:04):

My pleasure. My pleasure. Folks, what you may not know is that Howard and I, and a few other leaders are going to be live together. After about 19 months of meeting together, virtually we’re going to be live together in about two weeks out in Napa, where this will be the first time where Howard and I actually get to physically see one another in the same room, share a good meal, share some good wine and talk business and leadership, but between now, and then we’re going to get to know you Howard a bit better, and we’re going to let you share some of your wisdom with all of those that are, are subscribing to questioning leadership. So at building champions, Howard, we say that better humans make for better leaders. And I always like my guests to share a bit about them on the human side, the non-business side, before we jump into the professional side. So maybe three to five things that would help us to understand who Howard Wright is.

Howard Wright (03:01):

Thank you. I enjoy the opportunity to explore this question, but one of the philosophies that I think reveals something about me as a person is what we practice in our business and that we have a holding company based in the Pacific Northwest focused, mostly on tourism and hospitality. And when we look at opportunities to add another company to our portfolio, what we lead with is culture. We look at the culture of the company. We do a lot of due diligence and exploring of it even before the first meeting. And we also look toward the company’s commitment toward stakeholder capitalism, taking care of your team members, your vendors, your suppliers, your community, and your shareholders. And if we get past those two, then we take a look at the financials. And I think that, that that’s a reflection of what’s important to me is taking care of people. We are in the business of hospitality, taking care of people, but we’re also in the business of taking care of our own team members. And we look for those leadership skills in our top leaders to inspire people. It comes from the heart. We like to think that we lead with the heart. That’s an important value to us.

Daniel Harkavy (04:07):

Great. Well, I’ve I’ve definitely picked up on that and all of our conversations, as well as comments that are made about you. You’ve got a fantastic reputation and brand. So, you know, when you’re not working and you’re not caring for people, which I think is never because you’re always caring for people who you spending your time with outside of work. And, and what are you doing? Tell us a little bit about maybe the outside of work side of you.

Howard Wright (04:32):

Sure. We’re recording this in mid-October of 2021 and the last two weeks of September, my wife and I spent two weeks rafting, hiking and camping, the Colorado river through the grand canyon. And I was thinking that we were on a 15 day trip 10 other couples. We knew one person when we started, we were, became close friends with everyone by the time it ended. But I was thinking about what would it be like to be off grid that long? And many of us have our self-discipline, you know, you go on vacation and you say, okay, I’m only going to check messages once a day or first thing in the morning or whatever, and be fully focused and intentional on your vacation. But this time you don’t even have a choice. Yeah. I mean, you are at the bottom of a canyon that has no coverage.

Howard Wright (05:19):

I mean, we happen to have been there during the time of the full moon in September and then a harvest moon. And most of us were not at the bottom of the canyon. If you’re aware that the moon is out, you know, you see it, you see an arc across the sky, right. From Moonrise to, to a moonset and no, we saw the full moon come up and we had it for about an hour. It comes over one cliff, and then it goes behind the next cliff. Right. Well, think of that, about your cell phone connectivity or wifi also. So the providers of the trip do have a sat phone in the event that you have an emergency and they need to get you out on a medical emergency or in the event that somebody needs to reach you. So I thought that I might struggle or at least have a little nervousness about being out of touch and being out of reach. And I got to tell you, I did, and it lasted about 20 minutes. And and then I had know 14 and a half days to go, and it was fantastic. And that’s how I like spending my time. So I have a couple of close friends and a wonderful longtime life partner. And she, and I love getting outdoors and just hiking and exploring and being physically active. So we’re in our sixties and we hope to continue to do this for the rest of our lives.

Daniel Harkavy (06:30):

Good for you. Good for you. How many years have you guys been

Howard Wright (06:33):

Married? 38. Yeah. Wonderful. I keep wondering when she’s going to wake up and realized who she married, but so far the denial and obliviousness continues to my advantage. So thank you. That’s great.

Daniel Harkavy (06:51):

That’s great. Well, congrats. I look forward to spending time with both of you in the weeks ahead. So let’s go ahead and transition into the professional side, a Seattle hospitality group of companies. You know, you’re a guest on the podcast because really of your influence and the success that you’ve enjoyed your reputation as a leader, you play a unique role in business and serving so many different companies that are a part of your group. And I think there’s a real uniqueness there. So I’d love for you to take a few minutes, to help us to understand your leadership journey. And if you would take us back to the beginning of your professional life, the beginning, and kind of walk us from that point forward to where you are today, because I think that’s going to help the listeners to understand a lot about your experience. And when you share tips and tactics, I think will help us to understand why

Howard Wright (07:44):

Thank you. I was raised in a family of family entrepreneurs, both on my mother’s and my father’s side of the families. So I was always around business. Wasn’t always a lot of talk around the dinner table, but, but it was just sort of in our ecosystem. I was not a business major in college. I went to a liberal arts major and graduated and then continued had a couple of professional jobs in my mid twenties, but I was bitten by and captured by and captivated by if not hijacked by aviation. I learned to fly as a private pilot on weekends. I was single and I had some time on my hands. And it was something that I enjoyed that I found emotionally rewarding and something that I was decent at doing. And so I went off on that trajectory for 20 years fully expecting the entire time that each year would be my last year.

Howard Wright (08:32):

And I would go back to work and to on one of our family businesses. And after 20 years, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to do that. But what I did do was leave my aviation career a great ride if you will, and went back to an executive business school program because I had stayed interested in business, you know, read the New York times and the wall street journal on a daily basis, would articles would analyze them thinking about it, where I, in that situation, how would I have handled a question? And I wanted to go back to a business school program to make sure that I still, if I had what it took in order to go into business and what I call it, scraping the barnacles off the brain. And, and that was a very stimulating program and made me take the jump.

Howard Wright (09:16):

So I started a business by acquiring a hospitality and event management company up in the Pacific Northwest and then have grown it from that. So we’re now a portfolio of five companies just knocking on the door of a thousand employees. Getting through the pandemic has been an interesting challenge and the tourism and hospitality world the last 19 months that we’re coming out the other side. So that’s been sort of my business career trajectory. I’ve found many lessons, a couple of them. One is that I’m a better investor and better terror the board leading with culture than I am an actual operator. I operated a couple of the companies. It went okay. But then when I brought in successors who were more talented than I, and the companies really performed, I thought, okay, it does guys do, they’re doing what they do well, and maybe I should focus on what my natural talents are. That’s been an interesting life lesson for me.

Daniel Harkavy (10:13):

I want to, I just want to learn more about the journey there, but I don’t think we’ll have enough time on this podcast to do that. That’s a big leap and so many founders, and so many entrepreneurs have such a difficult time handing over the reigns and allowing those that are really even better skilled as operators to stand on your shoulders and then to really build it. So for you to have that wisdom and to have that understanding of where your superpower strengths are, is that a unique deal?

Howard Wright (10:43):

That’s an interesting observation. And thank you. You know, if something I think has been very instructive to me, and that is, is that growing up, our family business was privately owned, but we had a board of outside directors and I have found that to be the game changer. And so when I talked to friends and colleagues in the first half of my career, let alone now in my sixties about privately owned companies. And do they have a board of directors? You know, some of them say, you don’t know. I mean, why would I do that? I, I run my own company, it’s successful. And I said, you know, I, in my mind, my mental response is your company will perform better without outside input and asking questions that you might think you’re asking, but maybe you’re not. And so that was one of the learning lessons was by my having a board of outside directors.

Howard Wright (11:31):

And what we’re doing now is, so I’m the chair of the holding company and the CEO of the holding company. And the CEO position is a little bit, I mean, there’s not a company to run except for the management of the portfolio companies, but I’m looking my board and I are beginning to look for my successor. I don’t want this company to on for decades. I want this company to go on for generations. And I look at this as an opportunity for people to, I want it to be a platform for people to unlock their potential, their mental rewards and their financial rewards. And I want some young, a couple of young people standing 50 or a hundred years from now standing underneath my oil portrait in front of a fireplace at which they’re in a hundred years from another old night, there will be neither of those and say, well, who is that dude? And oh, I don’t know. That’s unvalued founded this place. And when I’m looking down, hopefully looking down, that will be my greatest point of pride is that this has been a sustainable platform for unlocking talent and fortune and others. And that’s our goal.

Daniel Harkavy (12:36):

That’s great. Well I love your vision and your drive. Tell us about the five companies that the group is comprised of.

Howard Wright (12:43):

Sure. I’m told that I’m a people person. I like taking care of other people. I like creating environments where we can take care of people the way they ought to be taken care of. And that quite frankly, and quite selfishly the way that I would like to be taken care of. And so it started out the first two companies, when was a small boutique. The other was a large nationwide, if not international event conference and convention planning company. And we sold one company over the course of the last 19 years, and we sold the large company. It was based in Hawaii. There’s a largest privately owned company in that space and in north America. And I won’t belabor this on the podcast, but we sold it because there was an offer that was very clear how much they wanted the company. And so we experienced that event and it was a good outcome. I think on both sides. I have a passion for aviation. I have a passion for hotels and we have a small regional airline called Kenmore air Harbor. It’s based in a suburb just outside of Seattle city lines called Kenmore. And we operate about 30 aircraft, some scheduled, some charter throughout the Pacific Northwest Washington, Oregon, and a lot of business in British Columbia. Great.

Daniel Harkavy (13:52):

By the way, great pilots. They had the privilege of flying to BC with Karen up to up to Malibu, up to their princess, Louisa inlet. And one of the

Howard Wright (14:02):

That’s a couple of days ago, I saw her earlier this week. So I will say that low for him, please

Daniel Harkavy (14:07):

Do. I love her. She’s awesome.

Howard Wright (14:10):

She is. And she’s terrific. And we’re also in the hotel business. We have a collection of hotels. We have six hotels, different brands. We have partners in some of them, but we are the majority partner in all of them. And we have two properties in California and four properties in the Puget sound region. And then we have a tour bus company called MTR Western and the, the largest tour bus company with just over a hundred coaches here in the Pacific Northwest with operations in Portland, Eugene Seattle and Spokane. And we started out by serving the conference and convention businesses, but we branched into major athletics, college athletics carrying all the teams in the pack 12 north. Well, I should say all that PAC 12 teams in Washington and Oregon, we’re not in Kelton, Northern California and the crack in the Seahawks trailblazers and the list goes on. So again, transportation, tourism hospitality, and we have just a great time with what we do. And we also are the business partner behind an iconic chef here in Seattle, Ethan stall. So Ethan’s company, Ethan still restaurants has 29 locations throughout Washington, Idaho, and I’m his financial business partner. So that covers most of what we do.

Daniel Harkavy (15:26):

Wonderful. Yeah. That’s a lot for you to be involved with some, I want to know how the heck you do it. You’re in the stage of life where you’ve already shared, you’re not involved in, day-to-day managing, you’re not the operator. You’re more involved with leadership and being an advocate and culture. What are you looking for in these leaders that you either invest in or that you select? Tell us a little about those people. What do you really want?

Howard Wright (15:55):

It’s interesting that you observe it’s a wide array of activities and responsibilities. One of the things that I’ve learned is that the less time that I’m scheduled Daniel, the more effective I am and my wife sometimes teases me when she’ll say so how was your day, or how was your week this week? And I’ll say, well, it was fantastic because I was not over-scheduled and I was able to be thoughtful and intentional and more effective. And she said, that’s your response often? When are you going to begin to just inculcate that, you know, full time,

Howard Wright (16:31):

Fair observation, fair observation. So we made on a weekly basis. And as a result of the pandemic, we’ve been meeting more over our laptops than we have been in person, but it’s all about the culture. And that’s just so important to us. And I’m afraid that the tragedy of the pandemic has brought out the best in us. And we like to think that we do well, but it’s just been this awful scourge that has brought this out. And I said, when we began to reduce numbers, we did it in the best way that we could. And that is to tell people that we’re, we are here for them and we will be here to welcome them back then we begin to bring people back in. And that doesn’t mean, see you later, we’ll see you. When this is over. We stayed in touch with our employees on a, on a weekly and monthly basis, the same way we did with our clients, letting them know that we’re here, checking in on them, asking how they’re doing.

Howard Wright (17:23):

Is there anything that we can do to help? Can we help financially? Can we help logistically, does somebody need help getting from point a to point B? And how are you doing and just listening. And when you listen, I’m learning, you learn so much. My wife again taught me the acronym of, of weight. You’ve probably have heard this. Why am I talking? So I’m wondering why, why am I talking on this broadcast? I shouldn’t be listening to somebody else, but we’ve learned that with, with our team members during the pandemic, and we have a very clear position on own, very uncomfortable subject for many people, which is the vaccines. And whether an employer can tell people whether it’d be vaccinated or not. And where have we had our highest effectiveness in converting people to getting a vaccine is when we’ve met with them. One-To-One face-to-face and you ask, you asked a minute or two ago about how do I work with my leaders and how do I stay connected with my leaders?

Howard Wright (18:38):

And it’s talking about things like this. And one of our leaders said, I just can’t get my head around the word mandate. I find it. So alienating and Howard, what we’re going to do at this company is meet with individuals one-on-one. And sometimes it’s a five minute conversation. And the longest one I think was about three hours. And in that company, I would say out of 127 employees, I believe it’s three who said, you know, can I just step back? Can I just take some time off? And it’s, for those who are listening, it’s unpaid uncompensated, no benefits. And may I come back when times are different? And the answer is yes, absolutely cannot wait to have your back. And one of them was a 29 year old buddy, and we will be here when he’s ready and comfortable to come back, whether mandates have been reduced or whether there has been a herd immunity we’ll see unknown at this time, but the door is open and the job will be there.

Daniel Harkavy (19:40):

Well, I appreciate you just jumping into one of the most controversial topics that business leaders are facing today. I did not intend for us to go there, but I’ll tell you what you’ve, you’ve hit on quite a few things. One being that if I take you back to a few comments, and you were talking about your board of directors and that role of the outsider for those who have been listening to me for a while, or have read any of my stuff, you know, that that is the seventh perspective of effective leaders is to have the, the outside input to really challenge your thinking. And to help you to understand where you might have blind spots or opportunities, but throughout the whole book, I say that a leader to be most effective needs to be intentionally curious. You need to listen and you need to listen not to agree or disagree, not to judge as my business partner, longtime friend and coach Raymond Gleason says, but really listen, you bring intentional curiosity into these conversations. So, you know, that’s the whole bit around questioning leadership. And for you just to jump into a topic that I know many are with right now, I find curious, I find you to be courageous and

Howard Wright (20:53):

Thank you. I was raised in a family. I’m the oldest of five and we’d have good conversations around the table. And my wife and I, and our adult son still do. I also though, was raised in a family that was a little bit conflict averse. And as a result of that, I think that I’ve taken that on as a mission to address difficult, challenging conversations. And we have them a lot. We’d have them at home a lot where we may have differences of opinion, but it’s respectful. It’s loud, it’s loving. And at the end of the day, you, you, you have another one the next day. And I was appointed. I think it was the best word by the mayor here at five years ago to take on the $15 minimum wage issue. Now, five years later, it doesn’t seem that show, but at the time it was a very, very hot subject.

Howard Wright (21:40):

And I was to represent the business community to advocate for a $15 minimum wage. And there were only two co-chairs of this commission and the other co-chair was the head of a very large service union here in the Pacific Northwest. And I loved reaching across the aisle to him. He and I did not know each other. We were introduced at the mayor’s press conference. After the lights went down, I turned to him and I said, Hey, do you have any time for coffee this week? I’d like to get together. And he said sure. What’s what what’s up. And I said, well, if the two of us are going to co-chair this and come to a successful outcome, I thought we’d spend some time together getting to know each other. And he said, let’s do it. And I think we booked about 20 minutes for, you know, it was going to be a small talk, social coffee in his office. And I think I stayed, I think we talked for an hour and a half. And at the end, he said, if the rest to come, looks like this, we’re going to get this done. And I said, yes, do we have to have the rest of the commission in the U S can you and I just hammer this out

Daniel Harkavy (22:42):

Isn’t to making decisions and getting things done with the party of two versus a party at 12. It’s amazing.

Howard Wright (22:47):

Oh boy. So well said, thank

Daniel Harkavy (22:49):

You. Yeah, that’s good. So when you look at the difficulty, I remember, gosh, I remember March, April, may of 20, 20, and early conversations with you and talking with others with regards to dealing with what we call VUCA on steroids, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It was just nuts. And you being in, in the industries that you were in, you had to go through some real difficulty. How did that change you as a leader? You’ve talked about some of what you did with staying in touch and helping out, et cetera, and now where you are, but did that change any of your leadership thinking or believing?

Howard Wright (23:26):

It scared me to death, full honesty. It scared me to death and I fell asleep at night thinking, you know, my parents are of the age we’re of the age that they were young teenagers and early world war II. And so they were born sort of like 19, late twenties, 1930s, and would tell stories about falling asleep. Then they grew up here in the Pacific Northwest, and they’d go to bed at night in their homes about their parents coming in and drawing the blackout curtains over the windows so that your home didn’t shine any lights at night in case, you know, the west coast came under attack. And I’m thinking just this last year, how horrifying that must have been as a 13 year old fallen asleep thinking, oh my God, what if I hear an airplane noise? You know, is that, is this the end of my life?

Howard Wright (24:12):

As I know it, and how terrifying that must’ve been somehow knowing that other people had gone before it’s through difficult times of tragedy and threat is what helped inspire me to get through this. And I came up with a couple of words that, that were meaningful to me. I don’t know if they’d be meaningful to anyone, anyone else, but is to lead and to lift. I just hope nobody asked any deeper questions than that. So if I say we will be here on the other end, and if somebody has said to me, so what does that look like? Help me to know what to expect. Please don’t ask me that question. I don’t know if you uncertain, I just have to believe I just have to be an optimist and put one foot in front of the other and do the very best that I can. We have so little control over so much that is just to inspire and to lead as well as I can.

Daniel Harkavy (25:02):

Well, you know, that w what you’re talking about you’re talking about some deep transformational truth. And what happened in difficulty was you, number one, acknowledged that the absolute scariness of it, and it was scary. I do remember the first few weeks in particular, and then, you know, just all of the consequences as a result of a whole bunch of humans, not knowing how to deal with it. So everyone doing the best they could, you could become paralyzed by focusing on what you have no control over, or you could focus on what you do have control over and how you can influence. And for you as a leader who understands the power of culture, and who understands the power of how people feel, which is the result of this core conviction of yours, caring for you to have those two words lead and lift lead and lift lead and lift, not knowing how not knowing what it looks like, but knowing if you lead.

Daniel Harkavy (25:56):

And if you lift at the end, you will have done everything you possibly could. You will influence, which is really good. And for many out there who might be listening, there’s a chance of fatigue. There’s a chance that fatigue set in. I was just with a group of a couple hundred on Monday and very successful group. And when I had done some survey work with them in advance of being with them, I asked them to rate where they were from an energy and an optimism perspective. And it was a mixed bag. You’ve got a lot of people where energy and optimism is low, and they’re very successful, but they’re tired. So yes, you know, words like that could really, really help. I see that you want to say something, go for it.

Howard Wright (26:39):

I was on a seminar conversation as this one yesterday on a different subject, on philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest. And we were given a list of questions ahead of time to be prepared. And when I say we meaning my wife and I, we reviewed them the day before. And the leading question is how are you two feeling about coming out of the pandemic? And I talked to the moderator and I said, and I’m speaking to your word of fatigued dental. I said to her, would it be all right if we deleted the word pandemic, I said, I’m exhausted on this subject. I’m not exhausted on the energy. I’m not exhausted on, on my leading lifting and learning and listening, but I I’m just exhausted on the subject. And would it be all right if we addressed that question without the word pandemic? And she said, that is a great suggestion. She has obviously been very accommodating, but I just really, really appreciated it. And it just looking for more good news. I saw a statistic last night about the last two week rolling average for new cases in the United States and also tragically deaths in hospitals. And they were both down by double digits, low double digits, but they were both the last two week rolling average down by double digits, just looking for positives like that, that are so helpful. Yeah.

Daniel Harkavy (27:55):

I shared with the group that I feel like in life, we look through a kaleidoscope and, and if you remember when you were young, you’d look through the kaleidoscope and you’d see the dark colors and the bright colors. And I showed an image with the group on Monday and met brilliant golds and yellows and greens and reds. And then there’s the dark grays and blacks and the Browns. And it’s just, what are we going? What are we looking for? It’s all there. Just twist it a bit. So, you know, in the remaining moments, I know you and I both have hard stops, but I’d like to know about your day, your daily disciplines, what are you finding to be non-negotiable in your day so that you can be in peak shape to lead, to influence them, to serve and care.

Howard Wright (28:32):

Thank you. One is physical and one is emotional, emotional slash spiritual. So the physical one is that I make sure that I get some exercise time in nearly every day. It’s probably five out of seven. And I just find that it’s both transitional and transformational for me. I can come in at the end of the day, feeling like, you know, it’s been back to back. I haven’t had any time for my brain or my heart. And if I can just get 30 minutes in, I come out a new person. So it’s important to me. It doesn’t work for everybody, but it works for me. And on the spiritual part, I’ve been practicing a meditation tape that I listened to for anywhere from five to 10 minutes in the morning, it’s not too woo. It’s practical is thoughtful. And then I write in a journal and I write about what do I want to accomplish today and what would make this day great. And that’s just helpful for me to, once I write it down, it tends to stick longer. And I can remember what I wrote down a few hours later. So those are my two sort of routines.

Daniel Harkavy (29:26):

They’re great. So, you know, I’m a bald guy with a lot of gray hair who gets called Zeta, which in Yiddish means grandpa. So I can say this to you. I just think it, it was great that you just said you listened to a meditation tape. Hey, young people that’s like an app. It’s like a, it’s like some, it’s a tape. It’s not tape that you use to put something on the wall. We’ll understand it later. A couple more questions and yes, I am picking on you, but that’s fun. I want to

Howard Wright (29:50):

Ask you, have you ever asked anyone to Xerox anything? I mean,

Daniel Harkavy:

I get, I get bit all the time I pick on my younger brother, because he says on his voice recording, he always says, thank you for reaching me, leave a message on my voice box. And he says that today. And I’m like, Craig, he does that all the time. Or my, my answering machine. I’m like, wait, what are you doing? I love it. And I love it. All right. So let’s go maybe one or two more questions and then respect time. How has your career impacted your personal life and what have you learned along the way, serial entrepreneur, a guy who loves business, how has it impacted the personal

Howard Wright (30:27):

Transitional from present tense to end the past tense that I used to put a lot of weight on my identity in the business world. And I put less weight on that now. And I wake up just self-confident, but being accepting and loving of who I am. And I think that that’s made me a more relaxed person in both my business and in my personal life. My wife tells me she’s never seen me happier since I began to focus on that. So I think less identity on my business accomplishments and just more intentionality on my personal life.

Daniel Harkavy (30:59):

That’s great. That identity piece you know, it comes back to just transformation at the very center of who we are. If we’re crystal clear on who we are and why we’re here. And we focus on that on a regular basis, and you get comfortable with that. And the fact that you bring so much, goodness, it impacts thinking, feeling, and believing and feelings big because how you feel alone impacts how you feel to those around you. So my final question for you, my man is if you could give any advice to a younger you, what would it be?

Howard Wright (31:36):

It would be too big. You’ve mentioned. This is to be curious, be open and to be vulnerable. When I meet with young people, which is a handful, it’s not an advocation of mine about mentoring, about what they want to do. I tell them that I, I put less weight on follow your passion and more weight on, be curious, be open, be vulnerable. And your passion will find you because when you’re younger and you hear all about follow your passion, you don’t always know what your passion is. I certainly didn’t. And I’d like to think I wasn’t alone, but I did explore a new avenue was, and I did make myself available and open to new opportunities. And my passion found me. And I’m thrilled to have had that experience. Thank you for asking

Daniel Harkavy (32:21):

My pleasure. Well, you’re being used to make a difference in the lives of many. My curious friend, I can’t wait to be with you in a couple of weeks. If people want to learn more about you, I know you did some blog writing and things of that sort. Where should people look you up? How can they find you? S H

Howard Wright (32:35):

G And then it has links, both my writings, my postings, and you’ve been a little bit of an aviation gallery. So it’s a lot of fun.

Daniel Harkavy (32:45):

Excellent. Excellent. Well, you need to move on to that next appointment as do eyes Howard. Great to be with you. Thanks for

Howard Wright (32:52):

Your time, Daniel. It’s a

Daniel Harkavy (32:53):

Pleasure seeing a couple of weeks. Take care

Daniel Harkavy (32:58):

Again. Thank you, Howard. As always, I enjoy our conversations and you make me a better leader folks in this conversation, you heard Howard talk about the perspective of outsiders, the board of directors. You know, this is one of the key elements required in order for us to be exceptional leaders. We’ve got to have the perspective of the outsider. If you’ve not read my most recent book, the seven perspectives of effective leaders, I would encourage you to do so because a lot of what Howard and I talked about really is unpacked in the book. You can pick the book up wherever you purchase your books, you know, digitally or at all the bookstores. And I think it can help you in it. You will learn that a real leaders effectiveness just gets determined by two things. It’s the decisions they make and the influence they have. And if you haven’t read it, my hope is that will help you to improve how you lead those around you. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, go ahead and please share it with those that follow you on any of your social media channels. Please leave us a review. We’re always looking for ways to make our content better and know that I appreciate you. Thanks for investing time to listen to me and to Howard in this episode of questioning leadership, y’all take care.

In This Episode

Howard Wright
CEO & Founder, Seattle Hospitality Group