Rich Bruno

Rich Bruno – Being A Well-Balanced Leader

People Strategy Forum | Rich Bruno | Well-Balanced Leader

Many leaders are stuck in their drive, unclear with their commitment, and pressured to deliver the best results at all times. What does it take to become a well-balanced leader who knows how to handle all aspects of a business, both positive and negative? In this conversation with the People Strategy Forum, Rich Bruno discusses the art of becoming a leader who masterfully deals with work delegation, team building, talent acquisition, and self-development. Rich also explains how leaders can get rid of their self-destructive habits, breaks down the five important components of good leadership, and offers valuable advice when transitioning from a corporate job to entrepreneurship.

Rich Bruno – Being A Well-Balanced Leader

Welcome, everyone, to the show. We’re a show that guides leaders to elevate the workforce. We believe here at CompTeam and the People Strategy Forum that people are at the heart of successful organizations. Team members’ wellbeing, rewards, and career development is all essential to a happy and healthy and highly productive workforce. This show discusses the practical and effective leadership strategies for executives, senior professionals, and talent managers overall.

First of all, I would like quickly to introduce our host that we have. We have Char Miller. She’s a dedicated People Strategist with deep expertise in the United States and an entrepreneurial spirit at heart. Char does a lot of great work in building businesses and coaching others. Welcome, Char. We also have Sumit Singla. Sumit has a global reach. He’s broadcasting out of India. He’s known as the culture guy. He’s a person that’s deeply interested in ensuring that we develop workplaces that are effective for companies and our people-centric globally. That brings us to our special guest.

We’re going to be exploring the art of being a well-balanced leader. Guiding us through this journey is Rich Bruno, a beacon of leadership and excellence. With a distinguished career as a previous Senior Leader at Johnson and Johnson, combined with a decade of entrepreneurship and coaching executive leaders. Rich embodies a very essence of what it takes to be a transformative leader overall and doing it with style.

His expertise in fostering talent, operational excellence, and respect-based culture has made him a sought-after coach and consultant. Join us as Rich shares invaluable insights on achieving excellence and balance in leadership, ensuring that you leave with a session that’s going to empower you to the next step of what it means to be a leader in your business. Welcome, Rich.

Thank you. It’s great to be with you. I’m looking forward to this conversation to talk about how we could be most effective in our lifestyles, whether it’s professionally or personally.

Looking Back

Being a well-balanced leader. Rich, can you start off by telling us a little bit about your journey of how you came to be where you’re at now and helping the people that you help?

I’m a retired 30-year supply chain leader from Johnson and Johnson. I’ve always been focused on talent management and development throughout all the operations disciplines I’ve been in. At my core, I’m very relationship centered. I truly want to have an impact on other people’s lives, whether it’s in a professional space or personally.

A few years ago, I retired from Johnson and Johnson, but concurrent with that, I was running a small business in the health and fitness space as a franchisee of the MAX Challenge. At one point, I had up to three territories or locations. I did this concurrent with my Johnson and Johnson career, while also raising three small children with my wife. Quite at the task. I was a very active owner operator in this business.

I was approaching 55 and I started to realize that the grind was tough. I started to appreciate the importance of quality of life. I took a bold move and retired right after I turned 55. It was one of the most liberating feelings I’ve had. I will tell you that I have no regrets. I miss the people. I worked for a great organization. I had a great career that I did not need to leave.

In fact, many people probably thought I was a little crazy doing it, but I’m a better myself guy. My twins were fourteen and my daughter was eleven at the time. I wanted to grab and seize the moment more and recognize that I wanted to be more intentional about my life. That’s the bottom line. I retired from J&J. I move into managing my small business with a laser focus on developing and growing that business and having a lot more fiscal discipline around running that business.

Let’s face it, that was going to be my sole source of income leaving a very lucrative position at Johnson and Johnson. I shifted gears to working solely on the business. Months later, I realized there was something more I wanted to do, back to this intentionally wanting to help others the best lives they can. Whether it’s personally or professionally. I decided to get certified as a John Maxwell coach, speaker and trainer.

I started coaching individuals, very broad brush, and small business owners. Some executives and working with organizations. I’ve been doing that for a few years in executive coaching and business consulting. I’ll tell you that I love it. I am so into helping people uncover some of their challenges. Helping them to find solutions, and basically helping them to grow their organization to be better versions of themselves.

Common Leadership Trends

Looking into that, what are the common themes that you found with leaders in coaching them? Are there some common trends that you see with the people you work with?

It depends. Let’s talk about larger organizations first. I’m going to use a lot of my reference to my career at Johnson and Johnson and prior to that. This well-balanced leader concept, which we’ll get into in a little bit, is based on the fact that so many senior leaders because of the demands of their organizations and drive for results, are so locked into their careers that other things get missed.

The concept that a well-balanced leader is that they can have totally fulfilled lives so long as they make choices and they respect the need for their own personal care, self-care, relationships, and hobbies but not being one-dimensional as an awesome leader, driving extraordinary results and leading great teams. You could still do that, but have these other elements to your life.

People Strategy Forum | Rich Bruno | Well-Balanced Leader

Well-Balanced Leader: A well-balanced leader can have totally fulfilled lives so long as they make choices and respect their personal care, relationships, and hobbies.


What I noticed mostly with senior leaders is they struggle with that. Very demanding roles. They don’t make those choices for many reasons but they’re missing out on so much. I have to tell you that when I retired, that’s when it popped. When I got to see in my own lifestyle that I made that transition and that I started to own my calendar and enjoy more of my time and living a very intentional lifestyle again. That’s what I’m trying to influence senior leaders into doing more of. That’s the observation from senior leaders.

From an organizational standpoint, I do an organizational needs assessment and the pain points if you want to call it that, vary. A lot of times it’s developing talent, career management and talent management. It’s prioritization and time management. It’s a structured goal setting. There are so many dimensions to building organizations. I see maybe 4 or 5. Hiring and staffing is typically a very challenging area for most organizations. Those are 4 or 5 things I see in organizations.

From a business owner standpoint, what I notice most is that their real need is they are not able to scale their business. They don’t have the wherewithal. Whether it’s lack the ability to delegate, bring the right people on board, and put in the right people in the right spots to help them to be successful. Sometimes they lack the business acumen, the financial acumen to understand how to build the organization or their business to even greater levels.

The typical ask of business owners is, “Help me to scale my business.” Not sure what I should be spending my time on. What’s the portfolio of products and services that I should ideally offer my customers, members, what have you. I work with them alone those paths and, as I said, extremely fulfilled.

What do your thoughts, Sumit, with Rich is saying? Does it resonate with you as far as what you see leaders struggle with in other locations around the globe?

It does because the temptation to squeeze in every possible thing into those 24 hours is great. I was reading this book called Slow Productivity by Cal Newport. He’s coined the term. He makes perfect sense where he says, “Work at a natural pace. Pick fewer things to do and you’ll find your productive increases instead of reducing.” That’s also probably where advice and expertise from somebody like Rich would come in handy.

One needs to hear it from a person who’s been through the journey and who’s not preaching at you, who’s bringing that expertise and having been through that journey. I find this is a bigger problem in India because we’ve been a growing economy. Unless you’re getting a double-digit merit increase every year and getting promoted every 2 or 3 years. Clearly, you’ve got something wrong with you. It’s very easy to get onto the treadmill and keep exchanging it for a newer model, a faster one every few years. Before you know it, you’re burnt out.

Becoming An Entrepreneur

It’s crazy that model of getting on that treadmill for executives and professionals can be almost self-destructive in a lot of ways. Rich, in your experience, you left from that leadership position at Johnson and Johnson. It seems like you left the fire into the frying pan in starting your own business. Wasn’t that a huge learning curve and didn’t that bring a lot of stress onto your life during that? How was that transition?

That was quite the journey. I have no regrets. I will tell you, first of all, I started this program because of MAX Challenge as a member. I had no visions of owning a business. I was a corporate career person and operations centered. I didn’t see this as a plan B or anything like that. I took this program with my wife and I’m like, “This is a great program.” It made a difference in my life. It made me healthier and happier, my wife as well.

The biggest thing I took away was there are so many people that need this. That was the outcome for me as far as that experience. Immediately, it was literally passion fueled. It was something I needed to go do. I needed to help other people to experience this, to improve their lives, be more confident, and be happier and healthier. It’s an investment in yourself, let’s face it.

With me, I don’t know what the time. My children were young but we started having children late. I’m like, “I want to be around for a long time.” It’s an investment. You’ve got to put something into it. You can’t control everything, but that’s something you can control. How about helping so many other people to experience this? I immediately jumped into I want to be a franchisee.

I have to tell you. I never ran a small business before. I had no idea what I was doing. What I did was literally blind faith and passion, as well as the skills that I developed. As a corporate leader, I used those things to drive building the business. Here are the main things, follow the money. You’ve got to know that you can have a sustainable business or else it’s game over.

At its core, what I did it first was made sure that it was so customer-focused for our members and the experience they had. Driving the results, encouraging them, and creating the right environment are the foundation of this program and differentiates itself from many other peak fitness programs. My first role was to be an active owner operator. I did everything. I taught classes. I took classes. I enrolled people. I did sales on the phone.

I did everything that needed to be done, but most importantly, engaged our members and built a great staff. That’s something we didn’t talk about. There are crossovers between organizations and businesses for sure. I will say culture is King or Queen without a doubt. Summit, you mentioned something about the workplace environment. I didn’t mention that before about the top things for organizations, but that is one of them. Building the right culture where people want to come and contribute.

Culture was key. Following the money. People are your greatest asset. Bringing in people to stand up the program, to be instructive, and to greet people. Whatever their role was, it had to be with the same value system that I had. Standing up the business was not easy concurrent with running a great career that I had and raising a family. I’m a grinder. If it’s important enough to me, I’m going to do it. I put a tremendous amount of effort and energy into this for years concurrent with my career.

Workplace culture is key to entrepreneurship success. Follow the money and consider people as your greatest asset. Share on X

I’m going to tell you it wasn’t easy. My day-to-day grind was ridiculous. It was 3:30, you wake up and go to bed at 11:30 at night. I work on the business on weekends and keep up with my corporate career. It was very challenging, but 100% worth it. Not even because I had a vision of, “I’ll retire early and that’s what I do.” Never even thought that. It wasn’t until I was about 54 and a half that I’m like, “This is a tough grind. This is hard.”

I did my due diligence. It wasn’t a willy-nilly. I’ll just stop working now. I checked the financial box. I reached out to important people in my life to say, “Does this make sense? Can I do it?” I checked in with my wife. I’m like, “I want to do this 100%.” She didn’t even bat an eye, “Let’s do it.” A 100% that’s supportive and the rest is history. I am without a doubt living my best life now.

I know that’s a fan for what Char’s motto is living your best life. Would you agree, Char?

Yes, it’s an adventure. I make a couple of comments and I have a follow up question for you, Rich, because you and I have a lot in alignment together it sounds like. Even between a couple of my corporate positions, I dabbled into the entrepreneur space and I started getting into franchising myself, where I was doing marketing for franchising. I found out I’m not a salesperson but I am a salesperson. I just do it in the Char way.

I was more in a strategic HR role. I had a whole IT team, HR admin assistant and all my resources in my corporate position. It’s well taken care of so that I could focus on strategic work with my business leaders. When I jumped into more entrepreneurship, particularly in franchising, in that particular frame. I was like, “I got to set up an email. I got to figure out how to funnel my marketing system.”

At the time, I don’t even know what social media was but, “I got to try to call my cold call list and send out emails to all my hundreds of people.” I struggled with that. This is out of my bailiwick. This was not necessarily what I thought because in my mind, I thought, “I’m going to be an entrepreneur and a CEO and a Founder. I’m going to rock this because I’m an executive HR lady.”

No, I had a lot of struggles. I can relate with that. I put together my one-page business plan. I decided I’d treat my consulting and franchise selling and later HR consulting as a business. I put together a business strategy. I put together a business plan with goals and objectives. I found that helpful to me because if I treat my own consulting like a true business, because I sat at many boardroom tables. I should understand how to do this.

Transition To Entrepreneurship

I found it helped me. Rich, when you talk about the tools that help someone like you that’s transitioning from a more of a traditional corporate role to a more of an entrepreneurial consulting role. What tools do you recommend that perhaps that professional or executive making that transition look to help them succeed in that transition?

The first thing I want to focus on is the mindset because that’s key. I never had a doubt that I could say that I have a positive mindset. Not in a bragging way. I have an engineering background. I’m a problem solver. I don’t face something with this daunting in a way I can solve this. I will find a solution and I do believe that wholeheartedly. For me, a couple of important tools, I’ll call them is your mindset. You got to believe in yourself.

You should be passionate about what you’re doing. That’s just a principle I have. If I don’t get out of bed in the morning, my feet at the ground. I’m jacked up about what I’m going to do. I’m not going to do it. I’m going to do something else. Everyone should have that enjoyment in life. It’s corporate or personal. That’s a principle. Have the right principles, believe system or the passion for what you’re doing.

People Strategy Forum | Rich Bruno | Well-Balanced Leader

Well-Balanced Leader: Everyone should have enjoyment in life, be it corporate or personal.


Know who to ask the right questions to get the solutions that you can’t solve for. Business owners don’t have the financial acumen. You have a good bookkeeper or accountant, someone that’s going to give you the right guidance. That might not be your expertise. You have to pull the resources you need in order to drive the results. You shouldn’t have to be an expert in everything.

Great leaders are not that. They know how to surround themselves with the right people to get the results they want. The tool set starts with you’re going to be building from the ground up. Recognize that a lot is going to be unknown. Approach it with a problem solvers mentality. I can over adversities present all the time.

We had COVID. The gyms were shut down for months. It could have been game over, but it wasn’t. We found the solution. We pivoted. Being a good decision maker and a quick decision maker, that’s a great skillset. Don’t ponder things until it’s perfect and until you have every I dotted and T crossed. Have enough, go with your gut and move on.

If you make a mistake, your course correct. Don’t get stuck is what I would say about that. In terms of the business that you’re developing, you need to understand the business and the model you want to go forth with, as you said, Char. The strategy’s important. Be invested in your customers. Without them, you don’t have a business. Always surround yourself with the right people as far as a staffing standpoint and get involved in your community if it’s a small business. Those would be the things that say essential that will help drive business success. Now, it’s not just that you have to continue to nurture and develop it.

I resonate with that because strategy is in my definition, strategic allocation of resources and building your own unique system in order to achieve your goals and results, in my view. I have to say, even though I was a leader of a team of employees. One of my opportunities in my competency area was around my delegation skills because I was one to want to solve world hunger and do it all. The executive boardroom needs that PowerPoint by 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. I’m staying up all night doing it all night or create a PowerPoint instead of having my employee do my point.

Even when I become an entrepreneur, it’s an awareness that I need to build on the competency of not of delegating and allocate those resources to the right avenues. Also as an entrepreneur, there’s a cost aspect to that too. If I hire some IT support or I buy a platform to help me organize my contact list or emails. You have to invest too, a financial aspect. You invest not only in your wellbeing but also invest in your business and trying to build that up.

I’m proud of you, by the way, Rich. I’m going to say one thing. It sounds to me that you were still working in some form of corporate position and trying to build your enterprise. When I do career coaching, I say, “Please don’t quit your job quite yet. You might be disgusted with your boss and things are frustrating. Hang in there. Hang on to the benefits and on to the pay. Build your side gig or your thing.” I don’t know you but I’m proud of you that you took the time and invested in yourself to become this great person with an amazing legacy. That’s awesome.

Work Delegation

I appreciate that very much. As I said, it wasn’t easy but it was fueled by a passion and I wanted to make a difference. If I can jump back to the delegation piece for a second because that’s important not just for business owners but organizations in general with leadership. Here’s what I would say about that. There are a lot of reasons that people don’t delegate. Sometimes it’s knowing truly what the priorities are.

I have a mechanism for helping leaders to uncover that. We go through a John Maxwell size that’s about the lower priorities. It helps you break down and measure score what’s most important for you to be spending your time on. It helps uncover what you should delegate. Aside from that, let’s call it priorities in the delegation. Delegation is missed for a number of reasons. One of them is leaders don’t trust anyone else to do it the way they would do it. I’m sure there are a number. I’m just picked out a few.

Another one is that it’s perceived, “I have to train someone else to do it. It’s going to take me time. I might as well just do it myself.” The third one might be, “I could train someone else to do it, but they might not do it exactly like me. They might do it better.” You need to let go. Great leaders make choices all the time. If they think they’re doing everything, they’re kidding themselves.

Great leaders make choices every day. They say no a lot. They know their space, “This is what I need to work on. This is what my team needs to work on.” All the mechanisms for checking in, communicating, and providing clear direction. All of that stuff. Communication and relationships are critical skillsets for leaders to have. Sam, we talked about that previously with servant leadership and the value of relationships and recognizing people as your greatest assets.

If you’re not building a relationship with them and communicating well with them, chances are that they’re not going to follow you. They’re not going to trust you. That’s the foundation right there then the delegation’s a whole other piece. The delegation is extremely important. Even as business owners, I’ve noticed this. They are not willing to let go. They’re not and diminish their capabilities and ability to grow because they’re stuck in doing all the stuff that they shouldn’t be doing.

What do you think about that, Sumit? I know that you’re often talking about the importance of culture and people-centric approaches. How does that resonate with you?

It makes perfect sense. Based on what Char and Rich were both saying, it’s probably easier for a self-employed person or for folks like us who are a workforce of one to figure out that, “This is stuff I can do. This is stuff I cannot do or I need to bring it in an external person.” How would you advise somebody who’s in a leadership position to let go? What’s the starting point for that delegation? It sounds very easy when we talk about this in a forum like the current one. How do you get a leader to start releasing a little bit of controls and start building that bit of trust? What would that coaching process look like?

The coaching process starts with challenging them. What is it you’re spending your time on? Why do you think that you need to do it? Who else do you have in your organization? You go through all those different questions to get a lay of the land, so to speak. I’ll tell you what, here’s what I try to influence leaders with. Great leaders show they have vulnerability. They take risks. They fail, learn, and start again. If you don’t adopt that model yourself, no one on your team is going to do it most likely.

Great leaders show vulnerability. They take risks, embrace failure, and learn to start again. Share on X

They’re not going to say, “I have the freedom to take a chance. My leader is empowering me to make these decisions.” It’s going to be okay if it’s not right. We’ll figure out how to improve it. That all comes with messaging and how you carry yourself as a leader and what you communicate to your team. For me, it was always about, “I’m going to empower you to do these things. This is the output that we’re looking to achieve. How can I help you? Let me know, but I want to give you the power to do that. It’s okay if we fail.”

I’ve heard this phrase many times throughout my career, “Fail small, fail fast.” Find quick points to assess, regroup, and correct. Whatever the case may be. To try to answer your question, Sumit. It’s encouraging leaders to open up and understand the risk-reward profile. What would happen if something didn’t go right? What’s the impact? You gauge the impact then, it could be a learning experience or it’s devastating.

The project will never see the light of day. That’s a different conversation. The business will fail. Totally different conversation. If it’s, “It’s not going to be ideal but I got the runway to correct it and make it better.” Go do that. That’s what I would encourage because that’s how we all learn. That will empower your team to be even better at what they do because they’re going to be able to take chances. They’re going to know that you support them.

Balancing Opinions And Needs

One thing I want to dive into a little bit. First of all, Sumit, did you want to bring up another point on that before I change direction of it? One other thing, Rich. We’re talking about the importance of being a well-balanced leader. We put that in a context where we’re thinking about balance of family and community and health. Those important pillars. I want to dive into those a little bit more. Before we get there on this topic of delegation and in looking to the team and building that culture. We often think of, “That means I need to get feedback from my team here about their points and concerns and where they think the business should go overall.”

Sometimes you can bring in people that have very dominating voices as part of that team overall. As a leader, sometimes you’re asking for advice, but then you have to balance all those different opinions. How important is it to ensure to be an overall democratic leader where you’re getting all these different approaches then also balance the needs of where you’re planning to drive the business in its mission? Should a leader listen to that experience in those different perspectives and ensure that they’re driving the mission? Should they take things where your team wants it to go overall? That’s a bit of a difficult question, but I’m thinking about a balance as far as leadership.

I’m going to give it a crack and it depends on the situation. Let me first say that diversity of thought is powerful. It is important to be in a collaborative space, bring different minds, different experiences, and perspectives to a situation. I also think it’s important as the leader to be clear about what your expectations are.

If it’s not going to have to be a unanimous decision, you say that right in front. I want to get your inputs. The ultimate goal is X, Y, and Z then you take all that input. It’s the same when you’re hiring someone. When I’ve hired people, it was always a targeted interviewing process. It was with debriefing with the inputs from different people or teams that had different roles in the interviewing process.

At the end of the day, the hiring manager is the decision maker. I say that right from jump street, “I want your inputs. Please respect that I may just basically trump this and make the decision even if it’s not the most popular choice.” The same thing with driving initiatives in your organization. You want the inputs, but at the end of the day, I recognize that I am the leader and it falls on me. I am ultimately going to be accountable.

How much or how little I use that input to base that future decision on is up to me. I do want to get the team’s input because it’s important to foster inputs. Let people recognize they have value in the process, but be very clear that, “I’m going to take your input. We may not go with your decision.” That’s all part of the communication and the relationship building.

Now, if you have a dominant character or team member on your team. That’s best handled privately. You can’t have one person completely. It depends on the environment you’re creating. In my mind, I’ve always worked in collaborative spaces where it was team-based. No one person alone is going to be the person that drives the output. It’s going to be the collective inputs of the team that drive that. It’s important to drop your ego and not believe that you’re better than everyone else. That can be handled privately and separately. Jump backward a giant step in all of this.

Again, nothing’s perfect, but I am a huge proponent of right people in the right jobs. Part of that are the soft skills that people bring into a role very briefly. What I mean by that is, you have to have the competency to perform a job that you’re going to be understood. You have to embrace the values system that the collective environment has.

You need to have competency to perform your job. Embrace the values systems that the collective environment has. If you don’t subscribe to that, you are not a good fit. Share on X

If you don’t subscribe to that, you’re not a fit. Fit is extremely important to me when I’m helping leaders develop their organizations or when I’ve done it myself. If you’re not a fit, chances are it’s not going to go well for either party. Fit’s extremely important. That’s a very long answer but hopefully, that address some of the points that you were asking me about earlier.

A point of clarification. Sometimes, the fit may not be perfect at this moment. The business is developing and in growing and are people and so forth. Where should we take things as a leader? Are we looking for perfection or the evolution?

Evolution for sure. It is not perfection. You have to even drop that term and not expect things to be perfect. It puts a lot of pressure on a lot of people. It slows down progress. If you’re waiting for perfection, 80% might be good enough. We need to move on. What’s the outcome we’re looking to achieve? What’s the next thing that we want to go after?

Back to the diversity of thought, that’s very important. We’re going to have a slightly different point of view and a different way of approaching things. Maybe we go with that particular perspective. That’s fine. It’s not that we all have to be in harmony. It has to be perfect and we’re dotting every I and crossing every T. Honestly, I don’t think that’s reality. Not in this fast-paced environment that we operate. We’re driven to get results at a fast pace. We cannot slow down for, “If we only did this, this, and this. It will be a little bit better.” You have to understand what’s good enough and be able to move on.

Five Components

Let’s take that in the perspective of being the well-balanced leader. Many of us, as leaders, we’re not perfect. Some of us have rough edges or maybe our skills are not as good as they should be in certain categories. Taking that in the context of moving the needle to improving ourselves and doing it sustainably. A lot of us, if we just take the exercise program, the new year’s exercise program. We have great intentions and lofty goals by this. It turns out sometimes not to be sustainable in many cases. What does it take for a leader to prepare for that journey then make it sustainable and move the needle a little bit at a time to ensure that they’re going towards success?

I’m going to give an overview of the well-balanced leader concept with the five pieces of the pie then it will tie back to your question. Overview and we can dig deep if you want. The well-balanced leader is a concept that I developed. It was born out of it’s not just about the work. We can have fulfilled lives and there are five components. Some of them are locked into professional space.

Leadership excellence is the first one. Time-management mastery is the second, delegation and decision-making. Leadership excellence and time mastery are like half of the pie. If you just imagine visualize a circle and I have this on LinkedIn. I have a community that I’ve formed. You’ll see the five pieces. Half of that pie is leadership excellence and time management mastery.

The whole left side of the pie are more personally motivated. We talked a little bit about self-care. Continuous improvement in development, which is going to get that answer in your question, then creating your legacy. Those three components, if you will, centered in, “As an individual, what can I do to be my best self and to be completely fulfilled?” Relationships, family, self-care, and hobbies. That’s all the self-care stuff.

That’s the exercise in the morning. It’s the journaling, affirmations, reading to continue to learn and grow. That’s self-care. The continuous development is the part that answers your question. I consider myself to be a continuous learner. Great leaders recognize that there’s always room. Any individual contributor even. Not just leaders. We also embrace the concept that we all have room to grow.

Again, it’s not about being perfect. Continuous improvement is being like, “How can I show up as my best every day and be a little bit better? What can I do to reflect on that?” The self-awareness. What can I do to reflect on, “That went well, but if I did it a little bit differently, it would have gone better. I’m going to take a note of that and do that next time.” It’s that spirit.

It’s a spirit of continuously improving. Whether it’s when you add professionally or personally. My relationships with my kids, my wife, or my family or living into a hobby that I have. Whatever it is. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the concept of continuous development. Finally, creating your legacy. To me, that’s what’s the impact you want to on others?

At the end of the day, what will people say about you that you did to make a difference in their life? That’s probably one of the most important things. That’s what I want as a dad for sure. What am I going to leave my kids with value systems? Things that are important and they can carry on that will have a real lasting and sustainable impact on them? Those five pieces make up the world bounds leader, but you have to lose the idea that things have to be perfect like keep moving forward, be self-aware, and be committed to growth.

One thing I want to highlight a little bit more because it’s an interesting idea is the concept of legacy. This is a piece that defines a leader that truly cares about the results of what’s going on. If you think about it, a lot of times when a person maybe find a new career path or want to do something different. They say they want to end their job at a particular place to move on to another place.

Those conscientious leaders that I find are super invested in ensuring there’s no balls that are dropped during their departure. Making sure that that the customer, the clients, or the people that they care about are still benefiting from this infrastructure that they built and the culture that they built and handing it off so it’s preserved. That is super admirable in bringing this into your model and something that I find that is unique that I haven’t seen in other types of models.

I was going to comment on that. Thank you. Sorry, I interrupted you. The first thing that I do in any role that I’ve ever been in and I encourage all leaders to do this or contributors at an individual level. Your role is to go and make the job better than you found it. Leave it better than you found it. It could be process improvements, improving culture, or bringing great talent. It could be all of those things.

Leave a job better than you got it. If you do that, you’ve done a lot. Do things that will make it sustainable. Your replacement or whoever comes in behind you, understands the value of the culture, the people, what you’ve set up and what you stood up, then let them put their own spin on it, how they can further improve things.

Leaving a job better than you got it, if you do that, you’ve nailed a lot. The other thing that I always wanted that was very important to me is having the respect of the people that I worked with, cross-functionally as collaborative leaders together. Certainly, my team members. I want them to know that I always had their back. I was always genuinely interested in them and their development and growth or meeting whatever the needs they had.

Some people say, “Rich, I’m good. I want to stay in this spot. I’m not looking to be your replacement. I don’t want the next promotion. I love what I’m doing.” Great, stability players. Everybody needs them, just understanding. It goes back to the relationships with the people that you work with. I always wanted to have people remember me as, “I loved working with that guy. He made a difference in my career. He was always there to help me.” Not for but with. Whatever might be something that’s positive. I’m leaving a great impression.

Continuous Development

That’s powerful. The other thing I wanted to highlight on is the aspect we were talking about of continuous improvement. I don’t know how many times I’ve come across leaders who feel like, “I’m a leader, I’ve made it to the top. I know what needs to be known.” They don’t invest in themselves in development. When you were assigned a coach as a leader, people think that there’s something wrong with you, that you need to help moving forward. How do we change the mindset of executives to understand that coaching and developing? These are essentials to be on top of your game the long term.

I appreciate you bringing that up. Status quo is not growth. We all have the opportunity to continue growing and do things differently and better. Embracing that concept and being open to it. That’s part of a coach’s role. For me, my role is to develop the relationship, know, like and trust where they can take input. I could be a great listener and can we can pave a way together for them to make changes. They may be subtle changes.

People Strategy Forum | Rich Bruno | Well-Balanced Leader

Well-Balanced Leader: Status quo is not growth. We all have the opportunity to continue growing and do things differently and better.


Typically, they are pain points in the organization. The culture is not right or, “I can’t find the right person for that job or I don’t know if my organization structured the right way.” They could be a whole host of things. It could be that individual’s ability to have an impact, the way they communicate, the relationships they build, or the way they delegate or how they set priorities. They could be so many things. Coaching is an enabler. That’s the answer. The short answer is coaching is an enabler. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. It means that you’re investing in yourself, in your team, and in your organization to be better. That’s what that means.


Thanks for, Rich. As we wrap up here, would you once more remind our readers about those points that you mentioned, what it takes to become a well-balanced leader? Also, give us some aspects on how they can learn more?

Thank you for that. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with all of you. The well-balanced leader is about being fulfilled in life. It doesn’t mean you should compromise being a great leader or contributor in your professional space. It means that you could have it all if you make the right choices. Those choices are up to you individually. Everyone’s going to be different.

The well-balanced leader has five components to it. It includes both professional things like leadership excellence and time management mastery. As well as a lot of more personally related things like self-care, which is critically important. You’re going to show up as your best self if you take care of yourself. It’s an inside-out job. It’s about being fully present in your life. If you concentrate on self-care, you can achieve that. It’s something that many people overlook that should not be overlooked.

You’ve got to put yourself first so you can be the best for everything else you go do. Continuous development and improvement is the next slice of the pie if you want to call that. You can always learn and grow. That’s the point. How could I be better than I was yesterday? Creating your legacy. That, to me, is where it’s at. At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered by?

Put yourself first so that you can be the best for everything else you got to do. Share on X

People going to say, “You 10X that business. That was great,” then you have nothing else. Are they going to say, “This person 10X their business. What an amazing leader they were. Look at that wonderful family they had. They had these great hobbies.” They aspire to be like that person because of how they carry themselves in their lives. That’s the well-balanced leader. it’s something many of us need more of. Senior leaders are stuck in the drive, the commitment, and the pressure of delivering results that all the other components get left out. That’s what I’m trying to influence leaders with.

How can you contact me? You can go to my Linktree, Rich Bruno Consulting. You can find all my socials. You can book an appointment with me. I would love to, as an executive coach and business consultant, help you find the solution. If anything we talked about or any other things resonated for you, we all have challenges. I want to be part of that solution. To enable that, I would offer you a free 30-minute Zoom session. You can book an appointment through that linktree on Calendly. At that appointment, I’m going to help you to develop actionable steps to overcome the challenges in you. That’s what I would offer and I genuinely do want to help other people. I hope that many of you will take me up on that offer. It’s a free session, by the way. I genuinely like to help others.

Closing Words

Thank you so much, Rick. What a generous offer. It’s one that I encourage everybody to take. I might do that myself as well. Rich, thank you so much for the conversation. It’s been such an impactful discussion. I know that it’s meaningful to a lot of leaders out there to find that balance in their lives and becoming the leader that they want to be. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure talking with all of you.

Thank you, Rich. We appreciate you.

Thank you, Rich.

Thank you, Char, Sumit and Sam.

To all our readers, we’ll see you next episode on the show. Take care.


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About the Guest

People Strategy Forum | Rich Bruno | Well-Balanced LeaderRich Bruno is an accomplished professional coach and business consultant with over three decades of experience in supply chain management, leadership, and organizational development. After a successful 30-year tenure as a supply chain leader and ten years as an entrepreneur running three franchise locations, Rich transitioned to professional coaching and consulting, where he has spent the past four years helping executives and organizations achieve their potential.
Rich’s extensive experience includes significant achievements such as leading a transformative Hiring Manager Code of Conduct campaign, dramatically improving cost efficiencies in a major transportation division, and consistently fostering positive workplace cultures. His approach combines a deep passion for talent development with a mastery of strategic planning and data analytics, allowing him to optimize decision-making and operational efficiency for his clients.
Now retired from Johnson & Johnson at the age of 55, Rich focuses on personal growth, adding value to others, and family life. He is deeply committed to making a difference in people’s lives through executive coaching, business coaching, franchise consulting, leadership development training, and more. His specialties include mentoring, operational excellence, financial analysis, talent development, and strategic vision.
Rich is known for his collaborative leadership style, fostering respect-based cultures, and enabling professionals to succeed. He believes in giving more than you receive, maintaining that attitude and perspective are key to effective leadership and personal fulfillment.
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