Leaders, what are you passionate about?

I am only deeply, strongly passionate about a few things. I love that I currently have the opportunity to pursue two of them and am laying the groundwork for the third.

At redPear I get to lead. I love the web and the empowerment that it gives to the individual but that’s the passion I want to expound upon. I’m passionate about creating a compelling culture and leading a fantastic, brilliant, creative mix of engineers, salespeople, project managers, socialites, musicians, sports nuts, gamers, ninjas, and salsa dancers. Ask me about leading such a diverse team and I’ll talk your ear off. I soak it up. I screw it up. I learn. I try to fix. I ask forgiveness. I do it again. I keep learning. Leading is one of my strongest passions and redPear is the vehicle for me to do that. It means less to me what we are doing, but more about how we are doing it together.

However, while redPear is the vehicle that fuels my passion to lead, the philosophy behind the new Vyllij, on the other hand, fuels a different passion completely. Within that organization I am equally surrounded by brilliant and creative individuals. I certainly get to lead here as well but the way it is done is quite different. Thus, it is my burning passion for what we are actually DOING (read: disrupting) with Vyllij that runs deep. Almost every waking available spare moment is spent thinking, organizing, initiating, and dreaming about the potential that Vyllij has to change the world. Yes, change the world. I dare you to get me talking about my passion for helping others to build a strong, healthy, organically-growing, mutually-supporting local network of humans. You will see the passion bleed from my heart and dance at the tip of my tongue.

As a leader, you MUST pursue that which drives you. The most debilitating thing for a leader is to have to lead a stale organization going in a direction that she is not passionate about. There’s no energy–no drive. You cannot manufacture passion. And if you think you can, don’t try! You’ll soon realize you’ve sold yourself out. You’ll look to your left, right and behind you and find that no one is following. Those people know better. They went and followed someone else who displayed true genuine passion, who raised her voice and shouted, “Follow me! I know where we’re going! We’re going to rock this place!”

So find it! Find that passion and then find where you can unleash yourself. Think you can’t? Think its too hard? Bullshit. I’ve found it and I’m not done yet. Others have found it and have changed the world for the better.

It’s time to get excited. Need help? Just ask those around you. Heck, ask me! Raise your voice! Let’s bleed our passion together.

Ignite Phoenix
This post is obviously a little late but here nonetheless. I am amped to be presenting tonight at Ignite Phoenix ASU at the ASU Education Lecture Hall. I’m surrounded by phenomenal presenters and honored to be among them. I will be presenting on creating a collaborative incubation culture in Phoenix. Don’t know what that is? Then you need to RSVP (or just show up) for the event tonight at the ASU Main Campus.

Here’s the title and description of my 5-minute Ignite talk:

Archipelago: we are islands, together.

Biography: Brandon is an ASU alum, father, musician, and entrepreneur. He has a passion for connecting people and making Phoenix awesome.

Description: The very gifts and strengths that make for a good entrepreneur, can make us lone wolves. While you need to be confident and self-reliant, you cannot make it on your own. Let’s talk about bringing entrepreneurs together, young, old, new, experienced, successful, and struggling. We can make each other better, and by extension, make Phoenix better.

And here’s the full lineup:

  • Live together, die alone: Island survival for non-profits – John Mather
  • The burgeoning Phoenix Design scene, and how you can be involved – Mark Dudlik & Andrew Coppola
  • Archipelago: we are islands, together – Brandon Willey
  • How TED Built Their Community of TED Addicts – Tomas Carrillo
  • Prison 101: Interns Behind the Wire – Sue Ellen Allen
  • Design Bridges the Gap Between Universities and Communities – John Takamura
  • Trust NASA To Get Us Out Of Here? Or The Cultural Impetus For Sustainability – Andrew Latimer
  • Guerrilla Marketing: Reaching Out to Homeless Youth – Tim Huffman
  • Improvisation as a collaborative tool – Nina Miller
  • Poverty. What it looks like and what I can do? – Brian McCollow

I’ve been giving this some significant thought recently as redPear has been growing significantly and I’ve been intentionally transitioning to a more visionary and executive leadership role.

A Hypothesis: A leader’s core role in any organization should be to establish the vision, to unite the team around that vision, and then to support the team in accomplishing the vision.