Leaders Up Close: Brian Crutcher, ’95

Leaders Up Close: Brian Crutcher, ’95

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(upbeat, inspirational music) – Good morning and welcome
to Leaders Up Close, this is a program sponsored by the UCF Engineering Leadership
and Innovation Institute. I’m Tim Kotnour, I’m
director of that institute. We thank Duke Energy for
supporting this seminar series. Today we are very honored to have Brian Crutcher share his story with us, he’s a Senior Vice President
with Texas Instruments. He’s also an alumni of ours. He’s an athlete, was
an athlete here at UCF and he’s gonna share his story
and advice, as you can read, how to go from the classroom to the cube. So please help me welcome Brian Crutcher. (crowd applauding) Welcome.
– Thanks. Good afternoon, I appreciate
you guys joining me and I’m really excited to be here. It’s a topic I’m pretty passionate about and hopefully I can maybe share
a few nuggets of information to really help you transition from the classroom to the professional world. And see if I can help you guys make that transition a bit more smoother. Today I wanted to really try to give you a little bit of my personal
perspective on leadership and also try to help you again, try to make the move to a cubicle or into the work world just
a little bit less daunting. Because I’ll share a few stories, it was a little bit daunting for me when I made that transition. So I wanna cover a few things. Number one, how do you be
a leader from the start? From the very first day
you walk in the door, whether that’s at a big company, a startup or anything else,
you can actually do that. Two, know what your dreams are, what you’re passionate about, and put some type of plan in place to figure out how to get there. Third, at the end of the day it’s all about results and playing to win and regardless of what type of company or trick or trade you play in, you’re gonna really
really want to play to win and I’ll talk a bit more about that. Lastly, I’ll spend a little bit of time on what I truly look for in leaders. And again, I don’t have
the perfect game plan or the perfect definition
for what leadership looks for but there are some traits and things that I personally look for as
a leader at Texas Instruments to ensure that we’re hopefully picking the right leaders for our future. So let’s go ahead and move forward. Anybody, who do you look at as a leader? Is there some person, is
there someone that you look at in the real world that
you see as a leader? Anybody? Tim? So anyone can be a leader
and I think there’s probably a misconception out there
that you have to be a CEO, a senior manager, a head football coach, some position of power to actually lead. And I think there’s a
few definitions out there but to me, I think it can
be done at every level of the organization,
with or without ownership or a reporting structure that’s into you. But I think it really starts with every level of the organization and really ordinary people trying to get extraordinary work done. And that’s truly to me
what leadership’s all about and I’ll talk a bit more
about that as we move forward. You know, if I look at my very
first days in the workforce, that’s actually a real picture. So that’s a picture as you
walk into Texas Instruments, the building that I work in, and you can’t even see the
end of the hall, right? It’s actually over a 1/4 mile long is this main hallway
that we call the spine. And there are actually seas of
cubicles all over the place, regardless if you turn
left, right, or center, you will see a lot of them. And to me that was extremely daunting the first day I walked in there. But hopefully by the time I
get through the presentation you’ll understand there are
ways to go attack that fear and ways to actually overcome that and don’t feel like you’re
just in a sea of cubes. Some of my first fears,
I have two or three that are really really
ingrained in my head and let me share a few
stories around those. The first one was around asking questions. And if you’re not
comfortable asking questions, you won’t learn and you
won’t lead over time. And so to me it’s a big thing, getting over that fear of asking questions of people inside your organization and outside your organization. The big story for me is around
setting and leading meetings. You will be asked,
regardless of your position, to lead and set meetings
and I can remember, I can remember the exact
room the first time I had to lead a meeting
and lead an initiative and ensure that there was an outcome. And I actually did horrible. I can remember every person
that was in that meeting, I can remember everything that
went down in that meeting. I learned pretty quickly that
if I don’t own the meeting, kick it off, cover the
agenda, keep it on time, and draw up true actions
at the end and ownership at the end of that
meeting to close it out, it can go in 50 million
different directions. And so my very first meeting
and leading in that session wasn’t very good but I actually learned very very quickly how
to work through that. Last but not least was presenting, I had a huge fear of presenting. Whether that was presenting
to one person or 1,000 people. Today I do it all the time
but I got through that, I took classes, I had
plenty of times where I was videotaped and could critique myself and I actually practiced. If you’re not a PowerPoint junkie today, I would recommend you learn
it and learn it quickly, okay? That’s one nugget of information. Secondly, know your content and practice. If you practice, you’ll
actually do much much better and the presentation
will come off smoothly. I didn’t do any of those
things when I first started and hopefully, you know
that’s what I’m here for today is to really share some of
those nuggets of information on how to maybe get
through some of those fears a little bit quicker than I did and hopefully be a lot more successful than even I was during that
initial first year of time. I still go back to,
there are many many ways in which you can be a leader from the very first day you walk in the door and truly, if nothing else, get noticed. Because whether it’s a small
company or a big company, you wanna make an impact and get noticed. So there’s a few things
that I wanna talk about first and foremost, build relationships, opportunities come to those who are known. If you hide in your single cube and don’t get out of your cube, that’s probably a recipe for disaster. Your ability to build
relationships, again, inside your organization and outside, are absolutely critical up
and down the organization, will ensure you get not only maybe your first leadership opportunity but potentially even more in the future. The next two kind of go together, listen and be extremely curious. That’s what great leaders do. Great leaders don’t just
bark orders from the top, leaders actually listen,
they’re extremely curious about other people’s views, and really really ask thoughtful
and challenging questions. That’s actually the number
one thing I look for from new college grads
that come into our company. And last year at Texas Instruments actually of our new hires in the year, actually over 50% of our
new hires were from college. And what I look for is are they willing to challenge the status quo? Are they willing to ask
those tough questions and really make us think
differently, right? And that’s a form and
a sign of leadership, someone that’s willing to step out and challenge that status quo and start leading from the start. The next one is really seek out feedback. I talk to new college
grads very very often about you own your career. Don’t wait for someone else to offer the feedback, ask for it. You own 51% of your personal development, your manager owns 49%,
so you must take the lead and lead your future and those discussions and getting that feedback over time. But please don’t ask for the feedback if you don’t have a desire to learn and grow and get better. I’m talking to a bunch
of UCF Knights today, so I gotta believe I don’t
have to worry about that one. But there are gonna be many
many many opportunities for you within the organization you’re in to go to different training opportunities, areas outside of your expertise or areas that maybe
you’re just interested in. Really take that first year or so to take advantage of those opportunities. They’re going to be
there, that is the best and the most unique time to really go off and leverage those for your
potential future, okay? Last but not least, your
communication skills will go a long way, that’s
written, that’s verbal, that’s all the types of
communication ways that you can use. Please, don’t walk into the
work world the first day and start using half sentences like you use on Twitter or on Facebook. That communication won’t last very long. Be correct, communicate correctly, communicate clearly, and be succinct. I can guarantee you,
the way you communicate not only affects the
way you can lead people but also the interpretation of what you’re trying to get across. So please really really think
about the way you communicate and practice how you communicate. I actually used to look at every message before I sent an email and I read it two or three times before I sent it. Number one, is it as succinct
and as small as I can get it? Because honestly today,
everybody’s on these things. My general rule is if I can’t read it within one finger scroll down, I’m probably not gonna
read it for a while, okay? So you have to believe
that’s kind of the mentality and the behavior that most
human beings have today. So really think about how do you concisely communicate what
you want, what you need, and what the expectation
is from the person or persons receiving that communication. But you will, during that
first year, have questions. Am I in the right place? Did I pick the right job? And to me, the way I gauge it is, you should be hopping out of
bed every day to go to work because you love what you
do, you’re passionate, and you’ve got a ton of pride about the company you’re working for and the things that you’re working on. And so if you’re not, I call
that the five snooze rule. And that’s not because you stayed out too late hanging out with
your friends, that’s truly, I hit the snooze bar five
times, there’s a problem, okay? So that’s one quick, one of
my nuggets of information. If anyone in my organization,
I plead for them to come to me and talk to me about the role they’re in if they hit the snooze bar five times. Because that means they’re
not excited to come to work, they’re not jumping out of bed ready to come make an
impact at the workplace and we’ll find a different role. So please don’t let that five snooze rule go on for too long, okay? So please really really think about it and ensure that you’re happy, because everyone will be
much much more successful if you’re not hitting that snooze bar. Now let’s switch a
little bit of a topic to, it doesn’t matter if
you’re playing sports, which I had the luxury to play football here at UCF many many years ago and you’re probably wondering, man that guy’s pretty small,
what the heck did he play? The good news is I was pretty fast, so that helps when you’re playing receiver and defensive back, I actually played defensive
back while I was here. But the fact is it doesn’t matter if it’s a sport, an instrument, or even if you’re watching
the Olympics last week, right? Those guys have relentless attitude, you know, if I lose, I go home, I have one shot to make this thing happen and that’s really what I’m talking about when I talk about playing to win. Couple comments here. I talked about developing
yourself and you owning 51%, I also wanna ask that you spend the majority of your time
leveraging your strengths, make your strengths even stronger. Of course you can always
work on weaknesses and areas for improvement but as a leader, I’m constantly looking for
the strengths in myself and the strengths that I can
surround myself to basically cover up those weaknesses
and make a great team. So basically having
better teammates around me to make us as one whole
a much stronger team. The second thing that I look for when playing to win is results matter. You can’t lead if you
can’t put up results. Keep score in whatever you do, find a way to gauge your progress, whether it’s your very first job or if it’s leading a
team or anything else, know the score and keep score and keeping in front of yourself and the team very very frequently. The last area I talk about is, and maybe this is a little bit edgy, be competitive as hell, okay? The work world today is competitive, whether that’s getting your first job or competing to put financials on the scoreboard as a company. So I look for people that are competitive as hell and hate to lose. The joy of winning’s great
and we can go do that but for me, if you don’t hate to lose and get really pissed off about it, you’re probably not going
to be a great leader. So I really really look for
extremely competitive people. Last but not least, shut up and put up. There’s a lot of people that
can go try to lead a team and set all these objectives
and talk a lot, right? It’s easy to talk but what I look for is putting up the results, okay? Do what you say you’re gonna do. As an employee for the
first time in a company, that’s the very first
thing I’m gonna look for. Are you doing what you
say you’re gonna do? And are you doing it when
you said you’re gonna do it and creating those results
that we’re talking about? You will create leadership opportunities by being creative, by being competitive, and really putting up the results. Talk all you want when you can celebrate, to me that’s what it’s all about. A bullet I don’t have
up here is celebrate. There’s way too many times that even today with me and my teams where I don’t believe we celebrate enough. You know, winning’s
hard, if winning was easy everybody would be doing it. But regardless if you’re at a startup or at a large corporation, find the opportunities to celebrate and as a leader, they
will respect you more by not being a constant
driver but also being able to celebrate the successes along the way. You will build a lot of fellowship and leadership if you do that, okay? I gotta believe everybody has some passion and pride for some things. Maybe that’s certain subjects, maybe that’s certain types of engineering or other maybe business topics. What I’d asked you to
do, leaders and employees need to be passionate about some things and ensure your role lines up with that. You won’t lead and you won’t perform unless your passions and
your pride and desire truly truly line up with the
job that you have at hand. Last but not least on
this slide particularly, be passionate enough to take a stand. It’s very very easy to
walk the middle line, be on the fence and
not share your opinion. That’s probably one of the second or third most important things I look for from new employees and potential leaders, are they willing to take a side? Have facts to back up that side and be really really really passionate about that and stick to your guns? So I really really look for that. I can think back even when, I started off as a
technical sales engineer and I can remember about
a year and a half in, taking a side in a pretty big
forum in front of my manager and my manager’s manager and my teammates about where I thought we
could potentially invest or put in more time and investment in to be extremely successful
and that was actually, at TI we have two big pieces
of our product portfolios, we have analog and digital. And I can remember 15 years ago pushing extremely hard on
accelerating our analog position, I’m looking at a fellow TR in the back, it actually wasn’t as popular at the time but actually allowed me to lead for the first time after that. The good news is I brought up an issue or problem that I was passionate about and what a lot of people will do, they’ll give that opportunity
for you to go lead. So you see this problem, guess what? You get to go lead fixing that problem. So that was actually my first opportunity to go lead a team to go attack the space, the product space I was extremely extremely passionate about. And so it’s okay to bring up
issues, areas of conflict, because that actually
could be your opportunity to raise your hand, to take an initiative or a project to really go prove that out. So that was a great example
of where it actually worked for me and enabled me to
lead very very early on and actually make an impact on the company where that product space not
only at Texas Instruments is the largest that we have in the company and we’re number one in the
world in that product space. So really really cool opportunity, hopefully I had something to do with the position that we have today, but it was an opportunity again to raise my hand and almost volunteer for that opportunity to go lead. The last area I wanna talk a little bit about is know where you wanna go. And that may not be the first day you walk on the company’s campus or in the company’s small office but what I’d ask you to do is really ask questions and understand, seek to understand where
you wanna go in the future. Understand your strengths and figure out what your future wants to
be, you own your destiny, don’t wait for someone
else to do that for you. Within that journey though I’d ask that you trust your manager. I can tell you, I moved
at Texas Instruments, I moved, physically moved, seven times in the first 10 years of my career. I did that because they were giving me new and different opportunities to
lead and do different things but ultimately I trust my management team and I trusted my manager who asked me and thought this was a
great move for me to go do. I’m not asking you to go
move seven times in 10 years but I do think it’s
extremely, extremely valuable to share your plan with your manager, ensure it lines up with your strengths that I talked about earlier and really have an action
plan and a road map to enable you to get to that new position. Communicate regularly with your manager and with your team but
understand where you stand because even a small
tweak to your road map can make a huge difference
in where your career ends up five, 10, 15 potential
years down the road. So that feedback and understanding
if you’re still on track, if this still leverages your strengths and truly will make you be the best person you can be at that company is
something you have to share and something you have to
have direct feedback around. Because actually later in your career, you will continue to
set different visions, different missions, and
lead different teams that you’re gonna need
to be able to do that and execute on it as we
talked about earlier. So really a great, great
opportunity for you to lead and know your path as you
move through your career. This one’s a little bit off base but I thought it’d be something that’d be interesting
for you to understand. I was pretty naive going out of college and into the work world of what organizational structure means, how it operates, how they all intertwine, how the affect each other. So I call this, this
topic, know your boss. There’s a few reasons behind that. Know how your boss is measured and really how the teams are organized. Because if you understand
how your boss is measured, you can be completely
tied in on initiatives and ensure that your job
is actually contributing to the success of how your bosses measure. That’s a good thing, trust me. Secondly, know what the
priorities are for the team and actually get engaged in those. Again, understand how you
tie into those priorities and if you don’t feel like
you’re tied in enough, offer up some of your own personal time to get more involved in those priorities. The more tightly coupled you are to the organization’s priorities, the bigger impact you will see and the bigger impact
your boss will see as well because he’s watching those priorities. Know your boss’s boss. And that doesn’t mean the
first day you show up you go, okay this is my boss and who’s your boss, because I wanna go meet him, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is back to understand where they wanna go, where the organization is trying to move, and back to how do you
contribute to the organization, the priorities of those folks. And what I was really naive about was not too many bosses make
a personnel decision without their boss knowing. Particularly putting someone
in a leadership role. So I see a few people nodding in here, so if your boss’s boss doesn’t
know anything about you or you haven’t made enough
impact to their priorities, the likelihood of them giving you the nod goes down pretty dramatically. So ensure you’re tied in with them, the priorities that
they have and make sure you can make a name for
yourself inside the organization all the way up to your boss’s boss because they will have an influence on who gets the next job that maybe you have your hat in the ring for, okay? So let me transition now to what I personally look for in leaders. And this doesn’t mean you
have to have all of these but to me this is a subset of things that I personally look for
when I look for someone to manage a larger team,
lead a bigger team, lead a project and initiative. So take a few of these in. First one, results, I talked
a little bit about that, if you don’t turn in results, you’re not gonna get the
respect of the organization, the team you’re trying
to lead or anything else. So first and foremost,
whatever job you get and whatever job you take, turn in results first and foremost. People that turn in results will get asked to do more things and more
opportunities to lead. Be accountable, okay? Live to know your score, okay? Accept it when the score comes up and don’t try to explain it away. There’s way too many folks that say, yeah, we were shooting for this, we ended up a little bit short and here’s all the reasons why. At the end of the day the
results are what count, whatever show on the
scoreboard is the score. You can have as many headliners and sports reporters at
the end of the Fiesta Bowl saying yeah the Baylor quarterback threw too many bad
passes, yadda yadda yadda. But at the end of the day
the score speaks for itself and there’s no way you
can explain it away, the score is the score. Have a competitive spirit. I mean I am really really big on that, be extremely competitive and hate to lose. I was telling the dean earlier today I’m a little bit more direct
with some of our new employees because I get the opportunity to meet with all of our new college grads that come in, all of our technical sales
and applications associates. And I got to meet with some
of them a few weeks ago and they were actually our
technical sales associates and field applications associates that are just starting
off and I can tell you this is the number one thing. Particularly for that type of role. And my experience with them was, if you’re not competitive
as hell and hate to lose then we’ll find you a
different role, okay? This is not the job for you, please meet me afterwards and
we’ll find you something else. But this actually applies
to every single job and every single role. Be competitive to turn in great results. Urgency, move fast, this
world moves fast already but I look for leaders
that are extremely urgent because you’re actually setting the bar. You’re actually the one
that’s going to propel the team around you that
you’re leading to move faster. They’re only gonna run and
work as hard and as fast as the leader that’s
leading the group, right? Think about dog sleds, the
lead dog leads the pack and if he’s running at
five miles per hour, everybody else that’s
following that lead dog is running at five miles an hour. But if that lead dog is really ambitious, pushes the limits and
running 10 miles an hour, faster than everybody else, that leader will pull the
rest of the organization, the rest of the team
right along with them. So that urgency is absolutely critical as a leader of any team. Energy, if you don’t have energy, that doesn’t mean I didn’t
have my cup of coffee so I’m a little bit slow this morning, that means you bring
energy and passion and love for what you stand for
and what you’re driving and what you’re leading. You have to have that
energy within the team, maybe that’s customers, other people inside the organization, when they see that energy, guess what? There’s gonna be other people that actually wanna join that team. None of you guys wanna be on
the team with no energy, right? So think about how much influence and pull you can get probably
for the best of the best inside of a small or large
company to come join your team. Just because you have energy and passion for what you’re going after. That is a huge thing that you must have in terms of leadership. This one’s pretty fun, it’s hard to say five times real fast but,
constructively unreasonable. So it’s easy to be
unreasonable but can you be constructive in the
way in which you do it? But also this talks about
how do you lead a team, push a team to get to
yes when others say no and all the history says it can’t be done. Your ability to lead that
team through that change, through that charge,
through that initiative to really get them to say yes instead of looking in the past, to set those stretch objectives
is really really important. And to me being
constructively unreasonable is something great great leaders can do and can lead an organization
through that type of change. Last but not least, you
need to have confidence. Not cocky but confidence, okay? The world and the organization around you will wear you down, particularly if you’re
creating a lot of energy, you’re leading from the front and you’re pulling people along. You’re convincing people to say yes instead of what they’ve always said no to. It will wear you down, so
you having the confidence in what you believe in is
really really important. But really be humble, this is something that’s extremely extremely
important for leaders, being extremely humble about the successes and the team and really
giving credit to the team for what you are seeing as successes across that organization in time. So that’s a bit one that I look for. Again, results, accountability, your competitive spirit,
urgency and creating energy. To the last two,
constructively unreasonable, again, I’m gonna get that wrong in a second if I say it one more time. And your self confidence
that you bring to the game. A bit on my journey, as I talked about, I started as a technical sales associate, I actually interviewed
on campus right here. And I took this role because
of a couple of reasons. Number one, it paid pretty
well and I was tired of scrounging around
for beer money and food. Secondly, it lined up very very well with kind of my make up. I’d been an athlete as
far back as I can see and I played football here and ran track and I was extremely competitive and to me, selling and still being
connected to that technology was extremely important for me. And this was a great way for me to get into a big
operation, a big corporation to have many options in the future, but really leverage the strengths that I thought I had coming out of school. And so this was a great
opportunity for me. It allowed me to work at a company that’s one of the worlds largest semiconductor companies in the world, we have over 32,000
employees in 35 countries and a lot of revenue, the company’s over 12 billion dollars in revenue. It allowed me to get my foot in the door at a really really large company. Today, as I mentioned, I’ve changed roles probably 10 or 12 times in
18 years at the company. Different roles, moved
around and basically said yes to every opportunity
that was brought to me. I never said no to
anything that my manager, who I trusted a lot in all cases, that brought to me and gave
me the opportunity to take. So today I run our analog business, it’s a ton of fun, we
make a lot of products. Analog might not sound that sexy to some of you guys but
it’s a big big space. I know you guys like to write software and all that kind of stuff
but I stunk at software, we were writing in FORTRAN back then and that was not my cup of tea. So going back on the analog side is really where I feel more comfortable. But you know, we really
have a great company, they’ve provided me some
really cool opportunities to grow, to lead, and
I’m really really blessed to have had that opportunity. We also, just to close out, we also, as I talked about, have
great opportunities not for just new employees
but all employees to have a job and learn your craft but also to have other ways to be able to learn and grow and perform in time. Couple things here, this
is a structured program that we have, it’s called Make An Impact, where we have a structured program for our new college grads that come in and gives them opportunities to learn, take classes, learn about
different opportunities, network, build those
relationships that I talked about. So these are all ways
in which you can lead and find ways to lead by learning more and understanding more about
the company you’re working in. So this is a great great opportunity, I get to speak with all these individuals and you get to meet a lot of
leaders across the company. So it’s something that we
take very very seriously inside of Texas Instruments, and something that
actually helped me a lot as I was even coming through
as a brand new employee at TI. So to close out and I’ll
take some questions, remember you can be a
leader from the start. There’s many many ways I talked about that you can lead and find opportunities to lead from the start. Please don’t be daunted,
if you go to a big company, by all the cubes and the
hallways and all that stuff. Start with results, start
with being accountable and doing what you say you’re gonna do, and people will start noticing you the very first day you get on the team. Treat it like an adventure,
know where you’re going and ask for help along the way. There are so many people
that wanna help you, coach you, mentor you along the way. Ask for that, seek it out. Again, you own your training,
you own your development, that’s something you can go do. Last but not least, I think if you just do half of these things
or a few of these things, hopefully you took a few
nuggets of information and maybe some of the traps
that I ran into over time, hopefully you’ll take some of
those and you’ll stand out. That’s the first thing you wanna go do as you jump into the workplace, is really find ways to stand out. So hopefully that helps you and we’ll take questions from here. (crowd applauding) – So I’m asking the first question which may be self serving. So you said you should have
a roadmap for your career. So at the end of the semester, these guys got invited
to a session to a session by Eli Squared, Develop the
Roadmap, should they come? – Yes. – You heard that right? It’s not me, it’s Brian. – With one caveat. – Oh boy. – Put your roadmap in pencil, not in pen. Because what you think the
roadmap is today may change and you may learn that what
you thought you wanted to do, when you learn more about it, is not really what you thought it was from the outside looking in, and maybe not what you really wanna go do, so my only thing would
be have it in pencil so you can change course if you need to. – Hey, so related to that, so
I get a couple of questions. So you said you oughta talk to your boss, understand your boss’s boss priorities and maybe you start to figure
out there is a difference and I need to have a plan in pencil, so how do they go have this conversation with their boss that says, hey boss, because that’s a tough conversation. – That is a tough conversation,
I have it a lot, actually. Don’t assume you’re not
lined up with the priorities, you just may be indirectly effecting them. So it could be a misconception and so go into that conversation asking the question, am I
aligned with the priorities and how is my job personally impacting the priorities that you have? To ensure that maybe you’re
not missing something. The majority of those
conversations I have, they don’t really understand how they connect to that priority. And if the role you’re
having is not providing as much impact as you’d like it to have, find ways to continue to do that role but are there other special projects or initiatives that your boss could have you be on a flex team to start contributing
more to other things, which could also lead to
another direction down the road. – One other question, you
started out and you said, hey on my first job, I was
afraid to ask questions. Why would you be afraid to ask a question? – You’re asking questions
potentially in a room with teammates that have
been doing this for 20 years, five years, definitely
probably longer than you have. So I don’t know about you guys, it doesn’t feel great to look like the dumbest guy in the room, right? Or ask a dumb question, the good news is I kind of have a, I call
it a six month rule, the first six months in a new job, you should be able to ask
any question you want. Whether it’s a first time employee to the CEO of the company,
the first six months you’re still learning
and you should be asking as many questions as you can. Because I call it the grace period, you have a six month grace
period to act, not act, but ask questions that may be crazy, out of the box, and
challenge the status quo or potentially just to learn. So I say a six month
span is really perfect and just go into it with that mindset and ask anything you want. If you don’t feel like
asking in a bigger group, go talk to people offline, right? So don’t just let your
question go unanswered if you’re uncomfortable in a
room with many more people, find ways to go figure that
out on your own afterwards. – I’ve got more questions but
I’ll, questions for Brian? – Go ahead, shoot,
anything, yeah, in the back. – [Man In Crowd] Thanks for
coming out and speaking. – Sure, no problem, anytime. – I have a question among us from UFC. I took the path doing development work, it sounds like you took a sales path, perhaps you could talk a little bit about, from our perspective there’s really those two paths that you can take. So what is your thoughts for students here on what path do you take? – Great question, so
this question was around, if you look at it coming out of school and even if you look inside companies, typically there’s more of a, I’d call it a sales, business,
marketing, management track and then there’s also more of a technical or a technical ladder track that you can run through from that perspective. I think to me, at least my position, is get in the door with your first role. And really seek to understand really what you wanna do over time. Back to putting that roadmap in place, you may think you know
what it is right now but make sure it’s in pencil
because when you get in, you may find that you like things on the technical side way better or you may like things on more of the business side a little bit better. I was an okay engineer
but I’m not a designer, I’m not a product developer
but I’ve learned over time, running these teams,
how to be pretty lethal in asking the right questions and having domain knowledge
around those things. So it doesn’t mean, if you
pick one path or the other, that you can’t be effective
leading one or the other and also being involved in
either one of those groups. I also think that there’s
a bit of a misconception that once you pick a path
that you can’t change. I’ve seen many technical
designers lead a business. I was actually just at a
customer in the Midwest this week with one of the business unit
owners that started in design and was a designer, was
an applications engineer and then moved over to
actually run a business. And so you can actually leverage from either direction that you come from, you leverage skills and
knowledge that you learn, so don’t feel like you have to
stay on one path or the other and find ways to get involved in projects that are outside what you do today. So for example in his case,
he’s on the design path, find ways to get involved
on the business side, indirectly or on part of a flex team, to get yourself more ingrained and moving down that path
if you decide to change. – To help, why don’t you
guys step up to the mic? Just a little bit easier
to help people hear. – So you mentioned the importance of having energy as a leader, so when the world wears you down, how do you maintain that energy? – Good question, it’s not drinking coffee, although I drink a lot more coffee today than I used to when I started. To me it’s finding little successes. The higher you go and the
more responsibility you have, the less good things
come to your desk, okay? So a lot of problems
land on my personal desk more than the great successes, but to me it’s understanding what some of those successes are and celebrating some of those with the team members. But also, I get a ton of
energy on fixing things. So it’s great when people bring me issues, where I meet with Rob
in the back this morning about some product related
challenges that he’s having with some of my products,
that gives me energy. I like to solve things,
I like to fix things, I like to make things better. So those things give me energy and the more I have of
those, the more energy I get. So you just gotta, depends
on the type of personality, some people get a ton of energy off a lot of different successes, so you could build those up and get energy or you can get energy like me
off things that are broken. And that’s just an opportunity for me to get engaged and make it better. Hopefully that answered your question. Hi, you make them come up to the mic, man. – The two like routes
we’re talking about here would be technical and
then business slash sales. – [Brian] Okay. – I’m asking though,
like sales and business are those like the same route? – There’s a lot of business related roles that you can get into,
we can just keep them in those categories for
now for sake of discussion. – And you know Brian, and you also shared a chart with us last
year, if you don’t mind I’ll share it with this group. – Yeah, that’d be great. – Yeah, we can do that. – So I guess like if
you go the sales route, which I’m thinking about right now, do you get like more exposure to different types of technology, like I would assume you do probably, so in a sense it might be as educational as staying technical? – [Brian] Yeah. – Yeah, because like as a manager I know you’re more like
just talking to people, telling them what to do so that’s not like but as like sales, you’re
actually like having to know these products like intimately so you have to have the details. – You are correct, there are
different levels of technical, let me put it that way and I think, as Tim was saying, there’s
different types of roles, I think there’s probably
close to 15 types of engineers that we have inside of Texas
Instruments for example. We have business related roles, marketing roles, strategic
marketing roles, sales. So you’re comment was dead on, that’s the one thing I
loved when I was in sales was my ability to talk to a
lot of different customers, be really current on cool products that were coming into the
marketplace that either you buy or you see integrated
in another product. But also allowed me to stay technical on a lot of different technologies. And then, for example, we’ve seen people who really love a certain technology through sales or applications, really go that route
on the technical side. I really love power components, or I really love digital
signal processing, and so then they switch back over to the technical side and
drive down that path. And others have stayed, of
course, on the business side, so your comments are dead on. – Awesome, yeah, that sounds
like a good career path for me, I was just trying to get you
to elaborate on it, thank you. – Yeah, good question. – You said know your strengths and when you’re looking for teammates you wanna use your strengths in mind, would you say that’s
more for improving where you are strong or finding holes
to fill your deficiencies? And kind of to go along with that, are you also looking for
leaders in teammates? – Yes, so I would say yes to all but let me see if I can
expand a little bit. I look at it from whether it’s a project that you’re working on,
a project you’re leading, or a team you’re managing,
all of the above. I look for a team that
brings different diversity, different experiences,
all into the same group. So for example, if you look
at my leadership team today that’s on my team and you came
to one of our staff meetings, you would see one, two, three, four, at least five different diverse people from different nationalities,
male, female, et cetera, different experiences, maybe
came from different companies, so I actually look to form something that can make us stronger as a whole and make more diversity a
thought based on that experience. Now on a project, you may be looking for a really great software guy
because you’re not that great, maybe you’re the team
lead, maybe you’re not that great at software
like me, so guess what? You know my best buddies
when I was here at UCF were programming guys
because I stunk at it, so they helped me learn and
then when we did projects, I stuck on the hardware side and they stuck on the software side and it actually allowed us to move faster, it actually made our products and the projects that we
were working on a lot better. So it doesn’t mean you
can’t learn those areas because I was along the way but in terms of leveraging my strengths, you will learn over
time what you’re good at and you’ll probably be more
successful if you fine tune your roles and
responsibilities around those. – Thank you. – One last time, let us
thank Brian Crutcher. – Yeah, thanks. (crowd applauding)

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