#Boondoggle ’15 > Leaders Must Carry The Weight


I attended a leadership event, Boondoggle that got me singing again. Literally. Below is the track to prove it. Why did this event get me singing again? I had the revelation it is OK to be a professional and an artist. It’s OK to be a leader and a learner. It’s OK to be messy, scared, and complex yet simple, thoughtful and strong. More on this at the end of this post.

Here is the Track >> Carry The Weight . (Harmonies are sweet around 2:00).


So, I attended an event called Boondoggle last week. My pals Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt pulled together a small group of folks to spend 2 days in a cabin in Omaha and talk about the future of work. This fab cross section of folks included trench-HR execs, software entrepreneurs, leadership consultants, and national speakers. In addition these folks are experts on millennials, diversity and best places to work.

A motley yet, engaging, thought provoking, and frankly, caring group. Yes- caring. Which means they were not afraid to be vulnerable. When the courage to be vulnerable split this group wide open that is when the true work began (Or as Charlie Judy might say #truwork – look it up). So what were the take-aways?:

  • Effective next-generation leaders must carry the human weight of their teams. Emotionally. Intentionally. At least they must support the weight.
  • Effective next-generation leaders MUST embrace the duality of every human being. We are too complex. Team members can be both simple yet complex, put-together and messy, process-driven and creative.
  • Companies have to throw away one-word “success factors” that describe ideal cultures. Those are too limiting.
  • Effective leaders need to get out of the way. They should hold a mirror up to folks and let them come up with their own revelations and outcomes, both for work and life purposes.

Most importantly next-gen leaders need to model it (empathy, caring, getting out of the way, vulnerability). If you can model it you can start a movement within your organization.

So about that singing. For 20 years I was a performer. Actually studied for it. For the next 20 years I was an HR professional. An ambitious one. I’ve always had a reason why one side of my life (artist) needed to be overcome by another (professional). There is a time and place for everything- and I think that my performance studies have made me a much better HR pro. However, to deny the full-depth of humanity for the sake of my profession was a mistake.

After Boondoggle I called my songwriting partner/ bandmate from college, Scott Rogers (who is now a professor) and we started recording. He in Utah, me in Alabama. No excuses. I bought the equipment and sang. Took and hour. Totally worked, just like riding a bike. Once  he posted the tracks, several of my other band mates connected and wanted to participate. Scott and I modeled actions and started a movement.

Carry the weight. Cool things may happen.

Published by

Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

One thought on “#Boondoggle ’15 > Leaders Must Carry The Weight

Leave a Reply