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Leadership Development – Creating Positive Change Part 1

July 17, 2020

Your host of WebinarE16 was Ben Townsend, CEO of Tracker Products’ SAFE Software

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Ben believes that everyone can benefit from leadership education. He said, “The concept of leadership and leadership development is something that I learned the hard way; about five years ago. I believe passionately that everybody – I don’t care what position you’re in – you can have influence. You have the potential for being in many levels of leadership.  

At Tracker, I certainly don’t want anybody thinking, Oh, well, I’m just this… There are 24 of us around the globe that call Tracker Products home. So, it’s my goal that all 24 of those people believe that they are capable of things that are greater. We spend a lot of time on leadership development. 


I’m going to pick one topic that we spend a lot of time on at Tracker Products – and I believe this topic is applicable to you – Creating Positive Change. This year, it is something that is very important to you because you are in a world where change is going on all the time. Not just change, because there is bad change. There’s disruptive change. But, we’re talking about creating positive change. 

I want to start out by telling you a little Tracker story… I have nine Master’s Degrees now. Not actual Master’s Degrees from a university, but I can proudly display these on the wall. And they read something like… Finance – How Not To Do It. Dealing with people – How Not To Do It. 

In 45 years, I’ve done a lot of good things, but I’ve also done a lot of things the wrong way. And in that time I’ve obtained nine different Master’s Degrees to show for that. I guess the good part about that is a lot of people don’t obtain their ninth Master’s Degree until they’re in their eighties; 

I got it out of the way in my forties. 

As I mentioned a moment ago, we have 24 employees at Tracker Products. One of my master’s degrees is how to frustrate people that work within your company. And, I did that very efficiently for almost 20 years. You guys may not know… I’ve been in business for myself for 25 years. I joke with people that I am completely unemployable in the real world. Nobody would want me. I’ve been on my own for way too long.

So, what I learned about five years ago – when I was frustrating people who worked for me – was that there was a constant state of rotating people within our company. People were coming and going at a much more rapid pace than I thought was normal. 

I wound up asking myself the question, Why do people come and go so quickly around here? And I spent some time trying to figure that out. In the end, something became very noticeable to me. I thought a lot of other people were the problem, but ultimately… it was me. I had a moment where – I can almost remember the day – where I was like, Oh man, you’re the problem! The reason people are coming and going is because of you!


So, today we’re going to spend a little bit of time on this book right here. I ran across this book almost five years ago. It’s a John Maxwell book called Developing the Leader Within You. This book changed my life. The things that I read in here, I’ve applied in my [personal] life and I’ve applied it to the people that I work with. It has been unbelievably impactful. So, if you’re in a leadership role, or you’re just dealing with people – and that is everybody that’s on the webinar today – this book is a must-read.

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Now, at Tracker Products – when we bring an employee on – we do an interview where we just talk to a candidate. And that may take 30 minutes of just pure talk. After that, we move into a phase where we’re going to get into some more specific things about the job. If we like where it’s going – here’s what gets really crazy – we tell them that in order to become part of this team, you have to read this book; this entire John Maxwell book.

Then after that, I have 2, two-hour call sessions where we go through the entirety of this book. Keep in mind, this is before we’ve even offered a job. And the reason we do that is because this book has been so impactful on my life. 

I use the calls to say, Hey, by the time I go through four hours, you’re going to know a significant amount of stuff about me and I’m going to know a significant amount of stuff about you. And at that point, we can both make decisions about whether we think this is going to be a good fit. So, before we even offer somebody a job, we’ve got every bit of 10 hours invested into the process. 

There have been a couple of people that at the end of it were like, I’m not interested in the things you’re presenting. So, I just lost 10 hours. But, losing 10 hours is better than employing the wrong person, putting hundreds of hours into them, and finding it’s not the right fit. 

And so, I know it’s because of this, that in the last five years, not one person – that has worked for Tracker – has left. Eventually somebody is going to move on, but the people that we have now, they know why they’re involved with us. They know what makes us tick, and why we do what we do. And, some of the people that I work with are the best people I’ve ever worked with. They are invested, they are doing incredible things with our company and now we don’t have that turnover. 

So here’s how I want to apply this to you. Today, I’m going to take one of the 10 topics that are in this book. And I want to get into because this is something you are going to deal with… dealing with change in your world. 


We’re going to break this up into three different things: Number one, what are the things that cause problems with change? Second, we’re going to get into, how do you enact positive change? And third, what are some of the things you need to make sure you’re doing during change? 

In the image below, let’s go through some of my favorite quotes that are in this…

I want to give John Maxwell all the credit on this, because everything I have displayed on these screens is information out of this book. So some of my favorite quotes in this one chapter… ‘When you’re through changing, you’re through.’ Let that sink in for just a minute. So, if you’re the type of person that doesn’t want change or wants nothing to do with that, it’s a matter of time before something negative happens next. Okay. I believe change is a part of our world and you better embrace it. Or, you can go kicking and screaming, but it’s happening. 

The next quote, ‘Growth equals change.’ If you want to grow, and be a better person – I don’t care if you want to grow and be a better father, a mother, a husband, a wife, whatever it is – you are going to have to change along the way. 

The last quote is, ‘If you want to continue leading – or be around people – you must continue changing’.

Ben changed gears, saying, “Alright… let’s get into what leadership looks like when it’s in trouble. When things are bad. And I guarantee you, as we read through some of these, you guys could probably bring up people in your mind that would fit some of these traits. These would be some of the characteristics of really poor leadership. 

Now, here’s what I want to say, as I’m getting ready to go through these things, if you recognize yourself in some of these things, don’t let that overwhelm you. Don’t stop. I’ve been there. I’m telling you, I was running a company and I was doing every one of these things wrong. But, over time, as I read these things and learned – and changed – I became very different from what these are. 

A leader in trouble has a poor understanding of people. Lacks imagination has personal problems. Passes the buck. Feels secure and satisfied. Is not organized. Flies into rages. Will not take risk. Is insecure and defensive. Stays inflexible. Has no team spirit. And then the very bottom one… fights change. I don’t think I would get a lot of arguments on this… I believe every one of these things would be characteristics of a bad leader – or a bad person – to be around. 

You may be thinking, Oh my goodness, this is that person. But, these are the types of things you should be introspective about. These are things you should be looking at and asking, Are any of these me? Because if they are, take that to heart, learn, and make changes. And, if these are you, maybe that’s why people don’t want to be around you. I say that with loving understanding;  I was that person.”

Ben changed gears with two quotes, “1) To be a leader, you must preserve – all through your life – the attitude of being receptive to new ideas. 2) There is nothing more difficult to undertake, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in his success than introducing change. 

I’ll bet some of you have experience with that. Just walk into a room, throw out a new idea and watch what happens. And, that makes people gun shy about throwing out new ideas. 

There’s a radio personality in Cincinnati; he uses the phrase Nattering Nabob of Negativism. Finding the Nabobs of Negativism in this world is very, very simple. Throw out a new idea and they pop up everywhere. 

So, let’s go through… Why do people resist change? If you are somebody that is trying to institute change – and I’m talking about something that you may think is simple – like, I would like to change our evidence management system. I want you to know, there are some things that cause people to be resistant to change. And when you know these, you’re better able to deal with them. 


Number one, the change isn’t self-initiated. This is a trait that I have recognized in my own life. A lot of people, they love change, but they want to be the agent. Maybe the chief or the boss or whatever… You’re going to have to find a tactful way to come up with an idea that he somehow thinks was his idea. I know, it’s dumb. But sometimes that is the way it is. 

Number two, routine is disrupted. Many times people are willing to sit in their own slop just because it’s comfortable. They would rather do that, then make a change. There’s no doubt that change is going to disrupt your normal routines and people want to be comfortable. So, that’s something you are going to have to deal with. 

Number three, change creates fear of the unknown. There is nothing more stifling to change than just going through the litany of possibilities of things that could go wrong. Within our company, I constantly tell people we are not going to fear the things that can go wrong. Yes, we want to be smart. We do want to dig in and do our due diligence. But, what we are not going to do is be locked up by fear. And there are just some people that are so locked up by fear, that they cannot do anything.” 

Ben ended Part 1 of the webinar with a quote,”Change creates a fear of the unknown. Change means traveling in uncharted waters. And this causes our insecurities to rise. Therefore, many people are more comfortable with old problems, then new solutions.” 

In Part 2 of this webinar, Ben will continue to talk about why people resist change, and then address the ways to create positive change. 

Tracker Products and The Evidence Management Institute want to give you something productive to think about during this time of uncertainty… a series of free evidence management training and panel discussions. Watch and comment on the recordings here, or – to get in on the discussion – join the Evidence Management Community Forum.

Tracker Product’s SAFE evidence tracking software is more than just barcodes and inventory control, it’s end-to-end chain of custody software for physical and digital evidence, resolving each of the critical issues facing evidence management today. To learn more about Tracker Products, CLICK HERE.

Or, if you’re interested in Evidence Management Training from our partner company, VISIT EMI HERE Protection Status