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In conversation with Bradford Wilkins

Brought to you by Mocha sips

kathy q
Chief People Officer,
Altisource
Rapid-fire with Brad

What is your morning routine like? - Wake up at 4, go to the home office, and work till 6.

How do you manage stress? - By becoming aware of my Breath

Your Hero? -My grandmother who is turning 95

Dogs or cats -Dogs

Tea or coffee -Neither

Favorite book - What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School

Favorite movie - The Muppets Take Manhattan

We often think that in order to be successful, we need to be exceedingly good at our craft. That is not wrong, of course.

We certainly need to be the best at what we do.

But… one thing that we don’t hear quite often is the art of getting better at our craft, by learning from our other hobbies and endeavors.

For example, can an HR professional learn from Professional Wrestling?

Are there are any similarities between these 2 fields whatsoever?

Similarly, it’s crazy to think that HR can learn from other fields say... Theatre and Basketball, right?

Well, not for Brad.

Because Brad is a rockstar.

I am usually a little anxious before I conduct these interviews. But before I spoke to Brad, I was even more anxious than usual.

Well, because talking to Brad felt a little intimidating.

Brad has achieved a tremendous amount of success at such an early age.

He has been named as one of the Top 25 HR Executive under 40 by Workforce Magazine and HR Rising Star by Atl Biz Chronicle. He is currently working as a Chief People Officer at Altisource.

Overwhelmed much?

Well, don’t be.

Because as soon as you start talking to Brad, you realize that despite his tremendous success, Brad is open, honest, warm, and grounded. One of the key ingredients to his success is the love that he has for his job and the people around him.

He loves helping others and making their life better.

Right at the start of the conversation, I realized Brad’s ability to recognize patterns.

Before getting into the HR function, Brad tried his hand at professional wrestling and acting.

“One should learn from other hobbies. One should find a pattern that’s working and apply it to our jobs”.

Bradford Wilkins

What did Brad learn from professional wrestling?

According to Brad, professional wrestling teaches you a lot in terms of “trying to make others look good”. During a wrestling match, for example, when the other guy makes a move on you… you have to sell it. If you don't do that… he might not sell your move!

Brad feels that the foundation of a successful professional career is helping others and making them look good.

Working at the Theatre Department

When Brad was working at the Theatre Department, he was learning more than what he learned in the Business School.

In order for a theatrical play to work well, all the departments - Costume Designing, Acting, Sound Engineering, etc - need to work in unison. They need to work towards a common goal.

The theatrical experience profoundly impacted Brad. He realized that if an organization, which has different departments, it is vital for all the departments to work together to achieve the organization's goals.

There was, however, another take-away from this experience. The take-way was that “It is okay to fail.”

When you are auditioning for a play or a musical, there is no guarantee of success. If you are not ready to fail, you will not make any progress.

“These experiences inculcate a sort of fearlessness”.

Brad, the Basketball referee

Brad is also a basketball referee.

A basketball referee needs to make a thousand decisions. You are trying to become perfect at something. And that is impossible. Similarly, it is impossible to become perfect at HR.

“Navigating through uncertainty, and at the same time maintaining a commitment towards delivering excellence is something really interesting and something that all of us should aspire for”.

Bradford Wilkins

Homework for all of us-

What can we learn from activities that are outside of our professional careers and apply the learnings in our jobs?

What can we learn from our hobbies?

What can we learn from our relationships?

What can we learn from our spiritual practices?

Food for thought.

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