In the latest edition of the Full Stack Leader, we talked to Austin Daniels, Senior Lead Product Manager at Method, about innovation in digital health.

Austin brings up the challenges of data privacy and innovation in healthcare, highlighting the need for a balance between secure data handling and enabling research and development. He also discusses the importance of personalized medicine and leveraging emerging technologies like AI for more effective care.

Austin emphasizes the importance of active listening, recognizing that everyone brings unique insights and experiences. He suggests asking pointed questions to better understand and communicate with team members.

In addition, Austin stresses the need for leaders to align their actions, words, and incentives to create a cohesive and trustworthy work environment. He also talks about the significance of being hands-on and occasionally taking on tasks to lead by example.


Top leadership tips from Austin Daniels

Below is a summary of the top Leadership tips shared during this week’s interview. Listen to the episode to learn more about the thoughts behind these tips:

  1. Listen a lot
  2. Put people in places where their strengths shine and their downsides are mitigated
  3. Have what you say, what you do, and what you incentivize all line up
  4. Roll up the sleeves and the job no one wants to do
  5. Reflect on what you did and What needs to be done

We hope you enjoy the episode. You can find more Full Stack Leader episodes here.


Part 1. About career and innovation

Ryan: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Full Stack Leader podcast. This week, I’m here with Austin Daniels. He’s Senior Lead Product Manager at Method. He works in the digital healthcare space. It’s great to talk to you.

Austin: Great to be here, Ryan. Thanks for having me.


A dynamic career path

Ryan: I’m excited to talk to you today because I have a lot of passion for the areas that you’re in -healthcare, data science, AI – all of those good, interesting, fast-moving elements in today’s world. Maybe we can start by telling us a little bit about where your career started and how you got to where you’re at now.

Give us a little bit of a rundown.

Austin: Sure. My background in college was I studied human physiology, both in undergrad and grad school. While in grad school, I worked at a health tech company that specialized in RPM. Then, I did a quick stint at Bank of America. Then, the same grad school professor who got me connected with the RPM company started up another health tech company in the space of digital therapeutics. From there, after my tenure with a digital therapeutics company, I found Method, which is where I’m currently at – a design consultancy, and it’s a great place to work.

Ryan: That’s great. It sounds like you’ve had an interesting back-and-forth part of it, but it leads you back to the world of healthcare – that’s what it sounds like.

Austin: Yeah, it certainly has.


Healthcare challenges

Ryan: What do you find you have the most passion about with healthcare?

Austin: So I’ve always had an innate want to help people, but I’m super fascinated by the human body, and, you know, how it works and how we can optimize it, as well as how can we help people throughout that. So, I always take that lens of taking the approach from the clinical and more patient-centered side.

Ryan: That sounds amazing. When you think about it from those sides, what are some of the bigger problems that you have seen that have had to be resolved over the last few years?

Austin: Oh, that’s a great question. I think we just need a new refresh of the healthcare system as a whole. We see a lot of lack of updates – not only in technology but also in the more current medical literature that’s out there.

We tend to keep these things in these rote processes that we’ve been doing for, like, about 100 years, and it’s just time for refresh. What usually creates problems today is we have these new technologies and we have these new findings through research, but they are in direct conflict with the process and the incentive system that is currently built.

And so that’s where we meet our struggle.


Innovations in Digital Therapeutics

Ryan: Yeah, I hear that. We obviously notice it being in the healthcare system, even if we’re not working in it, just experiencing it.

In your previous company, you were working in digital therapeutics. I see that you work with prostate cancer. You also worked with cardiac elements. How did all of that come together? And what kind of products do you do with that?

Austin: Yeah. So, at my previous company, we were a health tech startup focusing on digital therapeutics. For those who don’t know what that term is – it’s still partially redefining itself, but – it is using software and other technological bases to improve the care for a specific disease state.

So, at that company, we built out a product for cardiac rehab, where we essentially allowed patients to do cardiac rehab remotely. There, we saw a 3x increase in participation rates, which also helped lead to a reduction in readmission rates. Our cardio metabolic program was very similar – it was targeting those who met at least three out of the five markers for cardiometabolic disease. The third was our digital therapeutic for prostate cancer. We were looking to mitigate the side effects from the treatment plans that were diagnosed to those who had prostate cancer.

Ryan: Would these work with three distinct audiences, or did you find there was a crossover?

Austin: There were some crossover pieces because the lifestyle elements are there. However, we tried to distill them individually because, just like in pharmacology, you have to have what is the active ingredient. So, part of that solution-making is making sure you have the active ingredient specific for each disease state built into each.

They were differentiated in that way.


Tailoring treatment paths

Ryan: How does that end up representing itself in a piece of software, for instance? You can do a high-level perspective.

Austin: So, for prostate cancer, I went through all the medical literature and tried to find consistencies and important therapies and situations that were more beneficial for those going through the situation. So, a perfect example of that is patients who had higher levels of muscle mass actually handled the toxicity of chemotherapy better than those who did not. So yes, that is a more broad topic that you could apply to multiple cancer situations.

But as far as prostate cancer goes, that’s how we differentiate it from our cardiac rehab active ingredients if you will.

Ryan: That makes sense. Considering the number of variations in cancer – I know you guys were focused on one specific type – could you have therapeutics that address every single variant?

Or would you look at them in larger groups like colon cancer or skin cancer, et cetera?

Austin: We were looking at them in their individual segments, but I think that’s a great hope for the future of health care. You have a specific pathway or hallway that you go down depending on what cancer you have, and there’s a software treatment for it. There’s an in-person treatment for it, right?

Moving to this more holistic, beyond-the-clinical-walls health care that we’re hopefully moving towards, you’ll get your specific treatment plan and pathway all tailored to you and to your specific disease state.

One of the bigger problems in the digital therapeutic industry is there are too many point solutions, right? So this person had that one, this person had this other disease state, they had another disease state. The doctor ended up having a thousand different applications or platforms that they had to go through to facilitate that. However, in the future, ideally, everybody would have one, and you would just navigate your own path, but they’re all part of the same platform.


Balancing uniformity and innovation

Ryan: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I can see the challenge in mediating all of those different things.

Do we have a similar problem right now with the EHR, the electronic health record, in terms of how many different versions of it are out there, or is there some uniformity even coming in that?

Austin: I think we have the reverse problem with that, at least from my understanding of it, because there are really two to three big behemoths that just cover the whole EHR platform.

They hold all the cards on what they bring to the table as far as updates and innovation. There are a lot of companies trying to break into that space that do have that technology, but selling to health systems can be very difficult. So they almost have too much of the platform, less so of the innovation and individualization pieces.

Ryan: What do you think are some of the concerns of the health systems buying something new? What do they get nervous about specifically?

Austin: that’s a great question. I do thought experiments with that all the time. So, the health systems, from my vantage point, are in a very interesting situation – they don’t really have a lot of margins to deal with in the beginning.

Plus, they’re already struggling from the overburden that COVID has caused them. But I do think the old doctor’s adage “Do no harm” is psychologically prevalent throughout the health care system, and it’s a great adage. However, what I think we tend to forget is not keeping up with the pace is also slightly doing harm, right?

If we’re only set in our old ways and society’s moving forward, them not keeping up is also doing harm in a way. It’s not keeping up and being more modern if you will.


Between innovation and stability

Ryan: It makes a lot of sense, considering how fast many other aspects of technology are evolving. You see something like the natural language or LLM world – these very advanced, rapidly innovating companies that feel wildly further ahead than everything else.

Other industries are a little slower, and they have to manage it. Do you think it’s important to find a balance in those things?

Austin: I think there is. I don’t think healthcare is doing a good job of that, considering they’re still using fax machines. But of course, even at the upper ends, moving so fast that we don’t know the ramifications of what’s being implemented is also dangerous.

It’s finding that happy medium, but I do think there are a lot of proven, risk-averse steps that healthcare isn’t taking that they could absolutely implement. Yes, it’s going to run into processes and cause issues in going from point A to point B in the change of process and getting people adopted.

But at the same time, they’re still causing issues with the routes that they’re going right now. So it’s a lose-lose. You might as well do the one that sets you up for a better future.

Ryan: I think the adoption of medical devices and equipment seems to be relatively evolved. It moves pretty quickly within the healthcare system. And maybe it’s slower than I even perceive, but it does.

It looks like it moves pretty fast, but adopting system changes or things that require different touch points than they’re used to within client communication, patient communication, or insurance – things like that, they feel further behind. And I didn’t know if you had seen that or not or whether you feel like it’s also innovating quickly.

Austin: Oh, absolutely. I would say that’s usually where a lot of these innovative and technology companies come into barriers. It’s a change in process, or it doesn’t meet the current situation of the incentives that the system is utilizing, so you’ll see this in a lot of companies that were already building out for value-based care five or six years ago, but the billing codes weren’t there to actually have anybody make money from them, and so they were building for that future, but that future never came.

There was always this kind of butting of heads and of the incentive structures. Granted, now we are moving more in that direction, but you’ll hear this all the time in the startup world: timing is so important.


Future of healthcare

Ryan: Yeah, I can see why that would matter a lot in this case. What are some of the dangers of the health care system not innovating quickly, besides the obvious health care risks?

Are there other dangers for the industry as a whole?

Austin: That’s a great question. This is another thought experiment that I continue to just play with in my head. There’s a future path, right? We talk about the multiverse. I don’t know if you’re a Marvel fan or not, but there’s one path.

There are probably a couple of paths in the multiverse where we may not have the hospital systems anymore in the future, with Amazon and the big tech players coming in and trying to get into the provider space. There are opportunities for payers to absorb a lot of them. We may not see the traditional hospital system that we think of today.

There’s even a possibility where we drive by an old building like you see an old pizza hut – there are certain buildings that just have that distinct look. We might drive by and say, “Hey, kids, that’s where the hospitals used to be,” because as we move to this technology-based health care, it expands beyond the clinical walls.

So, we may have a different scenario when we think of what health care and hospital care look like.

Ryan: Yeah. And it seems like the data that’s able to be collected on a device at this point can help facilitate at least a lot of more common healthcare things. Apple’s health kit and Google’s health kits are just getting stronger and stronger by the day.

Do you see them facilitating this at a faster rate?

Austin: I do think there’s a possibility there. So I was recently at a healthcare summit, and what I gathered from multiple parties was everybody’s in need of data – and good data – on the individuals. That way, they can better facilitate their business, whether that’s the payers, the providers, or even pharma.

Nobody has really good access. So I think whoever has the ability to collect good, strong data from the patients is going to be really successful here in the future because it’s going to create a very one-sided advantage, if you will.


Data privacy dilemma

Ryan: Do you think that there will be an issue, though, with one entity collecting data on a patient, another entity collecting data on a patient, and never really being able to connect the full story amongst them, or is that actually healthy?

Austin: Ooh, that’s a good question.

I think we will run into that. Given my personal opinion, given the current state. If we can find a way to even increase what we take in as a health care system, as providers/payers/pharma, I think that’s good enough for now. I think that’s a problem that we can decipher later. I still say we’re taking baby steps as far as healthcare goes. We’re in that phase of going from zero to one. That’s more like a two or three problem, but I think we may run into that. I think you’re right.

Ryan: Yeah. It seems like there’s just a wide array of collection points and no unified ID amongst anything, which makes sense, given the privacy laws – especially in this world.

Speaking of privacy laws, how loose do you think it should be in your perspective for people to get the best care options possible for them to be able to expose their data in a way that they have control of it, but at the same time, they’re not giving it all up to the entire world?

Austin: Yeah, this is a big problem coming up with all these emerging technologies and AI and everything else that you’re speaking on.

I’ve thought about this in different ways. And so there’s a spectrum of pros and cons as you move up and down it. The more secure you are, the less innovation and slower movement you’re going to have. Updates and clinical outcomes are being found, and new research is being done. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have things being open where a lot of research can be done, things move fast, we’ll learn and iterate and, hopefully, solve new disease states or old disease states in ways we haven’t done before, but it comes with obviously the exposure to the hacking and the stealing of people’s information. So, as you move that up and down the scale, you adjust your pros and cons for each situation.

Personally, I would like to see absolute rigidity in your data privacy. So it should be assumed by all parties there that your data is kept private and well secured, giving you a specific ID that doesn’t tie you to your name. However, there needs to be an easily accessible and easily transferable flip of a switch to say, “You know what, I want this data piece actually sent out,” right? So then, that way, you have control over what everybody else has access to, but then it can also open up lines for that innovation. So, for example, if I’m going through prostate, going through some prostate cancer, just using an easier example, I could flip the switches on those specific data points that the pharma company is looking for, or my main provider is looking for, and all that gets sent to them, but not necessarily everybody else.

So having that easy access and easy accessibility would be really cool.


Unlocking insights for personalized medicine

Ryan: That makes sense. Continuing on with prostate cancer, for example, cancer patients often work with a lot of different providers for different reasons and different things- especially in a compact period of time.

Is there any concern about the footprint of releasing data like that actually just continuing to be out there? We think it’s safe, but it ends up not being safe at all. Is that something you guys are concerned about?

Austin: I do. I think there will be concerns over that, but it’s one of those things you would hope that the institutions take pride in and really focus their resources on security. So they’re staying up to date with security measures and able to keep that data safe. Some of that stuff could get released out there. Just like in any situation, but it goes back to that sliding scale, right? If it gives the individual a choice, if they don’t want to take that risk, they at least have the opportunity to keep all their switches turned off and say, “Nope, nobody gets access,” but some individuals may see the risk being worth the reward turning that switch on for this data point versus that data point and see who gets access.

Ryan: Okay. Do you think if there’s enough anonymized data out there within specific cohorts of illness or diagnoses, maybe an up-and-coming AI would actually be able to spot a variety of ways to address issues that might not otherwise have been visible to the human eye?

Austin: Oh, absolutely.

So this is something that I’m excited about with the AI, but then also going back to what I was talking about, just the simple data collection. There’s so much that we don’t know about the individualization of medicine and its practice because, with the larger data sets, we can go in and do the data science and pick out the better specific treatment plans for the diverse stratification of patients, right?

A big topic right now is care for those of color because a lot of research studies are done just with white American people. But there’s a lot more diversity out there than that. And so, once we have access to those data sets, we can really refine them. “Hey, this treatment plan is actually better for this type of person or for that type of person with this genetic predisposition or that family history predisposition”- whatever it may be, that’s where we really dive into what I like to term and other people term is “personalized medicine,” right?

I’m not just going to the doctor to get protocol A, B, C, and D. I’m going to the doctor because I have this specific data point. I have this specific family history, and I also have a specific allergy to such and such drugs, so we actually need to use the second option there and build our care plan that’s specific for me, that’s as opposed to one, that’s the simple wrote, “okay, you showed up for this, do that, do this.”


Navigating risk in Digital Therapeutics

Ryan: Yeah, that personalization seems like it’s at the heart of everything. And it seems like with enough people personalizing that, there might be signals across big audiences that might give some refined perspectives on those treatment plans that they do come up with.

What do you think are some of the biggest concerns right now in terms of being at the forefront of digital therapeutics,

Austin: I think part of it is risk-taking in the larger scope.

I think we are very set on staying in our lanes, and I understand that some people are there just to do their jobs, and some people are doing the best that they can. There are true people who go into health care hoping to make a change, but it’s a large system between pharma providers and insurance. I always call it the Hydra, right? You’re always dealing with at least one of those three heads, no matter what you’re doing. Sometimes, you’re dealing with all three at the same time. But I think we just need to uptick our risk a little bit in order to cause that innovation to flow in.

It’s interesting because I don’t specifically like the word “risk” because I do think there are a lot of steps that can be taken that are proven to be low risk. It’s just risk in relation to where it currently stands now. And as I had mentioned before, the other piece is just a process. Because everybody’s there just doing their job, and this is such a larger system that has that “follow step A, follow step B, follow step C,” it’s hard for people to get out of those trenches, if you will because they’ve been dug so deep.


Bridging Regulation and Patient Benefits

Ryan: Yeah. They have a lot of governmental regulations around them and careful people looking in to make sure that things aren’t going too wild, which makes sense. But if you’re in the position of being a digital leader who is being expected to innovate, what are some areas in which you can sneak out innovation that might be Little spots of glimmer that don’t require the giant system giving you the “okay”?

Austin: Yeah. So that’s always a large overlapping question – I actually talked about this at the last summit that I went to – regulation is interesting because it is good for us. I think regulation is absolutely important in our healthcare system. However, it does have a cost of hyper rigidity, and it’s interesting: going to these conferences, people talk about, “We need to change the system. We need to do this. We need to do that. We need to cause these improvements,” but again, everybody goes back to walking in those trenches, those deep trenches we’ve been doing for so long. And I’d like to see us try and find a way to almost sidestep some of those regulations, but in a way that has no malice but is also very tactical and safe in what they do.

So an example that I give is somebody should go out and build a digital therapeutic, use it wholeheartedly to take the medical literature, and figure out a way we can create some sort of treatment plan for those out there dealing with that specific disease state and use that to collect their data, right? Keep it well secured.

At the same time, if there’s a pharma company that has a drug that is tailored to that, finding another way that is absolutely safe but allows there to be a connection between the consumer and that pharma company. Right now, the individual’s just saying, “Yeah, I’m just taking this red pill. Yes, I’m taking this blue pill. Yes, I’m taking this purple pill. ”

They don’t have a real connection to that pharma company and that pharma company doesn’t know what that individual needs either. They could be using 20 mg, so they may actually need to be using 10.

So bridging that gap and finding almost like a sidestep in more of just like a patient benefit program to sponsor that digital therapeutic. That way, the software can iterate, and we can learn and get data collection, which is useful for the whole system. But then, pharma could partner with that client in order to have that data sharing to potentially lower the cost of drugs. If the individuals are willing to share their data with them to then filter back up to the pharmaceutical company, that’s a form of R&D that they get directly from the patient, right?

They don’t have to run this clinical trial. Yes, you should run the clinical trial to build the new pill, but once it’s gone through those first initial steps, right, we’re then in the iterative steps that pill should be safe. The next step after that should be, “Okay, how can we make this more personalized for the individuals who are already using it? ”

So, taking that slight sidestep to frame it more as an R&D or a way to even increase the health situation of the patients or tie it to the actual sales metrics of the drug, right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be this quote-unquote clinical idea at all times.


Tech design for everyone

Ryan: That’s really interesting, actually. And it makes sense. I was wondering, though, as you were talking, I was thinking about the fact that there are a lot of people in the generation who are moving into retirement and heading towards geriatrics and are a little slower to adopt things. And then there’s the younger generation, which has a lot fewer health problems, very fast to adopt technology.

Do you focus on that younger generation that might be able to push innovation like that? Or are you really trying to focus on the generation that has a lot of challenges that they’re facing, but they might be slower to engage?

Austin: Personally, I think you have to go after the aging population.

One, they’re just way too big. And two, they are going to be an absolutely significant burden on the system. But the interesting piece about doing that is you should be designed with specific principles that are targeted to those aging individuals. So things like having larger texts and more simple button navigation – none of those principles will actually be harmful to the younger generation.

I think targeting this older generation is more of a by-product of the demand at the current moment. I would love to see the younger generations iterate and move forward on it, just like you talked about, but I don’t think they need targeting. I just think we need to get the technology aspects implemented first, right?

That’s step one, no matter what- otherwise, none of this will actually work. Let’s say a 35-to-40-year-old does get in the same situation as what most of the 65+-year-olds are going to do. Having those designs and technology build-outs for the older person won’t cause any hindrance and will actually probably be easier to navigate for the younger individual, but probably less complex than the trade-off of that.


Empowering choices and convenience

Ryan: Yeah, that’s what it seems like. And I hear what you’re saying about the need to support that older generation because there’s just such a big need. I just wonder sometimes whether we’re going to be able to get the amount of people engaged in it.

And it brings up an interesting question about accessibility as well as the rules being put into place for accessibility across different products. Do you think that’s important in general?

Austin: Yeah, I do. There are two points to accessibility, in my opinion.

One is access – and it’s more basic terms of, “Hey, can I get this care?” But you also harped on something else. Some people don’t want that route of care, right? So, let’s say I build an app and distribute it to everybody. Not every single person above the age of 65 is going to want to use it.

But at the end of the day, that’s their choice. They at least should get the opportunity to get that access, but they can also then have the option to say no to it and go a different route. It may cause them more logistical struggle- again, that’s a choice that they make, and I think that’s really important to deal with as far as the access goes.

From a broader perspective, this is where I think technology is the greatest leverage for this healthcare system – being able to provide care at home. We already see hospital-at-home care showing great benefits, better clinical outcomes, and less mortality.

Yes, it does come with a little bit more complication, but as we continue to implement it, we will learn and be better at it. Technology is the ultimate driver of this if we’re going more software-based, so that is a perfect example of the cardiac rehab digital therapy we built out. We saw three times the attendance rate simply by allowing them to do it from home, right?

So, breaking down these barriers that people have. So, if you’re out in rural somewhere and you get referred out to a hospital that’s an hour away for cardiac rehab, that means you have to drive an hour there and an hour back. And that doesn’t include the 30 minutes of doing the actual cardiac rehab.

So then you’re spending roughly three hours of your day just to take care of yourself- and most people are working- and so there are just so many barriers that get knocked down and ways we can navigate around them when we implement these more software and Technology savvy implementations.

Ryan: Yeah, it seems like we need a more youthful approach to solving problems for a generation that’s aging, and we’re really going to have to take a look at supporting over the next little bit.

Austin: Yeah. The burden that’s going to come with the aging population is going to be very large. It’s almost going to have to force the hand, to be honest, because, paired with the labor shortages, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens because the number of people alone won’t be able to white-knuckle it if you will. So, it may be forced upon them. We’ll see.

Ryan: Thank you for the insights on this. It’s really interesting to talk about the industry and some of the things that are coming up in terms of the technology that’s coming out, but also the way in which you’re handling digital therapeutics.

It’s been great talking to you.

Austin: Yeah, absolutely.

Ryan: And we’ll be right back in just a second with Austin’s top five leadership tips.


Part 2. Top leadership tips

Ryan: Welcome back, everyone. I am excited to have Austin Daniels with me today to give his top five leadership tips on the Full Stack Leader podcast. Austin, what’s your first tip?


Tip 1: Listen a lot

Austin: So my first tip is to listen a lot. I think everybody has insight in ways that you don’t. Their experience is different. They may know something that you don’t know.

So it’s really important to listen to those who are around you so that way you can then better absorb everything and better lead at the end of the day.

Ryan: Do you like to do active listening? Do you really sit and pay close attention and then respond? What kind of listening techniques do you think are good?

Austin: I think each context gives its own way to what type of listening you should do, but I think asking pointed questions is always important. It shows you are listening, but it also helps you gather more about what that person is trying to communicate to you because there are multiple ways of communicating, whether it’s through body language or word choice.

Sometimes, words get perceived one way or interpreted another way. So making sure you ask those questions is important, but then also having that door open so people can feel comfortable to talk to you in the way that They know that you’re gonna be listening, right? They don’t want to be talking to a wall and just have you say, “Yep, okay. I got you.” And that’s it.

Ryan: That makes sense. That’s great. All right. What do you have for tip number two?


Tip 2: Put people in places where their strengths shine

Austin: Tip number two – I call it “the Erik Spoelstra,” I think Erik Spoelstra is an amazing coach – is taking your people and putting them in places where their strengths shine and their downsides are mitigated.

Erik Spoelstra has done this with the previous heat teams over the past couple of years. He’ll take players who probably wouldn’t even play on other teams, but he has them start and, or highly contribute in the playoffs because he puts the puzzle pieces together in a way that allows their strengths to shine but then also mitigates their risks because nobody’s perfect.

Everybody can’t do everything, but as a good leader, you should know your people and know how to organize them in a way where you can make a cohesive team and also make them feel good about themselves through their strengths.

Ryan: I love that. That’s a great tip.

And I do like that reference cause you could see that for sure with that team that did really well this last year as well with them.

Austin: For the past couple of years.


Tip 3: Have what you say, what you do, and what you incentivize all line up

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. All right. Tip number three.

Austin: Tip number three is, I had this originally, but I actually, talking to somebody at the most recent summit that I went to, he reframed it and rephrased it, and I like it a lot better, but having what you say, what you do, and what you incentivize all line up, right?

Trying to create cohesion as best as you can between all three of those things will help create a positive environment for those with whom you work. It becomes very frustrating when you work in an environment where they say one thing, and then they do another, or they say that they want this, but they don’t reward it, they don’t incentivize it. So being consistent across all three of those is something that you’ve got to really look at and try to keep as consistent as possible.

Ryan: How do you like to show your integrity? Cause that’s what it reminds me of a little bit. And what do you think is important for a leader to keep in mind as to how people are assessing that integrity?

Austin: That’s a great question. I do try to stick to those three things, right? I like being a man of my word, and I try to put into action what I want to be done, as well as reward people for the good work that they do. So, trying to combine all of those three, but also a part of that is listening, right?

Listening to what they want. Like I said in my previous one, getting to know your people through listening can help you better understand what might incentivize them or What actions you need to take to be a better leader for that. That shows a level of caring. Hopefully, through all those things aligning, you can reach that final outcome of integrity as what you’re alluding to.


Tip 4: Roll up the sleeves and the job no one wants to do

Ryan: Awesome. Great. How about tip number four?

Austin: Tip number four is sometimes you got to be the man in the arena, right? Sometimes, you have to make a call that nobody likes. Sometimes, you have to just do the work, right? Sometimes, you have to mop the floor. Even though you might be a head coach or whatever it may be, you gotta go and scrub the floors and do the work.

It may not be the more favorable choice, but you have to do it, chop wood, and carry water.

Ryan: Yeah, and sometimes you’re like, “Oh, I got to go back and do that again,” and it can also be good practice, right?

Austin: Absolutely, just don’t be above any type of work because sometimes you got to be the one that goes down there and actually Gets the work done

Ryan: Yeah.

Rolls up the sleeves. That’s a great one.

Austin: Yeah. That’s what I was going for. Rolls up the sleeve.


Tip 5: Reflect on what you did and what needs to be done

Ryan: There you go. Yeah. All right. How about tip number five?

Austin: Tip number five, I think, fully encompasses all the previous ones, but it’s reflecting, right? Make sure you go and reflect on what you did and what needs to be done, and try to understand why things went the way they went, right?

So I did this thing that led to this outcome because this surrounding environment influenced me in this way. Now, You’ll never be able to perfectly identify everything, but if you at least reflect on it, you can continually iterate and do self-improvement, as well as be more cognizant of where you failed others, right?

You took actions A and B when so and so said you should have done that, and you probably should have listened to them, right? Going back and reflecting while it was done how that outcome went, but also the reflection itself stacks upon each other. If you reflect, you know, every week or two, you may not get the perfect answer, but three more months down the road, you get the final resolution of that thing that you reflected on two, three weeks ago, and you better understand it because you had already reflected on the core pieces of it.

That final piece of information fits in the puzzle. Turn it so you can now see what the real picture that came with it was.

Ryan: How do you like to reflect? Do you do it in an ethereal way, or do you like to write things down tangibly? What’s some process for you around that?

Austin: I think reflection is a little personal for everybody, but for me, I’m. I think I’m in my head a lot, and I do a little bit of talking to myself, whether that’s good or bad. I don’t know.

Ryan: Me too.

Austin: But writing down is also another great way to do it. My mentor at my startup takes his reflection process by writing things down.

But either way, it’s navigating all those pieces and trying to do the mental thought experiment of “What if I did that? How would that have gone? What is the right choice? ” So I play the multiverse avenue versus writing it down, but I think it always can work as long as you do it and get started with it, it becomes a skill.

Ryan: Yeah. Looking at yourself in the mirror on a regular basis. That’s a great thing. All right. Thank you. That was a great set of tips. We really appreciate you taking the time today, and I really enjoyed our conversation.

Austin: Yeah. Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for having me.