Will Baggett: Leadership Feature

leadership feature Mar 20, 2017

Will Baggett is the Author of "The Blueprint for a Successful Career: A Foundation for Developing Young Professionals" and Founder of Executive Image, teaching young professionals how to get a job without saying a word. On a personal level, I have now known and followed Will for a few months and one of the things that I immediately noticed was his influence. It's apparent that the quality and impact of his work is life-changing to those who have allowed Will to sow into them. Will's personal brand exemplifies integrity, consistency, and authenticity. The pleasure has been all mine to feature this interview with a true Millennial Leader.

Here is my full MillenniaLeadership interview with Will Baggett with commentary by myself, Randall Garcia. 

Q: Who are you (in 25 words or less)?

Will: I am a God-fearing young man who is dedicated to helping others maximize their potential through professional development and confidence-building initiatives. I’m a millennial leader.

Randall: I truly believe that you not only say that about yourself, but you live that out as well! I'm always drawn to people who are servant leaders, looking to dedicate their lives to serving others with their talents. You surely are one of the few millennial leaders who has found success in your investment in others. 

Q: How do you define leadership in your own terms?

Will: I discuss leadership in the same breath as family. That is, “Forget About Me I Love You.” After all, what would you not do for your family? Leaders should think of their followers in a similar light. When approached with commitment and care, I find leadership to be an effortless practice. When you truly care for those you lead, and are committed to their success, servant-leadership becomes as familiar as family.

Randall: Ah! I love the F-A-M-I-L-Y acronym, that is definitely on point! One of my favorite quotes is, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." If you can't understand and implement this single principle of caring for others, it will have a dramatic impact on your overall success as a leader. Again, it all start with others. 

Q: What are your 5 core values as a leader?

Will: My core values as a leader are expressed by the term PUPIL.

People: People are paramount and essential to the collective success of any organization. Without great people, we cannot prosper.

Understanding: Understanding is a key attribute of effective leaders. Taking the time to understand others’ backgrounds, motivations, and values helps build rapport and promotes buy-in.

Performance: Leaders must lead by example and thus perform in such a way for their followers to emulate.

Integration: Leaders must be listeners above all and able to identify creative ways to integrate the interests of their team into overarching goals.

Learning: Learning takes place in various forms, and as leaders, we must remain on the cutting-edge so as to better serve those who allow us to lead them.

Randall: Another acronym that gives double meaning! Leaders are to always continue growing and learning, hence the term PUPIL. That is very creative! One of the things that I love about your core values is that they feed into one another. Understanding and caring about people will lead to higher performance, and the more you learn, the more you can lead by example and fully integrate with your followers. I can talk about each of those values all day if I had to, love your selection. It's super important for all leaders to not only have these core values, but to live them out! I can see how these are part of your own "blueprint" and are in perfect alignment with your life.

Q: How can a leader fail? Tell me about a time when you failed as a leader (and what you learned as a result)

Will: There are far more ways a leader can fail than he/she can succeed. At least, that is how they are often portrayed when plans fall apart. I failed as a performance coach while working at my alma mater as evidenced by our epic collapse in a big game. I learned about the ripple effect of not addressing the weak links on your team early on. Failure to act will break the bonds of the entire chain over time.

Randall: One of my favorite things to do is fail! Of course, I never fail on purpose but I do fail consistently. This gives me the opportunity to grow and learn from my mistakes. Failure leads me to be a much better leader and a much better winner! I'm sure you had a huge learning experience from that! 

Q: What is the most difficult part of being a leader?

Will: The most difficult part of being a leader is the duality of leading yourself while leading others at the same time, not to mention managing expectations. Leadership is not for the weak hearted. While we are quick to attribute success to the strength of our team, we are expected to shoulder all the blame when things go wrong. It’s a tricky dichotomy, and the spotlight is always on. Shine or get shown up!

Randall: Beautifully said! I am always a HUGE advocate of practicing self-leadership first! It seems that so many people want to lead others first, rather than leading themselves first. Leading yourself first is much more effective and produces much better results. It sounds selfish at first, but it actually is essential for others to follow. They have to see a leader who is disciplined, persistent, and hard-working to truly buy-in to the vision of the leader. Without setting the example first, employees and followers will not want to follow. The leader must fill himself/herself up first and then pour into their followers. You can't pour an empty cup! Yes, there is quite a relationship that exists when you are simultaneously leading yourself and others. It truly is something that takes time to develop.

Q: How do you measure success for you as a leader?

Will: Success for me as a leader will be measured in the caliber of leaders I am to develop. In Good to Great by James Collins, he profiles leaders of once-successful companies that failed under the watch of their successors. This was due in large part to a lack of leadership development and inclusion. Thus, if my team members are not set up for success once I inevitably depart, then I have not done my job as a leader.

Randall: Great mention! Good to Great by James Collins is one of my favorite books and I believe is a MUST READ for any leader. Understanding the dynamics of why once-successful companies fail is of huge importance and can be applied across many different situations and scenarios. Believe it or not, I try to read this book at least once a year... That's how essential it has become to me as a leader! Very glad that you are implementing what you learned in it.

Q: Have you ever taken on a job that you were unqualified for?

Will: I have not taken on any jobs I wasn’t qualified for, but I have tackled various endeavors in which I lacked practical experience. In either case, I stand on the belief that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. With that in mind, I will never be unqualified for any opportunities He sets before me.

Randall: I truly believe that when God places us in these kind of situations, he is molding us to be greater than we ever thought. I can totally relate to tackling endeavors where I seemed to be way in over my head at first, but I believe that God placed me into those situations to bring out the best in me. In each of these circumstances, I found a way to conquer my fears and overcome them with God's help. It's an amazing thing to look back on where God has brought you. I am reminded of King David who, before he was king, was a mere (unqualified) boy facing a giant. The mission must have seemed impossible to many, but with David's faith he overcame his obstacle with God's help, and would one day rule the nation of Israel. 

Q: How do you view the millennial generation?

Will: I view the millennial generation as one bursting at the seams with purpose and potential. I constantly find myself awestruck by the caliber of talent I encounter among millennial movers and shakers.

As a millennial, I am not infallible to the various pitfalls and perceptions associated with our cohort. Further, as a minority millennial to boot, the onus to represent both populations with high standards is that much greater. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Randall: Yes! I agree with you 100%. Our generation has so much genius and potential within it and it is our jobs to help our peers and understudies maximize their God-given potential. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's almost like we are the underdogs because of the way the world perceives us, but we know deep within ourselves that it is actually an advantage. It's not to say that we are the greatest generation to ever live, because each one has their own distinct and unique qualities that made them great. It's that you and I are learning to harness the power of what is great, and make it even greater! 

Q: How do you think the millennial generation is perceived?

Will: We have all heard the rumblings. Entitled, lazy, unaccountable, etc. The list goes on and on, but for those who love a challenge, what a great opportunity to go against unfounded stereotypes and stand out! To quote Drake, working with the negatives always makes for better pictures. Imagine the images we could create if we would only open our exposure as we view life through different lenses. No flash necessary.

Randall: It's a great thing to go against the grain and live differently than what our generation is known for. I have been caught off guard several times (I am sure you have too) where people are surprised I am a millennial because I don't fit the mold. It's both a blessing and a curse to me. A blessing because I have found my way to stand out, but a curse because I realize how much work is still needed to change these perceptions! They may be never changed, but at least we can dedicate our lives to create as many ripples as we can. "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples." -Mother Teresa

Q: Why are you so passionate about leading millennials?

Will: I became passionate about leading millennials upon discovering the elements which separate the good from the great. Exposure and opportunity. Those who are not fully-exposed to all life has to offer unknowingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Therefore, I stand in the gap for the underprivileged with the understanding that they have a wealth of untapped potential to be realized. They just need someone to believe in them.

Second in order, but certainly not importance, how many of us are in need of that one golden opportunity? An opportunity to inspire, to motivate, to encourage. In essence, an opportunity to lead.

Randall: My brother, we have a lot of work to do! I am standing with you as a friend and partner to help make an impact in our generation. To unleash the God-given potential in others and inspire others to lead inspired lives!

Very inspirational! Leaders, take note and see the detailed responses here, the man knows hows to translate his life's vision into words, which is essential for every leader. Without having a clear vision, who would follow? Mr. Will Baggett has given us a blueprint for what has made him an impactful leader. Take it in and live it out!

Check it out!
I HIGHLY recommend that you buy Will's book. It has had a huge impact on all who have read it. A must read!

The Blueprint for a Successful Career: A Foundation for Developing Young Professionals

The Blueprint outlines proven strategies with relatable experiences guaranteed to help readers position themselves for a start to a long and successful career. This hands-on guide profiles a three-part process designed specifically 

to help new hires make a lasting impression in their field through effective self-management tactics. The authors have taken basic core principles and intertwined them with easy to understand lessons that will create a perfect "how-to" manual for young people looking to enter their chosen field. This book is full of sound and cleverly organized suggestions making it a valuable reference for any professional looking to lay a solid foundation to build their career upon.

With the input of Tai M. Brown, creator of the groundbreaking Forward Management ideology, this guide stands as the lone body of work espousing the interests of entry-level professionals with leadership strategies best suited for the modern workforce. Tomorrow's leaders must be led today. The Blueprint is the guiding torch whereby entry-level professionals and leaders alike may blaze the trail in unison.

Connect with Will through social media to continue the conversation!

Facebook: Will Baggett

LinkedIn: Will Baggett

Twitter: @W_Baggs

Instagram: @W_Baggs


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