At Brave Thinking Institute, Chief Operating Officer Doland White helps develop a sincere culture based on trust and coordination. He aims to create positive outcomes within the Institute with ease and elegance.
Doland shares with us how he got involved with Brave Thinking Institute. He refers to his experiences and those of others when discussing his current work and professional journey before becoming COO.
He gives insight into Brave Thinking techniques that empower people to seize opportunities and turn dreams into reality through the power of self-actualization. Along the way, the conversation delves into the two main pillars upon which personal and professional growth and transformation rest. White explains how executives and C-suite leaders can transform their careers and lives through the Brave Thinking process.
Doland addresses the three domains of business: time, people, and money. He does not hesitate to describe how each pain point can be alleviated and transformed into an opportunity for growth and development. In an overview of the importance of culture, Doland White highlights the various ins and outs of developing and leading teams. To conclude the interview, we discuss what motivates and inspires him as COO.
Doland, please start by telling us about Brave Thinking Institute.
At the Brave Thinking Institute, we believe people are far more powerful than ANY circumstance, situation, or condition. Our mission is to help everyone access that power – and create a life they absolutely love!
What led you to join the organization?
In 2016, when I was CEO of a marketing company called Rapid Crush, I was invited by a good friend to attend a leadership mastermind called The Hidden Laws of Leadership in Concord, Massachusetts. While there, I met John Boggs, the CEO of Brave Thinking Institute.
When I left Rapid Crush in my role as CEO to start my own consulting agency, John approached me three times about joining the Institute. I declined twice, but the third time, I said yes to the offer of becoming Chief Operating Officer because I really liked John, had a high level of trust in him, and deeply believed in their mission.
At the time, I was also studying the life and transformation world through success coach Bob Proctor’s work. Through Proctor’s personal development work, I was familiar with Mary Morrissey, the founder of Brave Thinking Institute. I loved the work they were doing and the way they were approaching it. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to apply my almost fifty years of work and leadership experience toward leading the operational functions of the Institute to the next level.
What can clients hope to achieve when working with Brave Thinking Institute? How does it improve an individual’s mindset?
The Institute consists of two parts. One is that the Institute helps people gain clarity and gives them the tools to shape the outcomes in their lives, realize their dreams, and not only develop their dreams but take the steps to actually achieve them. Many companies teach you how to craft a goal and write down your dreams; they teach you affirmations like, “I’m so happy and grateful that I now make a million dollars a year,” but they don’t teach you the steps in that process. That’s why Mary Morrissey, the founder, has developed Brave Thinking Tools to help people do that. People develop their goals and dreams, and then we give them the tools and methodology to achieve them through the Brave Thinking process.
The other part of the business is a life coach division for those who see the methodology and would like to teach it to others. There’s a certification process they can go through to start their own business. They can go through the certification process and use our content to go out and educate clients.
There are two things that people can accomplish by working with the Institute. The Institute’s mission statement is to empower people to create and live a life they love. That can be done through personal transformation or by becoming a coach and helping others.
Tell us about your first venture into the world of being an entrepreneur. How did it help shape your approach as COO?
My first venture as an entrepreneur was when I left Rapid Crush and started my own consulting agency. My focus as a consultant was to help clients focus on the structure of their business and provide growth opportunities. The great thing was that my professional background allowed me to bring marketing, operations, and finance experience to my work. I’m able to step into an organization and look at it holistically. I could look at the entire company and pick areas that needed improvement or needed to be focused on.
One of the advantages I have as the Institute’s Chief Operating Officer is that I bring not only operational expertise and acumen but also the mindset of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs succeed through imperfection, right? We try something, measure it, and then see if it worked how we thought it would. If it didn’t work, we can go back and ask: What can we do next?
I always look at what we can do to create ease and elegance because with ease and elegance comes outcomes and velocity. So that’s what I look for from my seat on the bus as COO.
Doland, you’ve helped companies gain hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue through your operational processes. Can you tell us about some of the areas that entrepreneurs and executives seek help with? How can improving these areas make them better in their careers?
Executives seek help with three domains of business: people, time, and money. In terms of people, they ask: How do I create better relationships within my company? How can we improve employee retention? How can we invest in our people? How do we make them better? How can we gain efficiency? Executives focus on that domain because they recognize the importance of the outcomes attained through building and leading a strong team.
When working with executives in the domain of money, the question isn’t just how do I make money through marketing or sales? I bring other questions to the table when working with executives: What is my longer-term strategy for money management? What am I doing to protect my money? How do I build reserves? What categories of reserves should I have out there? Most people don’t think about these questions on their own.
The third domain is time. Time, in my mind, is all about velocity. Time relates to people, and time relates to money because it takes both things to collapse time. It’s about more than managing time. One of my favorite equations I always use inside our company is “A company can only proceed at the velocity at which it is willing to accept change.” If the company is unwilling to accept change, then no matter what you do, it will have a slow velocity. If there’s a slow velocity, you’re on a path to death. You have to maintain agility to survive.
One of the other things that executives need help with is dealing with the hard stuff. They gloss over the hard stuff. They aren’t usually willing to take on limiting paradigms. I just conducted a strategic planning session for the last quarter, where I brought together all the leaders of our institute for three days. I conducted an exercise where we took ten minutes in breakout groups to write down all the reasons why we thought we were going to fail. After, we came back and discussed them live in the room. Then, we talked about non-limiting, expansive paradigms and went back into breakouts to co-create new solutions that would move us confidently towards our goals – together. Executives tend to forget the role shifting paradigms plays in a business.
What is the most important aspect of your role with Brave Thinking Institute?
The COO has one of the best jobs on the planet. The operator is the person who orchestrates the strategy. As Chief Operating Officer, I get to participate in strategy development, but then I’m also the guy who gets to operationalize it. I determine how we move it from strategy into action. So, I orchestrate strategy.
What elements are key to building successful teams in business?
You have to have a sincere culture. You can’t just say, Wow, we’ve got a great culture, and we believe in you, and you get to blah, blah, blah. You have to be sincere about it. You can’t be tongue-in-cheek. You either are sincere about your culture, or you’re not.
A sincere culture generates trust. Trust means you have no ambiguity. So, if you and I are going to trust each other, you have to know how I’m going to measure the outcome. It’s like putting your car in the shop; you build a great culture with that auto mechanic because when he tells you to come back on Tuesday at five, you can go in Tuesday at five, and your car is ready.
One of the things I tell my team all the time is we’re going to talk about what we want from a project perspective. Because we have a sincere relationship, I trust that you can handle the details of how we get to the outcome we’re looking for. If you need help, you will come to ask me for help. Asking me for help is not punitive. It doesn’t mean you don’t know your job. It just means you need some assistance. My job is to help you with roadblocks and offer guidance.
Build a great company with a sincere culture that endears trust. One of my favorite quotes is from top Leadership Coach Blaine Bartlett, “Leadership is co-creating coordinated movement.” That’s what you’re really doing. You’re able to build a great team by co-creating coordinated movement.
Music is near and dear to your heart. Tell us about writing music as part of Dave and Doland.
Dave and I have been writing songs together for thirty years. Our co-writing partnership has included more than 200 songs, 3 albums, and songs placed in two movies. In addition to making music, we’ve watched our kids grow up together and become great friends.
You have been writing songs for 30 years; how do you balance life as a COO with making music with your close friend?
Music is in every fiber of who I am. The way I balance is I don’t separate the two. To be really good at what I do as a COO, I have to have time away to do music. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a musician, a painter, an artist, or a sculptor; you have to have time for your passion. That passion, in turn, empowers you when you’re doing your day job. So the way I manage it is every Thursday night, I go to the studio, and I record, or I write. I do one thing about music every day. Even if it’s two minutes, I do one music thing daily. That keeps me feeling fulfilled. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about or do something about music.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m originally from Mobile, Alabama. I grew up as the grandson of a hard-as-nails Merchant Marine. When I was ten years old, he taught me how to run the swamps in a flat-bottom boat. I loved spending as much time out on the water with my sister and brothers while he stood guard on the dock waiting for ‘gators. I suppose I’m what some would call a red-neck at heart.
Choose two of your favorite quotes and write them here
“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.”
“Who do you want to be a hero to?”
If you had the power to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing today, it would be our ability to talk to each other again. We’re so polarized on many things that we forget that we use polarization to prevent us from talking. I want us to be able to just have a conversation where it’s okay to disagree and still get along.
To learn more about Doland White, please visit