Pele Raymond Ugboajah, PhD
Dr. Pele is the founder of LeaderPractice, where he drives software development, marketing and sales. Prior to founding LeaderPractice, he worked at Parametric Technology Corporation, where he was an early ‘evangelist’ of Windchill software, helping to grow the business to $200 million in under two years. Pele also worked at Electronic Data Systems, MDA Leadership Consulting, and Rainy Lake Medical Center, where he was vice president of human resources.
Dr. Pele is a leadership author, educator, and executive coach. He holds an MBA and a PhD specializing in leadership development. He is the author of ‘The 3 Gaps Between Goals and Greatness‘, and speaks regularly to diverse business audiences, including Toastmasters, where he once won the District Six Championship of Public Speaking. Outside of LeaderPractice, Dr. Pele enjoys working as an adjunct professor, spending time with his family, and playing the piano. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and three children.
LeaderPractice is an entrepreneurial venture that sits at the intersection of technology and behavioral development. The core business idea seeks to help individuals and businesses answer the question, "how do we develop people so that they can be more effective in achieving their goals?" The basic answer is that by focusing on daily behavior and habits, (not just outcome-based goals), individuals can implement what they've learned and turn their strategies into reality. The company's current product is a software platform that has an enterprise version (LeaderPractice.com) and a mass-adoption/consumer version (GoPracticeit.com). Both versions allow individuals or organizations to implement what they have learned from various sources (books or training programs) into daily behavior that can be tracked and developed over time. Below is a brief summary of the problem this venture solves, and how it does so. A video explaining this can be found at: LeaderPractice Video.
RxEconsult: How and when did the idea to develop LeaderPractice and GoPracticeIt.com occur to you?
Dr. Pele: I worked as a leadership development consultant to Fortune 500 companies for a few years. I also worked internally as a vice president of human resources for a healthcare organization. These two experiences showed me first-hand—outside of the theoretical world of my PhD in organization and management—that the real engine that powers our economy is not capital, ideas, innovation, or technology...it is people. When organizations get the 'people' element right, all of their strategies and ideas can become reality with much greater speed and efficiency. I also have a six-year background in software development and consulting, and I have developed a fond appreciation for the fact that software is really a way to help us do what we already do, much better. As such, I decided to build software that would help people get better at the things they want to improve at the human level, whether it is skills, habits, or leadership. My goal as an entrepreneur is to find and execute ideas which help people inside and outside of organizations take what they learn from various sources, and through practice, implement daily behaviors that will help them achieve and accelerate success.
RxEconsult: How did you transition from a corporate job to forming your own company?
Dr. Pele: I resigned from my last corporate job in 2010. I must admit that I reached a point where I realized I was doing more in the area of trying to survive politics and interpersonal gamesmanship than actual work. If you are not a skilled political operator, the corporate environment can really deter a person from being the best leader or contributor they can be. My interests were more in the area of creativity. I wanted to 'make' something that I could offer to the world. Searching my personal history and experience, I embarked on a venture at the intersection of the various fields I had experience in: software, leadership and personal development, and healthcare/human resources. It was a no-brainer. I realized that my goal was to go out there as an entrepreneur and build software that would help leaders and individuals get better at whatever they wanted to improve in their personal and work lives.
RxEconsult: What are some of the challenges you are facing and how are you addressing them?
Dr. Pele: I've faced three challenges so far: (1) Knowing what to build, (2) Building it, and (3) Selling it. All three are massive challenges. Far too many entrepreneurs rush head on into these without fully being sure of what each challenge needs. For example, I initially built a prototype of my software and tried it out on some customers. Through their feedback, I quickly realized I might be building the wrong application. However, in building it, I had already spent thousands of dollars, so turning around was difficult. I actually had to make the decision to go back to school to increase my software development skills so I could save money in that area. And finally, I found out that no matter what you think you're offering to the world, the art and science of selling is a humbling experience. My personal goal is to find others who have the natural skill and inclination to sell things and recruit them into partnering with me. You could say that I am a Steve Wozniak in search of my Steve Jobs!
RxEconsult: Why should individuals and employers care about behavior in the work environment?
Dr. Pele: Individuals and employers should care about behavior because it is really the basic element that powers all of life's success ... or failure. Many people set goals, but none of those goals are brought to fruition in a vacuum. What people need is a powerful way of 'executing' the goals, ideas and strategies they have. The invisible, yet persistent thing that makes execution happen is what we do and say on a daily basis... our behavior. The paradox of behavior is that it is with us all of the time, and it is affecting our success or failure all of the time...and yet, we are NOT aware of it. If individuals or organizations truly want to create success results in their lives, they have to go one step deeper than setting goals and start monitoring and tracking their behavior. Success at the behavioral level is what eventually cascades down to success at goals and strategies. There are many tools for managing goals and strategies, but not enough for managing the single most powerful contributor to successful execution: behavior.
RxEconsult: If your products are adopted what problems will they solve and how?
Dr. Pele: My products will help people take what they learn, through books, programs, and corporate training, and turn them into reality through daily behavioral implementation. Think of how many educational, business, or motivational books you're read. How many of them turned into daily behaviors and habits for you? Most of us have read and agree with Steven Covey's 'Seven habits of Highly Effective People'. But how many of us have actually implemented each of the seven habits into our daily lives? This gap between knowledge and implementation is what my product will bridge.&
RxEconsult: What resources will you need to move your product from development to commercialization?
Dr. Pele: I will need to find my Steve Jobs. I will need to partner with people who are great networkers, sellers, and business developers. These folks will fill out the areas I am weaker at, so that I can concentrate my efforts on my strengths, ideation, innovation, and evangelism of software ideas.
RxEconsult: How do your products apply to healthcare?
Dr. Pele: Because I spent some time as a vice president of human resources at a healthcare organization, I saw first hand that the greatest impediment to healthcare is actually leadership and the behavioral skill development of healthcare workers. Most hospitals are reimbursed today through a process that takes into account the survey results of patient satisfaction questionnaires. If you study what these surveys ask patients, you will find that it is all about how doctors and nurses behave throughout the supply chain and lifecycle of providing healthcare. If doctors and nurses can get better at leadership, teamwork, patient interaction and other behavioral intangibles, they will get better at delivering better healthcare, which will make a huge difference in their success as healthcare organizations.
RxEconsult: How do you capture and incorporate feed back from your customers?
Dr. Pele: I am in the process of building my beta software, which I will make available for fee to pilot partner organizations. The feedback I've received this way has been powerful. Once the product is launched I will continue seeking feedback from users.
RxEconsult: What are the 3 gaps between goals and greatness?
Dr. Pele: The 3 gaps between goals and greatness is the book I wrote on this subject before creating the software. The 3 gaps are: (1) Behavior, (2) Habits, and (3) Community. You can read more about this from my book on Amazon:
3 Gaps Between Goals and Greatness
RxEconsult: What are the 8 steps for turning strategy into results and how have you applied these principles to your business?
Dr. Pele: The 8 steps for turning strategy into results is a free ebook PDF I have written, which can be downloaded from here:
8 Steps for Turning Strategy into Results
The steps spell the word P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E:
Pinpoint measurable, desired behaviors
Review personal or organizational goals
Align behaviors to goals
Condition behaviors over time through practice
Team up with others in your growth process
Invite feedback from others
Correlate behavior change with your desired results
Engineer new opportunities for ongoing improvement
Thanks for this opportunity to discuss LeaderPractice and GoPracticeIt.com.
RxEconsult: Dr. Pele thank very much for your time and for sharing your experience and knowledge with the RxEconsult community. We look forward to inviting you back in the future. Good luck with the development and successful launch of your products.