VOCL 040 – An Interview with Julian Bolster

Twitter In this episode, we feature an interview with Julian Bolster – a Canadian leadership speaker, author, and coach. Intro The interview is approximately 26 minutes in length, and make sure that you stick around until the end – Julian has an exciting offer for you! I’m doing some website tweaking to make it easier […]

Written By chris

On December 14, 2014

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In this episode, we feature an interview with Julian Bolster – a Canadian leadership speaker, author, and coach.


    • The interview is approximately 26 minutes in length, and make sure that you stick around until the end – Julian has an exciting offer for you!
    • I’m doing some website tweaking to make it easier to access all of the content.
    • Finally, I’ve ceased my Amazon affiliate store – don’t worry, though – I’ll still create links to all of the resources that are mentioned in VOCL.
  • I’ve been speaking with several business-oriented folks, and that has been amazing.  I’m going to start expanding the scope to include government and non-profit organizations.  If you or someone you know wants to discuss leadership, let me know!

VOCL Main Interview

Guest Bio (Margaret Narration):  “After a life-changing accident at age 18 – which forced Julian to relearn the previous nine years of his schooling, and took away chances of scholarships, sports teams, and other accomplishments – Julian made a decision while sitting in his wheelchair in Toronto Ontario.  With one single thought: ‘I get to choose the direction of my life!’ he hasn’t looked back since.

20 years and five successful start-ups later, Julian has made it his mission to share his knowledge and motivate others to achieve measurable and meaningful success in both their personal and professional lives.

Today, Julian is a globally recognized Master Coach on leadership and business development and works with hundreds of executives and influencers across North America.  He has been featured on BBC World News, CNN, and has co-authored alongside Deepak Chopra and Dr. Ken Blanchard in a book called Roadmap to Success.  He is currently working on his second book exploring the ‘Masculinity Crisis in Leadership’.

As a thought leader, Julian is a pioneer who believes leadership is the cornerstone of empowerment and plays a vital role in how we define and shape our communities.”

Executive Summary of Answers

What is a leadership-related quote that motives or inspires you? Here are my top 3:

    • “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” ~Ken Kesey
    • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

Why does that motivate you? These quotes remind me that leadership is about character, passion, conviction and that it’s not about a title.  Also, that leadership is a responsibility and a privilege, so do something worthwhile with the leadership you are gifted.

How do you use that quote in your work and everyday life?  I question whether my current use of time and energy are really lifting the bar in terms of performance or building personality to a new height in people.  The contribution is everything; if you aren’t contributing value to people, what could you change so that you are?

If you were to mentor a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give knowing what you know today?  Start with a solid foundation. The art in building any mansion of success in life is to start with a solid foundation so everything above that is strong as well. Specifically, have a balanced, healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Focus on delivering high value in your interactions. Make it a priority to maintain a baseline of stability in your business; master the basics required to make your ends meet, then build up from there.

Who have been the influential leaders in your life and why?  My Dad, who is an established businessman in his own right, but also because of his lessons in character, integrity and perseverance. And that doing the right thing isn’t always sexy. And that being of service to others can be highly rewarding. And my Uncle Michael, who is another strong study in character and integrity, from whom I’ve learned a great deal about patience and wisdom. From the business world, my former boss from many years ago, David Emanuelle, who is a distinguished business leader and has a way of leading people without them knowing it.

If you could pick any Canadian to be your mentor, who would it be and why? David Suzuki. He reminds me of a conductor. In order to lead a great orchestra, you have to turn your back on the crowd. Meaning, sometimes your message shouldn’t be just what everyone wants to hear. And he’s a model for conviction. He’s a man that believes in something and has made a career out of honouring his convictions.

What do you think are the three most important attributes that a leader can possess? In fact, I go by four attributes; it’s an acronym I use. VIPR: Vision, Integrity, Passion, and Responsibility. I can’t imagine a leader worth following that doesn’t have those four qualities prominently demonstrated.

If you could pick only one, which would it be?  Integrity. It’s the one trait that guarantees the other traits are worthwhile in a leader.

Where do you turn to for leadership knowledge?  Books? Seminars? Something else?  Books, seminars, audiotapes, and belonging to a powerful tribe.

What do you think of the state of leadership in Canada today (any area, not just politics) – strengths, weaknesses?  While I’m glad to see frequent examples of real leadership in both younger generations and older generations, I do see lots of opportunities for leaders to better understand what it means to lead. To understand themselves, and to craft organizations that are more compelling and engaging, and to do work that is reputable and valuable in the world. In particular, I often see businesses that function as “work mills” — places where people sell their time for money. These kinds of businesses are everywhere and they exist because their leadership has yet to realize how to create compelled and engaged employees. And how to create leadership at every level of organization, empowering employees to belong to value-driven communities instead of money-for-time transactions. Traditional leadership in Canada needs to evolve to understand that in a service-based economy, employees are no longer the greatest asset, they are the only asset. And businesses must become ideas that employees can “get behind”. People want to work for a business they believe in, and in order for Canadian businesses to thrive in the global marketplace, they will need to become strong ideas that can stand out in a crowd.

Imagine you are the host of VOCL – who’s a Canadian leader that you would like to interview and why?  Don Tapscott, one of the most influential management experts, because he’s advising global leaders on the change required in the business world. He has a keen understanding of how our thinking is a product of the industrial age, which is an outdated and irrelevant model in today’s times.

Anything else you would like to bring up?  Leadership is about creating.  You have to be able to balance between creating and maintaining.  Creating has multiple facets, including better communities and more valuable products.

What are you working on right now and how can people get a hold of you?  Something I am really excited about on the horizon is that I am currently in the process of creating a book on the subject of Masculinity Crisis in Leadership.  What collective steps our corporations/society can take to CREATE and INFUSE leadership into our everyday environment, and be assisting people with STEPPING INTO this leadership role.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/julianbolster.

  • Also follow #BolsterBoost for daily inspiration nuggets

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulianBolsterCreatingLeadership

Email: Julian@julianbolster.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIpwLNGsaganM8JLmIKn5tg

Phone: 1-888-803-5433 (LIFE)

That was a great interview with Julian – I’d like to thank him for his time and insights.

VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes / Call to Action

What’s been happening

    • Personal note – I’ve hurt my back again!  I’ve got to keep up with those core workouts, plus I’m going to start looking at investing in a stand-up desk.
    • A sore back kept me from playing a game recently – I felt sad that I couldn’t play but even worse that I let the team down.  Still came to cheer, though!
  • Thinking about how we can get people talking about leadership.  My podcast is one method, but are there more?  What do you think?

Takeaways and introspection

    • You’ll notice that I generally ask the same questions of every guest.  This helps provide a baseline for comparison, but it’s also to get YOU thinking about those questions.  Have another listen – if you were on the podcast, how would you answer?  Would your answers be different?  If so, why?  If you’ve made it this far, reach out to me and I’d love to chat with you!
  • Is your work or organization a “people mill?”  If it is, how can you change both yourself and the organizational culture to bring out the best in your followers and create an environment that makes them GLAD to be there?

Call to action

  • This offer comes from the end of the interview, and I’m capturing it again at the end of this podcast.  If you’ve made it this far, that tells me that you are passionate about being a better leader.  Julian wants to help you be a better leader – let’s put two and two together.  If his message resonates with you, make that free call to Julian!  He has indicated that he will provide three actionable items tailored specifically for you.  His number again is 1-888-803-5433 (LIFE) – you should even be able to call him by clicking on the number in the show notes – do it now!

I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada


  1. Jessica Inman

    Hi Chris,
    I’m listening to this now and heard this portion:
    Where do you turn to for leadership knowledge?Books? Seminars? Something else?Books, seminars, audiotapes, and in belonging to a powerful tribe.
    In future interviews I’d love to know which book or few books are the interviewee’s favourite!

  2. julianbolster

    bluenoseleader thanks Chris! YES – great free offer for all your listeners!

  3. Chris Hache

    From Julian, he offers the following reply to Jessica’s comment:

    The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz
    Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan
    Multipliers by Liz Wiseman, Greg McKeown
    Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath, Barry Conchie
    The Three Levels of Leadership by James Scoullier

    Tribe: ICoreCoach


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