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Movers and Shakers Interview with Dan Bruder 

Dillon Kivo

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Dan Bruder

Dan Bruder believes that every business has the ability and a responsibility to improve communities through its products and people. In his work as an international strategy and leadership consultant, he has helped companies of all sizes and sectors achieve their true purpose. We recently sat down for a brief interview. Here is some of our conversation.

 

Tell us your name and a little about yourself.

My name is Dan Bruder.  I created the Blendification System after three decades of leadership roles in global companies and entrepreneurial organizations along with teaching in the Executive MBA and MBA programs at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder.  I believe that business is a microcosm of capitalism and the purpose of capitalism is to build a better society by solving customer and community problems.  Unfortunately, businesses and universities have oversimplified with narrow-focused metrics – shareholder value, sales, and profit.  I created the Blendification System and wrote the book so leaders have a process for developing more fulfilled employees and customers thereby building better communities.  My personal fulfillment comes from helping others pursue and realize their potential and have dedicated my consulting practice to that endeavor.

I received my undergraduate degree in Finance and my MBA from the University of Central Florida.  I live in Superior, Colorado with my wife and we do everything we can to enjoy the Rocky Mountains.  We have two adult children and are football season ticket holders at the United States Air Force Academy.

What exactly does your company do?

Fusion Dynamics is a consulting company that leverages the Blendification System to activate potential in companies by connecting culture, strategy, and execution.  With the Blendification System as the foundation, we take companies and leaders through a step-by-step, systematic process to develop a fully integrated company focused on a common cause and strategic outcomes supported by an integrated execution model.  When companies unite culture, strategy, and execution, their ability to make significant positive impacts on their employees, customers, and communities grows exponentially – and they realize substantial financial outcomes. The Blendification System book serves as a guide and comes to life in a self-paced digital platform and face-to-face, professionally facilitated programs.  There are three main components of the Blendification System that are supported by various programs: culture component, strategy component, and execution component.

What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

Personally, the greatest challenge was losing my father at the age of 7.  This had a lifelong impact not only on me, but the rest of my family.  After 45 years, I still wonder, “What if my dad raised me with my mom…what would I be like…what would my relationship with my siblings be like…how would I make decisions…would I be more patient…how did/does this impact my relationship with my wife and my children?”  I really don’t think I have fully overcome this to this day.

From a professional perspective, my biggest challenge was building a consulting practice in the depths of the Great Recession.  As the Great Recession started, I was Managing Partner for a company and was negotiating a purchase agreement to buy the company.  The Great Recession caused both parties to back out – fortunately.  The next step was finding the right consulting model for a market that was in a freefall.  I decided to restructure non-performing resort real estate projects.  Fortunately, there was a good product/market fit for a few years that enabled me to launch my consulting practice.  While there was a market, it required an extensive commitment and energy to keep everything together professionally and positively lead my children, who were young at the time.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

Where you start is not where you finish.  Be conscious of where you begin your career, but don’t be afraid to go into a professionally challenging or uncomfortable role.  You will learn more from challenges, failures, and bad bosses than you will from comfort.  To accelerate your career and positively impact your colleagues, company, and community, take the hard road, and grow from it.   The three greatest false pursuits of people are power, reputation, and comfort.  Avoid these pitfalls even though society glorifies them.  Seek challenges, growth, and possibility and focus your actions on loving and helping your neighbor.  Then your career and your life will be meaningful.

Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?

My mom is someone I always think of when times are tough (and every other day).  She was able to overcome many obstacles although it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always pretty.  I’ve also admired football coaches that live a life of purpose.  I would list Don Shula as one from the all-time great list and Dabo Swinney (Clemson University) as an active role model.  He doesn’t waver in his commitment to doing what is right.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

My wife, Denise, is the most humble, kind, and grounded person I have ever met.  I am so fortunate to have her as my wife and mother of my two children.  She overcame substantial obstacles growing up and continues to amaze me with her humility and ability to lead our family with compassion.

Professionally, the person who hired me at Marriott in the mid-90s changed the trajectory of my career and life.  Tom Cox, who is now President of the Oliver Group, was instrumental in giving me an opportunity to succeed and build a foundation for later in my career.

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

I am extremely proud to write and release The Blendification System book.  It is the culmination of over 30 years of experience in multiple industries and companies.  However, what makes me most proud is how the book provides a systematic process for businesses to pursue and realize their true potential which includes taking responsibility for their impact on employees, customers, and communities.  I believe this book and the corresponding programs will dramatically change how leaders run businesses in the future.

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