Meet Brett

Q & A

Why did you choose your profession?

I chose my profession based on the belief that all of us as individuals and organizations have an opportunity to take action by identifying those thoughts and feelings based on the false belief that one of the ways to get something for ourselves is to take it away from someone else. We have an opportunity to replace the paradigms of scarcity with the paradigms of abundance since scarcity mindsets produce radical inequalities because they lead to and/or (win/lose) thinking and actions. Abundance mindsets produce radical equalities because they lead to both/and (win/win) thinking and actions.

Who are your main influences?

Bob Burg, Dale Carnegie, Deepak Chopra, John David Mann, John Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Oprah Winfrey, and four military leaders who know who they are.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

I had the privilege of serving on active duty in The United States Navy during Operation Tomodachi and like so many other leaders, also had the privilege to step up as part of the humanitarian assistance efforts in Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Some of the most important (and memorable lessons) I learned during my military career came from serving as part of the team providing coordinated assistance to people in need. Leading people is both an honor and a privilege. As the saying goes, if you take care of your people, they will take care of you. Everyone communicates and processes situations and information differently while perceiving the same guidance in different ways. Investing time in understanding other people’s perspectives is one of the keys to thriving as a leader. People come from a wide variety of backgrounds with unique ways of thinking, so leaders need to be prepared to tailor their communication to each person to ensure two-way understanding. When in charge during crises or emergencies, everyone will most likely look to the leaders for guidance.

Knowledge and communication are critical during these situations. One of the most challenging things to do as a leader or in a crisis/emergency can be to tell someone that you respect that you are going to do something different than what they recommend. You will encounter people who are experts in things that you are not; help them help you help others to succeed. In the military, people are much more than the uniform they wear. They have families and friends who matter to them. This applies to civilian organizations too. People are much more than the uniform they wear to comply with a dress code. Leaders focus on people while managers focus on metrics. Thriving as a leader requires helping other people to exceed their individual goals and to believe they can do great things.

What tools do you use?

1. One of the most valuable tools I continue to use and share with other leaders is collaboration based on the importance of giving everyone a say in all steps from root cause identification to implementation of new processes and information flows to build a sense of shared ownership. This is because when people at all organizational levels have shared ownership of the transition from old processes and information flows to new processes and information flows, they are more than fully capable of adopting and sustaining a thriving mindset. This thriving mindset remains vigilant for future opportunities to use collaboration to identify and drive transitions and paradigm replacements to completion. Leveraged correctly, it can also create a built-in defense against obsolescence via competition.

2. Constructive conflict focuses on the prioritization of relationships and adopting the mindset of being purposeful in choosing to work together with other people. Part of this mindset is seeing people as partners, not opponents who are focused on building the best processes and outcomes possible. Conflict is normal and necessary; violence is abnormal and unnecessary.

3. Never underestimate the importance of fully aligned vision, mission, strategy, operations and tactics. The best military and civilian visions I have ever seen were the result of a process of gathering inputs from everyone within these organizations and using these inputs as part of an iterative process to define the who, what, when, where, why and how (also called 5WH) for the organization. This is important because it gives everyone a sense of shared ownership in defining the vision and is also a great way to create a mission statement, develop strategies, set operations priorities, define policies and procedures, and define/implement tactics.

4. Pure leadership focuses on intentionally contributing to the creation and thriving of a healthy organizational culture (one in which people feel empowered to bring up problems with potential solutions and improvement opportunities), a sense of camaraderie and teamwork (up, down and across all organizational levels) and the possibility of nurturing a collective mindset for innovation. This focus is also invaluable in the areas of metrics, measurements and key performance indicators. There are near-infinite options for tools and measurements, so fully aligned vision, mission, strategy, operations and tactics also helps everyone define and sustain metrics, measurements and key performance indicators which matter (as opposed to metrics, measures and key performance indicators which may be distractions).

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Choose what you are not going to do tomorrow on a daily basis. If you have ever heard the idea that when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority then this practice will help you avoid this pitfall. The reason why this is so valuable is because it forces you to focus on what really needs to happen in the next 24 hours and what can wait. Things-to-do lists are valuable. Things-not-to-do lists are also valuable. They can be a powerful combination when used together and incorporated into daily operating rhythms.

Interests

Baking

Reading

Fitness

Testimonials

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When it comes to engaging the hearts and minds of your professionals, Brett is truly an ambassador of change. During our working relationship from 2002-2005 as the Director of Innovation and Improvement, Brett and myself helped to streamline and optimize the logistics supply chain through better education, insights and sharing of information, as well as kaizen events and other optimization methodologies. Our ability to improve turn-around times and the quality of data/information to support procurement expediting in an international multi-cultural environment was awesome to experience. In fact, these tremendous sustaining results are still being applied even today in 2019! For anyone looking to have an “expert” to lead your improvement efforts, I strongly recommend getting in contact with Brett. His intellect, system & critical thinking, years of optimization experience, plus his kind demeanor that connects with people throughout the organization are traits that any C-Suite would benefit from.

DJ Duarte, Global Optimization Expert & Lean Leadership Coach at Makoto Flow, Ltd.

Visionary. Leader. Changemaker.

When considering the qualities of a strong leader, Brett checks all the boxes and more: He possesses vision, integrity, empathy, adaptability, confidence, decisiveness, humility, and the ability to inspire others.

I worked with Brett at an international nonprofit during the pandemic – a time of significant uncertainty and unprecedented change. True leader that he is, Brett managed it all with aplomb, maintaining a positive attitude, encouraging staff, strengthening operations, and digging in to assist wherever help was needed.

As a professional with over thirty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, I continue to be impressed with Brett’s passion, vision, and drive. That he can convey this passion is a gift – a gift that inspires and motivates others. I look forward to watching Brett’s career unfold as he seeks to employ his gifts as a force for positive change in the world.

Elizabeth Pond Reza, MSPM, Writer and Research Specialist with The Salvation Army

Brett Sandman is a leader that brings passion, knowledge, understanding, and above all – vision to everything he undertakes. Having worked as a colleague with Brett in the past, he displayed leadership qualities that were followed and respected by our entire group. He is a true management expert with extensive understanding of logistics, and visionary problem-solving skills.

Ted Bloschichak, Inventory and Systems Manager, Yale New Haven Health System

I am pleased to make an extraordinarily strong recommendation about Brett Sandman. He is the epitome of discipline, teamwork, and cooperative team leadership. Although I’ve known him for several years, the opportunity to finally work with him came in 2022 when I invited him to join a team of highly skilled individuals to create, produce, and direct a first-of-its-kind minority business summit in Middletown, CT.

Exemplifying his logistical qualities, he was an immediate asset to our team when it came to organization and troubleshooting things that assisted with making the event flow smoothly.

His military background and experience blended in and lent itself to high-level event success. His attitude towards the tasks that needed to be implemented was stellar when the stress increased days before the event day and on the actual day. He adds a great deal of strength to any team, and I look forward to teaming with him again in the future! I give high commendation to this professional.

Yvonne Renee Davis, Co-owner, TV Host, Foreign Policy Analyst @ Self-employed | Owner, Strategic Communications, Public Affairs & Leadership Training

While working with Brett in my current role I needed to validate part numbers and mitigate any risks with delivery and raw material. Brett and his team were very responsive and always addressed the needs of the customer. Brett specifically would ensure that the needs of the company were addressed while also ensuring that the needs of the customer were met during our meetings. The communication was clear and concise as well as professional. Brett would often follow up on actions without being prompted by the customer which increased the communication between us and allowed for transparent communication.

Trish Entley, Supplier Performance Specialist, Pratt & Whitney

Brett is an excellent team player and is always responsive to customer requests. I worked with him with supplier performance projects. He always gets his team involved and engaged. Any organization would be lucky to have Brett.

Gus Duran, Supplier Development Leader at Pratt & Whitney