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Episode 043 – Pastor and Author Kevin Thompson

Posted on Mar 9, 2017 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Kevin and I discuss which golf courses to put on your bucket list, leadership lessons we can take away from Nick Saban, and how to become an effective listener.


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Hey everyone and welcome to the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!

Today we are joined by Kevin Thompson, a pastor who also writes on the topics of leadership, marriage and parenting. He is also a scratch golfer, having competed in college at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Kevin has a new book about marriage that will hit the shelves May 2nd titled Friends, Partners and Lovers.

This is Kevin Thompson. Hey Kevin thanks for coming on the show!


  1. Let’s talk some golf first. How did you get introduced to the game, and when did you start to figure out you could actually play well enough to make a college team?
    1. Family vacation as a kid with another family; the dads/sons played and he was hooked
    2. Really liked basketball/baseball better, but in high school started focusing more on golf
    3. Didn’t ever consider playing in college
    4. After deciding to attend Oklahoma Baptist (which didn’t offer golf), schools started offering him scholarships
    5. But he decided to stick with OBU, who then added back the program
    6. (Talking OBU hoops as well with coach Bob Hoffman)
  2. What has the game of golf taught you about life?
    1. Golf and tennis are unique because you can play them your entire life
    2. Golf is about relationships; plays every Friday with college kids, then goes into the clubhouse and eats lunch with guys in their 80s
    3. Also great to teach the game by playing alongside (as opposed to coaching baseball, etc. with a clear coach/player role)
    4. Dealing with adversity
  3. Favorite course you’ve ever played?
    1. Southern Hills (Tulsa, OK; host of several major championships)
    2. The Alotian (Roland, AR; mimics Augusta National)
    3. Pebble Beach
    4. Plantation Course at Kapalua (Maui, HI)
  4. Tell us a bit about the nature of your work and how you came upon it.
    1. Loves to write, but had gotten away from it
    2. Started a blog to get into the habit of writing
    3. Also wanted to start writing books, and began with the book U-Turn
    4. Likes the idea of legacy through books, so that kids/grandkids can learn from him after he is gone, in addition to the other lives you get to impact
  5. Your write quite a bit about leadership, which is truly the core of what this show is about. In fact you wrote recently about the one habit (binary listening) that is killing our leadership. Can you tell us about that?
    1. Gets to be around lots of leaders as a pastor, so he gets to observe leadership all the time
    2. Listening is under-thought of; we are listening before we are born, and hearing is the last sense to go
    3. But we’re really never trained to listen
    4. We tend to listen in a binary way: we either agree/disagree, we like it or we don’t. As soon as we make that judgment, everything else we hear is filtered through that lens
    5. Example: when people are provided a statement from a politician, they will say they like it or not based upon whether the identity of the politician (or party).
    6. If we will truly listen to what is being said and look for areas
    7. Steven Sample from USC authored The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership; in it he encourages people to think grey, and to hold off for as long as possible to form an opinion, because after that everything you hear will be filtered through that opinion
    8. (Daniel with example from how health care is presented in surveys: if referred to as Obamacare, the numbers are one way and if the Affordable Care Act, the numbers change)
  6. You also wrote about Nick Saban’s five leadership lessons, and I’d like to go through those with you and have you explain them to us:
    1. Make routine decisions habitual so they don’t require mental energy.
      1. Our mental resources are not unlimited, and every decision we make takes energy.
      2. He has the same breakfast/lunch every day, because he wants to save the time/energy from those decisions.
      3. Automate and make a habit of everything you can, especially on decisions that don’t matter
    2. Focus on the process over the outcome
      1. (John Wooden emphasized this as well)
      2. Focusing on the outcome can happen in all areas of life
      3. Arkanasas QB Tyler Wilson example; didn’t necessarily make a bad decision to return for senior year, but didn’t get the outcome he wanted
      4. Sometimes you didn’t do the process right, but you just got lucky; so focusing on the outcome can mislead you
      5. Focusing on the outcome can lead to jumping from process to process to process
      6. (Daniel follow up on how this impacts strategic planning, goal setting, etc.)
        1. Not wrong to think about the outcome or the goals
        2. Just don’t assume you did the process right/wrong based on the outcome; give it more thought than that
      7. We can learn from leaders, but must fit our personality and values
  7. You wrote an interesting piece about how to place value on a championship, which I would suggest could be broadened to include any kind of professional or personal success.
    1. Let’s talk first about the things that are worth it which come from a championship: hard work, sacrifice of other dreams and the struggle
      1. We don’t all get those moments where there is a clear winner; we don’t all have scoreboards to give us that feedback and provide moments of celebration
      2. Kirby Puckett lockerroom story after winning the World Series; he was crying and said it was because all the sacrifice was for this trophy
    2. Now for the things that aren’t worth it: the ending of a marriage, missing your kids grow up and your soul.
    3. He tells his church staff that he hopes they are not quite as effective as they could be, because they all have healthy lives, relationships, etc.
      1. Kevin interviewed Gus Malzahn (Auburn football head coach) and he talked about how you need rings to remember the wins, but the losses stick with you forever
      2. (Daniel talks about how healthy people will in the long run make the organization more successful than if the people were giving all of themselves at the expense of outside health)
  8. Before we go tell us a bit about your new book Friends, Partners and Lovers, and how those three roles are key to a healthy marriage.
    1. Amazon link for pre-orders; available May 2, 2017
    2. What is it a spouse is supposed to do? It’s not always intuitive or clear. The book attempts to answer that question by focusing on these three roles
    4. @KevinAThompson on Twitter
    5. KevinThompsonAR on Facebook

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over

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