Reboot Podcast Episode Wisdom for Work #16 – The Brightest Bulb Challenge – with Ray Foote & Andy Crissinger

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Ray Foote

Ray Foote

Coach & Facilitator

View Bio

Andy Crissinger

Andy Crissinger

Coach, Facilitator & Director of Coaching

View Bio

Episode Description

For individuals stepping more fully into leadership roles, the transition from individual contributor to team leader can bring about a myriad of feelings. What happens when you go from making something to building a team?

In this Wisdom for Work, Andy Crissinger & Ray Foote describe the Brightest Bulb Challenge and discuss strategies to help leaders thrive as they transition from maker to leader. They make the case for conducting time and outcome audits and provide guidance for managing energy and mindshare. If you’re a leader feeling the weight of this challenge, this episode is for you.

Journaling questions to consider:

  • How do I measure my own success? What internal shifts might I need to make as a team lead? 
  • How do I think about what constitutes “time well spent” in my job? 
  • If I continue to have individual contributor responsibilities, how do I support myself in context-switching throughout a day/week?
  • How might I be holding on to the individual contributor mindset in ways that are unnecessary and/or unhelpful to my team?

Show Highlights

Memorable Quotes:

“At its core, what we really mean by the brightest bulb challenge is a leader who’s going from making or cultivating or creating a thing to turning towards making, cultivating, creating a team.” – Ray Foote

“When we’re moving into a leadership role, we become more abstracted from the doing of the work. And now our success as a leader is measured not by our individual contribution, but by the collective output of the group.” – Andy Crissinger

“When I was an individual contributor, I could really think much more myopically about my contributions, but now that I’m a leader, I have to make this shift to recognizing I’m not successful unless the team is thriving.” – Andy Crissinger

“Being able to quantify kind of how am I spending my time can often show up as doing even a time audit is a fantastic tool to use just to see and be able to be objective about it.” – Ray Foote

“There is no magic book to tell you how to do this stuff. You will come up with your own way to realize this, to manifest this balance.” – Ray Foote

“The individual contributor work can be so satisfying and it can feel so safe. We know we’re doing well when we’re doing that work well. The thought of letting go of that can be really scary for folks. And so we may be hanging on to the IC work because it feels really unsafe to not do that. Will I be good in this new role? Will I be contributing enough? Will people see me as valuable? “ – Andy Crissinger

“It may feel somewhat insurmountable in the beginning, but over time you will develop your way. Engaging with that process and seeing it as a learning process and an opportunity actually to expand your ability to make more things at scale can be a way to support yourself.” – Ray Foote