As a Fortune 100 human resources executive, Jill Ratliff understands how stressful and challenging a workplace can be. Leaders are often faced with resistance from employees and managers alike when discussing and implementing change.
But she also knows the amazing things leaders can do when they bring teams closer together and build strong, trustworthy connections, the subject of her new book, Leadership Through Trust & Collaboration: Practical Tools for Today’s Results-Driven Leader.
Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
My name is Jill Ratliff. I’m the principal at Jill Ratliff Leadership LLC, which I started two years ago following a 30-year career in global Fortune 100 companies. I help leaders think differently about transformation and change on a personal and business level.
I spent the majority of my corporate career leading the human resource function and helping to shift it from being administratively focused on human capital focused. I believe we have yet to fully understand and embrace the enormous potential of our people; they’re our most valuable asset.
Before COVID, our world had already been experiencing exponential change for decades. We’re now becoming more awake to the impact of those changes, particularly to us as human beings. I’m motivated by thinking about how we can evolve and adapt to the complexity of today’s world by reconnecting to what it really means to be human.
What exactly does your company do?
I work directly with leaders who are responsible for creating change within their organizations. My work can be as simple as giving thought-provoking keynotes that inspire and empower people to see change, challenges, and opportunities differently. In order to deepen leaders’ personal development, I also facilitate workshops for leadership teams and conduct one-to-one executive coaching.
My approach is the result of many years of helping leaders transform cultures that weren’t working. We see this issue today: trust in our leaders and engagement in our organizations is at an all-time low. We need a new narrative about leadership.
My work is organized around a framework I call the Human Operating System. It starts with new mindsets that can change every aspect of our lives—how we lead, live, and love—and show us why we are the way we are. It includes simple tools and practices that apply to three critical leadership domains: self-mastery, relationship mastery, and mastery of change and transformation in business and life.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge in my life was the loss of my younger brother at 52 years old in 2016. This challenge was also the most inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed. Keith was one of the most courageous people I’ve known; throughout his cancer journey, he shared a kind of wisdom I’d never experienced. His palpable clarity about life, how we’re living it, and how we lead was urgent and compelling. In the final months, weeks, and even hours of his life, his poignant messages became the inspiration for my book and my work today. My mission is to bring his simple but profound wisdom to those ready to hear it.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
Trust yourself. You’ll find your way; just enjoy the journey.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire—and why?
I have so many! I’ve found that you can learn deep truths about leadership and life through the best and most courageous thinkers in any discipline, whether it’s philosophy, science, psychology, sports, the arts, spirituality, or business. Some of my most impactful wisdom teachers are Socrates, Einstein, Max Planck, Earnest Holmes, John Wooden, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Maya Angelou, and Kahlil Gibron. In business, I’d include Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, and Dan Schawbel. I’m also fascinated by modern leaders who are merging science and spirituality, such as Bruce Lipton and Dr. Joe Dispenza.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are?
I’ve had many mentors over my career; each was exactly who I needed at that time. Over time, my greatest teachers and supporters have been my husband, Randy, and my grown children, Danielle and Scott.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
Raising two great kids, who are also great humans, and writing my first book, Leadership Through Trust & Collaboration.
Please list your social media URLs
LinkedIn: @Jill Ratliff