Ok, you get the idea – as entrepreneurs, we have a million ideas and things we believe we need to pursue.
The decisions we make define us and our business.
As Jeff Bezos said, “If I can make 3 good decisions in a day, that’s a great day.”
How do we know which ones are bad and which are good?
How do we avoid going into the black hole? This is where we get lost in the startup wild spending time doing all the wrong shit.
It starts with asking better questions.
Asking better questions leads to better decisions.
In my experience, distractions are the enemy of progress.
So, how can you reduce risk with all these new ideas?
Here’s a process that has helped me reduce risk A LOT!
When faced with a big decision, consider these 6 questions first:
What is the outcome or impact I’m looking for that hasn’t been delivered yet?
If the outcome I need is missing or the gap is not closing what are the causes that are missing?
How much time and effort would be needed?
What is the price – other activities that must stop or start to make this happen?
What is the probability of success or failure?
What are the acceptable consequences – is the risk worth the reward
Remember, you only have 100% energy. If you focus on one thing you can give it 100%. If you take on another project yourself you must give something up.
If you’re making $0-$100 or less than $10k per month. Then you have very specific priorities to focus on that will create revenue flow.
When you are making $10k+ per month regularly, you will have different priorities.
When you’re making $50k per month regularly, you will again have different priorities.
Timing is a big part of what I talk about a lot because you can do the right things at the wrong time.
Everything in nature and the evolution of life happens at specific times.
For example, first, a caterpillar is born, then they make a cacoon, then they struggle to break free, then a butterfly capable of flying enters the world. BUT, if you remove the struggle, it won’t be able to fly anymore and the process will fail as it will die.
I literally just got off a Brand Studio Strategy call letting someone know they are NOT ready to work with me.
The timing is off.
Yes, I turn down business and I’m always brutally honest because I want the best for you. I only work with 3-4 people per month, MAX.
I’m so SICK of wannabe experts selling people tactical crap as the answer to their problems. Appealing to their desperation for a possible quick fix.
I recently had another Brand Studio Strategy call with someone last week who wanted to sell more e-commerce merchandise so they hired a Facebook Ad Agency. They had to spend $7k-$10k per month and that agency took their money and sold NOTHING.
They were not near ready and the agency should have told them that. It just breaks my heart.
Where are you in your process as a business?
When I work with people on branding and digital real-estate development (website pages and funnels) I go way beyond that.
I provide 4 months of advisory and strategic input. Weekly calls, and a direct line to me on Slack. Why? Because I know that’s what it takes to help someone get REAL results. Stay on track, make good decisions.
An agency will just build you a site for $10k and walk away. That doesn’t help small businesses and social entrepreneurs who are running solo.
Remember, asking better questions leads to better decisions. Better decisions lead to better results.
Use the six questions I shared as part of your process to reduce risk and you will thank me later.
There are so many moving parts in running a business. From conception to launch to maintaining and scaling your operation, there are many things to oversee to ensure productivity, efficiency, and growth. And one thing successful business owners can agree on is that you can’t do it all on your own. You need a team.
Additionally, when you create a solid team for your business, you must know how to utilize your team effectively. Each team member has a set of strengths you can leverage to optimize your operation. But there will also be times where automating certain practices or doing specific tasks yourself is a better choice.
So the question becomes when you’re starting a business or reevaluating your business plans, when is it best to delegate tasks, complete them yourself, or implement automation tools to help?
Let’s dive into each in detail so you can make an informed decision as to how to complete different business tasks in the most efficient, productive way.
When You Should Delegate Tasks
Most business owners find out very quickly that they can’t do everything themselves as much as they wish they could. At the same time, they’re terrified of assigning essential tasks to individuals on their team. It could be because the last time they did, the tasks weren’t done to their quality standards or done at all. Whatever the reason, they’re stuck in limbo between burning themselves out and being unable to use their team efficiently.
But delegation is an absolute must if you want to run a successful business. There are people with better ability and knowledge on specific tasks than you. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s encouraged. These team members can ensure the tasks get done in the most efficient way possible that garners the best results. Delegating tasks shows your team that you trust their abilities to get the job done, which is extremely important to creating a solid company culture.
So, how do you know which tasks to delegate and who they should be delegated to? By understanding the strengths of each person on your team, considering the time you have to complete these tasks, the complexity of the tasks, and if they can be handed off without issue.
To determine who the task should be delegated to, start with the people on your team who have always wanted more responsibility and who can handle it. You’ll still want to create an outline on how the task should be completed and monitor progress. But you want to monitor your team in a way that is cost-effective, improves team performance, and recognizes and celebrates team productivity. Don’t create more work for yourself by delegating so many tasks that monitoring becomes a task in itself.
In addition to delegating tasks, you can automate many so you and your team can focus on projects that really need you.
When to Implement Automation Tools
You and your team members each have a set of primary job responsibilities. But because there are so many things that go into running a business, as stated above, those responsibilities can often become secondary to the many repetitive, menial tasks you must complete to keep things running smoothly.
Fortunately, we now have a wide variety of automation tools to choose from to help complete those repetitive tasks for us. Many business owners find that automating these sorts of tasks frees up their team’s time to focus on their primary responsibilities and tasks that require a human touch.
But how do you know when to implement automation tools? Automation is excellent for accurately and efficiently completing repetitive tasks like responding to emails or comments and direct messages on social media, data collection, or customer-service inquiries. Additionally, it’s important to note that automating a task doesn’t mean set it and forget it. You must ensure the tool works how it’s supposed to and make adjustments when it’s not.
Finally, some tasks can be best completed by you, where automation and delegation just won’t cut it. And that brings us to our last section.
When to Get Things Done Yourself
As much as delegating and automation can help better business efficiency and productivity, there are just some tasks that only you can complete. In other words, your expertise, skill, experience, and background may make you the best fit for completing a particular task.
For example, suppose you have a financial background in accounting, and no one else on your team has the level of expertise you do. In that case, it’s probably best to complete the accounting and other financial tasks yourself. Bookkeeping, financial planning, investing, and financial reporting are all things you want to be done by an expert. And if that expert is you, it’s best to take on these tasks yourself to ensure they’re done correctly.
Also, when it comes to DIY, don’t just look at your ability to do something, but also look at whether or not your current responsibilities will allow you to designate the time and effort needed to complete the task. If you’ve got too many things on your plate to produce high-quality work, it may be best to explore one of the above options to ensure you aren’t on a fast track to burnout.
Ultimately, there is a time and a task for delegation, automation, and DIY. Delegate tasks when someone else is better equipped to complete them. Automate tasks that are repetitive and can be done with little human intervention. And complete tasks yourself when you have the time and effort to dedicate to them, and your expertise makes you the right fit for the job.
The 21st-century has been an era of business transformation. Newfangled strategies, such as digital marketing, e-commerce, and growth hacking, have been all the rage. Companies have obsessed over how they can rocket to prominence and then sustain their success in order to become the new Google or Amazon of their particular industry.
And then, barely two decades into the century, the COVID-19 virus arrived on the scene and completely upset the apple cart.
How a 2020 Pandemic Completely Rewrote the Script
It’s not that technologically-driven progress stopped when the coronavirus broke out — on the contrary, the rush for businesses to shift their operations to online-only served to spur things along. However, it quickly became apparent that the rapidly deteriorating brick-and-mortar economy was creating nothing short of a new normal for business operations.
Perhaps the most jarring of these changes was the sudden rush to create fully remote offices. These had to function effectively and be productive without ever bringing employees into close proximity to one another.
While certain activities can be fairly easily shifted to an online format — such as sharing digital documents or using e-signatures — other traditional aspects of a physical office have been nearly lost in the transition. Of particular concern is the ability for coworkers to properly communicate, collaborate, and grow together over both the short- and the long-term.
If your company has found itself amongst the ranks of those trying to adapt to the remote-driven “new normal,” take heart! You’re not alone. Nor are you out of options. In fact, remote work teams have incredible potential. More than three out of four remote employees report that they are more productive when working from home and a robust 76% of them actually prefer to avoid the office when they need to concentrate on their work.
While the potential is clear, though, leaders and entrepreneurs must make an effort to properly tap into these benefits. Here are a few ways that you can ease the transition and ultimately take full advantage of your team’s new remote work setup.
The first and most important aspect of setting up a well-oiled remote system for your business is establishing healthy communication. The problem here doesn’t revolve around a lack of communication so much as an overabundance of it. There is an endless supply of channels, brands, and tools that your team can use.
With that said, one of the first steps that management should take is to establish clear communication guidelines for their team. You may have already done this to a degree, but codifying your decisions into formal guidelines is a wise option as well. A few things to include in your “remote work communication handbook” include:
What video, voice, and text platforms everyone should use: It doesn’t matter if you use Zoom, Skype, Trello, Asana, or anything else, however, you must choose your company’s communication tools and then stick to them.
Your preferred method of communication for various scenarios: Make sure that employees understand that they should use email for proposals, Zoom for larger meetings, Google Docs for marketing content, and so on.
What tools are required: Each employee should be aware of what hardware — i.e. a computer, camera, microphone — is required for your remote workspace and whether or not they can expect you to provide them.
Setting up clear guidelines is an excellent way to pave the path towards a functioning, healthy remote workforce.
Once you have your channels of communication established, it’s important to take further steps to actively promote collaboration. Just because John can email a question to Sally doesn’t mean the two are going to spend time chatting, exchanging information, or brainstorming ideas together.
Watercooler talk and break-room chatter are both lost in a remote setting. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can proactively reignite that collaborative spirit in order to keep your team working together and on the same page, including:
Setting up non-project-oriented opportunities: Assembling for a video chat to “shoot the breeze” or setting up a Slack channel for funny jokes and memes is a great way to help your employees maintain their relationships — and by extension their comfort levels and willingness to collaborate — with one another.
Providing virtual collaborative spaces: Consider setting up project management software, shared documents, and even a virtual idea board where employees can be encouraged to deposit thoughts and ideas.
Scheduling regular collaborative opportunities: Expect your teams to regularly gather remotely and discuss where they all stand on a particular project. This helps with accountability, thought-sharing, and collaboration, in general.
Collaboration is an essential aspect of prolonged remote success. As such, it falls to leaders and managers to ensure that it is always properly addressed.
Enabling Continual Learning
Finally, it’s crucial that you find ways to maintain a growth mindset throughout your remote-work journey. The concept revolves around a willingness to always be learning, adapting, and maintaining flexibility in an ever-changing work world.
There are many ways to enable your employees to grow, such as:
Actively seeking constructive, two-way feedback.
Setting up a remote class that you can all take together.
Providing resources for employees to seek further education in their field.
Creating group goals like learning how to use new software.
Communicating the importance of continual learning on a regular basis.
A growth mindset is absolutely required if you want your remote team to remain relevant and effective over time.
Maintaining a Healthy Remote Team
If you can create clear lines of communication, establish collaboration channels, and encourage a mindset of continual learning, you can set your remote team up for success. Not only does this enable you to survive the ups and downs in the short-term, but you will be able to realize prolonged success far into the future, regardless of your physical working situation.
The critical first step that must be taken, though, is for leadership within a company to recognize the importance of collaboration and growth in their company’s future. If you can assign a proper value to these easy-to-overlook concepts, you’ll be able to benefit from them for years to come.
More and more people are working from home these days, and many enjoy it but also admit that all types of distractions can pop up when you’re not sitting in the usual office environment. The most important factor to remember is that of focus because, without it, you can fall behind and find it challenging to give your work a 100 percent effort. Some folks tend to multi-task while working from home. In other words, they throw laundry in, take the time to make a big lunch, play with the dog, vacuum in between, and get preoccupied. We have some great tips to help you concentrate and do your job properly outside of the office, so keep reading along.
Stick To A Routine
If you adopt a schedule that you can use today, tomorrow and the next day, you will develop good work habits from home. The most important one begins in the daytime.
Take off those pajamas and get into your regular workwear. You are not lounging around, and you shouldn’t appear that way and lazy. You need to look the part of an employed individual.
There’s really a psychological boost when you’re in your working ensemble. A lot of people, layout their work clothes at night for the day ahead. It saves time in the A.M. and can help improve your focus for the entire day. You can also apply this concept to your breakfast, packing up your lunch, and getting all of your things gathered before you have to leave for work. It will save you so much time in the mornings and you will feel a lot more prepared for the day to begin.
Also, establish a designated work area that you can go to each day to work from. Even if you lack a lot of space, just make sure that you’re not near distractions like the TV, kitchen, bed, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re engaged in a free online video call or typing a 10-page brief, you need a spot to concentrate and complete your tasks.
Take Timed Breaks
You don’t want to feel tethered to your work station for hours on end, so life coaches recommend that you schedule a few work breaks into your routine. You don’t want things to get out of hand, so time your little breaks to keep track of those spare moments.
One way to do this is by setting an alarm for 30 minutes each time you get in front of your computer, for instance. When you hear the alarm go off, then get up, and stretch, walk around, check your phone, snuggle with your dog, or watch a brief YouTube video, etc. Then, go back to the computer and reset the alarm.
These micro-breaks are excellent for rebooting your brain and body, and some employers believe that the timed tiny breaks lead to greater productivity, more engagement, less fatigue, and so on.
Another plus during a micro-break is getting up rather than sitting. Being sedentary while we work is not good for the body and can lead to back issues and more. Moving around for just a bit can ease headaches, neck and back soreness, and eye fatigue.
Combining a micro-break with snacking, however, did not seem to offer the same results in studies that were taken.
Step Outside, Reset
Lunchtime is important. You’re hungry, and your body needs fuel, so don’t feel guilty for taking a lunch break if you desire. The best way to get away from your workplace is to head outdoors for fresh air and a bite to eat.
Or you could pick up coffee, order takeout and bring it home.
Your mind needs a mental reset, and when you have lunch and take the time for some mindful eating, it pays off in the end. You will return to the computer or workspace and sit down for the rest of a productive afternoon.
If you bring your lunch home or make your lunch from home, don’t eat at your desk. Find another spot to enjoy your meal. Switch it up, change your atmosphere. In other words, work should not invade your meals.
Recent studies found that 62 percent of professionals typically eat lunch at their desks, and no, that is not a good thing. We all need that mental reset. By not eating lunch at your desk, you are also giving yourself the time and space to not think about work during your break so when you go back you are 100% there and ready to go.
Working from home has its advantages, and you can become super-productive or get lost in the distractions. Follow our tips, and your focus will become very clear and you can avoid burnout at the same time!
What makes a great leader in today’s world? Has leadership changed over time? Rod Yap is a high-performance leadership expert who answers those questions for us in this discussion.
Rod Yapp is a former Royal Marine Officer and the founder of Leadership Forces, a program that takes the high-performance principles of the Royal Marines and applies it to leadership development. Rod has exemplified leadership on the front lines (literally) in Afghanistan and Libya and now uses that experience in order to develop leaders within organizations such as Land Rover, HSBC, and NATO.
Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show hope y’all are doing well. This is your host, Adam force. Today we’re going to be talking to somebody about leadership. But before I get into that intro, just a reminder, if you missed the last episode that was posted about a week ago, Amy and I spoke about the hard truth around delegating for your startup. This can be a tough one man, you can really get yourself into a financial pickle if you’re bringing in the wrong people at the wrong time. So this is something that we’ve been through ourselves and was kind of like a growing pain, if you will. So some really valuable input there just from our experience that we kind of kick around and share some insights that you may or may not be aware of. So I think it’s it’s a really healthy conversation. And as you’re looking to grow your business, you’ll find some good nuggets in there. So go back, check that If you haven’t already, this week, we’re going to be speaking with somebody by the name of Roderick Yap, calm rod. He’s the CEO of leadership forces. So he’s got a lot of experience as a speaker, a leadership coach, and all that kind of stuff. And he was actually in the, he’s a former Royal Marines officer. All right. And so he led the Marines, all different operations all around the world, whether it was in Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, and all these different places. And then in 2012, he joined a group called the, your Renko group, and he was actually responsible for developing leaders using an operational excellence model. And then as of 2015, he decided to found found the leadership forces business which focused on developing leaders within organizations and he’s worked with clients such as HSBC, Deloitte, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce and NATO and all kinds have other great organizations. So he’s really stepped up into this leadership role, and he has a lot of great experience to share. Because it’s so important for our businesses. I mean, great leadership can be a game changer for long term differentiation and success. So we’re gonna dive into this conversation with rod in just a minute. Just a reminder, we always have lots of fresh content coming out on Change, Creator calm, so swing by get all the new goodies. And if you haven’t already signed up for the captivate method, there is a waitlist there, you can jump on our site on the homepage, you’ll find that you can sign up. This is all about how do we how do we communicate effectively with storytelling? And how do we apply that to our business? We call this a digital conversation. really powerful stuff. And we’ve seen some great success from our current students and members. It’s a really fun community. So check that out, and we’ll send you some information. All right, guys, I’m gonna dive into it. Don’t forget to stop by iTunes and other places that we are like Spotify leave us reviews, ratings, all that good stuff. It helps us a lot and we really appreciate your support and ongoing, you know, listenership so thanks again and we’re gonna dive into this conversation with rod. Okay, show me that he Hey rod, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today man?
Rod Yap 03:25
Good thanks very, very pleased to be here.
Adam G. Force 03:27
Yeah, well Awesome. Thanks for being here. So, you know, I’m just I leadership is something that as we go into 2020 I’m putting more emphasis on just because it’s such an important part of operating a business that becomes you know, profitable successful. And I think leadership especially when it comes to building a team is really important. So tell me just a little bit about like, what’s going on in your life right now. Like what’s, what’s the latest, the greatest just to kind of tell us where you are
Rod Yap 04:01
So I’m continuing to develop my business I started in July 2015, how they felt that there was sort of something that I could add to this industry. I sort of looked at the kind of market and felt that most leadership development professionals tend to tell us a lot of ex HR, or organizational psychology backgrounds, and I had different, you know, I was more of a sort of practitioner. So I felt I could sort of take that experience, and, and sort of build a business around that. And when I sort of think about, you know, my background is, is obviously, as an officer in the Royal Marines, I think about my career in the military. You know, it really was developing people it was helping my Marines to get better at their jobs to become more effective to comply performance. That was what I enjoyed most about the whole my, my sort of seven years in the Corps. So I wanted to see if I could replicate something similar to that in the commercial world.
Adam G. Force 04:56
Yeah, I love that and what led you to the Marines
Rod Yap 05:00
Really, it was just a desire to do sort of something completely different. I believe in the concept of service. Certainly serving my country, but sort of serving other people. And I sort of thought about it much in the way as many people might think of sort of a graduate scheme. But then I was like, well hang on a sec, what are the graduate scheme puts you through 15 months of pretty demanding leadership and management training, and then your first job is line managing 30 people? Nothing like it right? And no one gives you that sort of that level of responsibility, that level of training, you know, that development as it gets, and I guess in a nutshell, that’s probably what took me in that direction.
Adam G. Force 05:41
Hmm. Interesting. So it sounds like you’ve been are all around the world. And just before we get into some of this, you know, a deeper conversation around leadership. I’m curious. Just about some of your experiences Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, I mean, anything stand out to you experience wise that kind of maybe hits you
Rod Yap 06:01
I mean, a lot of them were unique in their sort of own way. Afghanistan was a very kinetic war fighting environment. What What that means is that people were shooting at us an awful lot. And Libya was one of those environments where we really didn’t have a clue what was going on. Are you really making up as we went along, and then working sort of off the coast of Somalia was, was actually sort of quite quite a lot of fun. I quite enjoyed it, you know, working with small boats in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Yeah. And when I think about some of the lessons that I take from all of those experiences, I think really, serving in the military, like, a bit like travel, gives you a much sort of broader perspective. I served in Afghanistan in 2007. And, you know, when I look back on my sort of time there, we had no real grasp of how that country or how those people lived and operated. Did we approach that that world in that environment with our own sort of set of values and our own ways of thinking about a world? And it just didn’t? It just, it just didn’t compute, if that makes sense? Yeah. And, you know, I remember being there. And sort of one one story from my time there was that when I was based in San Diego, the district district center in the heart of Helmand Province, you know, we would get firefights from time to time with the Taliban. And if we accidentally sort of, you know, hurt some civilians who got sort of caught in the crossfire, what we do is we sort of patch them up, and we would bring them into a bring them into the base and sort of give them some compensation. There’s a fairly, fairly blah, sort of method of reparations, if you like, yeah. And what we started to notice was that, you know, certainly some groups this was kind of incentivizing that behavior. So there’s one tribe or one family that would that would actually grow In members of their family of their group with gunshot wounds, because we were paying to fix these people, you know, despite the fact that this had nothing to do with us that we haven’t been involved two or three days, I just remember thinking, you know, like, if that’s, you know, if that’s how people live here, I just, you know, I don’t have the, you know, the values or that sort of language to really compute how people can do that to each other in order to get paid. So, it just made me realize that, you know, it’s incredibly lucky to be born in the West and, you know, just by pure accident of being born in the UK, you know, I kind of won the lottery that he respects
Adam G. Force 08:40
Hey, now, it’s funny, as you were saying that I was thinking in my head, that birth is a lottery.
Rod Yap 08:47
And you know, it’s a total accident that we were born, you know, in, in the sort of developed world. Yeah, we just have things like you know, eating clean running water, easy access. So those things because they’re things that, you know, a lot of people don’t have.
Adam G. Force 09:03
Yeah, which is it’s an eye opener, it makes you grateful, that’s for sure. And, you know, it’s that I’ve noticed with about at least 80% of the people that I interview, especially when it’s, you know, different social entrepreneurs and such that their inspiration to start something really powerful as a business and change the trajectory of their of their life is from a travel experience. That’s usually what jolts them, it’s like a sensory overload.
Rod Yap 09:29
Hmm. Yeah, I think I think certainly with this sort of social entrepreneurs that that I’ve come across, they really kind of get this concept of, you know, making a contribution towards making a better place somehow. Yeah. And I think whilst a lot of veterans or a lot of people serving the military wouldn’t necessarily Connect as strongly as a social entrepreneur that certainly some absolutely would, you know, some of them join the military or, you know, join the police of the army. Fiber graded because they want to have a positive impact because they want to splice. And I completely see that I get it.
Adam G. Force 10:06
Yeah, I mean, there’s many ways that we can all contribute and you know, so not everybody is the same. And, you know, I can appreciate all the different formats and lifestyles that people have that, that make a difference and contribute and stuff like that. And I think, you know, as business is really transforming quite a bit over the past couple decades, you know, being a great leader, like redefining what a great leader is and how they think and what they accomplished, like, I think is really important, because there’s that trickle down, right, the leader of a different company or organization, when you have values in place that are important to not only the company, but the people that the company serves and all that stuff. It starts kind of like pushing good business. Right. Do you agree?
Rod Yap 10:53
Yeah. You know, I think you know, how you behave sort of sets the tone, certainly if you’re in leadership positions. For the organization, so, you know, I, I contract with a number of organizations that will often say to me, you know, we’ve got a cultural problem. You know, we’ve got an issue that our culture is not quite right. You know, I’m actually Well, you know, I might often say this in the kind of first in a pitch presentation, but actually the problem, they have a problem with the way in which they leaders are behaving as a leader, you need to need to pull off. You know, understanding the culture simply is a reflection of leadership, positive or negative. Yeah, it’s kind of really, really important. And that fundamentally comes down to the behavior of the leaders in your organization. It’s what they do, every single day. It’s the impact that has on the people around them. That’s what sets the tone for the culture of your organization. And I think when you’re relatively small, that’s something you’ve really got to focus on. Because if you’re only a sort of team of nine people and you may you hire someone in who’s potentially toxic as your 10th employee. Now 10% of your organization is going to cultural issue. But 100,000 people that that’s not so much of an issue, but, you know, when you’re small those you know, you need those kind of people that can muck in and help out are willing to roll their sleeves up and do work outside of their job description. And, you know, lots of people aren’t willing to do that. So you know, then certainly right for your your organization.
Adam G. Force 12:23
Yeah. 100%. And I’ve heard a couple, you know, interesting lessons that I’ve learned, which are one great leaders hire great leaders. So you definitely want people that are the right fit for your company culturally and have the mindset that will push the company in the right direction. But also I was interviewing the founder of Tom’s Blake Mycoskie and he said that, you know, one thing he would do differently if he started over would was his hiring because I guess as they got more established, when they were hiring the executive team, you can find people that have great resumes, but what happens is they have this experience As leaders in their particular space and their history, and they bring all that baggage with them, which may not jive with the current culture that you’re trying to create?
Rod Yap 13:09
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s really easy, you know, check yourself and consider, you know, the impact of the things the brand names have on you, and all the assumptions that you bring with them. Because if you, for example, work in a FinTech business, for example, you know, off top my head and you hire people from sort of larger banking organizations, you know, often their experience, you know, if even if they’re particularly senior can be very, very specialized, and they understand how one area, you know, to go and work on what much smaller team will require them to have a far broader remit for the things that are going on. And frankly, to to kind of get involved with actually doing stuff. Well, maybe just to wrap up is I think the hiring was a really interesting one because again, you know, a lot of sticks or a lot of people that want to build a high performing team. Yeah, really thought about that hiring process. is still very much a kind of, you know, couple of interviews, you get off of the job kind of thing and my view that you know, anyone can be good for a couple of hours down the route or you know, give give people some work or give people a kind of case study and see what questions they ask to their, how they approach something that is relevant to the job they’re going to be doing. Because as you know, when you’re a small team, right, that those jobs are going to evolve, the responsibilities are going to change rapidly. So you don’t need people that can do something, you know, very neatly fixing with into into a job description. You need people that are flexible and malleable and can roll with the changes that the company is going to go through. And I realize you know, his family is giving people some work and see how they handle it will give them some things to think about in a sort of scenario based scenario based process.
Adam G. Force 14:52
Yeah, hundred percent. I mean, I think that’s a really important point for anybody listening is that especially when you have a smaller team you in the first couple years I mean, people start out as solo entrepreneurs often and and i would definitely encourage having co founders, but as you start building a smaller team to get extra hands on deck, you, you really do want to think about people that are not just good at a particular job, but that can kind of face challenges and pivot with the needs of the market or the business as you see what’s going on. And you can kind of like you said, Go with roll with the punches. Yeah, that’s powerful.
Rod Yap 15:29
Yeah, absolutely. You need those people that have that agility, flexibility and worked around you. That’s not my job description.
Adam G. Force 15:39
Yeah, yeah. I will tell me a little bit about just from your experience, then around leadership, you know, have you seen an evolution in leadership over the years? Has has the mindset of leadership changed?
Rod Yap 15:56
I’d like to think so. I like to think Leadership is moving away from something that is, you know, is really reserved for the kind of C suite executives and something that people, you know, do or responsibility that comes with a position of authority. I think it’s moving away from that. And I think it’s moving away from that kind of, you know, I’m a leader, I come up with a plan, I tell you what to do. I’m not convinced that approach has ever worked particularly well, but having spoken to, you know, people in the generation above me That said, I get a sense that that’s how businesses and organizations used to operate. And I think nowadays, there’s an expectation that, you know, if you were a leader in a position of, you know, in a position of authority, you know, you asked your team, you know, right, this is the end state that we’re working towards, you know, how do you think we should approach that, you know, you might have a challenge, you invite the feedback, you invite their ideas, and then your job is effectively to cherry pick the best things and, and to sort of build it into some kind of plan because I don’t buy into this nonsense that, you know, Millennials don’t work hard. I think that’s absolutely rubbish. I think that they will work hard, they will absolutely work their nuts off, but they have to be involved in that process, they have to be made to feel like, you know, they were part of the planning. And you know, I that I want to be fit, I want to feel like that as well. So, so that’s where I kind of see things going. I think that people have a different expectation about what their what their bosses are going to do and how they will involve them going forward. But some lasting change.
Adam G. Force 17:39
Yeah, no, I think that’s a great point. And and, you know, organizations are flattening out, you know, from the height, the traditional, like hierarchy structure. I mean, I think there’s always like decision makers, like you said, but the teams are more involved and everybody becomes a leader in their own right, in a sense that, you know, we have to be able to trust and rely that they’re going to get the job done. Based on what the end game is about, right, so if everybody’s on the same page, we can work towards those same goals. And I think that that’s, that’s powerful. That’s a powerful change in mindset. And, you know, interesting, I just did a quick talk about how there’s some new data out that I think 50% of millennials, and 75% of Gen Z are leaving their jobs for mental health reasons. And I was kind of blown away and alarmed by those numbers. And you know, everyone gives them the bad rap. They don’t want to work hard. And so you know, when you have like stagnant low wages, or you’re being overworked for those low wages, like there’s some burnout there, but I also think there’s a lot of misalignment of people trying to get jobs that one they’re overqualified for or two, they’re just not meaningful to them. So they’re kind of like just miserable, waking up every day and doing it so they might be in these bad, you know, job environments.
Rod Yap 18:55
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a that’s a really concerning issue. But then when you sort of think about it, you know, certainly when my father came home, you know, if the office call, it’s because the building was broken down. Right. But you know, there was a real emergency. Yeah. Now, as companies are more global, you know, you could be working across quite a few different time zones. Yeah. Therefore, your emails and phone calls never really switched off. There’s not that many people or not that many bosses that will will, you know, advise you or sort of say to you that you need to put in boundaries, you need to push back when people are asking for you, you to deliver stuff for tomorrow. And, you know, it’s five o’clock here. And you haven’t, frankly, got any more working hours to give. I think, I think that is a contributing factor. But also, I think, again, I think some of this comes down to leadership, because most of us have worked in a team, right where, you know, let’s say you’ve got sort of six people in that team. Two or three of them are really sort of strong performers and maybe some others kind of, you know, coasting, perhaps a little bit of that generally tends to be a bit of a bell curve distribution around to the performance. And one of the leaders tend to do with the people that deliver all the time, they tend to give them more work. Because it’s a lot easier to do that than it is a performance management conversation with someone else and go, hey, maybe you’re putting your weight here. I need you. I need you to deliver in accordance with my expectations, because frankly, I’m not going to keep giving more stuff to those people who always deliver for me. I think I definitely think that’s part of it as well, that sort of inability to handle those difficult conversations.
Adam G. Force 20:33
Hmm. Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense. That’s important. And it is tough. I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. And, but I mean, there’s ways to approach it that I guess are it’s more beneficial because you can help somebody else kind of make progress in their own life by giving them that feedback and helping them move forward. And I’m, I’m curious, so you know, you do a lot of leadership training and development to help you know, create a High Performance cultures, I’m just kind of checking out your website here. And you know, I’m curious in some of the things that are important to your process that you see with a lot of the organizations you work with then some of the maybe some key takeaways that might be valuable for our audience to understand when it comes to this leadership. Dynamic.
Rod Yap 21:22
Sure. So I mean, I think the first thing is be really cautious of people that give you a nice sort of type, by definition of what leadership is. Leadership, by definition is about judgment. It’s about making good decisions that get the best out of a situation. So, you know, when people sort of say, you know, leadership is all about empowering people. Yeah, I agree with that. 99% of the time, you are absolutely right. But you know, if you only walk across the road and we see someone get hit by a car, the last thing you would necessarily want me to do in that situation is empower you to call the ambulance you know, you think it’s the right thing to do to Just call the police or the ambulance come and help this individual, you know, that’s an environment where sort of tight command and control and sort of, you know, taking, taking control and gripping that chaotic situation is sort of really, really important. I think some of the things that, you know, I work with with people on are, you know, creating that sort of clarity by having that aligned goal, you know, it’s a really, really simple and sort of common theme. There’s loads of other people that sort of talk about this. But I think it’s really important to have a unifying goal of the team are working towards because then once you’ve got that clarity in the how you can ask them for support on and you can, you know, you can say right, how do we how do we achieve this as a group of people who’s going to do what in everything becomes much easier. Once you’ve got that clearly aligned picture of what you’re working towards. I tend to use and sort of, you know, NASA version man on the moon by the end of the decade is a really good vision with a nice set of time boundary to as well. Once you’ve got that happen You know, it’s one of those things that you you over communicate, so you cannot afford to communicate what it is you’re working towards as a group of people so that people know instinctively right? How do I how does my workstream fit in with the achievement of that vision? You know, unless you’ve got that vision, you can’t really answer that question. You know, holding people to account is really, really important. And accountability is a sort of two way process for me. So accountability involves, you know, turning around to a leader saying, hey, look, you’ve been distracted by the new shiny thing. You said that that’s the vision, we’re working on that don’t change that unless there is a reason to change it. And then we should all get together and discuss it and make a decision based on the facts rather than following your instinct on what needs to be sort of worked on. So lastly, I mean, I’m sort of trying to, you know, try to keep this short. So I’m trying to be concise. You know, laugh, you know, the ability to build strong relationships. You know, how well do you know your people? How well do you know you’re doing I want to ask you that question. And I’m sure there’ll be a lot of people sort of nodding down. Yeah. Oh my people. Okay, would you know? Do you know the names of their spouse? Do you know the names of their children? How old? Are they? Where do they go to college? when they grow up? What do they do with their spare time? What are their interests? What do they want to have a career within your organization? Do they want to stay here? Do they want to be you know, or do they do they want to take this experience and start their own business? The answers to all this stuff, frankly, are less important than the fact that you answer them because you started you ask people that because right what you’re demonstrating by that is demonstrating that you care about them and that you’re interested. And fundamentally, people aren’t gonna follow you because you’ve told them to, they’re going to follow you because they believe they have their best interests at heart. So the sort of clarity that vision, relationships and accountability if I can be really succinct, those are probably the three areas to work on more than anything else as a star. Beautiful.
Adam G. Force 24:59
Yeah. Ain’t no I, when you teach these types of things, I’m always thinking in my head, like, I hear that stuff I’ll make, you know, it’s just a matter of caring. It’s like, you know, who are these people, like you should care enough to ask about how they’re doing, who their spouses meet them. And like, these are people you’re going to spend a lot of time with as well. Right? So I spend I talk every day to my co founder. So these are people that you really want to get to know and you gotta, you gotta like them. You know? Yeah.
Rod Yap 25:29
Social Enterprise why, you know, that that’s confused about this. Because that, you know, if they share that enthusiasm for the problem that you are trying to solve for the people that you are trying to help, and they will walk through because to achieve your vision, and that’s a that’s a great thing.
Adam G. Force 25:47
Yeah, yeah, they need to believe in what the mission is. So you know, people overlook the missions in their company, especially early on like, yeah, yeah, I gotta have this mission statement. It’s just like, boilerplate crap. But it’s not like that clarity of like, where you’re going and why you’re doing what you’re doing, especially the why you’re doing it because people want to get behind something and not everyone’s going to start their own business to get behind something they believe, but they can certainly join something else that they believe in and be excited about waking up every day.
Rod Yap 26:17
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s kind of the key thing. I mean, that would be question number one for me, in a relatively small organization, a social enterprise. Why do you care about
Adam G. Force 26:26
Yes, yes. Love it.
Rod Yap 26:29
Like, you can’t convince me of that, then. Frankly, may I’m not sure there’s a but you know, I’m not looking for someone that just wants another job. Because the reality is, the job description I’ve just shared with you is probably going to change in six months. So I need someone that is kind of willing to be flexible, but enthusiastic and passionate about this purpose or the purpose of this organization.
Adam G. Force 26:49
Yeah, early on. I mean, that’s, that’s probably most important. I think that’s, that’s a beautiful, we’ll wrap it up there. And I want to just let people know where they can learn more about what you’re doing and your programs and stuff. So why don’t you give a shout out to where they can learn more and connect with you?
Rod Yap 27:05
Sure. So my name is Roderick. Yeah. The beauty of having a unique name is that I can pretty much be found on the internet. So hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m an open connector. So you know just assembling changing the text. just invite disconnects are always accept. And my website is leadership forces calm and I blog there about articles relating to leadership, human performance, taking the principles of what I’ve learned in the military, in the nuclear industry in the sporting world, into the corporate world. That’s that’s what I have to do. That’s my, that’s my mission in life anyway. Beautiful.
Adam G. Force 27:41
I really appreciate your time today and sharing your experiences and expertise.
Rod Yap 27:47
Thanks very much.
Adam G. Force 27:48
Great to speak to you. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews and more ways to Stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
What is transformational leadership and why does it matter to your business today? Find out with expert Peter Montoya who has been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, a best-selling author and keynote speaker.
Most Speakers who teach have not done it for themselves…and most Entrepreneurs don’t know how to speak… Peter is the rare exception.
He’s a thought-leader who has also accomplished big things. Peter bootstrapped his successful software company from an idea in 2008 to a multi-million dollar exit in 2018… without capital, investors or partners.
Peter knows how to inspire people by tapping into their unique purposes. Peter is a truly fascinating and multi-faceted guy, with decades of experience in speaking to audiences about his business knowledge, inspirational journey, and human behavioral insight. Though Peter struggled through school with undiagnosed ADHD, he was admitted to and graduated from the University of California Irvine in Political Science. Post-college he became a traveling speaker and salesman, chalking up over 3000 presentations and living in over 22 major cities.
Peter went on to found a successful advertising agency and software platform, dedicated to financial service professionals. He quickly became the industry guru, writing numerous books, including one of his best selling works “The Brand Called You”, “The Personal Branding Phenomenon” and his newest book “Leadership Power”.
He now pursues his passion for humanity and the planet – he sincerely believes that all people and organizations have a special role in perpetuating the survival of our species, our civilization and our planet. He speaks thoughtfully and passionately about the need for Transformational Leadership in today’s world.
Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. I hope that you’re doing amazing. And if you missed last week’s episode, you might want to go back and check that out. We spoke with rod Yap. He’s got a ton of great experience, and we cover off on high performance leadership. Now leadership has been a very big topic. I mean, today we are talking about how businesses evolution, how businesses evolution, how business is evolving, and what kind of leadership is evolving with it, right? How do we lean into leadership for today’s world? And what does that look like? And it’s really important because great leaders create trust, they inspire people, and they do good in the world. And that’s what we’re all about here. So we’re going to be talking to Peter Montoya. Now. Peter Montoya has a lot of experience That we want to learn from. So he’s a leadership strategist. Now. He is a keynote speaker. He’s done a ton of talks over 3000 talks in, I think 20 over 20 major cities. And he’s also a best selling author. So he’s a best selling author for a book called The brand called you the personal branding phenomenon, and his latest book leadership power. Now he started his own company as well. He bootstrapped the software company in 2008. And he had a multi million dollar exit in 2018. So he’s been down the startup road. He’s been traveler, he has been a storyteller. He knows what it takes. And he seen what it takes to be a transformational leader. And that’s what we’re going to touch on is, you know, what is the the what are organizations roles in the future of humanity? What is transformational leadership? And what do you need to know about leaning in to be a great leader for your startup right now, we have some great stuff that has been released on Change Creator calm so before we get into that conversation, I just want to give you a heads Up to a check that out. Just a quick reminder. And guys, you can find our Facebook group, if you go to our website, you can join us on our Facebook group and get involved over there. It’s the profitable digital impact entrepreneur, we’d love to see you over there, we have a little bit more of a tight knit focused conversation around business and startups. So if you have a business idea, or you already have a business, that might be a great place for you to get into that community. One other thing I want to mention is if you are a Shopify user, we recently did a review on a company called Shogun. And the so Shogun offers so much flexibility. They are a page builder for Shopify. So I know Shopify has some like limitations around how the functionality and the analytics, so they not only give you deep analytics, but they give you the ability to really customize every page the way you want on Shopify, so you can increase conversions and do different types of testing and all that good marketing stuff. Go to change. calm. So if you have a Shopify store, search for Shogun, you’ll find our full review, I think you’ll really like it. We were We were pretty blown away by the software and the capabilities, one of our writers had a chance to really dig into it and get like an account to explore it. And they did the review based on that really cool stuff. So I just wanted to throw it out there, I think you can benefit from it, and help drive your business forward. So without further ado, guys, we’re gonna jump into this conversation with Peter and really dive in deeper into the leadership role. Hey, Peter, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?
Peter Montoya 03:38
I’m doing phenomenal. I’m so excited to be here.
Adam G. Force 03:42
Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re a busy guy and yet lots of stuff going on. But I think you do have a lot of great experience to share. So we’re gonna dig into that over the next 20 to 30 minutes and see where it goes. So I always like to just kick it off. Just tell us like what’s going on in your world today. what’s the latest? What’s the greatest? I’m going through another pivot.
Peter Montoya 04:03
So I have been an entrepreneur for 30 years. And as an entrepreneur, you kind of when you start your first business, you’d like to think this one business is going to be my lifelong business. That is not the case. So I probably have started and either closed and or folded in or sold 10 businesses, and I’m probably on my 11th incarnation. Now, I’m going back and rebranding myself as a leadership speaker and high performance teams expert. I have been a speaker for the better part of 30 years, but never in the leadership space.
Adam G. Force 04:37
Yeah, and some of the information I got it sounds like you’ve only done about 3000 presentations. Tell me about your first business that you bootstrapped and had a multi million dollar exit. I think we all like to hear about those, those life, lines of business going from start to finish. Got it.
Peter Montoya 04:57
So I’ve only had one more section. than failure in my life, I’ve had, you know, seven businesses that failed and one business that had a really fantastic exit. I started my first business as an advertising agency back in 1998. I was 29 years old, I thought I knew at all. I was an advertising agency specializing in financial service professionals. And I did that for about 10 years, I became the go to guy. If you were a financial advisor, and you wanted to help marketing or branding yourself, and then I evolved that business in 2007 or so.
Adam G. Force 05:33
Pretty cool. Pretty cool. Now, I guess so once you sold that one, why did you decide to exit and what did you do next?
Peter Montoya 05:42
Well, that business, which was the advertising agency, I basically kind of collapsed it and then started a software business. So the advertising agency was a model where I only ate what I killed every single month. Yeah, and every single month I had to generate between 200 and $400,000 a month in sales, which I was doing myself Using using stages so you know, speaking in front of audiences and selling audiences on our advertising services, and I realized I was really sick and tired of being on a hamster wheel. Yeah, constantly having to eat what I kill. And I wanted a recurring revenue business. So I started a software company called Marketing Pro, which provided automated marketing content for financial service professionals. And we charged subscriptions of 25 to $75 a month, in between 2008 and 2018. When I sold it, we amassed 11,000 subscribers, and we sold it to a much bigger company. The reason I sold it was it was I had all my equity in the company. I mean, I had no debt, but I also had no assets, except for maybe a couple investment properties, a couple cars. So it was up my whole entire nest egg, and I wasn’t passionate about it anymore. I’m an entrepreneur and so I fall in that kind of quickstart category of where you’re always having new ideas and you want to go in new directions. I kind of built it gotten over the hump and lost the passion for growing the business.
Adam G. Force 07:06
Yeah, yeah, you know, I see that happen a lot. And I guess you got to be willing to kind of let go, what you what was the past and be willing to just kind of move forward with new ideas. And I know as entrepreneurs, it’s pretty common that you’re like, top level big picture thinker and you want to try all kinds of different things that focus can be tough sometimes.
Peter Montoya 07:25
Yeah, exactly. So once the problem is solved once you’ve got a workable model, okay, what’s next?
Adam G. Force 07:31
I, you know, my, my co founder, Amy and I were always saying is, you know, it’s really important to us that our business can run without us, because to your point, you want it to be an asset. And as we have the investor mindset, you really want it to be able to operate without you. And, you know, I think that kind of leads you to certain types of decision making. greed. Yeah. So you’re really getting into the leadership stuff. Tell me a little bit about that focus and what you’re thinking there.
Peter Montoya 07:58
So I still think the world is suffering from a dearth in really good leadership? I think there is collectively a large elephant in the room that we as a society aren’t talking about. So here’s what I mean by that. And here’s the question I’ve got for you, Adam, in 50 years from now, if we went forward to 2070, do you think the world and society will be better than it is right now or worse off than it is right now, based on the trajectory we’re headed on?
Adam G. Force 08:27
I want to say that it’ll be better but the problem is I had to actually think about it. be negative.
Peter Montoya 08:37
So that’s kind of how I am too. So based on our current trajectory, it is going to be worst. While you’re talking about climate change, overpopulation, pollution at the lot loss of biodiversity. We are headed 180 million miles an hour in the wrong direction. As a civilization Yeah, so the most important question the most people Dialogue we should be having right now as a species is how can we work together to solve our collective problems better? And on the other side right now, the large the conversation right now is, is how can I make the other side more wrong than we are? So we get our way that is the conversation we’re having right now in this country. And that is a profound lack of leadership.
Adam G. Force 09:25
What do you think is the barrier here? So I mean, I love that you’re focused on leadership because we do need more heart led leadership, we need people that think holistically about not just their companies and businesses and assets, but actually how they impact people in the environment in the world. And you know, we haven’t done that for a long time, which is why we are where we are. However, I don’t know how familiar you are with things like Cambridge analytic and the power of you know, our technology today and data, and just the disinformation and the the campaigns going on. It’s I mean, I see a huge challenge in getting people, I guess clear on like what’s right and what’s wrong because everybody can find a study or report or something that that supports their own agenda
Peter Montoya 10:14
That’s a really, really great point. So what social media is now doing to our society is the same thing the printing press did to the world about 400 years ago. So when the printing press was first invented, there, all of a sudden you thought, Oh, my gosh, I start spreading information and the world’s become more informed. And actually, what happened was a huge proliferation of conspiracy theories about 400 years ago, and actually led to the Christian crusades where they killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. For about 30 years. It took 30 years to figure out how to publish information that was actually accurate. We’re going through the same kind of tectonic train change, change right now with social media. Yeah. And we are only 10 years into it. We may have 30 more years to go until we figure out the platform’s technology, the policy among those platforms to actually start telling the truth. So we can agree on a common set of facts so we can actually solve problems.
Adam G. Force 11:15
Yeah, I mean, that sounds amazing. And I would love to see that I know, I was listening to somebody talk, and they were like, Listen, fossil fuels are no longer the most valuable currency today. It’s its data. And when she said that, I was like, You know what, I actually don’t think that’s true. I think that today, it’s trust. Because you know, especially from a business mindset, like based on what we’re talking about here with disinformation and poor leadership and personal agendas, you can’t trust anything anymore. So if you can earn someone’s trust, you’re gonna get a lot further.
Peter Montoya 11:47
I like that. Well said.
Adam G. Force 11:48
Oh man. So what kind of steps now have you been taking to kind of pursue a shift in leadership?
Peter Montoya 11:57
You know, the biggest thing is one thing I could impose upon your audience is for them to consider what their moral compass is. And so most people have never even really thought about the definition, their moral compass, and it probably is the most important decision they’ll make in their life. So the truth to me is, is that morality is subjective. Those are the objective that your morality is subjective, which means each human being is decide what is the goal of their lives, and to some degree with the goal of people’s lives are around them. And some people go well, you know, it’s easy, it’s God whenever God tells me to do what God says is moral. That is my moral compass, okay? Other people might say it’s the Constitution. So the US Constitution instead of federal laws, if it’s legal that it’s good, if it’s illegal, then it’s bad. Other people have I think the default moral compass for most Americans is personal enrichment. So as long as it makes me money and doesn’t hurt somebody else too badly, then it’s okay. So you know, I want a big house big car. I want to consume a lot. I want a reasonable enough We will listen to me. And then you know, I want to be left alone, and they more or less are living the morality of personal enrichment. Now what I think what I’ve chosen for my life, and I would like more people to choose for their life, and I can’t make them do this is that of human well being? I think everyone’s moral compass should be set to maximizing their own human well being and everyone else’s well being as well. And as soon as you make a decision, the calculus of how you make decisions and what you value changes radically.
Adam G. Force 13:32
Yeah, yeah, I agree with that. And I think, you know, I think there’s a, I guess, an educational gap. Would you agree that over time, there’s an educational gap that could be preventing people from actually understanding that in another word, another way to put it is, you know, people don’t see as clearly that the a shift or transition from an individual or an organism will impact the whole, and they don’t see it that way. Cuz if you did, you’d realize that all these things of thinking for yourself, I have enough money, I don’t want to hurt someone too bad. You know, that’s the wrong way to think about how we operate as a global community.
Peter Montoya 14:16
That’s absolutely right. And you got to look at the culture of the United States and the culture of the United States all moves toward radical individualism, radical individualism, and I want to win as long as I don’t hurt you, or someone else too bad. So as all of our society, I mean, we basically have been indoctrinated for the last hundred and 20 years with what’s called a prosperity doctrine. And the prosperity doctrine basically says, success equals happiness. As soon as I make enough money that I can buy my house in the woods, be completely and totally isolated, live off, you know, live off the grid where the government’s not bothering me. I have succeeded and I will be happy. And what’s amazing about that is those people are the least happy people on the planet. So the Whole aim of our society is going in the wrong direction. And that happens both in religion, it happens in personal development, almost all personal development is geared around the prosperity doctrine. What happens in our educational system? All everything is moving toward How can I be alone? How can I make a lot of money? How can I do this all by myself, it’s all geared the wrong way, which is the opposite of how we thrive. If you look at the schools of positive psychology, look at the studies in longevity, everything’s about having a purpose, which is usually greater than yourself, making the world a better place. And number two, having a lot of interconnected relationships 100%
Adam G. Force 15:39
So, you know, a lot of times you’ll hear like, there’s been massive progress with technology, and people associate that with just overall progress, but we haven’t had you know, I think what we’re kind of getting at is educational and spiritual progress around you know, how we live. I mean, you can hear these guys like Bernie Sanders and stuff, talk about About how they want to help more people, and it’s going to cost taxes and all this stuff. And so people will say, Well, I’m not gonna pay for someone else’s kid to go to school or get health care. And I’m just like, I can just see such a huge disconnect and how we actually are thinking about things.
Peter Montoya 16:14
I would agree with you. So I would say that humanity right now if you look at humanity in terms of a human life lifespan, we are in our college years, and your college years are about is how do you adapt? How do you use unlimited adult vices. So when you first go to college at 18 or 19 years old, all of a sudden, you don’t have anyone telling you and putting restraints on what you can do anymore. And you can drink smoke sacks gamble, what drugs, you have unlimited access to all of the human biases and most people in their first couple years of adulthood adulting they over indulge? And they realize there are prices to pay for doing whatever you want when you want to do it. And we as a society are exactly the same place right now. We are realizing Yes, we can As much carbon as we want as cheaply as we want, we can have as much technology in our hands we want, we can be staring at our screens as we want. However, those things as indulgent and as good as they might feel as easy as they might be, there are huge societal repercussions or societal individual repercussions from that. So we are as a society right now, as a species right now, in those 1819 year old years going, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. And we’ve actually got to restrict ourselves based on what is in the best long term interests of our species.
Adam G. Force 17:33
That’s the that’s the tough one right there is really getting people to I guess, it’s like a reeducation process almost how do we get people to detach from those you know, historical conditioning conditioned beliefs and start thinking in a new direction with you know, I just, it’s a very difficult thing. So I guess that’s why you’re focused on leadership and trying to have a top down effect.
Peter Montoya 17:59
Noticed some degree, I mean leadership and really changed, you know, the military was the prototypical takedown style. You know, I’m the leader, you do what I say. And today, it’s really an inside out job, which means we’re really trying to empower people. So they make better decisions for themselves and for the organization as a whole. We want thinking self leading, empowered people making decisions, so no longer isn’t necessarily a top down. We’re trying to really imbue them with the right tools that make better moral decisions for themselves and the people around them. Yeah, and
Adam G. Force 18:34
I think, you know, so. So basically, getting because I, you know, it made me think of this film the family, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, or saw it. It’s like, they’re like, these are the leaders that have the most impact. And when I say top down, forget traditional corporate hierarchy or anything like that, but people that have been influenced in a sense, it’s like, if they’re out there, spreading the Bs, like, it just makes it that much harder and to Your point we want people to start understanding what this I guess modern day leadership is and not even just what it should be, but what it needs to become and why, right?
Peter Montoya 19:11
Yeah, absolutely. Right. So we’re really focused on self leadership and self leadership really is empowerment. empowerment is one of those terms to a lot of people where they go, it’s kind of a fuzzy word, but they really, empowerment really is very well defined. So here’s what empowerment is. First of all, empowerment is authority, plus confidence, plus competence. So when As for me, as a leader of an organization, I want to give my people maximum authority to make as many decisions within alignment of the organization. So the organization is really clear, the objective is really clear or head is really clear. And we’ll give each one maximum authority to help us achieve that goal. Next, I want to give them the competence and the skills and I’ll ask them questions and training to constantly give them more and more comps, make better decisions, and then with that usually comes down competence. So when they’re sitting there in a decision making situation, they are empowered to make the best decision for them in the organization. I love that.
Adam G. Force 20:09
And so and what are you offering and doing right now that’s that is supporting people to become a transformational leader, if you will.
Peter Montoya 20:18
Great question. So I’m an infopreneur. These days, I’ve got a great YouTube channel which is youtube.com, slash thrive, e union. And on there, we’ve got 54 different videos that basically teach different life skills and leadership. So that’s one thing we do are putting the final touches on a book right now called the 10. Secrets of leadership power, self testable for self leadership and leadership of others want to really kind of break down and get pragmatic steps for people to actually be able to know how to build up their leadership skills. And then also I’ve got a great online coaching community, which is on Facebook and it’s currently free. So that would be Peter Montoya leadership coaching inside of Facebook, go to Facebook search for Peter Montoya leadership coaching, and join our free leadership coaching community.
Adam G. Force 21:09
So thanks for sharing that. And just curious then, as leadership is evolving, and where do you see it? Do you see these leadership styles changing? Obviously, it has changed over time. And do you see it happening more in certain areas? It could be small companies, large corporations, government, whatever it might be. Do you see it evolving in certain places first?
Peter Montoya 21:34
Yeah, it certainly is happening. And I don’t know if you saw it. In the last couple months, the American Chamber of Commerce actually kind of changed what they thought was the objective American business now, whereas the objective of American business was either by default or stated to maximize shareholder value, right. The Chamber of Commerce, more or less said, I think the US Chamber Congress more or less said, we now have five stakeholders and we get to consider all five stakeholders. Clients are one shareholders be another, their vendors, their employees and the communities they serve. That actually is a holistic solution. Now we’ve got American businesses saying making money alone is not it.
Adam G. Force 22:21
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s it’s powerful. And I do recall seeing that and I’m curious at what impact the you know, I think it was Chamber of Commerce, but them setting the tone, if you will, curious on what kind of impact that’s really happening because I feel like you know, there’s probably a lot of old blood out there and a lot of new blood coming. I think the new blood is gonna lean into those ideas, while the old blood is gonna have their mindset on maximizing profit, because that’s just their mentality.
Peter Montoya 22:51
Yeah, I mean, you also understand that money is you know, highly, highly addictive. So human beings have two potential Reasons for living. The default reason for living is your basic survival and this goes back to our homosapien origins and more or less how we survive if human beings is to eat, don’t get eaten and procreate. That’s how we prepare. keeps giving you some of the survival of the species going forward. And making money is nothing more than an extension of that basic core programming. So you say well, how is making money I mean, buying more houses and more cars, just an extension of eat, don’t get eaten and procreate. reproduce. And when more or less people buy cars, have houses have boats have more vacation as a way of attracting mates? If you think Oh no, I’m evolved. I live in a big giant huge house and I’m beyond my core programming. Basically basis rival No, you’re still caught on the hedonic treadmill of that and it takes a level of comfort. consciousness to go, you know what, I’m going to transcend my basic core programming of survival and move on to human flourishing or thriving. And that’s basically when you make the choice that you want to live for human well being. And once you figure it out that maximizing human well being is what you’re going living for. Then you start living for things like purpose, relationships, calm, and you actually reorganize your life in a much more holistic way. But it takes some intelligence to do and discipline to do that in our society.
Adam G. Force 24:30
Yeah, definitely. Now, do you do you think or would you agree that there that we’re actually living through a major transition in in business overall, globally?
Peter Montoya 24:45
But yeah, I certainly hope so. You’re getting more and more Gen Xers like me into the executive ranks, and we have a much more holistic way of looking at the world so I’m really hoping so. Gen Xers have been the biggest disappointment. Is this most not the biggest non generation in history? We haven’t even had a president yet. So we’ve had baby boomer presidents, and they’re looking we might skip right over Gen x’s and just get all millennial if they elect Pete Budaj edge. Yeah, there hasn’t been I don’t think any of the candidates right now for president are Gen Xers were worthless generation.
Adam G. Force 25:20
You know, you don’t hear too much about Gen X. That’s, that’s no, it’s it’s, it’s now millennials and Gen Z. And for some reason, yeah, Gen X gets skipped.
Peter Montoya 25:30
Adam G. Force 25:32
Man. So yeah, I think you know, there is a big transition. And you know, one of the things I always like to say is that, and I’m curious on your thoughts is you know, as more people as the internet grows and grows, and we have this, all these new opportunities, it’s there’s never been a better time for opportunity for someone to say, I’m gonna I’m gonna escape the nine to five like what we were taught and programmed to do basically, and I I’m going to do something of my own, like, I’m just gonna figure out my own. And what I always want to see people do is like, find harmony, like there is no work life balance, there’s just your life. So you just start creating this harmonious, you know, duality like comes together, right? And it’s like, I’m just gonna shape whatever I want. And now with the internet, you can do that the opportunity is there.
Peter Montoya 26:23
So yeah, it certainly is. I mean, there’s so much technology now that allow you to actually, you know, work from home from home and basically look like a big business. So there is a lot of opportunity in that one regard. And then in another regard, the number of new businesses starting in America right now is less than during the Carter administration. The large businesses on this planet, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, you know, they are gobbling up a whole lot of mindshare right now. So in some regards, it is easier and in some regards, it’s harder because of the climate right now.
Adam G. Force 26:58
Yeah, that’s an interesting point. I’m always looking for statistics on the number of companies started or you know, failing, like, and I don’t know, like where you get your numbers. Any any ideas on that?
Peter Montoya 27:11
Good question. I would have to google it again. Yeah, I know. I googled it not too long ago and saw those numbers, but it’s, it’s out there. I’m guessing it is. The Department of Commerce is where those numbers are. Yeah. Neil Patel recently posts something around about a 500,000 or so companies start but only about 30. Some thousand make it? Right. Right. And those numbers are pretty powerful. You know, but what’s interesting is I see more people, and you don’t need to be a Tesla to live. So live, what you might define as success, right? So you can grab your small part of the pie and help a small part of the global community in your own way with the skills that you have. And we would call that living your truth. I was at a conference in Toronto and I interviewed a girl by the name of Nasseri Sheikh who is on our magazine cover and when I spoke to her she was a child slave went through all the stuff she got out started two businesses. And I asked her in the end, if you had one opportunity to give a message to the world, what would it be? And she said, I would ask that people dig deep live their truth, because that’s the biggest contribution you can make to the world. Did I lose you? Sorry, I had muted the microphone to sneeze. failed, unmuted. Yes, in my vernacular, that is living your purpose and purpose is the intersection of five of five things. Number one, what you’re passionate about. Number two, what you’re good at what you’re skilled out. And number three, something that benefits humanity. And once you find the intersection of those three things, yes, you are maximizing contribution to our species. And so I really hope that your listeners here are not just doing jobs that they like, and that make them money. But actually, they’d like to Really good at that are helping society beautiful.
Adam G. Force 29:04
I love that. And I and I that’s where I want to see this overall transition go, you know, we have more transparency now with the internet, we could see what’s going on in the world. And hopefully we can find trusted information. And as people get, you know, inspired more than they want to contribute back to help solve some of these problems. And that’s what we’re all about here at Change Creator. So we see a lot of people who do have their hearts in the right place.
Peter Montoya 29:26
Oh, I love what you’re doing here. Adam is fantastic.
Adam G. Force 29:28
Thank you so much. Appreciate that. And I really appreciate your focus on leadership. And you did define it, but I just want to do a final definition and we’ll wrap up. So I have a note here that you know, like we talked about transformational leadership. Let’s just give everybody a very clear definition on what that really means. today.
Peter Montoya 29:49
A transformational leader is someone who changes the fundamentals, fundamental understanding of what something is. So our founding fathers This country 200 years ago, created a fundamental change in understanding what a country could be. Up until that time, most of the countries in the world were all monarchies basically, in powered by God more or less. And the United States of America was the very first democracy and no one thought that model would work. Here we are 200 and some 70 years later, and a half the countries in the world are now democracies, they created a fundamental change understanding of what something is. Steve Jobs is another one. I mean, Steve Jobs probably was a transformational leader at least twice, if not three times. First with what a computer was a computer up until that time filled a room. It was only for governments and research institutions and colleges and things like that. And he basically said, No, a computer is what you put on your desk. It’s more functional. That was probably number one. Number two is probably iTunes. We changed how we got listened to music versus CDs. It was now digital. And the third one was what is a pocket computer Caught a fall, but really it’s a handheld computer. And that was the probably the third time he created a fundamental change understanding was something is, so what in every single time but those fundamental transformation leaders, not only they change the understanding what it is, but they also unlock hundreds, thousands or millions of other leaders. So if you think about it, how many businesses have come evolve because of the iPhone? Well, there’s thousands of or hundreds of thousands of businesses that are created doing software and hardware for the iPhone. And then you also got to think about all the businesses that were started because people could run their whole entire lives off of a handheld computer. So he trance he created other leaders based on his own transformation.
Adam G. Force 31:47
Yeah, I love that. I love the fact that has, you know, Britney bring up a great point about how just creating these transformations such as the iPhone, it just opens up a world of whole a whole other world of opportunity, which is been the case and it’s been pretty amazing. So I couldn’t agree more. Yeah. Well, Peter, listen, I appreciate your time. We’re gonna wrap up here. And I want to give you a chance. I know you gave some shout outs earlier, but let’s just what’s the best place for people to learn more about you and your leadership? approach
Peter Montoya 32:16
our website, which is Peter Montoya calm that should be easy enough to remember. And then I would also go to facebook and join my free leadership community, which is the Peter Montoya leadership coaching in Facebook.
Adam G. Force 32:29
Awesome. Perfect. Alright guys, you heard it, check it out. This sounds like exactly the kind of leadership we need. So really appreciate you sharing all your insights. Peter.
Peter Montoya 32:39
I love that you have this channel and thank you for having giving this gift to the world and having me on it. I really love this episode.
Adam G. Force 32:45
And your next step is to change create a revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit change. Raider mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
We all have an inner leader waiting to take on the world, but how do we make that come to life? We spoke with expert and author, Steve Cockram to find out.
Steve Cockram (UK) and his business partner Jeremie Kubicek (USA), have recently released their 3rd book on leadership – The 100X Leader: How to Become Someone Worth Following. This has been coupled with the release of our new digital GiANT platform, which scales healthy leadership development throughout organizations. Think Netflix meets Peloton with a leadership twist! The platform is disrupting the digital space and our organization GiANT is currently the fastest growing tech business in the USA.
Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. Excited to be here today we’re gonna be talking with Steve cockrum. He is a author of the book 100 ex leader. That’s third book he released with his business partner, Jeremy Kubitschek. So they are they talk about how to how to become somebody who’s worth following, right. And this has been alongside has released this new platform called giant. And that’s designed to help create healthy leadership development through organizations, right. So this is all he’s all focused on leadership. And that’s a big topic I think, especially for today as we’re navigating these uncharted waters. You know, the more we can undertake In the leadership space, the more we can step into our role to become who we need to become with our businesses as entrepreneurs. So he’s looking at really disrupt the space with this platform giant. Sounds pretty interesting. And I was very interested in his thoughts as he is so dialed into leadership space with his books and things like that. So I want to share it with Steve and see what he has to say. If you missed the last episode, it was with the one and only Russell Brunson. He’s the founder of Click Funnels. It’s 100 million dollar company and he has that new book Traffic Secrets. If you missed that, definitely go back and check it out. It was a really energized conversation. It’s on all the the main platforms here for the podcast, but it’s also a live video feed on our Facebook page. So you can catch the video version on the Change Creator Facebook page, you guys can just swing over there and check that out. Guys, we have some updates on the website. There’s always fresh content so don’t forget to check that out. If you haven’t already, you know, we have Change Creator magazine has over 30 Premium additions, but also now the updated app has a flow of articles coming in weekly. So as that’s happening, you guys can get constant content. And the model is changes $10 for the year. So for 10 bucks, you’re getting access to tons and tons of premium content interviews with Richard Branson, Jay Shetty, Seth Godin regular flow of content. We made it as accessible as possible because there’s just so much great content there. So you can just go to Change Creator comm check out the digital magazine, and you’ll find lots of goodies. Alright, guys, we’re gonna get into this conversation with Steve. I hope everybody’s staying safe practicing their social distancing. And we’ll get through this all together. And we’ll keep talking about some of these things on our Facebook page and in the group, the profitable digital impact entrepreneur join us over there. Amy and I are doing conversations and lots of content around Stepping up your marketing with storytelling, but also becoming a leader right now during this pandemic, okay. All right, let’s jump into this conversation with Steve and see what he says. Hey, Steve, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today.
Steve Cockram 03:19
I’m doing incredibly well out from across the pond. Lovely to be with you.
Adam G. Force 03:22
And thank you for taking the time. Appreciate it. Leadership is a topic I love. It’s so important in our lives and our businesses. So I’m excited to kind of dive into your wealth of experience on the topic. So maybe you could just kick us off a little bit and tell us what what are you working on these days what’s happening in your world and just give us a little little update?
Steve Cockram 03:46
That’s great. So I lead a company called giant and the best way to describe it is seven years ago, my business partner good friend of mine, Jeremy Kiba track. Basically we both really ended up Our old worlds together. And we started a new consulting group together. And we really did a lot of research and asked our clients, what were the five major challenges they were facing as we move from the late industrial to the digital world? And they said, summary would be is how do I survive and thrive in a world that’s now? 365 24? Seven, it doesn’t turn off. How do I lead through influence more than positional power? How do I communicate and connect in a world that now learns visually interactive media application? How do I build agile collaborative teams, rather than recruit talented individuals, and particularly poignant for right now, Adam, how do I lead in a world which is increasingly digitally connected, but geographically dispersed? So for seven years, we basically built the tools that would work for the new world. That’s what we did well, two years ago, we realized that if we didn’t have a platform solution, then in the end, consulting in and of its own, couldn’t get there. So we now are what we call it. SAS plus business. So we are software as a service people pay monthly for our services. But we still have a fair number of consultants and coaches about 250 around the world who can go in as it were, and deliver the more traditional side of things. But everyone is learning to do remote right now. So that’s a giant and giant.tv is where you can find all that, huh,
Adam G. Force 05:21
pretty cool. So let me just dig into that for a minute. So if you go on to giant, it’s a resource for leadership insights, but like what is what is actually behind the gate? I see there’s a login on the page there. So what are you actually getting as the product?
Steve Cockram 05:39
So I think what we’d say Adam is that the new world requires different intelligence. And so therefore, there is ways in which you can develop self awareness as a leader, emotional intelligence leader and ultimately then how do you connect your IQ competence skill sets, credentials product To the world. So what most leaders are asking is, how do I lead other people because they don’t do what I would want them to do. And whenever I do for them what I would most want done for me, it doesn’t seem to work. So what we’re building really is a resource that anybody who leads any team whether you’re leading to people, one person or whether you’re leading 30,000, there is the issue, which is how do we create the leaders that know how to function and thrive in the world I’ve just described. So there are, you know, and also realizing that everyone is far too busy, no one’s got time. So little and often we found is a much more effective way of developing leaders than the traditional put them in a room for three hours and hope that does it. So there are all kinds of ways that that people are able to learn and engage and bring their team with them. Okay, so we used to do a lot of executive coaching. We Do some but what we found was that team has become the most important unit of productivity more than the talented individual. So that’s really I would say the focus will that platform does, it creates a way that teams can perform at a level they’ve never thought of. And if you think really a, as a larger organization is only a collection of teams. So it doesn’t really have one thing or 50 teams or you know, thousands of teams, we say the sub leaders define the subcultures and it mostly the development only touches the people who are well paid, whereas the reality is on the ground, the most important people are those who interact with your employees and the closer to the frontline they are, the more important they are but they often get less investment than others. So trying to make that affordable and quality and interactive that they can do it. You know, as they travel as they kind of fly as they go about their daily life and really just trying to Say, because his some tools that will help you lead your life and lead your people and lead your family better.
Adam G. Force 08:09
Yeah, no, I mean that accessibility is so important today as everybody’s on the move and opens up the doors for scalability. And I’m curious, you know, you’ve done a lot of studies in the space of leadership and what I guess two things. The first question is, now that we are the dynamic, obviously is always changing. We’re getting more digital, we’re leading teams, different dynamics and all kinds of stuff. So how have you seen leadership evolve between, you know, historical, you know, precedents versus what’s happening now due to this different stimulus of digital?
Steve Cockram 08:46
I say, I mean, gosh, it’s like pulling that from a selection. But I think one of the biggest ones out and that I think maybe interesting for your audience is the move away from positional authority to influence how become more and more important. So as a believes if you’re having to use positional power to get your way or force your opinion through, you’re already undermining your influence, because actually the new world expects you to be prepared and skilled to actually lead others through the influence II have. Yeah, so. So actually, you know, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re leading one or two people or laws fundamentally, as more and more millennials and Gen Z’s enter the workforce, what they’re looking for is a coach, not a boss. And what they’re expecting is they’re expecting collaboration, they’re expressing their opinions of matter. And for a lot of leaders, it’s quite hard to understand. Why Why do you think you can just, you know, have an opinion you’ve been here three weeks. So I would say I would say for a lot of leaders, one of the biggest challenges is realizing people won’t just follow you now, because they have to. They will stay with you because they choose to And all the statistics show that people leave leaders more than they leave companies. So recruitment and retention is pivotal in the talent race right now, because people have more choice than they used to. In the old days, you know where you were born, you might have had three or four options of a job. But in the digital world, those who have those skill sets are incredibly valuable and in demand. And I would say that for most leaders now, influence is largely emotional intelligence more than IQ. Yeah, you’re, you have to have IQ, you have to have skills that people want to buy and credentials to even get a ticket to the game. But emotional intelligence and the ability to establish, maintain and develop long term relationships, inside and outside your business, I reckon is the primary currency of wealth and influence in the digital world. And that’s a very different mindset. A lot of people who were born, let’s just say after 1982 or before 1982
Adam G. Force 11:06
Yeah, yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. I, I mean, I, I worked at web D for 10 years, you know, a while back, and I saw just as we were getting into like, oh, responsive website development, and you know, any kind of calls online, all these things like, as these dynamics shift and the mentalities are shifting, I started to see that kind of shift in how teams were approached. And actually, I managed a small team. And I got really into, like, making sure the team all had an opinion and share a voice in what we were doing, making them feel like you know, it wasn’t like a hierarchy. And I guess a big thing is interesting. I took him out to lunch one time, I think you’ll get a kick out of this. And I went around the table and I was like, I was asking people like, what was the reason that you left your last job, and I think I had about maybe eight or nine people around the table. And like 95% of them said, lack of appreciation. Yeah, but that doesn’t surprise you, right?
Steve Cockram 12:10
They don’t. So I mean, we took a lot of work with Google and Google have done a huge amount of research that’s basically authenticated everything we’ve said, for which I’ll always be grateful. And the two things they tried to do a study called Aristotle, they did a subtle called Aristotle, which you may have heard of, where they try to understand what was the common common allergies of the highest performing teams in Google, Google measure everything. Google Analytics is everywhere. And they spent nearly two years of trying to find out what what they nearly gave up. And, you know, they came to the conclusion there were only two things that all of their highest performing teams had in common. One was there was psychological safety, that actually, everybody could challenge the opinion of anyone else in the team, including the leader, without fearing it would jeopardize their career. The second one was in the average team across an average year, each person’s vote roughly equally, in terms of time. Now, that was a salutary challenge to charismatic entrepreneurs like me, he usually liked the sound of their own voice. And most entrepreneurs usually are very opinionated. That was a massive one for us realizing that actually, the ability to listen and draw out the expertise skill sets of the people in those teams was was huge. You know, I’m a German, I ended up having an interview with the HR director again, before we push this any further, we want to know whether you’re googly enough. That was the phrase they use, they actually said nothing has ever changed our culture in the way that your giant resources have. But before we go any further with it, we actually want to meet the guys who founded it to check that you. We resonate with the values and who you are. I was I was blown away. It was luckily we passed and we’re doing other things with them at the moment, but it was almost like They will they were so protective of their culture for leadership, that actually they wanted to make sure not just the tools work, but the people behind it aligned with the same heart and be some of the things I know you guys care deeply about. Yeah, yeah,
Adam G. Force 14:13
no, you’re hitting the right buttons for our for us and our audience. And you know, what we believe in and things like that. I think, really, just more and more people have access to starting businesses on their own. Just like they have more opportunity to get jobs at different places that they might really align to. And as you pursue these things, you become your own CEO and a leader, right, what we’re talking about here. And one of the most important parts of where your marketing comes from is really digging into who you are as a person. So those values become this Northstar for decision making, not just in the first year, but throughout the life of the business.
Steve Cockram 14:47
I always say I agree entirely and by the way, and I say to most startup entrepreneurs, I love them. I’ve been one I continue to be one and go back and do it again, is people always ask me what you know. You’ll be You’d be very successful at doing this. What’s the one thing that you would say to an entrepreneur and I go, guys, or girls, the most important thing is you have to know yourself to lead yourself first. Because always say to me, what do you know what it’s like to be on the other side of you, in the different in the different orbits of your life. So what’s it like to be on the other side of you as a supplier, as a customer, as a client, as a friend, as a father as a, as a boss, so few people have ever really been prepared to look in the mirror and see what we call the broccoli and our teeth because we all we all have broccoli in our teeth, and you’d be amazed how many leaders undermine their influence every single day, and they have no idea they’re doing it. So giants talk is really a catalogue of mine and Jeremy’s failures, and the broccoli in our teeth and we always say, look, if we can identify what the problem is, and I’ll get Give me an example of one in a moment sure, if we can then codify it in a visual tool that an educated 30 year old can understand us and teach their friends, then we can multiply into a world, which is overwhelmed with information and saturated and however good the content is. If they can’t use it immediately, it disappears. The moment you leave the room or start listening to the podcast, or whatever it is book you happen to be skimming through. So I’ll give you an example of one that has changed my life. And and so it’s the simple thing where most entrepreneurs think out loud. So I’m a very external processor. I’m ID ating. All the time, I hypothesize about how things could be. And I almost argue as if I believe it, hoping that you will tell me why you don’t. So here’s the here’s the tool that emerged out of that because you can imagine a lot of people would come to me and go and say, What are you up to the last two weeks they go, we’ll be working on this. So why are you working on that? Last week, you told us that this is what we need to be doing. And I’m like, No, no, no, no, I was thinking out loud. I was spitballing. I was like dreaming, I was inviting you to collaborate with me. You’re telling me that you spent the last few weeks working on that. So we developed a tool, Adam called provisional plan, promise three words that will change your life as an entrepreneur, because what I meant was we created a vocabulary, where now when I start dreaming out loud, what somebody says to me if I forget, they say, hey, see, before we really start to move on this is this provisional, which means you’re just talking out loud, dreaming, getting opinions, or is it a plan? Have we actually together decided, this is what we’re going to do based on the evidence that is available to us and we’ve committed as a team to it, or a promise is something that says this will never change? Right? So basically, there are plans in business, the act Sometimes has to change. Now we’re going through a moment in our world where a lot of the planning of a lot of businesses is changing because of something called COVID-19. Do you see the difference so I’m plan is something we’re committed to, and we’re all aligned with. But it still could get knocked off course, a promise is something that I will never change. These are values that we will live as a community or these will be what we define ourselves as those giant we have like four values. You know, we have self awareness, love engineers, ie heroic goals. If you ask any giant world over, they can tell you those. They are a promise they don’t change. But strategy is usually a plan. And what we found was as entrepreneurs, we were often being provisional, but people were hearing it as a plan bordering on promise and the amount of entrepreneurs that are like that, who actually end up undermining their influence with the people who have the capacity usually to deliver on the dreams. And in the end, people start to go I’m not sure whether I trust you I don’t know whether you’re talking out loud or whether things going on so when I say to you, there’s there’s one that I guarantee you can use them and I guarantee everyone listening can use biggest place that made a difference to me was in my marriage. Why? Why? Yeah, you know, my wife is an introverted detail, very, very organized person. She only speaks when it’s a plan. And the number of times she’s got really frustrated because I was dreaming about something I said, Hey, we might need to get back to America. I’m getting exhausted flying everywhere. Speaking. Good night, darling. She wakes up in the morning, Helens in tears with a spreadsheet, trying to work out how we can tell the kids the grandparents, how are we going to move? Where are we going to live? And when I say Helen, I was only being I was only thinking out loud. Now she just says to me, Steve is this provisional plan or deployment. So there you go. There’s an example out of it. And it’s visual is colorful, but it’s simple enough that the child can understand that even the kids use it on me now. So, hope that helps. We’ve got about 57 of those.
Adam G. Force 20:14
That’s pretty funny. Imagine scenarios with my wife and she’d be, she’d be like, Hell, no, we’re not good night. Your plan is over. That’s a great point, though. It’s a great point on a clarity of context. I mean, you know, one of the things that makes me think of is clarity, and you’re kind of breaking it down into a thought process that provides clarity. And, you know, if there’s one, I always, you know, one thing I would say, and it sounds so simple, and everyone thinks that they’re clear, but if there was one thing that makes or breaks a business, and as a leader, it is clarity in all aspects of your business. So this is your what I see hear from you and correct me if I’m wrong is you have ways of breaking down these thought processes in order to create that clarity.
Steve Cockram 21:00
Yes. So for example, if if it’s all remember I said the new world for learning and communication, this is a bigger change than people realize. The industrial world was about words, books, memorization and data. The new world is visual. It’s interactive, and it has to have a media application. So what we realized was if you couldn’t capture it in a visual tool, that was simple, it would not scale. And so therefore, what we’re doing here is, we’re actually saying, guys, ladies, leaders, you all have tendencies. You all have wired into the way you’ve been made. So while we do a lot of stuff on self awareness, and kind of that, really knowing who you are, I’m a Jedi Master in personality in wiring. That’s one of my other sort of day jobs at it. But once he realized, you can show people what the mirror looks like on the other side of them, they can then begin to make a choice. So I always say that the difference between a good entrepreneur and a great entrepreneur is yes, you got to have a great idea. Yes, you got to do this. But fundamentally, you have to know what you’re great at and where your weaknesses are, where your blind spots are. And you have to make a choice with your actions. So if your tendencies just become your actions, you’ll get it right about most of the time, but when you get it wrong, it goes horribly wrong. The real skill set is self awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is what allows you to build your business and connect the product and the skills and the expertise you have to a marketplace which is saturated. And actually how you differentiate long term in a world which basically has almost limitless choice is that relational interaction with your client base, that’s the thing which is gold And it’s more valuable than people would ever really realize in the beginning.
Adam G. Force 23:05
Yeah, yeah. I love that. And I think I was just writing it down. I’d like the the notes there. The self awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence is a key to building a successful business. And I think it makes me ask you the question, you know, we have to know ourselves, and we have to know where we fall short and where we don’t and all those types of things. But have you found that people resist the truth in the sense of they’re not always honest with themselves?
Steve Cockram 23:35
So here’s what I would say I found out is that most leaders are unconsciously incompetent. Right? And you can’t blame somebody for being unconsciously incompetent. It’s they’re not aware of it. Yeah. And the reality is, I don’t know Americans are slightly better at challenging each other. Brits over here. We specialize in hinting and really just just looking down on people without telling them what’s going on. So a lot of what a lot of What john is doing is we’re holding up a mirror and go, Hey, Adam, do you know what it’s like to be outside of you and you go, I get this, I had no idea. We make you consciously incompetent, which is usually a deeply unpleasant experience when it happens. But mostly it is I mean, Adam wants to grow, they want to get better. The reality is, a lot of them just don’t know how. And so therefore, I can’t afford to go on an MBA program. I mean, I’m like going get enrolled in a course it’s going to take, you know, years of my life, and it’s like, No, no, I need some tools right now. Yeah. And I don’t mind if it’s one or two tools that give me something I can work on. And, you know, German, I spent a long time developing something called the five voices, which, if the listeners do anything, for those of you a Myers Briggs experts, he came at it twinned with Myers Briggs, but nobody could ever remember their letters when we went away. So we worked incredibly hard to create something called the five voices of a team. So if he goes to the Giant platform, as I said, you get a free month, if what you do is take the voice assessment on there, there is actually a personalized coaching Development Series for I think it was 15 videos per personality combination, that if you walk through that, that would make an amazing difference to who you are and how you understand what’s there. So, you know, again, join.tv backslash BB will get you a free month on on my, on my account. So that’s another one where self awareness is so, so important, because it’s very hard to be emotionally intelligent without being self aware. And sadly, a lot of entrepreneurs are, are more task orientated than relationship orientated. They do relationship, they do relationship because they, they need it to make the business work. I would say that in some ways that this, the primary skill set of the entrepreneur has to be has to be that relational connectivity and that ability To build long term trusting relationships, because that’s where people come back to. And that’s where you have a chance to be magical almost. And people remember, people remember that people who’ve chosen to serve people, not just transact with people. So it’s so easy when you’re under pressure and thinking, Oh, my goodness, how do I make payroll? How do I do this than the other, you often treat clients as a transaction. And that’s still a compliment that they want to buy something from you. But you’re leaving influence on the table. So many people try maximize the first deal. And they leave long term relational influence on the table. I’m always keen to go. I’m looking for something that I can build over an extended period of time. And therefore I’m prepared to invest financial capital sometimes in the beginning, because I’m trading it for long term relational capital, not because I’m trying to be manipulative, but because What I know is when I can establish a trusted relational partnership with somebody, actually, not only am I able to serve them, but they’re actually able to serve me as well. So, you know, that’s just giving you some of the things that I’ve learned through getting it wrong out. And Robin around. I was the negotiation King, I used to love winning and negotiations, until somebody held the mirror up to me. And I realized that actually, nobody liked dealing with me because they always knew if I was happy about the deal, it probably meant that six months from now they were going to be disappointed. That wasn’t a great reputation now. Now I’m almost the other way of going responsible generosity is a valley that I choose to live by. Because I found it’s a lot better when people think that you are generous as a, as a culture than when, in some ways, it’s primarily about you.
Adam G. Force 27:51
Yeah. And I think that empathy comes into play and that ties into the emotional intelligence factor that you spoke about to really, you know, be understanding And I think tying that into this idea of stop shooting for the short term, you know, game, the short term thinking where it’s like, I need an extra thousand I need to do this deal now. And, you know, we, you know, that was a lesson that we had to learn to and that is to think long term. It’s a different dynamic when you’re doing that, because everybody has this need to for immediacy, so we get panicked and we’re worried we need to make more money, we need their business, you know, so it’s like that panic results in like fear based decision making and then you start making decisions with short term thinking. So, you know, like, we would always take on clients where it’s like, all right, we won’t even offer them anything except a trial period of three months because we just start small and we build the relationship we prove ourselves and it may take more time, but then you get all the renewal business they like you they trust you and all that relationship building that you’re talking about. It does take time and it takes care right.
Steve Cockram 28:56
usually takes seven years to be an overnight success. Adam So no, nobody is nobody has done it faster. I mean, it’s really interesting looking, looking back at the moment, if you think of the financial crisis in 2008 2009, when you look at the companies that were formed in the midst of that storm that we now know as household names, so it’s fascinating to me to realize that there is always the opportunity for entrepreneurial innovation. And sometimes the darkest times the most difficult times are actually one of the most powerful actually forcing innovation and forcing new ideas. I mean, you know, right now, I will guarantee that every single person listening to this podcast is having to go cold turkey on a high touch business model. So a lot of us used to pride ourselves in getting in front of our customers face to face, events, visits, dinners, lunches, I’m losing weight the left you know, I’m not eating a business lunch for about three weeks has been great. my waistline, Adam. But I look at it and go, we’ve had to go cold turkey because right now, we’re in lockdown over here in London, there is no touch. We’re not allowed out. Right. So what’s happening is businesses are having to go digital in the space of two weeks. I mean, we’ve gone from high touch low tech to no touch high tech in the space of two weeks. Right. And I think it’s just a really interesting thing that in the end the businesses that come out of this, and will win in the next season beyond this, I think of those who will learn the lessons again, how do I leverage high tech, and therefore what is the premium high touch that I can put back in again, because I think we will probably get away with doing less touch, and more tech, in that balance of the feature. I’m personally hugely excited by, in many ways. The learning for me again, What does my world look like, in the new world that is coming the other side of the world won’t be the same again, this is not a small thing. I mean, you canonically it will be a huge challenge. But a lot of people are asking, Well, why do I have offices? Or, you know, why am I putting together an event for thousand people to come? When actually we’re doing it online? digitally? Yeah. And actually, people have enjoyed it just as much and it didn’t cost me 250 grand to put on. So there’s so much innovation, but I have sympathy in the sense that, you know, this is what I call that the luxury of self actualization. And when you’re in Maslow’s hierarchy of need, which is I need some money to pay the bills or just to keep the lights on, then in some ways, the reality is you may well have to leverage some of that relational capital is the difference. If you’re a transactional person, people will only transact with you, and they will any do it if it’s advantageous to both parties, right? If you’ve established long relational trust and influence somebody, you can actually go to them right now and go. How are you doing? And they’ll go, we’re doing right. Okay. I could really do with you buying some of these right now. Is there any way you could do something because I’m struggling in relationship, you will be amazed at what is possible when you’ve actually been relationship significant in someone’s life. Is anybody isn’t there? If if it’s just been transactional, because they’re doing something that only occurs in relationship, not in transaction? Yeah.
Adam G. Force 32:33
Yeah. I love it. Yeah, well, it’s it is I think these are a lot of great points. And, you know, as we continue to evolve, yeah, this is a major shift. And we talked earlier just about how it’s kind of, you know, pushing people out of their comfort zones, and it’s kind of accelerating change, you know, which is I always find to be fascinating, and I see it as a positive thing at the same time. While Yes, the virus that we’re going through is a bad thing, but the change That we are all embracing is I think, exciting.
Steve Cockram 33:04
There. I think that’s the reason why we’re entrepreneurs that we always see, we usually go through that, like we need, we probably had a moment of fear about two or three weeks ago when we weren’t Okay, how are we going to what’s going to happen? Yeah. And very quickly, you pivot and go, yes, we need a survive strategy. But what’s our thrive strategy in the midst of the storm? And that’s the kind of, that’s the thing, which I think entrepreneurs are so adaptable, they’re agile, they kind of turn quite quickly. And as always, cash is king. And you need a certain amount of liquidity to work, but the agility of the small is often an advantage in times like this so true.
Adam G. Force 33:44
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s and you’re right. I mean, we’re problem solvers. And that’s the way you got to look at it. It’s just another problem like solving any other problem for people. Right? So it’s really no different at this point. You just gotta be willing to adapt to it and understand it.
Steve Cockram 33:59
Adam G. Force 34:01
Listen, let’s give a shout out. I know you also had a really great book I want to make sure people are aware of in case you want to check that out as a first touch for learning more about what you have to say and digging deeper. So this is your third book. I don’t know I can’t remember who it was that you partnered with looked like he had a partner off there but yeah, hundred army.
Steve Cockram 34:20
That’s right, Jeremy and I, we basically co authored everything we do within giant and this was really our manifesto on leadership academy. And when I talked about the thing about the influence is more valuable than positional power. How do you grow influence? How do you be somebody that people want to follow not have to follow? And a lot of the practical visual tools I talked about, I think there might be 20 of them in the book. So that’s for those who love to read, but there aren’t many you love to read by the way and then you will books are really marketing. And they’re really credibility. The fact that you know, we’re a tight we’re a best selling book. Wiley as a New York publisher took our content. That’s usually a credibility, I would say it’s more likely that the people listening I’d love it if they weren’t read the book, because that would get there, the deepest thing we have. But as I said, there are ways in which you can, you can have fun playing with what we’ve created. And in some ways at a time when people are stuck at home, having a having a platform where you can work on who you are, and really develop that self awareness piece. So if you go to giant.tv, backslash BB, and put in your information, that gives you a free month. And what I’d encourage you to do is if you know your land, it’ll guide you, but I would encourage you if you want to the one thing that I say is go to the assessments app and take the five voices assessment that will give you a personality read. And as I said, if you click on the link there, there’s actually a coaching series designed for each individual, the way they’re wired by people who are wired like they are and so seeing different videos talking about what do you bring your best? How do you lead a vasectomy? What’s the things that you undermine your influence with? How do you do work life balance. So basically everything we thought the 15 key issues that we wanted all leaders to address are there. And they’re there for all 16 of the different personality voice combinations. So that’s the thing, which if that’s free, if you want to buy a book, then that’s wonderful, because that feeds my family. But honestly, the free on giant is probably the best place to go. And there’s a whole whole ream of resources that we filmed in the last few weeks about remote teams. How do you how do you lead from home? You know, even that was just created because it was live or what people needed. So join.tv backslash BB gets you a free month on the platform with us. So there we go.
Adam G. Force 36:48
Great. All right. Well, there you have it, guys. You could check that out for free for a month and explore you can check out the book if you’re a reader. Lots of valuable information come from a lot of experience and you know, good conversation. Steve, I appreciate your time today. Oh,
Steve Cockram 37:02
Adam. Thank you. Pleasure. Thank you for being a great
Adam G. Force 37:04
interview. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play, or visit Change Creator mag. com. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
What if you could start doing things that you never thought you could do? How would your life and business change? In this episode, we speak with a top-ranking expert about overcoming fear and operating with risk so you can break new boundaries.
Jim Lawless is the elite team coach of choice for many senior leadership teams around the world. He has been the architect of high performance and change in global organizations, governments, and Olympic teams for two decades. Ranked #6 globally, #1 outside of the USA, by Global Gurus in their 2020 ranking of motivational speakers, Jim has inspired and educated over half a million people on five continents through his mindset-shifting keynotes and workshops and many more through his bestselling book, ‘Taming Tigers’ (Penguin Random House). He delivers in business but also tests his frameworks personally and in extreme settings, giving him unparalleled credibility with his audience. Jim used ‘Taming Tigers’ to become a televised jockey within a year of starting to ride and to become Britain’s deepest Freediver in just 8 months of training. Both whilst delivering his day job (a key element of change). Jim was elected a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society for the Arts in recognition of his writing on culture and change.
Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. I hope everybody’s doing well and making out okay during all these crazy times with the political unrest and the Coronavirus. We are definitely living through some important times in history here. So if you missed the last episode of the show, it was with Dan Hill. This was a really unique and interesting conversation. We spoke about reading facial expressions. This is really telling it’s pretty powerful. So Dan Hill also wrote the book famous faces decoded. So we kind of dive into all this really interesting stuff and he gives lots of tips for you to keep an eye out. So when you’re on those sales calls, do you have something to think about? Okay, and that brings us to our next guest, we’re gonna be talking today. We with Jim lawless, and he’s actually a top level, or I should say, top ranking team coach of choice for a lot of senior leadership teams around the world. And he’s been, you know, the designer of high performance and change in global organizations, governments Olympic teams for two decades now, which is a pretty darn long time. So he’s been doing this for a while, has a lot of experience. He’s actually ranked number six globally and number one outside of the US by global gurus in their 2020 ranking of motivational speakers, which is pretty cool. And he’s really inspired a ton of people around the world, right? And through his workshops, and keynote, he does a lot of talks and things like that. But he also has a best selling book called taming tigers. And that’s something you might want to check out. He’s got a lot of great insights. Today we’re going to be talking with Jim about overcoming fear and how to operate with risk. All right, and he has a lot of interesting background because he became like a free diver and This is some it’s a really interesting sport. And I haven’t ever spoken anybody who has done something like this but it is talking about overcoming fear. I mean going and through that process is really it’s it’s something that not a lot of people can really do. So we’re going to dive into lots of different dynamics here and and tackle this topic of fear. And one key thing we noticed with a lot of people when it comes to fear that holds them back, they will say things like, I’m not ready yet because or, you know, my business isn’t ready yet because and they’re not they’re not ready. What they’re saying is they’re not ready to invest in something for themselves for themselves, and a lot of times that is, that is just a sign that you are making up reasons to avoid the risk, right? You don’t believe in what you’re doing enough to actually move forward. And I say this because it is when you say you’re not ready. That is Not a circumstantial thing, it is a decision, you’re deciding that you’re not ready. It’s not the situation or the circumstance, it’s actually the decision. So when we’re not getting the results we need for our business, that’s not the time to hold back. That is the time to reach out for help. That is the time to get fresh perspective, because we have to kind of step into a new role of who we are, if we want to get where we want to go. And if we don’t know what that looks like, it’s really hard, there’s gonna be a lot of trial and error. So working with people who do know what it looks like, can help you get there a lot faster. We’ve noticed this with so many entrepreneurs who have disconnects. And we don’t want them to lose their businesses because we’re here to make a difference in the world here at Change Creator, right. So you know, when your messaging is not connecting with people, this is going to be a big problem. And so this is where we focus on with really supporting your business by putting storytelling at the heart of your marketing in an authentic way, right to really build trust. And finally, get those Consistent sales. So you can stop by you can get on our waitlist right now to enroll in the captivate method, you’ll get a chance to check out our masterclass, learn a ton more about it. I think you guys will have a lot of fun with it. And it’s gonna be super valuable because it’s not a course this is a program with a full coaching experience, right? So you can think of this as a mastermind. And it’s going to take you from point A to point B, way faster, and you’re going to be in a community of people who are your tribe, right? Alright guys, without further ado, let’s jump into this conversation with Jim lawless. Okay, show me that heat Hey, Jim, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today?
Jim Lawless 04:41
It was a great pleasure. I’m very well thank you very well.
Adam G. Force 04:44
Excellent, excellent. Um, you know, you have a pretty, pretty interesting and intense background from free diving to steering leadership as some of the biggest brands around the world. So give us a little bit of a snapshot of kind of like what’s going on in your life. world today and how you got there?
Jim Lawless 05:03
Sure, I qualified as a corporate lawyer, worked in the City of London doing mergers and acquisitions work. I left that world at about the age of 29. And I began to work in communications, and communications drew me in to change and change communications change drew me into speaking about that topic and studying it more deeply and then beginning to get really interested in the human, the human aspect of change, which I don’t think we’ve given very much attention to, to be quite honest, how we, how we ask people more and more to go into uncertainty and risk and to adapt at a pace that humans aren’t naturally equipped to adapt at. But we don’t ever teach the skill of adaptations. So I think we’re seeing a lot of issues come out from that my world. Working with that on the broadest sense, and then working with organizations and senior teams, and individuals to assist them come together and deliver change. Hmm.
Adam G. Force 06:13
So what kind of gap care? Do you think like you mentioned that we don’t teach certain things around adaptation and change? Can you give an example or two of the types of gaps that are missing and maybe how they start over how we start overcoming them?
Jim Lawless 06:28
Sure. So we’ve we’ve all been raised for the industrial age, to get it right first time to the satisfaction of an authority figure who can define right and I’ve got two daughters, ones aged six and ones aged 22. And don’t ask is a story for another day. And, and they’re both of course absolutely wonderful. My 22 year old now at university in the UK, studying biochemistry having been completed trained, trained to get it right first time to the satisfaction of a higher authority figure which she, she does admirably. She’s now having to adapt into into a different environment. And that’s causing her some interesting discussions. my six year old, she’s going to be trained in exactly the same way Get it right first time for the boss, but with the with swiping, and and digital tools to help her get it right. So whilst they might be digital natives, they’re not. They’re not in any way trained for a disruptive, uncertain age. They’re being trained in many ways, more than my generation was so going to school in the 80s, where there was still a good degree of risk and experimentation that was it was safe, impossible for us to undertake. So we are asking people to go into risk and uncertainty. That’s all that changes. And we are not teaching people to do that you are saying that’s the broad picture as I see it. Yeah. And and there are two sides to that. One is management and organizations creating impact. vironment where it is possible and safe. So we get into the buzz phrase of psychological safety, which is an important phrase as a how to managers do that in a world where they were told to be the boss bigger and make sure everyone got it right first time historically? And how does the individual who’s received no training, start taking risks when their jobs on the line and so we go around saying, But you mustn’t fear failure, embrace failure and fail faster, which I personally don’t have a lot of time for. In any event, but but it’s utterly meaningless when the big boss says that from a stage and somebody who’s going to get fired if they don’t hit target is listening, thinking but this doesn’t translate to the words that I that you require me to inhale. So we’ve got some real disconnects. Now, when it comes to them, what are we not teaching people what are the gaps, and even just the emotional awareness of what it feels like to go through change or what what is going to happen to the body when we missed it? The sensations we get, which are all fear and anxiety. When we leave this famous comfort zone, we mistake those for genuine, immediate threat. we’re unable to query ourselves and ask why is this happening? Why is my heart racing? How can I work through this situation alone or with others to understand me as a machine as I go through uncertainty, risk and change, which, for example, is a key task for the free diver. Man back to that, but that’s why it was fascinating to go to that work. So I went to horse racing to sit on a thoroughbred racehorse, so I could experiment with this within myself. Robin just just talked about your studying, but we don’t help people understand that process. Therefore they can’t control it. They can’t bring it back in and therefore they can’t go through change. Mm hmm.
Adam G. Force 09:46
Interesting. And I love that you just kind of defined it so simply changes the risk and uncertainty. What does it feel like and you know, as you were saying, that I’m like, so as people today, we have these I guess like these definitions in our mind, which, like you said, what you talk about on stage is not applying to the people and the reality that they live in. And it made me think about when we’re young, and I’m like, you know, we get up, we fall down as a toddler, we get up if we fail constantly, but we never think twice about that risk of falling down or getting up. We’re not afraid of it at that point. So it seems like it’s something that we’re taught over time, to fear risk and change is and it sounds like maybe you’re saying that this is this is the industrial thinking. So it it is it is through a process of how we learn and when we grow up. So is it Am I making sense? You know, what I’m saying like how we I don’t feel like we have those barriers when we’re young. Is that true? Or do you think we’ve always have that fear?
Jim Lawless 10:46
No, we don’t have those barriers when we’re young was, but we acquired them very early on. I was raised Catholic under a very strict school and So I learned to fear making mistakes very in my in my life and how to keep quiet and sit at the back and not put forward my own unique and innovative ideas on things. So so so we learned this early on I think as adults we have to have one not keen on the don’t fear of failure we take bets you know, we have to take bets and that can be a bet within an environment at work and I can I can negotiate with my boss in very real sense about like, I can try this new thing that you’re talking about, but it may have this consequence Are we okay with that boss? So we can we can define parameters of failure and agree the downside of the bet what happens if if we don’t pull this off? And, and we have to any innovative organization is having those conversations on an almost algorithmic level that senior exec level then then we, we in any area of change, we’re going to be placing these bets we have to assess downside either alone or with others or with spouses or with business partners or with boss it’s a downside acceptable we we proceed if it’s not we don’t and that’s why I get in into tangled who’s don’t fear failure and embrace it might be okay if if you’re if you’re a Silicon Valley billionaire me personally I’ve got I’ve got a young a young daughter and there’s that there’s a level of risk of failure beyond which I will not, I’m not willing to tolerate for good reason, you know so. So I think we we need to have adult conversations about what don’t fear failure means but I think we do learn it earlier. Early on, I think we have it in us within for good reason is an evolutionary force. That is that is asking us to resist change, change equals risk and uncertainty that equals danger to us. It’s an evolutionary wiring an ancient wiring that fires up and it does require our obedience, but it does not if we can understand it. Sorry, it requires our attention but it does not if we can understand it before. Find out obedience, we can override it. And when intellectually we believe and can see that that is a good thing to do. I don’t think we’re teaching people how to do that.
Adam G. Force 13:10
Yeah, I mean, and so, I mean, it sounds like you feel there’s probably just a shift in how we’re educating youth in order to be better prepared, I guess, to take on this stuff, because, you know, I think there’s a lot of, you know, fixing around the schools and stuff like that. So as we think about entrepreneurship, you know, we’re not really being taught to become our best self, per se and be creative. You know, one of the most popular TED Talks is how schools like you know, destroy creativity and kids, right? So it’s like, this sounds like there’s just every loose evolutionary shifts that are necessary to help people understand and I guess better embrace these types of things. Is that sound right?
Jim Lawless 13:57
Yeah, I think so. But But, but when Never too late to learn. I mean, I teach this in organizations and in a one hour keynote where I can set up the the basic concepts and constructs and and we’ll talk about really simple ideas like going to approach her a powerful or an attractive other human being and the and the emotions we go through just in facing about risk and uncertainty and consequences are of doing that which are totally manageable, but we don’t, we don’t want to tolerate them, and how we can look to override that risk of that fear of risk and still carry on with with that, with that task. If we decide that I mean very simple ways of helping people understand this emotional challenge what happens when we leave the comfort zone, we don’t even talk about it do we don’t we don’t have a name for that place. We say leave the comfort zone but we never say where you go or how to survive mapless without but it is totally mappable in terms of how we can negotiate and navigate. But I in an hour on the stage people are totally ofay with the principles and within Two hours of workshopping and planning next steps afterwards, they’ve got a plan, which is it doesn’t take long but we just don’t do it. We’ve always focused on the leadership community and got them to, to sort of mix up some metadata. Stephen Covey talks about sharpening swords it seems we’ve always made the the leadership arm that, that moves up and down stronger and stronger and is teaching how to drive change and tell people that icebergs have melted or that cheese has moved. And what we’ve never done is helped all those little teeth to sharpen you know, little people they use and the me’s, the cellular level of the organization to understand how they can each do the new stuff that we’re asking them to do. So instead of just scaring them evermore with these metaphors, why why can’t we help people to understand what how they can move to do things they’ve never done before, which is all that changes at a cellular cellular level in the organization.
Adam G. Force 15:58
Right, right. So Like the example you gave of approaching, you know, powerful or good looking, you know, person and you know, we all like clam up and get so nervous to like approach our guy or whatever. And really in that situation, it’s not like you’re risking your your life, you’re not risking all your money. It’s just like, and we still won’t even tolerate that fear of what rejection, right?
Jim Lawless 16:25
And that’s because the system, the process, the physical process that we never get taught about takes over doesn’t it, and you and I, and anyone listening immediately, if we had measuring equipment on now, our heart rate should be increasing just by the contemplation of this. And because we don’t understand the bet the consequences and why our system is reacting as it is, we move back, you just put your finger on it, that there’s nothing actually at risk here. There’s only three types of harm a human being can come to physical security, either Economic or, or reputational, of course, we’re facing reputational harm, which is why most people would rather rather go out and play a game of American football than then give a presentation, right? Because one’s physical damage written all over it. But however, the other has got reputational damage, which historically, of course, is much more dangerous to us or getting excluded from the community a long time ago was used seriously. So we do once we can understand what it is that our whole body and subconscious mind is, is protecting us from we can intellectually take the risk. So there’s a constant fight between the frontal cortex where the executive decision making the human ability to postpone gratification, to, to want to make a contribution to want to build, to leave legacy, all of that happening in the frontal cortex. All of that requires going into places of uncertainty and risk. And then we’ve got this massive evolutionary system saying don’t go there Adam and Eve. We can understand how to use that piece of kit and override it when necessary requires our attention, not our obedience, we can’t move forward. So, so so everything you described that is absolutely accurate. We don’t want to go and make that interaction, why what’s at risk? And how do I override my physical body, which is saying runaway runaway? Yeah.
Adam G. Force 18:20
And I mean, I, as an entrepreneur, there’s obviously an entire journey of unknown. So I mean, if you if you can’t, if you can’t figure this out, and you know, we always say take calculated risks, like to your point, there’s things you will tolerate that, you know, you have a family and stuff you have to concern yourself about. So you have a tolerance level for certain extreme extreme pneus of risk. And I think as entrepreneurs, I’m just trying to align this here because it’s like, well, we do have to put money in the machine and invest or take a chance on ourselves and believe in ourselves and there’s gonna be things that work out and things that don’t. And one of the things that has helped me overcome certain blocks over many years is really to stop looking at it and saying, Oh, this cost a lot. And I’m worried about this loss. And I started really just saying, What’s the return on the investment that I could get here? And just seeing, you know, is it worth it to me or not? And that has made a big shift for me. So I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the application of, you know, the types of fear we face as entrepreneurs, and some of the steps we can consider or think about so we can intellectually take the risk?
Jim Lawless 19:29
Yeah, sure. I, you know, we went into Nitty gritties, I guess earlier on so let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s come back up for a moment. I think before to address that. We, we, we hold the pen, we’re writing the story, the story of our lives, which will touch potentially millions, even if we don’t set up IBM still going to touch potentially, potentially millions of people. And, and we write that through our decisions and our actions and our results. Every day, what is the story that we want to write during what is a very brief I mean long enough to do great things but a relatively brief time we get in the words of Cat Stevens to dance on the planet and and so that that becomes I think the the driving the driving force for many of us who are entrepreneurs and and whilst I work in the business I do I produce widgets. I’m very much an entrepreneur and set up my own business many years ago. So So I that I think, is a driving force, what’s my contribution? What do I want to make? And we have to keep a sight of that. And then with that, we decide what what am I willing to tolerate in terms of risk along the way, and what am I willing to tolerate in terms of not Dunn’s? And this is really important because the flip side of taking a risk and doing something of course is not doing anything. What does that tack take me on what’s that dirt compass direction, what’s the destination of that if I don’t act and take the risk, and that’s something again, we can we can not take into into account as we live for the moment, I don’t know, the ins and outs of what’s happening in the United States at the moment with the risk of dating and this, this podcast by by going there but at the time of recording, we’re in the middle of it. In the UK big debates about how if we don’t, the cost of not intervening heavily in the economy is actually going to be far out we will multiply if we don’t, the cost will be bigger, in terms of the wreckage caused if we don’t take out loans and and try and preserve the economy through this period. So there’s always a cost both economically but also in terms of life possibility to not acting and then the other element which becomes really important in assessing this risk is Is our perception. And of course we sense the world and we have a perception of risk, according to that, so most of the, the inspirational slash self help literature goes to places like well, you know, never forget that they Walt Disney was sacked as journalists and told it never amounted to anything and Fred Astaire you know, can’t sing can’t act can dance a little and, and so we tend to try and tell stories to ourselves to remind, to remind ourselves that when we look at other great success stories, they didn’t start there. There were setbacks. So when we come to don’t feel failure, let’s let’s not fear failure that we have assessed as tolerable. And let’s, let’s take those risks that we have agreed the downside We will live with if it should come to pass, then that’s like really hard against it. Let’s work really hard and make things happen and move forward. But that’s let’s have those in mind. as entrepreneurs as we move forward, and I think one last thing is that we are in a rush at the moment, so everybody wants to admit it before they’ve paid their dues. And good luck to you. Good luck to you. But I’ve not found the shortcut. And I’m watching everybody do that. And I’m not seeing them having found the shortcut. And I know Mr. Zuckerberg, you know, got it right first time to Harvard or Stanford, I can’t remember was the Facebook Thank you. But but that hey, maybe there was a bit of luck in that. I don’t know. But so that’s that’s not going to be extrapolated across the population of entrepreneurs. And so we are going to take time and maybe we need to go back and pay our dues somewhere to learn the trade before we come out. I set up a retail shop I missed this chapter. When I came out of law. I thought I’ll set up a shop selling environmentally friendly goods to save the planet at the age of around 30 and I went bust real fast. I should have gone and worked in retail for a while. I didn’t know anything about it. I was just going out.
Adam G. Force 23:59
yeah. Jim, did I lose you?
Jim Lawless 24:06
I’m still him. Oh, oh, I think I pose for you.
Adam G. Force 24:11
This is laughing. No, it’s true. It’s, you know, don’t pay their dues. It is, you know, we hear this a lot, especially from early stage entrepreneurs who are getting started and, you know, they’re like, well, I don’t have the money for this or that I’m like, well, the reality is you will probably have to straddle two worlds for a while, or you know what I mean? Like, you’re gonna have to have a way to fund your ideas. And that means probably working another job, and then building your dream on the side until you can, you know, shift over. But we also like for me, just as an example, I tested out just like you like I started stuff for, like hemp water bottle business, trying to help with plastic pollution, or a rain forest advocacy group and all these different things. And I actually ended up doing a lot of volunteer work in order to get familiar because these were new fields. This is not where I had my corporate experience. And then I put my corporate experience which is digital marketing and media and it came out to Change Creator and that made life a lot easier when I wasn’t starting from scratch again completely I and it’s and it’s so… I will get 21 year olds writing to me saying I want to be a speaker and how should I do it and I said well give us give us a call and in 10 years and I’ll stay in touch in the meantime it gives a call in 10 years because because as you’re gonna have to have something to speak about and you know, I look back just as you as many other people empathize listening on the audio, the broadcast it back, I studied acting and I took lessons and I listened to comedians, obsessively in my car, about how they were crafting their material. I listen to people from Zig Ziglar to whoever else in terms of business speakers, and concepts that are being put across. And then I went and lift them on horseback being dumped at seven o’clock in the morning by a racehorse into the hedge, and then being screamed at by the trainer, and then I then I checked it on out under meters under the ocean, and then I started bringing it back into the corporate world. And that takes a bit of time, and you probably still hadn’t heard of me, but it’s gonna be Seth Godin or Anthony Robbins, and that’s fine. We’re all making a different contributions, we’ll make our different contributions but but those those days are often are often going to have to pay now that’s not to make it sound like some old guy making out that the only way to get ahead in life is discipline and hard work or that probably is true. It’s really to say as reassurance as reassurance It’s okay if you haven’t made it at a young age, and also give up with the with the lifestyle and I mean, it is that there are times when you just can’t do the lifestyle because, yeah, you’re not willing to invest the time to earn the money to do that. Because you’ve got a big dream to pursue. So if we are speaking at some any entrepreneur but potentially younger now if I’m going to take that back because I know I know lawyers who are my age who became lawyers with me who still tell me they can’t pursue their dreams because they can’t give up the big money so you know, you just can’t give up the big house and the nice car you can give it all up you know, you then go go do it. So so we will sometimes have to make real life choices and the Instagram idea of everyone’s made overnight whilst we’re in the top brands whilst so it’s just you know, as clearly as nonsense So, so let’s, let’s, let’s be focused, placed a bet. Gather great people around us be humble, be curious, be be be knowing that we’re going to fall over and bruise ourselves more ego hopefully than anything else. But that will all take us in the direction. Yeah, yes. Makes a lot of sense. And I’m curious, you know, do you tie in when you’re on stage doing your talks and stuff? Do you talk about your freediving experience? And things like that any, any examples of your own life experience, you know, overcoming these challenges.
Jim Lawless 28:06
freediving is, is a beautiful metaphor. And I mean, I didn’t realize how beautiful when I took it on. I took it on for a number of reasons, not least of which my eldest daughter was very unwell. At the time side, I raised some money for pediatric medical research at the time buff the, the metaphor of literally leaving the comfort zone and going into what I call the confusion zone. All right, it’s rehearsed, you’ve practiced so it’s not entirely confusing, but you’re going into a realm of uncertainty, an incredibly hostile environment, and yet an incredibly beautiful environment. At 100 meters, you’re receiving the biggest hug. It’s 11 times the Earth’s atmospheric pressure. That’s 33 times the atmosphere change coming in to land at an airport and you do Another 60 seconds, and not in a pressurized container. It’s amazing, literally being hugged by the planet. But the primary, the primary challenge for the free diver is mental and emotional discipline and control, I have to override the system telling me to run away. So so it’s an act of mindfulness and meditation and it’s an act of remaining in my frontal cortex, never going anywhere near my amygdala being entirely in charge of what neurotransmitters and hormones are active in my system. And should I lose that even if something goes wrong and I move from a potential anxiety which I avoid into real fear because something has happened? Even then, I do not benefit from releasing adrenaline. Most situations we do a free dive, we do not so so that control becomes vital. So it’s a miniature exercise, in moving from certainty into uncertainty in an undeniably hostile if included right to be beautiful environment like a mountain incredibly beautiful, incredibly dangerous environment, going through extraordinary physical change, where the primary job that you have to succeed is the ability to mentally and physically and emotionally retain control. So it’s a wonderful metaphor and the way I use it on stage, I’ll show the film of my dies and I invite everyone to come and hold their breath. And I’ll make the point the breath holding is actually the easiest part. The mental part is big, and then the managing of pressure changes is the huge technical exercise in the breath hold is really housekeeping. But so I’m inviting to hold their breath and we’ll go on this journey together. But during that I’ll talk about the importance of making a decision to leave the comfort zone behind move to the other side. Even if we keep the day job or whatever other elements people need to be considering. alive. Whilst we whilst we do the transfer. We have to commit to get to The other side because the risk of course if I decide I’m going to go to 80 meters and stop there and have a little thing can see with I like it well yeah may not feel like good 80 meters if I stop and have a think about it I probably better just to move past that point and get on with the job and and come home and you know going going through any adventure of change there’s going to be some really rocky days and that’s real and that’s live and that’s why we admire people who’ve been through this journey and and we make movies about people who’ve been through on an extreme level and that they because they they have had to go to places dig deep get stoutly working harder late make me I’m not gonna say sacrifices but big priority decisions in order to get to the other side. If we don’t make that commitment across the the gorge of the confusion zone to reach the sunny uplands. We will will quit and will either come home and get a job. Back in the safe zone, or will quit somewhere in the middle never never really know what our True Potential was. So I like to use a die to answer your question, Adam, in a long answer there, because I wants to talk a lot about the divers, you raised it. I the way I use it most on stage is to talk about the commitment required. I have to decide at the beginning, okay, we’re doing this now. We’re going to 100 meters and we’re coming home unless there’s a big emergency that I’m gonna bail out. If it all goes well, I’ve got to have the mental capacity in the decision to go through that as no point. At the start of this thinking I’m going to go to 80% See how it’s going because 80% anything could be happening on 80% of the journey.
Adam G. Force 32:40
Yeah, no, I love that. You got 100% commit, prepare yourself. It’s an interesting process. What’s the deepest you ever have gone?
Jim Lawless 32:48
One I want the record. I wanted to be the first Brit past 100 I knew that somebody would break my record, right? Because that’s, that’s the deal. But I thought if I pass 100 and I’m the first guy to do that first. To that from my country, I can always say that at dinner parties as an old guy, I can always say, Well, I was the first to pass. Like, we’re not not as impressive but high performing in Maya, right. I mean, that was seriously impressive, but kind of kind of, I thought I’d always have that little thing. So it’s 101 was the deepest. Wow. It’s not, it’s not super impressive, but but for me, it was it was impressive. I think
Adam G. Force 33:26
it’s impressive. I mean, I’ve seen the deep diving through some videos and stuff. And it is, I can imagine as you’re really getting down there, and that you can feel the pressure, the silence, and you’re really, that’s intense. I can imagine the panic that can overcome you.
Jim Lawless 33:44
Yeah, except that emotion. I mean, it isn’t. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. It’s I if I’ve created an impression of it being anything other than stunning, I’ve done a poor job. It’s an exercise in mindfulness and meditation being utterly present. In, in mental discipline in I can’t have the luxury of a little drama moment. I’ve got no one to blame. There’s there’s utter accountability and responsibility. I have a tremendous team on the surface, who have worked with me on this and all support me should anything go wrong, but they can’t do the die for me. They can be in charge of how I conduct myself far away from them at the most critical points. So I have huge responsibility and accountability. And so it’s a little bit like I learned to fly recently and I and I am went solo in a helicopter. It was a little bit it really reminded me of that because there’s a moment when the instructor gets out, and you’ve got utter accountability for this slightly flammable bomb above other people’s houses and, and you just got to get it forget, you know, you got to get yourself back right for everybody underneath you. It’s a it’s a I like going to those places where I have to deny my natural ability and I certainly have the natural ability To let what I call the tiger on that, that force, it says back off, you can’t do it right. back into the comfort zone. I like testing those places. And it’s critical, I think, for my job that I have been there.
Adam G. Force 35:14
Yeah, no, I mean, overcoming those things, I always found that exciting too. I like to do push the boundaries and stuff like that. So I have a respect for people that are out there doing that kind of that deep that free diving and those things are pretty intense. And so I always found it interesting. And, you know, I, you know, as you think about being an entrepreneur and running your business, it’s kind of like, you know, how deep Do you go and are you 100% committed because I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs really will. They, they tend to have that fear factor that we’ve been discussing, and because of that, they end up playing it safe, like I don’t want to get too crazy. So I’m just gonna test the water just gonna go in a little bit, and so everything becomes half ass, and it ends up really creating more problems than good because Because they’re not 100% committed, and they’re constantly playing it safe out of fear.
Jim Lawless 36:05
That’s really interesting. I mean, we have to be when I say playing it safe I think it’s important people take bets that they are willing to lose on the downside. I can tolerate that convert so so playing it safe in that regard. Yes. playing it safe, however as in just just just holding back not fully committing and yeah, that that that is that’s that’s a different conversation. I think. I think that’s very dangerous. So it’s like going into a free dive on committed I mean, you could you could there’s anything you need to know you’re gonna go and do and I think that’s definitely the case with with entrepreneurship. And then I think with for entrepreneurs, I would always say, x together. For any for anyone I’d always say work with a mentor. Now this doesn’t need to be a paid. But it could be that’s that’s the paid coaches job. But that job of the mentor who’s been there before, or the paid coaches to challenge the perceptions Why are you seeing this as a risk? Why are you seeing that? You can’t do that? Yes. Because we will put these barriers up. And it can be extreme. Why are you saying you can’t walk across and speak to that senior person? Or that that that person to whom you are attracted? Why, why Why are you saying that? And that can be an What have you got to lose if you did, and those can be very important questions that can help us catapult forwards, a catapult forwards. So don’t do this in isolation. And that comes back to humility, knowing how to ask for help, which we were not taught to do. We were taught to get it right first time independently at our desk, the smartest in the class better than everybody else. This was the prized possession right, right back to the beginning of our conversation. And now we find the people who are really rattling ahead are the people who turn up willing to look the dentist in a meeting and they’ve done their work. They’re not actually dim, but they are willing to ask the big the big open helped me understand educate me quite You know, rather than and then go off and deploy that alongside their own mighty skills, rather than coming in, looking, looking to show off their skills and leave having acquired no more. So there’s a tremendous amount of humility, that, that comes with learning, taking risks entering into uncertainty. And if we’re not able to, to demonstrate that humility or ego needs, need something else, I think we have, we have a problem, a project an existential problem as an entrepreneur.
Adam G. Force 38:33
Yeah, yeah. You know, I, I’ll wrap up on this note, but I some of the things that I’ve read, which are similar, like you talked about going in the room, being willing to ask what some might say is a dumb question or whatever. You know, it’s this act of also just the willingness to be vulnerable, right, putting yourself out there and so many people do when they want to hide in the back of the classroom or, you know, they don’t want to be the one to put their hand up because God forbid they get the answer. are wrong and they look stupid, you know, that vulnerability is part of it too, I guess.
Jim Lawless 39:07
I think it’s the other side of exactly the same coin, you’ve you’ve, you’ve put your finger on it, if we’re going to create change, we’ve got it, which includes setting up successful businesses to create whatever that may be, we have to do things that no one’s ever done. And that certainly we’ve never done. That means by definition, risk and uncertainty. And if you put me out there in public, surrounded by risks that I might get this wrong, uncertain as to how to act, I’m by definition, in an extremely vulnerable naked position. And if I’m not willing to go out there and and tolerate that and have some strategies for surviving with other people who can hold my hand in that position, then I I am at risk as to my success. Yeah, exactly. It is vulnerable. It is vulnerable, and that’s why we admire it and that’s why when you when you speak to someone successful, unless as in some major figures, they inherited it from their fathers and may or may not have enhanced that fortune over time. If it’s somebody who’s gone from the bottom and made it, they’ve got time for you. They’re very genuinely, generally, they will have time for you for a lazy slacker who’s clearly not doesn’t mean they’re going to contribute anything because that’s against their ethos. But if you’re turning up humble and clearly willing to work and interested and asking big questions, I’ve never met one of those folk who was not humble and willing to engage in a conversation with me.
Adam G. Force 40:32
Interesting, interesting. Well, Jim, I really appreciate it. Man. I love these conversations. I think it’s so important. You know, one of the things I’ve learned over many years of doing business and stuff is a lot of it comes down to the way we think and how we respond to challenges and situations and you know, the mindset and the tactical part and the strategy part we can all figure out right? It’s just really how are we responding to those things and approaching them. So I find these conversations to be super valuable. And I appreciate you sharing your experience and expertise.
Jim Lawless 41:04
Adam, it’s been a huge pleasure, great fun to meet you and talk with you and I wish you and your listeners every possible success.
Adam G. Force 41:10
Thank you very much. We’ll talk soon again. That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag comm we’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
What does the future of work looks like and what are the critical skills and mindset leaders need to succeed today? We spoke to entrepreneur and 4-time best selling author, Jacob Morgan to find out.
Jacob Morgan is a four time best-selling author, keynote speaker and futurist who explores leadership, employee experience, and the future of work. He is the founder of FutureofWorkUniversity.com, an online education and training platform that helps future proof individuals and organizations by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the future of work. He’s also the founder of “The Future If,” a global community of business leaders, authors, and futurists who explore what our future can look like IF certain technologies, ideas, approaches and trends actually happen. In addition, Jacob hosts The Future of Work Podcast a weekly show where he speaks with senior executives, authors, and business leaders about how the world of work is changing. His YouTube channel explores the latest concepts and ideas around the future of work with inspiring and educational 2-3 minute videos.
Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam force. And if you missed the last episode Oh is with Jim lawless, overcoming fear and operating with risk. Okay, so really good insights or Jamie’s got incredible background and experience. I think we get a lot of good nuggets out of that one. So if you missed it, go back, check it out. I think you guys are going to enjoy that one. This week, we’re going to be talking to someone by the name of Jacob Morgan. And he is a four time best selling author. He’s a keynote speaker and a futurist who really digs into leadership employee experience and really, and what the future of work looks like. So he’s the founder of a company called the future of work University. And and you know, it’s an online education and training platform. We’ve had all kinds of good stuff and he’s just been in this space for a long time. So he’s got a lot of interesting insights that we wanted to get into about the future of work and, and hearing about all the ideas he did these interviews with, I think like 140 CEOs and just, you know, really dug into all these ideas from different people getting different perspective. So there’s a lot to learn and extract from it. And that’s what we’re going to dig into in this conversation. So hang tight, and we’re gonna jump into that in just a minute. We’ve been having a lot of conversations with people, such as you who are listening, just entrepreneurs out there, you know, really trying to do something that matters to them. You know, we all have these moments in our life where we’re trying to help others you want to do something meaningful. You know, we spoke to someone recently and they said that, you know, they became the number one salesperson in their company and all this stuff was happening at a college that was super exciting. And, you know, he got all this money and he kept buying y’all let me get the next car. Let me get the house and it was it was fun, right. And oddly enough, like over time, he just kept saying no matter what he bought, you know, you I’ve heard this before, right? He said, it just wasn’t fulfilling. It just was like there was this void like something was missing. And he wasn’t really happy doing what he was doing. And he had this other like incredible story just kind of like percolating in the back of his mind. And he just started like, once he had that epiphany, he started living this other story. And today, he is a coach for meditation. And he’s doing amazing work, he actually joined our program, the captivate method, and he’s been crushing it out of the gate since the first first week with just like very light coaching and stuff. He’s already had seven big wins in a row. And it’s been really exciting. But the most exciting part is that he turned things around, started living his own story, something that was meaningful to him something that was important to his life that he could share with others and help them have that same experience. And we would love you know, I’m sure that’s something that you guys would like to do as well and what you’re trying to do, and that’s what the captivate method is all About is really harnessing the power of not just storytelling for sales stories but also your primary core story that we put together and it helps you make decisions live according to your values so that you are waking up excited. So if that sounds like something you’re interested in we’d love to see you on the other side but first go to our website Change Creator calm you’ll see down there you can get on the waitlist for the captivate method, we’re going to start sending you some information and then you’ll get a chance to join us for a masterclass where it will show you how we how the program can help you and you can make a really good decision if it’s the right tribe for you, right. So check that out guys when you get a chance we got we got other fresh content on the site as well as always, and without further ado, we’re gonna dive into this conversation and see what Jacob has to say from all his experience about the future of work. Okay, show me that he Hey, Jacob, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today, man?
Jacob Morgan 03:59
I’m doing well. Thank you for having me. Awesome.
Adam G. Force 04:01
Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time. Pretty impressive to have four best selling books have, you know, everybody I talked to that writes books, I, I find that it’s a pretty painful process. So how do you get through it all?
Jacob Morgan 04:17
Well, how do you do which part because there are a lot of different painful process. It could be the writing the selling part.
Adam G. Force 04:25
I was focused on the actual writing of the book, and I’m always interested in that process. But why don’t you just give people a little background just about the four books and your experience running your own business and stuff like that, just so we know where you’re coming from?
Jacob Morgan 04:39
Sure. Well, so I guess to the first part of the question, when you quickly look at the the book stuff for me, honestly, writing the book pieces always been the easiest part. I mean, let’s be honest, right? I mean, how hard is it to just sit down and write? Yeah, you put on some music. You open up a Google doc and you write, anybody can write That, to me is not the hard part. The hard part is actually selling the book with a little bit of seriously, I mean with a little bit of discipline, there are people out there building rockets, curing disease, you know, construct like they’re, they’re legitimate jobs out there that are hard to do. writing a book is not hard. You’re sitting in front of a keyboard, you can be in an air conditioned room. And you’re you’re just typing today you can have a glass of wine. The simple act of just getting words on paper is not hard. Now, of course, it’s a little bit more challenging to write a good book to write, you know, to pick a topic that hasn’t been explored. But by and large, the hardest part of writing a book is to get people to buy the book to sell the book. That to me, is where the real hard stuff comes into play. So I guess that answers that part of the question and getting back to your your other question about the four books. They’re on, somewhat related, but slightly different topics. So the first book I wrote was about collaboration in 2012. It was basically how to use these digital technologies to get employees to work together. You know, things like workplace by Facebook, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer, like all these different platforms out there. How do we use them to get people to work together effectively? The book after that looked at what is the future of work going to look like? So how is leadership changing? How are employees changing? How are companies changing? The book after that specifically looked at employee experience, which is creating a place where employees actually want to show up to work. And the last book, which just came out, is looking at what are the most crucial skills and mindsets that we need to possess to be successful in this new world of work? And that was based on interviewing 140 CEOs and serving 14,000 employees.
Adam G. Force 06:50
That’s crazy. And how long did that take?
Jacob Morgan 06:53
Well, the survey piece I did in partnership with LinkedIn, so serving people is not hard. interviewing 140 CEOs is hard, because you deal with legal teams with PR teams with rescheduling with hosting with doing these interviews a weird hours of the night. Because, you know, international groups. And then after you do the interviews, you need to get permission even be able to use the interviews in the book. So that process probably took around a year.
Adam G. Force 07:22
Okay. I mean, that’s a pretty good chunk of time. And I know your pain of getting these people locked in and all the barriers and stuff like that it is it is cumbersome.
Jacob Morgan 07:33
Oh, yeah, it is. I mean, fortunately, you know, when you have a couple books under your belt, or a couple good endorsements, it becomes easier. I’ve also worked with some of these organizations by speaking at their conferences or, you know, giving some advisory work to them. So some of these CEOs I had a good relationship with, but it’s one of those things where once you get a couple people who vouch for you and are willing to participate, it becomes easier to then get others because they see the their peers are involved.
Adam G. Force 08:01
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. And I know definitely when you have a couple under your belt, people won’t see you as like, like, you’re just gonna be someone that’s here for a minute and gone. So it’s like you have some kind of consistency to.
Jacob Morgan 08:17
Yes, you absolutely need to have consistency. I mean, it’s, you know, kind of related to this, but it’s one of the most important things in building a personal brand is having that that consistency that’s there.
Adam G. Force 08:29
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So you said you manage a team and have business and so what’s the focus there?
Jacob Morgan 08:36
I have a team of 10 people that I work with spread all over the world. And I’ve only met one of them ever in person, the rest we never met. And they help you with all sorts of things. So like you I also create content. You know, I have a podcast I have courses that I create. I have a lot of content that goes out on social media. So I have a team of people That helps me with everything from podcast editing, to video editing, to website design to image quotes to social media to writing, of advertising. I mean, you name it. I have somebody on my team who helps me with those things. So it’s, you know, I used to do this all myself, and it was very overwhelming. So, as the business grew, I was able to get some help.
Adam G. Force 09:23
Yeah, that’s the way to do it, for sure. Because those operations can get very tedious after a while.
Jacob Morgan 09:30
Yeah, and quite honestly, I’m really bad at all those things.
Adam G. Force 09:34
That That doesn’t help either. makes it more useful, right.
Jacob Morgan 09:38
Adam G. Force 09:39
all important stuff, though. And what I’m really curious about is the leadership insights. I mean, so you talk to these hundred and 40 CEOs, and I mean, I’m like what stands out to you like, let’s just get a real big picture view of the experience itself. They spoke to 140 CEOs. Tell me just about that experience and what? what came out of it for you personally?
Jacob Morgan 10:07
Well, I mean, of course, there’s a lot that you learn because collectively, I mean, these are CEOs from companies like Best Buy Audi, Verizon, Oracle, Iser. So collectively, the CEOs are responsible for the lives of millions of employees, in many, many hundreds of billions, if not more dollars, collectively. So you’re talking to some of the world’s most powerful business leaders. And for me, it was just very interesting to get their perspectives on how they think about people and leadership and the challenges that they’re faced with in just how they think from a from a macro level, about their business in the future. Yeah. And that to me was very, very fascinating because I got very, very different responses. They have different personalities, different ways that they view things, get, they’re all very, very successful at what they do. And you just really go To show that there is no such thing as a single path to take to success. Yeah. Because I, you know, I had some CEOs I interviewed who were like all about people first and, you know, you talk to them and they kind of sound like they’re part monk, part philosopher part, you know, just genuine caring person. And then you have other CEOs that you talk to, and they’re like, No, no, the mission of the organization comes first. Everything else comes second. But they’re both running multi billion dollar companies with hundreds of thousands of people. So yeah, that to me was very, very fascinating,
Adam G. Force 11:35
huh? And I wonder did anything start? I guess, did you start seeing anything? It sounds like they have very different perspectives yet they were still running very successful companies. So there was no you weren’t seeing a better or worse based on the philosophy that they had.
Jacob Morgan 11:55
See the beginning, I was seeing one
Adam G. Force 11:57
so you weren’t seeing like a better result or worse results based on the philosophy that they had? Um,
Jacob Morgan 12:06
no. I mean, it’s kind of hard to say, right? Because I suppose it would depend depend depend on how you define better or worse. Right? I mean, it’s hard to compare better or worse, all the companies are doing well, right on most of them. So, you know, it’s hard because you can’t just look at profit or revenue, because the companies are in different industries, they’re different sizes, you know, there’s a lot of differences going on. But I can say that they are all doing well, I mean, they’re all you know, like Verizon, you know, I talked to Verizon, and I also talked to the CEO of T Mobile. So how do you compare, you know which one’s doing better? Well, Verizon is just genuinely a much bigger company. But they’re doing well. And t mobile’s also doing very well. Sure.
Adam G. Force 12:49
Sure. Well, I guess I’d be curious then, you know, like when it comes to the phone, because I’m always interested in the philosophy of different leaders and how they operate and and what happens because of their philosophy. Right, because it should, it should be the ethos, I guess of the company in some sense. And so if some are saying mission first, some are saying, people first Well, I wonder what it means for their I mean, they’re all big companies, but I wonder what their like, employee happiness is. I wonder what customer satisfaction is like? Did you come across anything interesting along those lines of in variation with companies or anything? And when you mentioned the difference between those like perspectives, yet they both have big companies, it’s like, that kind of like, triggered me in a sense, like, Oh, that’s, that’s really interesting, you know, that it’s not making a difference at some level.
Jacob Morgan 13:41
Yeah, no, I didn’t look at things like customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction. I mean, really, the whole point of the book in the interviews was to understand how is the world of leadership changing and what do we as individuals and as organizations need to do to make sure that we have the right leaders in place over the next decade. So I would ask them things like, what are the greatest challenges that you’re that you believe are gonna come along over the next decade? What are the biggest trends you’re paying attention to? What are the most important skills and mindsets that you think we need to have to be successful over the next decade? So stuff like that. And so I look for these common responses, like what is it that the CEOs keep pointing out and keep identifying? And that’s really what I made the book about, what are these key things that the CEOs keep bringing up?
Adam G. Force 14:30
That makes sense? I love that and and so what were some of the interesting thoughts on the mindsets and stuff that they believe are required as we move forward in the future?
Jacob Morgan 14:41
So we can look at it into a couple different areas, you let me know which one is most interesting to you. So I can talk about a couple different things. One is what are the greatest challenges for future leaders? What are the biggest trends, shaping leadership? What are the most important mindsets that future leaders need to have? What are the most important skills, things that we actually need to be able to know how to do as leaders and as individuals. So I can talk about any one of those, you let me know which one’s most interesting. Let’s just
Adam G. Force 15:08
say two of those trends and mindsets.
Jacob Morgan 15:11
Okay, cool. So the biggest trends, and this is around what is going to be most disruptive for us as individuals and organizations as far as how we need to change the way that we lead and run our businesses. And this could be whether these are big businesses, small businesses, whether you’re an entrepreneur, you know, none of these things play a role here. This is something that’s relevant for everyone. And so some of the biggest trends that were identified were so first around technology, automation, artificial intelligence, that was a massive trend. Another one identified was around changing demographics, the changing nature of talent, just the actual physical workforce, what we care about what we value our expectations of work. The pace of change was Another big trend, just how quickly things are changing in general, in technology and business just all across the board. Yeah, globalization was another big trend, which basically means that the barriers to doing business anywhere in the world are decreasing and crumbling. Another one was around a big shift towards purpose and meaning. So that’s something that a lot of people are asking about. And again, this is true whether you have a small business or a big company, people want to know, you know, purpose, meaning what, how am I going to make an impact and make a difference. And another one was really around ethics and transparency, just being open and honest and upfront around the organization and what it stands for, and that you’re doing the right thing. So those are some big trends that leaders need to pay attention to as far as how they run and lead businesses. Ah,
Adam G. Force 16:48
yeah, I mean, that’s interesting. And I love obviously, they talked about the purpose and meaning there’s definitely been a pretty big shift in that space. For Big and small companies, you know, people want to know, you know, Bruno’s would say it’s all about the customer, and they want to know what’s in it for me. But I think more and more today we’re seeing Well, I want to know what’s in it for me, but I also want to know what’s in it for you. Right? Like, what do you stand for? Like, what are you doing? And and it’s nice to hear that some of these bigger CEOs are acknowledging that shift towards that. And did they talk about things that they see larger corporations are doing in order to lean into purpose and meaning is anything come out of there?
Jacob Morgan 17:32
Well, so there are a few things that I think are important for people to pay attention to. The first is that purpose and meaning are not the same thing, although they oftentimes get us together. And I think it’s very, very important for us to differentiate the difference between purpose and meaning. Purpose is more along the lines of Do you know what you are doing at the company, like, you know, what do you get hired for what is your job? What is it that you know, what are the options comes that are expected you that’s your purpose right that your your your usefulness your your why you are at the company. And so that is something that more people usually have some clarity on, right? I mean, if you get hired in marketing or sales, you know that your job is to close deals. You know, maybe hear customer stories about how you’ve impacted or change their lives. If you are designing code for example. Your purpose is to create great products that make the lives of your customers easier, maybe easier to transact, send money to friends and family, whatever it is, I mean, your purpose is basically why you’re at the company. Yeah. Meaning on the other hand is very subjective and it is what you personally get out of something. So if I look at myself as an example, my purpose is to provide educational content on leadership, the future of work and employee experience, you know, and I do that through a lot of different ways. Speaking books, content, etc. Um, so that’s that’s my purpose. That’s why I am doing what I’m doing but It’s not the meaning that I get out of it, the meaning that I get out of it is to build relationships with people. It’s to work on things that I’m passionate about. It’s to be able to shape my own career path. It’s to be able to spend time with friends and family members, right, shaping kind of the life that I want to be able to live. Right. That’s the meaning that I personally get out of it. Yeah, so meaning and purpose are not the same thing. So for example, if you’re in sales, as I mentioned, your purpose might be to, to close deals, bring in revenue, stuff like that. But the meaning might be that you again, you build these relationships, you create meaningful connections, you get meaning from tough challenges, you get meaning, right? It’s very, very subjective. And I really think that organizations small and large, need to take a step back and understand that when they talk about these things, they’re not the same. So one is understanding what you do. And another one is what you personally get out of what it is that you Doing. So that’s kind of the key distinction that I that I learned from all of this. Interesting.
Adam G. Force 20:05
Yeah. No, it’s good to kind of be clear on people’s definitions for these types of things and how they’re how they’re referencing them. And I’d be curious, how did you based on these conversations around leadership and we’re here we are talking about different trends and things. Anything that you feel was very applicable? Like, if you were starting a new business today? Were there takeaways that you feel would be smart to, to apply to your business?
Jacob Morgan 20:38
Yes, so quite a few. So first, is if you are starting in business, if you’re starting a business and you’re by yourself, or if you have a small team,
Adam G. Force 20:49
I would probably say most people end up starting by themselves. So let’s do that.
Jacob Morgan 20:54
Okay. So if you’re starting off by yourself, I think probably the most important thing for you as an individual To think about the skills and mindsets that a lot of these CEOs identified, and I’ll give you some of the most crucial ones. So as far as a mindset, some of the mindsets go. And if you’re starting off on your own, one of the most crucial mindsets that you can have, as I call it, the mindset of the Explorer, is you need to have curiosity. You need to have a growth mindset. You need to be agile and nimble in your thinking. So if you are a solopreneur, or an entrepreneur, and you sort of assume that you’re gonna have one path, and that’s gonna be it, and whatever, you know, you know, you’re gonna have a hard time. You know, I’ll give you a very classic example, when I went off on my own. I was very good at the marketing stuff. Yeah. And so I thought that if I’m good at something that I should be able to be able to generate a business out of it. But what you don’t know when you become an entrepreneur is that there’s a lot of stuff outside of your comfort zone that you need to learn how to do you You need to learn how to create proposals, how to create contracts, you need to build a website, you need to start to build a personal brand for yourself, you need to learn about paying quarterly taxes, you need to learn about all this stuff that is beyond anything to do with your core skill set. And so you need to have that mindset of being able to learn about new things that are outside of your wheelhouse. I think that’s very, very important. Another one, I think that is very important, as far as a mindset goes, is this concept of lifelong learning. So I have a sort of a personal kind of you would call a policy but as a personal goal that I do for myself every year, and that is each year I do something that I didn’t do the year before. And this is part of my way of doing perpetual or lifelong learning. So for example, when I first went off on my own, I had a blog, and I had a social media presence. And then each year, I started doing Do something new one year, I created a podcast. One year I created a video series. Another year, I started to create online courses, right? So each year I do something big that I didn’t do the year before. And it forces me to do a few things AI learn about something completely new. And be at the same time I’m also growing and expanding my business. So you need to have that mindset of being a perpetual learner and having that bit of curiosity. Yeah, yeah. Another important thing that I think is essential is having humility and vulnerability. Because if you assume that you are the smartest person out there, that you know everything, people are not going to want to work with you. You’re going to lose deals that you know, and I’ve experienced this as well when I first started out, so you need to have that bit of humility and vulnerability. I think that’s a very, very important mindset for you to have. So I think those are some of the most essential ones. Maybe one more, just embrace the technology aspect. You know, there are some people out there who assume that you don’t need technology to be to be successful in what you’re doing. But you need these these new tools that are out there, right? They’re efficient, they help you. So don’t be scared of technology. Use it as a way to grow your business, and to spend time doing the things that you need to do instead of, you know, drone work.
Adam G. Force 24:23
Hey, yeah, exactly. No, it’s true. And the vulnerability factor is pretty big. putting yourself out there and not being afraid to ask questions that you I mean, I had somebody in our membership, the captain method, they were like, you know, I know this is a really stupid question. I feel really dumb asking. No, it was 100% a smart question very specific, but they’re afraid to expose certain things that they don’t know about, like, Oh, I have to be a certain, you know, level entrepreneur and otherwise, I look stupid, but being vulnerable and telling your stories and asking the right questions I think is just so important, too. People’s progress. So I love that you called that out. And that stood out. Yeah,
Jacob Morgan 25:03
yeah. Yeah. Well, and this is, again, one of the most important mindsets that the CEOs identified. Because you need to be able to show it’s not weakness, right? I mean, you need to be able to show that you are vulnerable, that you are human, that you’re not some kind of a robot, because nobody nobody wants to work with or for those types of people. So I think now we’re really starting to see that humility and vulnerability is much more of a strength and a weakness. And there are a couple skills Can I touch on some skills that I think are important? Of course, yeah. So probably the one of the most important skills for you as an entrepreneur or solopreneur. And this again, was identified by the CEOs for leaders but also relevant for just us as humans is emotional intelligence, specifically, empathy and self awareness. Self Awareness is crucial because as an entrepreneur, you need to understand what are you Good at what are you not good at? What burns you out versus what motivates you and excites you and gives you energy. If you don’t know these things, you’re gonna have a very hard time growing and succeeding, and also empathy, right? If you are selling to a client you need to be, you need to be able to see things from their perspective so that you can negotiate deals. So the emotional intelligence piece around just knowing yourself. And also being able to take the perspective of other people I think is really, really important. And maybe the other one other really crucial skill here. And this has been a timeless skill, but also wants changing the most is around listening and communication. If you ask any leader, what’s one of the most important skills they’re always going to say listening and communication so this isn’t new, but think about how this is changing. Now, look at all the different tools we have at our disposal. All the different channels that we’re using. I mean, me personally, I’m trying to communicate on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, I’m using audio, I’m using video, I’m using image quotes, like I’m communicating in so many different ways. Yeah. And so as an individual, building a business, you need to make sure that you can get your message across regardless of the channel that you’re using. And the listening piece is also crucial because when you again are negotiating a deal, and by the way, there’s a difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is the unconscious act of letting sound enter your ear. It doesn’t require no attention, no focus nothing. Listening is conscious. It requires effort. It’s looking at you know, paying attention to your body language if you’re in person, asking follow up questions, making it feel like a collaborative discussion. This is crucial to understand what it is that your customers want to be able to use. Create a product or service that they’re looking for, to create trust and psychological safety to be able to get deals to close. So this is really essential if you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur.
Adam G. Force 28:12
Yeah, I agree. I love that. I mean, you know, building trust today is so important and being able to communicate and empathize all these characteristics. I mean, I literally wrote down self awareness and empathy, and we talk about them a lot. Mostly empathy, especially today, right? So you have to empathize as entrepreneurs, we’re problem solvers. So we have to empathize with our customer, and really get in and become part of that conversation going on in their heads so that we can relate to them and connect them and best serve them. But the thing that I don’t and you know, and that’s even more important today with the pandemic, right, because they have a new set, they have a whole new set of problems. And everybody’s panicking like, well, I don’t want to sell during the pandemic. And we’re like, No, you definitely want to because this is how you help people but you need to empathize towards their needs. Now, and And you might have to make some adjustments, right? Oh, for sure.
Jacob Morgan 29:03
Yeah. And I mean, I have lots of stories of all these different types of things, and how I’ve lost big deals for projects from not doing these things. So I mean, I don’t know how much time we have left. I’m also happy to share lots of stories of what happens when you you don’t do some of these.
Adam G. Force 29:22
Yeah, we’re all about storytelling here. That’s our whole program, the captivate methods. So let’s hear a story about one of these examples that demonstrates this type of value. That’s when it’s missed or skill when it’s missed.
Jacob Morgan 29:35
Yeah, so there was what I mean I won’t name the organization. So I, I mentioned that one of the things that I do a lot of is I give a lot of talks, and I’ll usually not during pandemic time, obviously I do around, you know, 40, maybe 50 talks a year. And there was one organization I was working with very, very large company, hundreds of thousands of people. I did a series of events for them, they loved it got great endorsements, wonderful reviews, and Then another division of this organization, another country was like, Hey, you know, we we want to talk to you about our event because we hear that you did a good job for our United States based counterparts. And we want to talk to you. Yeah. And so I jumped on the phone with them kind of thinking, you know, maybe it was a little bit arrogant, maybe it was a little bit just like not wanting to put the time or the effort or the energy. I don’t know what it was, but I was, I just kind of assumed that the deal was going to be closed because I have these great reviews. And so I get on the phone with the CEO and and with a couple other people. And, you know, I charge 10s of thousands of dollars for speaking engagements. And so we get on the phone with them, you know, we do a call and then I find out that they didn’t book me. And I was totally shocked. And I asked somebody that I knew at the company, I’m like, what, what’s the deal? How could they not have given me this project? And they said, Well, you know, on the phone, you just, you didn’t sound the same way that you do in your videos or in your talks. You just sounded a little bit tired or bored, and you didn’t have that same energy? And it really just sunk in my I was in Hawaii vacation with my wife at the time. And I was just like, I don’t know, I was just pissed off. Yeah, you think something’s gonna be a done deal. And, and then you find out that you lose it. And it’s because I didn’t have that humility. I didn’t. I didn’t go into this thinking that this was a new project, a new deal that I needed to earn the business that I needed to be on my game that I needed to be sharp, I needed to sound excited, like, I just thought that it was going to be a done deal. And because I let my guard down for a little bit, I lost this massive, massive project. Right? And, you know, that was a very, very important lesson for me. And this has happened time and time again, right? I mean, as a solopreneur. One of the things that you need to learn, as I mentioned, self awareness, and even not taking things personally like there have been other times where I would, organizations would reject To me, and they would want these big proposals, you know, I’d send it to them, you know, $150,000 proposal and this was, you know, many years ago. Yeah. And they tell me Oh yeah, it’s done deal we’re gonna move ahead and I’m already telling my wife like holy shit I don’t know if I’m allowed to curse on this show, by the way, not I apologize. So I’m telling my wife like oh my god, you know, I got this huge deal is huge project. And, but the contract wasn’t officially signed. And you know, I follow up with them, no response. I’ll open them again. No response. A week later, they’re like, Oh, yeah, you know, the person in charge of marketing left. This whole project is on hold. And I almost lost my my dad. frickin mind right. So this is where this concept of self awareness and managing your emotions comes into play. And one of the things that I always talk about when I talk to entrepreneurs is you have to be able to manage your emotions because as an entrepreneur You’re you’re gonna have highs and you’re gonna have lows. And when you have highs, for example, let’s say you have a quarter where you make a lot of money, it’s very tempting for you to say, Oh my god, I made a ton of money, I’m gonna spend it. And I’m gonna go get a car or you know, you’re gonna go do something nuts. And then you spend the money that you made, and then the following quarter is not good. And you don’t have the money that you need. And the flip side, the the other side of this is also true, you might have a quarter, or a couple months, for example, for me right now with a pandemic, totally sucks. All my speaking gigs got canceled or postponed. My revenue, like plummeted completely right. And so you also need to be able to manage your emotions when things are not going well. Right. Not to panic, not to freak out not to think that oh, you know, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. So managing your emotions means that when things are going well, you know, maybe take yourself out to a nice day. Right, you know, don’t go nuts. And when things are not going well, you also don’t panic. And so you need to close up shop. But you need to just pay attention to what’s going on understand that business is oftentimes cyclical. This is why this self awareness comes into play. How do you react when things are going well? And how do you react and respond when things are not going? Well, because it’s very important to be kind of like level headed and cool headed during times of ups and downs. So I have lots of these types of experiences and stories of losing massive projects and big deals and people who have ignored emails after wanting these massive projects. It’s, you know, it’s gonna happen.
Adam G. Force 34:41
Yeah, hundred percent. Happens all the time. Right. So it’s just part of the process. And I guess the learning curve.
Jacob Morgan 34:49
Yeah, I mean, for me, and I was talking about this with my we have a podcast called BYOB podcast that we just started, where we share some of our entrepreneurial successes and failures. And I think it was a week ago, we were talking about just, we have a Google Sheet where we keep track of, and my wife is also a speaker, where we keep track of how many requests we get for projects versus how many of them actually come through. And looking at my Google Sheet, and this was over the past, I don’t know, maybe three years or so. I have around 700 in the no column, okay. 700 projects that are in the no column, which is massive amount. Yeah, it’s a lot. So people, you know, as an entrepreneur as a solopreneur, you need to be aware that you are likely going to get told no, far more than you get told. Yes. And that’s okay. It’s how you respond to those noes and how you make and take advantage of those yeses that’s ultimately going to determine the success and the failure that you have.
Adam G. Force 35:56
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I love that because one of the The biggest lessons we’ve learned as an entrepreneur from our mentors is all entrepreneurs as we’re in, you know, we’re learning these things, we’re running our businesses, we all come across the same challenges. The only difference is how one entrepreneur versus another responds to those challenges. And I think you’re kind of getting to that as well. And the way we respond, it could be emotionally with panic, doubt and all those types of feelings, which creates terrible decision making. Or you could be the person who stays calm diagnosis the problem and takes the next step, right. So it really comes down to how do we respond. So you can look at this list of 700 How do you respond to that? You know, so to me, that’s like, Great, that’s 700 that I reached out which How many do you get like there’s a it’s a number everything becomes this like numbers game if you’re patient and you’re smart about what you’re doing, right?
Jacob Morgan 36:53
Yeah, I mean, it’s okay to be upset and it’s okay to be frustrated. But you can’t take things personally. Right. So exactly, like I mentioned, the one project that I had where I thought it was going to come through for, like 150,000. And they bailed. You know, you can respond to that email and say, you know, I was counting on this, like, you probably like, you can’t do that, though. No, you so instead just got to respond back and say, Hey, you know, you know, no worries, I appreciate it. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to work in the future. Right. That’s, that’s how you have to respond. And same thing when I lost that speaking gig that that I was a shoo in for Yeah. You know, I’m not going to respond and say, What are you nuts? Like, you know, the US side of your business is way bigger. And your CEO, they’re giving you a wonderful quote, like, how could you like, you’re not gonna say that stuff? No. You just have to say, you know what I understand. I’m sorry, you feel that way. And hopefully we get a chance to work together again in the future. That’s it.
Adam G. Force 37:48
I mean, that’s 100% a right. So
Jacob Morgan 37:51
yeah, it’s a relationship business. And response
Adam G. Force 37:54
to is not just like, Okay, I’m responding and I’m getting back. It’s also your response as an attribute. To say, you could be crushed by this and say, Oh my god, like, they don’t want me to talk like maybe I’m not good enough like you can start having that response or you start, you know, pulling yourself back from this idea that you’re a great speaker, it could, it could distill doubt in your mind. So like, you don’t want to respond that way, either where now the next steps you take are going to be like to let’s do less speaking engagements. Let’s do this other stuff and you start changing your business model. And you know what I mean? Like, there’s that kind of emotional response that will will can deteriorate what you’re doing because now you don’t believe in yourself as much or something.
Jacob Morgan 38:37
Yeah, that is the classic imposter syndrome scenario.
Jacob Morgan 38:42
And everybody’s had to deal with it. I’ve had to deal with it many times. You know, as a speaker, when you get on a stage, it’s something that you might experience more so than others because you’re in front of hundreds, you know, thousands of people sometimes, and they remember some of the very first talks that Gave I oftentimes, you know, I had to deal with imposter syndrome. And sometimes you still do. And, you know, I’ve come up with, I don’t know how much of this you want me to share. But I have, over the years been able to put together kind of a series of, I guess you’d call them steps and strategies that have allowed me to overcome this. I mean, I’m happy to share them if you want to get into it.
Adam G. Force 39:22
I can’t go too deep, because we’re already at 35 minutes here for this. But I appreciate if there’s things we want to maybe highlight, we can if you want to share them over we can put them in the show notes for people to have. But yeah, we’re gonna have to wrap this one up. I’ve been meaning to but I didn’t want to interrupt our flow. But I do want to give you a chance, Jacob to just give a shout out How do people learn more about what you’re doing? Like your books and stuff like that? Like Where can they connect with you?
Jacob Morgan 39:53
I’m super easy to find my website is the future organization COMM And then you’ll find a link to my LinkedIn profile where I’ve been sharing a lot of articles as part of my LinkedIn newsletter. And very recently we put up I did a video where I talked about what these skills and mindsets are. So if anybody’s interested in learning all of them you can go to future leader masterclass calm. And then you can watch the full I think it’s like 50 or 60 minutes, where I talk about all of these in more detail. Awesome. Well, thanks
Adam G. Force 40:23
so much for your time, Jacob really appreciate all your insights and the work that you’re doing.
Jacob Morgan 40:28
Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me. All right, take care.
Adam G. Force 40:30
That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit Change Creator mag Comm. We’ll see you next time where money and meaning intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
Dale Carnegie is famous for his book, “How to Make Friends and Influence People”. It’s legendary. Now, you can listen in on A Dale Carnegie Podcast, where they uncover what leadership means in today’s world. Hosted by Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie, they will be talking to diverse leaders across various industries to help unlock your potential for success. Sharing real-life insights into leadership—which in turn can help spark the next level of your growth as a leader.
Any book you read by Patrick Lencioni will make you a better business person. Books like Getting Naked, 5 Temptation of a CEO and so many more are absolute game-changers. You don’t want to miss this podcast.
Hear real conversations and practical advice for everyday leaders. Sit across the table from one of the foremost experts in leadership and business. In his simple and approachable style, Lencioni tackles every topic related to the world of work (and some that aren’t). From culture to teamwork to building world-class organizations, he brings his wisdom, humor, and insight together to provide actionable advice for leaders everywhere.
Dose of leadership has interviews with leaders from all areas of life including military, business, and even faith-based leaders. The show aims to teach leaders and aspiring leaders how to develop themselves and the organization they lead.
As the name suggests, the show centers on communication as the basis of modern leadership. Jesse and his interviewees discuss the various tactics you can use to communicate with your team effectively for improved productivity.
Paul started off quite badly as a salesperson but he managed to turn his fortunes around and become a leader in the field of sales. In Accelerate, he combines his experience and that of his guests to teach you how to become build successful teams for your organization to prosper.
Kruse’s guests include some of the best leadership and business experts in the world. They will share with you tips on how to manage your team successfully and also how to advance yourself in different at your workplace each day.
Carey wants to help you move from an average leader to a great leader by embracing change and personal growth. Although many of the interviews may be faith-based, the content will help you become a better leader even in your business organization.
Hyatt wants you to lead your life with passion and focus and his podcast teaches just that. He will also talk you to on how to harness that passion and apply it in your area of work to become a focused and influential leader.
Your organization and the employees need you to be a strong and influential leader. If you can become that leader it becomes much easier to achieve the organization’s goals. Naseer and his guests will guide you on how you can become the leader that your team can look up to.
In this faith-based show, the discussion focuses on building your legacy in the organization you lead. You will learn how to ensure your legacy in leadership outlives in business you while following God’s teachings.
This is a show for business leaders who have tried to lead by the book but the productivity does not reflect the effort. Erik and his guests will discuss how you can boost your personal productivity as well as your team’s productivity.
Listen to this Tony Robbins as he teaches how you can become an extraordinary leader. The show also discusses how you can let go off what is holding you back, nurture your team and manage your most important resource – time.
Achieve Your Goals is all about taking your life to the next level. Elrod will sometimes host guests while other times he does a solo show. Either way, the show will help you set goals for your team and strategize on how to reach them.
Ready to take a lead on building a meaningful brand that sells? The Authentic Brand Mastery Podcast is brought to you by Change Creator and is hosted by branding and design expert, Adam G. Force. Listen in on these compelling discussions to learn how you can build an authentic brand that people love and drive more online sales with smart design.
Great podcast for those looking to make a difference
“Adam covers an important part of the entrepreneurship space – making a positive impact on the world through our business. I really like how the interviews get into real-life struggles and cover the moral or ethical decisions that owners have to weigh against business performance. I also enjoy learning about other cultures, the challenges of creating lasting social change, and even the unexpected negative effects that we can contribute to as we seek this change.”
From the co-founder of LinkedIn comes this informative, yet zany and fun podcast that will set your 2019 on fire! One of our favorites is Tristan Walker’s Beauty of a Bad Idea episode — who hasn’t had one of those? As leaders, it’s up to us to take the ‘bad idea’ risks and attempt the impossible, even when those around us think we’re crazy!
When we asked our audiences what they needed more of from our content, we got a lot of responses about ‘failure stories’ — people that have failed (and lived to tell us about it). It can be so tough when you’re in the weeds of your business, on the ground building something of value and face failure. Yes, lots of people talk about failure as a nicety, but so many people gloss over these lessons in their past! Well, we recommend listening to these truly inspirational podcasts from Gimlet Media — all with a focus on failure. Hey, we can learn from others’ failures too!
We’ll keep updating the list when we find more 2019 that we fall in love with!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can podcasts make you smarter?
Yes, listening to any kind of podcast will help make you smarter in the same way that reading does! However, you can also expand your knowledge on history, science, entrepreneurship or any other topic that you are interested in.
How can podcasts make you a better leader?
Above you can find a bunch of podcasts that will present to you, and help you develop, the skills and tools that a leader needs. As well as inspire you towards a healthier life and being a more empathetic leader by listening to the words of other leaders.
As a leader, you are often expected to know your way around but sometimes you get stuck. Or you are in new territory with challenges that you are finding hard to overcome.
During such times or when you want to move your leadership skills to a new level, a talk show or two might do the trick.
With this list, you have a variety of shows to choose from to learn more about leadership and lead your team to greater success.
Globalization lets the bold entrepreneur start doing business anywhere around the world. You just have to assess your preferences and decide where you can make the most of your business concept and the local conditions. With this in mind, here are seven countries around the world that lend themselves to being ideal for foreign entrepreneurs.
The Ease of Doing Business Rank
When you are planning to do business in a foreign environment, it might be worth considering how welcoming that environment is to foreign investors. The World Bank publishes a report each year on the ease of doing business around the world. They consider several factors, and then create an overall ranking based on all of them.
New Zealand ranks first for starting a business and getting credit, while it is also among the top of the crop regarding registering property and protecting minority investors. Locals are highly environmentally concerned and would go a great distance to preserve the natural beauty of their country, which makes it an ideal destination if your startup is based on social entrepreneurship, trying to give back to society and the environment.
For foreign investors, there is an external affairs help desk to support any foreign investment procedure. However, you should keep in mind that the local market is in fact quite small with only 4.7 million inhabitants on the 2 huge islands, while taxes are also high: corporate tax is 28%, while VAT is 13% in New Zealand.
Denmark consistently ranks very high regarding most factors of easy business. The lowest indices are rank 45 for the ease of starting a business (which is still in the middle tier for European company formation), even though registration is fully electronic, and 48 for getting credit. While Denmark accommodates world-class companies in various industries, the country is most well-known for its cleantech companies, thanks to 40 years of working towards ambitions goals in sustainable energy generation and sustainable growth.
Other outstanding fields include biotech, life sciences, and the food industry, which are all characterized by constant innovation. Local talented professionals speak English well, which is a benefit for foreign company owners. While the Danish population is only 5.6 million people, a local company grants you access to the European market. Mind you, Danish corporate tax is 22%, while VAT is 25%.
Singapore can be your strategic gateway to South East Asia if that is where you want to expand your business. However, it offers excellent connectivity to everywhere around the world thanks to its extensive sea and air connectivity. This way while the local population is only 5.6 million, you get access to a vast market through Singapore regardless of which industry you are active in. You will also find that local work force is productive and dedicated to work. While attractive tax frameworks and extensive trade agreements facilitate business and trading across borders, keep in mind that corporate tax is 17%, and GST (goods and services tax, the equivalent of VAT) is currently 7%, to be increased to 9% within a few years.
The United Kingdom was the leader of the industrial revolution, and it has been a leader in various industries ever since. Whichever industry you are interested in, you will find strong infrastructure with constant development, recently with increasing focus on sustainable growth. The population of 66 million brits offers not only a considerable market but also a vast pool of skilled employees.
And while Brexit currently underway might be a reason for some instability, making it not necessarily the best place for European company registration for now, Brexit also promises better positions to the UK with quicker reaction time to global events. The 20% corporate tax and the 20% VAT should also be kept in mind, together with the option for cheap online company setup that lets you start your operation pretty soon.
Hungary is a stable member of the European Union since 2004, which grants access to the entire EU market besides the local 10 million population. It is located in the heart of the continent with excellent infrastructure and connections to every region of Europe.
The procedures for company formation and registration in Hungary make it a great choice when moving your business to Europe thanks to the 9% corporate tax which is the lowest in Europe (although VAT is among the highest with 27%) and the instant EU VAT number that lets you start international trading as soon as your bank account is set up (which lets Hungary rank first in the “trading across borders” category of the World Bank report).
The United States, as the world’s biggest economy, may seem attractive to many investors. It ranks 6th in the overall Ease of Doing Business list of 2019. Many global corporations have their headquarters here, and it is indeed a paradise for free trade and innovation. Before starting a company in the US, however, you should seek detailed advice especially on taxation.
The US law is governed on federal, state and local levels, so the conditions for operating your US company will greatly depend on the state where you are registering it. Moreover, if you also gain US residency, keep in mind that residents of the US are subject to tax on their worldwide income, not only that generated in the USA.
Georgia is located exactly between Europe and Asia, offers significant incentives for foreign investments and business operations in the country, which make it an ideal location for an ethical business. While the local population is only 3.7 million, Georgia is culturally similar and geographically close to Russia, which makes it an easy target country, even is there are some territorial disputes between the two.
The business-friendly community is recognized by various international rankings thanks to its reliable infrastructure, low taxes (5.75% corporate tax, 18%VAT), and high state credit ratings, although company formation is a bit slow, taking about 4 weeks. This is complemented by the Georgia Quick Start training program that supports the education of skilled workforce in fields required by specific companies creating new jobs.
Find Your Place in the World
Before you can decide where to expand your existing business or where to set up a new company as a foreigner, make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and what are the main requirements of reaching that goal. This way you will surely find the best country for your expat enterprise.
This article aims to discuss the importance and merits of initiating discussions about tourism in terms of consumption. This is especially important since, more often than not, tourism is presented as something that is constituted mainly, if not entirely, by leisure and enjoyment.
In this context, reframing discussions in terms of consumption has the advantage of encouraging both tourists as well as professionals in the industry to plan for safe, sustainable, and accountable consumption. This call for cooperation is also beneficial because it does not alienate tourists or place the blame and onus squarely upon them. Instead, it illustrates that true change can occur only if tourists and industry professionals act in concert. In effect, this approach focuses on the dimension of responsibility, which is central to the ethos of sustainable tourism.
Being Realistic About Sustainable Tourism
Although tourism is considered an important economic activity by all parties concerned, it is essential to recognize that sustainable tourism does not involve the complete elimination of tourism’s adverse effects—be they environmental, socioeconomic, or political. This is not to say that the adverse effects of tourism cannot be alleviated. On the contrary, this realization allows us to better examine the way things really are and look for relevant, employable measures.
Additionally, this realization also enables us to effectively counter arguments put forth by detractors of sustainable tourism, especially claims about the futility of the efforts aimed at making tourism sustainable. In other words, this realization allows us to work toward attainable goals rather than adopting either a pessimistic outlook or an excessively idealistic one, which can also be equally debilitating.
Unsustainable practices and overtourism are arguably the biggest impediments to maximizing the benefits of tourism. In fact, as things stand, unchecked tourism might not only jeopardize a gamut of resources directly related to tourism but also those that are not directly related to it; some would even argue that rampant, unchecked tourism has already endangered natural resources.
Tourism, it must be said, is a complex thing: it is, simultaneously, both a threat and an opportunity, which makes regulation all the more necessary. Fortunately, however, regulatory measures do not necessarily have to be implemented top-down—that is, they do not have to be initiated, planned, tested, and implemented by governments.
The Importance of Simple Measures
Tourism is in dire need of swift, direct action, and given the number of tourists and industry professionals (one in five jobs created worldwide in 2017 were tourism-related, and as of 2018, the number of international tourist arrivals stands at a staggering 1.4 billion), the impacts of positive change are likely to be humongous. Which means we do not necessarily have to wait for lobbyists to influence public policy.
We, as tourists and industry professionals, have the opportunity to lead the way with simple measures. Perhaps the biggest advantage of simple, straightforward measures is that they can be modified to suit diverse geographic and cultural needs. This is especially crucial since there really isn’t a universal solution to problems engendered by tourism and overtourism. Simple measures are flexible and particularly amenable to tweaks and improvisations. Here are a few ideas we can all adopt:
There is in fact quite a bit tourists and travelers can do to make their vacation a little more sustainable.
1. Research before you visit.
We can research the places we’d like to visit. This involves familiarizing ourselves with the sociopolitical, cultural, historic, and ecological aspects of our destination. It is also critical to know whether tourism, too, has spawned particular problems in these regions. We could try and not add to this. Being prepared certainly does not solve the problem, but it may at least equip us with vital information and make us appreciate the need for change and ethical action.
2. Choose better forms of transportation.
We can walk or cycle to destinations that are not too far. Alternatively, we can utilize public transportation or other forms of communal transportation such as carpools or buspools. Seen in the context of the amount of fossil fuels required for tourism-related transportation, these simple measures are perhaps the need of the hour. For instance, this study notes that 72 percent of tourism’s carbon dioxide emissions come from transportation. Ensuring sustainable mobility, therefore, may be one of the best ways to make tourism sustainable.
3. Make sustainable tourism the norm.
Similarly, tour guides, hotel and restaurant owners, and other industry professionals can do their bit to emphasize the need for sustainable, conscientious tourism. The internet has not so much rendered pamphleteering obsolete as it has transformed it.
It would be deeply beneficial to make critical information easily accessible in the form of tips and friendly suggestions. This includes information such as things tourists are expected to avoid, things they are encouraged, obligated, or even required to do. Which means it is equally important to shed light on practices that constitute unsustainable tourism.
Why proactive regulation? Because it might just drive home the point that if we have the right to travel then we also have a duty to be conscientious tourists. In effect, proactive regulation places equal emphasis on duty. This is especially salient given the proliferation of growth-oriented public policies. As Miller and Spoolman argue in their work titled Environmental Science, the biggest impediment to sustainable living is our emphasis on economic growth. Growth, they argue, is only a partial measure. The rabid pursuit of growth alone does not and cannot ensure quality of life, sustainable living, or development.
This may be a hackneyed argument, but it is deeply relevant in the context of sustainable tourism. Governments that rely on tourism for swift economic growth typically focus extensively on numbers.
They actively aim to attract more and more tourists and are characteristically averse to regulation. This not only endangers the destinations they aim to promote but also threatens tourism itself. Which means excessive focus on growth is deeply counterproductive and self-destructive. Governments will also have to deal with large-scale unemployment if tourism becomes impossible.
Observers who call for proactive regulation typically suggest either limiting the number of tourists or cordoning off tourist spots for short durations for maintenance and replenishment. There is considerable heft in this argument. Some of its merits are as follows:
Contrary to popular belief, an off-season may not necessarily mean temporary loss of income or jobs. Instead, industry professionals could be employed to implement and test shortlisted maintenance measures.
Additionally, the off-season could also be used to train industry professionals to create awareness about the need for sustainable tourism.
As one can see, tourists and industry professionals have the unprecedented opportunity to be exemplars, to lead the way not necessarily with drastic action, but with simple measures.
Managing a social enterprise is not an easy task since unlike a traditional company, the social or environmental impact component that the social enterprise tries to address adds an extra layer of complexity to the management. It is for this reason that social entrepreneurs often feel confused and do not know how to lead their organizations.
One of the main challenges facing social entrepreneurs is to determine the best leadership approach for their organization, whether one focused on impact or one focused on business. Usually, these types of leadership do not go hand in hand and usually create tensions within the organization since those members who work with a business-focused style tend to minimize the importance of the impact and prioritize income generation, while Impact-focused members give priority to impact over income generation.
Which is the right leadership approach?
The truth is that the 2 approaches are necessary for a social enterprise to scale its impact and be successful since each one has advantages for the organization:
Focus on business
The focus on business makes the organization more attractive to investors, generates more economic resources and has the potential to scale much faster.
Focus on impact
The impact approach, on the other hand, gives the organization a better understanding of the problem they are trying to solve and allows them to generate new ideas to maximize and scale the impact of the organization.
The key is then to strike a balance between the 2 approaches so that the social enterprise takes full advantage of both.
To achieve the balance between the 2 leadership styles, social enterprises must:
Be guided by a clear mission
A clear and concise mission statement will allow the social entrepreneur to better guide their teams regardless of the approach they work with. In a paper Onyx and Maclean mention how several studies on the motivation of individuals working in nonprofit organizations have shown that volunteers, paid collaborators, managers and presidents perceive themselves as means to achieve a greater collective goal. This means that when all members of the organization understand the mission of the organization and how their work contributes to it, it is easier to deal with the tensions that may arise between the 2 approaches since all the team members will be aligned by the common factor of achieving the mission of the organization.
Establish impact and business indicators
Another key element to achieving the balance between the 2 approaches is to establish impact and business indicators that not only allow to measure performance but also help to communicate the accomplishment within the organization and demonstrate the contribution of each approach to the achievement of the major goal.
A good example of a social enterprise that has achieved a balance between the 2 leadership styles is SolarInti, an Argentine organization that provides energy and economic autonomy to rural and low-income families through ovens and high-performance solar devices. To scale the impact of the organization, its founder Pierre-Yves Herrouet understood that it was necessary to leverage the mission with a focus on business, so he incorporated a team of professionals with commercial experience who joined the organization. Today, the organization has a mixed team of collaborators, some focused on impact and others focused on business, but all the members of the organization, regardless of their approach, are committed to the mission and understand the scope of their work through the complete set of indicators with which SolarInti measures the performance of its projects which include environmental, health, product, participation, and service indicators, among others.
Finding the perfect balance between the 2 approaches is not something that happens overnight, social enterprises must allow themselves to experiment with different iterations of leadership approaches, starting with small projects that allow them to analyze how the internal teams of the organization react and can determine the challenges and opportunities of the approach.
For a company to be successful, it must integrate and interact with a wide variety of actors, including other companies, international organizations, governments, banks, investors, and others. The term ecosystem is often used to refer to these relationships and interactions. As Jager, Symmes, and Cardoza state in their book Scaling Strategies for Social Entrepreneurs, the term ecosystems is widely used by scholars to describe the complex relationships and diversity of actors with whom a social entrepreneur must relate in order to achieve his goals.
Navigating in an ecosystem is a complex task, especially if the entrepreneur doesn’t have a strategy for establishing a relationship with each actor. In addition, entrepreneurs have to keep in mind that ecosystems are not the idyllic place they often think, where all the actors will be open and willing to lend a hand to the entrepreneur. In fact, in most countries, ecosystems do not work well, and there is little articulation between some key actors.
How should social entrepreneurs then navigate and take advantage of social enterprise ecosystems?
Jager, Symmes, and Cardoza state that a social entrepreneur must use a market approach to explore and take advantage of opportunities that allow negotiating impact with diverse actors. Given this concept and in addition to the fact that ecosystems in many cases do not work quite well, we understand that the social entrepreneur must not only look to be part of an existing ecosystem but rather must build his own ecosystem based on his needs.
The steps that a social entrepreneur can follow to build their own ecosystem are:
1. Identify regulatory frameworks and negotiation standards
Both social entrepreneurs and the actors with whom the entrepreneur wants to establish relationships are framed by regulations, laws, and norms that determine how these relationships are negotiated. Social entrepreneurs should know these regulatory frameworks thoroughly and identify how they can use them in their favor. In addition to the laws, there are standards of each sector that allow establishing a common language between the negotiating parties. Some examples of these standards are ISO standards, SDGs, and impact indicators such as IRIS, among others. The social entrepreneur must identify which negotiation standard works best for a particular actor.
2. Identify needs and the actors that can supply them
Before venturing to build an ecosystem, social entrepreneurs must identify their needs for economic and non-economic resources. Once this diagnosis is made, entrepreneurs will be able to identify – more quickly – possible actors that can meet those needs. This saves the social entrepreneur time since his search will be more focused and efficient.
3. Establish the negotiation
Once the actors have been identified and what is wanted of them, as well as the regulatory frameworks and standards that will determine the way of relating, the social entrepreneur is ready to be able to enter into negotiations with these actors. During the negotiation phase, it is possible for the entrepreneur to discover new opportunities or resources that he had not previously considered. This is why the entrepreneur must keep an open mind, with a clear objective of what he wants to obtain, but being flexible in how he is going to obtain it.
Social entrepreneurship ecosystems are constantly changing and, for this reason, social entrepreneurs must remain alert to these changes and by always asking the question: With which actors can the organization’s impact be negotiated to continue scaling?
As you listen to our interview with Drew Dudley, you’ll soon see why he has been called one of the most dynamic speakers in the world. His talks on leadership are captivating and inspiring — so much so that his 2010 TEDx conference talk on lollipop moments was voted one of the most inspirational TED talks of all time.
For the last 15 years, Drew has inspired countless individuals and corporations to expand their leadership capacity. In our talk, he discusses the importance of not going overboard in the amount of time you dedicate to your business. Working countless hours each week can become addictive, he warns. We promise ourselves that we’re working an insane number of hours now so that we can work less in the future. However, as company leaders, we become addicted to working too much and end up just following society’s expectations of putting in long hours.
Leadership is not martyrdom.
Working a meager 40 hours per week goes against most of what you’ve heard about scaling your business.
“We live in a 90-hour-per-week hustle culture and if you’re not burning the candle at both ends, you’re clearly not committed to your business.”
Drew points out he is failing himself if he’s working more than 40 hours per week. “If you overdo anything,” he adds, “you don’t love it as much.”
Remember Who It Is You Want to Be
Often, we lose ourselves in the process of setting up a new company to the point that we end up forgetting who we are. Drew points out that our values — those core beliefs that govern our day-to-day decision making — should be reflected in our businesses.
Research shows that clarity on personal values plays a much bigger role in happiness, productivity, retention, and overall effectiveness in the workforce.
Drew’s Six Key Values
Drew shared with us his six key values, each of which has a specific question tied to it that helps him make sure that he’s acknowledging the leadership skills in others. These values are:
It seems logical to make business decisions that will avoid any immediate negative consequences. But what if those decisions go against your values? Drew points out that sometimes we sacrifice integrity in order to save the company. The problem is that you will always regret this down the road. Why? Because you’ve gone against the fundamental beliefs that make you who you are.
The Five Year Question
One amazing bit of advice Drew offers when faced with a critical decision to make is this: Ask yourself how a person you respect would react five years from now. Would they support you in having gone against your values to keep your business afloat, or would they be proud of you for sticking to what you believe in and doing what you feel was the right thing to do? Drew promises us that the latter is what will make us happiest in the long run.
Good leaders live their values whenever they get the chance and great leaders create opportunities to live their values.
Transcription of Interview (Transcribed by Otter.ca; there may be errors.)
Adam Force 0:12 Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the change Creator podcast show. This is your host, Adam Force. And if you missed last week’s episode, it was with Paxton Gray. He is one of the main guys over at 92nd floor. And he’s an SEO and content marketing and strategy expert. So we got into a lot of good stuff there. We even branched off and spoke about Cambridge Analytica. So that was a fun little tangent to go off on.
And today we’re going to be talking with Drew Dudley. Drew is a leadership expert. He’s worked with all kinds of major companies like JPMorgan Chase and major universities. But also, he had his first book, “A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters” And he’s spoken to 250,000 people across five continents, doing TED Talks, and all that kind of stuff. So a lot of exciting experience and knowledge coming from Drew, we’re going to tap into that conversation in just a minute. And just yesterday, we were talking about how some people are getting very frustrated with their, you know, marketing, not connecting, they’re doing all the social media posts, they’re doing blog posts, podcast, you know, all this stuff. And they’re just not getting the results, you know, webinars that go out there, and they’re not making sales, and we totally get it. We’ve been there; this is a disconnect. You know, there are two things that have to happen: a good product, and a good offer. And then you have to have also a third thing, I guess, which is you’ve got to have your messaging line up. And that’s part of that offer, right? So, you know, when your messaging is out of sync, these things just don’t work.
So if you see other people getting results with the same stuff you’re doing, and you’re not getting the results, that’s usually why. And you know, we we ran a beta for our captivate program in 2018, and worked with a bunch of people like Jay Shetty, and Seth Godin, and got all kinds of advice and put together a program to help solve that problem — to fill that gap, you know, using storytelling, provide clarity, but also how do we use it with our businesses and our startups, and where do we apply it and all that kind of good stuff. So we are on version 3.0, of what we call the Captivate Method now, which is really exciting, guys. So our team has been putting it together, and we’re going to start getting our plans for release. 3.0 is not out yet. This is going to be a much more enhanced program and platform with major community forums and all that kind of stuff. Lots of coaching calls, live sessions, and goodies. So keep an eye out.
I wanted to just give you guys a heads up that we are working hard to help solve for that disconnect that is causing frustration. But more importantly, is causing entrepreneurs to give up on what they’re doing. Right from burnout or just financial strain. Okay? So we need your ideas. You guys are out there trying to change the world, we want you to succeed. So we’re working really hard to make sure you can overcome those challenges. Alright, guys, we’re gonna jump into this conversation with Drew and let’s see what he has to say. Don’t forget to stop by the App Store and leave us reviews. We appreciate it.
Announcer 3:03 Okay, show me the heat.
Adam Force 3:08 Hey, Drew, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show. How you doing today, man?
Drew Dudley 3:12 I’m doing amazing. I’m in my happy place when I do this interview. So I’m really excited to be here.
Adam Force 3:19 Awesome. Yeah, so we were just talking before this chat, and you know, the name keeps escaping me. We tell me that happy place again. Where were you in Canada?
Drew Dudley 3:28 Oh, I’m in Cape Breton Island. So the northern tip of Nova Scotia. And if anyone out there is listening, make this part of your to-do list in your life.
Adam Force 3:37 I’m actually going to write it down so I can look it up when we’re done. Okay. Cool. So yeah, what are you doing out there, you just want to vacation, you got some stuff going on for work? Tell me what you have going on these days
Drew Dudley 3:52 Well, actually, what happened was I have a speech that is happening this Friday, and it’s Tuesday right now. And one of the things when I talk about my work, and we’ll probably get into this a little bit later, is making sure that I never lose sight of the fact that leadership isn’t martyrdom. And you know, it’s all about 90 hours a week and the hustle culture, particularly in the entrepreneurial world is just like, if you’re not burning the candle at both ends, you’re not really committed to your business and to growth. And one of the things I’ve discovered, you know, after doing things on my own now for over 10 years, is that basically, when you’re empty, you have nothing to give. And so I came out here because even though it’s only three or four days of downtime, and hiking, where I can continue to work on ideas, I can continue to work on speeches, and sort of write as I walk, ultimately, I’m so much better at my job if I take even two or three days in a place that makes me feel refilled, as opposed to trying to pack it into, you know, two weeks of vacation once a year. It really is a way of recharging. So it’s something I try to scatter throughout my work. And you know, this might be sacrilegious in the entrepreneurial world. But I’ve come to believe if I work more than 40 hours a week, I’m actually failing myself because I love my work. But if you overdo anything, you don’t love it as much. So for me, it’s sort of like as long as I keep my work organized and efficient and I don’t work more than 40 hours a week, one, I better at my job, and two, work always stays a treat. Because I mean, you could love pizza, man, but if you eat pizza for a month straight, even this thing that you love begins to lose a little bit of luster. So I’m out here to follow my own advice.
Adam Force 5:39 Well, I love hearing that because I’m with the man I’m on the train of you know, not agreeing with this, like I work 100 hours a week, it’s the only way to succeed. And like, you know, I see too many times otherwise, that people who work hard but smart and you know, you accomplish the things that you need to do in a reasonable amount out of time. Right? And you know, I always said when I was in the corporate world, I was like, just because someone’s coming in early and staying late doesn’t mean they’re getting more done.
Drew Dudley 6:09 Yeah, and I think one of the things that gets me is this idea that we convince ourselves that we’re only doing it temporarily, right, like I’m working 90 hours a week now, so that I can, you know, spend more time with my family or I can have freedom later on in life. And what happens is, it’s an addiction, right? So you tell yourself, you’re doing it to create all this time and freedom and security later on. But we never stop doing it, when we have the opportunity to start living a life that sort of is better for us. We just don’t, because we’ve never trained ourselves to do it. And I think that’s something is that we always rationalize that approach is temporary, for long term gain. But I found very few people that once they get, you know, to that place they were chasing, ever give up the lifestyle and and I was one of those people and I am much more productive, much more successful, and much happier now that I’ve sort of said, Hey, those hundred hour a week craziness that I did 10 years ago, they got me to a place where I could take that philosophy. And I actually seize that opportunity. I see a lot of people who don’t.
Adam Force 7:15 Yeah, no, it makes sense. And there is that culture today. And I mean, I guess it’s been around for years, but you hear the words “grind” and “hustle” in everybody’s entrepreneurial vocabulary. And after a while, it just drives me nuts. Everyone’s like, Oh, I’m grinding. I’m hustling. I’m like, and so I don’t know, I feel the same way on different levels with that. And I’m certainly not afraid of hard work. And I do lots of that myself. But I guess it depends on how we define that and what we’re actually spending our time doing, exactly.
Drew Dudley 7:48 Because when you grind things like if you really think about what a grind is, there’s a purpose to it, right? You’re grinding something to sharpen the saw, right? Yeah. And ultimately, if you don’t stop and say, okay, the grinding has now accomplished its purpose, what happens if you leave anything up against the grindstone for an indefinite amount of time? It just gets worn down to nothing. And when you wear yourself down to nothing, that’s a hard hole to climb back out of. And so I’m not saying don’t work hard. And I’m not saying don’t be passionate, I am saying that you need to build a business that serves your life. And by that what I mean is that you need to build a business that is going to give you the last day of work that you want. Look ahead and say, What do you want the last day of work of your life to look like? How do you want to feel? And make sure that you’re building a company that creates that and serves your life, as opposed to you creating a company that you are then a slave to forever. And yeah, you created it. But now it’s now it’s your master. And I think that that’s really important. Because if something you build becomes your master, you know, why did you build it?
Adam Force 8:55 Yeah, and I think something that you said there really stuck out, which is you build a company that serves you. And you know, everyone can have a slightly different variation of what success means to them, right? So you can run a million dollar a year company with you and a partner. And that could be more than enough for your lifestyle, you know, you don’t have to have 100 million dollar a year company. So don’t let other people define what success looks like for you. Right?
Drew Dudley 9:22 Yeah, because for me, success is being completely happy with what you have, even as you’re driven to try to accomplish more like my job and what we managed to build, I’m still driven to take on new challenges and grow. But if there was never another day of growth for the rest of my life, in terms of business, I am really happy with the life that has been created around me. And so I think that true success is when you can say I am driven, I want to get more, I want to grow more, and I want to become something bigger as a person in terms of skill and insight. But I’m really happy with what I have. Yeah, when you’re happy with what you have, and you’re still driven to want more, not because you’re supposed to, but because it’s an innate piece of who you are, that’s a successful life. If right now you say I have built something that makes me happy and I still want to do more, but I’m not sort of addicted to that need. So that’s what success means to me. And, and I think you’re right, the idea that you could make $20 million. And people look at you and say if you can make 20 and you don’t, you’re a fool because you’re not hustling. You know, I’ve lived that a lot of my life. And I’m just like, making more money than I make now means being miserable more than I am now. And as long as what you’ve got is enough to make you live the life you want, why be miserable? Right? Like because honestly, if you’re miserable doing when you work for yourself — like, is there anything worse than just hating your job and you created it? You got no one to look at now.
Adam Force 10:58 You can’t blame the company you work for anymore. Oh my god, this is my own creation; I created a monster.
Drew Dudley 11:05 Exactly.
Adam Force 11:05 So you know, we have a lot of entrepreneurs listening in who are actually — I think a lot of the people that are listening are transitioning or have transitioned from corporate to start something on their own, because they wanted to do something that served them more, meaning it’s meaningful to them, right. So, you know, you want to be excited when you wake up. And I think a tough part for people is, one, when you start a business, there are a lot of moving parts. And you know, as you get started, you have to be a leader from day one. And you have to start making decisions on what to do and how to spend the little bit of budget you might have. Do you bring someone on board or not? And so we’ve gone through all kinds of mistakes, Change Creators, my second company, and I am curious to hear your thoughts. So for that early phase, starting first few years, let’s start a conference around leadership at that point. So any thoughts jumped into your head that you want to just kind of kick that off with?
Drew Dudley 12:07 Yeah, I think one of the things to which we often fall victim when we’re starting our own company, is because it means so much to us, what happens is we start to substitute our to-do list for our to be list. You know, when we start to identify, yes, we want to build this company. But I think far more important when it comes to leadership is Who do you want to be as a person. Because I said your company should serve who you are and should give you the opportunity to create the change you’re looking for in the world. Like, how is your product going to impact people? How is it going to make their lives better? And we get so tied up in how we build the company that we often put aside making sure that we stay true to who we want to be. So one of the things that I encourage everyone, whether they’re starting a business or not, is make sure you define the things you want to define you. And what I mean by that you’re going to be faced with all kinds of decisions, some of the ones that you just laid out, for instance. You’re gonna be faced with all kinds of decisions through building your company.
My question for people is, what criteria are you going to use to make decisions because one of the things that leaders have is a set definition for what their decision making is going to be. And you know, I call it a personal leadership philosophy. And another way you could call it is a decision making philosophy. But what the research shows is, if you’re seen as somebody who has a personal leadership philosophy, or is very clear about how you make decisions, and by that, I mean, you can rhyme them off your leadership philosophy in 30 seconds or less. If you do so, it’s not the first time in the last 72 hours that you’ve done it. And if I asked somebody who knows you well, or particularly works with you, hey, what what’s this personal leadership or her personal leadership philosophy, they’re going to rhyme it off, and they’re probably going to roll their eyes when they do it. What it means is that you’ve repeated so many times how you make decisions. And what that means is that what people may not always agree with your decisions, they’re always going to know, and respect the fact that you’re consistent and how you make them. And so what I always argue is: Define the things you want to define you.
So if somebody followed you around for 30 days, and watched how you built your business, how you interact with customers, how you interacted with employees, and with people you’ve never met before, out, serving you a drink in a bar or a meal in a restaurant, at the end of those 30 days, if I sat that person down and said you follow this person without their knowledge, what three values do they stand for above all others? Like what three values do they hope to leave in their wake, personally and professionally? And what three values do they pivot to every time they have to make a difficult decision? You know, if you’ve been the man or the woman you want it, I’ll ask you, my friend. If that was what I did to you, what three values do you hope that person says they see out of you? What three values you want to leave in your wake everywhere you go?
Adam Force 15:06 Sure, yeah, I mean, one big value is collaboration, I believe in working together with people and not competition. So collaboration, I believe in putting people first. So always thinking about the action I’m taking and the holistic costs behind it. So people first, and my last one would be family. So making sure that my life incorporates family into my overall success.
Drew Dudley 15:40 That’s awesome. And what I do is I know a lot of people do that for their business, they put a lot of effort and time into saying, Here are our business values. And that’s important. But what’s interesting is the research shows that clarity on personal values plays a much bigger role in happiness, productivity, retention, overall effectiveness in the workforce. So one of the things I say to leaders as they’re building is determine your criteria for decision making. So define the values you want to define you. And then ultimately, decision making becomes a simple process, but not an easy one. So every time you have to make a decision, as you start to build your business, what you do is you look at the options available to you, and you hold them up next to your list of personal values. And you ask which one of these options is most consistent with these values? Yeah. And the challenge with that is that often the option that’s most consistent with your values sucks, like it doesn’t allow you to avoid consequences, it doesn’t let you look good. It doesn’t let you take the money or remain in the relationship or stay in the job, which I’m sure some of the people listening to this have already experienced.
But ultimately, it’s always the decision you’re happiest you made five years from now, as you start to build a company, every decision you make, ask yourself, Is this the way I want to describe this decision to a room full of people I respect five years from now. And if you make every decision, as if you’re explaining it to a group of people you respect five years from now, instead of you’re about to make it, a lot of the noise surrounding decisions falls away. Now, ultimately, one of the things I ask people is that if you haven’t defined your values, and a value is only a value, if you always reference it, when you make decisions, like if you don’t think about your values, as you make decisions, then they’re not actually values. But what I always ask people is, if you’ve never taken the time to identify and define your personal values, as a professional as a person, what criteria have you been using to make decisions your whole life? And for most people, and me, myself included, the criteria we too often use to make decisions is, which option will avoid the most consequences right now? And that’s not good business decision making. And that’s not good personal decision making.
So one of the first things I always say is, you’re going to have to make a ton of decisions, and there’s going to be a lot of uncertainty in your life. Figure out what are the core values that no matter what you do, you want to make sure you stay true to those. And make sure that you always reference them when making decisions. Do not allow yourself to make decisions based on what will avoid the most consequences now, always make them on what will stay truest to who I am. Because even if that decision causes you to lose a company, and I know that’s scary to think, five years from then you will still be glad that you made that decision. Because all the short term consequences will have passed and what you’ll be left with is a memory that said, this was the man or woman I wanted to be. And sometimes we will sacrifice saving our own integrity in order to save our company. And believe it or not, you always regret that down the road.
Adam Force 19:01 There’s a lot of good points packed into, you know, what you just talked about. And I think something that stood out to me is, you know, I like the way you phrase it go five years down the road, do you look back? Is this something that aligns to who you are, and that you’re proud of when you tell people? I think it’s important because there’s a level of consistency. So to your point, when you’re making decisions based not just on business values, but just personal life values that translate to your business decision making this then should be consistent throughout the entire digital footprint that you have. Because one thing with today, you know, we have these businesses that are making a difference in the world. And as new businesses come up from entrepreneurs that are not established yet. And you know, trust comes with established businesses. So when you don’t have that people look into who you are. So for example, I went to your website, your book page, or social media, and if I see on your personal Facebook, you’re talking out of the other side of your mouth than your business values, like it’s going to be conflicting and inconsistent to me, which then I lose trust.
Drew Dudley 20:08 Yeah, and that’s something that always bear in mind. I joke that in my book, one of the values that I want to live up to is class, which is a commitment to treating people in situations better than they deserve to be treated. And one of the things I said is that leaders always elevate, they never escalate. and elevate means trying to succeed and escalate means trying to win, which means I’ve kind of tied my arms, just as what you said, because there are times that I pissed off, and I want to tweet, and then I realized, dammit, man, you said that leaders never escalate. And, you know, and if you do look, you’ll occasionally find me not following that. But it’s almost always related to people being jackasses on planes. I’m like, I don’t care leaders elevate but don’t escalate that you take your damn socks off on a plane, I’m escalating that.
Adam Force 20:57 I earned the right to escalate that.
Drew Dudley 21:00 Yeah. So I mean, that’s the thing, right is that I have to recognize that I have made that statement. And now every time that I do not elevate a situation, but I say something snarky or I escalate, or I bitch, ultimately, what I’ve said to people is, Hey, I don’t actually buy that. And the thing is, it’s always in my head. And it really should be in yours as well. And there is no such thing as a personal Facebook page. I don’t care how high your privacy is, and like, personal business, whatever. If it’s out there, it’s out there.
Adam Force 21:32 Yeah, you better be consistent and know that everyone’s looking at it, whether you think it’s just family and friends or not, that’s not true.
Yeah, I learned that. And that’s all connected that stuff. So it’s important. And I think it ties together well with what you were talking about. So something for people to be aware of, as they’re trying to earn the trust from, you know, new people who are learning about what they do.
So so let’s just shift gears a little bit, or just use that as a segue to talk about your book, you mentioned the book, and “This Is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters.” And for anybody that doesn’t know, Drew has done a handful of TEDx talks. One of them was the lollipop moment, and I actually saw that one. It’s a fun story. It’s inspiring, all that good stuff. And it’s been quite popular. So things you could check out through his website. But true, let’s just tap into this book. Obviously, this has been a big part of your life, a focus this whole concept around leadership. And now you have this book where you’re, you’re putting it into practical terms for people. So give us the overview of why you decided to put your time and energy into a book and what you’re trying to convey to people.
Drew Dudley 22:41 Sure, well, the book emerged from a fact that I got annoyed about something, which was I ran a leadership program at the University of Toronto, and I’m surrounded by extraordinary leaders, we’re talking students, staff, students who are trying to foster social justice to raise money for charities, and they just would not call themselves leaders. They kept seeing leadership, something they were training for. And what I started to realize is that we’ve been educated out of seeing ourselves as leaders, because we’ve been taught that leaders are giants, from a very young age, and whatever examples you’re given to demonstrate a concept early in life, not only does it shape the way you think of that concept for the rest of your life, it also limits it.
And because we teach kids about leadership, using presidents and scientific groundbreakers, what we basically have done is educated people out of their leadership. And we created a world where the vast majority of the leadership on the planet is coming from people who don’t see themselves as leaders. Because we have dismissed the idea that individual moments of impact of generosity of kindness, of empathy and of forgiveness aren’t leadership, they’re the little things. And what we do is when we call these moments that have the biggest inner personal impact that we have, when we dismiss them as little we reinforce the idea that leadership, for it to be active leadership, it has to make you rich, or it has to make you famous, or it has to involve power, and followers. And so ultimately, I wanted to outline a form of leadership to which we all can and should aspire, I do not argue that everybody can be a CEO, or a senior executive, or even start their own business. But there is a form of leadership that we can focus on on a daily basis. And ultimately, what I wanted to do is give people a step by step process, to making sure that every day individually, they have engaged in specific leadership behaviors.
And so we created a process called the leadership test, which basically is a six-question test, that at the end of each day, we adopted the philosophy that imagine at the end of each day, you had to prove you deserve another day on this planet. And in order to prove it, you had to pass a test. But you actually were given the questions for the test in the morning. And if that was the case, those questions would be non-negotiable each day. You would not try to fit them in between meetings and emails, you would make sure that you live them each day. And what we did is we created a set of questions tied to our core values. And you can’t answer those questions without living your values.
So we said, you know, impact is a value we wanted to live. Well, in order to do that every day, we try to answer the question, What have I done today to recognize someone else’s leadership? And what we do is my work and the book is designed to help people figure out what their specific personal values are. Because you can’t just ask people, you actually have to walk them through the process of surfacing them. And then how can they create their own version of the leadership test? And it’s specifically a test because tests have questions. And what’s really interesting is when we were trying to come up with a way to make it more likely we’d actually live our values, we discovered that simply saying, Okay, I’m going to have impact, or I’m going to have class wasn’t effective. And so what we did is I actually went to a group of psychology professors, and I said, Okay, what are some subconscious motivators that we could use to make sure that this commitment we have to behavior actually translates into behavior? Because we all know that just saying we’re going to do it doesn’t mean you do. And they actually gave you a couple of psychological effects that we turned into these questions because one’s called this the Zeigarnik effect, which says, things on your to-do list that you haven’t completed, take up a more prominent space, and you’re just doing some things you have. So in other words, stuff you haven’t finished bugs you until you finish it.
And the question behavior effect says, If I ask you a series of questions about a behavior in the morning, you’re way more likely to engage in that behavior later in the day. And so if questions can drive behavior, and unfinished tasks cause psychic discomfort, one of the most powerful drivers of human behavior are unanswered questions. When presented with an unanswered question, your brain will feel uncomfortable until it finds an answer, it will seek a way to answer it. And so when you create a question in your life, and you planted it in the morning, that is tied to particular behaviors, what have I done today to recognize someone else’s leadership? How do they help someone else move closer to a goal today? You know, how did I What did I do today to be good to myself, that’s actually going to cause psychic discomfort in your brain until you answer it. So we basically made our brains uncomfortable, until they did certain actions. And those certain actions were specifically tied to specific values.
So that’s sort of where it all came from the day one concept is, the first day of any voyage is the day you’re most committed, you’re most humble and you’re most forgiving. And so the idea is that you say, this is my first day of my leadership voyage. And here are the non-negotiable behaviors that you make part of that voyage, and then you treat me every day as if it’s your first day on the voyage, which actually, you know, emerged in large part from my recovery from alcoholism. Every day you treat it like the first day of your recovery because committing to a particular behavior for the rest of your life every day is too intimidating. So the key is, choose not to have a drink today. And then just treat every day like it’s the first day because I can’t commit to not drinking for the rest of my life. I can’t, but I can commit today. And if I treat every day of the rest of my life as if it’s that first day, then I can do it. And my argument is that we can claim to be leaders and claim to stand for values. But for the most part, most of us can’t point to a specific thing we’ve done today that lives up to those values, we assume that will do it when we get the chance. And good leaders live their values whenever they get the chance. But what separates great leaders from good leaders is that good leaders live their values whenever they get the chance. And great leaders create opportunities to live their values. So the whole book is about saying, okay, you claim to stand for this. Here’s how you prove it every day. Because it’s not just about proving it to other people. It’s about proving it to yourself. And if somebody says, for instance, family is a core value, but you can’t point to a single thing you did today, that reinforces the value of family. And if you’re working 17 hours a day, you’re probably not, you know, it makes you prove it to yourself. And when you’re proving it to yourself, effectively, you’re engaging in behaviors that prove it to other people. So I wanted to write a book that says, figure out what your values are, figure out your own personal questions and create your own leadership test. And what you’ll do is you’ll start to behave every day in a way that you can’t deny is leadership.
Adam Force 29:44 Yeah, that sounds awesome. I mean, lots of inspirational stuff. I just like the way some of the ideas are framed up to help, you know, understand them and take action and things like that. So I guess the proven method of having questions at the beginning of the day, that kind of gnaw at the brain. I haven’t heard that one before. So that’s actually really interesting. And I’m curious, then do you start your day off with certain questions in mind?
Drew Dudley 30:16 Oh, yeah, I’ve got six. And you know, what’s interesting is when you first start, you really got them front and center. But the more you do them, the more it becomes instinctual. We also have an app that you can download that will ask you your questions and say noon, three, six, and nine.
But I have six key values that I want to drive me in my business every day: impact, growth, courage, empowerment, class, and self-respect. And the questions tied to those impact what have I done today to recognize someone else’s leadership, there’s so much leadership around you. And it might be the people that inspire you, it could be the person who makes you smile every day when they hand you coffee. We have so many opportunities to recognize that leadership. And if you are going to start, you’re listening to this, and you’re going to start with one, that one every day for the next 30 days. What have I done to recognize someone else’s leadership for growth? What have I done today to make it more likely someone will learn something, and that could be yourself or someone else? For courage? What have I tried today, that might not work, but tried anyway? And if you’re interested, there’s a great TED talk by John Zhang, who talks about 100 days straight, where he tried to be rejected. And that’s the whole idea of bringing courage back into our life when we’ve been educated out of it. Empowerment is what have I done today to move someone else closer to a goal?
The whole idea of being if you’re creating a business, we need to get people who’ve come out of the education system, and they’ve been taught from day one, you are competing with one another. And ultimately, that question is about creating a culture that says, Yeah, if you outperform 90% of the people in an organization, yeah, maybe you’ll make six figures. But if you become the type of person where everyone who works with you outperforms everyone who doesn’t, then you’re indispensable. And that’s so much rare. And in order to become that person, what have you done today to help someone else move closer to a goal? class is when did I elevate instead of escalate today, and self-respect is, what did I do today to be good to myself. And what happens is, sometimes you’ll plan ahead and say, you know, what, I’m going to call my former boss and tell them that they were leader in my life. But what happens more frequently, is because the questions — and I like the phrase you use, “gnaw at your brain,” what happens is when an opportunity to answer the question actually pops into your sort of daily life, immediately, your brain goes, here’s the chance, grab it now.
And sometimes that sucks, you know, like, I get pissed off over the course of a day or on a phone call. And as I’m about to sort of, you know, let them have it, the little voice pops in my head and says, shit, here’s your chance to elevate instead of escalate, and you kind of have to because that’s the rule. And it does, you know, it starts to, you know, you got a bulkhead seat on the window, and a guy says, Can you switch seats with me for my middle seat in row 32? So I could sit next to my family? And let’s face it, you know, it’s a nine-hour flight? I don’t want to do that. But in my head is the question, you know, how did I help someone else move closer to a goal today? How did I elevate instead of escalate, you know, and the big overall is this when you don’t know what to do, you ask yourself, what would the person who I want to be do in this situation? And then you do that. You know, I often say to people, when you don’t know what to do, ask yourself, what would a great woman do in this situation? What would a great man do in this situation, and then do that.
And ultimately, the option that a great man or a great woman would take, that is also an option that is available to you. And so that I think is the key to these questions is, every time you’re presented with an opportunity to answer them, you have to fight with your brain not do it. And usually, it’ll win.
Adam Force 34:02 Yeah. And you keep the same questions every day, or do you change them up?
Drew Dudley 34:08 For the most part, they always evolve over time. But for the most part, as long as those are the values I want to live, those are the questions that I personally have. Now, the thing is, I don’t try to get, as I said, all six of them every day, I try to pass the test, which means three out of six. And if I get three out of six every day of the year, that’s still over 1000 conscious pieces of value of actions that I’ve taken, that are completely consistent with my values. And on the days where everything outside of your control blows up in your face, what this allows you to do is still recognize that while the day may have been a loss, it wasn’t a waste, because you did seize the opportunity to be the person that you want to be. And that seems like a simple thing. But it’s often not something that we give ourselves. The whole concept of Day One is the idea that you’re not always in charge of what you have to do every day. But you’re always in charge of who you are, as you do it. And I think that we sometimes lose sight of that fact. And if we don’t flex that power, we forget that we have it.
Adam Force 35:11 I love it. Listen, let’s close up on that note, I think that’s awesome. And love, love what you’re talking about and some of the insights that you shared here. So we appreciate your time to do that. And let’s give a shout out to where people can find more about you and catch your TED Talks. Find your book. I’m gonna let you go ahead and shout out your website here.
Drew Dudley 35:33 Sure, it’s drewdudley.com. And on the various social media, it’s @dayonedrew.
Adam Force 35:47 Awesome. They have it drewdudley.com. You can find his book and all kinds of other goodies on there, guys. So check out Drew and his work. As you heard today, he’s got lots of good ideas, so you probably gonna enjoy his book. Drew, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it and look forward to hearing more from you.
Drew Dudley 36:05 Oh, man, thanks for this opportunity. I love getting to share ideas.
Adam Force 36:08 You got it. Talk to you later.
Announcer 36:09 That’s all for this episode. Your next step is to join the Change Creator revolution by downloading our interactive digital magazine app for premium content, exclusive interviews, and more ways to stay on top of your game available now on iTunes and Google Play or visit changecreatormag.com. We’ll see you next time where money and meeting intersect right here at the Change Creator podcast.
One of the most commonly held assumptions in the world of business is that it is only the most ruthless competitors who will flourish and succeed. During the past century, the models of successful businessmen and businesswomen that we are taught are those who put the bottom line of profit ahead of all other considerations.
Art Barter, the owner and cultural architect of Datron World Communications, offers a living case study of an extremely successful business that has thrived while following values and principles that seemingly contradict the guiding tenets of the globalized economy we live in today. Who is Art Barter?
Art began his career at Disney where he worked for over eight years while he put himself through school. After working his way up from janitorial duties, he spent time in their finance department. However, Disney Corporation didn’t offer a wealth of opportunities to get ahead, so he moved on to the world of manufacturing.
In the manufacturing business, he discovered his passion for building things and for the world of international business. Datron World Communications, a radio manufacturing company that he worked for and eventually purchased, had 90 percent of their revenue sold in the international marketplace. “They were selling in countries I´ve never heard of,” Art mentions, “and I ended up in 2004 with the opportunity to buy the company.”
At the time Art purchased Datron, he was in what he calls the “power world” where the most important element of the business was trying to increase quarterly profit and keep his shareholders happy. “I spent a lot of my career sacrificing family time,” Art remembers. “I got burned so many times by companies that I said…I´m tired…of having to sacrifice my life for the companies I work for.”
At the same time, during the first six years that Art owned Datron World Communications, he turned a $10 million company into a $200 million dollar company. This obvious success, however, didn’t stem from spending 14 hours a day in the office in an attempt to squeeze every penny of profit from his company. Rather, the success of Datron was born out of his desire to transform a traditional system of leadership into a servant-led organization.
The Servant Leadership Model
When Art originally purchased Datron, it was a doing 10 million dollar of revenue annually and actually losing money. “I told my wife that I wanted to run this company different, not just like any corporation,” Art says, and in 2005 he began the process of changing the culture, mission and purpose of the company.
He began in 2005 by asking his team how much they wanted the company to grow, but Art put a twist on traditional business planning. He told his leadership team: “I´m tired of putting plans together based on a 10% increase in revenue…If we are all about serving customers, let´s make serving customers our number one priority.” In essence, Datron decided that they were going to let the customers decide how fast the company would grow depending on how their customers responded to the service that was offered. “The customers will see our heart and they decide how fast we´re going to grow,” Art explains.
Through different contacts and readings, Art came across the idea of servant leadership. He knew that his job as the head of the company was to inspire his employees and focus on serving those employees over simply increasing profit margins.
In the power model of the business world, leaders are in love with power and profit. In the servant leadership model, however, Art encourages an ethic where “we care about our employees, and what they want to accomplish in life. The big difference for us is that our families come first. We don’t want people to look Datron and say that´s the company that took the people I love most away from us because they demanded them to work 12 hours a day.”
The Process of Defining a Servant Leadership Model
At the beginning, most of the leadership team at Datron thought that their new owner had simply come across a new fad in the world of business leadership and they were failing to understand the deep-reaching changes that Art wanted to implement in the company culture.
The main question that Art had to deal with was: “How do I get people to own this?” Of the 35 leaders in the company, he asked each of them to come out with what they considered to be ten characteristics of a good servant leader. As a team, they then narrowed down those characteristics to a final ten. “We started with their definition,” Art clarifies, “and when I look back this was the moment I transferred ownership to my leadership team. It was their definition, and this empowered them to take ownership of this process.”
Art understood that the people in his company had to take ownership for cultural change to truly occur within the company. The main purpose of the company was to positively transform the lives of others, and the people within the company needed to be able to live out this purpose see it put into action.
Living Out the Servant Leadership Model
It is worth recognizing that Datron World Communications is an extremely successful and profitable company that doesn’t believe in debt. They raise all of their funds organically and are still able to set apart ten per cent of operating profit each quarter destined for a charitable fund decided by the company.
Instead of simply writing a check to some huge non-profit organization, the employees at Datron are the ones who decide where that money goes. “This charitable fund is managed by employees and the employees decide which non-profit gets money,” Art explains. “My employees get to give back to some of the organizations that have helped them….I have the best job in the world because the heart of the employees comes out through this process…and it gives them an opportunity to give back.”
Art believes that since “the employees helped to create the profit, they have every right to say where that money goes.”
At the same time, this unique aspect of the servant leadership model acts as an incentive for people within the company. If the employees work harder to create more profit for the company, the more the company will be able to donate to NGOs. Instead of a selfish incentive, this heart-centred, altruistic motivation has been central to the company´s model of success.
To date, Datron has given away over 15 million dollars of funds to non-profits around the world.
Show Your Heart to Your Customers and Your Employees
Another essential aspect of the servant leadership model is to not be afraid to show your heart to your customers. Art tells the story of a military client in the Middle East who wanted to buy their radios. They needed something easy to use that could be deployed quickly to the servicemen and women. Art asked for a year to develop a product, and when the first one rolled off the production line, he travelled overseas and hand-delivered that first radio to the general on the front line. Today, the company has sold over 40,000 radios in that Middle Eastern country.
“When you serve your customers from your heart, it shows financially as well,” Art believes, “especially if you care about (your customers” from your heart and not your pocketbook.”
Art and the Datron leadership also worked hard to help their employees determine the gifts they have and find ways to put those gifts to work for the company. While many people were put in a job position straight of college that didn’t correspond to their interests, Datron is determined to help their employees discover what they like to do and find a niche for them within the company where they will be happy and productive.
Finally, Datron is also very focused on finding ideal employees that can identify with the mission and purpose that is behind the servant leadership model. “If you are clear on your values and know who you want to serve, you need to hire people for character first and competency second,” Art believes. He advises young entrepreneurs who are looking for employees to look firstly at character, and only secondly at their resume. “If you get the person with the right heart, then you can take their skill level and teach them and help them learn, but it is very difficult to change character,” Art advises.
Business Insights and Strategies to be Learned from Datron World Communications, Inc.
Any business that can grow from 10 million in revenue to 200 million in only six years certainly has a recipe for success that young entrepreneurs would do well to follow and learn from. In the case of Art Barter and Datron World Communications, however, the lessons that can be learned aren’t the typical business “values” of competition and fidelity to the bottom line of profit. The three main lessons from Datron World Communications can be summed up as:
Find and follow your own values and principles and be strictly faithful to them,
Empower your employees to live out the mission and goals that you have defined for your business, and
Don’t be afraid to show your heart to both your employees and your customers.
For young entrepreneurs, Art shares the following important advice: “If you are an entrepreneur just starting your company…know what your purpose is, make sure you have values and the most important thing is, and don’t compromise on your mission, purpose and values. Don´t compromise to get business. Stick to your values and do it the right way.”
One of the important parts of any companies success is the team and the culture that is created for the company. The best time to begin creating a great company culture is at day one if possible. As you build your team and bring new people on to be part of the journey, you want to have your culture that will help them thrive.
Moe Carrick offers a fresh, honest, and direct roadmap for leaders everywhere who seek to make their workplace fit for human life as she says. And, she offers advice for workers and encourages them to be their authentic selves, something we truly love at Change Creator.
Her message resonates with leaders in all organizations, at every level, as well as those in development, HR, OD, coaching, and consulting who advise others about organizational culture, leadership, structures, and teams.
Company culture is one of those vital elements of your business reputation, one that has an impact on what sort of employees you can attract, all the way to defining how the public perceives you – because what happens inside your walls will ultimately reflect on your entire brand presentation. However, as employees as the very lifeblood of your brand, making sure that you carve the optimal company culture for them specifically is the key goal of many growing businesses.
With so many different companies, it’s only natural to have at least as many different methods to create the right culture for each of them. The following tips are considered the golden rules of building a stronger company culture no matter what industry you’re in or how many people work under your wing, so you can implement them and watch as your internal relationships bloom. Rest assured, that alone will be more than enough to skyrocket your success and help you stay relevant in your community and beyond.
1 – Focus on Purpose
If your business doesn’t have a well-defined mission, vision, and goals, you cannot expect your employees to feel as if there is a clear road ahead for them within your company. Younger generations, the ones that are overwhelmingly taking over the workforce today, put an immeasurable emphasis on the importance of purpose. If their job is at a standstill, or if their work has the potential of being that “stuck in a rut” career path, they will walk.
Make sure that your brand exudes purpose. If Apple is all about innovation, and if bright, fresh ideas are appreciated, then all the employees will know that no matter their department or field of work, innovation should be in their core. Help your employees truly understand and love your brand, because that is the only way you’ll ever find and hire talented candidates that will not just be there for the paycheck, but because they believe in your aspirations.
2 – Encourage Transparency
Another crucial segment of a healthy company culture includes how you communicate and what kinds of relationships you encourage within your office walls. If your C-level teams keep to themselves and never exchange ideas with anyone in the “lower” ranks, you will soon experience culture problems. People need to feel as if they belong, and communication is a key piece to that puzzle.
Instead of instilling fear, you should inspire open communication, idea exchanges, regular one-on-one meetings, anonymous surveys, and let your employees know that all of their input matters. When they see that you take their words to heart, they’ll feel even more inclined to find other ways to enhance your productivity and overall effectiveness.
3 – Reward and Incentivize
Remember that we are, after all, humans. We like praise, we enjoy rewards, and we appreciate when others value what we do and how we contribute. Sometimes, all it takes is an email which puts forward specific ways in which you believe an employee makes a difference for your business. Words do matter in your relationships, so even a few words at a corporate gathering couldn’t hurt.
However, financial incentives of various kids can also do some talking instead. Now, instead of an impersonal check or picking out a nightmare gift, you can hand out Christmas gift cards that will express your gratitude for you, loud and clear. They’ll be able to spend the money in a manner they see fit, and you can make sure the gesture is more personal and thought-through on your part. Of course, the occasional extra day off or a weekend spa getaway can also do the trick, although it’s reasonable to expect that only the more prosperous businesses can afford such extravagant gifts.
4 – Foster a Learning Work Environment
In addition to purpose, modern-day employees are eager to advance as people as well as professionals. They will not settle for a dead-end job where not only can they not get a promotion (not even a title), but they also cannot expect to learn anything new and master new skills that will help them in search for a better-suited position elsewhere. Some employees will inevitably outgrow their positions, but the least your company can do is ensure that there is a learning curve to challenge them on a regular basis.
Every single job description you post should emphasize that there will be opportunities to learn and move forward. Whether you choose webinars, office lectures, conference trips, or mentorships within your company structure, every employee should feel that they are more than welcome to expand on their current knowledge. Instead of unhealthy levels of competition, they should perceive their own limitations and boundaries as their greatest challenge to overcome.
5 – Ensure Work-Life Balance
Finally, contemporary businesses struggle with extremely high levels of burnout among their employees. This is a natural consequence of highly competitive work environments, where only those who stay late and deliver results ahead of time are rewarded and praised. Don’t let this become your culture-killer, because sleep-deprived, anxious, depressed, and unhealthy employees can hardly stay at the peak of their performance.
Offer competitive health packages, ones that include regular fitness activities, healthy lunches, and of course, let them know explicitly that staying after hours will not be rewarded, since they need to build their social lives, as well. Let them know their personal lives do come first, and the sheer act of respecting these boundaries will enforce a company culture that is far more trust-based.
It will always be challenging to strike the perfect balance for any company culture and establish leadership as well as guidance as your core principles of running a company. These tips will help you get there, just keep revising your methods and make sure that you always listen to what your employees need.
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My “knife-in-the-back” experience had a positive side in that it led me to experience an epiphany. Congrats, you say – so what?
I agree, so what, people experience their epiphany every day. Wikipedia says an epiphany (from the ancient Greek epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of a sudden and striking realization.
To have an epiphany is common, not exceptional. You all know this and you all know it can apply to any facet of your life.
We experience these striking realizations when obfuscation by the universe conveniently clears and you see a pathway open up with pristine clarity. A clarity that could engender exhilaration to agony.
This story of my epiphany was related to career or at least the rest of my career. Wikipedia says “career is a person’s course or progress through life”. Although it’s arguable I don’t have a career as such any longer. I have to fess-up and declare that I’m 63.
Prior to my career epiphany, I had been CEO of a startup for 2+ years, starting when it was a concept and taking it to production in Azure and securing revenue from a couple of marquee customers.
I was pretty happy with the progress, although progress is rarely as fast as shareholders want.
Those 2 years were full speed and some. You know what it’s like when you start at the start – you’re working with the outline of an idea and you have to confirm product/market fit, raise capital, build the thing and then sell it.
Actually, it’s fun, in a way that people who haven’t done a startup might not appreciate.
Anyway, I’m 2 years plus in and suddenly the vibe changes. When you’ve been around for a while you get to be alert to what might otherwise seem like very subtle, even imperceptible changes.
The New Guy
The subtle changes started when the shareholders introduced me to this new guy they felt could really assist with the rate of progress. It didn’t take long for the new guy to start convening meetings (not always with me present), giving presentations, suggesting strategies and sharing his thoughts on the new business model he felt was essential for growth. Now the red lights were flashing.
At a Board meeting where I wasn’t advised the new guy would be presenting, I got to hear about his brilliant new strategy for the business. A full 57 slides of unrelenting banality.
So, now it’s clear. The “new guy” will be replacing me as CEO. This is classic “knife in the back” (KITB) stuff. It’s also typically the work of cowards. A collusion of cowards spruiking falsehoods.
Ironically the KITB is actually a kind of twisted backhanded compliment – a test to see if you’re perceptive enough to know what’s happening. If you figure it out then you’re actually politically adept, if not, well you’re clearly a loser.
I thought there’s no way I’ll lie down for this, particularly as I had formed the view that this “new guy” was totally out of his depth and knew next to nothing about the realities of life in a SaaS startup.
So, here we all are in the “strategy meeting” and the new guy is explaining his brilliant new vision, except his brilliant vision could be likened to a large bucket of caca.
I thought, “Are these Directors really swallowing this crap and believing the polyana picture pitched by the new guy?”.
Oh fuck. They really are. They’ve taken his bait – hook, line and sinker.
Seeing a Golden Opportunity
So in the course of about 2 weeks the scene has gone from me confronting shareholders to ask whether the new guy is, in fact, my replacement, which initially received a resounding “oh no Greg, we value you far too much to do that”, to a couple of weeks later “well, we feel it’s for the best and thought you could move to more of a part-time administrative role”.
Now, in case you may be thinking that I would ride off quietly into the sunset, I can assure the reader I didn’t. Given I’d experienced the pain of a KITB, I thought it only fair that I too should reciprocate and inflict pain.
Having been headhunted away from my previous CEO role, where I was happy, with a great team and a supportive Board, I had formed a view that the very least they could do was fully pay out my contract, rather than just give the minimum notice period of 3 months. After all, there was a clear moral obligation in my view. They’d headhunted me, so they were morally obligated to do the right thing, particularly after the KITB way they executed the change of CEO.
The conclusion of this sorry saga came with a confirmation by the key investor that they’d agreed to my request, although agreement came with a couple of caveats, which I thought were fine. By this time I just wanted to be out of the team, from which I had been unceremoniously benched.
I began to feel that this just might be a golden opportunity. A clean break, fresh air, new perspectives.
And a decision to fly away for a total change of scenery for about six weeks turned out in hindsight to be pure brilliance.
There’s no doubt been many people who’ve written about the cathartic release that overseas travel can initiate. In my case landing in Vienna in the early part of summer and then heading to southern Austria, on to Slovenia and ending up on the Croatian coast really did the trick.
If I’d have stayed in Sydney it’s quite possible my epiphany may not have exploded into my consciousness the way it did when I was sitting at a bar overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
That obfuscation by the universe I mentioned previously, dissipated sublimely as I was finishing my third margarita, watching the sunset lingeringly on a balmy Balkan evening.
Making a Real Change
That bar, that blissful evening, those scrumptious margaritas ended up being a potent recipe that sponsored a realization that I’d been gifted a wonderful and once-off opportunity to make a change for the better.
No longer would I pitch my talents to a group of investors who were seeking a CEO they could slaughter at their whim.
My vision at the Croatian bar was that I could help so many people in my community to crystalize their hopes for a future that they design and control. So many people in my community harbor dreams about creating and owning their future and I was the person who could set them up for success.
I saw with total clarity that my 63 years of experience actually had tremendous value to people who needed guidance and support for their entrepreneurial journey. And of course, there are so many ways to plan your journey, so many motivations and countless options.
Since that epiphanous moment in Croatia, I’ve taken many steps towards realizing my vision. When people ask me about the countless questions I know I must eventually answer, I say, “I know I don’t have all the answers today, I don’t even know all the questions today. I focus on taking a step forward each and every day, just like the Chinese proverb that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
I like to think of the entrepreneurs I help as heroes and that they are on a heroic journey. The classical myth of the hero, setting forth from her known world to venture into the unknown world where she’ll slay the beast and return to her world as a hero.
I’m with her on that journey, helping her realize the heroes dream.
In the few months since the evening at the Croation bar, I’ve formed a not-for-profit called SEVENmile Venture Lab in my hometown of Manly, a harbor/seaside village that’s about a 20-minute ferry ride from Sydney.
I now have two co-founders who share my vision and together we’ve created a sizable wave of support. I can’t call it a tsunami just yet. Our community has embraced my vision to bring social and economic resilience to the regions we serve by educating and up-skilling people with a focus on the creation of new enterprises by women and men who want or need to design their future, young adults (16-25 years), migrants and the over 50s.
I’ve secured premises from our local Council and sponsors are circling as the word spreads that SEVENmile was devised around social resilience, diversity and inclusion.
When I tell the story of how I came to start SEVENmile Venture Lab, people lean forward and engage with excitement. That’s a very cool reward in itself, sensing that my humble vision can actually influence such a strong reaction.
SEVENmile will encourage and guide entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds to venture into unknown territory, just like I’m doing with SEVENmile.
No matter how many entrepreneurial platitudes out there tell us differently, when you are in the weeds, struggling to get your idea off the ground, it can be tough to see the positive side of big mistakes.
Yet, why do so many really successful people talk about their toughest lessons or their biggest mistakes? Or do they? Well, they do now.
Whether you are in the middle of a big failure story of your own, just starting out, or even on the verge of a big breakthrough, you are going to find value in these key business growth lessons.
He shares his toughest lessons on the front line of a growing marketing company.
Today Austin is a bonafide public speaker with over 50 events under his belt this year alone. He and his partners have established a few dozen solid clients and are well into a 6-figure business this year, poised to continue to grow as they prove out their business model.
Social media marketing can be extremely competitive and proving out your ideas and talents can be an uphill battle, but as Austin shows when you find that ‘sweet spot’ in the market and establish your personal brand, the sky’s the limit.
Here is Austin’s story in his own words
When I first started my business (around 8 years ago) I was young and dumb. I was trying to sell social media marketing to a small town in upstate New York area. I knew social media was going to be big but I had no connections, no experience in sales, and the market didn’t care.
The beginning of my journey as an entrepreneur started 8 years ago in a little town in Upstate New York. This little city operated in an old-school analog mentality where Newspapers ads, radio, and good old boys networking clubs reigned. I started selling social media marketing with no experience in the industry, no sales experience, in a market that didn’t really care. Their thought process was “what I have done in the past works, why would I change it?”
When to pivot. When to stick to your guns.
I also didn’t pivot fast enough to a product that the market would want.
At the time, the market only understood vanity metrics (follower growth) at the time, and I wasn’t comfortable selling just follower growth and would shoot for bigger all-encompassing projects. Instead of getting smaller projects and generating cash flow. This lead me to not making enough revenue to keep my apartment and I ended up homeless. It was a real wake up call to set my ego aside and give the market exactly what they want even if it’s not what’s best in the long term for them and build them up later.
From my failure, I learned 3 vital lessons as an entrepreneur.
3 Vital Lessons as an Online Entrepreneur:
1. Keep cash flow coming in from the get-go.
I learned that it’s better to have multiple small client projects that give a rolling cash-flow then to shoot for big projects. Having 10 clients at $500/month is safer than having one client at $5,000/mo. You are beholden to that single client and have no leverage in negotiations. Whereas if one out of the 10 client’s isn’t working, you can drop them and replace them.
2. Clients don’t know what they need, that’s why they hire you.
Client’s don’t always know what they actually need and that is okay. Start by solving their first pain point, for me, this was vanity metrics and follower growth. Once that first pain point is solved a new one will crop up. Be ready to solve that, as they will turn to you if you are doing a great job with the first one.
3. Values and impact matter more than money.
Cash flow is important but my values are more important. I have gone from homeless to a live streaming influencer with an audience of over 1 mil. There were times when I could have “sold out” but my values were and are too important to me. You don’t have to sell your soul to make money but you do have to work your butt off.
Do Things Differently to See Different Results
To overcome my massive failures I did a number of things differently. These changes helped me go from broke, homeless with .43 cents to my name, to who I am today. The mentality shift helped me also figure out how to change my business model. Instead of focusing on those big 5 figure sales, I focused on many smaller sales that are easier to manage. Then grow those clients as their needs expanded.
For Instance, clients are now looking at their Instagram as a massive marketing tool. Rightfully so as Instagram is one of the top social media tools we use and is owned by Facebook. Most clients come in looking for follower growth when in reality they want to generate revenue. After they start growing 2-3k followers a month they inevitably say they are looking to generating leads and sales. Each time they have a new need, I have the ability to address it and they have faith in the service I provide.
Struggling to get your idea off the ground? Here’s some advice:
I recommend taking a page from Product Hunt creator Ryan Hoover. In his post talking about how he created Product Hunt, he shares how he created an MVP of his idea off an email list. This allowed him to rapidly test the idea and get initial feedback.
I would also recommend that everyone finds a storytelling platform that works for them. Each brand is different, some use Instagram stories, other work on Facebook really well. For myself, I learned that public speaking and live streaming is where I dominate. Once you have your platform, obsess over becoming great at it and enjoy the ride. What you think might work and what actually works sometimes are drastically different.
How Austin Turned Things Around:
I moved down to NYC and slept out of my car while I got back on my feet. Being in a bigger more competitive market allowed for more opportunities and I later became well known in the live streaming space. I now live stream to over 1,000,000 followers weekly. I strive every day to grow my business in a much larger market, with a much larger following.
Seth Godin is the entrepreneurial icon of the digital age, and everything he touches turns to dollars and traffic. His first entrepreneurial venture attracted a $20 million investment within a year. Then he began preaching a concept the rest of the marketing fraternity had missed in the smog of Google ranking mania: that your target market won’t hear you unless you treat it with respect.
Godin’s permission marketing concepts overcame the black hat hype of the search engine optimization (SEO) era irrevocably.
Once he’d sold his first business and grabbed a cool $30 million from Yahoo, he got a few marketing years under his belt and launched one of the web’s most visited sites. He’s still known for changing the way marketers think about their industry, but If his ability to understand business was behind his success, Forbes would have changed an entire field merely by doing what it has always done: produce insights.
Seth Godin is not a marketer, a blogger, or an entrepreneur. He’s not even a teacher, even if he does have some pretty respectable online courses. He certainly wears all those hats, but his career has set him apart from such meagre pursuits because Seth Godin is a leader.
If you meet him, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that he doesn’t parrot Harvard Business Review jargon. Here, there will be no “circling back” or “shifting paradigms.” He won’t ballpark anything, net it out or right size it. He doesn’t recite Gallup studies about employee engagement; he “gets people to do what [he] wants them to do.” He doesn’t strategize; he “makes a difference.” He doesn’t teach. He goes “over there” with people who also want to go “over there.” If you’re looking for MBA propaganda, you won’t find it here.
This is not where best practices are leveraged, but where culture is changed. If you want to achieve the sparkling revenue of Godinesque entrepreneurship, you’re going to have to do the work instead of studying the text.
Seth Godin’s perspective is as refreshing as champagne air, particularly if you’ve never bought a button down shirt or sat in a Stanford Graduate School lecture hall. His go-to-hell presence in Harvard Business Review in amongst all the jargon-fuelled boots on the ground signals one thing: you can become an entrepreneurial titan without a Master’s degree, and Godin will show you how.
Seth Godin is changing the world by casting management aside as a poorly fitting garment. During the interview with Change Creator Magazine, he said:
“culture eats strategy for breakfast. Management is about authority. […] It’s about getting people to do what you need them to do.” Leadership, on the other hand, is “about exploration. […] It’s about getting people to want to do what you need them to do.”
He doesn’t label such autocratic pursuits as irrelevant. He knows they’re necessary, but there’s no shortage of them. Leaders aren’t as easy to come by, so creating them can send a tectonic force through the business world and beyond it.
Godin’s insistence on stiff ethics leaks into all of his work, even as it relates to his marketing approach. Here is a business mogul who thinks you need to truly see your customers if you’re to reach them. Here is a Stanford graduate who values trust over mass customization. Here is an MBA holder who thinks caring is more important than ranking. Leadership and originality are mutually inclusive, and Seth Godin is an original thinker if nothing else. Just don’t say he thinks outside the box because this particular lesson eats HBR verbiage for breakfast, too.
“Today […] you can buy something with one click shopping that gets shipped to you by Fedex from a place in China that you’re never going to go for 7 cents less than you can get it somewhere else. Well, we don’t need you to be better at manufacturing. We’ve got that covered. The mindset going forward, and what the culture is realising, is that businesses have so much leverage, we have so much freedom, we have so much power that it ought to come with some responsibility, and the responsibility is to make a difference and do work that you’re proud of.”
The Corporate Imposter
It’s time to resurrect old-fashioned principles in the social impact space. Godin thinks leadership should transform lives, but to do that, young entrepreneurs must combat their inherent imposter syndromes. He meets the challenge by acknowledging that everyone is an imposter. Whether you’re manufacturing, selling, or marketing, you must face uncertainty. You can click through reams of analytics and projections, but business leadership will never be evidence-based.
“It’s not like you’re a physicist who says force is always going to equal mass times velocity. We’re asserting. We’re not proving, and we have to get comfortable saying, ‘You know what? This might not work.’ And the idea that this might not work frees us up to do important work. The reason that litigation lawyers and SEO experts get stuck is because they want […] a guarantee. You don’t get [that] when you’re making a difference. You’re not a manager. You’re a leader.”
Empathy and the Entrepreneurial Giant
Seth Godin’s business leadership philosophy begins with happiness instead of proof because there can be no opportunity cost for that. Do what you want to do. Do what fills your soul. Change lives—but do so with empathy for those you serve.
The capacity to walk in others’ shoes makes marketplace transactions possible. It helps you to find out what your customers value, who they are, and how you’re hoping to change them. “Who can you connect? Who can you lead? What can you make better? How can you do it again?” Anyone can answer those questions, even you in the back row with the shabby high school diploma.
Teaching the Lessons
Seth Godin’s online courses are as original as all his ideals. His Skillshare and Udemy seminars have no lectures, tests, or homework. “We are proudly not accredited,” he says. “And if you ask, ‘will this be in the test?’ we will make a face at you.”
He wants his students to move away from book learning because it encourages them to do as little as they can get away with. Instead, his courses consist of about 14 projects that race through achievements at a neck breaking speed.
“We’re trying to do art, and if you’re making art, it’s not ‘how little can I do?’ It’s ‘how much can I do?’”
That work is underlined by production, mutual engagement, and feedback. Traditional online courses have an average completion rate of 5 percent in comparison to Godin’s 97 percent, because his doesn’t promise any special knowledge. He offers experience.
In keeping with his permission marketing ideals, his seminars earn enrolment through leadership. In three sentences, he tells his students, “I wanna go over there. Do you see what it’s like over there? Do you wanna go over there with me? […] Here’s a change in our posture, a change in the world I’d like to make. Do you wanna help me make that change?” Instead of offering schooling, he offers a culture-shift that ends in the opportunity to affect your own change. He’s taking the fear out of entrepreneurship, and that’s as honorable a task as any.
Using Culture to Overcome Business School Propaganda
Godin asks entrepreneurial hopefuls to find fellow travellers who can help them to explore the places that they fear. He wants his cohorts to overcome the intimidating lessons of Stanford and Harvard Business School. Such courses teach two important practices: to ignore sunk costs and understand the math of a decision tree. These aren’t skills people are born with. It’s inherently human to focus on one outcome and ignore all the rest, so decision making is a skill that must be learned.
That doesn’t make it impossibly complicated. You simply identify what’s important based on the ecosystem you’ve chosen as your marketplace, and then explore the unknown territory that terrifies you. Culture will inform your choices, and connection will produce more rewards than didactic management strategies ever will.
Finding Entrepreneurial Success
Seth Godin has written 10 books, produced one of Time Magazine’s favorite blogs, and created two wildly successful online businesses.
When asked what he does every day to make such an impact, he replies, “I do one thing every day. […] Most people don’t.” He compares his approach to a skate park. Some kids repeat the same trick over and over, while others try new tricks that make them nervous—not to learn, but because it makes them happy. “I decided a long time ago to do things that make me nervous. […] I made it a habit that I enjoy, and that’s how I spend my day.”
“I think it’s way easier than people believe. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t try to raise money, you should not have an original idea. If you begin with those two things in mind, the next step is, “What’s the smallest viable market you can serve?” [Then] find one person who’ll exchange money for what you can do for them. [Then] tomorrow can you find two people? [Then] you do it again. I started this when I was 14 and […] then I did it throughout college. That’s what it means to be an old school entrepreneur. At some point, you’ll be good enough at exchanging money for value that you say to yourself, ‘There’s another way I could add value that no one’s done before.’ That’s it. […] And if you want to make a profit while doing it, you can, but that doesn’t have to be your goal.”
Seth Godin found resounding success by choosing a figurative country he wanted to explore. Then he went there and explored it. Along the way, he changed the world, and so can you.
Or, check out our full interview with Seth Godin here.
There’s something happening as we speak. People are starting to perk up and take action against plastic pollution which is suffocating our planet.
Change Creator is passionate about getting rid of plastic pollution and we follow new innovations closely. This is also why we recently interviewed the founder of S’well, Sarah Kauss. Her work building a premium water bottle brand in an effort to combat plastic bottles is impressive.
These innovations are very important because when you stop and look around, plastic is everywhere. And the worst part is that it’s not really recyclable and it’s definitely not biodegradable. Every bit of plastic ever produced is still with us today and will be for 1000 more years.
Here’s our list of the best plastic replacement innovations today.
1 ‘Ooho’ by Skipping Rocks Lab: The Edible Water Pod
Plastic water bottles might feel convenient but they come with huge costs, socially and environmentally. Actually, you end up paying a premium for water that 25% of the time is just tap in a bottle or it has added chemicals from production or leaching.
The consumption of non-renewable resources for single-use bottles and the amount of waste generated is profoundly unsustainable. The aim of Ooho is to provide the convenience of plastic bottles while limiting the environmental impact.
This little pod is just that, it’s little and may not have the same practical use as a plastic bottle, it will have different applications. Everything starts somewhere and this is a truly a unique innovation that is going in the right direction. There are many ways this could help people and of course take a lot of pressure off our environment and food chains.
At the moment Ooho is mostly being sold at events, while they get their fully-automated production machine up and running.
An entrepreneur from Bali, disgusted at the rubbish littering the famous holiday island Bali, is trying to tackle the problem with alternatives to conventional plastic.
Every year, an estimated of 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. Avani’s non-toxic cassava-based eco bags should be considered as one of the solutions to mitigate this horrible worldwide epidemic. Avani bags are a bio-based alternative that becomes the ideal replacement for petroleum-based plastic bags.
Through years of preparation prior to its launch, Avani has successfully embarked on its mission to replace disposable plastic products which take hundreds and even thousands of years to be decomposed by Mother nature by using renewable resources made from plants. Parallel to that, placing sustainability as its core business values, Avani is committed to exercising good corporate governance by adopting the Triple Bottom Line approach in assuring the sustainability of its business.
While water bottles themselves are not a new innovation, the approach S’well has taken is which is why we were eager to interview their founder, Sarah Kauss. She has built a premium brand on the foundation of a very strong story pushing a mission to replace water bottles.
During today’s awakening around plastic usage, this could not have been a better time for S’well to pop up.
It’s S’well’s ongoing mission to create products that are both beautiful and eco-friendly, that infuse innovation with inspiration, and that continues to give back to communities in need.
S’well is a proud partner of UNICEF USA, committing $800,000 since 2015 to help provide clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities. Through 2018, S’well is focused on supporting water programs across Madagascar – a country where nearly 50% of the population lacks access to clean drinking water. We’re supporting UNICEF’s efforts to build infrastructure, educate families on water-borne diseases and promote national reform to make a sustainable, long-lasting change. To learn more visit: www.unicefusa.org S’well also supports BCRF and (RED).
What is Danny Meyer’s enlightened hospitality model anyway? And why should you care about hospitality at all in your social impact business? Hospitality is more than just good customer service; it’s the heart of your brand if done right.
Danny Meyer: A Customer Service Guru
Danny Meyer has some amazing views on hospitality and customer service. I recently watched an interview with him where he talked about the virtuous cycle of enlightened hospitality, and therein he discussed taking care of the team first and the investors fifth. In so doing, he contradicted the traditional views of capitalism and created a company culture that seeks to make an impact before making an income.
His team philosophy stresses hiring those who can challenge themselves and others to be their best, and take their experience to the table, thus providing a dining experience that is beyond satisfying. It is remarkable. In fact, his restaurants have won 28 awards for customer service, all of which he attributes to the virtuous cycle of enlightened hospitality.
Enlighted Hospitality — A Driving Force
This virtuous cycle is as it sounds, with the idea of enlightened hospitality as the driving force. Not just taking care of the customer, but doing so in such a way that you create an experience in the customer’s life. Hospitality is making sure you provide that service in a way that makes the customer feel great about doing business with you.
Danny Meyer picked out 17 companies that embody that philosophy. Companies that don’t just provide a service, but motivate and challenge their teams to provide that service in more imaginative and gracious ways than the next guy. To provide that service in such a way that makes the customer feel warm, fulfilled, and genuinely better than before they walked through their doors. Seventeen companies that outperform the S&P by leaps and bounds.
These companies embody the team-centric mindset that creates hospitality. These companies treat their respective teams as people. People who are capable of creating change. People who are empowered to be on their customers’ sides. People who lead and challenge and grow.
We can learn a lot as entrepreneurs from Danny Meyer. Here are my top key takeaways:
1. Follow your passion.
Simon Sinek said it best. The market leaders know why they do what they do. One trait of great leaders is the ability to inspire others. When you know why you’re in business, and that why is something you are passionate about, your team will buy into your vision.
Danny Meyer is passionate about bringing people together around the table and making that experience the kind his guests talk about. It’s his love story – watching his family enjoy their meal. The smell from the kitchen, the closeness of family, the conversation, the laughs, and the food. The recipes handed down from generation to generation, all creating the kind of experience you remember fondly.
Every business decision he made was done so with one end goal in mind – would this outcome produce the kind of restaurant that I would love to visit.
Be passionate. Make an impact.
2. Take care of your team first.
What? Shouldn’t that read investors? Or customers?
By taking care of the team first, Meyer created businesses where employees are treated like people. People who have hopes and dreams and goals and talents and knowledge. People who are empowered to take care of the customer, and thus create a greater return for the investors.
His team philosophy could be well encapsulated in this “I can’t expect someone to care about anyone else unless they feel cared for.”
This is quite possibly the most critical factor in the success of a business. He hires people who can both perform at consistently high levels and have the emotional skill set to make people feel good about being around them.
His impact model works because it fosters growth. The team is one where they can learn from each other, have fun with, be a champion with and grow with. Success becomes a byproduct, instead of the goal. His customers return so often because they feel cared for.
“They’re happy, they’re fulfilled, they’re warm, and it is genuine.”
3.Hospitality over service.
Service is simple. It’s what we do as business owners. Service is how well you do what you advertise. Hospitality, however, is how the customer feels about doing business with you. That’s the fifth star.
Is your team delivering your service in a way that keeps customers coming back? Are your customers understood, and do they know that? By this I mean, are you answering customer needs in a way that leaves customers feeling loved and fulfilled?
Love? Fulfillment? Is this a relationship?
Yes. Yes, it absolutely is. Remember, your customers feed the business. Impact model businesses take amazing care of their customers, and their customers know it. Creating a relationship with your customers will ensure they know your business takes amazing care of them. It ensures loyalty. And brand recognition. And the single greatest method of advertising in the history of ever – word of mouth.
Hospitality is more than what you do, it’s how you do it. It’s your impact.
4. Give back to your community.
It’s where we are. It’s the neighborhoods our customers live in.
It’s where we give back. Danny Meyer has a company ethos – engaging team members in volunteer opportunities. He provides channels for the team to build a bond with customers outside of the restaurant. It gives his team a place to lead, help and share, and it gives the community an opportunity to see the team truly cares.
It’s the law of reciprocity in action. The business that gives back to the community creates customers. The influence is felt – and seen.
5. Be a mentor.
This is the takeaway that resonates with me more so than others. Impact models have mentors in the organization. Maybe this should be a subheading under takeaway number two, but the process of mentoring and challenging the team creates innovation. It eliminates stagnancy. It produces growth.
And growth plus passion plus hospitality plus giving back equals success.
When it comes to your business vision, hiring a great leader should be at the top of your list. While many ‘appear’ to be great leaders, we have to dig deeper to find someone that can propel your company to another level. Additionally, it’s important to remember that as you grow your team, great leaders tend to hire other great leaders.
If you want your business to grow, you are going to have to know how to hire a leader. Here are 4 tips on how to hire a great leader:
1. Hire someone who is curious.
Being a leader is more than just having that vision for your company; you have to be curious. One of the ways you can differentiate a great leader, from a manager is how this person connects with people. Do they ask questions? Are they genuinely interested in getting to know their team? Finding out what makes other people tick?
“The skills required to be a good leader probably start with vision, integrity, innovation – and the curiosity necessary to look at problems with ‘new eyes,’ which hopefully leads to creative solutions. Along with self-motivation and critical thinking abilities, you also need grit, humor and an unparalleled work ethic in order to truly inspire and motivate others.”
Not only does James believe in ‘daily touchpoints’ with his teams, he makes it his mission to stop relying on texts and emails and actually connect, in-person with everyone on his team.
2. Don’t hire yourself.
We get it. You are a leader. You are probably really great at what you do, but if you want to hire a leader, don’t duplicate your strengths; find someone to challenge you.
“You want someone who can compliment you, challenge your ideas and collaborate on strategy and projects, not a clone of yourself. Clones can end up being a nightmare (remember Multiplicity?) even if you’re a great leader who possesses a strong skill set.”
3. Hire someone who’ll create change.
Leaders are change agents. If you want to hire the best leaders for your business, you have to be willing to take a risk on someone who’s going to shake things up in your business. This is not the time to hire a worker-bee.
“Leaders are thought of as many things, but one of the main tasks of a leader is to be a change-agent. Businesses must change at times or risk becoming extinct, and it is up to leaders to show the positive benefits of those changes.
There is one big difference between leaders and managers: Managers enforce change from above, leaders enact change from below. Bring the needed change to those it will affect the most and ask them for tips on how to best enact those changes. This gets the team to feel ownership in the change.”
4. Find someone who’ll color outside the lines.
You might think you know your business inside and out, but hiring a great leader means giving someone the freedom to create a more powerful role in your company.
Faizun Kamal. As the CEO/Founder of The Franchise Pros agrees:
“The best leaders that I have worked with have a history of “coloring outside the lines”. They start a job with a specific job description and by the time they leave, they have created an entirely new job for themselves. They willingly take on new responsibilities.
They take on projects that stretch their comfort zones. They are not afraid to fall or fail. Coloring outside the lines that is an inherently entrepreneurial trait and is one of the most common markers of clients who go on to become very successful franchise owners.”
That’s it. Four tips to help you propel your business to new heights by finding the best leaders out there.
This article can be found in full, in Change Creator magazine. Start your free trial today, and get full access to hundreds of exclusive interviews, insights, and business strategies for social impact you won’t get anywhere else.
As the CEO and cultural architect of Datron World Communications, Art Barter transformed the organization from a $10 million company to a $200 million company in just six years after taking ownership of the company and converting the leadership style to servant leadership.
He says servant leadership is powerful because it leverages influence rather than fear to accomplish a company’s goals. Art believes the word ‘servant’ implies action. And action is what is needed in leadership today–action that puts others first, not ourselves going beyond the effort of making money in order to make a greater impact in the lives and communities around us.
He believes when leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them. Resulting in higher performance with engaged, fulfilled employees and overall strong relationships and compassion for one another at every level in the workplace.
Today, Art helps others discover and benefit from the power of servant leadership through the Servant Leadership Institute.
Some of the questions and topics we discuss:
Where did he start and how did he get where his is today? (from janitor to leading a $200m company)
What is servant leadership?
What is the power model?
What was the big change he made and how did employees take it?
How is his impact model structured and how does it motivate people? (They have given $16m to causes)
What factors contributed to his success in scaling the company from $10m company to a $200m company?
How do you balance serving people and making money?
What does a good leader to manage people effectively and get them to do their best?
How do you start creating a mission-focused culture from the start?
The Change Creator team met Sonya Renee Taylor during SOCAP, September 2017, after her stellar performance on stage that shook the room. She’s a vibrant poet leading a movement for social change as the Founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media, and education company promoting radical self-love and body empowerment as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation.
This interview will inspire anyone who might have a little doubt about themselves and needs to understand their own power. We walk through the steps she took to start conquering her own inner game and what it took to build a movement using social media.
Sonya’s work as a highly sought-after award-winning Performance Poet, activist, and transformational leader continues to have global reach. Sonya is a former National and International poetry slam champion, author of two books, including The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love (Berrett-Koehler Feb 2018), educator and thought leader who has enlightened and inspired organizations, audiences and individuals from boardrooms to prisons, universities to homeless shelters, elementary schools to some of the biggest stages in the world.
Sonya’s work has been seen, heard, and read on HBO, BET, MTV, TV One, NPR, PBS, CNN, Oxygen Network, The New York Times, New York Magazine, MSNBC.com, Today.com, Huffington Post, USA Today, Vogue Australia, Shape.com, Ms. Magazine and many more. She is a regular collaborator and artist with organizations such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Advocates for Youth 1in3 Campaign, Association for Size Diversity and Health, Binge Eating Disorders Association (BEDA), Greater than AIDS Campaign, Yerba Buena Cultural Art Center and numerous others.
Some of the questions we discuss:
What is radical self-love?
What does self-love have to do with sustainable social change and community?
Where do you current belief patterns come from and why is it so important to change some of them?
How do your beliefs impact the external world?
How did she start turning this idea into a business?
What steps did she take to start scaling a movement on social media?
How did she keep the integrity of her message by creating a process?
Where did she find interns to help her grow the business idea?
What was her experience like working with interns?
In this interview Adam talk with Kate about nonprofit boards. Oddly, enough this seems to be a much overlooked area when considering social change. Yet, it’s full of potential for impact.
We talk about the traditional role boards have played along with their shortcomings. Kate explains how this is changing today and what she’s doing to help reshape the role boards and their members play. This is a really exciting topic and a powerful way to become a leader who drives real social impact.
Who is Kate Hayes anyway?
Hayes oversees programming for a dynamic group of emerging business leaders who are dedicated to realizing their full potential as agents of social change.
Prior to joining Echoing Green, she worked as Director of Evaluation and Program Impact in the national office of Minds Matter, where she developed new systems and methods for evaluating organizational success. While at Minds Matter, she led several new initiatives for engaging alumni, scaling the organization, and training 1,700 skills-based volunteers across the United States.
Kate currently sits on the Executive Committee at the Northfield Mount Hermon School, where she also serves as Chair of the Young Alumni Committee.
Some of the questions we discuss:
How did Kate get involved with Echoing Green and her mission around nonprofit boards?
What do boards traditionally look like and what do you want them to transform into now?
How do you make sure the new functions of a board happen effectively?
Do board members think big picture or roll up their sleeves to help with the details?
How can you drive true change by joining a board?
Who is the right person for a board and how big are boards typically?
This article was written by Wayne Wachell and originally released on B The Change
First, the dark stuff.
We are at a point in history where climate change is no longer a looming threat but a reality that’s very much upon us. Carbon dioxide levels are the highest point in 3 million years, according to the Global Atmosphere Watch program. All the while, the number of people on the planet is growing at an exponential rate. Worldwide population is 7.6 billion, and the United Nations estimates it will increase to 11.2 billion by 2100.
The situation seems dire, and it is. But when talking about climate change, it’s easy to get bogged down by the magnitude of the problem, so it’s important to lead with hope.
The good news is, as B Corps, we’re solution seekers by nature. There are actions we can take as business owners to slow the rate of climate change, and with Earth Day celebrated earlier this week, they’re top of mind.
Where to Start
A good place to start: taking a look at your carbon footprint. We collectively need to do better if we’re to reduce carbon emissions for the greater good of the planet. Investors are increasingly (and rightly) asking for information on the emissions of companies they are investing in, and we need to respond to this need.
One method of measuring CO2 output by businesses has been developed by an organization called Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This methodology acknowledges the emissions a company can actually control (such as fossil fuels used in operations, manufacturing, and heating), and the emissions a company can influence (such as those from employee commutes and third-party distribution). If more business owners were to use this methodology, they’d have a greater understanding of their business’s impact.
Once you have a gauge on the CO2 output from your business, you can look at tangible ways to reduce it, like putting an automatic timer on the lights, installing shades to help regulate the temperature without electricity, or using Skype or Zoom for remote meetings to reduce unnecessary travel.
If transport is essential to your business, consider purchasing a company electric car. In-person meetings are hugely valuable from a relationship-building perspective; that’s why at Genus we’ve recently adopted a new company mascot in the form of a Chevy Bolt. The Bolt has a regenerative braking function, which means the driver can recoup energy during deceleration. I typically gain 5 km worth of energy during a regular journey by using the downhill momentum.
If your company has investments, consider using them for impact by supporting clean energy companies over fossil fuel companies. History shows us divestments happen in three waves, and the same is true for fossil fuel divestment.
Already churches, universities, cities (like New York) and financial institutions (like Norges Bank) are announcing divestments, and we expect to see more in the coming months. While there is a moral reason for doing this, there is also a strong business case. As the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, there’s a huge risk of stranded assets — fossil fuels losing their value while still in the ground.
It is also worth evaluating the carbon emissions your company can save. Do you have a “smart” commute scheme to encourage carpooling or the use of public transit? Do you offer a financial incentive to employees who purchase commuter bikes or a stipend for bike maintenance for regular bike commuters?
Education also plays a key role in influencing change, and your employees have a lot to teach you. Invite them to share their ideas for how to reduce your carbon footprint collectively. Maybe that involves improving home insulation, eating less meat, or opting for local fruit and vegetables with fewer food miles. A single employee or a group might emerge as your in-house environmental champions.
While climate change is a daunting subject, we believe it’s too important not to broach. At an international level, the Paris Agreement set a global action plan to avoid unpredictable climate change by limiting global warming to below 2 degrees C. While progress is being made to turn these goals into actions, we too as business owners have a valuable role to play — not only by reducing our own emissions, but in influencing others to make meaningful changes, too.
The answer is, unequivocally, “yes.” Data abounds to show that kindness works at work, and here’s why.
Did you know that emotions are contagious? They flow from the most powerful person in the room. So, if you are the boss, that’s probably you! If you want a productive and happy workplace, then you must create it.
Kind bosses have been shown to increase morale, decrease absenteeism and retain employees longer. Kind bosses may even prolong the lives of their employees by decreasing their stress levels which improve cardiovascular health.
Human brains (as well as the brains of other primates) have cells called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons do exactly what their name implies, and they go a long way to explain much of human behavior. Mirror neurons fire both when a person performs an action and when they observe an action being performed by another.
Kindness, It’s Not That Tough to Do
So when the boss enters the room with a big smile and says, “Happy Monday, everyone!”, he or she will see smiles all around. Alternatively, if you are in a low mood, you’ll bring others down with you. You may have noticed then when you see a commercial for someone eating delicious looking food, you feel hungry and when they’re drinking a coke…need I say more?
When you see someone injured, your mirror neurons for pain get triggered and you feel empathy. For most of us, working out in a group is much easier than exercising alone. You can thank your mirror neurons for that.
As you can see, mirror neurons come into play throughout our day. By understanding how your brain works and how you are impacting others, you can choose behaviors to positively impact those around you both at work and in your personal life. So if you want to create a kind workplace, it’s just this simple. Be kind. Say kind things. Do kind acts.
Being kind doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. To the contrary! To quote my esteemed colleague, David Loewenstein, Ph.D., “I am a marshmallow on the outside with a backbone of steel.”
So treat your employees with kindness, but at the same time let them know you have high expectations. As, a leader, you must consistently have that backbone. It should be composed of integrity, honesty, and a clear vision for your company.
How can companies help build leaders?
Adam Grant, Ph.D. at the Wharton School of Business in his groundbreaking book, Give and Take, shows how companies can win across many metrics by hiring and supporting more employees who are givers (as opposed to takers).
Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. As a result, the employees feel more loyal and committed and are more likely to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly to other employees.
Research on “paying it forward” shows that when you work with people who help you, you will be more likely to help others (and not necessarily just those who helped you).
Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D. at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. This phenomenon, Dr. Haidt calls “moral elevation” and it is triggered by viewing acts of uncommon goodness.
What does kindness look like for a leader?
So just what does kindness look like for a leader?
Greet employees in a positive way.
Praise good work.
Pay attention to team morale and work to enhance it.
Focus more on solving problems than on who or what’s to blame.
Treat everyone with respect.
Care for and be interested in employees’ daily lives.
Show compassion and concern when employees are struggling.
Use and encourage open, honest and direct communication.
In short, kindness works. I hope I have inspired you to try it.
If you’d like to check out Dr. Ritvo’s latest book for a deep dive you can find it here:
This article was written by Sam Ford for Change Creator Magazine.
Creating Sustainable Change
The business world is driven by frameworks. By concepts. By new ideas with pithy titles, whose core concepts can be stated in an executive summary. By metaphors.
The people who author them may make their living writing books, giving talks, and doing the consulting that surrounds it — to attempt to change the way people see their professional lives and see their concept become part of business parlance.
The greater business consulting industry that surrounds this infrastructure grabs onto some of these concepts and attempts to translate them into wider business practice. With case studies. With benchmarking. With trademarked names and proprietary methodologies. And “change agents” within organizations sign up to do the yeoman’s work of trying to adapt old systems to begin utilizing new ways of thinking.
These interventions can be important work. These frameworks may, in many cases, introduce useful ideas. But the business world loves a good metaphor so much that we’ll very quickly stretch it far past its usefulness, to the point it does more harm than good. And we love a good business phrase so much that we’ll quickly turn it into a buzzword.
Soon, it’s been taken far past the boundaries of its original meaning, and well-intentioned consultants and “change agents” risk finding themselves looking for nails for their hammers, or suddenly imagining everything is a hammer, or imagining that everyone needs a hammer. (I think my metaphor just outlived its own usefulness.)
As a business consultant myself, I know how this goes. I risk contributing to the pollution. I might even profit from it in the short term. But how can concepts and metaphors have power without becoming over-utilized buzzwords? We must insist on, first, understanding the depth with which a concept adds to our meaning, and the degree of elasticity it has. And we must realize that every ecosystem is unique and that frameworks imported in won’t naturally fit wholesale.
Striking these balances is crucial for those striving to be meaningful “Change Creators.”
And one of the people who has most shaped my thinking on this — on seeing the power for change within capitalism to make it more responsible, to make it regenerative — is Carol Sanford.
Carol Sanford: “The Responsible Entrepreneur” | Talks at Google
True Corporate Responsibility
I first met Carol in 2010, in the most unexpected of places: the comments section of Fast Company. I’d been writing about why people in marketing, and in business leadership, were often conducting practices that were against their own long-term business interests, for the sake of short-term gain.
Soon, I learned about Carol’s history of doing deep, systemic consulting with businesses, ranging from Fortune 500 leadership to early-stage entrepreneurs. Her frameworks challenged accepted corporate lore and buzzwords. They demanded that people ponder how language and metaphors matter deeply and that the systems we use for understanding things shape (and distort) what’s possible. But they also dared say that it’s in the best interest of the capitalist to act and behave responsibly, not just responsibly and socially conscious as a fad or as a byproduct.
She didn’t just come armed with theories. She was prepared to demonstrate how it had worked when it was really given a try. When it wasn’t a surface-level retrofit to the system that already exists. When it wasn’t just adopted wholesale from the outside. And when it was holistic, and past this quarter, in its way of thinking.
In The Responsible Business, Carol’s 2011 book (for which — full disclosure — I wrote a blurb for the back cover), she lays out a premise she calls the pentad: that truly responsible businesses are responsible to their customers, their co-creators, the earth, the communities they’re part of, and their shareholders…but, crucially, in that order.
It’s been a way of thinking that has guided my work ever since, in part because it provides a framing for something that seems like we should have known all along. Perhaps it’s, as Robert Penn Warren once said of Dixon Wecter’s
The Hero in America, “This, however, is what we always say about even—about especially—the most original and important books after they have appeared. Once written, they always seem so obvious and inevitable.”
Since that time, Carol has built on that thinking in her argument for regenerative organizations. This approach is focused on how living systems work, how they regenerate themselves in an evolutionary way that keeps them viable — and how that sort of logic can help shape organizational design and growth.
As Carol says in her interview with Adam, thinking in a socially connected and regenerative way is partially about finding our way back to the core of what comes naturally to our species, and divesting ourselves from toxic practices that have gotten in our way.
It’s also about helping organizations engage in long-term thinking. Carol’s work has focused on sustainability — not only in the environmental sense, but in the organizational sense. How do you keep companies fixed on what makes the most long-term sense, on what’s in the best interests of the organization beyond this quarter or fiscal year?
This takes us back to the pentad, and the argument that working toward long-term goals is ultimately in the best interests of shareholders, or at least shareholders that truly are invested in your company. Carol puts strong emphasis that this is about a core logic that must be adopted uniquely for every organization, not produced at mass scale. This is about enacting true change.
With that in mind, and inspired heavily by Carol’s work, here’s the change that I’m spending my time advocating for these days. When organizations think about the strategies for communication and for engagement with the various stakeholders about whom they care, how do they consider negative ROI?
When it is used, the phrase “negative ROI” typically refers literally to the fact that a project lost money. But I’m adapting the phrase to emphasize another, even more fundamental problem with how organizations typically think about their return on investment.
How do organizations account for whether/how their investment might have had negative consequences that are hard to see, and how do those negative effects (to reputation and the relationship to key stakeholders) account in the final equation of whether an initiative was successful?
If your measures of success don’t account for the potential negative effects of your actions, then you may count as a success an initiative which has significantly damaged your organization. If you don’t count negative ROI, then any thinking about long-term reputation might seem like a cost center in the equation you use to track the success of a particular initiative.
Consider this example, for instance, from the publishing industry. For commercial publishers, ROI typically will ultimately translate back to advertising dollars earned. An investment in stories, and the marketing of those stories, drive audience acquisition. Those audiences are sorted, counted, and sold to advertisers. The ROI will look at how much a story, or set of stories, and their promotion cost, relative to how much revenue they brought in.
Let’s say a particular story drove a large number of clicks/visits and thus brought in a significant amount of advertising revenue, relative to what the piece cost. But, what if that successful story drew much of its audience because of a clickbait headline? What if the predominant image promoting the article was built around a cultural stereotype heavily offensive to some audience members? What if the article actually had little to do with how it was positioned on social media?
In a “classic” calculation of ROI, that wouldn’t matter. With “negative ROI” calculated, too, however, organizations would have to ponder the potential damage from the number of people who were annoyed by the clickbait headline, the number of shares of the article that were from people who were outraged by the offensive stereotype, or the number of people who vowed never too be fooled again when they realized the article they were led to had little to do with the headline they clicked in their Facebook feed.
Here’s another example, built on some research I did a few years back with Peppercomm and The Economist Group. In our survey of business executives’ opinions about content they received from companies, 71 percent said they didn’t like content they received from B2B brands because it “seemed more like a sales pitch than valuable information.” Meanwhile, 70 percent of B2B marketers we surveyed said that they measured the success of their content marketing by tracking it back to “calls from customers and prospects.” In a classic calculation of ROI, the cost of the content is weighed against the new business which could be directly tied back to it. In that case, it’s no wonder that a company might include a strong sales pitch in their content, if direct sales is how ROI would be calculated.
Conversely, a calculation that also includes “negative ROI” would have to account for, or at least acknowledge, whether some audiences were turned off by the content. The accretion and erosion of trust.
In some cases, of course, businesses are not so worried about negative ROI. A partisan news site might be totally fine with turning off audiences outside the circle of people they’re trying to reach. That Nigerian prince is okay if 99.5 percent of their audience knows they are a scam artist, as long as they find enough people to dupe in their email blast; he’s not worried about his long-term reputation.
Negative ROI is also difficult for many organizations to think about because the effects cannot be easily quantified. It’s simple to calculate money spent. It’s simple to calculate money made. If you can draw a direct line between the two, or even imagine a direct line between the two, then the math can be done quickly. But, just because the math is easy, it doesn’t mean your calculation is accurate.
However, the biggest challenge for calculating for negative ROI is that the effects are seldom immediate. Rather, we have to think about reputation, and trust, in terms of a gradual accretion or erosion.
Brand trust, and reputation is earned slowly. Customers don’t typically develop immediate devotion. The consistency of your product or service, the resonance your marketing and communications might have over time, and the quality of your customer’s interactions with you all ultimately shape the trust you have in a brand. Each new experience with your brand is a chance to accrue a bit more trust and loyalty.
A startup is well aware of how much work it takes to build a following. As they build up those layers of trust, though, it’s easy to quit focusing on the accretion process so closely. Brands take loyal customers for granted. They frequently focus more on the continued acquisition and less on maintenance. And, thus, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that every interaction is also a potential occasion for eroding some of that trust accrued.
One of the main reasons erosion is hard to notice is because its effects are seldom seen over the course of one business quarter. Sure, there’s occasionally a major crisis that may cause sales or stock price to plummet. But the erosion process is typically much more gradual than that. It would take a longitudinal focus to see these trends. And companies seldom have the patience for that.
Actionable Steps and Takeaways: Four Tips for Tracking Sustainable Change and True Responsibility
If you are fortunate enough to build or work for an organization that has accrued enough trust and positive reputation to be successful, consider yourself a steward of that reputation. And, if you’re building a new organization from the ground up, how do you build it in a way that adheres to the concept of building a regenerative business, and so that you are making your decisions in a way that prioritizes your various stakeholders appropriately?
1. Think as Teams, Not Individuals. Humans Are Social Creatures.
Organizations are comprised of collaborative relationships, both within the company and around the company. As you build and maintain your logic and metrics, and your plans for growth, do so in a way that looks at the collaborative potential for your team, rather than individual goals.
2. Keep Your Priorities Straight.
Carol Sanford’s pentad is immensely useful in its stability. Are you prioritizing all your stakeholders? And are you keeping those priorities in the right order? An environmentally friendly product that doesn’t solve customers’ problems won’t be viable in the market. A decision for the immediate benefit of your shareholders that has tremendous negative impact on your employees and co-creators will adversely affect shareholders who have a long-term commitment to the company.
3. Find Ways to Keep Track of Negative ROI.
Even if it can’t be qualified, find ways to include a check on negative ROI for your company investments. Despite the allure of its simplicity, the equation is never as simple as money spent versus money earned.
4. Keep Stock of Your Accrual of Trust.
Build methods to check in on your reputational health on a regular basis. Taking your reputation for granted will bring you long-term pain, even if you don’t feel it immediately.
Exclusive interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Issue 13 cover story, Dr. Muhammad Yunus.
In this interview, we talk with Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus who is the Godfather of Social Business tackling poverty head-on. Discover his secrets to success, advice to new Change Creators, and what the future holds.
He is known as the “Banker to the Poor.”
“Poverty does not belong in civilize human society. Its proper place is in a museum.” ~Yunus
Dr. Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. His objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves.
From Dr. Yunus’ personal loan of small amounts of money to destitute basket weavers in Bangladesh in the mid-70s, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through microlending. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Dr. Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavors, including the Mohamed Shabdeen Award for Science (1993), Sri Lanka; Humanitarian Award (1993), CARE, USA; World Food Prize (1994), World Food Prize Foundation, USA; Independence Day Award (1987), Bangladesh’s highest award; King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award (2000), King Hussien Foundation, Jordan; Volvo Environment Prize (2003), Volvo Environment Prize Foundation, Sweden; Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth (2004), Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan; Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award (2006), Roosevelt Institute of The Netherlands; and the Seoul Peace Prize (2006), Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea. He is also a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.
It was truly and honor to speak with Dr. Yunus and ask him pressing questions about social business and the future of the economy.
Bolander is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur with over 20 years of bringing innovative solutions to market such as Bluetooth, USB, RFID and Semiconductor DNA sequencing. He is currently the co-founder and COO of Lab Sensor Solutions, a digital health company that is applying sensor technology to track the temperature and location of perishables to prevent spoilage.
Bolander’s book helps anyone seeking to be an Entrepreneur and needs some proven background experience before starting a successful path. This book outlines mistakes and successes that will help those seeking to be a successful Entrepreneur and how Ethos plays such and important part of success. Well researched with factual cases.
In this interview we ask questions such as…
What gave Bolander the knowledge and insight to write such a book?
What was your process for putting the book together?
How did writing this book impact you as a person?
What kind of community are you defining in your book and why?
What are some of the key lessons people will learn from this book?
Who is this book best suited for?
The book discusses successes and failure of companies so does that tie into how they operate their company culture?
Today, as students from all over America and around the world marched, we could not help but share the momentous moments in our history. These young people are showing the true spirit of activism, standing up for their rights for change and doing something about the state of the world they find themselves in.
What started as a group of young survivors from Florida has turned into a national-wide, and worldwide movement to address gun-control laws. Though Washington hosted the main event, more than 800 other marches were held across the world in full support of these students, teachers, parents, and survivors who started the March for Our Lives movement.
Let’s celebrate these amazing, brave, young activists with the 5 best moments from the March for our Lives, March 24, 2018.
1. When Emma Gonzalez stands on stage for 6 minutes, 20 seconds…
When survivor and student Emma Gonzalez decides to stand, in front of a crowd of thousands, silent for exactly 6 minutes and 20 seconds, you can feel the power of this movement.
“Six minutes and about 20 seconds,” she said. “In a little over 6 minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured and everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered. Everyone who was there understands. Everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing. No one understood the extent of what had happened.”
2. When the world decided to join.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not enough, that you don’t have a say. Today’s march showed how one, by one, when we decide that change is worth it and band together, we can make a difference. Not only did all the major U. S. cities participate (see below), so did many cities around the world.
4. When 11-year-old Naomi Walder speaks out for those lives we don’t always think about.
This young girl’s poise and presence literally sends chills down my spine. Not only did she lead a walk out of her elementary school, Naomi stood up and spoke out for all African-American girls and victims the media often ignores. It is so encouraging to know that this is our future.
5. David Hogg’s Push Back to All Politicians
“The cold grasp of corruption shackles the District of Columbia” says Hogg as he begins this emotional, impassionated speech. It is time to not only question the status-quo of our government, it is time to change. Hogg shows great presence, poise, and dignity through extreme emotional grief as he confronts the government that, he claims, has put a price on kids’ lives.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” says Hogg.
We applaud you young activists, right-fighters, out there making the world a better place.
Between 15 and 43 percent of LGBT workers have experienced being fired, denied promotions, or harassed on the job due to sexual orientation or gender identity.
A 2013 study by Pew Research Center found that 21 percent of LGBT respondents had been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay or promotions.
Transgender people face even higher rates of discrimination and harassment, with as many as 78 percent experiencing at least one type of mistreatment at work because of their gender identity.
Fifty percent of LGBT people (myself included) live in states that do not prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Armed with some context on why some LGBTQ employees may feel vulnerable at work, here are five ways you can help create a culture that values all workers and encourages us to bring our full selves to the office.
If you have an employee manual, then most likely you already have a non-discrimination policy. Make sure that the section that says no one can be fired for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance (such as race, ethnicity, disability, religious beliefs, etc.) also includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign offers sample policies if you’re unsure where to start.
2. Benefits for all
Does your company only offer paid paternity leave? That’s not very helpful for the lesbian woman whose wife just gave birth. Paid parental leave policies remove hetero-normative language and treat all families (including single parents) equally. Make sure you don’t unintentionally include a definition of “family” that can be used to exclude people who are more vulnerable to being underinsured.
3. Advocate in your state
As mentioned above, 50 percent of LGBT people live in states without employment discrimination protections. Is your state on the list? What about your city? Many cities in anti-LGBT states (including Boise, where I live!) have taken steps to advance equality with local non-discrimination policies. Has yours? How can your business help with these local and statewide efforts? If you’re a marketing firm, donate a logo. If you produce apparel, donate T-shirts. You get the idea.
4. It’s true what they say about assumptions
You may think you know what a gay man or a lesbian looks like, but do you really? What about a bi person, a high femme, or a transgender man? Most straight, cis-gendered (that means your gender identity matches your birth sex) people are woefully clueless about this stuff. So get to know your LGBT colleagues as people. (And yes, the stereotype that we love a good brunch is totally true.) Ask respectful questions if you’re curious, especially when it comes to using accurate pronouns. Don’t assume that one gay person speaks for all gay people everywhere — tokens are for arcade games, people!
5. Get involved locally
Most companies pride themselves on giving back. If your company prioritizes ending homelessness, make sure your employees and local charities understand that up to 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ even though they only comprise 7 percent of the population. If you live in the Northwest, Pride Foundation is a great place to start volunteering with grantee organizations or selecting scholarship recipients.
As a little girl, Sasha Fisher always wondered why the world she lived in was unequal. A world where some people were unable to meet their basic needs and couldn’t afford to live in dignity.
She always knew she wanted to change that — thus she decided to work with non-profit organizations.
Fisher explains that there are three ways of addressing world inequality.
The non-profit sector hasn’t matured as much as it needs to. She states, “Non-profits are all focused around human impact and that’s what I care about primarily. The question is the vehicle to get there.
Non-profits focus on human impact. Their mission is to impact the world’s population in a positive way. They don’t model the organization to have an income stream. They are people- and impact-motivated. She explains, “There is an opportunity to be as clear as possible about your mission and the impact you want to create without muddying it with compromise.”
Don’t be afraid to start young
In high school, Fisher became involved in fundraising for a non-profit organization with projects in Sierra Leone. In University, during her sophomore year, she joined a team of volunteers to South Sudan. Working with this international non-profit organization gave her first-hand experience dealing with critical development issues. She started young and was determined to make it at all costs.
Fisher realized that she had no way of knowing what type of aid was more or less effective. She asked herself, “What’s the difference between donating to one aid organization and another?” She had no clue. She believed this South Sudan opportunity would help her understand more about impact.
“There are some ratings online on Charity Navigator about a handful non-profit companies. But they don’t tell much about impact,” she adds.
It was an exciting opportunity for her because she would travel with the team to the field. The country director taught her a lot about the context and the region. She was shown around to other aid projects as well. She felt they were not being used effectively in an area that received a lot of aid money.
In South Sudan, Fisher realized that most non-profit organizations were not able to measure project impact.
Most of the aid projects were not being effectively utilized. Several aid organizations were letting the South Sudanese people sit on the sidelines. They did not involve them in the conversation on what was being built. Local communities had no ownership of the projects.
Fisher felt that, considering the South Sudanese had fought for their freedom for more than two decades, they ought to be given control over their future.
They had the fundamental human right to define what the future held for them and their families, a quality that was lacking.
By the end of her volunteer period, she had one big question lingering in her mind, “Who was making the decisions on getting power to the hands of local communities and families?”
When Fisher graduated, she felt obligated to go to Rwanda, even though she had never been there.
She needed to go to a region that required foreign aid and Rwanda seemed like the perfect place for her.
Moving to the country was the least scary. Instead, she couldn’t stop thinking about how they could use their foreign aid money better. She couldn’t figure this out unless she was in the area receiving the aid money.
Her first steps involved locating a region with an operational local CBO. She started by learning from the organization, then piloted a project within the community. She deeply felt that local community had to drive and own local projects.
She says, “I didn’t want to be an expert at anything because the whole point was this: Whatever happens should be owned and driven by local communities.”
In the Rwandan villages, Fisher brainstormed with local partners to identify how best to support, launch, and implement their development programs.
After a lot of consultation and deliberation with government, businesse,s and non-profits, Spark MicroGrants was established in 2010
Support pre-existing non-profits
Fisher felt that Spark’s role should be supportive of the non-profits already on the ground. They could also act as a bridge between the villages and their government. The organization came up with a facilitation process paired with a seed grant provided directly to villages. This process is fully inclusive of gender and age. Community members make decisions about their welfare.
This furthers the main goal of helping the local community learn how to control their future. Helping them tap into their potential is a strong way to bring long-term change.
Spark works in collaboration with the Rwandan government to strengthen village leadership. Building community village elders that take charge of these projects is one of the main keys of Spark’s success. Spark goes into a village for only two years, so implementing the process correctly is the key to the long-term success of the village.
Focus on the process of your project if you want to succeed
The core process – from Spark first getting involved to finding seed funding — takes 6 months, after which implementation begins. This can last three to six months and Spark management support is always provided.
The focus is to bring the project to life, but an income earning component is often attached. This depends on the type of project the community selects.
Some of the projects that have been done include:
Starting a mill where villagers pay to mill their cereals
Sale of surplus crops from farming
Ninety percent of Spark-funded projects are still sustaining two years after launching
So, what’s the process?
Within the first month, Spark MicroGrants goes into a village and conducts discussions for community building. The community identifies the right people, the direction to take, and problems to address.
MONTHS 2 & 3
Next is two months of goal setting. In the first month, the village discusses their history and enumerates their existing assets. It also addresses past projects.
In the second month, they identify the village they foresee and set goals to achieve it. They then brainstorm find pathways to reach the goals.
MONTHS 4 & 5
After that, proposal development starts, which takes two months. It includes a financial sustainment strategy in which the organization offers basic training on cash flow. The financial literacy includes skills that are kept simple and basic to ensure everyone understands.
Spark MicroGrants then explains the amount of funding provided to begin the project and how much is required to sustain it over time. Community members elect a village committee to manage the program and assign roles.
Transparency is imperative with Sparks as they are continually held accountable to their donors. In each village, the leaders have a responsibility to report fully on project finances. The report includes the specific amount of money received and the amount spent in the project. Transparency within the organization and villages enhances visibility on how money is spent and for what purpose.
MONTHS 6, 7, & 8
In the next three months, there is a technical review, management support, and future visioning.
The technical review process includes some training and technical specifications to address the set goals.
Future visioning involves building partnerships with local organizations and government officials. The whole idea here is to have a smooth process that enables the set goals to be carried out successfully.
The last step before the implementation is the disbursement of the village fund — $8,000 per village — with which to implement the project of their choice. The community is physically involved in the actual building of projects. The media, businesses, and local government personalities are invited to create awareness.
When dealing with projects that involve money and development, it’s all about the process. Therefore, Sparks puts in a lot of work into ensuring everything is done well, with pinpoint precision. This enables them to leave a long-lasting mark in a community.
Seventy-three percent of villages advocated for external support after working with Spark
On passion, learning, and raising money
When Fisher founded Spark MicroGrants, she knew very little about making money. All she knew was that she needed more money to reach more villages. She was so passionate about this.
In the initial years, there was a lot of learning to do because the fundraising experience she had was during high school and university. See, even if you have passion for something, you need to learn about ways to make it happen.
While in her senior year of university, Fisher asked several people to help out with funds. She wrote emails to several groups, which seemed like a crazy idea. To her surprise, two foundations based in New Jersey actually responded and donated some money. This was a big break for her, finally getting first donations to the organization. One of the foundations has grown with Spark MicroGrants and still funds them to over $100,000 to date.
In the first year of the organization’s operation, it started with $10,000. By 2016, they were able to raise $1.5 million which they leveraged for programs and other organization uses. Currently, the organization obtains funding from individuals, foundations, and corporates, among other donors. They have a huge group of sponsors willing to chip in and sponsor villages.
It costs $10,000 to fund a village through this process. From this amount, a village chooses its own project. For every project the organization institutes, a second project is launched independently.
From deep passion and learning, Spark was able to beat the odds and raise the cash needed to get going.
Setting out to be different and to keep growing
From the beginning, Spark MicroGrants set out to be different.
It designed a new approach that moved away from the traditional problem-solving framework to focus on goals. In the beginning, the grants were based on projects but the company has now streamlined the grant to a village grant.
Every village receives the same amount of money so there is no competition to get more.
In the first village in Rwanda, the Spark’s core process took three months. This period has changed, evolved with feedback from families. It has currently grown to a six-month process with a two-year follow on support. This includes quarterly check-ins per village.
How do they make decisions?
Decision making is based on impact. To avoid corruption, Spark establishes clear accountability to the villages they serve. Its mission is to support communities and improve local conditions. It has an efficient system, designed to achieve that in the best way possible.
There is a lot of prescriptive aid and Spark MicroGrants seeks to change this. Its model pushes the limit on how much ownership and decisions the people being served can be left with. It believes that all the decisions should belong to the people.
The project process is cyclical. Every year, there is something new to tackle within the village. The village goes through strategic planning on the future, which is reviewed every year. This process ensures the village is leaping back while looking forward.
From Rwanda, Spark MicroGrants has grown to Burundi, Congo, Ghana, and DRC. In these countries, they have partnered with more than 150 villages. Of all the village projects facilitated by Spark, 94 percent are self-sustaining and 77 percent have birthed other projects without Spark’s support. Over 90 percent of these continue to meet regularly and discuss important community issues.
Helping people to achieve the future they want
Spark MicroGrants has been working in Rwanda for seven years now. Over 56 community partners have been facilitated with Spark staff. The organization has helped villagers create a system of agreeing on ideas, building a plan for execution, and managing their own projects.
Collective weekly meetings are held where village families in the communities plan for the future they want. The project ideas originate from the families, who then work on them together.
Spark was founded to get resources to the hands of families they sought to support. They do this without viewing them as beneficiaries. This approach is different because they encourage communities to seek their own solutions. It trusts people with their own future.
This shows how organizations can support community members better. There has been great feedback from families in the supported villages. This include progress in goal setting and government advocacy. Spark constantly listens to feedback from villages on how to improve the system.
Actionable Steps and Takeaways
Be willing to move out of your comfort zone. Traveling and experiencing the world can create powerful inspiration but change also starts where you are. You don’t have to move to Rwanda to find problems worth addressing.
Being entrepreneurial doesn’t always mean building your own organization. You can get your innovations incorporated into existing institutions. “The best teams are full of entrepreneurs working together with complementary skill sets and ways of thinking to build a larger scale movement,” Fisher says.
Every human being has a cause. Something they feel passionately about. Fisher always knew her niche was human impact and that non-profits were the best way to achieve that. What do you have and how can you get it to the people?
Work with the people whom you are serving to solve problems and build long-term solutions into your processes.
World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 but his legacy will live on forever.
He is a true inspiration and one of the greatest thinkers of our time. He is the epitome of having a positive attitude and the will to live life and not to ever give up.
Hawking has said we are all different but share the same human spirit.
Throughout his career, Hawking has helped us better understand the planet, and at the same time, ourselves. Here are some thoughts he’s shared that have had a profound impact on me.
“I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.” ~Stephen Hawking
He reminds us to stay as curious as we once were as children. He shows us how to be courageous. Life itself is one big question mark, and we’ll never truly stop asking others and ourselves for the answers.
“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.” ~Stephen Hawking
Like everyone else he’s still a dreamer. His longing to do things he might never be able to do shows how he’s just like the rest of us. We’re all human at the end of the day, and as humans, we can only do so much that our minds and bodies will let us. Again, he’s the perfect example of never giving up.
“The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.” ~Stephen Hawking
This is a reminder about how important living presently actually is. We are in charge of the limitless possibilities. We have the power to do amazing things with our time on this Earth but they can only be accomplished in the now.
“The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.” ~Stephen Hawking
Hawking has stated, “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression.”
He noted that the act of aggression may have had its advantages in surviving during “caveman days,” but it now creates a threat to humanity. He then elaborated on the importance of empathy.
He explained that empathy is ultimately what can counter aggression.
Rather than some complex mathematical calculation having to do with the universe, empathy, according to Hawking, is what will save mankind.
Empathy means to have a feeling of understanding and the capability to share another person’s experiences and emotions. This is something we all have the ability to express and feel but it can be numbed by culture. It takes practice to strengthen it. That practice can lead to great and positive change.
When it comes to your business, there is one factor, more than any other that will determine your success. That factor is the people on your team. The right people can make or break your business.
Depending on the type of business you have, there may or may not be a lot of skilled people that you can access. If you are building out any type of digital asset, or tech solution, there seem to be more and more skilled people these days. But, are skills enough?
Skills are definitely important when hiring the right team, and if you really want to succeed in business, the right team is a must, but are values important too?
Let’s start with skills. How important is it to hire a skilled team?
To start this discussion, let’s examine an answer from Derek Wyszynski, Chief Sales Hacker at ZynBit (2015-present), who answered the question — Which is more important: skills or attitude? Why?
There is a modern business dictum about skills vs attitude – that attitude is so much more important than skill. That great attitude can overcome poor skills…and given the choice between the two…choose the former. I contend that having a positive attitude is actually a “skill” because it’s literally something you have to work on…day after day…in order to get good at it.
According to Derek, having a positive attitude really is a skill. When we are talking about skills, we can’t just be talking about the skills needed to perform the job needed, we must also be talking about those soft skills that make all the difference in a company.
Why are soft skills so important?
Soft skills include things like problem-solving, being able to control your emotions and the ability to stay calm under pressure. In today’s fast-paced business environment, soft skills are becoming increasingly more important. In the startup world, as I can contend, soft skills are almost as important as any other skills, but can’t be the end-all-be-all, of course.
Without a balance of soft and hard skills, you won’t be able to thrive in this new economy. If you want to build a strong team, one that gets you places, you are going to have to find people with a mix of skills. That’s just the way that it is, but what about values?
In purpose-driven enterprises, we must be able to look beyond just the skills necessary to build our team — what about values?
What about values?
Without an alignment of values in our businesses, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission the way it should be as well. Take, for example, our cover story in our upcoming March issue of Change Creator, Sonya Renee Taylor who built an empire on her activist mantra that yes, The Body Is Not An Apology.
When she was growing her movement, that started as a moment between friends and grew to a worldwide company that continues to grow, she knew she did not only need to hire the right skilled people but that they all had to align to the mission. For Sonya, mission and values would often supersede skills and experience. At the beginning of TBINAA, those early days of the company/mission, values became the thing that would draw the team together, as she told us:
“It’s easier to teach skills then it is to teach values.”
So which is more important, skills or values?
As we have briefly discussed, if you want to build a solid team, you are going to have to hire skills and values, but if you had to choose, what should you do?
In a social impact business, there are times that you are simply going to have to choose values. In those early days, when you might need to pull in volunteer or inexpensive help, you will have to find those who believe in your mission.
Invest in those people too. They might not be able to create the backend of your website in a day, but they should be able to communicate your mission, get others on board. Their energy and excitement in the mission can be a driving force if you can harness that energy.
As your business grows, there are times that you are going to have to hire skills first. You simply can’t teach someone to code in a day. Remember to consider both soft skills and hard skills when assembling your team at this stage.
Ideally, you should not have to choose between skills and values.
Determine now, before you create your business plan, to find those people who not only bring the right mix of skills to the table but share similar values in your business. Most important, make it a priority in your impact company that everyone holds the company mission as you move forward. Keeping that vision in mind, on everyone’s mind is the secret sauce to propelling your impact in any business!
What Is the One Thing I Can Do to Seem More Confident Around Powerful People?
This is one of the most popular questions we get here at Change Creator. With all the major influencers out there, it can be quite intimidating to start a business, a movement — or both.
A lot of you have told us that you feel you suffer from impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. (Definition from Wikepedia.)
Impostor syndrome should never hold you back from making the world a better place, from starting that business that you are deeply passionate about, or from getting out there and starting a movement.
We’ve all had those moments of doubt and insecurities. All of us have been there, but you know what? We all had to start somewhere too.
Let’s face it. Life is an exciting adventure, right? You never have to stop learning if you don’t want to.
If you want to, you can enjoy every bumpy adventure along the way in your journey, including those times when you feel like a full-fledged imposter.
If you don’t want to feel like an amateur (even, if by definition, you are), what is the one thing you can do to seem more confident around powerful people?
The answer is simple:
Curiosity is the one trait that I see in every, single big-time success story.
If you want to mix and mingle with the ‘big wigs’, just be curious. Ask questions! Be genuinely curious in what they are doing instead of rushing in to brag about the work you are doing!
A genuine curiosity will take you far in life. Don’t just take this advice from me, this shit is the real deal. In fact, Dale Carnegie talks about this principle in his classic, powerful book: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
My dad made me read this book when I was 12. Yes, 12. Thanks, dad! I have probably re-read it a dozen times since. It is a true classic. One of the principles Carnegie talks about is the art of conversations (often with super powerful people). His advice is to let them talk more than you talk. People will go away feeling that you really listened to them, that you had an amazing conversation if you just let them talk about what they got going on.
I would add, don’t just listen. Be curious. Ask questions. Ask advice. Don’t be afraid that you will look naive, or underqualified — your genuine curiosity will overcome that anyway.
Let’s face it. We all start somewhere. If you are not where you want to be in life, that’s okay. You can get there. Building solid relationships with others is vital. Sometimes you’ll be in a room with some serious heavy-hitters. You can overcome that feeling of dread, and inadequacy with one genuine moment of curiosity.
Trust me. If you want to succeed in business, you need to harness that boss bitch attitude. I’m not just writing this for all the ladies out there — although, I love a great woman at the top. I’m writing this for anyone who wants to make things happen. It can be a long road to the top, but these books have you covered.
If you are starting from the bottom, or just want to take your business to the next level, a good book will seriously help you out. Need some inspiration? Pick up a book. Need some serious, kick-ass inspiration, read one of these books?
How can you harness the boss bitch mentality in your business?
The list below is just a start, but I guarantee you will be transformed by these books. Let’s face it. We all have those days in our lives and our business that we need to harness that warrior, boss bitch mentality.
This year, I’ve had a lot of those moments in my own business. You know, those super-tough meetings when you just have to put on your big girl pants and deal with the situation. I can tell you that every time I have one of these meetings, it’s always about money.
What is it about money and a girl in charge that makes people feel that they can take advantage? If you want to be truly successful, you’re going to have to take charge of your life. You are going to have to dig deep and find that mindset of bad boss bitch at times.
I’ve learned how to assert myself as a boss in business, but this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve also had those negotiations where I didn’t assert myself. Agreed to do something I shouldn’t have. Committed to way more than I should have. That’s not the boss bitch mentality, to be sure.
You see, harnessing that boss bitch mentality doesn’t happen overnight. But, you can speed up the process with these books.
So, get out there and make shit happen. Here are my top 7 picks for best boss bitch books that you really have to read:
First Pick: Boss Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career
While not specifically about business, I decided to put Nicole Lapin’s book on this list because it’s full of great insights (plus I love the name, obviously).
I started this list with this pick because it’s a great starting point, as the introduction says
“You don’t need dozens or hundreds of employees to be a boss, says financial expert and serial entrepreneur Nicole Lapin. Hell, you don’t even need one. You just need to be confident, savvy, and ready to get out there and make your success happen. You need to find your inner Boss Bitch — your most confident, savvy, ambitious self—and own it.”
Being a boss should start in your own life. How you approach everything matters. This is also a great book for those of you who haven’t quite clarified your direction in life yet. The first section is all about figuring out what career choice is best for you. Although she’s talking about ‘career’, you can take many of the principles to mean ‘business’.
The subtitle of this book, “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” really says it all, doesn’t it? We all have those feelings of doubt with our abilities. We all feel ‘less than’ at times, especially when it comes to business. Those days, weeks, even months that you are building your empire can be soul-sucking.
At Change Creator, many of you have expressed this fear to us — that you feel like you are not good enough, that you are an imposter, that in some way you are lacking. I’m here to tell you that we all feel like that at times, but there are strategies you can do to overcome these fears, starting with picking up a copy of You Are a Badass.
Now, I’m not going to promise you that this book is revolutionary in any way. It’s mainstream, pop, fun, but it will give you a lift and pick me up. It’s an easy read too. It’s a little bit of fluff, mixed with some real-deal truths on how to stop making excuses and how to improve your life. It’s on the list because there is way more good in this little gem, than there is annoying, although the snappy, hip dialogue does get tiring after a while.
Pick Three: #Girlboss
When Sophia Amoruso was 22 years old, she was broke, living in San Francisco, eating dumpster bagels and working the front desk of an art gallery to buy herself some vintage clothes.
That life would soon be disrupted by a lifetime of ups, downs, and immense success. What started as a good idea to sell vintage clothes online — with proper marketing, became an empire. This is the story of how she got there and what lessons she learned along the way. If you want to start a business that matters, this book is a great inspiration. It’s witty, smart, and sassy just like a #Girlboss book should be.
Pick Four: How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life
I would never have imagined that a YouTube star’s book would make my list of boss bitch books to love, but here we are. Surprisingly, there are a lot of smart, clever gems of inspiration that will really help you harness that bad bitch mentality and be the boss of your own life, including:
How to let go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
How to treat niceness like an item on your daily to-do list (and get more done).
How to schedule inspiration, not just wait for it to hit you.
How to continually challenge yourself to do more.
I’m not saying that this book is a revelation, but it does have a few solid, helpful tips that can lead you to a new way of taking charge of your life and business, so right there it’s totally worth it.
Her vivacious, youthful energy does come through in the book. You can also check her out in her day job here:
Pick Five: The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
I can’t give this book enough love. It’s something every human being needs to read. According to Sonya Renee Taylor, radical self-love is the key to a better world. That’s simplifying things quite a bit, but it’s true. The systems of our world are tired and play off of putting the ‘other’ down. Racism, sexism, any ‘ism is due to the fact that we don’t radically love ourselves and see others as ‘less than’.
We met the incomparable Sonya Renee Taylor at the Socap conference in San Francisco last year. Her vivacious spirit oozes out of every page of this book. It really was quite a read. There are plenty of thought-provoking moments throughout this book, which is really designed to make you think and change your perspective in life.
Read this book to learn also how Sonya became the boss bitch in her life and how she created a movement and a business that continues to grow and inspire millions of people every year. What are you waiting for? Get this book here!
Pick Six: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
By, now, you should be sensing a pattern.
If you are not feeling more empowered already, this could be the book to get you going. Although this book was written by a dude, I’m adding it the list because it has a clear message that any girl boss needs to know — not to take shit from anyone.
This little gem has become a guiding light to many. I like its message and I think it’s a good place to end this list.
In the end, being a boss bitch is all about finding your power and doing what you know is right. It’s about becoming a better you. It’s about leading with heart and making the world a better place.