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This is the second of an 8-part series exploring how to be a People Catalysts.  In the series we focus on “ME”, or on your individual core nature; “WE” being two people with different strengths interacting; “US” which is a team working together; and “ALL” which is how to work as an entire organization.

This episode focuses on being a Shaker: what your strengths are, what is your peak work, what motivates you, and what work you need to stay away from.

Listen to the podcast here:


Karla Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast. Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden:  Hello, Karla.

Karla Nelson:  Well hello, my friend. Good to hear your voice.

Allen Fahden:  And likewise. It’s another beautiful day to be on a podcast.

Karla Nelson:  Yes. It’s always a beautiful day to be on a podcast.

Allen Fahden:  Podcast weather never changes. It’s always sunny and seventy-two degrees. It’s amazing on a podcast.

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. Exactly. Okay, so we are on our second podcast of an eight part series where I am interviewing Allen on the first four parts on, specifically, if you’re a mover, shaker, prover or maker. And the series is called Me, We, Us and All. And the reason why is me is who was somebody individually. We, what if you have two individuals that are having to work together with different core natures. Us is a team that is working together. And all, an organization in it’s entirety.

We have a lot of podcasts that we have discussed the we and the us. There’s some about on the all, as well. We had some feedback, and we wanted to make sure that we could meet individuals where they needed to be met. If you get the me, and you understand who you are, and actually very important to understand, especially if you’re working a team, or everyone has to work with other people as you know in business and in life, relationships are everything.

Allen Fahden:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-.

Karla Nelson:  The me side is understanding yourself, and then understanding a bit about those that you work with. Then we’ll move into the we to us, your team, all, a huge group or an organization that is trying to focus on an end result. With that, we’re going to interview Allen. The first part of this series was a mover. This one’s going to be super easy, Allen, since you’re a crazy shaker.

I’m going to interview Allen in regards to the questions, which again, were the same on the first part of the series for a mover. So if you missed that, and you’re a mover get back to part one. Then, Allen’s going to answer as if he’s a shaker. Now, Allen is a shaker. But every single part of the series answers in a specific tone, so you can get some real specifics and some insights in regards to your core nature, and the core nature of those around you.

Ready to go?

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  Okay. Allen, as a shaker, what parts of the work will bring out your magnificence?

Allen Fahden:  The need for ideas. That can come from a couple of different domains. One is the need for ideas to solve problems. If you bring a shaker a problem, then their core nature is to generate a ton of ideas to solve that. The second one is a little bit trickier. It’s the need to get something done that hasn’t been done before, something new. You might put that under the general realm of innovation. Both of those demand ideas, or solutions. That is the bliss and the strength of the shaker.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-. Yes, yes, yes. For sure. And that run home to Mommy that is also your magnificence, right? We always call it run home to Mommy.

Allen Fahden:  Oh, yeah.

Karla Nelson:  Is more ideas, right?

Allen Fahden:  More ideas.

Karla Nelson:  So, understand that.

Allen Fahden:  “Oh, we need to move on now.”

“No, we don’t. I have more ideas.”

Karla Nelson:  Yes. And so, Allen, as a shaker, what should you say yes to?

Allen Fahden:  Any assignment that requires ideas, that requires out of the box thinking and the need at all the break the rules, especially. Shakers are great rule breakers. Especially if there’s latitude to break the rules a little bit. “We’ve always done it this way.”

“Well, you know, we’re willing to make some changes here, and suspend some of our roles.” That’s like Heaven to a shaker. Heaven is anything especially where you have a good chance of getting your idea implemented, because … and it doesn’t matter which idea it is out of a thousand I just produced, but any idea that I do is good as long as it’s mine, and as long as we implement it. I don’t care which one it is. Put my name on it.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, I can attest to that one for sure. Allen, as a shaker, what should you say no to?

Allen Fahden:  Any work that is finishing work. So, ideas, of course, are the very beginnings, the start of a project. The work that as it progresses later on in a project, when it’s finishing up and making it more normative. Those are the things you should say no to. They’re boring to a shaker. They involve sequential thinking, which a shaker doesn’t do. Shakers are very random.

I’m attracted to shiny objects. Don’t make me focus. I do not want to focus.

Karla Nelson:  Squirrel.

Allen Fahden:  Squirrel. Exactly.

Karla Nelson:  And again, as a shaker, I just want to pull this part, that’s the magnificence. Culture crushes that. We’ve actually had terms to make fun of every single one of people’s core nature instead of flipping it on it’s head. That doesn’t mean every once in a while you have to work outside of your core nature, that’s life.

However, the more that you can work when you love it, when you do it makes you energized. Yes, saying no to the details, and honestly, process. You like to be scattered, Allen. You’re the best at it that I’ve ever seen. And you’re having fun when you’re doing it.

Okay, so Allen, as a shaker, who is your natural inbox?

Allen Fahden:  This might be a little bit surprising, but my natural inbox is the prover. It’s the prover who comes up with the problems. “Oh, you can’t do that. It’s illegal in eighteen states.”

“Well, first, that seems like bad news, especially if it’s based on my idea. But if I can get over that emotionally, which you’ve got some ways to do. Then all of the sudden, that’s a new challenge.” It’s the people who voice the problems, that bring me the problems and is my natural inbox.

There’s a secondary natural inbox, and that is, maybe it’s the very beginning of a project, and it’s then, my natural inbox can be the mover. It’s the mover who says, “You know, it’s time we revolutionize this industry. I need some ideas to do so.”

Karla Nelson:  And you make a great point. That’s why we say mover, shaker, prover, maker.

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  The mover is the power button. Or no, fast forward button.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, fast forward. The power’s not on when you’re saying we need to revolutionize the industry.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, that’s right.

Allen Fahden:  The power goes on-

Karla Nelson:  When the shaker says.

Allen Fahden:  When you’ve got a concept the way to do it. That’s where the energy is infused into the project.

Karla Nelson:  Because you have to have something, some idea to solve the problem.

Allen Fahden:  Every change starts with an idea. It’s hard to make a change without one.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-, mm-hmm (affirmative)-. You got it.

Allen, as a shaker, who is your natural outbox?

Allen Fahden:  I just love to say this one. It’s the mover. The reason that I am happy to say that because of all of us who have stood up in meetings, and said our ideas and had somebody over in the corner roll their eyes, and somebody else zone out, and somebody raise their hand and start holding their noses and sniffing, and picking it apart. “Oh, that’s not going to work.”

Well, don’t take an idea to the person whose core nature is to say it’s not going to work. Instead, take it to the person whose core nature is to say, “I love all your ideas, but I especially like number five. But we got to do number seven first, because seven drives five.” That’s the kind of response you want.

Why have an outbox that somebody you’d have a negative response from, when you can have a positive one? The worst I’ve ever heard from you, Karla, when I’ve given you … and I’ve given you hundreds of ideas, the worst I’ve ever heard is, “Hmm. Well, that’s interesting. You know what? We need to focus a little more on this over here. Can you give me some more ideas on that? We’ll save the ones you got, never throw an idea away. We’ll save those. But I need you to jump over here with me. Come up with some more, okay? We’ll get there.”

And I just say, “Okay. If that’s the worst news I have today, I’m a happy guy.”

Karla Nelson:  Well it’s interesting, movers will consider every idea. As an uber mover, I don’t think anything’s ever a bad idea. It’s just I want to prioritize which one. So, that’s awesome. Love it, love it, love it. I can hear your energy just literally go up when you’re talking about it.

For everyone listening, go listen to the first part of the series on mover, and how much energy, there was energy, but listen to it as a shaker answer the questions. It’s really fun and interesting.

Okay, Allen, as a shaker, what phase of the work do you excel at, and what leaves you energized?

Allen Fahden:  I love getting a problem to solve, or even more so, an impossible challenge. Something that’s never been done before. There’s a certain cycle that happens with ideas, so you’re not energized the whole time. The very first part of it, it’s like, “Oh, boy. This is a tough one. I don’t think I’m ever going to have an idea.” Then somewhere down the line you get an idea, and you say, “Oh, that’s a pretty good idea. Whoa, that’s an even better idea. Oh, my God. I’m going to be famous. We’re all going to be rich. This is incredible.”

And then you think, “Uh-oh. I have to present this idea to somebody. What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like any of my ideas? What if they don’t like me? And what if I get fired, and what if I lose my job? What if I lose … and then I can’t have any income, and I can’t eat, and then I might die.”

You go from this terrible place of not ever having ideas all the way up to the heights, and then back down to “Uh-oh, I’m ruined because nobody will like my ideas.” The phase, obviously, is the top of the bell curve, where I’ve got this great idea that I can’t wait to tell somebody about it, and I haven’t thought about them rejecting it, or anything like that, because I’m disconnected from reality at this moment. I am feeling wonderful at that moment.

Now the beautiful thing about the WHO-DO Method is that it protects you from the beginning, the lower phase of the bell curve, and it protects you from the ending, that other lower phase of the bell curve where you have to present it, just based on what we talked about. That phase of the work is “Give me an idea. The tougher, the better. Get me right in a place where I’m starting to get some inspiration, and I can back it up. It’s getting better and better, and oh, my gosh. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Karla Nelson:  Love it. Okay, you talked a little bit about the part that drains you is the lower end of the bell curve. But Allen, as a shaker, with the phase of that work, what specifically, and work that you should stay away from that drains you?

Allen Fahden:  Well, there’s a lot of it.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah.

Allen Fahden:  The other 99.5%. It has to do … Anything repetitive and routine, “Sorry. Can’t focus. I’m thinking of ideas. My brain wants to hop around. You’re asking me to go plod step by step. It’s plodding to me. It’s very necessary. But let the person that’s really good at step by step do that.” That drains me.

Any detail work. I would think the worst one is doing my expense report. Can you imagine … there are people who say, “Oh, yeah. I do my expense report.”

“Yeah, because you’re getting eight thousand dollars back. Now do it just for the fun of it. Now you’re not getting any money, now do your expense report.” 35% of the world is shakers, those are people who hate it. I knew a guy who had about seventy thousand a year in expenses, and he was doing very well in his business. I said, “What do you do with your expense report?”

He says, “I don’t do expense report.”

“Well, what do you do with the expenses?”

He says, “I eat them.”

That’s how bad it is. And so what do they do-

Karla Nelson:  But that’s why it was so successful, because he didn’t give a darn about the seventy grand, he was just out doing what he was brilliant at.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right, and he just kept on doing that. That’s a huge piece. If you can avoid going to expense report school to be trained on, that would even be worse, wouldn’t it? This is why training on weakness never work, because it’s in somebody’s weak work. They’re not going to get any better at that. They may show a little promise for a while, it won’t sustain. You’re just wasting your money.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-, you got it. Allen, as a shaker, what can you do to not take on weak work?

Allen Fahden:  Well, I usually throw a tantrum. I found that that doesn’t work. What I can do is several things. One is try to convince whatever bosses I have, or clients I have of the wisdom of this process with people working in their peak work, not their weak work, and passing the work on and on. Short of that, then I make friends with people who are very good at what I’m not. Then we trade parts of the work together, or at least help each other with it.

“Can you take a look at this? This is my expense report. Before it goes to accounting. I got all these receipts, will you do me a favor? Just sort out my receipts and get me started. Next time you’re in trouble, I’ll give you six ideas in about ten seconds.”

That’s the kind of thing we can do for each other.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-. We need you all, just not at the same time.

Allen Fahden:  Very good, very good. And stay in your lane.

Karla Nelson:  Yep. Don’t co-mingle the animals. Allen, as a shaker, and we’re just going to wrap this up with one last question, does peak work really out perform weak work?

Allen Fahden:  Oh, absolutely. We can go all the way from gallop people that had a hundred and twenty-five thousand data points, and they studied the teams that worked most in their strengths all the way down five levels to the teams that worked least in their strengths. The team that worked most in their strengths beat the goal by 15%, and the team that worked least in their strengths, missed the goal by 30%. There’s a swing of 45% that makes a difference.

Also, we have anecdotally dozens, and dozens of examples, and tests, and side by’s, side things where the people who are handing off from core nature to core nature just crush the opposition.

Karla Nelson:  Mm-hmm (affirmative)-. Awesome. Wonderful, my friend. So that wraps it up for our second podcast in an eight part series of me, we, us and all. And you’re listening to all of the questions based off of if you’re a shaker. See you on round three, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  See you then. Thanks. It was fun.

Karla Nelson:  Always, always, my friend.

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