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Signing the Declaration of Independence: The First Dysfunctional Meeting

The First Dysfunctional Meeting, 4th July 1776

The signing of the Declaration of Independence was the first dysfunctional meeting.  What can we learn about our meetings from how their meeting went?

Listen to the podcast here:    

“The First Dysfunctional Meeting”   

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

Allen Fahden:  Hello Karla. 

Karla Nelson:  Greetings Sir. And Happy Fourth of July! 

Allen Fahden:  And Happy Fourth of July to you too. 

Karla Nelson:  Even though this is not really Fourth of July we recorded this before fourth cause we’re out watching fireworks and eating hamburgers and hot dogs, so…. 

Allen Fahden:  Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Was that convincing?  

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, there you go. But we definitely wanted to reach out and wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July. And as everyone knows, that July 4, 1776 was the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And it marks a, just a fortunate, you know we’re all fortunate that that date happened and we’re gonna talk a little bit about that and living in this country and having the freedoms that we do. The opportunities to pursue our dreams and one of them, you know the freedom of speech is pretty important for us, Allen. 

Allen Fahden:  Oh absolutely. We rely on that.  

Karla Nelson:  Especially for you. 

Allen Fahden:  We couldn’t do this podcast in several countries. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, no, good point, good point. So, very fortunate for this country and to live in this country. However, we are going to dive into some interesting thing in regards to the signing of the Declaration of Independence which we refer to as the first dysfunctional meeting.  

Allen Fahden:  Yes, and why was that a dysfunctional meeting? Well, think about your own meetings. Does everything go just perfectly well and everybody agrees and you’re done in about ten minutes and everybody’s excited about what you’re gonna do? Nah! 

Karla Nelson:  Oh come on…. 

Allen Fahden:  So, let’s go back to 1776 and only about a third of the people who were meeting on the Declaration of Independence were for the revolution. There were a third of them who were against the revolution, they wanted to stay with the British. And then there was 30, another third of the people, who just didn’t want their names mentioned anyway. I would say that’s a lot more like the meetings we have today. 

Karla Nelson:  Very true 

Allen Fahden:  So, I have a quiz for you, okay?  

Karla Nelson:  Okay 

Allen Fahden:  What day, what date is Christmas on?  

Karla Nelson:  December 25th 

Allen Fahden:  Okay. What day is Valentine’s Day on? 

Karla Nelson:  February 14th 

Allen Fahden:  And what day is the Fourth of July on? 

Karla Nelson:  Hahaha. Fourth of July?  

Allen Fahden:  Yes. No! 

Karla Nelson:  August 2nd.  

Allen Fahden:  August 2nd. I had you fooled there for a minute. 

Karla Nelson:  That’s what we’re gonna talk about today. I’m just kidding ya 

Allen Fahden:  Duh! Fourth of July. It’s actually August 2nd. 

Karla Nelson:  Well, we’re gonna talk a little bit about why and walk through that because most people don’t know these interesting facts about the first dysfunctional meeting, is that, and we’ll go through the timeline on that, so July 1st the colonies voted and it was twelve to thirteen because New York had to get approval from all the business people, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense, by the way. 

Allen Fahden:  That sounds like one of our everyday meetings today too, doesn’t it?  

Karla Nelson:  Oh, good point! 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, I can’t do it. 

Karla Nelson:  And then July 3rd, they actually took two entire days, they might have done 24 hour days. I couldn’t tell by texts that we were doing with our research on this, but it seems like, they said they deliberated for two days and it was the early morning of the second day, so….Those crazies might have sat in the room and there were five of them. They put a committee together of five and it took two days to edit and then on, and then with those edits, they deleted and revised a whole bunch of the text and then it wasn’t until the ninth of July that New York actually voted cause they needed a 100% vote. And then on August 2nd, they finally, everyone signed the Declaration of Independence. So, Allen, why don’t you talk a little bit about the edits and you know, how it was written and what happened there.  

Allen Fahden:  So, Ben Franklin and John Adams made a lot of the edits. They left the preamble to the declaration alone but then they took especially about twenty percent of the declaration itself after Jefferson had written it, did a lot of edits and submitted the edits, two days worth, and then most of them didn’t get used. 

Karla Nelson:  Isn’t that a typical thing? We went in, and how does that make everyone feel? Now, of course, we’re using this as a real funny parody to a meeting, but how often does that actually happen in a meeting? Where you go in, you give people kind of authority, they had a committee of five, they spent two days, probably 24 hours a day maybe taking a couple naps here and there. And then you don’t use them. 

Allen Fahden:  Typical 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, what I think is interesting about that is, didn’t Jefferson go back in, and he was the one that didn’t adopt, right? And he went back to the original writing of it, right?  

Allen Fahden:  It was a little bit unclear, but it pretty much seemed that way. Just a little aside, Jefferson and Adams didn’t like each other very much. And the irony was, you know what date they both died on? They both died on the same day. 

Karla Nelson:  That is so bizarre. And it was the 50th anniversary of the signing. 

Allen Fahden:  July 4th, fifty years later. They both died on the same day. They weren’t speaking to each other, I guess. And so, how ironic is that, that they both died on July 4th, fifty years later. 

Karla Nelson:  Interesting. What are the odds of that? Let’s talk a little bit about this, July 1st is the original vote and it’s not until August 2nd that the signings happen but, what’s really interesting is the two people that never signed it. 

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, and this is fun because one of them, Robert R. Livingston, was on that committee of five and he wound up not signing it. A whole bunch of, obviously. 

Karla Nelson:  He was probably ticked a lot of his edits didn’t get.. 

Allen Fahden:  Probably right. But it’s interesting because Livingston, on the Mover, Shaker, Prover, Makers was probably a Prover because his statement, when he didn’t sign was that “This independence from Britain thing was probably premature”, you know, meaning,  “it’s not really thought out. It’s got a lot wrong with it.” So that would be a typical kind of a Prover response. And the John Dickinson was the other guy and he wanted to stay with the British and he was just uncomfortable with the whole thing and he said it like, “I don’t even know why we’re doing this” and he wanted to reconcile with Britain because there had been fighting and so forth. So, that’s a typical kind of a Maker response which is like, “I don’t even want to do this. Why are we doing this? So much change. I’m getting uncomfortable here.” 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and as we know Makers don’t want to be in the meeting in the first place. 

Allen Fahden:  That’s right.  

Karla Nelson:  Just like, sit quiet, don’t make any sudden moves cause I don’t want anything to change anyway.  So, why don’t you review the timeline again cause I think this is a real fun and interesting fact. We learned a lot, actually, doing this. We wanted to reach out to the listeners and say Happy Fourth of July, make this a really super short podcast, and share some interesting facts. So, we’ve learned a lot, we hope you have too. But, Allen, if you want to review that quick timeline cause I think it’s so interesting.  

Allen Fahden:  Timeline, so, is actually Richard Henry Lee that proposed the independence from Britain and it wasn’t getting a lot of traction at the time, but all through June they debated it and they fought like cats and dogs. And so, when they met on July 1st, they voted. 

Karla Nelson:  Okay, you just brought that into the timeline too, so listen to this, an entire month actually happened before July 1st.  

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. 

Karla Nelson:  Does that sound like a typical… 

Allen Fahden:  And they voted twelve out of thirteen of the colonies voted to pursue independence and, of course, New York didn’t have permission so they had to kind of, they kind of had to wait until New York went back to delegation and got permission from the powers that be in your state. Ran home to mommy to get permission. Now, of course, it didn’t help that they had a hundred British warships in New York Harbor. 

Karla Nelson:  That could have had something to do with it. 

Allen Fahden:  So, on July 3rd, this is when they, Jefferson brought back his text that he’d been working on and that’s when they did two days worth of edits, at least a day and a half well into July 4th. So, then they had revised about a fifth of the text and then on July 4th they pretty much deleted the revisions and then they made plans to, you know they had to get the thing printed up. It was just all scribbled, Jefferson just scribbled the thing on a piece of paper, it was all messed up and so they had to get it hand lettered on parchment and that would take a couple weeks. So they went off to do that on the more like the original Jefferson version. And then on the ninth of July, New York finally voted it in and then they waited for the document and they got everybody together on the second. And John Hancock signed it first. 

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, everyone’s seen that one 

Allen Fahden:  They wanted, he was actually the president of the Continental Congress. He wanted the King George, with his weak eyesight, to see his signature. And then a bunch more of them signed it, I think four of five of them signed it later. And of course, Livingston and Dickinson didn’t sign it at all, so it went unsigned on their… 

Karla Nelson:  What a great story! And think about that incredible document obviously, you know, two and a half months….there’s a whole bunch of history obviously behind that that we won’t go into here. But we thought that was a fun parody of the first dysfunctional meeting, so 

Allen Fahden:  And they’ve just gotten worse today. 

Karla Nelson:  They’ve gotten way worse because they had a big why. When 70% of people hate their jobs, how big do you think that why is in that meeting room? We talk about engagement, well, they were really engaged. At least the 33% that were completely committed were. Just completely, and a big reason why it got voted in was, and we just did a podcast on Simon Sinek “Start With Why”, is that there was a ton of inspiration and they didn’t want to be repressed anymore and taxed by the British. You can go back and listen to that podcast as well and how that inspiration of desire of freedom. And we talk about employee engagement, well, you’re sitting in a stinking.. that’s freedom. We’re just sticking in a boring room talking about the marketing strategy or something. 

Allen Fahden:  Making the logo bigger. 

Karla Nelson:  Exact, making the logo, exactly. So, anyway, we just wanted to wish you a Happy Fourth of July. 

Allen Fahden:  Happy Fourth! Listen to those fireworks! Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang 

Karla Nelson:  And, by the way, if you want to go ahead and listen to a previous podcast that we recorded you can go to and look for episode 27. Happy Fourth my friends. 

Allen Fahden:  Happy Fourth or August, Happy August 2nd.  

Karla Nelson:  Happy August 2nd.  

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Building Resiliency with Todd Palmer

The Importance of Building Resiliency With Todd Palmer

In this episode Karla and Todd share stories to impress the importance of being resilient in business. 

As a 25-year entrepreneur, business coach, keynote speaker & author, Todd Palmer made it his WHY to Improve Lives.  He does this by teaching, guiding & empowering entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders on how to take the complex and make it simple regarding human capital. He guides us to adopt a growth mindset, while teaching necessary business skills, to create a business & life by design.

Todd Palmer is the President of Extraordinary Advisors
Email Todd here.

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along as Karla and Todd Discuss the Importance of Building Resiliency in Business.

Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Todd Palmer.

Todd Palmer: Thank you so much for having me today, Karla. I’m glad to be here.

Karla Nelson: Oh, I’m super excited about the podcast here today and we get a little bit of a time to chat. I loved hearing not only your story, but I think something that any business owner, entrepreneur, individual that can learn from is resiliency.

Todd Palmer: Well, resiliency is often a lesson for entrepreneurs that is challenging to learn. It was challenging for me to learn because I had this image in my mind that success was a really, very linear line from the bottom to the top and it was just going to be if I have a better mouse trap or I have the better idea, the world would be the path to my door and I’ll market it and people will want to work with me, and it’s just going to be super easy. Where I’ve really just figured out, ultimately, that success is a very, very crooked line filled with stops and starts. To get through those, you got to be resilient.

Karla Nelson: It makes me think of that picture where it says, “What people think success looks like, and what it really looks like and there’s a whole bunch of scribble leaves.”

Todd Palmer: It’s absolutely that.

Karla Nelson: It’s messy.

Todd Palmer: Well, it’s like life. It’s messy. Parenting is messy, being a significant other or a spouse is messy, being an entrepreneur is messy. When you take a look at the data behind the messiness of entrepreneurs, I think is that resiliency that we don’t talk nearly enough. When you’ve got a space like entrepreneurship where the failure rate in 2020 is over 80%. The divorce rate’s only 45%, you got a much better chance of having a successful marriage than growing a successful company.

When the further data point that only about four and a half to 5% of all companies in the United States that are incorporated ever reach $1 million or more in revenue, there’s a lot to overcome. Having said all that, being an entrepreneur has been by far the most rewarding career I could have chosen.

Karla Nelson: Well, they’re definitely happier, and it’s really sad because 70% of people, as reported by Gallup for the last, I don’t know, 40 years they’ve been doing, they are just identifying. They put it in different terms: employee engagement or happy at work, but 70% in the United States Hate their job, capital H. Not just disengaged, basically feel like they’re selling their soul every single day.

Todd Palmer: Does not surprise me. Being a recruiter for 25 plus years, doesn’t surprise me because as soon as I could figure out somebody hated their job, and the number one reason they hated their job was usually their immediate boss.

Karla Nelson: Yes.

Todd Palmer: I was able to pull them out of that company.

Karla Nelson: Oh my gosh, that’s a podcast we just did, people leave bosses, not companies. It’s so true.

Todd Palmer: Oh, it’s totally true, and it’s really sad because a lot of employers think, “If I just throw money at it, someone will stay.” But the reality is money, depending upon, at least in my experience, is about third or fourth on the list, and bosses are always number one on the list.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. You spend more time at work than doing anything else. So, it needs to be an enjoyable place, and talking to the same thing is the object of the exercise, too, is to get something done. So when you take a look at oh, it’s not singing Kumbaya or the air hockey table in the break room, it’s the high fives and being a part of a winning team that gets people energized and engaged.

Todd Palmer: Absolutely, absolutely. Take a look at the stuff that Google has been putting out lately about psychological safety in the workplace and how they’re building teams out by creating the space where people can be seen, people can be heard, trust grows, and you’re not managed by fear and intimidation.

Those types of changes going forward are going to be massive for the millennials who really focus on the ideas of, “I’ll trade flexibility and freedom for money. I want to work in teams, don’t make me work by myself.” All those different pieces roll into that because at the end of the day, and I think you’re a believer in this, that the number one differentiator in any business art is going to be the people and the people on your team.

Karla Nelson: Oh, for sure. Oh yeah, and that’s why we always say in business and life, relationships are everything. Not something, not part of it, everything.

Todd Palmer: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: So that’s why when people leave their bosses, they don’t leave their companies. The crazy thing is in doing the research for that podcast, the cost is crazy. So, you’ve been a recruiter, Todd, or previously recovering recruiter.

Todd Palmer: Absolutely.

Karla Nelson: I always call myself a recovering banker too.

Todd Palmer: Oh yes, it is definitely a recovering recruiter role that I once had. Yes.

Karla Nelson: But, it is 33% of any position’s salary. That’s what the turnover, the hard costs, that’s from], or it might’ve been Harvard Business Review, I’m not sure, but 33%. So if you’re paying somebody $100,000, the hard cost to your bottom line for turnover is $33,000. But the soft costs are what echo and echo and echo, all those corporate words we use, right? Employee engagement, culture, leadership, you name them, right? Which, basically just can just suck a company dry. It’s the number one and number two largest costs to any organization.

Todd Palmer: It is really something that’s still, by and large, across most companies is not known and not embraced by leadership because a lot of leaders that I’ve run into, even some of the leaders I’ve been coaching now that I’ve transitioned away from daily recruiting, they’re going to salute the flag of the past with a, “We’ve always done things that way” fixed mindset, and they don’t recognize the progress is going to happen when you’re willing to let go of what was and be reality-based about what is.

So many employers I used to deal with are now my clients who are a little bit more seasoned in life are complaining about millennials. They don’t understand and they don’t this and they don’t that. Then, you got the millennials complaining about the Gen Xs and the boomers. We have five generations in some companies now working together.

Karla Nelson: It is staggering, isn’t it? So different. Just thinking of the mediums to communicate.

Todd Palmer: Oh, it’s insane. It’s funny. My greatest client success story for Extraordinary Advisors is a guy in his 50s we started his first business after turning 40 and it’s all millennial-based and it’s all virtual. He has no fixed costs for real estate, no fixed costs for all the desks and all that nonsense. He’s created this-

Karla Nelson: My first phone system costs $15,000. Remember?

Todd Palmer: Oh, I think he uses VoIP for free, so the world has changed so much.

Karla Nelson: Exactly. I know, it’s just amazing when you actually look at the benefits. I loved how you said, “Don’t focus on what was, focused on what is.” That’s awesome. Can you share a little bit about how that helps build resiliency just all in of itself?

Todd Palmer: Oh my gosh, that’s exactly the whole point. So, I used to think that the line of success was that straight trajectory. Every time I would stumble and fall, every time I would make a mistake as the leader, I would beat myself up. I suffered from something called imposter syndrome. I thought everybody else had all the answers and I was the only idiot in the room and that just compounded over time. Over time for me, it started to shut me down. I’m nine years into my business, I’m starting to shut down, company’s not doing so well, and I’m not dealing with my stuff. I’m not going into the office.

I could lie to myself and say, “Well, I’m the owner, I don’t have to go in.” Well, September of 2006 I’m $600,000 in debt. My imposter syndrome is off the charts, I can barely get out of bed. I’m thinking of the world’s biggest failure because my identity was tied to the business. So if the business was successful, I was so successful.

Karla Nelson: That’s so interesting, and that’s very true. How many times does our success connected to something else and suffer for just being human?

Todd Palmer: Absolutely. I needed an outside observer. So, I hired a coach and he’s looking at the business, he’s looking at my team, we’re talking about their performance. I’m not holding anybody accountable. The inmates are running the asylum. We had breakdown in trust. So in all candor, in September 9th of 2006 I’m, remind you, I’m 600 K in debt, so I’m running out of cash. I’m going to lose the house that my son and I we’re living in, I was a single parent.

I walk in, fire my entire company, start over, and within a year, I’m on the Inc. 5,000 was the fastest growing companies, make the list six times because I realized that the key to being, for me, to be successful was tenacity and resiliency in the face of overwhelming odds. A lot of those odds I had created for myself.

Karla Nelson: That’s good. I love that. Tenacity too. I mean, that’s really when your muscles grow the most, right? I mean, you have to put them under… There’s a reason why when you work out and you’re breaking it down, but it builds back up. So I mean, you could really apply that to a whole bunch of different facets of business, but I’m pretty sure, I mean, my background, I went to the school of hard knocks two times, so I think I always grew during the most challenging times.

Todd Palmer: Well, it’s crazy because for a long time I never talked about September 9th, 2006 because I was so embarrassed. I was so shamed. I was guilting myself. It’s crazy how so many years later, my mess has become my message. It’s a story I tell from stage, it’s a story I tell my clients, story I’m telling on podcasts like yours so that people know that they’re not alone and that these-

Karla Nelson: They’re normal, congratulations. Welcome to the team.

Todd Palmer: Yes, welcome to the human race. Yes. In difficult times where, in my case, some things were thrust upon me and some choices I made, it, like you talk about in your philosophy, it always comes down to people. Well, the one person I was doing the worst job taking care of was me.

Entrepreneurs often think we have to be so much of service to others, which we do, but we also have to make sure we take care of ourselves and I wasn’t doing a very good job of that. I had to realize that I had to get rid of the doom loop in my head. So, my coach worked with me, we came up with five positive things to do every day to get me unstuck. Sometimes when I checked-

Karla Nelson: Oh, I like that. Do you mind sharing maybe some of those positive things that everybody could do?

Todd Palmer: Yeah. Yeah. For sure.

Karla Nelson: I’m sure everybody needs more positivity in their life, right?

Todd Palmer: Well, and I love the work of Gabrielle Oettingen around her WOOP concept, “It’s not just thinking something positive, but then taking an action.” Then, that action-

Karla Nelson: The action has to be connected to it.

Todd Palmer: Absolutely. Then whatever the result of that action is, for me, and we worked so much on this back in ’06 was you try something, it doesn’t work. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure just because the idea didn’t work. So over the course of time, I’d check in and when I was really bad off, I checked in with my coach every day. He was awesome. So, he’d be like, “Okay, what are the five things you did?” “Well, let’s see. I got out of bed and made it to the office.” Big step right there. “I went to the gym and exercised and took care of my health.” Important. “I called five clients that I hadn’t talked to in six months and reengaged them.” I did something-

Karla Nelson: How fun is that, to catch up with a [inaudible 00:11:53] client?

Todd Palmer: Oh, absolutely. I, again, distanced myself. Some of them thought I’d sold the business. I mean, it was just a situation where those five things every day and then, how did I apply those to myself? So when I got home at dinner, my son and I would have dinner, and I would always ask him not, “How was your day?” because any kids are going to say, “It was great,” because I don’t want to talk about it. I’d say, “So, tell me the one thing that you learned today that you didn’t know yesterday,” and then he had to think.

Karla Nelson: That’s awesome.

Todd Palmer: Then and he said, “Well Dad, what was the one thing you learned today?” “Well, I learned that if you don’t pay the bank, they get really angry at you,” but it taught him finance. Now, he’s 29 years old and he’s a CPA.

Karla Nelson: That’s awesome. Yeah. You know what is interesting, I started my career in the title industry.

Todd Palmer: Okay.

Karla Nelson: So at 18, I worked at a title company and I was sitting there going, “Gosh, I need to learn this and be the best at what I was doing.” That was my goal every day: learn one new thing that I didn’t know yesterday. Two months into it, and I was looking around going, “Gosh, I want to run a business. What business should I do?” I was like, “I love events, I love people,” and then all of a sudden I started realizing all those checks that were coming across my desk. I was like, “That’s a nice check. I want to know what those people do.”

So, I got into finance, but it started out just learning one new thing a day. After two years, got my broker’s license at 20, and it just happened to be that one thing I did every day that all of a sudden, a light bulb went off and went, “Hey, wait a second. I kind of think I need to launch a business.”

Todd Palmer: Well, it’s so important to recognize what do you enjoy? So if you enjoy, like my son, he enjoys doing accounting. I enjoy-

Karla Nelson: God bless him.

Todd Palmer: I know. I tell him, I say, “You’ve got a job for life. I mean, you’re good to go.” It was interesting going back to the resiliency part, I love helping solve problems. I love clients and satisfying their needs and the staffing place, or even now with in the coaching business. What I didn’t like and what I was really bad at was cold calling because it would fire up my imposter syndrome.

So, I broke down all the steps of my sales process, and I felt like a failure in the moment because I would hire other people to cold call. Back in the days when people actually had these things called landlines and they would pick it up and someone would answer. Half your audience is probably checking out-

Karla Nelson: You used to have things called servers too, Todd.

Todd Palmer: I know it, and there’s this other thing called a fax machine. I think I just saw it in that Wall Street with Michael Douglas back in the day.

Karla Nelson: Oh, my gosh.

Todd Palmer: But I would hire people to do that for me so that I would engage the customers or the prospects after the cold call because I realized the cold call shut me down. But for a long time, I would just beat myself up because I should be all things to all people all the time. That was a falsehood and it was an unproductive message to send myself because, especially now in 2020, resiliency and tenacity and the ability to fight for another day, and to get up every day with that Rocky mentality is more important than ever before.

Karla Nelson: Definitely, because things are changing. I was just reading, I’m not sure where the article came out of, because I’m an avid reader, but it was talking about all of the businesses that are open today, Todd, in 10 years, the likelihood that you’re still going to be around is not likely because that’s how quickly things are shifting.

Todd Palmer: Oh. If you see things like that or you even go look at some of these old list articles of who was on the Fortune 500 25 years ago, a lot of those companies don’t even exist anymore.

Karla Nelson: Yes, yeah.

Todd Palmer: The iterative nature of business, and now throw in artificial intelligence, I mean, that’s part of the reason recruiting became a whole lot less attractive to me because I thought, You know, this artificial intelligence is going to start replacing me. My unique ability, my ability to listen in a conversation, pick out things, and create a great candidate experience, create a great customer experience is going to be limited. I really should think about other things to do with my life because I’m still a relatively young person. How can I do those things?”

Because the world we know, I mean, now going into the rest of 2020, I predict we’re going to see a lot more people wanting to work from home.

Karla Nelson: Oh, yeah.

Todd Palmer: Companies are going to be much more comfortable with it because world forces have forced them to adapt and adjust. We were talking a little bit about some associations we’ve been part of, and now they’re going to more virtual models and more tele-models versus face-to-face models. I love face-to-face. I think there’s such a magical energy when you’re in a room with somebody face-to-face, but if that can’t be always attained, then the virtual model’s going to be going forward. It’s going to be-

Karla Nelson: Yeah. The flexibility of it is just incredible because now we’re talking about, because I know you were a part of EO there in Detroit and you’re the past president. Right?

Todd Palmer: Absolutely.

Karla Nelson: One of the challenges, and I was a member of this, did just the fact that having a whole day, one whole day per month when you have a travel schedule, is really challenging. Not that I can’t put that day aside, but the fact of I might not be in the state is sort of an issue. That is really interesting. Thinking about the resiliency of individuals through those times too, because now all of a sudden, only 29% of people have the ability or have telecommuted before, Todd.

So, you think about that other group. We just did an article, we collaborated with an association called, MANSEP.

Todd Palmer: Okay.

Karla Nelson: Talking about taking innovations, right, globally. One of the challenges they had was that in a gentleman named Doug Sparks, we kind of co-created the article together. Is that they’re in the electronics and semiconductor space, and they had people in China who had to telecommute. Their CEO actually got stuck in Ohio for like since December. She just went home.

Todd Palmer: Wow.

Karla Nelson: Then, they have a group in the EU and then they have a group in the States, and they started talking about how the telecommuting just completely changed their culture because instantly, not only are you dealing with, “Okay, we have to get something done,” but three completely different cultures of process more because it seems in the EU they’re more process-orientated. In China, it’s because my boss said so. In the States, it’s trying to get them motivated, right?

Todd Palmer: Sure.

Karla Nelson: Because if I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to do it. So, it was literally so challenging, looking at, “Okay. Well, how do you get all these people working together and overcoming this current challenge with so many completely different characteristics?”

Todd Palmer: Right. Well, it’s so important I think in those environments to have someone, and sometimes it does require an outside observer, an outside resource to come in and really work on team building and sub-team alignment to the greater cause of the organization. Some of the training I do with EO globally is around some of the board positions are called The Trifecta. It’s three board positions that were very, very diligently on the member experience.

The more they get aligned on what the impact they can do and what the impact they can make on the new member, it’s so powerful. You see your attrition rates go down, you see your member satisfaction go up, all these different things, and they have about a 90-day window to make this happen. So laying all that out and getting them to buy, part of the challenge has been in getting them to buy-in. So, what I do is I really talk to them is I talked to them all the same, I talk to them as individuals and I get them to harken back to what it was like in your first…

Do you remember what your first EO experience was? Do you remember your first EO event? If it was great, let’s talk about it, but I know my first EO event was miserable. I didn’t know anybody, no one was my champion through the process, and I’m here today to be a servant leader to the training room so that everybody can have a great experience like Karla had or like Jody had or like Bob had. Laying that all out and getting everybody going in one direction can be really done.

I think it’s a magical art if you can able to do that in regards to different cultures in different areas, but I do believe, and I think we’re seeing that so much today where people from around the globe can come together for a common cause.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, I love it. That’s awesome. Of course, there’s the amazing part of having to be in a situation, right? Because, that is how you actually build resiliency. It’s funny, I used to, when I was growing up, pray for patience. I stopped doing that because it’s it’s like, “Okay, I want to be patient,” but then all you really get is the opportunity to be patient. It’s not like something that happens to you, it’s your response to a situation.

When we first got on the previous call before, I’m jumping on the podcast, we talked about 9/11 and 2008 and current situations in the marketplace today, and it’s like, “Okay, well, you’re not just made resilient. You get the opportunity to be resilient.” You take it as an opportunity until something happens.

Todd Palmer: Well, it’s true. I remember 9/11, I remember 2008, I remember my experience that I self-created in 2006. I remember 2009 after being in the recession and coming out of it and being on the Inc. list twice already, having to go into my team and I laid off my entire company for two months. I handled it very differently because of the resiliency I learned.

I worked with a great game of business people, I came up with an open book management style, my numbers were shared, people knew how much money I made. I put all the myths and misnomers around what it was like to be an entrepreneur or CEO and got real with my people, laid it all out to them. I stopped taking a salary two months before I let anybody go, and I laid out for them what a great future would look like when they came back, so everybody knew that this wasn’t a reflection of you. This is a reflection of the marketplace. When you’ve got 15% unemployment, no one’s going to use a recruiting company to hire. It’s just not going to happen.

Karla Nelson: Yeah.

Todd Palmer: That was our brutal reality, the Stockdale Paradox. So, I’m going to have the absolute faith that we’re going to get through this tough time, while also dealing with the brutal reality and having the authenticity, the transparency, and the vulnerability to say to my team, “I’m not sure how this is going to happen yet, but trust me, we’re going to live to fight another day because I’ve been there before and I’m going to lead this charge. So, just have faith in me.”

While all the time I’m thinking, “Well, this feels really uncomfortable, but you know what? At the end of the day, this is going to make a great story.”

Karla Nelson: It always is. We always call that type two funny talk.

Todd Palmer: Yeah, but it’s always-

Karla Nelson: At the moment when you’re going through something you’re like, “Ugh,” but it tends to be the best.

Todd Palmer: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Like you said earlier, that your mess became your message. So, there’s the beauty within the tragedy, right?

Todd Palmer: Well, look at any Shakespearian play, look at any of these popular movies, Lord of the Rings series or Star Wars or anything else that’s popular. It’s always that hero’s journey fraught with peril, fraught with one misstep and you’re done. That’s what people get. I mean, Rocky. Everybody loves the hero overcoming massive odds to achieve success. Where I think the greatest opportunity for those of us who’ve been through those challenges is to be the guide to other people’s hero’s journeys through the coaching and through the mentoring or for the opportunities that come to us because a lot of people have not been through some of the tough times.

If we can do that experience here, we can help be the eyes and the ears of a 30,000 foot view while they’re chopping through the brush down on the Earth. We can give them so much more value, and that creates such a great legacy that it’s just so incredibly rewarding.

Karla Nelson: That’s awesome. I love it. Okay, so how can our listeners get ahold of you, Todd?

Todd Palmer: Karla, the best place for them to reach me is going to be on my website, My email is I’m happy to offer a 30 minute free coaching session to anybody who’s heard me on your podcast today. We can talk about imposter syndrome, we can talk about growing and scaling your business, we can talk about what your legacy’s going to be, we can talk about resiliency.

Karla Nelson: Yes, that’s awesome. I love it.

Todd Palmer: I think for me, it’s a great opportunity. 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Simon Sinek before he wrote his first book, and it’s been two-

Karla Nelson: So does that mean, we had on the podcast not too long ago, the cofounder?

Todd Palmer: Oh, cool.

Karla Nelson: Yeah.

Todd Palmer: I mean, Simon really impacted my life from a perspective. I spent two years working with him to get two words: improve lives. That’s why I’m here, that’s my calling in life. So really, if people think go, “Oh, I don’t want to bother him and I don’t want to waste his time. I can’t do this,” I’m like, “No, let’s have a conversation because if you have one aha moment or one takeaway, you’ve made my life a better place. So, let’s have that conversation.”

Karla Nelson: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, Todd. It’s been a pleasure.

Todd Palmer: Karla, thank you for the opportunity.

Posted on

Importance of Passion in Work

Importance of Passion in Work

In this episode Karla, Alaina and Andrew discuss how important it is that an employee’s passion is aligned in the workplace and how productive they are when they feel comfortable and supported in their surroundings. 

Andrew Sherman serves as a legal and strategic advisor to both leaders of Fortune 500 companies and founders of rapid growth, emerging businesses in the areas of business planning, corporate finance, Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) and intellectual property harvesting, such as franchising and licensing strategies. He is the author of 26 books on business growth, M&A and strategy.  Andrew is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at University of Maryland and at Georgetown Law School for nearly 30 years.

Listen to Episode 108 here where Andrew and I discuss the largest transition of wealth in history.

Partner at Syfarth in Washington D.C.
Twitter: @AndrewJSherman
LinkedIn: LinkedIn
Amazon Author Page: Author of 26 books

Alaina Love is CEO of Purpose Linked Consulting and an internationally recognized expert in leadership purpose and passion. She is co-author of the bestselling McGraw-Hill book, The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results.

With a research team from University of Michigan, Alaina developed the Passion Profiler™️ online tool, which identifies and measures the 10 passion archetypes operating in all of us and reveals how we are using them in the work environment. Over the last 18 years, Alaina has conducted research and created programs to support leadership and team development, with a specific focus on employee purpose and passion. Her work has shown that individual fulfillment and inspirational leadership are the keys to creating the level of employee engagement that produces outstanding business results and supports a thriving culture.

An avid thought leader, Alaina has served as a leadership columnist for Bloomberg Business Week, The Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review online. She currently writes a popular monthly blog for SmartBrief on Leadership, which was among the most widely read columns in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Alainas next book, Passionality, explores the art and science of leveraging passion and highlights the tool and techniques to bring purpose and passion into our daily lives.

CEO Purpose Linked Consulting
Take the Passion Profiler assessment online
Author of The Purpose Linked Organization

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along As Karla, Alaina and Andrew Discuss The Importance of Passion in Work

Karla Nelson: And welcome to The People Catalysts podcast, Alaina Love and Andrew Sherman. How are you guys doing today? Alaina?

Alaina Love: Terrific, terrific. Really happy to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and we’re so excited to have you back on the show, Andrew. We had so much fun the first time.

Andrew Sherman: I know. An encore presentation, and now I get to bring Alaina into it. I don’t think I could be more blessed right now.

Karla Nelson: Oh, well this is awesome, I know. We’re actually, I think, cooking up one more podcast. We’ll let you know about it down the road. And Andrew, 26 books again. I’ve shared that story. It was amazing. I’ve done a lot of interviews and met a lot of people, had a lot of podcasts, but Andrew has this amazing focus of finding a problem and then just writing some solutions to it. So he’s got all sorts of different books he’s written, and there was one specifically about road rules, right? And the importance of passion is kind of how you and Alaina met, right?

Andrew Sherman: It is. In 2008, I wrote a book about life, after writing all these business books, called Road Rules. And one of the central themes running through the Road Rules book was the importance of passion, both in the workplace and in our lives and in our culture. And right around that same time I was introduced to Alaina by a mutual friend, actually another thought leader, Dr. Robert Rozin, in this field who has written a bunch of books, not 26, but he’s written a bunch. And he introduced me to Alaina and I did some homework on her research and the passion profiler, and it was really bonding at first sight to meet somebody who was so like-minded and so accomplished that we’ve been good friends ever since. And I think it’s coming up on 12, 13 years that we’ve known each other thanks to Dr. Rozin.

Karla Nelson: Nice.

Alaina Love: Yeah, we’re pretty blessed. We’re blessed.

Karla Nelson: I love those stories. You know our motto here on The People Catalysts podcast is, in business and life, relationships are everything. And so, I always love hearing the stores how people meet. So what we’re going to talk about a little bit here today is, anybody who listened to Andrew’s and I’s previous podcast, we’ll make sure there’s a link to it in the show notes below, is that there is this huge opportunity, this 40 to 50 trillion dollars that is the largest transfer of wealth that’s ever happened in the history of the world, right? And then you broke that down into the buying side and the selling side. And we really focused on the both intangible and tangible assets, and actually Andrew shared a really interesting story. Why don’t just share it with us real quick just as an example of the tangible and intangible asset when you were a young attorney?

Andrew Sherman: Well, when I first got out of law school I was working on a transaction. It was a split sale of a small chimney cleaning company. The total purchase price was $500,000.00. That night I was working on the final asset purchase agreement and bill of sale, and I realized that the assets only added up to $475,000.00, and I started sweating profusely thinking I was going to get fired for typos, and I literally could not sleep all night. The next morning the senior partner comes in and I said, “I need to talk to you right away. We’re about to commit fraud.” And he said, “Don’t use that word so freely.” And I said, “Well, you don’t understand. The purchase price is $500,000.00, and the assets only add up to $475. And he said, “Well, just write down goodwill $25,000.00.”

And I said, “But what does that even mean?” And he said, “You know, with all the other stuff, I mean, culture and governance and customer lists and people’s happiness in the workplace and customer loyalty.” And I thought, okay, this doesn’t sound right. That was in 1986. And if you dial forward, as Alaina knows, these are now the most valuable assets at Google and Amazon and some of the, you know, and Apple. The most valuable companies in the world understand that the intangibles greatly trump the tangibles in terms of their strategic value and enterprise value.

The reason Alaina and I have gotten along so well over the years is, she realizes, as I do, that if people are unhappy, if goals are not aligned, if governance is off, if culture is off, you’ll never, ever, ever accomplish the enterprise value that you’re capable of, and you’ll be on the short end of the stick when it comes to selling your business one day.

Karla Nelson: Oh, that is so true. Yes, we just did a podcast on that not too long ago about the largest cost to any business turnover and a bad hire, which those are two sides of the same coin, and that’s a very thin coin. Well, Alaina, we just can’t wait to hear about this passion profiler, and can you share a little bit about your story? It’s a very unique and amazing story, your pathway that you kind of walked here. But could you share it? How did you get started in this industry and then develop the passion profiler?

Alaina Love: Oh, boy. This is a really close to my heart, very personal story. I actually began my career as a research scientist. I was in medical school and then went on to become a research scientist in a pharmaceutical company in immunology. I thought when I got to that organization I would never leave. I thought I had a lifer here in this company. This is just the best place in the world to be, I’m learning so much, there’s so many brilliant people I get a chance to work with every day. And at some point while I was in the research field I made a couple of transitions from basic research into clinical research, overseeing clinical trials on what’s now an over-the-counter anti-ulcer medication.

And then I saw this place called human resources, and I thought, well, that looks kind of interesting. I wonder what goes on over in that place called HR? And so I started talking to people who worked there, and as it turns out, one of the women who was the director of the department was a former chemist who had worked in the laboratories, and she had made the transition from the labs into HR. So she had a job opening, and some 10 interviews later, it took me 10 attempts, she hired me. And I started working in HR and thought this is great too, because I get a chance to see drug development from conception in the laboratory all the way to market. And I grew and grew and grew into positions of increasing responsibility in that function until in finally was an executive director worldwide for the sales and marketing division of the company.

I had this just fantastic team working with me. We were dealing with some really tough challenges. We had had a phenomenal year. This one particular year that comes to mind is the pivotal one for me. And I got called to my boss’s office to receive my performance appraisal, which was glowing. I mean, he was thrilled with what we had accomplished that year, and thrilled with the fact that our team had basically saved the bonus pool for the HR function because some of the other teams didn’t do as well. It was the first year we were going to be evaluated by our client groups on our service to them, and that evaluation determined the size of the bonus pool that he would have to distribute to everybody in the department, though we had done a lot to kind of change the game.

And he told me during that conversation that I was in the succession plan as his replacement when he left that role. Now, believe me, as somebody who was very hardworking and very ambitious, this should have been absolutely phenomenal news to me. But for me, it felt like having an out of body experience, like I’ve overdosed on cold medication and my brain is separate from by body, and I’m watching this conversation go on between these two people. I learned later that I said all the right things in that meeting, but it was amygdala hijack. I have no recollection whatsoever about what actually came out of my mouth during that meeting. But I remember walking back to my office and closing my door and sort of sitting there and saying, “What is wrong with you? Why are you not thrilled with this news? This is what you’ve been working for. You’ll have an opportunity to report to the CEO of a multinational, multi-billion dollar company, you’ll be able to make all of the growth and changes in the HR function that you think are important, and oh, by the way you’re going to make a lot of money.”

But I sat there wrestling with myself, and it was like these two voices were in my head warring with one another. And one voice just said, “You know, oh, my gosh. I don’t want that job. I don’t want that job, and in fact, I think whatever I came here to do I’ve done, and I’m finished here.” And the other voice said, “Wait a second. You’re being rash. Let’s just think about this for a moment. Maybe you’re in shock because of this news. Let’s take a moment and just, you know, give yourself some time.” So the two voices are in an argument with each other, and they finally agree that I will put a stake in the ground some 18 months into the future and if i don’t feel differently within that time frame, I get to leave. So I look up 18 months later, I come screeching into that stake into the ground. I don’t feel any differently, and I reduce my annual income by 100% overnight. I leave. And I remember-

Andrew Sherman: I don’t know why you’re both laughing. I just heard 100% reduction in income.

Alaina Love: I know, well

Andrew Sherman: I fell off my chair over here.

Karla Nelson: It made me think of every entrepreneur that I’ve talked about that’s made that crossover from their corporate focus, right? Which you’ve learned all this wonderful stuff, and then all of a sudden decide, oh, because we’re talking about passion here, right? And so that’s right, really at the center of why people go, hey, I wouldn’t go to work for myself because I wouldn’t put what I like to call a dent on the universe. I’m not sure, I think Steve Jobs was the first one to call it that. I thought it was pretty cool. Okay, so you decide that 18 months later you step away.

Alaina Love: I’m out of here. I step away, and about two weeks after doing so I think to myself, wonder if this could’ve turned out differently? Was that really what I had decided to do? But I remember thinking to myself how is it that this company lost me, and that I grew out of love with my organization? I mean, how could that be? I thought I was a lifer when I came in. And what I realized is that increasingly I was feeling, over the years, less and less like my passions were being connected to the things that I was being asked to do. I felt less a sense of purpose in the work, and I felt strongly that I was here to do something bigger than what I was doing, but I didn’t have a language to describe that. In fact, my boss was wonderful when I told him that I was leaving. He pulled out this giant top hat. He threw a cape on and he started pulling rabbits out of his hat like crazy, offering me one job after another. I could not find a way to say yes to any of them.

I realized after pondering about this that if an organization could lose me, if I could decide not to be a part of a company that I thought I would be with my whole life, who else were we losing? Who else was feeling this sense of disconnection from who they are and what they were doing every single day of their lives? So I pull out my nerd hat and I become the researcher again, and I conducted a study looking at people who were deemed by their organizations as being high potential. People that they would want to grow into leadership positions in the organization. And I looked at people over 14 different industry segments, both domestic and international, for profit, nonprofit, and government.

And what was incredibly consistent when I spoke to these folks who were high potential is that they wanted to feel like their work mattered, that what they were doing was more than just an economic means to an end, and that keeping them in their organizations depended largely on them feeling like they had an outlet for their passion in the work that they were doing. Because if they didn’t, these were people who had choices. They were very talented. There were other organizations that they could go to. But those who felt like they had the triad of being skilled for the work that they were doing, having an outlet for their passions in the work that they were doing, and being in an organization that honored their values, folks who’ve lived in that sweet spot where those three intersected felt like there’s all to play for. I’m going to ride this wave all the way to the beach. I might be able to go across the street and make more money at that other company, but I don’t know if I can create this experience that I’m having right now.

Andrew Sherman: And you know what? Alaina, if I could just reinforce one point, give you a chance to take a breath too. One of the things I’ve been frustrated by, and I’m sure both of you feel this way is, the HR role in corporate America, whether it’s big companies, medium companies, and particularly weak and small companies, is still to this day non-strategic in many, many companies, more focused on filling out forms and complying with this and getting this approval, and enforcing the employee manual. I’ve been asking, including in speeches for SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, when does HR get a strategic seat at the table? When do HR issues bubble up to the board of directors level?

Even in my teaching at Georgetown Law School, I’ve got 80 students, and when I ask them how many of you want to be labor and employment lawyers and deal with people issues, I only get a couple of hands that go up. I mean, we all agree that people, culture, leadership, governance, are the enterprise values, enterprise value drivers of the next decade, and yet nobody wants to work in the space. How are we going to square up maximizing value if a lot of the young people aren’t even choosing this career path?

Karla Nelson: That’s a good, go ahead Alaina.

Alaina Love: I was going to say I would agree with you, Andrew, having come out of the function. What I can tell you is that there’s a lot of attention being paid to overseeing benefits and making sure we’re recruiting people into the organization and filling positions especially in those organizations where the growth is high or where the strategy for growth is through acquisition and merger. There’s a lot of focus placed on those kinds of issues, but I don’t see as many HR professionals spending the bulk of their time worrying about the culture that’s being created. Spending time making sure that things that are supporting the culture, which ultimately supports the engagement that employees experience at work every day, is the top focus that they have. They get sidetracked with these other things. And I believe they do it at the peril of the organization.

Andrew Sherman: Exactly. And I’ll add one other area. Karla asked how we met. One other strategic intersection that Alaina and I have talked about and we’ve spoken on together is, so much of the HR effort right now is focused on diversity and inclusion. And it should be. We still have a lot of work to do. But what isn’t focused on as much, or at least not until a couple years ago, was the business proposition of diversity and inclusion and the innovation that comes when you have a truly diverse team, an inclusive team, and so there again the enterprise value dividend of some of these HR priorities has to be part of the dialogue. Because it’s not just because it’s the right thing to do, it’s also because it makes really good business sense. And it drives enterprise value, and it’s reflective of our societal demographics.

Karla Nelson: And-

Andrew Sherman: And from that, it’s not a big jump for people to feel more passionate and aligned in the workplace when they’re in comfortable surroundings and supportive surroundings and truly people are genuinely curious about each other because they want to learn, not just because there’s some statistical reason that they’re on the same team.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and Andrew, you make a great point here of what I was going to mention about HR, because everybody always asks us. We do play a role in HR in the work that we do at The People Catalysts, but by default there are a lot more later adopters. So if you think about 110 years of marketing research of diffusion of innovations, there’s more later adopters that are attracted to that type of work that you were talking about, Alaina, which is the hiring aspect. All these things that need to be done that are very, coming into work and doing the same thing. Or looking at all the things that could go wrong so you don’t get in a legal situation. And so I think that would be so interesting with what you brought up, Andrew, about nobody wants to go into that strategic HR space because you could very well, the mindset of HR has not been the strategic aspect of it. And strategic comes from the early adopters. Tactical comes from the later adopters. And so it would just be curious, so go ahead. Go ahead, answer on that, or respond. I would love to hear what you have to say on that.

Alaina Love: You’re absolutely correct. I think you’re absolutely correct on that, and I’ll tell you, if I look at my own practice here at Purpose Linked Consulting, that people who are the earlier adopters of this work around the passion profiler are leaders, leading teams who are worried about, do I have the right people on the bus? Do I have them in the right positions? Am I giving them an opportunity to express their best selves at work every day? Because they realize that on average, each of us is going to spend well over 85,000 hours of our lives at work. The only thing we spend more time doing is sleeping. So if I’m going to attract and retain the very best talent, I’ve got to give them an outlet to express who they are and bring the best of who they are to the work.

So when we talk about things like diversity and inclusion, part of what we need to be including in that conversation is, do we have a diversity of passion sitting around the table contributing ideas? Because that’s where innovation comes from. It’s not from living in an echo chamber.

Karla Nelson: Yes, I agree-

Alaina Love: Go ahead, I’m sorry.

Karla Nelson: That’s an excellent point, Alaina. I’m totally tracking with what you’re saying because the work we do is just based off the core nature of your work, right? But you could be passionate about something and it doesn’t fit, like the affinity of, if you love basketball but you’re four or five. It’s like you can have a passion, but it’s the affinity, it’s the two. Like, what are you great at, and what are you passionate about? And there is something just brilliant that comes out of when you can identify where somebody lives. They just open up and now they’re being held in their magnificence versus what we, unfortunately, do a lot of times is point out what people are not.

Andrew Sherman: Exactly. Let me make one other, strategic intersections. So, when I wrote the book on the crisis of disengagement that Karla, we talked a little bit about on the last show, and more than happy to do more on a future podcast. And Alaina contributed a guest contribution to that book because what we both see is this disturbing level of apathy in the workplace. Of people disconnected to their work, disconnected to the values of the company, and this is one of the root causes, the lack of passion or unaligned passions is a root cause of the levels of disengagement. So when we talk about only 4%, according to Gallup, of the entire workforce considers themselves highly engaged, the same issues could be said about passion in the workplace. How much more valuable would your enterprise be? How much more productive? How much more innovative? How much more profitable if you could move the needle? Move the passion needle inside your company’s culture or chart, governance, leadership?

Alaina Love: Well, I’ll tell you the answer to that question, Andrew.

Andrew Sherman: I hoped you would.

Alaina Love: The answer is one hell of a lot. I was actually-

Andrew Sherman: I was hoping you would. Exactly.

Alaina Love: Gallup actually did a study on this, because they study everything which I love about them.

Karla Nelson: I do, too.

Alaina Love: And they actually looked at the number of people in the U.S. workforce who are considered actively disengaged. That’s about 18% of the 50-something percent that are disengaged. I think from the last numbers there were about 34% of the workforce that’s considered engaged. The rest are disengaged. Of the rest that are disengaged, about 18% of them are considered actively disengaged. Those are the folks who are-

Andrew Sherman: Yeah, totally-

Alaina Love: You know, at the water cooler complaining about everything. They’re swirling around the porcelain and they want to take everybody else with them. So they’re miserable. Gallup looked at that and said, “Okay, what is the impact on lost productivity from people who are actively disengaged? Let’s look at that in a dollar figure over a one-year time period in the United States alone.” You care to take a guess on what that number looked like? Huge.

Andrew Sherman: The one I saw was about $800 billion per year.

Alaina Love: Yeah, so the range that they’ve seen or tracked most often is somewhere between $450 and $550 billion a year. That’s the number I’ve seen. I can believe that there are years when it’s up as high as 800. But think about that for a second. If that’s happening across the nation in a year from actively disengaged people, what is happening inside your company if you’re not paying attention to this issue? This is huge.

Andrew Sherman: The other thing is, some of the consequences which I think, Karla, we talked about last time, are not so pleasant to talk about. I mean, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, workplace violence, workplace pilferage. These are things that are very real, very, very dangerous to our society, and also have an engagement and passion root or core to them.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, that’s a good point. Alaina?

Alaina Love: On the flip side of that, there’s been some research done. In fact, the study was published in HBR a couple years back, looking at employees who are happy and feel a sense of passion and purpose for their work, and what they found in this study is that those employees are 31% more productive than their counterparts who are not happy. They are likely to generate 37% higher sales if they’re in sales roles, and they’re three times more creative. Now, every time I put those figures out in front of anybody who’s leading a team and say, “Who would like a team that’s 31% more productive”, everybody raises their hand. “Who wants a team that’s generating 37% higher sales?” All hands go up. “Who wants people who are three times more creative?” Both hands of every person are waving in the air. Of course we do.

So it’s kind of a no-brainer that this is an important thing. Appalling to me that not more attention is being paid to it. And frankly, when you look at organizations, go to organizations and especially the commoditized industry, all things created equal, the organization that has figured out how to harness the passions of its people and has provided an outlet for those passions to flourish, is going to win hands down every time. It’s the competitive edge that organizations are not making enough of, and need to be playing really close attention to.

Andrew Sherman: And I’ll tell you, Karla, one thing that Alaina and I have been talking about lately is the impact on the professions. I can’t begin to tell you how many lawyers, doctors, accountants, consultants, engineers, scientists, are completely burnt out. They’re completely frustrated, they’ve lost their passion for what led them to the law, or accounting, or medicine, in the first place. But they’re so boxed in, in their lives with financial commitments and other things that they come to work every day with this heavy financial burden and absolutely no passion left for their jobs. And yet, we who are getting surgeries and taking advice from these professionals every day, don’t really understand the level of burnout and other things that are going on in their lives. There’s a lot of applications both organization and personal to Alaina’s work. I don’t think it comes as a shock to any of your podcast listeners that we have a society right now that’s very fractured and very dysfunctional and very broken, and a piece of that brokenness is the inability to feel any emotion around your day to day work, and your day to day lives. That’s got to get fixed. This is not who we are as a nation.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, great point.

Alaina Love: I think we’re at that the issue is even more concerning and disturbing if you look at the demographic shift that we’re experiencing across the globe. We’ve got Gen-Z’rs who now are the majority in the population. They’re overwhelmingly looking for brands and looking for companies that they feel have a purpose, that are dedicated to social impact, that are environmentally conscious, that have strong values, and that are purpose-focused. So, if you want to attract, retain and engage that group of the population, you got to have a different and better story to tell. And you’d better understand the why behind your business, and you’d better be able to link your why with their passion, or you won’t keep them. Look at the record unemployment, or low levels of unemployment now. The war for talent is raging.

Yes, and that’s kind of interesting. You were picking up what I was thinking there, Alaina, around that. Because now you see where everyone’s talking, we’ve talked about talent management. I could give you every corporate buzzword that you’ve also heard around that aspect of finding and aligning your team with your purpose and your why, and making them feel like their work matters, that they matter. Because nobody gets burnout when they’re a part of a winning team and they feel like their work matters, and that disconnect. It’s interesting, because I always talk about, and there’s another Gallup poll, you know, 70% of people hate their job. Not dislike it, hate. 89% worldwide hate their job. And they’ve been doing that, conducting that since 2000, and it’s pretty much the same numbers. There’s a little bit of a skew sometimes.

Karla Nelson: I was chatting with Andrew about this as, what do you think that does to their health? Their finances? Their relationships? I never thought about the other side of it. What happens to the people receiving those services from those individuals that are burnt out?

Andrew Sherman: Exactly. And I’ll add one more data point, since we’re on a data point roll. There was a study that ABT, I believe, came that said that something like 62% of America’s workforce are open to an overture, okay? In other words, open to being talked about leaving. Could you imagine if 70% of our country’s marriages, one or more spouse said, “Oh, yeah, I’m open to an overture”? What do you think the divorce rate would be? I mean, you can’t keep people in jobs if 70% of them are “open to an overture.” And to Alaina’s point, I think we’re raising a generation that for the first time in probably 100 years, I mean 100 years, I certainly don’t remember having this conversation with my great grandfather or grandfather. For the first time in 100 years is willing to place qualitative over quantitative. Experience over money. They want to know the company’s values, they want to know they’re important, they want to know the value of the work that they’re doing. And if that costs them an extra 5 or 10 or 20 thousand dollars, you know what? They’re willing to make that sacrifice or they have one of us as their backstop.

And they can afford to make those choices because they’re going to have inherited wealth. We’re going through an important transformation and Alaina’s hit the nail on the head. If you’re listening to this podcast and you’re the leader of a company, and you’re not understanding that you can’t just throw another $5,000.00 at somebody and expect them to take the job, that’s not how it works with this next generation coming up.

Alaina Love: Now we have a generation where meaning matters over money.

Andrew Sherman: Very well said.

Alaina Love: Meaning matters over money. And I don’t see that shifting. I just see that increasing over time. The other thing that’s also true, Andrew and Karla, is that I’ve noticed that the other generation in the workforce, the baby boomer generation, is starting to sound a lot like the millennials and the Gen V’rs to me when I hear them talk about this particular issue. I call it a confluence of self actualization happening at both ends of the generational spectrum. The baby boomers are saying, “Well, you know, I’ve gone through several financial crises in my time, and my 401K is still a 201K. It’s not quite where I need it to be. I can’t really afford yet to retire. But if I’m going to spend x-number of years, additional years working, then it’s got to be that I’m doing things that I feel a sense of passion for, that are fulfilling, that I’m getting some sense of purpose from, or why the heck am I doing it?” And you have the other end of the generational spectrum kind of saying the same thing.

Andrew Sherman: Well, and then you add one more interesting development which is the advent of technology and impact of robotics. And people are saying that one fourth of our total global workforce could be replaced by robotics by 2030, and people are saying, “Wait a second. Number one, if my job’s going to be replaced by a robot in 10 years, I’d better reconnect with my core loves and passions and beliefs. And number two, I’d better be passionate in the workplace because that might be the only thing I have left to keep me relevant relative to a bot.” We could do almost a whole show on where Alaina’s work and research overlaps and intersects with the impact of technology on the future workforce.

Alaina Love: Absolutely.

Karla Nelson: No doubt. No doubt. And the other piece that is, it’s not that I enjoy the fact that the unemployment rate isn’t low, I think that’s a great thing right now. One of the outcomes of it that I think we’re starting to see is really taking this thing, HR, seriously. So let’s hope that at least it helps in knowing that when the unemployment rate is low, and millennials are, and I do believe SHRM reported this, the average lifespan now of a millennial here in corporate America is 18 months. Two months of them enjoying their engagement and doing what it is they do, thinking they can have this, as you were saying Alaina, matters over money, making their dent on the universe. And then all of a sudden, they spend 16 months after that looking for another job, right?

And so it’s kind of interesting all the different aspects of what we discussed around that, and have discussed not only on this show, but my goodness, the technology piece and aspect of that as well, Andrew, is a huge piece in where we’re going. And then to come up with the thing we started with is the 40 to 50 trillion transfer of wealth, the greatest transfer of wealth ever to happen and then going through these intangible, these things that, and as Andrew, you had stated, all these large companies, the intangibles. Even if you include just data in that one, my goodness. Data, people, culture, leadership, the way that technology is impacting our companies. The way just the globalization too of the workforce itself, right?

Andrew Sherman: Right. And when it comes to enterprise value, look, you’re fooling yourself if you’re listening to this podcast and you don’t think that one of the key areas of due diligence in the future when you’re positioning to sell your company isn’t going to be culture and passion and levels of engagement. Buyers are going to want to know. Do you have an engaged and passionate workforce? Or do you have people with their foot halfway out the door who couldn’t care less whether this company succeeds or fails? And if that’s the case, you have to ask how many dollars of enterprise value am I leaving on the table? How many dollars did I have a chance to fix it before it was too late? How much wealth am I robbing my future generations of by not fixing this problem ASAP?

Alaina Love: And do you have sound systems in place that once that company’s sold will allow that company to maintain that level of engagement and the quality of the culture?

Andrew Sherman: Exactly.

Karla Nelson: Love it.

Alaina Love: And have you embedded it in the way you think and do things?

Karla Nelson: Guys, we could go on forever and ever on this. This is just what I love. I think there’s a huge opportunity as well as all of our listeners in looking at this huge transfer of wealth that’s coming up, and understanding how this impacts. It doesn’t matter if you have the local store on the corner, guys. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. This impacts every aspect of enterprise value. So with that said, gosh guys, thanks so much for coming on the show. Where can we get ahold of you, Alaina?

Alaina Love: You can reach me at That is our website, And my contact information, my direct email is I’d be happy to give you any further information that you might want on the passion profiler and the work that we do.

Karla Nelson: And Andrew, where can we get ahold of you, my friend?

Andrew Sherman: All my information is available either at Seyfarth,, and if you’re interested in some of the books that I’ve written, they’re all on my Amazon author page.

Karla Nelson: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Alaina and Andrew. Until next time, definitely take a look at your enterprise value and how you can use the passion profiler to make a difference in the intangible aspects of your business.

Andrew Sherman: Awesome, awesome. Thanks for being such a great host, Karla.

Karla Nelson: Thank you, sir.

Alaina Love: Thanks, Karla. It was terrific. Thanks, Andrew. It was so good to talk to you again today.

Karla Nelson: You got it, Alaina.

Andrew Sherman: All right, we’ll talk soon. Bye, everybody.

Karla Nelson: Goodbye.

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Competitive Advantage Part 2

Competitive Advantage Part 2

In this episode we discuss Peter Drucker’s quote that says, “Innovation is easy. Just put people in teams and have them work together. The problem is nobody knows how to do it.”

Listen to Part 1 here.

Listen to Part 2 of How You Can Achieve A Competitive Advantage 

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along as Karla and Allen discuss How You Can Achieve A Competitive Advantage

Karla Nelson: And welcome to The People Catalysts’ Podcast, Mister Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden: Hello Karla.

Karla Nelson: Hello kind sir. How are you today?

Allen Fahden: Oh, I’m a happy guy again, because we’re talking about what I love to talk about is competitive advantage, baby.

Karla Nelson: Oh, I love it. Yes. Competitive advantage. And this is the second part of a two part series, and we kind of encapsulate what we do in Peter Drucker’s quote that says, “Innovation is easy. Just put people in teams and have them work together. The problem is nobody knows how to do it.” I just wish we were a little younger and we could work with Peter Drucker because we could’ve actually showed him there is a process.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, that’d have been so good. I knew a guy who actually drove him to work when he was teaching at Claremont or wherever it was, and I was like, “Oh, can I do that? Can I drive him to work?”

Karla Nelson: Yeah. I’d love to drive him to work. Unfortunately, we lost him.

Allen Fahden: If I had automatic door locks, that would’ve been really great. I’m sorry, you can’t leave until …

Karla Nelson: You’re here, you’re stuck, right. The challenge with the quote, it’s brilliant in its own right, like many quotes, and that’s why everybody is drawn to memes and everything these days, but the challenge is that it’s too general, right. So we’re going to talk today about how to generate these big ideas, and then take those big ideas and put them back in the box. If you want to learn about ideation and implementation, which is putting a team together to figure out what you’re going to do and how are you going to do it, we just recorded a podcast on the specific steps of doing that. So you can go back to ideation and implementation, and we talk just about the process. But for the purpose of this podcast, we’ll be continuing part two of how to use the Hoodoo method as a competitive advantage based upon the well-known Johari window.

So in part one of the series we discussed innovation, right. And the place that most businesses play is that low competitive quadrant of the Johari window. And that most businesses, well it’s about 90% of them, claim they want to be innovative, but typically they respond to innovation either by killing the idea or running with a bad idea. But either way, and I know Allen, you call this fool’s gold innovation, right, it’s like, “Hey, we want to be a bit innovative, let’s go.” And it’s like eh, eh, eh. And so either they kill the idea, or they run with a bad idea, but either way you’re going to be out of balance, and at the end of the day you have to have your team in order to make that different. So if you can’t get that buy-in from your team in regards to innovation, they are really your boots on the ground.

Allen Fahden: Absolutely. And either of those ways, kill the idea or run with a bad idea because you don’t want to talk to the people who have things that can go wrong, then either way it doesn’t end well. And let’s see if we can explain that by use of Johari’s window, because it’s sort of like people are really flying blind here. And so those of you who don’t know about Johari’s window, this sounds really mystical. It’s named after two guys, Joe and Harry.

Karla Nelson: And we researched it. We were like this has got to be not real, but no, it’s true. It’s based after Joe and Harry, which I love, right. We’ve got to come up with our own window. Kar and Al. Karla and Allen.

Allen Fahden: Boarded up window, something like that.

Karla Nelson: Karal.

Allen Fahden: So most of us are stuck, and oftentimes don’t even realize it, in the bottom part of this quadrant. And so if you can imagine a window pane with four quadrants in it, the lower left is what we know that we know, and everybody always operates there. We want to look like the smartest person in the meeting, and so forth. And there’s also what we know that we don’t know, and people are a little more reluctant to presence that, but at the same time you find out there’s something you don’t … You say, “Hey, I’m going to go learn about this, and bring it back so we can do what we’re going to do.” But the problem is it doesn’t do anything to keep people from, as Karla said, that want to kill the idea or run with a bad idea. And it also dooms your company to be incremental, which we’ll talk about in a couple of minutes.

But let me share with you where the opportunity is. If you are stuck in the lower two quadrants, you are going to be repeating the same cycle again, and again, and again where you’re stuck between killing the idea, the big idea, or running with a bad idea. So the way out of this is to move up into the quadrants, and particularly the right quadrant, which is what you don’t know that you don’t know. This is the scary part. This is all the stuff you don’t know. And so there’s what you don’t know that you don’t know, and you don’t know that you already know. We’ll get to that in a minute because that’s really like what? How am I going to do that? But there is a way to do it. So what you do is you say okay, there is a lot of stuff that I don’t know that I don’t know. Let me find out what that is because there is where the opportunity lies, because the opportunity is to be different.

So you go into that area, what I don’t know I don’t know, and you entertain some possibilities. That’s where the big out of the box ideas are. Now the interesting thing is it’s scary to be doing that, but there is a point where, because a lot of us feel like we’re not prepared, we don’t know enough, scary ground, but once we get through that and start presencing some of the things, oh, let’s go into artificial intelligence, or let’s fly drones around and see what happens, then once you get into that and become familiar with it, you’ll realize that, when you go back into yourself, your own preparedness, your own knowledge gets you into the upper left quadrant, which is what you don’t know that you know. Or in this case, I didn’t know that I knew, or I didn’t know that what I already knew could be very useful. Because once you understand a lot about artificial intelligence and you understand-

Karla Nelson: You’re like, “Oh, I can apply it to what I already know.”

Allen Fahden: Exactly, because people are working to make it commercially viable and simpler to adopt. So that’s the way the world works, we just don’t call it that. So once you get into this, that’s the golden place is on that upper quadrant, and to move back and forth between what you don’t know you don’t know, which opens the door to new opportunity and ideas, but the way to bring an idea back into the box so you can implement it, one of the ways, is to get into what you didn’t know that you already knew, and you’re a lot better at this than you thought you were. And that’s a pretty happy thing.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And it’s you’re better at it, but it’s also that you already have everything you need, right, to be able to implement that thing, right. And that’s a good point, because Allen, you talked about bringing it back into the box, and I know that’s what the focus of the podcast was, but even when you were talking about it, it’s so funny because everybody looks at oh, we have to have the best idea, and it’s got to be this great big idea, right. And it’s not necessarily about being really, really, really creative, even though what’s the Blue Ocean strategies numbers? You know them better than I do.

Allen Fahden: Oh yeah. If you play in what they call uncontested market space, meaning you have implemented a idea that nobody else has, then you will get approximately twice the revenue of your competitors who don’t play in uncontested market space, and four times the profit. And just think about it. If you’re a category of one, people have to come to you. Who else are they going to go to? So it’s all there, it’s just the how to get stuff, and that’s what we’re helping you with today.

Karla Nelson: Yes. And there’s the breaking point of ideation implementation. So again, go back to the podcast, listen to ideation and implementation because it talks about the step-by-step process that you can use. But for the purpose of this podcast, when you talk about the idea, of course that’s ideation. Bringing it back into the box is going to be implementation, right. And so I always say to many people all across the world that I’ll take a mediocre idea any day over a big idea that doesn’t get done.

Allen Fahden: And that’s the sad commentary on the world we live in, because it’s like settling. You’ve had to settle for that because you know that a big idea is not going to get done because all of us who don’t know what we don’t know, we don’t know there’s a better way to do it. And so I can understand why you think moving the needle a little is still a better than implementing a great idea that doesn’t happen at all.

But one thing to know is that if your competitor implements a good idea, that just reverses what we were talking about before, I’ll take a mediocre idea any day that it gets implemented over a big idea that doesn’t get done. If your competitor implements a big idea, it basically marginalizes you. And so it doesn’t matter if you’re making a better buggy whip, as they used to say, you’re improving on something that’s already been where the game’s over, because you’re not in the game anymore. So what we are trying to do here is to change that where it gets a lot easier to implement a big idea. You can do it, and if you’re equipped to do it, life can be quite good.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And with that being said, Allen, and identifying the different levels of innovation, but even if you’re innovative on the front end, you have to be weary of the challenges on the back end, right. So you can be innovative on the front end, right. And you’ve got these great ideas, and you’re nimble, and you’re small, and you don’t have to have 50 people approve something to have something move forward, and whatever, you have to be weary that eventually you go from … Because this is the law of diffusion of innovations, people. 110 years of marketing and research. How people adopt new ideas. And we’re not changing human nature anytime soon, right. And so you have to be aware that there’s this bell curve that happens in business, and so we start at the startup stages, but then we grow to a certain point, and after we hit a certain market penetration, then naturally we are aiming towards a different dynamic.

And our whole focus is don’t jump over the team just to go to the customer, right. And how to coordinate the team in order to get to that point, to have that option of first starting out with a great big idea and getting it done, but then what happens with most businesses from a big picture standpoint is that they have to actually buy innovation. They buy it through acquisitions and mergers because they’ve gone too far down that bell curve on the law of diffusion of innovations that they’re not creating new ideas, they’re just implementing.

Allen Fahden: Yep. And then of course, sadly what they’ll do is impose their culture on the company they acquired, and they’ll kill the goose that laid the golden eggs. All the extremely innovative people will be gone, and a lot of the customers will be gone. And that’s another thing that doesn’t end well.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. So it’s balancing those two, right. It’s the team and the customer. So you have to understand both internally your team, where are you on the law of diffusion of innovation, innovations, I should say, and who are you speaking to? And then customer-wise, separate those two, because we’ve always been taught that we only focus on the law of diffusion of innovations with a customer. And the closest thing we ever got to that with Simon Sinek, Start With Why, which is hugely successful, but it’s like how do you even know? Okay, speak to the why. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. At the same time, that’s why our assessment internally with the team identifies how people adopt new ideas. So how do you generate them? How do you pick the idea, the best set of ideas? How do you poke the holes in the ideas? And how do you get that entire team behind the idea so you don’t have to actually innovate through acquisition?

Allen Fahden: Yep. So let’s do a couple of examples. We’ve talked before about there being several kinds of innovation. Pretty well-known that the spectrum is the most disruptive is called radical innovation, where whatever you’re doing is new to the entire worlds. Think about the iPhone that Apple did that was lauded as to the 20th century what electricity was to the 19th century. The innovation of the century, or the 21st century, or whatever it was introduced in, versus breakthrough innovation sort of in the middle, which is something new to your category, where you can borrow something from another category and bring it in.

And then the most common, of course, is incremental innovation, where you’re just continually making improvements to things. It’s sort of the approach of Deming, and quality, and so forth, and you can make a lot of headway that way. But two interesting companies to contrast are Apple and Amazon, and probably the biggest force in Apple was Steve Jobs, who his motto was the idea has to be insanely great. Well, how are you going to get something insanely great out of a company? Everybody can buy into the idea, but the things you have to do to implement that idea, you’ve got to be autocratic. And certainly Steve Jobs had a reputation for doing that [crosstalk 00:15:56].

Karla Nelson: Yeah, I’ve even heard that people didn’t want to be in the elevator with him because he would look over and say, “What do you do?” And if they didn’t have an answer, they’d be fired.

Allen Fahden: Yeah. They’d be fired, or they’d be completely embarrassed because they’re being read the riot act about what-

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and we’ve heard even other stories with our good friend, which we won’t name names here, was the first person that Steve Jobs called when he got put back in charge of Apple. And he had some really interesting ways of being autocratic. I think it was maybe even a different word for it based off of his methodologies. But we can’t deny that it didn’t work, right.

Allen Fahden: Yep. Well that’s one way to do it. And so there’s one end of the spectrum. And then the other one is Jeff Bezos and Amazon. It’s really interesting. While Steve jobs said pretty much his mission was to do something insanely great, Jeff Bezos had a mission, in the mid ’90s, of being the best internet bookstore. Best bookstore on the internet. Okay, that’s exciting

Karla Nelson: It is kind of juxtaposed. It’s like, huh? First you start thinking huh, and then you’re like but there are no online bookstores.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, and in a sense he was taking something that was already there, using somebody else’s disruptive innovation, of course, which was the internet, and riding on the wave of that. But just as Steve Jobs-

Karla Nelson: Yeah, that’s changed just a little bit, right. I mean they’ve been able to go up that ladder based off of that incremental kind of stay. But good night they lost money for 14 years. What company can do that?

Allen Fahden: Well, and you know what the game was the internet. Suddenly you can do that because of the dotcom exuberance, they say. Whereas Steve Jobs unfortunately couldn’t do that because Apple started in the early ’70s, and they were a computer company, and they’re supposed to make money every quarter, and they went through a lot of hard times, and so they were held to different standards.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, that’s a good point is the different types of innovation, but being clear on that, and then really, regardless of what type of innovation you choose to run with, is that you have to go out of the box and then bring that back into the box, right. So you want to be different, you want to get that two times the revenue and four times the profit based off of the fact that you can create these ideas, but then you have to pull them back into what you’re already doing, right. So if you want to learn how to bring that idea back into the box, you have to get into that top left corner of the Johari window, right. And then you need a process for doing that. And that’s exactly what we teach is 94% of failure is process failure, not people failure. And of course that’s Edwards Deming.

And so understanding there is a process by which you identify what you’re going to do and how are you going to do it, not only to make it three to eight times faster, just to get that 100% buy-in from the team, because the team is the most critical portion. And I don’t care if that team is just you and one other person, or a team of 100, or a team of 40, or whatever that is, but you have to have a process by which you adopt what you’re going to do and how are you going to do it no matter what type of innovation you choose.

Allen Fahden: That’s right. And generally what happens is we’re using the wrong process. And in order to understand this, it’s really important not to-

Karla Nelson: Or no process at all.

Allen Fahden: Or no process at all, which is the default.

Karla Nelson: That’s typically what we approach.

Allen Fahden: Right. And so now one of the things that happens with people, and especially I’ll just ask all the listeners who, when you have an idea, probably the first thing you think of is oh, this could be pretty good. And then if you really like it, you say, “Hey, this could be great. Oh man, I could be famous. This is incredible. I love this, let’s do it.” And then all of a sudden you think about presenting it to somebody. Now you’re saying, “Wait a minute. They might not like my idea. They may not see things the way I do. They might think I’m crazy. In fact, they might not like my idea and not like me. And pretty soon I lose my job, and then I can’t eat, and I starve to death, and then I die.” So that’s a little extreme.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, but that’s a shaker’s view that definitely-

Allen Fahden: That is a shaker’s view of the world.

Karla Nelson: Because a prover would never even be like it’s not going to work anyway. It doesn’t matter. A maker’s like, “Just give me my job back.”

Allen Fahden: So it’s your choice, but if you want to be greeted with a nice, warm, fuzzy, a down quilt for your ideas, or you want a slap in the face with a cold piece of raw liver, it’s really up to you. But what happens is that what we’ve done here is introduced the idea of fit and sequence. And fit and sequence just simply mean this, you’ve got to have the right people in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. And the handoffs are everything. So if you have an idea, and you’re what we call a shaker, an idea person, make sure that your output person is a mover, because that’s a person who’s going to-

Karla Nelson: That’s me.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, that’s you, and you have ideas-.

Karla Nelson: I love ideas.

Allen Fahden: Because you’re going to say you love it, and then be practical about which one you go with. And as a shaker, I don’t care which idea you go with as long as it’s mine. So in other words, what we’re talking about here is put the right people in the right place. Fit in sequence and reduce fear in the corporation. And one of the things that Deming, the quality guy, that was his number one goal is to decrease and get rid of fear in the company, in the organization, but he really didn’t have any processes that would do that completely, and especially in the area of doing something new, because nobody knows how to do that. And so this is one of the great benefits of learning the Hoodoo is to reduce fear. Reduce fear not of just doing work, everybody’s okay when they’re working in their strengths, but reduce the fear of handing it off.

Karla Nelson: Oh, I love that. It’s a process by reducing fear. I never thought about that, but that’s exactly what the Hoodoo method does because everybody gets to be a part of it. So they’re not stressed in the different ways that your core nature of work actually makes you stressed, or what we like to call in corporate America employee engagement, right. Because we get disengaged for different reasons, and so it reminds me, you have to share your up bottled water story, because actually Allen created the idea of bottled water way before it was actually bottled water, but it was just too new of an idea. And so share with that. Share that story with us.

Allen Fahden: Okay. So this is a time, some of you may know this, is that Coors beer didn’t have national distribution. In fact, they refused to distribute their product, their beer, east of the Mississippi. And so if somebody went to Colorado, you’d say, “Hey, I’ll give you some money, just bring me back a case of Coors.” And this great mystique, because people want what they can’t have. And so what was written on every can of Coors, it said brewed with pure Rocky Mountain spring water. And it’s like well, I’d love to be a distributor in the Midwest of Coors beer, but there’s no way that could happen. And so one day I had an idea. Well, wait a minute, it’s pure Rocky Mountain spring water. I wonder if there’s a way we could sell that to people. And so I told a bunch of people about the idea, and they said, “You’re out of your mind. Nobody’s going to pay for water. What are you going to do? Put in a bottle.”

Karla Nelson: Yeah, nobody’s going to pay for bottled water, right. That seems ridiculous now. But I mean what year was this?

Allen Fahden: It was about 1970. I don’t think you were a thought in somebody’s head about that time. But yeah, there was no way. And so being a shaker, I said, “Thank you for the objection. I’ve got to figure out a way to make people pay for water.” And so what it came to was a lot of people at the time were paying quite a bit of money for really, really fine scotches, and bourbons, and things like that. So people drank a lot of distilled spirits. And so I said, “Well, wait a minute, here’s the pitch. What if we just say that if you’re going to pay $25 for a bottle of Crown Royal, or Johnny Walker Black, the best whiskey, why would you drink tap water with it? Why not put the best water in the world, pure Rocky Mountain spring water, into that?”

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And it was a little too innovative for 1970.

Allen Fahden: Yeah. Nobody wanted to do that. Even the movers-

Karla Nelson: So they couldn’t bring it back in the box. That’s basically what you’re saying. It was crazy innovative, but how do you bring that back in the box? They had all the ability to bring it back in the box, because they had the processes, they had the systems, right. And it was like who would do that? Well, you know what is funny is my background is finance, and any gas station, and anybody who’s been in finance, and this is way back in the day, the best gas stations … The two things that are harder to finance than anything are restaurants and gas stations, and that’s for various different reasons, but in gas stations, the largest margin of anything they sell is water.

Allen Fahden: What a surprise.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, The largest margin is bottled water. And so it was funny because we were working with this customer, and they had many, many, many, I think it was 20 some gas stations all across the nation. We’re like, “Why wouldn’t you apply to get your liquor license?” He’s like, “Oh no. That’s too much trouble. I get a much higher margin on bottled water.”

Allen Fahden: Yeah. So here we are. The world changes, and so how do you change the world is you implement a new idea.

Karla Nelson: Yes. And the piece is bring it back into the box, right. Take it out, run the process, figure out what we’re going to do, right, have everybody adopted it, and then bring that back in the box. That reminds me even of Airbnb, right. I mean, they started out, their whole company was selling air mattresses, and trying to talk people into letting people stay in their extra bedroom on an air mattress, and then serve them breakfast the next day, right.

Allen Fahden: I didn’t know that.

Karla Nelson: Now, they’re the largest wholesaler in the world, right. So they went crazy. They were like, “How are we going to sell these air mattresses? Okay, let’s go out of the box. Talk people into charging $80 a night and then serve them breakfast the next morning in wherever they want to go and venture out to,” right. But they still brought it back in the box by … They’re the largest wholesaler in the nation and they don’t own any real estate.

Allen Fahden: Yeah. And that model was already there for them, and that’s because using software to optimize something … I mean Amazon did that just by adding reviews to their books, and so they just made it easy, via software and the internet, for people to get into that business where there was a pent up demand to make more revenue off your house. And that’s a great example of-

Karla Nelson: It’s incredible.

Allen Fahden: … the fourth quadrant of Johari’s window, because once they said, “Well what if we just did a bed-and-breakfast thing and forgot about the mattresses. Make it an intangible business,” well suddenly they go into the what I don’t know that I know, meaning what I didn’t know that I already knew, and that’s okay, we got a business.

Karla Nelson: And all they did was, yeah, apply technology to it, right. Exactly. And so that’s how you bring it back into the box. So I think we could go on for hours on this conversation, Allen.

Allen Fahden: Oh, let’s.

Karla Nelson: We’re just slightly inspired by the conversation we’ve been having, and passionate. I’m not sure if the listeners actually hear that. Just kidding. So of course we are validating our assessment right now. So if you’d like, you can go to our website, thepeoplecatalysts, and that’s plural because we need you all but not at the same time, .com. And you can take it there. It will be free for a very short period of time actually, right now, because we’re really closing the window on that. And Mister Fahden, is there anything else you’d like to add before we sign off?

Allen Fahden: No, just don’t close Johari’s window because that’s where the opportunity is, thanks to Joe and Harry.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, Joe and Harry, cheers.

Allen Fahden: Cheers Joe. Cheers Harry.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, you got it. All right. Thank you. And until then, we’ll see you soon.

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Competitive Advantage Part 1

Competitive Advantage Part 1

How do you gain a competitive advantage? In this episode Karla Nelson and Allen Fahden discuss how Johari’s Window fits into how your company and team can gain an advantage over your competitors.

Listen to the podcast here:

Read Along as Karla and Allen discuss How You Can Achieve A Competitive Advantage

Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Mr. Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden: Hello, Karla.

Karla Nelson: Good evening, kind sir. How are you?

Allen Fahden: I’m doing very well, and I’m just happy that we’re recording another podcast because this opens a lot of doors if you look through a window.

Karla Nelson: Oh, I love it. Yeah, we’re going to be talking about Johari’s window, right?

Allen Fahden: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Most people are looking for love in all the wrong places, but we could actually say looking for competitive advantage in all the wrong places. We’ve quoted Peter Drucker many times on this podcast where he said, “Innovation is easy. Just put people in teams.” The problem is, nobody knows how except for us.

Allen Fahden: Us and Joe and Harry.

Karla Nelson: And Joe and Harry.

Allen Fahden: That’s right.

Karla Nelson: This is hilarious. So, we actually did the research on this podcast, and Allen found out that Joe and Harry are really a thing for Johari.

Allen Fahden: Johari, yeah. It’s a guy named Joe something and then another guy named Harrington. They’re long gone by now, but they made a great contribution. Probably what we want to do here is get a really simple way to understand this and then see if we can show you where some opportunities are that you may not realize.

Karla Nelson: Yes, I love it because there’s a certain piece of Johari’s window that is obvious, but then there’s also pieces that we just dare to go. So, we’re going to make this the first part of the two-part series, simply because if we jumped all the way into Johari’s window it would be a little bit… It’s easier to understand if you’re going to look at certain pieces or in two pieces, because again, a window, it’s four parts, right?

We’re going to look at two pieces of the window, and the next series we’re going to look at the other pieces. So, why don’t you walk us through a little bit of the explanation of Johari’s window, Allen? Because, you’re so much better than I am at this because I just jump forward. I’m like, “Come on. It’s obvious, right?” as a mover.

Allen Fahden: Yes, and as a shaker, I know that nothing’s ever obvious because I’ve played in that realm too much.

Karla Nelson: Nothing’s ever obvious. Of course, with a shaker that would make total sense.

Allen Fahden: We’re going to do a visual with the verbal here. So, it’s going to get a little confusing. So, I’m going to try as hard as I can to be extremely clear about this. But imagine a window pane, some people call it a quadrant. So, there are four areas. The lower left, and this is going to sound pretty funny, is what we know that we know, and most people play there. I know this, and I know that I know it. So, I’ve gotten my whole body of knowledge and I can access it very comfortable, and that’s who I am, and that’s where I play most of the time.

Then, however, if we want to grow or if we get some new areas opened up to us who we want to stretch a little bit, we go into the other reasonably comfortable area, which is we go from what we know we know to what we know that we don’t know.

Karla Nelson: Yeah.

Allen Fahden: But notice in both cases we know about this. This is all familiar. We’re not being surprised about ourselves. It’s sort of like we’re operating like-

Karla Nelson: You’re consciously aware, right? Consciously aware.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, we know ourselves completely. There’s stuff I know, stuff I don’t know. I know what it is. Thank you very much, we’re done. But, we’re not done. So what they do, and by the way, those are the two southern quadrants. The southwest on the left and the southeast on the right. Southwest and left is what we know we know, and then southeast and on the right of the bottom is what we know we don’t know.

So, that’s the comfort area, and that’s true really what we’re going to be talking about. But, there are a couple of other parts that you ought to know about, and that’s where competitive advantage can lie. Because if we just deal in what we know we know and what we know that we don’t know, everybody’s thinking is going to be pretty much the same and they’re all going to be in the same box.

If you ever wonder why it is you develop something and somebody else already has already done it at the same time, we’re all focused on the same stuff. So, the opportunity, according to Joe and Mr. Harrington, are to move up into the upper two quadrants. So the northeast, the upper right is where we usually go is what we don’t know that we don’t know. That’s mysterious area.

It’s like, “Oh my God, I never even realized that that was out there.” So, maybe somebody will come with the new technology, artificial intelligence or whatever. So now, you’re thinking, “Oh, I need to go there. I need to learn this” to try to get competitive advantage, and maybe if I don’t learn it I’m left behind. So, that’s where we go. It’s out of our comfort zone and it’s all new. That’s great, but it’s still not the real opportunity area because everybody’s going to be learning this new thing.

Here’s a big key. If you’ve got a lot of knowledge rolling around inside, the place for the big breakthrough’s going to often be what we don’t know that we already know.

Karla Nelson: Yes, which is the top left, right?

Allen Fahden: Top left.

Karla Nelson: So, the western.

Allen Fahden: It’s almost humor.

Karla Nelson: Yes.

Allen Fahden: It’s like, “That’s absurd. What do you mean we don’t know that we already know this?” Well, let’s just say it another way. I forgot I knew it, or I never thought about it in this context before. What happens is that move up from the southeast on the right side to the Northeast on the right side top, what we don’t know that we don’t know gets us into a new context that introduces a new context.

What can often happen is out of that context, you can realize, “Wait a minute, I already know a lot about this,” because once we put this and this and this into place, well then it’s just a matter on implementation of doing things I already know, or I’ve worked in an area close to that, or I not have knowledge of the principles that I’m applying to any of this, this new thing.

Karla Nelson: Yes, because when we don’t know something that we don’t know, it’s challenging, right?

Allen Fahden: Yes, yeah.

Karla Nelson: In this space of Johari’s windows, what we don’t know that we know is actually easy. Typically, there’s your peak work. So in part two of this series we’re going to get into the top half of Johari’s window. For this podcast we’re going to talk about, because it’s really useful to have all four, right, working for you.

Allen Fahden: Absolutely. Because, what we don’t know that we don’t know opens up the new context. Once you got that new context, it’s a gateway. You open up the next door, and it’s what we don’t know that we know. It’s like, “Oh, I’m a lot smarter than I thought.”

Karla Nelson: You apply it in that context.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, I’m a lot more competent than I thought. That’s a big aha moment for people. It’s like, “Wait a minute, I’m a great value here. I got a lot to offer.”

Karla Nelson: Yes.

Allen Fahden: That’s inspiring, that’s energizing, and that’s what leads to real innovation.

Karla Nelson: Oh, that’s super cool, by the way, because really that is at the crux of the Hoodoo method. Because, it doesn’t matter what you’re already doing, but if you don’t know the method actually exist and you apply it to what you’re already doing, right, that’s really lives in what we don’t know we know.

Allen Fahden: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Because, you know it really well. Let’s just put gasoline and a match on it. Of course, we’re jumping into part two of the series.

Allen Fahden: Yes.

Karla Nelson: Because, that’s where we want to live, which is super cool. So, we will get into that, but what you tapped on there, Allen, in what we often call fool’s gold innovation, right? So, the CEO declares, I think in the last webinar we did, it was like almost 80% CEOs say that innovation is on the top of their list for 2020, right?

Allen Fahden: Yes.

Karla Nelson: So, you can declare that innovation is on the top of your list, but the challenges is that there’s two different ways that innovation typically runs, is, number one, kill an idea because it wasn’t the CEO’s idea. Again, look at that from a mover, shaker, prover maker aspect, right? You got to shaker CEO. If it’s not their idea, that’s 35% of the population, they’re going to kill it. Prover, there’s too much wrong with it, 25% of the population, they’re going to kill it, right?

A maker’s probably not going to be a CEO, but the 15% of the population that says yes to an idea is a mover. So, first of all, either you’re going to kill the idea or you’re going to pick your idea or potentially run with a bad idea if you don’t have a process by which you’re deciding what you’re going to do, ideation, or how are you going to do it, implementation.

So either way, if you don’t have a process, you’re going to be out of balance. How do you get a hundred percent buy-in from the team because they’re the people on the ground, they’re the boots on the ground getting it done?

Allen Fahden: Yep, absolutely. So, it’s a really kind of a fail this way or fail that way situation. Going back to Johari’s window, that’s all in the realm of what we know we know, and what we know that we don’t know. It’s, “Oh yeah, I don’t know why it always comes out like this. We either kill a good idea or we run with a bad idea and we get burned that way,” but that’s what comes from living in those two comfortable windows: what we know we know, and what we know that we don’t know.

Karla Nelson: Yes, definitely. I think you’ve got a really the interesting story. Remember in Singapore?

Allen Fahden: Oh yeah, we were dealing with that a long time ago in Singapore. Several of us got together and sort of started a movement and we weren’t sure about what to call it. So, we just did a simple opposite. Instead of calling it innovation, we called it outovation. There’s a different approach to innovation, and it’s like, “Well, why would you call it that?” Well, the line underneath and that explains it, “Out ovation, it’s not innovation until it gets out the door.”

Now, we should even say one more thing, and it’s not innovation till it gets out the door, but it shouldn’t get out the door until as many of the trade-offs or problems with a bad idea have been solved. Well, the best way to solve that is to use the Hoodoo method on it. Generally what happens is, because it can get out the door and be a bad idea, and you’ll get a lot of pushback, you’ll get overwhelmed, and you’ll just cancel the whole thing.

But, it’s not outovation, it’s not innovation until it gets out the door and with the Reviso, get it out the door when it’s been thought through, where it’s still a good idea. In fact, even improved by the theme.

Karla Nelson: Yes, and using the process so that you get that a hundred percent buy-in on top of it. Right? So, one piece is what are we going to do? So, the ideation aspect of saying, “This is how we’re going to have this item discussion,” whatever it is that you’re attacking, this is what the group identifies with and says, “Yes, this is great.” Remember, in ideation, we stop ideation when the prover says, “I can live with that.”

Allen Fahden: I can lie with that.

Karla Nelson: Exactly. Then, you move to implementation, step two of the process, which is actually implementing the idea. Remember, it flows back and forth. They’re the same players, but you have to flow this back and forth, and back and forth. When you’re focusing on what we know we know, and what we know we don’t know, this is actually easier process, right?

Allen Fahden: Yep.

Karla Nelson: But at the same time, having a process by which you decide what to do and then decide how you’re doing it is critical. So when you think of Johari’s window, right, and you’re identifying what we know we know in dealing with that, and what we know we don’t know, right, and complimenting those two things, make sure you’re breaking it down into two separate processes.

Allen Fahden: Yep.

Karla Nelson: Remember, 94% of failure is process failure, not people failure.

Allen Fahden: Not people failure.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. So Edwards Deming, guys, the father of manufacturing. This guy is amazing, by the way. If you have not done research on him, I pretty much read every book now, Allen, is incredible what this guy did during his time. He was basically trying to figure out how can we make effective change in modern day manufacturing? Right? Because remember back in the day, manufacturing was pretty crazy when they first started out. Right?

Allen Fahden: Yep.

Karla Nelson: Then, he identified, “Okay, all these different aspects in these,” because people want to succeed by definition, but how do we create a process by which we use these aspects to move everybody forward? So ideation, implementation, and using the Hoodoo method between the two, it completely balances the what we know we know, and what we know we don’t know.

Allen Fahden: That’s right. So, you wind up finding a new space between killing the idea and running with a bad idea, because both of these are just simply twin sides of a bad coin.

Karla Nelson: That’s good. Yeah, yeah, yep. They are both sides of the same coin. It’s a very thin coin, isn’t it? Yeah. So, I think one of the examples that we could kind of use, and I think you brought this up when we were having a conversation earlier is, or actually you said it earlier in the podcast about take every idea, fuse it together, if they don’t fit that, and that’s what’s funny.

Allen Fahden: Oh yeah, it was Arthur Koestler wrote a book in the early ’60s called, The Act of Creation. What he said was that we really don’t create when we’re being creative. Everything is already created. You can apply this to anything and you’ll get a new truth out of things. You think that’s not true. Well, check it out and think that way and look at something that’s been created. He says, “We don’t create, we combine. Everything’s already created, so we are making new combinations of things.”

Now, many of the ideas that you, again, these days are simply things that have been put together that have been combined before, so that doesn’t really produce much of anything. But if you give two things together, the elements together that haven’t been together before, you get it two possible outcomes. They either fit together and they become a great new idea and innovation. Or, they don’t fit together and that energy has to dissipate somehow, so people laugh.

That’s why in meetings usually, especially the shakers, will come up with preposterous, absurd ideas at first because they’re funny, and they’re funny because they just so obviously don’t work, so obviously don’t fit. So, you sort of get your yayas out and then either somebody says, “Hey, wait a minute though. If we just did a twist on that, that might be a good idea,” or they’ll just laugh and let it go and it sort of diffuses the jitters in the room, so to speak.

Karla Nelson: Oh, I love that. That’s so true, especially when we do the tradings. It’s always the shakers that come up with this craziest ideas. Would we do the Titanic game?

Allen Fahden: That’s right.

Karla Nelson: They just kind of like, “What?” But, it’s also because you’d bring it back a little bit or a new idea. Actually, and this is why we say we just have to keep everybody in their own lane because a new idea actually sparks other ideas.

Allen Fahden: That’s right.

Karla Nelson: Because when you shoot it down-

Allen Fahden: It’s get you in the mood. It gets you in the mood, it gets you in the right realm of thinking.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, yes.

Allen Fahden: I think probably one of the great examples of the two elements not fitting together, and this was a story that Steve Martin would tell, he was having dinner with his agent and it was at a time when they still had smoking sections in the airplanes and you could smoke and restaurants. A guy leans over from a table next to them and says, “Excuse me, you guys mind if I smoke?” His agent shoots back, “No, mind if I fart?”

Steve Martin of course, understanding this about comedy, that it’s just elements and putting one element into a context of another, so he put the idea of farting into the context of smoking. So, he said, “Yeah, I do that all the time. In fact, they’ve got a special section for me on airplanes.” Of course, he was talking about farting in the context of smoking. He said, “I like to light one up after sex,” and began farting in…

Karla Nelson: Oh, my gosh. Okay, that’s a news story. That’s pretty hilarious.

Allen Fahden: Then he said, You know, I tried to quit but I started to gain weight.”

Karla Nelson: Yeah.

Allen Fahden: So, and like most comedians, he stopped at three, because that’s one of the laws of comedy. But, here are two elements obviously that are absurd. They don’t fit together and yet combining elements into an absurd combination-

Karla Nelson: Yeah, you understand, yeah, the absurd piece in the context of applying it to something else.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, and what that does is it puts you in a different place in your thinking. Oftentimes, you can say,” Hey, wait a minute,” and that’s what happens. When somebody does something completely absurd, you say, “Hey, wait a minute. Maybe that’s a good idea.”

In Australia, they had people talking on the phone too long and they wanted to get them off the phone, especially on payphones. So, what they did was they made the receiver heavier. They got the phone receiver to weigh about 30, 40 pounds so nobody could stand to hold it up to their ear for very long, and it shortened the phone bill. So, I mean, there’s an idea based on an absurd idea, but you can take an absurdity, do a little twist on it, and ca-ching.

Karla Nelson: So true. Well, coming from the one book bookstore man, that is not surprising. What’s so cool is that if you learn the Hoodoo method, right, the chances are your competitors are not going to okay. That’s really critical to understand both with the Johari window in that context of the Hoodoo what we know that we know and what we know we don’t know. Then, applying that process to figure out what are we going to do, and how are we going to do it? But, the ideation is really where you’re kind of pressing on here I think, Allen, which is, how do we take something in ideation, right, and then create that competitive advantage?

Because, if you can combine those two and then, of course in the next podcast, overlay, right, the other two aspects of Johari window, then you’re basically walking away with so much more than what your competitor has in their backpack.

Allen Fahden: Yeah. Especially, you think about this, everybody, is that sometimes you’ll get competitive advantage and Renee Mauborgne and Chan Kim in Blue Ocean Strategy and define this as uncontested market space. Well, how are you going to get uncontested market space go where men have feared to go, gone before?

Karla Nelson: Men have gone before.

Allen Fahden: So, where is that? That’s in the upper quadrant.

Karla Nelson: Wait, what was that? That was Star Trek.

Allen Fahden: I think it was Star Trek, yeah.

Karla Nelson: Star Trek, yeah.

Allen Fahden: Once you get in that, you’re in there and not a lot of people in there. So, you’re thinking’s going to go a lot of way because you’re seeing different things, you’re thinking different things. So if you can live in those upper quadrants, which we’ll talk about next time, then you’ve got some opportunities.

Now, right now we’re stuck in what we know we know, and what we know we don’t know. Still, there’s some things you can do there. One is just now, I mean, you’re listening to this podcast, learn the Hoodoo method, and you’re going to get some competitive advantage there because it’s early and not that many people are doing it.

Karla Nelson: Yes.

Allen Fahden: So, you can solve that problem of kill the idea or run with a bad idea. You don’t have to accept either of those.

Karla Nelson: Yes, I love it. Then, understanding who is on your team. I cannot tell you how many times I get on the phone with individuals or have meetings and, “I’m a team builder.”

Allen Fahden: Yeah, yeah.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, yeah, we can all sing kumbaya around the fireplace or have the potluck on Friday, but at the end of the day the object of the exercise in business is to get something done. If you do not know who is on your team, it will always be challenging. It’s just a fact, right?

If you don’t understand if that person is a shaker or if that person is approver or applying themselves, it’s kind of crazy. We just validated the assessment recently and I have met over a thousand people in the last, I don’t know, month and a half, is that? That’s about, maybe two months, and I can email them and tell them who they are and they think it’s magic, it’s hilarious, based off of their core nature of work.

It’s like, no, it’s just your core nature of work. When the object of the exercise becomes not getting along but getting something done, it’s very interesting to see people’s response. Right? Even based off their core nature of work. By the way, I don’t think we’ve had one maker actually finish the assessment, right?

Allen Fahden: Why?

Karla Nelson: Right, why? Because, it hurts them to do something new. They’ve got real work to do back at your desk.

Allen Fahden: Yeah, that’s true.

Karla Nelson: We actually had to go through. So, almost everybody in my network, I guarantee you is a mover or a shaker or a combination of the two. All right. Then, it’s funny because Kevin, almost everybody in his network was a prover. We had to get a hundred more just to make sure that the bell curve was accurate. He sent this out to individuals, and he had tons of provers. Well, imagine that, that a prover, that’s a pilot, and has connected with other provers. Right?

The fact that we can’t get a maker to take it to save our lives, think about that just for a second. So, understanding who is on your team is absolutely critical to being able to figuring out what you’re going to do, and then how you’re going to do it, even when it comes to doing the thousand person validation study that we’re doing.

Allen Fahden: Yep. I think one of things you’re coming up with here too is that there’s a point along the road were this big pit opens up and you fall into it. That point along the road is after you have your ideas. Okay?

So, you have people picking the wrong ideas, you have people fighting for a crazy idea, you have all kinds of things going on. That’s where all the knowing goes out the window. People don’t know what to do, so they cope. I’ll give you an example of this. There’s a lot of delusion that goes on too. Somebody once said, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Karla Nelson: I’ve heard that before.

Allen Fahden: Yes, and I’ll give you an example. I went to a brainstorming session once and it was all morning long, and it was in one of these big places with all the flip charts and toys to get your brain going. Obviously the whole objective of brainstorming is to generate ideas. A lot of them, and you hope that some of them are good, and you hope that you can pick the good ones and go with them, and you hope that you can get those that you picked implement.

So, give me an example of how it can all blow up. I love some of these ideas. This happened to be for a company that made cheese, and they wanted to become a dominant force, really disrupt the market, be the innovator, and really have something where they’re going to really exert their power and make the market over.

So, we had all these great ideas, and I said, “I’m coming back this afternoon if it’s okay with you. I want to see which ideas you’re going with. There’s so many great ideas here. I’m really excited about what you’re doing.” So, I came back about 3:00 in the afternoon. Now I had left there, there were about 170 ideas pinned to the walls on those flip chart papers. I walked in about 3:00 and I started realizing, and these two guys were still there, the people from the company, and I started looking at the ideas.

I couldn’t find any that weren’t crossed off there. They were just lines through them and I, “Oh my God, that’s a great idea.” I’m thinking, “Why would anybody cross that off, get rid of it?” So, this is a big room, about maybe 30 yards long, it was huge. I walk to the other end, these guys are there and they turned around, they have big grins on their faces and they said, “We got it. We got it. This is really going to do it. I can’t believe it.”

I’m thinking, “What?” Because, there were so many good ideas then. So I went, “Oh, I’m glad you got it. So, what are you going to go with?” They said, now, this is, again, in the face of some really great ideas-

Karla Nelson: Yeah, brace yourself for this, right? Innovation all morning long, 170, and drum roll please.

Allen Fahden: Oh, my gosh. The room was on fire, sparks everywhere. I said, “Well, what idea did you choose, and how did you get here? What methods did you use?” They said, “Oh, it’s easy. We just took any idea that it had something wrong with it and crossed it out.” Well, every idea has something wrong with it.

Karla Nelson: Has something wrong with it. That’s why you run the process before you pick it.

Allen Fahden: Yes, the bigger the idea, the more it has wrong with it. Every colleague of mine in Singapore said, “Every idea’s important drowning,” and it’s true. The bigger the idea, the more that was wrong with initially. So, they’d use of the Hoodoo method to get all the negatives out of it and keep the positives and actually improve it.

So, what was the idea that they went with? Now, I’m really curious. They got these big grins on their faces and they say, “Okay, okay. Do you know on the package when they reach in the refrigerator case and get our cheese out of it, there is a rectangle on the package. There’s type on top of the rectangle, and the rectangle’s navy blue. You know how that is?” “Yeah.” They said, “Well, we’re going to change that to teal. From navy blue teal.” I was-

Karla Nelson: So, those were obviously provers or makers, who knows.

Allen Fahden: Stop me now before I shoot myself.

Karla Nelson: Which, by the way, we need everybody. We need you at different times, and so that’s why the mover gets to pick the idea. The prover gets to poke the holes in the idea, and the shaker gets to overcome the challenges that you run with. Because, what happened there is there was a, “Hey, it’s because I get to pick the idea,” right? Then, they didn’t throw it through the provers, and then onto the shakers, then having the mover facilitate it.

Of course, this is only an ideation. Implementation changes a bit, but one of the biggest things is movers, 15% of the population. All right? They, number one, are the group that says yes to a new idea. It’s got to be a good idea because they’re really have a gut instinct of picking that, but yet they also understand how to combine, if necessary, ideas and then come up with a strategic plan, right that can help, or who do we need? When do we need them? All that good stuff. Right?

But, the cool part about it and ideation is now you’ve got your shakers and your provers, which by the way, Allen, shaker walked in the room, and I guarantee you, even though it was a hired position, you are rolling your eyes going, “Are you serious?” as a shaker, “You came up with all this cool stuff and that’s what you picked?”

So, what would happen is if the mower picked the idea, “Hey,” even though a mover would never pick change something from blue to teal. It’s just not going to happen. But if they did, okay, and that’s what you did, the prover’d be like, “Why the hell would that even change our sales?” Then, the shaker would be like, “Yeah, why the hell would that change our sales?” You’d be gone with it. Right? So, that’s the re-

Allen Fahden: It’s going back to the false dilemma of killing the idea or running with a bad idea. Now on face, you would think that running with a bad idea would mean like have some bad consequences. Unintended consequences might kill people if you’ve made the thing teal. No, nobody’s going to say that. But nevertheless, it’s an even worse idea in some ways because it won’t move the needle, it won’t do anything. Nobody will even notice.

What you’re doing is you’re wasting your resources, and you’re confirming that you’re going to be a Me Too, and making a commodity out of your own product. So, why waste the time? Why waste the resources? Why show the market that you’re not going to innovate while somebody else is eating your lunch by doing a big idea at the same time?

Karla Nelson: Absolutely. So, we all just need to do what you said, which was go to the meeting, and then take their ideas, and form a team, and go into business as your competitors.

Allen Fahden: That’s right. They weren’t too excited about that either when I suggested that, “Why don’t you just let me have these and I’ll start my own cheese company? Okay?”

Karla Nelson: Yeah, exactly. So, they just thought they couldn’t do anything about a situation that was at hand. I think that’s really going back to what we started with, Allen, which is a lot of times to have the competitive advantage is just to realize there is something you can do about the challenge in the problem at hand. Right?

Allen Fahden: Yep.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and I think often we focus on the wrong problems.

Allen Fahden: Well yeah, and that’s, again, is a symptom of being stuck in what we know we know, and what we know we don’t know. When we get all the way through to what we don’t know we don’t know, and we’ll talk about this in part two, and then to the end thing is what we don’t know we knew, or another way of saying that is, I didn’t know I knew that, but this is great.

Karla Nelson: This is super cool. By the way, this is where most people’s core nature of work lives.

Allen Fahden: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: This is the thing that is easy for us. We do it without thinking. It’s all we need to do is have somebody pull it out of us. It’s because we spend only eight to 10% of our day working in this place, and that is the sweet spot, because you already know it. You don’t need to do anything about it. You just need to dig into that aspect and apply it, maybe, to something else.

Allen Fahden: Yep.

Karla Nelson: So, I’m super, super excited about part two of this series because that’s really where the juice is. Although, it’s more common for us to think about what we know we know and what we know we don’t know. Right? So, “I have this problem, I need to learn about it.” So, that’s what we know we don’t know, or “I know that. I’ve been living in that space for a very long time,” right? That’s the safe space. So, part one of this series is the safe space that most people and most businesses play in.

Allen Fahden: The safe space is not safe.

Karla Nelson: Yes. It’s not safe.

Allen Fahden: But, it is a great opportunity because your competitor’s also in that safe space and it’s not safe for them. One great thing is just to shove them deeper into their safe space, and then occupy the territory of what part two is going to be on.

Karla Nelson: Yes. Awesome. I watched G.I. Joe as a kid, that knowing is half the battle, right?

Allen Fahden: That’s right.

Karla Nelson: So, being aware of this is super important and understanding Johari’s window, that our good friends Joe and Harry created in 1955, is absolutely fantastic. Any last words, sir?

Allen Fahden: Yeah, I just wanted to say one thing. I’m going to go back to my favorite philosopher, Yogi Berra, who played all the time and, “We don’t know that we know,” who turned out to be one of the great philosophers of all time. He was in eighth grade, his a teacher called him up after test and said, “Lawrence, it appears to me from the results of your examination, you don’t seem to know much of anything.” Yogi shoots back, “Know anything? I don’t even suspect anything.”

So, you got to love that guy. He was playing in a completely different plain, and that’s what we’re going to talk about next time. So, tune back in for part two.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Awesome. Looking forward to it, Mr. Fahden, and we’ll see you on part two. In the meantime, you can go ahead and check out our website at thepeoplecatalysts, and that is plural because we need you all but at different times, dot com.

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The 10 Rules of Business

The 10 Rules of Business

There are 10 rules of business which we believe should stand true for any business owner, no matter how small or large. These rules will get you through rough and great times. 

The 10 Rules of Business are: 

  1. Always keep your cool
  2. Get up when you get knocked down
  3. Relationships are everything 
  4. Anything worth doing is worth doing well 
  5. Always be coachable 
  6. Attitude determines how far you will go 
  7. Focus, focus, focus
  8. Listen, listen, listen
  9. Gratitude is always the best policy
  10. Never be afraid to ask for help

Klaire Nelson is a bright light at any gathering. Whether she is at her martial arts class or cub scout meeting, she is a leader and inspiration for others. At just 5 years of age, she started her interest in business by asking her mom if she could learn everything there is to know about business. This turned into “The 10 Rules of Business: So Simple You Can Remember It. So Effective You’ll Want To.” Klaire is now 10 years old an excited as ever for the business community.

Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Klaire discuss The 10 Rules of Business 

Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalysts’ Podcast, Miss Klaire Nelson.  

Klaire Nelson: Hi.

Karla Nelson: Hello. We are so excited to have you. You are the first 10-year-old to have on the show.  

Klaire Nelson: Well, I’m very honored to be on the show. Ask my mother.

Karla Nelson: If anybody hadn’t picked that up yet, Klaire Nelson is my 10-year-old daughter who has been very interested in business since a very young age. She even has attended meetings with me where we’re raising capital for companies and all sorts of good stuff, and so she’s had to witness a lot of the different business things that happen regardless if it’s the recording of video and podcast and teaching and training, all sorts of good stuff.  

When Klaire was about four years old, she was almost five, she came to me and said, “Mom, when I get older, can you teach me everything there is to know about business?” and I said, “Well, of course. I’ll teach you what I know, but learnings are endless when it comes to business. You can never really learn everything.” But what we’re going to talk about today here is how your inner five-year-old is often your best coach. Miss Klaire, are you ready to walk us through the 10 rules of business?  

Klaire Nelson: Absolutely. I am ready to go.

Karla Nelson: Awesome. Why don’t you tell us the rule of business first? Actually, no. Why don’t you tell the story, and then after you tell the story of what was happening and how you learned it… and this was probably… it started, I don’t know, a couple months after she actually asked me because I’m thinking, “What in the world? I’m just going to make… How am I going to create these 10 rules of business?” and we did it around her own learning. Why don’t you tell us what the story is for the first rule of business?  

Klaire Nelson: Well, I was having a total complete meltdown about having my homework not correctly done from the night prior. I was not keeping my cool or anything, and my mom was pretty annoyed. She said my name, “Hey, Klaire, would you like to know the first rule of business?” and I said yes, and I very quickly stopped crying. She said, “Rule one-”

Karla Nelson: It was very-  

Klaire Nelson: ” … of business-”

Karla Nelson: … exciting moment, wasn’t it? Very-  

Klaire Nelson: It really was.

Karla Nelson: … exciting.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, and she said, “Rule one of business is always keep your cool. No matter what. Always keep your cool.” That is rule one of business and how I learned it.

Karla Nelson: Yep, and you straightened up really quickly, and we figured it out, got your homework put together, and got you in the car and off to kindergarten, right?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, and we still use all the rules today in our household.

Karla Nelson: Yes. We do.  

Klaire Nelson: Almost every day.

Karla Nelson: Klaire, tell us the story around rule two of business and how you learned that.  

Klaire Nelson: Well I was riding my scooter around a very small piece of concrete, and I had fallen and scraped my knees. My hands were hurt, and I came inside crying, wanting help, and my mom said, “Hey, would you like to know rule two of business?” and I said yes and quickly stopped crying.

Karla Nelson: Yep, and so what- 

Klaire Nelson: She said, “Rule two of business get up when you get knocked down,” and I stopped crying. I got a hold of myself, and I went back out to play.

Karla Nelson: It was amazing. I was amazed that that would… you responded so positively because you were cut up pretty good from that scooter fall.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: All right, so Klaire rules three of business, can you tell us a story around that and then what the rule is?  

Klaire Nelson: Yes. I would love to. One night when my brother was babysitting and I was kind of angry at him, I was pretty young, and I went to my mom and dad when they got home, and I was telling him all my brother’s fault. I was just listing them out and calling him out on everything. My mom said, “Hey, Klaire, would you like to learn rule three of business.” I said yes, and I was quiet. She said, “Rule three of business is relationships are everything.” I quickly said, “Okay, I will not list anymore of these.” I had fun, and-

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and I remember when you went to… Mr. Allen had one of his book launches, and you even sat there for three hours when you were five years old, and it got boring. Then Dad looked over at you and said, “Klaire, remember rule three business.” That’s when you were five. My goodness. That’s been like five years ago.  

Klaire Nelson: It was fun though. He was taking dollar bills, and everyone who got them right, he made a money shower.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, the $2 bill man, huh?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: All right. Okay, so let’s move on to rule four and what was happening when you learned rule four of business.  

Klaire Nelson: Well, when I listened to my mom, and she said, “If you want… ” I wanted to go to the mall, and she said, “If you want to go to the mall and play in the kids’ area, then you have to clean your room.” I went upstairs. Five minutes later, I came down and said, “Mom, I’m done. Mom, I’m done.” She was still skeptical about it because it was a five year old cleaning a room in five minutes and …

Karla Nelson: Not too believable, huh?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, she went upstairs. I had just put all my stuff in my closet, under the bed, and my drawers were a mess. My mom said-

Karla Nelson: You’d be sneakier about it these days, huh?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah. My mom said, “Hey, Klaire, would you like to learn rule five of business?”

Karla Nelson: Rule four.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, rule four.

Karla Nelson: Yeah.  

Klaire Nelson: I said, “Yes,” and my mom said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well. That is rule four of business.” I quickly cleaned my room, and I had done a good job on it because rule four, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and you wanted to go to the mall and play in the kids’ area.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: All right. Let’s move on to rule five of business. What was your story, and then what was the learning from it?  

Klaire Nelson: Well, I was trying to… Well, I wasn’t being very nice to my father, and I wasn’t responding correctly. He was trying to teach me something, and I kept saying, “I know, I know.”

Karla Nelson: Because five-year-olds know everything, right?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah. Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Yep. What happened? He kept on trying to teach you something, and then you kept on responding with, “I know,” and then he was trying to teach you something of the same way, and then you said, “I know,” a couple of times?  

Klaire Nelson: Yes, and my mom quickly heard and-

Karla Nelson: I was at the top of the stairs over-listening the conversation.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, and my mom said, “Hey, Klaire, would you like to learn rule five of business?” I said, “Yes, I would like to learn rule five of business.” She said, “Always be coachable,” and I quickly said, “What does coachable mean?”

Karla Nelson: That’s right. You did say, “What is coachable mean?” and then Dad and I laughed.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, and then they told me what coachable means, and I quickly listened to my father. I still a little bit of the problem to this day.

Karla Nelson: You’re aware of it, right? You’re aware of it and-  

Klaire Nelson: Yes. I am …

Karla Nelson: … awareness is important. Yes. Yes. Well, you come by it honest, darlings, so I’ve had to learn that in my own life as well. Okay, let’s move on to rule six of business.  

Klaire Nelson: Okay.

Karla Nelson: Yeah? 

Klaire Nelson: I’m ready.

Karla Nelson: All right, take her away. Let’s hear your story about rule six of business and then what the learning ended up being.  

Klaire Nelson: Rule six of business was when I wasn’t responding correctly to my father, and it was not acceptable. When he tried to tell me something, I shook my head with an attitude.

Karla Nelson: You did a teenager shake at five years old.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: I was like, “What? No way. You’re five. You’re not supposed to be shaking your head like that until you’re at least 13.”  

Klaire Nelson: I did that, and my mom, her instincts had been quickly now because she has told me all the other rules of business, and she said, “Klaire, that is not acceptable. Would you like to learn rule six of business?” and I said, “Yes.” She said, “Rule six of business attitude determines how far you will go.” I said, “I’m sorry, Dad. I will not do that anymore because that is not acceptable,” and I also still have a little bit of this problem today.

Karla Nelson: Well … we all just have to work to get better. Yes. I’m glad you’re still learning from your learnings, Miss Klaire, so okay-  

Klaire Nelson: No one’s perfect.

Karla Nelson: Yep. None of us are perfect. It’s all just a part of knowing who you are and learning and being coachable to be able to learn these things in life because it makes life a lot easier, doesn’t it?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah. It really does.

Karla Nelson: Yes, it does, especially when you’re leading a team. Let’s go ahead and talk about now rule seven of business and what was happening, and then what your learning ended up being.  

Klaire Nelson: Well, it was in the morning while I was getting ready for school, and my mom was reading off the stuff that I should know, like get my backpack, get my schoolwork, get my clothes, get my shoes, get into the car. I wasn’t listening, and I was not being nice about it, and she said-

Karla Nelson: I think it took you like 15 minutes to get your shoes on that morning.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah, and then-

Karla Nelson: And you were bouncing over the walls and halfway dressed and yeah.  

Klaire Nelson: And then my mom quickly said, “Klaire, would you like to learn rule seven of business,” and I said, “Yes.” She said, “Rule seven of business is focus, focus, focus,”-

Karla Nelson: Yes.  

Klaire Nelson: … and-

Karla Nelson: What does that mean, Klaire? What does focus, focus, focus mean?  

Klaire Nelson: You… Well, you do one thing… It’s kind of like focusing on one thing and then trying to focus on multiple things and getting confused-

Karla Nelson: Yep-  

Klaire Nelson: … and-

Karla Nelson: … or running around in a circle like you were that morning, not getting anything really accomplished except for one shoe on and halfway dressed-  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: So you got to focus, focus-  

Klaire Nelson: Focus.

Karla Nelson: … focus.  

Klaire Nelson: Focus.

Karla Nelson: Yes. Okay. Let’s now move on to rule eight of business and what happened and what your learning was.  

Klaire Nelson: Well, I was on one of the beanbags that we had in our house, and my mom was trying to tell me about the horrible accident my grandma and grandpa had got in. My grandpa only broke a couple ribs, and my grandma, she broke almost every single bone in her leg. I wasn’t listening about it, and I just kept interrupting my mom and trying to tell her story about a friend at school because I wasn’t listening, and she said, “Klaire, would you like to learn rule eight of business?” and I said, “Yes.” She said, “Rule eight of business is listen, listen, listen.”

Karla Nelson: Yep.  

Klaire Nelson: I quickly listened to my mom, and I’ve realized that I should have listened way earlier. I helped get a gift bag, and we sent my grandma and grandpa a gift basket.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, you did. You send them a gift basket so that hopefully they would heal up and feel better. That was very cool. Now, all right, well, we are going to move on now to rule nine of business, and so share with us, Miss Klaire, your learning, or your story first of what happened, and then what you’re learning.  

Klaire Nelson: Well, we had gone to the gym, and my parents were working out. After the gym, we had gotten a pizza, and-

Karla Nelson: Not the best thing to get after working out, huh?  

Klaire Nelson: Nope.

Karla Nelson: But at least you can eat the pizza after you work out, right?  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: It’s better to eat the pizza after your workout than not-  

Klaire Nelson: Than eat before.

Karla Nelson: … work out and eat the pizza.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah. My mom had let her limits push, and she let us get some chocolate milk. When we got our chocolate milk, she said, “You only get one, and that’s all you get, okay?” I said, “Okay, but can I have some potato chips?” and she said no. I started whining. If you know my mom, you’ll know that she does not like little kids whining.

Karla Nelson: I don’t like anybody whining.  

Klaire Nelson: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: You got a what? What’s the thing? Instead of whining, what do you do first, Klaire?  

Klaire Nelson: Ask questions?

Karla Nelson: You can. Ask questions is good, but look to solve your problem because whining, does whining help anybody?  

Klaire Nelson: No, it doesn’t make. It makes your head hurt.

Karla Nelson: Okay, so you’re sitting there, and you got your chocolate milk. You don’t get your potato chips, and you’re whining and throwing a fit. What happens?  

Klaire Nelson: You say, “Hey, Klaire, do you want to learn rule nine of business?” and I said, “Yes.” Mom said, “Gratitude is always the best policy.” I said, “What does gratitude mean?” You have this five-year-old saying, “What does gratitude mean?”

Karla Nelson: Now, what is your definition of gratitude now?  

Klaire Nelson: You accept what you get and accept people’s answers, like if I wanted potato chips and chocolate milk when I was only allowed to get chocolate milk, and I started whining, I just be thankful for what I get instead of wanting other things.

Karla Nelson: I love that. 

Klaire Nelson: A roof to live, a safe family, that’s the thing you should be grateful for.

Karla Nelson: So being thankful, I love it, being grateful. Gratitude is being thankful and grateful. Okay, so we are wrapping it up with the last rule of business, so if you could walk us through, Miss Klaire, the story around that and what your learning was.  

Klaire Nelson: Yes, ma’am. With rule 10 of business, we were at the gym the same night that I learned rule nine, and my mom said, “Hey, could you please get all the trash and put it in the trash can?” and I said yes, so I took a pizza tray and tried to get all the trash on it. You could tell by looking at me that you or anybody else could know that I needed some help, but as an apple off the tree, I did not want any help.

My mom said, “Hey, Klaire, would you like to learn rule 10 of business?” and I said, “Yes.” Mom said, “Never be afraid to ask for help.” I quickly asked my brother Cole and said, “Hey, Cole, could you please help me get all this trash in the trash can?” and he happily got up to help me, and we got all the trash in the trash can.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. I struggle with rule 10 sometimes, not so much-  

Klaire Nelson: So do I.

Karla Nelson: … in business, but yeah, and all of these are great, wonderful learnings, Klaire. We’re so excited you got to share them with us here today. Out of all 10 rules, what’s your favorite rule?  

Klaire Nelson: That’s really hard because all of them are really helpful on life, and you should always follow them, but maybe rule 10, I think?

Karla Nelson: That’s a great one. That’s one that I can learn from, but my favorite one is rule three of business.  

Klaire Nelson: Oh yeah, that’s a really good one.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. In business and in life, relationships are everything, and that is our tagline here on the People Catalysts’ podcast. We need you all. We need you at different times. Miss Klaire, thank you so much for sharing your brilliance with us here today. We’ll have to have you-  

Klaire Nelson: Thank you.

Karla Nelson: … on the podcast again.  

Klaire Nelson: Thank you, Mommy.

Posted on

How to Lead Like a Boss (4 of 4)

How to Lead Like a Boss

(Part 4 of 4)

This is part 4 of the podcast series How to Lead Like a Boss, we discuss six different types of hazardous attitudes and how to manage them in your company.  

The 6 different hazardous attitudes are: 

  1. Anti-authority 
  2. Impulsivity 
  3. Invulnerability (aka bulletproof syndrome) 
  4. Macho attitude (aka disengagement) 
  5. Listen to your mentors 
  6. Get there-itis 

If you missed Part 1 of this series, where we discussed the sources of leadership power, you can listen to it here.
Listen to Part 2 of the series here.  We discussed the first 5 traps in working with people.
Listen to Part 3 here.  It was all about the next 5 traps in working with people.

Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Kevin Discuss How to Lead Like a Boss (4 of 4)

Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Kevin Nothstine.

Kevin Nothstine: Thank you Karla. Happy to be here.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, glad to have you here and this is exciting. We started out doing one podcast and ended up doing a four part series because as we started looking at this, this is not only amazing information, there is a lot to it. Of course, leave it to the military to dump tons of paper cuts and then trying to figure out, okay, how do we communicate this in a way that is applicable. Then also not giving too much.

I love immersion. At the same time you also want to walk away with some bits of information that you can quickly apply in your business. I think I’ve learned just as much on this podcast as any. My goodness, it’s been fantastic. What we did is we started out in identifying the seven sources of authority.

Part one of this series was how to lead like a boss and then we moved into how to work as a team, like a boss. As we identified these traps, as Kevin said, or pitfalls in just human nature and how we respond to things and why it’s so critical and important to understand those 10 pitfalls.

Then working through those 10 pitfalls, we came about that there’s really one pitfall that is really, really critical and important in kind of a foundation for a lot of the other ones because it’s difficult if somebody has what they call a, well I changed it to bad attitude, but I actually went back to hazardous attitude. Especially after one of them I have that I’m totally happy to worry about where I want to go and what’s the itis called there Kevin?

Kevin Nothstine: It’s get there-itis.

Karla Nelson: Get there-itis. I’m like I’m happy to have get there-itis. It’s like I can see why they probably analyze the heck out of it and said, “Wait a second, bad attitude doesn’t exactly fit because I could be completely happy with this hazardous attitude of get there-itis.” It’s not necessarily just about attitude, but it really is about opening up your mind to be taught and to learn.

We’re going to dive deep into some of these anecdotes or how you solve, I love anecdotes. Of course, that’s what the military uses instead of solutions. Solutions to these hazardous attitudes that we talked about.

I’m not sure if everybody’s listened To the previous three podcasts, so I will take a moment to introduce our guest here today. Kevin Nothstine spent 21 years of active duty as an officer in the Air Force. He currently spends some of his time as a special ops air crew instructor teaching the same mission in an aircraft that he flew in Afghanistan and Iraq and my goodness, you did what, over a hundred combat missions there?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, around there.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Oh, that’s all, yeah. Basically this mission is to find the bad guys and tell the good guys where they are. So if you think about the Bin Laden raids, there’s something called a stack, and this particular aircraft, the MC-12 is that the top of the stack and then there could be a whole different blend of aircraft all the way down to the boots on the ground. Kevin is also one of the cofounders of the People Catalyst and he is a prover shaker.

Kevin Nothstine: Prover Shaker as opposed to Karla, the host of the People Catalysts Podcast, who is an uber mover who likes to move things forward and make them happen.

Karla Nelson: I get a little shaker, I’m a shaker.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, mover shaker. Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Every once in a while I come up with a good idea, but we’ve got Allen on the team. So it’s normally just minimizing his crazy ideas. Almost always the best ideas. Yeah.

Welcome to the show. We’re excited about this today because we’re going to talk about how to solve these, what they call hazardous attitudes in this crew resource management training. If you want to give us a little bit of a context around that, Kevin, we’ll start there and then we’ll roll right into these solutions to make sure that you don’t get into these areas as leaders.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, and podcasts in this series number two and number three, we actually broke it down. We had 10 different traps or these things that can cause problems in how you operate. And just real quickly, we talked about excessive professional courtesy. We talked about the halo effect, haster syndrome, hidden agenda.

Karla Nelson: Oh yeah.

Kevin Nothstine: All of these.

Karla Nelson: These are not my new names. I gave new names to all these. They were actually in English.

Kevin Nothstine: And multiple ones there. You can go back and listen to two and three without getting in any detail. One of the big ones, number nine of those 10, was hazardous attitudes, or bad attitudes, or hazardous attitudes. It’s having the wrong mindset about things because your attitude determines how far you can go.

We wanted to dive a little deeper into this because there are some rough attitudes that you can have, but there are solutions to those attitudes as well. If you recognize them in yourself and the parts that can cause some issues and the negative aspects, there’s ways to look at them a little bit differently to try and overcome them for you or for your team members. It’ll work with your team to come up with how to fix these attitudes. We can all think of it and you can always say, “Oh, he’s got a bad attitude,” but we actually give names to some of those bad attitudes.

Karla Nelson: You know what’s kind of interesting, I didn’t think about before, doesn’t the plane when you fly, I guess I’ve been hanging around with you long enough that I’ve learned enough about, I would never want to actually… You would not want me to fly the aircraft, but I’ve learned a lot. Isn’t there a term for the attitude of the plane even?

Kevin Nothstine: It’s a different definition of attitude.

Karla Nelson: Of course but isn’t it?

Kevin Nothstine: But you do have some planes that… You know what? You’re kind of right about that. I fly a fleet of multiple planes and sometimes the planes, they don’t fly right and some of them fly a little bit more crooked than some of the others do.

Karla Nelson: You don’t actually think about that, but that is kind of interesting. Like the attitude of the plane and well it made me think about it because your attitude determines how far you go. It’s just so foundational and there’s so many very similar things, not only in the foundation but then also the training that goes into that. Both on you learn how to fly aircraft, but then also running companies and being a leader. There’s so much about what the military teaches and their training is so extensive. Companies should really pay attention to that.

Kevin Nothstine: Karla, that really does bring up an entirely different subject that could be a whole different podcast that we have one day. The plane is a tool. It’s a tool of what you use to be able to accomplish the mission. As you said in the introduction there, the mission that we do in the plane that I instructed in, the MC-12, our mission is to find the bad guys and tell the good guys are where they are and protect the good guys and to make things happen in that realm.

The aircraft, the MC-12, is a tool and just like any other tool, you have to know… one, you have to have the right tool for the job and two, you have to know how to use that tool. Sometimes if you think of a tool chest, you have a couple of different screwdrivers that are in there and you could have one screwdriver that it’s kind of bent or has a little problem with that and when you use that screwdriver, you’ve got to know how to use that tool effectively.

Karla Nelson: That’s so funny. That actually makes me think about the WHO-DO method, Mover Shaker Prover Maker. They all excel in certain things and not in another thing. So Allen always tells a really funny story. He loves baseball, he loves it so much, and he’s done a ton of work in that realm, but they put him in the finance area of it and it was like, are you serious? Like what are you? “Oh well, there’s this space and you love baseball, right?” I mean it’s like you have to understand how a shaker excels, a mover excels, a prover excels, and a maker excels so that you can utilize that tool or even the one are that we don’t talk about very often because 100% of the work is made for one percent of the population that are imbalanced across all four.

It’s like your utility infielder, right? They’re not super awesome at first base, but when that guy gets hurt, you can put that guy in and so understanding is, and of course we don’t want to identify people just as tools, but in business when the object of the exercise is to get something done, it’s critical that you understand your team or as you say, crew, right? And the mission that you fly. It’s understanding where you can put them in so that they’re going to excel to the maximum or understand where they might be miscast and you’re asking them to do something that they’re really, really stinky at.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. And your examples is, you’re exactly right when you’re talking about your role versus your passion. You know, you can be passionate about baseball, but if you’re passionate about baseball and you love being a pitcher and now all of a sudden we have you playing shortstop, your role is completely miscast even though you’re passionate about baseball.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. So I like that. I like that, thinking about what the attitude is and how that rolls into those different parallels. So, okay, so we’ll go ahead and let’s get started. How many of these solutions or anecdotes as the Air Force would say?

Kevin Nothstine: We’re going to go through six different hazardous attitudes and we did have the 10 different traps and inside of the 10 traps we have hazardous attitude is one trap. And there’s, it’s just layers upon layers of stuff.

Karla Nelson: It’s amazing guys, you guys, if you ever want, it’s the best training. They’ve obviously deduced this, the provers have eaten it alive and made it to the, you know, it’s awesome. It’s just really interesting because the language is all, it’s like the longer you can make the word, the better.

Kevin Nothstine: They’re trying to be as precise as possible.

Karla Nelson: Yes, there you go. See, the prover. So the prover says precise as possible, which by the way, I have to agree. When I said no bad attitude, it’s like you could be totally happy being the macho person. You totally could, or all those other ones that we went through before so you can be happy, so it’s not necessarily that it’s a bad attitude. It’s a hazardous. It could contaminate the team. Right?

Kevin Nothstine: What you’re talking about is leadership is both an art and a science, and the art is, “Oh, it feels right and we can do it this way and paint it that way and put these things together,” and they’re trying to boil it down to a science because you’re trying to take a multitude of individuals and teach them. If they’re not an artist in this area, we’re trying to give them the tools available, so to do that they’re trying to boil it down to a science and that’s why we have 10 different traps and one trap, we have six different.

Karla Nelson: I love that though because we’re a process, process, process, process, process, process, focus. 94% of failures, process failure, not people failure.

Kevin Nothstine: You know what? That really does bring up the first of these hazardous attitudes because you can have certain people and the first that hazardous attitude, the first one is anti-authority. Believe it or not, there can be people in the military and everywhere else even though they try to beat it out of you in basic training and everywhere else, you can have an anti-authority attitude and to put it in a nutshell, anti-authority is, “Well don’t tell me how to do it,” and as you might imagine, a few air crew or pilots might have a little bit of that anti-authority

Karla Nelson: Dun dun dun dun, pilots. No. No.

Kevin Nothstine: I actually had one pilot that I was trying to train and he was a pretty experienced individual and the instructor that worked with him before identified that he had not been doing some of his work on his checklist of knowing the checklist as well as he needed to. And so I had that piece of information going into a training session with him and it was specifically on checklist procedures. Well, this individual came to me and I very quickly identified, yeah, he hasn’t done it enough on it. And I was telling him, “Okay, you need to know the checklist to this level of detail. You need to have this part of the checklist memorized. You need to do it this way.” Well, that didn’t jive with what he wanted to do and he just had a very anti-authority attitude about going into this. And it ended up being a very confrontational training session and I don’t think the student got a lot out of it as a result.

Karla Nelson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, of course, yeah. Now you’re closing yourself off and it’s why we wanted to dive deepest on the solutions to this because if you’re starting out that way, you are a threat to yourself and everyone else. If you have a hazardous attitude, you’re contaminating the team basically.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. This particular individual, he actually contaminated a team. That was about two years ago, that we had this incident with him. Well, his anti-authority attitude continued, and let’s just say it has led to not the best situation and he’s no longer a part of that team.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And that can happen, right? So because we all have to follow processes and procedures, especially in the military. My goodness, you guys are the father. But outside of Edwards Deming, the military would be definitely the next place that there’s a process for everything and a procedure for everything, right.

Kevin Nothstine: And of course their antidote to this hazardous attitude, would they like to teach is follow the rules. They’re usually right.

Karla Nelson: That’s what they call it the rules.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. It should be follow your procedures. It’s not just rules. There’s a whole bunch of items that are not rules.

Karla Nelson: Yep. Well, we love process and procedures. I’ve already said 94% of failures, process failure, not people failure. Edwards Deming, he’s considered the father of manufacturing. I quote him all time because it’s so, so critical in business to have a process, a process by which you identify the decisions, what are we going to do, ideation, implementation, how are we going to do it?

And it reminds me of a friend of mine who, gosh, I’ve known for a very long time and most of you guys would probably know the name of the company that he sold a couple of years ago and we had the fortunate opportunity of doing his financing way back in the day when I was in the world of finance and he was a small gig set up at the time and had a couple of retail stores and when we walked in to do the financing, he pulled out the largest set of instructional manuals I probably have ever heard.

Now guys, this was before you could do it digitally and have it in the cloud and do all this stuff. So it literally was like, clunk. I remember looking at it and my associate at the time looked at it and said, “Oh, this guy is going to be really successful because he has got every process and procedure written down in how he was growing this,” and he ended up selling his company I think somewhere around $640 million. So, and this is a retail small chain that ended up going, I don’t even know, I don’t know if it was international, but it was a huge brand and so you know, it’s important. Process and procedures are absolutely critical.

Kevin Nothstine: Now, those processes and procedures and not only having them but training people to follow them.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Oh, training. Imagine that.

Kevin Nothstine: Which brings up the, I’m sorry, go ahead. What were you going to say?

Karla Nelson: I was just saying and the military is the best at it because they not only have process, they probably overkill, right? They kind of go the other way sometimes probably where innovation is squashed out, but the military is awesome about this because everybody shows up and they train and they train and they train. Right? And so we can’t spend 100% of the day training. Right? We have to balance that out with doing other things, but explaining the process and procedures and then put, I hate to say a process around the process, but that’s what the WHO-DO method actually is because contextually you can apply it in any other area, right? So just, yeah, it’s not only critical but then using contextually over that, right, how you run that process and procedures. Not only communicating it like you said, Kevin, but communicating in a way that the team builds the process and the procedure together as well, if you have to start at ground zero.

In the military, I’m going to guess you get told a lot of stuff, especially after a lot of the bugs had been worked out. In corporate America, it’s a little bit different in the sense that if everybody can put their fingerprint on the process, if it’s starting at ground zero or look at it because everybody looks at processes and procedures differently, right? Shakers want to break the rules. Movers want to interpret the rules. Provers want to make the rules and makers want to follow the rules. So those were rules. That’s exactly what the anecdote just said. Follow the rules, they’re usually right. Well guess what? You got four sets of dang people that follow the rules differently.

Kevin Nothstine: And those rules can mature over time. You talked about in the military you run things through a process. I’ve got a great story that’s going to go with the next one that talks about how we used to do things that we’ve learned from and gotten a little better at how we do them now.

Karla Nelson: Awesome. Go ahead and lead us through. Ready to go.

Kevin Nothstine: Before we tell this story.

Karla Nelson: I got get there-itis. Come on.

Kevin Nothstine: Before we go into the story, the first one, well the hazardous attitude here is impulsivity. Do something quickly. Okay. Ah, it’s the knee jerk reaction. It’s this happened. I need to do this. Oh, this happened, boom, I’m going to do this and jump right into it without doing a good analysis of understanding exactly what’s going on. So that’s a hazardous attitude.

And the story on this and it’s actually not my story, this is a story from my dad. My dad was a flight engineer on T-29s so this is a story from a long time ago. The plane he was flying had two engines and he was a flight engineer so he’s sitting between the two pilots and at the time in the Air Force, the way they would train for an engine failure is the instructor pilot would actually shut down the engine and then it would go through the procedures. Okay. How do you deal with this engine that you just lost?

Well, the first step was to pull what’s called the T handle. You’d reach up high and you’d pull this T handle and it would shut down the engine. Well, nowadays we’re a lot better and before you pull that, you would verify with the other person that in the plane that, “I’m going to move this T handle. Yes, the left engine failed. I have the left one. I’m going to pull that T handle and shut it down.”

Well, when my dad was flying, they had not worked through those processes yet and the pilot would just reach up and grab the T handle and pull it. So he’s in the plane. The instructor pilot shut down the left engine and his student goes, “Okay, first step is to pull the T handle for that engine.” And he reached up and grabbed the wrong handle.

Karla Nelson: That would be bad.

Kevin Nothstine: He grabbed the right handle instead of the left one.

Karla Nelson: No way, he shut down the other engine?

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. So now this two engine plane has both engines shut down.

Karla Nelson: So now it’s not like in the previous glider, right? Because remember the other guy in the other example.

Kevin Nothstine: In the other example, he just shut off the electronics and the planes still flew. This particular one my dad was on.

Karla Nelson: So now you’re a glider at however far in the air.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. Now they’re able to restart the engines and able to recover.

Karla Nelson: Thank goodness.

Kevin Nothstine: But it was that impulsivity. Somebody just said, “You know what? I know what to do to respond to this emergency situation. I’m just going to do it without any analysis and just jump right in with both feet.”

Karla Nelson: Yeah. You might want to read what side of the aircraft to a shutdown first to be able to restart that one and not shut down the other one. But yeah, exactly, and this happens in business a lot.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. In flying, we say that the antidote or the solution to that is no fast hands or not so fast. Think first.

Yes. And the process can help you with this guys, you’re provers, you’re provers, you’re provers. When you run the process, ensuring that you know we need you all, we need you at different times. And there is a previous podcast, Alan and I actually go through ideation and implementation, the exact steps because of the same players, it’s a different process and understand that your provers can help you so much in thinking through it.

Now when you’re flying an aircraft, obviously you have to move super fast. In business, we’ve got a little bit more time when we’re making decisions. But when you run the process, having your provers be a part of the process, they can help you think this through. I would even say the shakers as well can help a lot of times when for them to overcome the obstacles, the provers are really great at bringing up and then the shakers really great at innovative ways to overcome those. So I love the think first. The only problem is that’s only the really the provers and the shakers that naturally will fall back on thinking versus doing, right? So, but leverage those other people in the process so that you’re thinking through it and before you take action.

Kevin Nothstine: Before you turn your aircraft into a glider.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, exactly.

Kevin Nothstine: All right. Here’s the next one. The next hazardous attitude on ones is, okay. Well, the official term for this in Air Force speak is invulnerability. Okay.

Karla Nelson: What? I guess vulnerable, not vulnerable.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. Invulnerable.

Karla Nelson: I’m going to rename this bulletproof.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. Yep, yep.

Karla Nelson: Superman syndrome.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. It can’t happen to me. Yeah, this can happen to other people. It won’t happen to me. I am bulletproof. Okay. And a good one on this, you may have heard of,this is a, heck, it was probably 15, 20 years ago now, had a B-52, an air crew flying a B-52 for an air show up in a Washington state and the pilot wanted to put on a great air show and well he didn’t think it would happen to him that the plane could actually mess up. Well, he pushed the plane well beyond its limits and he was known for this. He was known for having this attitude to the point that the leadership would not let anybody else fly with him except the highest people.

Karla Nelson: I wouldn’t want to fly with him. Geez. It’s kind of like a little far in the sky to have this invulnerability or bulletproof syndrome.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. And he took a B-52, a very large airplane that the maximum you’re allowed or the maximum bank angle is 60 degrees and bringing it way up and that’s actually pretty high. They usually never even reach that. But for the air show, he brought it up to 90 degrees.

If you know anything about flying or if you’ve seen a plane, there’s no lift, there’s nothing keeping you in the sky at 90 degrees. Well, it was a rather tragic result that when he did this thinking, “Oh, it wouldn’t happen to me,” well, physics doesn’t care what you think. Physics is physics and the plane fell out of the sky and it destroyed the aircraft and the four people inside of it.

Karla Nelson: Gosh, I’m not even a pilot and would realize, no, you might like the wings kind of are important. If you bring it to a 90 degree angle, there’s nothing underneath of you. That’s crazy. How sad. So yes, bulletproof syndrome, not good.

Kevin Nothstine: And the edit on that is to realize, ah, it could happen to me. You know, what you think is the most tragic thing, that just very well could happen.

Karla Nelson: Well, the other thing that makes me think about is, especially on innovation, businesses especially, it’s easy to talk about today because there’s so many examples of it, but it reminds me of GM and Chrysler. So GM actually created the minivan. Most people don’t know that, but they did not want to roll the minivan out into the market in fear that it would take over their station wagon market, right? And yeah. Yeah. And so Chrysler obtained the intellectual property, rolled out the minivan and everybody, I mean how many minivans do you see on the streets today, right?

And then as soon as the SUV came out, when was the last time you saw a station wagon? Right. It just decimated the station wagon business. But yet they don’t have the minivan business. I’m sure they’ve come out with their own version of it.

Kevin Nothstine: Of course, they didn’t think it could happen to them. They didn’t think that they would fail.

Karla Nelson: Not only that, you would still crush the IP. Why would you sell it off? Kodak did the same thing. Right? They created the digital camera, but in fear that it would compete with their other products they sold it. Why would you sell it? Yeah. Now at least don’t sell it to somebody else, but it could never happen to them because they’re the big guys on the block. So, yeah. Okay, go ahead, Kevin.

Kevin Nothstine: The same thing with vacuum cleaners. Forever, they wanted to stick with vacuum cleaners and they wanted to sell vacuum cleaner bags. So all the big names, Hoover and the others refused to switch over. Then Dyson came in and had a bagless vacuum cleaner.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And Dyson’s the best. And they made it swivel for goodness sakes, because you couldn’t with the bag, right?

Kevin Nothstine: The other companies didn’t think they’d be able to fail, but lo and behold, Dyson took over major market share.

Karla Nelson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Awesome. All right, what’s the next one?

Kevin Nothstine: Okay, next one. That’s invulnerability. It can’t happen to me. Well, the next one is kind of, it’s the other side of the same coin a bit and that’s the macho attitude. That’s the, “I can do it, dump it on. I will make it happen. I am full on capable of doing this with no problem at all.”

And just to quick little story on that, I was flying with a guy, he was a CEO of a very successful company and he’s a great guy, really good dude. But what made him a very successful CEO did not transfer well into the cockpit and to fly in a plane. He owned his own plane and he was flying it and I was flying with him and we’re flying into a runway at night in the weather and he had the autopilot coupled up and was letting it apply and I told him early, said, “Hey, you probably want to disengage the autopilot early and just to work with your hand flying and get back to flying the plane, playing yourself and being comfortable with it.” And he’s like, “No, I can take it. I can take it later on. I’ll be no problem at all and I will be able to fly the plane with no problem.”

Well he let the autopilot on for a long time and then as soon as he kicked the autopilot off and started hand flying, well, it was very tight tolerances and he didn’t stay within those tolerances and I ended up taking the plane from him. We had to go around to keep the aircraft in a safe situation and come back and do the approach again.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. That’s why I would be a horrible pilot, although with the right instruction and training. All right. Okay, so what’s the next one?

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. The next one and the big correction to macho is instead of, I can do it, a sometimes taking chances can be foolish or a better way to put that, listen to your mentors.

Karla Nelson: And trainers. Listen to your trainers. Go back to your training, right? The process. Go back to the process. You always use the process.

Kevin Nothstine: Now if you do that, do some other things too much, you know what? You can end up with the next big, bad attitude, which is resignation. Resignation is, you know what’s the use? Nothing’s working. This isn’t going to work well. This is Eeyore.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, I’m going to call this engagement because employee engagement, right? Or disengagement. We’re going to write the whole handbook over again.

Kevin Nothstine: And so if you or obviously not you, our podcast audience is a lot better and of course they would never be disengaged, but other people might be disengaged.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. That’s why our number one post always have to do with how much it costs for turnover and 70% of people hate their jobs in the US, 89% internationally. There are tons of people out there doing things every day that they don’t like. And so we talked about this earlier, is the recent Gallup study and how many people not only are actively disengaged, but then just disengaged. So if you add those two groups together, it’s 53% were disengaged. 13 actively disengaged. This means they will do anything to ruin what it is that you are up to. So when 66% of your workforce is disengaged, what do you think that does to a business?

And on top of that, I think what we missed in the scenario is everybody disengages for different reasons. You know, shakers disengage if it’s not their idea, movers disengage because I’ve got another project and something to do anyway and nothing ever comes of these meetings. Provers disengage because there’s too much wrong with it and makers disengage because they need to get back to their desk and do some real work. So we have to approach disengagement from different aspects.

When you’re using a process and letting them shine in the piece of the work that they do, again, both in ideation, what are we going to do? Implementation, how are we going to do it? Then it’s an easier way to understand why people disengage.

I had before learning the process, many times would be in a meeting, if I was not running the meeting, taking the notes, telling everybody what to do after the meeting, coordinating it, I just sat back and didn’t say a word. I had other things that I wanted to do, right, and that’s how a mover disengages and I think we don’t necessarily take that into consideration of you can’t just tell somebody, engage, engage, engage. I mean it’s just ridiculous. You can’t bring in the speaker to speak for an hour and tell people how to be engaged. It doesn’t make any sense when the object of the exercise is to get something done. So they obviously have to do the part of the work that they excel at, right?

Kevin Nothstine: And you know something that the WHO-DO process really teaches is we need everybody just not at the same time. So when do I really want you engaged? At the right time in the project. So as a leader in a different, as you go through the process, it’s getting the right people with that engagement.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Awesome. Love it. Love this one. That’s a great one. And finally.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay the last one. Get there-itis.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. I got something to do. I think I’m going to have to end the podcast now.

Kevin Nothstine: Sounds like a hidden agenda going on there.

Karla Nelson: That’s a good one. And that’s actually funny because it’s one of the 10 that we went through as far as the traps. Yeah.

Kevin Nothstine: The get there-itis is, in flying, it’s like I must get there tonight. I just need to get to this destination. We want to make it happen and get on the ground or if you’d ever done a long road trip, I have got to get to grandma’s house now or that kind of item. And it can lead to having, for whatever reason you need to get there.

We actually had a time. I was in Guam, we had two C-130s in Guam and we had that day we were going to fly from Guam to the Philippines and back across the ocean. Well my crew, we all, we were staying in the same hotel as the other crew. We checked out of the hotel, we packed all our bags, we had all of our bags and we’re sitting there in the lobby of the hotel about to catch the bus to where the planes were.

Karla Nelson: Even though you’re going back to Guam?

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. We’re coming right back to the same hotel at the same place that night. And the other crew was looking at us and they’re like, “Well, why are you guys doing this?” And we said, “Because we’re flying a C-130 that was built in the early 1960s to another location and shutting down the engines. So just in case, we’re going to do it,” and they’re like, “Yeah, okay, whatever.”

Well, both planes flew to the Philippines with no problem. Well, guess what? The other plane, lo and behold, their plane broke. They had some issues with the plane and they were not able to take off. Our plane, we had no problem. We went back and we had to check back into the hotel and everything, but that plane that broke, as they were going through their decision making process, it could very, very easily saying, we want to get back to Guam because that’s where the hotel were checked into. That’s where all of our clothes are.

Karla Nelson: That’s where our dinner is.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. And all of that. And so they could very easily have some get there-itis that could lead to making bad decisions. They were willing to accept things on the plane and push it. Now they didn’t. They maintained the professionalism, but I know they really did want to get home.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Being aware of that. Super important. That reminds me of a client of ours, and this happens frequently. So you’ve got your early adopters, your movers and shakers, you got your later adopters, your provers and your makers, right? And which one do you think probably has get there-itis the most? Probably the doers, I would say. But even shakers, like shakers and movers get together and then it’s like, woohoo, here’s my idea. Yay, that’s a great idea. Let’s do that. Ooh.

And so what can happen is this particular company ended up spending a lot of money and investing it into technology and it was a great idea. It actually was a good idea. And the problem was they didn’t think about people actually using the technology that they put millions of bucks into. And so now all of a sudden you just invested all this money, but you didn’t figure out all the things that could go wrong about how to get your return on investment, because the way this company works for every user they’re already paying for and they’re giving it to them to a mass, mass reduced amount, right? It’s not like they wanted a profit margin but they didn’t want to invest so much money that it was like sink in the company and putting it in the red and they didn’t think about it. So we were actually brought in to help that process.

And when you think about technology, this happens frequently. And this was seven different ones integrated with each other by the way. So how do you break that process down into its simplest form in order to then have somebody actually use it? I mean all of that stuff you have to run through the process before you make the decision. I think some, get there-itis, we need technology, we need to go, we need this in place. And they did need all of it. And the problem is when you start watching that video on the first technology, you’re excited about three minutes into it, five minutes, you’re like, oh, and then 30 minutes into going through all the features and benefits when you don’t even need all of them, you need about 20% and not breaking any of that down. And they had already been trying to kind of shove this down everybody’s throats for a year and they weren’t swallowing. So you have to think through that process and get there-itis can really get you in trouble when you make a decision without engaging all different core natures of work.

Ask me how I know it, because get theire-itis is my definitely go to on the hazardous attitudes and I said that instead of bad attitude again because I’m happy with get there-itis. What happens is then you hit a wall you can make and you’re not taking everybody with you, right? So the object of the exercise in leadership and working with a team is we all go together and as Kevin said, we need you all just at different times. It’s absolutely critical and so well, awesome.

Okay, so anti-authority, don’t tell me what to do. Impulsivity, do something really fast. Invulnerability, which I renamed bulletproof syndrome. It can’t happen to me. Macho, which is dun, dun, dun, dun, I can do it myself. Resignation, which I changed the name to disengaged. We call it employee engagement frequently and then get there-itis. Awesome. Those are definitely six things to take a look at to ensure that you have a healthy way of communicating not only internally with yourself but externally with your team and also helping your other team members identify those hazardous attitudes that can really get you into some trouble.

So any last words, Kevin, before we sign up off for the podcast?

Kevin Nothstine: It’s been a great series. I’ve really enjoyed going through this and working through it. You know, we started off this whole series of four of talking about what your sources of authority are in leading a team and then we talked about the 10 different traps that can mess up with people and we did a deep dive into one of those traps of those bad attitudes, so or hazardous attitudes. So overall, I think it was a great series and a lot of lessons to learn and I’m glad we reviewed it. It helps me to be a better leader and to work with our teams better as well.

Karla Nelson: Fantastic. Well, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s definitely been an amazing leadership series. And until next time, remember we need you all, but we need you at different times.

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How to Lead Like a Boss (3 of 4)

How to Lead Like a Boss (Part 3 of 4)

How to Lead Like a Boss

(Part 3 of 4)

How to Lead Like a Boss (Part 3 of 4)

In part three of this series of How to Lead Like a Boss, we discuss how to work as a team like a boss. There are 10 “traps” in working with people and we discuss the last 5 this week!

If you missed Part 1 of this series, where we discussed the sources of leadership power, you can listen to it here.
Listen to Part 2 of the series here, where we discussed the first 5 traps in working with people.
In Part 4 we discuss 6 Hazardous Attitudes and how to manage them.

The 10 traps in working with people:

  1. Excessive Professional Courtesy
  2. Halo Effect
  3. Passenger Syndrome
  4. Hidden Agenda
  5. Accommodation Syndrome
  6. The Accident Zone Model
  7. Strength Of An Idea
  8. WHO-DO Method
  9. Hazardous Attitudes
  10. Error Chain

Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Kevin Discuss How to Lead Like a Boss (3 of 4)

Karla Nelson: And welcome to the People Catalysts Podcast, Mr. Kevin Nothstine.

Kevin Nothstine: Hello, hello.

Karla Nelson: Hello sir, how are you today?

Kevin Nothstine: I’m enjoying life-

Karla Nelson: Pretty fantastic. I’m really enjoyed this podcast series. So just to give all of our listeners a little bit of a background, we decided to have Kevin on the podcast to talk about the seven sources of authority and how to lead like a boss. We had so much fun, we decided to add on a couple of other podcasts and this is now a four part series. And the part two we just went through was, how to work as a team like a boss. And for today we are going to discuss and finish up. That was a total of 10 steps, so we had five more to go. We did five on the last podcast because it’s hard to take in all 10 in just a 25 minute session where we try to keep our podcasts app so they’re digestible from your drive, from home to work or wherever you’re headed.

So we’re going to finish up, how to work as a team, like a boss. And if you haven’t heard the previous two podcasts, just to let you know a little bit about Kevin Nothstine. He was an Officer in the Air Force for 21 years, he was active duty. He currently still teaches his special ops groups and aircrew how to fly the same mission that he flew in Afghanistan and Iraq. And basically these missions are how to find bad guys and tell the good guys where they are. So if you think about the bin Laden raids, they’re this thing called the stack and the MC-12 the particular plane that Kevin, instructs and teaches others on is at that top of the stack. He is also one of the co-founders and a master trainer of the People Catalysts. And so he lastly is a prover shaker, so he does have a secondary shaker but he leads with his prover. So thanks so much for your time today in joining us on the show.

Kevin Nothstine: It’s my pleasure. I love to teach and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to do that here on-

Karla Nelson: Awesome. Okay, let’s jump right into it. We already went through the first five. Did you want to go through the first five? Just a little bit of an overview just to give those who might not have listened to that podcast. We won’t go into depth but maybe just identify them and sum them up really quickly. If you want to go listen to the previous podcast, you can find it right there on the website and take it away, Kevin.

Kevin Nothstine: All right, thank you much. That’s as good idea to put it in some context. Now the big picture on what these are the special ops community calls this is, human factors traps and these are the traps that differently states if somebody can-

Karla Nelson: And we did this in on the other podcast, English. We came up with a couple of different names, I can’t remember what they were.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. These traps they’re mistakes that people can make. Its common mistakes that can lead to an unhealthy team. As Karla said, there’s 10 different ones and in the previous podcast we talked about those first five, they were excessive professional courtesy, which is basically saying, “That’s the boss and he said so therefore I’m not willing to challenge the boss.” And nobody’s willing to tell the emperor that he’s not wearing any clothes. That’s just the classic tale there. The next one was a halo effect and that was, “This person was outstanding over at this other position. So obviously he’s going to do a good job in whatever new position we put them in.” And well that doesn’t always happen the way that you hope it would. The third one then was the passenger’s syndrome or the copepod syndrome.

And that’s where somebody else has got it. Somebody else is doing a great job and if they are, it’s really easy just to sit back and coast and not be fully engaged with your job. And not have that employee engagement just because you have somebody else that is running with the ball. So that was the third one. The fourth one was the hidden agenda, and that hidden agenda is saying, “I’ve got something else in my mind, a reason when I’m making the decisions based on.” And it may not lead to the best decisions. You’re sitting there in the meeting and you’ve got your kid’s recital that you want to get to. So you’re willing to accept whatever they say just to get out of the meetings. So you can go watch your daughter go play the piano or something like that.

And then the last one is the accommodation syndrome and that’s what, “It’s really high risk business for us to go and do whatever event.” Buy a new building or buy a new business or something like that. And the first time you do it you’re like, “Wow, this is a lot of risk involved here.” And then it works. Okay, “Let’s do it again, let’s do it again.” And each iteration, each time you go and do that same thing, it’s just as risky but you don’t… You’re desensitized to how much risk happens on it over time. So we had good examples of those in the first podcast, so that’s the accommodation syndrome. That’s our first-

Karla Nelson: Awesome let’s jump right into number six.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay, number six. And this one… Where that last one we just talked about the accommodation syndrome. That’s more of a strategic, that’s a long range and over time, “We’ve done it so many times and over the last couple of years we’ve done this. It could never bite us in the butt.” Okay, well this next one is called the accident zone model. And this is a little more tactical. This is more… “Okay, I’ve got this meeting that’s been going on, I don’t have any hidden agenda, so I’m willing to be in this meeting for the long haul.” But after two to three hours of being in this meeting. Well, fatigue starts to set in and you get tired-

Karla Nelson: Everyone’s been in that meeting.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. Our co-founder Alan, likes to put it, set meeting and where it’s like, “It’s 12 o’clock, it’s one o’clock, it’s two o’clock, it’s three o’clock, it’s three o’clock, it’s three o’clock.” And the clock doesn’t seem to move when you’re longer into the meeting. Well, when you get to that phase in flying airplanes after you’ve been flying a plane for three, four or five sometimes seven and nine hours or… Some of my friends and flown missions for 24 hours in the same. But when you’re in that meeting or you’re in that mission or you’re in the zone for that long, you’re going to get tired and you could very easily make mistakes as you grow into that-

Karla Nelson: Yeah. What that reminds me of is, are we going to come up with a different name for the accident zone model. It’s how fatigue and stress can make you make mistakes, there we go. We’ll, have to send that one into the air force. It reminds me of the story-

Kevin Nothstine: Spoken like a true prover.

Karla Nelson: It reminds me of the story that we went into… And we just love this story because it’s representative of every other stink in meeting everyone has been in and knows. Everyone always laughs when we teach and train this piece because they I believe they can’t change it so they just deal with it, right? And this is the meeting that Allen was the lead on and basically hired in an innovation meeting to sit there, be quiet and see what happens. And so that happened and it was like two and a half hours of ridiculousness and we always say it’s like a skeet shoot, right? Anybody ever seen skeet? Idea, bang, idea, bang, idea, bang, idea, bang. Just going back and forth and back and forth and Allen’s just sitting here, he’s dying in this meeting and all he’s doing is getting paid to be there and listen to it.

And at the end of the meeting, the gentleman who hired us said, “Okay, so what’s the report?” In his report, that’s easy. He says, “37 to 36.” And the guy looks at Allen like, “Are you nuts? What are you talking about? 37 to 36, what report is that?” He goes, “There was 37 ideas, 36 of them got shut down, and everybody was so fatigued and tired from being in that meeting that they picked the most mediocre last idea that came up, so that they could escape from the meeting.”

Kevin Nothstine: Exactly. They were deep into the accident zone.

Karla Nelson: Yes.

Kevin Nothstine: And you think that, that idea actually had any chance of success.

Karla Nelson: And the other thing is, it’s interesting because when you think of it as flying an aircraft that… It’s super, you’re going to crash and you could kill everybody and yourself. But you think about that in corporate America and it affects even your relationships with other people. It affects doing those types of things affects, how people show up in a meeting rolling their eyes. Are they engaged? Are they not? I mean, that piece, if you’re not aware of all of those different stimulus that basically… Being tired and stressed and how it affects everything else. And so I always say culture is what you do. You can’t create culture. You can’t make them.

Kevin Nothstine: Well, to add to what you always say, it’s not what you do. It’s what you do every day.

Karla Nelson: Yes, exactly. Okay, this is great. Let’s move on to the next one.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. The next one. This is the strength of an idea.

Karla Nelson: That’s not too bad of the title.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. No, not at all. Unfortunately I don’t… I’ve got an example of this and we’re going to talk about and it’s not quite as fun to laugh at those. It’s a bit of a serious one that there’s sometimes serious you can have some rough things that happen. Now, first off what the strength of an idea is, and that’s when you have an idea and you’re like, “This is the way things are.” And you have just such a strong mindset that you think something is going on when it is not what’s going on at all and it’s so strong in your mind and you’re not willing to question your own thing. Everybody’s just, “Hey, let’s just go along. Yep. This is the idea, that’s what we’re going to run with.”

Karla Nelson: You never hear that in business.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. I’ve got a pretty rough example of this that you may have heard of. A lot of people have heard about this, a couple of years ago in Afghanistan we had a military aircraft called an AC-130 gunship and these planes are extremely good at… Well, what we like to call, bringing down the heat. They can unload some serious amount of heat on something and they can destroy the bad guys like you have never seen before. It’s a very impressive piece of machinery but when this particular example on this day. You may have heard about it, there was a hospital in Afghanistan and the crew on the AC-130 miss identified a hospital and there was some miscommunication. There is some miscommunication where the guys on the ground said, “Hey, we’re being pinned down, we’re in a fire fight, we’re taking fire from this location.” And there’s a lot of details that went into this.

Without getting into the details, the bottom line they were given one set of coordinates and said, “Hey, right here is where the hospital is” or excuse me. “Right here’s where the bad guys are.” And when you look at the coordinates, that they’re given a set of coordinates at one place, the bad guys were not exactly there was a little bit off where they were, the guys were being shot at that sent the coordinates. So you can miss, it’s really easy-

Karla Nelson: The previous one, the accident zone model, the stress was… the ability to handle stress well, in the stressful situation, right? And we just learned about that one.

Kevin Nothstine: You know what, that’s a great point because the guys on the ground had been there for four days. Four days of constant fire, constant things going on and now all of a sudden they’re taking fire from another location and it was in the middle of the city and sometimes in the city it can be hard to find things on the ground. And the aircraft, there had been some people shooting at them, so they were actually nine miles away. They’re a lot further away than you normally are and at lower altitude and it gets into some of the technicalities it can be hard to find things on the ground and they’re given coordinates that weren’t exactly right. But the coordinates they are given, unfortunately, the way the camera was looking from those coordinates in the background, they saw… Is at night and they saw this large lit up compound.

They’re like, “They’re taking fire from somewhere.” We’re looking at this area, what we see in our camera from the court and say gave us, is this nice compound that’s very lit up and really sticks out amongst everything else. That must be where the bad guys are. So then they get eyes on the compound and they described the compound of the guys on ground and said, yep, we see a T shaped building with a bunch of people and it’s pretty well lit. And the guys there goes, “Yeah, that’s your target, everybody there is bad they’re shooting at us.” And we teach people how to avoid this. And then they didn’t follow any of the standard protocol and this, they messed up a lot of things. So there were a whole bunch of the air

Karla Nelson: We had number six definitely drove number seven.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, yes it did. That accidents on model of number six drove the strength of an idea in number seven. And their idea was that compound they’re looking at was the hostiles, it was the bad people. Well, it turned out it wasn’t hostiles, it was a hospital. And they did what the AC-130 gunship does well. Which is bring the heat and they… It’s unbelievable the amount of fire power that they brought onto there because they were being told by somebody incorrectly that, yes those were the bad guys, engage. You’re cleared to engage and take them all out. And unfortunately there were 37 people that died.

Karla Nelson: That’s horrible.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. And not just that, and not just the desk, but just the international things and then the briefing wasn’t present.

Karla Nelson: Well, and not only that, that first is an accident and it’s like, “Yeah, that’s why war stinks.” And in business of course that is definitely not to… I would almost venture to say never the case unless somebody gets hurt, right? People do get hurt at work and look, the crab fishermen’s, right? I mean, they probably could learn from this because that is the… What did they call that? The deadliest catch. It’s the most… More people die that are fishing crab in Alaska than any other job. And so in most things in corporate America, that’s not the case, but it’s still really important that you understand that the strength of an idea and really how that perception of what’s happening in your decision making and how those two things can really mess things up, right? In your business.

And that’s why you’re trained to this guy by the way, that’s why we’re going to the podcast series with this, is because there is no better training than the military. That’s what these guys do day in and day out. And look, they can even mess it up, right? So, and boy, four days on the ground, I don’t know they should have probably taken those guys or gotten them out somehow sooner than that. That would be so disorientated I don’t even know how I could do that. And then all of a sudden you’re already scared. You’re already disorientated and now all of a sudden calling in coordinates for getting help. Well, obviously you want to get help. It’s just a really tough situation. But so proactively we can learn from those exact things in business. Okay, onto-

Kevin Nothstine: Business is the strength of an idea but what you want to have to counteract that is a healthy skepticism. You look at something, we’re about to do some serious… Something that’s a serious nerve we’re going to go and purchase.

Karla Nelson: That’s our approvers.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes we’re going to buy $100 million office building. Yep. That’s the right thing to do. Let’s go and do it. Let’s go and do it. Let’s go and do it. The environmental survey said that there’s something going on with the foundation of this area. You know what? That’s what we’re going to do. Let’s run forward and do it. I had a friend of mine that happened to and he ended up over a year that he was tried to settle the environmental issues with a property they had to buy.

Karla Nelson: Exactly. So you got to do your due diligence, get your details. There’s this wonderful process we actually teach for the strength of an idea, if you want to check it out, it’s called the WHO-DO method. So, okay. Let’s move on to the next one, number eight.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. Okay, this one’s the wild card. This is a little bit of a wild card of what are the traps or one of the mistakes people can make. And it’s just a sudden loss of judgment. And you know what? Every now and then and for lack of a better term, I’m sorry I’m going to use something that’s not completely comfortable but it’s the term you can call this a brainfart.

Karla Nelson: Everybody knows that. Hey, there you go we just renamed number eight.

Kevin Nothstine: Brainfart.

Karla Nelson: That’s funny.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay, and I will give you just a simple little example. This is your sudden loss of judgment where you’re going along fat, dumb and happy. Everything is okay but all of a sudden from out of the blue, you make a stupid decision and you just do something that’s not smart or somebody else does. Of course, you wouldn’t. I would never do that and I and Karla and all of our listeners here. No, they would never do something like that. But somebody you work with may go and do something like that. And I’ve had somebody that I worked with, I wasn’t on this flight but we had a pilot. He was flying from one country to another. He had a about a two hour flight over the water, so there’s no airports or anything else around and it’s actually a pretty benign, nothing’s going on. They got the autopilot on and the guy actually happened to be an Uber approver and he’s deepened thought and he’s analyzing what’s going on and he started thinking about things.

Well, he got so lost in his thoughts that he had a sudden loss of judgment and he started wondering about the system and he was going, what would happen if I did this? Well, what did he do? He’s at 28,000 feet over the water and he reached over and shut off all electrical systems on the plane.

Karla Nelson: What, on purpose?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, just out of blue. Kind of. When you look at it, it is… Yeah. He reached over and hit the switch and just turn it all off.

Karla Nelson: Well, think about how would you guys do simulations and trainings for certain things. I mean, he’s just sitting there, when you’re cruising up there, there’s not much to do and there’s plenty to look at. It’s pretty, but it looks all the same for the most part up there.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. And he’s at over the ocean and just not a lot to see or do with his whole process on thoughts and reach over.

Karla Nelson: Did he have a co-pilot with him?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. And I’m surprised he’s still alive after the cop-

Karla Nelson: So what are you doing? My gosh, did he recover from it? This is-

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, yeah, they did. A Plane will still fly without electrical power, it’s going to keep flying with no problem.

Karla Nelson: Like a glider?

Kevin Nothstine: No, both engines are still running everything is still flying. The list is still being provided. Everything’s still working.

Karla Nelson: So you just flip the switch back?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: Okay. That’s a good one.

Kevin Nothstine: So just that sudden loss of judgment and that’s… There’s a lot of things that can lead to sudden loss of judgment. That brings us to number nine on this list. And some of the things that can lead to that sudden loss of judgment are hazardous attitudes.

Karla Nelson: You know what? We could just call it a bad attitude. Bad hazardous.

Kevin Nothstine: Hazardous, yeah.

Karla Nelson: Hazardous attitude, it’s a bad attitude.

Kevin Nothstine: You got to show your vocabulary to them. All right and there’s a lot of hazardous attitudes there. And in fact, this is actually probably worthy of its own podcast of getting in depth into some of these, but just to highlight at the top level what they are. Just some of them anti-authority, lets just not dig at the boss. Resignation, well that’s e or is all about the resignation this is the way it is.

Karla Nelson: Well and that’s also engagement, right? If there’s so many things that could have somebody in that similar to passenger syndrome. Listen to me. My gosh, I’m learning a whole bunch of stuff on here. But it’s also… Everybody resigns for different reasons and that’s the crazy part about this, shakers resigned because it wasn’t their idea. Movers resigned because nothing’s going to happen anyway and I’m not in charge of being able to facilitate this with a process. Approvers resigned because there’s too much wrong with it and makers resigned because they got real work to do back at their desks. So what’s interesting, and we will wrap up the last podcast. I’m going through each of these because I think attitude, it’s like if you could fix that one, people are open to training, they’re open to learning more, they’re opening themselves.

So this is a super important piece that we’ll be doing a full podcast on. Solutions for those different issues with bad attitudes because some people start out with a bad attitude because they have a bad attitude, okay? I would say most people end up with a bad attitude because of an experience that they’re having that is a negative experience. And then that leads to whenever… What were their percentages of the employee engagement when we did on the last podcast? 53% of employees are disengaged. 13 are actively disengaged. Basically working against you, thats 66% are unengaged. And 70% hate there job in the U.S. 89% worldwide. And that’s Gallup. That’s not me saying it. And so I think resignation is a really interesting and we’ll dive deeper definitely into that on the last podcast to give you some solutions for the attitude challenge. Because I think we label it attitude. Bad attitude but that could be an outcome, not somebody who’s natural.

If you tell somebody, approver every single day, “You’re Debbie Downer and write a book about how to deal with them.” That they’re e or that they’re negative Nelly. All of these things, how do you think that’s going to make them feel? They’re not going to want to be engaged. You’re not allowing them to do the thing that they’re brilliant at, right?

Kevin Nothstine: I’m going to let the cat out of the bag just a little bit. And one of our future podcasts we’re going to be doing is something that we developed called the 10 rules of business.

Karla Nelson: That would be a good one to do.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. And rule six without talking about the others right now, Rule six, your attitude determines how far you’ll go.

Karla Nelson: So true and that… My goodness, you know what I’m thinking of? Now going back to the first podcast in this series, we talked about influenced authority, and so go back to the first podcast if you listened to that. All of these pieces are all parts of a bigger puzzle and they drive every other piece. So we really encourage you, make sure you listen to all or parts of the podcasts that are created in a way that are easily digestible and you can see how they drive each other and also, how you can use the WHO-DO method within the situations to be able to. First, figure out how you get that authority, how you’re positioning yourself as a leader and moving between those different authorities and then the kind of authorities. And then going through how do you coordinate a team and make sure that you don’t make mistakes when you’re working a team. These are all designed to interact with the WHO-DO method. So go ahead, you have a couple more here on the attitude.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. Yeah. Some of those bad attitudes or the hazardous attitudes, in vulnerability or a macho or machismo, impulsivity-

Karla Nelson: That never happens in the millitary-

Kevin Nothstine: Heck yeah. But my bad one, impulsivity.

Karla Nelson: Yes. And working with a prover and a thinker, by the way on both sides, the thinking aspect of it. The prover and shaker because they’re in their head. They can go. It’s funny because when we have meetings, Kevin in the Island and I frequently, we weekly have meetings. That is one thing I’m like, “Okay guys, focus I love you, but your skippity duda are skippiting out, right? It’s time to get something done. Which then leads to my biggest challenge with hazardous bad attitudes. I guess I call it hazardous that is good… Hazardous is actually better than bad because an attitude of wanting to get something done, you’re right. Mistakes can happen, but if I called it a bad attitude, I’m typically happy when I’m tried to get something done, it’s not a negative thing to me, right?

Kevin Nothstine: Now this last one that, what Karla is talking about there, get something done. Is the sixth hazardous or bad attitudes you can have and well, my bad one is impulsivity. A very dear friend, a member of our group it’s get there AIDAS. in flying airplanes. That’s, I’m here at location a and come hell or high water at the end of the day I want to be at location B and I want to just get there get it done. So inclined sometimes you’re willing to make that mistake, and the business world that get there AIDAS. We’re going to talk about this more in the next episode is I just want it done. We got to get across the finish line. Well, once he gets across the finish line, there’s another finish line and then another one but get there right. So Karla, did you know anything about that?

Karla Nelson: No, no, no, not at all. Just kidding, it’s my worst definitely on all of those. I would say I’m pretty great on the other ones but that one I have… Just today, I could probably tell you that, that… And the problem with, get there AIDAs that I’ve learned and we’ll go again, as Kevin said, deeper in the next podcast is when I realized I was a driver and I had get there AIDAS as a mover.

And so you could just leave dead bodies behind you if you don’t understand it and you don’t understand first the authority you have with people and then you’re a driver and you’re in charge and you have get their AIDAS, you could make all mistakes. It’s about engaging the team. We need everybody, we need you at different times but we need everybody and get there AIDAS is really… You’re going to see that way more with the mover and the maker but they have a different form of get there AIDAS, right? so yes, we’ll go deeper into the podcast because your attitude is super, super important and it drives all of these other things because when that’s not happening, you’re opening yourself up to listen, to hear and to learn. So, okay, take us home with number ten.

Kevin Nothstine: Karla, before we jump into that one, I do get to say you’re doing an outstanding job. I teach this for a living. Well, and The People Catalyst is one of the things I’ve done for many years that I’ve taught this for a living.

Karla Nelson: We can’t, couldn’t take. We couldn’t pry Kevin out of an airplane if we try and he has to include it in his in training. He loves training people, so yes. See, although we’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the military teams as well, which is super cool and overlays the WHO-DO method quite frequently with it. So yeah, we would not want to take Kevin out of that completely because he would not be happy.

Kevin Nothstine: It’s not what I do, it’s who I am.

Karla Nelson: That’s funny.

Kevin Nothstine: Now the reason I bring this up is I have taught these principles and concepts to hundreds, if not thousands of air crew members over the last 20 years that I’ve been teaching a lot of these concepts. And your ability to pick this up and connect the dots between the different aspects of this, of talking about if we connect this one with that one, it is truly impressive.

Karla Nelson: Thanks. It’s like I’m a trainer or something, right? Well, do you know what? And this is a good thing to actually talk about for a second is, you never want and think you know so much that you become a danger to yourself and everyone else around you. Because the more that I learn, the more that I learned that there’s so much I don’t know. And I think when it comes down to training, the military is definitely the detail on… I mean, they could kill you with the paper cuts, right?

But at the same time applying this, they’ve been doing this a long time. Their job is to train every single day. There is a lot that we can learn from that. And then also opening ourselves to continually learn and how we can do this and teach this to the teams so that they’d have a tool in their toolbox, right? So if somebody is having a hazardous attitude, that you can say, that’s like this and it looks like you’re doing this and let’s have a conversation around that because what happens is, it empowers everybody to keep everybody else in check so it’s super cool. I love it, thank you. I appreciate that.

Kevin Nothstine: No, my pleasure. Okay. And then the last one, error chain. Now, the error chain. Well, We’ve all seen-

Karla Nelson: So we are talking about like one mistake compiles on something else?

Kevin Nothstine: Exactly, exactly. And a good example of this as we talked earlier about that example of that C-130 in Afghanistan… The the AC-130. Do you think that was the only mistake of the night where the only thing that happened wrong was they miss identified that location. No, not at all. There is a whole series of mistakes or small little things or different things that add up over time and it, one mistake, and it can start from, “Hey, you did a wrong little checklist item here or on that same sorority on that one earlier in the day. One of their pieces of equipment, is a very important communications equipment, their satellite link back to their support group personnel broke. And so they lost a satellite link back home. And they also had some miscommunication that happened with the crew at another part and they had another piece where somehow, there’s one crew member that-

Karla Nelson: Wow, that’s like on accident zone and then the strength of an idea, not passenger syndrome. I wouldn’t say that one, right? Because they weren’t just sitting around, eating Bonbons, that’s for sure. So yeah that happened to

Kevin Nothstine: But there’s a lot of mistakes that happened that lead up on and that’s the error chain, that can lead to that big mistake of that company having to declare bankruptcy because of a whole multitude of mistakes that happened along the way.

Karla Nelson: Yep. So you’ve got to break that chain somehow when it’s happening for sure. Awesome. All right. Well, Kevin is there any last comments that you’d like to make before we wrap up of the third part of a four part series in how to lead like a boss. Even though this one is how to lead a team like a boss?

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. On this one. This was all about those errors that you can make yourself or recognize in other people and just knowing that these all exist and now you want to create a culture and think about avoiding each of these different traps that can pull you into a bad situation.

Karla Nelson: Awesome. Well, thanks again for being on the show and make sure you check out the first and second part of this fourth part series and we’ll be wrapping up the final series next week where we’re going to dive a little bit deeper into number nine, which was hazardous attitudes. Thank you again, Kevin.

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How to Lead Like a Boss (2 of 4)

How to Lead Like a Boss

(Part 2 of 4)

In part two of this series of How to Lead Like a Boss, we discuss how to work as a team like a boss. There are 10 “traps” in working with people.  We discuss 5 this week and another 5 next week!

If you missed Part 1 of this series, where we discussed the sources of leadership power, you can listen to it here.

The first 5 Traps are:

  1. Excessive Professional Courtesy
  2. Halo Effect
  3. Passenger Syndrome
  4. Hidden Agenda
  5. Accommodation Syndrome

Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Kevin Discuss How to Lead Like a Boss (2 of 4)

Karla Nelson: And welcome to The People Catalysts Podcast, Mr. Kevin Nothstine.

Kevin Nothstine: Hello, Karla. Happy to be here.

Karla Nelson: Hey, so glad to have you here. We had so much fun on the last podcast. We kind of dove down a little bit more into these… If you haven’t heard the first podcast, it’s how to lead like a boss. And we talked about the seven sources of authority, and I’ll just take a moment here to introduce Kevin, and give you his background, and the reason why we should be listening to what he says on this particular topic. He spent 21 years in active duty as an officer in the Air Force, and he worked with the special ops aircrew that flew a mission. It was the same mission that he flew in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now teaches these other special ops teams and aircrew how to find the bad guys and tell the good guys where they’re at.

So if you think about the Bin Laden raid and how they have the stack, is what they call it, his particular aircraft, that he flies and trains as an instructor. The crew, the mission crew is called an MCS-12 and that is at the top of the stack. And so he is also one of the co-founders of The People Catalysts. And Kevin is a prover shaker. And what that means is main prover, if you notice out loud I said he’s an Über prover, but he also has a secondary core nature of work as a shaker and likes to come up with ideas. He’s his own worst enemy in his brain sometimes. “Idea! Bang! Idea! Bang!” Right?

Kevin Nothstine: And we contrast with Karla, who is the Über mover, who wants everything done yesterday.

Karla Nelson: No. Yes. All right. So for today, what we’re going to be talking about is how to work as a team like a boss. And now there are 10 pieces that Kevin’s going to walk us through on this. And it would have been too long of a podcast. So we are going to break up … We will do five here today, and then next week we will go through another five just to make it digestible, so that you can use these 10 different ways to work as a team like a boss. All right, Kevin, take it away.

Kevin Nothstine: All right. What we’re going to do on these 10, where this comes from is Crew Resource Management, is what they call it in the military. And of course the military has to have specific names of everything, and these ones are the Human Factors Traps.

Karla Nelson: You just got to love how the military names things, right? It’s like, it’s got to have some secret way of knowing this and needing an acronym. It’s hilarious. I’ve had a lot of fun going through some of their training manuals.

Kevin Nothstine: So this particular one, they call them traps. And basically it’s challenges to people working together as a team. And it’s things that you can identify-

Karla Nelson: It doesn’t always work out? What do you mean? We would be out of business if it did, I guess.

Kevin Nothstine: Sometimes you got a problem. Every once in a great while, somebody might have one of these 10 issues going on.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Kevin Nothstine: And as we get into it, and we’re going to have some stories and talk about different ones and some from the military and some other places. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun doing this. Well, the first one we’re going to talk about is what we like to refer to in the Air Force, they call it Excessive Professional Courtesy.

Karla Nelson: There we go again. I love these names. This is great.

Kevin Nothstine: And what is it that’s going on? You don’t have a willingness to call out the boss when something is wrong. And they’re actually saying, in the military, we try to teach the pilots, “Hey, when you’re flying an airplane, just because they’re the boss, you should still be able to call them out.” And I guess a real good example of this from the flying world, and I’m sure you can think of something from the business world as well, but from the flying world, I had one day, I was a young copilot, a young guy first starting out. And I was in the right seat of a plane called the C130. And on the ground, my supervisor, my direct boss, happened to be the aircraft commander that day. So he’s in the left seat of the plane. So I have me sitting there, my boss in the left seat. Now we’re flying as a formation, and the aircraft in front of us that was leading the formation had what we call the group commander. This is a bird colonel. It was my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss

Karla Nelson: They have a lot of bosses.

Kevin Nothstine: It’s the hierarchy, just like corporate America. So basically, we have the COO up there in the lead plane, and I’m the mail clerk down in my plane.

Karla Nelson: That’s a good way to put it.

Kevin Nothstine: So, we’re flying at night. We’re doing a training mission. We do a lot of training. And we’re training of how to do an airdrop of people out of your aircraft at night. Now instead of people, we actually had sandbags this night. So we had a 15-pound sandbag that we’re going to simulate people jumping out of the plane. Well we’re flying along directly behind our lead aircraft at night. And to do the drop, we had to descend, we had to go down almost 2,000 feet to get to a lower altitude so we have an accurate drop going over the drop zone. Well, lead aircraft initiates it and says, “Okay, time to descent. Let’s go down.” And we start our descent. Well the lead plane, with the equivalent to the COO, the bird colonel up there, he only went down 500 feet, and he leveled off exactly a thousand foot higher than what he was supposed to. So we were continuing down-

Karla Nelson: And you guys are both dropping bags?

Kevin Nothstine: Yes.

Karla Nelson: That would be bad.

Kevin Nothstine: We’re planned to. Now, we always brief up. We had provisions what we call a no drop to say, “Hey, there’s something wrong. Don’t drop.”

Karla Nelson: Mm-hmm

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. So, we continued our descent, and we get down close to drop altitude, and I look at the plane in front of us, and we could see him. It was a nice clear night. I said, “Hey…” I’m in the right seat. I’m talking to my supervisor next to me. And I said, “Hey-”

Karla Nelson: Okay. Tell us what being in the right seat means, because some people might not know what that means.

Kevin Nothstine: The copilot or the first officer. And the man in charge is in the left seat. That’s the aircraft commander. And so here I am the copilot, doing other duties while he’s flying the plane. Well I brought it up and I said, “Hey, lead leveled off.” He goes, “Yeah, I think they did.” I said, “They’re not coming down any further and they’re about to drop.” And he goes, “Yeah, I think you’re right.” I said, “He’s about to drop a sandbag, and we are now out of position and well below him, and we’re about to have a sandbag come right in one of our engines.”

Karla Nelson: Like good-bad scale. That would be bad.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, that would be bad. And he said, “Yeah, we’re going to go ahead and climb back up.” So he climbed back up to his altitude. We matched his. But we didn’t say anything to them. Now he’s just dropping a sandbag. But it could be dangerous if we were actually dropping personnel. We could put them in the wrong place if we’re dropping them from the wrong altitude. But we didn’t say anything to the plane in front of us. And they went across, and they dropped their sandbag. And we called a no drop and didn’t drop our sandbag, because we weren’t in the right position.

Well, after the sortie, we get into the debrief. And the group commander, the, the man in charge of everything, was going around the room, and we went through. It got to that point. He goes, “Now, you guys no dropped. Why did you no drop on that?” And still, my supervisor isn’t saying a word about it. And I’m looking at him, and I was just wondering, “What is going on here?” And that finally I spoke up, and I said, “Well, sir, you were exactly a thousand feet above your drop altitude.” And, at first he didn’t believe it, and then his navigator says, “You know that makes sense based on our drop score and where the sandbag fell.” And right after that, the commander said, “Well, why didn’t any of you tell me something was wrong?” And the answer was Excessive Professional Courtesy. My commander, my aircraft commander right next to me, was showing excessive professional courtesy. He didn’t want to call out the boss for this potentially dangerous situation.

Karla Nelson: Wow. I bet you that might even be a little bit harder in the military than it is, just because the formalities, than in business. But somebody that can utilize this, I mean you just effectively sync your entire team if you are using that Excessive Professional Courtesy. And the other side of it is you have to agree to it. That’s why we’re going through all of these different steps. Because if your team is trained in, you are trained, you can actually just point at that and say, “This is the pitfall that you ran into that was keeping our team from working to its ultimate performance.”

And so when you understand that these are the 10 things that you need to take a look at that are going to affect your team negatively and or positively, and what I mean by that is if you know it’s Excessive Professional… That needs a better name. You don’t want to call out your boss on something, then you have to have the agreement that it is okay to call out the boss on that thing. And so you have to go both ways. If you’re focusing on, hey, why didn’t you call me out?” It’s like, well yeah, that would probably, depending on what the culture of the company is and what’s going to happen if you call out the boss, right, that’s just as important to manage before you’re in that situation instead of getting upset that somebody didn’t call you out.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep. You’re exactly right. You have to create that culture where people understand that it is okay to call people out when something is potentially wrong.

Karla Nelson: Yes. And accept there’s a way to do it. And my dad used to always say, “You can tell me anything Karla, but you better mind the way you tell it to me.” Right? So like for instance, if you know you need to call someone out, it doesn’t mean you call them out in front of 50 people. Every scenario is going to be different, right? But what he was saying is, “You can tell me I’m wrong, but think about how you’re telling me I’m wrong.” Right? Or have a process by which you do it. There’s this really cool process we teach. Okay, Kevin. Next one.

Kevin Nothstine: Next one. Halo effect. This is another item that can mess things up, but you have to watch out for it. Actually this isn’t strictly to the military. There’s a book that came out in 1920 that first talked about this halo effect. And what it is is when somebody does really great at one thing, so you assume that they’re going to be great at something else. They said, “Oh, they flew this plane really, really well and now we’re going to transition them over to a different air frame, and we assume that they’re going to do an awesome job in this air frame based on their past performance in something that may or may not be related to the same type thing.”

Karla Nelson: Yeah, that can also be for the perception of companies. Allen and I did a review on Good to Great, what was awesome about the book, but what was missing because the companies didn’t do that well, but when that book was written, everyone was like, “Wow.” And the title of the podcast, if anybody wants to go back and listen to it, is Good to Grave. Because the companies that were identified, I think there was like 13 of them, a lot of them did really horrible. And even Kodak was one of them and a few other ones that went away completely. But the one that I think of when we did the research on and I read the book was Cisco Systems. So they were huge and they were just growing like gangbusters in the 90s during that tech boom and all the reports on Cisco Systems were, “Oh my gosh, you’ve got a masterful strategy and your acquisition ability to grow by acquisition and you have a superb customer. I mean everyone was like, “Invest in this company, invest in this company, invest in this company.”

And then the tech bubble hit. And literally the same exact people were like, “They have a horrible strategy, right? They don’t know what their customers want.” And it’s like the same people had the exact opposite thing to say, right? And of course Cisco Systems did turn around and they’re still a big tech company today. However, they were the same company, right? So you have to think, I mean it was the same company. So that halo effect that happens that says, “Oh, you’re wonderful, you’re wonderful.” It can also happen just in the shift of your perception of a product of a company as well. So there’s a lot of ways to look at the halo effect.

And one of the other things that makes me think of is the iPhone. Everybody said, “Oh, the iPhone is going to be the best thing since sliced bread because why? Because the i…” What was that thing called? iPod.

Kevin Nothstine: Because the iPod did so well.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, the iPod did so well. And so there’s different applications. So contextually you can apply the halo effect to of companies’ products, a company and looking at their strategic plan and what they’re doing. Then you can also be selling yourself on one of those things on either side of it, by the way, right?

Kevin Nothstine: Yep.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. I bet you that’s really interesting. In the military when you’re a pilot, everyone thinks, “Oh, you can fly that plane so you can fly any plane.” It’s even more than that because the missions are all different.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, and I can go even deeper than that, but we don’t have time for that.

Karla Nelson: I’m sure you can. Mr. Prover. Believe me, Kevin can always go deeper and go into more detail without even thinking, but that is why he is our lead prover on the team. So, okay, what’s next?

Kevin Nothstine: Next one. Passenger syndrome. Passenger syndrome.

Karla Nelson: Okay. Layman’s term. So sitting around doing nothing. Twiddling your thumbs.

Kevin Nothstine: Yep, exactly.

Karla Nelson: Okay, there you go. Twiddle your thumbs syndrome.

Kevin Nothstine: It can also be called-

Karla Nelson: I’m going to rewrite all their training books.

Kevin Nothstine: Well, we talked earlier about another name for this is what we sometimes refer to as the copilot syndrome. Well, earlier you were asking about right seat versus left seat. In an airplane, the right seat is the copilot or the first officer in the civilian world, and the left seat is the aircraft commander. Well when you’re in that right seat, if you get somebody that is running the show and they’ve got it all taken care of, or if they’re kind of overbearing personality and just an Über driver and doing stuff-

Karla Nelson: Well that reminds me of when you told me a story about when the fighter pilot, which is a single person aircraft typically, then you have to then put them into the crew world and then the mentality of… Just tell the story. You probably have a whole bunch of them, but I think that’s really interesting to think about. Even moving culture to culture within a division of a company, there could be an issue with that.

Kevin Nothstine: Well, the story that I think you’re talking about there is actually a little more halo effect where a guy was like, “Hey, I’m great at this other air frame and I’m moving into a crew aircraft, and I’m teaching the guy crew, crew, crew.” At the end of the day, he goes, “If I’m the one that’s flying a plane, why do I need to brief anybody else about what I’m doing?”

Karla Nelson: That’s hilarious. It wasn’t that one. It was something about like going a whole sortie and never saying a word or something like that.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, that’s a whole other topic. That’s a whole different one.

Karla Nelson: So just share with us then the mentality of the crew versus the fighter and why that is so… It’s not just, “Oh, you’re a pilot.”

Kevin Nothstine: I’ve got a good one that’s going to work on this passenger syndrome and actually it’s one that when I was flying one day, if I would have been in the passenger syndrome, it could have been bad.

Karla Nelson: There you go. That’s good.

Kevin Nothstine: And what happened? We’re doing a takeoff and we’re training like we do a lot of times. We’re training if we were taking off from a short field. Now to put this in perspective, we’re flying a C130 and it weighed about 130,000 pounds. Now a normal a takeoff role for a plane like that. You have a runway that’s about a mile longer, one to two miles long. Well we are practicing. What if your runway is less than a half mile long and you have to take off in that situation? So we’re on this runway that is actually about a half mile long. And so we run the engines up, we’ve got full power and holding the brakes, and it’s kind of like a race car sitting there at the starting line waiting to go, and we call it break release. And we’ve got full power and the plane starts rolling down the runway and it’s moving-

Karla Nelson: That’s got to be fun.

Kevin Nothstine: It is. To be blunt, it is. On this day, the pilot, the left seat that was flying the plane and doing this, all of a sudden his seat, its position, the tracks gave loose, and his seat slid all the way back. And it slid so far back and he’s holding his arms straight out as far as he can and he couldn’t even reach the controls of the plane.

Karla Nelson: On a good, bad scale, that would be bad because the two things… What are the two times that are most risky? When you’re taking off and when you’re landing probably.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. Yeah. That’s the most risky parts of the plane. And here we are taking off on this half mile long runway, and all of a sudden the pilot can’t touch the controls. Now, if I would’ve been doing the passenger syndrome and just sitting over there going, “Oh, he’s got the plane, everything is fine,” it could have been catastrophic. We could run off the side of the runway or something like that.

Karla Nelson: That seems awfully short for 130,000 pound plane.

Kevin Nothstine: That’s what we train to.

Karla Nelson: See, guys, this is why training is really important, right?

Kevin Nothstine: On that one, I was in the seat and I actually had my hand on the yoke, my right hand on the yoke, my left hand on the power levers. My feet were on the rotor pedals. So as soon as he slid back and he’s got his arms stretched out, looking like Frankenstein, the very next words that all he said was, “You have the plane.” I was just sitting there doing nothing, and now a heartbeat away, I’m the one that’s flying the plane.

Karla Nelson: Wow. I would have been probably puckering up a little bit in my seat on that one though. In the corporate world we have this word for it, acronym we’re talking military stuff, is employee engagement. And I actually really can’t stand the word even though its realities are very serious, especially in corporate America. We consistently talk about how they’ve done this Gallup poll every single year, and typically somewhere around 70% of people in the United States, 89% worldwide hate their jobs. Not just like not hate them. They hate what they do every day.

Now, if you break down those numbers, they did another study of engagement specifically. And 53% of people are actively disengaged and 13% actively disengaged. Think about that. That’s the group that now is working against you. They hate being there so much, right? So 66%. what does that do to a company’s ability to succeed?

And to me the passenger syndrome that you’re talking about and disengagement is more of an issue because they’re not being either trained properly or most importantly, it’s why we teach the WHO-DO™ method because you can apply the WHO-DO™ contextually to every single one of these things. And so, this is kind of what I like to say, the soft skills, right? To be aware of something so that you can proactively work around it. But when 66% of people are disengaged in their work, how do you get anything done? Okay, you can have the soapbox now. I don’t feel passionately about that at all.

Kevin Nothstine: No. And you know what? We’re going to move on to the next one I think.

Karla Nelson: That’s good.

Kevin Nothstine: Next one is the hidden agenda. And what this is, you have a reason for doing something that you’re not sharing with the group, and it is not in line with the goals of everybody else. You have some hidden agenda, and this could be a very large one. You can think of corporate espionage and those type things, but even on a much smaller scale, on a simpler scale, this could be, you got a late afternoon meeting, you’ve got a three o’clock or four o’clock start time on a meeting, and you want to get home to your kid’s recital, your kid’s doing a piano recital. So in the back of your mind, you don’t care about that meeting. You don’t care about choosing the best solution. You don’t care about making the best things happen, right? You just want to do whatever you can to make that meeting in so you can get home to go to your kid’s recital. And that’d be a hidden agenda.

Karla Nelson: Yep. Yep, yep. Yep. That happens all the time probably. And that’s one of the great things I actually do love about the military. Everyone on the call here are listening on the podcast has been around military individuals or are a military brat themselves. My dad was in for 24 years. My father-in-law was in for 30 plus years. Kevin. I just have a lot of people that I know that are in the military. And actually two of my bonus kids are in the military as well. And so I love how they let you then say, “Hey, my kids has something and family time.” Well, in corporate America it depends on the culture.” That would be looked down upon if you had to get to your kid’s recital. And that’s not every company. It’s gotten so much better even than when I was younger. But if you talk to our parents about that, you could have a whole bunch of people with a hidden agenda because they don’t want to speak up to say, “Hey, I’ve got this thing.” Right?

And so that again is about opening that culture up, and the military is the best I think at that when if you got a sick kid, people understand, right?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah.

Karla Nelson: If you need to get home to your family, people understand, which is pretty cool.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. Last one we want to talk about today is what we call accommodation syndrome. Okay. And this one’s a little more in depth, a little harder to understand than the hidden agenda. Now, the accommodation syndrome and what this is about, it’s your decreasing arousal to a stimulus because-

Karla Nelson: Okay. English please.

Kevin Nothstine: You accommodates something. Okay. What happens as you continuing to do something that’s risky, the more you do it, the more times you do something that has some inherent risk, the more you…

Karla Nelson: The more you’re willing to do it, like it doesn’t feel risky anymore.

Kevin Nothstine: Exactly. You don’t perceive the risk near as much because you’ve been doing it several times.

Karla Nelson: Ooh, a lot of people did that back in the crash in 2008. They were so used to buying these big commercial buildings and this and that, that never, they couldn’t lose. They did it so many times. And then all of a sudden the timing of the market, they just went down because inherently buying a hundred million dollar he used the property is risky. After you’ve done it 20-30 times and you’ve made money, it seems like it’s less risky, right?

Kevin Nothstine: Exactly.

Karla Nelson: Makes sense. Well, this reminds me of the innovation area of doing this. There are so many different companies out there, especially right now with the decentralization that technology has brought companies where whoever had the most money always won before. Now it’s whoever takes care of your customer and can build an app, can takeover. Look at the hotel industry. AirBnB dominated that and they don’t own one piece of real estate, right? And I think of companies like Kodak who created the digital camera, but they didn’t want it to take away from their other business. So they sold off their IP. Well that’s why they are gone, right? Taxi industry. Uber did the same thing. Taxis were expensive. The process was horrible, right? And then all of a sudden they take that industry.

And not only do they take it over, they grew it. So they launched in San Francisco. And the taxi industry was $1 million per year, and they grew it to an industry that was 10 million per year utilizing Uber. And so they not only changed the course of the industry, they actually grew the market, which is kind of unique because we always talk about TAM (Total Available Market) and… I won’t get into all that. But to actually have something that’s so valuable that it grows in industry because of innovation.

So the accommodation syndrome, yes. It definitely can be used that hey, you’ve done this, it’s risky, it’s risky, it’s risky. And your inherent thought of it is, “Oh, it’s easy and so I can just keep on doing it.” But if you look at Blockbuster is the same way. With innovation, they thought they were too big to fail. So they had had their 10,000 stores forever. And guess what, there’s one open, right? We teach this in our training that the way they stayed open was an innovative way of staying open, which is you can only go and rent DVDs that you can’t access streaming live. And so I think innovation is a really good one to look at in business for the accommodation syndrome and running businesses are like, if you’re growing by acquisition, I’ve seen that. Or if you do a turnaround, people that go in and do turnarounds and they’re fixing something up. Even a house for sale that do flipping homes after they’ve done it so many times they think, “Oh, you know what?” They don’t take into consideration $100 million sounds like funny money. It just sounds like some other different day, right?

Kevin Nothstine: If you want a real good example of that, just look at the United States government. A billion here, a billion there. And pretty soon you’re talking about serious money.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, definitely. That’s awesome. Well, these are so good. I know we can’t get through all 10. That’s why we are breaking this up into a four-part series now, and we’ll go through the next five. And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to pull some solutions out in the final part four of this four-part series. So, thanks so much, Kevin, for your time here today in how to work as a team like a boss.

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How to Lead Like a Boss (1 of 4)

The People Catalyst Podcast Episode 113

How to Lead Like a Boss

(Part 1 of 4)

The People Catalyst Podcast Episode 113_Facebook

Did you know there are seven sources of your authority? In this episode, we dig into what those sources are and how to tap into them.

Listen in as we explain how to lead like a boss using seven steps of your authority.

Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Kevin Discuss How to Lead Like a Boss (1 of 4)

Karla Nelson: And welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Mr. Kevin Nothstine.

Kevin Nothstine: Hello Karla, happy to be here.

Karla Nelson: We’re happy to have you sir. This is really going to be a fun podcast and as you guys may have known, Kevin has been on the podcast a couple of times before. Kevin is one of our co-founders at the People Catalyst and he is a prover shaker. That means he is mainly a prover but he has a little bit of a secondary shaker in his core nature of work and Kevin spent 21 years as an officer in the military, specifically in the Air Force and currently still teaches some special ops peer crew in the same mission that he flew in Afghanistan and Iraq. So he’s also been an instructor pilot so although he’s a master trainer with the People Catalyst he is, I’ll tell ya, training somebody on a combat mission that basically this mission is like to find the bad guys and tell the good guys where they are.

So like the Bin Laden raids where they have what they call “The Stack” all the way from what they call the MC-12 to the top to the boots on the ground and there could be many different aircraft and then they get there early and they do a whole bunch of secret stuff that I have no idea, but I know that it’s pretty intense and they have some of the best training ever. And a lot of times when we take a look at training, who’s the best at training? The military is amazing. Their job, Kevin’s job for years and years was to go to work and train and they simulate training over and over again because in business most of the time, I would venture to say, it’s not life or death. You guys have to figure out how to make sure people don’t die and also that you know, mistakes are going to happen and when they do they’re really, really significant in his line of work.

So a lot of times we like to take a look at the military’s training because it is so good and then apply that to business. And what we’re going to talk about here today is how to lead like a boss. And so there are… what was the actual military name, I can’t remember?

Kevin Nothstine: Where we’re pulling this from is a thing called crew resource management. But this particular section of it, the military title for this is aircraft commander authority power basis. So that’s their long handle.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Say that three times fast. We’re just going with how to lead like a boss.

Kevin Nothstine: I like it. I like it.

Karla Nelson: And there are seven sources of this authority.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, definitely. And there’s parallels between how we teach this in the military and what’s happens in the civilian world as you’re going to see throughout the day here, throughout this podcast. So first one we’re just going to talk about is a very obvious part of authority and what this is where your authority comes from as a leader or as a boss. The training we do in the military, this is as an aircraft commander, as somebody that’s leading a crew to go and accomplish a mission. And wherever you have that crew, you’re going to have several people, depending upon the size of your crew, it can be anything from two up to, I’ve seen some aircraft that have a crew of 70.

In one aircraft at one time, you have one person that’s in control of that. Well that one person that’s in control of it, in the military, it’s very obvious, when we set those crew orders, we identify the leader and on the actual orders they have a little place for codes and they put the A code next to that leader. And that A code says, “Okay, for this sortie this is the person who is the commander, the aircraft commander up there.” And there’s a lot of power in that word commander because in the military it’s actually legal, it’s your legal authority of it. But once you have that A code, once you have that legal authority, well what we refer to that is legitimate authority and the legitimate authority-

Karla Nelson: So now let me just say, now we’re going into the first of the seven steps, right? Is that where you’re bleeding necessary?

Kevin Nothstine: Yes.

Karla Nelson: Okay, just wanted to confirm. I’m trying to soak it all in and also learn as we go because I think this is not only amazing and fantastic, but authority is a very important thing in business. And of course in military it’s even more critical. And so go ahead Kevin. Tell us about this legitimate authority.

Kevin Nothstine: And you’re exactly right. As a prover, I do like to jump into the details very quickly. So thank you for putting that construct on that context for us.

Karla Nelson: Well, and this is like second nature for you, you’ve been utilizing crew resource management for the better part of 25 years. So it would make sense that what is easy and just you can flow through for you is definitely… And it is details, my goodness, I’ve never seen training in such detail, it’s incredible in the military. I mean, it doesn’t matter if you’re pushing papers or flying an aircraft, there’s a lot of rules to follow.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh yes, very much so. But yeah, you’re right. And just a little bit more context on this, we’re going to talk about these seven sources of your authority, that Karla had mentioned. Now you flow in and out of these different sources of authority and we’ll probably talk about this at the end just a little bit more, but there are these different ways you have authority, but as a good leader, you have to understand that your leadership ability comes from all of these. And there are different times where each one is a good tool to use as part of your toolkit.

Karla Nelson: And they can be overused and underused.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. On both of them. So yeah. Thank you. So that puts it a lot more in context, what you’re talking about. Now of those seven that first that we started to mention is that legitimate authority and that is when your power is based on the position held by the leader, that’s when it comes in and tell you that, “Okay, this person, they write the check or they’re the ones that are identified as the boss.” So they have that position of authority. So when they speak, somebody’s going to listen to them, they’re going to have that influence over their team by the fact that they are the identified leader.

Karla Nelson: Interesting. You know what this makes me think of? Every meeting that a CEO walks into and derails everything, which we’ve actually happened to have that happen to us in the beginning of training so many times that we had to come up with these 10 rules to follow and the agenda doesn’t even get derailed with the CEO, they have to trust the process as well. And Kevin, you’ll appreciate this, this was with a military group and they were working with the government and they are contracted with the government but this very, very, very, high authority, big kind of ego group of people. And they have us sit down and kind of strategize how they’re going to deliver a cut of a third of all of their pay and still keep the entire team intact. And so, of course, the leadership just wanted to walk in and say, “Here you go, we’re going to cut your pay by a third. Good luck.” How’s that going to work out? Right? And so we’re like, “No, there’s a better way to do this. Let them solve their own problem.”

And so definitely legitimate authority is important. I would venture to say in the military it’s really important, but then also the balance of that is to say that just because you have the authority, you have to think about how you’re delivering different things at different times in different ways. I mean there’s only one answer to this problem, but if you walk in and you’ve already solved it because you’re put in authority there and you just tell somebody instead of utilizing the team to come about certain answers, it just can go both ways on these things, right? So you can under use it and over use it. And I think it’s that balance of the two and knowing when to use it that there’s a lot that goes into that.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, definitely. And it’s easy to see as a parent as well, when you have your child doing something, how many times have we heard, “Well go and do this.” And these kids says, “Why?”

“Because I’m the parent. I said, so.” Well you just practiced legitimate authority.

Karla Nelson: I hated that one as a child, but it’s true. Right? And your parent does need that authority. At the same time, you have to balance the two out for sure. Okay, let’s move on to the next one. I’m excited.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. Next one. A good one here is a your expert authority and this is the fact that you can have influence over a group of people, by the fact that you are the expert in any given area. Your skill or your knowledge, when you know something better than anybody else in the room that now gives you that respect and that authority and that power base to be able to influence your team.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, and is a lot of training companies are built on what somebody knows about a certain problem and how to solve it. So, for sure, That’s definitely…

Kevin Nothstine: When you talking about the training companies, that really does highlight the fact that you know, as a leader, if you don’t have the expertise in an area, well, where can you get it from? Well, you can bring in somebody else to help out if you don’t have that expert power, if you don’t have the that authority with a team. But the fact that you bring them in, that’s a great way of exercising your expert authority. It could also be you acknowledging the fact of your lack of expertise.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, that’s a good point. Both ways. On all of these it seems so far. All right. What’s the next one?

Kevin Nothstine: Okay, next one is information authority. Okay. You can also have influence, just the fact that you are in possession of or you have access to some information that everybody else perceives as something of value. If you know something that’s going on, if you know something that’s happening in your culture or something is happening with your company or if you’re in touch with the right people with the right information, other people will acknowledge you as a higher authority figure just because of the fact that you do have that piece of information and they would like to be able to have access to your information sources.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, so you know what’s going on in the company. You know where all the… Movement, where we going?

Kevin Nothstine: Skeletons are buried.

Karla Nelson: I was going to say that and I thought, “Should I say that?” That’s kind of true though, right? Because you’re balancing, for instance, when we were working with mid market companies and building them up to sell, one of the biggest things here was, and it’s how actually I met Allen, and you would go into this company and they’re like, “Why are you here?” Well, you can’t deliver to them, “Hey, we’re here to build this company up to sell in a couple of years.” Because, hello, they’re going to wonder if they’re going to have a job next week. Right? Which the goal almost never was to reduce the amount of people that were in the company, but what happens is then now, as the leader, the trainer, the person walking into it, you actually do have a lot of “information authority” instantly, even though, then you have to balance it out with some of these other ones you talked about expert authority.

I will probably get to other ones as far as like building relationship because that’s why we would then run the process to figure out who was on the team and what pieces of work they could do in order to build this company up. But it was interesting because I never thought about information authority because now all of a sudden they’re like, “Oh they’re sitting down with the leadership and they’re not in the company per se.” And that really did lend a lot of authority like, “Who is this person that they brought in?” Not only expert but information, like you’re the one who knows what’s going on around this place. Interesting.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, definitely. And then the next one on this one, now in the military, they like to call this one reference authority. I don’t like that name at all. I think a better name for this is really influence, you have your influence authority. And what that refers to is just the fact, personality traits. Are you a likable kind of person? Do you pass the beer test? And you know that’s going to give you some authority.

Karla Nelson: Who ever came up with that, the beer test? I think that was that Dennis

Kevin Nothstine: Or I guess we’re assuming everybody knows what the beer test is. So what’s the beer test?

Karla Nelson: The beer test is, do I want to have a drink on Friday with you after work?

Kevin Nothstine: It’s that simple. And you know what? If it’s somebody that you can get along with that is a source of authority that you can have. And I’ve got a really good story on this, just kind of showing leadership, if we’ve got the time for it?

Karla Nelson: Sure. Yeah, go ahead.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. Well I was at an organization, this is overseas and as part of the military of course, this is a major part of my background, and we had a real culture problem at this one base where I was stationed and it came from just the mindset of the senior leaders that were practicing their legitimate authority and these senior leaders, for lack of a better term, it could be called a bit of an elitist and somebody that he did not pass the beer test. In fact, he was very stringent in the fact that he told all of the leaders right beneath him that they will not hang out or have a beer with the lower ranking people because that promoted fraternization and fraternization is wrong. And that was their mindset. So in this environment we got to the point we’re having monthly meetings and they’re like, “You know what, we have a culture problem, so let’s have a meeting once a month and bring everybody in and let’s talk about the stuff that might be nice and that’s going to help our culture.”

Now what’s really funny is how they conducted this meeting. The senior leader, the Colonel that was in charge of the whole base, so several thousand people under this guy, equivalent of a CEO of a very large corporation would hold this meeting once a month with all the officers. So you have 10% of the people, the officers or the leadership of the whole base and bring them all together and they’d all be in the room and they had it at the officer’s club at a ballroom right next to the officer’s club, so it’s next to the bar. And the first thing they would do is everybody’s in the room waiting for the senior leader to walk in. And we walked in, it was a standard military type thing where he would come in the same door and he’d open the door and somebody would call the room to attention and everybody would pop to attention and standing there nice and rigid and looking straight ahead. And then he would walk from the back of the room all the way up the center aisle through the crowd and wait until he was all the way at the front of the room. And then he would tell everybody, “Take your seats.” And everybody would take a seat.

And then they would go into thing and somebody would try and do something funny or whatever the presentation for the month was, but just right there, the beginning of it was just a culture crusher. And then when the meeting ended and they would schedule them on Friday afternoons, it’d end at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon at the officer’s club…

Karla Nelson: Yeah, because you put the meeting on Friday, then it makes it fun and we can solve a culture issue. It’s ridiculous.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah, exactly. And what happened as soon as the meeting’s done at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon with everybody at the officer’s club, they would scurry like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

Karla Nelson: That’s a new one. I haven’t heard that one before.

Kevin Nothstine: Five minutes after the meeting was done, the place was a ghost town and the couple hundred people that were there are now disappeared. Nobody wanted to hang out and nobody wanted to do anything. And they’re intent of trying to work on the culture, they actually hurt their initial intent with that. Well, the reason I tell that one, that’s the negative aspect, but we had a good leader in there, a new Vice Wing Commander, the number two guy that came in. Without giving his name, he went by PJ, we’ll call him PJ.

Well, on one of these meetings, the senior leader, they Colonel that set all this up, wasn’t there. He wasn’t going to be there that day, he was traveling, and PJ was going to be the senior leader on this particular meeting. So everybody’s in the room, they’re waiting for the normal thing and they’ve got somebody stationed by the back door, so as soon as PJ would walk in the door, they’d call the room to attention, everything. Well, PJ knew a little bit more about culture and had an understanding and he snuck in through a different door. So it’d be like your COO sneaking in through an entirely different door and he comes in, snakes in and puts his head around the corner and he yells out to the room, “Hey! We’re going to get started in about five minutes here, but before we get started, I’m going to go to the bar and grab a beer and if anybody wants to join me, you’re welcome to.”

Karla Nelson: The only difference is I’m not sure that you probably want to serve beer at a meeting that was on the clock in the private sector. It’s one of the cool things about the military though.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. But it’s a Friday afternoon and look at how many times when you go to a conference or something and how many times they have alcohol there at the conference. But it is-

Karla Nelson: So tell me then, how did everybody react?

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, this was the funny part. All the younger guys, the lieutenants and captains, all the young guys are like, “Oh, we can do that. All right, it sounds like a good idea,” And they headed over and they go walk into the bar, “This is good.” All of the more senior folk that had been around for a year or two and had seen the culture were looking at each other confused, like, “What? Can we do that? Is this a trick? Is this a trap? What’s going on here? I’m not sure if we can do this.”

Karla Nelson: I bet you that was funny. He sounds like fun, I’d love to meet him.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, he was a great guy, just an outstanding individual. Just a really good leader, and he understood the influence and that influence authority that you have on an organization and everybody respected him for that.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, just somebody that you like, that’s likable, that wants to get things done, but not trip over themselves along the way.

Kevin Nothstine: And that truly was the definition of the beer test with him.

Karla Nelson: Cool. Okay. What’s next?

Kevin Nothstine: Okay. Next one is a coercive power. Now this is one that normally we can associate this with the negative parts. The coercive power or coercive authority, it’s your ability to influence people because you can punish them. You can give them some type of punishment that’s-.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Like fire him?

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. You can fire them or give them a bad review or something…

Karla Nelson: Demote?

Kevin Nothstine: Right. Exactly. All those types of things. And I kind of liken this one, it is a power that as a leader that sometimes, unfortunately, you have to use. Now I like to liken this one to a flying analogy. When you’re flying an airplane and you’re coming in and you’re trying to find a runway and you’re in the weather so you can’t see the ground and you have instruments that are telling you where to go. Well, you want to be on a specific track, you want to be on on course, on glide path is what we call it. And that’s left and right and up and down and the right speed and everything as you’re coming in to find the runway so that you can land safely when you pop out of the weather. Now, if you get a little bit off course, you want to hear somebody saying, “Hey, you’re a little bit off course. You need to get back on the right course here.” And then if you get a little further off course, “Hey, you’re well off course, you need to correct ‘this much’ back over.” Then the ultimate, the coercive power on this is, “Hey, you’re well out of course, your too far, I’ve got the airplane, I’m going to take it away from you and we’re going to go around and try this again.”

Karla Nelson: Yeah.

Kevin Nothstine: And that’s that…

Karla Nelson: I could see how that would be really important to understand and balance that one. It’s like you don’t want to be… They have to learn, right? Especially, if it’s in an instructor situation. At the same time, so you have to let them get a little off path, but then when it’s dangerous, you have to step in then.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes, but it’s the same thing in business. In business, if somebody is not performing where you want them to be and your other sources of power are not influencing them to be able to accomplish what you want done, then sometimes you do need to use the stick in the carrot and stick approach of leadership.

Karla Nelson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Got it. All right. What’s the next one?

Kevin Nothstine: Well, the next one is the carrot. It’s actually…

Karla Nelson: First we went with the stick, now the carrot.

Kevin Nothstine: Yeah. The carrot. And that’s your reward authority. And by having the ability to reward somebody, it’s the opposite of the coercive, you can reward them with promotions, you can reward, reward them with bonuses. If you have that ability to provide a reward for something, [crosstalk 00:20:31]…

Karla Nelson: Yeah. Even recognition is a good one there.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes. Yes. Very much so.

Karla Nelson: Because, as a leader, really recognizing… And in learning the Hoodoo method and all the different types of work that we do with companies so many times, and I’m really, really, really guilty this because I am uber mover and I am a DI internally and an ID externally when I’m working with customers. So you can leave dead bodies behind you and all sometimes people need is to be recognized for what they’re great at. For whatever reason, in society, we focus on what’s negative and what’s bad about, for instance, a shaker. I could tell you 10 words we call them that are negative words. And the only positive word I’ve ever heard is shaker, right? Because what do we call them? Squirrel.

In the military it’s chief idea fairy. And we call them, “Gosh, your head’s always in the clouds.” And so what happens is that we’re focusing on when somebody isn’t instead of just recognizing them for what they are. People, if you can tap into that and identify what they’re great at and bring that reward piece out, they will actually take that over pay. I can’t remember what the stats are, it’s been a long time since I looked at it, but especially the younger generation, the millennials.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, we could have a whole conversation on that. Just you start talking Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy and if somebody has already met their security needs or their safety needs and they’re looking for those higher levels of acknowledgement, then yes, there’s a lot of ways that you can reward somebody.

Karla Nelson: Yeah, very cool stuff. I love that one. All right. What’s next?

Kevin Nothstine: Well the next one is actually another way that you can reward somebody, but it’s a very specific kind of thing and we like to call this connection authority. And what that is…

Karla Nelson: Ooh, I think I like that one.

Kevin Nothstine: Oh, you’re definitely going to like this one, you have this one in spades and I’m going to tell somebody about your ability on this. Now what this one is, by the connections that you have, you have authority with a group of people if they perceive those connections as power for them. If they want access to your friends, you know certain people and they want to know those people, well by knowing you, they can do that. You can be a channel. You know, in LinkedIn they practice this. “Oh, are you a first connection or a second connection with somebody?” And it tells you, “Oh, I’m connected to this person and this…” You know, if you look somebody up on LinkedIn and it’ll say, “Oh, you have 11 mutual friends.” Ah, if you want to know that second a level of person, then you look at one of those connections between the two of you and you say, “All right, I want to work with this person.” And that gives you that connection authority in a group of people.

Karla Nelson: Good stuff. I love that one. And by the way, a friend of mine, I don’t need to do this, jeez louise, connection authority, but she wrote the book How to be a Power Connector and it ended up being a bestseller and she’s fantastic. Her name is Judy Robinett. If you want to read a great book on connection authority, she was an introvert and learned this later on in life and has just gone on to crush it. Her new book is Cracking the Funding Code too because she’s worked with a lot of startups, raised capital for those startups. So again, How to be a Power Connector, great book if you want to discuss connection authority. I think we could do an entire podcast on just that authority. Maybe we will take a look at these and see how we can break them down to give different pieces and points of how to balance yourself through that. Because connection authority is absolutely one of the most powerful and probably the easiest one of these, which is, “Hey, I just took the time out…”

Kevin Nothstine: The easiest for you.

Karla Nelson: Say that again.

Kevin Nothstine: The easiest for you.

Karla Nelson: Oh that’s a good point. Oh, that’s so… And then I’m going to send you to another book by Matthew Pollard, which is Introvert’s Edge and he talks about introverts thinking that they can’t sell because they’re introverted and he says use a process. And that’s exactly what is in Judy’s book is a process for connection. Which I think you’re right, for me, it’s second nature, right? So it’s easy, it happens and my goodness, I just did it on accident right now talking about it. Right?

Kevin Nothstine: I’ve got to tell a little story with you just to really bring this in. And this can be a teaser too because we can deep dive into any of these subjects and I know you really would love to deep dive into this one, but I’m going to tell just a surface story just to teaser on this about you. Okay?

Karla Nelson: Okay, great.

Kevin Nothstine: Okay, well just a little background on when this story happened, you know I was in the military for 21 years and my last two years I was was training people in this new mission in the Air Force, this new aircraft. And we had 16 new students, in a three or four months syllabus, 16 new students every Monday for two years.

Karla Nelson: Wow. That’s a lot.

Kevin Nothstine: Yes.

Karla Nelson: For what you guys go through, I mean the amount of training guys that they go through to be a aircraft commander, let alone… and Kevin’s instructor as well, so he instructs all the other air crew on what to do. It’s intense.

Kevin Nothstine: Well, a big lesson that I learned from those two years, now, we brought people from all across the Air Force and just to show an example, it’s very different if you have somebody that’s flying a cargo plane or an aerial refueler versus somebody that’s flying an F-35 or F-22 fighter plane. Those are very different mindsets and that have been trained different ways. And we had students from every platform across the military that would come together and then we’d try to get them to fly as a team on this one new aircraft. And I learned one of the most important things that every time I would sit down with a group of students or have a meeting with people, the most important part of that meeting was the introductions. And in that introduction of learning their background and learning who they are. Now, we’re going to tie this into that connection authority. Now, I had been doing that for a couple of years and then I met Karla and I ended up going to a meeting with Karla and she started it off, we had a couple of good friends of ours, Adam Ferling and Jim Pelli and myself and some others sitting around the table and we’d never met before, but Karla was sitting there and she was the glue that brought us together being the connector.

Karla Nelson: No. Imagine that we were attending a training? And I actually was facilitating that training, but I try to learn and train just as much as everyone else. We need it, we need it. Okay, go ahead. I’m still wondering what you’re going to say.

Kevin Nothstine: Well, the way that we sorted this out, and we were actually this was after the training or a little bit more and we’re sitting around actually having a glass of wine, passing the beer test there, and before we did anything at all Karla started it off and she went around the table and said, “Hey, you guys haven’t hung out before. Let me go around and I’m going to introduce who you are.” And she talked about me and talking about my time in the military and after she talked about me, I’m like, “Holy cow, who are you talking to, I want to meet this guy? He sounds pretty awesome.”

Karla Nelson: That’s because what you do, you don’t think it’s so cool, but everybody is super cool in their own right, usually, and have done some amazing things. And the last person who wants to say it is the person that you asked to do the introduction to.

Kevin Nothstine: And she went around the table and each person just… Now, it was a good group of guys. Well, while I say that now and why do I believe that? Because Karla told me. Karla had that influence, that connection. But she sat there and said, “Oh, this guy, he started designing websites for companies when he was 13 years old.” And Oh by the way, this gentleman was old enough that was in the dawn of websites and he contacted a ski company out of the blue and told them, “Hey, you need to do this on your website, it’ll make it better.” And they hired the guy they didn’t know he is 13 years old.

Karla Nelson: That was a good one. And that’s awesome and it’s-

Kevin Nothstine: So it was just everybody. And you were able to build that authority of yours by your connection. And that is a true power that somebody can have to get influence over a team.

Karla Nelson: Yeah. And it’s super cool. I mean I know it’s easy for me and I really enjoy people and everybody is different. However, that skill, if you can use it, is not only an amazing powerful skill to build authority, just the trust comes with that authority as well. And when people know, it’s the know, like, and trust piece. And if you’re interested in others then they find you interesting. So that’s awesome. Well I think we’re going to have to wrap it up on that last one, that was really super cool. I can’t believe that there’s actual training in the military that talks about connection authority. That’s awesome. I love it. And again, those two books, How to be a Power Connector and Introvert’s Edge are both really great books on how to do that. Especially if you are, I’m obviously an extrovert, but if you are not, because you can still build your network and your authority when you’re not as extroverted.

Kevin Nothstine: I’m going to try my hand at that connection in the introduction, very briefly, we talked about Judy Robinett, she’s an outstanding author and a bestseller and everything else. Judy started out, she drew up and I think she’s still listed to this day in a town in rural Montana, a town of 300 people.

Karla Nelson: Oh no, that’s where she grew up. She between Idaho and really she was in Utah in Salt Lake, but yeah, her home town was the hometown of Napoleon dynamite. What a great story that is. That’s funny. Yep, exactly. And she didn’t launch her first company, I don’t think, until she was like 40, she opened a restaurant and it almost went under. And it’s a great story, it’s actually how she starts out her book. Well, Kevin, this was so awesome. Fantastic. Thank you so much for bringing your brilliance here on the podcast today with how to lead like a boss.