128: Nat Greene: I found an inability to find reasonable people

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128: Nat Greene: I found an inability to find reasonable people

Nat Greene Show Notes

Nat Greene has become a bit disillusioned by the direction of the country. The reason is because he has not been able to find reasonable people to find a reasonable discussion on things. People can’t pause and have a decent discussion and think about problems and work through them. He finds they have already dug in on a position without really looking into the problem.

Nat Greene was raised in Hong Kong with his parents and sister Pat. He attended high school in which his class spoke 40 languages and hailed from 50 countries, but perhaps his favorite education was walking around Hong Kong with his father—a professor of Metallurgy—learning about how different metals corroded and failed. Nat became quietly obsessed with engineering and fixing what was broken.

Nat left for the UK to receive a Master’s degree from Oxford University in Engineering Science and a PGC from Cambridge in Design, Manufacturing & Management. After moving to the United States, he attended the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management program and joined the Young Presidents’ Organization to improve his organizational leadership skills.

Out of school Nat became a professional problem solver, and then co-founded Stroud in 2001, at the age of 28. He has led its growth into a global business, delivering unparalleled performance improvement results for businesses across the world. Nat’s Abundant Thinking mindset serves as Stroud’s guiding compass, and his vision for personal and professional development have helped Stroud win more of Consulting Magazine’s “Best Small Firm to Work For” awards than any firm in history.

In 2015 Nat co-founded ReConsider, expanding his mission of unleashing potential beyond business and into the American democracy. His long-term vision is to re-build the middle-ground in US politics and enable the US political system to expand prosperity for all Americans into the 21st century. Here he co-authored Wedged, which examines the root causes behind American political polarization.

In 2016, he launched his latest project, Stop Guessing, aimed at developing a million great problem-solvers to solve the hardest and most pressing problems facing the world.

In life, Nat strives every day to leap out of bed with excitement for what awaits him, and surrounds himself with people that are always teaching and challenging him. He ardently pursues his goal to start 40 new ventures that leverage market forces to make a major positive impact on the world. Nat is married to his college sweetheart and together they have four children. They live in Marblehead, MA, by the ocean.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @Greene_Nat to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“You get less creative results when people sit in a room and brainstorm.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“When people brainstorm, you actually end up with very few options.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“Hard problems are immune to guess work.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“The success we have in solving simple problems handicaps us in approaching hard problems.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“When you’re guessing, you’re limiting yourself to the realm of the known.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“It’s very hard to guess something you don’t know.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“People call guessing nice words like hypothesis or idea.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“Get out there and smell the problem.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“You’ve got to use all your senses to study the problem.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“If you don’t know what your problem is, how could you possibly come up with the right solution.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“Great problem solvers; they just go look at the problem.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“When you can define a problem really well you’re half way to solving it.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“If you decide you’re not going to make progress, you’re certainly not.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“How would you behave if you told yourself solving the problem was simple?” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“If there’s no process for people to solve problems, how can we move forward?” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet

“When you’re facing a hard problem, you’ve got to have hope.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“Without hope there’s no moving forward.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“With hope, you can do anything.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“It’s overwhelming when you try and do stuff far outside of your ability in one go.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

“If you listen more it helps you understand people better.” -Nat Greene Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Nat Greene has become a bit disillusioned by the direction of the country. The reason is because he has not been able to find reasonable people to find a reasonable discussion on things. People can’t pause and have a decent discussion and think about problems and work through them. He finds they have already dug in on a position without really looking into the problem.

Advice for others

Stop guessing.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I keep trying to jump the cliff in one bound. I need to break it down into manageable pieces.

Best Leadership Advice

About hiring and firing people at work. You need to ask yourself, ignoring the past and why you hired them. Knowing what you know about the position, would you hire the person.

Secret to Success

I’m lazy. I don’t like to do unnecessary things.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Problem solving.

Recommended Reading

Stop Guessing: The 9 Behaviors of Great Problem Solvers

The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder

Contacting Nat

Website: https://www.stroudinternational.com/

Blog: http://www.radicallybetter.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathanielgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Greene_Nat

Resources and Show Mentions

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

128: Nat Greene: I found an inability to find reasonable people

 

Intro:   Welcome to the fast leader podcast where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach. 

 

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference retreat or team building session? My keynote don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee 

Engagement, customer-engagement and customer-centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com/speaking to learn more.

 

Jim Rembach:  Okay, Fast Leader Legion, today I’m excited because the guests that we have on the show today I think can help every single one of us in this world because he is the author of, Stop Guessing The 9 Behaviors of Great Problem Solvers. Nat Green was raised in Hong Kong with his parents and sister Pat. He attended High School in which his class spoke 40 languages and hailed from 50 countries but perhaps his favorite education was walking around Hong Kong with his father, a professor of metallurgy learning about how different metals corroded and failed. Nat became quietly obsessed with engineering and fixing what was broken. Nat left for the UK to receive his master’s degree from Oxford University in Engineering Science and a PGC from Cambridge InDesign, Manufacturing and Management. After moving to the United States he attended the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management program and joined the Young Presidents’ Organization to improve his organizational leadership skills. 

 

Out of school Nat became a professional problem solver, and then co-founded Stroud in 2001, at the age of 28. He has led its growth into a global business, delivering unparalleled performance improvement results for businesses across the world. Nat’s abundant thinking mindset serves as Stroud’s guiding compass. And his vision for personal and professional development have helped Stroud win more of Consulting Magazine’s “Best Small Firm to Work For” awards than any firm in history.

In 2015 Nat co-founded ReConsider, expanding his mission of unleashing potential beyond business and into the American democracy. His long-term vision is to re-build the middle-ground in US politics and enable the US political system to expand prosperity for all Americans into the 21st century. Here he co-authored Wedged, which examines the root causes behind American political polarization.

In 2016, he launched his latest project, Top Guessing, aimed at developing a million great problem solvers to solve the hardest and most pressing problems facing the world. In life Nat’s strives every day to leap out of bed with excitement for what awaits him and surrounds himself with people that are always teaching and challenging him. He ardently pursues his goal to start 40 new ventures that leverage market forces to make a major positive impact on the world. Nat is married to his college sweetheart and together they have four 4 children. They live in Marblehead, Massachusetts by the ocean. Nat Greene, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Nat Greene: I am. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Jim Rembach:  Nat, I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

 

Nat Greene: What I’m really passionate about is helping people make better decisions. I just see a large gap between what is happening in macro level in our society but also for individuals that I meet in day to day interactions between what they’re actually experiencing and what could be happening for them and the success they could have and personal sort of happiness and so on. My specific, because that’s very broad issue, my specific passion is about helping people become better problem solvers and better problem solvers on the hard problems that they face. So the problems that people may be pushed aside, started to ignore could be something like your health, maybe it’s not what you want it to be you tried a few things but then now you ignore it or it could be something at work, like there was some goal the organization wanted to achieve or you want to improve service levels and things and you tried and now you sort of accepted that it’s as good as you can get without doing something radical or complex like totally changing things. And those sorts of problems where people have tried and they’ve tried to help or you’ve worked hard at it and there may be many, many possible root causes it’s a complex situation and people don’t have the ability to go out there and win at it and so they’ve given up. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Gosh man, there’s so many things that just actually running through my head as you were talking and explaining trying to help people over these humps of making these decisions and that is—I started thinking about a couple things. One being is you know the issue associated with creative thinking. We know that we have to do a better job at our creative thinking in order to be able to innovate and see new pathways and perspectives and things like that and make those changes that are necessary. A lot of the research associated with creative thinking is revealing that as society’s more advanced, the modern Western societies when we start looking at the education systems and things like that we’re actually stripping out creative thinking you know as one of the just say tool sets or even muscle builders to be able to solve problems. So, how do you help people overcome that?

 

Nat Greene: Well it’s interesting cause what you say I think there are some different viewpoints on it. I’ve certainly seen some things and I can’t cite them off at the top of my head but I had seen some evidence that the people are actually—you get a less creative result when you have people sit in a room and brainstorm because what happens is you rapidly get group think. We know that in a situation with lots of people you can end up with someone who’s dominant or people respect more or sometimes there’s fear and in environments. And very rapidly when people start to brainstorm and come up with ideas which a lot of people would call a creative way of approaching a problem, you actually very rapidly end up with very few options. And what they’ve shown and what I’ve read is that you’re much better off having people think about a problem independently and then bringing together to share what they thought of then drive in what would be traditionally seen as a very creative way. This is particularly important with hard problems because hard problems are sort of immune to guesswork. 

 

If there’s two or three options the picture falls off your wall you hear it thump to the floor and you might think, “oh, why did that fall off the wall?” And everyone’s probably thought, well maybe the hook fell off, the wall was weak or maybe someone bumped it, but there’s any, really? We could spend an hour we probably only come up with four possible things that are sensible. I asked this yesterday at a meeting and one guy said, “Maybe there was a local increase in gravity.” That was way out there but there’s only a few items, right? When you have a really hard problem you have people trying to be creative to solve it then unless it’s pushing into the realm of unknown like things that humans don’t understand about at all. If it is a practical problem then you’re wasting your time because there might be ten thousand potential root causes and the chances you guessing it in a creative way are very slim. And again particularly if you’ve already had a lot of people have a go and so I’d say that creativity and problem-solving it’s great but you got to be very careful about what you even mean by it and I think with certain types of problems it’s exhausting.

 

Jim Rembach:  That’s a very interesting point. As you were taught talking about those things I started thinking about several things. First of all, I started think about the bias issue, you started talking about the groupthink, right? And we start also focusing on certain problems within the confines of the problem and so then we get into a divergent and convergent thinking problem. I don’t start thinking divergent and do that first and isolation and by itself I start combining the two, so that’s a problem. And then also the whole diversity issue, if I have some people who are similar backgrounds, similar personalities, similar positions and responsibilities there’s going to be an issue coming up with different perspectives. So, I think the whole pre-planning piece—and when you start thinking about people being able to overcome problems solved, how much effort do they put into that whole pre-planning piece before they tackle a problem do they actually do?

 

Nat Greene: It’s great. I think people have great intentions when intentions when it comes to problem solving, I just don’t think they have been trained in how to approach hard problems very well. And so I don’t see a lot of planning going on because people just haven’t been shown how to do it they don’t know how to approach and the behaviors haven’t been developed. But there are exceptions, there are some tremendously good problem solvers and people have been trained to great lengths and know how to do this and they approach in a very methodical way. Some of the people I’ve been able to study firsthand for the last 20 years in my career to see what it is they do. But by and large people behave in a new situation in a way they have in their everyday situation. There everyday situation is confronting relatively simple problems and guessing at them or having a group of people guess to get some broader perspective hopefully you get some diversity. If you’re going to guess you might as well have some people with different backgrounds and ideas you’re going to get a better outcome. But they’re used to that simple problems and then they just take that same approach to harder problems and of course it doesn’t work. Why would someone turn up in a new situation it requires a new skill and suddenly invent a new way of looking at things? The success that we have in solving simple problems by guessing it is almost like our biggest handicap when it comes to approaching hard problems.

 

Jim Rembach:  When you think about people guessing, where do you find most people fall down and really do themselves damage in regards to guessing?

 

Nat Greene: Well, you’re guessing you’re pretty much limiting yourself to the realm of the known because it’s very hard to guess something you don’t know. You can go discover something you don’t know but it’s very hard to guess it and so all you end up doing is you maybe can do some benchmarking, you maybe can sort of steal some ideas off a competitor, get 10:21 somebody with some outside experience to help you guess what might work for you or you’re recycling things that haven’t worked because by definition if you’re guessing something you already know, where you’ve got a continuing problem in your own business, why don’t you try? You either didn’t try it before or you tried it before it didn’t work, in which case that’s just madness, or you thought of the idea before and you are unable to execute on it in which case you’re working on the wrong problem anyway your problem is why didn’t you execute on a great idea maybe you should think about that. The problem I have with guessing is where people go wrong, the most in my mind.

 

Jim Rembach:  So, when you started thinking—you and I had the opportunity to talk a little bit off mic before we started our interview and I started mentioning how for me when I started thinking about problem-solving, when I started thinking about these biases all of these other things, is I started to thinking about the way that we actually make decisions. So, a lot of validation in regards to how we do that is really based on emotion. We decide emotionally and then we validate rationally and so our subconscious mind is just doing ten thousand times more calculations in trying to connect things in our head before it actually even makes the attempt to reveal it to our conscious mind. So, when you start thinking about problem solving, how does that bottleneck issue or how does the emotions come into play with people making the right decision?

 

Nat Greene: I think what you’ve got to do is train people to put that aside as much as you can you never get away from it as you said, it’s always presence you have to acknowledge it. But the role of a leader is to, well obviously to role model list, but also to make sure that there are sort of there’s a culture and a way of doing business that minimizes that. And again—why did I call the book Stop Guessing, because I think that’s the first thing you got to do if you if you want to push away this sort of emotional response and then the natural tendency to then find data that backs up the decision that you already made and then we tell ourselves the story that are we rational beings. I logically thought of this and then that was the answer now you decided you wanted that to be the answer and then just found anything you could that would corroborate it, again that might work on a simple thing but it doesn’t work in hard things.  

 

As a leader what you’ve got to do is you got to stump that out as much as possible, you’re not in day to day situations where that might be appropriate that blink response might be necessary or might make you move swiftly or give you sort of some hidden intelligence that you didn’t understand because it’s sort of more subconscious interacting with people things like that. I’m not saying there but where you have like a hard practical problem that’s been persisting even things like—there’s a great example I remember from a few years ago, a colleague of mine told me the story. He was working for a client and they were in a distribution business and so customer, satisfaction is very, very important they could buy from competitors, and what they were trying to have is an in full on time for their orders service rate in the high 90’s, so 98% or better, and yet the leader of this division he was getting calls from customers like they’re really angry with, —Hmmm, that’s a problem, what’s going on? What’s going on here we’re not looking after our customers properly. He went and checked the data and he said, “Tell me what’s going on here? What’s our service level?” And they said 98 % is our service level, we did great. 

 

And so, and so he said, “You could look at this in a couple of ways, most people wouldn’t automatically react going—this just must be unreasonable customers and we stop there. If you allow your people to do that or if you allow yourself to do that sort of thing like respond in a—I guess what the solution is, well, my guess is very convenient my guess is that they’re just unreasonable it’s lovely politically because it means I don’t have to do anything. Now of course when a few more customers leave you might start worrying about it and then you might be more self-reflective and you might go, well hey maybe the markets’ changing and what I need to do is to change because now maybe we need 99% on this measure to serve our customers. In reality what it turned out to be was that the measure was wrong somewhere in their system of calculating their service levels there was a breakdown and it was nobody’s fault obviously someone’s responsible for it but nobody was doing anything intentional. The service level was closer to 40% and with 40 percent it was like, oh my goodness, I’m amazed we haven’t lost all our customers and you could think you could do something about it. You’ve never wake up in the morning and go—ah, I guess that our service levels report is wrong and it’s 40% and it must be the specific error in this sort of computer program that calculates it for us, it’s so unlikely that you would ever guess that. That’s quite a simple problem accustom being upset and calling this isn’t sort of it’s known and they’re giving you the gift of telling you exactly what’s wrong that’s why you can go wrong with guessing. 

 

Jim Rembach:  One of the things that I’ve noticed is that you’ve made yourself, as you were explaining all these, a very, very clear distinction between the simple problems and the big complex problems. If you were to talk about the approach to the big complex problems, what advice would you give folks? 

 

Nat Greene: Okay, well obviously I’m going to start by saying, stop guessing. You got to train yourself to recognize when you are and people call guessing because guessing doesn’t sound very nice so they use all kinds of other nice sounding words like hypothesis or idea many, many words that you can use, brainstorming we’ve already touched on. And so, you’ve got to recognize what that is and that by all means have a quick go at it but then you’ve got to shut it off and that might mean that you need to make a game out of it. One of the things we do sometimes is, we got a group of people and they just sort of want to tell you what they think they want to be right and there’s nothing wrong with that it’s unlikely but that’s fine. 

 

So, what we do is we have them write down what they think the solution is put it in an envelope you seal it up and then we just leave it at the front of the room and in a few weeks when we’ve worked on this hard problem and crushed it we can open up and see who’s right but it doesn’t even matter often if someone is right. We’ve worked on really complicated problems, yeah, there might be hundreds of people working in a facility and they all have like ten ideas as to what it would be, someone’s going to be right but it doesn’t matter. So, even when someone’s right when guessing you’re not going to make big changes because of that you only take a risky thing because some of these problems are crazy. 

 

In my book I talk about a problem that I solved many years ago and that’s a long story but this launch of this new product was being held up and it was a real problem for the business because they were putting some large retailers on allocation, which not a good thing and it turned out that I helped solve the problem by removing one loose bolt that was in the machine and that was it. But imagine if we’d had this guess-athon and I’d said, “Hey, maybe there’s a loose bolt on the machine and we should go remove it” people have thrown me out I’d have been never invited back, so stop guessing. But then some other things you need to do, what we recommend highly is get out there and I call it smell the problem. You’ve got to get out there and use all your senses to go and study the problem. What most people do rather than do that is they spend time trying to think about a solution. And again if you think it, it’s kind of ridiculous, you spend all this time trying to think of solutions and of course there could be millions of solutions to different problems and f you don’t know what your problem is how could you possibly come up with the right solution? So, get in there great problem solvers they just go look at the problem and you’ll find them staring at things. If it’s in some business something’s wrong in the warehouse or something they’ll be watching what’s going on. They’ll be looking at records trying to get data, maybe it’s a production process something’s coming out just doesn’t work they don’t just look at one broken one they’ll be looking at several we try to find patterns of failure and these sorts of things. People, when they’re thinking they look for all the time sometimes subconsciously but you can actively do, so, you get out there and smell a problem. What that allows you to do is really understand the problem you’re trying to solve and people lose sight of that. When you can definite a problem really well you’re halfway to solving it. There’s bunch of behaviors I can touch on but those are some of the things that I recommend you got to do. 

 

Jim Rembach:  One thing that stood out to me, and thanks for sharing, is that—and I see a lot of people doing this all the time is they want to analyze, analyze, analyze instead of actually putting yourself or immersing yourself in it, that never works. We have a situation now where a lot of folks are don’t have that operational experience and don’t know how their business actually works and how their business makes money their job is to analyze data, to look at trends, and to look at defect rates and to do all of those things and we’ve kind of conditioned them to do such. But I think you’re right, sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty and I would say most of the time you have to get your hands dirty it’s going to give you a different perspective that you never had before. When you start talking about guessing change and making mistakes I mean all of those things there’s a whole lot of emotion that gets tied up into it. Oftentimes to persevere, you use that word, is that we need help to do that. And one of the things that we looked at on the show is quotes to help us do some of that persevering. Is there a quote that you like that you can share?

 

Nat Greene: Yeah, there’s loads but this is one of my favorite, whether you believe you can do a thing or not you were right, it’s a Henry Ford quote, it’s well known. To me what this means is you’ve got no guarantee that you’re going to make progress, of course. But if you decide you’re not going to make progress you’re certainly not going to make any progress. You can’t guarantee you’ll solve the problem but you can decide you’re going to fail at the beginning and that sadly what most people have done with most of the hard problems that they come across they’ve decided it can’t be solved. It has many ways to make that decision, not try at all, just be intimidated but you can also come up with other more complicated stories like, well it’s probably going to be a really hard solution and it’s probably going to be too expensive and I can’t invest in. But what I’ve encourage people to do is how would you behave if you thought that the solution might be something as simple as removing a loose bolt from the machine? Or the solution to your customers fleeing might be that you’re just not measuring the service level and you’re team don’t know that there’s a problem otherwise they’d fix it. If you believe every problem you saw if you instead tell yourself a story that that—hey, there is a chance that there’ll be a really simple solution, elegant one, embarrassingly simple solution then at least you give it a go. 

 

Jim Rembach:  I think that’s great advice and I think for all of us there’s times in life where we kind of have that self-sabotage and those things where we’ve had to maybe knock our head and fall down and get back up and try again and we have all kinds of humps that we have to get over. Is there time that you can think about where you’ve had a hump to get over and you learn something new that you can share?

 

Nat Greene: Hump, yeah, there’s plenty of them but I think the most relevant one here is—last decade I sort of become a bit disillusioned about some of the direction of the country, of how our country is going specifically around that and of course people fill their mind now I guess as to why, I’m sure everyone’s got an idea and so I’ll tell you rather than have you guess. The reason is just I found an inability of reasonable people to have a reasonable discussion on things. I’m not talking about red versus blue and different people from, I mean people who are like basically the same group of people. I live up in the Northeast and in my town, lovely little town there’s a bunch of well-educated, lovely, respectable people who I have as friends and even amongst my friend group I’d find people who—the concept of cause and have a decent discussion and think about problems and work through them and get the data I find they’re already dug in on some position and typically terrible problem solving they’ve not really looked into the problem and that sort of thing. 

 

I was becoming quite disappointed because if there’s no process for people to solve problems and if there’s not the willingness and if they haven’t developed the skills to do it how are you going to move forward because you know we’ve got tremendous opportunities ahead of us I’m hugely optimistic about the future, I’m a very optimistic guy, but why does it need to be so painful to get that? it’s a great cost, we waste our treasure and lives and spirits and happiness along the way and we don’t need to the outcome will be fine it’s just a journey could be nicer. I was becoming a bit disillusioned and sort of withdrawing and I found I was withdrawing from things that actually are very important to me. Withdrawing from contributing some things, withdrawing from discussing things with people that were important particularly controversial things where I could learn and understand better by getting into dialogue with people. What lesson would I draw from that? I don’t really know because I’m still thinking myself out of this. And I think if you ask me in a year, in two years and in ten years I’ll have different and more sophisticated lessons but at the moment the thing I sort of grasp onto it’s just that hope. When you’re facing a hard problem or something daunting that maybe puts you on the edge of despair that you can’t think of a solution you got to have hope and without hope there’s no moving forward. Again a simple problem is like, well whatever, but something that’s hard and especially personal challenges, with hope you can do anything and without it it’s very hard to move forward, and that’s my lesson. And so, I’ve had to rekindle, focus on the hope aspect, where things are going well. Instead of seeing people not being able to have a decent dialogue when I do see someone behaving, I focus on that now.

 

Jim Rembach:  I appreciate you sharing that. As you were talking I started thinking about—really, we’re kindred spirits in a lot of ways as far as that’s concerned. And one of the things that I had done and came to a few realizations is that I can’t have those types of discussions and even do that amongst my friends because they’re talking about a bias component and talking about there was hope, there was a fear losing a relationship so you don’t really connecting deep enough, it’s like I that person and I know you’ve done this in the past and you bring that along with you. So, what I found is that I actually had to find and create a mastermind group of people that I didn’t know that I really didn’t have any background with and it really allowed for dialog to occur that I just couldn’t have with people who I knew. Now the result of that, and here’s where I have to be talking about being more mindful and aware of is that if I do get into a close you know personal relationship with one of those folks I now have to consider whether or not they should be part of the mastermind group and so you have to meet that crossroad as well. I couldn’t crack what you’re talking about, I couldn’t crack that outer hard shell of my disillusionment and how do I get to a deeper sense of understanding and grow and not have all these biases get in the way and that was one way that I did it.

 

Nat Greene: Wow, that’s fascinating because you’re leading a dual life in some way. You’ve got you with your friends and things where your have to hold back because of this dynamic out there, this political toxic dynamic, a lot of it is politics, but in all kinds of issues. And then you then you can be sort of yourself and explore but with strangers and that’s the bit that I got to find a way to change for everyone and myself. A sort of epiphany for me came when I realized that a lot of people do when I would stand aside and when I saw I was withdrawing a bit some friends would say, hey, no look we really value your contribution you should keep going and yes sometimes it might be a little painful or hard at the time but it makes me think and I really appreciate it that sort of switch for that hope side again it’s like, okay, so like there is value. 

 

And what I realized is maybe the problem is actually me and that I need to continue to be challenging but find a way to do it in a more effect and a gentle way which meant number one is, me toning it down just a little bit giving people room to breathe and that sort of thing and then also finding a way to change people away from the table where they have time to think. I’ve been focusing on how do I write more, how do I share ideas, or you find an article someone’s written that explains an issue well and share that because then people can read it and the emotional response and this sort of territorial identity politics kind of responds they can have that and get over it and it’s not a personal thing. And then they can think about it and then they can come back and maybe explain a thoughts and of course it doesn’t always work but that’s sort of what I’m focused on now, it’s how to safely still challenge things, still challenge people to think about things into problem-solving a productive community-oriented way but without having them having to feel threatened in the moment.

 

Jim Rembach:  Well I think what you just said too kind of goes back to what you were saying a moment ago about people having to actually get out there and get their hands dirty is that you can’t just sit back and let yourself continue to be shut down by all of this you have to try something different and see what potentially works for you, I think that’s really the key, keep moving. When you start thinking about all of the things that you got going on and all the discussion we’ve had which has been great, what is one thing that really excites you?

 

Nat Greene: One thing that excites me, I hate the one thing question you see because there’s always several things that excites me. One of the things that excites me a lot and that I’m focused on is the willingness of people to learn. People really do want to learn and I do think that when people get frustrated and angry often it’s to do with them and not you and if you can find a way to allow people sort of gently learn some lessons and to do that in safety and comfort then they will do that. People are smart and are good and we just sometimes fall in a hole. My primary goal is to is to help people learn to be better problem solvers in just some simple ways and that’s what I’m really, really excited about and I can tell that because I’m putting most of my time and energy into it. 

 

Jim Rembach:  And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

 

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 Jim Rembach:  Alright, here we go Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Nat, The Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Nat Greene, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Nat Greene: Sure thing. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Nat Greene: I keep trying to jump the cliff in one bound and I’m not Superman. I got to break it into manageable pitches and climb up a bit find a ledge and then hit the next piece because it’s just overwhelming when you try and do stuff that’s too far out of your ability and one go. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Nat Greene: I’m not sure on the best but one thing I’ve heard that I’ve not heard in many places it is about hiring and firing people. The question to ask yourself when you’re having problems with an employee at work is knowing everything you know today forget about what happened in the past when you made a decision to hire, but know everything about them today and about the needs and role would you newly hire that person into the role and if your answer is no you need to take action. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Nat Greene: I’m lazy and by that I mean that I don’t like to do unnecessary things and this leads me to cut out the nonsense and to delegate or to just totally kill work that doesn’t really need to be done and I think that’s one of my secrets. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life? 

 

Nat Greene: That’s easy, problem-solving. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it could be from any genre, of course we’ll put a link to The 9 behaviors of Great Problem solvers.

 

Nat Greene: Excellent. With that taken care of then I would recommend everybody reads The Accidental Superpower by Peter Xia. It’s a geopolitical book and it’ll give you a new perspective on what’s going on the world and how it is likely to affect you and your business.  I think it’s a brilliant book.

 

Jim Rembach:  Okay Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/nat greene. Okay, Nat, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? 

 

Nat Greene: This is easy for me if you listen more. I’ve always had a lot to say not always listen enough. If you listen more it helps you understand people better and improve compassion and things like that and that allows you to make better decisions where people aligned with you so you can move faster. Often people don’t listen because they’re impatient and ironically it actually slows you down. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Nat, it was honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you? 

 

Nat Greene: You can connect with me via Strad international which is the consulting practice I run or the best way is via radically better, which is my book. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Nat Greene, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download & subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net, so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

2019-12-08T06:48:16-05:00July 5th, 2017|Podcasts|0 Comments

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