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Alan Stein Jr. | Raise Your Game

227: Alan Stein: I work hard to be coachable

Alan Stein Show Notes Page

Alan Stein Jr. spent most of his life with qualities that weren’t so endearing. But now he works hard on his self-awareness and clarity and to be coachable and open and to help others to raise their game.

Alan was born and raised in suburbs of Washington, DC. He is the son of two retired elementary school educators and has a younger brother that he works closely with.

Alan was incredibly active as a child and gravitated to any activity that involvement movement and expending energy – from conventional sports like soccer, basketball and football – to less conventional activities like martial arts, breakdancing and BMX biking. And while he enjoyed aspects of each, his true love has always been basketball. That was Alan’s first identifiable passion.

Alan was able to play basketball at Elon College (now Elon University) down in NC and began to develop an equal affinity for performance training, strength & conditioning and basketball-specific fitness. That led him to a 20-year career as a professional basketball performance coach where he was able to work with, work alongside and closely observe the best players and coaches in the game.

Always looking for a new challenge and constantly reinventing himself, two and half years ago Alan decided to make the pivot (pun very much intended) into corporate speaking. He is now a keynote speaker and author that teaches audiences how to utilize the same strategies in business that elite athletes use to perform at a world-class level.

Alan is also the author of Raise Your Game: High Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best. This book was written for leaders in sports and business takes a deep dive into the mindsets, rituals, routines, habits and disciplines required to reach peak performance, influence and significance.

Alan is a 43-year-old amicably divorced father of 9-year-old twins sons (Luke and Jack) and a 7-year-old daughter (Lyla). He still resides in the suburbs of DC but has and is fortunate enough to travel the world!

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @AlanSteinJr to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“The foundational principles of leadership, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, they’re always going to be the same.” – Click to Tweet

“Sport can really teach some life lessons that are very difficult to teach.” – Click to Tweet

“What it takes to build a team is the same, regardless of what industry you’re in.” – Click to Tweet

“Most people think they are self-aware, but the vast majority are not.” – Click to Tweet

“Self-awareness is absolutely the foundation to which the rest of the house is built.” – Click to Tweet

“Coachability has to be a number-one mindset.” – Click to Tweet

“Almost every single dysfunction within a team is from selfishness or mis-communication.” – Click to Tweet

“Every interaction we have with a teammate is either going to strengthen our connection or erode it.” – Click to Tweet

“When you actively listen to someone, you send them the unconscious message that you care about them.” – Click to Tweet

“How we treat each other is going to have a huge impact on our children.” – Click to Tweet

“You need to connect first and coach second.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Alan Stein, Jr. spent most of his life with qualities that weren’t so endearing. But now he works hard on his self-awareness and clarity and to be coachable and open and to help others to raise their game.

Advice for others

Be self-aware and be open to feedback.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Still trying to work through a few limiting beliefs.

Best Leadership Advice

It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Secret to Success

You need to connect first and coach second. Develop a love and care for the people that you lead and connect with them on a human level first.

Best tools in business or life

Emotional Intelligence

Recommended Reading

Raise Your Game: High-Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best

Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life

Contacting Alan Stein




Resources and Show Mentions

Raise Your Game Show with Alan Stein, Jr.

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work


Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

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. 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our eLearning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen, so go to to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor’s Success Path e-book now. 


Jim Rembach:     Okay Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because we’re going to have somebody on the show today who really helps us bring some clarity to high  performance. Allen Stein Jr. was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. He is the son of two retired elementary school educators and has a younger brother that he works closely with. Allen was incredibly active as a child and gravitated to any activity that involved movement and expending energy from conventional sports like soccer, basketball, and football to less conventional activities like martial arts, breakdancing, and BMX biking. While he enjoyed aspects of each his true love has always been basketball that was Allen’s first identifiable passion. Allen was able to play basketball at Elon Collegenow Elon University down in North Carolina not too far from me, and began to develop an equal affinity for performance training, strength, and conditioning and basketball specific fitness. That led him to a 20-year career as a professional basketball performance coach where he was able to work with alongside and closely observe the best players and coaches in the game. 


Always looking for a new challenge and consistently reinventing himself two and a half years ago Alan decided to make the pivots pun very much intended as he says into corporate speaking. He is now a keynote speaker and author that teaches audiences how to utilize the same strategies in business that elite athletes used perform at a world-class level. Alan is also the author of Raise Your Game: High Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best. This book was written for leaders in sports and business and takes a deep dive into the mindsets, rituals, routines, habits and disciplines required to reach peak performance, influence, and significance. Alan is a forty three-year-old amicably divorced father of nine year old twin sons Luke and Jack and a seven year old daughter Leila. He still resides in the suburbs of D.C. but has and is fortunate enough to travel around the world. Alan Stein, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 


Alan Stein:     I’m always ready. Excited to be here my friend. 


Jim Rembach:    I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion 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? 


Alan Stein:     I’d say if we have to brush away all the cobwebs my true passion is just filling other people’s buckets. I very much consider myself a servant leader and take tremendous pride in serving others and trying to add value to their lives. Whether it’s through something like a conversation like this for a podcast or in person old or young in sport or in business it doesn’t matter. If I ever feel like I’m recharging somebody’s battery or fill in their bucket that brings me tremendous fulfillment. 


Jim Rembach:    It’s interesting that you say that because I kind of have that same need that same passion that same fulfillment that same desire and as I was reading through your book I started seeing a lot of that play out from different aspects talking about high performance. It’s having that commitment as an individual that whole self-piece then it comes to being able to connect with people who can help you do that so it’s not just giving that but it’s also being able to receive that and do it in community or as a collective and that’s kind of how you actually have broken out the book you talk about player, coach, and team. And you also mention in the book something about that transition into the business world and how very seamless and simple it is I see it because I’m involved with sport. I coach middle school baseball and  I see how that has to play out and I also see these little middle school boys who really just don’t know how to commit and play with one another treat each other with respect and I’m like, this is no different than the corporate world. 


Alan Stein:     So insightful with that point. That’s one of the things that helped make this transition somewhat seamless is how much transfer and crossover there is between what it takes to be successful in sport and what it takes to be successful in business or really in any area of life and that the foundational principles of leadership, of building trust, of effective communication, learning how to respect someone and hold them accountable those things, it really doesn’t matter what industry you’re in those principles are always going to be the same. That’s why I’m such a big advocate of youth sports and I’m so happy to hear that that you’re a coach because that’s ultimately one of the major benefits. The vast majority of the young people that play sports are not going to do so professionally when they’re older but sport can be such a tremendous vehicle and platform to teach these type of traits reinforce these characteristics and provide life lessons that quite honestly are hard to get anywhere else. I think I really started to get a much stronger appreciation for that when I became a father. My chief responsibilities outside of protecting my children and providing for them is hopefully modeling and giving them the tools that they need to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, contributors to society. And I find that getting them involved in sports and activities and having them be coached is going to help them do that to a much greater degree than I could by myself and even a greater degree  to what teachers can do. I have a huge affinity and love for teachersbecause that’s what both of my parents did, but let’s be honest a math teacher is not going to be able to impact you in your life the exact same way as a baseball coach or a basketball coach so it’s important to be involved in as many of these things as possible for true development.


Jim Rembach:    Oh, wow, I never really thought about that whole classroom versus field issue and my responsibility just got a lot bigger I’m worried now.


Alan Stein:     And you know what’s funny is I know I positioned it that way I don’t want it to be versus but more of a supplement to each other as parents, as coaches, as teachers we should be concerned with working together to do what’s best for a young person’s development and there’s obviously glaring prose and strings to each of those different domains. But I’ve just found that sport can really teach some life lessons that are very difficult to teach as a teacher or even as a father. That’s why I encourage my kids to try as many different activities and as many different sports as they can. And that’s also the reason I think my message is fairly well received in the business world is people know that intuitively. They know that what it takes to build a team is going to be the same regardless of what industry you’re in or how old you are those principles they’re always going to be true.


Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. One of the things about the sport area is that it’s experiential you’re practicing things you’re putting things into action. And a lot of times in a classroom that isn’t really happening you’re getting other insights and information that oftentimes really seems more difficult to apply. Also one of the things to me as we’re talking about this that really becomes crystal clear talking about translating into the business world is that—if we’re talking about serving customers if we don’t work together if we don’t have  that feeling of self in our contribution working collaboratively all of those things the customer experience gets affected as well.


Alan Stein:    Oh, absolutely. When you talk about the classroom, a classroom for the most part as much as you want collaboration and so forth it’s not really a team it’s 30 individuals that are trying to learn on their own and they get their own grades it’s not the same as a team if you and I are on a baseball team you’re counting on me you need me to do my part you need me to practice hard. In a classroom if the kids to my left doesn’t do his homework that doesn’t affect me but on a baseball team if the kids to my left isn’t going and doing batting practice that could affect me in fact it will affect me because they’re going to end up hurting our chance of being successful because they made the decision not to go the extra mile or to put in the extra work so I think that is one of the biggest differences. And again there’s pros to both, the self-reliance and the self-accountability of just being a solo student there’s great traits from that. But I think the team component is what makes team sports so special and then that’s what’s akin to business. As you said in business if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do when you’re in the desk next to me you could potentially be taking lunch off of my plate. That’s where I just see so much harmony and alignment between team sport and business.


Jim Rembach:    These are all really good points. For mean for me I want to get into talking about your book, Raise Your Game because there are three things that stood out to me as I was going through this book and I mention again it’s in three parts, player, coach, and team. However, if you were to start to think about, real estate as far as a book is concerned, where is most of the content actually residing there’s three things that stood out to me one is self-awareness, that was a huge chunk, and then another chunk was going into the team part under communication and cohesion. So tell us a little bit about why those three take up more real estate in this book than the others. 


Alan Stein:    I’m a huge believer that self-awareness is the foundation to not just performance but to happiness, fulfillment, respectinfluence, success, significance, you fill in the blank but those things would be impossible to achieve if you’re not aware. I always find self-awareness rather comical because I find it very analogous to driving. Very few people admit that they’re a bad driver. You spend five minutes out on the road we know there’s plenty of bad drivers out there. There’s not very many people I think that would step forward and raise their hand and say, I’m not self-aware. I think most people think they are self-aware but it’s been my experience that a vast majority are not or at least are not as aware as they’re capable of.


The whole key with self-awareness is we have to know a starting point. We have to know where we are that’s one point and then we have to know where we’re going, it‘s no different than GPS. Right now if someone said, hey, Jim hey Allen how do you get to Chicago? Your answer is going to be different because you’re coming from Greensboro, North Carolina I’m coming from Gaithersburg, Maryland so we’re not starting from the same point. But you can’t give someone directions to where they want to go if you don’t know where they’re starting you have to have both points on the spectrum. There’s several different levels to self-awareness but self-awareness is crucial to knowing what you do well, what you love to do, what drives you and motivates you, what’s your learning style, what’s your personality style, how do you best feel appreciated knowing all that stuff. But then you also have to do the hard work and face what I would call the darker side which is what things scare you? What are your insecurities? What are your challenges? What are your blind spots? And of course by definition you may not know what your blind spots are but do you have the humility to acknowledge that you do have them that you don’t have all the answers in that you need help. And kind of putting all of those things together will give you an awareness of who you are as a person and then of course where you fit in with the organization. The example I use all of the time in basketball is a player that takes a bad shot  what a coach can live with that we can teach that but a player that takes a bad shot and doesn’t know it was a bad shot that’s the dangerous one because they’re going to continue to repeat that behavior and they don’t even know they did anything wrong in the first place so self-awareness is absolutely the foundation to which the rest of the house is built.


Jim Rembach:    Yeah, well there’s another part of that book in that particular section that I like too that you’ve addressed that’s coachability component. Because with the self-awareness you have to have the humility and be coachable and take that to try to make some changes. And if you’re not going to take the coaching how much are you going to actually have impact on the team. 


Alan Stein:    Very well said, that’s the number one trait that I would look for after self-awareness and someone that I was working with. Whether it’s a young person on your baseball team or a CEO or an executive of fortune 500 company is, are they coachable? Because in order to be coachable you have to blend in openness with  allowing yourself to be vulnerable but as we just said having the humility to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. That’s one of the things that’s been cool about being around some of these high performers whether it’s Kobe Bryant or LeBron James or Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, these guys are already in the upper 0.01% of the human population at their specific craft and yet they’re all very open to being coached in fact they crave it they beg to have someone in their life that can help them get just a little bit better. 


Now when you’ve achieved the level of expertise and mastery that they have there’s not very many people that can coach you because there’s not very many people that can add to what you need to do because you’re already so accomplished and that’s why they crave those people even more. But, yeah, coach-ability has to be a number one mindset. That also parlays a lot into Carol Dweck who wrote the book Mindset the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. To be coachable you have to have a growth mindset and believe that improvement is still not only possible but will result in all of the work that you put in.


Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. Okay, okay so then going into the team side we talked about a lot of the real estate as I called it in the book being reserved for communication and then cohesion so why those two? 


Alan Stein:    It’s my belief that I would say almost every single dysfunction within a team is from one or two things it’s either from selfishness or it’s from communication or usually lack of communication or miscommunication at least within a couple degrees of that. Communication is vital and there’s a few things that’s so important to realize in a team atmosphere. One you’re always communicating something. Even when you don’t think you’re communicating you’re absolutely communicating something to your teammates or those that you lead. The obvious is the non-verbals which everyone talks about. Body language, eye contact, facial expressions, tonality but I’m talking more about the unconscious message that we send in all of our behavior. A great example, this happens all the time especially in the corporate world,  would be if you and I are working on a team together and we’re working on a project and I delegate an important task to you the unconscious message is I believe in you I trust you I know that you’re competent enough to do this well that’s the reason I’m asking you to do it and that unconscious message is a glue that will strengthen our connection. Conversely, and this happens just as often, if I micromanage you. I give you a task but then I either literally or figuratively stand over your shoulder and breathe down your neck while you try to complete it well. Now I’m sending a completely different unconscious message I’m basically saying Jim I don’t trust you I don’t believe in you in fact I think you’re such a moron there’s no way you’ll get this done if I’m not standing over you and that’s going to erode our connection and ultimately every interaction we have with a teammate is either going to strengthen our connection or erode it. And we have to be very intentional about making sure that we are as I said in the beginning filling buckets and making deposits and strengthening every connection.


So of course, more times than not if I was micromanaging you I would have noble intent  I’m probably very particular that this thing gets done to a certain level I’ve worked really hard to develop the skill sets to perform at a high level and I want to make sure that it gets done to that quality. But the problem is that’s not the message that you internally receive you look at it as, Alan doesn’t trust me he doesn’t believe in me and that will start to pull the yarn out or the thread out of our relationship and then ultimately will start to evaporate our team cohesion so that’s a big portion of it. And another big part of communication is the listening. I’m a professional speaker I get paid to talk but I know that the real gold is in the listening and that’s where you can really form strong connections. Same thing aunderlying message, right now you’re doing a brilliant job of actively listening to me as I continue to talk. Whether you’re listening to me or it’s your listeners are listening to us when you actively listen to someone you send them the unconscious message that you care about them that have to say is important that you value what it is that they’re saying. Once again that is a glue that will strengthen any connection. If you’re talking to someone—if you and I are out to lunch and I’m talking to you and you keep looking down at your phone and you keep looking out the window and just kind of obligatory nodding your head I know that you’re not really listening to me and then unconsciously you’re telling me that I’m not important and that you don’t value me. And if that’s done repeatedly over time that will erode our connection and if that’s done in mass consistently it will start to dissolve any type of team cohesion and culture. So communication is absolutely vital and is pivotal to the greater picture of cohesion.

Jim Rembach:    As you’re talking I started thinking about one of the practices that I’ve tried to do more and more of is to be able to convey what my intent is. Because I want to remove the potential doubt and the assumptions that people will make in regards to my actions as far as some of the things that you’re talking about. So hey, if I am very particular and I this is very important to me and I and I will be able to look over your shoulder a lot more than I would this is why and being able to convey that. I think once you get past that eerie gray of perception you’re much better off and you can actually create better connections. I think people are going to be more attentive when you say how it is important what your intent is. You also open yourself up for feedback to say, I know this is what your intent is, however, this is what I’m perceiving. 


Alan Stein:    Absolutely, and that comes back to communication. In that instance you would be effectively communicating your intent and doing your best to dissolve any type of assumptions or preconceived notions or judgments and be able to explain that. That also parlays into that would show your ability to welcome feedback and to be coachable where you could say to me in this instance, Alan let me apologize in advance if it seems like I’m micromanaging you but I need to make sure this is done right please know that I’d really do trust you and believe in you or I wouldn’t have asked you to do this I know you’re competent but I’m going to keep an eye on you. However, if you feel like I’m stepping on your toes a little bit don’t be afraid to push back don’t be afraid to tell me that and give me that feedback. That type of dialogue is incredibly productive. And ultimately what that would tell me unconsciously well, Jim does care about me he’s cares so much that he’s already looking forward and seeing that this could potentially create an issue and he’s heading that off at the pass and that he’s open for me to share my honest feelings with him that will completely  again close that gap of connection between us, very well said. 


Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. Everything that we’re talking about here is just loaded with emotion. And one of the things that we look to on the show are quotes to help guide us in the right direction and give us some inspiration. Is there a quote that you can share? Can you share one or two with us? 


Alan Stein:    I can share a few because as a father of three it’s very similar if you ask me which of my children I love the most you know I’m going to have to say all three because that’s the only politically correct answer and it happens to be true. Same thing with quotes, one of the things with quotes—I started writing down quotes when I was in middle school back on an old school yellow legal pad with pen and paper and then of course graduated to a Microsoft Word document and now I just have thousands of quotes because I really love language. There’s several that I love, one is and this one’s a little bit longer and I’ve got a shorter version, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. If you don’t like what you’ve been getting you need to change what you’ve been doing. And I like that certainly it’s got a nice rhythm and flow to it but it also reeks of common sense which is if you want to get a different result then you need to have different behavior. I just like the way that it brings that up because most people continue to do the same thing over and over in their life and then they’re shocked when things don’t get better when their performance doesn’t improve. It’s like well, you’re just doing the same stuff you’ve been doing why would your performance magically improve? A shorter version of that is, if nothing changes nothing changes, so you have to be willing to make that change. I like those two. I also like, if you’re willing to do what others won’t do then you’ll have what others won’t have. When I was younger that always seemed to mean something monetarily or superficial like if you do things that others won’t do you’ll make a lot of money and have some toys that they won’t have. But now that I’m older and hopefully a little wiser I realize it’s the same thing with happiness and fulfillment. If you’re willing to make certain sacrifices and do certain things that most people aren’t willing to do then you’ll have a level of happiness and fulfillment that most people don’t achieve. So those are just a couple off the top of my head but we could do a whole podcast just on quotes Oh without a doubt so I know that we start talking about all of these quotes.


Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. I know that when you start talking about all of these quotes and all this inspiration and all of that and  going through your book and looking at the things associated with  being self-aware, humility, all of these things that you had to have some humps to get over in order to get you to this point of knowledge and wisdom gain. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?


Alan Stein:    Yeah, the most obvious one was—and I know you had read it in my intro and I used language very specifically and intentionally. You mentioned that I’m amicably divorced and you don’t often hear those two words in the same sentence at least that’s been my experience and the reason I lead with that is I’m very proud of the fact that even though my marriage didn’t work out that my ex-wife and I are very amicable and respects to love each other and we make excellent co-parents to our children. We both realize that how we treat each other is going to have a huge influence and impact our children and that we owe it to them to do that in the most civil and respectable and loving way possible. So, when I was going through the divorce I actually decided to go ahead and get some counseling or some therapy or whatever word someone wants to use and that was incredibly helpful and very enlightening. In fact, when I look back on myself I would like to believe that I’ve always had a good heart as you mentioned I’ve had good intentions I think that I was a good guy, but boy, I had a lot of roadblocks and I had a lot of baggage I wasn’t near as self-aware as I am today same thing I lacked some humility before and in therapy certainly helps course correct that. Going through some therapy and having somebody kind of unpack these things and guide me has absolutely made me a better man which has allowed me to be a better father a better business person a better speaker. This happened five six years ago. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life with some of those qualities that weren’t quite as endearing and it’s really neat now that she, the therapist, really helped me get over that hump and it was a very enlightening feeling and I’m so thankful. It’s also these things are not anything that you ever arrived at. I still do the work today, the internal work, to sharpen my sword and master my craft and get better at these different areas. I still work on my own self-awareness and clarity on a daily basis and those things will even flow and  I work hard to be coachable and open and every once in a while I’ll find there’s times where I’m not and I’m a little resistant but I have now the tools where I can take a step back and take a breath and go, okay, Alan in that specific instance you were not very open to that other person’s idea alright we got to do better at that. So very, very thankful to have gotten over at least that hump and I’m sure I’ve got several more to get over for the rest of my life.


Jim Rembach:    Well, I think you bring up some really good points and all of that. First of all with focus and effort and support and help that we can do things differently and get the outcomes that we desire but we have to actually do those things. There’s several things that I’m thinking about too from an organizational perspective that are critically important because we know that executing getting things done is really one of the major roadblocks for organizations and even when you start talking about the customer experience, employee experience, and being able to deliver something that is exceptional is they struggle. They struggle to be able to do all of these things from an individual perspective, from a team perspective, in order to be able to have the desired outcome. When you’re talking about working with organizations that are trying to be able to deliver and differentiate, where are you finding some of their big roadblocks


Alan Stein:    A couple things one, I encourage that regardless of what industry somebody’s in that they work to make their relationships and their culture their major separator. Because we can copy technology I mean to a degree we can copy systems and processes we can copy designs and layouts we can copy prices very difficult to copy people it’s very difficult to copy relationships and it’s very difficult to copy culture. So, I love the way that you and I started this conversation talking about relationships and talking about creating connection and so forth. I really encourage folks to make that their secret sauce and to pour into that because it’ll pay them back heavily on the other end. As far as some of the roadblocks, it’s not really a one-size-fits-all I mean every organizations going to be slightly different with the things that kind of get in their way but one trend that I’ve noticed you need to practice the way that you want to play and this is another one that we can pull straight out of the playbook. 


I would imagine on some level, and I know it varies depending on the age of the kid that you’re working with, but I would imagine with the baseball practices that you hold. A good portion of those you’re doing things that are working on skills exactly as they’ll be needed when they play in the game. Certainly there’s ways to modify certain things but I would imagine that you have different dribbles and different activities and different things that you do that try to closely simulate what the kids will see when the actual game starts. I know for the basketball programs I’ve worked with that’s a big portion of it too. Yes, they would have a  fundamentals portion where they’re working on skill work but then they would do different situations in different scenarios and small-sided scrimmages and different time and score they would try to mimic the game as much as possible and that’s what businesses need to do. They need to figure out what’s the outcome that they’re looking to get and then how can they best simulate that in their training or in their practice. 


perfect example would be with sales, any type of sales professional. It may sound a little cliché and corny but are they doing any type of role playing? If you and I are both sales professionals and we have to sell  widgets for our company you and I should have 30 minutes a week that we’re going back and forth and this time you pretend you’re the customer and I want you to come up with some objections and I’ll be the sales person and then we’ll flip it and we’ll do something where I’ll be the customer and you’ll be the sales professional and let’s go through as many of these scenarios as possible. That way when you actually get to a big sales meeting or you have a proposal you’re not hearing these objections for the first time you’ve prepared for them. The same way that I would prepare to be a guest on your podcast or the way that I would prepare to deliver a keynote there has to be a preparation component. Sometimes I think folks fail to close the gap between what they need to do in preparation and what’s going to actually be recalled when it’s game time. 


Jim Rembach:    I think those are really important points and that applies to just about every single customer facing job that I come across. If you’re waiting to figure it out until you’re get in it you’re in trouble. 


Alan Stein:    And think too it doesn’t mean we can come up with every scenario. Let’s just say you and I we’re sales professionals were teammates we’re each working on our own commission however we want to work together because we still want the business to do well. That’s very similar to a team where two players are fighting for playing time but they’re wearing the same Jersey. But let’s just say we do this role playing, I have a customer come in and they throw me a curve ball that I’ve never seen before. I’ve never heard objection and I haven’t practiced this specifically but there’s two things to take from that. One, if we’ve practiced other things I can probably bridge the gap between some of the other scenarios and find ways to apply that to this. It doesn’t mean that I have to have been asked that very specific question but just the routine of practicing and going through role playing will better prepare me for that. But then whether I answer it well or I swing and I miss and I strikeout, to use some of your vernacular, then the key would be to go back to the team afterwards. And say, Jim, man that was a rough call. I just had I can’t believe it the client the client asked me this and I had no idea what to answer, what do you think? What would you have said if they asked you this? Can we brainstorm this together and now I’ve got that one logged so that if someone ever asks that one again I’ll be fully prepared. And that’s ultimately what experiences is, experience is accumulation of all of these different things that we’re doing. That’s why more times than not outside of, just say, likeability and raw charisma a veteran sales professional is probably going to do better than a new sales professional because they’ve seen so many other scenarios they’ve gotten in a lot more reps when it comes to selling. That would be something that I would highly encourage is we can have a sales meeting for 30 minutes a week where we do some role-playing and then we all bring up some of the successes and challenges that we’ve had in recent calls. Because if I’m a good teammate I’m also going to say, Jim, you’re not going to believe it the customer asked me this question and this was the answer I gave them and it blew their socks off they started just throwing money at me. So I just wanted to share that with you in case someone ever asks you the same question that you’d be able to do the same thing for them. 


Jim Rembach:    We learn best in community. Thank you for actually putting together this body of work and we hope you and raise your game gets the very best that it deserves. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.


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Okay, Fast Leader legion, it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay Alan, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So 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. Alan Stein, are you ready to hoedown?


Alan Stein:    I am ready to rock and roll


Jim Rembach:    Alright. What do you think is holding you back as a better leader today?


Alan Stein:    I still have a few limiting beliefs that I’m trying to work through. I’ll hear something at face value and sometimes dismiss it is something that I can’t do. I’m working now to be able to break through and have a limitless type belief.


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


Alan Stein:    It’s not about you it’s about them. And that needs to be the lens at which you look through everything. As a leader it’s not about you it’s about them.


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


Alan Stein:    I was taught at a very young age that you need to connect first and coach second. Develop a care and a love for the people that you lead and connect with them on a human level first and then you can work on leading them and coaching them, you can’t do it if you reverse the two.


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


Alan Stein:    Emotional intelligence without question.


Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion, it could be from any genre, of course we’re going to put a link to Raise Your Game on your show notes page as well.


Alan Stein:    The first book that absolutely had a monumental impact on me was Leading with the Heart by Coach K, the head coach of Duke men’s basketball


Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to Okay, Alan, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all, you can only choose one, so what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?


Alan Stein:    I would take back self-awareness because at 25 I was severely lacking it. I only had a very narrow view of myself and the good and the bad so absolutely I’d go back with that self-awareness. If the 25 year old Alan would have been open to listening to that advice I think he could have could have sidestepped a lot of heartache and landmines and challenges.


Jim Rembach:    Alan, it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the fast leader Legion how they can connect with you? 


Alan Stein:     Absolutely, pleasure was very mutual I enjoyed this conversation you asked some wonderful questions I had a lot of fun. If they’re interested in the book they can go to, If they’re interested in my speaking or anything else I do they can go to and I’m @AlanSteinjr on LinkedIn and Instagram and all of the major social handles and I love engaging with people on social. If anyone was listening to this if something resonated you want to drop me a line I would love to start some dialogue.


Jim Rembach:    Alan Stein Jr., 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 and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over a so we can help you move onward and upward faster.