Bill Munn Show Notes
In 2000 Bill Munn was soaring financially. But he was not focused on what he was best at. So Bill turned his business around and he lost of lot of clients and a lot of savings. Just before he got to the brink things started taking off. Listen to Bill share his story of how he got over this hump.
However far back you go, you’ll find Bill Munn’s roots firmly planted beside a small lake in Northern Michigan. It was there that his grandfather and first true mentor long ago discovered a nature-rich escape—one that was remote, largely untouched, and perfectly suited to the late visionary’s dream of a getaway where generations of extended family members would connect and build memories for years to come.
Bill has always been called to this place: as a young boy, forging new paths to troublemaking alongside the cousins who became his most treasured friends and confidants; as a young man, working his tail off every night and day of the summer season in order to remain on the shores of that beloved lake; as a young father, working even harder as an oft-travelling executive, determined that his wife and 3 daughters could spend every day of their summers in that place.
Today, as a veteran management coach with his own independent practice, that lake is no longer a retreat he visits and longs for, but the place he calls home.
Incidentally, it’s also helped to inspire the framework for a leadership and personal-growth program that has become part of his legacy: the power-alley attributes concept. As Bill helped clients identify and leverage inherent strengths—or attributes—in themselves and others within their organizations, he found that the natural world reflected one of his most powerful leadership philosophies.
Just as an eagle is built for soaring while the elegant loon is designed for deep diving, so too does each human being have powerful and unique attributes that are key to personal success in business, leadership, and life—as well as team success.
For over 26 years, Bill has supported hundreds of corporate leaders and their teams as a management-coach. Being a former top-level executive of a Dow 30 and Fortune 500 company, Bill brings real-world experience to his seminars, training programs, and one-on-one coaching, supporting clients with practical wisdom, real-world action tools, and unbiased insight.
Bill is the bestselling author of two books, including Why Make Eagles Swim?: Embracing Natural Strengths in Leadership and Life and Lead or Be Led: A Guide for Intentional Living.
Bill and his wife, Lindy, split their time between Ohio and beautiful northern Michigan, where they often welcome their three daughters, three sons-in-law, and ten grandchildren.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“All people come out of the womb with an inherent attribute profile.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“Don’t even try to change your attributes.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“Think about changing behavior, not attributes.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“You can choose to behave differently and work hard at it.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“Go for what brings you joy – what brings you joy you will be good at.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“Generally in life, what you’re good at will provide a good living.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“The entire cosmos, with one insignificant exception, is made up of other people.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“I love the richness of different perspectives.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“The world is working with other people.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“It’s not that they need to understand me, I need to understand them.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“You understanding yourself is just a great place to start.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“Where I want people to end is tuning to other people around them.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
“When you genuinely tune into others they naturally become engaged.” -Bill Munn Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
In 2000 Bill Munn was soaring financially. But he was not focused on what he was best at. So Bill turned his business around and he lost of lot of clients and a lot of savings. Just before he got to the brink things started taking off. Listen to Bill share his story of how he got over this hump.
Advice for others
Tune into other people around you. Those people are broadcasting all day long. Set your tuner and you’ll start listening to people in a whole new way.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Best Leadership Advice Received
Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
Secret to Success
Get insight from God
Best tools that helps in Business or Life
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
111: Bill Munn: I was tied up in my mind with financial security
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 when I heard the title of this person’s book that we’re going to discuss today I knew I had to have him on the show. However, far back ago you’ll find Bill Munn’s roots firmly planted beside a small lake in northern Michigan. It was there that his grandfather and his first true mentor long ago discovered a nature rich escape one that was remote largely untouched and perfectly suited to the late visionaries dream of a getaway where generations of extended family members would connect and build memories for years to come. Bill has always been called to this place. As a young boy forging new pass to troublemaking alongside the cousins who became his most treasured friends and confidants. As a young man, working off his tail every night and day of the summer season in order to remain on the shores of that beloved lake.
As a young father working even harder as an oft traveling executive determined that his wife and three daughters could spend every day of their summers in that place. Today as a veteran management coach with his own independent practice that lake is no longer retreated visits and longed for but a place he calls home. Incidentally he’s also helped to inspire the framework for a leadership and personal growth program that has become part of his legacy, the power-alley attributes concept. As Bill helped clients identify and leverage inherent strengths are attributes in themselves and others and within organizations he found that the natural world reflected one of his most powerful leadership philosophies. Just as an eagle is built to soar while the elegant loon is designed for deep diving so too does each human being have powerful and unique attributes that are key to personal success in business, leadership and life as well as team success. For over 26 years, Bill has supported hundreds of corporate leaders and their teams as a management coach being a former top level executive of a Dow 30 and Fortune 500 company, Bill brings real world experiences to seminars, training programs, and one-on-one coaching supporting clients with practical wisdom, real-world action tools and unbiased insight. Bill is the best-selling author of two books including, Why make Eagle Swim? Embracing Natural Strengths and Leadership in Life and Lead or Be Led: The Guide for Intentional Living. Bill and his wife Mindy split their time between Ohio and the beautiful northern Michigan lake where they often welcome three daughters, three sons in laws and 10 grandchildren. Bill Munn are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Bill Munn: I’m ready.
Jim Rembach: Bill, I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you even better.
Bill Munn: My current passion that has been Jim for about three decades or more, the three decades I’ve been coaching and a little bit beyond, is how to help people achieve their vision of what they define as a fulfilled life.
Jim Rembach: There’s so many things that I want to talk to you after going through and reading the book, Why make Eagle Swim? Because one coach I often use her statements and I’ll say is that, when people are doing something that just doesn’t seem right in regards to either placing an individual or asking a team to do certain things, I will say, “Do you really want to put a duck in a desert?
Bill Munn: I love it. Yeah, that could have been the title of the book. I love that phrase, I haven’t heard it before.
Jim Rembach: It’s just like you never want to do that, it’s pending doom. If you’re going to put the duck in the desert it’s pending doom if you’re going to make that eagle swim. In the book you actually talked about the difference between attributes and skills, help us understand that.
Bill Munn: Skills are learned, essentially, knowledge and skills both are learned. Attributes come with, Jim, Bill, others, all people I believe come out of the womb with an inherent attribute profile. In fact, the longer I do that—I started out 15 years ago 25 years ago with attributes telling people, 15 years old you probably have your attribute profile. The longer I’ve done this the more people I’ve worked with the more I’ve decided I think it’s earlier than any of us think. I’m not sure we can never prove that. I don’t think we have the tools but I think if we could I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we find out we were that way from the beginning we just didn’t know how to express it.
Jim Rembach: As you said that so many things resonate with me especially being a father of three kids that if you look at them from a personality perspective they couldn’t be any more different.
Bill Munn: I love it, that’s right, exactly.
Jim Rembach: And my middle son I struggle with when it comes to some of the things that I know what I’m doing is I’m putting that duck in the desert, I’m trying to make that eagle swim and I need to stop doing that. And that’s one of the things that you talk about as far as forces you know in the book. In it you called you’re trying to help force.
Bill Munn: Yes, that’s exactly right. And what you’re describing, I love your empathy that’s so real it comes from those who love us, like you love your son. And we come to these conclusions as parents and our parents I believe did the same thing. We come to these conclusions, “Oh, I don’t want them to go through that thing that I suffered and we perceive that if we hadn’t been this way or we’ve been more this way we would have gotten past this hurdle or that hurdle. And so, we want very much to help our child avoid that hurdle and the fact is, A. It’s not going to work and B. It actually creates to divide and they’re going to grow from the hurdle anyway but believe me it I love your heart. It’s easy to say those words to a parent but as a parent a grandparent I can tell you I’m with you, it hurts why you’re doing it.
Jim Rembach: It does and it’s my issue really isn’t his. One of the things that stood out, you said a word a moment ago talking about vision and being able to see and understand our own attributes and quite frankly I don’t think we really ever do that unless we are exposed to your work and your findings and have to explore it, we just don’t do it naturally. It’s not one of our attributes—self exploration, it’s not there. But when you talk about this attribute profile and building your attribute view profile, explain that? Because to me I think when you say vision you’ve got to go through the attribute profile and or have vision of self.
Bill Munn: Yes. The attribute profile is simply a snapshot if you will or a picture of your individual set of attributes. Super strong ones the medium strong ones the medium ones the super weak ones, it’s the arrangement, the picture of the ranking of those attributes. And the profile that I focus on in the book is 14 attributes. I have so far over the years collected a list of 77 human attributes but I decided that if I try to teach you or anyone else from the beginning a list that you need to memorize 77 attributes, I know you’ll lose your day one. So, I combined them into this primer list that once people get comfortable with then they can begin adding others but whatever number of attributes you evaluate you’re going to have a profile, you’re going to have some that are extraordinarily high in you I call those power alley there on auto pilot, you in effect cannot do them. The you’re going to have some of the other extreme that are so low I call those challenges, that you really can’t do them you can’t do them with any semblance of reality or goodness. In between the good news is all the rest of our attributes are functional meaning we can do them when we recognize, oh, I’m in one of those more moments where I need to focus on this attribute, those fall into high medium low in your profile. You’ve got high functional attributes that are a snap for you to switch into. You can turn them on in heartbeat. You have medium and then you have low which are struggle for you to do but you can do them you just have to focus harder. Think of most attributes you can practice when you need to.
I think one of the things that’s interesting to me and you talk about strengths and focusing on strengths, some of these particular attributes that we would become more cognizant of really frost to actually be there’s no way they’re going to become power house, it’s just not going to happen. What can we realistically expect from ourselves if we have a particular attribute that we want to become better at that you it’s going to take some move and change in effort you’re talking about effort there’s somebody while back where I read something it talks about we only have so many energy units within a particular day. And when we focus in on our weaknesses we burn energy units really darn fast.
So, if you were to say that somebody’s down in that lower level, what can they expect as far as movements are concern, time, effort all that what?
What I tell people, and it’s almost always a revelation for them and I love the fact that they’ll tell me often it sets them free, don’t even try to change your attributes. Don’t even think that way, think about behavior not attributes. Quick example, I use it with lots of audiences, I’ll use it with yours because it tells a story about me. I have an attribute, it’s not one of the 14, but it is one of the 77 by the way, I have an attribute called addictive. I didn’t choose it but I got it. I’ve proven it. I was a smoker. I drink too much. I’ve tried it all, I get addicted easily, and that’s an attribute. I quit smoking. I quit drinking, believe me it didn’t change the fact that I have an addictive attribute, what it changed was my behavior. So, you can choose to behave differently and work hard at it. It doesn’t change the core attribute but it changes your behavior either in all of your life, like my example, or in certain situations. You can choose if you are a low relational and you’re headed for a party and with family members you don’t care a bit about you can choose to behave relationally for the evening, it’s going to work it’s going to be hard on you you’re going to come home tired. A high relational come home lick full of energy but you can do it. It didn’t change your low relational attribute.
Jim Rembach: That’s a really good point. One of the things that I found interesting and I haven’t had the opportunity to fully read the whole book yet and so I did a light skimming and it cause me to definitely want to go deeper and as well as explore a little bit more about myself. You started breaking using the attribute profile things that occur within somebody’s day, life, events and things like that and helping them understand the power piece, not strong in a particular attribute piece so that they can set a better course of action. To me I think that is extremely powerful because there’s so many people who are saying, “Well I don’t know what I want to do I’m not happy, I feel lost. What direction do I need to go, I think this would help.”
Bill Munn: Oh, it’s very definitely helps. In fact, the attributes component has become a huge contributor to a whole thing I do with clients that’s grown over the recent years called career vision. It’s a combination of attributes and your vision for your career. And the whole idea is, a lot of people start looking at a career like a job change or whatever and they say, let’s see what I should do. I should be salesman or I should be a nurse or I should be an account. And I said no. No, no, don’t jump to the job you should do. Start with you, your attribute profile and your vision two separate efforts then bring them together and say, Okay, given this vision for my life this is how I want to be, feel, act, etcetera, that’s my vision in my career and over here is who I am. You put those two together and say, Oh, okay I’m a really low caregiver. I don’t care how much job security or money there is in nursing I don’t belong there, that simple. My wife is a huge caregiver, she’d be a natural. Whether it was secure job or high-paying or anything else that’s not the point, go for what brings you joy what brings you joy you will be good at and generally in life what you’re good at will provide a good living.
Jim Rembach: Definitely I see this being able to set a lot of people on a significantly more efficient course of
Bill Munn: I hope so.
Jim Rembach: As well as more effective. Now I know going through this work, going through this process, all the experiences that you’ve had there’s a whole lot of inspiration that can be garnered from this. On the show we like to look at quotes to help us with inspiration. Is there a quote or two that you can share with us?
Bill Munn: Yes, there are a bunch but that’s an excellent, excellent question. The core quotation that I think speaks immediately to my vision for people from the attributes concept is: The entire cosmos with one insignificant exception is made up of other people. I want people to focus on the richness of—Hey, Jim’s different than I am—that’s rich instead of that’s irritating. Not everybody like Bill Munn, thank goodness. I spend enough time with him. I love the richness of different perspectives. The whole reason in fact that I started attributes, I started it before I became a coach used it when I was an executive, is that every personality type thing I’d been through focused on me—who am I?
What’s my personality type? Etcetera, etcetera. And I kept saying as a manager, wait a minute, the world is working with other people it’s not just about me getting other people to work with me it’s not that they need to understand me I need to understand them. So, I started attributes from the perspective of the end of the book which is listening for revelation and tuning into other people. Who are they? Like you talking about your son, you tuning in to your son is what I wanted attributes for as supposed to you understanding, Jim. You understanding yourself is just a great place to start for you to learn the concept but where I want people to end is tuning in to all the people around them. Those people are broadcasting all day long, all of us are what are our attribute profile is we just don’t know that we are. And if you set your tuner you set the channel to that other person instead of to yourself and train yourself you start listening to people in a whole new way.
Jim Rembach: I think for me that is exactly the way that it happens. I need to understand myself better to see how that even my behavior impacts the effect of their attributes. So, even like my own you know son talking about them not try to put them in the wrong spot I try to expect things different from him that just aren’t there and so I shouldn’t try to force that particular issue. The same thing applies if it was a co-worker whether it’s a friend or a family member, all of those things that comes into play. I need to know me and how I could potentially affect them and just have a greater level of compassion for them.
Bill Munn: Yes, exactly. One of the interesting things and it’s ironic in a way it’s the results I’ve heard back over the decades with this. People will come to me and say, “You know, Bill, I used to just ride my son or my daughter about this or that issue. After doing the attributes thing I went home and I talked to him and we’re having entirely different conversations. And I told him, a lot of people have done that they’ve told me these stories. I told my kid, let’s not talk anymore about this stuff you don’t like but let’s talk about the stuff that lights you up. I’ve been doing it the wrong way they’ve been shown the handouts themselves. Interesting reports back six months later a year later, because I’m with these clients on an ongoing basis, Jim, they report back to me, you know what, she meaning the daughter is starting to focus more on those other areas that she doesn’t like. And I’ve asked her about it and she said, well you know, since you’re focusing on what I like I figure I ought to focus a little bit on what you think’s important. So the irony is that all the stuff we were trying to accomplish was simply creating a divide. And now when we just focus on tuning into them and what’s important to them they then do the same thing in return. And that happens, we see it quickly at home but it happens with teams too.
Jim Rembach: I’m glad that you shared that because there’s one of the things that I like that to talk about is that we always talk about trying to get people to buy right into our vision, buy into plan, buy into their job—buy in—but I think what you described is that we get people to fall into it to it.
Bill Munn: I love that contrast. You’re exactly right. When you genuinely tune in to the other person’s attributes and you genuinely tune in to helping them see how they can use their strong attributes to accomplish the goals in their role, whatever that is their response to that just naturally is to be more engaged. Because when we’re working higher up our chain of attributes we’re more passionate, we’re more joyful, we’re more engaged it’s where we like to be and we’ve been told to work on the bottom of our list. But now you’ve got someone, this boss, with this new revelation and he’s ask he or she to work on the top of your list someone’s asking me to have fun and engagement and joy and passion, feed right from that quite naturally.
Jim Rembach: Definitely. So I know throughout the course of your career, kids, family and traveling, your work, there’s a lot of things that you’ve your own opportunities to learn from and we talk about getting over the hump on the show. Is there a story that you can share it with us that when you had to go over hump?
Bill Munn: Oh, yeah. In 2000 I was soaring financially but I was not focused on what I was best at, which was helping people. I was so tied up in my mind with financial security and I found less and less fulfillment less and less happiness in what I was doing. I was doing it well but less and less happiness I was getting miserable I recognized it.
Jim Rembach: So, who are you with? And what were you doing at the time?
Bill Munn: We had three children, they were in college age and early young adulthood. We had a big home and we had a happy marriage. We had good financial security, the financial rewards had been substantial. But I knew that the underpinnings just weren’t right for me and for who I was. I turned the business around to focus it on helping. I started doing a lot more pro bono coaching. I started giving away a lot more money and what God did with that was just what I’d asked for he took away a huge portion of that pile, I call it my financial security, and our finances went south, we lost clients, we lost savings. Stayed the course, stayed with it, kept praying heavily and I stayed focus on I’m going to help people I know this is right I was happier than I had ever been more joyful deep down but the surface stuff looked like a train wreck. We got real close to the very end by 2006 and I mean the end of savings, the point where we might have to sell our other home, talk about poverty right? My poverty was that I might have to sell a second home, I love American poverty, got there got to the edge of the brink and then things started taking off. I’m now 71, that was 11 years ago and we’ve had 11 years in a row where every year’s been more rewarding than the one prior but in this case not only financially but also in terms of fulfillment. I finally started using my own power alley attributes which are very heavy on the developer side helping and encouraging other people.
Jim Rembach: I think of the things—talking about that time spans is not too many people will persevere through that for that long period of time that duration. Are you telling me that it’s faith that really kept you going?
Bill Munn: Absolutely, that was the only thing that kept me going. A great wife who stayed with me and kept encouraging me and she didn’t sit there saying constantly you’re screwing up, you’re wrecking our life, she was absolutely a miracle during that time but she’s a gift from him too so I count her in the equation. But it was turning to genuine prayer, genuine surrender and genuinely giving up on my own efforts and going where he wanted me to go with helping people and ignoring the financial side and then what I now know is typical. I believe that what he does is think something like, Okay, now you’re ready now. Now I can give you more money without destroying you. And he was exactly right because to give me more money back when I was getting more money was destroying me. Now that doesn’t make money evil, don’t come to the wrong conclusion this is not a lecture on what conclusions other people should come to in their life base on my attributes and my walk in life this is where he needed to take me that does not mean he needs to take everybody there.
Jim Rembach: So, I know right now, you have published a couple books, you have the consulting and coaching practice, the family, you have a lot of things going on, if you were to say one goal that you had what would it?
Bill Munn: Right now the whole family and faith areas of my life are really going along beautifully the big effort right now that we’re engaged in is what we call attributes academy. I’m developing an online set of videos to make up an online course so that people can tune into that and consult those videos and learn and review for the rest of their lives, I hope, the attributes concept real-time, anytime they want to online. One of the disadvantages right now up until the book, one of the disadvantages with the attributes concept is that the only people that got exposed to it could afford my coaching. An individual personalized coaching is expensive, so they’re just millions and millions of people that could benefit—the book is a tool, the attributes academy is to take those people who when they finish the book would really love to get more engaged in this it gives them away to take this course and keep it with them and have access to it forever.
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:
Bill Munn: The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So move onward and upward faster by getting significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more.
Jim Rembach: Alright here we go, Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, bill 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. Bill Munn, are you ready to hoedown?
Bill Munn: Yap.
Jim Rembach: All right. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Bill Munn: Time.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Bill Munn: Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Bill Munn: Get insight from God.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of the best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Bill Munn: Prayer, no question.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book, and it could be from any genre, that you recommend to our listeners? And of course we’ll put a link to, Why Make Eagle Swim, on our show notes page as well.
Bill Munn: So, I don’t have to recommend that one.
Jim Rembach: I’ve got it man, I already recommended it.
Bill Munn: I would say bang on the Bible.
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/Bill Munn. Okay, Bill, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to 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, so what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Bill Munn: How to tune in to other people through listening for revelation. Because I was completely absorbed in myself at age 25 and I wish that I could have gone back and tuned in to others.
Jim Rembach: Bill, 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?
Bill Munn: The quickest and easiest most thorough way is, billmunncoaching.com
Jim Rembach: Bill Munn, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.
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 the fastleader.net, so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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