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Omar L Harris | Leader Board | The DNA of High Performance Teams

247: Omar L Harris: Leadership giants have gaps

Omar L Harris Show Notes Page

Omar L Harris coasted on his own individual talent early in his career. The first time he led a team, he began to carry the performance of the team on his shoulders. This caused him to be hospitalized and suffer from panic attacks. Finally, he realized he needed to trust his people and put them in the right place to win.

Born to a chemical engineer father and social worker mother in the working-class town of Pittsburgh, PA, Omar L. Harris learned the values of connecting process to outcomes and the importance of being of service to others at an early age. Being the youngest of four boys in a family of 5 children he endured a lot of hope and pressure to succeed where others had failed in order to uplift and support his family. Moving from Pittsburgh to Charleston, WV, to Lake Charles, LA over the course of his childhood and adolescence engendered in Omar the ability to adapt to constant change which has been his status quo as an adult living all over the US and spending considerable time living and working in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

As a young professional in the pharmaceutical industry, he was exposed to Gallup’s StrengthsFinder tool back in 2002 which informed his philosophy of focusing on what was right with people versus what was not. According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, Omar learned that he was naturally gifted with the ability to forge connections between seemingly unrelated items, influence transformation from good to great, quickly generate options, inspire confidence in others, and confront and overcome obstacles. Honing his natural talents into reliable strengths he successfully matriculated through Pfizer and ultimately found a corporate home at Schering-Plough as a fast-track management associate where he worked for one of the most successful marketing teams in the pharmaceutical industry. He became the youngest marketing director and senior marketing director in the company’s history before Schering-Plough was acquired by Merck.

His 8 years of experience working on this high performing team became the seed that would germinate and ultimately grow into his book Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams.

Omar began leading teams in 2006 and began implementing principles he’d learned reading books by John C. Maxwell, Tom Rath, Patrick Lencioni, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins to name a few. Over time he found significant gaps between the brilliant theories of these leadership giants and the exact application in the day-to-day minutiae of leading a team in the real world. So, he set out to synthesize and adapt these concepts into a suite of Team Performance Acceleration Principles that he’s used with teams of different sizes and scopes all over the world to drive results.

Omar currently lives alone in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he works as Country Manager – Brazil for Allergan.

Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Omar L Harris (@strengthsleader) to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“If you provide positivity to others, you in turn fill your own well of positivity.” – Click to Tweet

“You can avoid the negativity trap simply by trying to do something nice for other people.” – Click to Tweet

“Be aware of your impact of positive and negative on your team and organization.” @strengthsleader – Click to Tweet

“The more positive energy you put out, the more you’re going to get back.” – Click to Tweet

“By putting positive actions in place, you have the ability to drain the well of negativity.” – Click to Tweet

“There’s a halo effect when the leader is intentionally being positive.” – Click to Tweet

“The information about you as a leader can get transmitted faster than ever before.” – Click to Tweet

“If you are a negative leader or toxic leader in today’s environment, everyone’s going to know and no one’s going to want to work for you.” – Click to Tweet

“In today’s world you can no longer get away with being a toxic leader.” – Click to Tweet

“HR cannot create a personal relationship with your people with you.” – Click to Tweet

“One of the reasons we’re seeing this global disengagement crisis is because managers are increasingly less engaged and involved in their people’s lives.” – Click to Tweet

“Where you went to school, how smart you are on an IQ test and your past success, does not predict your future.” – Click to Tweet

“As a leader, don’t assume that the behavioral attributes you need to be successful are there.” – Click to Tweet

“Every project has elements of execution, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking to it.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re a poor leader, changing companies is not going to make you a better leader.” – Click to Tweet

“You need to make sure your character is at the utmost level at all times.” – Click to Tweet

“There’s different coaching aspects depending on which stage your team is in.” – Click to Tweet

“The numbers are depressing if you look at the employee engagement numbers.” – Click to Tweet

“Focus on the person, not the role.” – Click to Tweet

“Everything happens in due time, don’t get ahead of yourself.” – Click to Tweet

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Hump to Get Over

Omar L Harris coasted on his own individual talent early in his career. The first time he led a team, he began to carry the performance of the team on his shoulders. This caused him to be hospitalized and suffer from panic attacks. Finally, he realized he needed to trust his people and put them in the right place to win.

Advice for others

Everything happens in due time, don’t get ahead of yourself.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Not working out enough.

Best Leadership Advice

Focus on the person, not the role.

Secret to Success

Daily habits that lead to future outcomes.

Best tools in business or life

My energy, positivity, and my enthusiasm.

Recommended Reading

Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams (Leader Board Series)

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

How Full Is Your Bucket?

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Contacting Omar L Harris

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/strengthsleader

Website: https://www.omarlharris.com/

Resources and Show Mentions

231: Jim Harter: Chief Scientist Workplace, Gallup

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript:

Click to access edited transcript

247: Omar L Harris: Leadership giants have gaps

 

Jim Rembach: (00:00)

Jim Rembach: Okay. Fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I had the opportunity to interview somebody who I have actually had the chance to interview before and he brings such a wealth and depth of experience and knowledge that I’m looking forward to this conversation. Even more than the last, born to a chemical engineer, father and social worker, mother in the working class town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Omar L Harris, learn the values of connecting process to outcomes and the importance of being of service to others. At an early age, being the youngest of four boys in a family of five children, he endured a lot of hope and pressure to succeed where others had failed in order to uplift and support his family. Moving from Pittsburgh to Charleston, West Virginia to Lake Charles, Louisiana over the course of his childhood and adolescence endured in Omar the ability to adapt to constant change, which has been his status quo as an adult, living all over the U S and spending considerable time living and working in the middle East, Asia and Latin America.

 

Jim Rembach: (01:02)

As a young professional in the pharmaceutical industry. He was exposed to Guelph StrengthFinder tool back in 2002 which informed his philosophy of focusing on what was right with people versus what was not. According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, Omar learned that he was naturally gifted with the ability to forge connections between seemingly unrelated items, influenced transformation from good to great quickly generate options, inspire confidence in others and confront and overcome obstacles, honing his natural talents into reliable strengths. He successfully matriculated through Pfizer and ultimately found a corporate home at shearing plow as a fast track management associate where he worked for one of the most successful marketing teams in the pharmaceutical industry. He became the youngest marketing director and senior marketing director in the company’s history. Before Schering plough was acquired by Merck is eight years of experience working on this high performing team, became the seed of what would germinate and ultimately grow into his book leaderboard the DNA of high performance teams.

 

Jim Rembach: (02:03)

Omar began leading teams in 2006 and began implementing principles. He’d learned reading books by John C. Maxwell, Tom Rath, Patrick Lensioni, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins. To name a few over time, he found significant gaps between the brilliant theories of these leadership giants and the exact application in the day to day minutia of leading a team in the real world. So he set out to synthesize and adapt these concepts into a suite of team performance acceleration principles that he used with teams of different sizes and scopes all over the world to drive results. Omar currently lives alone and saw Paul Brazil where he works as a country manager of Brazil for Allegan where he loves to travel and experience the culture. Omar L Harris, are you ready to help us get over the hump? Let’s do it. Let’s do it, man. I’m glad you’re here. Now given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? Or my current really is,

 

Omar L Harris:: (03:00)

uh, writing. So that’s where the author comes in leading. So, which is why I maintain a position at Oregon and lead an enterprise over 300 people and high performance strengths coaching. So basically helping people understand what’s great about them and put it into action to overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.

 

Jim Rembach: (03:17)

Well, I’m talking about action. I mean your book leaderboard is just loaded with a lot of opportunities for that to take place. Um, being able to take, like you have said, some of those gaps that we often find in theory and making them real. But I think first of all, we often have to realize that there’s potential pitfalls and things that we can run into. In the very beginning of the book, you talk about negativity trap. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is?

 

Omar L Harris:: (03:44)

So the negativity trap is really where you get into a mindset or the negative cycle of negative thinking that perpetuates negative outcomes. And this really comes from the book. How full is your bucket? Um, was written by Donald O Clifton and Tom Rath, uh, back in, I think the early two thousands was what came out. And so, uh, what was most interesting about that particular, that particular book was it was a, uh, a great example of PLW in term camps, uh, in China. And the psychological effect, uh, that the, the, the captors used all the captives to basically utilize negative reinforcement to perpetuate a hopelessness and sort of hopeless hopelessness. And the captives, it didn’t do torture. It didn’t, you know, beat them. They didn’t treat them poorly. They just gave them bad news about their fit. They wrote letters, for example, from the point of view of the family members dying in the U S as an example, or, uh, they would perpetuate other negative thoughts in the captives.

 

Omar L Harris:: (04:45)

And this led to was sense of hopelessness and people basically die the hopelessness and these camps not up toward turnout of other things. So, uh, that was a very powerful example that I took from, from reading. Uh, how full is your bucket? And then the inverse of that situation is the theory that if you provide positivity to others, you intern for your own well of positivity so you can further be energized into your job and be engaged. So the idea that you can avoid the negativity trap simply by trying to do something nice for other people. So what I always tell people who are coming to me with negativity in my office and on a daily basis is, you know, do something nice for someone that somebody else, here’s something positive for somebody else. Be aware of your impact, both positive and negative on your teams and on your organization. The more positive energy you put out, the more you’re going to get back to providing a more. So it’s a bit of a virtuous circle. So, so you have to avoid the negative negativity trap, which is really these negative doubts, beliefs, self limiting beliefs, um, career limiting beliefs, things that we all have anxieties, fears, worries,

 

Jim Rembach: (05:53)

okay.

 

Omar L Harris:: (05:53)

And counteract that by simply putting positive action into place. By putting positive actions into place, you have the ability to really, uh, to drain the well of negativity. Refill with the Willow positivity. And this is the first, the book starts off with this example because, uh, more than any of the thing, there is a, there’s a halo effect of the Fado the leader on the organization when the, when the, when the leader is intentionally being positive with their, uh, with their organization versus when you’re not aware of your actual impact on those around you. So it’s about self-awareness. It’s about intentionally being positive because you know, that’s going to have a far more powerful impact on employee engagement or productivity, and you’re going to get it back into yourself as well.

 

Jim Rembach: (06:38)

Well, to me, what you just said, right there is the really the importance of modeling because I think, you know, it’s too easy for us, especially where if we’re in a position where we have some subordinates to oftentimes fall into the trap to where it’s like, okay, you know, don’t do what I’m doing. Do what I’m telling you to do.

 

Omar L Harris:: (06:57)

Right? Right. And today’s employees, the millennials and those coming after them, they’re watching you basically. You know, the idea of transparency is everywhere, right? Transparency on the web, transparency on social media. Uh, uh, right now there are websites and services where bosses are being rated by their employees of glassdoor.com so everybody’s watching you now and the information about you as a leader is can get transmitted faster than ever before. If you are a negative leader or a toxic leader in today’s environment, everyone’s going to know and no one’s going to where want to work for you. Whereas before you kind of get away with it today in today’s world, you can no longer get with being a toxic leader. And so that’s really why I start the book with the negative trap negativity trap to show that the main character of the story is trying to avoid that so he can basically perpetuate something positive for himself. And then for the organization.

 

Jim Rembach: (07:46)

Well, one of the things that’s important to all of this as well is making sure that when we’re selecting people for our teams, regardless of the size, and I would dare to say the smaller the team that even more important than it is, is that we don’t just necessarily go through a very typical, our common process of interviewing you actually use something that’s a little bit different. What is that?

 

Omar L Harris:: (08:08)

So my principle is called interviewing, but interviewing begins actually after the person has been hired to the team. So it’s a step of onboarding. So one of the things that really is really amazing to me in today’s day and age is that leaders outsource onboarding to HR. So HR cannot create a personal relationship with your people, with you. HR is not going to sell your people on you. Think about this. When you hire someone, if the maximum out of time is spent with you as their hiring managers, probably an hour in that first interview you did with them, right? You think that there’s a bond of trust already created and a bond of they understand your style. What’s going to work for you, what works for them and how you guys are going to work together to for powerful part partnership and really drive no. So interviewing is taking the next step to saying, listen, we work together.

 

Omar L Harris:: (09:00)

I as your leader, habit, intense interest and curiosity about who you are, the person, what makes you who you are and I’m going to sit down with you over the course of two to three hours and get to know the building blocks of you, your motivators, your desires, your drivers, your strengths, your weaknesses, things you hate, things that drive me crazy things you love. Because when I have all that information right from the beginning, first of all, the fact that I’m asking these questions creates proximity between the two of us. The second thing it does is it builds trust because it shows that my manager is concerned about knowing me as a person before we start talking about what my job actually is. So it’s no the person focused on a person, not just a role. And those two things combined creates a powerful partnership between you and your employee, which is the building block.

 

Omar L Harris:: (09:49)

If you have that with every individual member of your team, this is how you begin to talk through some of the stages of group formation and hack some of that process, which we’ll talk about it a little bit. I’m sure Jim. So, but that’s, that’s what interviewing really is, is a, a standardized approach during the onboarding process within month one, someone coming on your team where you sit down and really reveal yourself, become vulnerable, let them know about your life, you get to understand their life, build up our partnership and then, uh, take a, take a, take a

 

Jim Rembach: (10:18)

stuff from there. Well one of the things that also to me is quite, um, the opportunity when you start talking about that is I could even do that to my boss. So like for example, they may not come with me with this, you know, come to me with this particular, you know, interview process. However, I could essentially be using this tool in order for me, you know, as their direct report to get to know them better. You know, whether or not, you know, it’s, it’s open and open discussion and that they’re willing to do it. I just need to collect this information so that when I do try to get, you know, my ideas forth in an approved, when I try to, you know, um, have them enable us to get certain things done that only they can do. I mean I see it being as very a lot of ways.

 

Omar L Harris:: (11:04)

So Jim you are, you’re going to the bed step cause that’s actually you’re exactly right. You know the questionnaire works both ways. You know, I’m trying to influence leaders to be more people oriented and I’m asking them to do the stuff of doing interviews. But if you’re an employee you also have an obligation to break crate, break, bridge that barrier with your, with your manager. So it works both ways. And actually when I started my new job with Allegan last summer when I joined it and moved to Brazil from Indonesia, I actually sat down with my new manager who was the senior vice president of LA, of the [inaudible] region and I, I did an interview with him, a reverse interview. So we sat down over lunch and I actually use the process that we built the bond of trust right from the beginning I understood what his pet peeves were, I understood what he expected from me style wise, what expected for me from a communications perspective. I understood about his life, the fact that he had kids and you know his birthday well, whether it was important for him. So we got to a different level of, of comradery over the course of a two hour lunch and then our relationship was off to the races from that moment on. So you’re exactly right. It doesn’t just speak, it shouldn’t just be the manager to the, to the new colleague at Oxford, the colleagues. It’s actually very powerful for colleagues,

 

Jim Rembach: (12:14)

manager as well. Well, and I want to make sure that people kind of understand when we start talking about the reverse interview process is that certain cultures, that’s kind of expected. If we’re talking about the North American culture, specifically in the United States, we oftentimes will shirk or discount the importance of doing something like that because we think it’s invasion of somebody’s privacy. But in fact that’s how you build relationships is getting to those things because it’s not what, we don’t want to know what it is that people do. What we want to know is who are they.

 

Omar L Harris:: (12:45)

Exactly. Exactly. And the best teams I’ve ever worked for Jim or teams where we were involved in each other’s lives, we got personal. So, so, and I think if you’re going to spend all this time working with a group of people to achieve a goal and you don’t get personal, uh, it’s, it’s really, what’s the point of it. I mean, I think that’s, you know, keeping it a hundred percent professional and only what happened when people walk into the office. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at the teammate or as a boss. Um, you’re really missing a major trick in terms of motivation and engaging the organization. That’s probably one of the reasons why we’re seeing this global disengagement crisis because managers are increasingly less engaged and involved in their people’s lives. They don’t understand what’s happening. I’ll give you, I’ll give you another example, Tim. I’m doing my midyear performance reviews, right? And one of the questions that I’m asking you, my major performance reviews is, um, tell me, uh, how, how has your level of stress right now, how has your current level of engagement with, uh, with me and with the enterprise and with the products we’re working on? Um, how was your overall health and is there anything in your personal life affecting your performer friend? Now I’m asking these questions in a mini review. I can ask these questions because I’ve already done interviews with all of these people.

 

Jim Rembach: (14:01)

Okay.

 

Omar L Harris:: (14:01)

And we already have trust. If I just come out the door asking questions like this, you know, it’s not going to work. But because I’ve already put the work in, uh, when I ask questions like this that are really caring and understanding questions and let me know what’s going on with somebody, um, it’s not taken in a wrong way and we, it further builds those last so’s trust.

 

Jim Rembach: (14:20)

It’s funny that you say that because I, um, a while back was doing a mid year review with, uh, somebody who was reporting to me and I started asking him questions about how could I, you know, better serve and support them, how could I, you know, and basically that was the gist of the review process. Um, and then when it was all done, she looked at me kinda fun and she said, is that it? And I’m like, well, yeah. And she goes, that is the strangest review that I have.

 

Omar L Harris:: (14:49)

But, but, but we’re, we’re, we are are of like minds. Jim, I asked the exact same question because for me, once again, that whole concept of servant leadership, I work for you. I did a rule book bears from you, so you can be massively successful if you’re successful. I’m successful.

 

Jim Rembach: (15:04)

Most definitely. Okay. So another thing when you start talking about identifying the right people, you use another little bit of a twist, somewhat of an acronym, uh, and then you use something called boom, a, w, H. O. M. what does that stand for and what does that do?

 

Omar L Harris:: (15:18)

So whom is the step before interviewing, which is how I identify a high performance DNA right from the start. Let me give you the background of this. So going, bridging another leadership Titan’s philosophy into the practical application. So one of my favorite books is good to great. I love good to great so much. We have a read good to great. It’s a study of a top tier companies. They had a peer group and basically they deliver 10 times market performance over a 30 year period. And they were studied by Jim Collins and associates. And then they wrote a book, uh, of somewhat, uh, not, uh, obvious insights about what made the, what made the great companies distinguish themselves from the good companies. So the first principle of good to great was not, you know, a counterintuitive insight was not they had the best mission or had the best process.

 

Omar L Harris:: (16:11)

It was called first. Who then what first, who then what says as a basic principle, get the right people on the bus and then decide where the bus was going. Right. I loved that and I kind of committed it to memory, but then I’m in a day to day world and I’m like, but who are the who? How do I decide who the right people are? Is that experience pedigree, a, you know, a past success? Is that the best measure of who I started there? Then I realized that actually where you went to school, how smart you are and an IQ test and your past success is not necessarily predict your future success. I have to go deeper. So I created an acronym initially was just work ethic, heart and optimism. And that was built out of, uh, really thinking about the teams that I worked on that were very successful.

 

Omar L Harris:: (17:00)

And what did everyone on those teams have in common? Well, we all worked really hard. We had shared passion and we saw problems and barriers as opportunities and not as things that were going to slow us down or stop us. So I use the who principle for many, many years. And then when I was working in Indonesia, I added the M, which is maturity because I, as I become, uh, increasing my leadership in terms of leading leaders, deleting leaders of leaders and leading leaders of leaders of leaders, the higher up you go. So for example, now I’m leading leaders of leaders of leaders, but shorty becomes a much more important attribute. And you can’t assume it’s because someone is, you know, 45, 50 years old or in their forties that they’re mature. And what I mean by maturity is they can deal with inevitable disappointment. They can deal with conflicts productively when they arise and then make a positive outcomes come out of that.

 

Omar L Harris:: (17:53)

Because so then I begin utilizing, creating questions from maturity that complemented the entire, uh, big fire cycles. So now when I hire a team for a team, anyone who comes on my team, they have to prove to me that they have the necessary level, minimum level of work ethic, heart optimism and maturity. My current team now is comprised of all these individuals. We don’t have unnecessary conflicts about silly things. We’re very focused on the mission. We all are aligned. The passionate about what we’re doing and when we kind of problems were very quick and collaborative to solve them together. So, um, high performance is almost guaranteed if you have that DNA right from the start, which is why I recommend hiring the right home.

 

Jim Rembach: (18:37)

Well, and as you are saying that, I kind of chuckled inside because I used to have this saying that I use quite often and you see, you’re causing me to reflect and bring it on back. As I was talking about my career of managing, you know, hundreds of people through operations, um, at various times is that I, I would say I’ve been blessed. I’ve had the opportunity to lead 18 year old men and 65 year old boys.

 

Omar L Harris:: (19:07)

There it is. You brought, you brought the whole thing home. And the whole point is as a leader, don’t assume that the behavioral attributes you need to be successful are there. Um, and, and so, so a lot of times we focus on someone’s town and their potential, uh, but these people are destructive on teams. You know, I’ve dealt with some of the smartest people you could ever lead. And individually they are superstar, they’re brilliant, but he put them in an, around another group of people and the frustrations boil over and people don’t move fast enough for them. And, and then it just creates unnecessary attention that people can’t get things done and it becomes devolves into, you know, uh, just a lot of negativity. And you’re in that storming phase that we’re going to talk about a little bit later.

 

Jim Rembach: (19:52)

Yeah. And let’s talk about that. Okay. So, and you’re talking about the, the, the team work and the team building process. I mean that talking about going back on those Titans that that was done back in the forties or 50s, I think. And you probably have more insight and sharing on that, but there’s a specific process that teams go through and, and it, it and it actually evolves and, and sometimes you go back two steps and move forward, but about that team process.

 

Omar L Harris:: (20:18)

So, so Bruce Tuckman who’s a behavioral psychologist and a giant of behavioral psychology, uh, wrote an a landmark article called uh, group development and sequences. And in that landmark article, what he did was he basically took a lot of research from a lot of different disciplines on different groups of people and it looked to find the thin red line between all these studies. And what he found was that basically, uh, when you’re talking about groups of, you know, between one and 25 people, like smallest type groups, uh, when you put these people together and you give them a task, naturally they’re going to go through four stages. Forming is the first stage, storming is the second stage. Norming is the third stage. And performing his last days. Now forming is guaranteed. And I would say storming is guaranteed. Norming and performing are not guaranteed. Uh, you’re just because you’re in a group of people, you don’t always arrive at norming and you, most teams never actually arrive at performing.

 

Omar L Harris:: (21:21)

Um, although their managers or leaders may think they’re, they’re in high performance, but they’re not actually that actually performing. So let me go through each one of those stages for you, Jim. So we can break it down a little bit. Better. Forming happens either when it’s a brand new team, random people that are coming together. So basically, you know, it’s a start up and you’re starting a new organization or when the leader is new. So imagine you are a leader. Like I was coming into Brazil last year inheriting an organization. The team begins to form around me because my energy, this is my presence changes the organization. So we forming from that, from that perspective or forming happens when the mission changes. So imagine that you won a championship, but the next year you want to win another championship. Well, the next year’s task is different than the first year task.

 

Omar L Harris:: (22:08)

The team members may be different. That dynamics in the market may be different. So therefore you’re forming again around the task. So those are the three instances where you’re actually four. So basically it’s a group of people coming together to do a task. As you go through and begin to decide how you’re going to go about doing the task, you go into a phase called stormy, which is basically when everyone has a different opinion about how to accomplish the task. You put 10 people together and said, listen, uh, you know, uh, screw in a light bulb. That’s where the dope comes from, right? You’re going to find, you know, 10 different opinions about the best way to do that, right? So that’s storming. And then that show was basically everybody wanted to put their point of view on the table and say, listen, this is how we should go about doing some critical tasks.

 

Omar L Harris:: (22:52)

The leaders tried to assert their authority. Uh, individuals are trying to be political, either to become close to the leader or to basically remove the leader’s power. So it’s a very uncomfortable period of time because although people have, they know what the task is and they agree on the task, how to achieve the task has not yet been aligned. So norming is once you know, everyone is aware of the task and know what we’re trying to accomplish and we agree on how we’re going to go about achieving the task. So what are the rules of the road where the rules of the game? Now we’re in Norman, now we have certain rules and established ways of working that will allow us to go forward and accomplish the task. And usually it stops right there. It stops adoring because because you’ve gone through storming, what happens in norming that prevents high performance?

 

Omar L Harris:: (23:38)

Well, one thing, people will become too polite. They don’t want to disrupt the harmony that they’ve established after coming through stormy. So there’s an artificial harmony that pervades norming teams that the leader must disrupt. All of the leader can disrupt the artificial harmony by stimulating productive conflict, by stimulating productive conflict. Then you get to the next stage, which is performing. That is when, uh, not, not only does everybody know what the task is, not only does everyone have the ways of working, but everyone is laser focused and a hundred percent passionate on doing whatever it takes to achieve the task. That’s the difference between a performing team and a Normington. It’s a level of commitment and the level of focus and orientation towards nothing’s gonna stop us from achieving this task, not even artificial harmony. And that’s when you get to high performance.

 

Jim Rembach: (24:33)

Well, and when you start talking about yet another acronym, so we’ve hit a several. You, you close the book with something called [inaudible].

 

Omar L Harris:: (24:43)

So really what I wanted to do was, uh, because once again, Bruce Tuckman wrote a great article, right about forming, storming, norming, and performing. There’s nothing in the article that says, what should a leader be doing? Or how can a leader actually help a group of people faster move through these stages. So that’s where the teeth have come into play. Because basically I have identified in the literature and in my own personal experience that there are definitely proactive ways a leader can take to speed. The group from forming to performing. And so the team performance acceleration principles or T paps or the state that the actual practical application things you can do starting today that will allow you to move much faster through forming jump right through storming gets normally very quickly and then get to performing after that. So there’s five team performances or it’s principles linked to each one of the stages of group formation. And that’s really unique about leaderboard is that there’s never been that kind of guidance linked to the state as a group formation put together before. And it’s not only my own, uh, own ideas, it’s also the amalgamation of the best, the leadership from the greatest minds on business, uh, business and operations and organizations, uh, over the last 20 or 30 years. But what’s different is it’s all practical application. It’s all things you can do, download tools and start utilizing them today.

 

Jim Rembach: (26:15)

Well, I think that’s the missing component for so many folks and they need to get, you know, charged, energized, uh, excited, motivated, you know, when they hear and read, you know, certain things about leading. And then it’s like, okay, now let’s go do it. And we’re like, where do we start? And it’s crickets. Right?

 

Omar L Harris:: (26:32)

Exactly. Exactly. So, so you know what I, what I like to say is I’ve, you know, the first person that goes through the wall gets the blood and knows, I’ve gone to the, what I’ve gotten the Belinda nodes for everybody. I’ve actually taken the pain and time to try to implement these things in the real world, see what works, what does not filter all that out and give you a curated list of tools that will definitely work to move the needle forward for your organization.

 

Jim Rembach: (26:59)

Well, and as I had mentioned to you, I mean, going through the book, I mean, I was inspired in a lot of different ways. Uh, I also had the opportunity to have, uh, dr Jim harder on the fast leader show who is the chief research scientist of workplace for Gallop, uh, who is author of this book called H the manager. He also shares a lot, a bit about, a lot about the strengths. And while, you know, there are some people out there that will talk about the strengths and even you know that strengths finder and identifying and you know, all of that, you know, has some gaps in it as well. It’s nothing is perfect here, but I th and I think one of the things that you’ve done with leaderboard, and I think you’re also, you know, working on some additional works associated with that, you know, is making it, like you said, it’s tangible. The day to day this is okay, you know, TA take all of this theory, you know, and do these things and now you’ll have success.

 

Omar L Harris:: (27:52)

Yeah. Speaking of the strengths specifically, and I’m glad you brought that up, Jim, is you know, as a certified strengths coach, I have a, I have a gigantic frustration I’m going to reveal to you right now, which is the power of focusing on what’s right with people versus what’s wrong with them as a leader to engage and really transform someone’s career is phenomenal. Two problems we have right now, only 20 million people globally have taken a strength finder assessment. So the vast majority of people still have not learned their strengths. What in globally there are less than 4,000 certified strengths coaches for 20 million people in the world. So even if you take the string spider test and you are very passionate and you and you, you get the, you get the bug that you want to develop restraints, that the likelihood that you’re going to find a strengths coach that was going to, that’s going to be able to take you through the process and help you improve is very difficult because of the, the, the gap between the number of people who are taking assessment and the number of actual strengths coaches.

 

Omar L Harris:: (28:56)

So leaderboard also fits in there to bridge that gap to a certain extent as well. Because when I talk about in the book and what I leaderboard actually is, so other than a clever title is uh, one of the actionable steps that we’re talking about. So all the leaderboard is, is taking principles from strengths based leadership, which was published back in 2008. Uh, and what strengths based leadership said is that, you know, there are 35 themes of talent. So basically everybody has, uh, 30, 34 teams of talent, talent, which are ordered in terms of their dominance from one to 34. Right? These things have talent. They say they organize it, the four domains of strength, so executing, influencing life stability and 50 thinking. So basically the 34 talents are organized in four domains of strength. Well, I take it a little bit further than than Gallup is, is to say what that means to me is that if I’m a leader looking at a group of people, that means I have people on my team who may be better than me in execution, who may be better than me at influencing outcomes, who may be better than me at relationship building or who me, who may be better than me, asked you to thinking I don’t have to be great at all of these things as leader anymore.

 

Omar L Harris:: (30:12)

I just have to be to put the people who are great at those things in there of straight sewed on a daily basis and then watch them that in capital. And that’s what a leaderboard is. A leaderboard is basically identifying the top domains of everyone on your team and the game of find the work. Because every project actually has elements of execution, influencing relationship building and should be thinking to it. So if you break down tasks and allocate them towards the individual or team who are strongest in those areas and gamify it, you’re going to start seeing progress towards goals accelerate at an exponential rate. And that’s what we did in our team as an actual example back in, you know, back in the early two thousands and that’s what a leaderboard is. And that’s the, that’s the real gold at the heart of the book is how do you apply strengths based leadership actually in the workforce 14 and take it a beyond the great theory of focusing on what’s great with people, but actually put it to work.

 

Jim Rembach: (31:12)

I mean, so for me, as you were talking, I’m like, well, that’s the personalization of work. I mean, what you’re doing is you’re making it right for me. Yeah. Yeah. Well, needless to say, when we start talking about a lot of, you know, the frustrations, um, a lot of the successes in the exhilaration, there’s a lot of things that help us really to get pointed in the right direction. And on the show we focus on quotes. Um, there are a quote or two that you liked that you can share.

 

Omar L Harris:: (31:38)

My favorite quote, and I don’t know if it applies to necessarily to, to, to what we’re talking about here, but, uh, is by Emerson. No change of circumstances can overcome the feet of character. So that’s something that I carry with me is that, you know, your, and I think it does link because if you’re talking about this transparency now that we have, and the fact that everything you do is watched and correlated and seeing roughly by the people who work for you, uh, you can’t, if you’re a poor leader, changing companies is not gonna make you a better leader. Uh, you need to put in the work, uh, and you need to make sure that your character is at the utmost level at all times, especially as a leader. So, you know, it’s inexcusable for the higher up you go to become a worse person. It’s inexcusable. I think the higher up we go, the better off we had to get them more actualized we have to become, and the more supportive we have to be for people because that’s why we’re, we given that great title was not, you know, because we were so as, because we have a lot more to give back to the, it’s not about the ego, it’s about what we have to get back to the organization. So I think that that quote for me kind of sums up that that idea

 

Jim Rembach: (32:48)

well and the modeling becomes even more important, doesn’t it?

 

Omar L Harris:: (32:50)

Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. So yeah, I really, I really am passionate about the servant leadership approach to religion, philosophy and, and really, uh, helping leaders understand that there is another way to achieve results. Top-down used to work still works in certain organizations, certain cultures in certain instances. But if he wants sustainable high performance, if you adopt servant leadership and begin to go to the customer and go to your front line and understand what the real challenges are and begin to drive solutions faster to those challenges, how can you not drive higher performance?

 

Jim Rembach: (33:27)

Well I think for me, um, like you were talking about is knowing and some people will call it situational leadership. So I mean I need to do top down. I mean I just need to want that longterm, you know, value generation and all that. Well then I need to switch on and I need more of the things that you’re talking about.

 

Omar L Harris:: (33:46)

And you’re right. And one of the things, the other things that I talk about in the team performance in the discussion section of the book is what is the role of the leader in the four stages? Because the change begin to form and you have to be on board directive. You do have to kind of tell people what to, to organize the group and organize the work. Whereas the storming, your mindset has to be coaching. You need to coach people a lot more. In norming, I talk about inspecting, so not coaching, but inspecting. So you’re, the mixture of the norms hold up under all circumstances. So there’s different coaching aspects depending on what stage your team is in. Um, and that will help you also move the team to the state is acknowledging what you have to do and what you have to exhibit for the group, for the group in that.

 

Jim Rembach: (34:29)

Well, and I would dare to say that the, or where you are now was a direct result of, you know, capturing a lot of information, self-awareness, you know, continuous commitment, you know, to learning all of those things that, you know, just didn’t come and your youth. And so when I start thinking about lessons learned, you know, we talk about getting over the humps. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

 

Omar L Harris:: (34:52)

Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely. I think that, you know, early on in my career I coasted on talent, on my own individual talent. So my own ability to be a very, very hard working, but my own individual talent to put things together in a way that people hadn’t thought of before. And I kind of really coasted on that. But when I became a leader of organizations and teams, you know, the first time I led a team, I was trying to once again utilize my own individual towel to drive this group of people towards a goal. And I put the whole team on my bed and just like LeBron James catering the Cleveland Cavaliers to the chat, to the, to the finals in 2007 versus spurts. But as far as we’re a team, the problem is, is one guy who we only know who they are right now, right. That was like me back in 2006 I, I, you know, I was dragging my organization forward and we were getting some results done.

 

Omar L Harris:: (35:43)

But the moment I was out of the picture, it kind of collapsed. And that’s not leadership. Leadership is, you know, once again, sustainable DNA, it’s in the DNA. I mean means that when you, whether you’re there or not, these principles are going to be upheld and moving forward. So I think I had to overcome that hump because also the cost of myself was very personally challenging. I went through panic attacks once the hospital several times. At that same time of my life, I was working myself and putting so much pressure on myself individually that I almost broke myself. And I think that I had to reflect and really come back and say, listen, actually I’m not trusting my people enough. I’m not putting him in the right places to win and I have to invent a new way to do this. And that’s what I began to embark on the journey that ultimately began, uh, that ends with, uh, with leaderboard being published.

 

Jim Rembach: (36:35)

Well, and like I said, and I know you’re working on, you know, your next, you know, opportunity and your next book, I’m not going to get into that. I know that’s something that I, I would dare to say it out the course of your career, you’re probably going to produce several, but I know you said you’re a strengths coach finder. Um, you’re a country manager, you know your author, speaker. I mean you’ve got a lot of things going on. So when I start thinking about a goal, what’s one of your goals?

 

Omar L Harris:: (36:59)

Well, my main goal right now in one goal that you’re really helping, we miss Jim, is to really get some of these ideas out there. I think it’s not about that this is bigger than than Omar L Harris. It’s bigger than any one person. This is about, uh, how are we going to, the numbers are depressing. If you look at the employee engagement numbers, you look at what’s in what book. The book gets the, and it talks about employee engagement. You just get, the preps are like, listen, our our, how do we, we’re going to be in a perpetual recession or depression from an economic perspective, but we don’t get distinct fixed. Right? So for me, it’s really about trying to change the hearts and minds of principals, new leaders coming in. So I want to really focus on new people who are coming up and I’m really focused on doing whatever I can do in my power to get the word out to the new leaders coming in that there’s another way to do this.

 

Omar L Harris:: (37:54)

Um, and maybe not the ultimately right way, but there’s another way to do it, another path. There’ll be always be other paths of how to do things. Uh, so I think that’s one major goal that I have set for myself right now, which is where I’m probably really focused on, on that. And then am I, am I into the world is just, um, making sure that I am actually the example of these principles. So I think that, you know, one of the things that happens to you when you write a book like this, and you’re not a theoretical, uh, theoretical person. You’re not in academia. You’re actually doing it every day is people can say, Omar is not walking the talk. He wrote an entire book about this stuff and he doesn’t do any of it. Whereas actually when I’m talking to my team and my midyear reviews, one of my colleagues, she said to me, she said, Omar, you know, one of the great things that people appreciate about you is you wrote this book, but it’s 100%. You and I’ve met the world to me that actually that, you know, the, the, the, I w I’m really walking the talk and I think being that example, showing people that I’m not just talking about the stuff that I actually do, it is also really important to me right now to be somewhat of an example and, and to really talk to anybody who needs help on how they can make the transition. Cause I made it, um, uh, to the other side of this and that’s what I’m really focused on now.

 

Jim Rembach: (39:07)

And the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

 

Speaker 3: (39:13)

And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award. Winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work. Visit [inaudible] dot com four slash better. Okay. Omar, they’ll hope they hold on as a part of our show where you give us insights fast. Okay. Several questions. And your job is to give us robust get referee responses are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Harris, are you ready to hold down? Let’s do it. Alright, so what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? Not working out enough. So my own personal energy is that I need to work out for

 

Jim Rembach: (40:02)

my physical fitness. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? Focused on the person, not the role. And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Omar L Harris:: (40:14)

Uh, daily habits that lead to future outcomes. So basically making sure that I’m focused on the right daily habits to lead the future outcomes. Although I’m not doing the workout enough and I am getting enough water, getting enough sleep, uh, reading every day, uh, and making some time for meditation on a daily basis.

 

Jim Rembach: (40:31)

And what do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Omar L Harris:: (40:35)

My energy and my positivity and my enthusiasm.

 

Jim Rembach: (40:38)

And 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 leaderboard on your page as well.

 

Omar L Harris:: (40:46)

The five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni.

 

Jim Rembach: (40:49)

Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show. I go into fast leader.net/omar L Harris. Okay, Omar, this is my last Humpday hold on question. Alright. Edge. And you are given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 knowledge and skills that you have now back with you. But you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Omar L Harris:: (41:13)

The only thing, I will go back and I’ll tell myself and give myself the perspective that everything happened to do time. Don’t get ahead of myself because, uh, you need to, I need to accumulate knowledge as well as, uh, accumulate, uh, promotions and whatnot was very focused on promotion to getting to a certain level. Uh, and I think that, you know, actually time and and perspective is equally valuable, not just moving fast, like a career. It was a fun time with you today. Can you please share the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you? Yes. The best way to reach me facet of Legion is through my website, www.omarlharris.comomarlharris.com.

 

Jim Rembach: (41:55)

Oh, Omar Harris. It was an honor to spend time of the day and the fast leader Legion honors you. And thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Karen Martin | Clarity First

229: Karen Martin: The lack of clarity is costing us

Karen Martin Show Notes Page

Karen Martin had well more than fifty-percent of her revenue tied up in one industry back in 2008. When the economy went into shock she did as well. Fortunately, she was a saver and she survived. Since then, she has written numerous books and her most recent reveals how smart leaders and organizations achieve outstanding results through clarity.

Karen was born and raised in a small steel town 30 miles outside Pittsburgh. Her childhood household was filled with business-minded people: her father owned several businesses, her mother was a buyer for a children’s clothing store, and her younger brother began exhibiting his entrepreneurial spirit in his teens with an innovative approach to shoveling snow from sidewalks.

Because Karen excelled in math and science, her guidance counselor urged her to pursue medicine. She headed to Penn State. However, as she learned about the long path through medical school and residency, she was drawn to microbiology and became licensed as a clinical lab scientist. But she’s also a people person and her lab career had her spending most of her time interacting with Petri dishes, autoclaves, and analyzers.

She landed on teaching as a way to connect what she already knew about science to a career path that put her face to face with people. She began teaching undergraduate courses at California State University, Bakersfield, while pursuing a Master’s in Education (adult learning emphasis). There, too, she saw a mix of elements she liked and some that weren’t for her. While her passion for teaching remained, she didn’t care for slow-to-change academia.

Armed with a Master’s degree and a growing interest in wellness and preventive medicine, she moved to Los Angeles where she took a job with Health Net, a rapid-growth health insurance company. Over her four years at the company she explored operations, legal, and sales and marketing, and loved each one. She moved to another organization and was charged with building an operation from scratch. With a 100% annual growth rate, Karen faced some of businesses’ most vexing problems and her teams still managed to outperform the competition. At 30 years old, Karen had found her true passion: business management and performance improvement.

In 1993, she was about to be promoted to VP and decided she no longer wanted to climb the ladder working for someone else. She left the corporate world and launched her own consulting firm focused on business performance improvement for service companies.

Over the last twenty-five years, Karen has grown what is now TKMG, Inc. from a solo consultancy with local clients into a global firm with a team of consultants and support staff who focus on helping organizations become outstanding through the application of proven management principles and practices. Her love of teaching continues to manifest through her hands-on coaching of leaders and improvement teams—and through her five books, two of which are Shingo Award winners. Though she owns a home in Dallas, Karen is often in the air or on the ground working with clients across the globe.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

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

“Frontlines are not escalating quickly enough when things are going amiss” Click to Tweet

“Fear is at the core of dysfunction in a lot of organizations.” Click to Tweet

“You can’t get work done if you don’t have a proper escalation strategy.” Click to Tweet

“Product development decisions should be very aligned with your why.” Click to Tweet

“Trust emanates from clarity” Click to Tweet

“You have to understand the verb or emotion that any product is tied to in the customer.” Click to Tweet

“We’ve created this environment in customer service that actually cuts the customer service rep off from the customer.” Click to Tweet

“It is senior leadership that needs to drive and constantly reminding people about the why.” Click to Tweet

“We’re so product centric that we forget the people at the end of it all the time.” Click to Tweet

“The customer is at the center of it all, and yet we get tunnel vision on products.” Click to Tweet

“Having no clarity on the why makes it difficult to run a smooth operation.” Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Karen Martin had well more than fifty-percent of her revenue tied up in one industry back in 2008. When the economy went into shock she did as well. Fortunately, she was a saver and she survived. Since then, she has written numerous books and her most recent reveals how smart leaders and organizations achieve outstanding results through clarity.

Advice for others

My job with a staff is to develop them, not to order them around.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Striving for perfection.

Best Leadership Advice

Listen, listen, listen and you don’t know it all.

Secret to Success

Tenacity

Best tools in business or life

Listening

Recommended Reading

Clarity First: How Smart Leaders and Organizations Achieve Outstanding Performance

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence

Contacting Karen Martin

Website: https://tkmg.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenMartinOpEx

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

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

229: Karen Martin: The lack of clarity is costing us

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hacks that help you to experience break out performance faster and rocket to success. 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 e-learning 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 callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who’s going to help us with something we all need some support and assistance with. Karen Martin was born and raised in a small steel town 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Her childhood household was filled with business minded people. Her father owned several businesses her mother was a buyer for a children’s clothing store and her younger brother began exhibiting his entrepreneurial spirit in his teens with an innovative approach to shoveling snow from sidewalks. Because Carolyn excelled in math her guidance counselor urged her to pursue medicine. She headed to Penn State, however, she learned about the long path through medical school or residency. So that made her be drawn to microbiology instead to become a licensed clinical lab scientist. But she also liked people and so her lab career had her spending most of her time interacting with petri dishes and autoclaves and analyzers. She landed on teaching because teaching undergraduate courses at California State University gave her that people connection. And while pursuing a master’s degree in education she was able to get that mix of elements that she liked but found out that education really wasn’t her place because she didn’t care for the slow to change academia. Armed with a master’s degree in a growing interest in wellness and preventative medicine she moved to LA, Los Angeles not L’Oreal Alabama, where she took good job with Health Net.

She moved to another organization and was charged with building and operation from scratch. But at 30 years old Karen found her true passion, business management and performance improvement. In 1993, she was about to be promoted to VP and decided no longer did she want to climb that corporate ladder, she didn’t want to work for someone else anymore. Over the last 30 years Karen has grown what is now TKMG Inc. From a solo consultancy with local clients into a global firm with a team of consultants and support staff who focus on helping organizations become outstanding. Her love of teaching continues to manifest through her hands-on coaching of leaders and improvement teams and through her five books two of which are Shingo awards winners. Her latest book, Clarity First is her most provocative to date and is garnering deep praise. Though she owns a home in Dallas, Karen is often in the air or on the ground working with clients across the globe. Karen Martin, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Karen Martin:     I am. Hi, Jim. 

Jim Rembach:    I’m glad you’re here today. 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. 

Karen Martin:     Just recently I’ve been seeing this pattern in clients where there’s just this very vague sense from front lines all the way up to senior leaders on how to properly escalate. And so I’m finding over and over and over frontlines are not escalating quickly enough to their leadership team when things are going amiss. And leaders are not clearly identifying what is an escalatable issue to bring to them and so leaders are often very much in the dark. I actually don’t know where this is going yet this is very recent. So I’m going to start with a couple of posts and just so I could work out my ideas in writing and then figure out. I don’t think escalations a whole book but I don’t know yet. So it’s a common problem.

Jim Rembach:    What you’re talking about right there is something that in the contact center industry that I’m involved with so heavily is quite common. When I look at this from somebody who’s been on the frontline helps leaders develop on the frontline. Those frontline supervisors in the call center coach Academy is we find a lot of times that the metrics and the processes that are put in place essentially just make the job one to which, my responsibility is just to get the work in and out. Fix the system. 

Karen Martin:     Yeah, I think that’s a very big problem. It’s a block of standardization and written criteria for when do you escalate and when do you not? And those types of things help a lot. The other thing that is just—I’m a big fan of W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management and have long believed very much like he believed that fear is really at the core of a lot of dysfunction and organizations. The fear of escalation—I just had a conversation with a junior-ish improvement professional on a client and something was going amiss that she wasn’t escalating. And I asked her why? And her first answer was what I commonly hear as well I think I should be able to take care of this. But there are things because your level in the organization that you don’t have the authority to push someone to commit or to deliver something that you’re asking for then you have to escalate. It’s that fear and your feeling like you’re not going to look like you’re doing your job or whatever or throwing people and robust  that’s there but you can’t get work done if you don’t have a proper escalation strategy.

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, for me I think that this is a multi-faceted problem. Without a doubt. And I would also probably go as far to say that it’s a problem that is unique to the DNA of the organization in which it is the problem or is a problem.

Karen Martin:     I agree. 

Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. You touch on a lot of these things in a little bit more that’s strategic way and getting down to the tactical looking at excavation specifically in the book clarity. For me you look at clarity from an ecosystem perspective. And that is clarity and communication. Iits clarity in those processes and in those procedures its clarity in and the intent there’s just so many different aspects of clarity that for me I really didn’t look at the full scope of it like you did in this book. So what brought you to look at clarity from that perspective versus maybe just looking at just the escalation component?

Karen Martin:     Yeah it wasn’t something I planned either, it was very interesting and it was a much more difficult subject to write about than I thought it would be. So what happened was I had a book called, The Outstanding Organization that’s arranged around four common conditions or behaviors that I find often missing in organizations and are necessary for outstanding performance and it’s, clarity, focus, discipline and engagement. That clarity chapter I got so much feedback from people saying, “oh, my gosh, I had no idea that we were operating with such a prevalent lack of clarity and what that was doing to us individually and collectively as an organization and how much it was costing us.” And one gentleman said and he was a guy I knew I was working with a client it was kind of a big burly guy not given to showing his emotions and he wrote me this very heartfelt email and said that he actually cried when he was reading that clarity chapter because he felt somewhat not vindicated but released from this not understanding why he felt so every day. The first step is awareness and the second step is doing something about it so that spawned clarity first I thought it’d be a simple book to write because it’s one topic but it was not it’s very difficult actually. 

Jim Rembach:    For me I think the complexity is just inherent in what we do almost, if not every day personally, but then also professionally. I just want to point out—you talk about something from a definition perspective that I think we all struggle with. When I came to page 40 in this book, it talked about the different things in an organization that can cause a lot of these clarity problems just as far as the initial start the foundational component. And we talked about the elements of mission, vision, values and guiding principles. To me when I get to look at the definitions of these five things I’m like, “ah” I want to use this in so many different ways because I think so many people get confused. Like mission it’s a statement of what? Vision is a description of where you’re headed. Values provide clarity about the behaviors and work attitudes. Your guiding principles are more specific version of the values. And then purpose is a verse that reflects why you have a mission, vision, values or guiding principles. I think everybody really needs to be reminded of these definitions on an ongoing basis.

Karen Martin:     Agree. I’ve worked with hundreds, probably not thousands yet I haven’t added up all my clients,  but hundreds of organizations now and even organizations I used to be an employee out before I started my business it’s just those seem like buzz words but they have precise meanings. But the meanings that you read about in books even with business management academics not everyone agrees on what the word mission means for example. I’ve been working with some people who are experts in purpose and what’s interesting is in conversation they’ll talk about our organization’s purpose and I’ll  tip my head and say that’s actually their what that’s not why. And it’s tricky but it’s important to get clear on it so that it can drive every decision every prioritization strategy and even the overarching business strategy going forward. 

Jim Rembach:    So for me I started thinking about standing and where do I stand how do I know what to stand for, when to stand for all of those things. Like you were just saying if I am saying one word but yet defining it in a different way therefore I can’t make a stand.

Karen Martin:     It’s true. Ambiguity is the opposite of clarity. Ambiguity around these words does not help us at all in business or in life. And so I do hope that there’ll be some sort of coming to the common understanding and if someone needs to write that like the definitive book on each of these elements and why they’re important and I’m not sure it’s me. But it is critical the why though the purpose is so important because product development decisions for example should be very aligned with why not what. A lot of times I see organizations spending a lot of time and money on new products that they’re doing because they have the skill set to do so and not because it aligns with their purpose or not because the customers are really asking for it or in the case of the customers not knowing about something even having good evidence that this is a problem to be solved that this particular product would solve. So getting clarity around all of that is fundamental and hard it’s not easy to do.

Jim Rembach:    I think it’s also important to point out that when we start talking about this clarity when you start talking about ambiguity and those things they ultimately are foundational and create something that we all need to have and that’s trust.

Karen Martin:     Yes. Trust emanates from clarity. The number one thing that ruins trust is not really understanding or someone’s coming from and not understanding what you’re supposed to do. It’s very costly to an organization if you add up the minutes, hours, weeks, months, years of people trying to figure things out that could otherwise be far more clear and people can wrap it up take of them it’s just an enormous expense that’s unnecessary.

Jim Rembach:    So it also is a scenario where having this clarity at this strategic and visionary aspect and leading aspect of an organization for you, you take it through the book through basically looking at all of your processes evaluating, assessing like you’ve talked about, this what we should be doing even though we may have the skills. Is it going to really affect who are major person that we want to affect, meaning the customer? We’re all in some type of customer effecting, facing type of business. Even if we’re a government entity we have stakeholders, constituents, we all have a customer. Sometime they’re not clear in front of us, like a manufacturer my customer is actually my retailer or somebody who’s selling my product and my users, so there’s a can seem to be a little bit clouded but the fact is that we all are serving somebody.  

Karen Martin:     Right. And they why has to be directly tied to some sort of a problem that the product whether a good or a service solves and it needs to be tied to something emotional. For example, I was talking with a car tire manufacturer and I asked what they did to make tires? Why do you do it? We make really good tires was the answer. And I said, “But why?”  Why do you make really good tires? And it took a long time for him to finally understand that it’s building confidence in the customer that they’re going to get from point A to point B without a flat tire, that they’re going to be safe, that they’re not going to have flats in the middle of the night stranded in a remote road, all of those things. You doesn’t have to be top of mind every single day and every single conversation in a business but you do need to understand the verb or the emotion that any product is tied to in the customer. Whether it’s to your point of a business customer or an individual customer whether it’s commercial no matter what it is there is some emotion your product should make life easier in some way or safer. And if we start going all the way to that then, first, it engages the employees in a very powerful way but then it also drives better decision making.

Jim Rembach:    You talk in the book about knowing thy customer and you go in that to a great degree but part of what you’re talking about in the book is like, hey, essentially embed yourself and do some psychographic type of studies and be there with them and see how they use your product but everybody an organization can’t do that. If I’m a person who’s in a customer support or customer service environment I don’t have that luxury. All I know is they call me about these things and I need to do these things. I don’t really know thy customer and so then we also been have an empathy problem and we have an emotional intelligence lack of connection and all those things. So how can an organization really know thy customer when they can’t, they sit in their living room and see how they’re using the product? 

Karen Martin:     Video. One of the most effective things I’ve ever seen, it was a commercial it might have been during a Super Bowl game that I first saw it was years ago like probably a decade ago it was a GE commercial, about their health care division and about the equipment that these manufacturers these guys on the front lines in a in a plant we’re making. They actually took these guys in a bus out to talk with customers. All of the sudden everything crystallized for them on why it was so important to get that boat turned exactly right and why it was so important to make sure that nothing left the line that had some sort of a problem and all of those things that make the work for a better quality, for more efficient. I am a huge fan of getting testimonials from the customers that aren’t just fluff not just sales stuff but like how is that product really helping? How is that service or that good really making a difference in that person’s life? And in industry it’s mainly safety at least a lot of it is safety but it’s also work ease. We should be striving first and foremost for safe and easier work environments because they’re cheaper they’re better for people and safer and easier work environments are less expensive to operate. Anyway, I could go on and on about this, but video is a very powerful medium that every single new hire could be exposed to and maybe even reminders throughout the year or the years that they’re there.

Jim Rembach:    I would say that you have to have those reminders that’s how you really have it to be sustainable. Because otherwise we all get caught up in that, hey, I have to do these things oh, I forgot about that your constant reminder. 

Karen Martin:     One more quick thing, we’ve created this environment in customer service in many organizations that actually cuts the customer service rep off from the customer. What I mean by that is as a customer I get—I know how businesses can run and so I’m not necessarily the most patient customer when things aren’t going well and I don’t ever blame the people because it’s the work systems that are there that are at fault not the people. But oftentimes I’ll say, “Hey, did you guys ever considered ….? Or could you please escalate this and get my voice up the ladder so that people in decision-making positions can consider this? And I almost always get—“Well you can put that on our website, we have a forum.” And I’m like, “Why are customers expected to go do the work to give necessary feedback back so that the people that are delivering goods and services can provide better value? Why is it that they don’t believe their own people?” I have people tell me this all the time, they won’t believe me. But if you put it on our website they’ll believe you. Well that’s just messed up. And so anyway—it’s just the wrong work environment those people are the ambassadors for the organization that are on the front lines and customer service. They know the customer more intimately than any VP or above will and yet they’re not listened to, and that breaks my heart.

Jim Rembach:    But it is true. So the saying that I always talk about is that you can’t be a prophet in your own land. But then again you as a consultant, isn’t it? 

Karen Martin:     I guess. I wouldn’t, business has run really, really well and I could retire. But, yeah, there’s definitely a lot to be done in business today, a lot. 

Jim Rembach:    I think these are human problems they’re not just business problems. 

Karen Martin:     Yes that is true. 

Jim Rembach:    Okay. You also talked about in the book from what to why and you have three different levels of being able to make that transition from what to why. There’s clarity within these different levels. You say level one is what do you do? What are the products? The market segments? Who’s your competitors? Simple very tangible things. And then it’s, what really do you do? What problems are you solving for? Be very specific. Why do you do it? Why does your organization do it? What is needed or desired and all of those things. And part of that is the customer contact but it goes much deeper than that. Especially today we’re talking about societal impacts, the saying goes I don’t want to work as far as an employee for the customers that are best in the world I want to work for a company that is the best for the world it’s happening now. 

Karen Martin:     Yeah, that’s a good one. 

Jim Rembach:    From a what to a why—you said you even had an example of a consultant that was not able to really do this correctly, of course we’re keeping them anonymous not naming names. But how do we actually take this and effectively apply this with where I am? I’m not getting it from up above, the leadership isn’t doing it they’re not helping with this clarity, how do I start with me?

Karen Martin:     Well it’s a good question. Because if you’re all the way down at the front lines it’s very difficult to get enough insight into the operation in order to find that out. But the first thing would be raising the issue and having a conversation with the next  leader up the food chain and see if you can get it up to the leadership level because it really is senior leadership that needs to drive and make that an important point that they’re constantly reminding people on the why. We are so product-centric, and I’m talking about a good or service as product, we’re so product-centric that we forget the people at the end of it all the time. We all practice lean management in the work that we do and that’s all about providing greater value to the customer but doing so in a way that’s good for the business, good for the shareholders, good for the employees, good for the environment and so the customer is at the center of it all and yet we get kind of tunnel vision on products. Having no clarity on the why makes it difficult to run a smooth operation.

Jim Rembach:    You also talk about some of this problem-solving issue, talk about the system being broken and you talk about Deming and so you actually have an acronym that represents a pretty easy process to be able to follow you call it, CLEAR, remember? Clarity, that’s what the first C is, so it’s the clarity. And then we have to learn, we have to experiment, and then we have to assess and then we have to roll out. Just give me at a high level run us through that.

Karen Martin:     I practice underneath clear is plan to study, adjust, PDSA, which was Demming’s core way of getting people to solve problems more effectively. The problem with PDSA or the actual terms that that acronym represents, PLAN, people think, oh, okay I’m going to make a plan to implement. No, your plan is really figuring out what is the problem? Why is that a problem? For whom is it a problem? How big is the problem? And then you get to the root cause. What is the root cause or causes of the problem? The word plan doesn’t really seem to say that. Over and over and over I’ve been practicing PDSA and teaching people for 25 years now and over and over I’ve seen that they struggle with it. Which is why I came up with CLEAR to layer on top of PDSA with those specific questions that everyone should be asking in order to get better problem solving at the end of the day, that’s the genesis of it.

Jim Rembach:    In our last episode of the Fast Leader show I had the opportunity to interview Doug Hall with Driving Eureka, you probably know Doug both of you are essentially disciples of Edwards Demings, Dr. Demmings is that correct? 

Karen Martin:     Demming…it’s Edwards Deming, it’s a weird…W. Edwards Deming, it’s a weird plural Edwards.

Jim Rembach:    There we go, I want to make sure that I get my clarity on that. Okay, so when I started looking at your book and started looking at the system’s thinking in the lien and all of those things that we need to do from an efficiency based perspective I also start thinking about his work in regards to innovation and to me I think the two need to go together.

Karen Martin:     Yeah. And it’s very interesting because  lien comes from Toyota Production system and then we learned that it wasn’t just about how they produced it’s about all those ways that they make decisions and now we finally understand it’s also about the product. It’s about the innovation that they’re constantly just going after and after and after and making a high-quality product as a result of that significant innovation. 

So innovation has been kind of left out of the lien vocabulary and discussion for all these decades that liens been around not because it doesn’t exist and not because it doesn’t drive almost everything Toyota does but because we were peeling back the layers of the onion using an overwrought analogy to understand what is it that they actually do and how do they do it. It just took decades to get to the point where like, ahhh, innovation is really at the core of all this. But it’s not just in a vacuum that you have to have everything else work along with innovation in order to be a top performer. 

Jim Rembach:    Especially in today’s world, without a doubt. Okay, so what we’re talking about here is just riddled with a whole lot of emotion, you even talked about it a second ago meaning connecting with your customer. We have to do that clarity component so that we’re connecting internally to that external. All of these things they overlay and they relate to one another. But one of the things that we look at on the show are quotes to help give us a little charge from emotion. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

Karen Martin:     One quote I like, and I don’t know if I’m going to get this right, it’s by Shigeo Shingo he was the industrial engineer that codified a lot of the Toyota way that then became the way that Toyota operates. And so he has a hierarchy of what we should be striving for in terms of this is just now operations design and work design and it was easier first which was intriguing to me, I think it was easier, safer, faster—okay, I’m do not make a good student am I? It’s easier, faster, safer, better–oh no that’s…better faster. Sometimes the lien get us bad wrap as being something you just speed up the work and then…it’s not at all you don’t speed up the work and then get poor quality or worse safety conditions. 

But the thing I loved about that quote was easier is first. And so when people—this is another thing that we see that kind of goes a little awry in organizations is that leaders kind of mandate processes and dictate how the work should be done when they’re not the ones doing the work and therefore they’re not the experts in doing the work. If you go to a frontline person we want to make this easier and have higher quality and have lower cost and have safer environment. There are innovative people with creative minds and souls which is very engaging to get involved with and I just love seeing them light up with these wonderful ideas when given the opportunity.

Jim Rembach:    That’s a very good point. And I also can say that coming to a lot of these  conclusions and being able to make these pivots and make these adjustments and come like that comes because we’ve had mistakes and had learn from them and get over them. We talk about them on the show about humps that we’ve had to get over and how it actually made us go into a better direction. Is there a story or a time that you could share where you’ve gotten over the hump?

Karen Martin:     Hhmm, the most practical humps have been financial. When 9/11 occurred and when the 2008 mortgage meltdown occurred, actually 2008 was particularly painful, because I had done that business thing that you should never do and have well more than fifty percent of your revenue tied up in one industry never do that. Because if that industry hits a little bit of a glitch then it affects your business. Literally in 2008 overnight I lost, I think I had only financial services contracts at that time, and they pulled the plug on every consulting agreement they had every training agreement it was a knee jerk but it was a necessary reaction to the shock that we were all experiencing. I don’t think I worked again for six months after 2008 hit. Thank goodness I was a saver. Thank goodness I could get through it. But it was a very painful time and never knowing when it’s going to come back and when you’re going to work again. But I took advantage of that and started writing more books. I made lemonade out of my lemons.

Jim Rembach:    Well good move for you and let you have the luxury to do that because you initially were that saver.

Karen Martin:     Yeah. I’m actually going through a hump right now where it’s a business model hunk. I’ve had a lot of incredibly gifted and skilled 1099 contractors on my team for a long time because they’re so skilled and they’re easy to pull in and out of projects as you need them. But I’m moving to a W2 model now with employees because I want greater predictability and greater ability to have someone be available to me and not their own clients because a lot of the 1099 people have their own businesses as well. So it’s not easy making that transition from 1099’s to W2s.

Jim Rembach:    If you started looking about that whole going to risk component talking about that 2008 thing if you were back then and you had a lot of W2s that would have actually do the whole dynamic.

Karen Martin:     Yes, that would have been a bad deal.

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. Looking at that, how do you prepare for the next economic downturn, it’s not if it’s a when. How do you really make sure that you’re mitigating or reducing risks associated with that?

Karen Martin:     First of all escrow your money away, that tried-and-true save, save, save because you never know when…this is what business is struggling with they’re strangled with debt that they don’t have any flexibility when things don’t go as well. Every time we have flush like a (30:40 inaudible) in economic times we say woo hooo, it’s great. But to your point it is going to be a matter of time it’s not if it’s a when. So cash is important. And then the other thing is that Toyota has been masterful during tough times of never laying people off. What they do is they move those people into other positions where they’ve not been able to spend time. In my case business development, codification of our approaches, all kinds of things but it takes cash to be able to do that to make that commitment to no layoffs and things like that. I don’t think you can grow a business very effectively without employees I’m just now kind of facing that it’s time to do it and do it in a big way.

Jim Rembach:    Good for you. And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best.

Karen Martin:     Thank you very much. Thank you. 

Jim Rembach:    Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions guarantee to create motivated productive and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better.

Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time to do the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Karen, 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 you’re going to give me robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Karen Martin, are you ready to hoedown? 

Karen Martin:     I’m ready to hoedown

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

Karen Martin:     Striving for perfection.

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

Karen Martin:     Listen, listen, listen and you don’t know it all.  

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

Karen Martin:     Tenacity. Like a dog going after a bone.

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

Karen Martin:     Listening. 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, it could be from any genre of course we’re going to put a link to Clarity First and your other books on our show notes page as well.

Karen Martin:     Since we’ve been talking about why a lot, Simon Sinek’s book—I think that’s how you say his last name—Start With Why, was really one of the things that started getting me down the path of purpose. None of my previous employers had really talked about it and I didn’t really understand how important it was because we talked about mission, vision, values, not purpose. So I love, Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Jim Rembach:    Okay,  you can find links to that and other bonus materials by going to Karen’s show notes page and that is at fastleader.net/KarenMartin. Okay, Karen, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity go back to the age 25. And you’ve given all the knowledge and skills that you have now and you can take them back with you but you can’t take them all, you can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Karen Martin:     My job with a staff is to develop them. Not to order them around and have them do my bidding. My job is to develop people I didn’t get that early enough and I now do, thankfully.

Jim Rembach:    Karen Martin thank you for joining us today. Can you let the Fast Leader Legion know how they can connect with you?

Karen Martin:     You can check out our website, tkmg.com which stands for our older name thekarenmartingroup.com. We’ve got webinars, social media connections there. I’m on Twitter, karenmartinopex. LinkedIn, karenmartinopex…op ex as in operational excellence. The websites’ probably the easiest way because there’s one-stop shopping there.

Jim Rembach:    Karen, thank you for sharing your notes and wisdom and the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get for 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 the fastleader.net. So we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

END OF AUDIO 

 

 

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

Website: https://alansteinjr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanSteinJr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-stein-jr/

Resources and Show Mentions

Raise Your Game Show with Alan Stein, Jr.

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

 

Show Transcript: 

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 callcentercoach.com 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 fastleader.net/alanstein. 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, raiseyourgamebook.com. If they’re interested in my speaking or anything else I do they can go to alansteinjr.com 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 fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

 

 

Debi Mongan - The Mindful Call Center

164: Debi Mongan: I was totally wrong

Debi Mongan Show Notes Page

Debi Mongan decided to take a break from her career to raise her daughter. After five years had passed Debi decided to go back to work. She thought she was going to re-enter where she left off. Once she realized that wasn’t going to happen she took a step back, which helped her to take a leap forward.

Debi was born in Washington DC and raised mostly in the Maryland suburbs. She was an only child until she was 10 years old, when her first brother was born. Her parents divorced when she was 12 and both remarried. She is now the oldest of three brothers and a sister. Her family is made up of natural, half, step and adopted, multi-cultural siblings. Don’t ask which is which, as she’ll tell you she doesn’t know. “They are my family. Period.”

Due to the gap in age between Debi and her siblings, she was very maternal toward them and was always involved in mentoring one or all of them in one way or another. Being a leader and a guiding force came naturally and having them to “practice” on was great training, even though she didn’t realize it at the time. While still in high school, she got a job in a telemarketing call center that sold magazine subscriptions. She was an administrative clerk and literally learned everything from the most entry level position there was. When she turned 18 she was permitted to get on the phones for the first time. After a short time attending college in North Carolina, she returned home and to that same call center. This year marks her 30th year working in the Customer Service and Contact Center industry.

Debi worked in several contact centers over the years and first moved into a leadership position with Maryland Baseball, LLC. It was a dream come true to work for the Oriole’s minor league teams and have an office in the stadium. Her staff was primarily teenagers and college students, which brought out her mentoring side. She left the sports industry and took a job with one of the largest, at the time, vacation ownership companies in the travel industry. She spent twelve years directing the customer service, reservations and B2B division of the company. About five years into this position, she started studying mindfulness in her personal life and was amazed at the positive effect she was seeing in her life at home and at work.

This prompted her to experiment with adapting mindfulness techniques to make them appropriate for the workplace. She started sharing with some of her employees and quickly realized she was on to something. She left the travel industry and took several short-term management assignments in contact centers of various sizes and industries to develop and test her ideas. In 2016, she finally took the plunge and founded The Mindful Call Center.

Debi has one daughter Shelby who lives in Chicago as she enjoys life on the coast-side, near the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

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

“There’s something about sincerely showing that you care about their well-being that makes a person feel loyal want to stay.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“Until I hand you a red cooler with a heart or kidney in it and you’re running to the helicopter, you’re not allowed to be stressed.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“You need three things to remind you that it’s time to stop and take two minutes.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“Your thoughts do create your reality.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“You can manifest just about anything you want.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“Your mind is so powerful that it can affect your job and your KPIs when you harness it correctly.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“The universe will whisper in your ear for a little while, and then if you don’t listen, it’s going to yell at you.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

“None of the things and issues that are keeping you up at night are world-changing or life-altering events.” -Debi Mongan Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Debi Mongan decided to take a break from her career to raise her daughter. After five years had passed Debi decided to go back to work. She thought she was going to re-enter where she left off. Once she realized that wasn’t going to happen she took a step back, which helped her to take a leap forward.

Advice for others

This too shall pass. None of the things and issues that are keeping you up at night are world-changing or life-altering events. Just take it easy.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Being self-conscious and taking things personally.

Best Leadership Advice

Don’t say it if you don’t mean it and you’re not going to do it.

Secret to Success

My sincere desire for the success of others and not just my own.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Owning my mistakes and admitting when I’m wrong.

Recommended Reading

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

The Alchemist

The Napkin, The Melon & The Monkey: How to Be Happy and Successful by Simply Changing Your Mind

The Monkey, the Moon & Maybe: How to Embrace Change & Live Fearlessly

Contacting Debi Mongan

website: http://mindfulcustomerservice.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebiMongan

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

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

Empathy Mapping

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

164: Debi Mongan: I was totally wrong

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.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotion. So move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll 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:   Okay Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show who’s going to help us really unlock the power that’s already inside of you. Debi Mongan was born in Washington D.C. and raised mostly in the Maryland suburbs. She was an only child until she was 10 years old when her first brother was born. Her parents divorced when she was 12 and both remarried she is now the oldest of three brothers and a sister. Her family is made up of natural half-step and adopted multicultural siblings, don’t ask which is which as she’ll just tell you she doesn’t know they’re all my family. Due to the gap in age between Debi and her siblings she was very maternal toward them and was always involved in mentoring one or all of them in one way or another. Being a leader and a guiding force came naturally and having them to practice on was great training even though she didn’t realize it at that time. While still in high school she got a job in a telemarketing call center that’s old magazine subscriptions. She was an administrative clerk and literally learned everything from the most entry-level position there was. When she turned 18 she was permitted to get on the phones for the first time. After a short time attending college in North Carolina she returned home to that same call center. This year marks her 30th year working in customer service and contact center industry. 

 

Debi worked in several contact centers over the years and first moved into a leadership position with Maryland baseball. It was a dream come true to work for the Orioles minor league teams and have an office in the stadium. Her staff was primarily teenagers and college students which brought out her mentoring side. She left the sports industry and took a job with one of the largest at the time vacation ownership companies in the travel industry. She spent 12 years directing the customer service, reservations and B2B division for the company. 

 

About five years into this position she started studying mindfulness in her personal life and was amazed at the positive effects she was seeing in her life at home and at work. This prompted her to experiment with adapting of mindfulness techniques to help make them appropriate for the workplace. She started sharing them with some of her employees and quickly realized she was on to something. She left the travel industry and took several short management assignments and contact centers of various sizes and industries to develop and test her ideas. In 2016 she finally took the plunge and founded the mindful call center where she is today. Debi has one daughter Shelby who lives in Chicago as she enjoys her single life on the coast side near the San Francisco area Bay. Debi Mongan are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

 

Debi Mongan:   I can’t wait Jim, glad to be here.

 

Jim Rembach:   I’m glad you’re here. Okay, I’ve given our legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you even better. 

 

Debi Mongan:   Absolutely, I’d love to share it. Currently my passion and my focus is on getting the buy-in and getting acceptance from leadership in the contact center and customer service industry to understand that mindfulness belongs in the contact center.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, so when you say buy in you’ve actually been doing this for a while so you’ve actually had some positive financial impacts that you’ve seen as well, right?

 

Debi Mongan:   Absolutely. What’s wonderful about this is when I go into a contact center the first thing I want to do is I give you an overall picture of where are their pain points, where are they struggling, And generally there’s a few KPIs that they’re looking at attrition is another huge thing that they want to address. So what I have seen happen is after just one hour workshop teaching the most elementary aspects of mindfulness that I’ve adapted and made appropriate for a contact center agents have improved their productivity tremendously. The escalation rate for calls drops because all of a sudden they’re confident and they feel like they can handle it and they do handle it and there’s a lot of calls that they kind of give in and escalate when it’s not needed, so escalations are seeing they’re down and time is money that’s absolutely very helpful right there. Yet the biggest change that I see and the biggest help is with attrition there’s something about sincerely showing that you care about their well-being in their life that makes a person feel loyal and want to stay. We all know that the longer someone’s with you the more cost-effective it is. I’ve read studies that say that it will take up to a year’s salary just onboard a new agent, the impact on the business. So that’s one of my biggest focuses is to help with the attrition problem. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, when I think about mindfulness it’s one of the areas of overall wellness, wellness covers a lot of different factors mindfulness being one, why for you is mindfulness something you’ve actually held on to and want to actually do more of that type of work?

 

Debi Mongan:   Well, mainly because I have my own personal experience with it. I’ve had it work for me and been very excited by what it’s done and I want to share that, I just generally want to share that. The other aspect of me that is the caretaker and the nurturer, and mama bear is then nick name that I’ve gained from agents along the years, and that’s because I really do care about their well-being and discovering a way for them to be less stress and more productive and more focused and that’s the holy grail to me. Nothing is worse for me when I was running a call center than to have someone come into my office and just look so stressed and be so worried about any particular thing that was going on at the time. I was famous for telling them, look until I hand you a red Igloo cooler with a heart or a kidney in it and you’re running to the helicopter you’re not allowed to be stressed. But for years I said that but I didn’t have any way to tell them how to not be stressed. Then I discovered it in my own life and I was playing it at work for myself and sharing it and one thing led to another. The other thing is wellness, that’s very important to me the entire wellness at work, for lack of a better word craze I’m so thrilled that it is and then it’s catching on. But I want to concentrate on one thing, I’ve said before, a football team has a head coach and a defensive coach an offensive coach because you’ve got to address all the different aspects, and I just want to be the defensive coach.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, so you say defensive coach when you talk about mindfulness, how come that’s not an offensive coach?

 

Debi Mongan:   Well, I think over time it turns into being an offensive coach but the problem is in the beginning it’s more defensive for a lot of different reasons. Number one just getting the buy-in and getting people not to roll their eyes and not to think, oh I have to quit my job and go to Tibet and meditate on a mountain for a year, that’s not what it’s about. So, it’s very defensive in the beginning but that’s the great thing about it is that at some point it just becomes part of your life a very offensive.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, so talking about you get past the eye rolls somebody wants to start working with you what does that look like?

 

Debi Mongan:   Well it can look like whatever they need. I try to be really flexible but just say in general they want to have me in for a workshop with their agents. So, I’m going to spend about a half a day prior to the workshop getting high-level view of everything that’s going on. As I mentioned before find out what their pain points are? What do they want to accomplish? What are the things that are keeping them up at night so that I can specifically address some of those things? And then a workshop would typically last 60 to 90 minutes. I do limit the workshop size so I may have to do more than one in a day depending on how many agents that they have and we spend that time just learning the very basics. What I’ve developed, I call it STATT, and what that means is set 3 and take 2. 

 

In the initial workshop they’re going to learn what balanced breath and mindful breathing is all about and that is just an amazing tool to have. If it’s the only tool that they ever have it it’s going to help tremendously. One of the things that makes that work—what I have to worry about is after I leave it can’t be a one-day one-hour workshop it has to be cultivated it has to be practiced that’s why they call it a practice. So, that’s why I’ve developed STATT to remind them and to help them. And then what I do is the set 3 part of STATT is you need three triggers throughout the day, three things that are going to remind you that it’s time to stop and take two minutes. So that’s where the contact center adapting to a concept contact center comes in. I understand that the world and I understand how to find those three or where you’re most likely going to find those three opportunities throughout the day to take two. So, that’s kind of what I’ll do within that day, we’ll teach them the basics so that they know and then I help the group as well as individually figure out and decide what are those three trigger points throughout the day that are going to remind them to take those two minutes to use the tool that they’ve just learned and then there will be a lot of follow-up and just helping them to continue.

 

Jim Rembach:   I had the opportunity to share with you off mic that there was a really good friend of mine who was actually working in contact centers and had a really nice niche carved out within the utility industry teaching mindfulness her name was Barbara Burke but unfortunately Barbara passed away. For me I saw her really have a significant impact with a lot of organizations because of what you’re talking about and doing the mindfulness work. One of the things she also had a lot of success with is with book clubbing. She wrote a couple books and one of her books was titled the, The Napkin Mellow of the Monkey, and make sure we’ll put a link to both her books on your show notes page, but it was amazing for me to see talking to her clients, her customers, that were in these contact centers and how much of a positive impact working with her had actually had upon them both personally and professionally was huge. 

 

Debi Mongan:   Well, I have to tell you this is going to sound like we practiced this, but we didn’t we can both attest to that, I list in the things that I suggest a company do because there are the parameters of people can’t be off the phone and they can’t do this they can’t do that. One of the things that I did eight ten years ago back when I first started experimenting with this was started a book club. That way people could read the book at home on their own something related to wellness and then we would discuss it and it was great at least gets the subject on the table. I am not familiar with Barbara and I’m really excited that you’ve shared a little about her because I definitely will look into to her work.

 

Jim Rembach:   Barbara always said that she wanted to make a dent in the world and of course she’d passed away and she’d left a void in the world, so hopefully there’s an opportunity for you to step in and carry some of that important work forward. Now one of the things that we’re talking about when we just refer to mindfulness and stress and all those things, emotions and energy. One of the things that we look at on the show which is really important to help give us energy and help us with a sense of direction are quotes. Is there a quote or two that you can share that you like?

 

Debi Mongan:   There is. Actually I’m kind of a collector of quotes I love that stuff. In trying to pick one it would be really difficult but I the one I want to share is a quote from Dr. Maya Angelou, I have a handful of them that I love. This particular one she said, ask for what you want and be prepared to get it. And the thing that I liked the most about that quote is that over the years since I first heard it, it has changed in what it means to me. When I first heard it I took it quite literally.  I was at an early stage in my management career and I needed to understand—I was working in professional sports industry nothing but men and I really, literally needed to understand—ask for what you want and assume you’re going to get it prepare to get it. So, that’s what it meant at first and why it stuck with me. Now 25 years later, it means it’s a validation to me that your thoughts do create your reality. You can manifest just about anything that you want. Your mind is so powerful, your mind is so powerful that it can affect your job and your KPIs when you harness it correctly.

 

Jim Rembach:   Without a doubt. For me I keep trying to remind myself cognitively about those things so that I can influence all that subconscious thinking that’s going on at ten thousand miles an hour. When I start also thinking about all this and you talked about the journey and what it meant to you differently. Throughout our lives we have a lot of humps that we have to get over and they help formulate some of those things in our head that aren’t so good and it helped us hopefully have enough wisdom and power to be able to put those things at bay and really be more mindful and focus on the positive but those humps are a lot of learning opportunities. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump where we can learn?

 

Debi Mongan:   I actually unfortunately have several, I actually have a couple. I love that that’s saying that the universe will whisper in your ear for a little while and then if you don’t listen it’s going to yell at you and I’ve had a couple times I’ve been yelled at. One that I think is important and that I learned the most from and still tap into later. A little over 25 years ago I had been in the customer service industry for almost 10 years and was moving up the ladder and doing pretty well and got kind of my first management just a little above a supervisor position. My initial reaction and thoughts which I’m kind of ashamed to admit now was, knowing take it easy. Now I’m a manager I don’t have to talk to customers anymore and just not the great attitude at all and this happened to coincide with when my daughter was born. When she was born I decided to take a break from my career it wasn’t a hard decision to make it all I wanted to at least spend the first five years of her life with her, so that’s what I did. A lot of people were very supportive and a lot of people thought I was crazy you’re just hitting your stride, but that’s what I did. 

 

Now where it gets interesting is five years later when I decide to reenter the workforce I’m I think I’m just going to go right back in where I left off and I’m interviewing and I’m very quickly finding out that’s not what’s going to happen. I had to sit down and have a little talk with myself and figure out, okay, how am I going to approach this? What I decided was I’m going to start from scratch. It just so happened there was a job opening at the Baltimore Orioles minor-league baseball team, very close to my home a huge baseball fan my whole life, this was amazing. All they needed was someone in their telemarketing department selling tickets. So, I went to the interview and did really well and I clearly remember coming home and telling my family I’m going to take the job I’m going to them what I got and in six months I’m going to be running the place. I was totally wrong it was three months. Actually it was a very small contact center and telemarketers, there was only eight of us, but three months end I was asked to manage the team and literally going from I’m on the phones today I’m managing everyone tomorrow. It was very sobering and exciting and scary and as Maya said ask for what you want and prepare to get it I don’t know that I was really prepared to get it but it was great and I learned a lot with it.

 

To add to that, a few months after that we started a partnership with Special Olympics and I was asked to expand the call center from the eight telemarketers that we had to 40, I had no idea how to do that or what to do so there was a lot of learning process. But the reason that it was successful was I approached it from the perspective of still being on the phones and still being on the frontline that’s what really cemented to me and that was going to be my management style. I consider myself an advocate for agents and reps and it’s worked for me all along and I don’t intend to ever change. That’s how this evolved to where I am today. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Thanks for sharing that. I can only imagine going from 8 to 40 unless you been in it—that is like a massive growth. When you start getting into that larger number the whole scheduling issue and the exception processing of people needing time off and all this that and the other just becomes a huge burden within itself it’s a lot easier to handle with eight but when you have that higher number it’s really tough. You said you didn’t know where to go and you just focused on agent, I have to push back on you say no, no, no, no, you had to learn a heck of a lot more than that. Where did you go? 

 

Debi Mongan:   There was some trial and error for sure the Internet wasn’t even a thing at that point so getting feedback from agents actually as far as the training part of things what worked for you so I was able to develop training that way. We had two great assistants that were really helpful and I had a colleague that was my direct superior and the four of us we just figured out how we thought it should be. There was nowhere to go there was no references to take we just figured out how it should be and knew going in that we had to be really flexible because we weren’t going to get it right the first time.

 

Jim Rembach:   Well, you had a lot trust that you had obtained at that point from management that’s for sure because it’s was a risky proposition so I commend you on how ever you even handled that it wasn’t just an agent thing you were managing that executive expectation as well.

 

Debi Mongan:   Yes, thank you that that was really a nice confidence builder for me. As I mentioned before baseball is professional sports so there’s very few women doing anything that level they there and to be successful at it was really great. The flip side of that coin is we were so successful that they ended up just selling the division to Comcast and we got taken over by the big conglomerate so somehow that’s supposed to be a compliment but….

 

Jim Rembach:   Well, it is. You actually built a revenue stream for them that they otherwise would not have had.

 

Debi Mongan:   But the thing about it is if you grow up a baseball fan you love it, it just seemed like I will do anything I will crawl in class to have an office in the stadium?  I would go out at lunchtime and sit and watch batting practice so I was willing to do a lot to have that position. 

 

Jim Rembach:      Well, yeah it’s funny that you say that. You and I talked about the whole pro bono work thing and me being such the giving heart sometimes my wife is like, you need to stop doing that. I’m afraid if I was able to work for a baseball organization they probably wouldn’t have to pay me, right? 

 

Debi Mongan:   Correct, exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:      Okay, so you got a lot of things going on, you’re trying help people be more mindful in contact  centers and hopefully like I said you’ll be able to fill that void and carry it forward that Barbara had actually vacated too soon, there’s a whole lot of moving parts to all of this. If you were to say you had one goal, what would it be? 

 

Debi Mongan:   My one goal that I can look back and say I was successful, I have to use an analogy to explain it to you, those of us that have been in the business for a really long time remember back in the day when it was unheard of to take an agent or a rep off the phone for 15 minutes to one-on-one coaching session, unheard of. Now we look back on that now and think that’s ridiculous. Of course you need to do that because the return on that is amazing and that’s what I’m trying to accomplish with the mindfulness aspect of wellness. I want to look back and have it be commonplace and I want everyone to laugh and say I remember the day when we didn’t even know how to balance our breaths. 

 

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

 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning 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 www.callcentercoach.com. To learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the supervisor success path eBook now.

 

Jim Rembach:   Alright here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Debi, the hump day hoedown is the 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 robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Debi Mongan, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Debi Mongan:   I hope so. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I know you are. Okay, what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

Debi Mongan:   Being self-conscious to take things personally.

 

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

 

Debi Mongan:   Don’t say it if you don’t mean it and you’re not going to do it.

 

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

 

Debi Mongan:   My sincere desire for the success of others and not just my own. 

 

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

 

Debi Mongan:   Owning my mistakes and admitting when I’m wrong.

 

Jim Rembach:   What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, and it could be from any genre? 

 

Debi Mongan:   I’m going to give you two, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Alchemist by Paul

Coelho.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader Legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going www.fastleader.net/Debimongan. Okay, Debi 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. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? 

 

Debi Mongan:   This too shall pass. None of the problems and issues and things that you’re facing that are keeping you up at night are world-changing, life-altering events just take it easy. Because life is too short, life is way too short and that time can be better spent doing other things.

 

Jim Rembach:   Debi, 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?

 

Debi Mongan:   Sure. My website is www.mindfulcustomerservice.com and I am on Twitter @debimongan. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Debi Mongan, 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 www.fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

 

 

 

110: Brian MacNeice: My future life wouldn’t make a difference

Brian MacNeice Show Notes

Brian MacNeice was working for a large advisory service firm. Brian began to worry as he reviewed the impact of his work. He realized that many of the clients he worked with were not interested in implementing what was recommended. That’s when Brian made a life altering change.

Brian MacNeice was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. As a proud Irish man he enjoyed a great childhood being part of a large extended family. He loved nothing more than a big family get together.

Growing up Brian could always be found on the field but he realized that he wasn’t going to be a professional sportsman. So he started studying how teams became high performing.

Brian still carries a passion for sport. He is involved in professional sport in both Rugby Union and Cricket. He is a semi-professional rugby referee and officiate in European and International competitions. Also, he recently stepped down after 8 years as a National Team Selector for the Irish cricket team.

But Brian’s primary degree is in Computer Science, a fact that amuses his 3 kids when they see him struggle with modern technologies that they are totally comfortable with!

His professional career has seen him work in a wide variety of industry sectors as an advisor to senior management teams.

Brian is an expert in organizational performance and high performing teams. He advises leading Irish and international clients on driving improvements in the performance focus and culture of their businesses.

Brian has led numerous assignments with clients in a diverse range of industry sectors, including Food and Drink, Pharmaceuticals, Enterprise Development, Health, Financial Services, Software, Technology, Sport and Leisure and Utilities.

Brian is also the author of the book Powerhouse: Insider accounts into the world’s top high-performance organizations that features some of his research into organizations such as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Doctors Without Borders, Mayo Clinic, Finnish State School Education System, Kirov Ballet, Tata Group in India, Southwest Airlines, US Marines Corps, New Zealand All Black Rugby, St. Louis Cardinals, The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and others.

Brian still lives in Dublin with his wife Miriam with three children. All boys – Charlie aged 16, Jack 15 and Dan 9.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @brianmac16 to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Without a clear sense of purpose it’s hard to get people aligned and focused.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet

“You need really effective processes in place to manage the day-to-day.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“You need performance pressure to make people perform at their best.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“You need the right behaviors, engagement and feedback to sustain performance.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“You need the right people principles to sustain performance in the long term.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“Ambition is one of the key drivers of high performance.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“You need to be clearly focused on what matters most in terms of success.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“We often find that organizations lose their sense of priority.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“Today’s heroism translates to become tomorrow’s expectations.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“We’ve always got to improve, we can never get complacent.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“The organization that gets complacent is the one that’s going to get passed.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“You’ve got to work hard at making sure you’re driving at continued success.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“Commit to it and get on with it.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“Value everyone that’s involved with your organization.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“Engagement is a contact sport.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

“The most successful people that I’ve ever come across all share a hard-work gene.” -Brian MacNeice Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Brian MacNeice was working for a large advisory service firm. Brian began to worry as he reviewed the impact of his work. He realized that many of the clients he worked with were not interested in implementing what was recommended. That’s when Brian made a life altering change.

Advice for others

Commit to an ethic of hard work.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Nothing is holding me back.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Be really authentic. Value everyone in your organization.

Secret to Success

Ambition. Having the drive to achieve something.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Stubbornness. Not taking no for an answer.

Recommended Reading

Powerhouse: Insider Accounts into the World’s Top High-performance Organizations
The Gold Mine Effect: Crack the Secrets of High Performance

Contacting Brian

Website: http://www.kotinospartners.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-macneice-56a43612/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brianmac16

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

110: Brian MacNeice: My future life wouldn’t make a difference

 

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 I have somebody on the show today that I think is going to give us a global perspective on high performing organizations. Brian McNiece was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. As a proud Irishman he enjoyed a great childhood being part of a large extended family. He loved nothing more than a big family get-together. Growing up Brian could always be found on the field but he realized that he was never going to be a professional sportsman so he started studying how teens became high-performing. Although Brian still does carry a passion for sport, he is involved in professional sport in both rugby union and cricket. He is a semi-professional rugby referee in European and international competitions.

 

Also he recently stepped down after eight years as a national team selector for the Irish cricket team but Brian’s primary degree is in computer science a fact that amuses his three kids when they see him struggle with modern technologies that they are totally comfortable with. His professional career has seen him work in a ride variety of industry sectors as an advisor to senior management teams. Brian is an expert in organizational performance and high-performing teams. He advises leading Irish and international clients on driving improvements in the performance focus and culture of their business. 

 

Brian is also the author of the book, Powerhouse, insider accounts into the world’s top performance organizations. Brian still lives in Dublin with his wife Miriam and their three children, all boys, Charlie 16, Jack 15 and Dan 9. Brian McNiece, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

 

Brian McNiece:    Jim, I’m going to do my very best. Good afternoon to all your podcast listeners. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I appreciate that Brian. Now 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? 

 

Brian McNiece:    My current passion is all about high performance particularly high performance in a group context whether it’s to do with teams on organization. I’m absolutely fascinated about what drives performance in a group context? How do you go about understanding ** key dynamics of high-performance and how do you go about helping leaders cultivate high-performing teams in their organizations whether they’re in sports, in business whatever that you might find. 

 

Jim Rembach:    In the book you talk about 12 different principles that guide these high-performance organizations and I want to get into all 12 because—that’s why people need to get the book because having these case studies and going into depth in all these is really important to understand. If you were to look at these 12 principles, you can’t that all of them have equal weight even though they’re interrelated and are important, but can you say that there’s one maybe even two that kind of stands out, these without a doubt you have to be absolutely expert at what, what would they be?

 

Brian McNiece:    I would group them into kind of three different categories. I think—we’ve identified 12 characteristics that we found are common across all the case studies that we looked at and I think it’s important to understand that the case studies that we looked we deliberately spread the net very wide. We went to Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. We went to Finland to study the state school education system. We went Kirov Valley in Russia to look at that. We went to South West Airlines in Texas to have a look at what they did, the US Marines, doctors without borders, so it was very diverse both in terms of geography and also in terms of what people did. And what was really interesting to us was those 12 characteristics that we’ve identified in the book they repeated themselves time and time again albeit in very different ways in each of the institutions that we looked at but the same patterns were emerging over and over again. So, I would say it’s pretty hard to pick any of the 12 and drop them in terms of reports. But I would almost categorize them into three different things. I think there are characteristics that go about defining a really clear sense of purpose for an organization or team. So, without a clear sense of purpose it’s really hard to get people aligned and focused about where you want to go.

 

The second thing is you need to have really effective processes in place to manage the day-to-day and enough performance pressure to make people perform at their best or close to their best. So, I think you’ve got to have those dynamics in play and there’s about four or five different characteristics that talk to that that we’ve identified. And then the final thing is about people stuff, you’ve got to have the right behaviors, the right level of engagement, and the right level of feedback across your people to really sustain performance over the long term. So, I would say break it down into those three categories, will strong sense of purpose, really efficient process to help drive performance and performance pressure and then people principles that are really effective in helping sustain performance in the long term.

 

Jim Rembach:     Thanks for sharing that. What you just described, I’m kind of looking at within the book and that’s called a Powerhouse Performance model but there was one thing that you’re missing, you want to add that?

 

Brian McNiece:     You tell me what I’m missing and then I’ll talk to your listeners about. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s the planning piece.

 

Brian McNiece:     Yeah, sure. I think that comes in to the purpose. For me the planning piece is part of setting a real clear sense of purpose for the organization. We’ve fundamentally believe that ambition is one of the key drivers, like the starting point of high-performance. We deliberately started the book with the story of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which is the only corporate entity to ever have won the Nobel Peace prize and the reason that it did is because its founder a guy called Professor Muhammad Yunus and Economics professor based in Bangladesh wanted to try and figure out how can I eradicate poverty in my country in a country that stricken with poverty. 

 

And so he came up with the whole idea of Micro-lending, lending very small amounts of money to people below the poverty line and he an ambition to create a museum of poverty, in other words poverty would be a thing of the past and it was using that sense of ambition it led to a whole pile of innovative ways of approaching and tackling the issue of credit to people below the poverty line, people with no assets to underwrite the credits and has transformed the lives of so many people in Bangladesh, which is why Professor Yunus and the organization has won the Nobel Prize. Part of that planning piece is, first of all clear sense of ambition, what are we trying to do and something that provides direction and stretch and purpose and inspiration to the population of people. But then have a real clear understanding as to how we’re going to get there, what are the most important things we’ve got to do right now to help us get on the way and that’s where the planning piece comes in, and you need both.  

 

Jim Rembach:    That was very helpful because obviously then what I missed in the interpretation in what you are talking about is that it was the priorities that was missing. 

 

Brian McNiece:    That’s the next piece of the of the equation, so fine and well, as far as purpose is concerned it’s all fine and well having ambition and aiming for the stars as it were because that helps drive innovation and lots of other stuff that comes out of that. The next thing is you have to have real clear focus. You need to be really clearly focused on what matters most in terms of our success in business** what are the two or three things that matter more than anything else? And how do we become ** to those two or three things? How do we make sure everybody else is aligned around those? And how do we set a clear set of priorities right now, today for the next short period of time that will help us move the bar in performance on those two or three things that matter? And that’s something that’s going to be changing all the time what’s not changing is  you need to make sure that all your people are completely aligned at any point in time to what’s going to help deliver performance and capability improvement across the organization are achieved and that’s where the priority piece comes in. Very often we find that organizations lose that sense of priority and they have people that’s misaligned because they’re not clear on what the key priorities right now are that are going to help us drive towards that kind of ambitious target of where we’re trying to head to in the medium-term. 

 

Well to me it seems like this really—and even the way that you put this powerhouse performance model together you have the plan essentially as the roof if you think about it as a house you can visualize this and your priorities come underneath that and then your people and process are the foundational components, at least that’s the way that I’m seeing it and interpreting it. So, when you start thinking about this as a house model and through each particular case study you populated this powerhouse model with each of the details and insight that you found within those and one thing I want to focus on is you talked about innovation. If you start thinking about a particular powerhouse performance model and getting to be very good on execution, do you run the risk of herding your ability to innovate? 

 

Yes. This is the really critical points that were making. You’re right we’ve deliberately put the powerhouse model together almost as a house, four different component parts to it, the plan piece, the priorities piece, the people piece and the process piece, and you’ve correctly identified the people and processed offer are kind of foundation principles that are enablers, the plan and the priorities are the kind of top end of the house if you like. But the really important insight that we’ve learned from the case studies and also from the work that we do with our clients is that you’ve got to work in and across those four pillars at the same time. It’s not enough to say, Okay, I tell you what we’re going to do we’re going to focus on our plan for now let’s get our fund (10:42 inaudible)and then we will address all the other stuff later. You’ve got to work across all four at the same time. And part of the reason that that’s important is exactly the point that you’ve just made, if you overly focus on one to the detriment of the others, then you could be missing a trick in the case that you highlighted, you could be stifling innovation because your focus is on something else and you’re not enabling people to be innovative in terms of solving problems but how do we get better today but we really need to be better act in order to continue to be high performing. So, it’s important that you’re working across the four pillars of the powerhouse model at the same time and that becomes an organizational capability. Part of what we would do with the leadership teams that we work with is we really get them to understand how we get better at juggling these four pillars in order to really drive for better performance, sustained long-term performance within our environment. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, that’s very interesting because for me when you start thinking about the whole—let’s think about the way that we work as individuals there’s no way we can focus on four things at one time it’s impossible, we say we can do it but it’s not the way we work we’re not wired that way. So, when you think about an organization all they are is a collective of people. So, if I have to juggle all four things, how are these organizations doing that?

 

Brian McNiece:    First of all, if you think about it in this context, first of all you’ve got a clear sense of direction as to where we’re trying to go and that’s something that’s not going to change week-by-week, quarter-by-quarter. You’re setting an ambition target if you like for the organization that as I said before provides direction, stretch, purpose and inspiration, so that’s the kind of the true north if you like us to where we’re heading. But those change over time though is the context within which were operating changes all the time so what we’re not changing our true north looks like we are reacting to and interpreting our own individual performance and the performance of those around us our competitors, the market and were flexing all the time to make sure that our current response to how we continue to aim towards the target that we’re aiming for and is adequate fir for purpose. And so the role of the leaders are to make it clear, where are we heading? What’s the plan to get there? What does that mean you got to be focused on right now? How do we ensure that the behaviors and the ways of working and the processes are efficient to help us and enable you to do that job really well. And it’s the ones that really get that and have that working as a kind of well-oiled engine, they are the high-performing, they’re the ensuring high-performing organizations that we’ve studied and we’ve worked with as well. 

 

Jim Rembach:    So, I can only imagine going and traveling the world and learning about these organizations as well as your exposure to sport that you probably could sit here and just talk to us all day about inspiring things. One of the things that we use on the show are quotes. And we love to share them because they can do a lot of that inspiring and true north pointing as you had mentioned, is there a quote or two that you can share that helps you? 

 

Brian McNiece:    I give you two on the top of my head that I really like and that we came across in the research for the book. One we came across in a couple different contexts and when I was with the St. Louis Cardinals and when I was with the Mayo Clinic in both organizations executive said to me, “The name in front of the jersey is more important than name on the back of the jersey.” What they’re really saying to me was we work collectively as a unit to deliver high-performance, we don’t have any individual stars. In fact, if anybody was working here in this environment who thinks that they are more important than the organization itself then we’ve got a cultural misfit. It was amazing when I reflected on that and I looked at all the examples both of the ones that we studied for the book and others that I lean on, I thought that is the same in all the high-performing examples that I look at. It’s not to say you don’t have great people, great individual people there you do, but they work as part of a collective unit to try to deliver something. So, for me that’s one great quote, name in front of the jersey more important than the name on the back. Second one I give you we got when we went to visit the U.S. Marines in Parris Island, “Today’s heroism translates to become tomorrow’s expectations” in other words what is standard performance right now is going to in the future become the kind of baseline for performance and we’ve always got to improve, we can never get complacent. In fact, the organization that gets complacent, the things we’ve crafted, the things we’ve got is, is the one that’s going to get past before they even know it happens. And so that’s the second one that I really like the notion that we’re always trying to improve, we could always be better. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I love them both and thanks for sharing. That second one for me stands out a lot of ways and even in being a parent. You’re trying to share with your kids and try to teach them the whole resiliency as well how do you actually achieve and complacency is for the loser that’s essentially the way I interpret what you said. 

 

Brian McNiece:    Yes. So the biggest danger you have and one of the criteria we apply to the organizations that we studied was they have to be high performing for a long period of time, generation after generation. And the reason for that is because we get that injuring high performance is defined by being at the top end of your peer group for decades not for a point in time. And there’s lots of examples of organizations that had been there for a point in time and then suddenly something has happened. Primarily, what generally happens is they get complacent, they assumed that the success that they’re enjoying right now is going to continue and that some of the fundamentals that they had to get them successful in the first instance they dispensed with and ignore and they get complacent, so that’s the really important principle. I have this conversation with my kids all the time, I’ve got teenage kids and it’s really, really hard to get them to understand this notion of hard work, fundamentally it’s all about hard work. 

 

Jim Rembach:    It is. And you’ll see it is a learned behavior. But it’s funny though I think we’re born with it because we need in order to survive but then we have our parents take over if you’re fortunate enough and then we kind of lose it and we have to regain it in order for us to succeed as adults. 

 

Brian McNiece:    Yeah, exactly. An organizational culture is exactly the same. You’ve got to work hard at making sure that you’re driving for a continued success and when you enjoy success you’ve got to recommit to that and say, Okay, what do we now need to do in order to stay where we are?

 

Jim Rembach:    I’m sure on the flip side of the spectrum going through and studying and analyzing and even having clients that are wanting to achieve we see the downside of ones that fail they don’t have the 12 principles, can’t have a well-oiled machine and build our powerhouse and it happens for us as individuals too. And on the show we talk about getting over the hump, where we didn’t have some of the things in place and we’d learn lessons and hopefully we learn to take a better path as a result. Is there a story that you can share when you had to get over the hump? 

 

Brian McNiece:    I would say there’s probably several but one of the humps I had to get over—I started out my career working in large consultancy practices and advisory business, and so I work in a bit for that kind of environment. And I got to a point where I was looking at the impact of the work that I was doing—we were hired to do lots of work for organizations that wanted the name of the organization attached to the piece of work not necessarily that interested in actually implementing what was being recommended, I just get really frustrated with that and I suppose what you might call an epiphany moment where I said, Is this my future? Is this what I really want to do? Do I want to go and start working for organizations that are really committed to trying to be the best they can be and are genuinely bought into the notion of if they want me to come and advise them and help them that we can work in partnership to help deliver that and so that the work I was doing setting a real impact as opposed to a report that might sit on the shelves that has a nice name or imagine everybody gets really comfortable because of that but doesn’t really leave to action our change. So. I suppose that was probably the biggest epiphany moment that I had and it was why it together with my business partner and co-author James Bowen why we set up the business that we did because we just really wanted to make a difference with client work that we did and I was worried that that was not going to be the case if I stayed where I was. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Take us to a time where you actually remember specifics around when that kind of hit of hit you. 

 

Brian McNiece:    So, I was working on a project for a semi-state organization based in Ireland and they were looking for a report on a strategic issue but we almost got instructed before the thing started that, look there’s a right answer here and so we need to make sure that this report comes up with this right answer and it’s going back up an argument that we’re trying to kind of position. I remember thinking at the time, well, if you already know the answer, why are you paying us to write a report to give you the answer. Why don’t you just get on and lead yourself and save all—one, save the hassle and time and money associated with this and the security of having a respected big four consultancy practice put their name to report that comes with the same recommendation that you already have concluded. So, it kind of just got me questioning, well there’s got to be more to this advisory work that I’m doing this. So, that was probably one of the biggest kind of aha moments, if you want to call that for me personally on a professional basis. 

 

Jim Rembach:    When we start thinking about fulfillment, when we start thinking about growth, when we start thinking about well-being knowing that we’ve made a difference is a critical component and you weren’t. 

Brian McNiece:    Yeah. Well, I was worried what my future life is going to be writing a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t going to make any difference at all. So, I committed in that moment to say, Okay, forget this let’s go and work with people where I can genuinely make a difference. I had in chance my business partner had somebody who’s very like-minded in that respect and so we set up a practice on that basis and thankfully 8 years later we stuck to that principle, I think if you talk to any of the clients that we work with they’ll say part of the reason that they hire us is because we’re committed to their success and that input that we have has an impact in terms of their business performance. So I can’t ask for any more than that I feel completely satisfied that we’re living life with a sense of purpose and meaning to the work that we’re doing.

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, definitely finding those clients that want that no complacency role, right?

 

Brian McNiece:    Yeah, absolutely. We have the benefit of almost screening our clients in the same way that they might screen us before they hire us. We want to work with clients that are absolutely committed to delivering better performance and who buy into that. Once we get that it’s a great experience and have some great client relationships as a consequence of that. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt, promoting the book, with a consulting work, three teenage boys all the work that you’re doing and sport trying to further the activities and the performance in those areas, you got a lot of things going on and we didn’t even talk about your wife I’m sure you spend time with her too I hope. 

 

Brian McNiece:    Yeah, yeah, yeah—

 

Jim Rembach:    What are your some of your goals?

 

Brian McNiece:    I suppose you’re right absolutely, there’s an awful lot of different things going on and fundamentally—you started your introduction to me based on some family stuff and for me family is number one. Mariam my wife and three boys are my absolute priority, so everything I do is to try and make sure that they have the right guidance in terms of bringing up the boys and we’ve got a good healthy respect for family life. Thereafter I fill it up with all the other stuff and I think part of what I want is Miriam and the boys to be proud of me for is that there’s a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve achieved over the course of my career in life not just in business but outside of business as well and that passes off onto them as well and that they use that as inspiration for what they might achieve in their lives too. 

 

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 Legion listeners it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Brian, 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. Brian McNiece are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Brian McNiece:    I’m ready, yeah, let’s go. 

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    Oh, okay, I would say nothing. And I would say that to all of the leaders that listening to this podcast, there is absolutely nothing that is holding you back from being a better leader today. There is no reason that you can’t commit to being a better leader. Just commit to it and get on with it. That would be my message. 

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    I would say, be really authentic and value everyone that is involved in your organization, get to know them, have real conversations with them, really engage with them. And I describe engagement as a contact sports so get out of your office get up tight, close and personal with as many people in your organization as possible and provide real authentic leadership.

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    I would say ambition and having the drive if you like to try and achieve something and then thinking about how I am going to achieve that. Starting out with something that I think—for example writing this book—when decide to write this book we were like, we never write a book before is this something we can do? Look, let’s commit this and we’ll figure out how we go about doing this. So, I would say ambition. 

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    Stubbornness, not taking no for an answer. Just keep going if you hit a road block keep going, try and get this, get over it get past whatever it takes. 

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    After Powerhouse the second book that I would recommend, I would go for a book called, The Goldmine Effect by a guy called Rasmus Ankersen. It’s kind of a very similar genre to ours, a lot of his thinking alliance to our thinking and that’s book that I really liked. 

 

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

 

Brian McNiece:    Okay, so this goes back to something that we talked about earlier I would say just absolutely commit to an ethic of hard work and nothing replaces it. The most successful people that I’ve ever come across they all share a hard-working gene so commit to hard work ethic that will be it. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Brian 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. 

 

Brian McNiece:    Yeah, Jim absolutely. First of all thanks very much for having us on. Secondly, you can find us—so the details on the book you’ll find on at the performancepowerhouse.com or you can find the details about our consulting practice at kotinospartners.com or if you look up on Twitter or LinkedIn for Brian McNiece, Kotinos partners, face he knows partners James Bowen, you’ll find us so just reach out to us and the more people that we chat is better were always fascinated to hear stories about high performance and people who are interested in sharing our focus and our passion for high-performance. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Brian McNiece, 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 the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

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