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012: Jesse Jackson: I was deeply hurt

Podcast Show Notes with Jesse Jackson

Jesse tells his story of a time when he was terminated and how for the first time in his life he felt so inadequate. After his boss shared the reason with him Jesse knew he needed to make a change. Jesse learned he needed to self-engage at work to stand out above the rest. He learned that his effort was needed to find more fulfillment personally and professionally. Listen to Jesse tell his story of pain, transformation, determination and resilience to help you move onward and upward faster.

Jesse Jackson grew up as a Military Brat and went to 12 different schools during 1st through 8th grade.  One of his earliest memories is going to work with his Grandmother who managed a Post Exchange located in Fort Polk Louisiana.  She would allow him to pick out all the comic books he wanted.

For over 30 years Jesse has worked in a contact center with roles in inbound sales, outbound telemarketing, customer service, technical support, been an agent, a supervisor, manager & a director. He believes that successful contact centers strive for excellent customer service, a culture of constant improvement and a place where you should laugh often.

Jesse lives in Dallas Texas with his lovely bride Linda. They are proof that a mixed marriage can work.  She is currently training for her first Ironman Triathlon while Jesse is at home watching way too much TV and reading way too many comic books.

Jesse loves podcasting and is the host of Next Stop Everywhere: A Doctor Who podcast as well as Storming the Castle, a podcast all about the ABC show Castle.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Jesse Jackson to get over the hump @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“If you’re dumb surround yourself with smart people.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet

“If you’re smart surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“If mine is the only idea on the table, it’s the best idea.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“Collaboration is the most successful management style.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“Clear the air and then move forward.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“Whatever the hardship, whatever the challenge, figure out what to do and move forward.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“When you can, fight your fight and shoot for the goals you want.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

“Sometimes you need to have faith in yourself…and you need to do it.” -Jesse Jackson Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jesse was told by his boss that he was going to be terminated. His boss told him that while he was happy to have a job, he was not happy to have this job; and he needed someone that wants this job. Jesse was hurt deeply because it was the first time where he felt he was not good enough. That’s when Jesse realized he needed to change his outlook and behavior to give more and ask others if they need help. He decided to put himself out there through volunteering and taking risks which ultimately has led him to greater career and financial success.

Leadership Epiphany

The teacher’s pet are the leaders in business. They are not brown nosing or sucking up they are saying, “I want to help the company succeed.”

Advice for you

Fight your fight, live your dreams, work on what you believe in.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Lack of confidence

Best leadership advice ever received

Love what you do and trust your instincts.

Secret to Success

Honesty and willingness to help

Best resources in work or life

Friends and a network to reach out to and to ask, “what would the hero do.”

Recommended Reading

The One Minute Manager

Contacting Jesse




Via email: jesee.jackson2 [at]

More Resources

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: 

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

012: Jesse Jackson: I was deeply hurt

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat 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 intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I have Jesse Jackson on the show today. This one grew up as a military brat and went to 12 different schools during first grade through eighth grade—that had to be some character building happening right there. One of his earliest memories is going to work with his grandmother who managed a post exchange located in Fort Polk, Louisiana, she would allow him to pick out all the comic books he wanted. For over 30 years Jesse had worked in a contact center with roles in inbound sales, outbound telemarketing, customer service, technical support. 

He’s been an agent supervisor, manager director, and he believes that working in a contact center is really a place where you should have fun and that the focus on excellent customer service is actually driven through people having intrinsic drive and motivation and a reason to be there. He lives in Dallas with his lovely bride Linda and their proof that a mixed marriage can work because she’s training for her first Ironman triathlon, and you know Jesse sitting at home, watching TV and reading his comic books. He’s also a podcaster. He’s the host of Next Stop Everywhere which is a Dr. Who podcast as well as Storming The Castle podcast all about an ABC show named Castle, I’m sure you’ve all heard of, Jesse Jackson are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Jessie Jackson:     I am. I am excited, so proud and honored that you’ve asked me to talk today, so I am ready, let’s do it.

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

Jessie Jackson:     Absolutely.  I am a call center guy, I’ve been doing it so long I still say call ·call center not contact center. I love working in the support industry. I love talking to clients and helping resolve issues. I love taking a new agent that’s afraid to be on the phone, comforting them telling them look, ‘This is a harder job to learn then it is to do, you’ll be amazed how easy that first phone call will be” and helping them to grow, find their voice and their place in the organization.  One of the things that I’m most proud about, Jim, is helping the internal turnover people that find role outside of support or in customer service, my previous job, and the joke we use to make is that they were feeder sales and one day that Jesse will shout the world rise up and then all these people that I had sent to all these departments we would rise up and have a friendly coup and we would take over company.

Jim Rembach:     That’s really can happen if you develop…a lot of organizations are really in need of really in need of, I guess you can say the coach and the developer of others,  and so that’s a very, very valuable asset to have and if you can conquer a mole, I’m sure that’ll be gladly accepted. Now, Jesse I know that you’re a very creative person, I had blessing of being able to present alongside you at a recent event, and I really admired your character and your depth and your storytelling. I know that you probably have some good things to share in regards to inspiration for us and we like to focus on quotes on the Fast Leader Show because they do just that they give us inspiration and oftentimes they have some depths to them that gives a whole lot of meaning in a lot of different ways, but is there a quote that stands out for you as a guiding principle that you can share with us?

Jessie Jackson:     Absolutely. A very quick story. I was a Cub Scout leader early in my life, my son is now 26, but when he was in Cub Scouts and it was a [inaudible 4:17] den.  I wasn’t very artistically creative but one of the other Den moms, called Den Leaders now but you think of herself as Den moms said, “Jesse you’re a dad that’s important and understand remember this, good Cub Scout leaders come up with new ideas, great Cub Scout leaders steal from other people. And I’ve decided that’s my management philosophy. In that’s spirit, there was a show Aaron Sorkin did called Sports Night before he did West Wing and one of the lines was, ‘If you are dumb you surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you, and that is a philosophy that I say often.

I believe that as leaders you want feedback and you want people to tell you when they think you’re on the wrong track or when you perhaps haven’t thought of everything. You know Jim, it is really frustrating at times when someone comes to you and says, “Ah, I saw something that’ll work but they don’t have any other feedback. And if minds, the only idea on the table it’s the best idea, so let’s talk about it, let’s figure out what you aren’t sure about our path, why you think it may not work or why there’s a different path and discuss it.

I think collaboration is the most successful management style. I realize other people have different management styles but I’m most comfortable when you get the team together you tell them here’s the goal I want to go to and then let’s altogether figure how we’re going to get there and then go forward.

Jim Rembach:   And there’s one thing that stands out as you’re telling that story, and thanks for sharing those quotes. There’s several in there but there’s two that stood out, they’re very powerful. But there has to be an element of humility into what you were just saying and oftentimes I see people have the intent saying, ‘Hey, I want to collaborate.” “Hey, I want those things as far as…’tell me the ideas, challenge me” but then they cut people’s legs out from under him. Over a course of time they continue to ask how  can you know these people just aren’t sharing anything with me it’s because they haven’t really created the environment they don’t have that humility associated with it. How have you been able to overcome that?

Jessie Jackson:     I had been on the receiving—when I started with my current position at Real Page the guy who hired me, I’ve been there about a year and we had our first annual review,  and he had given me feedback that he thought I was too timid that it took me almost nine months and he says, “I can actually see the moment when you said in a meeting, ‘well, I guess I’m not the new guy anymore’ and he says, “I saw you turn a corner” and I said, “Dave, my first three weeks here I bought doughnuts for the team that was less than $20 bucks and you asked me why I was doing it” and said “Well, you know, you should talk to me beforehand.” And there was a time when I said that a server was down and your listeners are not seeing the [8:02] and I got yelled at that we never say the word down, that it had a problem. I said so very quickly. You told me both in action and in words, ‘Don’t take too much responsibility. Don’t step outside your kazone, this is my room and you’re just living in it. It was the most healthy discussion I think I’ve ever had with a leader because it got a little tense, Jim, both of us raised our voices it was a lot of give-and-take and at the end we both felt better and since then we were in sync till he ended up getting promoted for the next year and half, and we always talk about that’s really how it should work. You should be able to talk to your leader or talk to your employee, your teammate, clear the air and then move forward. 

So, I think what helped me is, I know right out of college I had a horrible boss, his name is Joe I will not get the last name. I work as dispatcher. I work 12 hour a day and I could not leave the office unless someone was there to cover me. So, he would go off and I would not have any lunch, I would not have break and he was just a horrible, smart aleck and demeaning and I kept saying, “If I’m ever a boss, I don’t want to be this kind of guy.” And it’s a cliché, if you’re going to talk, talk yet you had to walk to walk. If you say I want to hear your input you have to realize sometimes the input may’ve hurt your ego, you got to put it aside for the good of the organization. 

Jim Rembach:    That almost seems beyond that. The reason I say that is because you talked about having that conversation with your boss, what happened to him? He got promoted. He moved onto something bigger, and not necessarily better, but he moved on to something bigger, right? There’s growth and opportunity for growth within that. I think that’s a great story, thanks for sharing that.

Now, that was a hump that we talked about that you had to get over with that particular boss, I know you have another hump that he had to get over that you’re going to share with us because that was a really defining moment for you that essentially got you to the position to  where you are today. Can you please share us that story and what happened? 

Jessie Jackson:     I absolutely will. Once we settled in Lake Charles, Louisiana, I had lived there and it was a heavy petrochemical environment everything was based on the plants. The economy was really bad in the early 80s’ so I went through a lot of different jobs. We ended up moving to Dallas in 1986, and I was working for a company, and one day Mike Whitaker came in to me and asked me to go in his office and he said, “Jesse, we’re going to release you. We’re going to layoff.” And I went, Wow, and I kind of, back and forth. As we started talking he said, “I wasn’t going to tell you all these but I think we should, you’re happy to have a job but you’re not happy to have this job.” And it really struck me to my chord, Jim, because it was the first time I’ve ever been told, ‘you’re not good enough, you’re not giving the passion that we want.’ And the story I tell a lot is, when you’re kid you mock the teacher’s pet, the person that says, ‘hey can we have extra credit or you didn’t give us our homework or your follow up, but in business those are the people that leaders. The people that sit there and say, ‘Hey, I have some extra time, what can I do? What can I do to help you?” That isn’t someone who is ‘brown nosing’ or ‘sucking up’ or whatever cliché you want to give. If someone was saying, ‘I want to be here and I want to help the company succeed.’

Roger Shiloh is a manager that I partnered with. He was working at contact center. He tells every new person, and I told my son this when he learned the contact center and I tell in new class, “To be successful contact center, no matter what the dress code is, wear khaki pants and a polo shirt every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s okay to be jeans too, be early never be late. Three, volunteer for any extra assignment or any overtime that’s available. If you do those three things, you are above everyone else in the contact center. I think that’s a lot to say for that. 

Jim Rembach:    That goes beyond a contact center. I think those are good principles to follow regardless of where you are, regardless of what position you’re in. You are perceived differently when you aren’t essentially stepping in, I don’t want to say step up because that’s a different context from my perspective, but you got step in. You’ve got to put that right foot in. You’ve got to put it out, you got to shake it all about, right?

Jessie Jackson:     Absolutely. The job after I was laid off, I was selling substandard car insurance over the people, people who had DWI and a lot of speeding tickets were our customer base. I worked there for couple years dedicated anything I can do, they laid me off. Instead of saying, “Gosh, this new philosophy didn’t work” I just said, “Nope, I’m going to plug it in.” So, I started with a company called BancTec and in 1989 I had a 2-month-old baby. I started working and I stayed there till 2005 when I was director and they decided to outsource the company and I worked myself out of the job for a year. 

I believe that putting yourself out there volunteering, sharing, taking risks ultimately will lead you to success, if not financial and career success, personal success.

Jim Rembach:     And also there has to be an element of perseverance associated with that. As you were telling your story those transitions that took place, you always keep your chin up, you always kept looking forward. Where does that come from? 

Jessie Jackson:     My wife says it’s because my family tends to be a pretty negative group. And my immediate family, cousins, aunts, uncles, and she and my mother-in-law said it was in spite of my family’s little literary humor, I have just been blessed, Jim, with accepting the fact that what things are and then where we go next. I talk about my wife a lot because we’ve been married over 30 years and we’ve got a lot of experience. She shared with me that our first three or four years in marriage’s she thought I was just too bullish to be worried. She’s like, ‘He just doesn’t have enough sense to be worried.’ And then she realized, no it’s just that’s just his nature. 

Whatever the plan, whatever the hardship, whatever they challenged I’m going to look try to figure out what to do and move forward. She says when I’m worried, she really gets worried it’s like, “Okay, if Jesse doesn’t know what to do, holy molly, we’re in trouble.”

Jim Rembach:      That’s a vote of confidence right there, I tell you. Thanks for sharing all that that you’ve shared with us. If you were to—based on all that you have shared—if there was one piece of advice you’d give to the Fast Leader legion, what would it be? 

Jessie Jackson:     I’ll try to keep this short, because I know I tend to talk a lot. I been thinking about this a lot lately, the wonderful singer-songwriter Harry Chapin in an interview once said that there is good tired and had tired. Bad tired is at the end of the day and you may have won you may have accomplish your goals but you were fighting someone else’s fight, you were living someone else’s dream, you are working on someone else’s goals, and even though you won you’re tired and you’re depressed. But good tired, maybe a day where you failed, maybe you didn’t reach your goal but you were fighting your fight, you were living your dreams, you were working on what you believed in. And I think you can’t always choose but when you can, fight your fight. Fight the things you believe in. Shift for the goals you want and go for what you think is going to make your company successful, you successful, your family successful. And I think that if you have that core knowledge, if you know what you want to be when you grow up, I think that helps.

Jim Rembach:     That’s great advice. That is absolutely information that will help our Fast Leader listeners move onward and upward faster. Okay, now, I know your current business and you have a lot of things going on we’ve kind of mention that before, but it was one thing that really excites you about your work that you’re doing today?

Jessie Jackson:     As you know, I am in a transition, I will be looking for a new role soon and I think that’s what exciting me, what’s next in my career? What is going to be the next journey I’m going to take? I believe that with my knowledge and my passion that there is something good coming up where I can take all my knowledge and my experience and help another team grow. The thing that I find, and I talked about this before even in this podcast, one of things that I find most satisfying is taking employee that other people said, “Ah, they’re mediocre best” I don’t know if they have the skill set, but finding their talent and finding the company’s needs matching them, there’s just nothing better than that. 

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

Jessie Jackson:     I am ready to hoedown

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

Jessie Jackson:     Sometimes lack of confidence. You know in your mind what you should do but in your heart you have doubts and fears and you’re afraid to take that risk, and I think that’s me. 

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

Jessie Jackson:     Love what you do and trust your instincts. 

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

Jessie Jackson:     My honesty and my willingness to help. I believe in—you do a lot of favors, you correct favors, and then therefore when you need something they’re there to help you. 

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

Jessie Jackson:     Two things: Friends and network of people you can reach out to, to say “Hey, I’m worried about it or I need some advice.” Two, I read a lot of comic books and science fiction and I always think what would the hero do? What’s the right thing to do?

Jim Rembach:     What will be one book that you would recommend for our listeners?

Jessie Jackson:     It’s a standby but the ‘One Minute Manager’ I go back to fairly often. Just the idea of that sandwich talk about the action not the person ending with a positive thing, I remember that a lot because no one wants to feel personally bad. There’s a  saying, you hate the sin love the sinner, and so I think in a secular terms, you’re unhappy with the action but you are a fan of the employee. 

Jim Rembach:     Thanks for sharing. Alright, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to the show notes page and you’ll find that on Jackson. Okay, Jesse here’s the last question for the Hump Day Hoedown: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again and you are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team of people that is underperforming and disengaged. But you’re very blessed because you’ve got to take everything that you’ve learned with you. Now, your task is to take the team around. You get up, you get ready and you head out to work, what do you do now?

Jessie Jackson:     That is a great question. I would listen but I would not be afraid to make changes sooner. When I did this and when I started with this with the current company in 2005, I got a lot of feedback, ‘Oh, no, that will not work here.’ And I was reluctant to ‘break too many eggs’ to try to push the boundary and I’ve said if I had to do it over again I would have pushed a little bit harder, a little bit sooner. Understand their feedback, incorporate it but not be afraid to make the changes. I think that goes back to my core concern. Sometimes you need to have faith in yourself and say, I know what needs to be done and you need to do it.

Jim Rembach:     Alright, Jesse, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?

Jessie Jackson:     Absolutely. I am at jwj170104 on Twitter. I am on Facebook, Jesse Jackson in Lewisville, Texas if you want to reach that. As you were nice enough, if you want to hear my podcast on a less serious note but we have a lot of fun, I did a couple of podcast Next Stop Everywhere about Doctor Who, Storm in a Castle is about the ABC’s show Castle. I talked about Game of Thrones a little bit and a little bit of everything, so I do a lot of fun. I can be reached, so if they want to send me an e-mail. I’m on LinkedIn and all the other social networks.

Jim Rembach:     Jesse Jackson, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader Legion of 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 to the, so that we can help you move onward and upward faster.