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Jack Modzelewski | Talk is Chief

252: Jack Modzelewski: Talk is Chief

Jack Modzelewski Show Notes Page

Jack Modzelewski had to be the advocate for what had to be done and the counselor, but also a peacekeeper in the room when the CEO turned combative and argumentative. It was time for speed and reassuring the public and customers they were going to do the right things.

Jack grew up in a Chicago suburb with his working-class parents and two older brothers. His father worked for in security for General Electric. His mother, a Polish immigrant, came to the U.S. before WW II. His parents wanted him to be a teacher. But Jack had larger ambitions when he graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Jack’s early job experience started at age 11, first delivering newspapers and caddying and then clerking in a wholesale goods business. As a teenager, he wanted to be a journalist, like one of his older brothers. He worked as a reporter on his high school and his university newspapers, and also college summers for a local newspaper.

After college his first job was an account executive for a prestigious New York ad agency founded by men who went on to serve as a governor and a U.S. senator, respectively. But Jack found the Mad Men world of advertising limiting, so he pursued his first love – journalism. He earned a Master’s degree in Journalism at Northwestern University. He then worked as an award-winning reporter covering government and politics in Illinois.   During that time, he also hosted a public affairs radio show on a Chicago hard rock station.

He made the transition to public relations when he accepted a job thinking he would “try PR” for a year. That was the first of his 33 years working for international public relations firms and advising dozens of clients. Jack spent the last 26 years of his agency career with Fleishman Hillard, a leading global communications firm.

Most recently he was president of the Americas with responsibility for FH’s largest group of regions and its 1,800 people. Earlier in his FleishmanHillard career he spent years as president overseeing its offices in Europe. At FH his teams won many prestigious awards, including a Gold Lion with client General Motors at the Cannes Festival for Creativity, and Global Agency of the Year from PRWeek. Jack has attended five World Economic Forums in Davos, Switzerland, and has spoken at WEF conferences on four continents.

Jack is now chief executive of JackKnifePR, which provides communication advisory services to corporations, start-ups, and non-profit organizations. In his book Talk is Chief – Leadership, Communications and Credibility in a High-Stakes World, Jack shares with current and future leaders his life-long experiences advising organizational chiefs on messaging, media, marketing, crisis management, and stakeholder relationships.

Jack also serves his community as the board chairman of the Better Government Association and is a co-chair for Northwestern University’s capital campaign. In 2015, he was inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern.

Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @JackKnifePR1 to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet 

“I don’t think leaders really think in those terms that 90% of their day is spent talking and communicating.” – Click to Tweet 

“In a major leadership position, people pay attention to what you say every day.” – Click to Tweet  

“Leadership communication is so important, especially in this day and age because it is so transparent.” – Click to Tweet  

“If people listen to someone talk for 20 minutes and they tune out, then the communicator failed.” – Click to Tweet  

“People have to take a look at their own communication style and methods and practices and be judged by others that they’re trying to communicate with.” – Click to Tweet 

“In these times, people expect information very fresh right after things happen.” – Click to Tweet 

“Leaders and their organizations can prepare by making sure that a lot of people are vigilant about things that could happen.” – Click to Tweet 

“Often a crisis starts out as a smaller issue that’s been ignored or neglected.” – Click to Tweet 

“You have to keep calm and make decisions and make them as quickly as you can with the best information you can and just keep going.” – Click to Tweet  

“Communication on a daily basis is important. It’s a management function. It’s a strategic function of organizations.” – Click to Tweet 

“When someone says, well, you know, you’ve got to communicate better, they kind of take that for granted.” – Click to Tweet 

“These days there are high expectations on organizations from their constituents on what is their purpose and are they really delivering on it?” – Click to Tweet  

“What’s in our DNA that makes us a little different from that company, is something that a lot of organizations struggle with.” – Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jack Modzelewski had to be the advocate for what had to be done and the counselor, but also a peacekeeper in the room when the CEO turned combative and argumentative. It was time for speed and reassuring the public and customers they were going to do the right things.

Advice for others

Stay calm in times of crisis.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Time. We’re all constrained by time and I’m the type of person who likes to stay on top of so many things and it seems like there’s not enough time in a day to do that.

Best Leadership Advice

No matter what happens, especially in bad times, maintain your confidence, keep smiling to your people around you, keep challenging them and make sure that, they never look at you and say, wow, you know, this is the end.

Secret to Success

I’ve always been fairly direct with people.

Best tools in business or life

The opinions of others. Having those relationships where you can bounce your ideas, your feelings about things off of other people.

Recommended Reading

Talk Is Chief: Leadership, Communication, and Credibility in a High-Stakes World

Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace

Two Paths: America Divided or United

Contacting Jack Modzelewski

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-modzelewski-03b02922/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackKnifePR1

Website: https://www.jackknifepr.com/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript:

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

252: Jack Modzelewski: Talk is Chief

 

Jim Rembach: (00:00)

Okay. Fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who is going to help us with something that is at the core of what we do in leading right ourselves and others.

 

Jim Rembach: (00:11)

Jack Modzelewski grew up in a Chicago suburb with his working class parents and two older brothers. His father worked in security for general electric. His mother was a Polish immigrant and came to the U S before world war II. His parents wanted him to be a teacher, but Jack had larger ambitions when he graduated from the university of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Jackson early job experience started at age 11 first delivering newspapers and caddying and then clerking in a wholesale goods business as a teenager. He wanted to be a journalist, like one of his older brothers. He worked as a reporter on his high school and his university newspapers and also college summers for a local newspaper after college. His first job was an account executive for prestigious New York ad agency founded by men who went on to serve as a governor and a us Senator respectively.

 

Jim Rembach: (01:01)

But Jack found the mad men world of advertising limiting, so he pursued his first love, which was journalism. He earned a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern university and he then worked as an award winning reporter covering government and politics in Illinois. During that time, he also hosted a public radio affairs show on a Chicago hard rock station. He made the transition to public relations when he accepted a job thinking he would try PR for a year. That was the first of his 33 years working for international public relations firms and dozens of advertising clients. Jack spent the last 26 years of his agency career with FleishmanHillard, a leading global communications firm. Most recently he was president of the Americas with responsibility for FH, his largest group of regions, and it’s 1800 people. Earlier in his Fleishman Hillard career, he spent years as president overseeing its offices in Europe.

 

Jim Rembach: (01:56)

At FH, his team’s won many prestigious awards including a gold lion with client general motors at the con film festival for creativity and global agency of the year from PR week. Jack has attended five world economic forums in Davos, Switzerland and has spoken at WEF conferences on four continents. Jack is now chief executive of JackKnifePR, which provides communication advisory services to corporations, startups, and nonprofit organizations. In his book talk is cheap leadership, communications and credibility in a high stakes world. Jack shares with current and future leaders, his lifelong experiences advising organizational chiefs on messaging, media marketing, crisis management, and stakeholder relations. Jack also serves this community as the board chairman of the better government association and as a co-chair for Northwestern university’s capital campaign in 2015 he was inducted into the med Hill hall of achievement at Northwestern. Jack currently this in Chicago with Susan, his wife of 41 wonderful years. Jack Modzelewski are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Jack: (03:05)

I sure am. Jim.

 

Jim Rembach: (03:06)

I’m glad you’re here and I’m really excited about what we’re going to share, but before we do that, I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, so can you share with us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? Well, my current passion remains being involved in society. Uh, you mentioned that I’m chairman of the better government association. I’ve always had an interest in, uh, not just politics, but government issues, problems all around us that government is trying to solve. And that’s why I’ve been involved in this organization for almost nine years. Uh, we just had a very big event where we had the mayor of Chicago and some other major speakers there. But in addition to that, I still love, uh, counseling clients of all kinds, especially a start up in emerging organizations where communication and marketing is just so vital to their future.

 

Jim Rembach: (04:05)

Well, and talking about vital in the book, you know, you mentioned something that to me, I had to stop and really ponder that for quite awhile. And you were mentioning how communication takes up as much as 90% of a leader’s day. And even when you started talking about politics and the societal issues that we have to deal with, these are big problems and communication and effective communication is at the core of all of them. But 90% Jack?

 

Jack: (04:29)

Well, think about it. So, uh, the average leader gets up in the morning, probably is tweeting, looking at emails on the phone with colleagues, uh, customers, uh, key stakeholders throughout the day. They’re in meetings where they’re constantly communicating or they’re on the phone or they have speaking engagements or they’re on television or they’re talking to people on wall street. So I don’t think leaders really think in those terms that 90% of their day is spent talking and communicating.

 

Jim Rembach: (05:07)

And so when you think of it that way, you would probably say to be most effective to optimize that time every day. I should probably try to think about this a little bit more, be as prepared as I can have the best people around me helping me with it. And I will probably at the end of the day or at the end of the year, be a more effective communicator driving performance in my organization.

 

Jim Rembach: (05:31)

Well, you know, even as you’re saying that, I’m starting to think about, well that that’s really at all levels of an organization, you know, and even if correct line dealing with customers, I mean that that communication component for some could even be higher than the 90%.

 

Jack: (05:46)

Oh, certainly. Certainly. And I’m sure there are people who spend 100% of their time communicating. But at the leadership level, I mean, if you’re at the top of the organization, it doesn’t have to be just a chief executive.

 

Jack: (05:58)

It can be anyone in a major leadership position. It’s even more important because people pay attention to what you say every day and whether there is any change in direction or whether they’re picking up on trendlines or nuances that might change how they do their jobs or the direction in which the organization is going. So that’s why, um, leadership communication is so important, especially in this day and age because it is so transparent. Uh, there was a time, and I worked during that time back in another century, in the 20th century where, uh, leaders may occasionally give a speech. They might occasionally send a message or an email around to the organization. And that didn’t happen very often and leaders weren’t very visible. Today they’re constantly visible.

 

Jim Rembach: (06:52)

Well, and even as you’re talking about that, I mean there’s a couple of things that stand out for me and one being is that even when you start looking at people’s resumes, for example though, everybody will, you know, say and self-disclose, you know, that they’re great communicators, both written and verbal communications. However, that just can’t be true. We know it’s not true. So what are they missing in their own self assessment?

 

Jim Rembach: (07:15)

Well, it’s always on the receiving end. So, uh, I think it’s incumbent on people. I had to do this in my own career and I still do to ask the people that I’m communicating to, did I make my point? Did you understand what I was trying to communicate to you? What did you take away from it? You know, whether we’re watching the news or watching a movie or engaged in a conversation with friends or colleagues, we always walk away saying, what did we take away from that experience? And I think that’s the key part of communication. Uh, if people listen to someone talk for 20 minutes and they tune out, then the communicator failed. Um, but if people come away with, gees, that person said two or three very compelling things that I can use in my own life that I can use in my own job, that I can invest in, whatever it might be, then they’ve communicated effectively. I’m a self assessment standpoint, people have to take a look at their own communication style and methods and practices and be judged by others that they’re trying to communicate with.

 

Jim Rembach: (08:30)

Well, even as you’re saying that, I start thinking about, well, there’s a whole neuroscience behind this, then.

 

Jack: (08:36)

There is, and certainly I would never pretend to be a neuro scientist, but I have read some books on it. I have paid attention to, you know, the cognitive abilities of human beings. And what makes this more, most important today is that there are so many distractions around us. As you know, uh, people sit at their desks and they have all these options. They can do work, they can communicate with friends and colleagues. Taken shop, if they’re a company, policies, allow them to shop online during the day. Tremendous distractions all the time. People are constantly on their phones, uh, tweeting, doing Instagram and so forth. So this is what people are competing with when they’re trying to reach people. Um, and you know, that’s why, uh, leaders have been trained and the ones who are really best know how to be very concise in making their points and trying to get it down to a soundbite of, you know, 10 or 15 or 20 words that people were actually going to remember.

 

Jim Rembach: (09:47)

Well, as you were saying that too, there’s something you mentioned before that I think is kind of a, a risk. And you talk about, you know, risk in a lot of different ways in the book, but we talk about transparency, the need for transparency. However, transparency can often be a very, very slippery slope. So where are mostly are falling when it comes to transparency?

 

Jack: (10:09)

I believe they, uh, they have a problem with transparency, not because they’re trying to mislead people or not give them the complete information, but sometimes there’s a big disparity between what people on the outside of an organization think and know about that organization or even inside the organization. And sometimes the leader is ahead or sometimes the leader is aware of turbulence on the way or problems that only a small group of people know about. And um, obviously maybe they’re trying to solve these problems before they come public, but that’s usually where they have transparency issues where someone says, well, wait a second, how long did you know that we were going to have a major sales decline in the third quarter? Or how long have you known about this problem in one of our production plants? Um, where, you know, we’re going to have to shut down the plant and fix it or make changes or those types of things or that, you know, we are about to lose a major contract with one of our customers. So I think, um, in these times, people expect information very fresh right after things happen. And when there’s a time gap, I think that’s when people perceive and accused leaders of saying, well geez, you weren’t transparent enough with us. So it, it, it’s a big responsibility on leader.

 

Jim Rembach: (11:39)

Well, you know, okay. So I think there’s also yet another issue because we’ve gotten into this whole attack first world. Uh, and when we have all these social connections, it’s, it’s so easy to do that and the whole fake news thing and all of those components. So, so, I mean, how can a leader actually be more mindful and cognizant, you know, of these types of things and prepare for them because crisis is going to happen. However, I think it seems that most people don’t prepare for the crisis to happen. Uh, they just kind of let it happen and then they try to react. And by that time, like you were mentioning, it’s just too late. So how can people prepare better so that they don’t have that gap and they don’t stumble when it comes to a responding?

 

Jack: (12:31)

Well, two things I’ll talk about real quickly. One is that in any organization and smaller organizations, I think struggle with this. But the larger organizations who can afford to have people listening to whatever social media is occurring around an organization, that whole ecosystem, um, those people have the responsibility to tell their leadership, you know what, we’re hearing about something out there and it’s not good and people have the wrong perceptions about what we’re doing or a new product that we introduced or something, you know, that we didn’t do in, in their minds. So that’s good information for the leader to say, okay, if that’s the perception of us right now, I’m outside in the external world. It’s probably also the perception inside the company. So we have to do something about that. We have to change that, that we have to address, that communication can be part of addressing, but action is also part of it.

 

Jack: (13:30)

You know, do we have to change our strategy? Do we have to shift something internally? Um, in terms of preparing for something that can really be a bad event, maybe even a catastrophic event for a company normally call the crisis. The other way in which leaders and their organizations can prepare is to make sure that a lot of people are vigilant about things that could happen, that have a high probability of happening. They can look at other organizations around them in their own industry or other industries and say or ask, can that happen to us? Do we have that same problem? Because often a crisis starts out as a smaller issue that’s been ignored, neglected. You know, human beings have a tendency to say, well geez, maybe this will go away or maybe I can fix this before my boss and his boss knows about it. And so you want to have the kind of open environment where people are willing to tell leaders, you know, I see a problem here, I see a potential crisis for us. Let’s get out in front of this. And then it’s the leader’s job to organize people to try to resolve that before it turns into a really serious problem. And that’s often the things that we, in the media that turn into big blow ups, many of them could have been prevented.

 

Jim Rembach: (14:58)

Well, and in the book, I mean, you talk about the 10 commandments of crisis management. And if you can, I’d like to run through those real quick please. So you have the truth always surfaces and you alluded to that a second ago. Own the crisis and demonstrate progress. Um, you know, you can never gain friends and how wise and have a kid during a crisis only before. So you always have to be doing that preparatory work, control the communications agenda as much as possible. Uh, and then you talk about never make predictions or raise false expectations about anything out of your control. Speed matters. You talk about that too. Reputation is a corporate asset and employees can be in the best position to spot those trends. You mentioned that as well and it says avoid finger-pointing. Uh, and then cover ups kill companies. And we’ve seen all of these things play out just within the past probably 12 months. Uh, in a book you just have a slew of both positives and negatives of people who’ve actually managed these 10 commandments. But when you start talking about, you know, communications, you mentioned that it could be a weapon. What do you mean by that?

 

Jack: (16:15)

Well, communications is very powerful and in this day and age with all the platforms and all of the technology that organizations have at their, at their availability, and the most sophisticated organizations today are very active in social media, both listening and talking to their many stake holders. They’re very active, uh, in television, in podcasts. Um, they’re just out there all the time. Um, so many organizations have millions and millions of people paying attention to them. They may not just be employees and customers, they might be investors, they might just be interested parties out there, government officials and so forth. So talking to them on a daily basis or on a regular basis in good times and bad times, I think becomes a very powerful asset for an organization because organizations are often criticized for not communicating enough or not communicating the right things or not opening up lines of communications as they say.

 

Jack: (17:30)

And going back to one of my 10 commandments, it’s absolutely true that, um, if you think you can just sail along in life as a person or as an organization and think that once you get into your own crisis, you can suddenly rally around you to your support. When you haven’t been doing that for years and years, you’ve got a big problem. You know, you don’t have those relationships in place. And that’s why I think that, uh, the really sophisticated organizations out there, they could be global, they could be national, but they’re constantly paying attention to communities. Okay, who do we need to have relationships with? How do we do that? Who meets with them? Who talks to them? What kind of communications channels do we have? What kind of content are we sharing with them? And I think they’re the ones who stand to have a better experience if they actually get into a crisis situation where more, more people give them the benefit of the doubt, they’ll trust them. Trust can go away really quickly though, if you’re doing the wrong things in a situation.

 

Jim Rembach: (18:41)

Well, and I’ll ask it as I was going through this book, it stood out to me for several hours, you know, in several different instances. And you were talking about the whole employee engagement thing. Um, you know, the, the customer, you know, engagement elements, um, you know, several different factors associated with growth, disruption. I mean, there’s all of these things are we see displayed out, you know, in, in, in our economy. Uh, and, and you then you go back to this whole communication is that the root of all of this, you can’t have a good culture. You can’t have good employee engagement. You can’t have good customer engagement. You can’t have a good reputation without the communication element.

 

Jack: (19:17)

Right? And I believe that, uh, today’s modern leaders of many of them do understand that, but I think that, uh, they underperform a bit in that obligation. Some are better than others. And one story I like to tell that’s in the book is, uh, I was speaking a few years ago to a business class in New York city at New York university. And at one point I asked the class, you know, how many of you want to be entrepreneurs? And a lot of hands went up, how many want to work in financial services and so forth. And then I asked how many of you want to work in communications? And one lady kind of shyly put her hand up. And my answer was you’re all going to be in communications. You may not know that now, but no matter what you do, um, in your career, in your profession, you’re going to be communicating every day and you better do it. Well now business schools don’t necessarily emphasize that some do more than others but most haven’t as part of their curricula. So I think it’s very important for people to understand that it relates to everything. You know, as you mentioned, reputation, culture, trying to be a high performance organization, trying to be believable and trusted by consumer basis, all of that.

 

Jim Rembach: (20:35)

But in addition to what you were just saying right there, um, when I start thinking about the full communication element, uh, is that you, you are, there is a very important element that we often see happens and that is, and I’ve been talking about this a lot lady is a disconnection between the head and the feet. So in other words, you know, the very, very top of the organization, uh, and by the time all of this stuff gets filtered down to the front line, it’s very different, very different intent, very different interpretation, you know, and it’s that old drill and things start getting disconnected. So how, how can we ensure that the alignment takes place and gets filtered from the top all the way to the front line?

 

Jack: (21:19)

Well I think that’s where modern communications tools come in. But then there’s some old old fashioned methods as well. I mean there was a time where they used to talk about cascading a communications where I would start at the top with the leadership and then it would go down level by level, supervisor to employee and so forth. And you know, there was a lot of theory that uh, people trust their supervisors with information a lot more than they trust the CEO or the top of the company, uh, because those are the people who, uh, hire them, pay them, supervise the amount of daily basis. But the best way to do this and a lot of CEOs I think have perfected this is really in two ways. One is the less personal way of talking to an organization at the same time video streaming. So you have 40 locations all around the world.

 

Jack: (22:14)

You try to deliver the same message repeated over and over and make sure that the people on that particular, um, streaming or you know, town hall meeting or wherever are hearing it directly from you and then they’re hearing it directly from their supervisors. They’re getting the same message, the same direction, the same information. Obviously people add things to it, they nuance at, they’ll say, well, the CEO might’ve said this, but you know, our job is really to do that. That’s always going to happen. But I think that is one way of doing it. The other way of doing it frankly is, and this relates really to culture, our leaders who do it by walking around their organizations and doing it in person. And that’s really a time consuming job obviously, because that means that if you have many stores, many locations, uh, you, you have a big corporate headquarters, you could be spending all your time doing that. But spending some of your time doing that is very useful and productive because not only are you having a chance to meet with your people, but they’re telling you things that, and they’re offering insights to you that are very important to the organization because they’re hearing it from the front lines and you might not be.

 

Jim Rembach: (23:32)

Yeah, I think that for me, you talk a lot about, um, you know, really the emotional intelligence aspects of all of this. And you talk about empathizing with the customer, empathizing with the employee, empathizing with your audience. I mean all of that about really heightening, you know, your whole emotional intelligence and all of this. And so when you start going back to the whole neuroscience and all of that, while you claim, you know, that you’re not a neuroscientist, I see all of these elements coming into play. And so when you start looking at the pillars of communication, what would you say they are?

 

Jack: (24:03)

Well, I would say number one, um, you have to have a mission and a purpose. So any new CEO I think has to revisit that. Uh, even in very successful companies, you know, is our mission very clear? Is our purpose really clear? And these days there are high expectations on organizations, whether it’s government, whether corporations not for profits, uh, from their constituents on what, what is their purpose and are they really delivering on it? And is that the right purpose? So I think that’s one being very clear in defining what’s the mission? Why does this organization exist in the first place? Even though maybe it’s been around for a hundred years or even longer. And then it’s, um, what do we want our people to really do for the people that we’re trying to serve out and making sure that we can equip them not only with the right communications, but the right tools and the right actions and the right products and so forth to really do their jobs to the best of their ability and serve the communities that they’re trying to serve.

 

Jack: (25:15)

So I think that’s another pillar of the communications platform. And then there’s certainly, you know, what differentiates us from others, and that’s a big thing today because so many organizations can look alike sound the light in how they present themselves to the world. But how do you really differentiate yourself? And I think that comes down to what really does make us different. What’s in our DNA that makes us a little different from that company, these other guys over here. And that’s something that I think a lot of organizations struggle with. Really trying to find those key points of differentiation.

 

Jim Rembach: (25:55)

You know that reminds me of a conversation I had with somebody at a trade show. I walked up to their booth. They were a business process outsourcer. I saw all these statistics in their GE, in their global footprint of all their locations and things like that. And I said, okay, so I, you know, I can go and there’s 10 other companies like you just hear, I said, what, what, what makes you different? And so then he starts rolling into these statistics and these, and I said, well, wait a minute. Then he started telling me this story about a wa then down in South America, they actually have a milk subsidy program for their employees because milk’s like $5 a gallon. They play their employees three 50 an hour and they even give these coupons. So family members and so their people can buy milk. And it’s a huge, uh, employee engagement opportunity for them. Um, because it really also, they, they piggy back that, you know, with our overall focus on employee. And, and I told him, I said, you know, if it was me and somebody came up to me and they said, what do you guys do? I said, the first thing out of my mouth would be we subsidized. No, he goes, what? I said, that’s your differentiator. I said, otherwise you’re just like the other 10 that are sitting up here. And he goes, well, I thought about that and my boss told me, I shouldn’t say that. Squash an opportunity.

 

Jack: (27:09)

Right. Well, and the other part of that is sometimes you have to dig deep in the organization to keep finding data points that bolster your story of why you’re different. Um, but again, it’s in the eyes of the customer or it’s the eyes of the stake holder, uh, who will actually say, you know what, based on what you’ve told me and the picture that you’ve given me of your organization, you are a little different and I’m willing to buy more of your product or I’m willing to be more passionate about being one of your loyal customers. So it’s a constant struggle. It depends heavily on research. It depends a lot on a term that you used about emotional intelligence, compassion, not only from the leader but from the organization. And the leader can set the tone. But if the leader says, look, it’s our job to find out not to just sell products to people, invent them and innovate them and improve them, what do they really need? What do we really need? And that requires a lot of research. And I think some of the best companies out there, especially conclusive consumer companies have said, we literally almost have to live in their homes and see how they use our products or what they need or what’s frustrating them. And then we can finally understand and be empathetic about how can we serve them better?

 

Jim Rembach: (28:31)

Well, definitely that whole ethnographic study area is booming, uh, when you start talking about customer experience. But, uh, that’s a whole nother episode. But I mean, when you start looking at the things associated with this communication at the core, uh, man, we need a whole lot of focus and inspiration. And one of the things that we look at on the show or quotes and your book is just full of them from global leaders, both in the public and private sector. But when you start talking about a quote that inspires you, do you have one or two that you can share?

 

Jack: (29:00)

Uh, gosh, there’s so many, but um, I’ve been a big fan of Winston Churchill. So many of the things that we’ve sent Churchill has said about leadership and about, um, trying to use communication to get people to do something, whether it’s fight a war or change the economy in, you know, 20th century Britain was really important. Um, another quote in the book that really stood out for me was Jack Welsh, who is a very respected, uh, business leader and has been a business coach ever since he gave up being a CEO of general electric. Um, he said you can’t things enough in your organizations for them to stick. Uh, I think he might’ve said you have to repeat things a thousand times and repetition does matter a lot in communication. That’s probably why during election time, you know, you see the same commercial 17 times in an hour for those who can afford to put those commercials on air because, uh, there is a, a cognitive theory that people have to see a message, you know, seven, 10 times before it really starts to stick in their brains. So, um, I think that was a very good quote. And, and the truth is, um, I lead many of my chapters with quotes from people that I thought were compelling to those specific, uh, topics, whether it was culture, whether it was being part of, uh, the narrativity of a company, whether it was, you know, how to offset risks and deal with crisis and so forth.

 

Jim Rembach: (30:37)

I’ll end with that inspiration. Sometimes we have to find it ourselves, you know, we, and we on the show, we talk about, you know, times when we’ve gotten over the hump, you know, when we’ve had that lesson and that learning and it’s hopefully put us in a better direction. Is there a time that you’ve done over the hump that you can share?

 

Jack: (30:53)

Yes. Um, there was certainly a time where, um, I was in a, a situation with a client who was in a crisis and um, obviously they were in some state of denial cause they didn’t really believe that what had cross caused the crisis came from one of their plants, one of their factories from their products and had to sit in a room with, you know, the senior leadership who cared a lot about their consumers and about delivering the best quality products, but were not prepared to take the real actions in the speed that they needed to, to reassure the public and to reassure their customers and others that they were going to do the right things. And it turned pretty combative and argumentative, uh, especially with the CEO. And I had to be both the, the advocate for what had to be done and the counselor, but also kind of the peacekeeper in the room to make sure that we weren’t going to lose control of the situation, that people weren’t going to start blaming each other and walking out of the room and so forth.

 

Jack: (32:00)

Um, that’s happened more than once. But I remember in this particular instance, it was a very, very tense time and everyone’s blood pressure was up and everyone’s pulse rate was up. And the main thing in a situation like that, as a person, several people have to keep calm. You have to keep calm and make decisions and make them as quickly as you can with the best information you can and just keep going. You know, I think there was a quote that when you feel like you’re in hell, you have to just keep going, keep walking through it.

 

Speaker 2: (32:35)

So the whole persistence and resilience piece, I mean, I think it’s key in all of us, but however, there’s many times where, you know, a person’s career has come to an end, you know, because of this failure of communication. And even you cited a statistic talking about, uh, from I think 2017 saying something like 900 plus CEOs are either terminated, uh, had to be, you know, um, or had to resign. Um, and I know, so when you start talking about all of this issue as far as communication, do we see a time by which that number is going to decline or are we going to continue to see that rise? Uh, and until, you know, a whole generation essentially decides to retire, right?

 

Jack: (33:24)

Well, of those 9oo in 2017 or of some in the past year who have had to give up their jobs as leaders, some of them did stem from communication mistakes or things that they did that they tried to cover up with the wrong communication. Instead of trying to own the problem, live up to it and say, yes, I’m going to have to move on. I made a mistake here. There’s been a few examples of that recently. The CEO who just left McDonald’s who said acknowledged that he had violated company policy. He made a mistake. He apologized for it, and he’s out of a job. Others are out of jobs strictly for performance or because their shareholders or the, or other investors don’t think that they’re doing a good job and their boards of directors, uh, show them the door and bring in someone else as a leader. So I don’t think it’s gonna stop happening. I don’t think it’s going to decline because the expectations on organizations these days, especially those that are publicly traded and, uh, have so many people dependent on them. Um, the expectations are extremely high and they’re almost daily expectations.

 

Speaker 2: (34:41)

Well, in the book you talk about communication being a lubricant of your leadership and I liked the way that that was actually put together, but when we start talking about, you know, the book we’re gonna start talking about your life’s work, what you’re doing now at jackknife PR, I have to imagine that you have, you know, several goals, but if you, if you can really focus in on one, what would be one of your top goals?

 

Jack: (35:01)

I think my top goal with this book and what I might do with whatever runway I have left in my consulting career is to keep impressing, especially on a new generation of leaders who are much younger than me. This is important. Communication on a daily basis is important. And as I said in the title, I think it is a management function. It’s a strategic function of organizations. It underscores the credibility of not only you, the person, but also of the organization itself. And if you do it right, it can enhance performance. So I keep talking about it and offering my advice on how to do it and how to do it right because leaders today are so busy, um, you know, their hair’s on fire all the time. They’re dealing with 18 things every hour. And um, when someone says, well, you know, you’ve got to communicate better, they kind of take that for granted. But it’s the how and the how is often accomplished by the people around them who are helping them with that.

 

Jim Rembach: (36:06)

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

 

Jim Rembach: (36:13)

An Even Better Place to Work is an easy 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 board slash better.

 

Jim Rembach: (36:33)

Okay Fast leader Legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Jack. The Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m gonna ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust and rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jack Modzelewski are you ready to hoedown?

 

Jack: (36:54)

Yes, I am.

 

Jim Rembach: (36:55)

All right, so what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Jack: (37:00)

Uh, time. I think, uh, we’re all constrained by time and uh, I’m just the type of person who likes to stay on top of so many things. And it seems like there’s not enough time in a day to do that.

 

Jim Rembach: (37:13)

What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

 

Jack: (37:16)

It was no matter what happens, especially in bad times, maintain your confidence, uh, keeps smiling to your people around you, keep challenging them and make sure that, uh, they never look at you and say, wow, I’m, you know, this is the end. Um, it should really be the leader who keeps people going in any situation and gets them through it and inspires them to the next level.

 

Jim Rembach: (37:43)

And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Jack: (37:47)

That, um, I’ve always been fairly direct with people. Um, when a client asks me to give advice on a problem once I analyzed it, once I talked to people, I’d say, this is what I think you’re going through. I think this is the issue. I think this is how people see it from the outside and this is what you should do. So I’ve always been very direct in the advice that I’ve given.

 

Jim Rembach: (38:10)

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

 

Jack: (38:13)

The opinions of others. I don’t know if that’s a tool, but having those relationships where you can bounce your ideas, your, your, uh, your feelings about things off of other people, your intuition and say, what do you think, uh, would you do it this way? When you get advice from other smart people, um, it really makes a big difference. You can never come up with all the right solutions on your own.

 

Jim Rembach: (38:41)

And what is 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 Talk is Chief on your show notes page as well.

 

Jack: (38:50)

Um, I’ve read, read so many great books in the last few years. I really like two books by politicians or government leaders from different parties. One was Worthy Fights by Leon Panetta who was a hero of mine and one was by John Casick, a Republican and a longtime governor. And Congressman has booked Two Paths because they weren’t just about government and politics, they were about leadership and a lot about communication and motivating people.

 

Jim Rembach: (39:20)

Okay Fast Leader Legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to www.fastleader.net/jackmodzelewski. Okay, Jack, this is my last Humpday Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you have the knowledge and skills that you have now and you can take them back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Jim Rembach: (39:43)

Uh, if I went back to being 25, the one scale I would take is to talk to people who are much older and wiser than me and take their advice very seriously and compile that and use that as part of my own world vision and my compass.

 

Jim Rembach: (40:01)

Jack I had fun with you today. How do people get in touch with you?

 

Jack: (40:04)

Uh, they can do it by going to jack@jackknifepr.com or just go to my website www.jackknifepr.com

 

Jim Rembach: (40:14)

Jack Modzelewski thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

[/expand]

 

Jeffrey Shaw - Lingo

159: Jeffrey Shaw: I was going to dominate the world

Jeffrey Shaw Show Notes Page

Jeffrey Shaw was tops in his class and returned home to launch his new business. Ready for success, Jefferey spent three long years moving down the path to failure. After he gave his best sales pitch ever, he realized how off he was trying to promote the message of his business. He was unable to speak the lingo of his customers. That’s when Jefferey launched his transformation and went from overlooked to overbooked.

Jeffrey Shaw was born in Cold Spring, New York and raised in Hopewell Jct, NY, about 2 hours north of NYC, with his two older brothers. His family moved there as his father was one of the first 90 employees at a production plant for a new technology start-up called IBM. His mother was a hairdresser and still is today at the age of 80.

Jeffrey was a shy kid who always had an entrepreneurial spirit. By the age of 14 he was borrowing his mother’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme to drive around his neighborhood and sell eggs door-to-door. He could barely see over the steering wheel.

His father enjoyed photography as a hobby and built a darkroom in their home. Jeffrey was fascinated with the chemicals and how they made latent images come alive. The first money he made from photography came from printing photos of prized race horses for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt estate, the 32nd President of the United States.

Always wanting to be an architect like Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch but not having the patience for education, he decided to go to photography school to photograph interiors and exteriors of homes. But once he started having models in his photos he realized his true passion was photographing people. He graduated with the top Best Portfolio award and by age of 20, opened a portrait photography studio in his hometown.

After three years of struggle, he realized his business was not aligned with the values of the community he was working in. He was stressing the importance of having family portraits to hand down from one generation to the next in a community where people struggled to pay their mortgage. His business was failing. It was this awareness that led Jeffrey to seek out people that shared his values for planning ahead, high-quality, and posterity. The luxury market.

This led Jeffrey to learn all that he knows about business today. How every market has a “Secret Language.” And the way to succeed is to know who you are best to serve and speak their Secret Language.

Today, Jeffrey Shaw is host of the popular business podcast Creative Warriors, a featured storyteller on The Moth, and a nationally acclaimed keynote speaker at creative and business conferences. For more than three decades now, Jeffrey has been one of the most sought-after portrait photographers in the U.S., photographing the families of such notables as Tom Seaver, Pat Riley, David Bloom, Stephanie Seymour, and C-Suite executives from Twitter, Anheuser Busch, 3M, as well as Wall Street leaders too many to mention. His portraits have appeared on the Oprah Show, in People magazine, O Magazine, and others.

Having a keen eye isn’t just for what one sees, but also for what one senses. Jeffrey Shaw, a.k.a. the Lingo Guy, uses this honed intuition developed as a photographer to teach entrepreneurs how to attract their ideal customers by speaking their Secret Language. He’s the author of the forthcoming book, LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible.

Jeffrey is the father of three adult children and resides with his two dogs in Miami Beach, Florida.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @jeffreyshaw1 to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“Define who your ideal customer is first and then build a business for them.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet

“90%, if not more businesses are built backwards.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“The right way to build a business and a true measure of success is, be customer-centric.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Identify and define your ideal customer and then build a brand that speaks only to them.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“You have to understand what the world looks like from the perspective of your ideal customer before you can build a business for them.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“We make decisions within seconds based on whether the style of something resonates for us.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“We chose the brands we do because that brand speaks on our behalf.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Style is a very quick decision maker and imperative in today’s world.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Pricing creates perception.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Avatars and buyer personas are just scratching the surface.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“It’s time that we show up more intimately and personal than we ever have before.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“People demand more authenticity and transparency than they ever have before with people they’re doing business with.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“People don’t hire you because you’re the best; they hire you because you get them and they get you.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“What do I need to do to grow as a person in order for my success to match that?” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Take responsibility for the positive impact you can have on people’s lives.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“Everybody has empathy, we just don’t use it enough in business.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“The more I focus on what’s going right, the more I see what’s going right.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

“What’s louder than words; it’s the energy behind the words.” -Jeffrey Shaw Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jeffrey Shaw was tops in his class and returned home to launch his new business. Ready for success, Jefferey spent three long years moving down the path to failure. After he gave his best sales pitch ever, he realized how off he was trying to promote the message of his business. He was unable to speak the lingo of his customers. That’s when Jefferey launched his transformation and went from overlooked to overbooked.

Advice for others

Focus more on long-term relationship building.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Not enough visibility.

Best Leadership Advice

Take responsibility for the impact you can have. The positive impact you can have on people’s lives.

Secret to Success

Empathy. Feeling what other people are feeling. Feeling market trends.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

What’s going right journal. The more I focus on what’s going right, the more I can see what’s going right.

Recommended Reading

LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible

Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice

Contacting Jeffrey Shaw

website: http://www.jeffreyshaw.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffreyshaw1

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyshaw1/

Resources and Show Mentions

Lingo Course, Book Chapter and more from Jeffrey Shaw for the Fast Leader Legion

Chatbots designed with Emotional Intelligence, Neuroscience, Cognitive Bias for Brand Impact

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: 

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

159: Jeffrey Shaw: I was going to dominate the world

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 emotions. 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 today who has some practical experience that really can help folks. The thing I like that most is that we’d learn firsthand. Jeffrey Shaw was born in Cold Spring, New York raised in Hopewell Jet, New York, about two hours north from New York City, with his two older brothers. His family moved there as his father was one of the first 90 employees at a production plant for a new technology startup called IBM. His mother was a hairdresser and still is today at the age of 80. Jeffrey was a shy kid who always had an entrepreneurial spirit. By the age of 14, he was borrowing his mother’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme to drive around his neighborhood and sell eggs door to door, he could barely see over steering wheel. 

His father enjoyed photography as a hobby and built a dark room in their home. Jeffrey was fascinated with the chemicals and how they made latent images come alive. The first money he made from photography came from printing photos of prize at racehorses for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt estate, the 32nd president of the United States. Always wanting to be an architect, Mike Brady on the Brady bunch but not having the patience for education, he decided to go into photography school to photograph interiors and experience of our homes. Once he started having models in the photos he realized his true passion was photographing people. He graduated with the top best portfolio award. By the age of 20, he opened a portrait photography studio in his hometown. After three years of struggling you realize his business was not aligned with the values of the community he was working with. He was stressing the importance of having family portraits and handing them down from one generation to the next in the community where people struggled to pay their mortgage. 

His businesses failing and this awareness lead Jeffrey to seek out people that shared his values for planning ahead, high quality and posterity—the luxury market. This led Jeffrey to learn all that he knows about business today. However, every market has a secret language and the way to succeed is to know who you are best to serve and speak their language, their secret language. Today Jeffrey Shaw is a host of the popular business podcast, Creative Warriors, a featured storyteller on the Moth and a nationally acclaimed keynote speaker at creative and business conferences. For more than three decades now Jeffery has been one of the most sought after portrait photographers in the U.S. photographing the families of such notables as Tom Seaver, Pat Riley, David Blooms, Stephanie Seymour and C-Suite executives from Twitter, Anheuser Busch, 3M, as well as Wall Street leaders, too many to mention. His portraits have appearing on the Oprah Show, in People magazine, O Magazine, and others. His the author of the forthcoming book, Lingo-Discover your Ideal Customers Secret Language and Make your Business Irresistible. Jeffrey is the father of three adult children and resides with his to dogs in Miami Beach, Florida. Jeffrey Shaw, are you ready to help us go over the hump?

Jeffrey Shaw:   Most definitely. I’m glad to be here.

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   Current passion—you know I’m always passionate about something.  My current passion is this book this has been a huge journey for me. It’s my first book, the first of book publish I should say, it’s my third of attempt. I wrote a book 2014 it was such a how to type a book I decide to make a course and then last year I wrote a book was deeply meaningful to me but in the end when I submit it to the editor it was just a little bit too much of a self-help type of book. It really wasn’t on my platform and that was a hard hit, I’m kind of new in writing a book. So, what I’m most passionate about and I think any leader can get passionate about is when you really felt like you have finally identified what’s your core message, and you just know when you feel it.  I love using the word platform because if you actually look up the true definition of platform, platform has a dual meaning. On one hand it is the stage, it’s the hard mature you stand on and nowadays our platform is online, but platform was also your collection of values for which you believe in. What’s I’m passionate now is this platform that the Lingo, the content of my book, provides, it is in fact the collection of values that I feel and something I can stand on.

Jim Rembach:   One thing that really appealed to me, thanks for sharing that, I was looking through it I did get some, I guess I should say pre-released type of information about the book, I focused a lot on what I refer to as customer-centric leadership, when you really look at customer-centric leadership it requires you to focus on that internal piece and people working inside the organization part of it is from messaging all of those things the culture components as well as the customer because all of those things need to be in alignment for you to have some long term success. When you start talking about this Lingo and this ideal language you referred to it about finding your core. I think what you’re doing is really trying to find your connection core which is the language of your customer. You’re saying in the bio and you talk about it on the book about the five step process to help develop this Lingo, tell us what they are. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   Sure. And if I may, I want to step back and—I love the fact that you’re using the term customer-centric, that’s the foundation of the five steps. When talk about Lingo is this customer-centric turn business model but little bit of a spin. Here’s what I mean by customer-centric, people every day focuses on customer service and customer experience today. To me to speak of a customer-centric business is to build a business in a right way. What I mean by that is that you know who your ideal customers. First you define who your ideal customer and then you build the business for them. Probably 90% if not more businesses are built backwards. People build the business they want and then they spend the rest of their lives trying to fit people into that business it’s a struggle that’s why business is hard. The right way to build a business and a true measure of success is be customer-centric. Know who your ideal customer. Who you are meant to serve? Who would love what you have to offer? Who already love your natural traits and your values? And then build a business for them that’s the much easier route at the heart of Lingo is this idea that to build a customer-centric business model. So this five steps are the process of identifying and defining your ideal customer and then building a brand that’s speaks only to them, that’s speaking the secret language. 

So, the five steps, step number one is, “Perspective.” Perspective is the foundation of all the other steps you have to understand what the word looks like from the perspective of your ideal customers before you could build a business for them. I love by the way, the fact that your show’s called Fast Leader, I would love more entrepreneurs to take a leadership quality to it and that’s what it means to know someone’s perspective and to be willing to walk in their shoes it’s more of a leadership role that it is an entrepreneurship role. It’s like these are the people I want to lead and I understand how the world looks like for them and I’m going to lead them to where I could serve them best, so step number one is perspective. You can’t go fast and go and build the business for people until you understand what the world looks like from their perspective, imperative. 

Step number two is what I referred to as familiarity. Familiarity is really interesting and in fact one of my favorite things to talk about because familiarity creates comfort. When we see things that are familiar—but it’s incredibly powerful to actually create that element of familiarity it’s more than just giving people the feeling of comfort. That’s the reason why we have comfort food it brings back a lot of memories, comfort food let us know we’re in the right place at the right time, that’s the power of familiarity. The more practical side of familiarity is that you can’t un-see it. You go to Europe you go to some other place you can’t not notice a Starbucks logo, it’s so familiar.  The point is when people are building a business, leading the clientele to their business, my marketing perspective, the more you can create an atmosphere that are already familiar from their perspective the more you will stand out. That’s why we refer to it as a secret language it’s like speaking their language so it’s already familiar to them. Doesn’t mean it’s a copy, doesn’t mean it has to look exactly like anybody else but if you can understand from their perspective—step number one, what already is familiar to them in their world what retail environment what websites look like—you’ll stand out. 

Step number three is to understand their style, the style that they are looking for and it resonates. Unlike familiarity, style sits much more in the surface but style is the decision maker. We make decisions every day, whether it’s on our website, or it is on the store or just walking down the mall we make decision every day within seconds based on whether the style resonates for us whether it’s speaking our language, whether it feels like it’s speaking in our behalf. Why do we wear the clothes we wear? We choose the brand and the clothes that we wear—the Nike logo, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle we choose the brands we do because that brand speaks on our behalf, it lets the world know this is what we stand for. So style is a very quick decision maker and imperative in today’s world in a world where people are making decision whether they want to do business with you or not in a matter of seconds. 

Fourth step is, price. This is a big one and incredibly powerful the whole psychology of pricing because pricing creates perception. No matter what market whatever business you’re building you can position your business based on the pricing cycle that you’re using. If you want to draw forward and attract the price conscious customer then you draw a lot of attention to your price. You price your products and services down to 100 of a cent like Walmart does. You put cash registers right up front like a diner does. If any time you want to draw attention if you want to draw forward the cost conscious customer you want to draw attention to your price you talk about having sales and discounts first is the other end if you’re working on the higher end you want to be very vague about pricing that’s why there aren’t prices on the high end menu, the high end restaurant on the menu there aren’t even prices it’s so vague. You certainly don’t go to a high end restaurant expect to see a steak for $34.99, it’s going to be $35 or something rounded off. But if you go to McDonalds—McDonalds can cost conscious, dollar menu. So it’s understanding the psychology you can position any business, any products any service based on who your ideal customer based on the pricing psychology. We hear all the time people will choose to not buy something because it’s so cheap they associate it being too cheap but not good quality total psychological. 

The last of the five steps are the words, choosing the words that you use. One comparison is we often refer to is the difference between discount and upgrade. Again if you try to appeal to the cost conscious customers you talk about discounts. If you’re talking to high end travelers, vacations, you talk about upgrades not discounts. Using this particular words but then also carefully crafting your words to attract your ideal customer. The word you position on your website—what I teach on Lingo a couple of techniques I teach on Lingo one of the most powerful marking tools I know of I teach what I call self-identifying questions which are posing the question in your marketing that’s completing the thought in your ideal customers head. A problem or concern they already have that they’re looking to address and you pose a question, hey, do you have this problem? An example I use, I have a client is in a business of matching businesses with virtual assistants. And what I had suggested that she used a self-identifying question to draw in her ideal customers. Do you want your life back? Imagine you’re a hurried, crazy, busy business person stressing out rushing home because you’re always late, you got a new car you see a billboard the billboard says do want to get your life back? If that’s how you feel that’s the experience are having in your life you would say, yes I do and then you find out what answer to that hires virtual assistant and this is the person who can help you do that. The self-identifying question are magic and again I go into that a lot in the book itself because it stops you on that  tracks and speaks their language.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks for sharing that. As you were talking there’s so many things that were flying to my head but I kind of had reflect back on a conversation that I had just a couple of days ago. I was talking about a Lingo-type of issue and using the right words and terminology and this person just said to me, oh, well I’m not going to argue the semantics. But I’m like, but I am this is an important point because many of the things that you were talking about. You’re talking about people raising their emotional intelligence skills and capabilities so that they’re connecting at a significantly deeper level than just the surface. That is not semantics it’s really important how you create that alignment and congruence and familiarity those are trust builders. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   I love the fact that you’re an expert in the field of intelligence. I like reading your bio because—the foundation of the Lingo, and this is what I’m this why I single out the platform, these things just unfold and come together. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 33 years. I’ve been in the world of coaching and personal development for 8 of that next to all the time I use as a photographer. So this is a years in the making and the original iteration of this was years ago. I wrote an e-book that was called, The Emotional Branding Blueprint. I ** at emotional branding because I felt like people are branding their business in the wrong way. In marketing, I love the fact the way you used Lingo, it’s exactly what my big dream is for this book. I would love a Lingo to become the new marketing buzzwords. Getting away from avatars and buyer personas because I think avatars and buyer personas are just scratching the surface. It’s demographics, it’s stats at best it’s behavior. A lot of times like on Amazon the behaviors based on tracking pixels so it’s very surface level. Lingo is deep. Lingo is emotional. I know this had become more and more imperative moving forward because it is harder to stand out. People demand more authenticity and transparent than they ever had before on the people that they’re doing business with. 

I been in business since the 80s. In the 90s people were throwing money at us it’s not that way anymore. The bar has been really raised high as to how you have to behave and what you have to create as an entrepreneur and a leader in order to get into someone’s pockets. I think we should be grateful for that raising a bar it’s time that we have to show up more intimately and personal than we ever had before. 

Jim Rembach:   I totally agree. For me I don’t want to just have a transaction and be done because we know what that leads to. That leads to a situation where you’re putting so much effort and trying to attract and you can never really reap the benefits of the retain piece of the whole customers experience. I created a framework called emotional intelligence customer experience design and the first thing is to unlock your awareness. For me this is exactly where Lingo fits you have to aware that what you say, how you say it, when you say it, where you say it at, all those things are critically important, it isn’t just semantics. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   No, no it’s definitely not they’re emotional triggers. I’ve been asked a number times as I’m about doing (17:27 inaudible) why is this important now? And one of the things I say is, one, we continue to evolve as the society and we are consumers ourselves where we do demand a more personal relationship. But also I think it’s going to become a critically important moving forward because the world is heading towards more automation, robotics and AI. I’ve around long enough to know that whenever something goes on one direction the opposite is also true. So, the more those automation, artificial intelligence and these things in our lives, the more people are going to be craving personal interaction doing business in a human way. Any business that serving customer, service oriented, customer-centric as you’re saying we can be on the winning side of that. We don’t have to collapse into the world being more automated. We can actually go on the other direction, say, how can I get to know my ideal customers better and make them feel—a quote I use all the time in my business and my coaching clients is that, it’s not a lot of people like to hear but it’s just the truth, People don’t hire you because you’re the best they hire you because you get them and they get you. The best is completely subjective today no one can claim to be the best in anyone category. We all try we all want to master what we’re good at but I’d be the person to say I’m not the world’s best photographer, you know what that means. I am absolutely the best for my clientele, a big difference. They hire me because I get them. Like I get their values, I get their lifestyle, I get their emotional triggers and I use those triggers to let them know on the right one for them too. 

Jim Rembach:   Right. As you were talking the whole automation thing, we’ve had automation around to serve customers for 50 years. I think we will see and what we are seeing is that automation that does have a little bit more character to it where you can actually build your brand voice into it and that has a little bit more of that personal touch and can understand the sentiment of emotion. People like that AI they do like that what they don’t like is the ones that can’t do that. We’ve all had bad experiences with IVR systems and the reason we’ve had bad experiences with them is because they require us to do things that aren’t natural, it’s like, if you don’t give B I’m not going to get you to C, it’s just the way it is. So I think AI is getting more personal and that’s when people are actually enjoying it more and more we going to see more of that. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   And I think what technology should enable us to do is to be able to have time in our lives for the relationship that really matter that’s what were all craving. People aren’t looking quantity of hours worked anymore they’re looking for quantity of life that’s a social shift we need to be sensitive to that. I go back to even—when ATM’s came along and even email. With ATM, they said the world’s becoming so impersonal. We go to a machine to get cash. I was like, I’m happy going to a machine to get my money I don’t need a personal relationship with the bank teller. But if the time saved gives me the ability to have lunch with one of my children that’s where I want life to go. That’s what I feel about AI and automation what really it can do is it can let us choose where we want relationships of a deeper human nature and that’s where it’s important as a business for the customer centric business model to show up as that more personal human business. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great point. Okay, so what we’re talking about here is just full of emotion. And one of the things that we look to add on the show are quotes because they can help bring that out. Is there a quote or two that you can share that you like? 

Jeffrey Shaw:   I gave it some thoughts and I hate to be repetitive but when you have a quote that you live by you live by it, right? So the quote I live by is from Jim Rohn and it is, “Your level of success rarely exceeds your level of personal development.” And I live that every day and I believe it. I’m sure your legion we all want more success, I don’t just apply harder for work for more hours what I apply is, what do I need to do to grow as a person in order for my success to match that? So I just always look at it as a glass ceiling. Where is my ceiling at today in my ability to create success my willingness to have success my mindset around success? Where is that out today? How can I raised that? Who can work with? What coaches can I seek so that I can raise that ceiling? Because every time I raise this ceiling of personal development my level of success creeps up behind me and bumps me in the behind and then I do it again. So I’m a 100% believer of that quote. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great quote and I like the way you put all of that important words around it and that feeling around it and it definitely makes more sense. I also see that having that mindset getting to where you are now and that continual focus on personal growth, you bet you had a lot of humps to get over, can you share a time with us when you’ve had to get over a hump so that we can learn. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   I have to say the biggest hump of my life in hindsight created the content behind this book and it took me 30 years to see it honestly. I was 20 years old when I went into business in my hometown that are wrinky-dinkle a country town a couple of north the New York City. I went back there as a 20 year old my chest all puffed out I was going to dominate the world and be the world’s greatest leader. I have a high end portrait photography business and struggled for three years and let’s just call falling. As I mentioned in my bio, what I realized is that I was trying to sell values of long term thinking having portraits to hand down from generation to generation. And as one woman full of wisdom said to after I made my very best pitch she said to me, that’s sounds great except I don’t have the luxury worrying about my children’s memories. I don’t know if I’m going to pay my mortgage this month. And I realized how off I was in trying to promote that type of message around my business in a community that was struggling to get by gave a day which was by the way my hometown that was my life lifestyle and I grow up lower middle class. Here I was trying to be something other than that. Absolutely biggest hump of my life was having to put my life’s dreams into this business and realize it was failing. And then seeking the answer to that and getting over the other side of that that hump starting over again serving the luxury market as I learned to do. 

Jim Rembach:   So from the time she dropped that on you, and like you said I know (24:26 inaudible) me too people have said, what was your defining epiphany? I don’t know if we really had one I have them all along the way and they kind of help continually move the ship in a better direction it just take a while. But how long did it take you from the time when that happen to actually know that, you know what? In order for me to serve a luxury market I have to go to where the luxury market is. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   That to me was instant it was an epiphany moment for me. I immediately went within—I don’t know the exact time I know that I changed my life in 3 months that I remember as far as the time frame. What I mean by that is it became incredibly clear to me that I was meant, and I say this carefully, I was meant to serve the high end. It wasn’t a decision like, oh, rich people have money and I should take advantage of that. No, I literally ask myself the question, if people that don’t have money don’t share my value for long term thinking—by the way, just a little sidebar here, my father died suddenly on my wedding day eight months after I went into business, wild story in itself. And I say that because he died without life insurance, without any them, he’s 52 years old he certainly didn’t expect to die that young. But again when you don’t have money you don’t plan for future there wasn’t protection for our family, there was no life insurance my mom had to borrow money from his boss in order to bury him and there’s just no planning. It wasn’t a consciousness that I want to work with rich people because they have money it was really deeply looking inside myself, who I meant for? The chapter in Lingo that talks about defining your ideal customer the chapter’s actually called—Who would Love That? This is actually a self-study of who you are? What’s your course skill set is? What your innate characters are? And then asking a question, what you’re a need characteristic is or and then asking the question and who would love that? Because who would love that is actually your ideal customer. And what I realized is (26:30 inaudible) that’s common to me, who would love what I had to offer handing portraits down from generation to generation where people could afford to plan ahead? That happen to be the luxury market which I knew nothing about. 

So I went on a three-month journey of studying the behavior, lifestyle and perspective of the affluent market. I didn’t it know it, I was 23 old, I was a lower-middle class kid I knew nothing about affluent perspective but I studied it. I went to where they shop. I went to where they dine. I studied it. And in three months shut down the business that was failing at my hometown started over again in an affluent Connecticut town got very clear with my brand and change the business name—my business name in my hometown had a name it was called Light Images—I rebranded it under my own name, because I understood the power of having studied high end business, I realized the power of designer names and I was going to market myself, I actually emulated Ralph Lauren. In the 80’s Ralph Lauren was a new brand and a top notch brand and it was in his name so I change my business name to my name, Jeffery Shaw. I made all these changes in three months, rebranded. I got in roads into how I could get my work at least seen in that community. And within, as I say I think in the back cover of the book or in the description in Amazon, I say within one year I went from being overlooked to overbook. And within one year, it’s three months to make the change to get over the hump and then within one year I went from my failing business to a business where—I would definitely say overbook it ultimately took a few more years but I had an eight week waiting list to get on my calendar because those work where with my ideal customers. 

Jim Rembach:   Sorry that happened as far as your father passing but the way that you were able to take that essentially smack in the face and do something with it was—. I’m glad that happened because you’ve been able to share your story with us and I know more and more folks that are going to get that hit will now do something different because they just need to. 

Jeffrey Shaw:   And I love your analogy about being a hump and that’s it is. It’s a hump that bumps and a hump that you need to get over, that’s what it is. 

Jim Rembach:   Definitely. We talked a little bit about, of course the book coming out the work that you’re doing now you’ve got a lot of things going on, we talked about some of the construction going on in the neighborhood all the building and all that but you’ve got a lot of things happening so if you were to say one goal that you have—

Jeffrey Shaw:   My current goal is to increase my speaking platform. I status myself as a pretty well know speaker in the photo industry, because that’s how initially I was reaching out for information I was successful in the photo industry, but my message is much bigger than that much broader than that. The reason I was successful as a photographer because I didn’t market myself as a photographer. Photographers were marketing their photographs I was a marketing the emotions. I didn’t look at what other photographers are doing—in the 80s when I looked at my ideal customer they were paying $20,000 for painters to paint a portrait of their children. And I’m like, I can do something every bit as high quality of that with a better likeness of the children and I can do it for $5,000 to $10, 000. So I marketed myself not even having I can do it my own industry. 

I became a pretty well-known speaker in the photo industry but everything I did to succeed there had nothing to do with photography. So my message the message of Lingo what I love about the concept of Lingo and its strategy is it does in fact apply to any market. It’s not just the high end it’s your choice you get to decide and identify who your ideal customer is and then build a business for them speaking their language. There’s no judgment here whether that needs to be high end low end or anything in between. Because message is broader my next goal is to be a speaker a much bigger stages of entrepreneurship, marketing and branding. Truly my passion I love to be in front of people I like the impact that can make something on the audience. 

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. 

As consumers shift their communication preferences and expect you to be there all the time for an answer you have to use chat box as part of your cost control and customer experience strategy. And to hold your customers attention you need an active attention design. Your chat box can leverage animated characters, neuroscience cognitive vices and emotional intelligence to create an interactive brand experience that unlocks the power of your brand. A2D is the secret sauce that delivers your exceptional customer experience. To learn more go to www.aiforcx.com

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   I’m ready to hoedown. I grew up square dancing. 


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

Jeffrey Shaw:   Not enough visibility. Despite the success of my podcast it takes a long time for people just like, I know who this guy is. So I’m cutting (32:02 inaudible) all the time. 

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   Take responsibility for the impact you can have. And by that when I took from that advice was the positive impact. When I first heard it I said, Oh, men, I’m going to screw up people’s lives. And I’m like, No, take responsibility for the impact, take responsibility for the positive impact you can have on people’s lives through leadership. 

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   My secret weapon is empathy. It is feeling what other people are feeling it’s feeling market trends and paying attention. I think everybody had empathy which they don’t use enough in business. 

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   I’ts my saga woo to all, compare to probably what a lot of your guest say. It’s something I teach in Lingo it’s a journal called, What’s Going Right? It’s not a gratitude journal I literally journal every day what’s going right. Because the more I focus on what’s going right the more I see what’s going right, it’s my best tool. 

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

Jeffrey Shaw:   One of my favorite is, Louder Than Words by Todd Henry. Because it just picks to the essence of Lingo. What’s louder than words is the energy behind the words. 

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/Jeffrey Shaw. Okay, Jeffrey, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you. But you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or a piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Jeffrey Shaw:   of better relationship building. Unfortunately, having a history of being a shy kid my life is kind of transactional to me. I wasn’t thinking on lines of relationship building like I do now, boy I wish I got that earlier. I wish I focus more on long term relationship building that pay off it would be huge right now. 

Jim Rembach:   Jeffrey, 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? 

Jeffrey Shaw:   Sure. We’ve put together a Lingo media kit specifically for your legion they can get that at www.jeffreyshaw.com/fastleader and in that Lingo media kit is an infographic of 5 steps of the secret of language strategy we discuss. There’s also a free chapter, it is the chapter on perspective, because it is the most important one, and there’s an audio version of that free chapter which has sound effects and additional stories, I’m a podcaster so I kick that up several notches. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s awesome Jeffrey and we’ll also link from your show notes page as well. Jeffrey Shaw, 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.

END OF AUDIO

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Jonathan David Lewis - Brand Versus Wild

134: Jonathan David Lewis: Our growth stopped. We went backwards.

Jonathan David Lewis Show Notes Page

Jonathan David Lewis and his company made the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. And as soon as they made the list, their growth stopped. They went backwards. Over the next three years they experienced almost 98% client turnover. But there was something valuable that came from it that allowed them to get over the hump.

Jonathan was raised on the Makah Indian Reservation with his older sister Christina in Neah Bay, Washington, where he watched his mother and father pastor a small mission church while substitute teaching and working as EMTs to make ends meet.

As a child Jonathan was a fearful child who turned to comedy. He was considered the class clown.

He would learn to draw from his formative experience in Neah Bay as he moved to New Mexico and worked his way up from an unpaid internship to ownership at nationally recognized marketing firm McKee Wallwork + Company.

Jonathan honed his skills as a branding and business strategist during the lean years of the Great Recession, helping brands navigate today’s unforgiving new business paradigms.

Jonathan’s opinions are highly sought by numerous business and marketing publications, including Forbes, Digiday, and Advertising Age, where he explores the factors that lead to stalled growth and the principles proven to help companies navigate the ambiguities and dangers of the brand wilderness.

As partner and strategy director at McKee Wallwork + Company, Jonathan led his firm to be recognized by industry purveyor Advertising Age as a national leader in branding and marketing, winning the Southwest Small Agency of the Year, national B2B Campaign of the Year, and national Best Places to Work awards

Jonathan currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife Kellie and three children, Berkley, James, and Hazelyn where he hopes to leave a legacy of love, truth-seeking, and resilience in the face of change.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

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

“All of us react to disruption in one of three ways.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet

“90% of us are not prepared for unexpected challenges in our business.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“There’s seven factors that affect growth in business.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“If we try to reduce risk and uncertainty before taking an action, we’ll go nuts.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Learning to operate within a higher level of uncertainty is required for success.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“You can’t plan for every eventuality.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“There’s not enough resource in the world to prepare for it all.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Four of the seven statistically significant factors that affect growth are internal.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“You have to have the internal stuff in shape before you can change the world.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Our job today isn’t to reduce uncertainly or risk anymore.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“You have to get comfortable with uncertainly, it’s fundamental for all of our jobs.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“We have to learn how to operate with a lot of uncomfortable risk.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“You need to define your target very narrowly.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“When things are bad is when you need to market and invest in R&D.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“If you feel lost, the first thing you need to do is define your short-term goal.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Morale is everything when you’re in the wilderness.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Fundamentally, can companies disrupt themselves from within?” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“All of the great brands and leaders have some level of humility.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Pride kills in the wilderness.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Throughout every solution, there has to be an ounce of humility.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“I want my work and life to have meaning.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“I’m making my mistakes, but hopefully I’m learning from them.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“It’s really hard to be creative if the fundamentals of your life are out of whack.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“As a leader, you have to know when to say no.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

“Consistency and patience will get you so much farther.” -Jonathan David Lewis Click To Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jonathan David Lewis and his company made the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list. And as soon as they made the list, their growth stopped. They went backwards. Over the next three years they experienced almost 98% client turnover. But there was something valuable that came from it that allowed them to get over the hump.

Advice for others

Slow down. Patience and consistency will get you so much farther.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Insecurity

Best Leadership Advice

To say no.

Secret to Success

Consistency

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

My time by myself.

Recommended Reading

Brand vs. Wild: Building Resilient Brands for Harsh Business Environments

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty

Contacting Jonathan David Lewis

email: jlewis@mwcmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanlewis11/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JonathanD_Lewis

Resources and Show Mentions

Increase Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture

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”]

134: Jonathan David Lewis: Our growth stopped. We went backwards

 

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 intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. 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 hook now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more. Okay, Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who gives us insights into really what we need to do in order to prepare for the future. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because as they I have somebody on the show who is wisdom beyond their years. Johnathan David Lewis was raised on the Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington where he watched his mother and father pastor a small mission church while substitute teaching and working as EMTs to make ends meet. He also grew up there with his younger sister Christina. As a child Jonathan was a fearful child who turned to comedy. He was considered the class clown.

Jonathan would learn to draw from his formative experience in Neah Bay as he moved to New Mexico and worked his way up from an unpaid internship to ownership a nationally recognized marketing firm McKee Wallwork and Company. Jonathan honed his skills as a branding and business strategist during the lean years of the Great Recession, helping brands navigate today’s unforgiving new business paradigms. Jonathan’s opinions are highly sought by numerous business and marketing publications, including Forbes, Digiday, and Advertising Age, where helps companies to navigate the ambiguities and dangers of the brand wilderness. As a partner strategy director in McKee Wallwork and Company, Jonathan led his firm to be recognize by industry purveyor advertising aids as a national leader in branding and marketing winning the Southwest Mall agency of the year, National B2B campaign of the year and the National Best Practices to Work awards. Jonathan currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife Kelly and three children Burkley, James and Hazelyn where he hopes to leave a legacy of love, choose seeking and resilience in the face of change. Jonathan David Lewis are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Jonathan David Lewis:  I am ready, let’s do this. 

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  Absolutely. Honestly, it’s culture and people and how it’s fascinating when you look at how people groups adopts belief, adopts behaviors and how that changes overtime it’s pretty amazing and certainly it’s just something I’m fascinated by in it. It’s relevant to what I do and also relevant to what I believe and just a really interesting part of the world around us. You mentioned my younger sister Christina, she will kill me if I don’t say she’s my older sister. 

Jim Rembach:   Sorry about that. 

Jonathan David Lewis:  She won’t let me forget that. 

Jim Rembach:   And I think you actually have two older siblings as well that we didn’t talk about much but I know all of that family dynamic and grope on the reservation has set a huge impact on you and writing the book, Brand versus Wild-Building Resilient Brands for Harsh Business Environments which I had a really interesting time scheming through the book. I look forward to go back and actually reading the full text because you open my eyes up to a lot of things that I really just didn’t draw connections to and I appreciate that. One of the things that you had mentioned in the book early on was the Leech ten-eighty- ten theory. What is that? 

Jonathan David Lewis:  Yes. Dr. John Leech one of the pioneers in the latest in survival psychology his field and his world and he has the 1-8-1 theory which basically says that all of us react to disruption in of three ways. Ten percent of us react rationally, we react with logic and get through disruption well and lead others, eighty percent of us are paralyzed by an unexpected challenge and we don’t know what to do so we don’t do anything just freeze. Another 1 percent of us panic, we make things worse and that’s where things get dangerous. So really, ninety percent of us according to Dr. John Leech are not prepared for unexpected change, unexpected challenges in our lives and in business and that’s pretty concerting although I would say that’s pretty consistent with my own experience. 

 

Jim Rembach:   And for me that’s thing that was kind of a really interesting point because you did draw that correlation with some empirical evidence I think and how those brands actually respond and then for me I’m thinking like well, those brands are nothing but a bunch of people so if people respond that way and they’re actually measured that way then we have a collective of people within a brand and the brands would act that way. 

 

Jonathan David Lewis:  And what’s fascinating about this is the book, Brand versus Wild is not just a fun analogy we’ve taken our own proprietary research where we discover there’s seven factors that affect growth in business. Well, he learned that is highly corralled with the latest in survival psychology so much so that I can say something crazy like there’s really very little difference psychologically between a group of people that crash land on the mountain and a group of business leaders trying to wrestle with some sort of unexpected challenge both are going to a very predictable process and how they react to disruption. 

Jim Rembach:   To me that’s the part that was like a huge light bulb going off. And even when I look at the contents and the chapters within your book you made it very simple. It’s like lost, afraid, adrift, wild, savage, stop, orient, focus, flow, adapt and do. Right there it’s a little blueprint in order to be able to get out of or move forward. And the thing to me that was also interesting is you said, you know what, quit trying to predict or reduce risk because especially in today’s world when you start thinking about disruptive not just technologies there’s disruption of all kinds all over and if we try to control this stuff we’ll go nuts. 

Jonathan David Lewis:  Absolutely. This is really I think fundamental to how we get past what I define as the wild where we—Jesus! Look at that headlines today it’s a flood of uncertainly from politics to technology to business—Uber CEO is out, Amazon’s buying Wholefoods, Trump said this, Comy said that—it’s too much. And if we try to deal with that in the traditional way we have in the past which is to study it and to reduce the risk and uncertainly to a degree that I’m comfortable with before I can take an action we’ll go nuts. We will react as many of us are, which is to isolate ourselves and the hanker down and just hope it gets better rather than learning to operate within a much higher level of uncertainly and risk it’s a compete mindset shift but it’s required for success today. 

Jim Rembach:   It is. And for me I’ve always one of those who that has kind of been a nay sayer  and jump on the whole concept of SWOT, strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats because I think that in itself if you use that as a framework in a scoping mechanism to be able to focus you’re going to find threats every single place you look.

Jonathan David Lewis:  Yeah. Danger quadrant is just going to be the longest one today. This is the thing, you can’t plan for every eventuality and there’s not enough resource in the world to prepare for it all. So it’s not about the externalities, it’s not about having enough resources or having the right team or having all this and that it’s about having a resilient core it’s about having a healthy relationship with the team members you have. And when you really break down what are those factors that are—the difference between businesses and group of people that face adversity and strive and get pass it and those that face adversity and decline? It’s not the externalities it’s not the better position it’s those that had better leadership and had healthier internal relationships and that’s where the kind of the aha for us. In our research four of the seven statistically significant factors that affect growth are internal they’re inside of companies things like a loss of nerve, a loss of focus, inconsistency and a lack of alignment. If those things are out of whack, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing is, it doesn’t matter how great your ideas are your plans it doesn’t matter it has undermines everything you do you have to have the internal staff in good shape even in your own life and in your family before you can go and change the world. 

Jim Rembach:   That’s an awesome point as I was looking through and scheming the book I started, as someone’s who is certified in emotional intelligence, I started thinking to myself this is all about emotional intelligence. And one of the big factors in emotional intelligence is stress management. And even when I was reading this book I was like, Okay, so Jonathan’s a marketing guy this is not a marketing book. 

Jonathan David Lewis:  Yeah, I think that’s a good point. That’s something I’m hearing a lot lately is that this—certainly they apply to marketing but the reason they applies to life and other areas of business is because it’s rooted in human truth. It’s rooted in human nature and what we’ve learned as a company, our whole niche is turning around stall, stocks and stale brands that’s what we do, that’s what we’re obsessed about that’s the reason I’ve written this book. But what we learned is that we’re very creative we can come up with excellent solutions all of that is been undermined whenever we have an unhealthy relationship with our client or the HR rep hates the sales rep hates the COO, when those things are out of whack it completely undermines that we’re trying to do to turn around this brand. So, yes, when in your in that moment doing with disruption of price war, Uber whatever it is that you’re dealing with that the actual differentiator between you and the company that won’t make it is the internal emotional intelligence. Can you have healthy conflict? Not unhealthy conflict or not avoiding conflict. Can you deal with these things in a healthy way? 

Jim Rembach:   I had the opportunity before we signed on to be ready with the interview and I saw somebody and I want to say it was a promo for a master class with Allan Sorken who is an award winning screenwriter and he was talking to a group of people and he said, Okay, we’re going to do something unorthodox here. He goes, give me all of your bad ideas. I want your worst idea you could possibly think of and he start to collect all of those worst ideas. In order to bring everybody together because too easy in our own environment talking about the threat peace and that fear piece we’re so driven by that, is that that’s how we focus on—so you know what? Let’s get on the table right now because there’s actually some good idea within that.  Have you found companies do some things that are unorthodox in order to help them find the way?

Jonathan David Lewis:  Absolutely. What is at the root of not sharing ideas it is your fears your insecurities it’s the environment you work in that it’s not acceptable to have a bad idea or to fail. And that goes back to what we talked about before where our job today as leaders and marketing managers etc. it isn’t to reduce uncertainty or risk anymore that used to be most of what we did in our jobs. We would conduct studies and research and analyze the heck out of things and ask everybody their opinion all we were doing is trying to reduce risk and cover our butts. Well, literally there’s so much risk and uncertainty in every decision today that it’s just not possible anymore. So, the idea that you have to get comfortable with that uncertainty is fundamental for all of our jobs. We have to learn how to operate with a lot of uncomfortable risk. 

Jim Rembach:   Well and you talking about that whole fear piece and risk piece and one of the things that I found interesting that as I was reading, you talked about how we react to fear and that it causes a lot of things. I would dare to say that a lot of people when they see those things or they experience those things they wouldn’t even talk about those things I don’t know if they really know that they originate from fear.

Jonathan David Lewis:  Absolutely. One thing we learned in the survival psychology piece of this book is that there’s a very predictable physiological response to fear of any kind. That could be a bear in the wilderness or that could be your boss you know coming in your office and yelling at you regardless you have a physiological reaction of fear where the logical part of your brain kind of gives up control and your illogical emotional part of your brain takes over. Your blood pumps your adrenaline goes you have these three hormones that pump through your body and all of that kind of adds up to you making very poor decisions. Something we saw in the research is if you’re lost in the in the wilderness like many of us have been camping we know what it feels like we don’t recognize how crazy we can become. There’s research showing that people will throw down their supplies people will begin to run they don’t know where they’re going they’re just running there’s even research showing that people who are lost will hide from rescuers that’s how illogical we become. So if you think about how in many ways we have react in a very similar way in business environments and in our own life we’re making bad decisions in a marketing sense that usually manifests itself by a reluctance to narrow our target when we’re afraid or drifting as a company we don’t want to turn anybody away we’re desperate. The research shows in order to succeed you need to define your target very narrowly. And we also have a lack of investment in ourselves in our R&D and marketing where the research says when things are bad that’s when you need to market that’s when you need to invest in R&D. We make all of these bad decisions that feel right because all we’re doing is operating out of feelings.

Jim Rembach:   That’s a good point. So, from the people side we stop training and developing we cut that out. All of those things are undermining and sabotaging behaviors that are caused by fear but we don’t even realize that it happened. We just say, oh well things are slow so we had to look for ways to cut. 

Jonathan David Lewis:  It’s a vicious cycle and undermines result. 

Jim Rembach:   Totally. So, people got to move forward and get out of this. One of the things that you talked about is a technique to help people do that was the bearing cycle, what is that? 

Jonathan David Lewis:  This is really important. There’s research that that shows us that people walk in circles when they’re lost and this is one of those things everyone kind of wanders you see it in movies. if I’m in the desert while I walk in circles well a researcher decided to go test this. They draw people in the desert they drop people in the forest and they put GPS on them they said, okay find your way out try to walk in a straight line. They discovered that a portion of the people in fact walked in circles in pretty tight circles and the key difference was whether you had your bearings or not. If he was overcast and you couldn’t see the sun you couldn’t see a mountain in the distance you tended to walk in circles. If it was nighttime you couldn’t see the moon you tended to walk in circles so having your bearings is really absolutely vital to make your way out of the wilderness in this analogy. 

But the bearing cycle is very simple yet pretty hard to do in practice. If you’re lost if you feel lost and you’re trying to find your bearings first thing you need to do is define your short-term goal. You can have your lofty long-term goal you know you want to get to X amount of profitability by five years whatever but what are you doing today? Where are you leading your team today? So, if you’re in the wilderness—I need to get perspective I want to hike to this mountaintop in a distance. Okay, define your short-term goal and then don’t do anything now don’t focus on anything else. Devote your entire resources to get getting to that goal. Along the way though to avoid walking in circles you need to stack your stones you need to pile your stones. If you’re familiar with a lot of the hiking tradition or adventure tradition then you probably know what a cairn, it is an ancient practice of stacking stones in the wilderness usually it’s a navigating tool but it’s also has some emotional side of it where if you’re in the middle of the wilderness and you see stack stones you recognize somebody else has been here before there’s some comfort in that. 

So as you define your short-term goal and you’re making your way there you stack stones and what you do is you turn around every now and then and if your stones are not aligned if they’re all over the place you’re probably walking in circles they need to be in a straight line. Then once you make it to that mountaintop this is something a lot of leaders avoid and or don’t even understand once you make it to the mountaintop you need to confirm and celebrate. Confirm to your team that you made it and then devote the time even if feels silly devote the time to celebrate it because morale is everything when you’re in the wilderness. And this is something that Ernest Shackleton one of the great explorers understood better than most. I have some of his story in the book where he would use any excuse while he and his crew were lost in Antarctica trying to find their way out. He would use any excuse to celebrate. They have festivities and this is about 20 dudes barely surviving in the middle of Antarctica and they’re singing and celebrating anything any excuse simply because team morale and an uplifted spirits is actually a key difference between those that face those hardships and survive and those that face those hardships and disappear or die.

Jim Rembach:   I think that’s a good point, be mindful of that and that should be in the forefront of your mind for sure. Okay, there was one thing that you had mentioned as well that for me as I’m getting more and more research about brain activity the way that we decide the way that our motions calls us to take particular actions is that you put in here and I’m beginning to learn that it’s a common—it’s folklore because there doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of scientific basis in it. But you talk about that humans are hard-wired to avoid change, why do you say that?

Jonathan David Lewis:  Human nature like safety likes comfort like stability and so whenever you threaten that whenever you are forced to move outside of that we don’t like it and it’s pretty natural. It’s not that we can’t do it or that we’re not actually good at it, humans are actually very good at change, but only when we have to. This actually goes back to a conversation I have with my colleagues quite a bit. Fundamentally, can companies disrupt themselves from within? That is a big question that we struggle with a lot. At the end of the day can any of these companies outside of some sort existential threat disrupt themselves? I’m not sure you can unless you have to because it’s so painful to change yourself. That’s why we all deal with working out and having a diet and all those things because it’s hard to change yourself and get new habits.

Jim Rembach:   I would love to go deeper into that and talk about some of the science that they’re reading in regards about how we go about deciding and the way that our brain actually starts. It wants to preserve energy so it starts chunking things and in order for us to make a decision quickly it immediately relies back on to past memory. Well, if we don’t have a past memory that creates and yet a different issue but the thing is our brain is built to be efficient and so when we think about change it inherently causes inefficiency. And so the hardwiring is a little bit different that I think people often default to and say, well nobody likes change, that’s not really it. It’s a little bit different than. And so maybe we’ll have another episode just on that particular piece and we’d love to have you back to talk about that. Okay, so gosh! We’ve talked a lot and I said in the beginning you know there was a lot of wisdom that’s going to be shared and we spend a lot of time doing it but we got to move. One of the things that we look at associated with all of the things that we’ve been talking about is—you talked about passion, fear or focus all of those things is we look to quotes. And we’d love to share quotes on the show, can you share one with us that you love?

Jonathan David Lewis:  Yeah. It’s actually by a business partner of mine something that he says quite often and I take really to heart. He has said to me, “You’re going to disappoint somebody so who are you going to disappoint?” and really when I think about a lot of the tough decisions in my life where I’m balancing my wife and three beautiful kids and really helping them and guiding them and supporting them and all of this pressure at work you know leading a company while writing a book and all of those things I know at the end of the day I’m going to disappoint somebody because I’m only me I’m not endless there is a limit to me. So, it’s really been important to me in both kind of admitting it’s going to happen and then giving me permission to do it when I have to but the key is who am I going to disappoint and we have to answer that for ourselves but I have decided I’m not going to disappoint my family if it comes down to it.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks for sharing that it’s a really interesting point. One of the things that you talked about in the book in order for a company—you talked about that bearing piece and what they have to go through. You also talked about a stop analogy and we don’t have time to get in that but the thing is you mentioned the word humility. In that particular quote and what you just explained I think there was a lot of humility in that knowing that, hey, it’s just me I need to well not necessarily be okay with that but know that it’s going to happen and give myself some forgiveness and grace.

Jonathan David Lewis:  And not to give away the book which I’m about to do but that’s really the ultimate conclusion of the book which is selflessness and a degree of humility is the underlying differentiator between—even the iconic leaders that we look to like Steve Jobs and others we don’t associate humility with him but if you look at his almost obsessive focus on serving his customer there was a humility and understanding that that people wanted to do things in a better way in a simpler way. All of the great brands all of the great branding all the great leaders have some level of humility to understand when they failed, when they need to change and understand that it’s not all about them that there to lead a group of people who need nurturing and support. And if you’re just focused on yourself if you’re just focused—pride kills in the wilderness, so humility is throughout every solution there has to be an ounce of humility or it’s probably not the solution.

Jim Rembach:   Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. You’ve talking about humility unfortunately that’s a learned behavior that’s not hardwired. And in order for us to get gained some of that humility we have to have experiences that we go through that cause some turmoil and strife and those are humps that we have to get over. Is there a time where you had to get over the hump that you can share?

Jonathan David Lewis:  Yeah, gosh, there’s been a lot. Honestly, one of the most relevant ones is just this last two years of writing this book. While leading this company it was extremely difficult and the only reason I think I was able to make it through and actually achieve this thing is simply because beforehand when I knew it was coming I sat down with my wife and with my business partners and we agreed to how we are going to conduct this. We agreed together that we see this hard time coming we’re going to sacrifice this amount of time. My business partners agreed to cover me where they needed to cover me and we all got through it together. Even more so I think in terms of marketing and branding and thinking of my own company this entire niche that we’ve developed and our are two national studies and the books that we’ve written they actually came out of our own wilderness are our own difficulty which over ten years ago we made the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies list. And we thought we made it, I mean watch out world nothing can stop us now. And as soon as we made that list our growth stopped we went backwards and over the next two to three years we experienced almost 98% turnover which is just deaf for a professional services firm it was a very difficult time for us so, it was humbling to go back to our point. But the silver lining throughout that was because we made the list we had access to years of these companies who had made the list and we were able to conduct this first round of research which led to everything else. There was something of value that came from it but that in itself was very difficult. And that’s why we can speak with passion and really believe in what we’re teaching and preaching here because we’ve gone through it ourselves we know what it’s like to live through a malaise or to be lost in the wilderness. 

Jim Rembach:   Well thanks for sharing that. You’ve come out the other end you have the book out but now you have to start the even more gargantuan task of promoting it and that’s one reason why you’re on the show, and I’m glad you’re here. You talk about three kids, family, business, you’re a young man, I’m envious you have hair no one can see that but I don’t, is that you’ve got a lot of things going on so if you talk about one goal, what would it be? 

Jonathan David Lewis:  Don’t screw it up. One goal, I want my work and my life to have meaning and that means that I need to have to purposefully sacrifice. So, my one goal would be to provide meaning in my work and in my family without disappointing the wrong people. I think I’m learning that myself. I think certainly this has been a overwhelming and stressful period of years, the last couple of years that I’m making my mistakes, but I’m also hopefully learning from them. I want this to build into something more not tear me down or undermine the fundamental parts of my life. One thing I certainly have learned, I work in a very creative industry obviously marketing it’s all about creativity, and it’s really hard to be creative if you’re kind of the fundamentals in your life are out of whack. If you have unhealthy relationships in your life and your family and the people that are important to you that’s out of whack it’s hard to come to work and focus on other people and focus on breaking the rules and coming up with something brand new. I think my goal really is to protect that and keep that healthy so that I can do my job. 

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 it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Jonathan, 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. Jonathan David Lewis, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Jonathan David Lewis:  I’m ready. 

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  Insecurity. I would say insecurity is both fundamental to my ambition and my success but also the very thing that holds me back in a lot of different ways. 

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  The best leadership advice I’ve ever received is to say no. And it’s so simple we hear it over and over we learn about it everywhere but as a leader if you don’t know when to say no and what your criteria for saying no is in your life and in business and in focusing your company you will not succeed.

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  Absolutely fundamental of my success is consistency. I may not have—while success or go down in the valley of failure but I am very consistent. I show up and I I’m here to work and I show up every single day and I’m very consistent in my own routine.

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  My time by myself most days. Right in the morning I center myself in my personal life I look to God and I listen to podcast and I go for a run and it really prepares me for the day.

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

Jonathan David Lewis:  Easy answer. Going to the heart of what this is all about, the book you need to read today is, Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni. It goes to the heart of what business is all about. It’s about relationships and it’s about dealing with healthy conflict and finding a way to do that. 

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/JonathanDavidLewis. Okay, Jonathan this is my last hump day hold on 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 of skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? 

Jonathan David Lewis:  I remember getting pulled over on my way to work when I was in college. I was speeding and I was late and so on and so forth, the one thing that stuck with me was the officer walked up to my window handed me a ticket and sais, slow down young man. And I’ve really taken that to heart, patience. Be patient. It’s always greener on the other and yet that consistency, that patience will get you so much further. 

Jim Rembach:   Jonathan 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? 

Absolutely. So you can find me at jonathandavidlewis.com, you’ll learn more about my company, my book Brand versus Wild, and of course you can find all my social platforms there as well. 

Jim Rembach:  Jonathan David Lewis thank 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. 

 

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