031: Jeff Furst: I had little confidence in myself

Jeff Furst Show Notes

Jeff Furst was elected as the Alumni Chair, as a sophomore, of a historical fraternity chapter at Northwestern University called Phi Kappa Psi. Instead of doing the typical homecoming duties and the once a year meeting Jeff decided take on the needs of a deteriorating chapter house. Over the next two years Jeff spearheaded the fund raising of over 1 million dollars to help restore the chapter house. Listen to Jeff tell his story of how he overcame low confidence, low engagement and high doubt and flipped things over.

Jeff Furst was born in Freeport, IL and raised in Rockford, IL with his younger sister. Rockford which is known as the screw capital of the world is also the home of the legendary rock band Cheap Trick.

Eventually Jeff found his way to Northwestern University where he earned a degree in Economics.  Jeff especially enjoyed his economic history classes with Joel Mokyr and Charles Calomiris the most.

Following graduation, Jeff worked in commercial banking for American National Bank which is now part of J.P. Morgan Chase.  After three years, Jeff enrolled full-time at The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, now called Booth School of Business, where he earned his MBA.

After graduation, Jeff was recruited by AT&T and moved to New Jersey to work in marketing and product strategy at AT&T.

After a short period of time Jeff decided to follow in his parents, grandfather, and great-grandfather’s footsteps and started his own company.  Today, Jeff is the founder, President, and CEO of FurstPerson.  FurstPerson provides pre-hire assessment tools and services to help companies that hire customer contact employees improve the chances of making the right hiring decision.

Jeff wants to leave a legacy of having raise kids that are good citizens of the earth and to have been a value to his customers.

Jeff still resides in Rockford with his wife and three kids. And he spends his free-time providing taxi services for kdis and volunteering for various organizations and teams that his kids are involved with.  Jeff also enjoys belonging to the cult known as CrossFit.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @furstjeff will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” Jack Welch by Jeff Furst Click to Tweet

“I was able to show I was committed…it helped to get buy in from others.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet

“Be patient and work through things…growth and opportunity come from that.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“If you don’t do this the repercussions can be dramatic.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“I did not want to be a member of a chapter that went out of business.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“You always have to be looking forward.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“What needs to happen tomorrow to make today even better?” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“Hire smart people, give them what they need and then get out of their way.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“Create an environment to empower people.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“What are the gifts each person has; give them what they need to capitalize on them.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet 

“If everybody agrees with you something is wrong.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet

“Be careful of universal agreement and look for the counter-intuitive argument.” -Jeff Furst Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Jeff Furst was elected as the Alumni Chair, as a sophomore, of a historical fraternity chapter at Northwestern University called Phi Kappa Psi. Instead of doing the typical homecoming duties and the once a year meeting Jeff decided take on the needs of a deteriorating chapter house. Over the next two years Jeff built an incredible movement that ultimately raised over $1 million dollars to help restore the chapter house. Listen to Jeff tell his story about getting over the hump so you can move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Hire smart people, give them what they need and then get out of their way.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Focusing on clear goals and strategies. Instead of creating clear goals and strategies I spend too much time in them.

Best Leadership Advice Received

If everybody agrees with you something is wrong. Be careful of universal agreement and look for the counter-intuitive argument.

Secret to Success

Cross Fit and working out. I am a better person because of it.

Best Resources in business or Life

I love reading about business people and historical figures and what they did. Those lesson never die and can be applied in many ways.

Recommended Reading

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Contacting Jeff

email: jeff.furst [at] furstperson.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/furstjeff

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
031: Jeff Furst: I Had a Little Confidence in Myself
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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks, Kimberley. Okay, Fast leader legion you will want to make sure that you actually go to iTunes and download and subscribe the fast leader show, if you haven’t already because today we have somebody who I’ve known for a very long time and I’ve looked up to for a long time and it’s just one of those people that gives a unique perspective and insight on a lot of topics and you’re going get to learn a little bit about what he’s doing today coming up in the show.

Jeff Furst, was born in Freeport, Illinois and was raised in Rockford with his younger sister. Jeff ultimately found his way to Northwestern University where he earned a degree in Economics. Following graduation Jeff worked in commercial banking for American National Bank. After a couple years Jeff decided to enroll full-time at the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business and he earned his MBA. After graduation Jeff was recruited by AT&T and moved to the Garden State of New Jersey where he worked in Marketing and Product Strategy at AT&T. After a few years he decided to follow his parents, grandfather, and great-grandfather’s footsteps and start his own business. Today, Jeff is the Founder, President and CEO of FirstPerson. FirstPerson provides pre-hire assessment tools and services to help companies that hire customer contact employees, improve the chances of making the right hiring decision. So Jeff Furst are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Jeff Fursts: I am Jim. Thanks for having me.

Jim Rembach: I’m glad to have you Jeff. Now I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but could you tell us what your current passion is, so that we get to know you better.

Jeff Fursts: Sure Jim, happy to do so. So I think, put aside having my own company and working on that which is obviously a great passion of mine, I really become quite interested in education and particularly teachers and how teachers are evaluated in the quality of teaching in schools. Obviously, having three kids that are all school-age probably is a big contributor of that. So, I am really interested in what’s going on in the world around teaching, not only here in the United States, but also what else is happening outside the US and other countries and how they approach education.

Jim Rembach: You know, I just had the opportunity to prior to you and I speaking, meet with a professor who is also on that same journey and has that same passion right now. It is amazing to see how much change focus and passion is being put into education, education reform and really creating that next generation of both workforce and leaders and really community leaders and citizens. What are the things you’re working on right now specifically that are really giving your energy towards that particular pursuit?

Jeff Fursts: Sure. The first thing that I’ve been doing a lot of research in and trying to understand and then even taking it back to the schools that my kids are involved in, just trying to understand, for example Jim, what is a good teacher versus a not so good teacher? And what is that mean to an individual student. There’s research out of Stanford, a guy name Eric, I probably won’t pronounce this right the last name correctly it’s I think it’s, Hudecek, but he’s in a lot of research showing that for example a teacher who is above average can accelerate the learning path in the classroom by six months or so versus a teacher who is a below average or isn’t quite up to the capabilities of delivering education could actually have a regression of six-month, right.

For example, kid inner-city schools and kids that are in those environments cause they don’t have any choice, you have five years of bad teachers, well now, that’s 30 months that their potentially behind. So, no wonder once those kids reach the workforce that they’re not—they have a challenge finding jobs, they have a challenge in putting food on the table and obviously the implications to society because of that. So, we’re just kind of focusing on that teacher question and how do schools identify teachers who can be the right fit for the classroom and capable of delivering, at least average if not above average, in the classroom. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that go into that Jim but that kind of links to what I do day-to-day and there’s a natural gravitation or easy path for me to look at that and really get excited about it.

Jim Rembach: As I was listening to you give that answer, and thanks for sharing is, some of the work that you’ve been doing in regards to identifying the right behaviors, the right characteristics of people who actually conserve others well, teachers kind of, like you’re saying, easily fall into that servitude or supporting or helping others type of realm and being able to identify their characteristics is important. While definitely this is a huge issue and is one that we can afford to lose in a lot of different ways and so I hope that you continue to find the passion and the drive to do that. One of the ways that we find drive and passion here on the Fast leader show is that we lean on leadership quotes. Leadership quotes can give us that extra ‘umph’ and that extra focus to help continue on and persevere and get pass. Are there some quotes for you that do just that, can you share them?

Jeff Fursts: Sure Jim. There’s one in particular that I came across early on after I started FirstPerson and found it to be a really helpful. It’s Jack Welch, I’m sure it’s one of many business quotes that he’s probably contribute over the years. So it’s: “Face reality as it is not as it was or as you wish it to be.” I really think that whether you’re leading a company or you’re in a volunteering capacity or whatever it might be, to me that’s really instrumental because a lot of people, and I was early on was one to go this route, you envision how you want things and you kind of pretend the way that that’s what it is, but that’s not reality.

In order to improve your own reality of whether that’s your company’s growth or how they’re at home or a group you might be involved that’s a volunteer even the example we’re talking about like teaching and how do you face reality of what that environment is today but what can you do to move forward. I think unless you’re grounded in that reality and not thinking about how it may have been in the past or how you wish it was, you start with where it is today the reality what it is and then you can work towards helping, lead the organization or being a contributor to others that are leading the organization to get where you want to go. Of course, that means setting goals and such and understanding what that vision ultimately is. But I really found that to be a very practical and helpful quote when I came across that many, many years ago.

Jim Rembach: And I would dare to say that oftentimes we have to essentially sip from that saucer of reality and make sure that we do focus in on what we have to do with what we currently have in front of us. Oftentimes we talked about getting over the hump on the fast leader shows because that’s our dose of reality, to say: “Okay I’ve got to move forward with whatever this particular hump is and get over it.” There’s going to be learnings from that and oftentimes there are things that we carry with us for the rest of our lives. Is there a hump that you remember that you had to get over and that it actually made you be a better person better leader, can you share that story with us?

Jeff Fursts: I sure can Jim. Yeah, so this goes way back to my college days a matter-of-fact. I was a little hesitant to say, well is there anything in college that really makes us who we are and I think obviously the education and classes you take and people you meet are part of that but to me college was also broader experience and so in Northwestern, I belonged to a fraternity Phi Kappa PSI. While most people think of the fraternity environment—parties and lot of fun and certainly there was that, but more importantly Phi PSI was a historical chapter at Northwestern one of the early chapters there and we had a great legacy, but when I was there in the late 80’s we had a lot of problems. The house was falling apart, the chapter house was falling apart, there wasn’t lot of money, and our alumni group was not existent. I was elected as the alumni chair, which probably in most cases is kind of—you have a meeting once a year and you go to homecoming, so that’s what I really need to do. But I got excited about the needs of the chapter house had and thinking through, what are we going to do to fix this? I was probably in my sophomore, so I said there are couple of more years left there and it was really a problem for us. So, my role as an alumni chair, I’m saying, “Well, there’s got to be a way for us to get some more alumni involved for creating a broader network. Fortunately, Northwestern and that was Illinois, a lot of our alumni were very local to the North Shore, Chicago to the city itself and to the other suburbs, so we were geographically in good position but I really felt that there’s a challenge.

You know, the undergraduates they don’t really care what was going to happen. They’re going to leave in two to three years and we obviously had not done a good job of involving the alumni base back into the house and getting them to campus to visit with us. So, for better for worse I took it upon myself to figure out a way, how we can get alumni back involved. I had met this older gentleman who had graduated from Northwestern was a Phi Psi, call him Brother Al, and he had this little pancake business. What he did is he brought in a little equipment and set it up and he made pancakes and he’d do this pancake breakfast. And I thought, well, this is may be an interesting idea, a hook, a gimmick maybe to get—host a breakfast, organize it and bring alumni back to that. I knew I could get the undergraduate members, my fraternity brothers there because on a Saturday, Sunday where we usually eat breakfast, at the kitchens clubs and they’ve been out probably all night and everybody’s hungry. Bottom line is, I setup to organize this first breakfast and work the phones and got about ten or fifteen alumni there. And then we did another one and that grew and we did a third one and that grew and ultimately we had 30, 40, 50, people that had come to these breakfasts at various points. And from there, I was able to get a small advisory group put together and that helped us get a little more framework around more, higher level organization and then ultimately and eventually a year or two later led to a more detailed fundraising campaign.

We ultimately put about $1 million back to house we raised that through working with the University and through alumni donations. But what I learned Jim is, coming back to the hump and the leadership example is that, one is, at that time I had little confidence in myself around leading others especially when you think of your fraternity brothers who, there’s a wide range of interests and thoughts around what should be done and people kind of live their own lives about their studies and we collect together and there certain common bonds that we had but I really was not that confident in how I could lead that group and this was an opportunity to step in and actually try to help the house to be better and try to create a better environment for next year and the year beyond and I think with that I also learned about perseverance.

This took a long time to put together but once I was able to show that I was committed to it and it can create results that focus help to get buy-in from others with other chapter members and such. And it also help me understand how to be creative and—a pancake breakfast that’s kind of ridiculous but it was a nice little gimmick that worked. It was different and it worked to get the alumni’s attention and get them back. That epiphany was really about setting goals and working to them but also how to communicate them over and over and over with that message and understand how to get other people to get bought into it and that really help me—maybe step outside of my shell, being 18, 19 years old and that experience ultimately helped set up eventually when I decide to leave AT&T and start my own company.

Jim Rembach: That’s a great story Jeff. I mean for me, when you were telling it I started coming back to the quote that you said that you like from Jack Welch because to me it was all summarized in which you just shared with us in regards to the hump that you got over with going through that fundraising process and getting so many of those different stakeholders involved with helping to bring that house back to a better sound footing and you know being in better shape, that’s awesome. I think a lot of times it seems that folks want to have that quick turnaround, that short injection, that quick win, that silver bullet all of those things that were told and that are glamorize in news and entertainment and all that. But at 18, 19 especially 18 year 19-year-old today, that’s exactly what they think how everything happens. What was different for you in thinking that, “Okay, start this idea but then let’s expand it, let’s expand it, let’s expand it” because that’s what you kept doing and you didn’t stop. What were some the things that you were thinking about that next step? How did you do that?

Jeff Fursts: Sure, you’re absolutely right. Just to make a quick comment about thinking of today and the world, everything is so quick. If you don’t respond to your e-mail immediately or anything with social media it certainly drives a very responsive world versus taking a step back and thinking things through and having the ability to be patient and work through things. I do get concerned sometimes that we lose that and to me ultimately that’s where growth and opportunities do come from. Going back to your question and the experience back in Northwestern was, it came down to understanding that if we don’t do this the repercussions could be dramatic. The university could come and say, “Look, your house doesn’t meet certain code things and if it doesn’t certain code things were going to shut it down.” “Or you guys can’t live here anymore” that would displace 40 or so people that live in the house. We wouldn’t be able to serve meals there and all of sudden that physical structure becomes a gathering in a point for everybody, and so it doesn’t exist anymore. We can’t go there, we can’t use it and that was going to be a challenge, so that was one thing. Back to reality of what could happen if you play the [16:07 inaudible] a little bit in terms of potential scenarios. The other thing I guess I thought is, for whatever reason if nobody else’s is going to do it or if nobody is thinking about it then this is the things at a higher level that Phi Psi talks about at the national level and such in serving others and being a contributor to your community. And I certainly didn’t want to be a member of a chapter that was the one that went out of business, so to speak. So, taking that approach and coming back to—I didn’t really talk about that initially it was more of people making fun of me about—Oh, we’ll give you pancake breakfast, and Look at what Jeff’s doing. And, “Okay, fine,” you live with that. But the first one once it was partially successful and then the second one was even more successful it just stick in to that and then start and talk about, “Look at this, this is where this could go” we get more alumni here they’re going to help us. They were here in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and they don’t want to see that legacy go away and they want to help and make sure that the chapter continues forward.

And so, it was starting to resonate that craft that message, I give myself probably more credit today than maybe able back then, but crafting a message, “Look, we need to do something and the alumni are the ones who are going to help us get there cause certainly undergrads we don’t have that and university isn’t going to care one way or the other.” So, not only do we need the alumni because of the financial opportunity they could bring but also because they can intervene at the university level and in those types of things. So, just building on that message, and building on that buy-in and continuing to get suggestions as more and more of the chapter members got involved and then once the alumni got involve they had even more ideas and we got things organized. So, really it was just kind of that service component and it’s— you also had to be looking forward. And also, I know I said, I accomplish this today that’s great but what needs to happen tomorrow to make today better, that makes sense.

Jim Rembach: It definitely does, and I appreciate you sharing that story. It makes me even more excited about while you were talking about your current passion around the education efforts and all of the things that you’re doing there, that with the success that you had here, I know you’re going to make a big impact on education, I appreciate that. So if you were to think about what you’ve been doing with the education piece, that story that you had shared about creating that movement, what is one piece of advice that you would give to the fast leader legion?

Jeff Fursts: Sure. Well, this is related a little more to the business side of things but I think it could be expanded to anything. When I first started FirstPerson back in the late 90’s, I had some older individuals who had been, around the blocks so to speak, and the advice they gave me which I’ve took to heart and really think a lot of is: “Hire smart people, give them what they need but then get out of their way” and you think about what does that mean? Well, you create an environment to empower people, whether that’s in a business like you’re not involve in or volunteer work and he was there just because they want to be there and want to try to help. Understanding what are the gifts that these person has? And then giving them what they need to capitalize all those gift but then getting out of their way and let them do their thing. Now, having said that it’s important that there’s a lot of work around communication, the vision of what we’re trying to achieve so you don’t have everybody walking off their own individual path and then the organization can move forward.

Jim Rembach: Well, I appreciate you sharing that piece of advice. Now, we talked about FirstPerson and the work that you do at FirstPerson in helping companies select those right people and hopefully they’re getting out of their way once they do that, but what is really exciting you about some of the work that you’re doing at FirstPerson right now?

Jeff Fursts: Sure. There’s a couple of things, Jim. One, is the application of technology. What we do is we’re helping organizations hire people and we do that because we help them to find a job, we help them create a model that can be measured. In other words, can it come to a process that can be measured and then evaluated against some type of performance outcome? So technology today is really exciting and create a lot of passion in our side because the ability to use different types of web based tools, the ability to interact with data sources and do that in real time has enabled us to do so much more around serving our customers and helping them do things not only at a lower cost but on our faster delivery standpoint. At the same time back to the candidate, and candidate experience were able to create a more engaging a more immersive experience so it’s fun for the candidates. For example, think about using—you create like simulations or kind of game-like tools that a candidate can go through, that’s not only create a much more engaging process for the candidate, it helps maybe the customer promote their brand in a better way, it’s also really predictive performance. And so, technology is really enabling us to do a lot of things. Even five years ago we couldn’t do that because of cause implications or development timelines those types of things, so that’s one thing, And then the data, it already talks about analytics and how to use data and so and so forth and I realize it’s a big buzz word and overused quite a bit. But there are some really neat opportunities to pull various data back to the process. And so where human resources, recruiting and hiring ten years ago, it was kind of a feel good thing. Today there’s an opportunity to quantify the hiring decision, put a financial model around that and so HR can go back to the executive team and talk about, “Look, we’re making these investments and how people are hired.” and as a result we are contributing to business outcomes in a way that it were driving retention from an improvement perspective, we’re hiring people who are better at delivering that customer experience, our C SAS scores are improving, our resolutions improving and now the sudden is becoming an opportunity for that chief Human Resources officer to be an equal at that C Switch level as the CTO or Operational Leaders and such because they can demonstrate a talent strategy in a quantifiable way. It’s great to be a part of that it’s exciting to be part of that, and I think for us in particular the work we’re able to do with our customers and to see how that creates real results is really powerful for us.

Jim Rembach: Well, the Fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Alright! Here we go Fast leader legion, it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Jeff 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 a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jeff Fursts, are you ready to Hoedown?

Jeff Fursts: I am.

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

Jeff Fursts: Thing that’s holding me back Jim is focusing on clear goal. So, instead of working on clear goals and strategy, I spend too much time working in them and got to get away from that.

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

Jeff Fursts: I think, it had something that’s somebody told me. It’s a quote from Mark Twain, if I’m not mistaken, “If everybody agrees with you then somethings wrong.” And so, it’s time to take a step back and find out what really is going on and think through all the angles. Be careful of universal agreement and look for the countered truth of argument there.

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

Jeff Fursts: Cross-fit and working out, believe it or not. So, I find that just with the day-to-day and the amount of stress that incorporate in the business and be responsive and balancing work and family, so the ability to escape for 30 minutes to an hour and exercise really helps me clear my mind refocus on goals and such. So, I find that I’m a better person because of that.

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

Jeff Fursts: I love reading. I think in particular I find that—during the introduction you mentioned economic history class, I love reading about business people or historical figures and what they did. For example one book is heightened Ron Chernow, which is about JD Rockefeller and talks about how he grew up and built his business and there are things maybe I don’t agree with that, but a reader might not, but the lessons learned from his perseverance and understanding of the strategy, of the oil business and gas business how he got there, I just love that historical contacts because I think those lessons never die. They can be applied in any timeframe even today with the technology we have, there’s a lot of parallels.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to other bonus material and that book on the show notes page which you’ll be able to find at Fastleader.net/Jeff Fursts. Okay, Jeff 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 you have back with you but you can’t take everything you can only just take one thing, so what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Jeff Fursts: Jim a piece of knowledge, if I go back to 25 and have this piece of knowledge and start from there be able to control my own destiny and not let others control it for you. The back channel there, decisions that I made post 25 where maybe, we let other partners or other people have too much influence of what we were doing versus controlling ourselves. From a company perspective it would’ve made a huge difference and if I go back and take that one piece of knowledge in terms of controlling my destiny and not letting others influence it, I think my path forward would’ve been very different.

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

Jeff Fursts: Sure! You can connect with me on Twitter @furstsjeff or on Linkedin or my E-mail address is Jeff.fursts@firstperson.com

Jim Rembach: Jeff Fursts, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The Fast leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

030: Carrie Weston: I have to be clear on what I want

Carrie Weston Show Notes

Carrie Weston was given a job offer to leave her current employer. When she looked around, the company had experienced a downturn in sales and a lot of internal movement and uncertainty. A pivotal moment in her career led to a lot of self-reflection. While the time may have been right for others, Carrie decided making a move was not right for her. With an offer in hand, she did something that many others would never do. Listen to Carrie’s story and how she got over the hump.

Carrie was raised in a very conservative, small community just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan called Jenison.  She was the middle child of 3 and was 16 years old when her father provided some life-defining direction.  “Kid – You are smart.  You’re going to college and you are paying for it.  Figure it out.”

Being a self-admitted daddy’s girl and being a rule follower by nature, she did just that.  She elected to commute from home and attend Grand Valley State University, studying Health Science, where among many other experiences she teacher-assisted anatomy labs working on cadavers.

Carrie held many jobs to pay for this education including: working at a gas station as a cashier and as an automotive parts clerk, waitress, phlebotomist and finally as a second shift shipping dock clerk at an automotive re-manufacturing center.

Proudly, Carrie achieved her first goal by obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree and graduating debt-free by the time she was 22 years old.

After a few technical laboratory jobs, including working in an automotive chemical/metallurgical lab and environmental testing where she ran cyanide analysis every day, she knew she wanted more.

Finally, selling her skills until they agreed to interview her. Carrie landed a job with the company she sought and actively recruited because of their global position, culture and values.

20 years later she is still employed by Amway Corporation and proudly holds the title of Global Voice of the Customer Program Owner for Quality Assurance.

Carrie spends her free time either at sporting events or unplugged and “up north” in Michigan with her 4 boys and husband, where they all actively hunt and fish.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @irishmom01 will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Every leader grows over time.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“There’s a whole lot I need to learn and I count on my peers for that.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“I don’t consider myself an island; I have a group of peers.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“Knowing that people are okay in their own world…gets you whole lot farther.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“Just because the time’s right for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s right for me.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“If you’re going to leave you need to know what you’re running to.” -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“If you’re going to run to something are you clear what that is?“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“I can choose to get in the hole every day…or I can choose to do something about it.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“I tend to take my view of my career in much shorter sprints.” -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“I’m not interested in the title as a role, I’m more interested in the fit.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet

“It’s okay to be uncomfortable.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“I should be thankful for what I’m being offered.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

“I’m not really pro-feminist, I’m more pro-knowledge.“ -Carrie Weston Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Carrie Weston was recruited and given a job offer to leave her current employer. When she looked around, her current employer had experienced a downturn in sales and a lot of internal movement and uncertainty. This was a pivotal moment in her career. Carrie decided that a move may have been right for others, but it was not right for her. With an offer in hand, she did something that many others would never consider doing. Listen to Carrie’s story so she can help you move onward and upward faster.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

I tend to have a lot of energy and I need to read my audience better and give them a chance to warm up to my ideas.

Best Leadership Advice Received

It’s okay to be uncomfortable.

Secret to Success

I try to get up every day with an attitude of gratitude.

Best Resources in Business or Life

My peer group and seeking out other leaders.

Recommended Reading

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth

Contacting Carrie

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/carrie-weston/1/82/680

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster

Click to access edited transcript
030: Carrie Weston: I have to be clear on what I want

Intro: Welcome to the Fast leader podcast where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, breakout faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast leader legion, today I have the opportunity to share with you somebody who I met who when I did meet her I thought, “Men she seems interesting.” And I have to hear her story, and I think it would be a great story for the Fast leader legion and that’s why she’s on the show today, and her name is Carrie Weston.
Carrie was raised in a very conservative small town just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan called Jenison, Michigan. She was the middle child of three and was sixteen years old when her father provided some life defining direction, he said: “Kid you’re smart, you’re going to college and you’re paying for it, figure it out”. Being a self-admitted daddy’s girl and being a rule follower by nature, she did just that. She elected to commute from home and attended Grand Valley State studying Health Science where among many other experiences she teacher-assisted anatomy labs working on cadavers.
Carrie held many jobs to pay for this education including working at a gas station as a cashier, and as an auto motive park clerk, waitress, phlebotomist, and finally as a second shift shipping dock clerk at an auto motive re-manufacturing center. Probably, Carrie achieved her first goal by obtaining her Bachelor’s degree and graduating debt free by the time that she was twenty-two years old. After a few technical laboratory jobs including working in an auto motive chemical, metallurgical lab, and environmental testing facility where she ran cyanide analysis every day, she knew she wanted more. Finally, selling her skills until they agreed to interview her, Carrie landed a job with a company she sought and actively recruited because of their global position and culture and values. Twenty years later she is still employed by Amway Corporation and probably holds a title of Global Voice for the Customer program owner for quality assurance.
Carrie spends her free time either at sporting events or unplugged up North in Michigan with her four boys and husband where they actively hunt and fish. Carrie are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Carrie Weston: I am
Jim Rembach: Okay. Well, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction, but can you please tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?
Carrie Weston: Sure. My current passion is split between spending time with my family, who are my first priority and pride and joy, and then also spending time as a growing leader here at Amway working with my team.
Jim Rembach: So when you talk about growing leader, what does that mean for you?
Carrie Weston: Oh my Gosh! I think every leader grows over time and I’ve been at this formally as a leader for three years, there’s a whole lot that I need to learn and I count on my peers for that and I hope I never lose that.
Jim Rembach: Now you talk about peers, and a lot of us have certain ways that we actually use those peers in order to help us do that growing, what are some of the things that you do?
Carrie Weston: I don’t consider myself an island. I have a group of peers here who have been down the similar path, and even if they haven’t been down the same path they all have great advice and experiences that I can learn from to help me along and guide my journey.
Jim Rembach: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of sources that many of us use in order to do just that. One of the things that we focus on at Fast leader show is leadership quotes because they can give us some insight, different perspective, and things that we otherwise just wouldn’t find on our own. Is there a quote or two for you that kind of does just that? Can you share it with us?
Carrie Weston: Absolutely. I did some reflection on this because there’s been one quote that I’ve held tight to for a very long time and it’s still resonates with me, so I’m not going to change it on you, [Laugh] and that ones from Theodore Roosevelt and it is: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” And I tend to take a very servant leadership approach with my team and family and that one really guides my decisions in what I do.
Jim Rembach: And that’s definitely a good quote and I’ve kind of heard little bit, different versions of that throughout the course of time. I don’t know, for me it just resonates so much when you think about what really motivates people, that intrinsic drive. I also heard one thing that talks about, you know, people would say: “It’s a misnomer to think that you need to make the effort of trying to get people to like you.” Really the effort, it really should be spent around trying to get people to realize that you like them.
Carrie Weston: Right. Knowing that people are okay in their own world and investing time into them and making sure they’re personally okay, first, gets you a whole lot further with your family and in leadership.
Jim Rembach: And there’s times when I know for myself, ‘I didn’t quite do that.’ We often call those burning of bridges and things like that, and we wish we can go back and correct in real time would be ideal to do that. That’s one of the things that we focus on the Fast leader show, is to try to give people experiences and insights from others, so that hopefully they can stop in the moment and not burn a bridge because you never know when you may have to cross it again. I know I’ve had humps to get over, we all have, I mean you talked about—in your bio, the hump of having to actually pay for your own education and you got over that hump, but is there a time where you can remember a hump that you had to get over and it really gave you that learning so that you can actually move onward and upward faster, can you share that story with us?
Carrie Weston: Sure! Very early on in my career here at Amway, probably about five years in, I had moved into the supple chain department and was doing well but Amway sales had taken a turn. We were looking at restructuring and re-organizing and at that point there were a lot of internal movement as well as recruiters going actively. A pivotal moment in one’s career might be, “Do I want to be an individual contributor? Do I want to be a leader and take up an offer? Or do I even want to leave this company?” So there was a lot of self-reflection for me. I choose to try to be as self-aware of my own needs as I can be. The one big hump that was very obvious to me was—just because the time’s right for someone else doesn’t mean the time is right for me and I have to be clear on what I want. There were some great leaders here who helped me navigate that.
Jim Rembach: I think a lot of times people get stuck on the fence because of that whole fear issue, fear of failure, fear of leaving and losing, I mean all of those fear factor components, how were you able to balance that fear factor to know that you did make the right decision?
Carrie Weston: I gave it a good amount of time. I ended up getting recruited away from the company. I got an offer and I know myself and the offer didn’t feel good, it didn’t feel right to leave. So, I took the time that I needed to think it through and to be true to myself and really reflect on what was right for me at that time and to be honest about it.
Jim Rembach: So I know for me, I kind of did the opposite, meaning that, I had an opportunity and I took it and actually this happened more than once, so, you think shame me twice. Anyway, I didn’t do a good job of evaluating the opportunity and maybe I needed to have a little bit more fear and apprehension but I made the leap and it was not the right leap. What are some of the things that stuck out to you, to tell you, nope this isn’t it?
Carrie Weston: It didn’t feel right to take the offer. In considering my options I had chosen to be at Amway. I had sought this company out and it felt good to be here. I knew my work here wasn’t done, just the time wasn’t right of what I was being asked to do. I chose to be very honest with my leadership and laid the offer out and had a discussion with them about what this meant to them, thankfully they came back with a beautiful counter offer. And some additional points to invest in my growths to both meet my financial but my personal needs too which I think was wise on their behalf.
Jim Rembach: So there’s a couple of things that you mention within that story, and thank you again for sharing it. You talked about ‘seeking them out and really reinforcing that decision as you are going through this journey’, I mean, what are some of the things that caused you to have that tighter bond to Amway and held you there?
Carrie Weston: The culture that we have here, the opportunity that this company holds, my peer group, and I was very tightly invested in the work that I was doing. Someone said to me once, “If you’re going to leave, you need to know what you’re running to, are you running from something or you’re running to something? And if you’re going to run to something, are you clear what that is?” Just because the offer was made doesn’t mean that’s what I wanted, sure it was tempting but that’s not necessarily where I wanted to be if that wasn’t my endpoint.

Jim Rembach: Now you mentioned the word “culture” and talking about seeking them out and opportunities and things like that, what are some of the things specifically that ties you to the Amway organization?

Carrie Weston: Amway is built on a culture of community and on relationships. The goal here is to help people live better lives, that’s what we do. This company holds true to doing that for employees, as well as ABO’s or distributors or customers.

Jim Rembach: I know when we had the opportunity to meet at the Customer Experience Professionals Association Member Insight Exchange recently you were talking about a project that was global in nature, that was really taking and consuming a lot of your time and effort and we were sharing a whole lot of ideas about some of the humps in regards to some of that project work you were doing in getting over them but when you think about that particular role and what you’re doing now with Amway, what are some of the things specifically that it gives you that excitement?

Carrie Weston: It’s the ability to make a change. So, I now manage a division of the complaint department. I can either choose to get in the hole every day because all we hear is bad news or I can choose to do something about it. I’m being afforded the opportunity to change some of the game here, to do something about it and contribute to helping people live better lives by running a business that we offer.

Jim Rembach: So Carrie I know, I’ve been in service recovery opportunities throughout my career I can say that I’m even in that now when you come to personal professional business but when you think about constantly hearing the negative it is so draining for folks, I mean how do you find a way to keep them motivated when their always hear negative, is there a story that you can share with us about how you do that?

Carrie Weston: Sure. The nature of what we do every day is managing product complaints and that can be a functional complaint where a product’s not doing what we needed to or it could be something a little less serious and the goal for my team is to solve the problem so that people understand and their needs are met. But then also, taking that situation, learning from it, engaging our peers internally in product development and marketing and making a change to the product so that we don’t head down that same path again so they get to run an offense, they get to choose to participate in running an offense.

Jim Rembach: So, it sounds like the motivation comes from not just doing that service recovery in moment but it’s also knowing that there’s an impact and effect downstream that could ultimately make a product change and people can see that through the process that’s what it sounds like.

Carrie Weston: Absolutely. We can affect our future, we don’t have to sit back and just manage complaints, and we can choose to do something about it that’s more forward-looking. And it puts the company in a better light it serves someone’s business a little better in the future.

Jim Rembach: I know that this particular role is something that you’re currently doing right now and you been with the organization for a long time, what are some of your goals?

Carrie Weston: Oh my goodness! That’s a hard question Jim. I tend to not take a five year macro view, I tend to take my view of my career in much shorter sprints and it’s built mostly around what I’m learning. So, I have a deep interest now in staying with Amway if I can and learning more about other parts of the organization, specifically sales, our affiliate’s and the ABO’s because the experience, with the customer experience, is so intriguing to me and it is brand new.

Jim Rembach: So you mentioned ABO a couple times. What is ABO?

Carrie Weston: ABO’s are our Amway Business Owners. So Amway is a direct sell company and people can choose to sign up for the business opportunity and run their own small Amway business.

Jim Rembach: So, Carrie you talked about not taking a macro view of what your goals and your aspirations are,e which a lot of people actually think much further down the road looking at five-year ten-year plan and where they want to retire and all of those things and you’re taking a much shorter view, so why do you take that viewpoint versus the longer?

Carrie Weston: I think it’s based on some of the learnings that I’ve had in my most recent past. I sought the help of a career counselor who gave me much smaller sound bites to work in. I’m not interested in having to become the director of this or the VP of that, I’m more interested in taking the skills and the knowledge that I have and understanding what’s in sweet spot and helping that match with something that the company offers, because really in coaching and developing people that’s where you get the most out of someone. I’m not interested in the title as a role, I’m more interested in getting the fit.

Jim Rembach: I think that is where a lot of us need to probably do a better job of, focusing in on fit because if not it ends in frustration.

Carrie Weston: Exactly.

Jim Rembach: And so thanks for sharing that viewpoint and the Fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Alright here we go Fast leader Legion it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Carrie 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 a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Carrie Weston, are you ready to Hoedown?

Carrie Weston: You bet.

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

Carrie Weston: I tend to have a lot of energy. I tend to be an inspirational and visionary leader. And I know that my energy can sometimes be too fast for some others and I need to read better my audience so that I can give them a chance to warm up to my ideas.

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

Carrie Weston: The best advice I received was from one of our director and he told me it’s okay to be uncomfortable.

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

Carrie Weston: Every day, and I don’t get this everyday I’m not a master at it, but I try to get up and have an attitude of gratitude every day. I should be thankful for what I’m being offered.

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

Carrie Weston: Leadership in life is to my peer group here. Seeking out fellow leaders.

Jim Rembach: What would be one book you would recommend to our listeners?

Carrie Weston: The book I read most recently is called “Knowing your Value” and it just gives a really good perspective. I’m not really pro-feminist, I’m more pro-knowledge and it gives a really good balance of knowledge that I did not have before, for myself and for others.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader legion, you can find the links and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Carrie Weston. Okay, Carrie 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 you have to choose one, What one skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Carrie Weston: I would take back with me the ability to earn trust faster. I think if my team were suffering or struggling, I would seek to walk a mile in their shoes first whereas when I was twenty-five I think I would have rolled up my sleeves and just tried to fix it for them, just a wrong way to go about it.

Jim Rembach: Carrie Weston it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast leader listeners how they can connect with you?

Carrie Weston: Sure. They can get a hold on me on my LinkedIn account at Carrie Weston

Jim Rembach: Carrie Weston thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The Fast leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

029: Carol Sharicz: What can you lose if you take that risk?

Carol Sharicz Show Notes

When Carol Sharicz was a new professor and tasked with inviting a guest speaker for an annual conference at her college she came up with an idea to invite a high-profile local celebrity. Once she shared her idea the senior leadership she was met with negativity as to the unlikelihood of this celebrity accepting the invitation. Not permitting this negativity to stop her Carol moved forward, obtained acceptance and got over the hump.

Carol was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a very working class kind of community and if you ever meet anyone from Dorchester to this day, the very first question they will ask is, “What parish are you from”??

So far, Carol has worked in 13 countries, including Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, former Soviet Union countries, and Russia. Because of these experiences, Carol has developed a real appreciation and fascination with other cultures and interacting with people from around the world. Many of these experiences have resulted in life-long friendships, too.

Carol worked at Motorola at the beginning of her career, was recruited to co-design a Master’s program at Suffolk University in Boston where she was a tenured professor.

Currently, she is a professor at UMass Boston in Dorchester where she was born so she feels like she has “come home” to her roots. She is also an author and a consultant to many different kinds or organizations…healthcare, non-profit, educational, and for-profit, focusing on leadership, emotional intelligence, and systems thinking. She is the author of a systems thinking book entitled, The Big Picture: A Systems Thinking Story for Managers that presents systems thinking in very straight-forward language with practical examples.

Carol also has twin daughters who, when they were born, were 3 months early and only weighed 2 pounds…this one life-changing experience in and of itself confirmed for her the belief in miracles!

Two adventures that Carol has particularly enjoyed was walking across England with her daughters and riding her bicycle 1,000 miles throughout Scandinavia.
Her legacy…to have been known as a kind person. Even to this day, her mom who will be 84 on Aug. 9 still mentions how important it is to be kind to others.

Carol currently lives in Quincy, Massachusetts with her husband Karl.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @csharicz will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet

“Take the time to pay attention more, to observe more and to really listen.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet

“It’s important for a leader to have boundaries…and still be aware of other’s needs.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet

“When you believe in something…what can you lose if you take that risk.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“Taking the other person’s perspective is important to see what you can work with.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“What’s really fueling you; what’s your passion?” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“If people could really feel something in their heart…go for it.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“Sometimes I say to myself…be yourself.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“Are we disciplined in our action; are we disciplined in our thought.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

“I would have loved to have had a trusted advisor.” -Carol Sharicz Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

As a new professor, Carol Sharicz was tasked with inviting a guest speaker for an annual conference at her college. Carol came up with an idea to invite a high-profile local celebrity. Once she shared her idea the senior leadership she was met with negativity as to the unlikelihood of this celebrity accepting the invitation. Not permitting this negativity to stop her Carol moved forward, obtained acceptance and got over the hump.

Advice for others

What really fueling you? What’s really your passion? If you can really feel something in your heart, go for it.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Not knowing what my next medium should be to get my ideas out.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Be yourself. If came from my dad and several others.

Secret to Success

I read every single day and it helps me think about what’s needed in my classes or a project.

Best Resources in business or Life

I go to major books, whether they be current or not.

Recommended Reading

Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)

Contacting Carol

email: csharicz [at] comcast.net

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/csharicz

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Click to access edited transcript
029: Carol Sharicz: What can you lose if you take that risk?
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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, today you get an opportunity to share one of my first husband-and-wife tandem. Previously I had Karl Sharicz on the show and now I get Karl’s better half, Carol Sharicz to interview today.

Carol was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a very working class kind of community and if you’ve ever met anyone from Dorchester to this day the very first question they will is, “What parish are you from?” So far, Carol has worked in 13 countries including Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan the former Soviet Union countries and Russia. Because of these experiences Carol has developed a real appreciation and fascination with other cultures and interacting with people from around the world. Many of these experiences have resulted in lifelong friendships too.

Carol worked at Motorola at the beginning of her career and was recruited to design a Master’s program at Suffolk University in Boston where she was a tenure professor. Currently she is a professor at UMass Boston and Dorchester were she feels like she has come home to her roots. She’s also an author and a consultant to many different kinds of organizations, healthcare, nonprofit educational, and for profit, focusing on leadership, emotional intelligence and systems thinking.

She is the author of a systems thinking book entitled, “The Big Picture.” A system thinking story for managers that presents systems thinking in a very straightforward language with practical examples. Carol has also two twin daughters, when they were born three months early and only weigh 2 pounds, this is one of the life-changing experiences for Carol and in it itself confirmed her belief in miracles. Two adventures that Carol has particularly enjoyed was walking across the Europe with her daughters, and riding her bicycle a thousand miles to Scandinavia.

Her legacy is to have been known as a kind person. Even to this day her mother, who will be 84 in a couple weeks as the taping of this show, still mentions how important it is to be kind to others. Caroline Sharicz, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Carol Sharicz: Yes I am, Jim. [Laugh] Thank you.

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

Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. My current passion, Jim, is I absolutely love being with people, I’m a teacher, like you had mentioned—I’m a professor in UMass Boston, and found that has been a real threat in my life. I knew it when I was in first grade, when I went to Perkins School in Dorchester and a man asked me what I wanted to be, I wanted to be a teacher. And to this day I still hear from a lot of my students and to me that’s very heartwarming because you feel like you’re making a difference.

Jim Rembach: I often find how—as even were [2:54 inaudible ] in our own students, that we always have that one teacher maybe even a couple teachers that have made such an impact on our lives and those teachers are, like you said, very touched when some of those students come back and share with them how much of an impact they made on their lives. Is there one particular student story that you can recall that really has made an impact on you? Can you share that with us?

Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. And Jim, it’s funny you should be asking me this question because as we’re taping this on Friday, I literally just got an email, two days ago Wednesday, from a former student of mine at Suffolk University. He is a Training and Development manager at an Insurance company in Boston. And he said to me that he to this day when he does his training with his classes, he mentions me because of what an inspiration I was. But he mentioned something that took me by surprise he said in addition to how you teach, Carol, which was memorable, but you always made a connection with your students. And he says in case some point he says, here we are, who hears from their professor who is able to talk to their professors ten years later.
I literally, Jim, and just thought that two days ago, so, to me that was a, “you made my day.” [Laugh]

Jim Rembach: I can only imagine especially when I didn’t even know that, it just happen to…

Carol Sharicz: I know.

It’s pretty interesting that it was such a coincidence but I would dare to say that, especially as we age and as all of the people who we mentor and we get the opportunity to help with their advancement and development, as they get older they realize those things too, so, I would bet that you’re going to get a heck a lot more of those e-mails in the future. And hopefully the show will help make that more visible as well so people will reach out to you.

Carol Sharicz: Thank you, Jim.

Jim Rembach: There are ways that we become inspired as individuals to help others and as you know we focus on leadership quotes at the Fast Leader Show because there’s just so much depth and meaning to those. Is there a quote or two that really has special meaning for you that you can share with us?

Carol Sharicz: There’s one that came from a book and even my children will tell you this, Jim. “The Little Prince” and it was the fox who said: “It’s only with the heart that one can see clearly with essential is invisible to the eye.” And that really has always resonated with me because I think life is what’s more of the invisible and how do we pay attention to that.
Jim Rembach: So, for you—we talked previously about some of the work that you’ve been doing and you even mentioned in your bio in regards to system thinking and emotional intelligence, have you created your own personal system to get to that better understanding and clarity and the things that aren’t so clear and spoken?

Carol Sharicz: Again a great question and my answer is—I think it’s a work in progress. [Laugh] I think we haven’t really arrived and when we’re aware of it I think for me taking the time to pay attention more, to observe more, and to really listen. I know my daughters will said that I’m a good listener, but I think even more so now. I really taking the and try not to be distracted, sometimes when I really working I might said, I want to focus on my work, I had to let that go and just say, you know, somebody just came in to my office I really need to pay attention. And sometime it’s a reminder to myself to do that but I feel like it helps a lot to focus on that other person.

Jim Rembach: You bring up a good point in regards to active listening which is one of the competencies associated with emotional intelligence. For me, I’d even have to be more mindful to tell folks that, you know, I want to give you full attention and want to be able to listen to you and be able to respond to you appropriately and I can’t do that right now because I am distracted or I need to put this away or I need to finish this and just hold on a moment. Initially it may seem rude but I know for me it’s allowed me to do just that focus better.

Carol Sharicz: And you know, you bring up a good point about—in a way you didn’t use the word ‘boundary’ but it’s important for a leader to have that boundary to say, this is what I need right now, and still be aware of the needs of the other people.

Jim Rembach: Definitely. And like you say, it is a work in progress. I mean, sometimes we can come to those conclusions a little bit faster. We have to go through our own life experiences and hopefully learn in the process. But at the Fast Leader Show we also give people the opportunity to learn to the stories of others. Even myself, I’m an open book in a lot of the things, I mean, I share as much as I can so that hopefully somebody can be really helped and aided in getting over that hump faster. And so we talk about a lot of learnings, is there a story that you can share with us that helped you learn and get over the hump faster?

Carol Sharicz: I have two examples, Jim, and they both have the same theme to them. One, when I was in high school and I had all my credits for my senior year. I had this idea early one morning to go to my guidance counselor to see if I could go high school in the morning and college in the afternoon. And kind of thought for a second and he said, “Well, you know, that’s never been done, Carol.” And I said, “Well, could you ask?” and he did. To his credit which is great, and he came back and he said, “Carol they let you go.” So I went to high school in the morning and college in the afternoon.

I had another example very similar to that. This happened when I was a new professor, Jim. And myself and a colleague were task with inviting a guest speaker for our annual conference at the college, and this is a really big deal, and I came up with this idea of inviting Keith Lockhart who’s the Boston Pops Conductor, in fact, he just started after I did at this university. My senior leadership at the team said, “You’re inviting him, he’s not going to come. Who do you think you are you’re thinking of a person like that?” And I said, “Well, you know, you never know until you ask.” So, I sent out the invitation, his administrative team got it and he accepted.
So, he came to the university and gave a wonderful presentation. What I learned from both of those examples is that when you have this ideas and you want to bring them forward, and I’m not saying every idea has to be accepted I understand that, but when I think when a person really believes in something it’s worth pursuing it and not being stopped at No—it’s like, what can you lose if you take that risk.

Jim Rembach: I have been reading your bio and as you tell those stories and using that word risk, I think that’s really the underlying theme here is that, you weren’t afraid to approach folks and take those risks. And because like you said, it doesn’t hurt to ask the worst thing that could be happening would be that no response, and you’re never going to get that unless you take that first leap or the first step. Obviously, you’ve been doing that at a very early age because when talked about doing it in high school and things like that. When there was a time where you got some resistance how did you get over that hump?

Carol Sharicz: I definitely got resistance and I think that those instances like I said, I really understand too within myself that everybody has ideas not every ideas are going to be accepted but when I did get that resistance I did take a step back and revaluated it for myself to say, “Okay, why was this person not as excited as I was? What else is going on? What’s the bigger context? In a [10:53 inaudible] systems thinking like to look at that bigger context. So, it kind of made me pause, which I think is always healthy too.

Jim Rembach: So, I could absolutely see that when you got that resistance and you’ve taken that steps back and you looked at that bigger picture, that system, that you’ve often gone back and try to make yet another attempt, have you found something that seems to work better than not in regards to going back and then finally getting that acceptance or that approval?

Carol Sharicz: Absolutely, Jim. I think the one thing that I learned is that—again I might have all this great ideas and I get excited about my ideas, who doesn’t right? But I really kind of look at it from the other person’s perspective. What are their motivations? What are they looking for in the organization? And so, it wasn’t just about me it’s taking again then other perspectives as important as mine and seeing what we could work with.

Jim Rembach: I think that also is a really important point. I recently was introduced to a particular study that was completed talking about how do you defuse a heated situation? How do you essentially bring yourself back down from that ‘box’ you maybe on? Because I know for me, sometimes when I get really excited and frustrated about something it’s hard to dial it back down. And they found that one particular method isn’t necessarily putting yourself in those environments and the other person’s perspective or point of view but it’s to pretend like you’re a fly on the wall observing the interaction and the situation. And when they said that that gives people a better perspective about what’s going on and helps them back down better, and then maybe take a different approach. And I thought that was fascinating.

Carol Sharicz: I do too.

Jim Rembach: When you think about the work that you’re doing now, and I know we’ve talked about this earlier from the teaching piece, the author piece, speaking and your volunteer work, what is one thing that’s currently driving you now that just gives a lot of energy and passion?

Carol Sharicz: The one huge thing right now, Jim is, I was on a strategic planning committee for an in purpose community here in Massachusetts. We we’re tasked with—we got a small grant to help design a new academy for—and it was called, the academy for innovators and entrepreneurs. It was targeted for kids 9th grade to 12 who might be on the verge of dropping out of school. And could we really design a different curriculum, more of an international baccalaureate kind of curriculum which would really encompass having them be more reflective, critical thinkers, but a lot of the key competencies that are needed now in 21st century, and to me that project had to be one of the best projects I had ever worked on. And we really want to see this continue to become an actual academy because I think it could really make a difference in this young children’s lives and for the economy and the local community too.

Jim Rembach: I would say that—we know education has gotten so very, very bad press it’s gotten some very—I guess a heated discussion and debate in regards to a lot of the things that’s trying to be instituted and it sounds like you’re having some success with the program that you’re doing. And so, please share that with us so that other people maybe can get exposed to it that have the passion for the reengineering education, what’s the name of the organization?

Carol Sharicz: The actual school system is down in Cape Cod at the Wareham Public Schools. Like I said, it was a planning committee that we’re a part of, so we’re just laying the foundation. But to me that’s true with any project, you have to lay that foundation and to me it was also [14:50 inaudible] because of my systems lens. We we’re working with a lot of difference they call this if you will, from the Superintendent of the schools down there to the school committee. Member was represented, we brought students in to hear their voices of what kind of school could they imagine for their future. We had a parent on the committee in addition to the principal of the high school. So, to me that’s what it’s about when you’re really looking at real systemic issues. Like you said, Jim, we do have a lot of issues. One is dedication and economic and what have and the more we can bring effective people together to craft something for where we want to be in the future, where we need to be in the future, that’s exciting.

Jim Rembach: So, if you were to think about the stories you had shared earlier about being bold, about stepping back storage unit shared earlier about your being bold about your stepping back and looking at the big picture lens bringing all these different constituents together through this work that you’re doing, and this planning committee on this education program all of those things, if you had a piece of advice that you would give to our Fast Leader Legion, what would it be?

Carol Sharicz: To me how I think about this work is—and what to say to everybody is, “What’s really fueling you? What is your passion? And I know other people in your other podcast had mentioned that too. I don’t want that to sound like a [16:13 inaudible] expression, it really is. If people could feel something in their heart, and it doesn’t have to be education my example that I gave you, it could be anything, it’s go for it. And it’s not going to be easy, but to me I think it’s such a deep motivation and it’s so satisfying, it’s almost indescribable.

Jim Rembach: That intrinsic drive is an important piece we definitely have to be able to find it and then feel it. Alright, now it’s time for the rapid pace of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Carol, 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. Caroline Sharicz, are you ready to hoedown?

Carol Sharicz: You bet I am, Jim.

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

Carol Sharicz: Not knowing what my next medium, as far as getting my new ideas out there. Shall I write another book? Do blogs? That’s what really my challenge is right now.

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

Carol Sharicz: Be yourself. It really is. It came from my dad, it comes from other people, even to this day and sometimes I say that to myself, “Just be yourself, Carol.”

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

Carol Sharicz: I don’t think this is going to be a surprise to anybody. I read every day and that helps me think about what is needed in my classes or on a project.

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

Carol Sharicz: I really go to major books whether they be current books. There’s one that was written by a really prominent person, Lee Kwan Yew, he just [18:08 inaudible] but he wrote a book called, “The Grand Master.” And even presidents of the United States have consulted with him. He has insights on China, the US and the world. And to me, he has some very provocative thoughts and his book about –it’s all being about discipline. Are we disciplined in our action, discipline in our thought and I think that’s a huge message too.

Jim Rembach: That’s for sure. We’re going to put a link to that book and several other resources on our show notes page which you’ll be able to find at fastleader.net/Carol Sharicz. Okay, Carol, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given question 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 back with you but you can’t take everything, you can only take one piece of knowledge or skill back with you, what would you take back? And why?

Carol Sharicz: I would love to have had a trusted adviser when I was 25. Somebody that I could go to and say, “Can I vouch this ideas off with you? And just share my thinking rather than always been working it out myself. I think that would have been very beneficial in a lot of instances.

Jim Rembach: And for me, when I haven’t been able to find that person and moments of time, sometimes being that person for someone else often opens that door.

Carol Sharicz: Absolutely.

Jim Rembach: Carol it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?

Carol Sharicz: Absolutely. I’m in LinkedIn, I am also in Twitter and those are probably the best ways to get in touch with me in addition to my email of course, which is csharicz@comcast.net.

Jim Rembach: Carol 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

028: Lance Miller: I’m emotionally and spiritually dead

Lance Miller Show Notes

Lance Miller thought he had a life plan set in front of him. As the third generation in a family business Lance was all set. But then he found himself looking in the mirror one morning thinking he was emotionally and spiritually dead. It was then he realized that he needed to get away and figure his life out. Listen to Lance tell his story and some valuable lessons so you can get over the hump.

Lance Miller is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Food Systems, Economics and Management.  He began working as a teenager in his family’s milk and ice cream company in Indiana, learning real life lessons while working in the processing plant, running delivery routes and managing retail stores. He gained valuable experience in understanding the importance of hard work and service in handling both employees and customers.

He has held sales and management positions with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Nestle, Anheuser Bush and Katz Media Group. For 15 years he developed and managed sales and marketing programs for businesses in the fields of Law, Construction, International Finance, Alternative Health and the Internet. He has also key leadership roles in completing 5 new business start-ups and product launches.

He has traveled extensively and has held leadership positions forwarding numerous international Humanitarian causes.

In the early 1990’s he was a Founding Member of The Fair Tax Initiative and debated federal tax policy on over 300 radio and TV shows and scores of community forums.

He served as Vice-President of the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance where he organized and led International Human Rights Marathons in the U.S and Europe covering over 10,000 miles in over 15 countries.

He served as the President of The Way to Happiness Foundation International. The Foundation delivers programs in 94 languages and 100 countries teaching universal character and ethics principles to assists individuals and organizations around the world by creating values of trust, honesty and responsibility.

In addition to an extensive business background, he has sat atop 14,000 ft. peaks, rafted some of the roughest whitewater in U.S., sailed transatlantic from the Virgin Islands to Norway, piloted his own aircraft hundreds of hours from Northern Michigan to the tip of Key West, scuba dived under the ice of frozen lakes in the dead of winter and twice hitchhiked through Europe.

Lance is a member of Rotary International and Toastmasters International. He is a Distinguished Toastmaster and in 2005 he emerged from a field of over 30,000 contestants from more than 100 countries to win the title of the World Champion of Public Speaking and over the last 25 years he has delivered more than 4,000 presentations in over 50 countries.

His real life experience brings fun, lively and entertaining presentations to the podium. Lessons of leadership, integrity, responsibility and honesty are the Hallmark of his messages.

Lance currently lives in Los Angeles with Kathleen.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @LanceSpeaks will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“I was capable of a lot more than I ever realized I was.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“As long as I stay on my purpose in life things work out.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“The good Lord doesn’t give you youth and wisdom at the same time.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“There’s a big difference between being smart and wise.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Integrity is always doing what you promise and wisdom is knowing what to promise.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“You know it’s true when it happens to you.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Good judgement comes from experience and a lot of experience comes from bad judgement.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Embrace the experience you had and learn from it. Don’t get hung up on the win or loss.” -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“I’m not going to live my life for 40 years in a job I don’t like.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“You’re gaining wisdom as you live your life.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“If you are in a situation that is not good, look at what you are benefitting.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“As soon as you can, you need to be true to your core purpose.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Get on that dream or purpose you have as soon as you can.“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Anybody can fire a man, that doesn’t take any special skill or talent. Can you get them to work?“ -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“Each one of us needs to find what is right for us.” -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“If I’m not succeeding enough it’s because I’m not failing enough.” -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

“If I’m not winning enough it’s because I’m not losing enough.” -Lance Miller Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Lance Miller thought he had a life plan set in front of him. As the third generation in a family business Lance was all set. But then he found himself looking in the mirror one morning thinking he was emotionally and spiritually dead. It was then he realized that he needed to get away and figure his life out. Lance decided to move to Los Angeles and set a new path. Listen to Lance tell his story and some valuable lessons so you can learn how to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

If you are in a situation that is not good, look at what you are benefitting. As soon as you can, you need to be true to your core purpose. Don’t delay it, do it now.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

A current failed business start-up has drained my resources and I’m trying to build my base back up.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Anybody can fire a man, that doesn’t take any special skill or talent. Can you get them to work?

Secret to Success

Being able to laugh. Being able to glean the silver lining in life’s lessons.

Best Resources in business or Life

Hands on experience and the mentors I have had. And reading and learning.

Recommended Reading

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Contacting Lance

Website: www.LanceMillerSpeaks.com

Linkedinhttps://www.linkedin.com/pub/lance-miller/3/416/955

email: lance@lancemillerspeaks.com

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
028: Lance Miller: I’m emotionally and spiritually dead

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.

Jim Rembach: Okay Fast Leader legion, I am really excited to share with you the person who I have on the show today because he’s one of those folks where you would say, “Gosh, how was he been able to do all the things he’s done?” “Well, he’s old, of course.” Lance Miller is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Food Systems, Economics and Management. He began working as a teenager and his family’s milk and ice cream company learning life lessons while working in the processing plant, running delivery routes, managing retail stores, and he gained valuable experiences in understanding the importance of hard work and service in handling both employees and customers.

Lance has held sales and management positions with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, Nestlé, Anheuser-Busch, and Katz Media Group. For 15 years he developed and managed sales and marketing programs for businesses in the fields of law, construction, international finance, alternative health and the Internet. He has also held key leadership roles in completing five new business startups and product launches. He has traveled extensively and has held leadership positions forwarding numerous international humanitarian causes.

In the early 1990’s he was a founding member of the Fair Tax Initiative and debated federal tax policy on over 300 radio and TV shows and scores of community forums. He has served as Vice President of the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance where he organized and led international human rights marathons in the US and Europe covering over 10,000 miles and over 15 countries.

He served as the President of The Way to Happiness Foundation International. The foundation delivers programs in 94 languages in 100 countries teaching universal characteristics and ethics principles to assist individuals and organizations around the world by creating values of trust, honesty and responsibility. In addition to an extensive business background he has at the top 14,000 foot peaks, rafted some of the roughest whitewater in the US. Sail Transatlantic from the Virgin Islands to Norway and piloted his own aircraft, scuba-dived under the ice of frozen lakes in the dead of winter and twice hitchhiked throughout Europe.

Lance is a member of Rotary international and Toast Master International. He is a distinguished Toast Master. In 2005, he emerged from the field of over 30,000 contestants from more than 100 countries to win the title of world champion of public speaking. And over the last 25 years, he has delivered more than 4,000 presentations in over 50 countries. Lance currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Kathleen. Lance Miller are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Lance Miller: After an introduction like that I hope I can. Thank you, Jim.

Jim Rembach: You’re going to have to because like I said that’s so extensive. I was just kidding on the age thing, I mean, you’re still a young man you got a lot to do. I’ve shared with our guests quite a bit about you but can you tell us which are current passion is so we can get to know you even better?

Lance Miller: My current passion is really helping people to rediscover what I found in my own life which was I was capable of a lot more than I ever realized I was. And I was figuring out how to get out of my own way and also tap into those skills, those passions, those convictions that I had. Where did I really live as a core being? And what I really learned in life, as long as I stay on my purpose in life things will work out but it’s so easy to get off on somebody else’s purpose and you wind up stuck in a ditch with the wheels spinning.

And what I really try to do is inspire people, to ignite in them what their core beliefs are, and what their true story in their life is and that was a long journey for me and I try to shorten it for them by taking them to the process that I went through. I do that through public speaking, through seminar training, through one-on-one coaching.

Jim Rembach: And that’s really one of the things that we focus here as well on the Fast Leader Show, is that life experiences teach us a ton. And if we get the opportunity to share those stories it is quite possible that someone will be able to take those and better their own life so that they don’t necessarily repeat some of the same mistakes that we have made and therefore they can move onward and upward faster, so, I appreciate all the work you’re doing and glad you’re here on the show.

When you start talking about some of the things that you’ve been able to accomplish there has to be a boldness there and risk-taking there that a lot of people may just be so afraid overcome like you were saying, and we need inspiration in order to help us and give us that push sometimes. A lot of time we focus on quotes on the Fast Leader Show, is there a quote or two that inspires you to push forward?

Lance Miller: There’s a number of quotes that I have. I have a very good mentor—we were talking in my intro that I work in my family’s milk and ice cream business. I came out of college and that’s why I had a degree in Food Systems Economics and Management because my life plan was to be in that business as a third-generation heir apparent to that company. My grandfather started, my father had carried it on since—my grandfather started 1926, my father had taken it on. I came out and was planning on booming in and expanding and having a tremendous successful career there. But I had a mentor, he was an older gentleman named Oscar, and Oscar’s one of these guys that graduated from maybe the eighth grade. But since he didn’t have a formal education he looked at life every day and figure out what did he learn today could apply it tomorrow. He was about 60 when I got out of college and as I was about 22, 23 when I came back but he’d known me since I was an infant.

One of the thing he used to say, “I’d screwed something I’m afraid, I do make some mistakes, some ridiculously inexperienced [Laugh] mess,” and he pat me on the back and he would say, “The good Lord doesn’t give you youth and wisdom at the same time.” And then he would wink and he’d say, “You should enjoy each while you got them.” I didn’t like hearing that. When I was 23, 24 years old I thought I was pretty smart and to be honest I was smart but I wasn’t wise and there’s a big difference between being smart and wise.

And I heard another quote from President of Rotary about five or six years ago he said the, “The difference between integrity and wisdom is integrity is always doing what you promise and wisdom is knowing what to promise.” [Laugh] And I think that’s true, we get wisdom by walking in the face of this earth and by living that life experience and having that empirical knowledge of having experienced it. And once you’ve done that—I had another uncle who was a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base was [6:56 inaudible] or back and highlighted a space race and everything and he always says, “You know it’s true when it happens to you.” And those are a couple of quotes that keep me moving.

And just on that, another thing I’ve learned to live by, was another quote I love that I use all the time is: “Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of experience comes from bad judgment.” And it’s really the ability to embrace the experience that you had and learn from it and not get hung up on the loss of it. That was one quote there was a handful of them.

Jim Rembach: That was and they are all awesome and just to let all of our listeners know one of the things that we do at the Fast Leader show is we go through and we pull all these quotes and we put them on our show notes page. And you’ll be able to find many of the quotes from this particular episode at fastleader.net/Lance Miller. So, Lance I know that, like you are saying with you being bold, taking risk, having the family business all the things that you’ve done—moving away from the family and living in a garage with some friends in Los Angeles to break out and, do some new things and some adventurous things, is that we’ve had to learn and go through and have those mistakes.

We talked about getting over the hump on the Fast Leader show and we have epiphanies from those, sometimes they’re pretty immediate and sometimes it takes a while for it to sink in, but can you think of a story or a time where you’ve had a hump to get over and set you in a different direction than you are heading?

Lance Miller: The first one you’re talking about was thinking at a life plan set in front of you and then—especially with the closeness of the family business and a third-generation family business. Anybody’s who has grown up on either family farm or family business knows the almost, I would say congenital or inherent commitment that you grew up with on sustaining that because any family member whose running it that is their life. And so, you grow up and that to break out of that was a huge pivotal moment for me. And what I really had to look at was that the fact that this was my life and I needed to be able to figure out what that was. And at that time I was living in a family who is very—not controlled in a bad way just that my grandfather, my father were there, it was a very controlled environment on their goals and purposes that they’ve been living through their lives and I was a young guy without the experience and I was trying to learn and do the right thing but I wasn’t feeling the fulfillment.
I remember just looking in the mirror one morning saying, “I am emotionally and spiritually dead, I need to get away from here and figure my life out” and I wound up in LA.

I’d a couple of fraternity brothers from college, Michigan State, that has a house in Manhattan Beach and they said, “We got a loft over the garage, you can stay there if you want.” We pulled the suitcases out of loft and I got carpet remnant and put some drywall up and there’s a cools room in the house and I had $20 as rent living at the beach, which is great because I never had to pay rent the I moved to California because I was either living at home or with my grandfather. That was a huge pivotal moment and I remember it’s very scary to leave that security, and it was a very financially secure situation for me because I wasn’t earning that much money but I was netting a ton because I didn’t have any expenses because of the family support that I had around me. I remember the first time I moved to L.A. I had to pay for an oil change, I never have to do that and it was like, “What I got to pay to get an oil change in my car?” It was just I was stuck as getting nickel and dime. But that was a huge adjustment because quite honestly I thought once I got a way that everything would clear for me and I wouldn’t have any stops or barriers in front and just be able to succeed like crazy.

I had a great time working for the Olympics, I wish I could continue to do that full time that was very much the type thing I want to do. A life-changing experience working on a project that was huge and all-encompassing worldwide. The uplifting aspects of it, the benefit we were doing to mankind, the bringing people from different cultures and races and nationalities and religions together and all competing together and doing it in a peaceful caring manner it’s truly a life-changing experience for me.

I left that, I’ve been able to get very good jobs I was able to get them. I went into Nestlé and brand management which is something that typically MBA’s only get. I had a contact, I’ve set up a lunch one that get in the job I spend a couple of years at Nestlé and I was expecting to be fast-tracked and thought I was brilliant and everything. I learned how Fortune 50 companies work and I spent a year and half and then I was at Anheuser-Busch and sports morphing which is a lot of fun. I wasn’t really going anywhere but I got to wear a lot of cool shirts and drink a lot of beer, and when you’re in your mid-20’s it was cool but I’m not achieving, I’m not moving like I want. I have a lot of friends installing media, Katz Media Group is one of the largest media sales companies in the United States and I was able to get in with the company that they had just acquired and they had some problems with it.

And again I have I learned something about going with the winning company or a losing company it was a company they had bought that was selling radio but I’ve got to learn how Nielsen works, I’ve got to learn how Arbitron works and I’d call on the major advertising agencies in Los Angeles it was my first sales job, I had a window office on Wilshire Boulevard, I was earning more money that I had ever earned before and I was miserable. This comes down to a specific moment, I was driving to work and it was about 6 o’clock in the morning and I gone through several stoplights that were green and I had a red light and I’m sitting there by myself the radio is off and I was relieved to hit the red light and I look back I remember ever time I went through a green light I was disappointed I want to hit a red light. You have a thought in
the back of your mind that you don’t realize it’s there and I sat at that red light looking at it going, why don’t I want to hit red lights? And I also realize I had a thought that I wish somebody would just come running to me that day and have a car accident so I don’t have to go to work. [Laugh] And I sat there and I said, “I don’t like what I’m doing I’m not happy at all, I’m going in here based on somebody else’s dream or purpose and I have no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing.” And I just said, “I’m not going to live my life wanting to hit red lights, wanting to stop, wanting to have something prevent me, I want to get up every morning and be excited to do what I’m going to do and I had no idea what that was.

I went in and talk to my boss and I’d be honest I wasn’t doing great on the job. I didn’t do great in the Fortune 50, the large corporation environments, but it was invaluable experience to have. It was very difficult besides when I came out of that I did feel like I wasn’t as able as a lot of my peers because they seem to be able to succeed in it and I didn’t. I discovered I don’t do well in a cubicle. I need a lot of space, I need a lot of freedom, I’m more of a pioneer type person and that comes from that entrepreneurial family that I came out of. And so, I left, I left that business I turned it over trained another replacement for myself for about five weeks.

I left I’d no idea what I was going to do but I started getting up every morning and trying to figure it out. I’m now going to let you talk, I can talk for a long time, but that was the pivotal moment for me. And I’d be honest here is my viewpoint, I’ve had four jobs since leaving my family, the Olympics, Nestlé, Anheuser-Busch, Katz media group, I’m either going to win or die in the attempt to figure out what it is but I’m not going to live my life for 40 years in a job I don’t like, so that I can have a couple weeks off here and do what I want.

Jim Rembach: You and I had the opportunity to speak before the interview and you shared with me something that I can connect with very much and I suspect that there’s a lot of our legion that would connect with it as well and that you said that when you started working in the corporate world, and I’m sure some of the whole nature and nurture thing with the whole launch counter spirit in your family, but you felt like slowly over time the life was getting sucked out of you and that your different thinking and your differences weren’t appreciated even though they may say that that’s what they wanted. If there was a piece of advice that you would give to our Fast Leader legion from that story and you going through that epiphany that took a while, what would it be?

Lance Miller: I think it’s two sides. One of them, looking back in your life it’s beautiful, it’s 20/20, yeah, wouldn’t I like to be 26, 27, and 28 years old with the knowledge that I have now in my mid 50’s but we don’t get that. And I said to good the Lord doesn’t give you youth and wisdom at the same time and so you have to realize that you’re gaining wisdom as you live your life. But one the of things is, as you said, if you’re in a situation that’s not a good situation, what I would advise people is look at what you’re benefiting because you’re learning something invaluable at that point.

I look back on that 45 year period that I was in the Fortune 50 environment, as critical knowledge I needed for life. Yeah, it wasn’t that enjoyable and we were talking about most of the people were MBA’s, they had a mentality that you needed to have the schooling. I had a college degree but I had more empirical business experience with dealing with independent grocers and farmers and difficult of employees and I said we are to attempts to unionized you company, we have attorney’s, we had legal battles, we had a fight, I have a lot more hands-on on empirical management experience than a lot of the people I was working with that were even five or six or seven years older than I was in that environment.

The first one is understand your learning valuable information even if that information is what you don’t like or what not to do, that’s very valuable in life. The second one is, as soon as you can you need to be true to your core purpose, your core sense of what you want to do in life and I was sort of in a viewpoint that I needed to gain more experience before I could be on my own and do what I want. As I look back on it I could’ve started doing what I wanted immediately, and there was going to be a run, there was going to be some road to travel but don’t delay that, get on that thing that dream you have that purpose you have as soon as you can. Maybe you have to work at McDonald’s, flipping burgers to pay for it but you need to be doing that in your life.

Jim Rembach: I appreciate that and appreciate you sharing that. Now, I know you have a lot of things going on. You talked about several startups, you talked about all of your speaking and all of your travel but if you’re to say that there was one thing that really is just giving you a lot of energy and passion, what would it be?

Lance Miller: I think the biggest thing is I like to see people win and I had my own struggle with trying to really feel that sense of fulfillment. And if I’m doing a startup, what I love to do is win, you get the team winning. And we’re talking about leadership, we’re talking about accomplishing something. It’s so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day treadmill, stuck in the rut of life where you just feel like you’re digging some unknown ditch, you just keep shoveling. What I love to see is to see people accomplish their dreams and see this twinkle in their eyes and the spark of life.

As I look back again all those experiences were invaluable experiences that have put me in the position I’m in today and I wouldn’t trade that path for anything even though it was tough while I was going through it.

Jim Rembach: The Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright, now it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Lance, 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. Lance Miller are you ready to hoedown?

Lance Miller: Let’s get the fiddle up there on the hay bell and you go, okay?

Jim Rembach: Alright. So, what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Lance Miller: I talked about taking your lumps and moving forward with everything you do but everything you do has a consequence in it. I’ve done five successful business start-ups the thing that has impeded me from really taking up where want to right now is that I had, in the last five years, I had one that was not successful. And quite honestly, it was a huge drain on resources, time, commitment and I just was able to cut the tie on that about a year and a half ago. One of the things that you need in life to succeed is a banking account. Quite simply, you need to be able to invest in your service activities, and that’s the thing I’m working on right now. And the biggest thing that hit me was I did do a program, I did do a startup, had it gone, my share of it was $30-$40 million. It was a huge launch, it was an environmental company and I can tell you a whole series of things why that failed but when it failed it put me in a bad position financially. And right now I’m building that base back so I have enough firm ground to stand on that was a huge life lesson that I learned in the process of it. But the biggest thing that’s been preventing me from moving forward is having the available capital to put into the services I want to establish the things I want, I’m just now, I’m building at that right now.

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

Lance Miller: The best leadership advice I’ve ever received came from Oscar, who I’ve shown you about earlier in the show, my mentor, and it came after the first time I fired a man. I was 23 years old I was acting pretty cocky and Oscar got up from his desk and looked at me and he said, “Did you fire him?” and I said, “Yeah, I did.” And he goes, “Well, Lance anybody can fire man that doesn’t take any special skill or talent, can you get them to work? Now, that takes a manager.” And he walked out the door. What I realized, as a leader it’s really our responsibility to get our juniors to work and to get them to succeed and get them to be competent at what they’re doing and anybody can go kick some in the butt, anybody can cut their head off, kick them out the door that doesn’t take any special skill or talent. That’s what I wanted to do and it took me never a number of years to develop that skills to take people and get them to function as they should, but that was a pivotal moment in my life.

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

Lance Miller: One of the secrets to my success is being able to laugh. Quite honestly, no matter what happens be able to laugh at it and be able to glean from my biggest failures the silver lining of the lesson. That didn’t come easy. I accumulated a lot of baggage, I accumulated a lot of failures and quite honestly it was all the speech competition I did in Toastmaster where I competed in the speech content for 13 years and finally I had an epiphany one night that it was going to be pretty hard to learn from my mistakes if I was unwilling to admit that I was making any. And when I was willing to admit that I was making mistakes and I had room to grow that’s where it opened up for me in my life. I was able to go back and a lot of mistakes I’ve made in my life and find the lesson rather than looking at the loss.

Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Lance Miller: Probably one of my best resources, it comes from two things, it comes from hands-on experience that I’ve had and the mentors I’ve had around me. I also believe in reading and in the learning. You need to find something that really resonates with you and you find is true for you and your process of it. There’s a lot of people out there and I really feel that each one just needs to find what is what right for us. And one of the biggest resources I’ve had is actually a tremendous amount of management work put together by a man named Laurent Robert who has some of the most sane management systems that I’ve ever studied, and I studied those extensively and that’s giving me—whenever I have a problem I can go to his writings and find the solution there’s something that spurs on my thinking from that standpoint. ** has been a controversial man in society for number of reasons but I have also learned in the process of that is, if you want to know something go look at yourself and don’t listen to what you hear on the radio or TV and observe for yourself and see if it’s true for yourselves.

What would be one book that you would recommend to our listeners? It doesn’t have to be business book.

Lance Miller: I’d tell you the book I’d recommend it’s a book called, Endurance. It’s about Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempt to across Antarctica in 1914. A book that truly changed my life because—just a short story behind that, I attended at age of 14 I attended the Telluride Mountaineering in leadership school it was an outward bound program which I talked my parents into sending me out to. We learned technical climbing—how to slide down snow fields and arrest ourselves how to raft rivers and navigate to the mountains. One night around a campfire, the director of the camps said, the best book he’d ever read in his life was a book called Endurance, that’s all I remember, twenty years later I went to the library got the book.

Shackleton was almost got to South Pole, Amundsen got it year later, Shackleton came up on the hundred miles, and he almost went down in history as the guy that got to South Pole. And he wanted to make his mark in history so he was going to be the first person to do a transcontinental exploration of Antarctica, this is equivalent to Lewis and Clark exhibition it was huge. With 28 man on a ship called Endurance who’s going to Antarctica, he got within 80 miles of the shore where he’s going to be dropped off. The ship gets stuck in the ice and it’s down there for two years, it gets crushed, they move out on the ice, they have three lifeboats and 22 months later he winds up saving all 28 men. It’s the most horrific, heroic story of survival and overcoming any obstacle in your path that I’ve ever read. There had been so many times that I felt that my life had just hit the dirt and was not worth anything and I could look at Shackleton’s experience, and you know what? At least I’m not stuck in the ice in Antarctica. [Laugh] I got a lot of positive things to be thankful for, it could be a lot worse. That’s the book I will highly recommend you read.

Jim Rembach: Well, we’re going to make a link to that and other things like we mentioned before on our show notes page and you’ll be able to find that at fastleader.net/Lance Miller. Okay Lance, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you are given the opportunity to go back to the age 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 you can only choose one, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you? And why?

Lance Miller: Wow, what skill or knowledge would I take back with me and why. I think the piece of skill or knowledge I would take back is I said, good judgment comes from experience and a lot of experience comes from bad judgment. And it was the skill or knowledge to embrace my mistakes, embrace my failures with as much fever and enthusiasm as I embraced my successes and realize it is all part of the process. One of the things I’ve learned in life, if I’m not succeeding enough it’s because I’m not failing enough. If I’m not winning enough it’s because I’m not losing enough. I really got hung up for a number of years in my—what I thought we’re my failures and it was just pure life experience but I viewed as failures. And I would’ve liked to have kept that twinkle in my eye early in my life that I got back when was really able to embrace the knowledge that I had gained through the experiences that I had.

Jim Rembach: Lance 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?

The easiest way is to go to my website, which is lancemillerspeaks.com, and by the way, I have a brand-new site that I’m coming out with, at this recording it should be up in about 30 days and I’m very excited about, because I have just a ton of content I’ve been wanting to put on the web for people access and I haven’t had—again because of that business situation I got into—I hadn’t had the resources to build the site up that I wanted. I been working on this for the last six months we get this put together to really have that platform in place that I could put the training and the interviews, like were doing, the experiences that I’ve had, the coaching all of the things I want to on both communication and leadership and just basic success on that.

So, that will be up in probably within 5 days, I will say the end of August 2016, depending when you’re listening to this, lancemillerspeaks.com, you have all my contact information on there. And quite honestly, I really love getting out and energizing groups, and energizing people to win in a group. No man is an island as I say, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. Life is lived in a group setting and we had to learn to work together in businesses and families and communities and have that alignment behind things. That’s where I really love to help bring people together and realize how to get along and how to win together.

Jim Rembach: Lance Miller, 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

027: Parrish Arturi: It was a humbling experience

Parrish Arturi Show Notes

Parrish Arturi was not always calm, cool, and collected. Once while leading a project team for a new product the funding for it was removed. Parrish was very passionate about the work his team was doing and took the news of the project cut personally. Parrish lost his cool and then learned a valuable lesson. Listen to Parrish as he tell his story and what he learned on how to get over the hump.

Parrish was born in a Connecticut suburb just outside of New York. He was the fifth of six kids with names that all began with the letter “P”. His mother was a nurse and his father was a doctor and as a young child he could remember Sunday dinners and his grandparents’ house where the entire family would meet. His strong sense of family and caring for others has guided him to a successful career.

Parrish is currently the Senior Vice President for Service, Operations and Technology for Fidelity Personal Investing (PI), a unit of Fidelity Investments. In this role, Parrish and his team are focused on the strategy and development of an industry-leading service, operating in technology platform that enables Fidelity’s retail network to deliver outstanding experiences that drive business growth, customer engagement, scale and competitive differentiation.

Prior to this role, Parrish served as the SVP, Customer Experience, where he led the development and execution of Fidelity’s award-winning programs and capabilities tried customer loyalty and satisfaction in support of Fidelity’s vision of delivering the best customer experience in financial services. From 2004 2009, Paris served as SVP, Digital and Mobile channels. His responsibilities included digital strategy, experience and management of PWI’s online, mobile and social channels, including Fidelity’s primary consumer web destinations (Fidelity.com, 401k.com and NetBenefits.com) and mobile applications. Parrish was responsible for the delivery and execution against channel sales and service goals, as well as ensuring competitive leadership of Fidelity’s consumer digital offerings.

Prior to joining Fidelity in 2004, Parrish work for Wachovia. He was responsible for leading and building various areas of the e-commerce division, including online banking, brokerage and bill payment, online marketing, business development and interactive design. Previously he worked as a Managing Director at Signet bank, developing Signet’s information-based strategy, including the launch of one of the nation’s first Internet banking offerings. Parrish began his career at CUC International, where he served as a product manager in the new products division and as a marketing manager for affinity card products.

Parrish holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wake Forest University and a MBA from Wake Forest University’s Babcock Graduate School of Management. Parrish currently serves as the vice chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, the international nonprofit organization created to guide enhanced the growing field of customer experience management.

Parrish currently resides in Boston, MA with his wife and three kids.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @parturi will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“I’ve been successful because of the relationships I’ve been able to build.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“The passion inside of me may not always be visible.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“When there are good times enjoy them and relish them for what they are.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“In challenging times you’re going to find the most insights and learning about you.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“You don’t always know everything, there are other perspectives you’ll want.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“Self-reflection is a really important characteristic for us to have.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“One of the greatest thrills I get is when I see someone who had been on my team progress.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

“Treat your team how you’d want to be treated yourself.” -Parrish Arturi Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Parrish Arturi was not always calm, cool, and collected. Once while leading a project team for a new product the funding for it was removed. Parrish was very passionate about the work his team was doing and took the news of the project cut personally. Parrish lost his cool and then learned a valuable lesson. Listen to Parrish as he tell his story and what he learned so you can move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Self-reflection is a really important characteristic for us to have in business and in our families.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Keeping balance between being open to test new things and letting your past experiences dictate your perspectives on things.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Use the Golden Rule.  It sounds simple but it’s applicable in everything you do.

Secret to Success

Building relationships and working with people across diverse groups.

Best Resources in business or Life

Mentors and people in the community. But my most important resource is my wife.

Recommended Reading

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

Contacting Parrish

Email: parrish.arturi@gmail.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/parturi

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
027: Parrish Arturi: It was a humbling experience

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.

Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion you get the opportunity to have redemption with me today because I have a guest today that I had the opportunity to interview previously but the audio just came out so bad that he gracefully agreed to do this interview again. So, Parrish Arturi, thank you very much.

Parrish was born in the Connecticut suburb just outside of New York. One of six kids that names all began with the P. Son of a doctor and nurse, caring person—glad to have him on the show. Parrish is currently the Senior Vice President of Services, Operations and Technology for Fidelity Personal investments, which is a unit of Fidelity Investments. In this role Parrish and his team are focused on the strategy and development of an industry-leading service operating in technology platform that enables Fidelity’s retail network to deliver outstanding experiences that drive business growth, customer engagement, scale and competitive differentiation.

Parrish like my wife is an alumni of Wake Forest University where he received both his undergrad and his MBA and he currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association which is an international nonprofit organization created to guide and enhance the growing field of customer experience management. Parrish currently resides in the Boston area with his wife and three kids and they currently just got back from a fantastic vacation in Europe. Parrish has a strong family roots in both Ireland and Italy. Parrish Arturi, are you ready to get us over the hump?

Parrish Arturi: Absolutely and I’m thrilled to be with you again, Jim.

Thank you very much. Now, I’ve given our listeners a little bit of information about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

Parrish Arturi: Sure. My current passion and really that passion has been over the last several years and my career has been around helping people inspire better features, helping people to better—in terms of their financial life and in terms of personal life as well.

Jim Rembach: When you say that something that is really a passion for you, where does that really come from?

Parrish Arturi: Where it come from is—all the way back prior to my upbringing which is about help to make the world a better place. I think about my parents and what their focus on caring for people, helping the people they served get to a better place with their health. And I think about how we’re doing that and how I’ve really been passionate about that when I got into financial services and then now that I became a leader it was also about helping the people that were part of my team, help them become better and leave a legacy.

Jim Rembach: Now, you’re talking about legacy and you’re talking about caring things like that, you had shared with me that oftentimes as far as a childhood memories is concern, you knew those Sunday dinners grandparents that were first-generation immigrants, what impact do you think it had on where you are today?

Parrish Arturi: I think it had a tremendous impact in terms of the time that we would spend together as a family and in terms of time that I would see my parents or my grandparents bringing people together, working hard and that’s where a lot of the value is created was in the personal interactions and our relationships. I thrive in this relationships, I like to think that one of the reasons that I was able to be successful in some part in my career because the relationships I’ve been able to build.

Jim Rembach: You are one of those folks that when I see just the way that you interact with others, the way that you carry yourself using just so collected and reserved—and when you start talking about that passion and that inspiration piece, sometimes when you look at somebody who is a reserved like you, where is the passion, where’s the drive? And so, at the Fast Leader show we focus in on quotes and things like that that kind of help us really get that drive. I mean, do you have some of that internal passion that you keep bottled up that comes from some of those quotes, can you share it?

Parrish Arturi: Yeah. Absolutely. The passion inside of me may not be always visible, they’re maybe a fire burning inside, but it’s cool, calm and collected outside. And again that’s certainly not always the case but I pride myself on one to model the right behavior, the behavior that I would expect from others. And that passion comes from prior to what I observed and what I experienced in the family, may even be a birth order thing. Quite honestly, [4:45 inaudible] a fifth out of six, there’s a lot of activity going around me. And it was always a lot easier to observe and then react versus be the one out front all the time.

Jim Rembach: What are some of those quotes or passages that drives you?

Parrish Arturi: Some of the quotes—there are a couple of them. One that I always think about is one from Martin Luther King that I find particularly poignant. It’s about, the content of a man’s character is not defined in times of comfort and convenience but were someone stands in times of challenge and controversy. And so for me, over the years from a business perspective as I’ve experiences those different times, everybody has ups and downs and ebbs and flows. When there are good times enjoy them and relish them for what they are and then in challenging times where you’re challenged most is probably where you’re going to find the most insights, the most learnings about you and about what you can do to take forward and how you can help others.

Jim Rembach: For me, even when you talk about that quote and why it means so much to you, I think it goes back to what I had mentioned before as regards to being that reserve person but yet has that inner drive and passion. I mean, it’s really interesting to me how that quote is so congruent with the way that you behave but there are times when we do lose it, you mentioned it’s not always calm and collected. And we talk about getting over those humps on the Fast Leader show, can you remember a time where you’ve had a hump to get over where you kind of—“I had to go through that, I had to go through that learning in order to learn how to be more reserved and collected for the future.”

Parrish Arturi: Sure, sure. I think it was about having self-awareness and insight. So, that’s part of the journey, part of the leadership journey overtime. There’s one particular time that I can remember, it was a hump and it was back when I leading new products and services, a digital products and services back in the late 90’s early 2000, when we’re just starting to test out capabilities with the Palm Pilot, [6:57 inaudible] remembers what this are, we had enabled banking, electronic banking on a Palm Pilot. I was very passionate about it and I knew that notion of mobility and wireless was going to be important, obviously it took several years for it to play out. But the product and the application that we had created—it was a tough time at the bank that I was working in, they wanted to reduce the funding and eliminate the product that we’re working on and I took that very personally. I also had run with the person that I was working, who I respected tremendously and she had a lot of experience and she’d always say, “You know, you don’t get it. You’re not the one making the decisions other people have a perspective on this.” And it was quite humbling for me but it also made me reflect that the way that I was reacting to it had a direct influence on the perception that other people had for me in terms of the level of maturity and how they may think about me and other roles that maybe available.

That was a really important moment from me, just kind of crystallize that. You don’t always know everything. Even though when you’re younger that you –as a freshly man with MBA you might think that you know everything but you don’t, there’s a lot of other perspectives that you want to take in both next year and then around you that will help you become a better person.

Jim Rembach: A couple things that stood out to me that you referred to and you talked about youth and that was many years ago, oftentimes those things do come back on us and luckily because we had that life experience oftentimes we can correct ourselves much faster than we would going to that original experience, but if you think about a piece of advice that you would give to her listeners from that story and that experience, what would it be?

Parrish Arturi: The big piece for me is having self-reflection. So, whether it’s reflection in the moment or afterwards and also having—I also had the benefit of having a great leader who is willing to provide that feedback to me. And that, when you’re able to reflect, self-reflection is a really important characteristic fresh to have either as leader—as business leaders or as people with families or relationships that we want to make ourselves better or want to make the others around us better.
Jim Rembach: So, you had mentioned something about—since lower in the birth order and have the opportunity to observe before you stepped out, but oftentimes we don’t have that coach also that you referred to. I had this conversation with somebody a little while back saying, “ You know what, there’s just not a whole lot of that that goes on much more anymore.” And there could be a lot of reasons for that. It could be the overburden task related workplace that we live in that you can’t focus on, “I ain’t got time to focus on somebody else, I need to get this done.”

So, therefore, we have to learn how to do more that self-reflection instead of relying for somebody else to point things out to us. Is there something that you do to help you be more self –reflective?

Parrish Arturi: There is. Even on an annual basis for example, I was thinking about setting goals for the year both personal and professional. What we’re planning on doing for the year as a team and part of that process is reflecting back on the past year, think about moments, projects, initiatives where you can derive some insight from. So, I think that’s just kind of built in to my DNA now, I learned that as a learned trait from another leader that I work for and that’s part of how I think about doing that. And I also think about either family or teams that I work with, I think we’ve just build that into the dialogue or conversation and it started to become much more natural.

Jim Rembach: That’s a very great point. First of all to have it as part of your framework and to practice it. You can’t just expect that it’s just going to happen, it’s something that you have to work at. For me too certain things that you’re talking about—the first couple of time where I’ve done it, not so good, right? But you have to be persistent, you have to keep going on. But if you think about where you are right now and your current passions and the things that are giving you that excitement, what would it be?

Parrish Arturi: What excites me most, Jim are two things: One, when we think about the customers that we serve at Fidelity and the difference that we can make in their lives with their futures, whether it’s with their children, whether it’s the retirement, help in their goals and dreams to become true, that’s really compelling and important. And I find I’m very passionate about that and the work that we do in helping our customers get to a better place, I find very inspiring. The second thing that was going to talk about would also be when I see that in teams or people that had been on my team. And one of the greatest thrills I get is when I see someone who’d been on my team advance and progress, I get a tremendous amount of fulfillment from seeing the growth of someone’s career that may had been on my teen.

Jim Rembach: And that’s other a thing that is scary for a lot of leaders. When you start thinking about having somebody who has the talents and the skills that may even surpass ours, I think for my perspective I want to be part of that development, but not everybody’s there. So, how do you feel about that? How do you get past that hump?

Parrish Arturi: I think there’s a certain amount of insecurity and some might feel if they have that, I think it’s natural. But I also again, reflect on my career and there are people that helped bring me along it wasn’t always a seasoned professional that I have today, and others help bring me along so I feel that is like paying it back as well as know someone else model the right behavior that I aspire to be the same type of leader, same great leadership principles that they applied.

Jim Rembach: You had mentioned something about that planning process and that reflection process, typically folks when they do that they also have a goal setting process, what is one goal that’s important to you right now?

Parrish Arturi: Our goal for this year, the one and the next couple of years has been around transforming the service experience for our customers and our retail branch network. And so how that manifests itself are in a couple different ways, but it’s about service quality and it’s also about the experience that gets delivered inside our [14:14 inaudible] centers. And so, our goal for this year we have measures around, we instituted what we call quality review process, and so our goal is to improve our scores and the quality reprocessed by 20%, so, that’s like one very specific goal. We stop broader and then we narrow them down and time box them and think about what specific measures associated with them.

Jim Rembach: The Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright, here we go listeners, it’s time for the, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Parrish, 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. Parrish Arturi, are you ready to hoedown?

Parrish Arturi: Absolutely, you got it.

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

Parrish Arturi: Good question. For me it’s keeping balance between being open to do new things, to test new things—our environment is changing so rapidly in terms of the innovations, and balancing that with letting your past experiences dictate your perspectives on things.

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

Parrish Arturi: Best leadership advice that I had ever received was, use the golden rule, so, that’s treat people how you want to be treated yourself. It sounds so simplistic but it’s applicable to everything that you do. So, if you think about in terms of leadership, treat your team how you would want to be treated yourself, as you’re part of a team. Would you want to understand what’s our shared vision is? Would you want know what your goals and objects are? What you want to get feedback and coaching? Absolutely. So, if you think about things along those lines and apply the Golden rule to your professional or your personal life you’re going to end up in a great place.

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

Parrish Arturi: If I reflect over my career it’s really been building relationships. Building relationships engaging people across diverse skill sets to achieve a common goal, a common outcome and a purpose. Whether it’s in financial services or it was in marketing is to bring people together across diverse groups and building those relationships.

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

Parrish Arturi: That resources are the mentor that I have on business perspective, they’re also the people that I have in the community for example at Customers and Experience Professional Association has been tremendously helpful in terms of resources that we have. And then my pride and most important resource is my wife who provides me a ton of feedback and helps and supports in all of the work that we do.

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

Parrish Arturi: One that’s on the top of my mind is, “Scaling up Excellence” I just read it, it by Huggy Rao and it’s basically how do you take concepts, and it’s particularly relevant with what we do in our customer experience. How do you take those bright spots and how do you think about scaling them across a very broad network. So, it’s particularly relevant to people that work in large organizations and how you create and sustain excellence on ongoing basis.

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

Parrish Arturi: The skill and knowledge would be the ability to look at trends and to be able to engage in them faster. So, if I think about all over the years whether it’s been in financial services during the digital age it’s being able to look for trends and act on them quicker.

I could use that from a stock investment perspective too. [Laugh]

You’re not the only one.

Parrish, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?
They could connect with me electronically via email at parrish.arturi@gmail.com. They can connect to me on Twitter@parturi and also on LinkedIn.

Jim Rembach: Parrish Arturi thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thank 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

026: Dave Rendall: I was in trouble my whole life

Dave Rendall Show Notes

Dave Rendall was in college and was asked by his resident director if he was going to sign up to be a resident assistant. Thinking he was the reason resident assistants existed Dave failed to see that he was a good candidate. His resident director then became the first person to tell Dave that what he sees as weaknesses are actually his strengths. This was a major breakthrough for Dave that started him on the path to seeing goodness where everyone else had only seen badness which set a new course for his life. Listen to Dave’s story about how you can amplify yourself and get over the hump.

David Rendall started life as a pigeon-toed baby in Milwaukee. When he was eleven years old, his parents sent him to school with patches in his pants. He decided this was unacceptable, so he began collecting aluminum cans from dumpsters and got a job delivering newspapers at five o’clock every morning. Since then he has been a stock boy, lawn boy, caddie, painter, janitor, tutor, resident assistant, job coach, supervisor, nonprofit manager and senior executive.

He’s hyperactive, loud and rebellious. He’s also too idealistic and bad at managing details. All of these weaknesses have helped him succeed as a speaker, leadership professor, stand-up comedian and endurance athlete.

During the last fifteen years he has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the United States Air Force and the Australian Government, as well as companies in the Fortune 50, such as AT&T and State Farm.

Early in his career, he managed nonprofit enterprises that provided employment for people with disabilities. He has more than twenty years of experience leading people and organizations. David has a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership, as well as a graduate degree in psychology.

He is the author of three books:

Dave currently resides in Pikeville, NC with his wife and three daughters.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @daverendall will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“What a lot of folks think are weaknesses are actually strengths.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“The things that people think are wrong with us are actually the best things about us.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“Deviance will always generate external pressures to conform.” R. Quinn by Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“We’re afraid to stick out, so we try to fit in.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“What makes us weird, makes us wonderful.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“What makes us weak, also makes us strong.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet 

“What if my biggest weaknesses we’re also my biggest strengths?” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet 

“Instead of me trying to force myself to fit in, how can I start finding the right fit?” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“What if I listen for criticism and start to look at what the upside of that might be?” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“There’s an upside for every down side.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“Where can I get rewarded for being who I am instead of being punished?” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

“Great leaders make other people great.” -Dave Rendall Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Dave Rendall was always told he needed to be quite, sit still and do what he was told. Dave was led to believe he was bad and had several weaknesses that he had to overcome. Then when Dave was in college and was asked by his resident director if he was going to sign up to be a resident assistant. Thinking he was the reason resident assistants existed Dave failed to see that he was a good candidate. His resident director then became the first person to tell Dave that what he sees as weaknesses are actually his strengths. This was a major breakthrough for Dave that started him on the path to seeing goodness where everyone else had only seen badness which set a new course for his life. Listen to Dave’s story and it’s sure to help you to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Ask yourself, “What if my biggest weaknesses we’re also my biggest strengths, what would life be like?” And “How instead of me trying to force myself to fit in, how can I start to find the right fit?”

Holding him back from being an even better leader

To find better and better partnerships with better and better people.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Mark Twain Quote – “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Secret to Success

Being myself. Trusting myself. Tapping into my motivation.

Best Resources in business or Life

Constant learning.

Recommended Reading

Now, Discover Your Strengths

StrengthsFinder 2.0

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Contacting with Dave Rendall

Website: drendall.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daverendall

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
2026: Dave Rendall: I was in trouble my whole life

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.

Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion we’re going to have some extra fun today because we have somebody on the show who really focuses in on some of the things that we try to do here at the Fast Leader Show and that is entertain as well as educate, and his name is Dave Rendall. Dave Rendall started life as a pigeon-toed baby in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew to be 6’6 and 6’9 in heels.

When he was 11 years old his parents send him to school with patches on his pants. He decided this was unacceptable so he begin collecting aluminum cans from dumpsters and got a job delivering newspapers at five o’clock every morning. Since then, he’s been a stock boy, lawn boy, caddie, painter, janitor, tutor, resident assistant, job of supervisor, nonprofit manager and senior executive.

He’s hyperactive, loud, and rebellious. He’s also too idealistic and bad at managing details. All of these weaknesses had helped him succeed as a speaker, leadership, professor, standup comedian and endurance athlete. During the last 15 years he has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the, United States Air Force and the Australian government as well as companies in the Fortune 50 such as AT&T and State Farm. Early in his career he manage nonprofit enterprises that provided employment for people with disabilities.

He has more than 20 years of experience leading people and organizations. David has a Doctor of Management degree in Organizational Leadership as well as a graduate degree in Psychology. He is author of three books: The Four Factors of Effective Leadership; The Freak Factor; and the Freak factor for Kids. Dave’s legacy is that he wants to help people see surprising strengths in others and focus on positives. He currently resides at Pikeville, North Carolina with one wife and three daughters.

Dave Rendall, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Dave Rendall: I am ready, let’s go. Alright.

Jim Rembach: This is going to be a good one folks, so, make sure that you go to iTunes download and subscribe and rate and review this episode and all the others on the Fast Leader Show. Okay, Dave, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction about you but can you please tell us with her current passion is so that we get to know you better?
Dave Rendall: Yeah. My passion is, as you said, with the legacy to help people discover what I discovered in my own life, which is that for most people I think for all people, where a lot of folks think our weaknesses are our strengths but things that people think are wrong with us are the best things about us. The things that people are telling us to turn down the volume on are precisely the things that we should be turning off the volume. And once we understand that, that has profound implications for the way we take care of children, the way we live our lives and relationships with others, the way we manage people and the way we manage our own careers.

Jim Rembach: I think those are some really interesting points, Dave because we actually live in a society that emphasizes conformity. Now, we do essentially see some of that breakout pieces through the expressions that people have with their different—YouTube’s and chat and tweets and things like that, but how is it when you start talking about the workplace environment and being more creative in your thinking and innovative. How can you make sure that you are part of that instead of being that total outlier that nobody wants to participate with?

Dave Rendall: I think it is about being an outlier, in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he talks about how it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be the best at something. And to be the best at something it’s not going to be about sitting in to somebody’s organization or trying to get people like us, it’s going to be people acknowledging and seeing that we’ve developed a tremendous amount of skill. And because we’ve been unusual because we put 10,000 hours into something because we’ve been obsessive, because we’ve been unreasonable, because we’ve been extreme.

One of the parts of my framework that I try to teach people with the Freak Factors amplification that we need to be turning up the volume instead of turning it down. And you don’t get to 10,000 hours by casually pursuing something. You don’t get to 10,000 hours by doing things the way that everybody else does things. So, one of my favorite quotes is, deviance will always generate external pressures to conform, and you’re right we’re afraid to stick out and so we try to fit in. And part of what I’m trying to communicate to people is that, the way people try to make us fit in is by telling us that our difference is weakness by telling us that the thing that makes us unusual is a problem that we need to repair. What I try to show people is that, that is the exact opposite of the truth. The very thing the people are trying to take away from us is the very thing that we should hold on to and try to build up.

Jim Rembach: Now I know for me, I often say that I’m a freak in certain ways. I like to chase shiny objects, I like to do some of these things. And I don’t fit in a box that somebody has created for me, as a matter of fact, I’ve always try to kick my way out of it. And there’s been ups and downs with that, I mean, there’s an emotional roller coaster sometimes with that. So, one of the things that we focus on the Fast Leader show is leadership quotes because it gives us some grounding and gives us the opportunity to say, “Hey, I know this sticking out pieces making me atypical but I need to keep doing that because that’s me and that’s where I find some of my passion.” Is there a leadership quote or a passage or something for you that does that?

Dave Rendall: For me, one of the things I repeat in my book, one of things that I repeat consistently in presentations is, what makes us weird makes us wonderful and what makes us weak also makes us strong. I think we’ve been thought that what makes us weird is what makes us awful and we need to fix it, we need to change it, we need to conform and what makes us weak is what makes us wrong and I think that’s the opposite of the truth. If we believe that what made us weird is what makes us wonderful we’d want to become even weirder if you believe that what made us weak also made us strong we’d be willing to become weaker in some areas so we could become stronger in others.

Jim Rembach: I appreciate you sharing all that. Several things that you said in there are quotes that we could pull out and use in order to give us energy. That’s one of the things also that we do at the Fast Leader show is we create a show notes from these interviews and make tweetable moments as well as things that we can take in. And you’ll find those at the show notes page which is at fastleader.net/Dave Rendall. Okay, Dave, when you start talking about navigating that path, and everything from that pigeon-toed kid which by myself I was as well, and I remember the corrective shoes that I just could not stand—

Dave Rendall: Yeah, the braces.

Jim Rembach: Luckily I don’t have to go braces, but I did go corrective shoes, and man it was a pain. That course and that path oftentimes just has so many twist and turns in that we had a lot of learnings, realizations and we call them epiphanies on the show, but is there a time where you can remember that stood out for you as a defining moment that helped you get on the right path and build some of that confidence that you are talking about? Can you take us back to that time?

Dave Rendall: Yeah. There was one definitely that didn’t take me all the way there but at least started me on the path. I was in college and I was a junior or I was a sophomore going into my junior year, and the resident director, the person responsible for managing the man’s dorm, came up to me, and I thought I was in trouble, and he said, “Are you going to sign up to be a resident assistant? Are you going to apply for the job?” And I said, “No, I’m the reason you have resident assistants. I’m not the resident assistant.” And he said, “No, no, no”. He said, “The very thing that makes you think that and the very thing that everyone else thinks is wrong with you is the very thing that I see as leadership skills. I see a lot of myself in you and people told me that I was bad and that I was wrong, and that I was different, and that I have a lot of weaknesses.” But he said—basically, he didn’t say it this way but it’s what I got from [inaudible 7:46] that’s the way I see it now, I see your weaknesses’ also as strengths.

And when he told me that he was the first person in my life to ever frame it that way, the first person in my life to ever say, “I see an upside cause in fact, nobody had even seen it as neutral people had only seen the downside so that’s what I saw too. And that was a major breakthrough for me and it didn’t all fall into place at that one moment. I realize that everything that was wrong was actually right, everything that was weak was also strong in that moment but that started me on the path of seeing goodness where everyone else had only seen badness and started me on a path that I’d never really been on before.

Jim Rembach: So, you talked about that it wasn’t necessarily the switch that tripped it all for you but it was kind of a moment, how long did it take for that to really start taking a foothold for you?

Dave Rendall: Yeah, I think it’s when I started seeing it for more than just 1% and started seeing it in more and more situations. So for me, what happened was I was in community leadership programs and participating with the Chamber Commerce and when they’d ask somebody to speak no one wanted to do it and they’d volunteer me. And then I would do it and people will laugh and people will have fun and I would have fun and they would enjoy themselves and people would tell me I did a good job. And I realize that my whole life I’ve been giving them trouble cause I couldn’t sit still be quiet and do what I was told and now I was getting rewarded for standing up and talking and doing my own thing and being in charge and being upfront. Being the center of attention that was another thing I got in trouble for big time as a kid, all day I guess you just want to be the center of attention, don’t you? And it was like, ta-da—I am the center of attention now.

And so, I think that’s when I had the breakthrough when I had a couple of those situations with that mentor kind of person. But then, over time too randomly and haphazardly started to stumble across the truth that the things that seem to be wrong with me. I was also reading some things, I was reading now, “Discover your Strengths” by Gallop, that kind of a positive psychology stuff. And I’m reading another book as well, about how we tend to want men to be more like women and define female characteristics, say positives, especially in relationships and male characteristics as negative, like aggressiveness and violence and things like that as opposed to being protectors and soldiers.

We tend to denigrate the male characteristics and tell man they need to be more thoughtful and more quiet and more calm and nurturing and tend to see a lot of male characteristics as negative. I was reading how male characteristics can be both positive and negative and I was reading what we’ve done in psychology has been mostly about negative instead of positive. And then I was having these experiences and it all just came together and I started to see if my weaknesses were strengths, I wonder if that’s true for other people. That started a journey of exploration for me to see if that was true and it turned out to be true in ways that I couldn’t even really imagine at that time.

Jim Rembach: It sounds like that has been a lifelong journey. I think a lot of times we get too far off track and it takes us a while to get back on track so that we can do some of things that you’re talking about in the development. And again that’s one of the things that we try doing at the show is that, Fast Leader is something that we oftentimes have to redefine here on the show and that is what we are talking about doing is learning from others so that we don’t hopefully repeat those same mistakes and we come to our own epiphanies a little bit faster so that ultimately we can move upward and onward faster. And so, you shared a ton with us and I really appreciate you sharing your stories and those insights. But if there was one or two pieces of advice that you would really focus on for our listeners, what would it be?

Dave Rendall: I think what you hear is exactly what my mission is. Like you said, if we can learn things without having to go through those same mistakes on our own. The reason I wrote the kids book was because I wish someone would’ve told me this when I was a kid. I wish someone would’ve alerted me to this earlier instead of doing the exact opposite. I read a ton of self-help books, I’ve studied psychology, I read a bunch of that stuff. In my book I call them self-destruction books because I think too often the books that we go to, to try to learn how to be better are busy telling us all the things that are wrong with us instead of helping us to discover what’s working.

If I had to boil it down it comes back to asking yourself that question, what if my biggest weaknesses were also my biggest strengths, what would life be like? And how instead of me trying to force myself to fit in, how can I start finding the right seat? Like you said, that’s not going to happen all at once. I am pretty close to the right seat now, but I think it’s probably taken 3, 4, 5 steps to get a better fit, and then a better fit and a better fit. So, don’t think we necessarily find that answer in a moment but it’s a better question to be asking yourself, how can I find the right fit instead of casually asking yourself, how can I force myself to fit in? How can I change myself? How can I be what everybody else wants me to be? Even if the answer doesn’t jump out in a moment, when we’re asking that kind of question, when we’re exploring the potential of what if I listen for criticism and then over a period of time start to look at the upside about my—for example people are always criticizing you for being stubborn, that’s persistence, people always criticizing you for being slow and indecisive probably because you’re thoughtful and reflective, people are criticizing you for being judgmental because you’re analytical. There’s an upside for every downside and if we start to find that and start to ask, where can I get rewarded for being who I am instead of being punished for being who I am? We start to find new possibilities in our life.

Jim Rembach: Gosh, Dave, thank you so much. Like I said we have a lot of things that we can take from this particular episode, and I’ll say it again make sure you go to fast leader.net/Dave Rendall and forward this episode to your friends because I think there’s several messages in here that we all need to hear, and thanks again. Okay, so, you had mentioned something about being author to three books, you’re public speaker and all this journey that you’ve gone through and help so many others and legacy that you want to leave but as far as your current business is concerned, what is one thing that’s really exciting you about the work that you’re doing today?

Dave Rendall: What excites me the most is the opportunity I’ve had recently to speak to more and more young people. I think it’s cool to speak to adults I enjoy that I get good responses, I love to help businesses be more successful, but when I talk to a group of young people and help them to discover this at a young age or maybe even find it out that this is true before they’ve been pushed too far in the opposite direction and how this has become the way they look at life, the way they see things, that is one of the most exciting things—speaking to students, speaking to young people, speaking to teachers having an opportunity to impact people’s frame of reference for entire life as opposed to trying to redirect people onto a new path and a new direction.

I’m sitting here in my office and there’s a little note that I got from a kid who read the Freak Factor for Kids book and it said, “Thank you Mr. Rendall for the book, it made me feel better about who I am.” And if you can do that for a child, that’s powerful and has an impact for the rest of their life. It’s not that I don’t care about adults, I certainly do. When you start about the thing that I’m most excited about it is the opportunity to talk to people who are younger—I was in a kindergarten class the other day and I got to speak to a group of kindergartners, being able to make at least another perspective so when they hear the standard perspective, the fit and conform do what you’re told there’s something wrong with your perspective, they…Yeah, but there is that one guy that one time who said the opposite whereas for most people it’s all they ever hear and so they assume it’s true. Just like a fish in water they never question it because it’s all around them to the point where they wouldn’t know there’s any other possibilities.

Jim Rembach: Well, Dave, I have to tell you there’s probably a reason you are 6’6 and 6’9 in heels so you can be that imposing image in their mind, that they can connect to it. [Laugh] Alright folks, so not it’s time for the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Dave, 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. Dave Rendall, are you ready to hoedown?

Dave Rendall: I’m ready.

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

Dave Rendall: One of the things that I’m working on lately is to find better and better partnerships. Because I’m not going to fix my weaknesses and I don’t need to because that what makes me strong. I still need to have a more balanced life and more balanced business and the way I’m doing that is finding better and better partnerships with better and better people. And so, that’s like a constant pursuit and a constant need is how do I find the right people to surround myself with, build relationships with, so that we can move forward together as oppose to saying, I need to be better, I need to find better and better people around me.

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

Dave Rendall: One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain’s: “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions small people always do that but the truly great make you feel that you too can become great.” And I think that’s some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. If we spent our lives as leaders helping other people to find their greatness, if we bring out greatness in other people that what makes great leaders. Great leaders make other people great.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Dave Rendall: Being myself. Doing what I want, when I want, where I want. Trusting myself not trying to be someone else. Not trying to fit in to other people’s defined roles. Not trying to follow other people’s rules but creating my own path and tapping into that motivation that I already have instead of trying to fit myself into somebody else’s box.

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

Dave Rendall: Just constant learning. I’m always reading books. I’m always listening to books on audible.com. Listening to podcast, like the Fast Leader podcast. Always taking in more information. One of my top strengths on the gallop strengths finder is inputs and that’s just something that I do nonstop. Even though I have a doctor, I haven’t stopped learning, I’m always taking in new information and trying to synthesize it for other people.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Dave, I know you’re a writer, you’re an avid reader, but is there one book that you would recommend to our listeners, maybe two?

Dave Rendall: Alright, so two books. The one that probably had the biggest impact on me, we already mentioned it, “Now Discover your Strengths” or read “StrengthsFinder 2.01”, and you’ll understand that positive psychology mindset. But also another way to understand more about this Freak Factor concept, that weaknesses are strengths and read the whole book about it called “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell. He talks about how obvious weakness in all sort of situation, countries, armies, people, turn out to be surprising strengths, and I think it just a powerful reinforcement of my idea that weaknesses are strengths in even more surprising ways that I’d even considered.

Jim Rembach: Thank you Dave for sharing that—we’ll again make those available as well as other items on the fast leader.net/Dave Rendall show notes page. Okay Dave, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you have been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one thing, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Dave Rendall: There’s no question the thing I would take back was the confidence and the knowledge that I can get paid to speak for a living. That I can do the thing that everybody spent their whole life trying to keep me from doing. That I could get paid to talk, that speaking was a business, that talking and being the center of attention was a positive not a negative, that making people laugh, and goofing around was a positive not negative, and that I could run my own business instead of going to school to try to become qualified so other people would pick me, that I could choose myself, that I could create my own business, that I could create my own future, that I could create my own income, that I didn’t have to do what other people expected me to in order to feed my family and pay my bills, that I could create my own path and then I could do that by being who I already was and just turning up the volume as oppose to try to fit in to what other people wanted me to be.

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

Dave Rendall: Yeah. Just go to drendall.com, TED EX talks of the Freak Factors on there, you can join the Freak nation. There’s an assessment on there if you join Freak nation that’ll help you see how your weaknesses are connected to your strengths. Our links to the books and all the things like that, that’s the best way to get me on those links. There’s links on there to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, I love to get connected.

Dave Rendall, 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

025: Cliff Hurst: I needed to grasp the essence

Cliff Hurst Show Notes

When Dr. Cliff Hurst was a Consultant and Executive Coach he often was met with a degree of defensiveness and people would put up a mask and a shield to avoid getting real. Cliff found himself spending a lot of time and effort trying to break through their defenses until he changed his methods. Once that happened he was able to have more genuine conversations than he was ever able to have before. And this is when Cliff started a new journey. Listen to Cliff’s story and learn how you might find a new way to get over the hump.

Cliff is a former U.S. Marines officer, boat builder, business manager, salesperson, sales and marketing manager, and OD consultant. He has been around the block enough times that even skeptical MBA students recognize that I’ve got some street cred; more than just “book learning.” And his undergrad students? Well, let’s just say that he’s nearly as old as some of their grandparents. So he receives a different kind of respect.

You can think of Cliff as a late bloomer; but he feels he is blooming now. He entered grad school at the age of 53. Six years later, he earned a PhD. Now, at an age when many of his peers are starting to retire, he’s enjoying a new career as a professor.

Dr. Hurst teaches at a small, private, liberal arts college in the Rocky Mountain West. It’s called Westminster College. It’s in Salt Lake City. Beautiful campus; bright students; and a cluttered office with enough shelf space for most of his books. Life is good.

Cliff is currently restoring a wooden sailing canoe that he built thirty years ago. He hopes to re-launch it very soon. He takes pride in the fact that it will be the only wooden sailing boat in all of Utah. At least he hasn’t seen any others.

In his spare time, he likes to study geeky things and enjoy camping and boating with my wife.  He read treatises on things like philosophical hermeneutics and formal axiology. He writes about them, too, in journals that only other academic geeks read.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @cliffhurst will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Know yourself, choose yourself, grow yourself, and give yourself to something greater than you.” Dr. Robert S. Hartman by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“People put up a mask and a shield to avoid getting real.” – Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Young people…are no longer just looking for a job that pays them well.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Are we really being deliberate about helping students understand themselves?“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Entrepreneurship should not be just a business school course.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“You don’t have to be a starving artist. Why can’t you be a thriving artist?“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Negative energy just drains a lot out of you.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“To know yourself, choose yourself, grow yourself, and give yourself you’ve got to look deep inside.” -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“We’re not physical beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having physical experiences.“ -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Dr. Cliff Hurst found himself spending a lot of time and effort trying to break through the defenses of his coaching clients. Then he changed his methods. Once that happened he was able to have more genuine conversations than he was ever able to have before. And this is when Cliff started a new journey. Listen to Cliff’s story and learn how you might find a new ways to move onward and upward faster.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Clutter

Best Leadership Advice Received

Why don’t you save that for something important. Sometimes we have to get angry but save that for the really big stuff and let the little stuff go.

Secret to Success

Life-long learning

Best Resources in business or Life

The fact that I am a life-long learner.

Recommended Reading

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World

In Tune With the Soul

Contacting Dr. Cliff Hurst

email: cliff@cliffordhurst.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliffhurst

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cliffhurst

More Resources

The Robert s. Hartman Institute for Formal and Applied Axiology

Click to access edited transcript
025: Cliff Hurst: I needed to grasp the essence

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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I have the chance to share with you somebody who I’ve known for a very long time and to me that in itself is very rewarding and exciting, he’s like family to me.

Dr. Cliff Curtis Hurst was born and raised in Georgia. He was the second of three kids. After graduating from the University of Virginia he became a commission officer of Marines and served five years. Cliff is also a boat builder, business manager, salesperson, sales and marketing manager and organizational development consultant. He’s been around the block enough times and even skeptical MBA students recognize that he’s got some street cred more than just that book learning stuff. And his undergrad students, well let’s just say that he’s nearly as old as some of their grandparents, and so he receives a different kind respect.

You can think of Cliff as late bloomer but he feels he is blooming right now. He entered grad school at the age of 53 and then six years later he earned a PhD. Now, at an age when many of his peers are starting to retire he’s enjoying a new career as a professor. Dr. Hurst teaches at a small private liberal arts college in the Rocky Mountain West, it’s called The Westminster College. It’s in Salt Lake City, beautiful campus, bright students and clutter office but still has enough shelf space for most of his books. Life is good.

Cliff is currently restoring a wooden sailing canoe that he built 30 years ago, he hopes to relaunch it very soon. He takes pride in the fact that it will be the only wooden sailing boat and all of Utah, at least he hasn’t seen any others. In his spare time he likes to study geeky things and enjoy camping and boating with his wife. And he reads, okay, what’s it Dr. Cliff?

Cliff Hurst: [Laugh] Geeky stuff like philosophical hermeneutics and formal axiology.

Jim Rembach: And he writes about into them too in journals that only other academic geeks read, and as you can tell I’m not an academic geek, cause I can’t even read it myself. But Dr. Cliff Hurst are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Cliff Hurst: I’m ready to do my best, Jim.

Jim Rembach: I appreciate that. Okay, so, I’ve given the Fast Leader legion a little bit of insight about you, but can you actually share with us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

Cliff Hurst: Yes. It’s being a professor, I think at a fairly late stage in life I’ve found my calling and has come together. I get absolute delight in teaching young people at this stage in their lives.
Jim Rembach: You actually have been teaching a lot of MBA students in and I think you said that you recently just added some undergrads, what’s the big difference between the two as far as how it gives you rewarding joy?

Cliff Hurst: I do teach mostly MBA. Our MBA students are usually working full-time professionals. They attend our MBA program at night, most of them have nine or ten years work experience, many earn more than I do. [Laugh] They’re going to question me to say, “Do you really know what you’re talking about here?” And I think it’s not my academic credentials but my 30+ years of working in industry that give me that credibility. They’re quick to challenge me and I’m quick to say, “Here’s how I see it, take it or leave it.”

Undergrads are different. They’re 18 19 years old, wear a residential small Liberal Arts college. This students are here for four years and totally immersed in our academic environment. They live here, they play here, they get to know their friends here, this is a reformative time in a young person’s life, they’re all in if you will. So, don’t only see them in class but I see them in the lunch room, I see them in the coffee shop, I say Hi to them walking around campus they drop in my office, it’s an emergent experience for them, and I’m taking increase to light in working with undergraduates for that reason.

Jim Rembach: I’ve had the opportunity to work with you for several years on a couple different projects and working really closely, one on one…

Cliff Hurst: Several, that was 20, Jim.

Jim Rembach: Okay, thanks a lot. [Laugh] I’ve always enjoyed the interactions that we’ve had together, as a matter of fact, I’ve even have to stop myself many times to just be more respectful of your time because you have just such a wealth and depth of knowledge on things that both are, I guess you’d say, altruistic, theoretical, but then you also bring that practical application piece to it when you start talking the that street cred component. But if you think about something that you find yourself most often having to help people close the gap on in regards to all those things, what you think it ends up?

Cliff Hurst: To look for the answers to those questions inside themselves, not out there.

Jim Rembach: That’s a great point. Recently for myself had an epiphany associated with the differentiation of what is training, what is educating, what is this coaching and what is mentoring and often times they just get so convoluted and start coming together. I think the whole thing to what you were referring to in regards to what’s inside, that’s the ultimate goal of what coaching is, you’ve got to work with what’s already inside. But even those two generations or not necessarily generations but classifications of students that you were talking about, the young undergrads versus the MBA’s, there’s a whole different type of coaching that takes place.

Cliff Hurst: Yes, they’re both on journeys but their journeys are different, their stages of life are different and their goals are different. The younger people probably don’t even know what those goals are yet and if they do they’re hammered in by their parents, better get a good job to pay back this college cost. So, they’re malleable and they’re open.

Jim Rembach: And part of that too is I think you’re a very inspirational person but you approach it in a manner that is so reserved, for me, I’m not that good. We like to focus on quotes on Fast Leader show and passages and things like that, is there something for you that kind of gives you that inner drive and passion, that you kind of have to feather a little bit to have it come out, what—

Cliff Hurst: Yes, there is but let me go back to you and me first. You said something about I’m kind of reserved and you’re really out there, and that’s one thing I really like about you, because I am reserved. It’s hard for me to put it out there, the way you are. So, I learn from you and get energy from you that way, I just wanted to say that before we move on from it.

Jim Rembach: I appreciate that.

Cliff Hurst: Yeah. There’s a quote that has been in the forefront of my mind for ten years now. In fact, it becomes so important to me that it’s on my faculty webpage that people say, “Who is Cliff Hurst, Prof. Cliff Hurst?” this is one the defining characteristics. I think in fact it is probably the best explanation of what the college education should provide. And it’s a quote from the late philosopher Dr. Robert S. Hartman. And Hartman once wrote that there are only four steps to successful life: Know yourself; Choose yourself; Grow yourself and Give yourself to something greater than you, and I’ve and I spent ten years trying to take that to heart. And I hope the next ten years I’m able to impart that to others through my teaching.

Jim Rembach: That was just so powerful in so many different ways both personally and professionally and I thank you for sharing that. Now, you had talked about the source of that, and I know you’ve done a lot of work in that, would you like to share little bit about that source.

Cliff Hurst: Sure. When I was a consultant and executive coach I use a number of assessment tools to help people understand themselves. And Jim, you’ve been a coach before, one of the biggest challenges you meet is when you’re hired to coach someone, there’s often a degree of defensiveness about, ‘what you have to offer me’—so, you feel they put up a mask, they put up a shield to avoid getting real. And part of the challenge of coaching is to spend part your time breaking through that. I learned of an assessment tool called the Hartman value profile, that when people took it, it laid the framework for a more genuine conversation that I’d ever been able to have before, and could say, “Wow, how did you know that about me, because I didn’t know it the computer did but you gave the answers. And that opening was just so accelerated a genuine communication between me and the person I was coaching and accelerate their own growth in areas they hadn’t thought about that I became really intrigued by it and people ask questions, where does it come from? And what does it mean? And I said, “I’m not sure, it kind of complicated.”
So, one of the driving factors to go earning PhD was to study enough psychology and philosophy that I could begin to grasp the essence of the theory behind that instrument and that theory is called formal axiology, so, yeah, that’s why I’m kind of a geek in formal axiology. And Robert Hartman the man I just quoted was the theorist to develop that theory.

Jim Rembach: And for me, I’ve never even heard the word until you and I—we got reconnected after a certain period of time, and I started learning more about it myself. For me, when you start talking about axiology, and to put it in that street term which I’m more used to obviously, is to me it’s kind of like something that helps people break away from the traditional command and control types of actions and activities and behaviors that we are, unfortunately, so familiar with which squashes a lot of our innovative and great at thinking. Would that be a fair thing to say that it gets us to be able to move away from that?

Cliff Hurst: If you implement it in an organization that way. The theory in it is a guide to self- development but if you create an environment that encourages people to figure out who they are, to choose their best selves and to grow them through their work, that’s when you have—that’s where leadership gets involved and that’s when organizational development results. The tool’s a tool of insight, but what you could do with that insight in the workplace can be extraordinary.

Jim Rembach: And I that’s the piece that ultimately I want to move to is that, it’s great doing it as an individuals but I like the collective components cause that’s when the power can really happen. And so, that for me that’s a kind of connection that I made too and it totally makes sense and thank you for sharing. Okay, so, you mentioned about having—mostly MBA students until now you’re started to teach some undergrads and I know the dynamic is very different but I’m sure that’s giving you such a significant thrill, but is one thing that’s really exciting about the work that you’re doing today?

Cliff Hurst: Jim, I just proposed a three-year initiative as part of our college strategic plan. I don’t know if I’ll be accepted. A lot of other people’s proposed initiatives but this has me really excited. I was introduced last winter to a book, by a man named Aaron Hurst, same last name but no relation, called, “The Purpose Economy,” and what Aaron wrote there—he said that a confluence [11:35] is coming together and we are moving from the information age into a different era which he calls the era of the purpose economy. And that is that young people especially today are no longer just looking for a job that pays them well, they’re looking for some way to bring meaning and purpose to their lives through their work. And they’re looking for alignment with of their own values with whatever that organization stands for and I believe he’s really onto something. Yet, colleges for most part, and I would say ours in general, also do better at teaching young people stuff, here’s math, history, biology, finance, accounting and so forth and we do help them understand, what really feed? Where are your passions? What motivates you? What are you here for on this Earth that you can really tap into your own talents and strengths? And then go find a job that matches those talents, when you can do good in the work. That might sound altruistic but I think it’s very genuine and I’m excited about that. So, I have proposed an initiative to first cobble together and say, “Okay, are we really being delivered about helping students understand themselves? The typical college experiences why you learn academic stuff in the classroom, that we get good grades, sports team and clubs and dormitory life you learn about yourself. I think we can be more deliberate in aspect of it. The second part of this proposal is that we do a better job teaching students how to become employees but that’s only one way to become fulfillment through your career. Another way is to start your own business, to be an entrepreneur, to create something that’s not been done before, so, a part of this proposal is to spread entrepreneurship across our curriculum. I don’t believe entrepreneurship is just a business school course it should be a curriculum of study that drama students, and dance students, and chemist, and computer sciences, can all learn and add to their college experience. They can go out of here and find meaning through creating businesses or joining early-stage startups in a way that I don’t believe yet adequately prepare them to do.

Jim Rembach: I think that’s a great point. When you start thinking about some of the–discipline that people can fall into, I don’t know where I found it exactly, but there was some to the effect of, that average theater student upon graduation will make $21,000 a year. I don’t know where they’re going to live but it’s definitely going to be with several other people. And also think that’s probably one of the areas within the formal academic community that is high risk opportunity. Meaning that people just won’t go into the formal type of education environment at all because of some of those limitations. Are you seeing that it addresses the whole enrollment in piece and where do you see all that fitting?

Cliff Hurst: Why I think it could. I live forward to a day when we can say, artist without the adjective of starving in front of it. I mean, you don’t have to be a starving artist why can’t you be a thriving artist. I think you can if we help young people develop that mindset. I’ve received some unexpected residents from some of the—in agreement with what I’m trying to do is some of the other faculty, the Liberal Arts, I think we can bridge what’s often seen as an intellectual gap between Business and Liberal Arts. I think Business and Liberal Arts, business is as much about people is anything else is. And I believe just because you’re a talented artist that mean you can’t master QuickBooks, in the end basics of marketing and the sales and so forth, you can do that, I want to help facilitate that.

Jim Rembach: The Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright, Dr. Hurst, now it’s time for the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. So, this is the 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 robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Cliff, are you ready to hoedown?

Cliff Hurst: I’m ready Jim.

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

Cliff Hurst: Clutter. I do too much paper. You can see my bookshelf behind me. Paper embodies knowledge and I like knowledge so I have too much paper. But if I don’t know what’s there it’s not helping me access to knowledge, so, I’m out of control.

Jim Rembach: [Laugh] The reason I’m laughing is I have the same problem. If everybody was able to see mty desk you can understand why I chuckle. And for those that don’t know, we’re doing a video calling, Cliff and I can see each other but were only giving you the audio portion so…

Cliff Hurst: Thank goodness. [Laugh]

Jim Rembach: I hear you. Okay, so what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

Cliff Hurst: It came from two sources. The first time I got it, and it’s actually the second time I got emotionally, so I get to hear it the second time. As you know, I went to [16:46] Virginia, I studied a lot of Thomas Jefferson. In his older age he wrote a letter to a young nephew whose reaching adulthood filled with uncle-type advice. In that letter he said to his nephew, “In matters of taste, swim with the tide but in matters of principle stand like a rock.” And that’s stuck with me for a long, long time. I thought I grasped it until one day, I was in my 30’s and I was all hot and bothered about something, I was irritated, I was righteously indignant, something was really just fuming with me and I was getting angry and someone wiser than me say, “Cliff, why don’t you save that for something important? Negative energy just drains a lot out of you and sometimes we have to get angry, we have to get self-righteous sometimes it’s important but save that for the really big stuff and let the little stuff go. So, that’s the best advice I’ve had.

Jim Rembach: That’s awesome one. Okay, so, what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Cliff Hurst: Lifelong learning.

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

Cliff Hurst: The fact that I am a lifelong learner. I try to practice what I teach.

Jim Rembach: What would be, this could be a tough one even getting the opportunity to look at your bookshelves and it doesn’t have to be a business book it could be anything, if there was one book you’d recommend to folks, what would it be?

Cliff Hurst: “In Tune with the Soul” by Christina Thomas. Christina Thomas Frazer but if you go to Amazon, it’s Christina Thomas.

Jim Rembach: Why would you recommend that?

Well, if you want to know yourself, and choose yourself, and grow yourself, and give yourself you got to look pretty deep inside. And I forgot who said it, someone famous said, “We’re not physical beings having spiritual experiences we are spiritual beings having physical experiences.” It’s easy to forget that, that book helped me see the truth of that.

We’ll help you remember by putting a link to that book and several other resources on the show notes page that you’ll be able to find at fast leader.net/Cliff Hurst. Alright Dr. Hurst this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25, now, you get to take some things with you, you get to pick from all of the skills and knowledge that you been able to earn up to this point and take them back, but you only get one thing you got to choose, what one thing would you take back with you and why?

Cliff Hurst: I would listen more fully to people and I would strive to get to know them as people not just as their role in the company or the role in the business I was working them in. And I think that would have made all the world of difference and could still.

Jim Rembach: Thank you very much. Cliff, 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?

Cliff Hurst: Sure. By e-mail, cliff@cliffordhurst.com and on my website, cliffordhurst.com.

Jim Rembach: Dr. Cliff Hurst, 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.

024: Tema Frank: That’s the end of my business

Teama Frank Show Notes

Tema needed to make some technology changes with her company. The change required that her systems be out of service for a few days. In an effort to notify her customers via email, a technology glitch caused many people to receive a flood of emails about the system change issue. By the time Tema found out, over 650 people were negatively impacted. In the heat of her frustration and fear that her company was ruined, Tema’s 5-year old daughter gave her some advice that saved her company. Listen to Tema tell her story about how she got over this huge hump.

Tema Frank’s job title is Chief Instigator, and she’s been wanting to instigate since she was very young. Much to her frustration, when she tried to tell her parents or older brothers how they could do things better, they’d reply, “When we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you!” That may have been what sowed the seeds of her desire to give a greater voice to customers and staff.

She’s had a varied career over more than three decades, working as a lobbyist and public affairs specialist, then as a bank marketer, and eventually as a consultant and freelance writer so she’d have the flexibility to join her husband on a year’s sabbatical in the Netherlands. She wrote the best-selling book, Canada’s Best Employers for Women: A Guide for Job Hunters, Employees & Employers, and put up her first website in 1995 to promote it.

One day, stuck in the house during a snowstorm with a baby, a toddler, and without her husband (who was out of town) she got really frustrated that she couldn’t order diapers online. Soon afterwards she created Web Mystery Shoppers, which was one of the world’s first companies to have regular folks testing website usability and web-related customer service from their own, buggy computers at home.

Using social media techniques before social media existed, she recruited an international panel of 75,000 mystery shoppers. Her clients included some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, online travel sites, governments and retailers.

Tema is an internationally acclaimed speaker and teacher of digital marketing and customer experience strategy in the United States, Canada & France.

In 2012 she launched the Frank Online Marketing Show podcast, which morphed into Frank Reactions earlier this year when she decided to return to her original focus on customer and user experience. She is currently writing a book, The Customer Reflex, about how organizations need to change to provide the types of customer experiences people demand in our fast-paced, social media world.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @temafrank will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“If you have unhappy staff you’re not going to have them delivering great service.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“You’ve got to find ways to make things work more smoothly to keep everybody happy.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Everybody can make a difference.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“I find it very sad that so often people think there’s no point in saying anything.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Never underestimate the wisdom of a 5-year old.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“You can start making smaller changes wherever you are in the organization.”-Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“I did not sign on to be in the bar with the vice president.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Be yourself, don’t try to be like everybody else.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Tema tried to notify her customers via email about a technology change but something went terribly wrong. A glitch caused many people to receive a flood of emails about the system change. By the time Tema found out, over 650 people were negatively impacted. In the heat of her frustration and fear that her company was ruined, Tema’s 5-year old daughter gave her some advice that helped her to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Have confidence in yourself.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Her broken foot. Apart from that an element of insecurity.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Be yourself, don’t try to be like everybody else.

Secret to Success

The ability to really listen to others and the desire to listen to others.

Best Resources in business or Life

Reading and learning.

Recommended Reading

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Contacting Tema

email: tema@frankreactions.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/temafrank

Twitter: https://twitter.com/temafrank

Frank Reactions Podcast: http://frankonlinemarketing.com/show/

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
024: Tema Frank: That’s the end of my business

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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks, Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion I am excited today because we have somebody on the show who has a depth of knowledge and a lot of different areas associated with taking care of people , and I think that’s fantastic. Tema Frank’s job title is Chief Instigator and she’s been wanting to instigate since she was very young much her frustration when she tried to tell her parents and older brothers how they could do things better, they’d replied “When we want your opinion will give it to you.” That may have been what’s sowed the seeds of her desire to give a greater voice to customers and staff.

She’s had a varied career over more than three decades working as a lobbyist and public affairs specialist and then as a bank marketer. And eventually as a consultant and freelance writer so she’d have the flexibility to join her husband on a year sabbatical in the Netherlands, man that had to be fantastic. She wrote the best-selling book “Canada’s Best Employers for Women” a guide for job hunters, employees and employers and put it on her first website in 1995 to promote it.

One day stuck in the house during a snowstorm with the baby, a toddler without her husband was out of town, she got really frustrated that she couldn’t order diapers online. Soon afterwards she created a web mystery shoppers which was one of the world’s first companies to have regular folks testing website usability and web related customer service from their own buggy computers. Using social media techniques before social media existed, she recruited an international panel of 75,000 mystery shoppers. Her clients included some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, online travel, sites governments and retailers.

Tema, is an internationally acclaimed speaker and teacher of digital marketing and customer experience strategy in the United States, Canada and France. In 2012, she launched Frank online marketing show which is a podcast that has morphed into frank reactions, when she decided to return to her original focus on customer and user experiences. She’s currently writing a book the customer reflex, about how organizations need to change to provide the types of customer experiences that people demand in our fast-paced social media world, Tema Frank are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Tema Frank: You bet.

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

Tema Frank: Sure. My current passion is really helping organizations understand that if they want to deliver great customer experience and by now most of them realize how important that is. They’ve got to also treat their staff really well because if you have and unhappy staff you’re not going to have them delivering great service. And they’ve got to reexamine all their processes and procedures because you’ve got to find ways to make things work more smoothly to keep everybody happy, so, I’m doing a lot of reading and writing and researching on that.

Jim Rembach: You talked about a lot, even with you bio and even with that explanation on what’s currently driving, this level of caring that goes beyond and transcends what typically happens just in our society, where does that come from for you?

Tema Frank: I don’t know, I guess I’ve always kind of been like that. I guess I’ve been a bit at the in path character.

Jim Rembach: So, when that happens, and you have that type of passion, often times we have things that we need to inspire us, and on the show we look at leadership quotes in order to do just, is there a quote or a passage or something that drives you that helps you continue on in fighting that fight?

Tema Frank: It’s not so much a quote as just a belief. I guess that that belief for me is that everybody can make a difference. I find it very sad that so often people think that, “Ah, there’s no point in my saying anything, no one will listen, it won’t change anything” and they’re so wrong. I’ve had so many times in my life where just making—saying something is all that needed to be done for the other person to realize that a change was needed. And so, I really try and inspire people to believe that they can make a difference.

Jim Rembach: We appreciate all that work and I know it doesn’t come easy. Especially for me, I start thinking about the course of my life when I was a younger person I may not been able to do those types of things even though I had the passion in a way that was very accepting. [Laugh] talking about burning bridges and all that. Those are a lot of humps that I’ve had to get over and I think we all have them. And we focus on those humps on the show so that other people can learn and hope to become a better leader faster by learning through others. Is there a time where you had to come to that point at which you had to something different in order to get over a hump, can you take us back to the moment?

Tema Frank: Well, I think probably the biggest hump that I faced are certainly one of the big ones was shortly after launch Mystery Shoppers. I’ve been living in Toronto when I launched it and we had probably a couple thousand people in our database when we moved from there to Edmonton, and I was switching hosting companies, and this was quite a long time ago, so if you were switching you needed to switch to a new server and that your site is going to be down for a couple of days, so, I wanted to warn people about this. And, my hosting providers said, “No problem we’ll just send them an email let them know it’s going to be down for a couple days.”

And, it was a Friday afternoon and I started getting phone calls from my friends, thank God my friends were the first people on that list, and they were saying, “Why are you flooding our inbox?” And it turned out there was a loop in the program so that when the first person got their email, then when the second person got theirs, the first person got two, there is and second person’s and then third and it was just expanding geometrically, so, we were totally overflowing people’s inboxes. And by the time we figured out what was going on and we’re able to stop it, I think we had about 650 people who had been emailed, massive massive.

So, it was Friday afternoon I work out of a home office, I’m in my office fighting back tears and my five-year-old daughter walked in and she asked, what’s the matter? And so I explained it to her as best as I could in a five-year old terminology, cause honestly I thought that’s the end of my business it’s a web based business how can I mess up like that and still expect people to trust me? And my daughter said to me, “Why don’t you just phone them all and tell them you’re sorry?” And I started to say, “Oh, no, no, no, we can’t phone 650 people” and then I realized, “Yes we can.”

And so, the fellow who had made the mistake—and I got on the phone and spent the weekend phoning 650 people to apologize for what had happened. And in the end even the people who had originally threatened to sue ended up saying can we help you make this phone calls, totally, totally turned things around. So, I guess what I learned from that was, a couple of things. One is, never underestimate the wisdom of a five-year old, as I said everyone can make a difference. But the other was the value of honesty and apology.

Jim Rembach: That’s a great story. It makes me reflect for myself at this time of my six-year-old what he would say, [Laugh] “send a text dad”.

Tema Frank: Well, see that’s the thing. We couldn’t email them because we’ve already flooded their email box, so, what options was there.

Jim Rembach: That’s a great story. I would say that throughout the course of our lives we often have those little voices and sometimes they truly come from the little folks that teach you a better job of listening. Needless to say, you have a lot of things going on. You have such a dep depth of experience and being an entrepreneur solopreneur, I’m sure at times, as well as just a leader of many people through the businesses that you’ve had, what do you currently focusing in on right now that’s giving you passion and drive?

Tema Frank: Right now I’m really focusing mainly on getting my book written, cause I’ve been talking about it for two years, and I’ve decided—as I’ve mentioned before we started taping I broke my [8:34 inaudible] recently so and I’m really trying to take advantage of that time by getting my book written at long last. So, I’m focusing on the book and the podcasts and just learning a lot more about this subject and how to help companies change.

Jim Rembach: Helping companies change is a monumental task, some people can say it’s herculean. What do you find seems to be something that is kind of a universal thing that helps those companies do just that, change?

Tema Frank: It’s not easy. I think what helps often the most is for senior leaders to actually experience what it’s like on the front lines and/or what it’s like to be a customer. Getting on the front lines, finding out what their customers are really experiencing and if they get on the front lines even just hearing the actual words of people, so with Web Mystery Shoppers, we did a blend of qualitative and quantitative information. In addition to saying here’s your score, I was able to give each of the clients a detailed report with quotes from their actual customers saying, “This is what’s driving me crazy” and I find that tends to be very powerful.

Jim Rembach: I often find in the work that I do with customer relationship metrics that the qualitative analysis ends up having significantly more impact than the quantitative analysis could really ever generate. But when you look at what a lot of folks are doing when they start talking about interpreting the customer and even though they say is the voice of the customer there’s not a whole lot of qualitative analysis or customer comments or things that are really giving meaning to those numbers being captured in leverage and utilize them, what would you tell those companies?

Tema Frank: Well, I would tell them how important it is. I think a lot of organizations big and small struggle with finding ways to package that information, finding ways to pull it together from all these different sources. So, even within a small company, where it really should be easier because there aren’t tens of thousands of people giving feedback every day, very often you’ll find that the receptionist hears one set of complaints, the sales reps hears different set of complaints and nobody’s bringing it all together. So, it’s really important that they look at whole organization and where feedback is coming from and put it all together.

Jim Rembach: Now, say somebody who was responsible for leading that customer experience, what one piece of advice that you would give them?

Tema Frank: I’m trying to get away from just the obvious things like—when I’ve heard from people that I’ve interviewed is, make sure that you’ve got top management buying. But that said, I think even when you don’t initially have top buying, you can start making smaller changes wherever you are in the organization. It comes back to that core belief of mine that everybody can make a difference. So, if you can change things even in your work unit, those results will start to be seen and they’ll start to be shared and people—it can spread through the organization.

Jim Rembach: I think that’s a really good point. Because often times I hear folks—and it really doesn’t matter if you’re doing customer experience or anything else, really complain about things not being able to move at the pace that they want them to move but yet they’re giving up instead of doing just what you’re saying, looking for the small victories, those small opportunities and gradually building momentum. The fact, is that when you started talking about that change piece, a moment ago, it does not happen fast. Why, we wish that we could just walk into the room and flipped the switch, so to speak, that just doesn’t happen. We have to go back and start learning to reinvent the light bulb.

Tema Frank: That said maybe I’m being a bit of a hypocrite cause I’ve worked on my own since—for almost 25 years because I found it incredibly frustrating. [Laugh] I think I’ll probably handle it better now than I did when I was in my 20’s though.
Jim Rembach: Without a doubt. And that’s one of the things that we try to do on the Fast Leader show, try to show and reveal the fact that we all have grown to be where we are today. And there’s humps that we all had to get over. And if somebody can learn from your story to help them get over the hump faster than we’ve accomplished our job here at Fast Leader show. So, thank you for sharing that with us. So, now you had talked about when you know you’re younger, was there a moment in time where it kind of flip for you that you needed to do something different in order to get the outcome that you desired? Can you take us back to that moment?

Tema Frank: I think really for me probably the most significant moment in time where that happened was when I decided to become self-employed and stay self-employed. I have been working in a bank with bunch of guys who—this was the late 1980’s early 1990’s and they were not particularly appropriate in their behavior towards women. And I had really try to change things, and I remember sitting in my office at one point and my boss came in and he said, “You know, you’re not doing yourself any good by staying in the office doing your work you should be in the bar with the vice-president. And I thought, if that what it takes I didn’t sign on to be with the bar with the vice president, I sign on to be marketing. And so, I realize that I was going to leave that organization and that I was going to create own work so that I can have a work environment that I felt good about and so, that I could create a good work environment for others.

Jim Rembach: So, if you were to give the Fast Leader legion a piece of advice from that, what would be it be?

Tema Frank: Have confidence in yourself.

Jim Rembach: Good piece of advice. Okay, now it’s time for the rapid pace part of our show and it the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Tema, 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. Tema Frank, are you ready to hoedown?
Tema Frank: You bet.

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

Tema Frank: My broken foot. [Laugh] Probably there’s an element of insecurity which is embarrassing too to admit at my age.

Jim Rembach: I don’t think that ever goes away. What’s the best leadership advice you ever received?

Tema Frank: Be yourself don’t try to be like everybody else.

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

Tema Frank: The ability to really listen. To listen to others and the desire to really listen to what others think and say.

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

Tema Frank: One of the books that inspired me the most this year was one by a fellow named Ben Harowitz called, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and it’s a beautifully written book about both the ups but also the downs of leading a fast growth company.

Jim Rembach: We’re going to make a link to that available on our show notes page which you can find at fast leader.net/Tema Frank. Okay, Tema, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you are 25 years old again, and you are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of the team people that are underperforming and disengaged. But you have retained all the wisdom and skill that you currently have, now your task is to turn the team around. So, you get up, you get ready and you head out to work, what do you do now?

Tema Frank: What I would do is sit down with them individually, one at a time and have one-on-one private confidential meetings and find out what’s frustrating them and what their aspirations are, what they’d like to see being done differently.

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

Tema Frank: Well, they can connect with me, first of all, by e-mail, it’s tema@frankreactions.com. I’m on Twitter simply as Tema Frank. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook, all the usual places.

Jim Rembach: And then you also have your podcast, which is available in iTunes and where else?

Tema Frank: The podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher just search for Frank Reactions and of course—I’d imagine people listening to this probably already are podcast listeners but in case they’re not, they just stumbled across your website, as with this podcast they can find it simply by going to frankreactions.com and looking for the individual episodes, Jo notes that also have links to the podcast.

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

END OF AUDIO

023: Joan Pepper: Please bring my daughter home

Joan Pepper Show Notes

Joan took the better of a year constructing all of the necessary paperwork for adopting a girl from the country of China. Once completed Joan had to mail all of the documents to obtain the required county, state and federal approvals before it was submitted to the Chinese Consulate. But something went terribly wrong and her paperwork was lost. After the panic and frustration wore off Joan constructed one of the most daring FBI MOST WANTED type of plans that you’ll ever hear. Listen to Joan tell her amazing story so you can be inspired to move onward and upward faster.

Joan Pepper was raised in Toledo, Ohio where she began her public speaking career competing in 4-H competitions at local county fairs.  She is the oldest of four children and is proud to be the sister of three outstanding men that are successful in wildly divergent fields.  Although she might like to take credit for nurturing her little brothers to success, doing so would be a blatant lie as credit for building their children’s character, integrity and Catholic faith was the lifework of two outstanding parents.

Joan graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in Business Administration and began her career working for Aetna Insurance in Cleveland.  She moved to Atlanta in 1987 after it became clear that “the worst year for winter weather ever” was actually an inescapable annual Cleveland special. In 1997, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Psychology after spending nine months in county jail as an intern in health services.

The bulk of her career has been in marketing and distribution with roles in the customer facing B2B side of the insurance business.  She is currently employed as the Director, Customer Experience Analytics within AIG’s operational services arm where she leads collaborative customer journey initiatives across the globe.

Joan is a strong advocate for adoption and for celebrating multi-cultural families. She is a wife to a Peruvian and mom to both a native born son and a Chinese born daughter. She believes her family may hold the record for the number of cultural holidays celebrated annually in any one household.

She spends most of her free time solving brain teasers like, “it seemed like a good idea at the time” when she asks her children, “What were you thinking?”

Joan believes success is the result of stubborn perseverance and a slightly off sense of humor.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @joanpepper will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“To keep your drive, you have to have a successful result every day.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“What helps me achieve the big success is make a difference every day.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“When it comes to changing behavior you can’t blink your eyes and make it happen.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“Never, never, never give up.”-Winston Churchill Click to Tweet

“You have to believe that most people will help you when asked.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“When you hit a wall look for another approach.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“You can motivate others from the rear without the authority to do so.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“Everybody needs to know that what they are doing matters.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“Every day is an opportunity to learn something new.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“What would you do if you weren’t scared?” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“God will either get you through it or God will make it better.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“I see no reason why I should give up.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

“We all don’t make decisions in the same way.” -Joan Pepper Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Joan spent almost a year completing all of the necessary paperwork for adopting a girl from the country of China. She completed all of the requirements and mailed all of the documents, but they got lost. Joan was angry and scared because her entire identity was included in those documents. But once that wore off Joan designed an elaborate plan to get over the hump and recover her lost package. Listen to how she did it and what you can learn to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

When you hit a wall, look for another approach. And believe you can motivate others from the rear without the authority to do so.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Probably fear. It’s a natural human emotion.

Best Leadership Advice Received

God will either get you through it or God will make it better.

Secret to Success

I’m stubborn.

Best Resources in business or Life

I have mentors inside my companies, outside my company, and my family.

Recommended Reading

Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams

The Art of Choosing

Connecting with Joan

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/joan-pepper-cpcu-ccxp/a/b1/17a

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanpepper

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript 023: Joan Pepper: Please bring my daughter home

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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I have a lot of energy for this particular episode today. I am really excited to be able to have Joan Pepper, and yes she is spicy on the show today.

Joan was raised in Toledo, Ohio, where she began her public speaking career competing in 4-H competition at the local county fairs. She is the oldest of four children and is proud to be the sister of three outstanding men that are successful in wildly divergent fields. Although she might like to take credit for nurturing her little brothers to success doing so would be a blatant lies, credit for building their children’s character integrity and catholic faith was the life work of two outstanding parents.

Joan graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in Business Administration and began her career working for an ETNA Insurance in Cleveland. She moved to Atlanta in 1987 after it became clear that the worst year for winter weather ever was actually an inescapable annual Cleveland event. In 1997, she obtained her Master’s degree in Psychology after spending nine months in county jail as an intern in Health Services.

The bulk of her career has been in marketing and distribution with roles in the customer facing business-to-business side of the insurance business. She is currently employed as the director of Customer Experience Analytics within AIG’s operational services arm where she leaves the collaborative customer journey initiatives cross the entire globe. Joan is a strong advocate for adoption and for celebrating multicultural families.

She is a wife to a Peruvian and mom to both a native born son and Chinese born daughter. She believes her family may hold the record for the number of cultural holiday celebrated annually in anyone household. She spends most of her free time solving brainteasers like, it seemed like a good idea time, when she ask her children, “What were you thinking?” Joan believes success is the result of stubborn perseverance and a slightly off sense of humor. Joan Pepper, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Joan Pepper: Yeah. I am.

Jim Rembach: Alright. I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but can you please tell us what your current passion so that we get to know you better?

Joan Pepper: Currently, I work in Customer Service for AIG and Customer Experience, I put a lot of enthusiasm into it, I’m enthusiastic about it. Frankly, I get off energized, I like what I do, I like the people I work with and I just like getting better outcomes for people. And as I mentioned in my bio, as you mentioned, I do have an adopted child and adoption is also very passionate cause to me.

Jim Rembach: You got passion at work and passion at home, that just sounds fantastic I think that’s the place that all wish where we could be in. When you talk about at work, you had mentioned about results, a lot of us have issues getting to the point having results—when I had the opportunity to meet you I found somebody who didn’t necessarily spend a whole lot of time in the weeds. So, when you think about results, what are some key things that helps you get them?

Joan Pepper: I think the key to getting results—you have to look at the macro picture, the big picture, and you have this big project and you have this big result at the end and that’s great. And you’re going to have a project planning, you’re going to get there and you have collaborative, you have to cross sale, everybody to go with you. And you have that big result, but I think that if you want to keep you enthusiasm, if you want to keep your drive all the way, you have to have a successful result every day. And it maybe something as simple as, somebody calls me on the phone, ask me a question and I know the answer, and if I’ve done that I’ve made their life better that day.

I had a job before this one where I was drawing down a business unit, what I did for three years, it was negative messaging, to be quite honest with you. The messages I had weren’t all that good and so we had very diminished morale in the group. And what I did was I had an old fashioned paper calendar and when someone want to call me, if I could solve their problem no matter what it was, that is a win for the day and I would write it down. And that’s what I would tell everybody that I worked with, write it down. If someone call you—they didn’t know what department to call or they just have a question, something simple like that, you’ve helped their day, you’ve made a difference every day.

So, what helps me achieve the big success is making difference there every day. And it is the weeds but it gets you to that bigger goal at the end. I think it’s just the way with customer experience, you don’t see immediate results. And people have a need for immediacy, especially with the electronics and—I can look anything up on Google what I want, Boom! It’s done. But when it comes to changing behavior, changing methods of delivery and everything like that, you can’t blink your eyes and have it happen overnight. Same as raising children, you can’t turn them into a productive adults overnight, it’s a process. And you have to have small wins and small battles but small wins every day. I really think that’s what keeps me going.

Jim Rembach: I definitely see you as a person who’s very resilient as well, I mean, very inspirational talking about the energy and talking about your degree Psychology obviously you focused and have a lot of passion for the positive side. One of the ways that we also do that here on the show is by looking at leadership quotes ‘cause they do just that. They help inspire, they help us persevere, and they help us do things that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do this by staying in our own minds. Is there a quote or something that really drives you?
Joan Pepper: On my mirror when I get up in the morning every day, it’s Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up.” And I have needed that I don’t know how many times. And it reminds me of they had a challenge that was slightly more difficult than anything that I’ve ever faced. And that is the one that I always sit back, think about, get up and keep going.

Jim Rembach: And definitely that’s one of those situations where never giving up, continuing to push through. I have talked about perseverance before I even knew that was your favorite quote because I see that in you. So, you play it out every day, can you think of a time where that really served you well cause you had a hump to get over? Humps on the Fast Leader show, can you share it with us?

Joan Pepper: Yeah. I laughed a little because I don’t want to be labelled the terrorist or anything like that. Let me tell you a story about when I adopted my daughter. My daughter was adopted from China. And adopt from China, it’s a long process and it’s somewhat brutal, you have to please two governments, the state of Georgia, it’s not as simple as you were thinking. In the process you have to compile somethings called the, dossier, it has everything about you, and it has a home study, your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, just everything, and I call it steal my identity and a kit.

It has to go in an envelope and you’re not allowed to send it, tracking it, so you have to send it get it notarize at the county then you have to take it to the state and the state has to, ‘Yeah, you know that the county really exist”. Then you have to send it to the Chinese consulate in United States of America that says, “Hey, guess what, the state of Georgia really exist.” What happen was all my paper works in the envelope, followed directions, got everything done, which takes better part of the year, send it down to state of Georgia to get their official state on it and waited, and nothing came. And waited, and nothing came.

So, I called them, yeah, yeah, you know they have it on their log, when it went out, nothing came. At this point I have all these work as well as my identity missing. And I was like, “Now what?” First thing I did, I panicked the second thing I did was I got really angry. The third thing I did was I think I panicked a little bit more. I called the post office and said, “Here’s my problem… and they said, “Ah, you know, we don’t have it.” I talked to my mail courier, “Ah, we don’t have it.” Then I think I’m a little bit angrier and more panic and I just sat back and I thought, “Alright, what can you do? What can you do that might get this to work for you? You have to find a needle in a haystack and how are you going to do it?

So, I thought, Okay, I know where I left the package and we’re going to start there. And we’re going to walk, we’re going to follow it from downtown Atlanta to my house in [inaudible 9:07]. So, I called the Post Office and said, “Hey can you tell me which post office [inaudible 9:11] and there’s sort of like, “No” It was right after 9/11, it was right after the Anthrax had risen, they’re like No we’re not going to tell you that. I thought, alright, I have to beat that one. So, I checked on legally how far they have to stay from postal track if you follow it, it’s a 100 feet, just you know.
I checked that and then I put on a suit, made myself look like I knew what I was doing, I printed up an envelope and I made a facsimile of what it was. It was this envelope with the return label on it, it looked identical and I’ve carried it down to the state department and I started in the office that they stamped and said, “Have you seen this?” “No” “Can you tell me where it goes from here?” “Sure” So, they take me down to the sorting room in the post office, I talked to that girl told her that story, “Have you seen….?” “No” “Where does it go from here?” So, then I go into—this is the [10:07 inaudible] and I go up to the main room in the state office and they did have security and I don’t have a badge but I guess because I had a suit on and I was carrying a paperwork they let me in without asking. And I went into their mailroom started picking up their machines looking behind cabinets, everything like that, it wasn’t there, nobody asked me what I was doing which was the part where I probably shouldn’t reveal that, and I left, that’s okay. Now what, what’s next? It’s not here.

So, I eliminated that place. I went home and I thought about it like, “Okay, I’ve got to figure this out.” Now, you’re close to my agency, you can remember this before you bought postage online, you went to the post office and in the post office there was a wall, remember the Most Wanted pictures the FBI’s top ten would be on the wall, we’re all familiar with that in there. So, I went home and I started making posters and it was a picture of the envelope I was looking for. I put, “Please bring my daughter home, most wanted, and gave a little bit of a story, day it was lost, this is why I need it. And then I thought, “Now, I have to get it to all the post offices in [11:24 inaudible] how do I find them? It was a little bit more challenging that I thought and I’ll think about it for a while but I waited till the middle of the night and started calling post offices and I figured the sorting station will be the one that answers the phone, I was right.

And I got all their fax numbers and I started sending it to every single post office, I faxed it to every office in between point A and point B. And two days later my door ring and there was my postal carrier with my envelope who said, “I’ve no explanation, I was told to handle over this to you”. So, then I turn around and I took my most wanted poster, I wrote, ‘Captured’ and I faxed it back to all the different post office, Jim, I don’t know who helped me. I don’t know who found it. But I know someone did. So, I would say the lesson was, you have to be a little creative and you have to believe most people will help you when asked.

Jim Rembach: Gosh, Joan, that is one fantastic story. I hope we don’t get censored by the NSA on that one. That is just unbelievable. But ultimately what is did it resulted in? Please finish the story.

Joan Pepper: I got my paperwork back I was able to send it over to China. I have an absolutely beautiful 8-year old daughter that I adopted in September 2007. And it is a challenge and it’s a blessing and I would do it all over again other than losing of the envelope. [Laugh]

Jim Rembach: The Fast Leader listeners, they can learn so many different things from that story and you did share a couple of things but going back through the process if there was one thing that stood out that you would definitely recommend to other folks, what would it be?
Joan Pepper: Look for another approach. When you hit a wall look for another approach and believe that you can motivate others from the rear without any authority to do so believe that.

Jim Rembach: You also did a lot of things from an influence perspective and persuasion, a science of persuasion perspective that other people just wouldn’t know to deploy, I would suspect because you have a psychology degree. For me, you play the people for their emotion but you did it in an ethical fashion, you weren’t doing it as the ‘terrorist’ like you were saying, you did it to really say, “Please help me.” And when you do that and you show that humility, it’s amazing how many times people will step up. I hope your thank you message and capture message got to the person or people who helped you with that process. And that it actually encourages them to do it again because I’m sure there’s other folks that are on the same situation that needed that kind of help.

Joan Pepper: Yeah. I agree. I think it’s also really important that when something like that happens we’re so busy and a lot of time we will tell you if something is going wrong. But we don’t take a lot of time to tell you when things are going right, I try to make a point of doing that. A lot of surveys, you get surveys and people call just to complain. But I like to tell people when they’re doing things right because everybody needs to know, hey, what they’re doing matters. And if they don’t think it does that day, maybe you’re one voice that tells them.

Jim Rembach: Yeah. You’re definitely on track with that. I think too many times we do focus in on that negative piece and that threat. And I know that as human beings that’s something that we just focus on from a pure survival perspective but that’s not what actually motivates us even in a long run. What it does it causes us to maybe move quick but not sustenance, so, thanks for sharing that. Now, talked earlier about some of things that you are doing within AIG and [15:36 inaudible] you do a lot of different work. But what’s one thing that your current work is doing for you that provides you with that energy that you had talked about earlier?

Joan Pepper: Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. And I think that the reason I’m with the company I’m with is for that reason. And you don’t get that in a lot of places and I enjoy that. I don’t necessarily enjoy job or I’m counting this same widgets every day, I think it takes different personalities are drawn to different occupations and different jobs. But what energizes me and excites me is just the ability to do something new and to work with the people I work with.

Jim Rembach: What’s the new things that you’re learning now that’s exciting you?

Joan Pepper: I’m learning a lot about global collaboration.

Jim Rembach: I think a lot of us are actually having to experience that now more than ever. They talk about the globalization of the marketplace for organization as well as from a customer exchange and experience perspective. Is there something that you’re finding that is a surprise or an epiphany to you in regards to that collaboration that you didn’t know otherwise?

Joan Pepper: One thing that surprises me is maybe we have so many highly qualified people doing so many great things. And I’m just wondering, and I don’t know the answer to this, are we actually getting the full benefit of that? I don’t know if that’s a surprise because I don’t know, I don’t know the answer to it. But I do know that we have an awful lot of people doing an awful lot of really good things.

Jim Rembach: So when you start talking about that potential missed opportunity, where do you see that potentially being?

Joan Pepper: I think that the opportunity we may be missing is pulling this altogether may just be a communication issue. And I think for companies such as ours, that was in a major reorganization, and with moving around to reestablish those communication lines, it’s going to take time, things don’t happen overnight and I think you have to have a little bit of patience with that. So, I believe that as our communication gets better and better, and it is, we will be able to get—everyone uses synergy, it’s a word that I don’t allow because I’m tired of it but frankly, you get the synergies of everybody working together as soon as you have the ability to do that communication in a platform to do it.

Jim Rembach: The Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright here we go Fast Leader listeners it is time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Joan, 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. Joan Pepper are you ready to hoedown?

Joan Pepper: Okay.

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

Joan Pepper: Probably fear. I think that fear is a natural human emotion that it is something that will raise to the top no matter what you do and that one thing would hold you back. One of the things that I say to myself now, what would you do if you weren’t scared? And they don’t fail the effectivities yet. I can tell you that that’s my new tactic, Okay, what would you do if you weren’t scared? And that usually the right answer by the way.

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

Joan Pepper: It was from my dad. My father died from lymphoma five year ago. And there’s been a lot of really good professional leadership advice but this is it: I was working at a job offer I was like, agonizing over which of this two good options I should take. And my father had fight cancer, brutal cancel lymphoma five years earlier, and I was furious make myself sick over, do I take A, do I take B, trying to figure out the opportunity cause if I take A, if I take B, at this point I was in nuts. And he said, “I want to talk to you for a minute”, and I thought, “Oh, no, what have I done now.” You maybe 45 but it was like, “Oh, boy, what have I done now.” And we went over we sat in his van and he said, “Want to tell you something.” He said, “You know, that last five year of my life has been a gift,” he said, “it’s a weird gift, and it’s an odd gift and it’s not one that I would’ve asked for but it’s been a gift because over the last five years I have learned one of two things will happen, God will either get you through it or Got will make it better. And you should not spending your effort worrying about things like this.” And his cancer came back shortly and about a month after then he died. But it was sort of the Aha moment of, you know, okay, make a decision move forward, it may be right it may be wrong but you’re not going to lose your life on this one, and even if you do one of two things will happen. It wasn’t from a—not necessarily I could give you all sort of business leaders examples but when it comes to—you live your life at work too it’s part of you, it’s not really two separate things. We have this whole work life planned and it’s like “Look here’s the deal, you’re either going to get better or you’re going to get through it. And don’t waste your energy on trying to figure out which one it’s going to be. So I really think that was probably the best advice. Do I follow it all the time? No. Honestly I don’t, I wish I could but being human, I know that does that not always happen.

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

Joan Pepper: I think, I’m just a real pain in the ass. I just see no reason why I should give up. Maybe it took, it’s where you’re now and—you know that punchy clown? You would hit, it bounces, you punch it, it bounces up and sometimes I don’t know when I should stay down. However, I’ve been able to do some pretty cool things because I would say it’s just that I’m sort of stubborn.

Jim Rembach: It’s being productive and constructive with it that is really the differentiator. So, what is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

Joan Pepper: I have mentors that I worked with at my office and at my company and outside of my company. These are people that I’ve worked with, that I admire for a lot of different reasons and I try to talk them—I have some professional organizations and those helps me as well and of course, I have my family. And I do have three younger brothers, one is a lawyer, they are all sorts of stuff, and running things by family—of course I’ve a husband as well, people I trust that helps me.

Jim Rembach: Yeah. You definitely can’t do it alone, can we?

Joan Pepper: Nope.

Jim Rembach: What is one book that you would recommend to our listeners?

Joan Pepper: There’s so many of them. But the one that I really thought was okay, this sort of boils it down. I was able to hear the guy talk called Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton the gentleman’s named Lee Ellis and he in POW camp in Vietnam. And he wrote a book on leadership, it’s not a hard read just tenets of leadership. And if they were able to—you think about situation hey were in, which was pretty awful, if they were still able to have a cohesive group that led through this terrible crisis, I would recommend that one. The other one that I would recommend and really like is the Art of Choosing and has nothing to do with leadership, does have to do with humans and it has to do with different cultural differences and how we make decisions and that we don’t all make decisions in the same way. Her name is Sheena Iyenger, she happens to be a blind writer from India who went to one of the [inaudible 23:44] it’s called the Art of Choosing, it’s very interesting book.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion, you can find links to those books and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Joan Pepper. Alright, Joan, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again and you were supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team of people that is underperforming and disengage but you retain all the wisdom and skill that you currently have your task is to turn the team around, so you get up, you get ready and you head out to work, what do you do now?

Joan Pepper: I love it. So, no wrinkles and all the knowledge, I like that. I think I’d walk in, I’ll take all the company propaganda off the wall, if there was any. I will get the people together to make changes and then I would look at three things just that everyone know what they’re doing, what’s our goal, do we have all have the same mission? Do they know why they’re relevant? Do they feel relevant every day? Do they feel like they’re doing meaningful work? Do they understand why their work is meaningful?

Jim Rembach: It’s an honor to spend time with you today, Joan. Can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can get in touch with you?

Joan Pepper: Absolutely. I’m at joan.pepper@belsab.net. I’m at 404 3136542 that’s US and I am on LinkedIn@Joan Pepper.

Jim Rembach: Joan Pepper, 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

022: Jeanne Bliss: I wasn’t getting any traction

Jeanne Bliss Show Notes

Jeanne couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting any traction. Once, Jeanne had someone do something very important in the trajectory of her personal and professional life. After that she began to do something different that caused people to want to do what Jeanne needed them to do. Listen to Jeanne’s story and what she learned that can help you get over the hump.

Jeanne Marie Theresa Lombardo Bliss grew up in Des Plaines Illinois. As the third of seven children, she learned early on that she’d better grab some food to eat as the platter was set down on the table, or there wouldn’t be much food left after her four brothers dove into the meal.

Her dad Vince Lombardo (yes, no joke) owned a Buster Brown Shoe Store, not far from the very first McDonald’s in downtown Des Plaines. At the shoe store, each of the Lombardo children would take their turn dressing up every summer in the Chicago heat and humidity as Buster Brown, blonde page boy wig and all.  It was a much needed and early lesson in humility.

The far greater lesson was watching her dad “shoe” multiple generations of children.  He often times put the very first pair of shoes on kids feet. He knew the families, and the kids and the kids’ kids. Because he was a small town merchant he couldn’t even leave the store for lunch, and so he’d make sausage and pepper in the back room for his lunch on a hot plate.

Not only did he “shoe” all those families, he fed many of them too. He became a part of the story of peoples’ lives. So much so, that when he retired, a line of people three blocks long stood to say good-bye.

And that is the story that Jeanne has carried her my heart throughout all of her work, and the journey of her life.

Her grandmas were kind of like that too. She has a hard time remembering either one of them sitting at a table while the family was eating a meal. They were always hovering, behind chairs…plopping more food on their already full plates, saying “Mangier!” “Mangier!”

The food festival didn’t end there either. Nobody was able to leave either of their houses without a bag of groceries. They’d go into the cupboards and scoop up whatever they had and package it up into a bag from Dominics, the local Chicago grocery.

So what Jeanne’s really carried with her throughout her life from all of this is two things: leave people with a memory and nourish them. Whether it’s their heart or their souls…always leave them with your version of a bag of groceries.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @jeannebliss will help you get over the hump on @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“How do you create a wonderful next version of life?”-Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“Balance the living part of life with the working part of life.” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“How can I keep on living but save the best for last?” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“What’s another thing I can do for the world?” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“Earn the right to grow by improving people’s lives.” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“Choose it and deliver it.”-Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“People all need a safe place to be who they are.” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“The more you advance in your life the more humble you should become.” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

“Why are you in business and how are you going to improve lives?” -Jeanne Bliss Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Jeanne couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting any traction. Once, Jeanne had someone puller her aside and told her that she did not do the work she was taking credit for. For Jeanne, this was something that totally change the trajectory of her career and life. After that she began to put others in the spotlight more. Listen to Jeanne’s story and what she learned that can help you move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Don’t forget that your feet are made of clay. The more you advance in your life the more humble you should become and the more you should be open to learning. Be willing to change and put you defense mechanism on the shelf.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Brain moving too fast.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Write like you talk.

Secret to Success

Passion and persistence and not stopping…ever.

Best Resources in business or Life

Going back to my roots and who I am and how I grew up.

Recommended Reading

Would You Do That to Your Mother?: The Make Mom Proud Standard for How to Treat Your Customers

The Velveteen Rabbit

Connecting with Jeanne

Website: www.CustomerBliss.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeannebliss

Gift from Jeanne

First Chapter of Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-driven Growth Engine

Click to access edited transcript
022: Jeanne Bliss: I wasn’t getting any traction

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.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I am excited today because you’re going to get two guests. One, being that you get to meet the guest that I have today, and the other being is that you get a download to a brand-new book.

Jeanne Marie Theresa Lombardo Bliss, grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois. As the third of seven children she learned early on that she better grab some food to eat as the platter was set down on the table or there wouldn’t be much food left after her four brothers delve in on the meal. Her dad Vince Lombardo own a Buster Brown shoe store not far from the very first McDonald’s in downtown Des Plaines. At the shoe store, each of the Lombardo children would take their turn dressing up every summer in the Chicago heat and humidity as Buster Brown—blonde, pageboy wig and all, it was a very much needed an early lesson in humility.

The far greater lesson was watching her dad shoe multiple generations of children; he oftentimes put the very first pair shoes on kid’s feet. He knew the families, the kids, and the kids, kids. Because he was a small town merchant he couldn’t even leave the store for lunch and so he makes sausage and peppers in the back room for lunch on a hot plate. Not only did he shoe all of those families, he fed many of them too. He became a part of the story of people’s lives, so much so, that when he retired a line of people three blocks long stood to say goodbye and that is the story that Jeanne has carried in her heart throughout all of her work and her journey of her life.

Her grandma’s work kind of that way too. She has a hard time remembering either of them sitting down at the table while the family was eating a meal they were always hovering behind chairs popping more food on already full plates saying, “Mangier! “Mangier!” The food festival didn’t stop there either nobody was able to leave either of their houses without a bag of groceries they go into the cupboard and scoop up whatever they had and package it and throw it into a Dominick’s bag.

So what Jeanne’s really carried with her throughout her life from all of this is two things: Leave people with the memory and nourish them, whether it’s their heart of their souls always leave them with your version of a bag of groceries. Jeanne Marie Therese Lombardo Bliss, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Jeanne Bliss: I am ready. [Laugh]

Jim Rembach: Alright this is exciting. I’ve given our Fast Leader legion a good intro about you because you are so passionate and I think that story and that bios just really revealing about. But, what is your current passion so that we can get you better?

Jeanne Bliss: That’s a great question and thanks for telling that story about my dad, my grandma’s being Italian, you can’t leave it far behind from who you are. What I’m really trying to figure out in this point in my life is I’m 56, so, how do you create a wonderful next version of life? I been working and doing a body slam at work for 56 years and I love it. But I also love my husband and I want to see more of him. I want to have a balance in my life somehow, so that’s really what I’m trying to do, is balance the living part of life with the working part of life and figure out as I move to that next stage of my life, how can I keep living but save the best for last and have that joyous last part of my career. For me, I’ve done this great customer experience that I want to figure out what’s the ‘give ‘em back’ part of my life.

Jim Rembach: That’s interesting, Jean, you talked about the give back phase and I myself has been part of the Customer Experience Professional Association and you’ve given back a lot through that association. What else is on your horizon?

Jeanne Bliss: Well, I love that and it’s been fantastic, Bris Hampton and I, it was a labor of love for this association. For me, I want to figure out what’s another thing that I can do for the world—homeless, girls. The skip back that we have is about creating memories and helping people in their lives, in fact, that’s really my big mantra is, “Earn the right to grow by improving people’s lives.” So, I want to say this was the money-making version of give back what’s now the more charitable versions of give back as I ride into the sunset. It’s not tomorrow but 7 or 8 or 10 years from now, what I going to do to take this skip bag and give back to the greater good.

Jim Rembach: I appreciate all that you’ve done and all that you really set up to do. You’re a great role model not just for women but for everyone, and I appreciate that.

Jeanne Bliss: That’s nice. Thank you.

Jim Rembach: You’re welcome. There is no doubt that somebody with your energy has to find passion in certain places to continue to fuel the fires. I remember hearing about Michael Phelps when he was and is Olympic prime, having to eat like 12,000 or 20,000 calories a day just to keep up with that. We’d like to focus on quotes at the Fast Leadership show, because they do just that. Sometimes they just pick us up mentally so that physically we can keep going. Is there a quote or two that stands out for you as something that just does that?

Jeanne Bliss: One of the things that I realize is that you have a choice. You can choose happiness, you can choose to deliver a memory, and you can choose what kind of memory you’re going to deliver. And that is something that I keep in my mind all the time, choose it and deliver it.

Jim Rembach: I love that action-based aspect of that, [Laugh] because oftentimes we don’t have that action piece where we get the energy but don’t know where to release it, and that’s the key point, get it, release it and just continue to fuel that fire, so to speak. Now, I know though, that with having a high-energy type of personality, is that oftentimes we have hump to get over that bring us down, but those are learning moments, so is there a time where you had a hump to get over that shaped you? Can you take us back to that moment?

Jeanne Bliss: Yes. I have had a lot of humps. In fact, one of the things I talked about professionally is that this work is like pushing the rock up the hill and it’s fallen on my head a lot of times. I’m only 5’0 tall and it’s really about figuring out, for me, how to check your ego at the door. The works that we do has to be less about putting yourself in the spotlight more about earning the right to continue to do this great work by putting others in the spotlight. And that was something I had to learn when I was in my 20’s and my 30’s still doing this work with this great roles. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting as much traction and it was because I was putting myself in the center versus putting others in the center and making the work about enabling people. And I found that when I finally flip that everything really change but that was a hard learned lesson.

Jim Rembach: Can you remember when that defining moment happened?

Jeanne Bliss: It was probably when I was about 28, I was at Atlanta and it was a long, long time ago, and we had brought a lot of people together and somebody pulled me aside after a meeting and said, “We did the work and you’re talking about it as if you did the work.” And I said, “You know, I’ve facilitated the work” they said “No, yes, you got us together but we did the work. If it wasn’t for us…” And pham , it was like this really amazing moment that I realize that that’s what the glorious, you got to be Tom Sawyer, you need to get people to want to paint the fence but then you have to give them the recognition for painting the fence. And once I figured that out it changed a lot of things for me. It changed a lot of things in my trajectory, in my career, as well as personally, really trying to figure out how to—you listen to people and they talk about themselves. Somebody will tell you about time in their life, and they’re unhappy or sad or friends are going through divorce or whatever, and instead of empathizing with the person they will tell a story about themselves. If you’re in the middle of this terrible situation, you want to be listened to and be empathized with your life, you don’t want to hear about the narrative of somebody else’s lives at that point. So, that I think is the lesson.

Jim Rembach: There’s times where people have the opportunity to step up and speak and say those types of things that that person said to you but they don’t do that and I think they’re doing it less and less. As time has gone you talk about that thing many years ago, I don’t think there’s many people step up anymore. But that person in the way that they approached you, how they do it so that it did give you the opportunity to reflect and say, “Ah, I have an epiphany here?
Jeanne Bliss: Land’s End was a really safe place, I grew up there. I got there when I was 24 and I left when I was 34 and we had senior leaders who are mentors and you never felt like when they were talking to you that your job was at risk, and that was important it was more about, “Look I want to make you better, I want to help you.” But you’re right, you don’t see that anymore. That’s why this school thing we have at CXPA with the mentorship and all of that is important because people all need a safe place. One of the things that I taught, my husband and I talked about this is that we’re each other’s island. I’m your island and you’re my island. This is the safe place where you can be who you are and not worry about any other noise in the world. And I think that in business we all need to figure out one island at least where we can have a safe place and somebody can be really honest with us and tell us like it is. I’m a bull in a China shop, I’m Italian, I’ve got a big mouth, I’ve got a big personality, I never mean it but my bark is bigger than my bite and I have always appreciated and there’s many other times, certainly I didn’t change my ways from the one time—I mean I had to keep on renegotiating my life—but I’ve always found people who will settle me down and give me the straight talk. But I think you’ve got to tell people you want it.
Jim Rembach: So, if you were to say from all that you’ve learned—and we’re going to talk some other things in a moment as fast as where you’re going—what is a good piece of advice that you would give to our listeners?
Jeanne Bliss: I think, don’t forget that your feeder made of clay. We get so full over in our head and whatever. The more you advance in your life the more humble you should become. The more open you should be to learning and for me, the more recognizing my foibles and things that I need to work on, and I think it’s just being open to that recognizing and being open to people telling you, ‘what’s up?” Telling you how or what you’ve said impacts them. And being willing to change and don’t take it personally, take it constructively. Put that defense mechanism on the shelf as much as you can.
Jim Rembach: So, you talked about going through and focusing in on something new to be able to give back but when you start talking what you’re focusing your energies and current passions, what are they now?
Jeanne Bliss: I want to help companies grow by improving customer’s life. I want to help leaders recognize that the whole reason that they have a business is to improve customer’s life. It’s not to get a service score, it’s not to get more sales, it’s yes you want to grow but I want to teach people how to grow. The way they grown that’s grounded and improving customers and employees lives. And this notion of earning the right to growth, that is really where I find when I work with leaders and CCO’s and whoever it is, that’s the switch that needs to be flipped. Why are you in this business? How are you going to improve the life? This week was a milestone in my campaign and crusade for helping companies turn their work around because I’m honored to release my third book this week called, “Chief Customer Officer 2.0 How to Build Your Customer-driven Growth Engine.”
Jim Rembach: That’s fantastic. And I think you’re going to give a gift to our listeners? Is that correct?
Jeanne Bliss: I am. My bag of groceries to everybody is the first chapter of the book and as well, when they go on to my website, my new website’s going to come up in a couple of week. It’s going to have customer center recipe cards that they can download, leadership messages that they can use regularly to start driving the action.

Jim Rembach: That’s awesome. Okay, Fast Leader legion, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make a link to that first chapter for you on our show notes page and you’ll be able to find that at fastleader.net/Jean Bliss. Jean we all wish you the very best. Okay, now it’s time for us to move on to the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown.
Okay, Jean, 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. Jean Marie Teresa Lombardo Bliss, are you ready to hoedown?
Jeanne Bliss: I am.
Jim Rembach: Okay, what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today.
Jeanne Bliss: Brain moving too fast.
Jim Rembach: Definitely need to catch up sometime. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Jeanne Bliss: Write like you talk.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Jeanne Bliss: Passion and persistence and not stopping ever.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Jeanne Bliss: Going back to my roots and who I am and how I grew up.
Jim Rembach: Now, I know this one’s going to be a little tough for you because I know people who are writers are also well read leaders but is there a book or two that you would recommend to our listeners?
Jeanne Bliss: “The Velveteen Rabbit”, one of my favorite books on the planet. It’s just sound silly but it’s about being real and being human.
Jim Rembach: Alright, we’re also going to make a link to that on our show notes page at fastleader.net/Jean Bliss. Okay, Jean, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again and you are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team of people that is underperforming and disengaged but you retain all the wisdom and skill that you currently have your task is to turn the team around so you get up you get ready and head out to work, what you do now?

Jeanne Bliss: First of all, I want to meet each of them individually and talk about their life. Understand who they are? What are important to them? Why they took the job? And then I’d really sit down with them and ask what’s getting in the way of their ability to deliver and support customer and start to work that way. And then solve some of the thing for them but make sure that I’m continuously going back to them in their lives and serving and supporting them and coach and mentor them and give them a safe place where they can really feel that they can grow and be nurtured.
Jim Rembach: Jean, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?
Jeanne Bliss: I’m so lucky I’m married the guy named Bliss, so you can find me at www.customerbliss.com
Jim Rembach: Jeanne Marie Teresa Lombardo Bliss, 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, especial 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