Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today we have Chris Mefford. Chris, welcome.
Hey, I’m glad to be here. Very happy to be joining you and your listeners today.
Glad to have you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Yeah, sure. I got started in marketing and leadership a long, long time ago and I just fell in love with it since I was a kid. I used to circle the subliminal advertising that used to put in magazines. I remember as a kid thinking that was weird that there’s an S. E. X. drawing on the can of Sprite in this magazine. So I was always drawn to media and marketing and did that for years, eventually went and got my MBA. I started my own advertising marketing agency from there started to work for a national radio personality. I did that for 10 years and travel the country and build his brand and then additional brands after that and I started working with other people and building their brands that got pretty good at it and had a lot of fun. But eventually it wore out I wore out on all of that and started getting more into the leadership genre, you know, more and more as I got put into positions of leadership, I realised that there were so many people who did it poorly and did it bad and that people are out there suffering in their jobs and with terrible bosses simply because their bosses or leadership didn’t care or didn’t know what to do. And so I spent the last many years kind of dedicating myself to making people’s work life better.
Great introduction in part because it’s a very nice segue into my opening question and you I think you’d probably be familiar with this particular wording in a society obsessed with leadership. Why are we so bad at it?
Yes. Yes, I’ll tell you. We spent about $166 billion 73% of R 73% of people hate their job and hate their boss specifically. And so that’s a small percentage of people actually like their job and like their Boston. And we know the data is accurate based on the fact that we ask people if they feel like their workplace has empathy towards them or their box can be empathetic only about 30% respond positively. So that correlates really well with the 70% who don’t feel like they enjoy their work or their boss. And so as a result of this, I think that leadership is simply a class structure gone bad.
We all dream about leadership. We go to leadership training, but these leadership gurus who bring you in and motivate you, they’re motivated to get you there to train you to spend your money. Their motivation isn’t necessarily that your workplace becomes better or that your organisation turns around, although they wouldn’t disagree that that’s something that would love to see happen, but their business models simply to get you there to spend money on leadership training. And you know, the reason I can say that so comfortably is simply based on the fact that I doubt anyone’s ever gone to a leadership training or workshop or conference and had, hey, now that you’ve got all this, let’s talk about how you go back and roll it out with your team. Let’s talk about the strategy. You can’t just go back and throw this on everybody. Nobody ever does that. They don’t tell you how to implement it. So what happens is leaders go to these conferences and workshops and they come back and they got all this information, they start changing everything and the team is not on board and they’re frustrated. It’s just more change.
The newly inspired leader hasn’t asked them for their opinion on anything or, or even asked them what they think would be best. And so he’s just dropping more or she’s dropping more responsibility on the team and hasn’t even asked her opinion, hasn’t asked if they’re ready, hasn’t decided or even noticed how much change is necessary at one time for this organisation and it just creates a deeper divide between the leader and the team itself. So, you know, it’s just terrible. In the United States, it’s a little better. We’re at 80, I think 82% of people who hate their jobs. So it’s, you know, it’s definitely an issue that I think it’s time has come to address and say I believe and I make the bold statement, leadership is overrated. Yeah, well it sounds like you’re highlighting a problem. What would you say the solution is? Well, the solution is to understand that first and foremost that leadership shouldn’t be about an individual. what happens is generally is they someone reads a book or they go to a conference and they feel equipped individually to go do stuff.
When the reality is, leadership should be all about the team. I mean, nobody works alone in a vacuum by themselves. Generally speaking, we all need a team to work together and to collaborate and the more we can get that team cohesive and working together the better. And so I would suggest that when you off the leadership training, don’t look at it as a way to train yourself, look at it from the eyes of how you’re going to implement this as a team, take the whole team or when you come back simply spend a day or half a day or whatever it takes to walk the team through everything you learned and ask them what they feel is best and most important, Ask them where they are in the change scale and how much they want to implement what they want to do and how much they want to win and what, you know, feeling as if you’re empowered as an employee makes all the difference in engagement. And so ultimately what we’re talking about here, Thomas’s engagement, The reason that people hate their boss or hit their corporations that they don’t feel like they’re valued. and when people don’t feel valued, they don’t feel very engaged.
And if you’re running a company and 70-80% of your workforce isn’t engaged, well that’s a serious problem. So to answer your question specifically, you know, I think as a leader, you should get to know your team, ask them how they’re doing, think about how you can empower the team. Listen to them talk to them. I read something yesterday that only takes 14 seconds to build trust, meaning that if I say Thomas, how are you doing, how are you doing today? What projects are you working on? How are your kids doing? How’s your wife, what are you doing this weekend? That’s great. I want to tell you, I appreciate you coming in, how hard you work every day, you know that that whole all the statements took me less than 10 seconds to kind of push out but you genuinely feel like I’m invested in you and care about you and now that sort of builds trust and now I want to work for somebody like that, that cares about me. So I should spend the rest of the episode talking about all those questions you asked me then. Yeah. Yes, yes, I watch a lot of French Open, so let’s start there. This is a joke you mentioned. I mean the analogy that comes for me – and you can let me know whether you think this is an accurate analogy – is perhaps dictatorship versus democracy.
So would you say it’s accurate to say that you advocate more of a democracy based business environment? Well, yes, but I think that oversimplifies everything. I don’t think, generally speaking, when you do a similar surveys of leadership or bosses did they feel like there’s a problem of this magnitude and so they, you know, that’s a big problem and imagine dictators feel the same way in someone some form but I think it’s a matter of they’re just ill equipped or they don’t know what they don’t realise it. And so honestly, what really happens is the biggest issue in leadership is the leaders try to add too much value to what they do and where they work. They spend all their time focusing on what they can do instead of working with the team to empower the team to see what you can all accomplish and so you know, you do need sort of while I’m trying to pick a fight with the leadership genre that’s out there and all these leadership gurus the reality is you do need someone in charge someone to make the final call, someone to motivate the team, someone to encourage the team.
But again, it’s all about the team because when you work together as a team, you’re going to accomplish a great deal more than you could ever imagine. If we look at Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, we always like that magnify his accomplishments in that. This man walked on the moon is the first man to do it. But beneath him were thousands and thousands and thousands of people at Nasa and scientists and engineers and mathematicians who led the way he would have never got there on his own. And so when you work together as a team, you can simply accomplish so much more so much quicker and you can bring so much more profitability to your organisation. And I feel like that’s the missing piece here that often people talk about when it comes to cultural leadership. We’re literally talking about revenues here. Your company can be wildly successful. If you would focus on the individual as a team. Now you may be out there listening and say, I’m not the leader. How do I do this? Well, you need to start on the branch you’re on. I mean, all of us have influences in our lives in our work organisation. So if there are people that are a peer-to-peer work with the piers show them empathy, show them that you want to listen and show them what you can do to help show ask them how we could collaborate and make these projects better.
People will notice success and it will lead to further responsibilities, even more success based on the outcome. Would you say it’s more about the success of the business revenue wise or profitability wise or would you say it’s about culture and perhaps wellbeing across the board for everyone in terms of the importance? What would you say is driving your leadership philosophy? You know that’s a good question, Thomas. I would counter that that’s the problem with workforce and leadership today and why 80% of the people hate their job is these things are not mutually exclusive. You can generate revenue and have a very fulfilling, very rewarding workplace and it’s ridiculous that we think we have to choose and that’s what we’ve been taught. I’ve joined organisations where people thought I was too empathetic at the star or I was trying too hard. And the reality was they had just never been treated properly.
And so they didn’t understand the leader who would come in and actually be concerned about them or are overly emotional in a sense that you know, I want to get to know you want to talk to you. I want to I want to have a relationship with you and so that felt weird to them, which was sad because really, that’s the best way to sort of build an environment and build an organisation and that’s what we’re ultimately getting at is creating a self-led team. You know, if you get a team that’s empowered and excited and trust you and you trust them, you have it’s less work on you as a leader. You can go off and build and try and create and grow new things while you know, you have a team back here who is handling it because you have this this great amount of trust. So the idea that you have to choose money or happiness is just not an accurate statement. You should demand both and you can’t have both. So the reason I ask is and premise this question with, I happen to agree with everything you’re saying, I’m only asking the question because I want to know what your opinion is.
So I’ve spoken to a couple of people who maybe have the same position as you in the sense that, and I’m not sure whether you subscribe to this particular notion, but servant leadership is one of the things that I’ve discussed and the question I ask is around Steve Jobs. So Steve Jobs is idolised as a great leader, Apple obviously hugely successful. And it kind of runs counter to perhaps this particular philosophy. So I’d just like to get your thoughts on what you think about that. Yeah. You know, that’s an interesting one. I always point out, you know, for every Steve Jobs, I can point to a Richard Branson who seems to have the love of his team, who seems to enjoy life and fulfil life and, and it’s equally as exciting and he’s accomplished, you know, maybe not on the tech side, but you know, through life and, and airplanes and music and whatnot almost as much, and created an empire of itself, but with regard to see job, I think there are a couple of things that happened here.
How much more would that man be revered if he was a little bit less edgy now, That’s the way he operated. That’s the way he was. And I believe he’s loved and beloved simply because of the fact that he drove people and push people beyond what they even could fathom was acceptable in ways to create things that nobody even never dreamed of before. And so when you’re part of something like that and you can look back and say, I really, I really pushed that myself really hard. He was really just a hard driver, but overall as a man, you know, generally speaking, nobody really liked him. So I think you gotta ask yourselves, you know, can I drive people hard, but also get them to respect me and love me. And I think that’s the pinnacle the ultimate thing. And so while you will get results by driving people, you may not be as beloved to Steve Jobs because you, you probably ultimately won’t create iTunes or iPhones. Yeah, I think that’s a safe, safe bear in most instances, but I feel like that, correct me if I’m wrong, I feel like that kind of answers my previous question because what you’re saying is that you can have just as profitable a business just as higher revenue, but you can choose between having a horrible environment and one where everyone feels valued and therefore the emphasis for me would be, you’re focusing my view on essentially how people feel in the business there in how valued they are, how happy they are, essentially.
What do you think about that? Yeah, no, absolutely. You know, with Steve Jobs, that one of the reasons we do love him because he created such innovative products, you know, he was at heart, the reason he’s loved is for the products he created not because the necessarily because of the wonderful environment he created as far as a workplace. But I think when you look at life in general, you can, you know, there’s one guy up here to the millions of people out there, that want to act like Steve Jobs, who think that they can get away with that, but they’re not as innovative, they’re not as revolutionary. They’re not as creative and so all they come off of is jerks. and I think it’s a negative in that we don’t really highlight the great leaders who are out there doing this really well. You know, I think of Walt Freese, who is the CEO of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream and you know, he created a tree house for the executive team to get in and he will say things like, you know, when we met in the treehouse at the corporate headquarters that just everybody’s guard was down, Everybody’s ego was stripped away.
And it was really strategic. A lot of strategy put around why they did that. People love that. And you know, here in America Ben and jerry’s is one of the most iconic ice cream brands. You know, if you’re in the ice cream world, Ben and jerry’s is at the top. So how do you argue uh, success? You know, was it, did he create a $4 billion industry like Apple? No, but he was at the very top of their industry and people love that organisation and they loved the leader, I think Gary Ridge who owns WD40, the little spray oil can that loosens up joints and screws and bolts and all of that stuff and he’s been there for 15 years and his team loves him and you know, there isn’t a better, and more recognised brand at least here the United States for what they do than what he does. So the opportunities are out there, you can have both, you can have wildly successful organisations that are literally at the top of their industry where people love to work and thrive and feel empowered every single day. So would you say your message is you don’t have to be a dictator in order to get that done?
Yes, I would say you don’t have to be a dictator to get that done. And as a matter of fact you’re being counterproductive because if you’re being a dictator to accomplish your goals and generate revenue for your company, you’re going about it in a way that’s limiting your ability to accomplish your goals and to make revenue. You know Forbes article I read just the other day basically said here’s a $600 billion way to increase revenue across the world and it was one word empathy. it was like just trust your players. Michael is the head of Zappos Tony jay only once podcast. If you pour into your team, they’ll pour into the customers, you can follow your lead. And so if you’re a jerk to your team, there’s a high, high probability they’re probably gonna be jerks customers. huh I agree. Does this touch on the misguided principles of leadership that you were referring to. Yes. you know I think it’s we are our speaking here in black and white to make it more obvious to everybody, but I don’t think it’s quite as obvious to many people, you know, the leader or employees just trying to get their job done and nothing more because they’re not inspired and they don’t want to do it, they don’t do enough to get fired, nor do they do enough to advance the company.
And so that’s, we’re trying to figure out a way to create a high level of engagement ultimately, with our team members, because when people are more engaged, they they’re more productive when they’re more productive. Your organisation does more stuff. and so ultimately that’s what we’re shooting for. And so how do you engage someone, will you look at the leader of that organisation or that team or that department and you have to ask yourself, you know, what are they doing right or what are they doing wrong? And generally speaking, it’s not very well. I mean, look, I started off by saying we spend $166 billion dollars worldwide on leadership development, we need to ask ourselves for all this money being spent. I’m building better leaders. if the aim is to grow individuals and business and revenues to the answer, I think should be, we don’t get very much in return. So there’s a depreciation of appreciation in in society, everybody is sort of getting more and more, less collaborative, more selfish, more.
I mean just downright crazy in some ways. I mean over here in America we’ve, we’ve really struggled. You know, our congress used to come together and probably like your parliament and compromise quite a bit and you know, they would be different on different sides of the aisle, but they would come together quite often to get things done and there’s been less and less collaboration on anything now. There’s just absolutely no crossover whatsoever. And so I think that translates down into society by saying, Hey, I don’t Thomas, you can have a different opinion in me, but I can still respect you. 20 years ago now that you have a different opinion of me, you’re an idiot. And so that’s where we’ve come and that to say that doesn’t permeate into the workplace or into our other relationships is just you just be blind to believe that. And so we have to ask ourselves, and we have to be more concerted in our efforts to try and overcome this. And part of that is, is through understanding that hey, I can’t be a dictator at the office. I need my team to succeed because I want to achieve because I want to win.
We all want to win. We all want to do well. Have you got any thoughts on how you apply some of your principles with the increase in remote work at the moment? Yeah. You know, my team, it’s currently have a big team up in Idaho that I go to visit and they’re all at the office, my team down here in San Diego. we’re all remote. I actually gave up the office when covid hit. and I don’t anticipate ever going back honestly, but you have to be more intentional, you know, whereas I could just walk over to your desk and just ask you a question now. I gotta, I gotta slack you. I hope you see the notification over your desk. I maybe have to set up a zoom at a time. And so it’s a little less free if you will. And so you really have to be far more intentional with how you’re doing, which means you need to be a little bit more planned out with regard to your workday and your work schedule. I feel like working from home is actually a little more intense day in and day out than it is when I was just in the office from 8 to 5 or whatever because it’s there.
It’s just, we’re all together, we could collaborate left and right up and down on this or that, but here, you just have to be very intentional with everything. and so I think that one you have to be more intentional to, you have to really make some effort. So we’ve made some efforts to get together physically at least once a month, you know, we’re out here in California in the in the we probably have the most stringent covid regulations of any state. And so we really had to be specific and careful in how we’ve done it. We’re about to open up I think on June 15th, but we have we have done a lot to try and get together whether it’s we went acts throwing, you know, we did some drinks and dinners with families are going to the baseball games. But being intentional and making sure you still have that collaboration because you really need to build trust and you can’t build trust very easily via zoom calls these days. So one of the ways that you have to do that is holding people accountable, you said you got me to this by ex you know, a little bit more accountability, a little bit more intentionality.
Uh and I think you can make it work. I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of staying tight and getting closer as a team as a result of this. Yeah, it sounds like you’re very organised is some of that team-building exercises. Yeah, I’m careful to call them team-building exercises simply based on the fact they start to feel corporate and disingenuous and so I just want to say, hey let’s all hang out, let’s do something together, I miss you guys let’s bring some stuff do you guys want to do? And so that’s what I like to do. I feel like team building exercises are sanctioned HR requirements that nobody enjoys and so I’m not big on the corporate speak and so I feel like coming together, collaborating, hanging out is it more of a genuine way to do it? you know, and it’s very sincere way, you know, don’t say, hey let’s hang out you know from 2:30 to 3:30 on Thursday afternoon, you know that that doesn’t feel very genuine.
Yeah, that’s a good point. I am in the messages beforehand. I noticed that you’ve done a book and correct my phone wrong. Some of it is highlighting hiring and firing. Yes, so I mean I’ve got a person here who’s got some experience wrote a book on it, he’s wrote the book, quote unquote. So would you like to share what your what your thoughts are around the principles of hiring and firing? Yeah, hiring and firing and creating an amazing team culture. They’re all very, very related. creating organisation. First off when you hire someone, I never hire someone quickly, I like to do a series of interviews like you’re about to potentially live you know eight hours a day, 10 hours a day with someone for the next 5, 10 years. Why would you bring them in and hire him up after 30 minute interview or even after 2 30 minute interviews. So I like to kind of take my time in the first interview is I just want to get to know you can fit here culture wise. Will you be a good fit where we can all get along, you know?
Second, let’s just talk about your work experience. Third let’s talk about your dreams. Let’s talk about what you know about the organisation. Hey now I want you to talk to a few other people who kind of know me and know the organisation. And so I feel like oftentimes organisations and leaders are like I can’t believe this team that I’ve got. They’re all a bunch of rundowns. They don’t do much. And I always, the first thing I say to them when I consulted, you hired him? I mean what are you, what are you complaining about? You hired him. You fix something and so you know I tell people when they’re hiring hire people that you really want to hang out with, you want to do stuff with you want to be with who are really skilled and then also get out of their way. I feel like a lot of times we hire people And we spend so much time vetting them and making sure they’re right and we overcomplicate the hiring process in many ways. we look at every little minute detail in some ways and try and reduce the town, oh that’s not gonna work. They’re just gonna be terrible. They did this one thing and they answer this one question out of 1000 wrong and but we bring them in and then we get in their way and we micromanage, we don’t give them for any freedoms.
You know, we hire these experts and then we tell them they can’t do a whole lot at the star. And so I think if you take your time on the front end, it gives you more confidence on the back end to get out of the way and let them do what you hired me to do. And then the second thing with regards to firing, I generally don’t like to fire. There’s an old saying, you know, hire fast fire fast or higher, slow fire fast. It’s always fire fast. And I think that why that that began has so much popularity is because it really addresses the problem quickly and you know, in some organisations and companies you need to do that. But my reality, my take on it is higher, slow fire slow. when you fire someone, the entire organisation is watching and if you fire someone quickly, they, that does not put the company at ease that does not put your team at ease. they don’t respect you for that as much as you think they might. And they get nervous and part of what we should do as leaders is create a safe work environment where people feel like they can come in and be themselves to be honest, be transparent, make a mistake here or there.
But when you fire quickly that sends a message like well I better not screw up so I’m not going to tell them about what I did, I’m not going to be as transparent as I probably should be. I’m not going to work as hard because if I put myself out there as much I could mess up, I could get fired. And so there’s this whole thing I always say to a leader who brought somebody in, you hired them, fix them like you spent a month bringing these people on board and now they’re not right. Why is that? You’re the problem, not them, you clearly didn’t do a good job vetting. And so in my organisations, my leaders know that they really need to vet really well on the front end because we’re not going to just kick people out the door immediately. That’s not the kind of organisation I want to create. And so they actually spend a very a large amount of time getting to know the candidate hanging out with the candidate talking with the candidate and bring them in in general. Now depending on the level of the candidate, it really depends on how much time I spend with them. You know, if it’s just trying to hire janitor, I still like to do a couple of interviews to get a feel for who they are.
But I still wouldn’t fire him immediately. I mean unless they were stealing or you know, doing stuff that is really just outside the general boundaries of common sense. But I think the reality is we put too much onus on the person themselves when it’s really our responsibility to make sure that son. And as a consequence we don’t fire too many people simply because you do such a good job on the front end now because they know that they can’t get rid of them right away. They’re gonna spend more time if you know, you can fire someone right away, You just don’t do betting on the front end. And that really doesn’t help the organisation at all. Yeah. 100% agree with that. In your around your comment where you said you need to fix them. If you did have a, let’s say an employee who someone else was. You know, maybe I need to fire that person in terms of fixing them or their performance. What how would you go about doing that? Well, I’ll give you a great example. And this is where I learned early on, I went into my boss and said, hey my assistant that we brought in, it’s just not working out. Every time I asked her do something, she sends back like 10 questions about what needs to be done and I feel like I spent all my time answering your questions and essentially then I’ve done all the work and that’s not helpful for me and so it’s just not working out, and that’s the first time I had someone say to me you hired her, you fix her.
And then the reality was Kristen and I had different personalities and we communicated in different ways. And so once I understood that Kristen communicated in a different way than I like to be communicated to, that really changed things. And so I had a meeting with her and said look I don’t like to manage all the details. That’s not my thing. And I know that you love the details and you need all the details, which is why I brought you in. So here’s what we need to do, we need to meet each other halfway. I’m going to give you more information. I’m gonna start bringing you in earlier in the in the things I’m gonna bring you into meetings even so you get perspective and context. I’m gonna meet you halfway and give you a little bit more context around the things that we just saw as far as my goals, but then you need to take those and you need to run with it and you need to do it. and I tell you what Thomas, from that day forward it was gold it was that we accomplished so much together and we didn’t work so well together but had I not been forced to do that and address that, I would have liked Kristen to go, and we would never have accomplished so much. And so the fact of the matter is it wasn’t Kristen it was me and I simply wasn’t taking the time to understand.
Again I was focused on myself, I was focused on what I needed, I was focused on how I wanted it done, I wasn’t focused on the team, I wasn’t focused on their needs, I wasn’t focused on how I can help them, but once I did now we were able to raise the bar and really start to accomplish some great things together. And so I think you know part of the thing is hey who did you hire? Well how do they want to be communicated to, what’s their communication style? what kind of things can I do to help you win? How can we work together on this collaboration? It was just a communication here. and so that that’s a really good example of how it turned around. I’ve had a couple others and to be honest, I’ve had a few that just didn’t work out at all and it was time to let them go. I was literally just about to say, do you think that some of the hiring and especially the firing issues are just communication issues. Oh, 100%. Every time I have an issue with two team members, it’s always, I would say always, that’s a little dramatic. But probably 99% communication. I’ve had. Team members are brought into my office and said, you know Thomas, Chris says that you said this. Chris, Thomas says that you said that what’s going on. And I sat on my desk and just scroll through my email is they talked, well I didn’t know that that’s what you wanted. I didn’t know that’s how you needed. I didn’t know you were doing this and they work it out and that that works. That’s there’s two things. One is, it solves the problem because I get them in the same room, they communicate so they’re embarrassed because sort of their leader is having to stand over them and treat them like children or seventh graders. And so, and then they got to work it out. But what also happens is now they don’t want to do that again because it’s uncomfortable. So they just start working better and collaborating better and communicating better. and then, and so I talked to him about that and then there are other times where I never think anybody should ever be let go and they have just out of the blue like here’s, here’s what it looks like to win. Hey, we’re gonna work on this for the next 30 days and here’s literally the things I need you to work on and I’ve gone as detailed is when you come in the morning, say good morning to three people, I’m just gonna be real clear and what it’s gonna take to stay around here, I don’t know that you’ve got it in you, but let’s see what happens over the next 30 days.
And of course it doesn’t take 30 days. You’ll, you’ll know within five or six days. If you see a dramatic turnaround, if you don’t, you know when they come in in 30 days, you can simply say, Hey, I don’t think this is working. You know, let’s go through this list. I don’t see it. Or here’s six or seven things that are non-negotiable that you get fired instantly. Steal, you go, you know, you are consistently late, you go. If you gossip about team members, you go, And so little things like that that are, are clear, so no one’s ever shocked. No one should ever be surprised by getting fired or laid off. No one, you’re setting expectations for them. And coming back to the hiring just for a moment. And the communication issue, do you think a lot of the issues around hiring and then performance after are just that the job description hasn’t been clearly communicated to them. I’ll tell miss, you know, that is absolutely the truth. I always try and be as completely honest about a job and the role and the team as I possibly can because what happens is that they come in once they’re hired and they come in and say, hey I don’t know about this, I go hey we talked about this before you were hired, you was on the table. You knew about this, I was really clear, or it might be something like hey 70% of this role or this job, we have figured out 30%. We don’t have any idea what we need to do this kind of why we want to bring you onboard. And so when they come in and frustrated about, you know, and nobody seems to know what to do next. I go well perfect. Remember when we said we had 70% of this is the 30% that we need you to help figure out. So it just kind of sets the tone. But I think that you know the more clear you can be about roles and jobs and even I think some people try and over sell or try and beg someone onto the team by promising and communicating and that just never works. If you have to convince Someone to come work for you, it’s I promise you 100% is not going to work out, it’s never going to work out eventually they will go for whatever reason but you absolutely should be as clear and as clean and as honest as you possibly can be in the hiring process, they’re going to get in, you know, it’s like that tv show catfish, you know, you’re, you’re saying something you are but the rally as you are and so what’s gonna happen, they’re gonna come in and now they’re not gonna trust you, they’re not gonna enjoy their work, they’re not going to be engaged, what they do, they’re gonna be frustrated with the organisation.
I mean, there’s no win here when organisations and people do that great point. Have you got anything today around this topic that you think would be a value that I haven’t asked you about? you know, I think as people listen to this and they go well that’s great if you’re the leader, but the reality is, you know, I started at the at the very bottom and I started implementing these principles pretty quick. I remember I was the marketing guy and I had one graphic designer on one video editor, and I just started taking them to lunch. and we were peers, we weren’t necessarily, I wasn’t like their leader. I was a marketer, they were graphic designer video, I took a long lunch and we started going for coffee rather in the mornings like every Tuesday and we came up with a fun name, we just called the brand wagon, uh, for our branding organisation and then, you know, we added a few other people and then I realised there other departments in the company helped us do some things from the email team to the strategy team and so I’d invite them out and pretty soon I was the de facto leader of this group and I was really building collaboration with this group who needed to work together across different departments and people started to see it and started to notice and other people wanted to know how they could be a part of it and it just kind of grew into something and the next thing, you know, I’m up and elevated is the VP and I just started by, you know, pouring into those around me and working with those around me, wanting to get to know those around me and build better work relationships with those around me.
I will say that it’s worked, you know, fairly consistently across my career. There have been people that I simply don’t get along with, and don’t get along with me for some reason, no matter how hard I try, we just seem to bump heads and typically what happens in those situations is we’re just both selfishly dug in in our own areas. and there’s just really no salvaging a, but I think what happens is sometimes people bump into that and they give up, but I never gave up and, you know, I continue to move up. And so I think if your listeners look at their role and they start on the brains, they’re on like look around you, who can you help? Who can you ask about? what can you do? Can you help them win? How do you collaborate? People will notice it will, it will dramatically impact their position within the company, I promise you. Do you think some of the issues around leadership and perhaps hiring, firing, they’re all preconceptions of what people think that they should do? So like I’m putting my hat on of a leader and therefore I need to go and bark orders at people, not like acting as you did, where you’re just essentially building relationships with people, right?
That’s exactly what they think. and it doesn’t work out for him. Generally speaking, you do it your way, I’ll do it my way and let’s see who wins. let’s do it that way. Let’s see whose team is happier, Let’s see who’s more excited to come into the office, Let’s see who has fewer people leave and fewer call in sick across the board. Let’s just let’s put that, I’ll go up toto with these kinds of maniacs day in and day out, but the reality is they don’t know better, they are emulating what they see on tv, they’re emulating what they hear, they’re seeing these kind of Machiavellian characters come to life and get success, but the reality is when you fall, you fall hard and you fall fast if that’s you, and so I want a team that props me up, you know, my buddy Kyle, who I’m working with, the Navy Seal, he often says, you know, one of the things that always surprises him is when they put these, these new recruits into these teams, they go through the budge training and if somebody gets injured, uh, their job as the leaders to try and pull them out and put them and like remove them from the entire sort of organisation, they have to go out there maybe even have to leave the whole program and start over.
And he said, it’s all surprising to me that how quickly the team comes around, they’ll, as the leader is trying to get it someone while they’re running, who’s injured, the team will come around him and protect him to keep the leader from, you know, getting him and pulling him out of the team and essentially raising him up and protecting them on their own and that’s the kind of leader I want to be and want to have, you know, I I think that when you hit that zone, you know, it and it’s really rewarding and it’s really exciting, it’s really fulfilling. and I don’t know that a lot of these leaders are very fulfilled or very happy with how they behave and what they do. Well, yeah, I was going to say it’s like a definitions issue in terms of what you think the definition of leadership is, but a lack of understanding is, is just as good an example. You mentioned navy seals whenever the concept of leadership and navy seals come up, I always think Jacko, what do you think of Jacko’s leadership?
Well I’ve got to meet him, we’ve talked to him you know, Jacko is a great guy, his leadership stuff and his perspective is very spot on when it comes to how the seals and how they operate in the culture they create. He definitely has an intensity. He definitely – he is basically, you know, you mentioned, you know, people who act like a certain thing, Jacko has embraced this navy seal mentality of hardcore, deep voice danger, life and death, but the reality is, I’ve met dozens and dozens of seals now through our podcast, through Kyle and through the Honor Foundation And very few of them are like that as a matter of fact, I’ll share at Kyle’s retirement party. there’s probably 25 or 30 seals and they circled up for a big group photo at the end and I never saw a more hodgepodge group of people in my entire life, you would never look at any of these individuals, I think those are the baddest people on the planet, they’re hardcore, you just wouldn’t think it, and so I think what really stood out to me was you can’t really put people in a box and so I feel like sometimes Jacko panders to that, that stereotype and it served him very well and that’s the kind of person he is.
I think genuinely he is like that, I’m not trying to bash him in any way. His book, extreme leadership is fantastic. he fits that mould, but I feel like, so if you do, and I think you ultimately have to be the leader, you are comfortable being. And so if you’re not a jerk, it’s okay not to be a jerk. You know, if you are a jerk, well, you need to think about how you can focus on the team a little bit more, so you can kind of overcome those issues if you will, but you know, I think that you need to be comfortable with who you are and how you lead and there’s no right or wrong way to do this. the only right way to do it is with earning the respect of your team and having them turn around and earn the respect to your customers. Well, it sounds like you’re doing a very good job of maybe changing the definition of what leadership is, so Chris what your goals.
Well, you know, my goal is to lower that threshold of 70-80% of people hate their job down to zero. That’s a big task. I know, but I would love it. You know, I’ve been in organisations where we’ve been voted best place to work for eight straight years in the city. And it is enjoyable. I’ve been there on Sundays when I’m excited about going into work on Monday. you know, it does exist. and so that’s a goal I wish I could share and show everyone and that’s going to be a goal. I continue to do. my buddy Kyle and I are actually writing a book on this very topic. and, you know, soon in another year or two, it’ll come out, it’s called Leadership is Overrated. and we do want to address that. We want to get this book in the hands of every single human who has a job or leads people. That is quite a good goal to have. It’s your big harry. Yes, yes. Yeah, I’ll get that one day. Does your, your Navy seal business partner? Does he use navy seal terminology to say roger that Chris, you know, he doesn’t, I’m always trying to get him to do more than tell me more stories and stuff, but he, they’re pretty buttoned up.
He doesn’t, he doesn’t do that. And actually, I think most navy seals don’t, and I don’t know that they completely respect everybody who does because it’s sort of the secret brotherhood. And you know, I’m just laughing knowing how many times I’ve tried to get called to do it or I try and use the language and I just screwed up completely. And he just shakes his head. So yeah, too many people like me trying to get, trying to get people to do it. Yeah, he does have a good line. you know, he joined the navy seals because he loved the ocean. He loves swimming. He loved the water. And then he spent two decades in the desert in Afghanistan and Iraq. So, you never know when you go somewhere where you’re gonna end up. 100% Chris where’s the best place for people to find you what you can find a cultureforce.team and that all our stuff and information is there. And you know, if you want us to come in and talk to you or help you, we’re happy to do that.
All right, well, thank you very much for all the value today. It sounds like you’re doing good things, so I appreciate your time.
Thank you, Thomas. I enjoyed this very much.