Personal Leadership with Joris Cuesta

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today we have Joris Cuesta. Joris, welcome.

Thank you. How are you today?

I’m good. What about yourself?

Not too bad indeed.

Good. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?

All right let’s go ahead with a bit about myself. I’m a European transplant to Sydney Australia and escaped to corporate rat race, which nearly got me twice with two beautiful burnouts. Coming to the realisation that I had multiple phones, supporting teams and leaders into a different type of leadership. So are now support leaders, entrepreneurs founders and their team into connecting better working with each other and really aligning the people we serve at, let’s say purpose or end goal of any organisation, small medium or large.

Okay, well, thank you for that. As I said before we started recording, I’ve done a little bit of research on you and the first question – I mean, I’m not sure whether you call it an icebreaker necessarily – but I kind of like it because you’ve got a little quiz on your website. And the first question for you is, what famous leader are you?

Oh, me. I am the Oprah Winfrey type leader. Huh? What, what? Hold up, who? Yeah, that’s all liquids. That who I came out at. So it’s quite interesting.

What do you make of that?

Well, it is interesting because a few years ago it was definitely not. You’re probably the type that is for sure. But I do make sure that it’s more into working towards something much bigger bringing people along the way and always reminding myself and the people around me about what we’re here trying to achieve. So whenever a curve ball is thrown our way or where someone is thinking differently or not, or new ideas on the table, it’s more instead of just reacting or rejecting it or being triggered by things, it’s more about, well this is really truly aligning and coming in service with what we’re trying to achieve here, and if it is then let’s get it on board, but if that wasn’t part of the plan, so that is a new way of leading for me, definitely.

And who would you say you have been previously?

Oh, 100% used to be the Apple founder, Steve Jobs. The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. Most of them were bozos. I used to be a perfectionist to no end. I used to be the guy that had the big thinking picture in his mind while holding the minute details in mind as well and if the team was not executive in the exact same way that had envisioned, that to happen in my mind, at times he would have been very tough to have in the office for the teams. And apart from that, he was also taking way too much on board and be a people pleaser, which as a combination, it can be quite explosive. So very loved, but also very hated at the same time and burning way too much energy for what we here on earth to do. So I’m happy.

That’s part of the pastor. Well in terms of character, that’s quite a big change from one to another. So what happened there, I basically collected burnout, it’s very fashionable, you know, everyone has to have his own burn out. But I didn’t go for one. I went for two, probably another one which, you know, I didn’t really identify as such, but I think after the second one which was quite heavy, I started thinking there has to be a different way because on one hand the work is amazing, people love it, I’m enjoying it, but there is too much of that friction at time, there is too much of disappointment from my team and people because obviously I had expected my own expectations, you know, which I was predicting on them and I was wanting them to live their life according to their relationship with work the same way as ours, which is mad to some extent. So we start thinking something has to give and I had a couple of clients and other leaders I was working with at the time, they were mentioning taking time out, going out on retreat and for a very long time we have valley as an island very close to Australia and a lot of British people, or palms as they call it.

You go there for, you know, enjoying the party side of the island. And I never took or paid attention to much to it. But that’s a whole different side of the island where you can go for retreat, silent retreats, spiritual retreat, whatever it may be, a vegan retreat. And I started to explore. And within the span of 48 hours, four different people had recommended me hotel, centre, a couple of meditation teachers and also spirit healer as they call it or guide. And if I went I just left and went on the island and a seven day trip turned out to be a 23 day trip. And I had my first yoga class, meditation class there. And that was the biggest turning my whole life in terms of approaching life, looking at things and be having two events. So individuals around me.

That’s interesting because I mean I want to ask you two different questions, one of which is like, do the old habits ever come back? Does the Steve Jobs approach ever come back, sneak into your daily life? And the other one or the other topic on it to highlight was there’s very few things I find where that make permanent change in your life and  it seems like it has made a permanent change in your life and like a significant event for you. Would you say that’s true?

100%. In terms of for your second part of the question, there have been ongoing events since relationships that have healed contracts that have come about. That would have never, ever, you know, happened in my previous life, as I call it. I think also once you have a taste of this new way of you know, walking through life, I mean, I certainly know that there is no need or appetite to go back to where it was. It was, I was polluted. I wasn’t necessarily happy. I was feeling quite empty and it was an empty ever going pursuit because he was never good enough.

It was never big enough. It was never busy enough. I was never showing up fully. So I was really racing after something that really was never ending, trying to fill in a big void as you probably. But the first part of your question, remind me now because I think I just want to make sure I answered correctly.

Well, it’s about do the Steve Jobs’ characteristics ever sneak back in?

Hopefully not, but they do at times and it’s an ongoing work so you will feel it kick in more so I think in regards to individuals or relationship where you haven’t really done the work when it comes from a professional perspective it doesn’t. When it does, it always comes because you have a listen to learn from it. So very, very early on when I started after about three years and I’ve travelled the world debate and went to the US then ended up at Central University completely out of lock.

Yet. I had applied for it but I’ve forgotten about it as part of professional development and all the pieces started coming together. But there was one particular event where I started a consulting organisation and become a speaker. I walked on stage and I think more of, I walked on stage with some of the Steve Jobs standards. And it meant that for part of the people in the room, we really met halfway with huge bank. It was too much for them. So that had instant replication and life kind of semi your feedback saying probably not the best way. And I’ve learned a big lesson, which is, you’ve got to read the room and meet people where they’re at stretch them enough so they can expand and grow, but don’t stretch them too much because then they turn around, you know, they don’t pay attention anymore and they’re not coming on the journey on the way. So I think each time the old habits creep in, it’s an opportunity for us to grow. Really reminds me of – have you ever seen this is an old film now – have you ever seen the film where Keanu Reeves plays the buddha? No. Well he’s doing this meditation type retreat where he’s – I don’t want to give spoilers but it’s an old film so I will do it, yeah – and he’s like eating, I think there’s something along the lines of one grain of rice per day or something like that and meditating all the time. And then he sees this guy playing a guitar, I think it is, and he is tuning the guitar so he’s kind of like – and the string snaps and the lesson he learns from that is if you stretch it too far the string is gonna snap. And the metaphor is for obviously individuals just makes me think 100% yeah, 100%. And I’ve lived through it. But you know, don’t get me wrong between the event of me walking on stage getting the feedback and having triggered a lot of people at senior level to then understand what that meant and how I had to show up to better that took probably four to five months because at the beginning I was upset at me, upset at them, you know, you go through all scenarios, so it’s not as if suddenly, you know everything and you turn up and you’re the best version of yourself, 24 7, you take time is needed really.

And you said that, correct me if I’m wrong, you felt like you were feeling avoid initially. Have you ever done some self-awareness on why that might be?

Oh yeah, 100%. I grew up in a family where my parents were playing sport at quite a high level back home in their respective fields. So there was an understanding that I would come and do the same, but I had a big back injury and that was not the case. So I felt as if I probably already, you know, not lived up to the expectation of both of my parents to begin with. And then the household was extremely strict, rigid regimented. They were quite successful in their own right. But there was a certain sequence of how things actually happened, how you had a conversation at the table, the whole gamut of life and the expectations were pretty high and now that I’ve travelled the world and see that a lot of other family and people and I think it came from that where you always have to do more, more was expected.

And one of the imprints or way of understanding life, so to speak, which wasn’t mine, it was my parents. It was that, yeah, must work hard to be successful. So I’ve made my early part of life in corporate health because if there was a straight ass pass to success for anything, I would take the harder one. So everything was much harder because for me if he wasn’t hard enough, well it wasn’t really meant to be in a should not really have, you know, the pay package that go with it and the applaud or the things from client or whatever it may be. So that was the voice and the whole tour that on the website that you had to relearn how to walk in your twenties, was that the back injury you were referring to correct Yes. From a very young age I had a basically the top of the femur and the bottom of the hip was not really fully regularly irrigated by blood.

So that meant that they burned and growing a proper way. So there was a lot of friction between the two bones, which was preventing me from doing sports, giving me a lot of fever at times and I could not stand properly now. The surgeons and everyone, so we realised when I was about 11, 12, it was way too late. And then they said, look, we’ve got to live with that as long as you can and then around 50 or 60 have a hip replacement. But in the meantime, because you were too young to have that surgery, just, you know, do anything you can to prevent doing more harm. That meant that I could not go to a networking event or concert and stand for hours. I was just impossible. I was in too much pain. So I had to find this tool or a wall to lean on or anything really would do uh and being extremely tired and even pain at work on standing, sitting at the computer for too long. So in Australia I met a lot of friends and uni friends and one of my best mate’s dad was a doctor. And the philosophy between Australia and France is quite different.

He said, look, we have seen your quality of life really diminishing over the last few years. I think it’s time for you to really think about potentially the surgery. And that was one of the best decision. Again I’ve made, I had the surgery. It took about 3 to 4 months of rehab because I was so young. They’ve decided that everything we took much longer. So someone in the seventies or eighties, they have a hip surgery. Two days later they up from the bed to make them walk and you know, they go to rehab and that’s it because I was so young. And normally you can have only about two hip replacements in your life because then, you know, the bone doesn’t work that well and the heat doesn’t really stick, so to speak. So the surgeon were really, really scared. So they really put me into a kind of bubble. So I was on a wheelchair for two months. I was walking at time, but then back onto the wheelchair. Not a lot of long distance is not being around people in case I get knocked around. And that was quite, that was really hard, extremely hard. Uh I ended up flying back on being in the south of France in a small room of eight square meter in rehab for over 21 days, not seeing anyone not having internet.

And that was really testing, but on the other side of that, having to relearn how to walk, manage stairs and later on the run again, which was very funny because I flew back to Sydney and for the little story, I was I was going to the grocery and there was a traffic light and you hear the big, big, big, big, big, because you only have about ten seconds left and I didn’t want to miss the light. So I started little thrive. And while I was the emotion run, having kind of faster pace, I realised I was actually doing something I’ve never done since the surgery. And it was such a weird experiment. Feeling myself going faster and faster and having a little joke across the road three months post-surgery. So yeah, that was the story about learning how to walk again.

Oh, congratulations on doing that.

Yeah, thank you. I mean, you know, many, many people are really inspiring stories but I think it’s really about seeking out and doing your best every day and sometimes you have to forget about the end goal. It’s just about tomorrow and today dealing it with one day at a time.

So that’s what I did in that instance. Do you think that any of that adversity has helped you going forward?

100%. Because at times I can actually draw upon it. So I do find myself sometimes especially in business running my own business now still being in a growth phase and dealing with Lockdown will be able to you know go into organisation having face to face and all that. I do remember this time was like well you know it didn’t work out in the end and you did it and it was hard and is today’s hard. Probably not. Uh so I think, you know, it’s a mindset game and it does definitely help, definitely help.

Good, thank you for that. Some of the, let’s say topics that were recurring what was personal leadership? Can you tell me what personal leadership means to you and what’s the advice that you typically give on it?

For me, I think – great question and thanks for asking. Thomas – we’ve lost our way around leadership and leadership is used at any source, as we say. And I believe that leadership, unfortunately for most people in their role at the moment or two day in 2021 is made of a continuity of little dots they’ve seen around their experiences, just collected behaviours, sentences, action, reaction. And they’re just, it’s like we all have a perfect David from Michelangelo. So Michelangelo said that David was always there, I just had to cover the pieces, the extra pieces and then either appeared. But I think for leadership, it actually what happened is the reverse as a leader has a child. Usually we are perfect, We can, you know, rally our friends around, you know, whether it’s a play on the playground or watching tv whatever maybe or birthday or whatever it is. But I think as time go by, we start looking at what we believe to be a role model. And we start just, you know, keeping all this information and we’re slapping as I said, layers on the genius David on unique superpower we have as a leader.

And those layers are usually full of shit because they’re not ours. And a lot of them come from, you know, previous era where it was, you know, the Sikh and the carrots. Uh, and then there’s, you know, millions of different layers and type of leadership which has been labelled depending the cultural background, look at the country, you know, even the industry, but I believe there is way more power in one person realizing stopping and going through their life or what I call the life chapters and realizing at every stage that was quite significant who was a role model and was actually what served you in terms of the things you’ve collected from that role model and what hasn’t in your interaction in your work and your wellbeing even. And I think it’s more about, do I feel this to be right deep within me or would I communicate this information differently? Would I love to be talked about in a different way? Well then why don’t I do it? So there is a few questions to ask oneself and those are the one that actually starts someone to do the work or to be quiet to entertain the fact that there could be perhaps a better way to show up, a better way to lead.

Because now, as we’ve seen in the previous years, so many things have happened around the world, people are becoming more voice felt, people have displayed their disagreement with government, with law being passed. And you can see that this is going to get stronger and stronger. People are going to use the voice and the leaders of yesterday that are playing the carrot and the stick and tear and, and fear and whatnot. They’re actually gonna find themselves really pressured in between what the board is asking of damage and wrestled for the organisation and in between what the people want for them to be and how to show up as a leader. And they’re gonna feel really compressed and they’re no longer going to go to next room and they’re going to actually being, you know, pointed out and potentially asked by, you know, the next room which is the board or the stakeholders to actually move aside because they’re no longer leading in the weather is serving the people. The organisation declined and be in service. So yeah, that’s a little bit about self-leadership.

For me, if I understand correctly, one of the points you touched upon was what am I right in saying that you advocate some form of it’s sort of subjective, so you wouldn’t necessarily prescribe one way of doing it. But it depends on you personally about how you would lead because lots of people I’ve spoken to, they like the idea of servant leadership. But again, it is one way of prescribing it. So what your thoughts on those two conflicts. Yeah. I do believe information is power and I do believe that the labelling is very useful when you don’t know yourself and when you need a rule book in order to go from A to B. Then you can use any label you want. Because if someone said oh you should be a servant leader then it’s very easy. I know exactly what I should be doing now. It doesn’t mean I’m going to do it necessarily well. And what would happen is a colleague of yours, seven leadership with the steam or part of his team and thrive while you’re trying to do it and it’s not working. And that’s where the magic is. That’s what I work on. Because it has nothing to do with the type of label you’re trying to emulate. It’s you it’s you know cuts and dogs meet each other, sniff each other. Humans. We don’t sniff each other, but we can read people. And if someone is trying to use the label which is not with the truly are at their core, we can smell bullshit and that comes in the way of the communication. So best is to really do the work on ourselves to really discover what type of leadership is best for us. What do we believe in, what do we stand for and then yes, go and use a label as a tool in your toolbox in a specific, you know, situational circumstances to help a message get across or literally. But I think the labels then takes you back to managing. So then you become a manager and you manage people through those labels because it’s one step removed from you. A leader. It’s someone that lead and inspire and show the way and takes you to places you never dreamed of and a leader really what’s most important?

I think a leader doesn’t take credit for the outcome. The outcome is actually you know owned by the team, what a leader can get credit from is creating the environment for the T. V. To thrive and the leader at the end of that they should only create the environment for fatal ground and for people to become better and if they do better than the results are going to show up and the company is going to do better and so on and so forth. But the leader has a bit of ego and I want to on the result and is leading through that need to on the result will then create havoc or chaos at times. On the way the quiz makes a lot more sense. Now the leadership quiz because you’re helping people find out what kind of leader they either are or want to be right, correct.

Cool, I like that. So in a lot of the, shall we say profiles, plateau hacking is a recurring theme? So can you share what plateau hacking is? And one of the questions I really wanted to ask was what are the typical plateaus that people face?

So the plateau hacker was – we’ve really struggled. There’s another word for that two years to pinpoint something that people can either be interested by or that people can get an understanding for weight maybe. So the plateau aka is someone, so it’s many and it’s someone that takes you for where you are to the next level and for me it’s about lifting organisation and more importantly its people. So whether you’re at in order for you to fund where you’re at in the next level, regardless of the level that is, we use that plateau hacking because usually people do something progress and they’re just plateau. So we had the plateau, you’re right, so we can take you into the next step of your journey in terms of the most frequent plateaus. Well it’s usually three words, one word, three later.

It’s the ego people, you know, have that beautiful friend which can be helpful at times but that’s one of the plateaus. But it could be anything, it could be a plateau in terms of accessing the next room into a male dominated environment. And I have a lot of women that work with them and it’s quite interesting because it becomes extremely powerful. Then you may have personal plateau in terms of the lenses. So the way in which people are saying the world is usually or can be limited to them to their own growth. Because depending on your cultural background, depending where you grew up, depending on what you believe to be right or wrong, you’re going to look at a certain situation or a conversation through your personal lens and that may not be a very objective lands and I may not be the lens you need at that time. So by removing that, that actually one plateau we can remove. So the whole work around the Plateau Hockey Academy is really about digging really deep, whether you’re a leader or an entrepreneur or someone aspiring to grow because they feel that the businesses plateau in, they’re not getting anywhere.

You’re not getting any bigger for some reason and they can pinpoint it. But when we do all that work, then you realise, oh, okay, that makes way more sense that I am about, I want to say about 120 episodes in two, my podcast and the topic of ego has not come up once unless I’m mistaken. What do you think about that? It is a lot then of the people, you have another podcast know that jokes aside, but there’s always a bit of truth in is interesting. It is interesting. It’s, it’s hard because people see egos at something really bad and therefore it’s a conversation which is not very few people are okay to have. For me, ego is not necessarily bad because it’s a beautiful open door into your next level, into your next growth and understanding yourself and others much better.

And if we were just looking at it differently and in a way to understand and not just, you know, push it away because it has all that stigma attached to it, people will do much better and the world would be a much better place as well, let alone. So, let’s say it’s actually interesting because I bought some books for my little ones and they covered the topic of ego, so it’s quite a quite a recent one. And the main thing about ego is it kind of stops you, it comes back to that plateau that you mentioned, it stops you progressing, so you will miss problems because of your ego. Yeah, it’s like a fog, it’s a filter, and it just stops you from thinking feeling even some people lose their logic or rational just over our ego and we see it every day and sometimes in a room it starts very differently and someone doesn’t need to speak by just entering a room and sitting down.

You would see people, egos start showing up, who is going to come and try to buddy up because they believe, you know, for whatever reason that may be how they’re going to stress you out for the first part of the meeting. All that is really ego driven, but that’s also linked to that carrot in six, the good and the bad, how you should behave. Because we’ve seen and we’ve experienced for so many years in decades what leadership should look like or what we made to believe to each and everyone around us, what leadership was about and who was behaving in such a way. ABC was most likely to get the top job and go ahead. So then why not emulate the same? It’s kind of, you know, the cat is eating its own tail and a bit of a money situation relief. She asked me because she stopped to look at it for ten seconds be like, oh god, that’s a bit chilly between the same thing of another. Have you ever struggled with the ego myself? Always egos of others about both.

Initially I was asking about you, okay, huge. I mean what do you think the of guy five years ago that wanted to do more at work? That was never saying no tweets on both. I was taking bigger project to be bigger team and I wanted to show the whole world we was feasible. That was shit. I mean my ego was huge in that sense because there was nothing else than an ego, you know, feeding me feeding the monster stuff, you know, and showing me how deep that hole walls that I had to fill in. So I could, you know, measure up to something. So maybe whether my parents or health, but I could show the world that was worth something. So yeah, no, no, it was that was a lot of it, but there definitely, well I know you did the work on it because of the way that you approach leadership now or the kind of Oprah Winfrey inspiration there, but I don’t know how so what happened? Um, well, it is quite interesting because it started with, the first question was curiosity and it was all around, There has to be another way, there is no way that, you know, I’m, you know, early 30 and I’ve already done a lot, there’s still a lot I want to achieve and at that pace and rate, I can’t keep collecting burnout basically.

And so something has to give somehow. So curiosity started and then you know people just, it’s a little bit when they said when the student really is really the master will walk in and it was a limit of that. Everything just I was ready, I was ready for something different. I was ready to show up in a different way and my friend recommended, as I said, mentioned in valley this place in this place. And then in the meantime I had applied for a post grad professional program at Stanford which was all around how to foster entrepreneur your mind in medium to large scale organisation. And they are resigned for my role and they started to look after myself and do a bit of the work, not really knowing what the next step would pages trusting in the now I received the admission letter from Stanford so that meant that then I went to the U. S and actually spent three months driving before the course into all the beautiful national park they have and I did about six of them.

And that was amazing being in nature having time reading books and that just you know that was just the beginning. And then I did a lot of personal development, a lot of mentor. Obviously I’m here a lot of courses on ego and a lot of things and I just made my own puzzle. You know the puzzle started appearing which is my own. And the funny bit is translated that into a couple of course is that I haven’t helped leaders with an organisation and it’s interesting because everyone says it is so different as you were saying before, you know how do you do the work? And it’s yeah but the results speak for themselves. I’m pretty happy and it’s a never ending journey. So I’m on the way. Well. Yeah. The curiosity principle that you mentioned, you know it makes me think of like why am I the way that I am. And as soon as you start digging, you get to strange places, right?

But one of the things that you help people with is finding your why and the context is slightly different there. But I wanted to ask you about just that topic of finding your why. Just because it is very popular and I want to get your take on it. Uh It is very popular and I used to lead with it for the past few years and I stopped because it’s not tangible enough organisation. And I think our society is not ready enough and too many people. I’m gonna make a lot of enemies I think right now, but a lot of agency and pr agency in particular, uh that’s why it could be a source of revenue. Let’s just with something together that’s really super commercial. But you know let’s do it and operate so that it’s adding to the problem because now a lot of organisations and people think or you have to have one if you don’t have one, you know one. So it leads to individual being really depressed and sending themselves off crazy to find that personal wine.

And on the other side you’ve got organisation thinking oh my god it’s going to cost me a mint through that pr organisation, sending me something that everyone else. Then it’s like well doesn’t really stick. So let’s put it everywhere on the walls, on books and computers because it’s so meaningful that we can’t remember it. So I know I’m being very cynical. That’s unfortunately a big portion of what people are doing with the purpose of it. Now, the way I like to approach it and see it is, it’s in service, it’s really extracting what you the best at what you are being put on this earth for most likely for individual. And if you really follow that thread and do the work and get there, then you’re gonna get to really good places. But in talking about me helping people, for example, in some of the courses for leaders and entrepreneurs, we don’t start with that. And people are asking the question, but I need to find my wife and I said to them, well, you tell me you got two options. Either you the David covering sheets for 50 years of layers and try to find your wife led by your own ego, or we do the work and we get rid of all those layers.

We get to the genius self of who you are and then we do the work on finding what you were put on the test for which one do you think is going to have way more meaning and you’re gonna really last? You know, the journey. And that’s what’s interesting because people want things right now. They want an easy fix. Get rich quick scheme, but you need to do the work first. And for organisation, it’s really about being in service first. But also I bring a lot of different side of things. It’s not just the top room. Yes, I want the top room and the leader, but I want the latest employee that’s been hired as well, for example. And sometimes I might have a couple of clients coming in and everyone is looking at each other in the room thinking well I’m the boss. I decided I’m like, well no, because you have your lens. And if you say one thing, let’s hear from the client perspective. How they receive all those messages, how they perceive your brain, how they perceive your products. You get different perspective. So I start by really, you know, shaking the world really, really hard where everyone really cracks up open and then we can put the pieces together for something that’s truly meaningful and then the results speak for themselves.

An organisation has, for example, I’ve grown last year 19% and then the financial sector uh serving, um, you know, they’re members, they improve their cost per lead by 61% which for them results millions of dollars because instead of trying to speak to everyone, speaking to the people, they shouldn’t be speaking to with a message that truly resonates where people don’t think, oh again, another, you know, I’m a number clog in the wheel. They just want me for my money. No, they just feel like, oh, that’s different. That speaks to me, won’t speak to my neighbour, but that’s okay, doesn’t need to. So that’s the area of the feel I love to play in when it comes to the wild, the purpose make a good point about the commercial nature of it. For me when I heard it, I sort of interpreted it as it’s a really good tool to use for perseverance because initially I think it came from Nietzsche. So the quote I think was a man that knows why compare anyhow.

It has something like that. And you know, if you if you’re going through something really tough and you have a good way, then it’s going to help you help you to do better. But in the context of like a business that’s been going for ten years and is doing just fine, you know, it might not be quite so relevant exactly, but what’s interesting is a lot of people, So I used to work a lot in brand and branding and customer experience and a lot of people reached out just for that and particular organisation has reduced the cell cycle for up to 12 weeks down to seven days for most of their sales and we’re talking about a quarter of a million dollars sale. They’re just a franchise model and interestingly is they were doing okay, They had a huge growth, but before heading into the rebrand, I said, look, you will be good if we do a bit of a deeper work to see who you are, what you stand for, what really is your why? Because that’s going to then empower whether it’s developing the brand to have an alignment from beginning to end, and when we finished there to a lot of the employees in the room, when they heard it from, they found that there were smack bang, there were like, wow, that is now, I know why I’ll be turning up to work tomorrow, so it’s adding another layer of commitment.

It’s really, people will say self-selected an organisation, thinking, okay, I’m on the right side here, I’m in the right train, I’m staying way longer and I’m going to give way more because now suddenly my work has some meaning, because you could be in a very successful organisation, but people plateau again, I mean look at Microsoft, by the mid-nineties they had reached their – you know, they had a big wide purpose, but it was actually a big, audacious hairy goal, which was to have a computer on every desk in the developed world. And that was done by the mid-nineties. And since then, what did we have nothing, just a lot of exact, getting a lot of big paycheck and make ourselves, that’s not really, you know, did anything really machinery. They had a great product, but he didn’t stick like Apple for what? For some reason, an interest, interestingly when Satya Nadella, which did an interview with us, it was amazing. It did say to us, he went back to the first iteration of the product when Microsoft was put together and he said, I believe that if we go back to that, we will know the wider first situation was made.

And it was in service of the first customer which was, you know, entrepreneurs and small businesses. So then therefore they’ve looked at everything and then they started coming with the whole suite of products which are serving small businesses with teams and whatnot. And since look at the look at the trend in the share market since it’s been just amazing. But without that I strongly believe the company would just continue being okay because everyone felt okay. But now they reconnected with something much deeper, much way more meaningful that it can have fun with. He touched on brand and I did see something from you I think, which was misconceptions around what a brand is. I think it was like, you know, you think people think that a brand is a logo essentially. So what does, what does the brand mean to you? For me, it’s everything that sits below the surface before I see a logo and colour and the tight line the brand is actually part of the brand is the purpose part of the brand is the people behind part of the brand is the bigger reason why the company exists, is the company gonna be of contribution all of that transfer in the brand.

And when you have all those moving pieces, then you can go and what is called, articulate the brand into some visual material, but don’t start just by having something visual and try them too. Makes sense with the rest. It doesn’t work. So I think people again are very rushed and they think every, it’s like, you know, if you look at the trend on social media, everything is owned. What look and feel like is everything is on the image, the smoke and mirrors. You know, you’re gonna do a 15 2nd TikTok that’s going to go viral. So let’s all try, you know, don’t worry about the rest is just trying to get that, you know, elusive success. So when it comes to your brand, people like, okay, well, and the words that often come out is, oh, who do you think we should look like or what do you think we should look like to get the most client? And I said wrong and wrong question. I actually don’t care. We should look like you should look like no one else. Otherwise you’re going to handle being a pale version of someone else in the market. You may as well just knock on the door, write them a check either by them over or join forces because why have two company doing more of the same is not helping anyone.

The product is going to be better. You’ve just been greeting and surfing a wave and we know what happened to wait when you said they crashed sooner or later and then you’re gonna have to paddle out again, find another idea and do the whole thing and the brand and all that. You know, I said to my client, I want you to become a tsunami, your force to be reckoned with and every single organisation or individual I’ve worked with over time. It does happen. And it’s just amazing to see people are really happy to develop. They grow their lives, changed work, change the collaborate the way they collaborate. And that’s where more meaningful to me personally, uh, than the previous work I was doing, which was just feeding the bottom line of the business. I still feel it today, but in a very different way. Well, I’m running out of time here juris I’ve got more stuff to cover them. We’ve got time to do so. But yeah we should do another one. Maybe. Yeah, maybe. But you mentioned the part of the brand is the people and part of your skill set is improving employee engagement.

And I think it’s neglected, perhaps an important part of business. What are your thoughts 100%. If you want your business to go anywhere, you employee engagement is one of the key metrics there because if you want to do a simple exercises, empty your offices from these people and tell me how well your business going to go full stop. So when people come and argue about that, I’ll just do what you tell me, ask. I want to go to work and tell me how you know the bottom line is going today or this quarter. And then we can have a conversation again. The happier the people you’re gonna have, the more connected to your meat, to a shared meaning at work. Well the happier the family so this is going to be. But then everyone’s going to be willing to think outside the box to move from order takers to, you know, creating their own destiny, so to speak, innovation is going to flourish. All that is just going to be amplified. Every single area of the business going to be amplified. It’s like the extra 1% you add everywhere.

But you have to start with the people. There’s no point looking at the bottom line saying I want more money here and then just sit and wait and back orders. Okay, what happened? And do you help companies with employee engagement? 100%. So the work I do really ease around time alignment, performance, productivity but we start with the people so if the company has, you know, a mission vision values, all that is good. But then we often translated for a team, what does it mean at team level? We and we help, helped him understand where is the place into the big puzzle of the company and how do they interconnect with the other key pieces? And also about the fact that if you decide to show up, it’s not just for a paycheck, you need to have a much bigger connection with the world to do every day and understand what that work is doing. So I work through multiple angles, I work from board to see sweet to them, you know middle management and teams and we can work through all the layers of the organisation when it comes to realigning people and then the numbers speak by themselves.

I just got an email yesterday actually from another client where they say that the workload capacity had improved by 46%. An empowerment improved by 25% meaning people feeling empowered. They can make decision a much better decision and non-discretionary spend, which is quite funny or interesting down 28%. But if you say that from the get go, people will look at you like or what did you do you tell them to stop spending? No, we didn’t even ask them to do that. That was a by-product by them showing up having a different connection and understanding what the company was trying to do simply. I’m not, I’m not asking for any secret source here. But what was the problem that you solved for them? Um, people mostly disconnected with the work. A lot of previous leaders, which won’t be of service of the team and the steam that was extremely stagnant. And a little bit of toxicity within the team and the organisation.

And yeah, we just turn it around so it sounds a little bit like a rut would you say? That’s fair. Yeah, Yeah, yeah, definitely. Fair. And in terms of having, I think it’s quite a common thing for a business to have. You know, a fair number of people who perhaps they were hired and leadership maybe wish that they didn’t hire them. Have you got approaches to dealing with that type of scenario? 100%. For me, part of the work I do is always having extremely honest conversation and we do a bit of, uh, there’s a data approach of the personal approach and the idea is either you turn for Patrick how much of a fulfilled person you are and what is it, what you believe about the future. And between the three of that at the end, we look at the numbers and we just decided, you know how many people shoot or shouldn’t be in the room and the compensation is easy. You’re going to be a much happier and better person for yourself, first, for your colleague and for your family if you’re in the right environment and in the right job, if this job is not for you, then you should seriously think about finding another one because sooner or later the conversation is going to have to happen, but you’re free.

No one’s holding a gun to your head. You should truly be thriving to find a job where you are actually really happy to go to. So in turn, you have much better, um, you know, conversation and collaboration with your colleague when you get home, you know, pissed off from the work and what happened during the day. You can show us the better father, the better brother, the better mother. And then people really have a ha moment. They really realise that when I go into organisation, it’s not about, I’ve been given, you know, a mandate to raise the bottom line. So we’re just gonna go and do that. And anyone that doesn’t fit, you know, the script is out. That’s not how I go. And I’m going to say, look, my wish is for you to be in the right sit in the right job. And then when we have that, then let’s look at, you know, getting better in performance and so on and so forth and how we can do that the first and foremost, we need to have people that want to be there. And if they don’t want to often tell them, I said there’s no point. You’re wasting my time. You’re wasting your time. I could be doing this work with other organism that needs it more. Yeah. I have an automatic tendency I’m not sure why to think of it like is always a negative thing. Whereas I have heard it once said that you’re actually in some instances doing them a favour by helping them find the next role that they actually would be happy. And I’ll give you something you can use. The conversation is often around we need to free some people’s future. So it’s not about sucking anyone. It’s really bad for in the future because if you have the wrong person in the wrong job, the future is going to be really dark and miserable. Yeah. That’s taking it one step further, isn’t it? As different than doing them a favour.

Yeah, so Joris what your goals?

Okay, my goal is to serve as many organisations that I need as possible and people is to then divide my work into three areas in the coming years. Part of it, which large, large scale organisation and organisation in terms of, you know, United Nations, perhaps the European union or some government and then doing you know, private work and then individual one on one work.

So really trying to tap into different layers of society to share who I have become in the sense that as you say, the secret sauce is working and people can really gain from it. And it’s fun work. So I just want to try and explore those areas. So those are big goals because you know, especially currently with the pandemic worldwide, but hopefully soon we’ll get there

Wow, that is a great goal. I’ve not heard anyone say anything like that, so yeah, impressive. Is there anything which would be valuable to the audience that you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about today?

Well, the only thing is if anything really tickled their curiosity or they found triggered or what else during that interview, just remember whoever you are, wherever you are, it always starts and ends with you. I think that’s a big key to keep walking with. They can be quite useful in professional and personal, No one’s gonna sweep in and help you achieve what you’re trying to achieve.

Yeah, that also instead of blaming others, usually we’re the one that should be blamed because you decide the situation you put yourself in regardless of the outcome. And sometimes it’s not something we want to hear. But that’s why I say it starts and ends with you because we decided to open their mouth. We decided to take a job. We decided to reply to an email. We decided to show up a certain way. No one is asking you to do so. Great answer. I’m gonna try and sneak one more of my questions in before I before I ask you peak performance? How is a generalised question? But how does one achieve peak performance, would you say? So? I think it’s a bit of context for that. Peak performance for where you at, because big performance for you and I and peak performance for the athletes going to Tokyo. Currently, it’s going to look very different. So I think it’s very good to also understand where we at and right now trying to read the big performance of where we at in our lives. That’s step number one.

Otherwise, as we say, early in the interview, you know, people are going to enjoy themselves and not get anywhere, not really responsive like the athlete training, so that is number one, but number two is also keep that curiosity, what could be, what else could that be doing? Seeing learning and stay open to new ideas and entertain those new ideas. Stop to listen to reply very quickly, just listen to understand and try to be very quiet in meeting sometimes, especially when, you know, you’re a third party to a meeting. And you know, even if you have a small part in it, just look how people react in the ideas that come on the table and look at it three different angles, the angle of this won’t work is shit, okay, and the reason why, and then the other angle, oh yeah, this actually really good work. And it’s interesting, you would see your mind started to stretch and the mind one stretch never regain its original forms. So that’s probably one key way to peak performance.

Would you say you’re at peak performance at the moment?

Not at the moment. Unfortunately, during Covid in lockdown, probably not. But with what I have, I’m happy, it’s not peak, but it’s not far off and I’m happy for now, but I know I can do better. And the help of mentors and reaching out to people and having conversation is always helping because now that you’ve asking that I’m gonna go again and reactivate, so thanks for that, Thomas. Thanks for the question.

I’d say that you’ve hit peak performance in this episode, so thank you for that. Can you tell people where the best place to find you is?

So my name is Joris cuesta, J-O-R-I-S and Cuesta is C-U-E-S-T-A. So for my website and then they can find me on LinkedIn. Please reach out at me, ask me any questions and if you want to follow a bit of behind the CNN clients and all that, there is Instagram as well, which is Joris_Cuesta.

Thank you very much.