#202 – Courageous & Vulnerable Leadership With Lisa Marie Platske

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today we have Lisa Marie Platske. Lisa welcome, thank you Thomas for having me. It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do. Yes, I live in Eastern Kentucky in the United States of America and It’s a 75 acre farm that my husband and I purchased in december, which has been very interesting getting, getting used to what would be considered rural living. And so I have an online business without internet, which makes life really interesting.

And uh, so so that’s a real big piece of my life and what’s going on right now. I, my background is in federal law enforcement and banking and I’ve had a leadership coaching, consulting and training company for the last 18 years where I get to Work with leaders from all over the world, having coached or trained over 100,000 leaders on four different continents. I’ve written seven books and had the just, it’s really a very humbling, humbling experience to get to hear people’s stories and work with them on the being nous of leadership. I’m more interested in helping people discern who it is. They need to be in order to have whatever it is that they want or run whatever size organization that they want to run. And the background in law enforcement and in human behavior has really taught me an awful lot. Thank you for the introduction. It sounds like you’re very busy. You’ve got a lot done.

So the first question I wanted to open with because it’s in prep for the episode is can anyone be a leader? I absolutely, absolutely. I believe anybody can be a leader. Leaders, aren’t, aren’t born, they’re made and they’re made through a series of actions and habits. And I don’t believe that it’s a um it’s something that Is solely in eight. There are actions that you can take in order to in order to be a great leader. So for those people who say I’m not a leader, what do you say to them? I I say to them perhaps by choice, that’s true, but certainly not because they couldn’t be. So essentially, do you think that people who think that way, like maybe I’m I’m not, I’m not that type of person, that’s just a limitation they’re putting on themselves. Yes. And and perhaps, you know, an intentional one.

There are times in my life, you know, when I when following is really good or somebody else has more information, more knowledge, more wisdom than I do. And so choosing to be a follower in that situation versus stepping out to be a leader is is really the best outcome for for all. So there are times when I’m student, there are times when I’m teacher, there are times when I’m follower, there’s times when I’m leader and there are some people who abdicate their they don’t want to be a leader because of the level of responsibility that leadership actually requires, you mentioned the farm, I’m interested to know if the no internet thing is a purposeful well being approach or whether it’s just that it’s not possible for the farm to have the internet. So it is not possible and I did not know this. So the previous owner did have it and it is literally at the end of the road and in in a very remote area.

And I have had 11 companies research whether it’s possible. I have had colleagues in different parts of the United States use their resources to see if they could find me a company that could and it just hasn’t been possible. And yet you ask if it’s purposeful and so when I get quiet and I um I often pray and and speak to the Holy Spirit and for some people that may sound a little strange, but that’s just that’s my operating style. And so I will, I’ll do you know what is this? I mean even my business coach said to me, you know, you’ve gone to to Airbnb s for holiday and neither one had internet and now you don’t have it at the farm. Like there’s something weird going on. Like I really don’t think, you know any sort of, I don’t think that God really wants you to have internet and I, you know, I joke around about that, but it’s it’s um the farm has an event center thomas and with my work doing leadership retreats three times a year, giving leaders who have multiple companies and have very high levels of stress, a place to be able to fully unplug and dc distressed to be in nature, I do believe that’s part of the reason why I was called to, to buy this place.

So I think that there is a little bit of both. Have you found it’s good for your well being, not having access to yourself all the time. Yes, very much so. Very much so. Even yesterday I was on a call with a client of mine and I found myself walking outside instead of sitting in front of the computer and taking a uh, like a little shovel to do gardening. And I found myself just doing weeding and I thought this is the craziest thing. And two weeks ago I was sitting outside on a coaching call with a just a bonfire in front of me and and looking at the land and um, realizing just how much it it created this grounded centering that has allowed the work that I’ve done to be even, um, even greater, even greater results When I look at the financial numbers, the, the team numbers, the connection and I do my metrics for clients.

I’m finding that my work is just so much more dialed in because I don’t have the distractions that it’s allowing me to show up more fully. It’s allowing my clients to receive more and it’s allowing me to have just an incredible peaceful day regardless of the many items that are pulling at me and need to get done. So it’s been wonderful. It does sound good. Um, I love this the way that this is phrased, so there’s on the profile, there is um, standing strong while the world is shaking. Can you tell me what that means to you? Yeah, Standing strong while the world is shaking is exactly what we’re speaking about is is that right now there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of chaos in the, in the collective of humanity. Um, there is, you know, a, we’re in, there’s a war going on and I mean in europe, that’s, that’s incredible to me.

Um, and you and I are sitting here having this conversation. It um, it has maybe emotional. Uh, there are here in the States, prices of gasoline are just going up, inflation is incredible. Uh, it’s, it tripled the price of something that I purchased last year, like a piece of wood for the deck is three times as much. Um, there’s a great resignation, not just in the United States, but in, in many parts of the world where um, working for large corporations and doing things, the way that they’ve been done for many decades is not, uh, is shifting and changing and evolving, especially when we look at the internet, so, so much change and so much, um, so much to malt that to be in a place where you’re able to be so clear and so aligned about what’s yours to do and not to get moved from your mission because there is so much going on that is to stand strong and while the rest of the world is truly shaking and what I find is that, you know, you have a mission, you know what I what my belief, you have a mission.

I have a mission. We all have something to do. Every person has something to do. Something that’s, that’s there’s that they have with their unique gifts and abilities and talents and experiences. And when we do that, we make the world better. And when we don’t do that and we get distracted by everything else, then the people who need us actually miss out. So that for me, is is to to be in that inner understanding of who you are and what’s yours to do and to be so convicted. It doesn’t matter about the chaos that’s going around and there’s a lot out there. Um, so you said you have a mission. Can you share what that is? Sure. Uh, my mission is to transform lives through leadership and to do that in a way that allows everyone in the world to win. So I’m not seeking to do that in a way that only has me win. I want every single person involved in something that I’m doing.

I’m running it through that lens of how do you have everybody win? And you said something in your introduction, about 100,000 people that you’ve you’ve shared your lessons with and what’s the format there, because I don’t know much about that. Well, you know, I have seven pillars of leadership and so when I opened my business, I, you know, I came from federal law enforcement and so it wasn’t like I had a corporate background and then I opened up a consulting business and then I worked with those people that I once worked with before. It was I was in law enforcement and had been involved in training leaders at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia in the United States. And I Um was there during 9 11 and I work to create curriculum post 9 11 for the Leadership Development Center that we have for the for the Agency for Homeland Security’s, Customs and border Protection.

And when I was doing that there were elements that I couldn’t teach in leadership because it wasn’t part of the formula. Um And so when I went out and opened up my own company, I didn’t have a business degree, I didn’t have a business background, I didn’t even know anybody who owned a business, let alone you know, to be able to what do you do. And so thomas, I started to interview people much like you’re you’re doing here and I interviewed people who had wildly successful businesses in a variety of fields industries, healthcare, real estate law. And I would inter and I interviewed them asking questions about what it took for them to be successful, how they got to where they were and what I was doing was looking for themes like what are the themes that people use. And so I came up used to be able to get where they’re going and I came up with seven that I heard over and over and over and over again and those seven became the model that I have taught and trained.

And several years ago in those seven pillars I went, what about those that are like the top 1%? And that became the three characteristics of, of courageous leadership. Like the leaders that took the greatest risks. And so um you know, that model is what I’ve gone and and taught and trained and it’s been it’s been life saving for me in what way in in that the leadership is really what saved my life. Like that’s truly what what I when I was in the government, the guys didn’t want to work with me. They didn’t really, they didn’t, they weren’t enamored with who I was. You know, and I had you no longer blonde hair and you know, red white and blue nails and you know, I was on the piers in this blue uniform and they did not look at me and see somebody as competent.

And so I struggled and I went to a leadership course to see if I could do something about this. And in the course they gave a series of assessments and one of the assessments was an interpersonal skills assessment where the instructor shared with the class that I had scored a zero, I never liked when I tell that story, doesn’t feel good. Um it wasn’t a safe space for me to receive that. Um the the guys that were in the training, they were from companies that were in the local new york metropolitan area and they just stared at me as the instructor went on after announcing the zero and said, you know, if lisa invites you to do something, she doesn’t really want you to be there. And she continued, and nobody talked to me for the rest of the day and I had to really come to grips and have conversation with myself and say, you know what lisa you might be smart and tough and you might be strong and right, but you’re going to be alone and dead if you don’t figure out how to connect with people, if you don’t figure out how to, how to have them see you and how to have them see you as a leader and in my field, that was really true.

So it’s what led me on the journey of doing the journey of getting curious with what mattered to the guys, my own leadership journey, my own personal leadership journey and it’s the reason why leadership, I really say saved my life because I was going down this path where the barriers that I had created actually to keep me safe are really what kept me and blocked me from having a meaningful and happy life. So I am you know leadership for me when I define it in terms of influence and define it in terms of something truly that is a door opener. We lead ourselves and we also use that to inform others in how it is, they’re going to interact with us and the best leaders, the best leaders really understand who they are, they understand what they want and they understand why it matters and I did not recognize the depth of that Back then you know 20 years ago um correct me if I’m misinterpreting but having an opinion on some things and when someone is judging you unfairly.

So in this particular instance its physical appearance based on what you look like. I’m gonna judge you unfairly based on that. The solution to that is in my view extreme competence and you have developed an extreme competence in a in a scenario which has helped you essentially overcome that. Is that do you see that as accurate for for me? Um when I when I did the research on on on leadership there with causes imposing her who wrote a book on leadership challenge number four is competence and I I completely like it’s it’s like a door opener, you know I really agree with that in this particular situation, the guys that I worked with, they didn’t see me as competent, they saw me as compassionate because they saw me as a woman and they didn’t see me for all of the things that I could do and what I would say is it was such an unusual experience because thomas I was, you know, somebody who had gotten A’s and was used to getting the gold star and being celebrated and here I was um not seen for for not even the the level of what I brought.

And so what I learned in that experience was how important connection to self and others was and how it didn’t make a difference, how competent I was in what I could do on the job that if the guys didn’t like me, it wasn’t going to end up well for me and it wasn’t really about getting them to like me, it was getting them to be able to see me just really see me as competent and so that it’s it’s it’s you know, sometimes we, alright that’s someone you say, sometimes we say sometimes I I’m in a situation and you’re right, there’s judgment in all situations and at the same time, I feel that sometimes that judgment comes because another person is not willing to be vulnerable enough to want to be seen and that was what was going on with me is that I wasn’t willing to be vulnerable enough to be seen because my fear was if they see me as somebody that is a woman and I don’t know the answer to something that I don’t have the right to ask for it.

And so it was a very, you know, it was just such an interesting space for me where now it’s like you know, I am completely, I am completely alright when I don’t have all the answers, like that was one of the greatest things that did for me, I’m sorry, you had to go through all that um and just to reiterate, you are already a very high achiever at that stage and it was just a it’s just not a good scenario, right? Great. Yeah, you mentioned vulnerable leadership. Can you give me a definition there? Because I’ve not heard the term before, vulnerability and leadership, it’s one of the things that’s so important that I bring to work in companies and the word vulnerability does not have a pleasant connotation in that, in in if you actually go to the definition, it’s it’s you know too, um the definition says, and you might be harmed, you know, by you know, putting yourself out there in this manner and what I Have discovered on my journey and through these seven pillars of leadership is that It’s actually the second pillar, it’s the second element in the in the three pillars of courageous leadership, vision, vulnerability and voice and and vulnerability.

The the component with that is that what it does is it’s only unlocked by forgiveness and to be vulnerable as a leader, it feels like a juxtaposition for many, many people, like I’m supposed to be the one that has all the answers. I’m the person that’s supposed to lead. How in the world can I be vulnerable? That to be that open puts me out in the world for others to be able to attack me or to to create harm. And I’m supposed to be the one that has all the answers and I’m supposed to be the one that’s got it all figured out and what I learned from myself is that’s too great of a burden to carry. And the leaders that really were the best were the ones that allowed themselves once again to go back to being seen and to share where they were in the moment. And so even when I’m at my events, if something happens and something goes sideways that I say, I call attention to it, I speak about it on stage, I speak about it openly.

Like I was just on a break and I just said something to my assistant and here’s what ended up happening and I just want to publicly apologize. And um, and sometimes there’s tears and sometimes there’s emotion and sometimes not, it’s just that what it does is and you know, move me to tears now is that it allows someone to see your humanity and often times we forget that when we’re in the um, checking the boxes off getting things done, having the metrics be met, um meeting the goals, looking at the key KPI s measuring results and we lose sight that we’re actually just a bunch of human beings in these, you know, skin suits walking around on the planet doing the best that we can and all really want the same thing to be valued and appreciated and loved and when when vulnerability allows that to happen, the humanity to be experienced.

And that’s why for me it’s like the most important piece of leadership and yet it is the most that can be the most challenging. Thank you for that. I also think the opposite where people sort of pretend that they’re fine is more on the spectrum of and no more off putting. Like if someone pretends that they’re really great but you know, they’re struggling. It’s like why don’t you just, you know, just talk to me. But um coming I’d like to ask the question about if someone has gone through some tough times which you which you did in your scenario that we talked about? Um if someone else is in that same situation and let’s say they’re listening to this. How what advice do you give them? How do they deal with a scenario where someone is they’re competent at something there a high achiever and someone is judging them based on their physical appearance. How what advice do you give them? Their Yeah, I am. I love this question for so many reasons because for me it it is less about the other person and it’s more about the individual and what I would say is the way that I moved through that and continue to move through that I will tell you thomas.

I had somebody maybe four years ago not hire me for speaking of corporate speaking engagement because they said in their company, they never had a woman talk about leadership. Um and I was blown away. I was like, so you’re gonna disqualify me for the opportunity even though I might be the most qualified person to speak to your organization because I’m a woman that’s fascinating in the year. Um 2018, like this is this is just mind blowing to me. And so what I, what I, why that to me didn’t take me, take me out, you know, that’s what I would say is like, you know, take me out and like you know, have me be all tied up in knots or really upset was more a disbelief in that this was actually occurring is that I’m so clear who I am. And so what I would say is, you know, for somebody who experiences something like that, it’s not the place to educate someone when I experience things like that.

Now I say thank you. Like thank you, you’ve given me information about who you are, you’ve allowed me to reflect on who I am and there it just means that this isn’t the right opportunity for me. And if that means that you’re working in an organization and that happens, you know, internally it’s the same thing. There were times at work where I could have pursued something that would be um considered to be sexual harassment. And I made the decision to go, I’m not going to do that here. I’m going to continue to show up and show up. And if it’s when it’s no longer for me. And if there’s a moment when it really feels like I need to say something, I will. But there so much of leadership is self leadership and it starts with us understanding who we are and not letting anybody take us off that that that clear mission.

Well, thank you for that. I’m sure I’m sure that that will help someone. Um so thank you for sharing it. It’s mind boggling that. As you say in 2018, that’s actually a statement that can be written. But I appreciate you sharing anyway. Is there anything that I should have asked you about today? That’s a really great question. And what I would say is I don’t know if you should have asked me it. However, I would love to be able to just share a small piece about the courageous leadership aspect if that’s all right? So when you ask about what are the things that somebody can do. I remember a situation with me where I asked a woman at an event how I could deal with being a woman or how she climbed the ladder being a woman in law enforcement. She said, I never saw myself as a woman solely. I saw myself as somebody who was a competent leader in law enforcement.

And I thought that was really interesting. Um, and so when I look at and was doing the research on what are the best leaders like that top 1% that vision vulnerability and voice, I feel that that’s an important piece to share because a lot of times it’s spoken about vision as being this big nebulous thing. Like you should have one, you should have a vision. And yet vision is really about clarity being really clear who you’re not and who you are. And so I can’t say that enough and the vulnerability, understanding that with forgiveness being the thing to open that up to be the top to be the very best leader. It means there can’t be anything that you’re encumbered by in the past or that other people have said or done. And then the voice is having the courage to be able to really use your voice in the situations that need it and to keep your voice quiet in the times when it doesn’t.

And that’s the reason why for me, there are situations where it’s really important to me to be the loudest voice and there are situations when it’s important for me to say nothing. Sometimes I need a sword and sometimes I need a feather and that’s to be able to be in that distinguishing because what unlocks voices. Generosity being completely, you know, unattached and just seeking to be of service. So it feels important to to to just put that out there thomas. Thank you for letting me letting me share that. It’s a self interest. So thank you for sharing it. What are your goals? What are my goals to leave every person that I come in contact with a little bit better years ago, it used to be to tell people how smart I was and truly it’s it’s to ensure that I um I walked gently on the planet. Well you’re meeting your goals today because I found it valuable, so well done for you.

Meeting your goal today. If other people want to um perhaps connect with you or need some leadership help, where do they go? My website is upside thinking dot com U P S I D E. And the word thinking, T H I N K I N G dot com. And on my front page of my website there’s actually a place to set up a time to be able to have a conversation with me. So um for everyone watching or listening, please review the links in the description and lisa, thank you for being a great guest today. Thanks thomas. Thanks so much for having me. It’s been delightful