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SPI 436: How to Become a Valuable Leader with Dave Stachowiak

How do you become the most valuable leader you can? When it comes to leading audiences, a team, and even your family, you want to do it well. And on this episode of the podcast, we’re speaking with a leader of leaders, if you’d like to call him that. His name is Dave Stachowiak, and he’s the host of the podcast Coaching for Leaders. We’re going to talk about leadership, of course, but also some B2B marketing strategies. Dave has a lot to share, so sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Today’s Guest

Dave Stachowiak

Dave Stachowiak (sta-hoe-vee-aak) is the host of Coaching for Leaders, a podcast that’s been downloaded over 12 million times and currently ranked by Apple as a top management show. His podcast is the #1 search result for “coaching” on Apple Podcasts in the United States.

Dave helps leaders discover wisdom through insightful conversations. He’s also the founder of the Coaching for Leaders Academy, a yearlong leadership development cohort. The Academy is an intimate group of managers, executives, and business owners who work personally with Dave to develop their leadership excellence—and create movement through global relationship building.

Website: Coaching for Leaders
Twitter: @davestachowiak
LinkedIn: davestachowiak

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 436: How to Become a Valuable Leader with Dave Stachowiak

Pat Flynn:
How do you become the most valuable leader? Leadership is a very, very big and deep topic. And when it comes to leading audiences, to leading a team, to leading perhaps your family and other loved ones and friends around you, becoming a great leader is extremely important. And today we’re speaking with a leader of leaders, if you’d like to call him that. His name is Dave Stachowiak. You can find him in his podcast, Coaching for Leaders. And in this conversation, we’re going to have some really important in-depth conversations about creating margin, as a leader how to lead your team through example, mistakes that a lot of people who lead teams make. In addition to that, we’re going to talk about some unique things, because Dave has a specialty related to B2B selling, which is business to business.

Pat:
Oftentimes we bring entrepreneurs on and business leaders on here on the show to talk about B2C, more the personal brands and those who are teaching us individuals how to sell to other individuals. Well, we can also sell to businesses. And there’s some special approaches that you might need to take, special considerations when doing so. So I’m really excited for this episode. This is going to be an in-depth and quality episode that’s going to help you become a better leader. I look forward to hearing what you think, but for now, let’s get into the intro. Here we go. Welcome again.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, his favorite YouTube videos are about Back to the Future and video game history, Pat Flynn.

Pat:
What’s up everybody? Welcome to session 436 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. We are at the time of this recording coming out, closing in on September. It’s just been an incredibly interesting year, as we all know. And currently we are about a week and a half away from, my wife and I, our kids going back to school. And we’ve had to make decisions in terms of virtual schooling versus in person. And currently, no matter which choice people take, at least in the county that we’re in, it’s going to start off virtual. And we just wanted to wish all the other parents out there just the best of luck with everything. Stay safe. We are in this with you, and we know how difficult your decisions are, and we support you with whatever you feel is best for your child. Thank you so much for the kind words coming back our way that we’ve been receiving as well.

Pat:
Today, again, we’re speaking with Dave Stachowiak from Coaching for Leaders. You can find him at coachingforleaders.com, or of course the podcast app that you’re on right now. You should subscribe and listen to him. He’s been podcasting since I believe 2011, which is pretty amazing. And he’s done extremely well in the podcasting space. And like I said, we’re going to talk about leadership, of course, but also some B2B marketing strategies. And he’s got a lot to share. So let’s sit back, relax and enjoy, Dave Stachowiak. Dave, welcome to the SPI Podcast. Thanks so much for being here today.

Dave Stachowiak:
Pat, it is great to talk to you again. Thanks for the invitation.

Pat:
Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve chatted offline a little bit here and there, just getting to know each other. And I wanted to invite you on because you have some unique superpowers in the space of business. However, before we get into that, I’d love to know your origin story a little bit. How did you get started? And in fact, what is it that you do? What is your specialty here?

Dave:
Well, my work is helping leaders to get better through great conversations, but the story goes back about 15 years. I started working with the Dale Carnegie Training organization coming out of my master’s program, and did fun, incredible work helping organizations and individuals get better at presentations, communication skills, did all kinds of corporate training for many years, and had a fabulous career with Carnegie in doing that. And at some point I came to the realization that not only was I probably not going to be able to do that for the longterm, because we were starting a young family, and that kind of travel I was doing and being on the road a lot and teaching late at night wasn’t going to work out for that great longterm. But also the economy was changing, our customer base was changing. We had a lot of things tied up in one particular industry, and I didn’t have the feel that would probably last for my entire career. And I didn’t think I wanted to do that for my entire career anyways. So I was looking for the next thing and doing some thinking about that.

Pat:
That’s really cool. I have to give credit to Carnegie as well for his book, Stand and Deliver, which was a truly blessing to discover when I first started speaking. And I just started to dive into a lot of Carnegie stuff, his stuff is amazing. What was the biggest takeaway from your time with Carnegie into what it is that you do now?

Dave:
Pat, I made so many mistakes early on in my career, and I wish I’d had Carnegie’s training well in advance of so many of the mistakes that I made. But probably the biggest thing I took from Carnegie is the principle from How to Win Friends and Influence People, which is try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. And if you are, we all know that if we’re asked, but to actually do that in our behavior, to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, to understand where the customer is likely coming from, where the friend is coming from, where our spouse is coming from, is huge. And having had Carnegie encourage me, and in some ways, really forced me to make that a practice because of my work was a blessing in so many ways to me in my career and in my personal life.

Pat:
How do you begin to understand what a person is really feeling on the other end? Obviously a very important aspect of business, and I talk about it every now and then in my book, Superfans. But I remember reading a book by Chip and Dan Heath called Made to Stick. And there’s this concept inside that book called the curse of knowledge, if you know a topic it’s hard to remember what it’s like not to know about that topic. And so putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is a lot easier said than done. Do you have any special tricks or tactics for being able to do that?

Dave:
I think it comes back to what Michael Bungay Stanier teaches. You’ve had him on your show before too in The Coaching Habit, of asking questions and being curious a few minutes more. The challenge for a lot of us who are in this space and are smart people and have had a lot of success in our lives and in our education, is we feel like we’re pretty smart. And we have, I know I fell into this a ton, especially when it came to Carnegie, I felt like I had my master’s degree, I’d had good grades in school, I’d had pretty good career success up to that point. And I felt like I knew a lot.

Dave:
And if you had asked me if I could learn more, I would have said, “Sure.” But the reality is that I was coming to the conversation most of the time with like, “Here’s what I could teach others.” And what Carnegie forced me to do was to ask questions, to hear people’s stories, because so much of the experience of taking a Carnegie course is about hearing stories of others. You talk very little, you listen a lot. And after years and years of doing that, I finally started to break some of my bad habits and stopping, listening, not making assumptions. And I think that for me has been the entry point of being able to do a better job of putting myself in the other person’s shoes.

Pat:
We often fall into what Michael says in his book, The Coaching Habit, which by the way was my book of the year in 2017, and continues to be one of the top recommended books that I offer for people, is falling into that advice trap, right? We often when somebody comes to us for help, and of course all of us entrepreneurs we want to help product creators, digital, physical, we want to help people but we often default to: “Well, here’s what I think we should do, or here’s here’s in my experience what the solution is.” And if you’ve been in any sort of relationship, not just business, but marriage as well, that often is not the best approach. Listening, like you said, and empathizing and the stories behind it, and just getting a perspective from the other person is absolutely key. So thank you for having us learn about that up front. And that’s just always a great reminder. So when people come to you now, Dave, asking what is it that you do, what do you do?

Dave:
I help leaders to get better through conversations.

Pat:
How do you do that?

Dave:
Well, I think that the curse, and this actually relates to something we were just talking about, is that a lot of times we confuse knowledge acquisition with learning. We assume that if we’ve had success or that we’ve read enough books, or that we’ve listened to enough podcasts, that, that is sufficient for us to get better. And I think a lot of us have been trained that way. I know I was trained that way. It was the assumption that we’d get A’s in school and a B plus once in a while was fine, but the exception. And it’s fun to learn and to get access to new books. But when you look at the people out there in the kinds of professions where the stakes are really high, for example, being a physician, being an airline pilot, being a nurse, those are places where a lot of work is done outside of what I would call direct instruction of just learning. It’s the process of getting feedback, of getting coaching and mentoring, of going through simulation.

Dave:
Nurses go through preceptor work, doctors go through residency. Anything that requires a real big change in behavior to execute well, even driver’s education, for example. All of us who’ve learned how to drive a car, it’s not enough just to pass the written exam, you have to go through the process of actually getting coaching and working with someone to get better at that. And we’re pretty good at that as a society when the stakes are super high in those professions. What we’re not as good at, I think, is in businesses and organizations, of taking the knowledge and then adding in coaching and mentoring and experiential learning that actually leads to a behavior change.

Dave:
And that’s the curse I think of being a high performer, of being someone who’s acquired a lot of knowledge, is that we’ve convinced ourselves that we like learning, and we think about that as learning. But in reality, real learning is super hard. When you start off learning something for the first time, I think the best most of us can hope for is to be mediocre at it. And that is uncomfortable, it’s difficult. I do not like learning at all. It’s really a hard place to be. And so I’ve found myself getting out of the habit of saying that I like learning. That’s what I used to say 15, 20 years ago. But now when it’s behavior change, that’s where other people being there to support me, and now me being there to support others has been a huge help.

Pat:
So how have you rephrased “I like learning”? What has that turned into?

Dave:
Learning is not repeating mistakes. So for me, learning is now about behavior change. And the way I think about learning today is I think about it in three different buckets, if you will. One of my professors at Pepperdine, where I did my grad school work, his name is Mark Allen. He’s an expert in corporate learning and helping organizations to put together great corporate universities. And one of the models that Mark uses is, when we are trying to effect a behavior change that’s a positive, about 10 percent of our work should be on what he would call classroom or direct instruction.

Dave:
And that is reading. It’s taking a class; it’s listening to a podcast, all of that is really important, but it’s only about 10 percent of the work that’s there to be done. He says 70 percent of our time should be an experiential learning. So that’s actually going out into the workplace, into client situations, and applying what it is you’re learning and getting real time feedback. And then the remaining 20 percent of the time is on coaching and mentoring. So that direct instruction piece, that 10 percent, the knowledge is really important, but it is the starting point to the behavior change, it’s not the ending point to behavior change.

Pat:
I like that. And it also makes me feel like that when you think about school and how we learn in school, traditionally, it’s heavily weighted on the side of what it is you’re consuming and not necessarily the experience, and definitely less even more so from the mentorship standpoint. And I know there’s a lot of organizations and a lot of people, myself included, who are trying to make changes in there. So it is flipped to the percentages that you shared a little bit just a second ago. That’s really cool. And literally I could just dive into learning and the importance of… and the mechanisms for doing that. And especially as a leader, and for those who you teach and coach obviously massively benefiting from this sort of framework and the ability for you to help them.

Pat:
I definitely want to dive into, however, especially for everybody listening in today, the way that you approach your business, in terms of having it be B2B. We don’t have and never really talked about the B2B approach. And for those of you who wonder what I’m talking about: there’s B2C, business to customer. And there’s B2B, you as a business helping another business. That’s out of my realm of knowledge. It’s not anything I haven’t expertise on. And we’ve had other people on the show also talk about, well, it’s not even any of that, it’s not B2B, B2C, but it’s P2P, person to person. Which is why I’m sure that part of your B2B business building relationships is the relationship aspect of it and how important that is to the growth of your business.

Pat:
But can you help us get us to wrap our heads around how might a business that helps another business, whether it’s a software or a physical product, or what have you, it’s just a completely different world, I would imagine a different approach. Who do you even speak to? How do you even serve that business versus serving an individual who you can have a conversation with? That’s where my role is. And how do you begin to serve the world of other businesses out there? Any experience or advice to share with us?

Dave:
Well, I think you said it in the question, which is, it’s about the person and it’s about the relationship. And so most of the people work who with us in our leadership academy are funded by their organizations who are investing in them to get better at this behavior change. And yet the relationship starts with the person. So in our case, it’s folks listening to the podcast, be building a relationship through that, engaging with me in some meaningful way. And that often is the entry point for them to then look at, “Okay, how could what we do serve our organization?”

Dave:
I think the difference that I’m doing that is probably different a bit than a lot of the folks I see in the online space is, I’m going on the intention, the assumption and the recommendation to the people who engage with us, that their organizations are the ones that are helping fund and support., and in many cases entirely support their participation in what they’re doing—because the results that they’re going to get from changing their behavior in leadership are results that the organization is going to benefit from just as much as they will personally. In my mind it’s not an either or, it’s an and. It’s a how can I help this person to experience great behavior change in the direction they want to go, and then come back and help support the organization in some pretty substantial ways that makes that investment obvious and apparent for the organization?

Pat:
Are you targeting the person who would then take this program or mentorship from you and go to their higher ups and go, “This is why I need this and how it can help the organization,” or are you targeting the leaders of the organization to go, “Oh, Dave can help a lot of my employees get better,” or is it both?

Dave:
Kind of both but sort of neither also. So when the person comes and engages with our community in the podcast and says, “Oh my gosh, this would be…” Excuse me, a second, I have to cough. When the person engages with us, who wants to drive their behavior change, they’re coming to us and they’re applying for the program. And then what we do is to help that person to make the case within their organization, for what’s the steps they need to do in order to seek support from the organization. It’s helpful that a lot of organizations, especially the larger ones, typically have some kind of expectation and program for employees and leaders especially, to get professional development. That’s a common practice in most organizations. And some organizations even go as far as to say, “If it’s up to a certain dollar amount, you don’t even necessarily need to go through a fancy approval process, as long as it’s a legitimate program you’re good.”

Dave:
And what we do and what I do on my end, is try to make that as easy as possible for the people who are engaging. So I’m going on the assumption that they’re going to then go somewhere in their organization and say, “Hey, this is a program that’s going to be valuable to me.” So I make that as easy as possible for them. Going back to Dale Carnegie’s, try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. I want to help support them with that request in the best way possible. So we’ve done an audio podcast on how to ask for professional support from your organization. And whenever someone applies for one of our programs, I send that to them and say, “Hey this will help you in any request you’re ever going to make for your professional development support. And it’s also going to specifically help you for the request for this program.”

Dave:
So we teach them how to do that. And then we’ve prepared essentially an eight-page PDF explaining to their organization what the program is. And this is where having worked for Carnegie over all these years was helpful. Is I have a sense of what a HR organization or someone who’s going to be approving a training request is looking for as far as, how does that document get structured for curriculum overview, learning outcomes? So I’m thinking about it through the language of someone who’s going to be reviewing a program request. And that document is then created to support them in then being able to make that request and to be able to do that successfully.

Dave:
And when I started Pat, I kind of thought, “Well, I don’t know if those two things are going to be sufficient for people?” Just having the audio and having the PDF. And what I have discovered is that’s way more than anyone else does. Is providing just those two things, people come back to me all the time and say, “Wow, that 25 minutes of audio, that was super helpful in positioning this request. It’s also going to be helpful for me in asking for other things from the organization.” And “this PDF was huge on scene in writing what the organization is going to benefit from.” And I think most organizations don’t think to do that, because I haven’t run into a lot of other ones. And that’s been really helpful for people to be able to engage with us.

Pat:
It’s making me think about my architecture website—after I got laid off in 2008, that was actually helping other businesses, but I didn’t quite tie those things together. And in fact, I’m reminded of a number of people who emailed me after they purchased my study guide. It was a $29 study guide. Who said, “Hey, I need the receipt for it so I can get reimbursed by my company.” Right? And so I’m like, “Oh, if I had known these strategies, perhaps I could have opened up a completely different set of people who would then realize that, hey, they actually don’t have to pay for this themselves. I could help equip them with tools and messaging to go to their higher ups. To go, “This is why I need Pat’s study guide” And I didn’t do that. So this is really cool. Is that the podcast episode you were talking about it? I would imagine that would be very useful for all of us to listen to. Is that a public podcast episode that we could listen to? And if so, where might we find it?

Dave:
It will be now after this conversation. So I’ll make it available to you and get a link out.

Pat:
Sorry to put you on the spot there.

Dave:
No, I’m glad to do it. This actually goes back to another key point of just how we structure the business—virtually everything I do that is content, that is something that can be scalable really easily, is free in our business. And to the point that I don’t even on our podcast run sponsorships. By the way, I’m not saying that everyone should go down that route, but I really don’t see content as our business. I see content as the starting point for the relationship. For me the business part is the relationships, the behavior change, the real change and movement that people make, the personal connections. That’s where the business is. So I’m glad to make it available.

Dave:
And I think it would be a wonderful tool for many who are thinking about doing this. Because if you make it easy for people to engage with you, then you are making the process go so much faster for them. And to the point you just said, I actually don’t want people to pay for our program personally. We do have members in our academy who pay for it personally and have made that choice for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they don’t want the organization to pay for it for whatever reason, but those folks are in the minority. I want the organization to support them because that’s where the focus of the development is, that’s where the focus of the leadership is. Anything I can do to help people get there, that’s huge.

Pat:
This might be a big ask, but if you were to take that eight-page PDF file and turn it into one or two sentences that would convince an organizational leader to be open to the idea of getting involved with the program, maybe specific to your business or not. I’m just trying to imagine what language is used for an organizational leader that would convince them, “Yeah, sure. Let’s invest in that.” What is that positioning?

Dave:
Well, I don’t think that it’s just a sentence or two for the document itself. So let me say more about that in a moment.

Pat:
I’m just trying to boil down, “Okay. Well, what’s the big thing that’s unlocking for them to realize that this is worth investing in?”

Dave:
Yeah. Big picture is the thing that I’m always telling leaders as well too is: What are the results your boss is being measured for? And how is what you’re about to ask for, pitch, request, make a proposal for in anything, not just professional development, tie into those numbers? If you have a clear answer on what your boss is being measured on in your organization for results, then the context of the conversation and the request matches up with that. If you don’t know the answer to that question, then the first step is to figure that out, and find out how your boss is being measured for the results. So you can begin to make requests in context of the things that are going to support the organization.

Pat:
Perfect. That was the answer I was hoping for. So thank you so much for that. I would imagine, correct me if I’m wrong, but when you have a business that serves another business in this sort of fashion, that—maybe this is just a general statement, or maybe even a stereotype, I don’t know, but I’m imagining that—you can charge a premium price versus going directly to the customer. Because of the organization being able to pay for that. Because like you said, there is often a budget for something like that. Is that true?

Dave:
It’s been true in our case. And I think most people would say that’s true if they’re going the business to business route. We have priced our program to be in alignment with what organizations would be paying for professional development. So I think that’s a real advantage of positioning a product or service for an organization rather than just positioning a product or service for an individual that may be doing something as a side project or as a hobby or something like that. So I’ve certainly found it to be an advantage. And at the same time, because of the nature of the way we do it, it’s still very much working with that individual and serving that individual with the expectation that then they’re going to be engaging on their end to help the organization to see the results of what they’ve done.

Pat:
Right. It’s almost making me think of Donald Miller’s StoryBrand model, where he’s very open in the public and he’s got these books and a lot of individual people are interested in the StoryBrand structure. But he’s obviously targeting, as well, larger businesses, larger corporations and injecting StoryBrand into theirs, and charging a massive premium for that as well, versus what you could potentially charge an individual or a blogger or a YouTuber for similar type of advice. That’s really interesting. How do you begin to even understand what the price point is? Or can you give us a “ballpark” of what professional development budgets are like from corporations? And obviously it depends on what niche you’re in and what market you’re getting into, but just to give us some perspective would be interesting.

Dave:
Yeah, I’d be happy to. So first of all, pricing is really hard. Someone who feels like they’ve got pricing totally figured out, and I don’t either. But I do try to start from context. And one of the things that is on our academy page when people apply is setting some context. The average MBA in the United States is $45,000 a year. The Harvard Business review says that the average amount for executive coaching, if you break it down per hour, is $500 per hour. So many organizations are supporting employees to get graduate programs, to get MBAs, and are spending $10,000 to $20,000 a year in tuition reimbursement, or at least some portion of that. So our academy right now is $5,000 per year.

Dave:
In the context of that investment, that seems like a pretty small amount. And I think it is way better from a value standpoint, because we’re doing a ton on behavior change. We’re not just doing content, and we’re not just doing case studies. In fact, we don’t do any case studies because it’s all about real life situations that our members are dealing with. And so it’s context of that. And then looking at things like how much do organizations invest in an individual to go attend a conference? So if you go to a conference, even just once a year, you fly across the country, hotel costs, room, conference fees, that adds up in many situations to $2,000 or $3,000 right there. Or oftentimes a day or two or three experience, which by the way is great to do. I do that.

Dave:
Many people professionals do that, and will hopefully continue to do that as this COVID situation passes us by. But in the context of what organizations are already spending, and that may change in the context of everything going on in the world, it’s not really that much different. And it’s the way I position the values it’s a lot about behavior change, and it’s an entire year of working with people and helping them to support you on making behavior change. And so I think that’s a pretty…I don’t think it’s an easy sell by any means, and I don’t think it ever should be, but I think that in context of what folks are already spending money on in organizations, it looks really good when you put the two next to each other.

Pat:
I love that. Thank you for that perspective on B2B. I think that’s just a really interesting topic that we really haven’t dove into. And hopefully that gives people some inspiration on what else we can do. Hold on a second. I’m hearing like a garbage truck outside my… Is that what that is?

Dave:
As a matter of fact it does. But yeah, I think it might be.

Pat:
Sorry about that, it almost sounded very Star Warzy for a second. And I was like, “Star Wars, maybe.”

Dave:
Sorry. I coughed a minute ago too. You guys edit out, I assume, stuff like that?

Pat:
Sometimes, but sometimes we don’t. We like to keep it real. We like to keep it real life here on SPI. You had mentioned something offline once about the curse of being a high performer. And I want to unpack that a little bit, because I think a lot of us who are listening are high performers or striving to be high performers. And I think a little bit of knowledge from your perspective about what should we look out for and how could we avoid these mistakes as high performers. And because you’re working with high performers all the time, I’d love to tap your brain a little bit into what we have to look out for there.

Dave:
Yeah. I think the best way I can illustrate that is with an example. So let’s go back to The Coaching Habit from Michael Bungay Stanier. A lot of folks in our audience have read it. He’s been on the show a bunch of times. Folks come into our academy often and they say, “Hey, I want to be more coach like. I want to be that leader that comes in and doesn’t just ask one question and then start sharing all my knowledge. I want to be the person that really asks the second or third question, and is curious and is really understanding what’s going on with people.” And so the tendency is for someone to show up and we ask them to make a 90-day commitment to make a behavior change. And often they’ll come to the conversation and say, “Okay. My 90-day commitment is that I’m going to, in every interaction I have with every employee each day, I’m going to ask a second or third question. I’m not just going to ask the first question.”

Dave:
And that is the mindset that a high achieving person tends to take, is I’m going to try to do that in every single interaction. And when I see people try to do that, I almost always find that they end up failing pretty quickly because the bar they have set for themselves is: I’m going to hit this 95 or a hundred percent of the time in every single meeting. So I’ve learned to, when I hear people going down that route is say, “Hey, I love what you have here as far as wanting to affect behavior change. Rather than trying to do this in every single meeting today, would you be open to this being a five-minute daily commitment of one time a day being intentional about asking a second or third question?” And then the rest of the meetings, if you do it great, if you don’t, no big deal, but just once a day being intentional about that.

Dave:
And one of our academy members who’s been on the show before and told the story, Steve Schrader, was really intentional about doing this. He took that challenge and said, “All right, I’ll do it once a day.” And what he started to do is just look for that opportunity once a day to clear that bar. And what’s great about doing it that way is you get to the end of the day. And it’s pretty easy to find one time to do something. And as soon as you clear that bar, you feel success. You’re like, “Okay, good. I did it. Tomorrow, same thing, five minutes.” One time I did that same thing the next day, and you get to the point where it starts to become a bit of a habit. And then that’s when you raise the bar a little bit higher.

Dave:
Where high achievers run into trouble is they try to do it in every situation all the time. And of course, maybe they go a day or two or three, but at some point it doesn’t happen in a meeting. They are like, “Oh, I blew it today. And tomorrow I’m going to try better. And I blew it tomorrow.” And then that’s where behavior change doesn’t happen. And that’s where the people, the relationship piece becomes really big of us working together and encouraging each other, and stepping in and not trying to have people take on too much. The biggest single thing I’m coaching people on is asking them to do less. That’s really, I think the secret of what Dale Carnegie did in his programs. It’s the secret of behavior change. It’s finding one thing to do five minutes a day to make change on rather than trying to change everything.

Pat:
So you’re setting the bar lower, which is interesting because we often as high performers want to set the bar really high. But I like that idea. It reminds me of a lot of people I know who want to start working out, right? We get a little bit of a gut, we’re like, “Okay, we’ve got to start working out. So here’s the plan. I’m going to spend two hours at the gym every single day, and I’m never going to eat carbs again. And they just go all out because “I’m committed, right? I’m going to go all out.” However, that often leads to breaking that new habit quite quickly and going back to the old one, right? And especially when you try to do it every day for two hours, you might only get an hour and a half. And even though you’re making progress, mentally, you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t make it today.”

Pat:
And it can be very difficult. Same thing with the diet. A lot of times people go to a rather strong stringent diet plan. And because we’re cold-turkey-everything-that-we-love, sometimes the better route is, “Well, let’s just cut out sugars to start and keep everything else the same. So we’re not going all in.” It sort of reminds me of that. James Clear who is the author of Atomic Habits has come on to talk about similar things as well. And I love how you’re thinking about that in terms of behavior change for a leader. And I love that specific example, how might we ask better follow up questions first before giving advice. Let’s just try that once a day. And I think that small little change, that’s how you create behavior change. I think that’s really smart. What other behavior changes are important for leaders like us to establish? And what are the mechanisms by which we can make that change?

Dave:
Consistent movement. And I love what you said about exercise and diet, because we all sort of, even if we don’t practice that we inherently know that needs to be small actions versus trying to do something all in one day, and then, it’s the consistency behind that. So part of this is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable a bit and doing something consistently. So, one of the things that I’m sure people are tired of me saying in our academy is, I want people to really focus on movement. That’s the biggest word that it comes down to, because if you’re moving, you are responsive to serving people. You find out things quickly; you make mistakes. And when you get started on something and you have this commitment to taking on a new identity, like James Clear says of, “Hey, I’m going to decide to become this person that I’m going to take small actions to get there,” you do a lot better.

Dave:
So here’s an example of that. We had an executive director of a nonprofit part of our academy last year. And one of the things that she was finding in her organization is that the people, her executive team were doing a great job, but she found that they weren’t really communicating well within the organization. There were things that one person was doing the other person didn’t know about. So there was some siloing within the organization going on. And she decided around movement, the biggest thing that I can begin to do five minutes a day was just to sit down and have more one-on-one conversations with her executive team. And so she started to do that, and she did that for a few weeks. And as she started to have those conversations, the thing that she realized is the people on my executive team, they don’t know what’s going on with the other executives.

Dave:
They don’t know what the strategies are. They don’t know what’s going on in project management. They don’t know what people are focused on. And she pretty quickly, she actually got disillusioned at the beginning, because she all of a sudden was seeing all these additional problems, and she didn’t see a path forward on how to make it better. So in fact, the movement she had created made the situation a bit worse for her, because not only was she still having the same problem, but she was seeing all these problems she didn’t see before. So she came back to us and we talked about it, and the suggestion was made to her. “Okay. Well, now that you see these things, rather than you doing the one-on-ones, what if you start creating interactions between executives on the team?” And so she went through this whole process of starting to do what a lot of us would call team building, but getting people together for interactions, making sure that there were some cross-functional meetings, getting executives working together on projects.

Dave:
And that made all the difference over time. All of a sudden people were aware of what other projects folks were working on. They were starting to collaborate. They’re still going down that path, of course, of getting better at that. But the thing is, she would never have gotten to that point if she hadn’t first started off by just doing something. And I think the fear a lot of us have is we’re going to move in the wrong direction when we start something. And so we’re afraid to start. And I think the challenge for us is to, and the place to be courageous is to just move. And if you move in the wrong direction, that’s okay. Because you find out some stuff you didn’t know before, and maybe you learn to apologize and you get some feedback that you wouldn’t have received. And then you have a chance to pivot really quickly. And if you stay in the same place, you don’t have that opportunity. So movement is a big thing that comes up in our work.

Pat:
Thank you for that. And the final question I want to ask you relates to what you just mentioned related to pivoting, right? I think a great business leader will move like you said, and start to understand things. And perhaps we might find that we’re moving in the wrong direction, but it can often be very challenging to make a pivot, right? We have the same goal, but we need to move into a different direction. And it can sometimes be deflating to know that perhaps your initial business plan or the roadmap that you had set out for yourself isn’t quite the way that it’s going to work out. And then you aren’t really quite sure what to do next. What would be the advice for you for any leaders out there who are struggling with any new directions they might have to take after an initial plan perhaps didn’t work out the way they thought it would?

Dave:
Well, I think it was a Dwight Eisenhower that said plans are indispensable. How did he say it? Planning is indispensable but plans are worthless, or some version of that. Planning is really valuable but then as soon as you start executing on the plan, it’s going to change. So for me, it really comes down to: how do we are willing to just try something little, and to move? And if we’re willing to try something small and test something out, then it’s not a big deal if we screw it up or fail at it. I think one of the best examples I have in my own life, Pat, is just my own experience with starting the Coaching for Leaders business. I only had an hour or two a day or a week rather when this started, to invest in building the podcast and the business. And since I only had that amount of time, I could only make small moves. There was only tiny things I could do.

Dave:
And so I just started doing that and doing it consistently. And because of that, that then led me to create the margin to do more longterm. And so the invitation I’d make to folks is, don’t wait for the budget, don’t wait for the time when all the resources are there. First of all, that almost never happens. It’s certainly not going to happen now in this environment. But start. If you start finding one thing, if you take on one identity like James Clear says, if you move in one direction that you’re going to know more next week than you do today. And that’s a great place to be for leadership, it’s a great place to be for success. And it’s a wonderful place to be as a human being.

Pat:
Wow. Super powerful, Dave. Thank you so much. Everybody go check out Coaching for Leaders Podcast on your favorite podcast app. You can find his podcast there approaching a thousand ratings Dave. That’s wonderful job. How long have you been podcasting for?

Dave:
2011 we started, and yeah, it’s been quite a journey since then.

Pat:
Yeah. You and I are both sort of early adopters. And now we just recently crossed a million podcasts out there in the world right now, which is really cool. It’s so fun to see that world grow. Dave Stachowiak, definitely check him out, Coaching for Leaders Podcast. Where else can people go to find out more info and perhaps get that podcast episode that we talked about earlier and other great things that you have to offer?

Dave:
I’ll get the link to you Pat so it can go in your episode notes, and everything else is at coachingforleaders.com. That’s the best place for it.

Pat:
All right. Thanks so much, Dave. Appreciate it. All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Dave. Again, you can find him at coachingforleaders.com. Incredible resource for those of us who are looking to lead and discover practical wisdom, meaningful relationships, and developing longterm success in our business with genuine results. And I love that about Dave, that you can just feel in his voice that he really cares about his clients and us too, which is really fantastic. And he’s been a great friend of the show for quite a while now. So again, you can find him Coaching for Leaders. We also mentioned some resources as well that will be available on the show notes page, which you can check out at smartpassiveincome.com/session436. One more time, smartpassiveincome.com/session436. Go there, there’ll be some downloads and things to discover, and we’ll point you in the right direction there too.

Pat:
Anyway, take care. You’re amazing. I love you. Thank you. I know it’s crazy times this year, but hopefully you feel supported here in the group. If you haven’t yet discovered Smart Passive Income Pro or SPI Pro, we have a thriving community, which you can find, in fact apply for at smartpassiveincome.com/pro, if you want to become a part of the conversation and join this amazing community of supportive entrepreneurs who have gotten started. If you’re just starting out, this is not the membership community for you. You will work your way up to that. However, you can still apply and we’ll give you some resources, even if you get denied. However, we’d love for you to apply. And if you do qualify, we’d love to personally invite you in and have you be a part of the conversation and the challenges, and the events that we have every single month.

Pat:
The Ask Me Anythings with myself and other team members and other guests that come on, our book club, where we actually read and discuss the book together. So many of the great things in there. smartpassiveincome.com/pro is where I’d love for you to go. And finally, one more time, the show notes so that you can get access to the links and everything we mentioned here today. Smartpassiveincome.com/session436. Thank you so much. I appreciate you for listening today. Make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already. Thank you in advance to those of you who leave reviews, those are always appreciated. And as always, #TeamFlynn for the win. Peace.

Announcer:
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at www.smartpassiveincome.com.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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