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Men Made For More Podcast Episode 155: From Suck to Success - Leadership Lessons For Life and Business with Todd Palmer

guestepisode Jun 24, 2021

Why do some leaders fear failure and other leaders embrace it? What keeps so many business owners stuck while others more quickly pivot? How do you build a team and a culture that aligns with your company values? Listen to the lessons learned from someone who took a company from $600,000 of debt to a 6x INC Fortune 5000 fastest growing company. If you’re feeling stuck - it’s time to get out of your own way and learn a new way of leading yourself and those around you.  

Enjoy the conversation? Connect with Todd via email at [email protected] or check out his book at https://www.fromsucktosuccess.com/

 

 

Men Made For More Podcast Episode 155 From Suck to Success - Leadership Lessons For Life and Business - Todd Palmer

[00:00:00] Dave: Hey there, mighty man. I'm your host, Dr. Dave Paczkowski founder of Men Made for more coaching, our business helps husbands love up there. Their leadership and their legacy in marriage and in business. The purpose of this podcast is to bring together like-minded men that feel destined for big things in their life and provide you the resources and community that you need to lead yourself, your family and your business.

[00:00:27] If you've ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated, lost quite alone on your journey to a better and more purposeful life. You're in the right. You weren't designed to be average. So it's time to quit living that way today. I'm giving you permission to unlock your true potential and step into all that you were made for.

[00:00:45]All right, guys. Welcome to today's guest episode of the man-made for more podcasts, join with Todd Palmer today, and I'm really excited for this one. He just wrote a book that came out earlier this year from suck to success and, uh, among many other things, though, Todd's an [00:01:00] executive coach keynote speaker renowned thought leader, author and CEO.

[00:01:03] Who's committed to helping business owners tackle their obstacles and clear their path to success. And as an entrepreneur, an active CEO, Todd knows the struggles business owners face regarding people, cash strategy and execution. He took his company from being $600,000 in debt, hard to believe to making the Inc 5,000 as one of America's fastest growing companies, six times two, with that, he specializes in helping leaders join the.

[00:01:28] Mission statement of the organization with their personal core values while addressing fears, self doubts and imposter syndrome, he brings a unique blend of authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability to help leaders and organizations achieve their highest goals. And he's here today to share his story, what he's learned along the way, and its proven framework for helping business owners achieve success.

[00:01:47] All good stuff is going to be so relevant for the people listening here. So Todd, thanks so much for coming up.

[00:01:52] Todd: [00:01:52] Oh, Dave, it's my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me. I'm really happy to be. 

[00:01:55] Dave: [00:01:55] Yeah. So of all those things, I mean, I'm reading, I'm reading through the intro and it's like, I mean, [00:02:00] the, the dad and taking it to Inc 5,000 and just all the other things were blended in core values and those things. Uh, what kind of, what kind of led you on this, on this journey to begin with? Maybe let's rewind a little further back to what got you.

[00:02:11] Going on this, on this track.

[00:02:12] Todd: [00:02:12] Well, I decided to be an entrepreneur because I was pretty much a terrible employee. Uh, it wasn't something I was very good at. Uh, I started my company for literally next to nothing like $15,000 and 10 years into my journey. You know, I had some good years and some bad years and, you know, I thought everything I was reading in the literature at the time said, oh, you know, once you get past that, five-year mark, it's easy sailing.

[00:02:33] You get, you're going to crush this. And I hit that 10 year mark and I was in really bad shape. Uh, my imposter syndrome, which for me is kind of my itty bitty shitty committee in my head telling me how much I suck, how I don't know everything. And I have to be all things to all people and I'm not. And other people, those things that I don't, and there's all the different Mo you know, the, the, the mind noise we have, um, Really putting you in a spot where, you know, the business was, as you said, was [00:03:00] $600,000 in debt on a $2 million run rate, which if the math is really simple, I was upside down and I didn't even know it.

[00:03:06] I didn't know it because I kept lying to myself. I'll figure the finances out. I'll figure it out. I'll sell my way out of it. And none of that worked, none of it worked and the bank called they wanted their money. They said they didn't have it. They said, okay, we're gonna, we're gonna take the business.

[00:03:19] We're gonna shut you down. And at that point I really got, I. Decided I've got to put my fears and self-doubts aside and I got to get some help. It was the first time in my career. I'd asked you actually asked for help. And I hired a coach. The coach came in, we took a look at the business. We took a look at the finances.

[00:03:34] We took a look at the things we were doing poorly. It changed a lot of what we did is we talk, as I talked about in the, in the book we, we put in the active learning cycle on hot. But do problem solving in a way that created an inner learning platform versus a winner, loose, fail, you know, succeed or fail mindset.

[00:03:51] And over my 2013, we got all $600,000 paid. Uh, the bank was by hook or crook and, you know, twisting of arms big, [00:04:00] gimme a new line of credit. You just a couple of months in, they thought they saw that we were changing because really what needed to change was me as the leader, in order to change the business, I had to change myself.

[00:04:08] So that's what I coach people around now is inside out leadership, cleared out that debt. Re retooled. The teams started hiring people for their DNA, not for their resume. And we made the Inc 5,006 times is one of the fastest growing companies in America. And from there, I set the business up to run without me.

[00:04:23] And you know, for the last four years I've been coaching people around, inside, out leadership, helping them get unstuck around their imposter syndrome, helping leaders. Lean into, not away from difficult conversations with people to help leaders figure out what do you, why are you doing what you do? Why did you start this business?

[00:04:39] Sure. We all want to make money. That's important. You got bills to pay, but there's, there's a deeper core purpose of why we do what we do. And since then I've had clients that, you know, w one of my clients are going to be great. Video testimonial, Tom. Like the first year with me, his revenue grew 70%. He was pretty excited about it.

[00:04:55] Then he goes and shares like the big surprise. And my profits grew 500%. A lot of us get [00:05:00] into business thinking. We know certain things, which is true. There's so much we don't know. And That's partially why I wrote the book. And partially why I coach is to help people get what they want, the way they want it.

[00:05:10] So they can create that life by design.

[00:05:12] Dave: [00:05:12] That's also good. And would you say that, I guess what I hear is like, there's, there's those blind spots in business, those things that, like you said, you didn't even know they were there. Was it the coach that originally revealed those things? Or was that through some self-reflection or how'd 

[00:05:24] Todd: [00:05:24] Oh, gosh. Yes, yes, yes. And yes. Uh, the, the, the coach was, was really powerful in that respect. And I give, you know, I've had two coaches him and I've had Greg who started. I started out with, and now Danny, who I currently have it. And I've had a coach in my life since 2006. I believe that I, if I'm willing to coach, I should have a coach.

[00:05:40] I should sharpen my skills and abilities. And, you know, this is, there's an exercise that called the Johari window and the Jerry went to those four quadrants and there's a quadrant in the window where there's the part of me that I know. And the part of me that, you know, then the second part of the quadrant is the part of me that I don't know that, you know, and then the third part is the part that I know that you don't know.

[00:05:59] And the [00:06:00] last part is the part that neither one of us don't well, The value for me and having a coach was he, he was really able to put a spotlight on the parts of the business that I was either kidding myself on that. I thought I knew that I didn't know. I mean, this, this coach ran a $600 million company.

[00:06:12] It's like, there's a lot. You don't know what you're doing here. And like, that was painful. Um, but he, but he helped coach me through it in part of the battle was to recognize that I don't have to know everything. And that the only way I'm going to learn, the only way I'm going to grow as leader is to try different things.

[00:06:26] And if I try something and it doesn't work, it's not a failure forever. It, we tried, it didn't work, but underneath the surface of what maybe didn't work, there's probably a couple of things that did work. And w how do we take those and move those forward? Because it's, it's an iterative learning cycle.

[00:06:40] It's always, it should have inertia behind it, so that we're always trying different things. And, you know, the classic for me is $600,000 in debt. Know that's a pretty big number. And I, if I went into it with a winter lose mindset, you know, an expectation, not an intention who knows if I would've ever gotten out of it, but we tried so many different things over the course of [00:07:00] three to four years, we tried this.

[00:07:01] Some of it worked, some of it, it tried that. Ultimately we came up with a model where we found an increased demand and diminished supply in the human capital space. I noticed staffing business and we were able to find a place where. We were the get paid faster, get paid more and own the marketplace, not from a client perspective, but from a candidate perspective.

[00:07:18] And that was huge in helping us turn that business around. But if you had asked me in 2006, how do I get out of that? I was like, eh, I don't know. 

[00:07:26] Dave: [00:07:26] Yeah. And that's, I agree the power of having coach I've had, I used multiple coaches as well, and it's just like, there's, there's those blind spots that always come up that we can't see. And I wanna know, I wanna hear a little more about that expectation versus intention. What can you, can you maybe elaborate more on that with, so say, get, say, getting out of debt, like what, what would the expectation be versus setting 

[00:07:45] Todd: [00:07:45] Oh, sure. So, so my coach, Danny, his name is Danny free. Then he wrote a great book called, um, living, leading well from within he's literally a neuroscientist. And, um, I've been, he's talking about having coaches in your life. He's been my coach now, God, going on our [00:08:00] eighth year, uh, used Greg for six years prior to that.

[00:08:03] So I'm, I'm all in on the coaching piece and. And because he's a neuroscientist, I'm always asking him questions. Why do I do the dumb things that I do? Why don't we do the crazy, make these crazy decisions, but I've got clients that are doing things that are counterproductive. And when you take a look at specifically, you know, expectations versus intentions, expectations psychologically are win or lose either either happened or it didn't.

[00:08:26] And that lives within the, the amygdala it's at the lowest functioning part of our reptile brain pivot up into intentions. You're actually using the higher cerebral cortex. And in this, that gives you the, the, the, the, the, um, ability to have options, the ability to have creativity around something you have to.

[00:08:44] They like to pivot and try things. So, and the active learning cycle, second stage is intention expectation. You know, we have, we have the first step. What's not working well being $600,000 in debt. I can raise my hand that wasn't working for me or my family. So my intention?

[00:08:57] not my expectations. I've got to find a way [00:09:00] somehow to get out of debt.

[00:09:00] I'd like to get out of debt expectation of these. I've got to get out of debt within two years, doing it this way to these customers in this model that wasn't going to work. Then we create a strategy around the intention was ties into what we want to fix it, isn't working and that we've put massive action and inactivity and get feedback around it.

[00:09:18] And the great thing about the active learning cycle is you can use it at any time and at any part of that process, as you get new information, as you get new pieces of knowledge. So by staying at a higher operating part of our system in our higher cerebral cortex, it literally gives us more options to be able to make better decisions quicker, faster, and easier. 

[00:09:38] Dave: [00:09:38] That's so good. Yeah. I love the intention part of, of not, not being so attached to what has to look this specific way. And I'm sure that's where I've seen myself get stuck in that a lot of times or other, other business owners. I know that, uh, it's, it's a common place to be like, well, but it has to look this certain way and it's like, well, what if it, you know, what if it looks this way, but you've got the same outcome.

[00:09:58] And it's like, there's this [00:10:00] disconnect between. Like being, being too rigid in the, in the process and get in the way the outcome

[00:10:05] Todd: [00:10:05] well, that's a fixed mindset. Uh, the, the, the really the intentional part that sits underneath it is the growth mindset. And, you know, this happened a lot during COVID people had a very fixed, rigid mindset on something that maybe worked for them for decades, two decades, and all of a sudden, boom, their paradigm gets shifted through no fault of their own it, but the, the part of the growth mindset becomes sometimes the frustrations of COVID happened for me, not to me.

[00:10:27] Yeah, for, for my business, for example, I was supposed to be on six different stages in three different countries. That was the model to market. My coaching services was to go speak from stage. Well, boom, by March of 2020, that was gone. That option was no longer available. It wasn't like I didn't book it.

[00:10:41] Wasn't like people didn't want me to come, but the option to speak from Sage was removed again through no fault of anyone. And so I had to figure out why do I ultimately do this? Well, it doesn't years ago, I was blessed to work with Simon Sinek and the work I did with him came up with two words, improve lives.

[00:10:57] I kept telling myself that a fixed mindset, the [00:11:00] only way I can improvise it was to get on stage. Well, the reality became relatively quickly is I can improve lives from anywhere I can show up on a podcast like yours. I can go speak virtually. So I started doing a ton of volunteer work. I spoke with 42 CEOs in 67, 67 days for free.

[00:11:16] I got zero clients from them, but what I did get was a Salesforce to tell their friends, to tell people in their network. And so from COVID, my business has grown 400%. I never would have predicted that I didn't have the expectation that it would. I had the intention of being of service to others because when I'm of service to others and I improve their lives, I get the aha moments, the light bulb experiences, which is why I do what I do.

[00:11:40] Dave: [00:11:40] would you say too many people want results too quickly? And that's why they're not willing to like give enough given after it's like, oh, well, this didn't work in two months. So this business must not work or this, this direction might not work.

[00:11:50] Todd: [00:11:50] Absolutely. You get very fixated on this is the way it should go. Or this is how I read about it in a book to go. Uh, one of the greatest books I read during the COVID times, cause I had plenty of time to sit around [00:12:00] was a book called content, Inc content. It kind of like the Gary V model is to give out a lot of information to give out a lot of yourself and get up, give and give and give and give.

[00:12:08] And I found if I gave him out of expectation, magical things happen and I, I put a message on, uh, on social media that I would talk to CEOs. Someone saw it. They were giving a big speech to a big group of entrepreneurs. Who I met, her name is Deb Gabor. I'd never met Deb. And she messaged me the morning of it through because we're Facebook friends, which means we've never probably met each other.

[00:12:29] And, um, she goes, Hey, by the way, I just wanna let you know, I'm gonna use your content in my speech. I said, well, that's kind of funny because I'm actually going to be in the audience for your speech today. Just, oh my gosh, can I bring you out? And can we talk about it? Like absolutely. From there I made a great friend.

[00:12:42] She actually contributed a chapter of my book. I've gotten clients from it. Because I was putting it out there. I didn't say, well, yeah, if you can use my content, but you got to bring me out on stage or you gotta do this, you gotta do this. Yeah, sure. I mean, I believe in what I was doing for the right reasons.

[00:12:57] So, well, we approach it with it, huge thought process [00:13:00] around the, the ability to have the tension of giving to others, not the expectation that I'm owed anything for me. It's, it's been game changing for my business.

[00:13:10] Dave: [00:13:10] and we've seen the same thing in our businesses and the things that, that the friends I have, the colleagues, I have, the people that I see. Elevate themselves the quickest or not from like pushing other people down and climate at the top, it's there, they're just serving and they're giving and they're giving and it's like, well, how did you get to this point?

[00:13:26] And it's like, I've, I've done thousands of repetitions of just like things for free for, and it's practice. It's, it's learning, it's building trust. It's all those things.

[00:13:34] Todd: [00:13:34] Yeah, David, you know, I love what you just said. If people don't take anything more out of our conversation, that if someone says, well, how long have you been coaching? I've been coaching for, I've been coaching full-time for four years and I have 18 clients. Like this is pretty good. I speak probably two, three times a month.

[00:13:47] Life is pretty good. Looking back. I volunteer coached for 15 years. I worked with entrepreneurs who couldn't afford to pay me. I have people literally for free create million dollar companies, so I could figure out what I did differently than other [00:14:00] coaches. Um, during the COVID times, I really doubled down and gave and gave and gave, and it really polished my skillset.

[00:14:06] And you know, whether you're a musician or an athlete, or is it the more you practice your craft? The more you keep what works and get rid of what does it, you know, I, so my specialty is it's on the cover of the book. You know, it's a lemon, you know, I help people go from such a success. I help them get unstuck around.

[00:14:22] What's holding them back. I have a model and a methodology for doing that. 14 18 24 months ago. I was probably a little more generic in my, not very clear because as you probably know, more than most good branding should bring in your ideal customer and repel your non-ideal ideal customer. So very clear in what I do.

[00:14:38] If someone wants a process like a scaling up or an EOS, I know the processes I've used them in my business. I use them with my clients, but that's not what I do at my Cory. Help people get unstuck. So they can get to where they need to go so they can grow their business, grow their lives life by design.

[00:14:52] If you need a process, let's insert the process. Most people know a process by and large. They're choosing not to do it. We have gym memberships. We choose [00:15:00] not to go. Why is that? And how do we get that behavior pattern to shift? 

[00:15:05] Dave: [00:15:05] W what are some things you find that gets people gets people stuck or maybe a better question would be how do the people that are obviously stuck $600,000 in debt that's stuck, but like how do, how do people identify those when they are in that spot where they don't know they're stuck? Like, what are some things where they.

[00:15:22] There may be lying to themselves. Like you said, where for awhile, you rely on yourself and saying like, Hey, this has gone better than it is. Like what, uh, what are some ways to, uh, I guess, bring that, bring that to light and being like, Hey, maybe I am stuck. Maybe I should consider trying something different and not just banging my head into the wall.

[00:15:37] Todd: [00:15:37] Sure. The one thing I always tell people to do is ask. So as a coach, my job with my clients is to coach them, to coach themselves. And one of the key ways to do that is using the active learning cycle. If you're trying something that's not working, then drop it into the process. Secondarily, you know, ask yourself or find someone to ask you generative questions.

[00:15:56] And a generative question in my experience is really, it's [00:16:00] a really complicated thing. Tell me more. So, so Davey, you, you think the, the greatest business to have is to have a, um, a snow cone machine company in Alaska. Tell me war, why you think that's a really great idea and you talk people through it and talk people through it.

[00:16:15] Ultimately there's, there's usually a kernel of why they want to do it. So let's just say the silicone ideas you want to serve. Great desserts in Anchorage, Alaska. Have you, uh, have you thought about maybe serving smores, they might be a little bit. And so better, even a better example. So at someone I worked with last year, they had a high-end restaurant on the west coast, right, California, a little bit north of you up in the San Francisco bay area.

[00:16:37] And they were, you know, 2000 square feet, high end, right? Average ticket, you know, $600, you know, wine and steak, good stuff. But talking to the CEO, why they get into that space is had nothing to do with food. Had to do with, he wanted to create magical date nights for people. That was what drove him. And he's like, yeah, I'm shut down.

[00:16:56] I don't know what I'm going to do that. I get this rent. I got all these issues. [00:17:00] A couple, a couple sessions later he pivot into cause his goal was not to necessarily build a high-end restaurant. His goal was to have great date nights. We pivoted that into, he started making $60 pizzas. You reduced the staff down to just a few people.

[00:17:16] And from that position, he did $3 million in sales and 12 months on pizza because his marketing is pointless. You're at home. You won't have a great date night with your spouse. And he created these marketing companies. He got fired up about it versus. Well, I don't know what I'm gonna do with this big space.

[00:17:31] Uh, you know, all these ovens got out of his lease. He pivoted, but he anchored it into why he was doing what he did versus how he was delivering that great date night experience. You just pivoted now, maybe not slightly, but 30 degrees the other way. And now he's got a great business because I actually like this more.

[00:17:48] I don't know. I have less staff, less overhead, higher margins, and I'm still doing the great date night. 

[00:17:53] Dave: [00:17:53] Hmm, that's so good. I love that for anyone listening. It's not getting, so we keep talking about the [00:18:00] detachment from, well, this is how it's always looked. I think the pandemic last year exposed, exposed a lot of that people, I had to find different ways to do it, but that's something we should be doing ongoing of, but it's so easy to get into the question for you.

[00:18:13] How do we get like, On a unstuck out of our day-to-day like, we're, we're head down. We're going where, you know, especially to the entrepreneurs out there, the solo preneurs, the people that are just like, I'm already working like 68. What do you mean? Like step back and look at what's working or what's not working, like I'm just trying to pay the bills.

[00:18:27] How do you, how do you recommend someone like step back and get some, some better perspective on their business?

[00:18:32] Todd: [00:18:32] you know, it's a great question. I think it goes back to thinking about why are you doing this? I mean, I think the honest part, I think if we're honest with ourselves, I mean, I should've been more honest with myself, like what I was doing as well. It wasn't, I didn't, I was a building a company. I was building a job because I had a kid to feed.

[00:18:49] I mean, that's what I was doing. I lied to myself is that I'm building a company and the skillsets to build a job, the skill sets to build a company for me, weren't necessarily identical. I had to learn a new set of skillsets, um, [00:19:00] at the end of the day, though, if you're putting in 60 hours a week and you're not making the kind of income you'd like to make. Slow down and maybe peel back and see, what, what are you doing? That's working. What are you doing this now? Working well. And are you focused on revenue or are you like for me, I was focused on, on revenue, not on margin. That's all. I get $600,000 in debt. And as I pivoted away from, if I'm trading time for money, well, how do I trade my one hour?

[00:19:26] I can sell for more money. And that requires you to take a look at your, if a guy did it requires you to look at your, why, what do you do better than anybody else? And how could then you market that and get people to buy from you? When you're a commodity provider, you're going to make a commodity income. that's been my experience when I'm competing against Kelly services and manpower and getting my teeth handed to me and thinking well, Someone's just going to like me, they're going to pay me or is it is the world's worst philosophy versus here's the measurable things I do differently. Here's what the marketplace needs.

[00:19:55] Here's the supply I'm able to provide you with that. It can't find it. And so here's the value I can add for both the candidate [00:20:00] and for the company in the staffing company. so we get paid more money. That pivoting became much clearer to me, but when we're doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result and working 60 hours a week, I would challenge anybody.

[00:20:11] Are you working 60 productive hours? Or, or are you kidding yourself? Cause this is no one's ever asked me this question. I love this question. So I used to make this to-do list every day. And if I got that to-do list done, cross it all off. I felt pretty successful, you know, today, but I would cheat. I cheated Dave, go to lunch, cross it off, pick up dry cleaning cross.

[00:20:32] That's not a to-do list. Well, I, but it was the, you know, the incident, the instant gratification piece. So I would really challenge anybody. If you have a unique skillset, are you, you know, what's not working for you, put it into the active learning cycle. See what comes out on the other side.

[00:20:49] Dave: [00:20:49] that's so good. I love that answer. And that's, you know, something, something I can relate to personally. I know plenty of other business owners can as well. I want to hear from the, your experience in working with your coach and more of the [00:21:00] neuro side of things of. Why what's w when your opinion or your experience keeps people from addressing those things head on.

[00:21:06] Cause I think we have a lot of the, we, we realized subjectively on things and it's a lot of how's business going like. Good. And it sounds like you're talking about a lot of objective things of like, this is what this is, this is the plan. This is what we're making. This is where, and a lot of people are more like, oh, it's going good.

[00:21:21] Or we're doing, we're doing pretty good. And it's like, that's, that's like compared to what, what are we, what are we comparing to? What, what, what keeps people from like wanting? Is it a fear thing that keeps them from wanting to like brutally face it, the facts

[00:21:34] Todd: [00:21:34] Oh, yeah. It's absolutely. It's it's the Stockdale paradox. The brutal reality is, um, so a couple of things come to mind. Someone asked me today, why doesn't someone hire me as a coach? I said, oh, because they're not ready. They're just not ready. And what's preventing them from being ready, just like changing their business, pride and ego.

[00:21:50] It's just pride and ego pride and ego is our defense mechanism. People are very much afraid of failing, but also people are very much afraid of succeeding and we bargain with ourselves and I'm not worth this, or I can't believe I didn't [00:22:00] get that or what have you, but it's, it's the pride and ego. So you're questionable.

[00:22:04] If I were to meet you and say, well, how's my business, a business. Good, good. Hey, tell me what does good mean to you? Well, I didn't have to, I didn't have to draw my line of credit today. Oh, okay. That's an, a version of it. Makes sense. I want to validate you in it. What would better look like better would look like if I didn't have to depend on my spouse to make sure we made our house payment.

[00:22:23] Oh, so it's shifting that paradigm to the questions. It's not a matter of that, that someone's necessarily smarter than the entrepreneur. It's shifting their perspective. It's it's I do this exercise when I'm on stage, I'll take a big marker and a piece of paper and I'll draw, I'll bring someone on stage and I'll put down the piece of paper and I'll say, what do you see?

[00:22:41] Cause I'll draw. I will draw from my perspective, a six from their perspective, they'll see a nine I'll ask who's right. Well, we're both are, it's all the perspective we take on it. So it's good to you. And that's a good, a version of good as acceptable to you. Like, Hey, I'm paying my bills. I'm putting my kids through school and I have nice week nights and weekends free [00:23:00] and I make, you know, X that's great. It's good. Well, you know, I didn't have to dip into the bank account this month. Well, is there a better version of, it's just asking those questions. That's what a coach does. A coach really shifts your perspective on something. Gets you to see it through a different piece. And then, you know, if they like myself, if you have a business background, I can give you ideas, tips, and tricks on how to make more money, do things differently, serve your customers in a different way, serve your employees.

[00:23:27] Need a coach. I think a coach is doing a really great job of it. He gets the CEO to do two things. Those two things are really, really easy to do. The first thing a good CEO should be doing is removing bottlenecks. And how does a good seat or move by Alex? He asks his team. What are the bottlenecks what's preventing?

[00:23:43] He doesn't know. Oh, he doesn't walk in like a genius. And then the other thing is he makes it easy. It makes it easy for the customers to work with him. And it makes it easy for the employees to work for them. You do those two things. The world is your oyster, but you peel the layers of, you know, making it easy.

[00:23:59] You make you unpeel [00:24:00] the layers, uh, uh, removing bottlenecks. Oh my gosh. Well, I can't remove bottlenecks in the manufacturing department of my company because my cousin's the manufacturing manager and I can't fire him because he'd be jobless. Oh, people have said that, or why can't you, you know, why aren't you going to sales?

[00:24:15] Well, you know, I, I, you know, I play softball with the sales manager. He's the best softball and him. I can't fire him because he go play. I literally, I started staring cause the reasons people give to not make choices, different or different reasons or different decisions in their companies will boggle your mind. 

[00:24:32] Dave: [00:24:32] that's not funny and I, I believe it died and those, those are extreme examples, but I'm sure anyone listening can, can think of times where they've justified things. We're really good at justifying. Whatever we're doing and those sound, those sound ridiculous. And, uh, but there's, there's plenty of other things of why we're little, little things of why we got something done.

[00:24:51] Didn't get something done. It's we always come up with these, these reasons and they seem rational to us. But when you have a coach, when you have someone to be accountable to, and you can peel back those [00:25:00] layers and ask those questions, it's kind of like, oh yeah, maybe that it was wasn't as good of a reason as I thought it might've been for why I didn't do that.

[00:25:06] Todd: [00:25:06] Yeah, Well, as a coach, I'm going to challenge you to get to justify the reason, you know, classic is I can't give my clients a price increase. Why? Well, they'll all leave. Can you have a hundred clients? They're all going to leave. Okay. Let's assume they do. Then what you do. Because your margins, aren't where they need to be.

[00:25:22] There's been a cost increases across your secretary for your raw materials, for example. So, so they're, yeah, they're gonna leave because you go out of business too. So let's take a look at what is the messaging around it. Part of it is they just have to lean into that uncomfortable conversation first and foremost, with themselves, then secondarily with their customers and to be able to practice getting it out, then they try it with a couple and they, they could totally help me understand.

[00:25:48] Oh, it wasn't so bad in the absence of communication, the fear stories we tell ourselves will literally shut us down. It's leaning into not away from uncomfortable.

[00:25:58] Dave: [00:25:58] Yeah, I love that. And [00:26:00] that's where, that's where all the, the stories happen or had we make up all these scenarios of what already happened in the conversation that we didn't have yet. And then it usually ends up not being as bad. And that's that that's going to keep us from getting to the next level and keep us from, from doing those things.

[00:26:13] What, uh, from, from your perspective, what, from a failure standpoint, cause I think this goes along with a, well, you mentioned failure verse first learning, like what. What requires that perspective shift? What, what gets people? Cause failure is so deeply ingrained in and things we want to avoid. We're told probably from kids to, well, don't you like, like there's a lot of, no, no, no, don't do that.

[00:26:33] Don't do anything. That's gonna, you know, you can't do that. And then there's fairly, already ingrained in us. What, uh, what can get that perspective shift from failure to learning?

[00:26:41] Todd: [00:26:41] Get, I gotta give credit where credit is due. Dr. Danny Friedan said this, you know, failure is nothing more than a construct. We teach ourselves, but failure is nothing more than a word in the dictionary. His perspective is if we try something and we learn something, we maybe we learn it didn't work. I E failure.

[00:26:59] If [00:27:00] we try something and we learn and we iterate And we move forward, that's nothing more than another step along our pathway to success. I know in our conversation earlier, I was telling you about a nine-year-old boy named Alec and went and spoke in Toronto. Alec got this before any other adult in the room?

[00:27:14] You drew this picture, it's in my book. And he's like, I think I'm, I think spec page two 15, there's a picture of Alex holding this big sign. And he came up to me afterwards and he said, so Mr. Todd, look at my picture. And he wrote F F F he wrote 13 apps. Cause I said, the word fail 13 times. And then there's a big, the big, big ass of success.

[00:27:32] And he goes, so as long as I'm continuing on this path, these stepping stones, executive saying stepping stones in the speech, he goes, okay, I'm going to get to success. So really I'm never going to fail. And he gives you a big hug and he walks away. Like, dude, I gotta take your picture. I took his picture.

[00:27:46] That's why I put in the book, but his mom was standing behind him and she was, she was very much moved by the exchange I had with her son, which was so heartwarming. She's like he's had such a negative mindset for so, so many years he's he just, I can't try that. I stink. I'm going to [00:28:00] fail just in one speech.

[00:28:02] You've helped get him unlocked around. Literally fail. Failure is a construct. If you do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, that's a different issue. But if you try something. And you know, the guy with the restaurant or people I know in other places and you try it and it doesn't work.

[00:28:18] That doesn't mean you failed. It doesn't mean your offense. It means it didn't work. But what did the, the awareness becomes for self? I tried it, it didn't work. What did I learn? And how can I use that tomorrow? Versus woe is me. Sky is falling chicken, little thing all over the place that doesn't help. So again, I challenge anybody listening to if a nine year old boy can learn this.

[00:28:40] So can you.

[00:28:41] Dave: [00:28:41] And it's failing. It's failing quickly. It's, it's failing like the people, people I know that succeed the most are the ones that implement quickly. They, they learn, they learn, they learn, and it's not people going for this home run type of people spend so long planning for this one launch. And it's like, oh, this is going to be perfect because I just know it is because it's my idea.

[00:28:59] And then [00:29:00] it launches and they've wasted months or some people years of, of, uh, planning. And then they run to this big fail, which is, it was just not what you're talking about.

[00:29:08] Todd: [00:29:08] Yeah, no, it's, that's focused on. Perfect. So it's progress, not perfection. It requires go back to the active learning cycle. It's it's at the end of every chapter of my book, because it's so, so important to reframe the way we do things and we iterate and we try it and we iterate and we try and we iterate and we try it is that iterative cycle, uh, of trying things all the time.

[00:29:28] And the guys in the tech space are classic for this. You know, how many, how many versions have I gotten from a certain app on my iPhone? I love the upgrades. That's great. But what about all the bugs they fixed, which are basically IIE failures, right? So these guys are learning intrigued. And I remember back in the days of my company diversified industrial staffing, we used to give out the failure, the fail forward award, because we would have these risk-taking people who work for us, who would try a bunch of different ways to market candidates and different ways to get candidates engaged.

[00:29:56] A lot of them didn't work. I mean kernels. I tell a story in my book [00:30:00] about.

[00:30:00] Colonel Sanders, Colonel Sanders went on 1009 appointments before he got his first franchise deal. He was in his sixties living in his car. You know, I don't know if anybody listening to his, you know, in that current state of life, if they are use the Colonel as an example, but he, he L he iterated at 1,009 times, boom, to make a global brand in his sixties and seventies. 

[00:30:23] Dave: [00:30:23] yeah, such a and there's so many examples like that though, too, but people. People people don't, uh, they see that and it's like, oh, that's just, that's just one thing. Or that's just someone who was persistent, but that's, that's happens all over the place too. And it's, there's plenty of things documented in the big things, but there's plenty of people everyday doing that on smaller scales too.

[00:30:41] And just, uh, you know, doing the same thing of just implementing, not seeing it, taking in the feedback, taken in, not being offended when a customer says no, but being able to ask and say like, Hey, what, like what, what could we have done better? Like, that's, that's a tough question for, for businesses to ask like, Hey, what.

[00:30:55] What could we have done better? Like where did we, and, and getting to that, the more you get that feedback too, you might, [00:31:00] you might discover one of those blind spots that you didn't know you had

[00:31:02] Todd: [00:31:02] Well, I think the great fight, you know, I used vendors for kind of quarter century. I love it when the guy didn't get the deal, is it, Hey, listen, I know you picked another vendor. I understand that. Yeah. I'm disappointed. Yeah, that makes sense. What could I have done differently? What can I do different next time to earn your business?

[00:31:18] What did you need from me? I really want to learn because. What I, the reaction I had is like, oh my gosh, this person really does care. They want to learn and grow. And the, what I've learned, especially for when things don't go well, that's the true measure of customer service. It's not when things are easy, when things go well, it's more like when things go fall apart, things don't work out.

[00:31:38] What are you gonna do to make it better? You don't get the deal you want to be around for the next round of contracts. Well, here's what I need you to do differently. And when they actually show up and they they've pivoted and learned, and they're engaged, I'm interested in that relationship, not just that purchase. 

[00:31:55] Dave: [00:31:55] Yes, so good. I love, I love all that. And we talked a lot on kind of like leadership and mindset, [00:32:00] some of those limiting beliefs in it. And you mentioned some earlier, I want to circle back to is, uh, cause that's so, so key is that as a leader, I like, I love the inside out, uh, reference to being able to, you know, Work on work on yourself first.

[00:32:11] Like you can't just go lead people and then not be, not be practicing that self-leadership. But what, from a team standpoint, cause to, to grow the way that you have, you need great people around you. And you mentioned something about hiring on DNA instead of 

[00:32:23] Todd: [00:32:23] DNA from NAFA resume. Right. 

[00:32:24] Dave: [00:32:24] Tell me, tell me more about that.

[00:32:25] Yeah.

[00:32:26] Todd: [00:32:26] because the mistake I used to make is I would only hire people who had a recruiting background and HR background. And I found that if, if I didn't hire for their DNA, which is essentially your core values match, the core values of me and the organization, it didn't really work really well as I pivoted through, you know, the times and, you know, we made, we made some great hires.

[00:32:43] You know, Becky was with me for gosh, 16, 17 years. Um, we also made mistakes and we, we learned over the course of time as, as a leadership team, we need to focus on culture. And everybody, and it's kind of a buzzword right now, but if you really want to take a look at a step below what culture creates, but culture [00:33:00] creates a psychological safety in the workplace.

[00:33:01] So people feel seen, heard, known, and accepted. You create that psychologically safe work environment. And Google's doing a lot of work around this right now. Just type in psychologically safe work environment. Google is going to pop up because if realize that the one differentiator they have as any business, whatever guardians, whether you do restaurants or retail or manufacturing or tech, or what have you, is people.

[00:33:22] People are the biggest differentiator. And if you want to get the best people in a world right now where there's more jobs than there are people, believe it or not. Um, you've got to offer them something. You've got to offer them a safe place to be where they feel seen, heard, known, and accepted. And when they feel that way, they're going to want to work for you.

[00:33:36] And they're going to want to do well for you because you're doing well by them. It's a, it's a reciprocal relationship. It's not the 1970s where employees were to be seen to her seen, but not hers. So to speak. That's a real, I found a real key differentiator for those companies. When you create that psychologically safe work environment, you actually have longer-term term employees and more productive employees because they're happier. 

[00:33:58] Dave: [00:33:58] Yeah, it's so good. I, even, [00:34:00] if culture gets thrown around a lot, like, I love how you, you kind of reframe that in terms of what, what people are really looking for and why that's so, so important. How do you, and I'm curious on this, a lot of people throw around core values a lot too, and people have their core values listed.

[00:34:12] How do you actually create like a law? How do you actually embed those into a company versus just having them up on the wall and being like, oh yeah, these are kind of our core values, but you look around at the people, you look at the leader maybe, and it's like, they're not exhibiting any of those. How do you, how do you embed some of that?

[00:34:26] Todd: [00:34:26] So I always challenged the leadership teams to, if they can. But if they're big enough incapacity, you know, and you only need four or five people is to have the team create the core values, but often in the beginning and was the same with me was my core values translated through the organization. Here's the great thing I've learned about core values.

[00:34:45] There's a couple of things. One core values. If you really believe them, you will hire and fire by them. Anybody you'll hire and fire anybody by core your core values. If someone violates at a client who one of their core values was, was violated by the best friend of the [00:35:00] owner, They fired this guy. That's big, that's putting a stake in the ground and that's what you believe. So, so the core values of the organization really are the differentiators when it comes to things like that. The other thing I'd say about core values and, you know, you've kind of, you kinda hit a home, run with them is what every core value, whether you have, you know, two to 10 has a story attached to it.

[00:35:22] The whole company knows, uh, got a client, the construction space, their core value is make mama proud. And everybody knew the story because the founder, when he built his first home, took his mom to the job site in the house. She was just beaming. And she was so proud of her little boy. So to speak the way he tells us where he gets all excited and emotional.

[00:35:42] Well, he tells that?

[00:35:42] story. Now in every interview he does with a new person and he tells that he has the HR people tell us story in the phone when they're screening people, that stories become folklore, but make mama proud means we do quality work. We do it on time. Everything looks, there's a lot of sub pieces that, you know, we, we, you know, Everybody can put on their [00:36:00] wall.

[00:36:00] We have, we have honesty, integrity, and quality. Okay. Tell me more about that. You know, give me, give me three stories where you were, you were honest with somebody and you gave them back money when you mistakenly, they paid a bill twice, or is it tell me some stories around that versus the make number proud story is really clear.

[00:36:17] Everybody in the company knows it. And it's part of who they are as an organization. 

[00:36:21] Dave: [00:36:21] Hmm. I love that attaching stories to it. That's something that, and when you get that throughout the whole whole company, I can see where that creates something unique, because like you're saying, I think, uh, I think I was reading somewhere recently and Ron had, uh, honesty and integrity and excellence or something were part of their core values.

[00:36:36] And it's 

[00:36:36] Todd: [00:36:36] Yeah, that turnout. 

[00:36:37] Dave: [00:36:37] there's some, there's, there's some disconnect there between actually, uh, actually living that out. But, uh, I've, I've, I've loved this conversation so far. Uh, as, as we wrap up, I'd love to just hear. You know your perspective of, to your, you know, to yourself maybe 10 years ago, what kind of, what kind of advice would you give to, you know, to someone who, you know, and I don't know the exact timeline, but when you're, when you're stuck in, in the debt, when you're, [00:37:00] uh, just feel overwhelmed, you're, you're up to your head.

[00:37:02] You're, you're wondering if this is the right decision and you're questioning if, if like, should I keep going? Should I not? Like, what would you say to someone like that? Who's who feels stuck. It feels like they're struggling in 

[00:37:11] Todd: [00:37:11] Oh, I, so I'll, I'll, I'll give you the advice. My coach gave me when I hired him is like second days onsite in 2006. And he said, so you made. Businesses kind of in bad shape. He was trying to be nice about it. Yeah. And how did you get here? I was telling him this, the decisions we reached and he was like, you're not selling me on this.

[00:37:33] Why did you make those decisions that I made the decisions to make my staff happy? I made the decisions to make my clients happy. He was well, clearly that didn't work. So yes, clearly there's 600,000 reasons why that we it's pretty evident when that didn't work. He goes, what would you have done if you could go back in time?

[00:37:49] Well, I would have done this, this, this, and this. He's like. Those are great answers. Why didn't you do that? Trust your gut. I was, I would not, I was not trusting my gut at the, because I was [00:38:00] more important to me to be liked by my clients. Like by my employees at the end of the day, the employees all had to go because I couldn't afford to keep them the clients I had to fire them because it wasn't any margin in them.

[00:38:08] So the reasons were, were, were backwards. And now someone listening to me say, well, you know, I did trust my gut and it didn't work out. Check your gut, have someone give you. So for me, I would say, I wish I would have trusted my gut and I wish I would've verified it versus living in a, in a vacuum, isolating myself in a silo, thinking again, I had to be all things to all people to make everyone else happy at my expense.

[00:38:33] Dave: [00:38:33] I love that. So good for, and a lot of people, I think a lot of people can relate to that. I know we've, we've struggled in our company, please, in trying to please too much of whether that's customers and employee or someone like, and not. Not staying true to who we are and any, any time that we compensate on that and went more for the fear of displeasing someone, it always comes back as something that we, uh, we learn from.

[00:38:56] We don't, we don't fail from, but, but we learned from 

[00:38:58] Todd: [00:38:58] Love that great [00:39:00] pivot. Great 

[00:39:00] Dave: [00:39:00] I'm, I'm learning already. Yeah. So learn in the, uh, learning the language. So Todd I've, I've loved this, uh, where where's the best place for people to reach out to you. We can, uh, we can link your book up in the show notes to, uh, w where are the good places out for people that connect with you?

[00:39:12] Todd: [00:39:12] Well, you know, you're interested in what we've talked about today. The first place I'd suggest they go to is go to the book website from sock to success.com. There's a free chapter available. Just put in your email, we'll send it to you right away. You can get started and check it out. Um, and from there you can certainly go to Amazon and pick up the book if you're interested.

[00:39:29] And secondarily, you know, someone's going to sit here. The story like, wow, this guy talked to 42 CEOs at 67 days for free. I wonder if he talked to me? Well, I will I'll talk to anybody. I mean, I had people, I had someone who sold, um, Amway and Avon call me during these crisis. I'm happy to talk to any entrepreneur because so many people have been generous with their time.

[00:39:49] For me, it's my chance to pay it back. Um, maybe I'll get a client out of it, maybe that's okay. Uh, at the end of the day that an entrepreneur alone is an entrepreneur at risk is one of my core values. [00:40:00] So by people reaching out, just go [email protected] Send me an email. I'm happy to get you on my calendar.

[00:40:05] We'll have a call to see what's got you stuck. 

[00:40:08] Dave: [00:40:08] Todd, I appreciate your, your heart to serve and give back to, cause I, I can tell you you've been there and that's been such an influence for you and I, I hope people take you up on it and there's, there's so much good from this conversation. So thanks so much for sharing the wisdom and the experience.

[00:40:20] And I appreciate you coming on today. 

[00:40:21] Todd: [00:40:21] Dave, thanks for the opportunity. It was great to be here.

[00:40:24]Dave: [00:40:24] 

[00:40:24] Thanks for listening today, guys, unbelieving that even if you apply one thing from today's show, you're taking one step closer to living as the man you were made to be meaningful change doesn't happen overnight. So keep showing up and keep consistent every single day until good things start to happen.

[00:40:40] If you haven't already taken 60 seconds to write a review on whatever platform you're listening on, goes a long way in growing this podcast and reaching other men, just like you, that are hungry for more. Do you have any questions on today's show feedback or content you want to see more of shoot me a text.

[00:40:58] Yeah, text me [00:41:00] 760-477-4361 at 7 6 0 4 7 7 4 3 6 1. Let me know that you're listening to it. And so I can personally thank you for your support of myself and the show. That's it for today, guys, it's time to raise your standard for yourself. Stop settling for just getting by, go all in on your passions in the life you were made for a lot of you guys and talk to you soon.

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