In this episode, we discuss how crisis highlights the importance of developing leaders. Just because you can’t develop everyone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be developing anyone!
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Perry Holley: Hello and welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to drive remarkable results. I am Perry Holley at John Maxwell, facilitator and coach and now Zoom expert. That’s Chris. I don’t know. I’m still connected technologically with my partner and friend Chris Goede, who’s a John Maxwell vice president. Chris, are we actually Zoom experts now?
Chris Goede: I don’t think we’re experts, but we’ve figured it out. We’ve become efficient enough to continue to push out our weekly podcast, which was our goal just to kind of add value to you guys during this time. And we were talking to Jake just a little bit ago and it looks like we’re going to be moving back into studio. May miss these video connections with you, but we’ll be excited to probably improve the quality of what’s yours. Most definitely, especially if Terry and I are not in charge of the technology.
Listen, love, absolutely love being with you today. Excited about the topic, you guys. Perry and I joke around a lot about the title. I’m going to hold that title for just a minute because I think he has a really good one, our episode. But one of the things we really wanted talk about was in good times and in bad times, you need to be focused on developing your people and developing your leader. And some would say that maybe even focus more on that during bad times or down times. I heard a quote one time that said, “Good habits are developed in bad times, bad habits are developed in good times.” And I would say that we may even lean that way when it comes to developing our people. And I think the best thing that you can do for your leadership and for your organization is to have more leaders.
You cannot have a deep enough bench when it comes to leaders inside your organization. And that’s your responsibility. It starts with you and your team specifically. We’re looking forward to diving into that, just sharing some practical application. That’s what we’re here for. We want to take some of John Maxwell’s incredible principles and talk about what does this look like to live it out in your organization, in your leadership and in your team?
Hey, just really quick again, before I tell you this title this week, I’m giving you kind of some teasers here. If you want the learner guide that Perry kind of prepared for us as we go through that, you got a question, a thought, maybe even you want to do a virtual five levels of content day with your leadership team, do not hesitate to go to johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast. You can download the learner guide there. You can kind of almost virtually raise your hand in a little bit of a comment to us, and we would love to connect with you and talk about how we can best serve and add value to your team.
Well, here’s the title. This is a good one. Leaders come out, come wherever you are. Absolutely love it, Perry because the first thing I thought about it made me smile. But just made me go back to my childhood. Running around the backyards of the houses and playing games. And it just brought a smile to my face, but I know that’s not, we’re not going to go back and talk about our childhood, but tell me a little bit about what were you thinking in regards to what we’re going to get into today?
Perry Holley: Yeah, well, we’ve mentioned, John’s mentioned many times in crisis times leaders they’re not made they’re revealed. And we’ve seen that to be true lately. Notice a number of the people that I coach, the executives that I’m fortunate to coach, when I asked what they’re doing on their level four development efforts of their team, I get kind of a deer in the headlights kind of a look of, I don’t have time, or I don’t know who. One guy told me, “I can’t develop everybody so I don’t develop anybody.” We kind of laughed about it, but it was not, I didn’t think it was all that funny.
I just wanted to talk about, to have a culture, a leadership culture, how do you identify your next level? Come out, come out wherever you are. Who should I be developing? And he was right. You shouldn’t probably be developing everybody to the level of leadership. Should be developing everybody to one level, but to your next generation of leaders, I think it needs to be intentional. And I think that’s what I’d like to talk about.
Chris Goede: Yeah. I love that idea. And what I thought about right before we jumped into the kind of the five points you have for us today is what you just said as you wrap it up. I believe we should train and add value to everybody on our team. That’s our responsibility. That’s our calling as a leader. But I do believe that there’s a percentage, there’s a smaller percentage of those that we need to be developing. And we talked about this from a behavioral standpoint, we also talked about it from a learning and development standpoint, there’s a difference between training and developing. You think about skill base versus kind of concept based. You think about short term versus longterm. You think about what are the things that we need to teach and execute? Versus how do we help them implement?
And there’s a big difference between the two. And what we’re talking about today is we’re talking about that development side. And that’s really what I love about where you’re taking us, because I believe everybody can train somebody on a skillset and everybody can be trained on skillset, but we want to figure out how do we identify those that we need to be developing and that will be open to receiving that development from us as leaders?
Perry Holley: That starts off with, do you know really what you’re looking for? I think that’d be point one. Would you know it, if you saw it? Do you have a vision? People say, “Oh, I’ll know it when I see it.” And John has a little bit of a different view on that. I was thinking about when you’re looking for something, if you know what you’re looking for, it kind of helps you a lot. And it started with being, COVID-19 started and we had our first need for groceries, nobody wanted to go out. We’re all quarantined and locked down. I told my wife, I said, “No, you stay I’ll bundle up. I’ll go to the store and I’ll do the grocery shopping.” And she was very grateful and I was very willing. She gives me a list and to look for these things.
And something as simple as we need brown sugar, it took me a while to find the place where brown sugar is, but I found the brown sugar and you know how many types of brown sugar? And so I’m texting, I go, “Which? This or that?” And so I went to get the next thing. And I said, “Well, I don’t know, is it this or that?” And finally, my text started blowing up. She sent me pictures. She went to the pantry and said, “This and that.” And once I knew what I was looking for, was it the light version or the full sugar version? Was it the multi? I didn’t have to bother her any longer because now I had a clear picture of what I was looking for. And I thought sometimes in leadership it’s really what it comes down to is that we, I think I’ll know when I see it. Well, you see it, you’ll know it. And I really wanted to have that picture of who in my organization should I be investing in?
Chris Goede: Well, quick comment about the grocery store. It’s funny, anytime I’m on the phone in a grocery store, which is just about every time, I always look at a worker that’s around me, I’d be like, “How did we ever grocery shop before being able to call home?” We probably spent a lot of money and missed a lot of opportunities.
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Perry Holley: I get burned because we have this Alexa thing. And so we just say, “Alexa, add that to the shopping list. Alexa, add that to the shopping list.” before I even leave the store now, because they’re talking to Alexa at the house and it’s showing up in my app and I get home and say, “Did you get the brown sugar?” I said, “Well it wasn’t on the list.” It is now because I’m sorry, sidetracked.
Chris Goede: Yeah, no, it’s good. As you’re identifying kind of what you’re looking for in those potential leaders, we use sports analogies a lot of times and we need to have a farm system. And that’s why you need to be looking for potential leaders because you got to be thinking about what does that look like? The next man up kind of mentality that you can begin to develop. And then also your leaders begin to develop other people. I’ve heard it said and I believe in this, that at times when we’re bringing people onto our team, that you want to hire culture over competency. And I think this shows up more than ever in this particular standpoint right here, because what I want to encourage you to do is as a leader, I want you to make sure you’re looking internally before thinking about how am I going to go external to bring in a leader?
Because I would much rather, and I’ve seen this in organizations around the world to where somebody may not be as competent at a certain leadership skill initially, but they have the culture fit because they’d been in, they can tell you the war stories. They know what they’ve learned from the organization. All these things that come along with this culture fit. I’d rather take somebody that has that culture fit edge over somebody that may have a competency edge from the outside, because I think as an organization that will save you a ton of money, a ton of time, a lot of resources. And so, as you begin looking for that, what we want to encourage you is to look internally versus externally, as you think about futuristically where the company is going. Because listen, the cost of it and then coming back to, let’s just talk about retention.
And right now we know that in the world of COVID-19, but with different furloughs and different situations and retention being a challenge, I think there’s going to be a competition for talent in the near future. I heard Pat Lencioni say that the other day. I think that’s extremely accurate. The cost of retaining a team member and developing them is cheaper than hiring somebody and it not working out. Maybe cheaper than hiring somebody externally altogether. And so if you begin building the foundations, one of the things I love what we do with organizations is that it starts with the leaders and it starts with what are the programs that we have in place now to begin developing that farm system, to begin teaching them that common language, those skillsets, those competencies of developing people when you’re able to identify them? That’s kind of a blended answer. You and I kind of went all over the place there, but your point is relevant. Make sure you know what you’re looking for, what kind of leader do you want? And begin to look at how am I building that team, that farm team?
Perry Holley: Yeah. Well, I find that the people know that you promote from within and that you develop, it really develops that culture of excellence. And I know there’s a long-term hope for me here. I know there’s potential. And so people, the retention, the value add is bigger. The retention is bigger. People just know that there’s something in it for me here and I’m willing to make that investment. If you’re investing in me, I’ll invest in the company. Second thing I want to look at as well. How do you know who, of all the people on your team? And I saw John kind of wrote it was, how do you find your eagles? And who would make a good candidate for your investment of leadership development? How do you think about that? How do you decide who your eagles are?
Chris Goede: Well for me, I go back to this potential. We put a lot of belief in people, maybe to a fault at times. But I promise you, I think if you look back over your career, you would much rather err on the side of putting more belief in your people, because how many people in your life have believed in you, even when you didn’t believe in yourself? We could go down that whole road. But man, listen, I really believe that you got to focus on the potential of somebody in the moment, not the performance. And what I mean by that is the performance is a given. You have to be able to have credibility. You got to be able to produce, we talk about it in the five levels of leadership and influence. We talk about that level three, that’s where your credibility is built. And so as you begin looking at how you want to build that bench and you begin identifying those eagles that are coming up through your farm system, where you want to begin to develop even more, you got to look.
It’s a given I think that they should be producing, but that’s not what I want you to focus on. Because you know, especially in your history, with sales teams with IBM, a lot of times people take the most productive, individual contributor and they make them a leader and there may have been somebody else on the team that was producing but had a higher potential of leading people. Because I think, remember leaders, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to develop leaders to develop leaders. And so you got to look for that. You got to look for that potential. And I think so what you’re looking for for me when you asked this question, it’s really more about the potential over the performance.
Perry Holley: All right. Well, I know John produces, gave us some things to think about, a list of maybe qualities you might want to think about. I was making a note that I’m going to put that in. I’m going to put a little grid. You can keep it in your notebook to, as you’re working with your team to notice some of these characteristics and like a little scorecard to notice, I’ll put that in the learner guide this month. But some of those things might be, who are the people on your team that make things happen? Or who are the ones that see opportunity and then seize opportunity? They help others. They influence others. They add value to others. They attract other winners. But you know some of these characteristics and they’re offering good ideas. It’s an engagement thing. You start to notice people that are thinking like an owner, not like a hired hand. They’re thinking about adding to you as the leader. All of a sudden my spidey sense starts to go up that these are people that maybe I should be paying attention to. And so it’s a nice scorecard.
Chris Goede: Yeah, absolutely. I agree.
Perry Holley: The third idea was not everybody’s willing. You can say, “I’m going to pick this group. I’m going to start developing this.” I’m always asking, “What is it I’m noticing about them or their attitude about that can reveal their willingness?” Have you ever seen that? Where you picked out somebody and they just, you were all in to making them a leader, but they just really weren’t ready or didn’t think that much of it.
Chris Goede: Yeah. I had someone that’s very dear to me, came to mind when you made this, you asked this question. And this individual has no interest in leading people. Matter of fact, one of their career goals early on was, I never want to have to lead or manage another human being. That’s on my family. And the self awareness to know that is awesome. And you want people like that on your team because they’re going to be an incredible individual contributor. They’re going to get their work done. You just got to know where their strengths and the weaknesses are. And don’t put them in an area where it’s going to drain their energy. Are they willing? I think that’s a great question. And I think one of the ways that you mentioned a couple of them, but when you begin looking and observing and watching people, are they interested and invested in where the company’s going?
Are they, to your point, speaking up with new ideas? Are they interested in talking into the strategy and the future success? And when you begin seeing that, and those kind of comments coming out of people and they begin talking about other team members and it’s that whole collective engagement and buy in. I think that’s the point where you’re going to have people that are willing to go through a development program to become a leader. And at some point in time, once you observe those, you may need to have a frank conversation and say, “Hey, this is something that I see the organization is going to need from you in a couple years. These are my plans for you. What do you think about that?” And you may get that response that I started off with, which was, “No, not interested.” And that’s okay because you need those people on your team as well.
Perry Holley: I’ve had it both ways where I had people, I say, “You should absolutely be in our management development program. You should be in our leadership class.” And they go, like you said, “No, don’t want to do that. Just want to be a salesman. That’s all I want to do.” And I’ve had the other one where people say, “You absolutely ought to put me in your leadership development program.” And I thought, well, let me look at some of these qualities, are you an eagle? Are you someone? And then, but because they were willing, but they kind of weren’t able, which is my next question. Are they able? That actually opens up a nice door of coaching opportunity to help. That’s a knowledge, kind of a training, how can I help add to your life by making you able, if you have an aspiration to go higher in the leadership ranks? Well, I can help you with that too. The question is, are they able? I was thinking about this, this is an IQ versus EQ type of a question. How do you determine if somebody’s able?
Chris Goede: Yeah, I think you can begin seeing immediately in people that are able by a comment that came to mind from Sarah Batchelder, who former, obviously CEO of Popeye’s. Is a good friend of John’s, we’ve done some work together. And one of the things I always remember what she said was, “I look for the ability to coach other people. No matter where they’re at in the organization, you can begin to identify if they have natural coaching skills because I want to look those competencies. And that’s going to tell me if they’re able to develop other people. And I also want to listen to the stories of what’s going on. I want to be present in and around the team and the organization and just hear stories.”
And all of a sudden, I hear, “Man listen, Perry pulled me aside the other day, had no idea how to do this spreadsheet with this situation right here and with this client. And he just walked me right through it, gave me some great tips.” Those are stories of people coaching other people. And I will tell you one of the things that we’re learning over the last maybe year or two, is that with the younger generations coming up, one of the things that they look for is that development path, their career path. It’s more important to them than compensation.
And so I think people of the younger generation gravitate towards those that can coach them to successful journeys, whatever that might look like for them. For me, when you say are they able? It isn’t IQ versus EQ thing. But for me, when we go into that a little bit further, you got to see the competence. We’ve talked about that. They got to have that business acumen, but I think Cheryl’s right on here when she talks about, man, the first thing I’m looking at in regards to ability futuristically is do they have the coaching skills? Are they naturally meant to coach other people?
Perry Holley: Well, that brings up point number five. And we talked about it not being our first. It made it our last, was have they actually produced results? And we know that leaders, that’s kind of a level three producing results on the five levels. And it’s where leadership really appears. It’s really felt the most, I think, at that level. And these people that are not satisfied, they’re always driving and change agents. They don’t run from change. They never want to pause or wait. They want to figure out the next best way to do things and moving things forward. A little bit impatient there too. Wonder how you see that? How important is having produced results to bringing them into your leadership development?
Chris Goede: Yeah, I think it’s very important. And you guys heard Perry and I kind of almost overlay it with each one of our points today because we’ve all been on a team where we worked for a leader and we’re just like, have you ever kind of produced? Or done what I’ve around here? And so that credibility is so huge. And I think you want people that to your point, are exceeding expectations, not only your expectations. Man, it’s awesome to see them exceed their own expectations. They have a passion for work. And then, around even change as you were mentioning. Man, they are eager to explore different ways to do things. And so, I think it’s essential again, I think it falls second to the potential that we talked about early on, but no doubt about it, had to be on this list.
Perry Holley: Yeah. For sure. Why don’t you wrap it up for us, Chris, and we’ll take it home.
Chris Goede: Yeah. I think man, this is such a great topic for us to be talking about right now in seasons of organizations, developing people. I think at the core of every successful company is a team of good leaders that make good decisions. I said, a team of good leaders, not just you as a good leader. I think all of us would be like, man, I’m a great leader. Well, most of us would be. But you got to have a team of good leaders. And I think what ends up happening is the influence and the direction of the organization comes from those leaders and it comes from the culture of your people. And that’s why we want to encourage you to really begin developing at all levels. Because when you do that, as you begin to look for leaders, they’re going to jump off the page at you and you’re going to be able to hire from within than externally.
And so just begin thinking, asking yourself questions, hey, who is it that I see does this? Or here’s a question for you, last question as I wrap up. But I think someone told me this a while ago and I think this is awesome. Don’t ever go to somebody when you’re thinking about a new leader, new organization, and let’s say, it’s you, Perry, go to them and say, “Hey Perry, what do you think about Brian in this role?” Because it’s a leading question. You’re going to be like, hmm, Chris must be thinking about developing Brian, kind of promoting Brian. Instead, I’d ask you to ask the question a different way, which is, “Hey Perry, who do you envision could do really, really well in this role?” Because I think if you do that, you’re going to get some feedback from some of your peers. And so that’s just another little tip, a little tool that you can use to begin to identify who those people are in your organization that you need to invest in from a development standpoint.
Perry Holley: Yeah, for sure. Well, it’s tempting in these busy times, these crisis time, these uncertain times to put all this on the back burner, not be thinking about that succession plan or that structure of leadership, the culture of leadership, developing that next generation of leaders. Encourage you to get this learning guide. Look at that eagles checklist and start looking at who are the people you should be investing in? And what’s that return on investment to your organization if you do? We’re grateful that you would join us as always on this podcast, if you ever have a question or a comment for us, or you want that learner guide, you can get that at johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast. And we hope that you’ll do that. And we love hearing from you. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast.
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