How you view things will determine how you do things, and in times of crisis it your perspective could be the difference between thriving and merely surviving. In Episode #87 of our podcast, we take you through some of John Maxwell’s key perspective principles that can help leaders in times of crisis or adversity.
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Read Transcript Below:
Hello and welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast where we are still social distancing, but we are still focused on increasing our ability to fully engage our teams and these very trying times. I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach and I am connected again technologically with our tools that we’re using with my partner and friend Chris Goede, John Maxwell, Vice President. Chris, are you doing okay over there?
I’m doing well. Glad to be here with you. I kinda like this social distancing. I’m not going to tell you when we’re going back to face to face and they will just keep recording like this. But man, you’re in a bunker over there, That’s right, we’re stuck in a bunker, the John Maxwell Company, for those that are watching our zoom cast. Here’s what I love about this time. It’s unprecedented, right? And, there’s not a, there’s not a playbook to lead during this time. And so what Perry and I have really been doing is just kind of talking to each other about some of John’s lessons and talking about how that really has been living out in our life as we both lead teams and are in obviously the corporate setting and what that, what that looks like for us and kind of bouncing ideas off of and we just want to share them with you.
And so, we hope you’re enjoying this new format to where we’re bringing some of John’s lessons, just little clips of it, that Perry pulls out of lessons that he’s listening to. And then we’re just going to talk about some corporate applications. So, sit back. We clipped another four or five minutes of one of John’s recent lessons. Today’s title for us is Perspective Principles Part One. And we’re not telling you one out of how many, cause we don’t really know at this time. Perry may give us some more content down the road, but take a listen to John and we’ll be right back with you.
Here we go. Perspective principles, how we view things is how we do things right now. Number one, everything worthwhile is uphill. If you’ve heard me do any teaching at all because I wrote a book called Intentional Living. You’ve watched me use the visualization of everything. Where it is worthwhile, it is uphill and I put my arm in the air and I just basically can say up at the top are my dreams, my hopes, my ambitions, my desires, everything good. It’s up there. It’s not down here. It’s all uphill. Always has been, always will be. The problem is we have uphill hopes. We have downhill habits. Which perspective don’t miss it. Everything worthwhile. What is uphill?
Number two, the second perspective is there is always an answer. There just is. There is always an answer. There’s an answer and what happens is this, successful people know that and unsuccessful don’t know that. If I thought that there was no answer in this crisis, to be honest with you, I’d be huddled up in the corner and I’d be a miserable person, but there’s an answer. There always has been an answer. The world has always found a way and we’re going to find a way through the coronavirus. Trust me, we’re going to find a way. It may be hard, it may take a long time. It won’t be easy, but we will find a way. The greatest gap between successful and unsuccessful people. It’s the thinking gap. How we think. I’m not talking about intellect, I’m not talking about IQ. I’m talking about successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. I’m going to give you an example right now. Successful people in every difficult situation believe there’s always an answer and people that don’t do well in the crisis believe that there’s not an answer. If I think that there is an answer, I’ll become a Victor, and if I think there is no answer, I’ll become a victim. It’s just that simple.
The third and last perspective I want to give you today because I think this is just absolutely huge in your life and in my life and everybody’s life. Not only is there always an answer, but number three, allow adversity to help you discover who you really are because adversity will move us. It’ll move us and sometimes we need to be moved to find our niche. Okay. Some of us need to be moved and when we get moved, we’re going to get moved to the place where we really should be. And for many of you, that’s what this crisis is going to do. It’s going to move you to higher ground.
Well, welcome back. And man, there’s a lot of great content that we could really unpack for you guys and take a lot more time than 15 or 20 minutes that we want to share with you. Just kind of talking about applications and unpacking this. And you know, I think one of my favorite quotes, and maybe it’s just because I liked watching John whenever he’s on stage or on camera in front of people is when he talks about, you know, everything worthwhile is uphill. And then he stands there with his arm. Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s almost like you’ve got a different pose. Yeah. Yeah. With a head nod that a boy very. And,, but he says, man, our habits, you know, are all downhill and we want to accomplish some things that are worthwhile, but they’re uphill and, not all of us tend to want to go uphill. And, but I think in times like this, leading this uphill, as I mentioned, there is no playbook. It’s going to be hard and it’s going to take a little bit more effort and thought than we have in the past. And I love his perspective on this and how he unpacks it, where he just talks about how you view things, determine how you do things. And a lot of times people sometimes when you make a statement like that, and I’ll let you kind of speak to this, they go, well, that guy, that gal, they just have their head in the clouds, right? Like there’s no realistic thought process there and that’s not what we’re saying here is it Perry? Well, you have to be realistic as a leader, but you got to have a different view of things, which ultimately drives your perspective. Unpack that a little bit from us.
Well, I’m finding as I’m probably, most of you are out there, that there’s two types of people in the world when it comes to a crisis. And those that are looking at it in an opportunistic way that this opens up doors of opportunity and creativity and those that think this is the end and it’s the most awful thing that’s ever happened. And it is an awful thing and it is, it is happening, but, perspective does matter. I don’t think I ever thought about that much in normal times, whatever normal times mean. But you start, it really comes to light about how perspective really matters for your leadership ability, your outcomes that you’re trying to drive, that if you don’t have that positive, u I think we talked about in a previous episode about stop worrying about what was optimal and start figuring out what’s possible. That possibility thinking is really enabled by your perspective. And if you don’t have the right attitude or the right outlook, you’re not going to be that creative. So I love this whole idea about you know, developing a winning perspective. I was telling you off off camera that I’m working with some of our coaching clients. When you notice people on your team with a negative perspective or really off perspective, can you coach that? Can you encourage how to develop a winning perspective? And so John’s given us some ideas on some things we can look at. And I love these. The first one you mentioned about everything is uphill and it’s the way he does his arm though it’s always uphill, but in a crisis, like now it’s really uphill. And that quote that you mentioned was really one of my favorites that we have uphill hopes with downhill habits.
And so with, you know, crisis is gonna leave a mark on you for sure. What is it gonna be positive or negative? Are you gonna come through it better or worse? Are you going to grow or are you going to stagnate? And so to me, this is really one of the big things. And just to apply that to the business side. I’d love to get your perspective on it, I heard Jim Roan was one coach I really liked because I found myself saying I wish things didn’t have to be so hard. Why do they have to be so appealed? Why does the hill have to be so steep? And Jim said, don’t wish things were easier. Wish you were better. Times of crisis is the time to get better. And I know that that’s what you’re working on with your team.
Yeah. And I think in times like this you know Greg Kagel, I shared this quote periodically, one of our executive facilitators and coaches says, if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance a whole lot less. And when you think about that man in times of crisis, that is true regardless of the times. In times of crisis, there’s fuel on that statement. There’s fire behind that. And what’s awesome about times like this, it’s not going to be easy, but it is time for us to change. I also think about, as an organization and as a leader, you get in comfort zones and you get very complacent. You don’t know it, but you get complacent to get comfortable. For example, just the John Maxwell Company. We had a good 2019 and we are off to the best first quarter we’ve ever had as an organization in 2020. And then April started and everything changed. And so what we found was, man, what the things that we’re now thinking about and we’re talking about and we’re doing, and Oh, by the way, our financials they’re taking a downhill habit right now, but we understand that. But the things that we’re talking about right now and the things that we’re trying to change in our perspective back to your kind of overall theme today is completely different than it would have been if this crisis hadn’t entered. We probably would still be doing a lot of the same things that we were doing before and not asking us questions of, you know, what do we need to get rid of? What do we need to do differently? How do we add value to, to our, our clients and our prospects?
like we’ve never done before in times like this, not expecting a sale, right? Like we’re adding value on the front end knowing that that’s kind of our core values and those are conversations that we have been pushed to have out of our comfort zone and change, because of the perspective that we have and we’ve learned from John. Hey, before we go to the next one, I do want to ask you a question cause you do a lot of coaching and you got my mind thinking just a minute ago when you were talking and you said, you know, can you coach somebody, you know, changing your perspective. There’s a lot of challenges to that. And then try to get them to develop a winning perspective at a time like this. There’s a lot of challenges and you’re on the front lines, not only with your team but with a lot of our, our partners, our corporate partners out there. How do you go about coaching somebody and their perspective in a time like this? And so I want to take a step back because you just, you grabbed me when you made that statement and I think that people need to hear just some thoughts from you and what you’re hearing on the front lines because they’re going to have to do that with their team members. So talk to us a little bit about how you go about that or how you’ve seen it work or maybe even how you’d seen it not work.
Yeah. Well thank you. Everybody has a biased way that their mind works and how they see things. And it comes from a lot of your experiences, your past, your upbringing, your cultural context. There’s so many dynamics. We always teach those kinds of this iceberg, what we know about you above the water. And then so much more of what makes you you that we can’t see. So for me, the number one thing was starting with listening and with a lot of empathy and this empathy in listening to folks to understand where they are coming from? What has got their attention during this time? Is it a fear? Is it, you know, are they in part of the, in this particular situation, are they part of the danger group? There’s an age group that’s especially endangered.
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Now is there something that’s affecting that you need to, you know, be aware of this, be empathetic to people and listening to that, what I’m finding is that a lot of people are basing their fear or their outlook on the situation based on news or Twitter or a content that’s coming from people with other agendas. So I really, I like to go back to just what’s reality, what’s real. Also people are trying to control things they can’t control. And that’s a frustrating thing to think that I’m going to try to control that. I think John even mentioned in a couple of his talks about one thing we can do as leaders is help people control the things they can control. This feeling of fear and anxiety right now is a lot of it’s caused by losing control. I can’t just go to the grocery store. I can’t just go to the gym. I can’t get my hair cut. Although I did, I think I looked marvelous. I actually came up on a call the other day. How did you get your haircut? There’s so many things that we normally think that are just normal, that are not normal. I’ve lost control that causes anxiety. So a lot of times we can coach that is to say, what can we control what is in our reach right now? And when you mentioned the bump that we get bumped out of the status quo where I’m in total control and now I’m out of control. John said it bumps you into the creative zone. So what is possible? So I love having that conversation with people. I said, yeah, I know it’s bad and I know it changed what we used to do, but here’s the reality of where we are. And you mentioned it too about adding values. If we just go back to how we serve our clients, prospects, neighbors, partners, friends, how do I have value outside of looking inward? To me, most people are looking inward and it gets ugly looking outward. There’s a lot of people worse off than I have it. So how can I help them? And now my perspective is shifted through empathy, listening and changing the focus away from what I controlled, what I can control to what I can, which is my response to my ability to serve others.
Yeah, no, I appreciate you sharing that because I think that leaders that are listening to us right now, they need that advice because they are with a team that has different perspectives. Here’s what I got from that leaders is that in all of that, that empathy, that listening and the conversations that Perry’s having and I know that this has been, I’ve had a few as well just with some partners, CEOs and different people and it’s really through the power of questions that you’re able to change their perspective. And if you listened to Perry, I kept thinking he’s getting that answer because of a question. He’s getting that mindset, getting them to think differently because of a question he’s asking them. So don’t get frustrated with your team members, right? When they, you don’t understand their perspective. What I would challenge you to do, and that laugh that you had right there is one that I have internally because I know that we’ve all been there before, right? But yeah, don’t, don’t get frustrated. Go into the mindset of asking questions to understand their perspective. And you’d be amazed at the conversation that you’ll end up having with your team members. So I appreciate you sharing that.
Well, I can tell you what doesn’t work. Do not look at your people and say, come on and get a grip. Yeah. This is very serious, it’s affecting people at a very emotional level and, and they’re not going to be able to pay attention to you,they’re not gonna be able to do their work if you don’t address it. I just started looking at what’s reality. You know, where are they getting their information? But really it’s a feeling of losing control and that empathy of what we can control. You know, you’re not, there’s still going to be some level of fear and anxiety cause it is a big unknown. It’s a huge uncertainty until it’s solved. Which actually leads to another point, John said, which is there’s always an answer. I love that. How simple, I said, is that it is John? Yeah. There’s always an answer and he kind of gets to it where he says it may be hard, it may take a while to find it. it may be, it may have consequences, but there’s going to be an answer. And I would love your thoughts about, he says the real gap between folks that think there’s an answer to those that don’t, is really the thinking gap. And he talks about, you know, some people are going to be victorious and some people are going to be victims, victors are victims. And I know you’ve seen a lot because you’re dealing with a lot of people across the board about how people view this, about whether there’s an answer or not. Are we just going to be left with we’ll never know? No, we’ll know there’s going to be an answer.
Yeah. And I think the key here is as leaders and people with influence inside your organization,which by the way doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to have direct reports. You have influence regardless if you have direct reports. But I think the key right here is that a lot of people during times like this, it’s just a natural wiring. They go well, I don’t know what the answer is. Right? There is no answer. I’m just going to wait until so and so tells me what the answer is. And a lot of times if you take time to think and to reflect and we’ve talked about that on a previous podcast about what that looks like and with questions,you would be amazed. And John does say it’s one of the greatest gaps out there between unsuccessful and successful leaders and or people is the thinking gap. And you know, I know you love a couple of his books that he’s actually written on thinking. I think it’s a powerful tool in regards to strategic thinking, to leadership thinking all kinds of different. We might need to have a thinking course now that you and I are kind of brainstorming on this because a lot of it doesn’t come natural. It doesn’t come naturally for me, right? It’s a learned behavior. So what I want to encourage you is, if you say, well, I don’t do a very good job of thinking, okay, well neither did I before I met a guy by the name of John C. Maxwell and it’s become a learned behavior for me. It’s become a priority and a time to where I’ve had to at times carve out my calendar to really begin to think about this. And you’ll be amazed if you spent some time thinking and reflecting and then even just sharing with your team to begin a collaborating conversation about how to solve this problem. Remember your idea, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s pride, but your idea is not going to be the best idea in the room because even if it is the number one discussed idea, by the time your team gets done with it, it will be better than when you brought it in. Otherwise, you might not have the right team. At least that’s what John tells us, right? And so, with that being said, you got to understand there is always an answer and it’s going to start with you on some thinking time. It’s going to start with you being collaborative with your team. it’s gonna take some grit. It’s gonna take some courage for you to throw some things out there. You know, like for example, you know, what if we said? Hey John, you know what, you can’t travel anymore because of the impact that you’re having on people virtually right now is unbelievable. And so you’re not allowed to fly and travel anymore. Like that would take courage for me to say that in a meeting when John has made his living, you know, out there traveling and speaking and communicating to people. And so sometimes you’re going to have to throw some things out like that. Now that idea won’t fly and it won’t last. But there will come something out of that that I would encourage you as leaders, whether you’re in a meeting and you’re leading up or whether you’re in a meeting with your team, have courage to throw some crazy things out there. Remember the goal is there’s always an answer that we’re trying to solve a certain situation and you can’t begin to go down that path until you think and then I all would also say until you begin to collaborate with your team and that you have courage to be able to say some things that maybe there’s sacred cows you’re trying to protect. Maybe there’s a couple of other things that you may have to get over in regards to the fact that there is always an answer.
Right, well I there’s always an answer required that I’m askin the right questions. That’s good, Yeah. People were feeling anxious and uncertain and they don’t feel there’s an answer. I love your point about collaboration and bringing the team into the conversation. John says, leadership, you always take someone with you and I’ve had a couple of leaders I’ve found that were feeling the weight of what’s going on in their organization because they were carrying it by themselves and they’re out there searching for the answer. They’re trying to find it, but they’re not including everyone else. And the two things happen when you include your leadership team are those your key leaders in the conversation with you is a one, You get better ideas because all of us are smarter than one of us and to you, you take away some of their anxiety because now you’ve given them something they can control the thinking, they can control the input to the answer. They can control having a voice in the mix and sitting back at your office at your home office or they’re in the bunker where you are right, waiting for someone to drop the answer on you is a very uneasy place to be. Oh, wait a minute. You’re gonna invite me to the table. Invite me to the conversation. You care what I think yet. Now we’re collaborating and you’re just building this resiliency and people that say it’s tough, but we’re going to get through it. We’re going to finish strong here. We’re going to come out of this better than when we went in. We’re going to learn new things. And that starts to say there’s an answer for all that.
That’s exactly right.The last thing we actually mentioned before how much we need to go into it here, but it was on a previous podcast. But one of the perspective principles is to allow adversity to help you discover who you really are. And we talk about being squeezed and what comes out and you know, who are you in this time? And I know he gave us three questions to think about. I’ll let you present those, but I thought those were really good for that. Reflecting, thinking time. You want to know what I reflect on? The three I thought were good.
Yeah, i’ll kind of comment on this and then wrap us up with some just additional thoughts, maybe some application for you today and then Perry I’ll kind let you close this out. The three questions came from John and a previous podcast we shared with you and those were, how will crisis make you better or how will the crisis make your team better? How will I use the crisis to help other people? And what action will I take that will improve my situation? This point right here, I think I want to kind of take us down a rabbit trail just for a second. When we talk about discovering who you really are, when you talk about refining someone and getting down to where you begin to maybe even question yourself at times and people get frustrated and they get a little bit tense and you begin to maybe look internally like I do. I think there’s something you need to be aware of. I was having a conversation with Mark Cole yesterday and we were talking about it’s okay for your beliefs to be challenged and changed. What’s not okay is for your values, your personal values to ever change. And what we were talking about was if your beliefs are not changing, you’re not allowing any type of growth to happen internally. You’re not allowing perspectives and conversations to challenge the way that you think. Because at first I disagreed with this. At first I was like, no, these are my beliefs. And we were having a conversation and he said, no, no, no, no, no. Your values should not ever change. If that’s something you value, then that is something you stand on, your beliefs about. Something should change as you continue to grow. And as you continue to discover who you really are. And so to your point where you go through a time like this, there’s going to be some question of yourself. There’s going to be some lonely decisions that you’d have to make. There’s going to be some things where you go, oh man you know, this is a pretty big risk. And so you’re going to get to a place where you’re going to have to have really some time to self reflect and you’re going to be out of your comfort zone. And I just want to challenge you, make sure you understand that if you’re learning and you’re growing and you’re going through a refining process, like we all are as leaders cause there’s no manual for this type of leadership. Be okay with your beliefs changing and having conversations and being authentic about that. Just make sure that you know what your values are as a leader and stand on those. Here’s my closing thought for you. It’s going to be a grind. You know, this is not easy. We’re not sitting here and I know Perry and I have been, we’ve told you several times like we have bad days and we mess up as leaders and we have our teams look at us and go, you have no idea. Right? Or they go, Hey Chris, that is not going to work. And that’s okay, but I just want to encourage you. Get up every day, right? It’s going to be a grind live on the other side of yes. And remember what John talks about in this greatest gap between unsuccessful and successful leaders. It’s the thinking time. And so continue to think not only on your business but on your people instead of being in it and trying to solve everything. And I think those are just a couple of takeaways when it comes to leading your team from a corporate perspective application that I think adds value to you if you take it to heart.
Right, good word. Well, thank you all for joining us. It’s just a great honor to have you along with us during this time. If you’d like to know more about the 5 Levels Of Leadership or would like to leave Chris or I a comment or a question we always love hearing from you, and you can do that at johnmaxwellcompany.com. You can also download the learner guide for this episode and all episodes there is a little note taking guide you might find helpful. We’ll encourage you to stay positive, keep that good perspective, stay safe, keep leading, leap from the front and we’re grateful again to have you, this is the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.
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