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​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Are You a Difference Maker?

March 2, 2022
​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Are You a Difference Maker?

This week we are talking about making a difference in your world. Whether that be in your business, family, or community, we believe that big change starts with people like you––with leaders like you. In this episode, John Maxwell will share the most important attributes a leader must possess in order to be a difference maker.

For the application portion of this episode, Mark Cole and Chris Goede examine some of these key attributes in their own leadership and in those they lead. If you want to make a difference, but feel like you don’t know how, don’t miss this episode!

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the “Are You a Difference Maker Worksheet,” which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome to The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast, the podcast that adds value to leaders who multiply value to others. My name is Mark Cole, and I'm the CEO of The John Maxwell Enterprise, as well as your host for this podcast. This week, we are talking about making a difference in your world, whether that be in your business, your family, maybe even in your community. We believe big change starts with people like you. In this episode, John Maxwell will be sharing the most important attributes a leader must possess in order to make a difference, in order to be a difference maker. My co-host Chris Goede and I will be back after John teaches to dive into this lesson and offer some application for you to apply to your life and leadership.

If you would like to download the fill-in-the-blank worksheet that accompanies John's lesson, please go to, and click on the Bonus Resource button. That's right, we'll give you a Bonus Resource button you can take notes and follow along as John teaches. Here is John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  I want to ask you a question, who are the people who really make a difference? People who make a difference are connected and committed. Those are the two key words, they're connected and they're committed. And I'm going to break it down for you so you understand the connection and so that you understand the commitment. Let's talk about the connection first. Okay? Make a difference people are connected to the leader. People that make a difference quickly get connected to a good leader. Let me help you understand something. The reason that many of you will be a success is because you had a good leader that was a success. Are you with me?

If you want to be successful, you know what you do? You go find a good leader, because everything rises and falls on leadership. So, the people that want to make a difference, one of the first things they do is they say, "Wait a minute, I want to make a difference. Now, I got to find somebody who's a good leader, who's wanting to make a difference. And I got to go attach myself to them at the hip, because this proximity of relationship is going to make a lot of difference about my own success." So, they look for a good leader that's already making a difference.

Number two, make a difference people are connected to the vision. They're connected to the vision. John Sculley was right when he said, "The future belongs to those who see the possibilities before they become obvious." It takes a leader to see it first. It's too late when everybody says, "Oh yeah, now I see it. The train's already gone. Nobody's home." Let me share with you when I talk about being connected to a vision. There are four voices of vision. Vision is not only something you see, vision is something you hear. Let me give you those four voices.

There's first of all, the inner voice. The inner voice is the voice inside of you that pulls you above the mundane and says, "You were born for something better than this. You were created to do something great." It's the inner voice. Second is the unhappy voice. You see, the unhappy voice is the voice of discontentment that says, "I don't like things just as they are." You see, great leaders in history have created change, not prevented it. Administrators prevent change. Their theme song is I shall not be moved. Leaders, they create change. And they create change because of the unhappy voice inside of them that basically says, "Things could be better. Things should be better. There's something I could do to make it better." Does this make sense? They push the envelope. They get out on the edge.

Then there's the successful voice. Those are the words of successful people who inspire others by giving a vision that has credibility. And all of a sudden you hear them and you say, "Oh yes, I should do that," or, "I could do that," or, "I want to become like that." It's the voice of somebody that's already gotten to the mountain and they're saying basically, "I've got up here and there's room at the top. Come on up. Come on up. You don't have to stay down there, come up to the top. There's a lot of room at the top. And it's true, there's always room at the top. It's crowded at the bottom."

Then there's the higher voice. That's what I call the God voice. It's the voice of the one who believes in you more than you believe in yourself and the one who created you, so he knows what you're capable of. It's the voice of one who has never short-changed anyone. And these are the voices of vision. And what I know about people that make a difference is people that make a difference they're connected to a leader that makes a difference, but they're also connected to a vision, a vision that's got a high voice to it, a vision that's got a successful voice to it, a vision that's got the inner voice, a vision that's got the unhappy voice at times, but they listen to those voices and they respond accordingly.

And thirdly, make a difference people... Are you ready? Make a difference people are connected to others. Not only to leaders, but others who want to make a difference. Now, what I'm saying is, when it comes to making a difference, make a difference people hang around with make a difference people. And people who don't care to make a difference, hang around with people who don't care to make a difference. Ain't that true? Lazy people hanging around with lazy people. Who you hanging around with? Because if you want to make a difference, you got to get around a make a difference person.

And all of a sudden it hit me when I was doing this last, I'm attracted to these make a difference people. They're my kind of people. That's why I like you so much. That's why I want to hang with you. But I'm attracted to make a difference people. I'm attracted to several things about make a difference people. Number one, I'm attracted to who they are. They interest me. Make a difference people interest me. I have found that make a difference people are greater on the inside than they are on the outside. In other words, the longer I'm hanging with them, the more I see that their inside is bigger than their outside. And when I was attracted to them, I was attracted to them because of the outside. But when I got to them, I saw that their reservoir was the inside. Oh my goodness.

And I'm attracted to make a difference people secondly, because what they are thinking. Make a difference people, oh, I love the way they think. George Matthew Adams was right when he said, "What you think means more than anything else in your life, more than what you earn, where you live, your social position, and more than what anyone else that would ever think about you." Make a difference people, they think differently. I've identified 11 ways that successful people think, that unsuccessful people don't think. In fact, the one thing that successful people have in common is that they think alike. That's the one thing they have in common. And one thing unsuccessful people have in common is they don't think good.

I love the sign that says... It's a Laurel and Hardy poster, and basically said Laurel and Hardy had no bad thoughts at all. In fact, Laurel and Hardy had no thoughts at all. While I was writing the book, Thinking For a Change, it hit me I am attracted to people who think successfully. I'm just attracted to them. I'm attracted to get around them. I want to know what they're thinking, and I want to probe their mind, and I want to pull out thought processes in their life and things that they've been crockpotting in their mind that's coming out good. I don't want to talk to a microwave thinker, all you'll get is a pop tart thought.

I'm attracted to make a difference people because of who they are and what they're thinking. And I'm attracted to them because of what they're saying. They're saying things that inspire me and challenge me and move me, and sometimes change me. When make a difference people talk to you, you don't stay the same, they move you. And I'm attracted to make a difference people because of what they're doing. You see, make a difference people encourage me, they lift me higher. Make a difference people expand me, they make me bigger. Make a difference people engage me, they draw me near. Make a difference people empower me, they make me better. So, if you want to be a make a difference person, get connected. Get connected to a make a difference leader, get connected to a make a difference vision, and get connected to other people who want to make a difference. You see, make a difference people are connected and they're committed.

Let's talk about commitment for a second. Make a difference people are committed to excellence, number four. Oh yes. They want to do it right. And by the way, let me explain this to you. Everybody is committed. It's not the fact am I committed? It's the degree of commitment that makes make a difference people different. You see, people that are just doing something, they're committed as long as it works and as long as it's not a problem and as long as things are going okay and as long as I make a little bit of money and as long as the group meets on Tuesday at 3:00 PM and the meeting's over at 4:45, they're committed. But make a difference people, the degree of their commitment is much, much, much more deep.

Bill Bradley, who was a great basketball player for the New York Knicks, went to a basketball camp by Ed Macauley, one of the great old time basketball players. And Ed Macauley looked at all these good athletes that came to this basketball camp and he said, "Let me tell you something, you're all gifted, you're all talented, but some of you are not committed to working like you need to work." And he said, "I want you to understand something that's very simple. Someday you'll come up against another player that is as talented as you, but also paid the price that you didn't. And when you meet him, you will lose." And that is so true. Make a difference people are committed to excellence.

Henry Ward Beecher was exactly right. I love these words, "Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you." In other words, don't let anybody else put their standard on you. If somebody else is setting your bar of excellence, you're already in trouble. Your bar of excellence already ought to be higher than anybody else's. In other words, you want to expect more out of you than anyone else expects out of you. You want to have that level of expectation in your life, that if only one person is disappointed, it's you that's disappointed.

Number five, make a difference people are committed to service. They're committed to service. George Burns was right when he said, "When you stop giving and offering something to the rest of the world, it's time to turn out the lights." Servanthood, number one, puts others ahead of our own agenda. Servanthood, secondly, possesses the confidence to serve. Servanthood begins with security. That's a true statement. Only the secure... Listen to me, this is so important, only the secure will stretch and only the secure will serve, because both of them take us out of our comfort zone. Do they not? One we're reaching for the top, and the other we're reaching to the bottom. And only the secure will get out of their comfort zone to stretch or to serve. Servanthood initiates service to others. It doesn't wait to be served or doesn't wait to even be asked to serve, it initiates service to others. And it's not position conscious. You show me a person that serves and I'll show you a person that is not position conscious.

Number six, make a difference people are committed to growth. I have found there are three types of people on earth, the unlearned, the learned, and the learning. Always be at number three. Always be learning, stretching, growing, doing today what will help you do better tomorrow. If you want to have a great tomorrow, make sure you have a great today. Do the right thing today and you'll reap the right results tomorrow. Just works that way.

Number seven, make a difference people are committed to self discipline. They're self-disciplined individuals. Plato was right when he said, "The first and best victory is to conquer self." I was at a leadership conference and I had a guy who got inspired somehow while I was teaching leadership and he raised his hand, he was a kid. And so, I love this leadership stuff. And he said, "Man, I want to be a leader." He said, "Who should I start leading?" I looked at him, I said, "Start with yourself. The first person you should lead is you." If you can't lead you, you're in deep weeds. If you wouldn't follow yourself, why should anyone else? Conquer yourself, lead yourself. Start there.

How do you develop this discipline? Number one, set deadlines and priorities. Here are the things that I've got to accomplish. Here's what I should accomplish. Here's the time I've got to accomplish it in. That'll give you the discipline. Number two, challenge your excuses. "I get so tired of these whiny, wimpy people coming around with why they could and shouldn't, didn't, and wouldn't. Oh, they just play that violin and nauseate me. Oh, you just don't understand where I've been and what's happened and who I met and what they said, and I said this, 'Oh, shut up.'"

Yesterday when I was on the Oxygen Network, they were interviewing me on my Failing Forward book, and I made this statement. This is a true statement. In fact, when I did it, I could tell that the people they were doing the interview they were sucking air. I said, "It's easier to go from failure to success than it is from excuses to success." I've never seen anybody go from excuses to success. I've never seen a whiny, wimpy, excuse person ever make it out of the pit. What's bad is they want you to get in there with them. I can take a person from failure to success, but I can't take them from excuses to success. As long as you're making excuses, you're never going to make it.

Number three, if you really want to develop discipline, remove rewards until the job's done. And number four, stay focused on results. Jackson Brown said, "Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways."

Number eight, make a difference people are committed to giving. Why? Because giving is the highest level of living. And how do you grow a giving spirit in your life? Number one, be grateful for whatever you have, because I found it's hard to be generous if we're not satisfied with what we have, because we'll want more, and that takes greed. Number two, put people first, because the measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him, but the number of people that he or she serves. So put people first. Number three, don't allow the desire for possessions to control you. Oh my goodness. Don't allow them to control you. The question is, do you have money or does your money have you? And four, develop the habit of giving.

Richard Foster said, "Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed." So, let me review it. Here we go. Make a difference people are connected to the leader, they're connected to the vision, they're connected to others who want to make a difference, and they're committed. They're committed to excellence, service, growth, self-discipline, and giving. And the question I have for you in closing is, as you have listened to this lesson, are you a make a difference person?

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back. If you're joining us on YouTube, it is good to have you back. If you are listening to our podcast, we hope that you are enjoying this one as much as Chris and I here in studio have enjoyed it. But I have in front of me... Again, for those on YouTube will see it, I have in front of me a book that John has written that the whole time John was teaching today I thought about Change Your World. And I'm going to give you a way to pick up this book, capture the book, maybe even give you a discount. I'll figure that out as the podcast goes and make sure that we can do that.

But I want to challenge you because I do believe, Chris, that there is an eight responsibility in every leader to be a difference maker.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And that's what John has been talking about for the last 15, 20 minutes. And that's what we want to talk about here with you today. We want to challenge you, I want to challenge myself, am I a difference maker? Am I making a difference? Can I be a difference maker? How can I make a difference? And so, I'm excited, this is going to be a great lesson. And Chris, you are a difference maker, buddy.

Chris Goede:     Well, I appreciate that. I think what you just said is so relevant, right? Are we reflecting on what we're doing? And I love the fact in that question is, am I making a difference? And what does that difference look like? And as only you and I can be a part of an organization like this, John puts the cookies on the bottom shelves, right? So you and I can understand it. And I love these two words that he unpacks for us around being connected and being committed. And really from a connection standpoint, John has taught us for many, many years that this is where you build the foundation of your influence. And influence then drives being able to make a difference.

So, what I love about this is that, if you and I can learn some of those things, because I believe these two competencies, these two principles can be learned, anybody in our audience right now, whether you're driving a car, you're working out, maybe you're sitting down taking the notes, there's hope for you. Because if Mark and I can at least make a little bit of progress, there's hope for you.

Let's start here. Okay? One of the things that just jumped off the lesson to me is you've always said this, this is your calling. And as a thought leader now of John's and carrying on this legacy, you said, "Hey, my calling was to be very..." Proximity, it was key to everything you did. You say guys run the office, guys run the day-to-day. My calling is to be close to John, to walk with John, to be in meetings with John. And in that, we talk often a little bit about this bubble that we work in.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Chris Goede:     You and I have worked outside of this organization, and John has told us when we've left or... "Hey, listen, it's not going to be like it is here. You know, good luck. I'll see you when you come back," kind of thing. And that has happened for me, I know personally. Talk about that calling and talk about the shape on your life as a thought leader in regards to the proximity of John and being around a leader like he said here in his first point.

Mark Cole:       Well, and this whole time I'm listening to this lesson, Chris, I'm thinking about today this is... If you're listening to this, write it, download time, it is March the second. So I thought about today and the significance of today, but really the significance of two months from yesterday. I thought about a meeting that you and I were in recently where we were casting the vision for the future. And then I thought about right when I started John's organization, 22 years ago. And so, all of that just kind of collided as we asked this question, are you a difference maker?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       Okay. And so, first of all, let me say this, podcast listeners, I don't care where you are, entry level, haven't even entered yet, you don't even know where the level is, are some of you that are really challenging others to take the leadership journey in your organization. The question applies to every one of us, this lesson, like a lot of our lessons, but for sure this lesson applies to every one of you watching and listening today. The question is this, are you a difference maker? And the answer is, you should be.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       I don't care where you are in the organization. So, going back to two months from tomorrow will be May 1st, 2022, and I will be celebrating 22 years in John's organization.

Chris Goede:     Wow.

Mark Cole:       Now, we're talking about the leadership bubble. Now, just yesterday, at the recording of this podcast, you and I were casting a vision to a group of thought leaders that are the Maxwell leadership thought leaders, we're casting this vision of a growth of four times our current revenues, we were casting a vision of doubling our certified teammates around the world, going from 41,000 to 100,000.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And we're casting this vision. And it was my response for cast the vision. And I kind of crack up at that, because that's a difference maker.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       I mean, that is growth, Chris, what we did yesterday. But I'm going to tell you, now let's go back because maybe it's really easy for some of you listening and watching to go, "Yeah, I'm a difference maker. I made some decisions yesterday that really impacted people." Or maybe you're like I was, perhaps even like you were Chris. Go back 22 years ago when I first started. Again, this leadership bubble concept, I did not make that kind of a difference then. And I'll tell you what I told myself often back 22 years ago, "I'm not a difference maker, these people don't even know I'm here. I'm just picking up the phone, I'm dialing..." But I really was a difference maker.

I go back now in my wisdom of the importance of every person in our organization, Chris, and I go, "Oh my, what would I do without that person? Oh my, what would I do?" Even in this podcast, what would I do without the people that's behind the cameras, behind the microphones, at the mixing boards? We all have the ability to be a difference maker. Here's what happens. John challenged us, challenged you to either be a difference maker leader that creates an environment, or for us to go find a leader that is a difference maker and associate, connect ourselves, hitch ourselves to that wagon. Here's what happens. When you get around difference makers, you get in the leadership bubble.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       I am convinced with all of my heart that the day that I made a decision to join John's team as an entry level telesales representative as a 30 year old, working for people that was much younger than me, was a life-changing day for me. Maybe I could have went somewhere else and made a difference, I hope I can. I hope there's an innate ability in all of us to make a difference, but who you associate with has everything to do with the trajectory and the significance of what you do.

And so coming into this organization, which is a difference-making organization, making myself committed to making a difference, and then continuing to surround myself with difference makers, has created this leadership bubble that I'm thankful for, but I'm also very aware of, I'm not as good as people think I am.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       I'm not as good as that four times forecast that I gave yesterday, or that doubling our team around the world. I'm not that good, I'm just in a leadership bubble that makes me look good, because I applied what John Maxwell said at the very point of this lesson, find a leader that's a difference maker and get connected with him.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. That's what I was sitting here thinking about when you were just talking. I was like, "Okay, I'm a listener and I hear you." And I go, "Well, I'm not in one of those bubbles, I'm not around those type of leaders." Well, our challenge to you is go find them.

Mark Cole:       Yep.

Chris Goede:     Right? Because Mark and I have had experience, just talking about personal experience, of not being in it. And that is a completely different trajectory of where you want to be when it comes to making a difference in people. So, go find them.

Mark Cole:       And talk about this for just a moment, Chris, because I love this part of your story, because in the end we win and you came back, but you were in the bubble accelerated influence in this... When I came in, you were leading circles around anything I was doing. You had a massive team working for you, you were traveling all over the country, traveling with John. And then you felt really compelled to go into another environment.

Chris Goede:     I did.

Mark Cole:       And did you make a difference in that environment? Yes. Did they make a difference for you? Not only no, but if this was not a PG version, you would use a couple of other words there.

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       No way.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. That's exactly right.

Mark Cole:       And so, they didn't make a difference for you, you made a difference for them because of what you took from the leadership bubble. But when you came back, you've accelerated again.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Well, what's interesting about that, I think the biggest lesson I learned is you can only... We talk about self-discipline a little bit later in this lesson, and you can only drive yourself to a certain level of growth where you then begin to get tired, you begin to think you're not making a difference, you're not seeing any fruit from that work. And if you're not in that environment or you don't have a leader that is continuing to pull you up or challenge you, well, then you become complacent.

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     And that doesn't happen around here, not our organization, but I found myself really desiring something more like... and we began to have conversations and we began to think about making a change, because I could see what it was when I was here. And John always says, "It's a bubble," and it's not as easy to develop people outside of our organization, because of the way John casts vision and the way now you do as one of our thought leaders to be able to do that.

So I just want to encourage you, because I've been there, Mark's been there, and you may be listening to this and be like, "Well, man, I don't have that." Go find it.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Chris Goede:     Go find it in different groups of leaders. And from a mentorship, from a mastermind, whatever it might be, a values table, go find it, because it's out there, and continue to stretch yourself. You and I could probably talk about point one the rest of the podcast. There's a lot of meat in this lesson, but I want to move quickly. I want to stay on this connected piece, and I'm kind of relieved, because John said there's multiple voices in your head, and I have those, I always thought maybe I have something going on, but he said, "No, no, we should have them." And I kind of felt relieved, I was like, "Okay, good. I'm with you, John, on that."

But man, this is such a point right here about the vision. And I want you to talk about it from a couple different perspectives. Number one, I want you to talk about the four different voices. Do you lean kind of into one more than another? Do you tend to do that? But then here's the other point as a leader of our enterprise and of John's legacy that I want you to talk about, the importance then of having this team around us, that's growing every day, that's inside our bubble, that we're privileged to walk alongside. The importance of tying what they do to the vision of where we're going so that they feel like they're making a difference. That's something that I think leaders, whatever your vision of your organization is, the key part is making sure that every single person on your team understands the impact and the difference that they're making tied to that vision. So take just a few minutes, talk to us about both of those perspectives, because I think you have incredible insight on what that looks like.

Mark Cole:       Well, I too really loved hearing John articulate this, because I struggle with that... What's going on with me? Today I've got this successful voice, everything's good. Nothing changes, the P&L is the same, and tomorrow I've got this holy discontent, this unhappy voice going on in my head.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And so, I like you, as we were listening in studio, I was going, "Yes, I'm not as dysfunctional as I thought I was, the whole world is dysfunctional."

Chris Goede:     It's not just me, we're in it together.

Mark Cole:       Yeah, exactly. We're all in it. I love how John positioned this, because in the voice in our head, the internal voices that John is talking about here, the voices of vision, we all listen to these voices, but I'll tell you, as leaders we also speak with these voices.

Chris Goede:     That's good. That's really good.

Mark Cole:       And both there's an internal conversation going and then there's an external responsibility to get those conversations out. And I think every leader go back and listen to this if you didn't catch it, go check your notes, because I know all of you went to the Bonus Resource button and clicked that, but we've got these in here because John's right, there is an inner voice, there is that intuition that walks with a leader that we just know that we know and we can't explain it, but we just know. There's this unhappy voice to where we had this holy discontent. Right here is good, but if right here is good, this would be better. I mean, we just got this drive in us.

And then there's this successful voice, this... we had a quick win, we had a win, we've got a little confidence under our belt, and so now we're moving forward. And then ultimately for me, a higher voice, that God factor, that, "Man, do I feel the pleasure of God in this whole situation?" Now, what my takeaway on this though, Chris, was, is any one of those voices too prevalent in our thinking, in our awareness? And by the way, because I painted this picture, are you speaking in one of these voices too much?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Yes.

Mark Cole:       I've had leaders that I've worked alongside, I've worked for, that they always use the unhappy voice. They were never happy. We just won, and boom, they were gone. John even has a 24-hour rule. We celebrate for 24 hours, we reflect for 24 hours, and let's move, because there's progress to go. That overplayed can wear on people to where they don't think they can ever measure up.

Chris Goede:     Yes.

Mark Cole:       Internally, I use the unhappy voice way too much. Chris, I was thinking the other day, in fact it was Kimberly, my executive partner, that asked me, she said, "Do you think you're overall a positive person or a negative person?" Now, think about that question. So let me ask you, because I felt convicted when she asked me. So I'm going to ask you.

Chris Goede:     That's a great question.

Mark Cole:       I wish all of you were on YouTube right now, because I'd look you right in the camera and I'd say, "You, are you an overall positive person or a negative person?" And what I discovered in that question was not the answer, I know the answer, what I discovered is is I have an external persona and I have an internal persona. And what concerned me was, is there too big of a gap between my internal and external that is making me incongruent with who I want to be?

Chris Goede:     Wow.

Mark Cole:       See, John Maxwell needed me to be this driver, this not listening to successful voice, but this voice that says, "Okay, I'm the law of navigation guy, how can we get there and what are the potential storms and windfalls and rocks that we can hit?" Well, now I've got to do more and more vision and more success and more confidence. And if I'm not careful, I will revert back to that law of navigation, here are all the potential challenges rather than here are all the possibilities.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And as a leader, we've got to know when to talk potential problems and we've got to know when to talk about potential possibilities, because those voices matter both internally and externally.

Chris Goede:     That's so good. That's so good. Hey, two things just about Kimberly on that, please make sure she doesn't ask me any questions like that.

Mark Cole:       Exactly.

Chris Goede:     Because that really is... That's a great question.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Chris Goede:     And then next is that I think you should have Kimberly on the podcast, right?

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     Like [crosstalk 00:32:49].

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       And I'll ask her the questions then.

Chris Goede:     Uh-huh, yeah. So, man, that is powerful. Like I think that if I would write down that question and then reflect on it, that'd be some great growth mode for me personally. Real quick, before we move on to the next section of this podcast, talk just quickly about the importance of the team members feeling like they're making a difference and feeling like they're engaged, because what they do is tied to the vision. Talk about the importance of that of making sure that that vision is cascaded down into a way that your team members can say, "Oh, this is how I am," and the importance of that as your leader inside this organization, to make sure that we are all moving and making a difference inside this organization.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. As you know, every month I have a vision meeting. And I call it my vision lead meeting. You're in that obviously. I have people in there that do not have P&L responsibilities in the organization. I have 1099s in that meeting. 1099s is a contract employee do a lot of other things and give us a little bit of their time. But every person that's in there, I have a very distinct reason why I want them to hear the vision every single month. Fly them in from New York, from Florida, from Salt Lake City. They're coming in from several different places, we spend a lot of money to bring them in for a three hour meeting. Why? All of them cannot impact directly the P&L responsibility, Chris, like you can, but all of them can be a vision carrier for significant parts of our organization. And so, as a leader, I think it's as strategic what you say as who you say it too.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       And so many times, we as leaders, we look at our direct reports and say, "They need to hear the vision all the time." And I would tell you, there's a potential in your organization that there's people that's not directly reporting to you that needs to hear the vision straight from you too, because their circle of influence, even though not directly reported in and through your office is as important to hear the vision straight from the source as anyone else.

Chris Goede:     Yes. Yeah.

Mark Cole:       So, when you asked this question, vision carriers and the voice of the vision, Chris, you guys, I mean, the month of January, and we're recording this in February, releasing it in March, but, man, your January is remarkable what you're doing with your team. February's already jumped off to a great start, and unless we fall off the cliff, by the time we get to March 2nd, when this releases, you've killed it yet again. Our last vision meeting, you know what I did? I started the meeting off with those stories, because we're in a time of great significance, and the organization needs to hear the significance of the results that we're seeing right now, not just the heaviness of the burden we're pursuing.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And so, very intentionally I thought, "What do I want our team to start this meeting with?" And it was the positivity of the powerful results of January that I wanted to communicate in February.

Chris Goede:     That's so good. Yeah. Yeah. It's so good, because it brought to life as you shared each one of our business units. It showed the impact that we're having on the greater vision. So leaders, just take that. You want to make sure that not only you're making a difference, right? But also that your team understands they're making a difference, and they do need to hear that vision. And then, you need to make sure that they know how what they're doing is tied to that greater vision.

Well, as we kind of move towards the back half and kind of wrap up this session, again, we're only on 0.2, we can talk about the whole thing, but I don't want to miss out on John talks about, "Hey, there's got to be commitment there. There's got to be a committed sense of our leadership in order to be able to make a difference." And for us, it's about adding value to people. And I think this just kind of... It spells it out and everything that John's talking about in here, but for what jumped out at the page for both of us is that we have to see people as something that can be developed and valued, and to serve them. I think he makes a very strong statement about only the secure leaders will stretch themselves and will serve people. Talk about that from your position as a leader inside our organization, the power behind that of serving people.

Mark Cole:       So, if you've listened to this podcast more than a couple of months, you know what I'm getting ready to say and can say as good as me, but John said some striking things during the pandemic that really struck me, because difficult times reveal leaders.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       They just reveal whether somebody really is a player or a pretender. We've talked a lot about that on the podcast. And what we've discovered in the world of spotlight leadership, political, religious, government. In this world of spotlight leadership, we're seeing a leadership deficit, a deficit that makes John Maxwell leadership sad.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And one of our responses here at Maxwell leadership is we've just said that we believe that we need to have more values-based people-centered servant leadership. And what we really mean by that is we value all people. Our organization, as every organization should be, is centered around people and their agenda, not just ours, and we as leaders exist to serve others, to help them accomplish their agenda, their desired outcome, what they're trying to do. That's the role of a leader, a servant of other people and their desired outcomes, and our desired outcomes for them.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       And so, when John talks about this difference maker being a servant leader, I think for me... Go back. If you're listening, if you're watching, go back and think about the leader, the teacher, the educator, the religious spokesman in your life that made the greatest difference for you. What is it about her, what is it about him that made that big difference for you? And I would guarantee you, 90% of the time is because of how big they made you and I feel.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       How empowered we felt, how possible it felt that we could achieve what was in us. Every leader that makes a significant mark on us, the significant mark is because of what they made us believe about ourselves, not what they made us believe about their greatness. They make us the hero. They're a guide to our heroism, is what makes them so good. Be that kind of leader, because it's that kind of leader that is the difference maker that will be sustainable.

We have tried really hard in this, Chris, to... I never have enough time with podcasts with you, ever. We've done our best in this podcast to deliver a standout statement, a challenge, if you will, to ask you the question, what difference are you making? Where are you making a difference? Is it in your family? Is it in your work? Is it for your personal life? Where are you making a difference? We have not released a new John Maxwell book in two years, because our last one is this book, Change Your World.

It's a book that is designed to take whatever success you might have and use that as the foundation to bring significance to your world. Where is your world? It's your immediate area, it's your community, it's your workplace, it's your family. So, I'm going to challenge you, go to the show notes, you'll see a link, you'll be able to click on the link, you'll be able to order this book. We're going to give you a 15% discount. We're going to make it available to you. But do more than read the book, I want you to immediately, right now before you even get the book, we'll put this in the show notes too, go to

We have committed years, millions of dollars, to create an ecosystem that helps people become difference makers. We call it Change Your World. And that's my challenge to you today, that's what Chris and I are trying to do. Chris took his entire team through a round table discussion on the Change Your World content that's at It will make a difference for you.

Now, today I want to close out just like I've been trying to close out for the last little bit, Chris. And this listener comment and question is to you and I, so they must have listened to one of our recent podcasts.

Chris Goede:     All right. All right.

Mark Cole:       And it's Dave. Dave from Leaders Are Creators. And he says, "I'm thinking about a leader of a small organization who I know, this leader does not have the luxury of dismissing individuals from the next meeting for their lack of contribution." You will remember you and I talking about that in that podcast.

Chris Goede:     I did, yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Cole:       "These followers need to be developed to where they can be of value to the mission and to the leader. Can you share some ideas on how a leader can reach people in his or her organization who don't yet get it even though their clock is ticking?" Is the way that he said it. But in other words, they're on a short leash.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       Do you have anything on that? And I'll come back with it as well. Is there anything to help somebody that's not really contributing to start contributing a little bit?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. One of the things when I hear that as a leader, I want to know the why. Why aren't they contributing? So for me, what I would be doing is having one-on-one meetings before or after those meetings to say, "Hey, what was driving the silence here? Is it a confidence thing? Is it a do not understand thing? Like you're at the table because I believe in you, I believe what you brought to this table. Like, what are your initial feelings and thoughts?" And just try to get them to talk to me about the why they're not speaking up or adding value to that meeting.

Once I understand the why they're not, then I'm going to go after and try to help them fix that, because I hope they're on the team, I hope they're in the room and in that meeting, because we saw something in them as a leader to hire them, to bring them onto the team, to be in that meeting. And so, it's our job to close the gap of what's inside their head, their leadership voice, to be able to come out in that meeting, no matter if it's in agreement or not. Then, once we begin to see that, once they get confident in that, then I think you'll be fine.

So, don't just dismiss it because it's not happening in the larger group, go after it and figure out what the problem is, the why, and then help them get confident in being able to speak up and trust their voice on a one-on-one situation.

Mark Cole:       Boy, that is so good, Chris. And I've watched you do that. You do that well. That's not just a good answer, that is a good way to lead. And you lead like that. Dave, I think I'm going to sound like a Baptist preacher right here, because as I think about your question, I think of three Cs that I think is the responsibility of every leader, and it's care, candor, and clarity. Care, candor, and clarity. And my first question to any of us, Dave, when we see somebody in our leadership team meeting that needs to be contributing, that are not, is do you care for the individual and why they're not being fulfilled, or do you care that your leadership meeting is not getting a contribution with them? We got to care for the people.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       And too many times we get frustrated with the person, not because of the person, we get frustrated because the person's not performing it where we want it to be. That's not true care. You got to really care for the individual. There is something in that person that is untapped. Do you care enough to try to unleash that and get that contribution?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Mark Cole:       Chris, is sitting down at a restaurant saying, "I need your voice. I know it's in there, I need your voice. I care for you, not care more for what I'm not getting, I care more for what you would get if you gave."

Chris Goede:     That's right. That's right.

Mark Cole:       Okay? Care. Number two is candor. Does the person know they're not contributing? Too many times leaders sieve, they simmer underneath because they're not getting what they want, and the person on the other side doesn't even know they're not giving, they're not contributing. So there's candor. You got to be clear, "Hey, my friend, you've now been to three meetings and you are not contributing. Do you know why?" There's a candor conversation after we establish care for the individual that has to happen.

And then finally, it's clarity. What are you expecting? And does the person know? Most of the time contribution is not happening because there is no clarity from the leader on what the contribution is needed or wanted or expected. And so, if we as a leader can give care, we really care for the person and not care more for our agenda for the person, candor, we have been clear you're not measuring up, let's get it up, and then candor... Sorry, clarity, this is exactly what's expected.

Dave, thank you. All of you that kind of give us comments, give us five star ratings on your podcast player, you make a difference for us. We are just crossing over the 18 million download mark.

Chris Goede:     Wow. Wow.

Mark Cole:       And that's because of you.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, thank you.

Mark Cole:       That's because of the comments, that's people like Dave that listen, that lean in. Give us comments, give us questions, it helps us. It helps us get better. But until next week, let's listen, let's learn, let's love, then, let's lead.

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