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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #80: The World Has Changed – From Optimal to Possible Part 1

March 27, 2020
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #80: The World Has Changed – From Optimal to Possible Part 1

With the COVID-19 virus spreading and nations going on lock-down, the world has most definitely changed. During this global crisis, however, is where leadership will be revealed and where leadership is most needed. In Episode #80 of our Executive Leadership Podcast, Chris Goede and Perry Holley talk from the trenches about challenges that leaders are facing today and how they can continue to connect and add value to their teams. 

As we continue to assess this new reality, self-assessments are a valuable tool for leaders to learn more about themselves and reflect on new opportunities for their business, as well as personal growth. 


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Read Transcript Below:

Welcome to the John Maxwell Company Executive Leadership Podcast. I am Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach. As usual, I’m here with my partner, Chris Goede, Vice President with The John Maxwell Company. And as not so usual, we are not in the studio. It is global crisis time. And we find that to be an outstanding opportunity for leadership and for leaders to be revealed. And so Chris and I are doing a little, you know, our social distancing. And we’re Zooming in today and in our own personal private studios, but we wanted to get together and share some ideas. So welcome, Chris.

I think that pretty much sums it up. This is something that none of us have really experienced before. And we’ve heard the words of the new normal. How we’re doing business together. And so as you can see, Perry has chosen to take up at the on the top floor of his residence. And I’m stuck here in our John Maxwell Company office just trying to hold the board down. Or we’re using technology optimally.

That’s exactly right, which I think is going to be a lot of how we begin to connect and lead our people, futuristically and so, yeah, so welcome to our first I guess we can’t really call it a podcast, maybe a Zoom-cast, maybe a kind of a virtual lesson that allows us to be social distancing, to honor that request. And we just want to put into practice what we’re being asked to do, and really just kind of broadcast and talk about from the trenches some of the things that Perry and I are going through as, as we connect not only with each other as we try to add value to you but also, as we try to lead our teams, and grow ourselves in times like this. We’re going to talk a lot about that because a lot of us have more time on our hands and we’ve ever had, that’s going to allow us to challenge ourselves and challenge our ability to connect with the teams. So, you know, some of the things that we talked about, we wanted to get on here as quick as we could. And one of the things that you guys are probably used to hearing from us on a weekly basis on our podcast. And so we thought, hey, this week, let’s just scrap some of the lessons that we have coming out. And let’s go live and let us let you hear from us. 

And so there’s no doubt the world has changed. There’s no doubt that these are unprecedented times. Anytime you go through a crisis, I’d say they’re unprecedented and it’s where at times like this leaders are going to be revealed, like it, people need us and leadership is needed most during this time. So, as usual, Perry’s kind of put together some great thoughts and we’re just going to kind of throw out how we’re handling them, how we’re dealing with them, what we’re learning, what we’re learning from John, what we’re learning from some other leaders. So we’re grateful that you guys have tuned in and Perry, I appreciate you putting this content together for us.

Well, it’s like you said, we’re living at this oftentimes we come you know, talking from our experience and what we’ve learned how I got all this gray hair, how you pulled yours out. I do have no hair. That’s exactly right. 

But now we’re actually living it together. This is a global pandemic, and nobody’s exempt from this. And so the world has changed. What got me going on. This was almost every conversation I’ve been in, someone will ask: “So when do you think we’ll get back to normal?” and it’s very evident to most people that we are not going back to normal. There will be a new normal, there will be, but we’ll never go back to where we were. And I was really looking about, you know, thinking about, you know, the September 11 attacks that it changed. It was a global attack, it changed us forever. And we can’t go back to the way it was before. So looking forward and as a leader, not only for yourself, a lot of what I’m writing here today and presenting is about for me, but it’s also what I’m leading people. I’m responsible to them and I kind of set it up that I’m present the point but you’re living it with a team and I know you’ve been probably going 20 hours a day for the last couple of weeks, talking morning noon and night that people like to share your personal experiences from the trench you’re in and absolutely your team because you guys are having to respond both of us. We’ve lost a lot of business. My speaking business went right through the floor and that’s tied to your speaking business. So there’s a lot of dynamics going on there. So there are when the way I titled This was “The world has changed. What do we do now? And how do we move from what was optimal to what’s possible? And it’s a mindset shift about with thinking and we’re going back to optimal. We’re not but what’s possible. Now based on what we know.

Yeah, I think the key word you just said right there for me was the mindset shift. And it reminds me of a Jim Rohn quote, where he says “it’s not what happens, it’s what you do that determines your future.” John just wrapped up doing a couple of incredible Facebook Live value ads, we’ll talk about that a little bit more. And he spent some time talking about how do you get an advantage during adversity and part of it was really around this point that you bring to the table here around mindset and as leaders, not only what is our mindset, but then how are we helping our to control their thoughts and control their actions, and our team is at times going through certain things that they’ve never been before, and they’re looking for a foundation. And that mindset of a leader has to have to show up right now has to be strong. So I know you’ve been working on some ideas to help leaders guide themselves and their teams, speaking of teams, moving from, you know, optimal to what’s possible. Let’s dive in and talk a little bit about this.

Let me ask the question that you said something interesting about individuals and we always teach that you need to lead people individually. You don’t, you don’t leave everybody the same. And I’ve noticed in the groups in the circles that I run in, people are handling this situation. one of three ways. I guess some people are panicking and a little bit freaking out. Some people are kind of stoic and mindful about it and some people act like it’s a hoax. They don’t even believe it’s true. Just throw those groups out. Yeah. How do you when you talk about individuals? And have you noticed this on, on the team that you’re leading? And by the way, when I say teams, this is your team at home, it’s your team at work, because your team and the community are people that you influence in your circle. But people are reacting differently. And how do you handle that?

Yeah, I think now more than ever, we do talk about the fact that we need to lead people the way they need to be led. And we also need to understand that people receive communication and communicate differently. Right. And so we could actually take both of those points and probably have a lesson around each one of those because your team is diverse. and if we talk about level two on the 5 Levels of Leadership all the time, and being able to connect with them, not build relationships with them. How are you connecting? They’re people. And in order to do that, you got to know how they’re wired. You have to know what they value. And you have to know their learning behaviors. And now more than ever, it’s important for us to know that because I have different personalities on my team right now, not only on the team that I work directly with in corporate America every day, but also our leadership team at the john Maxwell company, starting with john himself and Mark Cole our CEO. And, everybody responds differently. And so we need to know how they’re hardwired. We need to understand what their values are, because we as leaders need to be speaking to that. We also need to understand it, because as they’re speaking to us, we may feel like they’re communicating in a certain way. We may take a tone a certain way. We may take things that as they’re squeezed, that there’s frustration coming out that it’s not with you personally. It’s with the situation and so as leaders, the better you understand your people and you understand how to lead them. You better understand how to communicate to them and how they will communicate to you will help you in times like this.

Yeah, I’ve just noticed over communicating, especially listening, understanding where people are coming from our good friend Jean-Luc said maybe it’s not the management by walking around but management by Zooming around, can we connect? How do I connect with people here, they only listen to them and let them talk. And then, you know, know that media, social media, there’s a lot of things driving some of the panic reactions, but really getting rid of some of this a lot of uncertainty for sure, and we cannot shut there. I can’t think I can bring any certainty to this situation. However, I can bring assuredness that we are on it, and we’re going to make our way through it and we’re going to do it as a team so that we can kind of bring that down, but I just have learned in the last 10 days, there are some people that are seeing this a lot different from me. And I need to be a little more patient, empathetic, sympathetic and understanding, kind of living with people in an understanding way we would say so.

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Now more than ever, the power of perspective ties into everything that we’re doing because people’s perspective on situations are different when you talk about communicating a little more often, and management by zooming around. I have a very mature team that works directly with me in my office and in what we get to do around the world. And I remember when we as an organization decided to go and work remote and put everybody kind of in their own home in their own safe space, we’ll call it the kind of laid out some things where I said, Hey, I want to make sure that I’m connecting with you every day. I want to make sure that we zoom a couple times a week, you know, and some of the team members were like, what do you mean like work? We don’t do that, you know, we’re in the office and so, but you really have to be intentional. I think that’s a great point, you really have to be intentional about communicating often. And going back to what you said earlier about understanding each one of your team and then understanding that we’re all going to have different perspectives. During these uncertain times.

I’ve had to learn that on a personal level, at home with family especially that my low key is matched by someone else’s high key. I need to be more understanding of that. So I think it’s a great leader skill in itself. But yeah, so what I have here are eight ways that I’m working on for me personally and then I think we can communicate to others to do that. It’d be a two part lesson. We don’t have time to do eight now but we’ll just listen for and then we’ll come back and do it. Probably hopefully wait a week to get out another one but the eight and just remind anybody listening to watching is that you can go to and get a learner guide for this lesson we’ll have the lined out for you. So don’t feel like you need to write anything down. So moving from optimal, which what it was, was possible, which is what it is, number one was “stop thinking about the way things used to be”. I’ve found that if I dwell too much on the loss of what we had the status quo that I might miss what’s possible, and I really want to, I want to learn from the past, but I don’t want to be controlled by the past. So I kind of put on reminding myself to put on a forward thinking hat to do that. It sounds easy, but it’s not for everyone. And I would love for you to comment about the RightPath Surveys that we do, kind of tell us a little bit about ourselves that self-assessment, and it says that how people handle things differently. What are your thoughts on that?

Two things come to mind when you just make that statement. Number one, I heard John say, either yesterday or today in a lesson that he did, that the biggest gap between successful and unsuccessful people in any time, crisis, adversity, good times, is the thinking gap, how they think, how. Right. And there have been many crises and many adversities that we’ve all faced personally and even globally. And I think you’re the gap between those of us that will have a different outcome of an experience like this will be the thinking gap. And so the first thing that I came to my mind when you ask that question, the second thing is even just around understanding your people talking to Chris Fuller, who, you know, is one of our executives is facilitators and coaches also, you know, is the primary owner of the RightPath that we use. And it’s a profile assessment. And the great thing about this behavior on this profile assessment is that you get to what they call the RightPath 6, as you kind of mentioned. And for me, that’s really the best part of the assessment. Because in there, there are six sub factors that really tell you at the core of who that individually is. And when you begin to look at that, you’ll begin to see in times of crisis that we’re going through right now you’ll begin to see, you know, some that are very practical, some are very logical, that would be me. Okay? Then some are very resourceful on different scales. And you’ll be able to look and understand your people by taking this assessment, how they’re going to react in times like this, even down to creativity and innovation, you know, one of the sub factors They’re, they begin to talk about how are you concrete? Or are you abstract. And I know where I am, right, I’m very concrete and aligns with my logical thinking. But then I have some of my team members, you know that are on that abstract side. And there are times that we’re in right now that I’m gonna have to lean on some of my abstract people in regards to getting creative around training, around coaching, around adding value to people, that maybe my hardwiring wouldn’t allow my mindset to do that. And so it goes back to that thing that you and I’ve talked about in the past. And I know that I’ve even heard crystal talked about this where we need to lead where we’re strong, and teams where we’re weak. And if you understand the dynamics of how your team is made up, even in times like this, where times are changing, you’ll be able to lead successfully through things like that.

I was wondering why there’s so much different reaction and that just, you know, I said, number one was stop thinking about the past and let’s move forward thinking but that’s just not natural for everyone. It’s not. It’s a reminder, you may have to be intentional to remind myself what’s optimal was great, but now what’s possible but there’s a new world that we’re living in. Number two, I said was assessed the new reality, can you do an assessment of where you are, I want to be clear, it’s great to be optimistic, and positive and a positive attitude is really going to take you a long way in this journey, however, doing an honest assessment of where you’ve come from and where we are now, and I need to do that so I can chart a course forward. And I’m thinking that you know, what happened is really, truly unprecedented in our lifetime. We’ve not seen anything like this. So I need to proceed. I need clarity and I need to do as much as I can with a lot of uncertainty still, but can for what I do know and how it affects us in our business and what we do and my family and what we do. What’s the assessment of where we are kind of getting a new baseline in reality?

Yeah, I was telling my wife the other day we ran out to Costcos. Costco there’s no s on the end of that they’ve been a dear friend of ours in the past and I tend to put an S on the end. I have been frequent in that place often as I have teenagers in the house but I didn’t used to hate it when you didn’t hang around too much. But the last couple weeks my food bill and everything else is going through the roof because they’re here. But initially, we ran out just to grab a few things and that was a fun experience to watch how different people reacted. But here, but here’s what I really took away because on our way back we had grabbed lunch. So we said hey, let’s just run through chick fil a and and grab Bunch real quick in my home, I said great. And I was just observing on the new reality that chick fil a has in regards to serving their customers in order to stay open to sell chicken to, to you know be able to keep their team members hired and have a job and and so you I sat back and I watched this whole new drive thru process which I looked at my wife and I said Isn’t it amazing that in just one week the reality has shifted a new paradigm shift in people’s minds of how they do business at the drive thru and, and how chick fil a selling chicken and I think each of us get complacent at times. And in our business, we get comfortable and then something like this happens and you go How come I as a leader? I didn’t I didn’t think about this kind of stuff too, to creatively change my business to creatively be to be more efficient. And you begin to kind of, you know, work through all those things. And, and again, I’m gonna refer to a lesson that John just talks about, it’s kind of fresh on my mind in my heart. And one of the things he was talking about in regards to the mindset and the new reality is, when you’re going through adversity, when you’re going through a crisis, he’s like, always looking for the bigger picture, right? Like, like, what, what is the opportunity here for myself, personal growth for others. And he said, and you know that you’re looking too granular, too small of a picture, when all you’re worried about is how this affects you. And you’re not worried about how it affects you and the people around you. And so I was like, well, thanks, John. I feel real comfortable that I was like, you know.

I think there is a new reality for all of us in the way that we’re doing business on my team. You know, last week, we spent a lot of time figuring out, you know, how can we best add value to those organizations that are being impacted right now, we don’t want to stop coaching them. Matter of fact, all of the events, some of which you’ve talked about where they’re in person, they’ve been canceled. They’ve been postponed. We are getting on the phone with them and saying, hey, let us just kind of be a voice. Let us add value. Let us coach with you through this process. It’s not a we’re not asking for, you know, a paid gig. We’re not asking for revenue. We’re saying we want to add value and be a partner. And I said to my team, on a call at the end of last week, I said, Dean, what we’re doing right now to serve and add value to people. Why shouldn’t that be our new reality moving forward, even when we are signing new contracts or they’re paying us to come speak and why aren’t we going to this level of adding value which could become our new reality in times like this?Yeah. But leads into number three. So I have to assess my new realities, can I reflect on what, how what happened, has opened up new opportunities for me to use the gifts and talents that I have to serve my audience better and by audience again, I said it earlier, I mean, not only your business customers prospects, but your family, your spouse, your kids, your siblings, your neighbors, there’s how that has what’s changed. I’ve done this on every coaching call since this happened. asking what’s what is this what this has opened the door to? What are possibilities here that you can do that you couldn’t do before? And people they kind of paused and then they go, Oh, and then they then they really start brainstorming. You know, we’re really leaning into each other more than we ever have. We’re dependent on each other more. We’re actually talking more. We have a you know, we can actually do this stuff online. We can. It’s what I want, what’s possible.

That’s right, what’s possible and the word right reflect, I think it’s so powerful. I’m going to go out on a limb, it’s probably not a small limb. But I’m going to say people now have more time than ever to be reflecting on what’s going on. You know, we probably have watched more Netflix, some of us probably have dove into a couple more books, probably have listened to some more podcasts Perry and I have done in the past. While we’re just hoping that you have a nice try. But I think I think Well, I think that word reflects you know, John talks a lot about everything that begins, you know, that starts Well, let’s see, how does he say that he says all as well, it begins well, and all as well, that ends well. And what he’s saying really is he saying, hey, in the beginning, we really got to prepare. And if you prepare, you’re going to begin well, but for him at the end. how it ends well is that you reflect on what you’re learning, what you’re going through and to your point, I think This is a powerful thing for us to be thinking about that as leaders, you ought to be reflecting more on the new reality on the new situation on the new opportunities for you and your business add value to people going back to even just my comment a minute ago to my team at the end of last week, which was like, our mindset shift and our new reality of how we’re trying to serve and add value to our clients. Why would we not be doing that moving forward period. And, and so times like this, again, goes back to your mindset thought, which I think is great. As leaders, what’s your mindset around kind of what’s going on?

You’ll find six months to a year from now and we’re looking back and it’s still gonna, this is not going to end? fast, it’s gonna be a slow thing. But once we’re, you don’t feel like we’re past it and things start to recycle. And you’ll think, well, we’ll change the way we do business because of what we learned during this time. So yeah, number four, and last one, we’ll do For today would be to reaffirm your goals, your personal goals, your business goals and your desired outcomes. Just because the global Knight dynamics have changed for all of us doesn’t mean that your purpose has changed. And it means that I may just have to find another way that fulfills that purpose. Right. And I hear you, we’ve had many conversations and you’re meeting with your team. As I said, I think every night You know, you’re after these, John’s that you’re you’re reassessing how do we, what we do hasn’t changed, our mission hasn’t changed, adding value to people doesn’t go away, but how we add value may change, so I know that a lot. Oh, man and we’re changing real time. To your point. You know, our leadership team has faced a huge obstacle for growth, whatever you want to entitle that for a goal or an outcome that we have as a business. One of our groups inside the john Maxwell enterprises are joining Maxwell teams and twice a year, they have a very large event down in Orlando, Florida. It’s good for our business, it’s good for adding value to people. We have over 60 countries represented. So you can imagine, we had to pull the plug on that. And, and out of that, we had to do things a little bit differently. And that’s what we’re doing the past couple of days and ending today. So we were getting on calls each night and we’re saying, Hey, we should have done this differently. should have done that. Definitely. One of the things he said just a minute ago, there’s always an answer. Right? Like, as leaders, you should be challenged by the opportunity to live on the other side of Yes, right. It’s not No, it’s Yes. I might not know as a leader how to figure it out. I might not know what it looks like. All of that is okay. Your team needs to hear you say that, but live on the other side of the s when it comes To your personal goals and your desired outcomes as a business and as a team, and those that you’re leaving. No, it’s a, it’s a fantastic opportunity. I think it’s going to have to get passed on to the desire to panic or run, but to reassess into, like I said, reflect and think about these things. 

So, we’ll stop it right there for this episode. We’ll come back quick with the next four. I just remind those of you listening to watching this, there’s a learner guide, I will add, Chris mentioned several times about the event, virtual summit that john has been hosting. And Mark Cole had been hosting over the past Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. So we’ll put the links to that in there for you. So you can revisit those pages of notes that I was really impressed with and John. It’s just really John at his best sitting down one on one with you. In a casual environment and studio by himself and just delivering the goods, so we’ll do that. And as always, we’re so grateful for you joining us. We’ll be back soon as the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast. 

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