02 Mar March 2, 2020 – Christian Franchisee Tom Burgess, Mellon CIO Dave Leduc and LearnLoft John Eades
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Tom Burgess – Owner at Christian Brothers Automotive
I want to be the auto repair shop that I used to have to
find every time I moved.
Tom Burgess served his country as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and as an airplane engineer. He got tired of travelling and missing his family and wanted to settle to build a family, and a business. Christian Brothers Automotive had the right values, and he always loved, cars so there was a natural fit.
Dave Leduc – Chief Investment Officer and Head of Fixed Income at Mellon, a BNY Mellon Investment Management firm
There is a lot of evidence over time that putting all your eggs
in one basket, so to speak, is a really risky strategy!
David Leduc is Mellon’s CIO and Head of Fixed Income. In this role, he oversees the active fixed income management teams. Prior to the 2019 merger of Mellon Capital, Standish, and the Boston Company to form Mellon, David was the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer for Standish, responsible for overseeing fixed income investment management activities. He was also a member of the Standish Board of Managers. David held a number of leadership positions, including Chief Investment Officer of Active Fixed Income, Managing Director of Global Fixed Income and Senior Portfolio Manager for global credit strategies.
John Eades – CEO of LearnLoft and Author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success – Read interview highlights here
Coaching unlocks potential and elevates performance. Part of
your job of leadership is to help coach and develop your people.
John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company. The company turns managers into leaders and creates healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace after reaching over 3.0 million readers with his weekly column. Leaders who believe their success hinges on the success and happiness of their team may be the cornerstone to creating leaders of tomorrow. John is dedicated to creating these leaders and his new book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others Success provides real-life examples of leaders who elevate others and how their practices have paid huge dividends.
Highlights from John’s Interview
As an entrepreneur, certainly you have to make the economics have to work where we can take care of our people so we can continue on in the future with payroll and being able to create a business that is successful, that provides for our people and our families and all kind of growth; the things that we want to do, the impact that we want to make. As a mentor of mine always says, “Businesses don’t grow, people grow, and then those people grow companies.” So anytime that you’re an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to start to think that it’s because of us that we’re growing or it’s our efforts or it’s our development. But if we’re going to scale, we’re going to get to some larger impact than just us as an individual can make, we’ve got to have other people growing as well. That’s why part of any entrepreneur’s key responsibility has to be a leader.
The brain is the most powerful thing that we have, and I like to think of the brain in Bermuda grass territory. In the winter, Bermuda grass, it dies, it’s brown. In the spring, in the summer, it’s green, and it’s growing so fast you don’t know how to contain it as a yard owner or a golf course architect. The brain works in a similar fashion. If it’s not growing, it’s dying.
Part of a leader’s responsibility is to maintain that humility to always keep that thing growing and developing, and then impart that on their people. A good example of this is my own team. Once I started to really take my education seriously and get that mind growing and developing, I never once told my team that they need to spend 20 minutes a day learning and growing and developing their own skills and their own brain, but through my modeling of it, now they have a practice in their own life; a choice that they’ve made, to learn and grow and develop that brain in their own capacity. I think that’s the beautiful part about leadership. The best example will always be the modeling of it, versus telling someone what to do.
Here is another example. I drop a seven-year-old off at school every day I’m in town. Each day of the week he’s in the car, we’re listening to something like a podcast or a book on Audible. Pretty soon, he starts to grasp that every day dad is doing something to grow that mind. Now the beautiful part is, I invite him to join me in that process: in repeating key things that we heard or whatever it might be. Some days we’ll do things that he wants to do, and the next day we’ll do something that dad wants to do. So we’ve created a little plan in the car.
The definition of discipline from a leadership perspective is to promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best. We can’t actually choose for anybody; we can’t choose for our kids, and we certainly can’t choose for our team. But what we can do is set a really high bar and encourage and inspire them to choose to be at their best. That’s really what we like to try to do. Other times, when as leaders we have to demand or help them make that decision, of course, but it always works better when it’s a choice that they make versus somebody else making it for them.
My favorite of all leadership principles is, “People Persevere Because Of Purpose, Not Pay.” The paycheck is absolutely an important thing, do not get me wrong. We started this conversation talking about the importance of making payroll and having a business that thrives because of the financials, so there’s no doubt about it. But when things get tough, or when a recruiter calls one of your team members and they offer 10,000 more dollars, are they going to go run for that $10,000 or are they going to persevere because there’s a deeper purpose and a cause for the work that your team does?
One of my favorite stories is from a company called Movement Mortgage. They’re one of the Top 10 loan originators in the country. One of their team leaders leads a team that creates closing documents every single day: they pull data from bank statements, put them in closing documents, send them to closing for those new homeowners to sign, which is not exactly sexy work. But this leader knew how important it was to connect her team to a deeper purpose. So, she came up with an idea. She said, every single day at closing, she would have the loan agent take a picture of the person signing the closing documents that her team created. And they’re not for marketing purposes, but to send that picture back to her so she could show her team. One day, she got a picture back from a single mother with her daughter on her lap, and they were buying their very first house. When her team saw that they made a dream become a reality for that single mom and her daughter, she said, “In an instant, you should have seen the energy and the smiles on my team’s faces.” Because no longer were they just working for the paycheck, they were working to help make dreams become a reality. If you’re anything like me, I don’t know what would you rather do for a living; help make dreams become a reality or just work for the paycheck that comes every two weeks?
We work with a company that’s in the pig farming business. There’s absolutely nothing sexy about owning a farm in Iowa and going to work every single day to raise pigs. But at the end of the day, they’re feeding America with some of their favorite food. They’re potentially bringing families together around a dinner table or a breakfast table to enjoy pig. There’s always an opportunity to connect your people to a purpose or a cause.
Expectations are the seeds of resentment. So the question is, why is there an expectation of X amount of raise and X percentage of increasing cost? I would even go a step further, which is to say, you don’t show a picture one time and hope it sticks forever. We’ve got a lot going on in our life. One of the things leaders have to do is be the chief repetition officer and just keep showing it, and keep getting new stories, and keep telling their people how much their work matters. No one is saying that you can’t continue to make more money. Actually, by its very nature, when you’re purpose-driven, your people are going to work harder; they’re going to give more, they’re going to want to live out that purpose or that cause even more, every single day. So, by its nature, the result should improve as well. Therefore, every single day, it’s part of your responsibility to continue to connect them to a deeper cause and their work beyond the paycheck. It doesn’t matter how dirty the work.
Here’s another one of my proven leadership principles. Culture is one of these things where most people get a little uncomfortable when you start talking about it. But at the end of the day, “Culture Starts With You, But Your People Prove It.” The reason why this is true is because all culture is, is the shared values and beliefs that guide thinking and behavior.
Let’s take the example of Chick-fil-A . There’s not a more purpose-driven culture and successful business that I can think of off the top of my head. They generate about $4.4 million in revenue per store on average. Their nearest competitor in the chicken business is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky Fried Chicken does about $1 million in store per revenue. So, Chick-fil-A has over 4x improvement and it’s open six days a week while KFC is open for seven. It is one of the great entrepreneurial success stories in America; “Here’s this company that’s open less days and generates four times more revenue per store than their nearest competitor”. Now, the chicken is better for sure, but is it four times better? The reason why is because they’re people with [Unclear] this culture every single day, and it’s set by the leaders at the top and it’s set by the leaders that are those operators in the store. Then those experiences that you have as a customer come out every single day when you order and you say thank you. And what do they say? “It’s my pleasure.” That is the shared values and behaviors that live out every single day, and that is culture at its best. That’s why culture is so important for leaders to care about, and it’s their responsibility. You will always know the quality of your culture based on behaviors of your people.
When you start looking at culture, I always like to give practical ways that a leader can help, regardless of the team size. We believe culture is made up of four really key parts. The one I want to highlight is this idea of creating some energy and momentum every single day, regardless of what the results on the scoreboard say that particular day. One of my favorite stories is from the world of sports. There’s a head football coach named P.J. Fleck. Originally, he was hired by Western Michigan, and they were really struggling. The first year he got hired, they went 1-10, but he didn’t lose faith. He had this mantra that he called ‘Row the Boat’. He put it on T shirts, he had it on walls. And the whole idea is that, every single day, each member of that team, whether it’s 6 or whether it’s 10, they have to row the boat. The oars produce the energy that they’re going every single da, the boat is the sacrifice that everybody needs to make, and the compass is the direction we’re going. Year one: 1-10, Year two: 6-6, Year three: 11-2. They went to the Super Bowl. Then he gets hired by Minnesota. Same thing happens at Minnesota; he takes this ‘Row the Boat’ mentality and that mantra to Minnesota. Year one: 6-6, Year two: 7-6. This year, they went to the Big 10 championship and went to a bowl game. He was Coach of the Year. The reason why I share this is, that little mantra creates energy every single day, regardless of how hard the work is, or how difficult the results might be that particular day or that particular quarter. We need to create that energy and that momentum for our people.
Whether or not you go in and be energetic just depends on if you want to lead or not. The reason why is because the people that you lead are going to look to you as the example. Your son is looking to you as the example driving the school; how positive or optimistic you are. So, part of your responsibility and being in that position is to provide an example to others about what great looks like. It absolutely does not mean you have to be perfect. But what it does mean is, if you come in with an attitude or not being positive or optimistic or bubbly, your people are going to feel like that’s okay, and that’s exactly how they’ll end up acting. So I do think it is important.
The one leadership principle that I want most leaders to adopt is that, “Coaching Unlocks Potential And Elevates Performance.” Part of your role of leadership is to help coach and develop your people. And if you think of that in your own life, there was somebody that helped you to grow and develop and get better. So put that coaching hat on for your people, doesn’t matter if you’re best friends with them or you’re not, what can you do to coach them in order to elevate their performance is important. I want more leaders today to feel like they’re a coach than they are a drill sergeant. Leaderships change, and I hope that more leaders will take on that mentality of how can I help someone coach and develop and get better. This world is hard and we need people that can help us and encourage us and help us develop, and I hope more leaders will do that.
LinkedIn is the best place to find me online; John Eades on LinkedIn. You can get the book anywhere books are sold. It’s called “Building the Best”. You can go to “buildingthebestbook.com”, you can go to “johneades.com”, or Learn Loft is the company website.