In this episode, Stacy sits down with strategic advisor and coach, Mark Green, the founder and president of Performance Dynamics Group. The two discuss the best ways to maximize productivity in the office from multiple angles ranging from clients, employees, and effective leadership tactics.
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line and results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help.Stacy Jones: 00:30
Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2: 00:31
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones: 00:36
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Mark Green, author of Activators, a CEO’s Guide to Clearer Thinking and Getting Things Done, who is also a speaker, a strategic advisor, and a coach to CEOs and executive teams worldwide.
Stacy Jones: 00:55
Mark’s addressed, coached and advised thousands of business leaders, helping them unlock more of their potential and teaching them how to do the same for their team. And Mark’s clients report significantly lower stress, reduced time consumed by the business, and vastly improved quality of life. Sounds too good to be true for many of you, right?
Stacy Jones: 01:14
Today we’re going to talk about five growth killing leadership mistakes, and how to avoid them. We’ll learn what has worked from Mark’s experience, but maybe to be avoided, and where others are missing the mark. Mark, welcome.
Mark Green: 01:26
Hi, Stacy. Thanks for having me.
Stacy Jones: 01:28
Well, I am delighted to have you here today, and I think one of the triggers of what made us reach out and say we wanted to have you on the show, and have not only me learn from you, but our listeners, is how you helped executives lower their stress levels. Because in today’s world, there’s just so much stress.
Stacy Jones: 01:47
And what I’d love to do is have you start off by telling us a little bit more about your background, what got you to where you are today, and we can have the conversation go from there, as long as you end the podcast by telling me how I’m going to live less stressful of a life.
Mark Green: 02:04
All right. Well, I don’t know if I can give it in the punch line, but I will certainly leave a bread crumb trail along the way to get you there as we go, right?
Stacy Jones: 02:12
Mark Green: 02:13
Great. So, I have a coaching practice here in New Jersey, in the New York Metro area. And right now I serve mid-market CEOs and work with them and their executive teams on a team coaching model. I have nine or 10 clients at any given moment in time, and I work with my clients on an annual basis. And the space I play in in the middle market now is in the $50 to $400 million in revenue, which might be larger than a number of your listeners.
Mark Green: 02:45
However, it’s important to remember that I cut my teeth in the entrepreneurial space, and spent quite a bit of time there earlier in my coaching background, and sort of elevated and grew my practice from there. And I still maintain a relationship with a handful of legacy clients as well. So I keep my toe there. And frankly, my own business is in that space.
Mark Green: 03:07
And so, I have integrity with that, and a deep appreciation of the little guy and the builder, and the teams that want to make something bigger than what they currently have.
Stacy Jones: 03:19
Well, you have to start somewhere, right?
Mark Green: 03:22
Exactly. Exactly. And what I’ve found is that my growth has turned out to be the same kind of thing that I work with my clients on, which by the way, is not a mistake or an error. And my practice is iterated in about an 18 to 36 month cycle over the years since its original founding in 2003.
Stacy Jones: 03:47
Okay. And so, when you are going in to these quite large companies, or when you’re working with a more entrepreneurial or just a smaller business that might be in the millions versus the 40 or 50 millions in revenue, what is the first thing you look at? How do you start looking and how do you start talking with that executive, to determine what path they’re truly on?
Mark Green: 04:12
Well, what I want to find out from the CEO, which is really my point of engagement, is where do they see themselves going? Okay. And I actually care less about where they are right now, and much, much more about this individual’s vision for the future state. And I leave it as a pretty open question, because sometimes they’ll give me an answer that’s six months in the future, which is very interesting, and sometimes they’ll give me an answer that’s 10 years in the future, and each of those things tells me something different about that person, in terms of their ability to see where they’re going.
Mark Green: 04:46
And then I follow that up with a series of questions around what’s in your way? What are the things that have the potential to not allow you to go where you want to go? And that is the opening of the can of worms that leads into conversation around well, we have this problem, we have this issue, we have these things. And I kind of take all that down and we kind of dig in to those issues very directly.
Mark Green: 05:15
I look at the world through a lens of four decision areas. People, strategy, execution and cash. And what I’ve typically found is it’s people, strategy and execution that are the leading culprits for most of the things that aren’t going right, and cash tends to be more of an effect, although there are certainly things we can do there very practically to kind of get that moving for a business.
Mark Green: 05:42
So that’s sort of the entry point. And I also want to know what they individually think they’re good at, and what they think they’re not that good at. And that’s also very telling, because what they don’t realize is, as we’re having this conversation about the content of their business, I’m actually assessing what I call their coachability. And I’ve found … I learned, as we all do in our businesses, we learn the big secrets through the school of hard knocks, right? We do it wrong for so many years, we get tired of getting beaten up, and then we finally figure something out.
Mark Green: 06:15
And this is one of those things that coachability is really critical. And that’s somebody’s willingness to be open to insights, and to direction and to suggestion and to being criticized, frankly. And actually leaning into it and embracing it, and looking forward to those things.
Mark Green: 06:38
As opposed to people who tend to get defensive or who don’t take ownership of their own stuff. And so, that’s really the things that I’m assessing. And so, for a CEO or a leader out there, I will tell you that regardless of the things that are causing you pain, the very first thing that you need to figure out is whether you are coachable, meaning really open to hearing the things you might not want to hear. And if it turns out that you are not, you need to fix that first. Because you’re not going to fundamentally be able to fix the other things unless you open yourself up to that.
Mark Green: 07:21
And that’s this idea that we can … So there’s two valances to our state. There’s a valance of cause and there’s a valance of effect. And we’re at effect when we feel like we’re a victim. We feel like, “Well, this is happening to me because the economy is bad, or because my client is not that great,” or whatever. Whereas being at cause is taking ownership for it. And this idea that I’m making choices that lead me to where I am. And I will continue to make choices that will lead me to where I want to go. And yes, there’s things I can’t control, but fundamentally, I am at cause for my results and my condition.
Mark Green: 08:02
And that’s really the essence of coachability, is being at cause, so that you can hear what you need to hear, and realize that you have the power to change.
Stacy Jones: 08:11
Yeah, well it’s not so fun and it’s not so easy to work with people who see themselves as victims in life, and it’s also not so great from a leadership role, because your team members are not going to learn and be well guided if you have a victimization time of mind point.
Mark Green: 08:30
Yeah. I have a great story for you. A number of years ago, I got introduced to the CEO of a pretty well known charter jet operation that was based in the southwest United States. Tens of millions of dollars of operation, and this particular CEO was a bit of a celebrity, very well known and all of that. And I got introduced to her, and I had this introductory conversation with her, and she was taking no ownership of her condition at all.
Mark Green: 08:59
Like, it was always somebody else’s fault. I mean, literally, the entire conversation. And we got to the end of the conversation, and she said something like, “Well, so I’m not sure how you can help me.” And of course, I responded, “Well, neither am I, and so all I’ve got to do is wish you a lot of success and much luck.” And you know, click, hung up the phone, because …
Mark Green: 09:26
And people can be at any level of success, and still be at effect rather than at cause, and it absolutely has an impact. And it creates an impact on the people around that person, which by the way, is the first breadcrumb about where stress comes from.
Stacy Jones: 09:45
Well, and I was going to say, the exact inverse of that is your CEO or executive who takes accountability for all of their team members, all of their mistakes. And while you can take accountability and ownership that you are the lead and you need to fix, you also can’t be the fixer of everything, too.
Mark Green: 10:04
Mm-hmm (affirmative)- That’s right. And what that accountability does is it shows vulnerability. And the research is very, very clear in this area, that vulnerability builds trust.
Mark Green: 10:18
And so, when I’m bulletproof, and I can never be wrong as the leader, I am actually creating an environment that is … Creates the opposite of trust. Whereas if I’m willing to raise my hand and say, “Hey, look. You know what? I screwed up. I made a bad decision. This is what we learned from it, and here’s what we’re going to do to recover from it. This is on me, guys. I apologize.”
Mark Green: 10:41
That builds trust. And that’s critically important to have groups and teams function, and one of the leading causes of stress in leadership is this thing in the back of your head, like I really don’t trust my people. I really don’t trust that what I’m asking for is going to get done. Or what I’m asking for is going to get done the right way.
Mark Green: 11:04
And what they don’t realize is that they’re the ones that are setting the stage for that. So all they’re doing is they’re looking at the mirror of what they’re creating, and they have the ability to change that. It’s not about other people changing, it’s about them changing.
Stacy Jones: 11:22
Okay. So we’ve got a great breadcrumb to start with. What is your next step? Where do you go from there?
Mark Green: 11:31
Well, what I’ll also do is dive deep on the team. And what I find is that we tend to keep people for a lot longer than we should. And I’ve seen it in teeny tiny businesses, and very, very large companies in the boardroom, where we just operate in our comfort zone, and I’d rather have Stacy, who’s been with me for the last 10 years as we built this thing. And yes, she has warts, and yes, she doesn’t do these things great, but you know what, I know her and I trust her, and all of that.
Mark Green: 12:08
And then out of the other side of my mouth, I say, “Boy, it’s so frustrating that we can’t just stop the level of mistakes that we make in delivering our product to our customers.” And the conversation is like okay, well, which one is it? Right?
Mark Green: 12:24
Stop. Time out. Which one is it? Because part of the role of a coach is to help someone see reality. And we so often operate out of reality, because we make up stories and we tell ourselves all of these things, and we don’t see where we’re inconsistent. And so it’s like hey, stop. Which one is it?
Mark Green: 12:45
Well, what do you mean? And the real question is, so is Stacy and everyone else on your leadership team, are they the people that in five years when you triple the size of the business, like you want to, are they going to be the people that will get you there? And that’s the question that people aren’t quite ready to ponder.
Stacy Jones: 13:06
And there’s a great book, I’m sure you’ve read it or heard of it, called Traction, with the EO system, which is entirely about getting the right butts in the right seats. And not doing what I know I have done in my last 13 years of business ownership, where sometimes you look at the person, and they’re not in the right seat. But you like them, and they’re with you, and they’re valuable.
Stacy Jones: 13:30
And so you move them to another seat, and another seat, and another seat. And they don’t really ever necessarily fit any of those chairs that you’re trying to put them into, and your business suffers from it.
Mark Green: 13:41
Yeah. And you just jumped right into one of my top 10 unproductive leadership habits, which is tolerating low performance.
Stacy Jones: 13:53
Look at it, I jumped right in.
Mark Green: 13:54
Yeah, and we do. And by the way, that’s another breadcrumb for you, because anything … So here’s an insight. Anything that you tolerate, okay, anything you tolerate becomes the level at which your business will perform. Full stop. End of story. That’s it. And so if you’re tolerating this lack of quality over here, because we’ve got all these other things going on, that’s like a stake in the ground of where you’re business is performing.
Mark Green: 14:26
If I’m tolerating this person in this seat on the bus, then that’s a stake in the ground. And if I’m tolerating this really lousy client who’s abusing my people, which happens, that’s another stake in the ground.
Mark Green: 14:41
And what happens is all these things we tolerate end up just shackling our ability to grow. And I will tell you that, as a coach, the conversation about people never ends. I am talking to my CEO clients, who even who I’ve been working with for years of even of these very large organizations, every single month, or at least every quarter, and we are literally naming names on their teams, and we are talking about people. It’s that critical, it’s that important.
Mark Green: 15:16
And it never ends. And I’ll tell you this also, I’ve never started working with a coaching client, and six to 12 months later had the same people in the room.
Stacy Jones: 15:27
Mark Green: 15:28
Okay. And that’s part of the magic of this process that I use, which it really shines a bright light of accountability into all the different corners of the organization, and the people who were able to hide before can’t hide anymore. And it’s actually a good thing, because … It’s good for them, because they’re not comfortable in the environment, and it’s obviously good for the business. And frankly, it’s also good for all the people around those people.
Stacy Jones: 15:53
Right. And the whole thing is I think owners of companies, or CEOs or high end executives, you’re trying to enable your team. And you’re trying to have the best team possible, but you’re also, it’s a big fight within yourself, because you’re trying not to be the bad guy, and you’re very, very cognizant all the time that you don’t want to be the bad guy. But I know I’ve made decisions where I’m trying not to be the bad guy to this person over here, whether they should be shoved out of the company. And I’m trying to support them, but what it’s impacting is the rest of the team, and it’s poisoning them and it’s actually making me be the worst boss possible, because I’m not addressing that poisoned apple that is seeping into the office culture.
Mark Green: 16:37
Yeah. And you just named culture, and so I’ll go there, and say there’s two dimensions that you have to consider when you’re looking at anybody on the team. One is performance, which is pretty straightforward. Are you performing in the job, are you delivering the results of the job?
Mark Green: 16:51
The other is culture, or the core values alignment of this person. And where we really struggle is, and I’ve had this happen multiple times, Mark, Sam is our top sales performer, but he’s a cultural wrecking ball. And do you realize if we let him go, we’re going to lose XYZ amount of business?
Mark Green: 17:17
And my response to that is, you are blind to what Sam is actually costing you right now, and I guarantee it’s more than the gross profit dollars on all that business he’s generating. And I’ve seen this movie play over and over and over again, that they delay and wait, they’ll hem, they’ll haw. Finally Sam will do something that’s so out of range they finally take care of the guy. And like the next day, there’s a line of employees outside the CEOs office, wanting to give him or her a hug to say, “Thank you. It’s about time.”
Mark Green: 17:52
And then, the next time I see them, they say, “Wow. You know, we should have done that a year and a half ago.” And of course, as a coach, it’s one of those, because it’s like yeah, that’s what we’ve been talking about. And so the next time this happens, are you telling me that we’ll be able to lean into it faster?
Mark Green: 18:11
And organizations and execs get better at this. And it’s hard. And I don’t want your listeners to think that I’m this cold person that comes in and chops people out of organizations. It’s not about that. You’ve got to think about, if your company employs 35 people, and you’ve got one person who’s a high performer but is really not a great person to be around, okay, you can say well, it’s not very caring for the one person.
Mark Green: 18:39
And I would say actually, it’s worse for the other 34. Because what you’re doing is you’re creating a hostile work environment, a not fun workplace for 34 people by tolerating that, and by the way, you’re also holding the organization back from being able to grow and create more employment for other people and more opportunities for those 34 people.
Mark Green: 18:59
So when you throw the logic at me about well, it’s not very caring for that person, you’ve got to look at the inverse of it to really see it the way that you should be seeing it, and then it becomes a lot easier to make the right choice.
Stacy Jones: 19:13
We talk a lot internally at my agency about the fact that I can teach anyone to do anything. Sure, and I can give them tools, as well, that they need in order to do their job and excel. But what I can’t do, and this is what’s a turning point, I think, for us with a couple of individuals, and quite frankly allowed them to gracefully leave the company, because my moving of them from seat to seat didn’t work out. But this conversation did, was when we spoke about the fact that I can’t give employees the drive or the passion to do their job. That’s something they have to come to the table with.
Stacy Jones: 19:56
I can give them a wonderful place to work, I can be supportive. Tools, education, all of these things. But it goes beyond. That’s part of culture, I think in an organization that people forget about, and one of the biggest things that I know I’ve hit my head against, is when I talk to other owners of companies, it’s the same thing. They’re like, just why can’t people have as much passion as I have? Why can’t people have as much drive? Why can’t they just want to do a good job? And that’s innate.
Mark Green: 20:26
Do you want the short answer?
Stacy Jones: 20:27
Yeah. Of course.
Mark Green: 20:29
Because they’re not you.
Stacy Jones: 20:31
Of course. That makes sense.
Mark Green: 20:34
And that’s the answer. So it’s really interesting, because this is something I deal with all the time. And there’s two things in motion here, and even in this case I would argue it’s on you, not on your people.
Stacy Jones: 20:46
Mark Green: 20:48
Within limits. It’s still on the leader. It’s still on the leader, and here’s why. In your head, relative to what you’re trying to create in the world as a leader, you understand why that is. You understand why that’s important to you. And it’s the why of what you’re doing that helps you as a leader, get out of bed every morning and go do the things that you do.
Mark Green: 21:12
Organizationally, we’re not that great at spending a lot of time on why. And Simon Sinek wrote a whole book on this, Starting with Why, or Start with Why, and he’s right. We spend an awful lot of time on the what and the how, and we don’t spend any time on why.
Mark Green: 21:31
And as human beings, again, there’s plenty of research around this, we are driven to feel like we are part of something greater than ourselves. And just having a culture full of a bunch of values and behavioral norms isn’t enough. I’ve got to feel like I know what I’m fighting for every day.
Mark Green: 21:47
And so as a leader, if you haven’t clarified your why, and then haven’t communicated it over and over and over incessantly, like all the time, you’re not getting it done. And if you’re operating in that mode, where as you communicate your why, your people roll their eyes and complete your sentence for you, which by the way, is my tolerance for effective communication. You’re laughing, it’s true. Unless your people are doing that, it’s still on you, and then, if people aren’t motivated or aren’t getting it, then I’m okay that yeah, they’re probably not the right fit.
Mark Green: 22:27
And so we’re chronic under communicators. That’s another one of my bad leadership. Chronic, okay, by like a factor of 10, by the way. Even if you think you’re great, you’re actually really bad at it. And I’ve seen this over and over again. And we’re also not very good at the emotional side of leadership. And that’s the territory of the why. It’s the stuff that lights you up. It’s not the, well, we’re going to go win this market share of these three clients, and here’s how we’re going to go do it. It might be logically very correct and very accurate, and it could be a very compelling plan, but there’s no feeling behind it, and the why is the feeling.
Stacy Jones: 23:12
What are some of the successful why’s you’ve heard from people?
Mark Green: 23:18
Well, so … And of course, off the top of my head, I’m not going to be able to remember any of them.
Stacy Jones: 23:23
Of course. You can make it up.
Mark Green: 23:25
Things around building communities of people who play is a powerful … And I’m paraphrasing the why from one of my clients. A great, great company called ZogSports. My own why is to unlock human potential, and I talk about that all the time. But it’s some bigger cause. You know, like what’s the dragon that you’re slaying or the good that you’re trying to do, or the thing that you’re trying to achieve?
Mark Green: 23:58
And the way you get there, and there’s a tool in my book, Activators, around discovering your why. And it’s just a series of questions, very simple questions. You know, why is that important? And so it starts with, so what business are you in? I’m in an agency. I run a marketing agency. Okay. Great. Why is that important? And you answer that question. And I say great, why is that important? Great. Why does that matter?
Mark Green: 24:25
And eventually you end up digging down to something that really kind of gets you in your gut, and there’s an emotion to it. It’s like because I’m trying to rid the world of shitty marketing. Or whatever it is that’s like that ultimate, like passion thing. And it’s like okay, that’s it.
Mark Green: 24:48
And so that’s what we need to start explaining to people. As like what we’re actually doing here, and the why. And by the way, this is not necessarily for public consumption. So this is not necessarily what you would go slap on your website. And by the way, the same is true of your core values. It’s much more internally focused, and typically when I see core values on a website for a company, it’s actually a red flag for me, that it’s more sloganism than actually driving culture.
Mark Green: 25:20
What I look for is if I kind of walk through the office in day to day conversation, I would expect to hear core value words just being used in a very nonchalant, average, everyday way by the people who work there. And that’s a marker of a really, really strong culture.
Stacy Jones: 25:37
And can a company have more than one why? Can an executive have more than one why, or is there really a driving why to everything?
Mark Green: 25:45
So, you can have a personal why. A personal one that’s different than the one for your business, for sure. But the business as an entity really should only have one reason for being. Yeah. And if it ends up changing, you can typically chunk a why up, right? So it’s like okay, we started doing this thing, and here was our why to get rid of crummy marketing or whatever it was that really was emotional for us, that was great. But since then, we’ve diversified and we do this and this now, and I would say okay, great, so then what if we come up a level, and said so then overall, through this portfolio of businesses, what are we actually doing? And why does that matter and why does that matter and why does that matter?
Mark Green: 26:30
And you might come up with a new version of the why that’s actually chunked at a bit of a higher level.
Stacy Jones: 26:37
Okay. That makes sense.
Mark Green: 26:38
Yeah. But this is another breadcrumb for stress, because when everybody shows up to work, and they actually understand why they’re there, guess what starts to happen?
Stacy Jones: 26:52
They start wanting to be there, and they start buying in to the overall plan.
Mark Green: 26:57
And there’s more engagement, and engagement correlates to performance and all kinds of other wonderful things as that research tells us. And so these are all breadcrumbs for things that weigh in the back of the mind of a CEO. Like, why can’t my people think like me? Why can’t they make the same decisions as me? How come I can’t trust them to do da da da da? Right?
Mark Green: 27:18
Well, each of these things we’re talking about here, Stacy, is a breadcrumb that these are things you can implement as a leader that share your brain with those people who are working for you. And this is where we miss.
Mark Green: 27:31
And so my comment about chronic under communication, it sets the channel that we use for all of these bits of information that we’re touching on here.
Stacy Jones: 27:43
So overly communicate, even though you think you are actually getting the message across, as you said, you are at least 10 times not doing so.
Mark Green: 27:53
Yeah. At least, at least. I just had this conversation this week. And again, with a pretty sophisticated client. How can I get somebody to actually do the thing I’m asking for, without me having to realize a week later that they’re going in a different direction than what I asked them to do?
Mark Green: 28:17
And I said, “Great. Who’s fault is that?” And they thought like this, and they said, “Well, it’s my fault.” And I said, “Yeah, you’re right.” So they’re at cause, that’s good. And I said, “Great. So when you explain to this person what you wanted them to do, how did that go?” “Well, you know, I just told them what to do.” I said, “Great, and did you confirm their understanding?” I said, “Yeah. I asked them did you understand what you need to do, and they said yes, I understand what I need to do.”
Mark Green: 28:44
Great. I said, “That’s where it went off the rails,” right? Because who’s going to say no? By the way, some people will, and it’s awesome. But very few people will. And so what you have to do is the business version … Do you have kids?
Stacy Jones: 29:00
I don’t, no.
Mark Green: 29:03
So for listeners with kids, it’s this thing where when you’re not sure your kid is paying attention to you, as a parent, you say to them something like, “Tell me what I just said?” Right? That’s like what the parents say.
Stacy Jones: 29:17
Lovely. My husband treats me then like he’s my parent.
Mark Green: 29:19
Stacy Jones: 29:20
Because he does this to me, because I’m the multi-tasking all over the place. He’s like, “Tell me what I just said.” I’m like “Ah, I gotcha.”
Mark Green: 29:28
That’s right. So the problem is, we can do that with our kids, maybe with our spouse. But we can’t do it professionally, because it’s not professional. You’re not going to say, “Tell me what I said.” But there is a professional version of that that I’ll share, that is the way to get around this and absolutely confirm understanding. And this is another breadcrumb, because it’s going to reduce stress when we delegate things.
Mark Green: 29:50
And here it is. Okay, Stacy, so I just explained to you what I need you to do by next Tuesday. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I’d like you to give me the read back of the first few steps you’re going to take to get this done. That’s the business version of “Tell me what I just said,” because what’s that going to now have you do for me? You’re going to repeat back your understanding of what I said, which is going to let me know, ah, she got it, or well, she got most of it. But you know what, Stacy, this one little thing, I would just change it like this, and if you do that, we’re totally in sync, and you’re good to go, and we’ll talk about it next Wednesday.
Mark Green: 30:29
And it’s that little step that actually doesn’t take that much time, that preempts a deviation from the course.
Stacy Jones: 30:38
No, and we have done that internally at our company, and it has changed things so much for the better, because you know, you say something, you’re living it, it’s in your head as that executive, you’re like, I got this. I’m just going to tell you what to do. So you look at them and they’re nodding their head, and you’re like hmm, they’re nodding, but there’s like this kind of scared look, if you look really deep in their eyes. Do they really have it? Let’s see if they really have it.
Stacy Jones: 31:06
And you make it where it’s not that you’re going to be like, bad, you’re wrong, how dare you not listen. And you actually have a communication conversation with them, it does turn out rather pleasantly.
Mark Green: 31:19
It could also be you did a crummy job explaining it, because that’s a reality too. It’s like it’s both ways. It’s both ways. Are we having fun?
Stacy Jones: 31:29
We’re having fun.
Mark Green: 31:29
There’s so much meat here, just around day to day thinking and behavior, and where there’s opportunities to pick up these little hacks and things that really do tie into the stress equation, like you talked about before.
Stacy Jones: 31:44
Well, I’m ready to bolt from my chair, thinking about all the things that I’m doing wrong, so I’m hoping our listeners are, too. But I am hoping that they’re gleaning on and they’re seeing that there’s actually really easy, actionable things that can be incorporated on a day to day basis that will change and alleviate stress, and change their lives at the office.
Mark Green: 32:03
Yeah. And help them grow their businesses faster and more profitably, and expending less energy and less time as well. It’s all packed in there, for sure.
Stacy Jones: 32:12
What other valuable nuggets do you have for us as you share this breadcrumb strewn path that we are going to be walking along?
Mark Green: 32:24
So, the next one we’re going to move into the strategy decision, and talk about business strategy, which is essentially the how it is you want to execute your business. And great strategy is very narrow. So in other words, I’m trying to be something very valuable to a very well-defined group of potential customers. That’s great strategy in a nutshell.
Mark Green: 32:52
And what that necessitates, though, is my having to say no to things. And this is where we run into a problem. So I’ve got this great strategy, we’ve even hired a consultant. They’re brilliant. We figured out the strategy, here’s the strategy. We’re going to go do this thing, we’re going to be this group of customers, and it’s all great.
Mark Green: 33:10
And then what happens is the phone rings, and it’s one of your top salespeople, and they say, “Hey, so I just got this phone call from this potential customer, and what they really want us to do is this thing over here. It kind of looks like this, whatever, but they’re ready to go.” And now as a leader, I’m thinking okay, so I’ve got my strategy over here in theory, but I actually have a customer on the phone over here.
Mark Green: 33:38
And we get into FOMO, fear of missing out. We all know that, right? And we start to say yes to things that we should say no to. And so the thing that I want your listeners to start tracking is their yes to no ratio. How many times in a given day or a given week are you saying yes to things, and how many times in a given day or a given week are you saying no to things, and what’s the ratio?
Mark Green: 34:07
Because your yes to no ratio should be something like two to 10. You should be saying no an awful lot more than you say yes to things. And I don’t mean no like no, you can’t go on vacation next week. But no pertaining to your strategy. Decisions you’re making in the business about who to do business with, whether to make an exception to our plan, those kinds of things.
Mark Green: 34:35
And they happen quite frequently. And what will happen is, when you start saying no more often, and you start really focusing your resources on where you want to go, not about what’s happening right next to you that you’re reacting to, but where you want to go, it’s going to accelerate your path to get there, and of course, it’s also going to lower your level of stress, because you’re going to move away from where you currently are, which usually feels like a bit of a juggler, into a place where wow, I actually feel like I have my hands on the controls now. And I have a feeling that if I do this, it’s going to go the direction I want it to go. That’s very empowering.
Stacy Jones: 35:17
That makes 100% so much sense, that I can’t even say how many yeses I should not be saying, so I again feel like there’s a lot of listeners who can relate to my position of going, oh, gee, I say yes a lot.
Mark Green: 35:36
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s really another key one under strategy.
Stacy Jones: 35:44
Yeah, because I think you also have to get comfortable saying no. Because it’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t make you feel necessarily good at the moment, but it’s kind of like firing people. You feel really good after.
Mark Green: 35:56
Yeah. No, you’re right. And listen, if you don’t have clarity on your why, this is … By the way, all these things interrelate. I just want to make it clear to the listeners. This is not like some random string of things. These actually all interrelate. If you’re really clear on your why, and your employees are really clear on your why, it becomes easier to say no to things. Because you’re saying no in service of the pursuit of the why, which should also be related to, I hope, that strategy that you set out there.
Mark Green: 36:25
Because we should be able to look at the strategy and say well, the strategy’s consistent with our why. Therefore, we’re really bought into that, and that’s why we have to say no to this thing, even if it causes us a little bit of short term pain. And that’s how it should work.
Stacy Jones: 36:40
Yes. Because I’m sure all of us have gotten to the point where we say yes to something, and then we’re not staffed right for it, and we’re trying to move people around, or we’re not going to be able to actually serve the client’s level that they need to be served. And they’re not going to be happy, and you’re not going to be happy. And no one’s happy, so why are you doing it in the first place?
Mark Green: 36:58
And all of those resources are taken away from the pursuit of what it is you’re saying you want most.
Stacy Jones: 37:04
Mark Green: 37:06
Again, that’s the part we don’t always think about.
Stacy Jones: 37:08
That makes sense.
Mark Green: 37:09
Yeah. You want one more?
Stacy Jones: 37:11
One more. Let’s do one more.
Mark Green: 37:13
We got time for one more?
Stacy Jones: 37:14
Mark Green: 37:15
One more. You’ve got to raise the bar of your expectations of your team. Okay? You’ve got to raise the bar. There’s some really chilling research that was done in an elementary school where teachers were … Kids were selected at random, okay, random, that’s the key word in this. And the teachers, at the beginning of the school year were told, this group of kids, randomly selected, are absolutely gifted and talented children, and we expect that they’re going to perform very highly in your class this year.
Mark Green: 37:45
Another group of teachers were told, this other group of kids, they’re going to cause you some problems this year. So watch out for them in your class. Kids were all selected at random.
Stacy Jones: 37:59
Those poor children.
Mark Green: 38:00
Guess what happened?
Stacy Jones: 38:01
It could not be good. It could not be good.
Mark Green: 38:04
By the end of the year, sure enough, the high performers were all performing at top levels in their classes, and the trouble kids were all performing at the level expected of them. And so it’s incredible that people will behave up to or down to the level of your expectation.
Mark Green: 38:28
For example, I’ll even hear executives articulate, “Well, I’ve got this person. Boy, they’re really, really great in my organization.” I’ll say, “Great. So how are you challenging her?” “What do you mean by that?” “Can we talk about a project that’s aligned with your strategy, that’s a key thing, and tap her on the shoulder and have her step up and lead.” “Well, I’m not sure if she could do that, because …”
Mark Green: 38:55
Well, how is she ever going to learn, if you don’t put her in the position. And it’s always a big moment for me when key initiatives in the business start to be led by people who are not on the senior team, because that’s a marker of a leadership team that’s getting it. They start getting that, and they realize wow, it’s not just us. We don’t have to be the ones leading everything.
Mark Green: 39:16
And things start to be distributed, and that’s when growth accelerates, because they’re actually causing their people to rise up by changing the level of their expectation.
Mark Green: 39:26
And again, this ties back to the stress, the breadcrumb trail, is that, you know, how come we have to do everything ourselves around here? And how come we just can’t count on anybody else to get things over the finish line? Right? Sound familiar? That’s where this comes from. The reason they can’t get anything over the finish line is because you expect that they won’t, and then you never challenge them to.
Stacy Jones: 39:49
That makes incredible sense on all points of what you’ve said. And again, things for us to take back into my own agency and for our listeners, I have no doubt they are getting some value through this that’s incredible, too.
Mark Green: 40:05
Stacy Jones: 40:05
Thank you. So I know you’ve mentioned a couple of times on our podcast that you have a book, and I had intro’d it as well. Can you tell everyone a little bit more about your book, where they can get it and some more insights of what they can expect?
Mark Green: 40:20
Absolutely. So, the book is called Activators; a CEO’s guide to clearer thinking and getting things done. It was published in October of 2018, just last year, and it’s on Amazon for sure, Kindle as well, and Audible, for those of you who like Audible, like me.
Mark Green: 40:36
And I wrote the book because what I had discovered is that the teams that I was coaching were spending far too much time in the zone of what should we be doing and how should we do it? And not enough time in the zone of even though we know what to do and how to do it, how come it’s still not getting done?
Mark Green: 40:56
And I think everybody can relate to that, right? Like, I know I shouldn’t have the piece of chocolate cake, but I just had a piece of chocolate cake. And so, and you extrapolate that into business, and it happens all the time.
Mark Green: 41:09
And so it gets into this realm of where do we get in our own way? And so I did a bunch of research, and I wrote the book. And I came up with eight activators, and a bunch of tools and a couple of assessments around this that is essentially helping to understand the hidden growth killers; our motivators, our habits and our beliefs that are these things that cause us to not act on our intentions.
Mark Green: 41:34
And the goal of the book was to create a handbook for your business mind, along with some tools to be able to use to overcome this, to be able to act more often and make better choices relative to what it is that you intend to do, that you know what to do and you know how to do it.
Mark Green: 41:53
So that’s the story behind the book.
Stacy Jones: 41:55
Perfect. And you can get this, again as you said, on Amazon.
Mark Green: 41:59
Stacy Jones: 42:00
And then you have also created for all our listeners today something from your website, too. Some free tools that they can get.
Mark Green: 42:09
Yes. Absolutely. So the book website is Activators.bus, and the assessments and tools are available via link there. All for free, they’re downloadable. So it’s a great place to start the hidden growth killer assessment, to find out what’s really going on in your head, and how that might be impacting you. And then some of the tools from the book, and of course there’s a link through to Amazon to buy the book from there as well.
Mark Green: 42:34
And then finally, listeners can connect with me if they wish on LinkedIn at Coach Mark Green. M-A-R-K G-R-E-E-N. Coach Mark Green on LinkedIn.
Stacy Jones: 42:43
And all of this will also be in the show notes on our podcast webpage, so that everyone can tune in there if they are reading or walking or driving, or doing all sorts of different things versus writing.
Mark Green: 42:57
There you have it.
Stacy Jones: 42:58
Well, Mark, I am so happy you were on today. It really was a delightful conversation. Enjoyed our time, gave me a lot to think about as a business owner and executive, and things that I need to maybe reexamine and things that we are doing that potentially could be done a lot better. So thank you again for sharing that with us.
Mark Green: 43:17
My pleasure, Stacy. Thanks for having me on the show.
Stacy Jones: 43:18
Of course. And listeners, thank you so much for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Look forward to speaking to you on our next podcast.
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