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Talking vs. Doing: How to Achieve the Big Dream You Have for Your Company [Podcast]

Episode 73:  Michael and Kathryn describe how to take steps toward your big ideas and goals instead of just talking about them. If you think you're the kind of business leader that has a tendency to sometimes be a talker instead of a doer, then this episode is for you!

man climbing toward his dream

In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover the mistakes leaders make when setting short term and long term goals.
  • Find out why having a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is good for you and your team.
  • Learn how to identify opportunities in the present that will help you achieve your future goals.
  • Hear a metaphor for perseverance involving scrambled eggs and a cinnamon roll.
"At some point, with all your ideas that you have as a leader, you have to commit to something... and you have to commit long term."– Michael Redman

Take the Leadership Blindspot Quiz

References:

  1. BHAG - a Big Hairy Audacious Goal

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Michael:        Hello everyone and welcome to HaBO Village Podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
      And this is the podcast that helps leaders like you build Passion and Provision companies, where you have more profit and more joy, and actually enjoy your company.


Kathryn:
      No way. I know.


Michael:
      I mean, it's a crazy thing.


Kathryn:
      It's a crazy thing.


Michael:
      And if you think it's not possible, we've done it. We've done it for the last 17 years. Kathryn and I are married, and we have been partnering together. And this podcast is about sharing those ideas about leadership, day-to-day operations, marketing, and all the other important parts of a holistic model that help you do that. And we talk about those subjects.


Michael:
      Today we're going to talk about something that entrepreneurs have all over the place, senior leaders, is big ideas and big dreams. And there's a difference between, that we've noticed lately with some of our clients and working with senior leaders, between big ideas and dreams that have the potential to be able to be done, accomplished, to be pursued. And those that don't. And actually the third part of this process, I think, I don't even know how to put it into words exactly, but the idea that big talk, no action. Right?


Kathryn:
      Empty words.


Michael:
      Yeah, just empty words. There are tons of proverbs and ideas over and over and over again that talk about the fool who just yammers on and on and on about what tomorrow is. They can't plan it. They don't know it and they never get anything done. They never accomplish anything. They build a reputation of being people who are not doers, they're just talkers.


Kathryn:
      Yup.


Michael:
      And that drives everybody crazy. And sometimes there are people in leadership who are like that. And you want to be careful as to how you communicate that you're not one of those leaders that does that. You also want to make sure that you're watching your leadership and making sure that your leadership around you is being careful to talk about those things.


Michael:
      And yet, you're always pulling that tension between, look, if you're not going to get it done, don't talk about it, with having BHAG. We talk about in the vision stuff, having a 10 to 30 year goal that is possibly impossible.


Kathryn:
      Right.


Michael:
      That would be really difficult. That you have to change and grow and strive to get to that goal. And you have to try so hard, you are going to need other people to help you along the way. It is a community success story when you reach those BHAGs. And there are lots of different pieces and parts of the seasons to get there.


Michael:
      So, kind of, we're talking about the fact of really, we an analogy that we talk about that's using airplanes, right? And the idea that a lot of people who don't, are just talkers and never do anything. They just say they're going to go on a trip. They never go to the airport, they never get on an airplane. They never go anywhere. Like, "Oh yeah, I am going to go do this. Oh yeah, I'm going to do that. Oh yeah, I could do this. I could do that."


Michael:
      There's a difference between those people, and people who buy a ticket, go through security, get on an airplane, and take off. And a short jaunt is, "Hey, I just walked on the plane, we took off, boom, and we were there in an hour and a half." Versus long runways for ideas, versus there's been three delays and you're sitting in the terminal, versus I got on the plane, all I wanted to do is push away from the terminal.


Kathryn:
      And there's a mechanical problem. Delay, delay.


Michael:
      "Ladies and gentlemen, we will be waiting for our maintenance people to be coming out and checking this product. It's really important that we get an eye on it and make sure that it's done. And if they can, we'll be keeping you on the airplane and you'll be sitting here for four hours while we take care of this." If you travel much, you've heard something like that at some point, and then sometimes it's even worse.


Michael:
      "We'll be pulling back into the terminal and de-planing and."


Kathryn:
      "We'll find you another plane. We don't know when or where or how, but I'm sure we'll figure it out."


Michael:
      "And by the way, we don't have any extra planes out on the back 40 so settle in, get a beer."


Kathryn:
      They never say that, but they probably should, because it's the truth.


Michael:
      I think some of those stewardesses are thinking, "Just tell them to get a stiff drink."


Michael:
      Okay, so this analogy, right, we're playing around, we're being silly. But the thing is an idea sometimes is a strange creature, and a BHAG 10 to 30 years out, that takes a lot of thinking and planning. It takes a lot of work. You're dealing with a lot of strategy in the days, weeks, months to come. And then you've got all these other influences outside of your world. And sometimes, we were talking earlier, right, about you could look like you're just yakking about something and it never happens. And sometimes really good ideas take years.


Michael:
      HaBO Village, I started doing some math the other day. We probably were talking about it for a minimum of seven years before we were actually able to get some stuff accomplished. So, we were actually able to create HaBOVillage.com, create a course, and get this podcast really moving.


Kathryn:
      We bought HaBOVillage.com probably 10 years ago.


Michael:
      A long time ago.


Kathryn:
      We've owned the URL for really long time.


Michael:
      And that's significant. We're working with a client right now who is actually a consortium of organizations of larger finance, economic development, district organizations. Great people. We really like them. But when you put four liters of four different organizations in a group in a room and they're coming together to create a new organization that will serve their area and hopefully their organizations better, you got a lot of ego in the room, you got a lot of people. They've been talking for years. And then they hired us to help craft their vision and help them to facilitate the conversation, so that they would actually talk about their core values, their core purpose. What is their BHAG, and is it worth putting any energy, effort and money into?


Kathryn:
      And it's interesting thing to listen folks dialogue because the reality is, we can talk and dream. And sometimes when we think about creating a BHAG and we think about creating a goal, there's this fine line between what we could do that actually really is possible. And maybe something that's just like literally, are you freaking kidding me? There's no way in heck we could do that. And if we put that out there, people are going to laugh at us.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Right? And even the discrepancy between folks about what we think is achievable. So, one person can see something massively, significantly huge and another person who thinks differently says, "Okay, but do you have any idea what it would take to get there? There is no way. We don't have enough boots on the ground to get that done ever." Right? And so even those sort of challenges that go back and forth as people trying to think about, "If I could change the world, what would that look like?" And then are you just talking, or is there actually action steps and thinking that can begin to get you there?


Michael:
      Yeah, absolutely. And in our conversations in the last few days about this subject, one of the things that I was talking about that's important is there are times when all I have to try and keep myself engaged and motivated in an idea that seems so far out is to talk about it and tell stories on a regular basis about what could happen and what would be if it came about. Because it's as if you're sitting there and this idea just, it's not the right time for it. You can't do anything now about it really. And either the timing's wrong for the idea, or you don't have the time and resources at all to do it. But you know in your gut that this is something that you want to try and hold on to.


Michael:
      You know that it has potential. And so when that comes about, you sit there and you go, "Okay, I'm going to talk about this periodically just because I need to figure out a way to keep myself motivated to at least keep my eyes open, and maybe do those one or two little things." Because you start to prepare for an opportunity. Which leads us into to the second concept that I was thinking about is opportunities.


Michael:
      And you never know when they're going to come. And if an idea is big enough and you're, you're working on your day to day stuff, you're just doing all this stuff and you have a BHAG out there, your eyes are primed, your senses are primed to look for open doors, opportunities, things that might be an opportunity to jump on. And if you have that BHAG defined, that big vision and dream and you're talking about it, the more you talk about it, the more your team also may be involved in looking for opportunities. But you also have to be ready for the opportunity. So, which means you have to choose and say, "Is this BHAG big enough for us? Is it important enough that we're going to invest resources, time, money, energy? And actually prepping, and getting ready for an opportunity that we don't know?" I love the old saying "Opportunity favors the bold and the prepared."


Michael:
      I was challenged this last week, folks, listening to somebody speak about the idea that if you believe that dreams valuable enough, are you actually doing something about it? Are you actually putting energy and prepping for it? Are you saying "It's really important, but when an opportunity shows up, then we'll try and figure out where the money comes from. Then we'll try and figure out where the time comes from. Then we'll prepare ourselves." And you could be losing opportunities, because not every window, not every door stays open for a very long time. It can be passed up. When it comes to this kind of stuff, for you and I Kathryn, how does that resonate with you? We've talked about it, but what are the things that come up?


Kathryn:
      Well, one of the things that's interesting for me is that, and I think we've probably told this story before, but when Michael and I first started dating, he just scared me. Because he would talk about stuff as though it was six months out, that I knew practically was like so unrealistic. I didn't even know where to put it.


Michael:
      Actually. That's the way you looked at it. It wasn't a dream. It was, I was talking about dumb things that were unrealistic.


Kathryn:
      Like, okay, that's a really great, but now back to reality. Thank you for this moment of insanity. Back to reality. And we've had to learn through the course of time.


Michael:
      This is true.


Kathryn:
      This is so true. Yeah. I would just sit there and just shake my head like I don't know what I'm listening to. And as a girlfriend you're like, "Okay, well I don't want to shoot him down, but good God, what is happening right now?" So, there's a growth period for me, because Michael dreams big. And I'm very tangible. I'm a very in the present, if I can't touch it, taste it, feel it, see it, it isn't real. And BHAGs, that concept of actually dreaming about and thinking about what you could do in the future that's so big, that you actually you can see it, but it's out there and putting legs to that. That has been hard for me in our own company and early on really, really hard.


Kathryn:
      And when we started talking about the Village, and this concept of Passion and Provision, and wanting to teach and train and help people frame their thinking about how they could run their companies differently, and how they could impact employees differently, and how they could actually have a company that not only fulfills their own personal desires but brings meaning and purpose for other people and ultimately makes a difference in the world. When we first started talking about that, I just couldn't see how.


Kathryn:
      But one of the things that Michael has done is he's talked about it over and over and over again and stayed with it to the place where we did things like bought HaBOVillage.com. We did things like begin to get trained from different organizations about how would we do this thing, how would we build a membership side? How would we start a podcast? I mean all the different tools that we've learned along the way have began to gradually move that into something that is more visible and now actually is launched.


Kathryn:
      And Michael, you had a conversation just a couple of days ago with a friend that we hadn't seen in awhile. Businessman in town. And so tell us a little bit about that conversation.


Michael:
      Part of what spurred talking about this today was this comment because it was somebody, a business acquaintance slash friend that I have known for several years. And I saw him at a local coffee shop. You know, we live in a smaller-ish town of about 100,000 people that's got a real small town feel to it. Even more than that. And you've got the periodic places where people have breakfast meetings and stuff. So, I'm getting coffee, one of our favorite places called Beatniks. And I'm hanging out and Rob's there, and we're just doing the chitchat. Rob says, "Hey, how you doing? What's going on? It looks like you guys are busy." Because everybody, tons of people watch Facebook and stuff like that so they can see activity. We do a lot of stuff online and we are promoting our stuff online and then we have clients and all that kind of stuff. So, people see that and it's fun because they go, hey, they can tell you're busy and things are active and you're doing stuff. Doing stuff isn't always a sign of being busy or doing well. But-


Kathryn:
      Doing stuff's a sign of being busy, just isn't always a sign of success.


Michael:
      Okay. [inaudible 00:13:37] So, you know, we're having that conversation and he says basically with that warm up in that context, he says, "You know what? It's really cool, this whole HaBO Village thing, you're doing it. And I mean it's really neat. And do you remember," he reminds me. He says, "Do you remember when we were doing that service project five years ago downtown? And we were standing in the rain, and manning our post, and you told me about this dream of this HaBO Village and what it would look like?" And he was just so excited. He was so lit. He goes, "Do you remember when you told me that? You remember? You're doing it. That's amazing." I mean, I remember he felt extra part of it because he had heard the story years before, and then it was happening now. And he didn't see most of the stuff that happened in the five years between the two points. Right. He's known us, but he hasn't been seeing all the hard work and labor and all that kind of stuff.


Kathryn:
      Or the months where it felt like we weren't doing anything.


Michael:
      Right. Where just like [crosstalk 00:14:38].


Kathryn:
      We just got to serve clients. I don't have any time for that. That's like God, it's like bad plumbing, can't do it.


Michael:
      I walked away. I was in a great mood when I saw him, "Hey, how are you doing? Things are good. I'm loving life." And that morning I was, just everything was good. And all of a sudden I found myself washed over with this incredibly larger sense of pride in a healthy way, excitement, encouragement because something just happened that somebody heard me talking about a vision and then they're acknowledging the fact that we're doing it. And there was a sense of he was proud of me, he was excited for me. There was all that kind of stuff and that was huge and it was, because being an idea guy, like Kathryn stated, I have been accused a lot of times of being somebody who just flaps their gums and never does anything. Now I would say in the last 10 or 15 years, at least the last 10 years, that has not happened.


Kathryn:
      No.


Michael:
      We started the company 17 years ago. We made it through the great recession. It's amazing how some of those things when you're younger, if you're a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.


Kathryn:
      Thanks for that.


Michael:
      For those of you who are dreamers, you can get this: sometimes when you're out there and you just have those ideas and you want to share, especially if you're a verbal processor. There are scars from people who say, "You don't ever do anything. You're blah, blah, blah." And there is always a level of truth in that. That you talk about these things and there are so many things in life that I've talked about that we never did. And our friend rob, one of the reasons he saying that is because in general people do a lot of talking, but they don't do a lot of doing.


Michael:
      And I see it all the time with folks. And as a leader and a visionary, if you're one of the visionary leaders out there and your job is to come up with the dreams, your job is to see things. And it occurs to me that you know, you've got to figure out how you can balance needing to think about and talk about these ideas for your own edification. To sort through them to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad. And, we being those idea people, we're really good at running those through and talking about them in a way that actually, nobody ever taught me this until later in life, that's one of our laboratories.


Michael:
      That's how we put it in the crucible. That's how we test it. That's how we evaluate it, but we have to talk about it in the present tense. We have to talk about it as if it's so real to see, if it's real enough to go after. If it's got enough sticky to go. And those of us that are good at taking ideas and taking some of those ideas from imagination in the future and bringing them into the present in the real world,, and putting legs to them and making them work and at least testing them to see if they'll survive here. That's one of the things we do. We use that process. And one of the things that Kathryn and I have gone through, and this is something that I would encourage you with your partners and your leadership team, is to dialogue through that.


Michael:
      So, because she was really good at filtering out what is in front of her. And we operate a like an innovator and an integrator concept, if you're familiar with those terms, in many ways, but not 100%. We don't 100% fit those molds. Because I'm able to think about and be strategic about where we're going big future. And I can bring that and have a conversation with Kathryn. Kathryn's way more prone to be looking at what needs to happen day-to-day, and the day-to-day stuff that has to get done. And she sees that, and is more tuned into that. And I'm thinking about the day-to-day stuff that needs to happen to think about tomorrow. So, you filter through those things. And you've got to be careful that you're communicating well this is an idea. I'm not ready to do something with it. Or, what if we could do this, will it end? Kathryn and I have said many times, now that we're both on board with HaBO Village, will this ever happen?


Kathryn:
      Yeah. And I was, it's funny because I was just thinking when you were, and then you started to describe this, that one of the learning curves for those of us that are more tangible and have a really hard time sort of futurizing so to speak, is really understanding that the visionary leader needs to futurize. They need to think. They need to process. And then helping them land, okay, but which ones of those ideas or which idea just won't let go of you?


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      And one of the reasons I knew that the Village concept and Passion and Provision mattered is because it just kept coming back.


Michael:
      Yeah.


Kathryn:
      Right? It never let go. So, that's part of, I think even as you're thinking about developing a BHAG, it's what are those ideas that so grip you that you actually can't let go? And what's so interesting for me is that as we've begun to make it tangible, and we are a long way from it being everything we want it to be, right?


Kathryn:
      We have this goal of impacting 10,000 companies with the concept of Passion and Provision. I Don't know, we might have 25. We may have more than that, but it's that sense of we have a long way to go. But because we have worked at it and put tangible pieces in place and begun to move towards it, it has now fully captured me. Right? So, now it's no longer just your BHAG, it's our BHAG. And we are charging towards it. And we're making tangible decisions to do things like create a big fat sign on the street that says HaBO Village.


Michael:
      Yeah. We finally, after about two years of-


Kathryn:
      Debating and questioning like, do I want the sign there and what am I going to say about it and what are we doing with it? And yet having that sign there, I see every single day that it's there and this is what we're doing. We're helping companies build Passion and Provision companies. We're helping leaders build Passion and Provision companies. It's what we're about.


Michael:
      What's interesting, you just said debating and that kind of stuff. I was going to say, we just spent two years talking about it, but that doesn't give it the gravitas of what was actually going on. We were talking about it, but the kind of discussion we were having was, "Should we put this out there? Should we put it out early? Is it worth spending a few hundred bucks?"


Kathryn:
      And what if we do it and then we never get there? Then how embarrassing would that be?


Michael:
      So on and so forth. I mean, there was those, they were good questions to have and good conversation and you're like, I don't know. And we hesitate. And finally we're like, we knew that putting it out there was part of our process of continuing to put stakes in the ground. And drive the stakes farther and farther in the ground saying, we are committed to this.


Michael:
      Because at some point with all your ideas that you have as a leader, you have to commit to something. And you have to commit to it longterm. And perseverance becomes the tool. And there are moments where people go, I mean, we're in business 17 years. Some people said during the recession, "Maybe you should just close this whole thing up and go do something else. Maybe it's time." And when you're asking questions of people who are smart people like, I don't know. Well, we persevered, and we made it through. We figured out a way and by God's grace and a lot of determination, we have a thriving company that is a Passion and Provision company. And we have learned to not only have that, we've learned to create something that's, it's stable and scalable. And that's a big deal.


Kathryn:
      Yeah. But part of what allows you to persevere is having something out in the future that you're wanting to achieve, that is so worth pushing through for that you're not going to stop.


Michael:
      This whole conversation, I think we were talking about earlier, how do you kind of put up a wrap around this? It is more of a detailed discussion on why a BHAG is important. A BHAG, where it comes from, it comes from just something that won't let you go. I like the way you were saying that earlier. It won't let you go. It's something that you have imagined. And maybe you imagine it maybe your team imagines it together, or some combination thereof. And this is what goes on. This is kind of all those things that happen that are kind of wrapped up in life, and your conversations, and how people perceive ideas. And wow, that's really cool. You dream a lot or you're stupid, you dream too much. And the way different people have different perspectives and gifts and ways they think about things so they can handle different challenges in life and as a team together. What's that BHAG that we can all agree on? Or the leader has to say, "I'm just going to put a stake in the ground so much. This is where we're going."


Michael:
      And over time, as you continue to make decisions based on that, the trust and the commitment of your community, your team, your leadership, it will come along. Because what they'll see is they'll see that you were being consistent. The biggest concern they have is that you had an idea for a few weeks or a few months, and then you went off to something else. And whatever else you're doing doesn't strategically connect to getting you to the big dream, the big goal. Does that sound fair in talking about it?


Kathryn:
      Absolutely. And I think, I think a good to land what a good BHAG is, would be for you to tell the cinnamon roll story.


Michael:
      Oh, the cinnamon roll story.


Kathryn:
      We all have a story like this in parenting, but this one's just very well put together.


Michael:
      So, the purpose of a a BHAG, one of the things of a BHAG is it's gotta be worth it. And what you get into behind a BHAG, and we'll talk about this in another podcast, is the detailed description. And the cinnamon roll story is really a good story about the detailed description. So we'll have to come back to it again.


Michael:
      So, the story was told, I was listening to a woman speak, phenomenal story. She was preaching. And she was talking about her son,, who's now in his late thirties married and has kids. When he was just a little boy. And they were at this morning thing after a sunrise service, a big breakfast, a get together, a bunch of people at Church at somebody's home. And they were trying to get a little Brian to eat his scrambled eggs. And Brian was being rather persnickety and didn't want his scrambled eggs. He didn't want to eat them and they kept kind of trying to cajole him, and tried to do this, and tried to do that, and threaten him. And it just wasn't working.


Michael:
      Mom and dad were just struggling. And it turns out that one of the things Brian wanted was, there was a pan of fresh, hot, gooey, sweet cinnamon rolls sitting in the kitchen. And Brian wanted a cinnamon roll. So, eventually after all this stuff, dad picked up Brian in one arm, and picked up his scrambled eggs in the other hand, and went into the kitchen. And took Brian and put him in front of the cinnamon rolls, and then put the scrambled eggs between him and the cinnamon rolls. And he said, "Brian, do you want those cinnamon rolls?" "Yes." "Then you have to go through the scrambled eggs. You have to eat the scrambled eggs, and then you can have a cinnamon roll."


Michael:
      There was a simple picture of how much do you want the end goal? And are you willing to do some things that you don't want to do for that joy that sits on the other side of your tasks? And sometimes with the BHAG, it's 10 to 30 years, you're going to have to go through a lot of things.


Kathryn:
      A lot of scrambled eggs.


Michael:
      A lot of scrambled eggs.


Kathryn:
      Maybe a few veggies along the way.


Michael:
      But are you willing to persevere and endure and continue to apply the principles of business and leadership and strategy and all of that stuff, day after day, week after week, month after month to endure those moments? Those hard places to get to the good moments in between? To get to that joy that you set before you way out there in that BHAG? and I'll tell you what, the short goals that last two or three years or whatever, they're really nice when you hit them. They feel so good. Because you've done all this stuff and you made sacrifices and it required some pain, but you persevered. Did you get the cinnamon roll? Brian got the cinnamon roll, he ate his scrambled eggs. And for us as business people, the BHAG is that cinnamon roll. And the detailed description tells us how awesome it is because you have a gift.


Michael:
      You can see that vision so far out, and you can describe it with such detail. You're going to want to capture that. And we'll talk about that detailed description in another episode. And that kind of brings up and wraps up this whole idea of the big ideas and not just being a talker, but being a doer and being willing to commit to something big enough that we call a BHAG.


Kathryn:
      Yeah, it's very, very important stuff when you're creating vision and direction for your company.


Michael:
      Super, super big. And learning to be consistent. Stay with it, don't be a jumper, don't jump all over the place. Take it from me. It doesn't do a lot for your reputation and trust with other folks when you're too much of a talker and not as much of enough of a doer.


Michael:
      So, hey. Today, that brings us to the end of this podcast HaBO Village Podcast, a place where we talk about everything that's involved in building Passion and Provision companies and helping to resource you leaders. So, in a way that talks about leadership and operations and marketing and all those things in a holistic model. So, we can have these discussions and you can take a moment out to think about that. And hopefully apply some of this stuff and achieve this Passion and Provision in your company and in your life. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
      And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
      We thank you so much for coming, and we'd love it if you over on iTunes, would just hit subscribe on this podcast and tell a friend, thank you very much and have a great day.


Kathryn:
      Bye bye.