Michael: Hello and welcome to the HaBO Village Podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: Today we have Kyle Gorman back with us for another exciting and stimulating interview. You're going to love this one. We're going to talk about team development. Yes, no, don't turn it off. It's going to be good. I promise it's going to be good. If you haven't heard Kyle before, we interviewed him recently in the past.
Kathryn: It was mid-July.
Michael: I don't remember which episode it is, but you can find it on our website. It was a great interview and it was so good.
Kathryn: That we decided-
Michael: We got to have Kyle back.
Kathryn: Good grief. We have more conversation to be having with this young man.
Michael: This young man.
Kathryn: This handsome, bearded man.
Michael: He loves being called a young man.
Kyle: We're good.
Michael: Kyle, welcome back to the show.
Kyle: Well, thank you so much. Truly, truly an honor. I appreciate the opportunity to be back. I love talking to you all and I love having an opportunity to share with your audience, so thank you so much.
Michael: All right. For those of you who haven't heard Kyle yet, you need to remember that Kyle owns a leadership development company and a recruiting company. He lives in the great state of Kentucky.
Kathryn: Home of fried chicken.
Michael: Just moments from Indianapolis, across the bridge. We have found out that while his town is locked down, he can go out to eat across the bridge.
Kathryn: Just go to another state.
Kyle: So close.
Kathryn: So close.
Michael: So close and yet not too far away. All right. Today we're going to talk about team. Let's dive into it because you've got some great thoughts and ideas. One of the reasons that … Not only just who you are and the way you present yourself in the way you think about things, which I really appreciate, it's clear that you put a lot of deep thought and introspection into a lot of these things you do. You don't just do things willy-nilly.
Kathryn: Never willy-nilly.
Kyle: Of course, you get that.
Michael: I think there's a lot of thoughtfulness in it. Willy-nilly has its place sometimes, but in the midst of this. You are an Assistant Coach for a junior high football team, right?
Kyle: Yes. That is right. I'm in my, I think it's 10th year, ninth or 10th year now of coaching a middle school football program. Our Head Coach has been there for 22 years. I don't want his job, but I've been there now for about a decade and it's very rewarding. It's great to have a positive impact on those young men and get to experience and lead life with them a little bit. That is a very time-consuming hobby, to be able to coach that sport.
Kathryn: There you go.
Michael: It's quite a laboratory for you too. The way you talked about it before, it's quite a laboratory for regularly thinking about teens, not teens, teams.
Michael: And teens. Team development, the purpose of the game, the depth of … This is for fun, but it's also a phenomenal place for character development and cohesion. Talk a little bit about that.
Kyle: Well, it is interesting because in leadership development, whenever I'm talking with someone or I'm speaking at a conference or I'm sharing information on leadership development and management principles and all these types of things, most of my illustrations are around sports or around kids. I guess I hadn't really thought about it that way, but it is my own little laboratory of sorts, being able to experience these things. Really, the reason that I use the analogies in sports and with kids is because of the transparency that comes with that. There are certain things that we see coaches do on the sports field or in a stadium. There are certain things that coaches can do and say that are much more obvious to their leadership style than what happens in business where we have to be maybe a little more even-tempered or a little more PC and so we're able to experience-
Kathryn: You're not coaching management people to yell from the sidelines at their-
Michael: Or throw their clipboards across.
Kyle: Close the door and start screaming at people. There's so many things that are very transparent with that and the same holds true whenever I do illustrations related to kids. A lot of my illustrations, in the way that I give examples, are around kids. Not because I want to say that your employees are kids, but there are certain elements of human nature that are transferrable through life, that just are constantly happening. Again, there's just a transparency that happens with kids. You can see it more. You can recognize it more the way that we handle it when we're talking to a kid. Just a quick example here. One of the illustrations I give is we want to give people autonomy, but we also need to know where those boundaries are. With our kids, I may say, “Stop running in the house.”
Kyle: “Stop running in the house. Stop running in the house,” but I let that one slide because eventually, I know they're going to get a little bit hurt and that's how they're going to learn to stop running in the house, but it's not terrible. I'm not saying I'm Parent of the Year, but I'm saying not a huge deal, but touching a hot stove, I'm never going to stop saying that because the consequence is too high. I might tell my kids, “Stop running in the house. Stop running in the house,” but at the same time, I might ignore that every once in a while, but I'm never going to ignore, “Don't touch the hot stove” because the consequence is too great. Well, the same thing happens in our business. I may be reminding someone of something to do or set an expectation for someone, but at the same time, I have to give them the freedom to fail because that's how they're going to learn, but I also need to understand the lines that are developed in my business.
Kyle: The example I give on that is I may give someone the freedom to fail a presentation, the freedom to fail a report or some information that we need or a phone call with a client, but I'm not going to give someone the freedom to fail payroll because the consequence is too great. We have to understand that within our business. It's just easy to illustrate that with kids. Having the opportunity to coach these young men, there are absolutely some very transferrable things in the way that we can really pour into them. So many times, it's almost enlightening as they hear some things that are related to life. I'm going to brag a little bit. We have a really good program.
Kyle: We plan every year to go to the states and sometimes we make it there. We have a really solid program, not just, we play a few games and we lose, and we move on, but at the end of the day, if we get to the end of a season and they know a lot about being a strong young man, and they know a little bit about football, I've succeeded because all sports, it's about being a young man. It's about being an adult and raising them. Whatever it is, I'm just a firm believer in that. I think there's a lot of transferable skills that we learn through extracurricular activities, whether that's dance or piano or playing in the band or playing sports. I think it's so important for our young generation to go through those things.
Kathryn: Well, I think the fun part about working with kids too, you used the word transparent, but the fact is that at 13, they haven't learned to cover up the behavior that is messy. By the time you get to recruiting people for a team at an office or working on culture, we've learned our way into not exposing those ugly bits of ourselves that can cause conflict. I would imagine that would help too. I'm curious about, what is it you see that that is normal adult behavior, that kids would display with zero filter and adults hide?
Kyle: Well, I'll tell you one of the big ones that we see a lot, even thinking about the recruiting process and how we're hiring people, and we're screening. A 13-year-old kid that gets in trouble in class will very quickly and without filter tell you why it's not their fault. Whereas a 30-year-old knows how to not tell you it's not their fault, even though they still really believe that it's not their fault. Personal accountability is something that definitely is much less filtered in a child, where they will just openly say … I actually had this, I'm not even going to say discussion, it was an argument with my son just a few weeks ago because I said something like, “Why didn't you get up in time?” He didn't get up. He wasn't ready, blah, blah, blah. I said, “Well, whose fault is it that you didn't eat breakfast? Because you didn't get up until nine o'clock.”
Kyle: “Well, it's not mine.” It really took me back. I said, “I woke you up at 8:00. You didn't have to leave until 9:00. You didn't have breakfast and there was a ripple effect.” He didn't have breakfast. He never went to the dentist. He got sick to his stomach. By getting sick to his stomach, he wasn't able to do his workout. It was this whole ripple effect. I said, “Hold up. Whose fault is it?” “I don't know, but it's not mine.” Literally, I kid you not, I stopped the truck. I pulled over and I said, “I am baffled by this conversation. Whose fault is it?” “I don't know, but it's not mine.” I mean it was absurd to me that someone could take that mindset. Now, the reality is there are 30-year-olds, 40, 50-year-olds, 60-year-olds that could do the same thing and be like, “It's not my fault overslept. It's not my fault I didn't wake up to the alarm.” Well-
Kathryn: Who do we blame?
Kyle: Who are we putting that on?
Kathryn: Oh my God.
Kyle: It's so much easier for us to filter that as we get older and understand I can't really say that. I think that's something that we really see. It's such a valuable lesson for young people, is personal accountability. If you can do that at an early age, it helps you out long-term because something we look for in the hiring process is … Someone, every job they've left, they're telling you about why it was the company's fault. Then this happened and that happened. “My boss was bad.” Well, there's a trend there. Eventually, you're the common denominator.
Kyle: People that know how to interview well, people that know how to communicate well can filter those things out. That's one area that's much more transparent in young kids, that gives us an opportunity, as people that are working alongside kids, to help them understand personal accountability. When you get in trouble at school, don't tell me it's not your fault. What could you have done differently? Even if you're saying, “Well, my friend talked to me and I got in trouble for it,” what could you have done differently? Not turn and look at your friend. Not turn around whenever the teacher was talking. Whatever it is, take personal accountability. That's just an example that's filtered.
Michael: That's good. How does this translate then? You're building teams. You're working with real people with real stuff and they may or may not be more elegant at covering their stuff up. Sometimes they're not. From your experience, what are some of the things you start to do in the beginning? What are the baby steps you start to do? If you haven't really focused on team a lot, but you have a decent team, where do you go to start saying, “Okay. How do I …?” Are there core elements that you think are important in building that team culture?
Kyle: I always go back to one thing anytime I'm dealing with team. It all goes back to one thing. It's expectations. I'm making an assumption here that you already have your team in place. Not necessarily that you're hiring, but you've got a team in place. You've got four employees or you have 500 employees. You have to make sure it all goes back to expectations. That's on you as the leader, creating those expectations and then holding people accountable to them. There are other things that we could go through as it relates to, the reflection that you create for them and how you're communicating to them, and all of these things. A lot of it goes back to expectations because you can't figure out how to effectively lead someone, whether it's leading them to excel in your organization or maybe it's leading them out of your organization if you all aren't on the same page of what those expectations are and how well they are or are not accomplishing those.
Kyle: We have to clearly define the expectations for people. They have to understand this is what success looks like for you. I can help you with the resources to be successful. I can give you the information, the knowledge. I can help train you. I can do all these things, but if they don't know the expectations, then we're going to get off track. That's generally what I go back to. Again, there's so many little pieces, little fingers that come off of that, but at the end of the day, we as leaders do need to make sure that we are defining very clear expectations for our team so that we can create a baseline. We can create a foundation of, how do I then coach you as an individual to be successful in this organization, based on the expectations we have outlined?
Michael: That's good.
Kathryn: That's good.
Michael: I like it because the expectations, and we've talked about that a lot on this podcast, is one of the five core pieces of good management and good leadership. I mean the first one is you've got to know what you're expecting. We build it out a little bit. You've got goals, communication, accountability, and then build trust, and then appreciate people for when they're successful. Give them good feedback.
Kyle: I think we talked about this last time we were on. The way I define those same things, I said, “They need definition, autonomy, sociability, and recognition.”
Michael: That's right.
Kyle: You've got to have these pieces. Now, before doing that, I also say the foundation before you ever get there is what I call the manager's mirror, meaning, are you setting the right example? Your team, they're going to reflect the leader and so are you setting the proper example for them? Are you providing 10 resources that they need to be successful? Do you have open channels of communication, all those things that you're talking about there? There's definitely different … There's deeper roots that go into that, but if I'm sitting here saying, “I don't even know where to start.”
Kyle: “I got these 10 employees. I don't even know where to start,” my suggestion is, start with you, as the leader, defining the expectations. What do I really expect of these people? How do they know what success looks like? I'm frustrated that they're not meeting my expectations. They don't even know what your expectations are. You may not even know what your expectations are. You have to be sure to define those things so that you can start having that conversation before you can really develop the team into anything.
Kathryn: It's interesting. I'm thinking about, one of the things that I think I expect, but don't articulate very well is if you make a mistake, own it, which is that personal responsibility thing. I think that I assume a level of maturity in all human beings. That if they make a mistake, they're going to say, “Yeah, I messed that up.” It's amazing how few actually will do that.
Michael: It's amazing how many of those people think they actually do? “I thought I said I was sorry.”
Michael: No, you didn't.
Kyle: You thought of it, but you didn't say it.
Kathryn: As a leader, I mean I know that I example it well because when something goes wrong on the team, even if one of my employees made the mistake, I will go to the client and own that.
Kathryn: Most of the time, I will cc the employee. I think what's interesting to me is … I'm going to process this with you and you're going to help me figure this out because I really want that person to see that and then come back and go, “Wow. You owned that and that was my mistake. Thank you,” and learn from it. When they don't, I'm sad, but I don't know how to point it out. What does that look like as a seasoned leader-
Kyle: It's a great question.
Kathryn: Owning my crap?
Kyle: Going back to the sports analogy of it, they say, “A great coach will always give the players credit for a win and take responsibility for a loss.” I think that is a sign of a mature-
Michael: Do you believe that, actually always give credit for good and always take the responsibility for blame? Do you think that's actually a healthy thing to be?
Kyle: I think that externally, it is healthy. I think internally, I think your team needs to know we're all in this thing together, but basically, the fundamental principle behind that is if you … I was actually just having this conversation this morning with a group. We were talking about the same thing, mature leadership, more so than even mature, but just confident leadership. A confident leader can take responsibility. If one of my employees comes up and says, “I've got this idea. I think we should do this” and that idea fails, as a confident leader, it's okay for me to say, “My fault. I'm the one that made decisions before with that. My fault,” as opposed to throwing them under the bus whenever the news calls or the newspaper wants to do an article on this, whatever. I'm like, “Hey. That was my fault.”
Kyle: “I'm going to take responsibility for the loss,” but whenever something is going well, to be able to externally say, “I really want to give credit to this employee. They came up with this great idea and I really appreciate that and encourage them.” When it comes to that next level like you're talking about here, where, hey, something messed up. I'm going to go back to our client and I'm going to take responsibility, but I want you to be aware that we had an issue in our problem. I think what's good to be able to do here, and this has to do with these open channels of communication, is when that happens, to be able to go back to the employee and say, “All right. We've had an issue. We've resolved it. We're moving past it. What do we need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again?”
Kyle: When possible … I'm not a firm believer in focus on all the positive, all the positive, all the positive because we also have to be real, so we can't just be like, “Hey. Participation trophy because you did a good job.” Let's be real. We've got a problem. Let's fix it, but I think we can point out, here's the positive of what I saw here. As an example, Kathryn, for you to say, “We've got a problem, but you know what, I'm glad that you made a decision. You made a mistake, but you made it big. You made a decision of why you wanted to do something and I appreciate that you did that. Now, next time, here's how I want us to think through that.” I had a boss one time that … One of the most defining moments, honestly, in my career, I was probably 20-ish, 21 years old, I was driving a forklift.
Kyle: I don't know how many thousands of dollars in damage I did, but it was a lot and my boss had just said, “Don't move. I got to go take this phone call. Don't move.” He walks away. Of course, I don't know. It's nine o'clock at night. I'm in college, so I want to get out of there to do whatever else it was that I was going to go do that evening and I moved. I went ahead and I was like, “It's one pallet. I'm going to put this one pallet right here and we're going to be fine.” Well, I missed. Whenever I missed, I spilled everything that was on that pallet. I messed up a steel beam. It broke other stuff. It was a whole thing, but to be honest with you-
Michael: It was all of it.
Kathryn: It was all of it. “I moved.”
Kyle: It was the whole thing.
Michael: As he's talking to about this, you can tell he's building it downwards. This really did suck.
Kathryn: It really was bad.
Kyle: Honestly, it really was bad. I should add, I probably had been with this company for less than a month. My boss had just said, “Don't move. I've got to take this phone call. I'll be right back.” It was company policy that you never drove the forklift in the building without someone spotting you. I did everything wrong you could possibly do in this situation. I had only been there a month. I had built no credibility with the company yet. I expected to be fired. I see him walking down the aisle. Now, I know people can't see me here, but I'm a pretty big presence. I'm a big guy. He was not. He's just a little bitty guy.
Kathryn: Did you have this big beard then?
Kyle: I did not have it then.
Kathryn: Because that makes you a bigger presence, I think.
Kyle: That's true. I'm a big presence and this guy is five foot seven and, I don't know, about 25. He's marching down the aisle. I mean I know what's coming. I know. I'm like, “There's my locker. I know how to get my stuff out of here.” He turns around and just the moment that I expected him to just start laying it to me, he said, “Gorman, that's what I like about you. You want to get things done.” Now, he found a way to find the positive in a terrible situation, but he really meant that. He really was like, “At least I've got a go-getter because I got a lot of people that if I say, “Sit still,” they're sitting still for four hours.”
Kyle: To be able to see the positive in a situation, in an employee, whenever they make mistake, it goes a long way in building loyalty with them, to you as a leader in the organization, but I do think that we have to address the problem and so we have to have a backbone as a leader to be able to say, “But there was still a problem. I appreciate that this happened. I appreciate that you did that. I appreciate you took action, but here was the problem and here's how we need to address it in the future.” I'm a firm believer in giving people the autonomy to fail. We have to give them that. That's where learning comes from, but we have to address the failure. We can't ignore it. Otherwise, it's going to continue to happen and at that point, it's not their fault anymore. It's ours.
Kathryn: We can't assume that they understand it without having that articulation.
Kyle: They don't understand what the true failure was. Just like setting the expectation of what they should do, we have to set the expectation of what they shouldn't be doing.
Kathryn: That's good.
Michael: All right. I want to pivot in this. This is good stuff. I like this. Do you think we've covered enough? We said we were going to dive into team stuff. Do you think we've done enough team stuff, Mrs. Redman?
Kathryn: Are you asking permission to pivot?
Michael: Or do we pivot?
Kathryn: Is that what's happening right now?
Michael: Well, I just realized I was-
Kyle: Let me add one thing.
Michael: I was going to-
Kathryn: Kyle doesn't think we're done yet.
Michael: Tell me, coach.
Kyle: As it relates to team development, we talked about this foundation. You have to build this foundation, what to expect communication, all of these things, but if you build a foundation to a home and you never put up any walls, it doesn't have a whole lot of value to it. Once we have the foundation, the other thing that we have to do in developing our team is we need to understand how to then coach each individual person. Forget the coaching from a sports perspective. We talk about coaching in business all the time, but oftentimes, we think, well, we only coach the employees that aren't performing well. That's what coaching is for. It's a performance improvement plan. It's coaching someone that's not doing their job. What happens when you do that is you're going to lose the best people on your team because you aren't giving them the attention they need.
Kyle: I think many of us out there have heard of these situations. We know of people in these situations. Well, why would you leave? You were with that company eight years, 10 years. You were a top producer. You were a top performer. Why did you leave? “Well, I went to this other company because I felt like it was a better opportunity. It was an opportunity for me to develop more.” What we have to understand once we've outlined those expectations and once we've given people that autonomy, and once we've opened up those channels, and we've done all of these things, we need to know how to coach them. Real quickly, I'm just going to go over this. There's four areas or four ways that we coach someone.
Kyle: We either need to … We're going to coach to remove because they're an underperformer. They're not performing well and we need them out of the organization for the health of the organization. We're going to coach to improve because we see the capability is there, but they just aren't hitting it. We're going to coach to sustain. These are people that we often leave behind. This is the employee that has been with you 20 years and you say, “Gosh. They were great. They were great. They were great and now they're just not performing.” It might be your fault because you just let them go.
Kyle: You ignored them because they were doing okay, but then technology changed, processes changed, procedures changed and you left them behind. We coach to sustain them within the organization, to keep them long-term. Then the last, and this group definitely gets left behind, we coach to excel. Those are the people that are your top performers. You still have to be spending intentional time with those individuals to help develop them and drive them. Those people are driven already. You need to make sure that you are moving them along. I call this the RISE coaching method. We're either going to coach to remove, improve, sustain or excel.
Michael: That's good.
Kyle: Every single employee in your organization fits in one of these four categories, guaranteed, but you have to have that foundation first to know where they are and how you need to be coaching them, how you need to be working with them. As we talk about team development, we've already got the team. Now, how do we develop them? We make sure that we're spending intentional time coaching them, developing them, investing in them for their future.
Kathryn: That's really good.
Kyle: Now you can pivot.
Kathryn: Aren't you glad that-
Michael: Aren't I glad what?
Kathryn: Aren't you glad that he kept talking?
Michael: I'm so glad he kept talking.
Kathryn: Otherwise, we would have missed RISE.
Michael: It's good.
Kathryn: I love that. That was really great.
Michael: It was. It was really good.
Kathryn: It's very succinct.
Michael: It reminds me, I'm watching the illustration of pruning. You prune to cut off deadweight. You prune to retrain and shape. You prune for growth.
Kyle: That's right.
Michael: There's probably only three things on that. You've got four. I'm sitting there, literally. You're talking and I'm like, “Wow. This is just perfect.”
Kyle: It's a great analogy. In fact, honestly, it's funny that you say that because originally, as I started coaching that concept, it started with three. I said, “You either remove, you improve or you excel,” but then what I realized is that we left this group of people and that's the employee I always think of, is this person that they were with us for 20 years, 25 years, whatever. They've been with us a long time and they were really good for years, but the last three or four years, just things are slipping. I thought, well, whose fault is that? How much time have you spent with them to help them understand the changes that are happening around them? That's where I added that sustain model in there to say, “You have to be spending time with them too with slow, incremental growth to make sure that they're keeping up with the business.”
Michael: We're not going to pivot. You're going to have to come back for a third-
Kathryn: Oh no.
Michael: Someday. The reason I don't want to pivot is, this makes me think of two things. We recently had a conversation. The book we just published, we published through a company called Scribe. They worked with us on that. That may have been how we found you originally, is through Scribe. I can't remember. Then we were having a conversation with the CEO of Scribe recently, just a week or two ago, and he made this comment. The comment was, and he talks about it a lot in public, “I believe that companies … A lot of things that the baby boomers had, we gave up on and they were good things.
Michael: One of those was actually the opportunity to be at a company that allowed you to spend 20 or 30 years there. Retire from it and be a part of a community and be a part of something valuable and beneficial, and everything else.” Context of that, set that next to a conversation we had with a client recently. We were talking with Katie, one of our clients. She's from the banking industry. Was in the nonprofit industry. Spent years in the banking industry. Studied economics and stuff like that. She loves numbers. She came and now she's overseeing our Chamber of Commerce in our city.
Kyle: Oh, good.
Michael: She's the director there. We're working with her on some stuff and everything else. I made the comment about the Scribe CEO and she said, “Yeah.” She immediately goes, “But there's a problem with that. In the banking industry, you can see it and in some of the larger creditors. It's called … They become deadweight, this deadweight.” I stopped for a moment because I was enamored by the idea of having a company, a culture that people would want to stick around with and that it would help them thrive, but you're going, “Okay. Yeah, that's a real problem.” Your neglect part really starts to become a key attribute. Maybe not the only one, but a significant attribute in how do you keep people for long periods of time without them becoming deadweight?
Kyle: Great question. I do agree. Let me just preface this by saying there are circumstances in which an individual is no longer right for the organization and that's where they would fall into different coaching methods. We would either look to improve or remove them, but for someone that is doing a great job, they've been with the company for several years. Put this employee in your head. They have no aspirations of growing. They don't want to be in another role. They don't want to advance their career. They want to be in this role. They want to be your receptionist for the next 20 years. They've been doing it for 10 and they want to keep doing it. That's the employee that we start thinking about. What happens is if we just assume, well, this is this person's role, they're an Account Manager, they've always been an Account Manager, that's all they want to do, I don't need to spend a lot of time with them because they're going to be here.
Kyle: I don't need to worry about them. I've got to worry about deadweight over here that's not performing. I've got to worry about this person that's not doing their job and so I start investing all of my time. Now, imagine we would never do this in any other part of our business and say, “I'm going to invest all of my time with my terrible clients that don't pay me.” Why would we do that? We do it with our employees. I'm going to invest all of my time with the employees that aren't performing. Well, to your point, why don't we prune them? Let's move on to somebody else? Well, since we're investing so much time in them, the people that excel, they already have that mindset like, “I don't really … I'm going to drive. I'm moving forward” because they have a certain work ethic, a certain drive that's going to push them.
Kyle: These people that sit in this middle space, this sustained space, that's not their plan. They're not trying to grow, but what we then have to do is we give them … The way that I just described that coaching method is we want to give them long-term goals, long-term development, very strategic, and slow in motion. If I'm trying to improve someone, that's short-term. You are not performing well. I think you have the capacity to perform well. I'm going to give you three months to meet these certain expectations, but someone that's in this sustained coaching model, what we're doing with them is saying, “I don't want to leave you behind. There's new technology related to video conferencing, that I think is really important for you to understand, so over the next six months, I'd really love for you to go out and do some research on that.”
Kyle: “I'd like you to hit up a conference next year, on this new sales technique. I want you to think about these long-term plans to make sure we don't leave you behind. Strategy of our businesses in the next three years. We want to have a satellite location and when that happens, I'm going to need you to be able to work remote more often. I want to put out these long-term strategic plans for you to be able to navigate and get comfortable with the remote work environment.” We don't change to remote work environment five years from now and say, “That person couldn't cut it because they couldn't work from home.” You didn't hire them to work from home and you never trained them how to work from home. That's how we prevent them from being deadweight.
Kyle: I probably didn't describe that adequately, but the way that we prevent them from being deadweight is we give them small long-term goals instead of big, short-term goals because all we're really trying to do is make sure they stay up with us. We don't need them to be driving the ship, but we also don't want to be pulling them along. We just want them to stay with us and so we need to make sure that we're developing them so they don't end up being deadweight that we're just dragging along. Just simply because they've been here 20 years, we feel like we owe it to them. We can't get rid of them. That's not healthy either and so instead, we've got to just make sure we're giving them those long-term goals that they can constantly be working towards, but they don't feel overwhelmed because their desire is not to grow into this number one, a top performer that's running the company. That's the best way I-
Michael: It's good.
Kyle: Just think long-term with them, small chunks long-term.
Michael: Well, this sweeps all the way back around because as I was listening to Katie talk and say that, it was a real challenge. Especially, it has been in the big large companies, to think big blue and you start looking at large organizations where it was easy just to hide somewhere. It was also clear that people were either paying attention to the squeaky wheels or the super performers.
Kyle: All the time.
Michael: It goes back to setting expectations. Making sure that you're setting expectations for everybody in the company. Making sure that you're communicating. Where do I need you to go? What do I need you to do? When people don't want to achieve that, when people don't want to move to that, then you can start moving into coaching to correct or coaching out.
Kyle: That's right.
Michael: You're at least giving yourself these stopgaps. In the stock market-
Kyle: That's good.
Michael: World, it's a stop loss. If the stock doesn't plummet and you lose all your money, you get to that place where it's like, “Okay. I'm out at 10% below where the market is.” What are those expectations where you hit that stop loss with your employee and you go, “This means I need to shift into a different mode because we were fine here and now, we broke through this barrier?” I think there's something intentional about thinking about it so that when you go to those places … Then I think deadweight happens because people … In my mind, I was going, and I liked the way you articulated it really well, I was thinking, well, those people probably were never held accountable, ever.
Kyle: That's right.
Michael: That's how they became deadweight.
Kyle: I completely agree.
Michael: Then everybody feels bad because they've been here 20 years. What are they going to do? Or 30 years.
Kyle: They're family. We can't get rid of them.
Kathryn: They're family.
Michael: They're in their 50s. They're never going to get a job again.
Kathryn: I think in our world, and I know you carry the same philosophy, Kyle, but part of it is every employee, no matter what their role in the organization, they need to know how their role contributes to the overall vision and goals of the company. If they lose connection to that because you're not investing in them, you're not actually having a conversation with them, if they lose connection to why is it that what I do makes a squat bit of difference to anything? Then ultimately, you can lose them, not because they're deadweight, but because they're just tired of the same old, same old and not really connected to the values and the direction, and the vision of the company.
Kyle: I'm just answering phones all day. “I'm not really making a difference. I'm just answering the phones,” as opposed to, “Oh, I get to really be the voice of this company. I get to have an impact on these people that call in.” That's where it's our responsibility as leaders to make sure people understand that. We've cast a vision. We've got a strategy. We have a plan. People need to understand how they fit into that. If they're not performing up to that expectation, make sure they know the expectation.
Kyle: Then based on where they are on that, we can determine how we help drive them forward or drive them out. Again, that's an acceptable solution as well, but I think sometimes we think people fit in one or two, either everything's great, in which case, we're just going to leave him alone because everything's great or they're not performing well because we get so busy in our own world. We forget really, as a leader, our responsibility is the people around us, not our own individual task load.
Kathryn: Well, then I think we make the mistake. The standing joke is the husband and wife, where she says, “You never say, “I love you”' and he says, “Well, I said it and I didn't change my mind.” The illusion that we don't have to keep repeating it. I've told you once. Therefore, you should have this solidified in your mind for all eternity, as opposed to the repetition, the reminders, the encouragement, the intentional connecting. See what you did here. That so spoke of our values, some of those kinds of things that we have to be intentional about because they can lose track. I mean we're-
Kyle: I think in the book, Traction, they talk about this. We can generally only focus on a goal four 90 days before we lose sight of it, which is why they say, “Every quarter, you should be going back reexamining, re-evaluating, and reestablishing those goals” because we've got so many other things happening around us that we easily get distracted into something else or we get focused in another direction. You're exactly right. I talk about that. We're constantly calibrating with our team because if you think about a railroad track, that's where we want to be with our team, side by side, running parallel.
Kyle: If one person starts shifting off just a single degree, well, that's fine for a couple of months. We'll get you back, but if we let it go because, well, we told you two years ago what the expectation was, then two years later, they're way off doing something different and then we're thinking it's them. “I don't know why they're doing this.” Well, it's because you didn't do your job to keep them calibrated. You have to constantly recalibrate those expectations.
Kathryn: This leadership stuff is hard, man. I don't know.
Kyle: It's not easy.
Kathryn: It's a good thing you're in charge.
Michael: Let's head for the landing strip right now. Kyle, you've got people listening to you, who are at multiple different stages of leading companies, whether they've got four employees or 400 employees. We've just talked about this whole process which we know impacts the full range of those leaders. What's one thing that you would leave them thinking about, knowing that they're at different stages, different levels of success in this?
Kyle: If there's just one thing that I think a leader at any level needs to understand is that your priority is your people, no matter if you have four employees or 400. There are other tasks in your business, in your role that aren't people-specific and so chances are whenever you look at your to-do list for the day, it doesn't say, “Have a one-on-one chat with Joe,” but it should because that absolutely is a top priority and the reason I think that that's important is because you as a leader needs to understand. You said it perfectly. This isn't easy, but the moment you agreed that this was the path you were going to take, whether intentionally or just, this was the opportunity that landed in your lap, your responsibility had to change and your responsibility is no longer about you. It's about the people around you and so your priority has to shift to that.
Kyle: You have to ensure they are doing well. You have to ensure they have the information and the resources they need. If you aren't spending time intentionally every single day helping support those around you, you are not an effective leader. You will not be an effective leader and if that's the situation, that's okay. No hard feelings. You just may be in the wrong role. If I could leave you with one simple thing, it's understanding that the people around you are your priority. If people don't want to follow you, you are not a leader. If you truly want to be a leader, people need to follow you. That's the core definition of a leader. You have followers. Well, you've got to-
Kathryn: As opposed to a guy who's taking a walk. If no one's following you, you're just taking a walk.
Kyle: That's right. You have to give people a reason to want to be part of your tribe and so it means you're making them the priority, not yourself, not the other tangible things on your task list. If you go and you invest in those people, those things are going to get taken care of. They're going to get done because now you're going to have a team of people working in the same direction.
Michael: Ladies and gentlemen, just another encouraging moment on the HaBO Village Podcast to say be a better leader.
Kathryn: Or as we put it in our book, don't suck as a leader. It's bad for everybody.
Kyle: There you go. It's bad for everyone, including yourself.
Kathryn: It's bad for everyone.
Kyle: A lot of stress in being a bad leader.
Michael: I hope you enjoyed today's podcast. I know we did. We're hoping that you come back again and do something else with us, that we enjoy doing also because we have a lot of fun doing this, having conversations with people like Kyle. Kyle is coming back. I know it.
Kathryn: Well, if you want to connect with Kyle at all, we will have information in the show notes-
Michael: On the show notes.
Kathryn: About how to connect with him.
Kathryn: He's obviously amazing, so you should.
Michael: You should. All right.
Michael: Have a wonderful week. We want to encourage you to hit like and subscribe in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, whatever we're calling it this week.
Kathryn: It hasn't been iTunes for a while.
Michael: We just hope that you guys have a wonderful week. Thanks for joining us. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: This is the HaBO Village Podcast. Take care.