Leadership Is Overrated

February 26, 2024 Rodney Cox Podcast
Leadership Is Overrated
Show Notes Transcript

What enables some teams to achieve incredible results under intense pressure, while others flounder? Retired Navy SEAL leader Kyle Bucket and business leader Chris Mefford have seen extraordinary teams accomplish the near impossible across military, government, nonprofit, and corporate worlds.  

In this episode, Chris and Kyle decode the key practices that set elite teams apart. Drawing from experience leading special operations and guiding thriving corporate cultures, they explain the flaws in most organizations’ assumptions about leadership, motivation, and culture – and why traditional management tactics often backfire.

Instead, Chris and Kyle advocate for “self-led teams” built on peer leadership, radical transparency about weaknesses, and candid feedback. They outline six practical steps any leader or manager can start taking to unlock greater alignment, innovation, ownership and fulfillment from groups. 

You’ll learn:

• Why investing in recognition, community and purpose pays exponentially higher dividends than incentivizing individual performance

• How humility and “emotional capital” from senior leaders create psychological safety for teams to take ownership

• Why elite military units and thriving business teams often defer to junior members rather than the highest-ranking officers  

Gain unconventional yet evidence-based insights from Chris and Kyle on how to strengthen team cohesion, agility, and fulfillment in your organization. The results can be record-breaking.

Host: Rodney Cox

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Welcome to the Strong podcast where we help leaders build strong teams built on empathy, understanding and trust where every team member feels valued and contributes at the highest level possible. Welcome to the Strong podcast. My name is Steve Naismith and I'm Rodney Cox and Rodney. Our guests today are Chris Mefford and Kyle Bucket. Chris and Kyle are the co-author of the book. Leadership is overrated how the Navy Seals and successful businesses create self leading teams that win. Kyle is a retired Navy seal leader, board member and pub co executive. And Chris currently serves as chief marketing and strategy officer for TCW Global, overseeing the company's global marketing and branding initiatives. And by the way TCW Global won best place to work in San Diego recently. So both men have worked for and consulted with some of the biggest brands in America, helping them reach new heights and culture, strategy and leadership. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today on the Strong podcast. Thanks for having me here. You know, let me add my welcome guys. We're grateful that you're here. Can't wait for you guys to share your wisdom with our audience. And Kyle, I want to thank you for your service. Me and my family are grateful, uh, for all that you've done to defend our country and to serve our country. Um We're grateful for you and your family and we wanna thank you for your service. And so like we always say to do is thanks for paying your taxes. I'm sorry. It's all good. Thanks for paying your taxes. That's great. But they do to go to some good use, don't they? That's funny. I don't care where you're from. So, uh what we love to do is we get started here before we kind of get down to the business of your book that we want to talk about that you guys coro together, we'd love to know more about you personally. Um You know, Chris, why don't we start with you? Tell us a little bit about your family. Well, Rodney and Steve, I live in, I suffer in San Diego day in and day out with the sun and the ocean and the beach. Um It's a struggle. Uh But I survive. I want you to know that um we love it here. Uh I have a, a son and a daughter, uh a daughter who followed my footsteps, gone straight into business marketing. Um And I had the opportunity to work with her um here at my place for a while and as she interned, which was great. I have a son who's done a year at law school and now, yeah. Um, he didn't love it. Um, so now he's home trying to figure out what to do next. Um, but we hang out together, we do a lot of things together. Um, and we spend a lot of time together out here doing, uh, what you do out in San Diego, you, you, you act like you surf but we're all terrible at it. Um, and, um, I do miss the uh the east coast occasionally where you could get in the water without a wetsuit um because it was warmer but uh um I love it. I love to read, I love to write. Um And I love to hang out with this guy when he's in town. Um Kyle Bucket, I am a, a husband. We're almost at our eight year mark. Uh My wife is I like to call my Spartan Queen. She's also an entrepreneur, uh owns and operates several businesses herself. Uh I look at her and she gives me the nod of approval before I kick a problem in a hole like the uh Spartan Queen, you know, and uh we have three beautiful Children, ages uh 68 and 10. Uh We're in Austin, Texas. Uh our kids are, you know, in kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade. And so uh we're in the, in the thick of elementary school if you will. But um you know, we uh most, most importantly, honestly, all that being said is, and that really defines me as, you know, I follow our good Lord and savior. So, you know, honestly, on a day to day basis, uh just taking his direction uh for my life. So, back over to you Rodney, thanks for again for having us. Amen Kyle. Um That's, that's beautiful young Children uh growing up and Elizabeth and I uh been married 40 years Feb February the sixth. Just to give you all a little background on us. We have two daughters, um and uh five beautiful grandchildren uh starting at the age of around nine, all the way down to three. So, um you know, we love to spoil them and send them back home. Right. That's, that's what grandparents do best. So, so we work hard at doing that for sure. And so I, I, I'm intrigued and I know our audience would be intrigued guys to know how in the world did y'all meet? How did you come together and, and uh and decide to write this book? Leadership is, is overrated. Um Well, I'll tell you, I'll, I'll, I'll take it and then, and Kyle can add to it. We were attending a business Leaders conference at the rock church. Um And there are probably three or 400 people there and there was only one seat left and uh I sat down at it and I happened to be sitting next to this guy about five or six years ago. Now, and, uh, he, we had a good conversation and that was it. Um, and he found me on linkedin and asked me if we want to go to coffee and talk about some marketing and, and other things. And he had a presentation when we look over. And, uh, so we met for coffee at Starbucks in North Park. Um, we became good friends. We started going to lunches together and meeting up at Kensington cafe, uh somewhat regularly. And I said, hey, I've got this idea for a book. I think it would be a good fit. You know, what do great businesses do to build great culture and how do they motivate people? And what do you, what does a seal team do? I mean, you know, often thought of as one of the, the highest levels in the military and, you know, you guys achieve greatness and everyone thinks of seals in such a great way. What is it you guys do to keep out the bad people and keep the good reputation moving forward? And so we just started having conversations and it just kind of, it just organically progressed from there. Um You know, hey, what's next? How do we, how do we get a book proposal together? How do we find a book agent? You know, it was just uh trial and error the entire way. Um But, you know, we just um got put together at the, at the right time and that kind of that time and that timing was right. You know, for me, um, I was about to transition out of the military retire and I was looking at several things and as part of that I had done an executive trip up to Silicon Valley and in the matter of three days, me and a couple of, a bunch of my Navy seal buddies, uh, had the opportunity to go to Dropbox, to Google, to Facebook, to oracle, to Air BNB in a slew of other companies, right? And so in the matter of three days, something really hit me. Uh which was you got to feel in the, in an instant, we all felt that every single one of my brothers and I felt it, you could feel walking into an oracle or a Google or a Facebook. Within seconds, we could all feel something and it was the culture, the differences of the culture of all of these organizations. It hit us like a freaking wall, right? And so I come back from this trip and I'm thinking to myself and I got really fascinated. I had been fascinated for years and we'll probably talk about a little later, but I had been really fascinated about the topic of organizational culture. And so now I got to feel it and live it on steroids. And I started, you know, ruminating and thinking to myself. And then when Chris and I started talking about this idea around organizational culture around self led teams. It just kind of came together in a, in a perfect timing if you will um getting to feel some of these elite household names and the differences in their, in their cultures. Kyle and Chris, you, you titled the book Leadership is overrated. What, what inspired that title? And that, that specific focus on, on the topic of leadership. We see that there are a couple of things uh with regards to that we were intentionally um trying to sort of create confusion o on the title. We, we went at it that way. Um I'll let you, I'll let Kyle talk about um what we really wanted to name the book in a minute. But uh the premise is this look, we spend over $60 billion a year in this coun uh country on leadership development. That's TED Talks, that's books, that's workshop, that's conferences, that's training whatever you will. Yeah. Year over year survey after survey from Forbes to Gallup and everything in between, everybody hits their boss. 85% of people surveyed generally say they dislike their leader and their boss. And so our question is we're spending a lot of money on leadership development that doesn't seem to be working like the whole industry must be broken. And so we said, hey, how do we pick a fight with this industry? How do we say, hey, we don't believe everything you're teaching us about leadership is working because if it, if it was, and we were investing this much money year in and year out, we would see better results, certainly. Um And so we started digging into that and figuring it out and, you know, the natural um comment that came out was, hey, leadership is overrated. We put so much time and energy into this and quite frankly, the people that we're calling leaders aren't doing a very good job. So maybe it's not the leader, we need to fix as much as the leadership industry. So, uh so I think we're kindred, kindred spirits on that on that point, Chris, and one of the reasons we uh really uh tuned into your book and wanted to have you gentlemen on the podcast is, is, uh you know, it's why we focus on teambuilding. It's why we focus on strong teams uh here on this podcast because uh because obviously there is a big gap in what's happening with leadership training in, in the country and around the world couldn't agree with you more. You write in the opening of the book. Uh We make a simple argument, small but dedicated teams of empowered individuals can and do outperform large organizations driven by top down leadership. Uh Once again, very much agree with that statement, maybe unpack it a little bit more for our listeners. Yeah, that's, that's exactly right. I mean, we, we truly do believe that, you know, when you have an organization that is thriving. It's usually based on, you know, teams that are supported from upper management to actually lead themselves. Right? And so we see that time and time again across America with, you know, some of these great organizations actually, we just saw it recently with um Elon Musk did this. Uh and I was really, I gave him a, a nod. I was like, wow, that's really great, you know, a year ago or a back in April, he had his investor conference here in Austin, Texas actually. And on stage with him was 30 other individuals. And you could see as he was passing the microphone down the line and he was holding the microphone a lot less than he had in previous years. Um As their innovation is continually increasing and bringing new products to market. So it's pretty impressive. So for us, we really believe in the fact that when organizations are, are empowering those individuals as opposed to, hey, I am a dictator and everyone's gonna say and do what I, what I say, uh you're gonna have in increased, you know, communication, increased innovation and it's gonna be happening at all levels. And I would Kyle, well, maybe you could share a little bit too. Um One of the more interesting things I learned uh um with you was that the senior level person isn't always the person put in charge of the seal team mission. It's often the person with the most experience uh, and the most qualified regardless of rank. Yeah. And, and let me reframe it a little bit, Chris, but because there might be a time and place for, you know, Chris to be in charge or there's a time and place for Rodney to be in charge. And it doesn't matter, necessarily about rank. It more, it, it, more matters what matters most is the qualification, uh, the experience, um, the tactical prowess, whatever it might be. And so being able to say, hey, in this moment in time in on this mission, you're gonna have what we call positional authority, meaning you are in a position of authority. You're going to be the ground force commander or you're going to be, you know, the individual in charge of the strategy of the mission or the execution of the mission, what have you, but you might not be the most uh the highest rank, the highest ranking individual on the mission. We do that a lot actually where, you know, there's other higher ranking individuals that will be on a mission, but they're not necessarily in command or in charge. Um And so that's why, you know, we wanted to actually call this book uh Kill The Leader, which is the title of our first chapter because uh and it was kind of funny, fun, funny side note on that real quick. I really wanted to call this book Kill The Leader and uh we're going back and forth back and forth with the publisher. And uh and it was, it was uh January literally, almost, almost to, to date right now, two years ago. Um, and excuse me, three years ago, three years ago. And uh we can all remember what happened uh, three years ago on January 6th. Right? And so all of a sudden on January 7th, the uh publishers call us and like we're not calling it Kill the leader. There's no way they shut that down almost immediately after that happened. Yeah. Uh um I was just gonna add Rodney and Steven to what Kyle was saying. Um That's part of what the problem is with leadership is we put people in positional leadership who aren't qualified and then we tell everyone to follow them and then they are, they're trying to, they're too insecure or they're too maniacal to focus on those on the team who may have better experience and, and be better qualified, but they don't want to relinquish their control. And so we create this environment where people don't want to go into work uh and, and be fully engaged. And so you, you know, if you take the stats that I shared, 85% of people are typically not fully engaged or do not like their boss. The statistics also show that only about 30% of people are fully engaged at the office and that's just a fancy way to say, hey, I am only putting about 30% of my effort into this job because I don't like the leader. They treat me poorly. The leader thinks I should just come in and do whatever I'm told because he pays me $19 or $40,000 a year. Um, and people just aren't wired that way. And so when we talk about this and the, and the ways to fix it and why it's so important to fix, so, imagine only 30% of your team puts in about our, our, your whole team putting 30% of effort in every day? What if you could raise that to 50 or 75%? How would that change your organization? How would that change your personal uh trajectory of what you're trying to do professionally? And so the idea behind it is how do we get our team fully engaged at the office again? And it's through providing um excellent leadership, but also encouraging the team. Boston consulting, did a survey of 200,000 workers, excuse me. And they said, hey, what's the number one thing you wish you got more of at the office? Um or out of your job? And number eight was money. We as an or as a country want to throw money at a problem. Um And say, hey, that'll just fix it. Everybody just wants more money. Nobody's happy with how much they make. Well, the truth of the matter is nobody's ever happy with what they make even the CEO and so that, that response actually came in as number eight from the people, the number one and number two things people wanted out of a 200,000 person survey was they wanted more appreciation and more recognition. The boss just doesn't seem to appreciate me and doesn't see the value in what I bring to the table. And so they, they hate it and they hate their boss and they don't come in and work hard. Yeah. You know, our brand promise is, you know, if you engage ministry insights or strong and our, our material, our brand promise is that we'll increase the empathy, understanding and trust on your team where every person feels valued and contributes at the highest level possible. And so people intrinsically want to not only feel valued, but they want to make sure that they're contributing at the highest level possible. And if you don't communicate to them that they have value and you don't seek to understand them and you, and you don't seek to release them to flourish inside the organization, they'll sit on the sideline and watch the organization die and uh and that's the truth of the matter. We see it happen all the time. You're speaking to it in our conversation here. Yes, sir. That uh obviously we agree on that. So the question is why do so many leaders have a hard time grasping that concept? Everyone wants to have a great organization, everyone wants to have a great culture, everyone wants to find success in a fully engaged team. But yet when you tell them or we tell them, they act like that's not the problem. It doesn't exist. My team is different. Our organization is different but they're not, they're not at all. Well, in this, in the circles that we run in, uh which is primarily faith based leaders and churches and we try to help churches build unity in oneness uh in the body of Christ. Um It's pride and arrogance at the core of it. It's pride and arrogance. Um I've got everything I need. I'm superior to you. Uh Leaders elevate themselves above the others. They lead. Uh They never step down to lead, they always step up the lead. Uh And we think leadership is a whole lot more about stepping down and serving than stepping up and leading. And so, uh for us, we attribute a lot of the isolation and inefficiency on the team be because of the ethos in which the leader is uh deploying inside the organization. Um And once again, that's elevating themselves or steaming themselves higher than others. And we think that that is opposed to scripture and it's opposed to the character of God and it's opposed to what um we're called to be his leaders. That's right. That's right. Yeah. So, you know, the, the thing that intrigues me most, uh you know, Kyle, you're the second seal that we've interviewed and we hear this same theme out of the Seals and, and that theme is, you know, that, that, you know, se seals embody this small group of people, but they're well trained and because they're well trained and because they're a strong cohesive team and they allow experience to lead, not just authority to lead that they can survive just about almost anything. So I would be interested in you unpacking that a little bit with our um you know, um uh with our listeners, you know, uh you know, uh more about that framework in, in, in how that framework actually works itself out. Yeah. One of the things that we talk a lot about with uh organizations that we work with is we get, I'll get approached all the time. Hey, I wanna, I want my sales force, my sales force to be the Navy Seals of sales forces. I want my it department or my infosec security team to be the, the Navy Seals of Infosec and on and on and on. You get my point. And what I always say to him is, well, that's, that's great. Are you going to spend the same amount of time training them to be elite like the Navy Seals do with the Navy Seals? Meaning are you gonna take an 18 year old kid and spend three years training them to be this elite infosec or sales team or marketing team or investor relations? And on and on and on. Right. And so many times the answer, obviously, 9999 9% is no, I'm not gonna do that. And I go, ok, well, then let's reframe it. And why I say that and why I always bring that up is it all comes down to training. Right. We take, we don't, we don't hire navy seals, we don't hire navy seals. We create them, we create them. We take kids out of school with a high school equivalent, a GED and we turn them into the world's most elite fighting force. And it's because we've done two things. Right. We have a purpose that is elevated. We have a very strong purpose that people want to be a part of and they put their body through rigorous, rigorous, rigorous training to achieve and be part of that purpose. And then number two, it goes back to training, right. You're not gonna, you're not gonna be a Navy seal. After three days, you're not going to be a navy seal after the infamous hell week, which is, you know, a week of no sleep. You're not going to be a navy seal after a year of training. In fact, quite the opposite. What it takes to become a navy seal is you have to go through 6 to 9 months of basic training, then 6 to 9 months of advanced training and then you get to a seal team and guess what? You do another 9 to 12 months of advanced training with your platoon. You, we call it unilateral training with your platoon before you even have an opportunity to deploy boy with a seal team. So by the time you're actually on a real world mission and mind you, you're probably the last guy in the line to walk into a house or a structure or to jump out of an airplane or a, on to get onto a boat. You're the very last guy you've been in the military for 3, 3.5 years. And the reason why I say all of that is, you know, that's a long, that's a long time to invest into somebody. And I fully understand, I fully understand that we don't, that not all organizations and not all positions have the ability to invest that amount of time. But how much time are you investing in training? Is it or on boarding? How much time are you intentionally working on the organizational culture? Are you spending? Is it an onboarding process? A two day process? Is it a 3 to 5 day process? Is it a month, et cetera, et cetera? You get my point and so many times, um you know, we'll sit down and with, with a group and say, OK, um you, you want to translate this into this culture of this organization. Uh Let's walk, let's take this walk back, let's walk through like what you're actually trying to achieve and what you're actually investing into these individuals. Because at the end of the day, we all know, I know I'm preaching the choir, but we see this interesting trend nowadays, especially in, you know, private equity or venture capital where everyone gets so wrapped up in the technology, but who's running the technology? It's people, it's people, it's people, it's people, it's people and, and so we want to do all this due diligence behind the technology. But at the end of the day, that technology doesn't work without people. So, absolutely, I love the idea that you write about also in your book about leadership being shared responsibility and, and, you know, we, we truly believe that as well. We think leadership is a whole lot more about us than you and it's the US that does the work and, and so, you know, putting the right people in the right seat of the p developing their skill sets, making sure that we're releasing them to thrive and not, not, you know, uh constraining them uh but trusting them and releasing them. And uh you write in your book that doing that job well, takes a lot of emotional capital. Could you guys um expound on that a little bit. Yeah, I'll, I'll jump in and take that one. You know, a couple of things we talk about creating self flo teams, which is just this notion that people feel empowered to do their job they're not micromanaged, which everyone wants, says they want, but then they won't put the time in. I mean, you guys do, uh, coaching throughout the, the Christian Ministry world. You must realize, you know, people will hire you for a week and like, come in and do a workshop for us for a weekend and, and that's it. You know, Kyle's point is you gotta stick with it for two or three years. You know, even professional athletes still have hitting coaches that work with them day in and day out. So it, it always makes me chuckle or, or rub my head sideways a little bit. Like why do leaders and organizations feel like they don't need that? It's just different and, and they can go. And part of the reason that there's a challenge is, you know, if it was spiritual element, Jesus Christ created the very first self fled team. He had his disciples that he's, he prepared, he walked with for 23 years, hand in hand, you know, and worked with them and then sent them out on their own. So I fed him and said, hey, I'm out. Um you guys are on your own now. Um can you handle it? And so, you know, there's this premise of emotional capital. So it's easy Rodney for me to send you to leadership training. It's easy for me to say to you fix things. It's easy for me to say to you, hey, it's not working out clearly. You're not doing a really good job. Your people don't like your, your, whatever it might be. You know, what's hard, it's hard for me to invest time with you. It's hard for me to, and maybe in some ways Kyle and I were on a, a, um, a consulting thing the other day where one of the leaders, the owners of the company said, ah, I'm just so sick and tired of having to ask this lady how her, her, her family is doing or, or listen to her, tell me about her new child. Um, because it's emotional comp I just want you to come in and do your job. So they, they remove the humanity out of the position, which is why you hear about all these layoffs. That's, that's not, there's no humanity in it. It's all dollars and cents which, you know, often needs to be the case or maybe it's just a game, you know, uh, the shareholder report is coming due and we have a shareholder call and we need to let them know we cut 10% of the workforce. I'm, I'm convinced my son had a gig at the apple store a while for a while and everything was going good. And he said, they let a bunch of people go and it just so happened to coincide with the shareholder call, which now they can say they let, you know, you might say we might say they let a bunch of their workers go. Apple would present, hey, we cut our costs by 15% or $50 billion in this quarter. And so the humanity has been taken out of it. Um And which is another reason people continually say that they don't like their leader or they hate their boss is the way the question is often phrased. And so investing in emotional capital. Did, did you get a text from me? Can I ask you how you're doing? Did your cat die? You know, that seems like a trite little statement. Oh, did your cat die? But you know what? Our pets play a huge part of our lives. Um And they pour into it and just to dismiss it as a, as a non factor in someone's life or work is ridiculous or divorce or a struggling grandparent or parent or child. Um And we act like that they have that could possibly have zero bearing in our work life. Uh It's ridiculous because of the humanity involved with it. And so when you invest in someone with emotional capital, it not only takes money, it takes energy, it takes emotional stress, it takes, you know, a commitment to talking to people and on and on, on Tim Sanders is a guy that used to work for uh Yahoo and he told the story once where he went around, there are buildings on campus and there was a one person in each building, not him. He, someone told him the story, I should say. Um And so this gentleman said, hey, I went around finally after hearing you talk just to check in on my workers who I never, never saw, they're just in different buildings on the campus. It's a big campus, I'm assuming. Um And so I just asked them how they were doing and the next day I come in, he said I hadn't done that in years. So these guys, they were like a team of six of us. And it seems crazy as we, as you say it to us, especially in the face based world that you wouldn't do this. But he said I came in the next day, there was an Xbox on my chair that said, hey, I hope your son enjoys this Xbox. Thanks for stopping by and seeing me yesterday. But he told this story that, that the gentleman that gave him the Xbox was lonely and no one ever talked to him and when his boss showed up and talked to him yesterday and told him how much he meant. He realized, um, that he had to make a change because prior to that, he'd been going home every night and practicing, um, killing himself. So he would, he bought a gun, then he practiced putting a gun in his mouth and he had read all these things on the internet about how you got comfortable doing this. So that one day horribly enough. Um You might actually do something terrible. And so he said, I realized that someone actually did care about me when you stopped by. And so I sold my gun at a pawn shop and I bought this xbox because you mentioned in our conversation that your son really wanted it for Christmas. And so we take things like that, not that it's obviously more dramatic, but little things like humanity and emotional capital for granted because we don't want to put the energy and effort in and all it does is create a team who's disenfranchised, disengaged and quite frankly, doesn't care one way or the other. Um just give him a paycheck and since you're not really gonna talk to him, just give him more money in the meantime, because it's clearly appreciation and recognition aren't gonna happen either. Yeah, it's amazing how we've distilled leadership into a transactional relationship. And, you know, we, we, we, you know, we need relationships and uh we think that the greatest leaders build strong, healthy relationships and yes, that takes emotional capital, but the relationship is the glue, you know, that, that ties a team together when things don't go the right way or when, when, um you know, when we hit the bumps in the road and things of that nature, it's our relational capital. And I uh I think some of the intriguing things to me too, as we're, as we're talking here is that um you know, we're some of the most isolated people, but yet the most connected people and p and isolation is the scheme of the enemy. It's always been about isolation because one is the loneliest number that you'll ever know. We have a ton of songs written about it. And so we really implore leaders. We love the message that you guys are bringing forward here today that I if you'll humble yourself enough um to get to know your people. Um You'll move from being a transactional leader to a relational leader and that's a much stronger position to be in, you know, you talk about six straights of a humble leader and uh I'd like to briefly go over those. I'll read the list one at a time and maybe you guys can expound on it. Um Just briefly talk on these, the first thing that you say is that a humble leader always listens more and talks less expound on that. Just a little. Um So a humble leader listens more than he talks. That's, you know, when you hear that statement actually pretty often. Um but we don't do it. Um Meaning that we'll listen or we'll hear you to say something to us, but we, we're just, it's just face value, you know, we're not gonna actually hear what you're saying specifically. It's the old adage, it's not what you say, it's what I hear. Um that comes into play and true leaders, I don't think leaders fully understand or many don't that, hey, leadership, when you ask someone what they think they're not telling you they want to be in charge or how to do your job, they just want to feel valued enough that you appreciated hearing their perspective from where they sit. Um And so they're sort of in the trenches during the day, in and day out stuff. You know, accounting might be over here saying, hey, we're spending a lot of money on this stuff, this software, we need to get rid of it. And so we get rid of it. But the, there are three people way down the line who are like, that's indispensable. Like that's my whole job that we do. Um And so this guy over here is cutting expenses and this person here is just trying to keep the company afloat and they don't sometimes listen or talk to each other. And so it's not just a matter of the ins and outs of business, but there's also, do you even care about me? Why did you bring me on? We spent hours and months, um, bringing people on board for jobs, hiring them, finding the best candidate being excited about bringing them on board and then we won't give them a, you know, depending on where they're at. We won't even give them a credit card to run their business without, you know, making sure, you know, hire executives talk about, you know, that it's been months bringing on board. Then we, we won't give them an account or we don't trust them enough. And it's like you hired them, why didn't you trust them? Get out of their way? Um So they just want to feel valued, they wanna feel heard and being humble, um, and listening. Um and hearing what your team is telling you sometimes will say the day we tell a great story in the book about, um, Waterson's bookstores out of England, uh where the CEO came in and said, hey, corporately, we've been telling all the bookstores how to run the shop, how to set their shop, how to do their shop and sales are going down. And everyone says, Amazon's crushing all the independent bookstores. We don't have a, we don't have a prayer. Um The CEO comes in and says, hey, let's bring all the leaders together, all the Bookstop shop managers and just tell them, hey, you guys know what's best in your store and what people like in your area of the country. Um Do it and we're gonna stop selling in placement caps to the big dogs who pay a sponsorship dollars and just you guys put the best books there, lo and behold, the entire bookstore turned around. Um, just that he listened and the corporate didn't dictate what was happening. They listened to the, the foot soldiers. Um And he did such a good job there. Barnes and Noble noticed and said, hey, you wanna come over and be CEO for our company next. Um All he did was listen to his people. We tell another story in there about Burger King. Uh Jeff Campbell who uh was, you know, when they did a promotion of these kazoos or those little blow horns, I think it's called kazoo. Uh And they thought it was great. Um And then he went to the stores and stores hated it because all it was was just kids blown on this kazoo 24 7. Um And the store manager is like, please get rid of these games. We, it just drives us nuts that people hate it. Um The customers are leaving because it's, it's not a pleasant place to be with this game, you know, with this sound going on constantly. So it was like, he's like everyone thinks I'm a genius and all I did was just pull the people in who were on the front lines and ask him what, you know, what ideas they had and what they would do differently. And so I think good listening leads to action. Uh It, it, it means I heard you and I've taken that in and I'm gonna act on what you're saying or I'm gonna at least communicate to the, the reason for inaction. I um uh I get surveys. I'm an elite flyer with American Airlines. I'm so indebted to those guys, you know, I've been flying with them forever. Living in Waco, Texas for most of my life and just, just north of you there. Um, Kyle, uh, uh, even though I'm in East Tennessee now, it's like, you know, every survey I go stop doing advertisements on the credit card. It's driving all of us nuts. I'm going to leave your airline in the first three flights. I've had, uh, this year already. I've not heard any credit card announcements. I'm going, maybe they're gonna, they're gonna start listening. And so how annoying uh the captive audience and, and you got to pitch your credit card to everybody on board. Uh give me a break. So um show appreciation, that's another one step out of the spotlight. Admit when you've made a mistake, don't miss uh uh don't micromanage and uh welcome criticism. So take a couple of those and expound on the appreciation step out of the spotlight, right? And so the if you'll notice, you know, the one that Chris just listed off, which is listen, more talk less really enables the next five to happen. If you're not listening, if you're not understanding, you will never be able to show appreciation in a way that it's truly received in an in a great way where it's not gonna be an extremely productive appreciation, right? If, if, if Sally doesn't give a crap about flowers and you give her flowers to show your appreciation, it's almost fake appreciation. She's like he does, he doesn't even really care because he doesn't, he's not paying attention that I, I really don't care about flowers. Honestly, I would just like him to tell me how much he appreciated me staying late on a Friday night to get this project done, et cetera, cetera or maybe she wants an Xbox game. You get my point. My point is when you're able to number three, you know, step out of the spotlight and just be engaged with your team, then you can show appreciation in a great and productive way. And for all of the uh for all of my uh my uh right wing brainers or my uh ones and zero individual leaders out there. If you're not, look at the title of our book, if you're not great at any of these lean on someone who is, don't try and do it all alone, right? I was in a, I was in a season of life where I was not great at appreciation. So I had someone on my team that was phenomenal. She knew at what, what everyone loved to get as a little, a little note or a little trinket or a little this or a little that. And so I leaned on her heavily and I also made sure that she also got the, the recognition for supporting me and helping me and being transparent about. Hey, guys, I'm not, hey team, I'm not necessarily great at showing at giving gifts, but I've been leaning on Susan, and she's amazing. She's really helping me and she's making me a better person and on and on and on. Right. And that goes into number four, admitting when you've made a mistake, um, you know, being able to be transparent with your team and I'll tell you what, when everyone knew that Susan was helping me give the gifts. Right. Everyone starts going to Susan and Susan has this long list for Kyle. Hey, Susan, here's, there's everything that we're looking for, here's everything and you know, it's, it's great. It was, it was kind of became a joke around the office. Um And uh everyone actually loved it because it was very transparent that hey, Kyle's not necessarily that good and, and he's welcome and he's open to criticism and on and on and on, right? So we, we kind of close it that, you know, humility is not a gift, it's really a habit and the more we practice it, the better we all get. I wanna throw in like things like humility and emotional uh capital. Those are seen as so much as soft skills, almost weak roly, you know, which is the, you know, both detrimental to women and men when you say stuff like that. Um And we need to change the way we think of those things. Those things are the powerful tools I I think because I've been good at those my entire life or career that they've helped me get ahead of people who seem to be better and more mainly if you will um in their career because those skills are the ones that really truly matter. The people consistently tell us that that's what matters to them the most. And we as leaders consistently tell them, we don't hear you and we don't care, you know, guys, we work hard uh as Steven and I do to, to put together a good set of questions and, and do the review that we need to do to make sure that our audience gets great value. And guys, your list here around what a humble leader looks like to six traits are just so on target. We're grateful you for you guys sharing that uh with our listeners, you know. Um But I, I like to always close with this question. It's like, what is it that we should have asked that we didn't ask um in the interview? Um because you think that it, it could uh ascribe great value to, to the listener. Is there any one thing that we should have asked? And we haven't that you, you guys would like to speak to? Um Well, look, I know your audience is in the faith based world. And uh I worked for a very, very large church. I also hired a bunch of people out of the church and I can tell you that um the church for all its awesomeness and all its incredible work. It does is full of arrogant um people who uh ride their team too hard. Um Don't appreciate their team. Uh And somehow believe that as a result of telling people it's for the greater calling of the Kingdom of God, the reward is truly happening one day uh in the future, um is a load of bunk. Um And the churches are some of the worst organizations that I've um bumped into when it comes to leadership and development and humbleness and servant leadership. And so I would encourage anybody who's out there listening to take a hard look at your team and your staff, um or Steve, you know, I hired a seven A V guys uh that were on the live events team over at the Dave Ramsey organization. Every single one of them came out of the church, they were burned out and um and, and under appreciated in every single um situation. Um I worked at a large church where it felt the same way um whether you're its executive or on down, you know, and I don't wanna say that the, the work there isn't hard and it, it sometimes, you know, takes a toll on those at the top and that there aren't other spiritual forces at play. Um trying to grind the success and, and um determination out of leaders. But I do wanna share that these places can some be some of the worst organizations to work with and work for and it shouldn't be that way. And so I would encourage who's ever at the top or listening um to get our book, uh or any other book on leadership and do it consistently and regularly. And if you think you're not necessarily the problem, maybe you should ask four or five other people uh for their opinion as well. And friends because I think the work you guys do is really, really important, um because we've got to have healthy um leadership aspects of, of every church. Um or we just won't be as effective as what we're called to do. Um For me, the, the one thing that we talk about a lot, I'll get a little tactical for those of you who might be listening. Hopefully, this is helpful to add on top of what Chris was saying is you might have a challenge, especially if you were a nonprofit. I used to run a nonprofit, I used to run a charity. So I get it with the top 10 motivators. We've talked about it a little bit, right? But by being engaged, going back to our, you know, our six principles of listening more and talking less by being engaged. Um And understanding how your team is motivated that will enable you to address what motivators you might be lacking within your organization, for example, right? The big ones are, you know, obviously, we talked about recognition and appreciation a lot other ones, challenging work, work life balance, autonomy or empowerment. Some people want to just be empowered and that's their number one motivator to co to show up to work every day and just crush it for you. Some want a positive work environment, some want professional development, someone just some people just want to be in seminar for the rest of their life and there's nothing wrong with that. That's their motivation, right? Some people want purpose and meaning some people want flexibility, some people want. And this one, this is for you uh charities uh for you pastors, I love you. You're near and dear to my heart. But this is one that is always going to be challenging for you, which is competitive compensation. Some people do want that. So how do you tackle that? Right? You focus on hiring into and attracting and creating an environment that feeds into the other motive, innovators that you can feed into and expand and create extremely powerful uh within your culture. Obviously, you're gonna have challenging work, but you can feed into like we talked about recognition and appreciation. You can feed into empowerment and autonomy. You can feed into a positive work environment, you can feed into personal and professional development without spending a lot of money. And obviously your number one purpose and meaning uh you can attract talent and great team members into that motivator. So my point of why I say all that is I understand competitive compensation might be a challenge for you. But there's a lot of others on the motivation list that you can really drive and add fuel to the fire uh by really expanding those aspects. Hm Well said, guys, well said, so, uh Chris tell us where people can purchase a copy of uh the leadership is overrated book and tell us how people can find you guys. Yeah, they can go to Amazon and, and pick up the book. Leadership is overrated. Um We all we ask is that you leave us a review. Um Those are really helpful and so we leave it on goodreads, leave it on Amazon and leave it on both preferably. Um And let us know what you think if you want to get in touch with Kyle and I or, or hear more about what we offer uh visit Culture Force dot team um spelled just the, the normal way. It's one of those new vanity um websites that, that sort of they call them vanity, not that we're vanity. Um They have a fancy, they don't have Um So it's, it's literally dot team um that you add in there and you can find uh every way you need to, to contact us or talk to us. Chris and Kyle, thank you so much for uh carving out time to spend with us today on the Strong podcast. I know that our listeners will be greatly encouraged the points in which you brought forward. Uh many of them, I pray will act on and that it will truly help them live tomorrow as leaders and they live today. Once again, Chris and Kyle, thank you for joining us. Thank you guys for having us. And until we meet again, God bless.