#140: The Leadership Gap with Peter Bregman
#140: The Leadership Gap with Peter Bregman
How can we be a better leader for ourselves and those around us? In this episode we are talking with Peter Bregman. Peter is the CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc., a global management consulting firm which advises CEOs and their leadership teams. He speaks, writes, and consults about how to lead and how to live. He’s also an acclaimed author, podcast host, and speaker. Peter is recognized as the #1 executive coach in the world by Leading Global Coaches, is ranked as a Top 30 thought leader by Thinkers 50 Radar and selected as one of the Top 8 thought leaders in leadership. He is ranked by Global Guru’s as one of the top 30 best Coaches in the world and one of the top 30 best leadership speakers/trainers in the world. He is the award-winning, best-selling author and contributor of 18 books, including his newest book You CAN Change Other People: The Four Steps to Help Your Colleagues, Employees—Even Family—Up Their Game. He also hosts a top 10 leadership podcast called Bregman Leadership Podcast. In today’s episode, we discuss Peter’s personal journey and how he reclaimed his purpose after he lost his company in the dot com crash. We’ll also talk about Peter’s books 18 Minutes and You CAN Change Other People and how to incorporate the books’ key takeaways about time management and leadership. We’ll also discuss how to pivot from good and bad feedback, and how to build your emotional courage. If you’ve been wanting to amplify the leader within yourself, keep listening!
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00:38: Peter’s Origins and How He Got Started
12:40: What Peter Did After the Dot Com Crash
16:13: Peter’s Book 18 Minutes
21:39: Productive vs. Unproductive Distractions
24:23: Peter’s Advice for Organizational Focus
33:23: Peter’s Personal Definition of Leadership
34:02: The Leadership Gap
41:53: How To Implement Emotional Courage
46:29: The Other Three Pillars of Leadership
48:58: Peter’s New Book You Can Change Other People
56:43: Separating Good and Bad Feedback
1:07:49: Peter’s Secret to Profiting in Life
Mentioned In The Episode:
Peter’s Masterclass – https://bregmanpartners.com/masterclass/
Leadership Gap Assessment – https://bregmanpartners.com/where-is-your-leadership-gap-assessment/
Peter’s Website – https://bregmanpartners.com/
#140: The Leadership Gap with Peter Bregman
[00:00:00] Hala Taha: You're listening to YAP Young And Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha. And on Young And Profiting Podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life.
[00:00:25] No matter your age, profession, or industry, there's no fluff on this podcast, and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, CEOs, and best-selling authors our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity. How to gain, influence the art of entrepreneurship and more if you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love [00:01:00] it here at Young And Profiting Podcast.
[00:01:02] This week on YAP, we're chatting with Peter Bregman.
[00:01:06] Peter is a CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc, and acclaimed author podcast, host, and a speaker who is all about teaching others, how to lead and how to live. Peter is recognized as the number one executive coach in the world by leading global coaches and is ranked as a top 30 thought leader by Thinkers 50 Radar.
[00:01:26] He's the author of 18 books, including his newest book.You CAN Change Other People: The Four Steps to Help Your Colleagues, Employees—Even Family—Up Their Game. And he hosts a top 10 leadership podcast called Bregman Leadership Podcast. In today's episode, we discuss Peter's personal journey and how he reclaimed his purpose after losing his company to dot com crash.
[00:01:48] We'll also talk about Peter's books, 18 minutes, and you can change other people and how to level up your time management and leadership skills. We'll finish up our conversation by learning how to
[00:02:00] pivot from both good and bad feedback and how to build your emotional courage. If you've been wanting to amplify the leader within yourself, this is an episode you should listen to.
[00:02:11] Hi, Peter. So happy to have you here on Young And Profiting Podcast.
[00:02:15] Peter Bregman: So nice to be with you. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:18] Hala Taha: Me too. I'm super excited for this conversation. I think that my audience is going to love these topics about leadership, time management, getting people to change. You are the author of 18 books and you are also a very famous executive coach and consultant, one of the best in the world.
[00:02:36] And I know that everybody has a come-up story. Everybody has a journey and it's not like this all happened overnight. So I'd love for you to walk us through your career journey. I know that you started your company in 1998 in a one bedroom apartment, fifth floor walk-up and it wasn't very easy, so walk us up until that point. And then let's talk about you launching your company.
[00:02:57] Peter Bregman: Sure. And just to be clear, I've actually written [00:03:00] five books, but I've contributed to 16 others. So there's written or contributed to, but let's see how far back to go. The, I guess you just reminded me of my apartment.
[00:03:09] My fifth floor walkup apartment, and I spent basically all of the money that I had at that point on a laptop, which costs $5,000 for a 10 inch screen, black and white laptop. It was a Hitachi. I remember still, I don't know why I remember these details. I started my career leading expeditions, mountaineering and kayaking and teaching leadership on expeditions.
[00:03:32] I when I was in college, I fell in love with the outdoors and with, moving with groups of people from point a to point B, I didn't know how to do it. I grew up a Jewish kid from New York city. So like I had never camped before in my life. And I really fell in love with working with people in really, everything you need to know about leadership and team stuff, you can learn on a camping trip because you're, you have to get along with everybody else.
[00:03:57] You have to get from point a to point B, you have to [00:04:00] survive and maybe even thrive and have a lot of fun. And so I did that for awhile and I really loved it. And then the realized that, if my intentions were to have a family and have kids and that I probably couldn't just live in the woods and do that in the way that I had wanted to or expected to do it.
[00:04:16] So I remember a very intentional decision, which was. I don't want to suddenly have to make a bunch of money and then go do work. I don't particularly love or want to do in order to make money. So right now I'm still, whatever, 22, 23, I'm going to move two degrees over. Like I'm going to do what I'm doing, but I'm going to do it in a way that could begin to start to make money for me. So that I could keep doing the stuff that I loved, with an eye towards how do I do this and make money.
[00:04:52] And even if I don't make money at the beginning, that's okay. Because as long as I keep moving in that direction, eventually [00:05:00] I'll end up loving what I do and making money at the same time. And that's how it turned out. So I remember that very intentional decision. And then I started a company.
[00:05:09] Teaching leadership to organizations using the outdoors as the metaphor. Doing team building stuff and things like that. And then I really love that. I made probably about $20,000 a year as I was doing that. Like it wasn't like my big moneymaker. But I learned a ton and I did a one.
[00:05:31] Project that I worked on was with a company called theHay Group, which was a terrific consulting firm. And we together did something like amazing. It had to do with there's specifics to it. It's not so important, but it was what's important is it was working with an organization that was in the midst of a lot of conflict.
[00:05:47] And we did something that blew us all out of the water in terms of what we accomplished. And they asked me to join them and start a practice with several other consultants on transformational change in organizations. So I did that. I felt [00:06:00] like I, I, was enjoying the work that I was doing in my own company, but I had hit the ceiling of what I knew and how to grow, which was by the way, a very low ceiling.
[00:06:10] And so I joined this consulting firm and I learned a ton with them. I worked with tremendous. Li capable, smart, generous people. I did an executive MBA while, while I was there. So I got my MBA and that was really my big education in business. I learned a ton about how it works. In fact, I remember my boss at the time, Andy Geller, who, ran the Hay Group in New York.
[00:06:35] And he this'll tell you a lot, actually both about our relationship. And, but he, I had written a letter business letter and he called me into his office and he sat me down across from him across this big desk, this big sort of daunting desk. And he said, there are Peter, I read this letter, there's a whole bunch of issues here.
[00:06:57] And he started talking about the letter and [00:07:00] everything from you used a calmer after dear John, you used a comma instead of a colon. That's not how you do it. So I was sitting in this chair that happened to have wheels on the bottom. And so without getting up, I just pushed myself. I used my feet to push myself backwards and around to get to his side of the desk, because I couldn't see what he was talking about.
[00:07:21] And he said, hold on, stop. You're not getting it. I am, I'm upset. I'm pulling my authority on you. I'm sitting across from this desk and I want you to, and I said, hold on, Andy, do you want me to learn something or just feel shame about the letter, because this will work. If you want me to just feel shamed about the letter.
[00:07:40] But if you want me to learn something, then we should both look at the letter and you should show me what you're doing so that, I could learn it and kudos to him where he was like, okay, actually I want you to learn something. So come over to my side of the desk and we'll work on it. But I really, I learned a lot.
[00:07:56] And then I spent a year at Accenture. [00:08:00] And when I was at Accenture, I came up with an idea for, and I've started about three companies. And every time I've started a company, it's because of some frustration that I've had with the way things are being done. And I think I have an eye towards a better way to do it.
[00:08:18] And so it, and it happened when I actually worked with outward bound and with Knowles and I wanted to do the corporate programs in a different way, and they didn't really want to change what they were doing. And then I started off and started my own company there. And then this time I was at Accenture and I felt the way we're consulting, we're indispensable to our clients because we're doing the work for them.
[00:08:40] But that means that we're not teaching them how to do it. That means that they're dependent on us, not independently capable. And it's all these things that I don't believe in. I believe that if I'm going to help someone do something, I want them to learn how to do it. I want them, I don't think I need to force them to need.
[00:08:55] I feel if I've got a good relationship with them and I'm helpful to them, then I'll be useful to them in [00:09:00] an increasingly complex, interesting problems. And I will continue to be valued, but I want to teach them how to do what I'm doing. I don't want to just do it myself for them. And so I started, I created a whole business model for it around coaching.
[00:09:12] And this was at the very early days of coaching. This was in 97 and it was about coaching, really helping people to develop their own independent capability and ownership. And I presented it to them with a little bit of not hubris but a sense of ownership over it, myself, and a sense of the value of it.
[00:09:31] And I basically said, look, I've got this business idea. I'm very happy to do it here. If we do it here, it solves a bunch of problems that you're having. It doesn't have to be the whole company, but it solves a bunch of problems you're having. And it allows us to develop very senior level relationships with clients.
[00:09:48] And this is what it looks like, but in order to do it, and I'm happy to lead it, but in order to do it, I want to lead it because I have a real sense that I've written all these business plans and everything for it. And you have to make me a partner [00:10:00] and I want a percentage of what I'm creating, but I'm happy to create it here.
[00:10:04] And this is what it looked like, and this is how much money it'll make. And they said, and I think I was how old was I? This was in 97 and I was born in 67. So it was 30 years old. And they said, thank you very much, but we really prefer you to be a manager and you're not ready to be a partner. And, we don't promote people like that just because they have ideas.
[00:10:23] So I said, okay. And then a couple of weeks later I gave notice, cause I just decided, all right, I'll just start this myself. And then about a week and a half or two weeks before I left they said to me, okay, hold on. Actually, you're apparently serious that you're going to leave. And so we are open to having this conversation about what this could look like.
[00:10:43] And at that point I was already gone in my head. I was already, like I had taken the risk that I needed to take. So I said, I really appreciate that. And it's a nice vote of confidence, but but I'm going to just start this on my own.
[00:10:55] Hala Taha: Tell me about that decision, do you regret not going with [00:11:00] Accenture?
[00:11:00] Do you think that it would have grew faster or bigger? Had you gone with Accenture or are you just really happy? You went out on your own?
[00:11:06] Peter Bregman: Yeah. The you're asking great questions and they're two mutually exclusive questions. So I'll answer them each separately, which is. I don't regret it for a second.
[00:11:16] I so deeply value the freedom. I have to do things the way I want to do them. My entire career has been deeply unstrategic, I haven't had this view of here's what I'm going to create. Frederick Buechner who was this theologian wrote this beautiful quote which said "that your vocation and I even think of it as calling, but like your vocation is the place at which your greatest joy meets the world's greatest need".
[00:11:45] And I am constantly looking to perfect that intersection. And so I've changed. I've run, I've been running my company for close to 25 years and I've changed it four or five times because I keep, because first of all, I [00:12:00] change as a person and the market changes. And also I keep learning more about myself and I keep wanting to refine that intersection of my greatest joy and the world's greatest need.
[00:12:10] I can't do that at a place like Accenture, which is great at what they do. And I learned a ton being there, but I don't have a freedom, so I don't regret it for a second. Would I have grown faster, but I've made a lot more money. Might I've made a larger impact? Probably. I don't know for sure. I often think, I might have because of those resources and the support and that stuff, but also I would not have had, I might not have been as effective in that environment because it's a much more corporate, defined boundaried environment.
[00:12:45] And, I'll tell you I made my numbers F like I had this crazy spreadsheet. And when I first started the company, the numbers reflected the spreadsheet almost to a T like a million and a half half a million in the first year, a million and a half in the [00:13:00] second year, 5000003rd year. It was like stupid projections.
[00:13:02] And I made them every year, but in totally different ways than I had planned to like, not at all the ways that I'd planned to because I'm opportunistic. And I don't know that I could have been opportunistic in that way. I don't like my plan wasn't working. So I did something else that was in line.
[00:13:19] It's just not directly what I wrote in the business plan. So I don't regret it for.
[00:13:25] Hala Taha: I think the biggest lesson for me in this, and I'm very, I had a very similar path where I started as an entrepreneur. You did have that outdoors leadership job that you were talking about, but then you quickly went to entrepreneurship.
[00:13:36] Then you went into corporate and learn some institutional knowledge and you came out and you started your own thing. And that's so powerful. If people feel embarrassed about that, they think they're an entrepreneur. And then you have to be an entrepreneur forever, or you fail. But sometimes getting that institutional knowledge and learning how a huge company works and what the processes are and what organizational structure and culture is, can be really powerful.
[00:13:59] Wouldn't you agree? [00:14:00]
[00:14:00] Peter Bregman: Oh my God, a hundred percent. I could not do what I do, without having that experience. I was deeply embedded in some very big complex organizations. And there's no question. And with people who were embedded in them with people, for whom like that was a job with big, massive companies and corporations.
[00:14:18] So could I coach the president of Citibank. If I hadn't had that experience, it would be hard. I'm not saying you can't do it, but it would be hard, can I coach the CEO of CBS? Can I like these are big, massive complex organizations. And the answer is like the what I learnt being in the, in these corporate environments are, is, was absolutely essential to what I do now, even though I'm in a t-shirt and I get to do what I want now, but, I learned so much by being in that setting.
[00:14:51] Hala Taha: I can totally relate to that.
[00:14:53] So let's talk about dot com crash because your business was doing great. You just lost [00:15:00] everything. A lot of other business owners did. And then you did some soul searching, you almost went to rabbi school, you almost went to med school, you took acting classes and started an investment fund.
[00:15:10] These are all very different things. So talk to us about why you did that and what you learned from that experience.
[00:15:16] Peter Bregman: Yeah, I did a lot. The interesting thing about that time period, which was, we crashed along with everyone else, but I am not a huge risk taker. And so I built the company in a way where we remain profitable every year.
[00:15:31] We weren't nearly as big as we were beforehand, but we never, I didn't have a lot of capital expenses. I never believed. And ask the question you asked before, which is, had you invested more money in infrastructure of the company, would you be bigger now? Probably like probably, but I would have been super stressed.
[00:15:51] Like those years would have been super stressful for me, but instead I was like, okay, I'm going to shrink the company cause I can, and now I'm not going to lose money, but I [00:16:00] also have a lot more time on my hands and what am I going to do? And how am I going to do it? I, it was a great, there's a way in which it was a great time.
[00:16:06] And the reason is because I've always thought about being a rabbi. I really like acting like all of these things are really interesting to me. And so I pursued them in a certain way. And what ended up happening is I realized. I do all of those things in my work I am to this day. I'm a rabbi in my coaching.
[00:16:30] I'm not using Jewish texts to, bring to bear. I'm not, but you know that I lead ritual. I can, I'm pastoral. I use those skills. In the work that I do, I also use acting skills in the work that I do. When I'm doing speeches and when I'm to, and so I realized, like there are things I like about all of these things and I can actually incorporate, this is again, that intersection Frederick Buechner of my greatest joy in the world's greatest need.
[00:16:58] I can incorporate these [00:17:00] things that attract. And I can incorporate them into the work that I'm currently doing and I will be better for it. And my work will be better for it, but I don't have to run off and join an ashram, in India for six years or, go to rabbinical school for four years.
[00:17:15] And then, and probably by the way, I wouldn't be successful in any of those things. And I would end up frustrated, if I went to rabbinical school and then I ended up in a congregation and suddenly, I'm running a CA a lenient congregation and there's things I would love about it, but I would feel all the constriction I felt at Accenture, I'd be in a box, I'd have to satisfy people in a certain way.
[00:17:35] I couldn't just pursue things that I wanted to pursue. And so it was great to explore parts of myself that I really want to integrate into the work that I do, and then say, okay how could I do that? My books are preaching in some way, but with some practical approach to saying, oh, by the way, and here's how to put this to use in your own life.
[00:17:57] I think the best way to preach.
[00:17:59] Hala Taha: Cool. [00:18:00] Yeah. I think that's awesome. Doing what you love, finding out the greatest need in the world that intersects with your joy. I think that is brilliant. Let's go into the meat and potatoes of your work. I want to talk about leadership. I want to talk about time management, getting people to change your new book coming out this week.
[00:18:16] So let's talk about time management. You have a very popular book called 18 Minutes and you uncovered this 18 Minute approach to help us better prioritize our lives. So give us the highlight reel of that book. What is the 18 minute approach?
[00:18:32] Peter Bregman: Okay, so the highlight reel is the biggest myth in time management.
[00:18:37] Is, you can get it all done. If only you have the right system or use the right labels or organize yourself, if only you were just like a little better than you are now, you can get it all done. And that is a complete and total misconception. Like you cannot get it all done. You are a limited resource.
[00:18:55] And, first of all, you're a limited resource and this is the motivational part of this interview because you're [00:19:00] going to die, right? Like eventually we're all going to die. And at that point we will stop being productive. And for most of us, we're going to become less productive way before that hopefully, and there's only limited amount of stuff we could do.
[00:19:13] It's one of my clients in his work ended up getting a. In fact, I was just on the phone with a separate client that I was just thinking of, who just basically got a roll that's four times as big as the role he had beforehand. So the question is, okay, so does that means four times as many emails, that means four times as many meetings.
[00:19:33] That means, so are you going to work four times as hard? You were already CEO of a company, are you going no, of course not. So we have to make different kinds of choices. We have to decide what we're going to do. And most importantly, what we're not going to do, we have to be really deliberate.
[00:19:47] And this is what's great about being a limited resource. It forces us to be strategic and intentional about what we're going to do and what we're not going to do. So to admit to ourselves, I will not get it all done. [00:20:00] Now I have to choose how do I choose what to do? And we choose it based on what is most important for me to achieve over the next year.
[00:20:08] And how does that translate to this week? And how does that translate to this day? One of the things that I teach in this book, your to-do list is an intake. It is not an action document, right? Because your, to do list is too long and you're not going to get everything done, but your calendar is time limited.
[00:20:26] You've got what a however many hours you're going to choose to work in a day. It's time limited. And so now you can make choices about I've got three hours, and when you look at all the meetings you have and et cetera, you might say I've got 45 minutes in my day. So I've got to ask myself two questions.
[00:20:40] One, is there anything else in my day that is not so important to me that I should cancel in order to do other things that are on my to-do list. And if the answer's no, then you have to look at that to do list and you have to say, what's the most important 45 minutes I have on here. And so the book is about how to make those kinds of decisions, and how to be strategic and [00:21:00] intentional about how we're spending our time and effectively our lives.
[00:21:06] Hala Taha: From my understanding in the book, you talk about five things per year that you should do. And you say you shouldn't do more than those five things. So why is that? Why only pick five and then how do you pick those five things?
[00:21:16] Peter Bregman: So part of that, like my career is opportunistic and not at all strategic like I, I tried it with eight.
[00:21:22] It didn't work. I tried it with two. I felt like I could do more. So I ended up with five and what I do is I talk about a six box to do list. So I take a piece of paper and I make like an elongated tic-tac-toe board, a line down the middle, and then align about two thirds of the way up in a line about one third of the way up.
[00:21:38] So now I've created six boxes, right? And the bottom box. I put everything else. I just put the title, everything else. And in the top five boxes I put, what are the five most important things I want to focus on this. Like one might be my new book that's coming out, one might be my current client work.
[00:21:56] One might be bringing in new clients, that's already three [00:22:00] things of my five things. I'm not going to just do one of those. I'm going to do excellent work with my current clients. I'm going to do excellent work, like trying to find new clients and developing relationships and et cetera I want to do.
[00:22:11] And then what I suggest is that you put every to do that. You have to put you put in one of those boxes and if it doesn't fit in one of those box. I'll just take my top three right now, which is do excellent work with my clients, bring in new clients and develop new relationships and work on the book.
[00:22:27] If there's a to-do that doesn't fit into one of those, buy running sneakers or write a fiction book, if it doesn't fit in one of those things, I put it in the category of everything else, because I've decided that's less important when I first started keeping a to-do list like this 90%, of what I had fit into the box of everything else.
[00:22:46] Cause I'm like spending my time feeling incredibly productive, but getting nothing important, done, which we do all the time. 90% of your emails should be in that bottom box. 90% of the things that you respond to or react to should be in that bottom right. [00:23:00] Box 90% of like the annoying conversations that go on in your head, about how should I have responded to that, or I can't believe they did that.
[00:23:07] Could you believe it? Let me call my friend and go, can you believe they did that? That goes in that bottom box. That is not a good use of your time. And so once you start doing, that now you're making choices, that says I'm going to spend a much larger majority of my time on the things that bring value to me and the world.
[00:23:26] Hala Taha: I love that. So let's dig deeper on focus. Let's talk about distractions. So you talk about unproductive, versus productive distractions. Could you talk to us about that and how we can swap one for the other?
[00:23:39] Peter Bregman: Yeah. An unproductive distraction, first of all, there's a ton of research. I'm not going to call it to mind.
[00:23:44] Exactly. I'm not going to remember, but like we get interrupted, five or six times an hour and it takes us 20 or 30 minutes to get back to the work we were doing beforehand. And I'll tell you, anecdotally, the more important your work and the harder it is, [00:24:00] the more often you'll get distracted and the heart and the longer it will take you to get back.
[00:24:04] Because we're looking for those distractions. Cause like it's hard work if I'm working on a hard piece of writing or a challenging email or a strategic thought. And I dunno, my dog calls, I'm going to answer because he's gonna help me, not do the hard work it's going to help me get away from it.
[00:24:21] So we distract ourselves. Now, there are times when it's really useful to, to clear your head, to separate yourself from what you're doing so that you can be a hundred percent focused on the thing you're doing when you're actually doing it. So I find that especially during COVID, I've lived out in, we have a house upstate New York and I've spent a lot of time upstate in New York.
[00:24:44] I love going out and taking walks outside it's but I also do this thing, which I call it productive distraction, which is I interrupt myself at least once an hour and I will stop once an hour. And I will ask myself, am I doing what I [00:25:00] most need to be doing right now? And am I being who I most want to be right now?
[00:25:05] And I find that stopping myself and asking those questions, I could be working on something like I said, like I can be working on something really hard and really productive. And then somebody sends me an email. It pops up, I look at it, it sends me to a video of YouTube kitten and 45 minutes later, my phone rings, my alarm rings and I'm saying, am I doing what I must need to be doing right now?
[00:25:28] And I find, what am I doing? I'm still looking at videos of kittens or I'm on Mac rumors, figuring out like when the new laptops is going to come out or like any number of things I do that I find more fun than, hard work that I have to do. And that just brings me back to focus and goes to camp.
[00:25:43] Definitely not doing what I need to be doing right now. And that's fine, but I'm going to shut this down and I'm going to go back to the work that I need to do.
[00:25:50] Hala Taha: That's really good advice. I love that little tip. Let's talk about organizational focus. Cause we've been talking about individual focus and from my understanding, [00:26:00] there's some nuances when it comes to organizational focus and I own a business, I have 63 employees and it's very hard to align on priorities and get everybody on the same page and you do this for a living.
[00:26:11] So what's your best advice for that?
[00:26:13] Peter Bregman: You're, first of all, congratulations, because 63 employees, that's a lot. I'm glad I don't have 63 employees. But I, but I, admire you for it. Cause I don't think I'm very good at that. Even though like I coach CEOs and, but I still don't think I'm very good at it.
[00:26:26] I'm good at coaching and I'm going to teaching it, but it's different. So here's the thing, like the most important thing you already described it is how do you get people aligned? That is the most important thing. And I talk about this in my book, Leading With Emotional Courage. So the first thing that I do with people often is, and I would do with you is to say, what is the most important thing for you to achieve over the next 12 months for you as an organization to think, and be really clear, like you can have strategic plans and you could have tactical approaches and you can have other thing, but what is the most important thing that you can describe in a sentence?
[00:26:59] What is the [00:27:00] most important thing to achieve over the next few months? And along with that, what are the most important couple of behaviors, that I want us to demonstrate as an organization, as a group of people working together? What do I want, how do I want us to show up in order to achieve this most important thing?
[00:27:18] So that's step one, step two is to then say. For everybody, like everybody organizationally should be saying, what is my key contribution to making this most important thing happened. Everybody will have a key contribution. So you're very clear about what's the most important thing I call that your big arrow, what is your big arrow and big arrow outcome and big arrow behaviors.
[00:27:44] And then the second is what is my key contribution to making that happen? And then what I often suggest is you give the most critical key contributors. You give them resources, you figure out based on, like when people choose coaching, they'll [00:28:00] often say, oh, this person has a listening problem.
[00:28:02] Let's give them a coach. That's not how I coach, like I know I find that. It's funny. But I think it's much more effective to identify who your key people are that are going to drive your key initiatives forward and give them the coaching, whether you think they need it or not. Because if you can amplify their performance by even 5% and coaching works really well, so it will amplify their performance more.
[00:28:29] But if you could amplify their performance 5%, you're going to do a lot to driving your organization forward, because the goal is for individuals to improve in a way that moves the organization forward. Not just, it's not life coaching, it's, executive coaching to coach people to be more successful at driving something home.
[00:28:50] Of course it works on individual issues also, but there's a context to it. And that context is really important. And then I would also collect data about what's getting in their way, [00:29:00] who are my most important key contributors and what's getting. But that alignment piece is really critical.
[00:29:06] Hala Taha: Okay.
[00:29:07] So one big arrow cross department. And you've got to identify who your main contributors are and everybody in the organization, no matter how high up or low up on the totem pole has to know how they're contributing now, what have you have more than one priority? What if you have three, four or five priorities are, or do you only really want to communicate? Just one?
[00:29:28] Peter Bregman: Yeah. So I had someone say, look, we've Peter, I totally agree with you. I totally agree with you. This is really important. And we find like really keeping people focused on priorities is really important. And that's why we have 23 priorities. And I said, that's great, but you have defined the definition of priority.
[00:29:46] So what I would say is the big arrow is not the only thing you need to do, but being clear about what the most important thing is you need to do. And I would not say there are five most [00:30:00] important things for you to do. So there might be five very important things for you to do, but here's what happens.
[00:30:07] People start to move in all sorts of directions. So let's say you've got 63 people and everybody, and you say, okay, I've got 63 people and I've got five top areas of focus, which we've talked about five priorities. I'm not going to choose between them to say what's most important five things. So they say, okay, that's great.
[00:30:25] So there's five things that are most important. So now let's say just to keep the math simple, there are 12 people, who focus on each one of those priorities, right? But now you have the 12 people that are focusing on that part. The other three people could do whatever they want to do. I'm trying to do the math in my head here, so that means that there's 51 people, who are not working on one of those priorities, but they maybe have.
[00:30:53] Because that priority is overlapping, because the priorities aren't, you don't have five different companies. You have, [00:31:00] five different priorities that the company's working on. And so now you have the potential of a lot of people making their own individual choices about what's important.
[00:31:08] What's not important working at cross purposes to each other, because you might say, that's your number one priority. Thanks. I know, and you need my help, but that's not my number one priority. My number one priorities is other things. So I'm not gonna give you the time of day right now, because my is based on this other.
[00:31:23] I'm gonna focus on that. And even with very big companies, that coherence becomes even more important. And so I'm not saying give up on four of your five things. I'm not saying that, but identify what is most clear that everybody needs to make sure happens and let that be on everyone's plate.
[00:31:43] And other things can be on other people's plates also. And you can say these things are also important. I'm not giving up and we're going to measure them and have milestones and compensate around them, or however you want to approach it, but make sure you have this one focus that everybody knows this is what's most [00:32:00] important for us.
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[00:33:27] I think that's really great advice because then you have everybody focused on one common goal to your point, everyone's prioritizing in the same way and more aligned. And there's no like inner conflict with what people should be working on. So how descriptive should we get with that big arrow goal? Is that something that you suggest that we break down into pillars or is it just, should it be more vague?
[00:33:48] Like how descriptive do we get?
[00:33:50] Peter Bregman: Okay, so I'll say two things about it. One is that it's not a monetary goal, right? So you don't want your big hour to say, okay, we're going to hit 5 million in [00:34:00] revenue or a billion in revenue that tends not to create coherence because everyone's going to try to figure out how to get there.
[00:34:07] One company we were working with, and this is how I learned it because I made this mistake, we said, okay, it's a financial services company. And the goal was to two billion. In new assets coming into the company. Great. So now you had some people going after big banks to try to get it. You had other people going into mom and pop investment shops yet.
[00:34:25] And everybody was like all over trying to make this 2 billion number. And there was no coherence to their approach, which means that you couldn't leverage research and you couldn't leverage conversations and all this stuff. And so we came back together and we go, okay, this didn't work. Just saying a 2 billion in assets, under management new assets, under management.
[00:34:45] Isn't enough. What we need to know is what is your strategy for getting there? What is your approach? How are you going to approach it? So then they refined it and they said, okay, we're going to. I get 2 billion in assets, [00:35:00] but we feel like we've tapped out the big investment houses. So we're going to do that, by approaching investment houses of such and such a size and being a, being a support to them and et cetera.
[00:35:11] So great. Now we have a strategy. Now we know it. Then they started getting traction.
[00:35:16] Hala Taha: So it's like a mission statement for the year. We're going to do this by doing that.
[00:35:21] Peter Bregman: The strategy like here's our strategic approach to getting to the number could be a target, right? The 2 billion could be a target of the big arrow, but the big arrow is what are we prioritizing this year in order to get to that target?
[00:35:34] Hala Taha: Okay. I dunno, I'm super interested in this, sorry for so many questions on his same topic, but so with this big arrow goal, I'll just use my company. For example, we're a marketing company and a podcast production agency. Ongoingly. I obviously want to grow the business. I want to increase client satisfaction.
[00:35:50] I want to retain my employees, but to me, those are like ongoing priorities. And wouldn't be my big goal. We're launching a podcast network. So [00:36:00] should I make something like that? Our big goal, the fact that it's new, it's innovative. It's something new that we want to launch. And then everything else is, like I said, it needs to happen, but I don't want everyone to just focus on the things that need to happen anyway.
[00:36:13] Peter Bregman: A hundred percent you were thinking about it in the right way.
[00:36:16] Hala Taha: Okay. Cool. All right. Let's move on to leadership. So what is your personal definition of leadership?
[00:36:21] Peter Bregman: Technically it's just to have followers, but that's not really my definition of leadership. It's an instant question and everybody looks at it in different ways, for me.
[00:36:29] It's inspiring focus and collective action on what's most important. Like to me that's what leadership is when I think, and by the way, that's a sibling to my definition of coaching, which is a reliable process that helps clients get massive traction on their most important work. So I consider a great leader to be someone, who's able to get massive traction on their most important work, but you're never, but you're doing it through uninspired, people in a sense.
[00:36:58] Hala Taha: Okay. So [00:37:00] let's talk about the leadership gap. You say that leaders never fail because they don't know something leaders fail, because they don't close the gap between what they do and what they know. So what does this leadership gap? Can you tell us more about it?
[00:37:13] Peter Bregman: And this is true for leaders and it is also true for people. Like we all know more than we do. If we did everything we knew we would all be the perfect weight. We would all be, like we would all we would all be the perfect spouses or partners. Like we all know, I know what I need to do in my relationships, but in the moment I might get triggered and I might not, I know how to be an amazing parent.
[00:37:35] But when, my son asks me for the fifth time why he can't do something, that I've already told him five times that he can't do. And I've explained it to him. The first four, I lose my cool a little bit. I'm not proud of that, but there's a gap between what I know and what I do. And I'm constantly crying, trying to close that gap, but the challenge of that gap, and this is what the, I mentioned this book beforehand, but Leading With Emotional Courage with emotional courage, [00:38:00] is emotional courage.
[00:38:01] So think about, and let's just do a thought experiment. Now think about a difficult conversation, how long that you're not having. Think about a difficult, you're not going to have to say it out loud, but think about a difficult conversation that you know, you should have, but you're not having, and listeners do the same thing.
[00:38:16] Don't just put this all in Hala, think of a difficult conversation that you're not having now think for a moment about why you're not. I bet you know, everything you need to know to have it. I bet your pur. I know you're perfect. I know from this conversation, you're perfectly skilled enough to have a difficult conversation, and I bet you've had time and opportunity. So those are the things we usually try to solve for when we're trying to get something done. We do time management. The whole first part of this conversation was about time management, right? Time management. We talk about, how do I build my skills in organizations?
[00:38:48] We do this all the time. We do training programs and communication plan, but in the. The reason you're not having that conversation yet is because there's something you don't want to feel. If you have that conversation, you might have to feel [00:39:00] uncomfortable. You might have to feel that you're hurting someone.
[00:39:01] You might have to feel the risk of losing the disconnection or losing the relationship. You might have to feel that weird passive aggressive thing that happens when, you give someone feedback and they say, thank you. But then they don't talk to you for four weeks. I don't know what it is, but there's something you may have to feel, if you follow through on that action.
[00:39:21] And if you are willing to feel everything, if you're willing to feel the hurt and the anger and the frustration and the passive aggressiveness and the defensiveness, if you're willing to feel everything, then you can do that. And so the reason we don't move forward, what closes the gap between what I know and what I do is what I'm willing to feel.
[00:39:42] If I'm willing to feel hunger or deprivation, or then I could eat. But when I see the ice cream and I see everybody else eating the ice cream, I can't manage that feeling. So I eat the ice cream. We can follow through on anything. If we're willing to tolerate [00:40:00] feelings. One of my big goals in life and what I've worked on for over a decade is how do I increase my capacity to feel?
[00:40:09] Because if I'm, and by the way, that makes for a much richer life, like there's all sorts of dysfunctional things we do in order not to feel things right. There's all sorts of dysfunctional things that we cut people out of our lives. And, we get into addictions. Like all sorts of things we do in order to not feel things.
[00:40:28] So I, this feels like a very important element.
[00:40:32] Hala Taha: So is that emotional courage? Is that the emotional courage that you talk about? So often?
[00:40:37] Peter Bregman: Yes. That's emotional cards. Emotional courage is the willingness, the courage to experience emotions and not react to shut them down.
[00:40:47] Hala Taha: How do you like tell us personally. How you started to embrace your emotions and some of the things that you've done differently to have more emotional courage?
[00:40:56] Peter Bregman: First of all I discovered this, I learned about it as I a very [00:41:00] close friend of mine, who I collaborate with. We lead a leadership program together, Jessica Gelson, she was telling me you got to go meet this woman. And Brad, me, she's really amazing. She does really amazing work. You've got to go to a workshop.
[00:41:09] I kept putting it off cause it's five days at Esalen, which is, out in California. And I had never been to Eslan and it's, I live in New York and, but it, somehow it coincided once and I went and by the way, Esalen is an amazing place. I love. One of the most beautiful places I've been.
[00:41:25] And so I'm in this workshop with 20 other people and people are making these choices and I've done a lot of work, a lot of personal work. I've done a lot of communications work. I teach communication. I understand. This worked really well. This sounds like hubris, but it is rare that I'm ever in a room and stuff's going on.
[00:41:45] And I don't get it, like in this realm. That happens a lot of times laterals, but in this realm and people are engaging with each other and getting into conflict with each other and bursting out crying and yelling and like [00:42:00] doing all this stuff. And I don't know what's going on. I don't understand the choices that they're making.
[00:42:06] Like they're making these choices about how to relate to each other that I did not understand. And it was working magic. People were emerging with like major transformations in their lives. And I emerged from that five days going, I dunno what happened here, but I need to learn more about it. This is out of my depth.
[00:42:28] This is something I've not experienced before. I don't understand. And it's very powerful, so I need to learn more about it. So I ended up doing a couple of more workshops and then she had a school which she no longer has, but I did a four year program with her to become like a practitioner in this work.
[00:42:46] So I really like in that process, I just kept every time I did work, every time I met with the group or her process, it was like peeling layers of the onion, like more and more stuff. And I now run a leadership
[00:43:00] intensive that I only run once a year and we limited to 20 people. It's not big, but we do this kind of work.
[00:43:05] And there are people who come every single time because you get better at it. And then you realize there's more to get better at it's hard. It's hard to feel everything in this world. We live in a painful world. We also live in a joyful world. It's a whole lot of hard for people to feel the joy, we live in a fearful world.
[00:43:26] My, my mother was in the holic. And so I grew up with an experience of everything might be taken away at any moment. Never be secure, never be comfortable. And so you don't want to feel that. So what do you do? You like build stuff? I like make a lot of money and I build a lot of relationships and I do what I can so that I can create some illusion of control and security.
[00:43:47] And then, you realize like it's an illusion. And so you've got to feel that. And so every time there's like more and more to feel, but it's what makes life in my experience. Incredibly rich, the [00:44:00] more we're willing to feel, the more of life we're able to experience.
[00:44:03] Hala Taha: So I can bring this down to the ground level here. Like how can somebody get somebody listening, implement emotional courage? What should they be?
[00:44:13] Peter Bregman: Very simple. The way you build emotional courage is by exercising their emotional. It's a muscle. You can't build muscles without lifting weights, right?
[00:44:26] You can't read about muscles. So that's why in my book Leading With Emotional Courage, a lot of it, like at the end of every chapter, it's like practices, like what can you do? So one of the things that went very PR, so because reading a book is I write a lot of books, reading a book is great, but that doesn't close the gap between knowledge and action, right?
[00:44:48] It increases the knowledge in some cases that increases the gap because now you know more, but if you're not doing anything, you've just increased the gap. So you have to lift weights if you want to grow muscles. And so the way [00:45:00] you build your emotional courage is you do a little thing every day.
[00:45:05] That feels like a risk. You do something that feels like a risk. I could tell holla by what you've built, that you are comfortable or maybe not comfortable, but willing to take risks. You are willing to take risks. And every time you take a risk, you're expanding your comfort, with what you're willing to feel.
[00:45:27] Because every time you take a risk, there's a possibility of failure. Every time you take a risk, there's a possibility of shame and embarrassment. Every time you take a risk, there's a possibility of confronting your own limitation. Every time you take a risk, there's a possibility of success, which, people might also be afraid of because success brings attention.
[00:45:46] Not everybody wants attention. So the way to end the risks can be small. It could be that you're a dinner. And you're with someone who likes to overfeed you and every time that they offer you something, or you're at a guest [00:46:00] house, you're a guest in someone's house and they offer you something you don't want to say no.
[00:46:03] And the this is actually could feel like a very big risk, to just displease another are you willing to disappoint another person in order to be true to yourself? But that's a really important question for all of us. There are ways in which we will lose connection to ourselves in order to stay connected to someone else.
[00:46:26] So can you take a risk to not give yourself up to please another? And it could be a very small way. It could be a way of saying, you know what, thank you, but I'm full, right? It could be a way of someone having a conversation with you and saying, I'm sorry, but this is not a conversation I can have right now.
[00:46:43] It could be doing the opposite and saying, look, there's a conversation that we should really. It could be putting on a shirt you wouldn't normally wear it's like any little move that expands your capacity to act that might bring in that reflects, a risk for you [00:47:00] that might bring in a feeling.
[00:47:01] Hala Taha: Yeah. I guess what I keep thinking is having the courage to not just want to please everyone and please yourself. So aligning with your decisions and not worrying about how others feel worried about how and not worrying about how you feel doing the right thing, no matter what anyone is feeling you or somebody else.
[00:47:19] Peter Bregman: In, in that book Leading With Emotional Courage, I break it up into four parts, which I consider to be the four elements of leadership.
[00:47:26] And when I say leadership, I don't just mean big CEOs of big companies. Like leadership is also, like how you lead yourself in the world. Are you confident in yourself, connected to others, committed to purpose? At emotional courage, emotionally courageous. And the real challenge is can I stay connected to you and stay connected to myself at the same time?
[00:47:51] Can I stay true to myself and not care what's going on for you? Or I want to raise a higher bar, which is I might disappoint you, [00:48:00] but that doesn't mean, I'll disconnect from you. So can I stay connected to you and connected to myself at the same time? And that's really what we're going for that has pre-med.
[00:48:11] And then can I stay connected to you, to myself and to this larger thing I'm committed to in the world? Can I do those three things that requires a lot of skill and a lot of emotional courage.
[00:48:24] Hala Taha: So I'm so happy you brought this up. Cause I was literally about to bring it up. You have a masterclass and you talk about the four elements of leadership.
[00:48:31] So I want to do a quick fire segment. I know we just, we covered emotional courage very deeply. So we don't need to go over that one, but I'll rattle off the other three and then just take a minute and give us your best advice for each one. So number one, your first element of powerful leadership is confidence in self.
[00:48:48] So what does that, how can we be more?
[00:48:50] Peter Bregman: Confident in yourself is not arrogance. It's not, I think I'm better than everybody else. Confidence in self is a grounded-ness. It's not, I know everything. It's I [00:49:00] cannot know that. When someone knows everything, they're not confident, they're insecure.
[00:49:03] When you're confident you could be wrong. You cannot know things. You can have a ton of things coming at you from different directions and not lose yourself like to stay centered and grounded in the midst of a lot of noise. That's confidence in yourself.
[00:49:19] Hala Taha: Number two, connecting to others as, so what's your best advice in terms of relationships and what is this pillar?
[00:49:24] Peter Bregman: So being connected to others is being able to see and hear other people and to give them an experience of being seen and heard and to be willing to be seen and heard yourself. That's how we create true connection.
[00:49:41] Hala Taha: Okay. Number three, commitment to purpose.
[00:49:44] Peter Bregman: So commitment to purpose is much less about big, broad vision about, I'm inspiring.
[00:49:50] It's actually about where you spend your time. Commitment to purpose is this comes back to the beginning of our conversation. What I'm going to spend my time on and what I'm not going to spend my time on, what I'm going to [00:50:00] do and what I'm not going to do. And the people who are really effective at commitment to purpose are very focused on what they're going to do.
[00:50:07] And there's, by the way, I'll just say that on our website. There is an assessment that's free. That has 48 questions. It takes, five or 10 minutes to fill out, but it tells you, and it's related to the chapters of the book, but it's tells you where your strengths and weaknesses are in confidence, in self connection to others, commitment to purpose and emotional cards.
[00:50:27] So it gives you an idea. We originally thought of it as where to jump into the book, but it's also just a generally interesting thing to say, where do I jump in?
[00:50:36] Hala Taha: So the leadership gap assessment, is that what you're referring to? Okay, cool. I have the link here. I'll put it in my show notes.
[00:50:42] So we'll have that for our audience. Okay. Let's talk about your new book. That's coming out this Wednesday. You CAN Change Other People, The Four Steps to Help Your Colleagues, Employees—Even Family—Up Their Game. Why did you write this book? And what is your definition of change in this context?
[00:50:57] Peter Bregman: Great question.
[00:50:58] So I wrote the book actually, [00:51:00] because my coauthor Howie came up to me after one of my coaches. That I do. And I had sat in that coach training. This is going to be my last coach training and he came up to me and he goes, it can't be your last coach training. And I said, yeah, but it kinda is. And he's a close friend of mine.
[00:51:15] And he came through as many of them as he could. And he said, and basically that conversation ended up in a there's really important stuff here. Let's write a book about it and let's make this book incredibly user manual, meaning it's not a conceptual book it's filled with dialects. There's a great parenting book that I love called How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.
[00:51:39] And I, it was a great idea. It was a great book and it was executed really well. There were like cartoons in it and dialogues, and it told me exactly, what to say and how to say it. And I was like, okay. So if we write this, I want it to be that straightforward and easy.
[00:51:52] And it is not a book about manipulation. It's not a book that says, how can I say the magic words to change you Hala. So you [00:52:00] don't even realize it, but you start doing, I'm hypnotizing you. It's not that it's that, everybody says you can't change other people. You can only change yourself.
[00:52:06] Totally not true. Totally not true. You will not be an effective leader. If you can't change other people, your job, as a leader, your job as a manager is to align people. You're changing them. You want to change their focus and you're not going to do it in a way that they don't want to change. So the conversation has to be open with them.
[00:52:26] Like you're going to support them and changing, and you're going to help them. The first step and how, changing other people is to be an ally versus a critic. A lot of times we approach it as a critic. You're not doing this. I want you to do that. Feedback has been incredibly damaging in our cultures, because it's as long as I give you feet, especially with, books that kind of support this ruthlessly telling you the truth because it brings people to shame, but it doesn't actually help what we want.
[00:52:53] I don't need people to know the truth. I just need them to get better. I wanted them to up their game and telling them the truth may be a part [00:53:00] of that, but it's not just about dropping a truth bomb. It's about having the skills to help people improve their performance. It's about having the skills to help people take risks.
[00:53:12] Take have the emotional courage to take risks, to do things differently than they're doing in order to get better results, than they were having beforehand. And that's what the book is about. The book is very specifically about, how do I become an ally instead of a critic to the people closest to me that I want to help change, who want to change themselves and maybe stuck in.
[00:53:31] Hala Taha: Yeah, let's talk about some of those strategies because when people get told negative feedback, first instinct is to get super defensive or even resist it. You're just like, I don't want to listen to you. You don't know anything about me. You're not with me a hundred percent of the time. How dare you tell me any of those things about myself.
[00:53:49] And even when you're, your own self, you can have those feelings, even if you know that something you're doing is wrong you'll be resistant to that change. So how do we switch that dynamic?
[00:53:59] Peter Bregman: And I [00:54:00] tell you why we respond that way, because it's the most smart thing of why. So the most, we talked about emotional courage, the most painful feeling that we can have as human beings emotionally.
[00:54:13] Shame is there's something about me, that's wrong. There's something about me. That's not right. Not just, I do something that bothers other people that sort of might be embarrassing, but shame is the place where it's and we will do anything, not to feel shame. Because it's so painful.
[00:54:28] So what you just mentioned you nailed it. Hala, you mentioned the top two things we do to avoid shame, which is denial and defensiveness. Like the easiest way not to have shame is to completely be blind to this thing. You're talking about that, that I feel shame about. You think I talk too much? No, I don't see it.
[00:54:49] I don't see. I don't see it at all. That's ridiculous. No one else has told me that or everyone who has told me that doesn't know me well enough or whatever. So if I deny this, what you're [00:55:00] saying, if an and that's how things become blind spots, things become blind spots because they're too painful to look at, right?
[00:55:06] So people are being difficult when they're being going into defensiveness there's now they literally don't see it. When I have someone who tells me, I know what my blind spots are. My answer is no, you don't. That's the definition of a blind spot. You don't know what your blind spots are. Like. You might know things that were blind spots.
[00:55:24] So that's why we go into shame. And now let me flip to the other side of what does it take to make a change? It takes four things, ownership, independent capability, emotional courage, and future-proofing resilience to change in multiple situations in the past. So when we just give someone feedback. And we tell them what to do differently or tell them what the problem is.
[00:55:47] They don't have any ownership. They're not going to build any independent capability. They will need a tremendous amount of emotional courage to survive that kind of shame. And they are not resilient in any way to change in the future because we've just [00:56:00] corrected their action in this particular situation in a way that drives them to deny it in the first place.
[00:56:05] Anyway, so that's what doesn't work. So when we talk about in this book, the four steps, they are four steps to build ownership, independent capability, emotional cards, and future-proofing, and the first one is to go from critic to ally. So that's the first step. And the way you do that is, and we have a three-part formula, which is empathize, express confidence, and offer to help right.
[00:56:31] Ask permission, because it's your choice. So if I see something and I'll say, Hala I've noticed this. I know, because I've seen you be incredibly capable of Ms. Past. I know absolutely that you can handle this situation. Would you be interested in thinking about it together now? You might say, no, I'm not interested thinking about together in which case I say, okay.
[00:56:51] And I have to be okay with that. But when I say, okay, you now have a much greater chance and [00:57:00] likelihood of coming back to me for help, because, I will respect that boundary and that then it will be your ownership. And also chances are, you might say, yeah, I would love, help thinking it through.
[00:57:11] I'll think it through with you. There's no cost to thinking it through. And then we begin to think together. And my job is not to give you advice. It's not to tell you what to do or tell you stories about how I did it before. That would be taking the ownership back. My job is then to go to step two, which is what is the outcome you want, but that's that first piece that allows you to sidestep the denial and defensiveness,
[00:57:32] Hala Taha: Yeah. Because permission is important.
[00:57:35] I've gotten feedback before, when I didn't ask for it, from people who weren't my manager or my direct, or anywhere on the chain above me, and it can come off honestly rude. And you don't process that feedback well, because you just feel like who are you to tell me anything? And why do you even think that you should tell me anything?
[00:57:55] How do we make sure that we give people permission before we give them feedback? [00:58:00] And then how can we also separate bad feedback from good feedback? Because if I had listened to everything, my cousins told me, or my ex-boyfriend told me, I would not be where I am today. If I listened to that feedback.
[00:58:12] Peter Bregman: Exactly. I think, look, I collect feedback as part of my coaching. Like I, I collect feedback, but I actually think feedback does more damage than good because, and I was talking with a client who said, we're thinking about rolling out this whole feedback thing and sending people this book on feedback, et cetera.
[00:58:30] And I said, and this is the second question in the four step process. What is the outcome you want? What's the outcome you want? And he said the outcome I want is I want, huh? Let me think about that. Because his initial thought was feedback is gonna make everybody better. But it's no, actually feedback is not gonna make everybody better.
[00:58:51] It's probably going to make them get along the last. It probably will be. Unskillfully executed. It's going to make them feel shame and dislike each other more and probably more [00:59:00] resistant. So what's the outcome you want? The outcome I want is for people to perform better and to work better together.
[00:59:07] Okay. If that's the outcome you want, then feedback is going to do the opposite of that outcome. So what's going to give you that outcome, which is you have to help people get skilled in supporting each other's perform. Like the goal is how do you help people, get better at helping each other? That's why I wrote the book.
[00:59:28] That's what the book is about. How do you help people, help each other get better? And it is not by just willy nilly telling them what you think. And so one of the things is if you give people the same language, then they're going to have the same conversation. So if you know how to ask permission, then people will, if you say in your company, let's say, you just say, okay, here's how we're doing this.
[00:59:49] I read Peter Bregman's book. There's a three-part formula, where we're going to focus and develop on supporting each other's success and performance, not just telling them the [01:00:00] truth or giving them feedback. So how do you do that? The first thing is you need permission. If you see something that you want to help, then you, and by the way, if you don't have confidence that they can change.
[01:00:12] Don't go to them in the first place. You're wasting your time. But if you have confidence in them, then you can share what you're seeing and express that confidence and then ask them if they want to think it through with you. And if they say, no, you got to respect that. So this is the permission.
[01:00:26] The formula, the permission formula is empathize, express confidence and ask permission and be willing to accept a no, even by the way, if you're doing that with one of your employs.
[01:00:37] Hala Taha: So let's talk about a family member. We want to give a family member or a best friend advice. Cause it's way easier when you're in manager.
[01:00:46] Peter Bregman: Yeah. Way easier. And by the way, when you're a parent, you think you have the right, but you don't like that's false. That's an illusion. You don't have control over your kids. I'm telling you that from my experience as a parent, you don't have [01:01:00] control. So you still need permission. So when you're in a family and by the way, I'll tell you something interesting, which is we sent out a survey to our list.
[01:01:06] You don't have a list of whatever, 60,000 people. And we said, does this idea interest you, would you want to read about it? And also who in your life comes to mind, when you want to change? And we, there's a lot of executives on that list. There's a lot of leaders on that lists.
[01:01:22] Most of them, the number one person, this is a business book and it's also written for personal, like you could use them and et cetera, but I'm like a business guy. And almost everybody was like a family member. That's so it's on people's minds a lot. So the way to do it. And I'll just give you an example.
[01:01:41] My daughter, I saw her in the morning. This is my older daughter. Who's in college. And I saw her in the morning and she was eating for breakfast, a chocolate chip cookie. And she looked up at me and she had this like a little bit of shame, guilt luck. And she's yeah, I couldn't sleep last night.
[01:01:58] I was doing work. [01:02:00] So I stayed up till four in the morning and I baked all these chocolate chip cookies and they're really good. And I was like, oh, are there any left? And she's this is the last one. Is not a good scene. And I was like, huh, okay. You seem not so happy about.
[01:02:19] Hala Taha: That's empathize, right?
[01:02:20] Peter Bregman: That's empathy. But it's also, by the way, I'm not coming to her saying, you have a problem, or I have a problem with you eating those cookies. I'm saying, do you have a problem with that? Because if you're perfectly happy eating all these cookies, then I'm going to back off. Because you're not going to want to change.
[01:02:37] And it's not on me to make you change in that way. So my first is you seem not so happy about that. She's it's not my better moment. I'm not so happy about it. And then I say I've seen you, not do that. Like I've seen you not stay up all night and bake a bunch of cookies and eat them all.
[01:02:52] And by the way, your cookies are great. So if I were up at four in the morning with your fresh baked cookies, I would eat them all too. So I get it, no shame [01:03:00] in that. But I know that you're able to act differently. And would it be helpful, if we thought about it together? So that's the formula, right?
[01:03:08] Like you don't seem so happy about it. I know, that you can make a different choice if you want to and handle it differently. And I know it's not easy, I know it's not just, oh, you should have just not eaten it. That's a dumb thing to say. She knows, she should have not eaten it, stating the obvious as a typical critic move like, oh wow.
[01:03:24] You really shouldn't put your finger in that socket if you don't want to get electrocuted. Thanks. So to say like I know, and I know it's hard. It's not just a decision. It's hard. And do you want to think about it? So that's the formula in that moment? She said, no, I don't want to think about it right now.
[01:03:40] And I said, okay, no problem. And they said, if you ever do. I am not unfamiliar with this challenge myself. And I'm really happy to think it through with you. And that was the end of that conversation. That was the end of that conversation. And later on a few days later after she did the same thing, then she comes to me [01:04:00] and says, she said, stop when I tell you to stop.
[01:04:04] Okay. And I'm like, okay, but can we talk about it? But if I don't want to talk about it anymore, I'm going to say stop. I'm like, that is always, you are always in control of this conversation. Like you will be in control of this conversation. Like I am here in support of what you want and you is not my agenda.
[01:04:20] Hala Taha: This is a great formula for us to give feedback without it being taken in the wrong way, because it could just easily just escalate a problem rather than fix the problem. So let's talk about the hidden opportunity and everything and why that's important and why we need to think about the outcome of what we want people to achieve when it comes to them changing.
[01:04:41] Peter Bregman: Yeah. So people get stuck in their problems. Their problem is I eat too many chocolate chip cookies. So the way you stop that problem is stop eating so many chocolate chip cookies. But really, if you say what's the outcome you want, I want to feel active and healthy. I want to be an athlete like, I want to be an athlete.
[01:04:58] Being an athlete is [01:05:00] super more exciting and engaging and enthusiastic than not eating chocolate chip cookies, right? Like not eating chocolate chip cookies by the way is very narrow. So maybe I'll say not eating unhealthy food, but that still is like weighty and un-fun, but being an athlete is like an outcome she could get behind and she is an athlete.
[01:05:23] So it's okay, I want to be an athlete, but what do you want to do with athlete? I want to be able to like figure skate and jump. And so it's great to do that, you need a very favorable strength to weight ratio, right? Because if you're a strong compared to your weight, you can get up higher, you could jump higher.
[01:05:37] And so now, like we've got an outcome that's more. Then the hidden opportunity is in every problem. There's like, where is, let's go back to the problem. Cause it's still a problem. Eating chocolate chip cookies. The middle of the night is still a problem. So just because we found another outcome doesn't necessarily solve that problem.
[01:05:56] So now let's go back to the problem, but solve it in a way that sees there's [01:06:00] actually an opportunity in this, that gets me to my outcome. So what's the opportunity. The opportunity is. The problem is I'm meaning chocolate chip cookies at four o'clock in the morning. The reason I'm doing that is because my discipline and willpower is exhausted at four o'clock in the morning.
[01:06:16] And in fact, I'm exhausted at four o'clock in the morning. And in fact, the thing that chocolate chip cookies do is wake me up when I'm exhausted. So actually the opportunity here is to solve for the problem. That's leading me to eat chocolate chip cookies in the first place, which is I'm exhausted. And my, the problem I'm now solving for the opportunity in this problem is I need more.
[01:06:40] Which, by the way, you will help me become a better athlete, in more ways than one I'm tiring myself. I'm going to bed too late. I'm working too hard. I am exhausting myself. And so now we're like, okay, so how do we now we're in a really great feedback conversation, right? Sorry, a non feedback conversation, [01:07:00] but a supportive coaching conversation, which says, Hey dad, how can I incorporate more rest in my life?
[01:07:08] So I'm not up at four o'clock in the morning eating, but really so that I become this kind of athlete that I want to be right. How can I be this athlete that I want to be by getting more rest? So now I'm not just giving her feedback that says, stop eating chocolate chip cookies. Now we're in this conversation about improving her performance by getting rest so that she could be an athlete, do you see how that's two totally different conversation?
[01:07:33] And one is much more likely to succeed. And that's like, when I say you can change other people in that book, that's the magic of that book in a sense, which is, I don't want to teach you to be more honest with people. I'm not saying honesty is bad, but I want to teach you, help them achieve and get to the things that they want to achieve.
[01:07:50] Because for you as a leader of 63 people, for me as a coach, for, as in our family members, that's what we want. But that's the outcome we want is we want to help people to improve their performance.
[01:08:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. I think this book is great. I think it's very needed. So it's coming out. This podcast episode is going to come out in a month or so.
[01:08:07] So your book will have already been out. Where can people go find your book?
[01:08:11] Peter Bregman: First of all, to find out anything, you could always go to bregmanpartners.com. All my books are on there. bregmanpartners.com, and then the book will be hopefully wherever books are sold, but certainly, it's on Amazon and all the online booksellers.
[01:08:24] Hala Taha: Cool. So that's again, it's called You Can Change Other People by Peter Bregman. And the last question I ask all my guests is what is your secret to profiting in life?
[01:08:35] Peter Bregman: That's like the doorknob question and therapy, right? Oh, we're about to leave. It's a great session, by the way, I have this like overwhelming, life issue that I'm gonna share with you.
[01:08:44] I'll share a very quick story, which is that my father died in April of 2020, and I drove out to I, it was middle of COVID and he was in Florida and I was in New York. And so I drove with my brother 20 something hours, [01:09:00] basically nonstop. And he died about an hour before we got there.
[01:09:04] And I got there and I wanted to see him and I asked him to keep him in the apartment until we got there, before they took him out. And I it's so ingrained in my head. They took the sheet up from overseas. And I saw my father who I've known, obviously my whole life and was a sweet man.
[01:09:21] And I saw his body, which was lifeless and clearly, and obviously lifeless. And, everybody says this, but it is. So it like really hit me. You can not take anything with you. Like when we die. That's it. So then the question is what makes a difference? And then I about a week ago, I was playing monopoly with my kids and it struck me and I've only played monopoly a few times in my adult life, but it struck me.
[01:09:56] Wow, life really is like monopoly. Like you're [01:10:00] playing this game and you're making a ton of money and it's fake, but you get by hotels and things like that. And you could, and you get totally competitive and you could win. You could definitely win. And as, and we could totally focus that. But in the end, you close the board and you put the money back into the little plastic container and you shut it.
[01:10:19] And then the question is what was important about that game? What was the most important thing about that monopoly game and yes, the competition and the fun and all of that, but it's did I enjoy my time with the people I was playing with? Did we have fun? Were we engaged? Did I put myself in it?
[01:10:38] But in a way that like enhanced our relationship, instead of storming away saying you cheated and Bubba, was it fun? Was I connected with those people? That is the only thing that matters. After a game of monopoly, it doesn't matter who won. It's meaningless who won. And I, to me, I think profiting in life is [01:11:00] playing your life.
[01:11:01] Like you would play a really successful game of monopoly, which is throw yourself in it, have fun, be competitive, if you want to engage with et cetera, but make sure that when you walk away from that board, you can look back and go. That was great. That was really fun. I love the people I just played with and, I'm super happy.
[01:11:20] I just spent that last couple of hours.
[01:11:22] Hala Taha: That is such a powerful story. I relate to it so much. I actually lost my dad very close to when you lost yours, May, 2020 during COVID and same thing. We got to the hospital right after he died and we missed it and we weren't allowed to go to the hospital, which was like so tough.
[01:11:37] And then they only let us go afterwards. And to your point, it's like you see them lifeless. These people that were once full of life and you realize life is limitless. To your point, we talked about it earlier. There's a time limit. We need to know our priorities. We need to know what we're doing, but I never thought about it in the way that you just mentioned that we need to also have fun, be engaged, be connected.
[01:11:57] It's not just about winning this [01:12:00] monopoly game. It's about enjoying the journey. So really powerful. I love that. Peter, this was an amazing conversation. Thank you for, running over a bit. I'm glad that we got to, continue talking. Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that you do?
[01:12:14] Peter Bregman: The best place is bregmanpartners.com, B R E G M A N P A R T N E R S.
[01:12:20] Hala Taha: Awesome. Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting Podcast. And my conversation with Peter Bregman, we covered so much in this episode. My head is still reeling. I totally related to Peter's come up story about choosing to be thrown into the world of entrepreneurship and flying high, fast. The highs and the lows that comes with having high stakes in yourself is all a part of the success story, that nobody sees. The pivots of failures, the mistakes, that's all part of the journey of becoming a leader and leveling up.
[01:12:50] Peter shared such great concrete advice for how to hone our leadership skills professionally and personally, he told us about the difference between productive and unproductive [01:13:00] distractions and how the harder and more meaningful our work is. The more our brain tries to search for distractions, rather than focus his advice for upping your concentration on your work is to reevaluate your goals.
[01:13:12] Shift your focus on what's most important and to shut down the unproductive distractions right away. We talked about the leadership gap and the four pillars of leadership that it takes to fill that gap. The first pillar being confidence in self doesn't mean being arrogant or condescending to those you lead.
[01:13:29] But rather that you're comfortable with the fact, that you don't know everything and that you always have the opportunity to learn from those around you. The second pillar is connecting to others, being willing to see and hear the people around you and offering that same respect and connection to them as well.
[01:13:45] The third pillar is commitment to purpose, remembering why you started and being clear on what you're going to spend your time committing to. And the last pillar is emotional courage. Emotional courage is something that doesn't come easy to many, but the more you [01:14:00] exercise your emotional courage by actively listening to others, having hard conversations and the willingness.
[01:14:05] Feel uncomfortable emotions when you're in those situations, the easier leading will become, put those uncomfortable feelings aside, lead with emotional courage and inspire those around you. If you enjoyed this episode and you want to hear more about leveling up your leadership skills, go check out episode number 42, Become A Better Leader with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith.
[01:14:27] Here's a clip from that episode.
[01:14:30] Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: You can even have to prove yourself every time you get promoted, though, you got to learn to stop doing that. And the worst thing is CEO can do is try to prove, how smart they are and win all the time at that level. You want to make everybody else who winner don't make it all about you.
[01:14:43] So it's a very difficult transition. One of my customers said for the great individual achiever, it's all about me for the great leader. It's all about them. You say, it's hard to make this transition from being an achiever, which is mostly about me to being a leader, which is mostly about them. [01:15:00]
[01:15:00] Hala Taha: Again, if you liked this episode and you want to learn more about leadership, go check out episode number 42, Become A Better Leader with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith.
[01:15:09] Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting Podcast. Make sure you connect with me on social media. You can find me at Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn. Just search my name. It's Hala Taha.. Big. Thanks to the YAP team as always. This is your host, Hala Taha signing off.
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