Lessons of Extreme Leadership, with Steve Farber

Episode 166

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Listed on Inc.’s listing of the Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts in the world, and #1 on Huffington Post’s 12 Business Speakers to See, Steve Farber is a bestselling author, popular keynote speaker, and a seasoned leadership coach and consultant who has worked with a vast array of public and private organizations in virtually every arena. Farber is the former vice president of legendary management guru Tom Peters Company and is the founder and CEO of The Extreme Leadership Institute, an organization devoted to helping its clients develop award-winning cultures and achieve radical results. The Institute’s team has helped over 25 companies earn a ranking on the Best Places to Work list. Farber’s third book, Greater Than Yourself, debuted as a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. His second book, The Radical Edge, was hailed as a playbook for harnessing the power of the human spirit. And his first book, The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership, was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time. His much-anticipated new book, Love is Just Damn Good Business, published by McGraw-Hill, is available now. Farber is a member of the exclusive Transformational Leadership Council, and his column, The Extreme Leadership Chronicles, runs frequently on Inc.com. In this episode of Destination on the Left, Steve Farber, founder and CEO of Extreme Leadership, joins us to talk about his new book, Love is Just Damn Good Business. Steve breaks down the fundamental framework that inspired his book and explains why love is a key element of good business practices.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Steve’s journey into leadership coaching and what leadership means to him
  • What is extreme leadership and how you can use Steve’s principles in the travel and tourism industry
  • Why the quality of leadership separates good companies from not so good companies
  • Why love is a fundamental element of good business practices
  • The elements of LEAP
  • How love can be used to achieve greater levels of productivity in collaborative environments

Beyond Position and Title

Steve Farber is a best-selling author, a keynote speaker, and a veteran leadership coach whose framework in The Radical Leap has inspired entrepreneurs across the country to realize their dreams. His new book, Love is Just Damn Good Business, builds on the principles in the Radical Leap and explains why love is a fundamental element of good business practices. Like Steve says, “do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.” And in the latest episode of Destination on the Left, he dives into this leadership philosophy in detail. There is a lot to gain by understanding Extreme Leadership and how it applies to the travel and tourism industry, and there is a lot to learn from Steve’s journey as well.

Leaders of Meaning Significance

Steve has been an entrepreneur for a long time, but in the beginning, he struggled to fight a waning passion for the industry in which he started his first business. It brought him to a fork in the road where he had to choose between seeking out his true calling or focusing on money alone. The meandering soul search exposed him to many different industries and businesses, introducing him to incredible mentors and providing him with a keen understanding of the one thing that separates great companies from not so great companies—the quality of their leadership. This turned out to be Steve’s sweet spot, and since that epiphany, he has been working to help shape leaders of meaning and significance who produce radical results.

The LEAP Elements

Leaders are typically defined by a prestigious position or title. But the best leaders are defined by their actions alone. That is why Steve’s Radical Leap framework expresses leadership as a result of cultivating love, generating energy, inspiring audacity, and providing proof. You don’t need a position or title to practice any of these things, and you can apply this operating system in any scenario by molding it to the way you do business. That means it will even work in the collaborative environments of the travel and tourism industry by increasing productivity and making DMOs operate more effectively. Love is the foundation of the entire framework, so if you can master that element, the rest will take care of themselves.

Nicole Mahoney: 00:18 Hello listeners, welcome to another episode of destination on the left. You know, I love to bring new ideas to you every week and this week is no exception. I’m really excited to share my conversation with Steve Farber with you. I met Steve at one of my agency network meetings last fall. Steve is a bestselling author, keynote speaker and seasons leadership coach and consultant. I had read Steve’s book, the radical leap, and when he came to our network group, I was reminded that the valuable lessons in that book and how much his framework resonated with me, it actually inspired me into action. And when I returned from that meeting, I quickly ordered a copy of the radical leap for everyone on my team. We all read the book and at our annual strategy meeting in December, we talked about it and how it applies to the work that we do at my agency.

Nicole Mahoney: 01:06 The ice media, so when I reached out to Steve to invite him to be a guest on my show to talk about extreme leadership and how it applies to the travel and tourism industry and he accepted. I was really excited for the opportunity to share these ideas with all of you. Steve new book love is just good damn business [inaudible] builds on his framework from radical leap which in its most basic terms [inaudible] teaches us that love is the foundation for good business and I couldn’t agree more. If you are listening to this podcast episode in real time, it is not accidental that we are publishing this right before Valentine’s day 2021 of Steve’s mantras that we have adopted at my agency comes right out of his books. It is to do what you love in the service of people you love, what you do. A little more on Steve Farber, he has listed on inks top 50 leadership and management experts in the world and number one on Huffington post, 12 business speakers to see.

Nicole Mahoney: 02:06 He is the former vice president of legendary management guru Tom Peter’s company and is the founder and CEO of the extreme leadership Institute. An organization devoted to helping its clients develop award winning cultures and achieve radical results. The institutes team has helped over 25 companies earn a ranking on the best places to work. List Steve’s third book greater than yourself, debuted as a wall street journal and USA today bestseller. His second book, the radical edge was hailed as a playbook for harnessing the power of the human spirit and his first book, the radical leap. A personal lesson in extreme leadership was named one of the 100 best business books of all time. His much anticipated new book. Love is just damn good business published by McGraw Hill is available now. Now let’s get into the interview.

Steve Farber: 02:59 Steve, thank you so much for joining me today and for sharing with our listeners. I’m so looking forward to the conversation. Before we get started though, can you share your story a little bit with our listeners? In your own words?

Steve Farber: 03:13 A bio can only really tell so much about a person. And I think that when you tell the story, it really adds so much more context what we’re talking about. Sure. I’ve been in the business of leadership development four 30 years. I know you can’t tell to look at them, but I’ve been doing this, I’ve been doing this a long time. Yeah. But I didn’t start out, you know, if, uh, if you would’ve asked me when I was, you know, in my late teens and early twenties what I’d be doing through my thirties, forties, 50s and now sixties, I wouldn’t have said, yeah, I’ll be doing keynote speeches and, and a consulting companies on how to be, you know, create cultures of leadership. And I didn’t even know what that stuff was. Um, because I was going to be a musician. See, that was, that was the, that was my destiny.

Steve Farber: 04:06 Apparently. It wasn’t my destiny, but it was my desire. So actually what happened was, you know, I, um, I started the family young. I got, I got, uh, you know, responsibilities for feeding people at a young age. And it, I discovered that being a musician and feeding people were mutually exclusive pursuits. So I gave up music and I got into business and this was a, this was all before I was 30 years old. I had three kids. I have my own business. I was in, in the financial services industry, in the commodities futures business actually. Uh, which, um, so it was my own shop. [inaudible] you know, it was, it was my, it was my thing and ironically I hated it. I don’t know if that’s ironic, but it’s a strange place to be when you hate your own business, uh, because that industry and I just, we’re not suited for each other, I think is the nice way to say it.

Steve Farber: 04:56 Uh, it’s a very speculative business. People lost their money all the time, even though they knew the risks. I was like going to Vegas, right? Mmm [inaudible] and I just experienced it as solely about making money. And I had, uh, so on a very deep level, just did not resonate. [inaudible] my own industry, my own business in particular. So I got out and it was at about that time. And this was by, believe it or not, the short version of the story. What was it about that time that I really did a lot of soul searching as to what, what exactly I was supposed to be doing on this planet. The question that I’m sure all of us have asked ourselves, at least at some point in our lives. I was just asking it when I had, you know, mouths to feed and, and no idea how I was going to do that after I got out of that business and I kind of fell into, I’m combining my business background with my natural ability for being in front of people, uh, which I had been cultivating through music and acting and that’s sort of the thing.

Steve Farber: 05:56 And I, um,

Nicole Mahoney: 05:58 I started doing consulting work and the training, this was back in 1988 [inaudible] that it was when all my lights went on. That’s the first time in my professional adult life where I really loved what I was doing. And that set me on a path that over the years led me to some incredible mentors. Uh, like Tom Peters for example. And I ended up being vice president of his company. And for your listeners that are unfamiliar with Tom, uh, he’s one of the greatest management thinkers of our day, co-wrote the search of excellence way back when and many other books since then. And I just, my journey took me deeper and deeper into leadership. The more exposure I had to more companies and more industries, the clearer it became that what separated great companies from not so great companies was the quality of their leadership. So that became the sweet spot for me.

Nicole Mahoney: 06:52 And over the years I developed my own point of view and my ultimately my own platform, which I call extreme leadership. Um, and now with four books under my belt, the radical leap theoretical edge greater than yourself in the new book love is just damn good business. Uh, I’ve had an opportunity to, um, I hope contribute to the ongoing discussion as to what it means to be leaders of meaning and leaders of significance, uh, as the same time getting radical results for ourselves and for our businesses. So that’s my story and that’s an awesome story. There are so many things that I just love about your story and I think a lot of what you just said, I’m sure it’s resonating with a lot of our listeners already. Um, and just to kind of start with this idea of that the industry you chose at first out of, out of necessity and really focused on needing, you know, mouths to feed.

Nicole Mahoney: 07:46 And I’m sure a lot of us can relate to that. I certainly can. I’ve got four mounts of my own to feed plus a husband so he can feed himself. Uh, but, um, but really that the industry wasn’t suited for you. And I think that that is in some terms, in some ways people might think, well, of course if you don’t like what you’re doing, change what you’re doing. But I think there are so many people out there who might be in an industry that might not suit them and, and might not actually take that and make that change. And so I think that’s just a really important point that you made. And, and on the show we talked to a lot of, you know, a lot of our guests have various backgrounds, but they’ve found their way into travel and tourism. And I know I was telling you this on our pre-interview chat, most of the folks that I talked to on the, on this show, I love what they do and they found their way there. Some, you know, in some way. And it’s usually not a straight a straight line, uh, just as you just described. Right. Well, you know, there’s, I think there is a, there’s a continuum. Uh, so I was being polite when I said that, that business and I not suited for each

Steve Farber: 08:56 other. I mean, the truth is I hated it. I had a moral dilemma with it, with my own business because of the nature of the of the beast is that people lost their money a lot. And, and I just, I didn’t see any value in it and yet it was something that we were selling. Right? Um, so I think for a lot of people, they are in a business that they don’t feel particularly suited for, but there are elements of it that they enjoy and they make a good living at it. [inaudible] and it doesn’t, it doesn’t rock them to their core. Ah, the ideal scenario is what you described with, you know, a lot of folks that you guys serve and you, and your business, the ideal scenario is to really love what you’re doing. Ah, because that’s the, that’s the tide that raises all proverbial boats, right?

Steve Farber: 09:44 If I really love this business and I love the people I’m doing this business with, in other words, my employees, colleagues, associates, and I love the people that were doing this business for which of course is our customers. Uh, we’re going to have not just a better experience in the act of working in conducting business, but we’re going to be more successful at it because we’re more likely to create products and services and approaches that our customers are going to love. It’s a natural outgrowth. And of course, if our customers love what we do for them, they stick around and they talk about us and they spend more money. And that’s how we become more successful as businesses. So this notion that somehow love and business are, are, you know, they’re, they’re both good, but they have nothing to do with each other as is.

Steve Farber: 10:31 It’s just ridiculous. It’s, um, if I might be so presumptuous as to quote myself, uh, love is just damn good business. And so if you’re in a position, if you’re listening to this right now and you’re saying to yourself, well, yeah, you know, aye, I’m okay with what I’m doing. I mean, it’s, it’s cool. It’s not, you know, it’s not, I don’t have a moral dilemma with it like you did with yours. Farber, should I leave? Should I get out of this because I don’t love it. And obviously you’re the only one that can answer that question, but I will tell you that a good place to start is right where you are and begin to explore what are the elements, if any, of what you’re doing that you do love. So it may not be that the work is ideally suited for me, but I could love my, my team, my colleagues, you know, I’d love coming to work because they’re great people here for the clients that I serve are really fantastic and I make a really big contribution to their, to their lives when they, when they visit our city are they, are they stay at our hotel or whatever it is.

Steve Farber: 11:33 Mmm. So that’s a great starting place. So it’s not an all or nothing proposition, I guess is what I’m saying. Yeah, I think that’s really, really good clarification and, and good perspective. Um, you know, to think about what are those elements that you do love and maybe leaning, leaning into those as you move forward. I also wanted to back, um,

Nicole Mahoney: 11:54 outside to something you said when you were, when you were giving the, uh, your background, when you talked about, you realized that what made the difference between a good company and a not so good company is the quality of their leadership. And I actually think sometimes, um, this idea of leadership gets overlooked, um, or the importance of leadership gets overlooked. Um, even with, you know, some of the people that I have on the show or I know some of our listeners, I actually believe that a lot of the listeners that we have are leaders, whether they’re the director of their organization or not, they’re leading in some way. People look to them whether it’s, um, for a exceptional visitor experience cause they’re on the front line or whether it’s as a committee member, as part of an organization that’s trying to move, you know, some programmer or some kind of collaborative program forward.

Nicole Mahoney: 12:46 And I’m curious, um, when it comes to leadership and you and you talked about this idea of the quality of the leader makes the difference, what are some things that perhaps our listeners could be thinking about whether they have that, what would be traditionally considered a leadership title or not? That’s a really important point. Um, leadership, it has nothing to do with your position or title. Um, and I will be polite in the way I say this, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the decades in my work who are positionally supposed to be leaders, right? They sit at the top of their org chart. They have very impressive sounding titles. There are thousands of people that report to them, Mmm. But still have, let’s just say a bit of work to do as far as their leadership goes, right? Mmm. But the other side of that equation is even more important.

Nicole Mahoney: 13:43 Uh, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who, who have no positional authority. They’re right there on the front line. They’re just doing the work. Not technically positionally quote unquote leaders, but they’re great leaders by virtue of who they are and what they do and how they approach their work and, and their ability to influence people around them to change things for the better. And just, just that whole approach. It’s just got nothing to do with your position or title. Having said that, if you do have position or title, even though [inaudible] leadership ability doesn’t automatically come with that territory, the expectation from others that you will lead does automatically come with that territory. So it creates a problematic gap in many cases. We’re now, um, I’m in positional authority, everybody’s expecting me to be a leader and I have no freaking idea what that means. I got, I got into this position because I’m really good at this job, you know, ma technical capability or I’ve sold a lot of stuff or whatever it is. And then, you know, suddenly I find myself running the show

Steve Farber: 14:51 or at least part of the show

Steve Farber: 14:54 [inaudible] I have no idea what to do now. And then there are other people that just, you know, we could call it a, what’s the category? Unconsciously competent. Hmm. It’s just really good leaders and they have no idea why what it is that they do. Right? So we want to get consciously competent with this, no matter what the position or title is and wherever you are and from whatever position you’re in. My point of view is that the foundation for leadership is this is this radical leap [inaudible] approach, which is to cultivate love, generate energy, inspire audacity and provide proof. And if you can, if you can do those things you don’t love is the connection of your heart to your works. We’ve already started discussing energy is the juice and the enthusiasm, the fire that you bring to the work that you do. Audacity is that bold and blatant disregard four normal constraints.

Steve Farber: 15:53 It’s not think outside the box, it’s more like what box. It’s that, that attitude that says we can change the world for the better. Ah, even if it’s just our small w world, the world of our company, for example. That’s audacity in my book, literally and figuratively. And uh, and finally proof is, is about, uh, on the one hand, it’s about getting the results. That’s how we prove that we’re good at this. But it’s also proving that we mean what we say through the congruent between our words and our actions as holding ourselves accountable to live up to the words that come out of our own mouth. So that’s leap, love, energy, audacity and proof. You don’t need a position or title to practice those things. Yeah, I think that’s an awesome framework and I, and I love to make sure that our listeners really, um, grasp, grasp that.

Steve Farber: 16:43 And so I’m wondering if we can perhaps, um, talk a little bit more about how you put that into action. Sure. So think of leap, as you know, I often refer to it as a framework. You can also think of it as a, as an operating system, right? So it is, and just like any operating system, there are thousands of applications. So, so really the question is, the important question is what should this, these ideas, what should these practices look like? In the way that you lead in the way that you do business. So if you focus on, and we can get into the weeds on, on all elements, you know, each of the elements of lead. But I think we’re going to get our best leverage by focusing on the first one. Of course, it’s love. Love is really the foundation for it. And you know, as I wrote about in, in the new book, uh, love is not, I don’t mean it as a sentiment.

Steve Farber: 17:44 I don’t mean it as warm, fluffy California, touchy feely, hoohah crap. Uh, I mean it as a practice on a discipline. And if you get that down, the rest of the leap framework kind of takes care of itself in many ways because love generates energy, love inspires audacity. And ultimately love requires [inaudible]. So the operating question in putting this stuff into practice is very simple. [inaudible] what should love look like in the way that we do business? So if we say for example, that we love our customers, well, what does that look like? What are the actions that you’re taking to prove that you love your customers? What’s the evidence that you have that your customers love you back or that or that what you think you’re doing, they really do love. Or are there really, you know, taking the message as your and the way that you intended.

Steve Farber: 18:39 So the operating kind of the operating underlying mantra for this is to do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. Those are the three kind of sub categories. So doing what you love, as I said, is your, your connection to your work in the service of people is the context. So you’re doing what you love in the service of [inaudible], in the service of your customers and the service of your employees and the service of your community. So not just doing what I love, period. Case closed. I don’t really, you know, care about anybody else. That’s just narcissism. I’m doing what I love, but I’m doing that to serve you and to serve you in such a significant way that the impact is you love. You reciprocate, you love me in return. So do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.

Steve Farber: 19:25 How do you do that? What should that look like? Is the question. So the best way to, um, so that’s the starting place. So I can offer you a couple of examples just by way of illustrating what that might look like. Because our job each year, each of our jobs is to, is to translate that is the, is the answer that for ourselves in the context, uh, our own business. So if you’re running a, you know, a ski lodge for example, uh, well that’s your expertise, that’s not mine. So for me to come in and say, these are the things that you can do to show your guests that you love them. Well, you know, then that might be some good starting point ideas. But, but you need to answer that. So let me give you some examples of what other people have done in answering and answering that question.

Steve Farber: 20:12 And I’ll share with you. Um, well my, my current, my current favorite example, I’ve been telling the story quite a bit. I think I may have heard it. And it’s a good one. Yes. So it’s so remarkable. Yeah. Uh, and one of the reasons it’s remarkable is it’s in an industry that is, that is not particularly [inaudible], wouldn’t equate this industry with love automatically. So in the hospitality industry, you kind of can, right? I mean, you have guests, it’s hospitality. It’s about treating people well and giving them a great experience. It’s not that much of a have a, you know, intellectual leap to say love is important here, but if you’re running a shipping and logistics company, it’s a little more of a stretch. Right? So there’s this company in Jacksonville, Florida called trailer bridge, and they are a shipping company. So they ship, you know, containers of stuff from Jacksonville, Florida where they’re based primarily to a Dominican Republic, primarily to Puerto Rico and also Dominican Republic, couple of other places.

Steve Farber: 21:11 So trailer bridge has been around for 30 years. Um, their background is, let’s just say, not stellar. Uh, they were a toxic place to put, not to find a point on it. Uh, they went bankrupt in one point. They, um, they were the, they were cheap. There were cheaper than the competition because that was the only way they can get customers because their service was so terrible. Uh, and, and they, uh, they were just, uh, just an awful place. And, and this is not my characterization of it, this is their characterization of it. So went bankrupt, emerged from bankruptcy, reorganize, you know, that whole thing, and then burned through four CEOs in two years. So it gives you an idea of, of the kind of churning that was going on in there. And then how miserable a place it was. And then finally, Mitch Luciano, I was asked by the board to take over, he was already part of the, the management team.

Steve Farber: 22:07 He was kind of a survivor there. And they said, okay, Mitch, can you turn this place around at your turn? CEO number four [inaudible] two years? And Mitch said, yeah, okay, I’ll do it because I believe in the company. I believe in most of the people here. I think we have a great opportunity. And just so you know, board just warning you ahead of time. I’m a loved guy. I don’t know that he used those words. Exactly. Yeah. But basically he said to them, look, if you want me to turn this place around, you have to give me, you have to give me a lot of latitude to do in my way. So if you talk to Mitch, what he would tell you, what he will tell you is [inaudible] his objective first and foremost was to create and environment a culture that people would love working in.

Steve Farber: 22:58 Oh, that is a pretty radical departure from the what? From what their history was, right. So it’s from hate to love basically. So he asked the question, what would this place be like if we, if people really loved it here, what would love look like? This the question that I posed a few minutes ago. So he, with through that lens, he took a look at everything from the dynamics of the team to the way people made decisions to, uh, to the, the physical environment. And here’s what he did. He said, okay. Um, small company at the time, it was like 120 people said, uh, everybody’s walking around with name tags on, well, why, why, why are we wearing name tags? We’re only 120 people. We should at least know each other’s names. If people love working here, they would know each other’s right. So he banished the name tags, no more name tags, got rid of them, which was kind of a symbolic gesture.

Steve Farber: 23:51 But, but think about what that meant for Mitch. It meant that he had to learn everybody’s name I like right now. So then he lowered the Heights of the cubicles because they are the middle of the, uh, the office building was, you know, cubicle city and, and the partitions went from Florida ceiling and nobody ever sat next to each other all day, never saw each other. So he lowered the Heights of the cubicles so people can actually look into each other’s eyes. He created a, a break area [inaudible] that entice people to come on, come there and hang out on their breaks. You know, the, the, you know, foosball table and ping pong tables. And that kind of a thing. Uh, then he started to bring in food trucks. They still do this every Thursday they bring in a food truck, feed the whole company. People get together for lunch. [inaudible]

Steve Farber: 24:32 so the, so he started to do that, to cultivate an environment that people would love working in. And sure enough, [inaudible] relations started to develop. People started to look forward to coming to work. People started to get more productive. And then he looked at, he looked at the management team and he said, you people, you know, we have too many levels. Everybody’s got to, you know, everybody’s manager, everybody’s boss has a boss, has a boss, as a boss in a company that has 120 people. So they flattened the organization, which, you know, we all know by now is, is something that we should be paying attention to. Uh, but he said, he said, look, you, your job as managers is to get to know the people that work here. And your job is to share what you know with everybody else. Sherry, share your knowledge, share your expertise, share your wisdom, sharing your information.

Steve Farber: 25:16 And a culture that had never done that before. And there were some managers that said, no, I’m not going to do that. I, you know, I earned my knowledge. Okay, that’s my, that’s my competitive advantage. Ah, so there were some people that said no, and some people therefore that he said goodbye to, there’s such a thing as tough love. Right. I can love you and fire you. [inaudible] that’s what he did. Uh, so things started to change internally and people started to bring themselves in a different way to work, but at the same time they looked at, um, their, their customer policy, right? Because this is about doing what you love in the service of people. Some of those people, of course, the most important group one could argue with the customers. So they looked at their, at their customer policies and procedures and they discovered a few things.

Steve Farber: 26:05 For one, they had this long standing policy that they would not ship. The ship would not sail unless it was at least 75% full. No, it kind of makes sense. If you look at it, if business is all dollars and cents, you would look at that and say, Oh, well sure. That’s because if it’s less than 75% of full, we’re going to lose money on that ship. So why would we sail [inaudible] [inaudible] until we fill up all the space. But if you look at it from the customer perspective, here’s, here’s, you have a different picture, right? So I’m a customer, I’m shipping a car, let’s say [inaudible] Puerto Rico as a gift, and I tell my family that it’s going to arrive on such and such a date. And then the ship never sails because that company that it’s shipping, it couldn’t sell enough space on that barge.

Steve Farber: 26:56 So now my car is still sitting on the dock in Jacksonville and piss people off. Does this happen a lot? Because they weren’t selling very well because they were a terrible company, et cetera, et cetera. Right? So they looked at the policy and they said, wait a minute, if we loved our customers, if we really loved our customers, what would we do in that circumstance? Yes. And if you ask the question that way, the answer is pretty obvious. We would show up. We would sail because that’s what we said we would do. And that’s what they started doing. And you can imagine the gulp [inaudible] at first it’s like, Oh, we’re losing money on this shipment. Well, what happened? Their reputation started to change because now the internal environment was starting to show up and the way they work with customers and customers started to talk about them and say, see what’s going on at trailer bridge. Pretty soon people were, we’re, we’re recruiting their friends and family to come work there because they loved it so much. And, and, and, and, and, and fast forward, these guys have now been voted number one and number two, best place to work in the city of Jacksonville. And the last two years of the company, well, this last year, 2019, I think it was the best a performance financial performance in the history of the company. Uh, and the previous two years, their revenues exceeded the previous 25 years combined.

Nicole Mahoney: 28:14 Wow.

Steve Farber: 28:16 So they are killing it, which may not be the right metaphor in the context of a love discussion. But uh, but that yes, it all comes from answering the question, what should love look like around here? And you get into the weeds. What implication does it have for the kinds of people that we hire and how we hire them? For example? Well, you can imagine the money they’re saving on recruiters now they don’t use recruiters anymore or virtually no, no recruiters because their employees are the best recruiters, right? So how do we hire people? How do we give performance evaluations? How do we run meetings? Do each of those things show that we love them and if not, we need to reevaluate it. So again, it’s a long example, but the, the idea is really important that your job in whatever business you’re in is to ask that similar question for where you are. And it’s going to be different. The nuances are going to be different. The practice is going to be different because your business is different. But it’s the same question. What should love look like in the way that we do things around here?

Nicole Mahoney: 29:21 Yeah, I love that lens. And also that example, and actually I’ll bet our listeners can relate a lot to that, especially when you talked about, you know, the previous, um, the previous customer policy being we don’t ship unless we’re 75% fall. You know, I can think about all aspects of the tourism where, you know, do we have a full plane? Do we have a full cruise ship? Um, you know, do we have a full tasting room? If I’m a winery owner, at what point do I lock the doors? There’s only two people coming on a Tuesday in the middle of winter and upstate New York. So what if I decide just to go home today? But then if someone does show up and I’m not there, what is that telling that customer? Yeah. Especially if you’ve told them you’re going to be there. Right, right. Yeah. So here’s, here’s the thing.

Nicole Mahoney: 30:10 Mmm. I, I may have glossed over this, but [inaudible] just to put the period at the end of that sentence, they rarely, uh, rarely less than 98, 99% full now, not an issue anymore. So no, uh, you have to make those decisions for yourself, obviously. But really the question is, am I doing what I said I would do? Oh, am I reliable? Am I giving the experience for whoever’s here? Uh, you know, if, if my, if my hotel is only, you know, the half full, does that mean I’m going to give half the quality of service that people are in there? I hope not. So it’s 100% all the time to everybody because that’s what you do when you love somebody. [inaudible] it’s just that simple. Absolutely. So I want to kind of take this, um, and a little bit of a, uh, different direction with this next question just in that, um, you know, as I mentioned when I think about this tourism industry, and like you said, it’s not a, it’s not a very big leap to think about bringing love into the work that you do when you’re in hospitality, travel and tourism.

Nicole Mahoney: 31:14 Um, but I think about some of our listeners and, uh, the different roles that they play, and I, I mentioned it a little bit earlier, but collaboration is a, is a huge Mmm. It’s just a huge thing that happens in the industry all the time. There’s multiple stakeholders that get involved in and moving forward a marketing program, putting together a, um, you know, a travel package, um, building out a trail, a wine trail for example, you know, to make it easier for the consumer to visit an area, something like that. And what happens is you’re in a room with all of these people are very passionate, but they are coming with different viewpoints, perhaps maybe different goals and really trying to work, you know, collaboratively to come up with something to move that forward. And these are not always the easiest, you know, situations to be in are the easiest projects to move forward because of those differing viewpoints.

Nicole Mahoney: 32:06 And so I’ve been thinking about ever since I’ve read your books, how we can apply this idea of leap and this idea of love. You know, too though some of those may be more challenging situations. And I’m wondering if you have an example or some thoughts and guidance that you can provide on that. Yeah. Well if these ideas were only applicable in easy situations, it wouldn’t be very, it wouldn’t be very, uh, in fact, most situations dealing with multiple human beings are almost by definition challenging. I mean, our political environment is side, right? Every, you know, what you described

Steve Farber: 32:40 is obviously not exclusive to the, you know, hospitality and travel and tourism industry, uh, [inaudible] every, virtually every company. It needs to be more collaborative because it’s increasingly impossible for any one person to know or be able to do everything. I mean, it’s just the nature of the world. The, the, the complex nature of the world demands more collaboration. Uh, and the good news is that the better we get at it, the better results we, we, uh, [inaudible] joy, right? So there are, again, probably a thousand answers, you know, in the weeds answers to that question. But I think at the foundation it’s about creating teams once again, that people love being on, right? And that doesn’t mean just to be clear, it doesn’t mean creating a team or an entire company for that matter where everybody’s happy all the time. And people always, you know, they walk around with big goofy grins on their faces and every 20 minutes you just stop and have a big group hug the hallway.

Steve Farber: 33:47 And nobody ever argues, I mean, doesn’t that sound great? No, it doesn’t. That sounds, it sounds nausea. So, so first of all, let’s be clear on, on what we’re trying to [inaudible] create, right? Creating a real, you know, really great collaborative team is, is messy by its nature. It’s messy and, and it, and sparks can fly, uh, because people have, if they’re flying for the, the sparks are flying for the right reasons. That’s fine. And those right reasons are, we all have very high expectations. We love this work that we’re doing. We want to produce great work and therefore we’re going to challenge each other to do the best possible work, which means that sometimes we’re gonna, you know, we’re going to have, you know, conflicting ideas and we’re going to have arguments and we’re going to have to hash it out. [inaudible] if there’s a foundation there of mutual care and concern, ah, and a investment in one another’s [inaudible] needs dreams and aspirations, then all of that messy part [inaudible] is almost almost fun.

Steve Farber: 34:51 I mean, you know, it’s, it’s a, because we know where it’s coming from. It’s not, not political, not ego-driven, but really from we want to do the best for each other and for our end user, [inaudible] customer, whatever terminology you use. So we have to adjust the expectations. It’s not about making everything sugary sweet. It’s about being really clear why we’re doing this together and and being able to demonstrate for each other that we’re committed to each other. Ah, so really the only way to get to that point where we’re really committed to each others fulfillment and success is we have to know each other. [inaudible] I don’t know you, if I don’t know what your dreams and aspirations are, how can I help you achieved them?

Nicole Mahoney: 35:36 So it can be as simple as asking you if you haven’t,

Nicole Mahoney: 35:40 no problem with your team or it’s a little too contentious and just there ain’t no love there. A good place to start is to ask the question, do we really? How well do we really know each other here are we? Cause you know how it is. A lot of times we’ll be arguing in violent agreement over something. No idea that we’re actually agreeing because we’re making these assumptions, right? So it’s really about, it’s as simple as just taking a breath, settling down and saying, all right, let’s just get together and let’s just do, you don’t have a chip. Well, you know, w what do you, what are you working on? Tell me about, I mean, a lot of times you have, people will work with each other for years and know nothing about their family, about their history, about their story. [inaudible] we just kind of take the time to do that because that’s the raw material of human relationship.

Nicole Mahoney: 36:29 And the better we get to know each other, the, the easier it is to establish that foundation of trust and of course trust and love or are very intimately connected. Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great point. And, um, and, and I like how you, how you can boil things down. So it seems so simple, but I know in, in, uh, in practice, maybe not as simple, but we have to know and practice. Right, exactly, exactly. We have to know each other. I think that’s just a really, really great point. And, um, you know, maybe sometimes in these types of, uh, you know, you call them teams, they could be committees or whatever they are. We don’t spend a lot of time, we just get right down to business and we don’t spend that time as much time perhaps as we should doing the relationship building and, and really getting to know each other.

Nicole Mahoney: 37:15 Um, and building that trust. I think that’s, ah, fantastic point. It’s very easy to overlook because I think, you know, partially because our, um, collective societal conditioning is that it’s really not important at work. That’s something, you know, getting to know each other crap. That’s something that know that’s what you do with your friends and family and all that. But at work [inaudible] it’s a nice to have, but it’s not a must have and I really think it’s a must have. Yeah, I agree. So Steve, this has been an awesome conversation. I have one more question cause I, there’s another point that, uh, I’d like you to share with our listeners, um, before we, you know, I let you go. Um, and that is, uh, in your book the radical leap. Um, and you’ve mentioned it in this conversation as well. You talked about, um, you know, how, how we change the world and understanding how you change the world, whether it’s, um, a big w world or a little w world. And my team actually read the radical leap, um, as a, as a book project last year and we had quite a discussion about how we change the world. And so I’d like you to share a little bit about Mmm. How understanding that, what that means kind of to this framework and how, how understanding that really helps, um, you know, propel an forward.

Steve Farber: 38:36 Sure. Um, you know, changing the world is a, is an interesting, it’s an interesting phrase because it’s a, it’s a cliche, right? Ah, we all [inaudible] you know, when something becomes a cliche, it’s usually becomes a cliche because there’s an [inaudible] there’s an agreement that it’s important. I, I’ve, I very rarely, if ever run into somebody who says no to changing the world. It’s not an a don’t need to do that. Everything’s kind of perfect way. It is change anything. So we all know that changing the world is a good idea. It’s, it’s the right. Mmm. The right a sentiment to have happen. Oftentimes it doesn’t get beyond a sentiment, which is why it’s a cliche. Okay. So it doesn’t diminish the image importance of it. However, we are in a world and I think we always were and always will be in a world desperately in need of changing.

Steve Farber: 39:29 And by the way, the implication is for the better. Just to be clear. Mmm. So I think this is really at the core of what I mean by audacity. The audacity to think at any one of us or collection of us can actually do that can actually change the world is the right kind of audacity. And it demands a bold and blatant disregard of probably the most insidious, so-called normal constraint that we put on ourselves as people, which is, I can, I can’t do that. We just me [inaudible] world changer. [inaudible] okay. So I think what stops us in our tracks on this [inaudible] actually the word world, because most of us interpreter world in the broadest possible sense, as in capital, w world, whole wide world, the very fabric of human existence. Okay. Mmm. Which is great. If, if you’re in a business and, and have the capacity to literally have an influence in changing the whole wide world for the better, I say, fantastic.

Steve Farber: 40:37 What are you waiting for? Go after it. But that’s not the only option because there is such a thing. Of course, as a small w world. So what about changing the world of your company? What about changing the world of your clients or your customers? What about [inaudible] changing the world of your community or your family or, or even one person in your family. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s still changing the world in smaller bites and, and these things do add up and, and therefore they are within all of our scope. Every single one of us without exception, has an opportunity to change our piece of the world, our small w world for the better. Okay. So what we have to do then is get clear on what’s that me? So to change, what world is it that I want it [inaudible] change. And by the way, this isn’t about being the hero and doing it all yourself. It’s about enlisting people in that, in that change, inspiring people

Nicole Mahoney: 41:34 to just so we can make it happen together. [inaudible] collaboration thing, right? But, but it starts with what world is that we want to change and what do we want to change it into? Right? So if we don’t change it for the better, what does better look like? So for Trinity, it comes back to the old vision thing and a lot of ways, right? You know, if we two years from now, how would we like this place to be different? What do you want to change it from? What into what? And that’s a conversation that all of us should be having. And again, doesn’t matter what your position or title is. If we could put this on a table as part of our part of our business discussion, how are we going to change the world for the better and the world of AR customers, for example, for the better.

Nicole Mahoney: 42:17 That’s going to lead to some really incredible ideas. And then of course we have to, we have to prove that we mean it. That’s the last element of leap. It’s not enough. Just to have the conversation, we got to put it into action. So I’m curious, Nicole, what, what kind of things came out of your conversation with your team around that? Oh, I had a feeling you’re going to ask me that. Uh, you know, we had a, we had quite a few, um, ideas of what we actually did is at our annual strategy meeting as we were going through the day, uh, everyone jotted down an idea on a post it note and put it on the wall. Um, if something came to them and at the end we, you know, we had quite a conversation about it and [inaudible] it was pretty broad in terms of, um, smaller things, the way we can change the world within our own company and then broader things in terms of the work that we do in travel and tourism and how we help small communities attract visitors, which helps small businesses thrive, which helps, which helps, which helps and kind of more of those bigger, uh, ideas, if you will.

Nicole Mahoney: 43:19 And it really got us thinking, yeah, what we do does matter. And it gives us, I think it loops right back into, well, this is why we love it and it gives us the energy that continue to want to do it. Mmm. So I, I think it’s fantastic and that’s why I wanted you to take us down that path a little bit because I really think it’s an important thing for everyone to think about. Yeah, that’s, that’s great. Thank you for, uh, as we say here in California. Thank you for sharing that. Um, because it’s a beautiful illustration of what can happen. So as a, as a, you know, from the outside looking in as a lay person in your industry, what I just heard you say is we made the connection from, so we’re helping a town attract more visitors, more tourists. Okay. Well that’s nice.

Nicole Mahoney: 44:08 That’s transactional. That’s what we do. You start to ask the question, well, what impact does that happen and what are the implications for that town when we bring more people there? Well, look what it does to their businesses. Look what it does to the, to the spirit of the community. The sense of pride in living there. The [inaudible]. Yeah. The job opportunities that that’s the business that we’re in. Did you find, did you guys get more energized as you, as you as you talked about that? Yeah. And that’s, and that’s exactly what we were talking about. Um, and we went to the small business owner to it. Now it’s a place where people want to come and work. People want to live there cause it’s a thriving, you know, we’re helping to build thriving communities is what it came, came down to. Yeah. It’s pretty audacious, right.

Nicole Mahoney: 44:48 If I were just tell you that’s what I do for a living. Yeah. And take one of those communities, you know, a for instance, community. And if you, if you know when, when you really have that kind of impact, tell me you haven’t changed their world for the better. Absolutely. So this is not, this is not about motivational language. This is, this is truth. This is what, it’s what actually happens. The experience is Mau, Mau. That’s a combination of wow and man. Wow, look at now our world has changed. Ah, [inaudible] I mean that is literally, and by the way, literally is a word I use. Literally. That’s literally what your [inaudible] and you know when, when you can reconnect as a team to that, that higher sense of purpose, if you could feel the energy. And it’s something that we all have virtually all of us as human beings have that deep primal need to be a part of something great and to make a difference.

Nicole Mahoney: 45:51 And it’s the love at the foundation of this thing that drives us to do that. So it all comes back back around to the L word, uh, in, in, in one way or another. All comes back to that. Well that’s fantastic and I think that’s a great way to wrap up this conversation. Um, so I really appreciate you being here with us today, Steve. And before we say goodbye, if you could just share with our listeners how they can connect with you and we’ll make sure that, um, all of your books are listed on your show notes page, but feel free to, to list those again as well. And where they might find those books. Sure. So you can find me@stevefarber.com. You can find my books on Amazon and you can find a bookstore. It’s a chance it might be there too. Um, but, but here’s, here’s what I would really encourage you to do, uh, go to love is good.

Nicole Mahoney: 46:42 Biz B I z.com. And what you’ll find there is a self assessment built around leap so you can just kind of get a sense for yourself as to where you are in these elements of love, energy, audacity and proof. And it spits out a report, uh, that, that shows you your scores and gives you some ideas, uh, and then also gives you an opportunity to continue to get some really cool content and videos and resources and all that. So I get a lot of really good feedback on that. We’ve had, Oh, somewhere close to 2000 people that have, uh, that have utilized that survey, which is also actually helping in our research. Uh, and we’re coming out with new versions of that survey. The bigger our database gets. So it’s you’ll, you’ll love it and it’ll be a great tool for you. And by you, I mean anybody listening to this, uh, that you specifically exclusively Nicole, uh, but uh, [inaudible] is a good place to uh, stay in touch with me as well.

Nicole Mahoney: 47:48 Fantastic. We’ll make sure that we have that link in the show notes and thank you so much Steve and we’ll look forward to catching up with you again. My great pleasure. Thanks Nicole. Thank you for listening all the way to the end of this week’s episode. This gives me a chance to ask you for a favor. We have a goal to reach 100 ratings and reviews on our podcast by the end of 2020. We are already well on our way to meeting this goal that needs your help. I love sharing my interviews with you and if you enjoy them too, I would greatly appreciate you giving us a rating and review. Click the iTunes or Stitcher link on destination on the left.com or leave one right in your favorite app where you listen most often. It only takes a minute and your support means a lot.

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