Chris Warner has been at the top of the world— literally and figuratively. Buckle up as he takes us through some of the most absurd, most challenging, and most rewarding leadership expeditions one could ever imagine.
Chris Warner is a climber, entrepreneur, and leadership educator. He’s led over 230 mountaineering expeditions in Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Antarctica.
He guided the first-ever reality TV show on Mount Everest, filmed an Emmy-nominated documentary about his team’s K2 climb, and pioneered new routes throughout the Himalaya.
In 1990, Chris started a business with $592 and grew it into the first national chain of indoor climbing gyms. When he retired as CEO, the company had 1,000 employees serving 2 million customers annually.
Today, he’s an investor in private companies, a mentor to CEOs, and a real estate developer in Aspen, Colorado.
During his 25+ years as a leadership educator, he’s worked with Google execs, NFL and NHL teams, Fortune 500 firms, Silicon Valley startups, and thousands of CEOs and their senior leadership teams.
What you’re about to hear in this episode are stories from a man who has lived through probably the most unbelievable leadership challenges that I’ve heard of in the six years of the Success Through Failure podcast.
Tune in and discover how someone like Chris climbed his way to the top, backed by some actionable tactics that you can use in your own climb to the summit. Listen now!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
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[00:00] Chris Warner: And if they had failed, if they had been caught, not only would they have been killed, but can use your imagination as to where they were. Right. Like, okay. That would've been a giant international incident. We had a brand new president that year. It would've just been a total, I mean, a gigantic disaster for the United States.
[00:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of success through failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. and today I bring you Chris Warner. Chris is a climber entrepreneur and leadership educator. And before you think this is just another adventure and entrepreneur, wait until you hear what I'm about to tell you about this guy.
[00:40] He's led over 230 mountaineering expeditions all over the world, Asia, north and south America, Africa Antarctica. He guided the first ever reality TV show on Mount Everest. And he filmed an Emmy dominated documentary about. Teams K2 climb. K2 is widely considered the hardest mountain to climb in the world.
[01:02] He pioneered new roots throughout the Himalaya mountains. In 1990, he started a business with $592, and he grew it into the first national chain of indoor climbing gyms. And when he retired as a CEO, the company had a thousand employees and was serving 2 million customers annually. He sold that business to a private equity firm for tens of millions of dollars.
[01:22] He's an investor now in private companies, he's a mentor to CEOs and real estate developer. He's also a real estate developer in Aspen, Colorado. And while he was building his business in leading expeditions, he was asked by some covert in special ops teams. This is where it gets interesting to teach them how to like create and lead high performance teams.
[01:42] And he shares a story in the middle of this episode that. It's like maybe the best story I've ever heard in the podcast. And I've had, you know, Robert O'Neil who, you know, is the Navy seal who shot and killed Osama bin Laden. I've interviewed Joe Pistone, who is Donny. Brasco the FBI agent who infiltrated the mafia.
[02:01] I've interviewed Kenny Thomas, who you know, was on the ground in the battle for Mogadishu known as Blackhawk down. I put those at the top of any stories I've ever heard on the podcast. Chris's stories. Rival those. So what you're about to hear is some pretty absurd stuff. Now, his work with the CIA and the office of the director of the national intelligence agency and the national counter-terrorism task force led him to 16 years teaching MBA candidates at Wharton, the Wharton business school at the university of Pennsylvania.
[02:31] And then during his 25 plus years, as a leadership educator, he's worked with. Executives from Google and the NFL and NHL teams, fortune 500 firms, Silicon valley startups, and like thousands of CEOs and senior leadership teams. What you're about to hear is these are stories from a man who has experienced incredible tragedy, and he shares a story pretty early on in the episode here and just absolute, you know, he is been to the top of the world.
[02:59] I mean, literally and figuratively. And he talks about leading teams in probably. The single most challenging leadership environment there could be. And this is the mountaineering expeditions. And I say that, knowing that I know that war is maybe the most challenging in other ways, but. The unique situations when, on a mountaineering expedition where you're in a foreign land, you're dealing with foreign languages and foreign currency and your resource limited because you can only carry what you have on your back.
[03:29] You're dealing with egos and international travel and gear and gear that fails and weather that can turn on a dime. And that kills people. Chris's stories are from. Real world experience. So wait until you just hear these stories and just be regaled by the stories and have some fascinating, absolutely practical, usable.
[03:50] Takeaways from an absolutely incredible individual. Give this one a share, give it a, like, give it a share. If you wanna give it a rating and review on iTunes or, apple podcast or whatever platform you're listening to this on, that goes a long way and grow in this podcast to help me get guests like Chris.
[04:07] So, alright. Without further ado, let's get into my fascinating interview with Chris Warner. What brought you into mountaineering? How did you end up getting started in that in the first. Parole officer.
[04:20] Chris Warner: So when I was a sophomore in high school, I was this extremely entrepreneurial kid. And I grew up right outside of New York city.
[04:27] And when I was 15 years old, the parole officer dragged me and 11 other kids out in the woods. And this was kind of the heyday of that hoods in the woods. Era. And the thought was that if we take you out and expose you to some kind of hardship that you might come back, a better version of yourself, and I loved this trip, it was five days in the woods.
[04:46] We used a map at a compass to navigate. We slept under a plastic tarp, cooked our food over a fire. We climbed and repelled, and I loved it so much that I decided I was gonna spend the rest of my life doing trips like that. So here was a kid born in New York city, grew up in the suburbs, New Jersey, suddenly having a total love of the wilderness.
[05:03] And I worked for that same program when I was 17 and we took kids outta the maximum security prison in New Jersey. So here I was a 17 year older with these, you know, 15 and 16 year olders who were in maximum security prison. And then since then I've. Stayed in the outdoor world. And you know, I've done everything from guiding Mount Everest to climbing, you know, the highest peaks on a bunch of continents.
[05:23] And I've taught tens and tens of thousands of people, how to climb and you know how to use a map in a compass and how to sleep under a plastic tarp and make food over a fire.
[05:33] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Wow. The outdoors is a world I am absolutely in love with also I've led adventure, camping tours done a fair bit of rock climbing and whitewater kayaking myself, but nothing remotely close to anything that you've done.
[05:46] You've led over 200 expeditions mountaineering expeditions. And there are so many variables when it comes to an expedition. And for those who haven't watched the documentaries or read the books or participated in stuff like this, I mean this, you know, there's international travel, there's tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear.
[06:06] There's language barriers. There's, you know, adverse conditions. There's egos, there's life and death situations. I mean, it. Leadership in any other environment, you know, seemed like a walk in the park. I don't know if there's a better leadership, incubator or leadership pet anywhere. Chris you've found a lot of success in that world.
[06:26] What makes you good at this? I, why do you think you've found success?
[06:30] Chris Warner: Ooh. Okay. I think there's a couple of reasons why I found success. One is obviously a natural curiosity, but I think most importantly is when I was working for the same program in New Jersey, the guy who ran that program said to me one day, you know, Chris, there's nothing as contagious as enthusiasm.
[06:47] I have totally bought into that theory. So when you are on an expedition, there's always really dark periods. You know, whether it's caused by the weather, whether it's caused by interpersonal conflict, whatever it happens to be. And it's at those moments, just like in business where your emotion infects the rest of the group and remembering that there is nothing as contagious as emotions.
[07:10] If I want to have a positive outcome, that I better bring positive emotions to this. So it's certainly my passion. For the whole experience and my ability to infect my teammates with just joy in those difficult moments is definitely the number one contributor to all of the success I've had.
[07:28] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Can you manufacture enthusiasm?
[07:30] obviously it has to be genuine at some level, but how do you bring enthusiasm if you don't necessarily feel it that
[07:36] Chris Warner: day? Okay. Let's say you have a team. So you're the manager in a company right now. And, you know, can we talk about authenticity? What we're really looking for is the authentic emotion relative to the experience that you're going through.
[07:47] So there's times like. If somebody is caught embezzling money from the company, you don't want me to be enthusiastic, right? you actually want me to be angry. This is a brutal blow to all of us. So if I bring the wrong emotion to the moment, then I'm not gonna be seen as being authentic people. Won't be able to relate to me.
[08:08] So just think of it as if you were watching a movie and they miscast the hero of the story. They put in an actor who just didn't embody those behaviors that you think this person has when you leave the movie. You're like, eh, it didn't quite make sense to me. You know, as being a good leader, you have to be in touch with your emotions and you have to make sure you are in touch with what emotional state is required in the moment.
[08:28] There are times of course, when you have to amplify those emotions to make a point. So there's been times like, you know, I've had thousands of employees when somebody does something stupid. Right? So if I have a 20 year old kid who does something stupid, like of course they do stupid things. I did tons of stupid things at 20 in my heart.
[08:47] I'm like, you know, that was okay. That was not that bad. It was stupid. I may have to overreact in that situation to drive the lesson, home to that person. When they talk about emotional intelligence, that's exactly what we're talking about. Did I bring the right emotion to the situation? Remembering that our emotions are contagious.
[09:04] It's really most important that I bring the right emotion to this. And overall, the majority of the time, you better be bringing, you know, happiness, you know, positive emotions to your team. In fact, when we look at positivity like happiness, People that are happy, are more productive. They're healthier. They make more money.
[09:20] They get more promotions. You know, your company makes more money in an environment where people are happy and the opposite is true. If you have cynics on your team, there's a reason why cynics die younger than happy people. They generally die with less friends and they die with less money. So, if you are surrounded by cynics, if you're the boss, you should actually ask him to work for your competitor.
[09:39] If you're not the boss, maybe it's a good time to go to your competitor where everybody's happy, but bringing that happiness, especially when things are terrible, like you're in the middle of a blizzard. If you're holding on for dear life on the side of a, of a thing, like this is a really good time to bring positive emotions to the situ.
[09:56] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And the interesting thing about what you just said, like when you're, you know, hanging on the edge or you're in a blizzard like Chris, you've actually been on the edge and fallen into CVOs and been in blizzards and not the kind of blizzard that me and the rest of the listeners think about. When we think of a blizzard you've been on K two when it's, you know, snowing and blowing and experiencing the harshest of those examples.
[10:19] Those are not tongue in cheek. Sort of like examples you gave. You've lived, those walked through those and. Led people. In those environments, when you yourself are at your maximum, you know, you're freezing cold, you're exhausted and breathing hard and you've lived through that. And I wanna pull some leadership experiences and lessons from you.
[10:41] Chris Warner: Yeah. Okay. So let me tell you about a leadership experience that I had, like a big powerful learning from me. I was on a team, an international team of 12 of the best climbers in the world. And we were attempting to climb K2, which is considered to be the most dangerous mountain in the world. And our group proved pretty quickly not to be a team.
[11:01] There was 11 primadonnas and myself, right? so we read the base of the mountain. We were strapping our crampons on our boots. We're about to start this 11,000 foot climb towards the summit. And as we're strapping our crampons on one of. People on the team starts to scream and they're pointing up and literally through the clouds, K2 is so steep.
[11:19] Like imagine standing at the base of a skyscraper and through the clouds was a body falling through the air. And the man was alive at the time. And you could see him trying to swim, right? His arms were waving, his feet were waving. He's trying to save himself, but it's impossible. He literally slams into the side of KTU.
[11:38] There's a gigantic explosion of red. The body bounces out another 500 feet. There's another explosion of red, another 200 feet, another 300 feet. And eventually he comes to a stop. 500 feet away from 12 of the best climbers in the world. And he, his body lands on the trail. And it's obvious that he's dead.
[11:55] There's no way you could have survived this. And if you had just seen these giant explosions of red, you know, this is what you would know. And only two of the 12 of us had the courage to, I mean, not even the courage we just reacted. It was instinct. We grabbed our backpacks, we raced up the hill to where his body landed.
[12:10] And when we got to. He was the most traumatized body I'd ever seen. And I had seen a lot of death and the man who went with me, his name was Lieutenant Colonel rod Richardson from the us Marine Corps. He was a Marine recon officer. He had served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He hadd been shot four times in his back in Lebanon.
[12:29] He hadd been in every single firefight except for Granada. And at the end of the expedition, he actually went to Afghanistan to be hammed Karzai's head of security. Eventually he was killed by Al Qaeda in Iraq. At this moment, the two of us. So here's two pretty badass, you know, guys, and we had full, seen lots of death and we stopped five feet from the body and we literally held hands and we just had to calm ourselves down and.
[12:56] I don't know if you've ever been with somebody when they're dying. I, you you've obviously, as a dad, you've been with people when they were born. And like when you're in the delivery room and the baby comes out and takes their first breath and you can literally see their body transform, right. They go from purple to pink in that moment.
[13:10] And man, like everybody in the room is overwhelmed by love. So the first emotion that your baby experiences coming into the world, Is love. And we knew that our job was to send this man's soul out with love. And so we had so much fear in ourselves. I mean, having watched this, having looked at his body, we held our hands until we could calm down.
[13:33] And then we just gently placed our hands on this man's body for. Five or 10 minutes. And all we did was push all of our love into it. His hoping that his soul would feel us. And then we had to package him up. It was, I mean, the back of his head was the source of all the bleeding. His hips were pulverized.
[13:50] His legs were, underneath his body. We had to pull out one leg and pull out the other. And we were literally covered in, in blood by the time we're done. And we made it a stretcher out of some sleeping pads and we put 'em inside of a sleeping bag and we lowered them down to where these 10 other climbers were.
[14:03] And, you know, we're barking orders. We. To get 'em ready for packaging up so we could carry 'em back to base camp. And as we were standing there, suddenly the anxiety just totally took over. And I was getting stabbed in the gut a thousand times. Right. And I literally bent over and I started balling crying.
[14:19] There's no crying on it, expedition, right. Especially in crying in front of like 12 of the biggest, bad asses in the world. And I'm balling crying. And I look up at these people. And the reason I was crying was because I realized I can't trust these people. The people who I'm climbing this peak with were not worthy of my trust.
[14:36] They wouldn't go 500 feet to help a dead person. They were never gonna go 500, 5,000 feet to help me if I broke my leg or sprained my ankle or had any problems. And so I literally just looked at these people. Crying. And I said to them, you know what, this is how much I distrusted them. I had to tell 'em at that moment that today's my birthday.
[14:57] And I quit the expedition. And I mean, I was so lucky to leave that year. Two people died on that mountain, nobody summited of the 12 people on that expedition. Only six of us are still alive. Actually I pouted all the way back to the United States. It's a five day walk to the nearest village. It's a two day drive to the nearest airport.
[15:17] And then it's a two day flight back to the United States. So, you know, for nine days I'm just pouting, pouting, pouting, but I vowed, I would go back and then I actually went back to K2 and was successful on it in the end. And my number one criteria for choosing a teammate was not how good of a climber they were, cuz these other 10, 12 people were amazing climbers.
[15:34] It was are you trust? It was putting together a team of people that I knew I could trust. If I broke my leg. If I sprained my ankle, if something happened to me, same thing for you that these people would be there for you. And that was a major, a super powerful lesson for me. I was, you know, my mid thirties and suddenly I realized, oh my God, the most important thing for teammate is, are they trustworthy?
[15:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: But Chris, how do you do that? Interview process conversations, background checks, you know, calling references and kind of translating that from like the mountaineering world to the real world, whether the listener is a teacher leading a classroom or a, you know, a manager leading a team in a business. How do you check for trustworthiness?
[16:17] Chris Warner: Well, one thing I learned about myself is I'm actually a terrible judge of character. I actually love everybody when I meet them. I'm like naturally fascinated with 'em. And so I've learned that I need a team to help me make those decisions. And in my company, I ran it for, you know, 20 something years. And in the end we had over a thousand employees.
[16:37] So we were totally dependent upon group interview. Everybody had to be interviewed by multiple people, just because it's easy to be enamored with somebody, different people have different filters for this. And, you know, clearly my filter and character judgment was broken, but other people's had great things, but hopefully, you know, through the interaction, maybe if I was part of the interview process, I could say something that would spark somebody to see, you know, a little bit more into somebody's soul than I could see.
[17:03] But yet we are a huge junk
[17:05] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: group interview. Okay. So the importance of team, the importance of leaning on other people, you know, I know one of the concepts that you talk a lot about is loan, heroism, you know, like so many leaders feel like they have to do it alone. And you were the leader of company. You started a massively successful company with $592.
[17:23] Did you go it alone? I mean, I don't know if you have any examples, you've proven that you couldn't do it alone and, and you had to lean on.
[17:30] Chris Warner: Yeah. So I fear loan heroism. So loan heroism is really the concept that like you're saying, you could do it alone. And it's kind of like the American ideal, right? The frontiers person, you know, the Explorer, whatever it is.
[17:44] And, and the truth, even though like I've soloed. A lot of peaks. Like if you've watched, you know, Alex Honnold soloing L cap, et cetera, like even though he's physically alone, he's connected to tons of other people. And it's really the power of that community that allowed him to be successful that way.
[18:01] Just like the same thing for me when I was, you know, sold all sorts of big peaks, but in business loan, heroism will kill. You see this all the time with entrepreneurs like failed entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs that they hit a plateau and can't get past that point is because they don't know how to build a team.
[18:18] And most importantly, they lack for is mentors. Other heroes in their life that they can hang around with. And my success I never, ever was a, a student in a business class. The first time I ever stepped into a business school was to teach and I didn't know anything. I needed people to teach me how to use Excel spreadsheets, how to market, how to brand, how to clean bathrooms.
[18:37] And so if you can't attract mentors, I had five or six mentors that I could call at four o'clock in the morning with a problem. Like if you don't have that, I fear for your success. I certainly will not invest in your company. If you do not have those kinds of relationships.
[18:51] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I'll be honest, Chris, when I first got connected with you through Travis Macy, who's a mutual friend of ours for listeners.
[18:58] You know, Travis. I've had him on a couple of times now. I didn't know what to expect. A guy like yourself. Who's been successful at so many different things. You know, we tend to have this idea. A leader that is ultra successful and someone like yourself, who's been, you know, successful not only in mountaineering, but also as an entrepreneur and business leader.
[19:19] Also as a leadership speaker and coach and consultant, you think that this person is going to be arrogant, thinks they know it all. You don't come across that way at.
[19:31] Chris Warner: Thanks. yeah, no, it goes to the theme of your show, right? It's like when you have failed, as often as I have. Then how could you be arrogant?
[19:43] And Jim Collins, the great business thinker wrote, built to last good to great, et cetera. He's also a climber and he and I collaborated at a book a long time ago and reached contributed chapter. And his chapter was called climb to fol not failure. The truth is in climbing. The whole sport is about failure.
[20:03] Like you're taking your family to the climbing gym today when they try a Boulder problem. The idea is that the first time you go up on it, you probably won't be successful. And it might not be till the 10th time that you're successful, but each time you're learning something, you're learning how to, you know, the subtleties of moving your hips, you know, how to grip something, et cetera.
[20:20] And it's this process that's so built into the sport of climbing. And as a result of that, your whole mindset. Using failure to achieve your. And fail early and often, but as a result of that, it really does teach humility. because some of these failures are incredibly expensive and sadly, I mean, look, I just came off at two peaks in the Himalaya as a spring, the D gear, the seventh high peak and catching jungle, the third high peak.
[20:48] And on both those expeditions. Two days after I summited a friend died. And then the other one, two days before I summited man died, we were actually the, myself and two other guys were the first ones to find his body. So we understand the consequences of our sport. And as a result of that, you have to be humbled.
[21:05] Arrogance is believing that the rules do not apply to you and gravity applies to everyone. Right. And in fact, those two men. I'm not saying this outta disrespect, those two men were not killed by the mountain. They killed themselves in the mountain. And in fact, when we look at the statistics of climbing Mount Everest, the top four reasons why people die is because of human error.
[21:28] They overestimate their abilities. They have a difficulty processing, new data that's coming in like changing weather patterns. Cetera. So as a result of this, you know, like you are taught, do not be arrogant. Yes, you can push the limits of the sport. Yes, you can, you know, go out and do the most extreme things ever, but do not be arrogant.
[21:47] The rules apply to you, gravity, you know, it sucks.
[21:52] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes, and links in the action plan from this episode, just go to JimHarshawJr.com/ACTION, that's JimHarshawJr.com/ACTION, to get your free copy of the action plan. Now, back to the show.
[22:10] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: In your environment of mountaineering. Sometimes failure is not an option, right? The concept of success through failure, you know, how does that apply on the mountain? I mean, you know, you have to go through these failures, but boy, sometimes the failure is the ultimate consequence is success through failure, a thing in mountaineering.
[22:28] Chris Warner: Well you're right, right. Cuz we're our consequence is so extreme in a mountaineering team. and a lot of other teams, we are resource restrained. We cannot carry enough oxygen, bottles, ropes, tents, you know, all the stuff that you would imagine. Right. Cause we've gotta put it in our backpack and carry it in our back.
[22:47] So I'm gonna tell you a story, I think, which makes this point perfectly. So I was hired to train a group of spies. And their job was to put listening posts in vertical environments. And so this group, after six weeks of training, the last day, this final exam.
[23:05] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Now, when you say vertical environments, do you mean like vertical as in, on buildings or the
[23:09] Chris Warner: story evolves in elevator shaft but yeah, but they were taught you're going into a foreign, you know, capital city where you're an enemy and.
[23:19] Need to put listening posts in, you know, different government offices. You can't carry tons of equipment with you. Right? So I was teaching 'em how to use the minimalist approach to solve the most amount of problems. And in the process of teaching them, I realized that these be guys be, they were seduced by the tools.
[23:34] They thought that if I had. Carabiners and harnesses and all this other stuff were just fascinating them. And then how do you use these tools? Right. So they had great tools, right? Which we taught 'em how to use. They also were taught techniques on how to use these tools. Like how do you build a zip line, right?
[23:50] How do you build a Tyro traverse? How do you haul heavy stuff? Up a vertical thing, right. With these tools that you have. So they were experts at the tools and techniques, but there's three drivers of results. You gotta have the right tools. You gotta have the right techniques, but most importantly, you have to have the right behaviors and watching this group, right.
[24:07] This group of covert operators over six weeks, I realized their flaw was their behaviors. They put the emphasis on tools and techniques. So if they had a situation, they always came with the most elegant solution to this, instead of sometimes just using bra, like taking two people to pull something, instead of just a system that they were built.
[24:25] So anyway, I get 'em to the final exam and I realize I have to fail them. I have to create a final exam where they're gonna fail. Otherwise they're not gonna learn the most important thing. Is that behaviors drive results. Well, they fail this they're completely disappointed, right? We, of course we do an after action review.
[24:40] Well, a bunch of weeks later, I get a phone call. From the NSA. This team is on the roof of a building in a mid city. They're Trapp. They had been found out the police had surrounded the building. They were waiting for the Republican guard to come in. There were one helicopter gunship away from being blown to the way nine guys.
[24:59] Right. So they called the NSA, the NSA patches me in and say, Chris, here's the situation. And I'm like, and you could hear the panic in their voices. And I'm like, holy cow. I'm like, and then they describe the streets that they're on, et cetera. And I'm like, do you guys have a grappling? You're like, yeah, we talk 'em through how to build a zip line from one building to the next, they had to go nine blocks.
[25:21] Right? They all got out alive. Oh my God. It was so mind blown. They get back to the United States and we have an after action review, which is standard in these situations. And so. As we're going through it, they kept coming back to the same thing. It's like, it wasn't the grappling hook. It wasn't the nods.
[25:36] It wasn't the, what we call a Z line drag tightening system. Right. It was the behaviors. Like you taught us how to work together as a team in a life or death situation. And if they had failed, if they had been caught, not only would they have been killed, but can use your imagination as to where they were.
[25:52] Right. Like, okay. That would've been a giant international incident. We had a brand new president that year. It would've just been. Total, I mean a gigantic disaster for the United States, but it was behaviors that drive results. And I find the same thing. When I teach groups, it's reminding them constantly that it's behaviors that drive results and it's the bad behaviors or the misaligned behaviors of your team that are actually gonna always are gonna cause you profitability, productivity, you know, just general happiness.
[26:21] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. And for the listener, a lot of the points that we're talking about right here are directly in a workbook that Chris offers for free on his website will have the link to that. And it's totally free. It's a great PDF. It's 23 pages. I've got it pulled up in front of me. It's a fantastic resource and it really crystallizes a lot of the points that we're covering here, sort of indirectly, we'll have the link to that.
[26:45] It said. chrisbwarner.com and you'll find the link there to download this for free. It's fascinating. Another thing that you see in business environments, and I imagine it happens on the mountain and on expeditions, is people getting complacent, right? Getting comfortable thinking things are easy. Maybe letting their guard down.
[27:04] Do you come across that at times on the mountain?
[27:06] Chris Warner: Yeah, you absolutely do so. You know, going back to the, how people die of the mountains. So when you study this, there's actually 19 ways that you can die climbing Mount Everest. And when I used to guide Mount Everest, I would tell people all the time, like you need to memorize these red flags, because if you see one of these pop up or two of these things pop up, you better self select to turn around and go back home.
[27:29] You could always come back next year. It's even worse. Clearly. In a business environment. So I think of comfort, right? The pursuit of comfort, or just, you know, this idea that we're gonna stop demanding the most of each other because we're comfortable. Maybe we don't wanna hurt people's feelings, et cetera.
[27:45] I, I see that as one of the greatest danger that teams face and we really, as, you know, leaders, but also like it's not just the leaders whose responsibility, this is it's everybody's responsibility to make sure that there's a little bit of like conflict in a constructive way. If you read a book or watch a movie, every great piece of literature involves, you know, a main charact.
[28:09] What makes this literature great is that this character develops through the course of the book and they develop because of conflict. So it might be an interpersonal conflict. It might be two characters that don't get along with each other, right. It might be people dealing with their self doubt. Well, conflict is critical to personal development.
[28:26] I mean, you know this from raising your children. Right. You have to let them be in situations that are difficult. And as a result of that, they're going to develop as a person, right. We call it self-efficacy the ability to be knocked down and stand back up again. But conflict is important in business and conflict can be the source of creativity, right?
[28:44] It can be the source of, you know, in fact, When you study older businesses, businesses have been around for a long time. You always find that the reason they succeed was because a small group within the company actually was working to put the bigger company out of business. Think of banking, right? So banking used to be a real estate business.
[29:02] If I had the best locations, then I actually could get the most deposits and then somebody. You know, some little kid decided why don't we go do online banking? We don't have to be a real estate business anymore to get people's deposits. We could do it on their phone, et cetera. So there's always a subgroup in the company.
[29:16] That's trying to put the rest of the business out of business. So we need conflict to evolve. We need you and I, our listeners need conflict to continue to grow as people. How
[29:27] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: do we incorporate that into our lives? Because right now, you know, the listener might be on cruise control. I don't know. Right. We all have sort of these other conflicts in our lives, you know, things are never seem like they're totally perfect of course.
[29:39] But are there ways to introduce conflict? You know, do you want to welcome that in and, and if so, how do you do it? Is it simply a sense of, you know, set your goals higher and do harder things? And, you know, I heard this quote this morning bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy. How does the listener go and, and use that.
[29:56] Chris Warner: Yeah, well, clearly I'm way into giant goals, right? Like you don't climb K2 and Mount Everest, you don't start a business with $592. Like you don't do these things if you're not into gigantic goals. So, so maybe I'm a little bit warped in my idea, but having worked with so many groups and having had so many employees, et cetera, I do know that how you construct the goal is critically important.
[30:21] and I had the pleasure of talking to professor Locke and he actually, if you look online, you might be able to find lock seven stages of goal development. A couple of key pieces of this that go back to our conversation. Number one is the goal has to be improbable, not impossible. It has to be difficult.
[30:39] It has to demand a change in people's behaviors in order for success to happen. So when you're choosing goals, you have to be careful, you don't choose, you know, easy goals, et cetera, right. Like a 3% increase on sales or whatever happens to be. Right. So we gotta make sure the goals improbable if we're gonna have changes in behaviors and the reason as a parent or.
[31:00] Leader or a teacher we create goals is because we're trying to get people to evolve, right. To become a better version of themselves. And so it is our responsibility to set goals that are again, improbable, but not impossible. The second piece that he would tell you is that you're probably not the best person to come up with your team's goals.
[31:20] Like if we sit around the same group that meet every Monday and we come up with our business goals, all we know is what we know. And it's really by going out and talking to other people, talking to customers, talking to competitors, talking to people in R and D or whatever, that's where we really will come up with the best improbable goal.
[31:38] We have to look outside of our own knowledge base, you know, our comfortable little group of friends, you know, to be able to come up with the right and probable goal. And then the third thing we definitely say is. You have to stop and assess throughout there because you might have actually chosen a terrible goal.
[31:53] You thought it was great in the beginning. So he's big on abandoning goals. And the last thing is when you do succeed, celebrate, and I find entrepreneurs, managers are terrible at celebration and you know, we've talked quite a bit offline. And one of the things we wanted to talk about was some takeaways.
[32:11] And I don't know if this is a good time to transition to that. Cuz I, when I work with groups, I tell people that there's six psychological needs that you have as a member of a team. And if you're not meeting these needs of your teammates, you will make them dysfunction. I'm sure people have taken jobs in the past and they have arrived there with all the enthusiasm in the world with a desire to absolutely crush it in this new environment.
[32:37] Only to find that their energy gets sapped, their enthusiasm gets sapped, that they feel like. They made a terrible choice. And as a result that they quit the company or even worse, they just hang out there forever. And it's because when you got there, people did not meet your six psychological needs.
[32:51] There might have met two or three of 'em, but they didn't meet all of 'em. So these are the needs. Number one is respect, right. We have to give respect and receive respect. Right. And as a leader, You have to give people respect from day one. You like this whole idea, like, oh, they have to earn my respect.
[33:08] That's a sociopathic response to that whole thing. So as a leader, you give people instantly their, your respect, and then you earn their respect back. Number two is recognition. We have to stop and thank people. Gratitude is another contagious emotion, right? The third one is meaning we have to connect the work that people are doing to a greater good, a sense of purpose, et cetera.
[33:31] And there's a lot of ways to do that. The fourth one is autonomy, which goes back to the whole thesis of your podcast, which is letting people fail. If you micromanage people, you will make them dysfunctional. You have to give them room right. To experiment, to make mistakes, et cetera. Personal growth.
[33:49] People have to feel that they're actually developing that they're becoming a better version of themselves, this whole process. And the last one is belonging. And I am sure everybody who's listening to this has an experience where they were on a team where either they felt like they didn't belong. Like they weren't part of the cool click or whatever, or they were part of the cool click and people didn't belong.
[34:09] And as a result of that, when people don't feel like they. They do not give the effort that is needed, especially in times of crisis. So if I was gonna give any advice to everybody is write these six things down, right? You could hit rewind on this, but it's respect recognition, meaning autonomy, personal growth and belonging.
[34:29] And I had, as I said, Over a thousand employees. Every single person in a position of management was given a graph and to have those six psychological needs on one line. And on the other line is their direct reports. The average manager in America has 12.4 direct reports. So you can make a little bunch of columns and you put everybody's name.
[34:47] So I'm gonna put Jim's name here and I'm gonna grade myself at the end of the week. Did I. Give Jim, you know, recognition was I micromanaging him. Did I help him see how this work, that he's doing connects to some greater good, right? Meaning and give yourself a grade. And once he's become habituated, right?
[35:05] Then all of a sudden you're gonna be an infinitely better manager. And you're gonna find people who are slightly, this dysfunctional are gonna become high functioning teammates.
[35:14] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And for the listener who hears these six words, And thinks to themselves like, gosh, I've heard all of those words before Chris, I was looking for something new.
[35:23] I thought it was gonna be like this new tool. Or like I clicked my heels three times, spin in a circle and, and drink like a new energy drink out there. Then that I thought that was the magic trick. That was gonna really be the takeaways here. But these are like, Fundamental things. Write these down for the listener.
[35:40] Take a post-it note, write 'em on a post-it note stick. 'em on the corner of your desk for a week, a month, a year, the rest of your career, print out the action plan from this episode, cuz I'm gonna have all those in the action plan. Like you actually have to do these, like the people who find success. And this is a guy talking directly to the listener right now.
[35:57] This is a guy who has found success, not in one thing, not in two things. At least three, maybe four, could you real estate investor like four or probably more things that we don't even know about you right now, Chris, this is a guy who's found success in so many different areas, and he's saying these things and he crystallized these six things for you.
[36:17] Are you gonna let him go in one ear and out the other and go that's great. Let me go back to checking my email and, and managing the same way I've always been managing, or are you gonna do something about it? And Chris obviously, Gave you a tactic for doing something about it. He shared how he did this with his company, that he started for $592 with $592.
[36:34] And he started this multi tens of million dollar company. And he used this tactic, right. And this goes back to and long time listeners, you know what I'm gonna say? This is a productive. Pause. And if you haven't heard that term before, the definition is this it's a short period of focused reflection around specific questions that leads to clarity of action and peace of mind.
[36:57] These are questions that Chris said that he had his managers. Ask themselves every week and they graded themselves. They didn't just, it was just something they talked about. They actually did it. They put this in place so that they can act upon this and live this out. Not just have these concepts that were discussed in a meeting that took place a month ago, that nobody remembers today because they're too busy, you know, bogged down in the minutia of their job.
[37:21] Do something about it, Chris, for the listener who wants to buy your books, follow you more on social media, find your website, download your workbook. Can you share again where they can go and find any of those things?
[37:33] Chris Warner: Yeah, I'm terrible at social media, but I am on Instagram and then I have a website and they both have the same, you know, handle or whatever you guys call this stuff.
[37:41] So it's. B as in boy Warner. So if you go to Instagram, crispy Warner, if you go, you know, WW dot crispy warner.com, you'll find me. And if you go on the website, one thing I would encourage you to do is, is poke around and try to find, you know, the media section, because you can actually go and watch our K2 documentary.
[37:59] So we filmed our K2 expedition for NBC sports, and we were nominated for six Emmys and it was, you know, pretty fun to go to the Emmy awards, even though we didn't win . So yeah, you could watch the whole thing. You could watch three knucklehead. Get the knots and kicked out of 'em, you know, by the weather and all the other stuff that happens on K.
[38:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah, it is a fascinating documentary. So I encourage the listeners to do exactly that and watch it. I'll have those links in the action plan and where you can find Chris I'll have those easily accessible for all the listeners. Chris, thanks so much for making time. Thank you, Jim. Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk.
[38:37] You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at JimHarshawJr.com/APPLY where you can sign up for a free one time coaching call directly with me. And don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/ACTION. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often you would totally make by day.
[39:00] If you give me a rating and review those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure, select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast, a rating and a review. Now I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you.
[39:20] I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck. And thanks for listen.
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