So much leadership advice seems disconnected from the reality of day-to-day of actually leading people. F3 President, Frank Schwartz, breaks it down into real-world, practical advice that you can use today.
Frank Schwartz is the President of F3 Nation, an international leadership organization for men with about 55,000 members across 46 states and 4 continents, that uses vigorous outdoor workouts to teach leadership principles.
He is also the Founder/President of G3L Leadership, a leadership development company that guides and equips leaders to connect to their Personal Purpose in order to fulfil their potential and their organization’s mission.
Frank has been a successful entrepreneur prior to his starting of G3L, founding LEC Media in 2007, a corporate communications and video production firm in Charlotte, NC, which serves clients like Bank of America, Electrolux, Verbatim, Honeywell, just to name a few.
F3 Dark Helmet (Frank’s F3 nickname) joins us in this episode to share his leadership expertise to aid you in unearthing and enhancing your innate leadership capabilities.
Tune in as Frank provides the most practical, most approachable answers and information about leadership you’ll find. Don’t miss this interview. Hit play 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.
[00:00] Frank Schwartz: If you don't have a clearly defined mission, if you don't have it clearly defined in your mind and in your heart, you can't articulate it to the people that you work with. Right. So you've gotta have that missional look, you've gotta have that vision of what is that you're trying to get done in the world.
[00:20] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of success through failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. And today I bring you Frank Schwartz and I'm not going to make the baseball movie reference based on his name. But Frank is the president of F3 and his F3 handle is Dark Helmet. For those who are not familiar with F3, I interviewed one of the founders of F3 Dave Redding.
[00:44] His F3 name is dread back in episode 275. So 275 F3. It's an organization whose mission is to plant grow and serve small workout groups for men to invigorate male community leadership. And it's always free. Always outside open to all men. The amazing organization has had a huge impact on my life over the.
[01:06] Three or so years. And I'm actually part of the F3 foundation advisory council. I chair the F3 foundation advisory council. So very involved in the organization. Love it. Frank is the president of F3. He's also a leadership expert and the founder and president of G three L. Leadership now, before you say, wow, leadership, maybe this episode's not for me, everybody is a leader.
[01:31] Everybody has an influence on people around them. Everybody is a leader. And why should I bring on another leadership expert? Frank provides the most practical, most approachable answers and information about the leadership of anybody that I've ever heard. And I've interviewed. I mean, gosh, Ken Blanchard and some of the top leadership experts in the world.
[01:55] Frank just has this unique ability to add not only humour and levity but also just really practical, approachable advice for leadership that I guarantee you're gonna take away two or three things that are just gonna really impact your leadership and your influence on the world. So let's dive into it.
[02:15] My interview
[02:16] Frank Schwartz: with
[02:16] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Frank. Schwartz, AKA dark helmet of F3. And if you're wondering why I'm calling him a dark helmet, everybody in F3 gets a nickname. Mine happens to be grappler. They weren't very creative that day as I was a college wrestler and college wrestling coach. So anyway, let's get into it.
[02:34] My interview with dark helmet, Frank Schwartz. What is it about leadership that has us studying and reading and listening to another podcast episode about it? It seems like every time you turn around, there's another book on leadership. Haven't we covered it all by now.
[02:50] Frank Schwartz: You would think, right? I mean, certainly much smarter people for much longer periods of time have been hacking away at this problem.
[02:57] So why do we have it? Why are these things still plaguing us, uh, even today? And I think that at least from where I said, Jim, the fact is, you know, even though the principles don't change, the players do. You know, the principles might be very similar, but they have to be applied individually to each individual person.
[03:15] And unfortunately, whether we like it or whether we don't like it, each one of us is wholly and completely unique. There are certain trends, right? And certain, you know, some predictable patterns and things that we might have as human beings. But generally speaking, there is no single person on the earth who has your exact background.
[03:34] Who's lived your exact. Who thinks exactly as you do. And so the way that you approach your work, the way that you approach leadership, the way that you approach everything that you do is gonna be somewhat different, at least from the next guy. I mean, we see it with our kids too. Right. I raised my girls. I thought, at least similarly, you know, but you could not have a bigger gap between the youngest one at 12 and the oldest one at 18 and not just an age gap, but just a behavior.
[03:57] Yeah. They. Completely different people. And so I think that's why this continues to be a thing. It continues to be something that we work on. You know, it's, it's a lot like a doctor or a lawyer talks about practicing. You know, I, I think we should talk about leadership as having a leadership practice. You know, I'm not a coach, I'm a practitioner, I'm not a trainer, I'm a practitioner.
[04:16] I'm trying to figure it out myself. I'm trying to get better at myself. And I'm also trying to learn more about it so that I can be more effective for other people as I help. Yeah, that's
[04:24] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: a great response to that because I think
[04:27] Frank Schwartz: it's endlessly dynamic. I'm very
[04:29] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: smart. You are very intelligent. So it doesn't surprise me that that came outta
[04:33] Frank Schwartz: your mouth just now, Frank.
[04:34] No, but yeah, it's exactly right. Yeah. Endlessly dynamic. I think that's a great way of putting it. So why do we
[04:39] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: see so many leaders making bad decisions? And I wanna clarify, like, especially for the listener doesn't mean there are bad people. Now, there are bad people who make bad decisions, but there are a lot of good
[04:51] Frank Schwartz: people.
[04:52] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Sometimes even good leaders who make bad decisions. Like why do we see that?
[04:57] Frank Schwartz: So often I think the answer is very similar to the answer, to the first question and that is we're human freaking beings. Right? And so again, with every situation, you know, look, I might have low blood sugar one day and might be able to make a bad decision, you know, like, so.
[05:12] The trick is not to try and avoid ourselves of all bad decision making. Right. It's not possible. We're all gonna make a bad decision at some point or other. The trick I think is trying to have appropriate guardrails in place so that we do it less often. And so that usually we have to go through some kind of process.
[05:31] That gets us to our decision, right? I'm not allowed in a height of emotion or in a height of hunger or a height of whatever, you know, or a low of emotion, you know, any extreme of, of feelings or biological situation. Right. I don't make decisions about my business when I've really gotta get something done, you know, like go to the bathroom.
[05:47] Right. You know, you don't wanna make a decision, then you gotta get other things bigger. Right. So you gotta be careful about how you do that. And I think that part of it is having a decision making process is super important. And I think for me, anyway, it looks a lot. I think of a thing naturally, as I joked earlier in the last question, right?
[06:03] I'm very smart. I know I'm not, I know I'm not an idiot, but I'm not smart. Right. But I try and make sure that I have plenty of people around to help me talk through decisions and work through decisions. So I, I never function alone anymore. And I think that's one of the reasons that people make bad decisions is they operate in a bubble a lot of times, especially as a CEO or, you know, the president or a leader of a company or an organization, or even the leader of a family.
[06:26] You know, if, if you're not consulting your shared leadership team in the family, your wife in, you know, business, it might be other people that you've, you know, recruited to be in that room with you. If you're not making decisions together, if you're unilaterally making. Decisions, I you're almost guaranteed to make more bad decisions.
[06:43] So I think that's part of it too, is we have a little bit of an ego problem in leader. And some of that's baked into who we are. I mean, you have to be a certain degree of confident, right? Certain degree of belief in yourself in order to, to push forward as a, as a strong and effective leader. But I think sometimes we let it get past us and we think maybe we're a little smarter than we are a little better than we are.
[07:02] And our society teaches us. We hail, you know, the Elon Musks, you know, and the Jeff Bezos and the, you know, these guys and we treat them like they are singular. Genius leaders that somehow Elon Musk is sitting in his, you know, office every day, making every single decision about everything that Tesla does, you know, like that's the way it kind of gets presented to us, you know, and
[07:25] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: making it right.
[07:25] We think he gets everything right. They don't, I mean, if I read Elon Musk book or one of the books about him and it's like, he's probably the most colossal failure. As a business person and leader, as you will ever learn about and read about, and maybe even meet someday. And that's, what's gotten him to have multiple world class companies,
[07:45] Frank Schwartz: historic companies.
[07:46] Yeah. You know, and he, he probably would even admit it. I don't know, but my assumption is he wouldn't even admit and go, yeah, I fail all the time. Right, but just like when you're on the, the evening news, you know, they want to, you know, count the number of fires, count the number of murders. Count the, you know, like we only talk about the E the bad things that happen, right?
[08:03] So you watch the evening news. You only watch the bad things that happen. And when we're talking about, you know, business leaders, if you've got three commas in your salary, if you're over that billion dollar mark, we just assume that you're an absolute genius. You must be the smartest guy in the room.
[08:16] Have to be. There's no amount of luck and certainly no else contributed to any of that. You're just automatically a genius. And so we sort of celebrated that way. So we eliminated all the things that were bad and we focus on only those good things, just like the news focuses on only the bad things and doesn't report any good things, you know, and we kind of polarize ourselves in this way.
[08:34] And while I understand that there's a need to do that to some degree, right. You can't report everything all the time. I do think that we, we set ourselves up for creating false stories and false narratives in our head. How do we
[08:46] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: manage those false narratives and false stories? I mean, as part of it obviously revealing the truth in a conversation like this, but this goes right back to the topic of the podcast, which is success through failure.
[08:59] We see these people who are successful, we assume they don't fail. And then because we see their successes, but we, on the other hand experience and, and
[09:07] Frank Schwartz: feel our failures, how do we manage that?
[09:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How do we overcome those failures and make sure that we say I'm not a bad leader. I made may have made a bad decision there, but I'm not a bad leader.
[09:20] How do we manage that,
[09:21] Frank Schwartz: that narrative that's going on in. That's a great question. I think you just quit. I just just call it, it just mail it that's, it can't win. And that's the great question of leadership, right? Is how do we strike this rhythm? How do we balance or manage, I guess is a better word. All these competing tensions and, and values and things that we have on us all the time.
[09:40] Right. And I think, honestly, we're starting to see a shift. I really do think we're starting to see a shift toward a more open and vulnerable. Human type of leader, you know, I think we're starting to see where, you know, even top leaders in, in companies and things like that are, are willing to say. I don't know, or, you know what, I've, I have made bad decisions or, you know, we try to work on this together and we're gonna fail some, but we're gonna win, you know, we'll win some and just being very real about, like you said, the actual truth, you know, it's easy to talk about in here, but it's really hard.
[10:12] you know, if you failed and, and it's in front of everybody and it's pretty, colosal, that's tough to talk about, and this is something we may get to later too, but I, I think a relentless focus on mission. Makes a big difference as well. And recognizing that, Hey, I'm not here for me. I'm here for the mission.
[10:29] And if you're willing to do that, if you're willing to submit yourself to, to that kind of thinking and subject yourself to, to the greater good. If you will, then I think you avoid a lot of the traps of, oh gosh, you know, I failed and now it's bad. No, I just, I did something that wasn't missional. Okay.
[10:47] Correct. And move on. There's no bad in there. There's nothing that went, you know, horribly wrong. I, my belief is, and maybe I'm wrong and certainly I don't wanna be a pain in the button, overstate it. Right. But there are very, very, very, very, very, very few times when a failure is truly a catastrophic failure.
[11:04] It's usually only catastrophic in our head. You
[11:07] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: mentioned a relentless focus on mission. I mean, is that a key part of leadership? Are we assuming that every leader has a mission? I mean, we have to. Clarity of mission in order to be relentless. And then also that helps with. Overcoming that narrative of like, yeah, I made a bad decision.
[11:25] So I can't, you know, see there, I'm not a good leader. No, it's just part of the process. So is clarity of mission important? That was a softball question.
[11:30] Frank Schwartz: I was gonna say, you can't say no to that one. You're right. unless you'd have to be a fat liar. Right. But no, I mean, obviously right. Clarity of mission is super important and there's a, a quote that I love by Arthur Young that says the purpose creates the.
[11:47] And I think sometimes we start creating the machine based on how the machine was created yesterday versus on the mission, you know? And so sometimes if you, you start building it and then you're like, oh, we'll just kind of keep going down this same road and, you know, keep bolting crap onto the machine.
[12:02] That's fine and all, but at some point it stops, you know, accomplishing the, the purpose for which it was built. And so, yeah, I mean, obviously that's the, the soft mall answer is sure of a relentless focus on mission requires clarity of purpose and clarity mission. The problem is I think that most of us, at least in my experience in working with leaders, in working with men and, you know, across the country and stuff is a lot of us think we know what the mission is or what our mission might.
[12:27] And a lot of times when you start really digging at it and poking it, it's pretty frail. It's pretty frail. It's not based in much. It's based in a lot of corporate speaking. It sounds nice, but there's not always a lot of substance to it. You know, people say things like, well, our mission is to be number one.
[12:44] Well, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. That is a horrible mission because first of all, number one in what, like, what does that even mean? You know, but, but that's, that's the kind of thing that we tell ourselves, well, I wanna be the best. Uh, okay. At, at what, in what way? Define best help me, you know, and, and from there it starts getting real thin, you know, we just can't really point to, well, what is it that I'm trying to accomplish?
[13:09] And, and I think we forget that a mission is not, you know, just a lofty statement that, that, you know, motivates us to get out of bed. I'm gonna wake up and be the best, you know, but I think a mission we have to remember is as it was taught to me, uh, by our, our mutual friend, Dave Redding, right, is a mission, has a task and a purpose.
[13:25] A mission has something that you're supposed to do, and it's supposed to have a really good reason for why you're doing it. And if you can put those two things in a mission, uh, clearly then it becomes much easier to submit yourself to it and be much more effective in how you're leading and
[13:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: for the listeners.
[13:39] I want you to recognize here that that clarity doesn't come from waking up and just doing the same thing today for no better reason than that's why we did it yesterday. You have to like step back and hit the pause button and I've.
[13:53] Frank Schwartz: A
[13:54] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: lot about this and recorded entire episodes on this concept of the productive pause, which is a short period of focus, reflection around specific questions that leads to clarity of action.
[14:05] And peace of mind, clarity of action, clarity of mission and peace of mind. And that, that peace of mind goes back to what we just talked about. Like when you make a bad decision, like you still can have, you can still have clarity of mission and peace of mind because, you know, I know I made a bad decision, but the mission stays the same.
[14:23] And you know what? I, I did the best I could with the information that I had at that point. Now I can learn from that, that failure, that mistake. And move on when we have that clarity of action and peace of mind helps you do the right things.
[14:36] Frank Schwartz: Take the right actions. Yeah, absolutely. And, and I, you know, my, it draws my wife and kids nuts sometimes, cuz they want to say things like, well, we did a bad decision, we made a bad choice or whatever.
[14:45] And I'm like, well here's the thing in my mind. And maybe I'm just delusional, Jim. I'm willing to accept that little bit. Uh, but in my . I do think I'm smart. So maybe at least some delusion vague dinner. That was my first
[14:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: piece of evidence right there.
[14:59] Frank Schwartz: But I'm willing to accept that you made a choice that was non missional, but I don't know that I'm willing to accept that you made a bad choice.
[15:08] I think the only bad choice is if you're making a choice solely to serve yourself, that's a bad choice. If you're doing something and you are either abusing your power or exploiting another person or something like that, so that you can serve yourself. That's a bad choice. Usually we don't make bad choices.
[15:27] We just make non missional choices. We make what we thought was a good choice, what we wanted it to be a good choice, but it just turned out that it wasn't to the advantage of the mission. So, okay. That's. You know that, that, and we don't have to wallow in our self pity and our self guilt saying how horrible we are, cuz we're bad.
[15:45] You know, we made these bad decisions or whatever. Right now we just made a decision that was, that drew us off the path a little bit and that's okay. That's easily correctable. And we just, you know, we gotta put ourselves back on the path, but again, that's part of why as I referenced before, you've gotta have more than just you figuring that out.
[16:01] You know, I don't, I don't always know if it's a, a decision that's non missional or, you know, I, I sometimes I think it is, but I need somebody else over my shoulder going, uh, help me explain that one to me again, help me again with how that, uh, how that completes what we're trying to do here. You talked about
[16:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: the principles being the same, but the people and the situations changed, you talked about having a decision making process, which is what you were just referencing.
[16:26] So what does that look like? What does a decision making process look like is step one, make sure you go to the bathroom, cuz I think you referenced
[16:32] Frank Schwartz: that earlier. Yeah. If you've had, if you've got an urgency of bladder, you're not, you're not in a good state to okay. So bad decisions
[16:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: happen after that. What else might be part of a decision
[16:42] Frank Schwartz: making process.
[16:42] I, you better edit all that out. I mean, what, what idiot do you have on your podcast right now?
[16:47] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: just, yeah, we might lose some listers, but you know, we might just gain some,
[16:50] Frank Schwartz: ah, you never know. Right? You might gain some better ones anyway. Sorry. So the decision making process, go ahead. You were asking. Yeah. So what
[16:56] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: does that look like?
[16:57] What would a decision making process look like? And, and I'm not saying like, you know, here are my five steps to making a decision on what we're having for dinner tonight, but can you give us a, I don't know, maybe a framework, are there rules or, or principles, general principles that you can follow?
[17:13] Frank Schwartz: Generally speaking, when there is a tough decision to be made, usually it is because it's really more of a transformational issue, right? So the tactical issues are, are usually pretty easily challenged and we can typically figure those out, even sometimes, even on our own. I mean, it, you know, a tactical issue, being things like, oh, house is on fire, put fire out.
[17:32] I don't need to assemble a committee, you know? Right. I don't need a lot of discussion about, you know, whether this is a bad, you know, good thing, bad thing. What do we do here? Right. So tactical decisions can be made. I think so. Typically by yourself or maybe just a, you know, a small group, they can usually be made pretty quickly.
[17:47] Uh, the focus is a lot of times on, on more of that present time. So I think the first thing I have to do is figure out is this a tactical decision? Is it a strategic decision to be made? So is this more of a, okay, I'm looking outside the organization and I'm saying, what are some of the threats or some of the challenges that we might be looking at and how are we gonna navigate those?
[18:05] But they're still kind of task oriented or is this a transformational problem? Is it a human being problem? You know, is it one of these, I can't remember the exact phrase that you used, but the ultimately dynamic constantly changing kind of a problem, like which kind of problem is it? So the first thing I try to do is I try to identify what, what are we really trying to get done here?
[18:24] And which kind of problem is it? Technic? Pretty simple, present focused, pretty easy to do strategic, little more future focused, you know, looking and saying, okay, this is a tough question that we have to ask ourselves, but it also doesn't require us a, a short timeline. You know, that's not a decision that has to be made pretty quickly, you know, it could be, you know, Jim for myself.
[18:44] Like I, you know, one of the things I did in my past was, you know, I had a corporate communications company and. You know, kids come in. Uh, now any, any kid who can, you know, scrape up 10,000 bucks from his parents can buy much nicer equipment than I ever could when I was starting, you know, you know, so I look and go, okay, we have a strategic problem with, you know, much lower entry in the marketplace.
[19:04] You know, how are we gonna combat that? What are we gonna do to, to try and navigate that and prepare against that? Right? So those are a little longer term problem, but the real ones that are the. Challenges. I mean, the true, that require true leadership, not just management, right, but true leadership, I think are those transformational problems.
[19:20] Those are those human being problems. And that's where we have all these different competing values, these different competing things on our time or on our resources, you know, whatever it might be. Right. We have these tensions that are pulling us in a lot of different directions and it requires skillful leadership to make decisions, to figure out how to navigate those things.
[19:37] It's not something we can really ever solve. I don't think you've ever done, you know, transformational problems, things. Well, look, I mean, we're dealing with it right now, right? Huge labor shortages, you know, all over the place where there are certain strategic elements to that naturally. But the real transformational problem is, is how do I get people in here?
[19:54] And how do I keep 'em here? You know, what is it we're gonna do to solve that? You know? And obviously people are saying things like, well, we're gonna give 'em ultimate flexibility. We'll let 'em work from. Okay, well, let me know how that works for you. I think that you're ultimately gonna drive people outta the office.
[20:09] You're gonna get less collaboration. You're gonna cause real problems. I think it's admirable and wonderful that these certain companies are like, we're fully remote. You know? No one's ever coming back to the office here and I'm like, well, you're proud of yourself cuz you save yourself $30,000 a month in rent.
[20:21] But I don't know that that's really , you know, I'm not really sure that you're solving a real problem here. So I think they'll all change their minds eventually, but, but point being the first thing in that decision making process is to kind of decide what kind of problem are we looking at here? And then ultimately what I do is I assemble the group of the people that I know are smarter than me and I let them talk first.
[20:43] Most people, I would say could be like anybody for you theoretical pretty much. I mean, like, just grab somebody off the street. I mean, it's not hard. . Which usually what I do, Jim, I have a problem. I drive down the street. I randomly ask strangers until I get a just strangers until I get a, a, a consensus. And then I go home and I am, I'm fine.
[21:02] Cause they're all smarter than me. No, but, uh, you know, you pull those people in that you trust that, you know, are gonna push you, you know, are gonna really butt up against you. A lot of times, you know, I don't need people around me that tell me, I'm great. You know, I tell myself enough, I don't need other people to tell me.
[21:15] I, I need those people who tell me. I don't think this is a good idea, or I'm not sure you're looking at this objectively or, you know, your bias is, and are you sure this isn't influencing that, you know, that kind of thing. Right. So I usually assemble that shared leadership team, that group, you know, it's particularly true in F3, right.
[21:32] You know, I have a lot of weird ideas about how to run F3 and a lot of weird ideas of things that I think could be effective, but I can't make those decisions by myself. , you know, I'll run us into the ground. I know I will, I would say 99 times, maybe 999 times out of a thousand. You know, I sit in that room with those people.
[21:50] I espouse my genius ideas of how I know, you know, this is how we're gonna solve the problems of the world. And by the end, you know, they've thought of 50,000 other things that didn't even occur to me, you know, that we should be looking at and that we should be trying to figure out. So my decision making process looks like that for the most.
[22:07] You know, identifying the type of problem it is. Cause I don't think it's hard to identify what the problem is, but categorizing it in the right place is a strategic, a tactical or a transformational type problem, and then assembling the right teams to help find the answers or to discover or to know the answers already.
[22:23] You know, they're already experts in this problem and then deploying those kinds of things to get it done. Yeah. And I
[22:27] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: think so many leaders and this goes back to the ego thing you mentioned earlier. Feel like they have to figure it out on their own. Like, no, you not
[22:36] Frank Schwartz: only
[22:36] Frank Schwartz: you not have
[22:38] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: to you absolutely.
[22:39] Shouldn't. There are, are a lot of fallacies in our own thinking. And so lean on a, a shared leadership team and even people who disagree with you, like maybe especially people who will disagree with you and shoot holes in your argument. Finding those people surrounding yourself with them. And, and then asking these questions, these are productive, pause questions.
[22:59] These aren't, you know, we're not talking about returning emails or writing up the proposal or, or doing on any of the other things that you do on a day to day basis. We're saying take the time. You block it off on your
[23:10] Frank Schwartz: calendar and
[23:11] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: ask these meaningful, powerful questions around, you know, is this a tactical or a strategic or a human problem mean starting right there and branching out from there, but this doesn't happen in the regular day today.
[23:24] So you have to. Set aside time to make this
[23:26] Frank Schwartz: happen. Oh, absolutely. You should go on one of Jim's retreats. I think that's the best place to get something like that done. Right. We got another one
[23:33] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: coming up next may, man. It is
[23:35] Frank Schwartz: gonna be awesome. I can't wait, baby. Yeah. Well, you know, you mentioned that too, and, and I think that's one of the challenges is the misclassification of the problem is usually what leads us to some of the biggest problems when we make.
[23:47] You know, a decision and we'd start applying a tactical solution to what really is a transformational problem. You know, we think to ourselves, I'm gonna fix this, you know, I can fix no problem. I got this squared away. Right. And, uh, and then we apply that tactical solution and end up making a bigger, uh, bigger mess, cuz we, this is not really the problem, you know, but we're comfortable in, in answering certain kinds of questions.
[24:09] And so we keep answering them, you know, it's the old, uh, hammer and nail, right? If I'm a hammer, everything's a.
[24:14] 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.
[24:27] To get your free copy of the action plan. Now back to the show, culture is something that starts with the leader, but culture is such a nebulous thing. Like you can. Wrap your hands around it. It doesn't happen in one meeting. It's not something, a poster that you put on the wall, you know, like where, where does one start?
[24:50] When working to create a culture, I mean, is it the mission? Is it clearly defining the mission? How do you go about creating culture? What are the things that you can do tactically and strategically and maybe human also, right? That help you define the culture
[25:05] Frank Schwartz: and set the culture you want. Absolutely. So in my mind that was something that was funny.
[25:09] And this is, you know, now it's, we're kind of getting past it, but it, you know, used to be that everyone would say, oh, culture is super important. So we put a, you know, we put a ping pong table in the break room. I'm not sure how that defines culture, but you know, now if you said to me, we value the fact that boys have Liberty over their time.
[25:26] And therefore we're gonna put a ping pong table in the, in the break room, cuz we want them to have to feel like they have freedom over their use of time. That might be something right. But yeah, we, we kind of got in these weird, like I'm gonna apply tactics where, like you said, I'll write something on the wall and culture.
[25:41] Culture is the ultimate transformational problem because culture is, is people. There's nothing in your office that is physical. That. Defines culture. It can only support culture, right? So you can choose things that either support or not support culture. But I think that the fact is is that your culture is defined by the human beings.
[26:01] It's really the, the, how we do what we do. It's the, how we treat each other. It's the, how we approach problems. It's the, the, you know, the way that we look at the world kind of a thing. And so, yeah, I think number one, you're exactly right. And that is now I admit my bias of being a little bit of a hammer in a nail here, but the answer is, yeah, it requires strong, good leadership and a relentless focus on mission because if you don't have a clearly defined mission, if you don't have it clearly defined in your mind, And in your heart, you can't articulate it to the people that you work with.
[26:38] Right? So you've gotta have that missional look, you've gotta have that vision of what it is that you're trying to get done in the world. And it can't be make money, make money. As a result, make money is something that comes from this relentless focus on mission, right? It comes from meeting a world, you know, the world's needs, right?
[26:57] Combining that with what brings you great joy. I think that's really, you know, kind of a, a way that it's been defined. Right. So I think, yeah, culture starts with mission. Uh, and then it, it pervades out from there because if, if culture is, and I believe it is if culture is the, how we approach everything around here, right.
[27:16] And the way that we do things around here, we have to know the way that we do things to what end. And so having that rock solid belief, not just a head knowledge of what the mission says it is or what, you know, what, what we wrote in vinyl on the, you know, the break room wall , you know? Right. But really understanding like, no, no, no, no.
[27:37] You know, Jim Harshaw is not a leadership coach, right. Because everybody's a freaking leadership coach, right. He's not a leadership coach. He does something very different. His mission is to transform. Men and women and create leaders out of them to make them something that they weren't right. It's to teach them skills and equip them with knowledge to therefore promulgate better leadership, not just in themselves, but to take that and go other places.
[28:09] Right. So really, if you think about it, Jim Harshaw is a guy who is dedicated to solving the world's problem. Through leadership through teaching leadership and helping those people who have the influence in those places to be leaders. Now that, to me, when I hear that, I go, well, you know, I want to get on a mission with a guy who's here to solve the world problems through, through better leadership.
[28:33] But if he just says he is a leadership coach, I don't give a crap. You know? Well, I wanna be the best leadership coach there. How about this shut up. Cause that's a, , that's a dumb thing to say, you know, but I know who Jim Harshaw is, and I know what he's all about and what he's all about is helping people overcome self-limiting beliefs, right?
[28:52] Changing their minds, opening their brains. And embracing this idea that they can be more than they were, you know, the day before.
[29:00] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. And there's, there's different sort of elements to this clarity. There's the mission. There's the vision there's values, there's purpose. Right. And, and for me, my stated purpose is because of my unique experiences in the world, I can help high functioning people of influence lead, meaningful lives of purpose and impact.
[29:19] Like, that's it that's me. That's what I do. I feel.
[29:23] Frank Schwartz: Yes. If you are listening right now, and I'm being really serious when I say this, if you're listening right now and you heard that and nothing stirred inside, you don't listen anymore. Like, just get out of here. You're dead inside. I don't know. because I'm serious.
[29:38] What you're what you just said right there. That is the thing. Right? And I mean, here we are on a success through failure podcast. right. It was those horrifying, just those meetings with just awful failure, right? Just abject failure that shaped who you are and how you approach the world. So if you go to win work for Jim Harshaw, the culture there, I'm gonna guess Jim is failure's not a problem.
[30:03] Uh, over there is. Right. It's part
[30:07] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: of the process. We know that yeah. We feel that we believe that at the DNA level, not the logical level, but at the DNA level. And, and yeah, I mean, when, when you have the, this clarity of mission, this clarity of purpose and these, these stated values, and then you make decisions by them.
[30:22] And actually you feel those internally in your body, you don't have to decide. Okay. If we, we have to put a ping pong table in the break room like that, that just happens. That's just an, it's just an outcropping of the way you, you operate.
[30:38] Frank Schwartz: Yeah. In fact, if your culture is strong enough, Jim, someone on the team.
[30:45] You won't have to make that decision. Someone on the team will go by God. You know, what would be awesome. I'm gonna bring a ping pong table from home and stick it in the corner over here, because I really think that's gonna help us get done what we need to get done. You know, you said something there, Jim, that really struck a nerve with me.
[30:57] And you said having this purpose down to your, your DNA level, That I think you, you just nailed it. In fact, that's new in a way in my brain. So I'm probably gonna steal that from you. Uh, sorry, not sorry. You gotta credit me one time and then it's yours after that. Not a problem. Happy to I'll credit you every time don't bother me.
[31:17] but, but you, you made a really good point and that is, you know, this idea of mission, this idea of purpose and values and all those kinds of things. They have to be the out cropping, right? The mission, really the vision, really those things are really just a statement of the beliefs that you hold. Down to your DNA level.
[31:35] You know, how important failure is to the success process? Right. And so by embracing that that's something that, you know, down to your DNA, you cannot shake that off. So everything you write about everything, you talk about, the way that you structure your mission, the values that you hold in your company should be a very natural outgrowth of that.
[31:58] Again, I love the way you phrase it, that DNA knowledge of whatever the thing is. Right. And that's, you know, going back to the very first question of why are there so many leadership books and so many things, because your unique leadership experiences that got you to here from where you were, are gonna affect a different group of people than mine.
[32:19] You know, I, I think that the days are gone, you know, Tony Robbins is awesome. That guy's amazing. He really is. Uh, John Maxwell is amazing, you know, but I really think in some ways, these, the kind of this, you know, this guru that can affect tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands, I, I think that's awesome, but I don't think that's the reality for most of us.
[32:40] But I think the reality is that there's probably a few thousand that are gonna bump into, you know, to you or to me, or to whomever. And we do have some opportunity to have some influence and it's gonna absolutely be. Born of that. What, whatever got programmed into my my DNA through my experience, usually difficult experience.
[32:58] Right. You know, those are usually the more shaping, uh, things that we have. But, but, but I, man, I really love the way you said that. And one thing
[33:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: you talk about, you know, when we're talking about culture, like one of the things that is directly affected by culture is the work from home stuff that we're dealing with right now.
[33:14] Right. Which is working remotely. We have a lot of leaders who are listening, who are now managing teams, who. A remote. This is a brand new world there, right? The principles say the same, the situations change their endlessly dynamic. What advice might you have for leaders who are now managing remotely?
[33:34] Frank Schwartz: When you can't put a ping pong table, right? That's right. you used to ping pong table. that's right. You have to
[33:37] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: play like the, you play like the cup pong on your
[33:40] Frank Schwartz: phone with everything. I don't know exactly. You're have to play Fortnite together or something, or, you know, call a duty or something. Maybe that's how you do that.
[33:45] But no, it's, I think it's you're right. It's it is extremely difficult right now. I think there are huge challenges, uh, to be had, uh, with this kind of work from home environment. I do see, uh, more and more companies hiring and doing kind of a hybrid model, like, you know, three in the office, two outta the office kind of thing.
[34:03] Here's the challenge or here's the concern that I have as, as a leader, uh, as a business owner, as you know, that kind of like, so I'm thinking from the terms of the company, I feel like it's a reaction to a large degree, to a bunch of people who are raising their hand and saying, well, we're not gonna come work.
[34:19] If you don't do this. And while I think there's value, you know, certainly in having some power in the hands of the employees and things like that, right? The employee is reacting to the fact that I got to work from home. And now I'm, you know, I'm making the same amount of money. I feel like I'm doing the same work and, and maybe some industries are gonna be better than others too.
[34:37] If your job doesn't consist of, you know, people type problems, you know, if you are a data analyst or something like that, that you really could function in a very well in a work from home, cuz you would've just sat at your desk and done the same exact. Okay. You know, if that's, if it doesn't require collaboration, if it doesn't require a human piece to it, right.
[34:56] We're always gonna have human problems and it's very difficult to solve human problems without humans in proximity to one another, you know, it's, it's a real challenge and, you know, Some places. It's funny. I, I was talking to, uh, a client the other day and, uh, and I didn't realize this was the case, but they were describing, you know, this person they had worked with for 10 years.
[35:14] That they've actually, I mean, so this is the case, you know, they're a huge enterprise and they've done work from home kind of stuff for a long time, you know, certain jobs in certain situations. And, uh, they're like, yeah, we've worked together for almost 10 years and we've never actually met face to face.
[35:26] And I'm like, how is that? I refuse to believe that that's more effective. So now I'm not a genius. Right. And the people who are doing the work from home stuff are I presume you're like, or they're smarter than I, or they know their business better. For sure. Right. So, you know, maybe it's gonna work and maybe it's gonna be fine, but so let's just pretend that it's super awesome and super productive.
[35:45] And there's nothing, uh, that will challenge any, any of the productivity or anything like that with working from. Okay. You still have this disconnected group of people. And I think that that to manage that challenge, whereas there used to be, you know, we would bump into each other in the hall, have kind of.
[36:03] Impromptu conversation about something, you know, it'd been real easy for me to say, you know, if we were in the same office, right. I go, Ooh, I got a question that Jim knows the answer to. I can just walk down the hall and that might even spawn further questions. Now, you know, it's like, I can send you an email or I can IM you or something, you know, whatever the, you know, slack you or whatever, internal communications, you know, function we have.
[36:23] Right. So I might be able to ping you a question, but usually I'm gonna ping you my question. I'm gonna get, answer my question and the transaction kind of stops. It doesn't allow for any more, you know, I guess I should say it's much more challenging to have that kind of organic interplay between people and to have further questions or further discussions to read the tone in your eyes and go, I hear what you're saying, but tell me what I'm not asking, help me out here, you know, and we may not ask for that.
[36:49] I mean, I look for that and I, I think we're removing a human element. That's very difficult. So I think if you manage a remote workforce, then you, I think would be very, first of all, video calls are super helpful. None of this off camera crap, you know, and I'm sorry. Look, either accept the fact that people are gonna be in their pajamas or tell 'em they can't.
[37:07] Right. You know, like I'm okay with like, I don't care. You're just as smart in your pajamas as you are. And you're, you know, sure. Tie, I don't know. It doesn't matter to me, you know how we do this. If you're customer facing, maybe that's different, whatever, but I think you have to be much more intentional in how you structure your day.
[37:23] And I think it probably must include some kind of. You know, team video interaction on a regular basis on some kind of regular frequency. I dunno if it has to be the every single day, but you know, certainly every couple of days or something, and there's gotta be kind of that BS in, you know, sharing a little bit about our lives and, you know, just chit chat that you would normally have around the water cooler or at lunch or whatever it might be.
[37:45] Right. Maybe, maybe what you do is you have video lunches, you know, everybody grab your lunch and jump in and we'll get on a video call and we have lunch. Because there is value there. I'll tell you this, Jim, you know, I changed my business structure. Oh gosh, God. It was six years ago or something now. And, um, the, the people that I helped transition to better jobs, um, because you know, I, I just admitted to 'em.
[38:08] I was like, Hey, look, we're not gonna grow any bigger than this. You guys deserve more. You're gonna need to. Transit, you're gonna go find jobs, you know, we're gonna, I'm gonna help you find something bigger and better and, and move you on to something else. And we did that, right. But the fact that we always did these things together, we were in proximity.
[38:23] We had lunch together. We had morning meetings. We had these things, right. I haven't worked in the same office as these folks for probably four years now. And still I kept an open slack channel. Or slack workspace. Right. They're all still in it. And we still talk in there. In fact, one of somebody just the other day and was like, Hey, I don't know when this is gonna air, but this Friday is when it happening.
[38:45] But they were like, can we, uh, can we all get together again and go to Tom golf? Sure. You know, absolutely, of course, you know, but it's, it's that human element to it, right. They haven't worked together. None of them, uh, work in the same offices, you know, like they've all gone around to different places in different jobs.
[39:00] They do different things now. Uh, but that, that bond that was formed there when we all worked together is still exists. It's still there. And I don't know. If that's, maybe that's not desirable for everybody in their workplace. Right. For me, it was. And so we tried to create a culture where that's, how it felt and that's how it, it, it operated and it continues to, to happen.
[39:20] Now, you know, again, four years later, these guys are saying, Hey, we still wanna be around each other. And they don't see each other in between. It's not like they're hanging out every day and then they just call me and they're like, Hey, you can come too. We're all in our own lives, man. But, but they still hold that as a, your thing personally, I take that as a win, you know, and kind of how we shaped our culture.
[39:35] But I think now with that spread out nature of, of who we are and how we are a, I think we're gonna be sad at some point later on go, we should have kept him in the office more, you know, it was good. We got out and that was fine. And we mitigated COVID and whatever, but I think we should have kept him in the office more.
[39:50] And then I think the other part of it is, is that, uh, we're just gonna see a lot more of this. At least some degree of recreating, actual approximate human interaction over a video chat kind of situation. Yeah.
[40:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Yeah. So important. We're communal creatures in losing that is something that you just, you just can't replace.
[40:10] At least we haven't
[40:10] Frank Schwartz: figured it out yet. No, no we haven't. And I think it's gonna cause us problems later. Frank, what favorite
[40:16] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: books or resources can you recommend to the
[40:19] Frank Schwartz: leaders listening that they can check out every podcast from, from Jim Harshaw? That's what you do. Every success through failure podcast is all of those.
[40:28] Yeah. We're approaching 400, man. That's pretty awesome. Yeah. Well over three
[40:32] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: 50, I don't know what number this one's gonna be, but we're in. This will be in the 360 S I think,
[40:36] Frank Schwartz: man, that's exciting. That is exciting. Yeah. So yes, obviously that, but aside from that, cuz everyone already knows that. I think that the things that have done me the best I don't read cause I'll fall asleep.
[40:48] So I'm a listener. I do audible and then that, which is nice about that. Cuz I can speed it up and you know, kind of get through 'em a little faster, but the things that have shaped my personal leadership, the most you and I both know, you know, if you happen to be male and, and want to come work out with us, F3 has made huge difference in my leadership and Dave Redding wrote that book, the Q source is kind of a, a framework for what we would term virtuous leadership. That's been a huge game changer, uh, in how I look at the world. I'm reading one right now from a guy who worked for can't remember the name of the company, but they they're a hospitality company.
[41:21] They own dlly wood and all, a bunch of other stuff like that. Right. And they manage all that kind of stuff. And it's talking about love at work. that's when I'm, I'm about halfway through that one right now. And it's excellent. It's excellent because the it's, you know, again, it's this human element, right?
[41:35] You should go to business school, you should get an MBA AB sure. All that kind of stuff. Do it. Awesome. Love it. learn how to manage the crap out of a spreadsheet and how to be super, super duper, you know, efficient and you know, all that kind of stuff. Right. I think you should do all those things, but I also think that you need to read a lot of things about how to love other people better be and how to really create a, an environment and a culture where the people legitimately care about one another and they say like a family and I'm, eh, okay.
[42:02] Sure. A family fine. That's one way to define it, but just a, a place of genuine concern for the other people that you work with. And for the mission, you know, have a virtuous mission, care about it, care about the people that are there and get there together. Do everything that you can to sacrifice yourself, sacrifice your ego and lean in for other people.
[42:22] So I think the things that teach us those kinds of principles are the ones that we ought to be reading and looking for resources. Well said, well said, Frank,
[42:31] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: for the Lister who wants to find you follow you, reach out to you, how do
[42:34] Frank Schwartz: they track you down on the F3 side of things? You can find me @darkhelmetf3 on Twitter.
[42:40] Uh, so at dark helmet, F3, or you can send me an email, dark email@example.com. We didn't spend a whole lot of time on F3, but that's a, that's a significant part of my life in leadership. So you should check that out. If you want to just, you know, write me a business email, Frank G three L dot.
[42:55] And you can also find firstname.lastname@example.org, uh, the website there and learn a little bit more about what we're doing, or you can call me, uh, send a carrier pigeon, uh, get in touch with Jim. He knows where I am, right. There's lots of places, but those, those are probably the big ones. Yeah. Excellent.
[43:09] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thanks Frank. That was amazing. Thank you so much for making
[43:12] Frank Schwartz: time to come on the show, Jim, you're one of my favorite people and I appreciate the time brother. Likewise, brother.
[43:18] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. 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.
[43:33] 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. You would totally make my day. If you give me a rating and review those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience, just open up your podcast app.
[43:54] 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. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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