Pam and Scott’s Business Book Pairings for Inspiring Yourself and Others
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Episode 58 Transcript:
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters Radio, Episode 58. Pam and Scott’s Business Book Pairings for Inspiring Yourself and Others. This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated − enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of growth. On the web, at www.businessadvance.com. And now, here’s Pam and Scott!
Pam Harper: Thanks Chris. I’m Pam Harper, founding partner and CEO of Business Advancement, Incorporated, and with me is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi Scott.
Scott Harper: Hi Pam. Once again it’s great to be here with you for another episode of Growth Igniters Radio, and if this is your first time listening, our purpose is to spark new insights, inspiration and immediately useful ideas for visionary leaders to take themselves and their companies to their next level of success. Pam, what’s on tap for today?
Pam Harper: Finding our purpose and sharing it with others to create a lasting positive difference.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: More and more there’s research out there that’s showing that when we are inspired by a higher level purpose the more likely it is that we’ll take action to make that purpose happen.
Scott Harper: Sure we’ve seen that all over the place with people out in the world, with our clients…
Pam Harper: With ourselves…
Scott Harper: …even with you and me. That’s correct.
Pam Harper: That’s right. That being said, finding and inspiring ourselves and others to join us on that journey involves clarity. It involves influencing others to join us on the journey, and it often requires us to influence people through a variety of forms of communication. Today we’re focused on two book pairings − four books total − that are both inspirational and thought provoking for exploring this issue. So let’s get started here − our first book pairing is about finding purpose, and Scott, that’s you.
Scott Harper: That’s actually Start With Why by Simon Sinek; the full title is Start With Why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. The opening passage in his book, the very first page, I’d like to read. He says, “There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us. Whether individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.”
Pam Harper: Wow.
Scott Harper: We’re talking about “those who lead” as opposed to people in positions of power. We’re talking about positions of influence, and influence comes from inspiration.
Pam Harper: Also, think about what he’s saying here. People follow because they want to.
Scott Harper: Right.
Pam Harper: That’s so important, especially now, because so much of what happens is not about authority. Obviously people have roles of authority, but increasingly, organizations are relying on influence [to make things happen].
Scott Harper: Yes. For Sinek, the influence comes through first internalizing and then effectively communicating what he calls ”WHY”. It really is a driving purpose that goes way beyond what you do or how you do it. He says that when a leader has that exceptional “why” in mind it motivates everything they do. He talks about the concept of “the golden circle”; why is in the middle and it drives everything else outside of that. First why, then how do you do it? So, operationalize.
He also talks about how visionaries who have the “why” always work best if they are paired with people who understand and get that why, drawing them in that journey, and can then make the decisions on “this is how we’re going to be operational,” so “how” people are very important to “why” people.
Pam Harper: He spoke about Apple, as I recall?
Scott Harper: Right; he spoke about Apple, and how Apple’s why is “we believe in individuals, We believe in being different. We believe in getting people power to do things out there in the world. We happen to make great devices that are elegant,” and so on. The why of Apple is being different and being about the individual − realizing their potential. They don’t just build computers. They build all kinds of devices, and who knows where they’re going to go in the future? Really, a why gives you a big, broad canvas over the very strong anchor.
For instance, we talked with Brian Scudamore a few episodes back. He’s the CEO and founder of O2E Brands. Their flagship company is 1-800-GOT-JUNK; he has a number of other franchise companies in there. He talked to us in a way that really illustrated his why. He has a driving purpose, a big idea behind his company.
Pam Harper: That actually turned into the banner for his company, which is “Ordinary to Exceptional.”
Scott Harper: That’s right, Ordinary to Exceptional. He started out with an old truck hauling junk, and he did that for a number of years − became more and more successful − then thought, “we can make this junk business something that is really an exceptional service.”
Pam Harper: That was his why.
Scott Harper: That was his why, and it really guides them in how they choose businesses to set up, and who they hire, and how they train people, and how they communicate with the world. And our second book also really gives a fabulous tangible example of a visionary’s why in action. Pam, why don’t you tell us about that?
Pam Harper: Yes. This is a great example of a powerful purpose put into action. It’s called Do the Kind Thing, Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately by Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of Kind. It was published just last year, in 2015. The big idea here is that when Dan Lubetzky started Kind Health Snacks, as it was originally called in 2004, his purpose was to start a “not only for profit” business. This is a very interesting concept, a company that sold great products and … There’s an italic in the word AND − helped to make the world a better place.
Scott Harper: So “not only for profit”…
Pam Harper: Not only do they sell Kind bars and snacks, they started what they called their BrAND philosophy. That’s B-R with a capital A-capital N-capital D philosophy. This concept of… and this is very important to him, because it serves to say “we’re about making the world a better place through what we do economically.” That would be his why, his purpose. He talks about “the purpose,” so that is in common with Simon Sinek.
Just to talk about the BrAND philosophy here, they have three different kinds of movements here. There’s the Kind Movement, which is the mission to inspire kindness and the goal of making kindness a state of mind; Kind causes, which is a grant program that helps bring socially impactful ideas to life; and the Kind Foundation, which is a separate charitable organization that aims to foster healthier and kinder communities. This is all embedded in the company; it’s not that they’re giving to a separate cause, and that’s what makes it a socially responsible company, of course.
Scott Harper: Okay. So they make money selling healthful snacks, healthful foods, and they use a part of that to fund their philanthropy? So it’s a philanthropic for profit company? Wow.
Pam Harper: That’s right. What’s interesting also to me is he had a number of points of view about purpose, some of it I’m quoting here. He talks about the need to start by talking with yourself; again, there’s a parallel with Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. He says that for him, when your work brings you meaning and fulfillment it energizes you AND, with an italic, you will be most successful because you’re giving all you’ve got.
Time and again Lubetzky and Kind have been challenged in their growth, so this book is the story − it’s the journey of Kind from their start in 2004 to only last year, 2015. You can see how much the purpose is infused into the company. He spoke about all the challenges they had, from finding investors that were also in sync with his purpose, to hiring the right kinds of employees, to how the product looks and they decided to make products that were going against conventional wisdom of how you would have health bars.
Scott Harper: So another contrarian leader? We love those guys.
Pam Harper: Another contrarian leader. How he would learn and how they all learned from the setbacks that inevitably come up − but the strong purpose − that true north as he also calls it, has been absolutely essential for guiding them along the way, and that it will continue that way.
Scott Harper: So it really informs all the decisions that Lubetzky as CEO and the other folks in the company make on a day-to-day basis?
Pam Harper: It’s so interesting, because the little bit of interaction that I’ve had with Kind − I really get a sense of how much people live this. It’s not just something people do; they all of them really seem to have taken ownership, and that’s an important point. Just to conclude from Dan Lubetzky, “Whatever you set as your mountaintop, all that matters is that you be true to yourself in figuring out what that is and that you give it the best you’ve got so that when you look back as you continue that conversation with yourself you will know that you’ve lived life fully with integrity, passion and purpose.”
On that note, we’re going to take a quick break. When we come back we’ll talk about our second book pairing, and more about what it takes to influence others in a variety of communication. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You are listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement, Incorporated − on the web at www.businessadvance.com. We enable successful companies to accelerate to their next level of innovation and success. And if you like what you’re hearing, spread the good word. Go to www.growthignitersradio.com, select episode 58, and use the share links for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter at the top right of the page to tell your social media communities all about us. And while you’re there, sign up for our weekly alert of upcoming episodes so you’ll always be up-to-date.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper − that’s me − and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking today about finding our inspirational purpose and influencing others to join us on the journey. You can find links to the books we’re talking about under resources at www.growthignitersradio.com, episode 58.
Scott Harper: Pam, before the break we were talking about the power of finding your why − your purpose, your big idea. We were talking about digging into ourselves and finding that inspiration, but if you really want to make a big difference and make big things happen as soon as possible it’s essential that you inspire other people to join you on that journey and magnify your why.
Pam Harper: That leads us off with the first book in our pairing called Steal the Show: from Speeches to Job Interviews, the Deal Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life. This is by Michael Port; it came out last year. We talked about Michael Port. I actually attended a Michael Port event, Heroic Public Speaking. He has a very interesting premise, which is that not just when you’re giving a speech, but in a variety of ways we are actually performing.
That’s not to say that we’re being insincere; what he really means that we choose how we communicate and performing is a very serious thing. Michael Port is an actor by his background, and being a fine actor means connecting with your purpose and being very clear within yourself what you bring out to connect with other people. There are a variety of ways we perform, and he goes on to talk about this, so not just when you’re giving a speech, but let’s say that you want to make a good connection with a person who’s interviewing you for a position or some other kind of interaction.
What he says is you have to be mindful. You have to be very clear about who you’re trying to connect with, what you’re trying to connect about. Think about what we’ve been talking about in the last section, which is the why and getting your purpose. How often is it that we as visionaries will go out and we have this great idea. We’re clear. We know what we’re doing. Now we’ve got others to inspire to join us and they can’t quite get it.
Scott Harper: Yeah, that can be incredibly frustrating.
Pam Harper: This is where Michael Port’s book comes in.
Scott Harper: Okay, so the idea of tying this performance with the idea of I have my why and now I have to communicate it so that other people will understand it, be inspired by it-
Pam Harper: Join me.
Scott Harper: … and join in that movement.
Pam Harper: Take leadership.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: You’re never just bringing people on; that’s not what we want. We want people to be right there with us.
Scott Harper: Inspired. They’ll do it because they want to.
Pam Harper: They want to. They choose to. That goes back to Simon Sinek.
Scott Harper: Right.
Pam Harper: The thing that is most interesting about this type of approach is how much goes into really thinking about this and crafting out that performance so that you know what you want to say, how you want to say it, all the things that go into the craft of acting. You say wait a moment, if you take it into the aspect of I’m going to decide whether I sit at a table with somebody or am I going to sit behind the desk and the other person is going to sit on the other side of it?
Scott Harper: So there’s symbolism in how we set up our conversations…
Pam Harper: That’s right. We don’t think about it enough. We have to be very conscious of why we’re doing what we’re doing, how we’re communicating not just with our heads, not just with our hearts, but with our bodies and our voices. That’s what came through to me and that’s what is in his book.
Scott Harper: So at the core of this is authenticity, finding your core and bringing that out in everything you do and everything you say.
Pam Harper: Even more, it’s vulnerability; it’s the willingness to be seen, to really be seen, but in a relevant way. He’s very clear. It’s not about baring your soul to be on exhibit. It’s about letting your true self be seen, so we tell a story, but only the part of the story that’s necessary to help people to engage.
Scott Harper: But it’s an authenticity that comes across without beating you over the head. I think of some of the performance programs − guilty pleasure here − that we like to watch, like The Voice or American Idol, and they’re always saying “you’re singing and you’re a great singer, but find your authentic self and then you’ll be able to really perform and bring other people along.”
Pam Harper: That’s the performance aspect of it. Again, the more that you can connect with yourself when you’re trying to connect with others … That’s what connecting is, it’s me and you.
Scott Harper: And so that takes us to the next book…
Pam Harper: That’s right. The next book is Daring Greatly, How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, by Brené Brown, which came out in 2012. We spoke in the last episode of Growth Igniters Radio about elephants in the room; one of the big reasons for them is this fear of vulnerability. As Brené Brown defines it … Brené Brown is a researcher; she has done so much research on this topic of vulnerability and…
Scott Harper: Whole-hearted living….
Pam Harper: … whole-hearted living. She defines this [vulnerability] as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. If you think about it, that’s a lot of reasons why people might not want to be seen, because you never know how you’re going to be received. If you dare greatly − which remember that’s the big purpose − you’re inspirational. To dare greatly means that you have to be willing to show up fully with your whole heart and…
Scott Harper: So I’ve got my big idea, and I have to be willing to voice it.
Pam Harper: And somebody says, “You want what?!”
Scott Harper: Yeah. We’ve each of us experienced that.
Pam Harper: “Are you crazy?!” On the other hand, if you go with this, it means that you have the ability to learn how to deal with this and to be okay. That’s what she talks about in her book, so not just talking about what does it mean, but how do we actually let ourselves be seen, and also at the same time be okay with that. That’s what’s so satisfying about this book. She does go into these different arenas, as the title says, and she talks about … And I’m quoting her, “We need to feel trust to be vulnerable. We need to be vulnerable in order to trust.” This is a big thing. How do we deal with this chicken and egg kind of issue?
She says, for example, that you can tell, we all can tell when somebody is actually in our corner. There are a lot of signals that we give off, non-verbally as well as verbally. You can tell when somebody remembers things about you, who seems to genuinely care. We’ve had other people on Growth Igniters Radio such as Judith Glazer, who talks about issues of how we connect and actually trust each other very quickly or don’t.
Scott Harper: Or not. We know in 0.7 seconds.
Pam Harper: That’s right. We’ll be bringing Judith Glazer back as well to talk. Our point here is that when you have the big idea you have to be able to enable people to really get the clear sense not just of what it means to you, but you have to be able to connect to others. The only way to connect to others is by letting yourself be seen as well. It’s not a one-way street; it’s a two-way street.
Scott Harper: So it will be more resonant and they then will gain that sense of why they care.
Pam Harper: That’s right, and it’s more emotionally rewarding for us as well. It’s a virtuous cycle.
On that note we’re going to take another quick break. When we come back we’ll talk about questions you can use to apply the concepts from these books. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: Pam, can you tell our listeners why clients engage us to speak at events, conferences and company off sites?
Pam Harper: They’re seeking new insights for dramatically accelerating to the next level of success. They’re also seeking new leadership insights about themselves, their teams and their organizations, so they can make bold new decisions about strategy and implementation. It’s been especially rewarding to find that some of our company off-sites have resulted in breakthrough decisions that have generated as much as tenfold growth over five years.
Scott Harper: So contact us today at www.businessadvance.com to arrange for a brief call to discuss your needs and options for helping you achieve your most important goals.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Today, Scott and I have been talking about the book pairings that can inspire us and others to make big things happen for lasting good in the world. You can find links to these books and other resources at www.growthignitersradio.com, episode 58.
Scott Harper: Okay, so we’ve talked about these books, now let’s talk about some practical steps that we can use to make these things happen for real, to find that purpose and to inspire others to join us.
Pam Harper: The first one, that I find very useful, is taking a quiet time. This is for actually getting our own inspiration, to dig deep, to find our personal reason for being. I am a person who loves to ask the question “why.” I always have, ever since I was a little kid. It’s gotten me into more trouble, but it really helps because “why” leads to an answer, but seldom is that the final answer.
Scott Harper: It can start out with very frequently we have a hard time with our why so we start out with what. For instance, “I used to be a research scientist. I’m a research scientist.”
Pam Harper: Why?
Scott Harper: Why? Because I really like to understand things.
Pam Harper: Why?
Scott Harper: If I understand things, I can influence how things happen.
Pam Harper: Why would that matter?
Scott Harper: If I understand things and I can do things to influence, for instance I can make people healthier in this world, and a healthier world is a better place. It’s a place I want to live in.
Pam Harper: Why? [laughter]
Scott Harper: [Laughs] We could go on.
Pam Harper: [Laughs] We could go on and on.
Scott Harper: Not just why I do … “Why, why, why, why, why?” I also like to say “so what?,” What’s the impact of that?
Pam Harper: You can see that this series of why questions can lead to some really great insights, and it’s not a one-time event. We were talking about it in two minutes, but a lot of times what happens is that because the world is always changing, our why can keep changing too. Circumstances change in our lives all the time, like significant life events. There can be a lot of things that impact our why.
Scott Harper: Sure. You and I do this a lot. That brings me to the point that you talked about quiet time, sitting by yourself … Sometimes it helps if you find one, maximum two, people that you trust and have a good relationship with and you can bounce this off of each other and have a conversation. It really depends upon how you’re wired.
Pam Harper: That’s true. We’ve done that with each other for a long time. It’s really how we got together, with sitting there sharing our whys. That’s a very important way to do it. A why, of course, will only inspire meaningful action if it’s understood and shared by others.
Scott Harper: There’s that inspiring others to join to get big things to happen.
Pam Harper: The thing that comes to mind here is to make the decision to ask people that you’re working with what is it that they understand about your company’s purpose. This could be really any stakeholder. It could be your employees, your customers, your suppliers, your partners, but what do they understand about your company’s purpose or reason for being? For example, Julie Auslander, who we spoke with a few episodes ago and in fact is coming back…
Scott Harper: CEO of cSubs…
Pam Harper: CEO of cSubs − was very clear that she wants people to understand what their role is in the company and what it means for their jobs, how it impacts how they do things and the decisions that they make.
Scott Harper: That impacts the purpose of the company, which is to make subscriptions and information easier for their clients to manage.
Pam Harper: That’s right. So the more we can help people take ownership, the bigger the impact.
Scott Harper: Great example Pam. Do you have any final thoughts for this book pairing episode?
Pam Harper: Finding a real purpose and living into it is the starting point. We always have to be thinking about how it’s going to change over time. When others are inspired to join with us, that’s when the magic happens, and we can truly make lasting good in the world.
Scott Harper: Thanks Pam, and thanks to you out there for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out links to the books we’ve reviewed today and other resources, share on social media, find out about upcoming episodes or open a conversation with us, go to growthignitersradio.com and select episode fifty-eight.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper-
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper.
Pam Harper: -wishing you continued success and leaving you with this question to reflect on:
Scott Harper: What brings real meaning to my life, and what do I need to do to allow more of myself to connect with others so we can join together in the journey?