This week Kevin and Brad talk about a concept from Jim Collins where leaders in business must simultaneously stimulate progress and protect the core. If you stop stimulating progress or you stop protecting the core, you risk sliding into mediocrity.
It’s difficult because once you’ve had some success, it’s easy to slip into a groove of doing things the same way, but if you don’t stimulate progress, if you don’t continually find ways to evolve your organisation, you might end up with really difficult problems to overcome.
Stimulate progress and protect the core
Episode 57 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
Kevin Lawrence 00:13
Welcome to the growth whispers podcast where everything we talk about is about building enduring, great companies, companies that will be around for decades, generations and ideally, somehow doing good things in the world that we can all feel proud about, or particularly you feel proud of it because it’s about you. I’m Kevin Lawrence, and I’m here today joined as I am every week with my co host, Brad Giles, Brad, how you doing today?
Brad Giles 00:39
I’m excellent today. Thank you. I spent yesterday on a boat in the sun. And you know, when you spend time on a boat in the sun, and you are absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, and then you sleep really well. Well, that was yesterday. So I’m feeling quite refreshed and good today. Good. How are you doing?
Kevin Lawrence 01:00
I’m doing great as well. I spent a bunch of time in the sun racing go karts for the last couple of days and not your typical rental kart center, go karts, but full blown competitive tag, go karts, which are fun and punishing. So I had a great time of the
Brad Giles 01:20
Kevin Lawrence 01:22
The very scary and the very thrilling one. I can only imagine it’s probably what drug addicts feel like when they’re doing their things, the amount of adreniline pumping through your system as your inches off the ground going incredible speeds and pulling massive G’s to the corner. So I am really invigorated by I had a great time with some friends. And yeah, lots of lots of lots of good things. So let’s jump into today’s show. And before we get into our topic, what’s your word or phrase today, Brad?
Brad Giles 01:52
Well, I’m glad you asked. Last week, always. Last week, I was with a client been working with him almost a year. And the owner, the CEO of the business, he said, It’s been an amazing kind of 10 months or 11 months. And he said, what I’ve come to realize is it takes time to understand this stuff to understand that understanding takes time. So I summarize that. And this is my fros It takes time to understand that understanding takes time. Yeah, he was he said we wanted to get everything done all at once. But it took us time to understand that it’s going to take us a long time to understand deeply all of the things that we’re working on. And that really stuck with me That was really good.
Kevin Lawrence 02:52
Yeah, I love that and I know there’s I heard someone say that you know in order to become a master of something you know, if you read you know a book a week, it would take you 234 years to become masterful at one thing I am reading a book is not the only way to master but there’s a lot of work into mastery. It’s very interesting. Awesome. So my word of the day. Alright phrase the day is sore ribs. That is my Yeah, and not the types of ribs that you eat the kind of kind on my body as I mentioned up front with a go karting and, and it’s a feeling of great joy, that my ribs are sore, because that means I was having a lot of fun. And these go karts, you actually wear rib protectors like a shell you put around your ribs so you don’t break them. And I’ve got an earlier injury from years ago from a race car that hurt my ribs. But it’s still a bit tender apparently. But as sore ribs is kind of connected to happiness and joy because I had such a great time out there with my friends who were also you know, entrepreneurs and we were having a great time. But yeah, these things pull like three G’s in the corner and all the pressure is on the edge of the seat digging up so sore ribs is a proxy for good times memories. laughs good fun competition, not always clean competition because there ends up being a bit of carnage as you know, I crashed into one of my good friends and although I sustained the damage, and my other friend slid sideways into me and it was just a riot. So sore ribs is a proxy for great times good experiences, good memories, and, and, and honing in our craft a little bit better. So yeah, that’s my phrase for the day.
Brad Giles 04:39
Oh, that’s great. Yeah, so
Kevin Lawrence 04:41
let’s jump into today’s show and what we’re talking about and, you know, taking kind of some of the things that we’re talking about earlier we were talking about today is is you know why? why it’s so critical to keep stretching yourself. You know, when as I’m thinking about even being And go-karting Oh, generally, that’s a sport that young kids do. And we’ve got a whole group of guys up at the track that are doing this, you don’t normally see guys in their 40s and 50s, doing this activity, because of how intense it is, and like a lot of things, but But why is it so important to keep stretching yourself and your team and your company, you know, you’re stretching yourself leads to stretching your team leads to stretching your company, and the opposite is true. If you get stagnant, then likely your leadership to your team will get stagnant and likely have reasonable probability your company could get stagnant too.
Brad Giles 05:48
Well, I read something recently, and it spoke about people’s people’s aim may be different to what their body wants, okay? So you may want to be happy in your life. But your body is what your body wants and does and craves, is your body wants to find comfort, and it wants to find ease, like the brain is fundamentally lazy, right. So if your body gets into a groove, it wants to stay there. It’s the, it’s the intuition of the brain to say, let’s find a way to have an easy and comfortable life where I’m not challenged. e
Kevin Lawrence 06:38
And I lika cat have curling up on a blanket by a fire. It’s just a nice cozy place.
Brad Giles 06:45
That’s it. And the animal part of us wants to do that it wants to find a groove and nice easy groove and drop into that and stay there. But, but that doesn’t necessarily give us the greatest satisfaction in our life. And if you’d been in a groove like that, for 10 or 20 years, you can suddenly think, what have I done? And so we want to try to avoid that by consistently stimulating progress by saying, yes, it’s good to be comfortable, but we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone on a regular basis.
Kevin Lawrence 07:22
And it’s and it’s a big, but it’s good to be comfortable. But not really. Yeah, you know, it’s good to be comfortable. But it’s dangerous. You know, it’s good to be comfortable. But while we’re having a nap, some other things might be going around that could really hurt us or business or whatever it happens to be. Yeah. And we’d like to be comfortable.
Brad Giles 07:48
We go ahead run, it’s good. So Jim Collins, he put it best in the image of yin yang, you may be aware of the yin yang symbol, it’s a, it’s a circle that’s kind of divided in half with a squiggly line. And on one side, he had protect the core, and on the other he had stimulate progress. So we need to always be protecting the core. And we need to always be stimulating progress. And it’s the same in you, your business, your leadership team because we have seen many examples where people haven’t stimulated progress. And sure, they might make a profit, sure, they might be going okay, but they can just be coasting along, and then they can become very unsatisfied, or things can change in the market that will then catch up to them.
Kevin Lawrence 08:41
Yeah, and today’s show is really about looking at your ratio of stimulating progress versus protecting the core. And if you protect the core too much, so for example, as companies get more successful, there’s more of a tendency to want to protect, it’s like, Hey, we got to figure it out. Let’s hold it together and just keep doing more of the same. It’s kind of like a rinse, wash, repeat. Just you’re cranking up the handle on the sausage maker, let’s just keep making sausages. Just keep going, keep going, keep going. But that only works for so long, until what you’re doing is is miscalibrated with the environment or it just you miss the opportunity. So you know, so you could be one depending on your business and what’s going on. You could be 1% stimulate progress, and 99 protect the core. Or maybe and I would say conceptually, as a CEO, you should probably be conceptually 10% stimulate progress, progress. 90% protect the core.
Brad Giles 09:43
Kevin Lawrence 09:44
that’s because it 1% for a lot of companies is not enough progress right now. 90% progress is also dangerous. So really, what I want you to think about today is if you look in your business, what is the only you know the right ratio What ratio should you as the leader have in your role? And if you’re not the CEO or your executive leader, manager, whatever it is, what should your ratio be between protecting the core, like relentless execution of all the things that matter, and then stimulating progress, trying something slightly different tweaking a process, tweaking, uh, you know, looking at a different market or different product or different customer. And, you know, it’s interesting, had one CEO that wanted me to work with him. In the end, I had concerns about the business he was in I, he talked like he was a purpose-led CEO who really cared. But it didn’t feel like his business was really good for the consumer, he tried to tell me what’s good for the consumer. I didn’t buy it. And it was in the end here, it was probably a mutual decision. We didn’t work together, I didn’t feel right about it. He probably felt that I didn’t feel right for it, which means it wasn’t right. But the point of it is, you know, he would read like, 100 books a year.
Brad Giles 11:03
Kevin Lawrence 11:06
And as I’m talking to him, he knew every book, I mean, I’m we’re professional students and teachers, right? Like, we constantly have to learn in our profession. He knew them all. Yeah. But he wasn’t doing anything in his business. So he could rattle off all the answers, but he wasn’t applying him. So he was stimulating intellectual progress, but getting no traction. And the core of his business, you know, may or may not have been great, but the point of it is, you know, too much of new ideas. And too much stimulation can also be really bad for the person, the point of it is, is you got to manage this, this tendency to get comfortable and have the right balance of stimulating progress versus protecting the core. And I would figure out your starting point should probably be 10 9010. Progress. 90 core is about right. And as your company grows as the CEO, you know, the other measure you look at is how far in the future are you working? If you’re working today, you’re not doing your job. That’s also another conversation.
Brad Giles 12:13
Yeah, the later that you spoke about having not met him, it sounds like what he wasn’t doing was stretching himself or his company. He was reading and learning and that was great. But you’ve got to have that stimulate progress. It’s fine. You’re stretching yourself? Oh,
Kevin Lawrence 12:30
yeah, he was filling his brain, but he wasn’t stretching yourself. And that’s a great distinction, Brad, that’s what it was filling his brain versus actually because the only way you stretch yourself is by doing something. Yep. Like, you’ve got to apply it, you’ve got to put yourself in a situation of discomfort. And, and take yourself and literally when you’re stretching yourself, there should be a visceral reaction in your body. Like you should feel it. Like Yeah, something something, you know, your heartbeat should not always be regular is something is taking note of your whether your the heat of your body is changing, your heartbeat is changing, you know, your brain is something’s going on, because you’re shaking up the system.
Brad Giles 13:13
Yeah, yeah. So what we’re saying is you need to work toward mastery, but equally find opportunities to become the student. So, so it is in mastery, it’s an ever it’s a goal that is always on the horizon, and you never get there. But coming back and always having the student mindset saying, How can I stretch myself around this particular subject? Or this item? or How can I push this part of my life or my business or my leadership team onto something new? People want to grow? And you know, growth is tension and tension is uncomfortable, but tension and uncomfortable nurse makes us feel incredibly rewarded over time.
Kevin Lawrence 14:09
Yeah, and that’s hard. Like when you become a master, and you’ve earned your stripes, so to say, and you become really good, and you become top of the pecking order, right? You’re the head of the team or the department or, or the company or whatever, the division, whatever it is. Our ego quite likes that. Yeah, right. You know, just doing some reading on a book about about about, you know, male, almost like is that alpha personalities, dominance being in charge and how people want that a lot of people want that and when they’re there, they’re quite happy with it, and they don’t want to give it up and they don’t want to risk it. problem is you become very irrelevant very quickly, because people stop some not all some stop taking chances and doing things and they’re not willing to go be the student again, because they want to show their dominance and their knowledge and all of these other things. And I remember, I joined this business was like a network marketing thing I tried in my, in my 20s was it was a wonderful experience. There to being a major side benefit, the product they sold really helped my mum, which was probably one of the biggest benefits. But I met some amazing people in this thing. And it was, it was at the age where I was trying everything. Yeah. And I was, I wasn’t yet a master. And I was trying to find my path and learning everything I could, and tried a lot of stuff. But I remember I remember this new guy joined the organization. And my sponsor, the guy that brought me into this business said, This guy is a world class river kayaker. Like, he teaches the best people river kayak, I’m talking like the guys that kayak down you know, small to medium sized waterfalls and go underwater and sit down all this stuff, right? Like, this guy’s a world class and he’s going the challenge is going to be he’s the man in his world, he is the man he is the big dog, the top of the heap, whatever matter for you want to use. How’s he going to be with being the most you can’t can his Eagle allow him to go from being the man to being the most. And, and, and now I’m not going to talk about that person anymore. But the point of it is, is being the most is hard when you’re the man 24 seven or the woman you know 24 seven, to be have the humility to go and look foolish, and to be in capable. And at the bottom of the learning curve versus the top. It’s it’s hard. And some people can’t do it, some people can’t do it. And as a result, they kind of get stuck in being the master from history, not the master today.
Brad Giles 16:59
So translating that, what we’re saying is, if you have a successful company, if you’re a leader, it can be really hard to convince yourself to take a gamble on something to push to stimulate, to stretch, it can be really hard because you think well, I don’t want to look like a fool in front of these people. I don’t want to look like I don’t know the answers to everything. I don’t want to risk failing, because if I risk failing, then I will look like a fool in front of people. But the opposite of that, which is being in a group and becoming perhaps irrelevant, or perhaps, you know, not really capitalizing on your potential less effective, less effective, less effective is a good way to put it. Could he be your lunch worse? Yeah. Could be much worse. Yeah.
Kevin Lawrence 17:56
And it will be in time. But the other thing is what I’ve seen in some of these people, is that they become fearful and risk adverse and rigid. Like, like they become they’re in a full grown adults body. But they become like a child inside. Yeah. Because in many ways that they’re the confidence is from things they did 20 years ago, not stuff they did recently. And it’s great to have that historical confidence. Don’t get me wrong. Yeah. But it’s like, what have you done recently? Right? And how, how do you have recent confidence or just historical confidence? And I think that’s a great thing to, for us to do to consider for ourselves. Think about yourself, where do you have recent confidence versus historical confidence?
Brad Giles 18:43
Kevin Lawrence 18:44
What is the thing that you’ve really stretched yourself, like really stretched yourself where you’re like, wow, this is hard. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this, or I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this as well as I would like.
Brad Giles 19:00
And the biology backs up what we’re saying you need to create new neural pathways by learning new things all the time. And it kind of applies into your organization as well. So over the COVID period, I, I taught myself how to play the guitar in a very, very poor way. like to be able to, to make a noise is one way to put it. But the point being that I stretched myself to learn something different. And again, because as you age, you’ve got to create new neural pathways. I actually hadn’t. I’d been quite busy about a month ago, hadn’t picked it up, picked it up. And it was amazing how easily I got straight back into the groove because I had cut those neural pathways of learning before I thought, Oh, geez, I’m going to be so rusty. It’s not funny but my point being the biology He supports what we’re saying you, you’ve got to continue to stretch yourself and learn new things. Now I’m looking Okay, what can be the next thing that I can stretch myself on or learn. And I think that’s kind of what we’re saying here, you’ve got to find ways to become the student to keep stretching yourself.
Kevin Lawrence 20:22
And it’s not just intellectually it’s experientially as well. And that you know, you and I were chatting a little bit and I, I think some mentors around me who’ve helped me and you know, one of the great ones was my mother via my grandmother, my grandmother, which I wrote about in your oxygen mask first Betty how it at will and she was an entrepreneur, her my grandfather were entrepreneurs their whole lives, they owned restaurants all over our great country called Canada, pizza places, burger places, and literally across the country. And it was interesting. And my I remember going to my grandpa and his place in his basement, he was doing hydroponics before it became popular by the marijuana growers. He was making hydroponic tomatoes, you know, all this, it was he was there always up to stuff. But my grandmother used to always say, are inspired by my mother would say is just just just go for it, keep going for it, go for it, go for it, go for it. My grandmother at 81 went back to university. She was curious about the religions of the world. And she went and studied theology Do you know, in many countries, I know in Canada, you can go in and sit in or what they call audit classes if you’re a senior citizen. So she had 81 was going to university and having a great time learning like crazy. So, you know, we all need to channel a little bit of the people in our life that really stretch themselves. And that’s a you know, it’s a great role model. I’m thinking in my own world, I was thinking about this, like, you know, reading another book, a book is a massive thing, right? You know, you and I are working on, we’re both working on one individually and one together. You know, taking my firm from being an individual consultant to building a team. That’s a whole new learning curve. I mentioned the kart racing earlier in the show, like, my son was doing it, and I was helping him and I was playing around. But I’m doing it a little more seriously with my buddies. Yeah, you know, that’s, you know, and that’s, it’s fun, and it’s challenging. And there’s, there was a big piece of resistance, even with me doing it. If my buddies weren’t doing it, I probably I wouldn’t be doing it yet. Because it’s painful sometimes. And it’s hard. It’s really hard, but it’s rejuvenating, and energizing as heck. So now even talked about, you know, learning to barbecue. Brad, you were mentioning that earlier on?
Brad Giles 22:47
Yeah, same as the guitar. I like I yeah. I probably a few years ago, now I begin, I bought and got into this concept of low and slow barbecue, maybe because it’s been quite a bit of time in America as well. But it was something that was completely different and completely new. And it was, you know, to a degree stretching myself and having to learn something completely different. So one of the things that we’re we’re talking about here is this concept of homeostasis in the body, and how that translates into an organization. homeostasis is the body’s mechanism to regulate itself, that is the respiratory system, the nervous system, all of the organs and systems within the body, they work together to maintain a stable environment. And then when minor changes are detected, all of the body quickly triggers a response to bring the whole body back into this regulation. And that’s what can happen in our organizations is that we can have this corporate kind of homeostasis that keeps us in the groove and works against this. This stretching ourselves this concept of stimulating progress.
Kevin Lawrence 24:18
It works for preserving the core it is perfect prisoner and actually think about a Brad good nice one. It preserves the core temperature homeostasis preserves the core temperature it does and so homeostasis is perfect for preserving the core. But if you let it become the only thing if, if if homeostasis is the operating system on 99% of what you’re doing, the 1% might not be enough to keep you relevant. That’s where the stretch comes in. Right But we need homeostasis. We need stable systems, repetitive processes, things that produce repetitive but excellent. Whatever the customer wants from us, right that is critical. But if we are cells get pulled into it too much will become part of that homeostatic system. And then and then and then we’ll it’ll slip into mediocrity. So it’s a brilliant function of our body. It’s critical for our companies. But it that the one thing that is great for us is the one thing that can really mess us up from a business perspective, in a leadership perspective.
Brad Giles 25:20
Yeah. And our body intuitively wants to fall into that comfortable groove, it wants to say our will, we’re really in a good spot at work. But you’ve got to know like, the enemy is within like, Yes, that is true. It’s really funny, because you’ve got this, this sense of, that’s what your body wants to do. And then in the middle, you’ve got your, you’ve got to be consciously knowing we’ve got to keep pushing and stretching and growing ourselves and our company and our leaders and our people. But then on the other side, you’ve got the discipline of the hedgehog, okay? So that is, you’ve got to, you’ve got these three consumer conscious considerations that you’ve got to think about, we’ve got a main, we’ve got to maintain this kind of Goldilocks zone, which is a discipline on focusing on the right things, knowing that on the other extreme, that our body intuitively wants to settle down into this group. But if we don’t stimulate progress in the center, we’re going to have, we’re going to have a long term sense of pain. And I think about companies like Kodak, or blockbuster, some of these kind of famous case studies, where they didn’t stimulate progress, and suffered the ultimate consequence.
Kevin Lawrence 26:42
Or they didn’t do it enough, fast enough. Interesting. And one of the case studies on Kodak, they were doing all the right things. They just started too late and they ran out of cash. That’s a whole other story. The point of it is, is that you have to do enough of it. And it’s not easy. Yeah. So you talked about that, that, you know that goalie logs on him right? To me, it was you’re speaking something that call Jim Collins says is that good is the enemy of great hope and like homeostasis is the enemy of progress. Yeah, good is okay, sometimes and great can be better, but homeostasis is good, but it’s also can hurt you so. So some of the things that that, you know, that that we talked about up front. And one of the other things I know for myself is, is, if you notice, no way, how do I know that I’m on track. And the leaders that I work with are on track is that they’re looking for gems from masters, like they’re on the hunt for things that would stimulate progress, right? versus, you know, when the ego kicks in, and our brain is closed. I’m not saying it’s about just about ego, that’s a piece. But you know, keep looking and listening. So if you’re, if you’re listening, and you’re so I’ve got, you know, one of the founders that we work with is over 80 years old, he’s 81 or 82. Now, when we did leadership education in his company, he would sit in front row, he would ask more questions and take more notes than almost anyone in this coverage. And he is notably successful. This is not a small business, right? He’s no, it’ll be built as he’s been very successful. But in his eight now, he also still skis 40 or 50 days a year. And he is he’s, we just had a strap planning with that company. And he’s, he’s got as much energy as anybody else in the room, maybe more. And he’s a riot and lots of things. But the point of it is, he continues to learn and take risks and push the envelope. And so lots of lots of different CEOs we work with, they’re always pushing themselves and challenging themselves in whatever way is everyone is different. It was interesting, in even for myself, is is that so if I’m around a master, and if I’m still curious, I know I’m in the right zone. Yeah. You I met a young young young kid. He’s early 20s. At the, at the racetrack on Saturday. And this guy’s name’s Zack. And he’s a you know, he’s raced all around the world. And he’s done. He has been a champion this thing called Indy lights. Really fast, spectacular driver, and I’m always curious, and I was talking to someone about this one corner and uh, how I could go faster. I’ve been doing car and cart. I’ve been car racing and related stuff for almost 20 years. And we’ve had I’ve had dozens of instructors who have taught me so much. It’s been amazing adventure. And in kart racing over the last five I’ve learned a lot. This guy gave me one tip, which I’m not going to tell the audience because I don’t want my friends to know.
Brad Giles 29:39
racing on how to race better racing tip on how to be okay.
Kevin Lawrence 29:44
I might tell my friends but I don’t want to disclose it just he gave me a tip because we’re all we are. It’s fun competition. But what’s still competition. He gave me this tip. It was freaking brilliant. It was brilliant. It was a simple, simple thing. And I’m like, isn’t it amazing when I said to him When you talk to masters, you learn so much goes, Yeah, I’ve been doing it for years. Every person gives these little tidbits, but you know, so he’s still looking for his little tidbits and passing them along. So the point of it is, now I happened to have this kart racing on my mind today. But anything in business when you’re around someone who is masterful when you’re asking questions, and curious, you’re probably in the right state of mind.
Brad Giles 30:25
You are, and, and that, that questioning should help to get you to ponder How can we stretch that questioning like this? It may, how
Kevin Lawrence 30:41
can we push farther? Yeah, better? Yes, I
Brad Giles 30:44
feel a little bit bipolar. Today’s episode. But that questioning that understanding should be helping you to understand how can we stretch the company, myself, our leadership team, everyone, within the discipline of the hedgehog concept and our spec recipe, so pushing for
Kevin Lawrence 31:08
pushing for it, because generally organizations want to, and we spend a lot of our time in execution mode, think about how we master what is. Yeah. And that’s why this is important. So, so something for you to think about is, you know, who is a master that you are around? Or could be around that you could ask a bunch of questions of, and let me be curious and learn that would be one thing, or the second piece, which is one of my favorite strategies? If there is something you want to stretch yourself with? Or in what Master? Can you get to help you?
Brad Giles 31:43
Yes, right. Like,
Kevin Lawrence 31:43
if you’re going to really stretch yourself, like my thing is, who’s the best person in the world you can find to help you and learn from them, or best person in your world, whatever it happens to be, but ask them. So, you know, with that in mind, you know, the thing, and this is in chapter 16 of your oxygen mask first, and it’s you know, called, you know, keep going for it, as I mentioned, inspired by my grandmother. And we asked earlier, like, when was the last time you did something that you know, really stretched you. We all have these ideas. There’s this thing called bucket list, you know, things you want to accomplish in your life. And I think it’s a great idea. And I’ve done it and I’ve done a lot of many of the things on my list. I still, you know, haven’t been to Egypt. And I haven’t been on an African Safari. Those are two things on my list. I do. I’ve done the hot air balloon ride and lots of other cool stuff I wanted to do. But Egypt and Safari then that will come post COVID when it opens back up. But But the thing is that I when I was reading a chapter book, I came up with this thing called it’s a stretch list. Yeah. What are these things whether it’s at work for yourself or in your life, that you feel compelled to speak again? For you it was barbecue and guitar was on your list? Right? And for me, there’s been a bunch of different many, many different things and you know, currently it’s karting and next learning how to drive a race car with a lot of downforce, which is a whole other thing that that’s coming up for me. But it’s it’s what’s the list of things that you would you want to do that would stretch you and I go back in my early 20s when I took singing lessons, yeah, from a teacher who taught professional singers and dancer or professors or dancers and actors how to sing like yeah full blown right down to the masterclass where you stand in a circle with all these professional performers and I was just young sales guy and learning how to sing Yeah, it was on my list because I got told us on like a dead horse every time it was someone’s birthdays birthday, it was time to sing happy birthday. So the point of it is we have these things you got something to remember these things are
Brad Giles 33:58
kind of mentioned that a day a dead horse sounds like a really nice thing to listen to
Kevin Lawrence 34:04
dying. It is not it was not a nice thing. It’s probably a dying horse is probably a better dead horse die dying horse like whatever sound that would make. So but it’s like make a list of the things that you’ve thought about that you would like to do and maybe you haven’t for whatever reason, whatever story but make a list of those things. It’s already there. Like you already kind of know and if you believe in brilliant or divine direction are your internal guidance, you probably already know what you got to do. You know, I’ve got a you know, sign up.
Brad Giles 34:39
You know, I I remember when I was about 30 I thought I need to exercise and so I got some shoes on and I decided to run around the block. There might have been one or two suburban blocks and I got back and I was that exhausted. I lie on the floor just absolutely knackered. And then maybe a year or two later, we were on a kind of we were living on kind of a main street. And I can remember it was there was this event called the city to surf. So there will run from the city into the surf. It’s about 10 kilometers. And I got up that morning. And it was, I think I went out to the bins or something because we’re living in a complex. And I heard all of these foot there’s, there’s no sound quite like the sound of a running event where all you can hear is hundreds and hundreds of people’s feet, shoes hitting the floor. And I never forget that sound. And I thought, wow, I could never do that. And as soon as I said, I can never do that. It’s it that was planting the seed to think, Oh, well, I could maybe do like a 5k. And anyway, so then 12 months later, when that event came around, I did it. And that was the beginning. And then I did a 21 kilometer run. And then I eventually did a 42 kilometer or 26 mile run. And then eventually I did the Boston Marathon and the Sydney marathon. And so you don’t think that you would it would be possible, but you just have to keep stretching yourself. And now I can very comfortably run, you know, an hour without issue. Just just get up and do it. And it just the I guess that’s that’s a story of change. But my point is, at that point, I didn’t even think it was possible to run 10 kilometers or 11. And I just thought, well, I could probably do a little bit. And, yeah, 12 months later I was there.
Kevin Lawrence 36:46
And what we find is almost anything is possible, if you fully set your mind to it, and you really want it bad enough, anything. There’s people that have had knee replacement, and they run like that, right and just they you know, there’s all kinds of things that but it’s, this goes back to your internal guidance, I’m not saying stretch yourself, this is not like put yourself in the torture rack and hurt, you know, do stuff you don’t want to do this is doing the things you actually have an interest in doing. And staying fresh with them. You know, and it’s maybe you want to learn how to do computer animation, maybe you make want to make a short film, maybe you want to sing and, and produce a song, maybe you want to produce a song and only share it with your family. Maybe you want to produce a song and put it on YouTube. Maybe you want to produce a song and do it anonymously. I don’t care. Yeah, but you have some internal guidance about things that would stretch you and just know it’s good for your spirit. And it’s good for your leadership and which is a result good for your, for your company on what really works for you. So with that in mind, let’s go to the next point that we talked about, Brad, which
Brad Giles 37:54
is, you know,
Kevin Lawrence 37:56
we’re talking about doing this for you. So you stay fresh and relevant and comfortable with change. Right? Yeah, comfortable with being uncomfortable. And, and, and change and, and, and and taking risks. But the thing to think about is also is what are experiences that you can create for your friends and family that would do the same. So it could be friends and family. You know, it could be your children and partner. And it could be your colleagues at work. But how can you be a catalyst for them because in our work we are catalysts for organization or many organizations we come into are either in complete chaos, or homeostasis. Right. It’s fast, gross, the growth and messy and they’re trying to get a system to get Actually you know what interesting. Either they need more homeostasis, or they need less. We’re actually we’re like homeostasis adjusters, we need to get some, or they got too much. And we got to adjust the needle on the homeostasis,
Brad Giles 39:00
I kind of think of it like what we’re doing in organizations is going in and and going back to that yin yang diagram. So we’re identifying and protecting the core number one and number two, what we’re doing is we’re stimulating the right kind of disciplined progress. And that’s why we get such impressive results. I’d say so quickly. Yeah, it is. And
Kevin Lawrence 39:25
with this brand, we are identifying and protecting the critical parts of the core. Yeah, and a bunch of the stuff they’re protecting, they shouldn’t be in many cases, and stimulating the right kind of progress. So what’s actually it’s like cataloging and and and optimizing both the protecting and the stimulating actually. Yeah, awesome, awesome point. So So basically, if you need a homeostasis, assessment and adjustment, you know, we all know that that’s what we are and the people we work with spend our time doing but so the point of it is though, is When it comes to this stimulate progress piece thinkable, what can you do to kind of open that up and make that happen for your, for your team. And I’ll, I’ll give you an example. A CEO worked with auto Chicago for many years, I’m proud to work with them. He’s like, my, my Greek brother’s name is Angela Morris and a company called medics. He’s an awesome guy, a very purpose led organization. And we would always do our annual retreats somewhere else, you know, unfortunately, there were plans last year to do it somewhere spectacular. And it’s usually tied to when we hit the numbers. If we hit the numbers, we do that and we go do some great strap planning in a different environment, which shakes up our thinking. But one of the times we did it, we didn’t know place called porta viar, toe Mexico. And, you know, we went, we stayed in a nice place where we had our meetings, and we work hard, like some people think of these executive retreats as just, you know, go and party and that and we did do some fun stuff. But we would work, you know, 1012 hour days, like we would really work hard and play hard, too. But one of the days, you know, Andrew arranged for us to go to an orphanage. And so we all packed supplies that the orphanage needed to take to the kids. And he changed our lives that day. Yeah, because going and working at an orphanage, I will just give you a 32nd version of it. In the end, we brought a dentist because they needed to kids needed dental work. So some people were holding kids while they were getting dental work without all the western stuff that we might expect people to have. But you were there seeing kids, it looked like kids like your own children. Yeah, in an orphanage. And it was it was a heartwarming and a heart crushing scenario at the same time. The point of it is, he’s a purpose led organization, he created an experience that he got us doing. So we just didn’t make donation. We were there with the kids for the day. Yeah, having this experience that created a catalyst for us in lots of ways to have different thinking and a different perspective. That’s just one tiny example. There’s many, many, many more it, you know, other CEOs and other SEO worked with in the Middle East, was creating a digital startup within their company. And he took a team that was planning a one year timeframe to launch their first website under digital startup. Yeah. And he said, Okay, guys, you need to do it in three months. Right? And so he that the stretch he put on that team and any loud he says, Okay, we’ll do a simpler version. But it’s live in three months, because he wanted speed. And he wanted to build confidence in that team. So two very different examples. But how can you? How can you see the good in creating those experience that shake things up and stretch people?
Brad Giles 42:45
through a catalyst? Like I think I think that for many people under estimating the importance of a catalyst, and in those examples that you’ve given, it was an intentionally created catalyst going to those types of environments. Certainly what we do through going back and talking about the, the yin yang symbol, where stimulate progress preserve the core of our role in those organizations is to be the catalyst is to drive that stimulation, because sometimes people can’t do it. And it is an external person that can really drive that the, the, that’s the kind of the power of the relationship, if you your wife, or the benefit of the relationship, it can be quite impactful.
Kevin Lawrence 43:35
And sometimes you have the power within yourself to do it yourself. Yeah. Right. Like sometimes that you know, people can pull it so the point of it is it’s got to happen somehow. But there is a downside of this stimulating progress. It doesn’t always work. You know, and as I can share with you in my in my adventure back into kart racing, you know, with my friends, you know, I’ve bought a lot of spare parts over share with you before I got back into it last year and started playing with it again, because my buddies wanted to do it and my son has always loved to do it. But as I’m, you know, got my brand new card at the end of the season last season and I’m breaking it in I’m supposed to be taking it easy, but then my two buddies are ahead of me, and I want to catch them I can’t help myself. And I am driving like as hard as I can. My son actually pulled off the track because he didn’t like what he was seeing and what was going to come next thing you know, I’m trying to at the very last second I’m breaking at the very last second and i and i braked a millisecond too long and it didn’t work and I went right off the track through the barricade bent up the whole front of my go kart my steering wheels bent forward I was wearing the barricade and it hurt a little bit. And then I had to do the kind of the ride of shame back when I had to come pick up my card and take it in and and we laughed our butts off. Because it was you know, it was hilarious because I was trying and but the point is, sometimes it’s messy. Yeah. And it doesn’t work and you fail. Yeah. And that was a pretty good one. I mean, they Oh, and we crashed into each other a bunch and you don’t have to replace parts on our cards. But that was a that was probably, you know, but I was trying as hard as I could. And I tried too hard. And I pushed too hard. It was a mistake on my part. But you got to be able to celebrate these now. This is why you also want to take steps and not you know, no bet that the farm but the family farm or whatever your move is or is Jim Collins would call it shooting bullets, not cannibals. Yeah, you’ve got to be able to celebrate success, because there’s always learning or growth, or at least one hell of a great story. When things go up in a ball of flames. And you don’t make the corner and you crash bad.
Brad Giles 45:54
Yeah. So what we’re saying celebrate sucking celebrate the failures, the failures create the tension, that tension creates the growth. Hopefully, you don’t do that, again.
Kevin Lawrence 46:07
Try not to and it probably will happen in some form, but ideally differently next time. Yeah. And the thing is, you know, it’s so important to celebrate the mistakes and the failures. So it makes it Okay, so then people are more likely to take risks. And more likely, whether it’s a personal risk or an emotional risk, or a financial risk. It makes it easier for people to do that and almost D stigmatizes making mistakes. Because you’re gonna, like, you know, if you take singing lessons, and you’re sound like a dying horse, you’re gonna miss some notes, you’re gonna still sound crappy at times, but you’re going to be better than you were before. And that’s, that’s one of the most important things is and what I have shared before on the show, but I have a goal every month to make a couple of big mistakes. No, no, generally it’s it’s, I don’t usually miss my quota. Like I normally I nail it, sometimes I hit it by mid month. But but but what I know is, if I’m not really making some serious mistakes, then then I’m not pushing hard enough, like I bought a new vehicle and, and when went for buy foreign and usually take people take old crappy vehicles when they go up into the bush into the trails. And I didn’t. And so I noticed scratches all down the side of my new truck. Oops, I saw I saw the detail guy today and asked if he could polish it out, he figured he get most of that. He said, Yeah, you got some deep ones, we might not get them all out. And again, it’s, you know, live and learn. And that and it’s some point, you got to be able to laugh about the ones, especially the ones that are the minor or not, not as consequential. You know, the bullets versus, you know, if it’s risking someone’s life, or, or, or, you know, risking your whole company.
Brad Giles 47:55
Awesome. So let’s move to wrap this up. So what we’re saying here is you can get into a groove that can be detrimental in your person in your company in your leadership team. And you’ve got to find ways to continually stretch, we use the analogy of homeostasis, the homeostasis system controls the body, and it regulates all of the operating functions of the body. And that’s really effective. And that is that can be the analogy for what we’re talking about in your personal business life or in your company. And so you’ve got to find ways to continue to push against that, that align with the disciplines of the hedgehog that we talk about. What can you be the best at What’s your purpose? And what’s your profit per x? Or how do you What’s the single way that you make money. And so, not stretching can come at a great cost over time. So broadly, the things that we’ve discussed, to wrap it up, it’s a bit like the first Newton’s first law, okay, if a body at rest are moving at a constant speed is moving at a constant speed or in a straight line, it will keep moving unless it is acted upon it by an external force. We didn’t really touch on that. But that’s really you know, what we’re saying through there. Maybe one out of 99 or 10 out of 99, we’ve got to find a way to stimulate there’s got to be a constant consistent way to stimulate that progress. putting yourself in areas where you are the students and not the master and knowing that that will be uncomfortable in terms of your ego, your pride, your brand, your comfort, but that is what’s important. Also, making it the norm to stimulate progress. So I think that we’ve covered off most of them all and the other one series, knowing that there’s a Goldilocks zone, knowing that there is a zone that is not too far and not too little in terms of stimulating progress, anything that we’ve missed there, Kevin. At No,
Kevin Lawrence 50:20
I just summarized it up Brad is is you know, what is something you said it’s really important to get into a good groove as a business and a leader and a person. But it’s equally important to get out of that groove at some point too. If you get in a groove and stay in a groove, it’s comfortable, but it can lead you down the wrong road, you got to keep tweaking it and popping over that groove every once in a while so you keep perspective and you stay fresh and relevant. Indeed. All right. Well,
Brad Giles 50:47
thank you very much for listening. My name is Brad Giles and joined as always by my co-host, Kevin Lawrence. My book if you are so interested is made to thrive the five roles to evolve beyond your leadership comfort zone Kevin’s book, is your oxygen mask first, don’t remember the subtitle. If you’d like to find me, you can find me at evolution partners.com.au and Kevin is at Lawrence and co.com. Thank you very much for joining us. We look forward to having a chat in a week and have a great week.
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