Jay Johnson is an internationally renowned speaker, trainer, and organizational consultant specializing in behavior and performance. Jay works with people and organizations to empower teams, grow profits, and transform leaders through behavioral intelligence. He is a TEDx speaker, Forbes Business Council Member, and has given keynotes and workshops in 27 countries across 4 continents.
Intro: Welcome to the Lucky Titan podcast where you will learn how to fill your favorite platform with tons of your dream customers from some of the world's top entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Josh Tapp, now let's get started.
Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan and we are back with Jay Johnson. So you guys probably remember we had our interview Jay, probably over a year ago at this point, I think it's our last our last interview, but people loved the interview and I said, Hey, Jay is one of those guys, we've got to get back on. So I'm stoked to really dive into that today and see, see what's been happening over the last year what's been changing, you guys have obviously been scaling, which is exciting to see, because that's what we talked about last time you're here and on top of that, I have to apologize to everybody. My face is completely eaten by mosquito bites, I don't know what happened, we went out looking at houses, and I came back with bites all over my body so maybe more apologizing for myself than for you guys but here we are, I'm still gonna be on video, I'll suck it up and be brave, I guess right? No comments, I don't want to hear about it so, Jay, stoked to have you here, man. So when it comes down to it, Jay, your company, if I were to kind of categorize you as a niche, you're a training company. Is that correct?
Jay: Yeah. So and thank you for having me, Josh is really kind words, I'm super excited to be here with you and we would really talk about ourselves as we're a company that guides people and organizations to achieve their best behaviors and those best behaviors are very fluid and fluctuating so we provide training, we provide coaching, we provide cultural development, but really what we're focused on is empowering people to overcome their behavioral challenges, whether that's at work, or you know, in a larger organizational capacity.
Josh: Right. Love that because yeah, we were talking pre interview, and it's bringing back to mind our last interview and of what you guys have been doing in the behavioral sector, and even for us in the past year since we spoke and our team has grown exponentially and we've gotten to a point where I've realized just how important this is because when there's four or five of you, in a group, you're like, you know, we can overcome differences or whatnot but when you start having a large organization, behavior is everything and you can hire people in culturally, but then sometimes the behaviors don't match the culture so I'm kind of curious, if I were to kind of give you a scenario here, I'd love to hear your take on it so if you if you have a culture, and you have a fantastic culture of people, everybody loves each other, it's very familiar, all their friends, everybody loves spending time together but then a quality is not being met so not equality, but a quality of production is not being met, what are the behaviors that need to fix and how would you fix them?
Jay: Yeah, that's a great question. So one of the things that I would look at and kind of start in that scenario, is what was it that created the behaviors of trust, of cooperation of collaboration and I think that when you start with that level of okay, do you have good communication behaviors? Do you have good decision making behaviors? Do you have good workstyle behaviors? What kind of psychological safety has been set, because all of those things, especially in a high trust culture, well, those are the things that you can start with and leverage his strengths and when we are thinking about, you know, the potential of hey, this quality measure is not being met, if you have that psychological safety, if you have that trust, and that high performance, how do you then incorporate corrective feedback, because people are very afraid of giving corrective feedback, because they're always worried am I going to hurt Josh's feelings or anything else but it's really interesting, because, you know, in the, in the Gallup polls, and a number of different workplaces, that corrective feedback can actually improve liking, improve trust, and improve psychological safety when done correctly so I would look at the strengths of the organization, what helped you to get to this space, and then utilize those as an opportunity to say, our next big, you know, barrier, next big behavioral barrier, is being able to facilitate some of that corrective feedback, how can we tap into that? You know, when I was, and as you were kind of going through that scenario, I was literally thinking to myself of those behaviors, you know, the culture is created by micro behaviors, I think this is something that's often lost is there are a number of micro behaviors that lead to that macro culture so when people are looking at changing a culture or anything else, they look at this as this gigantic animal, how are we going to change the culture of X, Y and Z, it's oftentimes very similar to changing a diet plan to changing an exercise plan, if I just jump in and say, I'm going to exercise three hours a day, well, not sustainable, it's not going to happen, and you're going to fail more than 90% of the time, just like the rest of us humans, but if I say I'm going to do two push-ups a day, I'm going to do two setups a day, I'm going to add one new vegetable into my diet plan daily, that's achievable and those micro actions ultimately lead to macro results so start with understanding what created the positivity of the culture, and then look at micro behaviors that would ultimately lead to us, collectively overcoming the challenges that we want to face, whether that's quality, whether that speed, efficiency, whether that's profitability, any of those things can really be taken down to that micro level.
Josh: I love that first off, because it does. I mean, I like the workout example, because that's a behavior, right, it's a behavior and a habit, or whatever you want to call it, that has to be changed but you mentioned something in there that I really liked that I'd love to kind of dig deeper into, which is, you mentioned that having that culture of, you know, likability and everything is that people, it can be a hindrance, because people don't express their opinions at times, too, or contradictory opinions and we've run that many times in my company and in, I thought it was just as because I go, we have a great culture, but then I'll make it but is it a fantastic culture? Because people aren't ever contradicting me, you're like, oh, yeah, just Josh knows what he's doing and I'm like, I appreciate that and that feels my love language but that doesn't doesn't always move the company forward, because I'm wrong half the time, you know, and I'm okay with people telling me that but then, as we've expressed this, more and more people have been coming to me telling me oh, we have that exact same problem and so you talked about creating that constructive feedback in a way that allows them to be able to contradict without, without ruining the culture that you might kind of diving into that?
Jay: So I kind of share this as my metaphor for the situation as I got older, my parents got way, way smarter and I started to really appreciate some of the things that they told me that at one point in time in my life, I rejected, resented and pushed back on, it didn't mean that there wasn't a loving relationship, or a loving family in that space on some level, some of it was my own ego, some of it was my own drive or desire for independence so I think we spoke a little bit about the behavioral elements program, the last time, I'm very high in that fire element, right, I need to try I need to do it myself, I need to drive forward so when you are telling me that it did something right or wrong, I'm either going to want to prove you wrong or I'm going to want to accept that and be like, yes, and we're going to continue to do that but that's not always going to be the best behavior.
Jay: When we're looking at something like feedback, part of it is is understanding how does not how does Jay give feedback? How does Josh accept feedback? Maybe my feedback strategy is not to say, Josh, I think you could do this the next time, it might be something where I take it from a more coaching perspective and say, Hey, Josh, how do you think you can be more effective with this next time? I think you're doing great, you're doing awesome work here but I know you and I know you want to take it to from great to exceptional, and I know you want to take it from exceptional to blank, how do you think you could do that and I just started a conversation with you and, you know, I haven't really thought about you do you have ideas but I have a couple of ideas, maybe we could explore these together so instead of me telling you what to do, I've now zeroed in on your behavioral type and I've also looked at it and said, If I know that there's autonomy and drive and potential and desire to learn and experience on your own, can I offer that feedback, can I hide that vegetable amongst the cheese to get you to take that in a different way, versus somebody else who might be more methodical, you know, our earth elements that I have some structured feedback I'd like to share with you, is Friday a good time, would you be able to walk through me in 20 minutes, and I can offer you some different things that you could consider for the future and I might have a very different approach to that but it's really about understanding not only the way that I give feedback, but the way that the person that I'm trying to communicate, receives feedback.
Josh: Yeah. Yeah, that could just open a whole can of worms sounds like I just want to ask about each of the different personas and how to give feedback to them but I am curious about one persona in particular, we have a lot of these within our company, which they're the people who they're actually doing a really great job, right, they have their mistakes but then our concern is like over giving feedback, they're gonna feel like oh, I suck, I'm not doing a good enough job, when the truth is, oh, no, you're doing great, like you said, we want to take you from great to exceptional, how do you how do you approach that?
Jay: Love that question, yeah and oftentimes, so when we think about that persona, right, what is it about What is it about that receiving feedback that maybe challenges their own internal safety or their own internal security, if I put myself into that persona, I might say, Okay, if Josh gives me corrective, constructive feedback or to change something, am I reacting to the feedback or am I reacting to the fact that I haven't thought of that feedback, am I embarrassed now because I should have known that I should have done that better. So in some cases, generating a culture of curiosity, and helping people to explore, okay, why is Josh giving me this feedback? Why is Josh perceiving me maybe I did think that maybe I thought I was doing that but instead of me reacting to the actual feedback, becoming insanely curious about it, because maybe I disagree with your feedback, Josh, maybe I don't like your feedback but what can I learn by hearing that feedback, because if that's your perception, this is this is one of the most powerful stories that I remember, from my days in debate, okay, in my days, in debate, I was, I was somebody who was, I was pretty methodical, but I wasn't the best by any stretch and there was a member on our debate team who literally ended up winning the number one spot in the entire country, best debater in the country, I was sitting there, and that person was having a practice debate against a team that had no business debating them, right, not even close and the debate was so lopsided, the judge that was sitting in there and providing feedback in a debate was at a level that was probably five or six times below the talent level of the person actually debating so you have a judge who's not nearly as talented, giving corrective and constructive feedback to somebody who had way more talent and I looked there, and I was hungry, and I was ready to get out of there, I was ready to go on and get some food or, you know, go hit the bar or whatever else and my colleagues sitting there, and he's writing everything down. I mean, meticulously writing everything down, the feedback he was getting didn't even make sense, like half of it didn't make sense and I'm just like, why are you wasting your time taking this feedback so afterwards, you know, he got done and we walked out of there and I was like, what are you doing writing of all of that down, you don't have to that was nonsensical and a reaction that I got back was so brilliant and it was it was one of those fundamental moments that I feel like changed my life, because he looked at me and said, well, Jay, yeah, it maybe that wasn't the most technically accurate feedback, maybe that wasn't the best feedback that I could take into the next round but if this judge sees it this way, now I know how to debate and communicate in front of other judges that see it that way, as well, we can always learn something from feedback, even if it's not the best feedback for us or even if it's not something that we can execute, we can learn about how somebody might be perceiving our actions or our behaviors, they might learn something from that nuanced level. So what I would do is try to instill some level of curiosity and maybe if I'm offering that feedback, what does that make you feel, I've offered you this feedback. How did that make you feel? What did you perceive? What can you learn from my perceptions of your behaviors or actions on this and really getting into that sort of curiosity?
Josh: Yeah, love that. See, I love the story as well, because you know, it's funny to watch people who really the best, the best of the best, that's how they they move forward and what's what's unique too, is they'll take that feedback and they, I've seen people do this exact same thing where they write it all down, like meticulously take notes on even poor feedback and then they go through and be like, I reject this, I reject this, I reject this so that they're not ever sitting here in their mind debating with themselves saying, do I accept or reject this behavior, but then they then know, which I love and never thought about that, I'm sure they then know and then this is how I need to be reacting to a judge, it would probably be the same thing if you were swimming or, you know, in business or whatever because, you know, this is how I should be treating with someone like this, I love how intentional that guy was about it, have you been able to adopt that philosophy for yourself?
Jay: Very much so. And it's always interesting, because the challenge for me is to shut my brain up and tell it stop reacting, stop putting up a barrier, stop feeling whatever it is that you're feeling and listen all the way through, I can ask questions afterwards. Once I truly hear so even if I'm hearing something I don't like something that bothers me, emotions, we don't have control over that, you can say something and immediately I could feel offended, it's not like I can be like, well, I'm going to choose not to be offended by it, what I can choose is my behavioral reaction to that the autonomic nature of our emotions means that they wash into us and, okay, here we are. Now we can take those emotions and separate ourselves and say, here's that emotion, it's sitting in the palm of our hand, why are we feeling that way, and we can logically construct and think through what caused that emotion, but the emotion itself hits, the key to behavioral intelligence is really slowing the process down, and not reacting to it and that's where I have to remind myself over and over and over again, let's not react, let's listen, let's listen for key themes, words, and be curious about what's being said, that's what helps me to adopt that philosophy but I'm human, because every now and then somebody gives me the corrective feedback and my fire comes out, go, oh, really, and then I have to walk myself back from that just a little bit, behaviors that everyday struggle, it's not you've mastered, and you're the Zen master now, every day, you have to make those good, positive behavioral choices
Josh: right. So you know, I love that because that speaks a lot to me, because that's I, I have a five actually went through your exam last year, I think, and I'm a fire as well and I definitely, definitely know that because I get that exact same way and my, my gut reaction, or as a sub gives me feedback is like, Nope, you're wrong and then like, I don't like this or whatever, I have to the exact same thing of walking myself backwards and saying, but what are they right about? You maybe there is something to be said here, how should they be reacting to this person, for me that resonated well, I'm sure a lot of people listening to this are fire, like entrepreneurs, a lot of entrepreneur fire, right?
Jay: Absolutely. If I can offer one tactic like real usable tactic, it's something that I am still in every leader in every training, it's the pause, breathe, pause tactic, when you have that emotional reaction, one of the things that you can do is that emotional reaction comes from the part of our brain called the limbic system that fight flight or fight response, right so that limbic system lights up, I immediately react, well, if you've ever been in an argument with a partner or spouse, and you've reacted, and you go, ooh, shouldn't have done that or you've been in an argument with somebody and you walk five steps away and you're like, oh, I should have said this, if you've experienced that, that's the transition between our limbic system, and our more thoughtful, rational cognitive system pause, breathe, pause and what that does is it literally slows down the anxious reaction, reducing cortisol, cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, taking in that deep breath, oxygen flows into the system, pausing again, to let that marinate, your reactions are generally about 31% smarter, by using that simple tactic, and just have to train yourself for that to be a habit, don't immediately react, pause, breathe, pause, and you're going to be a much, much better reaction cycle and a cognitive cycle, that's going to make sense.
Josh: Right? I love that and I hope everybody will take that one tactic and leverage that today, especially if you're somebody who says, hey, you know, what, if I were to categorize myself, as an element, it would be fire, right? My wife is definitely fire. She's, she's Sass queen, but but she's listening to this, she's like, No, I'm not but anyway, so I loved having you back on here, Jay so I do want to ask you just, you know, we're gonna go a little over here, if that's okay with you. But I'm, I'm curious, what's how you've been leveraging this in your own company, because you guys have been scaling and obviously, with the amount of different groups that you've formed, and everything that you know, how to leverage this very well so how has this worked in scaling out your different groups?
Jay: Yeah, so one of the things that we've been using this exact tool for is our goal setting practices, we really adopted OKRs, you know, sort of a scaled system that's more democratic in nature that's more individual focused, aligned to those top objectives, well, the goals that I set for myself as a fire are going to be very, very different than a goal that somebody who's more of our water element, the drive to bond that people person, they're going to have much different goals, and that's okay all we need to do is utilize that system to align those goals to the top level goals so understanding that if I go to a water people person and I say, I need you to hit this quota, I want you to do this and I want you to do this and very direct driven purpose ambitious and aggressive, that person is not going to do that great in those goals, that's not their behavioral drive, that's not their motivators but if I talk to that person and say, okay, you want to establish these relationships, could you establish 15 new relationships by next quarter with these type of people in this type of industry and they say, Well, yeah, that's easy, I can make those calls, or I can take them to lunch, and so on and so forth well, now I'm utilizing that behavioral drive to bond, rather than my competitive nature, or my ambitious, I need to acquire nature so we use the elements and our understanding those behavioral drivers, align those two things like objectives and key results, and then allow them to help develop their own goals and it's just that same concept of, you know, we always hear treat somebody else how they want to be treated, or how you want to be how you want to be treated, but it's really about having them, you know, treating them the way that they want to be treated, helping them to establish those goals, frameworks and structures that align with their own personal drives, super, super powerful way to take an organization from one level to that next level.
Josh: Love that? Well, Jay, let's let's wrap this interview up a couple last questions for you. I hope people will take that those actionable pieces of advice you've given them and go apply them directly to their companies so the first thing is, where can people connect with you guys?
Jay: Yeah, so if you want to check out the behavioralelements.com page, you can actually schedule time on my calendar or anything else like that, you can also take a quick free assessment as well as look at the pro assessment with a 27-page report. But you can also reach me at email@example.com, as well as on LinkedIn or anywhere else.
Josh: Love it. So make sure you so check that out one more time, it's behavioralelements.com, the elements is plural so make sure you go check that out, go together, schedule a time go through the tests, as well, is that a test? Is that what you would say?
Jay: Yeah, so it's a it's a assessment that takes roughly about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. It's not very long for the pro assessment, the quick assessments even quicker but it'll at least tell you what your primary elephant is.
Josh: Right? Which I love and I've, I've done these assessments, I hope everybody goes and takes these for themselves and leverages these to help them know how to interact with people on their team, people they're selling to and people and other relationships in their life so Jay to ask you one final question, could you give us one final parting piece of guidance before you go?
Jay: When you think about behavior, think about the micro behaviors and when we look at that small that tiny level is just like creating a habit, our micro behaviors lead to our macro behaviors on an individual level and those are the behaviors that set culture so when you start to see challenges, or when you start to see opportunities, focus in on the exact specific micro behaviors that have led to either your success or failure, and that'll give you a leg up on your competition.
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