Triple Bottom Line

Answers CEOs Are Looking For!

November 09, 2022 Taylor Martin / Don Schmincke
Triple Bottom Line
Answers CEOs Are Looking For!
Show Notes Transcript

Don Schmincke, best-selling author, MIT graduate, and a world class speaker that trains more than 700 CEOs around the globe annually. Don brings real scientific data to the table. He applies genetics, evolution, and anthropology to find true strategies for growth. And after giving more than 2,000 speeches and workshops, you better believe Don has some insight that any business leader would want to know.  https://www.sagaleadership.com
  

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Triple Bottom Line | Episode 41 | Don Schmincke

[Upbeat theme music plays] 
Female Voice Over 
[00:03] Welcome to the Triple Bottom Line, where we reveal how today’s business leaders are reaching a new level of success with a people-planet-profit approach. And here is your host, Taylor Martin!

Taylor Martin 
[00:17] Welcome, everybody. Glad to have you today. I have Don Schmincke on today. He is a best-selling author, MIT graduate, a world-class speaker that trains more than 700 CEOs around the globe per year. You ask why do they seek him out? Because he brings real scientific data to the table. He applies genetics, evolution, anthropology in order to find true strategies for growth. After having my first conversation with Don, I knew I had to have him on the show. Don, welcome to the show. Please tell our listeners more about your background.

Don Schmincke
[00:51] Sure, it’s a little unusual. I was studying planetary physics at MIT and people are asking me, how did you go from there to training hundreds of CEO a year on strategic growth and performance? It was kind of crazy. I started studying earth because it was the closest planet to us and I was lazy and I didn’t feel like getting in a rocket. I noticed humans and they became my most fascinating species so I began studying humans. That took me to Hopkins where I began doing my graduate work and ended up teaching there. I got attached to the executive MBA program and I got a chance to hang out with a lot of young executives who were up and coming and decided to find out a little bit about what they were struggling with. That’s what led me into using biology and genetics and evolution as a way to really figure out why was management theory failing at such high rates and how to fix it. That’s what I do today.

Taylor Martin
[01:59] It sounds like you were talking a lot about corporate anthropology.

Don Schmincke
[02:03] Some of it, I mean, there are some people that can major directly into corporate anthropology. Those are into more ethnic graphic work and any sort of human grouping, and corporations is a form of human grouping.

Taylor Martin
[02:17] You’re focused mostly on management theory, correct?

Don Schmincke
[02:20] Yeah, I’m focusing on leadership and how management theory gets applied because the whole point was, when you look at management theory failure rates, if you go to Google Scholar, you’ll see over 4 million papers published on this. For some reason, people don’t talk about it in industry. I’m trying to get this out there in industry. Because unless we look at the data of why things are failing, it’s difficult to understand how to fix it. A lot of the models that we use are anthropologically based or medically confirmed and proven and validated in modern application to companies. They’re a little different. They go against – sometimes they’re politically incorrect, but they’re scientifically accurate. To me, I’m only interested in results. It creates sales. It creates competitive advantage. We use whatever methods help produce that in a consistent way, something that’s provable, something that is replicable, as opposed to a theory of the month approach.

Taylor Martin
[03:27] Right, so you’re letting the data dictate the strategy.

Don Schmincke
[03:31] That’s right. Yeah, the data, the insights, a lot of CEOs become – I think they get relieved when they see the ancient models and how they work and how they can be applied, and why we’re not teaching, well, we should be teaching. We used to teach centuries ago. It shouldn’t be that complicated when you think about humans and how they organize. When we look at that and we start backing up from what are the results we want to produce, it leads us to a place where we can start taking some steps to make it happen. We have to really not get so seduced by our tools because tool seduction becomes such a danger. When I was doing the book High Altitude Leadership with Chris Warner, who’s the top rescue climber, we were doing it live with NBC on his K2 Summit but he – when he’s pulling dead climbers off of mountains frozen, they’re clutching their tools. I was like, God, dead companies are also clutching their tools.

That’s when we started looking at, why are tools so seductive? Why are companies that go bankrupt are always clutching their tools? That led us to a whole new way of looking at management theory because we get seduced by them. How many bankrupt companies had all the best-selling books on their shelves? Like all of them, but I think the questions we should be asking is why. Why didn’t it work? The larger companies hire the authors of the best-selling books as they went bankrupt. What’s going on? This doesn’t make any sense. Coming out of biological research and medical research, it was unusual to see 700-year-old patterned problems not being addressed. What were we missing? That led me into this area. Now when I do my workshops for corporations or CEO groups, it gives me a place not only to educate but also to learn because CEO groups are very cynical. They’ve heard everything, right? If you’re coming up with an idea that’s not going to have any legs to it, you’re going to hear about it pretty quickly. To capture a room of CEOs for several hours, it’s a great – as a teacher myself, as a teacher, it’s a really a great experience. I love doing it. I learn a lot from it.

Taylor Martin
[06:09] Yeah, I love how you’re positioning your mind, it sounds like, in a position to teach as well as receive. I try to do the same thing. I think that’s great because some people just turn off the learning and they just want to teach. I want to dive down a little bit in what you were just talking about in terms of they might clutch on to their tools or they might clutch on to their way of thinking and can’t get out of it. Can you give us some examples or just one example that illustrates how a company, A, B, C company, has done that and then you come in and then you show them this other path?

Don Schmincke
[06:43] Yeah, I mean, a lot of companies, we simplify that we try to get results by figuring out what do I have to do and how do I do it. On the what do I have to do, it’s all the things around we need goals. We need measurements. We need structure. We need all those elements. Then the how stuff is, okay, how do we make things happen? What are the processes? What are the procedures? What are the systems we need? What are the – and so we – it makes sense, right? What do I have to do to be successful and how do I do it? That’s all we need. There are 35,000 business books published every year on what do to and how to do it better, but when you look at the failure rates and the millions of papers published on this, it’s like, well, wait a minute. How come it’s not working?

We found out that it wasn’t anything wrong with the tools, that the books are fine, but they were not altering – they were not producing results because results are produced by human behavior, human decision. You can throw as many tools at the problem as you want, but if it doesn’t alter human performance, and by that I mean behavior and decision making, then you’ve wasted all your time. You just have a bunch of books on your shelf and people’s behavior is not shifting. This became for us a whole new area of research to figure out how do you alter human decision. Because I’ll ask CEOs in the beginning, okay, what are your main problems, issues, challenges, pains, fears? They’ll come up with a whole list around talent management or your competitive in the marketplace or how do we deal with shifting customer buying patterns or shifting disruptive forces in the industry, things like that. It looks like we could fix all those things if we could get humans to behave and decide in different ways. Because a lot of problems are human generated. Throwing books at the problem doesn’t work. The tools are great, but when the anthropologists joined our team, it was interesting because we began to realize that a fool with a tool is still a fool. You keep giving tools to a fool, but it’s still going to be a fool. Until we know how to alter human decision, we are limited in the next thousand books we’ll throw at a problem. How do you alter human decision then led us to excavate I think the wisdom our ancestors have been using for thousands of years and that is we have to alter the beliefs of humans. You alter a human’s beliefs, you alter their decisions. You alter their decisions, then you get results. The tools become applicable, then they become useful.

With this insight, we still weren’t out of the woods yet. Because if this is so true, why are we still seduced by our tools? I think it’s because the human capacity for safety, we seek to be safe. How do you become safe? You want to have control. If we have control, we can be safe. That means, how do you get control? We have to analyze the world and understand it and try to control it. Analysis becomes seductive because we use analysis and our analytical methods to understand the world and control it, but the problem is it doesn’t alter the beliefs of our humans. That’s why you’ll find a company that may use the same tools. It could be anything. It could be a process tool. It could be a CRM system or an ERP system or whatever. One company’s highly successful, the other company fails, same tool, what happened? Same training, same books, well, it’s because it wasn’t about the tool itself. It was about something else. We found that that something else is the belief patterns of the humans in the organization. We started focusing on how to alter human belief and that’s what ended up sending sales doubling and tripling, in some cases ten times the rate that they were ever experiencing. I mean, we didn’t mean to be a sales company but we ended up being a sales company because sales grew incredibly fast, but all we were doing was altering strategy, altering winning and how it occurs, and then of course, sales is a good measurement of that.

Taylor Martin
[11:16] What I’m hearing is that you’re really going – you’re trying to find the heart of the matter and what you’re finding is that belief structure. You’re targeting the belief structure, the thought patterns, maybe even the habits of the people that are wielding the tools, and then the people receiving the product or service. Is that right?

Don Schmincke
[11:34] Yeah, because I mean I love tools. I’m a geek, right? I’m really into tools.

Taylor Martin
[11:39] I’m with you.

Don Schmincke
[11:43] If it gets seduced by them – and I tell CEOs all the time. I’m like, hey, look, tools are great, but are you using them or are they using you?

Taylor Martin
[11:52] Oh, good. That’s good. I know you’ve done over 2,000 speeches and workshops for CEO groups and executive teams and all that. What are some of the biggest problems you’re seeing now kind of that we’re in this post-COVID world? Where are you seeing the landscape now?

Don Schmincke
[12:12] A lot of it is, even though we’re seeing the same patterns over decades – well, even thousands of years, I read a book that was 700 years old and they still had issues around people and accountability and all that. Today, I think the talent problem has become more pronounced than it was before, finding good people, keeping them. Retention and recruitment has come up more than I was expecting. This past year I see that a lot. Now what’s occurring the past few months I’m seeing more concerns about inflationary pressures. I’m seeing more concerns around supply chain issues. Now a lot of these are going to be temporary because in two or three years they’ll go away and we’ll cycle through everything again, but the remote work I think is one of those patterns that may stick around a lot longer that might become more of an economic pattern. Because I think a lot of people – and we’re still trying to figure this out and I’m not smart enough to predict when this is going to happen. What I’m sensing is that people who love doing transactional work, unless they like being in the office, they don’t need to be there. They can do transactional work anywhere, be on an airplane and do transactional work. Areas where innovation and creativity and decision making and problem solving happens, that really requires humans to be in a group physically. They seem to have different energy when they are together. How many people will end up staying remote and how many will actually come back to the office? I don’t know. You’re starting to see people struggle with that.

Taylor Martin
[13:59] Yeah, I think it’s just going to be some sort of blended version. It’s going to be somewhat even maybe independent individual per person or per group. Like this group gets to be in the office three days a week and this one can be in one that can be remote for the others. In terms of retention and recruitment, I always hear – I always remember that term get the right people on the bus. I can’t remember which book that was, one of the 37,000 books out there. I always think about that because sometimes I’ve seen business leaders or managers sometimes hire somebody based on what they read on their resume, but when they meet the person, they’re not overwhelmed. They’re kind of underwhelmed, but they still hire them because of that, whereas you might find someone who’s a go-getter and someone has high level, high energy, and maybe they don’t have the perfect resume, but they have everything that is necessary to be a great employee and then you can teach them the rest. What’s your thought on that?

Don Schmincke
[15:01] It’s interesting. I think people can be taught skills. That’s where we should focus a lot more on, but there’s certain areas of nature which can’t be trained. You can’t train intuition as much as we would hope to. Certain areas of character and leadership and thinking, the late psychiatrist Dr. Elliott Jacques did a lot of controversial research on human brain complex thinking capacity. We’re realizing now, as he realized, that a lot of that’s locked into the brain. It’s not changeable. Some people can lead a five-year project successfully. Other people, they stumble when you get past a one-week project. The level of complex thinking necessary to execute is different. The problem is when you structure organizations, you want to have the people that are at the top doing the strategic level direction being able to see out three years, five years, ten years and see the trends and the winds shifting and the currents shifting and be able to track toward a better position in the markets. However, you need people who are [inaudible] executing so you need people who are focused on day-to-day execution. If you mix them up, you get a one-week thinking trying to do a three-year strategic plan, it’s not going to happen. It’s going to be awkward. It’s going to fail. When we work with organizations, we try to look at structure in terms of levels of thinking because then they not only develop but they execute much more effectively because everybody’s at the level where they can really perform.

Taylor Martin
[16:45] Do you see that companies now are focusing on that more? Are you hearing that they’re listening to that?

Don Schmincke
[16:50] No.

Taylor Martin
[16:51] No? What are they doing? Are they putting their heads in the sand?

Don Schmincke
[16:56] No, usually when I teach this – like this is one part of a five-pattern path, this one part is almost like a new idea to a lot of people. Like they never thought about it. They believe that, well, everybody has potential. Everybody can be trained. Everybody can be developed. With enough coaching and TEDx talks, we can evolve this person to be a strategic thinker. Then they realize, well, that’s all bull(bleep). I don’t know if you’re going to bleep that out, but they realize that – and I’ll ask them. I’ll say, look, have you ever run into somebody who doesn’t get it? Everybody’s nodding their head, oh, yeah. I say, so you work with them to get it right? They’re like, yeah, yeah. Did anybody ever get it? It’s like no. I say, well, that’s the point. The point is it’s not related to intelligence. It’s more related to the ability to connect the dots, which is a different part of the brain. When you push someone past their ability to connect those dots, that’s like deer in the headlights. The whole point is people should be at the level where they can perform and not past that level.

Taylor Martin
[18:07] That is exactly what I think. I had a podcast on leadership and these were some of the things that came up during that podcast. Sometimes I think people just think, oh, I’ve had this position, that position. I’m destined for the next position that’s more managerial, but they may not have any of the skillset that’s necessary for that type of job. I think sometimes it’s hard for people to realize this is where I’m at, this is where I’m good at, and this is where I really actually thrive at. I don’t know if it’s the money, the stature, the power, I don’t know what, but I just feel like everybody’s on that train. I’ve been behind the curtain enough companies to see and witness people that have been put in that position, like manager or leader, that wasn’t supposed to be in the position that they were holding. I had to grind my teeth and bare it and get through it. I don’t know where I’m going with that but I just feel like I’ve seen that. It’s like a broken record.

Don Schmincke
[19:01] No, I don’t think we – and when I bring it up, everybody gets it, but they never thought about it before. Then when they look at their organization, it’s like, oh, my God, no wonder I’m getting sopped into operations every day. I have someone under me who’s weak. In other words, they’re past their level of thinking and I now have to do their job. Why am I doing their job? It’s not because they’re not intelligent. This is totally unrelated to IQ. They could be brilliant people, but you’ve placed them into a level of decision making that’s beyond their capacity to decide. I use, in my workshops when I do these trainings, I try to find metaphors people can relate to easily because as a teacher I like to make learning easy. The one came out of our mountaineering work. When I was working with Chris Warner, I met him climbing in the Andes before we did the NBC thing with K2. The neat thing about it was, as we wind up in altitude, we had to unrope some people. Somebody starts vomiting early on about 10,000 feet. You’ve got to unrope them because they’re not going to make it. Then you get up higher and somebody else starts having altitude problems so you unrope them. I ask the CEOs, does somebody need to unrope off your team? Have you moved them past the higher altitude? They can’t breathe at that altitude. You’re handicapping them. It becomes so obvious. It’s like a head slap, like oh, my God. You’re right. You’re right.

Taylor Martin
[20:31] That’s a great analogy.

Don Schmincke
[20:32] Yeah, isn’t that great? I loved it. When I found that model, I thought this is perfect because everybody gets it.

Taylor Martin
[20:38] When we’re talking about leadership and the qualities of leadership, sometimes my earlier person, my earlier self, my younger self would look back and think and say, yeah, it’s teachable, but my older wiser self says, no, there’s people that are born leaders and they have a certain, like you said, connecting the dots skillset that makes them unique. They are a unicorn, and when you find one, that unicorn doesn’t have that perfect resume, but they have those attributes and those are the attributes you need for that leadership role, get them, hire them, bring them in.

Don Schmincke
[21:17] Yeah, that’s the thing. That’s what’s hard to find. There’s a lot of that nature. In fact, this next book I’m writing is on entrepreneurship and it has to do with winning and losing and part of it is dispelling the myths of entrepreneurship. Because people think, well, if I just take this course and read this book, I’ll be an entrepreneur. Then I started exposing some things like, really? Do you have the talent or the nature for risk? No, not really. I said, well, maybe that’s not the path for you. Because people that have that naturally, just like people that are great salespeople, just like people that are great leaders, there’s a lot of nature there. It goes against the grain of self-development, self-help professional development world where they say everybody has potential. I’m like, really? I mean, do you really? I mean, potential where? Not everybody can be a CEO. Not everybody can be an entrepreneur. It’s weird because we never step back to think, oh, some people may not be able to. Maybe they don’t have that potential. Doesn’t mean they don’t fit. We all fit somewhere. If we move them past their altitude, it’s going to be a problem. You can’t train everything. You can’t train that nature. That’s what we’re beginning to find. I use the great case study example of the Geico commercial, why Pinocchio can’t be a motivational speaker.

Taylor Martin
[22:48] I love that one.

Don Schmincke
[22:50] Yeah, he’s telling everybody in the audience, “You have potential,” then he looks over at this one guy and his nose starts growing because he’s lying. He’s like, “No, you do have potential,” and his nose keeps growing.

Taylor Martin
[23:00] Grows even more, I love it.

Don Schmincke
[23:04] We know this is true. It comes in in our commercials. It comes in our television sitcoms. It comes in everywhere. It also comes out in terms of our sciences and our look at our psychiatry of humans. I think everybody has a place, but we all can’t go to the same place. We’re all at a certain level. Once we know that, the more we can perform, be happier, and work well together.

Taylor Martin
[23:31] Yeah, we can hone that skill that we are so specialized in.

Don Schmincke
[23:36] Yeah, it’s like some people – I don’t want the guy or the gal that’s, I don’t know, pulling lug nuts on my car tires to be thinking about changing the world in 50 years. Focus on putting the freaking nuts and bolts together. Otherwise, who knows what I’m going to be driving on?

Taylor Martin
[23:58] Exactly, or where you’re going to end up.

Don Schmincke
[24:00] Everybody, I mean, they have a certain art, a certain craft, a certain gift, and I think the more we say, oh, no, you have to move up to a different level of a job, it sabotages their life in a sense because it may move them past their altitude.

Taylor Martin
[24:17] What about all these Myer-Briggs and Myer-Briggs-like testing that you can do out there? Do you use that in your repertoire or do people come to you saying I’ve done this test and blah, blah, blah? Because there’s a lot of them now.

Don Schmincke
[24:30] Yeah, there’s hundreds of them. A lot of them are Jungian based, which is good. There’s good psychiatric theories around patterns of behavioral tendencies. I think they work at any level of an organization. I think self-awareness is always good to have. If you know where your strength and weaknesses are, that adds a lot. We don’t use them everywhere but if we find an area where a team may be dysfunctioning, we feel some of it may be because of lack of awareness of their behavioral tendencies. These instruments can be really helpful to start the conversation and get people to understand and accept each other for their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t want to say something that’s disparaging but I think sometimes we run around with these tools and everybody’s got a hammer so everything looks like a nail. It’s like, no, that’s not the case. In areas where it’s useful, yes, fine, apply it, but when it’s not really going to make an impact on performance results, then hold back a bit. Maybe it’s something else.

Taylor Martin
[25:38] Yeah, don’t go to a surgeon for a headache. I want to jump back to something you said earlier about supply chain. How should executives be looking at supply chain now with the issues that are going on?

Don Schmincke
[25:53] It’s interesting because inflation is never – those people, those of us that have lived through past recessions and inflationary pressures have retired. We have a lot of new people who have never been through this before. I’m really blessed to be running into some brilliant people over time. One of those guys is George Stock who started the lean manufacturing revolution 20 years ago, has written a number of great Harvard Business School Business Review papers. I was spending maybe an hour or two with George every few weeks. We would share research and ideas and concepts. He said something really interesting a few months ago. He said most people who have survived previous recessions aren’t around anymore. We’re not teaching how to lead through inflation. It’s not a course. It’s happening but we’re not looking at it. He said something else. He says, when you look at supply chains – it’s interesting. He and I, maybe we’ll do some podcasts and get this out because he’s full of wealth of information. I learn so much when I’m with him. He said that supply chain is a magnifier of inflation. In order words, if you’ve got five elements of a codependent supply chain and inflation is happening across all five, you’re at the end receiving that impact as opposed if you have two. There was some sort of inflationary impacts along how you manage your supply chain, which could affect your competitive advantage in a marketplace. There’s all that and then there’s the pricing issues, like okay, how do we pass that on to customers and what does this look like. All these are areas of leadership which most leaders today are not trained in.

Taylor Martin
[27:44] What are we going to do about it? I mean, there’s those 37,000 books every year they can try to fumble through, but seriously, I mean, we have people that just haven’t been through this, haven’t been through the wringer. What’s going to happen? What’s going to happen?

Don Schmincke
[28:01] One option is, as the British say, we just muddle through and sort it all out. Another option is, hey, look, if we have senior people who have lived through this before, let’s go ahead and access their brains. There’s some interesting theories about the exodus of wisdom where people retire, but when they leave, all their wisdom goes with them. There’s no passing on. We never ask them to or provide ability for that. It’ll be interesting to come up with a senior senate, if you will, of leaders who can advise or share experiences when they went through the same thing themselves many times in their history. That would be a good project. Not a lot of companies are doing that. The third thing is to learn, and by learn I mean, like when I was talking with George Stock, I was learning a lot just by listening to him talk about how these things interact and how we should be training people. There is that learnable area. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are just going to react as they are now and they are just going to try to adjust as they move through it. Will it work? It’ll probably work for some. It may not work for everyone.

Taylor Martin
[29:22] Yeah, I keep thinking people are reactionary, companies that is. They just know to, okay, we’ve got to close this. We’re going to not do that deal. I think they’re just focusing on the problem and getting through the needle instead of stepping back and looking at the opportunities that might arise because of the situation that’s before them. They just focus on trying to get through the needle and not really thinking about all the opportunities that might be available to them.

Don Schmincke
[29:49] That’s exactly right. When we do strategic planning for companies, sometimes these critical or chaotic phases are perfect for them to look at shifting their beliefs around what business they’re in. When we’ve doubled or tripled the sales of companies, or in some cases, ten times their sales, it had nothing to do with analysis. It didn’t have anything to do with their swat analysis or industry analysis or market analysis. It all had to do with an intuitive shift around what business are we really in and how do we segment our markets differently. Because now when we can identify our centers of attack, our centers of placement, then we can look at what are the major threats and how do we outmaneuver. That opens up an entirely new conversation. Because when we look at winning and losing, a lot of it isn’t – the greatest armies and companies didn’t win by out-analyzing the competition. All this analysis we’re doing is like, really? I mean, the ones that are winning are the ones that are violating the analysis because they’re intuiting something else. I say this to CEOs. I say, have you ever wondered why these small companies start up in an industry and all the industry experts, all the thought leaders, all the management consultants say, hey, they’re not going to make it? They’re doing this wrong. They’re doing that wrong. They don’t shut up until that small company ends up dominating their entire market.

Taylor Martin
[31:23] Yeah, the disruptors.

Don Schmincke
[31:26] They’re like, oh, wait a minute, what just happened? Amazon wasn’t supposed to work. Didn’t we all say they were going to fail? Southwest Airlines, that wasn’t going to work. They violate airline industry protocols. I mean, they’re not going to work. These people are going to fail, until they didn’t fail and they ran their industry – they dominated their industry. Then all of a sudden, everybody shuts up and it’s like, oh, what just happened? I’ll tell you what happened. They weren’t playing the same game you were playing. They weren’t doing your swat analysis. They were out-intuiting you, not out-analyzing you, out-intuiting you.

Taylor Martin
[32:03] That’s an amazing skillset in itself. I think it harkens back to what you just mentioned about apprenticeship or having apprenticeship. We don’t have those anymore, and especially in management when we’re talking about these unicorns walking around in your office that are leading your company. You need to have those younger unicorns talking to the older unicorns to transfer that knowledge if you really want to have a long-term view of your company. I feel like these days everybody is just so inundated with so many requests because of email, text messaging, phone calls, Zoom calls, everything that no one has time for apprenticing.

Don Schmincke
[32:40] Yeah, we don’t have time for wisdom.

Taylor Martin
[32:43] Oh, we don’t have time for wisdom. You just cut to the chase. I like that. Don, tell us the Top 2 things that you think businesses are overlooking or they should be focusing on to help them grow and get beyond our current markets?

Don Schmincke
[32:59] I think what we’re finding is that the top problem is our legacy beliefs don’t die when they need to. We start developing legacy strategies. We start seeing the world in the way we always saw it. That’s great if you’re in a niche and there’s no competition outmaneuvering you, but in most cases, I think we need to – and this came out of the early samurai research, which when I wrote my first book back in the ‘90s and I still today. In fact, I’m starting to – I’m doing a new product. I’m going to call it the daily samurai just to bring up these little quotes to help us remember that something must die. What has to die in your life today so that you can move on? We don’t teach that. We teach about winning and being right and being on – it’s like, no, no, let’s teach death. Let’s teach about losing. That’s where the richness is.

Taylor Martin
[34:00] Wow, I wasn’t expecting that as an answer. I’m going to put that as Number 1, the most important thing. I’m going to take a breath here and say, okay, what’s Number 2? I’ve got to get prepared for this.

Don Schmincke
[34:14] I think the second thing is we forgot to teach how to create the – what we call, we stole this from the Vikings, the compelling sagas for our company. Because one of the things that we noticed – this was interesting because my colleague Cameron Ludemann pioneered – worked with Apple on pioneering creation research, innovation research on the brain as the brain innovates, but Steve Jobs had died. This was a big deal, interestingly came out of a demand form Navy Seals, a whole other story. What was happening is I began to realize we’re teaching leadership wrong because – when Steve Jobs died, they wrote books about his leadership style. What do they say? He like violated everything we teach in leadership school. How do you start a class in leadership today and say everything you’re going to learn is irrelevant? Because the guy that violated everything I teach created the most powerful company in the world. That’s a good question. What happened?

I think what happened is we think that followers follow leaders so therefore we have to learn leadership. What we found out is, no, they’re not following leaders. They’re following the story that leader represents. We don’t teach that anymore. We call it a compelling saga. In other words, it’s not a mission statement. It’s not a motivational happy employee thing. It’s not a why statement. It’s not a vision or a purpose. It’s really what’s that formidable – how do you create a formidable challenge in front of your humans where they believe they need each other to achieve it and they’re willing to suffer and sacrifice together to do it? That is what we’re talking about. We don’t teach that anymore. We don’t teach suffering. We don’t teach sacrifice. When you look at the greatest companies and the greatest armies and just the greatest achievers, it was all not about happy motivated stuff. It was being willing to slog it out, being willing to make mistakes and pick yourself back up again. That’s the journey. I think we don’t teach people how to craft that story for people to follow. That’s missing.

Taylor Martin
[36:37] Yeah, the suffering part is definitely something that I see lacking in the younger generations. Because I’m a Gen Xer so we were always taught to just struggle through, persevere. Don’t give up. Get after it. Make it happen. That’s just your focus. Sometimes it’s too narrow but you get my point. I think sometimes the younger generation, they don’t see struggle as something that can teach them something. They just see it as something that, oh, no, that’s just – they’re not paying me for that time or that’s above my paygrade or that’s not my responsibility but those were learning moments, right?

Don Schmincke
[37:17] Yeah, and this book that I’m writing on is for entrepreneurship. I wanted to expose the fact that taking an entrepreneur and writing a book about how they became successful, they miss what it was that it took. Because you see a lot of experts out there, oh, they did this right, did that right, they did this right, and they go through everything they did right, but they missed the point. They missed the point that when you look at their biography and you listen to some of the interviews, the mistakes they made were the times where they grew and they learned. Every successful entrepreneur is at the end of a history of mistakes, but we don’t teach that. We don’t teach they got there. There were history of losses. Each loss they learned and they adapted and they grew stronger. All we teach are all the good things. You do this right. You do that right. I’m like, no, no, what happened when they lost? What did they do? How did they deal with that? That’s what makes great entrepreneurs.

Taylor Martin
[38:26] Yeah, fail forward. I always think about that saying. I’ve said it before in a previous show where if you have a CEO that’s failed ten companies and you have a new CEO that’s never done one but has a great idea, which one do you go for? The one that has all that history, all that knowledge, he knows how to weave and get in zig zags out of the market and make a next company because they’re destined to get to that success rate.

Don Schmincke
[38:52] That’s [inaudible]. I have one CEO, she said she never does any ventures or partnerships with anybody that hasn’t been bankrupted twice.

Taylor Martin
[39:04] Wow, and you know what? I bet she looked at her analytics, she looked at her history in the market and realized, you know what? These are the ones that are most successful. I’m just going to focus on those. I would not be surprised. That’s genius. I love that. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground today, but I want to talk more about your next project, this book that you’re working on. What is it called again?

Don Schmincke
[39:26] Yeah, it’s going to be – it’s interesting. The working title is Winning and Losing. It’s going to be these insights for entrepreneurs or professional salespeople on how to uncover some of this work. It’s dispelling some of the myths of what we know about entrepreneurship and what really works using the actual live data and facts over history of entrepreneurs that aren’t necessarily being published but I think are very key. Right now, it’s in development. I have a developmental editor cleaning some stuff up and then we’re going to look at releasing that. Because I did a test with maybe a couple dozen CEOs and I said, hey, here’s this book idea. It’s a rough draft. They all came back and we had dinner and they were like, oh, my God, this is great. It’s like they were like, my spouse read this book and thought, oh, my God, this is what you went through? They were like, yeah. Other spouses were like, oh, no, I know you went through this. You need to publish this. I had one CEO said, as soon as I get this, I’m going to get 20 copies for my shelf because the next time somebody comes up to me and says, “I want to become an entrepreneur,” I’ll say, “Great, read this” [inaudible] a lot of good buzz for this research so we’ll hopefully have that out.

Taylor Martin
[40:48] Okay, I’m going to be looking for that book out. When do you think it’s going to be coming out?

Don Schmincke
[40:53] I’m hoping if I can get to finish the final draft in the next month or so, probably be a few more months after that. I’m thinking in the next three or four months look for something.

Taylor Martin
[41:04] Excellent, Don, how can our listeners reach out to you or follow you on LinkedIn?

Don Schmincke
[41:09] Sure, well, our website which we’re tuning up because we’re always [inaudible] with the research, sagaleadership.com, S-A-G-A like the Vikings saga, Leadership is the main website. We’re trying to source everything there and when we get a new book out and programs use that as our focal point. Of course, if anybody out there wants to get more information, they can email me directly at don@sagaleadership.com and I’ll try to get back to everybody that does that.

Taylor Martin
[41:42] Okay, I’ll put the web address in the show notes, too, so people can easily click there. Don, thank you so much for being on the show today and just downloading all this wonderful knowledge that you’ve accumulated over your career. I really can’t wait to hear your book when it comes out because everything we’ve talked about is just reading right up to that. Thank you.

Don Schmincke
[42:03] Great, thank you for having me. 

Taylor Martin
[42:04] You bet. Over and out, everybody.

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[42:06] Thanks for tuning into the Triple Bottom Line. Your host, Taylor Martin, is founder and Chief Creative of Design Positive, a strategic branding and accessibility agency. Interested in being interviewed on our podcast? Then visit designpositive.co and fill out our contact form. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, we would appreciate a review on Apple podcasts or whatever provider you are logging in from. This podcast is prepared by Design Positive and is not associated with any other entity. We look forward to having you back for another installment of the Triple Bottom Line.

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