You Winning Life

Ep. 67-Brandon Smith: The Hot Sauce Principle

October 29, 2020 Jason Wasser, LMFT Season 1 Episode 67
You Winning Life
Ep. 67-Brandon Smith: The Hot Sauce Principle
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You Winning Life
Ep. 67-Brandon Smith: The Hot Sauce Principle
Oct 29, 2020 Season 1 Episode 67
Jason Wasser, LMFT

Combining my passion for therapy and entrepreneurship, this weeks guest  supports healthy, productive, fulfilling, and dysfunction-free leaders.

Therapist, executive coach, professor, consultant, speaker, radio host and blogger, Brandon Smith, author of  THE HOT SAUCE PRINCIPLE discusses how to live and lead in a world where everything is urgent all of the time.

Buy his book by clicking here: https://amzn.to/3e4DOjO


Jason Wasser, LMFT is a Licensed Therapist and Certified Coach and works with entrepreneurs and young professionals online. He can be found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/youwinninglife



Business Finishing School
Empowering successful companies & families to maximize results.

The Family Room Wellness Associates
Online Therapy and Coaching with Jason Wasser, LMFT

Wasser's Furniture
Highlighting what's great about buying your furniture from a brick and mortar family business!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Show Notes Transcript

Combining my passion for therapy and entrepreneurship, this weeks guest  supports healthy, productive, fulfilling, and dysfunction-free leaders.

Therapist, executive coach, professor, consultant, speaker, radio host and blogger, Brandon Smith, author of  THE HOT SAUCE PRINCIPLE discusses how to live and lead in a world where everything is urgent all of the time.

Buy his book by clicking here: https://amzn.to/3e4DOjO


Jason Wasser, LMFT is a Licensed Therapist and Certified Coach and works with entrepreneurs and young professionals online. He can be found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/youwinninglife



Business Finishing School
Empowering successful companies & families to maximize results.

The Family Room Wellness Associates
Online Therapy and Coaching with Jason Wasser, LMFT

Wasser's Furniture
Highlighting what's great about buying your furniture from a brick and mortar family business!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Into:

This is the you winning life podcast, your number one source for mastering a positive existence. Each episode w e'll be interviewing exceptional people, giving you empowering insights and guiding you to extraordinary outcomes. L earning from specialists in the w orlds of integrative and natural wellness, spirituality, psychology, and entrepreneurship. So you t oo can be winning l ight. Now here's your host, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified neuro emotional technique practitioner and certified entrepreneur coach Jason W asser.

Jason Wasser:

Everybody welcome back. Today's guest is Brandon Smith, who is a leadership communication expert, executive coach educator, media personality, author of the hot sauce principle, which I just got in my hands. How to live and lead in a world where everything is urgent all of the time. Perfect timing for the pandemic experience that we're going through. He is a sought after coach TEDx speaker, a war winning business school instructor. He's also the president of the wordsmiths and executive coaching and leadership development firm whose clients include numerous fortune 500 companies. And since 2005, he has personally coached more than 1000 leaders and executives across the globe. Hanging out with us all the way from one of my favorite cities, Atlanta, Georgia, Brandon, thanks for coming a nd spending some time with us today.

Brandon Smith:

Jason, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

Jason Wasser:

Me too. I know when we , uh , last communicated or the first time we connected, I was actually in Atlanta on my first pandemic out my outbreak. In other words, I Al I outbreak from my home in South Florida, where it was the first time I literally got out of like a couple of mile radius. So it was good to be up in your neck of the woods and all the beautiful nature and hiking and things that people don't take advantage of enough probably in Atlanta and know that it's there, but you know, something that's definitely healthy for us. So , so I'm glad that you're here and we're going to definitely talk a lot about the self care process, especially focused on the workplace. So this hot sauce principle, let's start with that because it sounds like that's going to be the foundation and the basis of everything that we're going to be talking about, or at least the jumping off point. So what is the hot sauce principle?

Brandon Smith:

So the idea is it's a really simple analogy. So part of, so I'm going to wind back the clock just a little bit. So it me be a little bit of a grace to wind back the clock seven months before, before we landed into the COVID land we live in now , um , my experience about the last five or 10 years, all the folks I've worked with in nonprofits , healthcare for-profits, you know, it doesn't matter what environment they were in . Two things were true t imes. Everyone's most precious resource, not money it's time, and everything was urgent all the time. Constantly people h ave this state o f, of urgency. And you know, so for you and I y ou're chatting about this i s kind of, you know, therapists w ere really talking about h is anxiety. Y ou just s aid this c onstant state of anxiety where everything is urgent all the time. And it was just burning people up. And it hit me one day as I was sweating, enjoying my Tabasco sauce. T hat urgency is like hot sauce. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, you know, a little bit u rgency, a good thing. You know, I, I was kidding. I just had my annual physical. I do that every year and my kids are just merciless because every time you get close to my annual physical, I do the same thing. I go back to the gym a nd I work out really hard so I can, so I can get a great, a g reat report w ith t he doctor, right? Well, that i s correct. Creates urgency for me. It creates this urgency that I w ant t o, I w ant t o actually kind of do well, and I've got this deadline, I've got to hit. So in small doses, you know, just like hot sauce, I'm holding up my little bottle of hot sauce here. It , it has a little bit of spice. That's a little bit flavor, that's a little focus. Right. Um , and it tends to want , uh , begs us for relief. Like, Oh, okay, that's urgent . What , what's the plan. Okay. But, but if we, now, now I'm putting my little bottle. Now , if this is what happens, okay . We got my big bottle of Tabasco. We're covering everything in life. In this we're overwhelmed. Our mouth is on fire. We can't tell when something really is urgent. It's kind of like the little boy that cried Wolf. You can't tell because it's just, everything's on fire and there's, and we have no ability to really focus on what really matters. So it's all about managing the amount of hot sauce you put on other people's plates. Because you know, when we sit in leadership roles, whether we're at work or at home, it's part of our family, you know , we can decide how much hot sauce we put on others, but also managing the amount of hot sauce. People stick on our plates because too often, particularly with publicly traded companies, you know, they're so worried about being left behind that the leaders, everything they send out, their leadership kitchen is covered in hot sauce. The appetizers covering hot sauce, the salads covered in hot sauce. The entrees covered in hot sauce. The sweet teeth got hot sauce in it. And the brownies got hot sauce on it. And they Pat themselves on the back and they say, Oh, I'm a good leader. And all they've done is just done a major injection of anxiety into the organization. And that just creates chaos. Um, so I wrote the book in the spirit of how do we do a better job of this? How do we manage anxiety better in our personal and professional life? So that's the real concept and idea.

Jason Wasser:

There's three things that are coming to my head right off the bat. From what you're saying, one is that Veruca salt quote from W illy Wonka and the chocolate factory, which also turned into the song. I want the world and I want the world now, right. This needs to be done. And I want it. And I want it this way. And it has to be done this way. And who's left picking up the pieces because of that, the number one to the idea that we always talk about the idea, wh at w e need to light a fire under it, or we need to light a fire under them, or we need to light a fire under us. Right? Like you said, the motivation right before your annual physical, as we didn't know what's going to be happening a year from now. Right. And th en w e all go through it's the hurry up and wait, but in reverse. Um, and then we have this concept of work life balance that maybe leadership in these companies and communities and businesses don't realize how they're negatively affecting the productivity, the mindset, the health of their employees, of their community, because they're focusing on what they want, what they want now, and let's push it out and push it out. So I find that that's a common theme. Those three examples are a common theme of like what you're saying. These are all anxiety provoking experiences. So I'm curious from your perspective, right? Having a degree in counseling and working in the entrepreneurship world, what would you define in your personal worlds? Right. We can go into the whole DSM diagnosis and experiential, but what would you define as your working explanation of what anxiety is?

Brandon Smith:

Yeah, so , uh, anxiety itself, I would describe it as an energy , uh , uh , high, high intensity energy. So I put on the other end of the spectrum it's is , would be depression. So we've got kind of like this tortoise in the hair kind of effect, right. We're talking about the hair, Kate's driving us, go, go, go, go, go. And , and to a certain degree, that's, that's valuable. Um, you know, if you're going to run a marathon, you need that the, the, the , the problem is , um, in order for it to work properly, you need just like interval training. You need rest versus just saying you're going to run until you drop. Um, so I think that's part of it when I asked people, what do they feel when they feel urgency? So when I , I've kind of asked that question in workshop environments, people use words like pressure, stress. Sometimes they say anxiety. Um, sometimes those can be excitement because it can also be, you know, excitement. You've got a little bit nervous, anxiety you're know , you're, you're meeting that person. You're going to go on a date with, you know, you're , it's, it's, it's exciting, right? You're seeing a movie you're really excited about or going to a place that you've never been to. That can also be , uh , um , anxiety provoking in a positive way. Can wake you up in the middle of the night. So often, you know, can workplace anxiety, I'll say will wake you up in the middle of night. Have you ever woken up in the middle of night thinking about work? And then when I ask people, what do you do to cope with that? Usually it stimulates a dual response. Sometimes they wake up and start working, or they have a pad of paper next to their bed and they write down a plan and they can kind of take it out of their head and they can go back to sleep. And then there's unhealthy methods for also coping with that. Can I tell you how many people have said a glass of scotch helps a lot? So we've got healthy , good single malt , healthy and not healthy ways of approaching it, but it's , it's all about quieting that energy. Um, and so I'll end with this kind of, you know, in , in my kind of basic world , um, yours is much more advanced, you know, basic, when I talk to clients, I was like anxieties and energy. We can combat it with one of two ways. We can comment with meditation, prayer, and other techniques like that. Or we can fight energy with energy and we can also overcome it with exercise or other ways that we can kind of, you know, kick those endorphins up and kind of, you know, calm it down. And sometimes activity, even th ough a ctivity can calm it down, right. I'm anxious about all the stuff I have to do. So I'm just gonna sit down and start working and then I'll feel productive. So it's, it's this energy stimulus. Um, and it serves up important point because it moves us into action. So at a fundamental level, in , in , when we think about, you know, working and workplace, it is kind of that, that spark I had a client years ago , um , I coached all the general managers for a luxury retail client. And one of them told me, she said, I know I need a lot of fire under my people, but sometimes I need to light a fire in them t oo, which is inspiration. So you can, you can light sparks i n lots of places, but it's that spark that gets people moving. So I would say that from my vantage point i s kind of a, more of a workplace. You know, m y, my h andle i s the workplace therapist. So kind of in the working world, that's that's would be how I would kind of define and o f color that, that world.

Jason Wasser:

So how much goes back to the perceived value that we'll , we'll look at it from both perspectives, from leadership down and then from the employees up. But it's the perceived value that if I push this onto my employees, we'll get more out of them. And then the other side around is that if that employee is going to work worried, anxious, overwhelmed, afraid, nervous, whatever, you know, that energy that their fear is that they won't provide enough value. And therefore their job might be at risk if they don't meet that expectation that the employee's putting on them, even if that expectation is not healthy for the expectations and the culture and the success of that community and that business.

Brandon Smith:

Right? So we have a couple things at play here. We've got , um, they both begin with self. We have self-awareness and we have self-worth. Okay. So I'll answer both of yours with those two is our framing. So self-awareness, so when it's healthy from a leader to do this is they're intentional about the energy they're putting into the organization and they know what they're doing, and when they're doing it and why, and when it's not healthy, it's more of a kick. The dog I'm feeling anxious. I'm going to make you feel anxious too. T hat's that's what we often see, right? T heir b oss i s anxious, so they make them anxious. S o they make their people anxious t o make their people anxious. They just kick it downstream. So that's n ot i ntentional. So the first starting place is self-awareness, you know w hat, where is the organization? What is the anxiety and energy of the organization right now? What can it handle? What does it need? How can I focus it? Because the number one job of any leader is to drive clarity. That's t he number one jo bs w e're trying to drive clarity, where are we going? And why, what really matters? What do we need to be focusing on right now, whether that's safety for our kids at school, or whether it's getting certain objectives done or changing protocols, whatever it is, whatever priorities are, right? Focus is important. And so a little bit hot sauce. Ca n y ou use the right way? Intentionally can create that focus. Th ey j ust douse everything with it. Cause you're anxious. You know? So that's, that's an issue. So then now onto employee, you know, se lf-worth b ecomes the other word, you know? So, u m , d o I have enough confidence and understand my self worth to be able to push back and say, what you're asking of me is n ot only unrealistic, but BS i s, you know, could create bu rnout. Co is not going to yield what you really want. It's going to have negative consequences. Let's talk about that. A miss or mr . Boss. So having that conversation is important. Part of we know when I'm working with individuals in the workplace, they're talking about managing that anxiety from their boss, starting places. I always say, don't view your bosses. Your boss view them as a customer, because if you, cause it's all about managing your customer's expectations, your customer says, Hey, Jason, I know we agreed on this, but now I want five times that for the same price you would say, no , no , no. I appreciate what you're asking for. Uh, I can't get it all to you. Let's prioritize that. Or you can give me more resources and then I can give you more. Right. It's managing that. So at a more fundamental level, we're talking about boundaries and you have to have enough self worse to be able to set those healthy boundaries. You don't have self worse , there's no boundaries. And then, and then that becomes mess . You lose your identity and all that. It's codependent relationships happen on all that, all the other stuff that you and I are like nodding our heads like, Oh yes. That old, that old bag, that all bag comes back again. Oh, shocker in the workplace. Absolutely. Uh , it's one of the reasons why n onprofits struggle with this the most is because they have the most difficult time setting, healthy boundaries. They just don't like to do it. And so they e nd up with a lot of messiness, u h, because of boundaries. So then you add on urgency to it. It really creates a dysfunctional s toop.

Jason Wasser:

Yeah . And I find it that like when I have, you know, usually any of my clients that are working in some type of corporate setting and there may be just below middle management . I'm finding that a lot of times they're saying, you know, if only my superior would allow me to have a little bit more influence would allow me to show them what the system is missing versus them being threatened by the fact that I could be a replacement to them if I get this right. Because they haven't is I have that all of the time. And it's something that I find frustrating because I know over the last couple of years, as I've committed into an entrepreneurship , um, well, of, of, of experience and wisdom by the people in my community that I've invested my time, effort and energy into, is that how can you not have this? How can these companies, these corporations, these businesses have people in leadership positions, but have not spent one minute on any type of training or education or required reading or weekly scrums, or r ole-playing just by the, of they do a certain job task. And therefore they become a leader because of that. So you have t he, the tactical side of r ight. H ere's a product we need to push out, but the managing it and the relationship factor is the, is the process behind it. T hat's I find very, very lacking. So how has that been in your experience when you're coming into a company and you know, that t hey're, they could be insanely productive, they put t heir putting out good stuff, but this, this, this one area is so missing and people are seeing it as a threat, or they're seeing it as like, they're just so unselfaware as a company culture.

Brandon Smith:

Yeah. So we can go all the way back and see that started in 2008, 2009. So once that kind of our , our big recession hit and it really rocked kind of a lot of companies in the economy to the core, they all stripped their benches and went very lean. And so that's the impetus of this urgency epidemic kind of really started back then. So there is no leadership development training. There is no investing in our people. In fact, there's even , um , a significant drop-off on positive feedback in the workplace. It's not because we're bad people. It's just, we're running at such a , of a frantic pace that we're focusing on just ourselves. And so I I'm out for myself. I've got my own thing that I got to work on. I'm not caring about the person I left and went with my right. I'm not investing as much time in my direct reports. I may even see them as a threat. Uh, like you said, so one of the antidotes as the direct report is going back to that kind of customer orientation, try and frame it in a way to your boss that, Hey, y ou're, I want to make you great. Like, I'm all about helping you achieve your goals, ms. Customer or mr. Customer, what are those v erses? I'm going to take your job, y ou k now? So a ny w ay you can come alongside them, I once had a client of mine and she did the simple t echnique. She said, you know, when I used to give performance reviews or feedback, I would sit across the table and it was adversarial. So I started coming along and sitting next to the person at the table and we'd look at the paper together. I love that image. Don't you l ike come alongside the p erson a nd energy. Yeah, totally is come alongside the next, the person and look at the problem together. But the paper in front of both of you and look at it. So the more you can do that with your boss, the more they're going to feel like, Oh my gosh, you know , um, they're my right hand person. And when they get promoted, they'll naturally want to promote you because they know they got there because of you. A nd so you can k inda, u h, hit yourself to that star. U m, so I think that that orientation also helps a little bit too.

Jason Wasser:

Do you find that their conversation about where from leadership down, that the conversation about where that employee fits into a longterm plan of that company is not happening enough? In other words, I'm seeing it from my clients who are working for, let's say a major international company and they're in a local , uh , place here. And they said, I would love to have this position. And I've been with the company for 14. And I said, okay. So what do you need to know in order to be able to hold that position? Like whether academically, whether it's by training, do they know you're interested in that position too ? Have you talked to HR? Have you talked to your senior supervisors, whoever it is and said like, I'd like to get there within a certain amount of timeframe. Am I even eligible? Am I based on what you know about me? Am I capable of holding that position and that communication from both sides of responsibility, both sides to express a more, I'm also see as part of the challenge that's showing up in my office and I'm trying to have my clients take that proactive stance of saying, go ask them, go sit with them. This is where I'd like to be. Who can train me? Who can show or is it's never going to happen. And then you need to probably start looking elsewhere at a different child job in a different country.

Brandon Smith:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I'm seeing all that. So, so we're, we're in the trust tree, right? Where we are, we are safe in the trust tree. Okay. So here's just give a little framework, okay. To help people think about this. My experience has been once a company hits 3 billion in revenue with a B it ceases to become a company that morphs into a government. So any company that you see it's over 3 billion is actually not a company. That's a government with lots of politics and lots of politicians that could paid lots of money that no one really knows what they do. And so politics plays a big part in all this. So one of the big dysfunctions in the workplace is there is a lack of clarity and candor on that, u m , o n that promotion conversation or, u m , p rofessional growth conversation. So, so I have all the time ha ving e mployees or clients, even then I'll coach and say, ha ve t his conversation with your boss, your boss will say, we ll, next December, definitely. And December comes and goes, Oh no, no, no, it's just the , timing's not good. We got things it's going to be April, April comes and goes. And that really frustrates the person because they feel like they're being kind of like dragging along. So to have a really honest conversation and say, I can't control maybe the promotion schedule, but I can't control the things you can work on, help you grow. I think that's a much healthier way to come to do that. The other element around this is because everyone's running so frantically. And if we're talking about big publicly traded companies, they're driven so much by the market. And if you look closely at publicly traded companies, you're looking at 3% growth rates, they're hardly growing at all. So the only way they make shareholders and analysts happy is by cutting expenses. So there's always another headcount reduction right around the corner. And you're asking for a promotion. So it feels counter to kind of the that's the irony. Most people think, Oh, I work for a big company. I'll have job security, ironically enough. That's probably the last place you're going to get job security. Um , because that's the only way they can hit their numbers is by cutting people. So not to say it can't happen, but it's so, so those factors play into it a lot where I do see it's happening. Um , it happens more reactively right now. So a lot of industries have had an older workforce. Those folks are all retiring right now. I can't tell you many clients where they said, you know, we've just had a whole wave of retirements. We're going to replace them with these like 30 something early 40 year olds. But this is like a two level jump promotion. So they're asking me to say, can you help them kind of get there? C ause we're really, you know, moving them quick because we need to fill those seats. So i t's happening, but more reactively than proactively. So that's w hat we started t o data dump.

Jason Wasser:

Yeah. Cause it sounds like there's like this reactivity that becomes consistency. And since they're still playing catch up from that recession, especially now, when we're going through such chaos that the market had this big, massive expansion. And then the last week it's been just more chaos. And we know it's cyclical. We know every three to five years there is a rebound in that. And then, you know, I've heard so many people say is, as long as you don't pull your money out, you'll, you're never going to lose a dollar unless the company goes out of business. But beyond that, like people, it's, it isn't, there's an expansion and a constriction that I definitely see happening. How do we start empowering those in the workplace to what you were alluding to before is managing up? I know , um, there's that famous book managing up by Jack Welch's from GEs, u h, l ifelong executive assistant, but how to manage your, your seniors, u h, that are above you, but how, how would you start step one, step two, step three. For those that are like, I know I have more to offer. I know I have more valued offer. When I first came to this company. I absolutely loved it. Now I'm realizing that I'm being handcuffed by the politics I'm being handcuffed by maybe my supervisor. And I'm realizing that maybe the company is only about supporting the financials of the people who are the co-owners of it. What can I do to have more influence so I can bring more value and they can register that. And then I can maybe step up, not necessarily in a pay raise, but at least as far as being able to be more strategic and sharing that value with my company more .

Brandon Smith:

Okay. Love this conversation. All right . So , um, a little bit of a plug, but inside the book, there's a trust formula, and I'm gonna talk about it right now. So you don't even have to read the book to get the trust formula, but there'll be more description of it in the book. So , um, I'll go back in time, a little over 10 and a half years ago, I was teaching at Emory's business school here in Atlanta. And I was thinking about how do I take trust and turn it into a mathematical mathematical equation? Because I've got a lot of engineers are taking MBAs and they're , how do I get their thinking around this? And so this is what I came up with. Trust is credibility multiplied times. And then in parentheses authenticity, plus vulnerability equals trust. You and I can have a whole other conversation on , on the intimacy formula. It's got some similar components, but for trust, we've got credibility times and then authenticity plus vulnerability in parentheses. And the reason why it's a multiplication formula is if credibility goes to zero, no trust if authenticity and vulnerability go to zero, no trust. Okay. So I want to open that and as kind of a framing, okay. When we are trying to support our boss, you enter into the formula with credibility first. So you double down on credibility in the first six months. So you want to, you want the first starting place for anything like this. I talked about clarity, clarify expectations, number one, an a nxious enough guys. It is the last thing I need is to be guessing at work. So when we clarify expectations, we're not guessing and you can always be off. So the starting places, miss boss, mr. Boss, what are your goals? What are your objectives? How, what are you being measured on? What do you want to get accomplished this year? What would, what would a perfect let's look into the crystal ball a year from now? And you say, gosh, 20, 21 was amazing. What would amazing look like? What would you want to have accomplished? And once we know their objectives and expectations, we can push towards that. So the first starting place i s that. And then also part of credibility are subtler things like responsiveness being lightening, responsive to your boss every time they were, they, u h, they s end an email, respond back. Doesn't mean you have to be a perfect answer. Just be, Hey, I got it. I'll get it to you on Monday. U m, consistent communication, frequent communication, you know, u m, all those a re elements of credibility. And we are after about three to six months of dump of really doubling down on credibility, we e arn the right to go to the right side of the formula. Then we work in authenticity. We start to share a little more of our thinking and what we're seeing. And we work in vulnerability and we say, I don't know, or I need your help, or I need more than we need more resources. So we earn the right to go from left to right? Um, in the consulting world, they call that the move to becoming a trusted advisor. So you want to become a trusted advisor tree boss, but the starting place is to credibility. So you always wanna start there. I had a student several years ago at Emory . She came back from her summer internship and she said, I did not get an offer. And I said, well, what happened? She said, well, I know I was the favorite intern. It was 20 of us. And all the interns love me because I'm just me. I'm real all the time. I tell everybody what I think I said, okay, well, that's great. Well, well, tell me how your interaction with your boss went . She says , well, we sat down on our first day of work and she shared with me the summer project. And I told her exactly what I thought about it, all my , my issues with it, all my problems with it. She started on the wrong side of the formula. She jumped too quickly to authenticity vulnerability. She needed to start on credibility, get clear on our bosses goals and expectations doubled down. And then given us a summer internship, maybe about week six, she starts to work in authenticity vulnerability. So , uh , Nick is a little bit of a roadmap, but it starts with clear expectations meeting those , uh, and then really kind of managing the bat . Right ? My personal belief is you can eliminate 50% of all workplace related dysfunction. That's people , uh, by, by clarifying expectations. 50% of all the stuff that we deal with it's people related to personally is because we're guessing wrong or they're guessing wrong. And then we get upset, like, well, they didn't know. I want them to do that.

Jason Wasser:

One of the themes that I shared this week with one of the classes I was teaching, and then I brought it back into my clients was the concept of ov ersharing s ometimes as the best thing that you can do when it comes to an expectation of what you would like to have happen and how you would like it to be done for you, especially in the context of a relationship. Yeah. Considering that a business is full of relationships, right? It's we can call it the politics, but at the end of the day, it's a system. Right? Wh at y ou, and I know, and th is s ystem is full of relationships that have lacking of b oundaries ar e o v er b e t. Right? All those different things. The overshare of t his is what I would like. This is how I' d l ike it to get it done. This is when I'd like to get it done. And is that possible for you within that context? Yeah. Right. Yeah. And when I share that with a few people, they're like, but, but we're about the spontaneousness of it. Am I? Well , you're sitting in front of me right now with your spontaneousness to that work. In other words, right. You do have to be proactive. You do have to have some level of regimented thinking cause you want to lead them. It's that , um, that parenting with love and logic, I don't know if you remember that from , from back in the right, that it's, that we're going to create the boundaries of, you can do this first, or you can do this first, but both need to be done by 7:00 PM. And then you can have your free time. But if you choose not to here's the consequence. So in other words, it's not the consequences already laid out. You have the choice, you know, you can get it done, you know how you're supposed to get it done, you know, when you're supposed to get it done. Do you have any questions? And is there anything you need help on in that specifically? Yeah.

Brandon Smith:

Right . You'll you'll, you'll, you'll love this. The military went to change how they gave commands and they went to something called commander's intent, which is exactly the same thing. So the commanding officer now comes to those discussions with their direct reports and direct reports, direct reports and the issue commander's intent for the mission. And that's the why of the mission, the what of the mission and the wind of the mission. But they let them decide the how of the mission, because there's too many variables on the battlefield. It's the same idea and it's healthy. So what we're really talking about is healthy relationships. It's , it's all it's. I mean, it's the same stuff. Um , it's why sometimes when I go back to nonprofits and I'll go into nonprofits and talk about kind of how to improve, how they operate, they'll come back to me and they'll say, you're trying to make us corporate. No, I'm trying to have a hell helps you have healthy relationships, clear expectations, clear roles, and bounce feedback, more positive than negative. This is what you want in a relationship with a significant other. It's not corporate necessarily as it is healthy. But yet when we struggle with that in all aspects of our life, whether it's professional or personal,

Jason Wasser:

It's so interesting that in the nonprofit world, when they have to apply for their nonprofit status and they have to have their structure shown hierarchy, all of those different things, most times I find that it's way clearer of what that business structure is in a non-profit than it is enough for . And yet they're saying exactly that, but we're not a corporation. We're not a company. Well, you are. And just because you're not, your goal is to use all of your money by the end of the year. It doesn't mean you still don't have to make money. It still doesn't mean you don't have a mission. It still doesn't mean you don't have quarterly and annual goals and a corporate culture. And I find that so interesting because the mindset and tell me if this is rung true for your experiences , that there's a non-profit mentality even about the boundaries. Well, we're doing something for the sake of something good. So therefore I have no problem asking you to do more than what's expected of you, because if you don't, you're not doing something for the sake of good and what's wrong with you in that regard .

Brandon Smith:

So it's a really tricky thing. What we love about non-profits is they're so mission driven, they've got a higher purpose. We said, gosh, wouldn't it be better if it's like, it's like the lion and the tin man, like, wouldn't be great. If companies had more hearts, they need a heart. There's a heart in there. Right. But nonprofits , they have this heart. But, but, but the problem is sometimes that heart can, can, can really break down boundaries. Um, so the two ways I see it kind of in a negative way is sometimes people w ill hold it up as kind of a, u m, a banner. Like you can't give me feedback c ause that's because I'm so committed to the mission. I'm more committed than you are. So how dare you give me any feedback and it can also lead to burnout. I've h ad more burnout with clients a nd n onprofits t han i ncorporations, u m, where they're just, you know, t hey're, they're working themselves t oo often. Hospitalization of all the clients I've worked with h ave been hospitalized from work-related burnout. They've all worked in nonprofits. So people i n n onprofits work just as much, if not more than i ncorporations, that's not necessarily to say it's healthy because it's usually because there's a, you know, there's a couple of people over there w e're just having coffee. So I'm picking up all their Slack. So I'm working 120% and they're working 60%. U m, so it's, it's, it's challenging. It's really challenging.

Jason Wasser:

Yeah. And I see it, especially when you're talking about income disparity for the nonprofit workers that they might be doing the same amount of work at a corporation or a for-profit business making double the triple the amount o f m oney. But, but that, but I find there's so much guilt in that n onprofit. And again, I sound like I'm only talking about the negativities of n onprofit b ecause I've worked for wonderful nonprofits and I 've b een involved with wonderful nonprofits, but that under culture. Right. C ause, c ause you and I, a ren't here to talk about what else is going on that needs to be talked about. So it can get better as well. Is, is the amount of like self guilt of how could I ask for more money because I'm taking away from someone else getting that money, which is the philosophy that I love from like that law of attraction world is that if you make a dollar, it's not taking another dollar out of someone else's pocket. So there's a lot of lack. There's a lot of belief of lack in, I think in that non-profit mindset that is perpetuated. And , and, and I know how many times I have conversations. One with people who are running n onprofits or working for nonprofits or a client of mine who works for, u m, for banking and loves, wants to support a n onprofit. And like I would love to, he said, I would love to leave my job in banking to go work for a n onprofit o n M ike. Once you do that, you do realize there's the politics. And then y ou're h andheld by what your job description is and what you can and can't do. If you do this as part of your organizational volunteering, then you get the community behind you and you get your corporation behind you, your bank behind you, you have much more power p lus b ecause it's on your terms. Y eah. Right. And you can decide, I can make more money and I can give more money and be more involved in a way that's much more liberating and you can have more impact.

Brandon Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. So, so here's, here's maybe a simple, let's think of an antidote that we can use in for-profit worlds . Nonprofit worlds kind of works in lots of places. So , um, in the healthiest, both as us, as leaders and individuals, but even in teams , it , the communication falls on a spectrum on one side is operational communication. The other side is relational communication. S o operational c ommunications stuff like role clarity and goals and expectations and accountability and deadlines and process, right. And that's, stuff's important. That's healthy. We c ould also call those boundaries in many ways. It kind of establishes some clear rules to the road, how we're g oing t o operate with each other and what matters. U m, but if we only l ive there, people experience us as cold and uncaring. O kay. Relational communications like listening and empathy and compassion a nd positive feedback and appreciation and teamwork trust. Okay. That's really important too . We want that connection with people, but we live there. People say, Oh, he's really nice. I have no idea where I stand, but he's nice. He's just the nicest guy. They don't ruffle the feathers of others. You would love to go out to coffee with him. He's just a great guy. Right. And healthy is always, middle-ish sometimes an organization needs to tip a little more operational because he need to clean some stuff up. Maybe they need to be , be a little more relational because people are just, they've been wounded and they need a little more love and attention, but middle-ish is always the right answer. And so, so sometimes corporations could go a little more on the relational side, really invest in their people where on finding that a lot now and when the virtual world , um , where, where they thought things like authenticity and vulnerability were nice to have, have become mandatory on virtual calls. So leaders had to stretch themselves that way and the nonprofits are, are pretty good on that side. They could probably use a little more of the operational stuff , um, and have some, you know, good accountability conversations to make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing so we can do the best for the mission. So middle-ish is kind of healthy. Um, and that's, you know, that's probably even true if we think about at home, you know, you think about personal relationship with a significant other , um, you know, we needed a little bit of that stuff helps us to kind of know who's supposed to do what, when,

Jason Wasser:

So how does that influence the emotionality of a community? Because I know right when you're around people for a certain amount of time, right, as that saying goes, you're the sum total of the five people you spend most of your day with, and this contagiousness of either emotions as contagiousness of energy, going back to the word that you started off our conversation with that's going on in the workplace. So how do we start navigating and identify ?

Brandon Smith:

Yeah. So this is a really cool body of research that I can't take credit for. I did, I did a Ted talk on spotlighting it, but it's great. Research started in the mid nineties. It's all about the contagiousness of emotions in the workplace. They called emotional contagion and they've uncovered a couple of really interesting kind of nuggets out of that. Not all emotions are equally contagious. Um, unfortunately for us, anxiety is probably top of the list, very, very contagious. Um, negativity's also very contagious. Have you ever worked with a negative coworker? This is kind of like, you know, often I hear the term ER, use to describe that person and they just kind of bring everybody kind of down a little bit to kind of having such a great day until I talked to Tammy. Yeah . That's so much , I just feel bad about myself, right? So it's, it's, it's kind of recognizing the emotional flow, why that matters so much is because the boss's emotional energy has more, is more like a factor of two. So if you walk into that environment and you're freaking out, everybody's going to be freaked out t o s nowing when, to, when to be, it goes back to earlier on self-awareness w what energy does the organization need right now? And so we think about the world we've been in last six months with everything being uncertain, uncertainty breeds, anxiety. It's like a gigantic Petri dish. It's like, a ll this anxiety m old i s just coming up just everywhere. C ause I don't know about my job. I don't know about my spouse's job and my k id's going to go back to school. They're going to go in person. Are they not? Are we going to get COVID what happens t hat we get COVID? Uh , one of those, our neighbor gets COVID like all these things that, you know, my vacation, I m ean, e verything's just k ind o f thrown up in the air. And so that uncertainty breeds this anxiety. And so if we're coming in with lots of hot sauce, we're just putting even more anxiety on the system. So we've got to know when we need to be that captain of the ship, that's going to be really calm and steady in the middle of all those high waves. And when we also need to kind of put a little bit of hot sauce in there, just recognizing that, that emotional tenor. U m, and if you're not sure ask no need to guess ask I've one of my, u m , c olleagues, good friend of mine he's out in Prague, Czechoslovakia or Czech Republic. Uh , h e always cr acks m e on that by the way. And he always opens all of his group conversations with how are you arriving today? Isn't that nice? I'm sure you probably use a version of that. How are you arriving today? It just gives space for people to talk about how they're feeling. That's really important data as you as a, for you as a leader. Cause you're, you're, you're trying to gauge what's the emotional tenor than I'm working with here, because remember we're trying to focus people and emotions can either help focus or help distract. So it's not touchy feely. It's very, quite practical. Like what's the emotional energy. And because if it's really off the chart, I need to attend to that because there's no way people are going to be able to focus on what they need to get done. So I love that question. How are you arriving today? Just be careful if you do that, create lots of space for it because people will tell you, they will tell you all they're arriving today.

Jason Wasser:

Yeah . I have this , uh, this, this phrase that I call it's the Boulder mentality of Boulder, Colorado, that I've spent a lot of time out there. One of my best friends lives there. And I find that people in a certain bubble within that Boulder community, b ecause B oulder i s known for it, that h ippie consciousness and neuroma university and you know, meditation and stuff like that, that I found more often than not that people aren't going to ask you, how are you? They're more likely to ask. So what are you working on? I t's nice. Right? And it c an mean on a , in the physical realm, it c an be in your spiritual r ealm. It c ould be in your psychological r ealms, but that same type of thing. So like when I have my clients come back for the next session is I don't usually start. I usually leave the space for them to bring something to the table. Or the question t hey'll ask is from the time our conversation ended last week, what h as come to your awareness that we maybe either need to move forward on or we need to go back and revisit.

Brandon Smith:

Yeah. I love that. When I was hearing you say that, I thought to myself, I love that idea. What are you working on? It has kind of a , a proactive intentionality to it, which I do love, I almost wonder what if you changed it to, what are you working through? It's almost like the, I did not want to work on this, but this was thrown on me. I'm trying to make my way through. This could be another way to reframe it, you know, for sure . For a lot of us , it's like I'm working through this muck that I did not want to be in. Yeah.

Jason Wasser:

Yeah . And how many people want to avoid those types of questions? Because I know I live in South Florida and um, I just met someone the other night who just moved down from the upper East side and I'm like, you'll get pretty used to South Florida has all the flashiness of New York minus maybe some level of intellectual ism compared to what people are doing and seeing pre pandemic. I think they're gonna go to Broadway. They're gonna greet , you know, there's more well-read in South Florida. Doesn't have the reputation for being the most intellectual community, unfortunately. And he's like, Oh, it's okay. My friends who are moving down here are just like that. So we're okay. We're used to that already. You know, we were looking for this, but some of our friends were moving down. But , uh , but again, as a cultural phenomenon, like people are afraid like, Oh, how are you? I'm good. What's going on? I've been busy or hectic. Right. There's going back to that urgency that if I'm not showing up as harried, if I'm not showing up as overwhelmed, if I'm not showing up as if I'm producing something and being so busy, my value is decreased or diminished in the eyes of others. And I think that's one of the that we have to stop telling. And one of th em, th ere a r e t h e q uestions that I have based on that is this idea of workplace safety has now taken on a new name over the last couple of m onths where ri ght. We 've, we've had in the last year, right. We 've b etween the riots. And then we've had the me too movement before that. But right now we have the politics coming into workplace. We've had the politics of the government, but we've also had the politics of COVID. And what has been de fined a s safe working spaces? Ye ah. Not just on a practical level, but on an emotional and a medical level. How are you finding, u m , p eople getting through that? What are some of the strategies and tips to help people manage? An d, an d, and if they feel like, wow, this is not safe for me, or my opinion is this, but my jo b's o pinion is that, and I don't really feel like they're taking our best in terests i n mind, but I'll lose my job if I don't show up anyway.

Brandon Smith:

Right. Right. Okay. So probably the biggest issue with this today is inconsistency. I can grab any three organizations anywhere on the planet, and I can tell you, they're going to figure out how the alcohol, a bunch of different set of rules hold different philosophy. You and I were kind of kidding before we started the podcast, but , but my experience has been , um, you can almost think of it as a religion. People have their COVID religion, how the lenses they look through and how the world is supposed to operate. Just like I might have my political religion or I've got my religion, religion, or my parenting philosophy, religion. Right. And, and those are very firm things set in my mind. And the, and the problem with the number one problem is every o rganizations creating their own religion. And so if you're g oing t o do that, you've g otta be really, really clear on explaining why. So that's the first step why we're doing this, why I'm asking you to come into work versus not, or why I'm asking you to go through these protocols. So for example , uh , you know , I still teach adjunct at Emory and I taught a class for the executive MBAs. So even at Emory and the business school, the BBAs , not on campus, all virtual. Okay. Um, for the full time MBAs, for the most part, all virtual, the executive MBAs on campus, you have the option. Some can come in, dial in virtually. So I had spokes on zoom and then 15 in , in , in the classroom, socially distant, all the safety protocols, I'm wearing a , um , a plastic screen or a face mask. And then I'm standing behind a big plexiglass wall and every hour we had to leave the room. So the air could recirculate . Now that's a policy I'd never heard of before. Right . I think, I think, frankly, I think I'm ready . Just made it up to make everyone feel better. Okay. But, but that's, everyone's creating their own set of rules. Um, and even within the organizations inconsistent, right, you've got all these different, you know, different students that some are coming in and some are some aren't. So I think it's important that , um, there's clarity as to why. And I do think that you have to be able to give people space right now to opt out the healthiest organizations are giving that, giving them space, they're giving that flexibility. Um, and there's two reasons for that, that are really important. One, you have to recognize people's own personal needs, whether they are, u h , e motional or physical, maybe I'm just very afraid. I'm terrified. Or maybe I've got an underlying health condition, which is going to put me in a dangerous position, but you also have to recognize people's life situation that they're in right now, to o. What if it's two working parents and kids are you're in a school district where they're doing virtual and your kids are five and seven. Well, how are you going to do that? So, u m , t h e best organizations are really just, just turns out, jus t wo rked out perfectly, Jason. They both begin with C t h ey're leading with clarity on condos, why they're doing it and compassion. So they're, they're really, they're, they're trying to give people grace. Um, and, but they're , and they're recognizing that not everyone can do this, but they're also explaining why the last thing is, I think you also want to attend to the emotional energy that these people are going through. We think about our folks, not only kind of , uh , healthcare workers, but you know, my heart even goes out to folks who are working in restaurants right now. They've got to go through all these protocols. And yet you've got people who are really stressed out, not all the diners, but probably one out of 10, probably shouldn't be out in public, frankly. They should probably be talking to a therapist, not out in public. U m, and so they're just being brutal with these, u h, service providers. U m, and t hey often in the emotional contagion literature, they talk about kind of the most challenging is when you have to deliver e motion to a recipient and they're not feeling they're not gonna respond w ith the same emotion. So the example I always give is like, u h, hospice nurses, you've g ot t o be upbeat and positive while the person's literally dying. And I think we end up with that, that emotional dissonance right now with a lot of folks in the f rontline. So being able to t end to them and give that extra support is also really important. Y eah.

Jason Wasser:

And I found that the judgmentalness on both sides of the coin, right? Either a you're not doing enough or B you're doing too much, right. The people are saying, what do you mean? That's not as bad? And we can go out and I've been out and I've been fine and nothing's happened to me yet, but I love how they always say yet, because yet we know yet means that it could still happen. Right. But I'm finding that, that level of judgmentalness one again, because of the political climate too, because of this a s a coupled with it, right before this election season, that the j udge m ental illness is just huge a nd t oday i s nine 11. Right. So, so I just wanted to wake up today and only feeds on social media regarding nine 11 and unity and coming together. And I'm kind of like, I am looking out for seeing w ho's bursting that bubble, that t hings, t heir political or medical opinion is more important than the sanctity of today for, for our country.

Brandon Smith:

Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Wasser:

And , and what's going on with that and why, why did they decide? Right. And it is a judgment I'm going to admit, right. That's judgemental on my end when we all go through judgements , as you know, right from the neurological side of our brain is sifting and sorting through thousands of things every minute. And the approach avoid , and what's safe for me and all that, stuff like that. But I it's like that hope. And of course, right, that expectation is I'm hoping that people will acknowledge this, this, this space, this energy, just like what's going on in the workplace are going on in schools are going on in any type of environment, but seeing and discerning who aligns with them. Who's part of my tribe. Who's in my religion. Like you were saying before. Yeah . And it's splitting us and it , and it's really, really tough because I can see how people are the most successful people I'm finding that are going through. This are saying, if I'm going to talk to someone on the other side, and I talk about this a lot in my workshops, if you're going to talk to someone, talk more policy than politic, talk about where your starting point is, why you believe that what you believe, not just soundbites of everybody is this or everybody's that , or these people are doing the right. That's not going to get us anywhere. But like you just said, here's the reason why here's what we have up to date . The note I put down when you were talking was we're doing the best we can at this given moment, given the resources and the information we have.

Brandon Smith:

Yeah, absolutely. And go back to the trust formula. That would be a form of authenticity and vulnerability. I'm not saying I have the perfect answer, right. Anybody would say right now they have the perfect answer. We would , that would be wrong. That would be it because we're all in a situation where we're vulnerable. So just acknowledge that I'm doing the best I can. We're doing the best we can with what we have and we're going to move forward and take it kind of one day at a time, one week at a time, there's a, u h , f olks I know in the crisis communication world say, say, when an organization is in crisis, they can really only handle one week at a time. They can handle one. You can have one North star beyo nd that, but you really need to just focus everybody one week at a time. We're just going to be one w eek at a time, everybody,

Jason Wasser:

Okay , let's just get over there . Let's just get over this mountain. But we have to show up all at the foot of the mountain in order for all of us to get there together. But you have to show up and it's , as I see a doctor , uh, the daring greatly book peeking out from behind your , behind your shoulder, I'm like, which books do I also have? I always like seeing that like like-minded stuff so right. But it , but it is it's, the vulnerability is not right. That Bernay Brown talks about h is vulnerability is not the weakness. T he vulnerability is the, is the strength. And can you be scared? Can you be overwhelmed? Can you be anxious and still show up a nyway and still try to bring your best game to the table. So as we kind of, u m, wrap up, I want to just talk a little bit more about the stuff that you're doing, u m, on the personal level, on your professional level, right? The book that just came out, the H assan hot sauce p rinciple, but I know there's also podcasts and speaking and consulting. So let's just wrap up with a few minutes on all the different ways that you're bringing this awesomeness to the world.

Brandon Smith:

Probably the first starting place is so my handle, I picked it up years ago when I was on NPR affiliates is the workplace therapist. So I kind of take all that stuff that you and I are so passionate about and try and try and educate people in the workplace. This isn't so scary. This is actually healthy stuff. So , uh, my blog and my podcast is the workplace therapist. It's where people can go and get resources to help them make their workplaces a little less messy, a little bit healthier every week. And then of course, you know , I get hired to do executive coaching or work with teams , uh, both nonprofit and for-profit. And then of course, you know, any kind of speaking engagements, that kind of stuff, which of course now is all virtual. So it's all, it's all over zoom, but which I have found to be pretty effective, frankly. Uh , that's the one of those surprising things. U m, but the, my latest thing that I'm really trying to put in people's hands i s the hot sauce p rinciple, getting people that c opy that book so they can, they can help to make their workplaces and their personal lives, frankly. U h, not quite so o f flaming hot and just the right amount of spice that, you know, t hey, they feel focused.

Jason Wasser:

So who would be most surprised to realize they need this book, but don't realize that they do.

Brandon Smith:

Um, probably the leader that is saying to herself or himself, we're just always behind. We're just always behind. We , I just got , I gotta push harder. Uh, so I'm , uh , I'm a big baseball fan, so you've got to bear with me for a minute. Okay. So , um, Greg Maddux pitch for the Braves hall of fame pitcher, arguably one of the top five, if not top three pitchers of all time pitchers not throwers pitchers. And he said the difference between a hall of fame pitcher and a and an okay p icture is when an okay p icture gets into trouble. They throw harder when a hall of fame p itcher gets i nto trouble, they throw a softer, I want to give this to the t wo t o the leaders that are trying to go harder because that's not what they need to be doing right now. It's when they need more hot sauce is not the solution. It's like, Oh, they don't quite get how sp ice I need more spice. No, you've got plenty of spice dial back. That would be the leader that could benefit from this the most, the one that is just so overwhelmed and so anxious and they think more hot sauce is the answer.

Jason Wasser:

Mm . And I'm hearing from that, those that need to work on their touch and their finesse.

Brandon Smith:

Yes. Yeah. And goes back to, self-awareness be aware, how are you showing up? How are you arriving every day? And is that what the organization and your people really need.

Jason Wasser:

Awesome. Awesome. So guys, those of you who are out there, please check out Brandon's book again, it's called the hot sauce principle, and it's available pretty much wherever you want to go to find your typical,

Brandon Smith:

Easiest , easiest ways to Amazon, but absolutely lots Of, lots of places do

Jason Wasser:

Your website and whatever it may be and check out his social media. Um , again, Brandon, thank you so much for spending time. And I know that these are the, the, the conversations that people sometimes are afraid to have is exactly why I want to have these conversations is that it needs to be spoken. It needs to be shared, you know, it's the duality of, I know we can do better, but how do I own up to the fact that I may be part of that challenge in order for us to, as a team to get there. So I really do help the hope that this inspires those out there to connect with us , uh, through both your resources and through this , uh, through this podcast. So those of you out there please subscribe to his social media channels, especially if you're in the entrepreneur and business world. And if you found any value in this, please subscribe and even more. So leave us a starred review on our podcast . Not only does it give us some positive feedback, but it actually helps us be found by other people within the ranks and circles of , uh, you know , other podcasts that are out there. And that helps us move up and be seen and get our , our , our words and our messages in front of more people. So again, Brandon, thanks so much for spending time with us today. Jason, thanks .

Brandon Smith:

Keep having me . It's an absolute pleasure. Thanks for listening to the you winning life podcast. If you are ready to minimize your personal and professional struggles and maximize your potential, we would love it. If you subscribe so you don't miss an episode, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Jason Wasser, L M F T.