Halftime Adjustments (Part 2)

In the second part of our series “Halftime Adjustments,” John Maxwell shares two more adjustments that leaders need to make to effectively lead in the second half of this year. He discusses the importance of embracing unchanging values in an unpredictable world and the need for emotional strength during challenging times.

For the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Chris Goede dive into the values of The John Maxwell Enterprise and how those values have helped the organization navigate the challenges of 2020.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the Halftime Adjustments Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT

Mark Cole:           Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast! This is part two of the Halftime Adjustments series. In today's lesson, John is going to take adjustment number three and adjustment number four in his recent series, Halftime Adjustments. Now, I will be joined by Chris Goede, and we're going to listen to John share adjustment three, adjustment four and then Chris and I will be back with you and we're going to break down how we're applying these adjustments to the halftime of our business during these times of crisis. Now, if you want to go and download the worksheet and follow along with John, you can go to Maxwellpodcasts.com/halftime, click on the “Bonus Resource” button and you will be able to follow along. Again, thank you for joining us. Here is John Maxwell!

John Maxwell:      Observation number three: Our biggest crisis is our loss of values. I'm not trying to in any way underestimate the crisis that we have. We all know that there's racial inequality, we all know that it's wrong, we all know that it's a cancer in our culture, we all know this. I'm not trying to minimize anything that is before us, the pandemic, I'm not ignoring this. But listen to me very carefully, I'm going to repeat it: Our biggest crisis is our loss of values. I know that to be true, because in 1992, Larry Kirshbaum who was the CEO of Time Warner, I was writing for Time Warner at that time, Coleman in New York City, we had a long dinner, and it was during the Enron crisis, and it was the beginning of this corporate culture of deceitfulness and fraud, and quick and easy dollars to be made and literally leaving employees, holding a bad outcome, an empty bag, and Enron had just hit this major news and so Larry said, “John, I want you to write a book for me on business ethics.” And I said, “Well, I can't do that.” He said, “Why?” I said, “Because there's no such thing as business ethics.” He said, “Well, what do you mean? Look at Enron.” And he began to name other companies in America that were just doing wrong, that didn't have ethics. He said, “They don't have business ethics.” I said, “No, no, you don't understand, Larry, there's no such thing as business ethics.” I said, “There's just ethics. That's all, there's just ethics. And if you have them, it works in business. Oh, happy day! And it works in your community, it works in your family, and if you don't have them, it doesn't work anywhere.” And of course, he was, you know, he's a promoter, he's a publisher, he said, “Oh, I love the title of the book, There's No Such Thing As Business Ethics, and literally, the book came out with that title, and we won several awards from ethic communities and societies about the book. That's not the point right now, it's called Ethics 101 now, but anyway, here's the point, the point being, I knew that the only way that I could help us get a right our ship was to go to values, and I went to an incredible value, the golden rule, which is absolutely embraced and taught in every religion, and every culture; we did research on it. Every religion, every culture has the golden rule. It's a terrific value, treat others as you want to be treated. And I literally built the entire ethics book on the golden rule. That was life changing to me because it was a eureka moment, and I learned something that I'm very passionate about now. Now, let me give you the observation. The observation is very simple: The biggest crisis in our lives, is the loss of our values. We've lost our way, folks, we've lost our way. In fact, that is such a fact that no matter what country I'm in, when they ask us to come in and begin to teach values in the country, I don't have to convince anybody that we have a values deficit that we've lost our way. So, here's the adjustment, the adjustment for this is that we need to embrace on changing values in an unpredictable world. And by the way, that's not my thought, that thought was several centuries ago by Plato. By the way, there's a book that you really want to get, I've read several books during the COVID-19 and what we're going through right now, but it's called Plato's Lemonade Stand by Tom Morris. Plato's Lemonade Stand, it’s a phenomenal book, and I'm going to read from the book, okay? And, just let me read for a moment because I want to make sure you understand. This isn't my thought, this is the thinking of great men and women of the past.

Here's how Tom Morris writes it in the book, Plato's Lemonade Stand: “A champion wrestler as well as a great thinker, Plato took his stand on unchanging values as the ultimate leverage we have for grappling with this unpredictable world.” Centuries ago, folks, centuries ago. “He was convinced that we could attain true success in life only if we first understand the things that never change and use them well as our reference points from moving forward productively through life's uncertainties.” He continues by saying, “Centuries later, Jesus of Nazareth, talked about building a structure of your life on solid foundation of unyielding rock rather on shifting sands that provide no shore support.” And then Tom Morris quotes Soren Kierkegaard, he said, here's what Kierkegaard said, he said, “When the sailor is out on the sea and everything is changing around him as the waves are continually being born and dying, he does not stare at the depth of these since they vary, he looks up to the stars and why? Because they are faithful - as they stand now, they stood for the patriarchs, and will stand for coming generations. By what means then does he conquer changing conditions? Through the eternal: By means of the eternal, one can conquer the future, because the eternal is the foundation of the future.” And then finally, Tom Morris tells us—I'm still reading, “Our highest ideals, and our deepest values that connect with the eternal can shed light on the often murky and confusing situations we face at work and in our personal lives.” Powerful thought. The biggest crisis we have is a loss of good values. I've just finished writing a book. In fact, I wrote it during COVID-19 called, Change Your World, and in it, I make this statement that, “Transformation is possible for anyone willing to learn and live good values, value every person and collaborate with others to create a culture of positive change.” We hear a lot about, you know, laws and changing laws and laws are very important, laws are guardrails in our community and society, so I'm not anti-law. So please understand, stay with me for a moment, but let me tell you something, you can put a law in the land and if people like good values, they'll find a way, they'll find a loophole in that law. They always have, they always will. Discussion truly is over my friend. You can't board up a country and make it safe by having great loss. It's the values. It isn't the outward law, it's the heart, to be honest with you, you know I'm a person of faith, if the law was all we needed, then Jesus didn't need to come. The Old Testaments all you got to have, so read the Old Testament and be on with your life. It has to be more than a law, it has to be deeper and higher than a law; it has to be inward values. I had a great discussion last week with my creative team. We spent a day and a half, a long day and a half in Atlanta, talking about the transformational values that we teach internationally, and we're getting ready to bring them to America. In fact, my book Change Your World will be released in January of 2021, and with that, we're going to begin a transformational movement in America. We're very excited about it, and we've been doing it in other countries, we know what works, and what works is to have what we call “Transformation Tables”, small groups, where you teach, live out, learn transformational values. And so, we went through the transformational values, I can't give you all of them because there's so many of them, I mean, I think there are 25 of them and it's just powerful, but incredible transformation values such as courage, empathy, forgiveness, humility…wow! Valuing every person, if we just valued everybody, if we just valued every person, we wouldn't take advantage of that person, we wouldn't discriminate those people. It's a values issue. We've got a heart issue. And I'm just so excited, I'm so excited about what can happen. In fact, I told the transformation team although we don't really like what's happening right now in our country in the crisis we're going through, what a beautiful day for us. Because we understand that we have lost our way with values, and the only way to get back on that track is to get back to the right values, the good values, the golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. How complicated is this? For our John Maxwell Team, our coaching company, when we introduce them to JMT DNA, we have an opening statement form, it's powerful and it works, and I give it to you. We teach all of our coaches, when they become a part of the John Maxwell Team. By the way, love for you to be a part of the John Maxwell Team, 34,000 John Maxwell team members in 170 countries around the world. Wow! It's a beautiful thing. Here's what we say when we teach about putting on JMT DNA, we say we are people of value who value people and add value to them. It’s who we are, it’s what we do, very simple. People of value who value people, and when you value yourself, have self-worth, when you value others, your first response is to add value to them just as it's the opposite, if I don't value you I won't add value to you, you don't add value to people that you devalue. It doesn't work that way. So, in our crisis…trust me, my name is John, I'm your friend. We have a values crisis. We do.

Observation number four: Emotions create a tail wagging the dog scenario. Mary Shelley says, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” I think that's probably, really true. And because of change and the sudden change in the blind side and things that we don't see coming, we begin to be incredibly emotional. So, get the point again, the observation is very simple: Emotions create a tail wagging the dog scenario. I love Mary Shelley’s quote, I put a quote kind of behind that, that I think just kind of ties into it, and it's a very simple quote, “Emotional strength is revealed during a crisis.” You see, when a crisis comes, we find out what people have on the inside. How emotionally strong am I when things are not going well? We can all be emotionally strong when things are going our way. We all have that. But during a crisis, things don't go our way. We get surprised, we get blindsided, things happen that we don't like, and all of a sudden, we find out what we are on the inside as far as emotional stability and strength. I'm telling leaders, every time I'm teaching now, that this is the time on your team to find out who your players are and who your pretenders are. Because trust me, if you're leading a team, you've got some pretenders. You got some people that really look good when things are going good, but they don't look good when things are going bad. You know why? They're not emotionally strong on the inside. And what leaders are finding all over the country and around the world right now, as they're looking and finding the players and the pretenders, what they're finding is that there are a lot of their staff, instead of being a leader and helping lift the load, by the way, leaders lift, leaders lift the load, instead of lifting the load, because they're not emotionally strong themselves, they're part of the load. They're bogging things down. They're asking the same questions that followers are asking and they're going through emotions that are debilitating to their leadership. So the adjustment that we need to make with this kind of an observation, the adjustment we need to make is that leaders need to develop emotional strength. I go back to Tom Morris's, Plato's Lemonade Stand, but now I'm sure you're going to get the book. Great book!

Here's what Tom Morris says about stability: “Imagine life as a big wagon wheel, if we emotionally live on the outer rim, then as the wheel turns, we’re spun around to extreme highs and lows and rapid and dizzying succession. Why? Because we're on the outer rim. Everything is exaggerated in our life.” So, leaders that are out on the outer rim, they're emotionally unstable, also. So, what's Tom say? “But if we could learn—" I love this phrase, “If we can learn to move closer to the midpoint of the hub.” In other words, get to the middle of that wheel. “We become much more centered and the wheel will spin in fact, it spins as much as it always has, but we won't be so dramatically thrown about by it's motion.” And I put right in the book, on his Lemonade Stand book I put right in the book, “Leaders need to live near the midpoint of the hub.” And so, my advice to every one of you out there, if you're on a leadership team, you need to ask yourself the very simple question, am I helping lift the load? Or am I adding to the load? If you're leading a staff, I'm saying to you, leaders, you got to look at every one of your team players, you got to ask yourself, are they lifting? are they helping me? Are they making things better around here? Or are they part of the problem? It's like, when I was leading as a pastor of a large church in San Diego, and I'd have staff members bring me issues and problems, and one day I thought, “You know what? Any person can find a problem, any person can find an issue.” I don't mean this unkindly. You don't have to be smart to find out a problem. Hello! So, I looked at them and I said, “We're going to change things, when you bring a problem, it's okay because we have problems. We have to deal with them. We're not trying to be the ostrich and hide our head in the sand. But when you bring me a problem, bring me three solutions. Three ways that you think that problem can be fixed.” And by the way, one of the three that you bring, you're part of the solution. In other words, you're saying, “We have a problem, and I think I could help you here.” I can tell you that immediately changed the mindset of my team and my staff. Why? It's very simple, I was teaching them to be emotionally solid and stable.

I did a teaching a few months back, and I close with this on emotionally strong leaders, because I can promise you right now, in this crisis needed more than anything else is emotional stability and strength among leaders. And sadly, sadly, I was explained to someone the other day when I was teaching during this entire period of darkness that we've been in, I am what I call leadership sad, I'm just leadership sad. I'm a positive person, I try to always be up for people and smile. But on the inside, I'm very leadership sad and I'm leadership sad, not because of all the issues and the problems and the people. It's because of the leaders. The leaders, we're not stepping up and we're not stepping up because we lack strong emotional core, and so I said, when I did this lesson, really, I did it a couple of years ago on emotionally strong leaders, I said the following six things, I give them to you quickly in closing.

Emotionally strong leaders number one: Do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves. You can't moan and lead at the same time. Figure it out, would you please? Does anybody want to follow a moaning, groaning leader? I don't. You don't. None of us do. Make a choice. Are you going to be part of the problem or are you going to be part of the solution? Are you going to moan or are you going to grow?

Number two: Emotionally strong leaders do not allow themselves to be controlled by others. Now, they walk slowly through the crowd, they've listened, they respect people's opinions. There's a difference between me asking questions, respecting your opinion, listening to you, and letting you control how I lead. You see, you either lead or you be led. Lead or be led. That's just how simple it is.

Number three: Emotionally strong leaders embrace changes and challenges. In fact, to be honest with you, leaders are just a little bit weird here. When there's a problem, they just kind of start living and breathing to a higher level. It just excites them because they've got a challenge in front of them, they love mountains, they just, “Give me a mountain and let me figure out how to get myself and my team to climb it.”

Number four: Emotionally strong leaders do not worry about pleasing others. They want to serve others, they want to help others. But a long time ago as a young leader, I realized that I was called to be a leader, not a clown. So, my goal isn't always to make you happy. I learned a long time ago, that if I just make you happy, I can't help you. In fact, I learned also that if you need people, if you need their affirmation, you need people say, “Oh, you're just wonderful or we couldn't do it without you.” All that stuff, that's so ridiculous. If you need people, you really can't lead people. You have to be able to rise above the emotions of others because they're really raw right now, and you need to be stronger on the inside. A leader that can't rise emotionally above the people that he or she has tried to lead is just going to take them all on an emotional train wreck. I promise you, I promise you.

Number five: Emotionally strong leaders do not expect immediate results or answers. There's no quick fix. So, when people are always asking me, “Well, make a quick statement!” “This happened, make a statement.” I'm looking at them and saying, “Excuse me, a statement isn't going to make a difference.” Now, there are ways to make a difference. But emotionally strong leaders realize this is no quick fix. It's a lot deeper and deserves more than just a statement.

And finally, emotionally strong people are not led by their emotions; they're led by their values, they're led by their calling, they're led by their principles. I can tell you what they're led by, but their emotions…no, no, there are many times as a leader, emotionally I want to do something that I didn't do because I understood that I had a higher calling and I need to go to a higher level than what the emotional world would allow me to live in and walk in. Well, there you have it, there are the observations and four adjustments, and this is halftime, so my goal for you, me, for all of us is let's kind of look at these adjustments. Let's make them, let's look at the observations and let's learn from them, and let's just get better because of them. God bless, my name is John and I'm your friend.

Mark:                    Chris, welcome back, man! It is good to be co-hosting with you today. Man, John is on fire right now, isn't he? I've heard you say recently that some of John's best content after 20 years being on the team is right now during these times.

Chris Goede:        Yeah, you know, he's just in a season of his life where he's just speaking straight from his heart. He's speaking from his principles and the values of who he is and how he's led. Before we dive in, I just want to say thank you because we were at a halftime adjustment, and I didn't get put on the bench for the second half of this year. You let me, kind of, hang with you for a little bit on the second. So, the adjustment we did make was Chris exiting stage left.

Mark:                    Hey, you know, Chris, and those of you that have not listened to part one, you do want to go back and listen to that. You don't have to, to listen to this lesson today, but you'll want to go back. Chris, you're familiar with halftime adjustments, you're familiar with that in a sports world, but I'm watching you and I want you to know I appreciate this. I'm going to say this publicly here, I appreciate you helping me with halftime adjustments in this organization. You've been here a while, you could be stuck in yesterday, but you said it just now as we were listening to John, “I've been pushed and pulled by you to make the right halftime adjustments.” And I got to tell you, all of you that are leading during these times, if you are blessed as I am to have people working with you, coaches, players that are making this halftime adjustment, take a moment, shoot them a text, send them an email, broadcast on a podcast, do something to let them know how much you appreciate them. I appreciate you, Chris, looking forward to this episode today!

Chris:                    Yeah, I appreciate that. We have an incredible team, and in times like this, I think you'll see your team, you know, John talked a little bit about the pretenders, right? And the players, you're going to find those that are going to rally around you and you're going to be able to lead together. And so, it's really some sweet times for leadership teams, because someday we're going to—John often talks about you can say you were in the room, but you don't always want to be in that room. Right? You're going to be able to say that you were in the room as you're going through this. Now, let's talk a little bit about this, I think number three that John talks about, and the observation that he's made, he mentioned in there a meeting that we had the privilege of just kind of sitting in from a creative and some of the things that he's most excited about with this new book coming up and the new movement, Change Your World. Man, something that really grabbed me is when John talked to us, he kicked off the meeting, I think you wanted him to take about 15 minutes, he took about 50, but that's okay, and he looked at each one of us and he said, “Man, I'm really sad.” And I hadn't heard that from John before, that tone, like where he was, and he was broken, and he was just talking about the fact that, man, we have lost our way as leaders, as people when it comes to our core values. And the adjustment, this is a brilliant statement, and we're going to spend a little bit of time right here because this is so important. And this is the message that our enterprise wants to send to the world because if we can figure this out, then I think that we can solve a lot of things in our businesses, in our lives, in our communities, and our families. He says, “We have to embrace unchanging values in an unpredictable world.” Now, we're in an unpredictable world, but as leaders, we're always in an unpredictable world. So, it's not just 2020, it's just not the crisis. But what I love is he says, “Man, you got to have unchanging values personally, as well as an organization.” And, and so, Mark is going to talk to you a little bit about kind of what that is for us, and what we like to call is our “decision making filter”, it's what allows us to have a backbone in the decisions that we make and the directions that we go and when you and John get together our values are always at the top. Talk a little bit about the importance of that to John, to you, and just when it comes to leading the enterprise, and what we're doing right now.

Mark:                    We have seven values on a laminated card. If you follow John, you know the importance of laminated cards. I won't go there on this podcast, but it's on a laminated card that we give every one of our teammates. We ask them to carry it around with them, put it on their desk. I'm going to give you three of those seven values. Our purpose is on there, our vision is on there, and then seven of our values and then the explanation of the values. I'm going to give you three today that are very important to us in this podcast. You've heard me talk about them before, and if you haven't heard me talk about them before, and you've listened several times, shame on me, because your values should always be talked about and even more than talked about, they should be lived out. You should be able to see your values. Well, three of those are people. We value people. John mentioned this in the lesson today, we are people of value that value people. The second one is growth. We value growth personally, and we value growth corporately. The final one that I want to mention today is leadership. We believe this: everything rises and falls on leadership. So, you just mentioned when John says, “I’m leadership sad.” He said that in the lesson today, he said that and that changed your world in the creative meeting that we had. He said it in some recordings that we did last week. It is true. Here's why: because the world as it relates to valuing each other, valuing people, the world is in decline. In fact, perhaps we're bankrupt. We just don't value others. We value you if you agree with our opinion, we value you if your response to COVID is our response, but if you have a different response, I don't value that different response. We have ceased to value people, and so when John says, “I'm leadership sad.” I've never heard him use language like that, he's positive, uplifting, oh my gosh, encouraging. In fact, John will look at a discouraging comment and a discouraging group and go, “Man, get me out of here, Mark, I've got to go somewhere else.” But why is he leadership sad? Well, he lists the challenge, the real difficulty in the world today. The observation is we have a loss of values. That is our biggest crisis. John says it's not COVID health, it's not COVID financial, it's not COVID emotional, it's not the racial division of the country, he believes there is a bigger crisis, and that crisis is a loss of values. Now, for us, again, we believe in the value of all people. We believe in everyone. We have worked hard during this time to show our team we don't value money, we value people. We've not had the easiest three to four months. In the last four months, it's not been the easiest for us. We've had a couple of our profit centers that have increased most of our profit centers has decreased. Yet, we have not to date laid off one individual from our team. We've just made a decision, we're going to value people. Some leaders have made difficult sacrificial decisions so that we could keep our team intact. The reason that was important is because for the short term, at least, and we believe it's going to be for the long term, we're going to demonstrate a value of people. Here is why the crisis is so important for us to observe, and then to make this adjustment that John talked about, and you mentioned. If we as an organization, if we as a people would just take a step back and begin valuing one another, do to others as you would want done to you, the golden rule that John talked about in the lesson, if we would just take a moment and we take a step back and begin valuing people and quit making it about red and blue, this political party or that political party, this organization that is trying to make too much money while this organization is not making enough money, if we would just get above all of that noise and make an adjustment to value one another, I believe we would have a revival. Yes, I used that word, we would have a revival of humanity. We would have a revival of an attribute that most of our—no matter what your faith persuasion is, if you had a persuasion of faith at all, it was about valuing and caring for the eternal significance of another human being. The significance that was greater than their lifespan, and if we would get back and care more for a person's life beyond the dash of how we know them, and how they impact our life, in other words, if we'd care for them as a person, not as an object of our initiatives, then we would begin to make a turn. And I'll tell you, Chris, I don't know if it's happening yet, I'm not going to be that kind of a prophet or a forecaster, but I will tell you the solution to get out of these crisis, and to get back to a world or not back to a world to get to a world of values, it's going to start with valuing each other.

Chris:                    And I think what you’re hearing Mark, and you're hearing the passion of what he's talking about is our top value. So, my challenge to you leaders is that don't allow your values just to be something that's on a laminated card. Although, laminated cards are important, we talked about that. Are you making decisions on a daily, minute by minute basis in this extremely fluid world that is in direct alignment with the values that you have as an organization? And what you just heard Mark talk about is the passion of our organization, is the passion that John Maxwell has mentored and developed Mark and is now going throughout our enterprise, and that number one is valuing people. And we are a firm believer in that, you know, I mentioned to you that I love how John just talks about the fact that here's where he stands on everything, right? He says, “I believe in people.” We know that, he puts 10 on people's heads, even when we look, and we go, “What?” Right? He believes in people, he values people, and then he unconditionally loves people. You know, listen, it doesn't matter what industry you're in, it doesn't matter what you do for a living, none of that stuff, we're all in the people business. So, if you're in the manufacturing business, if you're in logistics, if you're in sales, if you're—whatever you're doing, none of that matters, because at the end of the day, it matters more about the people that you get to do life with and that you get to value and that you get to work with, and so yes. Listen, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We got to know what we're doing. We got to run a successful business, a successful family, all that stuff, but remember, at the core of it, it's people and to Mark's point, it's valuing people.

Mark:                    Yeah, you know, Chris, you used how John kind of defines valuing people, believe in people, value people, and unconditionally love people, and that's what we mean and that's what John means. I think about the word unconditional love, and we're going to camp out here for just a moment, and we've been here a minute we are going to go to the next, but I think about this idea of unconditionally loving, and you know, again, that came to me through a faith context when I was unlovable, when I had nothing to give, when I had nothing to offer, I still felt love. I still felt value when I did not internally feel or see anything of value. Our challenge now is, is we conditionally love people. If you believe like us, if you believe like me, then I love you. And I think we've just lost that, we've become so divisive. We've become so opinionated, that our opinions, pre-emanate people's values. You can't unconditionally love, the best model in my human humanity that I have of unconditionally love are my girls, my two daughters, I love those girls. They've made mistakes. They've messed up, I still provide for them, I still have a place for them, I still love them. I'll get a little frustrated with them, but boy, there's something that preamps that frustration. It's love. Now, I still struggle with being unconditional loving to them, as I have been unconditionally loved. But if there was a challenge I could give you today and you can tell I'm on my soapbox, if there was a challenge that I could give you to get out of crisis it would be quit trying to express your opinion or quit trying to fault someone else's opinion and get above that with unconditional love. Now, love does not mean accepting somebody’s opinions or accepting somebody's point of view as your own. We've got too many people that's trying to make statements to coddle someone else. That's not where I'm going. Love sometimes it's tough, but if you will love people with an unconditional, non-biased love, a real desire to see them be their best, whether it's tough love, whether it's gentle love, there is a need for us to put in more love into our relationship.

Chris:                    Yeah, that's good. Love them where they are, maybe not where you are. Right? Stay where you are, but love them where they are to that point, and I think that's well said. Hey, let's move on because if I got Mark going, he would continue to go on that topic. It's just a priority of ours as an organization and his personally. But let's talk about this last adjustment John mentioned to us, and it's funny, the observation he gives us is emotions, you know, create a tail wagging the dog scenario. And there are a lot of tails right now that are wagging dogs. I'll give you this example, we again, as Mark said, we're in organizations around the world, and one of the most influential person in an organization we work with, happens to be an Executive Assistant to one of the Vice Presidents, and let me tell you why she's the most influential person in this large organization. She has two different color coffee mugs and depending on the emotions of the Vice President that day, she puts out a certain coffee mug, this is a true story. And so, his team knows whether or not they're going to enter that office, whether they need to ask a question, make a comment, maybe they choose not to even go in the office at all because they see a certain color coffee mug, that's a true story, and those that are listening, we've all worked for leaders like that before. And I think John hits it right here is that emotions, right? Of so many leaders are just kind of wagging the dog right now, and one of the things that we've got to figure out as a leader and John says makes this adjustment is that we've got to develop emotional strength, right? I like to talk about consistency when it comes to leading your people, leading your family, leading your community leading whatever it is, and so he gives us some great examples. Talk a little bit about just your experience with John from the years, your seat, different leaders you've seen what he's talking about right here, right? Is getting that emotional strength in times like this, the adjustments that we need to make to make sure that we're not the tail wagging the dog in our sphere of influence.

Mark:                    You know, I've never been in a place to where—I've met for the last 20 years, I have met some of the world's most noted leaders riding shotgun with John, carrying John's bag, I've got to meet the best of the best as it relates to success, as it relates to popularity, as it relates to responsibility, I've rubbed shoulders with some significant leaders and built relationship with those leaders through the years. I've never experienced what I'm experiencing now, and here's what I mean, I've said this often perhaps, I've said it even on the podcast here, the most repeated sentence of a leader that I've heard in 2020 is, “I don't know.” I now am going deeper, Chris, you know that you sent me a voicemail or text or something the other day that was giving me a hard time about, “I don't know”, and I cracked up about it. But I now go deeper in that, Chris, because I want to know if it's an emotional, “I don't know”, or a factual “I don't know.” There's a big difference. If I don't know because of factually, there are some things that still need to fall into place, I think it is humbling and endearing for a leader to say, “I don't know, but we'll figure it out. I don't know because this has got to fall into place before I can tell you this.” That's endearing. That's this vulnerability that I'm loving. But when a leader don't know today what they thought they knew yesterday and may know tomorrow, but then don't know the next day, there's this emotional roller coaster that I think is plaguing leadership right now, and therefore, is an unintended consequence of people that are looking to leadership right now. You've got to stay away from the emotional “I don't know.” You've got to! well, back in July, my family and I took a little bit of time and just wanted to spend time together, you know, with social distancing, and all of that the options are very few. So, we found a place where we felt comfortable. We took one of our family friends, our daughter's best friend, and we went and had a fabulous time. Well, I get back after about seven days of fasting, social media, news media, word of mouth media, I just got rid of all of it.

Chris:                    Which is a great idea for all of us, by the way!

Mark:                    Yes, do that sometimes, because that's the source of a lot of our emotional, erratic behavior is all of that media coming in. Well, case in point, I came and talked to a couple of our leaders, and they were just giving me updates, they were quoting this news outlet, this news outlet, that news outlet, they were quoting this family friend, that family friend, and finally I just stopped them. And I just said, “Hey, thank you for all that. What do you believe?” The response was, “I don't know.” The response was, “I can't figure it out.” They had given me news sources that contradicted other news sources. My challenge is this, when I now have people that say, “I don't know”, I stop, and I want to know if that's an emotional “I don't know”, or a factual, a clarity “I don't know.” And I have found the more you get closer, John said this, this is a great illustration, Chris, I don't want to miss it. John said, “Leaders closer to the hub doesn't feel the spin as much.” And I went, “Oh my gosh!” In moments for me—podcast listeners, who is your mentor? If it's Chris Goede and I and John Maxwell in this podcast, if it's somebody else, listen to the next statement that I'm getting ready to say, because John Maxwell is my mentor. The days that I go and spend time with John, my head is spinning less. Why? Because I'm closer to the hub. Wherever you're getting your source of strength during this crisis, can I tell you something? Again, allow me to be self-serving for a minute, if it's this podcast, listen to this podcast over and over. In fact, try it once a day. Get close to the hub of the thing that is diminishing your emotions, because while we don't know and that's okay right now, it is not okay to be emotionally up and down and that be the source of our uncertainty.

Chris:                    Boy, you had two really, really good points here, and I don't want you guys to miss this when he talks about the “I don't know” and where's that coming from? Right? If it's factual, great, love that. We don't know all the answers, but man emotionally, this goes back to even when John was talking about here at point three, a great place to start is go right back to what you value as a person or as an organization. Okay? So, adjustment number three is going to help you with the point that Mark just talked about. But then, man, that the center of the wheel, that's such a good example, and I know it's true because you'll come into the leadership team meeting, and if you hadn't spent some time with John who centers you, he's the core and I just think about this big wagon wheel. It's a great visual of our life as a leader. And so, at that core, is your personal values, is your mentor, is whatever you're doing for personal growth in order to get you centered, and that is where you will become the most consistent leader that you were created to be, if you get into that core. That is so good, Mark, I appreciate you sharing this. Now, let's wrap up with this, because you and I are in a groove right now, and we could keep going, but we're going to wrap this up. But John talks about, under this adjustment, he says, “Hey, here's six things, six emotionally strong leaders.” And there's two of them that kind of stood out to me that I just want to throw to you and get your thoughts for our team, to hear from you in regards to this. The first one that really kind of struck me, and this goes back to what we were just talking about, in regards to valuing people, and I want us to re-emphasize this because I don't want you to miss John's heart on this, and the second one he mentioned was, “Don't be controlled by others.” But don't miss what he said right after that, he said, “Listen, learn, walk slowly through the crowd.” Right? Don't be controlled by maybe someone else's, where they're at, whatever, right? But don't also miss the opportunity to understand their perspective of a situation that you can't see. And so, I love what he said right here, he said, “Don't be controlled by others.” Talk a little bit about where John's coming from on that, maybe some of the things that you see in your life, leading this organization and the influence of people speaking into your life, you're listening, but then the decisions that you have to ultimately make for the enterprise.

Mark:                    You know, this could be a whole podcast episode right here, Chris, because I am watching John be more available, more assessable, learning and listening more than I've ever seen him before, and it's actually shaping how he is adjusting and pivoting his message, his philosophy and how he is living out leadership. It's pivoting. He's pivoting right before my eyes and I'm watching this, and I'm watching him do it in a way that is authentic, in a pace that is sustainable, and in a motive that is back to his values; and don't miss that right there. It's okay to be influenced by people that think differently and have had different life experiences than you. But they don't control the pace, they don't control the revelation, and they don't control how it is symbiotic with your values. I'm watching John in these crises of stay at home, do I wear a mask? Do I not wear a mask? Is the diversity or the division between races and people groups and valuing of people, how important and how does that affect our message? And I'm watching John, listen, learn and then lead. I taught this the other day and I can't remember again, if I've referred this on the podcast, but John has been teaching, leaders, here's what your response is right now: listen, learn, lead, listen, learn, lead, listen, learn, lead. And that's beautiful. It rolls off the tongue. It's very nice. But I don't believe you can listen in this current climate if you don't speak back what you think the other person heard. As a leader, I'm guilty of listening to check it off that I let the other person finish their sentence. I've even listened so that I could respond so that I could get my point across. That's not the kind of listening that we're doing right now. We're listening to understand where someone else is coming from so that we can lead them from where they are, not try to lead them to where we are. And that one point, I'm watching John in every area, let the pace be regulated by how well I have listened, and now when I know that I've listened and you know that I heard you, now I'm ready to lead us.

Chris:                    And it's received completely different. So again, check your motive right there around why, and how you're listening to your people because, by the way, they already know. And so, you're the last one to know, so make sure you check your motive on that. As we wrap up, Mark, this has been a great conversation. One of the things that number six that John talks about here, it goes back, and it just underscores what we were just talking about with his second adjustment, don't be led by your emotions, go back to your calling, go back to your principles, go back to your values, stand on those, that will help you as a leader. Right? Not feel that leadership fatigue, maybe not have that emotional “I don't know”. Don't get into the emotional side of that to where—remove yourself at times from the situation, go on a media fast like Mark suggested, pull yourself out, get with people that need to kind of center you and where you're at so that you're not leading again your family, your community, your organization, by your emotions, and so, I’m going to throw it to you and let you talk about that. My closing comment just to the people that are listening, and I'm not extremely passionate, but you're getting me worked up in this conversation. I just feel like I need to tell you this right here, when the people that you have influence with and that you lead know that you value them as an individual, not as a contributor, they will value working with you, alongside you in your organization and under your influence at a greater level. Don't forget that.

Mark:                    You know, Chris, we started this two part series off and again, I remind you if you haven't listened to part one, you need to go back to last week's episode and listen to it, but we started it off by me recognizing you've been in environments to where halftime adjustments was everything. It meant championships, it meant defeat, it meant success, it meant getting beaten, or being the champion. It had nothing to do with the score of the first half, had nothing to do with the KPI’s of the first half. It had everything to do with what you did in that halftime adjustment. And as I threw that to you, because you're very familiar with that, I threw it to you and you reminded me of the bitter sweet time I had in Houston, when Atlanta was killing the New England Patriots and then they came back and decimated us in the last few minutes of that game. I was also reminded that exact same year as a Georgia Bulldog fan, which you happened to be one as well, when Alabama did the exact same thing to us two years running, one in the SEC Championship, one in the National Championship, same thing, felt good as a fan at halftime, and then walked out. There's one characteristic that I've heard people that were in both of those locker rooms, Bill Belichick’s and Nick Saban's, there was one characteristic, no emotion, business as usual, and one certain thing: we still have this game in the bag. Emotion didn't get them at halftime and I'm going to tell you if you are more emotional now than what you were after three weeks, six weeks of shut down, because that all got us, we all had our emotional moments. But I'm going to tell you, your halftime adjustment is going to be predicated on this one point, Chris, that you just left, and that is you've got to have your emotions under control. We're so far into this now, this thing has lasted so much further, that you need to have your emotions in check. You look at these great leaders in the sports world, I just gave you two of them Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, you walk into their locker room and they're going to be just as intense with a 21 point lead as they were with a 21 point deficit. The emotion on the lead is, “Guys, do not let go. They will come back and get us.” The emotion on the other is, “We got this. We've done this before. We can do it.” Leaders, let me tell you something, and Chris, you're on my leadership team, and I'm proud to serve side by side with you. We got this, we're going to be okay. There's days to where I don't know. But I want my emotions to be predictable to those around me so that they can know that what we're going to do and how we're going to accomplish this is going to come from a place of hope, not a place of up and down emotion. Final thing, one of the things my family does if we ever watch TV is Family Feud. We just kind of enjoy that, and last night there was the most emotional family that I've ever seen on Family Feud. They were so pumped, and they came back in the final round with a question that somebody—it was a do or die question and they won it and they came from behind and won. They were so emotional that when they went into the round that you really want to win to get to, to win $20,000 they were so hyped up that they could not answer the questions. And so, they lost it in overtime because they thought that was the end of the game. Let me tell you this, we're in the overtime. That's okay, we got difficult times ahead of us, we got challenges, but we're in the game! We're still here, we're good, we're going to get through! Leadership does work. Gang, we're doing this podcast to inspire leaders that will step up and not just finish regulation, but if overtime is needed, they're still in the game, and they still win. Thank you for listening to the Maxwell Podcast. Hey, if you want to go get the notes to today, you can go to Maxwellpodcast.com/halftime, click on the “Bonus Resource”, the worksheet. Thanks for letting Chris and I add value to you today. Thanks for listening into John's podcasts. We will see you next week and until then, let's lead!

2 thoughts on “Halftime Adjustments (Part 2)”

    1. Hi Mike! Thanks for your question. In the episode John references Tom Morris’ metaphor of the “center of the wheel” as a symbol of emotional stability. John often says that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. Doing so allows a leader to see above all the mess and get a better perspective on the situation. When we have the right perspective, we are able to see solutions more easily, and implement them confidently, without the obstacle of our own emotions. Emotional instability causes every situation to appear more dramatic than it is. By defining reality, we are able to look at the circumstance objectively. So to answer your question, moving to the center of the wheel requires defining reality, having the right perspective, then taking action on the best solution. It’s not easy. It requires discipline and the ability to set your own agenda aside to see the big picture. Thanks again for your question! We hope it helps!

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