Classics: Vigilant Leadership: The Art of Leading from Afar: Show Notes & Transcript
Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.
In this episode, we’re talking vigilant leadership – the art of leading from afar. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!
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Marketing Smarts: Classics: Vigilant Leadership: The Art of Leading from Afar
“Leading from afar” has become a hot topic due to remote working environments. But even before our current situation mandated it, we have found the very best type of leaders have the ability to do so from afar. This means giving their teams space and autonomy to do things their own way. And the benefit? They end up with higher performers and better results than those that micromanage. We call this Vigilant Leadership, meaning a leader is keeping careful watch over progress and results, but not involved and hands-on at every turn. In this episode, we speak to Vigilant Leadership best practices and how this can lead you to an entirely new level of success. We discuss John Mackey, Founder of Whole Foods, and how his practice of Vigilant Leadership resulted in business success and committed team members. This episode covers everything from leadership to micromanaging. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:
- How do you lead from afar?
- What does personal branding have to do with vigilant leadership?
- How do you lead when you’re a hands-on boss?
- What should you do if you can’t “step away?”
- Does this apply to middle managers?
- How regularly should you touch base with your team?
- What are some operating principles for success?
- Why is John Mackey a vigilant leader?
And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: ForthRight-People.com.
Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:
- Classics: Vigilant Leadership: The Art of Leading from Afar
- [0:00] Welcome to Marketing Smarts
- [0:14] Anne Candido, April Martini
- [0:22] How do you lead from afar?
- [1:18] Create foundational operating principles for success
- [11:08] Allow the space for the entire team to grow
- [13:21] Personal Brand
- [15:51] Develop the ability to let things go
- [21:02] P&G (Procter & Gamble)
- [24:40] Self-awareness is the key
- [26:16] “What is Personal Branding and Why Do I Need to Work on Mine?“
- [29:35] Recap: How do you lead from afar?
- [30:01] Do you want to stand out in your industry and get more sales? Show you’re different to attract and retain top talent? Build a brand that drives real business results? Grab your Brand Strategy Workbook at: https://forthright-people.com/brand-strategy
- “In the Trenches”
- [31:01] We are a small company, and we all wear many hats. I am “the boss,” but I often share in the same duties as my team. Could I learn to lead this way?
- [41:43] We have a culture of “being present.” This doesn’t allow me to physically step away. What do I do?
- [46:06] I am a middle manager, not “the boss.” I can see value here, but does this apply to me?
- [51:30] How regularly should I touch base with my team when practicing vigilant leadership and what is the best way to do it?
- Marketing Smarts Moments
- [58:37] John Mackey, Whole Foods, Conscious Capitalism, Conscious Leadership
- [59:01] “1569 – John Mackey“
- [1:07:14] Make sure to follow Marketing Smarts on your favorite podcast spot and leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts
- [1:07:22] Learn more at ForthRight-People.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- [1:07:26] Sign up to view all the ForthRight worksheets & tips for FREE!
- [1:07:39] Shop our Virtual Consultancy
What is Marketing Smarts?
From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.
How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?
Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer.
Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.
Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today.
April Martini 0:12
Welcome to Marketing Smarts.
Anne Candido 0:14
I am Anne Candido.
April Martini 0:15
And I am April Martini. So this episode that we pulled back is vigilant leadership, The Art of Leading from afar, because quite simply, it’s one of those topics that transcends pivotal moments as leaders attempt to rise, teams change, businesses undergo leadership changes, or as we saw with COVID-19, the entire business environment was completely upended. Vigilant leadership means that you as the leader step out of the day to day of your team’s work, and then at the same time, empower them to do their jobs and make decisions with the full support of you behind them, aka you take the fall, if that happens to become an issue. This allows the leaders to build greater capacity while your teams are growing and maturing in their experience and their own skill sets. And this happens time and again, for highly functioning teams as they continue to rise to new heights and take on new challenges. Have a listen for the first time or revisit this one with us as a way to refresh your skills on the topic of vigilant leadership. All right, so the four principles of vigilant leadership and the Art of Leading from afar. The first one is create foundational operating principles for success. So just like anything else, you need to have a strategic foundation and plan in place. And in the case of leading from afar, you really have to have mastered the ability to lead at the very highest level by setting the proper foundation and expectations with the right team. And then clearly outlining what success looks like. So I set a lot of things there. Right? The expectations means that everyone understands their role, and what is expected of them to do in said role. This allows them to have that autonomy that we talked about before and feel enabled and empowered that they have the right stuff to do the job that they’re meant to do, clearly outlining what success looks like helps to establish for the entire team that within that role. This is what we’re working toward. And this is how we’re going to get there. And this is how you’re instrumental in that. And this might sound obvious, right? Like, doesn’t everyone do that? First of all, definitely not. No, we will tell you absolutely not. But it’s even more important when we’re talking about leading from afar, because these people have to be able to do their job without you being there micromanaging every moment of their time. When this is all built and put together properly, it leads to trust, and trust that is implicit throughout the entire team. Because once you have all of that set up, what that implies is that you trust them enough to go and do their job without you looking over their shoulder constantly. And they feel proud and empowered, that you’re there for them when you need them. But you’re not going to be in the middle of their business all the time. And this really creates an inherent responsibility within the person and a pride that they are able to go and do their job the way that they feel like they should, because they have the ability to do so. And then the other piece is that the feedback loop is live and continuous. So we’re not saying with hands off leadership that you’re totally out of the picture. And they’re just off doing whatever you set up in that foundation. No, this is about checking in in the right and appropriate ways that works best for the team in an optimized fashion, it makes sure everyone’s on the same page, you’re communicating in the right way at the right time. And kind of you become like a well oiled machine, right, where you do optimizations and tune ups and things as you need them. But the idea here is that things run fluidly because of what you’ve set up and then when you check in with your team. So I’ll give my example here around this idea, which was when I was moving to start a strategy practice within the organization I was working in but still responsible for half the business on the account management side. And so hired the right team. And then we hired those peoples teams, and put all that in place. But when we talk about foundational items that are needed, I mean, I will tell you that I went to the level of telling them what mode of communication to use in order to cue the urgency of whatever they were asking for. So not only was I leading from afar, but it was a lot of it was necessity based where I was off doing other new business selling and out of the office or trying to build up the structure of the strategy practice and what that was going to look for. And in account management, things come up all the time where you need to respond quickly and reactively and especially if there’s a fire of some kind where you can get a quick answer and kind of put that out. So with my team, the way that we set things up was it If you email me, I will look at that email by the time I go to bed that night, if you email me with a flag, I will put that at the top of my list of emails to look at that night. If you text me, I will get back to you as quickly as humanly possible, given whatever, you know, situation I’m in without being rude or whatever. If you call me, I will consider it urgent. And I will get back to you pretty much immediately like therefore I will be stepping out of a meeting etc. Now, the one thing I will say is, the amount of time I got those phone calls was few and far between because the team was running the way that it should. And I didn’t feel like then I had to be tied to my phone because my team knew the chain of communication. And so therefore, the only thing that said, hey, emergency red flag was that phone call. And so that’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the the foundation, it’s being explicitly clear and what you’re asking people to do and how and when. And then they could always trust that I live by my word, right? So I might say, you know, I read all my emails by the time I go to bed, but if you’re not asking me for anything, I’m not going to respond, well, then I didn’t feel like I had to respond to 100 emails that night. And then they didn’t wake up to a bunch of them the next morning. So it really is everything from the details of the tactics all the way through to what they’re unable to do and what they’re responsible for.
Anne Candido 6:20
Yeah, I actually had similar principles with my team to, to the point where email for me was so like, excessively overwhelming, that I had to triage and so for them, it was, and they had to put an in the subject line with to close, and then they would say the subject, so I knew exactly that they had needed me to engage or respond to something in order for them to move forward. So I didn’t become the bottleneck of the work. Testing for me was like the emergency like, nobody called me. I mean, that was like, you just didn’t have time to set up to take the calls, right? So it was like the texting, then I would step out, like, you know, text anytime you want. If it’s not a good time for me, I won’t respond. It’s usually how it went. So that’s how I protected my own personal time, because I think it’s really important to also remember that, you know, you have personal time, but you have to honor it. I think if I like even rolled that back a couple of steps. So you made this point, I want to just make sure we iterate this point before you even set up the tactical ways of how you to communicate. You already set up the vision for oh, yeah, team is trying to achieve Yeah, what is the vision? What is the mission? What are we all about? What is this work all about? So I think that’s the other thing that a lot of times leaders get stuck in is they only give their people enough to, like, do their specific tasks without giving them the bigger picture. And that’s, you know, a lot of excuses as to why not? Well, they’re gonna need to know basis, or it’s confidential, and those are legit. But like, really, really, when it comes to like making sure that your team is informed enough to do a good job, you have to spend some time giving them the context. Without context. I mean, any, any assignment could go in like a gazillion different direction. And in, like, 95% of time, it’s not the direction you probably wanted it to go. And so spend the time to give enough context so people know what the goals are, what the vision is, what are you trying to achieve here, it also provides a rallying point for everybody to feel like they’re on the same page and all achieving that big goal that’s above and beyond just what we talked about, when you’re creating functional teams, we’ve talked about that in a different podcast episode. So I think that was vitally important before, before you even like set up all the specific tactical ways of communicating?
April Martini 8:30
Well, and I think, you know, that’s a another really good point to call out, I used to have a policy of if you asked me, I’m gonna tell you, so just make sure you want to know the answer. And I mean, that sounds a little bit scary, right. But it was, it was my way of expressing to the team that unless it was something like, legal or, you know, like something where I literally couldn’t share, if they felt like they wanted to be in the know, or they felt like they didn’t necessarily understand they could ask the question, and it empowered them to put that control like back in their, in their hands, because I think you’re right, when you say they’re on a need to know or they don’t need you know, this information, I think it automatically disrespects and then discredits the relationship because it feels like you’re saying, I’m more important than you and you don’t need to know this piece, or you’re going so fast that you’re not focusing on what they really need. And so I felt like by putting that in their hands, they never felt bad about asking and then if I did have to pull the card of like, I literally can’t tell you they trusted that like that was like for a very important reason that I wasn’t able to do that. So yeah, I think those I don’t know power plays are these rules that are put in place and it’s like, you know, I used to say at the agency like you guys were not saving lives here like you I can’t tell Joe that you know, this clients upset with them because why? Like, what is that really going to help? And so that sort of like ongoing communication and transparency, and all of that, I think just shows that the trusting relationship is there. Yeah,
Anne Candido 10:06
I think the other side of the coin, though, just to make sure that we’re being fair, is that you don’t necessarily need to know everything in order to do a good job, too. Oh, no. So this was the agency trap that I got into sometimes, especially with onboarding things, and, and all of the briefings and they wanted to know everything, and talk to everybody and have all his reports. And I’m like, you don’t need to know all of that, and have the access to all these people and talk to all these people to do the job that I’m giving you to do. I’m giving you enough context, I’m spent a lot of time like developing, you know, all of the materials to send to you. Don’t be overly, you know, expect to have like, all this time that you feel like people should bend with you in order to do your job. Be respectful of that, and make sure that you are really getting enough information to do your job. Well. And that’s very fair, but not overly asking. It’s it’s just time intensive and time consuming. And it’s not very efficient. Yeah,
April Martini 11:06
totally, totally agree. All right, the number two point we have about leading from afar allow space for the entire team to grow.
Anne Candido 11:15
Yeah, so we talked a little bit about this one in the last point, but I’m going to elaborate on it because I think there’s several points for how you can create space. We all think, you know, and we all talk about that in a very general sense. But it’s really a lot harder to do in practice, to some extent. So here’s a couple of ways to create space for your team to be able to grow and really prosper under this vigilant leadership idea. So first is you grant autonomy within parameters. So April talked about this a little bit about how she wanted to be communicated with, which also actually implies certain things for which she doesn’t need to know, right? So you want to be able to set this is your decision space, if it’s in this decision space, make a decision, let me know what the decision is. But you don’t need to ask me about every single thing that you’re going to go do or check with me on every single thing you’re going to go do. Which leads very nicely to the second point, what is when somebody does come to you and have a question? And you know, it’s clear within their decision space, don’t actually just give them solution, don’t dictate the solution to them and ask them, okay, what would you do? This is an opportunity now to like, get their brains taking in the right way for them to get affirmation from you and confidence for you that their brains actually are working in the right way. And then let them like, go through the options, talk with them probe questions, make sure they’re not going to fall off a cliff. But you know what, let them go do the work. And then you can make the decision together. That way you can share the responsibility, if it’s necessary. You tell them, you know, make your decision and go with it? Well, I
April Martini 12:50
think that trains them right to think about it that way. Because I think the boss becomes the person a lot of times where it’s like, I can just go ask, and they’ll tell me when it’s like, no, I want you to feel confident in your ability and take it off the table. Have you coming to ask me every time?
Anne Candido 13:07
Right, I think that’s really important, because it creates also space for the leader to have, yeah, be able to focus on other things, right. Which is the other point is invest in your team’s personal growth. Right, especially in their personal brand development. You’ve heard us talk about this a lot. But this is going to be critical. I mean, we know there’s a lot of tools out there Enneagram, Strength Finders, what you name it. But what we found the most foundational, in the way that teams interact is for people to be very aware and personally aware of their personal brands, because that brings a high level of awareness of what is going to work in their favor, where they’re going to have challenges, and what kind of behaviors and actions are they going to have to put in place in order to accommodate their, the character system might not be working as well for them or capitalize on the ones that are? So it’s really important for you to invest in their personal growth. And we’ve actually heard a lot from people who are afraid to do this, because they’re afraid of producing so much capability to either their team members or their the people who report into them, overtake them. Throw them. Yeah, you know, and that is a very, like, very pessimistic mindset. Like, what if somebody did that to you, if they I mean, we all felt that where we feel contained, because somebody is trying to keep us in a box, like don’t do that to other people. I mean, that is not being a leader for for one thing. And second, it’s definitely not doing you any good and your own personal growth, like you have to let go of those things. And a fourth is tell people or tell your people who will report into you when they’re doing something well, and this kind of goes to the point about working through them on the problem solving but it also is about balancing it because a lot of times we’re very quick to tell people when they’re not doing something well and we want to help them fix it. it, but we forget to tell them hey, you know what, that actually really worked? Do more of that. Or, you know, I didn’t even like and I’ve had this kind of like, I didn’t think that was going to work, but it did.
April Martini 15:12
But you’re left scratching your head of like, Did you hang me out to dry? Or did
Anne Candido 15:18
she was being a really good vigilant leader where she’s like, You know what, I have my doubts, but she’s smart, I’m gonna let her go try this. And then when Yeah, when she tried, it’s like, Okay, now we have a process for doing that. And now we have another way of doing it. And she was, you know, pleasantly surprised, you just don’t know. So I think those are the four ways of like, really kind of creating some space. I’m sure there’s lots of people have lots of others. And please share those with us. You know, we’ll always love to hear more that we can leverage with our clients. But those are four that we have seen. And we know work.
April Martini 15:50
Yeah, exactly, which I think segues nicely into the next one here. And and you did mention this a little bit, but I’ll hit it very directly, which is develop the ability to let things go. So while you’re building your team, and you’re helping them and you’re supporting them, and you’re you’re guiding the right habits, and you know, you’re giving support, where it’s needed, and props, where they’re do all of that kind of stuff is more external to your team. But I think what you have to work on yourself as the leader is to focus on those bigger picture items that you now have the privilege and ability to go focus on because you’re not so involved in their work, and don’t get distracted or fall back into things that may have been part of your role previously. So we’ve made some comments about micromanagers. And, and that applies here. But I think what we’re talking more about is you’re making a conscious move, or the organization is pushing you to make a conscious move, or you’ve been promoted, or whatever the case might be your role is changing and shifting. I mean, it could even be you saying hey, this team is ready for more. But in order to get to that next level, you have to lead them by example. And the example becomes them seeing you changing what you were doing, whether it’s day to day or, you know, every month or the way in just you you communicate and act in general. And that will give you the freedom and flexibility to go tackle different stuff. So, you know, you don’t have the capacity anymore to be in every minute of your direct reports, businesses or their direct reports, businesses, right? You can’t be aware of every decision I mean, and said, You know, when do I need to know it, then tell me or tell me what the decision was don’t necessarily feel like you have to include me in it. But I think this can be a really vulnerable and uncomfortable place for the leader to find themselves. I mean, I remember this really specifically for me and talking about that example, where I was moving on to something else I was building something that didn’t exist, I was responsible for a portion of the business that we didn’t have and wasn’t an offering currently. And sometimes I needed a little comfort and it would have been really easy to go and say you know what, I’m gonna go jump back into that client, because I’m really good at that client. And, and maybe that’ll help empower me and make me feel confident about this other thing I’m supposed to be doing. But the self control of not doing that is what actually sets you apart and allows you to be able to elevate to this level of leadership because you’re not letting yourself go do it. And then your your direct report who is doing and you know, my case, they were doing a fantastic job, they did not need me. But also it deflates the whole situation for them, because then they’re left questioning like, but she said she wasn’t gonna jump back in. So why is she now doing that. And so it causes problems across the board. But I think if you can build that rapport and trust and then the own your own discipline of not going back and jumping back in, what ends up happening is you’re able to embrace the situation and what’s expected of you in this new role. And then really focus. And you know, the best leaders are the ones that can do this lead from afar thing because they’re capable and very good at what they’re what they do, and so that it’s channeling that energy and that success and and all your past wins and everything into this new approach. And then I will say the other side of that is yes, you let things go. But what that means and what you need to articulate to the team is that you are the fall guy. So you’re still responsible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re actually doing the doing or participating in the conversations or you’ve moved on to these other things. You are the person responsible at the end of the day for that team. So if they make a mistake, or something that they try doesn’t go well, or they didn’t do it the way you would have necessarily done it. Do not throw the your people under the bus and where I think you get the most credibility and trust from them is when they watch you say it’s my responsibility. It’s my team. It doesn’t matter where the breakdown One was, I am at the end of the day, the one who’s responsible. So I will go and do whatever and really protecting that person. Because while you’re growing, they’re also growing and part of growing is making mistakes. And so you would want someone to look out for you, right? We’re asking and telling you that that’s exactly what you need to do for your team. And when they see you do that a couple of times, it makes them even more fearless and feel empowered. And like, hey, you know, my boss really does walk the talk. I mean, she’s going to do what she says she’s going to do. And then everybody grows from there.
Anne Candido 20:35
Yeah, I call this one that you have to grow up, it’s very hard. And there’s always a level at which this becomes really, really hard for people. And if you can’t assume the new role in the span of that what the new role offers, and you’re constantly in your people’s business, it’s going to become a huge cluster. And I personally experienced it that it was actually one of my last roles. Before I actually left P&G was probably one of the deciding factors from for leaving P&G. And it was just because my boss just couldn’t grow up. I mean, and that’s really hard to say, but it’s actual absolute truth. And going back to our appointment before about creating space, is the way also to create space in a couple of points reiterate what you said that I think are critically important, is you don’t have to be everywhere. You know, and that is the biggest thing. And what happens if you are do start showing up in places, especially places where you’re, you’re not expected is that people that are going to defer to the person with the highest authority in the room, if you show up, you are undermining your team, yes, there might be points that you have to show up based on maybe who else is in the room. And that’s when you have to work with your the people on your team that say, Okay, here’s the role I’m going to play, here’s the role you’re going to play, and you kind of get, you know, gameplay it a little bit just to make sure that that person doesn’t feel undermined. It’s also about making sure that you direct all of those questions and whatever feedback is getting back to the person, right? So if somebody is going around that person and saying, Hey, um, you know, what is your distance and any other, you’d be like, Well, did you go ask the person who’s actually working on it, because you should ask them. And if they have an issue, they can come to me. And that’s a very hard thing to do still, because of the fact of feeling needed. Feeling a part of everything being in the know. And it’s really like FOMO, the fear of missing out is still one of the biggest issues that leaders have when they have to step into this place where they have to work on their business and not in the business. But as you’ve heard me and April, saying, and this doesn’t say doesn’t belong to us, but we totally adopt it is that you can’t work in your business and on your business at the same time. And leaders need to work on their business. That’s the space that they create, so that they can elevate and continue to grow their team, the work that they’re doing, their department, whatever, that they’re leading up their company, their business, and into the next level. And you can’t do that if you’re always stuck in the weeds, because you can’t see over and above everything else and see where connections need to make or where or where something’s missing, or there’s gaps or where you might have a someplace where you have to put in another person or you don’t have the right skills, or so and so it’s struggling. I mean, these are things that you have to create space for, I think a lot of people struggle because they can’t check the box. Right? So I call this you need to grow up you. And that is just a super important piece of being a vigilant leader.
April Martini 23:35
Yeah. And I mean, I would just add the point to have patience in this situation. I mean, I remember for me, there was a little bit of uncomfortable time where I was making the shift, and I was allowing the people to lead. But I was no longer in the limelight, right or the person responsible. And I had to, like reposition myself in my head of, you’re here as senior support for the team that is working on this. You’re here because x client wants this level of person in the room, like, think about it from that way, not what am I going to contribute or how you know, and so it was much more of a back seat, which I’m just fundamentally not comfortable with as a person. But then to Anne’s point, it did allow me to start to see those other things and where I could add value at a much higher level than I was able to before and make strategic changes about the structure of the teams themselves that then serve the clients better and then you know, just moved us forward from there. So which leads very nicely and I serve this up for an number four here is self awareness is the key to all have this.
Anne Candido 24:49
Yes. And it’s super critically important to be very, very aware of your personal brand and this is the basis of We all have this conversation. Because as you are moving up through the ranks or assuming more responsibility or taking on multifunctional teams or outside your company, wherever the leadership is coming into play, it’s very important to understand what is going to work for you and what is going to work against you. Because it’s not a very comfortable place to be all the time. It’s not a very natural feeling to have to elevate somebody else above yourself. Just said very plainly and very bluntly, because our number one basic human need is self preservation. And especially when it feels like it’s a very zero sum game in the, in the, in the context of a corporate world or agency world, we’re only a few survive, it’s always feels like then the natural inclination is to come back to me, what do I need to prove? What do I how do I need to show up, when in fact, when you get to this leadership position, it’s actually what is the team need to do, how’s the team going to perform, and that becomes your basis of success. Now, if personal brand is still new to you, we have episode three, which really talks about what is your personal brand and why you need one. And we’re going to have a worksheet too, that you can use to start thinking through some of these, these questions to help you pull together your personal brand. So don’t fear we have that for you. And if you’re still having trouble, please contact us, we’ll help you walk you through it. But it’s this element of softer skills, which a lot of people tend to just kind of gloss over. But a lot of the times those are the skills that become the defining factor whether or not you succeed or not, it’s not always necessarily how good you are. And that’s really, really important to point out because it’s something that I definitely had slapped my face multiple times. And during my p&g career, and it was a really hard thing for me to, to grasp, to recognize, to understand and then also to cultivate and it took in, it takes time. So it’s not really not something that happens overnight in a way that is like fundamentally changing people, because people start developing stories about you, this is what we talk about, if you don’t develop your personal brand, somebody else will do it for you. And it’s very hard to sometimes to find some place for those old tapes to go and re record those those stories. So this is why some fundamentally important to be very self aware, and really do the work on your personal brand, so that you can understand what’s going to work for you and what’s not.
April Martini 27:39
Yeah, and I think too, just very, very foundationally I think the word leadership has, well in people’s mind lives as an application of giving marching orders people following behind you being super present, being the loudest voice in the room, all of those types of things. And I think our argument here is just number one, that’s a huge misconception. Those types of leaders, I think, get frozen at what level whatever level they’re at, and they don’t rise to what we’re talking about here, the most powerful form of leadership. But I think it’s unfortunate, because in our culture, that’s kind of in our heads. And so, you know, speaking from experience, I would get comments a lot about, I don’t understand how all this stuff is happening, it just seems to work. But then that could also be a double edged sword, because I would hear comments like, Well, April has the best team, she has the strongest players, you know, and so it’s like, it was like everybody was looking for a way to explain away what was happening, because they couldn’t attach to this idea that this kind of leadership would work. And so I think for that reason, it can also be an unpopular thing for people to really grab on to, whereas it actually is far more effective than any of those traditional things that are in your head.
Anne Candido 28:57
Yeah, I think that’s really, really important. Because it’s, like I said, it’s very hard not to let the fear of FOMO the ego kind of take over here. And that’s, I mean, and that’s, that’s why you need to be aware if that’s what’s at play, like, don’t be ashamed of it. I mean, it is what it is. But you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. Because if you let that and indulge that in behaviors and actions, it’s going to have a fundamentally poor effect on being able to lead your team and the way that’s going to develop the best results.
April Martini 29:32
Yeah, exactly. All right. So those are the four ways in which to become this much desired leader from afar and kind of the art that goes behind it because it really is an art as you hear us talk about there’s not hard and fast skills. There’s not you know, follow this path step by step. It really lives in the soft skills and the ability to nuance and correct and continue to do that through your journey. To leading from afar. So with that, we will move into our next segment, which is in the trenches for all of you that are out there and listen to us regularly. You know, this is where we give real world examples. So they may be specific to certain industries or situations, but with broad application so that anyone can digest and put what we’re talking about into action. And the first one here is we are a small company, and we all wear many hats. I’m the boss, but I often share in the same duties as my team. How could I learn? Or could I learn to lead this way? And I’ll let you take this one.
Anne Candido 30:34
Yeah, usually, I get the big company questions, but I can take a no no, no company. We’re stretching. We’re stretching your abilities today. All right. All right. All right. Here we go. No, but all seriousness? Yes, absolutely. Yes. And it’s going to be a little bit different. And if you think about the context of a big company, but it’s still the same critical and same fundamental principles. Now the things that you have to watch out for are here is some of the preconceptions you already have in your mind. And especially as you’re thinking about your small company, one is, and we see this a lot is, I don’t want to waste my time. Because really, time is, is like the biggest, most value that you have, and people are very scared about wasting their time. So what they’ll tend to do is, I’ll just do it for them, you know, do it myself, I’ll just do it myself. It’s just easier if I do it myself. And here’s where we bring, you know, the parable of Jesus and efficient. And I’ve been trying to be overly religious here, but it’s a very good moral story is that, you know, what he said, you know, you can give somebody a fish they can eat today, but if you teach somebody to fish, they can eat for a lifetime, right. And this is what it really comes into building capability within your team takes a little bit of time. But it is a way that you are starting to be able to lead with this vigilance type of philosophy, right. And what we talked about before too, is you have to be very careful as April mentioned, that you don’t self indulge in the ability to actually be able to do something right like April’s a big check the box or like she nay you are. But I have like a whole series calling me to, like, Yeah, but so like, she has to like, in the end, people feel accomplished with that. So you’re not the only person April, I know, like a gazillion people her like that. But it’s, it’s hard to like say, hey, you know, what do I put as my check the box element here, it’s like, I grew my team today, or I had a conversation about the moment like those on field hard and fast like I did 100 social posts, you know, so you can’t overly indulge in these things that make you feel comfortable. Because you check the box, you have to restructure your thinking and understand, Okay, well, if I can have, you know, so and so do the 100 social posts, then what am I going to do? What does that freed me up to be able to do and actually, like, sit with that, as uncomfortable as it might be as overwhelming as it might be? And think about the bigger picture of what your business needs in order to succeed? And where do you need to take it next? Now I have a you know, a story to tell about this one because that’s actually the story of my my first person that I recruited into p&g, and she’s phenomenal. And I still talk to her. Now even gosh, I think she’s been there now like seven years, eight years. But um, she came in fresh out of college with their MBA and into our group from and communications, and very strong performer when she was doing her work, but she was like, constantly asking me what to do next. Like, she’s like, I did this piece, what do I do next? I did this piece what I do next, and I went to my boss, and I said, Hey, guys, like, I think she knows what she’s doing. But I’m like, I’m really disappointed because I thought she would take a little bit more initiative, I thought she would be like, a little bit they could do about this a little bit broader. And you know, and I was like I did, I didn’t understand why she can’t just like, figure this out without having to ask me every like, single, like five minutes. And she and he goes to me. He goes, Well, did you tell her this was her work? And I’m like, Um, no. Oops, yeah. So I went to her and I said, Hey, listen, I appreciate the fact that you want to do this rep. I’m like, this is your work, right? You know, so you’re not just doing this work. For me, this is your work, this is your project, you get to figure out how this all works. We’re going to check in on this on a regular basis. So you don’t get to down a path. That is like too far away from where we think we need to go. So I can provide guidance and, and not feel like you’re totally out on on your own. But this is your work. And she goes, Oh, okay. Got it, which she wasn’t used to because she was used to doing like grad work where she was like working for somebody else, but doing it in very much in the style that they did. Yeah, done right. And after that it was like a totally new relationship. But it’s just like the simple things. And this is where I’m same for small businesses too. Because in the context of what we were operating, we were almost operating like a small business even though we were in a big company. Tell these people is their work empower them to feel like this is somebody that they own that this is like something they have a say in that they somebody that they get to put their passions into. And then it also gives you an opportunity to kind of step back from it. But if they’re just trying to do it the way you are going to go do it, or how you would want it done. It’s going to be constant, this constant back and forth, where you’re never going to have any space. Yeah,
April Martini 35:23
I mean, I’ll use an anecdote from from my past to have, you know, Angie was my counterpart at one of the agencies and we reached a point where we were running the team together. And but even with that, there would be situations where we would both have to travel for a particular client, or we would be out on a management retreat or whatever. And so we would both be gone. And it would cause a lot of anxiety with the team. But then what we found was, we would actually get less emails, phone calls, you know, people seeking us out standing outside of conference rooms, because we weren’t physically there. And so we started to educate from that very tactical situation to the team have, why is it that when we are physically in the office, there’s a line outside of the conference room waiting for us to finish, but yet we go and we travel, and suddenly, the work moves forward just fine. And you’re not checking in with us as much. And I think that that created the right light ball with the team of there was just this default, and it was our fault, too. Because we would be running as well. And so someone would stop us and say, Can you answer this thing? And we’d spout off the answer. And that became the customary, you know, easy way of doing things. Whereas if we weren’t there, and they knew we were in, you know, a session all day or whatever, but the work was time sensitive, they would just go do it. And so it was like, How can we recalibrate things, so that people feel the same way about us when we’re there than when we’re not there? And that that behavior is reflected appropriately? So
Anne Candido 36:55
how did you reinforce that behavior? Going forward? Assuming that that behavior was like, totally good with you? How did you reinforce that when you came back?
April Martini 37:06
Yeah, so one of the things that I honestly started doing was disappearing from the office. And part of that was for me, because I was leaning into starting this own, you know, different department at this point. And I needed the time to sit and think and I had a young son, so I couldn’t do it at night anymore. So it became a necessity. But then it also was like a literal reinforcement to them of like, you couldn’t find me could you know, well, what did you do? Well, I did this, this and this, and how did it work? It worked great. Okay, so let’s go and do more of that. And then reinforcing that more, you know, like, that’s a little, you know, an easy way, right? I just removed myself like physically from the office. But then outside of that was the encouragement, because what we discovered is that they were working together more and using each other. And so then one of the things we put into place is, before you come to me with anything from now on, I’d like you to try to solve it with your team and see if you can’t get to a way of doing it. And so then they started working more across team, which was good, because they were committed to certain businesses, but they learned pretty quickly that they all knew things the others didn’t, and could learn from other situations, or apply the situations pretty directly, you know, that has happened here. And then this is what we went and did. And so they started doing that with each other and, you know, would come more with like, we did this and it’d be like, cool, or I’d see that email at night. And it’d be like, hey, this happened today. And this is how we solved it. And I was like, okay, good. We’re all good then. So yeah, I mean, I think it it’s paying attention to the moments when you’re like, why is this working here? And not here? And then to your question, finding ways to make that a regular practice?
Anne Candido 38:49
Was there any disasters? Oh, yeah. There’s always disasters? How do you handle the disasters?
April Martini 38:55
I mean, honestly, we took ownership. So you know, we had a situation and I can’t even remember, but it was like, Somebody ordered 10,000 pins for some event instead of one. And the agency had to eat the cost of the pins and the poor account guy. I mean, I thought he was gonna pass out or throw up or both when he had to come and tell us if that’s what happened. And I mean, the first thing that that like, I mean, I laughed because I’m like, oh, like, of all the things you weren’t 10,000 instead of one, and they were they were printed, right? So it’s not like we can return them. And you know, so we took it on us and you know, Angie and I went to the boss were like this happened we have no other option but to eat it. I mean, It’s our mistake, you know, whatever. And it ended up you know, he exploded then it was like, You’re right, like, you know, we enable our people this is the type of thing and you know, over time it was able to be joked about but it took a solid six months before anyone could bring up to 10,000 instead of 1,000. But I mean, I was proud of the organization because we did what we said we were doing right. We were empowering the people and we support it. And we took ownership of the fact that mistakes happen. And that one two just became like, Guys, mistakes literally do happen. Like there was no ill intention. It was an accident, and extra zero got added. Nobody caught it, you know, like, it was just one of those things that happens. But yeah, I mean, we practice what we preached and so took responsibility.
Anne Candido 40:27
And the business didn’t crumble and fall underneath the, you know,
April Martini 40:31
well, and I think that’s the other point, too, right. Because his automatic offer, I think it was like a $3,000 mistake, right? So his automatic offer was like, take it out of my paycheck. And we’re like, Dude, you don’t make enough for us to take your paycheck like, no, no, no, the company will do it as a write off, we’ll you know, we’ll eat it, whatever. But like, he was like, just just keep my checks from now on. Just let me keep my job. Poor guy. You learned from your mistakes, right? That’s a prime example. You double check these numbers and quadruple check them and make different mistakes. Yeah, exactly. All right. Number two, we have a culture of being present, which doesn’t allow me to physically step away, what do I do? I am first a firm believer in asking for forgiveness, not asking for permission. And I know that can be a controversial thing. And some organizations are tighter than others on these types of things. But I will tell you right now that this was the way that I led my teams. And if problems didn’t arise from me not being there, no one ended up caring whether I was there or not physically. I know this isn’t always possible in organizations. And yes, some managers and bosses really feel like you have to be president. But I would just say, first and foremost, is it really a hard and fast rule? Or could you find ways to prove it take small steps, that sort of thing and be a leader in the way of this versus just taking it at face value that the requirement is that up there? Because if you can show results, like all of us are seeing right now working from home, and businesses aren’t collapsing, because workers aren’t doing what they’re supposed to? Right? We’re not physically there. So I would say that first. And then if that’s not an option, you have to be more strict about how and when you are accessible. So I talked before about modes of communication. And also, you know, asking the question back and talked about, like, what would you do versus coming to me for an answer every single time, you can also do things like set office hours. So if you’re in a business where you have an actual office, you can set you know, windows windows of time where people can come in, walk in, make appointments, whatever the case might be. So you can create the distance and the discipline for people to do their own thing, even if you do have to physically be there, it probably will be a little bit harder. I mean, you heard me say that I literally would just disappear. And then they couldn’t find me. And that was, I guess, trial by fire, maybe maybe a little mean on my part. But there are different ways to do it. And I think for your own well being and especially if you’re trying to rise up as a stronger leader, a better leader, you know, vigilant leader, like we’ve talked about this, this specific approach, you have to do this, or you never will get beyond where you are. So there are always ways you might have to get a little bit creative. But I would just encourage number one, if you can get creative and put yourself out there and try it. There might be repercussions there might not. But in the absence of being able to do that, really try to find ways where you might be physically there, but not present for people to be able to stop by and ask and that sort of thing.
Anne Candido 43:58
Yeah, and I think there’s the other side of the coin here too, which we know is become a little bit of a concern for people in that if I can’t see you, how do I know you’re working? So it’s on the other side, if you want to be a vigilant leader, you gonna have to let people be like, remote like and not just necessarily like remote like working from home remote, but remote from you wherever you happen to be. And we’ve learned anything from these last almost a year now is that where we thought you had to have everybody together in order for everybody to actually work? You don’t necessarily need that now or they’re the exception to the rule where you know, this person is now like goofing off. Yes, there are you know that they use this as an opportunity not to have to actually work is hard because somebody’s not watching them. In that case, what you have to do is you have to keep a closer eye out your vigilance has to increase on these people. And that’s where you make sure that there’s daily goal set, there’s a check Again, there’s like, there’s something that you can actually evaluate process, it doesn’t mean that you actually have to watch them and look at them and make sure they’re doing their work. Now, there are certain people to that actually have to be present in order to do their work, too, if you’re working in manufacturing and stuff like that. So there’s obviously exceptions to this, where you actually have to see people and make sure that they are actually working on their machines as well. And that makes it a little bit harder, but you don’t necessarily have to be on the floor. 24/7, right, you know, so over their shoulder over their shoulder, you’re checking it like so. It’s, it’s all about empowerment. And it’s also about setting the expectations, like we said, if you can do that, you tend to have people rise to your expectations versus failure,
April Martini 45:43
or you find the ones that aren’t going to work anyway. And it gives you a reason to replace them with someone who I mean, I’d argue that a lot of tolerance goes on in organizations, for the people that are underperforming, that really they should have been let go a long time ago. Now you have a clear path to that if you’re asking them to take responsibility, and they won’t. Right. So are they? That’s a good point. All right, the next question here, I am a middle manager, not the boss, I can see value here. But does this apply to me? And what do you think?
Anne Candido 46:14
Yes, so I was a middle manager. So I feel this one. And yes, it obviously applies to you, because you are managing people team, you know, whether it’s, you know, multifunctional team, like I said, internally or externally, or agencies like there’s lots of contexts for management here. And leadership. The key if you’re a middle manager, although you could argue almost everybody is because even the CEO usually has a board of directors or somebody they have to answer to but a true middle manager will just leave out that that definition, the generally the the key to being able to really be a vigilant leader here is to manage up appropriately, because you are a little squeezed like it is definitely the case is you have your people you want to manage your people the way you want to manage your people, but there is a boss, and the boss is managing you, it may also, you know, be held responsible for the people under you. And that is like a real reality to have to deal with. Now, the way that you actually can potentially work vigilantly to ship in here is by bringing your manager on board with what you’re doing, share very clearly, and very, everything that you have. So be very clear about, hey, this is the way that we’re going to go do this due to the principles are interacting, this is what I expect from my team. This is what you can expect from me how often I’m going to check in with you by upper manager, as well as how often I’m going to convey to you what my team is doing. And actually like almost like manage up and make your manager a vigilant leader in the process. And what we found is, when you’re very clear, you’re very transparent about how you’re gonna manage your team. And your manager above you doesn’t feel surprised, they feel informed. Even if they don’t want to practice vigilant leadership themselves, they tend to leave you alone, like they usually in these cases, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, if you’re not squeaking, if everything’s working right. They tend to leave you alone more, and they’re going to have competence and faith in the process that you’re doing. So be transparent. Share with them, don’t try to work in your own little silo, we’ve talked about this before, and tell them to leave you alone and not get involved. Because you know, that never works. The more you tell your your boss not to get involved and not to bother you, the more that they want to you because they’re like, What the heck are they doing that I’m not going to like, right? So just set up the right environment. And if they truly are not going to allow you to do it, you can still kind of game it a little bit, you can still over communicate with your manager without having to press it back on to your people. All right. So it’s a matter of kind of practicing it, testing and learning it kind of seeing what works and where the pressure points are. But this one’s where time kind of helps to.
April Martini 49:11
Yeah, yeah, I would agree. And I think the really good point that Anne made there is that you’re being proactive, and you’re coming with a plan. So a lot of what we talked about today is how to set this up. Right. And it’s to do exactly that. So there weren’t, I mean, I don’t even know that I can think of any times in my career where if I came with an ask that was proactive to make something better, and I had a plan for what I was going to do to make it happen. Generally speaking, people are like, Okay, I mean, you might get questions and you might get like you have this amount of time to go and try this out. Or like Ken said, I want you to report in to me at the beginning every day or at the end of every day or whatever to just make sure that it’s a good bet and it stays a good bet and that progress is actually being made. And then I think to there are ways to control what you can control. So the other part that I think and that said that was good is, even if you have to make some sacrifices, especially at the beginning, and your boss isn’t totally comfortable with it, you manage that team day to day. So as long as the work is happening and progress is being made, you can kind of do it however you want. Because you’re your boss shouldn’t be in their business all day he shouldn’t he or she should only be in yours. So I think there and it does, it takes time, it takes practice, you have to show success, even if it’s small success, you have to show that you’re chipping away and moving uphill, and all that kind of stuff. But if you’re committed and you really believe in it, I think this is one where you can get there. Yeah, I agree. All right, the next one, how regularly should I touch base with my team when practicing vigilant leadership? And what is the best way to do it? Here’s one where we say it depends. It depends on a lot of things, it depends on the person, it depends on your organization, it depends on the type of work you do, it all depends. But I think that if you can spend the right amount of time and we’ve talked about the personal brands of the people that work for you, if you can really get at what are their foundational motivators, and the places where they may have trouble and really drill into that, and then craft the amount of feedback, communication, whatever from that perspective, I think that’s where you’ll win. And the other mistake I see made is when people find a way, but then want to roll that out across the entire team, which is not fair. And it’s also not going to be the same for every single person. So and then I think you need to set that up transparently. I’m doing this with you. Because, you know, for me, it was like I had three people were that were technically at the same level, but very different positions in that level. And so I just said that, you know, this, this person has been in this role for five years, you know, and is on the way out, this one is in the middle, but the client’s really tricky right now. So I gotta be there more, versus you’re brand new. And I think I’d be doing you a disservice if I was going to back off as much as I do for the person at the top. And so we worked through all of that, and then also just deciding how people like to talk. So especially in the world we’re in right now, and I’ve made this very clear in the podcast, I hate being on video, I’ll do it. If there’s someone that really says I need to communicate that way, fine. But to the point of not picking a one size for all, I’m a lot more effective on the phone. So if you want me to have a really in depth chat with you, and you really need my advice, I need to be able to pace back and forth in my living room and hear what you’re saying and be focused only on listening to what you’re asking me about, versus putting myself in an uncomfortable situation and trying to think about what my facial expressions are when I’m reacting to whatever you’re saying. So I think this is one to where you can set it up from the beginning by just doing a little bit of digging and asking the person really quite honestly how best they do. And then just keep an eye on it. So that person that was in a difficult account, eventually mastered that account started running it let got to that higher level and we were able to touch base loss and I was in the work less. So it is also a test and learn it does depend on every person. But if you can take a customized approach and find one that works, your work overall just becomes less.
Anne Candido 53:34
Yeah, I think the important point to make here and you you said this is that this is vigilant leadership, this isn’t hands off. So this doesn’t mean you your team goes and operates and you never check in and you’re never knowing what’s going on. And you have to live in this constant state of not knowing notices like about knowing enough in order to be informed so that you can do what you need to do in order to make sure that the team is well represented while faced up while faced over by a phased out whatever you need to do in order to position your team to be in the best light, as well as being able to make sure that the work continues to progress, like you said, so. But don’t be afraid to let some of your people just go. I mean, you have a high performer, let them go. I really, really, really wish that that was been the case when I was in P&G. It’s like gosh, just let me go. I mean, like let me let me see what I you know what we can do here. I’m not gonna do anything to destroy the brand. I’m not gonna destroy the company. But there’s such a tight like, you know, just almost leash on everything because people are so afraid about how it’s going to make them look that they feel like they have to know everything about what’s going on at all all the time. Right. And so, that is a really uncomfortable place, especially for high performers to be and it makes people very frustrated. As we everybody has heard the saying that you don’t leave a company you leave your boss. Don’t be that boss that loses a high performers because you can’t figure out how to manage them appropriately, which usually means hit step away, let them go, let them figure it out, be there in case like, you know, they’d gonna do something detrimental, you don’t want them to do that, I mean, so you don’t have to let them like crash and burn. But you know, just let them have some space. And that goes go back to the part about creating space and creating growth. Meanwhile, like, there’s somebody, like you said, That’s not as strong of a performer, spend a little bit more time with them. But if you know, it’s becoming like, inundated all the time, and you can’t get them, they’re gonna have to cut them loose to you. So don’t feel like you’re always having to save everybody either. So it’s definitely something that you needed to consider with regards to your own personal capacity, as well as other people’s personal capacity. And then their ability to be able to take on the work and work autonomously.
April Martini 55:51
Yeah. And I would say to I’ll give and the prompts that she came up with the word vigilant. And you heard her say that it doesn’t mean inactive. And I think it if you think about the word, it tells you exactly what to do, right? It’s like keep an eye on right, it’s not be in the middle of it’s not a knee jerk reaction is keep an eye on. And I think the other piece about the either the personal brand, or the people that work for you, or the way that they’re so inclined, or what they’re good at can also be something that turns into something they’re bad at, right? So with the high performers very specifically, I mean, sometimes you got to tell them to turn it off. Yeah, and meaning like step away and take a break and don’t work yourself to death. And, and I think that’s the other part about being a vigilant leader is you’re, you’re kind of one step ahead of them at all times, not meaning you’re better you’re doing a better job, but you see what’s coming before they see what’s coming, because you’re very in tune to what’s going on. And so there’s been tons of times with my high performers that I’ve been like, literally, you’re going to be punished. If you send an email on your day off, we got this, we can figure this out, you need time to take a break. So it’s all of that stuff rolled into one. And it’s it’s really, really being in tune and always tuned in to how they’re doing what they’re doing and what they need.
Anne Candido 57:10
Yeah, I think it’s a great point. Yep. All right,
April Martini 57:14
our third and final segment, a real world example of a brand who is doing this well, or not so well. And today, we have one that’s doing it well, which I think tends to be our inclination, unless we really have a, you know, a bad experience. And we just can’t not talk about it,
Anne Candido 57:31
which which, by the way, my poor season has still not done, oh my
April Martini 57:34
god. Which means we’re not gonna be able to use it when we all go for ads on Saturday night for dinner, and I bombed. All I wanted to do is sit out there,
Anne Candido 57:43
it could be you need your jacket. Heaters not in
April Martini 57:48
all right. So someone who is doing this? Well, this whole idea of vigilant leadership, and really is a prime example is John Mackey. And so for those of you that don’t know Him, He is the founder of Whole Foods. And he doesn’t call it vigilant leadership. That’s our word. But he has written some books, including Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Leadership, which both of them really speak to the principles that we’ve talked about today. And the key being stepping away, allowing for breathing room letting people do their thing and working autonomously, and really capitalizing on the results of that. So I first heard John Mackey speak on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and I was just enthralled by the man. And it was funny because he took a little bit of time to warm up and decide what he was going to talk about and what he wasn’t. But as he really got rolling, I found myself nodding along and saying yes, and saying, Yes, this is exactly the type of thing that Anna and I mean, when we talk about vigilant leadership, and it takes discipline again on the side of him, as well as the people that he hires in the organization. So he initially founded one store. And, you know, it was just this idea of, of bringing really good quality food to people and then decided he really had a passion for growing it. And so they’ve grown through opening different stores all over the country to acquiring other organizations that that do the same thing. And as part of that, I mean, he and very quickly, in some cases, had to really let go of some things that were happening. And so if you know anything about Whole Foods, and if you’ve, you’ve been in one, you experience this as the idea that they really only hire nice people, and people that care about other people and care about their experience and care about their jobs, quite frankly, and feel proud to be doing what they’re doing and working at Whole Foods. And so as part of that, that builds a culture of kindness and looking out for people and being there for them. And that comes from John Mackey himself and his desire to really work with and for and employ people. that he cares about. Part of this philosophy is what he calls a win win, win, win for wins, win win win win strategy, not a win win, win win win win. And really, as part of that, what he’s talking about is the intersection of making the right in the kind of decision for all parties involved. So that’s the company itself, the employee that works there, the customers that shop there, and and this was one that I found very interesting, the vendors that you partner with. And so it’s this idea of, if you do the right thing for all of those parties, then the right things happen. And you can let go and you’re not so tied to every decision to double checking to looking over shoulders, it works kind of well, very autonomously across the board. And one of the specific stories that he told that really resonated with me was a situation where well, first of all, they empower all of the managers at each of the stores. So they’re allowed to run the business in that store the way that they see appropriate, of course, with some guidelines and such. But it really allows each store to thrive because they have the guiding principles of the brand and what it stands for, but then they are in charge of what happens in that store. So there was an instance and I can’t remember, I think maybe it was in Texas, but where the cash registers went down in the store, and so nobody could be run through and pay for their groceries. And so meanwhile, we’ve been in Whole Foods, you know, those lines get long, very quickly. And so he’s like, What am I going to do? What am I going to do, and so he told the cashiers to just bag the groceries, tell people, thank you for your business and give it give them away for free. And when you think about that, you’re like, Oh, my god, like what could have happened there, right, like how much money was given away. And I think it ended up being a couple $1,000 over the course of the I think it was less than 30 minutes, right that everything was down. And that would have gone unnoticed, right. But as an example, until one of the people that it happened to felt compelled to call the local paper and tell them what had happened, and the fact that she’d gotten her $127 worth of groceries for free. And this just speaks to kindness and treating people the way you want to be treated. And the fact that they weren’t acting as a business because they were literally letting money walk right out the door. And so it got picked up. And, you know, to a country wide story on all the biggest news channels that this happened, which, as you can imagine provided really good press for Whole Foods and you know, spent far less than what they probably spend on on marketing and advertising, all those types of things. But that’s just the idea of that win win win win, right? It was like the company trusted the employee to do the right thing, the employee felt empowered to do the right thing for the customer. And it all worked together, you know, the vendors, the one that actually brings the food in the store, so they’re involved a little peripherally on this one. But all of that was, you know, we’re working for the greater good and the kindness that we believe should be passed on to people. And then they got the press back for that without that ever being the idea behind it. And so I’ve clearly find him very fascinating. He’s a quiet speaker, and he appears very humble himself. And he strongly believes in the business of eating the right things, doing the right things. I think he’s a complete vegan, which was interesting on Joe Rogan’s show, because I think he brought him sausage and vegan cheese. And Joe was like, I’m not really sure what the heck to do with this. But all of that to say that he’s the epitome of a vigilant leader. And he really works hard every day to give people the things that they need, whether they work for him work with him, or a vendor to the business or the customer.
Anne Candido 1:03:36
Yeah, I think, really fabulous example. And one point to make here is that he set himself up for success. Oh, yeah. Right. And so I think that is really, really important. And and we haven’t like actually set it in that way. But this verily, tele graphically points out the fact that he first of all hires the right people, and they have a very stringent hiring process. They do just hire like very nice people. He grants autonomy, creating space for his managers to do something, and operate their stores when it’s when these things happen. They’re not paralyzed with fear about what’s going to happen to me if I make this choice. Like it’s all in the vein of being able to be nice people when you’re naturally a nice person, that empathy naturally shines through versus somebody who may not be that that total characteristic. He actually incentivizes people to actually eat well, be healthy, get exercise, do all those things. So they can show up to work and not only be good people at work, but be good people at home. And they get he gives discounts your whole foods as a result of like, how much of this you participate in, in what you do. I mean, so there’s a lot of ways that he sets himself up for success, which I think is a really important point that you just can’t like decide one day Hey, And you, I’m gonna be a vigilant leader today. It’s a process of being able to put the pieces in place in order to make it work. And I think that’s really important. Now, you can eventually get there. But the whole principles, pieces that you said at the very, very beginning is critically important. The sharing of the mission, the sharing of the vision, making sure you have the right team in place, making sure you know, all of these things have been set, and how you’re going to communicate back and forth, what is going to be it all that stuff is just so critically important in order to make sure that you can operate as a vigilant leader. But when it happens, you get the whole opportunity to just scale beyond belief. And now, you know, the whole buy up by Amazon, which he talks very frankly, about to Yep, you know, as being a little bit of a conflict in some cases and stuff like how are we going to maintain our ability to be who we want to be, despite this buyout, and totally fascinating conversation there as well. So set yourself up for success. I mean, it and that’s the thing, I just want everybody to be very kinda set up. Because if you don’t, of course, it’s going to fail. So I don’t want people to think that this whole digital leadership doesn’t work. It will work if you set up the right infrastructure,
April Martini 1:06:11
and over time, you’ll reap the rewards and the success of actually doing that. Yeah, so All right. In any case, that is our conversation today all about vigilant leadership and the ability to lead from afar but still be very active and involved. And with that, we would tell you to go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: ForthRight-People.com. Mention you heard about us here and we will give you a free 30-minute consultation. You can also share any topics you want us to cover, which helps us give real-world support to our listeners in real time. And if you learn something impactful, please share with a friend and don’t forget to leave a rating and review on your favorite platform. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!