Jeremie Kubicek – Making Your Leadership Come Alive
Jeremie Kubicek specializes in getting leaders to a higher level through his speaking, consulting and books. He takes complex concepts and adapts them into powerful tools that are practical and scalable. He speaks worldwide to audiences of all sizes across various industries and sectors. In addition, Jeremie is a best-selling author of the books Making Your Leadership Come Alive; 5 Gears: How to be present and productive when there is never enough time; 5 Voices: How to Communicate with everyone you lead; & The 100X Leader.
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Caleb Stevens: Coming to you from Atlanta, Georgia. This is the community bank podcasts, the podcast by bankers for bankers. Thanks for joining the conversation today. I’m Caleb Stevens, I serve banks in Georgia, as well as in Kentucky in our business development group. And I am joined by Tom Fitzgerald, our Director of strategy and research and a master economist. I think you’re becoming through all of the COVID then head and election things you don’t know, I love reading your market update. You send that out every week, three times a week, I think and so that’s been helpful keeping us in the loop. A vaccine, Tom, they’re talking about that potentially being on Horizon. I’ve heard there are two groups, I think it’s Pfizer and Moderna, I say their name.
Tom Fitzgerald: And there’s probably two or three others that I’ve heard are on the verge of coming out.
Caleb Stevens: So, the million-dollar question is what does that mean for the economy? And what might we see next year, any crystal ball predictions you’ve got for us?
Tom Fitzgerald: Well, kind of what I’ve written about recently, what I’ve noticed is this sort of bipolar nature for stocks, particularly that they will trade up and rally, when you get some vaccine news as we did with Pfizer, and like you said, then when following that, yes, with Madonna. But then the next day, the worries about the virus spiking in the cases and the worries about getting distribution of those vaccines out on time, sort of sends stocks down the other way. So, I think that action is going to persist for, at least into the new year, what sort of trade upon positive vaccine news. I think, as we go through winter in the virus numbers get ugly, then there’ll be some of a downside move as well. And so, it’ll be sort of this back and forth until we start seeing a distribution of those vaccines.
Caleb Stevens: It sounds like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But we don’t know how long it’s going to take to get to that light. But at least we can see it.
Tom Fitzgerald: It’s not light enough to you can tell the distance but you know, it’s out there somewhere.
Caleb Stevens: Well, folks, we are super excited for today’s show, because we’re going to be talking to Jeremie Kubicek. He is the founder and CEO of Giant Worldwide. He’s an internationally recognized speaker. He’s an author of several books, including the 100 extra liters, the five gears, the five voices, and making your leadership come alive. He’s the former CEO of the leader cast and catalyst conferences for the folks who live predominantly in the southeast. And here in Atlanta would certainly know those conferences. He’s worked with John Maxwell. He started companies all over the world and London, in Russia. And he’s a leadership and self-awareness and culture expert. And so, he talks a lot about what are the qualities of an effective leader? How do you lead virtually in this age of COVID, and work from home, and all kinds of other topics relevant to leadership today? So, we’re excited for you to hear that interview now with Jeremie Kubicek. Thanks for joining us. Jeremy, thanks for joining us today. It’s good to be with you.
Jeremie Kubicek: So good to be with you guys excited about that.
Caleb Stevens: I don’t think I’ve ever told you this story. But growing up for me throughout middle school and high school, I did not enjoy reading. And I think part of it was you were always handed books to read. And it was never really a choice. It was, hey, read this book and read a report on it. And it was kind of just force-fed to you throughout middle school and high school. And so, I grew up just honestly hating reading. But I remember my senior year of high school, I had gotten a copy of your book, making your leadership come alive. And I remember one night, I just had some free time and I went to my local Starbucks. And I sat down and read your book. And I was like, I have never read a book like this. For one, I had never a lot of nonfiction. I was mostly novels and things but your content the way he talked about leadership, but just something clicked with me and I just will never forget that night sitting down and thinking, maybe readings not so bad. Maybe it’s just I discovered this whole new genre of leadership that I never had before. So, thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever told you that. But wanted to.
Jeremie Kubicek: I love that. So, encouraging, Caleb. Thanks for that. No, it’s so fun to go that I was a part of your first book reading. I love it.
Caleb Stevens: And you signed it too. I think my dad and I think we met with you one afternoon just to get to know you a little bit better. And you sign your book. It might have been your first book I want to say maybe not, but I think it was one of your first ones. And you signed it and talked about the name Caleb and the story behind it. And that just always really stuck out to me. So, thank you for that. Well, tell us a little bit about your background. Talk about everything you do and Giant worldwide.
Jeremie Kubicek: So, I’m a farm boy from Oklahoma. And when I was out of college, I moved to Russia because I had a professor who apprenticed me. And he said you can use a business platform for good. So, we went over and we started Moscow economic school, we then formed an accounting training company and a marketing consulting business. And we built them up and just had an amazing experience in the middle of the craziness, which is where a part of that book, you read with some of my mafia stories, and car bombs and assassination attempts and things like that. Just It was a crazy season. So, when I moved back to America, I had started to work with someone who taught me how to use business, for good, and I’ve been doing that ever since. And so, when I started in Giant 2002, we built it up. And we bought John Maxwell’s assets, we started the catalyst conferences, and leader cast, and all these big brands. And then I got to a certain point, and I realized that those were all amazing, but they were still the 20th century to learning. You were talking about not reading much anymore. And I realized that most adults don’t read much. They’re cynical no at all like all of us aren’t. And so, we started working on this concept of neurolinguistics, of creating in principle tools in visual so that adults can learn in record time. And they can multiply and teach other people in record time and do it without having to go to seminars, or read a lot of books. And that’s what I’ve been doing. We’ve been working on that. Since early 2013.
Caleb Stevens: And you spent time in London, you spend time in Russia, you’ve been in Atlanta, and you’re Oklahoma now, it sounds like you’ve run the gamut and had a lot of experiences along the way, in terms of all the different cultures you’ve been able to impact and be a part of, as well. Sounds like.
Jeremie Kubicek: We’ve been testing it out, we spent a lot of time in Africa, in Kenya, we’ve been testing does it work there, a lot of time in Eastern Europe is at work there. So, we’re primarily in the British Commonwealth and the United States. Those are primarily our markets. And, but it’s been a fun journey so far. So, we’ve moved in the last two years to a technology platform. So, we’re a Staff business. And we always say we’re a wholesaler, to any coaches that are out there who want to get certified in use technology. And we have a platform that I just believe it’s the best out there for them to use for coaching. And then we have clients. Like I’ve mentioned before, if they want to use it and learn how to scale their development, then that’s what our system does.
Tom Fitzgerald: Well, Jeremie, with all that travel that you’ve done in your career, I would imagine you’ve come across all kinds of leaders, all shapes, sizes, personality types, but is there a central essential quality that you’ve seen in these leaders that make them that the most effective ones? The be that?
Jeremie Kubicek: Yes, what I’ve learned over time, is there’s a lot of eager leaders who are well-read than to every event, they followed all these people. And so, they have this knowledge. But sometimes knowledge puffs up and it makes them proud. And the real key is, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it is directly tied to do people want to follow you or do they have to follow you. So, I have noticed how many leaders are out there, who when I get to know them are in their worlds that people don’t want to follow them. So that’s just the simple standard. I’ve always set for leadership. If you’re a good leader, if people want to follow you, then don’t want to follow you if they’re okay for you get friendly, fired, or have their okay for you to leave, then there was something there. So, I always look for responsiveness, which is bathed in humility, that the best leaders on the planet are those who are secure and confident and humble. But they’re focused, they’re healthy, but they’re focused on giving themselves away to multiply and grow other people.
Caleb Stevens: It sounds a lot like what your friend Seth Godin says that leadership is voluntary, I want to follow you versus I have to.
Jeremie Kubicek: And I grew up in the industry with a lot of speakers. And so, we’ve put these events, I’ve run some of the largest events in the world. And it was sometimes it was very disheartening because I would get to know some of the people and you find out Well, these are great guys speaking about things but they’ve never let anyone and so I grew up leading people and being in businesses and so it’s easy to write about, it’s hard to do. And I think that’s the key component, that when you get into the trenches, that it’s just hard work. And but if you’re an intentional person who is focused, we use the Sherpa metaphors like Sherpas on Mount Everest, it’s really hard because they have to climb. And then they have to help other people climb. It’s not just about them climbing to the top of themselves, it’s about them helping other people get to the top. And it’s just leadership is difficult. And very few do it well, because of how difficult it is.
Caleb Stevens: And I know one of the things you guys emphasize as a Giant is the importance of self-awareness when you’re developing your leadership. Talk about some of the initiative’s you guys do in that area. I know, Five Gears is one of the books you’ve written, talking about, how do you shift in and out of these gears, whether it’s you’re in the zone, and you’re focused as one year or you’re recharging, or you’re connecting with others socially, that’s one area. But then there’s also this concept you guys created called Five Voices. And everyone kind of has a different way of expressing their leadership, whether it’s in the form of a creator, or a pioneer or a guardian, talk about those two concepts of the five gears and the five voices that you guys preach?
Jeremie Kubicek: Well, it comes down to self-awareness is really about knowing your tendencies, and understanding your tendencies. So, you can lead yourself because all of us have tendencies like, let me give an example. I have a tendency historically to exaggerate, I tend to be defensive, I will always have these tendencies, I will never get rid of those. So, I know myself, but to lead myself, I then start to understand my pattern. When do I get defensive? Why do I get defensive, and if I know when and why I can change my action, I won’t be able to change the fact that I am, but I can change what I do with it? So, what we do is we give people we call them lenses and mirrors, that we have about 65 mirrors, which are tools that we teach neurolinguistics I mentioned, and then we get lenses to see the world through. And that would be the Five Voices in the Five Gears. So, really simply the Five Voices is we figured out a formula, or union typology, which is where Myers Briggs came from.
And we realized like enneagram disc, Myers Briggs, some of those, they’re good, they’re really good. But they don’t scale because they’re too complicated. They’re too complicated for an educated 13-year-old. So, we created a formula by taking the middle two letters of union type ology if you’re an ENFP. And you’re a connector, creative pioneer. So, if you know you’re a connector, you can communicate more clearly. So, what we’ve done is we’ve merged personality, with the Five Gears, which is an emotional intelligence tool. And then we’ve created skills, or tools, that that are basic leadership skills. So, we combine the core of personality, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills to give people a chance to lead themselves. So, for instance, if I’m a connector, the Nemesis voice for me as a guardian. So, if I’m communicating to a guardian, then I need to understand how they want to be communicated to they want more detail. They don’t want much fluff. They don’t want exaggeration they want so if I know myself, I can lead myself if I know someone else, I can speak to them in their language. And by doing that, my influence goes up.
Caleb Stevens: I think you make a great point in Myers Briggs is awesome. I’ve taken it, as the enneagram as well, but I’m a psych, I’m an ENFJ. And it’s like, what do I do with that? What does that mean? So, I like how you guys have kind of simplified it down to hear five voices. And it led to your point, it seems like it gives everybody kind of a common set of vocabulary to really, you know what I mean? It just sorts of simplifies it down. It gives us a common vocabulary to speak to each other and to grow. Yeah, through those things.
Jeremie Kubicek: Because if you think about an organization is made up of teams. So, if you have 200 people in an organization, you probably have 20 to 30 teams. And so those teams are running the business. Well, each team has a team leader. And the secret of Giant is that we get into the muck in the mire of the organization, which we go down into the subculture team. So, the only way you do that, though, is to make the content accessible, and easy and sticky, and replicable. So, if you don’t if it’s too complicated, we call it like, cul de sac learning. It’s really good for a few people and then they turn around and get back outright? So, it never goes down into the organization. So, it has to be an educated 13-year-old. If they get it, it can transfer inside the organization because people are too busy. And executives don’t spend money on training deeply at every level.
Caleb Stevens: And in real briefly walk us through the Five Gears, what are those specific gears that we tend to shift in and out of during the day?
Jeremie Kubicek: So, the Five Gears are an emotional intelligence tool. I’ve created it after observing some people using the manual stick shift in mind. So, fifth gear, the cars in fifth gear are on the highway, and it’s going so fifth gear is focus mode when you’re in the zone. The fourth gear is multitasking. The third gear is social. The second gear is a connected mode, and the first gear is recharge. So, the idea is to know yourself, you can lead yourself. So, we use every gear every day like it’s really important that every gear every day, well, there’s in a minute, I’m going to move over to third gear. And then eventually I’ll shift into fifth gear, I need to work on a project today.
So, I’m if I know myself, and what gear I should be in, and what gears I’m naturally not good in, and I can get better at them. So, my wife and I have a calendar, and we go, okay. During the day, we naturally know what gear we should be in. Last night, we watch TV, we were just chilling out, it was the third gear moment. And then maybe we had a deeper conversation that was second gear Connect. And then we went to bed and maybe we read beforehand, and that’s the first gear in the night. So, but if my wife is in a different gear than I am, or let’s say all of us at work, we decide this is pre-COVID and post COVID to go to dinner or hang out after work. And that’s the third gear social time. But then old killjoy Rob walks in and starts asking questions about an email. He’s in fourth gear when everyone else is in third gear, he’s in the wrong gear at the wrong time. His influence goes away. People don’t invite him to those parties anymore. So, that an example.
Caleb Stevens: And I remember I think in your book, you talk about an example where you were at some kind of social function, and one of your team members came up and want to dive into something related to work. And I think he just held up the three and just said, Hey, just subtly communicating, hey, this isn’t the time and place for that just makes it an easy way to communicate.
Jeremie Kubicek: I just called the play. That’s it, you just call the play? Well, so what happened? Go ahead.
Caleb Stevens: I was one of our co-workers here at the office, I remember he was saying to me about a week ago, he said, I like coming into the office during COVID. Because it’s empty, for the most part, because everyone’s working from home. And I feel like I can get stuff done versus when we’ve got 80 people in our office each day, people are putting their head in bouncing in and out. And I feel like I’m just totally getting yanked around in terms of my focus. And so even just him being able to put up a five on his door or something, when he’s in the mode that could kind of help communicate to the rest of the team, I’m in this gear, maybe in an hour or so I’ll be in a different gear.
Jeremy Kubicek: Absolutely. And we have seen all over the world using this language, that’s what it is. It’s objective language, you’re in the banking industry, so let me just pick on banks for just a minute. And I mean that in the best way. Because I’ve worked with a lot of financial institutions, a lot of banking organizations in my history. And I know what most of them are thinking that like, leader development, it’s a little bit fluffy, it’s a little bit soft. And does it work? Do we need it? And is it worth the bang for the buck? And for most of the things that historically, I’d say, probably not a lot of wasted time, because when people get an event, they get all excited. And then they come back, and they don’t do anything with it. So, we’ve created a process for people, that’s like, five minutes a week, 10 minutes a week.
So, we train people on these tools. It’s like learning a nugget of truth. And you’ll never forget it once you get it and then that tool leads to another so like to your point, once you understand the five voices, and merge those with the five gears and then have some tools to use for performance management or leading your team or dealing with conflict, then it just starts equipping people and they start becoming more effective. So, we’ve just been going after the process and dealing with what people think is soft and we make them people skills are the hardest skills to get. So, we’ve figured out how to unlock the potential of people and to get them to perform at higher levels. But it’s a process. And it’s a journey. And I think that’s the thing that we’ve just found is that because people are so busy making the donuts every day, you can’t pull them away forever, you have to integrate it inside their world, in a way that’s not disruptive to their language, but correlates or connects with their values and their language, and makes it better. And that’s the secret I think we found.
Tom Fitzgerald: And I was kind of piggybacking on that, on that response to Jeremy, I was thinking about you, the younger leaders that are in banks, and there and there may be working for a senior exec who’s like you said, he’s a number-driven guy, he feels that culture is kind of the squishy, soft thing I can’t measure. How can they as a younger leader, who’s not in charge? How can they try to subtly or more overtly kind of influence the importance of culture, and some of that soft stuff that the leaders probably aren’t so attuned to?
Jeremie Kubicek: So, the quick answer is to control what you can control. It’s, it’s focusing on you. So, if you’re a young leader, and you don’t need anyone, then lead yourself amazingly well. When you lead yourself amazingly well, people go, this person, this lady, this man, this guy, they’re amazing. And that job opportunities will grow for you, then all of a sudden, you get put in a position to lead a group of people will lead that group of people, so unbelievably well that everyone in the bank sees it. So, it’s focused on you first lead yourself, then lead your small group or team, if you’re doing it, versus just talking about it, you’re going to be given an opportunity eventually, then you’ll step in, then you have the chance to lead the entire culture, but you use that small group of people for practice, they were the guinea pigs to help you. And to learn this and become a leader worth following. We have a book called the 100X leader, it’s my favorite book. And 100X leader is a field guide. It’s the Sherpa mindset, it’s a field guide for learning how to take other people up the mountain to help them perform at a higher level. So, practice, wherever you are, whether that’s on yourself, or a small group of people.
Caleb Stevens: And so that, a leader that they’re reporting to, maybe that leader grew up in there. Well, when I was coming up and banking, I got a paycheck. And that was good enough for me. I wasn’t, I wasn’t asking for all this great culture. And I mean, so for the leader who’s maybe doesn’t discount the importance of culture, but maybe is never intentionally thought about it or focused on it. And it’s kind of happened by osmosis. Why does it matter? Why does their leadership matter? Why do their overall culture and organizational health matter? And why should it demand their greater focus from them?
Jeremie Kubicek: Okay, so two massive things are one specific quote, and then one thing on a follow up on, for anyone listening that it shocked me when I heard that by the year 2025, which is not very far away. 75% of the workforce will be millennials. That’s 75% of the workforce. And if you think about the clientele, that means 25, to 45-year-olds, by 2025. So, if you think of is that to go? What are the two most important factors to any bank or any organization, its clients, and employees? Right? So, to have a competitive advantage, you need to be thinking like, like we’re past I’ll never forget, I had an investor talk about in the past, investments were safe. For real estate, restaurant, commercial real estate, those are a safe bet, and COVID hits. And all of a sudden, those aren’t safe bets so now technology is more of a safe bet. So, the change of the digital age has happened will so to hasn’t changed to leadership and people management means that you need to understand, do unto others as they would want to be done to themselves. What do your clients value? What do your employees value and, in the future, like it or not, the millennial culture and Gen Z behind them, value sustainability? They value social good, they value diversity, inclusiveness, they value placemaking. These are things that the boomers go What are you kidding, but whether you agree with them or not, it just is. So, to build a great culture is basically to attract people. So, the way you do business has to radically change and those who play at that level, they’ll be the ones to innovate and play in the digital age. Those that don’t will be the JC Penney’s and the Sears of the banking industry.
Tom Fitzgerald: Let’s talk briefly about 2020 and COVID. And the shift to this kind of virtual work world that works from the home phenomenon, how is that? It’s created challenges, for a leader in that environment. But what are some of the ideas or techniques that you have seen that are working in this kind of new workaday world that we find ourselves in?
Jeremie Kubicek: Well, you think about what it’s done is it’s challenged our belief of what and how people work. And a lot of people were afraid of home or work at homework because it won’t be as productive. I’ve talked to 40-50 CEOs, probably in the last six months, who have told me they’ve been shocked at how well it’s worked; I’ve only had two of those said that they’ve gone down and productivity, most of them have remained productive, which shows you that in the normal work world, most people waste one to three hours a day, and just fiddling and tinkering and different meetings that don’t mean anything. And so, I think what’s happened is the idea of productivity has changed. And so, people see now, where there are inefficiencies. So, commercial real estate is going to radically change how we work when we work. Do we need as many people can we create variable costs? So, this is such a great experiment for how we work?
And so that’s on the organizational front, on the individual front prioritization and learning how to get things done. It comes down to what are my KPIs? What are the hours? What are the things that I’m responsible for as an individual? And so, for teens and teen leaders, I would encourage you to reset your expectations, rebuild your scorecard, create role clarity now, at a level that can be so focused on being productive in the digital age, because, you know, here we are kind of going back into a lockdown status again, or a feeling of that again. And so, but we’re used to it, and we’ve learned to adapt to it. But as leaders, my question is, I wonder how much they’ve adapted to it, or they’ve just been waiting for it to get back to what they think is normal, which is not going to be the normal,
Caleb Stevens: Kind of sort of embracing it sort of just kind of gritting their teeth and saying, let’s kind of bear this and get through it. And then we can get back to normalcy.
Jeremie Kubicek: I think back in March when we went through the first lockdown, you never would have imagined that here we are in November. And like you said, Jeremy, that, we’re on the verge of probably in a similar, maybe more localized situation. But we’re still in the thick of it. I don’t think anybody would have thought that back in March. As you said, it’s a world that’s part of it’s not going to come back because this is going to be some permanent change that we have to deal with.
Caleb Stevens: Well, Jeremy, for folks listening in, who are Community Bank leaders, how can they get in touch with you, and what might be an easy first step that they can take? If they’re listening to this listening to everything that you do to serve leaders and they want to engage with you guys? What are some easy ways they can get involved?
Jeremie Kubicek: What if they love what I’m talking about? And they want to experience it? We have several free resources if you want to check it out at giant.tv/jk, with Jeremie Kubicek so, giant.tv/jk, that would be an easy way for them if they wanted more information about me. Speaking or the other things I do is jeremiekubicek.com. You can type it into the best fit, how and it’ll get to me. It’s a hard name.
Caleb Stevens: Awesome, we appreciate your time. We appreciate your wisdom and insight, and we’d love to have you back sometime in 2021.
Jeremie Kubicek: Appreciate it guys. Thanks so much for the time.
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