This week with sit down with Jeff Henderson to discuss all things culture, marketing, and creating remarkable experiences for your customers. Jeff is an entrepreneur, speaker, pastor and business leader and was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of twenty speakers you shouldn’t miss.

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Intro:Helping community bankers grow themselves, their team and their profits. This is the community bank podcast.

Eric Bagwell: Welcome to the Community Bank podcast. I’m Eric Bagwell, director of sales and marketing for the correspondent division at CenterState Bank. Joining me today is Caleb Stevens, Caleb. You used to be a guest host, but you are officially not a guest host anymore. You’re hosting way too many of these to be called a guest.

Caleb Stevens: I’m glad you gave me the official title. So, host and producer. Appreciate that.

Eric Bagwell: We’ll still say you’re batting third, but you’re officially on the team.

Caleb Stevens: I’ll be your first guy off the bench.

Eric Bagwell: No doubt. Today we’ve got a great show for you. This is show number 29 and just to throw this in, not to brag, but we’re proud. We went over 10,000 listens last week and we were thrilled with that. Not sure where that ranks us in the world of podcasts, because there’s probably a zillion of them out there, but maybe we’re in the top 10%, 20%,

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, top 20 probably, 25. I’ll take that, you know.

Eric Bagwell: Good deal. That’s awesome.

Caleb Stevens: We’ve never really done a podcast here at CenterState before, so it’s always encouraging to have some consistent listeners. So, we appreciate all that you guys do to support this show.

Eric Bagwell: Absolutely folks are reaching out to us through LinkedIn and other means and it’s awesome to hear from you and we’re glad it sounds like a lot of you guys are enjoying what we’re doing. So, and we’re going to keep that up today. We have got a great show. Caleb sat down with Jeff Henderson. Jeff is a speaker, an author, a consultant he’s led nonprofits. He’s worked with major league baseball teams and he’s worked with Chick-fil-A and some other large companies. He’s got a book out called, “Know What You’re For.” And it’s got some really cool ideas. Caleb, talk about it for a second?

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, Jeff’s awesome. I actually worked with him a couple of jobs ago back when I was in the startup [inaudible 01:53]. And what I love about his book is he makes the case that companies can no longer dictate the message. It’s really their customers who dictate how the company is perceived and he makes us great illustration. We talk about this in the interview. He talks about, you know, a restaurant. If you’re looking to go to a new restaurant, you’ve never been there before, and you see an ad from that restaurant and they’re talking all about, Oh, we got the best food. We got the best steaks. We got the best customer service. We got the best atmosphere. But then you go on Yelp and you read about the customer reviews and they’re all negative. Chances are, you’re probably going to listen to the customers before you listen to that ad that you hear on the radio or on TV. And so, he talks all about how the conversation is now in the hands of the customer. And so, what does that mean for community banks? And if the conversation’s now in the hands of our customers, how do we craft a culture and craft a company that is for our customers and for our community. So, it really good stuff and I’m excited for folks to hear that interview.

Eric Bagwell: That sounds great. Go out and get this book. It’s a great book and I know it will help you as you lead a bank or as you lead a team. So, let’s go to interview right now.

Caleb Stevens: Well, Jeff. Thanks for hopping on the show today. It’s great to see you. Good to see you in person. I feel like most of the podcasts we’ve been doing have been virtual, so it’s great to be in the studio here at the Rome Coworking space in Atlanta. How are you doing?

Jeff Henderson: Well, the last time I saw you Caleb. You were a single man now you’re a married man. So, congratulations.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah. We were just talking has a COVID wedding back in April, planned for 200 people ended up having 10. So, my father-in-law was grateful for the bill being reduced. I’m sure. But yeah, it’s good to see you. You and I worked together on a startup called champion tribes.

Jeff Henderson: That’s right.

Caleb Stevens: About three years ago. And it’s funny because I feel like everything that I’m doing now in my current job, when it comes to digital marketing, I learned almost all of that through Champion Drive. So, thank you just for that opportunity to help fathers and sons and create digital curriculum. And that was a blast working in the startup world for a while.

Jeff Henderson: Thanks for all you did for that.

Caleb Stevens: So, you’ve had so many different types of experiences in business and marketing. Talk a little bit about your background. How did you get kind of into the marketing space, but you’ve also spent time in nonprofit world? You spent time with big companies with smaller companies. So, talk about, you know, how’d, you kind of get into business nonprofit and what are you doing right now?

Jeff Henderson: Well, I grew up in the Atlanta area and I grew up a big the sports fan, which is not a great experience if you’re an Atlanta sports fan. And I didn’t know that you could do sports marketing. So, when I was at the University of Georgia, I just wrote the Braves and said, do you guys do internships? And so, I got an internship in marketing and promotions and then and it was fantastic. Took six months off work the entire season for them, eventually wound up working for them after that. And that really developed an interest that I had in marketing. I eventually long story short, it wound up working with our mutual friend, David Salyers and I was responsible for their sports marketing and beverage marketing and regional marketing approach really. And I loved it, thought I’d never leave, but my wife and I were involved in a church here in the Atlanta area and they were kind of opening up their first franchise, if you will multi-site and we just felt that we needed to go do that. So, we did that 17 years ago and then since then, over the last 17 years, we’ve launched three churches in the Atlanta area. But one of the things I’ve realized is whether if you’re in the nonprofit space or the business space, there’s some things that the business leaders could learn from nonprofit leaders and there’s some things nonprofit leaders can learn from business leaders. And so, I was actually able to work for two thriving organizations, Chick-fil-A and North Point Ministries, which is one of the largest nonprofits in America. And because of that, a mentor, you know, kind of challenged me and said, “You should tell us what you learned and, how did they grow?” You know, both in the business space, in the nonprofit space. So, I’ve been really fortunate to be on both of those worlds and to learn from really some outstanding leaders.

Caleb Stevens: And you just recently published a book, “Know what you’re for growth strategy for work and even better strategy for life.” I think I’ve got the subtitle right on the book.

Jeff Henderson: Yeah, I’m very impressed with that.

Caleb Stevens: Talk about what what’s the book all about? Why’d you write it? You know, I remember you, I think we were at champion tribes and I asked you about three years ago. I said, Jeff have you ever thought about writing a book? You’ve had all these experiences you’ve led so many different companies, nonprofits so many different types of organizations. There’s a lot of wisdom there. Have you ever thought about writing a book? And you said, I don’t know if the world needs a book from me. And I remember thinking, I don’t think that’s true. I think they definitely need a book from you. So, what finally tipped you over the edge to write a book?

Jeff Henderson: Well, it was a conversation I had with a mentor he’s, you know, I just said I’ve been so blessed to work for thriving organizations. I’ve learned so much. And he said, well, it’s true, you know, it’s a blessing, but it’s also, you have a stewardship responsibility. You should tell the rest of us what you learned and particularly about growth. You know, Chick-fil-A will you know, they’ve experienced same-store sales growth every year for the last 50 years. And it’s a multi-billion-dollar company. Well, there’s some things I learned there. Then when I went to work for North Point Ministries, as I mentioned, one of the largest nonprofits in the country they’ve experienced explosive growth. So, he said, if you could tell us how that happened, that would be a benefit for all of us who want to grow. And I thought, wow, that’s interesting.

Jeff Henderson: He said, and if you could boil it down to half a piece of paper, that would be good too. So, as I reflected on it, I really feel like it comes down to two questions, Caleb. Question number one is what do you want to be known for? What is the bank wants to be known for? And it can’t be a 17-paragraph mission statement stuck in a filing cabinet somewhere. Everybody needs to know it and the less words the better. And the second question is what are you known for? And that’s your customer’s reflection back to you, to whether you’re delivering on the brand products.

Caleb Stevens: Kind of your ideal state versus the reality, your current state.

Jeff Henderson: Right.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah.

Jeff Henderson: And there’s a gap in every organization, but the goal of everyone in the organization should become, should come to work every day to shrink the gap. You know, you may work in accounting, you may work in marketing, you may work in operations, you may do different things, but at the end of the day, you’re all should be doing the same thing, which is to shrink the gap between what you want to be known for and what you are known for. And the power of those two questions is when the answers to those two questions match. When what you want to be known for is actually what you’re known for. Then you create vision carriers for your business. It could create vision carriers for your nonprofit. I mean, this is so true for the nonprofit world. I don’t care what you’re doing. If you’re trying to change the world or help people, you’ve got to have vision carriers, because if vision is stuck just with one or two people or a leadership team, you’ve put a lid on that vision potential. So, the power of those two questions is when you get really clear about what you want to be known for and you deliver it, and people experience that unique vision and mission, then they’ll grow your organization for you. And for me, it wasn’t a theory. I’ve seen it play out at Chick-fil-A. I launched three churches in the Atlanta area three nonprofits and they all grew, but they grew because we created vision carriers

Caleb Stevens: And you talk about, you know, back in the day, the company could kind of control that message. But nowadays that message is really in the hands of the customers. You talk about, if you go into a restaurant you go to Yelp, you look up, what are the reviews? What are other people saying? You know, the company can say all they want, we’ve got the best food. We’ve got the best customer service. We’ve got the best atmosphere. But if the reviews on Yelp, don’t reflect that and don’t match that, you’re probably not going to win over new customers. So, kind of talk about that. Can you grow up from that a little bit more of the shift that we’ve seen over the past couple of decades, where it’s gone from the companies controlling the message throw their advertising to now, it really is in the hands of the customers.

Jeff Henderson: Let’s use the banking industry as an example. A bank is no longer what it tells customers it is, a bank is what customers tell other customers it is. That’s the ballgame. So, if I think I’ve got the best hot dog stand in town, but you come and eat a hot dog with me and you’re like, you know, just hot dogs, aren’t that great and you post that on Yelp. You know, you win, I lose. That’s why I have tremendous business respect and well, tremendous leadership respect for any leader in today’s world, because it’s hard having to deliver on your brand promise. Every single day is really hard, but it’s really important. That’s why it’s Truiy Cathy said at Chick-fil-A said we built Chick-fil-A one sandwich at a time and that’s what he’s talking about is that one sandwich, that one customer experience is really, really important.

Jeff Henderson: And at the end of the day, it’s always been this way Caleb. Even when I was at the University of Georgia many years before you. You know, positive word of mouth advertising is still the most powerful form of advertising. But I remember the professor at advertising, one-on-one said, you know, we know this, we don’t know how to figure out positive word of mouth advertising. So, we’re going to spend the rest of the semester on paid advertising. Right? And I understand that, and I’m not against paid advertising. I think it certainly has its place, but at the end of the day, it’s when customers say, you know what? I went to Caleb’s hot dog stand, or I went and had this great banking experience. You should try this. There’s immense credibility to that. Again, it goes back to vision carriers, the more vision carriers you have, the more vision casters you have. And I don’t think positive word of mouth advertising has to be so mysterious and elusive. And the great thing about positive word of mouth advertising is it’s profitable. I mean…

Caleb Stevens: Yeah.

Jeff Henderson: It takes money to generate those experiences, but I’m telling you that return value on people talking positively about your non-profit or your business. It’s immense and it really wins the day.

Caleb Stevens: Its kind of become an unpaid marketing force for you in a sense.

Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. Absolutely. And in today’s world, especially when somebody you know, post something on their social media platform, you’re reaching people that, you know, you probably couldn’t reach because they now have carried your vision forward.

Caleb Stevens: Right. Let’s shift gears and talk a little bit about culture and maybe this is kind of where it all starts with leadership and culture inside your organization before you can really create vision carriers outside your organization. You make the case in your book that culture is either by default or it’s by design. What do you mean by that? What happens when our culture is just by default? What happens if we just, it’s just kind of by osmosis?

Jeff Henderson: Well, you know, this we don’t trend toward health. We, you know, we don’t come to work every day. If we don’t pay attention to culture, we don’t drift and look like…

Caleb Stevens: We don’t eat broccoli on accident vicarious but maybe some of us do, but usually, I don’t know, for me, ice cream is a lot easier to get my hands on [cross-talking 12:00].

Jeff Henderson: Yeah, about 9 clock I’m thinking, I want some Jeni’s ice cream versus, you know, that broccoli over there looks looking good. So, we don’t drift toward health. That’s true in any area of life. And again, there may be exceptions, but organizationally, you certainly don’t. So, when an organization says, you know what culture is one of those, you know, wishy washy things who has time for that. You’ve decided I am going to lead my culture by default. And you might have an, you know, a two-day retreat, you know, to rally people, but it’s really consistency over time. And then when you decide no culture is, we’re going to develop this and design it. And there’s all sorts of ways to, I put one way in the book to develop what I call a, for the team culture. It’s not an exhaustive list, and there’s all sorts of different ways to do this. But the reason this is important is it’s impossible to have a healthy customer culture, where they dysfunctional team culture. And that’s what a lot of organizations do, Caleb. We. Love our customer. We love our customer, and we’ve got the best customer service. And then you go into their work environment and it’s toxic. It’s a culture that is not being designed well, it’s just by default. And that’s going to flow to the customer from the quick service restaurant industry. If I walk up to the counter and place my order, I can tell how the person behind the counter is being treated because it’s flowing right to me when they look at me when they smile and we’re so glad you’re here. Well, that’s how she or he is being treated when they act like I’m bothering them or they’re, you know, it’s just.

Caleb Stevens: You’re an annoyance to their day or…

Jeff Henderson: That’s how you’re being treated. So, this idea that you can be focused on the customer, but have a toxic work and not just a toxic or just, we don’t have time for the team. Those two are without a doubt linked. And it’s stunning to me how non-profits and businesses miss this. And you just can’t serve the customer well, if you’re not serving your team well.

Caleb Stevens: And they kind of become a lid on how much the customers are even going to get excited about what you’re doing. If you know if the team members aren’t excited about it, that’s sort of the, that’s kind of the ceiling. It seems like. In many instances.

Jeff Henderson: When I worked at Chick-fil-A, I would ask operators and encourage operators to say, at the busiest time of the day, you need to be in front of the counter, seeing the customer interaction. And many times, and I totally understand this. They would say, Jeff, that’s the busiest time of the day. I got to be behind the counter and worked on the business. And yeah, that’s true. But every, if that’s the only place you see the busiest time of the day behind the counter, you’re never seeing it from the customer’s perspective. And that’s what I call Caleb insider-itis. Insider-Itis is a malady that impacts any organizations because we see the organization from the insider’s point of view. And when that happens, you’re not able to see the problems and you’re not able to see that, see the opportunities.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve come to be known, I think is not only someone who understands leadership and, but also someone who really gets marketing. Talk a little bit about let’s say we’ve kind of got the culture piece rolling. From a marketing standpoint then how should banks, how should companies be thinking about their approach to how they do marketing? Obviously creating remarkable experiences for their customers is one approach. But talk a little bit about that? Riff on that a little bit?

Jeff Henderson: There’s a big shift happening, and I think this is incredibly exciting, but it’s challenging. There’s a big shift that’s happening right now. So, let me tell you the old school perspective and the new school perspective. The old school perspective about marketing is yelling at the customer and saying, look at us, an example would be you go to YouTube and you have a five second ad that you have to get through to get to the video you’re going. Right?

Caleb Stevens: Right.

Jeff Henderson: It’s interesting to me, Caleb how the ad never has trouble buffering, but the video always does seem to.

Caleb Stevens: I thought that that too, I will have the worst service. I’ll have half a bar or something in the middle of the mountains or somewhere and the YouTube pre-roll always works without fail.

Jeff Henderson: Always. That’s what I want to ask you too? What is it about that? So that’s an example of what I call interruption, marketing. People yelling at you, getting in your way, you didn’t sign up for this and that’s old school. And to be fair, that still is effective, but the effectiveness is rapidly having diminishing results. So, if it’s not, you know, look at us marketing, what is the opposite? Well, the opposite is to put the customer as the hero or the center and tell the customer, instead of look at us, the organization says, we see you, we see you out there. And this is one of the biggest, biggest mistakes organizations are doing when it comes to social media. When I talk to banks, if you will businesses, large brands, small brands, non-profit. And I tell them, Hey, by the way, I just want to let you know you’re not doing social media and, they lose their minds. They’re like, what in the world are you talking about? Let me show you my Instagram page. Let me show you our Facebook page. I said, no, no, no. That’s digital media. You’re forgetting the social in social media. And what I’m suggesting is that you go off of your platform onto a customer’s platform to simply say, congratulations, you just had a baby. Congratulations. You just graduated from college. Congratulations way to go, cheering you on. And the other push back is that’s not scalable.
We’ve got to make sure I’m all for scale. I mean, I worked for franchised organizations, both in church and business, totally understand scale, understand franchising. But scaling a business is a slippery slope. If you take the humanity out of the business, and by the way, this talk about banking worldwide, right? I’m not a banking expert, but I’m a banking customer. The bank that focuses more on the personable interactions and does what I’m talking about will win the day versus the bank where the organization’s that trying to yell and interrupt the life of their customer. But I love what Andy Stanley says, you know, when it comes to this, he says, do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone. You might not be able to comment on every customer’s platform but you can comment on somebody. And if you look at most of us, let’s just pick on the banking industry if that’s okay. We can pick on a nonprofit the fascinating world this is true. I mean, I might just about, I might ruin social media for you here, but if you go into any bank, any business, any brand, and you look at their followers and you look at who they’re following, there’s a gigantic discrepancy. And the reason for that is that’s look at us marketing. And this is a little strong. So, you may want to edit this out, put it in the book. If a business was a person, many businesses would be considered narcissists because you look at their Instagram page and, it’s look how great we are…

Caleb Stevens: How about us?

Jeff Henderson: Aren’t we wonderful. Did, you know, we’re better than our competitors? Which if I could eliminate that strategy from, we’re better than our competitors, because from a customer standpoint, it’s not surprising to us that a company thinks they’re better than their competitors. That’s all, when they’re going that, that route, what they’re saying is where the center of our universe, and to give you a sports analogy, the way businesses, nonprofits should approach this is many of them think of it as a football field and the customers are in the stands and they’re the heroes and the customers are cheering them on because the business is so great. That’s not going to win the day going forward. You have to flip the script. You have to put the customers on the field. The business has to be in the stands and say, ultimately, our business is here to serve you and to make you better and make your life better. And we’re going to help solve a problem in your life. If you can’t clearly articulate why you’re for and how you’re for your customer, they’ll move on.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, this isn’t a social media example, but it’s kind of hitting on what you’re talking about. Did you see the Pittsburgh pirates’ example where there was a season ticket holder and a foul ball landed in the seat of a season ticket holder? They took the foul ball mailed it to the guy, had a note written saying, this foul ball landed in your seat. Sorry, you couldn’t be there. But look forward to welcoming you back next year. That may not be scalable, but I’ll tell you what that story was scalable. That story blew up and went everywhere. And I remember seeing that on social media and hearing people on LinkedIn, talk about how awesome of an example that was of treating your customers well, and it just got me thinking sometimes maybe the action itself may not be scalable for every single fan, but those stories do scale and those stories do get around. And that has a huge impact on how we perceive people. I remember hearing a guy say, you know, I’m a big Braves fan here in Atlanta, but if you know, if they’re not playing the pirates, I think I’ll cheer for the pirates now, just because of how cool of a story that is.

Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. And here we are many months later still talking about it. So, when you talk yourself out of, I can’t do it for one, they actually didn’t it for one, they did it for baseball. In other words, here we are talking about, in fact, I first heard about this via Jesse Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas. He was also off the charts; well, I think you can…

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, he is coming on or show in a couple of weeks.

Jeff Henderson: You’re going to love, Jesse and Jesse don’t talk himself out of the personable because our mutual friend, David Salyer, the more personable, the more remarkable. And scale often isn’t personable or remarkable…

Caleb Stevens: No.

Jeff Henderson: Or memorable.

Caleb Stevens: No.

Jeff Henderson: Yeah. And again, in that Pittsburgh pirate story, phenomenal. Couldn’t do it for everybody, but you can do it for one. And that person talked about it. And here we are all the way down in the deep South talking about Pittsburgh baseball.

Caleb Stevens: So, for the leader listening and let’s circle back to culture. I realize we kind of got ahead of ourselves here. For the leader, who’s listening to the culture piece that we just talked about. What are some key things that you would recommend they focus on to not have a culture by default, to do these things for their customers, to be intentional, to be thoughtful to make the customer, the hero of the story? What are some things they can do internally to create that? I mean, what are some things they need to be focusing on?

Jeff Henderson: In the book? I talk about creating a for the team culture, it’s a five-step process and it’s really a circular process. You don’t ever arrive at the finish line. You just go over and over and over again. So, I won’t go over the five steps, but I’ll give you a couple of them. One of them is to appreciate consistently. What is your gratitude system for leaders? And when I asked them, what is their gratitude system? The next question is, “What is a gratitude system?” And it’s a system of gratitude where you’re consistently thanking your team for what they’re doing. And to have a gratitude system, you have to have a couple of things. First of all, you have to have a system where you’re hearing stories that somebody in your company did something well for the customer or for the business. What’s that system? And secondly, you need to set yourself up for success.
So, for me, I’ve got note cards with me. I’ve got no cards in my car. I’ve got no cards in my briefcase here. I’ve got all of that, so that when I hear a story, I’m able to go, I don’t need to forget that I got to write it right now. And I have a goal. I write three, thank you notes a day. And I’m telling you, it is a game changer, but I know many of our listeners would be saying, well, Jeff, you know, your former nonprofit leader, this isn’t really going to work in the business world. That’s one of my favorite stories about this is Frank Blake, the former CEO of home Depot. I mean, when Franklin took over home Depot, they were in great shape and he’d never been a CEO before. And he really turned it around. And so, I had, when I was writing the book, I had breakfast with Frank and I said, Hey, tell me what was, “if there’s one thing that causes turnaround.” I said, well, Jeff, I don’t know if that’s a great question. I said, I know it’s not a great question, but if there was one thing, you know, what would it? And he said, well, what would it be? He said, well, I think it was the thank you notes I wrote. So, how many, thank you notes, would you write a week? He said a hundred.

Caleb Stevens: Wow.

Jeff Henderson: A hundred. What in the world? But he, said yeah, I would, I had a system set up where all the divisions would send me stories. And on Sunday afternoons, I would just write notes and mail them. And my favorite Frank Blake story is when a home Depot Associate came up and said, Mr. Blake, you wrote me a thank you note. So grateful, but can you write me another one? And Frank said, well, sure, but why do you need another one? He said, well, I showed it to my wife and my coworkers. And they all said that’s not a real note a real note. It’s a computer-generated note. And if you put it under water, the ink won’t run because its computer generated. He didn’t write you a note. So, he thought, you know what? That’s probably a good idea or probably true. So, he goes, I put under water. The bad news is, is that the, I mean, the good news is, is the ink ran. And the bad news is, is the ink ran and ruin the note. So, can you write me another one? And that’s both, to me, both a funny story in a very sad story. Because the bar is so low on employees and team members expecting to get gratitude that when you actually do get a letter from the CEO, your first reaction from people is this isn’t real. And that’s why I appreciating consistently is so important. Then the fourth part of this, just giving you a couple of these is to listen actively and to be, you know, leadership, we tend to think that leaders talk, that’s what we do. We tell people where to go. There’s a mountain over there. We’re going to go, right?

Caleb Stevens: They’ve got all the answers.

Jeff Henderson: We’ve all the answers. You just need to sit down and let me tell you where we’re going, right? The best listener, the best leaders that I’ve experienced both personally and just observing are great listeners. They ask great questions and they shut up. And Cheryl Baccetta would be an example of that when she took over Popeye’s chicken, Popeye’s much like Frank story was in a mess. So, and she had an extensive brand background. She probably intuitively knew what to do, but instead of doing that, she went on what she called a listening tour. And she sat down with the franchisees, got in a car. I got in a plane and said, Hey, I’m here not to tell you what we’re going to do. I’m here to listen. I want to learn. And the question that she asked was one of them, when do we do our best work together as a franchisee and as a company, when do we do our best work together? And one of the franchisees said, well, that’s easy when you don’t bring a PowerPoint presentation. And she’s like, okay, tell me more. Which is another statement. When you ask a good question, then you need to say, tell me more. So, when, when he said that, he goes, well, when you show up with a PowerPoint presentation, it shows me that you’ve already figured out all the problems. And you’re just here trying to convince me and sell me instead. What I’d like for you to do is to show up with a flip chart and a couple of markers, and let’s work on the problem together. And Cheryl said, that’s it. That’s what I’m going to do.
And so together, franchisees in the company, because she was asking great questions really led the turnaround. And eventually Popeye’s was bought by a bigger company because they were such a valuable asset. So, I think those two appreciate consistently and listen actively. Those are two steps toward the system I put in the book.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, those are great. I love the PowerPoint example because even if you’re not intentionally doing it, you’re kind of sending the signal. I’m just here to kind of convince you that I’m right. And then I know where we need to go. And as the team member, you’re kind of thinking, well do we have any input? Do we have any, you know, is there any kind of dialogue here? And of course, at the end of the day, you’re the leader. You make the decision and we should support that. But if they’re not gathering input from their team, how in the world are you going to know where to drive it if you’re not getting their feedback? If they’re truly the boots on the ground and the closest to the customers, you probably need to listen to those folks.

Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. And I think that also underscores something that Cheryl was doing, and this is often missed in leadership circles. Every leader, for the most part, I would say battle some sort of insecurity. And so, for Cheryl to come in and to go, Hey, I don’t know all the answers. Can we have a conversation? And can I ask you, when did we do our best work together? There could be an insecurity that rises up in her that goes, no, no, no. I’ve got to prove to them that I know what I’m doing. Instead, counterintuitively she was a confident leader said, Hey, yeah, I got my ideas. I feel like I know what to do, but I’m secure in myself that I’m going to pause and listen. That actually takes a confident leader, not an insecure leader. The insecure leader often is more boisterous, more verbal and will not have the courage to ask hard questions and listen.

Caleb Stevens: And it’s kind of like, you know, good to great Jim Collins, a level five leadership concept. He talks all about how the best leaders see observed in their studies had a lot of personal humility. They had a lot of professional will, they cared about their company. They were driven. They wanted to succeed. They were doing everything it takes, but they weren’t these big charismatic, egotistical, always the one talking up on stage, you know, kind of guys and girls, they were people who listened and who cared and who displayed a lot of personal humility. And if you asked them, “Why were you guys successful?” They would kind of deflect the credit and put it back on their team members.

Jeff Henderson: Absolutely humility is huge. But I would say one thing about humility. I’ve told our kids, you know, here’s an age-old principle that you can take to literally to the bank. Speaking of banking, be humble or be humbled. If you’re not humble, life will humble you. You see this in throughout history, but it’s not enough to say be a humble leader. You actually, if you were to say, you know what, Caleb, I am such a humble person. I’ve already failed the test. You know? Because humility is such a conundrum.

Caleb Stevens: Right.

Jeff Henderson: So, what you have to do is you have to practice humility. So, what I have to do every day, so you know what, I’m not a humble person, I want to be a person that practices humility because if I practice humility, then that will help me be a better humble leader.

Caleb Stevens: I don’t know if it’s CS Lewis or it may be just be one of those quotes that it gets attributed to lots of people and you’ve forgotten who it really was from. But I heard saying its humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it’s thinking of yourself less. And I think that’s a great example. It’s not seeing yourself as inferior or just not having as much value. It’s just not thinking of yourself quite as much as you’re thinking about other people and your team members.

Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. Yeah. I love that quote.

Caleb Stevens: Well, let’s end with just a brief discussion on innovation. You make the case in your book that people had that businesses don’t stop, innovating people do in COVID my goodness. If there’s a time in history right now as a company to innovate how we do things, now is the time to do it in COVID it’s kind of forced us out onto that ledge. And I know we’ve said here at CenterState, it’s not enough for us just to sit on our hands and say, Oh, we’re just going to wait until things go back to normal. And then things will be okay. We’ve tried to take the approach of let’s go on the offense during this time. Let’s think of ways to innovate and let’s make the most of this time. Let’s not sit back and sit on our hands and just try to filter this out. So, talk a little bit about how do we stay innovative if businesses don’t stop innovating people do, what are some ways that our listeners can continue to innovate? What do they need to be thinking about?

Jeff Henderson: I love what leadership expert John Axel says is that COVID actually should be a time of courage. Because it’s something we try fails, we can just blame the virus. You know, it would’ve worked, but we’re in a global pandemic, but I tried. So, to play it. I mean, you don’t need to be, you know, irresponsible or flippant, but the days of playing it safe, I mean, you got to go for it. You got to try some things. If you ever wanted to try something, you needed to try it now, but ultimately you can’t have an innovative company without innovative people. And what I mean by that is you got to have a group of learners, people that have a learning plan. So that’s what I would ask our teams in the nonprofits in the business centers outlet. What’s your learning plan? How are you getting better? Truiy Cathy told me there’s two ways that you improve the people that you interact with and the books that you read and there’s, you know, plethora of other ways to do that.
But so, I have a reading plan and then I have a group of people that I consistently get with. And then I ask people, can I meet with you? And what are you learning? And then ask the question, who is it that you’re learning from that I need to meet? And so, having a heart for a growth and having a heart for learning and in not, I mean, honestly not getting sucked into Netflix world and or streaming world, which is very, I tell my kids, if you will read more and your future competitor is watching Netflix more, you’re going to win. And I’m not against Netflix. We’ll watch Netflix. I’m awesome. I meant it’s awesome. I’m not awesome. It’s awesome. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to have a heart for how am I getting better? And if I am not growing every 90-day clip, then I’m getting behind. Yeah.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah. Well, Jeff, this has been so rich and so full of wisdom. If folks want to get in touch with you, if they want to book you to speak at one of their upcoming events, whether in person or virtual, if they want to buy your book, how can they get in touch with you and reach you?

Jeff Henderson: So, the book’s available wherever, you know, I still believe in bookstores, Caleb. So, if they would go to Barnes and Noble, I’m trying…

Caleb Stevens: There’s nothing like holding a physical book your hands.

Jeff Henderson: I’m telling you. I’m personally trying to keep Barnes and noble and business. So, but Amazon, all the booksellers and then if at the back of the book is my cell phone inside love. And I get a text about a day from a reader saying, here’s what I learned…

Caleb Stevens: Wow you pulled a Bob Goff and put your phone number in the book. That’s awesome.

Jeff Henderson: To some degree I’ve been with Bob before and his phone rings constantly. Mine is maybe once a day. So, but yeah, they can just text me from that and just would love to stay in touch and then they can email me. My email is [email protected]

Caleb Stevens: Well, thank you for your time, such good wisdom. And we look forward to seeing you soon.

Jeff Henderson: Great seeing you again.

[Outro]

 

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