Catalytic Leadership

Why Human-to-Human Engagement Matters Most, with Bryan Kramer

August 31, 2023 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 4
Catalytic Leadership
Why Human-to-Human Engagement Matters Most, with Bryan Kramer
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What happens when you take a renowned business strategist, a keynote speaker, an executive coach, and a Forbes contributor – and throw them into a single conversation? You get a riveting discussion that's brimming with insights on leadership and human-to-human engagement in businesses. Join us as we sit down with Bryan Kramer, CEO of H2H Companies and Co-Owner of Pure Matter Silicon Valley Marketing Agency, to take a deep dive into his journey and his innovative H2H approach.

Get ready, because you're about to discover the secret sauce that makes great companies so successful. Brian breaks down their customer service model, pinpointing simplicity, empathy, and imperfection as the key ingredients. And guess what? You can apply these same principles to improve your brand's reputation and foster stronger, more authentic connections. But the learning doesn't stop there. We'll also be exploring the crucial role of trust in businesses and relationships, and the art of swift action and sincere apologies when trust is broken.

As we draw our conversation to a close, we explore the transformative impact of technology on creative industries. Brian emphasizes the importance of strategy in marketing and the value of continuously exploring new tech. We also delve into personal anecdotes, discussing the power of curiosity and teachability in leadership, overcoming challenges, and learning from interactions with others. So, if you're ready for a thought-provoking discussion packed with valuable insights, don't miss this episode.

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Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders, and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. Called the Zen Master to Digital Marketers by Forbes, brian Kramer is a renowned business strategist, global keynote speaker, executive trainer and coach, two-time best-selling author and Forbes contributor. He is the CEO of H2H companies, an executive coaching company, and co-owner of Pure Matter Silicon Valley Marketing Agency, founded in 2001, which has earned a spot as one of the fastest growing companies by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. I'm so excited to have him on the show today. Brian, thank you for being here.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much for having me and for the nice introduction. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Brian, I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started?

Speaker 3:

Oh, how did I get started? Well, a lot of it came from even just as far back as high school, I think. In college I was always a joiner of different activities trying to run for offices or joining clubs and getting involved. I always loved just being a part of. I love connection, connecting with another human as part of my DNA. It's also part of what my parents always encouraged me to go do. I learned it from an early age. I think that one of the things that I did which was really not I wasn't really cognizant of it, but it ended up working out to my favor which was just learning the ropes from all positions in a lot of different marketing agencies at first right out of college and just taking a backseat and being kind of leader behind, if you will, and learning from others, being mentored, growing from what other people had to offer. That helped a lot. By the time I was ready to run my own P&L I had been there and done that in other flavors and that just warmed me up. My biggest failure turned into my biggest success, which was an F on a jazz test in college and my professor pulled. Well, I pulled him aside. I said I'm not an F student, nowhere near it. What happened? And he said that my test was the link that I used because the internet was just brand new, and he said the link I used was down the source that I used. Just provide him a new link and he'll reverse the grade. I went back and it was kind of I can't believe he even checked the link and he actually did that. Talk about somebody who's focused. Anyway, I went back to my dorm room and I looked at it and the link was dead. I ended up going to the bookstore. I bought all the newest books on HTML and that night I learned how to program and rewrite my own site and all about Dizzy Gillespie and rewrote it and programmed it. I sent it to him and he ended up replying back and said thanks and he reversed my grade. Well, that was fun. Maybe I should just start building websites for people too. I did, and that's what got me in and started as my journey of digital transformation in agencies. You never know when your worst day or your worst thing is going to turn into the thing that actually changes everything in your trajectory for your career, and that was one of those things.

Speaker 2:

In all the context that you've been in working for other people and now leading your own companies, how would you define leadership?

Speaker 3:

You know, leadership is leadership's putting your everything that you have into helping to lift others up, creating what you can and I haven't always been I mean, I'll be the first to raise my hand and say I haven't always been the best leader, because it took me a long time to learn that and I think putting really helping, putting your energy into others, is what leadership is really all about Helping them in whatever ways you can, serving others, giving as much as you can without wanting to take or receive. You know, being interested, listening, creating, creating more understanding with empathy where they're at. And I think the other thing is providing vision. Leadership is all about where are we going and what's the direction that we're heading, so that we know where we're all heading. At the same time, if you don't have connection with others in helping them to arrive where they want to get to and a vision, I don't think that any organization can survive.

Speaker 2:

That's really good. I can definitely resonate with that. In a previous conversation we talked about what you call the H2H approach, and this fascinates me and I'm just. I can't wait for you to share about this, because I think what you talk about here is really going to hit people where they are. What is the H2H approach?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, thank you. So it's something that I spoke about in first publicly anyway in 2014. We've been using it in our agency for years before that and it resonated loudly from stage when I gave a keynote on human to human. The full titles there's no B2B or B2C, it's H2H human to human and the idea back then which has changed a little bit not totally was that it was right when social media was on the scene and, all of a sudden, companies had to hear from their clients on social media. They had to talk to their clients on social media. It used to be radio, tv and newspaper, which was one way communication, and now, all of a sudden, it's two way communication. If I have a problem with my pizza from a delivery company, which may or may not have happened in the last 24 hours, then that is something that we have the full right now. To go on to what used to be Twitter and now X strangely, another whole conversation to talk about what we don't like, and that's something that a company has to deal with. I don't think companies yet have that down, but they're much better than they were in 2014, when that was new, and H2H is also how we communicate now, evolved years later into what's turning into AI and other technologies VR, augmented VR which Apple is about to bring out. So what does this mean for humanity and what does it mean for human to human relationships? As we just came out of a pandemic and we're all Zoom fatigued, and so it's turning into Zoom to human to Zoom or human to Zoom to Zoom, which ever way you want to look at it, and that's really what I think resonated when I talked about it there on stage. And why it's kept resonating all these years is because it's just never going to go away. It's always going to be something that we're competing for, which, at the end of the day, is human relationships, and that's what any business, in every section of every business, is focused on. Whether it's HR, operations, it, it's all about bringing human relationships together, and that's what creates more of what it was, what it is that companies want more of.

Speaker 2:

I think that can be such a differentiator. If a company really embraces this, this idea of actual human to human, not human to voicemail or human to automated system, where you end up never, ever talking to anyone but getting lost in a maze somewhere, it can really be a differentiator. What makes a company H2H, what makes them more human of a company?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So there's three different things that I outlined in my book, in H2H, the book that I wrote, which are the pillars of HH, and I'll ask you some questions which I hope whoever's listening will also answer a write down as I walk through these. The first one is simplicity. What brand and this is a question to you what brand do you believe embraces simplicity?

Speaker 2:

Hmm, that's a great question. I think in my mind Amazon.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, interesting, tell me why.

Speaker 2:

Because they have tried to make it as simple as possible for you to find what you want and to purchase what you want and have it delivered to you as quickly as possible With as few bumps along that road as possible. Everything has gotten so much simpler. I started using Amazon back in 1997. So a little bit ago now. Gosh, that's been a while. It has changed so much in the last 26 years the dealing with the company, the process, the systems, everything has changed, but it has gotten simpler over time. From my perspective.

Speaker 3:

That's. I love that answer. I love it. You know there's a lot of brands that you could point to that are. There's even more that you could point to that are not. You know, apple is probably one of the premium brands for being simplistic. Yeah, you know, you can point on two hands. You can name their products and then go to their site and it's easy to maneuver. So you know that's a great one. So then let's move to the second one, which is empathy. But here's the key what brand embraces empathy?

Speaker 2:

I would not say Amazon. That's a great question. What brand embraces empathy? And I don't know how to answer that question.

Speaker 3:

It often shows up as great customer support. So if you've had good customer service, that's a lot of times where we're good empathy shows up. I actually argued that Amazon is great at empathy and here's why you can return any product. Yeah, that's true, and they don't. They don't really give you a hard time and most of the time you know if they make it easy, drop it off at the UPS store and we'll take care of the rest. And you know, if you do any other store, it's a little harder than that. So you know any company you've had a good experience with and consistently that's who embraces empathy. And then the next one is the third and final one is imperfection, and I think this is the hardest one of them all, because every company is trying to be perfect, but when you embrace imperfection, we tend to love them or root for them, and it makes it makes them more human. Or if they screw up and they acknowledge it in a human way, we also acknowledge them a little bit more. So do you get anything coming to mind on a brand that embraces imperfection?

Speaker 2:

You know, in my interactions with Amazon's customer service and obviously you can look behind me I like books, so I buy a few books here and there. This is why Amazon is just my go-to for this, and in the cases where I have had an issue with service, something not not arriving, something not being delivered as it was promised or something like that, I can't remember a time when Amazon didn't own it and take care of it. They didn't pretend that it should. Well, it's got to be your fault. It's not ours. We're perfect. They owned it and they addressed it, and I always appreciated that.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's awesome, oh, it's great. So you've obviously bet. What you Amazon to you is a very human company, and you could argue that it is, and it means something different to each person. So there's no correct answer. You know, another good one might be Dove. They celebrate the imperfection of skin and everything that they do. There's so many out there. I mean, when you look at nonprofits like you know, depending on Red Cross and celebrating the imperfection, or you know, you name it I mean there's so many different ways. Now, the hard part is when you have a company that has all three and when you get that, that's when you have your most human company, your most human brand. If we were to take a person and we were to say, why do you love them so much, or why do you get along with them? It's because they are simple, they're imperfect and they are empathetic. Perhaps that comes out as listening, and so why not the same thing with brands? If we love the same thing about people, we should love the same thing about brands. That's what we look for. It's the opposite, ironically, of everything. I think that Facebook is and it's a product of its own doing or being, and yet it is not simple, it is not empathetic and it is not. They do not claim to be imperfect. At least they own the imperfection. They are not perfect, but they don't own it. So you can look and see what would make a company turn around their brand, and it's not just rebranding to the letter X, it's embracing these different things that make us want to be a part of their brand. And those are the three things that do that.

Speaker 2:

I love that. I think that those three pillars really go to a whole lot of human interactions, don't they I mean, it's not just on the in the business sphere, but, I think, in social interactions are these, are these ways also that you can be more authentic in that realm.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. In social interactions, you know, as you're, you're probably aware as a coach yourself it comes out as listening, and you know, when you're in your level three or level two listening, it really comes out as a deeper level of listening and understanding. It comes out in the simplicity of response. You know, are we making it more complex to understand what our product does to someone else? And then you know, are we, did we screw up in some major way? Because every brand does along the way, I don't care who you are, you have screwed up and did you own it. And if you own it, then then you know, people can oftentimes look over that and become more dear to you for owning it, and so so though, yeah, absolutely, those are the human traits we could. We could become more endeared towards people that way too.

Speaker 2:

You know you were talking earlier about how social media has really helped make marketing a two-way street more of a conversation. Right, you can actually have a conversation now and say, hey, you screwed up. Hey, where's my pizza? Hey, you didn't deliver this, right. Some businesses completely ignore the two-way street aspect of that. Some businesses just completely pretend as though that's just noise and they're not even going to address it. Some businesses engage with it and make it a conversation. Why do businesses that participate in the conversation have the advantage?

Speaker 3:

Well, you know there's a number. I mean, think about just this idea of just being heard or seen. Everyone wants to be seen. It's a common connection point that we all have. Yeah, when a brand sees you, there's nothing better. I mean, when a person sees you and they say, hey, I see you in some way, whether it's through listening or something else it really matters. And so when a brand does it, it goes above and beyond. And if you were to have a conversation with somebody and they didn't reply back, you'd consider that not the most terrific experience with the other person. That's true. So why should a brand be any different? It's funny because I used to be in stores all the time with my wife and this is pre-pandemic and I'd just tweet them to see if they were listening as a brand. And I would test brands all the time just to see who it is. One time I was on Virgin Atlantic Virgin American back when they were before they got bought and I tweeted I'm sitting here with my coffee, my electricity at my seat and my laptop. What could be better than flying Virgin on my way to my conference? And they looked me up on Google and saw that I was flying to. Or I said I was flying to Florida, but they looked me up and said have a great conference at IBM in speaking there. And they looked me up the next day it was public information and said congrats, if there's anything we can do to make your trip. And then two seconds later a stewardess came by with a note saying have a great time at the conference. We're giving you high fives and all this stuff. And I was like wow, talk about being seen. Part of it was a little I felt like voyeurism, but part of it was just wow, who does that? That is personalized attention, and I don't think a lot of brands have the. They don't either have the capacity or they don't have the know how to or the fortitude to go through and actually see how they can personalize experiences at that level for individuals on a human level. They're trying to automate it, but they're not trying to create it so that they can deliver the wow experience on a human level, and so there's a missed opportunity there, in my opinion.

Speaker 2:

I absolutely love that story because I think that that is such an illustration of building that human touch and not getting so big that you lose sight of the fact that you really do business with people that you know like and trust. I mean, that's really what it boils down to If you don't know, like or trust or entrust someone, you're far less likely to want to do business with them. You felt known, you felt liked, which increases your trust. Talk about trust for a second. How does trust fit into this whole thing?

Speaker 3:

Oh my gosh. So now you're entering into the thing that creates trust, which is the formula of when you combine simplicity, empathy and imperfection, and when you have all three, that's what creates trust. So those things, when they're in alignment. Think about one of your friends who is a friend who you might have had for longer than others, and what you love about them. You love their most of the time. We have long term friends because they know us and they love us, no matter what. That's empathy. We love them despite their imperfections and they love us despite our imperfections, and that is celebrating and embracing imperfection. And then when we sit and we listen to each other and we hear what each other has to say in the best sense possible, or we explain to each other what we're each going through, there's some simplicity in that, and so that's what kills the onion is those same three things, and trust is one of those things. Like that is not built short term, it's built long term. There is no silver bullet for short term trust. You don't become a raving fan overnight. You become a raving fan over time. And to be a relentless in relentless trust, you have to create something that consistently proves that you are going to deliver on whatever it is that you say that you're going to deliver. So just a one off is a wow moment, but a consistency in what you deliver every time is trust forever. That's raving fan status.

Speaker 2:

And I think that's something every company should aim for, and I love the model that you've laid out there to build trust over time. You're right, it's not a microwave thing. There's no microwave to trust. It takes time.

Speaker 3:

Though the thing I'll also add is that you can you can lose it faster than you got it. Oh so true, oh my goodness, yeah, yeah, you can lose it, not just overnight. You can lose it in a minute, in a second, you can lose everything you built and you have a micro moment of time to save it. There is a window of time before you lose it where you can come back and save it, and there's also a micro moment where you lose it. And that takes they always say it takes a big person to apologize, it takes a big company to apologize, and sometimes the saving grace of any piece of trust is turning around and apologizing for what happened. And the same thing with humans, when you apologize. And even to this day, like I took six months of my life and tried it, I went back, and not just, not for any reason other than just to do something in my life that I really needed to do a long time ago. And I went back and I thought about every person I had ever broken trust with in a micro way or in a macro way, in any way possible, and I apologized. I apologized to every single person I could think of or I could reach out to or I could you know, had had contact with, and for me it turns out that there's no timeline on being able to do that. You can do that, everybody can do that, starting today. Now are they going to accept it? That's not up to you, that's up to them. That is something that you just don't have control over. But can you clean up your side of the street? Absolutely, and that's a starting point to regaining trust back. And so you know, whether we're talking about on a personal or a corporate level, a brand level, it works the same way. Apologies and true empathy of understanding, when it's coming from the right place, makes a huge difference in sustaining trust.

Speaker 2:

And I'm going to be thinking about that for days. Right, that's really good. I think there's so much insight there and I can tell that comes directly from your experience, from your journey. So you've been leading for a while and you know in so many different spaces. When we talked previously, you talked about how you believe that agency owners have to reinvent their agency every two to three years. Now there's a lot of agency owners and entrepreneurs who are listening to this podcast and I imagine, when I say that they're going to be like what Every two to three years, why do you say that?

Speaker 3:

Well, so you know, we started out as a brand slash digital agency. We were building websites and creating branding projects, and then we added or migrated, depending upon how you looked at it or who our client was. We became all kinds of things. We became a demand gen agency when digital was just, you know, email marketing became a thing, and then we became a social media influencer agency, started the first global influencer ambassador program for IBM, and then we we did the same thing for Netflix, and then we started to work with companies like MasterCard and Cisco and IBM in even deeper digital experiences and creating sales sales channel marketing, and that was a whole nother animal. So every time, every time you, you evolve, you, you grow, but also so did the technology. I mean, look at where we're at now All of a sudden. I mean, my wife is a, is a CM, outdoor CMO and a graphic designer and copywriter, and she just the other day was working on, you know, a campaign and she just pushed a button and Photoshop created the image for her. So that took what used to be at our agency hours of Photoshop work, of sitting and actually taking a photo. That was of a lake with a person fishing, and it widened it to a panoramic view and you could not. She zoomed in and she showed me. You could not tell that the fishing pole was elongated and the water ripple had extended out perfectly and the the pole fishing pole itself in the person's head was perfectly, you know, finished out, and and it did all this and if she were to do that, it would have taken hours. And so you know, that's just one example of what is going, what's going to come along, if it hasn't already in in in agency and creative and marketing copyrighting. You know these tools are coming. We have to use the tools because they they make us more productive. It's going to, it's going to create more, more time for us to be able to do the one thing that AI can't do, which is strategy. You build your agency and this is a tip for you, and I built my agency this way, not not because I saw it coming, but because it actually ended up being the one thing we stood on, which is strategy. If you build on strategy, you create with strategy and your main offer is strategy. Everything else can change around it as you evolve and grow, but strategy you cannot get rid of and it's the one thing that people will always be willing to pay for if you know all the where to go, what to do and who to get it from. That's not the, that's a commodity, the the. The non commodity is strategy.

Speaker 2:

That's so good. I love that language and I think that's that's something that a lot of people listening can take. I can do something with that now. That's so that's so good. Let me ask you, Brian, how did you stay on top of your game? How did you continue leveling up with the new skills you need to lead at the new levels that you found yourself at these days?

Speaker 3:

I did till I didn't first of all, but the way that I stayed up was I love tinkering, I just love tinkering, like I am a tinkerer at heart. I'll do it not paid, I'll do it just because I love it. And I have a real issue. I wish that they had a software, anonymous or something, because I really have a bad issue of signing up and subscribing for stuff. My wife will tell you we pay for so much stuff and it's because I love seeing how this connects to this, connects to this and how does it create this and how do we humanize it. So it's always with the intent of how do we humanize engagement or humanize whatever it is that I'm looking at trying to do. So I really just love tinkering. That's my number one, like always been, always will be my number one, like sandbox or playground. And then I really love speaking and I learn more from speaking than I do from actually giving and the speech Because I, when I get to a conference anywhere in the world, I'm surrounded by people smarter than me, that are have been doing all kinds of things, and I get to talk to them and I get to engage with them and I get to go. You know, here's what I'm doing. They go well, here's what I'm doing. And we all of a sudden, I go well, I haven't tried that. I want to try that too. And that doesn't happen at home behind my computer. That happens when I'm out at a conference and I'm talking to people. So it's not in the in the moment that I'm speaking on stage. It's in the moment before and after, when I'm actually talking with people. I learn from them what, what's going on, and not in a networking way, not not like in a hey, what's the weather, like what's, how much is the house, prices and your. I'm talking about like real good quality conversations, when we're talking about what's working for you and what's working for you and we actually share about those kinds of things that. That just drives me. I love that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

Love that. I think that is something that every leader can learn from. I think what you're exhibiting there is curiosity, and that is a tool in the tool bag that too many leaders don't realize they need to be leaning into, they need to be grabbing and using every single day. When you approach every conversation with curiosity, with questions like what you're describing, you're posturing yourself as a learner. You're exhibiting a teachable spirit, and when you do that, it's astounding what you can learn. I love that man. That's so good. I would encourage everybody listening to make sure that you make a commitment Every day as you get started. I'm going to be the most teachable person in every conversation that I'm in today. I'm going to be the most curious person in every conversation I'm in today. One of the things I love, brian, about the show is that I get to have conversations with people like you and I get to ask questions and I get to learn and I get to listen, and that has made me a better leader. That has helped me to help other people. But it starts with the right questions. It starts with being curious. I love that you approach it that way. I love even when you're going somewhere to speak, to share your insights, your wisdom. You understand intuitively. Curiosity is key. Oh yeah, what are some of the challenges that you've faced as an entrepreneur?

Speaker 3:

Okay, so burnout is one of them, yeah, yeah, and I faced it in a massive way. So I got, I was, I was on when I was speaking, I was on the road for like 200 days a year and running the agency from the road. And then life from the outside was looking good from the outside in but from the inside out I was. I was a total mess. I had put on a massive weight, I was morbidly obese, I had just gotten type two diabetes and, and I was running myself to the ground. And, and I remember one day I was home and my 11 year old son sat me down and he's, he, he like literally sat me down and he actually took me by the hand, said dad, we need to talk. And I was like, oh, okay, and and and he said, dad, you're, you're, you're, you're overweight although he said it and not not as nice away, but he's, he was direct 11 year old, so I take that with a grain of salt. And he said you're, you know you have diabetes. You're never home, you're never at my sister and my plays or sports, and I don't think you're going to get to meet your grandchildren because at the, because you're going to die before you get to meet them because you're not healthy. Right, it hit me in the, in the chastor and the heart and between the eyes at the same time and I, I I unfortunately the next day I was out speaking again, flew out again. I was in tears on the plane, flew back and I remember then say to my wife we own the agency together. I said I can't do this anymore not us, we're fine, but I can't continue at this rate. And so we took six months and exited everything. So I exited the agency, exited speaking for one year and I spoke just very few times and then, and then I took it to a year. I took that year off and I lost 85 pounds. I lost diabetes. I dropped my kids off at school, pick them up every day. I never missed a day again, or at least for my turn to pick them up or drop them off, and and and I got my life back and and then I ended up, my wife ended up becoming the global head of marketing, the CMO for coaches training Institute, and I went through the program because it was there. I'm like, oh my God, coaching, this is what I want the rest of my life. These people are my people, you are my people and and I knew like I wanted to help people not burn out and to create the lives they wanted, and that's that's how I, that's how I now live my life and I, for the last six years, I've lived way healthier life than I've ever lived, and it's just been a wonderful turnaround for me.

Speaker 2:

I love that story. I love where you have, where you were, where you came to, and I love the fact that you chose it. I will often tell clients if you refuse to change it. You were choosing it and what you did is you were intentional and you said this has to change and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there. That's inspiring and, I hope, motivating for many of our listeners. It certainly is for me. I'm going to take you back. I want to take you back to when you were 22 years old, brian. If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself when you were 22 years old, knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself?

Speaker 3:

More naps. I like that.

Speaker 2:

More naps, it's good.

Speaker 3:

I think the biggest thing is just for me is just be present. Just enjoy every moment. Wherever your feet are, look down and look at your feet and be there, be right where they are in every moment. If you can be present, then you're going to enjoy your life a lot more. If you're always looking forward or looking backward, you're missing out. I think that's the gift is just being right where you are. We're always looking for more. There's always something we can should on ourselves. I wouldn't go back and tell myself at 22, I should have done this or I should have done that, or what am I going to do tomorrow? Or how am I going to create more of what I want to be? Stop all that and just be right where you are. It's the best gift of all.

Speaker 2:

I love that answer. Is there a book that has made a big difference in your life, a book that you would recommend to leaders that they pick up and read?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so my favorite, I've got two. Well, I have a lot. I'm a book fiend, so I would say that, if I had to narrow it down though, the untethered soul is just miraculous. I've read it. I don't know how many times I listen to it on audio while I'm walking all the time. It's a deep book. It is a self-reflective book. It's a leadership book. It's a book about how to be a better human. It's a book about self. It's about how to be with others. It's about how we live with our saboteurs and get through them. It's the thing that I think God somebody was just channeling when they wrote that book. It just is an amazing, amazing book. I can't recommend it highly enough. Yeah, so that would be the top book and I think, as a second follow-up to that is the orbiting the giant hairball. And that book was written by the CMO of Hallmark, the Chief Creative Us Officer of Hallmark, sorry, and he was just a fascinating guy. It was when Hallmark was just first starting, and how he helped grow Hallmark and how creativity spawned this giant of a company that we now all use every holiday, birthday, whatever, but the way that he entered into conversations and the way he created little creative moments for people to think differently inside the company, and how and why. You see, now that it became the company it did to have these great little sings on the pieces of paper that people buy for $5 and $10. You look at it and you go I mean, who did that? And when you read about him and what he wrote, you understand how it came to be and why can't other companies think creatively like that too? So that book is just it's eccentric as all get out, but it's really neat. It's a cool book.

Speaker 2:

I read a lot and I have never heard of nor read either of those, and now I have to check them out. Thank you for that. You got it. As we talk about in the conversation today, people will typically walk away from a podcast episode with one big idea. If you could tell them, I want you to walk away with this. This is the main thing.

Speaker 1:

What is that?

Speaker 2:

main thing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, If you take anything away from anything that we just talked about, it's this. It's being human has now become your competitive advantage. You could do everything that everyone's telling you to do. Go get that email system, Go get that platform. Go hire more people to create that funnel. It's none of that right now. If you want to stand out, you know when was the last time that you got a real written thank you card in the mailbox? When was the last time that somebody actually called you and just said hey from a company wanted to know what you thought of the product? Not very often on any of those things. So being human really is your competitive advantage. If you leave with anything, please, please, just do one a day. Just be human once a day in some way to another individual and you're going to see massive changes in your company or in your life.

Speaker 2:

I know people are going to want to stay connected with you, Brian, and continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to do that and take a next step with you?

Speaker 3:

You know, thanks, man, easy, easy, easy. If you go to briancramercom, brian, with a Y, cramer with a K, you can go there. All my stuff's there. Or you can email me briannithyatbriancramercom. So, and I'm at Brian Cramer across all the social platforms. So wherever you hit me up, who would I be as the human guy if I didn't reply? So wherever you hit me up, I will reply.

Speaker 2:

Rod, thank you for such a great conversation and for being so generous with the insight and the wisdom that you've learned so far in your journey.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for the awesome human questions. I love it, man.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much. Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20-plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. If you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticleadershipnet.

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