Ron Carucci, is a TED talk speaker and co-founder and managing partner at Navalent. He works with Fortune 10 companies and their CEOs and executives to uncover patterns to break or habits to start to transform their organizations for the better. He has also been featured on Forbes Fortune, Business Insider, MSNBC and several others as a thought leader in his field. Please welcome, Ron Carucci.
- 0:55 – Ron’s Accomplishment
- 6:17 – Bring Values to the audience
- 8:17 – The Truth
- 15:26 – Level of Understanding
- 17:55 – Timeless Truth
Learn more about this guest:
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Damon Burton for, with learningfromothers.com and today, joining us from Seattle. Washington is Ron Carucci. He is the co founder and managing partner at and he works with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, leaders, and industries. And what’s super cool is that he works with startups to fortune tens, turning around to new markets and strategies, overlying leadership, and culture to redesigning.
For growth. And he has worked in an impressive 25 countries on four continents. And last but not least, he is the best selling author of eight books, including the recent Amazon number one, rising to power. Ron, thanks for joining. Hey, Damon. Great to be with you. Thanks for having me. So that’s, you know, you’ve got quite the portfolio, I guess you’d say of experience is very impressive.
You know, where, where do you, where do you say your career starts to start climbing the ladder of all those impressive accomplishments? Gosh. Um, well, my career has as a consultant as quite the accidental one. Uh, I think for many folks, that’s probably often true. Although today I do see, you know, unlike when I began my career today, a lot of people want to get into the organizational leadership space on purpose from the beginning, but.
Back a couple of decades ago that wasn’t always the case. I began my career in the arts and made a big switch early in my career because I found out that I bored easily and I needed something a little bit more engaging than doing the same thing eight times a week. Um, and, uh, discovered that. You know, engaging other people in their story, engaging other people in their own direction.
Um, else is far more interesting and engaging to me and something like that could keep my attention and interest and passion up. Um, but then I also learned that, you know, as ancient wisdom would prevail. You can’t be a prophet in your own land sometimes. And so doing this work from the inside of organizations, wasn’t always as productive as doing it from outside the organization.
So I learned that if I was going to really embody my passion and live out my desires to help organizations that was going to have to be by not being part of one. And so I went to a great consulting firm and really hit my stride there. Uh, and after about eight years, uh, a couple of friends of mine I left, um, and about 14 years ago started an Evolent.
Nice. So, you know, how do you get to, uh, the relationships where you work with these top level clients like fortune 10? Um, do those, there are those contracts come to you from existing relationships. Um, are there a lot of RFPs, you know, how to help our, our audience better understand how you get to the level that you’re at?
Well, I think, I mean, you have to build a body of work. Right. And I think, I think one of the challenges that’s for those who are beginning their career as trusted advisors or thought leaders or people who are trying to sell knowledge to the workplace, um, today, um, the amount of volume of noise out there.
Yeah. The complete clutter of people clamoring with books and ideas and. You know, podcasts and all kinds of things. Maybe it’s entering the field and setting yourself apart, just so much more, more painful than ever before, because so many people are claiming the same ideas, the same space, the same way impact with the same language.
So I think building a body of work with a body of results in a body of relationships is really important. Um, for us, a lot of our relationships. I started many early in our career and they followed us around. Right. They have we’ve so executives have left. Companies got into other companies, taken us with them.
Um, and now these days, yeah. You know, I am working really hard. Uh, it like in conversations with you, uh, to get my ID Diaz had my views noticed by folks who are looking for the kinds of solutions and perspectives that I bring. Um, Now I have to put myself in the pathway of where they’re at. Um, and hopefully they’ll find my ideas, um, in ways that make them want to call and talk about how I might be helpful.
Um, but it’s a lot harder these days because, um, uh, there’s just so many options out there and the challenges for the, for the decision maker. Uh, who’s. Who wants advice and help there? Um, uninformed, right? They’re they’re naive. They know they’re in pain. They know they have a problem, but they’re looking at 20 people, 30 people who are all saying roughly the same thing.
I brought the same kinds of pins of credentials, um, or experienced bases. Um, and, uh, uh, how do they tell, how do they tell us all apart? Because we’re not all the same, right? Somebody with 30 years experience and somebody with five, but you know, somebody may have 30 years of experience. Somebody may have five experience, five years of experience, five times.
Um, and those can look the same, but they’re sure not. Yeah. You know, what’s interesting is I think that, uh, as you talked about a lot of noise, social media, I think is a funny thing because it’s, it’s a, it’s a great tool for entrepreneurs. Cause it can encourage them and, and you can, uh, you know, the internet, you can find so many great assets, but at the same time, I think the part that’s overlooked is that it also paints an unrealistic picture for the eager entrepreneurs.
And they, I mean, it is super hard to differentiate and I think you nailed it at least from my personal position. When you talk about there’s so many different, I guess we could say imposters across different platforms. And it’s hard because new entrepreneurs and this podcast is a great example. You know, I sat on the idea for a podcast for years and then.
I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they are hesitant to start because they see the success on other people’s, whatever, whatever the platform is, but they don’t see in between the start and where they’re at now, or they don’t get a realistic picture at it. So I think, um, all the noise it’s, it’s like a blessing and a curse for him, uh, for entrepreneurs.
And a lot of times the people that. Do have a great opportunity. Yeah. Do you have value to bring to an audience? They get a little trigger shy or, um, you know, they do start and then they see this artificial success of others and they, they give up prematurely. Well, I think that’s a great point. Damon. I think part of the problem is, you know, the internet makes it look like you can be an overnight success, but, you know, we all know the old saying it takes 10 years being overnight success.
And you know, there are over 400,000 to use your industry podcasts, registered them out there. Um, the average podcast gets to 12 episodes. Yup and stops. Right. So, you know, usually, I mean, I do, I do four or five of these a week, but if I look at the podcasts that I’m going to be episode seven, I’m a little bit gun shy because I’m I’m, I don’t want to risk my own brand or my own reputation.
Sure. There’s and so how I, I think partly the issue of perseverance and tenacity is it is one point, and then there’s also the issue of expectation. Right. What I mean, there’s economic expectations. I mean, everybody knows the John Lee Dumas story, but when are all going to be generally doing this and he entered the world at a, at a point in time, or he was able to change the game.
We all can’t do that. And we all shouldn’t want to do that, but. Yo, listen to me, we can’t have impact. It doesn’t mean we can’t reach people who need what we have to say and earn a decent living doing it. But you have to calibrate what those expectations are and in what timeframe, and for some people that’s really hard.
Yeah. And I think you brought up another great point about, uh, you know, you don’t, everybody doesn’t have to be the next, I hate, I hate to use the same cliche examples that always go out there, but you know, you don’t have to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. The next Jeff Bezos. Um, but I think a lot of these metrics that people look at, especially with social media, is there all these vanity metrics and, you know, it’s great to have a lot of use and a lot of likes, whatever, but really what matters is.
You know that one view or that one, like where you actually make an impact and connect with somebody. And I think that’s another great opportunity to encourage eager entrepreneurs is everyone has a story. And then everyone also has somebody that needs to, to hear that story. And you just need to make that one connection to get your foot in the door of whatever path you want to go down.
And I think the us there’s a painful to two sided sword of that truth. Damon is people do look at those vanity metrics as some type of social proof, right there. People do make decisions about them, right? Oh, if a hundred thousand, but watch this video, it must be good. It’s irrational, but it has nothing to do with quality.
Um, but. But, but content, creators and entrepreneurs who are trying to get their ideas adopted, know that it’s out there. Now, the real question is once, once vanity metrics begin to get suspected and I hope that’s really soon, um, what’s the next substantive level of evaluation people will make. Um, and it’s the echo chamber, right?
So it’s not so much. The vanity metrics of views and likes and shares. And, uh, but it’s what are, what are other people, what are other people like me saying about you? And it’s the more you can get others to engage in a conversation, um, and demonstrate in real time. And you can be helpful that the service, the product, the idea, the approach, um, uh, you have.
Uh, can be helpful now here’s the dangerous, the issue of Narcan it is. And we see a lot of, a lot of entrepreneurs think I, they self universalize, my stories apical to everybody. So they try and self, self codification. I’m just going to kind of find the way I did it. And you’re, and you’ll be helpful too.
It’s a dangerous game because most times it’s not true. And B to try slide to a formula, uh, it looks naive. And so. Sure. Should we reach into our own hearts and lungs lives and struggles for wisdom that others might gain from? Absolutely. Do we turn it into an eight step formula that everybody can follow that’s dumb, but how many books, articles, podcasts, eBooks, free books.
Lead gen magnets are out there that are nothing more than a codified recipe of somebody. Somebody’s success story, um, that I’m just going to sell you really hard and have 20 pocket popups on my website to sign up, to convince you that you could do what I did. If you just do it my way, that’s a really dangerous game.
And you look like a hack. Yeah, it’s it’s um, Ron, I feel like you’re talking to my soul
last year, you know? So I’ve been in the world of search engine optimization for 12 years. And particularly in the last year I’ve I’ve worked on yeah. Um, kind of bundling that knowledge that I’ve acquired. And I’m just about done, I’m done writing a book it’s being edited now, and then now I’m working on building out a course.
And what’s funny about all these things we’re talking about for me is because, um, you know, you, when you get into that position where you’re either looking to step into or magnify your role as an influencer in your industry, you really start to see just how shady. That world of influencing is, and it’s, isn’t that scary, like is fricking scary.
Yeah. Yeah. Cause I get out there and I go, I see, you know, whoever, and, and up until I actually got into magnifying my role as an influencer, I would just kind of see them in the outskirts, you know, my peripheral vision and go, Oh, that person is successful. But as I look into reproducing that success yeah.
I don’t want to do, I want to sell morally. And it’s like, you have to kind of do a reality check with your, with your morals and ethics and say, you know, is there a legit way that I can scale successfully? Or do I want to have that hint of snake oil salesman that all the other guys do to accelerate more and then, and then be a flash in the pan, right?
There’s that? So it was a piece on LinkedIn. Maybe you want to link it to your show notes for this it’s called. I wrote it about my own journey. I, so I hired a coach three years ago. Uh, actually three and a half years ago for this very reason, right. To, to, to navigate the waters we’re talking about now.
Cause I thought at this point in my career, I shouldn’t have to do this, um, which that’s just my own naivety and stupidity. And so I hired a coach and the piece on LinkedIn is called the challenges of thought leadership are different than you think. Um, and it’s all about the tenacity and the anxiety and the comparison perhaps, and the imposter syndrome and all that.
We have to go through to persevere, to have our days I’ve done it. So you’re some of your leaders, listeners may find it valuable. Um, And I also, there’s also a YouTube interview with the same woman, the articles about, uh, she interviewed me, her name is Dorie Clark, and she interviewed me, uh, uh, on the issue of perseverance while, while finding influenced, um, and similar messages around how do you do it?
How do you stay in the game when, to your point? And when you’re looking around, you’re seeing what you’re seeing you, those comparisons become yardsticks. We beat ourselves with. Um, and what to set ourselves apart. We want that success. I think the key word you said to me in an earlier sentence was I’ve spent 12 years doing SEO that 12 years counts, right?
There is substantive wisdom, substantive pattern recognition, substantive, knowledge of an evolution of a, of a technology that has grown commoditized, you know, Google Google. They wouldn’t get to it, you know, whatever. Um, and, uh, that your audience is gonna want to know from right. You didn’t just Google SEO build a book and, you know, you’ve watched the pains and pitfalls and you’ve watched the people trip over it.
You tripped over it. And so it’s a different base. Of credibility that you’re bringing to the party. Now, the challenge for you is how do you from the other 500 SEO hacks out there claiming I can get you page one results in three days, trust me, if you want to be on Google’s top page one, without having to pay for it, call me, um, like it was that easy.
Right? Um, and so, you know, I’m sure that some of what you offer has debunks the, the overnights sensationalism and can debunk. Uh, and tell the truth about, you know, what, if you want page one results, but page two results. It’s a thing it’s a hard thing. And you know, you have Google changing the rules every day.
And the yard six being held up to you to determine what page you go on are hard. Um, and there’s not, there’s not a quick way to do it. Uh, but if you want to get to page one and stay there, which is a very different thing than getting there for three hours and then leaving, um, that’s a different thing. Uh, and that’s where the, I think the honesty part comes in and there’s not too many people out there being honest about that.
Yeah. It’s, you know, as I talk to leads and new clients, I tell them, Hey, you’re not alone. It’s an unfortunate part of, of the industry as with many industries, but maybe a little bit more so in just internet marketing in general is that there’s so much that there’s a, more of an ability to use smoke and mirrors.
And so a lot of these guys get away with it for longer, but, um, You know, just like praying on that. I have any people, right? How many people you say digital marketing to sound badly? It means a hundred different things, I think is that like Facebook. Or what’s this LinkedIn thing, you know, or should I be on Twitter or, you know, what does it mean to have a hot link on my web?
Like the level of understanding relative to a level of capability, it’s almost like just if you know, a little bit more than the other idiot you’ll do better. And so you’re dealing with an incredible range of variants of knowledge and experience and that. The intimidation factor, a huge fear factor for many people in the digital world.
And many of those, those snake called people are just preying on that fear. Yeah. And I think it’s a good way to tie back, um, the conversation where, as you said, there’s not a lot of people being honest in SEO and I think, and so those guys, do you want that short term success? Uh, I think you said, you know, Flashing the frying pan versus, um, longterm stability and credibility.
I think that the same thing goes back to what we’re talking about, influencers and social media, and really just anything. I mean, there are ways to cut corners, but it’s going to be one of those short term success. And do, is, is that really what you want your, your legacy to be as, as, as the one hit wonder, you know, So, you know, kind of on the same lines, but, um, switching gears just a little bit, are you familiar with the documentary that just came out the week?
So as of the time we’re recording this podcast, um, the Netflix and Hulu documenters on the fire on fire festival came out. Are you familiar with that? I’m not, no, I did. I watched the headline. I saw that it came out. I haven’t seen it. So what’s interesting. And how this ties into the conversation is that fire festival that, you know, the abbreviated version is it was this festival that was supposed to be in 2017.
Um, got some major funding by private investors and the way that it was so successful or. Or appeared to be self successful until it crashed and burned was, um, influencing. And so these, the, the, the organizers of the event tapped into influencers and social media specifically, and they just like sold out this event.
And I want to say just weeks and, and they made so much money at it that they started looking at the reason why I crashed and burned is cause they didn’t organize it very well, but then they, they, um, You know, blood, their customers dry because they said, okay, our tickets sold out. Now let’s go make up these other, um, our artificial products.
Now we’re going to sell tents or cabanas at the event. And then now we’re going to sell private cottages. But what was amazing is, is they had, they had booked out millions and millions and millions of dollars in just weeks. And it was a first time event promoter, and they say for any event promoters sell out their first event, especially at that scale is just next to impossible, but it all came down to influencers and just tapping into that, you know, how to connect with your audience.
I think, um, I think you, you know, the, the world at some point is getting a better nose for when something is all sizzle, no steak, right? I mean, I mean, form following function is a, is a timeless truth. Um, and, um, the internet didn’t change that, right? It may look like they’ve, it shortened the line of sight between form and function, but it really did it.
In fact, it may have one thing that only because of the fact that there’s so much, which form out there right now that a function, um, and people still want substance. They don’t want people. People are tired of being told, fix any problem. You want three steps, five secrets for they wreck they’d come to be hurt by.
You know, whether it’s dieting, losing weight, the way you physically look, how you find a mate, how you lead people, how you make money. You know, they they’ve been told over and over and over again, it’s quick and easy and anybody can do it well, if that were the case, we’d already done it. So. W w the desperation of any human being for the silver bullet, in whatever pain they’re in.
At some point, we all learned that there’s no silver bullet. Um, and I think that’s when those of us who have much more to offer with more substance over form are waiting for the cleanup, uh, of the, of hacks tastes times the effort to earn their trust, because you’re, you’re seen as one of them. And so I can’t tell you how many sales calls early pitches.
When I first mentored executive, I have to say, spend undoing the perception of those that came before me. Yep. I understand that. That’s been your experience that, I’m sorry for that. Let me tell you how I, I, I can make a different for you, right. And there’s no reason for you to trust me. Um, but here’s what would happen if you tried.
Um, and sometimes I’ll, you know, our, our motto at Netherland is consult for a cell later. Add value, be helpful, have an impact. At some point, the media will start running and sometimes we have one client. We, we consulted first sold later for four years before they signed a contract with us. And now, you know, it’s been a multimillion dollar client.
Um, so for me, it’s how I, you know, this may, no, I say that a lot of prospects, I may never see you again. And so in case I don’t please, if you hear nothing else that I say at that point after an hour, I’ve seen patterns, I’ve seen problems. I’ve seen your flawed assumptions. I’m going to say, this is what every penny you’re paying for it, nothing, but please do the following.
Cause if you don’t, I can tell you where the movie’s going to go. And I, I, you know, I try to leave them with a sense of. I see your story. I’ve seen your story a hundred times and I can see where the next chapter might go. If you don’t change some of your beliefs or behaviors or your organization, um, or get more data.
Um, and I don’t do like to scare them into hiring me. I do that because I’m afraid they’re gonna hurt themselves. And they know that I care. They know that I’m more committed to their success than I am my own. Um, because if they’re not sexual, I’m not, and our measures are about impact. It’s not about revenue.
So, uh, but the amount of unwinding you have to do, uh, for the twins, the tense sharks that came in at before you and did damage was painful. Yeah. Yeah. I’m just sitting here because it’s like, it’s like, you’re, you’re speaking my experiences. You know, one thing that you said about consult first insulators, I say the same thing just in different way.
I often say that the best way to sell is to not sell at all and just make that connection first. But yeah, it’s about relationship. It’s about relationship first attachment first help. Second. Cell third. Uh, and you know, people aren’t wired like that, right? They want the clothes, they don’t have any substance to offer.
They they’re they’re imposters and they just want to hide their lack of substance and just sound impressive and sound, you know, with these big words that make you feel intimidated, but in a day you don’t feel any closer to me or your own solution than you did before I came. Yeah. Well, so tell our audience more specifically what you do when you work with a client and what is, what is the average engagement look like from start to finish the timeframe and everything?
Gosh, average is a, is a, is a hard word these days, because you know, in our, in our work with the startup world and the VC world, that’s one thing in the mid cap world with, uh, starting to grow up. It’s one thing. And then with the. Global powerhouses. It’s another thing. So I don’t know that there’s one answer, but I think all of our work with organizations and leaders, you know, typically the executive who calls us as somebody, who’s either trying to avoid a ditch or gotten themselves in a ditch or inherited a ditch.
Um, and they got to get out. There’s some significant transformative change that has to happen in front of them. That’s bigger than just a quick reorg or they know that’s not going to work or is it cool? It’s not about a new strategy process. It’s not, it’s, it’s, it’s a more complex issue between the relationship of their organization and their marketplace and their customers being in relationships among the people that they lead in side and the dream in their head that they have, or the commitment, their commitment to their shareholders or boards or investors that they’ve made.
And they’re at this complicated place. So how do I navigate out of this or through this? And our job is to help construct a pathway that allows them to set, set a path in motion. That’s going to be disruptive and usually, but often transformative, but at the end of the day, get them to the place they want to go.
And like any good systemic change. Yeah. We have to start with a thorough diagnosis. You would never walk into a heart surgeon and say, I’m having. Really, really sharp pains in my chest and have that heart surgeon say, Oh yeah, that’s the upper ventricle. We needed stint that let’s go in there. I’ll put it in right now and go with you.
You’d be like, well, don’t you want to like, look first? No, no, I’ve seen it a million times. I don’t, you know, it’d be, you should run. Right. Well, treatment without diagnosis is malpractice. So for us to not look under the hood, Of your organization to not get a good MRI of what’s really going on and not just, I mean, it’s not that what you’re telling me is wrong, but I’ve never had a, an executive self-diagnosed accurately they’re either wildly wrong or more painful that they’re partially right.
They’ve seen a symptom or a part of the problem, but they’ve not seen the whole thing. And by virtue of the fact that you haven’t been able to fix it, I know you’re looking at, in one place, right. So I have to look at all the places you didn’t look culturally structurally. Technologically strategically, um, people, you know, find out what piece of the puzzle you’re not solving for to come back with a full picture of here’s why you keep repeating this visit to the ditch or why all the solutions you’ve tried, didn’t stick, um, and then help them construct the pathway.
And help them in the organizations construct a pathway out because for us, it’s not about doing it for you or to you we’ll do it with you, but it’s your organization to save and grow and win with not mine. Um, I’m just, I need to bring you the equipment to do it with, but the consultants kind of with the answers are usually the ones that need to become an addiction.
You have to keep them out of a when or, um, or just. You know, ATM, you keep withdrawing from, rather than the consultants that come in with a partnership and say, I can help you figure this out, but the answer is in the room. Um, you will have to figure out why you’re not seeing it. Do you? So people come to you and they say, Hey, I need help.
And then I’m sure there’s some times where you have to call somebody’s baby ugly. And so even though they came to you and said, I want help, but then when you give. Give them advice. Do you ever have, do you ever have some clients where they have a hard time accepting it? Well, all the time, the book, but our diet, our MRI diagnostic reports to use a metaphor are usually about 70, 80 pages long.
Right. So it’s a lot of data and it’s all the voices of your people. And so, um, the one thing that most of my clients are not getting is the truth and they know it. They’re getting people blowing smoke on their face. They’re getting told what they want to hear. They’re getting embellished data, they’re getting lied to getting the truth and they know that I’m so sure sometimes I have to call the Bentley and sometimes I have to say, you’re the problem.
Um, but they didn’t, I, I do it from a place where they know I’m on their side and we’ve had to fire clients. We’ve had to say, okay, if you’re not want to do the work, then we’re the wrong partner for you because I’m not going to sit and help somebody make it worse. Um, but by most of my clients are, are always, they’re always grateful that they’ve gotten a hard truth, comes out.
You know, it’s an empathy. I’ll say this is a hard, I know this is hard to hear. And I’m sorry, it’s taking so long for you to hear it, but this is what’s true. Now this, you have a way you can fix it. It’s reliable. Um, but, but before that, I’m sure that sometimes they get defensive and I, we have a very rigorous, psychologically safe process by which we help people work through their emotions, their defenses, their triggers, and frankly, how they take and absorb the information is great data for me.
Because that tells me how, how ready for change they really are. So, um, you know, when we, we first present our diagnostic data, I’m in a room with an executive for a day, day and a half, just with that data. And then with our team for another day or two. Right. So it’s a, it’s a very thorough examination of the story that they’re in and an understanding of why they only do part of a story or why they’re only telling part of a story and why they all have different versions of a story.
Um, and how do they create one story that they all believe is the story they’re in and how do they want to cocreate the next chapter of that story? Uh, and that’s, our job is to put the pen in their hands and to have them do it honestly. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna make an analogy and you tell me if it’s correct.
So it sounds like, you know, you have these in, in comparison comparing companies too, I’m going to compare them to, um, celebrities. So celebrities reach a certain point of success. Um, And then eventually they, they have whatever problems, uh, but it’s because they’ve been surrounded by yes. Men. So would you say that that happens with some of your clients where they’ve reached a certain level of success and they’ve just had it their way for so long and they get stuck in their ways and because they’ve been successful, they’re surrounded by yes.
Men and you have to come in and, and be that, um, you know, pattern interrupt to get them back on track. I think, uh, yeah, it’s called the CEO. I think that the higher up, if you go in any organization, the thinner the air becomes and the less, the less access to the truth you get. Oh, my book rising to power was all about that ascent.
And one of the. Greatest landmines. Most executives don’t anticipate is, is, um, 50 data. Uh, and the, and the fact that, I mean, the, that their life is now. I, at the same time, they’re getting scanned data. Their life is now on the jumbotron, and there’s a megaphone strapped to the mouth 24 seven. Um, and so.
Everything they’d say and do is being amplified and misinterpreted. Uh, it’s playing out in public and they’re, and they have no radar with which to navigate it. Um, and that derails so many careers because people don’t know how to navigate it. Um, that’s a great, great comment. Now your book. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
So it’s called rising to power. Um, and is that who the book is primarily written for is C level executives? No. If people, people bought on the way to on the way up, so it’s anybody and it’s also for individual contributor, anybody who wants to have greater influence in the world, anybody who’s trying to either rise up in an organization, build an organization, rise up in the world.
Of influence. Um, the book is for you, uh, and we’ve known for two decades and more than half of those who assume broader levels of responsibility, uh, fail in the first 18 months, which of course the recruiters love, cause it’s an annuity for them. But, but besides that carnage of careers and families and organizations missed opportunities is horrible.
And it got very personal for us when it became somebody, an organization we were working with. Um, where somebody after one of our transformational products had distinguished himself and, you know, everybody assumed he was the, you know, the rising star. And he was, um, when he got a bigger job, nobody was shocked.
And we also, when he was going to go to great places and nine months later he’d been fired. We were all shocked. And when we had finished our work, we had left. When he called me to tell me I was winded. Uh, when the CEO called me two hours later, I was shamed because as the CEO is angry, he was calling to say, I think this is something, this is your fault.
You didn’t get it ready. And I said, okay, okay. Can I come back in and stick around? Can I come in? I want to find out how could we have so badly misjudged his brilliance? Uh, and that investigation is what led to our 10 year longitudinal study with more than 2,700 interviews of people to find out how does this keep happening?
Why don’t we keep doing this to people? Um, and I, we were determined to turn over every single rock we could find so that, that ascent is not so destructive anymore. That those who are trying to rise up and assume broader purchase. Um, could you, so without derailing. It’s it’s really fascinating. And that’s, that’s impressive to do a study for that long.
And, and so, um, the, the book you’ve identified four differentiating capabilities that set successful leaders apart, what, without giving away the book, what can you tell us about those differentiators? Tell you what they are. Cause I love people to adopt them. There’s this was one of the greatest parts of the study was so if half were failing in 18 months, what were the other half doing?
Uh, how were they sticking the landing? How are they finding their way? To the higher risk broader purchase and sticking and sticking it. Uh, out well, the great news is the data did reveal that. Now the interesting thing, the painful part was this is it’s not really four things. It’s one thing with four parts because all of the successful leaders were good at all.
Four of them. The minute you were good at three of the four, you were in the failure. So, uh, you know, my, my research team had 99 different rationalities for me because I kept saying, I don’t want to have to say all four, can we, is there any way we could say three. And they finally would like run and stop enough.
It’s not going to change it’s four or nothing. That’s the way it is. And I was like, Oh, what? Jesus has already employed, but he can’t hire him. Who can do this? Well, obviously you have people. We started good. Um, and the great news is they’re learnable. You can build these muscles. The thing is you shouldn’t start at your first vice president job, but you can learn them first was context.
So these were the leaders who understood. They had to learn before they could change. That’ll look around Weebly tea leaves, be curious, ask why are things the way they are? And adapt their ideas versus deleted that comes in and slaps on their answer. As soon as they’ve already got the, you know, do it my way.
I have my formula and we set people up for this, every process, we say things to them like, Hey, look at all these great apps you’ve built. That’s what we need or wow. Look at these great brands. You both come to that for us. So we, in the hiring process, we infer you’ve got a recipe we want. So they’re going to sit, skip reading the context, just come in and start slapping it on.
Cause you told them to, of course, when it doesn’t stick, the organization rejects them. So these leaders knew that they had to adapt and ask questions with what, before they could impose change. They could read context of their industry and their organization. Second was Brett. So these leaders knew how to build bridges.
Right. Every leader knows, especially if you grew up in a discipline like finance or economics or marketing, you see the world through that lens. You know, if you’re a finance guy, you see it economically. If you’re a marketer, you see the world for consumers. Um, and the problem is organizations as they grow the world, as it grows and no time in the world, was this ever more true than today?
It fragments. We have echo chambers. We have camps. We have diff levels of division we’ve never seen before. Right. And so rather than reinforcing every division, these days could build bridges. These leaders could bring marketing and sales together into one capability. They could bring innovation and marketing together into an R and D into one capability.
They could stitch the seams around them. Uh, they could see the world as holes, not just parts, uh, and they could make their way successful connecting people who normally might. Be fragmented from each other. The third was choice. They said it could make hard calls. Too many leaders, um, are afraid to use the power with their role.
They’re afraid of disappointing people. And so they Dole out way too many yeses and in, so doing they, they want to please people, they want to tell what they want to hear. And they, and they dilute the focus of the organization. They dilute the resources and they peanut butter them. And so you get nothing done.
It’s a bunch of mediocrity. The nurse could say, no, they could say no to even great ideas so that the great ideas they’ve already committed to could prevail and they could narrow the focus of the organization. They understood that leadership is the ability to disappoint people at a rate they can absorb.
Um, you, you have to keep people focused for the greater good, even if it means. You know, a short term pinch for somebody who wants to do something they can’t do. And the last unsurprisingly was connection. These people had a phenomenal relationships up down sideways. Those that they led, those that reported to them.
Um, every company has them. The influencer group has that mix of people. Everybody wants to be around. Right. I know that if you’re in their presence, they’re going to care. You’re going to learn something you’ll be better. And the interesting thing about these leaders was what, the way, the way they prioritize their.
Network and stakeholder work was by those they could most contribute to not those that can most get something from. And so you got, you knew that your success was on their agenda. You knew that your development, your future was important to them. You knew you mattered to them. Um, so context, breath, choice, connection for really hard muscles, but all learnable.
But when you do them, You will be your most influential, you will be your most strongest leader. You will rise to greater purchase and you will won’t fall off and out of, as you uncovered all this, these results from the data it was there. What was the most surprising for, for you yourself? That stuck out?
Was the issue of power, right? So we assume that we isolated the issue of people’s ability to wield power or greater levels of power. We would see all the abuses there, you know, the self-interest Harvey Weinstein types, um, people are just being gross and, you know, immoral and personal gain using power.
And they were there. They were not nearly there to the degree that those who abandoned power were at the greatest abuse of power was in fact putting it down, uh, for self protection, right? People too afraid of it, people too uncomfortable with it, people to, uh, needing popularity and to be liked more than I needed to make hard decisions and, and direct the organization toward a great future, even if it was going to be hard to go there.
Um, and. And I don’t think people realize that that’s just as much of an abuse of power as the Harvey Weinstein types. Um, because it’s the, it’s the absence of those people using their power that enable those to abuse it, who want to abuse it. And if those leaders, I had more courage to use the power available to them, you’d have less people inclined to abuse it.
Uh, so that was a shock to me. We didn’t see, I didn’t anticipate that at all. One of my Ted talks is on that very topic. Now, what type of team did you work with to, to collect all these results? So we’ve done. We do diagnostic interviews by part of our work, right? So we had 10 years of interviews. Uh, we had phenomenal, we had a phenomenal research partner.
We had great AI tools. We had, um, a huge IBM Watson study done. So you have incredible machine learning about it, or read the patterns across 2,700 transcripts to help begin to statistically analyze what the patterns of. So it was a longitudinal study, um, and, uh, And so we had great partners and we had, you know, people sitting in rooms, looking at data and finding patterns and testing hypothesis and rerunning regression analyses.
It was a, it was an exciting time. We actually, as a sneak preview, just went back and did it again. Cause now that database is 15 years long, with a little more than 3,300 interviews in it. And we isolated some really powerful data on organizational honesty. And what things inside our audition will predict whether or not somebody will lie.
Uh, and so we’re very excited about that publishing that we’re going to publish up this year. Uh, have you ever heard about, um, I went to, I went and had coffee with a gentleman. I met off LinkedIn and I can’t remember the name of his organization, but he had, um, An AI technology that during the interview process.
So, so when there would be a volume hiring process for a company that needs a lot of staff, um, to the point where they were going through thousands of applications, um, they would have these people do a self recorded. Um, self answering interview and once the video was captured, so it wasn’t, one-on-one there there’s no face to face like you and I talking right now.
Um, they would just go to a website and log in, re answer the questions that came up on the screen and, and record it via video. And their AI would analyze their facial interactions. Their tone, their hesitations and all that, and come and break it down and give that the hiring company, the statistical analysis that says based on your ideal candidates, this person is better or worse.
And so they could just bypass all these candidates. So they didn’t feel were, or the right candidates. And, you know, um, Are you familiar with that process? Heard of that, where it’s being used? I, I, I, I assumed it was still in test mode. I hadn’t heard that I’ve heard of anybody actually using it before. Um, it’s pretty scary stuff.
Yeah. Yeah, no, I, it was, it’s scary, but it’s like, it’s, um, you know, good and bad. It’s good because it’s amazing technology. It’s fascinating that we can do things at that level. Um, but definitely scary. I’m I, I’m not afraid to admit that I like to wear a tin hat every once in a while. So I think part, I think part of the issue is.
Is it really producing reliable data? I mean, we’ve all we’ve seen. I’ve seen the problems in the AI tools that are scanning resumes, right. So I’ve seen the problems there and you can’t because of the programmers you’re seeing inherent biases in the past. Right? So in terms of LinkedIn profile, resume screenings, you’re seeing, you know, racial gender.
Um, cultural biases screen out qualified candidates. So I I’ve been part of I’ve. I’ve seen the challenges there. The companies are reluctant to for good reasonable activities that I’ve not seen the video use of actual, the interview process. Have you seen, um, The, the Facebook tenure challenge thing. And is, do you have an opinion on whether it’s a, uh, a data analytics test?
If people, I don’t know, without, with pretty sort of confidence that that was just to improve their facial records? I mean, come on, we really have to w what’s in, how are you wearing? Of course, that’s what it was. Um, And you know, that the, uh, the, the, the articles coming out to expose, they didn’t come out to like, interestingly two weeks after the challenge started.
Um, and then people started gaming it and putting up pictures of like celebrities and yeah. But yeah, that’s that, wasn’t just a cute game. Yeah. I, you know, I mean, I think the interesting HBR article on, uh, how long was it smart, sort of with the right CTO for Facebook was a really. Damning article. I mean, how many more after the act selling probably data fiasco in December, at some point we have to ask ourselves, uh, and then now the New York times one on the cult-like culture at Facebook, I think at some point, uh, shareholders are going to start asking some hard questions.
If Facebook continues to, um, keep running into these. Problems. It’s, it’s a, it’s a funny position. Yeah. Be in where you understand that, you know, all these tools, like if you’re not buying a product, you are the product. And so that, that data comes at a cost and what’s unfortunate for me to see, I feel like I was born at the perfect time where I was born.
Um, you know, at an age where I was, yeah. Long enough to, I guess I should say old enough to see the world without the internet, but then I was young enough to fully embrace the internet. And so I’m on that perfect line where I see both sides and it’s honestly, yeah, it’s kind of, it’s scary. And it’s sad to see these younger generations that.
They, they have no idea what they’re contributing to, what beasts they’re feeding with all these tools and this data. And, and if you bring it up, you’re crazy. Well, sure. I don’t care. What do I care? Yeah. And you know, uh, you have people on the extreme, paranoid spectrum of big, brother’s always watching and we have to protect ourselves, you know, that’s one end and on the other end of, you know, it’s just my, who cares?
What, I mean, I’m an open book, you know, somewhere in the middle has to be some balance of, and I think the, I think we’re seeing tremendous conversation now hit the screen and certainly in the ethics community, I’m seeing this, where, what is the ethics and moral code of AI blockchain? Um, cryptocurrencies, um, the, the, the moral, the morality questions, just starting to enter.
Right. At what point are we going to crush lines? Um, I’ve written a couple of pieces on the, the, the, the things, the things about our human early machine learning can never replace. And how do we continue to embrace the things that make us, you know, uniquely beautiful, flawed human beings that will always set us apart from machines, no matter how smart we make them.
Um, and I think, uh, we’ve got to start understanding how to maximize them, credible benefits, machine learning and artificial intelligence and blockchain. Those kinds of technologies can bring us and accept their limitations and accept the intrusions. We probably don’t want. Right. I, you know, the, the whole Saifai subscription theory of they’re all gonna, at some point, I’m so smart.
They’re going to take us over and kill us all. And that’s a little dark. I’m not sure I’d go there. But I do recognize there are dangerous. We have to be honest, we have to be honest about, uh, I was listening to a podcast. Um, the Elon Musk was on, I think it was Joe Rogan and, and they went down the path of like, you know, AI and taking over the world and yeah.
Yeah. That’s pretty cynical. He wants pretty scared. He mean? He said his whole fearmonger thing was, I mean, he believes it, but it was pretty interesting his views on it. Well, what was interesting in, in his discussion with, I believe it was Joe Rogan is so Joe Rogan says. Hey, you historically, you’ve been on that really dark side.
And lately you seem like you brought it back a little. Why is that? And he Ilan basically said, well, I’ve just, it’s not that he changed his opinion. He’s just accepted it now. Well, I think it’s healthy. Ask her what the mile three, uh, you know, machine learning fiasco is all the promises. He couldn’t keep an eye.
Of course his little, his little tweak problem. Uh, getting them fired. Um, he’s had some, he’s had some doses in his life. Yeah. I think, uh, have helped him get tempered. Yeah, I think, you know, I mean, he recognizes me, here’s his comment after the whole production fiasco was you can’t replace humans. Yeah. Well, you know, we’ve got a few more minutes and so I want to talk more about, um, you know, some of these media outlets that you’ve had the opportunity to speak on or contribute with Ted talk is obviously very cool.
Um, and so I’d like your perspective on what it was like to. For you personally for, you know, the bragging rights and how was that experience talking as a Ted talk and then, um, Get into that for, for our listeners. Um, we’ve talked about, you have to build up your credentials in your experience, but are there any tips, you know, you’ve talked to on contributed to a lot of other outlets.
Um, I see here Businessweek, MSNBC, fortune Forbes, you know, maybe speak a little to how, how you get to that level. Is there any more tips beyond just, you know, putting in the work and getting the experience? Oh, that’s a big one. Um, so on the, on the, on the red circle, um, reality, I think, I think one of the, so I did two Ted talks, two weeks back to back.
Uh, I definitely recommend not doing that. Mmm. I also recommend that if your goal for a Ted talk is a credential, you’re a public speaker. You want to be seen as a credible credible speaker. Don’t do that. There are other platforms, but it Ted’s cracking down now because they have so many people who want to, I want to do a Ted talks and, uh, they were they’re bastardizing.
What the intent of that technology was really for. And so they’re really get a stringent on the, for the low, especially the local organizers are getting stringent on their selection criteria and they, and they should. Cause there are some people in that red circle who shouldn’t be there, but if you want to pursue it, yeah, it can be done.
There are people out there now running businesses on how to get, get yourself a TEDx talk and it can be very helpful. Cause it’s not, it’s not a straight forward process about just pitching an idea. It is hard to me a long time and I had a lot of help. And then I got to, um, And they came at a time, my wife, that it was a very torturous time.
And so emotionally it was excruciating to do both of them that close to each other. But what I will tell you is the thing that the greatest thing I learned is that this is not public speaking. That’s if you associate in your mind, the idea of getting in that red circle for two, for 12 minutes, and it’s no different than me, a short keynote, you’re wildly misguided.
This is nothing like that at all. And if you treat it like that, you’ll fail. And I learned the hard way, trying to learn, learn, learn, and memorize two of them and perform two of them, uh, it, that close together. So, um, I would say read the book, talk like tag, talk to people, done it. They will all tell you how much heart.
Universally, what you hear from people is that was much harder than I thought. Um, and it’s intimate. Okay. So be sure you want it, there are other ways to get your visibility. Yes. The red circle, uh, with the red logo behind you, it is, it is a great credibility builder and it is fun. And it’s really, really super fun to say you have done one.
Uh, it is not fun to prepare what to do one. Um, so, uh, if, if public speaking and recognition is your goal, there are lots of other ways to get. Internet video hits, uh, and get yourself visible besides that venue. Um, in terms of HBR and forums and other places I contribute to it is about putting the work in and getting seen.
You have to build up a body of content. I get now I get asked all the time. Hey, Ron, great to hang out on LinkedIn. Could you introduce me to your HR? Um, right. I wrote, I wrote a piece for a blog once, you know, so. Um, there’s a lot of content generators out there who are really, really good. Um, I’ve been very fortunate that, uh, I’ve had the, um, the opportunities I’ve had on HBR, I think, but places like Forbes, you there’s a PA there’s paid apply.
Forbes coaches, council is a pay to play, so you can certainly pay to have a Forbes blog. Um, Inc fast company. HuffPost is a lot of places where it’s much easier to contribute and pitch and get on. And I would certainly, if you want to write for the business audience, but I would say medium LinkedIn, there are also places where you can at least.
Just the notion of having to generate content on a disciplined cadence can be overwhelming for a lot of people get used to that. Don’t put yourself out there in such a publicly visible channel, or I, if you’re not certain you have the chops to do it, or you’re not certain you have the discipline to do it because so many people want the one hip, you know, it’s, I did two or three pieces and I just couldn’t keep up anymore.
Um, and then just to be able to put a PDF on your website saying, look, I’ve written break before. What was that one and half posts, you know, I write for Huffington post, well, who doesn’t at this point. Right. So. So I think you gotta be very careful about what channels you choose. I’m also not, not every medium is for everybody, right?
Some people are better verbally than they are in writing. They’re a bit on a platform versus in a conversation like this. Find your best voice. Find out where you are, your voice and your ideas are best. Um, Uh, excavated and where your audience is, where are they consuming content? Because if they don’t, those don’t match, that’s a real problem.
Um, and then, you know, w if you begin that journey, just tell yourself this is a three year journey at a, at a minimum. I have to do this for three years consistently, before I even begin to see a result. And if you can’t tolerate that, don’t start. If you think after six months, I’m going to be, you know, I’m going to be a household name.
You’re all you do is you just have delusions. You don’t really want to contribute. I think he brought up two great points, um, consistency and your best voice. Uh, and, and those both speak to me as well in, in. To experience this. So consistency, um, falls in under the umbrella, you know, working with clients day to day and SEO.
And I tell them, tell them very similar thing. You know, if you, if you’re not willing to commit to at least a year of consistent SEO efforts, then don’t even start. And, and also the same thing goes with influencing. And so for our listeners that are getting into the world of influencing that, I think you nailed it.
I mean, you have to, especially in the world of social media and every platform is different. Um, you know, but w I’ve been doing a lot of, uh, LinkedIn influencing over the last few months and I’ve gone from, and this is kinda funny, cause we said vanity metrics don’t matter, but I’ve gone from 750 or so followers to 8,000.
And over the course of, of growing that the one of the hardest parts is consistency. And you. On LinkedIn, you gotta be on there at least daily on Instagram. You gotta be on there five times a day. And so that kind of goes into the next thing you said is your best voice. And that too is equally hard. Um, it is really hard to find your, the middle ground where you want to be vulnerable and open, but also respecting your own privacy and not letting all of your cats out of the bag.
And you gotta be comfortable with kind of testing the waters and see. And how far do you wanna push yourself and, and how consistent can you be on. You know, which platform are you most, most comfortable with? Yeah. And sometimes it’s trial and error. Sometimes you’re not gonna know you’re going to have to try if you skin your knees a little bit before you really can know.
Yeah. Well, um, before we go, I got a question about your books. So you’ve wrote several books. Um, are they all, so the one, um, we talked about now, what about the other books? What are those focused on? Oh, there are a variety of leadership books on consult early in my career, I wrote about consulting about my own industry.
That was, you know, at the time getting damned pretty painfully for its abuses. Um, that tension seems to have turned to your industry now. Um, so, you know, it’s, uh, for the last, I know it’s 20 years now, the books range across a variety of, and I, my, my writing books for me were always my way of dealing with intractable problems.
I couldn’t answer questions about when my clients had problems. So they’re not, I don’t, I didn’t write to become an author. I write to became someone who had answers for me, people who needed help. It was my own way of going to learn about why, why is it it’s this this way? But I could ha cause I, I found myself out of answers when people would, when people who needed my help would ask I’m like, I don’t know.
It just seems stupid to me. So, so that’s what my books were. My publishers are. Aren’t always thrilled about that. But, uh, so between my books and my, uh, forums in HBR writing and other places I published for me, it’s a collection of, of here are, here’s how I think about this problem. And here’s how w how I’ve seen it solved, because I’m always the, I make my living as a problem solver, not a content creator.
And so for me, the content is about letting people know I have ideas you might find interesting.
And so you compete, you can find them on Amazon. You said that doing a TEDx talk, you don’t necessarily recommend it for me. That’s books. I don’t recommend writing books. It is such a complicated process. And I’m all. Yeah. On D I M I run a writing studio here in Seattle for first time authors, first time book builders.
So is it, have you committed to a book project? Um, because people don’t understand that you build a book, you don’t write it. Uh, and so I work people through a process. Uh, got it. I got somebody on a bestseller. Um, I teach, uh, in, you know, private studio of all group. Here’s how you construct. A strategy.
Here’s how you construct your spinal cord. Here’s how you construct your content. Here’s the part you should have. You know, you shouldn’t be involved in others should do this for you because people just think if I sit down in front of a blank word document, it’s all going to just pour out. And then 60,000 words later, I’ll be done.
That’s just not, not at all how it works. And people are often struck. No, no, that’d be, cause you have publishers giving out book contracts. Hey, I saw you had a million views or you have your 10 X. A video you have following. Do you want to, what a book, you know, and it’s cruel. Hmm. Yeah. You know, uh I’ll if you’ve got a minute after we’re done here, I might ask you a couple of questions about that.
But, um, you know, I think, um, it’s, it’s been a pleasure, Ron. I appreciate your background. I appreciate your stories. Um, why don’t you go ahead and throw out your website, any contact information that there for our listeners to stay in touch. If folks have questions, I want to see more, what we’ve done. Uh, novela nav a L E N t.com is our website.
We have lots of great videos and blogs and we publish a quarterly magazine. It’s free. You can sign up for that on, on, uh, always we think about this stuff. Um, you can, and, uh, we have a free ebook. And so if you’re leading change in some kind, it’s called leading transformation. It’s navaLENt.com/transformation, uh, at Twitter at Ron Carucci and also on LinkedIn.
So, uh, stay in touch. I appreciate it, Ron. Uh, last thing before we go, we surprise our guests with a random question generator. So your question is, um, have you ever dined and dashed, Oh, you mean not paid? Yeah. Uh, I think once in college, which I had no choice, I forgot my credit card and I was, I think probably once in college I had to do that yet.
I’ve never done it for sport. Yeah. Well, I appreciate your honesty, Ron. I appreciate it. Thanks for your time again. Damon. Great to be with you. Thanks a lot. Okay. Thank you.