Brad Johnson: Welcome to another episode of Do Business Do Life. This is a really special one. Joey, we were just talking before we went live here. You like kicked off my prior show. I was joking. I was like, “You were on my show before you should have been on my show because there’s nobody listening.” So, Joey Coleman, welcome back. Glad to have you, man.
Joey Coleman: Brad, it is an absolute thrill to be back. I’m a big fan of you and the work that you do and just an honor to be on the show. And thanks to everybody who’s kind enough to be listening in or watching. I hope you are going to enjoy this conversation as much as I know I am because anytime I get to connect with Brad, I know we have amazing conversations.
Brad Johnson: Man, you made me. So, sometimes I do interviews sitting down, sometimes they’re standing up and I’m like, “Dude, you’re standing up.” And I know you’re an animated speaker because I’ve seen you. You have the pleasure of seeing it live. I’m like, “I got to match the energy. I’ve got to stand up for this one.” So, I know it’s going to be fun. And you know, another thing, I’m like, we basically did a hair swap from our first interview.
Joey Coleman: We did. We did. Yeah. I used to have the much longer locks and now I’m riding it a little higher and my hair never looked as good as yours, though, Brad, in the entire time. So, it’s all good.
Brad Johnson: Well, I’ll give a little secret. I don’t share this publicly very often but Marc Anthony Curl Cream. Who would have known?
Joey Coleman: Nice. I like it. Yeah. I’ve never been able to get anything other than the ducktail loop off the back of my hair when it’s been too long since I’ve cut it. So, such as life.
Brad Johnson: Well, we’ve got a limited amount of time and what we’re going to get into, I’m going to hold it up for those watching, actually, I haven’t had. We’re going to buy a box of your books and give them away but right now I just have this pretty little printout in my notes here. Never lose an employee again. And I want to just share a little context here. So, we were first connected. You spoke at an event I was at years ago, seven years ago-ish, to be exact, because that’s how long ago the first interview was.
Joey Coleman: Feels like a million years ago and also feels like 5 minutes ago, both in the same way.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. But when you spoke, actually you had not written the first book yet but it was a talk and I’ve seen a lot of talks but this one resonated with me. It was the first 100 days and it was very much focused on the customer experience. When you bring a new customer on and you had all kinds of really cool data of if you get the first 100 days right, the data showed I think it was five years that is the average that client will be with you.
Joey Coleman: Correct.
Brad Johnson: And then that became your first book, Never Lose a Customer Again. And fast forward, by the way, we use a lot of that learning. We didn’t share this pre-interview at Triad.
Joey Coleman: I love it.
Brad Johnson: We have what we call the launch plan, which is between 90 to 100 days of that onboarding experience where we do it really intentionally, and much of that work was inspired by you so thank you.
Joey Coleman: Oh, my pleasure.
Brad Johnson: And fast forward and we were talking at MastermindTalks, Jayson Gaignard, I know we’re both huge fans of him and his community that him and Candice, his wife, have built and we were in South Carolina about a year ago, and you were telling me, “Hey, I’ve got a new book coming up.” And what I realized is this applies to employees as well. And you kind of gave me the preview and here we are, book just came out, hit the Wall Street Journal bestseller so I’m excited to dive into that today. So, I don’t know if you want to share any other context for how that journey came to be or if you just want to dive in the book.
Joey Coleman: Well, I’m happy to share a little bit of context and then we can take that conversation wherever you like. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, what is so fascinating to me is that many organizations struggle with either customer experiences or employee experiences, or both. And what I found when I started doing the research was that the experienced employees are having or team members are having when they join your organization and they’re trying to get up to speed and they’re trying to become productive and great contributors and impact not only the organization internally but the clients and customers externally, they go through a very, very similar emotional journey that parallels the journey that a brand new customer goes through. And I didn’t go into it with this thought but as I started to do the research and I did the research over the course of about five years, what I found is the parallels between customer experience and employee experience or external experience and internal experience, if we think of that way, were so similar that it was shocking even to me.
And I had an instinct this was the case but when we started to look at the data and the results, it was unbelievable. I’ll pause it that focusing on the journey that your people have within your organization is actually even more important to your organization than the journey that your customers or clients have, mainly because for your team members, your employees, for most of them, this is the only job they have. They may have a side hustle, they may do something else, but this is often the bulk of how they spend their day. Whereas for our customers, we are but one of dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of businesses and entities that they interact with. So, it’s a lot more personal, it’s a lot more emotional, it’s a lot more connective when we’re talking about the people who work with us as opposed to the clients and customers we serve.
Brad Johnson: Spot on. I remember the first time that what you just shared, that little light bulb went off for me. I was in a mastermind with Michael Hyatt, small group, and he said he shared a framework that he shared with his team. And it was his prioritization, kind of his priorities in life. And it started spiritual. It was God. Then it went to his family. And then it went to and actually, he’s added one and since then and it’s him because he’s realized if he doesn’t take care of himself, then he can’t take care of his family.
Joey Coleman: Isn’t it fun when we finally put that into the list, Brad? I don’t know about you. I was a long time coming putting that into the priority list and it’s still, frankly, true confessions here, probably not as high on the list as it should be.
Brad Johnson: Well, it feels selfish to do.
Joey Coleman: It does but you’re right.
Brad Johnson: But in reality, if you don’t love yourself…
Joey Coleman: Yeah, it’s over.
Brad Johnson: Yeah, 100%. So, here’s where it got interesting, to your point, we’ve all heard the term the customer’s always right, customer first, all of that. And the low family was my team, my team at work, and then it was customers. And his point was, if I don’t love on and support my team, I don’t have the foundation at the company level to support and love on our customers. I’ve seen that flipped. In fact, I’ve experienced that flipped where a company picks the customer over the team and it’s the most disempowering thing you can ever experience and be like, “I don’t matter here.” And so, maybe share that because that’s a lot of what you’re talking about in the book but I think a lot of times we just don’t even think about that as founders, as business owners of like, actually, I should put my team above the customer because that’s how I actually support the customer and the framework there.
Joey Coleman: Brad, I so agree with you. And let me be clear by saying anybody who’s listening or watching and kind of is thinking, “Oh, wait, that sounds like me,” you know, I resemble these remarks too, right? I’m guilty of this as well. And I think part of it comes from the human condition. And I think what we can learn from studying the human condition is most humans, not all but the great majority of humans, take for granted the people that are in their lives the most. We take our spouse for granted, our parents for granted, our siblings, our children, our best friends, our team members. And it’s like as we go further out in the circle of rings, it’s almost like we value and appreciate the folks on the periphery more than we respect and value the people who are there all day, every day, making it possible for us to do our best work, make our biggest contribution. And so, I think what we’re fighting against in many ways is almost a combination of biological behavior and societal programming to think that, “Oh, that’s right. These people, once you’ve laid the groundwork, you’re good. You can then just move on to the others.”
And as anybody who’s been married for any appreciable amount of time will tell you, you need to do more than just the initial courting and dating to make for a decades-long marriage. You’ve got to continue to reinvest in the relationship, double down into letting that person know they matter, showing them they matter, telling them they matter. And when you do that, you unlock entirely new levels of relationship. And I think the same holds true with your people. You’re absolutely right. Nothing is more demoralizing for an employee who’s there every day, who’s doing their best to contribute when the person in the organization comes to them and says, “Yeah, we’re siding with the customer on this one.” Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t times where that is what needs to happen or is the right thing to happen but if our default is the customer’s always right to the exclusion, the detriment, the punishment of the team member or the employee, you can almost pull out a stopwatch and measure how long that team member is going to be with you. Because folks want to feel like they matter. They want to feel like they’re contributing. They want to feel like they’re making an impact. And if we don’t regularly reinforce that as leaders, we’re going to have huge retention and engagement issues.
Brad Johnson: So, let’s go there. I completely agree. So, obviously, you know who this show’s for. It’s for financial advisors out there. And when you really break down our audience, we’re working with independent financial advisors, which means entrepreneurs, right? They’re not working for another home office. They’re not a W-2 employee. They are true business owners. And one of the problems we see the most and then I want to dive into how you address this in the book is great salespeople, which a lot of financial advisors start out that way, type-A personalities, charismatic, hard drivers like ready, fire, aim, sort of personalities. They grow up in a business and actually gain success to a certain level in business. It’s on me. It all depends on me whether we close the deal or not, whether I call the client back or not. And one of the biggest let’s call it glass ceilings is when they start to cross over, “Wait. I’m actually a victim of my own success. I’ve done so well. Now, I need help.”
And that’s where I’ve seen some of these symptoms that deal with team of as they cross from financial advisor to business owner and actually meeting divisions, marketing, sales, ops, and empowering people to lead those, this, “Oh, I can’t find great talent. I’m always dealing with turnover at three to six months. Oh, I’m training my competition.” I’ve heard all of these so many times.
Joey Coleman: Right.
Brad Johnson: Let’s talk about those are the symptoms, right, but if we go to the core of what’s creating those, I’m going to assume you dive really deep into that in the book. So, small business owners, let’s talk about some of those frustrations when they get to a point of scale where now they need a team, they need to get great talent, keep great talent. Where do you want to kick it off?
Joey Coleman: Well, Brad, you’re spot on that the challenge many small business owners have is that the behavior they’ve been rewarded for throughout their career actually becomes their Achilles heel when they transition from being the solo to being the leader or they transition from being the primary breadwinner to one of several breadwinners. And I think at the end of the day, it’s not because they don’t have the ability or the desire to do this. It’s that they just don’t have the practice. And often I think what happens when someone starts to make that transition, they go from, “All right, I’m going to go out on my own, maybe leave the home office, maybe kind of become an independent and start to build my own team,” they’re not even sure where to start, which is why I wanted to write the book. My whole premise for this book was to write for the leader who had less than 100 people working for them.
Now, there are examples, and there’s over 50 case studies in the book from all seven continents, and they’re examples of large companies but over half of the examples are from companies with less than 100 employees. Why? Because over 95% of the businesses on the planet have less than 100 employees. And what’s really fascinating to me is if you’re running an enterprise with 1,000 employees and you make a bad hire, that’s a challenge but the system, the enterprise, can usually weather that storm. If you have two employees and you hire a third and it’s the wrong hire, one-third of your operation just got called into question and is now struggling. And God forbid that one-third was client-facing. How many of your clients then are now part of this turmoil and this angst? And so, I actually think these issues are more important the smaller we are as an organization, as opposed to, “Oh, I’m big enough to have an H.R. department, etcetera, etcetera.” So, that’s something that was important to me in both writing and researching the book and identifying the case studies.
I think the best place to start is to look at what type of people make a team. And I know you and I are both big fans of this concept of a team as opposed to a concept of employees, right? Employees, I understand employees and some people might be listening say, “Well, Joey, the book’s called Never Lose an Employee Again, not Never Lose a Team Member Again.” That’s because there are so many words that organizations use to describe their people, their people, their family, their team, their employees, their direct reports, whatever it may be. I like team mainly because if we think of any sport, a team is built out of folks who have very different skill sets but who are aligned in the same goal that they’re seeking, the same outcome they’re seeking. You couldn’t have a football team, for example, made entirely of quarterbacks. That would be ridiculous. If everybody on the line, if everybody in the backfield, if you were asking a quarterback to kick the ball through the uprights if you wanted to, this would be a flawed premise.
You need to have people of different skill sets and different abilities, and I think lots of leaders when they start to make their first hires, look for people like them. This is a fundamental flaw. And one of the conversations I have with leaders all the time is they’re like, “Oh, I wish my people were more entrepreneurial. I wish they cared about the businesses as much as I care about the business.” Folks, if they were that much more entrepreneurial or if they were that much more into thinking like you think, they would never be part of your team. They would go start their own business. They would run their own enterprise. So, what you’re looking for is some people are like, “No, Joey, I want to intrapreneur.” Okay, that’s a fancy name to say you’re going to expect them to be an entrepreneur but pay them as a W-2. We have a flawed premise from the start. I think what we need to see is how did the various members of our team contribute to the puzzle of the image we’re trying to create?
Brad Johnson: Love it. And this could be a four-hour podcast. Okay. So, let’s talk about words. We had a little bit of this before we hit the record button but one of the things I tried and this happened kind of organically, honestly, it wasn’t like we’re just going to do this cool thing. We actually came up with Triad Bad Words and one of them was “employee.” Because if you think I’ve never really, maybe it’s happened, I’ve never seen it be like, “I love being an employee of XYZ.” To your point on teams, everything you just said like, “Man, I love being on that team.” Like, I’ve heard that before. And so, we just started a list of what are Triad bad words. One of them is we don’t refer to anybody on our team as employees. We’re like, “Hey, everybody’s a team member on the team. Brad’s a team member. Sean’s a team member.” I’m running alongside. I’m supporting. It’s not this top-down corporate hierarchical thing, how do you say that. And we did the same thing with boss. It’s like I remember somebody referred to me as boss one time, and I was like, “Oh, that just sounds yucky.” It’s like you’re the king of the castle and everybody is like, reporting into you. It’s like we don’t do bosses. Manager, that word sucks, too. We want leaders here.
Joey Coleman: No one in the history of the world ever said, “I want to be managed.” No one ever said that in the history of the world. People want to be led. They want to be inspired. They want to be encouraged. And I totally agree with you that words really matter. And one of the things I do with so I recently hired someone to be part of my team in a role that might be traditionally described as an assistant. And when we were doing the interview, I said to her, “By the way, some people might think of you as an assistant. I don’t want that to be your title or your intentionality. I would rather have you, if you’re open to it, be the Director of Details.” And I immediately saw her face light up a little bit because there’s a difference between someone’s assistant and someone’s Director of Details. It also imbues in the title. My number one hope and expectation for this relationship is that she’s catching the details. She’s paying attention to the fine little things that other people might miss.
Like, is my flight still on time? Do we have the confirmation number for the hotel at the event I’m speaking at? Do we know what time the tech check is and whether we’re having it the day of or the day before? And is enough time built in and are they ready for us, etcetera? All the little things that as a leader in this case, as a speaker, I need to make sure are happening so I can deliver the best possible experience for my audiences. I’d be willing to bet that everybody joining in on our conversation has someone on your team that is helping with these elements or hopefully, you have someone on your team who’s helping with these elements of your business. If we relegate them to the title of support staff, staff’s another one that drives me crazy. A staff is a stick. It’s not a human. A staff is a stick that you hold in your hand so you don’t fall over. Now, I get that we have team members that play the role of helping us not fall over. I get that. But they’re not an inanimate object. They’re a human being that’s part of our support network who’s part of our team, who’s helping us to achieve our biggest version of ourselves and our best goals. Why not empower them with those titles?
So, that’s another one that’s on my – I don’t personally, and anybody who knows me well will know that as a speaker, I’m a believer that in many ways words are words, and words can have different meaning and different power. That’s a word that I try to steer clear from in the same way that I try to steer clear from employee as often as possible. And I can often find in a conversation, especially about the prospective client or audience member, when they start to say, “Well, my staff doesn’t seem to be engaged.” And I’m like, “You’re holding a staff in your meetings?” and I just watch their brains start to scramble. They’re like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “Well, a staff is a stick. So, you’re calling your people sticks.” “No, no, You know what I mean?” And I’m like, “Hmm, I might know what you mean but I can almost guarantee that the people you’re working for don’t like to be referred to that way and they don’t know what you mean. And they don’t understand the vision that you’ve tried to outlay and the role they play in it.”
I believe there are four things every member of our team needs to understand. They need to understand their role, they need to understand the requirements of that role, they need to understand the responsibilities, and they need to understand the relationships, the connective dynamic they play. Meaning if they don’t deliver on something that’s one of their roles, requirements, or responsibilities, how is it going to negatively impact the other relationships that they touch? I go on companies all the time and I say, “Great. So, who’s dealing with everything that happens in the customer journey before you?” “Oh, well, someone over in the marketing department.” “Who?” “Well, someone over there.” “No, I understand their title. I understand where in the silo they are. Who is the actual human? And if you mess something up, who’s going to have to clean up the mess after you?” “Well, somebody in support.” “Right. Who?” If we don’t see the role we play and how it connects to the other members of the team, asking folks to deliver at optimal levels becomes almost impossible.
Brad Johnson: Let that one sink in. So, I just experienced this morning. So, I wasn’t planning on sharing this but it was a Zoom from 8 a.m. this morning. So, here it is. So, back to how words matter and we’re talking a lot about how you title your team members and what impression. And honestly, I feel like it’s like the fuel in their tank back to your Director of Details versus assistant or EA or whatever, which by the way you’re making me rethink because Brook’s the EA on my team. I’ve been very intentional like you’re side by side, we’re a team here. I try to never actually even refer to her by her actual title which is Executive Assistant. I’m like, “Brook’s on the team. She helps me show up where I’m supposed to show up on time. Can I let her jump in and help?” Now, you’re making me rethink that, which is awesome. But at Triad, we do experiences, not events. Events, everybody has been to dozens, if not hundreds of events. They’re forgettable. Oftentimes, you’re like, “Where was that when I don’t even remember the details?” You’re waiting in a food trough line with 400 other people.
Part of this came from our time with Jayson Gaignard at MastermindTalks. He creates a really incredible experience. So, I borrowed some things out of his playbook but experiences are transformational. Experiences are with the community of people you appreciate and love, potentially even your significant other, your children. And so, I shared somebody was asking like, “What’s Triad all about?” This was a large organization. And I said, “Well, we do experiences, not events, but let me tell you the why.” And then literally 5 minutes later, one of their team is like, “Well, I went to this event or these like, we do this event, I mean, experience,” and within 5 minutes, just redefining and framing what we do and what we don’t do, It impacted that person that had only heard it 5 minutes before. So, you now think about communicating to your team who you’re with every day, working side by side with these little things that seem inconsequential matter so much.
Joey Coleman: So much, so much.
Brad Johnson: Like a foundational piece.
Joey Coleman: They really are. And here’s the thing. The example I’m about to give might sound pejorative or degrading and that’s not the intention. The intention is to make it hopefully feel more universal. But I know you have kids. I have kids, and I imagine everyone listening falls into one of two categories, one of three categories. They either have children, they know children, or certainly, they were children at one point. Okay. So, this applies to…
Brad Johnson: I think you covered it.
Joey Coleman: I think we got everybody. I think we got everybody but here’s the great thing about kids. For a child to learn something, it needs to be said more than once. It needs to be reinforced more than once. For an adult to learn something, it needs to be said more than once. It needs to be reinforced more than once. I often see managers, not leaders, managers frustrated when one of their direct reports or employees, not team members, does something wrong. And they’re like, “Oh, you need to know how to do this better.” But I often find myself asking, what training did you give them? What process did you give them? What understanding of the big picture did you give them before you decided to admonish them or lambast them for not doing what they were supposed to do? Had you made sure that they actually understood what the process was? In so many organizations, they think they’re doing onboarding but what they’re really doing is orientation.
They’re spending 1 to 2 days trying to haphazardly lay a framework of this is how we operate and then they’re throwing that team member into the deep end of the pool and say, “Come on, swim an Olympic-style race with us.” This needs to be an ongoing, repetitive, reinforced, to your point, experience. Training is not an event. Onboarding is not an event. It’s an experience. It’s something that needs to stand the test of time. It needs to be ongoing. I have a regular conversation with my Director of Details. We have it every month where we check in on what am I doing that is working for her? What am I doing that’s not working for her? What am I doing a little bit of that I could be doing more of? What am I not doing that I could or should be doing more of? And that conversation runs both ways. She gives me that same feedback. Now, with all due respect to my wonderful Director of Details, Faith, in the very beginning, she was a little, I would posit, trepidatious about giving me that kind of feedback because that’s not how most humans have experienced the workplace.
They’ve experienced the workplace that if they’re telling someone who in their mind is higher on the organizational chart or has been there longer or who has a bigger role or a bigger paycheck or whatever it may be that they need to be careful speaking out against this. I encourage it. I want it, and I especially want it from my new team members. Why? Because they have fresh eyes. They have a perspective that is not jaded, that is not caught up in the, “Well, we’ve always done it that way,” that allows us to bring their expertise, their understanding, their life experience to bear in our organization. And I am under no false illusion that I’ve got this all figured out or that I have the best ideas. I want to make sure everyone on the team feels empowered to contribute those, and that we have mechanisms and systems in place to foster that type of culture within our organization.
Brad Johnson: You had a few things there I want to go back to. So, leader versus manager. Manager to me is a title that is put upon someone. It does not define skillset. It defines position. Leader, a manager can be a leader. A manager can also not be a leader. Leadership is earned. It’s not given. It’s not imbued by a title. And you hit a couple of things there, which is a form of self-awareness, a form of vulnerability of, “Oh, I’m open to feedback or I’m missing the mark or where I could level up.” And you took me back in time. I had a financial advisor I was coaching. And this was about a two-year conversation that just repeated over and over. And those are the ones you love, right? It just goes to show you love just the same ones over and over?
Joey Coleman: Sure.
Brad Johnson: And it basically look like this. Here’s all my organizational problems and then here’s whose fault it is. This team member, employee, employee, employee. And after two years of the same conversation, I finally was like, “Man, I’m not breaking through here.” And I go, so I listen to the same conversation. And then when it was over, I said, “Hey, can I ask you a question?” I go, “Sure.” I go, “Who hired him?”
Joey Coleman: Cue tumbleweed, right? Dead silent. As the realization comes through of, “Wait a second, I may have been the creator of my own problems.”
Brad Johnson: Well, and what it was, it was almost like this. Is this a trick question? That was kind of the look I got and, “Well, I had to go a step further on this one.” It was, “Well, I did.” I go, “Well, then whose fault is it?” And I will say there was a little mini breakthrough in that conversation but I think as a leader, you just talked about this manager that’s like kind of top-down dictator style. The truth is, at the end of the day and all these small businesses, if you have a bad team, it’s one person’s fault. Yours.
Joey Coleman: Well, here’s the interesting thing, Brad. I think fault’s a fascinating word as well since we spent so much time talking about words. You know, when I think of a fault, I often think of like a fault in tectonic plates or a crack in the base. As a general rule, when you look at that, it’s not a straight line. It’s a jagged line that has a number of reasons. And in fact, if we think about breaking or cracking a base, it splinters off into shards. And it’s a jagged kind of twisty, almost veiny spiderweb kind of explosion of different little things that run off in different ways. I think there’s a great opportunity and I think the best leaders in the world do this. They open the conversation from a place of curiosity as opposed to a place of criticism. How do we find ourselves in this position? Let’s get clear on what happened. Let’s get clear on why it happened. Then we can have a conversation about how to avoid it in the future. And let’s be clear, it’s not going to be to how to eliminate it in the future because there’s nothing we can do to eliminate cracks in our business forever.
The cracks will come back. They’ll come back with scale. The difference of running a ten-person organization and a 50-person organization. The things that work with ten are going to necessarily break at 50. Not because you were bad at ten but because ten is a different number than 50. It’s a different scale. And so, I think often business leaders, business owners, advisors get into this place of I done it this way, I know this way works. And then they get frustrated when it starts breaking later and they say, “Oh, well, that must be because it’s someone else’s fault. Someone else is doing it wrong.” Instead of first being curious and saying, “Well, wait a second. Let’s talk about what actually happened. Are we even all in agreeance as what actually happened?” As you know, Brad, I’m a recovering criminal defense lawyer and one of the things I learned about 5 minutes into law school is if you have an accident occur on the street and there are ten people that watched this car accident at an intersection, you’ve got the driver of car number one. You’ve got the driver of car number two. And let’s say you have eight people standing around. So, you’ve got ten different humans who observe this.
What we know is that we will get 38 different versions of what actually happened, even though there’s only ten people. Like, we have our own variations in the stories that things that happen. We retell the story to highlight different details, to make it better one way or the other, to cast blame and dispersion in different ways. Let’s first get clear on what was going on. And then before we go to the, hey, it’s time to crack the whip or punish some people for how this happened, well, why did it happen? Was there a breakdown in training? Was there a breakdown in language? Was there a breakdown in understanding of how consequential this would be? One of the things I think is important to do with your team is to talk about what really matters. Every organization should get really clear on what an actual problem is. When I was running my ad agency, I would make it very clear with my clients early on is there is no such thing as a marketing emergency. It doesn’t actually exist. If the red on your business card doesn’t match the red in the advertisement, that’s a problem. That’s something we need to focus on but that is not an emergency.
And I learned this from my time as a criminal defense lawyer. An emergency is, hey, the police are at the door. They’ve got an arrest warrant and I’m about to be dragged out of my house. That’s an emergency. That’s something that we hopefully can jump in and get to work on instantly because the consequences are enormous and it’s happening in real time. The red’s not matching, problem. I’m not trying to denigrate anybody’s brand style guide or their PMS favorite color-matching tool but it’s a different level of problem. So, do your team members actually understand what the emergencies are? My team knows that, for me, the biggest emergency that can happen in my business as a professional speaker is Joey not being on stage when it’s time for the speech to start because it is almost impossible to recover from that. We can do things and we can work with the person who’s organizing the event to kind of adjust the schedule, maybe, but that is our top priority. So, the top priority is making sure Joey is on stage when he’s supposed to be.
So, how do all the steps before that contribute to making sure that happens? Then, of course, it’s my job to make sure that when I’m on stage, I’m 100% present, 100% ready, 100% prepared, and just ready to give everything I have to create the best experience possible. But the team contributes to that stage appearance but also needs to understand the steps and the process leading up to it that could cause challenges or problems with that appearance. And this exists in every business. I’d be willing to bet if I asked if we went to anyone who’s listening’s business, and I got all their team members in the room and I said, “I’m going to give you all a note card and I want you to write down the three worst things that could happen in this business,” you would have very little similarity between the answers because your people don’t know. You’ve never explained to them. You never ask them, “What do you think the worst thing that could happen in this business is?” You’ve never gotten clear on your prioritization. It’s like the Michael Hyatt example you were giving.
What is the priority? What are the things that we make sure happen no matter what? Because all too often we throw at our employees, our team members, “Here’s 78 things that matter.” And we expect that they’re going to understand the prioritization that we’ve adopted without ever telling them what the prioritization actually is.
Brad Johnson: That is such a simple concept but that is ignored and, well, it’s not purposely ignored in business. It’s just as the thing grows and becomes more complex and now you’ve got these divisions that, “Oh, this one’s clear on the other side of the office so they’re disconnected, disjointed.” I just go back to Covey’s 7 Habits, start with the end in mind. And so, if you’re solving an equation, it’s what’s on the other side of the equal sign that actually matters to your clarifying the problem. Because what I see oftentimes we have this happen inside of Triad, actually the launch plan that I brought up earlier. Super complex, deep work, hard work, multiple divisions, six hours of inputs where we’re interviewing clients, extracting their DNA of their business, their brand, so we can then apply it and it was a jumbled mess. And we’re like, hey, we can be real on podcasts, right?
Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it.
Brad Johnson: And we sat down. We had a big marker board. We had the whole team in there and I go, “What are we actually trying to do?” Because in the assembly process, we had actually forgotten what the hell we were building in the first place. And then it had gotten more complex and then, “Oh, what if we had this, and then that, and then this then?” So, we went back to here’s what we’re trying to accomplish and solve for. What is the most efficient way based on these multiple divisions? Like, I look at it like an assembly line. It’s like, okay, you’ve got this front section, you’ve got this middle section, you’ve got this back section. How can we pass the baton, not throw the baton? And it was crazy when we went back to basics. Like, a beautiful product emerged on the other side but we fell into that exact phase. You’re talking about we didn’t even know what the heck we were doing.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And to your point, there’s no judgment in that. If you’re hearing this and you’re going, “Oh, geez, we have a similar problem,” yay! Welcome to being human. This is just the human condition. This isn’t anything that needs to be judged or criticized. We want to have awareness about it. We want to look to how can we make it better. But one of the things that I think is fascinating, it happens in almost every business on the planet and respectfully, often with advisors is early on the first thing we’re going to do is ask the client to do a ton of homework. “Oh, great. You signed with us. Awesome. We’re going to need copies of all of your financials for the last ten years. We’re going to need you to fill out this 38-page questionnaire of what your goals are, your hopes, your dreams, what you’re saving for, what you hope to be able to invest, what your risk tolerance is, the type of investment you enjoy. Oh, we’re also going to need the data on your family members since we’re going to have an insurance component to this. We’re also going to need some doctor’s appointments, some blood work. You’re going to need to figure this out. By the way, what your kids do you really love or not love so we can figure out your trust in the estate?”
And we overwhelm people with the amount of things we’re asking for. What I love to do is say, and you can do this with customers or you can do it with employees, early on in the process say, “What is crucial that this person knows and has achieved by the end of the first week?” Do I need to have their entire will and trust in a state built out at the end of the first week? Absolutely not. Then why are you overwhelming them with that homework assignment on day one? You don’t need that in week one. What do you actually need in week one? How can you piecemeal this? How can you give them a feeling of progress? How can you mark milestones? How can you create an experience that allows the person to see that momentum is building over time? Not to mention that in the advisory world, isn’t that kind of your key offer? “Hey, we’re going to get you results that compound over time.” I imagine most advisors listening if I came to you and I said, “All right, I need to have $2 million by next week,” most advisors be like, “Look, there’s not many investments that we’re going to be able to do, especially when you’re coming to the table with $10,000 that you want to have $2 million.”
Brad Johnson: I was going to ask how much you were starting with.
Joey Coleman: Right. Exactly. That’s a clarifying question, right? Oh, if you have $10 million, I can show you a lot of ways that you can have $2 million at the end of next week because we could blow $8 million in two weeks. No problem. But going from $10,000 to 2 million, that’s a whole separate conversation and it’s not reasonable and it’s not sustainable and that’s not achievable. Okay, great. What are we doing to make sure we’re using the same terms? We have the same goals and we’re tackling things in a way that builds over time and compounds the relationship and increases the depth of the relationship, and it increases the understanding between all the parties in the relationship.
Brad Johnson: Okay. So, selfishly, I’m going to pivot here a bit because one of the things that came out of your first work, How To Never Lose A Client in 100, well, originally it was the first hundred days or How to Never Lose a Client in 100 Days.
Joey Coleman: Yes. So, the book is called Never Lose a Customer Again and the framework is paying attention to the first 100 days. And the first hundred days of the customer or the client experience is the same as the first 100 days of the employee experience. You pay attention to that time period, things go remarkably well.
Brad Johnson: Okay. So, question in your statistics, your studies, your case studies, did the same math apply? If I get the first 100 days with the customer there around five years later on average, how did it work on the employee/team member side? I’ll get the first 100 days right. They’re around how much longer?
Joey Coleman: Correct. So, a couple of things to look at. Depending on whether someone is hourly or salary, somewhere between 20% and 60% of new hires quit in the first 100 days. I’m going to let that sink in for a second.
Brad Johnson: Whoa, whoa, Hold up. 20% to 60% quit in the first 100 days?
Joey Coleman: 20% to 60% of new hires quit in the first 100 days depending on your industry and depending on their role. So, we already can see the size of the problem is enormous. You have huge numbers of people running out the back door before you’ve even fully completed bringing them in the front. Or in fact, one of the most staggering stats I came across is 4%. 4% of employees show up for the first day on the work, they do the first day at the work or at the job, they go home that night and they don’t come back for day two. 4%. Now, here’s the interesting thing and why I’m okay sharing that stat with a bunch of advisors listening in. You know that 4%, “Oh, that seems like a little number, Joey.” No, 4% is a gigantic number when you think about all the time and effort it takes to get a new employee in the door, all the money you spend recruiting, hiring, going through the interview process, bringing them on board, training, planning the first day, and that’s 4% or leaving after day one.
These are huge problems. When we turn around and we look at how much does it cost to replace an existing employee, we looked at studies from around the world and what we found is on average it’s somewhere between 100% and 300% of that employee’s salary to get a new person in the role. So, let’s say you’re hiring a $50,000 role. It’s going to cost somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 to get a new candidate into that role if that first person leaves, and that’s before you start paying their salary. So, that’s independent of their salary.
Brad Johnson: Well, that’s what I was about to ask you. So, let’s just say $50,000, I’m going to say team member because employee…
Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it.
Brad Johnson: So, 50,000 team member, $50,000 team member annual salary leaves. We just simply replaced with another $50,000 salary team member. Excluding the apples to apples there, 50 to 150 on top of that to replace.
Joey Coleman: Correct.
Brad Johnson: Can you break that down? Help me understand that.
Joey Coleman: Yeah. Some people are like, “Wait a second, Joey. This is fake news. This is made up math. What are you talking about, Joey?” Here’s the thing. Most businesses fail to accurately track, measure, or value the time it takes to identify, interview, and onboard a new employee. So, part of that $50,000 to $150,000 is whoever is in charge of hiring, the time they’re going to spend on this project that isn’t tracked. So, if you’re the leader, you’re the owner, and it’s like, great, you’re going to have to sit through four or five-hour interviews. Awesome. What’s your effective hourly rate? And by the way, what is the staff’s rate? Who or the team members rate? Who is figuring out, okay, let’s get the resumes in. Let’s go through the interview process, not to mention the cost of doing advertisements. Not to mention all the things that we’re going to have to potentially address but here’s the real kicker, Brad. When we have a team member leave and other team members need to fill in the gap while we’re waiting to hire that new person, this is how it works at most organizations.
“Hey, Brad, look, I’m really sorry that Luanne resigned but you do kind of the same job she does. So, what we’re going to need to do, just for a while, while we find someone to replace Luanne is we’re going to need you to do her work, too. You’re not going to get a bump in title or salary. We’re just going to need to have you fill in. Don’t worry. We’re going to spread this across three or four of you that are kind of doing the same job. But don’t worry about that. We’re going to get a new person in the seat as quickly as possible.” That conversation is happening in every organization on the planet every single day but we don’t stop to realize how did that just impact Brad’s productivity? How did that impact the profit of the organization and the efficiency of the organization now that Brad’s energy and effort is diffused across his work, as well as what was formerly Luanne’s work? Number two, what missed opportunities are we getting that we could have had if Brad would have been able to be focused on what he was doing instead of doing multiple jobs? And number three, what are we doing when Brad goes home that night and says to his roommate, his significant other, his partner, “Yeah. So, Luanne is only here for three weeks and she quit. What do you think that she knew that I don’t know? Maybe I should be thinking about quitting, too.”
And when we factor all these things into play, that’s how we get 100% to 300% of the cost of the salary of the new hire is what it costs us to get someone new into that space. So, before we even had the conversation of who’s the new person going to be, we’re losing money. Last thing I’ll say on this because I like to geek out on the stats and on the numbers, the Department of Labor here in the United States, and we’ve seen this data matched globally just in case anybody is outside the U.S. listening to that. The Department of Labor did some research where they went to employees and they asked them, did you participate in a strong onboarding program when you were a new employee? That’s all they said. Self-defined the words strong, self-defined the word onboarding. But do you feel you participated in a strong onboarding program, yes or no? Of the people that said yes, 69% had been with that organization for more than three years. So, this goes directly to the question you are asking. If we focus on that first 100 days, we are extending the total time that an employee will stay as well as their productivity.
They also found some research that was commissioned by Glassdoor that it’s an 82% increase in productivity and a 70% increase in retention if an employee feels that it was a strong onboarding program. So, it’s really about focusing on those first 100 days. You get increased productivity, increased engagement, increased retention, which is we’ve seen from that 100% to 300% cost metric, that allows you to weather that storm financially while also extending the relationship with that new hire.
Brad Johnson: Do you happen to remember the stat? So, you said if they said yes, it was a strong onboarding experience. They were there on average three years. If they said no, do you have that statistic or did it just…
Joey Coleman: So, regrettably, the study didn’t share that. It didn’t share what that number is but what we do know is that somewhere between 20% and 60% are leaving in the first 100 days. Those are folks who don’t have a strong onboarding program. So, we know that people churn quickly. Only about 50% of new hires will make the one-year anniversary, only about 50%. And if you are facing that kind of regular churn, the impact that is having on your productivity, the impact that is having on your profitability, the impact that is having on your morale is absolutely devastating to an organization. And it only exacerbates over time.
Brad Johnson: Well, back to employees versus team members, imagine any team that wins any sort of championship or does anything remarkable, like we look at the world of sports, not very common. Maybe there are statistics on this, but the core of that team, at least the leader, typically is what stays intact. A few of the role players might move in and out. But yeah, there’s no team that’s won anything that’s a constant churn of new players every year that I’ve seen.
Okay, I want to go to another piece of this and this is where we’re going to get into a lot of the frameworks out of the book. But one of the things that hit home on your previous book, and when I got the opportunity to see you speak is you kind of broke down. You said, “Hey, here are ways to make that very first 100 days intentional for customers. “And I know you’ve done that for team members as well. And what I did was we just stole some of that playbook and we said, “What if we drop this in? What if we drop that in?”
So, I would love to first say, okay, if Joe is the CEO and he jumps in and he said, “I’m going to build a world-class new team member onboarding experience, let’s start to lay out what that would look like.” So, because I’m guessing advisors are like, “Well, what is it? We’ve got the problem now. Help us with the solution.” So, can we go there? And then, the second piece of this, if you have some case studies or some world-class organizations you observed along the way, please drop those examples and if you’ve got them.
Joey Coleman: Yeah, absolutely. So, let’s do outline a framework for how to think about the team member journey first, okay? I believe there are eight phases that every team member goes through. And what we’ll do, Brad, with your permission, is I’ll go through and give a quick overview of each of the phases and then we can dive into whichever ones we think are most interesting. As I said, there’s over 50 case studies from all seven continents. So, any phase you want to dive into, we’ve got half a dozen to a dozen examples under that phase pointing out world-class organization.
So, the first phase is the Assess phase. The Assess phase is when a prospective employee is considering whether or not they want to work for you. They’re looking at your job listing, your job advertisement. They’re going to the Careers page on your website or the About Us page. They’re going through your hiring process. They’re either submitting a resume or answering a questionnaire. They’re going through the interviews. This is all of the courting of trying to identify if this employee is going to be a good fit.
We then come to phase two, to the Accept phase. The Accept phase has two component pieces. The employer looks at the employee and says, “That’s the candidate I want. We want to get this candidate to join our team.” So, they make an offer, and if we’re lucky, that candidate accepts the offer. So, phase one, Assess; phase two, Accept.
We then come to phase three, the Affirm phase. Now, I’d be willing to bet that everybody listening, everybody watching is familiar with the phrase buyer’s remorse when a brand-new customer begins to doubt the decision they just made to purchase a product or a service. I’d like to introduce you to a phrase you may not have heard before, which is new hire’s remorse, the scientifically-proven buyer’s remorse experience that a new hire has immediately after accepting the job offer, where they begin to doubt the decision they just made. It could come in the form of, “Oh, I should have negotiated for a higher salary or better benefits package,” or it could come in the form of, “I was interviewing for three different positions and I hadn’t heard back from those other two, but I felt like I had to accept this one. Oh, should I have waited longer? Oh, I’m not sure what it’s going to be like,” or “Wow, I really loved the people I interviewed with, but those are people I’m actually going to be working with day to day. Is my interview experience going to match my employment experience?” Those fears, those doubts, that uncertainty is chugging along in your brand-new employee’s mind before they’ve showed up for the first day on the job. And most organizations do nothing to even communicate with a new hire during that period between when they accept the offer and when they come in for the first day on the job, let alone assuage their fears, their doubts, their uncertainties.
We then come to the Activate phase. The Activate phase is the one phase in the eight phases that lasts only a single day, and it is the first day on the job. What are you doing on that first day on the job to create an experience, to use the word I know you love that is so remarkable that that employee goes home at the end of the night or calls their parents or talks to their roommate and in the immortal words of country music legend Bonnie Raitt has something to talk about? You’ve given them something to talk about. They’re excited about their first day. They start to have a vision of what their future with this enterprise in this organization could be, so that we’re directly addressing that 4% that won’t come back on day two.
We then come to the fifth phase, the Acclimate phase. The Acclimate phase begins on day two on the job and lasts for weeks, maybe even months, as that new employee gets up to speed with your way of doing business. They learn your cadence, they learn their operations, they learn their requirements, their roles, their responsibilities, the relationships they have.
Here’s the question I always like to ask business leaders. Who’s responsible for day one of a new team member or a new employee’s experience? And often, I’ll get answers like, “Oh, the head of HR or their direct manager or me as the CEO.” I’m like, “Great. Who’s responsible for day two?” “Someone. The employee. The new hire. They need to start contributing.” And it’s like, “Wait a second, we thought about day one, but we haven’t thought about day two or three or 10 or 15 or 30 or 72.” We need to pay attention in the Acclimate phase.
We then come to the Accomplish phase. This is when the new hire achieves the goal they had when they originally decided to explore a position with our firm. See, every member of your team has a vision of what they’re hoping to achieve if they get hired. Do you know what that goal is? Are you tracking that goal? Are you helping to celebrate when they achieve that goal? And by the way, pro-tip here, that goal is not a paycheck every two weeks. That’s the ante up chips to be in the game. That’s not their main desire. Their desire is a different quality of life based on being paid more, more vacation, more responsibility, adoption of new skill sets, a better team to work with, a better vision of the neighborhood they’ll be able to live in, the things they’ll be able to provide for their significant other, their spouse, their children, their loved ones. Are we paying attention to that as leaders? And are we celebrating their progress towards that?
We then come to the Adopt phase, phase seven. In the Adopt phase, the team member becomes loyal to us and only us, their body. They’re not going to answer that call from a recruiter. They’re part of the team. They’re contributing. They are part of the fabric of our culture.
And last but not least, phase eight, the Holy Grail, Nirvana, the Advocate phase, where the employee becomes a raving fan. And they do that usually in one of two ways. They’re writing reviews on sites like Glassdoor and talking publicly about how amazing it is to be a part of your team and work with your organization. And whenever you have a new position open, they are actively recruiting amazing people they know to come potentially be candidates for that position. I meet with a lot of business leaders around the world, Brad, and they’ll say, “Oh, we’ve got great advocates. We’ve got tons of advocates in our organization.” I’ll say, “Awesome, let’s check the data. Here’s the question I’d like to ask you, do you currently have any open positions in your firm?” Now, I go, “Yeah, we’ve got a hiring for new head of sales.” Like, great. How many candidates are you currently looking at that come from internal referrals from your existing team members? “I don’t know.” I do. It’s a much smaller number than you think, if any.
The research actually shows that the typical employee has no idea. No idea, Brad, that there are even open positions at the firm they work at, let alone are they referring people in. So, my hypothesis is that most leaders want their team members to be advocates. They want them to be adopters and advocates, committed, engaged, contributing, excited about the work they do, and yet, they want to jump to that phase in the relationship almost instantly.
This is like going on a first date, and before the waiter or waitress is even taking your order, saying to your prospective date, “So, what do you think our 20-year anniversary is going to look like?” Now, most people will leave that date without even placing an order because they’re like, “That feels too rushed. What are you talking about? I don’t even have context. I’m not even sure I want to have dessert with you, let alone celebrate the 20-year anniversary with you.” But we do this with our team members, with our employees. We, as the employer, expect that they’re going to stay around forever, but we don’t do anything to have that conversation with them to give them a reason to stay. Is there a benefit for being there in year three that wasn’t there in year one?
This is another question I love to ask leaders. If someone’s been with your organization for more than three years, what is appreciably better or different for them? How is their status? And they’ll say like, “Well, they’ve gotten there in 4% pay raise.” Great. With inflation at eight-plus percent, beautiful. So, they’re making less money than they were on day one. What are you even talking about? How is their life better? How have you shown them that you value their tenure and their loyalty? We need to not only say this, we need to show it. We need to prove it.
So, those are the eight phases. And I imagine that some of the folks listening might be saying, “Well, Joey, actually, we’re pretty good in that one phase over there or that phase over there, but my gosh, I never even thought of that other phase. We’re not doing anything in that phase.” Friends, don’t beat yourself up. Welcome to being human. This is the human condition. There’s an opportunity now to maybe start to think differently and act differently in terms of your employee journey.
Brad Johnson: That was a good point right there. I didn’t want to interrupt. Thanks for breaking that down. I want to start with the last one, and then I should have four of them that I want to dive into. We’re going to have to go fast because our time is limited.
So, back to advocate, I love that. I completely agree. The referrals, it’s like the net promoter score of businesses. It’s like how many of your team members are telling their friends they should work here. But the thing that really hit home with me is how are things better the longer they’re there, like year one, year two, year three. And then I’ve seen like, oh, here’s the Rolex you get on your 10-year. I think that’s the old corporate thing.
What are the best examples of firms that have thought through this very intentionally of stacking benefits based on loyalty or tenure? What are some examples there? I would love selfishly to know some of those.
Joey Coleman: Yes. So, let me share two, one that is directly in alignment with the financial advisor world. An example from that world, our mutual friend Barry Glassman and what he does at Glassman Wealth. And then I’ll give you another one that’s not from the financial advisor world, but hopefully will trigger some creative ideas. So, from the financial advisor world, Barry Glassman and his team Glassman Wealth, Barry does something really interesting. When one of his team members gets married, Barry pays for the honeymoon. Flat out. He pays for the honeymoon.
Now, here’s the interesting thing. When I asked Barry about this, and I’m like, “Barry, that’s a substantial wedding gift.” He said, “Yeah, Joey, but here’s the thing, most people associate their honeymoon with very positive experiences. I like the idea of being associated with one of the most positive experiences of their life because we paid for it. And it’s also a great way to let that other person in the relationship, your team member spouse or partner have a clear understanding of who you are and where you value and prioritize relationships and what you’re willing to do to look out for this person.”
Almost every employer on the planet at some point is going to have to ask a team member to work overtime, to go an extra mile, to dip into some after-hours work, to do something that goes beyond the scope of the original agreement. I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m just saying this is regular. How does the conversation change when that person’s family feels positively about the employer versus feeling like, “Oh, they’re taking time away again”? Great way to do that is to mark family milestones with your acknowledgment, your celebration, your contribution as the employer, as opposed to pretending that your people don’t have lives outside of the workplace. I would posit, Brad, that the best companies in the world are the ones that not only recognize, but appreciate, acknowledge, and reward what happens in their team members’ lives between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., instead of just paying attention to what happens between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., i.e., what’s their life outside of work?
Second example, from a company called N2 Publishing. If you live in a nice neighborhood, and I know many of the listeners of your podcast do, you probably get some type of a neighborhood magazine that features other families in your neighborhoods. We’re familiar with these for folks that live in kind of more exclusive, luxurious neighborhoods around the world. N2 Publishing, it is one of the main companies on the planet that publishes these magazines. So, they oversee everything.
And what’s interesting is the majority of corporate employees or headquarters employees that work for N2 come to N2 straight from college. So, what happens on day 730? So, for those of you keeping score at home, that’s the two-year anniversary. The employee is brought into a meeting with all of their peers and they’re presented with a check for $7,000 for a down payment towards their home. Now, most of their employees don’t own homes. They’ve come straight from college. Most of their employees are thinking about potentially at some point buying a home. And because they work in the neighborhood space, they want their employees to live in great neighborhoods. So, they’re going to contribute substantially to that down payment in an effort to increase the likelihood of homeownership within their team.
So, here’s the thing, if you’re celebrating your two-year anniversary, you have physical, tangible proof from your employer that you matter, that they’re investing in you long term, and that they want you to be around for a long time. And they recognize your goal and are contributing financially and significantly to your goal, which is to get a new home. So, any employee who’s been there two years has proof that staying is valuable, that staying is more valuable than just another paycheck or a slight bump in compensation. It’s a significant contribution.
So, those are both examples that are about how to spend money and how to show people these things. But you don’t have to just do that, you don’t have to just spend money. You just need to think creatively about how am I showing, not just telling my people that they are valued, that they matter, that we appreciate their contributions.
Brad Johnson: Love both of those examples. Now, I’ve got to talk to Barry about how he pulls this off, but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation. But here’s the other theme in both of those examples back to events versus experiences. They could easily have just said, “Hey, you get a $7,000 pay raise, and now, it just blends into every other paycheck.”
I accidentally pulled this off a few years back where I had a team member that had college loans, and back to accomplish, which is step number six, what are they actually trying to accomplish with their career or their job, one of the things that came out in one of these meetings is, hey, I’ve got this college debt. It was two, three, four grand. It was crazy and it’s kind of hanging over my head. And instead of a $4,000 pay raise, it was a check. And I said, “Thank you for everything you’ve done. I don’t want you to have any more college debt.”
And tears flowed, and it was one of the most meaningful things as a leader that I’ve been a part of. And it’s almost an addicting thing once you do it once or twice. Before, it’s like, wow, that was the same amount of money being deployed, but just creating an experience versus just, oh, here’s another raise, thanks for being here. So awesome.
Joey Coleman: Brad, 100%. This isn’t about you need to spend more. This is about you need to think strategically about how and when you’re spending or rather investing into the relationship. And for the organization, I imagine, that $4,000 payment made today versus spread out over X number of pay periods wasn’t going to produce tears in the accounting department of how strenuous that was going to be on the business. But it does produce tears for the recipient because suddenly, something that you know psychologically was hanging over their head, emotionally was impacting their life. And how do you know this? Because you had the conversations, because you leaned in with curiosity to figure out what was going on for them and you were tracking when they said, “I’ve got this college debt that kind of hangs over my head.”
When the employees drop golden nuggets from the sky, when they tell you what matters to them, please catch those, please pay attention to those. I factor in time during and after every call with every team member to add to my ERM, that’s my employee relationship management software, that’s different than my CRM, my client relationship management software. I have ERM where I write down one or two things they’ve shared, something they did that weekend, something they’re interested in, a goal they have, a dream they have, something they’re struggling with, whatever it may be.
And then whenever it comes time for me to reward or acknowledge or show gratitude or appreciation for that person, I just go to the ERM to refresh my own memory as to what matters to them. And then I deploy experiences and gifts and presents from within that context instead of in my own context of, “Oh well, you know what I would like is a day off. So, I’m giving everyone the day off.” Well, lots of times when you give an employee a day off, what they realize is, “Wait, am I getting paid for that day or not?” That’s the first question the typical employee asks themselves.
When we say, “We’re going to shut down the office on Friday, you have the day off.” “Am I going to get paid less?” And lots of times, we don’t even think to explain to them. Even folks that are salaried employees, they should know that that shouldn’t impact what’s going on. But then if you have a mix of salaried employees and hourly employees, you’ve given the salaried employee a benefit and you’ve given the hourly employee a pain point.
Brad Johnson: Pay cut.
Joey Coleman: Pay cut, yeah. You’re not getting paid Friday. What? So, we need to think about the things we’re doing for our people to make sure that it’s going to have the same resonant impact for them as we hope it will.
Brad Johnson: All right, man, we have five minutes left, and I’ve got, this is not cool. So, all right, we’re going a little rapid-fire here. I circle three other of the steps. So, we’re going backwards now. So, this is step six, which is what they want to accomplish. That ties directly into this whole conversation.
We did this by accident. And I want to get your take and maybe there’s a couple other examples where we can level up. We do champagne moments, which, by the way, did I steal that from Jayson Gaignard? I’m trying to remember where that first…
Joey Coleman: I originally heard that from Clay Hebert, who then shared it with Jayson, and then Jayson shares it. So, it’s all within the family, so to speak. Yeah, what’s your champagne moment?
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, I want to give credit where it’s due. So, we adopted that inside of Triad’s community. And what we do is we do a champagne moment in Do Business. Do Life. because the sickness in finance is let me scale my business and grow the bank account and neglect my family and my health and everything else that matters. So, we do a balanced Do Business champagne moment, Do Life champagne moment. We document that every January at our launch event. They are hanging in our lobby, all of our members, so our team walks by them every day because I want our team to know what matters to our Triad members, our advisors.
And then Jane on our team comes back from this launch experience in January. She goes, “Should we do champagne moments for our team? That seems like that would make sense.” I’m like, “Brilliant.” Like, I know this stuff, and it’s, like, completely obvious, but we didn’t do it. And so, we did this once again. And we did it at a year-end get-together. At least three people cried, myself being one of them. And it was the coolest experience of really getting to know your team in depth of like what makes them tick? Why are they here? What do they want to accomplish this year inside of the business, outside of the business and life? And so, I love the accomplish part.
And what we’re doing now is we’re documenting them as champagne moments for both our clients and our team. But I want to level that up a couple notches. So, give me some examples that you’ve got just for our own playbook selfishly, I would love to hear anything else you’ve got around that.
Joey Coleman: Yeah. So, let’s talk about, if I may. Champagne moments are great, but we often think of champagne moments as these huge epic things that happen every once in a while. And that’s great and important and valuable. Most leaders are missing the chance for mini champagne moments, small celebrations along the way. I’m not saying you don’t want to do big, amazing, epic things, but some of the folks listening are already like, “Wait a second, I got to pay for a honeymoon. I got to do a down payment on a house like Joey, Brad. It’d be nice, but no, I’m not.” Okay, let me give you one that is free and is highly likely to produce ongoing endorphin releases for the team member and potentially tears of joy.
Quick story. I’m working as a salesperson for a company called The Corporate Executive Board. I’m in a sales function where I have to make sales. And I closed my first deal. Everybody’s in the office. They’re ringing bells, they’re celebrating. They throw an impromptu happy hour, celebrating that I got my first deal. I’m on top of the world. I’m feeling amazing. The party dies down and some folks start to head off for the evening and I decide to go back to my desk just to grab my bag and kind of pick up for the night. And I’m dating myself a little bit when I share this story, but I’ve got a phone on my desk where the blinking red light, that means I have a voicemail, right? This is early days of cell phones.
And it was our interoffice voicemail system. And I play the voicemail, and the voicemail and I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this, “Hey, Joey, this is Jay McGonigle.” Now, Jay was the chairman of the board of the publicly traded company I worked at.
Brad Johnson: Oh, wow.
Joey Coleman: So, let that sink in, everyone. This is chairman of the board of the publicly traded company that I am a brand-new novice salesperson for. Jay says, “I heard the big news. I heard you landed your first gig.” And he actually cites the name of the client. So, it’s very clear he’s done his homework. It’s not just a roll call. And he said, “I got to tell you, the speed at which you started here and you’ve already landed your first client, I mean, we knew to expect great things from you, but you’ve blown us away. We are so impressed. We are so thankful. And while I’m sorry I wasn’t there to celebrate in person at the happy hour tonight, please, next time we’re all together, come up and say hi or make sure we get a chance to connect because I just want to shake your hand and personally congratulate you. We know that there are many great things to come from you, and we’re so excited to have you as part of the team.”
I’m standing in my cubicle about 9 o’clock at night. I was already feeling like I was on top of the world. And now, I felt like other people noticed. Other people were proud of me, too. I actually transferred. I played it again. I had one of those little Dictaphone tape recorders. Again, I’m dating myself here. I actually played it on speaker and recorded it. And then as a salesperson who I know many of the folks listening have had this experience, when I didn’t get the deal, when the deal I thought I was going to land fell through, I would go to this tape and I would play it again as a way to kind of pump myself back up to say, “You know what? Now, it’s going to be all right. You’ve done this before, you’ll do it again. It’s going to work.” I played that not only in that job, but I still have that tape today.
You don’t have to spend money on your people. You just have to remind them that they matter. You have to remind them that they’re valuable and that they’re appreciated. And where you can create a digital artifact of voicemail, a quick little selfie video that you shoot that just is purely gratitude and thanks and appreciation and acknowledgment of their accomplishments, their contributions, creating personal and emotional connection, not only will that create a great impact for them then, but the research actually shows they’ll share that with their loved ones. They’ll play the message again. It will continue to produce dividends for years to come. Humans are dying for proof that they matter. All it really takes for us to give it to them is a two-minute voicemail or a 35-second short selfie video. This doesn’t have to cost thousands, but it does require your intentionality.
Brad Johnson: So good. Yeah. You took me back in time. I was after hours in the office in a cubicle, and actually, I share the story in the episode with Anthony Pellegrino for those listening, I think it was Episode 16, maybe 12. But it was like the most epic cold– it was like a sales call I’d ever had and it was like a 60 minutes verbal sparring match and it was recorded and I remember pulling it. And now, we laugh about it because Anthony, he’s a Triad member, he’s a good friend, and just put that little artifact to go back, like when you’re down on your all salespeople, you’ve got your ups, you’ve got your downs. And to be able to pull you out of that funk, it was like the best sales call I had in the history of sales calls. And I love that. Yes, the gratitude, yes, from a team member standpoint, but you shared another piece of that, which is how you, Joey, as a salesperson worked on your own mindset.
And I just love that second piece that where you went back and listened to it because I found that to be so true for great salespeople, as you want to make the dip as short and shallow as possible and then extend the upside of that. And that’s one way to do it. So, I love that little upside there.
Joey Coleman: Yeah, well, and if I may, Brad, this also works for non-salespeople. This works for humans, all humans. I have yet to meet a human on the planet. I’ve been to 53 countries on all seven continents. I have yet to meet a human being on the planet who would say, “Yeah, I’m all good. I don’t need any more gratitude in my life, any more appreciation, any more feelings of I have worth or value, or I’m a good person or I’m contributing. I’m all set.”
Every human is dying for proof that they matter. It is such a simple and easy thing for us to give them, but don’t just give it because I suggested you give it. Give it when you look at an employee and you say, “Wow, they matter.” I don’t know about you, Brad. I had these thoughts all the time where I’ll be interacting and I’ll think of a team member and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they saved my bacon on that,” or “Oh my gosh, what would it look? They caught me. My director of details found this thing that was going to slip through the cracks.” When you think it, do it.
What I mean by that is take the two minutes to record the audio. No. To record the quick selfie video, to send them the message, and do it in a way that is not the standard way you communicate. What I mean by that is if your organization is big on Slack or email and that’s your internal communication tool, have this message come in a different way. Text it to them, leave it as a voicemail, leave it as a voice note, have it show up in a medium and in a format that isn’t the familiar, obvious way to give extra oomph and extra power to the fact that it was more intentional. Handwrite the note, put it in the mail, and mail it to their house.
What’s fascinating, Brad, is at least here in the United States and in most countries around the world, employers are required to have a legal mailing address for their employees. And yet, how often do most organizations use that? Well, we send you your tax documents and we’ll send you a severance letter. Yeah, that’s pretty much the only time we ever mail something to your house. You already know their address. Write him a handwritten note. I know that you’re a big fan of handwritten notes for clients. I know many of the people listening write handwritten notes to their clients. That’s amazing.
When’s the last time you wrote one to your team members? That sound you hear is the tumbleweed of people going, I can’t remember, or oh my gosh, I’ve never done that, or I’ve certainly acknowledged this person on the team regularly with handwritten notes. But if you asked me to track, when was the last time I wrote a handwritten note to everybody on my team? There are some people who’ve been on the team for over a year that have never received one. Huge opportunity.
Brad Johnson: Yes. But let’s just like, I think we’re both in the choir and we’re just preaching to each other, right? So, my phrase is think gratitude, share gratitude. And it’s one of the simplest freeways. And I don’t do it enough, right? But what I would say that you just– the light bulb is back in the day to do that, it did have to be a handwritten note. You had to sit down, dip your pen in the ink well, do all that. Technology– I know John Ruhlin is a mutual friend. Actually, I think John was who introduced us on the first podcast.
Joey Coleman: You’re right. You’re right. Absolutely.
Brad Johnson: I think that’s how it came to be. And he’s a master of obviously showing gratitude, but I remember a birthday after John and I became friends and I got a selfie video from John, and he showed up differently and it was like 30 seconds. He was in the back of an Uber traveling. And it hit so different than the automated LinkedIn push-the-button happy birthday. And I remember I stole that. I borrowed that practice from him. But technology actually allows us to do it pretty efficiently these days with video where you can see facial expression, with audio where you can hear tone inflection. And so, I love that. I know we’re slightly over. If you need to run, I want to make sure.
Joey Coleman: I’ve got about 20. I’ve got a thing at the top of the hour.
Brad Johnson: Okay. With your permission, I’d love to hit two rapid fires and then close with one closing question. You good?
Joey Coleman: Perfect. I’m good. And I will work to make my answers rapid fire.
Brad Johnson: Okay, cool. All right, so I circled step three affirm and step four first day. The affirm, which was the buyer’s remorse section or the new employee remorse section, I would love just any case studies of like, here’s how as soon as they accept, the offer letter or whatever, any cool case studies of like, wow, we blew their mind as a new team member that’s getting ready to come on board, but hasn’t even stepped foot in for the first day yet?
Joey Coleman: Brad, I love this because I think, in almost every organization on the planet, regardless of size, scale, industry, the Affirm phase is ripe for improvement because most organizations are doing the least amount of touchpoints and activity during this time. There are a bunch. It’s like asking me to pick a favorite kid, right? When you say, what’s there that stands out? No, it’s all good. I appreciate it.
But what I’d love to do is share a story for one that speaks directly to where we started our conversation, which is on language and the importance of words. So, there’s a company called Trek that makes world-class bicycles. They are amazing. Think just amazing bikes, high precision creation. They’re American-made. They’re ridden by top riders all over the world.
And Trek does something really unique. After you accept the job offer, about two or three days later, you get a FedEx package in the mail. And what’s interesting about FedEx, I don’t know about you, Brad, but when something shows up FedEx, that’s the package you open first, right? Because it shows that the person cared to spend extra money to get it to you. You open this package and you pull out the Trek culture book.
Now, the Trek culture book is several hundred pages long. It’s got a cloth binding. It’s absolutely beautiful. You go through the book and it shows all the bike models they’ve ever made. It shows their belief that they are a hospitality company, not a product company. It lists out the names of every Trek employee. By the way, for those of you keeping score at home, that means they reprint the book every year because they’re constantly adding names to it with quotes and photographs of the employees, talking about why they love working at Trek. It’s this beautiful introduction to the next chapter of your life that you’re about to have as a Trek employee.
But the reason I want to share this example is the last few pages of the book are the Trek-isms. It’s four pages of words, phrases, acronyms that you will hear as a new employee and what they mean and the stories behind them and what your takeaway should be when you hear this phrase. Think of this as almost providing a traveler with the 20 most important phrases you need so that when you land in a new country, you can navigate, getting to your hotel, getting some money, finding a bathroom, getting a drink, that kind of thing.
What I love about this is they are teaching new employees the language before the employee shows up on the job. They’re creating a scenario where the new employee understands the difference between manager and leader, the difference between employee, staff member, or team member. They’re understanding the nomenclature. And when we can get our people up to speed on what matters in our culture, the words we use, the language we use, and give them that guidance before throwing them into the mix, the confidence that that gives those employees, the feeling of inclusion it gives those employees is unbelievable. And it’s also fun.
Now, that’s not necessarily an epic, earth-shattering idea, but everyone listening has phrases that you use inside your firm, inside your practice that are unique to you. I mean, we mentioned at Triad that you have bad words. I imagine there’s other folks that there are bad words, words we don’t say. But don’t just say it’s a bad word, explain why you decided to call it a bad word. Explain why you call them clients or members or partners or customers. I don’t really care which word you use. I want to know why you use that word and why I should use that word if I want to feel like I’m part of the team.
Brad Johnson: So, where I go from that, Joey, I love that example. By the way, we’re probably– Kenzie, you’re going to be listening to this. She’s our Director of Culture. By the way, we don’t have HR either here, we’ve got a Director of Culture. And we’ve actually started this, but now, we’re going to have to add on. But I heard it said once, the root word of culture is cult. And you can have good cults and bad cults, but if you look at the companies that matter, they’ve almost got this cult, like following. They’ve got specific lingos. And how do you start to create that inside of your organization when you’ve got to have a special language? It’s like the secret menu of in and out. It’s like only the insiders know it. And so, I love fast-forwarding that before they even get there. That is so awesome. I love that example. We’re definitely going to take that one and put it in the playbook at Triad, so. Okay, time is limited. First day, activate. I’m picturing a rock concert with sparklers going off when they walk in the door, like gimme. Gimme some of the stuff there.
Joey Coleman: Let me give you the closest example that I have from the book that speaks directly to that. I believe we have a mutual friend in Kristi Herold, who runs an amazing organization called JAM in Canada. And JAM, for context, it manages and kind of organizes and runs softball teams, kickball teams, various social activities that people with you, personally, they also do it for corporations. They also do virtual events like game night if you have a remote team and you want to have everybody log in and play a virtual game night. Amazing, amazing company.
So, here’s what happens as a new employee on your first day on the job. You show up to JAM headquarters, and as you pull into the parking lot and start to get out of your car, you are met by your manager, your leader, the person you’re going to be working for directly. They meet you at the car because you’ve just pulled into this parking lot where you may or may not have been before. You don’t know where the front door is. How am I going to talk to the reception? What am I going to do?
Now, they meet you at the car to immediately let you know that they’re excited that you’re here. And as they open the front door and you walk in, you hear music blaring and it’s your walk on song because as part of the interview, they’re a sports-related business, they asked you if you had a walk on song, what would it be? And you share that as part of you, and then they never ask you a question about it. They just record that on your application. And then if you’re hired, they play your walk on song.
So, now you’re feeling pumped. You hear the music, you’re in. You’re feeling like you’re part of the team already. And you round the corner and all of the gym employees are there with a high-five tunnel. And as you run through the tunnel, they’re high-fiving you as if your name has just been announced and you’re running towards center court, right? You’re excited, you’re pumped. And the team is wearing either a hoodie sweatshirt with their name on it or a hockey sweater, hockey jersey that has your name and the year you joined the organization. So, it’s all this branded apparel. This is their uniform for first days on the job and key momentous meetings and gatherings. It’s not what they wear every day. It’s not their uniform. It’s a special outfit for welcoming new hires to the job.
And you walk through and you’re high-fiving people and you’re feeling good and you come into a conference room. And as you walk into the conference room, on the TVs around the conference room are a live Zoom call with all of their employees who work remotely or who may not be there that day or who are out sick or whatever it may be. Everybody has come in to be part of this conversation. And they have a little bit of banter, they ask some fun questions, and when I say fun questions, they get to know you. The CEO, Kristi Herold, kicks it off. She asks the first question, which might be something like, what show are you binge-watching on Netflix right now? These are questions about their personality, what matters to them outside of the workplace.
And then Kristi picks another member of the team to ask the next question. You never know who’s going to be asked, and so, you better come to the conversation as a veteran employee ready to ask a fun question. You go around, they have a couple of questions that they’re asked, and then you’re presented with your rookie hoodie. It’s a sweatshirt with your name on it that will be what you wear at events until your one-year anniversary when you’re presented with your embroidered hockey sweater with your name and the year you started.
Brad Johnson: That’s so cool.
Joey Coleman: That’s the first 20 minutes of the first day on the job. Imagine the emotion…
Brad Johnson: But wait, there’s more?
Joey Coleman: Well, here’s the thing, but just imagine the emotion that is coursing through that brand-new employee in a matter of minutes at their first day on the job. You’ve given them something to talk about.
Brad Johnson: You’re seen, you matter. I mean, if you look at the trend on all of those, you’re seen, you matter.
Joey Coleman: Exactly. That’s it. It’s that simple, Brad, and it’s that complex because I think, most leaders today, to draw a parallel to maybe when we were in kindergarten, we had show and tell. I think most leaders today, if they spend time in either of those modalities, they spend more time in the tell than the show. Hey, everybody, just as a reminder, you all matter. Thanks for your contributions here. Keep up the good work team. Hey, everybody, nice job today. Let’s make an even better one tomorrow. Great. Thanks for telling me.
What have you done to show me? What have you done to show me that I’m valued, that I’m appreciated, that I matter? Don’t just tell them. Show them. And if you’re not telling them or showing them, there’s an opportunity to do both.
Brad Johnson: So good. Well, tell me when you can come in to Triad and share more and show more, speaking of, because we’re ready. So, Joey, as always, dude, you way over-delivered. So, thank you so much. I’m going to ask you one final question because we’ve talked a lot of Do Business, which what’s interesting is so much of that crosses over to Do Life for the companies that do it right. But based on your own life, I know, I’ve had the opportunity to meet you and your wife, Berit, and then you’ve got two boys at home. Very similar. We’ve got kids about the same age. But I would love to hear Joey Coleman’s definition of what does Do Business. Do Life. mean to you?
Joey Coleman: My definition of Do Business and Do Life is actually that those aren’t two separate sentences, that they’re really one for me. I don’t want to be a workaholic and have my business be my life, but I want my life and my business to intertwine with each other. So, one of the great gifts I have as a speaker who gets to travel all over the world is normally, events, although experiences are even better, but normally, events are held at amazing locations, beautiful hotels, great venues. I try to take my wife and kids with me as often as I can and let them have the experience. I think most business leaders could incorporate their families into the business in fun and creative ways if they were just willing to explore that.
And here’s the caveat I’ll give. I took my boys to their first speaking event with Dad by themselves about three months ago. Normally, when we go, my wife comes along, and thank God, she’s managing kind of their dynamic and energy. Two boys, right? Seven and ten. It’s high energy all the time.
But for this particular trip, they just came with Dad. And I’ll acknowledge that I was a little anxious. I’m there for a client. I’m going to be in front of people, I’m maybe meeting prospective clients. And what I had promised them is that they could come to the keynote. Now, I show up for the keynote and I give them the whole experience. They came to the tech check. We go to the tech check. I’m doing the tech check. And two of the women setting up exhibitor booths fell in love with the boys and had them helping set up the exhibitor booth, and they loved it. And these exhibitors loved it to the point where when the exhibitors had time on stage, they referenced my kids and how they deserved a round of applause, which of course, my kids loved. They sat front row during the presentation.
And I get that not everyone listening is a speaker and is doing these type of events, but there’s an opportunity to involve your loved ones in the things you do. And I think it’s really cool when our children and our spouses and our significant others have a context for what we do all day. They have a better understanding, they have a better appreciation. And so, I really like to tie business and life together as much as possible. And it also leads to some wonderful conversations.
I’ll share one quick story because it’s relevant, I think, to everybody listening in the advisor capacity. One of my sons, my seven-year-old at dinner a few months ago said, “Daddy, what’s interest?” I said, “What’s interest?” And he said, “Yeah, I heard you and Mommy talking about getting interest on something or paying interest or getting it. What’s interest?” So, this sparked a whole conversation with a seven-year-old, mind you, about loans and getting interest and paying interest and debt and all these things.
The next morning on the way to school, I’m driving him to school and I hear this little voice pop up from the back of the car. And he says, “Daddy, I’ve been thinking about it.” I said, “Okay, buddy, what have you been thinking about?” He said, “We need to figure out more ways to get interest.” I was like, oh my gosh, if it’s seven years old, everyone who’s listening, your clients, your clients’ children knew the benefit of compound interest, how much easier would your job be? How much better would your job be? So, I think there’s this opportunity to tie our business and our lives together in a way that is fun, that is playful, that is exciting, that is educational. And I just encourage everyone to explore, what in your business could you bring a little more of your life too?
Brad Johnson: Man. I love it. I mean, that’s one of the reasons Triad exists today. Our mission here is to help our clients, help our team do business and do life. And selfishly, I know we were talking before we went live here about COVID and the COVID experience, one of the things it did for me, it put a scratch in my record of the normal every day, which for me, I know you travel a lot speaking, I think I had 70 or 80 nights that I was supposed to be on the road 2020, and that is a sacrifice that’s missed family dinners, sports. And to me, as I defined success and what that meant for Brad, money in the bank account, that was part of the equation. But if the trade-off was missed time that I could never ever, ever buy back, I was like, “No, thanks.”
And so, next week, we will be going to the DBDL Founders Retreat. My wife, my kids will all be there. We’re going to be doing jiu-jitsu with Rener Gracie in the morning, working out with Jason Khalipa, and it is a full family experience for those that want to bring it because I think Mastermind Talks is a good example. You go with Berit. Oftentimes, I see a lot of kids running around. I believe entrepreneurs should define what that experience means to them, not me saying, “Here’s what it is.” And I’ve seen spouses ignored, I’ve seen kids ignored, I’ve seen the sacrifice. I’m like, that’s not how we’re going to roll at Triad. So, yes, all of that and more.
So, Joey, you’re the man. I want to get you on to your next call or Zoom, podcast, whatever it may be. Thank you so much. We’re going to buy a bunch of your books. We’re going to send them out to the audience. You’re awesome. And I can’t wait till we get to hang again in person.
Joey Coleman: Oh, Brad, thanks so much. And thanks to everybody who listened in to this epically long conversation with Brad and I. I just wish all of you the best as you go out to create remarkable experiences for your clients, for your team members, for the random person you meet on the street. I’ll close with this. It’s so much fun. This doesn’t have to be work. This is play. It doesn’t have to be business. This is life. Enjoy it. Have fun and keep being remarkable.
Brad Johnson: Thanks, Joey. Till next time, my man.
Joey Coleman: Thanks, Brad.