283 - Questions From A Rising Leader With Co-host Nick Laurito - John Laurito
Episode 283 Questions from a rising leader with co host Nick Laurito Tomorrows Leader Podcast with John Laurito

283 – Questions From A Rising Leader With Co-host Nick Laurito

In this episode, host John Laurito takes the hot seat as he is joined by his co-host, son, and a rising leader, Nick Laurito. You will surely love this duo as his son asks him questions about leadership. Tune in and learn how John started on the leadership path and how he developed his own leadership style, and more importantly, what advice he has to offer Nick.

[0:00] Intro

[1:49] How does John adapt his leadership style to what suits the people he works with without losing his core as a leader?

[8:51] How John found his own leadership style

[13:50] What surprised John about leadership?

[16:25] What about leadership made John get into it?

[17:58] Finding the balance between charisma and initiative

[21:46] Developing John’s leadership style

[29:08] Learning leadership through trial and error

[33:31] Why did John choose the leadership path instead of the advisor’s path?

[37:03] What is John’s advice for Nick as a new leader?

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John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep into all things leader related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host, and I’ve got my co-host with me. 

Nick Thank you for having me on today. This is exciting!

John Great to have you. 

Nick Thank you. Yeah. 

John For those of you who can’t see or you don’t know and recognize that voice, that’s my son, Nick Laurito. 

Background to some of the Instagram videos. Yes. 

John My social media coordinator and the brains behind the operation. Back from Loyola? Yeah. Where you just finished your first year, which is cool. What was your first year like? 

Nick Interesting. Definitely interest. Different than high school, I’ll tell you that. Yes. Chaotic, chaotic scene. But I love it. 

John Are you looking forward to going back 100%?  

Nick I’m very excited that it’s a great school and. Yeah, I’m excited. 

John That’s awesome. Well, you are. I know. Have taken a really big interest in leadership and business and entrepreneurship and all kinds of stuff. I love talking with you about it. And we’ve had some really cool off-the-record conversations that I’m like, You know what? It’s kind of a cool thing to bring you on the show and shake things up a little bit.

John And I thought it would be really cool. And you did too, that you just asked me questions and I’m not prepared for these in any way. So you haven’t given me any idea what you’re going to ask me. So we’ll see how this goes. But you’re going to ask me some questions that you might either be on your mind about leadership or that you think other people might have an interest in leadership.

Nick Well, I have a few, definitely. So the first one is obviously I’m involved. I’m starting up an Alpha, a chapter for Chi Psi. You’re Alpha 94, right? 1994. Yeah. So it’s definitely a chaotic scene. You have a lot of personalities in the room at once. So my first question is how do you adapt your leadership style to what best suits them without kind of losing your core as a leader and your qualities? Because it’s easy to kind of cater to one person, but when you’re catering to like 14 different guys in the room at once, it’s definitely difficult without losing who you are. At the same time. 

John Man, that is such a good question, first of all, just to give everybody a little bit of background on you starting this chapter. So and I’ll answer the question, but maybe before, do you want to just explain what you’re doing actually, which is starting. 

Nick So Chi Psi, which is the second most funded fraternity in the country as far as their educational trust, you have legacy there. And when you came out in November and we talked about my plans for fraternity life, you brought up the idea of starting an Alpha at Loyola Marymount, which obviously was a long shot. I remember the first conversation. We definitely look back at it or we looked forward-thinking that you know, this probably won’t happen, but it was kind of right time, right place, and they were looking to expand to the West Coast. They have, I think, alpha at Texas Tech and Berkeley. But besides that, I mean, the entire West is not a lot of Chi Psi given that UCLA had a big alpha out there and there’s still a lot of alumni. So it kind of got going. And, you know, we made it past the first stage into our colony status, which is where we’re officially affiliated with Kasai, which was big, very, very big presentation. It was great. I did it. Uh, my co-founder, Audie Gupta. So, yeah, that’s kind of the background with the chi size stuff. I’ve been working with a lot of great people.

John Which Is amazing because I, you know, I remember in college joining a fraternity that’s already well-established for decades and decades and decades. So you’re basically and I remember I mean, I think back to college, there’s no way I would have had the guts and the courage to start a fraternity, a chapter of a fraternity. And, you know, I remember when you and I first started talking about it, it was like this really cool idea that just started to get momentum. But then you had these hurdles of, you know, you had to convince the university, first of all, to accept another chapter of the fraternity. Still ongoing, still in progress. Yeah. 

Nick Everything’s looking optimistic, knock on wood. But yeah, you know, a lot of great people. Of course, I definitely made that happen. It’s exactly what you think it is. I mean, starting up a fraternity. Yeah, very, very, very difficult, which it’s not 100% the professional setting, obviously, as. 

John It’s leadership though.

Nick I know it’s leadership.

John Think about how many people you’ve had to influence the school to accept and get behind it, which I know is still ongoing. You have to influence a major fraternity to get behind investing in you and taking a hold chance on a whole new chapter.

Nick We were I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, but we were the first interest group to receive money. From the national fraternity. That’s which is very cool. Which is very for. There was a lot of trust that they put in us and a lot of great people. 

John It’s kind of like a startup. And you’re getting you’re raising capital almost. 

Nick It’s like people not to compare the two, but people talk about drug dealing as like a lesson. Like, that’s a business lesson in itself.  

John Just watch Breaking Bad. 

Nick  But I mean, you know, fraternity life, you don’t think of it as a business. But I mean, it is the best leadership lesson not to compare it to drug dealing at all. Yeah, but you know, there’s a lot of great leadership lessons which we’ll get into that. 

John Yeah, definitely. Well then and then the other part of it and then I’ll go back to answer your question is you’ve had to influence and be a leader among your peers and getting people to want to go and think about this. This is like a brand new thing. It’s not like you can point to a fraternity house and talk about the last party you had and point to the 40 brothers that you have. There’s no you’ve had to cast this vision, which is one of the hardest things a leader has to do is influence people to get behind the vision of something that’s not tangible, especially a startup. 

Nick You talked about the selling. When you go to a neighborhood and they’re selling houses, it’s like if there are no houses. Their prices might start at 300,000 or 400,000. When they build more houses, it goes up in value. Yeah, and we’ve looked at that like you, especially when you’re friends with all these people and you know, you’re just hanging around with them and then you actually need to tell them to do stuff in a nice way. Yeah, maybe not so nice. I mean, it becomes a whole different game and that’s probably been the biggest challenge. 

John That’s tough because you’ve got to switch roles a little bit and it can’t just come from an inauthentic place where you’re just barking orders and you don’t have an ego. You’ve got a full metal jacket. No good movie reference here. Okay. So back to your question, which I think is a great question. So if I’m understanding your question, it’s you’ve got a lot of different personalities, a lot of different types of people. How do you lead that many different types of people and personalities? Is it multiple styles? Is it do you adapt your style? What do you. Yeah. So first of all, great question. I think it’s one of the most challenging things that leaders, not only new leaders deal with, but leaders that have been doing it for decades because you’re you’re never you’re always going to deal with new things. You’re net. You’ve never got it figured out perfectly. Yeah. So that’s I think the first message is you’re never going to get to a point where you every situation, every person you lead exactly the right way. You’re always going to make some mistakes. 

John But I think one of the mistakes that I made early on was trying to focus so hard on being someone or a certain style, and I thought overly so about what type of personality I was going to have and everything like this and what it caused me to do is be inauthentic. I was two different versions. I was the version of John inside of work as a leader, and I was a version outside of work that my friends and family knew and that didn’t feel good. It didn’t really look good. And ultimately it really wasn’t good. It wasn’t an effective way. It’s a long-term lead. So my first piece of advice is, and it may sound trite, but you have to be yourself, you have to just lead from the person you are because people will see that when you try too hard to adapt your style. So number one is figure out what works for you, be yourself, speak from your heart, be passionate about what you believe in, and what you’re going to find is the right people will join you and follow you. There may be some people that don’t, and that’s okay because part of what you need to do is get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus. 

Nick And that makes sense. And I’ve seen it with you especially, I mean, some of your greatest friends or closest friends or people that you, you know, glad you were their boss for a certain period of time. So, yeah, it’s that’s what I’m going through right now. I was friends first with them and now I need to step into a leadership role. But when you’re talking about being inauthentic, were you trying to be leaders that you admired that had led over you? Is that what you meant by inauthentic? 

John Yes, that’s a great question, too, because I was so I saw my leaders, different leaders have certain levels of effectiveness. There were some people that I really wanted to emulate. Yeah, but I also realized, you know what? Their style was not my style. Their personality was not my personality. So, you know, it became very hard. It was almost like an acting job. And, you know, one of my bosses was very tough. So, I felt like I needed to be very tough, which I think is a part of leadership, of course. But I was harsh. I wasn’t it wasn’t tough out of love. It was just harsh because I felt like that style worked for him. And so it’s got to be for me. And that was the wrong decision. 

Nick So what do you think of all the different archetypes and ways to lead? What’s the most effective? Is it a blend of all of these or is and one, is it the no b.S. guy who’s like, you know? What you were saying really harsh is the guy who super on it, understanding, empathetic, who’s like holding meetings constantly. But, you know, he’s kind of micromanaging. Like what does that (Not to say that there’s a perfect leader), but if you had to choose one, who’s the most effective?

John I think the perfect blend is a leader that’s very visionary, that’s thinking about that’s very forward-thinking, and can paint a great picture. Yeah, they’re very much a people leader, so they’re empathetic. They very much love their people. They genuinely want to see their people succeed and they really do care about them. And then they also have an edge to them. So they’re not afraid to create discomfort. They’re not afraid to show to be a disruptive leader. In other words, to push people and challenge people and hold people accountable. I think that’s an important part of it, too. 

Nick Waiting because I know eventually after you get to the point where you have to make an example out of somebody and you do need to crack down. And I’m when you’re so focused or in this one lane and you kind of like single one gear of being people’s friend and being liked and it’s hard to transition and to lay down orders more so. So yeah, that’s definitely the biggest challenge so far with me. But, you know, it’s difficult. It’s a chaotic environment. 

It’s tough because and you said it right there, it’s the desire to be liked. Everybody wants to be, for the most part, most people want to be liked. Yeah. The tough part is you think about there are a lot of people and when you’re leading an organization, you have to make tough decisions sometimes, which sometimes are unpopular and they’re not liked. But if people understand where it’s coming from, they may not like a decision. Yeah, but they’ll support it and understand it and still respect it and respect you. Yeah. If it’s coming from the. 

Nick Right and I’ve noticed that and not to say that I’ve been lenient, you know, in my ways of going, of leading people, but you know, you can see it as the minute you lay down law, kind of people switch their attitude and you can still be somebody’s friend, all of that. So in my case, it’s a little different than, you know, your leadership experiences because it’s all you’re my friends that you’re leading. But it definitely I feel like you can be multi-geared and you can, you know, be empathetic, can be somebody friend but at the same time, yeah you to be able to tell them want it. 

John I’ve always said there’s these four questions that everybody every follower’s asking of you and of me and of any leader out there. And those four questions are really important to understand. One is, can I trust this person? And it’s the same questions that you would ask, determine if you’re going to follow somebody. Do I trust this person? 

Nick Yeah. 

John Does this person care about me? Yeah. And then as far as the vision, do I want to go where this person wants to go or wants to take me? And that’s not just the destination, but it’s the journey. Also, am I willing to go through the tough stuff to get to the rosy picture at the end of the road? And then the fourth question is, do I believe this leader has the capability to get me there? Do they have the skill sets, the competencies and the track record of success, and the motivation to get me there? And those four questions are key. If those answers are yes, they’re going to follow you and they’re going to follow you endlessly. If you’re missing one of those or two of those, that’s where you might get short-term results. But you will never get long-term buy-in and you won’t be a long-term, effective, and influential leader. 

Nick Yeah, and then that makes sense. So my next question, which is, you know, growing up and you’re like the leaders that you’re around are teachers and coaches and you kind of sort of think everything just falls into place and all the game plans are there. And honestly, what I thought leadership was before this experience was that you’re just a personality and it’s how you make people feel, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. So my first leadership experience, I remember we had our first meeting, it was probably a Friday night or Tuesday night or something, and we were not partying, but we were in a more jovial mood. I’ll say that I will list the reasons why, but we were all there and about 14 or 15 people were in the room. So I told them to shut the door or something to get started. And I have everybody looking at me and I prepared and it went all right. But I realized it’s like leadership, at least for me in that moment, was taking the initiative. And like, if you don’t have an initiative, like, all those guys just wasted their night. Yeah. So that was a very important moment for me. I’m like, okay, at 14 or 15, guys huddled in a room like this size. So it’s like really tight and small and I’m like, if this isn’t one effective, people are not going to like it. They’re going to be pissed for wasting their time. 

John Yeah. 

Nick And if you don’t have a plan at all, then, you know, it’s a waste completely. 

John But it’s nerve-racking, right? 

Nick Yeah, exactly. So, like, what was your biggest surprise in leadership? What was the first thing where you were like, okay, I did not know that this was part of it at all? 

John Wow, that’s such a good question. I think a couple of things. First of all, it was the realization that nobody very few times is somebody going to ask you or tell you what to do as a leader? Yes. So you really, truly are on your own. You know, you’re in that room. It’s not like somebody is going to say, okay, Nick will now lead this meeting and get it started. Lead us through the agenda. It’s yours, which is a tremendous amount of responsibility. And I remember I think one of the first realizations was when I had my first office that I ran and realized I had total autonomy. I mean, I could, for the most part, do anything. This was my baby, so to speak. This group was was in my hands entrusting me with their futures, which is I just think the biggest surprise was how much responsibility you have as a leader. Yeah. You know, the things I as a leader, can control are what I think and what I say, and what I do. Nobody can control that. I can control that. And what I think, say, and do influences significantly what other people think, say, and do. Yeah. And that was just the power of that was incredible. I think that was probably the biggest surprise. 

Nick What is the biggest thing? Why did you get into leadership kind of going off that? Was it like I can influence as many people as possible or was it like for good or for bad? I control because that’s like what a lot of people that’s why they like leadership. It’s their decision. Yeah, you’re held accountable. But I mean, at the end of the day, it’s yours. It was the influence factor. 

John It’s funny. I think what attracted me before I got into it was different than what really motivated me, motivated me. Once I got into it, I think before I got into it, I saw it like this. Just really cool. Yeah. You know, there’s a little bit of power thing to it and an allure to it if you’re running a place or a company or a team or whatever it might be and you’re the person, you know. I think that was just the feeling that drew me in. But I think part of it also was the fact as I got into it and I realized and I thought, you know, there were people that influenced me significantly in my life and there were moments of time which I’ve shared stories about where there was something that happened that changed the outcome. And I was just I was amazed by the magic of that. I’m like, okay, well, so a leader. And then I started following different leaders and I realized they really have this massive influence. And if you are a great leader and you have great intentions and great abilities, you can really change people’s lives. I mean, totally. And that to me was I just was awestruck by that. 

Nick But there is a certain personality factor, I think, too, right? Like there is the personality side of it, like how you make people feel like on a day-to-day basis. And then there’s the initiative, like what your actual actions are, what is the balance between the two. 

John Between the between. 

Nick Your kind of not charisma, but your day-to-day, you know, what people see on the outside and then the actual initiatives that you’re taking. 

John It’s a also great question. So what that comes down to are the strategy and the tactics and what are you actually doing? And then the people power that you have behind it. In other words, your influence and communication skills, and personality, kind of the soft skills. 

Nick What do you think is more important? Like if let’s say you were this super like almost animatic character who’s like everybody loves, but you can’t take any initiative versus you get stuff done on a day-to-day basis and you get people to get their stuff done. But not a lot of people like you and neither are really sustainable. What do you think is more important?

John Great, great question. Again, I love these questions. The first one is by far the more effective, the person that has the charisma, that has the people, the attraction power. Because even if that person is not good at execution and even if they’re not good at strategy, what they’re really good at doing is influencing people and getting people behind a vision. If that were me, I could always hire people and team with people and bring people into my team that is good at execution or great execution. There are tons of people like that. Yeah. What there’s a lack of our people that really have a bold vision and have the ability to bring people together around a vision like that. And if you think about many, many CEOs, many incredibly successful companies operate that way, the CEO is the visionary. They’re the ones that really do, you know, think about the direction of the organization and the industry and everything that’s happening. And then the team around them is the ones that are implementing.

Nick It’s tough because you have to be very creative and it’s a more elusive job in a sense. Like, I mean, you think about it like it’s just talking about, you know, like 100%. Vision if you can sell a vision, because most of the people that you’re dealing with, I mean, they’re competent. They wouldn’t be there if they weren’t competent. Like even with the fraternity. So if you’re able to sell a vision to them, then they can go execute what they need to do. Exactly. And that’s so true. But you need to be creative. You need to be a personality. Because, I mean, I’ve had leaders and I’m sure obviously you’ve had two where they’re like not likable people. Yeah. Would you want to go hang out with them or whatever? Like. And if you don’t, then it’s not sustainable. 

John And there are you know, there are lots of leaders that are like that. And it’s not necessarily a deal killer. There are very successful leaders that candidly were not liked, but they’re very successful. Yeah, but they built the team of people and they were exceptional at this that had the traits that they didn’t have. Yeah. So you do see very successful CEOs and not liked. 

John Yeah. I mean and lots of very tough, you know, leaders. But the bottom line is the leaders that I see, especially now, you know, we’ve gone through this pandemic and everything that’s changed over the last couple of years. The leaders now that are really I see that are drawing the most people into their vision are the people that are empathetic, they’re authentic. They’re people leaders. They’re not just great at strategy and execution and, you know better behind the closed door than they are in front of an audience. They really have that ability to speak to a big group of people authentically and do it in a way, even when they’re delivering a bad message that it at least comes it comes out in a way where they came from the right place. Yeah. 

Nick When you were talking about earlier, like crafting your leadership style and not being inauthentic, I like, how did you go about that? Did you kind of think of the what leader you’d want to lead you and that’s who you became? Or was it just happening naturally? Did you learn from trial and error? 

John Well, you know, it’s funny, when I was in when I was the new leader, probably for the first five, six, seven years of my career, I would say I’d be in a situation. I would say, okay, what would Pat do in this situation? Yeah. What would Peter do in this situation? What would Larry do? What would you know Janet do? Well, you know, and it was just a constant like, you know, thought of what this other person would do and how they handle the situation, how they might deliver a message. And that actually worked. That helped because it did help me learn from them and start. But then I got to a point where I said, okay, well, I can’t. I’ve got to be myself. And that question was more of what are you going to do? What is my decision because somebody is going to be asking that question, hey, what would John do in this situation? That’s kind of the way I wanted it to be. I mean, I had there’s a quote that I’ve said many times and put it out there. I think you’ve reposted it recently or may ever. Ah, yeah. Which is, you know, there’s only so much reading you can do about leading. At some point, you’ve got to get out there and lead and become the leader that others will read about. 

Nick If you do too much researching, like whether lets you want to become a filmmaker and you’re studying Scorsese and Tarantino and whoever it is, Polanski. And it’s like, Well, I love that. How do I become that? But really, you should master yourself because you have a skill set when whatever it is, it’s like you learn from them. Yeah, but like, how do I bring that and find myself and take myself out? And I’m just master yourself. Be yourself what you want, like. 

John Exactly. It’s like an artist that, that is, you know, is, is great at realism and that’s their passion. But then they start going down the road of expressionism or abstract art, and it’s because they love another artist that, well, that’s not your passion. You know, I’ve learned a lot, a tremendous amount about leadership from people that are leaders in more typical senses and people that, you know, we were talking to Quentin Tarantino recently. You shared an example. I’m like, wow, that’s a great leadership lesson from him. Doesn’t mean I want to become Quentin Tarantino, doesn’t mean we’re in the same ballpark in anything really we’re doing. But he’s a leader. Yeah, right. So I can pull out leadership lessons with that. 

Nick But there is a fine line like obviously if you get into leadership or whatever it is, it’s because there’s some role model that you look up to, you know, wholeheartedly. But at the same time, and that’s kind of formed your vision of what you want to do. How do you separate that from that’s what that person did. Now I got to go on my path, but like, that’s still your vision. That was your initial love for whatever you’re doing. So how do you separate that? 

John Yeah, I think you have to if I understand your question because I. So so how do you is it is your question more about when is the time that you do that or is it more. 

Nick More how to like I mean, if you just have a certain vision of something, but that’s not the best way that you create or do something. Yeah. Like if in leadership, if you know you’ve loved this like really that kind of more. Charismatic person, but you’re just not that. Yeah. The quieter you get people to do stuff. Yeah. Like, how do you separate yourself from that initial vision? 

John I think you have to. It’s like anything else. It’s like working out where you kind of develop different muscles. Yeah. And you do different exercises that hit muscles on a different angle than it ever did before. And all of a sudden it grows, I think, in different situations. Like when you’re in that room with 15 guys in a closed room, I think those are times you’re going to realize you’re going to come out of meetings like that as a leader. And I still do. You know, 30 years into this, yeah. Where I look back and I’m like, I didn’t nail it. That was not my A-game. I didn’t say the things that I should have said or I didn’t handle it the right way, or my response was not the right way, or my facial expression, I don’t think was communicating the right thing or the right point my body language. You’re always going to have moments like that, and that’s okay. That’s part of growth. So I think you’ve got to be you’ve got to give yourself. You’ve got to be okay with it. You’ve got to give yourself a pass and accept the fact that you’re going to go through these situations and make mistakes. And that’s going to make you a better leader. So I think you trying out your style and being more yourself and not being the guy that has to bark, you know, and be this loud, boisterous person, but be yourself and speak from your heart and be passionate and then see the response and watch what happens. And then you can look and say, You know what? I think that message really landed the right way. I see the aftermath. I see people doing the things that I wanted them to do, or I got feedback afterward. And by the way, it’s okay to do that too. You know, sometimes leadership can be a lonely world because the higher you go up, the fewer people are willing to give you unsolicited feedback. 

Nick There’s nobody if you’re a president, who are your friends. Yeah. 

John I mean, you really and you don’t you get a lot of people around you that want to tell you what you want to what they think you want to hear. So you really have to pull and push for the right information. That’s why I’ve always worked with a coach because I will always get unbiased information. They’ll always tell me what it is. That’s why I coach people because it’s like, I’ll tell them what they need to hear, not this or what they want to hear and different perspectives. That’s it. Sometimes you need to ask people, Hey, how did that message come across? I did that. I’ve done that many times. I just did it the other day. I led a workshop, a leadership workshop. And I asked somebody who I’m close with in the participant group and I said, hey, you know what? How was that? What landed? Well, what did not land? Well, this was my buddy Jason and they gave me good feedback like that. And so I, I rely on that, you know, still, because sometimes I’ll get done with a meeting and I think it was okay, it’s fair and people think it was great. Yeah. And sometimes vice versa.

Nick And that’s so infuriating too when you have no idea why that was great. I remember I had a few presentations like that just in high school and I’m like, That was terrible. And then you come out and had people from other industries and they were like, that was incredible. And I was like, You get mad because you’re like, but why? 

John Well, it messes with you. You know, it’s funny and I’ve told the story, I think, to you before, I may have I don’t know, maybe not. I remember a time when I was a new leader giving a speech. I still remember. And he’s out there. Steve Goldsmith is a great guy. I was at Ameriprise and I was doing this thing in front of this whole group. And I just was reading his facial expression and it was he just looked like he was so disinterested in what I was doing. And literally and just he looked like he was just so bored and just almost angry at me for wasting his time. And it really messed with my head. And then he came up to me after the presentation came walking up and I’m like, Oh jeez, here comes. And he just looked at me and he said, You know what? I got to tell you, that was phenomenal. I’m like, Really? Wow. I would never have guessed me. And he said, That was exceptional. I’m like, Wow. And they’ll take away. There was thank God he told me that. But it was a lesson that stuck with him. It stuck with me. You just can’t tell. You can’t always read an audience. You can’t tell by people’s reaction when you really hit. You got to be you got to be you going. 

Nick Back to what you said, learning leadership through trial and error. And we both watched the Elon Musk documentary. Yeah. And I found it fascinating that he doesn’t research a lot of stuff, obviously, but he doesn’t learn by making like NASA’s all these calculations on the wall. And they, you know, think of stuff for months and months before building space just puts random stuff together like and flies it up. And it if it fails, which it’s supposed to because that’s how they build better. And it’s I was watching an interview a few months after that documentary came out and they were walking around the Space X Facility in Austin or something, and the YouTuber who was holding the camera says it was something about thrusters. I don’t know what it was, but he’s like, what if they have the main rocket and then whatever the booster is, I don’t know rockets, but he’s like, what if you put a thruster on that too? And he’s like, he’s like he goes and he looks up at it and he’s like, Yeah, that’s. To do that just because this YouTuber like as they build in such a cool way to do trial and error. So it’s not accepting your failures happening, otherwise, you’re not improving. Yes. So I just found it so fascinating. That’s why they improve. They purposely not purposely fail. But yeah, that’s. 

John They’re not afraid to fail and they embrace it. Absolutely. 

Nick Well, it’s expected 100%. It’s not like you’re a basketball player and you know you’re going to that game. It’s like you are failing and that’s all you’re going to build. Yeah, that’s so fascinating. You watched that documentary right?

John I love that. Yeah, I love it. I’m a big Elon Musk fan and SpaceX and Tesla. The interesting thing is you know there are different and I see this with different organizations there’s a very distinct difference between the organization that embraces and supports failure and the ones that don’t. And it’s a whole different culture now. There’s a cost to failure and in space X there’s a big cost. I mean, they literally were down to their last rocket. It had to succeed or the company was risking going under. So you have to measure that. It’s got to be measured risks, but the cost of failure is going to be there. You can outweigh that significantly by learning from it or even spreading it across the organization like it’s failure in one department of a company. Many companies have, you know, dozens, if not hundreds of divisions or companies. A failure in one area is if it’s shared among other areas, can be great learning like think about companies like 3 a.m. like post-it note which I have several unpacks in here that post the no came because of a failure, but it didn’t only become a failure. 

John They were trying to develop a glue that was unbelievably strong. And obviously, a post-it note is the opposite. But they took that formula. They put it into this sharing bin, so to speak, metaphorically and said, hey, this I was trying to develop this. It failed. It’s this. See what you can do with it. And sure enough, somebody else took it and then developed and used it actually as a post-it note for he was trying to get his music to stand on a stand for his orchestra and it stuck and he’s like, Wow, that’s pretty cool. It worked. It held the page open. Maybe I could do something with it. And this was like a year or two after. And then they developed Post-it notes out of a failure. That company operates, and there are dozens of examples of billion-dollar products that have been developed that way. So the company, the organizations that embrace failure, I’ve seen organizations where people are afraid to admit they’ve made a mistake. They hide it. They cover it.

Nick Yeah. 

John And then other people make the same mistake and it goes over and over and ripples through the organization. And all those people made the same mistake because the one person was afraid to share that they made a mistake. And hey, here’s what I learned from it. They thought their job is going to be a risk. Whereas if you can get the culture to go in the opposite direction where people say, Hey, I made a mistake or I didn’t know this, I just learned this, I maybe I should know what I don’t know. But I’m going to risk my ego being bruised and launch it out there. Here’s the deal. Somebody can learn from it. Yeah, those are the companies. But that’s a leader that makes that sets that tone. 

Nick Yeah, that’s incredible. Just people learn from each other and it just leads to the utmost creativity. It’s insane. Totally. One of the next things I want to talk to you about is you talked to me earlier in your career. You had the choice of either following, you know, the leadership path, the advisor’s path. And I’m going to say, like when individuals are going about like, how do I make money? Leadership is not always the first thing that comes to mind. They might want to become a successful entrepreneur, which gives them leadership opportunities. But you think of money and making money. Leadership is just not the first thing that comes to mind. And there’s a lot of selflessness in that profession. So obviously leaders get paid very well, much better than anybody else. But what was that situation like for you when you wanted to choose that knowing that advisors could often make a lot more and still choose leadership because you believed in it wholeheartedly? 

John Another great question. So a couple of thoughts on that, first of all, and for those listening that might not know, an advisor, financial advisor, so this is in financial services. So that was a kind of a fork in the road, so to speak. You know, first of all, the one thing to understand is the advisors that make a lot of money and are doing extremely well. They are leaders. They’re different their title may be different, but they are as much of a leader as mid-level or senior level or CEO of an organization, truly. And it’s really no different other than, well, they’re running a business, you know, they’re leading people. They’re attracting people onto their team. They’re building a team. So some financial advisors have two or three people. Some have 20 or 30. Some have 230 people. They’re still a financial advisor and they’ve just built this bigger and bigger practice. So but you know, so that’s part of it is to understand leadership, support it, everything. But to answer your question, I think the call that the question that people are wondering is, okay, if I’m asked, let’s say I’m in a role in my company, I’m asked to take a promotion or encouraged to look at leadership. Should I look at the management, so to speak, track, which I don’t like the management word? It’s leadership. But is that a better path to go? And, you know, it comes down to passion and what you know, I’ve gone different roads in my career for the wrong reasons. 

John I’ve gone the road to chase money. And there’s been times when I have earned a lot of money and not been happy and not been fulfilled. Or if you feel like I’m not in the right spot, I’m not making the impact that I want to. And so it’s not just about that when you find what you love to do. And truly, you know, we did that video, which I thought was great, which you had asked me a question like, hey, you know, how do you know when it’s right to quit a job? And my answer was, you use the Sunday test, which is, you know, how do you feel when you wake up on a Sunday? You know, there’s a period of time I woke up, I’d open up my eyes and I was miserable. And I was miserable because I was one day closer to work and I was dreading Monday. Yeah. And I’m like, what the. You know, that’s ridiculous. I’m in the wrong I’m doing the wrong thing. And if anybody’s out there and they’re in that situation, you can’t go on like that. You can, but you’re choosing a road of misery. Yeah. So you’ve got to find what you love doing. What you are going to wake up on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, doesn’t matter. You’re going to love it. You’re going to be energized. And when you find that that’s where you are going to, you, the money will work itself out and you’re going to be happy. And that’s the key thing. 

Nick Yeah, it’s so complicated. There’s so many like anything so many different areas, you know, as improve on. Yeah. The last question that I had is advice for me going forward because as a leader, as a new leader, a young leader, I mean, obviously you’re I have I think we’re at 17 guys now, which is a lot, but it’s also very intimidating, you know, and we’re going to grow exponentially, exponentially, hopefully with the new freshman class coming in. But how do you go about bringing in new guys, cultivating the environment that you want, and having everybody work together in somewhat of a collaborative way? 

John I would do a few things. One is I would get in your head a super clear picture of what this looks like in a year or two years when it goes really, really well, or three years. And I would communicate that over and over and over and over again until people are sick of hearing the vision. Yeah, because people need to hear it seven, eight times before. I really think that that’s first and foremost number one. Number two is there’s nothing more important than getting the right people and don’t compromise that. So don’t lower your standards to just get body count, so to speak. Think about the quality of the people that you have because one bad person knocks out two or three, four good people sometimes, and one great person will help attract two or three or four other great people. So keep your focus on the quality of people. Yeah. And, and just be clear with expectations, communicate, overcommunicate, you know, hey, here’s, here’s what needs to happen and how can I help? What, what’re the things that how can I help make your job or your role easier? You’re in charge of recruiting. What can I do to help you? We’re all part of this. So what needs to happen? You’re in charge of activities and figuring out events. What can I do to help you? If you’re that type of servant leader, yeah. People will respond. And the last thing, last piece of advice. 

John Don’t forget to have fun. People take themselves way too seriously. And the people that have fun are the people that I want to be around. People want to be around people that are great and talented but know how to have fun. Yeah, that’s great. So don’t be afraid to, you know, bring people together. I know that’s not a problem in college. And when you do it, I see a lot of leaders out there that that forget that people need to have fun, you know, do something and take them, take them, play paintball, do something different, unique that that’s going to get them back talking to their friends about it. We’ve done some weird things with people in the past. They used to have chili contests at the office and I cook breakfast on Friday mornings and we take them, you know, to do weird things like, you know, you know, what do you call that? Shuffleboard or the ice? Shuffleboard on the ice, whatever that is. Don’t forget the name of that thing, whatever somebody is going to tell us afterward. But, you know, just doing curling, yeah, I do different things, you know, just have fun. And realize that’s what keeps people energized. 

Nick Yeah, yeah. That’s great advice. Well, it was fun being on today. Definitely. I think it’s something I should do more often. 

John I love it, man. I love this. I think we’re going to get some interest in good feedback. This was great. I love I learned from this, too. Yeah. 

Nick I learned a lot from I started writing stuff down.

John I love it. We said and this was, by the way, this was totally unscripted. You had some questions prepared. I went into this blind, all we had. I love this. So I think we should do this again and come up with some other questions and we’ll keep this going. 

Nick So, yeah, definitely. 

John Thanks, man. You’re a great Co-host. 

Nick Yeah, thanks. 

John And thanks, all of you for joining today. I hope you like this. I did. I had a lot of fun. And just let us know. Give us your feedback. I mean, tell us, shoot us a note if you like it. We’re going to post this out there, obviously, as we do everything else. 

So be sure to like, subscribe, go down below, give five-star review, of course. And as always as I always ask, let me know your thoughts on future guests and content. I got some great episodes coming up. Based on your feedback, I get a long list, so keep them coming. I’ve got a lot of podcasts to do and my new co-host here will hopefully maybe join me in doing some of those. 

Nick Yeah. 

John All right. Thanks, everybody. Have a good one. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks. Lead on. 

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