324 - Leverage Your Talent - John Laurito

Many people are known to be top performers, but more are unknown. Many leaders don’t know how to deal with such exceptional team members. They often unintentionally dampen their star performance or cause them to find better opportunities elsewhere. In today’s episode, host John Laurito talks about leveraging talents and how you can do so for your team.

[0:00] Intro

[1:12] Shoutout to Tamara!

[1:57] Storytime!

[5:58] How do you find out the level of talent your people have?

[7:39] Resist the temptation to control things

[9:13] Tell them your desired end result and let them find a way

[10:19] Give them more than you think they can handle

[13:37] Outro

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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. 

John All right. Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leaders. Welcome to the show. I am John Laurito, your host today on this beautiful October, mid-October day in Holly Springs, North Carolina. I don’t even know if this is picked up on the microphones, but I hear birds chirping outside my window. Wow. Like there’s few things that put me in a better mood than the sounds of birds chirping like, wow. And it’s gorgeous outside. It’s 70 degrees. It’s October, it’s 70 degrees outside and sunny. Gotta love it. That’s why I’m here. All right, quick shout out to a faithful listener and a great friend and just a terrific leader who I have been meaning to give a shout out to and dedicate a show to. And that is Tamara, Indiana. Tamara has been a great friend, business partner. I love to work with her, and she has been a faithful listener and subscriber to this show. So I wanted to just recognize you publicly. So, Tamara, thank you. And this show is dedicated to you. I feel like I’m dedicating a song to you. You don’t want to hear me sing. Well, maybe now I’m not going to sing. I won’t. Okay. So here’s today’s episode. This is actually something that happened recently that I thought was like, wow, what a great example of leadership here. 

John So it’s interesting. There’s a there’s an Italian restaurant that is a very successful Italian restaurant that was not always so successful. In fact, they had a change of ownership. I’m going to say I’m not even sure what it was maybe a year or two ago or something. And it was not it was really I didn’t see it or I had never gone to the restaurant before, but it had been a failing fledgling restaurant that like a lot of businesses that are failing, they sell, new owners come in. And this restaurant did a total turnaround. I mean, complete turnaround. And somebody was telling me they had a conversation with the owner and said, hey, you know, what did you do like? Obviously this and it’s jammed all the time. Great food, great service, really, really cool place. And somebody had asked the owner, Dino, hey, what did you do? I mean, you know, total turnaround. You must have I’m assuming you brought in a new chef. Where did you find the new chef? I mean, they’re great, great, great food. And the owner said something really interesting. They said, no, actually, we didn’t. This is the same chef that was here before with the prior owners. We didn’t even have to do that. In fact, we found that this chef was like a diamond in the rough. And he said, Well, what are you talking about? They said, Well, the prior owners basically did not let this chef do what he wanted to do. They didn’t have they didn’t give him any kind of control or creative freedom to create the menu itself. They actually had, in fact, dictated to the chef what the menu was going to be, what the the dishes were going to be, what they did not want. 

John In fact, they had I guess and I don’t know enough about Italian food, even though I’m Italian, that I guess there’s some perspective that a real Italian restaurant does not actually serve red sauce. I love red sauce like so. Anyways, this restaurant before had no no items with red sauce. They they advertised that no items with red sauce. And, and so the chef was really kind of handcuffed. Like all he could do was the things that the owners wanted him to make. And because of that, it wasn’t it wasn’t it wasn’t good. It really wasn’t. Now, what’s interesting is this new owner came in and somehow found out that this chef really had great talent and unbeknownst to them, had the ability to really turn this place around himself because his chef was that good. They ultimately gave him creative latitude. They said, listen, what do you want on the menu? What are your best dishes like? What would you put together? And so he did. And that began the turnaround. He started being able to really, truly perform at the level that he was capable of. Now, here he was in, in a role that could have had huge impact on the business, could have been a successful Italian restaurant prior. But the prior owners just didn’t let this talented, talented guy do his stuff and be talented and show his talents. They handcuffed him crazy. Now I bring this up because I think a lot of leaders have people in their organization not I think I know many, many leaders have people in their organization that are super talented and. Much more talented than there are able to show or demonstrate. Sometimes they’re just in the wrong role. Sometimes, and that’s oftentimes the case. 

John Sometimes they’d be better off in a totally different role. That’s really leverages their strengths, and other times they’re in the right role. But there’s something that you are doing that’s handcuffing them and you may may not even realize it. Now, here’s here’s the big challenge is how do you find out what you have in terms of talent? How do you really find out the true talent level, the people in your organization? And I’ve always thrown that out to leaders as a challenge. Okay. Do you truly know how talented your people are? Have you tested them? Have you given them an opportunity to show you to rise to the occasion? And most of the time, the answer is no. Or in reality, if we’re being really, really honest with ourselves, the answer is no. Well, then how? How can you really optimize your organization? How can you really get as far as you want unless you really, truly do know the talent levels of the people in your organization? And here’s the downside is if I’ve got somebody I’m surprised that chef stayed as long as he did. And I don’t know how long it was, but I’m surprised he didn’t go somewhere else. Eventually I guarantee he would have. So maybe he knew they were selling and bringing in new owner. Maybe he knew that would be his opportunity, potentially. But bottom line is, when you have talented people and they’re not able to show their talents, they’re not going to stay. They’re going to go they’re going to find another opportunity where they truly can. So if I’m on your team and I’m a great leader and I really feel like I’ve got a huge potential, but I’m not given the opportunity to lead, then really stretch my abilities and, you know, work my muscles, so to speak, that are really, really developed. 

John Then I’m going to leave. I’m going to go somewhere else where I can. And this is a problem in every single industry, in every single business, in every part of the country. This is all over the place, talented people that are not given the opportunity to really show their talents. So my challenge to you as a leader, there’s a couple of things. One is you have to resist the temptation to control things. That business owner made a big mistake like, okay, boss. Or maybe the business owner was a great chef, but he wasn’t the chef. You hire somebody who’s a chef for a reason. Why not give them the ability to show you mean maybe you own a restaurant, maybe you’re listening to this and you’re saying, well, I don’t know, maybe ask your chef, maybe maybe ask him or her and just say, Hey, if you were going to add something out of the menu, what would it be? I want you to to experiment. I want you to do let’s do some test dishes. I want to I want to taste some of your best stuff that’s not on the menu. And let’s find some new things to put on the menu. Give them the creative latitude to do that. If you’ve got people in your organization, ask them and you can be direct and ask them, Hey, do you feel like we are leveraging your full capabilities and full talent right now and the role that you are? That’s an interesting question, right? You’re going to get a probably pretty honest and interesting answer. You might get some people that are direct and say no. And I’m so glad you asked that, because here’s what I think I can do. I’d love to say people will have the initiative to come up and tell you that, but oftentimes they don’t. 

John But it’s your job as the leader. You’re running the organization. You’re running the business, right? Or you’re running your business unit. So you’ve got to get tap into the full talents and abilities of your people. So just that’s a one take away. Ask that question. One is resist the urge to control everything. Okay? And I just found myself in this situation. I, I delegated something and I was about to delegate it in a very, very, very specific way. And instead I said, okay, here’s, here’s the end result. What I’m looking for, ideally, what we’re trying to do, you figure it out. You come back with something that you think would make sense. Now, I don’t know what’s going to come back. I really have no idea. But it might be phenomenal. It might be far and away better than what I was going to suggest. So there’s an example before you’re knee jerk instinct, which is to, hey, I have the answer. I know exactly what to do, and I’m just going to delegate and tell somebody specifically what to do and how to do it. Don’t tell them where you’re trying to get to, what the end desired end result is and let them find the way. Okay. Let them show their true talents and give them. Tell them you’ve got creative latitude here. I want you to think out of the box. I want you to come up with something that you make sense and let them truly show what they’re capable of doing. The other thing is give people more than you think they can handle. This is a really, really good way to really find out what somebody is capable of. You don’t know. I’ve seen that dramatic transformations in people, and I’ve seen it. 

John So many times that I know the person that I’m dealing with now is not the person that they can be gay. And I’m going to say this really, this is so important. Treat them like the person they can be, not the person that they are. I must say that again, treat them like the person that they can be and that you want them to be, not the person that they are. And they will rise to the occasion. Okay. Treat them. Put them in a leadership position that’s higher than you think they’re capable of. Have them run that meeting. Have them run that conference that you think might be above their head and above outside their comfort zone. And it might likely be. But that’s where you’re really going to see somebody shine. That’s where you’re going to see a players love you. They’re going to love this organization that you’ve built that they’re part of because they feel like they’re now having a more of an impact. And that’s the key. We’ve talked about this. You’ve heard me say this. There are three reasons why people your age, players will either stay or go. They’ll stay or go because of these three things. One is they have to feel like they are growing. If they’re not growing, they’re going. Secondly, they have to feel like they are making an impact, not just an impact. They have to feel like they’re making the biggest impact they can. This chef will not leave this restaurant because he’s got total vanity to do exactly what he wants. Why would he leave? I mean, why? He’s got the ability to do exactly what he wants to do. Then. Then the last thing is people need to feel valued and important. 

John It’s not just money. It’s time that you spend with them. It’s giving them ownership of things. It’s giving them stretch assignments, it’s giving them creative latitude. It’s valuing their input in their advice and their thoughts. It’s tapping them on the shoulder for ideas. It’s all this stuff that’s helped people. It’s recognition. It’s everything. That’s how somebody feels important. Okay, that’s critical. Those three things. So that was an interesting story. I love that example of leadership. Kudos to that. That business owner, that restaurant owner, because and now they’re reaping the rewards of it. Okay. They tapped into the talent. The business is thriving. The restaurant is packed. I am sure they’re doing extremely, extremely well and maybe opening up their second one or third. That’s the recipe to success. Find talented people and let them really, truly show their talents and use their talents and leverage those talents. So I hope this helped. Again, these are my thoughts for today on a beautiful sunny day with birds chirping outside the window. I hope that is your surrounding. I hope you’re in a place right now. You’re enjoying beautiful outdoor weather if you’re in New England, my friends and I close close friends up in New England who are I’m jealous because this is the time of the year. You are in the sweet spot, the perfect spot to enjoy this time of year. 

John So I hope you all are. And again, thank you for listening. I appreciate it as always. Like share, subscribe, go down below, give a five star review and we’ll see you next time. Bye. 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 at Laurito Group dot com. Thanks, lead on!

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