Honest, Human Business Models - Jake Bell (E12)

Jan 06, 2020

Jake Bell is a BJJ brown belt and an expert in sales and leadership. Jake has been an essential component in the development of Easton's SOPs, business operating systems, and overall business model.

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Transcript:

- Welcome to the Easton.Online Podcast. I'm your host Eliot Marshall, and what this podcast is here to do, it's here to help you gain strategies and tactics and tools that are gonna help you grow in your martial arts business, if you have a martial arts school, a gym. This is one of my passions is how we spread the message of how to really grow culture in business and some ways that we do it the best with our people, with our staff, with our clients. So I hope you enjoy, give it a listen. How are you doing, Jake?

- Good, man, how are you?

- I'm good. Happy birthday.

- Thanks, man.

- [Eliot] How old are you?

- Do I have to answer that question?

- Look, man, I don't know why everyone gets so upset by this.

- Nah, it's okay.

- You either get old or you die young.

- Yeah, the big 4-7, man.

- 4-7, you're almost 50.

- I know, oh, see, now, you had to go there. See, that's why I don't like to say 47. No, it's all good. It's good, I feel great.

- Good.

- Yeah.

- Good, can you sit up a little closer on that mic?

- Sure, yeah, hold on a second.

- There we go, perfect, thank you.

- How 'bout that?

- Oh, that's better.

- Boom.

- Boom.

- Good coffee by the way. Thank you.

- Oh, yes.

- That's what I was looking forward to the most. Hey, I need you to be at my house at 8:00 a.m. on Monday. I'm like, "Is there coffee involved?" There it is.

- Jamie, tell the people. You see that's your coffee over there, right?

- [Jordan] Yeah, there's always coffee.

- There's always coffee. You see that mug he has?

- I do.

- That's mine. He just like it. He's like, "Yo, can I?" I think he took it once and then he just wouldn't bring it back.

- It's mine.

- Right.

- [Jake] Possession.

- And then my parents love that mug, love those mugs, and they came and I was like, "Yo, bro, so my mom's coming next week. "You're gonna have to lose that for a week."

- Can you bring it back, please?

- And I hated it.

- So wash it.

- [Jordan] I felt so incomplete.

- Man, so how did we get here? So why are you sitting on this podcast instead of "The Gospel of Fire" podcasts?

- I don't know, well, probably because I've been involved in an interesting aspect of the development probably in the lifecycle of the academy over the years off and on, but I would probably imagine that's why.

- So how'd you get there?

- So I drank the Kool-Aid pretty early. I have a funny first month on the mat story about you, by the way.

- About me, oh fuck.

- Yeah, I'm gonna throw out there.

- Do you know the story?

- No.

- No, he doesn't know.

- All right, let's see, is it good or bad?

- So I love this story. You and I, I know we've talked about it, but it's so funny because we're going, so next... In two weeks, it'll be 10 years exactly at Easton's for me. We were at this old Boulder school, so we hadn't moved yet, so still the small one, and you were teaching a 6:00 p.m. fundamentals class. And it was either standing rear naked choke or standing rear naked choke defense, and you were demonstrating on a blue belt. And you're doing that thing where you're doing the... And keep in mind, this is Eliot Marshall 10 years ago. It's very different from the Eliot Marshall today.

- Oh, people, oh, people.

- I've seen you go through the changes, man, which are awesome, but very different person back then. So you are demonstrating, and then at one point, you wanna talk, right? Jiu Jitsu is like ice cream, I know that story a million times. You're standing next to the student, and I don't even know who he is 'cause after this happened I don't think he-

- Did he quit?

- I think he didn't last very long, but it had nothing to do with... It could have been a million different things. You're standing alongside of him, and you're substantially taller than him, and you have your arm around his shoulders. And for those of you who you'll understand, Eliot's right arm was grabbing the lapel, the close lapel of the student, of the uki. And you're just sitting there talking, and you're not doing anything, you're just casual. Well, anyway, after about 20 seconds of talking, he starts to shudder and he drops to his knees and he passes out.

- No. This is a bullshit story.

- It is not bullshit story. He had just enough pressure on his carotid, just enough to just disrupt the blood flow a little bit, and it took about 20, 30 seconds, and he ended up pissing himself.

- This is not true.

- It is absolutely true.

- There's no way I wouldn't remember this story.

- It's absolutely true.

- No, man, that's not true.

- It is true.

- [Jordan] Are there witnesses?

- Yeah.

- All right, guys, podcast is over. That was a great episode, thanks for tuning in. I'll see you next time on Easton.Online. Jordan, cut all of that out, and we'll just do a beginning, an intro, and an outro.

- I had been there like three weeks and I was like, whoa, that just happened, this is awesome.

- That does happen.

- Of course, it does. Of course, it does. So okay, so where does it go from there? So, I got my blue belt, I started competing a lot, and I remember going to a mall and saying, it was through an email I think, and I said, "Hey, I would love to contribute to the school "in any way, shape, or form. "If there's any intros that can be done, et cetera, "I'd be down for doing anything." So I started doing that, and then I come from a background of customer-facing sales, service.

- Who were you working for at the time? What was that company?

- At the time, I was working to T-Mobile.

- Oh, okay.

- Yeah, yeah. And what struck me was that the cellphone business is a subscription-based business and you have to deliver great experiences constantly, otherwise people will just, they'll cancel, they'll let their contract slip, and whatever.

- I disagree with you.

- Okay.

- I disagree with you. The cellphone business is, can I deliver the almost worst experience, but not be bad enough that they're gonna go to somebody else?

- Well, the running joke is, you go up to somebody and you say, "Who is the worst cellphone provider?" And then they're like, "I don't know." And you're like, "Whoever you currently have." You know what I mean?

- Yeah, yeah.

- But the point is, is that you have to be delivering, any subscription-based business, you have to be constantly delivering good experiences because of the choice, right? It's not like a one-and-done type retail experience, where you're like, "Oh, I'm just not gonna go there anymore." You have this pent-up, you're in a contract, it makes you not feel great about just the fact that you're in a contract, right? You feel trapped. So anyway, go ahead.

- The cellphone service is what made me, made Easton, made me think about the whole contract thing.

- Yeah, for sure.

- Like I was listening to Joe Rogan. You guys remember Joe Rogan's Ting commercial?

- Mm-hmm.

- And he was like, "Are you stuck in your contract?" And I was like, fuck, yeah, I'm stuck in my con... And I would listen to it every night driving home from the Denver school when we just made the big... And I'm sitting there and I'm like, yeah, man, those motherfuckers, and I'm all mad, and then I'm like, I'm one of those.

- Well, it's a good concept, and the other way that you think of this is like loyalty programs, right? I mean, a lotta times, I've seen enough of them to think that loyalty programs are just there to help shadow shitty service and shitty product. It's like just get the core great, get the core awesome, and you don't need to have all these silly reward programs and points and things like that, that get complicated.

- Yeah, I mean, they're good. I think we do it. They're probably add-ons, extras and stuff.

- Yeah, but they don't mean crap.

- [Eliot] They don't mean anything.

- Unless the core is awesome.

- I agree.

- So I remember after class in Denver one day, and I was sitting there listening, a phone call came in, and what I heard was, "Hello, thank you for calling Easton Training Center. "Yeah, we're on the corner of... "Seven o'clock. "Okay, thanks," click. And I remember going to Ian and saying, "Hey, Ian, are you open to some feedback maybe "on some basic fundamental things "that could be done over the phone, "when somebody walks in the door, et cetera?" And he's like, "Yeah, absolutely." So we started talking, I started breaking down for him just probably three or four core things that could be done, and then drilled through repetition, that would help turn those types of first-point contacts into something that's a little bit more memorable with some substance to it as a means to get people to help sign up, close conversion rates. And then that eventually turned into what we could do on the backend, identifying touchpoints throughout the lifecycle of a student, where we know the hot points are two weeks, two months, six months, two years. Those are like the hot points where you see churn. And being able to be like, how do you get to those students knowing that statistically that's the time that they would walk, how do you talk to them to flush out what's on their mind? I don't wanna use the word dissatisfaction, but are they frustrated, what's going on, et cetera.

- Yeah, Jiu Jitsu's hard.

- Yeah, a little bit.

- It's very, very hard, so people--

- As I found out last night.

- What do you mean last night? Oh, your training?

- Yeah.

- How'd that go?

- It was awful. And wonderful at the same time.

- That's how it is, you know, that's how it is, but that's the hard part, is you go through these, man, I think I figured out the compression thing.

- [Jordan] Did you?

- Yeah, I have this little dial where I can turn it up and down.

- It sounds a million times better all of a sudden.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Very nice.

- Look, this is part of it, guys. So if you're on this ride with this podcast with me and Jordan, if it were Jordan over here, he'd be doing way better. I'm looking direct at the camera right now. Okay, he'd be doing way better. He would have had all of this nailed. I don't do that, I just go play. Record and we figure it out.

- It's new toys, you gotta test-drive them.

- Yeah, but most people test-drive before they buy. I buy, go live.

- And then hope.

- And then test-drive. So I think I just figured it out, nice, cool. But Jiu Jitsu's really hard.

- [Jake] Yeah, well, it's supposed to be hard.

- Right, and we were just talking about it, like we were talking about Dana, right?

- Yeah.

- And you told this story about when she came to the cage, go.

- Oh, years ago, and she came to me, and hi, Dana. She was frustrated and she was like, "I don't know if this is for me. "I think I'm done." I let her talk through it, and I said--

- You said she said, "This is my last night."

- Yeah, she said, "I think this is gonna be my last night." And my response to her was, "Well, you're supposed to feel this way. "If you told me anything other than this, "then I would say something is wrong." You're supposed to feel frustrated. You're supposed to go home and cry. You're supposed to have aches and pains. You're supposed to think you're worthless. You're supposed to think that. Jiu jitsu is about knowing all of that and doing it anyway.

- [Eliot] Have you had that?

- I have it now.

- Jordan?

- [Jordan] Sweet, man.

- Jordan's about to open a Longmont school and he thinks he's done with Jiu Jitsu.

- Let me throw something in on that. When I was a year into it, a year and a half into it, I thought I was the only one. It took hearing Ian Lieberman say to me, "Yeah, man," Ian goes, "Yeah, I go home and cry in the shower." And I'm like, "Oh, you, too?" And you talk about there's the stereotype of people who go through traumatic things together and there's this bond that happens, I think with us it's trauma all the time. The trust level that you build with people in this community is insane because it's a controlled killing environment. I mean, it's simulated murder, and you have to have so much trust with the people. And then when you have somebody that you look up to, who's your mentor, who says, "Oh, yeah, I go home and cry, "this is normal," it's like, okay, yeah, then I'm not on this island alone.

- [Eliot] So, we're just back at people again. We're back at people dealing with people in a good way. In a way that lets everyone feel included and positive, and when I say we're back, I know it's the first time that we've landed here in this, I don't know, what are we, 15 minutes in?

- Sure, yeah.

- [Eliot] But we land here every fucking episode.

- Well, yeah. I know that the whole reason why Easton.Online was created was to be able to provide, I mean, on one hand, you can say it's a platform for martial arts schools to thrive, somewhere on the middle if you wanna be superficial, it's tips and tricks. Honestly, that's what's gonna happen a lotta times, is people are gonna listen to it and they're gonna pick little things here and there that they can use. But it's not just martial arts schools. It's just small businesses in general, right? I mean you see people all the time start a business because they're passionate about the content of the business, they're passionate about the discipline of the business. I have a buddy who's a photographer. He's a damn good photographer. He's a terrible business person, right?

- Mm-hmm.

- I have a buddy who has a construction company. He grew it exponentially quickly, but there's certain things about it that he doesn't enjoy doing it, he hates. He doesn't like it. But the one commonality is what's your people structure look like, who is on the team, are they aligned on the vision of the organization, the mission of the organization? Do you share the same values with that person? And at the point, it doesn't necessarily matter who they are, where they come from, how they operate. Otherwise, you're just asking for soldiers, you're just asking for robots. If people are aligned values-wise, vision-wise, and mission-wise, the culture is nothing more than the sum total of the people within it, and if they have those three core things, that's the most important. Everything else can be learned. Everything else can be taught. We're talking about operating models at that point. It's like what's in that person's heart, how do they think, and can I spend time with this person? I mean, it sounds so simple, but from your position, from my position in my business, when I'm talking to somebody, it's like can I spend a lotta time with this person?

- Yeah, it's what it is because I know from my position, I don't do anything other than have to spend time with people. For me I can't remember the last time I told somebody what to do. I'm trying to think. I think I saw an instructor, a new instructor, three weeks ago teaching in a tee-shirt. And then I went to Carlos, who is at the front desk, and I was like, "Yo, bro, I don't know who handles that, "but can we just make sure that that person knows "that they can't just work out in a Nike shirt "or teach in a Nike shirt?"

- Right, and by the way, that was very astute, because if you went and we had this conversation at--

- [Eliot] Yeah, we had this conversation.

- Well, we had it at dinner the other night. Your words, Amal's words, Mike's words, they weigh 10,000 pounds. And so when you go and you deliver a message that you think is just basic, it's a mundane message, it's just quick, clear direction and say that to somebody, it can affect them. And so sometimes you need to know how to leverage your chain of command the right way so that it makes sense to them. One of my favorite Eliot Marshall moments was we were--

- Jesus, another one?

- I've known you for 10 years, I'm gonna have a bunch. We were at a Jaime Canuto seminar. Went and picked him up at Susskinds, brought him to the academy, and he was doing these really, really awesome close guard attacks, which are very unconventional, because he's staying flat on his black--

- I remember them, yeah.

- Flat on his back the whole time and there's not a whole lotta... Hi, Renee.

- Oh, baby, how are you? Two podcasts in a row.

- Hi, good morning.

- Wait, where you going?

- [Jake] Do you wanna be on camera?

- [Renee] No, thank you.

- Your children need clothes to put on before for the cleaning lady.

- I tried to tell you, but I thought I told you, there's tons of-

- I tried to tell you.

- You were asleep, I messed up. There's tons of clothes right in the--

- [Jake] He didn't wanna wake you up.

- No, I did. They're right in the laundry room. Love you.

- Love you.

- [Jake] Love you. Don't cut that out.

- There was another student, remain nameless please, and we were partners for, don't say it. And we were partners, and he was doing it completely wrong. You walked by and simply all you did was say, "What technique are you watching? "That's not what he's doing." And then you walked away. And then he looked at me and he was like, "Oh my god, I feel so stupid." You have ruined his day. So as the leader, as the figurehead of this organization--

- I'm fired.

- You're not fired. No, what you say--

- Is so important.

- Is so important, and so to be able to go in there and say, "Hey, we need to do this, that, the other thing, "I don't know who handles it," et cetera, et cetera, it was the right thing to do.

- Well, I can't talk to the person who's messing up, because it's not a huge mess up. Look, it's like--

- It depends on who it is.

- It depends on, one, who it is, even then, it's hard. Oh, it's like what my wife and I did with Simon, our second baby. The first baby, it was a nightmare. You don't know what you're doing at all. We'd come down, like if she was down here at three in the morning doing something, I would come in and be like, "What are you doing, a da da da da," and then we'd blow up at three in the morning, and then nine o'clock, we're all mad at each other, because, I mean, it's just babies, right?

- Sure.

- But with Simon, what we did was we put somebody in charge, and we switched, we took shifts, 'cause we had a spare bedroom. So, one of would sleep down in the master, and then somebody would sleep, this room that we're in right now was Simon's baby room. So one buddy would sleep in the guestroom, right next door, and they were in charge, right? Excuse me, and if they needed help, then they would get the other person to come help, and that other person would just come down and assist. And then at nine in the morning or 10 in the morning, we would recap.

- Sure.

- And the only way that the other person could interrupt was if they felt like it was dangerous, like, no, no, no, this is really bad.

- Other than that, no game day decisions are being made.

- At three in the morning.

- At three in the morning. You talk about it later.

- Yeah, so I had to take that to the business a little bit, too, right?

- Sure, yeah.

- Okay, the instructor is sitting there teaching in a Nike tee-shirt. Is it terrible? I mean, it is good? No. Is it the way it goes? No. Is it going to ruin us and crumble the whole school, and the whole class will just fall apart? No, so shut the fuck up and talk about it later.

- Yeah, what you're talking about is standards, right?

- Right.

- And not having your standards negotiated, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you look at, there's a culture model that I introduced you and Mike and Ian to, and if you remember what it is, it's people, it's systems, and systems shouldn't be confused with computer systems, it's like what is your system for doing particular things. It's like policies and procedures. But one of those quadrants was standards, right? And if you have standards and you allow those standards to get negotiated on any level, then that was never your standard to begin with. And there's just certain things that you want a particular way, and you can bucket this by saying, hey, you're the owner of the business and "This is the way I want it to be," or you can say, "Yeah, but here's why. "Here's why this is an important standard to us." Remember a few years ago in the Muay Thai program, in the kickboxing program, there was no shirt system and it was confusing, and it's like a standard was put into place. If you're gonna be in this class, you're gonna wear a shirt that designates basically what your level is and your rank is within the system. Okay, that's just a standard, it's okay. But by having that, you send a message to the people around you that there's certain things that are important, like the detail is important. If you look at a lot of martial schools that are out there, and Jordan and I, or sorry, Jamie, Jamie and I had this conversation the other day, boom. We were talking about that initial contact, when somebody calls, right?

- This is helping you, huh? You're enjoying, you're back in Jiu Jitsu? You're coming back to Jiu Jitsu?

- [Jordan] I just hope that this spot goes on camera.

- You forget how intimidating it is for somebody who is not in this culture and in this world to walk in off the street into a room where people are choking the shit out of each other. It can be very intimidating for particular people. And so one of the exercises that I had the Boulder staff do, Denver, Arvada, Centennial, is we sit around and we get a phone and we call all of the competition in the area. And we just say, "Hey, just trying to get some information," the same cliche things that they say when they call us. And we would catalog and listen very, very closely to what was said. People turn into just information kiosks, who are just a vending machine with a heartbeat. That's all we are. Yes, this is where we're located, yes, this is what time class is, great. No one says, "Yeah, we're at the corner of this and that. "By the way, my name's Jake. "What's your name? "Hey, it's nice to meet you. "Thanks for calling, I really appreciate that. "So when were you thinking about coming in, "'cause if I can be here when you are, "man, I would love to see you "and just kinda show you around." No one does that, no one, no one, no one. And we've called them all. I've called people out-of-state, it just doesn't happen. So a standard to exchange names, ask them how their day is going, dig in a little bit, that doesn't happen anywhere else. And so one of the things that happens is, okay, well, why is Easton so big? Why is it so successful? Why is it consistently turning out a great product? It's because of these details. And so you should never shy away from the little details, because those little details make a huge difference.

- What do you think about... I agree, yes, but I have to say, we knew all of this. I think everybody knows all of this. When we have our phone script, our phone script, before you, before Ian, before Mike, when Amal used to run the meetings on a Thursday at nine and we sat down and went over phone script, it was all of this, but we just didn't do it.

- Sure, and that's common, big ideas versus big execution. That's normal. Lots of businesses have great ideas. Lots of businesses have things, "Oh, we're gonna do this and we're gonna do that," and it doesn't necessarily mean that it happens.

- So how do you make it happen?

- Well, we just talked about it, and I came to the table with this kind of stuff with probably a lot of credibility, and so it was just keeping it simple. And by the way, like scripting, you used the word script, just for assuming that the people who are listening to this are going to be school owners who wanna improve their business, scripting is great so long as you use it to teach a concept. If you have people read scripts, they're gonna sound like they're reading scripts and they're going to sound unnatural. Scripting is nothing more than drilling, right? Do you and Mike Tousignant do an arm bar from the mount exactly the same way, exactly?

- No, no.

- Right. Well, that's the point. But are the fundamentals the same?

- Yes.

- Right, and that's the point. The scripting is to teach a fundamental concept so that you can then in turn take the human beings that you've hired, that you've attracted, that you feel bring value, and say, "Now that you understand the concept, "and by the way that comes through conversation "of what is this telling you, "what are you learning from this scripting, "can you say the scripting this way?" "No, it just doesn't sound natural." Great, now take you and the concepts and how can you make it sound?

- Just make it Jiu Jitsu. You find your game.

- It's the same exact thing. There is no difference, right? I mean, you take Jiu Jitsu and you put it into three buckets. Take the mental part out of it. Jiu Jitsu training comes in three flavors, right? Class, drilling, and training.

- Live training.

- This is no different. Class to teach, use that to flush out the right way for that person to do it, drill the hell out of it, and then live training. And that's it. The parallels aren't even parallels. It's just the same thing.

- Just the same thing. Rule number one, you have to do Jiu Jitsu.

- Yes.

- Get me away from it.

- No.

- Okay.

- And then I think just to close the question, the sales training aspect started to evolve into leadership development.

- What was the question?

- The question was how did I get involved?

- Oh, sweet.

- How did we get here?

- He follows the story way better than I do. I was like, "What question?"

- You're like, "What are we talking about?" That eventually evolved into team dynamic leadership development and we started doing basically, not personality assessments, but assessments so that you as the leader and Mike as the leader could look at your people

- Ooh!

- And understand... Well, we're not to the 360s yet.

- Oh, okay, ooh!

- [Jake] I know where you're going with that.

- I thought that's what you were talking about.

- That's a spicy one.

- Yeah, this is hard. That's hard.

- That's a spicy one. No, we use a tool called the predictive index which allow you to measure a very small amount of attributes about a person.

- Oh, I remember this one, too, yeah, yeah.

- It measures how assertive or passive they are. It measures how extroverted or introverted they are. It measures how urgent or patient that person is.

- [Eliot] What are you, extroverted or introverted?

- Hold on.

- Sorry.

- And it measures how much structure that person needs. I'm an extrovert off the chart, and I'm extraordinarily assertive and direct. I'm extremely impatient. And the formality piece is a little interesting. I like structure, I don't like a blueprint. I like to be able to say this is the overall goals of what we are doing, and I like to have some leeway within the execution of that.

- Got it.

- What's great is, is that it helps teach people. Introverts get a bad rap, all the time, in business, especially in customer-facing business. And the reason why introverts get a bad rap is 'cause most businesses tend to be filled with people on the sales and marketing and operations end who are extroverts, and it's talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk all the time. Well, whereas somebody like you and myself can go to a party and talk to 30 people at once and hold court and connect with a lot of people, we connect with them shallow compared to somebody like an Ian Lieberman who can have a one-on-one conversation with somebody and connect with that person in a way that you and I would struggle with.

- He, yeah, this is an amazing point. I talk to a bunch of people at parties. No deep conversation.

- Right.

- Not a single one. Not that I don't have deep conversations in other parts of my life.

- Sure, sure.

- But in this extroverted scenario, it doesn't happen.

- Correct.

- And then I think a couple of years ago, I had a party here or something, I don't know what it was, and he had never met Jason Dunn, and now he and Jason Dunn like Vox and text, and they're friends now. And I never get a friend at a party, never happens.

- Well, part of the definition that gets bastardized all the time about extroverts and introverts is the need for social interaction, like Ian, you know Ian.

- We'll just use Ian, yeah.

- Hold on, Ian, I know you're listening. You know I love you, but how often is it like, "Yeah, I'll be there," and "Oh, I can't make it."

- No, no, he doesn't do that to me anymore. He knows not to do that. He goes, "Hey, I'm gonna show up late "and I'm gonna leave early."

- [Jake] Right, right, he knows his boundaries.

- He knows his boundary really well.

- But he just doesn't have a need for mass consumption of lots of people at once. Whereas someone like you and myself, we tend to like that environment.

- I'm trying to think if I have a need for it. Yeah, I think I do.

- Sure. That's why you do a podcast, 'cause you reach so many people at once.

- Yeah, I do two of them, that's a good point.

- Right, and you wrote a book.

- And I wrote a book. Yeah, that's a good point, all right.

- So the predictive index was a way to start that conversation, and then it went to 360s, which for those of you who don't know what 360 feedback sessions are, they've been used in corporate environments and business environments for years, and they're very, very difficult. It's where you take someone in a leadership position and that person selects people who are peers to them, subordinate to them, maybe they are subordinate to, maybe they're business partners with, typically about 10 people, and they all get asked the same questions. And it's all done anonymously, and what happens is you get a lot of data back that I think when we did our read-back, it was about three hours. It takes a long time to go through. And that feedback always comes in three buckets. You're gonna hear things that you know you're going to hear that you want to hear because it fuels your ego. "Oh, I love this person, they're a great leader," blah, and you wanna hear those things. So that's bucket number one. Bucket number two is the things that you don't really wanna hear, but deep down inside you know they're true. You're like, "Yeah, no, I don't really wanna hear it, "but yeah, I kinda see where that's coming from." And then the third bucket, which is where the rubber meets the road, which is things that you hear and you go, "There's no way, there's no fucking way "that that's accurate. "That's not how I feel. "How did that happen?" And then typically you go through a number of stages. It's almost like the stages of grief. You're in denial, then you're angry, and then you get sad. And then you start to have some acceptance. And what happens is if you have multiple people saying this about you, and you know that in your heart and in your value system that that's not accurate, you have to recognize that you're putting something out there that is being interpreted that way. And so this is where personal change management comes into play.

- I had one comment from one person. Everything else I knew, yep, that's true.

- Sure, yeah, and that'll happen, and it didn't sit well with you.

- Oh god, no, months.

- If we look through my phone logs, I think we talked every two hours for about a week after that.

- I don't know about every two hours, but it was a bunch.

- Oh, no.

- It was a bunch.

- There was one day.

- [Eliot] There was one day, no, for sure.

- There was one day I got six calls from you.

- [Eliot] I was pissed, man, I was so fired up.

- Sure, but that's part of going through that. I come from a school of, and I coined the term from the book, extreme ownership, for sure. I believe that there are no bad teams, there's only bad leaders. I believe that it all starts and stops with that person, and that you have to own every single piece of that. A guy who worked for me the other day told me he's sick and tired of me taking the blame for everything that goes wrong. And I said, "Well, okay, well, guess what? "I'm gonna take the blame for that then, "and it's not going to stop. "If something goes wrong, it's my fault." "But it's not your fault. "You got this person." "Well, I should have given him better information." "Yeah, but this person did that." "Okay, I should have held them accountable better." I said, "I will always take that on." And so when you take somebody who has that attitude and you run them through these excises to become a better leader, good change will happen. It doesn't happen overnight. We are human and it does take time to evolve, and we have emotions. It's not about being robotic. It's about just really accepting the stimulus coming at you and being extraordinarily, and this is the word that I'll take to my grave with me as far as what makes a leader great, is empathy. It's empathy, it's not sympathy, it's empathy. There are so many great leaders out there and if you peel it all back, it's because they're so empathetic. They are completely in tune with understanding how the people around them feel. That doesn't mean that they're softies. It doesn't mean that they're gonna cut corners and negotiate standards. It means that they are always cognizant of what is on that person's emotional quotient. They are very dialed into that. It's the number one thing that you can have as a leader.

- I think some of that was really above the 360s. Most people don't need 360s, people who are listening to this podcast. But that last sentence, the empathy part, was amazing, 'cause that's what it comes down to.

- Thanks, man, I do believe that anybody in a leadership role, there's another exercise out there. They're called skip level meetings. You see those a lot. So that's when you would go or Mike would go into an Arvada and meet with everybody on the staff, but Jeff isn't there. That is an exercise in vulnerability of the leader of that location and an exercise in trust.

- I guess what I'm saying is my guess, and I don't know, but my guess is that most people that are listening have one school, they're the main instructor, they're the teacher, they're the everything, right? They're the GM kind of.

- Sure.

- And they're trying to move away from that, they're trying to put people into place in their one school. I think most people probably don't even want more than one school. The empathy piece, like Jordan's about to open Longmont. It's gonna be your school, right? That's how you're gonna feel about it?

- [Jake] Oh my god, I am so excited by the way.

- Right?

- Nice.

- That's gonna be your school. You don't have to do a 360 review with your cleaner, right? But you need to have empathy with your cleaner. Where we might need to do, like we have seven schools now, so we need to do 360, yeah, sure.

- For sure.

- Right? And Mike needs to go into the different locations. So that's for sure something that we need, and you're amazing for us, I not trying to say that, but where we landed right there was just that empathy, because you have to have empathy for every single person on your staff, every single one. The cleaner who is trading maybe tuition for training, that's still your staff.

- Yes. And if we really wanna take this to a core place, it's got nothing to do with being a leader in a business, like as a husband, you have to have an immense amount of empathy with your family, your wife, your children. If you are involved in a community organization, you have to have that empathy. To me, empathy is the core of being a good human being.

- I'm just trying to think about it. Sorry.

- No, it's okay.

- The core of being a good human being. It's really high, that's for sure. I'm trying to prove you wrong in my head. This is just how I do it. I think you're right.

- Think of all the--

- No, you're right.

- No, just think of all the cliche things, like Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, like treat people the way you wanna--

- [Eliot] What's the Platinum Rule?

- Well, the Golden Rule is bullshit. The Golden Rule is treat people like you wanna be treated. That's bullshit, that's anti-empathy. How do I know that you wanna be treated the way I wanna be treated? Maybe you wanna be treated differently. It's the Platinum Rule, treat people the way they want to be treated. That's different than the Golden Rule.

- Sure, I like coffee, and Van showed up at my house with Starbucks and I threw it away.

- Goddamn it, Van.

- She wasn't even drinking coffee, she had a chai.

- Hold on, hold on, wait a minute, wait a minute. Was it Pike's?

- No, see you didn't even listen to what I said. She showed up with chai.

- Oh, chai.

- Yeah, so she wasn't wanting coffee.

- I'm so disappointed in you, Van.

- But you know what I mean? I was assuming that she was coming, coffee, Starbucks, yada yada. I didn't ask her what she was drinking.

- Right, and think about this for a minute.

- Goddamn it.

- What?

- That's a great one, treat people how they wanna be treated, yeah. No, I'm not mad at you.

- No, it's all right.

- I would say goddamn it.

- I learned this very, very early on in my leadership career. We're going back like 20 years. I had two people who worked for me. They were peers, they were both top performers. She was very patient, she was very soft. She was more introverted than the other guy, but definitely not direct. She was very concerned about people's feelings, et cetera, and you needed to approach her in a way that was completely different from this other guy who was from New Jersey, he was totally assertive, he wouldn't shut up, he was super urgent all the time.

- [Eliot] I never worked for you.

- If I approached him like I approached her, he would have no respect for me, and if I approached her like I approached him, she would freak out and fizzle. So you have to just be... But that just comes through empathy. I understand how they feel, I understand how they wanna be treated, and I'm gonna treat people with a slightly different blueprint. A quicksand that leaders fall into, and this is from the human resources craze of the late '90s and early 2000s, was you treat everybody the same. That's different, we're talking about two different things. We're talking about you have to have the same standards for everybody. You have to hold people accountable to the same things, but the way you approach people has to be different.

- Like your kids.

- For sure. Your kids are a great example of this, right?

- Right, yeah, my kids are totally different.

- Totally different, totally different.

- Totally different.

- My two are the same way.

- Yeah, totally different. Simon, I mean, you can smack Simon upside the head, and he'll probably smack you back if he's in trouble. If somebody laid a hand on Kannen when he was in trouble, I would kill them, 'cause it's not what he needs. You don't have to hit him. Simon, you have to hit, you have to grab him and get him out of his like where he is.

- [Jake] Shake it loose.

- Yeah, hey, get back, and he can come back to.

- [Jake] Right, and he doesn't freak out.

- No, he's not mad at you.

- No, it's what he needs.

- Where Kannen, if you're upset with him and you hit him, even if he's wrong, oh my god, that would crush him.

- Right, it's the end of the world.

- It's not necessary, and that won't even do anything. All you have to do is be like, "Yo, dude, let's talk about that, "you might have really hurt that person's feelings."

- Right, now think about your students.

- Same.

- Same. But now we're talking hundreds, right?

- Mm-hmm.

- And so everybody has got their thing, and as you get to know them over time and as you build relationships with them over time, you understand what those buttons are.

- Yeah, it's hard, it's hard.

- Like Jamie here.

- Jordan.

- He's gonna embark on this new journey where he's got this dual leadership role. He has to be a leader to the people on the team, the staff, and he's gotta be a leader to the students, and they both have to view him in that way. He needs them all to follow him, and they will. You know, you got this, it's gonna be awesome. I cannot wait for those doors to open, I am so geeked. It's gonna be great. But it's like Peter is a great example of this, right? Who would have thought that Littleton would have been as successful as it was as quickly as it did. He did an excellent, excellent job there. You go in there and you watch how the students react to him and you watch how the staff reacts to him, they are in, and that's the perfect dynamic.

- Yeah, Peter's the example, because for a long time he was trying to be me, like mini Eliot.

- Sure.

- With the way he talked to people and everything, and it didn't go well for him at all.

- [Jake] So what'd you tell him?

- I had to stop showing that example in front of him a little bit. Yeah, that's mostly what it was. Rather than tell him anything, I had to show him, okay, you can do this a different way, too. And then he went on his journey, and he got more involved with Mike and Ian, and then he figured it out.

- Yeah, and I think that, and you've heard me say this a million times, always lead with questions. So often, as leaders we know this content, we know exactly what should happen, and I know this person has the ability to do it, so goddamn it, I'm gonna tell them what to do. I'm gonna give them that blueprint. As opposed to saying, "Well, what'd you think we should do," and then shutting up. And if you see somebody under your tutelage, they report to you in some way, shape, or form, and you see them heading towards a cliff, you say to yourself, okay, is this mistake, is it gonna burn the building down? Are we gonna go bankrupt? If the answer is no, then you really need to have the courage as a leader to let them fail, let them screw up, and resist the urge to jump in and save them, because when you save them from the mistake, you saved them of a very relevant teaching moment.

- It's just people again. It's just people and dealing with people in general. I won't wear a jacket right now. I rarely will put a jacket on, because when I was 18 years old, 19 years old, my dad was constantly telling me to put a fucking jacket on. And I'm like, "Yeah, man, I am 17, 18, "I can figure out whether I'm cold or not, stop telling me." He just loved me and he just knew the blueprint, but he was trying to tell me what to do. Excuse me, and then I was doing it with Nick, right?

- Yeah.

- I had to figure out with Nick, fuck it, you wanna buy that new car, all right.

- Have fun.

- Whatever.

- Do it.

- Do it. Fuck it, you wanna do this, do it, right? Because there's a stage in everyone's life, like kids. Now I listen to everything my dad says, because we're through that.

- It's different.

- It's different.

- The dynamic is different.

- Yeah, and we're through that like...

- On some levels, you're peers now.

- Yeah, because I have kids, too, two of them. Right?

- Correct.

- Where I'm not trying to find my way. And I think sometimes with leaders maybe, especially when you first put them into place, they're trying to find their way. They're like that 20-year-old who's like, "Yeah, man, I'm a goddamn adult. "You think I don't know how to do this?"

- I'm a goddamn grown-ass man, I'll show you what's up.

- I don't need a jacket.

- That's right. I'll freeze my ass off.

- Right, and be fine. I won't even complain.

- Right, just to spite you.

- Right, just to spite. It's not that they don't love you or love me or anything, so that, let them head to the cliff, man. Is the building gonna burn?

- But that's only 50% of it. The other 50% requires a lot of tact, which is how do you follow up now with them, and without saying, "I told you so," how do you debrief what happened so that they find more value in you as a leader, and you lead them to a point where they walk away, they might not say it verbally, but in their mind they go, "Man, I should probably bounce this shit off of Eliot "next time before I pull the trigger." That's the key. The key is to continue building value with the people who work for you as a sage, the wisdom, as somebody who's been there and done that. Yes, I'm trying to prove myself, but, man, you're a good resource. Yeah, I think I'm gonna come to you next time I'm confronted with one of these decisions before I just unilaterally do it myself. But it doesn't work if you say, "Hey, I knew this was gonna happen, "you shoulda listened to me." That's a surefire way to have the kid not wear the jacket.

- Uh-huh, yeah, I used to walk in the house, and my dad would say, "You cold, huh?" And I'd be like, "Nope."

- Nope. Nope.

- Nope, fuck.

- Shut up, old man, I'm good.

- Exactly. It's just stuff that we know through our lives.

- It is, but it's having the courage to put some execution around it and make it simple for the people who work for us. If it's complicated, it'll never work. It's gotta be very simple and basic. That doesn't mean that people don't have the capacity to understand complex concepts, but when you're dealing with a large team, a complex team, lots of locations, you need to make it simple to execute, 'cause if it's not, it won't happen.

- [Eliot] And it needs to be about them.

- Yeah, for sure it does. A lotta times we go into these conversations trying to be the hero. And by the way, this is where leadership and salesmanship become the same thing, the model is the same. If somebody comes into the school and they wanna sign up, they don't care about how great Easton is, they don't care about how great you are. They wanna be great. They wanna be the hero of their own story. Your employees are the same way. They wanna be the hero of their own story. So how do you provide them a platform to be that hero of their own story? You can't be Luke Skywalker or Rocky. You have to be Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Mickey. You have to be the sage that helps lead them and guide them through this journey of their own.

- Did you watch the new "Star Wars" yet?

- I did.

- Was it good?

- I love it.

- You love it?

- I love it.

- Did you love them all?

- No.

- Okay, which one's the worst?

- Are we counting the prequels?

- [Eliot] All of them, yeah, all nine.

- "Phantom Menace" is the worst.

- [Eliot] Okay, "Phantom Menace" was bad.

- It was terrible.

- What did you think about "The Last Jedi?"

- I thought Rian Johnson did a decent job trying to interpret what Disney wanted them--

- [Eliot] Who's Rian Johnson?

- He was the writer and director.

- [Eliot] Okay, sweet.

- I think he did the job that Lucasfilm post-Disney purchase wanted him to do, which had massive backlash, and I think J.J. Abrams did a good job salvaging that in the last one, though I'll give it an 85% thumbs up.

- I hated in "The Last Jedi" when Leia floated through the air. It kinda lost me there.

- Right.

- Have you seen it?

- Uh-huh.

- Of course, he saw it.

- Have you seen "Skywalker" too?

- Of course.

- He's a sci-fi nerd, too.

- I am, too, but I have kids that can't go right now.

- I got kids.

- Yeah, well. You can keep yours up at midnight. You shoulda seen my day yesterday.

- Oh, yeah.

- Yeah, okay, exactly. So hold on. So my day yesterday, my kids on Saturday night, I woke up to pee or something, and then I saw a light shining from their room still. It's like 12:15, and I open the door, and I'm like, "Hey," and they both peek their head outta Simon's bed, and they're playing this game on the iPad still, and I was like, "Asleep, now."

- Now.

- Right, now, because Simon's six, right?

- Right.

- Kannen can kinda handle midnight.

- Sure, but you know the nightmare that the next day's gonna be.

- Oh my god. It was like five o'clock and Simon's still in his underwear from the day before, because he hasn't done anything.

- He's like, "I'm a grown-ass man, dad, "I'm not putting this jacket on."

- [Eliot] Yeah, exactly.

- And I'm not gonna change my goddamn underwear either.

- He would never change his underwear if it weren't for us. But yeah, so anyway, back to... Sorry I sidetracked there.

- No, you're good.

- I think we're gonna see it this week. But yeah, you wanna be Yoda. You have to be a nerd to love Yoda, like the nerds love Yoda. Everyone loves Luke.

- You gotta be Mickey in "Rocky." You gotta be Sam Elliott in "Roadhouse." Now the one thing that sucks about all those characters is that they die.

- They die.

- But that's the Hollywood formula.

- But you gotta be Yoda, 'cause Yoda goes on to live eternally.

- Dude, like eternally, right? It's like legacy, like that's just a metaphor for legacy and vision that won't die.

- I have to do a different comparison play. I always say that Amal's the emperor and I'm Vader. And Amal can just be Yoda and I can be Obi-Wan.

- Yeah, that'd be a good one.

- I think that's probably better. God, you gave me these show notes, and I think we touched on one of them?

- [Jake] Yeah, sure.

- Big ideas versus big execution. I do wanna hear this Mike story though, this funny Mike story that you've got.

- Oh, yeah, and Mike knows it. We revisit this story about once a year, and I love Mike. He and I have become good friends over the years, and it was funny because he had... This was when Mike went to Brazil and he was there for like-

- Oh, shit, so before Janik.

- Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, and he comes back, and this dovetails into the original story of me just sending Amal a message saying, "Hey, I'd love"--

- To help.

- "I just wanna help." And I wasn't looking for anything other than to help. And so he sends Mike an email and says, "Hey, blue belt Jake is asking "if he can help do intros or something." Mike replies and doesn't realize that I'm on copy, and he says, "Yeah, well, we're not gonna pay "that guy anything 'cause he's already got enough money." And so I immediately replied back, "I think Mrs. Jake might disagree with you, "but I'm not looking for an"--

- Yeah, reply all is a motherfucker, bro.

- "But I'm not looking for anything in return." And he's like, "Oh, shit, I'm so sorry." That's probably the day we went from being acquaintances to being friends, but it was a great conversation and I think a good lesson for him to take a look at that address bar before he hits send.

- That's why he has the pro on boxer, because the pro on boxer, you can recall your messages.

- You can recall yours messages.

- Half the messages for Mike are recall, recall, recall, recall.

- But I gently remind him about this maybe once every couple of years. I just forward the email chain to him, I'll never delete it.

- [Eliot] Oh, you still have it?

- Oh, damn straight. Damn straight.

- Dude, that's over 10 years ago.

- It was like nine years ago.

- Fuckin' A.

- Isn't that funny?

- Oh, shit, that was hilarious. That's funny, that blue belt Jake has enough money. That's funny.

- I was like, "My wife Amy might disagree with you, "but okay."

- Yeah, I'm fine with it, but she's not.

- Right.

- Man, thanks for coming.

- Thanks for the invite. This was great. I appreciate what you're doing. Just one last thing to kinda wrap this up, if you don't mind, I remember when you said you were gonna do this, and we had a great conversation about this Easton.Online podcast and the videos, because I think maybe there were some people who were like, "Well, yes, we are uber successful "in this scheme of what we do as a martial arts academy "relatively speaking to a lot of other places, right?" It's like, "Why would we share with everyone "what it is that we do?" And I'm like, "Man, give it away, give it all away." And you're like, "Oh, I feel the same way, "I feel the same way." Because number one, this is a big idea. It doesn't necessarily mean that everyone out there is gonna have the big execution. That's number one. It's not like you're creating problems for yourself. Number two, if every martial arts academy that we have competition, and I put that in air quotes around, all of a sudden gets amazing and great, then that just means that we have to get better. We have to innovate, we have to take it up a notch, and that's growth and that's a good thing. But then the last piece was, and I thought a lot about this, the mission is to change people's lives through Jiu Jitsu. It doesn't say it has to be through Easton. It's just changing people's lives through Jiu Jitsu.

- The martial arts.

- Through martial arts. And so guess what? That's exactly what this podcast is aimed to do. So I love what you're doing.

- Thanks, man, I appreciate it. It's my whole goal.

- Boom.

- Everyone's life can be better, and if I can have this small little part of it, just a touch of it.

- Sure.

- It's kinda why I do everything in my life. You might just touch someone enough, just like this little and then boom, then they can go be great. I can't, you can't make anybody great.

- Yeah, but what you think is just the boop could be a major nexus point for that individual.

- Yeah, for sure, it might be.

- Jordan, he's about to embark on this new chapter in his journey in Jiu Jitsu and is someone who runs a business, and he's gonna have that. So this is where it's like the journey of life, man, it just keeps going and going and going. So just love what we're doing.

- Yeah, man, me, too.

- It's good.

- What I'm trying to do I have to say is I'm trying to have some more boops without more burns. I'm trying not to go like one boop for 30 burns.

- It's okay, you're gonna have burns, it happens.

- [Eliot] Yeah, it comes with the territory.

- It comes with the territory.

- I don't mind the burns. I hate if I create the burn, that kinda drives me nuts. But what, you know, trying to deal with that.

- The only thing that would drive me nuts about that is if you didn't learn something as a result of that. If you learn from something, it's fine.

- Sure, yeah, and on your point of why put it out there? Come on, man, Danaher put all his shit out there for Jiu Jitsu.

- For sure.

- Right?

- Yeah.

- You think he doesn't know the answers, too? You think that's not making his guys better?

- [Jake] Right.

- If everyone can get better at attacking the back, his guys will get better at defending the back.

- I mean, do you think Tonon and Ryan got angry at him for putting that series out?

- No.

- Of course not.

- Of course not.

- Of course not.

- Right, so yeah, when you have something amazing, put it out there.

- 100%.

- That's it.

- Cool.

- And put it out there, I don't know, you don't have to do it, like I'm probably not the way to do it because I put it out there when it's not even the best product yet. Like my new Zoom H6 recorder, using it without, so whatever. I mean, if you wanna go that route, you can go that route, too, but whatever you're doing, guys, share it with the world. Share it with the world. It might just catch fire, and not to make money, to change people's lives.

- Be an evangelical.

- Woo, man, imagine if a religion hooked me.

- Oh boy.

- Imagine. I'd be a gazillionaire.

- I don't see that happening.

- No, I don't see it either. I have one, martial arts.

- That's right.

- And I'm not a gazillionaire.

- The mats.

- But all right, man, I appreciate it.

- Thank you, appreciate you.

- What are you doing for the holidays? I know it's probably gonna come out after the holidays, but here we are, what are you doing? Tell the people.

- Amy and I and the girls are gonna head to Florida for a few days. We're gonna spend Christmas on the beach. And then her mom bought cruises for the entire extended family, and so we're gonna go down to the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. It's gonna be nice to unplug.

- Hell, yeah, have fun.

- Hell, yeah.

- All right, guys, I hope everyone enjoyed this episode of Easton Online. Go give us a .

- That, too.

- Give us a subscribe on YouTube, on iTunes, on Stitcher, Google Play, wherever you are listening. Man, we would love a review. If you are finding this helpful or not helpful, man, I'm all about YouTube comments these days. I know YouTube comments are the worst comments, but we had a 30-minute conversation about it on my personal podcast. Leave a comment, even if you wanna tell me I suck, I'm okay with it, you're not gonna lie in your opinion, and I can totally handle it. You're not gonna tell me I suck at basketball when you're listening to my podcast. So it will be something relative to the podcast that I could probably work on, and you probably have some semblance of truth in what you're saying. So please leave a comment, good or bad, a review, all that. I hope, by the time you listen to this, it's gonna be after the holidays, so I hope you had a great holiday.

 

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