No matter what business you are in, we all need to create good relationships to succeed. At the end of the day, everything is connected, and we need to learn how to take care of each other. In this episode, Dhomonique Murphy is joined by someone whose very brand is about connection. She sits down with bestselling author, keynote speaker, executive and leadership coach, and consultant, Blaine Bartlett. Here, Blaine talks about how keeping people connected to the business brings life and animation to it—which then creates the very soul of the business. He then shares some great advice on how you can do that by engaging your employees in their work and, most importantly, by being an effective leader. Get inside this conversation to learn more about running a business that connects and makes a difference.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Soul Of Business: Connecting People Through Effective Leadership With Blaine Bartlett
We have a special treat for you, Blaine Bartlett.
Dhomonique, it’s my pleasure to be here.
It’s our honor to be here. Blaine is an international bestselling author. He is a keynote speaker and executive leadership coach and consultant. Is there anything you don’t do? You cook, you’re an avid fisherman. Let’s talk a little bit about your story. Can you bring us up to speed? Let’s talk about your childhood first and then talk about what you’re up to now.
I grew up on a farm in rural Oregon, a middle-class family. I have four siblings. It was fairly idyllic. Self-reliance was part of the whole ethos of the family. Dad was a serial entrepreneur, started several businesses. Mom was the rock of the family. From a value standpoint, I learned a lot about how to live a life that informs what I do now and what I’ve done in my life. I’ve been an entrepreneur and still am an entrepreneur. Also, the self-reliance piece, if it’s going to be done, I would find a way to get it done. That has formed a lot of my journey is being willing to take risks, go out and do something new. I remember a story about my dad. At one point in time, he decided he wanted to start a trucking business. He did not have a clue how to drive one of these big semis but he thought that would be a good business to get into. He had a friend that drove a logging truck. Dad went out and he bought a truck. He invited this friend, Bob Houghton, to come over and show him how to drive the truck.
I remember seeing them going down the road that we lived in herky-jerky because dad was learning how to shift this truck. The first haul that he did, he had to stop at the scales on the road. There’s a protocol that you follow evidently when you put your front wheels on and then you move forward when the green light flashes and dad didn’t know any of this. Bob had never told him any of this. Dad’s sitting there and this guy comes running out of the shed going, “What’s the matter with you? Are you blind?” Dad had to have this guy tell him, “Give him a lesson on how to go through a scale on the truck.” The point of this is he would be willing to jump into something because he thought it was a good idea and how never stopped him.
He would make it up as he went along and he never failed. It was interesting that he had setbacks. When I say he never failed, even in some of the darkest times, the trucking company is a great example of this. His values would always be on the forefront and he would come out on the top side of it. This was when the first gas embargo hit back in the ‘70s here in the US. The number of clients that he was working with went out of business and dad was a middleman and this was part of what he was doing with his truck. He thought it was an interesting way to make some money. He would be the middleman on this thing. He was left holding a couple of hundred thousand dollars’ worth of inventory and had no place to move it.Everything is organized around relationships. Click To Tweet
These guys were all going out of business and they weren’t paying him and he had a couple of options. A couple of hundred thousand dollars back then, it was a lot of money. He had an option to declare bankruptcy or find a way to negotiate repayment. Bankruptcy was an easy way out and that was not the way he went. His dad would have shot him if he had done that. That has carried through. Value is important. My word is important and he had given his word. He was going to honor that commitment to the people that he had bought this stuff. He wasn’t going to let them holding something for pennies on the dollar.
It took him about four years, but he ended up paying back that entire amount of money that was owed. He ended up selling the trucking line and then going into something else. I’ve never forgotten the integrity around a value. I gave my word, I’m going to honor my word. Partly, that informs how I work now. I rarely do have a written contract with any of the clients that I work with. It’s pretty much a handshake and I’ve been doing that for years. If they are adamant about signing a contract, great. Not to worry, we’ll work with that, but it’s the relationship that’s important. Everything is organized around relationships. That’s a lesson that I took from my dad. He was adamant about the integrity of the relationship specifically as akin to his word.
How can we have good relationships? How do we do that? How do we implement this?
I think the way that gets handled is to recognize that everything is connected. This gets into a metaphysical conversation in one sense. We in the Western world, in particular, look at the world as if it is us and them, us and it. I mentioned I grew up on a farm. Everything was connected. I learned some of my biggest lessons in life about how life is from being on that farm. There was nothing that died, even though some of the life would go out of something, but everything was composted. Everything was recirculated. Everything in some way, shape or form was connected. When I started recognizing that connection, that everything is connected, I start taking care of it in a different way. As a husband, in the sense of taking care of, I shepherd these resources. I take care of them in traditional definitions of those words.
I think it was Plutarch, the Greek stoic philosopher, talking about Sparta and Spartan soldiers. If a Spartan soldier cropped his shield, it was an act that was punishable by death. If they dropped their breastplate or if they drop their mask or their sphere, it wasn’t that serious. Dropping the shield, you’d get killed for that. The reason for that was it put the entire company at risk. You didn’t maintain your shield for yourself. You maintain your shield for self and company. Everything was connected. As I look at what we’re doing and this goes to the question of relationship, I wear a mask outside not because it’s about me and it’s not my comfort or anything else. It’s because there’s protection for others. I am connected. I can’t not wear that mask and be in integrity with the idea that everything is connected and that your wellbeing is my responsibility.
I want to talk about your products. You have so much information out there that you’re sharing with our audience. Thank you for giving us many nuggets of you, your brand, and what you do every day, day in and day out. You live this, Blaine, and it’s refreshing to come and sit here and talk to you because this isn’t a spiel. This is what you do. This is what you live. You embody this. Talk to us about your podcast.
It’s been running for less than a year. It’s called The Soul of Business with Blaine Bartlett. It’s like the book I wrote, Compassionate Capitalism. It’s almost like an oxymoron, compassion and capitalism hand-in-hand. That’s oil and water, it doesn’t work. The same can be said of most people’s thinking of business having a soul. Business does have a soul. Everything has a soul. Carl Jung talked about the soul being that spark of anything that gives it existence. It’s what calls this couch that we’re sitting on into existence. There’s a soul in this couch. If I’m honoring the soul, then things become possible that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. That is a backdrop.
The Soul of Business is a podcast where I speak to leaders from around the world that are running a business that finds ways to keep people connected to that spirit, that brought life and animation to the business itself. The business has grown typically over time, but you want to find ways to keep people connected to it. Gallup does a series of surveys every year and for at least the last 25 years that I’m familiar with. One of their findings is that 97% of the working population is detached from their work process. They’re emotionally disengaged. That number has not changed over the last twenty-plus years.
What’s interesting is that businesses around the world spend about $44 billion on average annually on leadership development with the intent of fixing that disengagement number. They aren’t fixing it because they’re paying attention to the wrong thing. They’re paying attention to stuff around strategy. They’re paying attention to vision and things that you would typically think of, but what they’re not paying attention to is how do you connect with the soul of the business? How do you connect to the soul of the individual in a way that allows for the soul of the business to be part of that whole process? This is a long explanation of what this is about. Business is the most pervasive force on the planet. There is nothing on this planet that is not touched by the activity of business for good or ill.
If businesses aren’t behaving in a way that they are responsible for the entirety of the life on this planet, they’re missing an incredible opportunity to make a difference. That soul of business makes that possible. When you start articulating what the soul of who we are is about, you start connecting to outcomes. You start connecting to how resources are used. You don’t throw things away. You build in recyclability. You build in ways for people to passionately engage in what you’re up to and how you do that is the question. That’s what we explore on The Soul of Business is how do you explore that and what are the ways?
Tell us about your most recent books.
The most recent book is called The Leadership Mindset Weekly. It’s a collection of 52 weekly practices that are intended to affect a shift in the mindset that most leaders hold about what it means to be an effective leader. It’s organized around how I define leadership, which is the activity of co-creating coordinated movement. It takes a particular mindset to be able to do that. It begins to make you irrelevant in one sense, the notion of a heroic leader in the front leading the charge. It takes the command and control piece and sets that aside. Co-creation requires a relationship. It requires understanding the world in which you inhabit, in the world in which I inhabit, and finding a common ground so that we can co-create something new and different that has never been before. The coordinated movement is the execution piece. How do we do the dance necessary to get that result produced? These 52 practices are organized specifically to shift the mindset that makes that outcome possible.Business is the most pervasive force on the planet. There is nothing that is not touched by the activity of business for good or ill. Click To Tweet
Tell me about some of your other books.
I mentioned the Compassionate Capitalism: A Journey to the Soul of Business. That became an international bestseller. We hit number one in five different international markets on that one when it came out. I wrote a coaching book several years ago, Three Dimensional Coaching, that’s also available. It’s a performance coaching model and then takes the three most prevalent coaching models that are used now. It finds a way to integrate the three of them, so that you’ve got a holistic approach to how you coach an individual, either as an individual coach working with a client or as a manager working with an employee. Another book that I had was one that I was a co-author. It was an anthology with Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard and I. There were a number of other authors who were involved with it as well. We all contributed pieces to it. That was the first book that I wrote.
Where can we buy these books?
They’re all on Amazon and the website, BlaineBartlett.com. Speaking of the mindset, there’s a mastermind program that people maybe want to get check into. It’s the mastermind that is designed and organized around the book, The Leadership Mindset.
If you’re reading, you get to work directly with Blaine. They get to see you, they get to work with you.
I’ve priced this in a way that makes it accessible. A lot of these mastermind programs will be upwards of $20,000, $30,000 a year. This one we’ve priced it at $195 a month on an ongoing basis. It takes 52 weeks to get through this thing. It’s a year of practice. We wanted to make it as accessible to as many people as we possibly could, and not just the elite leaders in an organization. My bias is leadership exists at every level in an organization. If people can develop a mindset that is appropriate to their level in the organization, the organization is going to be in great shape.
It’s less than $200 a month. Everyone reading this can invest $200 a month. Oftentimes people say, “I don’t have that right now.” Look at what we wasted a month. If you were to take a step back and look at what you spend in a month, catalog it, itemize it and see what you waste money on. Why not spend money on something that can improve your life, the life of your family, and can help you grow? That’s what we’re doing here. It’s educational.
It’s practical and educational. My entire life has predicated on people producing the results that they say they want in their life. Finding ways to make that possible is if I can do that in a way that is accessible and affordable, I’m all over it. That’s what I think we’ve got here. It’s a simple program, it doesn’t require a whole lot of investment. Also in terms of practices, it’s built in a way that isn’t intrusive into your life. It’s built as an adjunct to what it is that you’re doing in your life. It’s a set of practices that provide a filter for you looking at what you’re doing and how you’re doing what you’re doing over time such that the mindset begins to shift. Mindset shifts through repetition. In 52 weeks, you will have enough repetitive work done with these different practices that your mindset will have shifted around what it means to be an effective leader. It’s at BlaineBartlett.com/MindsetMastermind.
Thank you so much for your time.
It’s my absolute pleasure, Dhomonique.
You’re a dream and you’re filled with much information. We appreciate everything that you’re giving to us and our audience. If you want to hear more from Blaine, there’s much more on TheRightMethod.com. Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.