Ten Lessons – Recap Ep 9-12

In this episode the four of us, Dr. Duff Watkins, Siebe Vanderzee, Jeffery Wang, and Robert Hossary review episodes that featured Alan Kilfoyle, Garry Browne, Narelle Hooper and Brad Casper. We disagree on some points but we still share with you, our audience, the lessons that resonated most with us.

About Us

Between us we have over 200 years of combined experience in business and life. We have all lived and worked in multiple countries and cultures. It is that experience that we share with you through our podcast.

We came together on this project when we were discussing how valuable the lessons that we now know would have been to our younger selves.

We asked some of the sages and gurus that we know in our network if they would be willing to pass on their lessons to the world through our interviews and it was no surprise that they all readily agreed.

So we embarked on this journey of interviewing and documenting important lessons from these leaders of industry, academics, celebrities and run of the mill successful people so that their wisdom can be shared with you.

We know that there are somethings with which you will agree with and some that you will not. After all isn’t that what life is all about?

Ten Lessons – Recap 3 Episodes 9-12

Duff Watkins: [00:00:00] Hello, welcome to the podcast “10 lessons there took me 50 years to learn” where we interview guests and gurus, leaders and luminaries, people you write about, but people you’ve never heard of, but you should. Where we dispense wisdom, not cliches, banalities or platitudes to an international audience of rising leaders. People like you. My name is Duff Watkins. I’m your host. I’m coming to you from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Let me introduce you to our team.

First, the Dutchman in the Desert, Siebe Vanderzee, originally from the Netherlands. He’s worked in Latin America, Europe. Now he lives in Arizona, which is a desert, hence the name. Also we have Jeffery Wang born and raised in Taiwan, but he’s as Australian as anybody as you’ll soon hear when he speaks. And finally our executive producer, Robert Hossary, who comes from a planet far, far away, species unknown.

Gentlemen. Welcome to the show,

Robert Hossary: [00:00:49] Dr. Watkins. Good morning to you.

Duff Watkins: [00:00:52] Today we recap four of our previous guests, the first one, a guy that I interviewed by the name of Garry Browne. Garry is a brand expert. He has written a book called “brand New brand You” and he’s transferred what he knows about branding from his long illustrious business career to personal branding.

Now I know personal branding is a crock of horseshit. What say you guys?

Robert Hossary: [00:01:17] Thank you for joining us, Garry. I’m sorry you’ll never be on the show again. Thanks to Duff! I don’t know. I agree with Garry, personal branding in today’s age of social media, of instant communication, of connection, of network is vitally important. It was important back when I was a sales cadet, and it’s even more important now because you’re exposed to more people.

I remember very clearly in my early days of sales, some of my clients are talking about the jelly bean lady. What the hell is a jelly bean lady? That was a sales person. One of my contemporary peers who would leave them with a bag of jelly beans after every sales visit, that was a form of personal branding back then.

Some of my other peers would write handwritten notes of thanks to their customers, to their prospects. That was a form of personal branding.

So yeah, personal branding is very important. It was then, it is now and it will continue to be and Garry

Duff Watkins: [00:02:24] no it’s not. And that’s a horseshit example. What do you other guys have to say about this?

Jeffery Wang: [00:02:29] One of my key takeouts is actually from lesson four around the idea that reputation is yours to lose, but that’s not about the actual lesson itself.

He mentioned something quite profound a bit afterwards, and that’s the distinction between an image and the reputation. And image is only a perception, but the reputation is what the reality is. Right. I was thinking probably a better word for reputation is “character”. Because building image is relatively easy as you know, in social media, you kind of see this glamorous version of all your friends, all the holiday pictures, and champagne dinners and probably, you know, stuff to do on boats. But in reality your reputation is built on what you do and all the difficult decisions that you have to make day-to-day and that’s what builds your reputation over a long period of time.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:03:22] I think you cannot escape the fact that branding exists. And of course, depending on the situation that you’re in and what you’re doing, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not that you have to have a brand to get the job, but you have to identify what makes you different from the next person.

We just heard the term used – “image” is important. At the same time it has to be authentic, right?  There are different elements that have to go into the branding, you can use different words, someone would use the term value proposition. I think it does exist.

Robert Hossary: [00:03:58] Brand exists, personal brand exists.

You can think what you want Duff, but it exists. And something that we’ve discussed many times before “perception is reality”. The way other people perceive you is their reality of you. Therefore, if you expand your brand to other people, whether it be jelly beans, whether it be thank you notes, if you expand your brand to other people, that’s the way you will be perceived.

So, yeah. I’m sorry. Garry is right. Just because you don’t believe in marketing, that’s not his problem or our problem.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:04:38] It would be interesting to hear Duff’s take on this.

Duff Watkins: [00:04:41] Well, we’re not talking about marketing. We’re talking about the silly nonsense of personal branding. So once again, have I made my position clear? “horse shit”.

First of all, your point Jeff about character is very important. Garry Browne has been awarded the member of the order of Australia. Now that’s like a very high level award for citizenship granted by the government. He was awarded for business and for philanthropy. So, I mean, he is a guy that walks his talk and I would say for those people who are obsessed with personal branding, we haven’t become enlightened sort of like me then that’s what you got to do just walk your talk and you will have a personal brand.

The rest is horse shit. Have I mentioned that? 

Jeffery Wang: [00:05:21] Great point Duff. So The other thing that I’ve noticed from that lesson, and I think you’ve brought it up there.  He did talk about the alignment of your values to your reputation.

Now what’s interesting is that you don’t always know what your underlying values are. It took me a while until I realized who I was inside. So it was particularly difficult for me to actually build a brand or image that’s aligned perfectly to who I was until I knew who I was. When you’re a young person, you try to please everybody and you realize that’s not a way to build a brand or image.

 What you should start with is understanding what your value is, and then build a brand that aligns with the values that fundamentally will build that reputation of yours. And so what I mean by that is that to build an authentic reputation, you need to know who you are and then live up to it over a long period of time, which is what I believe what Garry was getting at.

Robert Hossary: [00:06:19] Well, I think we’re spending an inordinate amount of time on one aspect. Garry spoke about a lot of other things. And the one that stood out for me was “a job description is not a job prescription”. That’s something that a lot of leaders today don’t understand, a prescription is what a doctor gives you that says, “you must do this, you must take this to get better”. And a job description is “this is what we’d like you to do in this position”. But a lot of leaders, a lot of HR departments, you know, confuse the two and make a job description a prescription, which means you’ve got to do what’s on this paper, which pretty much destroys innovation, destroys free thinking, destroys the ability for the employee to come up with new and exciting ways of doing that job.

So I think that point, especially from Garry was very, very well-put.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:07:21] Robert, he added to that saying “job description is not a job prescription”, doing your job is not enough, it’s merely a guideline. See what opportunities exists and delivering an outcome, not just doing your job.

A job description that sometimes is a wishlist that the company says would be great to have all these, but the individual will make that job come to life, whatever he or she brings to the table. And obviously the outcomes that matter. That’s the job prescription that is so relevant. I thought it was a great point. 

Jeffery Wang: [00:08:00] So I’ve been waiting for a lesson like this one, “learned to be vulnerable” is one of his lessons where it sort of flies at odds with other lessons we’ve learned before, which is “project certainty” if you remember.

So how can the leader show vulnerability and project certainty at the same time?

Robert Hossary: [00:08:17] That’s an excellent point. I don’t have an answer to that.

Duff Watkins: [00:08:20] My answer would be, if you’re authentic then you do.

Robert Hossary: [00:08:23] Yeah.  If I’m understanding Jeff’s question, does vulnerability undermine your authority or status as a leader?

Jeffery Wang: [00:08:33] Well, it’s just imagine, right? The situation, you’re in a battlefield, you’re under enemy fire and you have to take cover.

If you’re the commanding officer, you have to make a decision. What do you say? I’m shit scared, but please charge, charge, charge forward anyway. Or do you say, you know, just charge.

Duff Watkins: [00:08:52] I can tell you about a guy that I interviewed, who was a captain and a, I won’t mention the country and I won’t mention where he was. Cause he weren’t supposed to be there. And he said, when you parachute in at night into enemy occupied territory, and you’re finding terrorists and you land in the wrong place and you don’t have a clue what to do and your men are looking at you, you can’t say, “Oh, I don’t know. What do you guys reckon?” You know that ain’t good enough.

But now this is a point though, in the military, they train you. Exhaustedly comprehensively to know how to handle those circumstances. High pressure. Peak performance. So it doesn’t happen by accident. Those guys drill relentlessly on that. So they will know what to do, when they don’t know what to do.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:09:40] Good point. Very good point. And I know in the future we will have one of those military leaders as a guest in our podcast, so we can address it in more detail. .

Robert Hossary: [00:09:50] It hasn’t answered the question though. We’re not talking about stress.

I think Duff you hit it with authenticity. Yes, absolutely. If you’re authentic, people will see that you are a human and you are vulnerable, but Jeff’s question is very, very good question.

Duff Watkins: [00:10:09] Posing as invulnerable, doesn’t fool anybody, except those who want to be fooled. And also the vulnerability is there for all to see. It’s just a question of what do you do with it? So, but anyway, but yeah, back to Garry’s point that he just learned too, if I recall correctly, he was saying he didn’t have to be right all the time. He didn’t have to pretend to be right all the time. It’s the bullshit persona that people disliked.

Robert Hossary: [00:10:34] There you go and I think that’s the answer learning to be vulnerable is exactly what Duff just said.  Saying, Hey, I was wrong with that decision. That’s a good direction that you’ve chosen, Jeff, let’s go with that. So that is being vulnerable, but still having that leadership quality to be able to move forward with it, accept the fact that you’ve made a mistake.

Duff Watkins: [00:10:57] Well, I think Garry made the point and maybe it’s in his book or it, maybe in the interview, that comes across in a board meeting. He was a CEO and chairman of boards. And being able to hear, listened to, accept, contrary diverse opinions to what you think you ought to do.

And he gave this story, he was the chairman and he’s in a meeting. And basically he was the only one who felt they should go in this direction. Everyone else seemed to go that way. So he walked his talk. He resigned. You didn’t try and impose his will. And he said, look, it’s pretty clear.

You know, I think strongly, this, you think strongly that.  You’re in agreement. I’m not, I’m the odd one out. So he resigned the post. That’s walking your talk. That’s authenticity. He didn’t yield. he didn’t succumb to group think, he just stated his case and sort of let the chips fall where they may, to me, that’s authenticity.

All right, let’s go to Alan Kilfoyle, who is a career coach, but he speaks a lot about acting, what you guys think of Alan’s wisdoms.

Jeffery Wang: [00:12:01] One lesson that really jumped out at me was the last lesson. Listen, learn, live up to, um, I think I agree with Rob’s comment that this lesson is much more profound than people realize the first time they heard it.

Because sometimes others see you with far more clarity than you see yourself and especially your strengths. Most people don’t realize that what comes naturally to them may be very, very difficult for others. And indeed it is very, very valuable for others.

You know, one of my biggest aha moments of my life was when I sent my closest friends a survey about what they really thought of me, some of the responses I could anticipate, but one particular response that stood out because it took me completely by surprise and then actually ended up being completely true about me.

I was never aware of it until it was reflected back to me from a very dear friend. And so the question was, what was I doing when I’m at my best? and the answer was “you’re helping others”. So the funny thing was I never considered myself as a particularly philanthropic person or particularly selfless person.

That’s not what this question was about. It was about motivation. It was about what ultimately drives me. What gives me energy, what gives me meaning. And that completely changed the way I approach my life and my job. You see, because I’m in sales, right? If helping others is what drives me, I can solve customer problems all day long.

And so that to me was a very enlightening experience. And that’s exactly what Alan was talking about here. Listen, learn and live up to, and when I reflected on my life, that was the one time that I realized that was exactly what was happening.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:13:41] Good point. I like to focus on the third lesson, be culturally aware. The question then becomes, how can you learn? And the answer may be well, go travel, go explore and get to know people. But of course, many people don’t have that opportunity. How can you learn and how can you become more culturally aware?

Duff Watkins: [00:14:02] Well, my answer is marry a, Brazilian, you know, Rob, you married an American citizen.

Jeff, I don’t know who you married, but

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:14:13] There are ways to make people aware because if you look at cross cultural communications there are several steps involved and it always begins with awareness. Understanding that there are differences and it is not necessary for someone to actually travel to a foreign country, to learn that lesson that as people we are different, we are very similar, but we have differences.

It starts with awareness and we get to communication. We get to negotiation, doing business, and you get to the point of managing people in a different culture. And ultimately you get to problem solving, which is the most complicated in a cross-cultural environment.

Duff Watkins: [00:15:00] One of the things I liked about Alan’s presentation, he was talking about acting. I often, say to people in business, forget MBAs, forget your degree, to learn to act because you will be called upon to do it so very often.

And what I mean by that is you have so many roles in life, but also in business. Alan said, be aware of yourself as a product. Now I disagree with that. I don’t think you should think of yourself as a product. I think that’s foolish, but what he meant and what he elaborated on when you learn to act.

And I mean, just take acting classes, you will learn who you are, by really pretending who you’re not. And the more authentically, the better that you do that, um, the better an actor you are. And as I like to say, if you do it well enough, if you fake it, if you impersonate, somebody well enough they’ll give you a big golden globe statue called an Oscar, you know, just by pretending to be somebody else, if you’re good enough at it.

And his point was you will learn by impersonating or experiencing these other people. These fictional roles you’ll learn who you are, what your real real values are. And he also quoted the famous director. The director says to the actor, and the boss says to the employee, don’t tell me, show me.

Cause when you’re acting, you have to manifest physically what your intention is, and doing an acting course, acting lessons is an excellent way to do that. And I think Kilfoyle is right on about that.

Robert Hossary: [00:16:29] I agree with that, but the lesson in the interview with Alan that came through besides the one that Jeff’s picked up on, which is “listen, learn and live up to”, which I still think is incredibly profound. The lesson that, that was just so bell ringing for me was be resilient, you know? And that goes on to some of the other lessons with other guests that we’ll discuss in the future, but be resilient.

Things have a way of working out, Duff. What was that, that you said in your, the mantra that you would always…

Duff Watkins: [00:17:09] a psychologist in a self-hypnosis tape,  I heard the tape so many times I started chanting it. Life has a way of always working out.

Robert Hossary: [00:17:16] Exactly.

Duff Watkins: [00:17:18] If you look around, you’ll notice that it does.

Robert Hossary: [00:17:20] And if you learn to be resilient, knowing that that will happen, it really lifts you as a human being and, and makes your whole life more bearable because it’s not bad. Nothing is as bad as your imagination is making it out to be, as Duff says, Life has a way of always working out. So be resilient. And in one of the future episodes, I’m not going to spoil it, but one of the future episodes with Jeff, there’s an even better saying.

So that’s coming up, keep an eye open for that, but seriously, be resilient was really a powerful one.

Duff Watkins: [00:18:01] Well, well, don’t keep us hanging. What did Jeff say? Geez, I gotta find out now

Robert Hossary: [00:18:07] Click that subscribe button and you won’t miss out.

Jeffery Wang: [00:18:11] So that’s a great segue to my point. So you were saying, be resilient.

One of the lessons that Alan mentioned, number six, that “the show must go on”. Now I take a particular issue to this one look I know the saying “the show must go on” the point is that it doesn’t matter what’s happening at home. You’ve got to sort of check that at the door and you’ve got a role to play because the entire weight of the theater, the show, and it could be a metaphor for society as a whole is resting upon you doing your job.

But the reality is, and then we just spoke about this, the authenticity piece, you know, the reality is that we’re all human. I think a better saying here would be, “the show will go on with or without you”

Robert Hossary: [00:18:54] I like that Jeff,

Jeffery Wang: [00:18:58] Sometimes, you know, you have to decide whether you will have to be a part of it or not, sometimes you just have to walk away.

Yeah. Let’s all agree to change that saying now because Jeff you’re spot on. I love it.

Duff Watkins: [00:19:13] The man is just spouting memes right and left today.

Robert Hossary: [00:19:16] There you go.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:19:18] The one that I also want to share of course, and that’s an easy one is lesson number nine, teamwork. And. I must say I had to think of our team because we all have different backgrounds. We all have different thoughts and ideas, and we discussed it, very…

Robert Hossary: [00:19:37] and we’re all carrying Duff. I just thought I’d put it out there…

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:19:43] but that’s how a team is supposed to work in my opinion. Right? So I thought it was, it was a lesson that, that kinda jumped at me because what we’re doing with this podcast, and I want to include our guests because we all know that our guests are very qualified, successful individuals, but they really liked to be part of our podcast, “10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn”. They are happy to share their thoughts with future leaders at any age, in the modern workplace. So that overall team approach. I like it a lot, that it’s part of these lessons and it is something that I think we all experience as well.

Jeffery Wang: [00:20:30] What I took out of that lesson ” know everything that’s going on, but don’t micromanage”.

What I took out of that was simply “know what matters”. Right? Know what’s important. And I think that is the one thing that probably differentiates the leaders from managers. Leaders knows what the right things are.

There’s a good saying leaders do the right things, whereas managers do things right. This is what differentiates somebody who can achieve the results versus somebody who’s just burning themselves out trying to cover every single detail of the business.  You only have a finite amount of time and attention you can devote to a business and you have to focus those on all the things that matter. Not the ones that ultimately don’t, and that’s why you don’t micromanage. You have to make sure you know what’s going on, but you can’t get into every single detail. And quite frankly, that’s not the best use of your time if you did.

 But the art  and I suppose this is something that will take a whole lifetime to perfect is to know what are those things that matter.

Duff Watkins: [00:21:33] Okay. On that note, let us turn to another guest Narelle Hooper, who is one of Australia’s premier business journalists. Now I’ve been reading Narelle’s stuff for decades, and she has been writing about business for decades. Now editor of the Australian Institute of Company Directors magazine, what did you folks think Narelle’s wisdom?

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:21:54] High energy!

Robert Hossary: [00:21:55] Yeah. Narelle was, was great. And yeah, the energy was definitely there. Her background is flawless. The lesson that spoke to me was put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Uh, yeah, we’ve all heard this one as well as we’re traveling, but when you stop and think about it in a business context – “get your shit together,  then go and help other people” is basically what I took out of that.

And I love it because it’s common sense, but that’s the whole point of what we’re doing here on this podcast. What our guests are doing just like Siebe said, we’re sharing these lessons that are in essence, when you boil right down to, most of them are common sense, but nobody knows this stuff anymore.

 So I just found that a very, insightful and valuable reminder. To get your own self in order, make sure you know your own priorities and know yourself, before then going out and pointing at other people.

Duff Watkins: [00:23:02] One of the things that Narelle said that I liked is you have the power to influence. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you have the power to influence.

You may be a junior person. You may be a senior person. It’s not about the politics, but you have the power to influence. And that’s a really important lesson to learn.

Now it may be a little ability to influence. it may be a great amount, but you do have some and the implicit lesson to me is accepting that I have this power, this ability to influence others. And it’s up to me to exercise it or not. But one thing I won’t do is I’m not going to complain that I don’t have any power really influenced blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, just  bleed all over the HR manager’s desk, you know, but because you have it, is just whether you accept it or not.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:23:53] I thought a good point in that and actually Jeffrey really helped in that conversation. To be aware of cultural differences and to make sure everyone is included. An example was made with maintaining eye context or not eye contact because in different countries that can have a different impression.

Yes, you have the power to influence, but be aware of cultural differences.  The fact that you have the power to influence, that’s definitely part of most individuals, you have the power, how you apply it, that may differ.

Jeffery Wang: [00:24:26] So speaking of cultural differences, my favourite lesson from there, that’s not a surprise is Lesson, number 10, “always have good hair, and shoes”.  I’ll explain why, because this lesson was particularly difficult for me to learn, right?

Perhaps it’s my Taiwanese cultural roots in Taiwan, they scoff at vanity. They value character and substance, but they absolutely look down upon people who obsess about appearance, so I’ve struggled to struggle to work on my physical appearance for the same reason.

I just can’t reconcile the need to present oneself the best way possible without feeling like I’m shallow and vain. It wasn’t until, my career in sales that I started fully appreciate the power or presentation and the difference it would make to the outcome of a situation, such as a professional profile photograph, could suddenly change people’s perception of you instantly.  I think having paid attention to your own appearance also put you in this mindset of confidence, and as Narelle puts it no matter what happens today, at least I have good hair goes on to show just how much people are willing to forgive, provide you look a certain way.

Now do I like it? Unfortunately I don’t, but it’s just the way of the world. And as experience has taught me, just roll with it because quite frankly, if just having good hair and shoes gets you through the day, then it’s a pragmatic advice that I’m willing to take.

Duff Watkins: [00:25:53] Well, first of all, you will always be fetching eye candy to the rest of us, Jeff. So don’t worry about it. Secondly, it’s not a question of whether you like it or dislike it. And I learned this the hard way too. I’m with you. It’s just the way the brain works. That’s all it is, it’s neuroscience, your brain rapidly assesses.

And so by the way, Narelle is the one, two ,third guest on our show to mention shoes, we’re onto something here. There’s something about footwear we need to investigate further and I’ll tell you what it is because footwear is outside your normal vision, that the other person could look down and see if you have these scuffed Doc Martins or whatever people wear nowadays, they cannot help but infer certain things about your attention to detail and it’s not conscious, it just happens so quickly on an unconscious level. And that’s why, as I said, style is not to be despised. Um, and it’s not pure vanity. That’s a mistake in thinking that it’s really just looking the part, it’s part of being the part.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:26:58] I have another thought on one of the lessons – “try to do no harm”. That makes sense. It makes good sense. But really, how can you avoid it? In some cases, people may perceive that you did something that is not helping them and perhaps it’s causing them harm. It was not intentional, but it happens.

Jeffery Wang: [00:27:24] I think the issue around that is around the word – “try”, we recognize that you don’t always know the outcome, ultimately if you think about the Hippocratic oath, do no harm, whenever you were intervening in the situation,  as well intentioned as you are, you’re trying to not make things worse.

And quite frankly, there is a lot of social activism out there that I’m seeing today that cares more about moral vanity than it does about the actual outcomes of the people who they are purporting to help. And I think that’s what it’s trying to get at, in your efforts to help, don’t hinder, don’t make it worse.

And that takes a certain level of wisdom until you realize that intention is no longer enough, the outcome matters.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:28:07] But if you cannot control it. When I think of issues around the world and currently again, in the location where I live in Arizona, when it comes to immigration, we don’t want to harm these children that are kept at the border, but we’re not doing anything about it.

Isn’t that creating harm to those children?

Robert Hossary: [00:28:28] It is. I see your point, Siebe, but that is on a macro scale, I think with Narelle point it’s personal, individual, within your sphere of influence, I think there has to be because you can’t control everything.

 In business, Google, when they first started, wasn’t their mantra “do no evil”? And then what are they doing now? But it will creep in. However, if you look after your own solar system, your own universe, I think you control that more than you can control the world in general.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:29:08] Unfortunately I don’t necessarily agree because it sounds like an excuse to say, well, I’m not in charge.

I can’t control. Therefore, I don’t have to do anything about it. I don’t have to go to a person who is in a position to do something. I just go on with my life because I can’t control it.

Jeffery Wang: [00:29:30] I don’t think that’s her point, her point isn’t to stay out of things or not to do things. I think her point is to understand that consequence matters.

 The point that I find particularly, not troubling, but it’s a bit of a contention for me is her point about “looking out for landmines”, where she spoke about potentially doing things more diplomatically would have fared better, with the benefit of hindsight, she probably thought that, but you see my personal experience dictate those who are more willing to engage in conflict tend to succeed more. I don’t think that Narelle would be anywhere near the trailblazer that she was, if there wasn’t that fiery streak to her personality. I think if she had been as diplomatic in her beginning of a career, she might not have been noticed the way that she was.

Duff Watkins: [00:30:15] Uh, I don’t think so. I think she’s right.  There’s no reason to kick down the front door unless you’ve gone down and see if the back door is open or maybe a window. I mean, if you haven’t learned that by now, you will.

And I, I don’t know what experience you’re reciting Jeff, but I don’t know many people who succeed by being overly contentious.

Jeffery Wang: [00:30:35] Well look, and if you look at the landscape of the media today, right? Those who screams the loudest tend to get the most attention, and that’s what I mean.

Duff Watkins: [00:30:43] I’m talking serious people though.

I’m talking serious people, the kind of people we have on the show, I’m not talking about, chowder heads who have access to Twitter. I don’t mean that that’s, you know, they don’t count

Robert Hossary: [00:30:55] They’re starting to count, Duff, you’ve gotta be careful, they’re starting to count.

Jeffery Wang: [00:30:59] Which is not a good thing mind you. I’m with you Duff. I wish that was the way the world worked.  and that’s what I’m seeing as a massive problem. I think the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I mean, the reason why that saying goes.

Duff Watkins: [00:31:13] Well, yes, you’re right. It is a problem. And the squeaky wheel does get the grease, but that’s not conflict. That’s different. That’s puerile attention-seeking, that to me is the problem. And it’s the need for attention that so many people don’t seem to grow out of.  You were talking about conflict, true example, a lion and a tiger come across each other in a jungle, what happens? Who wins? And the answer is nobody because both of them will go to great lengths to avoid each other. Why? Because the cost of a conflict is so extremely high. Animals know this all the time. They don’t engage in conflict unless it’s absolutely necessary. And usually they have to load for success.

 They want odds in their favor because the cost of conflict is so high. It could damage their survival. Now in the corporate world, in the business world, the cost of conflict can be pretty bloody high. So you better know what you’re doing.  When you go in and have good reason and have the right forces behind you with you.

Jeffery Wang: [00:32:16] Did you just justify nuclear weapons?

Duff Watkins: [00:32:19] Yeah. Well, let’s not get too melodramatic about it, but

Back to Narelle, but one of the things she said this sort of as an aside, talking about money, wealth, income. She said money, it’s a projection, not a reflection of your inner worth.

Now she says that, I repeat that. And a lot of people will be nodding and saying, I know that. Yeah, no, you don’t. You probably don’t because a lot of people think their income is a reflection of their inner worth, but it’s just a projection of what you think you’re worth and what it means to you. But it actually is a disconnect between your actual, absolute inner worth.

And I liked the way she put it there.

Robert Hossary: [00:32:59] And sometimes you just fall into a bucket of money. Sometimes you’ll pay them a hell of a lot more than you expected to be paid.

Duff Watkins: [00:33:08] Well, I’m looking forward to that day Hoss, but, yeah, until then, good.

All right. Moving on to Brad Casper. Brad Casper said something that I want everybody to remember this, write it down, put it by your bedside. Leadership is not a title. My interpretation of that is leadership is a series of behaviors, a set of actions, a bunch of things that you do or don’t do, but it’s not a title.

Robert Hossary: [00:33:33] It’s an excellent point. And I couldn’t agree with that more, that leadership is not a title. I love that point. I also found that when Brad spoke about, your career being the sum of many micro careers was so resonating to me because I’ve had multiple careers in different industries.

Whereas if I look back at the generation before mine, where you had one job for life. And you worked somewhere for 30 years, even here where I work, we’ve had some staff here that have been here 35 years. I think that’s too long. Being in one job for that amount of time means that you don’t have that wealth of experience of all these other scenarios that you can bring to your organization. You don’t have those problem solving skills that you can bring to your organization.

And employing people from within your own industry is so incestuous that it brings no fresh ideas into the company, into the organization, into the industry. So I love the fact that Brad said that, I thought well done, more people should understand that so the point Duff just made, and the one that I had just made, I think in my opinion, anyway, two of the most valuable lessons that I got out of Brad.

Jeffery Wang: [00:34:59] So I agree with that.  There’s a good saying I heard before from a Dutchman once said,  it’s interesting how your Australians, employ people on the experience and not potential. And that the value of having these micro careers, builds on your skill stack that gives you that additional capability.

And that’s why industries where you have more of that movement, more of that mobility and where people take chances with each other, that’s where all the most exciting innovation happens. The lesson that’s stood out for me, from Brad was about aligning your life mission with your professional one and live it fully.

So he had this awesome story about how he met Stephen Covey and wrote down his timeless mission and personal values. And then thirty years later, his wife found it  and realize that they actually lived that fully. That is something that I love because I don’t believe in having to check your personal life at the door when you come to work, you need to be your full self in order to be your best self.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:35:56] And I must say, Brad is living that life. I’ve known him for so many years and you can see that. And the balance between work and life, his family, it’s very transparent. One of the lessons that got to me in a positive way of course, was the best way to predict a future is to create it.

And I really liked that approach because you have control, you can do things you can develop, you can learn, et cetera, et cetera. That power is very important and energy, it is a crucial element in people’s work behavior and success. If there is no energy with all due respect, it’s going to be very difficult to advance your career.

So be an energy provider. That’s one of the things that Brad was saying. And I think that’s very helpful.

Robert Hossary: [00:36:50] You know, to your point, and to Brad’s point, isn’t that what the four of us is trying to do here.  Aren’t we trying to create a bit of future by bringing these guests to the fore and help getting them to share those lessons with our listeners. We want to create a better future. We want to create a future where the upcoming leaders don’t have to go through all the crap that we went through and get them to evolve even faster and pay it forward, help the next generation become even better leaders.

I think that’s what we’re trying to do here.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:37:24] Yeah. And I think in that context, Robert, if you think about the greatest lesson that Brad Casper was talking about, he said, “don’t retire too early, stay intellectually busy”. And he learned that lesson from his own father at the age of 101 years old. When you’re young, you grow, you develop,  in many cases you build a family and then you get to a point where you look after the grandkids.

But if your mind is still active and you have that energy going, don’t stop because you reach a certain age. If you feel that the energy is still there, the engine is still running. Keep going. Don’t let an age limit you in your activities. I thought that was a powerful lesson as well for all of us.

Duff Watkins: [00:38:12] When Brad was talking about his dad who was a hundred and one years old, he had senior business positions well into his seventies. I thought to myself, Siebe, get his dad on the show. I want to hear what old man Casper has to say. He’s got it going on! He retired from four or five jobs, but he didn’t really retire.

He just left the company, but he didn’t retire from life. That’s the beauty of what it sounded like. That’s just a wonderful thing when you see it, but you see the opposite a lot more.

Robert Hossary: [00:38:38] True.

Duff Watkins: [00:38:39] Was there anything in particular that people vehemently disagreed with from our guests?

Jeffery Wang: [00:38:45] Well, not so much vehemently disagree with, but I had issues with, lesson 8, treat others how you’d like to be treated. I mean, I tend to agree with the principle that you should treat each other with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt, but we need to recognize not everyone’s the same. We spoke about cultural differences, for example, this lesson’s particularly hazardous if you are the one that’s the outlier.

If you’re someone that like to be treated quite differently from most people, then this lesson probably wouldn’t work out very well for you. I think a better lesson would be to “treat others how they like to be treated”  and just be aware that, sometimes just because you might want to be treated in a certain way that might not always work out well for you.

Robert Hossary: [00:39:26] Yeah, I totally agree with you, Jeff. I was going to say the same thing, I think you have probably the same experience that I’ve had. You treat someone the way that you want to be treated and you end up offending them because that’s not the way they want to be treated. While I understand  what Brad is saying, and I agree with the sentiment of what Brad is saying, you’ve got to look at that situation very carefully.

And again, add in some of the other lessons, you’ve learned some cultural lessons and don’t treat people the way you want to be treated. Do what Jeff said, treat them the way they want to be treated.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:40:06] One of the lessons from Brad was how one deals with failure, rejection, and disappointment is at least as important as how one deals with success. Well, how you deal with failure, rejection, disappointment, and how you deal with success. I see a difference and I do believe in the concept, get over it, move on.

But when you have success, That is a little bit easier or a lot easier than when you deal with failure and disappointment and rejection.  I understand it, of course. And I understand the context in which Brad was talking about it, but I want to have a distinction between the two, because it’s failure and rejection sticks with you a little bit longer than getting over the success that you’re having.

Duff Watkins: [00:40:57] Well, I didn’t hear it that way. I think Brad was onto something that you have to learn how to handle failure. And you have to learn how to handle success. And I’ve seen people, I’ve seen basketball teams is on my mind at the moment who cannot handle success. They had a bit of  things go their way. It went a few games and then they just regress rapidly because they can’t sustain it.

Or you see people to get in positions of power or they get money. And then all of a sudden it corrupts them. They just lose track. They lose touch with themselves. So learning how to handle success. I think this is my take on learning how to handle success is as equally important as learning how to handle failure.

Of course, most of us get a lot more experience with failure, but, maybe that’s why some of us don’t handle success so well,

Robert Hossary: [00:41:43] Again, just to Siebe’s point, if you’re successful and you handle it badly, and you fail, then you’re going to learn, hopefully learn from the fact that you’ve failed at being successful and be better at being successful the next time.

So, yeah, I think you’re right. Siebe, I’m starting to see it your way. Learning how to handle failure is probably a little more important than learning how to handle success, but you still need to do both I believe.

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:42:12] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Duff Watkins: [00:42:16] Anybody have any final comments before we finish up here tonight?

Robert Hossary: [00:42:19] I just want to advise the listeners of the next four podcasts that are coming up which,  it’s going to be the Duff and Siebe show.

We have, in no particular order we have Alan Haselden. Alan Hazelden is Duff’s guest

Duff Watkins: [00:42:34] Hazeldon is the former chief executive officer of a large us multinational you’ve probably never heard of Inpro. And when he was managing director of the Asia Pacific region, it was the jewel and the crown of the company. And then he left to go into politics and the company went right down the gutter. I’m just saying, I’m just saying he got something to do with it. He’s our guest

Robert Hossary: [00:42:55] Siebe’s guest is Bill Guy and  he’s the episode is the hiring process is broken, Siebe, what do we know about Bill?

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:43:02] Yeah, Bill is a global executive guru,  I use the term again. He has been doing executive search, I think for 40 or 50 years and has done business across the globe and has written a book about how to find your next job.

So he has a lot of insights, information, a lot of experience, and a lot of good tips and suggestions for people who are in the workplace and perhaps looking at advancing their careers and the same by the way for people who serve on a board of directors. Bill works on that as well. So he has a lot of interesting information to share with the audience,

Robert Hossary: [00:43:45] Brilliant, Guillaume Lucci.

He’s episode “leave the money, take the opportunity”. Duff,

Duff Watkins: [00:43:51] Yes Guillaume is the chief operating officer for the Rezone group. Again, large company you’ve never heard of they operate among other things, ports all around the world,  with container terminals, infrastructure, everything from power plants in Iraq to water projects in the Philippines, anyway, quite an international businessman for a very large successful company.

See Guillaume I think he speaks four languages. I think he’s born in France, I met him in Rio de Janeiro and now he lives in the Philippines and, but we catch up in Australia. So he’s an international guy and his wisdom about business was very pithy, concise, and I thought spot on. Very accurate.

Robert Hossary: [00:44:35] to round up the four, we have Jacob Butler. “Don’t wait for change”

Siebe Vanderzee: [00:44:41] Well, that’s an interesting one. Don’t wait for change. Jacob is a member of the salt river pima maricopa indian community, native American community. And their tribe was at the very source of what is now Phoenix, Arizona. And Jacob is an artist.

He makes beautiful pottery and paintings, et cetera, but he is also, as I’ve learned a very wise individual, he has learned some rough lessons, but he has really elevated from his rough upbringing in a way.  He is very philosophic. And one of the things that I have learned in the United States, and of course we can look at other countries as well.

But if you look at native American tribes, their ancient history, but more importantly, perhaps their value systems, they’re almost like separate countries. Their belief system is different. Please never think that all native Americans in the United States are the same, because they’re not. And I think in the podcast, you will learn more about, tribal belief systems and his understanding of the world, the way he sees it.

And you’ll hear some, I would say very powerful experiences that he has gone through  that kind of shocked me when I heard that. So I really want to make sure that we let our listeners know that this is a very powerful podcast coming up in a few weeks.

Robert Hossary: [00:46:19] And that’s it. That’s your next four guests, back to you Duff.

Duff Watkins: [00:46:24] Thank you folks for listening to us. This has been the recap session of the podcast, 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn, the podcast that makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

And you can contact us. You can email us directly. In fact, you can subscribe and Robert Hossary is going to tell you how.

Robert Hossary: [00:46:41] Your favorite podcast app and you hit the subscribe button. So on your app, just look for 10 lessons learned and when you see these blue and black colors, just that’s us hit subscribe and you won’t miss an episode.

And if you want to write to us, then you can at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. And I can guarantee you that Duff will answer you personally.

Duff Watkins: [00:47:10] And by the way, the color is teal, not blue, but don’t be confused by that.

And as always, let me mention our sponsor professional development forum, which sponsors us, and we’re grateful for that.

You can find out more about them. Professionaldevelopmentforum.org. That’s one word professionaldevelopmentforum.org. They provide for younger leaders, social media discussions, podcast, parties, anything you want, everything you need is right there. Professionaldevelopmentforum.org, and it’s all free for you as good until then.


We’ll see you next episode. Thanks for joining us. 


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