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Welcome to the Scale With Speed Podcast. I’m Matt Manero and I’m Judge Graham. What are we talking about today, buddy? Dude, we’re talking about having tough conversations in the workplace. If you’re listening and you don’t get uncomfortable having tough conversations, then you aren’t having tough conversations. Because tough conversations are tough, are tough and they make you uncomfortable. And um, and they’re scary and they have real implications such as if you have to have a tough conversation with your number one sales guy, you might lose revenue. Yeah. Right. If you’re having tough conversations with someone who has a bunch of stuff going on in their home and their home life, and you’re not sensitive or recognizing that, then you know, you’re probably going to have somebody quit and be pissed. There’s a, there’s a million different reasons that go into the cause of having tough conversations and we’re going to dig into a bunch of them today. So, um,

One thing I, you know, everybody listens to this podcast. It’s such easy correlations to work back to home life. I mean, tough conversations needed to be had also at home could be with your kids, could be with your spouse. It could be with your in-laws before we dive into this Matt. Cause I love this one and it took me a, I wouldn’t say a long time, but I had to experience a lot of pain and loss of income as it relates to business until I just landed the plane on this one and I would call him.

So what I want everybody to really understand, because this podcast is called scale with speed, dude, if you don’t have tough conversations, you will not scale with speed. You will not compress time. And let me just give a quick example. You know, you have that individual that you just can’t stand talking to in your organization. You know, there’s a problem. He knows there’s a problem. There’s fucking tension. And it continues to build and your ass just thinks it’s going to go away. I’m going to let it ride out. He or she will quit it. You know, I know their numbers are down. It’s not that bad. And then weeks go by and maybe even a month goes by and the loss of revenue, the loss of morale, how you feel, even though you don’t realize that every day that you don’t even go in your own fucking office, happy, happy is because you were too scared to have this conversation. Okay. So frame that up as you go into this, I mean, how important it is because now imagine if you just had it, how you compress time, how you, you feel better more than likely how that individual feels better because the other tip I’m going to give you is more than likely they want to have that conversation. They know it too. Just like, you know, it just both, you are too scared to have it,

Dude. I’m a, I got a story, uh, for today that, that, um, helps solidify the back half of what you just said. They want to have it. Right. And I’m, uh, I’m going to give a little story here in a minute that I think would be ideal here, but let’s, let’s give some examples of more examples of what a tough conversation actually looks like. Right? The employee performance is below expectation. Um, you’ve got to fire somebody. That’s tough conversation too. Don’t leave. What impact does that have? Um, they’re bothering the other employees. Yeah. What does that mean? They’re talking distracting, or be a negative. Maybe.

Then, maybe you know, it’s flirting with them. Yeah. How about, by the way, we’re talking about just the employee side of things too, but you know, you got to have tough conversations with customers too. Right. But what if the client isn’t happy with the service that they’re getting from the account manager, meaning you’re going to have a tough conversation. You’re going to lose the damn client. Sure. Um, how about they smell like booze? Yeah. Every day a guy comes in and you just kind of smell like booze this morning. What about reefer? I did smell like I agreed this morning. What’s going on there? You know, what is the culture? Do you want to talk to him about it or not? And then this is kind of odd, but it does happen, man. They don’t dress well enough. Sure. They just don’t uphold the standards of the organization.

They just sort of look frumpy or look like shit. And it just, you know, I mean you would never see an ups driver, not in Brown. Yeah. It’s just how they do it there, you know? Yeah. So small examples, but real examples of things that, um, make that conversation uncomfortable. And we could both go to a laundry list and the listeners can as well, you know, um, judge, give us a story of how you had to have a tough conversation. What was it about, how did you have it and what was the outcome? Yeah, totally. I remember

Fundamentally when, was pivoting from this idea of being a digital creative boutique agency to a, a fierce commitment of data and results. Okay. So the tide was about to shift from creative, led the strategy to data and analytics, living the strategy had a great creative guy at the time, right. Leading up our creative teams. And uh, he just couldn’t make that pivot. Right. And, and, and again, it wasn’t right or wrong. It was the, where we were going as a business. And you know, this is a real tough conversation because great guy, great work, great leader, great morale fit the culture, everything, but the business has changed and you got to sit down and have that conversation with the guy because this festered for a couple of weeks, because you know, we’re changing process, we’re leading things and he’s saying, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

I need more time. The idea drives it. The creative and I’m going, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. The fucking cost per click is driving it. The bounce rates drive it in, in the data’s driving it. They liked the red button. Not the blue button. No, no, no, no. But blues on brand. No, no, no, no red button. Right. We’re using the red button. So that got contentious. Right. So you literally have to sit down and have that conversation of going, you know, um, dude, you’re not going to be a fit here anymore. And I believe fundamentally you can’t change and, and you need to be in an environment where the blue button matters more than the red button. And so, you know, today’s your last day and we’re going to, we’re gonna pay you through. And you know, I hope you, you know, you leave on good terms and you’ve got to rally your rest of your team because we need them.

And um, you know, it was a tough conversation, man. I mean, because we had so many people that believed in him and he was a great leader. He had done a good job, amazing job. Right. And so the conversation was really one you didn’t want to have specifically. Cause I liked the fucking guy. Right. And, and the team liked him and he did great work, but you had to have it. And if I wouldn’t have had it, um, it would have lingered and we would have started to lose some of those accounts, which from a fiduciary perspective wasn’t right. For everybody else.

Yeah man. And that’s a big money deal as well too. I mean that was a guy that had a successful career and was,

Oh yeah. I mean he, we, we paid him, you know, mid six figures.

Yeah. That was a, that was a big, there was a big loss on the executive team. Oh shit. Yeah. Well mine, isn’t my story on the tough conversation is not quite as expensive as that one is. But uh, I remember having a guy doing telemarketing for us. And um, this guy was a really weird cat. His name was Larry and he drove a big black van, like a 1970 18, like a BAS van and this crazy son of bitch, man, he smoked like a chimney and this crazy bastard would go out. He would take his lunch break and he would sit in his van in the parking lot and he would smoke and eat his lunch in a hundred or

I’m getting a visual just sounds fucking awful,

No air conditioning or nothing. I mean, it was just crazy Hoff just thinking about it. And Larry’s performance, uh, was good, started out good. And then just began to trail as we all have experienced. And the tough conversation was, uh, and I was so young in my career, dude. I just, I labored over this conversation of how do I get rid of Larry, right. I mean, I just, did I lose sleep over it? Right. This also gives you an idea of, of vision or lack of vision of the organization and expectations and all that sort of stuff. I was worried Larry was going to quit. I probably drank at the party. It was crazy.

Yeah. He’s probably making calls and stuff.

Give Larry his space. So I said, Larry , we’re going to have a talk. And he, uh, he, he carried this like lawyers, briefcase, uh, one of those box briefcases. And uh, we met at the conference table and he slammed his briefcase down on the table, very aggressively. Right. Dramatic, dramatic. And I said, uh, Larry, I got to let you go. And uh, and he looked me straight in the eye and he said, you should have fired me three weeks ago.

Yeah, no, I’ve had that too.

And, and I said to myself, I will never be afraid of that conversation again, because if I’m ready, I’m late.

Yeah. And not only that, Matt, I want to, I’m going to piggyback off of that dude. The team knows when somebody shouldn’t be there and whether you realize it or not, they’re looking toward your leadership and they’re talking and going, why the fuck is Billy still here? Or Bob or Steve or whoever, I’m just making up a name. Right? They’re like this dude doesn’t fit the culture. He’s, he’s, he’s creating issues. He’s causing anxiety and he’s being disrespectful. Why isn’t our leader doing something about it? Okay. So this tough conversation, this idea, and this concept is much bigger than you’re feeling. And you know, the examples that just Matt and I gave, but there’s a trickle effect to the organization. Okay. It’s very clear when someone doesn’t belong anymore. And if you just want to let it play out and see if it self-selects you’re, you’re being a bad leader. In my opinion,

Do I? I just couldn’t agree with you more, but, but we lose sleep over these tough conversations. So let’s give our listening audience two primary concepts that make tough conversations so much easier. And the first is you have to care about the other person, but we just, you know, we just had an example this morning in which I was having a conversation with a sales guy about, um, you know, dude, it’s time for you. Like

It was a tough guy. It was a great, you did a great job, but that was a tough conversation because it was just a tough one.

But, I needed him to understand that regardless of the outcome, I want the best for him. So I’m interested in his life getting better than where it is right now. Forget about the economics in the business. It’s how do you get to the next level? So that’s the first element of reducing the toughness of these tough and fierce conversations as you call it. The second piece which I want you to dig into is do you have data that helps support your reasoning for having the tough conversation? Right? I mean how we either have to present with care of the individual or we have to present with that.

And this gets back to, and I don’t want to steal thunder here. So chime in this is setting the expectations guys, right? So we’ll use an example. We talk about all the time and burn the ships and Matt is relentless. It’s like, Hey, do you want to work here as a sales person? Yeah. Great. My average sales people make X. You like that salary? Yeah, it sounds great. Awesome. Okay. Now, in order to make sure that we have a proven formula, you got to, we’re going to give you the list. We’re going to give you the computer. We’re going to give you the phone. We’re going to give BiPAP, blah, we’re going to set you up for success. You have to make 175 calls. I’m making this up. Those calls turn into X amount of demos, those demos, then turn it X amount of proposals. And on average, those proposals convert at this rate. Okay, that’s the job. That’s the requirement in order to make the number I showed you, you’re comfortable with that number. Well, yeah, I want it awesome. How’s that conversation now playing out Matt. If four days go by and they’re making 50 calls versus 175. That tough conversation. Isn’t as tough.

Yeah. That’s the perfect example of using data to, to reduce the toughness of the conversation. We set the expectation. Everybody agreed on it. It was clear. It was a miss. We talked to them or reminded them of the expectation that was set and clear and agreed upon. And then there’s a miss right now. The first two misses, we would suggest you have a caring conversation. The third misses, what are we going to do? Right. Without change there won’t be changed. So what are you going to do now? The organization has given you everything you need. And the data’s saying, you’re not doing it. Do you need more training? Do you need more management? Do you need more leadership? What is it that you need? Because in most of those situations, they just need more work. You just got to do more work and they’re not willing to do it. Yeah. So the point is the two ways that tough conversations get easier for both sides is that you lead with care, the individual cares, you care about the person’s success, his family or her family’s success. And then you bring that into support. Yeah.

Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s huge. It is, in what we’ve seen play out is when you do both of those, you start to see them coming before you come. Hey, Mr. Manero. I just wanted to let you know. I appreciate you so much. I can tell that you care about me and I care about this organization. You’ve clearly outlined what I need to. I’m just not a fit for me. It’s not for me. I can promise you that happens. And when you start to see that happen, you know,

No you’re onto something special. You call it this self-selecting process.

Yeah. It’s self-selects dude, this is how we do it here. This is our culture. These are our behaviors. This is our belief system. And it quickly, you quickly understand, do you belong or not? It’s like being a part of a team or a tribe or a religion or whatever it is. You either feel like you’re a part of it or you’re not. And it’s your job as the leader to do that in those tough conversations. Now aren’t taught,

But judge, this is what we see over and over with our, uh, burn, the ships attendees, who by the way, are many are very successful business guys in the initial phase of zero to 5 million. And then the S the, the, the organization starts to break and where it falls down is culture. Doesn’t give them the strength to lead with care, and they have no systems to support data collection. They just haven’t set the expectations. So the guys floating around and kind of, Jenny’s doing this

Still an entrepreneur, and they haven’t converted to CEO.

Totally. That’s exactly what it is.

So, you know, this, this is a great one, this, this tough conversations. And, you know, I think Matt, I love that lead with care and then lead with data right now. It’s a self reflection moment for, for everybody listening or watching right now, have you done both of those? Have you provided, are you pissed off and frustrated, but yet you haven’t provided the success roadmap. You haven’t given them what they needed to be successful. So therefore, that conversation is really tough and you’re, you’re mad at yourself and you don’t even know it, right? You have to have self reflection and make sure before you have any tough conversation, did you set up this individual for success? Were you clear on the expectations? Are they clear on the culture? Are they clear on what they’re accountable for? And, and, you know, are you leading with care? And if you’re doing all that, guess what conversation, didn’t tough.

It’s no longer tell, but here’s the, here’s the crazy part about it. Everybody thinks the system has to grow to a certain level through chaos and then break, and then you have to do this. No, no, listen, we teach to burn the ships. You can do this from day one. Yeah. Followed the steps from day one. And you’ll eliminate this school of hard knocks, which the judge and I believe is not a school at all. It’s actually a freaking nightmare. Right? But everybody has this badge of courage that I came up through the school of hard knocks. And we’re here to tell you, dude, it doesn’t business. Doesn’t have to be that there is a systematic approach to running a successful business and we teach it, it burned the ships. So I’m going to plug it, burn the, go click bootcamp and come to our October boot camp in Dallas.

All right, buddy. So we have,

We have our Monday moments, right.

You know, what’s great about this pipe, Matt and I are so tactical, right? So we want to make sure that there’s some actions you can take tomorrow or on Monday, um, that you get to walk away with. And we’ve got five. So Matt wants you to leave with the first one,

One. Okay. We, you touched on it earlier. Number one of your Monday moment and listen, if you have to take all fucking weekend and you have to cancel your date night and you don’t go to the games, you need to take the time to redo these expectations within your organization. You got to set crystal clear expectations for everybody that says, this is how we do it here. And judge, and I would go so far as to say set them in everything. This is like, um, you know, as we’ve been looking at, uh, at budget stuff, the question has been, what about travel, right? What are we doing for travel expenses, with Corona and all that sort of stuff. And, and we now would like to put, travel back into this, into the budget and the schedule. And my response was, well, who’s going to travel. And the names that were thrown out were some of our younger sales guys, newer sales guys.

Right. And I said, well, um, do they know how to carry the bag? That’s what I refer to traveling as carrying the bag, right? Like, I mean, you just, if anybody’s been on the road with an old school sales guy, mean like the briefcase, like my old briefcase of every judge that was carrying the bag, judge, judge bought me a new briefcase that I love. I use it all the time. And I turned in my old briefcase. And dude, let me tell you something, just a side note. I bet 10 people have bought me new briefcases over the years and I never could give up my old briefcase, but I, I, but yours was so functional and so cool.

I don’t know how to carry the fucking back

Can airlines can, can, can prove it with data. So I just, uh,

I just have this vision of this, this road warrior, if you’re allocating company profits and money to it, do they know how to carry the bag? And the reason it connects to the expectation pieces. I said, I want to train these guys. I only need an hour, but I want those guys to know, this is how you stay in a fucking hotel. This is how you fucking fly. This is how many appointments you’ll be on. When you’re using company money. This is the car that you drive. This is how you set your day. You’re going to take the early morning flight and you’ll take the late night flight out. Right? I want to train you on how to carry the bag my way. And the reason for that is because, you know, when I, uh, learned the guy that I first worked for all those years ago, it was a freakazoid about travel expenses. He wanted you to travel, but he forced the training of how you traveled in his version of it. Yeah. So how do you set the expectations and go set them for everybody? Okay. Number two. Yeah.

Number two is to use your core values as the foundation for the tough conversation. So if you’re in an organization right now and you don’t have a belief system, you don’t have habits based on core values. It’s, it’s, it’s harder to have those tough conversations, right? If one of your core values is speed and you’ve laid out the accountability using Matt’s example of, you know, this is how we carry the bag. And you know, you do 15 appointments every time you travel. Why? Because speed is a core value of ours. And we compress time and we’ll figure out how to do 15. When most salespeople only can do 10 or whatever it is. Now, when I sit down and you didn’t carry the bag, right? And you only got five consistently, dude, I sit down that tough conversation goes back to Matt’s one. We talked about 15 appointments. I taught you how to get the 15. You agreed on how to get the 15 in. Oh, by the way, remember that core value. We all live by speed, compress time to what’s going on. That’s much different than going, not setting expectations, not having a core value. And then just getting pissed off at the individual because they haven’t done what they, you think they should have done,

You know, do that, that guy that I worked for, talking about the train in the bag here, here’s one thing he would do. Like if, if a few of us went to an event, we had to sit at different tables. When said, why, why would I have two of you? Or three of you sit at one table the six times. So you dominate the table. No one is at each table. So you have five prospects for every one of you at each table is brilliant. I mean, it sounds simple, but, but that’s what you have to do to get people to figure it out. Um, number three is the one that I didn’t understand when I was doing it. And w it’s, it’s a huge regret that I have in my, my career. Um, number three is praise in public problems in private, big dude.

I didn’t understand it. And I, I, I, I ha I have to admit it. Like, I didn’t understand it until a couple of years ago. And even then I truly didn’t understand it. And I’m going to tell the story of how I, I saw you do it recently in a meeting where, um, you had a tough conversation with the organization. And we had someone that was, uh, she had already put in her two weeks, she was leaving the company. And, and during that meeting, I was saying, you know, Oh man, you know, the judge just threw the hammer down on that one. Right. I’m saying that to myself. And when the meeting was over, she came up to you and said, Hey judge, can I have a conversation with you outside? And I said to myself, Oh boy, she’s on her way out. She is about to lay into his ass.

Right. And give her a piece of her, give him a piece of her mind. And she said to you, that was the best meeting I’ve ever been in. And the company needed that meeting. And she appreciated you for doing it. And I, I don’t know if you remember it, but I was driving home and I called you. I said, I just saw why she said that. Yeah. And the reason was because you never called anyone individually out, you kept it as a collective unit represented or pointing out the problems. Collectively. When I had those meetings,

Year upon year upon year, I relished the opportunity to call the individual out in public and, and to go even so far as to potentially embarrass them. Yeah. And that was such a terrible flaw in my character to do that. I didn’t understand that you praise in public and your problem in private. Yeah. It’s, it’s huge, man. I mean, that’s what a great one to add. So right now, you know, self-reflection moment, how are you handling those problems? Right? Because back to the tough conversation, it’s a lot easier in a group to boost your chest out like a peacock and just start yelling and calling one individual out. Cause you got numbers and you got an audience, okay. That’s the wrong way to handle it. Right. You know, and for the female listeners or whatever, I would say, listen man up, okay. Have it in private.

Have the tough conversation. Use what we’re telling you because the organization needs it. The individual needs it. That’s a great one. Matt. I love him. Praise in public problems in private. All right. So the next one has backup data to support your position, right? I think we’ve belabored this one, right? You can’t have tough conversations and be frustrated or upset with someone for missing something. If you haven’t properly provided the roadmap, the expectation, the ability to be successful. And furthermore, you don’t have a system that accurately tracks it. Once you have those things, you lead data to lead the conversation, right? It’s not, Hey, why aren’t you hitting your sales number? It’s Hey, Jimmy Lee, I’m struggling here a little bit, bud. You’re down month, over month. And I went back and looked and it looks like to me that, you know, you have been making on average 50 calls a day and the other month you were making 175.

So what can I do Billy to hell or Jimmy to help you get to the one 75? That’s a totally different conversation. You’re not working hard enough. Well, I should’ve thought I was working hard. I go home tired every day. You’re not doing your job to what I think I was expecting. And you uncover things. Maybe it’s Hey, you know, boss, I, I, uh, I’m glad you asked because, um, uh, I don’t know if you knew this or not, but you know, uh, operations changed our list and now I can’t, it’s bad data and I can’t call. So now you have the conversation with ops and say, have you realized what’s happening here? Yeah. Well boss, I was trying to save, you know, a hundred bucks a month. No, no, no, no, no. Like get the right list back. You uncover things by having the tough conversations and you need the data and diligence. So the number five of the Monday moments for how to have the tough conversations is, uh, give them another chance, but make sure you get

In, in parentheses what we’re calling a Roger that moment. It means that the other side heard you repeated the problem that defined the action change. Right? Roger, dude, I get it. I heard your boss. I appreciate the second chance. Now I’m going to go change

Two hours ago. I would have disagreed with five until I saw you handle that tough conversation with our sales guy this morning and what was my response? I was checked out and I was like, Hey dude, why don’t you just, just fucking go home and figure out what you need to do. Right? And you came back to five now and I, and I loved it. You said, you know, no, here’s what you need to do. I need you to do this one more time and put it in and then we’ll know in. And I would have never done that. But now watching how you handle that situation, dude, that’s spot on.

We’re going to give you another chance. Um, but I need to hear that you heard me and I need Roger that moment. I need Roger. That is a military term that when Roger, that is said back to the commanding officer, it means the subordinate understood, understood, right? Like clearly understood the mission

You said that you said the mission is going to be a hundred calls. This, this, this, this. Yeah. And then you literally said, are we good with that? And this is how we’re going to do it. And you know, he didn’t say Roger that, but he said, yeah, I’m going to do it. Yeah.

But you could see that there still, there still was hesitancy,

But that’s, that’s just how it plays out. You know? Yeah.

The point I think the big takeaway for anybody listening to is that, is that you’re looking for people that say Roger, that before you need to ask, like, right. I shouldn’t have to ask if you keep having to give extra chances and you’re getting a lot writer, the number five said, give them another chance. Right? Not multiple. Let’s just be clear on that.

That’s right. I am going to push back. It’s more than one. There’s probably going to be pushback.

All right. Listen to everybody. Burn the burn the Click bootcamp, October 7th and eighth in Dallas, Texas killer event. Watch the testimonials. Watch the sizzle reel. Um, the most important thing too is click the damn light button. Tell your entrepreneurial friends about this podcast. We believe it is one of the most. Yeah. Leave us your comments. We’d love to do a Q and a section down the road, a whole episode dedicated, but most importantly, do what we’re telling you to do this isn’t fantasy shit. This is not some book that we read and we’re regurgitating. This is shit that we have lived just like you’re living. Yeah. So we’re going to see all down the road.

Get the books, uh, the grit. We need to put the grid out. I don’t think it’s there. Matt’s book. Matt. Manero the grid. Great book, Matt you need more money. Great book. My two books scale speed. Mastering, recurring revenue. See down the, and there’s always

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