Entrepreneurs guide to clearer thinking and getting things done – Mark Green

Mark Green

Mark Green

Vandaag het tweede gesprek met Mark Green.

Aflevering 166 was ook met Mark. Ondertussen is zijn boek uit en ook te bestellen via Amazon.de of Amazon.co.uk.


Mark E. Green is a strategic advisor and coach to mid-market CEOs and executive teams worldwide. Driven by a relentless passion to liberate human potential, he has addressed, coached and advised thousands of business leaders across a wide range of industries. Mark deeply believes every CEO has the ability to unlock more of their own potential and, in turn, to help their people do the same.


Mark has helped his clients overcome major obstacles, deal with tough decisions and generate breakthrough results. His integrity, direct style and powerful intuition accelerate team performance, distribution of decision-making, productivity, revenue and profitability.  Importantly, Mark’s clients report significantly lower stress, reduced time consumed by the business and vastly improved life balance.


He is a Core Advisor to Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches (formerly Gazelles International), a Mentor to coaches worldwide, and an active contributor to programs and content for their global ecosystem.


In this conversation we go into detail on his book Activators. We talk about Fear and Inspiration as motivators for an entrepreneur. Mark explains the activators and tools you can use to work on these motivators.


We talk about good and bad habits for an entrepreneur. Mark shares his two most favorite productive leadership habits.


To conclude this conversation we talk about mastering your inner voice. A good way to do this is, Be your way into thinking. Mark explains how this works.


A conversation that is interesting for entrepreneurs that know what to do and still don’t do it.  


Enjoy the insights with Mark.


Show Notes

Episode 177


Links uit de podcast



How to hire a coach http://performance-dynamics.net/how-to-hire-a-coach/





Erno: Today I’m back with Mark green. I’ve spoken with him Episode 161, if you want to listen that first just passed this one and just go back to one this 161. But today we are talking about the book we spoke about before. But now I have the actual book in my hand that you can order through Amazon in Germany or UK.

And it’s just a great book because the book is about how you can do what you need to do as a CEO or an entrepreneur. And Mark discusses the eight activated that you can use to change the way you behave today and becoming that are infinite and have a better business. Welcome, Mark.


Mark: Thanks. No, thanks for having me back. I’m looking forward to this conversation.



Erno: Yes. And your listeners probably don’t know. But we had some difficulties of getting these recordings of. real really happy that this recording is going on right now. Anyway, also, you just mentioned and I think I should just go with it right now. Is that still probably people who are listening now to meet you at some point in Europe, because you are

going through a thought a tour?


Mark: Yes, I’m very excited. I have a European tour in the planning stages right now for the summer months. It will be a week in either July or August. We’re still working on the dates. And I’m pretty sure it will include Amsterdam and we’ll also be in Sweden, not quite sure where else we’re going to go. But there will be a series of workshops that I’ll be doing in in Europe and really excited to get back and to work with the the CEOs and entrepreneurial community over there. I got a lot of energy last time I was there in June.



Erno: Yeah. And I can, I can really

say that you you should go and do this workshop because I’ve enjoyed a small part of the workshop. And while I was in New York, and we did the workshop with you before the book was even there. So it’s gonna be even better now that you have the book of course.


Mark: So yeah, I’m excited about it. I did a just so the listeners know, I did a half day workshop for the eo organization here in New York City, the entrepreneurs organization. And it was incredible, because it wound up being the highest rated did a program of the year, and it just occurred two weeks ago.


Erno: Wow, congratulations.

Mark: Thank you.


Erno: Okay, let’s get to it. And talk about the book and talk about the book but the content of the book what’s in the book because it it is important if you want to grow as entrepreneur and you have a better business and it starts in beginning of the book, it talks about duality gap, it talks about

what be thinking to ship is and what it actually is. And can you can you tell me a bit more about that,


Mark: yeah, you know, we have this nice picture in our mind that we, we learn things, we think about those things, we, we integrate all that information to make decisions and commitments and set goals and objectives and strategy for our business. And then we act, we, we, we execute on those things. And then from that, we get results which we learn from, and then we think some more and then we commit some more, and then we accept or, and it’s the simple circle of learn things commit an act. That’s how we think business works. The problem is, it actually doesn’t work that way. Because our brains how we think gets in the way at every single step in the process, because of our fears, because of our habits, because of our beliefs about the past and the future, and how we think, without realizing it, colors, our effectiveness and all four of these areas. And so it’s it’s that we, the process doesn’t work the way that we think that it works. And that’s really the reason that I decided to write the book,


Erno: how, how did you find this out? How did you discover yourself or with your clients, that, that this is the way that it works. And people think it works in a different way


through the truth, we could we say, through the school of hard knocks here in the United States, that means you learn it the hard way. And I think unfortunately, for many of us, that’s, that’s how we have to learn things. And, you know, my, my coaching practice wasn’t where I wanted it to be. And I, I knew what I needed to do. And, and yet, I wasn’t able to have the conversations I needed to have, or surround myself with the right people or execute on it. And, and I met a lot of other coaches who are in the same boat. And, and many of my clients were also in the same in the same boat. So it seemed to me to be a very universal thing. And part of my journey was getting this figured out for myself, and then being able to actually teach it to other people and see it take effect and see it work there, which is what then led me down the path to write the book because I felt like I had the authority based on my own experience based on my teaching experience and coaching experience of others. And certainly with plenty of


social science and neuroscience behavioral science research to back up all the points


was there a specific aha moment where you figured out Okay, so this is where it’s different. And this is where where I need to change


Um, no, it wasn’t a particular moment one of the one of the so for me as a coach. One of the books that really got to me was a book by Pat Flynn, Sione called getting naked. And and this is a book written for coaches and consultants. And, you know, there were points in there about really how to behave most effectively as a coach with your clients. And the points that he was making in the book were things that I was afraid to do, because I felt feared that there would be consequences for doing those things like being able to, to, to speak very, very straightforwardly and honestly, with a client about something or lay my opinion on the table, whether it’s popular or not, or point out the ugly thing, you know, just because nobody else is pointing it out. And these were things that I wasn’t able to do very effectively because I had fear that they weren’t gonna like me, or that they wouldn’t hire me more or, you know, any other number of consequences associated with those things. And it wasn’t until I got over those fears that I was able to implement the things I was reading there. And that was a bit of a tipping point for me, I would say or know


what was what was


the biggest fear in in in this conversation with clients. Before


that, it was a combination of a need to be liked, I wanted them to like me. So my fear was, they weren’t gonna like me. And as a direct consequence of that, my fear was, they weren’t going to want to continue to do business with me. So there was an economic fear attached to it.


Yep. What, for example, What didn’t you dare to tell them?


Ah, so for example, today, how I can, I’ll speak in the present tense, you know, today I can I can look a CEO in the eye, somebody who I’m in fact, just meeting for the first time and, and say something like, I hear what you’re saying. But I also heard what you said before, and you’re actually contradicting yourself. So you can’t have it both ways. So which way is it right? And I’m forcing them to realize that their own their own Bs, right? I mean, I’m forcing them to realize their own stuff, and holding them accountable to that. And what I found since I started being able to do those things. And that’s just one example. But since I’ve been able to do those things, I’ve actually been have more value to my clients actually want me more, they’re willing to pay me more, because, in fact, nobody speaks to them this way. And so getting out of my own way, getting the voice in my head out of my way, or turning it into a an advocate, not an obstacle was the absolute thing that got me off the diamond move me forward. And these are fears that I observed again, and other coaches and in CEOs who I work with, and I’ve seen it, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s non culture specific, there’s no language thing, it’s, it’s a universal human thing,


right. I also remember in one of our conversation, she talks about that


you in the beginning of the media youth, you tell them so so I don’t take notes of the meeting. So I don’t take down and write down the actions that you need to do that’s something you need to yourself. And I see a lot of coaches that know when they have a meeting with a client they write everything down and they send an email of all the action thing to take. As as a as a Poochie, I also found that a very interesting way of discussing this with the client.


Yeah, and it’s about boundaries. That’s the that’s the generic thing here. And it’s about understanding your strategy. And my strategy for my coaching business requires that I not be the note taker in the meetings. And I don’t need to get into it in any deeper detail than that, but it’s actually linked to my strategy. And so I make the right choices in alignment with my strategy, the problem occurs, and you don’t have to be a coach for this, you could be running a business very well, any business where you’ve got a clear strategy. And then a client comes along and says, okay, but we want you to do this. And whatever it is they’re asking you to do is not well aligned with your strategy. And the question is, in moment, what do you do? Do you honor your strategy? And do you do you know what to say no to and where the boundaries need to be for you to pursue your strategy or out of some fear? Do you agree to do something that is not aligned with your strategy and dust begins the slippery slope of trying to be too many things to too many people on mostly for fear of the consequences, saying no,


right. And, and fear is exactly one of the motivators one of your invoices to move you forward. And there’s three parts and at three, three parts of three different kinds of fear.


What, what are the three that you described in the book being


we talked about ego, scarcity and failure, ego is a fear around judging and comparing, thinking, How do I measure up against other people, or against my own view of how I should measure up, um, and our ego is,


it’s our psychological immune system, okay, your ego is there to keep your sense of whole whole to keep you whole, as a person to keep you balanced, right. So if you’re doing a nice job driving, and somebody mistakenly thinks you did something bad, and they drive by you very aggressively, and yell at you through the window, even though you didn’t do anything bad, your ego kicks in, and, and begins to think, you know, bad things about that other person in an effort to protect you to protect your psychology, how you are okay. And, and your ability to be balanced in, okay. And so that’s, that’s what the ego does. Um, and what what ego fears do is they reduce risk taking, because you’re afraid typically of what other people will think just like my inability to ask a hard question of a CEO came from an ego fear that they weren’t gonna like, Okay. Um, and so that’s one of the most common fears we see in in leadership. The second is scarcity, this idea that there’s never enough, the millennial generation has a word for this, they call it fo mo fear of missing out fo mo um, and the fear of missing out is this idea that, well, if I, if I commit to do this thing over here, and I’m over there, and then something something exciting happens just just in the other direction, I’ve made a choice that’s going to cause me to miss out, you know, therefore, if I if I don’t make a choice if I delay, or if I say yes to both things, maybe that’s better, because then I don’t miss out. That’s a fear of scarcity. And I’m, you know, it’s an inability to narrow your focus and to honor your focus. And I see scarcity fears around money, often and also around strategy. And being able to stick to a strategy or stick to a plan or stick to priorities. And the final fear is failure, it’s not a fear of failure, like play, this project is going to fail, or maybe we’ll lose a client relationship that will fail. This is fear of existential failure, which means that the fear that this whole business isn’t going to work that this whole dream I have is going to fall apart, or, you know, my mother was right, I’m not, I’m not going to amount to, you know, to a success as an entrepreneur, that’s existential failure. And the The problem with this type of fear, if you have it is that it creates an aversion to making big bets, you, you are risk averse on a bigger sense of say, not being willing to enter a new line of business, not being willing to get funding for your business, when it’s at a stage where really needs to be funded to continue to grow, you know, those type of larger bet decisions end up getting sub optimize, when there is a fear of existential failure,


right? What is what are some of the symptoms of this


when, when you make decisions based on fear.


So we’ve got five symptoms that we outline in the book, I’ll give you three of them. The first one is a tendency to move away from the loss rather than toward a game. So if you’re operating your business in a manner of loss avoidance, meaning, like you spend a lot of your time trying to figure out how do we not lose this client? Or how do we, you know, not have to have our margins erode more? Or how do we have this competitor, not continue to beat us in the marketplace? That’s a fear based


set of actions, usually, as opposed to moving towards something,


you know, how do we double our client base, how do we blow away the competition happy this is moving towards something as opposed to the fear of loss. So that’s a that’s a symptom. Another one is what I call unreasonable continued sacrifice. And what this is, is a tolerance to maintain the status quo. For example, you’ve got a salesperson working for you who’s pretty good at sales, but they refuse to complete their paperwork that you need to run the business properly.


And you choose to not really make a big deal out of the paperwork, because, you know, I really need them to sell for me, and you continue to tolerate this over time. That’s what I call an unreasonable continued sacrifice. And there are a lot of things that I see CEOs and entrepreneurs tolerating in their business that they should not tolerate. But the reasons they tolerate those things are usually fear based. For example, if I make my salesperson complete his paperwork, he might not be happy anymore, and go get another job or work for one of my competitors, and I’m going to lose his book of business. And that’s not an uncommon fear. But what you don’t see is all the other effects of that tolerance on your business, and on the rigor of your business overall. And it’s like death by 1000 cuts, except you’re, you’re looking at a microscope, as opposed to from 1000 miles away, and you can’t see the totality of what’s happening.


The third example of fear I’ll give is in your gut, you know, you’re doing the wrong thing I can’t tell you are now how many times I have conversations with leaders where they say, Well, you know, I know that I need to change my banking relationship for all these reasons. But and then they give you the reason why that they’re not doing or I know I should terminate this, this person in this position, because they’re really not good for the organization. But and then they give you the reason why they’re justifying not doing it. And so these in these cases, like, it’s the worst of all, because you know, what you should be doing with clarity, you’re actually saying it, okay. And then you’re backing it up with, with some story about why. And,


you know, the problem with this is if, if you aspire to be a great CEO, and at the same time, you know, in your head, that you’re avoiding the decisions and behaviors that mark a great CEO, it just doesn’t work.


Yeah, and I guess it also doesn’t work for you, but that everybody else also


can smell it, right?


Yeah, you know, it’s funny that some of these things you can convince yourself, well, it’s, I’m the only one who knows about this, you know, nobody, nobody knows that, you know, I’m hack procrastinating, or I’m moving away from loss rather than the gain or I’m tolerating certain things, the business doesn’t know those things. Well, the reality is, they actually do. And one of my famous lines is, there’s no secret in a business because everybody’s really smart. And everybody knows what’s going on, whether you think, you know, it’s behind a closed door and leadership only, it’s never that ever. And so the problem with this in your gut, you’re doing the wrong thing is the whole company is watching. So they’re watching, you basically justify not executing on what you really know, you should be doing to make the business better. And so they’re watching that, and then, and then at the same time, they’re hearing you tell the rest of the business, hey, these are the things you should be doing. Because, you know, you need to go out and sell more, you need to fix this client relationship, or we need to improve this product. And we need to improve our efficiency. And so you’re expecting that other people do the things that they should be doing. But as a CEO, for some reason, you seem exempt. And everybody’s watching. All right,


do you think I’m not sure if if you if you’ve been coaching a lot in the US, but do you also think that, for example, the ego part or the simple, let’s put it that way, symptoms that you mentioned before, that they are universal, despite the culture, I think that, for example, when I look at the point that you mentioned, moving


away, or, or to watch something, right, so moving away, and being afraid that it’s going to happen, or towards


setting a goal that getting more clients, I think that I feel that here in this area where I live, it is more like, okay, let’s see how we can reduce the cost, or how can we avoid doing this. And in us, it feels like it’s more ingrained that you are looking for more your business or your current crushing the competition.


Well, so there’s a difference, though, between what’s being said, and what’s actually occurring. So I would agree that in the US leaders have more swagger leaders have more,


more, more ego, actually, I think, in general, and so, you know, you talk to a CEO here, and they’ll tell you how they’re going to change the world, and how they’re the best thing since sliced bread. And, you know, that their, their businesses transformative, and they’re going to grow and do all these great things, which, by the way, it’s, it’s not bad to believe those things, I’m not being critical. But if you were to actually follow them around for a week, and see the decisions, they’re making the things they actually say, during the day. And, and, and, and, and the actions that they take,


you would see these fears operating. Okay. And I would say that, for example, in Europe, you know, you you, I think have culturally more humility, which, by the way, I love


and so you don’t get the swagger, okay. In fact, it’s a little understated, you know, it’s not that that that the CEOs and leaders there don’t want to build things that are significant, but they’re less than your face about it, okay. And, and, and then the same thing would be true, though. But if you were to follow them around for a week, and actually watch them, making decisions, watch them interacting with people watch them with, you know, the choices they make, and the behaviors they execute. That’s where you would see these fears operating,




So it’s not, it’s less about what they say, externally, right, or publicly, and much more about the sum total of their behaviors and choices.


Okay, so in this part of the book starts to first activate and reduce fear. And this was one of the parts that was there was one of the activities that was pub, the workshop that we did in New York City, and I really loved it. Because what I found was that


what you don’t expect if you go through the exercise in this activator is that the fear that you the thing that you really fear is not as bad as you really think, if you if you really look at it.


Yeah, so fears tend to be emotionally driven, we get wound up about it, we tell ourselves a story. And the way to combat that is to force rational thinking force, deliberate thought force, a slowing down of thinking and more probabilistic, realistic thinking. And that’s what the fear reduction tool does. It’s a brief to page tool. And like your experience, I’ve had numerous people go through the tool get to the end, and they say something like, Well, that was kind of dumb, this fear that I’ve had, because I’m seeing now that there’s zero probability that or whatever come true. And yet, I’ve been failing to take this important action because I’ve been fearing something that will never come true. And this tool has helped me see it that way. And now I know I just need to go do this. And you know, that that’s the kind of conversation that makes my day because that’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I created the tools it’s, it’s to give people simple practical means to see themselves and their world in a different way and to get out of their own way more often.


Okay, so if you the listener one to do this exercise, it is really easy to do because I’m Mark, you have have a separate website for the book where you can actually download this this exercise, right,


yeah, so all of the tools and assessments that are in the book are available for download for free download at www dot activator dot biz.


And on the website. You can access PDFs. They’re all rideable. PDF documents that that you can use. Of course, I recommend you buy and read the book first course. Ah, but often people feel like they want to use the tools electronically rather than the ones that are actually in printed in the book. And so all the tools are available for for download.


Yeah, but I also I say this because I’m, you know, you can order the book on amazon.co.uk or D. But you can also just go to the website and you can really start doing this exercise. And, you know, you want the book because you understand why you’re doing this. Yeah. Okay, let’s go to the second part of the motivators, which is inspiration


and as


that was Huh,


I’m not sure I think it was more difficult for me to to do the exercises in this part. And to really understand this part I do I do understand some of the parts really good like saying no, a lot more


but also I i i’ve generally start using more the process then looking at goals in the future, but I understand why you want purpose for example, what is what is the power of purpose.


So inspiration is one of the two motivators fears the other and these two motivators are the root cause of every behavior. And every thought we have, we either want more something good, which I call inspiration, or we want less of something bad. We want to avoid something I call that fear. Okay. And we already talked about fear. So you have to understand that these two motivators are like a teeter totter, like a seesaw. Is that a word that that you understand


you would see, so I just like in a children’s playground, where the, the, the one one goes up in the other end goes down,


the other goes up and down the pub?


Yes, that Yeah, that’s right. Okay. It’s like that in your brain. And fear is on one side, and inspiration is on the other side. But the problem is, the fear side is like the kid that weighs twice as much as the inspiration side on the other one. And so research shows us very, very clearly that we weigh a loss potential for loss twice as heavily as the potential for game. And so if you picture this seesaw in your brain, so say it again, good, bump it up in your brain, that that where where the one side of fear is too heavy, twice as heavy, then it’s important to either reduce the fear much more or increase the inspiration much more because you’re not just trying to balance them out. One is way twice as heavily as the other and that so what the most important thing is about your motivators is to understand that they inner inner relate that it’s not one or the other. It’s both of them operating simultaneously. And so the power of purpose, the power of inspiration, and understanding why something matters deeply is because you are using that as a tool to help counteract any associated fears. And so in conjunction, as we try to reduce our fear, we want to, at the same time, increase our inspiration, and the two of those things will help you make better choices and be able to act on those better choices. So that’s the relationship between the two. And we’re uncomfortable in the world of inspiration. Because I think we’ve been, we’ve been sold a lot of things, you know, that it’s that it’s fluffy and white, and not serious, and not heavy business thinking, and all those things. But the truth of the matter is, the research shows us that we, we do need to be inspired, we need to feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves to operate at peak performance. And if you are any of the listeners, thanks, think back to a part of your life where you achieve something great, or you were you’re part of a group or a team that achieve something great, I guarantee you that at that time in your life, there was clarity about what you were fighting for, what the mission was, what what it was that you were trying to accomplish the the you so you you while fear that the trick to reduce fear is to decrease the emotion and increase the rational thinking, okay, right, inspiration is exactly the opposite. Okay, we want to decrease the rational thinking and increase the emotion. And that’s why we go through the success of series of why questions in the increase inspiration tool, it’s, it’s the know your why tool and there’s a separate tool at the end of the book on your life’s purpose. Which, you know, is is not a core, it’s not one of the business tools I have. But it’s a very useful tool. Because a lot of the entrepreneurs I meet feel like they have a sense of purpose in their life. And this is a great tool to help clarify that and use that as even more inspiration to make the right choices and do the right things as you’re moving in the direction of your aspirations.


Yeah, and it is an extensive tool, I must admit, because I’ve started the tool. And boy, it really


it really cost me some time to to do it. Right. So but that is, I think, is really good, because then you have a good notion of


where you want to go as an employer. And if you are the CEO of the company also has a close relation probably, then to your business where you want to go with your business. So that’s good


one. One last point on this is that the measure of how purposeful you are is how often you say no to things like you talked about briefly before, it’s your Yes, to know what I call your Yes, to know ratio. And if you say yes to a lot of things, you you, you are not very focused, and you’re likely not very purposeful. But if you’re much more selective, then the odds are that you are much more focused and more purposeful. So one of the measures is the ability to say no, to more things,


right? I remember, um, no, I won’t go there. It’s too far off. And just in didn’t meet you. Right on. So that was just a note to


the editor.


Okay. So. So I like also, like you said before, is that you have to decrease


what is again, an increase your emotion, decrease your


rational rationality. So


I think I like that. I like that, that they are opposite. If in the fear part, you need to increase your rationality, because then you need to think really about. So what is it that I’m fearful about? What is it? Why is it so bad? And is it really that bad? And this is just letting go of that and just go like, Oh, so what is the emotion? What is it that I want to accomplish, and feature I like, I like the way that you paint that picture for me, and that I understand it a lot better now.


Yeah, and our default setting gets exactly wrong, our fears are all emotional, and our aspirations are, are all very rational. And that’s, that’s where it goes wrong. And I it,


okay, that’s default, it’s also means it’s very difficult to, to change it to that you have to be very intentional about changing this part


you you do, which is a good segue into perhaps talking about habits,




that’s a good point. Because that is really intentional


habits, habits are the things that you do without thinking about them. And that also means that if you want to change them, you have to pay a lot of attention to them, otherwise, you won’t be doing them. Because you do all these things without knowing without realizing them.


I I really have spent a lot of time about habit forming about paying attention to the things I really want to accomplish, and making habits of those. But for example, I have a really


easy, but also strict morning routine. And I have like in a day, I have three actions that I want to do have three important actions that I need to do in a day that moves myself or my business forward. And three, no more than three, because, you know, if there’s more on three on my list, it’s probably going to be easy to check my email, or Twitter or whatever, because the list is too long, in three years, you know, it’s very doable. And also, when three are done, I can just say, Okay, that was my day, and can do something different now, or I can just do something else. But it’s not necessary. So I have a very strict morning routine. And, and because it’s so strict, because I do it every day, it’s, it becomes very normal to do it. And that’s, I think, is the basics of this habit forming. But it’s also the most difficult part. Because you have to be very disciplined to do this, right?


You do. And in fact, not maintaining routines is one of the most most common unproductive leadership habits I see. So you’re doing that? Well, you’re maintaining routine for yourself, you know, what the three things are, and you execute it on a daily basis, that’s, it’s common, that that’s not the case. And leaders are all over the place with with things. So, yeah, habits are hard. Um, and, you know, the reason is, there’s an evolutionary purpose to a habit, a habit


saves us energy, it saves us thinking and brain energy, because we do things without thinking about it. And, you know, that works for us over time. And from an evolutionary perspective, what that enabled us to do, let’s say, while we were hunting and gathering, or actually while we were gathering or digging for, for, for roots and tubers as early man, while we were doing that, we, we were able to watch for predators, because if we were very focused on the digging,


you know, we, we would be someone else’s lunch. And so that’s kind of the evolutionary purpose of the development of habits and their physical habits, you know, and, and, like digging for, for, for, for roots, you know, biting your nails, or picking your nose, or great physical habits, right, or, and then there’s habits and thinking, and that’s the realm where we we operate in the business like not make, do you maintain a routine or not? do you avoid making decisions or not? Do you? Do you have a habit of not committing to things or committing to a strategy? Do you have a habit of conflict avoidance? Do you have a habit of need to be liked? Or do you have a habit of tolerating low performers, these are all among the top 10 most common unproductive habits that I observed in leaders. And these are the habits that are indicative that there’s an underlying hidden growth killer, a motivator, a habit or a belief that is, is behind it that you need to address, if you’re going to end up recalibrating these things,


right. So you just mentioned very unproductive leadership habits. What are let’s say, because you have quite some list in the book about productive leadership habits. Can you just pick two of your most favorite ones?


Yeah, absolutely. Um, so one would be to have exceptionally high expectations of us people, I find that we don’t have high enough expectations of others for all kinds of reasons. And it’s the key to creating accountability. It’s the key to creating an A player environment. And it’s the key to growing a high performance organization. And it’s just expecting more. It’s not tolerating mediocrity.


And so raising expectations, having very high expectations of others, is a productive leadership habit that’s on my list of Top 10 productive leadership habits. Another one is to always capitalize on luck. capitalize on luck and was right. Yes, yeah, we have good luck. And we have bad luck. And Jim Collins actually studied this in his book built to last. And because one of the criticisms of his research and good to great where he was comparing the performance of companies was, well, maybe the high performing companies just got lucky. Or maybe the bad person forming companies just had bad luck. And so he studied this and what he determined and by the way, there’s been a lot of other research on on luck, then they all say the same thing, which is, nobody has any better luck, or worst luck than anybody else. And no business has any better luck, or worse luck than anybody else. But what makes the difference is how we respond to luck events, whether they’re good or bad. And that is what I call capitalizing on luck. And it’s this idea that when something good happens, we don’t just think, hooray, something good happened. Let’s celebrate. We might think, Wow, that’s great. Now, what else can we do to further capitalize on this. And the same is true, when something bad happens, something bad happens, the first thought should be, how do we turn this into something good, because if you allow yourself to go down the normal road of, Oh, this is horrible, we just lost this client is going to cost us all this money. Now, we have to figure out how to recover from that. And, and you go down this road like that, which is a fairly normal road, it doesn’t lead you anywhere good. And you’re being very reactive. Whereas if the conversation starts with, okay, this happened now, what can we do to capitalize on this. And that starts to open up a much more positive road forward,


love it. But my two favorite ones are, I love what you capitalize on luck is really good. And I think also, you know, having the idea that people are good, intentional, that’s that I think that’s a really good tool. But my favorite ones are be grateful. I’ve been in Europe, also a great example. But you do at the beginning of a meeting. And I’ve tried to also not try to also start implementing this, you know, remembering people on at the beginning of a meeting. So what is it you have been grateful for, lately, what has been your has had a good success with the so that you remember the good things that that’s going on, and you just don’t see them as an everything day thing, and you just step over it, and you to go on to the next thing, because then you will never celebrate the good things that happen, even if they’re a small, I like that a lot. And also seek simplicity, I, I recognize the thing that you know, that we tend to make stuff more complicated than it really is. And by seeking simplicity, it becomes very easy to understand for you and everybody else. I that’s, that’s, that’s two of my favorites.


Yeah, they’re there, they’re all good. They’re all good for different reasons. And all of these things I practice. So it’s not, you know, I’m not just telling you do these things, these are things I do, I work with these things myself, I work with my clients on these things. And I’ve seen the results of these things. And so there’s a lot to be gained from studying this list of productive leadership habits. And starting the process of developing these in your self. And in your team, if you have a team


Hmm. So if you want to work


on these habits,


there was the activator number four is, and it is the thing about that you, you want to change the unproductive habits, but what what often happens is that we say that we have to stop doing this, like, for example, um, you know, you know, that you eat too much candy, for example, or too much


sugar, whatever. And then you say, I have to do less of it, I have to stop doing that. And that is a very difficult thing to do. And as you say, in this


activated in this exercise is that you shouldn’t say no, or stop doing it. You should just replace it with a better habit.


Yes, there is. There’s an interesting theory called the ironic process theory. And it dictates that whenever we actively resist something, we fail. So, for example, think about when you’re carrying a hot cup of tea, or coffee. And while you’re carrying it across the room, you’re actively thinking to yourself, don’t spill, don’t spill, don’t spill, don’t spill, don’t spill, tell me earn out what happens almost 100% of the time when you do that.


I don’t know. I don’t spill, I don’t ever spill.


But if you’re thinking Don’t spill, you will spill, okay. That’s how that works. Whereas if you if you don’t think about that, and you just walk across the room, you’ll be you’ll be fine. And so the best way to illustrate this. And this is an example that’s in the book is. So right now I’m going to ask you to do something, I’m asking you to not do something, we’ll see how that works out. And your listeners can play along. I’d like you to try not to think of a white bear.


It’s not fair,


right? It’s exactly right. Because you can’t it and and so. So this is how ironic process theory works. We can’t actively resist something. And so in the world of habit change, you have to replace


one habit with another habit. And that’s exactly what the habit change tool does. And what it also does is helps us see in perspective long term consequences versus short term rewards, typically, in a bad habit, and long term rewards, and maybe a couple of short term consequences, but mostly long term rewards for good habits. And so we as we tend to trade off long term consequences for short term rewards in the habits that we should change. So for example, you know, eating another piece of candy is a short term reward. But what’s the long term consequence of doing that five times today, right forever, or, you know, that and that’s how this that’s how this works. I’m, you know, not not having conflict with my head of sales, even though I know they’re doing something wrong. And the short term reward for that habit of mine is that, you know, I’m avoiding conflict that I like, I feel good about that I’m avoiding something that bothers me, that’s the short term reward. But the long term consequence of that is that I’m never going to fix this person. And they’re probably doing a lot more damage in the business over time. And, oh, by the way, the rest of the company is observing me as the CEO trading off on my own principles and my own values, by not having this conversation with them. Those are the long term consequences. And, and so when you’re forced to write all these things out and really think about them, it again, moves the fear, inspiration,


teeter totter, whatever the name for that, that is


in your head, and, and encourages you to replace the replace that have it


gets. And that’s exactly why I have only three important actions on my daily list. Because I know when I do those three things, I’m I’m it’s gonna be easy for me to not check


my email to not check other things. That’s, you know, that’s an easy task. And it feels good for our brain. And I know that if I do these three things that in the end, my business will grow it because if I do it every day, if I do everything three things that are important to my business, I will grow my business.


Yes, yes, you have to have a long term view front and center in your mind to help you make more better choices today.


Right. The other thing and, and I really also want to talk about this, and I don’t want to talk about every activated but I really wanted talk about this one has changed your neighborhood. And one of my favorites, I know and it’s any then is




how do we do this? What why is it important? And how do we do this easily.


So one of the one of the unproductive leadership habits is maintaining what I call comfort zone networks, meaning we’re surrounded by people, in this case, professionally,


who are at the same level as we are or who are not quite as accomplished as we are. And those are comfort zone networks. And think about forum groups, peer groups, your professional, professional friends, people you hang around with.


And the question is,


are you hanging around with people who are roughly at your level? Or maybe not as accomplished? Or are you hanging around with people who are much, much, much more accomplished and better than you are. And the comfort zone network is,


is is enticing. It’s alluring because we feel smart, you feel like you’re able to help other people, they come to you for advice, and they listen to your advice. But the problem is, where do you get your advice from, and when you talk to them about what’s going on your business,


if they’re where you are, or not quite where you are, they’re going to probably have a lot of the same fears and other other hidden growth killers as you do. And so they’re going to talk you back into you all the things that you’re trying to avoid that you wouldn’t be in the situation if you were surrounded by much better people than you. And the story in this book is about my grandpa, my grandfather, Ben was my mother’s father. And he gave me real estate advice. When I was buying my first home. He said, Mark, don’t ever buy the most expensive house from your neighborhood, because there’s only one way over time that the other homes in the neighborhood will affect your property value. And it was good real estate advice. And I took it at the time. And it wasn’t until about 10 years later that professionally, it dawned on me that grandpa Ben didn’t give me real estate advice. He was giving me life advice. Because professionally, I had become one of the most expensive houses in my neighborhood. And I was in a network of coaches at the time. And I was among the most accomplished coaches. And I had peers that were at my level, and plenty of people who weren’t really nobody who is much better than me. And I realized that wasn’t growing. And it was, and it was a big deal, because it actually caused me to reevaluate my affiliation and make some different choices. And it was that choice from that day from that realization that then change the trajectory of my practice, and I can easily save my life. And what I ended up doing is joining a different network where I am, I actually felt kind of dumb and and I was surrounded by people who are that good. And so the challenge question here for our listeners is, when was the last time that you were willing to put your ego on the line to challenge your ego, by being surrounded by people who are much, much, much better than you. And this is a tool, the new neighborhood tool is the tool to help you be very deliberate about surrounding yourself with the people who are going to get you where you want to go? Not. Who got you where you are? Hmm.


So how did you get to the new network? How did you find the new network that you started connecting with?


Well, I mean, it was funny, it was in front of me the whole time, I’d actually had a colleague six months earlier, recommend it to me, and I ignored it,


I ignored it, because I didn’t need it. It wasn’t important to me at the time, because I was comfortable


say, it feels very comfortable.


Yeah, it sure It sure does. And you think you’re okay, you think you’re being challenged, because, you know, like, in a forum or a peer group, you know, because there’s this their agenda, we, you know, we get to know each other, I get to present my issue, I get the feedback, I get the input, you feel like you’re getting the value from it. Um, but the reality is, until you have the experience of being with somebody who really challenges you, okay, really challenges you from a next level perspective, then you don’t know what you’re missing. And, and that’s the, and that’s the thing. And so the way this tool works is, you know, I want you to think of the 10 people on the planet, okay, not who, you know, the 10 people on the planet who are best positioned to help you learn, grow, plan and execute in your business and write those those names down, right. And, and then intention, start the wheels turning to figure out how to be introduced to these people. And I think, you know, my book was, was just endorsed by Marshall Goldsmith, who is a world renowned author and leadership coach and speaker. And Marshall was one of the names on my list. And, and I didn’t know him, but I knew that he was somebody that would be of great value to me in my journey. And so I set about trying to figure out how to connect with him. And I connected with him Originally, I made the connection first in June. And that was after a multi month process of trying to figure that out how to do that. And then just last month, in November, I received an endorsement for my book from him. And so the process works.


But you need to be a very intentional about it and be very,


I call this


you have to, you have to take the time. So


you have to prioritize it. You have to, you have to prioritize it.


Yeah. But you also can’t rush it,


right? That’s true, too. Yeah, that’s right. It’s like all things. It’s the, this is just something that if you start thinking about it, and you start focusing on it, and you start putting a little bit of energy into it, over time, it will start to build for you, right, so there’s no magic answer. There’s no quick fix in any of this, right. And the whole point of all the activator is that over time, they’re going to cause you as a leader, to make better choices, and take better action in alignment with your aspirations.


Right? Okay, so you want to buy the book and read the other excavators that’s in the book, I want to just touch on one thing before we leave is that the how to change your behavior. And two things. And I want to especially talk about the second part. And the first part is about that you think your way into doing


and that is a very common part, right? So that you, you, you think about stuff, and you think about how you’re going to do this, and you make plans and you do all this stuff to say that, okay, this is the way I’m going to go. And, and it’s all it’s all in your mind before you actually do something. The second part is that you do the way into your thinking, can you talk about that a little bit more?


Yeah, and it’s so the words I use our think your way into being a being sorry, yes, he be your way into thinking, right. Um, and the think your way into being, you’re right, we’re very familiar with that, you know, if we read enough books, if we think about things enough, we talked to enough people, we sort of believe I’m going to improve as a leader, right. And, and that will be effective, that will be effective. And there’s a tool with affirmations around that, that will help you build your belief systems, a more effective way, in my opinion, is to be your way into thinking. And this would be too so let’s say that you need to have a difficult conversation with a client and you have some fear associated with it. Um, what the be your way into thinking approach would be to find somebody you know, or one or two people, you know, who are able to easily have the kinds of conversations with with a client that you need to have, and they don’t have to be in your industry, they don’t have to work for you just people, people, you know, and you go talk to them, and you say, when you have this kind of a conversation in this situation, tell me exactly what you do.


And listen carefully and then just go do that, you know, and what we’re not trying to do is say, Well, what are you thinking? How do you prepare for this? How do you you know, mentally Get yourself ready for this? It’s not that it’s just what what is it that you actually do when you have that conversation and and then just go do it now, there’s a chance pretty good chance that it might not go very well the first time you do it, okay. But you have to be okay with that. Because so in Amsterdam, for example, you know, people aren’t born knowing how to ride bikes in Amsterdam last time I checked, okay. And, and yeah, everybody rides bikes and Amsterdam. And so they learn how to ride a bike by just thinking about it.


Okay, and then they get on a bike and they can magically ride a bike is that how that works?




what, how does it happen, when you’re a kid, you get on a bike, and you fall over and you skin your knee, and you hurt yourself and your and your mom or your your your mother or your father helps you get up and helps you get back on the bike again. And it’s a repeated process of of doing and failing and doing and failing, you know, while you’re being told what to do by an expert. Okay. And that’s this idea of be your way into thinking it’s a much faster path. Because you usually don’t fail as badly as you think you will. Okay. And you learn very, very quickly based on experience. And while you’re learning, you’re already starting to make a difference. You’re already having some conversation you should be having doing some things you should be doing. So we call that also fake it until you make it be your way to thinking. So, you know, you need to pretend that you’re that person that can go do that thing and then just go do that thing.


I like that idea. And, and at the same time. It sounds very difficult to do and out of my comfort zone. But I I do I do.


By the way, it’s a lot easier to do if you’re surrounded by the right people. And yes, who are expecting that you will go do it right. And again, that’s part of this, who are you surrounded by?


Right, right. Right. That’s it. I agree. And I think an important and a good environment to do this is to find or start create a mastermind with other end to end foreigners that are CEOs that are, you know, that are at a level that you want to grow to, and, and have conversation with them every once in a while. Exactly. Um, I again, love the conversation with you, Mark. And I thank you for giving such an


insight in your book.


And hopefully, as you as a listener, understand, now this is an important book, it’s not a it’s not a thick book. But it has really good actions, good tools in there that you can do to, you know, tackle those fears, or to change unproductive habits or to learn to enjoy the journey more and so so go to Amazon and up code at UK that’s my favorite site where I buy books or go to Amazon dot d if you if you want to see it in Dutch and you can do it there and you can also go to the website activated. done this if people want to. If people have a question for you. If they want to talk with you. How can they contact you the best


the best way would be to reach me through the activator dot biz website. You can communicate with me directly through there. And stay tuned because there might be an opportunity to come to a workshop in Europe this summer. And I think that would be fantastic.


Do you do you have like an email list where people can subscribe?


Actually, I don’t. Yeah, okay. Good. I don’t I don’t yet so, um, but but it will be I’m sure will be well promoted. And, you know, certainly through the community people that are listening to this podcast.


Cool. Thank you very much, Mark, and talk to you later.


All right. Oh, my pleasure. Be well, we’ll talk to you later.



Door Erno Hannink

Erno is de businesscoach die ondernemers helpt om de lange termijn doelen sneller te realiseren. Ondernemers die het beter willen doen voor de planeet, maatschappij en zichzelf. Met zijn ondersteuning en tips helpt hij je dagelijkse doelen te kiezen zodat je de lange termijn doelen eindelijk gaat realiseren. Test zijn coaching een week lang gratis uit met deze code ERNOHANNINKWEEK op dit platform -> ga naar coach.me. Sluit je aan bij de community van ondernemers die iets bijzonders doen.