Episode 292:

You’ve heard me say it a million times. Most agency owners are accidental business owners. Whatever your agency’s origin story, most of us can remember the moment when we looked around and realized, “This is so much harder than I thought it would be and if I’m being honest – I am winging this.” In the beginning, we’re nervous about admitting our uncertainty but at some point, most agency owners are hungry to learn and willing to admit don’t always have the answer. But what if embracing the doubts we all have is actually a sign of great leadership?

Author and executive coach Marc Pitman has spent several decades building his knowledge base around growing strong leaders. His insights not only help agency and business owners become better leaders themselves, but he also shares ways to grow, build, and nurture future leaders throughout an organization.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Marc and I explore a variety of topics surrounding leadership and the need to make peace with your doubts. We discuss changes in leadership brought about by the adaptations required to weather the pandemic. We also discuss different kinds of leaders, ways to assess and clarify the kind of leader you are and want to become, and ways to inspire others as they work on their own leadership.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Agency Leadership

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The changes in the leadership created by the pandemic
  • Four quadrants of agency leadership
  • What it means to be a focused leader
  • Some available assessments to offer insights into what kind of leader you are
  • The best ways to encourage others to grow into their leadership
“There’s not a lot of good leadership training going on, and we often don’t give ourselves permission to take it if there is.” @marcapitman Click To Tweet “The higher you move up, the lonelier you get. The loneliness is similar across the board, but people are so siloed that they think they are the only ones experiencing it.” @marcapitman Click To Tweet “There’s a confidence building in a team and a leader when they say, ‘we’re really good at these three things and these are things that are going to be a compass for us as we move this rough patch of water.’” @marcapitman Click To Tweet “Doubt could be the invitation to look to the internal stuff, to look at the things that make you unique and different, your hardwiring, and the stories that you are telling as a person and as an organization.” @marcapitman Click To Tweet “The armor that you build to go through the world can become a shell that traps you in and restricts your growth.” @marcapitman Click To Tweet “The only safe leaders that exist are the ones that can be good followers.” @marcapitman Click To Tweet

Ways to contact Marc Pitman:

Additional Resources:

Speaker 1:

It doesn’t matter what kind of an agency you run, traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. The Build A Better Agency Podcast, presented by White Label IQ, will show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. Let us help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable, and if you want down the road, sellable. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host Drew McLellan. 

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build A Better Agency. Thank you so much for making the time to hang out with me today. You are going to be glad that you did because I am super excited to introduce you to our guest, and talk to you a little bit about the premise of his new book and how it can help all of us, not only be better leaders, but build better leaders inside our organization. 

Before I talk any more about that, though, of course you know there’s something I want to tell you about. So many of you are wrestling with how do you define your niche, should you niche, which niche should you choose. I was actually working with an agency leadership team on this issue and I ended up creating a very simple Excel spreadsheet that helps you evaluate if you have multiple possible niches that you could lean into, and you’re not really sure which one makes the most sense. I’ve built, basically, a criteria report card where you identify the two, or three, or four, or up to five niches that you could pursue as an agency, or areas of specialty. And then, I ask you a series of questions and you give each question a letter grade as how it pertains to each of the potential criteria. Basically, the spreadsheet does the math for you, and shows you which of the niches you are most teed up to pursue and to really focus on. 

If you would like that report card, or spreadsheet, or whatever you want to call it, here’s what you’ve got to do. You need to go to agencymanagementinstitute.com/nichecriteria, all one word. Again, agencymanagementinstitute.com/nichecriteria. You can download, it’s an Excel document, you can download it and use it to beat the bands. I hope it’s super helpful and helps give you some clarity. Hopefully, you can find that useful and valuable. 

All right, let’s talk a little bit about our topic today. I’ve owned my own agency for now 26 years, I was in a leadership position prior to owning my own agency inside another agency. And of course, I’ve run AMI now for what feels like decades and decades. I have a lot of experience in being the predetermined leader because of my position, but I certainly haven’t always been a great leader and I certainly have plenty of room to grow even today as a leader. But, when I think about my own leadership journey, it absolutely was an evolution. I don’t know about you, but when I first was put into a leadership role, I got the title, I didn’t get any training and I was expected then to lead a department. And, I assumed that I was going to be good at it because they gave me the job, but honestly, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. So I think that’s for most of us, that’s been our leadership journey is that we have discovered it and figured it out as we have gone along. 

My friend Marc Pitman, who I have known through social media and other things for a long time, has written a great new book called The Surprising Gift of Doubt. And it’s all about how doubt is part of leadership that we don’t really talk about very much, and we think we shouldn’t doubt our own leadership skills, or talents, or insights. Or, instincts maybe. But, we do and then we think, “Maybe I’m not as great a leader as I think I am, because I’m doubting myself.” So Marc has done a lot of work over the last several decades, building up his knowledge base around leadership, and how we develop into better leaders, and this book really unpacks that. So I have four hours worth of questions for Marc, obviously we won’t get to them all, but I’ll get to as many of them as I can so I want to get right to it. 

But I want you to listen to this episode with one ear attuned to your own leadership, and the other ear attuned to the other role we have as agency owners, or even agency leaders if you sit on the leadership team, is we have to grow other leaders inside our organization. I want one ear to be listening in terms of how do you become a better leader, and I want your other ear to be listening in terms of how do we as leaders grow, build, support, nurture leaders inside our organization. All right, let’s get right to it because I have a lot of questions. 

Marc, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us. 

Marc Pitman:

It’s a privilege to be here, thanks so much for having me. 

Drew McLellan:

You bet. As I was telling folks in the intro, your new book has just released, The Surprising Gift of Doubt. Talk to us a little bit about the over-arching premise of the book, and why you felt compelled to write it. 

Marc Pitman:

Part of the reason I felt compelled to write it is people would ask me, “So what do you do?” And I’d say, “Well, I’m an executive coach,” and they’d have this, “Oh okay, cool.” And then, they’d sit with that, and their head would tilt a little and they’d scrunch their face a little. And they’d ask me again, “So, what do you do?”

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

It took me about 18 years of being an executive coach to finally create a format that explains the way I approach coaching leaders, so that was the compelling reason to release this book. 

I think so many of us that are in leadership, or running organizations, have gotten there almost without a lot of study. So there’s not a lot of good leadership training going on, and we often don’t give ourselves permission to take it if there is. I’m pleased with the way that this is helping people to see that they’re not alone on this journey, and to also, I don’t know, give them some tangible, real life, time-tested tools that can help them articulate why they’re different, why their agency maybe is responding to the same situation in a unique way, and that may be their unique proposition as opposed to a deficit on their part. 

Drew McLellan:

One of the takeaways that I took from the book was this one-two punch of when you get the title, whatever the title is that suggests you’re a leader, there’s this assumption that you have to actually know what you’re doing all the time. Number one, that you feel that obligation. And number two, that it doesn’t feel safe to acknowledge that sometimes you’re doing this by the seat of your pants. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, that’s very accurate. In my experience of coaching leaders and leading myself, that’s been it. If you’ve been with a bunch of peers and you’re promoted to lead the department or the team, there’s almost like they’re leaning back, “All right, do it. You’ve got the title, you should know what to do.” 

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

And, then you look around you and you don’t see a lot of other leaders … It’s not really appropriate or safe for other leaders to be just not knowing what they’re doing, or not looking like they have it together, so you just assume that they do. Yeah, it becomes this really vicious circle of not knowing, not having answers and not knowing that … I guess the good news of trying to look like you have it together, there is an aspect of that that’s important, but not knowing that there are places that you can go to find your answers, it can be all-consuming and really [crosstalk 00:08:36]. 

Drew McLellan:

And lonely. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, incredibly isolating. Isn’t that weird? I don’t know why it is in our organizations, I don’t know what other models could be. But yeah, the higher you move up the more lonely you get. What is shocking, and you probably see this working with agencies, too, is that the loneliness is similar across the board but people are so siloed that they think they’re the only ones experiencing it. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. Well you know, we talk a lot at AMI about how agency owners are often accidental business owners. So they were really good at some level of their craft, and either they got laid off because everybody loses a job in advertising, they either got laid off, or they just decided they wanted to run their own shop. But, all of a sudden they look around and they go, “I have 10 employees, and I don’t know how to read a P&L, or whatever it is.” But, they’ve fallen into this leadership role by some choices they’ve made. And all of a sudden, I think they do get super lonely. It’s one of the reasons why our peer groups are so popular is because they get to hang out with other people just like them, and whisper what’s hard because the other people are like, “Oh my God, that’s hard for me, too.” 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. 

Drew McLellan:

That was the reaction I had as I was reading the book, is as you were giving different examples of different people that you’d work with I’d be like, “Oh, I remember feeling like that.” Or, “I feel like that right now.” 

Marc Pitman:

Right? Yeah. 

Drew McLellan:

I think a lot of times, we don’t think anybody feels like we do.

Marc Pitman:

What was amazing to me, pre-pandemic, was I had people come into where I live in Greenville, South Carolina, for-profit and non-profit, which you don’t normally see together, but I had mixed groups and we did what I called Quadrant Three Leadership Intensives, which was going over the stuff in the book. And it was so fun to see that level of, “Oh my goodness, I’m not alone.” And, it palpably changed the atmosphere of the room really quickly. There’s an openness and authenticity that showed, but also the reflection in between the different exercises of, “What, you experience that? I thought it would be different in a for-profit, I thought you’d just have it all together.” 

Drew McLellan:

Or, a big company versus a small company. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. Or, “Non-profits, I thought people would just be throwing money at you because you’re the do-gooders, you struggle with that, too.” 

I really resonate, too, with what you said about the accidental business owner. I think a lot of us, the people that tend to run businesses the way you’re describing it, tend to be so good at something, two things. One, getting something done, but also communicating in a way that develops a team. I don’t know if you find this in agencies, but what I see in the organizational leaders that I coach, is a lack of appreciating the fact that there are three things that they need to do now. There’s the clients that they need to take care, which they get. They understand that, that’s what they want to do. But, there’s now a team to take care of. And then, there’s themselves to take care of, too. 

So some of them are good at the clients and good at, at least understanding that the team thing is there so they’re saying, “Take your time off, or do yourself self care or whatever,” but they’re not modeling it themselves. So they’re creating an unsafe environment for their employees, because if they’re sending that midnight email, just because it’s when they get a chance to, it’s not trying to set any norms, not trying to set any expectations, but the employees see that and they’re like, “Oh crap, I’ve got to do that now. I’ve got to start.” 

I don’t know if you did this, but I remember at an early job in my career, I would do that. At 11:30 at night on certain nights, partly because I traveled so that made it a little more natural, but there were times where I would choose to respond to an email knowing that it might get me a few more merit points. 

Drew McLellan:

My boss would see it, right. Exactly, yeah. 

Marc Pitman:

“Oh look, he’s working on the weekend.” 

Drew McLellan:

Right, of course. And now with technology, our employees can time them so they go to bed at nine o’clock, but it still sends the email at 11:30. 

Marc Pitman:

That’s brilliant. So everybody listening, there’s a free tip. 

Drew McLellan:

We’re probably being gamed, right now. 

Marc Pitman:

I am so nervous about those things, because I always am afraid that if I try to post it for the weekend, like if I respond on a Saturday but I don’t want my clients thinking that that’s okay so I want to respond on Monday, I’ve gotten so nervous about them actually replying in between. 

Drew McLellan:

Getting it, right. 

Marc Pitman:

And my timed response is out of date, yeah. I use something called followupthen.com.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, it’s a great tool. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, so that I can type what I want to do and then send it to myself Monday, at followupthen.com, then it comes back in my box, I cut and paste it. Technology’s cool. 

Drew McLellan:

Technology is a beautiful thing. But, I think all of this, again, part of leadership is, I think, as you talk about in the book, the acknowledgment that you don’t always have the answers. But, it’s also I think there’s this fear of today our pace is so fast, what if I don’t know about that tool? Or, what if I don’t know about this or that? So I think there’s incredible pressure on leaders today to have it all. And certainly, we’ve seen in the last year, we’re recording this on April 1st 2021, so we’re just coming out of the pandemic. I often have said to my agency owners, “You’ve earned an MBA in leadership in this last year.” 

Marc Pitman:

That’s good. 

Drew McLellan:

“And trying to navigate this world that we have no idea what’s coming next, because we’ve never seen it, done it.”

Marc Pitman:

That’s what makes me so excited about … The pandemic is horrific and awful, I’m not trying to gild a lily or anything. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

I have been told that I am, whenever they say is the glass half full or half empty I say, “Well, it’s always full. It’s got air or liquid,” so I tend to be overly optimistic. 

One of the things I’m hoping that we’ll see out of this is there has been an almost near global experience of leaders literally not knowing what they’re doing because we’ve not been this way before, there’s no benchmarks. Recessions, we can figure out, there’s been benchmarks. Health scares, there may be in some, depending on your niche. But the global pandemic with forced lockdowns, what I’m afraid of is people will not embrace that level of unsureness. Not insecurity, but not having it all together and they’ll start falling back into that habitual trying to fake it til you make it, which as a business owner, can be really good at times. 

There are times where your clients are calling you into things that you don’t know that you can do, that’s totally legitimate. When you have three, or four, or five paying clients that want you to do something that’s not listed in your services …

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, you figure it out.

Marc Pitman:

To me, that’s a tell that okay, maybe they’re seeing something in me, so that fake it til you make it works. But, it’s the one where you’re totally lying, and you’ve got this hubris and fake, I don’t know, it’s totally inauthentic. Hopefully, we’re not going to fall back into that because we’ve all been through a time where we really didn’t know what was going on, and some people chose different ways of trying to address that.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I’ve certainly seen that amongst our clients, a softness in their leadership. Of being able to say, “You know what, you guys? We’re going to try this for a month and see how it works. I don’t know if this is going to be permanent,” especially with some of the work from home stuff. “I don’t know when we’re going back to the office, I know I want us to go back to the office but I’m not sure when, or I’m not sure how we’re going to do that. But for this month, we’re going to try this, and then we’re going to see how that worked.” That transparency of, “I don’t really know,” I don’t think has been that prevalent in agency owners, as much as it has been in this last year. 

So I think, I’m hoping, what they are discovering is that their employees actually responded to that, and appreciated the fact that the owner wasn’t faking it. 

Marc Pitman:

Well, and I love that beta testing. Often, very few things will I start without it being a beta test or testing out a project, because I want to rapidly iterate. If it does not work, I don’t want to be wed to it. The one thing that I think some leaders did really well during the early part of the pandemic was I don’t know what’s going on, or what we’re going to do, what this is going to look like, but I do know what’s not going to change. Here are our core values, here is the commitment we’re going to give to our clients. We’re going to have integrity. We do know the principles of SEO, or we do know the principles of advertising, or there are certain things that we do know and those aren’t going to change, even though they may be adapted right now.

There’s a confidence building in a team and in a leader when they say, “Hey, we’re really good at these three things, and that’s going to be something we’re going to continue to be good at. It’s going to be a compass for us as we go through these really rough patch water, that we haven’t been through this patch before. But, this is the kind of organization we’re going to be and these are the decisions we’re going to make.” 

Drew McLellan:

Right. And yes, we’re going through a storm but our boat is strong, we will get to the other end. Is it going to be rough? Probably, but we’re going to do this together and we’re going to get to the calm waters again. I just saw a lot of, I thought, really heart-led leadership in the last year. 

Marc Pitman:

Nice.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, which I thought was really lovely. I think the employees responded to it, and were grateful for it. 

Marc Pitman:

One of the things that I love heart-led leadership of business owners is they understand they’re still a revenue component that necessary, which some mid-level leaders are learning that, or may not know that yet, and customers and others don’t know it. But, some of the organizations I saw that said, “It is not appropriate for us to …” For the non-profits I worked with, some of them stopped asking, the ones I worked with didn’t and found out that donors were actually more generous last year than they had been-

Drew McLellan:

Because they wanted to help somebody.

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, and it was something tangible they could do in a world that was out of control. But, there was an interesting dance of how do I share my need or sell my service, in a time where there was recession. There’s this K-shaped recession, and there’s hardship. How do I do it without being insensitive? I think that’s where the heartfelt leadership was really fun. Not fun, but really awesome to see done well because there was re-humanizing a process that really benefits the organizations that were able to pull it off. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I think so, too. In the book, you talk about the four quadrants of leadership. Can you just quickly run us through what those four quadrants are? So people can begin to self-identify. 

Marc Pitman:

If you’re listening and you’re driving, please don’t pull out a pen. But if you pull out a pen and write-

Drew McLellan:

Most people seem to be on the treadmill when they listen to this, so also …

Marc Pitman:

You can write on the treadmill. 

Drew McLellan:

Maybe. Maybe they can, I cannot. 

Marc Pitman:

Hoards of agency owners start flying off the edge of treadmills in gyms as they reopen, it’s going to be bad.

The four quadrants of leadership, it’s two axes. One is the confidence axis, which is confident at the top, unsure at the bottom, that’s the vertical. The horizontal is the inputs axis, which is external on the left and internal on the right. The premise that I have is that most of us go into leadership with only half the leadership map. We only know of the two quadrants. The first, quadrant one, which is the observe quadrant. We copy what we’ve seen people do because we’re given a title, so we just start doing what we’ve seen other people do. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually work. We don’t think about how they’re wired or how they’re different, we just know that when they say jump people say, “How high?” So we say jump, and people just walk by us.

So that causes our confidence to drop, and that moves us into the quadrant two, which is the experiment quadrant, where we look for what we’re lacking. Time management, people skills, sales closing, whatever it is, we look for the stuff we’re lacking. Real brief, all of those things don’t quite fit us. Some of them will have components of things that will fit us, but sometimes 80% of the program works for you but not the other 20%. Instead of being excited about that, we look at the 20% that doesn’t fit and we think wow, we must be even more broken. So we lurch from program to program, external curriculum, course, conference, webinar, whatever and that’s the map that many live in. 

The other two quadrants are the really exciting part, where the doubt that grows in that lurching to, “I just don’t have what it takes, I probably shouldn’t even be in this position. I’m lying to everybody.” That doubt could be that you need to address that, which there are therapists and there are really good tools in the world we live in now. But, it could be the invitation to look to the internal stuff, to look at the things that are making you different and unique. Your hard wiring, your stories you tell as a person, your own self, or as your organization, the way you set goals, your values you have, your mission. 

As you start living those internal things out that we’re told not to look at, we’re told to look just at the external, the hard data, “Let’s just make rational decisions, don’t get all woo-woo on us.” But, as we start looking at that quadrant three, the analyze quadrant, that’s when we start rebuilding our confidence to moving back up to quadrant four, which I call the focused leader. It’s not nirvana, it’s not smooth sailing, life is still chaotic. But, the focus comes from knowing the full map. And being able to appreciate what quadrant do I need to dip into, or what quadrant do my team members seem to be living in. How can they be the best in that quadrant? Because each quadrant has something to offer us, but it’s much more confidence, I don’t know, boosting when you can see that there are four quadrants. It’s not just trying to fix your problems and seeing how much you keep falling short every time you try to fix it. 

Drew McLellan:

And, is it my goal to ultimately be in the fourth quadrant? Or, is it my goal to see where I’m at, and make the most of that quadrant? 

Marc Pitman:

I’m an executive coach, so I would let you set your own goal.

Drew McLellan:

Brilliantly dodged. 

Marc Pitman:

But, that’s 18 years of executive coaching right there. I don’t think it’s an arrival. I think, as I’ve been working with this with people over the years, and testing this out in different settings pre-pandemic and with my clients, also, people see themselves moving through the quadrants. I tend to work with people that are in quadrant three, or starting on quadrant three. They’ve done stuff, they’ve had enough success behind them that everybody thinks they can do no wrong. But they know, personally, that they can do a lot of wrong and a lot of harm, and they don’t know how they’re going to get the next thing done. Those are the people that are right on the cusp of quadrant three. 

But, I’ve had people say that they’re in quadrant four, and they love knowing if the copying other people or trying to learn other programs isn’t work, they have the peace of mind of realizing, “Ah, this is the invitation to see is it because I’m an introvert and I’m trying to do management by walking around and that’s totally draining me. Maybe I need to adapt how I do my management.” Or, “Is it because I need to grow and change, because the data should be pointing us in a different direction then we are.” 

Drew McLellan:

So, do you believe that a leader matures into quadrant four, but at any given time, depending on the circumstance or whatever, may move around into different quadrants? 

Marc Pitman:

Absolutely. 

Drew McLellan:

Okay. Once I hit quadrant four, I don’t get to stay there forever. 

Marc Pitman:

Well, I think you always have a toe in that because you’ve had the experience of building your own unique operating style, and why your brand, or your agency, or whatever is different. But, I used to think that there’d be a point in my entrepreneurship, in my solopreneurship, that I would get to a point of smooth sailing. As I’ve worked with leaders, I think that is a … I don’t know where that originated, and I’d like to find out who it did, originated that idea, because I haven’t found that that exists. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

Even listening to people like Clint Pulver, he was doing his undercover Millennial employee thing, one of the things I learned from him was not only do we have to be looking at our marketing, our market, how our market’s shifting, we have to be looking at our team. Because our team is shifting and changing, and if we’re leading a team, we have to be doing as much research on how are the people we’re hiring so we can retain them, because it’s really expensive to churn our staff. 

So I don’t know that it’s ever a static point, but I think there could be a still point in the storm, maybe. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Well, I wonder if that’s what it is. That leadership is a journey, and you hit some calm water and sunny days, and that’s lovely, and you soak that up for as long as you can because you know there’s another storm around the corner, sooner or later. But, maybe with each storm, you’re better equipped to deal with the storms, even if it’s a storm you’ve never seen before, because you have the confidence. 

Marc Pitman:

Right. Well right, that’s what I was going to say. It becomes less new and unique. So your amygdala might still be screaming, “Danger! Danger! Threat!” But, you’ve seen this before. You may have an employee that goes off the rails in a client meeting, and the first time that’s going to be horrendous. And it may be as horrendous next time, but I don’t know if it’s a thicker skin, or more tolerance or resiliency that’s built up, because you have seen ways to get through it. I think a pandemic, I don’t hope we’ll ever go through this again, but I’ve seen reports that we’re not any better equipped to handle the next one than we were this one. So I think there’s going to be a bunch of resiliency through this one. If we hit this again, people have adapted, restaurants will have adapted different ways of doing things, and workers, remote teams. 

One of the things that’s going to be really interesting, I don’t know if agencies are seeing this too, is the people that were a cult of personality leader, that people were inspired when they were in their presence but not when they were away, that’s going to be hard in a remote work setting. But, the people that were core values people, and measured productivity based on things other than just having your butt in your seat, but having some goals that they were always trying to accomplish, I think those are organizations that are going to ride out this much better, too. I’m pretty excited for that, because that’s something I’ve been advocating as a Gen Xer. I’ve been advocating for that for years. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. As you were talking, I was thinking about the idea that you get a little more confident as you go through each storm. When my daughter was little and she would worry about something, we’d play the what’s the worst thing that could happen game. I would make her take it to an extreme where pretty much the world would blow up, or the house would burn down. And I would say, “Do you really think that’s going to happen?” We would just back down to what was a reasonable fear. I think that happens to us as leaders, too.

I can remember the first few years of owning my agency, and every time a client didn’t pay us on time, or we lost a client, I was pretty sure I was going to lose my house, and we were going to be homeless and living in my car. And now when it happens I’m like, “That sucks,” but I know that something will come back to fill that gap in, and we’ll be fine, and we’ve got systems and processes in place to find new revenue, or find new clients. So my reaction to scary things is different, because I’ve lived through it enough times that I don’t let myself get all the way to, “I’m going to be homeless.” I just go, “Oh, we might be tight on cashflow for a month or two.” 

Marc Pitman:

Right, and that is huge. But, I think that’s something you have to almost experience. You can hear it.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. 

Marc Pitman:

And that’s where quadrant two and quadrant three are different. Quadrant two, you might do some of the tools and techniques in quadrant three in quadrant two, but it’s more like …

I remember going to a marriage conference with my wife a year after we were married. There were four couples that went to this conference, three of us had been married for a year, one of them was engaged. The three married couples were like, “How did they know this about us? Do they have cameras?” This was pre-internet really, almost. “Did they have cameras spying on us, to know that we’re fighting about these things?” And the fourth couple, the engaged couple said, “Oh, we’re just taking notes of the arguments we’re not going to have, the mistakes we’re not going to make.” We were just, “Isn’t that sweet? Bless your heart,” as we say in the South of the United States. So I think the experiential part of that really builds the kind of confidence you’re talking about. Where you can go through it and say, “All right, this is going to be tight, this is going to be scary.” 

I remember working at a hospital where we had to do reduction in force because the revenues just weren’t there to support the hospital, and it sucked. We were talking two-ply toilet paper versus one-ply, all that stuff. It was awful in the room, and it had been over months. And then there was this still moment and one of the managers said, “You know, we’re going to get through this, right?” And you could just feel people starting to sit up again, have more confidence re-instilled. She said, “We’ve been here before, and this time, and this time.” She named the times that there was that reduction in whatever the services were, or the hit to the economy, or the employer left town and so there were fewer people and we had to do these. It was tough, it’s not going to be pretty, and we tend to hire the same people back because they’re good. It did take lie about the horrendous time we were going to go through, but it built us that confidence of, “We will get through this together.” 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, we will prevail through this. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. Yeah. And, we’re going to do it in a way that people will want to join us again. 

Drew McLellan:

Well, I’ve certainly seen that in the pandemic. A lot of agencies had to either furlough employees, or lay people off. I just talked to an agency owner the other day and she said, “We’ve hired everybody but one person back.” 

Marc Pitman:

Oh. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. I think, on both sides, that feels good. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. Well, that’s where one of my colleagues was telling me of all the how to fire an employee articles, there are none written on how do you let go of somebody who’s an amazingly good team member, who’s meeting all their metrics and everything, but you just don’t have the cashflow. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. It’s the worst day of any owner’s life. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, exactly. 

Drew McLellan:

Terrible. 

Marc Pitman:

Those conversations of whose in the pecking order, had to coach some people through that. And like you said, the one person not coming back. One of my clients, the one person that didn’t come back was the CEO said to them, “I don’t think we have a values match.” And he listed the core values that they had just worked out as a company, that they had been working through for a long time. He said, “Team work, believing the customer’s smart,” doing some others things. “I don’t see these lining up.” The opportunity is I’ll help you find a new position, if this doesn’t feel like a good fit for you. Or, if you think I’m wrong, I’d love to hear from that. And that person ended up leaving within two weeks and it was better for the whole team, and for that person. 

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. What I said to her was that they all wanted to come back tells you that you handled the departure well. In the middle of a pandemic when everybody’s petrified, you took away their livelihood but you did it in a way that made them still care and respect you, and the organization enough, that they wanted to come back. That, to me, is brilliant and beautiful leadership.

Marc Pitman:

Wow. Yeah, it speaks really well for her leadership, too, and her care for both the bottom line and for people. It’s not either or, it’s not a false binary. That’s tough. Wow. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. All right, in the book you talked about some fascinating tests. Everyone’s heard about DiSC and Meyers-Briggs, but you talked about some other ones that I want to ask you some questions about. But first, we’re going to take a quick break and then we’ll come back and talk about those. 

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If you’re interested in having AMI do your customer satisfaction survey, head over to agencymanagementinstitute.com and look under the How We Help section of the website to learn more. All right, let’s get back to the show.

All right, I am back with Marc Pitman, and we have been talking about his book The Surprising Gift of Doubt, and how all of that plays into us as leaders. And I know, as you’ve been listening, some of this stuff has been resonating with you. But, one of the things I really liked about Marc’s book, if you are a regular listener, you know I don’t love books that are big on theory without practical, tangible things to do. Because, as business owners, we need practical, tangible. So one of the things I really appreciated about Marc’s book is that he talks about some of the tests that you can take to learn more about yourself as a leader. 

I had heard of many of them, but some of them I had never heard of, which I’m going to ask some questions about them. One of them, I have heard of but never in a leadership setting, so I wanted to talk about that as well. One of the first tests you talked about was the Highland Test.

Marc Pitman:

Yes. 

Drew McLellan:

And, that may not be the full name. 

Marc Pitman:

The Highlands Ability Battery, yeah. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Talk to us a little bit about that test, because I had never even heard of that before. But when you were talking about what you could learn about yourself I was like, “Okay, tonight I am going to take this test.” 

Marc Pitman:

Oh, that’s awesome.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. 

Marc Pitman:

With quadrant three, I find it’s organic and fluid, and there’s a lot of different ways into quadrant three. So assessments is one of them, which is the hard wiring component. And there are three levels of hard wiring, as I’ve seen it. There’s the behavior hard wiring, which is DiSC. You know, are you fast paced, slow paced, people centered, task centered, and you can observe that. But there are two other levels, Highlands is one of those. It’s the ability hard wiring. 

I’m an assessment junkie, I can see where the questions are going. I’ve taken enough assessments that I know where they’re going, and I can become a high D if I want. Well, I am a high D, but I can fake the test. What I love about the Highlands Abilities Battery is that it’s a three hour test of seemingly meaningless tasks under time constraint. So you’re given a bunch of characters and they match up with another bunch of characters, and then one column is removed and you have to be able to draw lines to where the connections are. Or, you’re given the highlights. Here in the United States, we used to Highlights in the dentist’s office where you’d have a picture with the stuff on it, and then the next picture with stuff removed, and you’d have to figure out what was removed. 

It tests 19 different hardwired abilities that you have. One is introvert extrovert, and that’s the only one that is like the other assessments. But the other 18 are all tests on how quickly you get stuff done, and whether you have a high score or a low score, it doesn’t matter. It’s just your score, it depends on the game you’re playing. Golf you want a low score, football you want a high score. 

I loved it, because first of all, it felt objective. It felt like I can’t lead this one, I can’t cheat this one, this is just how I perform. There are five driving abilities that if you’re over the press point in those, and you’re not getting those expressed in your work, they cause this underlying stress that you can’t figure out why they’re there. And, I loved seeing those because those good managers typically are not high in any of those, but if you are high in those you can learn to create your environment to help that.

And then there are five memories that it tests, which are the ways you learn. There’s not just hearing and reading, but there’s also number memory, there’s design memory, and there’s rhythm memory. One of the things I learned from doing this early in my career was that my rhythm memory was super high, which I guess I could play drums, I don’t know. But, one of the things with rhythm memory is its kinesthetic, so acting things out, or reading while on a treadmill, or listening to podcasts while on a treadmill. Or, not sitting at a desk. One of the things I knew early in my career was I had to be careful of being … I was already extroverted, so I wanted to be around people. But also, the rhythm memory was an indication that I needed to be moving, and so I tried to choose positions that would allow me to be traveling. And know that I’m good at it, too. I recover more quickly than people that don’t have that memory. Yeah, Highlands is great. 

My mom took it when I was going through certification 20 years ago and she said, “Marc, after three hours of that test, I understand why it’s called a battery. I felt more mentally alert after 36 hours of labor with you and nothing to show for it, then I do after three hours with that test.”

Drew McLellan:

Wow. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah, I was just talking to somebody else who took it and felt the very same. Most people aren’t happy when they finish the test because all the things are things that you can do, if you had enough time. But, the time constraint is where it helps force you to see what comes naturally, where it just cognitively is quick for you to do, and neuromuscular, maybe. I love that. Yeah, I could brag about that. Highlands, if just Google highlandsco.com, or Highlands Ability Battery, there’s a lot of us that are providers are that. 

It was built from different corporate studies. They needed some cleaners at hotels. Anybody can go through a checklist, but they don’t have time to so they needed some people that could cross the threshold and see, “Oh, that lamp is two inches too far to the left,” they just intuitively know. There are some people that can look at a map and just intuit the map and they don’t have to look again, it’s part of them. Those are the types of things that that shows. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, that would not be me. But, I’m going to take the test. 

Marc Pitman:

As you can tell, I’m super excited about that one because that’s one I’ve seen really unlock things for people, including myself. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I’m excited to explore that. The other one you talked about, which I’m familiar with, is the Enneagram Test. But, I’ve never seen anyone talk about it from a leadership or business sense, I’ve seen it more as almost like a personality test on the personal side, not in a business setting. Talk a little bit about the test, for those who aren’t familiar with it. And then, talk a little about how taking that test helps us recognize where we’re at on a leadership path. 

Marc Pitman:

Sure. The Ability Battery is what you do naturally. The behavior hard wiring is how you behavior, how that externalizes. What I like about the Enneagram is its more of the motivations for why you behavior the way you do. So you could have three really hard driven, go-getter types but they could be operating from different stories. The Enneagram helps provide a lens. It’s an imperfect lens, but it provides a lens on nine different types of stories that people seem to be consistently trying to live out. Ways of operating in the world that make sense to them to protect themselves and to live successfully in the world. 

We don’t know where it came from exactly, but we see it in history. I’m a nerd, so I like studying this stuff. The Odyssey, Odysseus’ journey home, as he goes home it goes around the one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, it goes backwards, nine through one, the same way that we see the Enneagram symbol today. Beatrice Chestnut does a wonderful study on Dante’s Inferno and how every level of the Inferno seems to reflect one of these nine types. I ran into it first in a faith tradition about 30 years ago, when I was in my teens. It just made sense to me, it helped me to see where my pitfalls were, where my strengths were, and how I could grow and be aware of certain things. Especially pitfalls. 

But I never introduced it in my coaching because I didn’t want to proselytize, I didn’t force a faith tradition on someone. It was Beatrice Chestnut’s The Nine Types of Leadership that really unlocked, for me, the productivity that can be released when people have an objective language to talk about really personal things. With the Enneagram, I like to talk about the nine types as the numbers, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, because there’s not an emotional attachment to numbers. There is to labels. So if you say, “Eight is the Challenger,” some people get really stressed when they hear challenge, some people get really excited. But when they hear eight, it’s more neutral. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

So just knowing that one way to look at it is there are aggressive types, there are dependent types and there are withdrawn types. So some people are go-getter, aggressive, create the future because it hasn’t been made yet so the future’s ours. There are other people, and you can think about this when you face problems, some people get really frustrated with the go-getters because they want to figure out what are we going to get, which isn’t always the first question for the aggressives. The dependents tend to look for the people around them, “What are you doing?” They’re benchmarking, they’re trying to check in with their team.

Withdrawn types, which can be really strong leaders, too, are people that tend to absorb a lot of information quickly, and they tend to close the door and look back through history. How did we get here, and have a past orientation. Whereas the dependents are a now orientation, and the aggressives are future. Each of those three big categories align with three different of the nine Enneagram types, too.

I’ll let you lead. Where do you want to go? Because I could nerd out on Enneagram for hours, and I don’t want to do that to your listeners. 

Drew McLellan:

As I was reading the book and I was thinking about it, I’ve taken the test before, but it occurred to me that I’d never thought about weaving it through my organization. I have a lot of agencies who’ve done Strength Finders or something like that, and then outside everybody’s cube or door, they have their strengths listed. There’s another one called 16 Personalities, which I’ve had a lot of agencies do that. And then, some of my agencies have this huge poster in their office, and they show you where everybody is so you can look and go, “Oh, I’m banging my head with Babette today. Here’s why, because she’s a this and I’m a that.” I just had never heard anyone using the Enneagram in that way. 

Marc Pitman:

If it’s helpful that way, that’s wonderful. I remember going through an organization, a multi-national organization, that had these colors and shapes, and it was similar, something to do for a DiSC type profile. But, that can become really limiting. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. That was what I was going to ask you is if everybody looks at my thing outside my office and says, “Oh, he’s a blank,” then I almost have to live up to that, right? 

Marc Pitman:

Well, that’s the thing, too. Why I love the Enneagram is part of what they teach about the nine types is personality is not the goal, the goal isn’t to be the great personality you are. The goal is to emerge from that personality. The armor that you build up to go through the world can become a shell that traps you in, and restricts your growth. So an eight, whose wonderfully dominant, you can feel their energy when they come into the room, even before they come into the room at times, they take charge because what their motivating story is “I don’t want to be bullied. I don’t want my team to be bullied. I am going to secure as much space around me and my team, so that nothing harms them,” and so they’re really aggressive. They like people that are aggressive back. They don’t have to agree, although it seems like they’re trying to bully people into submission ironically is how it comes across, they don’t realize that. “Oh, I was arguing? I didn’t realize I was arguing. I was just expressing my point of view.” 

But, when you grow out of that, part of the cool thing about the Enneagram is to realize that being vulnerable for an eight is a growth path, and when you learn that, you learn that vulnerability takes strength, so you’re not being a weakness. If you do it well, you’re not going to get sucker punched. What’s really bad for people that have those labels outside their doors is, when you’re growing out of your personality style, or into a better personality style, people don’t like that. Me as a seven, I’m the life of the party always seeing new things. Monkey brain, I can make connections people haven’t made before because I’m trying not to stay in the present. I’m trying to shiny new object, shiny new object, in personality. At my baseline, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve had to grow and to really do deep study and all, but people that are used to, “Hey, let’s bring Marc along because there’s going to be a lot laughter,” if I’m in a more mellow state, they’re not pleased with that. 

Drew McLellan:

Right. 

Marc Pitman:

That’s where these assessments can be really challenging for teams because I love that they give a common language, and there’s jocularity and some humor that can come from it, but the leader has to be really careful that it’s not done punitively or restrictively. That’s why I love Beatrice Chestnut’s Nine Types of Leadership, and the way I talked about the Enneagram here, is that all types I think can be good leaders, we just have to redefine, make sure we’re clear on the objectives that we’re trying to do. 

One thing I would say about the Enneagram, too, is the assessments … All of these can be assessment based. Enneagram, because it’s more wisdom literature, the assessments only help you sift through the nine types, they’ll never tell you what you are. DiSC, it’ll tell you what you are. Highlands will definitely tell you what you are. Strengths Finder will tell you what you are. But Enneagram, even if it just gives you one response, and I’ve never seen a good free Enneagram assessment, they’re more like What Disney Princess Are You on Buzzfeed, but just don’t allow it to label you. Sit with it and work with it, because it’s been done passed on from a mentor to a mentee, and so there’s been conversation in between, so I’ve done my disclaimer there. But, the assessments can be really helpful. They give you something to work from. 

Drew McLellan:

I’m going to restrain from asking you which Disney princess you are, by the way. I’m just not going to ask. 

We’re running out of time, but I have so many more questions. What I wanted to make sure we talked about was, here we are acknowledging, reading the book, seeing ourself and going, “I’m not the perfect, know-it-all leader that I would like the world to see me as. And, now I have to groom young leaders. Here I am, a broken, not as a great a leader as I want to be, and now I have to nurture and grow other humans in my organization to be good leaders.” How do we, in our not perfect leader state, what is the best way for us to encourage people in our organization to grow into their leadership? Given your study, in the quadrants, and all of that stuff. 

Marc Pitman:

One way to do it would be to look at what do they seem to be doing. Do they seem to be gravitating to copying people and observing people, which is a really important skill, you have to know whose safe to follow. And I really believe that the only safe leaders exist are the ones that could be good followers. I think it gets really toxic when you’re always just the leader and there’s no one that you’re listening to or getting input from, so that’s quadrant one.

Or are they in quadrant two, where they seem to be going for certifications and degrees, or seminars, which isn’t bad. Those are good, those can be really helpful. So helping them sift through that, because you learn how you learn. You can learn if you’re auditory, if you read. There’s different ways you can learn about your learning skills. The quadrant three stuff, whether it’s your identity, the stories you tell yourself or you tell about your organization, assessments, the hard wiring that you have, the way you set goals, those can be really good because all of those help show your limitations to you and become really clear on your own. You become a better mentor, and grower of leaders, if you know where your limits are. And, you can say it without it becoming a weakness. 

I could say, “Hey look, I don’t really like implementing this stuff.” What are the blind spots that I might be missing, because I’m not implementing this stuff? Or, because I would just love to be creating things. Or, if you’re that kind of visionary leader … I say visionary not as a better than, but that’s just what people often call the kind of out there leaders. If you’re that kind of visionary leader, you need to know, also, the rest of your leaders, the rest of your team, “Just because I verbally process something doesn’t mean we’re having to go in that direction. I may say 12 things, but it’s the one in the middle that’s the one that we’re going.” Or, “The one that I said last week is what we’re going to do, I just like having ideas.”

As you start owning where your strengths are and where maybe some of your shortcomings may be, that can be really freeing for others. To provide a safer space for them to say, “You know, I like just gutting it out. Creating the plan is kind of annoying, I like working the plan.” And then, you can start helping people excel, and also putting the people in the “right seats on the bus,” to quote Jim Collins, getting them in the right positions in your organization. 

Can I share a story of where we saw that happen? 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. 

Marc Pitman:

With a tech startup. There was a team that I was working with that I talk about in the book that it was the Enneagram that really helped. We tried DiSC because there was a lot of stress. We were getting a lot of good stuff done, but it was through a lot of chaos. A lot of stress, and late nights, and last minute deadlines. The DiSC assessment gave us some sort of language, but it still didn’t fix it. Two years later, we were still running into the same sort of awfulness, and stress, and one person was letting us down. It was just not working. 

But, when we did the Enneagram and found out that … First, and this is important, three of us thought we were in the same part of the Enneagram. It turns out, as we worked through it, walked through it more, we realized only one of us was that number and the other two were two different numbers. But, once we had the language that the Enneagram gave us to talk about how we operate, we were then able to place the more problematic person in a different role with different expectations that’ll allow that person to flourish. The tech startup guy was just ecstatic because he said he had seen that person as a weed and kept wondering, “Am I going to have to fire this person?” But when they were able to get the goals of the organization done in a way that was life giving for this person, and this person was brilliant at it, that was really helpful for all of us because we actually started sleeping through the night again, which we hadn’t done around deadlines and just releases of product. 

I think that’s part of how you can grow as a leader, and help emerge. I guess I’m presupposing here that people are always learning, and I know that there are a lot of people that feel like, “Hey, I’ve done my time. I don’t need to learn anymore,” and that’s going to be a little bit hard. 

Drew McLellan:

Fortunately, it’s difficult to survive in an agency environment with that attitude because what we did three years ago for a client, we don’t do anymore because now we’re doing this. It’s very difficult to stay stagnant in an agency.

But, part of what I was thinking about is when you understand the quadrants and you can start to identify the behaviors, and acknowledge that you’re still learning as a leader, which takes a level of transparency and trust, obviously, between you and your young, I’m assuming they’re younger, but your less experienced leaders. I would think that that would then encourage them to embrace the fact that you could be a good leader without being a perfect leader, because that doesn’t actually exist even though a lot of people try and suggest that it does with their behavior. 

Marc Pitman:

Well, what I’ve seen it is gives you permission to be yourself, which I think a lot of us have been taught through schooling, and maybe our faith communities, or our parenting, just growing up in families or being on teams, that who we are isn’t enough, that we need to be something else. What I have consistently found in working with leaders is that there are definitely things that we have to do, whether we’re good at it or not. Business leaders, we have to do the books, even if we have a person that can do the books. There’s a part of stuff that we have to do, that we might not like to do. But, we get to free ourselves up into those positions that we’re really well suited for. 

If you’re suited for more being an implementer and integrator, you can craft your environment around that without having to be the off-the-wall visionary sort of person. If you’re an off-the-wall visionary person, you can choose to be a solopreneur, or you can choose to work with a team that helps accentuate each other’s bits. That’s why your story is so important, is learning what is the caricature of a leader in your head that you’re unintentionally trying to model after, because many of us, we just unquestioningly assume everybody has the same sense of who’s the star, who’s the leader, what is leadership ability.

Fortunately, one of the things I love about the age we’re living in, is that our new employees, and they’re not young anymore, but the generations that are following … I’m Gen X, so the Millennials and the Z, they’re forcing these conversations anyway, because they’re not just accepting more pay and putting up with a bunch of crap. If they don’t see the values being reflected, they’re leaving and they’re going to another place. I think it’s going to be very beneficial for our organizations to try to figure out okay, how do we be successful and redefine success, so that it means not necessarily sacrificing ourselves and our families. Unless we like doing that, and then we can create that village around us of people that are … politics does that, and some people really love politics, so that could be a good place for them. But, it’s a conscious choice not just a default, or lulled into trying to be something that you’re not. 

Drew McLellan:

Well, I think, too, the big takeaway for me out of the book was this you can be a good leader without being perfect at it, and there is no set way to lead, you have to lead your way. And, that part of moving through the quadrants is realizing maybe I’m an introvert and I’m not the charismatic, extroverted leader that runs my company. Or, maybe I am super charismatic and extroverted, and this company is led by a geeky introvert and maybe I don’t fit here. But, recognizing you can contribute at a leader level, no matter how you’re wired. But it takes understanding yourself to recognize that one, you’re never going to be a perfect leader, so you have to keep working at it. And two, you don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel to be a kind of leader that you really want. 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. For the emerging leaders that may be listening to this, too, part of it is knowing that being your glorious, wonderful self is covered or squelched a bit by the artificial organizations of agency, or whatever organization you’re in. You do need to do the job that you were hired to do. 

Drew McLellan:

Sure, of course. 

Marc Pitman:

So there are ways that you can adjust it, though, and do it even without making a grand statement. You might be able to just adjust some things in your schedule, or do some things certain ways, respond differently, promise different time lengths or something. 

But, for the senior leaders that are listening, too, one of the things that I found through the process of writing this book is it’s that doubt that you feel, what if the question isn’t … inviting people to change the question. Sorry for stumbling over that. But, inviting you to change the question from maybe I don’t belong, maybe I’m not the right person to what if I were perfectly suited to fix this situation, or what if our agency was perfectly suited to address this sector, and how would you do it differently then. To me, seeing people get released to be, “Okay, we do do it differently, and there isn’t necessarily a playbook for this. But, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. How can we do it and add a different voice to the conversation?” 

With a lot of the diversity we’re seeing in the United States, and apparently around the world, I am excited for that, too, because there continues to be more and more ways of doing things, getting the same stuff done but in different ways, that it’s actually making life much more enjoyable, and a lot less mechanistic, and assembly line like. 

Drew McLellan:

Well, I think it also adds variety. I think a good leader recognizes that their way is an absolutely good way, but it isn’t the only way. I think that’s what your book talks about, right? 

Marc Pitman:

Yeah. And there’s a [inaudible 00:58:23], when you’re running an organization, where you get to say, “Hey, this is not the only way to run the organization, but this is how we’re running this organization. There are plenty of other agencies you can go to if you’d like to.” Hopefully you don’t have to have that conversation often, but I know in my career, I’ve had to have that conversation a few times. That really shocks people, because they’ve never been told, “No, this is a non-negotiable for us. We’re not going, whatever it is, we’re not going to lie to our clients to get a sale.” Or we’re not going to whatever the thing is, they’re shocked that somebody will say that and give them a free open door to leave. Life’s too short to be stifled in places you don’t like to be. 

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, amen. I could talk to you about this … This is such a rich topic, but I need to let you go and I’m sure people are like, “I’ve been on this treadmill for an hour, Drew.”

Marc Pitman:

Way too long.

Drew McLellan:

“You need to wrap this up, man.” 

Marc, thank you for being on the show. Again, if you guys listening haven’t sensed from me that I think this is a book you should go get, let me be very clear. I don’t care how good of a leader you think you are, I don’t care how good you think you are at grooming leaders, The Surprising Gift of Doubt, it just opens up opportunity for you. And I think you’re going to recognize yourself in it, I think you’re going to recognize where you have doubt. And I think Marc has mapped out for you a path for continuing to grow as a leader, as you move fluidly through these quadrants on any given day or in any situation. I know it’s available in all your favorite book stores, and of course on the big online book stores as well, so grab a copy and dig in because I think you’re going to find it fascinating. 

Marc, thank you so much for being on the show. 

Marc Pitman:

Wow. Thank you so much for inviting me, this has been really a real blast. Thank you. 

Drew McLellan:

So if people want to track you down, if they want to learn more about the work you do, or read more of what you’re creating, what’s the best way for them to find you? 

Marc Pitman:

Probably concordleadershipgroup.com, C-O-N-C-O-R-D leadershipgroup.com. The Surprising Gift of Doubt will redirect you to a page there, if they wanted to do that. And, I try to be on all the socials, or most of the socials. It’s Marc with a C, Pitman with one T. Twitter is one I have the most fun with, @marcapitman on Twitter. 

Drew McLellan:

Okay, awesome. All right guys, again, as you know, I want these episodes to give you things to think about, and to do or stop doing. Number one, I want you to start thinking about the fact of giving yourself some permission and some grace around the fact that you don’t always have the answers. And you don’t always know exactly what to do, or when to do it, and that that’s okay and every single leader has those feelings, whether we say that out loud or not. So number one, take some comfort in that. 

Number two, recognize that no matter how long you’ve owned your agency, and no matter what an amazing leader you are, which I know a lot of you are, there is always room for all of us to keep growing. And if nothing else, to figure out how to help our people grow, and how to get them more comfortable in sometimes the very uncomfortable role of leader, as we all know and we have all experienced in the last year and a half. 

So put what you have heard today to good use, don’t just let it sit on a shelf but take some action. Whether it’s just reading the book, or taking one of the assessments we talked about, or just talking to your team about that it’s okay if they don’t always have the answer and self-disclose that sometimes, even though it looks like you always have the answer, you don’t either. Any of those are good first steps into putting some of this into practice. 

Before I let you go, I want to remind you of two things. Number one, in August we are coming together in-person, I want to say that in all caps and in underlines, for the Build A Better Agency Summit. It’s going to be an amazing two day conference, you’re going to connect with a lot of other agency owners. We have remarkable speakers, many of whom are household names in your world and mine. And, they’re all going to teach us how to run the business of our business better. If you want to head over to agencymanagementinstitute.com, the very first button on the left is Build A Better Agency Summit. We have about 60 tickets left, and then we’re going to be sold out. I do not want you to miss this, so grab your ticket please and join us. I can’t wait to see all of you in person, it’s been too long. That’s reminder number one. 

Reminder number two is a huge shout out to our friends at White Label IQ, they are the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency Podcast. They make it possible for us to come and hang out with you every week. As you know, they provide white label services, PPC, dev and design. If you want to learn more about them, you can head over to whitelabeliq.com/ … I don’t think we have to say backlash any more, just slash now, AMI, and they’ve got a special discount there just for you, as podcast listeners. 

Thanks for listening, thanks for hanging in with us. I know, for some of you, this episode might have been a little uncomfortable. I think we all like to think of ourselves as perfect leaders. But, I’m glad you stuck it out to the end, I hope it was super useful for you. And, I will be back next week with another great guest like Marc, to help you think a little differently about your business. And in the meantime, you know how to track me down. I’m on all the socials, and you can reach me at agencymanagementinstitute.com. All right, thanks for listening, I’ll see you next week. 

Thanks for spending some time with us. Visit our website to learn about our workshops, owner peer groups and download our salary and benefits survey. Be sure you also sign up for our free podcast giveaways at agencymanagementinstitute.com/podcastgiveaway.