Benefits of Building a Vibrant Culture with Nicole Greer (#54)

Show Notes:

Nicole Greer is the principal coach and CEO of Build a Vibrant CultureTM, which helps individuals, corporations, government, faith-based organizations
and non-profits become the people they were created to be through fulfilling a mission, to work in teams exemplifying VIBRANT LeadershipTM.

Using transformational change leadership coaching & training programs, Nicole offers foundational tools and uncommon wisdom to Build a Vibrant CultureTM.

She is a serious entrepreneur with experience in coaching, marketing, mastering first impressions, learning & development and sales.

Nicole is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, executive and business coach.

Topics explored:

  • Leaders need to get excited about what they’re doing (not the jazz hands kind)
  • GET LIT; how to build a better future your staff can get onboard with
  • People need to see strategic vision, and understand how they fit into it
  • The importance of Integrating Integrity; think Candor, rather than Honesty
  • The standards set in the culture, are more important than even a top performer’s bad behaviour
  •  When building vibrant culture, “coach them in and coach them out”
  • Be unapologetically strong in coaching and setting your expectations
  • Hire using ‘Behavioural Interviewing’
  • Multipliers vs Diminishers
  • Reflection is the number one most important yet neglected leadership skill: 3 Key Questions
  • No meetings on Mondays!
  • Listen to desolation, embrace consolation
  • Ripples of positivity



Al McBride 0:03
So welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is to sharpen the psychological edge. In negotiation high impact conversations for business leaders with skin in the game who want to be more effective under pressure, uncover hidden value, and increase profitability. With expert guests across the business spectrum.

We deliver Gems of Wisdom delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to business to life, and to problem solving. This is the Grande cup of insight long form podcast interview, where we take a little bit more time to delve a little bit deeper into our guests experiences, stories, and to get you those priceless nuggets. I’m your host al McBride.

My guest today is Nicole Greer. Nicole is the principal coach and CEO of build a vibrant culture, which helps individuals corporations, government, faith based organizations and nonprofits become the people that are created to be through fulfilling a mission to work in teams exemplifying vibrant leadership. Using transformational change leadership coaching and training programs. Nicole offers foundational tools and uncommon wisdom to build a vibrant culture.

She’s a serious serial entrepreneur with experience in coaching, marketing, mastering first impressions, learning and development and sales. And if you want to know more, visit her at vibrant Nicole, welcome to the show such a pleasure and a privilege to have you on.

Nicole Greer 1:45
Yeah, I’m delighted to be here with you. I know, both of us have some common goals. We’re both writing a lot these days, and you were a guest on my podcast. So I’m grateful for that.

Al McBride 1:57
I thoroughly enjoyed that you gave me a great interview, you’ve got to go to anatomy. So I’m very grateful for that. So glad to have you on mine. And thank you, thank you for coming. In that little intro, there were quite a few things that I’ve got to ask you about. The first is is is this vibrant leadership. So talk us through what makes what’s the difference between you know, competent leadership or whatever, that kind of more middle ground versus this this aim that you’re bringing in a vibrant leadership? Talk us through that?

Nicole Greer 2:28
Yeah, I think leaders need to get excited about what they’re doing. That’s the first thing when when you see a leader, and they are putting off an energy, and that energy is positive, enthusiastic, good, helpful. Their vision is apparent, you know, what they want you to do, you’ve got clarity about things. Integrity is of the highest calling, and it’s all about transforming into the next thing, then you’ve got a leader who is vibrant.

What I experienced, though, is I will go places, and the leadership is like complacent or worried or down the viewing scale or sad about the price of gas or what, whatever the things are, that have got a leader down the feeling scale, and in my mind, a vibrant leader, who is somebody who first of all gets their head in the game first thing in the morning, and then approaches their work with this very high energy.

Now I’m not talking about, you know, being hyper or inauthentically, you know, razzmatazz jazz hands kind of leadership. I’m saying, I walk in the room, and it’s like, here’s what we’re doing today. And here’s why it counts. And here’s why we’re gonna do it. I’m very clear, let’s go. And there’s just that excitement that gets everybody on board. So I do that through a little methodology called Get Lit. So I want everybody to get lit. And that sounds like a lot of fun, but it

Al McBride 3:55
certainly does. So talk us through the getlit? Or do we want to loop back to that? Because we’re just gonna ask you because, you know, very few people, okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of leaders usually have some interest in what they’re doing. But often that, you know, the day to day tasks to work, like a lot of people in the workplace, maybe they arrive at the job arrive, you know, when they when they take on that role with a certain level of enthusiasm and interest, and then that kind of get gets eroded over time. So I’m just wondering, what are some of these effects? Are you bringing people the spark that they never had? Are you helping them reignite something that was there in the past, or how does that work?

Nicole Greer 4:36
It’s probably a combination of both. I think, you know, the thing about running a business is that the the first thing you need to do so I’m gonna I am going to weave in the get let is you have to lead with clarity. So people need to know what the expectations are. And they need to know that there is a strategic plan and what their part in the strategic plan is and then there needs to be various and sundry things that resource, the team to get that strategic plan done. And there has to be a lot of talk. And there has to be a lot of communication about what we’re doing.

So that’s when, why the L in Get Lit is lead with clarity. So one of the things that we we do not do enough of inside of an organization is cast vision and talk about where we’re going. The future can be a huge magnetic pull on people, if the future state is way more exciting, that people understand what’s in it for me in the future, it’s going to draw people towards that future. So for example, when I go different organizations, they’re like, people don’t like to change. And I hear that all the time. Well, that may be true. But usually the reason people don’t want to change is because they don’t have a good reason to change.

They don’t understand what’s out in the future. And if the leader is great at casting vision, and there’s a certain skill set with that, you have to be a speaker, you have to learn to be an extemporaneous speaker, you’ve got to be a strategic planner. And you got to be somebody who can teach business acumen. When a leader can do all of those things, they can cast a vision where people go, Oh, and if we did that, that means the company would grow like this. And then that means I might could get a promotion, or I could work remotely or whatever turns me on.

Right. So when people understand what the future holds, they kind of can put their head down, do the change, get the work done, because there’s not only a goal for the company, but a goal for them personally. So I think leading with clarity is about constantly having the torch, you know, like the leader has to carry the torch, right? So he’s carrying or she’s carrying the torch all around saying, this is where we’re going, this is what we’re doing. This is how we’ll get there. There’s a there’s a guy named Bill Hybels. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him. But he ran a very large organization up in Chicago, Illinois, and he had this video, it’s still out on YouTube, everybody go watch it. And it’s called Vision, leaks, le K s. And he says, here’s the thing you could take, you could take a bucket and give it to everybody on your team. And you could pour the vision in there, he said, but it will leak out.

Because the day today will make the vision fuzzy and clouded. Right. But if you keep telling them the vision, it’s like, remember, here’s where we’re going. It’s like peekaboo right? All this stuff comes in, where are we going, I’m just trying to get this done, we’ll keep getting that done. Because if we get that done, here’s what we get to do. Next, we’re going out into the future. And we’re going to have a better state that we’re going to be in. And I think that leaders are cautious, they don’t want to be wrong. And that’s another reason they don’t cast a vision, they their ego pops up and goes Be careful, you could be wrong about this while

Al McBride 7:54
you’re flagging my next question, which was bowing my head, I’m sure when you say this lovely, just like yes, I want to be inspired, I want to be inspired. And I want to inspire my staff, but in a structured way. And I love that it is the emotional fuel for this. But it’s also the structure, the planning, that you have that strategic backing, which is action, but I’m just so Okay, so people are getting inspired by this. They’re thinking, Yes, this is what I want. What are some of those then the next big challenges or obstacles that you help your clients through?

Nicole Greer 8:25
Well, I think you have to have a structure in place to hold the vision up, right? So it’s not just a bunch of words, right? So like to your point, I said, you know, cast this vision, well, then, how are we going to accomplish it? Right. So the way that we’re going to accomplish it is we’re going to lay out a strategic plan for it. And a strategic plan essentially, is where we’re going to say, here’s where we want to be in three years. Now, I would not suggest going out any further than three years, because three years ago, we were in a pandemic, and nobody saw that coming.

But you can cast a vision for three years out. Now, a lot of people instead of starting from the future, they start from the present and start to put their strategic plan in place. So one of the little structures I give people is I R P. Okay, I RP. So the first thing that what I do when I sit down with a team, and I do strategic planning, and I’ll say, where do we want to be in three years, right? And so that will involve all the normal buckets of a business, right? So what what what are the what’s the strategy in terms of what’s our business plan? So we got to know what our business plan is, sometimes it’s time to redo the business plan, hello.

Then we have the operations, right. So how are we going to support this plan? Then we have marketing, how are we going to take our products and service to market then how are we going to sell our products and services? And then how are we going to provide the delivery of those products and services. So that’s nothing new. That’s all been around a long, long time.

But the strategic plan addresses each one of those areas. And so we have the big vision At perhaps the CEO and his VPs of all those different areas, the CEO, the CFO, the C suite, whatever, they look at it, but now, each one of those individual senior leaders has to have their own vision. So if if I’m the Chief Financial Officer, you know, I want to have sales and marketing, bring the dollars in, but then how am I going to funnel the dollars? What is what are we going to do with the money? How are we going to pay our bills? You know, what, what is our plan. So I’ll give you a good example of that.

I’m working with a credit union right now. And literally, I would send them an invoice, it would go to a lady I knew her name, she would put my information in the computer, and I would get a check in the mail. So we’ve been doing that a long time. Okay, they just switched, they have a whole new electronic system, I have to go in, in afford my invoice into their system, it goes through some kind of fancy thing in the background, and out pops a check, because now, there’s all this automation in place all this AI in place. Okay, so that would be part of the CFOs strategic plan, we’re going to put this new software in place. So now what are we going to do with my, my gal? Who I always sent my invoice? What’s she gonna do?

Right? Well, you could say, well, we’re gonna have to let go. Or we could find a way to change where she’s gonna be. So again, there’s this whole, you know, human resource strategic plan, where we’re gonna do with people as we bring in AI and different things like that. So each one of those C suites, or each one of those VPS, has to develop their own vision and explain where the company is going. So I think that’s really important. So that’s leading with clarity.

The second part of it is integrating integrity. Now, one of the things that I do in my training, is I talk a lot about the quality of people’s character is absolutely essential to getting the job done. So we talk a lot about what it means to carry out the core values that might already be in place. And then I work with a tool called the called the tilt. And the tilt helps us talk about all year long about men, the men and women have integrity, because here’s where we fall out of integrity. Because we say we’re going to do all this stuff. And we don’t.

Al McBride 12:16
And again, what we usually stops people, because is it? Is it day to day challenges. Is it legacy challenges.

Nicole Greer 12:24
It’s the quality of our character. Now, I must say something very, very dangerous. Are you ready

Al McBride 12:30
to be controversial, folks?

Nicole Greer 12:33
Yeah, yeah. So. So he said, Be careful what you say we can always edit it out. But I’m saying that I’m not gonna edit it out. So I had a whole okay, if I had a whole roomful of people. And I said, are you all men and women of integrity? What do you think the answer would be? What would everybody say?

Al McBride 12:51
I think most people would like to think they are and go Well, yes. Yes, I am cool. Of course I am.

Nicole Greer 12:59
Right? And the answer is, sometimes we’re not always true. I mean, that’s the true answer. Right? So when you think about being men and women of integrity, it’s there’s a lot of character traits. Now, when people think of integrity, they think a lot of times about honesty, that’s a great one. They think about, you know, this is just a different version, like telling the truth or whatever. But here’s what I know is out there in our companies, we’re not always telling the entire truth.

We’re not being practicing candor, which is a much better word than honesty. And, and there’s a lot of discipline that’s not in place. And I’ll give you a really ridiculous example. I will go places and they’ll say, Well, I emailed Aleister, I emailed him, what did I said? Did he email you back? No, he doesn’t email back. What do you mean, he doesn’t email back? I said, nothing. who’s holding him accountable? Right.

So then there’s this thing of accountability, which is a part of integrity. There’s a lot of Dare I say this, a lot of little achy, bad behaviors out there. And we’ve got a we’ve got to as organizations clean this stuff up and say, No, if we send our company policy is if Nicole sent you an email, you sent her a return email within 48 hours. And the email might just say, I can’t get to this for another 48 hours, but at least I know you got my email. Right?

Al McBride 14:34
is creating standards and operating procedures that everybody buys into and agrees to then they’re held accountable to not just each other themselves but themselves through the standards.

Nicole Greer 14:47
Yeah, but I it is deeper than that. It’s like really a focus on the quality of character. I mean, because see, here’s the thing people get offended. You know, if I say you’re lacking Integrity right here. What do you mean? Okay, well, you’re not returning phone calls or emails within 48 hours. So it’s just an email. No, it’s a lack of integrity, because our policy is, so my thing is, is like really helping people become better people. Because when people are better people, then we have better product, we have better production, we have better stuff.

Just everything’s better, we have better people. And I’ll give you another example, if you want it. Okay, so I had this gentleman, that was given to me as a coaching client. Now, unfortunately, you know, when I first got my coaching, like in 2007, there, I had this pie in the sky thing going on, in my mind about coaching there, I was, like, I’m going to coach people to be their highest potential. And you’ll ever work with all stars and all this kind of stuff. And I do I work with some of these people.

But really, a lot of times I’m hired to coach people who need to create, or they need to correct me say that I need to correct some bad behaviors or lack of character, you know, because Because here’s the thing, somebody that I’m going to call this gentleman, Bob, okay, just to protect the innocent, but I get Bob, and Bob is a great salesperson. Like, let’s just think about that minute. There’s a lot of talent and a guy who pulls in the numbers, right? I mean, just think about how, how sales is so important.

So what do we know about this guy, and we’ve never met him, if he’s like, the number one sales guy, we know, he’s personable, knowledgeable, charismatic, at some level, must be showing up, must be hustling out on the road, must be going to the cocktail parties, taking people to play golf, whatever the thing involves, he’s got lots of communication skills. Now, here’s the problem. When I got him to be coached, the Senior VP was a brand new VP of sales. And he says, This guy creates a lot of trouble back here at the office. Okay. And here’s what my VP of Sales understands.

Building a vibrant culture is more important than this guy getting sales. Because when Bob comes back to the home office, he’s a jerk. And I’m using that word very much on purpose. As he comes in. He wants people to break the rules, been the policy kowtow to him, he’s a little bit arrogant, there’s a character trait that’s negative. He, he’s just icky. Unless we use that word. It’s a very technical word. He’s just icky to be around. Now, here’s the thing. How is he selling stuff? See, here’s the thing. Bob knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows he can be fabulous and accommodating, and all these things when he’s selling.

But because he’s number one, he come back and he’s a jerk. I mean, this stuff is out there, right? And so my job is to help Bob understand, you can’t, you can’t do that. You can’t make the girl at the warehouse cry anymore. I’m sorry. And so he the character traits we worked on or arrogance. He has, he has a lack of compassion for people. And he’s not very patient.

So you see, do you see all these character traits? He can exercise them over here, but he can’t exercise them over here. So I see this a lot. And so that’s what I’m talking about. When I say we’ve got to integrate integrity, like we have got to be men and women, who are great men and women, like really men and women of integrity. And so some people are going, I can totally relate. I have a bob in my company.

Al McBride 18:43
I think everybody has a bob. Yeah. Yeah, I think it’s it’s fascinating stuff on the culture, sense that, as you said, you’re talking about in terms of integrity. Often people, some people might be having a similar spark my head, which was the word values, and some of you have very negative reaction to values in the corporate or in the business world, because they’re often only used to attack you with rather than in a positive, sort of, as you said it in a positive way attached to the vision attached to the atmosphere, that the business is trying to create or, or continue.

And it’s just you touched on that there were this individual could behave in a very charming way or whatever way that was required to close the deal, close those sales, but then would come back to HQ, and will be quite obnoxious and and create a very unpleasant atmosphere. How far do you How far do you bring those values? How far do you is it very much that structure of this is our What were our standards are now and you abide by the standards or this place isn’t for you, or how do you go about that?

Nicole Greer 20:05
Yeah, well, you know, one of the things that I think is important is, you know, when you’re building this vibrant culture, you’re gonna have to pick what your principles are. Right? And that’s kind of like you got to have some tag lines that are running through your leadership brain. So one of the things I tell people is, coach them in, or coach them out. Okay, at the end of the day, do I want Bob to stay? The answer is a resounding yes. Because Bob gets a lot of sales.

Also, Bob is not 25. If we end up, you know, like, he may go find another job if he’s not willing to change. And then we’ve still won if he leaves because here’s the other thing leaders don’t understand, can we go find a nice person who can sell say, Yes, we can go find this person, right? We don’t have to tolerate people being mean. Alright, so you got to get your head on the game on that.

But But what a win, that would be for us, if we helped Bob change, like, really, at the end of the day, it’s all about helping people. Be the best that they can be like, that’s where the fun is. That’s what leadership really is. Leadership is casting, the vision, the strategy, all of that you can do like on a three day weekend. But then it’s, it’s 365 days after that, where you’re like working on Alistair, you’re working on Bob, you’re working on Nicole. And that’s takes true talent is to get Bob to change now.

But I’m going to I’m going to be unapologetically strong with my coaching and setting my expectations and measuring. So people might you might think, Well, how do we measure integrity? It’s very easy. So I have an assessment that people take, and they assess themselves, we coach around that. But then the second phase is, is that everybody that Bob touches back at the home office at HQ. They are in categories. And so I say I say to Bob, we’re gonna have you rated in these categories by these people.

So this is the C suite is going to look at you, the warehouse is going to look at your fellow salespeople are going to look at you. And they’re going to rate you on the quality of your character. And there are 48 commendable traits. And so that’s a lot, but they’ll rate you. And then we’ll look at where you’re rated low. And so for example, he was said over and over again, that he’s arrogant and condescending. So I just want everybody to stop for a minute and think about what it’s like to have an arrogant, condescending person roaming around the office is terrible.

So he creates a lot of negative emotions wherever he goes. And then people sit around talking about him instead of doing the work they’re supposed to be doing. Don’t miss that. So we we say, okay, arrogance, and being condescending. So, first of all, we have to tell Bob, here’s the problem, Bob, you are, the normal amount of stuff you need is self assured, does a salesperson need to be self assured?

Yes, gotta be confident. But when you overplay that, it becomes arrogance. So I need you to dial that back. So the coach sits with Bob and says, What behaviors could you intentionally do? That would help people see that you’ve dialed back from arrogance to self assured? And so in this case, the behaviors were saying, Please, and thank you making appointments with people saying thank you writing handwritten notes. Do you think those are all the things he does with his sales customers?

Al McBride 24:00
Exactly. I was gonna say, you can just if it’s genuine, as if it’s genuine with the sales customer, you know, I was wondering do you have in? Okay, we’ve talked about Bob a specific example. But more in general, when people need that sort of corrective coaching for and it’s pretty unnerving to be under the spotlight like that, from your colleagues is 48 different traits.

And as you said, it’s in the full 360 It sounds like in all directions of people who interact with it pretty humbling stuff do to people, and there must be a normal set of reactions where there’s kind of the you know, the, you know, they Oh, that’s exaggerated. Oh, no, I don’t do that. Oh, and then eventually acceptance probably, but do you have sort of a standard set of reactions and and does that guide you in how to deal with them or how, whether you think the process will actually work or not?

Nicole Greer 25:00
Yeah, well, here’s the thing. You know, it’s all it’s all choice. So, you know, if we work with Bob, and we say, we want to do this, would you like to do this? Now, back to, you know, slaying the Goliath, the thing you do, right? I have to negotiate a lot of times with my, with my coaching clients, you know, like, well, let’s try this and see if that works. You’re like, I have to present things I have to sell inside of the coaching process sometime to get people to see the benefit of what I’m going to do now.

Al McBride 25:29
Yeah, how do you win them over, particularly if they’re, you know, with arrogance as a trait where people like, I’m right, and you’re probably wrong is the key thing. So as a perfect example, you know, how do you get them to buy into the idea that they’re not right, and that doesn’t need to be a change? And not a cosmetic one? Not just like, You know what I mean, with a genuine, they can do the behavior.

Nicole Greer 25:56
lipstick on a pig, as they say here, Carolina.

Al McBride 25:59
Exactly, exactly.

Nicole Greer 26:02
Yeah, well, you know, the thing, the thing about it is just so, you know, I when I sat down with William, you know, I didn’t really I practiced candor. And I said, you know, there’s two types of coaching that I do, Bob, one is they tell me you’re a high potential. And I’m here to help you be stronger. And so let’s look at your strengths. i One of the tools I have in my toolbox is the strengths finder. So a lot of times with high potentials, I’ll do that I’m like, Let’s lean into that.

Let’s figure out what that looks like. I will help them. Oftentimes leaders don’t do a good job of helping that high potential, see where they’re going. And so I’ll say, you know, what seat Do you want? And I love it when a young person tells me I want to be the CFO, I’m like, hot, dang, let’s make that happen. Now, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. But what what are the next developmental things? What meetings do you need to be part of, and we lay it all out in a little strategic plan for him.

That’s called Career pathing. Right? So we sit down, and we work that out and see that that’s what makes a vibrant culture. Because here’s the thing, I have a young guy, his name is his name, his name is Joe. And so I say, Joe, you want to be the CFO. That’s why I said, Joe, Joe, the CFO. So he’s going to be CFO. Now I say, this might not happen for the next 15 years. But here’s what you’re going to need to do. Let’s look at your education. Let’s look at this. Okay, and so he has this coaching session, that’s a high potential coaching session, it’s once a month, every 12 months. I’m holding him accountable.

He’s getting his MBA, he’s taking some finance course, he’s going up to some fancy Harvard weekend, you know, he’s in these meetings, he’s preparing pivot table, chart things, whatever. He’s doing all this stuff. He is excited about coming to work. And that is a vibrant culture. Now, on the flip side with Bob, when I sat down with him, I said, You are being coached because you are causing a problem.

And is that the truth? Say yes. But I don’t know why we I mean, and so Bob, help us not have a problem. And so here is the problem is that the word on the street is that you are overdone. In your self assured state, you come off condescending, you, you have broken rules, and we have these lists of things. And it’s completely apparent to your senior VP. Now often say this about, isn’t it amazing that they’re getting your coach? You’re really lucky.

Al McBride 28:36
They do.

Nicole Greer 28:38
Right? We know you’re there. And we know you’re the number one sales guy. And but however, you’re not our number one employee. So let’s go there for a minute. there for a minute. He’s his number one sales guy, but he is not the number one employee. Because here’s the thing. Is Bob a good employee? The answer is no. He’s not because he creates angst. And again, vibrant means lit up having fun making stuff happen cooking, making going up the feeling scale, where it’s, this is a great place to work. Except for Bob. He’s a little dark place. So you know, wherever he goes. Are you familiar with the comic strip? Peanuts. I’m dating myself. Okay. And you know, Linus? Yeah, that’s not the right one. Mo. What’s the what’s the kid that has the little thing of dirt around him all the time?

Al McBride 29:40
Oh, I can’t remember which guy that was. Hey, that guy.

Nicole Greer 29:45
Right? Well, he doesn’t take a bath. Apparently. Why? But he’s got like this little cloud of dirt around him. I mean, like, that’s kind of like, how Bob is like he walks in. And immediately everybody is like, nice here. So there’s that little dark place wherever he goes, right? Um, let me tell you the name of this book real quick.

It’s up here on my shelf somewhere, but it’s called multipliers and it hold on multipliers, it’ll come to me and man, it was multipliers where you write that down, go Google it, you’ll find it in five seconds. In the book, the PhD, the fancy PhD that wrote this book, she says, Some people walk in the room, and they multiply the energy. And some people walk in the room and they diminish the energy. And I can’t wait, I can’t think of her name. Right now. Do Liz Wiseman.

Al McBride 30:41
leaders make everyone smarter? Yes,

Nicole Greer 30:43
that’s right. And that’s, that’s what she’s talking about is the same thing here. Right? So if I come in, and you’re having a meeting, and I’m on your team, and I walk on, and my theory is I love working for this guy. I mean, I’m, like ready to go? I mean, talk about employee engagement, energy. I know you’ve got a plan.

Al McBride 31:03
This is absolutely Keystone. And it’s also it’s a great point that you make the code because it’s something that a lot of people overlook, that it’s the Maya Angelou quote, I often use it in some of my trainings, because it’s the absolute key thing. People will forget what you said they forget even what you did, but they won’t forget how you felt in their presence. And you can’t reiterate that enough. For me, the simple question I used to ask was, remember your worst teacher or boss or sport sports coach and people, I asked this of my dad was in his 70s.

And instantly he was back in school going, I hated that guy, you know, the emotional resonance is still there, like the emotion is memory. So as you said, if you can change that very unpleasant emotion, because that’s the atmosphere that left as you said, this is the multipliers that you’re referring to. It’s an amazing point.

And that’s what then instead of spreading negativity across the organization, leaving a trail of negativity that disrupts, you’re actually compounding that. Oh, here’s Bob. Yeah, Bob’s Great. Bob used to be a complete a hole. And now Bob is awesome. Whatever, you know. That’s exactly right. And it was at a manner that of like, do what you do when you’re trying to land a sale. Was that a large part of it? Like, if in doubt, like, how would you interact? Well?

Nicole Greer 32:32
Well, again, I practice candor with him, because cuz like, you know, I’m not dumb. I’ve been around a little while, you know, I mean, I understand how people work. And I know because I’m in sales, and you’re in sales. Everybody’s in sales, like, do you want to pick where you go to dinner tonight? You’re in sales. So, you know, I sat down with him. And I said to him, I said, William, it’s mind boggling to me that over here, you’re the number one sales guy, and I know you have serious skills, and you know how to treat people.

But for whatever reason, you come over here, and you don’t treat people right. Tell me about that. And that’s the coaching question. And then I shut up. And he has to explain that to me. Now, he’s gonna say whatever he’s gonna say. And then I’m gonna follow the energy. How’s that working for you? You know, what is it like to know that you make the young girl down in warehouse cry? Well, she shouldn’t be in that job. Okay, she’s in the job. How are you going to help her do her work better? You’re, you know, guys, like, almost 60 years old. Like, be a mentor.

Come on, take the high road. Let’s be you know, let’s let’s do that. So sometimes people, they just have a little Dare I say this, like a little bit of meanness. Just had a little bit of meanness or something. And I called it out to him. I said, that, like, you’re just like a little meme or something. Sometimes. What’s that about? Well, I don’t mean to be okay. Well, you are. So what could you do instead of being mean? Why don’t you help the girl in the warehouse?

Well, she’s clueless. Okay, what kind of clue could you give her? Right? Be a helper man. And so sometimes people just don’t see and they get in that arrogant, haughty place like, I shouldn’t have to. Okay, well, do we want to get your sales order through the warehouse girl on the truck and delivered by Friday? Is that what we want? Then help the girl out? Give her a clue. That easy? Yeah,

Al McBride 34:43
let’s go to some principles here because you’re talking about creating vibrant culture in these organizations through more effective but also more, as you said, visionary leadership. So you’re creating better and via moments for people to thrive for want of a better word, work where possible. So what are some what? Here’s a tricky question for you, what are some of the things that you believe about your industry about leadership? And how people could or should lead that most people either ignore or aren’t aware of?

Nicole Greer 35:24
Okay? I would say that the thing they ignore are reinforcing behaviors that produce positive outcomes. So, so I’m going to kind of, I’m going to say something to tee this up. So I interviewed lots of people in my business, one of the things I do to help people build a vibrant culture is I often do recruiting for them, because I know their company really well. And they’re like, We need this guy or this gal for this job. And I’ll be like, Oh, okay, I’ll go find you somebody.

So I do some boutique recruiting. And so when I do that, boutique, boutique recruiting, you know, I’m looking for people who naturally behave in a way that matches the organization’s culture. Right? So that’s like a call that behavioral interview. Okay. So that’s wonderful. And most companies don’t do that. They usually read the resume, see if you have the technical skills and hire you. Okay, now, more and more, maybe in the Big Bank of America’s we’re very fancy HR departments, they’re doing a lot of that. But small businesses, medium sized business, we got an empty hole, we’re not getting stuff done, put somebody with some skills in there. But to me, people who have the natural behaviors that match the culture, I can almost teach you anything.

Because again, it’s just strategy, operations, sales, marketing, customer service is, that’s just what it is. So we want to work on behavior. So oftentimes, when I interview people, I will say, What’s your ideal leader like? And they say, I don’t want anybody to micromanage me. And so that’s their answer. Now, here, here’s the thing. People need a lot of supervision when they start a role. And really, the supervision they need is more around their soft skill behaviors, which I absolutely hate that phrase, but everybody knows what I’m talking about when I say it like that.

And less around, like, if you hired an accountant that’s got five years of accounting experience, you need to show them how to loan to the computer, you got to show them the software, and pretty much they’re gonna do debit credit, debit, credit, debit, credit, and they’re gonna be fine. But how they do the debit, credit and adopt the team is where the rubber meets the road. So one of the things that we ignore is, hey, this is how we work around here, this is how we treat each other. And these are the soft skills we put in place. So one of the things that I will do is I will use two things. One is I will take them through a book by Roger shores. And it’s smarter leaders, smarter teams.

So I want to endorse that he’s a fancy PhD over at Chapel Hill, I read his book, when I went through, got my master’s degree, I was just like, this thing is genius. And he talks about unilateral control, which is where people micromanage versus a mutual learning organization. So I love his model. So everybody go look at that, or email me, and I’ll send it to you. So I love that I have a little PDF from Roger that I love.

Now, the second thing is, is these things that are called group norms, group norms. And so again, when I went through my master’s grade, I’d never heard of this idea of a group norm, just one school yet. And one of the things that my professor said Is he said, you can tell people how to behave. You say, this is how you behave if you work here. And you would think we’re all adults. Well, some of us are like Bob and some of us aren’t, some of us are multipliers, and some of us are diminishers. So you gotta tell everybody. So I’ll give you an example of a couple of group norms. And then I’d like to hear what you have to say about what it is, but one of them is this. Observe your choices and impacts what you think about that group norm. I want everybody to observe their choices and impacts.

Al McBride 39:26
It sounds interesting, but quite vague as to what does that actually look like?

Nicole Greer 39:31
Alright, so then you have to tell people, right, so So does Bob in my little story about Bob, does he need to observe his choices and his impacts on the organization?

Al McBride 39:42

Nicole Greer 39:45
Yes, because you’re being a jerk, and we can’t have that. So what we might do is at the end of the week, you know, or once a month, in your one on one with me, because I’m your leader, Bob. I’m gonna say, tell me about some choices. You’ve made the Smart that made a positive impact and tell me about some choices this month, that made a negative impact. Because leaders need to reflect on what they’re doing, they and they have to do that.

I’ll tell you another quick example of that one because this thing of being arrogant and condescending is really it’s huge out there. People that are listening to this are like, Tell me about it. I had this young woman last week, she said, we were in the situation, we were doing group coaching. And I said, we’re going to ask the focus person, one question, and this is what she said, like she had no, she had such a huge blind spot. She said, Well, my questions are pretty blunt. Is that going to be okay? And I said, No. I mean, why would she even asked me that she has a huge blind spot. She’s like, I’m blunt. Deal with it. No, we’re not.

Al McBride 40:55
Rude. Direct and, but you can be empathetically direct.

Nicole Greer 41:04
And blunt? Yeah, she’s a B. And I told her, you’ll show up like, they’ll be don’t do that.

Al McBride 41:11
It’s the difference of how does this look on me and saying, You look god awful. Versus I think the other option might just suit you better. Like that suit that would look much better. If somebody that, you know, how does this thing you know, what, it’s the same message one is downright rude. The other is getting the same message, but in that little bit more of a compassionate, empathetic, bordering on diplomatic way, you know? Yeah.

Nicole Greer 41:42
Right. And so I just told her, No, that won’t be okay. Think about the question. So you can observe your you know, so you can observe the positive when you get a positive response from the focus person, she’s like, Oh, and say, I don’t think anybody’s ever said, No, that won’t be okay. But it’s just like, if you had children, you know, and then they were out playing in the street and your wife and your child stole the ball from the other kid, like went over, pushed him down and took their ball? Would you allow that to go on? No, stop that. We don’t do that.

Al McBride 42:16

Nicole Greer 42:17
yeah. But those are group norms. And I have a whole list of them. If anybody wants to list, I’ll send you the list. But I like to work these in slowly. And that also helps provide a vibrant culture, because now we’re telling people, that behaviors not allowed. We’re not tolerating that. But it’s in a very positive way, please do observe your choices and impact.

Al McBride 42:37
Exactly. I mean, this is the thing that does lovely energy, because of the vision because we’re being an organization where people can select the high performing team, it sounds like there’s a lot of stuff there from Lencioni as well, you know, high performing team that you’re building that trust, because people can speak to each other in an honest, direct way. challenging each other, as you said, with that direct candor.

But without, you know, just being unnecessarily rude or aggressive, or any of that sort of more obnoxious aggression behavior. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So so so people can see that, hopefully, that they’re living those those values or those principles that that company state, which, yeah, I mean, I love what you said earlier, just to loop back on the hiring because, yeah, a lot, a few friends of mine just gone through a lot of it, to working for it. Now. They’re one works for giant law firm or whatever, but they’re in it.

And what was interesting was almost all of it after a brief competency tests and tick, tick, tick, you know, the rest was do you fit with the team, and they had to meet everybody that they might be working with to say, you know, would this guy fit in, you know, is this person already most of the way like, how we want to work? And I thought that was fascinating, because this is what I, you know, I agree with you, I’d advocate that. Absolutely. But it’s just fascinating that of all of the interviews more than 50% were for the behavior of culture fit, as they call it. Yeah. Say, just to double

Nicole Greer 44:11
check guys get to know how the server works.

Al McBride 44:14
Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, these are their fields, their course. I mean, they’re building AI, you know, they’re building all these fancy contraption, creative processes and stuff, but it’s the same thing. It’s the same thing. The other point just to double down on that I love that you made was that the necessity for reflection? I don’t know about you, but so many companies I go into, they’re doing this and they’re doing that it’s all great and exciting, or, but there’s this problem, but they’re not actually taking any time to reflect and potentially learn from their mistakes. It’s amazingly simple when I put it like that, but this is one of these great overlook things, you know, that? Is that something that you find very common across a lot of companies you go into or?

Nicole Greer 44:55
Yeah, I mean, it’s they’re just moving very, very quickly. But you know, It’s been proven in research and you already know this, like you just said, I mean, reflection is a number one leadership skill. And I suggest that leaders practice two things. And you can do it. If you’re really amazing, you would do it daily, because it will ground you and center you, okay? Or at least do it on Monday and Friday. Okay, that like, start there, and then try to work your way up to every day. But the first thing I call I talked about is practicing prime. So you want to prime the pump, right? So you get in your office on Monday, and I have a whole theory on no meetings on Monday, or better write that down. No meetings first thing on Monday ever, right? I think a

Al McBride 45:47
lot of people you just want a huge load of fans. They’re like, Oh, no, yeah, I love this. Tell us more in a call. Okay. What what are people to do instead?

Nicole Greer 45:57
Yeah, well, they should have their meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday, halfway through the week. But anyways, so on Monday, you sit down practice prime, and you say you ask yourself three questions. Where are we right now? Because we have a vision, and it’s out in the future. So here’s our three year thing. And I don’t think I finished the IRP, can I go back there for a second. I don’t know if we got off on a tangent or something.

But the introspective is the eye like what is our ideal future, that’s the eye, then you turn back from the introspective and you do a retrospective of the future. Don’t miss that retrospective, usually, usually in the past, but I’m doing a retrospective of the future. So if this is what we want, ideally, and then we look back, what has to happen to make this ideal future happen. So we’re making a memory of the future. Weird, but wonderful.

Then we say what are we going to do? Based on what we figured out from the retrospective, which is a prospective, which propels us forward. So when you do your prime, on Monday morning, you’re stopping and you personally as leader are revisiting the IRP, I’m looking at my introspective. I’m looking at the retrospective. I’m looking at the prospective. And so I can say, well, here’s where we were when we started. And now we’re right here. So we’ve made that much progress, right.

And we want to celebrate, in our own mind the progress that we’ve made, make some notes, think about who was involved. So that is where are we right now. So you personally as leader are visiting the vision every day, if not once a week, then you’re gonna say what do I really want to have happen today? Now, and then you sit and you look at your calendar, like, I want my podcast to go well today.

I want to give my assistant Gail 30 minutes of uninterrupted time because I’ve been gone for five days. And I want to check in on her she’s probably feeling a little disconnected from me. I know I’m feeling disconnected from her. I you know want to do this, I want to do that. So even though it’s right there on the calendar, you’re slowing your jets and you talk about how do you want that to go a little bit of visualization,

I can see me and Gail having coffee, we’ll go out on the back deck, we’ll sit outside we’ll pet the dog. That’s what that will look like. You know, that kind of thing. I’m gonna put on my lipstick for Aleister, I’m gonna do my hair, you know, where my pink shirt that goes my sign, you know, like, I think through things a little bit so I can be successful. Right? Okay. And then all I all I say to myself is what is the next right step to get this big vision done.

So it’s three little questions. Where am I now? What do I really want today? And what is my next right step? What am I going to, you know, just keep nudging myself along that little recipe now, good leaders teach it to everybody on their team. So they’re doing the same thing. Right. Now, out of that might come an opportunity to write a thank you note, a quick email, text somebody, thanks, somebody serve up some gratitude, which I think is very helpful.

And then the thing you do at the end of the week, or the end of the day is an examine and examine is all about you. So it’s a little bit of like turning the mirror inward. And this is the part about the eye integrating integrity.

So you’re going to ask yourself, Where did I light up the organization today? I wrote an email. I said thank you. I wasn’t overbearing. I was this I was bad. I contributed in the meeting. I did all these things. Where did I bring darkness. I was a little snippy with her. I was a little sassy with him. I did not get this work done that I said I would send to him. I over promised and under delivered right there. And whatever else.

Al McBride 49:56
I love that that’s also that’s that’s your integrity and action. in there where nobody’s perfect. You know, sometimes Oh, I forgot to call such and such back or reply to that email, whatever. So that you’re you’re weighing it up. But that’s the point it’s in, it’s on the scales, you’re giving yourself credit for the things that you did do. And then as you said, you’re correctly saying, Oh, I could have done that better. That was okay. Could have been better. I really dropped the ball on that one, and so on. So I love that because it’s, it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s integrity and actions. It’s how you’re doing it. And I would imagine that will compound though I get that compound interest going.

Nicole Greer 50:34
That’s great. Because one of the flaws in my personality is, I mean, like, if we all took the personality, whatever personality tests, you want to pick, the front page of that personality test says, you’re really good at this. And then on the back three pages, it says, Be careful, you get really ugly sometimes. And here’s the stuff you do. Like, it’s almost like reading your tea leaves, right? And so one of the things that my personality does, is that it starts a lot of stuff.

But it may not finish all the stuff, like finish off. Oh, my God, it is a big, huge thing for me. So if I, at the end of my day, I look and I say I over promised and under delivered. Like what is my story? Okay, so you need to get focused Sr. When Yes, you can do all these things. But it’s you need to prioritize. And I’m going to use I’m going to use this is religious. So everybody who is going to doesn’t like that to take a quick nap.

But I have a mentor who is a very spiritual person. And she introduced this concept to me, and it, it was huge for me. She said, Have you ever been walking around and you just kind of feel bad or achy or it you’re just like below? And she’s like, You know, oftentimes, you are experiencing this religious word called desolation. And it’s a big fat word. Right, desolation?

Al McBride 52:04
Sounds very dramatic. Yes. Yeah. Well,

Nicole Greer 52:06
if you’ve not, you’ve probably heard of this gal named Brene. Brown. Sure. But she talks about shame. And she talks about guilt and stuff like that, well, that’s what you’re experiencing. That’s what desolation is. It’s like, you screwed up again, you’re a screw up, you do this all the time, your little voice is telling you these things. And my mentors, like creepy attention. So stop, whatever that is why you don’t need to be superwoman.

Just do what you can do promise what you know, you can deliver, it’ll still be more than the average bear. You know, especially tells me and then the other thing is constellation. So when you look at your list of I wrote, wrote a thank you note, I was kind I contributed, I was helpful, I did what I said I was gonna do, then you feel warm, and you feel constellation, which is the opposite. So that’s what the examine can do and help you like, figure out where that feels awful. And this feels fantastic. And so you can move your behavior towards fantastic and away from awful.

Al McBride 53:11
I love it, because it compounds it acknowledges the shortcomings without without what I thought, as you said that emotional guilt or shame or putting oneself down, you know, but it also isn’t saying, Oh, I’m fantastic, and everything’s perfect, or any sort of lying nonsense. Delusion, I call that. Absolutely, absolutely. Excellent. Excellent. It has been absolutely fabulous to have you on the show. Nicole, I’m just looking here.

One thing I did want to ask you is one thing I did want to ask you, which I don’t really have time, is it about your TED Talk, which I saw, which was very, very interesting, which is all about, what do I really want and just, I just mentioned that because it’s just one of those points that people if they’re listening to this can go to to learn more about you more about some of the work that you do and your approach that you take. Because I don’t think that there’s a business really on Earth that has that couldn’t use some of your thinking and enhancing their culture and actually making it vibrant. So where can people get get in touch with you? What are some of the good places that can see you?

Nicole Greer 54:29
Yeah, so you can go to WW dot vibrant And you can find me there there’s a little page My phone number is right on the top of the page you can call me I will talk to you so you don’t have to go through some shenanigans of just leaving your name and number you can actually pick up the phone and dial me up so it’s right on the upper end Yeah Hey, I here’s what I know we can’t get get together know if we like each other would work together.

We don’t have a conversation at least that’s what this for 56 year old thinks. So I think I think that’s really important. And then also, I do have a YouTube channel, I’m on Instagram, I’m on LinkedIn, I’d love to be your friend on LinkedIn. And then you can see different things. And I do have a bi weekly. I’m calling it a newsletter, also old school, that goes out. But in there, I’ll have an article that talks about all the soft skills, stuff, all the OD stuff, organization development stuff. And then we’ll also have podcasts like yours listed on there so that so people can listen to your genius. So there’s a lot of resources out there, and I just love

Al McBride 55:40
to talk to you. Absolutely. And I have second. Nicole is great on LinkedIn. I don’t know who so a lot of people spend a lot of time there. Check out Nicole reach out to her connect with her and, and then begin a long beautiful relationship and right, yeah, absolutely. As I said, if there is some cultural changes, Nicole is a great person to talk to you on that. This has been fabulous. And thank you so much. There’s been so many little insights I got to enjoy, factor this to put together the show notes because there’s a huge amount of gems. So thank you again, for that. Thank you for being so generous.

Nicole Greer 56:18
Of course, yeah, I just went, I just here’s the thing. Is the world messed up? If I say yes,

Al McBride 56:25
of course. Well, I don’t think many people would disagree with you on that one.

Nicole Greer 56:29
And it is because we’re all not living at our potential, like just the moment Bob stops being dark and turns to light. You know, it’s like the whole Star Wars thing, right? I mean, the world’s gonna get better. It’s just one human at a time. And the two of us are trying real hard to help people do that.

Al McBride 56:49
Yeah, absolutely. Look, I can’t fix the world. I’m in a similar boat with the Culture Part because you’re just creating ripples. You know, you create it. Even if you’re a company of five people. You have people that are interacting that bit better. People aren’t looking, looking away from going to work. They’re looking forward to going to work. And when they come home and interact with others, they’re in far better form that has ripples out. Positivity

Unknown Speaker 57:14
better to your kids better to your rice better than your partner.

Al McBride 57:19
As you said a year making things better. Are you making the worst so I could doubling down again? Absolutely. Well, look on that note. It’s been fabulous.

Unknown Speaker 57:28
Yeah. Great to be with you. Thank you so much. Thank

Al McBride 57:31
you so much. Cheers, Nicole.

Transcribed by


Liz Wiseman, ( paperback) Multipliers, Revised and Updated: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smart

Roger Schwarz (link to Kindle), Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results

Nicole Greer’s, TED Talk & Vibrant Videos

Connect with Nicole


On LinkedIn: Nicole Greer’s Linkedin

Nicole’s Newsletters & Vibrant Blog

Nicole Greer’s Vibrant Podcast

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