Ken Jacobs Lead Uncertain Times

Lead Effectively Through Ongoing Uncertain Times with Ken Jacobs #050

Show Notes:

Ken Jacobs is the principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching, which empowers PR, marketing, advertising and communications leaders and executives to achieve breakthrough results, via executive coaching.

He also helps PR and communications agencies achieve their business development, profitability, client service, and team performance goals, via consulting and training.


Topics explored:

  • A real coach can coach anyone if you’re using a proven technique
  • There’s a comfort level though when you don’t have to explain terms or industry background
  • A leader is always leading through change
  • Agency owners want to get back to the office, employees are saying let’s wait another while
  • A lot thinking, the commute brought no value to my life
  • Use the day or two in the office for the collaboration, creativity and connection you’ve missed
  • If you treat mature professional folks as grown ups, they can get a tremendous amount of high quality work done remotely
  • It’s not your job to micromanage, it’s your job to hire people who are self-driven
  • If you’re micromanaging who’s looking at the long term strategy?
  • You can do their job, but they can’t do your job, yet
  • The director, let’s all the people do their jobs, but gives the direction and the vision
  • Mostly they come to me with a consulting issue, and I spot an issue with their leadership that’s key
  • Coaching is a collaboration, if the chemistry isn’t good, there’s nothing I can do
  • 100%, your gut is always right
  • Empathy is the key to negotiating, we’re often too focused on what we want
  • Understand their ‘why’
  • You have to know you’re willing to walk away
  • We give away power when we’re in a rush, not have the protection you need
  • There’s a deep need to be the good guy, a need to be liked in this industry
  • I’m shocked by the lack of courage out there but it’s coachable, and I get to make money helping people be braver
  • Now is the time to improve your emotional intelligence
  • Dial up your empathy for your peers, clients and stakeholders
  • Watch not only the words they say, but notice the tone


Al McBride 0:00
Welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is to sharpen the psychological edge of negotiation and high impact conversations. For Business leaders with skin in the game, want to be more effective under pressure, uncover hidden value and increase profitability.

Al McBride 0:15
With expert guests across the business spectrum, we delivered gems of wisdom, delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to business life and problem solving. This is the grand a cup of insights long form podcast interview, where we take the time to delve a little bit deeper into our guests experiences, stories and to get those priceless nuggets.

Al McBride 0:36
I’m your host, Al McBride. And my guest today is Ken Jacobs. Ken is the principal of Jacobs consulting and executive coaching, which empowers PR, marketing, advertising and communications leaders and executives to achieve breakthrough results via executive coaching. He helps PR and communications agencies achieve their business development, profitability, client service, and team performance goals via consulting and training. So Ken, welcome to the show. Great to have you on.

Ken Jacobs 1:13
Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Al McBride 1:16
So that’s very interesting that you focus in on the PR and the marketing field. What, what is slightly different about the leadership needs in that industry in that industry and sector would you say?

Ken Jacobs 1:32
So, you know, I don’t know if they’re very different. For me leadership and leadership is leadership, coaching, coaching is coaching. The reason I offer this, to these agencies and their executives is that it’s the fields in which I grew up, I grew up in marketing PR agency life in New York, was there 25 plus years.

Ken Jacobs 1:57
So when I did my, for lack of a better term reinvention, I knew I wanted to create something that offered value via leadership, coaching via consulting via training, to advertising people PR, integrated communications, advertising and marketing fields. And, you know, it’s the area in which I known and it’s the area I know. Now, again, the little secret is a real coach, if you’re really using a proven coaching technique, a coaching process, you can coach, I can coach astronauts, I can coach engineers, high editions, I was gonna say I have I haven’t that’s not true. outside my field.

Ken Jacobs 2:48
But you know, as a fellow coach once said, there’s enough people in our space who need our help. So it just kind of makes sense. So when we have a coaching session, we’re really not discussing PR marketing, we’re discussing leadership, how do I lead my clients? How do I lead the leaders on my team, so that they step up and help and help me lead this organization?

Ken Jacobs 3:15
How do I lead my peers if I have a business partner or two? And of course, how do I lead my teams. So that’s really what we’re working on. What my clients and my prospects tell me is that they feel a comfort level working with me, because I’ve been in the space, when they use shorthand, I get it, they just go, they can kind of get to the point more quickly.

Al McBride 3:40
And that’s that’s a great point. As you said that when you’re when you’re a competent coach, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of one’s industry to be able to be of use to the client. However, that said, knowing that industry intuitively allows you, as you said that shorthand that cut through to the to the point, particularly knowing the jargon and knowing certain expectations and industry and what a certain interferences mean, all that sort of stuff.

Al McBride 4:10
You were talking about leading teams, which imagine is a lot of what the leadership dynamic is about. Talk to me about because we were talking before the call about this particular focus on leading in uncertain times. We were just talking that, you know, there were pretty changing uncertain times before the pandemic, and it’s all the more now. So what are some of your perspectives on that? And how do you how do you approach that?

Ken Jacobs 4:39
Well, I think a real leader is always leading through change. And change is a constant changes always with us. The marketplace changes, Trent, you know, so I think we’re sort of prepared for that. And good leaders know that they are leading through change and helping their people to lead through change, but what we’ve all experienced globally in the world Last 15 months, I mean, it’s unbelievable.

Ken Jacobs 5:04
And so I’ve watched the arc, as, you know, the first few crises, months. And of course, you know, any one of the fields of healthcare, employee communications and crisis, and they were bit like they had some of that had their best year ever right. But others didn’t have the same experience and how to do layoffs and salary cutbacks and furloughs and all of the like, then, you know, there was this getting through summer hoping the numbers would improve.

Ken Jacobs 5:35
They did for a while, and then they didn’t, that added a new layer of uncertainty. When will this really end? I think many of us sort of thought this was all going to be contained by last autumn. And it wasn’t. And then, for anyone who has school aged children at home, or people on your team with school aged children, at least, you know, stateside in the US there was a great debate, will we go back to school?

Ken Jacobs 6:04
Is it in person? Is it virtual? Is it hybrid? And no one was happy, right? Everybody would kids at home, we didn’t want them at home anymore, like, bring my kids back to school. And the other two were don’t reopen the schools, I’m afraid, you know, so there was all this, you know, let you know, anyone with I mean, hats off to anyone who had school aged children during all of this, and how they led through that.

Ken Jacobs 6:27
And frankly, in particular, hats off to any women executives and women employees, because they were expected to lead on the job. And most of the home stuff at the schooling stuff fell in her lap. And, you know, sadly, as a result, we’ve seen so many women leave the workforce, I think, Oh, my gosh, the numbers, at least in the US are awful. How many women left employment because they just couldn’t manage both? And how could anyone talk? It’s like three full time jobs. Right. So at any rate, so so we got through the fall into that into that.

Ken Jacobs 7:11
Now there’s an uncertainty, I think it’s a more positive uncertainty of, you know, when will all the vaccines be available? When will everyone take not just one but two, and then wait there two or three weeks? So it’s uncertain, it’s a new kind of uncertainty, I think, certainly better than three, six or nine months ago. Now, there’s some uncertainty about when will we be returning to the office?

Ken Jacobs 7:37
And what might that look like? And, you know, I’m hearing not not conflict, but I’m hearing a lot of agency owners talking about, let’s get back, let’s get that let’s get back. I’m hearing a lot of employees saying after Labor Day after Labor Day, you know, after Labor Day, I think they want to see where the numbers are. They want their organizations time to plan, what this will look like, and how we can do it safely. And then you also want to look at we have a whole generation of young people who’ve been living with Mom and Dad,

Ken Jacobs 8:16
you know, I mean, they had left the nest that went to college and work left the nest. And then last March 13, moved back home with mom and dad. And now they’ve got a plot and plan their return to their end in life, and and what have you. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot going on and doing it. Right. You know, I think at this point, we’ve been through so much, you know, let’s try to do it. Right. That’s what happens. There’s certainly an optimism here, I hoped.

Al McBride 8:50
Absolutely. And there’s there’s huge potential as well as just realizing some of that, with that level of positive uncertainty, you might call it. Whereas you said the one camp is very much we need to get back into the office, the other camper? No, no, no, I’m happy without that commute every day. And they’re perfectly fine with zoom, I think from the little bit of I over edited on us is consistent with yourself.

Al McBride 9:18
But there’s, you know, a lot of people are actually in the middle, they would opt for, you know, two days in either two days at home versus you know, the rest of the week in the office. Just to have that little bit more freedom that little bit, as you said last time and in the commute thing. What are your feelings on that? Or what are you hearing because you’re saying the owners tend to want to go back in the office. A lot of staff would rather stay at home. What are your thoughts on that?

Ken Jacobs 9:45
So there definitely is a lot of thinking around the commute brought no value to my life. Why should I bring it back again, and you know, for a lot of people, whether it was an hour more to work if they wanted to do that. or an hour of professional development and reading and thinking nothing bad with that.

Ken Jacobs 10:04
A lot of people an hour of exercise, yoga, mindfulness, whatever the case may be, you know, many people, I mean, I know it’s so funny, I see everybody on Facebook, oh, I learned to knit and to yarn and to make these homemade things and my who, who had to I didn’t have time for that. But, but I think people depending on how long their commute was, you know, having an hour or two back in their lives, a lot of them don’t want to give them up.

Ken Jacobs 10:32
And I would encourage, you know, leaders and and agency owners and, you know, company owners to think about if you’re in or if your employee is sleeping an hour extra that’s not terrible for your business, right? So think about before you immediately say no, come back five days a week, what value does this bring my employees, my organization, my clients, to let them keep some of that time that they’ve gained, because it really could benefit everyone?

Ken Jacobs 11:10
I thought everybody, everybody, everybody would, you know, four days back in the office one day at home, I’m hearing much more, two to three days at home. I don’t know if that’s going to work. But But I’m hearing people do want some kind of hybrid. And I think they want they would prefer that mmm two days a week at home.

Ken Jacobs 11:32
So I think you know, what we need to think about what leaders need to think about now is how do we use our time at the office? Let’s use it or my recommendation, use it for the collaboration you’ve missed, use it for brainstorms, use it for, you know, collaboration, creativity and reconnection, you know, use that time for those three C’s, and then use the time at home for independent work.

Ken Jacobs 11:59
Because there’s a lot we have learned, as leaders, we have learned, if you’ve got mature professional folks, whom you treat as grownups, they can get a tremendous amount of work got high quality work done independently, you know, and that’s funny, because I talked to leaders who say, Oh, we’ve missed so much, because I can’t check on them. And I can’t check in on them. And I don’t know how they’re using their time. And like, you know what, let me tell you something, they didn’t use their time.

Ken Jacobs 12:28
Well, when we were in the office, we’re worried about them when they were in the office, and you checked on them when they were in this is not because of work from home. This is because of either how you lead or your expectations of what’s expected of an employee here. And and those who have always been mature, who’ve managed their time well, who focus on quality over quantity, who know how to prioritize and get the big stuff done.

Ken Jacobs 12:55
They did it when we were all at the office, they did it when we were home. And they’ll do it again, when we’re back together or back in the hybrid form. So I think I think it’s a good time for self reflection of leaders about what kind of people you know, who really thrive here, and what kind of people do I want to have here? And what do I want their relationship with the organization to be? You know, I advocate higher grownups freedom is grownups. You know, you’ll, you’ll you’ll make it back in top line and bottom line growth.

Al McBride 13:28
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s one of the key things to contentedness at work is a sense of purpose, a sense of connection, which we’re just touching on in a sense of autonomy. And it’s exactly that, that you seem to be describing some of the more micromanager, micromanaging managers, where as you said, Oh, I can’t see what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter if the output is what you want and up to a certain standard, does it matter how they’re working? You know, it’s the consequence of you have absenteeism and you have a presenteeism, which sounded like a buzzword The first time I heard it, but it actually makes sense. It’s where they’re physically in the office with you. But mentally there, they’ve checked out large parts of the day. I’m gonna use

Ken Jacobs 14:17
that I’ll credit I’m going to use you I will credit you, but that that’s really about being present. So here’s the thing. micromanagement didn’t work in March 2020. Right, or 12 2020. It it you couldn’t do it for the most part over these months. Do you suddenly think that this workforce that have gotten used to independence and autonomy, do you think they’re going to be open to that once you’re back together? I you know, I think we know where that’s gonna go. Absolutely not.

Ken Jacobs 14:50
If you’re micromanaging as a leader who’s doing your job, because it’s not your job to micromanage your job to hire professionals who are Self driven, you can inspire you can motivate them, you can inspire them, and they motivate. That’s one of the jobs in my view my opinion of a leader. It’s not to micromanage. And if you feel the need to micromanage something is off, and then at least in the agency side, but I think it applies to other organizations. If you’re micromanaging, who’s looking at long term strategy, who’s looking at what comes after, what comes next, who’s looking at, hey, do we want to buy a firm? Do we want to be bought by a firm? Do we want to create alliances? Where’s this all going? You know, who’s doing that job? If you’re busy micromanaging,

Al McBride 15:44
I write it. So when I work with clients, it’s often when the first thing to look at is, where are they doing someone else’s job, either the the actual tasks, or just tasks that they shouldn’t be doing. And it’s amazing when when you find these things, suddenly they find five and 10 hours a week that they can apply to their own way, you know, you know what I’m talking about suddenly, this more time, because they’re not doing this thing that they didn’t need to be doing at all. And I related to

Ken Jacobs 16:13
that, I think there’s something to be said for a leader or error, anyone to be able to roll up your sleeves and get in and help. That’s lovely. That’s, that’s great. If though, on a regular basis, you’re doing the job of someone two levels below you, something’s wrong.

Al McBride 16:34
Big time.

Ken Jacobs 16:35
Big, something’s wrong, because you’re probably not doing anything. Yes, we know, you can jump in and do the job two levels below, because you once had that job. So we know. On the way up, we know you can do the job, but they can’t do your job. They can’t do the job of leadership yet. So if you’re not doing your job, who is?

Al McBride 16:57
That’s a very good point. It’s, I often describe it as the way I like the term director. Because think about it, what does the director doing a film set, they’re not rolling the camera, they’re not holding the mic. They’re not doing the makeup. But they are literally directing everything and how the thing works out their project, managing it, in essence,

Ken Jacobs 17:18
but here is the analogy. That’s a great, great analogy. And here’s the thing, the director should bring, I believe, brings vision. Where are we going? And so how do you how do you play at that level? If you’re managing or micromanaging? I don’t I don’t know that the two can go together. But I I’m gonna, I’m gonna I’m getting a lot from this that I use.

Ken Jacobs 17:45
For my work that notion of, especially as you’re leading leaders, you know, so I’m a huge Broadway fan. Broadway is coming back this fall, we hope. Um, but, uh, you know, the director hires the best scenery designer, the best lighting designer, the best orchestrator choreographer, whom I miss, you know, that’s what they do.

Ken Jacobs 18:12
And hopefully, the best actors, you know, so that’s what you should be doing and let them do their thing. Now that now, here’s the thing, if you think of the great directors on the stage, it’s not that they don’t get involved and share things, a great director brings out the best in all of those. But they don’t try to do their jobs. They don’t try to build mastery.

Al McBride 18:39
Inspiring in the vision, but then using that wealth of talent and experience that’s in front of them in whatever role whether that’s in film, whether that’s the editor, which one of the most crucial roles that people forget, unless it’s done badly, you don’t notice that it’s like, but it’s that is exactly that point, isn’t it that you’re trying to get the best out of the person in front of you?

Al McBride 19:05
So when you’re potentially working with a client, I’m always interested in, in what are some of the flipping it slightly to the negative? What are some of those red flags that you might see on horizon and make me think I don’t think we’re potentially a fitness as a working partners? Oh, and for me a

Ken Jacobs 19:27
prospect and

Al McBride 19:29
so sometimes you go, Oh, I think I might need coaching and maybe something just triggers in the back of your head and goes not sure. Oh, you know,

Ken Jacobs 19:37
we have a thing we call coaches intuition. I tap into it regularly. So I go back to what I say I work with leaders, primarily, but not exclusively, in that PR marketing, advertising digital unit communication space, who want to achieve They’ve even surpassed their goals by becoming more inspired and inspiring leaders, and here’s the ad are willing to do the work to sustain that.

Al McBride 20:12

Ken Jacobs 20:12
so if I sense the person isn’t willing to do the work, if I sense they see that it’s not them, that’s the issue or the problem, or the one with the opportunity gets, that means it’s the client yet they’re not ready, they’re going to not step in. or ice, you know, well, can we work together for a month or two? No, because that’s not sustainable.

Ken Jacobs 20:35
So I’ve, I’ve honed a pretty good, I think most coaches have a good sense of it’s going to work. Or if I’m the right coach for them. Or, more often, I would say, they come to me for a consulting issue, business development, profitability, whatever. And I sense something is going on in their leadership, maybe it’s too autocratic, a style, you can pick that up in their language and how they discuss their team members, or there might be some fear or confidence issues at play.

Ken Jacobs 21:09
So when my instinct is that I’ll, I’ll bring the dialogue, the conversation over to coaching, and how it works and see if they respond to that. And I do that, because I’ve learned that if they are leading as effectively, as they can be really, really good leaders, that at any management consulting thing, they wanted to work on bizdev profitability, team performance, you name it, it’s going to be that much easier and more effective. If they’re in that leadership zone.

Ken Jacobs 21:46
Right? If they’re, if they are bringing empathy and trust and encourage, it’ll be easier to implement any of the consulting recommendations we might want to make. And in addition, they they turn around and in the boat, they see a group of people who are inspired to help leader get there. So anything you want to do, isn’t it easy, you know, those those marketing as easy management initiatives you might want to do? Is it easier if your team wants to help you? Of course, so a few times in the career in this part of my life, I’ve sensed it’s a coaching issue. And I do recommend let’s at least explore that first and then see how we do. Okay.

Al McBride 22:31

Ken Jacobs 22:33
The other? Well, you know, yeah, you know, how much consciousness does the leader have? Are they aware of their impact on the organization? And are they aware of the issues they’re discussing? Are they really open to their role in it, and again, if they’re not, we’re not, we’re not going to be good. So I might recommend someone else. Because there are times that you know, you can think I’m, we’re just not right for each other.

Ken Jacobs 23:01
And it’s not like I’m pushing a bad client, onto a fellow coach, maybe that coach sees something, you know, they can do together. But you know, it really, coaching is a collaboration. It’s a partnership, it’s cheerleading, it’s sometimes sharing some tough love, or honest love or whatever, always with the clients permission. So if I sense the chemistry isn’t good, there’s nothing I can do for as a coach, it’s not going to work. And I feel honor bound to acknowledge that.

Al McBride 23:38
Just on that note, following on it, it’s warming up to my next question, which was, what have been some of the most instructive mistakes or errors in your career, some of those sometimes even a failure, but that you’ve gained a huge insight from a huge benefit from in retrospect.

Ken Jacobs 23:58
So I will tell you that I, I’ve been coaching for a while. And then I went from my training and certification. I did it at AIPAC, the Institute for professional excellence and coaching tip of the hat. And one of our tenants is we don’t believe in mistakes, there are no mistakes, right? thing happens for a reason everything happens to build something and to make you stronger or more qualified at what you do. And I never say the word failure without putting it in air quotes, because they’re just milestones on the way to our success. And I always say and if you don’t believe me, well then listen to Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, The Beatles elephants, Gerald, Thomas Edison, Id bill

Al McBride 24:50
Thomas Edison

Ken Jacobs 24:52
the list of successful people who were acknowledged and celebrated their failures. So I think that’s number one net. So I would, if I look back on my career, I think, you know, I was in the agency business like 25 plus years, it was, you know, it wasn’t each of my, towards the end, each length of employment was getting shorter and shorter. And if I’m being fully candid, and that’s how I have to be, wasn’t always by my choice.

Ken Jacobs 25:27
My consciousness wasn’t raised enough to realize, man, you had a great PR career, you got into management and leadership early, you’ve won a slew of awards for your PR work, etc. But something’s not working now. Right? So you got to figure something else out as you approach age 50. And I think I missed the signals that things weren’t working. I was a little bit clueless about that. So I you know, on one hand, I say, I wish I had realized that while I had a great, I mean, I’ll own it. I had a great PR agency career. I did. Um, but I wish I had sense there was something more for me to do. It would have been nice if I had realized that at 4540 or 35, instead of waiting till 4950.

Al McBride 26:22
Okay. Okay. So it is how it is, but as an observation, yeah, as a reflection, that that’s a very interesting point. And I think also, I

Ken Jacobs 26:32
was a little bit, I wasn’t seeing the signs that my career was, was starting to end. And, you know, I didn’t, you know, I think I’ve got pretty good judgment. I think we all have great judgment, really, if we listen to our gut. And I would say the biggest mistake I made, was not listening to my gut, and creating excuses for while why things had stalled and why they weren’t working out as well, at this point in my career, as they had in the beginning, or in the middle of it.

Ken Jacobs 27:07
I just picked the wrong place. And I didn’t question the right way. When I you know, all kinds of excuses. Your is always right. And there are very few for me very black and whites. I will say this to your viewers and listeners 100% your gut is always right.

Al McBride 27:28
That’s a very good point. It’s Yeah, as I said, if you listen to it really carefully, and not the ego, and that’s the difficult part that was an attorney, ego voices and the voices of fear and

Ken Jacobs 27:43
it’s a biological thing. You know, it your your body is saying we’ve been here before. Don’t do that. You don’t want to do that. No, listen to me, hey, brain, listen to me. And it’s the brain saying, well, maybe this time will be different. Maybe you know, you’re smarter and better now. So let’s do that mistake for the 17th time. Yeah.

Al McBride 28:08
And that brings me neatly into the into the next question, which is more around negotiation itself, because having been in many agencies are set up for over 25 years, you must negotiate an awful lot of deals, both, as you said, acquisitions, as well as just work, client work and creating of contracts.

Al McBride 28:32
If you have someone who’s maybe having some difficulties with negotiation, what are some of those key insights you might give them? Yeah, great. One might be you know, listen to her got something wrong, maybe there’s something wrong. And well, what else would you

Ken Jacobs 28:53
empathy, understand what the other person wants, because sometimes we’re so focused, and I’d say to focus, I got to have the I got to have this, that you don’t realize there are some things they want that you could give them, and it’s not going to lessen the deal all that much. And so then if they want a lot from you, you’re starting by giving them some things or knowing the things you’ll give them. And you know, enter I know as an energy leadership, Coach energy is reciprocal.

Ken Jacobs 29:25
So if you can create the environment where you can give them some maybe not all, some things that they want, doesn’t that make it easier for them to give you what you want. Absolutely. You know, it doesn’t have to be you have to be smart, but it doesn’t have to be this battle. So have empathy know what you could give. Another thing would be you know, I hate those redline contracts. I like to have a discussion right.

Ken Jacobs 29:53
And I and I’ve asked and across the table their shot. helped me understand why you want And I mean, it’s in seriously, it’s not a tactic helped me understand what you’re trying to get here. Because quite often the red line or the new language, it sounds like they want something you cannot give them. But then understand the why you say, Oh, I see now, well, maybe I can’t give it to you exactly like that.

Ken Jacobs 30:22
But how about if we did this, and now you’re having a dialogue about your ability to give them something they want, but it might be going through a different route, right? My take on creativity. So instead of the Battle of the red lines, and putting things back and not accepting, you’re collaborating, to figure out a way to work together isn’t that the goal, when we signed this contract, we can work together, we can be partners.

Ken Jacobs 30:52
So let’s keep our eye on that prize. All that said, know from the get go, what you must have, and know when you have to walk, if the things they’re asking, are asked in such a way or so tough or what, you know, you just can’t do it. You have to embrace you know, I wish we could have made this work out. I don’t think the time is right. It’s unfortunate. So, you know, let you know, sometimes when you do that you both realize this wasn’t meant to be, and that’s fine.

Ken Jacobs 31:26
And sometimes they say, Well, wait a minute, wait a minute, let’s do it. Let’s see what we can do here, right? So we can bring up and then when they realize you’re willing to walk, they then have to think about are they willing to walk and sometimes they are. And that’s great. And sometimes they’re not the one learning from my career related to all this is,

Ken Jacobs 31:51
and this is hard on the agents that don’t start the work without a contract.

Al McBride 31:57
Right? For the most

Ken Jacobs 31:59
part, it’s not the client taking the risk, it’s the agency. And the more you do work, the more risk you’re taking. And you’re though, you know, and it’s and then at a certain point, you have you don’t you know, you may not have a contract, or it may end and you’re not protected, you know, all we really, really need to get, you know, and clients will do we really need to get started, okay, then agree to all my terms.

Ken Jacobs 32:26
Okay, if you really need to get like, why should you ever need to launch this product? Allow me to not have the protection I need. So I think we give away some power, because they’re in a rush. That is insanity. Okay, so if they are in a rush, they’re going to be more malleable, not not less, you have to need to get this to market. Why? Why should I give up this clause?

Ken Jacobs 32:54
Let’s you know, so that was a big lesson for me. And part of it is and and you know, everything goes back to the inner write everything goes back to some value. And I think for many of us in the business, there is a need to be the good guy, there is a need to be liked. And interesting. So we’ll we’ll give away some protection, so that we can move forward.

Ken Jacobs 33:09
Either we move forward without a contract insane, or you move forward with a contract that doesn’t protect you. And then if the thing goes south, you’ve already given up your protection. So I think it is that, that it’s Look, it’s all about balance, right? So it’s that balance of wanting to work together, making it easier to work together. But if you have certain tenants of protection, and mostly it’s about finance, you got a hold of them. There’s a reason your attorney told you to put it in the contract all those years ago.

Al McBride 33:56
That’s That’s some great advice. Absolutely. And, and very much in line with my own thinking. How common do you feel? That’s an interesting question, because we’re both recently on on different panels of the same. Same idea of confidence. And this, it’s just mentioned, you mentioned the need to be liked there. Yeah. how prevalent an issue Do you feel that is when you’re doing leadership coaching? Does that pop up and weird and wonderful ways? Is it very common?

Ken Jacobs 34:34
I think, among people on the agency world, there’s that need to be creative. And there’s a need to create change. You know, we want our communications programs to create some kind of change in the world. And there is also the need to serve, right? Why else would you be in a service business? There’s something you get when the client says Wow, well done.

Ken Jacobs 34:58
Wow, you made me look good. To the boss, wow, we had a 5% year over year increase or a 1% year over year increase due to your campaign. I mean, they’re, you know, we have that drive. But it’s funny, I always say so here we are in this space. And we are asking ISIS for budgets of I suppose $100,000 $500,000. If it’s a fully integrated campaign with advertising, PR, digital, could be a million or plus.

Ken Jacobs 35:28
So you think we have the most courageous people on the planet in this space, not the case. I I’m amazed at what you call it fear or lack of confidence or lack of courage out there. I am shocked by it. But here’s two pieces of good news. A, it’s coachable. And B, I get to make money helping people get braver, like that. I don’t have a problem with that.

Al McBride 35:59
For a man in PR, that’s a great tagline. I help people get braver, right,

Ken Jacobs 36:04
I but I but I do. And it’s so here’s the Delete, I use the word delicious. Here’s the delicious part of all this. In my agency career, I had some I was a great PR guy, I think and and I think I had many moments of great leadership. with hindsight I wasn’t consistent. And so to me, it’s kind of ironic that I’m helping agency leaders. With the issues that I face that I had or didn’t face I should have faced.

Ken Jacobs 36:40
And so I get to create this great career by helping people work through the mistakes that I made. And and I always share with them very honestly, I, as I have it today, I share the missteps, I share the problems, missed opportunities, you name it. So it’s kind of delicious, that I get to create this life of abundance, helping executives, be better leaders, there’s something kind of full circle about it. But I always say, because I and I think I’m tougher on myself on my leadership performance.

Ken Jacobs 37:21
From the business, I look back, and and it’s tough. And then there are moments I say, well, don’t be too tough on yourself, because a lot of the people who work for you over the years have hired you. So they might look back on our time together and our leadership in a maybe more positive way, you know, that I did. So that that’s also nice. That’s really fulfilling. Plus, you know, it’s like, you know, you’re old when the people who were your assistant Academy executives and account executives have like, really killer, amazing, global, highly responsible jobs. I mean, that’s just, that’s just wonderful.

Al McBride 37:59
It’s a good sign. Good time. So just going back to really where we started, do you have some particular principles about helping your clients lead through these extended uncertain times?

Ken Jacobs 38:14
Well, I have three, and will present them in a way that will make it very memorable and implementable for for your viewers and listeners. Number one, if you’ve not done emotional intelligence, if you’re not studying it, if you’re not getting better at it, now is the time emotional intelligence is so important for us. And I think the best way is to get emotional intelligence, version 2.0 I have no relationship with the author’s I province. But I and you know, you buy it, it’s not expensive.

Ken Jacobs 38:47
And in the back flap, there’s a code, you take the emotional intelligence assessment, and you will learn so much about where you are in the four quadrants of emotional intelligence. And if you’re like most people, or this was at least my experience, they were two quadrants where like, yeah, I’m pretty good. I’m pretty strong, my rankings are high. There was one quad where Yeah, I have some watch outs here. I’m gonna monitor from time to time.

Ken Jacobs 39:13
And then I had that one quadrant with these big watch apps and like if if you want to be effective leading yourself and leading others, you’ve got to do some work. The good news about it is the the printout you get with the assessment gives you very practical tips, it tells you exactly what you need to do. So number one, emotional intelligence.

Ken Jacobs 39:35
Number two, dial up your empathy, empathy, understanding where your peers, your teams, your clients, your stakeholders, you name it, are coming from, and that’s really important. Now as we start to get ready for the great return. Some people are not as ready as others and it’s really important for you to determine this because they’re not going to you know if you’re in a one on a group Zoom call.

Ken Jacobs 40:00
And everybody’s like, yeah, we’re so excited to go back to the office, if you’re the one or two people who aren’t excited, you’re not, it’s going to be very tough to have the courage to say, I’m not quite ready, or I’m a little nervous about safety, or whatever it may be. So make sure you do your one on ones. Keep those up. And when you have them, watch the other person’s energy, watch not only the words, they say, what’s their tone?

Ken Jacobs 40:28
What’s their speed of how they speak? What’s their body language? What are you seeing in their eyes in their eyebrows, because if they’re not ready to come back in some way, if they need, they might just need some courage from you. Or they might need some communication, hey, here’s how we’re making the office safe. You need to have your energy antenna on high. So you can communicate that and see if it resonates. And I think the third is just know that energy is reciprocal. And so if your energy throughout all this has been, oh, it’s been bad.

Ken Jacobs 41:03
We’ve lost clients, we had to do furloughs or salary cuts, which, which, of course is awful. But if that’s where you’re living, your people will live there as well. If instead, you’ve had sort of this high energy, opportunity mindset, where, you know, I’m not sure where this is all heading. But here’s the way I see forward, and I need you in the boat with me rowing. And here’s why that’s going to really empower your people.

Ken Jacobs 41:33
And so when you see, again, I call it the opportunity mindset and look, many agencies, many organizations have pivoted over these 15 months, modified the industries they serve, they’ve modified their practice areas or service areas, or they’ve added and deleted channels of communication. Let’s see, so many organizations have pivoted, and those who didn’t like very strong 2020. So we don’t know necessarily where all this is going.

Ken Jacobs 42:05
But if you’ve got that opportunity mindset, and I think courage is really important, and will always be an important leadership tenant, to be able to say, this is what I see. And I’m not sure if this is the exact course. But I need as I said, I need you in the boat with me. And if as we get to sure to this other side to this new normal, if we have to course correct, where smart people are capable? Well, of course correct. And we’ll get I think all those three things would serve any leader very well today as as we get ready for this new chapter.

Al McBride 42:43
Absolutely. I mean, I would argue that that’s pretty, pretty important stuff anytime, but particularly all the more poignant right now. Is there any other insight or piece of advice that you’d give to someone who is struggling with, as you said that, that level of uncertainty as some people are wanting to get back into the office, other people are highly reluctant to dive back in?

Al McBride 43:10
Maybe we’re already even starting to see that divide, where some people, it seems like, Oh, I don’t want to go into that space, whereas other people are eager to go in. There’s a colleague of mine, compared to back in the day, when you’d have the head office, the HQ and the people further from the HQ felt less and less involved. And there’s potential for that being coming in, as you said, in 2021, when some people returning and some people aren’t, they’ll be phoning into meetings. And there’s a divide there between people physically there are people not? Do you have any thoughts on that? Yeah,

Ken Jacobs 43:47
I think it’s a little bit real, now is the time for leaders to listen, to sense that I get empathy, what’s going on with their individuals, to determine if they can give them what they need, you know, some organizations are saying, We need X amount of days in the office, we’re here’s what we’re doing to make it safe. And if that doesn’t work for you, we’re, you know, we’re gonna have to kind of think about our futures.

Ken Jacobs 44:13
They’re in there is a little bit of that, but, but listen, ekwa ask, listen for what are your people need? And can you give it to them? And some of it, you can and some of it, you know, you may not be able to, but I think that asking and truly listening and I think, you know, many leaders maybe see themselves as consulting, and that’s about telling, but I think the best leaders are naturally coaches. And they ask and they really listen and we always say, credo. Communicate, not to be understood, but to understand.

Al McBride 44:52
Big time, big time. On that note, tell us if people want to reach out and get in contact with you. Learn more about your work and to do that.

Ken Jacobs 45:02
I’m everywhere. I’m everywhere you need to be. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter at Ken’s views. Our website is www dot Jacobs Calm, calm. I’ll spell it. www dot j AC OBS co double m, right, Mary And I’m Ken at Jacobs

Al McBride 45:28
Very good, excellent stuff. Well, thank you so much, Ken. It’s been a fabulous conversation. I enjoyed it very much.

Ken Jacobs 45:34
Thank you, as did I

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