Prospects falling through the cracks?
Losing fantastic employees and talent?
You need to expand your leadership team. But how?
This is Mike Goldman’s specialty – expanding and developing your leadership team so that your organization can grow and scale to the next level.
Mike Goldman has been a leadership team coach and consultant for over 30 years. He’s helped dozens of businesses of all sizes scale by developing their leadership teams. Mike has recently published his second book, titled Breakthrough Leadership Team: Strengthening the Heart and Soul of Your Company- and it’s all about investing in the development of your most important people, your leadership team.
Learn when the right time to expand your leadership team is, what personality tests should be used for, and the keys to a great virtual culture.
Get his book Breakthrough Leadership Team here
Learn more about his course, Breakthrough Growth here.
Mike Goldman (00:00):
How do we create a great leadership team so that great leadership team could create a company where people love to work and they learn and grow, and you have a great impact on society.
Welcome to Learning Life, where top experts share their business knowledge and personal journeys each week. “And the thing that I realized from the CEO to the NFL football player, to the janitor – we’re our toughest critics, and we’re hardest on ourselves.” – James Lawrence And wanted to bring education to the market. I wake up in the morning and I am constantly learning.” “The only way to grab somebody’s attention is with a story” – Cal Fussman. Happy learning! And now your host, Jon Tota,
Jon Tota (00:41):
Welcome back to Learning Life with Jon Tota. My guest today is Mike Goldman. Mike is an old friend and colleague of mine from my EO days as learning chair in New York City. Mike has been a leadership team coach and consultant for over 30 years. He’s helped dozens of businesses of all sizes scale by developing their leadership teams. Mike has recently published his second book, titled Breakthrough Leadership Team: Strengthening the Heart and Soul of Your Company- and it’s all about investing in the development of your most important people, your leadership team. So let’s get into it. Mike Goldman, welcome to Learning Life.
Mike Goldman (01:12):
Jon, thanks for having me.
New Speaker (01:14):
So now you and I spent some time together at EO. You actually, for all our listeners, you sponsored my learning program for one year while I was at EO New York. So thank you for that.
Mike Goldman (01:26):
Yeah, you’re welcome.
Jon Tota (01:27):
And it was a great opportunity for me to get, to hear you speak a little bit and work with some of the members in the chapter. I was always fascinated by your perspective of helping companies scale through that leadership team and, my background had been in, you know, I did strategic coach, and that was very much about that. So I was always attracted to it. Love to have you on the show right now to talk a little bit about it. But for our audience, can you go back a little bit and kind of start with your journey? How did, how did you get the training and the expertise and, and just the understanding that the leadership team really was the path to helping all these businesses get to the next level.
Mike Goldman (02:04):
Yeah. I’ve been doing this a long, long time. The first half of my career right out of undergrad was working with a company that’s now called Accenture, but back when I was there, it was part of Arthur Anderson, and also a company called Deloitte. But the first, you know, 14, 15 years of my career was doing traditional management consulting work for Fortune 500 companies. From there I decided the travel was a nightmare and, uh, stocked some money away and said, let me start my own business. And I actually started a, uh, I opened up a franchise of a, of a staffing and recruiting firm- that was kind of a great way to, to lose a lot of money and get my MBA in running a small business. So it was a very, it was a, a great learning opportunity, albeit an expensive one. And, uh, after that, got back to my consulting roots, um, but more, more as a coach working with small and mid market companies. And the more I worked with them to help them grow, which was really my goal was to help companies grow and scale, is I realized that for these companies, if they wanted to create a sustainably great business with top and bottom line growth, really that had to start and end with creating a great leadership team if they had a great idea, but the CEO wasn’t a quality CEO or the CEO had not surrounded himself or herself with the right people, it didn’t matter that they had a great strategy. They weren’t going anywhere until we improve the leadership team. So that really became what I was all about is certainly helping company groups, companies grow, but doing that with a foundation of saying, how do we create a great leadership team so that great leadership team could create a company where people love to work and they learn and grow, and you have a great impact on society.
Jon Tota (04:02):
How often is it that you don’t find the right people and you do really need to do that work of developing the team? Is that more common in the companies you’re working with?
Mike Goldman (04:11):
Yeah, I would say almost always because, I mean, even if, even if when you are, let’s say you’re a $3 million company and you have the right team, maybe you were, uh. And it’s probably not luck, it’s probably skill that you surrounded yourself with the right people. Let’s face it. You, you might have to make some hard decisions when you hit 10 or 12 million, if you’re growing, because those people that help you get to 3 million may or may not be the right people to scale you from 10 million to 20 million or 30 million. So there’s always some level of scaling the team and upgrading the team and figuring out how to best structure the team. Uh, you know, most, most are not as fortunate as you were to start out that way. When I start working with companies very often, you might call it a leadership team, but there’s really no semblance of team. It’s a bunch of smart people that work for the CEO and they’re running around and getting stuff done. And the first thing we’ve got to do is, is really get them working as a team. Not only make sure you’ve got the right people and right structure, but work on that culture to make sure they truly are a team versus just a bunch of smart people.
Jon Tota (05:25):
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Jon Tota (06:15):
How often is it that you don’t have the right team? You know, like you always hear this say you might’ve been the person who founded a company and you’re a great entrepreneur for the startup phase, but as the company scales, you’re probably not likely the same or the right CEO to get to the next level as it gets bigger. Do you see that same dynamic? Is that very often the case with leadership teams? That you almost outgrow the responsibilities of the company and the scale kind of outgrow what that leadership team can do, and you almost have to either develop them in a different way or replace them?
Mike Goldman (06:48):
Well, part of what I do is when I work with a leader and I work exclusively with leadership teams, I always coach the CEO one-on-one in addition to working with the leadership team as a group. So I know, I know Jon, what you had said does happen a lot, but I’ll be honest- it doesn’t happen with a lot of my clients because I know, and I make sure my CEOs know that they’re the lid on the growth of the company. John Maxwell called it, the law of the lid many years ago. The lid on the company is you’re not going to scale any faster than the leader scales. So I always make sure I’m doing heavy, heavy coaching with my CEO to make sure that they are scaling as fast or, or, or hopefully faster than the team is. So I know that happens a lot, but with my clients, frankly, I make sure that doesn’t happen.
Jon Tota (07:40):
When you’re helping teams develop, and, or actually even earlier, if you’re working with someone and their just trying to structure that leadership team. And if we’ve got some listeners, and obviously we have a lot of entrepreneurs in our audience and they might be a smaller business. I know you normally are working with companies that are doing, you know, 10 million or above, but you’ve probably worked with a lot of the smaller businesses out there too. What if it’s someone who’s kind of just through sheer willpower has gotten their business to a million dollars in revenue or $2 million in revenue. And they haven’t really built that high performing leadership team. What do you say? What are kind of the first steps, the things that you tell your, you would tell a client to do so that they can get on that right path and how would you help someone in those cases?
Mike Goldman (08:27):
It’s a great question, and I would say it’s got to start with self-leadership. So very often when you are a, an entrepreneur and you’ve kind of white knuckled this thing to get it up to a million or $2 million, and you’re kind of, you know, the CEO with a whole bunch of helpers versus having a leadership team- man, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly if you continue to try to scale, if you don’t have that team. So number one, you need really master self-leadership because if you are not managing your own emotions, if you’re, if you don’t have the right focus, if you don’t know what your strengths are as a leader, it’s going to be really hard for you to build the right team around you. And if you do, when you don’t have the right focus, all you’re going to do is blame them for all the problems versus really using them as a team.
Mike Goldman (09:17):
So I think number one, it starts with self-leadership. And then the second thing I’d say, which really I have very rarely seen companies do or at least do well- is you have to proactively structure the leadership team. And what I mean by that is for most companies, the way you know you need a head of sales and as founder and entrepreneur, you could no longer head up sales yourself is when prospects are falling through the cracks, because you’re not able to handle it all. The way, you know, when you’re at $25 million and you realize you need a head of HR because you have lost some great, some great people because your culture is a nightmare and you’re not developing your talent. You typically know you need someone when there’s an emergency. And what I suggest for those entrepreneurs listening, or frankly, even the, if anybody’s listening, that’s got a hundred, $150 million company, you have to project out your business.
Mike Goldman (10:21):
I teach my clients and I talk about my book, actually doing a 12 quarter forecast for your business. Financials, like obviously top and bottom line, but also non financials, like quarter over quarter how many clients will we have at that point? How many products will we have? How many units will we be shipping? How many projects will we be doing? Project out those non financials and look at how your leadership team needs to scale. At what point do you need to split sales and marketing into two different people? At what point might you need a head of service? At what point does your controller need to turn into a more strategic CFO? That ought to be based on some numbers you’re projecting. So proactively structure that leadership team. And I suggest that you forecast that, you plan that out over 12 quarters and you actually start drawing out quarter over quarter: What does your leadership team need to look like at each quarter? So instead of waiting until there’s a problem, you can say, Hey, I know three quarters from now, I’m going to need a head of sales. I need to start looking for that person now or grooming that person internally now. And that whole idea of being proactive and planning it out, I very, very rarely see, let alone with new entrepreneurs. I worked with fortune five hundreds for many years- I don’t see them doing it either.
Jon Tota (11:47):
Yeah. That’s an interesting point because I think that as an entrepreneur, it’s so hard to think that far in advance and you think, Oh, we’ll deal with it when we get there. And there’s so many things in your head where you’re saying, Oh, but then I have this pitfall or this obstacle and then things will go bad. So it’s interesting. You got to really force yourself to be proactive. And now that everything has gone so much more remote, what are some of the struggles and some of the things that you’re seeing with your clients as they’re developing leadership teams, but now they’ve been thrust into this remote leadership model. What are some of the things and some of the tips you could share with our audience as far as building this breakthrough leadership team, but now having to do it in a remote virtual fashion?
Mike Goldman (12:31):
Yeah. And, and again, I’m going to start with self-leadership because one of the things I’ve seen from CEOs, as well as the individuals on the leadership team is, you know, when COVID first hit, it was, you know, every day seemed like a year went by. There was that much changing every single day. And then we hit this, this kind of point where things aren’t changing so fast, we know what’s going on. And all of a sudden people said, you know what? We could be way more productive than we ever thought remotely. These Zoom meetings aren’t so bad; I’m getting used to it. Twitter says no one needs to come back to work again, and everybody starts to think this is great. We could be just as productive or even more productive remotely. And I’ve seen a, kind of a boomerang effect. I have seen leaders and leadership teams, very overwhelmed and stressed and starting to get burned out right now, partially because they’re not, they don’t have that energy of the people around them.
Mike Goldman (13:28):
And, and I think we can’t underestimate how important, or I should say we’ve got to realize how important that is, to have that energy of the people around you, but also because companies are, you know, one of two things. They’re either struggling to survive right now, which is certainly stressful and overwhelming, or for those that are doing really well. It’s overwhelming because a lot of them, and I’ve done this with my business is pivoting to say, how do I take advantage of what’s going on? You know, I heard a great quote, never let a good crisis go to waste. So a lot of great companies are pivoting and doing some different things and that’s stressful and overwhelming. So, number one, I’d say that self-leadership becomes even more important. I heard a great interview with the Dalai Lama many years ago, where someone asked the Dalai Lama how many minutes a day he meditates.
Mike Goldman (14:29):
And he said, he meditated for one hour a day. And then they said, okay, but when you’re really busy and you just wrote a book and you’re on the speaking circuit, incredibly busy, how many hours a day do you meditate then? And he said, Oh, that’s a great question. On my really busy days, I meditate two hours a day. So it becomes even more important these days to take care of yourself, whether it’s, you know, exercise or or yoga or meditation or prayer or gratefulness, or taking a long walk. So it starts there. And the other thing I I’d say is culture has become way more important. I’ve found that the companies that, that my clients, who I’ve worked with that had really, really powerful cultures- when COVID struck, it allowed them to become even more of who they really were. And they’ve actually gotten more engagement, more loyalty, more passion from their employees and therefore their clients as well.
Mike Goldman (15:31):
Those companies that really were struggling with their culture before they may have had a set of core values, but it wasn’t much more than a plaque on the wall kind of thing. Those are the companies who also became more of who they are when COVID struck, but that wasn’t pretty and it’s really hurt them. So I think it’s really important these days, uh, to, to make sure your culture, your core values, your purpose, that, that there are way more than just plaques on the wall, that you’re showing who you really are. You’re showing that you care. You’re coaching your people; you’re mentoring your people. You are doubling or tripling your frequency of communication with your employees and your clients. And that doesn’t mean doubling or tripling the number of minutes. If you were in 20 hours of meetings before all this, I’m not saying, I’m not saying now you should be in 60 hours of meetings, but it may mean if you were doing one-on-ones with your staff for an hour, once a month, you may want to do it once a week for 20 minutes now. You really have to increase that frequency.
Jon Tota (16:36):
Yeah. And I think I’ve felt like a lot of people that you get a little bit of that Zoom fatigue, because you have so many meetings done by Zoom or Microsoft teams or whatever it might be. But you do almost have to force yourself to communicate at that level, to do those meetings, because if your team’s going to continue to develop and you want the culture to continue, this is just the way you have to do it. And yeah. So I think it’s great advice. So I have to ask you, I, I did strategic coaches as you know, and they were really big on the Colby test- personality tests, which I, I did. And I had my whole leadership team do it to see how we fit together. And I know other people do StrengthsFinders and different ones like that. How do you feel about that in, in your professional opinion? Do you think there’s some value in using some standardized tests like that to understand the personality mix with your leadership team and how they fit together?
Mike Goldman (17:33):
I, I do. I absolutely do, but you’ve gotta be careful, you know. And I’ve used a whole bunch of different tools and I know of Colby and I’m a certified DISC guy. There are people that use DISC for hiring, and that’s just wrong. You know, I want a leader, so I better find a high D; or I want someone in customer service so they should be an S on the DISC scale. You know, I think you could be a leader or be anywhere on the Colby scale or the DISC scale. I think it’s an important way whether it’s Colby or DISC or any of the others, it’s just one of many great ways to get to know people at a different level to get to understand yourself a little bit more to say, Oh, he’s not a jerk. He’s just a, he, you know, he’s just a high D and he wants to make decisions quickly.
Mike Goldman (18:22):
They’re great tools to get to know each other better, but you’ve got to use them for that. Use them to help you better communicate. Don’t use them for hiring. You know, I love, you mentioned StrengthsFinder. I love StrengthsFinder, the StrengthtsFinder 2.0, not only to help you leverage your strengths, but what I’ve started doing with my teams is actually have, as a leadership team, have them share their strengths with each other. And I have them answer some questions. I have a template they fill out, which are some questions around how they plan to best leverage those strengths and how they plan to give that gift of that strength to the world. I have them write it down. I have them share it with each other, and then I have them pair up and actually coach each other and brainstorm with each other on how they can better leverage that strength at home and at work. And I find getting the team to help coach each other, uh, not only gives people great ideas, but it’s just one more way to create much more solid relationships on your team.
Jon Tota (19:25):
I love that. I think that’s an awesome idea. It’s the right way to frame- these tools are the starting point to have the right conversation to get at, you know, for people to understand each other. At one point, you know, I even thought about it – hiring to a Colby score, which is the wrong method, as you alluded to before. But I’ll tell you my head of product development. Every time I’d come to him with what I thought was an amazing new feature idea. I’d hover over his desk, right over his shoulder. And then he would look to punch holes in that as quickly as possible to get rid of me. And I remember talking to the Colby expert at Strategic Coach, and she had said, yeah, it’s just, if you look at his score, you’re the exact opposite of him, he needs time.
Jon Tota (20:13):
He needs a scheduled appointment. You don’t want to catch them off guard, or he’s, he’s going to poke holes in it. And we started doing all the things the right way and using it really to understand better about myself, how I behave in those situations, as well as how he would react. And it was eye opening. I think it’s a great tip. And I love your idea of kind of using the StrengthsFinder as a way to have the team coach each other and work around that just for them to understand each other better.
Mike Goldman (20:41):
Yeah. And I had a client actually, who I did a big DISC session with and they all took their DISC profiles, put them up either on their cube or on their office door. And the key thing that, you know, on there, I have them answer questions like, you know, if you need to convince me of something, here’s the way I’d like you to do it. You know, here’s what motivates me. Here’s what makes me angry. And not that if you’re this Colby score, you need to turn into someone else. Or if you’re a high D on the DISC score, you need to turn into an S but you need to know where you need to flex your behavior so that you can communicate with people and influence them whether they’re their team members or whether they’re their vendors or clients.
Jon Tota (21:25):
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s such an important distinction. So I love all of it. So tell us about the book. I know you, you published it and I think released it right in the middle of all the COVID craziness. How has this gone? How’s it been received by everyone?
Mike Goldman (21:39):
Yeah, it’s gone great. And as you said, it was a real struggle that we launched at the end of April. So I had to make the final decision and kind of early March as to whether I was going to launch it late April. And that was right when COVID hit big time. And I thought, my God, this is, this could be the worst time possible to be communicating anything that might seem self-serving. But, but what ultimately made the decision for me is – the book is called Breakthrough Leadership Team. It’s all about how to create great leadership teams that create great companies. And I said, you know what? In these times, the bottom line is people need this message; companies and leaders need this message more than ever. And that’s what drove me to launch it regardless of how COVID might impact any of my marketing efforts.
Mike Goldman (22:28):
And thank God it’s gone really, really well. I’ve gotten really great reviews. I’ve got amazing feedback or people who, you know, what’s really changed how they’re thinking about their companies and their leadership teams. One of my pivots in this environment with everybody doing more online is I’m taking the ideas from the book- and Jon, we were talking about this earlier- I’m taking the ideas from the book and creating an online course that will be out, you know, maybe by the time this is out there for everybody. It’s going to be out somewhere early fourth quarter of this year. So the book has gone great. And the content has really, really impacted people in a positive way. So I, I couldn’t be happier about it.
Jon Tota (23:11):
Oh, that’s awesome. Congratulations! And I love to hear that you built the companion course. Obviously we, you know, I think even more than ever people need that because they can’t get everybody into a room together. They can’t have you do that workshop in person. So tell us a little bit about how people can find out about the book, the course that you’ve got- is your website the best method for everyone to reach you?
Mike Goldman (23:37):
Well, number one, if you want to buy the book it’s called Breakthrough Leadership Team. Best way to do that is out on Amazon. It’s in all forms. If you love my Bronx / New Jersey accent, it’s out there on Audible if you want to listen to me for about seven hours. So Amazon for the book and, uh, for everything else, uh, the website is mike-goldman.com. There’s some great videos on there and my breakthrough ideas blog. And if you’re listening to this and the courses already out there, will be a link to the course on there as well. And the course is called Breakthrough Growth.
Jon Tota (24:14):
That’s excellent. So Breakthrough Leadership Team, everybody check out the book, check it out in Audible. I like listening to your voice. I’ve listened to it a lot over the years. So I think I might do the audible version. Definitely check out mike-goldman.com. We’ll put that link in our show notes as well. Check out what Mike’s up to. He’s really one of the best minds in the business on developing your leadership team and making these breakthroughs in your business. So check out the website, Mike dash goldman.com and the book Breakthrough Leadership Team. And Mike, thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us.
Mike Goldman (24:48):
Jon, thanks so much. It was great catching up with you again.
Jon Tota (24:51):
And to all of our listeners. Thank you for being here each week. As you know, we have a new episode coming out every Tuesday, so wherever you’re listening, be sure to subscribe, rate and leave us comments. We’d love to hear from you guys. Until our next episode, happy learning!