Garland Vance: I need to show up. I need to bring my best self to the office. If I can't do that, I either need to fake it some days or come in a little bit later so I can bring my best self.
Patrick Baldwin: Paul, you enjoyed our conversation with Dr. Garland Vance.
Paul Giannamore: I did. Patrick, it was a lightning conversation. I liked him.
Patrick Baldwin: All I heard him say was Chick-fil-A and Disney. I was like, “I like the guy.” It's instant.
Paul Giannamore: Two of your favorite places.
Patrick Baldwin: I met Garland in Arizona.
Paul Giannamore: That’s not what he said.
Patrick Baldwin: He said something about swiping. I don't know what that means. At the association, Arizona puts on a tremendous show. That was my first year going. He was one of the keynote speakers. I was like, “It would be fantastic to come on The Boardroom Buzz.” He knows the industry.
Paul Giannamore: What did you think about his actual presentation in Arizona?
Patrick Baldwin: It was good enough to get him on The Buzz. More importantly, he talked about Chick-fil-A in his presentation so he's got to come on.
Paul Giannamore: Patrick, let's waste no more time, shall we?
Patrick Baldwin: What do you say? Let's step into The Boardroom with Garland Vance.
Paul Giannamore: Let's do this.
Patrick Baldwin: P to the G, Uncle Paul, I've got Dr. Garland Vance here with us. Let's be a little respectful, Dr. Vance.
Paul Giannamore: Dr. Vance, welcome to The Boardroom. Right off the bat, I'm wondering how many people call you Vance, Garland.
Garland Vance: Most people get it wrong and will call me reverse or they won't even understand Vance. They'll call me Dance, Bance, Chance, or anything. Given two first names is a curse.
Paul Giannamore: Especially with the last name being a single syllable makes you want to reverse it. We will call you Garland.
Garland Vance: I appreciate that.
Paul Giannamore: Patrick will call you Dr. Vance.
Garland Vance: Call me Garland.
Patrick Baldwin: Paul, you were asking how Garland and I met. We have two different stories. This is awkward.
Garland Vance: My story is we met on a dating website, Pat’s wife didn't know he was on. Pat has a different story.
Paul Giannamore: Was it an error? Patrick, did you click the ‘Looking for mail’ button on accident? What were you doing there, Garland?
Garland Vance: Let's not ask.
Paul Giannamore: Whose problem is this? We've got two stories. We've got the dating site. Fat Pat, do you want to establish a position here?
Patrick Baldwin: I do recall it completely differently. Garland was the keynote speaker at the AzPPO conference.
Paul Giannamore: Don't pretend like everyone knows what AzPPO O is.
Patrick Baldwin: Everyone should know what AzPPo is.
Paul Giannamore: Tell us what it is.
Garland Vance: Arizona Pest Professional Operators.
Patrick Baldwin: They're what I would call their association. That is a great group of people and they know how to put a show together. It’s something to look up to if you feel like your state association has some work cut out for them. If they go visit the Arizona show, they put on a great show.
Paul Giannamore: It sounds like they bring in people from surrounding states as well because there were some folks from Utah down there and there were some people from California there from what I understand.
Patrick Baldwin: Had a couple of Texans in there too. I was not the only Texan.
Garland Vance: They bring in low-quality keynote speakers, though.
Paul Giannamore: You guys met at the AzPPO, which took place in the month of March. You guys have your seminar sun tans on from Arizona. Not you, Garland. You still look a little bit on the light side so late in the spring. where do you live?
Garland Vance: I live in Knoxville, Tennessee so that's on the east side of the state.
Paul Giannamore: You should be darker than that.
Garland Vance: I spend a whole lot of time inside.
Paul Giannamore: You guys met. Patrick thought that your presentation was outstanding and said, “This is a man we need to have on The Buzz.” We're going to talk about leadership. Is that correct?
Garland Vance: That's my understanding. If we're not, you probably need to let me know real quick.
Paul Giannamore: It'd be funny if you take this completely out of the left field and not talk about leadership at all. Start talking about your diet and exercise routine and your relationship with your wife.
Garland Vance: I'm an open book. Don't ask me anything about science. I don't know anything about science.
Paul Giannamore: Science is off-limits, Fat Pat. Get rid of those notes.
Patrick Baldwin: I got it.
Paul Giannamore: I'm an innocent bystander here. Why don't the two of you educate me on leadership?
Patrick Baldwin: I'm not here to educate anyone on leadership, that's for sure. I do want to know, Garland, how the heck did you find yourself in pest control? The AzPPO conference was not your first foray into the pest.
Garland Vance: I did not ever think that I would be in pest control. Way back in 2018, I was working with another company as a leadership consultant and leadership developer. Rollins contacted that company because they wanted to do a year-long leadership development program for their region managers. I had the opportunity to work with a team of people to create that program to deliver it.
It's a year-long pretty intense leadership development program and we've been doing that now for five years. It'll be six years in the near future that we've been doing that. That's how I broke into pest control. I remember the first day I showed up and I was like, “I know nothing about pest control. I know some stuff about leadership so you all got to teach me pest control to the best of your abilities and I'll teach you all leadership to the best of my abilities.” I'm still learning pest control.
Paul Giannamore: Garland, is it your contention that Rollins's stock price performance is directly related to your five years of working with them?
Garland Vance: You know it. Absolutely. The more time I spend with Rollins, the more profitable they become.
Paul Giannamore: What did you do for a company like Rollins? They bring you in to do what?
Garland Vance: My business is AdVance Leadership. Vance is our last name, AdVance Leadership. What Rollins brought us in to do is they wanted to create a leadership pipeline. If you've never heard of a leadership pipeline, it's a funnel that allows people to grow as leaders before they're needed to be leaders. They wanted to create a leadership pipeline for their current region managers and for high-potential future region managers.
The idea was, “Let's go ahead and help them develop all of the skills and competencies that the region manager needs to have.” There are about 23 that we identified. We designed a year-long program for them. The thing that I love about this program and one of the reasons it's been successful is it's not eight hours of me standing in front of people delivering content. It's extremely experiential.
When we talk about building a high-performance organization, we spend several days at Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, Georgia. Going to Chick-fil-A headquarters, meeting with Chick-fil-A leaders, and then going into restaurants and seeing how they translate the message from the headquarters all the way down to the frontline employee. We go to Disney World and learn about how to create raving fans. There's a lot more stuff that we do but we weaved in a whole lot of experiential training that reinforces the leadership development that they're doing.
Paul Giannamore: Did you do pre and post-cholesterol checks prior to the Chick-fil-A?
Garland Vance: So far, we've never lost anybody to Chick-fil-A. The first time that happens, I'm concerned that my head is going to be on the chopping block.
Paul Giannamore: I hear folks use the word leader and then manager. In your mind, is there a distinction between the two?
Garland Vance: There are distinctions between managerial functions and leadership functions. In my mind, if you are managing or leading a team of people or you have influence over people, you are leading. To me, every manager has leadership responsibilities and there are some functions of managers like managing the profits, managing your P&L, and managing the things that you need to do. Leading tends to be all about people. I don't make a huge distinction in them. If you're managing, you're leading. If you're leading, you're going to have some management that's in there as well.
Paul Giannamore: You've had an awesome experience with one of the premier pest control companies on the planet, Rollins. Let's take a step away from pest control for a second because you hit on a couple of things that I appreciate. Here on this show, I often talk about the fact that the pest control company down the street from you isn't your competitor.
You're competing with Disney and Chick-fil-A. You're competing with a variety of these different customer experiences that the customers are learning from world-class organizations that are doing it a lot better than you and your competitors. What other organizations over the course of your career have you worked with? What industries? How do you juxtapose what you do in pest control with what you might do in a different industry?
Garland Vance: Fun questions. I've had the opportunity to be in the law world and work with attorney firms. I worked with Chick-fil-A for a long time and continue to do work with them, particularly with their individual restaurant owner-operators who I work with. I've done a lot of work in the nonprofit world, which is where I spent a lot of my career. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around what other industries I've been in but there have been others.
Paul Giannamore: The most exciting thing you said is law. Law is similar to investment banking and other professional services firms where guys are like me. We're not great managers. A lot of these professional services folks are the worst managers on the planet. What was that like doing what you do in a law firm? By the way, every lawyer on the planet thinks that they can do your job better than you if only they had time.
Garland Vance: That's a good summary of it. This is what I see in most industries, whether it's pest control, law, or something else. There is a significant jump that takes place when a person moves from being an individual contributor to being a leader of people. There's a significant mental change that needs to take place where you see productivity and contribution as what you do through others and not what you do individually.
That change is hard, especially for high-achieving and highly competent people. That's a tough transition to make. That's what I found in law. A lot of times, what you had is the best lawyer at a firm would break away. They would start their own law firm and then they would try to build that law firm but they didn't make the changes that they needed to make mentally to say, “I'm no longer a lawyer in a firm. I am now leading a law firm. My responsibilities have to change.”
Paul Giannamore: It's interesting because that's exactly right. In my business here, we've roughly got about twenty people distributed around the world. I have been doing M&A since I got out of school. I started in the bulge bracket. You're an analyst, they beat the crap out of you, and you get substantially better over time.
I love M&A. I love to be in the trenches on the forefront. I love the client work. Now, I'm managing a firm that's globally distributed. For me, it's a difficult balancing act because now I can't touch everything. I got to focus a lot of my attention on developing twenty other individuals, which are, themselves, a handful to deal with. If you and I were sitting down, how would you frame out the mindset that I should have in my own organization?
Garland Vance: What I would do is I would ask you four questions. The first question that I would ask you is, “What are the things that you absolutely love to do that you do not want to give up?” That's the first thing that I would ask you. I would want you to limit those to 3 or maybe 4.
Paul Giannamore: If I said everything.
Garland Vance: That's one answer, not a good one though. When it comes down, it's trying to identify, “What are 3 or 4 things that I do?” In my own business, as we're growing right now, one of the things that I love to do is I love to create frameworks that solve specific problems. For me, that's one of the things that I'm saying to myself. As we grow, as I give away more responsibility, and more authority to other people, that's one thing that, for the time being, I'm not willing to completely get my hands off of.
The reason I do that and the reason I would say that to you, Paul, is you have to still be involved in some of the things that you love to do. Especially if you're the owner of the business or you're in charge of the business, then you get to say, “Here are some of the things that I get to do and that I want to do.” That's the first question I'd ask, “What are the things you love to do?”
The second question that I would ask is, “Now that you have more managerial responsibilities, what is the type of work that you need to value?” For example, when you move from an individual contributor to a leader, you have to value no longer doing the work but enabling the work. Maybe it's training other people for the work. Maybe it's reviewing the work of other people. It's coaching or it's giving feedback. What's the type of work that you need to develop?
The third question I would ask is, “If that's the type of work that you now need to value, what are the new skills that you need to develop?” Finally, the fourth question would be, “If those are the new skills you need to develop and that's the type of work you need to value, how do you manage your time differently as a result?”
That's where a lot of people get stuck, they'll say, “I know that I need to value the leadership work. I know that I need to value the coaching type of work. I need to develop some skills.” They fail to turn around and go, “How does that translate to Monday morning at 9:00 AM? How does that translate to Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM?” How do you need to manage your time differently in order to have the time, energy, and attention for that work that's most valuable?
Paul Giannamore: What you're trying to do is cause people to think intertemporally. We all have high time preferences as humans. We want it now and instant gratification and we want to see results today. You're trying to get somebody like that to start to think intertemporally out into the future, “If I do this today, set up this framework, the system, mentor, and coach, I might not see the immediate rewards of this,” but there'll be tremendous rewards at some point in the future, which is a hard leap to make.
Garland Vance: I would like to point out, this is the first time anybody's ever used the word intertemporally in any conversation I've ever had in my life.
Paul Giannamore: That's probably not a good sign for me. I should probably quit talking like that.
Garland Vance: You're right. What we find very often in leadership is people get promoted or begin to work their way up in an organization and they don't slow down enough to intentionally think about what needs to change and how they need to do things differently. I feel like part of my role in working with companies and working with leaders is to force them to slow down enough to come to better conclusions, to determine very intentionally, “This is what we want to do. This is what we're going to do moving forward.” It's slowing down enough to get clarity on that. That takes some time.
Paul Giannamore: Do you ever see a situation whether it be somebody like me, for example, or an owner of a pest control business who maybe does not have what it takes to be the appropriate leader of that organization? You might sit down with me and say, “Paul, you're a great guy but managing people, you're not cut out for that but you're phenomenally successful in executing M&A deals. Might you consider continuing to toil in the M&A vineyards and hire somebody that has the skillset to manage the business?” Is that ever an option in your mind?
Garland Vance: It is. It's normally what I want to do with a person first. Let's see if they do have what it takes. Let's help develop the skills that you need. If you get to the other side of that and either you are miserable, you hate this, or you don't want to do this, if you're miserable leading other people, that is going to rub off on everybody that you lead. If you're miserable, we're going to say, “Let's look at what we might do to get you out of this work that you hate.” We're going to say, “You are not skilled at this at all.”
If you're not skilled at it at all, the same option. We want to go find somebody who is skilled. It certainly does happen. What I find more often than not is it's not a matter of inability and it's not even a matter of misery. It's a matter of unintentionality in the beginning. Because they're not intentional with the changes that need to take place, they are miserable and they feel like they can't do it. If we can help them shift and get intentional with the type of work they need to do, more often than not, they're making that switch.
Paul Giannamore: You often hear the term, “He's a born leader.” It sounds to me like what you're saying is, for the most part, to one degree or another, anyone can acquire this skill over time with deliberate practice, focus, and education. For the most part, most of us can do this. Do you think there are born leaders or is this something that we all start out the same and we have to learn how to do this?
Garland Vance: I hate the term born leader. There are some people in the world who have a higher propensity toward certain characteristics and we deem those characteristics as good characteristics for a leader. There are some people who are born with a charismatic personality and they're unbelievably winsome. There are some people who are born with the ability to see much farther into the future and think about trends and how things are changing and what we might do.
For those people, we say they're born leaders. I truly don't think there's anything that's a naturally born leader. There might be some people who are born with a propensity but they still have to develop those skills and those abilities. For the rest of us, what I see is leadership has to start with a desire, a willingness to say, “I want to benefit other people and I want to create a better future.” That's all you have to desire, “I want to create a better future. I want to benefit people in the process of creating a better future.”
If you have that desire, you're going to find ways to become a better leader. That's where most of us have to be, “Here are skills that I have to develop for the good of my team, for the good of the vision that I'm trying to carry out. These are the skills that I have to develop. I'm willing to do it because I have a vision of the future that I want to see take place and I have a desire to benefit and bless people's lives.”
Paul Giannamore: When you go into an organization, let's say it's a lawn care business or a pest control company, any mid-size privately held business. Let's say there are 100 employees. I'll use a round number. I call you up and I say, “Garland, I've got this pest control business. I've got 100 employees. We've done a good job over the years but we need to get formal and thoughtful on developing the next generation.” You say, “Sure, I'll come in, and I'll sit down with you.” Are you helping me identify the individuals that would be potentially part of leadership roles going into the future? Paint me a picture from scratch.
Garland Vance: I'll tell you what happens to us 95% of the time, instead of 5% of the time. 95% of the time, an organization calls us, let's say it's a company of a hundred people, and they'll say, “We know that we need to develop leaders. We want to develop leaders but we don't know how and we don't have time.” 95% of the time, that's what I'm hearing, “We don't know how and we don't have time.” What we do in that situation is we have a training program that we do for people that's called (un)Leashed Leadership.
What we found is 95% of leadership challenges come down to 1 of 7 issues, character, competence, capacity, clarity, community, culture, or consistency. We go into that organization and we train their leaders on those seven leadership traits, character, competence, capacity, clarity, community culture, and consistency. That's what happens 95% of the time.
5% of the time, an organization will come and they'll say, “We don't know how to do it. We don't necessarily have time to do it but we want it to be completely tailored to our organization.” When that's the case, what we do is sit down with them and help them identify what their specific company's leadership traits are. What characteristics must every leader in your company possess? Once we've identified those, we can go back and build custom design training around the specific characteristics that they're looking to develop in their organization.
Paul Giannamore: Do you think that's a better way to go about doing it? would I, as a business owner, have a better idea than somebody like you as to what I would want specifically in terms of leaders? Am I better off saying, “I've gotten it here to 100 employees. Before the wheels fall off, I need to take some advice.”
Garland Vance: That one is always hard for me to answer. Which is better? It's less about which is better and more about what is more important to you right now. Is speed of leadership development more important or is long-term more important? For an organization that says speed, we're going to want to go with the (un)Leashed Leadersship program because we can launch that in a matter of weeks for them as long as they can get their people together. If they want long-term, it's going to take us several months to get that second model up and running.
What we do find is some of our clients will say, “We want to get started immediately and as we're doing this, we want to develop our own framework for leadership development.” In that case, we'll do (un)Leashed Leadership. As we're doing (un)Leashed Leadership, we'll help them determine what their characteristics are and then we can change the program as we go through.
Paul Giannamore: Other than Rollins's stock price, can you talk a little bit about what you've seen over the years as you've gone through and done these programs and what transformation some of these organizations have made?
Garland Vance: Profitability is absolutely one. One of the things that we consistently see is employee engagement goes up and employee retention goes up. I tend to believe you have high employee engagement, which leads to higher retention, which leads to customer retention, which leads to higher profitability, and that's what we've seen consistently over and over again. When we help leaders become more intentional in their leadership development, the first people who feel that are the direct reports but it makes their life better at work and it also makes their life better at home.
We've all had those days where we've gone home and complained about the boss and said horrible things about the boss around the dinner table. If we can make a leader better at work, we believe that we can make an employee's life better at work and better at home as well. That translates into the customer experience because you are getting a much better quality customer experience when your employees are engaged and then that leads to higher profitability. We've seen that over and over again. It all starts with making one leader better.
Paul Giannamore: You mentioned where you said a lot of this stuff comes down to seven factors and consistency was one of those so that popped into my mind. I want to ask you a little something on that. There are a lot of us out there. In the pest control industry, there are tons, myself included, who come up with a good idea one week and then another good idea the other week and is constantly changing, like, “Let's do it.” Is that what you're talking about?
Garland Vance: That's one of the things we're talking about. Whenever we're talking about consistency, what you're describing right there is changing the vision, changing the strategy every 3 or 4 weeks. That creates what I call organizational whiplash. It's like you're on this roller coaster and you keep whipping back and forth between these different ideas, different strategies, and visions. Consistency in the vision is one.
I would also say equally important is for a leader to have emotional consistency where they show up and they're not high one day and happy, outgoing, and laughing with everybody. The next day, they come in and they're miserable and they're angry. When your leader shifts in emotions like that, It creates tremendous uncertainty about, “Which boss are we going to get today? When's the best time to make this pitch to the boss?”
Paul Giannamore: Employees are instant messaging each other, “What mood is he in today?”
Garland Vance: It is consistency with the vision. It's also consistency on the emotional side of things of how you show up and how you bring yourself to the people that you're leading. I did an experiment with this and it was a colossally failed experiment because of the havoc that it wreaked on people. I did this early in my career where I was like, “I don't think that my mood changes would have that big of an effect.” That was my hypothesis. My mood changes shouldn't have that big of an effect on other people.
I walked into the office one Tuesday and I was like, “What's up? How's it going?” I was all excited and friendly. There was this great mood that took over. About an hour later, I came out of my office and I acted like I was mad about something. I was like, “I couldn't believe this happened. I'm angry.” I spent maybe five minutes with everybody.
Paul Giannamore: I don't even don't believe you the way you're saying it right now. I don't know how well you pulled it off.
Garland Vance: What you began to notice is the tension level rose. An hour later, I go back out into the office and I'm like, “I can't believe it. I’m super sad and down.” What you began to see is my mood shifted the mood of everyone and it's not because I'm that influential, it's because I had the position of influence.
Finally, I went out and I was like, “I got to confess something to you all. I've been jerking you all around doing this little experiment. I'm sorry because I've created a whole lot of confusion right now.” What it's let me know is I need to show up. I need to bring my best self to the office. If I can't do that, I either need to fake it some days or come in a little bit later so I can bring my best self.
Paul Giannamore: I never thought about it that way.
Patrick Baldwin: This is fun just watching the two of you all.
Paul Giannamore: I always tell you, I'm like, “Get me great guests on The Buzz, Fat Pat.” You and I have been having Fat Pat sessions, Q&A, and a little Groundhog’s Day. I know we're getting a lot of questions. Friends and family out there, thanks for sending them in. I love to get the questions we get but I also love to get entertaining and interesting guests.
Patrick Baldwin: I feel like I might have a therapist here. If I can start talking to Garland about why you call me Fat Pat, I can open up.
Paul Giannamore: it's not your weight now. You're still Fat Pat. As the Mexican said, “Fat Pat is not a weight, it's a state of mind.” It's dangerous getting in The Boardroom, Patrick, you know that.
Patrick Baldwin: It is. Paul, you've talked about leadership. The organization can never outperform the top leader. I'm totally butchering what you've said based on the look on your face.
Paul Giannamore: Who? Me?
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah, you. Your name is Paul, right?
Paul Giannamore: Yes. What did I say?
Patrick Baldwin: You've made a comment about the leadership's ability to grow or peak or perform is based on the top performer. The CEO, if he sucks, the business is going to suck. That's part of your language.
Paul Giannamore: You're right. I made an observation some time ago. I deal with tons of these different companies around the world. Of course, I'm meeting with the owners of these businesses. This is my untested hypothesis. It's rather anecdotal but I've come to the realization that it's usually the management that's the governor on the growth of the business.
They get it to a certain size and as a business grows, it becomes more and more chaotic, and it becomes more complicated and complex to run. At some point, it outgrows the current leadership's ability to manage that business. A lot of the companies that I've looked at over the years, it's not the employee base per se, the business is hitting a wall and it's solidly due to leadership.
Patrick Baldwin: My question is, if I'm at the top, don't any of you start with me? How do I assess my weaknesses because I don't think self-assessment is the right answer?
Garland Vance: I would completely agree, Paul, with what you say. The leader at the top determines the lid of the organization. In fact, what I see consistently is the dysfunction of the leader at the top becomes the dysfunction of the entire organization. Pat, to your question.
Patrick Baldwin: Fat Pat. You just can’t call Pat.
Garland Vance: I almost called you that and I was like, “I don't think I feel okay with that. I don't want to be canceled for weight discrimination.”
Patrick Baldwin: We're way past canceling on this show.
Garland Vance: Does the leader at the top need to look at himself or herself and say, “How do I need to grow?” Absolutely. If the leader fails to grow or, more importantly, if the leader refuses to grow, the organization will cease growing or it's going to have to be sold off. Paul is going to manage a merger or an acquisition there.
Patrick Baldwin: It's good for business, Paul.
Garland Vance: Bad leadership is the way to good business.
Paul Giannamore: I never thought of it that way.
Garland Vance: What I would say is we put disproportionate emphasis on weaknesses. When I say a weakness, a weakness is either something that I'm bad at or something that drains me of energy. We tend to have this mentality that the leader and everybody need to fix their weaknesses or increase their weaknesses.
I'm less concerned with weaknesses and I'm more concerned with liabilities in a leader. A liability is anything that I do that when I do it over and over, it hurts the organization. The truth is my strengths can be a huge liability for the organization. I'm going to pick on you for a second, Paul. If Paul is amazing at M&A and he loves to execute those and his love of executing those is getting in the way of everybody else doing their job well, Paul's strength is a liability to the organization.
I'm more concerned when I'm working with a top leader of understanding, “What are the liabilities? How can your employees help us understand what your liabilities are? What can we do to mitigate or minimize those liabilities to the best of our ability?” Sometimes that's a change in practice. Sometimes that's a change in mindset for you. Sometimes it's becoming okay with, “I love doing this and I need to do it. I need to do it a little bit less so that I'm not hurting the organization as much.”
Patrick Baldwin: Did you get that, Paul? Somebody finally picked on you? I don't even know what he said but I loved it. Paul, would you consider yourself a good manager?
Paul Giannamore: Patrick, if you know me, I'm not burdened with false modesty. I'm not a good manager. As a matter of fact, I am a petitioner. In professional services, there are a lot of surgeons out there who are horrible managers of people. There are a lot of brilliant attorneys out there who are not great managers of people.
If you grew up in a pest control business, even if you start as a technician, you're fortunate enough to work in an organization that has great managers you can model over time. You get to see how they operate and you work with great leaders and you can model that behavior and grow that way. Anyone that's in the professional services space, it's probably a rarity that they're working with folks that have any real training in management and leadership.
Their primary product is their advice and everything else is secondary to that. That's why investment banks are traditionally unbelievably horrible places to work. Do I have the innate ability to learn to be a better manager? Probably. I have certainly had the opportunity to be a bystander to some brilliant managers and leaders out there in a lot of the organizations that I've worked with. I do attempt to study that. I don't think I'm a great manager at all.
Patrick Baldwin: Garland, you got Paul here. At least he has the self-awareness. You said you don't struggle with false modesty. It feels like you're taking your clothes off at work and you're denying it. I don't know why.
Paul Giannamore: I have also done that.
Patrick Baldwin: If he's got twenty employees, at least he has awareness, but with his next-level managers, what if Paul invests in a leadership program with you and you're training his next-level leaders? What happens if Paul is not engaged in that self-development? At the same time, does it create more frustration? If it's the 100-person pest control company, I don't know which is the best scenario to walk through then.
Garland Vance: There's the good and the bad that happens when you have a situation like that. The good is you're strengthening leaders who are making people's lives better. They're getting better and the people that they're leading, their lives are getting better. The results that you're getting are probably getting better. The challenge certainly becomes when those leaders who are growing and who are developing run into a wall against the top leader who hasn't grown and who hasn't progressed.
In that sense, you're going to have some significant frustration, a clash of philosophy or strategy where the leaders who have been developed are saying, “Here's how we need to do things differently.” The leaders at the top are saying, “We're going to keep things the same.” I've seen that on a number of occasions where your core leaders in the middle of the organization get much stronger and better and those who are above them don't catch up with them. It certainly can create some tension in there.
A lot of times, it also creates a feeling of disengagement. It’s not in the sense of employee engagement but in a sense of disengagement from whatever the top leaders are saying. Those middle managers are less bought into it because they don't understand and they don't see where that person is coming from or they see where that person is coming from and they don't like it.
Patrick Baldwin: What if Paul or someone, they're putting the money and the investment into leadership development but they are not investing in themselves? I see it creating a more frustrating environment in the long run.
Garland Vance: It definitely can. In that situation, it's going to depend on how much Paul or the person at the top is involved in the day-to-day operations. It can certainly create a level of frustration when the top leader is saying, “You all need to grow in your leadership but I'm good.” That's how it's interpreted. I'm talking about doing some work right now with the company and I won't say who they are because we're still in the process of talking through things. They came to me and they said, “We want our middle management to grow.”
As I started talking with them about the (un)Leashed Leadership program, they were like, “It sounds like their bosses should be a part of this too.” I was like, “Yeah, that'd be amazing.” They were like, “It doesn't make sense for us to stop there. Let's go one level up as well.” They're saying from the very top, “We want our top leaders, our 2nd level of leaders, and our 3rd level of leaders to all be engaged in leadership development.” What you hope for is that those top leaders are saying, “I need to grow. We need to grow. Even if it's not in the same program or the same type of experience, we have to be pushing ourselves to grow.”
Patrick Baldwin: Would you train those three different levels of leaders separately and take them through different programs or do you put them all in the same room together?
Garland Vance: I leave that up to the client. I've done it both ways. I like having all three levels in the same room together for the training piece of things. For our programs, the way that we do it is we'll do like a live experience for one month and then we'll have virtual follow-up group coaching for several months and then we'll do another live experience and then virtual follow-up group coaching.
What I found is having them all in the same room for the live experience is helpful. They can talk about different levels of challenges and that helps everyone understand each other better. When it's the group coaching and we're talking about more specific things, I would break them up by position or level in the organization so that those 2 or 3 people who are at the very top, we can have a much more candid conversation about their leadership challenges than the twenty people who are two levels below.
Patrick Baldwin: Of the seven characteristics, is there one that you find is the biggest failure? If you don't fix this one, then everything else is going to fall apart.
Garland Vance: I'll tell you the one that I see the most common with and that is that I see more leaders struggle with clarity. I'll do a quick overview. There's character. You have to be willing to do the hard thing. You have to have a sense of wanting to put others ahead of yourself. The second is competence. You have to continually upgrade the skills that you have based on the needs of the organization. There's capacity. You have to have time, energy, and attention that you set aside to lead others well.
There's clarity. Clarity is about, “I see where we're going, how we're getting there, what each person's role is in getting there, and why it's important to get there in the first place.” There's community, that's all about trust and creating an environment of trust where people can collaborate and work well together. There's culture, that's all about turning the values of the organization into behaviors. We've already talked about consistency, it's about the emotions and vision.
The biggest challenge that I see leaders struggle with is the challenge of clarity. It’s getting clear on, “Where are we going as an organization?” The reason it's so tough is that, as Paul mentioned earlier, sometimes that vision changes every two weeks and leaders get excited about something new and we don't make enough progress quickly enough and so we change directions.
Even when it is clear, a lot of times, what we'll see is leaders will say, “This is the most important thing for us to do. Here are the 99 other things that we also have to get done.” When you do that, it creates this internal tension of, “I can't do the one priority well if I have 99 other things that are buying for my attention.” That has been the one over and over that I see leaders struggle with is, “What are our highest priorities, 1, 2, or maybe 3? What are our highest priorities? How do we say no to everything else in order to make room for those things that are most important for us to do?”
Paul Giannamore: We've talked about that, Patrick, on The Buzz before. It's one thing I've seen quite a bit. Everyone's got a million things to do. You're leading an organization, you're leading a pest control business, you're adding on a new service, and you've got a million priorities. At the end of the day, business is all about trade-offs. It's almost like, where do you get leverage? You've got to find those focal points where you can get leverage in your business.
You've got to get the entire organization focused on a minute number of clear objectives. Garland, when you talk about getting clarity, at the top end of it, you've got strategy formation. What is our strategy? How are we going to compete? What are the trade-offs we are going to make as an organization? That's ultimately where the leadership has to get involved. Of course, it's got to be almost choreographed and concerted activity amongst the entire employee base to hit those goals.
When you're talking, I couldn't help but go back in my mind to a conversation we've had here on The Buzz. We've had some EOS folks chatting about some things. I don't know much about EOS. I've flipped through a few of the books. We've had some EOS implementer folks talking. We've talked about this whole concept of a visionary and an integrator. Patrick, if you recall, the last time we talked about it, I constantly struggle with the fact that there's an integrator or a visionary.
Whenever I talk to anyone within an organization, the majority of these people self-identify as visionary, “I'm the guy who sees the future. I'm the 50,000 foot. I'm the guy who creates all the value and then everyone else has got to figure it out.” It doesn't even matter what organization it is, everyone's a visionary. I've always struggled with the fact that this dichotomy exists. I thought I would proffer the question to you, Professor. What do you have to say about that?
Garland Vance: There are people who are more naturally bent toward certain things. I am more naturally bent toward what EOS would consider a visionary.
Paul Giannamore: Are you a visionary too?
Garland Vance: We're all visionaries. I am geared toward seeing the future. I'm very much geared toward creating the ethos and creating the culture of things. I struggle much more with, “How do we get there and how does each person need to get us there?” I worked with one guy for about ten years who was brilliant. He couldn't come up with a vision to save his life. If he heard me say that, he would probably cry right now.
He didn't think that way. He didn't think about the future. Once he knew what the future was, he could clearly see, “Here are the five best ways for us to get here. Here are ten other options that we don't need to think about. Here's how we can map that out to get there and to get people moving.” I loved working with him. He would be what I would consider the classic integrator. What I would say though is I don't know that the world is divided as neatly into visionaries and integrators.
Maybe our roles are divided that way in certain organizations. As a small business owner, I may be the visionary but I also have to figure out how to execute that in some ways. We can have roles and functions that are visionary and integrator. At the end of the day, if I'm a visionary but I'm not willing to work and execute on it, I don't have a lot of respect for that.
Paul Giannamore: I had dinner with the CEO of a publicly-traded company who was one of the founders of the business and had been at the helm. While they were private, they grew and went public some years ago. He's got 20,000 employees. I asked him, “As you guys were growing this thing, are you familiar with EOS?” He's like, “I'm familiar with it. I've read those books.” I asked him the same question if he believed in integrators and visionaries. He clearly identified as a visionary.
He said, “For me, the visionary stuff is the easy part. The real hard work is that choreographed concerted activity amongst the entire organization. It's extremely hard work but an important part of me being a leader is to frame that out. I'm not getting into the minute detail. I've got 20,000 employees. There was a period of time when it was 3:00 on a Saturday morning and I was at my kitchen table trying to figure out how we're going to do this tiny thing as part of my vision.”
Garland Vance: The bigger the company goes, the more you have to probably stay in a certain spot. To his point, the visionary stuff is the easy stuff. I would say, for me, the visionary stuff is the easy stuff, on a much smaller scale. That's the easy stuff for me. The stuff that I have to work hard on is getting that to trickle down to everybody and make sure that what we're doing aligns with the vision that's in my head. Is that vision clear to other people? This is not going to be a popular opinion so prepare to be offended.
Paul Giannamore: It’s a cop-out for some people. They come up with the idea. I knew you were going to say that.
Garland Vance: For some people, it's like, “I'm a visionary and that means I come up with big ideas and then I don't have to do anything.”
Paul Giannamore: The reason why I said that is because that's exactly what he said to me. You can come up with these brilliant ideas. Everyone has brilliant ideas. He's like, “How many times do you sit around and something was invented and it's making billions of dollars and somebody said, ‘I thought of that ten years ago.’ You didn't do anything about it.” He's like, “Everyone comes up with great ideas. It's building a firm to do that, that's the hard work. How do you set up the routines and the processes? How do you set up the incentive structures? How do you build the culture? You can call it integrator work. I'm the president and CEO and that's my primary job.”
Garland Vance: It's fascinating.
Patrick Baldwin: Garland, a friend of mine said, “People don't quit their job, they quit their boss.” In quitting, when that happens, are they quitting their immediate boss, their direct boss, or are they quitting the top level like a CEO boss?
Garland Vance: That's an interesting one. The research that Gallup did found that 51% of people who quit a job quit because of their immediate supervisor. That was a few years ago they did that research. McKinsey did research. In 2022, 35% of the people who quit their job without having another job in hand said that the number one reason that they quit was because of their boss, their number one supervisor.
I have a friend who does engagement surveys and he and I were talking and he said, “What you find is it's the leaders at the top who get the lowest satisfaction scores.” He'd been doing this for 30 years and he said that what he found most of the time is that people who were dissatisfied with the leaders at the top, it wasn't because they knew them directly, it was because their bosses had bad-mouthed the leaders at the top or the leaders above them.
They had a very negative perception of those at the top based on no actual interaction whatsoever, especially if you're in something that's not a 20,000-person company. If you have no interaction with the people at the top, that's going to have an effect on your perception of them. I found that interesting. The way that I would interpret that data is that most people who quit their boss are quitting their direct supervisor.
Patrick Baldwin: This was not prepared or scripted and you've got stats. Thank you. You either made them up. That was impressive.
Paul Giannamore: We don’t have New Yorker Fact Check on The Buzz. I would have to imagine, irrespective of the size of the organization, it probably is their direct supervisor. When you think about a big public company, clearly you got 20,000 employees, and not everyone's going to know the CEO. In fact, most people won't. In a 100-person control business or HVAC business, pretty much everyone's going to have some direct exposure to the owner.
Garland Vance: If they're quitting their direct supervisor, what we don't know by that is how that direct supervisor rates their direct supervisor. Sometimes what you see is there's a trickle-down of bad leadership that starts at the top. I don't want to use the word toxicity but the negativity of that begins to trickle down to each level within the organization.
The person who's quitting is quitting because of their boss but that boss wants to quit because of their boss who wants to quit because of their boss. You see this over and over again. When you have an emotionally healthy leader at the top but also a leader who cares about their own leadership development, when that person is at the top, it trickles down. When you've got an unhealthy leader at the top, that trickles down too.
Paul Giannamore: For guys like Fat Pat, myself, or anyone else that might be reading this, outside of getting involved directly in one of the programs that you run, what are ways that we can dip our toes into this? Let's say I want to be a better leader. What are some things that I can do on my own right now? Any resources? How should I start to think about things?
Garland Vance: A shameless plug, you should sign up for the AdVance Leadership. It's called the Friday 411. Every Friday, 4-minute newsletter, 1 leadership Insight, and 1 action. You all didn't give me permission to plug that but you should do that.
Paul Giannamore: How do I do it?
Garland Vance: You're going to go to AdVanceLeadership.live/blog and put in your name and your email address. Once a week, we release something that is what we call ridiculously practical. It's designed to be an implementable leadership practice for you. That would be, hands down, the best thing that you could do.
Paul Giannamore: You haven't run out of things yet?
Garland Vance: The second thing that I would say for leaders is to go to your people, go to the people that you lead, and ask them three questions, “What am I not doing that I should start doing as a leader to better lead you?” The second question is, “What am I currently doing that I should stop doing as a leader?” The third is, “What am I currently doing that I should continue doing?” Start, stop, and continue.
From that list, if you ask everybody on your team, you're probably going to pick up on a couple of themes of what you should start, what you should stop, and what you should continue. Go back to your team and tell them, “Team, this is the commitment that I'm making. I'm going to grow in this area or I'm going to start doing this or stop doing this and I'm going to focus on that over the next few weeks and over the next few months.”
More often than not, you don't need big books on leadership to tell you how to do that. By doing that little exercise and doing it consistently, let’s say you do that every quarter or so with your team, you are becoming a better leader for your team. You could do the same thing with your supervisor as well. Go to your supervisor and say, “What should I start doing, stop doing, and continue doing that's going to make me a better contributor to this organization?” To me, that is the simplest way that a person can begin upgrading their leadership.
Paul Giannamore: Let me ask you something. Over twenty years ago when I first started to get in advising pest control companies on M&A, I remember an evaluation engagement I had. This is back when I would do evaluations and appraisals for compliance and tax purposes and a variety of things. They were setting up a family trust and it was a family-owned business. We went through the valuation process and it was a great company but there was a lot of dysfunction within the organization. It was reflected in the financial statements.
The owner, who is a patriarch, an older man, had his children in the business and he said, “I'm running into some problems here. I keep talking to my employees and I take them out to lunch and I have conversations with them and I'm not getting clear feedback.” He wasn't a very over-imposing man. He wasn't an angry fella. He was 70-some-odd years old. He was a nice old fella. In a meeting one day, I went in there and said, “Do you mind if I talk to some of these guys?”
I was a young kid at the time. I sat down with some of the employees and said, “We're doing some estate planning here. Let me explain to you exactly what I'm doing. I'm not even going to ask your name. I don't even know who you are. I need to take some notes down on some of the operational stuff. This is for my purposes for the valuation, or whatever.”
Once they felt comfortable enough, these people were singing like canaries. I ultimately sat down and summarized it for the owner but he was entirely shocked to hear it. He said, “I've tried and I've sat down with these folks.” How do you overcome a situation where I might sit down with my people and ask those three questions and say, “What is something I'm not doing? What is something I can do?” They're like, “Paul, everything is great.” I walk out of the room and they're like, “Damn it, I should have told him whatever.”
Garland Vance: The first thing that leaders have to recognize is with position comes fear. Whether we like it or not, it is the reality, with position comes fear. I remember every boss that I've ever had and knowing, at least believing, even if it wasn't true, that at any moment, they could fire me for anything if I messed up.
Paul Giannamore: That's how most people live.
Garland Vance: We live in this state of fear with bosses. When leaders can begin to recognize that and own it, it changes things. When you realize that every time you call somebody and your name shows up on their phone, their first thought is, “What did I do?” When leaders know that, they can very intentionally begin to change the way that they interact with people. That can be anything from saying to people, “If I'm going to call you and it's going to be a hard conversation, I'm going to text you beforehand to say I need to call.”
Giving people some clues of, “This is what's going to happen if there's a bad situation.” I had a boss who would say to me every time we would sit down for a one-on-one, including my yearly review every month, he would say, “Garland, there are two questions that are probably going through your mind right now, ‘Am I doing my job? Do people like me?’ The answer to both of those questions is yes. Now, let's get into the details.”
For me, it helped alleviate the fear. I was like, “Good. We're not talking about my job being on the line. What we are talking about is how I can continue to grow and improve to help people.” It immediately disarmed us. If leaders have not worked to establish trust and then they go ask those questions, “What can I start? What can I stop? What can I continue?” They're going to get crickets, “You're the best, Paul. Fat Pat, you're lovely. I love working with you.”
What I would say is if you've never done it, you need to expect that the first three months that you ask that question, you're going to get the vanilla answer, “You're awesome. You're lovely. You're amazing.” Let's say I'm the boss, I could go to them and I could say, “I've been thinking that I'm not good at giving positive affirmation or I'm not good at fill in the blank with whatever it is. I should begin working on that. Would you agree with me on that?”
Now that person is in a win-win situation. If they disagree with you, what they're saying is, “I don't agree with you. You're good at that.” If they do agree with you, they're only affirming what you've already said. That's one way that leaders can do a start, stop, and continue early on that builds trust with people so that they can become more comfortable later on answering the questions more directly.
Patrick Baldwin: It feels like a trap.
Paul Giannamore: What you're saying is you shouldn't go to your people and say, “Answer this truthfully otherwise, you're fired.” That's not a good way to start the interrogation.
Garland Vance: One of the big mistakes that leaders make a lot of times is we joke with people about firing them. I've been on the receiving end of this. I've been on the giving end of this and I'm ashamed of that, of saying to people, “You better do what I say or I'm going to fire you.” To the leader, they're like, “I'm kidding. I wouldn't do that.” When you're on the receiving end of that, that is a scary statement, whether you're joking or whether you're not joking because you know that it's true, they could do that.
Patrick Baldwin: I can imagine going around, like, “Do you think I'm a bad leader?” “No.” “Do you think I'm a bad leader?” “Yes.” Either way, good luck.
Paul Giannamore: I ask these questions, Garland, because I think to myself the first step in all of this is you can certainly do what Rollins does and go out and develop a big program. They're a big organization. Most of us within small organizations, instead of thinking about our entire team, need to focus our attention on ourselves and get to the bottom of, “Where do we rank on the spectrum? Are we A students? Are we F students? Where are we?”
What are some of the small steps that we can take every day or every week to get incremental improvement on that? For a lot of folks that own businesses, and I've recognized this personality trait over and over again, it's almost all or nothing. It's like, “I'm not a great leader. I'm going to be a great leader. The next 24 hours, I got to figure this out because on Monday morning, I'm going to be numero uno.” Life doesn't work that way. Repeat those three questions again so we have them.
Garland Vance: What should I start doing? In other words, what am I not doing that I should start doing to better support you? The second is stop. What am I currently doing that I should stop doing because it harms you or hurts our progress? The third one is continue. What am I currently doing that I should continue doing so that I can support you. Those three are amazing tools. I didn't create that tool and I'm not sure who did create it but it's an amazing tool to help.
Paul Giannamore: You're saying that that's probably something that you can do weekly, for example, if you want. Every Friday, you can say, “What is the thing that I'm doing?”
Garland Vance: The thing of it is leaders can do that back to their people as well, “Let me tell you what you should start doing. Let me tell you what you should stop doing. Let me tell you what you should continue doing.” Leaders have to start with themselves first, “I want to grow first. I need to show that I need to start, stop, and continue some things.” It can go both ways. In the beginning, you've got to be vulnerable enough as a leader to say, “I need to grow first before I can expect you to.”
Paul Giannamore: Let's say I do that in my organization. I talk to everyone. Let's say that they're forthright and they've given me some great feedback and some of it, I'm like, “I didn't realize I do that. I feel bad about this.” Would I be wise to publish that within the organization and be like, “I've had discussions with the entire team. Everyone has given me great feedback. Here’s a list of things that I should keep doing and I shouldn't keep doing.”
Garland Vance: Absolutely. The only thing that I would add to that is you can publish the list, “Here's the feedback that I got.” Where I would take it one step further is I would say, “I can't fix all of these things at one time. Here's the one thing that I'm committing to change in the next month or in the next two months.”
What it does is it says to everyone in the organization, “Even though he didn't vote for the thing that I said was most important, he paid attention to it, and he made a choice based on what he felt was most important or the most repeated feedback that he got. He's doing something with this data.” That's where it's so important and that's where trust comes when a person can say to you, “I'm going to give you my opinion. Let me know that my opinion is listened to even if it's not enacted upon my specific opinion.” There's got to be some action that takes place.
Paul Giannamore: If you commit to changing something, you better damn well get on it.
Garland Vance: Absolutely.
Paul Giannamore: Otherwise, the situation gets worse, probably.
Patrick Baldwin: Paul, what's number one on your list? What's the theme for Paul?
Paul Giannamore: I haven't solicited the feedback yet. I'll get the feedback. I'll publish it on the air. I'm certainly not a good manager but I'm definitely not the worst. If all my friends and colleagues did it, they wouldn't have much to say.
Patrick Baldwin: Why don't you go do your survey first and then we'll decide?
Paul Giannamore: I will do that. I'll find out. Patrick, I'll send it to you. You can read it aloud on The Buzz. It'll be good entertainment.
Patrick Baldwin: It will be explicit once you get the Mexican survey.
Paul Giannamore: Very true. Your Southern Baptist lips will not be able to read probably what he would write.
Patrick Baldwin: That is true. I've got a couple more questions, Garland. You spent a lot of time in the non-profit realm. If I remember right, your dad was a preacher or pastor.
Garland Vance: He was a pastor.
Patrick Baldwin: Coming into now working with for-profits, are there lessons for-profits can learn from the nonprofit realm?
Garland Vance: Absolutely. The biggest thing that for-profits can learn from non-profits is the power of a big purpose that you're working on. Non-profits typically do a good job of this. They'll say, “We want to change the world. We want to eradicate world hunger. We're going to get rid of cancer.” They do big. visions.
Where non-profits tend to struggle is they don't do a great job making money that they need to make or thinking creatively about how they need to make money. They don't do a great job of executing. I'm overgeneralizing significantly but they tend to hire people with big hearts and not necessarily upgrade their competencies to meet that way. Non-profits could learn a lot from businesses on that side of finding creative ways to make money to not just asking people for money. They could learn a lot from businesses on how to hold people accountable to certain standards.
Businesses could learn how to leverage the power of a big purpose or a big vision. You just don't see that in the corporate world. Even corporate purpose statements are lame most of the time. When I think about people in pest control, you're protecting the world, you are truly protecting the world. If your people are showing up every day on their job and they don't realize how significant that is, they're missing out on some fuel for them to keep them motivated and to keep them going. That would be the big thing I would say businesses can learn from nonprofits.
Patrick Baldwin: This one, I'm going to ask you before Paul does. What authors influence you?
Garland Vance: Let me tell you a book. I wouldn't call this an author because it's by an organization. They don't attribute it to anybody. The book is called Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute. For me, it's probably been the single most impactful leadership book that I've ever read because it helps me understand how self-deception and pride get in the way of leadership and get in the way of influencing people. That's a huge one that's had a significant impact on me. One of the authors that have had a pretty big impact on me is Ben Hardy, who also has been co-authoring some books with Dan Sullivan. That's more on the entrepreneurial side. You got those back there?
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah. They're awesome on Audible because they narrate between chapters if you haven't listened to it on Audible Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy sit down and it's awesome.
Garland Vance: That's cool. I'll have to do that. I know they came out with one.
Patrick Baldwin: 10x Is Easier Than 2x.
Garland Vance: I haven't started that one yet.
Patrick Baldwin: I'm a big Ben Hardy fan.
Garland Vance: Nice. That's awesome. Those have been two who's influenced me. I’d probably go back to Leadership and Self Deception on a yearly basis and then the other two are influencing me a lot recently.
Paul Giannamore: I can see how Leadership and Self Deception is a better title than Leadership and Pride. What was that book, Patrick?
Patrick Baldwin: Who Not How is the first one that I read and then I've done a couple on Audible but I highly recommend Dr. Benjamin Hardy.
Garland Vance: He’s good.
Paul Giannamore: Garland, I appreciate you spending time with us. In closing, I got a few final questions for you. You told everyone how to sign up to get your weekly. You still haven't run out of ideas yet. You're still sending this out every week. Apparently, there's still a lot to say. If somebody wanted to investigate a formal program with you, they would go to that same website and reach out directly.
Garland Vance: Go to that same website. Because of those seven traits that we have, what I can do is. in about fifteen minutes, I can figure out the 2 or 3 that your organization is struggling with the most. We take that program and we cater it to where your company is struggling the most. We're launching an assessment to help companies identify that where every leader in your organization takes an assessment and it shows how everyone's doing in those seven traits. That was a long roundabout way of saying go there, contact me, or shoot me an email, Garland@AdVanceLeadership.live. Shoot me an email and let's schedule a time to chat.
Paul Giannamore: I like it. Now that we've clarified that you did not meet Fat Pat on a dating site, you met him at a pest control convention in Arizona, what did you think of Fat Pat when you met him?
Garland Vance: I had multiple people who told me, “You've got to meet Patrick,” at least three people who told me that. I was excited to meet him. I was embarrassed because he came up, he was wearing this shirt.
Paul Giannamore: It was probably a word on there and you had no idea what the heck it meant.
Garland Vance: I had no idea how to pronounce it.
Paul Giannamore: You're like, “Frackin. Frickin.”
Garland Vance: That's exactly it. I was embarrassed.
Paul Giannamore: He should be embarrassed and not you.
Garland Vance: I was like, “All these people have said great things about Pat.” My first introduction to him, with the name of his shirt, it’s like, “He's going to hate me the rest of his life.”
Patrick Baldwin: It's okay. Join the club.
Paul Giannamore: Everyone does. The Mexican calls it Frackin. It's funny that you say that, Garland, because I give him grief all the time because he named a business where he created an actual new word whole cloth. Not only did he create the word, he spelled it in a possible way.
Patrick Baldwin: What a wonderful show. Thank you.
Paul Giannamore: Garland, thank you so much for visiting us. It was great to see you. I hope to meet you someday in person.
Garland Vance: Me, too. My pleasure.
Patrick Baldwin: My pleasure. I've got a way that we can meet Garland in person. The question is, are we gonna do it at Chick-fil-A or are we going to do it at Disney? I'm all about the experience.
Garland Vance: I frequently invite guests to go on those. You got to pay for your own way for Disney and things like that. I love bringing guests in to speak and to experience everything. If you want to do it, let me know and I'll see what I can work out.
Patrick Baldwin: Love me some Chick-fil-A.
Garland Vance: Truly my pleasure, guys. Thanks so much for having me.
Patrick Baldwin: Paul, I always enjoy our guests, that goes without saying. I saw you getting into this from the get-go. There's something about Garland, you got right into that.
Paul Giannamore: I love all of our guests. Some of them are more interesting to me than others for selfish reasons. You listen to a podcast or you read a book for selfish purposes. You want to learn things. For some guests, I feel like I can more selfishly extract some knowledge and he was one of them. I enjoyed talking to him. He's a knowledgeable guy. I have heard nothing but great things that he's done over at Rollins in general. His reputation had preceded him. This is an important topic. It is hard to run a business. No one's a born leader and it's a skill that you have to develop. Sometimes we forget to put an emphasis on that.
Patrick Baldwin: Let me throw a curveball at your way. Is there something that you disagreed with Garland on?
Paul Giannamore: I don't know. I don't remember hearing anything. It's one of those areas where I am not good enough in the realm of leadership or management to even proffer a disagreement with Garland. I know where my areas of expertise lie and that's certainly not one of them.
Patrick Baldwin: The biggest takeaway for me was when Garland talked about leading others that you've got to get to a place where your productivity and your contribution, you've got to see those through your direct reports. That's how you measure your success as a leader. That was eye-opening to me.
Paul Giannamore: It's 100% true. We've talked about this on The Buzz before. There's a lot of owners who become managers of their own business and they're out in the field, they're dealing with customer issues, they’re dealing with accounting and all sorts of things that should be otherwise done by somebody else. You can measure your impact on the organization by how you develop and mentor the human capital within your organization. That rings true and it's one of the hardest things to do as a manager.
Patrick Baldwin: You're thinking about bringing Garland into the Potomac realm?
Paul Giannamore: We've continued to grow. We're a global organization, albeit a small one, but we're in five countries. Developing a formal leadership program would be probably extremely helpful. I'm giving this some consideration.
Patrick Baldwin: One more takeaway. Asking Garland about a favorite book or author and the whole Ben Hardy thing, hands down, anything Ben Hardy that I've read, I've loved. Also, his works with Dan Sullivan, especially the audible versions. You know of Dan Sullivan.
Paul Giannamore: I do know of Dan. I've got a handful of his books on my shelf. I don't have any of the audiobook versions. There are some audiobooks that are just garbage, some of them you can't even listen to. You like those versions?
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah. Ben Hardy is the one that did most of the writing of those books, like the collaborations between the two. In between chapters, they almost have this extra commentary. Ben Hardy reads the chapter and then Dan comes in and they talk about the chapter together and personalizes what went into the book. I highly recommend them. The one that Garland mentioned was Leadership and Self Deception, a book I never heard of. I want to get it but I don't even know what to expect.
Paul Giannamore: I'd never heard of it.
Patrick Baldwin: Are you going to read it?
Paul Giannamore: I'll read it. I’ll put it on the old reading list, PB. We'll take a look at it.
Patrick Baldwin: P to the G, what's going on in your world? The last episode, you told me that you're traveling and you won't tell me where. It's funny because after we finished recording, I said, “Paul, tell me where you're going.”
Paul Giannamore: Very true. To this day, you do not know where I'm going. I'm leaving. I've got a YPO meeting. I'm off to a brand new country with a former client of ours here at Potomac who will be showing me around that country on an Anthony Bourdain-style food tour. We've got some interesting interviews set up.
Patrick Baldwin: Good stuff. Safe travels. Hopefully, you let it slip and tell me where you're headed.
Paul Giannamore: I will not. Probably if you followed Dylan on Instagram, he can't resist the urge to publish photos of things going on in real time. That's probably the first way that you'll see that.
Patrick Baldwin: Good luck over there. Good luck with all your employees, all your leadership issues, and all your Mexican, singular.
Paul Giannamore: I appreciate that, Patrick. Have a great week. We'll reconvene next episode.
Patrick Baldwin: Safe travels. See you, Paul.
Paul Giannamore: Bye.
Dylan Seals: Thank you so much as always for supporting us at The Boardroom Buzz. We know your time is valuable and the fact that you spend 45 minutes or an hour with us means the world. All the media that we put out from Potomac is meant to honor and celebrate you, the service industry owner. As Paul would say, “Yee who toil in the pest control vineyards.”
As part of giving back, we have this podcast, but more than that, Paul and I have been working our tails off over at POTOMAC TV. We've spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources to build out that platform to bring you market updates, to bring you visual breakdowns of the merger acquisition process, and to tell stories and present information in ways that, frankly, it's not possible for us to do on The Boardroom Buzz.
Adding the visual element takes it to the next level. I want to invite you to go to YouTube and find us, it's POTOMAC TV. Potomac.tv will get you there. Go there and subscribe. Check out some videos and leave some comments. Let us know what you like and let us know what you don't like. Let us know what you want to see more of and we'll see you over there.