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EP 21: Jeff Arnold, Best Selling Author X4, Founder - RIGHTSURE

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hey everyone this is James Mackey. Welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy podcast powered by the minds at SecureVision. Today we are joined by Jeff Arnold. Jeff, welcome to the show!


Jeff Arnold  0:15  

Hey, thank you so much, James. Happy to be here.


James Mackey  0:18  

We're really happy to host you. So thank you for coming on the show today. Before we jump into some of the topics that I know we want to discuss, would you mind telling everybody a little bit about yourself and what you're currently up to?


Jeff Arnold  0:28  

Yes, sure. Thanks for that opportunity. So Jeff Arnold's name, been in the technology and financial services space for 30 plus years, I am an aged man. But most recently, I've taken to giving back to the community. 


I've written five books. So fortunate that four of them are bestsellers on Amazon. And so the 30,000-foot takeaway is part author, part, technology founder, and then part insurance geek, right? So those three wrapped in plus, probably father and husband, that's a simple description of my life. How's that?


James Mackey  1:05  

That's great. Thank you. It's good to know where you're coming from and what you're working on. One of the things that we wanted to talk about today is really just strategies as it pertains to attracting and retaining talent. And I would love to kind of get your thoughts on what's going on, from your perspective. 


Buzzy term kind of great resignation, but in terms of what you're seeing companies do, or what you think the strategy should be for attracting and retaining talent? What kind of trends are you seeing? And what are you essentially recommending in terms of how companies can get the best possible results?


Jeff Arnold  1:42  

Thanks for that broad question. We'll unpack that all day. 


I would submit this to your listeners, right? That no matter where you're at, on your leadership, or your management, or your skill set, the last three years have challenged the way you've done everything, as a leader, as a manager, how you codify and lead, you know, move people to the next level, it's called of course the great resignation, or the great reset or whatever. But deep inside, it's really people looking to be valued, right? To be re-recruited to be shown that they matter. 


And it just so happens that you have to, as a leader, I hate to use this word, but bifurcate, right? You have to almost bifurcate or stereotype, if you may, or if you will, by generation, right? And I say this because you have to be thinking that there are really four generations at play in the workplace now, and I know your listeners don't need me to go through the wall. But let's just hit you know, just quickly run through to unpack this. 


So we have baby boomers. If their employer asked him to work 40 hours, they would give them 70 hours with no question asked and stay until the job's done. That's just how they are whatever it takes to get it done. That's how they did it. 


Then you had Gen X, right? The wasted generation, as they call them because MTV was going to destroy their minds and Gilligan's reruns, we're gonna, you know, make them up in the marketplace. Well, they've held most of the CEOs in mid-market and the glory and fame of middle management spaces right now, right? And so, it's a little different than the baby boomer mindset. But still, if you ask them for 40 hours, they'll give you 50 or 60 hours.


You pivot to millennial or Gen Z. There's just a different expectation for each of them. And Millennials are, show me how I matter, show me where I fit in. And a lot of times they want to do self-service or find the answers for themselves, as does Gen Z online. And so, the gen X cup would drink from the fount of knowledge from a baby boomer or the greatest generation or the silent generation before that. But the same, at least I submit to my leadership experience in running companies with hundreds and 1000s of employees. It just pivoted to the millennials and Gen Z. And they'll find the answers themselves. And so people in Gen X and baby boomer roles are finding, they're not being asked for knowledge so much as just because the other generation will solve it for themselves. 


And so if you manage that, that's a lot of words to say this, if you manage that, anywhere along the spectrum of an organization, without using the word stereotype, you have to place them into how they learn, how they want to be rewarded, how they want to be recruited. If you apply the same template to every generation, you're going to miss three of the four generations. And so it's a really long-winded answer, James, but that's my takeaway on the subject matter there.


James Mackey  4:52  

Well, yes, that's interesting. So I like how you broke it down on generation level and you're talking about how they want to be right, humanized, and rewarded and how those can be different. It's like we're on the 21st episode. I don't think we've actually talked about that angle before, so I'm really excited to dive a little bit deeper into that. 


I guess when you're working in an organization that has individuals that come from different generations, how do you balance those things? When you think about how to reward individuals? Is it just as simple as saying, "look, managers need to be in tune and trained and have access to coaching and resources that allow them to provide a situational approach to how they lead members of their team? 


Or is there something like more or so a high-level C-level strategy that has to be implemented in terms of what the benefit should look like? Or this is how we communicate our values and our culture? How do you really execute that strategy? When you have a diverse group of employees that come from different generations?


Jeff Arnold  5:55  

Yes, I think you've struggled on a great subject matter. And it probably boils down to the leader, the executive, and their mindset, right? What you have to be in a manager in this day and age is you have to be very pliable, malleable, bendable, flexible, right? You have to be all those things. Because again, each subset is going to challenge you in a different way. Right? 


The millennials get a lot of bad press unfairly in my mind, right? But here's what you have to think. Are so many millennials, so we go back to the baby boomers forever, that was the largest generation. And then it was Gen X, which is a much smaller generation. And the millennials, which is the largest generation period, right? Of all the segments, that's the largest, and then Gen Z is behind that. And so Millennials are loud and large and encompass such a large percentage of the workforce now that you have to kind of be to that, right, because that's driving the future. And that is the future. 


The disconnect for executives for leaders is, I don't want to call it a bad work ethic. The work ethic is so different, it's so much me first or vacation first, results first. I don't mean anything derogatory about this, it's just again, Baby Boomer and Gen X, if you said you got to be at work at eight, they were there at seven, they didn't go home till it was done. And it's shifted. There's a definite pivot in the expectation of " I want to work anywhere. And I'm out at 39 and a half hours, and I'm not taking it home with me. Again, it's not bad, it's different. 


And so workplace cultures are different, and workplace timelines to get stuff done are different. If you're scheduling large projects with deadlines, you have to think differently when you have four generations, because they're all going to approach it differently. So again, we can spend forever. 


But the quick takeaway there is, if you're an executive or leader or recruiter in this space, you have to ask these very important questions about what is the role of this individual. What is this annual vigils belief set? How do you re-recruit this individual? Because you're going to re-recruit somebody like me differently than you're going to re-recruit a Gen Z right? A person who's 23 or 24? So you just have to be cognizant, aware and focused on what moves the needle for them.


James Mackey  8:22  

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. A topic I keep coming back to is this concept of, yes, at an organizational level, there are things that we can do to provide competitive benefits. And, providing employee surveys and doing things that are more like a scalable motion to creating great experiences for people and helping them achieve the best outcomes at work. 


But also, to some extent, you can't scale relationships. You have to talk to people and have real conversations and understand how they're wired and how they like to receive, you know, whether it be respect or be rewarded, or whatever else, or their communication style. Not everything is a scale motion, that you can just kind of automate like sometimes it really does come down to situational leadership, and getting really knowing the people on your team and what they need in order to produce the best outcomes and have the best possible experience.


Jeff Arnold  9:19  

That's very valuable. I love that. I'm actually going to be stealing that from you because they're not scalable, right? You're absolutely right. 


As a leader, or even a co-worker, you have to figure out which levers you need to pull to get the results from this teammate or this employee or even your manager, you have to manage them sometimes, right? You have to figure out which lever to pull. And so it's not manipulation. It's like, look, we got to get the job done. Your manager could be the roadblock. employees could be the roadblock. What thing can you manipulate to move it forward? Right. It could be words of affirmation. It could be a challenge. It could be just giving them the ball and letting them run with it. You have to figure out where they're at, right?


What I find because I'm in a space in my career, you know, you spend your first 10 to 12 years learning in your career space, and then 20 to 28 years earning, right? And then you spend the last part of your career if you're fortunately giving that right? And so my soul functionality to our mid-level and senior-level executives is to give back right? 


To transfer some of that knowledge, with the full understanding that the companies that they run in the future are vastly different from the companies that I read. I mean, because technology has affected everything, changed everything, enhanced, improved everything. And so as I'm coming up, it was more about tasks and deadlines and managing resources. Now, there's an app for that, or software as a service for a lot of that. And so just being aware of that. 


So the point I'm trying to make here is at this point in my life, it's giving back, but also understanding what each person needs to feel valued. And to challenge them, right? You also can't challenge them. If you can't be direct with everyone, you destroy them. And the main thing, if anybody takes anything away from any of your conversations, it's this,  you must find a way to correct behavior without destroying the person. The moment you destroy the person, in your insole, your recommendation, whatever they have checked out from you, and they're looking for somewhere else, or they aren't as engaged.


So you have to always be aware and ask yourself, How can I correct behavior without destroying this person? So just a valid key takeaway for anyone.


James Mackey  11:33  

Yes, that's a really good one. That's definitely very valuable. And I wanted to ask you more about other mistakes that you're seeing companies make. It's always good to talk about the upside and how to optimize. But I always like to start with mistakes. What are the holes that companies can fall into?


So if we can go down that path a little bit. What are some of the biggest, I guess, mistakes you're seeing out there in the market? When it comes to people's approach to talent and people? Are there any other kinds of holes that talent leaders out there and CEOs out there listening in, can kind of hear from you in terms of what they need to do to get good outcomes or really avoid catastrophe? 


Jeff Arnold  12:15  

Luckily for us, we don't have to look far right? Because if there's a way to do it wrong, yours truly has done it wrong. Right? And those are the most expensive lessons and the most valuable lessons. So this is an easy one, right? 


If you just back up two or three years before COVID hit, we're a very results-driven organization. There are deadlines, there are timelines, there are goals, there are tasks, there are objectives, right? And as a leader, you manage two objectives, either by quarter or profitability, or whatever metric you're being measured upon. What gets measured gets done, and that's what drives you. 


In comes COVID, all of a sudden, it takes longer to get stuff done. There's a mental health awareness that you have to be made aware of right? And you can't charge as hard, or charge as fast as you used to. So we're talking about failures right here.                                            


I enter COVID, everyone's working remotely. We got them all over the world. We have Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, six or eight different States, Canada, they're all over. And I'm expecting the same results. I still have one foot on the gas man. And I mean, it's in drive, and remove it, right? We got shareholder results, we got quarterly results, and everything that any executives face is possible. But really quickly, the wheels start coming off when you try to charge really hard or drive results really hard. 


And COVID or all this mask telecommuting forced me and I'm sure it forced other leaders to be more empathetic, right? To slow down, check in Hey, how are you mentally? Now that's not admittedly that is not a skill set or a managerial thing in your quiver of management skills, that is readily available for everyone because managers don't get brought on for their empathy, right? They squeeze my friends, they just get shit done. I'm sorry, right? That's why your manager, right? But you had to develop that skill set if you want to remain relevant and viable, and part of the team. And so I see failures internally, right, I had to take one foot off the gas or take it off the gas a little, pump the brakes and just check in with people. 


And now we're seeing something similar where half the people are back, but some people either don't want to return for whatever reason. There's a lot of anxiety about returning, and then others will raise the flag. Well, I'm way more productive at home. But the problem with that, and I challenge everyone, culture cannot be built remotely. I've tried endlessly. We've gone through all kinds of team building online so culture happens eyeball to eyeball belly button to belly button face to face. And so every company is surrendering its culture to validate and uphold this telecommuting thing. 


Again, I didn't say telecommuting was bad. But every company culture is suffering because of that. And that's what differentiates and validates companies is their culture. So I would just say, that one of the failures that we're going to see moving forward from companies during this, is just a lack of developed culture. It's just too tough to do remotely. 


James Mackey  15:20  

It is, and getting back to empathy. Right? I think that's another challenge. It's when people are detached from each other, and they're, you know, jumping on the occasional zoom call, but they're not actually meeting in person, I think we risk empathy being lost along the way. And so it's just very important, particularly for people in leadership, I think, to really slow down and ensure like, okay, am I communicating in such a way that communicates empathy along with whatever expectations or coaching or standards or whatever you want to, you know, whatever it could be, am I also communicating on the human level and making sure that I'm meeting that human need, and I'm being empathetic, and I'm being understanding.


Because it's different, you know, when you build a relationship with somebody in person, right, and you're building more of that rapport, and you're having more of just kind of laid back conversations, and you get to really know somebody on a personal level. I think there's something about that that creates more empathy, right? Do you see from that perspective, as well? Does that make sense?


Jeff Arnold  16:22  

Yeah. I 100% agree with you, right? And so how do you balance that? You want to be an empathetic organization. Because you need to, because, at the beginning of this conversation, we talked about the generations, right? And in the last few generations, empathy is a requirement now, right? It is no longer just a great thing. It's a requirement now that you're empathetic and sympathetic to our needs. 


But as a company, you still have to get stuff done. So I challenge our mid-level managers this way all the time, to the great dissatisfaction I might add, but I say listen to things that are truthful about all your employees working from home, and even the US, everyone. And I mean, everyone these days is driven to distraction, right? There are so many social media apps, so many websites, and so many shiny, blinky things that everyone is driven to distraction. 


As a leader, you have to be aware of where you've driven, and buckle down and get through that for at least an hour, hour, and a half a day. If you're not moving it forward, your organization's not moving forward and your team isn't moving forward. Because if you're driven to distraction, you're part of the problem. So having people understand that you too are driven to distraction, just be aware of it. You can't escape it, there's a new app, there's new shiny software, there's new something, there's a new stock that you want to follow, right, the new income stream, but you're driven to distraction, just be aware of that. 


The other thing I tell them, which of course, has met with some resistance. I just submit to your staff and your team, that you're not overworked, you're overwhelmed. There's so much distraction, so much going on, that you're confusing, overworked with overwhelmed. Because now, we have people going, "I need more help, they need more help. Our volume hasn't grown, the workload hasn't grown, and you're overwhelmed by so many other things in your life. So we got to stop being driven to distraction, and stop being overwhelmed. So those are just two. 


Again, those aren't always received graciously when I'm giving truth bombs out like that, but I think they resonate with most people. And if you're real with yourself, you'll drink that in and say, Yeah, that's a vitamin I should take.


James Mackey  18:24  

That's really good advice. I think just right now I'm seeing that just as a leader, there's just so much craziness and things going on in the world. And I think it is quite overwhelming for a lot of people, right? So you're right, it's like you don't want to just completely, put the blinders on and not be aware of what's going on in the world around you. But it's finding the right balance to where you can still be effective and show up as your best self with your family, your kids, and professionally, right? It's a balancing act. 


I think, maybe some of that just comes with having more life experience, and growing up and having gone through it for a while. I think that's something that, maybe people hopefully, grow and can kind of find that balance better as they kind of progress toward, you know, later in their career or whatnot. 


But yes, that's a really good point. And I had actually not thought about it from that perspective, the overworked versus overwhelmed. I feel like it's a really interesting insight. I appreciate you sharing that with me today.


Jeff Arnold  19:34  

Again, it's not always received graciously and tough news is never easy to deliver. But, I think there are a lot of facts and a lot of truth behind it. And if you get past the anger, it resonates. And several of our staff have said to me "I got to digest what you were saying, at first it really stung, I felt like swallowing the fishhook, but then later Hey, old man, you weren't wrong. I just wasn't ready to hear that.  So it's kind of rewarding. So as long as people are aware of it, you can move through it. And you know, the demands on your life are so extreme. If your husband, if your father, if your wife, your spouse, whatever. Those demands are there on top of everything else, on top providing, on top of putting a roof over your head, there are so many demands that you can be distracted by everything. 


You owe it to yourself, to your future self, and to your leader self to have some quiet time alone. If it's out with a journal with a to-do list, let's just focus on that. No social media, no email, nobody moved the world forward with email and social media. Right? They had to do some quiet introspective work. Still, be quiet focused on you and your future human. That's some takeaways.


James Mackey  20:47  

That's good advice. So maybe we can pivot a little bit because I feel you'd have a really kind of intuitive perspective, and you're very good at, I think, simplifying these types of concepts that are dealing with, life philosophy towards success. And as well as just psychology. From this interaction, obviously, the first time we've had a chance to really deep dive and do this, but you seem to be very good at this. I would love to kind of just go down this path a little bit. So let's just take a step back from talent acquisition. 


What are some of the other key things that you share with your team? In terms of general success psychology, and I don't mean, success only through the lens of money and titles, right? I mean, that's obviously part of it. And that's important for a lot of people. That's okay, that's good. I just, you know, it's obviously more holistic, I'm curious whether it has to do with things like financial success, career success, or just overall just living life to the fullest. 


Do you have any other kind of advice that you share with your team that's similar to what you just shared with me? Any other kinds of pointers or tips?


Jeff Arnold  21:52  

Yes, some. So, I've been doing this for 31 years. So I'm aware now, and I didn't know this even 15 years ago. Again, I'm in this stage where I want to give back, but that doesn't mean that everyone on our team is really to sit at my feet, listen and drink in what I have to spew out, right? There has to be a willingness and a readiness on the top part of that person. And you need to realize that because otherwise, you're wasting your words, and you're wasting your time and you're wasting your energy. And so, two notes here. 


If you're a leader and executive trying to give back, be aware that you're just sowing a seed and an infertile ground, that's not going to grow, and stop planting that seed, focus it where it's going to grow. Conversely, if you're somebody who's sitting at the feet of a leader and are hoping to stand on their shoulders and move ahead in the future, let them know that you appreciate it.  You don't have to agree with everything they say, no one agrees with anything 100% of everybody says, but drinking that knowledge. And so on both fronts as a leader, make sure you're not just wasting your time and energy and planting seeds that aren't going to grow if they don't want to hear. 


And every leader knows that I could say a dozen things to some of our people and they will push back. Well, Google says it this way. Google only says that based on the limited input you gave, I've given you three years' worth of leadership experience of how this ship could go off course. And so they have to come to the understanding that on the other side if you are studying under someone, or in a mid or entry-level management position, even if you don't agree with the person you who's above you, there's knowledge they have that you could glean from that. 


So one of the greatest things I've ever been able to do is stand on the shoulders of two exceptional men, that three tried to teach me in my life, two I was smart enough to shut up and learn from them. And I got to be elevated and catapulted into the executive level suite. Because I stood on their shoulders, right? It wasn't all Jeff Arnold's work was like, oh, somebody dumped a lot of information, knowledge, and skill sets into me. And I was ready and I listened. 


So just be aware of that. If you're just starting out, there's a mentor out there for you, maybe not be the first, and when you're ready, and your heart's ready, that teacher will come. So that's a little bit philosophical, but


James Mackey  24:15  

Yes, I think it's really important. I mean, for me, I really buy into the importance of psychology and just your general life philosophy. Quite honestly, I think probably Tony Robbins has had a bigger impact on me than any other human being on this planet. Early in my career, I dived into everything about psychological success and getting the most out of life. It doesn't mean that I was always able to execute it to the fullest, I've obviously made a tonne of mistakes just like everybody else. But you know, I think next I'm, probably up as a result of investing in that, understanding psychology. 


As you said, there's so much to iT. Like one of the lessons you just shared is, "yeah, even if somebody has a different leadership style that maybe is optimized for how you prefer to learn. Or you know, maybe not 100% of your values are completely aligned, or your interests are completely aligned. Just make sure that you're always open to being humble enough to listen and to really take the time to learn as much as you can, right? It's just incredibly important to always kind of remain that student, right? And kind of keep an open mind to learning as much as you can, from every experience. 


And just kind of to follow up on that, one thing that I've learned throughout the years, is that many times, it's the hardest, like the obstacles that you go through, right? When things aren't going your way, they are generally the best lessons that we have in life. I mean, that's where you learn the stuff that is gonna propel you to success in the future. And so, I think it's important for people to really understand that you really need hardship. 


It's like, when you go to the gym, right, and you lift weights, and if you're not getting any resistance, you're not building any muscle. And it's kind of similar to hardship, you have to go through those types of things, in order to build resilience and the life philosophy and everything that's required to be successful. Of course, it's scary when you know, the market can be turning or war is going on, and all those things are terrifying. I'm not saying they're not. I'm just saying when these types of things happen, it's less about what happens and more about the meaning you attach to it.


Because the meaning you attach to it's ultimately going to influence the actions you take. And the actions you take are going to influence the trajectory of your life. I'm just saying, we have to choose a belief system and a life philosophy that's going to enable us to get the best possible results, we might as well choose one that works, right? I mean, we can decide to believe whatever we want. Right? 


Jeff Arnold  27:08  

Very valuable feedback. Very, very true. The two things resonated, when you were saying that it's like, the resistance and stuff. This is a universal truth.


There are no easy leadership moments, right? Because the easy leadership moments don't develop you as a leader.  If they're easy,  there's no refining, you only get refined in the fire and trudging up the hill and falling back down here, that's when you get your skill set tested. And conversely, there are no emotionally neutral leadership decisions, right? There are none. 


The moment as a leader, you make a decision, there are three different categories. Some are going to approach it and be "oh, great", some are going to cross their hands, stand on the sidelines, cross their arms, and prove that you're wrong, and the other is just going to never, never join whatsoever. And so there are no emotionally neutral leadership decisions. So don't think that you're going to make a decision, everyone's just gonna get in behind you. You're gonna fight those battles on everything you change, that's just what's going to happen. 


James Mackey  28:11  

Yes, hopefully, you can develop the type of culture where it's like, people may not agree with everything that you do, but they still understand that you're operating and overall in everybody's best interest, and hopefully, they trust that you're trying to balance the objectives of the business with the objectives of the employees. It's in the company's best interest to have that alignment. 


But there are some certain decisions where it's like, okay, you have to toggle between this is how it's going to impact people individually. This is how it's going to impact the organization at scale. And sometimes there isn't the perfect answer that fits both of those things. And then it really comes down to a leader's ability to communicate that and say, "look, these are kind of the options in front of us, we could go this path or this path, ultimately, if we don't go the path of the business, then that potentially could impact our trajectory and the benefits of professional development and everything that we can offer. So, 100% I understand, I hear you, I get it, I really do, I'm listening. And also, this is still kind of what we have to do, you know, this is the decision we have to make in order to get to the next level so we can, at that point, hopefully, be able to prioritize what you're looking for. 


So sometimes you right, it's never like a situation where you can make a decision that's not going make you necessarily agree with everybody but then it just comes down to, can you communicate it in such a way where people still feel heard and respected and valued and all these types of things right.


Jeff Arnold  29:38  

Yes, we can agree to disagree. I have with other people, above me and below me, whatever in my career. We agree to disagree. I hear you. I'm not invalidating your concerns. But the decision is made based on my title and this is a decision I'm going right. There's a seat for you on this bus and I want you on this bus, but I'm driving the bus right? And this is how it is sometimes. Those are conversations that get easier, the more you've been doing it right. Some leaders want to shy away from them. And admittedly, they aren't easy. But the more you have practiced at it, the better you get at it.


James Mackey  30:12  

That's the thing, you can't shy away from them, because then you're never going to get better at it. I think that was probably the area I was most unequipped with when I initially started my company. When I started my company, I initially had a sales background. So I got started SecureVsion, I sold a bunch of stuff, we quickly went to around 650,000 in revenue, and then I had to go out and hire people and I had never managed before, right? 


So that was a huge learning curve. And I quickly realized I was failing at it. I don't know what I expected. But it's a skill set that takes time to develop, you really have to learn how to communicate, high expectations, high empathy, and at the same time, have to be situational. There's so much nuance to being good at it right? 


So, fortunately, I hired an executive coach that really started to help me. And it was so bad at first, I felt like I had to talk to him before. I look back, it's funny. It's like I look at employees, like the first year I was in business. And I was like, Oh, I feel bad. Like, I'm sorry, you had to work with me in my first year as a manager. People, now they have a good hopefully, you know, I figured it out. But it took me personally. I'll just be honest, a few years to get good at those conversations. 


Fortunately, though, I guess for better or worse, I had them. I would always have them, I did the trial error. Probably at first, I didn't always provide the best experience for the people on the team, because I was learning, was trial and error. But you know, you learn and you get better throughout your career. And fortunately, as long as you're committed to improving and having those conversations, it does get a lot easier. 


And now I feel very good about being able to communicate our decisions in a way that people will understand. And, you know, even if it's not like their ideal answer, it's like everybody feels like they understand, they understand why the decision is being made. And they understand that it's ultimately in our best interest, right? Because it's going to create the most opportunity for the company, which is going to impact everybody, right?


Jeff Arnold  32:18  

Yeah, that's what experience gives us right? Like what you just went through your first two or three years, right? It's learned by trial and error, but now it's experienced. So you stand on those blocks, and you've got that experience, someone else can learn from you. So yes, I agreed. 


Also, we are aligned there because I really saw great professional development. When I went to college. This is in the 90s man when you did it on the phone for an hour every Thursday or whatever. And I spent two and a half years at the feet of Michael Gerber. The E Myth why most businesses don't work when he was getting started. And I learned so much, he grew so big, and I ended up working with other folks from the organization, transforming how I think about business. 


Admittedly, I was, for some strange reason, really adverse or shied away from argumentative and confrontational conversations, because I didn't see any value in them. But then all of a sudden, if you get labeled a weak-kneed, spineless kind of leader, then you have no authority. So sometimes, you just have to slip in that suit. Right, that Teflon suit that allows you to deliver the bad news, direct news, and firm about it. But you don't have to destroy the person. Right? And so yeah, we've all no man is an island. Every man's had to help someone, it sounds like we've gone a similar path, right? You're realising we have deficiencies and shortcomings that we want to enhance, because we want to be better leaders. So yeah.


James Mackey  33:38  

For sure. And I'd be as aggressive and this is probably I don't know if everybody would agree with this. I don't know if you'll agree with it. But I would go as far as to recommend that in your first few years in a leadership or your first year in starting a business, you should be paying your advisors more than you're paying yourself. 


That was one of the best decisions I ever made. When I started my company, I was paying monthly retainers for multiple advisors. And that didn't mean that I always figured it out. You know, sometimes you get the advisor that's not the right fit. And you go through that motion of figuring out how to get the right people. But I would say like, it's not just about for business owners, I think it's also for people that are just really, professionally ambitious, like you should, if you get to the point where you're making 100k salary or more than that, if you can just commit to keeping your lifestyle where it's at, right and you can commit to investing a few 1000 bucks a month in yourself. 


Ultimately investing in executive coaching and advisors is probably one of a greater return than investing in the stock market If you literally just focus on putting that investment just like you would think about compounding interest in the stock market over a period of 30 years. The same principle I feel holds true to your own professional development.


Jeff Arnold  35:00  

Absolutely. Every great athlete has a team of psychological psychiatric food coaches, swing coaches, thought coaches, and right dribble coaches. And you can make the argument. Yeah, but they can afford it. Well, you have to start somewhere. So get the ones you can. 


you just need someone to challenge you and not be a yes person, right? To push you when you want to stand still, and to pull you when you want to sit down, right? And give them that permission. So yeah, absolutely. Some of the best investments I agree with you that we made is continuing to invest in yourself. And that means external resources to help you along a lot of times.


James Mackey  35:41  

Right. I mean, you have to have that. I think Peter Thiel, who is one of the co-founders over at PayPal and has this book called zero to one, which I highly recommend, by the way. Have you read it?


Jeff Arnold  35:56  

I have the book, but I have not read every page. So I'm going to say, I've read the cover and the front.


James Mackey  36:02  

Right. Yes, it's really good. I have it on audiobooks. I've listened to it a couple of times. And one of the concepts he talks about is like, there's basically he kind of breaks people into four categories. So obviously, like an oversimplification, but it's still helpful. Like, you know, there are talks about, you know, I forget what the bottom two are, but like, there's two different types of pessimists, essentially. 


The part that really interests me was like, more of like, there are two different types of optimists, right? And he basically said that there's one type of optimism, that's helpful. And there's another one that's useless. And he says, there's a certain optimist that's like an ungrounded optimist, like somebody who just expects the future to be better, Oh, it'll work out, things will work themselves out, the future is going to be better. He just says that's obviously ridiculous. Like, you're not going to create the things in your life that you want to buy, just thinking, Okay, it's all gonna work out. 


He said, there's another type of optimism where it's like a grounded optimism, where, you know, if I work hard and work smart, and I pull in the right resources, the future is going to be better than today. And that's getting back to the professional development and seeking out advisors and people similar to yourself that have been through it and have built businesses, it's been able to understand that, okay, if I seek out these individuals, maybe not everyone is going to be open to help, right. But there's going to be a segment of the people that I reach out to that will be. And it's not just about working hard. It's also about having the right strategies. Right. And I think that's what really resonates with me about what you've been saying and some of the advice you've been given today.


Jeff Arnold  37:37  

It's good stuff, man. I enjoyed it a lot.


James Mackey  37:40  

Yeah, this is fun. And I know we're coming up on time here. So, I just want to say, it's been an absolute blast. And, thank you so much for coming to the show. And if you're open to it, we'd love to have you back on whenever you want to. If you got to, you know a new book coming out or whatever it might be just definitely let us know. And we'd love to have you back on.


Jeff Arnold  38:00  

Awesome, James. Honestly, thank you so much for the invitation. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And we'd love to be back on.


James Mackey  38:06  

Good stuff. And if people want to find you, could you tell us where they can find you online and maybe you can tell us the titles of your books. I want to make sure that people are able to engage with you and find you. 


Jeff Arnold  38:18  

Yeah, perfect. So the easiest is my personal website. It's All kinds of publications are there for free and five of my books are there. But if you subscribe we don't spam, if you subscribe to my newsletter, we just put thought stuff out. Once a month in the news we have a publication called the Arizona 100. That's really just good facts about leadership and stuff around Arizona. You can apply it to any state you're in. But the best place to connect with you is on LinkedIn but you can get started with me at


James Mackey  38:51  

Okay, good. Good to know. Thank you and for everybody tuning in. Thank you so much, and we'll see you next time. Take care.

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