30 Years of Leadership Advice in One Video | Brilliant Minds Podcast
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30 Years of Leadership Advice in One Video | Brilliant Minds Podcast


– Every entrepreneur
who’s listening right now knows one thing that I know. That your business is your second child, is your third child, is your fourth child. I have no idea how many
children everyone has. That’s the answer, because
I’m treating my business like a parent. You know, it’s almost
like your garden, right? Those tomatoes are gonna
come out, that’s you. With with the macro. I can’t control mother nature, just like I can’t control the world. But I can maximize my tomatoes this year if I do good behavior. And that’s how I think
about my businesses. – Yeah. – [Gary] You got your perspective. Don’t you wanna be happy? Don’t you wanna be happy? (soft music) – What interests you about
Sweden and business here? – Couple things, one, you know,
one of the great advantages of my life is that I was born
in the former Soviet Union and so, and then my first business, which was a family business,
which obviously means I love it so much like a child
was in the wine business. So, the amount of time I
spent in France and Italy, Spain, so as an American
and I think, you know, obviously, I moved to
the US when I was three and for like any place, there’s things that you like or don’t like about things. But obviously, I’m a proud American and have a, especially as an entrepreneur is you can imagine, there’s a lot of pride in the framework of
entrepreneurship in America, which is at the top of class. On the flip side, one of the
things that’s a shortcoming, in my opinion of Americans
is they become very insular because America is such
a big part of the world and they don’t travel,
they don’t have context for a lot of other cultures or people. My circumstances have allowed me that. And so, that’s amazing. Leads me to my answer. Sweden, which, this is probably my seventh or eighth trip here, ’cause I’ve done a lot of speaking here and some business here. In a lot of ways, I
believe Sweden is a preview to America in 50 to 75 years. I think the maturity of Europe as a whole and then specifically in the Nordics and then specifically to Sweden, my number one thing that
interests me about Sweden is I kind of think it’s, I guess
I almost think sometimes that I’m looking at the
place that my grandchildren are gonna live in if they
decide to stay in America. And what I mean by that is it’s obviously an older country for that
point, but there’s a, there an incredible thing that Sweden has that I admire, which is socially, it’s so outrageously
progressive in comparison to the macro world. However, it’s not as
foofy foofy or soft or becomes the cliche, you
know, ideological thing. There’s still an incredible
level of practicality, innovation, entrepreneurship. I guess ultimately, I admire the balance of the business culture
human infrastructure and so, yeah, I’ve always
felt, you know, it’s funny. I like to keep things basic. But we spelled good when I was here. – What excites you when you look at the workplace and the business? Because you do have a
little bit an idea of how things work here. – Yeah, I mean, (mumbles) I,
it’s an interesting question. And I’ll tell you why. I’m incredibly I’ll use optimistic. I’m incredibly optimistic
to where companies can go both on how they do
marketing and communications and how they treat employees
and deploy culture. So, though I think there is a
lot of progressive thinking, in the marketplace, I do
still think the nature of a corporate structure and the nature of being a big, let’s say a big company still requires you to hit
numbers and every 90 days and so, you know, ironically, in the bigger businesses, call
it the 100 biggest businesses in the country, it doesn’t look so so so different than other parts of the world. I think as you go down the scale, I do think that there’s, I think on the coast of America, on the entrepreneurial
level, there is a little bit of a potential for burnout
or too much overworking or working for the sake of working that I think is a little
more balanced here from the startups that
I’ve interacted with. And so, much are the same
in the top 100 companies compared to the world, which is much more to do on culture and people and marketing. And on the entrepreneurial
front, a little bit more balanced than I see in other places. – Well, if you were
recruited as a CEO of one of the big Swedish, say, media companies, ’cause you have a few, what
would people experience that was different in your
leadership, do you think? Compared to a Swedish, because
Swedes, Swedish managers are not well known to be hard and firm and they’re like, more people oriented. – Yeah, you know, I actually think that’s an interesting thing. So, I remember you’re doing
something interesting here, which is you’re using the data
that you have in the macro. So, I think one thing that
you’ll find fascinating is somebody who knows a little bit about my personality online. It was funny, I was smiling towards David. I would argue that I am the softest manager at my company and I’m the soft, I would argue that I am softer
than 95% of the managers in Sweden. Even though, on the
internet, I’m a very outward aggressive, American for
an American personality. Because that’s me as a communicator in content on the internet. The way I manage my people
is very very very different. I would argue that the
43 year old version of me as an executive has had to
work over the last decade on radical candor. And so, you know, but on the flip side, what I would tell you is, I think I create at my
best and I like to think I’m heading to my best, I
create very safe environments. If you can get your employees to feel safe they can be their best,
however, I do think that some of the advanced laws
in trying to create safety and balance, also creates
entitlement and softness. – Can you describe what a soft leader is? You used the word soft. I use the word soft too. – Yeah, I was following your lead but I think what we’re saying and I’m sure everybody who’s listening, and by the way, I’m honored
to be the first English guest. I care about people’s
emotions and happiness and overall livelihood, not
what they produce for me in the short term as an
employee of my company. I don’t know what else to say. I care more about, I look at
our voluntary retention numbers 10 times more than I look
at our profit margin. – And
– I’m an HR driven CEO not a CFO driven CO. Here’s why. I want to create clarity for
everybody who’s listening. ‘Cause I’m playing forever. I own my businesses. I’m, so for me, I can do
things that lead to retention and a real relationship because
I’m not held accountable to Wall Street or a
public market or a board or, I’m so money hungry
that I want a yacht. And I believe most are. – Mm, do you, because you
do have a lot of people interacting with you. Can you talk a little bit how you scale that personal connection,
your ability to see, the person that you work with, the person behind the employee. How do you scale that when you have 1000s of people around you? – So we have a 1000 in
our ecosystem at VaynerX all the companies I
have under VaynerMedia. I do micro macro. Micro, I have a very
aggressive open door policy. I meet.
– Meaning? – Meaning any single
employee that works for me that requests a meeting, gets a meeting. I sometimes when they
don’t take me up on that because they’re scared or
they don’t wanna bother me, I’m aggressive in creating
meetings with people to check in, so, I love people. That’s why I well in social. Because that was a scaled version of it. And it’s why I do well right
now with the five of us. And so, I’m very aggressive
101 meetings, very. And that’s micro. And then macro. I follow a stunning amount of
my employees on social media, I read the Slack channels to
watch what their talking about. – Slack is a like a
– For everybody who’s listening,
– internet very much the opposite of email. – Yeah, I mean, though I think it’s just like email in the end. To your point, it was built to
be a better version of email and G-Chat. The problem is no tool,
even a good one like Slack can stop humans from
being wildly inefficient. – So what you’re saying is you know things about them
and that’s what you build relationships on? – I care and have the intent
and believe in the value of knowing them as human
beings to do what I think is my requirement, which is to put them in the best position to succeed. I apologize, I’m gonna
give you an anecdote. I was in the London office yesterday. I forced somebody to leave the media team and now work in project management. A very junior employee, she’s been with us for 18, 24 months. I, from the tippy top all the
way down to the London office on the micro media team,
demanded as a dictator to move her from media to
project management on two things. One, she was not having
a good relationship with her managers. And it was neither of their faults after I investigated personally. And two, through the series
of her communicating with me, I thought that she had
tremendous organizational skills and I saw her yesterday
and she was so happy. I’m a CEO who happens to
also have tens of millions of followers on social
media, does public speaking, I’m here for things like this. I’m stretched incredibly thin and yet I was able to
execute against that. And this is not me saying it for everybody who’s listening
to think I’m good or, it speaks to intent. Either, let me save
everybody a lot of time on this incredible mission
that this podcast is on. Either a company is about its people or a company is about money. Any company that is publicly traded or has a board that has
control over the CEO she or he has to pander
to something outside of their employees. Independence, whether in the
micro or at massive scale at least gives you the chance
to be employee centric. – So, how did you communicate that to her and how did she receive it? – Well, it was in the
conversation I was having to her about her not being happy. And then also double checking
and hearing from her managers that maybe it’s her fault. Was data I was collecting and
then I came over to the top with HR and finance and
just requested the move. So, I didn’t even communicate to her that I was doing the move. It just happened. She, when I saw here, I’m
not sure she knows how much or how little I had to do with it and I’m not really in the
business of getting stars on my shirt but I’m really happy about it. And whether it works out
or not, I have no idea but the moral of the story for everybody one more time, especially if
you’re listening right now and you have the power. You know, something I said yesterday to the London office was
everything in VaynerMedia is my fault. There’s 1000 things wrong right now. There’s eight to 80 people
that are responsible for that but at the end of the
day, I hired and empowered those eight to 80. If you are lucky enough to have control and you’re listening right now. And if you’re listening to
this, you care about the things that we care about, please
look yourself in the mirror and realize you’re the
one that has the ability to make the change that you
ideologically believe in. – What do you mean it your fault? – That’s what I mean. I mean, if our, if the
snacks in the kitchen stink, if we lost a client, if
the micro production team in the LA office is not working well, in the end, every single thing
in the company is my fault because I have the power to hire and fire every human that is actually
creating that truth. – Somebody else would say
you’re micro managing. – Yeah, I think, I think
I could be micro managing in the philosophy but you know, I think if you speak to anybody
who’s been a direct report of mine over the last
decade, the biggest argument and issue they have is,
I’m not involved enough. I am in the bat phone business. What that means, since I’m
using a Batman reference and I’m not sure how
big Batman is in Sweden, or now that we’re going
global in the podcast, I’m in the business of
being in responding to. So, I have no interest in micro managing until there is an issue at hand. And so, yes, somebody could
say that philosophically. But in actual practitioner-ship
or operational, the way this energy that
I’m speaking about manifests in reality is you’re
only putting your finger in the hole that it biggest
in your boat at that moment. Which means there’s a lot of boat left for those people to run. – So, just to give us more
insight of you as a leader, when you have those one
one one conversations, your doors is open, someone’s coming to talk about a challenge or an idea, if you could describe how do
you prefer to use that time? How do you empower people? What do spend that time with them? – And some of them are five minutes just for clarity for everybody. I don’t have a preference. And I don’t think it’s my
place to have a preference on how it’s spent. I have a preference that it happens ’cause it creates
context of a relationship with me and an employee
which begins the process of creating a safe environment to allow us to have actual conversations. So, by the nature of the
framework, it’s already happening. As far as how it’s spent,
you would be fascinated. People use it to vent,
people use it to actually have change be made,
people use it to tell me something they’ve always
wanted to tell me. I don’t really have a preference. My preference is that when they leave and they go home and they
tell their best friend or their spouse and if they ask, how did it go with Gary today? I know you were meeting with him. My preference is that
it’s a positive reaction, that they don’t feel
that I, my number one, the only thing I don’t want to happen is that they say, eh, he just
does that to check the box. It was a waste of time. – Then you’re disappointed. – Of course. I’m in the business of
providing value for the people that work for me, so, I
don’t have a preference of how they wanna use it,
even if it’s just a check in to you know, I had one
recently with an employee that’s been with us for seven years. And she’s been crushing
it and we haven’t talked in maybe two and a half years. And it was just, I think
she just needed to feel for five minutes that I did
have my hands in everything AKA I don’t have my hands in anything but I’m aware of quite a
bit, if not most things and her hearing that where
I could speak to detail on things that she started talking about, gave her confidence that she
still works for an organization that has a CEO that has care and intent and isn’t living in a
ivory tower and isn’t naked with no clothes and that
is my agenda at all times. – Because you as a person
cannot scale infinitely, you have other managers. – Of course.
– And I’m just thinking how
can you, you talk about how you foster a relationship
that engages both employees and customers? ‘Cause I see this being
outside of the company was you, this is the style
your company has towards customers as well, seeing them as people. How do you foster that kind of leadership? – By holding people
accountable that have clout in doing the same. – Clout means influence and
– Yes – Ability to change things.
– Yes. It is imperative that
the 50 most senior people in my company have somewhere
between an 80 to 99% of this in their soul as well. I can’t ask them to be 100% of
the same intent that I have. As much as possible and then it is my job back to the statement of
everything is your fault, when you have control, it’s my job to make the tough decision
when somebody no longer is allowed to be in our company when they don’t embody that mission. – I have a question for you because I’ve been thinking
about how one handles managers who are very engaged in their job but do, who do not manage to be engaging vis-a-vis their colleagues
’cause that do happen that, you have people who are
like living for their work but they can’t handle their colleagues. – If it’s a neutral, I
try to make them work out. If it’s a detriment to
the other employees, they can no longer be there. I value how the other boys
and girls feel about you over anything else, over the skill, over how much money you
bring in to the organization, over how great and passionate
you are about your craft. If you are the most
passionate about your craft, but the 23 people that are surrounding you are miserable, because you’re a curmudgeon or worse, not a nice
person, it won’t work out. If you’re neutral, and
there are those leaders. I have leaders in my
organization who are great at their craft, who are
indifferent and neutral as leaders. When things in the macro
are good, it’s no problem. It’s when things are tough,
where you need wartime generals so, for me right now
because things in the macro are so good, those executives can continue to navigate and you try to
build moats around them, you try to build them
up, you try to figure out if it’s a personality
trait or if it’s something they’ve never been trained on. And but but if it’s detrimental to the way you framed up the question, there’s just, there’s no
person that is more valuable than the culture at hand. – We need more innovation,
we need to speed up the rate of change in the world. And I’m curious about your perspective on what’s what kind of leadership will foster a more rapid rate of change? – Freedom. This is my actual issue
with Europe, actually. That one of the reasons
innovation is difficult is heavy handing restrictions. This is where an American
business point of view of deregulation and openness,
I think goes too far because people are actually money greedy. But in real life, having more freedom to do things matters. How do you speed up things? Less rules. How do you speed up things? Less process. How do you speed up things? Less fear. You know, so you know, this is something that has been my calling
card for 20 years. And it is out of, it is
out of complete and utter lack of fear, complete and
utter disdain for process that is in the mix for
the sake of process. Obviously some process is needed. And this is ultimately
was the first reason I got into culture besides having good DNA about liking people. It was that I understood
that if people were motivated and excited, that great
things would happen versus fearful and political. The type of leader that will create this is one that really focuses
on those three things that I just mentioned. – And also you mentioned the ability to create a safe environment. – It’s so important.
– And I think that is so beautiful when you say that. Because it’s not something
we often talk about. We don’t talk about safe because
we think it hinders change. – You know, it’s funny. Again, David, D-Rock who films me and post produces a lot of my content and has been on my team for a long time and for clarity everybody,
I put out a lot of content. I’m actually starting to wonder. I actually may be, and
this is a funny statement especially if you don’t know who I am. You might find this
audacious so I apologize. But I’m actually quite proud of this. I don’t know if it’s true. But I think it might be. I legitimately might be the human being that puts out the most
daily content at scale on the entire internet. I am putting put 40, 50, 60
pieces of meaningful content on LinkedIn, Facebook,
Twitter, dada, nonetheless, where am I going with this? Most of this is organized
through one text thread with 30 people on it. I have 30 people now who are on my team that produce Gary V content, right? Strategy, media, creative. There was something that was post, I mean, there has been multiple
things posted recently because we have a lot of junior members that we’re onboarding to do things where the junior member,
the most junior member and Maha, I wanna make sure
you’re paying attention to this because I don’t know
this is caught your radar ’cause I know you are on the list too now. – Gary’s calling his assistant Maha. – No, my boss Maha. Literally, this 30 person thread and I saw one of the most junior
people posted a podcast that hadn’t been edited yet
and had sensitive information and was comfortable enough
to post in the entire thread hey Gee, my bad. Now, here’s what’s important. And I want everybody
listen very carefully. Most junior person, pretty big mistake like in the scheme of like
I mean, not in real life but in the business world,
says in front of everybody and says it to me and it wasn’t
a fun thing to deal with. Couple things. One, that’s creating a world
where there isn’t fear. – It’s a barometer of
how safe the person is. – Thank you but I have
goosebumps and I’ll tell you why I have goosebumps and
this is very exciting for me to say in Sweden and in
the Nordics and in Europe and in the world. There was also a 1% to
5% energy behind the text of a little bit of fear. Or let me say it a different
world, because I don’t actually think it was fear but I’m trying to make a point here. There was accountability. There he, ’cause it’s the truth, knows that I might have texted
him off chain and fired him. And that I could do that. And that
– ‘Cause you’re the boss? – Yeah, and oh by the way because the laws don’t require me to give him six months, I mean this is important because – You emphasized on the
difference the US and – Europe.
– And I’ll tell you why. Because I think Europe is so close and it’s just a couple tweaks. I don’t think the US has it right. I don’t think Europe has it right and by the way, this is my personal way that I wanna run my world. I’m not saying I’m right. I’m trying to bring value here for people to make their own decisions. – But it creates a nerve
in your organization. – And it’s not, it’s a nerve based on, it’s not that I, I’m a
softy, I established early. I really am, like my
CFO is here, he’s like, we don’t fire fast enough. It creates entitlement but
the fact that it could happen creates accountability. It is not a nerve that is, so, it’s safety with responsibility. – And they are clear rules of the game. – Yeah, it’s just like,
it’s that the rules don’t overly protect you
form lack of execution or ability but nonetheless,
I appreciate you jumping on this, because
it is probably the thing I’m most, let me rephrase. It is one of the things I’m very proud of. And one of the things that I
wanna talk a lot more about over the next 30 years of my life which is I create very
very safe environments, which I now believe leads
to incredibly good behavior for the people that play
within that framework. And by the way, I actually
believe that that has to do with a lot of the best, ’cause we’re using that theme here in this call, obviously, I
think that has a lot to do with some of the best
nations in the world too. You know. You know, as an American citizen, I’ve traveled the world my whole life. Sometimes in not the greatest places and I’ve never been
fearful because I know that those places know that
they can’t kidnap me. – What he’s lead you
to this, do you think? – Actually.
– ‘Cause it’s not a view that everybody
holds who are on top. – Running my one businesses as if they were my children themselves, thus having to ask deeper questions than just financial success. I, I’ll just add one more thing. And I know you wanna move on. ’cause I’m getting a
little long winded here. But I’m excited because I
love this subject matter. When every entrepreneur
who’s listening right now knows one thing that I know. That’s your business is your second child, is your third child, is your fourth child. I have no idea how many
children everyone has. That’s the answer, because
I’m treating my business like a parent. – Or your spouse. – Yeah, but even more like a parent. And I’ll tell you why. With a spouse, or a partner,
that’s a lateral relationship whereas a child or a business,
you are in charge of it. You’re grooming it. You know, it’s almost
like your garden, right? Those tomatoes are gonna come out. That you with with the macro. I can’t control mother nature just like I can’t control the world. But I can maximize my tomatoes this year if I do good behavior. And that’s how I think
about my businesses. – What are the
– That was interesting. – Weak signs of your leadership? – I do not like negativity. And so in my early years, since
I started running companies right from the beginning,
my historic vulnerability that I continue to work on
and is far in a better place than it used to be is in
my unbelievable disdain for confrontation and negativity, I wasn’t canderous enough
and would surprise people when I would fire them. And or also created a level of entitlement which usually led to the firing because they weren’t
getting negative feedback. They were just getting
positive reinforcement. – And suddenly something happened. – And they became delusional,
no, and unfortunately, it wasn’t that suddenly
something happened, for the last three years,
they’ve always been bad at these three things. I just don’t focus on negatives. I focus on positives. They don’t hear anything about it and then they get called into the meeting probably thinking they’re
about to get a raise because four weeks ago,
I gave them a high five about something they do do well. And then I’m like, hey Jan. Hey Rick. You know, we’re gonna have to
talk about yo not being here and they would be flabbergasted and I would defend my actions to myself in my 20s and early 30s on their delusional, how do they not know? Couldn’t they tell? But but a lot of people don’t
deploy the self awareness that I was gifted with. It’s not, you know, and more importantly, employees always have
other side, like everybody, there’s always two sides to a story so over the last three or four years and I’ll tell you that my brother, AJ who was 22 years old
when he became my partner at VaynerMedia 10 years ago. He is far, you know, he’s a good balance. My dad is over critical and only focused on the negative. So I think I naturally was over positive but then being in the
same company with him in a father son team, I
almost had to be 100% positive to offset 100% negative
and that’s the truth. – So, you were a little dishonest. You didn’t want to really – I hate that it’s, I’m smiling ’cause I hate that it’s, yes. I was a little dishonest
and a lot dishonest. I would not fully articulate
my thoughts to my employees. I would try to grow so
much that it could hide all their shortcomings
but then inevitably, as my companies grew,
you know, it’s one thing when you have a family
liquor store business and you have 10 employees,
you can manage all of them. When I started getting to
80 and 100 in that business, other people had to manage and that’s when my vulnerabilities exposed themselves because I didn’t recognize
what I was actually doing. And now with Vayner, with
1,000, it’s become even bigger because even the quality,
let’s call it what it is, the executives at VaynerMedia
are a different quality than a stock boy in a liquor store when they’re 19 at a liquor store. So, I’ve learned a lot. My, I’ve learned a lot. My brother started that process because I admired his level
of candor even as a kid because it’s a natural skill for him. And then and then five or four years ago, Vayner was getting big, we
were at four or 500 people. I was carrying so much of the financial and emotional burden, back
to micromanaging in the macro that I could see because
I was a practical operator that there was a financial vulnerability, that if I wasn’t gonna get
more out of the top 50 people, that all trickled. I also didn’t like the way our
company was being structured towards, going towards the world I saw, which is a bigger impact
around the volume of creative needed to be put out. So, we, for the first
time after going from 30 to 400 people in three years. We did a 35 person layoff. The company lost its mind. The over reaction, the stuff that I, and if you’ve been listening carefully, the stuff that I like to
take subtle digs about, I so admire you’re up
but there’s subtle things I dig about, ironically,
I was being hypocritical. I was doing the same
thing in my four walls. Probably why I’ve always
loved these places because I’m probably, as a
human, I’m probably way more Sweden than I am Soviet
Russia or even America. So, it’s interesting. That was a really important
moment in my career. ‘Cause a couple things. One, I’m gonna talk
tomorrow about entitlement and I’m gonna put pressure
on the parents in the room saying, look, if you’ve
been paying for everything for your kid and then at 22
you tell them you’re cut off, they’re not prepared. And then they’re gonna be mad at you. And we look, as outsiders
being mad at the kid, you entitled brat. You think you’re entitled
to $2,000 a month allowance from your parents. But you’ve trained them to not be capable. That’s what I did at Vayner
and it was a painful year on our culture and it’s been
a teaching moment for me. – Are you more authentic now? Because you said you
– 100%. ’cause it surprised me when you say, I used the word dishonest,
which was not fair. We should have used the word non authentic because you say that
you love meeting people. You say you like to
– I do. – build relationships.
– I do And I think authenticity
is kind of the fuel for that process, so, you’re taking away an ingredient in that relationship. – It was – By not being completely honest. – 100%. Now, what you can imagine, though, is the recipient of that
lack of authenticity enjoyed the shit out of it. Because it’s just positive reinforcement instead of critical feedback. So, both parties were quite
happy for the majority of that relationship. It was only when I had to
deal with the realities of the merit of running an organization that has consequences that
I even had to address it. Yeah, it’s, it’s not my favorite part. As you could imagine, one of the reasons I have such a big audience in the world is I can be 100% authentic with them because I can’t analyze the
truth after I engage with them because they move on to their lives and I’m not sitting there living. Unlike VaynerMedia
where after I tell Carol that she’s the sweetest
sweetheart of all time, that her strategy work
is incredible, right, that she’s a sunshine in the office, that she’s always
responsible and hard working, and she leaves, meanwhile
I know that clients aren’t happy with her or she’s incapable of upselling a client, which
is becoming detrimental to the business. You know,
– Your feedback wasn’t very helpful then. – You’re right. And so, what’s really fun
about being a human being, especially one that’s probably
gifted with a lot of things that do make them
successful, is going through the course of your career
and deploying humility to understanding your own shortcomings no matter how sweet they
taste for both parties and then adjusting and I often have said that the 43 year old version of me, even though the 25 year old version of me thought he was gonna be great and thought he was naturally talented, the experience matters and
it’s why I value experience. – It’s great getting older. – It’s great getting older and so, I’m proud of A, getting
to a place in my life where I could recognize it and address it and, by the way, I’m still
not all the way there. You know, if we’re calling
on a scale of one to 10, I used to be a one or two on this. I’m probably a five to
7.5 on this right now but I’m on my way to
being an eight or nine. I’ll never be a 10. It’s not naturally in me. Not only am I proud that I have been able to move from zero and
one to five to seven. I’m proud that I’m in a place where I can articulate it
for 10 minutes on a podcast knowing that it can help somebody who naturally is in a juxtaposition
similar to where I was. You know, in the past.
– In order to grow, what kind of feedback do
you ask your colleagues for? – I try to create a very safe environment. It’s funny, we have an
incredible new head of, credible, I’m outrageously optimistic of the incredible woman I’ve just hired to run the London office. And yesterday, I sat down with her and I spent 20 minutes
just making her feel safe. Hey, Sarah, you can tell, hey, Sarah. This is literally verbatim, hey Sarah, ’cause she has a big Rolodex, she’s a big get for us,
she has her own client base I go, look, if somebody
reaches out to you tomorrow, and they’re like Sarah,
we wanna talk to you about VaynerMedia, but do not bring Gary. We don’t like his brashness,
you need to tell me. That doesn’t hurt my feelings. I’m thrilled. That I’m unemotional,
whatever’s the right interest to the business. You don’t need to micromanage me, right. Or
– What is the one question, what is the
one piece of feedback you’re most curious to get? – The truth. – Yeah, but about what? – Whatever the hell is in front of them. Running an operation is not a education or philosophical exercise. What do I want? I want to know exactly what is an issue operationally, right this second, to you, from your perspective, in
you running your world. And how can I help?
– Feedback on your leadership. What are you most curious about? – The reverse of that coin. What can I do to put you in
the best position to succeed? Are you looking to talk to me more often? Are you talking to me less? Do you need some leeway
with your financial PNL? Do you need me to rah rah the troops. Do you want me to go talk
to the most senior client because the client that you work with, which is the second most senior client, is giving you a very difficult time? I am in the ambulance
firefighting emergency doctor, bat phone business. I am only built to act in
helping for you to succeed within this framework. – It’s kind of massive that
somebody says that to you. I would be almost moved if
my manager said that to me. – And I believe when you
look at our organization, the people that have been with
me for seven, eight years, the people that are winning
the most really see it. And the people that don’t,
hear it and think it’s a think they deploy
cynicism that I just wanna hear myself speak and it’s an ideology and that I won’t actually
do it because what’s amazing about employees is how
many and this, by the way, I’m gonna set this up on the podcast. I’m actually very excited to say this. I actually think for all the
very thoughtful conversations we just had, I can feel
it in my body right now. This piece of content may be the piece that brings the most value. I am blown away by how many employees have made judgements
on their organizations without trying to address it. The amount of my employees
that come into my office on year three call my bluff
finally to address something. I address it in 48 hours within a month, whatever the issue is. They come back and say, I
can’t believe you did it. And then give me 31 other
things that happened in the first 36 months of their tenure but they decided to be cynical. They vet with their friend at a beer, they talk about it in the girls’ bathroom. They tell their mother,
but they never told me or the organization. It is the great shortcoming of
employees in our world today. My friends, call the company’s bluff. Call the bluff. I mean, if you haven’t gone to HR or the CEO, or however
your world is structured, well then you have no legs to stand on that the company stinks. If you have and they have
delivered, vent away. But until you call the bluff,
then you’re just complaining because you like to complain. – Or be the change, be the
change you want to see. Be the change maker yourself and hold yourself
accountable for that change. – Let’s talk about that
because I understand why you’re saying that. You’ll appreciate where
I’m going with this. I have a lot of empathy for that person on the other line right now listening because there’s only so much you can do. Like, that’s just the truth. And people always ask me,
Gary I wanna impact people the way you do, change the
world, these very heady things. I’m like, well, just do it for one person. It’s action. Everybody, people love
to ideate or pontificate. But they don’t do. And so for me, this is a game about doing. So, yes, be that change but be that change as somebody who does it
within what they can control. You know, you knocking
on the door of the CEO and demanding XYZ is very
cute but you’re not sitting with all the context. And so, yeah. – Because this is the engagement podcast, can you try narrow down what
is the number one driver of engagement in the workplace? – The ability to listen. The number one driver of
engagement is the macro and then the individual employees that make up the company’s,
ability to actually listen. Man, gosh, I really
– So, cultivating our ability to listen. – The end
– As employees, as managers, is a very
important focus going forward for you and your organization. – It’s the only thing I think about. If you think about the,
just to create some levels of clarity here for everybody, the, to, the ability to engage
and be engaged in things of that nature completely started with the seed of being heard. You know, somebody being
heard is completely different than somebody who feels
they are note heard. – That’s also what research shows. – Is that true? Good. That’s makes me feel good. Yeah. – To have to be seen and
to have the opportunity or possibility to influence the – The outcome.
– situation. So that you’re not trapped. – Nothing makes me more excited
than when a junior employee comes, gives a recommendation
and then seven months later, it actually becomes true
and the reach out to me and they never think it was them. Hey, Gary, it’s Sarah Thomson here. You know, we met seven months ago you know, just saw the announcement, or just saw this or this just happened. You know I’m sure it wasn’t me and you probably don’t
remember that I asked you but I’m so glad it’s happening. And then me on a flight
at 1:30 in the morning. Dear Sarah, it happened because
you walked into my office. I heard you, I thought you might be right. I investigated, we did it, da da da da. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. – In your view how aware are
the average business leaders of the correlation between
employee engagement and profitability? – Nonexistent. Because CFO’s are too
literal in Excel sheet and 90%, if not 99% are not
deploying emotional intelligence above their financial intelligence. And they are spreadsheet basics. And
– Do we need new KPI’s? – Yes. – How do we clarify this corelation because it is there,
research shows it’s there. You’ve seen it, others have seen it. – Research oftentimes and
reporting doesn’t penetrate a cliche CFO. You know, no matter what you and I, I come and talk from personal experience. Somebody else comes from an
academic point of view on this. Shows dear CFO, the, you know, you are wasting 4.9
million a year of people sitting there and crying and not working and if you had better engagement, you know, I know that
to be true in my bones. In my bones, I know that a proper culture creates a scenario where
people have better output in the time that they deploy. I know that is intuitive human. But if you’re, but now
let’s have some empathy in the other direction. If you’re the CFO of Ericsson
and you have to report numbers and you have to report
numbers every 90 days, it gets very hard for you
to make the investment. Let’s play this out. Okay, so, Rick and Susan
hear us and they deploy, they’re bought it, they
believe in you and I. What happens next? Well, you have to start putting in money to put into programs. You have to put in money
to put into human beings that rev up the culture. They all of a sudden we
ask the CFO who’s looking every 90 days on a whim in their mind, ’cause it’s not
mathematically quantitatable, no matter what our report show, they have to pour money
in to this for the hope that later, it pays dividends. – It’s called investment. – I’ve heard. People don’t invest. – So should we
– People, real quick – Go to the owners? To the shareholders? – Shareholders like, we live
in a financially driven world in the business world and in all of that, is all fine, to your point, I think this is a financial question too. There’s just a word that I left out. We live in 2019, in a short
term financial ecosystem. Start up founders wanna sell
their company in two years to a bigger company. Everybody is so impatient
to financial success both in the big companies
and one one off entrepreneurs that people are not making
investment into long term health of their organizations
and the shareholders don’t care either. I mean,
– But you’re an expert in communication. You know how to change, how to
capture other people’s minds and hearts. What is your advice to
(mumbles), who’s pay engagement, who’s really trying to put
this question on the agenda of the executive teams
of large organizations? That there is a positive
correlation between high employee engagement,
innovation, profitability and also just health numbers, number of days sick, or et cetera. – So, the way in the macro of all this, it’s basically what
I’m doing for a living. The reason I’m putting out so much content as a human and collecting
so much popularity is to deploy it against better behavior both professional and personally. In the micro of your question, anybody who’s listening right now, you will be 100% historically correct if you beat this drum. You will be 100% historically correct that employee engagement
leads to financial rewards. I have no idea where,
when you hear me say that on how convinced you are right now. Are you a 90%, a 50%? My one take on it is
that you will be 1005% historically correct. No different than the people, I’m sure, in the 90s and 60s who were
yelling that cigarettes were bad for you when that
was still being debated became historically correct. I have no idea if the 89
year old who was doing that feels amazing about this,
indifferent, I don’t know. But that would be my plea. Which is if you’re like me, wired like me, the ambition to be
correct and the enjoyment of bringing positivity and practicality to our society and then
being revered and admired for that truth when it plays out, if you’re lucky enough
to have that wiring, please see it through and
keep beating this drum. Because it is you that
ultimately makes those changes. – In your view, who is responsible for your engagement at work? Is it you as the employee
– Both – Or your boss.
– 50 50. – Mm hmm, and you you’re also firm believe that that anybody could build
their own unique business and I watch a lot of your
podcasts and you number one piece of advice for
succeeding is work hard. How do you manage that with
sustained engagement over time in a healthy way? – Because my number one
statement is actually be happy. I just need to, no different
than when I realized five years ago that I
needed to do a better job in radical candor, I’ve
realized over the last 10 years you saying earlier that you weren’t being, there was a level of dishonesty made my stomach go down, right? And but I’m about to go to a point. You right now saying your
number one piece of advice is work hard made my
stomach go down further. No, now listen. Let me clarify this. I believe in work ethic
like nobody’s business. I believe that work ethic
is an enormous variable of success. And controllable, which is powerful. However, my, you know, through the years, what I’ve not done as good of a job though I’ve sprinkled it, though I’ve done unique pieces of content about it, though my second book was
called the Thank You Economy, though in my first book,
Crush It, I speak about this, the reason this is a
very easy answer for me is the way you sustain it is loving it. It doesn’t become being a workaholic when you’re doing your hobby. The reason I started telling people that, the reason I, you know, when
people hear anybody can do it, they’re like, eh, Gary, this is the, you. It’s I’m like, no no, take a step back. We now live in an internet world where the cost of entry is zero and every one of us
who’s listening right now has a passion whether that
fishing, fashion, hair coloring, drinking wine, sport,
I believe that anybody can start the process of creating content around something they’re passionate about, which will always do better than something you’re not passionate about. And that over time, that
may lead to something that can pay you 30, 40,
80,000 euros or dollars a year or eventually, millions if
you’re ultimately talented. Are you willing to live a humble life that makes 47,000 a year only
speaking about blueberry jam? But you’re happy? Is my pressure and question. And so,
– It’s a great question. – To me, it’s something that I’m pushing more clarity around, which
is I want you to be happy. – And accountable.
– Of course. Well, the beauty of
entrepreneurship is without, it’s inherently accountability
otherwise it fails. I do want people to be
happy and I actually think accountability leads to happiness. When you think the government’s in charge, the media’s in charge,
Facebook’s in charge, this boss is in charge, when
you believe somebody else is in charge of your life, you immediately start the process of unhappiness. Accountability is the
framework of happiness. It doesn’t mean bad
things aren’t happening, it’s not the delusion to the
macro injustices of the world. It’s called accountability. You know, what a great
way to wrap this up. I’m struggling not to smile very heavily. – You can smile. – The only reason this all matters is everything else get
commoditized with technology and what we will be left with
is emotional intelligence and communication. So, what do I want my
daughter ti be equipped with? Self esteem that doesn’t
lead to a delusion. A self awareness radar that allows her to know what actually makes her happy. And for her to have incredible work ethic out of the reality that she
found something she likes so much that she doesn’t even realize she’s working that much. That old adage of find something you love, you never work a day in your life is remarkably on point. And most people think it’s baloney except for that small percentage
that actually have found what they’re best at
and they love the most. – And because we might
in Europe, at least, get something what we call basic income in a few years because
technology will do some parts of the jobs that we’re doing. You really need to find what
you love ’cause otherwise what are you gonna do all day?
– Yeah, and honestly, honestly, I think basic income and I don’t know the details on this but if you’re alluding to being subsidized because technology is taking your job, this is where I do think that in Europe and this is a US conversation as well. That is where I do get concerned. I’ll tell you why. Farming was what everybody did. 150 years ago, 100 years ago, we farmed. Everybody. And then machines came
along and we didn’t need you to pick the corn. The machine picked the corn. We didn’t in 1930, 40, 50, 60 say, oh, we’re so devastated
for all the farmers. The farmers found different jobs. If we are now saying as
a society of 7.7 billion, hey, we’re gonna subsidize a
portion of this transition, you’re starting to already
create that level of entitlement and lack of accountability. I hear this all the time. Gary, what are we gonna
do about all the drivers driving trucks and cars? In the US it’s one of the biggest – The self driving cars and trucks – Right, I go, if you’re a
driver in the world right now, for the last 36 months,
the amount of coverage that we’ve had that
driving’s gonna be obsolete. If you’re a 27 year old
truck driver right now and you aren’t planning
on what you’re gonna do about autonomous cars,
we have to ask ourselves where do we hold people
accountable for their actions to adjust to the realities of the world? And not that I have the right answer because my answer earlier was employee, employee 50 50 and maybe what
Sweden or Europe is doing is actually right. Maybe there does need to be
some small version of subsidies. But we need to be very thoughtful that we don’t put human being
in a level of entitlement because as soon as that happens, we get into a world of non action. And that becomes a very
difficult place to be. – Finally, you know we’re on a mission to raise the level of
engagement in organizations starting in Sweden and our goal is to create a global movement. If you were the minister of
engagement in the government, what would you focus on so,
more people can go to work because they want to and not
because they’re forced to? – I would focus on heavy investment in modern communication tactics
across 20 to 15 meaningful platforms like YouTube,
podcasts, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, on and on and
I would pump information literal and gray around
this subject matter. Comms is how you change things. Not laws, not mandates, communication to change the heart and minds of everyone. So I would pour almost all of my money into modern communication tactics to bring awareness
around this issue itself. – Thank you so much Gary for joining in – Thank you.
– (mumbles), well done.

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

100 thoughts on “30 Years of Leadership Advice in One Video | Brilliant Minds Podcast

  1. TIMESTAMPS

    5:54 – “I’m softer than 95% of CEOs”
    11:33 – companies are either about people or money
    13:32 – its all my fault
    14:15 – the bat phone business
    19:03 – “I value how well you cooperate with your team”
    20:25 – the power of freedom
    27:12 – “one thing every entrepreneur knows”
    28:02 – “my weakness as a business owner”
    34:44 – deploy the humility to recognize your own short comings
    10:30 – “I need to no exactly whats happening from an operation / efficiency standpoint”
    11:50 – the greatest shortcoming of employees
    41:05 – “the #1 driver of engagement (edited)

  2. I switched my mode of business to a more soft, Gary Vee approach and it's done wonders for the office environment, I highly recommend the 1 on 1 lunch meetings to reverse engineer employees and learn what they really want, and start giving it to them. I am still working on the 'safe environment' that part is not in my nature lol

  3. You come straight in with the garden tomatoes bro? You're speaking my language homie. The entrepreneurial mindset is very similar to the homesteading mindset. Looking forward to what else you gotta say.

  4. Loved the 27:51 mark and Gary realizing that thread he went down and connected in a weird and subtle way haha. Deep thought at all times.

  5. Does anyone honestly spit more wisdom than Gary? Your business should absolutely be treated like your baby!

  6. "Maximizing tomatoes through good behavior." That right there told me this one would be a great one.

    Edit: I'm not a fan of tomatoes lol

  7. Lots of controversial things being said, not to discourage his originality, I will applaud his positive side. Some sense of ruthlessness perceived as he addresses the entitlement mentality of some employees. Not a bad attribute but he has to understand the ethical aspects of managing employees

  8. In my Gary Vee Voice, This video has given me so much value at scale, that I’m hiring an intern to create more content for 9 of the biggest platform to then run Facebook and Instagram Ads to 5,000 people to get the attention at 15. 🙂 Yes, I watch a lot of Gary Vee, Best free advice in the world. Thank you Gary!

  9. Sweden and Germany are off my list, ever since I learned homeschooling is not legal there, so definitely can't live there but will visit as a tourist may be.
    Nice content, there is always so much to learn when Gary speaks, he is 100% authentic because you can only speak truth causally over and over without changing it at all, lies need lot of covering and people change statements to prove them self.

  10. yep, entitlement, alcoholism , laziness etc.. is the ongoing guesstimate outcome of #UBI payments

    Until we need to test and tweak #UBI like software, already the wholesale removal of slow complex existing tax credit systems that mount to 8-9k anyway, serving poor people far more efficiency and effectively as the system should have been designed from the start, in a town planning manor from a macro perspective.

    Just like new tech, it's never perfect on day one, but has massive freedom and scope for maneuvering .

    The basic leverage on petty crime is obvious …and then positive reinforcement like volunteering ,education, encouragement to better yourself while the resources are available

    It's not just #Automation, It's larger business production disruption through global market failures , #ClimateEmergency #ClimateAction

    The need to move quickly with a preemptive safety, food , solid housing schemes etc.. that at the very least covers the basics, and enable communities to bounce back from catastrophe and thrive

    #UBI will also be a great encouragement for basic business opportunity when there are more liquid cash/digital locally in motion, promoting local business support/advanced efficient credit systems and payment simplifying tax processing gov wastes.

  11. I love this interview so much!! The interviewer kept gary on his toes and in the same breath gary delivered the answers in a very honest way. Gary really showed how on point he really is with his truth. I really learned alot and saw something different from gary in this interview. His awareness is really unmatched.

  12. Not a surprise that her manager thought it must be her fault. Have never met a mid-level boss who would honestly think they could make any mistakes, other than having hired the wrong person.

  13. I am glad I got up early enough to watch this video before work, Even though i don't own a bizz it is great information about culture and people and the need for change.

  14. like omg like money and like … 🤣🤣🖕🏽🖕🏽🖕🏽…. this guy did not go through puberty 🤣🤣🤣🖕🏽🖕🏽

  15. Lady doing the interview did an amazing job of letting gary do most of the talking, lots of good info and probably one of the best interviews with gary she didnt keep talking she let gary vee get into detail with a lot of things that you can see even gary had to think about it. great video!

  16. Brilliant interviewee; but let’s hear it for the brilliant interviewer too. The ‘delta’ in Gary’s pieces is usually whomever he interacts with.

  17. I've tried being soft and good and treat people well and make them feel safe. They have fucked me over, stolen money, lied and burnt servers, sent data to competitors, started endless intrigues, started leaving the office with no reason etc. Maybe in the US it works, but in other countries, excuse me, people work for you, not you for them, and you pay them salary, and you have clear Agreement, and you give them normal perspective.

  18. 36:08 – "I spent 20 minutes just making her feel safe." — One of the most heartwarming things I've heard Gary say! ❤

  19. There is a book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Wilink which everyone should read/ listen to. It goes into the topic of taking ownership of everything and growing this as a culture for leadership (with Navy SEAL examples). An amazing concept and this video is a testament to how it is used in practice effectively.

  20. https://www.amazon.com/Present-Gift-Elchanan-Ogorek/dp/1632272245/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ST4Z21CKKGUB&keywords=elchanan+ogorek&qid=1564671232&s=books&sprefix=elch%2Caps%2C181&sr=1-1

  21. GARY VEE IS LEGIT THE BESTTT! I have been watching him a few days ago and it actually inspires me to do something. I created a YouTube channel because at the end of the day i know what the goal is and i know how i will i achieve it. I appreciate Gary Vee so much. You can do something as well if you have deep thoughts and put the hard work it in. NO ONE IS STOPPING YOU!

  22. Realest Gary interview ever thanks to the interviewer. She is boss, asking the tough questions and challenging Gary. Amazing content!

  23. The conversation around time stamp 39:00 …

    The issue I’ve seen in many cases with most people complaining and yet saying nothing to HR or management is if you become vocal, you get black listed. And by that I mean, you loose opportunities and they don’t do it or say anything directly but all of a sudden you see a change in how you’re treated etc.

  24. Yup! My business is basically my first born child right now. Just waiting for it to get to college and start cashing in 🤣

  25. Europe with its insane emphasis on processes and rules is a terrible place to do business, the EU needs to be disbanded

  26. What Up @garyvee. ? Joe C here just letting ya know the username Garyveehelpmehelpmyselfplease is now the username on all accounts now and i will be posting on all your accounts until you contact me. Im not here for likes or clout ect….

  27. garyvee is the man i have been taken all of it advice now i am on it
    target to get million just to follow his advice my 3rd block was drop in 3
    minutes help me and increase my subsribers

  28. garyvee is the man i have been taken all of it advice now i am on it
    target to get million just to follow his advice my 3rd block was drop in 3
    minutes help me and increase my subsribers

  29. Probably one of my favorite long-form vlogs to date. Love the conversation around you creating working environments where people feel safe, comfortable, but accountable.

  30. These one-on-one convos are the best! The deeper we dig into Gary's mind, the more that becomes clear; the more that becomes clear; the more we need to share with everyone. Super simple mindset; even when it gets complicated, we just need to let our heart and soul guide us in the right direction. Why can't everyone simply run their business for the right reasons, not a 2% higher net? Don't they too see the 5-year outcome having a better culture and team?

  31. GARYVEE IS THE MAN!!! Ive taken all of his advice and he has encouraged me to case my dreams of becoming a YouTuber! I post weekly videos and would love some support! Please hit subscribe and check it out!

  32. 20:40 just a bookmark for myself, i hope every managers/bosses/leaders will understand this & think like this, this shit so true, motherfuckers be so scared of letting their *employees do their jobs

  33. Damn If I could have the chance for a vacation in garyvee's organization working as a janitor for 6 months making minimum wage it'll be like a great experience this dude is somethin else.

  34. Gary this is my absolute favourite video/interview you have made other than the one last year when you met and listened with your employees. You move me and I love you, 2nd to my mother 😉 I've watched most of your earlier videos in the past and some I've even watched twice. Currently, I'm listening to this now for the 5th time! Not to procrastinate as I'm listening and making some movie props. Man, this video is really pulling at my heartstrings. <3

  35. Incredible video Gary, listened to it while working. This helped me realize that I have to communicate my ambitions and goals more directly with my bosses. If they don't really want to listen than I just have to take the leap of faith and start my own business (which are pretty much in line with how you look at running one).

  36. I love Gary Vaynerchuk! His video tips and advice are awesom and have helped me to understand more deeply about making business decisions wisely and also turn my channel inti over 2k subscribers! Thank you!!

  37. My favorite thing about Gary Vee is that he's always confident about everything… he has a strong stance and answer for every question and he's certain about what he's talking about and not afraid to correct people when it needs to be corrected. The knowledge and confidence mix is brilliant.

  38. This gave so much insight as to where he comes from when he speaks. People learn from mistakes. It's about recognizing them. Reflecting on them. Learning form them. AND THEN FORGIVING YOURSELF for them. To ultimately allow you to focus on executing without holding onto the emotional baggage that sometimes comes with a shitty situation you learn a great deal from. Because otherwise that is just poison that wears you down from the inside and doesn't allow you to make use of these lessons.

  39. She sounds like a robot, this must have been hard. She did not even comment at all on how amazing Gary is to his staff. What a waste of time for Gary.

  40. Love all you guys! Hope everyone is doing well.

    Gary, how do you respond to videos about Sweden 🇸🇪 like this: https://youtu.be/-buxV4vfwPA ?

    For the rest of the GaryVee community, would love your input.

    Best wishes to everyone!

  41. America becoming Sweden? Maybe in a gazillion years when you give up guns, burn all of the lobbists and kill 95% of your politicians. Maybe then, the US of A can become Sweden or similar to one of our European Nordic countries 🤣. No offense 👍

  42. Every time I listen I get to see another perspective of something I had an opinion of. You always keep my mind busy.

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