Improving Leadership And Performance To The Next Level with Dr. Henry Cloud

As human beings, we’re on this continuous quest of personal development. However, many of us seem to get stuck in one place and can’t find the solutions to move forward. Talking about how a human gets to the next level, Acclaimed leadership expert and best-selling author Dr. Henry Cloud shares his thoughts and expertise. He explores how we can get better today than we were yesterday and even better tomorrow. Dr. Cloud says going out of our comfort zones will take us to that next level. Touching on the importance of curiosity, relationships, and the environment, he brings to light the leadership and performance that could be borne out of these things while applying some science along the way.

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance

I’m so glad you joined us because we have a very special guest. Dr. Henry Cloud is here. He’s an acclaimed leadership expert and bestselling author of more than twenty books. Some of them are co-written, but he’s written a lot of books and he sold more than ten million copies. He is the expert to go to for leadership.

Listen to the podcast here

Improving Leadership And Performance To The Next Level with Dr. Henry Cloud

I am here with Dr. Henry Cloud, who’s an acclaimed leadership expert and bestselling author. He has so many books. I’m not sure if I have the most recent count. I know he coauthored twenty self-help books during his career, but it could be more so. You and I met as we were talking a Leadercast Event and you inspired me when I was listening to the things you were saying, and the impact that you make on people.

On so many programs many people probably see you because you contribute frequently to CNN, Fox, and a lot of other media outlets. You are in the Leadership Guru Hall of Fame Group and people were very fascinated based on everything you were saying. I’m interested in talking to you about some of the stuff you talk about in terms of how a human gets to the next level because I do a lot of research in terms of curiosity. How do we get better now than we were yesterday and then to get better tomorrow? First, I want you to give a little background. There’s no way anybody that hadn’t heard of your background, but just a little bit for anybody who might have missed it.

The short version is I went into this field as a clinical psychologist, but back then when I started there, you didn’t have all this executive coaching and CEO coaching. You had a leadership space and then you had the personal growth space. My first job was in a leadership consulting firm because they wanted a clinician that understood individual growth and interpersonal issues that affect companies and teams and performance. I just fell in love with leadership and ended up doing my doctoral dissertation in leadership personality.

The way I describe it is I work in the middle space. You can take all the leadership and performance stuff on one side, but then the personal and interpersonal growth steps have to be made by individuals in groups on the other side. Where that meets and interfaces is in the day to day reality. You can learn about vision casting and accountability, strategy and execution. Our issues get in the way or we’re dealing with people that have some significant issues to get in the way. That’s where I hang out and I mainly work with CEOs one-on-one or with their teams. I have programs that they use in their companies.

That’s very much aligned with my interests. My dissertation was on emotional intelligence and then I got interested in leadership and personality as well. It’s interesting to see how we can get to the next level. That’s why after studying emotional intelligence, I moved onto curiosity because I kept thinking, “We’ve had so many problems with engagement, innovation is such a focus with AI. So much money is being lost due to interpersonal skills and different things. “All this stuff ties together. I kept coming back to how do we develop curiosity and how do we get to the next level? When I was watching you talk about that, how do you get to the next level? I’d like your insights on that.

Curiosity is a big part of it. I’ll say something about that and then I’ll morph a little bit into what I talked about that day. By definition, the next level of anything requires something that’s not at our level. If I’m close and I’m not curious what’s in the next room, I’m going to open the door to go in there and look. Unfortunately, our development, the way we’re wired is our brain makes maps. That’s the way we get to the refrigerator in the morning because you’ve had experiences. It shows you how the world works, and you’ll have experiences with people. We have maps of how they work and then I’ll walk on eggshells around this person or I don’t. We have these maps and that’s important.

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance
Leadership And Performance: The next level of anything requires something that’s done at our level.


The problem is that for a number of reasons, it might be experiences, it might be fear, it might be a hard-headedness or narcissism or whatever, some people’s maps get very fixed. The worst thing you can do is have a map that’s not open to updates about people, about markets, about individuals, about how you do things about how you perform. If people aren’t curious, they are a closed system. It would be like if you had Windows or IOS and you weren’t online with their servers to be able to get updates and people walk around like that.

Curiosity is important. We need to ping the outside server to go, “Is there something I need to know? That’s huge. You’ve got to get to the neurobiology and the neurochemistry and the interpersonal and the psychology and all of that. Once we embrace curiosity as, “I need to do this and I got to do this to get to the next level,” we have to be able to pull it off, the equipment’s got to be able to pull it off. When I talk about the next level, I always draw a triangle up on the board. We know that there’s a physical aspect to our getting to the next level. In other words, this performance thing runs on a piece of equipment called your brain. That brain is driven by circuitry and neurotransmitters. What kind of gas are you putting in your car? Are you putting premium or unleaded or diesel or whatever? There are certain neurotransmitters that are always firing to get us to the next level.

There are the physical parts. It’s important that our brain works, but that’s the hardware. The software is the mental, the immaterial, the belief systems, the attitudes, the programs we have in our head, the maps we have in our head and those two have a relationship. For example, if I think somebody else across me negotiates, if I think they’re out to screw me or something, then I actually had different chemistry going on in my brain. My own performance is going to be affected by how I’m looking at that person or how I’m looking at the market. You’ve got those two things that are always interacting. Here’s the problem, a lot of development material out there focuses on those two things. We try to get better rest, you learn how to breathe and you have sleep patterns and all this stuff and people work on the physical side.

Then on the belief systems and the attitudes and how you look at the world, we do a lot of leadership development on changing people’s thinking. The problem is there’s a third leg to that triangle or stool and the third leg is relationship. Everything we know about the brain and performance and getting to the next level involves some relational connection or interaction. If you take a baby and you feed and water them and they’re not connected with, they’ll grow up but you even look at their brains and there are dark spots in there where circuitry didn’t grow, new circuitry didn’t grow because of the absence of bonding. They get to be twelve years old and they have impulse control problems and act out.

All the way the Navy SEALS who are getting to the next level of performance, they don’t go to hell week or all those training things by themselves and read books. There’s somebody there, their buddy, their instructor, all of that that actually have to be present to push them to the next level to make it a safe space so they can get to the next level, to metabolize failure and to give them input and all of that. That’s what I focus on when we work together.

You had a story about Mark. I had Mark Divine who was a Navy SEAL on my show. You always wanted an older brother and you told this Mark story, which is about a force that gets people past their limits and on things you’re talking about. That’s an interesting story if you want to tell it, but I think that what you’re saying is we need people to push us to the next level. Can we get there on our own?

I always say the term self-help is the ultimate oxymoron. There’s a way in which that’s right and which it’s wrong. For example let’s say that you just hit some limit and you’ve got this, “This is good as I do.” Then you read some books. If you can see it, you can believe it. You’ve got to change your thinking. That’s true, but in order to be able to think well and think differently at the highest levels, it also requires some other processes that only a relationship can provide. In other words, there’s an energy part of this.

If you can conceive it, you can believe it. Click To Tweet

Michael Phelps, if you go back to when he was fifteen years old, he’s had the coach on the side of the pool. Certainly, he’s pushing himself, but this relationship is pushing him also. Besides that, it’s downloading to him lots of new coding on how he needs to do differently and what he needs to do differently. He can’t observe himself. One of the big problems with the self-help path is the subjective people. We have extremely limited ability to see where we need to do differently, what we need to do differently, how we need to do differently. Have you ever heard of the 40% Rule?


The 40% Rule is the way we’re wired. It’s pretty well-documented. The way we’re wired, when we first begin to experience some limit, our brain begins to tell us, “You’re at your limit. You can’t do another sit up. You can’t run another mile.” Our system begins to warn us that you’re at your limit. That system kicks in at about 40% of our actual limit. That’s why you see these great performers or somebody actually helping them get past their own internal limits and the relationship provides that. The story I told about Mark, my brother-in-law who’s a Navy SEAL was in Hell Week that they go through. Anybody ought to read about it, it’s just amazing what these guys go through. They got them out there for a week in the cold ocean, they don’t sleep. They have five minutes of sleep every third day or something and they’re pulling barges and running a hundred miles in simulated war situations. Then the last piece of it is there’s this long swim and you get to the end of it and you’ve made it, but they don’t judge people.

You’ve got 200 guys that start and they don’t judge which 25 are going to make it. They create the situations that break them at their limit and about only 25 make it to the end. They don’t have to judge anybody, it’s like, “Who can survive?” When Mark was killed in Iraq, that the week that he died, some of his SEALS friends came to be with us and the family. One of them told the story. He was Mark’s buddy in training. They pair them up in buddies in a lot of situations. Mark, this last swim, Mark had made it to the shore. Bryce is swimming and he’s got about 50 yards out. He said literally, “He was at his limit.” His arms wouldn’t move anymore. When you go to the gym, when you hit enough reps and then you’re in your limit.

He was physically at his limit. He knew he was going down, he was starting to signal for help. He could not. He couldn’t will it, he wanted it and then he’s going down he looks up and Mark is on the shore and their eyes met. Mark gives him this fist pump and goes down like screams out. The way Bryce told it he says, “I don’t know what happened, but my body got out of the water and made it.” That’s what we’re talking about here. We know it from quantum physics and some other ways that we can observe this stuff there. There’s something that relationship, the immaterial connection that people have in a relationship that significant and has certain factors to it. Being positive is one of them, being honest is one of them. That relationship is actually part of how we get to the next level. When I work with CEOs or teams, one of the things you have to look at is what’s the relational valence looking like? What do these connections between people look like? They’re either inhibiting people from getting to their next level or they’re pushing them in the next level and there are factors in there.

Thinking of my pharmaceutical days that a parasympathetic and sympathetic system and how you would kick in with your sympathetic response and how it ties into this relationship that you’re talking about, it’s so important that everyone sees this connection. I like how you actually cited a math student’s study when you talked about the four different types of connections. I don’t know if you want to talk about that, but I thought that was fascinating, the possibilities of connections in the universe.

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance
The Power of the Other: The Startling Effect Other People Have on You, from the Boardroom to the Bedroom and Beyond-and What to Do About It

It’s a simple little model I made that I would use with teams a lot of times. I wrote about it. The book is called The Power of the OtherI’ll draw four corners up on the board and say, “All of us exists somewhere at any given moment in this relational universe. In corner number one is no connection. It’s like we’re a cell phone. You can’t find a tower. You might be around people, you might be on a team, you might even be in a marriage or a relationship. It doesn’t mean you’re not around people, but it means that you feel very alone in that team or in that relationship because there’s something, either the connection breaks down because of our abilities to be open enough and vulnerable, know what we need and get that met, or there’s nobody around here that cares or can do that. That’s corner one.

Corner two is a bad connection and that’s the relationship where you always end up feeling bad about yourself, “I’m not good enough. I can’t please them. They’re bugged with me. They’re critical.” Everybody’s got one of those and you can probably find it in your own head. We know that feeling of being in corner two of not feeling good enough. Both of those corners do horrible things to the performance frame. We can’t operate at the highest levels from either one of those two corners. The third quarter is those who don’t feel good, “I want to feel good.” We go into some corner to connect with something that feels good. It might be a fifth of something or a substance or an illicit relationship or something to medicate ourselves, but that didn’t end up doing it.

The only thing that works is corner four. That’s where we have these very real and authentic fueling, pushing and feedback and all the elements of a real connection in a connected team. You see people’s brains change, you see performance change. You see us getting to the next level. The book is about the dynamics of that. Sometimes I go into teams and explain the four corners and put it up on the board and say, “Where is this team?” Everybody go around the table and say, “I’m in corner two. I feel like I’m losing you guys are down on my case or somebody else’s. I feel siloed and left out.”

I got called into a situation. A $20 billion deal was stalled among three partners. It had been six months and they’re stuck and I went in there and I listened to them as they’re talking about their perspectives. There was one of the lead partners that I just noticed in the discussion, every time he would begin to talk about his perspective on where they’re going to deal or not, there was this dynamic where he would get interrupted, he’d get invalidated. I watched him over the course of the first half hour. I could see him gradually shutting down and withdrawing and I said, “Does this happen a lot? I noticed when you started to say this, he did that and all that and the guy looks up and says this is a huge performer.” He said, “I never feel like anyone on this team is listening to what I think.” These people run a huge company. That’s a guy sitting in corner one. The deal had stalled because he’s disconnected from the team even though he’s present in every meeting. That gets into an inability to negotiate. It’s all over the place.

That’s interesting to me is to see how much our environment and certain things impact us. Touching back on curiosity. I found that fear, assumptions, technology and environment were the four factors that held people back. You’re talking about a lot of environmental things and they’re important. When you were talking about those connections when I saw you speak, you were talking about the math students and your favorite study. It’s such a fascinating study. I don’t know if you remember that off the top of your head about them with the relationship with their fathers?

I do remember it. They took high-level math students. They were even in graduate level. They were all one zillion score on the SAT types. They put them into a competition where they were sitting in front of a screen in group one and group two. They had to solve these complex math problems against a clock, and so they’re competing. It’s a high-performance situation. They had screened them on a lot of different factors and it matched them for grades, SAT scores. They’re all equal on their performance around that. The students didn’t know this, but group one was the group that had a very positive relationship with their fathers around performance and failure. Group two had a very critical or negative relationship with their fathers around performance or failure.

They didn’t know what the researchers were looking for. They start the clock, they’re racing. They also had their brains hooked up to brain scans. While they’re working the problems they subliminally flashed. Subliminal flashing is where you put something on the screen that the person’s brain sees, but they don’t know they’ve seen it. They flashed the person’s father’s name on the screen in the midst of their work in the problem. In the positive group, the ones that had the positive fathers, every time the father’s name came up on the screen, their brains spike in the performance centers of the brain. The negative group, every time the father’s name came up on the screen, their brains shut down a little bit.

We’re talking about the power of the other. We internalize relationships. People say, “I have this critical voice in my head and every time they criticize, it tells me I’m not good enough.” Those are internalized for relationships. Here’s the good news, if you had a whacked-out father, there’s something called neuroplasticity. I’ve got a hundred-year-old house and if you go down in the basement, there’s a thousand phone wires down there from all the different numbers, of all the different owners, and all the different extensions. I remember when I moved, I called the phone company and I got in there and go, “How are you going to find the right one?” He said, “It doesn’t matter. We’re putting the new one in.” New relationships, we will internalize.

With Mark and Bryce, Bryce could have had a critical father, but Mark became a new relationship and internalize new wiring in his head and made him believe he could do this. That’s the power of the other. That’s the power of the influence why a great leader can take people to different highs or a friend, a buddy, a coach, a teacher or a spouse. We’ve got to have our corner. This is why I perform. I know from all our research performance health, every other measure is contagious, and the stats show that.

The father image name on the screen is Mark yelling, “Go.” You need that. That story resonated a lot with me. I had a very competitive father so I understand the impact it can make. It helps to have mentors and all of this that you research. We could talk forever because you’ve got twenty books. I didn’t even know which one to even go to.

Everything we’re talking about is from the book, The Power of the Other. It addresses the question, how do we get to the next level of performance? There are a lot of different factors, but one of them is certainly the nature of the people that are in the ring with us.

You’ve been in the ring as far as a speaker with some pretty impressive people. How much has that impacted you? You shared the stage with Tony Blair, Jack Welch, Condoleezza Rice. The list goes on and on. Does that have any impact on how you speak and what level you bring to the stage? I can’t imagine you being any better than you already are. Does it drive you even higher?

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance
Leadership And Performance: We only get to the next level when we get out of our comfort zone.


Personally, it makes me feel like I’m Chauncey Gardner. Do you remember Chauncey? It’s a Peter Sellers movie called Being There. He’s this gardener. Somehow he just says these things that, “You water in the spring and you reap the harvest in the fall.” These people think he’s so smart and he ultimately becomes the adviser to the president on the economy. He’s just saying these simple things. One of the strongest things that I believe, brain research tells us is that we only get to the next level when we get out of our comfort zone because it actually gets into the cellular bonding of experiences. It’s like in the hippocampus in the brain that we only learn and we only improve in what’s called a state of arousal.

For me to get better, if I’m skiing, playing golf, speaking, selling or whatever it is you do, you’re not going to get better if you don’t get out over your skis to where you’re scared. You don’t want to be so scared that you can’t perform. There’s a curve there. You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. Anybody does, you go from one level to the next where the demands are different. It’s just different when you walk into an arena and know there are 10,000 people, 250,000 are watching live and Tony Blair or Jack Welch or somebody that’s there with you. It scares you enough to where you do better. I think we need to do things that trigger us out a little bit and then that becomes normal.

You have such important things that you cover in all of your work. It all tied into what I’m fascinated with, because I am interested in all the behavioral aspects of what makes people successful. 

For a long time, I’ve worked with CEOs and their companies and teams and develop programs for all this thing within them. About four or five years ago, technology had gotten to the place where I could put myself virtually into companies where I wasn’t there physically. I developed something called Leadership University. It’s an online platform that companies can scale. We’ve got big companies that take it, thousands of employees or an individual can take themselves through it. It goes through a lot of the components of leadership performance. A lot of times we don’t get trained in. I wanted to mention that because I’m so involved in there. If you go to LeadU.TV, it’s a fun program.

We take a leadership concept like the one we’re talking about now, for example, how you get to the next level. The Air Force invited me to come to speak to their fighter pilots. They wanted to take me up in an actual dogfight, which is a whole another story, but we filmed it. We went through the fighter pilot training. These are the best pilots in the world, how did they get to the next level of performance to where they can actually do these dog fights and this crazy stuff? It’s the science of how anybody, no matter what you’re doing, whether it’s selling or entrepreneurship or performing in a discipline or whatever, there’s this science of how the next level is reached. We take each concept and we do in the story around the world from the Audubon, to Japan, to Iditarod Alaska. It’s a fun series.

We need to do things that trigger us out a little bit until it becomes normal. Click To Tweet

I like it because it’s so different. There’s nothing like that at all. I taught classes so I know what’s out there.

What happened is I took all these concepts, we filmed it for a year. I’m in the studio and talking, we’re selling it to companies. They have all the assignments, it’s working great. Then my business partner called me and she said, “We’ve got to redo the whole thing.” I said, “What do you mean? We just spent a whole week.” She said, “Because it’s one more talking in front of a screen. The content’s great, but we’re going to do a TV show people actually want to watch.” That’s where the concept came from.

I hope you do something on curiosity for that. I want to see what science you guys unearth that I didn’t find if there’s anything unique. I’d love to see that.

There’s so much in there we could talk about that. Curiosity, I love it that it got much attention lately. If you think of Windows versus DOS, some people aren’t old enough to remember DOS. It’s the old code underneath the typing, it’s the operating system. What they did was they took all that complex operating system and they made icons. We don’t have to type commands for Microsoft Word, we just double click on the icon it works. That’s what curiosity does. When people start to work on curiosity what they’re actually working on is underneath the hood. There are lots of processes like cognitive processes assimilation, and accommodation is one of the main ones. We know the way that people are programmed to the next level is they have to be open enough to assimilate new data. Once they take the data in, they’ve got to be flexible enough to accommodate that new data in their map of the world.

For example, if you take a business example, let’s go back to Borders Bookstores. If you had told me a year before they went out of business that Borders wouldn’t exist anymore, I’ll say you’re crazy. In that landscape, you have a lot of data out there showing that people are moving to different ways of buying books. They want to order them online or download them. They want them to show at the door the next day. The data was available to somebody at Borders, when somebody says that they’re having a belief system to say, “That will never happen. Everybody loves bookstores.” They’re not taking that in, but somebody was taking that in and they were accommodating it. That’s what curiosity does. It makes people say, “What’s out there that I don’t know? What are my unknowns?” That’s where we grow.

That’s why I researched the things that hold people back because I think there are a lot of assessments out there that deal with whether you’re curious or not curious basic levels. There wasn’t anything that said, “This is what’s the problem.” I found out the fear, assumptions, technology, and the environment were the four main things. I wanted to see how can you improve. It’s one thing you’ve got to recognize it and to me, this is all the first step you mentioned being open. That closes you off. If you’re afraid you’re going to look stupid in a meeting, you’re not going to ask a question or if you had a bad relationship with your father, maybe that environment is affecting all these things. I would like to see it.

The other end of the environment or the other end of the spectrum is you think you already know them. You might be arrogant or prideful.

The way people grow to the next is they have to be open enough to assimilate new data. Click To Tweet

That is a big part for a lot of people. They think that they know and it’s going to be boring or they’re not going to be interested because they had a past experience doing something that they didn’t like. They’re at a whole different time of their life, there might be something they like. That’s a big problem with engagement. A lot of people are probably not aligned properly because they’ve never explored anything else and they’re just existing in whatever it is they found. What do you think about engagement issues like that?

I think it’s a big one because part of our engagement is based on our perceived need for the other. What am I going to engage if I don’t feel like I need something here? Once you get people in a space where they are seeing something, “There may be something here I need or I need to know. I didn’t know that. Where did they come up with that?” We’ve got a whole system that’s moving towards the company, towards the leader, towards the project and that engagement is a self-repeating loop of more and more curiosity and then that need gets met and then that one drives further curiosity. The more we can get them in proximity to that, which they think they already know and have experienced moments of not knowing, then that starts to break down some of those walls.

I don’t see a lot of that happening unfortunately in a business setting. I’d like to open up that dialogue more.

I think it’s one of the reasons why in some of the greatest leaders that I work with, one of the things are always doing if they’re in financial services. For example, they’re going out there and hanging out with people in healthcare or people in media. They’re making themselves get close to engaging with other models that their own little world has never caused them to see. You get these silos in companies and I just always say, “If you’re in R&D, go over there in marketing. If you are marketing people, you go over there in R&D.” When somebody is out there selling something, they better know how long it’s going to take to make them. They don’t do that, they’re not curious about anything but their own little world.

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance
Leadership And Performance: When somebody is out there selling something, they better know how long it’s going to take to make that right.


I had a guest on my show, I’m trying to remember the story of that or they went to a medical facility where they weren’t doing very good turnaround time and how efficient they were in. They actually went to a pit crew, how fast they could change out the tires in a speed racing. They actually had them come in and watch what they were doing to give them suggestions. They shaved off all time of what they were doing because they’re looking at it from a completely different perspective. We just don’t see enough of that.

When we were filming the Leadership University, I went to Alaska and gotten the helicopter. We went up on the glacier with the world record holder of the Iditarod Trail. He took the world’s record from a thousand-mile dog race from twenty-something days down to ten. I was talking to him about all that stuff. One of the things he did was he changed the shoelace count or something on the mittens for the paws of the dog so that each time they stopped, he could change the mittens three seconds faster per foot. That equals two hours over the course of a thousand hours. Most people think, “I’ve got to teach my dogs to run fast.”

It’s such thinking outside the box and so many people don’t know that. How do you develop that thinking?

You metaphorically get them off balance. There are two big processes they can do this. Some people are motivated by what they don’t have. In other words, you take a salesperson, a bad day is if I don’t sell $1 million more tomorrow. I haven’t figured out how I did it. You have other people that are motivated, a bad day is if I’m losing the account. Some people are motivated by getting more of whatever it is, more love, more security, more money, more position and more excitement. Other people are motivated by security needs, not losing what I have. If you take that in terms of positive and negative motivation to curiosity, then it’s important to get people in situations where they’re experiencing both.

A company thinks their product line is so great, take them and show him what somebody is doing better. You’re going to have some people, they’re going to get curious about, “If we don’t do that, we’re going to get killed and lose our customers.” Other people are going to think, “If we did that, I think we could go conquer the world.” You’ve got to give people the metaphorical bonk on the head. You’ve got to get them to wake up to realize there’s more out there and you are in danger. Both are true. Then there’s got to be some way of connecting with the engagement of that taps into something that’s inherently intrinsic about them, it’s gifts or their talents or their passions. You put all those together and then you got some real driven curiosity.

Do you see that younger generations are any more or less curious than Boomers versus Gen Z?

I’m not an expert in that but off the top of my head, I think there are some different dimensions. If you go to technology and you go to entertainment, and you go to art forms and you go to business models and all that, I think they are extremely more curious than previous generations. We used to live in a world that didn’t change much and the best people that won were the ones that executed the best in the known world. You may be Snapchat, but somebody down the road is developing something that’s going to put you out of business in a few years. The ability to go look at things is incredible.

In that instance, I think, yes. Politics is one example. There are a lot of things like this. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the right or the left conservative or liberal or whatever. I see it seems like that there’s such a for or against emotional valence. People from different perspectives aren’t getting curious about the other side. We can learn from each other. It troubles me a little bit about the division and the polarities and to start to listen to each other.

You’ve got such important information to share. I know your book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No-To Take Control of Your Life, you sold two million copies of it and it’s evolved into a five-part series. There’s a reason you’re so successful and I’m sure anybody can understand why. You’ve got quite a knowledge of all the literature and the background. I liked that you incorporate the science and everything behind it because I think that’s so important for foundational reasons and the way you tell the story is very easy to relate to. We could tell you’re a natural teacher. I enjoyed our conversation and I’m sure a lot of people want to know. I’m sure a lot of people want to know how to find out more.

The book I was talking about is The Power of the OtherYou can find that on Amazon or anywhere. If you go to, you’ll see there’s something called That’s a personal growth path and that’s relationships and personal growth. Then right under that, there’s Leadership University and that’s the online performance thing that I had going. Curiosity, I love it that you’ve got such a focus on that. To me, I’m a person of faith and I think that our infinite creator, we found ourselves in this world that has so much past what we know. If we’re curious about this creation and how it works and what’s next that we can’t see. If you have a fish in a pond, they think they know what they know. There’s a lot past the surface of the water. We’ve got to be curious.

Some people are motivated by what they don't have. Click To Tweet

Just watching one of those visuals of when they show the Earth and then they back up and then they back up and they back up. That humbles you right there, doesn’t it?

If that doesn’t do it, have a couple of teenage daughters.

It was so much fun having you on the show. Thank you and I’m so glad we got to connect again. This was wonderful.

I want to thank Dr. Henry Cloud. He’s always fascinating to me. I remember meeting him at Leadercast thinking, “This guy knows everything.” You could ask him anything and he had great insight on so much. I was looking forward to it because I think a lot of what he was saying about curiosity is so important to the research I’ve done. He makes it so simple to understand. I think that there are these four major factors to what holds us back from having our curiosity at its fullest level. They’re fear, assumptions, technology and environment. I created the Curiosity Code Index, the CCI, which will give you a level for each of those areas and where you can work on different things to improve. That’s what I think is important because once you can focus in on the things that impact you, then you know, “This is something that maybe I could tweak here and maybe have come up with a plan to overcome here.” That was my main focus.

Dr. Cloud adds so much great content that I’m going to have to include in some of this stuff. I think that there’s so much to be learned about the importance of curiosity, its impact on not just engagement but productivity, innovation and there’s just so many involved. If you want to know more about the book, Cracking the Curiosity Code, and Curiosity Code Index Assessment, you can find out about both of them at

If you have any information that you’d like to know more about the curiosity assessment, you can contact me through my site. I think a lot of consultants and HR professionals could benefit from becoming certified to give the CCI Assessment. There’s nothing like it. There’s a lot of assessment out there that deal with whether you’re not, you’re curious, to tell just basic yes or no, I am curious. There’s nothing that focuses on what is driving my curiosity? How can I improve it? What action plan can I create? If you do those things, you’re opening up communication to improve engagement and innovation and all the things we mentioned. That it’s such an important amount of research and I tell you it took years of a lot of hard work to come up with this.

One thing that I was determined to figure out these four factors, even if it required learning factor analysis and statistics to do that, is because I think we needed to visualize these things for leadership. There are so many great assessments out there for emotional intelligence or for engagement or for soft skills. There’s nothing like this. If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive information it’s in I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Dr. Henry Cloud

TTL 263 | Leadership And Performance

Dr. Henry Cloud is an acclaimed leadership expert and best-selling author. Drawing on his extensive experience in business, leadership consulting, and clinical psychology, to impart practical and effective advice for improving leadership skills and business performance. Dr. Cloud has written or co-written over 40 books, which have sold nearly 10 million copies, including “Boundaries for Leaders”. His leadership book, Integrity by the New York Times as “the best book in the bunch.” In 2011, Necessary Endings was called “the most important book you read all year.” Dr. Cloud’s work has been featured and reviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.

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