The success of a company is determined by the strength of the people working behind it. An empowered workforce is one that is productive, effective, and happy. These attributes can only be maintained if the organization continuously checks for pain and adversities within the teams, the management, the leadership and the administrative level. Identifying those adversities and mistakes early on and leveraging challenges into learning opportunities contributes to the bigger picture of success for the company and for every individual behind it.
We have to very successful women authors. We have Sharon Lechter who is the co-author of the international bestseller series Rich Dad, Poor Dad. She’s also part of the Napoleon Hill Foundation that asked her reenergized the teachings of Napoleon Hill in the Think and Grow Rich series. She’s very successful and she’s a very interesting woman. After that, we’ll be speaking to Michelle Tillis Lederman who is named one of Forbes Top 25 Networking Experts. She has three books including The 11 Laws of Likeability and her latest is Nail the Interview, Land the Job. She’s been on just about every national, syndicated program you can imagine from NBC, CBS, Fox and Gayle King. I’m really looking forward to talking to both of these guests.
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Leveraging Challenges into Learning Opportunities with Sharon Lechter
I am with Sharon Lechter. She is a keynote speaker and a business strategist and mentor and she’s an elite entrepreneur. She is the bestselling author, philanthropist, business strategist, mentor, licensed CPA, a mother, grandmother, and the list goes on. In 1997, Sharon co-authored the international best seller series, Rich Dad, Poor Dad along with fourteen other books in the Rich Dad series. Over ten years as CEO, she led the Rich Dad Company and brand into international powerhouse. In 2008, she was asked by Napoleon Hill Foundation to help reenergize the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill just as the international economy was faltering. She’s released three bestselling books in cooperation with the foundation including Think and Grow Rich, Three Feet from Gold, Outwitting the Devil and her latest project Think and Grow Rich for Women which was released in 2014. It’s such an honor to have you here, Sharon. Welcome.
Absolutely thrilled to be with you. I appreciate the opportunity.
If you look at your Wikipedia site for you, it’s pages and pages. Even though I tell my students, never look at Wikipedia because it’s actually pretty amazing that you have such a following and what you’ve done with all these books. It’d be hard to think of a single person that hasn’t been read at least one of your books. There is one good thing about when we get older that we do have experiences and you probably had more experiences in a shorter period of time than most people I’ve ever met. I can’t imagine what this is like to go through the success just starting with the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series. Did you expect it to take off like that?
When we wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it was written as a brochure. Our company just wander around our board game Cashflow. If we’re going to have this extensive board game, we need to have a brochure that explains it. We wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad expecting it to be literally a marketing brochure for the game. The world basically said, “No, your brand is not Cashflow. Your brand is Rich Dad.” We were Rich Dad, Poor Dad and then not anticipating a series of books. That turned into the first three which was our trilogy, which was Rich Dad, Poor Dad: Cashflow Quadrant and Guide to Investing. Then we thought, “That’s three books were done.” In the ten years, we rebuilt the company with CEO. We did fifteen books and then I started the second, a whole series of advisor books. The evolution took its own course.
Thrive Time for Teens, is that your board game?
Yes. The original game from Rich Dad Cashflow is an adult game. I created a CASHFLOW for Kids which is for really young children. When I left Rich Dad and started my company, we really need something for those teens ages twelve to twenty to allow them to see what happens in life and the choices they make and the importance of managing not just their money but their time. The fact that every decision you make can drive you to success or not. I’ve created a Thrive Time for Teens. I’m really proud of it.
I see you do a lot with younger generations and I think that’s just amazingly important. I’ve written some books and I have had someone that want me to write books for a youth because they didn’t have personal finance skills, and I almost did. It was part way through it and I went in a different direction. I really think that they are so much needed at a young age. How do you get them interested at that age though?
Part of it is making it fun. The kids and teenagers alike don’t want to be lectured to. You want to have it all basic on the experiential learning and have some humor in it because then they have fun and learning is the byproduct. Currently, I’m working on Think and Grow Rich for Kids and for the Next Generation which will be then those 20 year olds. It’s pretty exciting time and hopefully I’ll get those on the next few months. I want to make sure we get that information that really intrigues them so they want to learn it and don’t feel like they’re being lectured to.
What age group would read that book?
The Rich Dad for Kids will be targeted. That’s going to be for like eight to fifteen year olds. Then Next Generation will be for teenagers all the way up to 30 year olds. It’s really targeted for the millennials.
You target so many interesting groups. You have Think and Grow Rich for Women, how is that different from just Thinking Grow Rich? What different aspects did you have to incorporate for women specifically?
That’s usually the first question, why a book for women? In fact, that’s the first line in the book, “Why a book for women?” I was one of the very first women in public accounting when I started. If you think back about the original book Think and Grow Rich, it was released in 1937. There were no women in business then. The concepts in that book while they’re as applicable today as they were back then. In writing the book, Napoleon Hill drew examples and interviews from men. I still feel the steps to success with the same for men and women, but we tend to look at them a little differently. In Think and Grow Rich for Women, I follow the exact same chapter outline that Napoleon Hill did in the original Think and Grow Rich. Each chapter I start with a synopsis of this principle. I talked about how I’ve used that principle in my life and my journey, but then I interview successful women who have created success in their lives and their businesses. That can be attributed to those principles. It gives a woman the ability to see different aspects of these steps to success through the eyes of other successful women. I have over 300 women in the book and various quotes from women at the end of each chapter as well.
I’m part of setting up the speaker series for the Forbes School of Business. We were always looking for very successful women because we had more women than men students. That would be a book that would be excellent to share with the students. I am very interested in looking at that in more depth because I think that there needs to be a lot more focus. Because there are some differences and that’s quite an amazing thing to be picked to work with the book that’s been referred to as the most important financial book ever written. What is it like to be part of that?
The largest personal finance brand in the world and then to be asked to step into the largest personal development brand in the world is a little too humbling for me. It’s a huge honor. I read Think and Grow Rich when I was nineteen. I had no idea the impact it would have on me until I was in my 30s. It’s an incredible book and it’s just been such an honor. The second book you mentioned, Outwitting the Devil, when I got the call to look at that manuscript, that’s a manuscript that Napoleon Hill himself wrote in 1938. He would have just released Think and Grow Rich, it was wildly successful, but he was depressed because he said, “Even though people know what they’re supposed to do to become successful, they don’t do it.”
He sat down and wrote this book Outwitting the Devil and the title scared his wife so much that she forbid it from being published. It was locked away in vault for almost 75 years. I had the awesome opportunity to review it and annotate it comparing the time today to the time back then to bring it out. What we’ve accomplished there’s so many young people under the age of 50 who don’t even know who Napoleon Hill is. Through this book, Outwitting the Devil, it’s little in your face. It’s a little irreverent. All talks about fear and how we hold ourselves back to cripple ourselves. Through the opportunity of bringing this out, we truly have hit the cord with that younger generation.
You’re really a standout in this area with most of the main authors aren’t from this area. I’m wondering, what was your background? How did you get to this point?
I started my career as a CPA. Interestingly enough, I started out in the financial arena. I’m still a CPA, so I’m still very much involved with the National Association for AICP, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. I served on their national financial literacy commission, but I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug in a very, very young age, 25. I had been building companies ever since, if you’re familiar with kids’ books that have sound strips across them. I started that industry with the inventor and regrew that globally back in the ‘80s. Then we relocated to Arizona back in ’91. We’ve been here for 26 years. Have had several different companies and still we have a ranch in urban Arizona. Fast forward a few years, that’s when I wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad and that literally, that was in ’97.This next week we’ll be celebrating 20th Anniversary of Rich Dad, the initial publication of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Along that line, along that journey, after ten years building that is when I got the call from President Bush to be on the President’s Advisory Council for financial literacy. We were able to pass Credit Card Bill that prevents credit card companies from soliciting kids on college campuses.
You do a lot of philanthropic work. Actually, one of my first bosses was married to Linda Pope who used to do a lot of work here in the valley. I know that she did a lot of work with children and you’re interested in all that. I’m curious what groups you work with now?
Yes, I had been on the National Board for Child Health for many, many years probably fifteen years or more. It’s the largest organization against child abuse or if you’re trying to treat our children as far as prevention of child abuse. I’m also involved with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Have written a book with them and done other things to support on the financial literacy commission. I’m also on the National Board for Women Presidents Organization and have probably been on that board for over ten years. Then I’ve also been very supportive of the Kidney Foundation here and the Heart Association and Children’s Hospital. Those are for profit for physicians. I’m also on the Advisory Board for Bank 34, a bank just recently come to Arizona.
Did you work with Erma Bombeck back then when she was part of all that?
I never had the opportunity to meet Erma. Some of her dear friends are dear friends of mine. You mentioned Linda Pope was one of my very closest friends and Linda is the one who started the Dancing with the Stars and I was right next to her helping her with that the first few years. She was a huge asset for our community.
You do so much. She did so much. It’s really inspiring to see what you’ve been able to accomplish. We have a lot of women audience in this show, what advice do you give them to follow in these footsteps? What would you do if you could tell somebody how to write these types of impactful books? What’s different?
I guess the questions what are they looking to do. Are they looking to give back through participating in a nonprofit or are they looking at building a business. Typically, we all have passions. We talked about do what you love, love what you do. My passion is starting a business came from anger. That can also come from anger. I was mad that we weren’t teaching our kids about money in school. Think about what it is that gets you going, get you riled up. That’s what it gives you that ongoing energy and passion to keep moving forward. The most successful businesses do one of two things, solve the problem or serve a need. The problem that you want to solve or a need that you want to serve and form a business around it and allow yourself to be successful. From the success that you reap you can use that to give back and focus on righting the wrong. It’s the circle of life the more you give, the more you shall receive and as you receive you can give more it’s a full circle.
I meet a lot of people that are more into self-publishing these days than in the past when you started writing. Have you ever considered having your own line and just self-publishing?
My husband and I own a publishing company called TechPress and we were the original publishers for the first two Rich Dad books before the demand got so large that we had to go with a Big House. We self-published through TechPress as well as have used many multiple of the Big House. I teach a course, I help people self-publish. I think we talk about a book is the new business card in order to establish your expertise in your area. The beauty of electronic books, eBooks now is you don’t have to have 50,000, 60,000 words. You can do a new electronic book that’s 20, 30 pages long as long as it’s not all self-promotion. Therefore you can become an author. It’s never been easier to be an author.
It’s not tough to be an author. The hard part is actually getting the book sales. What advice would you give people for that part?
The publishers do not take the marketing responsibility. As an author, it’s the platform. I talk about the three-legged stool. One is your book, your product or your service. One is your platform meaning your exposure in the world, your social media, your database, the power of your associations, people that will help you promote it. The third one is your ability to communicate, your ability to do interviews like this one, and you have to be relentless in your promotion, particularly it’s so much easier to sell books today because everything’s online. When we first released Rich Dad, Poor Dad, there was no Amazon so people had to get in their cars and go to the store to buy a book. Few things have changed dramatically but for young authors today, you have tremendous opportunities. You just have to understand that you must promote and promote and establish that platform through giving free materials, blog, your website. It’s so important to continue supporting your initiative through giving free content, and then people will want to buy the book.
A lot of people do give a little bit of content for opt-in pieces and you can connect with people in so many ways now. Social media has become complicated but yet useful way for people to build their platforms. I remember when I was writing my first book, it was all platform. That’s all the publishers cared about was, “What’s your platform?” New authors don’t realize that that’s so important when you go with a regular publisher and you can build your platform and write your book at the same time now which is not as easily. I’m sure somewhere along the way you had to make some mistakes. Everybody seems to have made some mistakes. Is there anything you regret or that did it all help you become what you have made today?
Life is a journey and you make mistakes and I teach not to use the term mistakes, they’re learning opportunities. You find ways the things don’t work so that you can focus on how to make it work. I had a talking book company after that was hugely successful ones that failed miserably. We always learned ways to do things and then the process we learn ways how not to do things. Napoleon Hill said it best, “Out of every adversity comes a seed of an equal or greater benefit.”When I made the decision to leave public accounting, I can tell you today it is still the worst business decision I’ve ever made in my life. If I had not made that decision, I would never have met my husband. We are celebrating 37 years of marriage. I got instant gratification, a seed of an equal greater benefit was immediately recognizable. Sometimes it takes us years to figure out what that benefit is from a mistake or from an adversity. Each and every day, that’s part of what life is made of perfection is an unrealistic focus.
It’s so interesting how just one decision you make can impact your entire life. I had a choice of two jobs and one day Kelly Girlingback in the past. Just that one job I went to work for Linda Pope’s husband instead of going to work for the West Lyon Realty. One decision like that, you have no idea what that does. All of the years, your kids, your husband, everything you do from that point. It’s always fascinating to me to look back and see the one decision that people made that really sent something rolling in a different direction. I find it interesting you said it was a bad decision to leave being a CPA. Why do you think that?
No, it had nothing to do with leaving the CPA side. I don’t ever regret to become an entrepreneur. I was 25 and at 25, we know everything. One of my clients had enticed me to go leave public accounting then go into a company with them. At that time, I was working crazy, crazy hours and I said, “If I’m going to work this hard, I should work to myself not for someone else.”That was a sound decision. The problem was when we got to this other company, it was a company that had been in bankruptcy that we were combining with new technology and taking over the company. We found all kinds of corruption. I stepped into a situation that was like a cesspool problems and being a young CPA, I’m like going, “Oh my God. I’ll lose my license. What’s going on?” I literally ran away for a week to get my head straight to figure out what I was going to do. When I came back, the attorneys in this company had been involved in the lawsuit and they accompany, the attorneys of the lawsuit were there. My husband was representing the other side, but we were introduced and it was love at first sight and the rest is history.
That’s a nice way of ending the story here. I really appreciate you giving all this information. A lot of people would like to know how to find out more about you and your books and everything. Can you tell everybody how they could reach you?
Please join me at SharonLechter.com, and you can see my podcasts there, all my free content. I would love to hear from everybody and enjoy. I do a blog every week so you can sign up to get the blogs. It’s my pleasure and my honor to participate in this with you. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity,
The honor’s all mine. I’m so glad you were here, Sharon.
I would love to come back. Thank you.
Leveraging Challenges into Learning Opportunities with Michelle Tillis Lederman
I’m with Michelle Tillis Lederman who was named one of Forbes Top 25 networking experts. She’s the author of three books including The 11 Laws of Likeability and her latest Nail the Interview, Land the Job. Michelle is the CEO of Executive Essentials which provides custom communication and leadership training and coaching programs. Michelle has appeared on NBC, CBS, Fox, Gayle King and NPR, and it has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Working Mother, US News and World Report, Monster USA, Today, CNBC and About. She holds degrees from Lehigh University and Columbia Business School. It’s so nice to have you here, Michelle.
It’s a pleasure.
We’ve had a chance to chat a little bit in the past, but I really haven’t had a real good chance to get to know all that you do with your company. I would like to know a little bit more about what you do and tell me what’s your main business?
I feel like I have two lives but if we’re focused on the Executive Essential business, that is where we will come in and figure out where the pain is a within your teams, within your management, within your leadership, and even all the way down to the administrative level. We work with all levels of the organization to improve productivity, workplace effectiveness, and actually happiness on the job
You’re talking engagement and how much emotional feeling they have to wanting to go to work and that type of thing when you talk about happiness on the job?
Yeah, the program it’s called the Relationship-driven Leader. If you look at the statistics around loyalty and engagement and retention and turnover and the costs, all those things. The reason why they’re happening, it tends to be the relationships they have with not just their boss, but the entire leadership, their view of leadership. Very simple things can be done within an organization that start shifting that and approving those statistics within your team or within your firm. We want to get people from the buy to I’d do anything for you.
I was watching a few videos I’ve had other people on my show that discuss engagement. The numbers are bad. We’ve got like a quarter who are engaged and then you’ve got about 60% that are just walking around half in to it. We have really bad numbers out there. I’ve heard some people say that the disengage, the absolute bottom quarter of the people that no matter what, there’s just not a lot you can do with certain people. Do you agree with that?
I’m not sure I do agree with that. I think it’s more than just engagements. I think that there’s a lot of aspects that contribute to job satisfaction. We engage because of the work itself. We engage because of the people that we were working with. We want to find purpose within our work, but we also want to feel do we understand how our work contributes to the bigger picture. We want to understand what’s happening in the organization and we want to feel recognized and appreciated for the work that we’re doing. There’s actually the top three aspects of job satisfaction at the employee level and understanding attitudes of the boss. That relationship we’ve been talking about. The transparency, understanding how my work has impact, and the third is recognition and appreciation.
Those aren’t paychecks, those aren’t titles, those aren’t offices. Those are things that can cause dissatisfaction but not necessarily satisfaction. With job satisfaction, do you get that productivity, you get that engagement, you get that invested employee that will go above and beyond for the customer, for the client, for their coworker.
Do you think that some people are just in the wrong jobs and that’s what the problem is that maybe they’ve just need to be in some other part of the company?
How do you determine that?
There’s some interesting assessments that we’ve done within organizations around your natural preference. Have you heard the MBTI and DISC all these surveys? All of them talk about this is your personality style. The one I use is actually around this is your thinking preference and with that thinking preference is this is how I like to approach work. This is how I like to you corroborate. This is how I like to make decisions. This is what influences me. It really has a lot of impact and sometimes what we’ll do is we’ll take both the preferences and the skill. I have a perfect example of this. I’m a recovering CPA. I spent a decade in the finance world and I was very good at my job. I ended up with a corner office overlooking the New York Stock Exchange. I am photographic for numbers and I’m highly analytic. I have the skill, but it did not match my preference. What happens with our employees is we see that they’re good at something and we should giving them more, but we never asked them if that’s what they enjoy.
Then you end up at the Peter Principle promoting that.
People leave because they’re like, “I don’t like this. I’m good at it doesn’t mean I’m enjoying it.”
I had that same thing when I was in pharmaceutical sales. I have the sales skills, but it really wasn’t what I enjoyed doing. I love sales in certain aspects, but not that type of sales. You get to the point where you think this is just not meant for me and I’m very interested in your personality assessments. I’m a certified emotional intelligence and MBTI in a few different assessment instructors. Does yours do the dichotomy type of thing like MBTI where you could be either thinker, feeler and all that kind of thing?
It’s more of a spectrum so I’m also MBTI certified and social side. I got them all as well. There’s some mapping that can be done two different assessments. MBTI is very interesting but sometimes difficult for people to absorb it quickly and to be able to use it as a shorthand. I find the DISC survey is a little bit limiting when it’s just four letters. It feels a little bit pigeon holed and sometimes a little insulting because people don’t always want to be called, “I’m conscientious. I’m dominant.”It doesn’t really feel so good whereas this one uses a little bit more of a color scheme. It’s basically based on neuroscience. The way the assessment results, it’s a pie chart and I believe it’s 300 forms that can be allocated across the pie. Each color red, green, yellow and blue will each get a certain score. You can’t have a zero. It’s not like these things exist in you. That’s one of the reasons I like it because what you start to see is that it’s a spectrum, it’s a variation. Then you can peel back a layer and we had the eight dimensions. Each quadrant, each color breaks down into two more pieces and it gives you nuance that I think is not as complicated to interpret as the MBTI, but it is amazing how accurate it can be.
Is it like the management by strengths have you seen theirs? It’s a color assessment and you can see how people have portions of this and portions of that. I like that.
Yes, I’ve done this with the Department of Environmental Protection I think we’re going on our fourth year. Most of the organization at this point at least 2,000 to 3,000 people in the organization have taken it. They have pins and people will walk around with their color pins and it’s become an organizational shorthand where it’s like I think we need a yellow for this or, “Your blue is getting a little too blue for us right now.”
We had to do that at a company. We had to place our results and I was a green which was more of an extrovert. It was very helpful because you knew the blue people didn’t like to be pushed. You didn’t just say, “I have something on her desk,” and say, “I need this yesterday.” Is it like that so you know how to approach people?
Absolutely. One of the things I do when I’m training in this program is I talk about what is my vested advice if you want to build a relationship. Because at the end of the day, one of the things that I have foundationally in all of the work I do is about relationship and connection and understanding that in today’s world it is the relationships that are going to further your career, your business, your results. When we are dealing with a red and a blue which are opposite styles, the red is more relationship based, the blue is more results based. I will tell the red, “Get to the point with them.”Here’s some of the things that you want to do. You want to actually be a little bit more of assertive. You want to speak with confidence. Whereas with the blue, I’ll say, “Build a relationship with them.” If you want them to stop being overly sensitive and misinterpreting you, then take a few minutes and get to know them on a deeper level.
Your colors are interesting because they’re the reverse what the color test I’ve taken in the past, the reds were the directs and the blues were the calmer people. It’s helpful. I think it makes people visualize. I think a lot of people don’t realize how they come across to others and that’s what made me interested in emotional intelligence, the interpersonal skills and all the things you deal with. I think are really important in and it leads to likability which is what I’m interested in talking to you about is your 11 laws of Likeability. What are those? Tell me a little bit about that.
Probably we don’t have time to go through eleven but we actually be talking about the styles are in the book in Chapter Two called The Law of Self-image and The Law of Perception follows it up. It’s understanding how you see yourself and then how others see you. In the book, instead of using colors, we use shapes. The straight line which in my world is the blue. The circle, the zigzag and the angle. You understand why those shapes are those shapes; for the people person is the circle. We’re all connected. The zigzag is the tangential thinker, that’s the creative. The angle is somebody who is very much of a planner, the process person. A straight line is like get me here to there as quickly as possible. They are the very direct. It’s understanding, “This is getting clearer of how I see myself,” because you have to like you first. If we’re talking about likability, if you don’t like you, how can you expect somebody else to like you?
What if they like themselves more than other people could like them?
It’s not saying with you is everything about yourself but understand that you accept what I call your unique charm. We all have our “unique charms” and it’s not saying, “This is who I am just deal with it.” It’s saying, ” I know when I need to pull that in and reign that in. I’m aware of it. It’s never going to go away, but I can manage it.”
That’s really interesting and I think books like that are really helpful for people. You have another book, don’t you? The Connectors Club, is that coming out soon? Tell me about that.
That’s the fourth book. My last book that just came out called Nail the Interview, Land the Job and I’m currently working on a book called The Connectors Club: Why Members Get All The Perks And How To Become One. I’m doing research right now so I have a survey. The survey is to help define the anatomy of the connector. What are the behaviors, attributes, characteristics, and mindset as somebody who has this connection tendency so that other people can learn how to infuse some of those behaviors and attributes and characteristics into their own relationship building for improved results.
More relationships at work or are you talking networking, social networking?
I don’t differentiate. I don’t think there’s a difference between social and professional networking. Our network are the people that we have relationships with however they were formed and however they lead. That is our network. It can be people at the campus and somebody able to camp with is now the president of this financial services firm. We’ll pick his brain on money matters. Yes, of course I will. Somebody also wants to camp with is a neuro developmental psychologist. When my son was put on the spectrum, it’s fifteen months, he was my first phone call. It’s understanding and really knowing and building relationship because when you have that relationship, that phone call’s very easy.
Reading about networking, I love all that. Some people are just so good at it. I’ve worked in sales for most of my life. I’ve been around a lot of people that are really great at it. A lot of people freeze up. They don’t really know how to do it. What’s your best advice to get them past that initial fear?
I actually have a piece in the book called Good news for the Introverts. I don’t think there was a right way to network. I think it’s a mindset and the subtitle of the 11 Laws of Likeability is relationship networking because people do business with people they like. It is to build relationships for your professional results, but also personal. You don’t have to do it the way it looks for everybody else. Extroverts although they seem more comfortable, might not always be applying the skills that really lead the relationship because the one-on-one is where the relationship is formed. Listening which is the skill of introvert. What I will say is we have had three mental shift to go from this networking thing that’s yucky, to relationship networking was just making friends. It doesn’t feel so ucky. Shift number one is we’re going to shift from talking just about business, what do you do to talking about anything; what kind of dog do you have? Where are you going on vacation? Broadening and finding those points of connection with similarity which is where connections formed. Shift number two is from the short term to the long term. We’re not just, “I need a job. I will now go out to my network.” It’s building and nurturing and maintaining relationships over the long term.
You can contact these people you would’ve never been able to in the past.
You don’t know who they’re married to or who their neighbor are, who their best friend is. When you have a relationship and you make an ask, they might be able to help you because they have another relationship. That’s how things are happening today. The third shift is it’s not about you and people are like, ” I’ll make it all without them.” No, because they’re now making it about themselves. It’s about the relationships about the two, the interaction between the two. It’s really important not to individualize of me, me, me or you, you, you. You want that exchange. With those shifts, we are just out there having conversations, applying curiosity, which is not with the laws looking for similarities and other one with the laws. When we talk about the laws of likability, what we’re talking about is what drives likability, what drives connection. You can’t make somebody like you, but if you understand what enables people to see what’s likable about you, then you know how to present your best self and make it possible for people to find those points of connection.
You deal with all these different groups obviously with all your coaching and training and everything, speaking and your very diverse business. How do you deal with the connections that you hear about all the time that millennials and boomers have issues connecting really well together? What do you tell people in those groups that are having conflict? They just don’t seem to connect really well. I have a lot of people that want to hire consultants. How do you work with millennials, but is it really the millennials or is it the boomer conflict with the millennials? What’s the issue there you think?
It actually happens across all generations. We’ve actually lost a generation in the verbiage nowadays. There’s a generation why that no longer gets talked about. They unfolded into either X or millennial. If you actually look at the research of the generations from radio babies to boomers to X to Y to millennials. There are five generations in the workplace. Each of them has a different value system. If you ask the question, what is the things that you remember from your childhood that you know exactly where you were at the moment it happened? You can remember everything about it. It’s going to be a different answer for X, Y, and millennial and start to crunch those generations, you lose some of the nuance there. For my mother it was JFK getting shot. For me it was the challenger pulling up.
My sister was the JFK thing was huge for her too and there’s different levels. I’m a boomer but I’m close to the X. It’s hard to put everybody in boxes just like it is with the color test and everybody’s going to have variations of different differences. It’s just so many companies. It’s such a topic of conversation if you go to any of these events. I know you speak in a lot of events and we’ve talked to you because you speak for big companies and you were going to speak for us at Forbes. We really like to know what you would tell new graduates, for example, at the Forbes School of Business, we’ve got a lot of older students and Gen X and all the different generations actually. If they’ve gone back to school and they’re just trying to recreate their career. What do you think is some good advice for them of what they need to do once they graduate?
When they talk about these different generations and that we’re talking about the values. What we need to understand is we have different priorities, they’re not right or wrong. The one piece of advice that you’re talking about this it came to my mind is assumed positive intent. It’s a very difficult thing to do. If you have a boomer and a millennial or an X and a Y or whatever it might be coming together to work, we come in with preconceived notions and expectations. A lot of times they’re not positive. We’ve been treat somebody if our assumptions are correct. If we instead stay opened to being wrong, stay opened to building and forming more slowly. Like coming from the curiosity versus conclusion, our impression and we assume positive intent. Millennials like flexibility. That’s for slacker. It’s not that they don’t have responsibility or liability. You have to make a choice around how you’re interpreting behaviors and actions.
You tell them they got to be there 8:00 to 5:00.They feel like they’re caged. It’s not that they wouldn’t work as hard, but that’s just not how they think. Older generations are used to working that way. How do you get the older generations to rethink that?
It’s not rethinking and again remember this goes to the shift number three. We have to make shifts to the individual relationships not into the organization. We can’t shift an entire generation but what we can do is if I’m working and my boss is a boomer and I’m a millennial. I would say, “What’s most important to you? Here are some things that are important to me. Where is there room for flexibility? How can I show you the things that you need to see?” You start to develop that working relationship. It’s coming through questions not demand.
How did you get involved in all this, Michelle? I’m just curious to personality tests and all that. What led to that?
I went and studied finance and I was a minor in writing communications. I never saw the career in that and I’m working for a bank. I’m managing about$100 million of capital for the bank investing in hedge funds and they’re coming in and pitching. I’m sitting across and I’m going, “Can I explain how to do this?” I was thinking, that’s not how you put a deck together. That’s not how you should be sitting. I started to see the need for all of this and really the foundation of every interaction and communication and that’s where my expertise was built. That was what I studied and I continued to expand that study and started to make that shift from finance to entrepreneurship from my left side of the brain to my right side.
It’s interesting because you’ve become so successful. What do you think made you get to this level? Was there one thing that you can point to that puts you to the next step to this level?
I think that was a big shift in my company, my career after the first book came out. That definitely was a turning point where I went from having a nice practice with maybe a couple of people on my team, to having a business with 20 to 30 people on my team, and going out and doing keynotes all over the world.
It’s interesting when you say that about the book because I had Sharon Lechter on recently that Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Napoleon Hill revisions of all those books. She’s as famous as you can as a writer these days. She said that she thought that having a book is the new business card. I thought, “I hadn’t really put it in those words.” Do you think that people really need to get a book these days to network properly?
No. I do think that it is a differentiating factor and the more people think of it as a business card, the less differentiation it will have because it’s easier. My first book was traditionally published with the advance and it took three years from contract to shelf. It wasn’t very long process. My second book was a different publisher. It was a lot faster. It’s interesting with the self-publishing options that are out there that it’s great that more people can get their intellectual property and their thinking out there which is great. I think if everyone and their sister had a book, then it becomes noisier and it becomes less significant. I think for people who are in a thought leadership feels, it is helpful. If you’re internally to accompany, don’t think about that. That’s not where you are. To say that it’s like a business card I think is very industry job kind of function specific to thought leaders
I think she probably meant networking field or that type of thing. I think that it is fascinating how easy it is to self-publish now and it’s becoming more popular. You just have so much control over what you do. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the writing industry after this. You obviously have been on every list with all your books, so I’m really anxious to see your book. I would like to know how people can reach you and find out more about everything that you offer. Can you share that?
The best place to start is going to my website which is MichelleTillisLederman.com. From there you can get to my YouTube channel. You can get to my LinkedIn, you can get my professional Facebook page, not the friend one. You don’t want to see what my hair looked like in the ‘80s. My blog is on that website, so there’s loads of articles, there’s lots of articles on my LinkedIn page. It also has some giveaways. If you go to my website, MichelleTillisLederman.com/GiftPack. You can get a free networking assessment. You can get a Chapter Two of my books. You can get an interview checklist, there is loads of stuff. There’s a video series on success accelerators.
That’s great, Michelle. It’s so nice of you to offer so much stuff to people for free. Thank you for being on the show.
Thank you so much Sharon and Michelle for being my guest. I really enjoyed talking about your books and successful stories. I think that there’s so much to be gained from going to your sites and I hope everybody takes some time to check out their books and their information because these are two of the most successful women. I really appreciate having you guys on the show.
About Sharon Lechter
Sharon Lechter is a keynote speaker and as a business strategist and mentor, is an elite entrepreneur. She is a bestselling author, philanthropist, business strategist mentor, licensed CPA, and a mother and grandmother. In 1997 Sharon co-authored the international bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, along with 14 other books in the Rich Dad series. Over 10 years as CEO she led the Rich Dad Company and brand into an international powerhouse. In 2008 she was asked by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to help re-energize the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill just as the international economy was faltering. She has released three bestselling books in cooperation with the Foundation, including Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet from Gold, Outwitting the Devil and her latest project, Think and Grow Rich for Women, released in June of 2014.
About Michelle Tillis Lederman
Michelle Tillis Lederman named one of Forbes Top 25 Networking Experts, is the author of three books including The 11 Laws of Likability and her latest Nail the Interview, Land the Job. Michelle is the CEO of Executive Essentials, which provides custom communication and leadership training and coaching programs. Michelle has appeared on NBC, CBS, Fox, Gayle King, and NPR and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Working Mother, US News & World Report, Monster.com, USA Today, CNBC, and About.com. She holds degrees from Lehigh University and Columbia Business School. Connect with Michelle on Twitter and Facebook.
- Sharon Lechter
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Napoleon Hill Foundation
- Think and Grow Rich
- Michelle Tillis Lederman
- The 11 Laws of Likeability
- Nail the Interview, Land the Job
- Rich Dad Company
- Three Feet from Gold
- Outwitting the Devil
- Think and Grow Rich for Women
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad: Cashflow Quadrant and Guide to Investing
- Thrive Time for Teens
- CASHFLOW for Kids
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Women Presidents Organization
- Executive Essentials