Leadership is not just about leading people but also building a relationship with them. That is the best way to lead according to Robin Dreeke, a retired FBI agent, speaker, and author. Robin shares his experience as a leader by starting with the day he was forced into leadership. He talks about some concepts from his book, The Code of Trust, and offers techniques in developing trust to move forward and build a healthy relationship.
Highly sought-after digital strategist
, Nathan Kievman brings a no-nonsense business approach to digital and social strategies, which is that evolving to be a better entrepreneur is the key way to meet any client’s needs. His company, Linked Strategies, is a consulting firm that specializes in measurable client and talent acquisition campaigns, helping companies from around the world find the fastest path to their target market today and then keeping those clients for life. Today, Nathan shares how he got to be an expert in this area, what he’s doing to help organizations, and the near death experience that changed his life.
We have Robin Dreeke and Nathan Kievman. Robin is a trainer, author. He’s an Inc. Top 100 Speaker. He’s also a retired chief of FBI Behavioral Analysis program. He’s done some fascinating things in so many different areas. Nathan also known as Nate Kievman is a world-renowned demand generation and LinkedIn expert. He’s a strategist and executive engagement specialist and he can get you connected to the C-Suite.
Listen to the podcast here
The Code Of Trust With Robin Dreeke
I am here with Robin Dreeke who is a retired FBI agent, speaker and author. He is unique in that and his code of trust was originally developed by him in order to build relationships and trust with national adversaries. It’s an interesting story that you have, Robin. I’m happy to have you. This is going to be so fascinating.
Thanks, Diane. Likewise. When I read your bio, it’s like, “We’ve done a lot of very similar things.” Just apply them in different ways.
We’ll have to talk about those things. Why don’t you give me a little on your background for those who haven’t read about you?
I laugh when I say it because to me it’s comical. I went to the United States Naval Academy. I graduated there. From there, I went to the United States Marine Corps and then the Marine Corps, the last thing I did was I was a series of company commander of Parris Island, South Carolina. From there, I came to the FBI in 1997. I worked nothing but counterintelligence my entire career. I was assigned to the New York Field Office. I was in New York during 9/11. From there I went to Norfolk, Virginia FBI headquarters. I was in management there. From there, I went to Quantico. For most of my time, I was on our behavioral analysis program for counterintelligence.
I eventually took over as chief of the behavioral analysis program for counterintelligence. It’s funny to me because that is nothing but a hardcore type-A hard charger. If you’re going to work in the world of counterintelligence, my job was recruiting foreign spies. If you have that type-A attitude, you’re going to fail majestically because it’s the toughest sales job on the face of the planet because I’m selling a product, which is patriotism, to someone who doesn’t want to buy it. It’s illegal for me to talk to them. They’ve done nothing illegal to compel them to talk to me, yet I have to sell this product. You either get good at relationship building and building trust or you fail. I was lucky I was surrounded by some fantastic individuals that had this art form down. I was placed in positions throughout my career that I had to codify what they were doing so I could pass it on to others, instead of the on the job training, just watch what I do. I had to break it down and make this art form of paint by numbers. That was what I did.
I used to think it was hard to call on doctors as a pharmaceutical rep. You’ve given me a new perspective because that was to me, tracking down a guy who didn’t want to have a conversation, forcing him to talk to you while you talked at them for a few minutes as he walked down the hall was bad enough. I can’t even imagine that.
Can you imagine if it was illegal for you to talk to the doctors? At least you’re selling a product that they might find useful.
I’ve got to give you credit for getting into this. That is quite impressive. You have hit every checkbox that you could do. You were everywhere and have done everything that you could do to see so many different kinds of behaviors in the most stressful situations. You wrote the book, The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert’s Five Rules to Lead and Succeed. Do you think that you could have written the same impactful work had you not had all the experience? What did that do for you?
I don’t think it could have affected me. My next one coming out, it’s dive in even deeper into and assessing others. I was forced into positions of severe leadership. The next one is called Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Predicting Behavior. I think everyone is born with a gift. Once you discover what that gift is and you use it for self-growth and self-awareness you start walking your path. For me, I was born with the knowledge that I sucked at leadership.Everyone is born with a gift. Once you discover what that is and use it for self-growth and self-awareness, you start walking your path. Click To Tweet
Why did you think you did?
Because I was this type-A. I thought you fixed problems by taking out a baseball bat and beat it hard on people’s heads.
They teach that in the military though, don’t they?
They don’t want to but that comes out because what happens is that you think that your title and position gives you leadership, and it doesn’t. People never care about your title and position. All they care is about how you treat them. The more I got into understanding why people took certain actions in the way I interacted with them, the more I started understanding who it is all about. I remember years ago when I was in the Marine Corps, I got ranked last out of all these second lieutenants in my first eval. My only power I had was, “I didn’t blame anyone else for this. It’s my fault. What am I doing wrong?” I asked the major, “What am I doing wrong?” He says, “You just need to be a better leader and you need to make about everyone else by yourself.” I’m like, “How?” He goes, “Just do it.”
I literally listened to those words when I was 22, 23 years old and I said, “My life’s goal is to figure out how to do what he just said.” Every situation I came across, there was new opportunities to witness some greatness and try to figure out exactly what they were doing. I do believe people are natural-born charismatic people are natural-born leaders, but they’re doing very specific behaviors. My job and goal in life was to figure out exactly what they’re doing so I could codify it, give it a label and meaning. Because once things have labels in meanings, you have the ability to recognize it and enhance it and reproduce it. I saw that you’re EEQ qualified and BTI, so am I and all these things.
It became a balancing act of understanding what the natural-born strengths were and then what skillsets to add to that so you can modify and tone down these other ones. Talking about MBTI, I’m the worst. I’m an extroverted and intuitive thinking judger. I’m life’s natural leader. The executive. When you’re 23 years old, I call it narcissistic megalomaniac jerk. You have to bring in these new behaviors to tamp down some of the overarching type-A personality. You can make connections, make it about someone else but about yourself by doing serious, simple things, demonstrating affiliation and demonstrating value.
What’s your DISC? I imagine a high D.
No, I’m a high I. It gave me the ability to every time the ENTJ poked at someone and it caused psychological harm, the I in me, which is exceedingly people-oriented felt traumatized. Every time my personality type, how I took in and process information inadvertently stomped on someone, the feeling side of me got dinged and I said, “What did I do?” Instead of just barrel-rolling over everyone. It was a self-righting mechanism that tried bringing me into balance, but it needed me to create systems around. That’s what my books are all about. My books are my manuals on how not to be the moron I was born to be.
That shouldn’t have been the book title.
I’ve toyed around with a bunch of them. That will be the fourth one.
You have ten techniques to guide people to achieve goals by treating others well and placing communal wants and needs above individual ones. What techniques do you have? Can you give some? Can you share a few things?
When it comes to developing trust, the bedrock of everything I’ve learned, getting all these things in life when it comes to leadership is a journey, not a destination. Probably around 2013 to 2014 when I started teaching and consulting more on this, what I started understanding was that the bedrock of absolutely everything moving forward in life is healthy relationships. We can place a lot of emphasis on trying to achieve things, these means goals to get the end goal. What’s the end goal of all human beings? It’s easy. Safety, security, prosperity for yourself and your family. I can always predict human’s behavior because everyone will always act in their own best interest which is safety, security and prosperity for themselves and their families. If I understand what you think that is, I know I can provide you resource to achieve that, but then it comes down to my three bedrock things I do.
Number one, I make sure that everything I say and do is going to foster a healthy professional relationship above all else. Because without a healthy professional relationship, all else will fall apart. My number two thing is open, honest communication and transparency because you can’t have a healthy relationship without open, honest communication, and transparency. I’m probably one of the few guys that the things at work said, “I will not lie to you. I will not use deception. I will not use pretexts. I am straight forward right up the middle because if I leave you after an encounter with you and you say to yourself, I wonder what he wanted, I totally failed.”
My third anchor is the check and balance of the entire system. I make myself an available resource for your prosperity without expectation reciprocity. I’m very careful with the words I use there, available resource. It means that I will not inflict myself on your life if you do not want me. Resource for prosperity. I say resource because if you offer help, you even have that slight tinge of superiority in some ways. I always think in terms of you have resources that I have resources, you have priorities, I have priorities. We’re just talking about exchanging. Prosperity, open-ended word because everyone might define it differently. The key here is no expectation reciprocity. Because if I start doing these behaviors and things because I’m hoping for self-gain, then it starts becoming a manipulation. Even if manipulation at some level is suggested or even hinted that or even thought of. Trust is gone and without trust, no relationship and the whole thing blows up again.
You bring to mind some scenarios of people I’ve seen have of how they lead and the differences and how I’ve led. I’ve witnessed a leader who comes to mind who was very high in her level of expectation of other people. She was very transparent about it. She was very good about offering all of her assistance and she was very open and she did a lot of those things. She just put herself in a situation where her expectation was so much higher than I think anybody who was capable of delivering or even intended to delivering the culture in their company. How do you help somebody like that? I’ve tried to give advice to certain people and that one’s always puzzled me a little bit.
It goes to what I’m putting out. It’s sizing people up. In other words, predicting trust. I quickly move from predicting trust because trust can be misplaced. I like you or it’s based on morals and ethics, but trust is about predictability. Some of that sets the bar so high that they’re not reasonable in what they can reasonably predict from a human being. What they’re doing is they’re setting themselves up for a disjointed and unhealthy relationship. If they set the bar high and the person falls beneath it because they haven’t managed your own expectations of what this person can perform at by looking at these six signs I talk about, then you’re going to be nothing but frustrated with people. I always looking at investing. Is this person invested in my future and the future of the company?
Longevity. Do they use languages to demonstrate they’re looking for a long relationship with me or the company? The reliability is key. Can they do and perform what they say they can do and perform? If you don’t have any data points on that, you’re going to set yourself up. I got two major big ones on this one. My sports sign is actions. This is past actions of repeated behavior. In other words, have I seen him do something once, twice or three times? If I have, I know exactly what they’re going to do the fourth, fifth or sixth. If they don’t, that means they have a new stimulus that happened in their life, yet it means I need to intervene somewhere else possibly. Language. Are they using language that’s demonstrating that they value me and want to affiliate with me? In other words, are they seeking my thoughts and opinions? Talking in terms of my priorities? Validating me without judging me and giving me choices?
Finally, the one I’m always looking for with anyone is emotional stability. How do they react under stress? How do they act under decision-making situations? That goes into EQ, decision-making. It becomes a balance. I’m looking for those six things. You don’t have to have all six things to a max, but the one I’m looking for, especially if you’re in a leadership position so you can set those expectations, is reliability and that consistency of behavior and emotional stability. If someone’s not consciously doing that that’s in a leadership position and they’re setting that bar so high that someone’s always going to fall beneath it, everyone’s going to constantly frustrated. No one’s building that value.People don’t care about your title and position. All they care is about how you treat them. Click To Tweet
In some of these companies, you have all these leaders who maybe are all on the same level and yet some will have the bar low. Some will have it a little higher and some have a way high and then everybody talks. You find out your leader doesn’t make you do this. That’s a tough thing in organizations, how to make it equal. Is it probably a little less like that I would think in the military? Isn’t it a little more common of what everybody’s supposed to do? I think in the corporate world, in the civilian role, sometimes it’s all over the board.
I think all over the board’s completely natural. It’s called situational leadership. It depends on what the standard is that you’re expecting that person to meet. One of the most important things ever is as soon as a new title and position that we have a good open discussion about what the expectations are for performance. What’s that all about? Open, honest communication and transparency at all times. If people become adverse to that transparency or they want to avoid conflicts and think these are tough conversations, they never are because it’s always about what’s going on. What’s the cause and effect?
I love my system of how I see things because leadership and dealing with life needs to be extremely empathetic in order to make those connections with human beings. When you put a cognitive, thoughtful process behind it, it enables you to be objective. It has a very stoic approach to very empathetic situations and that’s what leadership is. Leaders are resources for the excess of people and the accomplishing of the mission and getting people home safe. Those three pillars. Part of that is being a resource for the success of others and accomplishing that mission. The way you do that is a resource for others. You need empathy. Accomplish the mission. That comes down to the cognitive thought process.
Empathy is a hard one for some people. I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence, so I’m very fascinated and how much empathy ties into so many different areas. I was lucky to have Daniel Goleman on the show and I talked to a lot of great people about this. It’s very challenging for a lot of people to see things outside of their own reality. My next book is on perception because I’m fascinated. Perception is a reality and if my reality is different than everybody else’s reality, how do you convince somebody that the sky is yellow and not blue? Sometimes you cut bait and say, “This is not a good match.”
I spent 21 years of not being able to take a side because as soon as you take a side in anything, half of the world will line up against you. It’s a guarantee of human behavior. The whole key to making a connection with everyone is never arguing context or perception. I probably worked 22 or 24 different nationalities throughout the course of my career working in counterintelligence. Anytime a world conflict broke out anywhere in the world, our job inside the FBI was to interview everyone from that country inside our country to see if anyone had information that would protect human interests as well as our national interests. If your ability to not understand someone and their point of view and how they grew up and their optic and their demographic, their ethnicity, their socioeconomic status, all these things. In other words, walk a mile in my shoes and see what choices you’d make in life, then you’re going to fail.
I can tell you that most espionage subjects that I’ve interviewed or I’ve been part of, committing espionage was only one thing that was going sideways in their lives. They had done some other very heinous things I don’t want to mention. If your job is to inspire them because I believe you can’t convince people of anything. All you can do is inspire them to want to because inspiration means you got to make it about them. If my job is to inspire them to share with me the 40 or 50 children they victimized and you sit across that table and judge them, I guarantee you they’re not going to share it with you.
What’s the goal? The goal is to save little children’s lives. You start building a muscle memory of diving deep to understand the context. That’s why I live by a motto, “I do not let anyone bother me,” because if someone is committing a behavior that I find inappropriate as bothering me, there’s a reason. I will continue to find out about you, seek and understand you, your upbringing, and your background. All these things in life so I can understand what makes you who you are because I truly believe we are all born pretty perfect. Nineteen years of our lives before the prefrontal lobe is fully formed, we get messed up and we spend the rest of our lives trying to correct those nineteen.
I hear you in the middle. I don’t do a lot of political or religious-based things because no matter what you asked, no matter how you put it, it could be misinterpreted. I remember talking to Steve Forbes about politics and he said, “You used to be able to talk about it at dinner parties. You can’t talk about anything now because people freak out.”
That’s because emotional hijacking has taken over a lot. When you maintain a cognitive thought process, I don’t care what side you’re on of anything, whether it’s religious or politics. It used to be fun. No one took anything personally. I loved what Ellen just did on her show. She went to a football game and she’s sitting in a booth and she’s got George Bush to her side. You got Ellen on one side of politics, you got George Bush on the other. Her crowd came out and blasted her hard for sitting next to George Bush.
She said one of the most beautiful things. She said, “When I end my show every day about being kind to each other, I’m not talking about being kind to people that only agree with you. I’m talking about being kind with everyone. Just because you don’t agree on everything doesn’t mean that you can’t get along and be kind.” It was such a good, powerful message that we’ve forgotten. I’m with you. I don’t take a side anywhere because when you maintain intellectual honesty in all situations, you understand everyone’s points of view. I totally understand everyone’s point of view. If you can’t do that, you need some good people that can balance you out.
You and I talked about your next book and I told you I had Eric O’Neill on, who caught one of the biggest spies in US history as his work in the FBI. Did you said you were going to showcase a little of that in your next book? I’m curious about that.
The Hanson case, correct?
I can’t think of the name of the case. It was the one they made into the movie, Breach.
The Mole, because the book was The Mole. That was Robert Hanssen. He was on my squad before I got there in New York.
He’s the guy they put in jail?
He’s out in supermax in Colorado. I didn’t work specifically on the case. I was lightly affiliated with the case because my Jedi master, who I worked with him. When you look in hindsight about the behaviors that he had because we were talking about predictable behaviors and trust. We utilized him as an example. He spiked all of them about someone you can’t trust. That was an interesting study that we’ve been looking at for years. If anyone would come up with a magic potion of figuring out who an insider threat is, whether it’s corporate espionage or national security espionage, they would have done it. Human beings have been spying on each other and being an insider threat for thousands and thousands of years.
I don’t believe you’re ever going to crack the code. If someone’s doing X, Y and Z, they’re a spy. What we found interesting in hindsight though is that in every case that people have gone sideways in some way or the other, normally it’s their supervisors and co-workers that have had issues with their behavior. I had a good friend of mine when I worked at Quantico. He was an expert and he worked on the Hanssen case. He worked on Earl Pitch and other fire we had. He has a very simple philosophy about the way to look at individuals and a way to assess people around you in the workplace. He goes, “Happy people don’t commit espionage and happy people are not insider threats.” I always start there. If people like you are getting along with you, they’re probably okay.
I’m looking at a couple of people I used to work with.When it comes to leadership, getting all these things in life is a journey, not a destination. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t mean they’re not. It goes back to, do they have healthy relationships in all aspects of their lives? If they have healthy relationships, I wouldn’t go on a witch hunt.
It was an interesting case. I remember asking Eric about the guy. Chris Cooper played him in the movie and he said he did a great job of playing him. I think it’s interesting to look at personality and just assessing in general. You were talking about a lot of things that I’m interested in doing, which is quantifying things. Some things are hard to capture. When I created my Curiosity Code Index, I was trying to figure out the things that keep people from being curious because nobody had done that or anything like that. What is the biggest personality thing you’d like to quantify?
My thing is around that trust and predictability. I haven’t seen your upcoming work. When you’re in a line of work like psychology, which can be very subjective, especially when you’re trying to assess people for trustworthiness. That’s extremely subjective. I think what we try to do is add as many data points as we possibly can. For what I did in Sizing People Up, I had six signs. Those six behavioral indicators, which can be very subjective. Under each one of those, I have ten personality tells that are positive and ten personality tells that are negative. Still very subjective in a sense that each one of those tells is an observation. When you start putting observations together in clusters, it becomes more from the subjective to the objective. I think that’s what is good about what we do. We look at behaviors. We look at trying to understand, predict, then you look at data. You keep looking at it. As my editor says, “Get as granular as possible to explain it and make that arc form linear for people.”
Negative tells. What do you think are some of the biggest negative tells? Did we cover all of them? We covered some stuff, but what do you think are the biggest ones?
Those were it. I’m emotional stability above all else. I’ll tell you another one I love too. I will never call it a test of self-awareness, but when I would interview people for my team or for any position, one of my favorite questions to ask is, “Tell me about your strengths and told me about some of your weaknesses.” I like to hear when someone’s very self-aware about their strengths and how they align with my priorities or the priorities organization or the company. When I ask you about your weaknesses, what I’m looking for is someone with enough self-awareness to be open and honest about what their weaknesses are, but then I want to hear what their plan is. If you show me an individual that knows what they’re working on and they have a plan in place that they’re working on it and they’re transparent about sharing it with you, I’ll trust them. I can teach you to flip a switch. As long as you live with humility and self-awareness, we can do a lot.
The problem is that they teach you this training for how to go through interviews is to not show weakness. At least when we were in sales, they said never tell them anything negative about yourself. Make it sound positive. We’ve almost made people lie and then you can’t trust them. They’re doing what they’re told.
When you think about that, how trustworthy is that? Especially if you’re in the world and you’ve been around a while. Everyone has an insecurity, everyone sucks at something and if they’re not transparent about it, you know they’re hiding something. You’re skeptical. What are they hiding? As opposed to, “Here’s exactly who I am, here’s exactly what my strengths are. Here’s how it aligns with what’s important to you. Here’s what my challenges are. Here’s my program to overcome my challenges and I empower them with choice. Am I a good fit for you and moving forward for you and your company and your products? Better yet, I’ll give it a time constraint.”
I love a time constraint because it powers the other person with, “I can choose when the end’s in sight.” I said, “Let’s get together and maybe test me out for three months. At the end of three months, you do an evaluation. We see all of the performances. You’ve got the line with what your goals are. If I’m moving forward as fast as you need to, great. If not, let me know where the weaknesses are. I’ll do the best I can. We’ll move on from there.” Who’s that entire conversation about? It’s a sales pitch, but I made an entire conversation about the other person.
Many times, people don’t do that and they only think about how to craft things in their own perspective. People don’t hear any of themselves in it and they’re there and that disconnect. I could see why you’d be an expert in interpersonal communication because that’s so important.
You’ve got to make it about the other person. Harvard did this great study in the spring of 2012 where they saw on average, during the course of the day, people share 40% of the time. They’re sharing their own thoughts, opinions, ideas. We are testing the environment around us. They accept me for who I am. When you can take that 40% and give it to over the other person, their dopamine starts screaming at them. If I’m constantly talking in terms of the other person by demonstrating value and demonstrating an affiliation by seeking your thoughts and opinions, talk in terms of your priorities, validating you without judging you and giving you choices, the entire conversation becomes about them. Their dopamine stream and their pleasure centers are firing. Why wouldn’t you want to be aligned with me? I’m the person that’s going to be good for you. Because that’s what you always got to talk in terms of how can I be a resource for your success? That’s what I couldn’t do 30 years ago.
You figured out how to do it. I’m glad that you’re helping other people do it. I think a lot of people reading want to know how you could help them do it. Is there some way they can reach you and find out more about your work?
They can go to PeopleFormula.com. I do online training. I do keynotes and in-person training. My third book’s coming out. My first one, It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone. My second one, The Code of Trust. My last one, Sizing People Up. Lots of videos, lots of podcasts. Constantly getting the message out. It’s funny talking about that because you’re walking your path. I’m trying my best to walk my path. I always get the question, “Robin, how did you get to run the behavioral analysis program for the FBI and do all these cool things?” I said, “That was easy. When I was in high school, I wanted to go to Naval Academy, be an aerospace engineer, Navy pilot and astronaut.” They said, “What happened?” I said, “I failed it in all that stuff and I let go and just walked this path.”
It sounds like you were meant to be on this amazing path. I would hardly consider this a failure. What you’ve done is amazing. Thank you so much for being here, Robin. This was so much fun.
Thanks, Diane. I appreciate it a lot too. I love what you do. Thank you for sharing all your great skills and techniques with the world.
The Evolving Entrepreneur With Nathan Kievman
I am here with Nathan Kievman, who’s a highly sought-after digital strategist, bring in no-nonsense business approach to digital and social strategies. His company, Linked Strategies, is a consulting firm that specializes in measurable client and talent acquisition campaigns, helping companies from around the world find the fastest path to their target market and then keeping those clients for life. It’s so nice to have you here, Nathan.
Thank you, Diane. I appreciate you having me.
We have some of the same people we know. It was nice of Tina Greenbaum to suggest you as a guest for the show. She said that you have some amazing work and I know you’re part of the C-Suite Jeff Hayzlett’s group and all that. I know there are a lot of interesting people in that group. I’m curious how you got to be this expert in this area with all these Linked Strategies.
I’ve fallen in love with the idea of helping craft and bridge relationships in life. For me personally, I fell into this space of creating relationships in the executive space. What I mean by relationships is having people have the opportunity to meet and have good quality meetings and conversations about things that matter to them. I died when I was sixteen years old and I had an out of body experience. I met God, I woke up. I had hundreds of people around me hoping that I was okay. At that moment in my life, I realized that the most important thing to me was relationships. Relationships with myself, with others, with God. Whatever I did in life had to center around that. The development of what we do is a growth off of that. I’ve played in the LinkedIn space and we evolved into something bigger and better than that into our own platform. We do this for companies like IBM and NASDAQ to small one-person shops with cool consulting offers. That’s the background. It’s a fun story and one of the best things that ever happened to me. It transformed my life to where I’ve been able to get to now.
I didn’t know about the dying part being so fun. Tell me more about that. That’s an amazing thing. What happened to you? Do you want to give a little detail?
I was sixteen years old, coming back from a ballgame. I had this little super Beetle in California driving down Highway 101. It was a used car. I had some used tires on the car. I was in my world and I was driving along and my tire disintegrated off the wheel. The wheel broke off the axle, the car caught, spun out of control, hit a pole, rolled down a hill. I was watching the car from 50 feet above. I had the famous white circle of light behind me with the gold wall light, gold around it, behind me. I had this slowed down, non-emotional. If you think of the most peaceful thing you’ve ever been in. I say not a lot of guys take warm baths, but it got to be like a hot tub or whatever it is.Leadership and dealing with life needs to be extremely empathetic in order to make those connections with human beings. Click To Tweet
I’m in that place and watching the scene. My car is on fire. I’m in the car, there’s dry grass everywhere. There are people screaming and I’m just watching like a silent movie. It was interesting seeing somebody to experience. What I defined God as this being comes up to me and my right ear. We have this long conversation. It felt like half-an-hour, but this whole thing took place in under a minute. At the end of this conversation, I have where time was effectively standing still. My definition of this being was in a masculine form was, “Do you want to stay or go?” I looked back and I’d looked at the white light and I was like, “That’s attractive. I want to go that way.” I looked back and I was like, “No. I’ve got a mission to serve. I’ve got to stay.” The voice said to me, “You’re right.”
As soon as I said that, I opened my eyes and my body, I saw two visions at once. I told myself from above how to get out of the car. I got out of the car. Hot paint was dripping on my jersey and I looked for where I was going to walk away. I started to walk down this little dry creek bed and I was rubbing my neck. All of a sudden, my visions merge into one. I climb up a hill, I turn around, I climb over this little fence in this backyard of these people that were gathering and turned around. My car blows up. I laid down on the back steps and I pass out. When I woke up, they told me I broke my neck, my C-2 vertebrae. I had a miracle break. I had a great healing experience after that. After I had that healing experience, it was all gratitude of life from that point forward.
You’re pretty sure you died just because of experience you went through or did they tell you that you died at the hospital after you passed out? When do you die? Was it the part where when you’re talking or you were assuming that’s what happened?
It was an out of body experience. I define it as like I had a death experience. I was not in my body.
You said you saw and it was a man. Can I ask what does he look like?
It was just a masculine voice, but it was energetic in my presence. There was no physical form or anything.
I’ve had a couple of people on my show who have had things near-death or death experiences tell me some interesting stories. I had a friend who died and then they brought him back after a couple of minutes of CPR and everything. Everybody I talked to, it seems like it’s a little bit different what they go through, but it’s always life-changing as far as how you come out on the other end. At that point, you were changed even at sixteen?
What happens when you see that thing, you have two directions you can go. You can totally embrace it, which for a while a lot of people will or you can be scared of that. When you see that level of infinite power and capability, insights, wisdom and there’s no death and you have all these facts that now are real to you, the world becomes a different place. For the rest of my life, I was still very inspired and I was still very blessed with some healing gifts and things that I observed that I was able to experience and demonstrate. The call to what that meant to me was scary and I ran from that for 30 years, almost 25 years as from that point forward.
What I mean by run from it is I didn’t completely accept the mission that I was given. I’m here for a purpose. That purpose is to help share this story, help share what are experiences beyond death so that people might find that glimmer of hope to say we don’t need to be sitting in fear. I ran from it because I was selfish. I was a kid and I wanted to experience life and I felt like everything had to change if I had to follow this path. I lived this I dichotomy life. In school, I did nearly a major degree in Religious Studies and in Sports and Business Management. I did a dual track. I got offered to be a chaplain and go to chaplain school at Boston University at the same time to be a sports administration master’s program at university. I had this bi-directional experience because I love both of these things. I was very passionate about the study, interest and insights behind these things. Ultimately, I took a path away from the spiritual side because I would still demonstrate and live it on my own, personal life and ultimately coming to terms with what my purpose and mission was to share the power of relationships, the power of this story, the power of our own personal power with those that I interact with and experience.
You have done a lot with that and I’ve seen some of the companies you’ve worked with. It’s a who’s who of names. I’m looking at the list of companies from Sony to Adobe to JP Morgan, you name it. Cisco, LinkedIn, Facebook, Verizon. What do you do to help organizations? Let’s talk about what it is exactly you do.
Our business is in the business of creating a relationship between executives. For example one of the things we’ll do is we’ll take an elite sales team that is doing large account sales targeting and they need to talk with 1,000 companies over the course of the next couple of years. As many of those people they can, they need to talk with and start building those relationships with. We do all the leg work behind knowing who they are to put them on the phone or in a face to face meeting behind the scenes. We’re helping people build their own thoughtful and intricate relationships between these parties via executives.
I’ll use Jeff Hayzlett as an example and the C-Suite Network. One of their missions is to help find those hero CEOs in the world that want to make a difference. They care about their people, they want to do good in the world, those sorts of things. We’ve partnered to bring those people to the table for them. In the first three months of activity, we’ve helped them, Jeff and Trisha running the organization. We have put over 300 meetings on their calendars for the first three months of activity that we’ve done with CEOs between 50 and 500 employees as the target market and just the CEO. They have the opportunity to have more market exposure, strengthened marketing cycles from months to minutes to be more focused on the things that will grow their business and serve the mission that they’re here for versus all the activity and all the effort that companies spend time on trying to get to just that point.Do what you’re best at and stop doing what you’re not great at. Click To Tweet
I asked Jeff, “How long do you think it would have taken you to have these 300 meetings with individuals if you guys hadn’t partnered with us?” He’s like, “Maybe a year to eighteen months and that might be lucky.” We’re saving the company’s time and we’re letting them focus on what they’re gifted at and great at. We feel like we’re doing a mission. My wife and I love Linked Strategies organization because it puts companies up on a mountain top. It allows them to do what they’re best at and stop doing what they’re not great at. It allows to sell and share their services and solutions with those that matter and those that they want to share it with, not just do things that other people have told them to do.
We’re primarily helping companies that are looking for conscious and transformational organizations to help accelerate their growth. We work with some of those big brands: IBM, NASDAQ, to name a couple off the top of my head. People say, “Are those guys conscious and transformational?” What we try to look for is the individual people that we’re working with. Are they people-people? Are they helping their internal organization grow? Are they change agents internally? Are they trying to make an impact on their organization and make waves around culture? These are the people we’re looking to work with. Whether the companies are as much or not, we’ll make a couple of exceptions, but a lot of the tech companies are not either way. You can’t say a company selling a widget is doing transformational things for the world. They might be doing transformational things for their people and that’s important to us. We’re looking for those guys and we want to help them win at a faster pace and accelerate their footprint in their careers, help them accelerate their path to leadership.
Everything was interesting but a couple of things I wanted to point out. You mentioned Jeff’s wanting smaller organizations to reach. Why would that be?
They have a handful of bigger ones, but that’s not a primary focus. The smaller ones are making the waves and the changes in the marketplace. They’re laying the future culture of our country and he wants to find those guys that are heroes, those gals that are heroes that are acting that part and shaping the future for us. I think he believes that’s the foundation and that’s part of the mission of the hero club where they’re at, what they’re trying to do. We do that for every company. We had one client who was a single person consulting firm. He wanted to talk to CEOs and CFOs of 5,000-plus-sized companies. This might be helpful for your readers.
A lot of companies are short-focused on the tactical win and they have to because they’re cashflow-strapped. I totally get that. This guy, his name was Paul, a great guy. I love this guy, but he was a hard nose. I asked my team, “Does this guy fit our ideal profile? Is he culturally-centered?” The answer was no. I was about to fire him as a client. Five months into the relationship and we’d only delivered him 35 to 150 guaranteed meetings to CEOs and CFOs of 5,000-plus-sized companies in just Europe. It’s a hard market. Think the US is hard? Try European executives at 5,000-plus. This is a whole other level of hard. The way that we work is every person, every marketplace, every target market has a thing that they will resonate with.
I call it vibrational resonance. When we craft a message and we get to that vibrational resonance to that market, it’s like a waterfall happens. It’s unbelievable. Like Paul, every time you pivot in a campaign and you’re learning this strategy, what’s going to work with this market? It takes a whole month to get the feedback loop complete because you don’t send like six messages that every day for six days to executives. That’s not how it works. It takes a little time. That time is hard for people to wait on. Just the first pivot. He needed six. In six pivots, we had only 35 meetings at 150 halfway through his campaign. This guy is dropping F-bombs on me. He’s cussing me out. He’s like, “Why?” I was like, “You can cancel, it’s fine. If you don’t want the results, fine. We’re just about there.” If you’re two feet from gold, how would that make you feel if you find out that you are just right there later on and you could have had it? He’s like, “Fine, I’m just going to do it.” He finishes the campaign. The next two weeks, it was so amazing. He let a mental block go that allowed the whole thing to go. I’m not sure what happened there. We changed two words in the campaign the next month. We went to 40 to 50 meetings a month with 292 meetings on the year with that core market because he was able to get through that last two feet.
What I wanted to highlight for the reader is we have to understand the blend between short-term needs and long-term wins. Even the part of the America, 3% of the market will buy or hire from you if they know you exist and you’re in front of them. They have a need for it. 30% of the market would if they knew you existed, in the near future would hire you. The next 30% of the market probably wouldn’t hire you if they knew you existed and you stayed in touch. They’ll would probably consider you in the consideration set. The rest of the market, they’re never going to buy from you. Those are the ones that cuss you out. For example, “How dare you email me?” We need to know that as a business, we didn’t know our whole digital universe and we need to be able to communicate to that market to build a relationship, not a transaction. When the time is right, it will be right for them. We just need them to know that we exist and that what we offer is of extreme value to them.
We do work with a lot of companies. The ones that lose the fastest are the ones that don’t care about the relationship. They are looking for the transactional. What’s my ROI? I was talking with one of our friends who is in a PE firm. He says, “I never measure marketing campaigns by time.” I was like, “That’s nice. You have the luxury. You guys have tons of cash.” Most small businesses can’t do that. We need a win. I get that. He’s like, “I get it. The short-term wins come from the long-term actions.” I thought that was an interesting statement.
I am interested in how did you get these connections to help these people with these connections? How did you learn how to do this? A little bit more about that would be interesting.
We live in a data age where data is more accessible than it’s ever been. Our opportunity to go from A to Z is exponentially easier than it’s ever been in the past. Tools like LinkedIn and all these data aggregators and so forth. There are hack tools out there that anybody can use and go scrape data from LinkedIn and try to find people and guesstimate emails and go after them. The rules in the B2B world is if it exists out there on the market, you can go talk to them briefly. What we’ve done is we’ve aggregated about 500 million records globally through partners and our own resources, platform and technologies. We use that data to siphon out little segments for our clients and basically remarket to it accordingly. That’s how we find the data. Once we know who the market is, like a client will tell us who they want to talk to, then we have the strategies that we’ll get the images. One of our clients is a CEO of a Fortune 100 company that responded to a client of ours. He said, “Longest email I’ve ever read. Loved it. Let’s talk.” That’s the response.
It’s funny because there’s this belief in the sales world that short-form copy is better because it’s respectful, but it’s not in the executive space. The executive’s biggest issue is time. If you’ve had the ability to capture their attention for a few minutes, then you better take advantage of the few minutes you’ve got. We have this great structure for how we interact with executives. It’s not just email. It is email, it’s a little bit of phone and some social, but for the most part, it’s the email that does the work. There were a lot of little tricks to the trade in that part of the business.
Do you have to worry about people getting upset being spammed by what they feel as a form letter?Every person, every marketplace, every target market has a thing that they will resonate with. It’s called vibrational resonance. Click To Tweet
I better not feel like that. I better feel like you just wrote me personally. It’s true, you’re not wrong. It’s a busy space. We did an interview with about 500 executives and we said, “What do you spend your time on a daily basis? Where do you spend your time? Number one, two and three.” 100% of them were in meetings. The next tranche was managing my email. Where on this list is blogs? Where on this list is content curation? Where on this list is any of this other stuff? It wasn’t, and I’m like, “There you go.” At the time, we ran a digital agency that did office post stuff and I’m like, “Crud.” We knew it. The reason we did the survey was because we saw we’re doing all this content curation and all these cool funnels. Remember, our market was executives, not consumers. Content is not bad. It’s powerful as a trust and credibility builder, as a positioning tool. Even as a resource for executives when you’re all swimming in the same pond and the executives there and now you can get their attention with it. In generality, they were not engaging in content. Their employees, their directors, their managers, their assistants who are doing the research. I was like, “How do we do that?” I’ll give you an example. Step forward, now move to direct response engagement. We call it direct social response.
When we can get direct to the executive in a space and a place that they pay attention to. Even if it’s cluttered, we have a better chance than in the place they’re never at. I emailed them. They don’t even answer cold calls. Their assistants answer that. We have to be there. It’s a mandate for us to be there. How you do it is all the magic. If you can even get through is the magic. That’s the technology, the systems, the processes and the copy that matters so much. We have a model that we do that the cross touches executives and uses a psychology trigger that we’ve built out over the last few years. For example, Hyatt Hotel is a client of ours in Europe. We emailed a few of senior executives at the same time and referenced each other. Our first call was a fifteen-minute discovery call. Our second call, 22 executives on the phone. Can you imagine that?
All the decision-makers are at your second call and a contract in hand in twenty days. Jeff Hayzlett is a good friend. He’s the CMO of Kodak, for those who don’t know. I asked Jeff, “What’s the traditional process, Jeff, for getting into the C-Suite in the sales model?” He’s like, “You start at the director level, you get a $20,000 deal, then you go up to the VP level and you get a $50,000 to $100,000 deal maybe. You go to the SVP and you might be at the $100,000, $150,000 deal and then they got fired. You’ve got to start back over in another nine months. You’re back going back up the ladder, director, VP, new SVP of whatever, and now you’re getting to the C-Suite executives sign off on your $500,000, $1 million deal.” That’s pretty standard. Eighteen months, two-year sales cycle to get in the C-Suite.
I was like, “What do you describe us as?” He’s like, “You cut straight to the C-Suite.” I need him to redo that entire recording for me. The point is that done well, you can get direct to the C-Suite, but you’ve got to do it with authenticity. You’ve got to use the five psychological triggers, which are trust and credibility. You got to talk to executives in terms of time, money, and risk. If you don’t do those three things on the backend, you’ll get niceties, “Thanks. I appreciate the email.” They will not get the meeting. To get the meeting, you’ve got to be relevant to what they care about. That’s pretty much it.
I’m sure a lot of people are interested. You’ve piqued their curiosity and want to tell more. If they did want to know more, how can they find out? How can they reach you?
You can reach me directly at NateK@LinkedStrategies.com or you can check out our website at LinkedStrategies.com and then peruse the site and enter a Contact form there. One of our team members or myself will get back to you. We’re happy to support and talk to anybody. We do a free target market analysis, see what your opportunity is and we’re here to serve. Our purpose is to accelerate the growth of transformational concepts companies. In some cases, we find ways to help companies that need help but maybe don’t have all the cash that it cost to work with us. Don’t be daunted, check in with us and see if there’s something we can work out.
That was helpful. Thank you so much, Nathan Kievman. This has been so interesting to have you. I enjoyed it.
Thank you. I appreciate it, Diane.
I want to thank both Rob and Nathan for being my guest. You can find out more about Cracking the Curiosity Code. I hope you enjoy this episode. Please join us for the next episode.
- Robin Dreeke – LinkedIn
- The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert’s Five Rules to Lead and Succeed
- Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent’s User Manual for Predicting Behavior
- Daniel Goleman – previous episode
- Steve Forbes – previous episode
- Eric O’Neill – Previous episode
- Curiosity Code Index
- It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone
- Nathan Kievman
- Linked Strategies
- Tina Greenbaum
- C-Suite Jeff Hayzlett’s
- Jeff Hayzlett
- Contact form – Linked Strategies
- Cracking the Curiosity Code
About Robin Dreeke
Robin Dreeke is a retired FBI agent, speaker, and author. He is unique in that his “Code of Trust” was originally developed by him in order to build relationships and trust with national adversaries.
Crafted and honed over his career as an FBI Special Agent Behaviorist, Robin brings his one-of-a-kind formula to you and your team for all aspects of leadership and business development.
About Nathan Kievman
Nathan Kievman is a highly sought-after Digital Strategist, bringing a no-nonsense business approach to digital and social strategies.
His company, Linked Strategies is a consulting firm that specializes in measurable Client & Talent Acquisition Campaigns, helping companies from around the world find the fastest path to their target market today and then keeping those clients for life!
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