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Improve Your Team’s Performance by Building a Competitive Edge
Hi everyone, it’s Jenn DeWall, and on this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit Podcast, I sat down with David CM Carter, David Carter for short, and him and I had a conversation on how you can improve your team’s performance and build a competitive edge on your team. Now let me tell you a little bit more about David. David is a serial entrepreneur, otherwise known as the world’s leading CEO mentor, with a 40-plus-year track record in creating innovative businesses and mentoring leaders in influencers around the globe. Entelechy Academy is the entelechy of David’s career and his legacy project, where he has gathered brilliant minds in education, coaching, and professional organizations to support millions in becoming the best version of themselves. And I hope you enjoy this conversation, as David and I talk about entelechy helping you be your best version of yourself and how you can build a competitive edge on your team.
Meet David CM Carter, Founder of the Entelechy Academy
Jenn DeWall: Welcome, welcome David Carter. We are so excited to have you. You are across the pond from me over in England, and I’m excited that you’re joining us here on the Leadership Habit today to talk about how we can build that competitive edge on our teams. Welcome to the show, David. I’m so happy that you’re here.
David Carter: Thank you very much for inviting me. I’m delighted to be here.
Jenn DeWall: Yes. And now of course, I love to start off with just helping our audience understand who you are, how you came to be. I know that during our pre-call we talked about this, your story got me and it definitely was an emotional one and made me cry. And maybe the audience will be lucky enough to hear it. But David, if you could just go ahead and tell our audience a little bit more about you and how you came to be, how you came to work, withi and form. Lucky, we wanna hear it all, or maybe none of it. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. We wanna hear it all, but if you could go ahead and introduce yourself to our audience, we would love to hear more about you.
David Carter: Well, I don’t think we’ve got enough time for that because <laugh> I was born at, I I was born at a very young age and I’m now 64 and I’ve squeezed a lot of stuff in those last 64 years. But I think that I was born in England. I spent the early part of my life living in Australia and New Zealand with my dad’s job came back and settled in England as a school boy. I was highly dyslexic, which in those days they didn’t have a posh word like dyslexia. It was just called stupid. And of course I’m not stupid, I’m just dyslexic, which is a gift. But I decided that I didn’t want to go to college or university and I wanted to get out in the world and start earning a living. And I was fortunate that I ended up working for the first 10 years of my career for two investment banks who sent me to work in seven different countries around the world for more than a year.
And what I became fascinated in was what I now call Performance X-Factor. How come those two companies started in the same town in the same year with access to the same resources? And one of them 10 years later was 27 times bigger than the other one. What did they do or have that the other one didn’t do or have? And that’s what we’re gonna call Performance X-Factor in our chat today. And after 10 years of doing that, I had a wonderful boss and a wonderful mentor who called me into his office in March of 1988 and said, well, young man, record year record bonus. I think it’s time you moved on stop consulting and advising entrepreneurs and go and be one. So my last paycheck was in June of 1988, so a long time ago now, 30 plus years.
Becoming an Entrepreneur by Finding his Competitive Edge
David Carter: And I’ve been self-employed ever since then. The first 10 years of my career, I did two startups in the UK hospitality industry. The first one I built up and sold to a trade bar. The second one I built up and floated on the alternative investment stock market in London. And it was the very early days of that market. And I had the thrill and joy of being the best performing share, share on the market. And I had the ignominy or shame of being the worst performing share on the market all within a few months of each other. And so that was my first two startups. I then had a rather dramatic tectonic plate shift happen in my life. And I ended up being a single parent to a seven year old and a three year old. And I decided that the children came first.
And so I resigned my job as the public company, CEO because I couldn’t juggle and do both properly. And whilst I was thinking about what I wanted to do next loads of people came to me and said, oh, can you help me decide whether to float my company or raise money, expand overseas, change my board, change our strategy, or whatever. And I ended up with half a dozen CEOwho I was mentoring on whatever the topic was they wanted some help with. And a rather funny conversation with my mother who said to me, oh, it’s going so well for you darling. And I said, well, it is going well, mum, but I’m just so, so busy with all these clients. I I haven’t got any time to think about what I’m gonna do next. And she said, oh, I thought this was what you were doing next, <laugh>. So that evening on the drive home, I remember thinking, you know, I’m actually pretty good at this. I really love doing it. It pays the bills and it makes a difference. So maybe this is what I’m doing. And 15 years later, I had event I built up an eventually became the world’s leading chief executive mentoring company with offices and clients and mentors all around the world.
And that was a big success story. We were a tiny little company and we punched way above our weight having clients like McKinsey and pwc and lots and lots of major multinational companies. Which was kind of amusing because I think I, its peak. I had 68 mentors, all of whom had been former Fortune 100, FTSE 100 CEOs, and I was the only one in our midst who hadn’t been to university, didn’t have an MBA, hadn’t run a or Fortune 100 company. But I seemed to be in demand. And I then I didn’t get bored in a, in a negative sense, but I wanted to democratize what we were doing and make it available to people beyond just the C-suite. And my senior leadership team didn’t want to do that. And so I decided it was time for me to move on rather than change the whole company.
How David Became “The Mentor” to CEOs and Business Leaders
David Carter: I’ve been there 15 years and I was picked up by one of Britain’s leading PR gurus who decided I should be turned into a brand, the mentor. And so I worked with him and his company for a number of years, which was fantastic. He got me to write a book called Breakthrough, which became a bestseller, how to become the best version of Yourself. I did a lot of work on television with the BBC and radio and book tours, speaking to us, traveled the world. And that was when I got the idea that is now Intel about how we could democratize what we were doing with a small number of expensive fee paying clients and make it available to everybody. And that’s a long story. But the red thread throughout my life has been helping people become more, achieve more than they thought was possible for them and to help people get to that next level.
What is Entelechy?
David Carter: And the word entelechy is actually my favorite word ever. And it was a word coined by Aristotle. And so the entelechy of a person is the very best version of that person with all of their potential fully actualized. It can apply to other living things too. So like the entelechy of an acorn is an oak tree. The entelechy of a caterpillar is a butterfly, but the entelechy of Jenn is the very best version of Jenn with all of her potential fully actualized.
And I’ve always loved that because everybody’s capable of being more of anything, and sometimes they don’t realize how easy it is. And when they have a go and try it and it works, they’re like, wow, I didn’t think I could do that before. Well now you know, you can do it. And so what about another one? What about another one? And so this is a project which has only launched in the last few months. It’s super exciting. It’s my legacy project. I want to help the world develop their end tele. I want everyone on the planet to understand they can be more and they can develop their own leadership Performance X-Factor. And we do that through helping develop 54 character qualities.
Jenn DeWall: Okay. So I know that you said that we weren’t gonna cry on this podcast episode, but I am tearing up because what I, what I heard as you were sharing your story is an extreme story of resilience. Whether it was, you know, growing up with dyslexia, dyslexia and the labels, or the stigma, or not even the right words for that to then growing into, I didn’t go to university, but I created a ton of success, but I also have the shame of some failures and then believing that every single individual,
Improve Your Team’s Performance by Looking at Failure Differently
David Carter: Sorry, can I, I just don’t, sorry. No, no, no. <Laugh> first of all, you are using two words that I want us to talk about success and failure. I, I wouldn’t describe myself as successful if, and if success is the opposite of failure. We need to define what failure is. You know, my mother gave me a great phrase once upon a time that failure isn’t falling down. Failure is staying down.
I have fallen down many, many times, but I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself down, got back on the horse and carried on. And so I’ve never really failed. I’ve had lots and lots of fantastic growth opportunities. And so to me, success is about keeping going longer than anybody else. And you need to work hard and try hard. But success isn’t the opposite of failure. And you know, if you think that success means money, you can always find a million people with more money than you. And even if I had the money to buy a private island, I wouldn’t cause it’s not one of my things. So to me, success is being happy, healthy, and becoming my entelechy every day, being a better version of myself and surviving and thriving. You know, I probably do a bit better than the average person, but I think my greatest successes have been that when I’ve fallen over, I’ve stood up and had another go. So I don’t think I’ve ever failed.
Jenn DeWall: I I really love that, like, the reframe of how to look at it. And I think even knowing the level of success you have coached some of the top executive leaders in the globe or around the globe and just being able to say that, cause I know that there’s people that compare themselves that think that people maybe don’t struggle or don’t struggle as hard. And yet you’re saying that it’s all about our own resiliency and how we, you know, adapt to when things do or do not go the right way. It’s all about how we pick ourselves up. I, I love that because I think sometimes people at the top, we lose sight of the fact that failure, whatever we want to call it, missteps, mistakes, things go wrong happen, but it’s all about, again, continuing to improve and build on that. And you’re a true story of resilience in so many ways, and I just am so grateful to even have you.
So to our audience, we have someone that is very, very, as we would call it successful, but they’re not here sitting and saying, well, it was so easy, let me tell you how great I am, and how I didn’t actually fail. And that didn’t happen because there is too much of that today where we see that on social media of like these kind of false realities that are presented as if people are not struggling or don’t have struggles. And I just want to say thank you for your vulnerability and even sharing that, because I think that allows us to see how can we actually build a competitive edge. It’s not by doing things without fail or without mistakes, but it’s about continuing to pick ourselves up. So let’s dive into the Performance X-Factor. What is the Performance X-Factor?
What is the Performance X-Factor?
David Carter: Well, I would say this, wouldn’t I? But I really do believe it all comes down to character. Aristotle also had another wonderful phrase, which is that character determines destiny. And so we all end up where we end up in life as the direct function of our character. So two people can be born in the same town, in the same year, go to the same school, get the same grades and the same subjects, and how come one of them 20 years later as the CEO of a thriving successful business? And the other one’s a bus driver in the local bus driving depot. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if that’s their passion and their thing. So I think that Performance X-Factor is all about dialing up these 54 character qualities to their optimum level in a, in a number of different contexts. And I know that your your listeners won’t be able to see this but as we’re chatting, I’m gonna share something with you.
When we sit down with companies who we talk about helping them become companies of character, I show them this page and just say, there’s 54 character qualities on here. Pick out half a dozen of the 54 that you’d like everyone in your company to be and tell me if they were, what the benefits to them and your organization would be. And they look through and think, oh, well, we’d like everyone to be adaptable and confident and curious and expressive and, and harmonious and collaborative and accountable and disciplined and organized and reliable and resilient. And, and I said, whoa, whoa, you’re only allowed half a dozen <laugh>. Oh no, no, we want all of our people to be good at all of these now. I said, okay, but which six do you want everyone to be where that takes hours? Oh, if I’ve gotta take that on, no, I don’t want to lose that one.
And then I end up saying to them, what is it you are doing today to help your people become good at any of these character qualities? And they’re like, well, we, we don’t do anything at all. And it’s like, okay, so let’s start off with half a dozen. Let’s not try and boil the ocean. And so ultimately, I think Performance X-Factor is a, an understanding that these 54 character qualities exist and they underpin the development of all skills, hard skills, soft skills, technical skills, and being conscious in everything you do, that there is probably a character quality in this interview right now. In the meeting I had before this in a call with my team early on today, I needed to be analytical with them in the call just now. I needed to be, be a bit encouraging and vulnerable in a and so I think I’m aware because I’ve worked in this field for so long, now I’m aware of all of these.
Improve Your Team’s Performance by Focusing on a few Characteristics at a Time
David Carter: And every day I think to myself, right in this meeting, I need to probably focus on being this and that meeting this in this situation. And as a company, every Monday our week begins where Amy, our coo, holds us all to account on what we are doing to develop three company character qualities of that month. So this month they are being discerning and influential and organized, but we also have our own personal character qualities that we’re working on for the month. And we’ve worked split off into little groups of three where we talk about what we are doing to become more of the character quality that we’ve chosen for ourselves for the month. And we also have to say what we’re doing. So this Performance X-Factor starts off with an individual commitment to looking at how I can dial up any one of these character qualities and being better than I would’ve been if I hadn’t thought about it. And if everybody is doing that in sync together and coaching each other and mentoring each other, and we all commit to three company character qualities each month, then by the end of the year we’ve probably done 36 character qualities as a team for the company and a dozen, you know, for ourselves.
Jenn DeWall: I love this framework because it, and correct me if how I even understand this is different, but it’s, it’s, to me, I read it differently as it’s different than a set of operating values that a team or an organization might have because they’re not fixed. It’s asking ourselves, what do we need in this moment for our goals, both short-term and long-term in this moment? And so as what I’m seeing is different ways to look at these qualities of whether it’s you have the three different perspectives of people productivity and purpose and the qualities that then go underneath. But I really appreciate that this is something that isn’t fixed. It’s something that we connect with that we discuss. And I mean, I guess what would you say is the difference between a character quality of a team versus the values of an organization? Because I appreciate that we will need to pull forward different things given what a specific team or organization is going through at any given time.
Your Teams Character Qualities are Key to Improving Performance
David Carter: I’m going to give a slightly sarcastic answer to that. Values are what organizations print in big words in a poster in their boardroom or their reception lobby, and no one pays any attention to, one of my favorite stories was many years ago when I was mentoring the CEO of a big oil and gas company in the UKk and I visited his offices up in Scotland and I was facilitating a workshop on their new strategy and plastered around the boardroom were six big posters of the company’s values. And at one particular difficult point in the conversation, I said to him, you know, how does this strategy tie up with these values that I’m reading around the wall? And the CEO said, oh, sorry David, we didn’t have time to change them before you arrived. I said, oh, why would you want to change them?
And he said, oh, we’ve got two sets of values. One, when oil is above $50 a barrel and the other when it is below $50 a barrel. And I’m probably being very sarcastic and facetious, but I don’t think values, they’re very ethereal. Whereas character qualities is who you are, how you show up in the world, how your colleagues, your customers experience you. And so I can do a 180 on myself and think, okay, well I’m pretty adaptable and I’m pretty disciplined and assertive, da da da da da, and here’s what I think my strengths are. Here’s if you, I probably could work on, but if I ask 14 of my colleagues to ask me what they think they’re going to sh show me how I, they experience me. And we actually do this once a quarter and I actually had a very interesting thing, you know where probably 10 out of the 12 people who did my 360 all saw me as being visionary which I guess in my job you have to be.
David Carter: But interestingly though, and there was lots of alignment about how they saw me, but there wasn’t a lot of alignment in terms of the growth opportunities and they were scattered all over the map. And I remember thinking, oh, well that’s interesting. But then I realized, well, Amy’s written down one or two that she would like me to dial up in my relationship with her. And Rachel’s written down a few that she would like me to dial up in my relationship with her and Indi’s written a few. And I thought, okay, so it’s not that I’m not open-minded, but in a certain context, in a certain situation, Amy would like me to dial that up. And it’s not that I’m not efficient, but in a certain context, Rachel would like to see me dial that up. And so it’s the most incredibly rich feedback because you can think, it’s not that I’m not that, but with that particular person, I can dial it up and please them and improve my relationship with them. And if everyone in the entire organization is focused on dialing up their strength, converting their growth opportunities into strength and figuring out how they can support each other to do that, that’s how you achieve Performance X-Factor.
Identify Growth Opportunities to Improve Your Team’s Performance
Jenn DeWall: Yes. I, I mean, I love that I’m looking at it as, it’s not that we’re not, it’s not that we’re a deficit, that we are our weakness. It’s about understanding in every unique situation with the individuals that we’re working with, how can we alter, or as you keep saying, dialing up what you know, that specific character quality to make sure that we actually are probably working better together, building trust, delivering what we need to be. But I appreciate within this that it’s not saying if you don’t have these, you’re without. It’s saying that if it’s a blind spot, let’s have those conversations. Then one question that I know that we talked about on the pre-call is, I love these character qualities, but how do you, one of my favorite things that, I’m just intrigued by is how to develop self-awareness on people. Because I think that sometimes people might think if I assess myself, I am a really great people person and I am extremely energetic and open-minded, but yet when you do those 360 s people are, they, they might see it, but yet they still don’t wanna hold on to the results and data that’s around them.
So how do you even start to help people develop this self-awareness when maybe ego’s in play and we don’t want to actually identify with one of these, or we don’t like that label?
David Carter: So let, let’s take a specific example. So one member of the team might think that they are humorous and they’re always trying to add something funny to every conversation or tell a, you know, funny story about every situation. But what if no one in the team thinks that their jokes are funny, or actually their humor is often inappropriate and they get that feedback, you know, the person has an opportunity there because it’s very rich feedback to, to either grow and say, wow, I didn’t understand that about myself, that I, I don’t land with other people how I thought I did, but now I’ve got that feedback and they’ve given me the context, not just the feedback. I have a choice. I can screw it up and throw it in in the trashcan and ignore it and pay no attention to it, or I can learn to grow from it. And, you know, how do we develop ourselves and develop our entelechy? You know, feedback is the food of champions. And so you have to want to learn to be more self-aware and say, why would I want to 10 people off in my team who don’t think my humor is humorous? Why would I persevere with that? What benefit could there possibly be to me of being like that when actually they’ve been vulnerable and generous to gimme that feedback? I should be respectful and grateful and do something with it.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh, I feel like there’s so much there just around how we have the opportunity to process feedback and what we actually look at or how we interpret it as our opportunity for growth. You are truly demonstrating the growth mindset.
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To Improve Your Team’s Performance, Embrace a Growth Mindset
David Carter: What mindset is there other than a growth mindset?
Jenn DeWall: Well, I mean the fixed right, the belief that everything is, you know, innate are born with, but I feel like I do notice it. I even heard last week at a conference someone talk about how you can’t have a growth mindset and make mistakes. And I, you know, you and I could obviously probably go into a conversation on how that’s actually not,
David Carter: That’s rubbish as rubbish. You, we all make mistakes every day. And if we want to learn from those mistakes and get better and improve, that’s how we learn and develop ourselves. And so anybody, when I had my global CEO mentoring company, we had an incredible roster of people apply to join our firm. You know, after seven or eight years, we were a real little rockstar in the firm moment. And people used to turn up with, you know, their bio well, I was the CEO of this major multinational. I was the CEO of this one. We travel our share price, and I used to listen to them give their five-minute sales pitch about how brilliant and wonderful they were. And then my first question was, so tell me about the things that have gone pear-shaped and gone wrong in your life and how you’ve overcome and turned those around. And if anyone ever turned around to me and said, oh, I’ve never had anything go wrong in my life, I said, what? How on earth can you mentor someone who’s in the middle of a crisis? You know you’ll be no good to me, all my clients, so thank you for your application. Goodbye.
And I remember one chap saying to me, don’t you know who I am? And I said, well, I not only know who you are, but I figured out what you are too. And you will never be a great mentor if you seriously think you’ve never ever made a mistake. And, and maybe you are right, you’ve never made one well done you, but you’ll never be a great mentor because it’s the empathy and you need to tune into what your client is going through and support them through that, which you can only really do have, you’ve been through it yourself or something that you can relate to.
Jenn DeWall: I mean, I just love that you actually had the response for someone to say that that’s not reality or you’re not going to be able to help someone in any profound way if you don’t own the fact that we have limitations or we have missteps along the way. So how do you work when you’re, when your organization works with people to develop these character qualities? What’s the starting point that you have? Because it’s not values, they’re not fixed from what I’ve gathered, it’s, you know, it’s really thinking in the moment of how we can show up intentionally. And so what’s your starting point or how do you work with organizations to help them, you know, up-level and develop their teams to improve or dial up and dial down these character qualities?
Improve Team Performance by Dialing up Important Characteristics
David Carter: There’s part A and a part B to that question. So first of all, with the company itself, as I explained a few minutes ago, we’d sit down and perhaps show them our framework and say to them, you know, what do you think the most important character qualities are for everyone in your organization across the board? And so we could come up with a company set of character qualities, but we also say to them, you know, we understand that people in sales might need a few that people in finance don’t need, or people in warehousing need different ones to people in logistics and supply chain or imports and exports. And so, but there will be a set of character qualities that everyone in the entire organization should be able to demonstrate. And so we’ll help them figure out what those are and then we’ll get the individual employees to do a 360 so they can see how they see themselves and versus how their colleagues see them.
And then we can compare the results of that with how the organization would like everyone to be. And that’s, that can be very interesting because you can literally range from, the organization wants to see itself like this, but no one in the organization sees themselves like that or, or there’s a complete match. And it’s also very interesting cause if you asked the top three or four accountancy firms in the world who are all, you know, the big four, they will all answer the question very differently, which is a function of their culture and their style as an organization. So there’s, there’s no one answer, there’s no one right answer. But if you can then share with the employees, well here’s the half a dozen character qualities we’d like everyone to be good at and here’s why. And you know, and that can be tied into your mission and vision and values and all the rest of it.
But it also an opportunity for people to say, well look, I’m really good at this one and this one, this one which clearly aligned to what the company wants. But in my 360 people have also pointed out this one and this one, which I’m not so good at, which the company would like me to be good at. So there’s two that are worth starting to work on straight away. And because you’ve just had a 360, you can ask all of your respondents, listen, if you see me in a meeting or you are working with me and you see there’s a way that I can dial up being more, whatever the character quality is, please tell me, give me feedback. If you think I’m doing something better or worse, gimme tools, tips, techniques, feel free to coach me and mentor me. It’s like, who’s not gonna respond to a request like that when you can genuinely see that someone’s trying to improve themselves and, you know, work harmoniously with you to achieve better outcome for the company?
Get Feedback from Your Team Members to Improve Their Performance
Jenn DeWall: No, one of the things that I think is great is that we’re thinking about what do we do with that feedback? How do we work for it? And I know that there still might be people reluctant to say, how could I dial that up? Because it’s a scary place to be to admit that maybe we have to change. Well let’s talk about the benefits of this approach. When the organization really chooses these character qualities and lives by them, what are the benefit? But what are the benefits that you notice in your work with clients from actually helping people? Cause it sounds like you’re helping them not only understand who they are to be their best self, but then also to embrace feedback as something that’s not, you know, a fundamental foundational flaw. It’s something that’s actually a part of our role to success. What benefits do you notice when people apply your framework?
How do you Dial Up Key Characteristics?
David Carter: Do I have your permission to be your mentor for a few minutes?
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh, yes you can. Yes you can. This is the scary part for me. Yes, you do <laugh>.
First, Pick a Characteristic to Work On
David Carter: So let’s show, don’t tell. So your listeners won’t be able to see this, but you can see the screen of the 54 categories. I’d like you to choose one that, if I were to ask your significant other or your best friend or one of your siblings or your parents or one of your coworkers and you knew they were right in choosing it, which one of these character qualities do you think you could perhaps do some work on and dial-up and improve?
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh>? I’m laughing because I’m like, when you put in all those contacts, I’m like, I feel like I know which one they would say. You know, when I look at this list, I think is, you know, even just the word expressive, how I manage my emotions is one. Or in terms of maybe even my being able to be more forgiving or practice self-compassion with myself. But those would probably be the two. And then maybe more adaptable to allow change to be there. So I picked three, but I guess if I was looking at one, it might be one to dial down would be my expressiveness.
David Carter: Okay, which one are we gonna dial-up?
Jenn DeWall: Which one would we dial-up? I think it is probably my ability to my confidence. Let’s talk about that confidence.
David Carter: Confident. Okay. So if you were to work on being more confident for the whole of March, yeah,
Jenn DeWall: Yeah.
Imagine How You Want People to React to your Improvements
David Carter: In the next four weeks, what would you like people to be noticing and saying to you or sending you a WhatsApp message where they clearly witnessed that improvement in confidence? What would you like them to be saying to you?
Jenn DeWall: I would like them to acknowledge me for setting boundaries around things and not to say yes to everything, but being confident in my time and my availability and saying, we respect that you did that. Even confident in sharing my voice when maybe I don’t think that something is the right thing to do instead of trying to toe the line or say what someone else maybe wants to hear.
David Carter: Anything else that you’d like them to say?
Jenn DeWall: You know, if I was really confident I in the truth, it would be to have less anxiety and just trust that I’m doing my best.
Ask Yourself How Dialing Up that Characteristic Will Benefit You
David Carter: Okay. One more thing that you’d like to say to yourself.
Jenn DeWall: One more thing that I would like to say to myself is don’t give up. I think that’s probably the biggest thing is don’t give up.
David Carter: So if you were more confident, you wouldn’t give up, is that what you’re saying?
Jenn DeWall: Yes.
David Carter: Okay. So you can imagine now what those various stakeholders in your life might say to you if you worked on it and you nailed it at the end of a month. Yep. And yes, you know, what you’d say to yourself. So just describe one or two real benefits to you that you would achieve if you pull that off.
Jenn DeWall: I would be less anxious and I would worry less and I would still be taking
David Carter: How, how does that be? How does that benefit you?
Jenn DeWall: I would sleep better. I would be more present in my life and not ruminating or thinking about all of the things that I’m not, I would practice more self-compassion and less judgment.
David Carter: How does that benefit you?
Jenn DeWall: It’s my mental health and it’s my time. It’s my ability to actually help people or be present for the people that I love in my life. And for me it’s just being happier.
Ask Yourself Why Improving that Characteristic is Important to You
David Carter: And why is that important to you?
Jenn DeWall: Oh, well this is important because we have one short dang life here on this planet and I want to make sure that I do my best to enjoy it.
Commit to One or Two Actions You Can Do EVERY DAY for a Month
David Carter: So final question. Tell me one or two things that you’re gonna do every day in March to achieve those benefits. You’ve just spelled out to me.
Jenn DeWall: You know, one thing that I am working on actively is practicing self-compassion. And that’s in the form of writing something positive about myself every single day that is not met with criticism or self-doubt. I’m now you’re making me tear up <laugh>. But that it would be honestly practicing self-compassion and letting go of worry. And so self-compassion and maybe writing and it’s journaling, but it’s writing down one thing that I like about myself in one thing that I give myself permission to let go of, or a judgment that I have that I give myself permission to let go of.
David Carter: So would you be willing today to commit to writing for no more than two or three minutes a day for the whole of March in acknowledging yourself in some positive way?
Jenn DeWall: Yes, actually yes. I’m going to commit to that right now. I am going to commit to doing that every day this month. And I love that this is the task and it makes me feel uncomfortable as I’m grabbing my coffee cup, but I, I actually want, I really do wanna commit to this.
Make a Commitment and Hold Yourself Accountable
David Carter: And would you be willing to commit that we, not a podcast conversation, but you commit at the end of March that we have a half an hour video called catch up and you can tell me what happened and what the benefits turned out to be for you, how easy or difficult it was for you to do that and how you have improved your life through developing your confidence?
Jenn DeWall: I would absolutely be willing to commit to that.
David Carter: Right. Well I think you’ve just hopefully answered your own question.
Jenn DeWall: It’s with tears and you know, thank you for even asking that because I think even our listeners might assume that me, I’m a really confident person and they don’t realize that underneath I’m more of a perfectionist that never thinks I’m doing well enough. And so it is something I really have to work on and I appreciate you for, even, even though it felt real uncomfortable, David, like, I appreciate you just even I guess forcing me to really think about that in, in a way that I can take accountability. And I so thank you.
To Improve Your Team’s Performance Build Awareness, and Then Take Action
David Carter: Well, there’s no point knowing that you are not as confident as you want to be or think you could be, that is not gonna help you. So acting on it with intention and dialing it up and working on it, you can learn and grow through that. And guess what, in a month’s time you’ll think, you know what, that wasn’t as hard as I thought the benefits were five times more than I said to David. And now I’m gonna look at another one over here that I think I could dial up as well. Because I chose three initially, but fo and you learn how to learn to dial up all of these innate capabilities in yourself.
Jenn DeWall: My gosh, I, and I love that this is, it feels manageable, it feels like it feels manageable. It’s not me trying to be and pick up a list of character qualities that I have to try to be all. But this feels, and you had said the two to three minutes, this feels manageable and it also is helping me be accountable because we’re talking about it instead of something that I live and don’t talk about in my head.
David Carter: And most people, Jenn, is like, if they make that commitment as you’ve done now to, you know, one character quality for the whole of March, two or three minutes a day then you are gonna go into every meeting, every conversation, every situation think, right, how can I be more confident in this meeting, in this situation right now? I could try this. Oh, that didn’t work. Oh, I’ll try something else. Oh, oh, that seems to work. And you don’t, it is not like you need to get off the bus and go on a course for a week. It’s like you’re just trying it out. Course correcting, learning as you go and grow and you’re doing it in the flow of life, in the flow of work, in the flow of studies or whatever. And just being conscious, I can be more courageous and, and I want to be, and let me experiment with it. Let me fail a few times and fall over and pick myself up and dust myself down and have another, oh look, it worked better this time. So therefore it wasn’t a failure. It was just a growth opportunity.
Building Resilience to Improve Your Team’s Performance
Jenn DeWall: How I, okay, I have to ask one final question, but how do you, because my initial thought if we’re talking about confidence is that when I make a mistake, it I immediately feeds that beast of like, you’re still goofing it up. And so I’m curious if you have tips just knowing the level of resilience that you’ve demonstrated of how you can still approach yourself with compassion, even if you’re not, it feels like you’re not there. Like, I don’t know if you have words of wisdom or that you’ve used, because that’s probably my most big difficult thing is meeting myself in that moment with kindness. I’m probably begging for tips and tricks here of just like a perspective on that of like what you remind yourself or any mottoes that you remind yourself of.
David Carter: Well I said earlier on in our conversation about how I ended up being a single parent, you know, of a seven year old daughter and three year old son. And I chose to focus on being a good dad. If you were to ask my children today to gimme a score outta 10 on my parenting skills, you know, and to comment, they would say, oh my God, he hadn’t got a clue what he was doing. You know, he was so embarrassing. He was the only parent that ever wanted to do it his way rather than all the other. And if I had a dollar for every time my children called me embarrassing, I could have retired a long time ago,
But they, but they will say, but he really gave it his best shot. He really tried his hardest and if he did screw up and we pointed out to him that he screw, he was decent enough to say, you know what? I think you are right. I should have done it that other way and I apologize. You know, I really, really tried my very hardest, you know, to be a great dad to my children. I try and be a great boss to everybody, a -great business partner or whatever, but I’m human and, and what, you know, would look great to me being a parent didn’t look great to my children always. And you know, they had the same love and the same discipline and the same rules and the same values, but they’re as different as chalk and cheese. So something might work for one, but not for the other one.
But at the end of the day, they’re now 36 and 32 and they still come and stay with me once a month and voluntarily I don’t have to insist on it. And you know, I know we love each other very much. And, and, and, and the funny thing is now the last few years they tell me and each other, oh my God, I’m becoming more and more like dad. Now I heard myself say this the other day or doing this the other day, <laugh>, and it’s like, yay, 20 years later I’m finally validated. But I think that, you know, that’s just being human, you know? And as long as you give everything your best shot and you do learn from your errors and mistakes and you apologize to people and you put the train back on the tracks, if it falls off, that’s life. You know, the, the one in the chat, the, the chat, there were two or three over the years who came in and said, well, I’ve never made a mistake in my life. I always wonder, had the question on the tip of my tongue, oh, I’d love to hear your wife’s perspective on that
Jenn DeWall: <Laugh> <laugh>
David Carter: Or your secretary, exec assistant, you know, your secretary’s perspective like and, and give him that feedback. But you know, we are all human. Give it your best shot. Try your hardest, be kind, realize that, you know, falling over isn’t failure. Staying down is failure. Get back up, dust yourself down, have another go. Try it a different way. Do it with honesty and integrity and be kind along the way. And that is how we grow and learn.
Jenn DeWall: David, I really appreciate your words today for our audience. I know that I needed to hear that message and I know that someone else needed to hear that message. And I really appreciate Entelechy’s approach of seeing human, being human, treating human. That’s how it feels to me is like creating a better workforce where we can be our best by not magnifying only our worst, but continuing to look in small ways of how we can improve. David, how can people get in touch with you?
Where to Find More From David CM Carter
David Carter: Probably the best way is via LinkedIn. And if you look up David Cm Carter, that’s David CM Carter you’ll find me on LinkedIn or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. But LinkedIn’s probably the best way to get ahold of me and I reply to everybody, by the way.
So I was I was going to share one last little, little story with you, based on something you just said. So when you write a book where it says on the front cover, you know, learn to become the best version of yourself through the world’s leading CEO mentor, you kind of put yourself on a pedestal, you know, ready for everyone to take a shot at you. And so one of the most frequently asked questions that I was ever asked was, so, Mr. Mentor, are you the best version of yourself? And I always used to say yes, I absolutely am the best version of myself. And they were quite shocked that anyone could be so arrogant to, you know, say that they were the best version. I said, and the only reason I say that is because every day, I work to be a better version of myself, and it’s as good as it gets today, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. And so, you know, developing our entelechy, it doesn’t really all fit into place until right on the last day, but I still want to keep going and try to get there.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh, every day, every day, is an opportunity for us to be our best self. I love that. I that’s a beautiful way to end it. David, thank you so much for, I don’t know, just being you and creating this space and having these conversations as it relates to, you know, being our best and how we can do that with honesty and compassion and vulnerability. Thank you so much for coming on to the Leadership Habit podcast. I, I truly loved having you on.
David Carter: It’s been a pleasure, and thank you very much for inviting me.
Jenn DeWall: Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of the Leadership Habit Podcast. I really enjoyed my conversation with David. I was a little in my fields. It can be difficult to talk about the things that we want to work on or the things that, you know, maybe are blind spots, but I’m really grateful for my conversation with David and for helping me, and I hope that it helps you.
And if you want to learn more about entelechy, you can actually download their app. You can get a free 14-day trial, the entelechy app, that’s entelechy, E N T E L E C H Y. And that app is available on both the Google Play and Apple App Store. And, of course, you can check out and learn more about entelechy by going to entelechy.academy.com.
Thank you so much for listening today. If we can help you improve your team’s performance, or help to develop your leaders, please head on over to crestcom.com. We would love the opportunity to offer a complimentary leadership skills workshop, or you can head on over to crestcom.com. There, you can download our eBooks, and you can even find out more about our complimentary webinars. Until next time!