Special Guest Expert - Mark Graban

Special Guest Expert - Mark Graban: Video automatically transcribed by Sonix

Special Guest Expert - Mark Graban: this mp4 video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Here's the big question. How is it that most entrepreneurs hustle and are always busy and struggle to take just one step forward, only to fall two steps back their dedicated, determined and driven, but only a few finally break through and win. This show uncovers those quantum leap patterns of highly successful people so you can simply model what they do and apply to your future success. That's the question. And the answers are right here. My name is Bridget Russell and this is the Success Pattern Show. And happy Tuesday, everyone. My name is Brigitta Hoeferle. This is the success pattern show. We are here to put the do in, learn, do teach and the founder of the Success Pattern Movement and the CEO of the Center of NLP. And let's take success pattern apart just for a quick moment, because people think they know what success is and they try to define success and make it like a perfect definition. But the perfect definition for success does not exist because success is shaped. It's an interesting thing. It shapes its meaning within each individual person that is seeking success or that already has success, and it's not limited to either business or personal life. It is. It can happen wherever you decide you want to have success. However, that looks like it might involve money. It might not involve money. It might involve being of service. It might not be involve being of service. So you decide what success is. And success is modeled in patterns, strategies and behavior. And when you are able to have enough patterns, strategies and people that you can model from, then you can also define success even more precisely for yourself. And in the show we're now looking at the patterns. In the show we are decoding these patterns of our guest expert success. So you can then encode it for yourself in your own life. However you want to define success and whatever success is for you. So that's the success part. The pattern part is an example for others to follow. So the question then is which example do you want to follow? We have an array of incredible guest experts and as we are going through these guest experts, this is not the Brigitta show.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
This is about our guest experts. This is about decoding and encoding success patterns. And we are learning hands on from living teachers, from living guest experts, because we're not theoreticians. I don't know about you. I'm not a theoretician because they only talk a good game, but they don't kind of walk it. They're grandmasters at work here. And we're going to give you the tips on how to model success. That means that you are at the right place at the right time right here. That's what we're all about. Success is already yours, so stay tuned. At the end of this show, we have a special gift for you and you want to make some notes on that. By the way, you want to make some notes either way. So if you have not have something to write with and something to write on, now is the time to get that because we have a great show coming up. Today's show is all about leaders, our learners, and we only learn when we go through challenges. We only learn when we're able to work through whatever other people might see as a failure or mistake. And there is a real process in that. And my guest expert is a real expert in that as well. He's an author. He's a speaker. He's a consultant. He's a podcaster. I actually was invited on his podcast. He's an entrepreneur in his 25 year career. His passion has been creating that culture of continuous improvement, not just in organizations, but in organizations ranging from manufacturing, software and hospitals. He has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern University, an MBA in mechanical engineering from MIT. If you know anything about engineering and I come from a country where engineering is kind of a big thing and MIT is definitely the place that you want to vet your people. He's the he's the host of multiple podcasts, including My Favorite Mistake, and I love that podcast with so much fun on his podcast and he's the author of four books. So ladies and gentlemen, I have the one, the only Mark Rayburn here with us. Mark, welcome.

Mark Graban:
Hey, Brigitta. Thanks for having me.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Yeah, it's good to have you here. Mark, the learning from mistakes. And what was the podcast called again? Your favorite mistakes.

Mark Graban:
My favorite mistake.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Yes, my favorite mistake. Where did that come from? How did how was that born?

Mark Graban:
There were a couple of things that came together. And maybe this is a success habit. Now that you make me think of it, is that I'm willing or able to pull together different pieces of ideas or my life that I'm exposed to. So for one, one of those books that I wrote, I was really the editor of it. I wrote the first two chapters and had 15 other authors. It was a book called Practicing Lean. So a lot of the work I do there's this this term lean that comes from lean manufacturing. Or we might talk about lean health care or lean startups. And this idea of practicing Lean was to write a book that talked about this practice. And when we're new at something, whether that's riding a bike or playing an instrument or what have you, we're probably not going to be very good at it yet, but we keep practicing and I think the same thing applies in professional settings. So in the book, the first couple of chapters I shared stories of mistakes that I made in the first couple of years of my career, mistakes that I recognized, I reflected on, I learned from. And then I had this idea maybe I could find others in my field who would be willing to do the same thing, not to dwell on our mistakes, but just to remind ourselves and to remind others like don't be too hard on somebody who's new to a field or a practice or a discipline. And that idea stuck with me. You know, I had an opportunity I've been hosting my original podcast for about 16 years now, which is in this niche we call Lean Management. And I would get pitched different guests and I would have to say, No, they sound great, but they don't fit the narrowcasting that I'm doing. And summer of 2020, I got a pitch. What I want to interview Kevin Harrington, who is one of the original sharks on the show, Shark Tank. And I thought I got to stop saying no to opportunities like this. Like, how do I.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Clearly.

Mark Graban:
Find a way to say yes? And so brainstorming with the guest bookers and a couple of PR people. Would anyone actually be willing to share a story about a mistake? Kevin Harrington's people said yes, yes, he would, and he was my first guest. And so he was amazing. He told a great story and how he learned from that mistake that almost put himself out of business. Right. So it's a pretty vulnerable story that he told. And so now I've interviewed almost 200 people and asked them all that same question, What's. Your favorite mistake. And the other thing that came together was my love of music and the Sheryl Crow song, My Favorite Mistake. So that was the inspiration for that part of it.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Now, you just mentioned it, right, that admitting to mistakes that we make. And I think the more we are aware of some of the drastic mistakes we made will really propel us forward. How can we equip and and I'm speaking to all of my HR people out there, how can we equip employees to actually embrace mistakes, own it and learn from it? Can we bottle that maybe and sell it? Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Well, so there's two pieces of it, right? How do we encourage individuals to even recognize an admitted mistake to yourself, even if it's in your own head? As organizations, leaders have to make it safe for people to use their voice and to speak up about it. So if I'm in a workplace where I know I'm going to be ridiculed, blamed, shamed, punished, if not fired for doing this very human thing called making a mistake. I'm not going to have the psychological safety to speak up about that. Right. So I think leaders have to do more than just say, hey, you should point out mistakes. We need to make it safe for them to do so because admitting a mistake or being able to point out a mistake is the first step in understanding why that mistake occurred. And can we prevent it from happening again as individuals or as a team or as as a company, that that becomes really powerful.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
What I'm hearing you say is. Companies should have a culture of inviting feedback. And and if if we would look at the big Fortune 50, Fortune 500, Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies, wouldn't that be beautiful if we would have that kind of culture? But let me back up a little bit more. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we had in all of our schools an opportunity for our kids to actually learn from their mistakes rather than just going through? Here's a problem. Here's one way to solve it. Now go solve it that way.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, there's there's this habit, I think sometimes in schools where that imprints kids on the idea of you need to know the answer instead of being willing to discover the answer. There's a famous exercise. I forget who created it, but you have teams of people. And your task, your competition is to take simple materials like raw spaghetti, marshmallows. Maybe it's just spaghetti and marshmallows, but.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Build the marshmallows.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, build the tallest tower that you can within a limited time frame. So it sounds like an engineering challenge, but it's really maybe this this cultural mirror where where it's said that children like kindergartners end up performing better and build taller towers than MBA students. And I'm throwing stones in my own MBA glass house because you know what the difference is? Mba students think they know the answer and that they can talk their way to the answer. So they will debate and they will plan and then at the very last minute, try to execute that plan. And under-perform the kids who naturally do what they start playing, they start experimenting, and they learn from those early failures or mistakes, and they end up building taller towers than the well-educated, super smart adults. Right. So it's almost more of like how do we not remove that instinct, whether it's in the education system or in the workplace? And I think a lot of it you think of a leader's modeling behavior, a leader who's willing to say, I don't know, but let's figure it out, a leader who's willing to say, I have an idea, let's try it and see if it works. Leaving open the possibility that we try it and it doesn't work like that's much more powerful and leads to more success than knowing we have the answer and plowing ahead and being blind to feedback or ignoring the feedback and being defensive and rationalizing and being so afraid to admit that we had an idea that that didn't pan out. So this applies to entrepreneurship. It applies to environments. I work mostly in health care. So you talk about Fortune 50 companies and how beneficial it would be to have this culture in health care. It literally is a matter of life and death. When you don't have a culture that learns from mistakes, and when you don't have a culture that provides the psychological safety to bring forward mistakes, like, quite literally, more people are going to die next year. Because of a culture that as people in health care unfortunately talk about a culture of naming, blaming and shaming when something goes wrong and it's incredibly counterproductive. And again, it's it's a deadly it's deadly to the patients when that culture gets in the way of learning and improving.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
What I hear you say is the three words in in that in that short sentence. I know that will not allow. Tell me more about. I know that what happens.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. Well, when we make that declarative statement of I know the answer, we don't want to be proven wrong. We don't want to admit that we're wrong. And I think one one healthy thing in a culture, again, whether you're an entrepreneur or in the early stages of a startup or you're in a large multi site health system, is, is, is to have a hypothesis instead of having an answer or a solution, right? To go and test and to maybe even do a small test of change. Let me share one example. Like there's a health system that wasn't involved in this work, but I've heard them tell the story. They had an idea that they there was a problem to solve, that they needed to provide transportation to patients as part of their health care. Now, in the knowing mode, someone might say, Well, I know this idea is going to work. I know patients would utilize the service. Therefore, I know we should go and buy a fleet of vans. But when you have that more experimental improvement mindset and you say, well, I could be wrong, so. Let's rent a van. First, let's test and see if this hypothesis is true or not. Would patients utilize this van ride service? And if he test it with the rented van and you find out, oh, people are using this, and then you might have a better idea of how many vans go by. And if somehow it turns out where patients are, for whatever reason, uncomfortable using or asking for that ride. Then you return the rental van and you learned something, and maybe you find a different way to try to solve that patient transportation problem. But there's these different mindsets of, again, knowing the answer versus going and trying something and evaluating it honestly.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Is does that have to do with kind of questioning the status quo at all times? Do you think?

Mark Graban:
I think that's a powerful success pattern, is being willing to challenge the way it's always been done. Now, if somebody wants to do that in an organization, this comes back to leadership and culture and psychological safety, where there are some cultures that are really good at tamping down. I think that human instinct to want to do things better. And I and I can think of here's a clear, hopefully clear compare and contrast. Are you an organization that brings in a new employee? And then when that employee says, Well, why do we do it this way? Are you an organization that says basically, maybe more politely than this, Hey, shut up. You're new here. You don't understand how we do things. This is the way we've always done it. Or are you an organization that that values, if not treasures, the perspective of what you might call fresh eyes when people are new to the organization? That's such a gift. That's such an opportunity if you're open to it, to make it safe for people to invite. Hey, if there and I've been in a situation like this recently in one company I've been involved in of, of, of asking this woman we've hired, please, please, if you see anything that doesn't make sense. If you see anything that you think could be better, we're open to that. Please speak up. But then I have to practice what I preach. Right?

Brigitta Hoeferle:
I was going to say that. Yeah.

Mark Graban:
I say, hey, speak up. And then I poo poo. The first thing that's brought up, she's going to learn, Mark doesn't really mean it. Or if I say we have a culture of learning from mistakes and then if I snap at her the first time, there's some kind of typical human mistake that occurs. You know, I've got to practice what I preach, and I think that's a success pattern as well.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
For sure. That's what I said at the very beginning as I was introducing the show. We're not just talking the talk. We're walking the walk and talking. The talk is easy. I think we can agree on that. Walking the walk and being in alignment with what we say is a whole nother thing. Now, you being clearly a very wise man, not just in what you have studied in university, but just in the nature of who you are. I had a conversation with a similarly wise man yesterday and we were talking about his upbringing and what he did to be so curious. There's a curiosity when we invite feedback. There's also a curiosity of how, you know, what can I do? And have I looked at all of the angles and I went way back with him when he was a little boy. And I said, Has your parent ever bought you like an old radio? And he's like, Oh my goodness, that was the best gift that I ever got, was an old radio that I got to take apart and put back together. And even if I wasn't able to put it back together all the way, I still managed it. What did you like to play with?

Mark Graban:
It's funny, you know, I am an engineer. I don't think I ever did that thing as a kid of taking something apart and putting it back together. I guess I'm not wired that way, but I mean, I think I do have a curiosity and I think I've always had this this eagerness to learn and to learn new things that can sometimes be a trap if we're trying to learn too many new things. And that leads us to want to do new things. But, I mean, I think a sense of curiosity is something to be appreciated. It can lead to distraction, which I have to be careful about. But I mean, again, like I just think of this idea of it's easy to say we're a learning organization, but what does that really mean in terms of daily behavior? What behaviors are leaders modeling? Hopefully good behaviors. And I think back so when I worked with more than 20 years ago, a guy named Ted Rybak, who I think was the first person who I heard use this phrase, he was talking about the consulting firm that he ran. He said, describe themselves, we are not a no at all organization. We are a learn it all organization. And I think that that that really made an impression on me. I think that's a great ideal to strive for.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
For sure. So although you it seems like to me you didn't construct things you got really good at deconstructing. Ms.. Bakes or finding other ways to solve problems. Yeah. Did an out of that and out of your curiosity. Looking back now, what would you say? Man, I wish I would have known this, like years and decades ago. What do you wish that you would have learned much earlier in life?

Mark Graban:
So maybe already alluded to it when I talk about curiosity and that running the risk of distraction. I mean, I'll share something here that I recently I knew about myself, but I was in denial about for at least 25 years and finally got confirmation, meaning a diagnosis that I am ADHD. And getting that formal diagnosis means I can. Instead of just being in denial of it or thinking like, I just needed to try harder. Like when there were times when I realized I'm really struggling to pay attention, not because I'm not interested, like it's something I am really interested in and I just get so distracted. I wish I had taken that more seriously to the point of talking to a counselor, talking to a physician. It is very undiagnosed, especially in adults, ADHD. It's surprising when a lot of people it can be sort of adult onset and it tends to get worse if not treated. So I would say, I mean, I've been successful. I feel like though there are times when I have missed out on things because of some of these ADHD tendencies that I haven't really properly addressed. So 48 years old, two months into this diagnosis and to treatment, it's been a it's been a helpful process. I wish that's something I had learned and take action on ten, if not 20 years ago.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
And what do you do? You feel you're broken? Do you feel that there's something wrong with you? And I'm putting all of that in quotation marks because that's a genuine question.

Mark Graban:
Yeah, not wrong, but different. Right. So as much as we wouldn't want to blame somebody for being type one diabetic, something that you're born with, it's it's believed in the medical community that that ADHD is a difference in the wiring. Of the ADHD brain. Not wrong, but just atypical of society as a whole. It's roughly 5 to 10% of people. Who could be described as an ADHD. And so, you know, I've tried to learn. I don't think it's I try to think how to frame it. Like when I think of moments when I have not been properly attentive to, let's say, somebody who's teaching a class or somebody who's giving a presentation at a conference or in a meeting that I'm participating in. There's there's two sides of it. One is like what I'm losing out on because I'm not really listening. I'm not really learning. And I want to be learning. But I get distracted and thoughts and doing things. But then the second side of that coin is times where I fear that it. Through it, through through my actions or in attentiveness that I'm inadvertently sending a message that I don't at all tend to send. And it's not even true of people looking. Well, Mark doesn't care. Mark is not interested. And, you know, it's just. That's that's part of why I've started to take this seriously. It's not just about like, oh, what's lacking in me? But how can I be more present in a way that's more respectful to others? How can I be more effective in my work, and how can I be more effective as teams that I'm a part of? So yeah. So the short answer is no, not broken, just different. I can you know, it doesn't change who I am to get treatment for ADHD. It helps me be more of who I want to be.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Yeah. I honor you for for that. And I think nowadays, if we come from the same generation, if we would look back and we were kids and we were, you know, if we would have had all the knowledge that we have today around ADHD, I think there would be a lot of kids, including myself, going, Oh yeah, total ADHD. Right. And, and, and you're right. And that's the point that I wanted you to make is there's nothing wrong with you just knowing who you are. And so you can then be the greatest version of yourself.

Mark Graban:
That and the other thing I would add is that I can stop shaming myself for not paying attention or for the second side of that ADHD coin. It's, you know, it comes down to impulse control and that can be impulse in terms of what I'm thinking about or what I'm doing. It can also be impulse control in terms of letting emotion out in sort of sudden emotional ways. And and that's not like that's it's not a quote unquote anger management problem, but it's sort of like this this inability sometimes to control the impulse of blurting something out or reacting instead of trying to soothe yourself or take a breath. And, you know, it's been more in the matter of the realm of professional relationships where I feel like I've reacted to things where maybe I was in the right to be frustrated about something, but the way I sort of impulsively reacted wasn't helpful. And, you know, I, you know, I don't want to damage workplace relationships that matter to me because of some of this. So that's that's part of I, I haven't been fired. I haven't had a rock bottom moment because of any of this. But thankfully, there's a recognition that I can be a better version of myself.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
And on top of that, me looking from the outside in, you've created all of these incredible podcasts and giving on your wisdom, not just from your point of view, but from your guest experts point of view. And there's a lot of value in that as well. So I, I honor you for not guilt tripping yourself or shaming yourself anymore. You you mentioned at the very beginning of our conversation today lean management and really diving into that. Is that something that you intentionally model or what else would you say you are using as a model for your success?

Mark Graban:
So I do try to model these behaviors that I've touched on, and I would describe it as being part of this, if you will, lean culture, this organizational culture, this leadership style. Of times when I've been put to the test in terms of how do I react to a mistake that somebody else made. Right. So I talked about the element of ADHD, of sometimes not being able to hold things in. You know, thankfully, I think I haven't completely fallen down. I think I've had a good track record of trying to model being kind to somebody when they've made a mistake. Because in some of these situations I can think of in different workplaces, when someone knows they've made a mistake, they are already going to feel bad enough. You don't need to pile on. And there's there's one element of thinking like an engineer and thinking of this lean culture, we often focus a lot on problem solving. Let's do some root cause analysis. But one thing I've learned, and I think I've modeled is. Instead of being too quick to jump into what happened, how can we prevent it? You also sometimes need to step back and ask, How are you feeling? Are you. Are you okay? Like and give someone the space. To sort of process. Feeling bad about the mistake before it's comfortable enough to then go into problem solving mode. And sometimes that might just take a couple of minutes. But even trying to show the grace of saying it's okay.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Yeah.

Mark Graban:
Can really help a lot.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
When you when you create that culture of allowing that person to work through it, you're going to have more of those work through opportunities and therefore the company is going to be more profitable because it has that culture.

Mark Graban:
Yeah. And part of that culture and part of the inspiration for what we would refer to as lean manufacturing comes from Toyota. And when I've interviewed people, go and listen to my favorite mistake, the episodes with former Toyota people, one of whom was an American, one who was Japanese. And these stories were at least 20 years apart. One was literally in Japan. One was in Kentucky. The stories of that Toyota culture of an employee making a mistake. That was actually very costly to the company and leaders responding by by basically recognizing that wasn't your mistake. We meaning the company, meaning the team, we set you up to fail. And instead of shaming or punching or firing that person, I think, again, it's a much more constructive response and a culture to step back and ask not who did that, but why was that able to occur? And realizing people don't want to make mistakes, people don't want to do the wrong thing, so we shouldn't shame them when they make a mistake. We're all human. We all make mistakes. Some of us are willing to admit it. Some of us are willing to reflect and try to move forward instead of just being in denial. So I think one other pattern, one other thing I'll add real quick is, you know, the almost 200 people, including yourself, including Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, you know, people who come on the show, people who are very successful in so many different fields and professions. If anybody thought, I bet these people are successful because they've made fewer mistakes. It's probably no, it's probably more that they have actually maybe made more mistakes, but they're willing to be aware of them, to reflect on them, to learn from them without beating themselves up. Yeah, right. Not dwelling on it. If anything, I think people are successful, take more risks and are more in that mode of trying new things. I'm either going to succeed or I'm going to learn. I mean, it's a bit of a cliche. Oh, it's not a failure. It's a learning opportunity. But I think that actually is a meaningful thing to believe.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
I agree. I agree. You wrote four books and you brought one for our folks to share with with everyone on this call. It is called The Measures of Success by Mark Raybon. How do people get a hold of your book?

Mark Graban:
So it's available primarily through Amazon as a paperback or Kindle book. It's available through a few other online resellers. But Amazon is probably the the easiest place of people are Amazon shoppers. And it's a it's a book. It's a management book. And when we talk about measures of success, what are the things we're measuring as a team, as a startup, as a large business and as as the book sort of the cover sort of suggests, there's this idea of this roller coaster. We may draw a chart with our performance metrics. It's going up and down, and we're actually trying to help get people off this emotional roller coaster of getting too excited when the numbers are better, getting too upset when the numbers are down. The subtitle of the book is meant to be sort of a summary of the lessons here of React Less. Lead Better. Improve more.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Beautiful. Get the book. Measures of Success by Marc Gribbin. Marc. There were so many incredible wise nuggets that we discussed today and that you dropped. How do people get in touch with you?

Mark Graban:
So my website is Marc Gribbin. I can I can be found on LinkedIn. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn, sharing ideas and articles and resources that I think are thought provoking or helpful around these ideas of how do we create an organizational culture that has some of these success patterns built in? So we're really focusing a lot on on leadership and improvement and culture change. I hope people would come find me or follow me or participate, better yet, participate in discussions that I lead on LinkedIn.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Yeah. And reach your peak says great show you two. Yes, I agree. Totally. Thank you for watching. So, guys, mark grabbing grab a CNN.com is the website. Go ahead, get the book. Read all of his books. Listen in on his podcast. My favorite mistake is one of my my favorite mistake right there. And I love the branding of it, too, because it's like pencils and you can erase and that's it. It is that simple. It is that simple. I love it. Marc. Marc, thank you for being here. Come back very soon. We're going to talk about something else next time. But it also always goes back to the success patterns. It always goes back to what is it that drives us and how do we encode it? How do we decode it so you can then encode it. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you. I appreciate you guys tuning in. And before I let you go, I am going to read you an excerpt of the Paul Simon lyrics of his song Patterns. And it goes My eyes can dimly see the pattern of my life and the puzzle that is me from the moment of my birth to the instant of my death. Their patterns I must follow just as I must breathe each breath. My life is made of patterns. Thank you guys for being here. Until next week, same time, same place. Success pattern show. Ciao and bye for now.

Mark Graban:
Bye.

Brigitta Hoeferle:
Thank you for tuning in to the Success Pattern Show at the Success Pattern Showcase. My name is Brigitta Hoeferle.

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Mark Graban

Mark Graban is an author, speaker, consultant, podcaster, and entrepreneur. In his 25-year career, his passion has been creating a culture of continuous improvement in organizations ranging from manufacturing, software, and hospitals. He has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University, and an MBA / MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. He's the host of multiple podcasts, including "My Favorite Mistake" and he's the author of four books.

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