Author Jonno White joins Bethany to talk about developing as a leader.

Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2022


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Jonno White: When I said “what keeps you up at night? Well, literally this morning I was up because I don’t know how to deal with this person”. And when I heard that so many times and I went through it one person at a time I went, Well, I just I feel like I’ve refined the process from sheer explaining it so many times because it’s such a challenge for everyone. And that’s why I wrote the book.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Hi, I am Bethany Fishbein, CEO of the Power Practice and Host of the Power Hour Optometry Podcast. At Power Practice, we’re always working to help our clients achieve whatever their vision of success is. And when we’re having the initial conversations about where they are and where they want to be, and we ask clients something like, what’s standing in the way of your success? What’s keeping you from getting there? Almost inevitably, one of the first answers if not, the first answer is the staff. And so working to improve leadership and improve management of staff is something that we work a lot on with our clients. And I’m excited to have a conversation about that with my guests today. So my guest is Jonno White, he’s the Founder and Principal Consultant of an organization in Australia called Clarity, which helps leaders in schools, churches, and businesses of all sizes, and he’s the author of a book called Step Up or Step Out, how to deal with difficult people, even if you hate conflict, which is a great title. So Jonno, thank you so much for joining me today.


Jonno White: Thank you so much, Bethany! I’m really excited to be here and to chat with you. 


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I’m excited too! I was gonna say thank you for joining me this afternoon but I’m aware as you start speaking that where you are in Australia it is already tomorrow morning. So hopefully night was a good one for you.


Jonno White: That’s right, yeah, coffee in hand with tomorrow morning over here and ready to go.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Awesome! So just talk about your path a little bit. Your name is not one that’s recognized here yet. And so talk about how you got to the position where you are now working, consulting with leaders.


Jonno White: Yeah, absolutely! So my background before I had any sort of leadership opportunities was in business development and marketing, and which I’m still really passionate about but that was what I was doing. I found myself in an amazing opportunity, where I had my first chance to lead in a non-profit and I stepped into this role, really to cut a long story short, just to keep it really sync. I found a couple of months in that I had no idea what I was doing. I had assumed because I felt like I was pretty good at some of the skills that I needed to do as sort of an individual contributor in that sort of and then I got this opportunity to suddenly be managing people or in that case, I actually had volunteers that I was leading. And yeah, two or three months in, I looked around the room and I just remember, I remember my heart sinking. I just felt so disappointed and frustrated and confused because I had these amazing people. And I just had this sense as we were all standing in this room that everyone was going in a different direction. And I thought I have no idea what to do about that. And that is so confronting because all the things I thought were going to lead to people just sort of following me and everything going well. Suddenly, I realized they weren’t going to cut it and there must have been other ideas. And so that was where the journey started. From there. I started just becoming a learner and going okay, well what is a leadership team? What is a team? What’s a healthy team? How do I get a group of people rowing in the same direction? And how do I bring alignment and, through that process, that’s where clarity was really birthed out of and now what I love doing I’m really passionate about investing in others to become everything they can be and really when I work with entrepreneurs or managers in middle management, or executives and CEOs, small business owners, whatever it is anywhere in the world, I love just coming alongside them and helping them build their own leadership capacity but also built high-performance teams and organizations that people line up to work for and line up to buy from that sort of the ultimate goal of what I do. 


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I think the situation that you described yourself in is one that is pretty common. I’m thinking about our industry and our clients are Optometric practices, and most of our listeners are in Optometry practices and the situation that you described of your initial leadership experience is one that a lot of managers I think find themselves in. It’s when a practice owner looks for a manager sometimes they’re choosing the most senior person on their team. It’s somebody who’s really good at their job. They know all the answers. They’re the one other people go to to ask questions, but they don’t have any leadership or management experience. So you started that learning process. Where did you look? What were some of the books or websites or podcasts that were most influential for you?


Jonno White: Absolutely. It’s a great opportunity for me to talk about one of my favorite people and definitely my favorite leadership author of all time. His name is Patrick Lencioni. He has a book called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. And for me, I read a bunch of things about vision and all sorts of things that was going to come on that must be and then finally I got this book. And I remember one night I just read it in one night, you know, when you read a book and you feel like someone wrote it to you about what you’re going through, because I certainly felt like I was leading a dysfunctional team of my own doing as I read the book. Oh my goodness. Yep, yep. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve done that too. Haven’t done that. Even just to be honest, like not really meeting with the team. That was really where I needed to start was actually and I see this all the time. And I would say it would be the same with Optometrists is that a great Optometrist doesn’t necessarily mean a great leader. A great Optometrist doesn’t have the same skills and what makes you an amazing Optometrist. That would make you an amazing people manager. And so this happens. I see this all the time in lots of industries, actually, where someone is amazing at their job. As a result, we go in so good, okay, well, here’s the next opportunity. Suddenly, you’ve got a team of five people reporting to you, but the problem is everything that got them there. And everything that earned them that chance to suddenly be in this next role is now like really 90% of the time, 90% of their new role might be hinging on their ability to leave those five people and manage those five people, whereas what they were doing previously was a completely different skill set.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: That’s absolutely true! And then Optometry, the skills required to be a great Optometrist, all those conversations are one on one. It’s a very, not power heavy, but like it’s a there’s a balance the conversation right to a patient is coming in. They’re paying the Optometrist for advice. The Optometrist is giving the advice the patient saying thank you and walking away. So it’s a totally different set of skills. So it’s not just an Optometrist, though. You work in all different industries, you work with schools, you work with churches, what are some of the characteristics that you see in new leaders that are pretty typical and in need of improvement? 


Jonno White: Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, there’s sort of two things that I see there, there’s sort of who you are as a leader and then there’s what you’re doing. And I’m sort of keep them separate because they’re both very important and they’re both things you can work on, I’d say when I’m looking at a leader in any industry, and I’ve worked with a lot of developing leaders as well. So a school will say this is a person who’s been as an example and amazing Teacher, just like that Optometrist, amazing Teacher, but now we want them to be leading people. And so I’ll come in and actually work with them and coach them. So what I’m looking for, let me mention him again, because I am a fan of Patrick Lencioni. But another book, which is just really helpful and a great outline is the “Ideal Team Player”. And the ideal team player, he talks about three traits, a humble, hungry and people smart, and for me – as leaders, if you can so if you have a leader who has humility, because the problem with pride, and we all I definitely have elements where I can be proud and there have definitely been seasons, I look back and think, oh, this was probably acting proud there and I’m not proud of that in hindsight, but the problem with pride is it blinds us and people who lack humility are going to struggle to be great team players. And so much of leadership is about trust. So anything you can do as a person to actually embrace and grow in humility, and that’s actually really hard to do. But some things around that might be to actually make sure you have some people, mentors coaches, who are speaking into your life and giving you that honest sort of feedback. And then the other two things which I love from Patrick Lencioni, those three traits humble, hungry people, smart, hungry is about going above and beyond. And often that’s not the problem. But it’s worth if you’re thinking about someone who might make a great leader. You just want someone who naturally goes above and beyond and has that work ethic. And then the third thing is this idea of people smart, and he talks about this idea of when you’re in a group of people. Are you aware of whether you’re really annoying anyone? It sounds funny, but if we lack and all of us go, Well, you know, I probably have some words where things go over my head, but as a leader if you can grow in your emotional intelligence because the more aware you can be of yourself and how you’re affecting others. The problem is that when we’re not as people smart and when we lack emotional intelligence or a young leader or any leader coming through lacks emotional intelligence, they what Patrick Lencioni calls Miss makers, great intentions but end up making a mess and suddenly, there’s all this cleaning up to do which, for a small business owner, if you’re running an Optometry practice and you promote someone but they’re not people smart then you’re going to have a lot of messes to clean up. So they’re the things in terms of who you are and then what you do. Like I said, for me, it sounds obvious, but it’s about great leaders meet regularly with their teams. And I know a lot of people for good reason hate meetings, because we’ve had terrible experiences. We’ve sat there and gone oh my goodness, I need I have work to do but meetings as a leader in any context, I really believe are the most important tool and the most effective tool, particularly when you’re talking about a team. So if you have a small business and you’re you have a team there, and you want to turn that team into a high-performance team, and one of my favorite quotes is talent wins games, but teams win championships. And as a leader definitely for me, I want to build a high-performance team, not just be a good leader, not just invest well in that person. I want this team to be a championship-winning team. And that’s meetings are your best tool to use. It’s just about what you do in those meetings. And that might sound overly simple, but that’s a great place to start is to have some really strategic intentional meetings that you use as a tool to build the team. Things like setting goals, accountability, all those things can happen through a meeting.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I hear this as you’re speaking and one of the things that I liked in the book that I think people don’t do enough is that internal kind of self-reflection. There are things that you say very naturally when you’re speaking and writing. And we see leaders don’t all come to those things naturally. So somebody and apologies if this person is listening, he posted it in as anonymously, but somebody had written on one of the Optometry, social media sites something like I owned a business for 15 years and I just had the worst staff the entire time and when I’m reading that, I’m thinking 15 years, you’ve probably had quite a few staff members come and go. And really the only constant in that 15-year period is the leader himself. So I think it’s really important for anybody in a leadership role to be able to take a look in the mirror and realize their own accountability in this situation, their own responsibility in a situation and know that if they can recognize that you said that I’m in this dysfunctional team of my own design. If you had the power to get yourself into it, you have the power to get yourself out of it, and investing in that leadership improvement and skill development is the way out of that. So I like that. Look in the mirror that you’re encouraging your readers and listeners to take it’s so important.


Jonno White: Yeah, I’d say on that. One of the best things anyone could do for any of your listeners running an Optometry practice, Manager in an optometry practice, is I would ask you when’s the last time you got true, authentic 360-degree feedback. And the problem is the more power you get as a leader so if you own the practice, you have more power, right? The more power you have. The higher you go as a leader, the more power you have over what feedback you receive. And it sounds once again very simple and really most things are I think in great leadership in business. It’s very simple but you need to be getting quality, authentic 360-degree feedback. Find a way to do that. Because once you can get that great feedback, and then don’t make mistake of going oh, these people are all nuts. Why are they saying all these ridiculous things? Find a way and often it’s about having someone working with you, even if that’s just a mentor. Is a friend who is further along. And it doesn’t need to be complex that he could just literally do your own sort of anonymous survey and just find out. There’s a couple of great questions, which is what what am I doing well, that I should keep doing? What could I do differently that would make me better as a leader if you’re a bit fragile and you want to start out with something that’s a little bit you know, you’re worried about the team as well. Those sort of questions are great just to get some initial feedback. And you can go much deeper in that. But I know for me, I reflect and I probably didn’t do that enough when I was in leadership roles. I think the more feedback you can get like that and then have someone who really helps you deal with it, the better you’ll be as a leader because it is hard to see.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, and this is something that you and I had spoken about before we hit record today when we first connected with each other. We talked about getting feedback from your teams and how important that is and this is something that we do with our clients we offer with potential clients since we can do that kind of feedback survey and the information that you get is invaluable because I don’t think with many small business owners, it’s a power thing. I don’t think it’s the I’m the best everybody else’s worst, you know, what I say goes my way or the highway. I don’t feel that from the doctors we work with. I think it’s more either. They don’t know to ask for it. They don’t know how to ask for it or they have a feeling that they know what it’s going to be and they kind of stick their heads in the sand and they don’t actually hear it. It can’t be true. And we definitely need some of that also.


Jonno White: Yeah! That was me 100% oh man, I’m a bit afraid of what I’ll hear and then I remember doing one and there was great things in it but there were also some positives in there. That really helped me so wasn’t as bad as I thought it won’t always be like that. Sometimes you need to go into it but if you honestly want to grow your practice and take it to another level, in terms of the culture and really some of the bottom line goals that your listeners would have. I think we need to be aware as leaders were often the ceiling if you’re in a leadership role, and you can realize I’m the ceiling or you can increase that ceiling by 10 centimeters, just a little bit higher, that’s going to affect your whole business and it’s not easy.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: It’s True, So that fear of seeking feedback, I want to talk about your book a little bit. So your title is “Step Up or Step Out: How to deal with difficult people, even if you hate conflict”. And I think that hating conflict is a very common characteristic that we see amongst leaders, managers, practice owners. That they just want everything to be copacetic. So talk about your strategies for teaching somebody who hates conflict, and how to have some of these more difficult conversations.


Jonno White: Yeah, absolutely! Well, the first thing I’d say is that I hate conflict and that’s why what I say when I talk about my book is that it’s not like I’m some genius who finds some conflict so easy and has done this really well since day one, and here’s my book on how you can to be like, Jonno. Actually, what happened is I hate conflict. And I talk in the book about what I call “The Recipe for Disaster”. And the recipe for disaster, particularly if you hate conflict is incredibly painful because what you’re doing initially to avoid the uncomfortable and avoid conflict actually contributes to how explosive and painful and detrimental the whole thing becomes. So for me, what I really did and this is where I’d start with talking to listeners is I definitely make the ultimate recipe of disaster when it comes to conflict. So what does that include? Well, the first thing is, it tends to be and I look back at myself as a leader and I’m sad to say that the listeners who do this as well, when someone joins your Optometry practice, it’s easy to go. Well, they’re so great. We need the job field. We’re so busy, they’re so great. Let’s just slot them in and we’ll sort of work it out as we go. Or as we say in Australia, she’ll be right you know, she’ll be right. And I definitely did that you have a person join you really liked each other a lot at the start. It’s all easy. And so as a result, I reflected I see that what I would do a lot is because it was a bit uncomfortable. I would leave expectations actually really unclear. And I’m not just talking about expectations, like a role. You’ll do these three things, but also behaviors. What does it look like? What are the expectations for how someone in my team behaves? And so the first thing I would do that will build towards this recipe for disaster is have unclear expectations. The problem with unclear expectations is that over time things simmer and oil and there’s one thing that grades on your bed, this person misses a deadline, that person comes a corner and sometimes it’s the little things that you get a year down the track or sometimes a month, sometimes three years for listeners and you think wow that person it started out, okay, it got a bit worse but now it’s really getting to the point where I have to do something because it’s affecting customers. It’s affecting bottom line, and you go oh my goodness, I hate conflict, but I have to do something. And that’s true, right? And so that’s a good intention. The problem is and what makes this the recipe for disaster is we’ve already started with unclear expectations. Now we’re going to mix in big battles, and I call these big battles because we let the little stuff go honestly often because we don’t have time and often because we don’t want to confront it and it’s uncomfortable and for anyone that conflict is always going to be uncomfortable. But we let those little moments go because we don’t quite know what to do how to address it best when we try once and it goes poorly. And so things eventually come to a head when something really happens that needs attention and suddenly we find ourselves in a big battle was sitting down with this person and we booked a meeting we sit down we say and then even with the best intentions as a leader, the feel of the meeting, particularly for the other person because of the unclear expectations we’ve never really clarified well and then held accountable bit by bit. So what it ends up sounding like is in this meeting, it’s like always on for the past couple of years. It’s been really frustrating. You know, it’s been months now where I haven’t seen in awhile. And that leads to the third ingredient in the recipe of disaster, which we’ve all a lot of us have been on the other side, but I’ve definitely seen myself do this as you’re explaining what you know, as a leader is completely true. And unsurprising. You see in this person’s eyes this surprise, they’re completely surprised. And you hear things like what do you mean I thought I was doing a good job and I’m doing the best I can and you know that’s not true. I’m not always late or but what about this customer and that customer they love working with me and you’re they’re going that’s like I’m just trying to deal with something that has to be dealt with because it’s crossed a line now. And the problem with surprise and I always say this, this is a great litmus test for any leader. It’s almost always a bad sign when you’re managing people. If there’s any element of surprise, every surprise you can avoid is a win. Because that’s where if you combine unclear expectations, she’ll be right you know, yeah, like do these sorts of things. And I won’t really go there about behaviors because that’s a bit of an uncomfortable conversation. You don’t address the little things and then suddenly it builds up and they cross the line you have a big battle. Plus you catch them by surprise. What do you get you get a super defensive person, any other personality maybe they take it well initially. And then they go away and they few and then they come back and things rarely get better. If anything, you end up as a leader going oh my goodness, what did I do? Maybe I just shouldn’t address things that I have to ask. I just don’t know what to do because at some point, I talked about the secret ingredient, which is why the books not called Step Up or step out how to deal with people. It’s called Step Up or step out how to deal with difficult people. And the reason I mentioned that is there is a secret ingredient that makes difficult people so difficult. And so I like to think of this as a 10 times effect. It’s like if you’re dealing with someone who’s not really that difficult, it’s going to be hard and if you if you do those three things I said unclear expectations being battle. Lots of surprises. You’re setting yourself up like I’ve done in the past for a nightmare. Well and truly make this really, really well in the worst kind of way. But what makes us 10 times harder is when you’re dealing with a difficult person and a difficult person is someone who has unrealistic expectations. So you think unclear expectations. Sure, I could have done that better. But sometimes we’re sitting across from someone and we realize that the way they see the world I often think you know if we’re going to be compassionate and really look at why this thing Sometimes people’s past and they haven’t been able to deal with it and it colors everything they see there’s lots of reasons and it’s not about picking on the person, except to say that when someone has unrealistic expectations, your job as a leader just gotten 10 times harder. And suddenly you’re sitting there and even if you do it pretty well even if your expectations aren’t that unclear, even if you have some other battles but you still end up living battle and even if some of it isn’t surprising, but some years even if you’ve done okay, if you’re dealing with someone who’s difficult, which I say is always about unrealistic expectations. It makes everything 10 times harder because it’s very unlikely that they’re going to see things the way you see them. And like I said, I’m so passionate about this topic and the reason I wrote this book is because I did this and it blew up and it was incredibly painful. And I just remember literally sitting under a tree crying, which I don’t do regularly. But I remember being there and I was so hurt and I was so, I was just thinking there has to be a better way because I felt like I had done some sort of what needed to be done as a leader but I thought the process I did this was so painful. And not just for me. But also I think I was so hurt because I felt like I feel like it really hurt people and that just really affected me and that’s where I started going there has to be a better way. And then the reason I wrote the book, I developed this framework, I used it with myself. But then I started coaching leader after leader after leader after entrepreneur after business owner and 50% of the sessions just like you said at the start of this 50% of the time people would sit across from me or talk to me on the phone. And they’d say, Jonno, the thing that’s keeping me up at night literally, I had someone say once like literally I was up at 2 am this morning when I said what’s keeping up with that call literally this morning I was up because I don’t know how to deal with this person. And when I heard that so many times and I went through one person at a time I went well, I just I feel like I’ve refined the process from sheer explaining it so many times because it’s such a challenge for everyone. And that’s why I wrote the book.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Those difficult people that really kind of test your skills. It’s like you’re warming up on everybody else. And then when a difficult person comes along, you really have to be at the top of your game because it’s that person who will turn around and point right back and you would say, but you didn’t. You never said that. They’re the ones who don’t point out things. And maybe they’re saying it they’re vocal about it because they’re difficult but when you are willing to self-reflect they’re not wrong. And so your example and we see it all the time. Somebody said we’ve come in late three times a week for four months. And I feel like the second or third time that they did that and you said nothing. At that point. You’ve said this is fine. Because you didn’t say anything so that must be okay? And it’s that person who said Yeah, it did come in late. I walked right by you and if there was a problem, obviously you would have said something you didn’t so I assumed that it was okay. And those are the ones where you’re like, as you said crying under the tree. So you’re really sorry, it happens but those are the ones where you partly because of the conflict but partly because somebody challenging you like that. When you want to prove yourself you can always find some truth in that and so you hear it and you take that you say Okay, where am I to blame for this and you find yourself and then you don’t want to do it again. So talk about the framework that you’ve created because we’ve talked with many of our clients too, about managing up managing out. So see if you can give a summary and obviously let people know where to find your book before we’re done today.


Jonno White: Yeah, no 100% of the good news is that this framework, which once again because we’re some of the first sort of seeds of this came from Patrick Lencioni. I do mention a lot and just love his work. But I remember I was playing my main sort of sport that I play as soccer and I remember one time I was down at soccer training, which was a great release from being being a leader and I was sitting in my car before training. I arrived a bit early and I was just sitting there and I was just I had another situation that I knew I needed to deal with someone. I just didn’t know what to do. And I was just sitting in the car and I was listening to a Podcast on Patrick Lencioni and he talked about this idea of accountability. And he talked about this idea of if someone I think that’s where he talked about this idea four weeks, you know, so you can really hold someone accountable and do accountability weld, and you can see them change their behavior or actually leave the organization in four weeks and I went No way. No, that’s not possible. I’ve experienced this. I’ve done it horribly, but I kept listening and so I decided to start trying some of the things he talked about. And that’s where the promise of the book talks about and that’s where the title comes from Step Up or Step Out. And 95% of the time when you use this process, the person you’re dealing with will actually step up and change their behavior or step out of your organization of their own choice within four weeks and the other 5% of the time. Now stick around, but it’s actually better than two. So let me go through the framework really quick, the listeners because the first thing the best news in the whole framework is that there is a difficult conversation that I recommend that you have and it’s way better than the horrible difficult conversations we’ve all had where you have a big battle, right? The big battle, they’re defensive, you’re trying to explain yourself, they’re not getting it, how do they not see this? So put aside that conversation and have an easier, difficult conversation. That’s what I call it. The easy a difficult conversation is actually a conversation about expectations. And so the place to start for your listeners, this is what I’d love to ask people to do if you’re listening and you’re going, oh my goodness, this is something I need to deal with. You’re thinking about personal those people I really need to work out and how to deal with them. The first question I do when I’m working with people, this is all in the book. And I asked you to give two scores out of 10. So the first score out of 10 is how clear are you’re expectations for what you’re expecting of that person in their role. So how clear are you on what your expectations are sorry? How clear are you on what your expectations are for that person and their role? And be honest, give yourself a score out of 10, are you 10 out of 10? Like yeah, I’m crystal clear on what I’m expecting them and their role in terms of what they’re doing and their behaviors. And then the second score out of 10 is okay. Well, how clear and obviously, you don’t know this one, but this is a guess, Do you think the other person is on a scale of zero to 10? How clear do you think they are about what your expectations are for them in their role? And I get leaders to do this. And it’s always so funny. This is hilarious silence which some listeners might be experiencing right now while you think about this, and you’re not alone, like sometimes it’s the highest score, but there’s a lot I love thinking about leaders who’ve said Well, honestly, Jonno, it’s a three of the first one and it’s a one of a second one. And I would say don’t be ashamed of that, because that’s very normal. And the good news is, this is the key like this is the big key and that’s where it all starts. That’s why the recipe for disaster starts with unclear expectations. If you can clarify expectations. Everything gets easy. And so this is the place to start. So what’s that easy, a difficult conversation? Well, the easiest of your conversation you need to have is to facilitate getting you and the other person up to an eight, nine, or a 10 That’s what it’s about. And so instead of having this conversation where you say, Okay, we’re finally sitting down here, you know that you’ve been underperforming for two years. What? No, I haven’t I’m doing great, instead, you’re actually having a conversation that goes more like and it depending on the personality. This is my preference, which is actually to do like your self-deprecating apology. And it’s because if you are looking in the mirror or listening to this and going oh my goodness, yeah I haven’t clarified, I have let them walk past ten times when they’re late. Which you know, I’m guilty of, then what you can actually do is sit down with the person or the people even in different one on ones and say look, I just want to tell you, I can go something like this. I just want to personally that I’m really working on growing as a leader in terms of how I lead this practice and as a business owner. And one thing I’ve realized you could even say one thing I’ve realized listening to the Power Practice Podcast actually realize, you know what, I don’t know how well I have clarified expectations for you, your role. I just realized that and I’m sorry. I really want to do that because I think everyone’s going to do better and everyone’s going to improve if we can get clear on that. So tell me about how clear the other person sees the expectations. And then the beauty of this conversation is yes, it’s uncomfortable. So I didn’t say it’s the easy conversations that easier, difficult conversation, but it’s a crucial conversation that you can have. And even though unless the person’s exceptionally difficult, there’s a lot of other stuff sorts of going on. A lot of people can handle that. And what you want to do out of this conversation is you just want to do one of two things as a leader if your scores so we scored out of 10, That’s sort of the first step and then the second step in the process is having this conversation and there’s two choices. As a leader you’re going to need to either clarify the expectations. So you’re gonna realize sitting there isn’t listening to the person. Hmm, I need to clarify these expectations because there’s been a miscommunication, but also we’re gonna be honest as leaders sometimes we need to change expectations. So I would encourage you to be open in this conversation to actually hearing that maybe you have some unrealistic expectations. Maybe something we need to hear there is that, something we assumed was very reasonable. Was that unrealistic that we’re expecting that was actually unrealistic? So you’re either going to be this conversation you want to be listening, want to be active listening, and really helping the other person feel heard. And you want to be clarifying or changing expectations, to even get to finish this conversation with a sense of actually, right let’s really clarify these expectations and make sure we’re on the same page or you might need to go away and say – Yeah, can I just need to go away and think about a couple of things because I just want to think about some of these expectations, but either way, clarify or change the expectations. And to make it really simple. You need to get the scores up to an eight, nine or 10 for you and the other person. Once you can get there. Everything becomes so much easier. And I always say that when you run into any issues, go back to step one. So if you’re doing this process in a month’s time, you know, this doesn’t work. I try this and it’s still having issues. We’ll come back and listen again and go and score yourself again. What’s your score at the 10 for you and how clear you are on your expectation to the other person and what’s your guess now and how clear they are. And what we usually find is we make a good effort, we get started and then we come back and go well they’re probably a six and I’m a six and they’re probably a four, Uh, I’m gonna go and I’m gonna do another conversation just to get clear. And so, the point is that once you add an eight, nine or 10 you’re finally ready to move into once you’ve had this crucial conversation instead of being battles. What you want to do is you want to pick small battles again, and again and again and again. And this is a bit counterintuitive because you can feel like, and people might even accuse you of micromanaging. But the problem here is that when it comes to accountability there are a couple of reasons why picking small battles is so much better than making big battles. The first thing is if you hate conflict with me, these are actually manageable. These are small battles that are yes, they’re uncomfortable, but you can do it. And so the beauty of this is, is that one big battle tends to blow up and the other person just gets hurt and gets defensive. But multiple small battles has this incredible effect as human beings. We do not like being held accountable and called to account and we will change that very uncomfortable, very few people can put up with. I’m talking literally what I mean by this is if you’ve talked about someone being late, lets just use that as obvious and sort of easier example if they’re always late. You have this conversation about expectations. And there’s sort of I didn’t realize it was an issue being late and you clarify that to go. Well actually, it is really important. And I really need you to be on time because it’s sort of the whole culture everyone else I’m going to hold everyone accountable, then it needs to apply to everyone so I really need you to be turning up on time. This is like the single reasons, see he clarified this. Oh, that was a bit awkward. Now the next day when they turn up late, that’s the day when the rubber hits the road. Now you pick small battles, you call them aside after the meeting and you just have a quick conversation say, and this is what these small battles look like. I didn’t mention one thing, which is really helpful. I think when you’re having a crucial conversation that easy or difficult conversation. One of the beautiful things is you can set the other person up to expect that you’re going to hold them accountable can be one of your new or clarified expectations. And you can do that really authentically by saying hey, well, I just want you to know that what I’m gonna commit to do is, you know, I struggle with conflict. So I’m going to try to do this better and see if I say something that isn’t meeting expectations. I’m not gonna just ignore it because that’s easier. I think the best way I’m gonna do is, I’m going to try to actually have a conversation. And so you can actually set someone up to expect it, does make it comfortable, but it definitely helps around expectations. You pull the person aside after meeting and say, Hey, remember we talked about being on time I noticed you were late today, is everything ok? you see you don’t have to be horrible about it. But you’re just saying, well, remember what I said that I really need you to be on time. And you imagine that person’s late three days in a row and three days in a row you pull them aside after how many days in a row is a person going to put up with pulling being pulled aside? They might get angry or they might get defensive but I feel like most of us can do a one-minute conversation after meeting where we pull someone aside. And this is a crazy thing, right? Someone’s going to change something is going to change because that makes me uncomfortable thinking about being pulled aside three days in a row after meetings and so picking small battles is that they’re more comfortable than less uncomfortable than a big battle. So you can do it. And they have the amazing effect that we’re going for which is to see the person step up and change their behavior or step out. And accountability really is that powerful when you hold someone accountable particularly to the core behaviors that you’ve articulated and the values of your organization, right? Like these are the most important things to start with really, and you hold them accountable some of these things and by picking small battles, they will change or I’ve seen it time and time again three weeks in after you picked battle number 40 Like let’s be honest, it’s not a pleasant few weeks when you do this, but it’s so important and it’s so healthy. And I see it time and time again. There’ll be people who change their behavior in a year and Oh my goodness, I didn’t know they had it in them but that little regular accountability shifts something and then you need to stick with it but you have less to pick because now you know they’re starting to change. Or people go through weeks and you know, I just want to let you know, it’s been great working here for the past few years, but I just had this opportunity come up from a friend and I’m gonna be taking that and people will actually go this is too hard. And I’m not up to changing and leave.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And it’s fully fully true. You know, I’m thinking of situations in my own office that align almost exactly with what you’re saying. Down to clarifying expectations. You have your lateness example, I’m thinking about an employee we had who was late all the time and we had that conversation setting expectations and she said okay, I’ll be on time and next day. She’s not at her desk at 09:10. And we’re saying, Okay, you weren’t at your desk at 09:10? she said but I was here and we had to clarify that here meant not just being in the building. She was coming in and going into the bathroom and doing her hair and having breakfast and we need you to be at your desk so that clarified expectations and as you hold someone accountable like that, it really is almost magical. And we try to reframe the idea of the conflict a little bit because by giving them that feedback and that conversation day and day, day after day after day, really you’re giving them their only shot and success with you because they’re not gonna succeed if they don’t do it. So you’re telling them this is exactly what you need to do. This is exactly how you need to change for you to be successful here. And then at that point to be they’re deciding if they want to be successful or not. Because there’s no question to it. And almost inevitably on the timeline that you describe, the exact situation happens. Either it gets better or they come in and they say exactly what you said, Oh, this opportunity just happened to come up. Because they were looking for a job that wasn’t going to require what they consider this unreasonable, insurmountable thing like knowing up to work on time. And I found that even in situations where the behavior doesn’t change, at that point, if we are in a situation where we have to let someone go to me at that point, they’ve made that choice. I’m just maybe delivering the final word on it. But if I’m saying to someone, if you want to keep working here I need you to be here at your desk at nine o’clock. And they repeatedly do not. They’re saying to me, actually, I don’t want to continue working here. And I’m just saying, Okay, since that’s what you want. Let’s make today your last day and allowing it to happen. So I mean I think the power of it is unquestionable. I think it’s a good philosophy. It’s a great framework and you make it sound easy. It’s not always easy in a moment, but it’s something that you can do with a little bit of commitment and a little bit of support. And it’s so necessary. So Jonno, if people want to read this and get the information for themselves, where can they find your book?


Jonno White: Yeah, absolutely! So you can find my book, “Step Up or Step Out on Amazon. And shortly just going through some of the details. Getting an audiobook is actually quite challenging on Audible and it’s going to be on other platforms as well because I love audiobooks. I also have a special sort of offer that I’ve put together if people are interested in the eBook. Some people just want to download it straight away and not wait for it in the mail. And so it comes with five free bonuses, things, like I have a leadership survival guide and a list of 10 leadership books Patrick Lencioni, is on there, unsurprisingly, that I highly recommend I think Brene Brown is on there and a few other people, so people can get that as the greatest I’ll send you that link as well Bethany in case maybe you add it on the show notes because it’s been a long week. But yeah, that’s a great place to get the ebook and to buy the ebook and also I have some bonuses that I throw in there for people as a way to get started.


Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Perfect! Thank you so much! And for anyone listening if you want more information on Power Practice or you want to conduct an employee feedback survey for your own organization, just email us at Thank you so much for listening. Jonno. Thank you again for being here. 


Jonno White: Thanks for having me!



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