- Dave explains what GENIUS is and what a leadership REALLY is
- What the 3 Laws of Performance are and how to use them to LEAD
- Why ‘how you occur to yourself’ can change everything for you
- Dave explains what GENIUS is and what leadership REALLY is
- The Dark Side of Leadership…and how to harness it
Dean: I’m Dean Jackson. He’s Joe Polish and this is the I Love Marketing podcast.
Joe: Hello, this is Joe Polish and I’ve got my good friend, Dave Logan here. Thanks for coming down.
Dave: Thank you.
Dave: Good to be here.
Joe: Yeah, we’re doing this on video which is cool because I’ve interviewed Dave before on audio on his book Tribal Leadership which is awesome and he also has another book The Three Laws of Performance and we’re going to talk about not only these books. A little bit about what he knows, his knowledge but also something that you’re working on a project kind of about the dark side of success. So who is Dave, you know, I could read you a really long bio that I have for my prep material.
Dave: Would you do it in like a monotone voice?
Joe: Yes. How about this? Dave Logan is cofounder of CultureSync. A management consulting firm specializing,
Dave: No, no, no. You, that was not.
Joe: Well who are you? I mean seriously. Let me point some things out but I want to hear it from you. How you would actually describe yourself because I don’t know how big your ego is. I don’t think it’s that big. I think it’s got a healthy dose of knowledge and ego but nonetheless, you’re a bestselling author. You’ve written or coauthored dozens of articles, training programs, four books including Reinventing Your Career in 1996. The Coaching Revolution in 2000. Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance. Your work has appeared in many academic and professional journals including the 2006 Agenda in Sloan Management Review. You’ve been interviewed on CNN, FOX, National Public Radio and most major networks and you have a PhD in Organizational Communication from the Annenberg School USC and you’re also a cool dude. You’re a funny guy. I actually met you through our good friend Eben Pagan.
Joe: Would you consider yourself smarter than Eben?
Dave: Way smarter than Eben.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. I would too.
Dave: Okay. We should call him right now and just tell him that.
Joe: We could but it would interrupt our interview but we’ll say it in this.
Dave: We pity him, right?
Joe: Yeah, yeah. Well a little bit. A little bit.
Joe: But, yeah, so I met you through, I’ve seen you speak. You’re amazing. You are endorsed by some very, very smart people and you really, you know your stuff so who is Dave Logan?
Dave: I’m a guy that gets bored easily.
Dave: That’s the best way to say it. I mean I did the academic thing and just got bored by it.
Joe: You’re not bored with this interview I hope yet?
Dave: I got bored like two minutes ago. But I’m in this cool chair.
Joe: This is our hot seat man.
Dave: So it’s awesome. So if you’re listening to this in audio and you’re missing the video. I am in probably like the sickest chair ever created.
Joe: Yeah. It is cool. It is made out of motorcycle parts believe it or not and we’ve actually had all kinds of, you know, people from David Bott [inaudible 00:03:12] to Daniel Amen. From Paula Abdul to, you know, some of the top business people and marketers on the planet have sat on this chair.
Dave: So my butt is where Paula Abdul’s butt once was?
Joe: Many times, yes. She’s actually, she spent many hours in that chair because we actually did, in this room, we did a couple a day event and she was, yes, so.
Dave: So can I just ask you like a random question. So if I got one of those CSI blacklights and I put it on this chair, what would I see?
Joe: This chair would be totally safe. I think this chair is fine but, you know, this is some trivia here which this is funny where this interview is going to go but I remember watching some TV show about hotel rooms. Getting the blacklight and the most disgusting things you can imagine.
Dave: Yeah. Thanks because I’m staying in a hotel room tonight. I understand what you’re saying though.
Joe: Where do you think the most germ ridden, laden sort of item is in a hotel room? Where would you guess that would be?
Dave: I would guess the bed but you’re probably going to say something else.
Joe: No, it’s the remote control.
Joe: Yeah, so wear rubber gloves when you hold those things.
Dave: Do you have any I can take to my hotel.
Joe: We can find some. We can find some. Okay, so before I totally run on an ADD tangent rant there. You were talking about,
Dave: Would you like some Ritalin?
Joe: Yeah. No, no, no.
Dave: Okay. I wasn’t offering. I was just,
Joe: No, no. I just don’t want any. I don’t want any.
Joe: Okay, so Dave Logan. Who are you? What do you do?
Dave: I get bored easily so I spent a bunch of years in, kind of doing the academic stuff and I just sort of got bored by it and then spent a bunch of years doing consulting and made a lot of money and got bored by it and made, spent a lot of time writing books and I still do that and I get bored by it so I kind of get a certain distance down the road and I get bored by it so and I’m also a chronic insomniac. So actually, when I was named associate dean at USC, I think it was before I was 30. The guy who gave me the job asked this, this was kind of Africa Studies. He said, “How old are you?” I said, “I’m 29,” and he started laughing. He said, “I assumed you were 42.” Which I of course, took as an insult because like, do I look that old? You know, at that age. But now I actually am that old. And it’s, I just kind of like took everything you did and just assumed it was a linear path so I’m kind of doing four things at once. And they’re usually completely different things so.
Joe: Yeah. I mean so most of your clients, most of your work is to what sort of world? The entrepreneurial world? The corporate world? I mean how would you describe most of your writing, your work, your efforts that you, you know, because, I mean a lot of people read your stuff. You’ve done consulting with a lot of big companies that sort of thing.
Dave: Yeah, I mean the typical profile of people, well if I actually have kind of somebody in mind when I’m writing and it’s somebody who is really smart, very successful at whatever they do. It could be anything. But they’re on vacation like I picture Maui and, you know, they read all the Tom Clancy novels that they’re going to read and they’re just kind of bored and they’re a little drunk because they’ve been doing the pina colada’s.
And they reach a point where they want to read something that’s going to sort of stimulate their brain. That will have something to do with their work but not something that’s going to have like footnotes in it. And I write to that person which is actually the person that I am when I go on vacation after about three days.
Joe: Got you.
Dave: So I write to me in a weird sort of way. So it needs to be interesting, kind of big ideas. Has to be actionable. You know, you have to be able to do something immediately because of what you read but it can’t be kind of like patronizing. So go do these three things. They have to be kind of hidden in there so it takes a little bit of effort to pull them out but it’s like fun effort.
Joe: Got you.
Dave: So that’s…
Joe: Well, you know, what have you learned or what do you know that most people don’t? I mean I’ve got a whole list of kind of prepared questions for you that, or jumping off points that could, you know, I could go into but I’m really curious as to like, you know, in terms of unique knowledge or insights or perspectives on things you’ve figured out, because you go down some pretty random paths to discover stuff. I mean what do you know that most people don’t?
Dave: That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure I know a lot that other people don’t. In fact, I probably don’t. It’s that I can kind of organize it. I’m a synthesizer but also, what I often find, do you know the term explanatory principle? I will make this really quick because now people are like reaching for their button to turn it off. Make this real quick. So according to this guy who was a bunch of things among other things; biologist, Gregory Bateson, And if you ask why, most people will give you an answer that just stops your brain and you don’t go any further so you ask like, “Why does that person not do better in life?” And the answer is, “Oh, he’s not very smart.” And you say, “Oh okay.” And then like, you’re done, right? There’s nothing else to say.
So I try to get beyond explanatory principles, so why are some people successful but not on explanatory principle road, but one that will let you say, “Wow, and I could do that too.” So it’s coming up with something usually that people don’t even see about themselves so I’ll give an example. If I go to study leaders and I ask them, “What do you do that makes you a good leader?” They are almost always incapable of coming up with an answer.
Joe: Yeah. Good point.
Dave: Or when they do, it’s like bad graduation advice. They have nine points and one of them is in love with what you do and the other one is really respect the people you work with. And because I get bored easily, I fall asleep before the third point and what they say has absolutely nothing to do with why they’re successful. They’re actually successful because they do this one random thing that they don’t even think about. That nobody else does. If you point that out to them, they say, “You’re right. I’ve always done that and nobody ever taught me how to do that and this explains why I can never teach people to do what I do.” So my books and other stuff is kind of a collection of those like little odd bits of actionable knowledge. If you actually did this, you’d be like this person so I think I’m good at reverse engineering what makes people in groups successful and most people don’t do that.
Joe: Yeah, I would agree. I would agree. So this episode is going to go on geniusnetwork.com. We’re also going to put it as a bonus on I Love Marketing just because I think tons of people that listen to I Love Marketing would find what you have to say pretty useful and, you know, I’d like to ask you about the term genius because, you know, what is genius? I mean how many geniuses do you see floating around this planet?
Dave: Well I use the term in a very specific way. It’s going to disagree a little bit from how you say it. The word genius literally means attendant in spirit, if you look up etymology. So to me, a genius is something that almost, and I mean this metaphorically so like don’t call 911 here. So it’s almost like a spirit that comes out of the wall and kind of tries to possess you so like a, yeah, specific. So when I roll out of bed in the morning, I usually have some thought and it’s not a thought that I particularly like. I just can’t get it out of my system. So I have to sit down in front of my computer and like, wrestle with this thought and it feels very, it feels like a fight, you know the struggle. I’m trying to tell the thought what it means and the thought is kind of arguing back and finally, but this could be many hours later by the time I’ve kind of wrestled it down, I figured something out so to me, whatever that thought it is, that’s a genius.
So I actually don’t think of you as a genius. I think that you have a genius. And, of course, that’s a metaphor because, you know, the thought is part of you so the genius is part of you. But everyone I’ve met that I would consider a genius has that sense of adversarial relationship so to me, a genius is not kind of finding your inner self becoming that. It’s more find your attendant spirit who probably wants to kick your butt about something. You know, it thinks you’re wrong. You’re on the wrong path about something and when you kind of wrestle that down, you get major insights. So like a lot of what I do that is trying to help people map their genius because every genius has its own kind of character. So like mine wants to play in the morning and around noon, it’s done. It leaves. And if I want to keep that thought going, it’s gone and it’s not going to come back until the next day. Just kind of mapping when it comes out, what it wants to do. You know, some geniuses are really creative like Picasso had one of those geniuses. Uniquely creative. Others are destructive. Picasso’s actually was destructive also. Mine is very, it wants to sort of weave things together in a way that allows you to see something that nobody else can see. So, and this literally how I spend my mornings and it’s not particularly fun. You know, I get up and I’m wrestling with something and then I just, I can’t make sense of it. Then I’ll hit them gym and I’ll come back and it, then it makes sense and finally, when I have enough of those episodes, you know, one of these books come out.
Joe: Got you. Okay. Well, you know, that makes, everyone has their process. Do you know Steven Pressfield?
Joe: You know, he wrote the book The Legend of Bagger Vance…
Dave: Oh yeah.
Joe: …and he wrote a book called The War of Art and I’ve interviewed him before on The War of Art. He does this interesting line in the beginning of The War of Art. He kind of wrote that book for creative people that are fighting against resistance and there’s what he calls Resistance with a capital R and his whole thing is, you know, the difficult thing for the writer is not the writing, it’s the sitting down to write.
If you, you basically, you know, whatever you say is you get up and you wrestle with this everyday but in the process of that wrestling, that adversarial relationship, you know, some great wisdom comes out of it. Some great plans and path and you actually figure it out.
I don’t think a lot of people actually are willing to take on a lot of those challenges with their own mind with things that are going on and they look for the path with least resistance and my friend Dave Kakichew’s [inaudible 00:12:39] been paralyzed from the chest down for over 30 years. He has this saying where life’s easy if you live it the hard way and hard if you live it the easy way. And I think in the process of looking at accomplished people, I think people that really make, you know, build great businesses, have breakthroughs in the world, are willing to live life the hard way. And in the long term, I think it, it allows them things that, you know, most people don’t have advantages of be it money, be it relationships, be it access.
And so what is your take on, you know, people that would be watching this or listening to this are bigger future minded individuals. Most of them are entrepreneurs. They want to make more money. They want to get ahead. They want to have greater relationships. They want to have more time in their life and there’s complexity. They’re mired in all kinds of different complexity. And you’re written, you know, Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance which you’re going to be doing a Keynote onto a Vistage group tomorrow. Let’s start with The Three Laws of Performance. Kind of break that down. Let’s kind of go through that and I will say that there’s so much depth to what, you know, Dave has that I would encourage you if anything that he says resonates with you, pick up a copy of both these books and read them.
Dave: Thank you.
Joe: And, you know, we’ll go from there so Three Laws of Performance. What are they? Let’s start with the first law that says, “How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.” And I’d like you to explain what the law means and what you mean by the word occur because that one’s interesting to me.
Dave: Sure. Well so my co-author in this book, Steve Zaffron would have a different perspective. I’m actually surprised the book did as well as it did and it did very, very well. It continues to do very well. We weren’t writing it to people necessarily that wanted to implement it. In fact, I get calls, “Will you come and implement the three laws in my company?” It’s like saying, “Come in and implement E=mc2.” It doesn’t work implement gravity.
I mean it, laws just are. They describe a relationship that just exists so you kind of get into the first law. I mean what it means is so if you’re watching this video or you’re listening to the audio, there’s some way that this occurs to you. It could occur to you as boring. It could occur to you as pointless. It could occur to you as I don’t know, self-indulgent and your behavior is always going to go hand in hand with that, how it occurs to you, always.
So if it occurs to you as interesting, you’re going to be listening. You might be taking notes. If it occurs to you as boring, and your email goes off if you’re watching this on a computer, you’re going to minimize the box, maybe keep it playing in the hope that it’s going to change so how you behave and how things occur are married, always.
And the reason that’s so useful is because it says if you can change how something occurs, your actions will automatically follow. You don’t need to be reminded to do it. You don’t need to put, you know, rubber bands on your wrists and slap them. You don’t need to have somebody call you once a day. You don’t need motivational slogans. You will simply find yourself behaving differently.
So to Steve and myself, that’s what the word transformation means. Where something shifts in how it occurs and as a result, you find yourself behaving in a completely new way without needing to be reminded so that was one.
Joe: Okay, and how does that relate to leadership to run a company?
Dave: Well the most important thing is how you occur to yourself. You know, how Joe occurs to Joe. Or if you were a leader, how you occur to me. So if you occur to me and you’re a leader or you try to be a leader as kind of like a self-obsessed guy that is only out for himself then my behavior is that I will shine you on. I will not follow you. I might tell you whatever I think you need to hear because I don’t want to get fired if I’m working for you.
Dave: But I’m really not going to follow you so you’re not really a leader, and so the first thing that you need to look at for leadership is how do you occur to people? How do you occur to the people that you’re leading?
Joe: Got you.
Dave: And there are certain ways that leaders occur to people that are different than most of us occur. That’s one thing. Probably, the most important insight is how you occur to yourself drives everything you do.
Joe: Is it like self-esteem or what do you mean?
Dave: No, it’s much deeper than self-esteem. It’s, I mean self-esteem is like sort of an onion. Imagine getting deeper, deeper, deeper. It involves things like your image of yourself, your perception of yourself, you know, when you, when you’re sitting here in a chair I mean who is it that’s sitting here? That all comes out of that question, “How do you occur to yourself?” Most people never ask that. They never ask, “How do I occur to myself?” But if you did, you would realize like I did early in my career. I kind of occur to myself as sort of like an academic egghead and I don’t really like that.
Joe: That’s sort of how you’re occurring to me right now, right?
Dave: Well so I try to change it. And one of the things, you know, that comes out of Three Laws of Performance is if there’s something that you resist, you want to embrace it. Don’t fight it. Just embrace it, so I realize I kind of occur to myself like an egghead, I was doing things that eggheads would do and I wasn’t doing things that eggheads wouldn’t do, but I realize that that’s part of kind of who I am.
Dave: You know, I’m just like an intellectually curious person. I’ve had a university affiliation for many years, so that’s part of who I am. So instead of like pushing against it which is often what people do, you want to embrace it and then see what other opportunities open up when you do. So in my case, you know, the reason that I go around and Keynote and do things like that, very few college professors do that it’s because I do occur to myself the same way but I’ve expanded how I occur to myself, so I’m able to do things that most people can’t do.
Joe: Okay. Well, you now, what is a leader? I mean how would you define a leader or leadership? I mean how does someone know when you’re a leader?
Dave: Yeah, I’ll cite my long term collaborator, John King. He and I wrote Tribal Leadership together. Halee, our other co-author came along later. If you, those are look over your shoulder and there are people following you, you’re a leader. It’s not any more complicated than that. So then if you want something that kind of gets a little bit more to the heart of the matter, leadership is about two things. It’s about making something happen that wasn’t going to happen anyway, and it’s about creating other leaders. To make something happen that wasn’t going to happen and creating other people who can do the same.
Joe: Got you.
Dave: That’s what leaders are supposed to be.
Joe: That’s good. That makes me feel happy because I tend to do those things.
Dave: This is all about making you feel better, you know? This is total self-validation. I mean it’s so I can occur to myself.
Joe: Because I’m worried about your self-esteem, yeah.
Joe: So let me ask you about that. I mean does, in terms of people having “success or impact” in the world.
Joe: I know a lot of people that make a lot of money, have had tremendous impact that have a very poor self-image of themselves. They’ve very destructive. You know, I mean I have personally in my own life, I’m going to jump around during this interview too because I know one of the books and one of the subjects you really, you know, immersed in right now is the dark side of success. And that always fascinates me how it, you know, people that are really successful, there’s a fine line between genius and insanity in terms of stuff like that. So how important is it for someone to have, you know, occur to themselves in a positive way versus a negative way?
Dave: It’s important but it’s not critical is really the truth. And a lot of people that are geniuses go on to invent great things, make great fortunes. Often do it out of a constant desire to make up for something that they think they’re lacking. So a psychologist would say that that’s a problem. Get me before the recipient of it. Bill Gates has written that throughout a lot of his life, he was a deeply insecure person. He went on to do some good things in the world is probably a better place because he was insecure, so since I’m not a psychologist and I’m not, well-being is not my, that’s not my issue. I mean other people have that as an issue. I look at some of the most successful executives and entrepreneurs are some of the most deeply disturbed people I’ve ever met. And I think, in fact I could even cite some about here where they got better. You know, became more well and much less effective at the same time.
Joe: They lost their magic.
Dave: They lost their magic.
Joe: Sort of like certain musicians that wrote their best music when they were just heroin addicts or something.
Joe: Yeah. It’s, and I’m not saying that jokingly. I mean it is quite fascinating to see how art and performance expresses itself and what the hell’s going on in the human mind. And I’ve had the, you know, I’m not in Hollywood by any means but I’ve, you know, met quite a few people that are in the “entertainment” business; athletes, politicians and it’s fascinating how much is driven from fight or flight, narcissism, dark side, negative things. I mean depression, addiction, it’s pretty crazy and, you know, I’m glad that you’re, we’re going to get into that so I’ll come back to that. Okay, so what are some steps? Imagine steps of entrepreneurs, business people, you know, can do to apply the first law. I mean what are some takeaways?
Dave: Very simple. Start with yourself. How do you occur to yourself and then how do you need to occur to yourself so that you can do what’s important to you?
Dave: Because that’s the only way that this becomes a limitation. So, you know, you were talking about Hollywood, I love these kind of remake shows like American Idol or X-factor because if you look at it from the perspective of the three laws, you know, here’s what you see. Somebody comes out on stage and they’re talented but it’s clear how they are occur to themselves is, as kind of a loser. And then they fight it and you can see the war going on. So they’re a loser desperately trying to convince everyone that they’re not a loser. If you actually shifted how they occur to themselves, everything would change, everything. So for you as a leader, as an entrepreneur, ask yourself the question, “How do I occur to myself? How do I need to occur to myself so that I can do what I need to do and if there’s a gap between those then address it.” And that’s not, it’s not easy undertaking.
Joe: When you say address it, are you talking about doing therapy? Are you talking about, I mean what exactly, what does that look like?
Dave: Well it takes, and I’ve studied it all with that. I did a deep dive in grad school in Yung Ying. I mean not Yung Ying, Freudian Psychoanalysis, so that is one road to kind of redoing the script of how you occur to yourself, but there are a lot of other ways. And I don’t think it needs to take very long. You know, the whole point of the transformational leadership movement is there are some people that you are different if you’re around them.
Dave: So Warren Bennis, edited one book and wrote the preface on another is one of those people if, no matter who you are in life, if you ever have the opportunity to sit down with Warren Bennis, who you are will change when you are in his presence. You are smarter, you are more gentle, you are more giving, you are more intellectual, you’re more curious, you’re more able when you’re around him. Desmond Tutu, is one of the same people.
Dave: If you’re in his presence, you become a different person so getting to what leadership is, the ultimate expression is to become someone like that, where other people occur to themselves differently when they’re around you, and they in turn create that difference for other people and it starts cascading down.
Joe: Wow. I wonder how useful that is for me because most people when they’re in my presence, become more sarcastic and they start busting on each other and perhaps a dirty joke here and there.
Dave: I’m shocked.
Joe: It’s very weird.
Dave: Because I’ve never heard you say a dirty joke.
Joe: Yeah, exactly.
Dave: Ever in my life. Certainly not like 30 seconds before we started taping.
Joe: Exactly. Yeah, I’m a very proper person. So Tony Hsieh, one of my friends, one of your friends, you know, he – they actually give out your books at Zappos when people go there and he, you know, I’ve had him speak at one of my event and he talked about Tribal Leadership and he, you know, his book Delivering Happiness, what does happiness have to do with all this stuff? Because I’m torn on my take on what creates happiness, you know? There’s a lot of recent books and it’s a big subject right now.
In terms of leadership, in terms of success, what’s your take on, you know, happiness?
Dave: Well happiness is a big subject. What it, and it’s not my field but I’ve tried to read into it. It seems like that you get there indirectly, right? If you seek happiness, you don’t get it, but in pursuit of some other goal you become happy and then the moment you say, “Wow, I’m happy,” and then start going down that road, you instantly become unhappy. So it’s weird. It’s almost like a cat. It doesn’t come on command. If you chase it, it just hides but if you just kind of sit down and do something else, it’ll come and sit in your lap. And then the minute you hug it, it’s going to run away. That’s happiness to me. So the point is you want to be engaged in something is in line with your values, and it is in line with what you’re uniquely good at doing. And this like a terrible metaphor, then the cat will come sit on your lap. I’m sorry.
Joe: No, no, it’s actually, I think it’s actually a great metaphor and, you know, it is about being engaged. You know, my friend Tim Ferriss, you know, in the original 4-Hour Workweek, he talked about, you know, the thing, the pursue is not, you know, happiness but excitement.
Joe: You know, what is it that you get excited about and it sort of hits you but no, I like it. I love that analogy. It actually, that really resonates with me. No one else watching this will understand what the hell you just said but as long as this worked for me.
Dave: Are we recording this? I thought it was just you and me.
Joe: Yes, this video is just for my own personal use later.
Dave: That’s great.
Joe: You’re just propped up here to think other people are going to actually watch, that’s funny.
Dave: Well it’s good because I know it’s the person behind the camera’s actually a cardboard cutout which I thought was a little weird but now it makes sense.
Joe: That is hysterical. Alright. I’m going to attempt to be serious this, because there’s so many, there’s so many things that I would like to ask you about but in order to cover it all in less than 14 hours. The second law of performance says how a situation occurs arises in language. So how do you define language? And also, you talk about the power of the unsaid. What is the power of the unsaid? So there’s two questions that are so, actually, maybe there was four in that whole thing but let’s talk about the second law first and then we’ll go in.
Dave: Right, so the second law, it sounds maybe dry but it says what occurring is composed of, right? So how I occur to myself comes up in words. Not necessarily the words that I use. Not necessarily the words that come out of my mouth, but that’s the composition of occurring. And the reason that that’s important is you can change your words. I mean it’s not as simple as change your words, change your life. That’s far too simple and for anybody that’s ever gone down the motivational road, you know that. You know, I’m a better person. No, you’re actually not. You’re kind of a loser person, right? I mean you hear people say aphorisms to themselves that they’re trying to convince themselves that they’re something other than what they really are. But if you know what occurring is based on, it gives you some ability to change it which is really the key, and then terms of the unsaid, most of us have had this experience.
Like you go into a restaurant and you see people sitting, imagine that there were table and there were people sitting there or maybe it’s a family and they’re talking and you just notice their body language. And you could just freeze time, if you could and you almost know, in fact I would feel so far as to say you do know what is going through their heads, right? I mean the kids are saying, “Wow, my parents are really idiots,” and the wife is saying, “You know, I’m so in love with my husband,” and the husband is thinking, “I can’t believe I’m here with these squirrely kids and then he’s checking out the waitress and the waitress is looking at them and saying, “Wow, I wish they’d leave because they’re loud.” I mean you can just pick up on these things, right?
Because how things occur happens in language. We give off these cues all the time that we don’t know we’re giving off. So this is, this circles back to why it’s important to know how you occur to yourself. Even if you think no one else can tell, they can. You know, there’s a way you occur to yourself. It’s obvious from how you’re sitting here, and if you don’t know what that is then you have a major disadvantage. So and then that gets into the third law which is ultimately, how to change this stuff and so essentially, what the third law says is that if, that certain type of language, it’s called future base language, transform how situations occur so really simple, and profound example actually is apparently the word American was coined by Benjamin Franklin. That’s the, what I’ve heard.
Joe: I did not know that.
Dave: In terms of the word. Well just think about it, so you’re a, you’re living in the colonies. One of the colonies. Maybe living in Virginia and you think of yourself as a Virginian and you think of yourself as a British subject. You think of yourself as a loyal subject. Maybe a pissed off subject but still loyal under the British crown and suddenly, this word American comes along and you say, “Yeah, I’m an American.” Which means that person living that other colony, that’s an American too. That actually changed everything. Right? It changed how people occur to themselves. It changed how the crown appeared to them. It changed their own, the sense to their own power and then if you go forward in time, people said, “We need a statement of that. A declaration,” which is future based language. So people got together and they wrote The Declaration of Independence. They signed it. Life did not go well for a bunch of people that signed it. But by declaring that they were independent and if you were a dog who needed to speak, you know, words, nothing would change. These people got together. They sat in a room and then they did something on a piece of paper and now they’re acting like something’s different, but nothing in the world has actually changed. But in our world of language, everything changed, right?
Dave: We are now independent. Now we’ve got a war to fight. Now we have to go convince people that we are independent, right? All of these things shifted so here we are, 200 plus years after the fact and we kind of lose the magic, the alchemy that happened in that moment where people said, “Damn it, we aren’t independent. We’re not going to accept things as they are.” Which is what leadership is. Making something that happens that wasn’t going to happen anyway. So leadership starts by getting into that occurring and being able to wrestle with it. Accept what you need accept. Not try to scratch it out and write over because that’s not how it works but you’ve got something to say about it. And if you can master that, you can really master leadership.
Joe: So, you know, even when you said that, I thought about even the term, “The American Dream.” And how all of the context of everything is layered on that paradigm. That’s fascinating. Very cool. So okay, so let me speak to that particular issue. So the third law of performance states future base language. How situations occur to people and you make a distinction between descriptive language and future base language. What’s the difference between the two as it relates to the third law? Now you kind of went through that, you know, because you talked about declaration but go a little deeper on that.
Dave: Yeah, well most of us just know how to use one kind of language which is descriptive, you know, so we’re here in Phoenix and I think the sun is out and it’s whatever temperature it is and I’m sitting in this kind of weird looking chair. We’ve got these mugs of water between us.
Joe: And they say Ilovemarketing.com on it did you notice?
Dave: It’s actually vodka but we’re pretending that it’s water because it looks the same on camera.
Joe: Right. And there’s no odor.
Dave: And there’s no odor.
Dave: You have an odor but that’s a different issue. So I mean that’s the world that we live in, and so the problem is when people approach leadership, they have a real problem because descriptive language doesn’t change things. It doesn’t change how situations occur, right? So I do a lot of work with scientists. Very good ones that are battling cancer and when you ask them, “Where do you see this field going?” All they can do is describe and it’s as inspirational as looking at a rock, right? Well maybe if in five years this happens and that happens. Given this predictive study over here and this other predictive study over there then maybe we’ll be able to put these together and make some progress maybe in the five percentile range and you’re already asleep. I mean this might be a life or death issue for you and you’re asleep. We’re just nearing the answer so that’s descriptive language.
So future based language is language that does something in the moment of speaking, so like if you were my bookie and I went up to you and said, “I’m going to place a bet with you. I am placing a bet with you.” And then I lose and you come back and you want to collect and I say, “Well, but Joe, I wasn’t making a bet. I mean we were just talking.” You’re going to say, “No, you made a bet and now you have to pay up, right?” So that’s future based language. It’s something that shifts a future relationship by how I say it right now so a simple example is, “I promise,” or in a wedding ceremony, people say, “I do.” Well what’s changed? From the dog’s perspective, two people wore funny clothes and they walked up and there was all this talking and then they walked and then they kissed and then they walked back and everybody applauded and what changed? Nothing changed.
But in terms of language, everything changed. How they occur to themselves changed. How they occur to the world changed, right? In the moment of speaking so when the minister justice of, justice of peace or rabbi whatever says, “I declare you husband and wife,” that’s future based language. So the point is we have this power with words that is, and I don’t like want to get too weird here but it really is a God-like potential, right? I mean pretty much every religion and I’m not religious. I’m just taking this as a metaphor but I think a really important one. In virtually every world religion, there’s a sense that we are God-like. Well how? I mean I can’t make, you know, that clock float up with my mind. Supposedly God could but I can’t so how am I God-like?
Joe: You want me to, do you want to see that clock levitate right now? I mean we won’t have it on camera but I’m just.
Dave: Well it’s very easy. What you would do is point to somebody in the room and say, “Hey, could you do me a favor and lift that, right?”
Dave: Which is using language which is how we’re God-like, right? Because we can make anything in the world happen using language. We can say, “There will be a building there,” and if you can raise the money and hire the architects and get the permits which is all done through language that building will appear which if you kind of look at it, is just as God-like as saying, “Let there be a building,” and a building appears. It might take longer but that’s how we’re God-like.
Joe: That’s the mech, well which totally goes back to marketing and everything…
Joe: How much you can influence and shift just simply with words.
Dave: Yeah, I mean one of the best examples ever was the advertising agency that was hired by Alka-Seltzer and so they were talking about the product and they said, “Well, you kind of drop it in and it fizzes and -,” well no actually, you know, shouldn’t you shop in two? Like ‘drop drop, fizz fizz’. I just doubled your revenue because now you’re going to put in two, right?
Joe: Right. Plop plop.
Dave: Or plop plop, yeah. So the words,
Joe: Did you see I said that all seriously?
Joe: I scolding you for saying drop drop?
Dave: I did. But you know, but you had a smirk on your face.
Dave: So then if you were listening on.
Joe: It’s a little demonic.
Dave: It would occur differently, right?
Joe: Totally. If people were watching this video versus listening to the audio, it would almost be like the Nixon debates back in the day where if you watch it on video versus you heard it.
Dave: Yeah. See, I’m not that old so I don’t really get the reference. Was Nixon like one of the popes or something?
Joe: That’s funny. Yeah, he was actually.
Joe: Okay, so well this is fascinating then so let’s, this will sound like a weird question but I’ll say it anyway. Someone watching this, they feel their life sucks, their business sucks. It’s not working. They want it to change. Prior to this interview, we were kind of talking about how, you know, most people don’t really change. I mean some do, but for the most part, people kind of who they are stays very similar to who they are, where they grew up that sort of stuff. If someone really wants to make a big shift how do they take, you know, obviously read your book. Get some real deep understanding and context about what you’re saying here. But how does someone, I mean how do you really make a positive beneficial shift in your life? What needs to happen in terms of how you occur the language, everything?
Dave: Well, it’s a good question and it’s not for the faint of heart. Well actually, that’s not true. It’s not for the weak of mind. I mean because it doesn’t come down to three steps. You know, step one, don’t, I’m not being literal but you read this in self-help books and it just makes you want to scream. Step one, write down how you want to occur to other people. Step number two, find things that are consistent with that and put that all around in your office, in your house and get that kind of a car and step three, write your obituary kind of looking back. You know what that accomplishes? You’re now a struggling guy who now has weird furniture and has written some obituary and absolutely nothing has changed, except that now you’re at war with how you occur which means it’s actually more visible and more apparent than it ever was.
Joe: And then it becomes more painful.
Dave: Because it’s more painful, so you see a lot of people failing in business desperately trying to give off the image of success, right? And as you and I know, it comes across as really painful to see because it’s obvious that they’re failing but they’re screaming that they want things to be different so.
Joe: And that’s frustrating as hell because, you know, these are not people that are lacking putting some sort of effort and energy into trying to make things better. They’re just not getting there.
Joe: Yeah, it’s true.
Dave: So I mean it starts with accepting things as they are so put it all out there. How do you occur to yourself? How does your business occur to you? How does your business occur to other people? Remember, that this, the first law of performance always holds so if your business isn’t developing a lot of customers it’s because it occurs as boring, unimportant, irrelevant, weird, something. If it didn’t occur that way then you wouldn’t have a problem. So this happens a lot in academic circles that you’ll get a college or a university and they’ll say, and this is the president and they’ll say, “We have a problem because we’ve got a great story and nobody knows what it is.” It’s like we want you to tell the story and my answer to that is, “No, if you had a great story, people would be telling it and if it were really a great story, other people would be repeating it and you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation. So the problem is, you have a lousy story.” Right, so let’s start with that. So now, can we change the story and work our way up from there? So I realize that people are watching and listening to this probably waiting for the steps. I mean number one, if you want to get specific, you can do things like a reputation audit.
Which is where you go up to people and say, “Joe, I’m just trying to get a sense of, you know, how I come across.” It’s one of those things that’s in a blind spot for most people so just tell me, what is my reputation and write it down. You go do that with 10 people. Don’t correct them. Don’t agree. Don’t get a smile on your face. Just write it down. That’s how you occur to people assuming they’re being honest. Do the same thing with your business. Do a reputation audit if you’re a business. You really get a sense of how it would occurs and then the question is what shifts would you like to make? I mean how would you like your business to occur? How would you like yourself to occur as a leader or as something else? And then you can get into the specific tools that make it happen. Why I say it’s not for the faint of mind is, you know, if this stuff were easy, everybody would be doing it. It’s actually not easy, but it is possible. Warren Bennis, my mentor, you know, on both books has this great expression that some people are what do you call? Twice borners, about 5% of the population are twice borners.
Dave: Don’t hear Born Again. It’s not a religious thing. But they for some reason came to conclusion that who they were wasn’t who they wanted to be or maybe who they were in the world really wasn’t who they really were and they reinvented themselves. Warren is one of those people and I’m absolutely one of those people, and so you can almost give birth to yourself again, don’t get like literal with that. But using The Three Laws of Performance and using Tribal Leadership and other things, that process of reinvention is something that people do all the time. It’s the way to do it. You just have to know whether you want to pay the price.
Joe: What is the price?
Dave: That for a time, you won’t know who you are and other people will try to put you back in the box that you used to be in.
Joe: Interesting. Yeah. So I could see that being quite a struggle and I would imagine through all the attempts of the self-help and personal development industry of which I have a love-hate relationship because there’s tremendously good valuable stuff and there’s tremendous amounts of nonsense. That it can be very disheartening when someone is very close to making that breakthrough but they get pulled back or whatever. So to strengthen, if that’s even the right term when someone listening or watching, I mean my tendency of people that watch, listen to what it is that I produce or other people produce that’s out there, it’s because they, there’s a result. There’s a bigger future they have in mind and they’re looking for direction confidence and capabilities on how to get there and this is just one of the things that they’re doing to get perspective. And I really like leaving people with elegant ideas and solutions so that to the best of their abilities, they can incorporate and get tremendous value out of this. So what are some things as it relates to, because I’m going to switch gears here in a minute. On The Three Laws of Performance, aside from reading the book, I mean I think that’s the first step, just read the book. What are things that would give someone the highest possibility of success to really have a breakthrough and maybe losing themselves and reinvent, you know?
Dave: Yeah. Well so if we’re going to shift into a tool mode and I think it’s really appropriate to do right unless this translates into actionable insights then it’s at best an interesting conversation that somebody watched. So one of the big things is that simply by asking the question of like doing a reputation on it, that actually begins to shift how you occur. So this happens to leaders all the time. That they’re seen as being narcissistic. They’re seen as being self-obsessed. They copy other people’s ideas. They’re not really original. They’re kind of mean. They communicate but they’re kind of upset. They come across as unhappy. They’re just not really fun to be around. So I try, if I’m in that person’s world, I do as little with them as I can get away with, right?
So that person came and sat down and said, “Dave, I’m doing something called a reputation audit.” I might say, “Okay, it sounds a little weird but whatever.” And they say, “Look I just, I’m not asking what you think, I’m just asking what is my reputation because I’m sure you talk to other people so what is my reputation?” And I say, “Well Joe, you’re aloof. You’re kind of a jerk and you’re really not fun to be with. You antagonize other people. You belittle other people. You’re smart. You’re frankly not as smart as you think you are and that’s clearly coming across and.”
Joe: I like how you use my name with all this stuff. It makes me feel real good.
Dave: Yeah. Yeah, I’m here for you Joe.
Joe: Yeah, exactly.
Dave: And so I mean if we’re having this conversation and, but I mean the roles are reversed so I’m the one asking the question and you’re delivering the honest news and I’m hearing it and I’m probably even writing it down and at the end I maybe look thoughtful because I’m genuinely thinking about it. And then I just say, “You know, Joe? Thank you. Let me ask you for a favor? I’m going to go ask other people this. Can I come back later and just continue this?” And you’ll probably say, “Yeah.” Then I’ll say, “Thank you.” I might even like shake your hand and walk away. That will shift. Begin to shift how I occur so if you do that on a business level, you know, ask your customers, “How do we occur?” And I really wish AT&T would care enough to do that. They would get really bad stuff and then they might actually change.
Dave: Right. The AT&T’s a great example. Their customer service is terrible. I think it’s commonly known, right? They have all kinds of problems when they had a monopoly with the iPhone and instead of actually engaging in that, they were putting up posters about how great they were. Exactly the wrong thing to do. So if I hate AT&T and I see a poster paid for by AT&T about how great they are, I now hate them more than I did before.
Joe: Right. Because your perceptions is they’re just total liars.
Dave: Well either they don’t know or they don’t care. I’m not sure which is worse and it’s probably both, right? So if a business did that, I mean our business. Which is CultureSync. A small consulting firm. We do that on a pretty frequent basis. How do we, what is our reputation? How do we come across? And initially, we didn’t really like what we heard. “You know, you guys are kind of arrogant.” Which we thought was funny because the whole message of Tribal Leadership is kind of get past arrogance, right?
Dave: And where we hear, “You guys come across as arrogant.” That gives you the ability to do something about it. So that’s just one, you know, specific tool but it’s a very important one.
Joe: Yean. No, it’s huge. It’s huge. Yeah, I think if everyone actually did, I mean I’m going to do that. I mean I’ve learned a tremendous amount just sitting here hearing you explain that. I want to know what my reputation is for the 12 people that are behind the camera that actually know what I’m talking about here. Awesome.
Dave: Well we’ve been talking too. Do you want me to tell you? Okay, number one. You got to shave. There’s just no, no, I’m just kidding.
Joe: You, honestly. If you would like, you can literally, what is your reputation? What do you think?
Dave: Your reputation?
Joe: Yeah. What, how do you see me? Other than a very handsome fellow.
Dave: Smart, funny, you like to be around interesting, engaging people. You like ideas that are a little wacky and kind of different. A little off the beaten path. You like coming across as edgy. You like being unpredictable so you do things that are predictably unpredictable. You really like people and I might be off on this but I think you’re a little hesitant about leading with how much you like people, so you come at it through humor and sarcasm which is very endearing but also, will put some people off. Which I think gets in your way and so I think you probably chalk it up to its probably overall more beneficial than not. You collect people, ideas, concepts, theories, tools, approaches, stuff like books and artifacts and chairs that are different. That are unique. I think you’re a collector of unique things in people.
Joe: That is damn good. Thank you very much.
Dave: Am I playing fortune teller now?
Joe: No, no, that’s fantastic.
Dave: And in your future, stay away from anything that’s red.
Joe: As you noticed, there’s not a lot of red around here. We do have a few accents in red but, you know, we got this thing here. Now this is a definition of the Genius Network. It actually came from my good friend, Dan Sullivan. Who’s one of my dear friends. Founder of Strategic Coach. Brilliant guy and the way he defined a Genius Network since it’s, you know, behind your header I should probably say something about it if anyone’s read it. Genius Network is an ever expanding system of increasing cooperation and creativity among unique ability achievers. And so the way that I look at Genius Network like Genius Network originally started as a marketing term. It’s really to me, it’s like a wisdom network. You know, there’s people that have, you know, great insights, perspective, knowledge, wisdom, how to plans, path, methodologies, processes, you know, whatever. And in order to have an ultimate Genius Network of smart people, you have to do Genius Networking and be a Genius Networker. And so part of like when I do my Genius Network Mastermind which is my 25K group. My high level Mastermind group. It’s just taking people to have unique ability, capabilities, putting them all together so that they can all cooperate and, you know, help each other and so I’m always, you know, by interviewing you for Genius Network, it’s taking someone that has tremendous amounts of skills and unique ability, capability, synthesizing ideas. Sharing them with people that are watching so that they can better cooperate not only with themselves but with the world and with the marketplace and things like that, which is, you know, predominantly, you know, my world is entrepreneurism.
Joe: I’m an entrepreneur so.
Joe: Well that was awesome. Read the book, Three Laws of Performance, Dave Logan, Steve Zaffron. What’s your website? We’re going to say this again but just in case someone shuts this video off or turns this audio off right to this moment. What’s your main website?
Dave: The super simple one is just Davelogan.com
Joe: Okay. That’s simple enough. All right. I want to talk about, you know, let’s touch on Tribal Leadership and then we’re going to go on the topic of your new book. And whatever else that becomes maybe a membership club for the dark side of success? I did an interview with you on Tribal Leadership for Genius Network and I’ll figure out a way to wherever they’re watching this, when they can actually listen to that interview also, so we won’t spend a lot of time on this but it’s leveraging natural groups to build a thriving organization. I mean there’s, you know, Seth Godin wrote a book on tribes and there’s been a lot of people that have written stuff and I think your in depth knowledge for my exposures, the deepest, greatest that I’ve seen.
Dave: Thank you.
Joe: And so what is Tribal Leadership? What’s that all about? Why’d you write the book?
Dave: Well it’s the recognition that, when you’re talking about genius. Genius doesn’t really happen in isolation. It happens in a group. And if you’re talking about Three Laws of Performance that there’s how I occur, there’s how you occur, there’s some sort of irreducible element, right, in all of that that holds things stable and that element to us as a tribe. So it’s a group of between 20 and 150 people. So when you talk about entrepreneurship, I taught this for a few years at SC and I’m not an entrepreneur professor, but we sort of teach alongside each other. And what happens is, I mean variably, if I were to read a business plan and it’s the story of one guy, I’d put it down because I know that this is going to fail, right? So every successful business that I’ve seen has a tribe attached to it. People say, “Well, but I’m doing it myself.” Fine, but you’ve got one customer, hopefully more. You’ve got maybe an investor, right? You’ve got maybe somebody like me that’s sitting on your advisory board or board of directors or whatever. You’ve probably got a spouse. You’ve probably got a supplier or two. You’ve probably got a few people that are, you’re going to hire a few take offs so they’re kind of part of the tribe. And if you start counting those people up, you realize you almost have at least 20, you know, and if they’re all focused on the success of your business then you’ve got something really cool. So, I’m not here to like put in a plug for anybody but one of the reasons that I appreciate this [inaudible 00:51:24] as an organization is that’s essentially a tribe, right?
Dave: I mean you probably have a tribe of CEOs or YPO. Does a lot of the same thing. So if you get those people and they’re all focused on your success and you’re focused on their success so it’s mutual, now you can do anything, because a great tribe could change the world. So I think of these two books as sort of counterparts. This one, the Tribal Leadership gives a lot of the step by step, you know, do this. Take this action. If you find yourself in this place, do this. What’s often missing for people is, you know, it seems to work but I don’t understand why it works.
Dave: So this book goes into the underlying mechanisms so often, when people start with one, they got go to the other and the only kind of negative value, so Tribal Leadership is probably better review than Three Laws of Performance but when people read them together, they like them both even more if that makes sense, because they’re very much, to me almost like one book that kind of got cut in half.
Joe: Got you. Cool. Well you know what I’m even going to do, I’m going to have a little section setup on Genius Network because, you know, we’ll probably end up having, you know, family photos of you for years on end. We’ll have, set up Geniusnetwork.com/davelogan, okay?
Dave: Oh. Thank you.
Joe: And then people can find the Tribal Leadership audio interview that I did along with the transcript so awesome. Now in terms of people, I have to ask you this before we go onto the next subject. We live in a world where because of technology, as my friend Ned Hallowell says the ADD, ADHD psychiatrist, “You know, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been before electronically but more disconnected face-to-face personally than ever before in history.” And in terms of loneliness and happiness and interaction and engagement, when you say there’s a lot of internet tribes. There’s a lot of electronic connections that way but in terms of, you know, going out and meeting people, what, what’s your take on, you know, back in history when there were many hours that were spent, you know, socializing over campfires or whatever? You know, what is your take on where society’s going in terms of the ability to be in person groups and meetings and intimate connections? If you could even speak to that?
Dave: Well I think we’re at probably the most important historical moment ever where everything is about to change and tip when technology merges with biotech which eventually will get, when, or as law really begins to pay off over probably the next 15 years. I think everything’s going to change. From where we are right now, here’s what we’re seeing in the data. You’re right. People are more connected. They have friends, right? On Facebook or they have Twitter followers. But these are not really values based relationships. I’m not really known for who I am. You know, one way to get a lot of Twitter followers just be really funny, right? Say sarcastic stuff and people will kind of follow you but then that’s kind of not who you are, right? So what happens is the functioning of tribes happens exactly the way it always has. So if you look at an internet tribe where they haven’t met face to face, it’s probably going to be more informational like, “This is what I’m doing. This is what I’m working on. Here’s a problem that I’m having,” so it’s more information exchange, less like the Manhattan Project, right? Which was a tribe that really did change the world, some might argue for the better, some might argue for the worse, right? But it changed things. So there will come a point where technology catches up and we’re able to do that electronically. I don’t think we’re there yet. I also don’t think we’re that far away. But right now, we’re not there yet.
Joe: Got you. Well and I recently became a platinum partner in Singularity University that was founded by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil and Peter’s going to be here actually this week that we’re doing this interview and the speed of where technology is going and just it’s mindboggling. And I’m just more than anything, the reason I even got involved with Singularity is I’m just curious as to what the hell’s going to happen because I mean I think it’s going to be a freak show in good ways and also complex ways so awesome. All right, so get a copy of his book Tribal Leadership too.
Listen to my interview with them so let’s talk about something that’s of course, totally fascinating. You’ve got, you know, I don’t know if you’re going to do it I’m sure it will be a book of course, but this is something that I don’t see a lot of people write about in ways that really resonates with me but I read an article about The Dark Side of Leadership that you recently wrote and I thought it was fascinating so you mentioned three types of leaders. And so I’d like you to talk about who are the three types of leaders and then I’ll ask you some more questions. Explain the dark side of success first and then explain the, that would make more sense to people listening or watching.
Dave: Sure, The Dark Side of Leadership gets into success but it’s really The Dark Side of Leadership comes out of a very simple observation that has happened to me over and over and over which is I’ll give a speech often to a big group of people numbering in the thousands. And there’s this dweeby little guy, right, that comes up to me at the end and he doesn’t make eye contact. He’s kind of dweeby and he says, “Dave, now I really understand why nobody at work really understands me because I’m really a leader and they’re really kind of in a my life sucks world and yeah, it’s because I’m like too far evolved.”
And my goal is just to get away from that person, right? But if I couldn’t get away, here’s what I would say, “Number one, you’re a dweeb, okay? Just accept your dweebiness. And then do something that makes you other than a dweeb, like find something and become the best in the world at that thing. to the point that you could become an arrogant SOB and you would still get invited to parties which you’re not now because you’re dweeby. Because you’re so much of a genius of that thing. Then we can talk about leadership, but not until then.” So leadership cannot be built effectively on a platform of lameness.
Joe: Got you. That’s great. What a statement. That should be a quote. Leadership cannot be built on a the platform of lameness. Yes.
Dave: And I say that like in the fiery chair. And so the three types of leaders.
Joe: We do, we got sound bites from this interview.
Dave: Well so the first type of leader, I happen to have a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter after he was president, right? As when he was president, he was probably the most ineffective president that we’ve had in a really long time because he was just wimpy, right? So if he had a dark side, he couldn’t find it, and if you’re being president, if you’re getting, sorry. Before the swearing in ceremony, you don’t take your luggage out of your house, right? “I’m moving into the White House.” You don’t carry your own suitcases. You get people to do it, right? But he did because he was such a nice guy so he came across as wimpy. He came across as lame. And lame and leadership don’t connect.
So the first type of leader is a really nice person. You’d love to live next door to them because they always mow their lawn and they would, their trash would never smell and if their dog ever did number two on your lawn, they’d clean it up, right? They’re really nice and they’re completely ineffective and the truth is they wouldn’t live in your neighborhood because they’re not going to make enough money. Because they’re lame, right? Then the second type of leader is one that has gone the opposite extreme, where they found their dark side and they kind of engaged it and they realize it’s a source of tremendous power and it has taken them over. It has possessed them. I don’t mean like the sense of demonic possession but one thing about the dark side stuff is it carries with it a massive blind spot.
So other people will see that you’re a jerk. To use a nice word. That you’re not a nice person. You may not see it yourself or maybe you don’t care, but that’s the person that ultimately self-destructs. They’re never called lame, right? They’re never called wimpy. They’re called overly something. They’re a jerk. They’re dangerous. They’re something but you might want to work for them because they’re going to do really important things but you also know they’re going to go down. And when they go down, it’s going to be really bad. So a simple example is Bernie Madoff although it’s in some ways it was even too simple. It was more of a lie that he couldn’t get out of which seems to be the case. So the second type of leader’s the opposite of the first which is somebody that has found their dark side. Realized it’s a source of tremendous power and has been taken over. Has been possessed by it. They’re really effective and ultimately, the story ends badly.
Joe: Yeah, and you used the example of Elliot Spitzer.
Dave: Yeah, exactly.
Joe: Yeah, who, you know, I watched a documentary on him and I mean, yeah, talk about a powerful guy but, you know, you also mentioned the article when they fall though. Their reputation is kind of it’s cemented.
Dave: It’s over and that’s what the great tragedies are almost all about. Once the person found their dark side. Became a very powerful like Macbeth, you know, or Hamlet. Became a very powerful person. Hamlet perfectly maps on it. He was the wimpy guy who found his dark side, but then it ended badly because in the end he got possessed by it. So the third type of leader, now we’re talking about probably only two or three percent of leaders manage to get that balance right. And it’s like dancing on the edge of a knife blade. So if you fall on either side, you die, right? Or you, you either tip in ineffectiveness or you tip into the kind of possession, but as long as you can stay right on the razors edge, you’re one of these people that can seemingly do magic and that’s going to be like Steve Jobs. Most people would not describe him as nice because he wasn’t. There were points where he was possessed by his dark side and no one could be around him and he became really effective. That was the next phase when he got kicked out of Apple. Right? That was Steve Jobs getting possessed. There were points where he tilted too much on the wimpy side, but through the last years of his life, he seemed to get it right. A lot of people didn’t like him but everybody respected him, so that’s being fed by the dark side, fueled by it but not possessed by it.
Joe: Yeah. Interesting actually. So you talk about noble cause leadership or higher aspiration leadership as being only part of the story of leadership. Can you speak to those two?
Dave: Yeah. I’m partially to blame for this so if you read, especially Tribal and I was lead writer on it so I’ll take the hit on not communicating this right, but the highest level of culture in tribes is what we call life is grey. And so people imagine this kind of utopia where the bunnies and the wolves are holding hands and singing, We Are The World. And it’s very like, you know, hippy. Like let’s all go to a commune and grow out our hair and do drug circles.
Joe: Honest to God, I recently, the creator of We Are The World, we actually went up on stage with a bunch of people.
Dave: Did you?
Joe: Literally singing We Are The World, but it was crazy.
Dave: Yeah, were you high when you did it?
Joe: No, no, no.
Dave: Well then it doesn’t count.
Joe: I was kind of recruited into it because I usually don’t like public things like that since it makes me feel very strange. You know, I’m not like Bono or anything.
Dave: Well you kind of see the point, right? That when you look at these Genius cultures, that, the ones that really do change the world, we often have this perception that it’s almost like some bad Disney movie. That it’s overly slick. It’s overly happy. It’s overly good, right? When actually, at every stage what made up the stage before is never lost. It just kind of gets reconfigured. So in the evolution of a person just, I’m only over simplifying this by a little bit. You’re kind of wimpy and then you move into kind of narcissistic stage. When you’re really full of yourself, maybe this is the teenage years? You know, maybe late teenage years. You realize you have a certain power over maybe the opposite sex or you’re good at athletics or something where you say, “You know, I’m really f-ing good,” right? And then if you’re, unless you kind of stay at the jerk level, it reaches a point where you see that’s not really working. So you kind of then flip to the third kind where you can still tap into that if you need to but that’s not your sense of yourself. It’s not how you occur to yourself, right? So that’s really kind of where the whole thing ends up.
Joe: Got you. All right. Cool. So how does politics affect performance in leadership?
Dave: Well politics, it’s a good question to a little bit of a complicated answer because it plays that differently for different tribal stages. At the, at stage five, which is the highest or stage four which is kind of the zone for optimal performance, politics is handled pretty routinely, right? So if I go up to you and say, “You know, I heard something about that person over there.” You’re going to say, “Oh yeah, whatever. Why don’t you go talk to them about it?” It’s kind of not a big deal. At stage three which really runs organizations, “Oh really? Tell me what you heard because I heard something too. If you tell me what you heard, I’ll tell you what I heard.” And I might even distort what I heard so that I’m essentially giving you crap. That way I’m getting your information but no net loss to me, so then the person who knows the most ultimately wins. So stage three just runs on politics so I’m assuming some knowledge of the tribal stages. But in terms of the dark side, you may actually launch negative campaigns about yourself. I see people do that in the literature life. I need people to be talking about me so they’re not saying bad stuff then I need to be somebody who’s saying bad stuff about that guy. That should, will create like counter movements to try to get the word out. Which is very kind of dark side-ish.
Joe: Right, right.
Dave: Right? Like they’ll say, “You know, Joe’s a fraud. I hate that guy, Joe. You know, I heard that Joe –,” when actually, the person that’s typing that is you.
Joe: Yeah, yeah.
Dave: I think that’s fun.
Joe: Yeah, maybe I should spend a lot of time doing that. That’s pretty, you know, then they won’t dig up dig up all of the dark side things about my torn past. So how do people with large dark sides produce and change the world? I mean there’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of good that has come out of demented individuals and a lot of destruction too. I mean it works both ways but, you know, harnessing this dark side is fascinating because I, you know, I think this is one of those things that most people would not talk about but when they hear a guy like you write about it, talk about it, you know, everyone can relate, that has half a brain. I mean if he’s paying attention here, there’s a lot of, you know, especially if you’ve hung around very successful people, you see it all the time.
Dave: Yeah. Well so if somebody has a big dark side, that’s good. It’s bad, right for other reasons but as good as it gets, is that you form partnership is too happy a word. You form a tension with the dark side. You never merge with it. You don’t integrate it. You don’t become one with it. You never ever make it into a servant. It won’t do that. It’ll pretend to do that and then it’ll end up kind of casting it’s shadow over you and running your life in ways that you don’t even understand until it’s too late, so that doesn’t happen. You make this tension with the dark side and that’s as good as it gets. It has been an unresolved tension but you got to think of the dark side as almost like a dark star, right? It was a star, it expanded out, there’s all this matter and now it became a black hole, right? If you could tap the energy that’s in a black hole, you could do anything you wanted, but its nature is to pull things within it. It’s not to say it’s evil. Black hole isn’t evil. It’s just a black hole, right? So you’ve got one of those. I have one of those and there are some people that are such a big black hole that we don’t even like to be around them. Our skin kind of crawls.
And now this is where I’m not an expert like on social pathology but I would not want to tell a serial killer, “You know, you just seem to kind of make buddies with your dark side,” right? I mean there are people whose dark sides are so big and so uncontrollable that a number of analysts that I’ve talked to, I mean like Freudian analysts or Jungian analysts would say, “Actually, they shouldn’t look into their dark side.” I don’t know how to tell those people apart. I’m not an expert and probably will never be able to figure that out, but I would say probably, for anyone watching this, you’re in that category of people that can look into your dark side. Find an enormous source of power, form a relationship with it in a way that maybe you haven’t really thought about. And the process becomes much more effective into the point that it’s almost like scary effective, but never by your own PR guy. You will never become one with it. It will never be a happy integration. It’s dark by its nature. It wants to cast you into a blind spot. It wants to own you. So you can either run from it which means it’s essentially running the show. You can merge with it which means it’s taking you over or you can form one of those tensions with it.
Dave: I’m suggesting the latter.
Joe: Yeah. Okay, so the ultimate message of this book, this subject is what? What do you hope leaders and readers to actually get from it? I mean why do you move down this path?
Dave: Yeah. Well it, and I’ll tell you. Having talked to many leadership experts about it, I’ve heard almost the same thing from all of them which is, “That book needs to be written and I really hope nobody ever writes that book.” It’s kind of like that combination which is we all know that’s true because we’ve all had that experience with a wimpy guy that comes up and says, “I really understood.” It’s like you want to smack him and say, “Look, here’s the problem. You’re just lame. I mean stop being lame and then, then we can talk.” We all had that experience, and we’ve had the experience of the person that’s like super slick and they’re really kind of buying their own PR and you don’t even want to be with them because they’ve just cast this dark self-absorbed energy. It’s not magnetic. It doesn’t create great businesses. It doesn’t. It creates great maybe self-scripted PR stories but it doesn’t make a really good leader.
So what I hope will come out of it is number one, people will recognize they have a dark side. For some people, that’s going to be a revelation. Number two, to map it, just like we were talking earlier. You got to map your Genius. You know, my Genius behaves in certain ways. It comes out in the morning. It wants to fight with me about ideas and at noon it kind of disappears back into the wall and I don’t see it again until next morning. You need to also map your dark side. It has a personality. It has a certain flavor, and you need to figure out a way to have a relationship with it. You need to learn how to draw power from him without being possessed by it. And this is where I’m going to make a lot of people upset. The dark side is not frayed away, fasted away, it doesn’t go away if you become someone that gets away from all worldly possessions and unplugs your cable and rips up your carpet and, you know, eats bread and water. It doesn’t go away if you do any of those things. It doesn’t go away.
So most of what people try to do to make the dark side go away is an attempt to repress it and if anyone has ever really tried to repress your dark side, here’s what happens. It gets stronger and it explodes in a way that everybody else can see and you can’t and that’s, you know, the story of the person that is a God fearing person in theory and they go to their Church and they’re actually the, what is it called? BTK killer. I mean that’s what happens if you try to repress your dark side. It comes out in ways that are really, really scary and they’re compartmentalized. But if you can kind of, now, he’s probably one of those people we would advise, “Don’t look at your dark side and don’t immediately lock yourself away.” But that’s a small minority of people. For most of us, if you find your dark side and learn to draw power from it without being possessed by it, not compartmentalize it, it’ll make you much more effective, much more powerful. Ironically happier because now you’re not running from something, and just makes you more effective in life. So we think it’s a win for everybody. Hopefully, we don’t create too many serial killers in the process.
Joe: Yes, I would hope not. Now, and you know, and the cool thing is like most of your work is about leadership, about performance, about simply being a more effective human being and to be more effective as you interact with yourself and with the world. So when do you anticipate, this could be a year or something from the time we’re doing this actual interview before this comes up but I will, I’d love to do another interview with you on that particular subject because I’m fascinated by it and certainly, you know, I think a lot of the world advances on the backs of its neurotics. Just something that the late Gary Halbert used to say and it’s always, I think it’s always fascinating to take a look at that and see it in yourself. Because at the end of the day, anything that will give you some insight and give you some ability to be more effective is huge. So final words of wisdom and then we’re going to give out your website and everything and tell people where to get more, to perform better. To be a better leader, anything else you can think of or recommend before we shut this bad boy off?
Dave: You know, I’d go back to the thing you pulled out earlier as a sound bite. Leadership cannot be built on a platform of lameness. And, so that means find the part of me that’s lame and just don’t build your leadership platform on that. Just don’t. And find, you know, your dark side. Your dark side is not lame, right? But ultimately, you want to find people that recognize you for who you really are, through all the layers, you know. They kind of see your core and they accept it and they like it and they appreciate it and you’re more them, you are more yourself when you are with them and they are more themselves when they are with you. That’s what we call a great tribe. And a great tribe can change the world. In fact, they do so every day. A tribe is the most important social group that’s ever been created. Problem in business is we don’t look to tribes. We look at departments and business units and startup ventures and boards of directors and those things are all important but the tribe. The natural clustering’s of people, those are the most powerful things. If you learn to assess them, make them better, make them stronger, make them bolder, then you got something that can really change the world.
Joe: Awesome. Love it. Always valuable speaking with you. Okay, so get a copy of David’s books; The Three Laws of Performance available anywhere books are sold. Online or offline. If they sell books anywhere in stores anymore and Tribal Leadership and these are both fantastic books. His website is Davelogan.com and you can check out geniusnetwork.com/davelogan and you can find my interview with Dave on Tribal Leadership and yeah, awesome stuff.
So thank you for giving up your time and your knowledge. I really appreciate it. Go buy his books right now and we will talk to you soon on next episodes of Genius Network or you can listen to all our marketing stuff at Ilovemarketing.com where I’m also going to put a copy of this so share this also with your friends or family or any entrepreneur leader you think would benefit from hearing it and that’s that. Well thanks dude.
Dave: Sure, thank you.
Joe: Appreciate it.