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A conversation about people management with Jeff Haden

Jeff Haden has a million followers on LinkedIn, and he’s one of Inc. Magazine’s most viewed authors. He’s also the author of the book of “The Motivation Myth.” While he covers a lot of ground, most of his writing tries to unpack human behaviors in the workplace.

Jeff agreed to do a teleconference interview with me, where he shared his perspectives on The Predictive Index People Management Study. He shared insights on why Baby Boomers tend to get lower manager ratings than millennials, the confusion between technical skills and leadership skills, and even “chug points.”

Enjoy the conversation (and feel free to read the transcript below).


Jeff Haden talks about people management and human behavior in the workplace

Thad Peterson: Jeff, thank you very much for joining us. Folks, this is Jeff Haden. Jeff, I stumbled across an article from you probably six years ago, and I still remember it. It was around the topic of the three things managers are really for in a hire, and I was like, “Wow. I like what this guy puts down.” I pick it up, and I’ve been following you ever since.

Thad Peterson: For those that don’t know you, Jeff, you’re a public speaker, a ghostwriter. You have, I think, close to a million followers on LinkedIn? You’re a part of their LinkedIn Influencer program, and you write for Inc.

Jeff Haden: Yeah.

Thad Peterson: You also, this year, penned a book called “The Motivation Myth,” about how high achievers really set themselves up to win, and it’s a book that debunks a lot of common myths we have about motivation. Let’s just talk about that book for a second. Tell me a little bit about it.

Jeff Haden: Yeah, it’s going to be a second, because then I have a bone to pick with you.

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Thad Peterson: Awesome.

Jeff Haden: The premise behind the book is that you send … You mentioned I write for Inc., and it’s because of that I’m fortunate enough that I get to talk to a lot of really, really successful people. So, I at one point, became struck by the fact that none of them ever had this one little moment where they figured that, “Oh my gosh, this is my passion. This is my life’s work. I have all the motivation I need to go get it.” They all just found something they were interested in and said, “You know what? I’d like to explore that. I would like to try to get better at that.”

Jeff Haden: So I contrasted that with all the people that write to me and say, “I’m stuck. I want to do something different, I can’t find my passion, I can’t find my whatever. I can’t find motivation,” and they were all waiting for motivation to hit them. The basic premise of the book is that you can create your own motivation, even if you have zero, just by following a process that allows you to improve a little bit. Feel good about improvement, because it always feels good to get better at something. That makes you feel happy; that gives you that little dose of motivation to go to the next day and just keep going.

Jeff Haden: It becomes this virtuous cycle, so that’s the premise of the book, and I talked to lots of famous and successful people along the way and their stories from there and back and all. But the bone I want to pick with you is: I took your behavioral assessment, and there’s all these qualities that I had to select that I thought described me, and the number of qualities that I had to select that would be what other people would describe. I did that, and I’m like, “Okay, let’s see where this goes.” Somehow from all of that five minutes that I spent on that checking a bunch of boxes, you figured me out, and it pisses me off.

Jeff Haden: I’m looking at the results and I thought, “Yeah, that’s right. That’s right too. Oh, yeah, that’s right. That is how I work.” I’m not sure what magic you’re using to do this, but I thought it was really cool, and probably what I wish … I used to work in manufacturing before I started writing and the stuff you described. I worked in manufacturing and I worked my way up from an entry-level job, and I ended up running a plant that had about a thousand people. I have a leadership background, and we use things like Myers-Briggs and some of those other tools, and they were useful and helpful and gave you a sense of how to work with individual people and stuff.

Jeff Haden: But I would have loved to have had the stuff that I found out about me, and especially the part about how I would best be led. I would have loved to have had that for my folks, because ultimately as a leader, your job is to figure out not, “Everybody has to do things my way,” but, “How do I set up an environment where each individual person can do as well as they can?” That’s your job as a leader to create that, but you have to understand how they work best, and how best to work with them in order to pull that off.” Well done, you. But it still irritates me. Now, feel free to respond to all that.

Thad Peterson: I have to tell you, when you said you had a bone to pick with me, I was a little bit worried. Then you threw me a cream puff, so thank you. Yeah, it is-

Jeff Haden: It’s odd though, because it’s like, “How are you doing this?” This seemed more complicated.

Thad Peterson: Well, maybe this … Maybe this will make you feel better. The science behind our behavioral assessment, we’ve been refining it for more than 60 years now. There’s a lot of effort that has gone up into that, and it actually, in a strange way, hearkens back to what you’re saying. There’s never, generally speaking, not a silver bullet or a lightning strike moment. This is an assessment that has been refined and proved over the course of decades, and the reaction that you had to it, we hear that a lot.

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Thad Peterson: People are like, “Whoa, this took me five minutes to get through this, and you nailed me. You told me things … It felt like you were peering into my soul.” We do get that a lot, and I love how you connected the dots to why that matters, because what we really bring to bear is the ability to understand what environments people need to really thrive. If you’ve got a strategy or certain things that you need to achieve, and you know what people’s behavioral drives are, and you can slot them into the right roles; that makes a big difference, and so-

Jeff Haden: [inaudible 00:05:31] certainly work a lot better too.

Thad Peterson: Say that again?

Jeff Haden: You do get that bonus, because I get to work in a way that suits me well and makes me more fulfilled and happy, which is going to make me perform better too. Even if you’re a cold-blooded type A, I don’t really care about people’s feelings, I just want results; if you do care about people’s feeling and how they respond, you will get results. So, you can be pragmatic about it and still do the right thing. How often does that happen?

Thad Peterson: Exactly. That is the beauty of it, it’s that when you’ve got the right people in the right roles, it’s the best thing for everybody.

Jeff Haden: You win on all kinds of levels.

Thad Peterson: Jeff, you’re our new spokesperson, thank you.

Jeff Haden: Notice that I’m taking quick sips? If I was a NASCAR driver. Every time I did this, I would get 500 dollars. They called this “chug points.” If you’ve ever watched a NASCAR race and the guys are drinking before an interview question … It happened. I know that you don’t want to hear this, but I’m going to do it anyway. The interviewer will say, “How did you do today?” And the guy is drinking as he’s being asked the question, and then he’ll say something like, “Yeah, the Chevrolet, he ran real well today, we had a good car,” whatever, but they get … That gets recorded, and they get 500 dollars every time they take a sip if they have that sponsorship deal with somebody.

Jeff Haden: Unfortunately, I do not, but Mountain Dew, call me.

Thad Peterson: Jeff, I was not expecting to pick up that little piece of knowledge from this conversation.

Jeff Haden: I am a fount of useless information.

Thad Peterson: You touched on this. As I’ve said, don’t want to be too [inaudible 00:07:05], but I think you’re a great writer. I’ve read a lot of your stuff over the years. What’s interesting about you is you’re a little bit of a … For a lack of a better term, an accidental writer. You actually had a totally different career path, started working in a manufacturing plant, worked your way up to the ladder, and then got to the top and said, “I’m not sure this is what I really want for the rest of my life,” and got into writing.

Thad Peterson: I think that’s really interesting, and I’d love to weave that into the next part of the discussion. One of the reasons I was so excited to talk to you; when you write, you tend to write about issues of management, of leadership, of organizational psychology and the topics we talked about before, being aligned with your job. We did something interesting, and I’ve shared the results with you. We did something called the “People Management Survey”, where we went out there and surveyed more than 5,000 people about their managers, and just to put that into context: When those presidential approval polls come out from Gallup, they survey about 1,500 people. This was a 5,000 person survey. We’re valid, lots and lots of data that we gathered.

Thad Peterson: You’ve got great perspective on this, and I selected a couple of the charts that we created from this survey. Since you’ve written about this, and you’ve managed a lot of people, I’d love some of your opinions.

Jeff Haden: Sounds good.

Thad Peterson: So, the very first question that we asked, or one of the initial questions we asked; we just simply asked people to rate their managers on a scale from one to ten. The average manager rating was somewhere between 7.2 and 7.3. Out of curiosity, and I’m not sure if … You know, if the water is out of the bottle on this already, you’ve already seen the chart. But what would you have expected the results from that to be?

Jeff Haden: What’s interesting about that is that if you talk to most … many people individually, and you ask about their boss, it feels like most of them will complain more than they will compliment. But then an on an aggregate basis, clearly, most people feel like their bosses are doing a fairly good job. In my experience, that’s pretty much the case. If you put the right people in the right places, like we talked about, they tend to do fairly well. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do a lot better, but they tend to do fairly well.

Jeff Haden: I like the fact that it does kind of debunk that whole, “Wow, most bosses are terrible and I can do a better job than my boss,” which is a whole other subject. But I’m both surprised and not surprised if such a thing is possible.

Thad Peterson: I suppose such a thing is possible. Now, we’ll get to-

Jeff Haden: [inaudible 00:09:55].

Thad Peterson: What’s that?

Jeff Haden: Did you have an expectation going into it?

Thad Peterson: You know, for all of the stuff you read out there about nightmare bosses and how terrible my boss is and my manager is; I was expecting it to be a bit lower.

Jeff Haden: Really?

Thad Peterson: That said, 7.2, 7.3, obviously there’s still room for improvement. I think I was somewhat heartened by the fact that it wasn’t an average of five, which I thought would have been in the realm of possibility.

Jeff Haden: Well, what’s interesting is that almost 20% gave their manager a 10, which-

Thad Peterson: Yeah.

Jeff Haden: I mean, that’s higher than I would have expected.

Thad Peterson: Yeah, I hear you. I absolutely hear you. We thought it would be interesting to also kind of filter it by gender, see how men and women stack up as managers and as it turns out, women slightly edge out men as managers, as rated by their employees, but by such a small amount that I think it’s barely statistically relevant.

Jeff Haden: Right.

Thad Peterson: Again, what would you have guessed on that one?

Jeff Haden: That one surprises me. I would have, in my … How do I say this? All right. I’m going to speak only from my experience. I am not generalizing. I’m not saying that anything that I say now will apply to all men and all women, or any one individual person. Now that I’ve gotten my drug company disclaimer out of the way; in my experience, women tend to be better managers than men. That is my experience. It doesn’t mean all of them, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t awesome guys, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t terrible women managers.

Jeff Haden: Just in my experience, in general, that’s the case. While this sounds harsh, if I was going to assess why, it’s probably because again, in my experience, fewer women are concerned about the personal … You know, “How do I look? How do I appear? How does this advance me?” Then the man’s side, and women tend to be less competitive … Again, I’m generalizing. I’ll say that as many times as I can. They tend to be less competitive with each other at the same level. If I’ve got eight supervisors that work for me, invariably, at least one of the guys will claw over your dead body to look better.

Jeff Haden: But I’ve never … I’ve never had that same situation with women, and so that alone, if you are being led by a person who you know is only in it for themselves, only worried about where their career goes, and you are just a platform for them to get to some higher level? You’re not going to work as hard, and you’re not going to be as engaged, and you’re not going to feel as good about your job. The fact that they ended up about the same actually did surprise me.

Thad Peterson: Yeah, yeah. And those attributes that you were talking about before, we’re going to get into that a little bit, because one of the most interesting things in this survey is we were able to filter the results and look at the traits associated with terrible managers, and the traits associated with great managers. That’s a great teaser for what’s to come. I will tell you, this slide about stacking generations against one another, the one that surprised me the most … I’m squarely a Gen X-er, and I thought for sure that people would give higher ratings to either Gen X-ers or Baby Boomers, and in fact, while the differences were small, it was the exact inverse of that. Millennials/Gen Y actually got the highest ratings as managers. What was your reaction?

Jeff Haden: I’m not as surprised by that, and I’m a Baby Boomer, which translates into, “I’m old.” But I realized that my generation is much more of a command-and-control kind of generation, and that is not how most people want to be managed, regardless of what generation they are from. I don’t care who you are, but that’s not as fun. I would see that and when we get to your chart about the particular behaviors, that makes sense to me from here because Baby Boomers would, in theory, have greater technical expertise because of years of experience and years of ability to gain skill and all that other stuff.

Jeff Haden: When we get to some of those other charts, the technical side of it from how people view their managers isn’t particularly important. The things that a Baby Boomer manager might think is important for how they do their job may be irrelevant to the people that they are leading. Whereas maybe the younger folks are a little more inclusive and a little more collaborative, and a little more used to working together and wanting opinions and sharing, and stuff like that. This one actually did not surprise me as much as you might think.

Thad Peterson: That’s really a student color commentary. What you said there resonates with me. I think that makes a lot of sense.

Jeff Haden: Good, because I was winging it. I purposely didn’t try to prepare too much for this, and I know that sounds harsh, but I wanted it to just be, “Here’s what I think, and we can talk about it.”

Thad Peterson: I love it. I love it. Well, fortunately, you have a lot of experience thinking about these things, so I think you’re able to form these cogent thoughts on the fly, which is great. This chart, the next one, the correlation between manager ratings and turnover, didn’t surprise me in the slightest. It is amazing how perfect it correlates. Essentially, the people with the lightest blue … In the lightest blue bars, those are people with great managers, those darker shade bars are those with bad managers, and you can see 77% of people with bad managers say they’ll look to leave their company in the next 12 months. There’s that old adage that people don’t leave companies, they leave their boss, and this line would kind of bear it out.

Jeff Haden: In the end … This might sound bad, but in the end, a job is a job. There are things that you do within a job. There are processes, there are tasks, there are roles, there are responsibilities. The job is kind of a job, and so whether or not you like your job, often times, has a lot more to do with how you feel about the person who is in charge of you. I’ve had jobs … When I worked in manufacturing, I started at an entry level job, and by entry level, I mean I needed no skill other than the ability to pick up something heavy and move it to another spot and put it down.

Jeff Haden: It was a drudge job to end all drudge jobs, but I had a really good supervisor who … It’s weird. I didn’t enjoy the job, but I enjoyed working around him, and it made it kind of fun. Some days, we would get a lot done and you’d go away and think, “Wow, that was hard, but I feel really good about myself,” even though all I was doing was moving stuff around, so it’s not like it’s this fulfilling life dream job for me. But then I ended up working for another supervisor, and it was awful. All of a sudden, I couldn’t stand it, and it’s because how you get treated and then how you feel about yourself, which I think is the big key; that has most of what to … That has the biggest impact on how you are satisfied with your job.

Jeff Haden: We all know we’re going to go to work. We all know we’re going to go do stuff we don’t necessarily enjoy, but how we feel about doing that, and if we feel valued and respected and all of those other things; that is going to be the difference maker. I know all of that is a cliché, and none of that is a surprise to anybody, but what is surprising is that so few bad managers don’t look around and say, “You know, I keep losing people, and I … This stuff happens, and gee, I wonder if it’s me.” But they typically don’t, which is another subject altogether.

Thad Peterson: Yeah, actually, that’s kind of a perfect segue into the next chart, where things start to get kind of juicy. What we did was we asked people to identify … We had a list of 105 different traits, and it’s what you call a “free choice question.” People can select all the traits, as many as they wanted that they thought applied to their manager, and then we looked at, “Okay, for managers that get terrible ratings, what are the most common traits?”

Thad Peterson: To me, the common thread when we looked at this, which ties to that point you just made is that bad managers have these attributes that lead me to think that they are selfish, but completely lack self-awareness.

Jeff Haden: Selfish and clueless. What’s interesting about this list is that there’s 20 items on here, and not one of them has anything to do with technical skill.

Thad Peterson: Yeah.

Jeff Haden: In many environments, the person that gets promoted is the person who is the best technically at whatever job is the lowest level. When I worked in manufacturing, especially when I first started at the company, the best line operators; the guys and girls that were most productive and efficient and best quality, and all that other stuff? They got promoted into supervisory positions. It had nothing to do with the fact that … It had nothing to do with leadership skill whatsoever, and so what would happen is that some of them would get promoted up and they were terrible, and nobody could understand why, but they could walk out on the floor every once in a while and help you fix your equipment if it broke down. You know, bonus.

Jeff Haden: Then there were other people that never got the opportunity, because they, for whatever reason, were above average-performers, but they weren’t outstanding and yet they would have been awesome leaders. The whole “how you select people” … The leadership aspect of it has to be the most important criteria that you use when you are picking who you are going to promote, or you’re going to end up with a list like this.

Thad Peterson: It’s so interesting, you made me think of something, an experience that I had recently. I was fortunate enough to get promoted not too long ago, and a discussion that my boss had with me and said, “Thad, as you move up the ladder, it becomes less and less about tasks, and more and more about people,” I’m going to lay there something he said with me. He said, “You know, here’s a list of people at this organization that you need to build your relationship with, and that is your career development plan. Go out and build your relationships with those people.” It was … it was a very pointed piece of instructive feedback from him.

Jeff Haden: An entirely different way of approaching personal development, because usually, personal development plans have … You know, you’re going to go train in this area, and you’re going to go work on this project, and you’re going to do these things. All of those are important things, but they usually don’t have anything to do with how you are going to build that network that you’re going to need to move up. I forget who I was talking with about it. It makes me feel bad, but he used the phrase or the term “network leader”, and network leadership skills are really what the best leaders will have down the road.

Jeff Haden: It speaks exactly to what you were describing there. It’s who you can work with and who you know, and how you bridge those gaps, and you hope your people bridge those gaps. That matters a whole lot more than the fact that you know more about this accounting process than anybody else. That becomes irrelevant.

Thad Peterson: It’s something … This goes back to that point you were making about perhaps Baby Boomers being slightly more command-and-control. So much of it is about leading through influence, and you can only lead through influence if you have the relationship with the people, right?

Jeff Haden: Yeah. Absolutely.

Thad Peterson: I like that-

Jeff Haden: Seven, I’m sorry to interrupt. I like that number seven is: “Isn’t self-aware,” because everybody thinks that they are self-aware, and I think I’m self-aware. My wife would disagree. We all think we’re self-aware, and it’s really tricky … That’s probably one of the hardest self-evaluation things that you can do, because how do you know that you’re not realizing … I can’t even describe it. I’m not sure how you get there. Probably the best way is to have a manager or a leader who is willing to coach you and talk to you about, “Hey, this is how this came across. This is how you did that. This is the effect that that had,” so that you can start to see those things. But those are hard conversations to have, because it feels like you’re having a personality conversation, instead of a, “You missed this target by three percent. What are we going to do about that?” Right?

Thad Peterson: Are you a basketball fan at all?

Jeff Haden: Yeah.

Thad Peterson: Obviously, if you’re a basketball fan, you’re familiar with Gregg Popovich, one of the greatest coaches of all time. I heard this great … Somebody described his leadership style, and it was really simple. I have it written on my whiteboard here. He said, “Popovich loves them to death, and tells them the truth.” I think that’s a great way to approach management and leadership.

Jeff Haden: There’s a really good book by Daniel Coyle, it’s called “The Culture Code”, and he spent some time with the Spurs. That section of the book … that part of it is in there, but actually the book is very good. The whole book is really good, but if you are a leader or want to be a leader, that’s a really good book to read.

Thad Peterson: I will absolutely check that out.

Jeff Haden: [inaudible 00:23:27], so that’s good too.

Thad Peterson: Good to know. Let’s end on a happier note. Let’s talk about the most common traits of great managers!

Jeff Haden: Oh, we’re talking about me, good. All right.

Thad Peterson: Yeah! We’re talking about you, Jeff. The thing that I found encouraging about this list is that most of these are attributes that anybody can have if they set their mind to it, or at least I think so. You could make the argument that something like, “Making good decisions,” that might be really hard for some people. But “Has a strong work ethic, is honest, a sense of humor, is confident, has a positive attitude,” those are things that are under our control.

Jeff Haden: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, the first five, especially. If you just go in every day and say, “I’m going to work really, really hard. I’m going to be the hardest worker here. I’m going to be honest with people. Every once in a while, I’m going to be willing to laugh, because we should be serious about our outcomes, but we don’t have to be serious about the way we act all the time.” The confident thing might be a little bit trickier, but I think it’s easier as a leader to be confident when you have a foundation of: “I’m working hard, I’m treating people honestly and fairly. I’m being nice.” If you do those things, even if you get down to number nine, probably knowledgeable in your area of management; I’ve been put into positions where I was in charge of departments that I could not have done a single thing that anybody in that department did.

Jeff Haden: But if I do the first six or seven, and you listen to people, then they’re okay with you not knowing what they do. You can actually show them respect by saying, “I don’t know how to do this. Tell me how this part works, and then let’s figure out where we need to go,” because whenever you ask people for advice or input, you are implicitly complimenting them. If I ask you to help ne with something, that’s flattering to you, because I’m acknowledging the fact that you have knowledge or skills that I don’t. How awesome is that?

Jeff Haden: Yeah, that first five especially, anybody can … You could walk in tomorrow and decide, “If I want to be a better leader, if I focus on those things, I’m already on the upturn.”

Thad Peterson: Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoyed getting your thoughts on this data. It’s … I appreciate you taking the time. Let me end with a couple of questions. One, these days, you’re a full-time writer. I’m assuming you don’t manage people these days.

Jeff Haden: I do not.

Thad Peterson: You do not. But for many years, you managed many, many people. What is the thing about management that you miss the most, and what’s the thing you miss the least?

Jeff Haden: All right, I’ll tell you a story. The reason that I started to write, I was running a plant, sitting in my office one day. An employee came in, and within a sentence and a half of them starting to talk, I knew what we were going to talk about, how I was going to respond, how they were going to respond. I knew the arc of the next 20 minutes, and I thought, “I don’t want to go through this.” I just wanted to say, “Go out there and get along with Joe, and do your job.” That’s what I wanted to say, but you can’t do that, because you’ve got to listen and you’ve got to work through and stuff, and all of that is … I’m not downplaying any of what you need to do as a leader.

Jeff Haden: But I realized that I had reached this point where in my life, I don’t want to do that all the time. I’ve lost whatever it is, the patience, whatever it is, and … Great leaders do that forever, and I reached the point where I could not, and I realized that that meant that I probably was not serving the people that worked for me as well as I could. If I was going through the motions instead of really feeling it, that was probably a problem. It was kind of sad, because I graduated college and I worked in manufacturing … I worked my way through college in a manufacturing plant, and went to another one, and my goal had always been the wrong plant.

Jeff Haden: Here I am in my 40’s, and I’ve reached my goal, and I don’t want to do it. I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do, and I would say that I was discussing it, and my wife would say that I was whiny about my job. She said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to write.” Long story short, I switched careers. It was hard and difficult and all of that other stuff, but that’s cool. I’m not even sure now after that story.

Jeff Haden: The part that I missed the least is the tough conversations that you sometimes have to have, which really though, are the essence of being a really good leader. I don’t miss that, but I recognize that’s what separates the good ones from the not-as-good ones, or the good from the great, or however you want to do that. The part I miss the most is it is really fun to accomplish really cool things with a group of people. It is really fun to sit back and look around and say, “Wow. We did this.” As opposed to sitting around and saying, “I did this.” I don’t get a whole lot of joy out of, “I did this.” I mean, okay, great. It’s a lonely pursuit though.

Jeff Haden: That whole act of seeing other people succeed and your happiness comes from the fact that they succeeded, that’s a really cool thing, and it’s really gratifying. I definitely miss that part of it, but I just reached a point where I probably was not the best leader that I could be, and so luckily, I decided not to just go through the motions.

Thad Peterson: Good for you.

Jeff Haden: Hopefully, that answered your question. It was really long, I’m sorry.

Thad Peterson: No, it’s an absolutely great way to wrap things up. Suffice it to say, things have worked out really well for you.

Jeff Haden: There were some tough years, but that’s part of any time you try to do something different. The whole idea that you will just suddenly go to the top of whatever it is you decided to do next, it doesn’t happen. All those successful people that I’ve talked to, their overnight successes were 15 years in the making, every one of them. You talk to them, and you think, “Wow. You just shot into prominence.” It’s like, “No, dude. I had an ugly time for a long time.”

Jeff Haden: I’ll give you one example, and then I’ll stop. Kirk Hammet, the Metallica guitarist? They’re huge still, 40 years in. But when he was … When he first joined Metallica, they even had a record deal when they were touring, but they made so little money that he was still taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani and other guitarists. He didn’t even enough money for a car, so he rode his bike 25 miles to where Joe lived to take guitar lessons and come back, and he’s in a bad that is touring and has a record deal.

Jeff Haden: When you think of people that you’re like, “Here you are, oh, you’ve got a record deal. You must be rich.” No. There’s still a lot of grind that’s left. So that’s what I end up telling people, is that you have to embrace the grind, and you have to embrace that process part. If you do embrace it, and you decide you’re going to take that challenge on, you will get pretty close to where you want to go because you will leave behind all the people that after a little while will say, “Wow. This is too hard and I’m not getting where I want to be fast enough.” Anyway, signing off.

Thad Peterson: I love that you used the word “grind” there. What I was going to say is that the phrase I heard is “Learn to love the grind,” I think that’s a lot of it.

Jeff Haden: If you find a way to enjoy the process, which you can if you create a process for yourself that allows you to continue getting little bits of success along the way; you don’t have to get all the way to the end. But if you can just see little bits of improvement, that feels good. That’s fun. It becomes part of your identity, and that gives you that motivation to where the grind doesn’t really feel like a grind. It’s just this is who I am. This is how I do, and this is what I’m up to.

Jeff Haden: If you do get to that other end, you’re happy, but you enjoyed the process along the way, which is all we can really count on. You can never count on ultimate success, but you can count on enjoying the process if you’re doing the right stuff and you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Thad Peterson: That is a great place to end it. Thank you so much, Jeff. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Jeff Haden: You’re welcome. Thank you very much for having me.

Thad Peterson: All right. Take care.


Thad is a senior marketing director at PI.

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