003: Strategically Managing Your Leadership Capital with Victor Prince

By April 24, 2016Podcasts

 

Victor Prince headshot and quote “That's one of the biggest failures of a weak leader: to wait things out and not address a problem” from interview in episode 03 of the How to be Awesome At Your Job Podcast with Pete Mockaitis

Victor shared some wise perspectives from his book Lead Inside the Box. Working through his 2×2 leadership framework, we got some insight on how to engage work different categories of people differently. By doing so, you can get optimal results from everyone—from the “slacker” to the “exemplar.”

Specifically, you’ll learn:

1) The potentially life-threatening implications of not managing your leadership capital
2) Specific watch-outs and pro tips for working with four different categories of people
3) How to deliver tricky feedback to the folks who need to hear it

Victor Prince is the Managing Director of DiscoveredLOGIC, a strategy consulting and training firm that serves clients in the US and overseas. He has 20+ years of experience in corporate and government leadership positions. As a Bain & Company consultant, he led strategy engagements with clients in the US, UK, France and Spain. As an executive at Capital One, he managed internet marketing strategy. As a member of Washington DC Mayor Fenty’s cabinet, he led the CapStat performance accountability program. As the Chief Operating Officer of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he helped build a new federal regulatory agency and led a division of 300-plus people. Victor earned an MBA from Wharton and a BA from American University.

 Items mentioned in the show:

Episode Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
All right and Victor, we are here now. Thank you so much for joining us on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Victor Prince
Glad to be here.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I noticed that beyond the bio, you’ve done a number of cool adventures in terms of different travels and locations and particularly the Camino recently. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

Victor Prince
Yes, so I do my adventure travel. I do big hiking and biking trips. And then a couple summers ago, I did the Camino across Spain, so it’s about a month long of hiking of 15 miles a day for 30 days, and it was the best month of my life.

Pete Mockaitis
That sounds fantastic. Do you have any – I hear along those journeys, people meet interesting people, and it goes into so many kind of unexpected, providential kinds of directions.

Victor Prince
Yeah, it’s been pretty amazing, so I ended up making friends, and I’ve made a bunch of friends from around the world, and I’ve been to visit them in England, in California, in Sweden, and elsewhere, so it’s pretty amazing – the relationships you form on that.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that sounds like a treat, and you’ve also done a lot of relationship forming and your different roles. And I heard you say leading teams of 3 people to 300 people, you’ve learned some things and some patterns along the way. Could you share a little bit of kind of the story of how you came to discover some of the key teachings that we find in your book in training?

Victor Prince
Sure. It’s funny. So when I was doing the Camino, I was taking a sabbatical from my last job as a C.O.O. where I had about 350 people or so. And then, as I reflected on my career, I always saw a pattern that there was the input I had to put into folks on my team and then the output I got out of them. And then they started to falling down into a classic two by two – that there are some folks who you invest a lot of time into, and you get a lot out of. Then there’s other folks you invest a lot of time into, and you get nothing out of. It’s all about figuring out…when you can figure out how they’re performing, you can figure out how to get them to a better spot by doing different things and learning from your past experiences.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. And so you’ve gone into this two by two. Can you share a little bit? You’ve put it out on a leadership matrix, and you’ve given some additional kind of a particular categories of inputs and outputs. Can you sort of describe a little bit what do you mean by leadership capital or an input that you put into somebody?

Victor Prince
Sure. Well, we first talk about this concept of leadership capital, so just like companies have financial capital to invest, leaders have capital that they have to be very smart about how they invest across their teams and that capitals are really the time and energy that you’ve got, so you can spend all your time with folks who need it or you can become smarter and you can make sure that you would invest in where you can get the most return. Because in the short term, you can spend more time at work, and you can take on more stress, but over the long term that doesn’t work out. You are going to burn yourself out, so you have to be really smart about how you have the leadership capital that you do have.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. And so you actually share a bit of a story that your co-author Mike sort of tried to overdo it a little bit, and it resulted in a heart attack. What’s that about?

Victor Prince
Yeah, you never want to get a Facebook post from your co-author while you are writing a book. Mike was really good about that; that was one of the really good angles he added to the book, which is this whole idea of it’s not just about finding these patterns and folks but to figure out how we have to manage ourselves as leaders. And this is a way to you not necessarily spend more time or energy at work but just get more out of that, so he added a really good twist on that one.

Pete Mockaitis
So, when you talk about leadership capital and the inputs, you kind of put those into a number of categories, such as directing, doing, delivering, and developing, I love the alliterations.

Victor Prince
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
It’s good to remember and so in practice, what is that looking like in terms of the places where lots and lots of time and energy and effort end up flowing?

Victor Prince
It depends with each member of your team. So, one of the neat things that we did is by having that framework on our website for the book LeadInsideTheBox.com. We’ve actually got an online questionnaire that you can fill out. So, if you’re interested, I am going to answer questions about how Victor performs in my team. We go through a pretty simple questionnaire where we ask questions to get a sense of are you spending too much time kind of answering questions for these folks or taking responsibility to clean up their messes or those kind of things and then you get a result that say this person’s probably taking a little bit more input from you than on average, and this person in the end needs less and then we do the same thing with the output as well, so it’s a pretty fun online quiz that we have there that people find pretty useful.

Pete Mockaitis
And I like just how simple it was, it was like one is yes, zero is no.

Victor Prince
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
And then on the output side of things, I guess it’s slightly more complex a two, one, zero for high, medium, and low. But tell us a bit you mentioned a few kind of key ways to think about the output side of things with regard to quantity and quality, timeliness, and intangibles. Which of those do you think is kind of the hardest to glean or tease out because I think in some ways, some of those are probably be leaping to mind quickly, and others will be a little trickier to discover.

Victor Prince
Absolutely. One of the things to keep in mind as we do these surveys and the criteria is that management is not just a computer program, so leadership is an art. So this is a tool to help you get to that, and it’s all about directionally putting, differentiating your folks. Not necessarily putting them in boxes but just differentiating. So on the output side in some jobs, it’s easy to kind of measure quality and quantity of output.

Pete Mockaitis
Like sales.

Victor Prince
Yeah, like sales for example. That’s a great one. In other places, it’s not so much, so there we talk a lot about it’s about the relative scale and differentiating de-averaging your folks just to figure out if these two are in a very similar role, maybe making kind of the same about compensation things. And let’s see which one’s above average and which one’s below average on this particular criteria. So, it’s not making a computer program, but it’s kind of applying a little bit of a diagnostic to help you with the art that is leadership.

Pete Mockaitis
And so once we sort of know where folks stand, I’d love to get into a little bit of meat here with regard to – so what do I do with different categories of folks? I think in some ways it’s sort of tempting. We all want them to be, at least I want people to be, low input/high output kinds of folks, are the two categories you call them.

Victor Prince
Sure.

Pete Mockaitis
The domain masters and the rising stars. Like, oh yeah, I like a lot of those. But in practice, that’s not how it always goes. You got a mix, so what do you do once you know where people land and sit?

Victor Prince
Yeah. So, just first of all to perfectly point, which is if we have the luxury of time and an ability to hire our own team, sure we would get all people that we think are going to be these exemplars, just we will get all the A players, but that’s not the real world, so you get the team that you inherit most of the time, so part of the exercise is figuring out the team you have got and then looking at that, so with the folks in that exemplar box, what’s interesting is they are a gift, right. So these are the folks that are producing the lion’s share of your results, and they’re not taking any of your time doing it. So, that’s great to have them, but there is a there’s a risk with that as well which is you can easily take them for granted, so you can either not let them know how much you appreciate the work they’re doing, not give them the right rewards, or you can try to hold onto them too long, and if they’re just on your team for a while on a very fast career trajectory, they’re going to leave your team anyway. If you’re not careful, they might leave your team and actually exit your organization, which makes you now look bad for losing one of the rising stars.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s fantastic. So, well it is not fantastic to lose the rising star, but a fantastic insight with regards to there could be some risks and temptations in that quadrant. Could you maybe walk us through the other three quadrants? What are some sort of watch outs associated with them?

Victor Prince
Yeah. So, the other type of folks that are your high output folks, but here’s the people that take a lot more of your input to get there, and we call these your high-cost producers. Right so just like you have different high-cost factories, but they produce great results, take a lot of input to get there, and they come in two flavors. So, one is what we call the steamroller. So, these are the people who get great results, but they just run over a lot of toes and create a lot of friction on the way to do that.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah.

Victor Prince
So the input that you’ve got to do there is you’re always giving them feedback, fixing the messes they make, apologizing for them. And then with them you’ve got to learn how to let them clean up their own messes and not make messes to start with so that because if you keep doing that for them you’re actually holding them back from becoming one of those exemplars. So, that’s the steamrollers. And then the other folks are what we call the squeaky wheels, and these are the people that are always in your office, always e-mailing you, asking you “Hey should I do this or that? Or I’m about to make this decision, does that sound right, boss?” It’s really as a manager, as a leader, it’s great to feel useful and feel smart by helping people out. But you’re actually holding them back as well because if you’re telling people you’re always giving them “Oh yep that’s what I would do” then they’re not learning. You should try to find places where it’s okay as long as they know what the bounds are over their authority that is okay for them. You make the decision you make, and then we’ll talk about it if you fail, but because the other thing that you find is that people do is a lot of times the squeaky wheels – they’re doing it not because they don’t know the answer. They do know the answer and don’t have confidence, or they know the answer, but they’re trying to push off the risk and the responsibility up to their boss, which is if something does go wrong, they’re like “Well, you told me.” So, it’s important to think about that as well. It’s great to feel useful, but think about how you might be being counterproductive in the long term.

Pete Mockaitis
And along those lines, it seems that there could be gigantic e-mail chains where it is like everybody is included just to do a little bit of covering of their rear end. Can you also confirm?

Victor Prince
Exactly. Right.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, so that’s the high-cost producer categories, the steamrollers and the squeaky wheels. How about the detractors? I guess that’s the worst of all.

Victor Prince
Yeah, so the detractors are, and once again these boxes aren’t good or bad, and the whole exercise here is not about labeling people; it’s about saying here’s different in the roles that they’re in, here’s kind of have their performance pattern, and how do we get them to a better spot because – so Mike and I both talk about this. In our career, we’ve been at all these boxes ourselves.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Victor Prince
So, it’s not like if you’re a detractor, you’re always a bad person or anything like that. So, in the detractor box, these are the folks that you spend a lot of time with as the leader, so you’re fixing their problems, you’re giving them advice, more than average, more than you really should be doing, but you’re not getting results out of them that are in line with the inputs you’ve got out of them, so you’ve got to fix that pretty quickly because it’s going to do two things. One is, if they don’t get to a better spot professionally, they’re probably one laugh away or something like that from being in a really bad spot, so you’ve got to make it very clear that how their situation is not good for them professionally, and here’s how we’ve got to fix this ASAP, and here’s how we need to fix this. Just for them, it’s important, but for you as well, but then, more importantly, for your team in general, if you let detractors just stay in that bad box, everyone else in the team knows the people who are just in the wrong jobs or the people who just aren’t trying. They see that and they know that everyday that you’re not fixing that, the rest of the team is looking at you as the boss and saying “You know, you’re not doing your job, so why should I do mine? I’m tired of carrying the weight for the folks there just because you’re not addressing the problems.”

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is a fantastic frame there. It’s in their own best interest because their career is at risk for what could happen.

Victor Prince
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
As in the overall team’s best interest because people are, they’re watching, they’re noting it. So, I think it’s a fantastic perspective, and you have your best practices for how you go about delivering some of that difficult feedback along the way?

Victor Prince
Yeah because there’s two different types. There’s the square pegs; these are the folks that are just in the wrong job. So, maybe they got promoted too early; maybe they got reorganized into something that they just aren’t there. So, with them it’s just sitting down and saying, “Hey, here’s your job description, and here’s what you need to do, and let’s find the capability gaps because if you’ve got some gaps, let’s quickly figure that out, figure out where you get some training or some experience, and then let’s get going with that.” So, with them, it’s all about finding what gaps they have. And then with the other type, which is they’ve got the skills to do the job, but they just don’t have the will. So, these are what we call your slackers. So, then it’s sitting with them to figure out “Hey, why aren’t you getting this done? Is it motivation? Is there someone stealing the credit for your work? Is this not the job that you want? You just don’t understand that you’re getting paid, you kind of have to work.” You figure out what the motivation is, and if you can unlock that, the great thing about slackers is that if you can unlock that motivation, they’re talented people, and they can do great, which would be great for you as a team and be great for them professionally because then your slackers could easily be your exemplars if they just get that right motivation unlocked.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright, and how about the final quadrant, the passengers?

Victor Prince
Yeah, the passengers are in some ways one of the more interesting ones because these are the folks where they don’t take a lot of your time so they’re not creating problems and that type of thing, but they’re also not providing the output that they should, and even though they’re not creating problems that you have to deal with, very clearly, they are creating a lot of problems that you’re not dealing with. And these come into two flavors. One is what we call the joyriders, and these are the people who come to work with a lot of energy, they love being at work, they love the social aspect and all that, and they’re always busy, but they’re just not doing the job that they’re supposed to do. And then for them, the challenge is because they’re not doing the job they’re supposed to do; someone else is picking that up, so their colleagues are doing their work for them and because in some ways, they’re like, well, it’s just easier for me to do it than try to redirect them. But at the same time their colleagues, it is costing you because you as the boss aren’t redirecting them, so the colleagues are mad because they’re having to do their work and then you’re also disserving that person themselves because that person has a lot of great energy and if you can just focus them on the job that they’re paid to do, they could do very well. So it’s your job as a boss to turn them around for your team for themselves.

And then the other type is a stowaway: these are the folks that are coming in, and they’re just trying to get a paycheck and do as little work as possible, and they’ve gotten very good about being very slippery trying to getting hold them to work, which in some ways it’s easier for you as the boss just to not engage them, but once again everyone on the team knows exactly who’s not pulling their weight, and their morale is down if the boss isn’t addressing that because that person is taking up a very valuable slot on the team.

Pete Mockaitis
And it sounds like the stowaways may be toughest to, I don’t want to use the word “fix”, but upgrade, elevate.

Victor Prince
The key with them is just to engage them, which is like they become masters at just staying in the shadows and showing up and not getting troubled, not getting fired, but just getting there and having the job. And you just really got to engage them and say, “Hey listen. The jig is up.”

Yeah, here’s the job description you have, and here’s other people have that same one, and here’s it’s not personal. You just say here’s what your job description is and here’s what everyone else is producing, here’s where you are. Let’s work through why this is happening. Is that you need some trainings? Am I not giving you something you need? So you figure out with them what the engagement is and if it’s just that they’re not interested in the job, then help them find another job. If it’s that you’re doing something to demotivate them, figure that out. But you just have to engage them, just spend the time. And because the manager is a leader, it’s really easy if someone’s not demanding your time. You love it if you can save time and not have to have that half hour meeting or whatever, but some cases you really need to insist on it.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s good stuff, and you also mentioned in this world of leadership temptations that when it comes to the performance-review time, you may have some temptations to give people, for example, the squeaky wheels. Maybe a lower market in some places, but be like that’s what you think is deserved. But maybe you are like, “Oh, I don’t want you to deal with the head associated with that.” What are some other kinds of risks or temptations that appear during performance-review time?

Victor Prince
Well, I think just there’s three temptations. I think people, the managers have that one of the reasons why we wrote the book, which is people – either they want the managers to go through the – what we call – the path of least resistance, which is I want to work with the people that are easier to work with, more fun to work with. I am going to spend all my time and energy there and move it down that path. And another one is that everyone thinks that some managers think they just got to spend the same amount of time and energy with everyone. We call that the peanut butter approach, which is if your C.F.O. invested your company’s money, that way you probably wouldn’t be very happy. And then the third one is just being reactionary. So, whoever is knocking on your door or whoever is the squeakiest wheel, you’re always spending the time and energy with. So as leaders, that’s part of what we have to do, and whether it’s performance reviews or whether it’s just how you spend all your time and energy everyday, it’s being smart about how you invest your time and where you want to invest the energy that you have to give feedback to engage people and that type of thing.

Pete Mockaitis
Perfect. So, now having gotten a bit of a sense for what the model is and how the matrix works, could you maybe share with us a success story or a case study or just how that ended up making a real positive impact in practice with real people?

Victor Prince
Yeah. So, I’ve been in most of these boxes, and between Mike and I, we’ve been in all these boxes, so it’s in some ways is easier to tell a personal story. The stories are composites, like I said. One of the stories in the book is a pretty thinly veiled composite because the name is Mikhail, so you can figure out which one of those is us, but talks about there’s a project where a young consultant has been getting great reviews, comes on a new project and then does kind of what they think is a pretty slick presentation that’s pretty edgy and cutting edge because it’s the latest technology and all the stuff that’s going on the internet. But then the client doesn’t like it and says it’s just the latest thing that they could have read from one of the internet sites or something, so it demotivates the guy. He checks out, and then that is the manager engages in that, and it’s not just about giving someone feedback and saying this performance is not going to serve you well, it’s not going to serve your client well, not going to serve us well, but then what the manager did, also said was, “You know what? I owe this to you, so I’m going to make sure that I manage you for the next several projects until you turn this around.” Because one of things it’s so easy to do in today’s world as a leader is you get someone in your team who’s not doing a great job but you’re like hanging on. Either she’s going to move on in six months or all move on in ten months to a new job, so I’ll just let the next person do it, and that’s one of the biggest failures of a weak leader is just kind of wait things out and not address a problem like that. So in that case, it was a good example of the manager, not just giving the feedback, but then saying “You know what? I’m going to take you on my team until we either fix this or we figure something else out.”

Pete Mockaitis
That is great, and it’s seems kind of heroic really. It’s like that is a degree of self-sacrifice, but it is in the interests of the employee, the team, the company, and sort of all those folks that individual will touch professionally over the decades to come.

Victor Prince
Yeah, because it’s really about thinking about your role as a team leader and in different ways, which is you’ve got bets to place right? We’ve got so many hours and so much energy in a way to spend, so you want to place your bets on different parts, and in this case, that leader said “You know what? It’s going to cause me stress and more work, but I think it’s the right thing for the company to help you get through this. I think it’s the right thing for you. I owe it to you as not just your boss, but as kind of a career coach.” It’s one of the roles that you have as a leader. So, it’s worked for me, but I’m going to spend more than my average number of chips on you just because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s how you get being smarter and not just working harder as a leader is important.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh perfect, thank you. Before I shift gears to the rapid-fire fast faves section, is there anything else we should talk about with regard to Lead Inside the Box or the leadership matrix before moving on? I just want to make sure if you’ve got a golden nugget that I don’t skip past it.

Victor Prince
I guess the great thing is that one of the biggest insights we get from readers is as soon as people see the framework, they go “Aha, that’s Victor”. They immediately see the pattern and the point of the book. Once again, it’s not about putting people in boxes; it’s about seeing these patterns because once you identify a pattern someone is in, you hit more quickly and come up with a better strategy to help them get to a better place by just understanding how these patterns fall out and different examples from the past. So that’s one of the biggest Ahas we get is that just by having the framework, it’s just unlocking knowledge that they have already had, but it helps them draw on it quicker.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s been my experience, but I think with any good framework, that’s kind of what it should do. It liberates that, and now we know it, and we can move on quickly once you give a bit of a vocabulary to that whether it’s like, sounds like the Myers-Briggs or sounds like a leadership matrix or sounds like any number of two by two’s we’ve had the pleasure of making for our clients in consulting.

Victor Prince
Yeah, absolutely.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. Well, if that covers that, I’d love to move into that fast faves. Could you start off by sharing with us what’s a favorite quote you have something that you find inspiring or rejuvenating again and again?

Victor Prince
You know, I’m a big John Lennon fan. I usually use the quote, I’m not sure of the exact words, but “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. And what I like about that quote is he wrote that in a solo album in 1980, and he died, he got killed just a month later. So, it’s just a great story that particularly is as people who are early in our careers or others that we’ve got all these grandiose plans about where we want to go or where we want to be in 20 years, but we can spend all our time thinking about the path to get there, just we have to realize that everyday we’re living it. So, it’s just a good reminder that in our careers or in our life, just enjoy everyday and make everyday count.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite study or a piece of experimentation or research you find yourself thinking about or citing often?

Victor Prince
Yeah. So, one thing that always got me is I got jobs with bigger and bigger responsibility and more and more authority, particularly when I worked in the government where you got some legal authority as well. I always thought about the huge responsibility that you’ve got that goes along with that authority, and the tests about the people who are told they are delivering shocks to the students and then they hear the screams.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, Stanley Milgram.

Victor Prince
Yeah, I forget the name, but that one always remind me that you’ve got to be careful because you forget it. Like if you’re a C.O.O. — I’m just Victor, but when you’re talking to other people, they see a lot of authority. And if you just make offhanded remarks, and you ask them to do things, they’re going to assume that that you thought about it, and they’re going to do it just because you say so, not because you’re suggesting it. So, that’s one thing to think about as you cruise, you get more authority. Just think about what you are doing; it’s not just thinking about how people view you with authority. You’ve got to make sure that you’re doing things that are always right because even if you make mistakes, people will follow you just because you’re in authority sometimes.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. And how about a favorite book, something that you found incredibly useful in your own career development?

Victor Prince
Yeah. I love nonfiction books and there’s lot of good ones out there. But for fun, I read historical fiction, and one of the historical fiction books I read that had a good effect on me in my career is Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth and the reason, it’s a historical fiction that goes on over generations in England, and it’s about a family and a guy who builds a cathedral. What I got out of that for my career was that people would build these cathedrals, but it takes 100 years back then to build a cathedral, so in 20 years, you may not live to see the end of your work, but you left a mark, right? So, the people who did the facades in the churches or others, they put all that craftsmanship in because they wanted to leave results of the work that they’ve done even long after they left that in that case their lives. So I’ve always taken that as, I always think about the impact I’m leaving in a job that I have, or what’s going to be there in 10 years or 20 years? Not just, “Am I going to get a good review this year?”

Pete Mockaitis
That’s powerful. Thank you. How about a favorite website or online resource that’s been useful to you?

Victor Prince
My guilty pleasure in the football season is all the Fantasy Football podcasts because I love the strategy and all that. But one I love just I use as a resource more is I love Snopes.com because it’s the one that goes out and whenever you hear a rumor online, it’s the one that kind of does research and either says if it’s true or not or if it’s partly true or not. So, I love that site because it’s not really partisan or political, it’s just get at. Because a lot of times as a leader or I bring that back as a leader when you hear good news particularly about something that is going on in your team or a strategy that you have that’s working, you want to kind of believe the good news.

Pete Mockaitis
Right.

Victor Prince
But Snopes is just a good example of always get the data, always go for data, don’t just like hear what you want to hear, figure out whether it’s true or not.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, my buddy, Brent, loves that one. It’s fun. How about a favorite habit, a personal practice of yours that has been pretty instrumental in helping you get where you’ve gotten?

Victor Prince
I am pursuing over writing career now, so one of things I do is I just try to write something five days a week. So, what writers write is the same that goes and you can think about things all day, but until you start putting pen on paper or put pixels on a screen, what’s in your head doesn’t exist until you start writing. So, even if it is 50 words or small thing, I just try to start do something everyday in a little way just to get, I think that applies to anything. So, my goal is to have a book a year kind of thing, so I’m just going to take that one day at a time and do a little bit of writing each day.

Pete Mockaitis
I’m catching you at the early stages then.

Victor Prince
Yeah, my next one I’m working on is going to be little bit about the Camino we talked above.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s great.

Victor Prince
Thanks.

Pete Mockaitis
How about your favorite tools with regard to whether it’s gadgets or software or devices or thought frameworks that you find useful?

Victor Prince
Yeah. That’s a good one. Well there’s hardware and software. I’m a big two-by-two guy; my first book is built around that. I always love you find two things that you can really de-average the world against and give you useful way to, two by two is a great framework. But then technology wise, I love my iPad because I paired up with keyboard and then it helps you in the goal I had last time about writing everyday. So, I tuck that thing. I don’t have to carry a briefcase; I’ll tuck my iPad in the small of my back and take it out wherever I go. So, if I’m at a restaurant, and I get a good idea about a blogpost I want to do, I’d just start writing. So, having something that something very wearable you can just work on wherever you are is kind of a good trick that I found.

Pete Mockaitis
Speaking of tricks, any timesaving approaches that you like to employ?

Victor Prince
The multitasking is one, but it’s a double-edged sword. So I love to do two things at once, but then the downside with that is it can be distracting. Getting low tech helps me out, so everyday I just start with one piece of paper, and I write down, “Here’s the five things I know I want to get done today”. I just I get low tech and simple, and that helps keep me from getting to ADD from multitasking.

Pete Mockaitis
How about a favorite sort of a nugget of wisdom or truth bomb? I have noticed that with a lot of folks who write books or speak, like they know there’s a little something that when you say it, the heads start nodding. The pens start clicking for the note taking. On Twitter, it gets retweeted. What’s that for you?

Victor Prince
I did a blog that was pretty popular. I get a lot of questions from people particularly in their 20s who are starting their career about advice I have, and I said so I am going to write a letter from my 45-year-old self to my 25-year-old self. And the biggest thing I had in that was don’t just get ready. Don’t think about what the ideal career you have. You’re going to have several. So, I’ve had, I think I am on career number seven now, and the point is keep trying things until you find something that you love to do, that you’re good at, and that someone will pay you enough for. If you can find a job where you can answer those three questions in the way that you need to, that’s where you find happiness and success, and you get the right balance and don’t just do what you think you should be doing. If you can find a job that you love, you’re good at, and someone will pay you enough to do, then you’ve kind of figured it out.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s good. I was just talking about Breaking Bad, Walter White. I don’t know if you saw that series.

Victor Prince
Yeah, I love that series.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, it’s amazing.

Victor Prince
I would not recommend that as a career track.

Pete Mockaitis
No. He said something similar about that path. And how about, it’s probably not Walter White, but a favorite role model, someone that you look up to professionally and why that is?

Victor Prince
It was kind of neat when I went to Wharton and then I used to get the Wharton Magazine, and there was an alumni in there who was a bunch of years ahead of me that was doing some stuff I really thought was neat. I was living in D.C. and he was working in D.C. He ran the metro system in D.C. Then he went off to be the city administrator, which is kind of like the deputy mayor, and then he went off to the Treasury and then other places. I always like that’s kind of the neat because he was in public service too and kind of an M.B.A., really cool level stuff. So, I thought it would be fun to meet him, and I ended up not only meeting him, I ended up working with him in D.C., and he became a little bit of my mentor and his name is Dan Tangherlini. So, his last big job, he was the head of the GSA, which was President Obama asked him to go in and turn around the GSA after a pretty big scandal that they had few years ago. So, if you ever see the name Dan Tangherlini, he is a really interesting guy.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, fantastic. Thank you.

Victor Prince
Really innovative.

Pete Mockaitis
And what about a favorite way to find you if folks want to learn more or get in touch with you, is e-mail or Twitter or website, what’s the best path?

Victor Prince
I made a lot of websites; probably the simplest one is just my name, so VictorPrince.com, and it’s kind of a switchboard to all the other sites that I have. So, just VictorPrince.com and then my books on Amazon and all the usual places. And then it’s about to start being in all the FedEx office stores as well, which is there’s like a couple thousand of those across the U.S., and it’s in most airport bookstores, the Hudson Bookstore, so a lot of places.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s great.

Victor Prince
Yeah, a lot of places to find me.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s a dream distribution, that space for books.

Victor Prince
I know.

Pete Mockaitis
But you are in, you are in.

Victor Prince
So, look me up at VictorPrince.com, and I love engaging with folks who read my stuffs or other things. I’d love to hear from your audience.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh thank you, and as a parting thought, do you have maybe a favorite challenge or call to action that you’d like to leave folks with?

Victor Prince
It’s “Don’t just do well. Do good”. Because I was on the fast-track Wharton MBA, a lot of my classmates went out, and had done extremely well, but there’s so much that people, that leaders and others who got the kind of education can do, that it’s not just about making money, but helping the world out. And I don’t mean in small things. Just pick something where you can, if you spend 10% percent of someone who’s got an MBA or is a really smart leader at work, just applying a little bit of that in the nonprofit space rather has such leverage, so think about that as you get more experienced in your career, think about where you can make a small investment that has huge dividends in a place like that.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh perfect. Well, Victor, thanks so much. It’s been a real treat to have you on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast. I wish you the best of luck, and continue to make a positive difference in all the ways you do here.

Victor Prince
Glad to help out, Pete. Any time.

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