059: Growing People with Jeff McManus

By September 12, 2016Podcasts

Jeff McManus says: "I can choose to spend the time in preventative maintenance, and do that, and invest in my people, or I can do it in the end when I start having a lot of drama."

Director of Landscape Services at Ole Miss (and author), Jeff McManus offers fresh insights on “growing people.”

You’ll Learn

  1. A powerful storytelling approach to connect your team to a larger purpose
  2. How to massively stretch the impact of your learning & development dollar
  3. Why you might not want to fire that underperformer just yet

About Jeff
Jeff McManus grows things.  As the Director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi, he grows plants….he grows people….he grows ideas.  Taking his grounds staff, affectionately known as “weeders”, and developing them into “leaders” has been a joyous challenge that reaped acres of rewards in the form of national recognition by the Princeton Review, PGMS, Newsweek and every faculty, staff, student and visitor who has walked onto the Ole Miss Campus.  Building on that momentum, Jeff has designed a professional development plan for his Weeders called Landscape University – a replicable training program that promotes the individual’s innate ability to GROW.

Jeff has spoken at Caterpillar Inc, the Biltmore Estates, Leadercast, SRAPPA, Trent Lott Leadership Institute as well as the SEC Ole Miss Athletics.  He has also worked with Memphis University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Georgia and private firms in developing their own training programs.

Items Mentioned in This Episode

Jeff McManus Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Jeff, thanks so much for being here on the “How to be Awesome at Your Job” podcast.

Jeff McManus
Pete, glad to be with you. I’m excited to be here.

Pete Mockaitis
I’m excited to have you. And I think you have such an interesting fun, fresh perspective. So your thing is that you grow things, as the director of landscape services at the University of Mississippi. But you’re also interested in developing, growing people. Can you tell us maybe the backstory for how this intersection came about and became a real passion area for you?

Jeff McManus
Well, I’ve always enjoyed growing plants, and in that aspect, in doing things. And I’ve managed large properties. And always focused on the technical part of growing, how to grow really beautiful properties. I’ve maintained some high-end resorts, and a large campus, and we’ve won some national awards.

But, I found I was spending a lot of time repeating myself, and constantly in the technical part, getting the results and getting the actions, and I was not focusing so much on getting people’s core beliefs the same. So I started focusing on growing people, their thoughts and getting their perspective and sitting down and just slowing down once a month, and literally just having one hour where we just talked about things of core values. Things like dependability, trustworthiness, honesty, those kind of things that you don’t get to talk about much in the workplace, and have a neat aspect of saying, “This is really helping. This is growing us”.

When I focused on those beliefs, our actions and our results changed. They actually got better. So I’ve just every since then, about five years ago, have really focused on growing people. And they grow tremendous plants.

Pete Mockaitis
And that’s fascinating. So when you’re sitting down, with that one-on-one, and investing – so that’s an hour, one-on-one, with a person, is what you’re talking about here?

Jeff McManus
I usually do small groups. Probably anywhere from five to ten people. I have around 30 people that I’m focusing on at any given time. So I’ll literally meet five times, once a month. And the way I look at it, Pete, is a lot of people say, “Well, we don’t have time for that.” And I go, “Well, you know, we don’t either.” [laughter]

But if we don’t service our mowers, if we don’t take care of the oil, do some preventative maintenance, the motor’s gonna stop. And I’m gonna have to service it. So I can choose to spend the time in preventative maintenance, and do that, and invest in my people, or I can do it in the end when I start having a lot of drama, and everything else.

Abraham Lincoln had a great quote that I like to say, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening the ax.” And I think that’s what we do. We’re sharpening each other in these meetings.

Pete Mockaitis
So that’s fascinating. So the topic you’re tackling is not so much about ‘project management software’, you know, but rather it’s like virtue, or dependability, or trustworthiness. So, could you maybe give us a sneak peak, or a taste? If you’re going to spend an hour with a small group of folks, like, five people, and you’re going to talk about dependability, what do we do in that hour? And what sorts of things come out on the other end?

Jeff McManus
Well, I believe in walking in wisdom, so I believe in walking in around some people who have already gone ahead of me and figured some of these things out and actually maybe even written books about them. So I’ll tag people like John Maxwell, or Zig Ziglar, or Les Brown, or some of the ones that have some materials out there, and I’ll bring them in via DVD or a book, and I’ll actually buy everybody on our crew a book.

And I’ll give them the option to read. I know not everyone on our team’s gonna read, but Pete, it’s amazing how many do. And when you’re reading a book, those things are happening inside of you. There’s a process that’s going on. And then when we get together, we talk about some of those things, or we show the DVD, and then we’ll just – my job is really just to facilitate questions, and listen.

And honestly I feel like giving people a voice at the table, letting them express themselves, there are no right or wrong answers, we don’t get into a lot of technical aspects of landscaping, it’s more off of the virtues, or values, and it’s just interesting. It’s made us a much more productive team because of that.

So that’s what it looks like, as far as – like, I don’t have to spend a lot of time prepping. Because I will use the book, I’ll read a little bit, read a chapter a month, and so it’s amazing. We’ve already done four, five, six books in the last five years. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Pete Mockaitis
A chapter a month. I imagine that that also really goes a long way in terms of folks feeling kind of bonded and connected to one another as colleagues, because they’re probably doing – I’m thinking about my own book club – they’re probably doing a bit of sharing in terms of their own lives and experiences and how they see that reflected in the book content.

Jeff McManus
That’s true. You’re absolutely right. I had one guy who made an observation, he says, “We may actually have more influence on these college kids who are working with us on campus than some of the college professors do in the classroom.” And it’s because some of these college kids are sitting in there with us, who are student workers, they’re being changed by these conversations.

They are participating, but our staff are embracing a whole new level of mentorship. They realize that these college kids are looking up to them, and realize that five years from now, ten years from now, this college student could come back and say, “Hey, it was you that kept me in school. You gave me some advice to stay in school. It was you that changed my life. I’m a better Dad, I’m a better employee because of you.”

So that whole level of mentorship has gone up, because we’ve talked about it in our groups, and what does that look like, and yeah, it brings us closer. Somebody pointed out to me that – Stephen Cubby – the eighth habit that he added, and that was voice. It gives people a voice at the table.

Pete Mockaitis
Oooh. Well that’s cool and beautiful, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money! You don’t have to hire a fancy trainer, you just buy 30 books and you’re golden.

Jeff McManus
That’s right. John Maxwell comes here every month. It costs $299 to buy his kit, and he’s here, every month. You know, I just push the button and there he is, so it’s fun. Yeah, you’re right, it’s not expensive. It’s actually saved us a lot of time. We’ve been more productive, our supervisors tell me they don’t have the issues they used to have, because there’s this cooperation and collaboration. The teamwork, the championship team that you want to build, which is unselfishness.

The only way you can do that is for people to work on themselves. Quit pointing the finger and saying, “They’re the problem!” And when you work on yourself – Pete I don’t know if you care if I share just one quick story, but I had a gentleman who left our organization, he goes, “It was a hard decision to leave.” He goes, “But I’m going to be making more money in this area.” But he goes, “I want to tell you this: These meetings we had actually saved my marriage.” He goes, “I used to think it was my wife that was the problem, and then these meetings helped me realize that I needed to work on myself.”

Now, Pete, some people say, “Why are you working on somebody on the personal level?” I didn’t. It was what he did. He internalized it, and he became a better husband, he therefore became a better employee for us.

Pete Mockaitis
Oof. Well that is, that’s powerful. And interesting. Could you maybe make it a bit real for the skeptic or the R.O.I. seeker here. In terms of supervisors mentioned, they see less in terms of problems. Could you spell that out a little bit in terms of, you know, “Whereas, before, we saw ‘x’, now we’re seeing much less of that. Now we’re seeing ‘y’”.

Jeff McManus
We have a gentleman who just came to work for us, and we put him with a seasoned worker. The seasoned worker’s job was to show him around and help him, and get him to know the ropes, so to speak.

The seasoned worker came in after a week and said, “You’ve got to fire this guy. This guy’s terrible. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He stays right behind me two feet. Everywhere I’m running the weed eater, he’s right there behind me, double-weeding everything. And he won’t listen to what I say.”

So we stopped, and we looked at what we were doing, and we realized this guy was scared to death he was going to make a mistake.

And I realized, okay, if these two people are weeding at the same time, the same space, they’re not being productive. We’re being half as productive as we should be. So we slowed down, and spent time working with the seasoned employee, saying, “Your role is the mentor. You’ve got to get him comfortable where he’s not afraid to make a mistake.”

It turns out the guy, the new guy is one of our best operators. If we’d have fired him, we would have lost a tremendous amount of experience, we’d have lost a great employee, and we would have just lost someone who was just excellent at what he does. But we had to stop for a minute, and realize that we weren’t giving our seasoned employee the right tools or the right mindset on how to handle this person.

So I feel like stories like that, it’s hard to put a R.O.I. on that, but I can tell you where our equipment costs have gone down, because people buy into serving their equipment. The accountability, Pete, has gone up tremendously amongst our team. It used to be, I had to be the one holding everybody accountable for quality.

People feel empowered, and so now they go, “You know, that’s not the ‘Ol Miss’ standard. That’s not how we do it here.” And so that quality goes up. So the accountability – I’m able to do more things today than I’ve ever been, and we’re doing more acreage and maintaining more than we ever have.

I started with 31 people, I only have 33 now. And so we have taken on probably close to 100 acres of high maintenance in that time. And we’ve been able to do it because of the buy-in of our team, and what they do. So that – it’s hard to quantify that R.O.I, but I can tell you from personal testimony that it’s been a game changer for us.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so cool. And I can’t resist, I’m gonna take a crack at quantifying: So, your team went up by about 7%, 31 to 33, and how much did your acreage go up? That was an extra 100 acres? What were you before?

Jeff McManus
So, well, what we typically do, we landscape an area, we beautify it, so it goes from what we call a ‘level four or five’ and now it goes up to a ‘level two’, which means it needs more maintenance, it needs more hand touches, it needs more visits, more times there to trim. So our level of maintenance has gone up on those hundred, so estimated close to 100 acres now that we’re touching, that before we never had to touch as many times.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, I see. So the total touches might be like double what it used to.

Jeff McManus
Yes. Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh boy. Cool!

Jeff McManus
Yeah, it’s been a – it’s really been fun to see people buy in. You know, you want to go from the mentality of taking people from a paycheck to a passion, so that they have a purpose in why they’re here. If they have a bigger purpose, that intrinsic motivation, you don’t have to dangle the carrots in front of them to try and get people to work, and say, “Well, if you do this, I’ll give you more money.”

People want to know that their job matters, and what they do matters. They want to do something for a bigger purpose, and so we’ve worked on that in that leader-to-leader class on what the purpose is and how what they do is extremely important.

Pete Mockaitis
Mhm. And so, you’re talking about that, finding your purpose and connection. I want to know, how do you unlock that, or connect that? I imagine it’s bigger than just coming up with a cool mission or vision statement? How do you get that connection between, their doing sort of grounds keeping work, and that has a big, powerful, motivating purpose for them?

Jeff McManus
Well, we tell a lot of stories. We tell stories, and usually in our Monday morning meetings I’ll tell just a brief, 15-second story and the story might sound like this:

“Today somebody may visit our campus for the very first time, who’s trying to decide if they’re going to come here or not. And they’ll make a decision in the first few minutes. That person may go on and cure cancer. So in a small way, we know that you may be responsible for helping cure cancer.”

You see, because we know that 62% of prospective college students will decide within the first few minutes of a college visit if they’re gonna come to your school, based on the appearance. And so, that’s us. That’s what we do. And so our guys start realizing, you know, “We don’t just cut grass. We actually may be helping put people in space.”

Bill Parson used to work at NASA, he was the director of NASA. He was an alumni here of ‘Ol Miss’. Well those are the kind of people here we’re recruiting. So we’re helping put people into space. We have a little thing called football here, and the FCC, we’re helping our coaches recruit top athletes to perform at a high level.

And we have our football coaches come down and talk. We’ll have our baseball coaches come, we’ll have professors come and talk to our team. Letting them know what a game changer they are to the campus. They recruit faculty, they recruit staff, and one of the things they want to do is get them to have a campus visit, because of how pretty the campus is. And so that starts adding that significant purpose.

We talk about mentoring with students, how their lives are more important if they can change a person’s life by the way they treat them and how they speak into their lives. Those are some of the things, the core values that we talk about. Our vision is two words, super simple. It’s called: cultivating greatness.

Cultivating greatness. We do that outside, we cultivate it so that we recruit these young brains, these great professors that’ll go on and do great things. We’re cultivating it. But it also has another meaning. Cultivating greatness within each other. We’re changing each other’s lives in these leader-to-leader meetings by helping one another. Cultivating greatness is a powerful, two-word vision that we use quite a bit here.

Pete Mockatis
Hmmm. And so, that’s so fun. You also have another piece to talk about in terms of G.R.O.W, which is an acronym. G-R-O-W. Could you walk us through what is that and how does that get applied?

Jeff McManus
Sure. Well, I was getting asked to speak quite a bit in places, and so then I figured I needed to figure out what my philosophy is, and so what I have done is made it into a simple acronym of G.R.O.W. And this is our 30,000-foot level. This is what I teach to C.E.O.s and managers and leaders.

That, the G is for greatness. One is give yourself permission to be great at whatever you do. And so we talk a lot about that in our landscape area here of being great, of being one of the best. So we talk about greatness. And then we talk about, to get to greatness, you have to reencounter so many challenges.

You’re gonna encounter failure, so you’ve got to have the R, which is resiliency.  Napoleon Hill said one of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. And so resiliency, to come back and stand up, to push through it, is critical. And so that leads to more and more opportunities.

Opportunities and challenges, you get through one, the next one pops up. And we can either take ‘em – lament and whine about them, or we can make lemonade. And so opportunities, some of the things we were running against is consistency. We wanted consistency across the campus. A high level of consistency and productivity, and we needed things done with passion and with a good eye for detail. So it actually created ‘landscape university’ for us.

And then the last one is the W, walking in wisdom. And I’ve shared a lot about that with you, but it’s getting other people around us, who have already walked ahead of us, and help grow us from within. To grow those values, to grow those beliefs, so that we realize that we’re not just here to do a job. That we have a purpose and a passion, which is more than any paycheck or pension.

So that’s the simple aspect of G.R.O.W. there. Greatness, Resilience, Opportunity, and Wisdom.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s great. And so, I’m focused on resiliency right now – because I can see how, we talked about the wisdom piece, and opportunity, you’re sort of providing it, and encouraging folks to take on some more. So how do you build the resiliency part?

Jeff McManus
Resiliency – here on campus, when I first came here, we have on game day, a beautiful center part of the campus called ‘the grove’. Just picture a green, lush part, with beautiful, stately oat trees, just picture ‘Ol South’ and it’s just gorgeous. It’s just beautiful. But on game day we have it full, from end to end, with people pick-nicking and tail-gaiting, and when they leave, they leave a huge deposit of litter.

And our staff would be the ones in charge of coming in. So they’d come in on Sundays, and there’s litter from one end to the other end. And they’re dragging their shoulders, and woe is me, and the local newspaper would come out and take pictures. “You poor little fellas! Come on, you buckaroos! You can do it!” It was kind of this “Wah-Wah, poor us. look at poor, pitiful us. Nobody cares about us. Poor grove.”

And I’m like, “Winners are whiners. Winners find a way to win.” And so we started getting our teams together, our groups together, in small groups, and we were saying, “Hey, how can we turn this lemon into lemonade? How can we make this something –“ and it was the team coming together, as a group, finding solutions.

I’d go into this more, but I’ll just cut to the chase. We ended up using non-profit organizations outside of campus, like the NAVY-ROTC groups, and the BABDA (?) student union and some of the other student groups, and we’d pay their organizations. And they’d come in with a hundred or so students, at midnight with us, with a handful of our team. We clean this place up in about an hour to three hours depending on how big the game, and now our guys take so much pride in it.

They actually look forward to football season. They’re excited. And it was such a neat turnaround, that actually The New York Times put us in the story of the ‘‘Ol Miss grove’, we actually made it in there. And it was just a neat way to showcase that resiliency, to persevere, to stick through it, and who knows. You might even make it in The New York Times.

Pete Mockaitis
Ooh. Oh, that’s so good. Well, I mean, I gotta say, as we’re chatting through this, you know, it feels a little bit just like a utopia. Or almost like a fantasy land as to how wonderful it is. But I’m sure, day in day out, there are some challenges, some headaches, some frustrations, some irritance about kind of putting this into practice and helping shepherd people along the growth.

So, could you maybe get real with us about the tough parts of putting this into practice and what things you found have been helpful in persisting through them.

Jeff McManus
Well, you’re absolutely right. I mean, day-to-day, we still have challenges. Here’s the great part about having those challenges though, it’s not just me fixing it now. The culture as we work together, because we’re aligned with our core beliefs and what we’re doing, our purpose for being here.

It used to be, Pete, we had a lot of drama. And a lot of, one of my guys called them ‘drama queens’. And I would say, “Boy, I wish those people out there would just quit being this drama, and the rumors.” And I’d be pointing my finger, like, “I wish they would stop.” And I didn’t realize that I had three fingers pointing back at me, and realized, “I’m the problem.”

I’m the problem for not being proactive in trying to change the culture. So I started all of this by just seeing if I could change a culture. Could I be proactive, just like I’m proactive in a lot of things in planting, and a lot of the things that we do, and we hit the seasons. Could I do this, and actually make it where it’s not going to be a perfect culture, nature doesn’t give us perfect culture, but could it be a culture of growth?

Cultivate it enough, to put in good seeds, so the good seeds grow and actually become stronger, and push out the weeds, push out the drama, push out those negativities. And yes, we go through challenges. We still have challenges. But they’re not of any degree what they used to be. Productivity’s gone up. Job satisfaction’s very high.

And so we do a survey once a year to see where we are on job satisfaction, you know, we still have things we have to work on. We better. I mean, if we’re not, we’re not growing. We’re not doing what we need to do. So most people I show this to, and do are a little hesitant because they don’t want to invest the time to develop the team.

They don’t feel comfortable. And I’m gonna tell you, I was scared. The first time I tried this, I was nervous. I was like, “Man, these guys are gonna laugh. They’re gonna reject this.” So I just pushed through that. I pushed through that, had to get the courage, and do it. It’s been a game changer.

I do this for other people now. I help them do it with their teams, and help that. I am not hesitant to bring in outside speakers, to bring in anyone I can to help with the message. That’s the one thing I think managers and leaders and owners forget. They think they’re out their alone, or they can’t afford it, or they just don’t think about getting a resource to come and help come alongside of them.

I’m telling you, it can be a real help to have somebody introduce some topics and say some things that get you into discussions. To help resolve issues.

Pete Mockaitis
Mhm. And so I guess, when it comes to the investment piece, that makes sense, is that, as you’ve said: You don’t have time for that? We don’t have time either. So you’re noticing that it is an investment. It does take some time, and some effort, and some time, and some energy and a little bit of money, at least for a book for everybody, or something.

But you’re also seeing tremendous benefits on the backend. So I would love to get your take on, what do you think is maybe an ideal or optimal ratio? In terms of, so you said, Abraham Lincoln if he had six hours?

Jeff McManus
Eight hours. Eight hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend six hours sharpening his ax.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s right. So 75% of that time, if you will, is on process or development enhancement. And then a quarter on the actual job. So what’s your ratio in terms of the proportion of time folks spend whacking the weeds and doing the heavy lifting, versus investing in development and enhancements of the way their doing things?

Jeff McManus
Well, what we’re trying to do is we look at it, we try not to look at it like a newspaper where it’s in sections. We try to look at it more as maybe a garden, where maybe we’re growing this aspect in everything we do. So, for example, Monday morning, we have a meeting with our entire department.

It used to be, Pete, that I led the meeting. But I realized that I wasn’t going to be developing leaders and people who were engaged – you know, most people are afraid of speaking in front of others. But slowly, everybody now on our crew has led the meeting. That’s helped with their leadership skills, their communication skills. So we use it all throughout the culture. When we’re out in the field and working, those same people are challenged to mentor those other folks.

So as far as actual technical training, we probably spend 10% on technical training where we might do classroom training through ‘landscape university’. I may spend 5% of my time growing people in a class, leader to leader. And the rest of the time, we’re outside, you know, making hay so to speak. And cultivating greatness outdoors.

But the key is just the consistency of those times. Every person on our crew, no matter what they’re doing, has a calendar. I make a custom-made calendar for them every year. It has certain – it has all of our football games in it, our baseball games, our special events, when we’re gonna do critical things. Plant our seasonal color, flower bulbs. When we’re gonna put down mulches, all these technical aspects.

But it also has when you’re gonna lead the meeting. When you’re gonna be in charge of safety. When you’re gonna be in charge of the safety talk at the meeting. When you’re gonna be in charge of doing a plant identification lesson. You’re gonna teach everybody a new plant, or an old plant. And you’re gonna tell us about it. This forces us into that constant aspect of learning and growing. So we added another twist of that.

We started doing ‘landscape university’. That developed when we saw we needed the consistency in ourselves, so I let our team start developing their standards, or their best practices. So we would say, how do we want to do a certain task, like mowing. How are we gonna know that when we mow, that it’s a success, a win. And so we put our standards in there. It’s gonna be cut at three inches. We’re gonna edge this way and weed-whacking this way, and all these different aspects.

What was great was, we got everybody’s input on it. And then we would formulate it, and now we’re teaching other universities how to do this. So we’ve come up with a ‘landscape university’ conference that we do the first Wednesday of every April here on campus. And then I’m teaching this across the country too, to other groups. I’m actually teaching it to other businesses, how to do this stuff. But it’s all about investing that little bit of time that makes the big things just work.

Pete Mockaitis
Mhm. And so it sounds like all in, it might be 10 or 15% of a work week, so maybe six hours max of classroom and leader-to-leader piece. And then it’s kind of on-the-job, makin’ hay, and making it sort of better, and learning as you’re doing the job itself.

Jeff McManus
Yeah, I would say six is probably pretty high. You know, you figure 30 minutes on Monday morning, and then leader-to-leader once a month an hour, and then a ‘landscape university’ class a couple of times a month. So, it’s not a lot of time.

It’s amazing what just a little bit of time can help facilitate. Communications, better quality, and just getting everybody on the same page. I’m not a big meeting person. I don’t like to have meetings just for the sake of  meetings. But these little touch-points really seem to keep us in tune.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, well that’s fantastic. Well, I’ve got many more things I’d like to ask, but maybe I’ll leave it to you to curate a little bit. Can you tell us, is there anything else that you want to make sure to share, particularly in terms of the intersection of wisdom you’ve accumulated along these lines that would apply to your typical professional? Maybe something that’s gonna be shared in your upcoming book, Weeder’s Leaders, or anything you got, we’ll take it.

Jeff McManus
[laughter] Well thanks, Pete, for mentioning the book. I am excited. I’ve taken a lot of these philosophies and stories and I’ve put them into a book, Growing Weeders and Leaders, and Morgan & James is gonna be publishing that book. Hopefully it’s coming out at the end of the year, in December, January, sometime in that time. We haven’t got an official date yet.

It’s super excited because it goes through the philosophy of G.R.O.W. and some of the other aspects of defining the wins. But if I had it – I wrote the book to myself at age 24 when I started managing people, because I had the technical skills in horticulture. I graduated in horticulture and knew how to grow things. Granted, I needed to learn a lot more, but I didn’t have the leadership skills to manage people.

So here I am, managing a high-end resort, and Rick works for me, and Rick’s ten years my senior. And he’s been on the property forever. And he’s the go-to guy in the company. Everybody in the company knows Rick, and it’s a big company. We were doing a grand Cyprus resort, and the one in Tampa, the big resort there.

Rick’s just the go-to guy, and he looks at me, and he goes, “Jeff, what do you think about our flower bed here that we just planted?” He’s standing right there in front of his entire crew, and I go, “Well, it looks good, Rick, but y’all got two or three other plants right there on the back that are a little bit out of line, it’s not straight.”

And Rick’s face just dropped. His shoulders dropped. You could just see his facial, his whole body language, just like I had hit him in the stomach. And he looked at me in the eyes, and he dropped everything in his hands on the ground, and he said, “I quit.” And he turned around and he walked away.

And I’m sitting there as a 24-year-old, young, green manager going, “Oh my goodness. The number one go-to guy in the company has just left. And it was because of me.” And so I wrote this book for me, to help, that was one of the things, the aspects that I didn’t understand. How you talk to people. How they listen to your words. The little sarcastic comments, and things like that can really grind on them.

Well thankfully, Rick cooled down and came back, and he came back to work. And when we were talking, I said, “Tell me, what happened, Rick?” And he goes, “Well, Jeff.” He goes, “You do this quite a bit. You just have these little comments. And they really cut and grind us. And we don’t like it.”

And so I learned a valuable lesson there, that my words matter, and I needed to encourage people. I was thinking I didn’t want Rick to get the big head, right? I don’t want Rick to get the big head and so forth. It shows how young and naïve I was. So that’s the take-home message for me, is to keep learning, to keep growing, and that’s where I targeted the book, is to continue to grow leaders from the mindset of a weeder.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that is, that is powerful. And helpful to bear in mind, again and again, just the power those comments have. Oooh. Thank you. So now, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite things, extra quick. Could you start us off by sharing a favorite quote?

Jeff McManus
Wow, I guess the number one go-to quote of mine is one of my mentors, Zig Zigler. “You can get everything in life you want, if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

Pete Mockaitis
Mhm. And how about a favorite study, or experiment, or piece of research.

Jeff McManus
I think the research that was done on college campuses that determined that, how the campus looks, is what 62% of the people base their decision on when they come to your college campus. I don’t remember the name of the report, but I do have it written down somewhere

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, no. Well that’s powerful. That’s good. Thank you. And how about a favorite book?

Jeff McManus
Wow, lots of great books. I’m a reader. You know, one that really, that I go back to often, is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, because it helped me so much change my mindset of what I could do. I didn’t have to sit under the radar and just be content with, you know, “One day I’ll get a pension”. But it gave me that courage to have the passion to do what I want to do.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. And how about a favorite tool. Something that you find yourself using often?

Jeff McManus
Besides the iPhone? That’s like the go-to, right? Some of my favorite – I guess, my absolute favorite is, um, and I’m not a super techy guy, but I do enjoy things like Slack. We also run the golf course here, so we’ve had to do a lot of marketing. I’m getting those guys into Snapchat. I have four teenagers, so we’re all – I know how to do Snap. That’s been my kind of fun stuff to try and teach and so forth.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s fun. And how about a favorite habit? A personal practice of yours that’s boosted your effectiveness?

Jeff McManus
Exercise. Exercise. Yeah, just getting up in the morning, running, or going to the gym and working out. Game changer.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, thank you. And would you say there’s a particular, nugget, or something that you’ve shared that seems to really resonate with folks in terms of getting them to tweet it, or highlight it, or really start nodding their heads and taking notes? Is there any kind of quotable Jeff Gold?

Jeff McManus
Well, a while ago, we were talking about resiliency. That’s, winners aren’t whiners. Winners find a way to win.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright, indeed. And where would you say would be the best way to find you if folks want to check you out, see what you’re up to.

Jeff McManus
I’m hanging out quite a bit on my website, jeffmcmanusspeaking.com, and then I’m on the social media. I’m on twitter, JeffMcManus, and LinkedIn.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. And as we kind of wrap up. Do you have a parting call to action, or challenge you’d issue to folks seeking to be more awesome at their jobs?

Jeff McManus
Don’t limit yourself by your job description. Look what you can do to make not only your job, but your field, your industry, better.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Well, Jeff, thank you. This has been so fun, so inspiring. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the stuff, and chewing on it, and I wish you tons of luck in what you’re up to over there.

Jeff McManus
Pete, thank you. Always fun to be on a podcast where the host is as engaging as you are. And you’re tremendous show here you’ve done.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, shucks. Thank you.

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