351: Bridging Skill Gaps through Strategic Learning with Andy Storch

By September 28, 2018Podcasts

 

 

Learning and development programs designer Andy Storch discusses the biggest skills gaps he encounters among leaders-in-training and how to bridge them.

You’ll Learn:

  1. Three steps for creating an effective learning program
  2. The number one problem facing new managers
  3. How to better understand customers with the ROPE framework

About Andy

Andy Storch is an executive coach, consultant and facilitator specializing in helping clients turn strategy into action and results. He helps leaders accelerate and grow their success through measurable improvements in their business and careers. Just as important, he helps them become the happiest, healthiest, most fulfilled versions of themselves.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Andy Storch Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Andy, thanks so much for joining us here on the How To Be Awesome At Your Job podcast.

Andy Storch

Pete, thank you so much for having me. I am just so pumped to be here. I’ve been listening to your podcast for a while and just been really excited for this. So, thank you.

Pete Mockaitis

Cool. Well, I’m excited too. And I understand you also have excitement for public transportation. What is this about?

Andy Storch

It’s funny that you ask those questions ahead of time. Yeah, I share this with some people – for whatever reason I am – I won’t use the word “obsessed”, but I really do love public transportation. And I don’t know where, when that started or where it necessarily came from. But I have had the opportunity to live in a few different big cities – LA and San Francisco, most notably – and I always took the bus to work when I lived in those places if I wasn’t walking.
And I’ve also had really the luck and the pleasure to be able to travel all over the world as a consultant for the last eight years. And when I get to a new city, one of the first things I’ll do is try to figure out the train or subway system and jump on a train and take it, instead of taking a taxi or an Uber like some of my colleagues. I love the efficiency that comes from having a lot of people going in one vehicle or one train at the same time, going places.
Maybe it’s the social aspect of it, even if people aren’t necessarily being that social. If you’ve ever been on a train in Japan, you know that nobody is talking to each other. But yeah, I don’t know what it is; just something about it has always attracted me, so I’m always jumping on buses and trains whenever I go to new places.

Pete Mockaitis

Yeah, and sometimes when I chat with the folks who are working on the Amtrak trains – they’re all about trains. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but it’s like their thing. They’re into trains the way some people are into sports. And so, even though their jobs might not seem that glamorous or fun to many on the outside looking in – they are living the dream, working on the Amtrak.

Andy Storch

Yeah. Well, Pete, your whole podcast is about how to be awesome at your job. And I would think that one of the most important factors is your mindset – do you like your job? Are you passionate about where you work and what you’re doing? And it doesn’t matter how much money you make; that’s going to be more important. So, if you’re excited about trains and you get to work for a metro transit company, then you’re probably in heaven and you’re enjoying your job and you’re a step ahead of most other people, I would assume.

Pete Mockaitis

Amen, yeah. And it’s a beautiful thing – people digging their jobs in different capacities. I know I would probably not be as much into that job, nor so much into accounting per se, but the fact that other people are and love it just makes me smile about the human condition.

Andy Storch

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s great.

Pete Mockaitis

Well, let’s talk a bit about your job. You are a partner at Advantage Performance. What’s the company about and what are you doing as a partner there?

Andy Storch

Well so, Advantage Performance Group is kind of a unique company and model in that we get to work with a lot of different thought partners in areas like leadership development and sales training and strategy alignment. And we work with our clients, who are mostly large companies, to connect them with great learning solutions that really help their people do the best work of their lives.
So, I’m really running training and development for big companies in areas like strategy alignment, business acumen, as I mentioned, teaching finance and how a business works, a lot of leadership development and sales training. I get to work as an independent consultant, which means I get to run my business how I want to run it, work with clients that I want to work with and leverage a lot of great partnerships, as well as the brand that we have at Advantage Performance Group.

Pete Mockaitis

That’s cool, that’s cool. All right, so good stuff. I’d like to get your take, first of all, if you are running these learning programs or partnering with other folks who are delivering these learning solutions, what are some of the key things that make the difference? If someone needs to facilitate a learning session or choose someone from the outside to deliver some of the goods, what should we be looking for and what should we be doing?

Andy Storch

I think when it comes to setting up a learning program, if it’s a development program for your company, or maybe even something that you want to do as an individual, to go out and learn more and get better at your job – I think the most important thing is to start with the end in mind. Think about what are you trying to achieve and why are you really investing in learning and development?
So, I host a podcast on talent development and I get the opportunity to interview a lot of talent development professionals, who are essentially building these programs for a living, either internally or they’re hiring people like me to come help them. And one of the things I hear a lot that’s a pitfall is people getting requests for training: “Hey, we need training on negotiations” or, “We need training on how to be a better manager.” And they don’t take the time to really ask “Why”. Why do they want that? Because there’s probably some other underlying reason that’s driving that request, and if you start to ask why and ask more questions and think about what’s our ultimate goal, that’s going to allow you
So, I think the most important thing is to begin with the end in mind and start thinking about what are you trying to achieve and ask questions about, why are you investing in learning and development? Why do you want to invest in training or learning in the first place? Why do you want to set up this training class? Or even if you’re an individual and you’re thinking about reading a new book or investing in training for yourself, why are you doing that? Does it fit in with your overall goal?
So for a company, looking at the overall company strategy, does this fit in with that company strategy? Does it help us achieve more of our goals? And if it doesn’t, then maybe this is not necessarily the right thing for us to do. So once you’ve established that, I think that’s the most important thing.
The next thing, when it comes to designing effective learning programs is to make it really experiential. So this I’m a little bit biased in because all of the programs that I sell and run are experiential learning programs, but I can tell you most people learn through experience; they don’t like sitting around listening to PowerPoint presentations all day long. There might be a few that like that, but I personally don’t. I learn better through experience, through practice, through examples. And so, I think it’s important to build that in to any type of development program, to give people an opportunity to really experience the learning, what’s going on, and give them a chance to practice.
So if it’s a sales training, build in some roleplay exercises, where they get to practice having those conversations that they’re learning about. And when you think about the military or sports, which everybody watches all the time – those people that get paid a lot of money to perform at a high level in just a few games – what are they doing with the rest of their time? They’re practicing. They practice a lot. But in business, we kind of expect that we’re just going to go out and wing it and just do it in the real world and not worry about practicing at all. It’s kind of a weird thing. So, I think it’s really important to get that practice time in.
And then the last piece is, find some way to have not only ongoing practice, but some accountability. So, write some things down, commit to some goals as a result, check in with your manager if you have one, and let him or her know what you’re trying to achieve, what you learned from the program, and maybe even get a coach or have coaches for the participants of the program to check in with them on a regular basis, so that they are more accountable to the things that they learned and said they’re going to do.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay. Yeah, those are some good tips there. And I want to talk a little bit about the “asking why” perspective a bit there, because we had Stacey Boyle make a similar point when talking about becoming more strategic, in terms of, when you ask the “Why” sometimes you discover that what someone asked for is in fact a total mismatch for what they really need and what you should be offering and delivering. Do you have any examples of that occurring in your work?

Andy Storch           

So yeah, I had a client come to me just the other day actually who said, hey, we’re looking for some help with some type of negotiations training. And my first question, was, well, why do you need negotiations training? What are you trying to achieve? And we started digging down into the reasons, and the things that were being reported by people in her company, and what was going on with the salespeople. And it turned out that they were giving away too many discounts to their customers. And why was that case the case? When you ask why, again, it’s because they weren’t really having those consultative conversations with their clients where they were able to really establish a lot of value.
And what they really wanted was to be more of a partner with their customers, with their clients, rather than just a vendor or a seller. And so, at a higher level that was really the root cause and what they really wanted more help with, and so we have built something that is more geared towards that rather than something as narrow as negotiations, which wouldn’t really fix the overall problem.

Pete Mockaitis

Mm-hmm. Understood. Okay. Well thank you. That’s handy. So then, I want to kind of dig into a little bit of the content that you find yourself sharing over and over again. And this is kind of fun because you are in a position of delivering many programs and delivering those, to lots of different audiences. I just want to take all of the best stuff and learn it right here. So, you got a few topics at work. So, let’s talk about them. One of them is the influence capacity, you know. How people could be more influential at work. Can you share, what are some of your pro tips for how that comes to be?

Andy Storch           

Sure. And I appreciate as a podcaster the, how you could just take someone’s entire life and ask them to answer it in one question. Just take when I had you on my podcast, and I asked for all of your best tips for time management and productivity, right? And you gave it to me in one answer, actually, that was a good one.

Pete Mockaitis

Intrigued, what was that?

Andy Storch           

I had the honor of interviewing Pete recently on my podcast, and I asked him what is his number one tip for productivity, to be more productive at work. And his quick response with no need for extra thought was, get enough sleep was the number one thing. And I agree with you 100%. If you’re not getting enough sleep, if you’re not taking care of your health, then none of this other stuff’s really going to matter.

Pete Mockaitis      

I hear you, yeah. So after you’ve slept enough, and you’re showing up at work, how do you be more influential in your interactions with folks?

Andy Storch           

Yeah. How do you go about influencing people? Well, I think for me and my experience, and also from learning from so many other experts and running some of these programs, I think number one has to come back to, are you getting to know people? Are you actually building relationships and understanding what drives them, what motivates them? So many people want to skip this step and use some type of techniques to influence people or persuade them to do different things. The most important thing you can do is take time to get to know people, understand them, show them that you care about them, and show them that you want to do nice things for them, to add value to them, to help them achieve some of their goals. And they’re going to be a lot more likely to want to help you achieve your goals.
And then the added bonus to that is, figure out what motivates those people. So, some people are motivated by money, some people by recognition, some people by all kinds of different things. They’re trying to achieve a goal at work, or they’re just trying to get home on time. And if you can help them achieve that goal, get them out the door by 5:00 by helping them with something, they’re going to be a lot more likely to help you with whatever you need at work as well.

Pete Mockaitis      

Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s great. So, I mean, you don’t know what they need until you’ve built that relationship, and so they feel comfortable enough with you to say what’s really on their mind. Like, you know what, I have been working late too many times, and I’ve got an adorable eight-month-old at home, and I’m tired of getting home after he’s already asleep.

Andy Storch           

Yeah, exactly.

Pete Mockaitis      

Now I know where you’re coming from.

Andy Storch           

That could be it.
Exactly.

Pete Mockaitis      

All right. Okay, cool. So now, you also teach a lot of leadership development programs, and I’d like to get your take on, when it comes to leaders—I’ve read a lot of, you know, the Korn Ferry Research Associated with the competencies, and the sort of what competencies are easy to learn and hard to learn and that leaders rank themselves highly upon and not so highly upon. So, since you’re sort of on the front lines there, developing leaders, what are some of the most frequently occurring skill gaps that you’re observing? And what do you recommend to folks when they find themselves with that gap?

Andy Storch

Yeah, so this is definitely a hot topic with a lot of companies I work with, and I think one of the biggest gaps, or the biggest issues, right off the bat, is that in almost every type of job, whether it’s engineering, or sales, or anything else, you have high performers who are being promoted into managerial positions and becoming “leaders” or managers when they don’t really have the skills or the experience of being a manager. And they’re not getting a lot of training on that because people kind of have this strange assumption that because you were good at selling that now you’re also going to be good at being a manager and helping the people under you sell. Or you were good at, you know, writing software code, the best actually. So now we’re actually going to pull you away from writing code and have you manage other people who are writing code. It’s a strange thing, and a lot of times they don’t even ask people if they actually want to be managers or not. They move into that. Now some people do … A lot of people do aspire to move into that position to become a manager, but they may not have that experience. And they are often not really given the skills that they need to understand how to do some fundamental things like coaching, giving feedback, that sort of stuff.

Pete Mockaitis      

Mm-hmm. Oh, okay. So, we see it again and again. The high performer … You say, well someone who deserves this promotion to the manager, the one who is doing a great job at the thing that they’re doing.

Andy Storch

Right.

Pete Mockaitis      

So then, they find themselves in a position where they don’t yet have the skills. So what do you do if you find yourself in that spot?

Andy Storch           

Well, there’s a couple more gaps there that I think need to be addressed once you’re in that position. One is time prioritization. Are you actually making time to one, develop those skills. And hopefully your company is giving you some type of development, some type of training, or learning, classes, whatever it is to help you become a better manager. If they’re not, you may have to go out and read some books, right? Or take a class. Go on [Udemy 00:08:38] or something like that and take a class. I mean, there are dozens and dozens, thousands really of books on leadership. So, figure out how to make the time to go and learn how to do that. And then, time prioritization to actually spend time with your people.
The next challenge that comes up is that people often still think they have that job. They try to keep doing that job. They’re still selling, or they’re still wanting to write some code, or whatever it was doing that they were doing before. And not taking enough time to really check in with their employees and have those great conversations about what type of work that they’re doing. What goals do they have? What challenges are they running into? And find ways to help them move past that, give them feedback to help them with some of the things that they’re working on, and give them coaching to not only get better at their job, but in today’s working world especially. This is especially true for millennials and Gen Z, so the younger generation, people really want career development. That is, they want to know, how do they get to the next level? What does their long-term career look like? And how is the company going to support them in that? And if they’re not getting that, if they’re not having those conversations with their manager, then that’s the number one reason people are leaving companies now. So, they’re more likely to leave you, and then you’ve got to deal with turnover and all of that stuff. So, that’s another critical one.
The last piece I think that is a big gap that’s holding a lot of managers back is, it’s a number of things, but if I could group them all in one bucket, it’s fear. And it’s fear that you’re not going to be good at your job, that people on your team or that work for you are not going to be able to figure things out without you, and it’s going to be a poor reflection on you. And therefore you feel like you have to be part of everything because if they fail, it’s a reflection on you, and you lose your job. And the other side, unfortunately, is true. A lot of people fear that if the people on their team figure it out without them, then you’ll still lose your job because now we don’t need you anymore because you know Joe, who works for you, he has already figured out how to do your job as well as you. So, we’re going to go ahead and let you go because Joe is doing that job really well.
So, a lot of managers will become … They’ll start to act like tyrants, right? Creating stress for their team, and putting themselves in a position where they have to be there at all the time. They’ll act like know-it-alls because they feel like they, because they’re a manager, they’re supposed to have all the answers. And they’ll start acting like a micromanager as well, overseeing everything that happens. And these people really become diminishers of their people, holding them back, reducing their intelligence, their productivity because of that fear. Because they don’t have the confidence to let their people really take on challenges, try different things, have the freedom and give them the coaching to help them move along and believe that if they do well in that, that they’ll be rewarded for it and not fired.

Pete Mockaitis      

Yeah. And that’s really powerful. We talk about fear kind of on both dimensions. It’s like, I’m afraid that I can’t trust them to do this because they’ll screw it up. And I’m also afraid that if I trust them to do this, they’ll look so awesome that I look like a chump.

Andy Storch           

Yeah, and

Pete Mockaitis      

And at that point, what do you want? What is there to hope for? It’s like you’re just kind of paralyzed.

Andy Storch           

Yeah, it’s a tough spot. And I’ve been there. I mean, I try to embrace all of this stuff. You know, I’ve studied it. I teach it, right? I facilitate it. And in my last job, I had a direct report who was really good, and he learned fast. And I taught him everything, and I was very open and vulnerable. Here’s what I’m struggling with, here’s how you can get better, sharing what’s going on. And he definitely accelerated to a place where he was just as good, if not better than me in the job that I had been doing for a few years. And even though I embrace all of this stuff, I still felt a little of that, of like, man, he’s already better than I am. Is my job going to be safe? But people most of the time will recognize, hey, you put them in that position. Let’s go have you manage somebody else and get them to that position. You could be the all star manager that’s even more valuable to the company because you’re able to do that.

Pete Mockaitis      

Yeah, absolutely. Yes. In terms of it’s like, yes, please Andy, make more of these for us.

Andy Storch           

Right.

Pete Mockaitis      

You do that thing that you’re doing because … In actuality, I recall that with Korn Ferry work, the develops others and/or develops direct reports was one of the competencies that managers tend to rank themselves dead last in, out of all of the competencies. So, that’s a pretty good thing you got going for you if you’re a capable of pulling that off when most people think they’re not so good at it. So essentially, that fear is almost like a little boogie man that you can just unmask, and say, no, no, actually at least leaders who are slightly with it will recognize that that is an awesome thing that you’re doing there as a manager, and we want to see some more of that.

Andy Storch           

Yeah. My favorite book on this subject for anybody who wants to go learn more about how to be a great leader and avoid being a tyrant, some of these things we’ve talked about, is a book called Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. And in that book, Liz did research on dozens, not dozens, hundreds and thousands of managers around the world and found that those managers who act like that, who were really diminishing their people, do act like tyrants. They really believe that people won’t figure things out without them. And the best managers who were able to multiply people’s intelligence are known as multipliers. They have a core belief that people are smart, and they’ll figure it out. So if you give them the right resources, if you challenge them appropriately, you hold them accountable, but you give them space for thinking, and you listen to their ideas before you share your own, and really invest in your people, then they’re going to do great things. And you’ll be rewarded either by attracting more talent because you’re recognized as someone who is such a great leader, or compensated in different ways because you are able to create such great talent. Not to mention you’ll be rewarded with all the fulfillment of having created great careers for so many people who work for you.

Pete Mockaitis      

And we talked about the career development piece being a top reason why people choose to leave if they’re not getting that. So, if you are providing that sort of learning growth development stuff, and then your retention looks better, and if leaders are at all paying attention to the manager’s performance, like retention should be one of like the top things … Because not everyone seems to know this, but I mean when retention is terrible, it often comes about in clusters. This manager’s retention is terrible, and that manager’s retention is not. Then if you dig below the surface, it’s like that person is a terror. People hate working for them, and that’s why they quit quickly when they have to.

Andy Storch           

Right.

Pete Mockaitis      

And so—

Andy Storch           

Yeah. And a lot of companies put up with that for different reasons, you know? They’ve raised one star, or that person’s a star salesperson. I know that people don’t really like working for him. Or we just don’t want to have that tough conversation. But you keep having people leave who work for them, you’ve got to have that conversation. You’ve got to address it. You’ve got to look into it.

Pete Mockaitis      

Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s talk about sales as well. So you’re also teaching sales programs. And most of our listeners are not professional salespeople, although we’ve got a few. But I still think many of those tips apply when it comes to being persuasive, being influential, getting folks to say yes, dealing with rejection, a lot of universal skills can be drawn and pulled from the world of the sales professional. So, let’s hit it again. You know, what are some of the top gaps that you’re seeing over and over again when you’re executing sales trainings? And what should be done about them?

Andy Storch           

Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that a lot of people can benefit from that because, like you said, not everybody … maybe not all your listeners are in sales, but if you follow like Daniel Pink, To Sell is Human, and these people who talk about the fact that pretty much everybody’s in sales if you need to influence people, right? We started talking about influence earlier, and so you want to have a decent grasp of what it takes to influence and inspire people. And again, as I mentioned, I think one of the big gaps there is not asking enough questions. So many salespeople, or people who get into sales roles, get excited about what they have to offer or trying to convince someone that they should buy their product or invest in their time and whatever it is they want them to do, and so they get to pitching. And they talk a lot about the product, and they don’t really stop and think about why would the other person care. Right?
So, I’ve been in consulting for the last eight years or so, which has given me a lot of practice in asking a lot of questions. So, when I have an initial phone call with a potential client or really anybody because I like to go out to a lot of conferences, and network, and meet a lot of different people, and I always start with asking a lot of questions. We talked earlier about asking about the objective. What is your goal? Asking about why are you trying to achieve something? And I think if you start with asking a lot of great questions, why is another big one, and the other thing is, think about your own why, your purpose. What are you trying to achieve? And why are you doing it? And are you able to really communicate that? You’re going to get better at sales externally as well as influencing internally, and you can really find out what people care about. You’re going to be able to influence them more.
Now, when you’re in a sales situation, one of the gaps that I mentioned, they’re not asking enough questions and they’re not even thinking about, okay, where is my customer? People always talk about where are you in your sales cycle, right? Where is my customer in their buying cycle? What are they thinking about? Because they might ask you for information about something, and you’re ready to sell it to them. But they’re actually just gathering information, and they’re not really ready to buy something for six to nine months. And it may be true for anything else internally. If someone asks you for something, and you’re ready to jump in and help them, but they may not be ready to take action for several months. So, think about where are they in their cycle as well as what they’re trying to achieve. And how can you help them achieve that goal?

Pete Mockaitis      

You know, we had a conversation with Michael [Fortin 00:19:14] earlier about the copywriting. And he just had a really helpful framework in terms of, he called it the oath formula in terms of seeing, where are folks with regard to their need? Are they oblivious … It’s an acronym, O, A, T, H. Are they oblivious to it? Are they a kind of aware: Oh yeah, that’s sort of a problem. Are they thinking about a solution? Or are they hurting? Like, this sucks, I hate it. I need something and fast. And I think that that’s so helpful just to kind of get oriented in terms of, okay, where should I be kind of pointing my messaging in this conversation?

Andy Storch

And one other thing that I like to remember a lot that I learned from friends and mentors, one of them is a guy named [Listin Witherell 00:20:00] who does sales consulting for a lot of consultants out there, is to serve, not sell. So, when I go into any situation, I’m thinking about how can I serve them? How can I help them achieve their goals? Versus let me just sell them on what I have to offer. And if you have that mindset, you’re less likely to try to force some type of solution just because it’s what you have instead of what they actually need. And a lot of times it might not be your product or solution that they need or want at that time, but if you help them find a solution to their problem, whether it’s a sales type solution or it’s just something internally there, you’re going to build a better relationship with them, a lot more credibility. And they’re more likely to do business with you in the future.

Pete Mockaitis      

Oh, certainly. Or to give you a referral if it’s not them, but someone else. Like hey, this guy is helpful and kind of sorting that out.

Andy Storch           

Absolutely.

Pete Mockaitis      

And it just makes you feel better in terms of, I imagine it’s more energizing to spend a day serving people than it is to, hawking your wares.

Andy Storch           

Yeah, absolutely.

Pete Mockaitis      

Very cool. All right, so let’s hear about some of those questions, like what are some of the power questions? Or were ideal things to be thinking about and asking in order to be getting a better understanding of folks’ needs and serving them all the better?

Andy Storch           

Yeah. So, I mentioned thinking about the goal. What are they trying to achieve? I actually use and teach a very simple questioning framework called a ROPE. And ROPE stands for results, opportunities, problems, and execution. So results are … Is that big goal. What are you trying to achieve? Another one is, how will you know that you’re successful? Right? So Pete, you might tell me that you’re trying to become the number one podcast in the business section on iTunes, whatever that goal might be. And I might ask, okay, that’s a great goal. How will you know that you’re successful? Well, you’ll be able to log into iTunes and see that podcast sitting there at number one. Okay, so now we have a great way to actually measure that. What’s your timeline? When do you want to get there? So, you start asking the questions about the results. How can you measure them? Really get a good idea of where it’s going.
Now, you can move into opportunity. So, ROPE, R, O. The opportunity questions or like, what things have you already been doing to try to achieve that goal? Have you already … Do you have any projects or initiatives in place? Have you been doing marketing? Have you been talking to different people? What sorts of stuff … And then you can start to ask follow up questions from there.
And then a big one that is helpful for a lot of people is when you get to that P, the problems. You start to ask, okay, well, what challenges are getting in your way, Pete? I know you’re trying to become the number one podcaster, but what’s getting in your way right now? Are you having trouble booking the right guests? Or marketing to the right people? Whatever it is, if you start to dig into some of those challenges and ask follow up questions, that’s where you’re going to gain a lot of insights.
And then the execution piece is, you start to ask about resources, and timeline, what sort of things you’re working with. If you have multiple people on the team, who’s in charge of what? So you can start to really understand all the different components of the project, or the company, or whatever it is. So you really get like a full understanding of everything.
The other interesting component of that is that when you’re speaking with someone who’s higher level, very strategic, say like a C level executive, you want to focus more on the results and the opportunities because they’re not worried about the execution or the problems. They have people for that, right? But if you’re talking to someone in the bottom of the organization, someone who’s an executer, who’s out there on the front line getting things done, they don’t think as much typically about the strategy and what the results are trying to achieve. They’re thinking more about what problems are getting in my way? And how do I execute on this? What are my resources? What sort of stuff do I need? What’s my timeline? So you want to focus more on those things.
And then the other thing I’ll add about the ROPE framework, because I love this for sales, but it’s also really great for performance reviews as well. So, if you’re a manager, going back to our earlier conversation, and you are listening to this and saying, okay, I’m going to take more time to have those performance conversations with my employees, you can use this to ask them what goals are they trying to achieve? Where do they want to get to in their career? What opportunities do they have? What sort of things are they working on now? Do they have any side projects they’re doing to help them get to that next level? What challenges are they dealing with? Maybe they have a colleague or a coworker who’s really frustrating them. Maybe they’re having some issues at home that’s causing them to have to go home early or whatever it is. And then get into, okay, what timeline are you working with? Who else can help you with this? Maybe I can make some introductions for you.

Pete Mockaitis      

That’s awesome. Thank you. Well tell me, Andy, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Andy Storch           

I want to harp on that idea of really asking questions to both influence, to sell, to build relationships because I think that if you focus on curiosity, there’s so many interesting things we can learn from everybody out there in the world. I mean, that’s why I love hosting two podcasts. I’m sure it’s one of the big reasons why you love yours as well because you get to talk to people, and ask questions, and learn from them. And the more learning you do, the better you’re going to be, the more you’re going to grow and hopefully get better at your job.

Pete Mockaitis      

Well, yeah, and speaking of curiosity, I’m curious and I forgot to ask, so, you’ve had a lot of episodes now of the talent development hot seats and the entrepreneur’s hot seat.

Andy Storch           

Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis      

Those right? Is that—

Andy Storch           

Yeah.
Pete Mockaitis      
Okay. All right. Want to make sure I get the perfect words for the searching there. So can you tell me personally, was there a guest, or an insight, or an episode or two that really was pretty transformational for you in terms of whoa, they changed the way you thought and you learn something that has been super useful for you again and again?

Andy Storch           

Yeah. I mean, there have been a few. I’ve done I guess about 140 interviews now. Not quite as many as you, but still interviewed quite a few people. And when I think about the entrepreneur hot seat podcast, I think back to episode 47, which was an interview with Jeff Hoffman, who was one of the founders of Priceline, as well as he actually invented those kiosks in the airport where you print your tickets out, which you may not use anymore if you have your airline app on your phone. But for awhile they were extremely popular, and he was, I think the first billionaire that I had on my show. And what really blew me away, first of all, I got that interview because I met him in person at an event the year before, and he actually didn’t show. I was so excited and nervous for it. He actually didn’t show up twice before we actually recorded, and it wasn’t his fault. The first time was because there was an emergency, and he had to take his neighbor to the hospital. And the second time his assistant forgot to put it on his calendar.
So, we finally got to record the interview, and he just blew me away with his humility and all of the amazing takeaways he had in that, which was all about the importance of knowing your purpose, how you define success, thinking about legacy, and the importance of learning every day. I mean, he really focused a lot on learning new things every day, and growing, and really thinking about where your position is in life, and how you’re impacting others. It was just one of my favorite conversations in the last year and a half from running that podcast.
And then on the other podcast, the talent development hot seat where I get to interview talent development professionals from big companies, it was actually an interview I just published a couple, about a week ago, episode 22 with Jessica [Amertage 00:28:06] because she was just so passionate, and interesting, and enthusiastic. About what she was doing. And really smart and strategic about how she’s setting up those programs.
You asked me earlier about some of the tips for setting up great development programs, and I mentioned thinking about the results and connecting that to company strategy. She’s so good at connecting those programs back to company strategy, really thinking about the results that they want to achieve. And so, that was a great interview, one of the best I had had up to that date, but the other thing that really showed me that this podcast is going to be something that’s gonna work, and it’s going to keep going really fast is because she was also so generous in introducing me to so many other fantastic guests that I’ve had an opportunity to interview since then. So I just really appreciated having Jessica on, and I hope people get a chance to listen to that.

Pete Mockaitis      

Cool. Thank you. All right, well now can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Andy Storch           

So, man … You’ve mentioned this before, and there are just so many great quotes out there. One that I heard recently that really struck me, and it was actually, heard it for the first time from one of my guests on my podcast, but apparently it’s a very old quote. She said, “A ship is safe at harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.” And it just reminds me of my mission in life, which is to fulfill my true potential and help others fulfill theirs, which means I need to go out and try a lot of things. I got to do different things and really go after my dreams and my goals, and so I don’t want to be that ship just sitting there safely at harbor. I want to be out there trying stuff.

Pete Mockaitis      

Okay. And how about a favorite study, or experiment, or a bit of research?

Andy Storch           

Favorite bit of research? I will go back to, I mentioned earlier that book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. She conducted a ton of research on managers all over the world, and I think it has just been so influential in thinking about how leaders lead, and how the best leaders lead, and how some people are diminishing their people, not really on purpose, but a lot of times they are. And I get a chance to go out and work with clients, using content from that, those experiments … Or, sorry, that study. And I think it’s just been so helpful. I love seeing the light bulbs go off when people hear about the different research that really those managers who are multipliers, who are doing those things, empowering their people, and giving them space, they get twice the intelligence out of their people as do a diminishers, diminishing manager.

Pete Mockaitis      

Awesome. Okay. And how about a favorite book? If there’s another one that’s you recommend?

Andy Storch           

Yeah, sure. There’s a few. I mean, probably the book that has had the biggest impact on my life is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with that or if many of your listeners are. But he went out and did a study of, what are all the habits of the most successful people? And boiled it down to six things which are meditation, affirmations, visualization, reading, writing, and exercise. And ever since I read that book about two and a half years ago, I have adopted that habit. So if you’re going to ask about habit as well, of getting up early and practicing all of those things. And it has been an absolute game changer in my life.

Andy Storch           

And another book I want to mention, which I know has been mentioned on your podcast before, is the book Mindset by Carol [Dweck 00:31:44] has been an absolute game changer for me as well. Not only in running a business, and in working with people, and trying new things, and trying to have that growth mindset, but as a parent as well, it’s been huge in how I talk to my children, and how I want to raise them with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.

Pete Mockaitis      

Awesome. And how about a favorite tool? Something that helps you be awesome at your job?

Andy Storch           

My favorite tool is a little bit old school, and that is that I do carry a journal, a paper journal, around with me everywhere I go. And I write in that journal every morning and every evening, and it helps me capture ideas, plan my day, check in against my goals. And of course, I use a digital version as well, if you will. I have a couple of different Google Docs where I track a lot of different ideas of things I want to do, especially with regard to social media where I’m very active on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I want to make sure that I’m getting all those ideas and putting different things out there. So, I like to use a lot of Google Docs and sheets, but for me it comes back to that old school journal that I carry with me everywhere.

Pete Mockaitis      

Cool. All right. Well, we did talk about habits, so tell me then, is there a particular nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with folks? They quote it back to you and retweet it, et cetera?

Andy Storch           

Yeah. I think that if you think about the goals you want to achieve, it’s so important to think about what habits are going to lead toward you being successful in those goals. And if you figure out what those habits are, you’ve got to take a consistent approach to developing those habits. So, if you want to get better at, say that morning routine, you’ve got to get up early every morning, not just a few days a week, but for at least 30 or 60 days in a row. If you want to get healthier, I think you’ve got to start with being a lot more consistent with going to the gym.
And if it’s something you’re trying to get better with at work, figure out what are those things that you need to do and try to develop a very consistent approach where you’re doing them day in and day out to really develop those positive habits that are going to lead towards you achieving your goals. I know that’s something that’s been really helpful for me over the last few years is really taking a consistent approach to doing all the things that I need to do, and finding accountability partners if I need it to make sure that I do keep doing those things, and really developing those great habits like the morning routine, and then using those to achieve the goals that I want to achieve.

Pete Mockaitis      

All right. And if folks want to learn more, get in touch, where would you point them?

Andy Storch           

Well, I’m really active on social media. I think the best place to find me and connect with me is on LinkedIn. Again, my name is Andy Storch, S, T, O, R, C, H. And I’m pretty active on Facebook and Instagram as well, under the same names.

Pete Mockaitis      

Mm-hmm. And do you have a final challenge or call to action you’d issue to folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Andy Storch

My final challenge is to really think about the things that you want to achieve, as I mentioned, and write those things down, whether it’s a physical journal or an online document. Write down the goals that you want to achieve as well as break that down into those different pieces, the different components. Think about, again, like I said, the habits that you want to form as well as the people that you want to talk to who can help you. Because I think about having a strong network, having great people around you is probably the number one thing that has helped so many people be successful, including me. And so you want to make sure that you’re really writing those things down, and thinking about what you want to do, and then talking to people about it, and get help because life is all about, for me, relationships and people helping each other. So don’t forget about that.

Pete Mockaitis      

Awesome. Well, Andy, this has been a real treat. Thank you. I wish you tons of luck with your podcasts, and your training, and selling, and all that you’re up to.

Andy Storch           

Thanks, Pete. Thank you so much for having me on. It’s been an absolute honor for me to come on your podcast, and I really do appreciate it.

Leave a Reply