Join us today for the Interview with Jay Williams, author of This Vs That: Better Thinking, Better Choices, Better Leader and Leave Your Mark: The Thinking, Skills and Behaviors of Influencers...

This is the interview I had with speaker, coach, and trainer Jay Williams.  

In today’s episode I interview Jay Williams.  I ask Jay to share about his journey to writing a book on leaving a mark in the world.  I also ask Jay to share with you how we can keep conversations as conversation not confrontation.  I also ask Jay about how we can learn to use those skills to lead better.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1352: Interview with Jay Williams author of Leave Your Mark: The Thinking, Skills, and Behaviors of Influencers

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1, 352 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:07] Jay Williams: Hi, I'm Jay Williams. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to have powerful conversations without turning them into confrontations is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this.

[00:00:30] The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer. It's

[00:00:42] that human element, and at the same time we're sending mixed messages, is that human capital is the most important thing, yet we don't treat it that way. Yet as an example, we believe as though our financial status, meaning [00:01:00] where you are financially, your CFO shares with your profitability is so important.

[00:01:04] And we understand that intimately.

[00:01:06] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:38] In today's episode, I interview Jay Williams. I asked Jay to share about his journey to writing a book on leaving a mark in the world. I also asked Jay to share with you how we can keep conversations as conversation and not confrontation. And I also asked Jay about how we can learn to use those skills to lead better.

[00:01:58] I've got a new book coming out [00:02:00] called Inspired Living, assembling the puzzle of your call by mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over at InspiredStewardship. com, Inspired Living. That's InspiredStewardship. com, Inspired Living.

[00:02:21] The reputation for exceptionally satisfied clients, Jay helps leaders from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies achieve desired outcomes through his leadership philosophy and methodology. He has significant experience in executive development, sales, process analysis, and transformation, client services, and change management.

[00:02:41] Jay also has proven expertise in creating alignment among leaders and executives to ensure clarity of values, company culture, strategic priorities, and key business metrics. A student of human behavior and leadership, his track record, consulting, and writing offer a lifetime of insight. Jay is [00:03:00] the author of This Versus That, Better Thinking, Better Choices, Better Leader, and Leave Your Mark, The Thinking Skills and Behaviors of Influencers.

[00:03:08] A frequent speaker at industry events, his warm, humorous, and sometimes irreverent style engages audiences to shift their thinking. He helps them examine their point of view, eliminate their preconceptions, and start searching for the truth instead. Welcome to the show, Jay!

[00:03:26] Jay Williams: It's good to be here on a Friday.

[00:03:29] I'm excited to talk to you.

[00:03:31] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. We talked a little bit in the intro. I talked a little bit about your background and your journey and putting this the book out in the world and doing the work that you do, but share a little bit more what's behind. We always have the bio that we tell people and then you have the rest of the story what's a little bit about the rest of the story that brought you to do what you do today?

[00:03:55] You mean the rap sheet? Yeah, exactly. The rap

[00:03:59] Jay Williams: [00:04:00] sheet. I what's part of what defines me is I've been married for 33 years. I have two boys, I'm a father, so I take great pride in those things. I'm a guy of faith, and people always ask how does that intersect with the work that you do, because I really work with everyone, and it intersects quite nicely, I would share with people, is that anything that I say and do is really congruent with what my values are.

[00:04:34] And I feel as though they've reached a spot in life for anyone who's listening where there's this congruency and what I believe in what I say and what I do. So I would share that with people. I I'm based out of a town right outside of Philadelphia. I tell people that's where I live. I'm from California.

[00:04:58] So if you ask me where you're from, [00:05:00] I'll tell you California. And if you ask me where I live, I'll say outside Philadelphia.

[00:05:05] Scott Maderer: You talk to leaders about making better choices being a better leader, better thinking and these sorts of things. Why is that the message? How did you arrive at that being the message that you're focused on working with people?

[00:05:23] Jay Williams: I found in my own experience I grew up had a career prior to this that took me into executive leadership and how I got into this. Let me answer your question. I'll try to be very succinct. Is that. I was in a role as a leader where I wasn't enjoying every aspect of my role. And so I looked at what it was and what I loved was shifting people's thinking and developing people's leadership skills.

[00:05:55] What I didn't enjoy was being responsible for people. So if people ask how do [00:06:00] you career wise segue into this? Be unhappy with an aspect of your job, find the aspect you like, and then see if you can make a living just doing that. And that's really what led into this, the piece I do around the writing and the consulting and the coaching piece of it is that I found that it was about shifting people's thinking about the way that they communicate with they communicated differently.

[00:06:29] And so the common thread that I saw with leadership is where there is a pinch point and an opportunity to enhance the experience. Was around communication and so that's what really led it. It was either what people were saying or how they were saying it or when they were saying it that heavily influence people's desire to follow them and for them to be a leader.

[00:06:54] Scott Maderer: Okay. You mentioned your faith earlier, and that's one [00:07:00] of the questions that I like to ask folks is, you mentioned your faith was congruent with what you do now, but how did your journey through faith parallel or add or enhance The life journey that you had of arriving at this point of working with communication and leaders.

[00:07:19] Jay Williams: I'm still on that journey for anybody who's listening. So if I say something that someone says, wow, I thought you're a faith based guy. I'm still working through it. I think what the takeaway is where I see universal applicability is there's a point in my life where I accepted that adversity was part of the plan.

[00:07:39] And I think as a leader in an organization. Where you're going to influence people is how you respond and embrace adversity. heavily defines how you respond to it, whether people will follow you or not. And where the intersection with my faith and leadership was is that the [00:08:00] commonality is that adversity can be a very good thing.

[00:08:04] And in my life, even with my faith, where there is adversity, where I was willing to face it and not fake it, that I grew from the experience. And it strengthened my faith. And I would tell you, I've just... resign to the fact, I don't know that I'll ever be the person that has 100% complete comfort in their faith.

[00:08:28] Like I've arrived, I'm there. However, I have accepted that this tension in my faith and adversity is what keeps me in the game. And that's when I transition over to leadership that adversity can keep you in the game. It's not the thing to avoid. It's the thing to embrace and navigate. And I think you have to come through it, not settle into it.

[00:08:50] And then you really debrief and see what you learned. And then how do we apply that going forward? So I hope that was a clear answer. Yeah.

[00:08:59] Scott Maderer: And [00:09:00] I actually, by the way, I think faith is a lot like quantum mechanics. So I don't know if you've ever heard. I don't understand that either. Okay. Here's the thing, Michael Feldman actually said, and he's very famous for understanding tons about Mike quantum mechanics.

[00:09:14] He's like kind of one of the, he's like Heisenberg. And one of the people that. really developed it. And his comment is, if anyone ever tells you they understand quantum mechanics, they've just proven that they don't. And I think faith is the same thing. If anyone ever tells you that they really understand everything about me, they just proved that they didn't.

[00:09:34] You've given

[00:09:35] Jay Williams: me a great gift, Scott. I, that's very comforting. It's very comforting.

[00:09:40] Scott Maderer: Yeah. Cause I don't think and I've had the pleasure of talking to some. folks that are what most people would consider deep faith warriors Billy Graham kind of folks. And they're like, yeah I don't really understand everything either.

[00:09:54] I just I'm just doing the best I can with what I got that's all you can do. And that [00:10:00] kind of brings us back to the idea of these conversations and adversity and leadership, whether it's in your faith life, whether it's at church, whether it's at home, whether it's at work with employees or as an employee having to go in and talk to your boss.

[00:10:17] I think a lot of conversations, especially if they're around challenging topics or difficult topics or things that are important to us and that we care about, often feel more like confrontation. Then conversation what would you say about why that happens or what why does it feel that way to us?

[00:10:40] Jay Williams: I I write in the book, that's one of the chapters in this versus that is conversation versus confrontation. And the book represents these 24 chapters, these pinch points that experience in organization and leadership. And interestingly enough, they're all around communication. And [00:11:00] not to minimize any of the work that's being done there around leadership, a lot of the traits that you look for in a leader are really human traits, right?

[00:11:10] And their communication. So to get back to this conversation versus confrontation, is that every interaction, and it has.

[00:11:25] The potential to be a conversation where there's an exchange of ideas and thinking and feelings. And I think there's some nuances. And if you want to ask me, we can go deeper that lead to either continuing to being an ongoing conversation where there's this exchange of thoughts and feelings and ideas, or it escalates to a confrontation.

[00:11:53] And so if you ask what is the trigger there, I think in conversation when [00:12:00] we begin to judge is where the conversation begins to transition over into a confrontation. And I think your ability to embrace. a framework and thinking that I'm here to help. I'm not here to judge. And please, for anyone who's listening, realize the context in which I'm saying this.

[00:12:23] There are some situations that require that. In my experience, more conversations require the thinking I'm here to help than I'm here to judge. And that thinking drives your emotions. And I think that's another element of how things transition from a conversation to a confrontation is the emotions that you have that are involved in it.

[00:12:48] And I'd like to share this story. I didn't come up with the story. It's a story that I heard, but there's a a church that they've been around for the better part of 99 years and they had no neighbors to [00:13:00] the left or to the right. And one day, Okay. For sale sign goes up and the sold sign the exact same day.

[00:13:05] So some of the members of the church go down to the township there to find out who their new neighbors are and they go, Oh, it's a strip club. So if you're with me at this point, there's a church and next door will be a strip club. There's some zoning issues as you could imagine. So the thinking of what one of the members got together a group of people who have picket and petition because they're thinking that this was wrong.

[00:13:29] They felt compelled to judge this and their emotions were anger, obviously, and some level of

[00:13:33] anxiety.

[00:13:35] Jay Williams: There's some members of the church that their thinking was, we're not here to judge. We're just here to help. And so they got together a group of people that get together at midnight twice a week.

[00:13:44] And they just cook for two hours and they make pancakes and eggs and bacon, as you can imagine to serve those people that we're, for lack of better terms, in the service industry. And as you look at the story, it is what it is, [00:14:00] a church next to a strip club. I'm sure we all had some initial thoughts and that's what I've learned through life that things are what they are.

[00:14:07] It's how you think about it. And for some people, they thought that they were there to judge and that's the picketing and petitioning and the other people, they're just there to help. And that was the pancake. So really the difference between pancakes and picketing was really your thinking. And so when you get back to the conversation, I think it starts with our thinking and what is the goal of the conversation.

[00:14:31] And so let me stop there. There is another layer to that, but that's the first thing is you're thinking going. And by the way, this conversation I think we're more our souls more challenges ever been over the last, maybe 36 to 40 months. And whether it's challenged with whether or not you get a vaccination or what your political choices are, or what your faith based choices are, or even what your identity choices are.

[00:14:57] And so think of the difference if you go [00:15:00] into a conversation where, Hey, I'm just there to help him by helping. I just want to understand, communicate from your perspective versus you having judgment and opinion. how can either perpetuate a conversation or perpetuate a confrontation. So I

[00:15:16] Scott Maderer: do want to go a little deeper and the, okay, what can we do about it?

[00:15:21] Part, but I want to ask a follow up question first. Obviously in a general conversation, there's. At least two people , yeah. Maybe more, but there's at least two. And I, you're talking a lot about our frame of reference and things. What can we do to help the other person understand and maybe have a similar.

[00:15:46] frame or receptiveness to it because they're again it to be a conversation. There has to be some receptiveness on both sides. There has to be give and take kids. It can't be just all give or all take either one. You know what helps [00:16:00] us frame it well or set up a situation well to even if we're going in with all of the good intentions and truly no judgment and really want to help.

[00:16:11] And that's our mindset deep down. What can help us meet the other person and help them approach the situation in the same way? Because obviously we can't control what other people do, say, or think. You can't do it out of a control mentality.

[00:16:28] Jay Williams: I think the most, it's about communication, the most effective communicators.

[00:16:32] I don't think anyone would. argue this, communicate from the other person's perspective. So that's the first step, that thinking that I want to know your perspective. You can't communicate from someone's perspective until you first understand it, and you can't understand it unless you ask questions. So the first step, I believe, Is seeking to understand it.

[00:16:57] I think Stephen [00:17:00] Covey, that seniors one seek first to understand then be understood. And I think that's a disconnect and communication and conversation at least confrontation is when someone wants to be understood. Let me tell you what my thinking is and let me tell you how I would handle it.

[00:17:14] And this is what you should have done. And so to answer your question, I think it's understanding the other person's perspective. And so if you can ask a question, I think the dynamic that begins to shift is people believe you care. So whether you're in a work situation and you say, Hey, you know what, just tell me what was your take or your perspective on that interaction with the client or with your peer there.

[00:17:36] I think when you ask that question, I think if you're sharing your faith and quite often what are we gonna tell people if you said just we're. What is your perception of faith? Or what is your perception of Jesus? Or what is your perception of the church? Whatever the topic is, if you can lead with the question, and it's, I think it needs to be inquisitive, not accusatory.

[00:17:59] [00:18:00] Let me just

[00:18:00] differentiate

[00:18:01] Jay Williams: between the two. Why did you do that? It's much different than, yeah, tell me about your thinking when that happened, right? I'm going to hit pause. I want to answer your question. There's a little nuanced thing that you did in there with, you said why did you do that?

[00:18:19] When you ask a why question, it does put somebody on the defensive. Sure. And when you ask a why question, it takes them back in time in this problem focused, right? So if you said why don't you go to church? And they may go back in time to something that happened that was understandably, yeah, that drew them away from that.

[00:18:39] But if you say just so that they do understand what would make you decide to even consider visiting a church? The mind goes. to the future, and it's more of a solution based. So I share that because there is a neuroscience to this communication. And so if you're asking a question, you're asking one out of [00:19:00] curiosity and to truly understand their perspective.

[00:19:03] When you ask the question, it leads people to believe that you care. And when they believe that you care, there's this trust that occurs. And I think a lot of times in conversation where it elevates to confrontation. It's when there is a breach in the trust. So either they don't trust your character or your confidence or maybe your intent behind asking the question.

[00:19:26] So let me stop there. I feel so I threw up on you. It's something that I'm passionate about and I think is avoidable. It is absolutely avoidable.

[00:19:38] Scott Maderer: You mentioned there's a lot of nuance to this and it's something that. Again, I think all of us go into conversations, at least hoping that they're not confrontational, but and yet I know I I've been in executive leadership and I've seen thousands of conversations and had however many [00:20:00] thousands in my own life.

[00:20:01] Sometimes they still feel like they turn into confrontation. What is some of the nuance that we. need to focus on you just mentioned one of the why questions and how that makes us problem focused as opposed to solution focused. And obviously you can't back unpack every possible nuance.

[00:20:21] I'm not asking you to do that, but what are some of the key ones that we need to pay attention to at, in these difficult conversations?

[00:20:30] Jay Williams: I think what's important to at least acknowledge is as human nature, we communicate from our perspective almost always because it's what served us well, our experience, our friendships, and the brain makes over a million connections a second.

[00:20:47] So that would make sense. What's missing in communication quite often is the perspective of another stakeholder in the situation. So if you talk about in a professional [00:21:00] setting and someone saying they're complaining about something that happened. He said, Hey, what was your perspective?

[00:21:05] Your take on this human nature? We want to defend or explain. So I'd start with their perspective. I'd ask what do you think the perspective of the client was? And on this project, what do you think the perception of the project manager was? And what do you think my perception was when I got a hold of this based on our last conversation?

[00:21:26] So I think your ability to expand their thinking to include additional perspective can oftentimes elongate the conversation to build their awareness. Because the question that you asked me originally that I didn't answer and I apologize is what if people have opposing perspectives? And by the way someone asked me, they said you said no confrontation, but some people believe conflict is good.

[00:21:55] What's your take on that? I think conflicting perspectives are [00:22:00] great. And if you have the ability to hold on to conflicting perspectives and still entertain the conversation. I'm not talking about avoiding that. I think that's beneficial. The confrontation is how you respond to that conflicting and that's how perspective or idea.

[00:22:18] And that's where I think that we can navigate this differently. And so it's not what you tell the other person. It's what you get them to say. And that's why I asked, what do you think their perspective is? And so through conversation, especially as a leader, I think your opportunity is to not rob them. of the satisfaction of being able to solve their own problems are involved in the conversation, even when you do know the answer.

[00:22:47] And the reality is I could throw

[00:22:49] some

[00:22:49] Jay Williams: cliches out there that I think people get the context and is where people weigh in, they buy in. And so I think as a leader, your ability to communicate in this [00:23:00] way, where people believe that they are coming to this epiphany or to this aha, where they go, you know what, I never thought about your perspective on this before.

[00:23:11] And now that I think about it, you must be a little bit frustrated knowing that this was a big deal for us. And now we're going into a different industry. It's your first time out and that I didn't come to you before doing this. That,

[00:23:27] them

[00:23:27] Jay Williams: saying that, has a much different landing spot than me telling you this is our first time, this four way into this new industry.

[00:23:37] And I'm just shocked and appalled that you didn't come to me knowing what's at stake here and get my perspective or my buy in on this. So I think if you're talking about communicating, just thinking it's not what you say, it's what you ask. It's not what you say, it's what you get them to say. Heavily weigh the outcome in your favor that this is a conversation [00:24:00] versus a confrontation

[00:24:02] Scott Maderer: When there are times as a leader that something happens that is, I'll use an example of they they didn't understand, or didn't follow something that was maybe a process or procedure, or they're factually incorrect, they have the wrong information, or that kind of thing.

[00:24:25] How do you approach that kind of situation where there is actually. It's not just a perspective, but there is a, perhaps I don't want to say legit because that's not, it's not like a perspective is not legitimate you get my point, there's something that you have to correct in some way.

[00:24:42] But again you want their buy in, you want them to accept the, and understand what went wrong and you know why we maybe need to do it different next time. And I know sometimes lecturing I was also a school teacher just looking at a kid and going, don't do that anymore. That doesn't work kind of thing.[00:25:00]

[00:25:01] Those situations. Yeah. Let me break it out. And I think this is imperative that leader understands is there's approaches that differ based on the scenario. If there is a violation in my values as a leader in an organization, I show up differently. If this feels like low hanging fruit, just bear with me and hopefully see the applicability.

[00:25:24] Jay Williams: If someone's disrespectful in our organization, and I have a value of respect whether they're respectful or Respect whether or not we're still respectful and someone violates that. I respond differently. And so that may see stylistically when I share with you, Scott, that we have a value of respect.

[00:25:47] I want you to know that any violation of that is unacceptable. Let me just pause there. When you hear that, as it relates to this [00:26:00] situation, what will you do differently going forward so that we never have this conversation again? In the event we do, and again, I'm counting on a lot of things here as a leader that you've clearly articulated and defined what that value is, and that you have an agreement in place, not an expectation, an agreement.

[00:26:24] So let me just clarify when it comes to values. I do have a different approach. That being said, there's still an opportunity. And again, I just think this happens early on because you're talking about when it happens for them to define what respect is, because I certainly have learned over time people define respect differently.

[00:26:50] And so I've been married 33 years. I love my wife. She's very passionate and very vocal and she comes from a family. That's that way. [00:27:00] They don't define that as being disrespectful. They could yell, scream at you at the same time. They're fixing you dinner and sitting you down. So she grew up in my family.

[00:27:09] Scott Maderer: Got it. Okay. She grew up in yours.

[00:27:11] Jay Williams: Yeah. And you don't define it as being, and you say what's on your mind. That's not disrespectful to us. No, it's actually their definition of open, honest on time communication. And I grew up where that wasn't the case. So the reason I say that, both people are right, by the way, so it's not right or wrong.

[00:27:30] It's just, as a leader, I need to clearly articulate in my company that there will not be a time that raising your voice to anyone, a peer, someone who reports into you or executive would ever be acceptable. So I just want to make sure we're on the same page. If you feel as though things are escalating to that point, just get to me early on.

[00:27:49] So I, I just want to have some caveats when we talk about that. If you're getting to policy and procedures. So say there's a document you're asking the entire [00:28:00] partner group to use when they're interacting or a contract with any of your clients,

[00:28:05] Scott Maderer: the TPS report from office space. Okay. There you go.

[00:28:08] Jay Williams: Yes.

[00:28:09] There you go. That's a little bit different. So what I would do is if you and I were talking, as I said, Scott, I just want to understand. Okay. what your understanding of what document we use and what the flexibility is in using that TPS that you described there. And here's why I have run into scenarios where people have a different understanding than I do.

[00:28:33] And I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I just want to make sure I have all the details first. The reason I ask questions is I want to know what you know, I want to know what you think, and I want to know what you feel before I respond. And the reason is, whether as I'm a father, whether I'm buying something from someone or people report into me.

[00:28:51] where I'm consulting with them is that I just, I want to know, is this a willingness or an ability thing? That's what's going through my [00:29:00] mind. So if somebody goes, no, my understanding is we had the discretion to pick whatever contract we were, or you know what, people were grandfathered in. If we've been working for them with 10 years, I just want to know that before I respond.

[00:29:13] Now I know where to go. It's not a willingness thing. It's just. Disability, something in our policy and procedure. It's an understanding. Yeah. Yeah. If somebody goes, yeah, I know we do. I just being honest with you, it's just laziness. No, that's a willingness conversation. I don't need to educate them on what our process and procedure is and documents.

[00:29:33] I would say I always lead with a question. It's just always served me well. It allows it's a GPS for me what I do next. And is it a willingness or ability which really goes into anyone's readiness level for anything? It could be with your kids. It could be with your spouse. It could be sharing your faith, right?

[00:29:52] Any of those things. How well did they answer that question? No I think it makes sense

[00:29:58] Scott Maderer: Now here's going to be [00:30:00] my my followup kind of question is everything you said is wonderful and it's understandable. And I think most people will hear it and go yes, that makes sense.

[00:30:12] It's not easy that's hard. What do we do to get better at. at obviously pick up your book hire you as a coach, but you're the only

[00:30:27] Jay Williams: solution. Yes. I'm the way, the truth and the light. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Yes, please.

[00:30:34] Scott Maderer: But no in all seriousness, how do we get, cause this isn't easy.

[00:30:37] You're not talking about stuff that's easy. If it was easy, we'd all do it.

[00:30:41] Jay Williams: Yeah. Here's what I would say. It's simple. If I just say to ask questions, you go, I get it. To your point, what's hard is to put it into practice. So one of the things that I think everybody could relate to is that a habit is really something that you don't have to think about.

[00:30:57] And there's people that have taken it to [00:31:00] extremes by wearing the exact same outfit all the time. And yeah. would be a perfect example. There you go. All black turtleneck and jeans. And his thinking was, is that if I can turn this into a habit and I don't have to think about it, I can free up my mind to think about other things.

[00:31:15] And so the thinking is what else can I turn into a habit? For this to turn into a habit, This is where it starts and it started for me that accelerated this was even when I knew the answers I asked a question. The key to all of this is asking a question. So if everybody goes, what's the net of it is to ask a question, even when I knew the answer.

[00:31:40] I started asking the question. So when I have people, my organization would come to me or even if as consulting and they say, Hey, Jay, what do we do in this situation? I would say, I do have an answer before I respond. Just tell me what you're thinking, what part what part you want me to jump in on.

[00:31:55] And so just now has become a habit [00:32:00] that I ask a question. It's not what I say, by the way, while I was doing that. I had another aha, which is that when people ask a question, they're not always asking for information. Sometimes they're asking for validation, right? And they actually

[00:32:17] Scott Maderer: already know a solution, but they're trying to get by and believe.

[00:32:21] Yeah

[00:32:22] Jay Williams: Now I feel now I'm embarrassed because you knew that and I didn't know that.

[00:32:26] Scott Maderer: But no I didn't know that ahead of time. I found that out too by screwing it up.

[00:32:35] Jay Williams: Yes, which is the best learning. This is what to your point is when I began to ask questions, I realized there was all there is intentional and there's unintentional learning going on for me.

[00:32:49] And I have never, by the way, it also gives people an opportunity to be right. It gives them confidence in their decision making ability. But when this happened, [00:33:00] when I owned the company, I had two partners and we'd put a GM in place because my partners and I were also doing other things. And this person was highly capable and they proved it over and over again.

[00:33:11] And I noticed that they kept asking me. Things that I was just surprised that they were asking. And as I began that just say before I respond, how would you handle this situation? I said, this is what I do. And then say, yeah, exactly. Don't add anything to do. Yeah, I wouldn't even add anything.

[00:33:29] Yeah, you got this. I saw that, oh, they weren't asking for information. They're asking for validation and it also developed their confidence in their decision making ability. And I also developed the ability to catch people doing things right. And so even when I'm doing workshops and people ask questions, I tell them, listen, obviously, I have an answer.

[00:33:48] Before I respond, tell me what part so that I can meet you right where you are in this situation. And oftentimes, I don't know what the percentage is. I don't want to say it's 50 50. It's just more than I. [00:34:00] I used to just answer the question, people would answer it. And it gave me a chance to go, you know what, you're absolutely right.

[00:34:06] And I, if you asked me to add to it, here's why I'd add to it. And that was the benefit. So for anyone listening, if there's one takeaway, it's really what question can I ask in any conversation? And then how can I keep asking? It's not an interrogation. There is a little bit of a cadence and science to it.

[00:34:27] It just hasn't backfired on me until it does, by the way. That's why I'd share with let me just give if the audience is listening to go how could this backfire on you? So I've been married ask my wife a question, right? She goes, I don't need work. Jay. I need husband.

[00:34:47] Jay. So I learned a new question to ask. I just go, Hey, do you want me to listen to respond? But the reality of how this can backfire on you is that last [00:35:00] week I had a client and they are new to me and in a new industry, things are going well. And I asked him a question, and I said can I be direct with you?

[00:35:09] And the client said it's getting, excuse me, I won't use the language, but you'll get the context. It's getting annoying. They said, it's getting effing annoying that you're asking me ahead of time. And so I just share that with you is that you still requires emotional intelligence. To be in the moment to identify and understand and maybe adjust your style based on the needs of the individual and the situation.

[00:35:31] And so

[00:35:32] Scott Maderer: that's in a crisis. They're not wanting another question at that point. If

[00:35:36] Jay Williams: the building's on fire, I don't go, Hey, Scott, what are your thoughts and how we get out of here? So this is really coaching based leadership, this framework I'm sharing with you, but to your point with your spouse may not be the time to do it.

[00:35:50] There may be times that there are, and if there's an emergency, it may not serve you well. So let me just throw that caveat. And unfortunately, like you [00:36:00] alluded to, I've learned like last week with my client that said, Hey, it's getting effing annoying. Just say it what's on your mind.

[00:36:11] Scott Maderer: And sometimes even just calling that out, like you said, when you, as you become more aware and more able to see it going.

[00:36:18] Explaining why you're asking the questions that you're asking, I've found sometimes can help people start shifting from feeling like an interrogation to because I do a lot of coaching conversations. And one of the things that I frame when I'm talking to other coaches is I try to go into any coaching conversation with the thought process of not what the next thing I'm going to say, but what's the next question I'm going to ask.

[00:36:42] Now, I don't always succeed at that, but I try to have that but I found that for some clients, I need to explain to them why I'm asking questions, even helps them understand the context of this is an interrogation. This isn't me trying to deflect [00:37:00] or not answer your question. But to be able to fully answer your question, I need to know more I need to understand where you're coming from and what your belief is like you've been describing.

[00:37:10] Have you found that as well when you can put it in context for me, sometimes?

[00:37:14] Jay Williams: I love that you brought that up, because I think it's an important ingredient in all of this that I didn't allude to so thank you is that there's clarity on your intent. The reason that's so important is people are looking to see, can I trust you?

[00:37:33] And how often have you asked a question? Someone goes why are you asking that question? What makes you ask that? And what's going on in the brain is what is your intention behind that? And quite often I love that you brought this up and I think it's imperative. And now I'm embarrassed. I didn't bring it up.

[00:37:52] Glad you did that Scott, between the two of us. is that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others judge us [00:38:00] by our actions.

[00:38:01] Scott Maderer: And we judge others by their actions. Oh,

[00:38:04] Jay Williams: so there's a hyper disconnect. So you go like, why didn't you turn in that report on time? Sounds what's your intention?

[00:38:16] You're asking me in front of a group of people, is it to throw me under the bus? And you go, Oh my God,

[00:38:23] Scott Maderer: and sometimes in you

[00:38:26] Jay Williams: can preface it, my intention is to throw you under the bus. And you go no, I'm sorry. I was just, when I said why, what I really meant was just what will we need to do so that you could, I don't know if it was your workload or it's the time frame.

[00:38:43] So I think it's imperative to heavily weight the outcome in your favor that people trust you and they want to collaborate on this conversation is that you share my intent is to get your perspective or to have a better understanding or maybe get some of the facts that I may not have because I'm [00:39:00] not there.

[00:39:01] And by asking questions, I'll get some of this information and data. So thank you for bringing that up. And for anyone listening, I really underlined that. Is that you can preface your question with here's my intent.

[00:39:18] Scott Maderer: I've got a few questions that I like to ask everybody, but before I go, there is there anything else that has come to you as we've talked that you think is really important for the listener to hear about this topic of communication or the work that you do.

[00:39:33] Jay Williams: Yeah I think that the area that I've drilled down that I work with is there for anyone listening, I think you'll be able to relate to this in any business. There's the product, the process and the people. And if you're listening and you're a CEO or a manager or leader, or just a student of business, most companies have that product and process down.

[00:39:59] Scott Maderer: The wild [00:40:00] card.

[00:40:01] Jay Williams: Yeah, it really is because there's not so much of a wild card there. It's that human element. And at the same time we're sending mixed messages is that human capital is the most important thing yet. We don't treat it that way yet. As example, we believe is so our financial.

[00:40:23] status, meaning where you are financially, your CFO shares with you, your profitability is so important. And we understand that intimately. And even if there's going to be a new currency that way, we understand that like cryptocurrency. Yet with our people, our communication has not evolved at the same rate as technology, process and procedure, yet we equate or elevate the importance of that.

[00:40:51] And then if you're listening is that you go back and you treat these people like you say, they are their most important [00:41:00] asset and that you try to get to understand them. And I think what's an indication of that is that 1, they just did a survey of 140 CF CEOs. They said the number one skill they want is emotional intelligence in their leaders, right?

[00:41:16] And so in the good news, when I say skill, it's something that you can learn. They didn't ask for a higher IQ. Interesting. Higher emotional intelligence. And then when you look at the other side of the equation is that the people are looking for empathy and their leader,

[00:41:30] Scott Maderer: which is emotional intelligence.

[00:41:33] Jay Williams: Yes, it is. And so that's the common thread. So what I didn't speak to, and I may have been jumping around a little bit is it's about the people. And if you go, okay, I got it. It's about the people. What is it about the people? I think your commitment to raising your emotional intelligence and theirs.

[00:41:51] Yes. Will exponentially supercharged any process product that you have procedure in place [00:42:00] and that if you just. Get done today and go back and start to ask questions. Let me just tie everything together is asking questions. We'll raise your emotional intelligence. That's that's correlation. So let me just pause there.

[00:42:17] But if I was going to add 1 more thing, and we didn't do it just and by the way, for anyone listening, the emotional intelligence is a newer topic. It's simply your ability. And by the way, there's several definitions. For point of today is it's just simply your ability to identify and understand an emotion both in yourself and others and in others, and then just suggest your behavior accordingly.

[00:42:41] So how applicable is that to conversation to identify your emotion? Like I had a, so this company had few generations. This generation was 20 to 30. And let me tell you everything I could do to control my emotions. I even told him at one point when I was speaking to the group on Monday [00:43:00] to this group of them, I said, please don't read my face.

[00:43:04] I go, because it's portraying how I'm feeling. I'm asking you questions to better understand, but I had to realize in the moment that this is completely contradicting what I believe, how I grew up, right? And so I would say that emotional intelligence, identify and understand emotion in yourself and others and adjust your behavior will be imperative to superstar charging your leadership and getting people to follow you.

[00:43:32] So I'll stop there. That's the piece I would add, .

[00:43:35] Scott Maderer: And honestly this is one of those topics that, that you can't do full justice in an hour or even two. Again, I it's things that I know you've worked on for decades and I've been around it for a long time and I had a lot of opportunities.

[00:43:54] I will openly say I am. I am by no means [00:44:00] always good at it. It's really easy to say it, but it's still even building the habit and building the muscles. It's hard to do it all the time, especially when it's an issue that really touches like you said down to your deep values or your the way you see the world at a fundamental level.

[00:44:19] And there's a conflict in that. It they see the world differently. It's really hard sometimes to go into those conversations and go, I want to hear what I want to hear where you're coming from and really mean it. Cause you have to really mean it because otherwise people are smart.

[00:44:37] They pick up on, Oh, you're lying to me. You don't really care what I think.

[00:44:42] Jay Williams: I have a bumper sticker for you then for that situation. It said, sincerity is the key to success. Success. And when you can fake that, you've got it made. So

[00:44:52] Scott Maderer: there you go, Scott. Yeah, no, I can't fake sincerity. I guess I'll have to practice that more.

[00:44:59] Yeah.

[00:44:59] Jay Williams: [00:45:00] Here's what I would say for folks to that. And listen, that may not come naturally. And I'm one of those people that one, your emotional intelligence can grow and grow. So that's the great news. The other thing it's identifying, understanding and adjusting your faith, your behavior.

[00:45:15] There's three different areas. If you can identify with someone that you're not at your best, or I don't think I showed up the way I wanted to, or I responded in a way that I didn't want to, or I want to revisit this conversation or show up differently for you, that's the integrity part, is at least owning it.

[00:45:38] So for anyone who's going to go out and they go, I'm going to make mistakes, all of us are. That will help bridge the gap. It's when people aren't self aware that really rubbed people the wrong

[00:45:49] Scott Maderer: way. You blew up at me and you didn't even apologize for it or acknowledge that you did, you just treated it like it was normal and acceptable behavior.

[00:45:59] [00:46:00] And yet. And yet you, the next day will say, the value of this company is to treat other people with respect. It's ah, really? Yeah. And by the way, when I was flashing back a little bit, every experience I've had where a CEO is making a speech about how the human capital is their most important asset.

[00:46:20] I've had that happen multiple times and all three times that it's happened. the very next week they were announcing layoffs. So I have this mental trigger of when somebody says that it's like, Oh, they're about to fire a bunch of people. It's it's interesting to me that incongruency of the messaging comes out that way.

[00:46:41] Sometimes I

[00:46:43] Jay Williams: just read an email. I won't read it to you because it's too long. It was almost exactly what you people are most important asset. You guys are doing a remarkable job with this. Times are tough. And if people aren't living up to our, Oh, I [00:47:00] would read the email. So

[00:47:01] Scott Maderer: that's the transition.

[00:47:01] Jay Williams: Yeah. Yeah. And it trains the brain. Like you said, Oh, there's a compliment. And we're going off topic, so I won't go too far off. It's just, this is where questioning can, I can help understand your thinking, because if I asked you how do you take in compliments and things? What's your experience with compliments?

[00:47:23] And someone says, Oh, something bad's going to follow. So you think of that Oreo, tell him something good, tell him something bad, tell him something. And now people are like, when you tell them something good, they're like, okay, but what's coming? Come on. Yeah. And so that's why it's important to understand what people's thinking is and how they associate comments because.

[00:47:43] Accolades and things like that, they are what they are, right? It's your experience with it. And some people when. It's funny because I showed this email to my wife and she responded the way you did. Oh it's coming next. And somebody else reads it and they go, Oh my God, they love their people.

[00:47:59] The person who [00:48:00] sent it to me said, Oh, I'm so proud of our CEO. Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. But it is your context of the message is going to be different. And so therefore the way you receive it is different. Everybody in the world is experiencing not the same thing. I want to be very careful.

[00:48:15] We're all. Experiencing events and millions of us the same event. It's exactly what you just articulated. Scott. It's our experience in our thinking around that event. That's what that triggers our behaviors from there. Yeah. Great observation.

[00:48:33] Scott Maderer: My brand is Inspired Stewardship and I talk and frame things in that word of stewardship.

[00:48:40] But to your point of asking questions, I've also learned over the years that's one of those words that people hear it and means a million different things to a million different people. So when you hear the word stewardship what does that word mean to you and how do you understand that word?

[00:48:56] Jay Williams: Yeah, stewardship, if we played word [00:49:00] association. I think it's serving. That's the first word that comes to me. And so stewardship, for me, has this. emotion of excitement. There's a way that I'm going to help someone. And so whatever stewardship that I'm doing, the first thing is just helping someone. And sometimes it's helping you.

[00:49:22] And by the way, sometimes by helping yourself, you do help other people. And so with that stewardship one is that it's serving two is that it's somehow helping. And there's also this. Altruistic element for it to me is that you're putting the welfare or the needs of someone else before you. I'll stop there.

[00:49:46] Scott Maderer: So we've got this is my favorite question that I like to ask everybody. So imagine for a minute I could invent this magic machine and I could pluck you from where you are today and magically transport you into the [00:50:00] future 150, maybe 200, 250 years. But through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life.

[00:50:08] You can see all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind. What impact do you hope you've left behind in the world?

[00:50:19] Jay Williams: The Miss America response is right. I hope I leave it at a better place that I found it. I would tell you this. Someone said this to me two days ago. They said, you've really shifted my thinking. You really have. And it meant the world to me. I, it wasn't, I'm not going to say humbling cause it didn't humble me.

[00:50:43] It just made me feel good. Made me feel like maybe I was doing something that other people haven't. And I have had that. feedback shared with me have really shifted my thinking the way I communicate and even to the point some people say I, my [00:51:00] first thought is what question can I ask? And I know that's not curing cancer.

[00:51:06] However, I think it can cure relationships, just seeking to, to understand and starting your interactions off with the question versus a statement. And I have noticed in my boys, it's, that they ask questions a little bit more than telling. And it's brought me some satisfaction when I see them interact.

[00:51:31] And there's certainly leaders I've worked with that have shared that with me and the people report into them. They say it just, it feels like they care and it's enhanced our relationship. And so I look back that people said, you know what, he shifted my thinking I now ask more questions and through that's enhanced my relationships.

[00:51:51] And. People think that I believe that I care. I wish I had orchestrated that better. I'm glad I'm not on the stage in a [00:52:00] swimsuit giving that.

[00:52:02] Scott Maderer: There you go. Or in an evening gown, either one. Or in an

[00:52:05] Jay Williams: evening gown. Yes. Yes. Yes. You got to know your audience to say that. By the way, some people would go, no, I would.

[00:52:12] Yes. But to your point, Scott, I'm glad I'm not in the evening gown.

[00:52:16] Scott Maderer: So what's coming next for you as you continue on this journey through the rest of the year?

[00:52:21] Jay Williams: Really is this hyper focus and to look at communication and really build out that platform. And to your point is really working to make it clear and concise and compelling.

[00:52:37] And really, the goal is that people can have shorter. more productive, more engaging conversations. And it sounds like it's like at a high level on the back end of that, I've redone my content and how I communicate so that people will have these tools that are one [00:53:00] simple, which I understand what you said, and somehow we can address the hard part.

[00:53:06] And even in the way I work with people, I've restructured it to focus more on their. thinking than just their behavior. And that is my focus going through this year. And so it's it's not relegated to an industry because the one thing that people are in all of them, they are in humanity scalable.

[00:53:30] I've worked with mom and pop salons and I've worked with Microsoft. Humanity is scalable. You experience the exact same thing. And so that's what the focus is in the rest of the year. It's not so much in an industry is that how can we share this in a way that people can consume it and it shifts their thinking and they believe in it.

[00:53:50] One of the things with the shifting the thinking that I keep bringing up is that when you can shift people's thinking and you start there before the behavior, it's [00:54:00] something that becomes sustainable. Once you're gone. So I don't know how directly that answered your question about what the goal is for the rest of the year.

[00:54:11] People ask when are you going to write your next book? And I'm like, really? I wasn't even sure I was going to get through this one. Yes, I'm not, I don't have any grandiose plan. I'm not going to win the NBA finals.

[00:54:23] Scott Maderer: I think working with people to help them communicate better is a pretty good goal. So that's not a bad one.

[00:54:29] If you have a

[00:54:29] Jay Williams: sports team, by the way, I would love To help you participate in

[00:54:33] Scott Maderer: that? Yes. So you can find out more about Jay and his book And of course I've simplified it. Oh, you

[00:54:44] Jay Williams: have? Okay. I have. So in an effort to be congruent with what I just told you to simplify things, you can do it where you said it.

[00:54:51] You can now go to the Okay. So in keeping [00:55:00] with my efforts to simplify things, Scott, both URLs work. If you want it simpler, it's the jwco. com

[00:55:10] Scott Maderer: and I'll have links to both of those over. Thank you. So folks can thank

[00:55:13] Jay Williams: you. My friend. Is

[00:55:14] Scott Maderer: there anything else you'd like to share with the listener?

[00:55:17] Jay Williams: There's not.

[00:55:18] I would invite you to go to the website. I don't have anything to sell you. If you have a question, though, and there is a section on there that two things that was really built for anyone. One is under the tab conversations. And what that is a collection of people who have sent in questions that would love a response from me.

[00:55:43] So there are videos on there. They're just 30 to 60. In some cases, it went to 90, Scott. Second, second, not minute, second responses. And if you have something and I've gotten a range of questions on there. [00:56:00] Most recent one, female executives said, I'm sitting on a board predominantly male. I'd love to garnish the respect that everyone else has.

[00:56:07] What are your thoughts on how I can have that conversation? So range of questions there, but I invite you to do that. I do have something on there called exigency. And what that is it's working with executives. This could, Jay, I don't want your training, I don't want your coaching. I just need an answer.

[00:56:24] So you can actually go on there and schedule 15, 30 or 45 minute conversations. again, you're not looking for coaching or training. You just want additional thinking and perspective and direction on something. So feel free to visit me. I respond to everything within 24 hours, everything. So if you don't hear a response from me, it just means I didn't get it, but you have my cell number on there.

[00:56:50] You can text it or you can email.

[00:56:52] Scott Maderer: Awesome. That is a fantastic gift. Thank you so much for coming on.

[00:56:58] Jay Williams: Ah, thank you for... [00:57:00] You know what I didn't do, Scott? I'm horrible at sales. Don't hire me for sales training. You can buy my book. Actually, both the books, but the book that you alluded to, the This Versus That, you can go on Amazon.

[00:57:13] It's And I'll actually have links to those over there. Okay, better choices, yes. Better thinking, better choices equal better leaders. It's this versus that, and that's on Amazon as well. Awesome. So if anybody does sales training, I'm here. You can help me. Yes, .

[00:57:32] Scott Maderer: Awesome.

[00:57:38] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode please

[00:57:57] Jay Williams: do

[00:57:57] Scott Maderer: us a favor. Go over to [00:58:00] inspiredstewardship.

[00:58:01] com slash iTunes rate, all one word, iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask Jay about:

  • His journey to writing a book on leaving a mark in the world...  
  • How we can keep conversations as conversation not confrontation...
  • How we can learn to use those skills to lead better...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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It’s that human element. And at the same time we are sending mixed messages that human capital is the most important thing yet we don’t treat it that way. – Jay Williams

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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