August 3

Episode 666: Develop Your Influence – Interview with Al Comeaux – Part 3

Develop Your Influence, Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview


Join us today for Part 3 of the Interview with Al Comeaux, author of Change (the) Management: Why We as Leaders Must Change for the Change to Last...

This is Part 3 of the interview I had with speaker, leader, and change mangement guru Al Comeaux.  

In today’s 3rd part of the four part interview with Al Comeaux, we continue our conversation about managing change. In today’s episode I ask Al about his definition of leadership, why we have a natural resistance to change and what to do about it, and why you have to be aware that others are “watching you go to the bathroom” as a leader and lots more.

Join in on the Chat below.

00:00:00 Thanks for joining us on episode 666 of the inspired stewardship podcast. I'm Al Como. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, talent and treasures, to live out your calling. Having the ability to manage change is key. And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this,
00:00:28 the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Mader, you are holding up a billboard 24 seven with things that you don't even realize are on the billboard. And you need to be aware that you're holding up a billboard 24 seven, and it's awesome to hear and to learn. I was pretty young in my leadership roles, in my leadership, the part of my career,
00:00:59 that was leadership. When I heard this, uh, your people watch you go to bathroom. 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.
00:01:22 We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the world. In today's third part of the four part interview with Al Como, we continue our conversation about managing change. In today's episode, I asked Al about his definition of leadership, why we have a natural resistance to change and what we can do about it,
00:01:52 and why you have to be aware that others are quote watching you go to the bathroom as a leader, and lots more. One reason I like to bring you great interviews. Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power in learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today,
00:02:14 you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read. And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible, go to inspired to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there.
00:02:39 That's inspired to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast, Al Como, a former executive at Travelocity GE and American airlines is a decorated corporate pioneer and a global authority on change from inside Organizations. His career championing change as a senior as well as really established global world renowned companies and his 20 year journey looking into and researching.
00:03:16 Why is it that change efforts fail and what's really needed for change to succeed making one of the world's most forward thinkers on what leaders must do. And even more importantly, how they must think to succeed at change back in 2019 Al founded primed for change set up to be a disruptive project, created to prepare leaders, to take organizations successfully through change. Alan,
00:03:46 his family live not too far from me, right up the road in Fort worth, Texas, well, Texas speak. That's not too far, uh, where he's deeply involved in his family, his faith and his community Al has recently released a great book. I've really enjoyed reading it, called change the management, as opposed to change management, focus on why,
00:04:10 how leaders of all sorts have to get involved in the change process to bring successful change by pulling their people through change rather than pushing it or outsourcing it to others. Welcome to the show Al. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate, um, being able to join you, Scott, It's always a little weird to hear your own intro, right?
00:04:36 There's always that moment of really. I did that really cool. Okay. Yeah. Cool. I want to be that guy. He sounds pretty cool. At least that's how I feel about it. Yeah, no, absolutely. With the last couple of weeks, we've been talking a lot about leaders and, and leaders of organizations, leaders of families,
00:04:53 leaders of churches, and how they have to do different things to help develop and manage their people and develop themselves so that they can successfully do change. So one of the things that we always use is that word leader in the word leadership. And yet I've discovered that like a lot of words in the English language, people often mean different things when they use that word,
00:05:21 they don't necessarily really mean the same thing. So how would you actually define leadership when you come into this, this area of change? Yeah, you know, I, um, I looked it up actually at one point and I remember it saying something like, uh, showing someone the way by holding their hand while moving forward. That was a one definition in one dictionary.
00:05:48 Um, but leadership is not something that we are, it's something that we do. Uh, we get put into leadership positions all the time, whether we are leading a family, whether we're leading a committee at church, whether we are on a, some sort of, um, uh, day out with the people we work with, we may be the alpha dog that day.
00:06:11 Even though we aren't the positive work, we get put into leadership positions all the time. And again, it's not something that we are, we are people, all of us and we have hopes and fears like anything else. The way we lead is, is by doing things it's by, by doing things. And some of that doing is informed by how we think and how we change our thinking.
00:06:38 But leading, I like the idea of it's showing someone the way by holding them by the hand and moving forward. That's kind of a, a good definition, my favorite definition of leading, but it's action oriented. And that doesn't mean it's without thought. Um, our actions are informed by thinking, but it's it's action oriented. Um, so the,
00:07:01 the ways that sort of, if we're thinking about it, that way, the ways it sort of manifests itself, we're modeling the way it should be. We are, we know that people are watching us. So we're modeling we're, we're sharing our own humanness. So when we are challenged by something, let people know that we too are humans and we too are,
00:07:25 have a problem with this. Aren't aren't necessarily automatically successful at this thing that we're all going through, um, by listening, uh, and asking other people, their ideas by building. I mean, we grow up with this idea that the boss is the person who tells us what to do. You know, kids who are six years old. If you say,
00:07:47 what's, who's the boss, the kids don't say, Oh, that's the person who listens to us and inspires us to do great things. No, the boss is the person who tells us what to do. And then we go to school and we have teachers and later professors, and then they tell us what to do. They tell us what the,
00:08:02 what the, what the plan is for this month. Uh, they put the lesson plan together. They put that, they tell us how we did on a test. Uh, they Dole out the grades. That's, that's, that's what we think of as leadership. And then we get into the world and we think of that as leadership. And we sort of have to learn that it's not push.
00:08:23 We aren't pushing people, great leaders, don't push people. They pull people, they ask their people to come on the journey with them. Great leaders. Don't tell people what to do. They ask people how to achieve this. You know, it's not something that's granted. We, aren't just sort of given this leadership role. Sometimes it happens in informally,
00:08:45 but it's earned. And if we are going to succeed at it, it's earned every single day, every single day. So, you know, modeling the change, showing our humanness, you know, those are things that are important as we think about showing someone the way as we think about, you know, developing our own influence. It's not by standing there saying I am the manager of pizzas and parts.
00:09:14 It's it's, you, you may be the manager of pieces and parts that does not mean that you are a leader or that you're going to show leadership to your people. There can be all kinds of other people in the organization who may lead and it has to do with what we do. And that's important with how we think. So that's how I sort of look at leadership when I'm thinking about it in terms of change,
00:09:36 in terms of everyday leadership, that That difference between just positional leadership, somebody is appointed you to be, you know, chief, whatever, the other quote that came to mind, as you were saying, that is, um, you, you manage things, you lead people, you know, the, the difference between being a manager and a leader is actually really traumatic.
00:09:57 That's absolutely. I mean, that is absolutely right. I mean, that's absolutely right. I think about, um, something that one, someone told me one time, uh, somebody said, do you know that your people watch you go to the bathroom? And we were, we were, it was in a group setting and this leader got up and said this to start a speech here,
00:10:18 people watch you go to the bathroom. We were all sort of like, That's a little creepy. It gross. Right? So now it's true. You know, when you don't show up for a meeting, your people notice when you, when your calendar, whether they can see it or not, they can tell what you're focused on when your calendar tells them that this is important and that's not important.
00:10:41 They notice and they follow suit. They know not to emphasize this, or they know they have to, they have an uphill battle to get this done. They notice what you do every single minute of the day. Now we're living these days and sort of work from home status, but they're still looking to you. I'm still looking to find out, but when you have to go and you run out of your office or your,
00:11:05 you run away from your desk and you come back two minutes later to get back in time for your next meeting, they noticed that too. They wonder where you went, who you had to talk to, or you're doing, you're just going to the restaurant, right? But they notice your people notice every single day what you're doing. And so that's the importance of modeling.
00:11:25 The behaviors that we want people to have leadership is is, is very much an action. It comes from it's informed by how we think, but it is not something it's not a title. It, even if we are given a title, we aren't given leadership, we have to do leadership. We have to earn our leadership positions, whether they're formal or informal every single day.
00:11:52 Yeah. It reminds me. So when I was in a, you know, organizational leadership and I would get up and go to the restroom, right? Well, I have a tendency to number one. I walk fast. Anyway. That's just my natural tendency. And I also tend to have, when I'm not deliberately in a conversation with people and being energetic and whatever,
00:12:14 my face, my resting face to most people looks like I'm angry. That just natural thing. And I literally had someone come up to me one time and say, we saw you walking down the hall and you look furious. What's going wrong in the organization. And nothing was going wrong. You know? And I'm like, wait, what? And then I realized what was going on.
00:12:38 And I deliberately changed how I would walk and the expression on my face, because it's like, if I don't, I'm sending the wrong message. I wasn't conscious of it until someone asked me. And then it's like, Oh my. So it was literally people watching me go to the restroom and reading into that a message that was a completely unintended People.
00:13:01 Watch you go to the bathroom. Right. And, and that's absolutely true. You come back from a meeting and you got your head down because you're thinking about sports or something, or who knows what, and everyone sees you. They can't see that you've got in your hand, the phone because they can't maybe see over the cubicles. Let's just say that he was looking down.
00:13:21 When he came back, he was almost like despondent. Well, no, he was looking down at his phone. Right? It's that sort of thing that we have to be aware of, that our people see us every single day. If we are in a leadership role and we intend to be leaders, we, everything we do will be noticed and,
00:13:42 and others will imitate it and, or they will take note of it and they will apply it to the whole organization. So just like you said, you had a bad look on your face. Something's wrong, right. Oh my God, something's wrong. What's wrong. What's wrong. And you, you know, we as leaders, if you think about a slinky,
00:14:05 right, hold the slinky at the top and the slinkies loose at the bottom. If we move our hands, just a millimeter, the bottom of the slinky moves five inches. Right. If we, you know, it, it moves, it can move a lot more. We don't have to do much to cause a lot of work ripples in our organizations.
00:14:28 Right? So that's, again, that's a, I think we're getting to a point of where leadership is and in change, right? During change, it's so much more important than just every day. It's important every day, but it is, it is central to change. Good change is done successful change. And I looked at winners and losers of change over 20 years,
00:14:51 successful changes done by people who, who act in the way of pulling. They think about it in a way of pulling. They don't push change onto people, right? They lead their people through change by listening as opposed to, um, as opposed to telling what the change will be. Right. And it's a very different way. And it's That act of modeling too,
00:15:14 because it requires us to be intentionally conscious of what messages are we sending. Doesn't matter if it's an intentional message or not. You're sending messages all the time. You were holding up a billboard 24 seven with things that you don't even realize are on the billboard. Right. And you need to be aware that you're holding up a billboard 24 seven, and it's awesome to hear and to learn that I was pretty young in my leadership roles,
00:15:43 in my leadership, the part of my career that was in leadership. When I heard this, uh, your people watch you go to the bathroom and you know, it, it had a lot to do with how I've come to think about leadership. And certainly keeps me more mindful of everything I do when I'm leading people. Yeah. W when I saw that story in the book,
00:16:06 what resonated with me is I, I literally had the, going to the bathroom moment. I mean, for real. Yeah. So I had this gentleman, this gentleman who had, he'd had the problem where he ran out to his, ran out to the restaurant and ran back, everyone thought something was wrong. He had to go talk to somebody urgently.
00:16:22 Right? No. And it's, but it's, but it's the point is again, you know, it, everything you do sends messages and, and they're also looking for alignment, you know, as part of modeling change, they're looking for alignment, where if we step out, if we say our people are important, and then we do nothing and act and no way that actually reinforces that everyone hears that's bull.
00:16:51 Yeah, no, totally. We, we, these empty statements, these contrived empty statements become contrived and empty when they aren't real. Right. Our people are our biggest asset. I remember somebody once writing our people are our biggest asset and we want to know A lot of vision and mission statements. Right. And then we go back to how do we improve,
00:17:15 uh, these metrics, not necessarily, uh, investing in our people and developing, developing our people. So, yeah, absolutely. It's, it's what you do. It's not what you say. Right. Um, we have to say a lot of things, but we, but it's really what you do that matters. And when it comes to leadership,
00:17:34 leadership is an action. Could you take an organization that, that actually like Southwest, where, you know, that is a value that they ascribed is that they're, you know, they don't ascribe to the customer's always. Right. Right. But they also empower their employees to serve their customers. And they say, you're empowered to do this because of that,
00:17:54 you know, they ended up with awesome customer service and for the most part, really happy customers. Um, but it's because again, I don't even know that it's so much that that's their value as much as it is. They have complete alignment to that value. Well, probably not complete, but significant alignment to that value throughout the organization. And I think it's,
00:18:16 it's how they think. Right. So it, and how their thinking informs what they do, but leadership is doing it's, it's having a mindset that's right. But then doing and doing it the right way. So whether, yeah, absolutely somebody out of step, um, and especially during a change, we've got to change the way we've always done it.
00:18:38 Well, You know, we've always done No belief that we should do it this way. We've got to change the way we've always done it. Well, that doesn't, you know, if some people don't want to change. And so they're looking for that one person who's out of alignment. That one thing that we do that doesn't tie into it, rationalization important.
00:19:00 Yeah. Some, here's a good story about rationalizing a way, what we say I was at Travelocity and we woke up one day with a $1 fare to Fiji. So we had a $1 fair to Fiji total accident. Oops. Yeah. Oops. So we realized this because a journalist called us and said, Hey, there are all these people out on this message board.
00:19:22 And they're saying, talking about how they got a $1 fair to Fiji, they're telling each other about it. They're all booking this fair. I got one from my brother. I got one from my mother-in-law and she likes me now. Right? So there are all these people out there talking about getting this $1 fair to Fiji. So a lot of people have purchased the fair and worse,
00:19:42 even worse. It was our fault. It was, uh, it was a real problem for us. It was going to cost us a lot of money. But you have to understand at the time we were about to implement this massive change. Sometime earlier, we determined that after growing from the 33,000, the largest travel agency to the fifth largest travel agency in five years,
00:20:05 that we needed to differentiate ourselves because others had grown too. And people were coming to us and looking at them and just looking at prices and, and deciding where to go Different companies out there that do the same thing. So why should we do it? So we had to differentiate ourselves and we decided that what we would do after a lot of years of just growing,
00:20:24 we decided that we would create a customer first guarantee. And so that meant a complete change in our philosophy. It meant a complete change in the processes, the technology. And we spent 18 months in millions of dollars on a whole new way of thinking and the tools that would help us do that. We got to our, our call centers and they were folding their arms and not asking any questions about this change.
00:20:52 They were clearly not engaged at all. And we'd give them, given them reason to not be that way. Sure. Right. We're talking about customer championship. And for, for five years, it's been five years just trying to put people in seats to handle the calls. Right. We hadn't doubled down on our customer proposition. So yeah. They're kind of folding their arms going.
00:21:16 Yeah. Right. Exactly. And then two weeks before, you know, and by the way, if our people don't change, there is no change if they aren't bought in, right. They're not going to change two weeks before. And we're talking about this, by the way, in the terms of customer championship, we want to champion our customers cause,
00:21:36 and of course they're rolling their eyes and folding their arms two weeks before this whole thing has this, this whole $1 fair to Fiji comes out and we're about to go live with this, you know, months and months and work. This guarantee what to do, what to do. Michelle Peluso was our CEO bright as can be the one of the brightest people.
00:21:58 She's now the CMO at IBM. Michelle, um, took a look at this and she recognized that not only was the whole world watching her, the whole organization was watching her more importantly. And she very easily could have rationalized away a different decision there, you know, who really thinks that a $1 fare to Fiji is true and correct. And not a mistake that clearly this was a mistake,
00:22:24 right. Was a mistake. And you know, people shouldn't, you shouldn't expect. And some journalists were saying that there was a debate going on. And lots of people were saying, yeah, of course, $1 fair to Fiji. That's, you know, you're just, that's not real. But Michelle understood that she, we had to show customer championship.
00:22:43 She couldn't rationalize this away. She had to. And so she went out there 24 hours after we found out about this problem, she went out there and she said, if you bought a $1 fair to Fiji, have a great trip, have a great trip. And by the way, if you bought that $1 fair to Fiji and you go, here's some great discounted hotels that we've negotiated for you and some great things to do in Fiji,
00:23:08 all about Fiji, all kinds of information about Fiji, because not only did she recognize that she had to model the change, but she had to come up with a way to pay for the $1 fare to Fiji. She had a wall street, she had a board of directors. She had a quarter to make, but she knew that there was no way out.
00:23:27 We have to model this change and we can't rationalize it away. So she went out and in that 24 hour period, she did this massive deal with the Fijian tourism authority and the Virgin hotel association. That's what someone who knows. They have to model the change. There is no way they model the change. That's how they think they come up with the creative ways to model the change because they know they have to,
00:23:54 most people just think that they can rationalize it away, that their actions can be. Yeah, well, here's why we are not going to be customer champions this time, but we're going to be customer champions the rest of the time. And you could hear a pin drop in our call centers. They realized that this leader was serious about this. This organization was finally serious about what they cared about the most,
00:24:17 which is their everyday interactions with the Right. Cause they were getting yelled at or complimented more than anyone else. They were on the front lines. And then you re recognize, wow, she's going to support us. And 15 years later, this would have fizzled out of Michelle would have rationalized it away either we wouldn't have launched the guarantee or it would have fizzled out 15 years later,
00:24:36 Travelocity, which has been sold. It's had, I don't know how many CEOs, since Michelle, 15 years later, they still have a customer first guarantee, right? Leadership is acting. Leadership is not something you're granted, but it's based on the right thinking, which is about getting our people to want to change, not getting our people to change forcing on people.
00:24:58 Well, and, and the, the, the word that that comes to mind for me is, is influence. So one of the things and past listeners who've heard earlier, episodes have heard this definition, but I, I say it again every single time, because to me the, the huge difference between influencing others and manipulating others, right? These two things mean different things.
00:25:19 Okay. And yet we kind of use them interchangeably and it's like, Whoa. So to me, here's how I define it. Manipulation is if I'm getting you to do something because it's good for me, right. That's pushing yes. Influences. I'm getting you to do something because it's good for you, you know, it's influenced because honestly it's in your best interest.
00:25:42 It's and that's pole. Yeah. In my sort of, uh, uh, vocabulary, I guess you would say that that's sort of the difference between pushing change onto people and pulling people to, and through the chain. And, and yet most of us, you know, we've touched on this repeatedly over the last few weeks, having a natural resistance to change our first inclination.
00:26:06 You know, we've always done it that way. W we said that earlier, it's, it's the, you know, they don't really mean it this time. If I just sit still long enough, you know, we've been through 15 change movements and all I gotta do is wait it out. It's got to go, Hey, it's not a big deal.
00:26:22 This is just the next guy coming in or the next gal coming in with their pet project. You know, I've been here longer than them. I'll still be here when they're really all of these things that we say. Right. Um, and yet influence, you know, polling can help us change for our own good. You know, that to me,
00:26:43 kind of the fundamental definition. So how are some of the things, what are some of the specific things that leaders can do or tell a story here, if you've got one that allows leaders to influence positive change in an organization? Well, I think, um, I think one thing that's important is being ourselves. If people see, um, contrived behavior,
00:27:09 if people see, you know, that's why we have, I mean, because it's so common that there's contrived behavior, um, that's why we have office space, the office and Dilbert. Right. All really remarkably accurate. Absolutely. Because We'll try to take on a persona that they aren't. Right. So we have to figure out how to make it,
00:27:31 us, make it ourselves. Um, be real. Don't try to be anything that we're not, we can be leaders, even if we aren't being boss. In fact, we are leaders. If we're not being boss and we might not be leaders, if we're being boss. So we don't, you know, yes, we have to change in some ways,
00:27:51 but we ha it has to be true to our nature. If we want to influence people who want to develop our influence first, start with me, who am I? And what do I need to be? And, and, and those sorts of things, talk about what, you know, you know, show your, share your own experiences, listen to other's experiences,
00:28:12 be interested in the people you are leading. They will be interested in what you have to say, share stories to help make your point stories or storytelling is a huge and very important factor in successful initiatives of all kinds. So share stories that point to something that behaviors that you think are good, um, behaviors that brought about success, tell success stories.
00:28:39 Um, but we don't have to talk about only about, let me tell you about all the times I've failed. We also don't want to talk about only about the times that I'm so successful. Right? Right. We're the whole person. And we want our people to see us as the whole person, people, you know, we want people to see us as someone who's going through things just like they are,
00:29:02 but they've been given the responsibility. They're not the boss. They're the person who has the responsibility. And you, we build the respect for that. When people, when we build our influence, we help people respect the fact that I've got this responsibility on my shoulders, help me carry, help me carry the load. I'm going to carry most of it.
00:29:23 But I, if you help me carry the load together, we'll get somewhere that's leadership. That's holding someone by the hand and moving while moving forward, that's showing someone the way in a new way. And so that's how we develop our influence, being ourselves, being the best that we can Be rather than, and being the truest ourselves that we can be rather than contriving and coming up with slogans and those sorts of things.
00:29:53 That's not leadership. That's, that's the office office space or Dover. Right. Well, I need your TPS report by Monday. Mmm. No know that you're supposed to put the TPS report on top of her with a staple into the top left corner too. Yeah. It's it's the whole, but again, the reason that those things resonate is because most of us have had Those experiments.
00:30:22 Again, I once watched office space, that movie with a bunch of people I worked with at a tech company that I was at, and I was looking around the room going, Oh, look that person's laughing at that character. That character is him. That is that character. He doesn't realize that they're making fun of him. Right? Of course,
00:30:40 no one was making fun of me. No, no, no, no, no. You are nowhere in that film. No, no. I've never done anything wrong. Well, and again, like as leaders, I mean, one of the things that I did, right. And I did a lot of things wrong and we can talk about that another day,
00:30:58 I'll get my couch out, but it's, it's, it is. I went to the folks that reported to me and I said, you, you, you gotta tell me if I'm doing something that's interfering with your ability to do your job. Because to me, one of my jobs as a leader is to get things out of your way so that you can do your job.
00:31:18 You know, I mean, I got to clear the wood so that you can go out and plant the field, you know? Um, and then yet I, and yet I had discovered that there were times that I was doing things that actually was putting things in their way, you know, so one brave soul spoke, open a meeting and, and I could tell it was one of these.
00:31:37 Well, all right, let's see if he means it. You know? And they told me, you know, when you drop by my office on interrupted, it disrupts my flow and keeps me from being able to do my work. I wish you would call and make an appointment, you know, or get on my calendar, send me an email and get an appointment.
00:31:53 Like awesome, fantastic. I will make sure I do that. Anyone else need the same thing? Yeah. You know, no anger, no reaction. No. What? And literally you could see the room change. Maybe he actually means this, you know, now, now granted there were still test balloons. They didn't, they didn't all jump in and tell me everything I was doing wrong the next day.
00:32:16 Right. But over the next few months, I got a long list of things that I needed to do different, you know, and I changed them to the best of my ability or if I couldn't, I told them why. Right. You know, and at least they would understand, you know, I, sorry, I cannot clear that. And here's why I've seen,
00:32:35 I've seen bosses who say, I do this, I do that. And I'm not changing. Right. And there are things that would really get in the way of the success of their people. And we don't have any success if our people aren't No. So, you know, I'm not changing well, you know, good luck, God bless ya.
00:32:55 You're not going to impact my world. You're not going to influence me. So As part of the, the, the things that we do as leaders, um, we are often called upon to speak. Uh, you know, we don't just communicate in writing. We don't just communicate by our actions. We also, often we have to tell the story,
00:33:14 you know, we have to get on the stage in whether it's within the company, whether it's outside of the company, doesn't matter. Um, you've obviously had opportunities both when you were in leadership and now, uh, with the book to go out and do speaking with the idea of influencing change. So do you have any tips for folks on how they can use speaking in this process of modeling and acting out change?
00:33:42 Well, I think one thing that's important and I, I sort of went through this a few minutes ago, but the idea of being real with people, uh, getting people in the audience, whoever we are, if it's three people or 3000 people, if they can find themselves in you, they are much more likely to listen and to be, be led.
00:34:06 So speaking is not that different from what we need to do to lead well, be ourselves, right. Share something that maybe we did wrong, uh, or something that we were that we learned along the way early on. So they'll say, ah, okay, this is somebody I can relate to. That's really important, be relatable. And that's by being ourselves,
00:34:28 um, talk about what, you know, and know what you know. So, you know, I've had jobs in companies when I was at GE, I can remember, uh, going into a business that had reciprocating engines. I didn't know what that was. These are the ones that have spark plugs, et cetera. I would spend five hours on Saturday mornings,
00:34:48 much to my daughter's dismay. I would spend five hours on Saturday mornings learning every word that I didn't understand, you know, throughout the week I had them all listed and I would spend I'd be on the internet, really learning my stuff because no one will listen to us. If we don't understand, we're having to learn something new. We have to double down to really understand what people are talking about.
00:35:12 If we're going to ever help them. And they will be able to sniff right away if we are clueless on some of the things that we're talking about. So we have to know our stuff and we have to really do the research and do the hard work that we need to do writing this book 20 years of, of research, but also, you know,
00:35:33 a year of deep, deep work to understand what it really is and what the differences are, so that I could talk about this. Right. So really know your stuff. Um, and then sharing once you've sort of got the people to relate to you and you've got their respect cause you, you know what you're talking about, sharing good stories, people love stories.
00:35:57 In fact, what I found is if I see people sort of, you know, sort of going there, they're either talking to each other or whatever. If I say the word story, everyone sort of turns their heads. So telling stories, being good at telling stories, working on your ability to tell stories, that's, that's important as well for speaking.
00:36:18 And even, you know, going back to the book, that's one of the reasons why I enjoyed the book as much as I did is because you tell stories, you know, it's not just a bunch of, here's what you do, here's how you do it. Here's the 13 techniques that you use. Um, instead you illustrate with, with really good examples of stories throughout as well.
00:36:36 Yep. And that's, that's what illustrates truth. Um, we can have, you know, most of the people who talk about change management are academics. Um, you know, consultants, um, observers, um, and they call themselves observers. They haven't necessarily lived it, I've lived it. And so I know what gets people inspired and what gets people to do things.
00:37:00 They talk, they talk about storytelling, these other, other people who talk about change, they don't tell stories, um, or they don't spend their time telling stories. They're so focused on data and data's good. That is not unimportant, but storytelling is very, very important to drive people to change Well, and I've even used the expression of, uh,
00:37:22 you know, when, so when I look at a budget, when I look at a calendar, what I tell people is, you know, that's a tool and it's important, but what's more important is what story does that tool tell us, you know, as the user of the tool, cause the story's really the important part, not the tool.
00:37:41 Exactly. Building on that on what you just said, Beth Comstock, who was the chief marketing officer and sort of had this strategy office for GE for many years, she said, strategy is just a story. Well told. You know, if you can't tell your strategy, you don't have a strategy, right? If you can't explain your strategy, you don't have one.
00:38:02 It's not going to be successful. Whatever you're trying to do, if you can't explain it to people easily, if you don't have a way forward, that's easily explainable that other people can understand and get on board. It's not going to succeed. So storytelling is just so, so critical and absolutely you can find Al at his home base at dot com,
00:38:27 which is probably a little easier to spell. He's also active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all under at Al Como. I'll of course have links to all of that over in the show notes as well. Al, is there anything else you'd like to share with the listener? Well, I I'd love for people to engage on what I've been talking about,
00:38:48 which is really about leaders needing to change all of us, needing to change by listening to others, by pulling people into and through the change, as opposed to pushing change on people. I really think that we can do a much better job at this, make our economy more efficient and make our lives better if we can change in a better way. So I wish great change and good luck to everyone out there. Thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast,
00:39:28 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 enjoy this episode, please, please do us a favor. Go over to inspired, right? 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,
00:40:08 invest your time, your talent and your treasures, develop your influence and impact the world..

In today's episode, I ask Al about:

  • His definition of leadership...  
  • Why we have a natural resistance to change and what to do about it...
  • Why you have to be aware that others are “watching you go to the bathroom” as a leader...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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You are holding up a billboard 24 7 with things that you are not even aware of as a leader... - Al Comeaux

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About the author 


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

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