August 10

Episode 671: Impact the World – Interview with Al Comeaux – Part 4

Impact the World, Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview


Join us today for Part 4 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 4 of the interview I had with speaker, leader, and change mangement guru Al Comeaux.  

In today’s final part of the four part interview with Al Comeaux, we continue our conversation about managing change.  In today’s episode I ask Al about some of the top principles we need to focus on to make an impact, how managing change well leads to an increased impact, his legacy and lots more.

Join in on the Chat below.

00:00:00 Thanks for joining us on episode 671 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,
00:00:27 the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Mader, But that's had hurting for people who have to go through this. They've had to do all kinds of change and then it didn't work out. So that's a human impact. A human impact, a human cost of doing the head hurting work. And sometimes people's lives are up ended because of this change that doesn't even doesn't even work.
00:00:57 So we owe it to the people whose lives are being affected. Either their work life is being upended for them. Careers are being 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 color.
00:01:20 In the inspired stewardship podcast. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence So that you can impact the work In today's final part of the four-part interview with Al Como. We continue our conversation about managing change. In today's episode, I asked Al about some of the top principles we need to focus on to really make an impact how managing change well can really increase our impact.
00:01:53 I ask Al about the legacy he wants to leave 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, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read.
00:02:15 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. That's inspired to get your free trial and listened to great books.
00:02:44 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 his career. Championing change as a senior leader at the Uber disruptive dot coms, as well as really established global world renowned companies in his 20 year journey, looking into and researching. 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.
00:03:26 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, his family lived not too far from me, right up the road in Fort worth, Texas, but Texas speak. That's not too far,
00:03:51 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 focused on why, 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.
00:04:22 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? There's always that moment of really, I did that really cool. I want to beat that guy. He sounds pretty cool. At least that's how I Yeah, no,
00:04:43 absolutely. We jump into this week. Uh, I always laugh and warn guests. This is when we're going to ask the really easy questions. This is the section with the softball questions in it. Not at all. Um, so let's start with this one. If people really want to make a change, they want to make a dent in the universe.
00:05:03 They want to make an impact on the world. What are some of the top two or three ideas, principles, mindsets, philosophies, whatever word you want to use in there that people need to focus on learning. Yeah. So I always say, get out of your comfort zone, get out of yourself, even get out of yourself. Tony Shea,
00:05:23 who runs Zappos, the shoe online shoe company, that's been so successful. He says something like I do something uncomfortable every day, one uncomfortable thing every day. You know, it can be as simple as going to a church. That's not your own. That looks at things differently. Um, challenging yourself to think a new think differently. You'll experience something called cognitive dissonance.
00:05:48 This is the psychological discomfort that we get every day when a belief of ours or a, um, uh, some idea that we dear a value is countered or challenged. We'll get that and we'll experience it and we'll feel what it feels like millions of people, by the way, every night avoid cognitive dissonance. They don't like that discomfort because they, if they're conservative,
00:06:12 they stay at Fox news rather than going out to MSNBC. Or if they're liberal, they stay at MSNBC and they don't go to Fox news, right? Millions of people just want to avoid this thing called cognitive dissonance, but it is the, the belief or the, the, uh, belief being challenged or countered and something that we hold dear. And in change,
00:06:32 I talk about how the belief that we hold dear is something called the way we've always done it. We hold that dear. And when someone comes along and tells us that the way we've always done it, it's not the way we're going to do it. Well, we want to curl up into the fetal position, or we want to throw things at our,
00:06:50 at the leader who tells us this. So we have to get out of our own comfort zone so we can understand what other people will be going through when, when we ask them to come out of their comfort zone. Um, and when we get out of our comfort zone, we grow, we learn and we have a better opportunity. We are better equipped to change the world,
00:07:14 to impact the world. Uh, I say, read, read as much as you can about things that are foreign to you, that you can learn from travel. Um, even if it's traveling to another state, uh, you know, I've learned I've grown so much from traveling and just asking people questions. Um, like I said, go to a house of worship.
00:07:35 That's different from yours, or if you're not a believer, go to a house of worship, you know, and, and, and go to that TV station. That's not comfortable and listen and learn how that works in your body because that that's growth in and of itself. But it's also, she helps you feel what your people may be feeling. If we are asking them to change,
00:08:00 especially for telling them to change, it's a blunt force and it doesn't really work for any of us to sort of be told how to think what to do. Um, it doesn't work. So, so I would say, get out of your comfortable and then be willing to listen first, you know, today in politics, I think no one's working on this.
00:08:22 No, one's making an impact. No, one's impacting the world because everyone's so busy waiting to tell the next argument that they're right. I've seen, uh, some organizations recently, the Aspen Institute and, and Allstate, the insurance company. They've got a program that, uh, that talks about the, uh, the power of nobody wins. So taking,
00:08:47 winning off the table in our arguments, and if we can do that and not have winning as a result, but learning as a result, listening, it causes us to listen. We want to hear the other person. I'm not going to win. They're not going to win. We're instead engaged in something where we listen, we have to. So we have to understand and listen,
00:09:09 before we can expect to make a difference, impact the world. And then we have to believe so when we are in the middle of a change in particular, we have to believe in the change. If, if we don't believe in it, our people can smell that from a million miles away. So we have to believe in ourselves. We have to believe in what we say.
00:09:32 We have to believe in what we do. Uh, Steve, uh, um, uh, Jeff basis, Jeff Bezos at Amazon, he has a saying, it's called, uh, have a backbone, disagree and commit. So you may, as you were saying, uh, in a previous episode, you may disagree with something altogether, but once you've had your say,
00:09:56 and once everyone's been able to talk about it, and if it doesn't go your way, if it, if it, if it goes with a way that maybe you don't, um, you don't necessarily wouldn't necessarily take things that way, it's your responsibility to find a way to believe in this way that we're doing it or, Or to leave or get out of the way at least.
00:10:17 Yes, absolutely. And so, so you have to believe, and you have to figure out how to believe. And I get into in the book, I talk a bit about how we get ourselves to believe in something that maybe, or to champion something that maybe we didn't necessarily believe in. How do we look at what we're doing, seeing how to understand how it's going to be a positive,
00:10:35 yes, there are positives to this. How are they going to work? How is this going to be better? We get our mind into it. A lot of it is mindset, but then it's action. And people can see from a mile away if we haven't figured out how to believe in what we do. So I would say getting out of your comfort zone,
00:10:54 be willing to listen to others, form an opinion, and then believe, then you have a belief in, and with that belief you can act and you can lead. And that's, what's important when we want to make an impact on the universe. So as part of that Impact that leaders can make by successfully leading change can be huge. Um, you know,
00:11:20 you talked earlier about organizational change, costing trillions of dollars in wasted effort every single year. Um, you know, not just once, either by the way, annually, you know, um, would you talk about then why learning to do this? Well, learning to manage change well, can be impactful, not just for companies, but also not just money,
00:11:41 but also for individuals as well. Yeah. You know, I think the toughest thing for us is, is going through a change ourselves and what's even harder is doing it in vain. So two thirds of change efforts, according to McKinsey, the consulting firm, two thirds of change efforts fail, right? So you set out to change. People have to go through the cognitive dissonance.
00:12:07 They have to go through the head hurting work of changing themselves, changing how they do things. And then it doesn't work right? Three years later, you're saying, well, this system that we bought and put in, it's stupid. It didn't work well often because of the way we went about it. But that's hurting for people who have to go through this.
00:12:25 They've had to do all kinds of change and then it didn't work out. So that's a human impact, a human impact, a human costs of doing the head hurting work. And sometimes people's lives are ended because of this change that doesn't even doesn't even work. So we owe it to the people whose lives are being upended. Either their work life is being upended or their careers are being upended because we decided to do a change.
00:12:51 And then the change didn't didn't succeed. We owe it to them to make this change successful. And that requires ourselves to change. Um, I, I talk, you talked about the money. It is pretty astounding. How much money we waste on change. So by my conservative estimate, we spend something like $3 trillion a year on change. So if we're losing two thirds of the time at change,
00:13:17 we're wasting something like $2 trillion a year, a year on change my nephew. And I tried to figure out how to spend $2 trillion. So we're like, well, okay. We like technology. So let's buy Apple. We bought Apple. And then we said, well, we'd like to travel. So let's buy Marriott. We bought American airlines, British airways and Japan airlines.
00:13:41 And, you know, we're still had lots of money left. We bought like all these fancy places to live all over the world. And then my nephew is like, Hey, what are we going to do with the rest of this money? We have to spend it somehow. So we bought every NFL team, every single one. And then we had billions of dollars in walking around money to spend,
00:14:01 I got to pay taxes on all these things we possess now, I guess. So the scary thing is we would have to do that again the next year. Yeah. Amazon, or we'd have to go by Google and a bunch of other things. That's how much waste there is not only in terms of human factors, but in inefficiency, that could be better to put $2 trillion there in 19.
00:14:26 In 2019, there are only seven countries that had to economize that were $2 trillion or greater. We hear about it in all these, you know, um, all these congressional funding reports, we're funding bills that have trillions of dollars in them. And we kind of don't think twice, but it's just a phenomenal amount of money and human lives, you know,
00:14:50 human lives and their work lives and careers that are offended by the stuff called change. That's in vain. And so we owe it to the world. We owe it to our people. We owe it to sort of everyone around us to succeed at change. And that takes a whole different way of thinking about how we lead. Um, so yes, absolutely.
00:15:12 It's a huge impact. If we can lead change successfully, it means not wasting money. It means not ending up ending lies for no good reason and also means having a modern well run state-of-the-art operation, uh, an organization that we can be proud of doing things that we can be proud of, whether it's a church or a big company or a family,
00:15:37 or we proud of what we do as a family. Are we proud of how we do things as a nonprofit organization? That's also really building a great, a great thing. That's part of the greatness of, of winning it change and doing it the right way. I would layer on that too. You know, we're recording this during the COVID-19 the pandemic,
00:15:59 the, it also creates an organization where if, if you've truly been able to implement change successfully over time, you become more able to implement change. You know, which means when there's a change put upon you by the world, like, Oh my goodness, Hey, we've got to figure out a way to have everyone work. Yep. Yep. You can talk to them.
00:16:21 People who were putting together policies to work from home and they had 64 page decks on how, and these are some of the companies that I admire a 64 page decks on all the things you can't do, all the things you can't do. And they were working on them for a year on I'll do it. And they had to do it over. They had to ultimately do it overnight.
00:16:42 And what they said was used good judgment use, good judgment, Nordstrom, the, the, um, the, the clothing that the department store for a time. I don't know if it's still true, but for a time their whole, um, employee handbook was used. Good judgment. It's still true. And what do you know? I mean,
00:17:03 I'm sure they've got some information about their benefits and whatever they have, but use good judgment. Just, just use good judgment. And that's, you know, it's fascinating how we want so many people want to, uh, tie us up in knots when we're trying to do things. And it's really about judgment. It's really about the spirit in which we do things.
00:17:26 If we do things in a good spirit, it will go, well, one of the things I, I actually, you know, even though GE was such a big, big company, one of the things they had with their travel and incidental policy was the spirit and the letter. They had something called the spirit and the letter. Now I never actually read the whole letter,
00:17:45 the letter of the law, because I knew that I, if I was acting in the spirit, because they gave us that grace, I was acting in the spirit. I wasn't going to have problems. I wasn't going in a spinning exorbitantly. If I wasn't, if I was watching, you know, watching what I spent, I knew that they had my back because it was the spirit and the letter.
00:18:06 And they, that was how they presented it. Right. Honestly, you don't really have to worry too much if they're presenting it that way, they're giving you, they're treating you like an adult, they're trusting you. And that creates greater trust. And the irony is that people probably actually spent less with that kind of model than when you have the 472 line items that you have to find out Were trying to figure out how to get around those 472 line items.
00:18:32 Right. As opposed to, Well, this isn't listed. So therefore yeah, It's the spirit, right? It's the spirit. And so if we give people that, you know, I think it's a huge impact and it can really impact and be much more effective if we give people the ability to act on their own and to lead themselves. So as we wrap up,
00:18:54 Well, let me ask you a couple of, uh, a couple of personal questions. Uh, so the first one is I like to ask all of the guests a little bit about their own legacy, their own impact. So if you could travel into the far future, maybe a hundred, 150 years, and you look back on your life, what impact do you hope that you've had on the world?
00:19:15 Uh, I think obviously being a good father and husband, son, friend, um, friend, when people needed me, um, and enriching other people's lives more than enrich, enrich my own because that's rich know, I like to say to young people, if you, if you want to be rich, don't try to make a fortune. And,
00:19:37 you know, I see people who are trying to make a fortune and it's like Charlie Brown, trying to kick that ball that gets taken from under them. They're spending all their time trying to get, make a fortune. And it's not a rich existence. Our teachers, all kinds of other people are rich because they do what, what fascinates them, what excites them.
00:19:56 If you want to be rich, don't try to make a fortune, the truly rich among us or those who seek to help others. And so that's what I, if you know, 150 years from now, if anybody does remember me, I hopefully I'm remembered for that. I enriching other people, um, because that enriches me. Um, and that's,
00:20:14 you know, why I wrote the book because I wanted to enrich people and not have them go through the kinds of head hurting change and head hurting things that I'd been through. And then I'd seen so many other people go through in vain. So what What's coming next for Al as you continue to live out your calling and do your, your journey, um,
00:20:36 do you have anything coming down the pipe? Well, I, so my I've just published the book. Um, but I think that the thing that I need to do as I look forward, I'm planning to first listen, first, I'm doing research. And so first listen before you form an opinion, um, but I'm going to be researching. So that's the listening,
00:20:59 writing, teaching, speaking on all things change, um, and, and bringing out a new dimension to what change is, uh, helping people understand that change is not just the rational, the execution, the work that most people talk about in change. It is primarily, and without the emotional aspects of change, uh, there is no change because our people need to have an emotional reason and a rational reason for the change.
00:21:33 And all the books in the world seemed to talk about this rational reasons why we change as opposed to the emotional reasons why we change. So how do I help lower the failure rate? Um, by again, by researching writing, teaching speaking, I formed a company called primed for change, and that's what I'll do that through this company and speaking, and,
00:21:58 um, and researching and writing and, and teaching. Uh, and again, always with the mindset of listen first. And then, um, tell later you can follow Al at his home base at dot com, which is probably a little easier to spell. He's also active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, all under at Al Como.
00:22:27 I'll of course have links to all of that over in the show notes as well. Al, is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listener? Well, I I'd love for people to engage on what I've been talking about, 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,
00:22:51 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, as a subscriber and listener,
00:23:20 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,
00:23:59 invest your time, your talent and your treasures, develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask Al about:

  • Some of the top principles we need to focus on to make an impact... 
  • How managing change well leads to an increased impact... 
  • His legacy...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.

- Al Comeaux

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You can connect with Al using the resources below:

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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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