Scott Peltin is founder and chief performance officer of Tignum, a company that helps his executive clients achieve their full potential to maximize business performance. He’s worked with CEOs, C-level executives, professional athletes, and many top leaders to improve their performance and sustainability. Prior to founding Tignum in 2005, Scott worked on the front-line for over 25 years as a firefighter and as a captain, and later led his crews as a battalion and division chief in the Phoenix Fire Department.
Maximize Business Performance, Energy, and Recovery Rituals with Scott Peltin
Welcome to the show, Scott.
Thank you Mark. Welcome to you too. It’s great to be here.
So Scott, we last met 8, 9 years ago and I’m curious, how did you get started in this business of helping high level execs maximize business performance?
Well it seems like a leap for most people to go from the fire service to developing top executives to be sustainable high performers that maximize business performance, but it’s really not such a leap because if you think about the fire department, everything is around performance. In fact, low performance can often be catastrophic, and so a lot of what I learned in the fire department, but also in my education getting my master’s degree in exercise physiology and performance of psychology was all around how do we maximize leaders and maximize business performance? How do we maximize fire fighters so they can be their best when they absolutely need to? So really I just changed the audience of who I was working with which was really, really a great change for me because it was interesting to see the similarities, the parallels, but also some of the unique differences. So as the story goes I met my partner Jogi Rippel, the other founder of Tignum, at a high performance place called Athlete’s Performance, and so there was just Jogi had the idea. His father had just died of cancer. His dad’s death right after he retired really upset him. My father died when he was 53 years old so I guess all the ingredients were perfect when we met to say, “Let’s create something that really maybe can change the world.”
In your book Scott, ‘Sink, Float or Swim’, you talked about that story and also Jogi’s story which really did resonate with me personally as well. You talked about this material of how to maximize business performance that you wrote about in the book which you’ve built Tignum on, as being the missing link in leadership. I’m wondering why is this material, we’ll get into the material in minute, but why is it that how to maximize business performance is not taught at all?
You know what’s an interesting thing? I think there’s probably a couple of reasons, but one we’re very content driven society right? We think it’s all about knowledge so even when my executives are preparing for a big presentation, maybe a town hall meeting or something, the majority of them are looking at their slides worrying about their content. Do they have their numbers right? So from school I think whether you’re getting your MBA, whether you’re a lawyer, whatever your background is, I think you’re driven all the time that it’s about the content. He who knows the most or she who knows the most will be the best. They missed the big part of it which is 90% of it is, she or he who’s delivering the message and so I think in the physically demanding job like the fire department or special operations when we work with the US military, clearly they can’t ignore the physical part. When I say physical I mean mindset as well, because that’s a big part of it. So I think in business we often just miss that. What’s fascinating is when people realize that at the foundation of all the leadership training communication training, negotiation training, presentation training, at the foundation of all that is really fundamentally, do you have the energy so you can energize others? That’s what everybody wants when they leave an interaction with you. Did you give me energy or did you suck me dry of my energy? Do you have the resilience to bounce back and I mean unexpectedly now having come from a public world and then gone into a company and then gone through the great recession here, I really have an appreciation for resilience, and do you have the mental agility to be a problem solver, to be able to think differently, to put together different types of information. Without those things, all the knowledge, all the information in the world can’t help you.
So I guess if some of our listeners are in the fire service or in a special ops, that would then relate very clearly to that but if a CEO is listening to this at the moment, help me sort of turn this into what it actually means for the CEO. So maybe you can paint a picture of a CEO you’ve worked with and just tell us what led up to you how do you enter into the conversation and what sort of things would you have done with this CEO to maximize business performance? A real-life case study would be great without mentioning names of course and then I suppose, most importantly, if we fast-forwarded six months later what would you see doing differently the CEO doing differently or benefiting from differently if you like? Can you just give us a case study if you like of how you work to maximize business performance?
Yeah, and I can actually share a name because I have permission. One of the guys I work with to maximize business performance, one of the companies is Dun & Bradstreet and the CEO is an amazing guy, Bob Carrigan, and Bob took over the company a few years ago and it’s a 173-year-old legacy company and it deals with company data around company credit. Now, that type of business seems like a very kind of transactional business and a very old business, but the problem that Bob faces when you look at the internet, when you look at Google, that type of data is available to so many people in so many different formats. What is the value proposition from Dun & Bradstreet? So fundamentally Bob had the task of taking over a legacy company and having to reshape it, create a completely different environment. That’s difficult enough from facing outward right? How do customers see you? But it’s even more difficult facing inward which is your own employees who have many had been with the company 30, 40 years. Then some had been literally there 30, 40 days.
So for Bob it was exhausting. It was exhausting to juggle all these things and so as he looked across his executive team and he realized what the had to undertake, he realized that the way he shared the message, his personal energy to inspire his people to know that if we’re going to transform this business this is going to be a long-term thing. So we’re going to need the energy in order to have the stamina, the executional stamina to see this through in the end. At the same time, we’re going to have to think different to maximize business performance. So for a company that really didn’t have to do a lot of thinking different, we’re going to have to come up with new algorithms, we’re going to have to make data connect data in a different way to make it more useful to our clients. So, literally, if you look at Bob, at every town hall, people watching every part of his message. Does Bob really believe that this can be done? Does Bob really believe that we have the resources inside? Does Bob really have the ability to connect with so many different types of employees from young to old and get them going? So, for every single meeting, we would literally sit with Bob at the beginning of the week and look at his agenda and say, “Where are what we would call peak performances?” What are your opportunities to multiply your impact and maximize business performance? We would do the same with the entire executive leadership team.
So there you’re thinking, “Well hold on, I thought you were talking about a physically demanding job like the fire department?” Believe it or not, when you’re flying around the world meeting with your employees or meeting with shareholders or going on MSNBC or CNBC in the morning and having to present your value proposition, it’s exhausting, so not only it is physically exhausting, it’s mentally draining. Then there’s the other side of it, of course, Bob has to go home to two wonderful kids at the end of the week so I’d like to say at the end of the night but it seems like many times it’s the end of the week for a lot of us and be his best when he walks in the door, and have a great weekend whether it’s playing golf with his son or something like that. Often we underestimate the need for high performance there, and so the strategy is to sustain of a high performance for him to be able to be his best at all these peak performances both personal and professional, and inspire his team. It can’t be understated and so I think that’s where I’ve seen so many people, they’re just exhausted and they think nobody notices, but I always tell my clients, “You’re communicating to people in a thousand different ways. The words you’re using are just one, the slide you’re using is just two, the rest of it is much of it unspoken, and that comes from your personal preparation and the energy that you have and you can’t undervalue that.”
Fascinating. I have to say at Syngenta where we worked in the past, probably the most stressful activity I performed was an investor’s road show down in Brazil. A combination of jet lag and last minute changes and the intensity of knowing that this was going to be written up by likes of Goldman Sachs and pushed out to their clients the next day. It certainly creates quite a lot of attention and the ability therefore to manage one’s energy and prepare mentally and physically for that is a key criteria for performance.
Let’s go forward to Bob. Six months later, once you’d gone, presumably you’re in Philadelphia now, he’s probably somewhere else. You’re no longer working with him holding his hand through the week, as it were, metaphorically speaking. What’s changed now? What would he say today having been through that experience? How is his professional and personal life different?
Well, I think Bob is an interesting one because I would say that, fundamentally, the culture is changed in Dun & Bradstreet. I hope we had a part a small part of that to make it much more agile, maximize business performance, and much more energizing. To be surrounded by sustainable high performers is always really the goal when you want to maximize business performance.
I think when you see Bob now is he is much more strategic, even looking at himself as the high performer, and that’s the one difference, right? If you look at athletes, they understand fundamentally that they are their most important asset. With Bob, with all executives I just used Bob as an example but I think people underestimate that I am the asset therefore I need to take care of this and I need to maximize and optimize my performance to be able to do that. I think what you’ll see now is that Bob would say that he has a toolbox. You know those kind of four areas we focus on: mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. I think he feels like he has a toolbox that he can draw from and he has the right tool now to do what he needs, whether it’s using mental visualization to prepare for a big presentation, whether it’s something as simple as using a breathing technique to recover during a stressful time. I mean, quarterly reports just came out and that’s always a challenging time and it’s a stressful time. They’re going to, still, a huge cultural change, changing the alignment of the company the whole reorganization. There’s so many stressful moments through a day, through a week, through a month that if you don’t have recovery strategies there’s no way you can continue and be your best day in and day out.
So for someone listening to this maybe on a Monday morning commuting to work, they know their calendar is jam-packed from 8 o’clock in the morning until 8 at night for the next five days. Let’s just see if we can just pause a little bit and say, what advice would you give them? I think you gave a clue around recovery time but what’s something that someone can do straightaway to actually begin to getting control of this reality for many executives in the world of commerce today?
So you may have just opened Pandora’s box because there’s so many different directions I can go here but I’ll just grab a couple probably low hanging fruit here. I’m going to say the first thing is you have to question is that really the best way to approach to even have a day? We kind of use a system now where we look at the calendar and we say, “That already? You’re the high risk.” You’re in the red already because if you look at your day and it’s back-to-back from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M., something should click in your brain and say it is actually impossible for me to be my best throughout that day. So is that really the best way for me to spend my time and my energy? So I would say how do I dial that back into a yellow day which is, “Okay caution, I’m hanging it out a little bit,” to maybe even purposely making it a green day which is a day that says, “Where are my most important meetings? Have I built space before and after?” Before so I can prepare, after so I can recover and reflect so that I can continually grow and learn and bring my best each meeting. So often our executives, even CEOs say, “I’m in my sixth meeting of the day; my brain is in the third meeting.” My body’s trying everything it can to get out of here to get to the seventh meeting. Then we question and we say, “Are you really so intelligent that when you’re just physically we’re just talking about physical matter you’re just physically in a chair in a meeting that you’re making that big of an impact?” then they laugh and they go, “No, really I’m not that brilliant,” and I work with some really brilliant people, mind yourself. So I think that idea of looking at your day different and really challenging the status quo and saying, “You know, I’ve done it that way but that’s not right.”
So we have to also be careful about the stories we tell. Many times our badge of courage is how busy we are, how many meetings we have, how many people we meet with. If I look at some of the greatest leaders that we’ve worked with, Sandy Ogg, former chief HR officer who now really works with CEOs to do nothing but help them look at their day and say, “Who are the five or six most important people I need to talk to today? That really made me start thinking, “You’re so right,” like we think that if we have 15, we’re more important than if we have 5, and he would say, “No way. Find the five, be your best for those five. Multiply your impact,” and that would be another thing I would say. Probably the third thing I would say is, “What have you done for yourself today to make sure that you can give the most to other people?” and that means you had to have started that day or done something to put fuel in the tank, to have built your capacity, to have been mentally focused and purposeful throughout your day or else you’re falling into that trap again, to think again that you’re so magical, that physically if you just show up magic happens. When people realize that and really look at it they go “That’s crazy.” That would like me showing up and saying if a fire truck just pulls out in front of your house, fire magically goes out. That’s just getting to work, that’s just the beginning.
So it’s interesting. One of our early guests, Lisa Bodell talked about the biggest issue for companies trying to innovate, be that respond to change from disruption or from regulation or from changing demographics. The biggest challenge in most companies is finding the space to innovate and most organizations don’t get that and they think well this is change, life is tough. Let’s tough it out and therefore, we lay one more initiative, one more need on top of everyone. What you’re saying is that might be a reality but actually to create the space to recover, to reflect, and make sure that when you’re having these interactions with the key people who are the multipliers, you’re actually able to completely present and, because what you said earlier, they pick up they might listen to the words but unless you’re fully engaged in the process and at your best, the results are going to be suboptimal.
Absolutely. I’ll just give you two really practical ways to do that which is interesting because it comes when we’re coaching people and they have a problem and we say, “Let’s get our arms around this and see how we can solve it.” So one, I have a guy who on the executive board of a huge pharma company, true amazing guy was named in the top 40 under 40 years old. What we did for him was to make sure that at least once a month, he has a day that is completely blocked out no meetings, no presentations, no nothing as purely thinking time. So that would have been impossible and physically you would still think it’s impossible because his agenda is just crazy; the demands on him are insane. But he just decided, “I’m paid for my judgment. I am paid for my ability to innovate.” So why would I not block that day and the things that have come out of that because so much happens that when you stop the speed train and you allow new thoughts to shape themselves, it comes out of that day not only reenergized personally, but with all kinds of new thoughts and that changes the month coming forward who are going to be the people that I need to meet with and how am I going to maximize my impact and maximize business performance.
Another one of our clients running a huge financial firm here in Philadelphia, amazing firm, very innovative, and he realized that every time he walked down the hallway everybody was grabbing him for five minutes. He was basically the chief firefighter, the chief fire officer because everyone had a fire to give, and so it was happening so often, I looked at him and I said, “Let’s think differently here.” If it’s happening that regularly, it’s not anymore unpredictable. We can’t put it into the, well, those are the unexpected things that happen because you’re telling me it’s happening everyday. So what we did was we built a one hour fire fighting time into his calendar for every day every afternoon. So at 3 o’clock, he has a fire fighter hour. So when people run into him and say, “I need five or ten minutes of your time.” He says, “Go talk to my admin. She’ll get you on my calendar in my firefighter hour.” What happened was amazing. First of all, 80% of them solve their own problems. So without even planning it, he actually empowered people, developed people to solve their own problems. The other 20% who showed up, they were now within a confined time that he had created. Most of those hours I was just with him this week, most of those hours are half full which led to a half an hour every day to think because then he was solving his own firefighter problems. So in that half hour now he’s thinking, “Okay, what’s happening today, what do I need to do tomorrow, how can I end this day strong?” That was totally doable but in his own way, he was bombarded and which by the way made him late for every meeting which lowered his impact and his physical and mental presence on everyone in the meetings, and sent him home at the end of the day exhausted. That one simple change, huge difference. Again it was just stopping and saying, “Let’s look at the problem differently.”
Okay, so one of the things about your approach which is slightly different is integration across the four areas of mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery and I’m curious, you’re not going to like this question but I’m going to ask it anyway, you talked about 80/20 earlier on. Which of those I mean these are all important and integration is important but which is the real game changer here? I think so far we’ve talked about mindset which includes practices which is some of the examples you’ve given, but what is the do you find that you are focusing more on certain areas than others because you know that is that has a far greater effect or are you going to say, “It’s all equally important, Mark?”
Well I’m going to tell you this way. By far the most important is mindset. Mindset is contagious and a leader’s mindset is four times more contagious than anyone else. But let’s talk about how the other ones support your mindset. When you’re sleep deprived, that makes a big difference in the mindset that you bring. In fact, we know that it’s near impossible to have the inhibition to filter what you say to come up with new ideas, to be inspiring and energizing when you’re sleep deprived. If you’re hypoglycemic because you skipped a meal, or you’re eating in a way that has completely not fed your brain the nutrients it needs, how can the brain work properly? If you haven’t moved because you’ve been in a sedentary position all day, your brain starts to shut down so you’re not even activating all the different parts of the brain, so people look at movement as something you know I move so I can prevent heart disease, or reduce my chance for obesity. What they don’t think is when I have the most critical meeting, when I get some movement I activate my left and right brain. I’d lower my brain frequency so I can have a clearer uncluttered mind. I’m more creative, more engaged. My posture is different. I move more freely. All those things come in so I would say mindset is the most important but you need nutrition, recovery, movement to just lay the foundation so that your mindset can actually be what it needs to be. So I’d say those are the gateways to get in there.
Okay, and you said something on how to maximize business performance that was really interesting though, which is I’m going to misquote you but the leader’s mindset is four times more important and that creates four times more change? Can you say a little bit more about that? We’ve talked so far about the individual. You’ve touched on the CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, and the impact it has in their organization, but let’s talk about how can a leader of an organization trying to raise the performance of his or her team direct reports what can they do to create those conditions if you like?
You know it’s interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Africa. You go on a safari and you watch the way animals just intuitively pay attention to the pack leader, and that pack leader is basically saying, “Are we safe? Are we not safe? Should we go left, should we go right?” Then you just see it and it doesn’t really mean anything to you but if you really think about it that’s exactly what happens in the boardroom. It’s exactly what happens every day with leaders. So we have things in our brain called mirror neurons, and those mirror neurons are evolutionary because of exactly what I just describe in the Sahara desert as animals respond. We used to think that mirror neurons were just a way that we learned by watching someone else do something but we now know that mirror neurons are actually critical for the way we develop emotional intelligence and empathy. So we’re reading each other’s minds without even realizing it because it’s unconscious and everyone is looking and reading the leader all the time. Are we safe? Are we right? Can I believe you?
We use an equation; we work on maximize business performance with Oakland Raiders to, a professional football team in the US and everyone think, “How does an executive leadership executive development company like us ?” But if you think about coaches the have the exact same problem. They need crisp decision making. They need to take advantage of every learning opportunity that a player has. They have to strategically put together a game plan that outperforms the competition. So, in many ways, they are the hardest working executives that we’ve ever worked with. It’s funny how they realize that their presence, their physical presence builds or destroys belief in the players of whether or not they can win and belief is the differentiator so often both in sports and in business. Do I believe? Do my people believe that we can do what we say we’re going to do?
Brilliant. In terms of the next question I guess I’ve got related to that is a demographic question. You’ve been in this business for some time and when we spoke a few years ago, a lot of your clients were more sort of mid towards the end of their careers, if you like. But clearly you referred to one of your clients now whose one of the 40 under 40, a very young executive pharma company who is from a different generation, Scott. What are you seeing in terms of how the millennial leaders are thinking about some of these subjects about maximize business performance, about sustainability, about what it means to be a leader?
It’s actually interesting because when I look at the younger generation, they’re not as willing to sacrifice all of their well-being and their own personal space to be great. So actually what they’re looking for is a different value proposition. They’re looking to say, “I want to take care of myself and then I want to be able to give myself to change the world.” Make a difference, have an impact, be something great. So it’s actually interesting because you would think and I often reflect on myself that I did it yesterday as we were working with we’re here with Franklin Square, and they have a very young group, and I’m thinking, “Are they looking at me thinking what I’ve would have been thinking when I was 25 years old?” I’m a young fire fighter like are you serious? But actually it was the opposite. They’re saying, “Thank you so much. Give me the strategies because I want to make sure that I’m sustainable. I don’t want to die, give all my blood for the company but I do want to be great,” and so I think that it’s actually a better it’s a more holistic approach that the younger generation has in saying that, “Let’s take care of ourselves. Let’s take care of each other and then let’s go change the world.” I think it is different than I was and that my father probably was.
But if we talk specifics, one of the things that one often hears is that the belief that you can multitask and that you can genuinely be having a conversation and posting on Facebook, and doing multiple things at the same time which there’s more and more data coming at us that says that is physically impossible for 99% of the population and yet that’s how that’s just an example of a different behavioral style versus of more traditional executive who would be handling one thing at the time in maybe a one-on-one conversations. I just wonder, are there certain tactical things that are very different in terms of how these generations operate in the workplace or is that more of a myth?
You know what’s interesting I think the new generation multitask as a sport so they grow up and they’re so used to doing it. So there is a thing called task layering. Task layering is basically what you do when you’re driving your car. You’re driving your car and so many motor skills, so many things are happening but you’re not thinking of them. So aren’t you multitasking? So if I said, “Well, multitasking is impossible,” There’s no way you could drive your car, think about something, hold a conversation, look out the window. So what we actually do when we practice things over and over again is we have the ability to put them down into our paraconscious or our subconscious so that it doesn’t take prefrontal cortex energy. That means that I can now decide what I’m going to focus on and if someone pulls out in front of me, I’d purposely now move my energy to that challenge, that threat.
What we underestimate is that kids can do that now. The younger generation can do that now with some communication. The question is, is it always purposeful and this is where they can get into trouble. You see them maybe say something not exactly the right way which in the world today were nothing gets erased and everything’s out there forever, that becomes more dangerous. But we do have to be careful because us as older people who didn’t grow up doing that, we’ve not developed some skills. So we do know that multitasking takes energy, takes resources, can lead to fatigue which is why recovery and recovery throughout the day becomes more and more important. So when we approach when I approach that generation, I’m not going to tell them multitasking is impossible because they would laugh at me, because they know when I was a firefighter I multitask all the time, I had to. I couldn’t have been functional. It’s task layering.
So we try to actually teach them what is happening in the brain and the body when they’re doing that and most important, if you’re going to do that what other things do you have to do? You have to feed the brain the right nutrients. You have to make sure the brain is hydrated. You have to avoid overcaffeinating the brain because that just adds to more stress and depletes more of your neurochemicals. Then you have to make sure that you build in recovery throughout the day so that you can recharge that brain and by the way, multitasking is not a form of recovery. So if you’re on a recovery break and that’s your chance to hit Facebook and Twitter and everything else, that may not be optimal especially if your next meeting is your peak performance for that day. So what do we do? We make them more mindful, more purposeful, more strategic in the way they approach that day, then they don’t have to give up a way of life that they’ve learned, and actually, if I’m honest, I watch my kids. They’ve mastered it. Mastered it.
Interesting. So on this subject of technology when we spoke the other day Scott, we talked a little bit about some of the new technologies. I mean, clearly this whole field of neuroscience and peak performances is evolving along the lines of more as law and big data. There’s more and more people are working on it and thinking about it and trying to solve these problems. I’m curious, what do you see is the next wave of new technologies or new distinctions that are going to find their way into the workplace and embraced by people who are genuinely focused on raising their performance to the next level? Any thoughts on that?
Yeah, technology is an interesting thing. We now can monitor your sleep and give you a sleep score. We can track you and see how many steps you took when moving. So there’s a lot of wearable technology that we’re seeing. But I think everyone knows that until it moves from something that I need to interact with which something that actually gives me not only the information of what happened, but has the ability to predict how that’s going to impact my future performance, which means it needs to combine some different ways of different types of information.
It’s the stuff that we’re working on right now. How do we analyze your calendar? How do we analyze your voice tone and know how much stress you’re on, or the way that you are typing on your phone or your computer? How do we gather, invisibly and seamlessly, information that tells us something about you that can help you add that into your strategic approach to your day? I think that’s that’s what we’re going to see. It’s going to be about simple, it’s going to be about invisible, it’s going to be about learning about me so that it continues to add value. Right now it still feels like so much wearable technology is transactional, you know what I mean? It just tells me a little bit about what I know today and then I have to figure out what do I do with that information.
But that’s going to change, I think, quickly and it’s going to evolve and it might even not well, it probably won’t be wearable unless it’s a shirt that I put on or now we’re even joking it, tattoo that I get. There’s tattoos that can measure amazing information, but it’s moving towards nanotechnology which maybe even be something that lives inside me, and it can monitor me in a way that we don’t even know. The problem we have if we take one thing like HRV which is heart rate variability, which is a great measurement. It’s been around for 50, 60 years. This old Soviet Union mastered what to do with it when they were training athletes and astronauts. It basically tells me what is the balance of my autonomic nervous system, my sympathetic nervous system which is my stress system, my parasympathetic nervous system which is my recovery system, and we know that when we’re more parasympathetically dominant, we’re more relaxed, we’re more creative, we build better relationships. So this balance becomes really, really important. But since we’ve never measured that information on someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year, even if we measure all of that, we don’t know what we know. So we have to get to that and by the way that would be a huge amount of data that we would have to send to the Cloud, analyze.
So we’re seeing technologies pop up that can start to do that, but we have to be really, really careful about the conclusions we draw from it until we know more. So I think we are in a really interesting place. We saw that even with companies that started doing genetic testing, and they started making some very in some ways dangerous assumptions about what this genetic testing was telling us when we knew they were only looking at a small number of snips. So I think it’s exciting, it’s interesting, where it’s going to go is going to be incredible but we still have to be careful and not ignore our own intuition and our own mindfulness and purposefulness of what we’re trying to do.
Yeah, and I’m thinking I’ve met with a company on the west coast which was recently bought by Microsoft, which actually analyzed calendar data. They didn’t have a specific algorithm but when you were talking earlier on about a red day, or a red week, or green week, or an amber week, it could very easily have done that just by sucking data out of your Outlook system and making some choices and conclusions. Now, clearly, that’s a first cut of the data but then depending on whether you you’ve just announced quarterly earnings and you go to a series of meetings with your analyst or whether you’re in the sort of in the strategy cycle and needs some space to think. Those two stages in the business cycle would help you define whether it was a red week or a green week. But it’s not straightforward but I think there are some really interesting technologies taking advantage of these data, both in terms of your work in life and also have the body is functioning that, as you say, give new distinctions or new insights. So Scott, just wrapping up now, and we could go on for a long time on this, but I sent three questions through to you before we ask those questions where can people get in touch with you?
If you go to my website www.tignum.com, you could always get a hold of this. There’s some German office, the US office, and Tignum basically means it’s Latin for beam. So like a beam that supports our clients when they’re making change or beam of light that illuminates you with new ways of thinking. They can always find us there and learn more about us and kind of approach me. We’ve been around 12 years now. We’re growing all the time and growing the way we think which I think is the most fascinating and fun thing as we learn more about human beings and human performance.
Brilliant. So we’ll put that in the show notes. You didn’t mentioned it but I’ll mention it. You sent a fantastic biweekly newsletter which is where we’re subscribing to. Three questions Scott. The first one for those of you who have already been listening or you’ve read the book,”Sink, Float, or Swim,” you might know the answer to this anyway but what are your morning rituals?
Yeah, I think morning is such a critical time because it’s the time when we’re most creative for most of us and also we have the best ability to be reflective, and I believe the Tignum approach is you have to first do something for yourself so you can do amazing things for the world. So I wake up as it always starts with two big glasses of water so hydration hydrated brain is the best brain. Then I go through a series of movements. We call them daily prep movements which are movements we put together, kind of yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, some athletic movements that activate the brain, reduce pain, build mobility stability balance, so that’s always like that’s just given from the time I popped out of bed.
Then days are different. I try many days to go when I take my dogs for a walk, we go for a long walk along the golf course we live close by and I listen to often a chapter of a book on I say tape, that kind of ages me right? A digital book or I listen to a podcast like yours which is interesting. So I look at this as an opportunity to learn something in the morning that maybe stimulates a different way of thinking, and then I usually come home and as crazy as it sounds because I travel so much, spend a little bit of quality time with my wife, maybe have a cup of coffee, planning our day, talking about what’s going on in our lives so I can start my days strong and then I usually start my preparation for that day of the night before because I’ve already looked at my calendar, so I’m not really having to analyze that I know where my most important events are so I can really be my best. So, it always starts with some kind of movement, hydration, starting with a high-performance breakfast, and being mindful about where my impact is going to be most needed that day.
Excellent. Okay, and secondly, what have you changed your mind about recently Scott?
That’s a great one. Changed my mind about. I think the thing I changed my mind about all the time is this idea of can you really change the way people think and can you change the way people behave? You know, because you’ve worked with this, Mark, a little bit that the foundation of everything we’ve talked about is how important are our own personal image is that human beings fundamentally cannot outperform our own self-image and I probably I’ve said that for that for a long time and I’ve often thought, “Is that really true?” People are who they are. They can’t change, but I’m going to tell you I’m constantly changing my mind as I learn more and more. That’s correct. That actually, self-image is what drives us on. Self-image, we’re often thinking self-image is a good self-image or a bad self-image when I’m always learning and changing my mind about is, there is no good or bad self-image. Does my self-image match the task that I have? Who I want to be and need to be as a father, as a husband, as a leader in a company, as an innovator? That’s really the question and so I’m always changing my mind, always expanding my mind, I should say, about that topic.
Well that was a word I was waiting to hear from you. It’s about expansion. So, as your sense of your self-image grows therefore your contribution or your potential contribution to the world actually increases as well.
Lovely. So we can expect great things from you and Tignum, more great things going forward, right?
I guarantee it. I was going to say I hope. No I’m going to guarantee it.
So it’s self-image right and the language, as well. So, final question. I think this is relevant. You mentioned that you’ve got a couple of millennial at home or not. What advice would you have feel 25-year-old self, Scott?
My best advice would be, “Your path is going to be anything but linear.” So we all think I remember my son, with a baby now and he was getting ready to graduate college. “What’s your plan? What are you going to do in college? What’s your career path?” and then I think back and I think I was a firefighter. I’m now travelling around the world sometimes 200, 300 thousand miles a year to talk to CEOs of companies. I would tell him, “You know what? Get the most out of every day. Don’t worry about where the dots connect. Learn from every experience. Ask yourself great questions. Meet people that have nothing to do with what you do because that’s where amazing thinking and great ideas, just be curious. Then be willing to just change directions at any time because that’s the way the world works now.” If I look back, that’s probably what I did without knowing it even though I probably thought myself and everyone who has given me advice along the way. That would be my advice.
Wonderful. Good advice. Several people in the past had also used exactly the same words around be curious, surround yourself, go out of your way once a week to expose yourself to someone completely different, or a material or a book or subject which is as very different to sort of stimulate yourself and encourage you to think differently. So thank you for that. So, Scott, It’s been a great pleasure having you on the show to talk about how to maximize business performance. I’m sure our audience enjoyed it as much as I did and thanks very much for your time today.
Thank you Mark. It’s an honor for me. Thank you.
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