Unlocking Impossible Team Results With Bill Lennan


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Episode Overview:

The podcast "Unlocking Impossible Team Results with Bill Lennan" delves into the strategies and insights of Bill Lennan, a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant. Hosted by Skot Waldron, the conversation explores Lennan's unique approach to unleashing the potential of teams, emphasizing the importance of trust, communication, and collaboration in achieving remarkable results. Lennan shares practical techniques and anecdotes drawn from his extensive experience, offering valuable lessons for leaders looking to inspire and empower their teams to overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

Additional Resources:

* Website

Skot Waldron (00:00.078)
So have you done a Riverside interview yet? Yep. Okay. All right. So don't, don't leave when I hear stop. We're going to need to upload. Um, one, one question, I need a full bio from you. Like, uh, like you gave me some marketing copy for this, which is sounds really great, but I want to know like who you are, like a little bit of the bio stuff so I can, I could throw it in there too. Um, I'll use some of that. Um,

Bill Lennan (00:06.661)
right. Yep.

Bill Lennan (00:12.229)

Bill Lennan (00:22.533)
Okay, yeah.

Skot Waldron (00:28.462)
So we're going to go, we'll probably go 30 ish minutes or so. Um, and then just kind of go from there. Um, I'll do an intro and outro afterwards, so you don't have to worry about that. Uh, but yeah, man, that's it. You ready? Okay. Hold up.

Bill Lennan (00:41.989)
Sounds good. Yep. Let's go.

Skot Waldron (00:47.246)
Mr. Bill, what's that? Oh my gosh, I just realized what I just said. I just realized what I just said. Oh no. So I do get that. Have you gotten that before?

Bill Lennan (00:50.341)

Bill Lennan (00:54.405)
You are not the first. Yeah, once or twice. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (00:58.062)
Okay. All right. Well, I just gave it to you again. If nobody knows what we're talking about, just look up Mr. Bill on YouTube and you'll see what type of anyway, Bill, so cool having you, man. Thank you for being here. Um, we're going to talk about some fascinating stuff because just the intro has gotten me intrigued and, uh, now you're like, I'm just want to drill. I just want to drill into what I mean, where you, uh, let's talk first of all about why, um,

Bill Lennan (01:08.869)
Thank you.

Bill Lennan (01:19.589)
Go, go to town, yeah, let's have fun with it.

Skot Waldron (01:28.11)
We should listen to you in the first place. So where'd you come from and, uh, why are you here?

Bill Lennan (01:31.141)
Sure. So I've been running software teams in Silicon Valley for 20 years. I've been based in Silicon Valley. My teams have been all over the planet. So I've done both local, on -premises, sitting next to my team and people distributed everywhere. And consistently, repeatedly, they did things people said were impossible. And I've done this at small startups, and I've done it for Google.

Um, and, you know, kind of all across the board and I, for a long time, didn't know how to explain what I was doing. It looked for 15 years. We kept delivering and people kept asking me how we did it. And I kept saying, I I'm just taking care of my people. I don't know how to explain it. And then a few years ago, my partner, my now partner helped me figure out and reverse engineer.

everything that I was doing and be able to recognize that what I the way that I was approaching leadership was very different from my peers, which was why we also had very different results. I had a very different set of mental models and everything is mental models about how we approach the world. I had a very different set of skills to support those mental models. And then I was implementing daily, weekly, monthly habits, all of which.

helped my team psychological safety at the end of the and their engagement and and how they saw the work they were doing and so they just performed amazingly better.

Skot Waldron (03:05.998)
Impossible results. We would like to achieve those sometimes. Like those, those sound pretty sweet. I'm good with that. Um, I I'm curious though about, let's take a stab. I'm curious about your 40 % better mentality. I mean, your website, your company, um, it's called 40 % better and I'm going 40 % better. That's pretty good too. I think, um, why not 50 though? I want to be 50 % better bill or like, like what's the 40 where'd that come from?

Bill Lennan (03:08.421)
Yeah. Sure.

Bill Lennan (03:29.637)


So one of the companies that I was at, the day that I started, the CTO onboarding computer, all that stuff, and he said, at the end, the last thing he said was, by the way, I hate to tell you this, but I'm giving you the worst performing team in the company, good luck. And I said, wow, okay, thank you very much, sir, I appreciate it. In the back of my head, I was thinking, this is gonna be a fun challenge. Went off to do my thing. Six months later.

I walk into the office and he comes over and goes, hey Bill, can I talk to you? And I go, sure, what's going on? And he says, come into my office and walk in and he closes the door and he goes, what have you done to your team? And I said, I don't know, what are you talking about? And he goes, we gave you the worst performing team in the company. You don't have the best performing team in the company.

you've brought them up by 40 % in their coding throughput in six months. They've been together almost 10 years and we've been trying everything to make them get better and we've never done it. What are you doing? And I said, well, thank you. I really appreciate that. I take good care of my teams. And he said, well, when you figure out what that is, you have to teach me because we don't know how to do this. And I said, thank you, sir. I appreciate that. And that's where the name of the company came from. Um,

Bill Lennan (04:56.901)
That team, we then went on to do a project that everybody thought was a 12 to 15 month project. It was kind of a Hail Mary for the company. We delivered it in eight months.

Skot Waldron (05:10.702)
That's pretty awesome. And that's probably one of those like impossible things like that. That generally people will think, Oh man, no way. Like that's not possible. We don't have enough time, money or people bill. We don't have enough time, money or people is what people say. Um, but that, that, that, but I think that's the, that's the mental block. Um, which kind of leads me into your next, uh, your next thing here is talking about.

Bill Lennan (05:11.685)
Yeah, yeah.

Bill Lennan (05:16.421)
Oh, yes. Yes.

Bill Lennan (05:25.317)
Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Lennan (05:32.613)
That's what.

Skot Waldron (05:39.854)
the mental blocks and the mental models type of approach. So you talked mental models, then you talk skills, and then you talk weekly habits. Let's go through each one of those. If you don't mind, I want to talk about like, cause that's kind of your process, your system. Okay. Hit on the mental models thing for me.

Bill Lennan (05:42.565)
Hmm? Yep.

Bill Lennan (05:48.133)

Bill Lennan (05:54.533)
Exactly. Yep. Yep. And yeah, so one of the things that we realized, my partner and I was helped was my partner was helping me reverse engineer what I was doing. Right. We started talking about how I think about leadership. And so I have this stack of mental models, right, and beliefs. This is how I see the world. Right. The first one is that

Leadership is a different set of skills than being an individual contributor. I could be great at writing code and horrible at getting a team motivated to do good work. The flip side is I could be mediocre or even bad at writing code, but really good at getting people to work. Right. So for me, it's all about learning a new skillset to help my team operate better.

Um, the second mental model is my core function as a team lead is to level everybody up on the team is to help them operate better, kind of like being a sports coach. Right. If you go from being a player to being a coach, it's a different set of things about how you're communicating with people and how you're helping them improve. You're not the one on the court anymore, right. Or on the field. Um, the third mental model is that you should expect to be emotionally uncomfortable.

in service of your team, because there's things that you're gonna need to learn yourself and help them with, they're gonna be scary because you've never done it before. And so you're gonna have to know how to manage your emotions, how to manage your emotional discomfort, how to baby step your way into mastery of new skills that you've never done before. And so you're gonna have to know how.

to manage your brain chemistry, how to manage your emotions. And that's a very, very well researched skill stack so that you can do things that are gonna make your team, allow your team to become more successful. Those are the first kind of fundamental mental models to use. Does that answer your question?

Skot Waldron (08:01.518)
Yeah, it does. I, um, do you have, so you walk people through these different mental models. Do you do assessments? Do you do kind of, how do you dig into this idea of like, what do people need to work on? And how do we tap into what's really needed within an organization?

Bill Lennan (08:19.461)
So there's the, one of the things that I discovered is that oftentimes people that I've worked with over the years, they have a mental model, a skill, some mental models, some skills, but like me, they don't know how to talk about it. And they don't know how important it is, right? They don't know that they don't understand the value of that mental model. And because they can't talk about it and they don't realize the value of it, they never share with anybody else. And,

If we're being smart leaders, then we're trying to build other leaders. We're training other people on our teams to also be leaders because that way the team can operate effectively and we're not in the room, whether it's real or virtual, right? So we really want to be able to name exactly what's going on. It's like math, right? What's seven times three? Yeah, I'm asking you.

Skot Waldron (09:10.99)
Are you asking me? Okay. Uh, 63, seven times three. Oh, 21.

Bill Lennan (09:15.013)
No, seven times three.

Yeah, so the reason that you know the answer to that question is math is a system, right? And anybody that I ask who's more than 12, probably more than eight, knows the answer to that question because we've systematized math. Now, you didn't start off learning how to multiply. You start off learning how to count. It was one, two, three, right?

Skot Waldron (09:21.934)

Bill Lennan (09:42.565)
And then you got into math and you got addition, subtraction, multiplication, algebra, geometry, whatever. It's because it's a system, right? With leadership, if we break it down to make it a system and we name everything and we explain what everything is, then we can communicate really easily, just like we can if you're struggling with math, right? When my kids had math problem, math challenges when they were in school, we sent them to a tutor. Everybody had a shared language.

Right. It made it really easy and lead the way that the way that we approach leadership is the exact same way. You have this stack of mental models. You have the skills to support the mental models because if you, if you have the mental model that you, um, will need to be emotionally uncomfortable in service of your team, but you don't know how to actually operationalize that it doesn't do you any good. It's like knowing that math exists, but you can't count. Right.

And so we're very deliberate about the system. Everybody gets to learn everything. You start with, you know, it's like the same way that we learn math, right? And so everybody learns the system. Everybody gets homework to practice the parts of the system as they're moving through it. And then we basically do tutoring and coaching at the end because people will struggle with different parts depending on where they come in and they've already got a really strong background.

Skot Waldron (11:13.55)
So mental models, you have the different ones, the skills needed to exercise the models, right? And then, and then you move into the weekly habits and are those things that you set up for them in order to practice the skill sets for the mental models? Is that.

Bill Lennan (11:15.429)

Bill Lennan (11:20.645)

Bill Lennan (11:26.277)

Bill Lennan (11:34.629)
So the weekly habits are the things that the team leads do with their teams. And none of them are particularly challenging. I come from the software world. We do agile software development. Every morning, there's a meeting. Everybody's talking about where everybody take turns talking about what they did yesterday, what they were planning on doing yesterday, what they accomplished yesterday.

what they're planning on doing today. That's it. And in any friction that they might need help with, right? Whatever it happens to be. We do that every day. That way, everybody always knows what everybody else is doing. And if people want to do paired work, great. We figure out how to make that happen and away we go.

This means everybody knows what's happening, right? We have a very flat knowledge structure about what all is going on. And then every week I do a one -on -one with everybody on the team to hear what's happening for them. Like it's really, I'm not telling them anything. I'm just asking questions, right? And trying to understand where there's friction for them or where there's something that they want to get to that I can facilitate. And it's wide open. Like, you know,

If you need us to change in meeting time, because you're having a struggle getting home after you drop your kid at school, OK, great. We'll move the meeting. I don't care. You want to learn a new skill set because you're curious about changing your course? Great. No problem. Let's make that happen. You want to be a team lead? Great. Let's teach you the skills so that you can have my job someday. And yeah. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (13:15.694)
Cool. That's cool. So let's pick a scenario. Let's talk about employee engagement. And first of all, let's discuss why they may be engaged and then using this idea, this system, how do we tackle an issue like that?

Bill Lennan (13:24.869)
Mm -hmm.

Bill Lennan (13:33.285)
Yeah, yeah, of course. So engagement is a result, right? You can't command engagement with people, right? They're gonna be engaged because...

They're happy about the mission of the company. They're happy about the kind of work that they're doing. They're getting rewarded. They're getting recognized. They're getting to contribute. They have ownership, right? And so the way to build that kind of a culture is as team leads, we have to facilitate all of those things being available and possible and rewarded for our people, right? So.

Like I never tried to be the smartest guy in the room. Even if I am the smartest guy in the room, I don't want that to be obvious. Like I want the team to be owning the solutions that we're talking about building. Like I'll bring in business contributions. Oh, you know, here's the problem the customer wants to solve, but they're doing the design work, right? They're, they're doing everything. And so I want them to own everything, right? I don't want to, it's,

I'm happy to own the process, but I want them to own everything that's being built. And when people have ownership, they have pride of ownership, right? They want to put really good effort into building. And so if they're getting ownership, if they're getting recognition, if they're getting career advancement, because I'm helping them make that happen, and I'm demystifying it for them, then they're really happy to be engaged, and they like being at work. And they're amazingly productive.

Skot Waldron (15:20.878)
And what, what part of the, what, what part of the mental model framework are you incorporating at that point? What is helping me through this? What is helping my me as a leader teach my people to be more engaged.

Bill Lennan (15:33.893)
Yeah, so, you know, obviously the second one, which is, you know, your job is to make your people operate better. One of the, as you know, kind of going down the stack, one of the mental models is about helping people with their career advancement, however they want that to go. One of the mental models is that,

removing friction for your people is really important. One of the mental models is that you're starting as a team lead from a position of no trust. They don't trust you when you're starting off as a team lead, no matter how long you've been there, right? Unless you've been very diligent about building trust with them, they don't trust you. And they don't trust you because number one, most team leads, sorry to say this, don't do the behaviors that...

really support their people because they don't know how, right? You know, I've been in situations at companies where my people have come to me and they've said, hey, we all need new laptops. We all need new computers. Our computers are too slow. It's impacting our work. And I've been like, okay, well, let me go make that happen. And I've been able to figure out how to get the CTO, folks that run the money, to say yes to buying computers.

Other team leads haven't even gone to ask because they've been afraid they'll be told no. And because they haven't had the skills to go and approach that conversation back to rule number three, which is emotional discomfort, they didn't even walk in the room, right?

And because they didn't have the mental model about removing friction, they didn't understand that their fundamental reason for being was to help the people operate better. They're not learning the skills of having the conversation with the CTO so that they go, oh my God, of course you need new computers. I totally get the why of that. Let's make that happen for you tomorrow morning. And so if you only knew how to count,

Bill Lennan (17:38.309)
You couldn't do multiplication. You have to have these other mental models of math and then the skills to actually do the multiplication, right, in your head. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (17:48.398)
Okay. Okay. All right. So let's talk impossible results. Well, give me a case study. Give me some kind of story. I want to know. I mean, we talked about your, your personal experience with, uh, and how you named your company. So I think that's, I love that. I love that personal connection that you have to the name of your company and what that is. Um, let's talk, uh, other maybe clients or case studies.

Bill Lennan (17:57.605)
Yeah. Yeah.

Bill Lennan (18:05.285)

Bill Lennan (18:09.221)
Thank you. Yeah.

Bill Lennan (18:14.469)
Yeah. Yeah. So I spent some time at Google. And there was a few things about that that were unusual. People talk about the hiring process at Google being long and arduous and all this stuff. My interview process was one interview that lasted 20 minutes. I asked all the questions. And that was it. The reason that it worked out that way was the hiring manager.

I typically approach interviews from the perspective of I want to understand what I'm getting into and I want to ask as many questions as possible because if I realize this isn't the job for me, I'm going to bow out. I'm going to say, wow, thanks to opportunity, but this is not what I want to be doing. And I'm out of here. Right. And so.

I typically, you know, I start off the conversation with, hey, you know, I've got a bunch of questions. No offense, but your job description is super generic and I'd like to really understand more details. I started asking this guy questions, most of which he said, I have no idea and I've never thought about that before. And he finally stopped me and said, look, you know, you're asking better questions than I've ever considered. You know how to solve this problem and I don't even know how to look at it. When can you start? And I...

Said I need a couple of weeks to get off my other project. When I went into Google, the problem that they wanted me to solve, people kept telling me was both technically and legally impossible. And I interviewed over 100 people who kept saying that. They're like, oh, you can't do that. That's not technically possible, and it's not legal. I knew that they were wrong, and I didn't say that out loud, because I had done a bunch of research.

And I had found other companies that were doing this stuff. But clearly the people I was talking with weren't aware of that. And so being curious and doing research and leveraging critical thinking and looking for outlier data is what allowed me to continue working my way through this problem until I figured out, oh, here's how we solve it. Here's how we get the attorneys to give us their blessing.

Bill Lennan (20:28.677)
Here's all the technology stuff that needs to happen. Here's the internal systems. We're good to go. It's just a matter of working through, it's kind of it's a first principles thing, right? Elon Musk talks about first principles. That's basically how I approached it was, yeah, I get that you think this is impossible, but I have other data, right? I know otherwise, because I've done a bunch of research that other people haven't been doing.

Skot Waldron (20:58.19)
Is that the, um, thing that you believe is. Repeatable or replicable for others that are, that are learning from this. What, what's the lesson that people should take away from that?

Bill Lennan (21:07.301)

Bill Lennan (21:11.909)
is, so there's this idea of the standard narrative and then the non -standard narrative. And the standard narrative is what everybody says. Here in Silicon Valley, everybody knows that you can't get a job as a software engineer unless you have a computer science degree. I've written a lot of code. I don't have a computer science degree. I taught myself how to write code. I was at a startup.

I started writing code voluntarily for the software team. And then I kept writing code and the next company I went to, they hired me because of the skills that I had learned working for free for this startup to be their technology lead and to build their startup. Right. I still didn't have a computer science degree. I know a bunch of software engineers here in the Valley. They don't have computer science degrees.

You know, some of the best software engineers that I know never went to college. And so I look for those kind of outliers, that kind of date, those kind of outlier perspectives and the outlier data rather than just listening to the noise of the crowd. And that I find all kinds of magic.

Skot Waldron (22:28.782)
That's really, uh, that, so I hear, I hear some things out of you. I hear, um, I hear kind of this like word can't is not in your vocabulary. This like, there's, there's, there's, there's a way. Like, I mean, the fact that, you know, you interview so many people that say, no, you can't, can't, can't, can't, can't, can't. And you're like, no, no. Um, I hear this, this fight for.

Uh, like to win, like I want to make sure that we all win, but I, I hear this also this abstract thinking this abstract approach to things. Um, you earlier, we were talking about the, the systems thing and you had something interesting that you said to me before we started a hit record. That was really interesting about you not believing that you were a systemized person before you kind of shot from the hip. You kind of just like.

You know, so I know people like that, people that are very kind of, we'll go with the flow goalpost move. So what we'll just kind of take it as it comes and we'll just roll with the punches. Um, so talk about that, that self -realization and how that plays into what you think you're doing now.

Bill Lennan (23:40.069)

Bill Lennan (23:44.293)
Yeah, so yeah, like you said, I used to think I was very much shoot from the hip and just kind of reflex and not systematized. And then a conversation catalyzed me thinking differently because it pointed out where I was actually using systems, even though I didn't think I was. And so then I started really started looking at it and thinking about it very differently and finding...

you know, it's kind of like this light bulb moment, right? I was like, oh, wait a minute, this is a system and this is a system and this is a system. And all these things that I do in life are systematized. Like I have a system for going to the gym. I have a system for how I make coffee in the morning. I have a system for how I tie my shoes, right? I have a system for driving and for, you know, like literally everything. I have a system for how I learn new things. And I was able to look back and go, oh, wait a minute.

I actually, everything I did was in alignment with how the system stuff works in my head and the system for how I learn things. I tend to learn things in baby steps. I go from, I don't know how to do it to what's the most small, tiny thing I can learn that's in the context and then another one and another one and another one and another one and I just build on that.

I'm a big fan of Kaizen, this idea of get 1 % better every day, which seems on a day -to -day basis like you're not doing anything at all until you look back over time and you go, oh, holy crap, that's crazy. And so now I realize that everything I do as a system, even though sometimes I've abstracted those systems, to be able to have them.

working across what might not look to other people like the same kind of context.

Skot Waldron (25:41.294)
I love that. And I hear that like when you're describing this, that's what kind of led me, led me to that question is this abstract way of approaching a problem. Um, that you don't look at it as the same kind of, well, what does the manual say about how to solve this problem? Um, you're a little bit outside the box when it comes to thinking about solving specific problems. And that's a superpower. And I mean, it's like, that's a, that's a real gift. Um, and.

Bill Lennan (25:57.669)

Bill Lennan (26:05.317)
Thank you.

Skot Waldron (26:09.902)
Uh, and not, not everybody has that, right? It's, it's, it's can be somewhat unique and which lends itself to say, Hey, you know, we don't have this in our organization. Maybe we ask Bill about this and bring him in to help us with something like this. If we do have an insider organization, how do we foster that? How do we bring that out of our people? There's going to be some people that don't think like their brain just doesn't work that way. Some people it's there just needs to be fostered.

Bill Lennan (26:34.149)


Skot Waldron (26:37.358)
How do we foster this idea of outside the box thinking and outside the box problem solving?

Bill Lennan (26:44.229)
So, that's a great question.

Um, and, and usually the place where you have the best impact with that in a company is not the C -suite, but it's the first level team leads. Um, and this was an insight that I got from one of my early startup CEOs that on a day -to -day basis, the people that have the most impact in a company are actually the individual contributors because they're making the sales calls and they're writing the code and they're putting out the marketing content, right? Or they're answering customer support calls and that the, the,

the biggest impact on the individual contributors is their team leads. And so when you can train the team leads to build an environment of very, very high psychological safety, people can be vulnerable and they can say,

Everybody's saying we can't do this, but I think we can. And it's scary in a team meeting if you're not used to doing that. And so as the team lead, we have to be able to build an environment where everybody knows that no matter how crazy the thing is they say, that they're not going to be criticized. And even if it turns out that it's a bad idea, most likely we're going to riff on it.

and credit them with having the initial catalyst that got us to this other thing that works really, really well. Because it's a team, you know, productivity at work is a team sport. It's just like football. Like the only reason Tom Brady is, you know, like people know his name is he was able to get everybody else on the team to play really, really well. Like that's, that's one of those people don't talk about this enough about his leadership skills.

Skot Waldron (28:12.846)
Mm -hmm.

Bill Lennan (28:35.557)
But he got everybody else on the team to play really, really well. Otherwise, we wouldn't talk about him as being a decent quarterback. And when he went to a new team, he did it again. He proved he was able to get that team to be in alignment and all play together. And that's the game. That's what it's all about. So if you're a team lead, or if you run team leads, getting them to be.

understanding and doing the behaviors which Might be emotionally uncomfortable a little bit because it's a brand new thing to do and they've got to learn some new stuff And they have to understand how to baby step into it Right you you you're not gonna go from zero to 100 miles an hour You you've got to build up

again, back the whole Kaizen thing, you build into it gradually. And because you can't just tell your team, you can't just tell your team, hey, we're all safe. You can say whatever you want to, because they don't trust you. Right. They don't trust the environment and they're going to be like, yeah, no. And so you, you, you have to be able to, to iterate and build on that.

Skot Waldron (29:47.822)
Very cool. What is a, um, I got a couple little questions for you that are kind of the, so what, what is a podcast or a book? Everybody should be checking out right now that you think would be valuable to maybe some of the context of things you're talking about.

Bill Lennan (30:01.125)

Bill Lennan (30:04.581)

I think I'm listening to Alex Hormozi a lot because he does a really good job of number one, explaining different kinds of mental models that he's used through his entrepreneurial journey and even before then. And he's good about this is a skill that you're going to have to practice and work on and that it takes a lot of reps.


Yeah, I think he and his wife are pretty good about that. And I think that's a good starting point for people, whether you're an entrepreneur or not, just the exposure to different ways of thinking about things. And Alex and his wife were pretty successful. So I think that's a good example, right? And Alex is pretty good about talking about the emotional side of working through stuff.

Skot Waldron (31:03.15)

Bill Lennan (31:09.733)
and how he's done it, right? And he doesn't have a really atomic breakdown of his skill set, but he makes it clear that he's had emotional challenges through the process and that he's been able to handle it, and that's why it's successful.

Bill Lennan (31:30.021)
have a number two right now. Yeah. Yeah, just one. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (31:32.526)
No, that's cool. No, just, just one, just one, one, one at a time. One at a time. We've only digest so many podcasts at a time. Right. So, um, okay. Here's the, here's something that I don't really talk to anybody else about, but you're so set on this, like learning skills and, and just these little things, even before we talked, it's just learning how to grade the land, you know, how to do something like that. What, what's a skillset that you think everybody should learn something that you've learned where you're like,

Bill Lennan (31:40.741)
Yeah, yeah.

Bill Lennan (31:55.589)
Mm -hmm.

Bill Lennan (32:02.085)
Oh yeah.

Skot Waldron (32:02.51)
This has been super helpful. Like I think everybody should learn how to do this. Even just like, just a little bit over time.

Bill Lennan (32:10.085)
Yeah, yeah. So it might not be obvious, but I spent decades with social anxiety. I was very shy introvert. And I realized at one point that number one, it was impacting my career and number two, it was going to impact my parenting. But I didn't want my fear of talking with strangers to impact how my kids saw the world. And so...

I said, okay, I gotta get over this. I've gotta figure out a way to not be afraid of talking to people anymore. I really need to work on this. And so a friend helped me get started talking with strangers. And the starting point was going into Starbucks and asking the barista how their day was going after I'd ordered a drink. And that was scary when I started doing it.

Bill Lennan (33:08.293)
If you can learn to talk to strangers and work your way up the stack, then it becomes very easy to talk with people on your teams, executives at your company. You can pitch the CEO. Right. You can build. So now I like public speaking. Right. So I went from being afraid of talking to strangers to now I love being in front of a room of strangers.

and I talk to strangers all the time. But this is one of those, this is one of those skills that's a gateway skill, because it opens all kinds of other doors. Like one of the things as a team lead that I do, one of the mental models is you gotta be curious as a team lead. You have to go talk to strangers and bring knowledge back to your team. You gotta be a scout for the team, right? If you can't talk to strangers, then you can't do that really critically important part of your job.

And so learning how to talk to strangers has made it easy to do job interviews. It's made it easy to interview like everybody, right? It's made it easy to be on podcasts. Right. Yeah. Thank you.

Skot Waldron (34:17.646)
Well, you've done a great job today, Bill. Like your, your, your ability to talk to me and yeah, we don't know each other. So it was, uh, you did fantastic, man. So all that barista small talk has led you to where you are today.

Bill Lennan (34:28.357)
No, yeah, yeah.

Bill Lennan (34:36.229)
Yeah, and I still go, every time I go to Starbucks, I ask them how their day's going. Like, you know, it's practice, right? You have to do it, you know, it's like talking about the daily or the weekly habits, right? I still do all those things, yeah. And do the reps.

Skot Waldron (34:44.782)

Skot Waldron (34:51.47)
You're the reps man, put in the reps. That's so cool. All right. People want to talk to you. They want to bring you in. They want to understand a little bit about how you do this. Cause you have a full program that you can bring to companies and introduce them to this, train them on it so that they can then implement it inside their own organizations. Um, what did they do?

Bill Lennan (35:03.141)
Yep. Yep.

Bill Lennan (35:09.701)
Yep. So the easiest thing is you can email me. It's just hello at 40pb .com. Number four zero and then P for percent, B for better. I got lucky and got a very short domain name. Yeah. Hello at 40pb .com or bill at 40pb .com. They both end up coming to me. And then we can set up a phone call, talk about what's going on for you and.

Skot Waldron (35:26.574)
That was awesome. Good play.

Bill Lennan (35:36.805)
And whether you want me to come in and just do a workshop, something short, and help people start to think about this, or if you want to do a full blown, or what else do you want to do? Yeah.

Skot Waldron (35:49.87)
And I noticed, um, just checking out your tick tock and your YouTube channels and you put a lot of content out, man. And it's really good. Like, and it's bite size, like two, three minutes. Like, Hey, this is how you work on communication. This is how you work on promotion. This is how you, like you asked, you put some good stuff out, man. I'm going to give it to you. So well done. People want to connect it with you there. So find you on LinkedIn, find you on YouTube, find you on tick tock. Um,

Bill Lennan (35:59.045)
Thank you. Oh, thank you.

Bill Lennan (36:10.405)
Thank you, I appreciate that. Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Yep.

Skot Waldron (36:19.15)
and go to those places, but I, I really appreciate you being here, Bill. You've added some real value to the people here and, uh, I appreciate you, man.

Bill Lennan (36:22.277)
Thank you, thank you. Yeah. Thank you, yeah. This is fun. You make it very easy.

Skot Waldron (36:31.15)
Well, I try, I try. I'm glad because now that I know about your social anxiety, I've been like, oh my gosh, if I was a big jerk in this interview, that would have been really tough for you. So.

Bill Lennan (36:40.165)
No, no, it's, you know, it's, there's so many reps, you know, and I've done this, I've been doing this and building the skill in little tiny pieces for so long. You know, I've had some, I'm trying to be diplomatic. I've worked with executives who were very poor communicators. Let's just believe that. And, and it just doesn't faze me anymore.

I'm like, oh, I get it. You're not comfortable in this context, right? One of the reasons I'm such a proponent of learning how to manage your own emotions is that along the way that self -awareness helps us go see when other people are really uncomfortable and when their communication gets sideways because frankly, they're afraid. Like,

That's the net of it is the fear is making them be a bad communicator because they don't know how in a scary moment to communicate effectively. And so when you learn how to manage your own emotions, you're able to have some empathy for people when they're emotionally really uncomfortable and their communication goes sideways. You'll be like, oh, I get it.

We just stepped into a place that for you just is really, really scary. Let me figure out how to back up. Let me figure out how to approach this in a different way. And then we can continue the conversation. Maybe it's, you know, we come back tomorrow, right? And go from there. Yeah. Yeah.

Skot Waldron (38:11.726)
Well, that's cool. I mean, and that, that ability, because you came from that space to be able to see that is really cool too. So, um, well done, man. Well done. Well, have a beautiful day. It's good seeing you, man.

Bill Lennan (38:19.109)
Thank you, thank you, thanks. You too, thanks, I appreciate it. This has been fun.

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