Reflecting on Assessments to Understand Your Own Operating Narratives | Marc Pitman


On this week’s episode of the Vibrant Leadership Podcast, we’re joined by Marc Pitman, Founder and CEO of the Concord Leadership Group. Marc has been leading organizations and teams for decades. Like most of us, he has had failures and successes, and these have caused him to study leadership for over 30 years. 

“Part of your role as a leader is to not be the expert in the room anymore. It’s to allow other experts to show up. It’s to ask the right questions. It’s to set the right course. And, a lot of that is self-reflection. It’s being able to think differently about things,” says Marc.

We chat about organization and time management, as well as:

  • The importance of leaders also being followers

  • Finding your unique gifts that make your offerings different

  • Using assessments to identify where you can show more compassion

  • Grounding your own narrative by exploring characters that you admire

  • Keeping your values as your moral compass

  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Marc Pitman: Part of your role as a leader is to not be the expert in the room anymore. It’s to allow other experts to show up. It’s to ask the right questions. It’s to set the right course.

Voiceover: You’re listening to The Vibrant Leadership Podcast with leadership speaker and consultant, Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Welcome, everybody to The Vibrant Leadership Podcast. Today I have with me none other than Marc Pitman. And so I dressed for the call today, Marc.

Marc: I love it. That’s so cool. I happen to have a tie like that. Wow.

Nicole: Great. So this is what he sent to me. Guess what else he sent everybody in the mail, he sent me this beautiful brand new gift, the surprising gift of doubt and them and they’re available for sale on Amazon don’t miss that. Well, let me tell you a little bit about Marc Pitman, everybody, because you are really in for a treat. He is the leader and founder of the Concord Leadership Group. And Concord means like in one accord of one heart, right. And he’s been leading organizations and teams for decades. Like most of us, he’s had failures and successes. 

And these have caused him to study leadership for over 30 years. So we’re gonna pick in brain today, even if your brain looks like this, look at this, this is this little picture of doubt, we’re gonna take some doubt out of your mind today. And you know, give you some clarity. He is somebody who is working on earning his master’s in organizational leadership and a certification from Franklin Covey coach, he has ongoing education with his own experience, and he has helped leaders to lead teams with more effectiveness. And don’t miss this less stressed. Now, today, I’d like to really spend a lot of our time on this. Tell me a little bit about what what is so surprising about the gift of doubt. And why should I look at this thing, doubt, as a gift?

Marc: I know, because it’s an art, we told that leadership leaders are confident and they project confidence. And yeah, so when we’re that leader, when we’re in those positions, whether it’s leading a family or leading a community group or leading an organization, it feels weird when we feel that doubt. But my my premise in short, is that a bit, the doubt can mean something’s wrong. But it can mean that we’re on the verge of greatness, because we’re going to actually open up the entire leadership map. And instead of just looking for external cues, we’re gonna also look inside and figure out what makes us different, what makes us unique, and not just just do what everybody else says we should do.

Nicole: That’s right. And, you know, I when I was thinking about this, I was like, this surprising gift of doubt, like the leader who thinks they’ve got it all figured out. If you have doubt, it’s certainly

Marc: Can we say toxic.

Nicole: Or like egomaniac? Right? So I think that’s, that’s absolutely huge. 

Marc: That so funny. When I when I talk to people that are looking at a coach, I always say, one of the best best questions for coaches, that you’re looking hires, who coaches you, because coaches need to be coached. And I think I say this in the book, too, that the safest leaders are the ones that can be led. The safest leaders are good followers. If you’re if you’re a leader and you don’t know how to follow, then there’s usually something missing in your leadership toolkit.

Nicole: Okay, so don’t miss what he just said. He said, The safest leaders are the leaders that can be lead and say the second part for me because I didn’t get it written down fast enough.

Marc: The safest. I think I repeated the safest leaders are the ones that can be good followers.

Nicole: Oh, I love that. Okay, so I totally agree. Right? So you’ve got to have this like thing, this humility, character trait, which is so important. Yes, yes. Okay. So So, what’s your definition? After 30 years of studying leadership, how would you define leadership?

Marc: I think it’s influencing others. And that’s why I think whether you have a title, or not a title, you can still be a leader, because we’re all throughout life, we’re influencing people. So that’s where I would just I would define it as influencing others.

Nicole: Absolutely. 100%. So in the book, you talk about, you know, leaders have gifts and that you need to accept them. This is a this is a really great chapter in the book. Will you tell me a little bit about accepting your gifts. How do leaders do that?

Marc: Well, that’s it. So part of it is figuring out the, the, I call it quadrant three is where you start going internally and trying to look at your gifts. And so I have a three different areas there. hardwiring goals, identity, and that’s where you start figuring out what your gifts are. Why am I different? And it’s often unfortunately, it’s often because of the things that go wrong in our life. The thing that things were we’re not measuring up to everybody else. It’s the introverted leader who is told that they have to do management by walking around and they have to be spontaneous. They have to have their door open, even in a COVID time they have to have their slack or their zoom camera open all the time. 

So people can just drop in, when that totally drains them. And they think they must be broken because every extrovert, they’re using extrovert rules to be an introverted leader. So knowing yourself, there can be assessments, I talk about also the stories that we tell ourselves, there’s the, the way of how we set our own goals. Those all can be ways of kind of figuring out how we’re operating and what what makes us unique. But the big thing Nicole is not to let that be a label. One of the problems one of the gifts of people in this space of feeling like I must be busted. What’s wrong with me, in learning with humility, about themselves, is that they don’t let that be a container for them. When it when an extrovert will, in this space will never just say, well, I’m just an extrovert, you have to deal with me. 

No, they know that they can. The reason they learn that they’re an extrovert is to learn to tone it down. When they’re talking to an introvert or the reason that they’re they learn their task centered person is to learn to amp up or, or be a little more cognizant of people, if that’s doesn’t come naturally to them. Or if it’s enneagram, or ability battery, or whatever, whatever the assessment or gifts are, it’s to learn to flex and grow and have more compassion and grace to the people around you. Not to excuse you for being a bad human being.

Nicole: Right, right. So there’s like this, this really, I would call it a liminal place. It’s like standing in a doorway, right? And it’s kind of like, I know, I’m an introvert, doesn’t mean I have to become an extrovert. But it doesn’t let me off the hook for needing to have some extroverted energy come from me. Right. So there’s that little sweet spot.

Marc: I like that a lot. When it came up is, as I’m a total extrovert, people centered person. And for those of you who know the lingo, there’s a DISC is one of the assessments I like to use in my clients. Because it dates back 1000s of years, and it spans cultures. It’s not just a North American thing. But in that I, as a business owner, have to pay taxes, and I have to keep books or hire, bring in people that can do that. Well. I don’t like doing that. I’m not good at that, necessarily. I’m growing it good. I’ve been growing it being better at it. But it’s just like what you were saying with you know, there’s you we need to flex at times. Sometimes we do need to amp up some things sometimes don’t we need to turn it down. And learning where those even that those are possibilities to do. That’s huge. That makes us much better as leaders.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So yeah, I was that was one of my questions I had next as you said, you can take assessments and do things like that you kind of rattled off a couple. So I’m curious if you want to share with us some more ideas about that, because I think people do need to take assessments. So you you said the DISC, which a lot of people are familiar with. And I, I’ll tell you, Marc, you and I are so close to this work, we just think everybody knows about it. But there might be a listener on that wow. There might be a listener on this call that doesn’t understand the DISC. And then I’ve ever heard of the ability battery. So you can teach me something today. So tell me about those few assessments and how they help leaders.

Marc: Well, what I find is that there are stacked this the our bit our abilities are stacked and so our hardwiring a stack, so the DISC is a behavior based hardwiring. The highlands ability batteries and ability based sort of what your cognitively do quickly. And then there’s also the motivation base that I use which hardwiring, which is the enneagram. For that, that’s what I happen to use. So DISC for those of you who are watching, it comes from the ancient Greeks, they noticed that people were different, shockingly. And so they quantified them into four different groups based on the different humors the different fluids in their body, whether they had more sanguine or more phlegmatic, or melancholy or, or chloric. My parents, they kind of get depressed when they find out that they were melancholy. 

So I like the disc model, because because d i s and c have no emotional attachment to them. But it’s a simple quadrant of people sent our ex actives are used to be extrovert now it’s active fast processing, or used to be introverted, but now it’s reserved, slower, more thoughtful processing, and then people centered or task centered. And out of those four, you can become your we’re usually a blend of three. And it really can help you it’s behavior you can observe, I can, you can see right now I talk quickly, that may be an active person. If there’s a stage, I’m probably going to want to be on it. Whereas it was revolutionary to me Nicole when I found out that a lot of people didn’t. There are plenty of people that are fine not being onstage or having the mic that was shocking to me. 

So disc allows you to see the behaviors and maybe mirror your style a little bit to speak the dialect to the person you’re talking with. What’s underneath those behaviors is often the abilities which are the cognitive sort of things that you just process quickly or come naturally to you and the Highlands Ability Battery is my favorite tool for this. I had a coach on Long Island introduced me to this 15 years ago. And I feel like the norelco razor guy, I loved it so much I became a consultant, I didn’t buy the company, but I became a consultant. The you take 19 tests under time pressure, doing seemingly meaningless things. There are frustrating, you know, you could do them if you had more time. But what the it’s a bunch of different corporate ability tests that were brought together. So like, in a hotel, they don’t need people that could go through just a checklist of cleaning the room. They need people that can turn rooms quickly. So there are some people that can walk through a threshold and find out oh, that ashtray was an old test. They don’t use the ashtray anymore. But that ashtray is two inches to the left.

Nicole: I don’t know.

Marc: I guess it depends on where you travel. So they just intuitively can tell this room is these are the things that need to be fixed in this room, they don’t have to go through the checklist. And so that’s one of the tasks it’s called design memory. So going through those, there are five that are core drivers that if you’re not, if you’re over a press point in those, and you’re not expressing them in your life, you’re feeling stress, which is huge for many of us, because many of us that are expressing stronger in three, or four or five are, there’s no one place in life to get those out. Our job is only going to scratch one or two of those itches our family may another but just to have them in front of you can be very helpful. The neat thing is low is good to people that are low on those five drivers are really good managers, because they don’t have any need to outperform other people. 

They let other people shine. So that’s the highlands ability battery. And then the third one is enneagram, which is the motivation. So you have the behaviors that you do kind of the wiring that you have the ability to quickly do it like numbers for me, Nicole, I can remember numbers, no problem. When I get one of those passwords or authentication, passwords, boom, I can do those six numbers, no problem. And it would be very scary for me to assume everybody else can do it, that they don’t need to write it down. They don’t need to keep going back and checking it. So but the the underneath that is we could all behave the same way or look like we’re fast talkers. But then there’s another level of why are we doing that. 

So if you have three people that are goal setters go getters driven, there could be an the enneagram which is also it seems to be a wisdom tradition, as we see it in the Odyssey. We see it in Dante’s Inferno, we see elements of it throughout history, it really came on to its own in the 19th and 20th century and to now the there are nine stories that people operate and kind of navigate the world through ways that they feel like they need to be successful. So if there are two or three people that are really goal driven, fast paced, one of them could be fast paced, because they want to look successful, whenever they’re in front of a group, they just want to look successful.

Nicole: That’s the motivation right?

Marc: That is the motivation its success is the motivation for that. Another group is another person can be fast paced and goal setting, because they just don’t want to stand still, they’re afraid of a standstill that there’ll be sucked into this this chasm of blah and depress and you know, just sadness and whatever, they just want the new thing. Yeah, exactly. And then the third one is the people that are want don’t they want to protect a certain space or clan or people they want. They want they don’t want to be bullied. And so that’s why they’re they’re driven and goal centered. 

Big difference same extra behavior, potentially but you can you can help influence them and speak to them and, and present things to them in different ways. If you’re talking to me who’s a high seven, which is the shiny new object person. We’re operating out of personality. I don’t success doesn’t really okay, I’d love to be successful. But I learned from failure really quickly. And I’ll if I fail, I will blog it. Man, I screwed up. This is great. Check out this lesson you can learn where three would never do that. A three which is a success centered. So.

Nicole: There would be shame if a three failed. Oh my god.

Marc: Right. So So ability, behavior and motivation form this wonderfully complex understanding of you and you don’t have to do all of them. But I found that those three helped a lot.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. So let’s not miss this. So he’s he’s giving you some good advice. And he says you don’t have to take them. But I will tell you that this would be super valuable to you, if you did invest in these things. Because, you know, there’s, you know, out in the world Marc, people are giving each other feedback, if they’re healthy. If their organizations are healthy, they’re giving each other feedback. Sometimes we hear the same thing over and over again in our feedback. In fact, I was kidding around with a gal the other day and she said, my boss tells me I talk too much. And she said I can go all the way back to the third grade when on my report card. It said you talk too much. So it’s kind of like okay, we’ve been told this by other humans and we just kind of discount it but like when you take a validated assessment, and you take three of them that say, hey, you are extroverted, sometimes you don’t manage this, it can really get our attention and help us do something better. 

Marc: And also help us show. So one of my, one of the teams I work with, and I actually talked about it in the book, they did a lot, they got a lot done, but they didn’t click, it was always stressful. It was always crisis centered. It always felt last minute. And it was after DISC helped a bit, because it gave us some common language to talk about. But it was actually the enneagram that helped the leader realize, oh, I am forcing this one person into a role that she will consistently failing. 

And so when when that person was able to be in a role of just designed a position that was central to our getting everything done, but was allowed to be it operating in the way that we had seen over the years, all of a sudden, she flourished. And and so what what this person said to me was a you know, that whole thing, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. That plant was growing in the wrong place, or I was trying to force it into the wrong pot. But because of this particular topology, I was able to figure out, oh, maybe I should try it in this soil or in this kind of pot. And it became incredibly helpful and a lot less drama. Less drama.

Nicole: Yeah. And that’s what we all want out there in our workplaces is less drama, that is for sure. 

Marc: What do you use in your practice? What kind of what kind of assessments?

Nicole: Well, I also use the DISC. Love it. But then I also use the path element profile, which is built around earth, water, wind and fire. So people either get a 70s band in their mind or they think you know, like they think what kind of Voodoo do you do or something new age thing are happening. But it’s very similar to the DISC. But I love the the sticky images of if I said oh, Marc is a wind, you know which you are. And so Nicole is a wind as well, right? Which just means like, we can be the wind beneath people’s wings, or we can we can blow their hair back. And they will look like what is happening. 

Okay, so yeah, and then I use another one called the actualized leader profile. In fact, those of you who are listening, if you want to go to, you can take a free one of those. And then I also use. several others. But assessments, I think are essential to leaders, because one of the things that’s been said over and over and research is that, you know, self reflection is the hugest gift to the leader. If they can stop and go What’s up with me? What’s it like to experience me, that is probably the best thing a leader can do in the day. 

Marc: And it feels like cheating. I think for most of the people, I coach, they we go through school, and we have people telling us what to do. We go through sports, and we have coaches telling us what to do, we get a job. And we we get told what to do. And then we get measured on the ability to do it. And then we move into management. And we have to have people skills, but we still have to get stuff done. Leadership, there’s obviously getting stuff done. But I don’t think many people have the guidance or the mentorship to say, part of your role as a leader is to not be the expert in the room anymore. It’s to allow other experts to show up. It’s to ask the right questions. It’s to set the right course. And a lot of that is what you were saying it’s self reflection, it’s being able to, to think differently about things instead of just, you know, cranking out widgets. It’s it’s a different capacity.

Nicole: Yeah, every time you say something genius, I’m writing it down.

Marc: I’m loving it. I’m loving watching you write stuff down, because like, boy, I must have said something good. I’m glad this is recorded.

Nicole: Well, so here’s here’s, here’s my next question for you is that you talk about stories. In your book. It’s in chapter six. And I just believe that one of the best ways to teach people or show people what you’re thinking is to share a story. So will you share with me how leaders can use stories to enhance their leadership.

Marc: One of my favorite tools for this is I learned from a guy named John Eldridge, who has a book called Epic, he said, think about the the characters that you keep coming back to in movies or in stories. I mean, yes, books that you read movies that you watch, reflect on those. And so I was working with a group and our assignment was to choose one. And I thought this is so cheesy, because Gandalf is my guy. I mean, I want to be Gandalf. That’s not I want to be but just yeah, so I was just thinking, and I felt so like vulnerable because it was like this is so you know, trite is everybody’s gonna want that got into the group. Nobody else had that as their character. And that was mind blowing to me. So I began getting me to think what’s different about Gandalf and even to this day, right, just off camera. I have a couple of figurines to remind me of a Galndalf like character. But the what I realized is Gandalf is a nerd. 

Because in the Lord of the Rings books, he goes for years to study what this ring is. He goes into the monasteries, he looks into the libraries, he’s going through scrolls and dust. He does the deep research, which is really reflective of what I like to do. Most of my clients don’t have the time to do the research. So I want to bring the research to them. I never want to share something that isn’t researched, or I can’t cite the source. Because I, I grew up listening to two wonderful motivational speakers and then find out a lot of their their stuff wasn’t real. It was just a good, good fable, even though it’s presented as science. So bring me on that if you want. But the other part is, he’s a warrior. He stands for what he wants. And he gets but I mean, he fights really well. So so that reflects, he said, the power of that I’m on sort of how I operate in the world. 

I use this with another leader who, who had two movie characters, one of which was the Sean Connery character Hunt for Red October. And he had the same exact kind of promotion arc as I did, if that’s your homework for me to this call mark is to look at the thick of that, all right, whatever, he came back, I got nothing. I got Sean Connery and hunter Red October. And Kevin Costner Dances with Wolves. That’s all I got. And as we unpacked it, it turns out there were both military men who were willing to listen to the enemy, and learn the language of the enemy in a way that inspired the animosity of their, their military, their military was out to get them and try to kill them. It turns out this particular leader was in a unionized organization, the head, the labor union was trying to write poison pen letters to the board to get this guy fired. Because in part, this guy was willing to look at new ways of doing business and new ways of doing their work, as opposed to the ways it was done in the 50s. 

And the union wanted to go back to the 50s sort of methodology of technology. And that was it had to find its successes, firing the CEO. So whenever what it did for him was it totally centered him. Whenever we were in that fight. It kind of rationalized the fight that he was in. And whenever we were in that fight, we were able to say, okay, look, it references characters, and it was a shortcode of and you could just feel the shift and the emotions happen. And within eight months, he had double digit increases in employee satisfaction and all but it helped him to see this is the narrative I’m living out right now. And and that’s not bad. It just explains. It contextualize is what I’m experiencing.

Nicole: That’s right. So it’s kind of like, what would Sean Connery do moment? Right. I love that.

Marc: Maybe the character. I heard he wasn’t such a great guy, but.

Nicole: Okay, well, he’s getting on. I think I’ve heard the same thing now that you say that, but gosh, don’t we all love Sean Connery’s characters, right? Yeah, absolutely. Cool. All right. So I love that about the story. So what he what you just said, Tell me if I get this right, is that we need to think about the people that we really think did a fabulous job and leadership in the past, it could be somebody in a movie, it could be somebody in our real past a story we’ve heard, but then use that as a grounding point to help you recenter yourself so you can go back into the battle you’re in or the story you’re in and see what the what this great leader did. Did I get that right?

Marc: You put a different nuance on it than I intended, but that’s that was good. Okay, what I was taking a step back and just saying what are the characters doesn’t have to be leadership characters, it could be anyone. It might be Pollyanna in Pollyanna. It could be.

Nicole: Oh, I’m a Pollyanna. I am.

Marc: I get it. I love Yeah, the God gave. Yeah. So the it could be any character. And it helps. Because this is the premise that I’m working from, and it’s based in science is that, like, my phone is an Android operating system. Some people have Apple operating system, human beings have a story operating system, Kendall Haven, and many others have written books on looking at the research of narrative study. And we know that if you want to teach kids math, if you teach them how to write a story, if you teach them simple narrative story structure, their math, grades go up, because they understand what they’re doing in math formulas. It’s, it’s remarkable. 

So going back to your earlier comment about being reflective, that’s what I was saying is, as we’re reflective with ourselves, we can learn about how we’re operating in our space and in our world. And that’s where the stories can really be helpful. I think it’s very helpful to to learn from the leadership stories that we like as well. Because one of the limitations may be for leaders of a certain age, it may be a John Wayne type leader that they’re trying to model but they don’t feel like they’re measuring up to that kind of solitary. I got this all carried and figured out swagger, and that’s probably actually a benefit because in today’s culture that doesn’t cut it anymore.

Nicole: Can’t be a maverick.

Marc: Well, it’s not necessarily not being a maverick. It’s not being You can’t be alone. You can’t be isolated and stoic necessarily. It’s okay to be vulnerable and need people and different ways of doing that. It’s not that you’re going to be a blubbering mess or anything. But there’s a statute of leadership, but admitting that you don’t know, is a very strong thing to do. And that’s usually not modeled in some of our historical concepts of of leadership.

Nicole: That’s right. That’s right. Actually, that’s the most courageous thing is to not say it, right. Absolutely.

Marc: Sometimes it takes Yeah, it takes the the really blows people away when you admit that, right. I don’t know. And that’s why values. I mean, we I don’t know if we’re going to go there. But core values is one of the reasons why it’s really important to know your core values. Because if you know what you stand for, non negotiable values. My friend Brent man, Swan wrote a book called black sheep. And it’s because the sheep’s wool of the black sheep is unintelligible is indelible, it can’t be died. And they said, those are like your core values, they can’t be changed. There are aspirational values, there are other people’s values that we tend most of our most of our lives get. 

And without reflection gets spent tending other people’s values. But there are some core values that are ours. And as leaders, you know, yours and you know, your organization’s even when a pandemic hits, or the economy goes south or something happens and up ends your business. You can say, I don’t know what’s happening, I don’t know the way forward, but I do know what’s not changing. We’re still going to be this, this and this, then that becomes your your kind of moral compass as you walk through that.

Nicole: Yeah, I love it. Okay. And so I have a resource, do you have a resource about core values? if nobody’s ever thought I better figure out what my core values are?

Marc: We’re so glad you asked that, actually. Yeah., you could get a free values indicator. For sure there. Yeah.

Nicole: Okay. I can send it out to you as well. If you will just email me at Nicole at vibrant coaching, I’ll send you a core values exercise you can do. So I would be cool if you actually did both of these. Because then you can compare results. And then you know, get a gut feeling for what really works. Yeah. You know, one of the things I know, Mark, you and I we have seen this in the organizations we work with is that they will have a list of core values hanging on the wall or in the employee handbook. But there’s not a lot of talk about it. 

Marc: It was an exercise that they checked the box off. Okay, we did that. Yeah.

Nicole: That’s right. But it needs to be something in our daily dialogue, something that you know, if we come to a point in a meeting or a situation, we say, Okay, let’s refer back to our core values. What do they tell us to do? So? Absolutely, totally agree with that. Yeah. So yeah, okay. So people want to get organized. That’s what I know. So every time I sit down with a new client, Marc, they say, I need to get organized. And I’m like, Okay, well, you know, it doesn’t have to be this, you know, very complicated system. But you talk about in chapter seven, about organizing around your goals, which I think is the right way to organize. Okay, it’s not just about having your pencil drawer straight. Tell us what it’s all about Marc.

Marc: But it feels good for the few seconds that it is great. I learned this from a client in northern New England that it is called cascading goals. And the when I tried to get my publisher was very good at trying to make me not trying forcing me to get all the rights or all the permissions before I use it. It seems to be a term that was used in web development first, but the way we use it in organization development is a traditional leader will take their own goals, if they’re a for profit, or they’re if they’re nonprofit, they’ll have a board giving them goals. And it’ll be kind of what they’re going to be evaluated for. They’re gonna evaluate themselves for at the end of the year, more or less, it’s their scorecard. Then they’ll take their team and try to be a good servant leader and say, What do you need from me? Like, what can I do not and not in a bad way, but just Hey, how can I help? 

What do you need to get your stuff done? And they’ll spend most of their work life working between the two kind of getting ground up. Because when they’re working with their staff, they know that they’ve got the report card that’s not getting worked on. And when they go to close the door and do some of the stuff that’s on the report card on their set, what they they have on their list, their staff wonders, well, which you go, why she got What’s going on? cascading goals is much better. Well, I’ll just explain it. You work on it. Yes, you have a strategic plan. And organization. Research consistently shows that strategic planning helps people helps increase revenue helps increase team membership, and building and onboarding is faster, retention is better. So you, you figure out what your strategic plan is, whether that is however you formulate that you can google and get a million different ways. 

That could be helpful to do it. But it’s basically a common record of where you’re trying to go and what you’re what you’re trying to accomplish as a company or as an organization. And then instead of the leader just taking that as her personal thing for the year as you look at your year and say, What part of this big plan can we get done this year. What do we need to help fulfill some of the deficits? What are the tools we need to have in place? What? How are we going to keep score? And instead of the leader saying this is my personal thing, and then turning to our staff and saying, What do you need from me? You take that whole thing, and you bring it to your staff and say, here’s where we’re going this year. Where do you see yourself playing and fitting into this? 

What I love about this is that you’ll often get CFOs saying, well, I could help the sales function. Or in a nonprofit, CFO, say, I can help the fundraising function, which isn’t necessarily in their job description. But it’s really powerful, because as we know, from our assessments talk, some people are moved by data. And the CFO will know the data and have the credibility of not just being a sales guy doing this. But there’s a CFO, when she has those data and is able to say, well, these are our revenue and accruals. And whatever the CFO languages, that could be really helpful. So you have this wonderful synergy that happens when the whole team sees these are the organization’s goals, and the leader the whole time, whatever place she’s space she’s working in, she’s just working in the whole organization school, so she doesn’t have to be ground between letting people down. She’s working in flow with everybody. So that’s what cascading goals is. I love that.

Nicole: Yeah, I do, too. I do too. And you know, one of the things that you’ve triggered in my mind is, I think, to part of the strategic planning is that you know, you get your directives, maybe from a board or maybe it’s your even your own vision, if you’re not operating in this situation where there is a board. But like, once a year, at least, you should look at, you know, what, everybody’s job description, because in the way things are changing so rapidly right now, it’s, you know, one of those things that you put into your HR strategic plan, which is everybody working on the right thing and stuff that

Marc: Even if you’re a solopreneur, what are the what are the or what are the job descriptions and the org chart you tend to have, you’d expect to have, because you can shape the core, the way you the whole DNA of your organization based on your core, your your org chart, you don’t have to use a standard org chart, you can have different roles. Because as a solopreneur, you’re it. You’re wearing all the hats. So that’s it. But our small organizations, I absolutely agree that annually, you should just be looking at and just does it still reflect who we are this is reflect the way we want to operate in the world. I think that’s great.

Nicole: Yeah. 100% 100% Okay. All right. So we talked about stories, you talked about organizing, and now I want to talk about time. So you haven’t checked her eight that you know, time management, I’m telling you, the whole world is like he talked about time management, everybody’s perked up, because everybody wants more time. So even though we’re staying at home, you know, we’ve had this big switch to stay at home, I bet you you have filled your time. In fact, I’m so glued to the computer all day long. You know, I think I had more breaks when I was live and in person. So tell me a little bit about how a leader should manage their time, I know this is going to be so valuable.

Marc: Well, there’s so many different ways. And so what I’ve done is I’ve created this an activity sheet that I use myself where I list down the calls that I’m going to have that day and I just a couple of goals that I want to get done. It’s called I think I call it a focus sheet, I do a focus sheet. It’s amazing how I recalled it what it is. For me, I like to keep score. And I like to also not get to a call the days can sometimes go so quickly that the intentions I had when I was working out in the morning, don’t always get reflected by the afternoon with the the meetings I have. So I like to be able to just plan and I my my clients have found this to be incredibly helpful to have, just look through your appointments for the day. 

These are the people I’m going to talk to, and just a couple words or a phrase or something that you want to be sure to talk to you about with them. And then you can also have the the big projects you’re working on what next steps you need to take. And then at the bottom, I just have a bunch of follow up stuff, little miniscule things to do this sort of thing. That is a way of focusing the time so that even though you’re gonna have all these other things come at you, you know what the big rocks are. I’m a Franklin Covey trained coach, I talk about the big rocks and time management. And that that kind of format. If you don’t know what it is Google, it’s incredibly helpful. But you know what the big chunks are. 

And it’s amazing how this stuff flows in and fills around. And you don’t feel have that nagging feeling that you’re leaving something undone, because you’re able to remember or you’re not having that kind of steering wheel conversation or maybe keyboard conversation of I was talking to Nicole, I should have said this. Because you looked at it, even if it’s just as you’re dialing 30 Nicole’s number or clicking on the zoom link, you’re seeing Nicole and then you’re seeing what your intent was for that that meeting.

Nicole: Yeah, fantastic. Okay. So if people want to get a hold of your focuser, do they just reach out to you?

Marc: They can I believe it is.

Nicole: Okay, fantastic. One more time.


Nicole: All right, very good. Okay, so the daily dash focus, alright. Alright, so finally, um, you know, I think the number one skill that a leader needs to work on, and you might add to that list. So I’m gonna say I think the number one skill a leader needs to work on is confidence. And that’s why you need to be such a scholar of leadership, you need to get this book, the gift of doubt by Marc Pitman so that you can like it, you know, engage with this thing that’s above your head right there, and get your bow tie. So. So I think confidence is ultimately important. And you talk about in chapter nine, energizing your confidence and your clarity. So talk a little bit about that. And then maybe add to my list, confidence is important. Skill. What else? Well,

Marc: Well, so I call it the leaders journey. I think you start out with a high confidence in quadrant one, where you’re given a title of leader and you either feel confident, or you feel the confidence of the people that gave you the positional authority. And so you copy the people that are you’re looking externally, you look around you and you try to do what you’ve seen others do, as that doesn’t work for you all the time. And I used to listen to motivational speakers. And they would say, if you’re a leader, and you turn around, and there’s nobody behind you, you’re just out for a walk. So that takes a hit at your confidence and it goes down. 

So you go to quadrant two, which is where that scribble is of you try to figure out what’s wrong with you? Is it time management, so you try a time management tool and parts of it work, but not all of it. And so then you try to figure out what’s the next part that doesn’t work for you? And do you books, tapes, see my age books, tapes, you know, go to events, do webinars, and many people lurch and just kind of stick around in quadrant two, and they can experience success. But there’s always that nagging doubt, the doubt then becomes the gift that can be the looking at the other half of the leadership journey, which we don’t know about, which is the internal stuff, the stuff we’ve been told to ignore all our life. Those are just emotions, those are just subjective, we need the hard data. 

But when we move into that and do the stuff, we’ve been talking about this whole conversation, we start rebuilding our confidence because it, it starts, we start seeing why we do things the way we do. And we start getting words and nine personal sounding words, the assessments give us some sort of kind of objective sounding language, to be able to explain why our organization is different, or why we are different. And that gives us the confidence to be able in the clarity to be able to see what’s needed next. Because sometimes we do need to follow somebody we need to find somebody that can be a good mentor or guide or something. 

Sometimes we need to learn something because we’ve done the learning in quadrant two, we know what is good for us, is it you know, some people are readers, some people are listeners, some people are kinesthetic they need to be walking or moving around or or acting it out. Or we need to know do we need to go inside? Have I tried the external stuff? And isn’t the internal that I need to do? And the clarity comes from with your staff? What quadrant are each of the people in? And how can I help them be the best in that quadrant because each quadrant has a gift in itself. But it’s just that, that if you’re what I love is and where I don’t know for you, but where I find in my 18 years of being a coach, the greatest joy is with the people that have tremendous success, so much so that everybody around them believes, ah, they’ve got this all figured out. But the leader themselves knows they don’t. And they don’t know how they’re going to do it again. That kind of nagging doubt that imposter syndrome that kind of faking it. 

The negative faking it to make it can really be the entryway into rebuilding the confidence by figuring out that, Oh, I’m I am unique. And I’m different. And not everybody sees the world like I do, like you said about desk. You and I know desk and we’re it’s it’s something we’ve studied and certified and done for years taught for years. But not everybody does. So it is somebody’s first time. And so we you reminded me that Oh, yeah, let’s let’s just take a step back and explain it because this could be new for people.

Nicole: Absolutely, absolutely. So I have just adored getting inside of this. So everybody, I want you to take a look again, at the surprising gift of doubt. We want to engage with this little confusedness we have on top of our head, you need to go to the Belk or the Dillard’s or the Bloomingdale’s and get yourself a bow tie so that you can really engage with the gift of doubt, really important. And so here’s what I’ve taken away from our call today. It was really, really rich. One was that you you do need to do assessments that a leader needs to turn the mirror inward. And so Marc has a battery of them one that will cover your personality, which is DISC, correct? Yes. Oh, one that helps you look at your cognitive ability and tell us the name of that one again.

Marc: The Highlands Ability Battery.

Nicole: Okay. All right, that one that one I’m going to check out for myself.

Marc: It was formulated in North Carolina, in the highlands section in North Carolina.

Nicole: Okay, all right. Well, we like to support North Carolina that is for sure. Alright, and then the third one was the enneagram. So I do know if you want if you were curious about that when we were rattling off numbers, the enneagram is is a an assessment that works on nine numbers and so I am a three and Marc is a seven but we are like kindred spirits. We’re very close. I have a lot of seven ish things that go on in my life. But if you’re curious about these numbers I know you can go and Google Riso Hudson and go out there do they have a free version. Is that the one you that you use?

Marc: Riso Hudson is the one use the most. The enneagram is the only assessment where Yeah, I would caution people let it sit through nine numbers is a lot so let it use it to sift through that it’s but don’t it doesn’t assign you you’re your expert, you’re the expert on your life. So let the stories yeah resonate with you. I also like IEQ nine i e, q and nine. There’s a new assessment since the book came out even that are new to me. And then anything by Beatrice Chestnut is great. She wrote the nine types of leadership and it shows how all nine types can be strong leaders.

Nicole: Okay, say Beatrice’s book one more time, quick.

Marc: The Nine Types of Leadership. 

Nicole: Okay. And then you also gave us two other resources because here’s what I believe leaders read I really believe that you have to read if you’re a leader, you got to know what’s going on out there. You got to keep on top of it. And so you mentioned a book called the Black Sheep. What it who is the author of that one again? 

Marc: Brant Menswar. m e n s w a r.

Nicole: Okay, and then also Epic by John Eldredge. Did I get that right? Okay, fantastic. So three books to add to your Amazon lineup, your audible lineup, really important stuff. And then I think the thing that I’m also taking away from this today is like the whole idea of stories, right? Like, you know, figuring out what what stories you’re drawn to why you’re drawn to them, the leaders inside those stories and using that as a kind of a mirror. Something to look at to help guide you I thought your story about the labor union was very telling. 

I thought that was great. And then finally, you started out with a really great quote you said that leaders need to be led. Right and they also need to know how to follow so that’s tweetable folks put that out hashtag Marc Pitman and a vibrant coaching podcast that you learned it here I am absolutely delighted Marc that you’ve been with me today and how can we get a hold of you if we want you to coach us? Do strategic planning. Help us with all of our stuff? How do we get a hold of you?

Marc: The the hub of it. Well, you could Google Marc A Pitman. And Mark with a C Pitman with one T, and I’m on all the socials. But Concord Leadership Group C O N C O R D is where all the different this hub of the spokes, all the spokes come off of that hub for me.

Nicole: Okay. All right. Well, let’s finish right. I hope that you get number one on the New York Times bestseller and have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you.

Voiceover: Ready to up your leadership game? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with her unique SHINE method to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Email, and be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

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