259: Build Relationships by becoming a Successful Thinker - with Corey Jahnke

Meet Corey 

Let's face it in the 21st century, everything rises and falls on leadership in our ability to motivate and inspire others to peak performance. Corey brings a one of a kind approach to driving employee engagement and customer relationships to unheard-of levels. Corey's unique program will not only get your organization focused and fired up, but he will generate amazing levels of excitement, optimism, and enthusiasm throughout your company that will last for years to come.

So what is the fastest way to build trust based on relationships with other people?

The big thing that most people are afraid to do today is to actually trust other people. That's a great question you asked me because the thing about it is Lori, you're not going to trust me until I show you that I trust you first. We're all built with mirror neurons and mirror reactions so when I come up to you, and I show you that, hey, you know what, I trust you not just as a worker, not just as a family member, but as a fellow human being, I'm doing two things. Number one is I'm giving you a space where you can feel comfortable and appreciated. Then number two, what I'm doing is I'm building my own confidence, because what I'm saying is that you know what, Lori, if you're one of my employees, and I give you a really important task, and I trust you to complete it, and I don't get my fingers all involved in it, and I don't mess with your agenda. What I'm also saying is that I trust myself so that if you do happen to screw it up, then I know that I can fix it. When you do that, what you're doing is you're actually creating a space for people to feel trust. Trust isn't something that you lend to somebody, trust is an environment that you create. You can walk through life in one of two ways. You can say, you know what, people are gonna rip me off, people are looking to take advantage of me. Or you can say, you know, I believe that everyone is my friend. And if people don't perform the way I think they should, or if people don't act the way I should, I need to step into their space and feel what it is like, and feels like to be them.

How can the Successful Thinker help us build lasting relationships with our families, co-workers, and customers?

So the Successful Thinker is a story that I wrote, based on what I was seeing in the corporations that I work with. As a pharmacist, I have been doing this for 30 years working in a small pharmacy inside of large buildings like Walmart, and Kmart. What you would see is that the pressures from above from the company would grow and grow and grow. We want you to do more and more and more, and we want to give you fewer resources, fewer people, less authority, and so what would happen is that People literally would get sick with stress within these organizations. In fact, in 2008, I wanted to jump off a bridge, it was so stressful. What happened on this night in 2008, where I didn't care if I lived or died, I just happened to stumble into my son's room at about 2 am. He's five years old, and I just didn't know what to do because I didn't want to live anymore. Then I had a coming to Jesus moment where I said, “Do you really want this beautiful five year old to grow up without a father over some stupid job?” So I recognized if I was going to fix that problem, what I had to do was figure out not how to do more with less, but learn how to do more by becoming more. So how do you become more?  The answer to that is you grow your influence, you expand what you're able to do through using other people. What I found was that for everything I hated to do, and everything that I sucked at, there was somebody that loved to do it and was great at it. So I just started lending authority to other people. What I found was that when you lend authority to other people, and you trust them, all of a sudden, you exponentially grow your impact, you exponentially grow your influence, and you become much bigger than just yourself.  I can only do one, two, maybe three things well, I can wait on customers and make them feel super important, I can grow and empower employees, and I can network with the major players like the doctors and nurses in my pharmacy market. However, I can't write a schedule to save my soul and I can't negotiate with insurances.  So I started giving this to people, and what I found was that when I started doing that, they started responding in amazing ways. So what we did with a successful thinker is we wanted to take that and then give this recipe to other people so they could get the results that I got. In the Successful Thinker we came up with seven simple things that you can do anyone could do to make their life impactful, important, and survivable and what we did is we wrote into this story the seven laws of 21st-century leadership, and those seven laws anyone can put into place right now today, and become successful and become fulfilled.

As you said, it's empowering, and a fantastic leadership trait, to just let your team know that you appreciate them and their hard work and efforts are definitely contributing to the bigger picture in the success of everything. 

Right, because as leaders, oftentimes, unfortunately, because it's such a stressful position, we make it about us. How am I going to achieve all my goals? Well, once you recognize it, as soon as you make anything about you, and no one else, that's a recipe for disaster. But when you look at your team, and you say, you know what, we're in this together, I need your help, people will respond and they'll respond bigger than you could possibly ever imagine. So here's for instance, most people think that passing along the direction is the same thing as leadership. The main character in our books, Cynthia is a district manager who's basically starting out the book with a really low employee satisfaction rate, and her boss is thinking about firing her. Instead what he does is he hooked her up with a mentor in hopes that he's giving her a chance to raise that employee approval rating.  But Cynthia thinks that, like I said, passing along direction is the same thing as leadership, but it’s not. When all you do is give direction and orders, you’re only creating burnout and fear within your employees. But if you look at your team, and you say, “Guess what, guys, we've been given a goal that we have to accomplish. What do you think are the best possible solutions for us to make that happen as a team?”  All of a sudden people start inputting, people start sharing their ideas, people start sharing their advice and people start brainstorming because people will always support whatever they co-create. But if I tell you what you're going to do, and I tell you by when you need to do it, you develop an instant resistance to that. 

Can you share with our listeners, one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?

So when I got out of pharmacy school, I was 23 years old, and quite frankly, I was extremely cocky, I was way overconfident and I really wanted to just hit the world like a battering ram. So I went to work my very first day and they said, “You know what, we're really busy here, we don't have time to train you, so you just counsel customers.” So I stood there for the first day and just told customers things like, “take this medicine with food,” or,  “take this on an empty stomach.” On the walk home, I recognized that if I had to do that for 45 years, I just didn't think I could take it. I was thinking maybe I should go back to school, but then I had an idea and I said, What if I took a different approach to create a competitive advantage and had fun at work?” I started being really social with people that would come into the pharmacy, asking them about themselves, or saying something like, “Hey I really like your shirt where did you get it?” Then what I found was that people started calling the pharmacy asking for me if they had a medicine question. We weren't talking about medicine at all at the window when they were there to pick it up because they had been at the doctor's office forever, and I quite frankly found medicine boring.  So then I started asking them better and better questions, like asking them what’s made them so successful, or if it looks like they’ve had a down day I’d ask them what’s got them down and then we would talk and I might share a solution. All of a sudden, what I started recognizing is that there are similarities between people who are successful, and what they do, and vice-versa. I also noticed that everyone goes through problems, everyone goes through trials and tribulations and there are similarities between ways to make things better. What I wanted to do was take it from the people who were killing it and give it to the people who are getting killed. So I started what we would have called today, relationship marketing back in 1990 when I first got out of pharmacy school, and what I recognized is that every one of us is a human being and want to be treated as such. All too often we go into networking situations, networking events, and we treat people like a client when they aren’t a client until they say they’d like to be a client. That's why you'll never hear me refer to a pharmacy patient as a patient, you will hear me call them a customer because the customer is someone who's walking into your store with the ability to try out your service and they don't become a patient until they say they become a patient. What I'm finding is that if you can treat each and every person with those seven laws of 21st-century leadership,  that's what's real networking in my opinion. 

As you continue to grow and expand your network, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?

I actually do two things, I use some of the systems that are what we call CRM systems, where you can actually put people's names and information into your system and keep track of them on a database and actually reach out to them. But I also do something that few people want to do today where I use a notebook and a piece of paper and I make notes about people. I write things that people are interested in,  or what they think is important in life, and if I see an opportunity, I reach out. I think one of the things that have happened in our society is we get overly impressed with the idea that it's possible to act like a weirdo, it's possible to stand out by being I don't want to say too friendly. If you say to somebody, “you know what, that's a really cool shirt, man, where did you get it?” Sometimes people are afraid that that's being too forward or too aggressive. But what I find is that if you think it's a cool shirt, and you're just coming from a genuine space of man, that's a cool shirt, I find that it's a worthwhile thing to say that I don't think has ever backfired on me in my life. Obviously, you need to be appropriate, obviously, you need to make sure that the things you're doing and the things that you're complimenting people on or the things that you may be sending people are actually from a genuine space of concern. Part of my bio is I'm a Go-Giver Coach and the Go-Giver is a business book written by Bob Burg and John David Mann. One of the things that they talked about was losing the scorekeeping mentality and just be a really kind person, and just be somebody who's really genuine and affords people a space to where they want to do business with you. What you'll find is that people will always do business with people they know, like, and trust. 

If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of, less of, or differently with regards to your professional career?

One of the things I didn't take into account was that all of a sudden before you know it, you're in your 50s. And you may not have the health or the opportunities that you do in your 20s. So if I could give myself advice, it would be to save more money, focus more on your health, focus on developing those relationships earlier, and strengthen those relationships that give yourself an opportunity. If I could sum all of that up into one sentence, Brian Tracy, who's written 50 or 60 books, on leadership and personal development and so forth, said this: “the business of life is to give yourself options.” So I would offer to your audience that whatever they do, they should always be looking down the road at their next career, their next situation, making sure that they're constantly developing their skills, especially their leadership and people skills because even in 2020, even with everything that's going on, people skills are the one set of skills that has not gone away in terms of opportunity.

Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?

Yes, I really think that one of the things you want to do is rethink the way you use your life in terms of, we've made a lot of shortcuts in this world with social media and with texting, and with voicemail, and I just want to really offer you an opportunity that exists now that didn't really exist 20 or 25 years ago. Nowadays, we really need people who specialize in emotional intelligence and specialize in seeing people as full people. I believe that it's a real opportunity because so many people have lost a lot of their interpersonal skills because of social media. So it's an opportunity for you to read books like The Go-Giver, or The Successful Thinker and say, “You know what, maybe I really need to recognize that if I want the people in my life, to know how important they are to me, I have to treat them that way.” John C. Maxwell who has written a ton of leadership books said it this way where he said, “You don't have to have a lot of money to create an amazing event for someone else. What you have to do is pay attention and really focus on that person when you're in the room with them and be all there and save everything else for later because everything else is away.”

Connect with Corey:

Corey’s Website: https://thesuccessfulthinker.com/ 

Reach out by clicking “Contact Me” in the “About Me” tab to ask Corey a leadership question. 

Download a free copy of Corey’s book, The Successful Thinker