It is usual for everyone to look up to a leader figure for help during a crisis.
Look at the world now. World leaders have limitless responsibilities on their shoulders while each of them try to control the spread of COVID19 in parts for the globe they lead. At a lower level, ministers are making sure that we are provided with everything we need in the safety of our homes.
But these are not the only examples of leadership you can find at the time of a crisis. Every person who is a leader, irrespective of the number of people under their wing, should be prepared to deal with a crisis. Here we have Adam Mendler, CEO of Veloz Group, talking to you about being a leader to your team.
00:10 – Introduction.
04:55 – How can leaders adopt to this change in the workstyle.
06:53 – 3 Principles every leader should adopt.
11:02 – The Key Roles of a Leader in an organization.
16:37 – How to create a culture of leadership.
22:00 – How to Pick the Right Leadership Style.
Special thanks to Adam Mendler for joining this amazing episode. This is incredibly advantageous if you have your own podcast to promote, since the audience is already listening to podcasts, meaning they’re much more likely to subscribe to your own podcast.
Adam MendlerCEO, VELOZ GROUP
Adam Mendler is the Chief Executive Officer of The Veloz Group, a technology consulting and software development practice. He is co-founded and oversees ventures across a wide variety of industries: Beverly Hills Chairs, a leading office furniture e-tailer; Custom Tobacco, a one-of-a-kind cigar customization e-commerce platform.
RK: Welcome to a new episode of TGL podcast. We have a very special guest today, who builds and operates a technology-driven company taking internal ideas and transforming them into self-sustaining businesses.
We have Adam Mendler, the CEO of The Veloz Group.
Hey, Adam, welcome to the show.
Adam: RK! Thank you for having me. Excited to be here.
RK: Thank you.
So can you tell us a little bit about yourself and whom you serve?
Adam: Absolutely. I try to serve as many people as possible.
And right now my goal is to serve your listeners so hopefully, I can keep everyone engaged for as long as we talk.
A little bit about me, I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve started a few different businesses and a few different industries. We have two different e-commerce businesses that we run, we have a consulting company.
I do a lot of writing and speaking on leadership, management, entrepreneurship, marketing, I’ve written a lot in Forbes and Inc, Huffington Post, and have an interview series where I interviewed hundreds of America’s top leaders.
More recently, I’ve started a podcast called 30 minute mentors. You can see I’m using my podcasting equipment right now for this interview, so I’ve got my logo right behind me.
And I go one on one with leading CEOs, founders, celebrities, athletes, generals, admirals, on how they got to the top and how listeners can as well. So really, depending on what business I’m focusing on, I’m serving a different audience, so for my office furniture company, the audience that I’m serving is anyone looking for an office chair now.
A couple of months ago that was small to medium-sized businesses all across America. We were servicing tech companies. We were servicing companies in the entertainment industry, law firms, accounting firms, financial services firms.
Today, we’re servicing home offices. Now that everyone is working from home and trying to figure out how do I quit my home office in the best way possible so that I can actually work from home productively. People are calling us to figure out what chair do I buy? by sitting in one of those right now.
Our cigar company custom tobacco, we cater to event planners and gift-givers.
Our software consulting company Veloz Solutions. We’re servicing middle market companies. We’ve also worked with nonprofit organisations.
As a speaker, I speak to all kinds of audiences, I speak to businesses, I speak to nonprofits and Speak to universities, lots of college students, and MBA programs.
So, and my podcast, of course, I’m trying to speak to as many people as possible, who I think will be inspired by the message that I’m trying to convey and by the message that I’m trying to convey through the guests that I’m bringing on.
So, in a roundabout way, I’m really trying to touch as many lives as I can. And hopefully, over the course of this conversation, can make a little bit of an impact on whoever’s tuning in
RK: Great. Thank you so much for sharing that with us Adam. So let’s get into the topic for today, which is leading in times of crisis.
So the stage is all yours.
Adam: Wow. I mean, that’s a pretty heavy topic and very timely and, you know, topical, I think that it’s important for leaders to be prepared to lead in times of crisis in time that are good at times that are bad.
You never know, when the crisis is going to arise. Now that we’re in one, it’s as clear to anyone that the power of an effective leader and how one responds to a crisis is extremely important.
In our case, you’re seeing it in your country, obviously, the United States it’s as evident as possible. So clearly, leading at a time of crisis is as relevant right now as you can possibly be excited to talk about.
RK: So what do you think is happening in organisations right now because the team members, the employees are all staying at home. You know, a lot of people haven’t been staying at home for such a long time. You know, As far as they can remember.
So how is dynamics changing and how can leaders adopt to this changing environment to motivate and to align their team members and employees, you know, to stay relevant and to stay productive at these times?
Adam: Great question.
I think the best answer to that is to be as communicative as possible, even though we’re not necessarily seeing each other as often as we used to.
Workforces moving remote anyway. I mean, a lot of companies, including my own company, if they’re not fully distributed, or at least partially distributed.
Think about our conversation. You and I are not more than six feet apart we are, you know, several countries apart.
But we’re still able to connect and able to converse and able to hopefully do something productive here.
And I think it’s incumbent upon any leader to not lose sight of the fact that even though you’re not face to face with the people you lead, you’re still responsible for their success. You’re still responsible for everything that they’re going to be, doing, and contributing to your organisation to your mission, to your team.
And I think that it’s imperative for any and every leader to be as communicative as possible in these times.
The three principles that I think every leader shape, understand and adopt in times of crisis are not particularly complex or not particularly sophisticated.
But it’s amazing how often they’re overlooked and how rarely they’re adopted.
Number one is it’s vital that leaders are truthful, that leaders are honest, that leaders are open leaders are transparent, that leaders are acting in a way that will allow everyone in and around their organisation to trust them, to trust their work.
You want to make sure that your employees trust you. You want to make sure that your customers trust you. You want to make sure that your investors trust you. You want to make sure that every stakeholder trust you, believes you, believes in you. And the way to gain trust, is by acting truthfully, by speaking truthfully and in moments of crisis cannot be any more important to have that credibility.
Number two, we just spoke about it being communicative, being in front of the issue, being in front of the crisis. So it’s very easy and very tempting to hide underneath your blanket to, you know, going around when the going gets tough, the tough get gone.
So make sure that you know, and we see this over and over in just about every industry.
Early on in my career, I worked in the financial services industry, and a big lesson from the market crash in 2008. Interestingly enough, the financial advisors who survived the market crash whose businesses survived the market crash, or not necessarily those who perform well during the market crash.
Pretty much everyone performed poorly during the market crash. advisors who survived, were the advisors who are communicative, were the advisors who were out in front, who didn’t dodge their client’s calls, who proactively called their clients and said, this is what’s going on. This is what’s happening. We’re clear and transparent and proactive. Every leader needs to do that.
And number three, is to have the flexibility and have the adaptability, to be able to pivot.
Not to be married to your positions, not to be married to your beliefs, not really to be married to anything, but to be nimble. And to understand that, in any circumstance, in any situation, you may need to adapt, you may need to pivot and this is a great example of time when leaders and organisations are being forced to pivot, tell you what my companies were being forced to pivot.
Just give an example right away with our office furniture company. Our entire customer base is pivoting or pivoting from selling primarily to businesses. Now we’re selling to home offices. That’s our primary audience today.
And it probably won’t be for a long time because the complexity of the workforce is changing. leaders need to adapt, leaders need to have a culture that is that prioritises flexibility and adaptability. I hope that answered your question.
RK: Absolutely. And in very three nimble simple points. Excellent.
So the key roles that a leader must play in an organisation What are your insights on that?
Adam: Yeah, another really good question. RK, You’re really crushing it tonight with all these really good questions. feel like it’s a lot easier to ask the questions.
RK: And these questions are coming right from a seeker.
Adam: Okay, I had like a fan.
So it’s really important for every leader to really get the most out of every person in his or her organisation.
The job of a leader is to recognise that no company, no unit succeeds or wins because of one person.
We all win when we’re all pushing together. We’re all working at our best. And we are all we’re all working at our best together.
The job of a leader is to bring out the best in every person, to set the tone from the top to drive an organisational culture that inspires success.
That attracts people to want to be a part of something special. And once people are in that organisation and are part of that organisation that has the ability to really connect and motivate and an uplifting and positive way and in a sustainable way.
RK: Great. So apart from that anything else that leaders should always keep in mind about engaging their team to learn constantly and know to create. Let’s say something of value.
Adam: How much time do we have?
RK: to talk about it?
Adam: I can talk about this all day and all night.
I’ll give you one.
Adam: I’m a very big believer that leaders need to really take the time to thoroughly understand each and every person on their team.
I think that all too often, managers and you know, not great leaders, but managers will come in with a preconceived notion of what works and what doesn’t work. And I’m a very big believer that there is no one size fits all solution to just about anything.
We’re all different. All human beings have different needs and different ones. We have different things that we value. We have different backgrounds, and we’re all coming from different places and different perspectives.
And great leaders have the ability to understand that we’re each different, can really listen and recognise and respect the differences of the people whom they lead, and can create and tailor and customise the best solutions possible, or the people that are responsible for.
So to answer your question more directly in terms of inspiring a cultural learning.
For me, for you, you and I, we could learn in very different ways.
RK, Maybe the way that you learn best is by picking up a book and by reading a 300 page book on a topic, pounding through it and becoming an expert that way.
Now, if you’re in my organisation, and I understood that about you, it would be my job to come up with great reading recommendations for you on topics that would help you develop because that’s how you will learn how to become better, how to grow, how to improve.
I personally don’t learn well that way. That isn’t my best method of learning. From the time I was a little kid, until today, I’ve just recognised that if I want to learn something, picking up a thick book isn’t the way I’m going to do it.
There are different ways that I do it. One way I do it is by talking to people, by talking to experts, conversing with people who, over the course of a conversation can explain to me whatever is that I need to learn.
I’m also good at consuming content in different forms, whether it’s reading articles or Otherwise, a lot of people as you and I have both come to learn through posting podcasts, creating podcasts, a lot of people learn through podcasts.
So, really understanding the best methodology for the exact person who you’re responsible for, and coaching them according to this.
RK: Which brings me to my next question.
How can we create a culture of leadership?
Our organisation because we are also responsible, responsible to create leaders within our organisation who can lead a team of their own, who can hire a team of their own, who are able to do things without having to be behind them and reminding them of their duties.
So how can we create a culture of leadership in an organisation in such a way that the company runs on a semi-auto pilot.
Adam: Yeah, really good question. That’s a question that every entrepreneur either should be focusing on or is focusing on insights. pivotal question. It starts with people. It starts with bringing in people who have the ability to do the work. kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier, which is no organisation is a person. No winning organisation is a person.
Great organisations are teams of people, groups of people who come together, and excel thrive as a cohesive unit. And the best way to build a winning organisational culture is by bringing in winners by recruiting and hiring people. People who live and breathe and represent and reflect your culture, your people or your culture.
You know, I wrote an article, I think it was in the Huffington Post a couple of years ago. And one of the things that said in it was one of the things I’ve come to learn as an entrepreneur and as a leader is, in the early days of my company, I used to think that culture was defined by having cool amenities. You know, having, we had arcade games. You know, companies have ping pong tables or foosball tables or some company live beer on tap or kombucha. What really defines your culture is your people.
Adam: Every person that you bring into your company, you have the opportunity to elevate your culture or crush your culture. So if you want to build a winning organisational culture, start by bringing in people who will elevate your organisation.
RK: Excellent. So right from the hiring process, we have to be very mindful about the people that we’re bringing in because a wrong hire could cost a lot of time money efforts and negativity.
Adam: Absolutely. And RK you told me early on off-air that a lot of your listeners are entrepreneurs and when you work for a huge company, I’ve worked for some of the biggest companies in the world.
I work for Credit Suisse, they’re, you know, massive bank. I’ve done internships for a couple of the largest companies in the entertainment industry. I’ve my first job out of college was for what was then the largest hedge fund in the world.
When you work for a big company. If you have a person in your organisation who is cancerous to the organization’s culture, it will negatively impact a group of people. It will negatively impact a number of people. It’s bad. It’s really bad. No matter how big your organisation is, it’s bad to hire people who are bad for your culture. No question about it.
But when you’re running an organisational business, excuse me, an entrepreneurial business, it’s a little bit late my time. We’re recording here, just so your listeners know we’re recording here, kind of brushing up against my bedtime.
So if I bought your word here, there, that’s the reason why. But you can see I’m wearing my uncomfortable. I’m wearing my angel sweatshirt. There’s no baseball right now. Sadly because of Corona But still, you know, representing my favourite team, the angels.
But what where I was going with that is if you are a startup company, if you’re a small business, if you’re a company that doesn’t have 50,000 employees, but has 50 employees or 5 employees, having one bad person can destroy your organisation, can destroy your business can repel the people who work in your company, it can be really, really bad.
So yes, every hire you make is critical. No matter what size company you have, but it’s especially critical when you’re running an entrepreneurial venture.
RK: How to pick the right leadership style and this changing times?
Adam: I am a believer that the right leadership style works, no matter what time you’re in. So, kind of, like we talked about earlier. The principles of effective leadership, in a time of crisis are also really important.
Leadership principles in times of peace, whether you’re at war, whether a peace, you should be honest, you should be transparent. You should be flexible, you should be nimble. You should be communicative. All those things that we talked about are things that leaders need to incorporate into their leadership style, no matter what, no matter when.
Something that I talk a lot about, or write about, that I believe very strongly in is leadership today has changed. Leadership today has adapted.
Now, I don’t mean leadership today because of the Coronavirus crisis, but I mean leadership today compared to leadership a generation ago, and I think that the core principles of leadership today are things that all leaders should understand and that all leaders should adopt, and that all leaders should make an integral, and just really a second nature, part of their practice.
And, to me, the biggest change is a generation ago. So many leaders and so many revered leaders lead through fear and intimidation.
And, I mean, you could think about whether they were, you know, basketball coaches, or CEOs or generals, you know, you sort of have that stereotype of that really tough guy who’s gonna scream in your face and yell at you and get you to, you know, do this and do that. Because he said this is an order and you have to do it or, or else.
It doesn’t really work nowadays. Maybe it works in some pockets in some organisations, some segments, but it serves for most companies, it certainly doesn’t work. For most people, it doesn’t work for most millennials, it doesn’t work for most generation zeros.
It’s a style of leadership that push me too, I think, really needs to be re-evaluated.
I think a great leader is someone who can lead not through fear and intimidation but can lead through inspiration can lead through connectivity can lead by empowering others, not by scaring others.
And whether it’s leading in times good or times bad. That’s how leaders need to think and act. And that’s a very big message of mine, all the time and certainly tonight for your listeners.
RK: Absolutely. So I really like it when you said, lead by inspiration, not by intimidation. So this is going to be the quotable quote for the, for the day.
Adam: I love it. It’s great. Maybe you can create a bumper sticker and we can, you know, add it to the wall back here.
RK: Absolutely, we could create these mobile wallpapers or sharable quotes.
And I’ll update that on the episode as well.
How can my audience find you online?
Adam: I try to make it easy for listeners. I try to make it as easy as possible. So it’s really just my name, Adam Mendler. You can go to adammendler.com it’s my website. Follow me on social media @adammendler Instagram @adammendler, Twitter @adammendler.
You can listen to me, you can find my podcast 30 minute mentors where I go one on one with the most successful people. You see a little bit of the logo back there 30 minute mentors all spelled out you can go to 30minutementors.com you can find the podcast on your favourite podcasting app.
RK: Yes. Awesome.
Thank you so much for being on the podcast and I look forward to talking to you again.
Adam: RK, thank you so much for having me. This was a pleasure even though it was a little bit late for me. Anytime! even in the middle of the night. I do this again. This is so much fun.
RK: I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Adam: I appreciate you having me. I appreciate your thoughtful questions. This is so much fun.
RK: Thank you
You can reach out to Adam on LinkedIn and check out his podcast too.