Max Yoder: 00:05 We have this thing called the curse of knowledge. Once I learn something, it’s hard to remember that not everybody else has learned it too. So I begin to act as though everybody knows the same things I do. So I’ll use jargon and I’ll leave out in important details and basically, I’m prone to under communication. I’m prone to not shedding a lot in everything.
Max Yoder: 00:22 It’s a bias of my brain, which means you need to take responsibility by asking clarifying questions and I need to be cognizant to the fact that I’m going to leave things out, so I should ask people, “Hey, what did you hear me say?” Because I want to make sure I was really clear. We’re all under the curse of knowledge.
Speaker 1: 00:35 Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trend-setting guest. You’re listening and watching Edge of the Web. Winners of best podcast from the Content Marketing Institute for 2017. Here at [inaudible 00:00:49] at edgeofthewebradio.com. Now, here’s your host Erin Sparks.
Erin Sparks: 00:56 All right. Welcome back to the Edge of the Web broadcasting from Edge Media Studios located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Every week we bring you the latest marketing trends from some top marketing influencers from around the planet, especially in the digital marketing space.
Erin Sparks: 01:12 Check out all the recent shows over at edgeofthewebradio.com. It’s edgeofthewebradio.com. We’re powered by Site Strategics the title sponsor of the show and the pioneers in the Agile marketing methodology. So if you’re interested in what Agile marketing is, it’s a results-based marketing that shifts and adjusts based on iterative changes and results, who knew?
Erin Sparks: 01:34 If you want to find out more about Agile marketing and Site Strategics, go over to sitestrategics, S-I-T-Estrategics.com. You can actually search agile marketing method and yeah, you might find us there too. How about that? Ranking on Google. Go over there and we’ll be happy to sit down and talk to you about potentially your marketing success. So we go through and have a free online our consultation, be able to go through some maybe some digital action items for you so you can actually start rolling with some better, better rankings or better conversions, whatever we find.
Erin Sparks: 02:05 So give us a shout over at Site Strategic, or just give us a call 877-SEO-4-web or 877-736-4932. I’m your host, Erin Sparks and the CEO and owner of Site Strategics. I’ll tell you why we do this show on a regular basis. Every week, we’re bringing some great minds to the table to be able to talk about some digital marketing techniques or cultural techniques in the workplace because the digital realm and the knowledge workspace that we’re in now, we have to be able to unpack myths about digital marketing as well as myths and some good concepts about how to work together in the knowledge space.
Erin Sparks: 02:45 That’s why we do what we do, along with the fact that we are constantly keeping our own powder dry and it’s an R&D process for us. We always are learning from the individuals that we interview with and that’s a bit selfish. We want to learn more so we can actually do better for our clients. That’s why we do what we do.
Max Yoder: 03:17 I love being in here. I talked to my teammates today, I was like, “I love going into this studio.” I like to make music for fun so I like to be around audio equipment and especially well done audio equipment. This is excellent.
Erin Sparks: 03:27 I appreciate that greatly. We put a lot of love in here but we don’t get that many people coming in on a regular basis. So whenever we’re able to connect with somebody locally here in Indianapolis, it’s great to be able to sit in.
Erin Sparks: 03:39 Then more than welcome. We had a number of news items to actually go through before we dig into your book is we want to unpack as much as we can in there but, there’s always some news items we want to touch base on.
Erin Sparks: 04:08 Have you used your digital assistant in 2019 yet? Have you? Have you talked to your Alexa or talked to your Google Home? I’m probably triggering. Okay, Google. Let me just trigger all the devices as what we’re listening. From search engine journal from the author, Matt Southern, 72% of people have used voice search through a digital assistant in 2019. A study from Microsoft on consumer adoption of voice technology in 2019 showed that most people are using voice search. Microsoft 2019 Voice Report analyzes the adoption and usage of voice enabled technologies such as smart speakers and digital assistants.
Erin Sparks: 04:48 According to report 75% of the households will have at least one smart speaker by 2020. Now, just think about that. How many households do we have? I mean, I don’t even know the stats, but we got-
Erin Sparks: 05:24 No, no, no. Well, we’ve got two or three in the building. We’ve got five in our house. One and each of the kids’ rooms. Am I getting creepy now? Let’s get creepier now. It is extreme, says no, our producer. But literally, instead of going upstairs and talking to our kids, we’re paging our kid through the smart speaker, we’re calling them down for dinner. They all have their own little connections in their own music play, and we can drop in on them and talk to them whenever we want to. Are we just lazy?
Max Yoder: 05:56 I don’t know. That was happening 20 years ago. It wasn’t Internet connected. I mean, I remember my aunt’s house, she had a button on the wall, a buzzer. The Internet connection part is the part that scares me. So I have an Alexa that when my speakers aren’t turned on, she’s not turned on. So the speakers are turned on we’re listening to music, we turn off the speaker, she’s dead for lack of a better term.
Erin Sparks: 06:16 Absolutely. Well, I mean, the usage of this is amazing. What these stats are showing, 72% of the people use voice search through a personal digital assistant. 35% of people have used voice search through a smart home speaker. Well, that’s fantastic. So, we have assistants that are learning you, and learning your behaviors and your predilection. And then you have the ease of use through the Smart Speaker. 68% of the people say they search for quick facts. 65% look up directions. 52% say they’re looking for a product or service.
Erin Sparks: 06:48 44% say they’re conducting additional research for products. 31 say they’re using the voice search to compare products, and I’m going to throw another stat in here about 80% of the kids are making fart noises on their Smart Speaker.
Erin Sparks: 07:01 But here’s the deal. Your fear is warranted because all that’s monitored, all of that, it will be monetized at some point in time. I always share a story about when we were talking about, my wife and I were talking about pool filters in the backyard and never did we search on pool filters. But the smart speakers there and guess what showed up on ad space for Amazon, a number of selections of pool filters.
Max Yoder: 07:26 I think that’s why Apple has such a big advantage here. They don’t need our data. They would use it for their own reasons, but not selling it to folks. They just couldn’t make the home pod, something that would play Spotify, I’d have one. But until Spotify is on there, I’m out.
Erin Sparks: 07:49 No, you’re absolutely right. I think, I mean, a number of different concerns there, but the sheer adoption rate and the prediction, that’s 75% of the houses are going to have a Smart Speaker in there. We’re talking about adoption of technology, and I can’t even remember the adoption curve, scientific method.
Erin Sparks: 08:46 Yeah, time will tell. Speaking of something that a time will tell, The Hustle has a article regarding Facebook. Check this out is … so Facebook Watch: The tech giant expects to receive the largest-ever fine from a data breach in the US. So Facebook said that it expects to be fined up to $5 billion by the FTC for its never ending nightmare, privacy violations. The penalty will be a record against a technology company by the agency who was biggest fine doled out to date against the Tech Company was $22 million and a sign that US is ready to push back on big tech in a big way. That’s $5 billion.
Erin Sparks: 09:36 I know. Well, I mean, there have been a number of different data breaches. None were as public as was about a year ago there. The fine even, and check this out, the fines have to affect Facebook eventually. Well a fine, even in the low billions is yet another measly slap on the wrist, in the annals of Facebook revenue. They actually are looking at … Well, they have about $2.7 billion using the apps each month and brings about 56 billion in annual revenue. Five billion’s a big chunk, but at the same time, you’ve got a tech giant that is worth that much on an annual basis.
Erin Sparks: 10:19 What happens whenever the cost versus … what do you want to say? The customer’s pain scenario here, they’re not too concerned about the data breaches nearly as much. If they can actually, weather the storm and be able to just take home fines.
Max Yoder: 10:35 I got to think value-based selling is the answer here. Value based selling is like, what is the company willing to pay for them to solve the problem versus, are we going to turn it over the same thing? If a value-based finding maybe the answer here, which is, if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not doing the job.
Erin Sparks: 10:54 Yeah. It’s got to hurt, otherwise they’re going to keep on … The security is not going to be there. And well, more importantly, the consumers have to be aware and the push back has to be aware from the consumer side of things. That’s where the pain’s really going to hit.
Max Yoder: 11:07 Yeah. And we say actions speak louder than words, but it doesn’t seem that way right now. What we’re seeing is the actions of Facebook are one direction. Their words are this way, and this way, it saves them. It’s not the actions that seemed to matter. The words of we’re going to do better this time, seems to keep working. So it’s kind of confounding the principal.
Erin Sparks: 11:32 So this was not a singular event. FTC is getting much more painful towards, with their finding, but it’s still not really hitting them at the pocket books. I’m just concerned that we’re not nearly as secure as they say we are.
Erin Sparks: 11:49 All right from Search Engine Journal with Matt Southern, again, Byte, the Follow-Up to Vine, Begins Sending Out Beta Invites. So right now they’re beginning to send these out. Now, Byte is a reboot of Vine. For listeners who haven’t heard about Vine or what Vine was, it was a video, looping video service where you could actually record sevens, six seconds of video, and the artistry of actually using it in a social space, it was unbelievable how creative people were for the six seconds of video they had.
Max Yoder: 12:22 It sure was. I mean, they say that creativity is bringing a constraint in or pulling a constraint out, and this was let’s bring a real constraint and you got six seconds and it’ll loop. And people did amazing things.
Erin Sparks: 12:54 Yup. and tick tock … Yeah, absolutely. So Byte, a rebuilt of Vine from the same creator has sent out the first hundred invites to its closed Beta. The APP is simply described as a looping video app and is expected to function the way Vine used to. According to the creator, Dan Hoffman Byte is already on track to be being the true vine reboot users have been hoping for. Vine has actually managed to maintain an avid fan base since the shutdown by Twitter two years ago. That’s something to be as a testament. I mean, you see such an atrophy of platforms MySpace, right?
Erin Sparks: 13:32 But there’s so many, I mean Snapchat lost ground so quickly right after the IPO. I mean, it flat lined from user base. And now we’re dealing with a social media platform that has a historical fan base. It’s going to jump right back in. You’re dealing with now these nuanced social media platforms that are going to have a higher, higher loyalty base like Quora.
Max Yoder: 13:54 I would’ve never guessed that Vine would have such a dedicated … but it’s like it was certain kind of art, and it was a certain kind of art that you could only make with vine. And I think those artists really enjoyed making that kind of art.
Erin Sparks: 14:02 Yeah. That’s where these specialty platforms, these specialty, the environment and mediums are going to make way and that’s where you’re going to start getting as a user, you’re going to move towards what really you enjoy as opposed to the mass consumption. It’s going to get more into these-
Max Yoder: 14:21 Who’s writing the headline right now about Byte biting the dust? Because somebody has already prepping for that and they think they’re very clever in the news room. I hope it doesn’t happen. But somebody is already prepping that headline.
Erin Sparks: 14:42 You know where you can get some more Bad Dad jokes is from our edge newsletter. Just kidding. Actually, we’re sending great information to you each and every week about our recent interviews, who we’re going to be interviewing as well as some of these new stories and much more. So why not sign up for the newsletter today? Just text to the number 228-28, the word Edgetalk. Don’t do it while you drive, or at least give it to your passenger and you can join right there or go over to edgeofthewebradio.com and join our newsletter.
Erin Sparks: 15:09 We’re just sending out digital nuggets of gold each and every week. So join the newsletter and join the edge nation. With that, follow all the feature training topics over at edge of the web radio. But now, let’s deep dive with this week’s featured guest.
Erin Sparks: 16:09 Met Max Yoder, he’s actually the CEO and Co-founder of Lessonly, a powerfully simple training software that helps millions of people learn, practice and do better work. Actually here in locally based in Indianapolis, Indiana. So it was great to be able to have max come on the show. Everyday he’s grateful for that. He got cut from the basketball team two years in a row.
Max Yoder: 16:29 Yes, sixth and seventh grade. That was a blessing. Same Guy, same room. Deja Vu walked in, he’s like, I’m doing it again. He didn’t say that, but it was like he was literally in the same chair. I walk in, I get cut the first year, next year, same chair, walk in, get cut. I’m like, “I’m not doing that again. I’m not doing that again.
Max Yoder: 16:52 Well, I appreciated it, because it helped me focus. When you’re told you’re not that good at something, which I wasn’t that good at sports. I was in sports because my friends were there. So I was just following my friends. And they were all pretty good. They have natural athleticism. That was not my gift. So it pushed me to try other things. Pushed me to try video editing. I got to build my first computer shortly after that, which is not as hard as it sounds.
Max Yoder: 17:12 You buy the parts, you make sure you don’t have static on your hands, and you plug them in, and then you hope that it turns on. And then when it does turn on, it is really cool. So did that, made music, just pushed me to do the things that I was actually put on this earth for, as opposed to things that my friends like to do. So, what a gift? I am very grateful to the coach for cutting me. I hope other kids get cut every year, all the time.
Erin Sparks: 17:42 We talked right before the show about some of these acute pain points be able to learn as you’re going as opposed to everybody gets a trophy, and you’re not learning any type of stress produced, honing over your-
Erin Sparks: 18:14 Your first book Do Better Work was actually published in February of this year. So before we get into the book, which we want to dive into a lot of different resources here. Tell us about your back story post getting cut from basketball, and why you decided to actually start Lessonly.
Max Yoder: 18:31 I started a business before lessonly, I called Quipple. And Quipple was a surveying and polling software. So, I was like a little farther back. I got out of school 2010 at Indiana University and started working for Chris Baggott at Compendium. It was a great gig. Learned a ton, was there for a year and a half. Told Chris about it, six months in, “I want to start a business.” He said, “Save your money. You can do whatever you want, if you can save your money.”
Max Yoder: 18:53 So my first obligation was pay off student loans, worked hard on that, and then Save, Save, Save, save, Save, save. So I went to a in school, a state school, which is great. So the loans were not astronomical. So save, and put away, and I got to save 61 cents for every dollar while I was at compendium once I got my student loans paid off.
Max Yoder: 19:13 And that was just about having $130 in your wallet every week. And when the hundred $130 is gone, you’re done. So it wasn’t fun for my girlfriend at the time, and she went through the not fun parts of entrepreneurship. My wife now gets to go through the fun parts and I remind her of that frequently. Because $130 is like a dinner, a dinner and some drinks. You can purely move on that and then you Lyft and Uber home.
Max Yoder: 19:36 It was a boring time in that respect. But it helped me save, and then I started a business called Quipple. Quipple was surveying and polling software. So we try to understand your audience. I didn’t have a great business model for that. So I ultimately ended up shutting that down a year and nine months in and starting Lessonly with Mike Fitzgerald, Christian Anderson and Eric Tobias.
Max Yoder: 19:53 They all had a day job. I did not. They had a capital and mentorship. I did not. But I had time, so that was a great, great, great deal. Connor Burt joined me on that partnership, and he really since the beginning overall revenue. I oversaw product, and now we have 113 people almost seven years later.
Erin Sparks: 20:12 It’s a great story of success here for Indianapolis and in the tech community. But also, there’s a lot of tech software that can’t find a particular home sometimes from a utilitarian standpoint. Sometimes a little bit, you got to create your audience before they really realize what it is. This Lessonly comes from a true need of training, making simple training. Give us some of the outliers of why Lessonly is so unique. And how’d you come to actually devise this because it makes so much simple sense. But what is the employer getting from this? And what are the trainees getting from your platform?
Max Yoder: 20:55 When we entered the training software space, we didn’t know, which is a great benefit, because there was so much dogma, and there was so much … there’s these made up rules and they were being followed as though they were doctrine and Gospel, and hell was for anybody who didn’t go that path. But we were like, “Let’s just try this. This is what we’d want.” So we made a lesson builder in Lessonly. A lot of learning management systems or training softwares, you build the lessons outside in a separate piece of software and then you upload them into the training side where I was like, “Well, why? Why can’t we just build it in the thing?”
Max Yoder: 21:23 Simple, right? We just didn’t know any better. So we built that, and we started selling it to people who didn’t have the resources or the L and D backgrounds on their teams, but they still wanted to train people and we were like, “Hey, if you can type, you can teach. You’re constantly teaching people everyday. We’re just giving you a more efficient way of doing it.” And what I mean by teaching people as you’re sitting down with them and saying, “Do this, then this, then this, then the other thing, it’s like process.” right? So let’s get the fundamentals right, and let’s throw all of the stuff about how you need to have a learning and development person for it to go through in order for it to be effective. Because what we’re finding is the quicker somebody got access to good information, the quicker we can improve it.
Max Yoder: 21:55 Let’s get it out to the population, learn what’s working and what isn’t. Learn what needs to be changed and improved, and then let’s do that and guess what? Very quickly we can rapidly develop a really good piece of training without going to the third party, L and D expert who takes six months. It’s speed optimized. That why we started winning. We said speed optimize, and we said, “Let’s give people access. Let’s search.”
Max Yoder: 22:13 So you can go into Lessonly and say, “I forgot how to do that thing. Quick Search. Oh, there it is. That’s how to do that thing. I’m going to go do it.” And then what are the analytics? You know, what’s the data you’re getting behind that? “Oh, this is working, this isn’t. This is what people are searching for that they’re not finding.”
Max Yoder: 22:24 All of these things were very, very helpful for creating an Agile training system. We now call it the better world training methods. So it’s a six step process that we can help anybody who create training for their teams. And we think training is so darn important, because if you want people to do really good work, or better work as our mission is, it’s super important they tell them what that looks like.
Max Yoder: 22:42 If I don’t tell you what I need from you, I shouldn’t expect you to do it. If you have to guess, you’re probably going to guess differently than my hopes and dreams. Right? So, I should spell out what I need you to do. It doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with it, but let’s get the fundamentals laid bare so that you know what’s expected of you, you’re probably going to do it then.
Max Yoder: 22:59 That’s what we do with training, is we help people do better work because we know it helps them live better lives. And when I say better lives, they go home with that positivity. They go home with that energy of, “I did a good job today.” It’s not fun to do a bad job at work. It’s really fun to do a good job at work. And either way, you take the energy home with you. It’s really tough to turn that off. As you walked out the door and say, “It was a bad day, but I’m going to go home with a bright smile on my face.” It tends not to be the case, so let’s have more bright smiles on people’s faces.
Erin Sparks: 23:21 Darn right. Drop the mic. All right. Let’s back up here again. So through Lessonly, through the deployment of Lessonly and Lessonly in its own right is a learning tool unto itself for the software because we’re learning from everybody who’s using the software. It’s a very robust listening tool on how to evolve its own its own software. Right?
Erin Sparks: 23:42 So you’ve got that, and you’re also, you found yourself in the space where the training of the subject matter wasn’t nearly as important as understanding how people want to learn, but on top of that, how people want to collaborate and interact with each other in that workspace. So you’ve learned with the software, but you also learn does growing your company to 113 people. You, learned a whole nother realm of how to interact with your team members.
Max Yoder: 24:28 You develop relationships with people, right? And when you do that, you can seek and give clarity with them. You can learn what’s working, what isn’t. And that is really, I think what makes the world go round. That’s our management model lesson. First, you developed a relationship where there’s trust and mutual respect. We call that comradery, and then you seek and give clarity.
Max Yoder: 24:42 Seeking clarity is, “Hey, how are things going?” Giving clarity is, “Here’s what I need.” Or, here’s what’s changing, or here’s what’s happening. Here’s how it impacts you. So, Camaraderie and clarity, creating progress. When we have camaraderie, mutual trust, and respect, and we have clarity, we know what matters, why it matters, how to do it, we start to make more progress. So, this book breaks down eight behaviors that lead to camaraderie and clarity so that we can make more progress. It’s basically a guide to being a good teammate. And everybody in a team, or in a relationship is a teammate. It could be your wife or your husband. That’s teamwork, right? These are behaviors that work at home and at work to make more progress together.
Erin Sparks: 25:31 Here’s the deal is that what you just talked about here was something very, very important about the team members and giving a guide to how to be a good team member. There’s a responsibility, especially in the knowledge industry that we’re in. There’s a responsibility not only on the employer to set the stage, or should be able to have a good resource set of materials and a good learning environment, but there’s a responsibility on the team member to be able to collaborate and not just take, but also give back into the system. Right?
Max Yoder: 26:01 You bet. Clarity is a two way street. If you don’t have clarity, you need to go get it. You can’t sit back and go, “Well, nobody gave me clarity. Therefore, I shouldn’t have to do my job.” Comraderie is a two way street. You show trust and respect to get trust and respect. You behave in a certain way in order to earn trust and respect. This is, all of these behaviors are on the individual.
Max Yoder: 26:21 It’s not about waiting for anybody else to do anything. I think we have a plague in this world of waiting for other people to do things. “Well, they need to get their act together and they need to get their act together, bause I’m good.” It’s BS. If you just look inward and say, “Where do I struggle?” Where do I have gaps that I want to fill? That if I filled that I could be a better person. I could help my teammates more.
Max Yoder: 26:40 If you work there, you’re going inspire and motivate other people to do so. What we tend to do instead though is say, “That person needs to do this. And they should do that.” And like I said, “get their act together.” Let’s just look inward because we don’t have our act together. You and I both have ways to grow, big ways to grow. If we look inward and we do that, we’ll inspire and motivate other people to do so.
Erin Sparks: 27:13 But on top of that, there is a bit of a reckoning if I am the weak cog here. Then there’s the obvious responsibility that all of a sudden as blatant as that, now I got to fix it. And there lies a particular motivation issue is, if they’re not wanting to fix it, if they are wanting to do minimum viable work or something like that, this system that you’re talking about, this almost like this team mate type of contract in our engagement, agreed upon rules of engagement inside the inside of the team framework. You’re going to find some people that don’t want to rise to the occasion to give back and be able to invest with the other team members, right?
Max Yoder: 28:04 There’s the 20% exception, the 80% rule, and that’s, I would think about the whole world is, are we arguing the rule? Because if so, let’s acknowledge that or arguing the exception. And I think the exception is people don’t want to grow. That’s my experience. And they want to hold back and they don’t want to indulge in, “Hey, I wanted to get better.” The book talks about in Chapter Seven is called Get More Agreements. So, if we have an agreement with an individual, but we need them to do, and they do not meet that agreement, we have ground to standing to say, “You have not met the agreement.”
Max Yoder: 28:30 We had this step and that step that you agreed to take. It was a shared plan. We came up with it together, and then we fist bump their handshake or whatever. You can’t have that many of those conversations because that person shouldn’t be there anymore. We’re not about being cuddly and saying, “Hey, everybody has a chance to grow. You need to do your job.” And if you make an agreement with me, I expect you to live up to that agreement. And if you consistently letting me down on those agreements, we’re going to have to have a very difficult conversation about your tenure at this company.
Max Yoder: 28:54 And I don’t know how else to help somebody other than setting the stage. And I’ve done this poorly in the past, which is why it means so much to me to do it well when I’ve not set clear agreements with individuals and then I’ve been frustrated with their output and then I’ve let them go. That isn’t fair. And if I can go back and do that again, I’d do it differently. I didn’t have the experience.
Max Yoder: 29:10 It’s not an excuse. I just didn’t have the experience. It’s reality. Now that I do, I find it to be as my duty to get agreements with individuals. If somebody comes to me and they’re frustrated with teammates, I get to look at him and go, “Do you have agreements with them about the things you’re frustrated about? Or do you just have unspoken expectations?” Because that’s what it usually is, it’s unspoken expectations.
Max Yoder: 29:28 So, I want them to do it and they should just know. This book could very well be called. They Shouldn’t Just Know, because it is just, it, it’s just not fair. It’s not fair. We have this thing called the curse of knowledge. Once I learned something, it’s hard to remember that not everybody else has learned it too. So I begin to act as though everybody knows the same things I do.
Max Yoder: 29:44 So I’ll use jargon and I’ll leave out important details. And basically, I’m prone to under communication. I’m prone to not shedding light on everything. It’s a bias of my brain, which means you need to take responsibility by asking clarifying questions. And I need to be cognitive of the fact that I’m gonna leave things out. So I should ask people, “Hey, what’d you hear me say?” Because I want to make sure I was really clear. We’re all under the curse of knowledge. So when we expect people to do things, we’re living under the curse of knowledge.
Max Yoder: 30:08 You might not have learned what I learned, and what kind of posture that for me to go, I was lucky enough to learn this thing and you weren’t, and I’m going to shame you for it? I was lucky enough to learn it.
Max Yoder: 30:18 It’s a sword. It’s like, that’s not fair. What is fair is to get clear and then if you don’t do it, then I can be frustrated. But if you do do it, I can celebrate with you. And that’s the cool thing
Erin Sparks: 30:31 Well, okay, you’re preaching to the choir here, and you’re actually … as I’m listening to you, I’m hearing a number of my own mistakes as being a business owner. Because I have always leaned toward with [inaudible 00:30:47] expecting intrinsic motivation. And this is where I’ve … I’m getting over claims. This is where I’ve really had, as an employer, a challenge because you want to be able to help in document. At the same time, you have this internal expectation of, they should at least know this. But at the end of the day, unless you’re painting the entire road out, you cannot hold an employee accountable to these things that you know … Ultimately, it rests on you to make sure that everybody has a roadmap. Everybody has a clear set of expectations and structure in which they are to be evaluated by.
Max Yoder: 31:31 You Bet. We’re going to really minimize diversity and inclusion if we expect people to know what we know, because they’re probably gonna come from similar backgrounds as to know what we know, and that isn’t fair. What I love about the chapter that I mentioned earlier about getting more agreements is there’s going forward statements. So let’s say you’re my teammate, Erin, and I see you behave a certain way. Instead of being frustrated with you, I can say, “Hey, Erin, going forward, can we do it this way?”
Max Yoder: 31:55 And you can say, “Oh, that works for me.” Or, “Slight modulation. Can we do it a little bit differently than that?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s totally fine.” So then we get the agreement. Well, now we have common ground to stand on. If you do it, high five. If you don’t do it, I can say, “Hey, don’t forget our agreement.” And if you don’t do it again I can say, “I’m getting a little frustrated. This is the second time we made an agreement. We made the time, we documented it, because I want you to win with me.”
Max Yoder: 32:15 I don’t need to lay everything out, but when I see you not doing something that I want you to do, then I can use it going forward. So going forward, can we do it this way? But I can’t get mad at you at that point, because I never told you, and you know that happens a lot where we get mad at people that we never told them something. It happened in relationships at home. It happens in relationships at work.
Erin Sparks: 32:39 That one, you were potentially at conflict with, you’re pointing to the future. You are agreeing and modulating based so it’s going to serve both parties. But you’re on a road together as opposed to a constant coming back to the same point and then evaluating based on potentially unspoken and spoken issues. And you’re not working together. You’re in that space of a continual. “Okay. We’re back here again.”
Erin Sparks: 33:11 So psychologically, humans, and I don’t mean to be negative Nelly here, but I mean, literally we are wired to conflict. We are wired … It’s easier to conflict than it is to find solutions and be able to move with individuals that the collaboration can be, at least on the surface, quite challenging and convoluted. And it’s a lot easier just to blame, just to point fingers, and ultimately, it’s a protective instinct. So how do you as a manager change that conflict into compassion? That’s one step along the way and then you go to progress. How do you do that?
Max Yoder: 33:52 Yeah have to model the behavior that you want people to see. And that was a lesson that a woman, a doctor Jill Bolte Taylor taught me. She’s a neuro anatomist, studies of the brain. She’s a brilliant, brilliant woman. She spent time with me to help me understand that modeling is everything. If you want somebody to do something, you must do it. Why would you expect anybody to do something that you are not doing? And if you want other people to know that you’re doing it, find somebody else in the team that’s doing it and prop them up and shout them out. “This person is a great example of something that I really care deeply about as a manager on this team. And here’s why it matters to me that they do it.” Other people take mental notes when you do that.
Max Yoder: 34:26 So first and foremost, make it clear what you care about. Prop the people up who are doing those things. And if something isn’t going well, sitting down with the individual and talking them through your observations, your feelings, your needs on the situation, is a compassionate thing to do. Because what’s not compassionate is leaving somebody in the dark. “Hey, you’re totally messing up and I’m not telling you.” I wouldn’t want any to do that to me. Would you want anyone else to do? No. Nobody wants that. But we do that all the time. We leave people in the dark about where they stand. So the chapter is so long because I was given the gift of the state of Marshall Rosenberg. He’s a doctor as well. He wrote about this thing called non-violent communication.
Max Yoder: 35:01 And the idea is, hey, a lot of our communication can cause hurt and harm. And some of that hurt and harm sticks with you for a long time. So he wants to have non-violent communication that is more compassionate and reduces hurt and harm, minimizes hurt and harm. An example of hurt and harm is if you’ve ever had something said to you that you still think back to and say, “Wow, that still stings.” That’s hurt and harm.
Max Yoder: 35:19 A nonviolent communication, I got to … the estate gave me permission to put it in the book, and to put the model in the book. And I am so drawn to the model because it’s just beautiful. It’s been around for 50 years. And the idea is, let’s talk about what we observed. Let’s talk about our feelings about our observation. Let’s talk about our needs, and then our requests. So it’s a framework for having a difficult conversation. And it’s hard as heck, because what we learn to do instead of observe, and observation is a fact. It’s something that happened.
Max Yoder: 35:42 So if you were five minutes late and I say, “Hey, Erin, you’re five minutes late today.” That’s a fact. We can go back and play the tape and we’d see that. If I said, “Erin, you are lazy today.” That’s not a fact. That’s my evaluation.
Max Yoder: 35:54 Evaluations are always subjective. So, he’s like, “Let’s get it into the universal.” what are the observations that happened? And then the feelings are universal and not because you maybe have the same feeling as me, because you know what the feeling I have is, which is frustrated or anxious, or worried, or overwhelmed. You felt all those things before. That’s the universal nature of them. So an observation’s, universal, feelings are universal. The needs are universal. It’s like I need communication. So if you’re going to be late, my request is next time, let me know in advance.
Max Yoder: 36:18 So observations, feelings, needs, requests, the book breaks them down. Rosenberg argued before he passed away in 2015 that, and he’s still argues today, because his book is still a best seller, which is so dang cool. Isn’t that so cool?
Max Yoder: 36:28 To live on like that? He’s still argues that we don’t get a lot of education around our needs and our feelings. We don’t have vocabulary for them. So, we tend to say like, “I’m mad.” or “I’m angry.” And those are the feeling words we have. He gives you a whole vocabulary, I get to republish them in the book, and he gives a whole vocabulary for needs. And the needs are, our feelings are based on whether our need is being met or not met. So we feel frustrated when a need of ours is not being met. Maybe we need connection and we’re frustrated because we’re not getting connection, or maybe we’re excited because we are getting connections.
Max Yoder: 36:59 So the idea is a feeling is a representation of the underlying need. If you want belonging and you’re not getting belonging, you probably going to have a negative feeling. If you want belonging, you’re getting it, you have a positive … and you get the idea. But we don’t understand feelings. We don’t get taught feelings. And we get taught a lot of other stuff in school, but it certainly isn’t this. So our vocabularies isn’t there, our understanding of them isn’t there, so what we tend to do is judge other people and use evaluations. That’s our way of showing what we need is to judge other people.
Max Yoder: 37:22 “Well, that person’s rude. That person’s a jerk. That thing isn’t good enough.” It’s like that’s what we’ve learned instead of actually communicating what we need. And his argument is the more we communicate what we need, the more we can reach one another, hear one another and make progress together.
Erin Sparks: 38:12 Absolutely. But they don’t teach that in school whatsoever. So as an adult, you go to that and it’s just mind numbing, or mind blowing I should say, how it just falls into place. Wow. This is a whole nother way. Simple way to look at finances. Same thing with conflict is if you don’t know the ropes, if you don’t know what the true vernacular is, the true, how you can express expectations without confrontation, then you’re always going to be armed in emotion and you’re always going to be triggering the other person just by delivering a request shield in conflict, right?
Max Yoder: 38:54 And when I meet folks, like I just spent a weekend at a Bachelor party, and you could tell the folks who are really there and they dropped their swords and shields, and just wanting to get to know you. They didn’t need to impress you. They didn’t need to prove you wrong. And then the other folks who maybe had a sword or shield up, and I really love the folks who are able to drop. It’s hard. And, and you know, there’s days when I have my sword and shield up it’s not like everybody … but when you drop your sword and your shield, people don’t know what to do because they’re very used to a fight.
Max Yoder: 39:22 So that when you’re just like, “How are you?” You know that my friend Kevin Bailey says more love, not less. And I love that phrase, more love not less. It’s a beautiful thing, and we just need more love, not less. And I think we got a lot of anger and hate and that is an underlying need not being met.
Erin Sparks: 39:39 Boy, you better believe it. And it does come to the employers to be able to embrace that concept as part of the new culture of the knowledge industry, but just, but actually, larger than that, employers have to know what that vernacular is to be able to not only listen and learn from their employees, but also set the ground rules of how to, because eventually there’s always going to be a conflict.
Max Yoder: 40:07 You Bet. Conflict is inevitable. Let’s use it to, our advantage. It’s information. I think we think conflict is a sign of dysfunction. It’s not conflict is a sign that there is somebody in the room, because you have conflict in you, inner conflict and so do I. So, if we can’t solve our inner conflict, what makes us think that we’re not going to have got conflict when we bring 80 or a 100 people together? Or even eight people together? We all have inner conflict. We get two people together, there’s going to be conflict along the way. It’s information though. If it helps me understand you better when we use it that way, then we’re using conflict in the right way. But if we use conflict as something to be repressed, or avoided, or argued over, I don’t think we’re using it in the right way. Let’s use it as information.
Erin Sparks: 40:42 It’s almost like a watershed moment that you can absolutely learn as long as you have a roadmap out of, you’re dropping your defensive posture, but you also have a roadmap to get through that. That’s the other thing.
Max Yoder: 40:57 We just don’t teach people it. And I so, so, so, so badly want that to change. My wife’s in the department of Education and she is very committed to helping me in small ways and ideally large ways over time just teach kids. And I don’t think I’m the best person to teach them. I think there’s people out there who know this a lot better than I do, but to be somebody who spurs teaching to kids, because I know that kids everyday will deal with conflict. I don’t know that every day they’re going to deal with physics, or experience physics in such a way that they need to solve any problems. We experience physics [inaudible 00:41:26] but every day they’re going to need to understand how to navigate conflict, but we’re not teaching it to-
Max Yoder: 41:34 It wasn’t my best example, but you get it, you get it. We teach a lot of things that we could maybe reduce those a little bit. I’m not saying take them, away and make a little more time for conflict management and appreciation. You will have time for this?
Max Yoder: 41:46 On the other side of the spectrum is appreciation and showing gratitude and love. So, first a situation in conflict-oriented when something isn’t going like we want it to. A moment of appreciation and gratitude if something is going on like we want it to. We struggle at both ends? People struggle to appreciate their gratitude and their appreciation just as much as they struggle with conflict. Not everyone. Some people struggle more with one or the other, but at both ends it is tough to show love and it’s tough to deal with things that are stressful and conflict oriented.
Max Yoder: 42:07 And I think if we optimize for both of them, we will have a richer and brighter world, because when we show appreciation is chapter five is called Highlight What’s Working. The idea is we think that things that are working or known quantities. They’re box is already checked, their problem’s already solved. That’s working. So we tend not to talk about the things that are working, because we presume that everybody already knows it’s working. But the reality of a team is, only a few people will know something is working and if we don’t share it and highlight that it’s working, more people can’t take advantage of it.
Max Yoder: 42:32 So, highlight what’s working is all about making time to share the things that are working, because what we tend to do instead is talk about problems all the time. If I told you “Let’s have a meeting and the thing we’re going to talk about is what’s working on the team, you’d be like, “That sounds like a waste of time.” It isn’t a waste of time. What it does is it elevates what’s working, so more people can learn from it and use it. We don’t do it enough. Appreciation is an element of sharing what’s working. There’s a whole method called appreciative inquiry that I talked about in the book is ,what’s going well and how do we do more of it?
Max Yoder: 42:55 That’s the key question. So, if I ended a meeting and I said, What went well in here and how do we do more of it?” And we went around the table and everybody shared one thing that went well, somebody says, “I really appreciate it that everybody spoke during this meeting.” Somebody else in the room goes, “I didn’t even notice that. But now I do realize it and I appreciated it, too.” They’re a little more inclined to make sure the next meeting more people speak.
Erin Sparks: 43:25 But you’re also giving everybody that level playing field as well where the people that … and the dynamics of a meeting, you always have the type A’s, the Alphas that are going to be changing and steering. But if you’re actually giving everybody the opportunity to collaborate in, now, everybody’s been risen to a level of value.
Erin Sparks: 43:46 Yeah, absolutely. Interesting. Well, I want to swing this back around and to the last point here, because it’s incredible what you’re … these are, it sounds so simple and so basic, but-
Erin Sparks: 43:59 It’s not happening in the work culture. It’s not happening from the employers and the managers. It’s also not happening from the team members where there is an expectation of performance, but there’s also, there is a responsibility on those team members to be able to help in these particular components.
Erin Sparks: 44:33 Oh, no, you’re more than welcome. But one of the things I want to swing back around to is this concept of would this book have come from you had it not been from your process of building software learning, training and, and basically mining the process of software development, staff development. Would this have ever existed?
Max Yoder: 44:54 Without Lessonly, no. I think a lot of it came from what we learned from our internal team dynamics. So like the first chapter I talk about, Hey, if we could just look around a team and say, what behaviors make progress in which behaviors create setbacks? And then we can just pull together the progress-driven behaviors, that’s what I tried to do here is just list the behaviors that lead to progress most consistently, and the things that lead to set backs probably the opposite of those behaviors. So let’s focus on this stuff over here.
Max Yoder: 45:18 Team dynamics, our customers. Our customers introduced me to appreciative inquiry. One of our customers was like, “Hey, Max, you talk about appreciation a lot. You should learn about appreciate inquiry.” That’s the whole chapter of Highlight What’s Working, it’s all about this thing that our customer introduces to you. And then our software, speed optimized software where you create things and you share it before you’re ready.
Max Yoder: 45:34 The second chapter is all about sharing before you’re ready. So it came from three spots. Internal team dynamics are customers, and then the things that our software was able to do that we saw value in, we were like, maybe that applies more broadly than just their software.
Erin Sparks: 45:43 Right, right, that the thing. That’s where I was getting to. And then we hear that every once in a while from developers have actually developed a SaaS platforms or technology, especially whenever we’re interviewing contributors into some of the marketing software and behavior analytic software. There are these learned processes, these learning lessons, that all of a sudden evolve into something. It’s not a non-sequitur, but it goes into a cultural scenario. It goes into employee dynamics. And that’s what’s really cool about software development.
Erin Sparks: 46:20 You can put some good concepts in, and all of a sudden you have this additional outpouring of opportunity to really use it for betterment of team building and communication as opposed to just to monetize plot platform, right?
Erin Sparks: 46:39 So, we certainly appreciate the time today. We always want to recommend our listeners to go check out software in the platforms that we’re promoting. But before, I want to get some promotions out for Lessonly. I want to ask you a couple quick questions.
Max Yoder: 47:09 Yeah, I think the crushing it culture is really dangerous. They crushing it of, “Hey, you’re either crushing it or you’re not. You’re either knocking it out of the park or you’re not.” It makes people put their shields and swords up, because there is nobody’s actually crushing it, it’s a facade. And if anybody is there, the far extreme exception. So that means people have to be defensive about where they’re at, and they are the fake it too. And what I like is vulnerability of, and we got some things to figure out. Who doesn’t? “I’m proud of these parts. These parts need work.” That’s reality of every business. The crushing it culture makes it seem like “We just got this whole thing figured out, and shame on you, or too bad for you that you’re not as cool as we are.” I think that creates a lot of negative behavior.
Max Yoder: 48:13 I think people are really hungry to take the responsibility for their own actions. I think when I speak to groups, they are hungry and ready to do it. They just need more guidance as to how. The big why and what … what matters? Responsibility. Why does it matter? Well, here’s why it matters. How do we do it? I think people need more of it and excites me that people are ready on the what and the why and they just want more how. Because one person at a time is how you make any damn of a difference. And I just want one person at a time for us to take a little responsibility for what we’re doing and point fewer fingers. That excites me that people have an appetite for it. And they do. I see it all the time.
Erin Sparks: 48:47 Very cool. Well, we had a conversation. Last time that we were in here, we talked about you embrace a radical candor in your workplace, and I think doing better work is a natural evolution of your pursuit of what you’re trying to do at that one person, that one person strategy is to be able to give back to people tools that they can use as opposed to … We see so many books out in the space. I was just pontificating, there’s this ethereal massive of warm and fuzzies that are out there. This is practical.
Erin Sparks: 49:23 These are things that team members can use, executives can use. And if they’re not paying attention to affirmation, if they’re not paying attention to conflict resolution with a mutual direction after that, then they’re not really managing the way we need to be managed in this era now.
Max Yoder: 49:40 Yeah, we can do this. We just think that obvious equals happening. We think that there’s an equal sign between obvious, “Oh, that’s obvious so it must be …” but it’s not happening. So I say obvious doesn’t equal happening. And until it does, I’m going to keep saying obvious stuff. Because until it’s happening, I could give a hoot it was obvious. It ain’t happening.
Erin Sparks: 49:56 Honestly, on a personal note, Max, that goes home to me, because I’ve suffered from this expectation of intrinsic motivation. I’ve suffered from this expectation of they should know their job. They should be able to do their job.
Erin Sparks: 50:12 That’s tough to get through. And with roadmaps like this, and just a bit more of a clarion call of what the responsibility of the one that has is cursed with knowledge. They got to be able to set the road map. Otherwise, it’s on you. It’s on the person. You can’t set expectations without actually laying it out.
Max Yoder: 50:32 Yeah, you Bet. You Bet. I’m super, super glad that you feel that way and don’t beat yourself up because you know what? Everybody has done it. All that matters right now is what we do next.
Max Yoder: 50:59 I mean, he owns a funeral home and they could do three funerals a day on a good day. And usually it’s one or two. And I wasn’t in there all the time, but when I was a kid, we shared a driveway. So my house was connected to the funeral’s parking lot, then it was connected to the funeral home. So I’d walk over and say, “Dad, I’m ready to eat.” And then he’d come over and make us lunch, because he just walked across. And he would usually be doing his thing-
Max Yoder: 51:38 I know that’s obvious, but I don’t think it registers that we are also so susceptible to death. And when you hear that over and over again, it can be a very potent motivator to just get after it.
Erin Sparks: 51:50 Get after it, but at the same time, you have that realization that this is temporary and we always hear the cliche, but any moment and time, so you better not trip over and invest in that conflict?
Max Yoder: 52:31 Yeah. It’s a great thing to make an investment in people. It permeates. We have limited time. Let’s invest in people. Let’s help them grow, thrive and flourish. That’s a good thing to do with your time.
Max Yoder: 52:49 If you want to look at Lessonly Training Software, it’s www.lessonly.com less only.com. And then if you want to pick up the book, it’s www.dobetter.work. So instead of.com and it’s.work, dobetter.work.
Max Yoder: 53:20 Yeah, it is if you want to see it, be it. if you want to see something in the world, go out and be that thing in the world because that’s the only way you make any positive change in the world is you inspire and motivate others. You just do it. So go out and do the things that you want to see other people do and no doubt more people will do them. And even if they don’t, you’ve done your job.
Erin Sparks: 53:35 Well, That’s awesome. Out of the words of Max, you better go listen and better go do, because you know what? Nobody else is going to do it for you. Take the bull by the horns. You have a responsibility in your team. You have a responsibility to your team members. So learn the framework. Learn the tools that you need for success.
Erin Sparks: 54:04 More than welcome. All right, so thanks for listening to Edge of the Web Radio. Special thank you to our colleagues over at Site Strategics as well as especially our guest Max Yoder. Be sure to check out all the must see videos over and audio over it edgeofthewebradio.com. Check out all the blog content, and all the special transcripts. There’s a really cool tool over at Site Strategics, and I said, again, I will jump in because we’ve got a navigable transcripts per timestamp. That’s pretty cool. But check out all the information over edgeofthewebradio.com, edgeofthewebradio.com. We will talk to you next week. Do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. Bye, Bye.