Building Sustainable High Performing Teams

In this episode of “The Faces of Business,” Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP, CEO and Founder of the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, LLC, a Certified MBE, shares how to build sustainable high-performing teams that can accomplish more every day without feeling overwhelmed.

In this episode of “The Faces of Business,” Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP, CEO and Founder of the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, LLC, a Certified MBE, shares how to build sustainable high-performing teams that can accomplish more every day without feeling overwhelmed.

Gerald Leonard is an accomplished project portfolio management guru, author, speaker, and bass player with over 20 years of experience helping large organizations and multinational corporations achieve operational excellence. He is the author of three books, including his latest one, “A Symphony of Choices: How Mentorship Taught a Manager Decision-Making, Project Management, and Workplace Engagement — and Saved a Concert Season,” which is set to be released in August.

Get ready to learn how Gerald leverages the neuroscience of conversational intelligence, creates a culture of strategy execution, and implements productivity hacks that boost your team’s performance and engagement.
Damon starts the show with his signature enthusiasm. The host asks Gerald to share his transformation from his high school days to becoming someone who assists others in creating sustainable, high-performing teams and running successful businesses.

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Gerald reveals that his journey began when he started playing a red guitar that originally belonged to his sister at ten. He became skilled in guitar and bass, playing in a band and gaining inspiration from live performances of prominent bands. Pursuing his passion for music, he obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees, performed professionally, and honed his skills in prestigious institutions.

Transitioning to the ministry for several years while continuing his music involvement, he eventually returned to music and pursued IT consulting. Soon, he recognized the parallels between music and consulting and saw the importance of collaboration, mentorship, and attentive listening. Gerald began applying these insights to his consulting projects, fostering a collaborative atmosphere that resembled a jazz band’s improvisation.

Through years of experience, Gerald wrote books such as “Culture is the Base,” “Workplace Jazz” (centered on Agile teams), and his recent release, “A Symphony of Choices,” utilizing storytelling to convey complex concepts effectively. His multifaceted journey from music to consulting shaped his approach to building sustainable, high-performing teams and successful businesses.

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Damon moves on to Gerald’s latest book and asks about the motivation behind combining various concepts, such as music, agile teams, and business, into “A Symphony of Choices.”

In response, the guest recounts his struggle with combining various concepts into “A Symphony of Choices.” He notes businesses’ challenges in decision-making and portfolio management, balancing operational and growth endeavors. Gerald introduced the Project Portfolio Management (PPM) approach, drawing from his consulting background, including a project with the Department of Transportation.

In 2015, Gerald developed a PPM class tied to PMP certification, driven by the need for accessible resources. Inspired by narrative-driven books like “The Goal” and “Built to Sell,” he collaborated with a fiction writer who shared his background in music and orchestration. Together, they created “A Symphony of Choices,” using storytelling to convey these complex concepts engagingly.

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Giving a deeper insight into his book, Gerald traces some autobiographical connections in his book. He is an orchestra bass player. “A Symphony of Choices” features two characters: Jerry Hole, a bass player turned orchestra manager, and Dr. Cole Richardson, a professor teaching portfolio management concepts. The story unfolds as Dr. Richardson guides Jerry through these concepts while Jerry faces personal challenges involving family dynamics and his workplace, including his boss, the conductor (or prima donna).

In Gerald’s view, teaching complex concepts through storytelling is effective. He believes a story allows readers to immerse themselves alongside the character Jerry, experiencing his journey through music and the idea of a symphony. Gerald’s deep connection to music, rooted in his life experiences, serves as his playground for creative exploration.

The guest also touches on the healing properties of music and shares a personal experience, “something that happened to” him related to vertigo and vestibular issues. He views constraints as opportunities for growth, a concept he derived from the theory of constraints.

Similarly, Gerald shares insights from his neuroscience mentors. He explains that our conscious minds process only about 7% of our surroundings. However, our non-conscious mind absorbs everything without our awareness. He has learned techniques to tap into his non-conscious mind to enhance his conscious mind’s capabilities.

Moreover, Gerald discloses that his podcast and website, “Productivity Intelligence,” reflect his integration of music, neuroscience, productivity principles, and various management disciplines like project, program, and portfolio management, as well as workplace engagement and culture.

Damon admires Gerald’s unique combination of concepts and his curious mindset. The host is enthusiastic about discussing topics like revolutionizing potential maximization, productivity enhancement, and the evolving role of AI.

In response, Gerald says productivity isn’t about working endless hours or burning out. Simply put, stress, personal challenges, and a health incident led him to reassess his approach. He shares a transformative experience where playing music helped him overcome a debilitating vestibular issue, which led to him delivering a TEDx talk.

Gerald shares how he’s actively managing his health and energy through Brain Gym exercises, Chi Gong, tapping, yoga, and stress reduction. The guest hints at his fourth book, a project aiming to explore the productivity of the top twenty artists from the last two centuries to understand their secrets to high output, like producing numerous albums.

Gerald explains that his morning routine has been incredibly beneficial. With personal well-being, he has become more open to intuitive insights and positive ideas. This energy shift has attracted like-minded individuals to his team and business, fostering a positive and purpose-driven atmosphere.

Gerald advocates shifting focus from problems to solutions. Our thoughts and energy attract what we experience, and being mired in stress only perpetuates negativity. He advises listeners to break the cycle by making small, manageable changes and focusing on gradual improvement. The key is to consistently aim for 1% improvement at a time, which accumulates over time and leads to meaningful transformation.

Damon asks Gerald to talk about practical strategies leaders can employ to shift their approach and foster a more effective and harmonious team environment.

Gerald says that he has touched on this topic in his book. He shares his experience with transforming organizations, including a law firm and a transportation department, by implementing effective project management practices and fostering collaboration among team members. Aligning team members’ values and creating a positive team environment can enhance productivity and help leaders achieve successful project outcomes.

Before departing, Gerald also mentions using the “rules of engagement” exercise from the book called “Conversational Intelligence” to address team issues and improve team dynamics.

The show ends with Damon thanking Gerald for his time.

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Gerald Leonard, Damon Pistulka

Gerald Leonard 00:01
That’s a nice B.

Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome again, the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And boy, am I excited about our guest today because I have none other than Gerald Leonard with the Leonard productivity, no. Productivity intelligence Institute. Sorry, I thought I’d screwed it up there. No, no,

Gerald Leonard 00:22
you’re right. It actually is linear productivity intelligence Institute. The website is just productivity intelligence Institute. And I’m also the CEO of Turnberry Premier.

Damon Pistulka 00:32
Yeah, awesome, man. Well, I’m so excited about having you here today. Gerald, just because I’ve gone through your stuff, man, your background and what you’re helping people do and our conversation before we came live here, so much cool stuff. So we always like to start out the show the same way. Okay, so let’s let’s start back aways. And kind of tell us about how to Gerald go from Gerald who got out of high school into Gerald, that’s helping people, you know, develop these, building these sustainable teams, high performing teams, showing people how to run really successful businesses?

Gerald Leonard 01:18
Well, man, it started off, right behind me, I’m gonna go this way. There’s a red guitar when I was 10 years old, that actually belonged to my sister. And I was learning how to play piano, but I didn’t like it at the time. And so I would sneak in her room and grab that thing and start playing. And I got really pretty good. And she realized that she wasn’t gonna use it. So she let me have it. And I started playing it. And I joined the band with some friends. And one of them was an amazing guitar player. So I knew I gotta find something else to play. So I started playing bass, because I’ve already built the chops to play the strings. And so I became, that’s how I became the bass player. Okay, we’re also at a time in giveaway, my age in 1974. We’re in Lakeland, Florida, the central states in Central Florida. They created the Lakeland Civic Center. And what happened was, all these bands came in town, the Commodores Earth, Wind and Fire all these major bands. And it wasn’t like these $2,000 tickets along and go to a concert. Oh, my goodness. I just watched everybody. I was so inspired. I played in practice all the time, went to college for music. And that’s a whole nother story of how that all happened. But I did my bachelor’s and master’s in music. I went to Central Central State University, an HBCU. And then I went down to Cincinnati conservatory because of some of the coaches I had around me, got me to the level while I was still at Central State, I started playing for the Springfield Symphony as a professional. And then I got to work with Frank proto at the Cincinnati conservatory. And then when I left there, I moved to New York, and his teacher, David Walter, who was the basis for Toscanini became my teacher for one year. And then I stayed in New York and played. And then I went into the ministry. So for six or seven years, I did ministry work and played music at the same time. And after he had married, having some kids, I thought, you know, I really want to go back into music. But having kids, that’s how I got into it. Because I was playing music. And I didn’t want to play the swanky clubs. I wanted to play nice places, you know, shows and workshops and different things like that. And so I started doing IT consulting, I had learned about computers and started reading everything I could. I’m an avid reader. And in a short period of time, I was a full fledged consultant and playing music. And I’ve done that all my life. And so how did I get to be where I’m at now is over those almost 30 years, let’s say 25 plus years of playing music all the time and doing consulting, you start seeing similarities. And when you do a really great show, musicians come and they gotta woodshed you got to practice, you got to have a mentor and a coach, you have to learn to work together. One of the things you learn as a musician is you have to listen, you really have to listen really carefully to everyone else. Because you got to make sure one you’re in tune and one that you are playing with everyone else and you need to understand the big picture of what’s happening. I started going to some of my clients in seeing projects where we were doing some great work with like, say the national archives or Pfizer, some other places like that. And everyone came in and they knew their stuff. But we talked about the charter and the requirements. We got the big picture. We had a great sponsor. And so we started kind of like improvising. Hey, this is this is your section of the project because we’re designing work. So now you know it’s the it’s the requirements guy. It’s the business analyst who’s writing report. Everyone’s supporting him. It’s like soloing in a jazz band. Yeah. elbers Taiko when they start building the software. Well, that’s there. So they’re soloing. So everyone around them begins to support them. The project managers, he’s basically treating everyone like an artist, they know their stuff, let them do their work, guide them, give them input, help them out to make it work. What I’ve done over the years, once I’ve kind of gotten codified all of that is I started putting it into books. My first book was called culture is the base. Because business culture is a field. I mean, think about walking to Nordstrom, or some great store you love. You feel like I just liked the vibe here. It’s like, they take care of you. I like the way they put the shoes up. It’s a vibe. It’s a feeling it’s an emotion. Yeah, so my next book was called workplace jazz. It’s all about agile teams. So what’s a great example of an Agile team, a quartet, a trio? A quintet, right, they’re playing all this fast music, they gotta listen to each other. It’s all what happens when you do Agile work, it’s moving everyday you’re meeting requirements are changing, you got to make things have it’s like playing jazz. And then a symphony of choices, the one I just released. It’s actually a business novel, because one of the books that inspired me the most, and I was doing some work for I think, was Freddie Mac at the time. That was when I was living in the DC area. My companies are still there actually live in Spanish word Alabama. So I’m down in the sun, I get to see the water and everything else. But what was inspiring is that listening to the goal, it was basically like watching a, it was like, like listening to television. And you couldn’t see the movie. So you had to visualize everything. He took you through this, this story to teach you the complexity of the theory of constraints. Well, I ended up studying with D. Jacob at the Gilroy Institute, and I got certified in portfolio management and the theory of constraints. So I teach that all the time in my business. But I knew that those complex concepts are best taught through stories. And that’s why a symphony of choices is a business novel and a story. So that’s how I became who I became it was all the lessons I learned as a 10 year old playing music.

Damon Pistulka 07:12
Yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. And I saw that in your background that you had, you had gone to the goal rat Institute and studied there. And that’s, that, to me, is still one of the Bible’s four out of, well, first of all, in any business, it came to me in manufacturing, because it’s so you know, it’s written in that, that to that kind of setting. But it’s, it’s how that relates to absolutely, everything is pretty incredible. Any anything that’s got a process, any business, and the things you’re looking at, so that and the way that you you tie, how music works with business and teams is is really interesting, because it is like that when you walk into a business and it’s just, you feel the vibe, I like alter is the base because you know, you know, the looking and listening music of that vase is good. You know, it’s gonna be

Gerald Leonard 08:13
the basis doing you know, exactly the genre and the style of music.

Damon Pistulka 08:16
Yep, yep. Well, I mean, you go into a jazz club, and listen to a three piece band, someone’s playing the bass, well, you you can tell if you’re gonna like it and want to be there or not. Exactly. And that’s, that’s so cool. And then when you talk about you talk about workplace jazz and agile teams, and you relate it to a an ensemble of 344 people. I mean, it’s just like you said, to be agile, you have to be cognizant, cognizant of your surroundings and how things are changing and react and, and really flow with it. Exactly. So cool. So cool. So in your latest book, and I didn’t realize you just released it on Tuesday. So that’s super cool. Yes, that we got this time like this. What really made you combine all this stuff into more of the symphony of choices and what you’re trying to sell in a story format? Yeah,

Gerald Leonard 09:13
well, I think we were talking earlier, and you know, a lot of businesses struggle with, and they don’t really put a name to it. But it’s basically they struggle with executive decision making or portfolio management. And basically, they struggle with how do I select activities that will run the business while at the same time doing projects that will help me grow my business, even reduce expenses or increased revenue in different ways? Because you know, that’s you grow the business by growing the profits of the business doesn’t mean you’re adding headcount or new products. You’re just tweaking and optimizing the system. But while you’re doing that, you also have to transform the business. Looking for the next thing. So you always have to be doing that you always have to be looking at. And so the all of those things come together. And it’s really around what’s called Project Portfolio Management. And in 2015, before I wrote my books, I already had the, what’s called the PMP, or the Project Professional certification. I did that in 2005. And I had done a lot of consulting a lot of work, and had gone up the ladder and done the program management work. And I started doing the portfolio level work, where you’re working with the C suite, you’re working with managing director, executives, VPS, and you’re helping them market products and weigh projects. And you’re managing budgets. One of my last clients was the Department of Transportation where they brought me in, and we were dealing with 14,000 products and a $16 billion budget. And so it gets really big inherent, you have that, so you have to have those buckets or containers. And so having written a class in 2015, around that, I wrote the class so I could take the certification. Because at that point in time, there wasn’t a lot of material out there. So I wrote put together a class, make sure it was aligned to the PMI standard for the PMP PMP certification. And that’s one of the certifications on the wall behind me. And plus, you have to have 10 years of experience, even sit for the certification. Yeah. So what I wanted to do was to teach people those concepts, and looked out in the market, there’s a lot of books on portfolio management, and you put them beside your bed at night when you can’t sleep. And you pick them up. You fall asleep, and it’s not any I’m not knocking in those books. If you’re a deep, if you’re a detailed practitioner, you love them, they’re gonna keep you awake. But if you’re a business person, then you don’t want to become an expert in portfolio management. You just want to run your business better, they will put you to sleep. Yeah, I wanted to write a book, like the goal. Or like the book. It’s called bill to sale. I don’t remember the name of the author. But I remember listening to the book and reading the book. And it’s a story. And I love the built the sale because at the end of the chapters, he would always say, here’s what the mentor taught me. So when I wrote my book, I, you know, I actually worked with a gentleman who was a really good fiction writer, because I’m a nonfiction writer. So I want to work with someone who’s really good at storytelling. It was my story is we all work together, and we shaped it. But he actually happened to be a musician and an orchestra manager.

Damon Pistulka 12:31
Oh, wow, that’s cool.

Gerald Leonard 12:32
I was an orchestra bass player. Yes, so quintessential and playing two roles in the book, you know, in fiction, which is Jerry hole. And that’s a whole nother thing that I can tell you about that one. Because it’s playing bass for 20 years in Symphony, but then to become the orchestra manager. And then you have Dr. Cole Richardson, who basically is a professor teaching these concepts of portfolio management. So basically, he starts teaching Jerry these concepts, start spoon feeding him this concept. And now Jerry has some challenges. His wife doesn’t like his job, is his oldest daughter is being an older daughter, a teenager. Yeah. And his know, his son is kind of cool, because he’s playing bass and wants to be like that. His boss, the conductor, is is prima donna. Even his boss get along pretty well. But so he has some challenges in life. Yeah. As we all

Damon Pistulka 13:28
know, we all do. Yeah, exactly.

Gerald Leonard 13:30
So how best to teach a really difficult complex concept. Through a story, yeah, where you can literally sit beside Jerry, as he’s going through the process and playing music and Elvis, you know, the idea of a symphony is that’s my, that’s my playground and, and the music is my playground. I you know, having grown through that all my life, you know, there’s so many stories I have about conductors and music and how music impacts you. And I’ll tell you this, music has has healing properties. And I’ll share the story later about something that happened to me with with vertigo and vestibular issue that I still have, I call it a constraint, not a disability, because of what I learned from the theory of constraints, and I’ll tell you how that made an impact on me. But with the book, I wanted people to be able to get the concepts without feeling like they were reading a technical book about portfolio management. So it’s decision making project management and workplace engagement and how mentorship talk because I believe mentorship is like fine when you find the right mentor. It’s like getting on the HOV lane. Yeah. Right, in traffic, and you’re in the car by yourself and you still see people going there’s always two people in that car. There’s never one person in our career in business life and personal lives are the same way. If we find the right mentor, and I look at mentors as being People who are tour guides, not just not aid, not the tour guide, who just sits up hands you the brochure, but the tour guide, who’s actually been at the top of the mountain, been down in the valley been through the canyon many times, and he can say, Oh, stop here, Rob, this time, look over there, you’re going to see this. He’s gonna show you all these things that you’ve never would even imagine to see. Because he’s been there done that.

Damon Pistulka 15:27
Yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. And you’re exactly right, you know? And how our minds work is, if we don’t have that mentor alongside of us, saying, Hey, you probably want to look over here at this. We won’t even see it. We’re just gonna go right by

Gerald Leonard 15:44
Exactly. Because, you know, here’s something from one of my coaches and mentors who’s into neuroscience, and I’ve done a certification in neuroscience as well, is that our brains only see about process about 7% of everything around us. However, our non conscious mind sees it all. We’re just not aware of it. Yeah. And so there are techniques and processes that I’ve learned from my coaches and mentors, of how do I tap into my non conscious mind, so that I can expand the capabilities of my conscious mind, so that I can ask myself a question, the problem I’m dealing with, go do something else and let my non conscious work on it, and then come back and meditate and focus. And my non conscious says, Oh, here’s the answer to this problem you’ve been working on all day, or I’m allegiance to this person who can help you with that, that answer. And so, so that’s why my, my, my podcast, and that website is called productivity intelligence, or productivity smart. Leveraging, you know, what I’ve done is leverage the science and principles of music, neuroscience, productivity, Project program, portfolio management, and workplace engagement and culture.

Damon Pistulka 16:57
Yeah, well, it’s the way you have combined those is incredible, because I was enthralled when I got on your website and just looked at the different ways that you’re looking at productivity, and now you’ve been able to talk to you and, and before we got on today, it’s it’s so interesting, because the kind of work I love how you got this curious mind, because you couldn’t do what you’re doing without having an extremely curious mind, you know, all the way back from learning music and learn how to play as a young youngster. Until today, I mean, this is we’re commenting on and looking at many different certifications you’ve got and all these different things to be able to help help really shape and then you just start talking about tapping into your non conscious mind. To help solve problems. I mean, while you’re, it’s this is over the top, so I got so many things to ask you. It’s great. It’s great. I’m super excited here, man. Because, you know, we, we talk about so many things, we you know, everybody’s under the gun, they want to get more productivity, they want to be a want to be better doing what they what they’re doing. And, you know, you talk about revolutionising the way we approach maximizing our potential. Yeah, I read that on some of your stuff. I can see why you you a can do that and be that you love to talk about it. So let’s talk about that a little bit. Because I think we’re at an interesting point in time. Because the whole AI thing, and we’ll talk about that. And you talk about that a bit on your stuff. Yeah. And then just some of the basic fundamentals that you brought up here about tapping in and unconscious mind, and how this whole thing might meld together in the in the near future to really make a huge difference in productivity.

Gerald Leonard 18:56
Exactly, exactly. Because here’s the thing, productivity is not about working endless hours. It’s not about an 80 Hour Workweek. It’s not about because what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna burn yourself out. And also, you know, one of the things that’s on my heart that I really and I mean this from a just just being authentic, hopefully, as I’m, as I’m sharing this, because I really want to create a platform or, or a program that can really help artists, because it hurts when you see a really talented artists like Prince or Michael Jackson, or one of these guys, who they they get to the pinnacle of the career. And then they explode. Yeah. Right. It’s either drugs or it’s either alcohol, or it’s either just they’re just running themselves ragged, because as you go up the ladder, it gets, you know, it’s like, okay, you’re successful, successful, successful, but then it becomes more difficult. You’d have less personal time, and they don’t know how to put guardrails around it. And so and when we talk about you got to be more productive, more productive, more productive. We can do that to each other. And we can we can do that to business owners. We can, you know, the analysts do it to quote to the fortune five hundreds. This is what the stock should be. Oh, it didn’t make it. Oh, now we’re gonna beat we’re gonna ding your stock price, because you didn’t meet what we said you should do. That makes no sense to me. Right? So what I’ve learned in working with Jack Canfield, a lady named Dr. Bobby Stevens, Dr. Paul Scheer, surely, is, you’d have to take a holistic approach, and realize we’re human beings, not human doings. So I’ve learned my routine. So I’ll just share my routine in the morning, I get up around 530. And for the first 45 minutes or less a first 1520 minutes, I do yoga, I just do, I just stretch, because what I learned is that our physical bodies will maintain and take on every stressful thing that we experience. And if we’re not constantly wrenching out the, you know, wringing out the body weight, getting rid of that stress, and just dealing with that, then we ended up with a pain in the neck. And we’re this and this is turned and all those things. And you know, and I know that personally, because my vestibular challenge, a major vertigo incident that I had in 2008 18 happened because of stress. And I had to learn, okay, I need to get myself in a place where I’m at peace. But what I do is I do the yoga, I’ll do five minutes of deep breathing, I follow I’m into Heart Math, where it’s about how to get coherent, where your heart and your brain are in coherence. Nigeria, I’ll do some exercise. And then I’ll spend about 30 minutes, writing out my goals, just listening to meditative music, and what Dr. Shealy calls parallels, but and I’ll write out my goals by hand, and it forces my reticular activating system to really hone in on what I want in my life. Then I start my day, I don’t turn on the news. First thing I don’t do on this, I work on me first, that puts me in a calm state rings out the body gets my mindset for what I want to do. And then I then one of the things that Jack Canfield says is, find five things a day that you can work on, that’s going to move your business forward. Now, sometimes I can only get to one of them, sometimes I can get to two, sometimes I can get to all five. And then I’ll just rewrite the list and only so I only focus on five major tasks a day. And I kind of have my meetings and podcasts and the different things I’m working on. And by doing that, and learning to take breaks, I use something called the Pomodoro Technique. I use something like I have these on my website. And basically, if I’m working on something, I’ll say this is the task, I’m working on single task, or I’ll do task batching, which is tasks that are all related to each other. And then I’ll set the clock and work for 2025 30 minutes, then I’ll take a 10 minute break or five minute break a 15 minute break. Sometimes I’ll stop and I’ll play piano or I’ll play my bass, or I’ll run an errand. I’ll walk outside and do something in the garden. Then I’ll come back. Okay, what’s my next test. And if I have a lot of things going on, because I have this vestibular issue, I will I will make sure my day is available where I can take a nap for 30 minutes. So that I’m re energized for the afternoon activities. And so I’ll just I’ll just share this because in 2018, you know, I was in my first marriage, I went through a divorce, got remarried. And I was under a lot of stress from different situations. And it wasn’t just work. I always enjoyed my work, playing music or whatever. But I was at a place where it was a lot of stress. And at a workshop, the vertigo happened, the room spinning really bad. I had to Dr have had to come in and work on all the details had to come in. He’s like, we got to take this guy from our ambulance to a hospital. I was an hour and a half away from my home where I was living in Maryland. I get there, my eyes are going like this. They had to give me a shot to make it stop. They kept me overnight and add like that’s this is not normal vertigo. We got to recommend you to a specialist can we’re gonna have to give you a walker, you got to show us that you can walk down the hall with a walker to live with us let you go home. So I lost because I have my vestibular impact. I lost the ability to walk. Now the funny thing about this and it’s really not funny. It’s funny now, or it’s interesting now, is that all this happened six weeks before I was delivered a TEDx talk that I have been approved to deliver. Wow. So so I don’t I’m an independent consultant. I’m gonna take 99 no laptop, no work. No pay. And I’m sitting here feeling like I’m in bed, I can’t watch TV, I can’t look at my laptop. And I’m thinking, Is this my life? What in the world happened? At the same time, I’m thinking about my TEDx talk. And as I’m dealing with life and all the challenges that are going on there, my talk was, if it’s on the Teddy platform, it’s called, What if practice is the performance? What if, because professionals are only on stage 5% of the time of their career? So what’s the what are they doing the rest of time they have to practice. So if you don’t love practicing, you’re gonna have you’re gonna be miserable. But it was the neuro but I talked about the neuroscience of music. And as I’m rehearsing my talk in my head, it was a quote from the book, but basically, just got to sum it up. It was basically, if you have an issue or block or some brain issues, and you’re playing music, the brain will work around that, and start rewire it will rewire itself. So I’m thinking, okay, as soon as I could sit up, I’m gonna make it to my office, which was next to my bedroom at the time. And I’m going to grab my bass and play. So I did. And I did it every day. And I got I mean, literally, I’m what I’m holding on to the walls, to get the new office, sit down play. The next morning, I felt better. I did a little bit more, I’m slowly walking to the mailbox, I’m slowly walking to the front of my house. Three weeks later, I walk into my doctor’s office unassisted. He looks at now, I went through the process of thinking, right having to think right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot just a walk, because of how the impact, the impact happened. And he looked at me, he goes, I can tell you’ve been really impacted. But what like, like, what are you been doing? I said, Well, I’m preparing for a TEDx talk, that I’m planning on giving. And I’ve been playing my bass, oh, you’ve been doing your therapy. That was the first thing out of his mouth. He says you’ve been you’ve already started your therapy. And when they put me on all the machines, they found that that on the inner side, which is really our brain tissue, which deals with the vestibular, which is right back here, I had lost 86% capability only had 14% of the capability of that part of my brain, around the balancing. And that’s why it was so bad. And by playing music, I was able to rewire my brain that three weeks later, I was on stage in Delaware, delivering the TEDx talk that’s recorded on that that platform. Wow. And that drove me to start to start really assessing all the things that I’ve done, I was I’ve always been a learner. I’ve always been someone who’s going after him. But I was like, okay, am I going too hard? Am I what am I doing, and so on and so forth. And I was a solo entrepreneur, I was a solopreneur. I was doing these, this kind of work for, you know, major corporations that build a lot of partnerships and things like that. So I had a lot of contracts and things. But it was just me, you know, again, starting to write some books. I think by that time I wrote my first book. The other two I hadn’t written. And once I started this journey of introspection, really taken care of myself really thinking about what I’m doing, reaching outside of myself and finding other x finding experts who knew about whole brain learning, knew about the brain knew about the vestibular system knew about brain jibs, kinesiology, all those things. I did a certification in neural science, just to learn how to how to work with myself. Good DJ, he passed away. I would say in December, I think it was in 2019, or 2019, she passed away, but she wrote the book, conversational intelligence. And I have a certification on a wall, where I spent two years in her program studying neuroscience. And the process by doing this, I started becoming more productive and more effective. When I was now having to take naps, I couldn’t ride my bike outside. I couldn’t play golf the way I used to. I couldn’t. I couldn’t do some of the things that I used to do. I went through a divorce. And it was just like, What were my companies that there that’s why I ended up down here. And after going through a divorce, selling the house, two and a half years later, I’m in a position to buy a brand new home, furnish it have two companies that are close to eight doing eight figures a business. I’m on my third book, it’s gonna be an audio book, and I got all these coaches and programs and people that are saying, What are you doing? And it’s really about how we think it’s really about understanding energy management is really about understanding how our thoughts create our world. on how we look at our world, it’s really about how the condition of our even the condition of our spine plays a big role in how we look at life. And so by taking all these things into consideration, that’s where the productivity intelligence and productivity smarts comes in. Really rebuild my life.

Damon Pistulka 30:21
Yeah, you started from ground up, and your your experience with good mentors and coaches and teachers, really, and, and your curiosity really allowed you to go to the places and find the learning that you needed to find to teach you what you’re doing today.

Gerald Leonard 30:41
Exactly. Like, I’ve worked with my neuroscientists, and they’ve said, neuroscience, doctors, and they’ve said, you know, there’s no pill, there’s nothing we can give you to help you address this. But so I do what’s called Brain gyms exercises, I do Chi Gong, I do all these, you know, tapping, I do all these different things that deal with to help manage my energy level, and also manage my health. And working out, you know, like I say, yoga and so on, keeping stress at bay, I traveling, I’ve gone to London, now I’ve gone to the Big Island of war, you know, I’ve traveled, so I’m able to do things, but I have to do them in a measured way. And so one of the reasons I keep I’m constantly working with my coaches is, as I’m going up the ladder of success, I want to make sure I’m not one of those artists that, you know, you don’t have the capacity to handle all the good things that are happening to you. So you implode. Yeah. And that’s sometimes what happens to business owners. Yes, right. They grow too fast. Or they in one of the blessings I’ve had is that I had an investment in my company. And it was guys that I have worked with 20 years ago, and that we knew each other really, really well. And there was a lot of trust there. Well, they had a big management structure. They’ve helped me with my management structure. So I have teams that are managing my clients. And I can jump in on a call, they send me an email, I send them a text, they may send me something to sign or whatever. But I’m not day to day. So it’s really a business run that runs without me. So I can do this. I can write my books. I’ve already figured out what my fourth book is. I won’t tell you right now, but it will be based on on it’s got to be based on productivity smarts. And I’m looking at the top, I’ll go and tell you, I’m looking at the top 20 as a top 24 artists in the last two centuries, that have been the most productive and to figure out, what did they do to produce 87 albums? That’s a lot.

Damon Pistulka 32:46
Yeah, yeah. So much thing cover here. So great takeaway, Gerald. I just listen. I’m not saying a lot, because I just love listening. But you know. And you and you. Okay, let’s just back up a little bit. Yeah. So if you if we would have been doing this three years ago, I would have been about 50%. More me, not quite 50%. But a good third more me around. Okay. And what you what you said is, I feel good, because I get up in the morning a lot earlier than people really even think you should be. And I spend that hour hour and a half in the morning doing the same things. I’m stretching, I’m working out a little bit. I’m gonna meditate. I’m reading I’m writing. I’m gonna because I heard this one thing, and I don’t even remember where I heard it. Someone said that. You can either let the day control you and like you said that stress just builds on you. OR and AND THEY likened it to a an empty soda, can. They said a coke can it’s empty, you can crush it really easy. But if you fill it up with lots of good stuff in the morning, and get your body and your blood pumping? How much can you push a full can? Exactly. And I just use that? Because I’m Simple, right? And I think the difference in your use in your morning routine, how much do you think that alone has helped you?

Gerald Leonard 34:16
It’s helped tremendously. Because the thing is, is a lot of the blocks that we have in trying to accomplish our goals is because either one we’re stressed out, right? And when we’re stressed out, we have all the cortisol, all the adrenaline, all these negative neural chemicals in our bodies. And our you know, everything that we do is all about energy. Right? Our thoughts, our energy, when we’re when we de stress, the yoga that works out working out and all the things that we’re doing the meditation, we’re elevating our level of vibration of energy, to start attracting the things that we’ve been planning the goals that we’ve been setting it all we all So put ourselves in a place where we can begin to deal with those negative thoughts, or those those limiting thoughts or sabotaging thoughts that always come. And there’s a way there’s, there’s processes and ways to address them, to deal with them. And if you’re stressed out, you can’t hear the intuition. You can’t, you’re not open to being an intuitive person where you hear the great ideas that are out there. And so because you’re stressed, and you’re thinking stressful thoughts, and you attract stressful situations, and you attract stressful employees, you attract stressful clients, and you’re like, my business is so stressful is because your business is a reflection of you. But when you’re at peace, you’re focused, you’re goal oriented, you are purposeful, then you start attracting all those people. And all those people who are like that are attracted to you. They want to be around. And so I’m in a place now in my life, where everyone on my team that I work with, I love working with them. So like I love, I love getting up and going to work. Yeah, even if it’s just having meetings or, or doing things and to my clients. And when your clients see that, and they see that in your team. And they see that in your people, they’re gonna love coming to your store, or to your online presence, or to your consulting, or to your engagement, they may just keep you around, because you’re just so much darn fun to keep around. Because you’ve got all these great ideas to help them move their business forward.

Damon Pistulka 36:37
And as you you’re getting into this because I think by by de stressing getting yourself ready for the day, it really allows you as a business owner or or just anyone to be able to really think more creatively think on your feet and be open to more things that that could be the right solution. Whereas if you’re not, you’re just so wound so tight, that it just comes right it goes right by it. They don’t even

Gerald Leonard 37:08
see it. Exactly. And again, your your if your welled up that tight, and you’re so focused on all the problems and putting out the fires. And that’s what you’re thinking about. Well guess what you attract all day long. Yeah, the very thing that the very thing that you hate, that you’re complaining about are the things that you’re attracting. And so until you kind of stop the madness, and go, Okay, let me start planning my day. Let me start just taking a walk. And here’s what I would say. If you’re, if you’re listening, and you’re, I remember when I was in dealing with this stuff, if someone said, Okay, you got to start working out eating right, blah, blah, blah, and all this, you’re like, your amygdala goes, No way. No How, yeah, you’re like the dog that doesn’t want to go for a walk. You just put your paws out and you’re like, you know, you’re gonna have to drag me down. That’s not gonna happen. But if you focus on getting 1% better, just do you know, I’m gonna just put my shoes by the bed so that when I come home, they’re right there. So I can take a walk, or I’m gonna put them by the door or something, where it’s like, you’re making it easy for yourself to start changing your habits. Because if you do too much, by human nature by who we are, and there’s little thing in our brains called the amygdala, right? As soon as we hear change, it goes, no, no, I’m not gonna change. No, no, no, don’t touch that. And it because it wants to protect you. And so let it do its job. But if you give it 1% of something to change, let’s not do that. We can do that. Yeah. And then you keep increasing it by doing the 1%. And it’s like, oh, we’re doing work. It doesn’t realize that you don’t realize how much you’ve changed. Because you’ve just focused on getting 1% better.

Damon Pistulka 39:05
Yeah, yeah. So my original topic for for sale friends today, we’re building sustainable, high performing teams. And I think we’ve covered a lot of that because, because honestly, you can’t have a high performing team. If everybody is alone like that. I mean, they have to be in sync. You know, you talked about things about talking about music and being an ensemble, they have to be in sync, but they can’t just like in music. You can’t have somebody worrying about am I playing right? Am I you know, because that tense. Yeah. destroys the the fluidity of the music. Yeah. And so as you’re in helping, helping these companies helping these leaders really talk about how do we how do we start to look at this with our people and you know, because we do have, like you said in large companies People are under pressure if you didn’t make your your your quarterly profits, even in a small company, they might be having having a lot of trouble. So what are some practical things that people can really do to as leaders to help themselves and their teams to really change the way they’re approaching this?

Gerald Leonard 40:18
I’m glad you asked that. Because one, I’ll say this, and this is not just promoting the book, but this is in the book. Okay, there’s a book, I have a whole implementation strategy around everything that’s being taught.

Damon Pistulka 40:31
And I didn’t read the book, and we didn’t talk about this, I got lucky.

Gerald Leonard 40:38
So it’s in the back of the book. And here’s the here’s the secret of it. It actually came from a major law firm, like 3000 foot personal law firm in the DC area. That’s one of the top, I would say, in the top 20. Law firms I worked there for about if you look at my profile, you’ll see who they are. I worked there for four years, they were having a lot of these problems when I came in. And I’ve been a consultant for 20 years before I got there. So when I came in, I it was around 2008, where the market was crashing, and everything was kind of crazy. So I came out of consulting and work for them. For about four and a half years. It was the Ivy League law firm, I felt like I was getting a PhD and understanding professional service organizations. It was really it was amazing. It was amazing opportunity for me to learn. But what I brought to the table was knowing how to help even those organizations slowly transform, and you have to think about it as that’s an ocean liner. So when an open Rhino gets stuck, what happens, you get a lot of little tugboats, right, a lot of little tugboats, and they begin to push it to the where it can now crank up the most and go start going. And so my tugboats for that firm, were things like the four legged stool process for training. Executive C level, folks, if they’re learning about project execution, they don’t want to sit in the class. And they want they want you to come and talk to them as as who they are smart, accomplish, you know, very, very accomplished people. And so I did a one hour workshop for the senior team in New York, using their language and said, these are the six things that you need to know about what we’re going to be doing. And you need to know these because you’re gonna have to sign every charter that’s in your department, because you’re the executive sponsor. So then I knew the managers didn’t want to come to training. So I created training with my team, and I had them go sit with the managers at their desk, and slowly train them on a monthly basis on the new process. For everyone else, I created a like a two hour training that I trained the trainers on. And we trained all 3000 people globally, it was five countries, 14 offices, they trained everyone globally, I let them do the training, I would come in afterwards and answer anybody’s questions during the training. And a lot of the training was in virtual settings for the project managers. I did lunch and learns, I’m there, I would go to their product meetings and help them out. But then once a week, I took them through the pin bock. I took them through my training. And I slowly started handing out. Okay, here’s what I looked at, here’s what a charter looks like. We discussed it, we reviewed it now. Now we’re going to implement it, everyone’s going to now have a charter. This is what a status report looks like. Now we’re going to start using status reports. And so I thought by doing that, it literally turned the tide of the organization, they were barely getting, let’s say 1215 projects done a year because they didn’t have you didn’t have a deadline, you didn’t have a date, you didn’t have a charter. So people just keep adding things to it. This is what a project is, is a temporary activity for the beginning and the end. We started completing 60 and 70 and 80 projects a year. All that backlog of of demand that they want, we need this we need all that started flowing through the funnel. Then I got them into Portfolio Management. They could say, hey, we need to look at this. where’s this going in the industry? They got this technology we have you have discovery tools, we have this how can we use now we’re using the best ones are you know, do we have constrained resources whose are constrained? You know, the constrained resource for once for us? It was the it was the the legal group who, for contracts within the IT department. They were the they were the Herbie they were the they were of that department. And when we want to expose that and so this was the problem, we brought somebody in and we had to Herbies so now we can we increase the throughput. So now we can do and then we brought in additional consultant and sewer project managers, but we had a system and a process. So they are things another thing that I did with a department of department of transportation that became that was like a big program, multiple projects over time. And over time, we started, you know, changing members out. And I had one time where we change the members out, I had to leave the team. And a couple of managers just kind of gave us people, they didn’t know the project, they didn’t know how critical it was and what was happening with it. So I’m like, Okay, we got to squelch this and pull it together. So what I ended up doing was doing something I learned from the Jacob in the book, call conversational intelligence, get the book. It’s an amazing book, conversational intelligence. He has a product, she has a framework in there or exercise called rules of engagement. And if you have a team that’s not performing, right, you sit down with them, you get them to leave their computers outside the room. You give them sticky notes. And you say, Okay, we’re all going to sit down. And I want you to write down eight things or attributes of teams that you worked on that were your favorite teams. What did they do? What was that? What was that your favorite team? Oh, they were there was a lot of integrities. Oh, we had we had fun. We went out for dinner. Oh, we did this? And we did that. Okay, great. So, you know, can you get up and put yours on the wall? So that person gets up, then miss? Can you get up and put yours on the wall? And if you if the same word is there, put yours on top of that work. We’re actually kind of creating an infinity. As we did that, they started looking like Oh, my goodness, we have so much more in common than we have then not. And then I said, Well, what do you guys notice? We all really liked the same things. We want the same, we want the same experience. That’s it. Now we have a couple of outliers. Why is that important to you? Why is that important to you? Why is it so people started being heard? They started being listened to remember what are you? What do you do as a musician, you have to listen and listen to the other musicians. You got to you got to make sure everybody’s in tune. You got to tune the instrument and tune the band. Right. Everyone felt heard and listened to and saw that we were all on the same page. And at the same values. That team clicked.

Damon Pistulka 47:25
Yeah. That’s. That’s incredible. That’s incredible. Well, Gerald, this is this has been such a pleasure to be able to talk to you. It’s just a just a blessing to be able to talk to you today because it’s you have shared so much. And I’m so excited because I haven’t read your third book yet. Because you just released it two days ago. Yes. But it won’t be coming. It will be coming to my house. And you said it’s out on on Audible pretty soon to an audio book or audio about four weeks ago. Yeah. Because that’s that’s my that’s my jam. Because I get out to nature and I walk along waves and listen to books but it has been such a pleasure in and today here talking about you know, we’re talking about building high performing sustainable teams sustainably high performing teams. We got Gerald Leonard here from the Leonard productivity intelligence Institute always set it right I didn’t look I had to go back and look at my notes. But man, man, it’s so good to get to talk to you sir. Because it’s you You are such a such a gift. Such a gift that I can just imagine being in and learning from you and in a situation and I know the listeners have have enjoyed this. I want to thank all the listeners that took the time to put a comment in we got Mohamed and and we’ve got Edward and Curtis that were in here and I got someone else I can’t I don’t know who it is. But thanks so much for all your comments and everyone’s listened. But Gerald, thanks again. How can if someone says Listen, I need Gerald to come and talk to my team is the best way to go to your website you what’s the best way to get ahold? Well

Gerald Leonard 49:21
I’ve actually we’ve actually created a page specifically for your listeners and productivity intelligence Institute, forward slash F OB face of business. Very good productivity intelligence Institute forward slash FOB, there’s there’s some workbooks, there’s a evaluation guide. And if someone wants to have a call with me, there’s a link to my calendar. There’s also down below some information about the book and that my email and my my LinkedIn profile so if you want to reach out to me, you can go take a look at Everything that your listeners will need to learn about me, they can go there. And they’ll see the site and the podcast and everything else on that on that site.

Damon Pistulka 50:09
Well, Gerald, thank you so much. And I tell you, I won’t tell you right now, I want to have you back again. Because I think that we just scratched the surface on the summit stuff, because we need to start talking about AI and productivity and how that’s going to all go in. I have

Gerald Leonard 50:26
had a call this morning with a gentleman in the UK, who, whose company is all about AI. We did a we did a and there’s some great stuff there.

Damon Pistulka 50:36
Incredible. Well, thanks so much, Gerald, and hang out just for a moment. I’m going to say goodbye to everyone else. We’re going to wrap up. Thanks, everyone, for being here again, on the faces of business. We appreciate you. Stop by Drop your comments. Let us know where you’re listening from. We’ll be back again next week with more interesting and incredible guest. See y’all later.

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