Developing Practical Solutions to Exceed Your Goals

Need help developing practical solutions to achieve your manufacturing and ecommerce objectives? If so, join us for this week’s MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Michael Riegel, Director, AEC Business Strategies, share proven methods to solve problems and exceed goals.

Need help developing practical solutions to achieve your manufacturing and ecommerce objectives?

If so, join us for this week’s MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Michael Riegel, Director, AEC Business Strategies, share proven methods to solve problems and exceed goals.

With over 30 years of leading operations and projects, Michael brings vast real-world experience driving results. He’s successfully managed cross-functional teams, optimized resources, and delivered critical initiatives across industries.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Michael reveals his framework for analyzing goals, identifying roadblocks, creating strategic solutions, and executing plans. You’ll get tangible takeaways to break down complex issues and build step-by-step roadmaps to success.

Whether improving quality, reducing costs, accelerating timelines, or driving any metric, this session is sure to equip you with tools to surpass targets.

Damon and Curt open the Livestream to uncover practical tips to develop and implement solutions that get real results.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Curt warms up the discussion with his signature question about the guest’s childhood hero. Michael says Thurman Munson, a baseball player and critical figure in the New York Yankees’ success in the late 1970s, and his parents are his childhood inspirations. Munson, a catcher, left a lasting impression on Michael due to his gritty, hard-nosed approach to the game.

Despite being a star, Munson was known for getting dirty and giving his all until the end of every game. While his dad had a significant influence on him, Michael believes his mom, with whom he shared a similar personality, was even more influential.

Michael’s choice to mention Thurman Munson resonates with Curt and Damon, showcasing their love for the iconic baseball captain. Curt desires to know about the guest’s professional journey and his parents’ influence on him.

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Michael reveals that his journey started from a corporate career of over 30 years to becoming an entrepreneur, referring to himself as an “accidental entrepreneur.” He never anticipated working for himself and had no family examples of entrepreneurship.

Arthur, his dad, was a school principal who later pursued law, while Joan, his mom, was a school teacher and stayed home with the children.

Despite this, a strong work ethic was ingrained in Michael and his siblings. His parents led by good example, with his dad working two jobs and his mom working once his younger brother started school. This work ethic has been a crucial part of Michael and children.

While talking about his career development, Michael says his journey started during a recession. After completing his engineering degree, he landed an unexpected internship with the New York City Department of Transportation. This role exposed him to significant events and unique experiences in the city, leading him to unfold structured thinking.

Curt reads a question from Brian, an attendee from Toronto, who is a fellow entrepreneur and father with a 20-month-old son. Curt asks Michael to share one valuable lesson for entrepreneurs and fellow dads.

In response, Michael underscores a crucial point: no matter how successful you become, you cannot buy time. He advises against sacrificing precious time with family to make more money. From a coaching perspective, he encourages entrepreneurs to assess what’s truly important to them. While growing a business is essential, preserving and prioritizing family time should not be compromised.

Damon, agreeing with the guest, advises Brian the same.

At Curt’s request, Michael shares his career journey, which includes working alongside his wife, Deborah, who has been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. He handled the business side of her company while working full-time in corporate.

In 2012, the guest attended coaching school while facing a layoff and began training, consulting, and coaching work.

After a brief return to corporate, Michael was recruited to manage a Small Business Development Program for the transportation authority in New York. This role allowed him to work with 300 small trade construction contractors, combining his expertise in business and understanding their industry.

Curt appreciates Michael’s great insights, terming it as a “moment of silence.” Curt invites Michael’s council to coaching work, particularly in helping technical leaders thrive and collaborate with business owners to engage their teams.

Michael notes that many emerging and existing leaders weren’t formally trained for leadership roles but were thrown into such positions, leading to the need for skill development. He discusses common challenges he helps individuals overcome, including having difficult conversations, addressing performance issues, and dealing with conflicting personalities.

Michael acknowledges that many people, not just technical professionals, are conflict-avoidant and struggle with difficult conversations. Michael also talks about how the communication style of leaders has evolved from a more authoritarian approach to a more collaborative and empathetic one.

Curt draws Michael’s attention to blind spots neglected by the leaders. The guest references to the quote by MIT professor Judo Diaz about them. He believes everyone has blind spots that are difficult to recognize independently. He likens it to seeing one’s shadow when the sun is at their back. Only honest feedback from a trusted friend can help one cope with blind spots.

Michael further explains a culture of feedback within organizations. He points out that feedback should not be limited to the traditional top-down approach from supervisors to employees. Instead, it should flow in all directions, from employees to leaders.

Damon comments that humility is necessary for young leaders, especially when they enter their first management positions. He believes humility and simple communication are crucial for creating a positive culture where feedback flows freely among team members.

Michael refers to the character of Joe Miller from the movie “Philadelphia.” He repeatedly asks, “Explain this to me like I’m a six-year-old.” Avoiding jargon and complex technical terms promotes humility and allows others to shine.

Curt requests the guest to discuss making it work when considering or already involved in a business partnership with a spouse.

Michael reveals they made their partnership work by having a clear division of labor, with him handling the business while his wife, Deborah, focuses on working with clients. They understood work-life balance by consciously separating work from personal life. He advises the married business partners to ensure this delicate work-life balance to grow and exceed goals.

The conversation ends with Damon and Curt thanking Michael for his time.

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michael, damon, thurman munson, entrepreneur, business, dad, blind spots, great, love, leaders, engineering, understood, friend, teams, people, good, started, grow, technical, challenges
Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson, Michael Riegel

Damon Pistulka 00:04
All right, everyone, welcome once again it is Friday and what does that mean? It’s time for manufacturing ecommerce success. And boy, I am excited today because we’re going to be talking about developing practical solutions to exceed your goals. I’m David Pustaka. I’m one of your co hosts here. I’m not nearly as pretty as that guy right over there. Curt Anderson and the other co hosts. Well, take it away Curt

Curt Anderson 00:27
I don’t know Damon, you’re pretty humble dude. I think you’re much much prettier. But anyway, they’re not even that’s what your mom told me. She said I have the prettiest son on the planet so I just I don’t know if you’re you know for comfortable with that. But I know you’re manly enough to accept that one. So Damon, what an honor what a privilege best the best time of the week, man just you know Fridays hanging out doing it 1230 Eastern time. I know we’ve got 932 pacific time where you’re at the world so I am just honored thrilled and just I’m just a static the unbelief to introduce my dear friend Michael rego. Michael, happy Friday. How are you doing?

Michael Riegel 01:04
I’m doing great Friday is just like, you know, it’s the perfect time, right? Everyone can relax a little bit. We can we can have a little bit of a conversation. I’ve pushed everything off my desk. So so it’s I am yours for the next 45 minutes. So I’m excited.

Curt Anderson 01:19
Well, let’s make it happen, man. So guys, happy Friday. Welcome to the program. For our friends out there. drop us a note. Let us know that you’re let us know where you’re coming from. Let us know that you’re here. And of course you want to connect with Michael, you will thank us later connect with Michael on LinkedIn. He is just a dynamo and we’ve got tons to unpack. We might talk about a little bit of engineering how you and Damon kicked off your background in engineering. We might talk a little bit of baseball Damon just you know we are baseball a little bit we might talk a little baseball, but we’re going to talk about helping entrepreneurs to hit their goals. Miko to kick things off. I have the first question for you, my friend. Doesn’t look like you’re sitting down. You’re not sitting down for this one. Or you know, I’m

Michael Riegel 02:00
standing. I

Curt Anderson 02:01
did. Are you ready to go? Hang on? You better hang on to the desk for this question. Are you ready? My friend? Here we go. I’m ready. Let me Michael is a New Yorker. Daymond by the way, full blown just through and through New Yorker. And just what a fierce entrepreneur great dad and we’re gonna get into his business partner is I think he’s married to her. I’m not positive, but we’ll get into that in a minute.

Michael Riegel 02:23
We are married 25 years. 25 years. Congratulations,

Curt Anderson 02:26
dude. i That’s it. We both celebrated our 25th That’s right around the same time. Nice. Yeah. Nice. Michael, when you were a little guy growing up. Who was your hero? When you’re a little guy growing up? Who was your hero?

Michael Riegel 02:45
So I’m going to separate into two because what what is a sports hero? Right?

Curt Anderson 02:50
And I’m, you know what? I’m going to write it down before you say it.

Damon Pistulka 02:55
Let’s see if it were right, Kurt, write it down. Write it down.

Michael Riegel 02:59
Alright, so and I’ll preface it by saying I’m 56 gonna 57 so it gives you the right. And I’m a New Yorker. So for me, the guy who I always I always loved as a kid, Thurman Munson.

Curt Anderson 03:18
Thurman Munson. I knew you’re going there, brother. I knew you’re going there. So for anybody under the age of what 50 Who on earth is Thurman Munson?

Michael Riegel 03:28
Thurman. Thurman Munson? Well, to me three months was the glue. He was the guy who who was essential in the New York Yankees success in the late 1970s. But he was the guy who as much of a star as he was, he was the guy who was he was getting dirty, right at the end of every every game, his his uniform was dirty. And he played catcher. And I think that without knowing that, at that time, he was the central right, the catcher is the only one who sees every other player on the field. And for him, or for any catcher, really, they are the ones who are who are really coordinating things and see everything. And I think that so from that perspective, I can I can look back now and understand why I kind of gravitated to him. But he was he was gruff. He was he was hard nosed. He got into it. And he made everybody else perform better. So so from a, so from a sports perspective, that was that was sort of my guy. And, you know, the easy answer is, you know, my dad and I, but I would say, you know, and my dad was very influential. My mom was probably more influential on on me than my dad was, because she and I were much more aligned personality wise. So, you know, but, but yeah, from a sports perspective, he was the guy I looked up to, and I think that as I As you asked me the question now I can look back on and go. Oh, make make some sense.

Damon Pistulka 05:05
Yeah. Yeah.

Curt Anderson 05:06
So all right Damon, how about that for an answer? I knew I, I knew you’re gonna go there. I just I had a feeling if you grew up a diehard Yankee fan in the 70s like Michael and I did. Thurman Munson so for young folks out there, you can just Google it. Thurman Munson. He was a captain of the New York Yankees baseball team. He had the he was fierce. Rugged, he was just a bad dude. And tragically died flying. He was from Kent, Ohio are in that area. And he was fine. I can tell you exactly where I was standing. When I was informed that poor Thurman Munson died in a plane crash. It was tragic, but a great role model. And I love that you went there, Michael? And

Michael Riegel 05:50
let me add one more thing. Because because, you know, Kurt, you and I have talked a lot about, you know, being fathers and right connections to family. He was learning how to fly a plane because he wanted to be able to get back to his family on weekend, you know, on off days and off days. He could get to he can get to Ohio, private plane, and he figured if I can learn how to fly, right, I can get to Ohio and back for the next game. And so in his effort to really being dedicated to his family, yeah, right ended up tragically getting pulled in a plane crash.

Curt Anderson 06:24
Great. Great story, tragic ending, great story, a phenomenal example, Michael, that’s and I know we have a ton to unpack. I want to talk about mom for one minute, just share a little bit some influence that mom and dad had on you as a young guy growing up to kind of pave the path for you, as you know, as a parent, as an entrepreneur, you know, Coach, let’s go there from it.

Michael Riegel 06:45
So the so the funny thing is, so I’m an entrepreneur, entrepreneur, now, I spent 30 plus years in corporate. And so I sort of joke sometimes I’m an accidental entrepreneur. I never expected to become an entrepreneur. I never expected to work for myself. I had no examples of that. Right? My dad was, my dad was a school principal, retired at 52, and then went to law school. So he had a whole nother career. He is 86 and still works full time. And all right, absolutely. He loves what he does, right? He loves what he does. Of course, he’s got no hobbies, right? He hasn’t played golf. Carts was go fishing. He’s right. His work is his passion. And my mom, you know, was a school teacher and was home with us when when we were kids. So I have no I had no example of entrepreneurs in my family, which is why it probably was never something I even considered growing up. But work ethic was the piece that that was ingrained in us. Both my older sister and my younger brother, we’re all kind of the what heart sort of hardwired the same way in terms of work ethic. My dad worked two jobs. My mom, you know, when once my son, my, my younger brother was in school was was working. So we saw the work ethic that was that they put in. And that was the part that they didn’t teach us. They just sort of lead by example. And that has been something that that I know that I’ve carried forward with my kids. So and my daughter, I’ve got 22 year old twins. My daughter is the next generation of entrepreneur and having graduated from college. She is now ready to run business too.

Curt Anderson 08:37
Yep. All right, Damon, I told you this was gonna be a good one. So alright, guys, we’re just getting started. If you just join us, we’re here with Michael regal. And please drop us a note. Let us know that you’re out there connect with Michael on LinkedIn. We’ve got so much in pack. You know, Michael is just you know, humble, brilliant, and just what an inspiration we’re gonna get into Michael. So let’s go there. So we got Thurman Munson mom and dad, mom and dad’s name by the way.

Michael Riegel 09:04
My mom is Joan and my dad is Arthur,

Curt Anderson 09:07
Joan and Arthur and Damon. I know you love this. And so Damien’s mom, she went after, you know, later in life, raise her kids, she wouldn’t get her PhD. And so, you know, this is such an inspiration here about you know, our three going to get his law degree later in life and everything that your mom did. So love this mic, let’s go here. As you come out of college, you decide you’re getting into like this full blown corporate career, I can’t rattle off everybody, but it’s like New York City Department of Transportation HNTB I started that you’re at National Grid, all just a wealth of corporate experience that you had. Walk us through tickets through that path, like big, maybe mentors or the successes, challenges, failures, not to get too deep. But let’s go there because I want to lead up to everybody how you got into your entrepreneurial career. Let’s hear your journey through through up until that point.

Michael Riegel 09:56
So, for better or worse, I seem to Have always graduated right into a recession

Curt Anderson 10:06
is we went online you said engineering right? You started your you went as an engineer and so and so I think we’re all three of us are right within the same age. So right there with your brother. So let’s talk about those recessions.

Michael Riegel 10:19
Yeah. So I graduate into into a recession. friend of friend of the family got me an internship working in New York City Department transportation. Yep, doing something totally left field. I was doing special events planning for New York City Department of Transportation for for almost a full year, which, which sounds totally incongruous, but department transportation owns the streets. So So in 1992, we had the all the regular stuff that happens in New York, the marathon’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All the all the parades. Yeah, we also had the Democratic National Convention. And we had the 500th anniversary of Columbus. So there were these monumental events. And then throw into it. We had a promoter that wanted to have a Formula One race, in in lower Manhattan, in Manhattan, in Manhattan. So this is this is of course, pre 911. They wanted to they wanted to do the the Formula One race around essentially Around the World Trade Center. It was just phenomenal. So I started to meet all these oddball characters. And started to get like really interesting, different kinds of experience that I never had had anticipated. Right. So I anticipated going to work for a construction company, or doing something like that. So I ended up at department transportation for a little while. And then I went to work full time for a company that was doing engineering work. We were doing transportation planning. And I had a great boss. So my boss there had great bosses, but one of the owners of the company, Danny Marty Taub, who was just phenomenal. I mean, he was an open door policy, great as a mentor, this goes back 30, you know, almost 35 years, I still have a relationship with him 35 years later. And we used to tease him because he would edit our reports for the felt tip pen. Right, you remember the old felt tip pens? Yeah. So he would he would edit with a felt tip pen, I felt like I was going to English class again. Right, right. But for us with a with a technical engineering background, you know, he came at it from sort of that sort of end of things made me a much better writer, much better communicator, I probably really started to understand then, very early on that I was going to move away from the real technical work and move towards, you know, the, I don’t want just called soft skills, but working with people working with clients, you know, working with, you know, the ownership piece, because that’s where my mind naturally went, right? David and I were talking a little bit about the value of an engineering degree. And I know lots of engineers who don’t do any engineering. But the discipline that is driven into you in a in an engineering program is invaluable, because it makes you think in a structured, linear, logical manner. So, so as I started to move along in my career, I moved further away from the technical and closer to managing teams, building teams, you know, doing marketing presentations, all that kind of stuff, and getting involved in managing the business end of the business, in addition to, you know, sort of the, you know, the project management, program management, client relationship kind of stuff as well. Right? Yeah.

Curt Anderson 14:07
Yeah. Love it. We got, we got some common

Damon Pistulka 14:10
dates and a lot of comments here. So, I’ll start the beginning because we got a lot of people just saying, Hello, we got car to key we got Bish wall. Gaurav Ahmed. Everybody’s happy Friday. Gift I’m going to get but Brian comes up with a question here.

Curt Anderson 14:27
Yeah, I love it. Let’s let’s hit this. And so we’re going to dive in. So Michael is going to share his vast corporate experience and how he brought that corporate experience and I’ll say what’s great, you know, I have a life my entire career has been small business. I have zero corporate experience. And so the nice thing is a guy like you that you can take all these mentors, leaders, good, bad, everything that you want, you know that you’ve gone through Michael, and then you can bring them to your clients. Now the small businesses we’re going to dive into that. But you described as the accidental entrepreneur and you are an amazing dad, two kids just graduated from college. You Success. Let’s take a look our friend Brian, Brian’s up in Toronto, Brian, happy Friday, my friend having a 20 month old son, I’m curious, what is one lesson you want to share with fellow entrepreneurs and a fellow Dad? What’s the most valuable advice you’ve passed on to your entrepreneur children, and his wife, Michael’s wife, that is just a fierce entrepreneur, I know your daughter is just a demon, you’re gonna be blown away. Your daughter’s an incredible entrepreneur. But how would you answer that question for Brian, Michael, what would you say there?

Michael Riegel 15:27
Ah, it’s a great question. So I think part of it is, there’s a work ethic that comes with it, right, that we just, we just work hard, right? It’s like, if you’re an entrepreneur, you work hard. And the and the, the rewards come back to you. But I will say, you know, having a young son, there’s one thing no matter how much money you have, you cannot buy. And that’s time. So right, the the idea of, you know, sacrificing, you know, certain amount of time to make a little bit more money. Right, this comes from my right, from my coaching perspective, right? When I work with, with clients, right? What what’s important to you, right, so if the important part is, you want to grow your business, but you want to, you know, also, you know, have that time with your family, you want to make sure that you’re, you’re having an impact there as well. The money will, the money will always be there, right? You can grow the business. But I would say not to sacrifice that that time, you know, early on, because you can never get it back. Right? No matter how much money you make. You can’t make it more time, you can’t manufacture time, write it once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Curt Anderson 16:47
Great answer Michael Damon, your phenomenal father to adult children,

Damon Pistulka 16:52
well, actually, you got to do it, you got to do it, because you got to do it. Because you you need to understand that when you know, 20 months, there are some special times there. And it’s not going to it’s not going to be there long. And it it’ll be it’ll be there’ll be in grade school, then there’ll be in high school, then there’ll be in college before you know it and you can easily work that time away and never get to see him. And then one of the things that I’m most thankful for in my life was being able to step back from the corporate career and spend time more time with my family, even though it’s you know, financially, it’s probably not the best decision but but long term, like you said, Michael, you’ll that will come back around, that will all be what it needs to be in the end. It’s just that time, a time.

Curt Anderson 17:38
That’s a great answer. And you know, I had the honor privilege my father was an entrepreneur. And so you know, in he became an entrepreneur when I was a teenager and just really kind of shapes you know, myself I was heavily involved with with him in business. So Brian, I encourage you welcome you, you know, get those you know, get those kids working Young. Right, Michael, because that is your future retirement plan. That’s what he had learned in the first place. I’m Yeah, kidding. So Michael, let’s let’s take back in. So leading up to your, your accidental entrepreneurial career. Were there times through your career where you’re like, Man, I wonder, could I be an entrepreneur? Or was there just was that never on your radar? What was there a tipping point? And aha moment? How did 2018 How what happened?

Michael Riegel 18:23
So, so it’s interesting story. So as you as you were mentioning, so my wife, Deborah is an entrepreneur, she’s had her own company since 2004. So we’re going on almost 20 years with her company. And we now you know, we work together, it’s all it’s all one company now. And I always was running the business side of her business. So right so even though I was working full time in corporate, I kind of had a halftime halftime job managing managing her. Her company is, you know, the finances and the, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, the, I think, a couple couple periods happened in my career, one was 2012. I got laid off, which, which happens, right? It’s like, for no, you know, no fault of anybody’s own right. It happens sometimes. You know, the company I was working for was going through, they were being required by somebody else. They were looking to just slash headcount. And sometimes you find yourself on the outside looking in, then you got to figure out what to do. So in that period, after I got laid off, that’s when I went to coaching school, I started to do a little bit of training and consulting and, and some coaching work. So I had dipped my toe in the water, always figuring I was gonna go back into corporate. I went back into corporate for a couple of years after that. I got hunted down. They it was like it was I got hired to manage a Small Business Development Program for the transportation authority in New York. And we had 300, small trade construction contractors who wanted to grow and get, you know, get involved in their capital program. And they found me because I had the, I must have had just the right mix of what they were looking for. I understood, I understood the business, I understood the business side, I understood their mentality, I understood how to how to interact and how to train them, and then give them the consulting and business support they needed. So it was just like the perfect combination of of circumstances, and they literally, they hunted me down, I get a phone call one day, and I’m like, we need you to run this program, I did it for about two years or so. And then, and then realize that there were much, much greater opportunity, he’s doing this on my own, both as a coach, but as a business coach, you know, as a trainer, working with both large and small companies in the construction and engineering and architecture space. So that that’s sort of a, you know, to sort of pivotal moments one getting laid off, which I will tell you, it was devastating at the time, it is a huge blow to your ego. And you know, there should be, there should be no shame attached to it. But as as men, we are a we don’t we don’t like to ask for help. Ever, ever. And, and there’s, there’s a lot of shame attached to, to that kind of, of an experience, because we’re sort of hardwired to be the providers in our family. And when you’re not all of a sudden your identity is like well, what what am I? You know, who am I? And that’s, and that’s really hard as well. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt Anderson 21:54
Well, thank thank you for sharing that experience. So let’s dive in. What was the what? How’d you fly the flag for your business?

Michael Riegel 22:04
Oh, the business I’ve gotten now. Yep. You know, it’s like, it’s probably like everything else with with business. It’s about relationships. Right? It’s I had 30 years of working with people who knew who I was, knew, knew what I was about what I was trying to do. But at a much, much sort of baser level. They understood my integrity, they understood the, you know, the nature that, like, if I say, I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. And I think that’s, that’s part of what makes small businesses any business really, but you know, certainly small businesses where the identity of the business is, is really attached to the, to the owner or the founder, that personal integrity goes a long way towards being able to do business with people. Because right in business people like to do work with people they know, and people they trust. And when they trust you that that goes a long way towards being successful. And people will give you they’ll give you, they’ll give you some grace, if they if they know that you are trustworthy. Things go wrong in business, things always go wrong in business. There’s no way of avoiding, you know, some of that stuff. But if you’re honest, and you’ve got integrity, and you’re upfront with people, you know, that goes a long way. So the launch for me into the work I do now was really around relationships and people understanding that I provided value, and that and that I was good to my word. Okay, yeah,

Curt Anderson 23:52
on our program, we have these things we call mic drop moments. And then when it when they when they when you surpass the mic drop moment, then we just call it like the moment of silence, like, find rate pass through the Mic drop. And we just went through the moment of silence. So you know, it’s lunchtime on the East Coast, and you know, whatever time zone you’re in, maybe it’s dinnertime. We’ve got some friends coming from other countries across the pond. But dude, that was Damon, we’ve had a lot of brilliant comments here. And Mike, I just love how you summarized that. Based on my integrity, man, if you’re just joining us go back and replay that play that over and over. I think that’s gonna be our little snippet of this interview right here is people knew my integrity. You had 30 years that you stuck to your word and like you built a business so Brian, is you want advice for you know anybody out there wants advice for their children there was right there. It was just work ethic. You’ve talked about that time and and I love what you said, Michael, people will give you grace, right. There’s always mistakes that happen. So anyway, I’m going to I’m going to stop talking because I want to get back to your brilliance. Okay, let’s dive in. You help technical leaders thrive and partner with business owner As to support and gauge their teams. That’s kind of your tagline right now. And everybody’s just kind of getting a taste of this, let’s say then, as a coach, what are some problems that you see? What are some challenges? Let’s talk about like, how what, how are you making the better? The world a better place with your superpowers? What are you helping folks with?

Michael Riegel 25:19
So it’s funny, you’re talking about superpowers? So like I am, and you probably know, I’m pretty humble. I don’t think of it as being right. I don’t think as being anything so special, I go, like really good.

Curt Anderson 25:32
They already know, Michael, they already know.

Michael Riegel 25:36
So I think you know, so I gravitate toward working with with technical professionals, and that encompasses a whole, you know, swath of people who are out there. I get the people who are process driven, the people who are linear thinkers, right, not just engineers, but you know, folks in across all industries. But their challenges are the same as everybody else’s challenges, right, it very often comes down to managing and leading teams communications, you know, being being clear, being transparent, getting the most out of your teams, how do you lead and motivate? These are the challenges that that most emerging leaders have, even existing leaders have? Because for the most part, none of us were really taught to be managers or leaders, right? We just got through, right, we just got thrown into the deep end of the pool. And the ones who figured out how to how to doggy paddle were the ones who, who who survived, you know, so, so I never, you know, even even going to business school, you don’t really learn how to lead until you get thrown into the environment. You go, Oh, I gotta figure out how do I deal with this guy who’s got a difficult personality? Or he doesn’t want to do something? And how do you start to navigate that? So I work with a lot of a lot of leaders who are uncomfortable in that space. So part of that, so part of what I do is I work with them on getting comfortable. Sometimes it’s about having those difficult conversations. It’s about performance. It could be about, you know, attitude, it could be about, you know, it could be all that a lot of things. But you know, there are lots of people who are conflict avoidant, they don’t want to have those difficult conversations. That’s not that’s not about technical professionals. That’s just people, everyone, that is us people who don’t really want to have those difficult, challenging conversations, and no one ever taught them, how do you have a conversation where you can challenge somebody without being challenging. And I think that is the, that’s the, that’s the line that leaders and managers have to walk. Because you can’t, you can’t just push people. I grew up in an environment, you know, working on job sites, where the job superintendent or a foreman, their communication style was described based on the volume, and the number and the number of four letter words they could use. Yeah. And it had nothing to do with, you know, whether the person was doing a good job, it was just that was there, that was the way they were raised as well. We’re starting to see a different a different, a different sort of mentality that’s, that’s coming into, into, at least into my industry. Part of that is you getting people who are coming from college environments, as opposed to, you know, coming round up from having worked, you know, worked in the field and then moving up into management. And that may be sort of the same thing you’re seeing in a from a manufacturing perspective as well. You know, if if the dynamic was that were the, the path in the past was, you worked on an assembly line, and then then you became a manager, and you came off the assembly line, and then you became right. That was that may have been the career path, but no one ever taught you about the communications piece that had to go along with it. And the same thing, the same thing is evident in the construction industry, the engineering space, and for technical leaders to recognize that to recognize that there are a whole host of communication styles of personality types, that you have to start to modulate your message in order to get the best out of the individuals because at the end of the day, a conversation is generally between two people. Yeah, could be a couple more, but generally, it’s sort of a one to one, one to one interaction. And if you aren’t looking for somebody on your team to improve, you’ve got to figure out a way to interact with them in a way where they can hear the message in the way that you need them to hear the message. And that’s and that’s a much different skill set than Then we learned in engineering school or business school or anyplace else. Okay. I know that moment

Curt Anderson 30:07
of silence number two. So an I tried writing it down, you said how to have those challenging conversations without being challenging. Is that how you said that? Yep. How to have challenging conversations. Boy, what a what a? What a skill set talking about a superpower if you could have that as a superpower right there. So what a boy, this is great conversation. Mike, let’s go here. blindspots. Okay, and in what I’m hearing are kind of like, you know, is the world kind of changing or maybe like that rough and gruff? And like, I’m going to lead by loudness and my vulgarity. You know, maybe that’s changing a little bit and some different industries. But for folks, if you’re a leader in have these blind spots, do you realize it, maybe some folks don’t realize it? Can you talk a little bit about like, How does somebody address blind spots as a leader? And the ones that they are aware of? Or can you compare him to the ones that they they’re just oblivious to.

Michael Riegel 31:04
There’s a, there’s a professor at MIT, his name is Judo Diaz. And the quote is, we all have blind spots, and they look just like us. We don’t we don’t recognize our own blind spots, because it’s like, if the sun’s at your back, you see your shadow, you can’t see anything, all you see is the outline of your right, you don’t say anything else. So so we’re all oblivious to our blind spots? The difference is, do you have people who are in your, in your circle, who are going to tell you when you’re weightless, that you’ll forget, right? If you’re being a dumbass, somebody’s gonna call you out and say, Hey, dude, what are you doing? Yeah. So, but part of that comes from creating a culture of feedback, being willing to willing, being willing to take feedback. In too many organizations, we think of feedback as, as a supervisor, to employee or manager to employee process. We don’t think about feedback in the other direction. And most managers or leaders, once they get to that position, you know, they figure like, I don’t need to get feedback, I’ve been promoted, they keep promoting me, right? What kind of feedback do I need, that’s all the feedback I need, I keep getting promoted, I keep getting a raise, even though they may be completely ineffective in terms of how they lead their teams, how they lead their people. So I would say that the big piece is creating that, that sense of the ability to give feedback. And that comes from a sense of trust as well, right there. You have to you have to create that ability for people to speak up for them to voice their concerns. without fear of retribution. And I think that that is, you know, that’s the key. That’s the that’s the key for any organization, that ability to give and receive feedback. Unbelievably critical,

Damon Pistulka 33:13
right? Yeah. Okay. All right. No

Curt Anderson 33:18
one want to silence them or three, because the creating

Damon Pistulka 33:20
a culture

Curt Anderson 33:21
of feedback. Yeah. And I love what you’re describing Michael words, not necessarily, you know, top down that, like, how do you create that culture of like, positive, you know, like, Damon, you want the friend where you go out to lunch and like a piece of lettuce, your teeth, like, I’m gonna

Damon Pistulka 33:36
hurt, you get a booger hanging in there, like you want.

Curt Anderson 33:39
Right, that can point out your blind spots. And you’re making great points, Michael, because like, if something’s been working for many years, kind of definition of insanity, like, you know, geez, I keep getting promoted. People seem to like me, they keep paying me, I must be doing something. Right. I’m getting some different advice here. I don’t know if I do I take that advice and risk because this is working. You know, so like, it can be, it can get be a little bit of a delicate challenge, right?

Michael Riegel 34:03
Yeah. Yeah. And, and, you know, it part of it is like a sense of humility, right? It’s like as, as we, and it’s probably happened to all of us. But as we start to move up within our within our careers, that sense of humility, in many cases gets stripped away, because those those bad habits are those not always bad, but they get reinforced in and more often than not, we’re not open to hearing different perspectives. Right, the I was at a conference recently and the keynote speaker was talking about the opposite of being an innovator is being an expert. And in and I wish I can remember her name, because I would love to attribute it to her, but anybody who who would like to know who it was you’ll if If you if you if you ping me on LinkedIn, I will find her name for you. But in, in my world where we I deal with a lot of technical leaders, they see themselves as experts. Because, you know, they that’s the way they grew up. That’s where the industry was, right? Why would we change things? We’ve always done it this way. It’s like it’s working. Right? If If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But when you start to look at the at the bigger picture, the more global picture of right, if you’ve got low unemployment, and you’re struggling to find people and right, all those things that are happening in the industry, and there’s more coming, right, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Man,

Curt Anderson 35:48
okay, yeah. expertise is the enemy of innovation I summarizing or, like, you know, perfect as the or, anyway, I’m

Michael Riegel 35:59
gonna butcher you know, and perfect being the enemy of the good. Yeah. So, you know,

Curt Anderson 36:02
Don is better than, you know, yeah. Damon, what do you mean, you

Damon Pistulka 36:05
said this to about humility, humility gets stripped away, man, that is so critical. I mean, to recognize this when you’re younger, because you move into that first management position, and that just kind of chips away at that you think you need to know more, you’re going to be able to, and you know, this humility, I think, the more you can keep it, the better culture you create. Because when you get to the point that that feedback, and everyone around you is comfortable with giving you feedback and giving each other on the team feedback, and we get this this positive flow, right, because we’re, it’s, it’s much better because, as you say, experts stifle innovation, because we already know, right? I’m an expert, I already know listen to what I do. And when you can come at it with a sense of humility and go, Hey, we need to do this. Here’s my idea. What do you guys think? What do you people think? Let’s put this together and better because I this is just my initial. And I can’t tell you how many companies, you’ve probably seen this as well, you walk in there. And they they look at you with a blank stare? Because they may have never been asked that before?

Michael Riegel 37:17
Yeah, is it is it happens on are frightening. Frightening ly too often. And I think that we’re old enough to remember the movie Philadelphia with Denzel Washington, Washington, Tommy plays, it plays the lawyer. And he’s got this disarming way in the movie. And it repeats a number of times where he says, explain it to me, explain it to me, like a five year old, right? Because A, he, the simpler somebody can explain it, the more likely the somebody has to be able to understand it. And that’s, you know, we get into that, that, you know, that cycle as well, in technical spaces of like, we love to use jargon, we love to use terms that no one, no one outside of the industry knows, we love to use acronyms. And when you as a leader and a manager, when you start to say, explain to me you’re thinking, right, tell me how you got to this, the this, this process, this or this, this solution. And, you know, that humility, that that need, that that ability to let somebody else shine? To take some credit, right, because credit, getting credit is like the death knell for in lots of organizations. You know, I I often counsel people that you know, the specialty leaders, about thinking about things in terms of hard opinions, soft opinions, or no opinion at all. And sometimes, right, we’re in industries where you need to have a heart, it’s got to be a certain way, right? In manufacturing, and construction, there’s got to be a certain sequence, and you can’t deviate from it. It’s compliance kinds of things, right? You can’t right safety, that kind of stuff, soft opinions, right? Here’s where we need to get to, you know, explain to me how you want to do it. And if as a manager or leader, if the person can come up with a rational, reasonable way to get to that end result. Step back, let them do it. Because all of a sudden, you have empowered them. You’ve brought them in closer to you, as opposed to saying, Yeah, great idea, but we’re gonna go with this within this other direction. So that soft opinion idea, concept of it brings people closer in it strengthens your team as opposed to sort of, you know, keeping them at arm’s length. And then the last part, no opinion. If they can get to the end result and you go, Listen, we gotta get here’s what we need. We got to do by this day. I don’t care how you get there. As a manager, step back, figure out what the check in points are. And then and then be done. But that’s but that’s the that’s the challenge with a lot of people in terms of delegation and giving up control and trust. And there’s a whole host of things that are there tied up into that.

Curt Anderson 40:22
Damon, are you on mute?

Damon Pistulka 40:26
Oh, I am. The other thing. The awesome thing about this is it works at home too.

Curt Anderson 40:37
Yeah, three guys on

Damon Pistulka 40:38
here over. Yeah, long term. I mean, you look at hard opinions that it has. That’s very few things. And, you know,

Curt Anderson 40:45
and I had a we’ve got some other comments for some of these up. Yeah. Well, and I know we’re gonna be winding down, guys. Boy, if you’re just coming in Angers here. Anger. Happy Friday, Valentine. Guys. Thank you. I met had a really nice comment here. Thank you, guys, for joining us. If you’re just sitting, please. And do yourself a favor, go back and replay on this because Michael just dropped so many value bombs here. And so Mike, I have so much more I want to talk to you. And I want to be mindful of your time. I know we’re coming into stretch. I wanted to talk to you, if you could, if we could go to more questions. Yep. I’ll go quick. I wanted you know, and I wanted to I wanted to talk about we’ve got, we’ve got to have them back. And of course, we want Dad, we want to get Deb on the program, because that is a powerhouse Daymond. She’s like just crushing it on YouTube, which is incredible, powerful YouTube videos, extremely instructional. Michael, let’s go here. You are a fierce, fierce educator, you do cohorts, you and dad, your wife have courses on Udemy? Again, connect with Michael on LinkedIn, you want to check out the classes that he’s offering on Udemy? You guys are absolutely just killing it. And you just got a little taste of past half hour or 45 minutes of just wealth of information knowledge, Michael, what it what was in it that as an entrepreneur that you found, it’s so important to be that educator, and how do you bridge that gap with your clients?

Michael Riegel 42:09
So I think that for me, I recognized that there was this there was this huge gulf. Right? It’s not a gap, right? A gap is a gap is the distance between the train platform and the car. Right? It’s not that wide. That’s a gap. In certain industries, it’s a gulf of have lack of knowledge, lack of training, right? So there was this, you know, I recognize there was this ability to, to help people, right, it was as much as it was a business. It was really, you know, this, this ability to help people achieve their goals, right, which I guess we were supposed to be talking about, right in terms of goals, but you’re helping them helping them realize and actualize what they wanted to achieve. And no one can do it alone, right? You need people around you, you need support, you need other people who have either done it before have different opinions, different thought processes. And it was just, you know, I found it was just lacking in the industry. So Right. So that was, that was sort of the opportunity for me to come in, work with people leverage my natural, my sort of natural interests and abilities, and help them start to, you know, and help them start to grow. So for small business owners, I still consider myself self a small business owner. For many of them, they got into it. Some of them don’t even remember why they got into it. But for some, it’s about being able to buy a house for the first time, right first one of their generation, first one in their family to buy a house to be able to send their kids to college without them graduating with with massive student loan debt. It could listen, it could be as simple as like, I want to buy a new washer and dryer for my house. Right? So whatever those goals are, whatever is important to them, you know, being able to help them sort of understand that and then start to go after it with with a little bit more intention. Not randomly. Okay. All right.

Curt Anderson 44:20
Last question. Partners in marriage partners in life partners in business, what advice do you have for our friends listeners out there? How if they’re considering going in business with their spouse or maybe they already are? How do you in debt make it work so well?

Michael Riegel 44:38
We so we make it work? Because right there’s a there’s we’ve we’ve sort of got division of labor. It’s a little bit of separation, the separation of church, labor division of love and help. Yeah, so So I run the business side. Right, you know, and you’ll get around at some point and in you she will joke about the fact that I’ve got to like Drag her up to my office to talk about any of the finances, any of that stuff she has, she has no interest, she likes to work with clients and just be out. So we do have sort of separation of responsibilities. We are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. And the tendency could be that you’re just working 24/7. And I think for us, we are conscious of the fact that like, you know, 435, o’clock, 530, whatever it may be, pretty much work goes away. And we and we return back to normal life, yeah, to work to be a married couple, as opposed to being business partners. And I’ll give you a quick example, this past week, Deb was in was in New York. She just came back last night. And I kind of came up to my office, I was working, I had workshops all week, this week. And I set up my computer and I get a text message. She’s like, out walking our dog. And she goes, Do you have time for breakfast this morning. Now, that never happens in ordinarily, but like, I look around, I go, Yeah, I can make that happen. So we went to breakfast we came, you know, like, we took our time, we didn’t rush ourselves. That’s the thing about being your own boss about being an entrepreneur is you do set your own schedule. If you are constantly in it to chase the money, you’re missing all these other opportunities that are that are out there. So my advice is, if you’re wanting to work together as a as a couple, understand, you know, where those where those separations are, right? When When do you go apart? When do you come back together to work? When do you lean on your on your business partner for for advice. And it happens in both directions. Right. So and we are totally open about, you know, I can be honest with her and go, I have no earthly idea what I’m doing here or why they’re asking me to do this. But you know, I need you to help me out here. And she’s, you know, she is always there. So

Curt Anderson 47:15
So, yeah, Dave I feel guilty like like Mike we oh, this was like a total coaching session. Right? Yeah. Oh, my gosh, this was just so good. There’s so many recaps. We talked about the blind spots you talked about, like just really having that fierce humility, educating coming in with like that educating mindset of, you know, the trust, you’ve talked about integrity. You talked about being the accidental entrepreneur. And again, there was just so many I have like a full page of notes here. Yeah, I can’t thank you enough. I have one last question that I want to ask the toughest one. Damon any any No, no, no.

Damon Pistulka 47:52
We have to get to this question. The one the one thing that you said that I think that everybody should listen to here if you’re a leader explained to me you’re thinking I’ve never used that before because that is that will pull people in because if they want to do something and you were just wondering more about explained to me you’re thinking I wrote that down it just hit me it hit home, but let’s get to the question. All right. Hey, great. We got it. Yeah, we got a couple more.

Curt Anderson 48:16
Inger says hey, somebody might drops mic way to go. Michael are you hanging on to the desk again? Because like this is a this is a this type be as important as the Thurman Munson question. Right. So Michael were the Yanks are playing K Yankees for any vote, you know, folks overseas Yankees, you know, that’s a you know, Merkin baseball team, right. So, New York Yankees are playing baseball and it’s the bottom of the ninth. Okay. They are playing their favorite team the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox that is top. I’m sorry, it’s bottom of the ninth is home game, Yankee Stadium. Guy on second base K tie score. There’s two outs guy and second base. Aaron Boone looks down on the bench and says Hey, Michael, get up there and hit in the winning run. Well, you I need to I’ve got dinner reservations. I’ve got to get out of here. Okay. You grab your bat. You’re strolling up to the plate. There was a guy on second two outs. We need the winning run. You’re walking up to the plate. What is your walk up song?

Michael Riegel 49:23
No, I wasn’t expecting that. Yeah. So that’s my walk up song. So I have to there’s there’s probably two that come to mind. And only because I’m a Yankee fan. That’s right. One is Enter Sandman.

Curt Anderson 49:44
alaka so if you’re a Yankee fan, you know me, right. That’s a good one. But

Michael Riegel 49:49
I’m not really a Metallica fan but interesting man. And the and the other one was Paul Neil’s walk up song, which was Bob O’Reilly from the who?

Curt Anderson 49:58
Bob O’Reilly that All right. Anger that’s another mic drop moment right there Baba a Riley and Enter Sandman. Those are two Yeah, if you’re under the age of whatever just who has a great rendition of it so i Those are two great answers Michael do Japan you got an eight plus on those on those two right there so I

Michael Riegel 50:25
feel relieved now I can get off my friend.

Curt Anderson 50:28
Now you can just go Paul dive and take her out to dinner tonight and celebrate we had a great great jam session Daymond takeaways any

Damon Pistulka 50:34
does not just thanks so much for being here today. My call it’s just incredible, incredible on that I want to I want to tell everybody listening that we’ll go back to the beginning of this. There were so many things in here. You want to you know, really think about ways of getting things done helping to motivate people you had so many good Mike truck moments. Thanks.

Curt Anderson 50:55
And and Michael developing practical solutions, dude, like you, we’ve got to have you back. And you gotta make the big takeaway. You know, again, everything you mentioned, integrity, creating that culture of feedback by creating that culture of just, you know, healthy conversations. I know, it’s cliche. Everybody’s seen it now. And like, you know, we’re using the word empathy a lot. But boy, when you can just practice it and just create that environment. And just, Michael, you are, I cannot express my thanks to you as a friend, for you sharing what you did on the show here today. And I just, I just I feel so privileged just to be in your circle. It’s just like, I feel I’m a sharp orange iron sharpens iron. I feel I’m a better dad and a better person because of you. And I appreciate you. So thank you. Well,

Michael Riegel 51:38
thank you. Thank you for the opportunity. This was this was totally, totally fun. Right. This was this is it was it’s great. Just having a conversation, right? It’s like this is this is this is what we do,

Curt Anderson 51:51
too. So all right. Any last words of wisdom, Michael, that you want to share with everybody connect with you on LinkedIn? Any other field LinkedIn? I’ll dab on YouTube. Right?

Michael Riegel 52:01
Right. You can find my wife on YouTube. You can follow her on on LinkedIn. Radical curiosity. Be curious. Be curious. Be curious.

Curt Anderson 52:13
That’s Mike. That was like moment of silence number 10. So I guess I want to thank everybody for joining us. Thank you for the comments. Thank you for everybody that joined us that didn’t comment and just we want to tell you how much we appreciate you week in week out with Daymond. We have another amazing guest on Monday, man, we’re gonna be jamming about LinkedIn for manufacturers. I like to say to everybody, be someone’s inspiration. Just go out this weekend and be someone’s inspiration just like Michael was for us. Daymond Take it away, brother.

Damon Pistulka 52:43
Well, thanks so much. Thanks so much, Michael for being here today. And again, as Kurt says, Thanks to everyone that listen weekend and week out we’re just so happy that we we can get people like Michael stopping by sharing the wisdom like today, just so many mic drop moments that we get. And thanks. Thanks for you there listening out there dropping all the comments, man. We had a lot of good comments this week. A lot of people listening and those of you that don’t comment, hey, that’s great. Just listen, get back to the beginning of this though you you don’t want to miss it. We’ll be back again, as Kurt says on Monday with another great guest, and we’ll keep them coming. Thanks, everyone. Have a great weekend. Have a great weekend.

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