July 5

Episode 129: High Achieving Servant Leadership: Growth, Mentorship, and Unsticking Business Challenges


In today’s episode, Mike O’Neill dives into the concept of high achieving servant leadership with Kurt Uhlir, an experienced business leader who has built and run successful companies. They explore the key elements of this leadership approach and its impact on business growth.

Join Mike and Kurt as they discuss the value of deepening relationships with customers, understanding their needs beyond your products or services, and the art of “net-weaving” to create mutually beneficial connections.

Kurt Uhlir’s Bio

Known for being at the front lines for creating several of the marketing channels we all use today, including social media management, influencer marketing, and location-based marketing, with the last five years spent in real estate. In addition to his experience building and/or operating dozens of companies, he has advised hundreds more. The unique experience being inside hundreds of high-growth companies with the opportunity to analyze, scale, make changes of leadership, and advisement has labeled him “the king of scaling businesses”.

As a popular keynote speaker, podcast guest, and author on high-achieving servant leadership, Kurt wants to help people and create environments where people can flourish as themselves. Whether it’s humor, information on modern digital marketing, innovation, or inspiration, Kurt is sure to deliver immense value. Reach out to him to hear stories that will move you and give your audience tactical next steps to unlocking success.

In This Episode…

  • Discover the concept of high achieving servant leadership and its impact on business growth.
  • Learn the importance of serving and investing in the growth of your employees.
  • Understand the value of mentorship in personal and professional development.
  • Gain insights on how to deepen relationships with customers and understand their needs.
  • Overcome challenges by embracing healthy confrontations and open communication.
  • Explore the power of “net-weaving” and building relationships for mutual benefit.

Links & Resources Mentioned…

Read The Transcript

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders, and we help companies solve those nagging people problems that are slowing their growth. The biggest problem typically is high turnover. Joining me today is Kurt Uhlir. Kurt has built and run businesses from startup to over 500 million in annual revenue.

He's assembled teams across six continents, and he's been part of a small team that led to an 880 million IPO and as accomplished as he is as a business person, what we're gonna be spending most of our time on this episode is exploring the concept of what is high achieving servant leadership.

Welcome, Kurt.

Kurt Uhlir: Hey, thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I'm just realizing that is a mouthful. High achieving servant leadership. It's a kind of a, a nuance that I had not picked up on until you and I connected on LinkedIn. Can you explain what do you mean when you. Speak about high achieving servant leadership?

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah, happy to. There's, there's a fair number of books about servant leadership. The term, the modern term was really coined in the seventies, but the, you know, the most of the books that come out I can't recommend to a business person because they talk about how to. You know, serve your customers, but serve your employees, and how do you grow your businesses?

They don't actually talk about their growing the business. They talk about how you interact with other people, which, and often they take that from a faith approach. And I, while I, I am a man of faith myself, and I, and I see value in those books as a business person, I wanna hand a book to somebody that says, look, you're trying to grow a business.

This is the best way. And so for me, I've really come and, and nuanced it to your point about combining high achieving servant leadership. So we can start right away whether you come to this business model and whether you come to leading companies and growing people this way from a faith perspective or you come from a completely secular, you just wanna make money perspective.

In my experience, the best way to do that. Is by showing up every day. And I'm looking at how do I serve the people that work for me? I, I can't interact with all of my customers. And so we hire people to do that. And so the best thing that I can do is to show up for Tiffany and Scott and others and see how can I help them grow as individuals?

How can I acknowledge that personal lives? How can I help them overcome the, the problem they're trying to solve in their own jobs and hope that they're doing the same things all the way down through the tree for, for those that are actually out and interacting. So it's really an approach of growing a business based on looking at who's nearest to you that you have the most impact, and how can you serve them in their day-to-day lives.

Mike O'Neill: So can we break that down a little bit? How can you serve them in their day-to-day lives? That sounds as if that applies not just to perhaps a business setting, but even beyond.

Kurt Uhlir: I think it does. I mean, when my wife and I got married, she commented one of the mentors that she had had growing up commented about the, the best marriage was two people that were trying to out serve each other.

And so, I, I like that approach. You know, you hear people talk about a marriage is 50/50, and I'm like, no, it's, it's a hundred percent of both of you. And so, But the, but from a work. So it applies to work, it applies to friendships. I'm a little tired today cause I was up rather late last night talking to a friend who's going through a very difficult time.

And, and, and he needed somebody to, not so much give advice, but just to hear where he was at and that's, that's what I could do to serve him at that time.

Mike O'Neill: I wanna come back to that in just a moment. Let's pick up on this high achieving, we're marrying this notion of high achieving and servant leadership. And in this case we're talking about maybe more kind of in a business setting. When you use that term high achieving, what does that mean to you?

Kurt Uhlir: Well, for me, I think, you know, there's nothing wrong with the lifestyle business that provides for you, your family and those that work for you. But I think most business owners are looking for growth.

And so I am, I'm on my second hyper-growth company and what I mean is companies that are growing, you know, 50 x a hundred x year over year I'm working, working for yet another billion dollar company in revenue right now. And so that's it. We all want to get there, but the same things I do to do that are the same things I would do to take a 5 million, you know, family owned business, then make it an 8 million family owned business.

And so how do you unlock that growth? For me it's both growth from a monetary perspective, but also from a. Also from a, from a personnel perspective. Tiffany and my team, I, I mentioned the name earlier, she's a complete all-star. She was a sole performer years ago. She is, she has been able to to, to grow through her career because she's helped she, you know, as part of a process, we've identified what she's really good at and enjoys, and we've chosen to invest in helping her develop those skills.

So now she's managing a team and actually runs a full PNL unto herself. And so from a high achieving perspective, I'm looking at not just how do I serve them today, but looking at where they'd like to go. And where the company might like that person to go and say, Hey, maybe the best choice for me to invest in that person today and to serve them today is to actually go find a training program for them, a course or another mentor to help get them to where they're at.

Cause that's not always me then in that case. And so from a serving perspective, I'm looking at how do I help? That person grow to become more of who they are. So in the working setting, if you're leading a customer success team, how can I help you be the best customer success manager, director that you possibly could be?

And so not everybody has the ability to go out and find mentors or peers themselves to help them grow in their skillset. Well, sometimes that's a role of somebody like you or me to say, well, if that wa, if that's what your role is. Can, can I go, let me go through my network and find two or three people that might wanna pull up alongside of you and have kind of that mentoring relationship.

So I'm always thinking about the high achieving is it is dollars at the end of the day. I mean, cash flow and revenue is the blood flow for a business and too many business owners. They, they don't realize that. They forget that part of it somewhere because they get so attached to their employees and I love that.

But at the end of the day, if you wanna provide for your family, if you wanna serve them well, you need to have a stable company. So you're thinking through how do I, how do I continue this to able to grow? I would like it to do that.

Mike O'Neill: Now, you just mentioned that you can serve your employees well. By growing your company.

You know, I introduced this podcast as the, the thing that I get a chance to work with is with companies that are growing, but they're getting slowed down. Oftentimes slow, slow downs are are people issues and the name of my business is bench builders. And so whereas I'm very much driven, try to help them improve their top line, growing their business usually centers around growing the capability of their leadership.

The bench strength is as you will.

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah.

Mike O'Neill: You know, I was just listening to, as you respond to that last question, and you mentioned mentors three times, both in a personal and a professional setting. And what role has mentorship played in your own life?

Kurt Uhlir: Huge. And, and I would not have necessarily considered my early mentors as mentors.

They would not label as that. And so I was young enough, my years where, you know, I was 13, 14, and people pulled up alongside of me. And they probably would've considered themselves mentors. But we, we had, we didn't have that discussion and I'm not sure that. People always have that discussion. I think it's actually good to label that, but, but a very huge bit in my life, especially my career.

There's so much where it's like, I would like to go faster. I'm always trying to think how do I 20 x 50 x a hundred x the business this year? Can't always achieve it. But that, you know, but, but, but we're trying to think about how do we solve major problems like that. Well, it's, there's almost always something going on in my business and sometimes a personal life affecting business that I can't see myself.

And a mentor may have walked that path before and be able to just like, ask two questions, or the very least, they know the struggle a little bit to kind of be there. Cause a lot of times as a friend I mean, I, I, I think business people, we just need a friend too. And so knowing somebody that's, you know, two or three seasons ahead in business that knows.

It's lonely at the top of leadership a lot of times. I mean, you're having to make decisions, especially over the last like 12 to 24 months. People are having to make decisions that, you know, for layoffs and reductions in forces that they know about long before anyone else that is horribly lonely. And, and, and then people forget the moment you have to actually tell people, well, you kind of feel like your pressure's off.

But on the other side, they just found out about it and you should be dealing with that as well. It took a mentor pointing that out to me. You're feeling relief at this point. I mean, that was 15 years ago. A mentor was like, why are you laying off today?

Yeah, you just told people, but they just found out today. You now have to walk through everybody going forward. I never would've even pictured that without a mentor in my life.

Mike O'Neill: Kurt, when you said that, I kind of sat up and realized in my one-on-one coaching work, I realized that the higher you go in the organization truly is it, it's harder at times and it's clearly a more lonely, and if a, if a CEO, if I use that term, it's focus is primarily on being a visionary.

They are two or three steps ahead of the company. And so in the event that there's a need for a layoff, they have known that need and have carried that burden for so long. I love what you just said, but by the time it gets communicated to the employee, it's a relief to them. But the employees are just now dealing with that.

I, I wanna flip if you don't mind, and that is you made this reference to almost hypergrowth. And I'd love to kind of get your idea on this. Most of the clients that I work with are trying to grow. They're trying to grow their top line. They're trying to improve their bottom line, but I would almost describe that as more incremental.

You're described as something very different than that. What is the mindset that a leader needs to have when they want to or are leading an organization that's in hyper-growth mode?

Kurt Uhlir: That's a great question. I think it, it is thinking about, I, I mentioned big, you know, big numbers. It's not a 10% growth, it's a 10 x of your business type of thing.

And so, leaders have to be thinking about that. Heck, customer success managers need to be thinking about that. What happens, about what happens if there was this massive inflow? Do our systems work? Do our, do we, could we have automations in work that took off all of this grunt work so that we could have, and, and if you did that, Even if things don't grow well, how much more time do you have to interact with people one-on-one and coach them?

And so it is a complete mind shift of, you know, what happened, what would happen if there was an inflection point that was reached and instead of growing like this, we just started growing like that, that, and, and so, To do that, then you have to go start going, okay, well I mentioned like customer su success, the same thing.

It's a, you know, you can do that in almost any group. You could do that in facilities teams where people are still in offices delivering packages. What happens if we have to start just hiring a whole bunch of people and then they have things delivered? But it's a, you start to think through things that go, okay, well, Are we really customer centric?

Well, I, I have, it's very rare for me to come into a company and that thinks that're customer centric. And then, you know, without asking like five or six questions realized. You all are just like, you're selling, you're not, you're not really caring about your customers and their day-to-day lives. And, and people hate hearing that, but they need to hear that when they're thinking differently.

They're thinking hypergrowth when they're thinking incrementally the CEO, that visionary, CEO. Is having big meetings and lunches and they're thinking way out there. What they're often not doing is actually talking day-to-day customers. The, the most promising thing if somebody comes to me for executive coaching is they're running a, a, a 7 million or 70 million SaaS company.

And I ask, well, why? What, why did you come to me? What are you trying to figure out? They're often trying to figure out hypergrowth and what I'm, one of the things I'm looking for is, are they humble of heart? Cause otherwise they won't accept coaching. And the other thing is, I want to hear that they've been trying, they have been trying to talk to customers and they're usually not doing it well, but that means it's at least on the right path.

And so the, what I would love for the, that visionary CEO is like, go start hanging out with your customers. I don't care if you're selling a $50 a month product or a $50,000 a month product, like do you actually know what that person's day-to-day life is outside of your product? If not, you're not going to know, you're not gonna be able to unlock a true hypergrowth.

Mike O'Neill: You know, you just spoke in terms of a coaching context. When people come to you and one of the things you're looking for is, do they have a humble heart? Now we're talking in part in the context of servant leadership. A humble heart. When I listen and hear that term, I think I know what that means.

But as you're evaluating, might I be a good fit as a coach for this person? What is it that you're looking for that demonstrates they, in fact, do have a humble heart?

Kurt Uhlir: There's usually they will self as part of them telling their superhero stories. I think everybody you know, one of like, kind of coaching, especially when we're coaching people to go get new new jobs at the senior level.

Like have labeled like your, your, your five to 15 like Wonder Woman or Superman stories that you could pull out. But usually what I, what somebody will tell what I'm asking him about past inflection points, past problems. There's, there will almost always self-identify of their own part in the problem.

The, if I hear somebody and I talk about how did they get their company to 7 million in sales and it's basically my force of will, and I got it here through blood, sweat, and tears. That's, that's usually not gonna be the great person for me to coach. Be, they're often not going to take advice very well or answer questions well.

And so, from a humbleness of heart, like I have actually exercise I do at least once a day where I know there's three things I'm wrong about in my business and at least three things I'm wrong about in my personal life, like with my wife and kids today. And, and, and, and there's probably more. But I, I can guarantee there's at least three in each of those categories because when I look back over time and I look back over every position I've had.

There's been, there's always something that comes up like every six months, every 16 months where I go, something happens and I realize a belief that I've had for the last 16 months has been wrong. Completely wrong. And I didn't know it was wrong for the last 16 months I've written angel investment checks where you never write an angel investment check thinking.

This is gonna be a bad investment. I'm just writing my, you know, writing my money on fire. Like, no, you, you make a decision because you think it's right. And the horrible thing that people don't realize is being wrong and being right. Feel exactly the same until you're Wiley coyote off over the cliff. The road runner's back there and you go, I'm about to fall.

Well, So I, I, I do this thing and it's, and it only takes a couple seconds sometimes just to kind of sit and resemble or go, what am I wrong about? What could I be wrong about right now? And so I actually ask everybody that reports to me that on an at least monthly basis, if not on a one-on-one, every, every time I talk with them basis, what are we not paying attention to?

So I wanna hear that in somebody's story when they come to me. Have they already reached some of those points in their past where they go. Gosh, I thought I was connected with my 14 year old. Well, and this happened. I was trying to do this with my business and for years and beating my head against the wall, and then this happened and I realized there was a completely different approach than what I was taking.

Okay. You're, you're a good candidate for me at that point.

Mike O'Neill: You mentioned a, a while back in this conversation about the critical importance of not losing sight of your customers and your employees, but I thought this idea of just go hang with your customers. You think you know what they're dealing with, but just go hang with the customers. In doing so, what might you learn?

Kurt Uhlir: Other problems they're solving that you're, that may be unrelated to anything you will ever do, but you know the pressures of them that much more you might find a good partnership there. I mean, I, I think the, one of the best things, especially for people that are selling higher, higher dollar, higher dollar or higher budget items for people is, do you know the, do you know everything, every other line item on the, on the p and l owner's plate The, like you're selling into a VP of marketing, what else are they spending money on?

Have you actually asked them? Because those are other decisions, and I like some people view it as, Hey, that's competitive dollars for, for, for my product. Like, and they get scared about saying that. Like, well, no, I, I, I wanna ask those questions, but I'm gonna ask them conversationally because I wanna know what else are you struggling with?

I wanna know other problems you're trying to solve. That's gonna help me perhaps know, like, that you might identify that you're in a, you're, your business is gonna start trailing off at some point because of other things that are coming up. But at the very least you're gonna start to understand other, not just the problems they're solving, the issues that they're struggling with.

The hopes that and dreams that they have. I mean, I've asked customers what else are they, what else are they evaluating right now? That's not related to me at all. And I found out that people, you know, customers were thinking about changing states for their headquarters. And I'm like, oh my gosh, like, what kind of, you know, like the empathy comes outta that point of like, that's a really big decision.

Like, you know, and you know, and then you find out behind, well, thinking about doing that cause I, I have this, you know, multi-million dollar, you know, small business and I could run anywhere and I have an elderly aging parent that I'm moving for that by even just, even just letting them. Talk about that for a moment.

You've just changed the relationship with that customer or that potential customer. I'm really big on not selling as well, and so I've also like, I think one of the best ways you can serve customers is sometimes by telling them maybe you're not the right fit for them, the next come, the next renewal date.

Like most people just think that blows their mind, and I'm like, Well, yeah, but do you know how many referrals I've gotten from people? Then later on where I go, Hey, you're, you're starting to, so try to solve problems that we can't solve for you. We'll be here until you're, until you don't need us anymore.

Let's start talking through that. Like those are wonderful conversations for people to, to have and, and know just what's going on in their life.

Mike O'Neill: You mentioned that there are. Probably three things in your personal life, three things in your professional life on a given day that you're kind of, you need to kind of question. And you mentioned that you might, would ask a member of the team, what are we not paying attention to? I thought that was very insightful and that is you may get wrapped up in your own little world, but by asking.

Either your own team member and example you just gave in asking a client or a potential client something that might not be directly related to what is it? You are selling a product or service, you're deepening understanding, and you likely if asked correctly, you're deepening the relationship.

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah. Yeah. And it allows me to do more than just like, I, I think too often people, they get a customer and they think like, that's like, I'm done at that point. And I'm like, well, yeah. But like a lot of times the customers that I have as their business grows, their, their business with me will grow as well. Now that's not always the case for people's products.

And so, I like. I don't, not that I dislike networking, but I really try to focus on a concept called net-weaving that much more where on some level I feel like net we networking is, is a self-serving. People are off and out. You get that person when you meet them somewhere. What heck, you meet this person at church sometimes where they ask what you do and you can see that they make a decision that you're not valuable to them and they're looking where else that they go.

Well, net-weaving though, takes a very different approach, whether it's with a new contact or my existing contacts that says it's that serving approach that realizes, Hey, Mike, by meeting you, I like. I might be able to make one introduction for you or to you that could fundamentally change your business and your family's life, or the person I would introduce to you and all it takes is, is 10 minutes for me to do a phone introduction at some point.

And so by asking my customers what else is going on in their life, I might be, or in their business, I might be able to be like, oh my gosh, like you're having an issue in this case, you're having an issue with, with that middle layer, the people that report to you, how do you scale through that? I. Like, and, and you're struggling with, can I introduce you to Mike?

Like this is what he does. And just by making that one connection, which is unrelated to my product, that could change one of my customers complete trajectories of their business. And so by asking those questions like you refined all these ways to add value, that one, are very helpful to customers, man, if you make a call like that, that nobody does that nowadays, Those clients will not leave you for anything.

They will call you up when there's a bad experience and you're, you have someone in customer success that yells at them because they had a bad day. They'll call you and go, Hey, this is not like that person. Like, what's going? Like, you need to know, as opposed to just cancel. Like, that's the relationship I'd like to have with my customers.

Mike O'Neill: Kurt, this is episode 129. I have not heard up to this point. The term net-weaving, and I think it perfectly illustrates this servant leadership and high achieving servant leadership. And, and that is weaving it's a, that's a powerful image.

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah.

Mike O'Neill: And that is you're connecting people. But to perhaps add to that fabric of relationships. And what what I'm hearing you describe is that you can do that in a way that's fully transparent, not self-serving. You made this comment about you might even be at church of all places and people, when they find out what you do, you can almost see them turn off and their eyes avert to somebody else.

That's, that's very transactional. That's not what you're trying to do. I've been very, very fortunate. And that is if it wasn't for referrals, right, though I do a podcast. I do the podcast cause I love meeting bright people like you and learning from the, from Kurt in the process. Fortunately, thousands of people have gone and downloaded episodes.

That's very gratifying, but I can't necessarily attribute my podcast to, to business per se, but it's relationship building and I'm really intrigued by how you said that and the way you said that, you know, and keeping with this theme of servant leadership and high achieving. Leadership. Can you share an example where either maybe you or a client got stuck and what did it take to get unstuck?

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm sure if I went back I could come up with a ton of them. I mean, I think about just over the last, you know, like, couple of businesses, like, where I tend to get stuck more than anything is when I hire somebody who is highly skilled in a leadership role. And I back, I, I, I hire them and I almost as like, You've got it.

And I step aside and let him or her kind of run their area rather than take the time. And so I brought in somebody who was very skilled in in, in the area that I, I put them in and I didn't disappear. I mean, we had one-on-ones, but like, I just assumed they had this like, high achieving servant leadership bit down.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah.

Kurt Uhlir: And so, they spoke kind of the right wording and I started, I, the, the numbers were not going up the way that I wanted. I started hearing things from a culture perspective that was not the relationships I'd want or when people show up to work. And when I started asking some questions, I realized, wow, like hugely talented.

Still a wonderful person. But really they are, they were a hierarchal leader. They led by authority, not by pulling up alongside of their, their team and saying, well, let me show you how to do that, Mike. Let's do this. Let's do the, let's work together on this thing that you would normally be your job for the next day or two days, and, and, and do that together.

Let me coach you through that. And I realized like, well, one, they weren't doing that. And it was causing, like I said, my numbers weren't growing, especially not the way that they should have been growing. And so, well, when I reflected, I realized I hadn't done what I was asking him to do. And so I started pulling up alongside him.

I kind of called out where it was my own issue in it and I was like, we need to start spending a lot more time together. So instead of like, you know, weekly check check-ins, we're gonna be doing daily working sessions together. And it's not, but not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to be like, You're just, you're leading differently than the how I would lead.

And so that doesn't mesh when we're working on the teams, let's go try doing this together. And so from a getting an unstuck perspective, what you know, I was stuck for six to nine months. Like I started to sense it, but I just didn't approach the healthy confrontation. We probably got unstuck and. Four to five weeks just by doing that.

And so too often I find where I realize there's a gut that I have where I'm su stuck on something and I just, I don't want to take that healthy confrontation. And so it builds up and it starts feeling more confrontational then. And so usually at, at this point, the moment I start getting feeling like that, I write down the date that I have a feeling so that I can come back to it, you know, do I like, next time I have the feeling, I check and see.

It's been three weeks since I had that feeling with Mike. It's not been three days cause well, our brains will lie to ourselves. And so that's my trick for getting unstuck at this point is when I start to sense that things are going off in the business, I, I start documenting that from a dating perspective so that I can't lie to myself about, Hey, this really hasn't been going on that long.

No, it's been 273 days and that's way too long. Let's, let's go deal with it.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah. You mentioned that you brought in a very capable person, but you kind of got this sense that it's not going the way you would expect and by noting when you got that first sense, it's a way to kind of keep you accountable for the role that you should play.

And that is not just walk away, but you use the term come alongside.

Kurt Uhlir: Right.

Mike O'Neill: Do you find high-performing leaders, do they resent this, come alongside, and if they potentially do, how do you overcome that potential resentment?

Kurt Uhlir: You don't always overcome it. And so I'll hire for that a lot of times or attempt to hire for it.

I mean, I think we're all, we're, we all believe we're much better at hiring than we actually are. So, I, I have no problem with the cutoff on the other side that says, this just isn't a great relationship for it. Let's go help you find something else. But the, I, I think it, it, it matters very much in the approach.

And so, you know, I. I mean, you, you've been on the people side developing leaders and it's like, like we could probably all say communication is the biggest issue everybody has. How do you talk to each other and how does the team gel? So if, when I, when I notice that, like I'm a huge proponent of a concept called Berkman, and so I could either go to the team and be like, Hey, you two or three people are having issues.

Or maybe I don't call them out specifically, and I go, Hey, we're now doing Berkman training. And it's like, it's a problem and here's how we're gonna solve it. Or I could come to the team and I could present that as, Hey, the biggest opportunity we have, if we could get over some of these conversations, instead of waiting 273 days for a conversation, we should started it on day 27.

So we're gonna start having these sessions and this coach that comes in to guide us through that communication. It's still the same mandatory meeting.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Kurt Uhlir: But it's, it, it's how you approach that. And so it, it takes a little bit longer to do the, to, to do the softer opportunity side. But like, I, I would never, like, I just, my, my general approach is when if I come in and say, this is a problem, here's how we're gonna solve it.

One, I didn't build. I didn't bring you into the solution. I told you what it was gonna be and it's gonna feel like a performance review. So if it's gonna feel like a performance review that you're on it, damn well, better be. And if not, that's on me. That's not on you to feel that way. Like, and so many leaders come in and, and they'll do that, is this is going wrong.

And the example that I gave, I didn't step up and go, Hey, you're doing this wrong. Here's how you're approaching. You're being that authoritative leader. I ask questions to get there. Now. Now, sometimes people don't, especially authoritative leaders don't like questions. But that tells you a lot about it.

And, and I think as you take the time to, to, to ask those questions, when people get bothered and you don't, you are able to ask, why is that? What feelings are those stir up? Why is that, why is this so triggering for you? That helps them realize. That they shouldn't be bothered. By that, I mean, at this point in my career, I realized there's so many things that I could improve.

I, I spent every evening, last week from seven to nine seven 30 to nine 30 with one of the top public speaking coaches in the world. And, and at this point, and so floored at the things that I didn't know and how I present myself, especially when giving keynotes, well, like I, Vin could pop up at any point and say, Kurt, here's what you're doing completely wrong.

He wouldn't have to open it up, but he would never do that. He, he, he, he would walk into that conversation and be like, were you stressed when you're doing this? You normally don't present like this. This is not how you say you would like to show up. Well, that's gonna be a much better approach as well.

Mike O'Neill: Well, I can see you were served well by him. And you do keynotes. You're obviously a very good speaker. You were an excellent speaker as we had this conversation. Kurt, as you kind of reflect on our conversation, what do you want to be those takeaways?

Kurt Uhlir: The, well, the, the first takeaway is like you, if you wanna really serve your clients and your customers, you, you, yourself need to be serving your employees and the people that report directly to you more than anyone else.

While spending time with the, the end customer as well. And, and the other bit is it comes into the, I mean, I've talked about in the servant leadership, but like, I love the per the brand that you have of bench builders because it's where I see that companies miss their growth opportunities so much.

You hear people leave companies because they say the only way I can get a higher salary is by changing jobs. That that's the fault of the leadership for not one rewarding those people, but, and or not investing in them or giving them opportunities. Like I, I, I want people to know the best way you can serve your customers.

Is by usually identifying those people that have huge opportunities, the capacity to do more at your current company and investing in them. You can't keep anybody that works for you, but God, what happens if they're still here and you haven't trained them more? If somebody's really good at public speaking, I brought two people with me to public speaking training and in my company and paid for them to do it because.

I'm not the only one that talks and I, I need them to grow in the roles that they have as well. And so that's great money spent. And I think people, they're, they're so concerned about, well, I'm gonna invest in this person. They're gonna leave. You should invest in them. Let them help grow your business and then pay them more if you wanna keep your business growing.

Mike O'Neill: This has been great. I've, I've really enjoyed this conversation. We're recording this kind of early in the morning for both of us, and I know you're sipping out a cup of coffee, but what I would say is, boy oh boy, you have shared a lot of great information. For those who are either watching or listening, if they wanna learn more, what's the best way for them to connect with you, Kurt.

Kurt Uhlir: My personal website, you can find me anywhere on social from there, but KurtUhlir.com I'm writing a lot about servant leadership, how to approach different situations, and if somebody has something going on, I actually would love people to reach out to me because a lot of the new material I'm writing are coming from questions that people have, that I have an answer or they'd like an answer to.

So I'll probably write an article over it about it. If somebody has a question.

Mike O'Neill: Then that's a great trigger for us. So if you found something that you want to learn more about we'll include your website in the show notes. Kurt, as anticipated, great conversation. Thank you for sharing your time today.

Kurt Uhlir: Yeah, thank you for having me. Mike.

Mike O'Neill: I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us. If you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, you can just go to your browser and type unstuck.show. But while you're there, if you'd like to subscribe to our weekly management blog, do so. It's called The Bottom Line. But if you've been listening to Kurt and you're saying, gosh, I really wanna grow my business, but it's those people problems that have slowed me down, let's talk head over to bench-builders.com and let's, let's just talk, schedule a call.

So I wanna thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips from Kurt that will help you get unstuck and on target. Until next time. 

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