In this episode, Mike O’Neill talks with Antonio Garrido, founder of My Daily Leadership, about unlocking your potential as an elite leader. Antonio shares insights on leadership blind spots, the power of journaling, and taking extreme ownership as a CEO.
Learn how self-awareness is key to getting unstuck, why having a coach matters, and how Antonio helps leaders reach their full potential.
Antonio Garrido’s Bio
Antonio Garrido is the founder of My Daily Leadership, with a mission to inspire one million of the world’s best leaders. He has over 25 years of experience in senior leadership roles and is an expert in leadership transformation.
Antonio is the author of “My Daily Leadership: A Powerful Roadmap for Leadership Success” and several other books. He provides coaching and advisory services to help leaders and organizations close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
In This Episode…
- Self-awareness and humility are key for leaders to get “unstuck”
- Journaling daily builds situational insight and foresight over time
- Having a coach is critical – leaders need truth tellers to address blind spots
- “Extreme ownership” mindsets drive leadership success
- Guiding leaders to discover weaknesses themselves is more impactful
Links & Resources Mentioned
Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to Get Unstuck and On Target. I'm Mike O'Neill. Whether we at Bench Builders are working with supervisors to improve their people skills or it's me coaching a CEO one on one getting leaders and companies unstuck is at the heart of everything we do. And that's exactly what this podcast It's all about each week.
We invite incredible guests who share their hard won experiences of getting themselves or others unstuck back on target and moving forward. And I hope it gets you unstuck and on target. Joining me today from France is Antonio Garrido. Antonio is the founder of My Daily Leadership. It's a leadership development organization with a mission to inspire one million you heard that right one million of the world's best leaders to reach their full potential.
Antonio has a vast amount of experience. He can draw on with 25 years of senior leadership positions in world class businesses. He's an expert in leadership transformation. He is also an author. His book my daily leadership. A powerful roadmap for leadership success is one of the things we'll be talking about.
Antonio Garrido: Hi Mike thank you very much for that. That's only one of my books but thank you very much. I'm excited to be here. I'm a fan of the fan of the podcast so I do appreciate the invitation.
Mike O'Neill: Thank you. We had an opportunity to speak at some length. actually now on two occasions. and what I learned a great deal about you and kind of how you choose to work.
I'm just kind of fascinated by and I guess what I would throw out to you is I understand you describe the kind of the services that your organization offers as unlocking the elite leader within. I love that and of particular interest is as a coach what is it that brings people to you? One of the things that you kind of shared with me is that there may be a number of things that might have them come to you.
Can you share what are the kinds of things that prompts people to say I want to talk to Antonio or somebody in his team?
Antonio Garrido: Okay that's a great question. Thank you for that Mike. You know normally so as we know as we talked when we were off air we've been doing this for quite a number of years for quite a number of clients.
Normally and I'm going to guess it's probably around 90 percent of the time.
It's well it's almost 100 percent of the time through recommendation because we have very little marketing but we get a lot of people that recommend us to other people. Normally it's somebody going to the leader and recommending us to them. Why is that normally the case? Because it's difficult for leaders.
You know the whole C suite it doesn't have to just be the CEO right or the group chair or whatever. Normally they don't normally have enough either professional humility self awareness emotional intelligence right? There are a few gaps right? So normally they don't see that in themselves.
So it normally takes somebody to sit them down and say maybe we need some help right? So so typically they don't come to that realization. Typically somebody makes that suggestion to them and then they'll either begin the search or they'll say I know a chap right? So that's typically how that happens.
So it's unusual for somebody for a CEO. Why? Because let's imagine we have a CEO of an organization. And let's just imagine that there's somewhere between a couple of dozen and a couple of thousand people. There are a lot of people. reasons I do speech marks in the air right? A lot of reasons why the organization hasn't reached its you know its targets or its full potential.
And it's quite easy for reasons more of ego more than anything else. It's quite easy for a CEO to blame everybody else other than themselves right? And my coach thanks for listening. because I think every coach ought to have a coach and I don't think you can be a coach with any kind of integrity if you don't also have a coach you know you can't you know you have to live it right.
So my coach who is the fourth generation who is a fourth generation or was at any rate. Submarine commander and they don't give submarines to idiots right? So so and he now coaches presidents of countries as well as presidents of companies right? he asked me a question one of the very very first times we had a conversation.
He told me a terrible story a true story. They had been under some around the Arctic circle that'd been under underwater for about four months tracking red subs around the globe. So like Russian and Chinese whilst never trying to remain undetected. And that's basically what they were doing. And they've been doing that for about four particular months on this particular mission.
And it was 4. I am. In the morning the captain my coach was asleep in his quarters and unfortunately an 18 year old young lad an electrician I'm sorry a welder was welding some pipes and submarines are full of you know pipes under tremendous pressures and temperatures and sharp edges and things that are really kind of designed to kill you.
And anyway unfortunately he electrocutes himself and died almost instantly at 4 a. m. The morning. So my coach asked me this question whose fault was it that this guy you know unfortunately expired at 4am whilst welding something? Was it his fault? Was it his trainer's fault? Was it his manager's fault?
Was it the person that asked him to do the thing at 4 in the morning? Was it the guy that was on watch? Was it whose fault was it that this guy? So we're all tempted to then reel off a whole rake of You know people in circstances and you know things that led to this chap's demise. But when you keep pushing okay well who's fault was it?
Those leaders that go. Well I guess it was the captain's fault right? And you go yeah but the captain was asleep. It was 4am. How's that the captain's fault? So when I was having this conversation with my coach and he asked me the question and I said well it was this guy's fault or this guy's fault or this guy's fault.
He goes no it's my fault. And I said yeah but you were asleep. It was 4am. And he goes yeah but when I took on the position I took on the responsive responsibility for everything that happens in my sub right? It's my sub my submarine. It's always my fault. The good and the bad and everything that happens is my responsibility.
So those CEOs when the that say to themselves we haven't reached our targets we haven't reached our goals we've fallen short here or there's a delta over there. Those CEOs that go Do you know what? It's probably my fault right? Those are the ones that we can help. The ones that go nothing to do with me it's everybody else's fault.
They're the idiots right? They're the ones we don't want to try and work with because you know they're hard. It's hard to help them. So what do they need to answer your question? Which is a lovely elegant eloquent question. And I'm rambling. What do we need? We need somebody that has Professional hility a certain amount of self awareness to recognize that maybe it's their submarine and maybe it's their fault.
those are the guys that we can help and we typically help them very quickly. So to you know to use your kind of language to use your kind of kind of theoretical thinking they're stuck and they recognize that maybe the organization is stuck because then maybe they have a part to play in it you know to get unstuck.
I I was I gave a talk a few couple of years ago to three or 400 leaders from across the world all sizes all industries all verticals. And I asked I asked the audience I said by show of hands who here has no blind spots who here has no leadership blind spots by show of hands? Now fortunately Mike nobody put their hand in the air right?
So I thought okay good reasonable self awareness. Everybody recognized that they had some blind spots. Terrific says I. Okay next thing I'd like everybody to do is grab yourself a piece of paper and a pen and could you just jot down what your own particular blind spots are. Now it gets tricky because if they knew what they were then they wouldn't be blind spots and they don't know what they are and my point is of course That we all have them.
You have them I have them all leaders have them right? So and it's probably those blind spots that are the reason that they're stuck. So so so those that recognize maybe they're not the finished article you know that have some professional hanity that say maybe it's something to do with me.
Maybe I've got some blind spots and can't see them and need some help right? Those are the guys. The that we work with the ones that go no it's everybody else. I can tell you another interesting story if you want one want to hear one quickly I love your stories. Yes. So normally when we'll talk we talk to a new CEO or you know prospect whatever and we'll say for example how many how many people work in your organization and whatever number they say let's say they say 200 just a random number I'll say okay well on a standard distribution bell chart then.
Let's call this guy Frank. So on a standard distribution bell chart Frank you know you've probably got 20 percent A players you've probably got 60 percent B players you've probably got 20 percent C players right? And they all go yeah. And I go okay. so if you've got 200 people you've probably got 40 C players knocking around this organization somewhere.
They go yeah. And I go okay. give me the name of one of them. And it's interesting that they tend to know who they are. Pretty quickly right? They're already on the radar and they'll go Mary. Okay great. Give me another one. Peter Mike Sally Bob but you get okay. So I'll go I'll ask for four or five and six.
That's okay. How long has Mary been with you? Three years. How long has Mike been with you? Four years. How long has Tom been with you? Six months. How long has Jane been with you? Eight years. Right. So I'll get some names then I'll get some ten years and then I'll say okay. Got to ask you a tricky question I'll go.
Yeah go. And I'll say well so we have here we have a whole bunch of C players that's been with you somewhere between eight months and eight years. did you hire them like that? Or did you make them like that? Right. now if they say well we hired them like that it says something about the hiring protocols and onboarding and all that kind of stuff.
If they say we made them like that says something about that culture. If they say we don't know that's the worst answer that right. But then I say did you hire them like that or did you make them like that? I mean was that by design? No. Okay. So why are they here? Why are they still here after eight years?
And they kind of don't know. And I'll go well whose fault is it? And as soon as they say well I guess it's HR's fault. I go okay we've got a problem because. It's your submarine. So whose fault is it that you got all of these guys and you go okay it's my fault. And as soon as they make that leap where they go you know what it's probably be as soon as I can help.
If I say it's your fault Mike they don't get it. But if I can guide them to it through a process of guided discovery when I go. Well did you hire them like that? Or have you made them like that? Because they're here for they've been here for a while. And when they go we probably bit of both. So okay well whose fault's that then?
And they go I guess it's probably my fault. Terrific. Then we can work together. Right? So so it's a way of you can't tell anybody anything. They you have to allow them to discover it even their own weaknesses. Does that make sense?
Mike O'Neill: It makes perfect sense. as I shared with you before we started recording I kind of came up through corporate HR where sometimes.
The corporate HR group they got blamed for things but as I began working with organizations not in a corporate role but in a support role I'm there to help these business owners. I found that this natural movement towards coaching is in large part because you develop a rapport with the key decision makers that oftentimes they don't have many people.
They can truly let the guard down.
Antonio Garrido: And it's worse than that. You're exactly right Mike and it's worse than that. And one of the questions I'll always ask a prospect as well is I'll say Hey let me ask you a tricky question Frank. What percentage of the time do you think you hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
And now that upsets them. Let's accept that it's not zero but then neither is it 100 either. And so people typically tell those in charge at the end of the day you know conversations with them are normally reflected in next year's salary review or certainly the you know they determine you know their places in the car park.
Right. So one of the CEO's most important role or the leadership's role is to close that truth gap you know because people will tell you a version of the truth and they think it's in their best interest to have you believe right? And so we've got to close that truth gap. So just as you say you know very rarely does somebody come and knock on your door and say have you got five minutes Mike?
And you go yeah of course you know door policy come in sit down what's on you? What's on your mind Mary? And Mary says well I've been watching your performance over the last six months or so. I just wanted to share with you I think you're doing a terrible dreadful job right? That never happens right?
So so we've got to we've also got to close that that that truth gap. And it's not easy when you know if the truth is in short supply and it is. If I'll also say coming back to the conversation we had just a few minutes ago and I'll say okay so you've got all you've got these C players you've got these B players you've got these A players.
What are you? You an A player? Are you a B player? And they'll go Oh I'm an A player. I go well how can you be an A player if you've got all these C players right? Your report card is the average of everybody else's report card. So so when they make that leap and they go Oh Yeah it's probably me isn't it?
I need to fix me first. If I fix me and then fix other people then everything else gets fixed. So yeah it's tricky we've got this issue about truth. We've got this issue about you know self awareness. We've got this issue about lots of things. So yeah it's good. It's good. We one of the reasons I love my role I mean I love what we do is we help organizations who you know close that gap between where they are and where they want to be.
And As soon as people go you know my name is Bob and I'm an alcoholic. Of course I don't say that. But the point is that you have to make that kind of public. You have to make that. Internal leap to say you know what it probably isn't everybody else. It's probably me. I had a CEO once that said you know I can fire three CROs chief revenue officers.
I can fire three of them before the board start to think it's my fault. Right? So right. So how can you blame the CRO? How can you blame the CMO? How can you blame the CIO? How can you blame all of these people? You can't do that forever. You know eventually you know the book has to stop with you.
Mike O'Neill: I was intrigued when you made reference to you as a high power coach.
You didn't describe yourself as such but I'm describing you as such acknowledge the power of having a coach and you're acknowledging that for that to be an effective relationship just like for you to be effective with your clients. It requires a degree of self awareness. Yep. It requires a degree of hility.
Yeah. And it also requires on the coaches part a willingness to address those blind spots that they might not be able to see. And say things that they aren't hearing. Maybe no one else dare says does that describe some of your experience as a coach?
Antonio Garrido: Yeah very much which is why we have a you know we won't coach anybody until they take you know like a leadership benchmark assessment which is an objective look at somebody's kind of like leadership DNA instead of a subjective kind of look at.
an x ray and an MRI and the blood tests and then we kind of prescribe some kind of solution. If you haven't went to a doctor and said my elbow hurts and they go try these tablets and then take no history they don't look at your elbow they don't take an x ray they don't ask you any kind of questions you'd think that guy was a quack and you just wouldn't pay any attention to them.
So so And any coach that tries to coach somebody without going through a properly rigorous process. I think that's kind of coaching malpractice. I really do. I feel very strongly about it. also by the same token. When we assess people and benchmark and do all of that kind of stuff if we can't help them we have to tell them that we're not the people for them and I must have over the years me and my organization me and my gang I'm going to say 70 percent of the people that ask us for help we don't help that many and about half of those we will say but actually I know you think you need us But actually you probably need these guys over here.
Right. And we we show all over the place because we're not you know if you're a an orthopedic surgeon you're not going to do brain surgery. You're not going to do cardiac surgery. Right. So we are a very particular specialization surgeon if you like and we're not we don't try and be a GP because We're not kind of in general practice.
We're in very specific you know we will help leaders and organizations specifically with these issues really well and really kind of quickly. And if but if we're not people for them then you know we have an obligation to tell them. And also you if you went to a GP and said actually that's quite tricky.
They have no problem referring people to other people. We do that. We do that all the time because it's the honorable thing to do.
Mike O'Neill: Antonio I am always drawn to excellent coaches. Why? Because I learn from my guest. but I also have resisted temptation to bring too many coaches on the podcast. so I'm selective.
I wanted to have you on the podcast for a variety of reasons. One of which is this for those who are watching this your eyes kind of lit up. I know you're an author and your most recent book and we haven't even touched On that book and how that book kind of melds into your organization's coaching practice.
Can you kind of help share a little bit about the book why you wrote it and how it fits?
Antonio Garrido: Sure. So the reason I wrote the book that's a good question. This is my third book. I'm writing number four and five as we speak. And if my publisher's listening we're almost there we're not almost there we're miles away.
So I was so fortunate to work for some amazing leaders. a million years ago. I'm fairly ancient. And they were and it was purely by luck rather than judgment some tremendous leaders. And I learned so much from them. And then we started our business about 14 years ago and learned more and worked with lots of people.
I did consulting for Outside the Chinese army the biggest company and biggest employer in the world is the British health service right? That was for those guys. And anyway so I'm I was kind of gathering lots of best practices all over the place. We developed a model for leadership and we showed it to a lot of people.
We you know pressure tested it and all of that kind of stuff. And I then talk about the assessment that we were just mentioning earlier. I went to an assessment. company and said Hey we've got this model of leadership kind of excellence. Could you get your industrial psychologists those kinds of guys to like codify this you know a way that we can check for all of these things and self awareness and all that kind of stuff.
And they said yeah. and I said it's on the back of this book right. That I've put it together which is you know to help leaders. really help themselves as much as possible to start to close the gap gain some moment and then come to get people like us and people like yourself. So they said can we see the manuscript. So I sent them the manuscript for the book and they said okay we'll do it. We'll do that for free. We'll get it done. We'll you know we'll we're in because this is tremendous. So so so we developed this model. We've been using it for a while. Pressure tested in the big and the small and the good and the bad and the ugly and all of that kind of stuff.
You can yeah I am I do quite like to tell the odd story or two right? So I'm full of stories and I was talking to a publicist how the book actually happened. I was talking to the publicist of my first book and my second book. And she said you need to write another book on you know specifically on this.
I'm like oh I don't know. We haven't got an assessment. And she said well go get one. Okay. Right. So then that's how that whole thing happened. So the book really is. is it works on the principle that this whole thing about self awareness and emotional intelligence it's really critical.
And it's like everybody thinks that they've got technical skill and they've got good degree from a good university and the very experience that we got. No hold on time out. Experience doesn't come sorry. Wisdom doesn't come from time served or experience. Wisdom comes from evaluated experience and closing that.
You know that gap and the way that we do that is we have all of our have all of our clients start to journal. And if they don't journal you know if a leader says oh yeah I'm very interested in improving. So okay then you have to journal every day and you go journaling every day. I don't think so.
Then we said bye. Right? Because it's the best people. In the world just think of any sports person any entertainer any business owner successful large organization every single one of them journals every you know the best who's the best soccer player in the world Lionel Messi. What's Lionel Messi doing right now on Wednesday the 13th of September?
He's trying to get better he's working with his coat. And he's the best in the world. And if there's anyone in the world that can say I've got this figured out it's Lionel Messi. But what's he doing? He's trying to get better every single day. And that's every day. And so we say look if you want to if you're serious about closing this self awareness gap if you then we've got to get this reflected.
And I'll explain how that works in a second. Then you've got to journal every day. And those that say okay I'm in we'll say okay if you will journal every day Then we'll help you if you're not prepared to journal every day. That's every morning and every evening every morning and every evening That means birthdays christmas hanukkah thanksgiving right?
Every day means every day and if you'll do that then we'll work with you And if you don't we won't right but you brush your teeth every day Every single morning you brush your teeth every single evening you brush your teeth just for five minutes every single day and Neither do you wait till Sunday afternoon and brush them for two hours having left them up.
'cause your bombs your gs are bleeding your teeth will fall out right? So when we know once we've got 'em over that hurdle of every day closing that self-awareness gap start to journal every single day as the biggest and the brightest and the best. in the world over do. If you're prepared to do that we'll help you.
And we'll tell you what to write. And we'll tell you every single day in the morning what you write in the afternoon what you write. And the reason that we do that Mike is here's what happens when we start to say okay well what's my intention for the day? And I don't mean a to do list. I mean like what kind of thing has to be done before I go to bed tonight?
Otherwise I don't go to bed tonight. Right. So let's set an intention for the day. And then we do gratitude and affirmations and beliefs and all of that good stuff but kind of be very intentional about your day. And then at the end of the day so that's the morning moment. And then in the evening do some kind of evening evaluation.
And it sounds like this how did I do today? What did my report card look like today? And let's imagine you go probably an A minus maybe B plus then what happens then Mike is people's you know we then force the question. Okay. What should you have done? What shouldn't you have done? What should you have said or not have said or how could you have said it better?
What could you have perhaps done to. You know elicit a better outcome. What that is this kind of reflective practice where you're looking backwards right? It's hindsight right? And we all know that's 2020 vision. So maybe I could have done this. Maybe I could have done that. Maybe I could have said this maybe I could.
And when we start to write these things down consider them and write them down. Here's what happens when you do that with enough frequency and density Mike what then happens is something is presented to you in the moment. And you know I'm going to have to evaluate my response to this later on this evening.
So future Antonio will give me you know a higher grade later if at this point I go what would a world class not average leader what would a world class leader say? I probably a world class leader would probably say this. And then you say it. So that hindsight has kind of led to a little bit of.
situational insight. You do that with enough density and then it starts to develop foresight right? It's where you can see the little piece of the iceberg sticking up but you know that there's a whole thing underneath right? Which sinks. It's those little icebergs that you can see sink ships as well as companies right?
And it helps you to kind of navigate through those. That's why unless people journal and my coach again when I say he coaches presidents of countries as well as companies when if they don't journal if they don't send him a photo of their journal when they call him for a coaching session he won't pick up.
And he tells them unless you send me your journal right. Well I'm not going to coach it and my coach is the same. So we have it's kind of a litmus test. It's kind of like a proof of you know like a pressure point I'm sorry like a pressure test. It's a real proof of integrity and intent. And if you journal we'll help you we'll tell you what to journal then we'll work with you.
So and if you don't we won't and that's the end of that.
Mike O'Neill: You so well described journaling in a way that I think it's Critical. I may not be saying this right Antonio but if the practice of docenting intent is practice so it's done on a regular basis with the full knowledge when you write what that intent is this is not your to do list but when you write your intent you also know that you're going to be answerable to yourself at the end of the day.
And you're going to have to reflect on to what degree. Was that achieved? Is it with time that muscle builds such that you and I love the way you describe it will give you the capability to even look forward not necessarily back. That's very powerful. that probably is the best word to describe what you've done for us today.
This is a powerful conversation. I have I've listened I've learned and I know that those who are listening now have gained a great We appreciate it. Deal. I very briefly glossed over who you are and what you do. But could you share if folks want to connect with you? What's the best way for them to do so?
Antonio Garrido: Thank you Mike. Yeah. So probably the best thing to do would be to just email me directly. firstname.lastname@example.org or go on to our website all the W's mydailyleadership.com. Thank you guys. there's loads of stuff on there. There's examples of journals you can download. There are core value worksheets.
There's an assessment you know the benchmark thing that we talked about earlier. Yeah. But you know send me an email. I promise I'll get back to you. I was going to say or somebody will but that's not much of a promise. I will get back to you. Give me maybe a couple of days but I'll get back to you.
You know we live for this. We live to help people That want some help or some advice and we'll you know we pay it forward and you know people should work hard to help everybody right? So help whoever you can along the way. And you know it's I'm very much of abundance mindset. You know I do these things because you know we we help give back to people and some people it resonates with and they go do you know what that strange British Spanish chap yeah.
Yeah maybe we'll have a conversation with them. And if you want to have a conversation with me I'd be delighted to have a conversation with you.
Mike O'Neill: It was that spirit of abundance that drew me to you and had me kind of lean into this conversation as we recorded. Antonio thank you.
Antonio Garrido: Thank you Mike. I really appreciate it.
Mike O'Neill: See you soon. I also want to thank the listeners for joining us today. For even more insights into getting unstuck and moving your business forward I invite you to subscribe to the Bottom Line newsletter. You can do that just by going to our website benchbuilders.com. People have kind of been asking me like Mike what do you do?
And I found myself kind of responding that the clients that I work with usually had one of two problems. Either They were frustrated because they were losing the employees that they wanted to keep or the leaders they found themselves stuck in the weeds of the day to day and they weren't executing on their long term strategy.
So if high turnover or poor execution is slowing your growth Let's talk. Head over to benchbuilders.com to schedule a call. So I want to thank you for joining us and I hope you have picked up on some quick wins from Antonio that will help you get unstuck and on target. See you soon.