November freestyle
CWJJ Episode 90: November Freestyle
November 25, 2021
James Hulse Centerpoint energy
CWJJ Episode 92: James Hulse
December 9, 2021

CWJJ Episode 91: Mike LaMont

mike lamont TRC Companies

Thursday, December 2- Join us this week as Jim and James get to know Mike LaMont with TRC Companies, Inc.  

Quick Links:

Mike LaMont on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] music] [0:00] [0:24]

Jim: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this episode of Coffee with Jim and James. James, Mike. And before we bring Mike in I just want to say that I had the most delicious cup of coffee today. It’s actually, extra‑special. Reminds me of a time that I was in New Orleans with Mike’s counterpart Lane Miller 2018. I’m not going to confirm or deny that Lane had another mishap when he was on crutches in May, of taking a spill in a restaurant. You know what, let’s table that for another time because we’d want Lane here to defend himself if we did. [0:00] [0:58]

James:  Laughs. [0:00] [0:58]

Jim: But, anyways, it’s good to be here this morning. Thanks for joining us audience. James, would you do the honors and bring our guest in, please? [0:00] [1:05]

James:  I will, I will, er, you may know him from the internet and making the media rounds here lately with, with all of our friends on all the podcasts here, lately. Mr. Michael Mont from TRC is joining us today. Mike, good morning. How are you? [0:00] [1:21]

Michael LaMont: Good morning. I’m great. How are you? [0:00] [1:23]

James:  Doing well. Um, we are making it through… [0:00] [1:26]

Michael: Awesome. [0:00] [1:27]

James:  …as we shared on the show many a time, we’ve moved to kind of, er, a schedule where we record several in, at a time. I think we’re on number 7,000 of today, it feels like. We’re doing really well. We’re, we’re in the zone. We’re in the flow. You got to set the in which means a really good at this now. No excuses. [0:00] [1:46]

Michael: You know, that, that, there’s so much truth to that. We, I do podcast myself and in, it’s difficult to go back and listen to the early material. It’s like, oh really, but the more you do it, just like anything else, the better you get at it. [0:00] [2:00]

Jim: And it was more comfortable and easier. [0:00] [2:03]

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. [0:00] [2:05]

James:  Mike, we have a support group now that you’re a part of, the Super Friends. [0:00] [2:09]

Michael: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [2:10]

James:  We’re on an email chain. It’s, I think it’s a support group for podcasting just in our… [0:00] [2:16]

Michael: [laughs] [0:00] [2:16]

James:  So, it’s all same, but Mike we’re glad you’re here this morning. For those who don’t know Mike, Mike is director of Pipeline Integrity Services TRC, and, er, we, if you don’t follow Mike on, er, LinkedIn and, and if you are not on the awesome email chain that I am, you should be following. He’s a great resource for leadership. He’s out there really being an advocate for our industry, and we’re excited to have him on. So, Mike, good morning. And, er, we’re just going to jump right in if you’re ready. [0:00] [2:48]

Michael: Great. Let’s do it. [0:00] [2:49]

James:  Alright, so, we were trying to figure it out in the pre‑show, but, um, we can’t decide if we cross paths are not actually in person. I’m sure we have it. We’ve been to a lot of events and there’s without a doubt a chance that we have. But, you know, like I said, in the virtual world we’ve been in the last 18 months, we definitely have and, um, you know, lots of events that, that we speak at, I know y’all do as well. TRC is a client of ours also, and so, to say we have a lot of overlaps really kind of an understatement. So, it’s awesome to sit down with you and kind of fellowship and really kind of put a face to the name, but let’s get started. I want to kind of give your origin story. Bring everybody along to the Michael Mont that we see today. [0:00] [3:34]

Michael: Wow, OK. So, that’s a wonderful, um, question, the origin story and how to, how did I get to where I am today? I, I’d like to think of myself as a, as a, as an underdog and in, and I think that that we, we all go through life and somewhere around Elementary School you start to compare yourself to others and go, you know, maybe I’m not as athletically gifted and, and maybe I’m not as… Things don’t come easy to me because I’m like that, that kid understood that and and I didn’t get it. And, er, I would say that that’s actually been a, a great thing for me, because, you know, over the, er, course of my childhood, I, like most kids, did, I didn’t have a great relationship with hard work and… [0:00] [4:31]

James:  I still have that. [laughs] [0:00] [4:33] Michael: And it, it was something that my, yeah, really? Yeah, my parents did not give up, right? It was, hey, you know, we’re going to go out and cut the grass. We’re going to go out and do these things and you’re not going to do a shoddy job. You’re going to do a great job at anything you do. And, um, I think, somewhere around high school that that kind of started to click with me. I’m like, oh, you know, the more you put into stuff, the better, the more you get out of it, and, um, and I would say that that’s been a pillar that’s really carried me. Now, um, aside from work ethic, I think that you know, the, the confidence you have, you have to have confidence in being, er, a successful contributing member to this, our society, and, and you go, “OK, well Mike, where does your confidence come from?” [0:00] [5:23]

Mike: I think a couple of things. I think one is, you know, I always knew that I could go back, and, you know, and put the work in. But two, and I talked about this a little It on Connections for Life, but, um, I actually, when I was in grad school, I was teaching and I was working on a thesis, and in that money ran out and I had to go work at the local zoo to make money, and not many people know that. And, and, um, so, I went from teaching freshman in college, which a, by the way can be a very, er, scary thing in and of itself, to working with venomous snakes and crocodiles and alligators. And, and I remember thinking, how many people would do this? Not many, not many would do this. And, and I, I also specifically remembered one day when I was working with one of the cobras or mambas, that, you know, one day, when I get out into the professional world I will never have a, a task as difficult as what I’m doing here. [0:00] [6:33] And, and so, that’s kind of stuck with me over the years is, yeah, but, you know, this is not life and death stuff. So, um, in you, you know, in that environment you can’t make a mistake and you can’t always control what that critters going to do. And so, that was definitely very influencing. And, and then beyond that, I think the, the final thing is, I’ve been a lifelong martial artist. My parents put me in karate when I was probably about third, or fourth grade and I’ve, um, most recently been training in Judo and Brazilian jiu‑jitsu, and, and I think those things are excellent for people. I think all kids should have to take a, a martial art of some form. [0:00] [7:18] And, it’s interesting because it’s incredibly humbling, because you really, when you start at the white belt, you look around and you go, I don’t know, all these guys are better, all these guys and gals are better than me, and, and so, it kind of breaks you down, but then it slowly builds you back up. And, the one thing about martial arts is, if you don’t quit, you will be successful at it. And so, my thing was, well, I’m not the most physically gifted person the world, but I just will not quit, right? And, and that stuck with me. So, er, those are the kinds of things that, that have influenced me to help me get to where I am today. [0:00] [8:01]

James:  That’s, there’s a ton of discipline in martial arts, and, you know, almost, um, unparalleled at what you need. I mean, in, from, it’s funny to think of that as, from a business standpoint and really attribute that. That’s an awesome outlook. [0:00] [8:17]

Mike:  Uh‑huh. [0:00] [8:17]

James:  Mike, how did you end up in natural gas? [0:00] [8:21] Michael: So, I, um, I started my career doing regulatory compliance at a chrome plating plant, and then, um, got a call from a company called Lufkin Industries. And Lufkin Industries for those of you that don’t know, manufacturers oil pumping units, and that was really the, the start. And so, I went and took a position with them where I was doing environmental, all the safe, safety, all regulatory compliance things. And that was, that was, I’d say, my, the, the real start in my oil and gas career. And from there, um, after a few years of doing that I went to a small, um, consulting firm and jumped in, right, when the integrity rules were first coming out and haven’t looked back since. [0:00] [9:16]

James:  Awesome. [0:00] [9:17] Jim: I love it, I, I do want to introduce Mike though to Randall Hackworth from Wade Trim. Next time you’re at a conference where the conference together, let’s connect the dots. [0:00] [9:26]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [9:26]

Jim: Competed in some sort of form of martial arts in the world. I mean, this is a few years ago. [0:00] [9:32]

Michael: Excellent. [0:00] [9:33] Jim: But, he’s actually a worldwide competitor. And, he also talks about the discipline that it carries through all the real life. [0:00] [9:39]

Michael: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [9:39]

Jim: So, very fascinating. That’s probably why you have that. [0:00] [9:42]

Michael: It really does. [0:00] [9:43]

James:  Yep, for sure. [0:00] [9:44] Michael: Ha ha ha. Yes, I’m older than I look, so there is that. [0:00] [9:50]

Jim: Er, Connections for Life guys said you’ve been in the industry energy for 20 years, and I think you said Chad said, well, you started when you were four, you know. [0:00] [9:58]

Michael: Yeah. Four, exactly, yeah, yeah. Something, something to that effect. But, you know, in, and so, martial arts, its, it’s, I, I think human beings are, are really designed to, to be active, and to, to get out and move your body. And so, you know, not everyone has to go out and be a martial artist, but just like, if you have a puppy and you keep it pent up in its crate all day, well, that critter, that dog is not going to be the super happy dog. It’s not going to be the best it could be. I think, people are exactly the same. You’re meant to get out and move around. And, and one of the great things, I think that, that COVID has taught us is, you know, hey, when you can remote, remote work, you can work from home, go out and take a walk at lunchtime. Go take a walk in the evenings. [0:00] [10:50]

James:  Yeah. [0:00] [10:50]

Michael: And, and don’t sit in a cube all day, because I think that, that ultimately that just crushes our souls. If we just sit there in front of these screens all days, all day. It’s really detrimental. [0:00] [11:05] Jim: Yep. Well, I agree. I used to be an avid walker, and when I walk, when I did, I need to get it back up. I’ve been, I don’t know, whatever, but it’s, you know, when I walk, it’s more, I’d say, mental than physical, even though I did four to six miles a day, you know. So, it’s great physical, but… [0:00] [11:21]

Michael: Absolutely [0:00] [11:21]

Jim: …clarity. I felt alive. Let me, let me bring us back on, Mike, TRC. You know, we know you guys. [0:00] [11:28] Michael: TRC. [0:00] [11:28]

Jim: Lane Miller is, is a great friend of James’s, I, I… [0:00] [11:35]

James:  Lane, Lane Miller’s… [0:00] [11:38]

Jim: Come on, you know, I’ll take ownership of Lane, so, known him for years and he’s a great guy. Let’s help bring the audience a little bit, you know, more into TRC, what you guys do, how you fit into the big picture, such like that. Let’s give people the, er, maybe the 20,000 foot overview. How does that sound? [0:00] [11:59]

Michael: Sure. That sounds great. So, TRC, we are a full‑service engineering consulting firm. We do everything from air permitting to soil and groundwater remediation. Our team works with, with pipelines and you go, OK, well, what do we do with pipeline? We work with both haz, hazardous liquids, and natural gas pipelines. And, we do all things regulatory, pipeline safety. And so, you mentioned Lane, our regulatory guru. That’s, er, that, that’s something that TRC’s really done an excellent job at is that we’ve went out and got the top experts in the pipeline industry and have structured our team around, around those experts. [0:00] [12:47]

So, we have, you know, a Regulatory Compliance team, Lane Miller, Duapa Dough, Dale Goldman, Buzz Fan. These are all, er, top experts in our industry. And, and beyond that we do, um, integrity engineering. And, you know, what does that mean? So, HCA analysis, risk analysis, in, integrity assessment management, data integration, and we, we have a corrosion control team. And, all of these teams are led by really, the top folks in the industry. And so, we, we really are proud of being expert led. [0:00] [13:27]

Jim: I like that. And, and I think you even held back a little bit because I, you know, when I’ve talked to Lane many times at conferences, you know, Lane will go down a path and then he’ll give a presentation. Then he gets a presentation going. [0:00] [13:39]

Michael: [laughs] [0:00] [13:39]

Jim: So, you know, it’s exciting. I got to share something with you, you just hit on it. You use the word led, OK, and I get to share the mic with this gentleman, James, who is passionate about leadership. Um, you know, James will talk your ears off, you know, all of a sudden, I’ll get a whatever. He’s like, “Hey, I found a new book on leadership,” you know. [0:00] [14:05]

Michael: Yeah, yeah. [0:00] [14:06]

Jim: And if you go over to his side, he has them on his desk. Um, he could be pulling them out all day. I’ve watched him. [0:00] [14:14]

Michael: There you go. [0:00] [14:15]

Jim: Yeah. Oh, yeah, he’s into it. [0:00] [14:17]

Michael: Yeah. Yeah, he’s ready. [0:00] [14:20]

James:  They’re just props. However, ready. [0:00] [14:21]

Jim: It’s good though. He can speak to… [0:00] [14:22]

James:  They’re on my list. They’re on my list. [0:00] [14:27]

Jim: He’s helped my daughter who just graduated from UT Austin, I mean, James is a guru about that. We’ve watched you on live with Jim Kunkel. We watch you on Connections for Life and I have to say, you and James have something very similar, you know, this passion about leadership and, and leadership in a way to help people. Um, you know, where did you get that? You know? [0:00] [14:48]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [14:48]

Jim: Who instilled that in you Mike. You know, where does it come from? [0:00] [14:53]

Michael: That’s a great question, Jim. Yeah, I would say that the leadership void has sucked me in. It’s not that I’m some great leader and I have everything figured out, because I don’t. I, I would say that it’s more that poor leadership is, is everywhere right now, and, and, you can’t get away from it, whether it’s politicians, business, the media, we have such poor examples of what makes a good leader today. Today, how do you get to be a leader? Well, you put other people down, um, and, and you, you do, you continue on that path. And, and it’s sitting back and criticizing others is simply not leadership, OK. [0:00] [15:45]

I think, it takes very little intellect or ability to wait for something bad to happen, or to be divisive, or look at lagging indicators and go, well, you know, you didn’t do a good job, knowing very well that the person saying that can’t do the work that you can, so, that that’s not leadership. And, and so, I would say that, that because there’s, there’s so much poor leadership I feel really compelled to talk about, hey, there’s a better way. There’s a better way. Leadership build up others and say, how can I help you, versus, let’s just kind of crush people and then, and move on to the next group, crush them, keep them down. And, we should be all working to elevate everyone around us. [0:00] [16:44]

And in the most fun that I’ve had professionally is give me that island of misfit toys that nobody else wants, but they want to work hard. Give me the underdogs. I will form a team and you know what, I’ll get in there with them, right? Um, and, and we will outwork anyone else, and we’re going to build each other up, and in an, in about a year, right, that team together will be better than, you know, the, all the well credentialed, whatever, you know. [0:00] [17:25]

And so, that’s really what I’m passionate about is, let’s, there is a better way and, and let’s start talking about it, and let’s push out the kind of this, this paradigm we’re in right now that somehow we should respect others that, that, um, are in a leadership position that aren’t leaders. And, and so, if you look at the stats right now, about 70 percent of the workforce says, “I’m disengaged with my job. I don’t like what I do. I don’t like my boss,” and you go, what does that mean in terms of productivity? [0:00] [18:10]

Jim: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [18:10]

Michael: Like, you know, and, and companies are around to make money, period. They are, that, that’s what companies are around to do. And, and you go, well, wow, how much more money could you make if you inspired your employees and you built them up. [0:00] [18:32]

Jim: Yep. [0:00] [18:32]

Michael: Versus, you, you lead by tearing them down, keeping them scared., right? And, and so, that’s something that I think we have to, to stand up and say, we need to change, absolutely need to change. And, and right now we’re seeing a changing of the guard, so to speak, in the leadership in oil and gas where a lot of it, I’ll call it, the old school leadership is, is moved on to retirement. And I think this is a wonderful opportunity to go, you know, what we’re going to do this a little differently now. And now, there’s two sides to this story because the workforce has a role in it too, because I can say, you know what, I’m an employee and Jim, you’re my boss, I’m going to put all the responsibility on you. And if you fail to inspire me, I’m, I’m just not going to work really hard. And so, it’s a two‑way street. [0:00] [19:36] Jim: Yep. [0:00] [19:37]

Michael: You as a leader have to do, but the workforce, and, and you see this everywhere, I’ll jog, but I’m not gonna gonna run for you. And, and, more and more that’s becoming a problem with the younger generation coming on, because they’re like, “Well, I’m really not inspired by you, so if you expect me to sweat, that’s not going to happen. I will, I’ll do a light jog and, and I will do the min, minimum, maybe a little bit more in the minimum, but I’m really not going to kill myself and, and really work hard.” And so, it’s a two‑way street. And, and I think, that that to have a balanced discussion you have to always consider that the folks that are being led have to, one, be open‑minded enough to being led, right? And, and unfortunately that’s a challenge in the, in the workplace as well today. [0:00] [20:42]

James:  But, there’s a lot of, Mike, there’s a lot of studies being done on how important the first follower is, you know. And, and one of the most famous Ted Talks out there’s a three minute to Ted Talk about the importance of the first follower, right, that first nut. [0:00] [20:55]

Michael: Right. [0:00] [20:56]

James:  And, that, that, you know, learning how to be a great follower is something that’s very important too, you know, learning how to follow and when, and look around. [0:00] [21:07] Michael: Absolutely. [0:00] [21:08]

James:  Its super underrated. [0:00] [21:10]

Michael: Absolutely. So, now I think, we are in this perfect storm where we’ve got, we got folks that don’t want to be led and have no interest really in being led, and then folks that are poor leaders. And so, you go, you know, what, where does it all come from? Again, I’d say that void, that void what we sit in, has more sucked me in and put me in this position where it’s, it’s like, I got to speak up and say something because I feel responsibility. I feel compelled to, to help, and, er, I’ve made a career out of building up others, taking folks that, that, um, didn’t believe in themselves, that you saw something. I saw something in and going, hey, no, let’s, let’s put you in a situation where you can succeed. And, to me that’s more satisfying than, than anything you can do. And, if you’re not making other people around you better, why are you here? [0:00] [22:12]

Jim: Yep. Let me, let me jump in real quick. I just have to connect the dots again. When you said you wanted to lead the, what is it, the land of the misfit toys, or whatever that phrase is. [0:00] [22:22]

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. [0:00] [22:25]

Jim: Somebody else on this podcast, maybe James, it’s been said the same thing about him that he likes to do that too. He likes to get people that have, you know. [0:00] [22:36]

James:  A really funny thing that happened. It was a kind of a joke at first, but Jim actually came to work in the brand department. So, he worked for me and funny enough Jim left the brand department about two or three months ago, and it was like the end of, er, er, you know, Rudolph where the toy got to go back. [0:00] [22:57]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [22:58]

James:  So, it was a full circle. It was pretty nice. [0:00] [23:01]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [23:01]

James:  Mike, we joke about it. You know, I love that you said, you know, what pulled you in was really that, that void sucked you in. I’m kind of driven. I’m enamored by leadership. I’m so fascinated by, in the different, I mean, I can’t read enough. I can’t look at enough examples. [0:00] [23:20]

Michael: Uh‑huh. [0:00] [23:21]

James:  And, and find this new little wrinkle that allows me to, you know, like you said, stand people up or help people along, or get them in the right seat, whatever it might be. So, I, you know, kind of the same vein, but it’s really, for me it’s so fascinating what’s out there and what leaders have done in the past, and, and the good and bad and ugly of it, right? You can learn just so much from them. [0:00] [23:43]

Michael: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [23:43]

James:  From the the poor examples out there. In fact, that, when I look back the ones that stick out are the ones I don’t want to be when I grow up, you know, and that’s what I always said. [0:00] [23:53]

Michael: Yep, absolutely. [0:00] [23:54]

James:  And so, I learned really quite a bit from that. Mike. I want to stay on this topic. I was really, you know, pumped to get to sit and talk to you about leadership. There’s a book for myself that kind of changed me in the way I went about it. Mentioned it several times, called The Happiness Advantage, and if you have it, look it up. There’s also a Ted Talk on it, that, that’s kind of a, it in a nutshell. But is there, are there any books for you that maybe have been, kind of, that, that book or, or have built a great foundation for you? Seven Habits is another one for us. [0:00] [24:29]

Jim: Yep. [0:00] [24:29]

James:  Good to Great, that’s a good one. Yeah, you know, ones like that, become like foundational books for you? [0:00] [24:38]

Michael: Yeah, er, that’s, that’s a great question. And, and we are so fortunate to live in an age where there’s so many resources at our fingertips, and, and you can go onto YouTube and, and get some great, listen to Ted Talks, or just listen to some great content, and, and people should be taking advantage of that. Right? I mean, it’s, there’s, it’s just a wonderful time to be alive in that respect. [0:00] [25:05]

So, books, I, I would say that most recently, the book that has most influence me is, “Can’t hurt me,” by David Goggins. I, I think that that really opened my eyes, and if you haven’t read it, it is, it’s a, the underdog story. It’s, it’s about, er, David growing up in, in, er, rural Indiana, and, and being, you know, poor, and, and his, his dad was a, abusive. And, and just having all of these disadvantages. And, and he overcame all of those things to become a Navy SEAL, inspirational speaker and author. [0:00] [25:49]

And, and there’s, there’s something that, that he says that, that really sticks with me. That basically, we’re living at about 40 percent of what we could do. Like, we have a governor on us like a car, and, and we get to that 40 percent and, in whether it’s doing something physical, or sitting in here working on something for work, um, we start to get uncomfortable. And we go, oh, this is not fun and, and we back off. And, and how do you do it at work? Well, um, let me look at my phone. Let me you know, and, and so, I, I find that really fascinating that, um, and again, if you think about what companies are around to do, we’re around to, companies are around to make money and you go, wow, if you have a work force that, that, that if they were inspired, you could get maybe 50, 60 percent more productivity out of them. Wow, you know, so that’s probably the number one. [0:00] [26:58]

I’ve also read, um, you know, certainly Jocko Williams, Lawrence Colebrook, and so, there’s a theme, um, you know, these, all of these folks have done incredibly tough things and, um, persevered, right? And, and so, I find that to be very inspirational. And, and the other thing that these folks are saying is, why would you care what everyone else is doing? What have you done? What, what have you done today? Because, again, we’re in this kind of society where we point fingers and we go, well, I’m not successful because of this person or this group or, well, this person is getting a promotion that I should have got. And, and it’s, and if you stop, stop all that and you start to go, OK, um, what do I need to do to get better? [0:00] [27:53]

That’s where true greatness comes from. That’s where you start to really be the best you can be, and you can, if you’re blaming everyone else and you’re focused on everything else and today, unfortunately, you’ve so much out there to distract us from ourselves. [0:00] [28:10]

James:  Social media, man, amen. [0:00] [28:12]

Jim: Yeah. [0:00] [28:13]

James:  There’s plenty of time… [0:00] [28:14]

Michael: Social media. [0:00] [28:15]

James:  I mean, and we’re you know as much of, much of it, we can point fingers at, we’re, you know, we’re out there doing it too. But, no, it’s a great message. I can pick up that book, um, what currently I’m reading, Never Split The Difference, um, FBI negotiators, it’s a really good one. Let’s see, trying to think what else? I’m also reading, my wife tells me I should read for fun more, which I tell her, this is fun, but she doesn’t get it. [0:00] [[28:41]

James:  So, I’m trying to read Nelson [inaudible 28:45].

Er, I just read Black Buck, which is a really good one, kind of a sales book. [0:00] [28:49]

Michael: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [28:50]

James:  Really good. Really good story in there too. Well, hey Mike, while we have you, um, we’re going to, this is something new. We’ve kind of been doing at the end of shows, but we’re going to give you the floor a little bit. Turn it back over. Let you, kind of, have the podcast, but. [0:00] [29:08]

Michael: Are you sure you want to trust me, you’re giving me the keys? [0:00] [29:10]

Jim: Oh, yeah. [0:00] [29:13]

Michael: Kind of, you know, I do hang out with the Wade though. [0:00] [29:16]

James:  [inaudible 29:18] [0:00] [29:16]

Michael: there is that. [0:00] [29:16]

James:  You always have that magic. [0:00] [29:16]

Michael: [laughs] [0:00] [29:16]

James; Mike, what’s one message that you would like to share with our audience with a personal business, whatever. You got your moment to give it all away. [0:00] [29:28]

Michael: So. [0:00] [29:28]

James:  What would you like to say? [0:00] [29:31]

Michael: Yeah. It’s, in, in, I’ll bring it back to pipeline integrity for just, just a moment because, you know, we’ve talked about leadership and, and, and I’m passionate, but understand that this, all of these things are connected. I have had the privilege of working and building with some wonderful team. Some excellent pipeline integrity programs. And, and those programs functioned very, very well. I mean, world class programs, best people, best technologies, and you take one person out, or you change ownership, or you take one person out, and you take another person out, and all of a sudden, these programs crumble. All the processes and procedures are still there. All the technologies are still there. And you go, OK, well, why is that that program not what it was? [0:00] [30:24]

And it becomes, it comes, comes back to this leadership question. And so, here’s my question for, for the audience is, do you want to be mediocre? OK, because if the answer is yes, if you’re, if you’re ultimately satisfied with being mediocre, I have nothing to offer you, right? I can’t help you, right? But, if you want to be special, if you want to be great, then, then take the first step, and the first step is looking inwardly, what do I need to work on, right? And, I think that, that folks that give the advice of, you know, double down on your strengths and don’t forget your weaknesses, I think that’s completely wrong. I think that you’ve got to embrace your weaknesses, be comfortable with them. [0:00] [31:20]

Jim: Yep. [0:00] [31:20]

Michael: And, and work on them every single day and get better. And, and that’s how you start the, down the road to being special. Now, are we all going to influential leaders? You know, maybe, maybe not, but we all have a role to play and again, you know, being the, having the ability to be led is, is really just as important as, as being an effective leader. Now, I, I think my role as, as a leader is to support and develop the, the talent that I work with that, and I work with brilliant folks that require little to zero, er, management, right? [0:00] [32:01]

And, and so, um, but then we also also have folks on the team that are younger that, that are just getting their career started and, and that’s, that’s my responsibility, is to help them along this path. And their responsibility is, OK, I got to walk down this path and when Mike asked me to run I need to run, you know, so, um, I think, that ultimately if, if you look at society and spin this country right now, unhappiness and depression, all these things are everywhere. [0:00] [32:33]

Jim: Yep. [0:00] [32:35]

Michael: And we can fix that, right? You can turn off the news, you can stop consuming all the media. You can stop consuming social media, and you can go out the door, put your shoes on, go for a walk, and then maybe the next day you’re going to go for a jog, and then maybe the next day you’re going to go for a run, and believe it or not, then, then a year from now you’re going to be better than what you were, but you got to start somewhere. [0:00] [33:00]

Jim: That was good. [0:00] [33:01]

James:  That’s good. [0:00] [33:02]

Jim: I’ve, I have a follow‑up question, James, if you don’t mind. [0:00] [33:04]

Michael: Yeah, go for it. [0:00] [33:06]

Jim: We kind of wrap up the show. We’re getting towards that point, but let’s just say you’re in front of a energy crowd of 10,000 people, on stage. [0:00] [33:16]

Michael: Uh‑huh. [0:00] [33:18] Jim: And they say to you, Mike, say the one word that describes you. What would you say? [0:00] [33:27]

Michael: Mm‑hmm, yeah, that’s a, that’s an interesting question. In the one word that describes me, I think that, um, the word that comes to mind would be optimist, you know, I think that, that you have to, to again, to effectively lead, you have to see the good, and right now nobody wants to see the good, because it’s just not in. It’s not cool right now. It’s not in vogue. And, and how do you get clicks on your, on your, um, you know, your, your news website when you say, something inflammatory or bad about someone else, and that’s what we click on, right? And so, I would say, you know, optimist. [0:00] [34:10]

Jim: I like that. That’s it. We’re positive here, James. [0:00] [34:15]

James:  We need more optimists. [0:00] [34:15]

Jim: Yeah, we really do. I mean, er, because otherwise you’re fighting yourself, being a pessimist. You’re like yeahhhh. [0:00] [34:23]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [34:25]

Jim: But it’s… [0:00] [34:25]

James; Hey guys. We, we have some pessimist viewers too, so don’t, don’t, I’ll try to… [0:00] [34:30]

Michael: That’s OK. [0:00] [34:30] Jim: We’ll bring them along. [0:00] [34:35]

Michael: [laughs] So, we will bring them along. [0:00] [34:37]

James:  We will. [0:00] [34:37]

Michael: Yeah. [0:00] [34:39]

James:  Well, Mike, you’ve been awesome. [0:00] [34:41]

Jim: Yeah. [0:00] [34:41]

James:  It’s been great to fellowship with you and finally to get to talk some shop. I know I speak for us all. [0:00] [34:48]

Michael: That’s my pleasure. [0:00] [34:49]

James:  When we say it’s been our treat to learn from you today, and I hope our audience, again, a little bit out of it, as well. [0:00] [34:57]

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. No, thank you for on behalf of James and I, thank you for being on. For the audience members, if you’re on the LinkedIn platform please connect with Mike, follow TRC. [0:00] [35:06]

Michael: Follow me on LinkedIn. [0:00] [35:08]

Jim: What’s that? [0:00] [35:10]

Michael: Yep, find me on LinkedIn. I’m not hard to find. [0:00] [35:13]

Jim: I think we may even put a hyperlink when we post this, just so we make it easier for everybody. So, now. [0:00] [35:21]

Michael: All right. [0:00] [35:22]

James:  Thank you everybody absolutely. Mike, again, thank you for being on the show today. We absolutely enjoyed it. We want to have you back sometime, is that all right, down the wrong time? [0:00] [35:31]

Michael: Any time. I’m happy to do it. [0:00] [35:32]

Jim: That sounds great. Until next week on Coffee with Jim and James, thank you for tuning in. As I always say, stay safe everybody. We’ll see you next time. Take care. Thanks, Mike. [0:00] [35:43] Michael: Bye. [0:00] [35:44]

James:  Thanks. [0:00] [[35:44] music] [0:00]

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