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Author Brian Mohr On Hiring With Purpose, Vulnerability, & Music - The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 33

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How can you make sure you hire the right person for every job? On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, author and senior-level recruitment expert Brian Mohr shares the key to hiring with purpose.

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In 2011, Brian Mohr was the Senior Director of Talent Strategy at P.F. Changs and Pei Wei Asian Diner.

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His job was to make sure any senior-level positions were filled with the best person for the job. As part of his responsibilities, he worked with executive search services, locating individuals who fit the job description best based on what they looked like on paper. 

He found the experience to be very transactional. It didn’t consider whether the applicant’s values or personality aligned with the company’s, which is often even more important in the long run. So Brian left the company and started his own executive search firm with co-founder Max Hansen, Y Scouts, to fill that missing piece of the recruitment process. He and Max Hansen wrote a book, Hiring with Purpose, to share their human approach to hiring.

Culture is something that many, many business owners struggle with. Brian notes that your culture is extremely dependent on the people you hire. if you manage to craft the culture you’ve always wanted, a single bad employee can corrupt the culture. This puts a lot of stress on entrepreneurs when a job becomes vacant. They feel overwhelmed and worry that they’ll hire the wrong person and lose what makes their business so unique in the first place.

To avoid this, Brian suggests hiring with a proactive mindset, creating a planning process so you’re prepared when a job opens up, speak to stakeholders to see the kinds of people you should be hiring, and research candidates well before their first interview.

Although he is skilled in the world of senior-level recruitment, Brian’s original dream was to be a musician. When that didn’t happen, he started to reflect on his life. He joined an EO forum and made good friends by being vulnerable and showing the good, bad, and the ugly to a group of strangers. 

Brian began to see the importance of vulnerability in and out of the office. Psychological safety is the biggest part of an individual’s success at work. You have to have a place where you can share raw, real emotion with people you trust.

Today, Brian’s focused on finding ways to bring entrepreneurs together using music, story, and human connection. 

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You can get ahold of Brian here:

brian@lifetracks.me
LinkedIn

Read Brian’s book:

Hiring on Purpose: How the Y Scouts Method Is Revolutionizing the Search for Leaders

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Brian Mohr : 

If we can, as teammates, be okay to share some of the highs and lows of our lives with one another so that we have a better understanding of where do we come from? How are our opinions and perspectives forms? What are our philosophies of how we look at the world? If we can begin to get a deeper understanding of those elements of the people that we spend the most time with? Won't we eventually create better results because there's a deeper sense of understanding of trust of safety of belonging within those teams. And all of the data suggests that the higher the levels of trust, safety and belonging that exists, the better the performance, so This to me is just like fireworks ding ding, ding, like okay, this is now is the time to unleash humanity at work.

Steve Brown : 

Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcasts where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is a place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Alright, everybody, I want to introduce you to Brian Moore. Now, Brian, I learned about Brian, actually an introduction from a good friend that I interviewed on one of my earlier podcast, and so he really recommended that I need Brian and so So Brian Burkhart. Connected Brian Moore. And what's cool about Brian Brian So I first learned about you, when I was listening to an author, our podcast on your book, you're an author, and you have a book titled firing on purpose. And tell us a little bit about where you were in that stage. And then we're going to walk into what I really want to talk about. But start off there. That's where I learned about you. And that's kind of cool that Brian Burkhardt introduces me later and that already was aware of you. But why did you do that book? And then that'll probably stumble us into the juicy part of this conversation. sure that a lot. Welcome, by the way, welcome, Brian. More to the ROI on my podcast.

Brian Mohr : 

Well, thanks for having me, Steve. I appreciate it. And you know, typically, when Brian Burkhardt, makes an introduction, I run as fast as I can in the other direction. But since we have this commonality with with scribed media, I'm like, ah, maybe I'll give it a shot. So now Bryan Burkhart is an amazing individual and someone I am really, really privileged and honored to call a friend.

Steve Brown : 

on the same page.

Brian Mohr : 

Yes, Yeah, he is. He is one of the kind to say the least. So to your question around the hiring on purpose book, back in 2011, I was the Senior Director of talent strategy for pF changs and paveway, Asian diner, the restaurant company. And as part of my responsibility, obviously, anytime there were senior level recruiting needs, I was the liaison I was the responsible party to make sure that those positions are being filled with the best possible individual. And I was very new to the company when the very first opportunity appeared. And I came to find out very, very quickly That the process that Chang's and Pei Wei used to fill their most senior level needs was to work with an executive search firm. And so I had never, I was familiar with the industry. But I had never been the buyer or the purchaser of executive search services. And so we went into a variety of different search projects with these very well known global executive search firms. And I just found the process to be very, very transactional, and was really looking at and emphasizing does the resume and the experience match what the job description is, and you know, the more of a spot on match, the more likely that that would be the candidate that we would hire. What was missing for me was whether or not the candidates purpose and values was aligned to what the company stood for and whatever its core values or guiding principles work. And so I made a decision To leave changs and pay away and start an executive search firm in 2012, I was a co founder with a really good friend of mine. His name's max Hanson great guy. And we launched the sperm in March of 2012. And the book to make a long story short, we wrote in 2016 17, it spanned over, you know, a handful of months. And the book was a, really a, an aggregation of all of the learnings that we had figured out, taking a very different approach to the hiring process. And we know that not every organization can afford executive search services, or any many companies want to do their own recruiting and totally understandable so we wanted to give them essentially the blueprint of what we learned taking a very purpose and values driven approach. holding that piece of the equation, add a level of parody, with the experience education and all the other sort of hard skill requirements that are clearly important, but don't compensate for a mismatch on the purpose and value side.

Steve Brown : 

You know, as a business owner and I I know that every I'm I would imagine that everyone struggles with this insecurity about the hidden Miss aspect of trying to pick good people to become a part of your organization. And there, there's the gut feeling there's How should I approach it, it's another thing you have to specialize and get good at on top of pricing or managing or designing or whatever that is. And it's always been something that I really know there's a better way other than just let me see your resume. And then let's see if you can tell me the answers. I want To hear from these questions,

Brian Mohr : 

it's a hiring and who you choose to let in the front door of your organization, I think is hiring the most difficult part. I believe that's just my opinion. And I think the importance level of who you choose to let in is one of those critical make or break factors of the company. And I, you know, if I had this simplify where I think the recruiting process is misunderstood, I would, I would have to say it's in this contrast of being reactive versus proactive, and virtually every company waits until the very last second to begin the recruiting process because either somebody just left or got fired, whatever the case may be. They wait until it's time to start as opposed to having a mindset of you've got to always be looking for amazing people, because if you're proactive in the process, and you find somebody that is a really good human match for who you are as an organization and what you stand for you, you've built yourself some cushions and timeframe cushion to be able to make much better decisions without feeling like, Oh my God, this position is unfilled as a result of that being unfilled. We're losing revenue opportunities, or it's casting or distributing workload on a variety of other people that are already overworked. So, you know, you get into this really interesting time frame game. And if there's one piece of advice I would encourage every company to do is you should always be looking for great talent and whether or not you've got a job to fit them in. You know, if you find somebody that's a good fit for who you are, and you think they can add value, then you need to find a way to bring great talent into your organization.

Steve Brown : 

I think one of the things lessons I learned was that If you can be deliberate about what your culture is and what it stands for, that increases your odds of repelling people who would come and apply for a job that maybe wouldn't be a good fit. And actually increases the odds of people that go, Hey, I want to be a part of something more like that, because I didn't enjoy the culture I was in this last time. And we always hear that most people don't quit their job because of the company but because of their last boss, right?

Brian Mohr : 

That's right. And I agree with you. I think the more defiant that companies can be with who they are and what they stand for. I mean, what an amazing filter, you might as well just put it out there and be just, you know, emphatic about it so that that attractiveness brings the right people to your point, it repels the ones that are just like wow, you know, that's just not really my bag. So I'm gonna go pursue something else.

Steve Brown : 

So real quick before we move on and talk about your, your new company life tracks, knee. What are the kind of the top key points in your book hiring on purpose that the folks that are listening to this podcast, they're business owners or story brand guides, they're entrepreneurs, they're marketing directors, and they're and some marketing students. So it'd be kind of cool to know what are the key points on your book, and in the manner that most of them need to be exposed to that enlightened thinking anyway.

Brian Mohr : 

So in addition to the proactive reactive mindset, I would say one of the other things that I would hold up at a very high level also is the importance of the planning process. And what I mean by that is, you know, so many organizations today, when they go out to market to fill a position, oftentimes they will very haphazardly. Think through Well, what, what job are we really looking to fill? And if we even take that a step further, what are the outcomes that the best person can deliver to the organization? And I just see so many hiring managers not take the time to invest in that front end planning process to really define who are they looking for? And what are the outcomes that an amazing individual will deliver. And I think the best way to go about doing that what we learned is not only does the hiring manager need to document and think through what he or she believes success looks like, but also speak to a variety of other stakeholders, either internally or externally or both, who will come into contact with that role and gain their perspective. So if you know if you're hiring for a position that has a variety of peer relationships, subordinate supervisor relationships on the inside, as well as As working with a vendor or a supplier, maybe it's a banker, if it's a finance role, whatever the case may be, you also have external stakeholders that will interact with that role. And because of the degree of collaboration that's happening in business today is just completely off the charts, to not gain the perspective of all the people that are heavily influenced by that role and ask them, Hey, if you were in my spot as the hiring manager, what are the key criteria characteristics, you know, experiences that you'd want to see in this person that would make the relationship between you and that person blossom. And so you do this multi stakeholder survey of sorts to gain everyone's perspective so that when you do go out to market, you have the most holistic understanding of what you really need to be successful. So yeah, those I would say I could go on and on about this, but I would say The two things for sure are the proactive versus reactive mindset. And then second is the amount of time you spend doing the planning and research to really get it right on the front end before you even start talking to candidates. It is worth its weight in gold.

Steve Brown : 

That, that seems like that's a great, great way to really focus on the upside of bringing someone into the organization but I think a lot of organizations fall into the trap of fear of the compliance dictates from from the law, which is so antiquated. And so behind the times that we're in this fear of what we have to follow this certain process of hiring so that we're, we're not violating any HR or, or interview items and they totally missed the beautiful upside and finding a great fit for their organization. Yep,

Brian Mohr : 

yep, I agree. Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, as much as the hiring experience is at its core, it is a transactional process. I mean that let's let I'm not going to pretend that it's rainbows and unicorns, there is a transaction happening. But it's a human process. these are these are human beings working with other human beings that are choosing to spend their time their energy, their gifts, their talents, to build something right for one another, and to not layer in all of the human elements to it. I just think it's a real missed opportunity. It's we spend so much of our adult lives working. So for that experience to be anything other than deeply meaningful, you know, or at least shooting for that I realized there are different stages in life and we all sometimes have to do things we don't enjoy doing and it's not meaningful because there is a means to an end. mentality that certainly does come into play. And as you progress throughout your career to continue to emphasize the importance of it being a meaningful experience, I think is it's a priority for me. And I guess because of my bias, and I'm certainly not alone. Not anything that should be a priority for everybody. We just spend too much time doing it, for it to be anything other than a meaningful experience.

Steve Brown : 

I agree. So speaking of being a human and meaningful things, give us a little backstory, obviously music now we have a video layer, have this conversation going on. You can find it on YouTube and also on our website, but you have some guitars in the background music is being communicated to me is an important part of your life. Ring us up kind of introduce us to you and why were you stumbled into that and why does it continue on as a valuable part of what you do?

Brian Mohr : 

Well, it's Thanks for the question. It's, and don't don't let the background mislead you or anyone that that will be watching this that I'm somehow an accomplished, phenomenal musician far from the case. I start I picked it up about a little under four years ago and threw myself into learning how to play guitar because it was a childhood dream. And unfortunately, as a result of just a variety of factors, it's something I never pursued. I just dreamt about it. And so once my daughters got to the age where they started to become a bit more self sufficient, I found myself with a little bit more free time on the weekends. And so I'm like, you know what, instead of yelling at the television every Sunday, you know, hoping for somebody to get hurt to help my fantasy football team. And and and waste those seven or eight hours on a Sunday. Yeah, I made a commitment one year about almost four years ago. So I guess it was a 2016 season. And I said, You know what, I'm gonna play guitar every Sunday instead of watch football. And so here I am now four years later. And I would say an accomplished very amateur musician, but I love it. And it's, it's such a creative outlet for me. So musics always been a really important part of my life, as I think it is for many, many people, it's such a creative outlet and it's just a universal language that most people understand. So it's been this sort of lifelong passion. And you know, all of the the notion of if you can find work that incorporates your passion, you know, you'll never work a day in your life. And while for many, that's an elusive pursuit, I was determined to figure it out whether or not I have we will find out but I think, myself and my co founder on the right track, so about two and a half years ago, I joined an eo forum, the entrepreneurs organization, a CEO, entrepreneur, peer to peer forum much like YPO and Vistage and many of the other groups out there, I'm sure the majority of your audience as well aware. And the very first experience when you join a forum for a new member like myself is you go through a process that they call the lifeline process. And essentially, it's the new members opportunity to introduce themselves to their forum, and really share the story of their life. And it's a nicely curated process. And you know, the old cliche, you get out what you put into it, if this new forum that I was joining is really going to serve me best and me then it behooves me to give them the good, the bad, the ugly, like really go into detail and share with them my life story, because my goal in joining this forum was to experience both personal and professional growth and no better way to do that. And to just share the rock reality of who is Brian Moore. And so I did the process and it was great. So as I started to build relationships with these new forum members, one of them in particular and I His name is Jeremy, Jeremy and I were asking ourselves the question like, this is such a powerful experience to bring strangers together and build immediate safety and trust? Is there something we could do with this and bring it into the work world because you've got teams of people coming together, who are all working towards a common goal yet oftentimes don't reach that same level of safety and trust because for whatever reason, the work place is still a place where we're not allowed to be, you know, wholly ourselves that we're moving in that direction, but we're not there yet. So we just were sort of wrestling and dealing with that question of could could this Lifeline process be Could we set it alive? Could we bring it alive in the workplace? And we kept sort of hitting the brick wall of number one. A lot of people haven't actually even taken the time to reflect on the story of their life. So they didn't even know what stories they might share with their colleagues. Yeah. And number two, you've got a lot of introverts and people that, you know, just don't enjoy that kind of a chit chat, small talk or being vulnerable and raw, sort of, like, how could we do this so that there's some level of universal accessibility to all different kinds of people?

Steve Brown : 

Well, let's stop right there. Yeah. While you're talking, I'm thinking when you said all right, I went through this introduction process. So you, you thought All right, I have an investment here my time I want to get a lot out of it. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna make myself vulnerable. I'm going to share, what can I share, whereas someone like that Me might might miss that point and go, Okay, I just want to I don't, this is not about me so much. And I'm going to share. You know, I grew up here. I did that this What? Talk to us about that conversation that was going on your hand because it's valuable about where you're about to go.

Brian Mohr : 

Yeah, you know, so it's a great question and a keen insight that you picked up on. During the 2019 calendar year, I was involved in a year long program, a leadership program that was run out of the Dallas area. It's called the stake in leadership academy. And a lot of their work is rooted in some pretty heady philosophical theory called integral theory. And one of the one of the through lines are the DNA threads that we focused on throughout the year long program was really Helping each member of the program uncover connect to what they felt their individual purpose is at this time in their life. And as part of the program, I had an executive coach working with me. So I would check in with her every other week. And I would say about a month, maybe six weeks in so early under the program. She said to me on one of our coaching calls, she said, Brian, Yura, you're a deep end of the pool kind of guy. And I said, I think I knew what she meant, oh, my God, Robin, you're gonna need to explain like, What do you mean? Let me make sure I understand. She said, Well, you know that there are some people in in the class and people that I coach who always need to when they get into the pool, they need to be able to touch the bottom. And then there are other people like you, you're like, no, the hell with it. I'm just going to jump in if I can't touch the bottom. So what I'll figure it out, and you're just willing to sort of throw it all out there. So it was a really, it was a wonderful compliment. And so to your question of Kind of identifying the conversation in my head of how vulnerable or raw Do I go versus? Do I just sort of like, hang back and wait, I think part of it is just my natural orientation, which is listen, if I'm going to get out of this what I want, the only way that that's going to happen is if I sort of just lead with that vulnerability and be raw and just share with this new group of folks that are there to help me become better and so the only way they're going to be able to help me become better is if they really get to know who I am my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears, and all of those things and so,

Steve Brown : 

but what if they but what if they reject you? What if they think you're weird, Brian? What you right What if? Yeah, that's a legitimate you're right here. Yeah, it is. I guess. What if they're, like all shallow people are not derogatory but in that that is Yeah, yeah. And people and you're comes to the deep end guy. Yeah, actually. You're in a cannonball. That's, I love that image, by the way.

Brian Mohr : 

I it's it's a great question. I guess at the end of the day, I would have been forced to make a decision to either eject and just say right away, hey, based upon my values, and the way I'm gonna approach this, this isn't the right group for me. Or, you know, maybe give it a series of weeks or months to see if the way that I approached this thing could perhaps bring others along if they weren't already, you know, thinking or leading with that kind of an orientation in their own lives. And so it's courageous. That's the way for me, most of them if not all of them, I would say all of them. Yes, I got lucky. I'm in an amazing group. They're all very much deep end of the pool kind of guys,

Steve Brown : 

but you would agree that fear is not a real fear that most of them are deep in people. And but we let that voice in our heads Don't do that. Brian, don't. Don't do that man. And you miss out.

Brian Mohr : 

I think we are all Deep End people, every single one of us. We are deep wells, deep layers, we have thoughts, we have feelings, we've got that voice in our head. We've got those feelings in our gut in our heart. And at the end of the day, I think to not allow all of our humanity to flourish is just a missed opportunity. Wow,

Steve Brown : 

that's it. We need to a group of people where we feel safe to actually be the real people. We are niches deep, the deep end people. That's right. And that's you're hitting on something that our society right now is really, really influencing us to not be deep in people.

Brian Mohr : 

Yeah, it's an interesting time in human history for sure. And ah, you know, it's a I've come to the Conclusion, right? Wrong or indifferent that we are all way more alike than we are different as human beings.

Steve Brown : 

That's awesome, right? Okay, so this is great conversation. And I don't want to get off track where we're going because what you've done is done a great tip for live tracks because I really needed to see the deeper thing what live tracks is going because I've looked at it right and I'm thinking as a business owner, why why would I want to explore this and you just set it up so good.

Brian Mohr : 

I would say you set it up. really well. You're You're the one guiding the conversation here. See if you can't give me credit.

Steve Brown : 

Okay, so what so life tracks now now your ideas starting to make sense with your conversation with Jeremy, you guys were had gone through this experience and observe other people start to kind of come out of the shallow end because you were courageous. Just enough to jump in Cannonball on the deep end? How do you help other people start to do that more systematically or set up systems to do that?

Brian Mohr : 

Yeah. So it's so using sort of that, that that, I guess ideology that my co founder, Jeremy and I share. You know, we began and this is research that's been around for a while. And it's been top of mind for me, because it's always been a part of the work that I did in the executive search space, because it's something we would always look for in leadership candidates as best we could. And that's this notion that leaders today are on the front end of creating that sense of belonging and spirit of psychological safety within the teams that they lead so that the folks they're working with feel that it's okay to take risks. It's okay to fail for when it's okay to raise their hand if they don't know the Answer or to ask for help. And as I think about that research and in particular came out of a two year study that Google did called Project Aristotle, where they wanted to understand what are the most important criteria that lead to consistent high performing teams at Google. And despite some of their, what they went into it, the hypothesis what they learned after studying 180 teams over a two year period was that indeed, psychological safety is the number one criteria that is most important to lead to consistent, high performing teams that they discussed that in the book, how Google works. Ah, that's a great question. I don't know. I don't know. But if you do a so it's done under a brand of Google or a study at Google called rework, really, and and the name of this study is called Project Aristotle, and they named it Aristotle, I believe, because of the notion you know, the sum is greater than the part And there's some connection there. And I should know what it is.

Steve Brown : 

Simon, Simon Sinek pings on that a little bit. Sure.

Brian Mohr : 

Exactly. Exactly.

Steve Brown : 

And most business owners go, Okay, well, I'm I want to do something. And if they haven't studied that, or whatever, you know, I want to do a picnic, or we're gonna let you bring your dogs to work or maybe go have a beer after work. But it takes more than that.

Brian Mohr : 

It does. And, you know, I think all of those types of team building and team cohesion activities are they're very fruitful. They're very positive. But when Jeremy and I were thinking about how do you really create lasting trust and belonging and safety, something that extends beyond going and hitting golf balls or driving go karts or a picnic or a happy hour, which is, which are all great, right? It's all fun to go do those things with your teammates, but how do you do something that has some level of shelf life beyond the activity itself, and that's where this notion of The Lifeline experience that I had when I joined the forum and bringing that into the work world started to come alive. And the notion is that if we can, as teammates, be okay to share some of the highs and lows of our lives with one another so that we have a better understanding of where do we come from? How are our opinions and perspectives forms? What are our philosophies of how we look at the world? If we can begin to get a deeper understanding of those elements of the people that we spend the most time with? Won't we eventually create better results because there's a deeper sense of understanding of trust of safety of belonging within those teams, and all of the data suggests that the higher the levels of trust, safety and belonging that exists, the better the performance, so This to me is just like fireworks ding ding, ding, like okay, this is now is the time Time to unleash humanity at work like we've looked for competitive advantage in business in every nook and cranny except except the people, how do we unleash the people? How do we let them be free to be who they are, and really coalesce around this notion that we are all much more alike than we are different. And let's really celebrate that's

Steve Brown : 

let want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called the ROI quickstart Academy for authors. Every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business, but the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics, we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors. As well, and we just chill so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with. You have a great idea you have a great book. But what do you want to do? You want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors and the experts from the ROI quickstart team. It's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or click in the link in the show notes below. And now back to this episode. That's like, the leader in that organization has to be very comfortable with not having to control everything they're saying, unleash is what you're saying is like you're, you got, I had a dog, and I've had dogs where I had to keep them on the leash or they get in trouble, right? I got another dog that Yak like yak, like you want to get a leash and they, they're offended because they're gonna, they're gonna do better. That's, you're hitting a real deep area where a leader has to be courageous, and control indirectly.

Brian Mohr : 

And I think to leadership today, and it's probably it's, listen, it's going to be different based on the organization based on the team. I think so much of leadership today is really all about coaching and developing the people it isn't about like directing traffic. Pointing fingers and micromanaging and that no genius in that statement. You know, people today with the human journey we are evolving as people, I believe, you know, dating back to the late 60s, the Theory X Theory Y notion around management Theory X is that, you know, people are inherently lazy and need to, you know, have the whole carrot stick approach in order to get them to perform whereas Theory Y believes that, listen, people are inherently good, and getting better at whatever it is you are pursuing is in, in part, its own reward. I'm a Theory Y believer, and I think leadership today is all about helping people pursue their own path and find their own sense of intrinsic satisfaction and motivation, as opposed to standing over them with the more traditional approach of carrots and sticks to get them to, to perform. So to your point, I think part of that needs to be that Leader today needs to be much more of a hands off. And, and, and, and guiding and inspiring and showing the way and helping develop as opposed to, you know, think the world we've come from.

Steve Brown : 

So here's where the connection why you and I are talking right now is because the I believe the biggest challenge for leaders is to communicate succinctly and effectively and to draw the picture of where the team is going together in the future. And if you can illustrate what success looks like, where we going and why, then the energies are unleashed in all these minds, because they start going to that same point on the horizon. And I believe that every organization that if you were to go through most people in that organization would say, Yes, I'm trying to do my best based on what understand where we're going. But what's lacking is the clarity of where that point on the horizon is. Now there are some in there that are just they're there to train their days for dollars and Ivana don't care, but they will exit once an organization gets the excitement that it's finally clear. So I'm supposed to paddle my canoe with my energy and my value add to that horizon in the future. And that's what you're addressing what's and what's interesting is you're bringing in the music aspect of communication, which is universal again,

Brian Mohr : 

and and this so that where the music kind of comes into this whole thing is, you know, thinking through how could we bring that Lifeline experience into the work world, what would make it what would provide the structure, as well as the elixir or the bridge or the gateway to make story sharing personal story sharing, more likely to happen and safe. And so we stumbled into this notion of as Jeremy and I were thinking about our particular lifelines, we started asking each other like, hey, when you when this experience happened to you when you were 14, what were you listening to? Like, ah, I was listening to Oh, yeah, that's what I was listening to are the ride the lightning album by Metallica. And I remember listening to this song or that song, and we kind of bouncing off each other and all of a sudden, you know, this this notion of, hmm, you know, my life has unfolded much like a movie. And all along, there's been a soundtrack. So and at different stages of the story, there's different music like Hmm, I wonder if people if they could be, you know, teased by identifying the song or the band. Or the even the genre of music that they were listening to that was sort of playing in the background during different moments or areas of their life. Would that be the type of gateway that could make this both fun, exciting, powerful, and a heck of a lot less scary for the people that, you know, don't enjoy sharing stories about their life. So that was the hypothesis. We went into it. We did a variety of different focus groups. And that was amazing. The Steve we every single person when we sent them into these breakout rooms, and we were using zoom and so they went we had we had large groups and we would break them up into groups, small groups, and these are just colleagues and friends of Jeremy's in mind. Most of them didn't know one another at all. And so here we are with with this sort of motley crew of friends of ours and colleagues and then we send them into these zoom rooms with the instructions of pay they had gone Through the life tracks experience through our tech platform and we said, Hey, we want you to go help us test our hypothesis. Pick one or two of the moments or stories from your life track and share it with these strangers. And then we brought them back into the big room and we did a debrief and our questions were Did you feel a sense of connection? Were you able to kind of get past the normal chitchat, small talk? Did you feel that there was a level of depth and breadth and you know, just really wanting to know does this work and to a person, they said there's something magical about music, that just eases the tension and the scariness and the fear factor of sharing our stories and like, the music made it fun and totally, just okay. And so here we are, wanting to bring this kind of an experience into the work world. For the purpose of unleashing the humanity that exists, it's it's hiding in plain sight. let's let's let's bring it out and really help businesses perform better through the through the common focus of bringing their teams closer together. I mean, Lord knows the world around us is in a bit of a state of evolution, chaos, transfer it call it what you want. Finding safe places right now is certainly more difficult than it's been at least in my lifetime. So why not? Why not? Why can't the workforce the workplace be the safest place perhaps outside of our homes? Exactly. Let's do that. That every every business has that opportunity. So let's do

Steve Brown : 

that. I'm thinking as you're talking, I was thinking about, you know, back when I was younger and and you get a buddy's car or whatever, and they have their music, and they're, like, proud to play it and we're very insistent. You can remember the conversations while you're on a road trip or something. You don't want to listen to I want to listen to my songs now. Right? Yeah, but your songs and you're looking for everybody to like and they're, they're going No, no turn that off. And it's, it really is important. And you really do have your own soundtracks and, or you run into a situation of like, you know, recently the song that's been in the theme song for the last couple years. It's a long way to talk if you want to rock and roll by AC DC. Yeah, sure. Yeah. I just love the story in there and I relate with it like you're, you just have to work hard for a long time. It's not going to come. You're not Michael Jordan out of the gate.

Brian Mohr : 

That's right. That's right. And there's something super interesting too about music that I think all of us know this. And if you don't call it out, it's easy to just not remember how well we know this and that is music is a time machine. When I hear a song, and if that song connects me to a time and place in my life in an instant I'm right back there. it awakens my senses. I can see I can taste I can feel I can hear that time in my life. A great example. I'll my daughter's now. One of them is old enough to drive and she gets. Yeah, yeah, exactly and so she she gets her license in August So should we bet on the driver's permit and one of the you know, unintended positive consequences if there are any of the pandemic is the roadways have been far less crowded. In the past. It's been a really good time to teach a 15 and a half year old how to drive. But I've been sitting in the passenger seat then Neil will have the radio on. And every time I hear REO Speedwagon, I am immediately transported back to I grew up in Northwest Indiana. I'm immediately transported back to the State Fair there for some reason, and that it's not that the State Fair holds some magical story in my life. But it is this reconnection. And it's this. It's an illustration of how powerful a time machine like quality music has. And perhaps the only other thing that has that same quality maybe photographs or or you know, videos, but there is something about music that immediately brings you to a time and a place and we want to we want to be able to capitalize on that because it's powerful. And, you know, most people, most people feel it and get it.

Steve Brown : 

Wow, that's so right. So life tracks. So your tell us a little bit about the process that you would take your team through and what in Yeah,

Brian Mohr : 

yeah. Yeah, so we so the original idea was greatly disrupted as a result of the pandemic. Our original launch plan was Back in February timeframe, and that all was obviously throw it a little sideways. And so what we did was, alright, what can we do to help people who are currently quarantined at home, you know, feel a sense of connection with, you know, the people who are most important in their lives. And so we launched what we call the five song intro. And right now anybody can go on to life tracks.me and create their five song intro. They can add more than five if they want, but the idea was, hey, if you were going to introduce yourself, to your teammates, to a friend to a family member who doesn't know everything there is to know about you. What five moments are stories from your life, and the song that represents or symbolizes that moment, you know, what would you share? And so we built a platform to walk people through that process. And then what you end up with is this really Cool graphic, we call it a playlist card that has the, the title of the story or the moment, and then the band and the song that symbolizes that moment. And then you can share that with, you know, people that you want to share it with. And it's this interactive platform where you can read the stories, you can listen to the song if you want to listen to it, and use that as a basis to connect with others. So the idea is we are now bringing it into the into the b2b space. And, you know, I can't help but wonder if the pandemic you know, what its impact is going to be on what the world looks like I still is still yet to be determined. But I think at a bare minimum, the remote or distributed workforce is here to stay and probably at a much greater percentage then then what we were pre pandemic grew so So the notion being that so many teams We're going to be connecting through video platforms, perhaps more often than they were before. What are companies going to do today to create intentional and deliberate opportunities for connection that used to happen informally? Perhaps in the hallways, the break rooms popping into somebody's office chitchat before or after a tea meeting? Like how do you still do those things when you don't informally and accidentally run into people in the office anymore? And so our thought is because the need is still there regardless. Absolutely, absolutely. So the the process is companies are still having their meetings, they're still doing, you know, quarterly annual, weekly monthly team meetings. So let's carve out time for human connection. And if every member have a meeting, prior to getting into the Zoom Room or whatever platform they're using, creates their Five song intro. During the meeting, you leverage the technology you send people into smaller breakout rooms and you just say, hey, let's let's use this time as an opportunity to make sure we are connecting as human beings. Yeah, and share a story or two and use that as an experience as a team cohesion experience to supplement or replace what you know, the the go kart Top Golf, happy hour bowling experiences used to do. But I think through the life tracks experience, you end up with a much, much longer shelf life of enact through this. So that's one idea, which we are testing right now. And then there are a variety of other utilization cases that we think this can apply. You know, think about this from an onboarding perspective. If and when hiring new teammates. You had them create their five song intro and part of the new onboarding process was the new teammates sharing some of their life story with their new teammates and, you know, the leadership team sharing some of their stories. And really, I think it could set the tone and, and define help companies define how human their cultures really are because they're willing to be real, be human, not hide, hide behind their job titles or pretend that somehow work in life is going to remain segregated, as opposed to integrated, which you know, I think is the reality we're living in.

Steve Brown : 

So you're addressing what an area I call human experience, optimization agio. And it's like the, it's the pro human aspect of what we're wanting to build. And I think about the Colby scores or the intagram, or we've there are these existing tests that are trying to address the same thing because As the value that, first you need to understand yourself. But more importantly, we also need to recognize that not everybody approaches, a situation, a perspective of a challenge from the same viewpoint you do. But what's kind of shocking is that you find yourself going, why is he not see what I see? And what you're doing as you're making a beautiful human way to quickly connecting and declare you are different. You do come from different perspectives, but it's fun and relational. And I think more applicable because you're gonna go, Oh, you're, you're the Divo guy or you're the cars or you're, yes, you're Boston.

Brian Mohr : 

I think what's cool too, that you're hitting on. I'm a big fan of the personality assessment tools out there, whether it's you know, disc or enneagram Myers Briggs predictive index. There's there's so many and I think they all are incredibly valuable. And they provide a blueprint of how to communicate so that your message is best received by whomever the recipient is. What I think the personality assessments don't do, and I don't think they're designed to, is just because I know Steve, let's say you're high on the disc profile, and so you're going to be far more interested in developing rapport and really, having a solid chitchat before we get into the business conversation that we might be having. And that's good. That's great for me to know that, but knowing how you like to receive communication doesn't mean we are actually truly connecting as human beings. Exactly. And that's where I think the life tracks experience is a powerful supplement. to any personality assessment that an organization uses, so if you were to combine, how to deliver a message, how to communicate with real connection underneath that we understand each other, we've gone out of our way to invest in that sense of trust building, the delivery of the message, I think then becomes that much more powerful. So I don't think it's, I don't think by any stretch, we're replacement. I think we're simply a really powerful supplement.

Steve Brown : 

So true, you know, even even though we have the soundtracks from our past life or whatever, if you and I were to go somewhere, let's say we go to Nashville and we pop in a bar after dinner, and there's this band there we've never heard of, and they're playing the music. We usually never would listen to her pick, but it's like Cod, they were good. We would have bonded and they're in shared this experience that we really appreciated, and that would be unique. And then that goes in the the journey. map right there. Yeah,

Brian Mohr : 

yeah, exactly right. Well, you just triggered a thought for me that I want to share real quick. So when we did the focus groups with this random group of folks, and they went into groups of three, and they shared their stories, something really interesting happened about a week two weeks later, I got a phone call from one of the participants. And she said, Hey, Brian, I was paired up with so and so. And they shared one of their stories and the song that represented their story. And I'm not a big fan of that band or of that song, but I heard it on the radio today yesterday. And all of a sudden, that song took on a new meaning for me, because it made me think about the story that the person I was grouped with shared with me So all of a sudden, like, again, it's the power and the accessibility, that music has to connect us to our stories. And hearing someone else's song made that person think of the story that was shared and all of a sudden, it's like, wow, that's that's, we had never anticipated that being a byproduct of this. So, just a cool, a really cool thing. And, you know, if you and I were teammates, and as I'm getting to know, you, you you may share that there's a particular I don't know, a Broadway musical song that's really important to you and I would be a man I would have never guessed Steve for a Broadway musical fan. You know, it just it helps dispel some of the, you know, judgments that we make, and it's just it's an interesting dynamic that just opens up a sense of curiosity, that I think oftentimes we We don't, we don't practice enough. So it's just, it's a cool thing.

Steve Brown : 

I love that. Okay, so they would go to live tracks.me Yep. And they would fill out their their five.

Brian Mohr : 

What do you call it the five song intro, it's a you can click on the menu. Or you can just scroll down to the bottom of the audience and create your five song intro. And right now we're using YouTube. They have a really nice API. And we've we've, I don't know, there's probably 20 to 25,000 songs that are currently available in the song catalog and it's all organized by genre as well as there's a search function so what's interesting is some people you know, as they go to build their five song intro, they may not have a particular song in mind. So they could pick a genre let's say it's, you know, Southern rock for example. Say there are Southern rock And they can start sort of scrolling through. And it's interesting. We've received feedback that having the ability to scroll through different songs helps trigger memories, as opposed to going into it with a specific memory. So it kind of goes either way. So you end up with

Steve Brown : 

email signature, or would you end up and how do you use it,

Brian Mohr : 

you end up with a playlist card that you can share through social right now I've integrated it into my email signature. It is not, that's not a widely available add on just yet. That is something on our product roadmap. So what you can do is once you have your playlist card, if you want to share it on social you can if you don't, that's cool too. Cuz some people just may not be comfortable doing that yet. But what you can do is you can invite specific people in your life could be work could be family could be friends into Oregon. nysed life tracks groups. And you can create as many groups as you want. And you can choose to share all of your playlist card or just some of it because there may be some stories from your life that you're not willing to make public to anybody. So you have individual story sharing capability or permission settings. And then you can begin a dialogue with the people that you want to create groups with and start using it as a, again, a team cohesion, team building or just a connection activity with people in your life.

Steve Brown : 

So that's the, this is the way that you can go from the shallow end and start float out toward the deeper end by starting to share this stuff. That's Yeah,

Brian Mohr : 

that's cool. Exactly. I was talking to a VP of HR yesterday and explaining what we're up to. And she's I had a so cool She said right now one of the things that we've encouraged all of our teammates because they're all remote and distributed, they're not in the office anymore as a result of what's going on. She said, we've encouraged everybody to create a customized zoom background and meal pickup photo, could be other family, it could be favorite vacation spot, whatever it is. But they're using that as a way to communicate something that's important to the person so that at the beginning of meetings, hey, what Tell me about the photo, right? So people are starting to do different things to highlight humanity in a way that I don't think we have before. And so as I explained this, she's like, Oh, that is that just takes it to a whole new level. And so yeah, and people are getting together for like, work happy hours and, you know, sitting in their offices and sharing a cocktail. Well, why not have an actual activity in addition to you know, having a drink, to organize these things around We think life tracks can be that.

Steve Brown : 

I think so too. That's, you know, my, my little stab at that is that when we have our weekly meeting where our team gets together we have this little ritual where we tell dad jokes. Nice and it's just a fun way to tell a joke that not funny but it's funny because and it just see the each person kind of come what joke they bring and how they deliver it. It's, it is a fun human moment that we share together. So, if Are you are you taking investors or where are you in that

Brian Mohr : 

phase? We are so we are Yes. A short answer. I always like to use more words than I need to

Steve Brown : 

come up with a song answer there.

Brian Mohr : 

Yeah, I do. You're right or wrong for that. Right. Yeah, totally. With a little help from my friends me like that. So yes, we are we are just putting the final touches on our next version of the investor deck. We've now have really solid feedback from the focus groups. And we've got some statistics of user time on site and things like that, that we think certainly create a better story than where we were back in February. So it's just been this evolution. But I think something I've realized, and just having the gift of all the experiences I've had, you know, we need to find investors that are completely aligned to who we are and what we stand for. And we want to find people that clearly have a passion for being deep into the pool kind of peak. Totally. That's obvious. Yeah, who want to celebrate humanity who want to help the world recognize that we are much more alike than we are different. Yeah, who want to leverage technology for its ability to really helped scale and create efficiencies, but not serve as a surrogate for real human connection. And that's an interesting blend of things that we want to accomplish. And, of course, you know, they need to be a really, I think a pretty big fan of music. Otherwise, this is probably not going to be that exciting to them. No, thankfully, I think most people are music they are Yeah, there are some who aren't. But But I think most are.

Steve Brown : 

So how do people get ahold of you? Where can they find you?

Brian Mohr : 

I think the best way is probably through my my email, which is just Brian at life tracks.me and just reach out so that of course, you know, you got the usual suspects like LinkedIn and Facebook and things like that. But yeah, I think emails always the easiest.

Steve Brown : 

Yeah, so that's Brian more. Now usually I spell Brian AI so it comes out as brain but more you know, we were We were hoping for it and we got more, but it's mo h bar. Brian has more. All right, Brian. Hey, great conversation. You've been a great guest. This has been a lot of fun. And I could go on for another hour or two talking about this stuff. But thank you for being a guest on the ROI online podcast.

Brian Mohr : 

I had a great time. I agree. Great, great conversation. Great questions, ton of fun. It's always fun when these experiences unfold, just like a conversation as opposed to like some regimented, or scripted thing. And it's how I felt so is I really had a great time. Thanks for having me out.

Steve Brown : 

All right, well, that's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden toilet at surprise that golden toilet.com. I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI online podcast.