Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20-minute podcast and here’s part two of our interview with Jason Treu.
Jason Treu: You can’t grow, right? When it comes to leadership management, or career, or the workplace are all learned behaviors.
David Brower: A lot of us use the term old tapes, right? There’s an old tape that just keeps resurfacing. I like the fact that you call them blind spots because, at the end of the day, that’s really what they are and you’ve got to figure out a way to eliminate that blind spot so that you can have the confidence in yourself to be able to share your creative juice, right?
Jason Treu: Yeah, because what happens is, I’ve been doing this 500 or 600 times now with people. Your skills and ability eventually [inaudible 00:01:06] and for everyone it’s different. Somebody can be 20, 30, 40, I don’t know when, right? But it will, and your blind spots are your ceiling, and your blind spots are typically almost always past patterns. Things that you learned growing up or observing that you took as facts that, now, are sabotaging your success. They may have sabotaged it then, but they may not have. These patterns that go on early on are what makes us or breaks us today. Every person has to go back and really look at those things because, typically, if you look at things that are really difficult for you to do or problematic, or things that you’re not mastering or excelling in, or if you’re stuck, or at a rock bottom, you can almost always map it back to anything that happened under the age of 10 or some significant trauma that happened later.
Jason Treu: Rarely is it anything else, right? It requires people to dig deep, but once you do it, and you look in your accountability mirror, it’s much easier to keep doing it moving forward and you don’t fall down as far because you catch yourself, because you’re willing to take a look again, because it’s much easier the second, and third, and fourth time. Then pretty soon it’s just like a habit, right? You’ve done the work already. The first time is immensely difficult and probably one of the hardest things that a human being ever has to do, but the price that you’ll pay, and we talked about this before, is that you will be, basically, playing over your parents, or your siblings, or people close to you. You’ll be playing those roles all over again and choosing them. Many times, and for negative consequences, and the price for that will be significant. Financially, spiritually, emotionally, in every possible way. If you don’t do it, you will be brought to your rock bottom. It’s just a matter of when, it’s not a matter of if.
David Brower: Gotcha. So, hard work is an understatement, but if you are willing to do that work, all of a sudden you become a much better person with yourself as an individual. You’re much more accepting of yourself, you’re much more willing to take risk because you have that newfound confidence, which allows you to get into a team of people of, hopefully like-minded people, and then you all, at some level, have gone through that same kind of work to be able to have a team actually see its fruition.
Jason Treu: Yes.
David Brower: That’s fascinating.
Jason Treu: And that’s where the magic happens, right? I mean, that’s the magic happens in business, that’s where the magic happens in everywhere else. All of the clients I work with that have higher levels of psychological safety are performing significantly better than the ones who don’t and I see no evidence to the contrary. I think if you looked through the university research and the rest of the evidence, you won’t find anything to counter it as well. It’s just there’s not enough people talking about it, because in order to create psychological safety, it requires someone to do a lot of self-inquiry; because you won’t be able to look at risk objectively if you haven’t done the work, because we blame other people when things don’t go well because we get blamed for it. Right? So, there’s a lot of steps in there that require you to do it in order for it to really work effectively.
Jason Treu: That’s why you don’t see this permeated about as much. Even the concepts of being vulnerable, Brene Brown talks about in corporate America, and I definitely think you’re seeing some shifts, but I still don’t think you’re seeing it. I have clients and people at Amazon, if you look at that company, there isn’t a lot of vulnerability when you talk about managers and leaders. The majority of the organization, from the commentary and from the people that have told me, and that’s a Fortune 10 company now. I think you’ll probably pretty much find that across the board going on, but the reason that it’s not is because the people running it aren’t. If they were, it would be. They’ve got to do the work to get there.
David Brower: It strikes me, your Silicon Valley experience, where all of a sudden you started seeing people like Cuban, and Jobs, and these other guys just leapfrogging to the next level because they did that kind of work. Right? They had that confidence, and that expertise, and that ability to take giant risks because they did that kind of work on themselves.
Jason Treu: And they found some more people around them and they’re willing, at some point, to acquiesce. Even amongst, I think, some of their other blind spots and other challenges that they were able to do that and find those people. I still think Apple … I’m still convinced that if Steve Jobs would’ve been around at some point, that company still would’ve had challenges, because I think his personality was one that was extremely overbearing.
David Brower: Gotcha.
Jason Treu: I think sometimes when we die, and this is sort of morbid, but when you’re at the height, it looks like that; but I think we’re seeing them come down to earth a little bit more of lately more with Tim Cook compared to where they were under Steve Jobs. I mean, it’s still a behemoth.
David Brower: Yeah. Well, back to the individual work. It would seem to me that if you are willing to invest in yourself that significantly, that also has to help to improve your personal life, right? Relationships.
Jason Treu: Yeah, it does; because 80% of the things that you do in business reflect itself back in their personal life.
David Brower: Yeah. Good, bad or indifferent. Yeah.
Jason Treu: Exactly. Exactly. So, when people say that two separate people … I have seen people affectively put up walls, but at some point the walls break. When that tipping point is, that’s very individualistic; but eventually the walls breakdown. I think the problem tends to be that you have to pay the Piper at some point and it’s easy to see an exception. The other problem is a lot of times we don’t see things play out long enough, because we see people who are narcissists, or are greedy, or whatever, start to continue to rise. At some point though it’ll plateau. At some point they’re paying a price and we don’t get to see all those things. It’s kind of like watching Facebook newsfeed or ESPN highlights. We see those things and we assume that they’re just continuing their upward climb, but we really haven’t played it out long enough. Eventually, everyone gets to that same place.
David Brower: Well, Steve Jobs is a perfect example, right?
Jason Treu: Yeah, exactly, right? He would still be alive today if it wasn’t for that. Again, that’s why life requires you to either do it or it teaches you the lesson and it’ll keep teaching you it until you start to look inside. That’s also how to become your own person, because, otherwise, you’re essentially just living out patterns that other people you’ve observed and putting your secret sauce; but the best version of you hasn’t emerged from whatever’s going on. That may sound to people like woo-woo, but it really isn’t.
David Brower: No, absolutely.
Jason Treu: It’s actually just doing the things that you love and excelling at, whether you’re an accountant, whether you’re a lawyer, whether you’re a product manager in a tech company, whether you’re an artist, whether you’re an owner of a store, whatever it might be, same difference. It really doesn’t matter. This is the human condition and we’ve just done a poor job as society in really educating people how to climb out of that. Whenever I say to people, it seems so high level, when you think about trust, you can break it down to caring, reliability, sincerity and competency.
David Brower: There you go.
Jason Treu: The most important quality is caring, by far, right? We’ve all cared about people that weren’t sincere, weren’t confident, or weren’t reliable, and we’ve kept them in our lives. There isn’t really anyone you keep in your life that’s super reliable, but doesn’t care about you at all, right? So, caring matters the most. When you look at vulnerability or you look at trust, the key to escalating trust and skyrocketing it is vulnerability. It’s not the other way around, and the problem is most people operate under the premise that I have to trust you before it can be vulnerable. Well, that then is a very slow boat. Now I’ve got to get to know someone, which will take you probably five, 10 years before you really start being vulnerable. The reality is that all of us have done it in an instant, right?
Jason Treu: Everyone listening to this, think to yourself, have you met at least one person where, within five or 10 minutes of the conversation, you felt like you knew that person your entire life? Or you felt really close to them, like you’re on the same wavelength? Well, the reason is, if you took a video tape and you showed it, someone was vulnerable and shared something. Now, it could’ve been super small. It could have been, “Oh, I took a trip to Italy and went to go see an art museum,” and someone said, “Oh, I was an art major,” another person said, “Oh, I love painting.” All of a sudden you start escalating it back and forth, and you do it super-fast, and you do probably what people would do in their 10th or 20th conversation in the first one. That’s what happened and you not only shared the experience, but the emotional connection, and that is how you skyrocketed. You’ve done it, and you’ve seen it; the problem is you’re not replicating it. That is what the teamwork and everything is about, is getting those vulnerable connections really by self-disclose
David Brower: You team building, Game Cards Against Mundanity, that’s what does that.
Jason Treu: That’s the secret sauce. Here’s where I disagree a little bit with Berne Brown, is that the problem with vulnerability in getting it, a lot of times, is that it requires an event. Like, Google found that the reason they found psychological safety, or proved it out, was the fact that they found a manager who had stage four cancer, and their team totally crushed it, and they connect the dots. Or there’s some event or some tragedy that goes on, right? The company’s not performing well or something goes on, but it’s event driven. The part of vulnerability that you have is self-disclosure. You can share things about communications or conflicts, which is self-disclosure, but a lot of it has to be you, as a person, opening up to people so they get to know you. Whenever you’re vulnerable, you tell people it’s safe to share.
Jason Treu: And one of the things I found, one of the research pieces that I think people found pretty interesting, is professor Arthur Aaron back in 1997. He was trying to create interpersonal closeness between people, which is essentially, he wanted to see if he could make people either fall in love or make best friends. He had 54 grad students sit in a room across from each other, and they were complete strangers, they didn’t know each other at all, ask 36 questions over 45 minutes.
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
Jason Treu: These questions were pretty vulnerable. One of the last ones was, tell me three things that you like about me, which is pretty hard with a complete stranger and say with a straight face. The end of it, they found that 30% of the people in that original study, and they’ve done it dozens and dozens of times with the same results, rated that relationship with a complete stranger as the closest relationship in their life.
David Brower: Oh my God.
Jason Treu: Get that again. 30% of the people rated that relationship with a complete stranger as the closest relationship in their life. That’s essentially like the thing, I can go to a coffee shop anywhere where you live, and go out, and find four people, and you’ll walk away with a best friend.
David Brower: Exactly.
Jason Treu: That’s pretty insane, right?
David Brower: Wow. That’s a mind-blower, yeah.
Jason Treu: The reason is we don’t ask these types of questions from people. What I found is that when they ask the questions out of the blue, it doesn’t work as well; because,, sometimes it goes into our fight or flight brain and our survival brain. People will then say, “Oh, this is kinda weird. Like you’re being really invasive.” What’s interesting is when I gamified it, then people just answer it, because people love to play games. like they do when they’re little kids. Then I made it Cards Against Mundanity after Cards Against Humanity, so then people would just want to play it and I got it in groups. One of the first groups I did, there were two women that absolutely hated each other.
Jason Treu: Think about archenemies, it was like Superman and Kryptonite. They hated each other. I asked the question towards the end in the group, which was tell me about the biggest loss that you’ve had in the last five years, and one of them said their dog, one of them said their mom. Now, obviously, they’re not the same, but what I didn’t understand at that time was the emotional connection of loss that has connecting people. I saw them walk out of the room together and they were commenting and talking about it, so I knew that was a question. I found out they went out to lunch later that week and then, a month later, they were actually social friends.
David Brower: Oh my God.
Jason Treu: Imagine in 30 days, going from anyone that you hate or dislike to being actual social friends and going out on your own with that person. That’s the power of self-disclosure and in being vulnerable. It’s really a game changer. The reason is because we make up all these stories about other people, but they’re all made up, but we don’t see them as made up. We see them as facts and our brain gives us chemical releases to do that. Then, in the room, when they deliver information that we see as factual, because we’re hearing it and we’re looking at the person, it doesn’t jive with that other information. Now, you’re like, “Well, maybe I was wrong,” and you can break down walls from people like snapping your finger and really change things in an immense way.
Jason Treu: People just do it and open up, because I do this all the time with people. Everyone asks, well, one, what if someone shares the information with someone else? I’ve never had that happened. What if someone doesn’t want to participate? Out of 10,000 people playing it, so far that I know of, only five people have gotten upset, and these five people all quit, and they were the lowest performers. All my clients thank me, because they need to get them severed. The workshop actually paid for itself for them leaving.
David Brower: Oh my God.
Jason Treu: Which is actually really interesting, I’ve never had anyone else do it. The conversations you see with people, because everyone wants to belong and connect; and that’s why we’re here. It’s just we don’t know how and we can’t recreate it, but this allows people to do it and they can do it in a safe environment without thinking. Then, once you do it and you experience it, you then can take it and morph it into your everyday interactions, because you get the feeling in how to leverage it and use it in the upside. Then you’re more apt to doing it. It’s just like great salespeople, they do exactly what I’m doing. I showed it to them and they’re like, “We just can’t teach it to other people because the way we do it, it’s just what we do, not what other people do and you’d have to be me in order to do it.”
David Brower: Gotcha.
Jason Treu: You can take this, and use it, and it’s free. I love seeing people use it. When I do it in groups and events, people just love it, because they’re able to meet people and have a real conversation. That’s why most people go to an event, or a workshop, or a group is not just the learning, it’s meeting people, right? They don’t know how and then they have to open up some weird conversation. Well, now you just take care of it by asking people a question and them sharing. Questions like, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the last year, or tell me what super power you’d love to have, or what’s the biggest setback you’ve ever had and how did you overcome that? In two minutes or less, you can share with people information, not too much but enough, and you can always fall to the person and talk to them.
Jason Treu: When you get all those people in a room doing it, it’s pretty magical, and especially across the team. You can really maximize and do things in performance because, again, you’re replicating what the best team you’ve ever been on is and you can do that on every team by doing this. The great thing about that, too, is now people are operating at their highest communication level, collaboration level, conflict resolution, innovation, problem solving. Why? Because they care about the people that are around.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Jason Treu: Think about the people you care about. You treat them differently than other people do. Well, the same thing for the people that you work with. Now, you still may need to do some skills work and things. It’s not perfect, but you’ll get people to where they can currently only go without additional training.
David Brower: A perfect example of that, folks, if you go to Jason’s website, it’s Jason Treu, that’s T-R-E-U, JasonTreu.com, that TEDx Wilmington 2017 is there. It gives you a perfect example Jason speaking to a group and introducing that Cards Against Mundanity example, which is fascinating to me. He’s also a best-selling author of social wealth: The How-To Guide on Building Extraordinary Business Relationships, which has sold more than 45,000 copies. Again, go to his website, you can read all about him, you can see his services, you can listen to his podcast, you can read his blog. Jason, I can’t thank you enough, man. This has been a fabulous conversation and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. In fact, my 20-minute podcast is now 40 minutes, so I’m going to break this into two parts and that’ll be awesome.
Jason Treu: Great. Well, thanks for talking. I love talking about this and I’m glad we had this conversation.
David Brower: Me, too.
Jason Treu: Great to speak and meet with everyone.
David Brower: You Bet. Thanks man. Continued success.
Allan Blackwell: Listen to Your 20-minute podcast with David Brower on the go. Downloads are available on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Spotify, any podcast app, and on our website at DavidBrowervo.com/Your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thank you for listening.
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