[01:38] Mike’s background
[04:55] The secret sauce that many leaders of Fortune 500 companies don’t know about
[06:20] The one percenter mentality that takes companies to the next level
[08:00] The qualities and mindset of successful leaders
[09:27] Successful leaders understand the 3 elements: Mindset, language, and patterns
[10:35] Marketing leaders vs sales leaders
[11:00] What the most effective leaders across all niches have in common
[11:45] The relationship between mindset and strategy
[15:27] What you have to determine before you can talk strategy
[16:30] The two most important elements leaders should have
Elias Rubel: (00:02)
So today really excited to have Mike Lindstrom on the show. We're going to dig in today. Mike has this amazing background. He has this J D a, but he spent his career. And I mean, now he's an author, a speaker, a business consultant, uh, to fortune 500, as well as, you know, growing emerging tech companies. Uh, but this episode today, we're going to focus in on the psychology of, you know, what does it take in Mike's experience with all of the, all of the clients and companies he's coach? What does it take to have the right mindset to go from that 1 million to 10 million and beyond an ARR? So Mike really thrilled to have you on the show today.
Mike Lindstrom: (01:40)
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Elias Rubel: (01:43)
So let's start with your background because you have such a wild twisting and turning background. I mean, Tony Robbins is one big piece, the having your JD, another big piece, and then ultimately your work with fortune 500 as a, as a coach and leader, um, we were even connected by Scott Leese, right? So you, you, I know from your background, you coach Scott's sales team back in the day and Scott the leader. So walk us through this. Like, how did you get to where you are today? Well, you know, everything happens for a reason. You know, I've probably heard that a million times as a young man, but you know, I've just come to know that to be true because every venture that I started, whether it was going to law school, it was kind of like monkey bars.
Mike Lindstrom: (02:25)
So I think of a sway from one thing. And then something's going to show itself during that period. So law school introduced me to a very dear friend who happened to be working for Tony Robbins. And I was intrigued by what he was doing and the influence he was having at a professional level, not to mention he was making good money and he was traveling, which is pretty cool for a 25 year old log rad. So I'm monkey bar two that completely went the opposite direction. Of most of my classmates are all going to the us attorney, da public defenders. I go work for a motivational speaker. Everyone laughed at me and thought I was crazy, but, uh, it was an extended education for me. So I did that for a couple of years, but what I learned was a lot of business. I frankly, I went straight from college to law school, right.
Mike Lindstrom: (03:07)
To Tony. So I didn't have corporate experience. So deal with bang around with CEOs and sales people and understanding what culture was and branding and marketing and titles, I would always just see, but never really fully understood. So that was really kind of what created the initial DNA. And then of course, after I left, um, the Robin's organization after he built his coaching company in LA, California, I got swept up in dotcoms. And a lot of my dot conference up in California were former Tony guys or speakers or people I'd worked with. And, uh, man, it was awesome to get swept up in that literally literally living in San Francisco, working on a Palo Alto and 99, 2000 2001, when all this stuff was really going crazy. Um, so that's of course you met mentioned Scott laced, him and I jumped on a, uh, a ship together, uh, after the.com bust kind of brought it back up, you know, we're, we're still connected. And, and, and I, I still do business consulting, but I've niched in many different areas. So financial services, insurance, startups, I tend to focus on leadership now and sales or psychology of influence.
Elias Rubel: (04:13)
Sure. So I, you know, one of the reasons I'm so excited for this conversation is I think, especially in the community, but even on this show, we have this tendency to focus on strategies and tactics that are, uh, could, could be segmented functionally, right? Like marketing strategy is in tactics, sales strategies and tactics, product strategies, and tactics. And it almost misses the foundational piece, which is mindset and the mindset of all of the leaders who are behind those strategies and tactics. And so I'd love it. If, if you could kind of take us there, uh, along for a journey with what you've seen, what you've observed as the patterns that successful leaders exhibit in that early stage, and maybe even compare and contrast that to the executives and leaders at the, you know, the fortune 500 businesses you've worked with. And what are the differences are between those two groups?
Mike Lindstrom: (05:08)
Yeah. Yeah. Well, it was interesting when I left the, well, I should back up a little bit when I was working within with Tony on the road, we work predominantly with fortune 500 companies at that time. Um, you know, so we were working with mostly, like I said, leadership and sales teams. So when I, when I started the coaching element, I, I was, I was actually kind of blown away that so many of the important leaders, you know, there's, you're educated people doing very well financially. You really didn't understand the science of it. The science of psychology, the motivation factor, what I call mindset, language patterns, which is based in what we call neural linguistic programming. And I would just do casually. I would do an audience is a show of hands. How many people in here let's say 500 people could tell me what the, uh, the elements, NLP, neurolinguistic programming stand.
Mike Lindstrom: (05:57)
He could stand up and give me a 32nd version of what it is, has just didn't go up. So it became what I, what I deemed a one percenter mentality, what the one percenter is that would raise their hand or come up to me at the break and go, I can't believe you brought this up. That's like the secret sauce, man. He can't sell it until the other buddy with the secret sauces, right patterns. So that opened my eyes to real, up to her, made me realize that my business, when I was going to go out and start consulting on my own, that was going to be my entree point is go out there and talk to my first big corporate client was a guardian life. Insurance corporation is huge. And I'm dealing with the mid level managers and the top producers, what they call their top gun reps.
Mike Lindstrom: (06:37)
And I did the same thing right at the beginning. I do a show of hands. How many people know what this is? And a couple of hands went up. So the next three or four hours in a training session, and people were just taking crazy notes going. This is like the Jedi stuff, man, this stuff's awesome. You know how you can read people's language patterns, how you can read people's physiology. So that's when I realized that that 1% or mentality was something that was going to always focus on. So when, whenever you would give it that 1% or whether it was a small business, like you talked about that, that $1 million year, then to the five to $10 million company that goes above and beyond those leaders, they were, they wanted to know this stuff, right? They thought different. They wanted to know the secret sauce.
Mike Lindstrom: (07:20)
They wanted the Jedi stuff because they wanted to be better influencers. They want to be better public speakers. They want to be able to motivate their sales teams on completely different levels. So it didn't matter if I was talking to a big company like guardian life insurance or a startup company, it was always the one percenter that gravitated and wanting to hire me as their coach or their speaker as their business consultant, which is like when Scott, Lisa and I met, they hired me as an outsider to come in and teach the teams, these technologies that people don't really fully understand. So it doesn't matter if you're talking about small companies or big companies, there's still that one percenter that exists within each of those. And those are the people that really want to take it to that next level. Totally.
Elias Rubel: (08:02)
So what, so where, like, where is the break between folks that you were around that, that were, that were ultimately successful and the ones who weren't like in the, you know, they, they have the same education, they have similar playbooks, but like certainly this mindset and, and just the, the way that they think about problems and themselves and how these pieces fit together. Like what's the difference between success and failure and what you've seen?
Mike Lindstrom: (08:31)
Yeah. The one, the one thing I would say the common thread, and I can think of specific individuals, they were always, the successful ones were always thinking about investing in themselves, right? Getting better, learning new skills and learning new techniques, learning what else is out there? What am I not seeing? And I mean, that not just from like just a textbook perspective, understanding or branding, right? I'm talking about mindset. They wanted to understand how the brain worked. They want understand when they go down to the sales floor and he got a hundred people in a call center, how does that CEO or VP of sales relate with those human beings that going to be selling their products and services? They were just obsessed with always learning and, you know, fast forward the beauty of, of now in 2020 dating back to, you know, compared to when I came up in the industry, 97, 98, now we got everything right at our fingertips.
Mike Lindstrom: (09:24)
It's on your cell phone. I mean, hell, you could Google something or you can go get the elements of neurolinguistics in a heartbeat. Or you can go listen to a podcast, listen to a guy like you have a guy like me, break it down for you in a matter of minutes, right? Or back then you had to literally read the books. You had to go to the seminar and spent five days in a seat in a hotel room and invest in yourself. Right? That's what those leaders were constantly doing. Now. You fast forward all the leaders that I know that are wildly successful, they're always listening to podcasts. They're always reading. They just have a certain kind of a discipline because they're, they understand the three elements, mindset, language, which is how you self-talk yourself and what you speak out loud. And your patterns, patterns are simply behaviors.
Mike Lindstrom: (10:08)
When do you wake up in the morning? What's your habits before you eat breakfast, they have a really keen understanding of what those three elements are and that's why they continue to be one percenters. So do you think that these are universal in that? I mean, you know, let's say that marketers tend to be more as changes all the time, and there are different types of marketers where like marketers might need to be a little bit more on the creative side, creative and analytical side. Whereas, you know, salespeople need to be really outgoing and empathetic. And there's a ton of overlap here and I'm butchering this horribly by, by generalizing, but you get the point like, Hey, so are these things universal truths? Or when you're working with someone or an organization, do each of these functional groups need to kind of work on themselves in different ways to see success?
Mike Lindstrom: (10:56)
Yeah, that's, that's a great point because you're right. You're talking about somebody who is, especially now, when you're talking about marketing marketing, now what it was 20 years ago, but people that are, let's say a marketing leader versus a sales leader, which obviously there's a lot of crossover there. They're just looking for the things that are unique within their specific niche or their, or their forte. But the crossover is that the ones that are successful successful or are still trying to be better communicators. So that, and that's what it takes to be an incredible executive or leader. It doesn't matter. You go to the, you go into the boardroom, you got, you got a CEO, a CFO, you got a CTO, you got all your, all your leaders right there in the room. The ones that are going to be more the most effective are the ones that are, are trained or learned the psychology of communication.
Mike Lindstrom: (11:45)
I mean, literally human nature, right? How did it go into a poor groom and sell your point, you know, to the, to your whole group, not how you sell your point on the internet, because you have a, you know, a killer Facebook ad. That's not the kind of communication I'm talking about. The communication of just understanding how human beings operate and the way they think, what they're motivated by. It are seeing their pain and their pleasure motivations that those, the people, it doesn't matter what their niches or their forte is. They're obsessed with learning what those skills are.
Elias Rubel: (12:16)
So how, how do you differentiate when you come into an organization? Whether again, whether it's fortune 500 or smaller, you know, emerging technology company, how do you differentiate between when strategy is bad or needs adjusting versus when mindset is bad and needs to?
Mike Lindstrom: (12:42)
Yeah, that's a good point. Good question. I always ask, well, if there's a statement I'll usually put out there when I meet a company it's simple, but there's a lot to it. The Leafs drive behaviors, right? So beliefs drive behaviors, where do your beliefs come from? Life experiences, your upbringing, where you grow up, where you, where are you physically live, right? Your geography, all those things are your or your belief systems. So the first thing that I'm doing, when I walk into an organization, it doesn't matter if it's a, you know, a fortune 500 company or it's a company that's got, you know, 12 people in that room and they're just fired up because they're going to be the next Google, because they're so passionate about what they're selling. The first thing I have to do is I have to do a temperature check on their mindset.
Mike Lindstrom: (13:22)
I have to do a belief check, see if they believe that they are going to be truly than Google and then have nothing to stand on what it says a lot about their mindset, right? The seal, as it act as if, when they act as if they're a big company, that behavior is probably will follow it, meaning they will invest in themselves. They'll take chances, there'll be risk takers. They'll do the little things that other leaders or other companies are not willing to do. Again, they kind of go back to that one percenter mentality. So I can't really get into the behaviors part, which is how they market themselves. How do they sell on the sales floor? How does their salespeople literally pitch? You know, when they're on a zoom or they're doing a deck, that's like the extended part of it. I first place I have to go, is it the nucleus, which is the DNA of their belief system.
Mike Lindstrom: (14:10)
Once I understand that belief system, their value system, what's important to them, what are they afraid of? What keeps them up at night? I do my own surveys with my leadership teams when I meet them for the first time. So I can engage all these things. Once I've done that, then we get into what you're talking about, right? The strategy, what's the best way to push that, push the product or service into the marketplace. You know, given what their passions are, what their purpose of their, why is. So that, again, that purpose and why we hear about that so much in fortune 500 companies, but you'd be surprised, man, how many times I'll walk in and do that temperature check on those first few sessions and I'll throw it out to the group and say, okay guys, before we get started, I need to know what's your purpose of your wife before we can even talk, talk strategy. Uh, and sometimes you get blank stares going. Yeah, we know we read Simon syntax book, but we didn't really do much with it, what we need to, you know?
Elias Rubel: (15:06)
Sure. Yeah. That's hysterical. I sometimes,
Mike Lindstrom: (15:11)
Elias Rubel: (15:13)
Especially the earlier stage companies were like over index in the wrong way there. Cause we'll I'll land on one of their websites. It will be like taking, digging, digging into it and figuring out why it's not converting and it's, and like their website is they took it really literally. They started with why, but then they never backed into like why
Mike Lindstrom: (15:31)
This thing is solving a problem for real users. It's just their why. And you're like, this is awesome internally as a team like the drum, but you have to tell people what you're doing. It's funny. Cause they're just, they're like checking boxes when you check boxes, you're not just doing it for a fundamental exercise sake, but you have to translate as you know, you're going to go click, you're going to go create a big funnel or you're going to create a marketing campaign or, or some kind of a drip. You've got to see how all the sequences had together. But the only way you get to that strategy is you got to get back to that basic level of what's important to you. What's your driving force. What are you great at? And who are you targeting? Yeah, totally.
Elias Rubel: (16:12)
So, um, let's see. I'm curious, like what, what are some of the signals, uh, if you're a, an
Mike Lindstrom: (16:21)
Operator or an investor is probably more, more so for the operators and executives, maybe, and founders, and you're looking
Elias Rubel: (16:27)
Your team and you see that some people have this kind of innate quality clarity, they're thinking really big. They believe in themselves. And then you notice that there's some people
Mike Lindstrom: (16:38)
Well on the team that don't have that.
Elias Rubel: (16:40)
How do you think about when it's right to invest in those people and develop them and push them versus when it's just not the right fit and you need to get them off of the team so that your team can be playing like, you know, a players
Mike Lindstrom: (16:59)
And pushing hard together on the same day. That's a great question. There's two elements. I always, I always drive on his heart and hunger, heart and hunger. I don't care where they went to business school. Um, I just, I, I will always want, you know, my leader is my team to first examine the heart and hunger. And obviously if the integrity is there, the integrity of who the individual is, but the heart and hunger is there. Then you go into that level of go deeper and you say, you know what? This guy's a little rusty, you know, when it comes to maybe his sales ability, but he will run through brick walls. This guy's just a diehard. He played football in college or he's a triathlete or whatever. I, you can see it outside of like the confines of that, of that team. That's the kind of person that you push in on, you know, one of the best coaching advices I got from one of my mentors here in Phoenix, uh, Gary [inaudible] who used to run Motorola years ago, he's now retired and he's done very well for himself.
Mike Lindstrom: (17:55)
We did a panel group a few years ago with a bunch of leaders and we were, it was an open Q and a, and they said, you know, Gary, what's the toughest thing you have to do as a CEO. Now you think there's a lot of answers that you probably would naturally go to. But the one that a lot of CEOs will land on is firing someone, you know, having to let somebody go or be that ultimate decision maker to say, Hey, this, this guy, or this gal is not a good fit for the bus. You know, they're just, they don't have the heart or the hunger, or they just don't have the skill set. And the way he explained it to me, it just clicked. He said, you know, people are good people, okay. They have good integrity. They could have good heart, good hunger, but it's just not a good fit.
Mike Lindstrom: (18:34)
That's literally what he said. That's how he fired people. It's just not a good fit. So it doesn't mean you're a bad person. It doesn't mean, you know, all those degrees on your wall don't mean something. It's just, we're, we're going here. It's just not a good fit. So I always start with the first two, which is heart hunger and checking in with those. Do they really, really want it right? Are they passionate about it? And if you could go through that, then they're deserving to be on the bus. You're like, go back. That's Jim Collins wrote the book years ago. Good to great, you know, great leader is always trying to keep the right people on the bus, but the good ones, they hold on to people too long. And it's unfortunate. But sometimes when you got to let that person go, you just got to follow, you know, Gary's approach, you know, you leave their dignity intact and you say, Hey, it's just not a good fit. I like that a lot.
Elias Rubel: (19:19)
So, um, Mike, I always love to ask what, you know, getting to the point in your career that you're at right now, surely there are influences that have been in your life either as mentors or, you know, folks out there have just inspired you to do the work that you're doing and, and to be excellent at it. Who are those folks for you?
Mike Lindstrom: (19:40)
Yeah. I mean, obviously we talked about Tony. I mean, Tony is the originator, if you will, for me Robbins, but a lot, I'm not another name. That's huge for me is Dan layer. A L I E R. Dan was literally the guy who hired me. He was Tony's right hand guy at that time. Dan is one of my best friends where this Parker we've written books together. Um, he was in my wedding. So he's doing incredible things, not just in personal development. Um, but just communication, you know, small startups to fortune 500 companies. You know, I think about, um, clients, I've had a lot of people, my friend that I'm going to name here, we may, might be by surprised by this, but I have a client that I've worked with. Who's an attorney in Florida named chip Merlin chip is a very known in the insurance world to go after the big companies.
Mike Lindstrom: (20:25)
And when I started coaching chip, I just would sit with this guy and see how he believed, how he thought he just, he's not a good lawyer, a good educator, you know, intelligent, but the way he just believed big, he made me believe bigger. So those were a couple off the top of my hands. I have so many influences. Obviously my father's being influenced in my life. My wife, Monica Lindstrom, she's a local TV legal analyst here in town. And she's the one that kinda keeps me in check. Uh, but Dan Lira, Tony were the ones that really brought me into this world of personal development. I'll be remiss if I didn't mention those guys for sure. Well, Mike, thank you so much for taking the time. This was really enjoyable and I think it sheds light on a piece of the puzzle that is so key and underlying and often overlooked until, you know, until it comes up. So thanks for, thanks for walking us through all that. I appreciate the time. And Mike lindstrom.com is my website. I'm sure you'll probably post that on your podcast. So if anyone wants to reach out, I got documents to back up any of the stuff I've said. If you wanted to reach out, I'd love to connect with you. Perfect, Mike. Well, thank you again, Mike Lindstrom. Thank you.