366 | Are You Positioning Yourself to Lead?

Are you positioning yourself to lead well or feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list? How are you doing leading your team to be successful right now? Are you seeing good results from your team or are you having to make everything happen?

There might be fears, questions, and uncertainty holding you back and clouding your judgment.

Today, my Vice President of Leadership Development, Joel Fortner, and I cover the questions you may be asking yourself as a leader right now.




For full transcript, continue reading:

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

Welcome to the Chris Locurto show. Today we are going to do something a little different with everything that is going on in the world. We want to encourage you and give you some hope as well. So whether you are a business owner or a stay at home parent who has suddenly become your kid’s teacher, uh, we want to encourage you during this time. So today we’re going to share with you part of the conversation that Joel and I had on our Facebook live recently. So if you want to watch the entire discussion, which is almost about two hours, that’s good stuff there. Please visit our page on Facebook. We hope you find some good news in the conversation today and we thank you for joining us.

Leading Within a Business.

Joel: Let’s, uh, let’s shift gears just a little bit, Chris and, and talk about business and talk about leadership and leading within a business right now. A lot of leaders right now are wondering what to do. They’re questioning maybe the decisions they’ve made over the last week, wondering if they were correct or they realize they’re not correct and now they’re course correcting. Um, what should leaders be focusing on right now when it comes to leading their team to be successful?

Chris: So for me, um, you’ve got to be in a position to lead. So leading is not telling people what to do, folks. I’m getting on a call with Joel on Sunday and saying, Hey, let’s just walk through the things that we’re going to share this week. We’re going to make some adjustments to your team. Uh, we’re going to talk through what do you think we should do? You know, everything that I’ve done with my team has been leading them to a place, getting with them Monday, talking through the fear stuff, talking through how we’re not going to. In our zoom call, it was interesting because I’m looking at the Brady bunch. I go, Hey, four of you are going to be customer facing this week. Five, including me. Right? So understand if they’re freaking out, don’t affirm their freak out. You know, if they’re like, Oh my gosh, 73 places are closed in our, you know, just in our neighborhood, don’t go, Oh that 42 ourselves just yep, that’s what’s going on and understand, understand what can we do about it now? Don’t perpetuate the fear. Don’t perpetuate the anxiety and stuff. That’s leading people to think through. How do they face your clients this week? How do they lead your clients? Right? So leading is actually showing, guiding, directing, helping people to get to another place that they may, they might not get to on their own. Right. It’s not a matter of dictating stuff. Um, it is definitely not the, the first lesson that we push to all of our leaders that come into our programs is called Killing the Leadership Crazy Cycle. I’m mentioning this because I know that there’s a lot of leaders right now that don’t really know how to lead right now because they have spent so much time being overwhelmed and bogged down with tasks and stuff that they were doing every single day leading up to this crisis. Right? So this hard time. If that’s where you live, then guess what? It’s really difficult to be leading right now. It’s really difficult to know how to lead. So for me, what I want you to focus on is first off, you’ve got to get to a place where you’re not fearful. You’ve got to get to a place where you can put out a strong confidence front that people know is genuine and authentic. Next thing you do not need to be bogged down in tasks. So many people get their worth from the number of tasks that they do in a day. There’s so many entrepreneurs and leaders watching this right now that you get a lot of your identity and worth from the things that you do in a day, and I’m going to tell you it’s not gonna. It’s not gonna help your business much right now, right?

The thing you need to be doing is leading people to changing direction, to, to looking at different scenarios. How do we utilize folks in a better way? We want through all of the team. We went through the whole team and ask the question, should they continue doing exactly what they’re doing right now or should we alter this person’s role and some roles we completely altered. Well, they don’t need to be doing this. They need to be shifting this now this is the thing that’s important. This is going to take care of our clients. This is going to push our business forward instead of sitting around waiting for things to fall apart. So make sure that you’re leading people in the right direction. Spend time thinking through how you can, you know, repurpose and reposition their roles. You know, what does that look like? How do you still utilize them in this time?

You know, one of the things I shared with the team is I’m still paying you. So while you’re sitting at home, this isn’t a vacation, right? The government’s not bailing Chris LoCurto out. They’re not, I don’t need a bell up, but so I’m going to pay you. And as long as we can continue to bring in money and take care of things and I’m going to keep taking care of my team. Even though things are changing for us, right? So, Hey, here’s what I expect. Bust your butts. While you’re working remotely bust your butt. So leading them in those processes. Um, so also, um, you might have to really start taking a hard look at your finances, you know, start taking a look at non-essential things that you’re paying and that we’re going to talk a little bit more about this, but take a hard look at what expenses you have going out.

I shared this with um, our Next Level Mastermind Clients, uh, two days ago that we have money out with some vendors that we’re not going to be able to use those vendors right now or we’re not going to be able to use the amount of money that we have with them. And I’ve had to take a look at my finances and go, ah, I know they’re having a lot of money against from them, so I’m going to keep money with them or at least a decent percentage of money to help them through this tough time. Because right now that’s not something that is, that I need in this moment. Okay. So things to think about is how do you take a look at your expenses? How do you take a look at where you do have money? Don’t just yank everything back in a heartbeat. You know, you wouldn’t want that to happen to you. So think about how you handle money that’s out with your vendors. Uh, so those are just a few things that I would be looking at as a leader right now.

Create High Levels of Communication.

Joel: Okay, If you’re, if you’re a leader, Chris, and you’ve got, let’s say you’ve got someone on your team, um, who’s worried about getting sick or they’re worried about losing their job and maybe they’ve not said anything yet and they’re just waiting and writing it out and hoping things are going to be good. What should leaders be saying right now?

Chris: Well, one of the things that we teach here is that, you know, low levels of communication creates fear, right? You need to have high levels of quality communication. Um, when you don’t have good communication, people get fearful. People freak out. People don’t bust their butts because they’re worried that something bad is going to happen. So right now you need to be communicating the beginning of leading yourself and leading your team. You have to be thinking about what’s your messaging to your team. If you have not sat down and been very clear, open and honest with your team and giving them the opportunity to ask questions and push back on things you’re not leading well. Okay. So communicate like crazy. I shared with my team, Hey guys, I’m going to keep paying you as long as I can keep paying you and right now I can do that.

So they’re very clear. They’re very clear. When I say bust your butts while you’re at home shift, we’re, you know, we’re talking with every single person, um, and making adjustments on things. So we expect that you build and bust your butts. It’s no different because you’re at home and if you’ve got to, you know, set yourself in a different room so the family’s not interrupting you during this time or whatever. Don’t put your TV on in the background. Don’t, don’t treat this as though you’re on vacation, right? Work. As long as you can keep doing this, we can keep helping people. As long as we can keep helping people, we can keep our doors open. So be clear in communicating. If you are at a place where you’re like, Hey listen guys, I don’t know if I can take care of you, then communicate that. Now do it in a good way.

Um, but before we do that, I would take a really hard look at all of your finances, make sure everything that you’re doing, you’re in the correct way. A look at all options. Again, we’ll talk more about that stuff right now, but communicate to your team guys, I, this is what I’m looking at. Um, I’m looking at, uh, making some adjustments out. Magnus, uh, one of our clients, we had a great conversation the other day about some phenomenal things that they were doing and some of those things involved. Cutting out the 401k contribution, not incredibly important for a business to be spending on right now. Now I will say for those of you who don’t have debt and all that stuff, I’m pushing money into the market. This is right time. Uh, things like taking a pay cut to keep people on board, right? If they have to get to that place.

Another great idea to keep putting food on people’s tables and you, but at some point I’m going to have, we’re all probably going to have to take a notch off the top so that we can keep, you know, paying people and keep doing what we’re doing. There’s all kinds of things you can be adjusting. So take a hard look at those first, but be communicating that. So if I was, if I was going to yank the 401k contribution, everybody would know that right now if I was going to need to drop, um, you know, some, uh, everybody’s pay by a percentage, I would be discussing that right now, right? And giving them the opportunity. You can stay here at 80%, 70%, whatever, or you have the opportunity to go somewhere else if you want to.

Next Level Leadership Live Event- Live Stream.

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Fear of Transparency.

Joel: There’s a lot of leaders in this that that that they may hear that Chris and think, gosh, it’s like I have fear around being that transparent because it feels like I’m going to create fear in my team and then maybe they’re going to leave or maybe this or maybe that or all of these, these assumptions that they may make if they are that transparent so that they may feel like, well, let me try to control some of that information. Or maybe let’s ride this out a little bit longer and maybe I don’t need to, I don’t to share those things yet because truly they’re feeling fearful about it. What do you say to that?

Chris: Um, so one thing I do not suggest that you do is share your finances. Don’t you don’t need to be sharing numbers going through stuff, explaining all of that right now. That is not the important piece. You making smart decisions with it, is. If you’re sharing with your team that, Hey guys, if this continues three weeks from now, two months from now, I’m probably going to have to make one week from now, I’m probably going to have to make some harsh decisions financially. If you’re fearful of that, think about it. How are they gonna respond by not knowing how are they going to respond when all of a sudden you just drop it on everybody at one point, right? If you treat them with dignity like human beings and say, here’s where we are, and you give a decent amount of information to kind of help them to know roughly where you are and roughly where they are, that they are going to respect the fire out of that.

If you’re fearful of them leaving question for you, where are they going to go? Right? Why are they going to right now to bail? So you have to think about that, right? I don’t think anybody’s wanting that big of a change in that big of a risk in their, in their life right now. If you can keep them on board and continue to pay them. Now, if you’re, if you’re like, Hey, we’re probably letting everybody off, um, you know, a week from now, uh, then and you’re fearful that they’re gonna run out the door, okay, don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, but at least let them know rough things are going on. If you are still paying them to do a job, then make sure they’re still doing the job you’re paying them to do. But don’t be fearful about it. Help them to understand, you know, guys, things are gonna change. But you know, we’re going to, we’re going to continue to bust our butts on this.

Joel: Yeah. So be beat to be transparent. It really goes back to really what you talked about earlier, about the importance of leading yourself through fear so that you can make quality decisions such as, let’s be sure and let’s be transparent and treat people like adults.

Chris: And I will tell you this, I am, I am. I struggle with the same things that everybody else struggles with. We just have ways of getting over this stuff, right? We’ve, we’ve shifted our focus on things that we don’t deal with the fear. We don’t deal with the junk, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have fearful moments throughout the year. And Joel is one of those people that I turn to. Um, throughout the years I’ve turned, if I have one of those times, I’ll turn to my leaders and go, Hey guys, I’m struggling with something right now. I’m going to prayer. I’m going to go fight and battle this thing. I’m going to, I’m going to fight the lies with the truth, so I’m going to battle it like crazy, but I need your prayer. And Joel, I don’t know how many times you’ve sent me down and you went, Chris, you know this, you know this, you know this, and it’s like, yup, done.

Okay, we’re moving forward. The fear’s gone. I’m able to get over that stuff. So being able to really tackle the lie that you’re telling yourself, start if you are fearful or if your team is fearful. Start asking the question, what is the lie you’re telling yourself? And then we don’t, the truth is almost never the opposite of the lie. What we do is we ask the question, why are you telling yourself that lie? That’s where you bring in the truth, that reason, well, because I’m struggling, I’m afraid that people are going to judge me. I’m afraid that you know my lifestyle is going to change. All right, so now we talk about with truth. So sometimes you have to be really focused on fighting the lies with the truth.

Preparing for Tough Conversations.

Joel: You know, Chris, this just popped in my head, I imagine there’s a lot of leaders, especially business owners right now that have just let people go. Unemployment claims surged from 3000 to over 3 million in a week in our country. That means a lot of business owners and leaders just had a lot of tough conversations with team members all over this country. They may be wondering right now, man, what are those people thinking about me? Or they’re going into potential layoffs in the lie they’re telling themselves is they’re going to hate me. They’re never going to forgive me. They’re going to blame this on me. It’s like, I imagine those lies are probably attacking a lot of business owners right now.

Chris: Uh, if it is you gotta kick that stuff in the butt. Listen, people aren’t looking. Everybody understands what’s going on. Everybody understands that this is something that is way beyond, uh, you know, all right, I have to hit this two ways. Um, one preparing for disasters that come upon the land. God is very clear about that. Those folks that are laid off. If you’ve had to lay people off, if they’ve prepared for what’s come upon the land, then they’re not struggling right now. Okay. If they haven’t and there’s a good chance that they haven’t, they’re not looking at you and going, you’re supposed to be responsible for every bit of my life. So you can’t be responsible for every bit of their life. Um, so the fear, the worry, the concern that they’re thinking something negative or something bad about you is a colossal waste of time. Let’s say that they do, let’s say that somebody thinks that the Corona virus is your fault, that they’re being laid off is your fault. If they think that way, then they don’t have really great perspective either and that means that they are not taking responsibility for the choices that they’ve made in life to not be set up for a time such as this. Let me break in and say three words. Financial Peace University. Everybody on my team, I paid for them to go through. I know that a lot of folks that are watching this have been through. Folks, I’ll tell you right now, I have not had consumer debt in 19 years. I’ve not had mortgage debt for 15 years. I can do anything I want to personally. Why? Because I made that a priority to set myself up and be prepared for any disaster that comes upon the land.

So let me say, um, when things do get rolling again, and I know you’re probably going to ask me some questions about this here shortly, Joel, but when things do get rolling again, be a hero by making sure that you take care of your people and help them to handle their own finances correctly. For those of you that are out there that are not a business leader, not a business owner, and you’re struggling with finances right now, listen, listen to me., make it important. Make it important to get rid of debt, to get rid of paying for a lifestyle that you think people are impressed with. Stop trying to impress other created human beings. It’s a waste of time. So stop doing that now in the midst of it right now. If you’re struggling, if you’ve not done that, then we’ve got to start where we are, right?

No shame, no fear, we don’t. That’s the last thing I want you to hear is all look, well you screwed up. Like now you’re just going to have to take responsibility where you are. You have to take responsibility where you are, right? It is where you are right now. So what do you do about it? No shame, no fear. Make a decision that you’re going to do something different. If you’re the leader who is, who is feeling horrible and you know, constantly telling yourself all the lies that everybody thinks, it’s your fault. You’re going to have to get past that, right? You’re going to have to get past that and take responsibility for where you are right now. But sitting there worrying about whether or not everybody is sitting at home calling you bad names, how’s that going to change anything? How’s it going to fix anything? And if they do, if they are doing that, then you’ve got to take a look at how unhealthy they are choosing to be. You’re choosing to be unhealthy by listening. And believing in creating those lives in your head. They’re choosing to be unhealthy if they’re actually doing that.

Live and Work Outside the Box.

Joel: Yeah. So everyone’s being unhealthy. Everybody. No, but it’s true though in all seriousness. You know, cause there’s a lot of people who are struggling right now as we call it. There’s a lot of people’s whose their root systems are attacking them right now. And there’s a lot of lies that are going on that, uh, hopefully all of you who’ve been through Next Level Life. If you’re struggling, you’re using your tools and you’re battling those, those lies with truth. So Chris, right now, not every business suffering right now, not all teams are suffering, some are thriving. I know a lot of our clients have gotten super creative. Um, and we’ve helped a lot of them think outside of the box and come up with new opportunities in order to serve customers because the market just shifted. It’s another way to look at it. Everyone’s market largely just shifted for the worse or for the better. And a lot of them are capitalizing right now. What’s some advice you have on discovering new opportunities? Um, how to get your team together to really just get out of what you do every single day to really discover new opportunities right now. Maybe they’re revenue opportunities, maybe they’re even within your own business, such as things maybe you’ve been needing to get to, but just have never prioritized it.

Chris: So one of the things that you’ve got to do is you have got to recognize that any money that’s going to be given to you needs to be a, is most likely going to come from you serving somebody else, right? I’m sorry for all of you that have luxury items out there right now. I mean, that’s a, that’s a crazy thing to be in a luxury item business right now. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t shift gears. So the first thing you need to recognize is how can you serve somebody, not how do you make your product more available more, you know, dressing it up more. How do you serve the people that you can serve, the people that you can reach? Right? So that’s one of the first things that we did is started to take a look at, okay, well we’re in the business of helping people.

So we’re, we’re still gonna keep helping people, right? But we’re going to make some shifts. We’re going to make some adjustments. So that’s what we’re doing. Well, we’re going to be going online. Why? Because we are going to still help people. People still need to grow in their leadership. They still need to learn how to lead during these times. So we’re taking that online. We’re going to be simulcasting that instead doing the live streaming of it. Uh, we’ve taken a look at how can we help people with, you know, different areas of our business. You have to, again, the things that we’re hitting, you have to run through these things first to get to a place to be able to do what I’m talking about.

Now, if you’re fearful, if you are struggling with worth, if you do not believe that God has your best interest at heart, then you’re going to push away from everything you’re going to push away. You’re going to freak out. You’re not going to want to take responsibility on stuff. You’re not going to want to think outside the box. Nothing’s going to work. You will have tried everything a thousand times before and have reasons why you can’t do it now. So if you are in any of those modes, the mindset that you have right now is going to be the mindset that you make decisions from. So if your mindset is freak, fear, any of that kind of junk, then you’re going to be making decisions based on that. If you are not fearful, if you are not worried, if you are, you know, I’m not saying that you’re not concerned, but I’m saying you’re making smart decisions along the way, then you can start making smart decisions for the business by bringing your team in, bringing in people. Uh, we spent, um, jeez, most of Monday with four of us going through opportunities and adjustments and things. And all kinds of stuff. And really, I mean, it, it, it’s like a brainstorming session. We do throughout the year anyways because we’re used to doing that kind of stuff, right? So our mindset is, well, somebody moved their cheese, let’s go find new cheese. Right? So we get together and we start brainstorming ideas and coming up with things that we can do. So how do we take this event online and make it even better? Right? Which, you know, obviously in person is the best possible way, but we’ve had to enhance certain things with the event, uh, to help people so that they come spend time with us in the live stream. And it’s not just being talk to, but instead we’ve also thrown things in there to make it a more interactive and give them more opportunities to ask questions and all that kind of stuff.

So sitting down, take a hard look at what your clients need. I’ll bring up Magnus again because we had such a fantastic conversation on so many things that he’s doing. Um, but they do marketing for attorneys. And so what they did is, you know, a lot of his attorneys are focused on certain things like mesothelioma, right? They, they want the key words, all the stuff they were mobile listing on trying to get people to come to them for their lawsuits, right? Because that’s how they make a ton of their money. Well Magnus just, or his team, I should say, cause he leads a great team and he’s doing a great job leading. But they went and started looking at keyword searches and come to find out all of a sudden there’s these keyword searches like, uh, big truck accidents, um, big rigs, you know, accidents that are happening from big rigs. And, so all of a sudden there’s more people searching for this stuff and they’re like, Hey guys, uh, we want to capitalize here. Let’s shift some funds and let’s start going after this and let’s start feeding you this business. Because what are attorneys looking at right now, if I can’t get into court, how do I make money? Well, here’s new cases, here’s new stuff, but you can at least be moving along with, uh, so they went out and started asking the question, how do we feed our clients more business? How do we help them with more business? You can’t do that if you’re freaking out. Let me rephrase. You can do that. You’re just not going to get to great, great perspective because your brain is focused on the freak out. You know, we’ve done, they’ve done, um, so funny, I texted one of our guys are a painting company here in Nashville, Jeremy Reeves.

I was, I woke up this morning, I’m laying in bed and I’m like, cause I was talking to the Next Level Mastermind clients on Wednesday going, Hey, this has got to be a great time to go through all the commercial companies who’s people are not at the business. They want to paint their business. Hey, nobody’s there. We’ll come in, we’ll, you know, move stuff around and paint. Let’s get some work going. Let’s get you, we can get some, they probably already thought about that. Well before I did, but I just saw them on the call and I’m like, here’s what I would do if I was you guys. So this, I woke up and their Nashville office I’m like exterior paint jobs. There’s tons of people that this is still a good time. They’ve got money they were going to spend on it, and he’d go ballistic and so on.

Text Jeremy and he’s like, Oh yeah, we’re, we’re totally on board with this. We were taking advantage of this right now because people still, there are people that still have money that wants to get their house painted and now’s a great time. And so we’re not even cut. But he even shared of all the things that they’re doing on the interior to protect the clients. So they’re still getting a lot of interior residential, which I thought was not going to happen. I was like, man, I’m at that, dropped off. And believe it or not, they’re just showing them how they’re taking good care of the clients and being protected for the client. And people like, Oh, well, come on in and pick my house.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.