Episode 36 Transcript: Transforming Organizations Through Talent Retention with Dr. Troy Hall

Brett Fellows: Dr. Troy Hall, welcome to The Retiring Entrepreneur Podcast. We are excited to have you here today.

Troy Hall: Well, thanks Brett. I appreciate being here, and you know if I were any better, I’d be you.

Brett Fellows: Thank you. Why I was excited to have you, and why I had asked you. A lot of the work that we do with working with business owners is after we do evaluation of their company, it’s usually not as much as they think it is. Frankly, it never is as much as they think it is. And so we talk a lot about value drivers, and try to give them a runway as to how they could probably increase the value of their business. And one of which, and one of the most important things is their talent, their people.

Brett Fellows: So your expertise as a talent and retention expert is really what drew me to you, and asking you to be here today. You’ve been featured on the Today Show, you are a best-selling author and international speaker. You have passion for transforming organizations through talent retention. You have created the cohesion cultures, which I’m excited to hear about, where you teach people to have a sense of belonging and being valued and shared in mutual commitments. So ultimately, you want us to not lose talent and keep our employees and that’s why you’re here today.

Troy Hall: Absolutely. I think one of the mistakes sometimes in organizations is that they spend so much money acquiring the talent, that they forget that they also need to be thinking about how they want to keep it and retain it. And it’s not just something that you put on autopilot; it requires work.

Troy Hall: And so, the coalition culture program, which deals with the elements of belonging, value and shared mutual commitment which you mentioned before, creates cohesion within the culture. So it’s not really about creating every culture to be a cohesion culture. It’s just a trademarked way that I can describe the program and the components that go with it. What you really want to do is infuse cohesion within whatever culture you have.

Troy Hall: So if you have a culture of innovation, a culture of joy, a culture of service, whatever it happens to be. The values that you’re expecting your employees to follow, to have, to adopt, to align with. Then you just want to maximize all of those connections and all that activity of those individuals and never put it on autopilot.

Brett Fellows: Great, a lot to dive into there. To back up, I guess for our listeners, what is a talent retention expert? Meaning, what do you do? Who’s it for?

Troy Hall: So talent retention is in leadership, we often know that the process that you acquire the talent and train the talent, it typically falls under the HR umbrella. And it’s about making sure that you have the right strategies and practices on board. So in the book, coalition culture, proven principles to retain your top talent, for those individuals who may have the book or get the book, on page 103 is a talent retention model.

Troy Hall: So you can see everything visually that you might need to put in place in your organization. You’ll notice that setting out the framework, at the very bottom is the HR strategies and practices, which you need to have in place. But from there, everything that happens, all the rest of the interactions are really with leadership and the employee base. So the coalition culture book was written with three structured acts or three divisional areas. The first was leadership.

Troy Hall: So it’s making sure that leadership really understands what they need to do to support the cohesion culture. The second section is about building the culture, the values and the things that you need to have in place from a conceptual idea. And then the third aspect or the third section of the book is putting it all together, it’s bringing it to life. So here you have a complete recipe book from start to finish. Here’s what you need to do is to be the leader, because leadership is where talent retention really, it’s where it really matters.

Troy Hall: Recent surveys by culture amp and the Sherm organization, basically says that still, the number one reason that people leave an organization is they don’t leave the organization, they quit the supervisor. And what we’ve drilled down further to understand it’s that lack of inclusion. Those individuals who are leaving do not feel that the supervisor has helped them to really become a part, not only of their team, but a part of the organization. And that’s why we start with belonging, when we start focusing on a cohesion culture framework.

Brett Fellows: Gotcha. How did you get into this, Dr. Troy, what’s your journey? What’s your background? Love to hear that.

Troy Hall: Well, I’m not sure we have enough that we’ll start with on a rainy, cold, starry night. Or I guess it can’t be raining, cold and starry, but we can’t go back that far. But for me, my PhD is in global leadership and entrepreneurship. My dissertation was in group dynamics, with an emphasis on cohesion. And because I spent over 40 years working with talent in an organization over 25 years in a C-suite position, I understand what it takes to work with individuals and really making sure that you work with people first is paramount to whatever task that you are about to accomplish, project you’re working on, issue you’re trying to resolve. It’s always working with the people first.

Troy Hall: So I recognize that, that’s why that group interaction or that team interaction is so important. And then what do we need to make sure that the team does. So, cohesion is studied in a way to make, is so interesting because cohesion is a causal phenomenon. It means that when you have cohesion present, you get an effect afterwards.

Troy Hall: So it’s a cause and effect, it’s not correlational data, it’s cause and effect. And that’s extremely important for business owners. Because you’re not building cohesion just as a fluffy sort of nice to have. You’re actually building cohesion, because what you get is performance. And the level of performance that you get, each and every time. That cohesion is present within your team, within your organization, you get a level of engagement, which is the type of employee you want who is helpful, active, vested and eager. So, you really want that sort of relationship, right? With the employee.

Troy Hall: You want that talent to really be engaged in the organization. And oftentimes, we have been told that you look for it in people being happy or being satisfied. What I tell you is that if you truly want it, you put cohesion in place, you make sure that you’ve got the areas of belonging value and shared mutual commitment within your organization. You make sure that strategic framework lays over top of your organization, and you have activities that actually support your philosophies, you have policies, your procedures, you have whatever you need that structurally helps to support that.

Troy Hall: When you do, you will get performance each and every time, the research proves it. And the that level of what you get when you have cohesion, that’s what’s really interesting for leaders. Because would it be surprising to you if I told you that when a team operates in a true cohesive manner, you get a 50% lift in creativity and productivity within the organization. Would that surprise you?

Brett Fellows: No.

Troy Hall: Yes, right. So guess what? Organizations sometimes falter because they don’t know where to put their emphasis or where to put their energy. So if you put your energy toward cohesion, which is already a cause and effect, then you get a better predictor of behavior. Because you get performance that comes as a result of it. So it isn’t a matter of guesswork, it’s just a matter of putting it in place, and making sure that it happens.

Brett Fellows: Yes. There’s so much I want to dive into there. You said the creative, I think the creative mindset is so important in leadership. But I guess diving into that, even specific you talked about talent, let’s get some bare bones. The saying hire slow and fire fast. I know we all want A players. How do you think about finding and onboarding new talent?

Troy Hall: Well, the one thing to make sure that we’re real clear about, and I don’t want to evade your question, but I am the talent retention expert. So my emphasis is getting the people after they have been acquired. So although, I may not be able to tell you what are the tips and techniques that you need to put in place if you’re in a talent acquisition mode. But what I can clearly tell you is what I need them to be like when they come on board after you’ve gone through the process.

Brett Fellows: Okay, that makes sense.

Troy Hall: What I definitely know that needs to happen is there has to be more emphasis on the front end on culture, than on skill. And oftentimes what I see with counterparts in this acquisition process, is they spend so much time vetting the skill, that they forget to make sure that the individual fits into the organization, and that the organization is a good fit for them. Because not everybody who has the talent or has the skill is the right person for your organization.

Troy Hall: And you need to make sure that their role they’re going to play, and who they are, fits very nicely in the lines with the values of the organization. If not, then you won’t have that talent for very long, and then all the efforts to retain them are simply gone. But my theory is this, if you spend all that money to acquire talent, then you should be considering them top talent, until they give you a solid reason not to.

[12:33] The importance of mindset and process when it comes to retaining talented workers.  

Brett Fellows: Okay. And along that line, I’ve always find, if errors are addressed at all with talent, it’s usually on who made a mistake, not so much on the mindset or the process that led to the mistake. How do you change that?

Troy Hall: Well, interesting that you asked that question. But I have a cohesive communication worksheet that I use with individuals that I may either consult with or I may coach. The idea behind the worksheet is to create conversations that allow for self-discovery. If you go into a meeting with an individual, and by the way, we’re just going to be able to touch on it here. I mean, it’s a complete session that we spend a lot of time on, to really get all the pieces.

Troy Hall: So we’re just going to have a very quick sixty thousand foot view of what we’re doing. Would be nice to have a sixty-thousand-dollar view, but we’ll just say it’s a sixty-thousand-foot view of what it is. So the idea is to get people to go into self-discovery, and there, you have to ask open-ended, non-leading questions. The first thing you do is don’t blame the person for doing something wrong, but simply talk about the event and ask questions around the event for self-discovery.

Troy Hall: So if Brett, it was a situation with you, maybe you didn’t do a report on time. I might start out my conversation making sure that hey Brett, I would like to speak with you about the report and the timing of it this last time. You would not or you would agree, so that you understood what we were talking about, and my first then question would be is tell me a little bit about your process, how do you prepare to make that report happen?

Troy Hall: And I’m going to ask that question. I’m not going to start out with Brett, tell me why you didn’t get it done on time. Because when you use why which is an open-ended question, you actually revert people into a defensive mechanism. Their safety and security is now being threatened, and everything they say after that now comes across as though they’re defending themselves, not really explaining anything.

Troy Hall: If you want someone to explain, then ask them to say instead of saying why did the report not come on time, then say explain to me how the report’s timing worked out on the 18th when it was due on the 15th. There, that is not a defensive question, not the best one, the best one is the one I started with, but it still gives you something else to work under.

Troy Hall: And you can take every why question and really change it, to say well, tell me more about this, or give me some information, or please explain this, let me know, what were you thinking through that process, tell me what your thought process was. Whatever that is, to get you to start answering these open-ended questions. And the reason that you do that, and the reason you go for self-discovery is that you move people from responding to thinking, and what you want is to have a conversation where people are actively thinking, not just simply responding.

Troy Hall: And we go to a different spot in our brain when we are defending ourselves, versus when we are recalling information. And we’re also much freer to recall information, and here’s what happens with self-discovery. If the person made a mistake through their self-discovery, they’ll typically admit it. They actually will take accountability for it unless they’re completely an outlier when it comes to taking accountability and responsibility, if they see themselves in more of a god-like sort of fashion, then they’re not going to take accountability or responsibility.

Troy Hall: But for most people, when they have that opportunity to have a good healthy conversation, they own up to what it is and they do all the work. You don’t have to start out the meeting by saying Brett, you let me down by not having that report done on time. Because you can ask questions like and say well, Brett, tell me what it means to you to have that report on time.

Troy Hall: What does it mean to others? What do you think others think when those reports are not done on time? So all of a sudden you’re getting this real opportunity for people to be fully expressive of what’s going on. That’s how we work programs for the cohesion culture, and teach leaders on what they need to do, so that they can sustain this culture once they build it. Because if you go into a meeting where you have to defend yourself, then it breaks down.

Troy Hall: Now, I want to be clear for those folks who are listening, this is coaching, this is not counseling. You always start with coaching. And so going back to your previous comment about higher slow, fire fast, I always believe that the T is in training first then terminating. Everyone deserves to have the right to know what is the right information, to get everything that they need to do the job, and for you as a leader, to assess the difference between ability or will and skill.

Troy Hall: And you give everyone a chance. Now if you don’t ever get it right, then I have to move into a counseling conversation and trust me, that’ll be very different in how we will have that. And for the most part, you may not get as much opportunity to have self-discovery, because now you have to really pay attention, because we’ve now moved the conversation to something more critical, and that is this work that needs to be done, that is now impeding or creating a problem for others in the organization, or for the delivery of the product or service to the consumer.

[17:47] How Dr. Troy Hall trains leaders to accept multiple viewpoints and lean into discomfort.

Brett Fellows: And the theme I’m hearing from you is, just how creative a leader must be to act like this. And I can imagine, it’s difficult for you when you come into these situations. I mean, it’s very difficult for leaders to accept multiple viewpoints or recognize our differences or lean into discomfort. So how do you train leaders to act that way?

Troy Hall: So there’s a couple of things. So the first two chapters of the book, cohesion culture, proven principles to retain your top talent, focus on the leadership aspect. When we work together with organizations, and we bring this program fully into an organization, we ask leaders to put on their transformational vest, and that vest begins with these letters. V is for vision, and we ask the leader to teach it and get people to aspire to it.

Troy Hall: So it’s vision, vision is very important, just telling people what the vision is also helping to explain the why. Why are we doing something? What’s the vision? What’s the purpose? Why are we going to the direction we’re going? Why are we doing any of this? The next is emotional intelligence. The leader has to manage their emotions and the emotions of people they’re around. And there we focus on the concept of empathy, and in empathy, there are exercises that can be done that allow you to understand how a person thinks, what a person might say in a situation, what they are doing, and how they are feeling.

Troy Hall: And when you’re able to master those, then you have an opportunity to really engage in your emotional intelligence. And in that aspect, we want the leader to have good self-awareness or self-regard. Not only for themselves, but what is happening around themselves. Then the next is be a good social architect, that is your interactions with people. And in the book, we also talk about seven attributes of an effective leader, and those seven attributes now are the things that you incorporate into your social interactions with others.

Troy Hall: So just for quick recap, they’re teachable, compassion, grace, truth-seeking, humility and being a pure of heart and a peacemaker. If you have all of those attributes working together, then you’re going to be a good social architect, because you’re not letting one thing get before the other. You have all sorts of checks and balances within those seven attributes. But we start with teachable, because it’s what you said in the very beginning, it’s the mindset of the leader.

Troy Hall: If the leader believes that the way they think that it should be done is right and perfect and the best, and cannot accept the viewpoints and ideals of others, then you’re not going to be a leader of transformation, you’re not going to be a leader with a successful culture. You’re going to be a dictator of what it is that you want done, and you’re going to subscribe to something that’s called ethnocentric thinking. Where you are centered on yourself and what you want to do, and you have no room for anyone else.

Troy Hall: The last element is of the vest is T which is trusted environment, and it’s also then placed off the emotional intelligence. We don’t want our employees to have to wear a mood ring, to determine whether the leader or supervisor is having a good day or not. We want to make sure that there is no finger pointing, there is no gossiping.

Troy Hall: That the individual leader is open and available, that they’re not just booking themselves with meeting after meeting after meeting with no accessibility, because that does not create a trusted environment. They also want to make sure that the individual leader is being fair and equitable, and in that trusted environment, it’s important that the leader focuses on others first, and then self. And that is the best of the transformational leader. Vision, emotional intelligence, social architect, trusted environment.

[21:45] How leaders can create good agreements with their people.

Brett Fellows: Great. A couple things I want to go, I wanted to talk more about your books. One of my favorite quotes is from Stephen Covey, all broken relationships can be traced back to broken agreements. So now you’ve got your team and you’ve got your A players. If we have poorly crafted agreements with one another, well, then I can imagine that leads to lack of productivity, lack of performance. How do we create good agreements with people as leaders?

Troy Hall: Well, to create a good agreement with a leader, you have to think about well, what are the components of that agreement. And it really comes out of compromise, which is the peacemaking aspect of that attribute, right? It’s the common promise. So you and I agreed to make a common promise, and so I like to think about well, let’s look at smart goals, can you use a smart goal format to create that sort of agreement? You know what you’re doing specific, is what you’re doing measurable so that I understand the measurements. Is it attainable or is it going to be assigned to me? Do I really know how that’s working?

Troy Hall: And is it realistic or relevant? And then what’s the time. If I have now set up all of those, then you now can say oh, I have a fair agreement with you on what it is. And then the other aspect of it is to understand that you can modify agreements, but you have to modify agreement by making sure the other person agrees to that. You can’t just modify the agreement on your side, it’s a mutual activity. So this mutual commitment has to be agreed upon if you choose to change it.

Troy Hall: So again, in that concept of mutual commitment, where we’re looking at this smart goal concept, to try to make sure that we’re also balancing that peacemaking, all of that, all this is working together for you. You have to make sure that you’re moving it along. And so, one of the other things I also ask leaders to do, is to teach when they’re creating these agreements.

Troy Hall: So part of it is considering the acronym of teach. So listen, your listeners are getting a lot of information today, so hopefully, they may have to pause and take some notes. But when it comes to teach, it’s about making sure that again, I use acronyms because it’s easy for people to remember things, right? So when you’re having this agreement, you have to make sure that the person knows what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, that’s the T, tell them.

Troy Hall: Tell them what they’re doing and why. Expose examples, let them know what the finished product is supposed to look like, what is the vision? Or maybe tell them what it doesn’t supposed to look like, or show them something that you don’t want. Whatever it is, is creating the visual. You need to create that visual idea for them, that’s why you want to give them examples. And then you want to assign the work, so will the work be done by just that individual, will be working with a team? Can they buy resources? Can they reassign resources?

Troy Hall: Do they have to get approvals from people before they can advance the project? What is it? Then what is the communication feedback loop? That’s important in the very beginning of your agreement. You don’t want to start checking in on people after you’ve already created an agreement, because it makes people think you’re looking over their shoulder that you don’t trust them. So now you’re not creating a trusted environment.

Brett Fellows: Sure.

Troy Hall: So if you do that communication loop right from the very beginning, then we’ve set up the expectations, there isn’t anything surprising about it. If it’s a complex project, then the recommendation is that you set up multiple checkpoints. If it’s an easy project, then you may not need all those checkpoints, but you should agree on when I’m going to see progress, right?

Troy Hall: And then the last is honor and affirm people along the way. You don’t want to wait till the project is over before you tell people what they’re doing. And to have affirmation, you have to have two aspects. You have to recognize the person for the work they’re doing, and appreciate them for who they are. If you don’t, then you either have recognition or appreciation, you don’t have affirmation. By the way, affirmation is your strongest connector to shared mutual commitment.

[25:47] The numbers behind a great organizational culture.

Brett Fellows: Yes, that’s great. I don’t know if this is the appropriate place, I’ve seen you post some statistics on having that type of culture. Can you run off some of those numbers, the impact of having that culture, what that means to organizations?

Troy Hall: Yes, absolutely. Well, the first thing I want to start with is this sort of, sometimes a surprising sort of piece of information. But one in three employees actually trust their supervisor. 91% of individual contributors, these are individuals who report to some supervisor manager or someone of authority. 91% of them, believe that the communication is broken from their immediate supervisor to them.

Troy Hall: They believe that the information is coming from senior leadership down, but somewhere, it’s bottlenecked or clogged or it doesn’t translate down. So that’s an interesting statistic. 63% of your employees want growth development and advancement. So if you don’t start thinking about belonging value and shared mutual commitment, and that shared mutual commitment may be hey, here is a career path for you, here’s your career track.

Troy Hall: Now that you’re expecting to promote the person, within the first week you hired them and brought them in. But that you need to paint the vision for them. Then, that gives them this opportunity to self-actualize. Because you see their safety and security isn’t under question anymore, and so that’s Maslow’s theory of having the ability to self-actualize and to belong. And when you do that, you’ve moved away from safety, security and protection.

Troy Hall: So you have all of these, all of this is all happening, so it’s very dynamic in what we’re doing here. So tell me now, from what I’ve told you, where else do you want me to guide some of this conversation to?

Brett Fellows: I’m still, creating that safe space for your team to be in, it’s amazing how difficult there that is and how willing you have to be here and how much effort it takes to create that safe space. So, perhaps there.

Troy Hall: Okay. So if we think more about the leadership and the safe space that we want to create for individuals. It is really about how you include them, and do you exercise collaboration within the group. And to have collaboration, you need two things. One, everybody on the team, on the group, on the activity, whoever they are, has to look around and agree they need each other. If a person believes that they don’t need somebody, then all of a sudden now the cohesion isn’t going to happen. Because now, you’ve got a disconnect and you’ve not created a safe or a workable environment.

Troy Hall: So everybody has to agree that they need each other. And then everyone has to be willing to give trust to the other person that they’ll do their job, and they’ll do what they need. Now I’m asking people to give trust, in a work environment that the person will be able to do the project. I’m not talking about giving away trust in a toxic, social environment. So very clear for work when we’re doing it, you assemble people in a team, you must assume that that person has the ability, and has the skill to do the job and that you need them.

Troy Hall: And if you stop for just a minute and think about in sports teams, when you get individuals on a team who do not believe that they need the other team members, because they are the center of the team, you might be successful and maybe you’ll win games, maybe you’ll do that, but you have to remember that those other people are being so highly compensated, they’re putting up with the nonsense of that individual.

Troy Hall: In the everyday work environment, that’s not happening. You’re not over compensating NBA players or NFL players or NBA players to actually overcompensate for the fact that they’ve got team members who make their lives miserable, or coaches who make their lives miserable. So we’re talking about the everyday person, the individual contributors and those first level supervisors and managers. So this information that I’m providing is so important that you actually start thinking about it and figuring out ways that you can apply it immediately.

[30:03] Dr. Troy Hall’s approach to managing fear and how he coaches leaders to managing their fears.

Brett Fellows: Yes. Curious what your thoughts are about the word fear. We all tend to bring our own fears to situations or conversations, and then they’re based on reactive tendencies for stuff that we’ve been preconditioned from the past. How do you counsel on that?

Troy Hall: Well, I spend a lot of time through my executive coaching actually working on that. Because typically, fear is what stops people from being able to do what they’re set out to do. And it’s really having some baseline conversation around it, so they can get to the root cause of why they fear what they’re doing, and allowing them to have information. You see, you can’t make a well-informed decision if you’re working from supposition.

Troy Hall: You make a well-informed decision working from fact. And the reality is that sometimes, in our brains, we create an experience that is not true to the fact. We say we are so busy, but as soon as I ask you to write down the things that you’re busy about, you can’t even fill up a sheet of paper and then all of a sudden, you’re asking yourself were you really that busy. Or I couldn’t get to you today or I couldn’t return the call, because I had all these things that I was doing.

Troy Hall: But the reality is you had time; you just chose not to. So you kind of use some of these barriers as your reasons or excuses for not doing it. People will use fear as an excuse for not performing. And so, you just through coaching, again, asking open-ended, non-leading questions, to help break down the fear that the individual may have.

Troy Hall: It’s very real that people also will have impostor syndrome. We have more people suffering from imposter syndrome today than ever before, because of the pressures that are placed on them through their organizations to perform at certain levels. Where the individual may have that experience or background, but really, not to the level of the organization, but they don’t want to own up to it, because if so, it may mean that they don’t have their job anymore.

Troy Hall: So again, and then you have people who are well qualified who then doubt what they’re doing. So the opportunity behind fear is to help people understand the confidence that they can have in the job that they’re doing, and you simply have to break the fear down. And it’s going to be different for different people on what it is. But really asking them more of well, what they’re thinking in regards to why this particular item stops them, what is it about it? What have they done in the past? What have they done recently? So all those types of things will help you break it down.

Brett Fellows: Yes, love it. Tell us about your books, I know you’ve authored or co-authored three different books. Can you talk about that journey, what the books are about, we’d love to hear it.

Troy Hall: Sure. Well, the one we spent most the time on so far was cohesion culture, proven principles to be to retain your top talent. Again, I explained what that book was about, it’s about cohesion, about belonging value, shared mutual commitment, helping in organizations. Their leadership, their culture and then putting it into action and making it come to life. And the thing about cohesion culture that I’ll mention to people who read my material is, there’s a little bit of fun and whimsy in it. It’s not your traditional business book that just goes blah blah blah.

Troy Hall: I incorporate examples and analogies into it. I talk about my love for music, I talk about stories, I talk about movies, things that are important. I equate those to learning examples, because what I found is that people learn from examples. And wisdom is the exercise of the information, and sometimes through an example of what you have experienced or what others have experienced, you can extract the wisdom. Because you see, wisdom doesn’t come from anything other than just the actions of the information you put together.

Troy Hall: So I’ve heard people say that knowledge is power, and I go well, that’s right but you didn’t finish the rest of the sentence. Knowledge is power when it’s put into action, because that’s where you get wisdom. So when you ask somebody to be wise and sage, they’re explaining to you their life situations based on what they’ve done. And those experiences they have with the information. So that’s how that works. That’s the coalition culture book.

Troy Hall: The second book was a collaboration with the world’s leading entrepreneurs who will reveal their top tips for success. And in that book, I talk about cohesion culture, but I talk about it in this aspect. I challenge leaders to think about it this way, engagement is out, cohesion is in. And I talk about some of the fundamental things that need to happen, and again, why do we go after cohesion and not necessarily engagement. And then the last book is now another way to bring forward leadership. It’s a book called Fannie rules, and mother’s leadership lessons that never grow old.

Troy Hall: And this book captures my mother’s leadership legacy, and how important it was to me. Because everything I’ve talked about so far in this interview has been about people. It’s always been about how we’re treating people and acting, because reality is it’s people who help get things done, it’s not the things that get things done, it’s the people. So it’s always about treating people right. When I was 12 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. We lived in a small rural town in west Virginia, poor economic conditions, limited education.

Troy Hall: I was bus 50 to 60 minutes to school from 7th grade to 12th grade, so I did not even go to school in my community. We were 30 to 45 minutes from the nearest hospital. 50 years ago, when a person was diagnosed with cancer, it typically meant death. So we thought mom would die. But mom made a choice that summer and she said I’m going to live. She says I was planning to live until I got the news that I had cancer, I’ll do what the doctors tell me, but I’m going to live as long as I can.

Troy Hall: And I’m going to make sure that I do everything possible to do that, so mom made a choice. And during that summer, I cared for mom, I took care of her. I was 12, I had to grow up very quickly. And I had to handle things with my dad. I had to get him off to work, pack his lunch. Because he was the protector and provider. I had to be with my mom’s bedside, change her wounds, change her soiled bedding, help her to the restroom, whatever needed to happen. That was my job and my role and responsibility. So during that time, mom provided so many leadership messages to me. And the good news is mom lived 43 years beyond that awful summer.

Brett Fellows: That’s great.

Troy Hall: But toward the end of her life, she contracted dementia and Alzheimer’s. So the book is tribute to mom’s leadership legacies and returning 31 teachable moments, or 31 memories wrapped around nine rules of success that mom gave me, so that I could return those memories that were stolen and taken from her, so that generations of individuals would be able to see it, our family would be able to see the type of woman that she was.

Troy Hall: My proceeds of the book Fannie rules benefit the Alzheimer’s association, and we’re very happy that book ended up being number one in business and professional humor, and so we’ve done a really good job of raising awareness and raising some money with it. Plus, the cool thing is, my mom was my first mentor.

Troy Hall: And so at the end of each of the nine chapters, there is a recap of the teachable moments, and there are questions that you can ask yourself. Or if you have a mentor/mentee relationship, your mentor can use them. So the mentor now has nine sessions that they can use and conduct with an individual, or an individual can have nine opportunities to simply do some self-reflection and some opportunity to think through some topics, and get some ideas of what they want to do. So that’s the fanny rules.

Troy Hall: I want to share a couple of the messages that mom taught me. One of them she taught me was that my character would always be defined by the choices I made, not the circumstances I found myself in. She said we were poor by circumstance, not by choice. And she had cancer by circumstance, not by choice. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be, I just needed to be the best at it. So whatever I chose to do, be the very best. She said if you want to sweep floors, you sweep floors.

Troy Hall: But she said, young man you better get into the corners, because when I get out of this bed, I am going to check those corners because anyone can sweep in the middle of the floor. That’s the leadership lessons that mom taught me. She told me that it wasn’t successes or failures that would shape my life, it is how I would handle them. She told me that there is no room for being mediocre. That what happens when people settle for mediocre, they go to the bottom and then complain about the view.

Troy Hall: So mom just provided so many pieces of wisdom in the book. It’s just full of these little anecdotal messages, and things that are really helpful to interact and to navigate sometimes this complex world of interacting with people in a way that we can celebrate individuals for who they are, and by recognizing what they do, but appreciating them for who they are. Not trying to change who they are, maybe influence them in a positive way. But simply to make sure that we first understand a person.

Brett Fellows: Yes, that’s great. She sounds like a wonderful person, and I’m so happy that you were able to capture all those and honor her through that book, that’s wonderful.

Troy Hall: She was a wonderful woman. And when I told my brother that, my brother was three years younger, and so during that time, he had gone to France during that summer, and stayed for the whole summer while I took care of mom. So I didn’t have to deal with that issue. But when I told him I was writing the book, he said well, don’t leave dad out.

Troy Hall: And I said well, I won’t, I said dad will be included, but mom is the star of the book. So I had a great relationship. I was telling a friend about this the other day, we were having lunch and I said when I talk about my mom and dad, people think it’s a Disney movie. They think it has such a happy ending. I will tell you that when you’re 12 years old, and your parent is diagnosed with a disease that could take their life, your perspective of life change. When you have to grow up and all of a sudden you are now taking care of an adult person in a medical capacity.

Troy Hall: You are paying the bills, cleaning the house, getting your dad up for work, packing his lunch. Making sure that he is taken care of, she is taking care of, you grow up and learn things. But you also don’t fight over petty things, it doesn’t matter anymore. Some of these small little things didn’t matter. And the other thing too is mom and dad elevated how they treated me. You see, they treated me like an adult. Because I was doing adult things, and I really sometimes believe that maybe the disconnect that we have with children in their teens, is that we continually treat them like a kid, instead of elevating them to treat them more like an adult.

Troy Hall: Although. I can’t subscribe to being an expert in that area. I would just say some of my conventional wisdom that I’ve had in my experience says that really focusing more on those adult activities are important. But still making sure that there is structure and responsibility, but the treatment of the individual through maybe self-discovery should be so much better for teens than just telling them things all the time.

[41:48] Why Dr. Troy Hall believes personal development and business development are interdependent.

Brett Fellows: Yes, exactly. That’s great. And we definitely will have links to all three of those books in our show notes, so those are fantastic. All right, I’ve stolen a lot of your time, some wrap up questions. I really appreciate the way you think. And these almost can be like rapid fire, but curious I ask you two or three of these. Do you believe personal development and business development are interdependent?

Troy Hall: Yes, because your personal development is going to be how you think and act, and that shows up in your business world. It’s hard for you to separate them, unless, what you are doing for personal development is a hobby. If you’re doing it as a hobby, then it doesn’t matter, it may not have the same transition.

Troy Hall: For instance, if I enjoy crocheting or if I enjoy driving cars fast around the track, that may not have a relatable skill that comes to work. But if I’m saying personal development in the areas of leadership, of what I do with my interactions with people, absolutely 100%.

Brett Fellows: And who do you go to when you hit your own ceiling of complexity? Or need some guidance or a sounding board? Do you have coaches? I mean, who does a coach get coached by?

Troy Hall: Well, it’s interesting that you say that. But I participate with a number of organizations, one of them being the international coaching federation or foundation, in that particular group ICF. I spend time with coaches there, and we have coaching sessions and interactions, what we do there. Plus, I’m not afraid to ask people that I interact with hey, I’m working on this, what are your thoughts? I truly subscribe to the idea of being teachable.

Troy Hall: One of the things that I remind, here’s my mantra. My mantra is you don’t have to know everything, it just need to be teachable. And I want to practice that same thing. I don’t want to be that guy who thinks he knows everything and couldn’t possibly ask someone else for directions or help. I want to be the guy who says I want to include you, and I want your individual contribution to make a difference. And so, I reach out to a lot of individuals and people to help.

Troy Hall: And I do rely, have a great relationship with my wife, 45 years that we’ve been married, and I rely a lot on her. I’ve learned to listen to what she has to say, very wise. And she has the best interest, right? She’s not going to tell me something that is going to make pain for me. She’s not going to cause it because she realizes too that my success is her success, and I recognize that her success is my success. So we have a mutual commitment. So I think we do cohesion in our family, and yes, I think I’m just now expressing it.

Brett Fellows: There you go, I love it. And last question, right along those lines. This podcast is based around entrepreneurs who’ve been successful in their business, and trying to extract the equity from their business, to give create their ideal life whether that be in retirement or some other shape or form. So I’m curious, what I’ve learned is success means different things to different people. So what would be your definition of success for you, either personally or professionally?

Troy Hall: Well, for me, I gain my energy out of seeing other people be successful. I’ve learned a long time ago that if you can focus on others first and then self, this is before I even knew about the transformational principles that were in place. But if I recognize that you focus on someone else first and then self, so it’s not Martyrism, right? I’m not taking care of myself, just where’s my focus, that things tend to work. And I’ve always been taken care of in all those ways.

Troy Hall: I’ve never had to worry about anything because people are very willing to give back when you have given to them, and then, it’s also surrounding yourself with the right people. I mean, if I surround myself with individuals who are takers, who suck the life out of you, then I have to reevaluate what I’m actually doing, and change that. So I think that’s how I would answer that.

Brett Fellows: Great. Well, thank you for sharing. So again, we’ll have links to everything. I believe we have a book offer, do you want to talk about that for a second, for our listeners?

Troy Hall: I do, thank you so much. So you can order the book either through paperback kindle or you could do audible book through amazon. But for this podcast, I’m offering a special free book offer, and you can get it at Cohesionbook.com. So it’s just Cohesionbook.com all together, and you can take advantage of the free book offer. I would just ask that you pay shipping, and you’re off and running and that book will be in the mail to you before you know it.

Brett Fellows: Great. Well, thank you for that. And we’ll definitely have a link to that website.

Troy Hall: Thank you.

Brett Fellows: Dr. Troy Hall, really appreciate your time today, and all of your wisdom, I wish you nothing but the best, and thanking you for being on The Retiring Entrepreneur Podcast.

Troy Hall: Well, thank you, Brett. I really appreciate it. And once again, I’ll leave people with my mantra, and that is, you don’t have to know everything, you just need to be teachable.

Brett Fellows: Great, love it. Have a great day.

Troy Hall: Yes, you too. Thank you.

Did you find this information interesting? If so, please share it!

Free Guide!

A CRNA's Prescription to Comprehensive Financial Wellness

Download Your Free Copy!