Top tips from Brent Pohlman.
1. Self-care is not selfish.
First, I would say self care is not selfish, you should do it, you should you really need to do something good. Look at you look at what you’re currently doing, and find ways to improve yourself. Because your your people, whoever you’re leading, especially leaders, they see it in you. I mean, I have to bring my A game every single day his wife show up and show a frown or a show any kind of questioning, people see it. So I really want to show that it’s positive that the companies move forward. And it takes work and you got to work at it. And that’s self care.
2. The biggest part is calling people by the name.
I think for me, the biggest part is calling people by the name. It sounds so simple. But when you call someone by their name, you got their attention. They really it shows that you care, and it’s really been a game changer for me. So I try constantly to learn people’s names. I still do a bad job of that at times. But I think what even with COVID movie or player and bass, I didn’t do that. And I really lost about two years and coming back to doing that. And people see it when they hear their name and your and yourself when you hear your own name. Sometimes you could go a whole day and never heard your name. Think about the power of that.
3. Selfishly read the book.
I would say selfishly read the book. If you want an example again of someone who’s gone through this, this is nice self help book, this is not a 10 step book, How to be a bit good leader, this is what happened to me. And maybe there’s a piece in there that will resonate with you, and that as the reader, and that’s really my goal, I just want everyone to find what’s in their heart, and hopefully live a life of gratitude. Because it’s so transforming, it’s so powerful, there’s so much energy in it. And that’s really my hope in reading the book that you just see, see someone who, who gives examples. And again, maybe one of those resonates with you. But I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m not here to tell you how to be a good leader, you got to find that yourself. That’s the premise of it. But you have to find that on yourself.
people, work, day, book, business, process, leaders, company, find, grew, reactive, thought, 1000s, core values, today, told, absolutely, single, operations, brent
Brent Pohlman 00:00
I just needed to get formalized training, and eating right, and sleeping. And I worked with some great, fantastic coaches that really taught me that value of routine. So every morning, I get up every single morning, I work out and do something I like to get outside, even if it’s cold in, we’re in the Midwest, even if it’s cold, I’d like to go for a walk or a run or just do some type of physical activity, because I know the importance of just doing that as part of a daily routine.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:31
Welcome to another episode of Better Business better life. Today, I am joined by Brent Polman, who is not only the CEO of Miss Midwest laboratories, but also an author of the book leaders look within. And I’m very pleased to have Brent in the studio I’ve been reading, he’s got the CEO of the heart website, which really appeals to me. So I’m really looking forward to our talk. Welcome to the show, Brent.
Brent Pohlman 00:49
Thank you, Debra. It’s a pleasure to be here. And I’m excited to to tell the story and answer your questions.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:57
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So for those of you who don’t know, Brent, Brent is actually the CEO of what is actually a family business, a second generation family, business. And of course, the author, the leader within, can you just tell us a little about your story, Brent, and tell us how you got to where you are today. And what’s happened on that juncture?
Brent Pohlman 01:15
Debra, as you said, I am the CEO of Midwest laboratories, we have about 278 employees. And we are in the verticals of human health, animal health, and agricultural and environmental type of testing. So we do, what I tell people is we’re not the research type of lab. But we are the production type of lab where we test your food, we test your water, we test your soil, but in large volumes, farmers, for example, for example, after harvest, they’ll send their soil samples in for that last application. And we’ll get anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 samples a day. And then we turn results up in three to five days, pet food and feed, we get about 1000 to 2000 samples a day. And again, we get results out in three to five days. So it really takes a well oiled machine, here at the lab to do not only testing but look at as a production piece and really operate in high quality and get get that those answers of that data out to clients. I came back to the business background on me. I grew up in the lab during high school, college. And then my dad told me that after college that I needed to go away and get some professional experience. So I, I taught high school for a while I taught, I went to I got my master’s in business and then worked at other corporations. And then I came back in 2005 as the marketing director. And then in 2016, my dad and I, after his two partners retired, we worked together for five years, he retired at the age of 80. At in 2020. And, and that was again, another really good experience for me to work directly with my father for those years. And now Now I really want to build on his legacy. And we are doing that we have grown exponentially over the last four years. We went from 130 employees in 2019 to as I said, 278 today, so I test and we never closed during COVID. We stayed open. And that’s a whole nother story. But yeah, how I got to where I was, it’s been a, it was probably a rocky road up until about three or four years ago. And then that’s when it really hit that you really, really had to do something about the leadership piece. And what did that all mean? And that’s really where the book came from. And so I’m really excited about to tell this story, because I think there’s a lot of leaders out there that are trying to find themselves. And not only just leaders, but people in general, just trying to find themselves and discover a strong why. And why do they get up every single day. And when you find the power that it can really be transformational. And that’s what I’m excited about. That’s why I want to share this story because it’s it’s huge, it can make a huge difference in the lives of people.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:14
Absolutely. I think we’re on the same page. I mean, I think that, you know, we spent Life is too short. And we really should be doing what we love with people we love and people are the key right? Surround yourself with the right people support the right people, you’re gonna get the results you want. But tell us a little about. So tell us about the book, what did the book about I hope, where the idea kind of came from, but what is the what is the book all about?
Brent Pohlman 04:35
So, the book, again, is really my journey on leadership. I mean, who’s to say myself, it sounds very selfish that I get to write a book on leadership. I mean, that does sound like a really selfish act. But what I really learned through that is that leadership is very individualistic, that each one of us comes at leadership so differently, and we have to find it in our heart. I mean, it’s It’s here. I mean, it’s just definitely in our hearts. And to get there, that was probably the story for me, I had to do three things. First, I had to look inside my heart and see what’s in there with currently, how did I just like your question here? How did I get to where I am today? What things were impactful? What things do, I still need to know that I have in here that I’ve needed to deal with, and discover really only myself. And through that process, then you start to the your beliefs, your set of values really come to light, when you start to do that piece. Second, I needed some self care big time, I thought self care was selfish. That was my whole phrase that that people would deal with that was the really, we’re out there. But you really do if you’re going to really become a leader, you have to take care of yourself. And you’ve got to, I say I want to bring my A game every single day. And the only way I can do that as healthy wise that I do things that are healthy, that I take care of my body. And at the same time, that’s not only physically but spiritually, from a free standpoint, all those things together, I had to get more healthier. And that was the second part. And then finally, living a life of gratitude. My, my wife, and my house statement is a person of faith, who coaches people up and leads from the heart. And that’s what really, when you have a heart for people, when you wake up every single day, and you’re grateful for what you’ve been given, you can just start from there. And you can really build on that. And there’s several ways we’ll get into, I’m sure in this interview, but that, again, was the premise of the book that I discovered all these things that were really inside of me that I didn’t realize, I needed to find for myself so that again, I could be an effective leader, and work and I have to work at it every single day as well. But that’s the premise of the book. That’s really the premise of the last few years. So I really just really talk about the last few years in this huge transformation.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:57
So what’s the sort of a turning point or something that happened that kind of made you realize that you had to do so because you’ve mentioned, you know, finding your why getting healthy? Having gratitude? Was there anything that kind of caused you to really look for that? Was there a turning point? Yeah,
Brent Pohlman 07:11
You know, I would see several things, but probably one of the key things was my mom passing away from cancer, she had a cancer five years ago. And that really, I didn’t realize how, how hard that really affected me. And I remember a few days after she died, I said, You know what, I want to be more I sent set this up. I helped me to be more intentional what my faith had no idea was saying there. But that intention was just somehow started with that by making that statement. And there’s a cool story in the book, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you one example. So my mom had passed away in August, her birthday was November, I didn’t want my dad to be alone. So we went to this conference, and we entered this coffee shop and on this in this coffee shop on the wall was this chalkboard that said, how can we pray for you? And I thought, oh, my gosh, mom is talking to me. My mom had 1000s of prayer journals, I started to read some of them, my sister and I have and it’s been just fascinating to see who she prayed for and how prayers were answered. And so now if you come into our main entrance, we have a prayer wall in our main office here. Because it’s a way of saying, Hey, we, if you’re a customer, if you’re an employee, anybody can put something up there and know that they’re being prayed for. And I think that so I just think it just speaks to the volume of care that we have at our company. And it’s just non invasive. It’s just there. And I don’t promote it or anything. It’s just there. It’s always there. Anybody can do it. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 08:47
I’m sorry to hear about your mom, I had a similar situation. My mother passed away from cancer as well. So it can be a real eye opener content in terms of what are we doing? Why are we doing it? What’s it all about? Yeah,
Brent Pohlman 08:58
Yes.. Yeah, absolutely.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:00
Tell me about the health side, because it’s one of the things that I know, obviously, I love my business. And so I often find myself you know, struggling with that whole oxygen mask concept of looking after myself first. I’m very much focused on it right now. Because I realized I’ve gotten to a point where it had taken a backseat of your life and it wasn’t really serving me. So tell me a little bit about your, your health. Oh,
Brent Pohlman 09:21
I mean, physically, I mean, back, I can go back to 2007. I was falling asleep at my desk. I was very reactive. They were I was at marketing at that point. But I remember going home and I told my wife I said I just I’m gonna go to the hospital. I think something’s up with me. I don’t my right. My whole side is numb, something’s out. So I go in the hospital, they say everything’s fine. You should just go home. I said, Wait, I don’t think so. And they said, Well, you could do a stress test or you or we can go up with a camera and look inside your house and I think you need to do that. Sure enough, there was an artery that was 98% blocked, and I had to stay at that night. Put him into me, but it, that was my first wake up call to health. And at that time, I was probably drinking, probably about 12 pack of diet pop every single day. Energy drinks. I mean, I was on caffeine, like, all the time, like an IV drip, I came to work early. I think I don’t know about you. But I think I know when I worked in the corporate world, it was all about going in early, staying late. Putting in all the time in the world if you’re going to move up in the company. I mean, think about today’s world. This is not I don’t I think that’s I don’t even know if it’s that way at all today. But that’s the way I just remember in 2000 2010. I mean, you you just did those in the 90s. That’s how you moved up is you’re just you’re doing more work than anybody else. And it probably took a physical toll. I know it did. But back to your self care. Yes, I work with a trainer or just single day, our actions every single day, twice a week. But I knew something I just needed to get formalized training, and eating right, and sleeping. And I worked with some great, fantastic coaches that really taught me that value of routine. So every morning, I get up every single morning, I work out and do something I like to get outside, even if it’s cold. If we’re in the Midwest, even if it’s cold, I’d like to go for a walk or a run or just do some type of physical activity, because I know the importance of just doing that as part of a daily routine. And I’ve learned other things along the way. I track my energy, I wear one of these hedgerows, if you’ve heard the whoop, W H O P, it measures your energy. So I know I had a good night of sleep like last night, I did not have a good night’s sleep. So I might tend to be a little more reactive. So I checked those numbers in and it just helps me manage who I am. So I can bring my best self all the time.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:50
Yeah, I think that’s we have I have an hour. I think it’s probably something similar. That is the same thing it makes measures your sleep, it measures your heart rate, it tells you your oxygen saturation, those sort of things. And it is really fascinating because I I’ve actually been sleeping really well now for the last few years. And that has made a huge difference. Being really conscious about sleep hygiene, turning off devices when our before bed and all those things. Yeah, it’s amazing. What effect a lack of sleep can have on you? No, absolutely. Yeah. And the same with the walking. I mean, I think it’s interesting I used to. So I run a lot of client sessions throughout the week. And they usually start about eight o’clock. So I wasn’t getting up early enough to do my work before my sessions. And of course, the sessions are actually when I need the most energy, I need to be the feeling the best. And so I actually adjusted things to get really early and actually go for a walk even when it’s dark. And just that that simple. Half an hour extra to get up and do that walk for half an hour just makes such a huge difference in the way the day goat pans out. It does.
Brent Pohlman 12:47
It does. It’s amazing to get a routine of that. Absolutely.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:52
I’m gonna go back a little bit now to the family business, because I’m a busy family business advisor. And I’m always fascinated by family businesses, particularly, you know, second, third, fourth generation, did you really want to work in the business? Or was it something that was almost thrust upon.
Brent Pohlman 13:05
You know, we had to do um, like I said, my dad and I had a deal. And when I came out of college, he really pushed that I go out and discover the corporate world, do some teaching do do other things. And he was so right. I think if I would have come back to the business at that time, I would have always wondered what was on the other side. When I came back, though, what I didn’t expect was one of the other partners had had three sons in the business too. So there was a little competition going on. Everyone was you know, everyone was like vying for what’s going to happen. We were we work together and things. But I would just say, I think I needed to see that. And I had all kinds of ideas. Like I wanted to implement a bunch of ideas. When I first came on, I was like, told no, this is why this is why it’s been. And I couldn’t, I couldn’t disagree, because my dad had built this fantastic company, manage costs, and it was growing. So and it was his company. So I mean, who am I to say anything? So there was this total respect to learn the business. But I think what it really took what it really showed me is I kept asking myself, do I have this entrepreneurial spirit? Because you really do have to ask that, if you’re going to take even anybody taken over a family business? Do you want to own this is this really you? I own it to such a point I will never sell, I don’t care what the price tag is. I I know the day I sell it, it’s not the same company anymore. So that’s what drives me and to say, I want to build again on my father’s legacy, and pass it down to another generation. All those calls every single day that I get on those those things they can, you know, I ignore most of them and maybe respond to a few but I’m just saying it’s not worth it because I know the culture will be different. I know the company will be different. And there’s something about growing a culture and putting people first when you put people first you go farther faster than anything. I talk in the book about people process and technology. And in that order, it is so true. And it’s so rewarding for everyone, when you have that you have that in place in your company.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 15:17
We actually teach people very much around those things as well as other people. It’s about having the right people who share your core company values who aren’t, you know, absolutely part of the family. So we’ve been about how did you go about creating the culture because you have grown pretty quickly, right, from 130 to 278 people, and it can be difficult to maintain culture, I’d love to hear a little bit about how you do that.
Brent Pohlman 15:37
Um, I mean, I made mistakes, too. I mean, that you do you learn, I brought in some of the people I thought were going to be be good fits. But I think I based on their experience, to your point, I don’t know if I at the values really aligned correctly. But today, I’m so fortunate, I have a chief strategy officer, Dana, that she is so brutally honest with me about everything. She basically told me, I’ll never forget, like three years ago, she said, she said, Brent, you have to get out of the day to day operations, we need you on the street, we need to be on the strategic side, we need to do campus, we need this, we need this, let us handle the operations, we need you to be the leader, people need to see where the company is going. People need to see that. That there’s a direction here. And I think about it, my dad was in the operations his whole life. I don’t know if he ever got to the operations. I think that’s why it was so hard for him to leave the business. And he finally did at the age of 80. But I I kind of I really think that was part of the reason because he didn’t know where the company was going. He felt like being here. And and to an extent there was some protection in that. But also I know now as I’m not in the operations, I gotta get out the way I’m can be the biggest roadblock sometimes. And I have to really watch that I don’t go back into the operations because it gets really, it gets a little weird if I start to do that, or I started questioning things. And I have a great team in place. And that’s where the growth really came was. Danna brought on these directors and really grew the business. And she invest so much of our time coaching people up, she’s her and I are have the same like DISC profile. It’s kind of scary, but we’re both like is is and we just both love the coaching piece. But it takes a lot of investment in people. And it takes a lot of coaching and time and to find somebody who’s ready, who’s willing to do that, that you can always trust. I mean, she’s phenomenal. She is so definitely right, that whole process and bringing our directors together, we have now we have scientists who want to go on and get their masters of business, I never thought I’d see the day that that shift would happen. Because science scientists are a little more and much more analytical on that side than they are on the people side. But it’s been great to see this growth and see the change and dynamic happen.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 18:01
So how do you make sure when you’re bringing people into the business that they actually will fit within your culture? What is the process?
Brent Pohlman 18:07
I think, you know, that on the onboarding, I think it’s definitely the core values. We see those core values at our town halls is we meet as a whole company or you can you can attend live, you contend virtually, I think that’s really the key. Again, I will say putting people first that has to happen. It’s pretty obvious when somebody isn’t aligned with the core values, it really rises to the top It didn’t used to we used to hide that or is it to talk about so. So that’s not how, you know, if they’re not acting, or they’re doing things that are a little bit out of character. We always go back to the core values and what’s what we stand for. And it brings up direct conversations. We used to not have any direct conversations a few years ago, but we do we want to correct people and give them the opportunity to change. And if they don’t, you know, we’ll help them find their next job, you know, that we’re here to help you if it’s not a good fit here, let’s help you find what’s a good fit for you. If you move on from here.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:08
I think that’s one of the challenges is that as leaders, we people feel like they have to manage people. But actually as leaders, we’re there to create the opening and actually allow them to rise up and our job is to, as you said, either say how can we help you to get to that? Or if you’re not happy here, it’s okay if you want to go somewhere else, and we can help you with that because everybody should be loving what they’re doing. And loving who they’re working with. Right? No, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, and so people process technology. Let’s talk about that process, shall we? What do you mean by process?
Brent Pohlman 19:41
We had I mean, we’ve been around for 40 years. So we had a lot of hidden knowledge here. He had a lot of head knowledge came and went and a lot of things didn’t get get documented down. We have since in the last five years put together even a quality team that reviews our our methods we have For over 3000 test analytical test methods that we are constantly reviewing our supervisors, our directors, when they’re managing people, we, we go over how to do an effective review all these things. And when a client or a new person walks in the door, here’s, here’s the, here’s your sheet, follow these things. We want consistency around the deliverable of our analysis and our reports. And just again, working together, there’s just a dynamic there, if you have processes that are documented, that you can refer to, I think that really helps create a consistent culture versus if someone’s walking around, or has all this knowledge. And then like I said, they walk out the door, then what do you do with that? How do you how do you recover from that? So training others, obviously, those those types of actions, but I really think it starts with just documenting processes. And that’s gets really overlooked a lot.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 21:00
I agree. And I think probably as entrepreneurs, we, I mean, I used to think I hated process. I was like, oh, no, I don’t like process. I much prefer the bigger picture stuff. But I actually realized that we we do do it as entrepreneurs anyway, because we normally see an opportunity. And we work out how to deliver on that, obviously, what we don’t do so much is actually get it out of our heads onto paper in a way that is actually palatable for other people to because I’m half German. And the way that I tend to approach things is very methodical, and also a biochemist by trade. So he worked in pathology magazines in my life. And, yeah, it’s it, you know, the way that I do things is actually quite different to the way other people do things. So working together as a team to go, hey, here are the outcomes that we need to produce. This is what, you know, we’re the journey that they go through and having them involved in developing that process is really important, isn’t
Brent Pohlman 21:48
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 21:51
And how do you stop it from becoming, you know, because we weren’t able to find make it all very process oriented, will become another McDonald’s, where it’s always like, Oh, would you like fries with that which, you know, feels inauthentic and very, almost robotic? No, I
Brent Pohlman 22:05
think there’s a perfect example, too, because I, I used to think that that’s how too many, you could have too many presses. I don’t know if you ever have too many classes. But I think the other level of this that leaders bring to the table in this, that we’re trying to instill even on our directors is the building of awareness about other people. It’s so simple as calling each other by our names. I mean, with COVID, when we grew from 130 to 278 people, I lost track of people’s names. And it’s only been in the last couple of months, I’ve met with every single department. And I really, I didn’t talk work I just said, one of my questions was tell me something about you that nobody else in this room knows about you. And then the second part of that was you can ask me any question about the business myself. And we did it as a group setting. But oh, my goodness, I mean, the answers came through, but I had to really reconnect with people. And I really wanted to hear out, they had to tell me their name. And when they started, I couldn’t believe people have been here already three years. And probably this was their first conversation with me, here at the company. Because we do want to keep that small family atmosphere together with this as we continue to grow, but you got to call people by the name, it’s got to be personal, it’s got to show that we’re billing again. You know, if I see somebody coming in, and I see something’s kind of off, or this person is usually small, and they’re down, oh, you have to Hey, is everything going? Okay? Or you see some behavior in a meeting? That is really contrary. Now I just ask, I said, Hey, was something happening? I’m much more aware. I used to not think like that. But I think that’s so important today in today’s world, because I think so many people are going through so much over the last few years.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 23:49
Yeah, I always say that sometimes, you know, when we were looking at sort of a people analyze and look at the core values, and we always measure them, you know, are they? Are they mostly doing it? Are they a bit flip flopping I like to call it, if they’re flip flopping. It’s usually because there’s something going on. It’s not deliberate. They’re not trying to be, you know, waiter, you’re trying to sort of upset people, but they’re just got something going on their personal lives. And you’re right, there was just so much going on in the world these days, you’ve got to really take the time to understand what’s
Brent Pohlman 24:15
going on. But the scary thing for me was, I used to be like 100%, reactive, like, I didn’t put up with that kind of stuff. Or I was the same way. If somebody would say something, I’d just be short. And I never thought about it. I never even thought about my actions were coming across to others. So it’s really turn the cube through through this getting healthier. And again, having a respect for others and putting people first it really does. It is life changing.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:41
And I think you have to slow down, don’t you? I mean, I move at a wickedly fast paced, I speak too fast, I think too fast and often have to go slow down. Yeah, don’t be reactive. But I mean, how how do you teach yourself if it’s not a natural skill? So I mean, I’m quite fortunate. I’m a biochemist by trade, but I don’t think I ever was really a biochemist. It was just one of those myths. mistakes I’ve made in life, because I love people. But if you’re not naturally a people person, or you find yourself becoming a non people person, what could you do to reconnect?
Brent Pohlman 25:12
I think my employees laugh at me today in meetings because they know that I, they know how to react. Some of the people who have been here long enough know how reactive I used to be. So if you see me in a meeting, to your point, I will I’ll take like a huge deep breath. Someone will say, like, I think we should I think I deserve more pay than this person or something, you know, that’s like, okay. Yeah, I just have to really just collect my thoughts what I’m doing and people ask, are you okay? And I just say, No, I’m just processing, and aura and the other words that I’ve used, and in the past, I’ve said, You know what, I will even slow down, I’ll just say, You know what, I’m a little uncomfortable right now. But let’s talk about that tomorrow. If you use the word uncomfortable, what I’ve done now, every single day is I look at the whole day, and I say, what made me uncomfortable today. And then I write it down. And typically, when I write it down, then I’ve already taken the step to just say, I get to decide, is this something that is a priority? Is this something that can wait, is this something that needs to be dealt with? But in the moment, it really made me uncomfortable? Why did it make me uncomfortable? Maybe it triggered something from my past, maybe, but the word uncomfortable? People respect that. I’ve noticed that a lot. So I just I just write down or I’ll just say, you know, I’m really uncomfortable. Let’s, let me think about that. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 26:37
I think that’s really a really key thing as well, I don’t think we feel like we have to respond to everything immediately. And sometimes we just need some time, we need some time, in the in the more quiet stillness moments to to process that. And so I love that just saying, hey, look, let’s feel uncomfortable. But I think as long as you set a time frame around it as well, let’s get back tomorrow and talk about that. Just saying I don’t want to talk about it and just leaving, it doesn’t help. But if you can say, hey, let’s come back.
Brent Pohlman 27:02
Are you accused at home? My wife will look at me what’s going on with you is like, I’m just processing sorry. I may have some weird look on my face. I have no idea what my facial cues are. But yeah, I do. I found myself I really now I have a much heavier processor than I used to be. Because I really want to understand all angles of these things that whatever they are that come up.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:24
And I love the idea of reviewing your day and actually writing down what did make you feel uncomfortable and keeping checking in isn’t it on what is actually going on for you and why? Why that’s happening?
Brent Pohlman 27:34
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s it’s been a game changing.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:39
Now, I know that technology is the natural kind of thing. But I want to talk a bit about gratitude. Because I think there’s a natural kind of segue into gratitude. So tell me what you mean by that. I mean, I think it’s a word that tends to be a little bit overused. But I’m a big believer that, you know, be in the moment be grateful for what you have, but how do you
Brent Pohlman 27:56
Match it? For me, it’s, there’s a big component there. So I like to start the day out with prayer. And I like to get out, like I said, get outside. And I just get into get into nature or go and work out and just just kind of just think about, gosh, I have a you know, I have a family and I have a business, I have my health. I do some deep breathing. And I like I can I can actually thankful for my breath today that I can breathe. And then when you just start with those things, then it just kind of naturally for me, it just kind of goes okay, I need to now I need to pray for others, you know, who’s hurting out there is or who can I pray for my failing or who at work is you know, going through a tough situation that I know of, or, Hey, we got some big decisions we need to make today. I need to I need to absolutely pray, pray about that. But having that hard, just stopping and just being thankful, just taking to just 30 seconds or a minute. At the most every morning. Just waking up as it is another day. I need to I’m going to come clean. Here we go. Start for the day. So that’s really what to me that’s just starting the day out the right way makes all the difference.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 29:16
I completely agree. I actually have a journal I just the three things I’m grateful for. And the three things I’m most excited about today too. And it’s that whole starting on a positive what not fakely positive but you know, being grateful for what you actually have rather than worrying about what you don’t have. Yeah, okay, let’s let’s move on to technology then now because I was just thinking I actually write on my in my remarkable every day when I do my gratitude journal. But what do you mean by technology? So we talked about people process technology in that way.
Brent Pohlman 29:44
I mean, there’s so much technology that we’re we’re being thrust upon us. Even at from a company standpoint, we’re putting in a new laboratory information management system. We tried to buy one from the shelf. We’re actually in year three of building our own with the company It’s gonna be fantastic once we get it all in place. This new, we’re going to move to a new campus. So there’s all kinds of innovation there. Innovation is wonderful. There’s an investment with it. We’re finding new ways to do testing, analysis. I don’t know, there’s, there’s technology like chat, GP GBT or AI. I mean, there’s, there’s different things. But again, I think it really, it’s, it’s for me, it used to be number one, like, I want to be on the latest iPhone, I want to be on the latest technology. What I’ve learned is, you know what, give to get right with your people, make sure that you have some processes that you really want to work on, or you want to improve. And then you’ll find the technology to do it. Let technology to address those first two. And you’ll go much further than, Oh, I got to have a late I got to do something in AI tomorrow. I mean, think about that. What do you get to do? What am I, what would I do tomorrow? Or I don’t know that. But that used to be my driver was all I want to be on the latest technology. Whether it’s web or IRA, with marketing, whether it’s something in marketing, I wanted to be able to, I want to be in the cutting edge of all that stuff. But I’ve kind of learned now if you go if you do this other thing, you’ll go further and faster.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 31:16
Yeah, it should be. It should be an enabler rather than a driver, right? It’s like you’ve got your people, and they’re doing what they love. And they’re kind of working in that God given talent area. And you’ve got your processes then and you look at technology to how can that help that? Exactly? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay, now, I’m gonna go back to the book again. So, you know, leaders look within, you talked about, you know, finding your why being healthy and having gratitude. I don’t know about you, but I do worry that sometimes leaders kind of feel they have to be something or they need, you know, this is what is expected of a leader. How do you go about really looking within and going, you know, what is my why why am I doing this, rather than being led by what everybody tells you?
Brent Pohlman 32:00
You know, and I will tell you that for years, I did not have a why. I mean, it was actually it was actually Danna that she talked for two and a half hours with me. What’s your why? And I couldn’t answer a question. I just didn’t have it. Or even today, she’ll challenge me. Is that really what you want? Is that coming from that? You know, is that coming from your heart? Or is that? Are you just trying to rationalize things? And I, and I think that’s so true. I think as leaders, we just tried it, we think that we have to analyze or rationalize or justify, but what’s really in our heart. And once we, once we really figure out what’s here, we can make the other things work. It is really crazy. But I really do believe that and you can do some amazing things. But Scott come from here, I can do all the rationalizing, analyzing, and I’ve done that pretty much for a lot, you spend a lot of time there, we’re going to spend your time and energy, what do you really want, and what’s going to be the most value. And usually it comes here, if it’s coming from up there, it’s going to probably not last or it’s going to feel funny, or you’re going to justify with number I don’t know, I just really think I think everyone has something but it takes a while it does take a bit to unlock it. I will say that I don’t think everyone has that. I know everyone here does not have a why they just come to work, they do their job, they go home, I used to be that way for years. So I to your point, I don’t think I think you really have to own it and want it. If you really want to discover who you are, or you really want to be you want to grow at another level. And it’s not for everyone. Not everyone needs to wants to be a leader. Some people are very happy with doing those things going, doing what they need to do. But if you want to lead something, or you want to lead Initiative, or you want to make a difference, then you got to really find what’s in in your heart. And then you got to listen to that. And then really test that out and see is that is that really what you believe? And if it is you’ll follow your your follow it.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 33:56
I think it takes a certain maturity as well to get to that point where you’re happy to do that. I know that for many, many years in my sort of 20s and 30s. I did what I thought was right, I did what I thought my parents wanted me to do. I did what everybody told me I should do I do what my MBA told me I should do. And it was only sort of later on in life. He went actually, why don’t you know, I think he sadly it was the passing of my brother. That was kind of the the moment for me. It was like, wow, life really is too short. And am I really doing what I love and I might actually, you know, do I’m making time to do other things outside of work. And it was just a bit of a wake up call. And I started thinking about what is my real purpose here? Why Why am I on this planet? Do
Brent Pohlman 34:31
you sum that up beautifully? You really do you really live for others. And I did that a lot too. I think that was my whole life. I’m doing what is expected. I believe others are expected of me. I’m doing what this person thinks I should be doing your mom, your dad, your, your manager, whatever. I think that that beautifully sums up when you don’t have your own wire purpose or that that’s usually what happens. It is true.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 34:55
You’re living somebody else’s life. Life is too short. Yeah, I got I had a question that just completely out of my head then I was about the family business again, it was like so I’m in the beginning, you talked about the fact that you had another partner in the business with your father. And so there was three of there was at their sons that were working in the business and three of the family
Brent Pohlman 35:15
had two other partners, and they both had sons in the business at one time or another. And so I think at one time, they thought there were three families, we’re going to run the business, so yeah, no, I, that’s, that’s how it was for years. Yeah, absolutely.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 35:32
Yeah. And so you’ve talked about the fact you’d love to take it down to the next generation, I was essentially talking with the family business that’s in their fourth generation the other day, which is really fantastic. But there’s got to be a desire to actually work in the business, right? Because if you do, if you just go into it, because that’s what’s expected, you’re doing exactly what just talked about, you’re doing what you think you should, as opposed to what you genuinely want to do. I wonder, you’ve got children that you think might want to come into the business? How would you how would that work out?
Brent Pohlman 35:59
So my kids are from 21 to 27? I have five children, two boys and three girls. Yep, you know, I wasn’t, I was 40, when I came back to the company. So and the same thing, my kids are off college, they’re all pursuing their dreams, which they have to do, you have to let them pursue their dreams. My kids could not be more different. I have an attorney, I have a dancer, I have a one that’s information to be a priest, I have a marketing person. And I have a teacher. I mean, they’re, they’re all over the place. They’re all very close. But again, they have to, they have to figure out who they are. And what I love that I keep trying to instill in them. They all have that entrepreneurial spirit, I want them to have that. I think when I was growing up, I was more like, Oh, don’t do this. This is too scary. My dad worked many, many hours, and he’d come home late. And he said, you don’t want to do this for your face. I mean, he would say those things. So I kind of grew up with that. That that kind of way. But and then as I got older things, maybe you’re ready, you know, maybe it’s you ready to do these things. But I think it’s really important. We really stir that into our Earth and teach that and coach that in our kids that they can make a difference that they can do these things so that they again, find out what who they are and then what they can do and how they can make a difference. Absolutely. I think that’s really important. Do I think anyone will come back? I don’t know. I don’t know the answer. But at the same time, what I want to do is put processes put things in place. So if something happens to me tomorrow, the company still continues. And I think we’re always working on that. I don’t think you’re ever done working on that to take your pass away. So I think that’s just a work in process every single day.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 37:50
Yeah. And I love the fact that, you know, you’re allowing the kids to go off and do what they want to do. And then if they want to come back, then that’s absolutely fantastic. But at the same time, let them discover. And I think I’m really grateful. I had a lot of different jobs in my early days, which really exposed me to a lot of different things, which means I could then decide what really made my heart sing. And what didn’t. So, yeah, it’s important to have that opportunity to explore.
Brent Pohlman 38:14
Yeah, no, I couldn’t agree more.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 38:19
Okay, so we’re coming to the end of the podcast, sadly. But I always ask my guests to give the listeners three things they could actually take away and hopefully put into action or do in the next few days. What would you say?
Brent Pohlman 38:31
First, I would say self care is not selfish, you should do it, you should you really need to do something good. Look at you look at what you’re currently doing, and find ways to improve yourself. Because your your people, whoever you’re leading, especially leaders, they see it in you. I mean, I have to bring my A game every single day his wife show up and show a frown or a show any kind of questioning, people see it. So I really want to show that it’s positive that the companies move forward. And it takes work and you got to work at it. And that’s self care. So it takes some time for you to build yourself up. Second, I would say, I think for me, the biggest part is calling people by the name. It sounds so simple. But when you call someone by their name, you got their attention. They really it shows that you care, and it’s really been a game changer for me. So I try constantly to learn people’s names. I still do a bad job of that at times. But I think what even with COVID movie or player and bass, I didn’t do that. And I really lost about two years and coming back to doing that. And people see it when they hear their name and your and yourself when you hear your own name. Sometimes you could go a whole day and never heard your name. Think about the power of that. And then finally I would say selfishly read the book. If you want an example again of someone who’s gone through this, this is nice self help book, this is not a 10 step book, How to be a bit good leader, this is what happened to me. And maybe there’s a piece in there that will resonate with you, and that as the reader, and that’s really my goal, I just want everyone to find what’s in their heart, and hopefully live a life of gratitude. Because it’s so transforming, it’s so powerful, there’s so much energy in it. And that’s really my hope in reading the book that you just see, see someone who, who gives examples. And again, maybe one of those resonates with you. But I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m not here to tell you how to be a good leader, you got to find that yourself. That’s the premise of it. But you have to find that on yourself.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 40:44
And so if you want to get hold of that book, CEO of your heart.com is where you will find all the information about Brent, and also with the way you can find that book as well. Sadly, I have not had a chance to read it before we got to talk. But I’m definitely feeling inclined to add that to my 1000s of books that as you said, just a little little snippet here. When we before we got onto the podcast, I actually spoke with Brendan, he said he’s got 1000s of books, and they’re also color coded. So you want to tell us a little bit about that.
Brent Pohlman 41:10
I love coffee shops. So obviously the coffee shop, and they were all color coded. And it made such an impact. I went home and I rearranged my books and my wife looks at me and goes, Are you turning into a millennial? Or what? And I thought Yes, I like that. I will take that compliment. You know what? And it’s so cool. And then you will realize how many black books and read books and read books he habits
Debra Chantry-Taylor 41:33
Magnificant about doing that? Yeah. Because I must admit I do I love my books, I really enjoy my Kindle in terms of be able to travel and read lots of books at the same time. But there’s nothing quite beats, like an actual hard copy of a book where you can hold it in your hands and, and write on it. I know that’s not good for books, but I love it. But it’s been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed our talk. If people would like to get ahold of you, how would they best?
Brent Pohlman 41:56
Use it at the CEO of your heart.com? Absolutely, you could find me on LinkedIn, Brent Pullman, Facebook, Instagram. I do bring a faith component leadership message every single day. That’s just part of my daily routine. But absolutely you can connect on me and all those social media platforms. And don’t thank you so much for letting me do that.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 42:21
Thank you. I I always I mean, I do these podcasts obviously to help other people but I always get so much value out of myself. So so thank you for being so open and honest for sharing your your tips and techniques and just your journey. I think it’s fantastic to hear.
Brent Pohlman 42:34
Thank you. Thank you again, Debra. It’s been great. My absolute pleasure.
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