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Episode 37: Leadership Lessons for Manufacturers

Bryan Powrozek
Oct 20, 2023


In this episode of The Sound of Automation podcast, we sit down with Troy Nix, President and Owner of First Resource, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in association management for manufacturing industry sectors.

Troy also serves as the executive director of three manufacturing non-profits including the Manufacturers Association for Plastic Processors (MAPP), the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM), and the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA).

Bryan and Troy discuss ways to become a better leader and the role of communication, culture, accountability and recognition. Listen in to learn how small leadership improvements can have a profound impact on your organization and how to cascade this ownership mentality to your entire team. 


Troy Nix 00:00

This concept of being present. You know, I said to a group the other day, man, if you're sitting in an office, you know, and think you've got it all figured out because you've got the right people in place, good for you. But at the end of the day, you know, if it's not difficult leading, then I say that you're not leading.  

Podcast Intro Narrator 00:22

Welcome to the Sound of Automation brought to you by Wipfli , a top 20 advisory and accounting firm. 

Bryan Powrozek 00:41

Hello and welcome to the Sound of Automation. I'm Bryan Powrozek with Wipfli. Today we'll be bringing into a topic a little bit different for what we've done in the past, but I'm pretty excited about. As we all know, there's a lot of negative headwinds that are on the horizon, you talk of recessions and interest rates and all this. And so in preparing for what everyone's predicting will happen over the next year or so, I thought it'd be important to bring someone in to talk about the role of the leader in navigating some of those business challenges. So today I have joining me from Manufacturers Association for Plastic Processors, the executive director, Troy Nix. Troy, how are you?

Troy Nix 01:26

Hey, Brian, I'm doing well, man. I've been really looking forward to this and to just totally brighten up your entire week, man. 

Bryan Powrozek 01:34

Well, I can use it, looking out my window right now. It's pretty gray, dreary fall day. So I'm looking forward to this conversation as well.

Troy Nix 01:41

Same thing in Indianapolis, gray and very dreary. So let's do it. Let's light up the listeners, man. This is exciting topic.

Bryan Powrozek 01:49

There we go so yeah I guess before we jump into the topic try just you know if you can give everybody just a little bit of your background.

Troy Nix 01:57

Yeah, so graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, had the pleasure of serving my country, loved my flag, went into manufacturing, plastics manufacturing for mobile chemical company back in the early 90s. And from then, a couple of very interesting ventures but ended up having the ability to actually incorporate the Manufacturers Association for Plastic Processors. And from there, created my own management company. And right now, we run a multitude of national manufacturing associations and have about 1 ,250 manufacturing companies under our management umbrella.

Bryan Powrozek 02:44

Oh, that's fantastic. And so obviously you get to see, you know, we really target this podcast at, you know, the business owner and the C -suite and the leadership, you know, folks that are looking for some ideas on how to better run their business. So you get to interact with a lot of those folks on a regular basis then

Troy Nix 03:02

Yeah, most definitely. So we just had, two weeks ago, we just had one of our annual meetings for our Classics group had about 550 business professionals that actually had an opportunity to invest three days and coming into Indianapolis. And during that event, we dive heavily into benchmarks, look at a lot of trends, but most of all, just very intense networking where people are sharing what's working and what's not.

Bryan Powrozek 03:31

Oh, that's great. And so since you're just off the heels of that, any major takeaways that you had from the event?

Troy Nix 03:38

Yeah, it's interesting. You know, since the pandemic, and I do, I speak, I have a speaking platform and it's one of those things. So what's the next thing that's going to pop up as a leader? I mean, I think it just unveiled the fact that, I'll go all over the place, but we have a major training program through the Academy at West Point. And I've got 185 graduates right now that are through a multitude of our association. So we're teaching basically military leadership to the civilians sector and how to run their companies. And long -winded answer here, but General Tony Kukalo, a three -star, that was leading about 24,000 troops when the bullets were flying overhead in Iraq, made a statement one day and it's true, leadership is hard, man. And that's really what it comes down to. And I think you and I talked earlier, or late last week, about what we wanted to talk about. And you said, hey, you know, what kind of statistics and benchmarks? I said, you know what, man? If we want to move the dial, let's get into leadership. And so last week, I mean, we talked about, or two weeks ago at the conference, we talked about a variety of different things, but I'll tell you what, first and foremost, man, it's coming down to how are we preparing those that are on our teams to better lead, bottom line? 

Bryan Powrozek 05:02

Yeah. You know, and it's interesting, you know, especially with your background in, you know, in the military and that, you know, you think about to a lesser extent than what they've seen, you mentioned the general bullets flying overhead, you know, but if the troops in the field don't see good leadership or, you know, they see that their, you know, their commanders are starting to get nervous in the field, it's going to impact how they, you know, how they're able to fill in. So, in this fight, same thing in the business world, right? If your employees see that you don't have a strong strategic plan or you're not able to commit to certain things, then they don't have that, you know, that same feeling and it's going to really hurt as you're trying to navigate through some of these challenges that, I mean, frankly, we don't know what 2024 is going to look like yet. People read the tea leaves and there's lots of talk about what could happen, but you're not going to know until you get there. And so that's just reinforces the importance of having strong leadership at the top to be able to address any of those changes that come down the road.

Troy Nix 06:10

So Brian, I'm going to summarize what you just said. How about just this concept of being present? You know, I said to a group the other day, man, if you're sitting in an office, you know, and think you've got it all figured out because you got the right people in place, good for you. But at the end of the day, you know, if it's not difficult leading, then I say that you're not leading. Because it's not easy, man. And if you got it all going on, that's great and wonderful. But if it's too easy, something's wrong. That's how I think about the world. And you know what, man? You're coming from a guy that just got done soaking in an ice barrel this morning for seven minutes. And so I kind of like pain. So maybe that's how I'm driven, dude. I don't know. 

Bryan Powrozek 06:58

I've got some friends that do that. I'll maybe I'll have to check that out next week I'll put that on my bucket list for now.

Troy Nix 07:04

 I'll follow up with you. 

Bryan Powrozek 07:05

Well, so building off that idea of being present, you know, something else you talked about or you mentioned when we were meeting before, this concept of extreme ownership. You know, how, what does that mean to you and how can a business owner apply that to help, you know, navigate uncertainties? 

Troy Nix 07:24

Yeah, that's good. Extreme ownership. So I'm going to take one step back just for the listeners. Right. So if you go if you go and you and I talked about this, I've never purchased anything off Amazon. But the other day I went to Amazon and I put in the word leadership under books. And I believe I had any guests with the number of returns I got in terms of my opportunities to purchase a book. How many how many came up under the search? 

Bryan Powrozek 07:52

I'm failing the test because I know you gave me this number before and I can't remember it. 

Troy Nix 07:56

60,000. Yep. 60,000. So from a subjective standpoint, it just kind of goes to show leadership's important. So several years ago, I had an independent study done by a manufacturing consulting company. And I helped to develop an assessment. And the assessment, basically, back in 2005, it's evolved over time. 550 different questions, nine different functional areas, covering sales and marketing, engineering, operations, quality, human resources, et cetera. In their basically research, what they identified is that a small fractional improvement in leadership impacted the company overall assessment score dramatically. And so when you and I talk, that is the concept of what, in my eyes, you can improve any area of your business. There's nine major functional areas. But when you look at management and leadership, a fractional improvement there has this cascading effect across anything. And oftentimes, when I'm in front of audiences, I'm like, this is mic drop. Like I can leave right now. And I've only been talking for 10 minutes and say, look, if you really want to impact your business, you need to focus on developing leaders. 

So let's go in now and talk about extreme ownership, the concept of extreme ownership. So July 1st, 1983, I'll just take you back. It was introduction day at the United States Military Academy at West Point for me. The general at the time standing at the 50 yard line gave a traditional speech. I had my mom and dad sit next to me and I had like a little duffel bag, pair of underwear, whatever, man. And he gave his download and said, new cadets going to the tunnels. And so I went into the tunnels. I had little understanding of what I was getting myself into and what my father got me into. But lo and behold, there was a bunch of upperclassmen that hadn't eaten for like 42 days and I was fresh meat. And I had four responses at the time and I had four responses for the next 365 days. Yes, sir, no, sir, sorry to not understand and no excuse, sir. That's it. I don't care what happened. Those were your four responses. And it took me a long time, Brian, to understand what those four responses actually were doing to program me as a leader. And the concept is it doesn't matter what happens in your perimeter, you own it. So from an extreme ownership standpoint and leadership, that's my basis. And that's how I view the world. 

So, you know, if you're struggling with retention right now in your organization, if you're struggling with attracting the right people, if you have a less than optimum culture at this point in time, sooner or later as a president, CEO, owner of that business, you need to be pointing right back at yourself because you own it. You own everything. So I had an example that I used because this happened several years ago. I had an employee that made basically a major mistake in publishing a document. And it was interesting because on the outside, I was like, it's okay, Matt, I'll cover the cost. It's 10 ,000 bucks, write a check for it, make it go away. On the inside, I was pointing fingers at her, how could you do this? You know, long -term employee, you knew better, you knew this and that. And it was interesting because I ran into a true leader about three or four months after this incident and I wrote the check. And I found out that really, I was taking ownership on the outside, but I wasn't taking ownership on the inside. And as I start breaking down the methods and the mechanics upon which this report was created, I realized that this was all my fault. You might as well have given my employee a chisel and a hammer to produce this report because I didn't invest in the proper software, in the proper publishing documentation that I needed. So ultimately, it was my fault. It was my fault. So that makes sense. 

Bryan Powrozek 12:06

Oh, no, definitely. That's, you know, there are some, I don't know if you've ever read the book, the question behind the question, but you know, it kind of gets into that, right? That as you're, you know, when you're running into problems, the way that you're phrasing these questions, the ways you're looking at them, will really, you know, guide you to your results. And oftentimes, when you do run into those issues, people are pointing outwardly versus looking at what they could have controlled and what they could have done to resolve the situation. 

Troy Nix 12:38

So you and I talked about this, right? There's a great book. I would assume most business leaders and most who are listening to this have heard of Jocko Willink, wrote Extreme Ownership, right? And on page 25 of that book, that Extreme Ownership comes down to basically somebody stepping up, Jaco basically raising in his hand saying, this is my fault, we lost lives. And when people were trying to identify well, what actually happened? And trying to in some ways kind of pass the buck. He's like, that buck stops here, man, because if I would have communicated better, had I had better planning, had I been more creative in bringing maybe more of my troops around that says, here are the other options in terms of how we could get hit, ultimately landed on him, man. And that page 25 just sticks me right in the gut because when you have to take ownership over a life, it doesn't get any worse than that, bro.

Bryan Powrozek 13:40

Oh, yeah. And I know just from the business owners that I work with, a lot of them kind of take that same mentality, right? Because you're not in a life or death situation, but your business is the one putting food on people's tables, buying the clothes, paying the mortgage. And so they take that same level of interest in ensuring their employees have a place to come into work and can provide for their families and do all the things that they want to do. 

Troy Nix 14:10

Brian, here's my question to you then, is how do you cascade that? And here's what I'm talking about is the concept of if you want to move the dial in your organization, you focus on leadership, how do you cascade then that ownership down through the through the ranks? So as an example, I had a manager come in the other day and she had Jaco's book right in front of her and she came in the office and I know your viewers can't see me right now, but she held the book up in front of her face and I just said, what happened? What did you do? And she said, I screwed up and I'm like, that's fine. What did you do? Let's fix it. And I think that is that's the key is that I have worked very, very hard on my culture to allow people to come in to say I've screwed up royally and my response is let's go. How do we fix it? Let's move on. 

Bryan Powrozek 15:01

Yeah. And there's, you know, to your question, I mean, building that culture where, because if, especially, and this is my opinion, but I think it's going to hold true with the pace of change and the way our, our, our world, our business world, all that is evolving. You've got to build a culture where people are willing to try new things, to step out of the box, be comfortable with failing and build a culture where, where failing is okay. You know, we're not going to, we're not going to hold you, you know, or, you know, or kind of burn you at the stake every time you screw up because we know people are going to, but then let's have that same culture behind it. Okay. Here's what happened. How do we fix it? How do we move forward and keep growing? 

Troy Nix 15:48

So I'm going to hit that. That's really good. And I want to spin off of that because we talk about bringing people in the organization and having people understand the owner's expectations, the leader's expectations. This is concept. So I just interviewed an employee on last Friday, gave her job offer on Sunday. She's going to start working for us next week on Wednesday. During the actual interview, I handed her my leadership philosophy. Brian, have you ever heard of that? Do you know what it is? No Everybody on the phone that is listening to this right now if you are leading an organization and you don't have a leadership philosophy then one of the takeaways of this you need to stop what you're doing and you need to create one and basically a leadership philosophy Identifies the characteristics that basically drive me as a leader and I put them on paper So it fits on one piece of paper the words are carefully selected, so as an example integrity and honor huge for me where I came from right duty to Country. Okay, that will not lie steal or cheat nor tolerate those who do that that concept is so ingrained in me. 

So when one comes to work for me the first thing they understand is number one is man He's got a sense of duty and honor and integrity. Wow never seen it before second thing is the concept of effort. Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. So when I get in that damn barrel in the morning I'm not getting out until I get to my timeline. And that's what I expect out of all everybody that works for me is I don't care how much you fail man. My, the baggage and how I grew up is that you don't give up and if you give up then I'm sorry I have a different viewpoint of that. It's because of my baggage. 

So when somebody comes to work for me at least they know that up front they know what is expected of them so they you know in six months they go man I didn't sign up for this. They know exactly what they're signing up for on day one and they know how passionate I am and on a flip side of that they know I will do anything and everything including delivering chicken soup to them when they have the flu in the home, they can't buy their groceries. I'm going to be there for them. Yeah, so that passion leaks through but I'm telling you right now all of my managers have leadership philosophies. It cascades through the organization Brian so it's just not with me that full ownership cascades through the organization the leadership philosophy flows through the organization. So the manager that hired Paige has that leadership philosophy and Paige understands what she's getting herself into. This is to me how you build an organization that thrives on leadership so that the lowest levels make decisions that are all supported through the chain of command because they know they can't 

Bryan Powrozek 18:43

Well, and it's interesting you mentioned that, and I'll be curious to get your take on this, but it really, and one of those, you know, business buzzwords that I, I love the word and the concept, but I think it gets overused and therefore it loses all meeting. But it really comes down to accountability, right? And now you're, you're putting these, you know, these four or five, whatever it was, leadership philosophies out to people and people can hold you accountable to that and say, well, Troy, but you, you told me this is what was important to you. But then I see you doing this over here. 
Troy Nix 19:19

Yes. Oh my God, Brian, that's good, man. That's good that you connected the dots back up because it's true. That's what it's supposed to be used for, because you know, we're only humans. And when leaders feel extreme pressure, right? Like when you're in the foxhole and the bullets are flying, they feel that extreme pressure. You become who you truly are. Yeah. So I may be in my nice cozy office and develop my leadership philosophy. But if I'm looking at a half a million dollar bill at this point in time, then I have to pay and I realize that I don't have enough revenue to cover it. Then I become that that raw Nix kid out of the ghetto. Right. And that's so that's really good. And so the employees can come in and say, hey, wait a second. And that's what it's for. It's for both ways. So good for you for making the connection, man. Well, yeah.

Bryan Powrozek 20:09

Yeah, I love that concept. I try to work it in with my teams and the folks I work with. But so often when I think when people hear that word, they cringe. They're like, OK, this is just your way of pushing it down to me and saying it was my fault. And that's not it at all. And it gets a bad rap. But I think having that because it's, and being in the military yourself, you know this, right? You're trained just like you mentioned, the four responses that you're allowed to give. You're being trained because when you do get out in a firefight or you can use analogies to a sports team, you know, you watch some of I'm a hockey fan myself. You watch these players skate down the ice and they pass the puck to a spot where there is no one knowing that their teammate is going to get there and keep the play going. And so it's, you know, having these things out there just helps develop those skills within people so that they know, hey, you know what, I don't need to follow up with Troy on that because I know Troy every time I assign something to him, it gets done. And then I can I can focus my mental energy somewhere else.

Troy Nix 21:20

So you know, Brian, that's great, man. I can see the puck sitting there and the guy, you know, skating at about 18 miles an hour, picking that baby up, right? But let, truth be known, right? Let's take the covers off of accountability because it's one of the hardest things. I struggle with this on a daily basis, man. I just struggle. I struggle for a lot of different reasons. Number one is holding people accountable is just one of those things that makes people uncomfortable, right? And we're so busy that oftentimes, we don't take the time to do what we call it in our Thayer Leadership Development Training from the Academy, but we call it need and needs. And just that concept where you pull the chair up and go, hey, man, here's the deal. And we're in this organization, my organization, we're trying to have more of those need and needs. Ultimately, in the organization that I'm still trying to create, cause my culture is not perfect, not anywhere close, but I work on it, you know, we'll constantly work on it. I screw it up, everybody else screws it up, but we at least recognize that we're screwing it up. But it's a concept that when somebody steps on somebody else's toe, and if you can't say ouch, out loud, right then and there, then something's wrong with your organization. It should not be hidden. It shouldn't be hidden from me as the owner or any of the managers. If you step on somebody's toe, I want to hear ouch. And I'm not there yet, right? Cause that's true transparency. And that's what I'm working for. And that ouch oftentimes is accountability. So it's not easy, man. And I don't want anybody to think that this is an easy thing cause I opened up by General Cucolo saying leadership is hard, man. 

Bryan Powrozek 22:51

Yep, exactly. Well, and something that I've seen tonight, and I already know you agree with this, but we'll bring it in, but based on our prior conversation, that you can't really get to that point of accountability and people feeling comfortable and trusting that they can sit down with you and say, hey, Troy, let's have this neat conversation. What happened here? Without building that level of trust or rapport, and some of that comes down to acknowledgement, right? Acknowledging your employees, when they do well, what their needs are, things like that. So where do you see acknowledgement plugging into this whole equation? Wow, man, you?

Troy Nix 23:33

You are smooth. You are smooth.

Bryan Powrozek 23:37

Well, don't go back and listen to episode one. It was, it took some work to get here.

Troy Nix 23:42

So, hey, you know, I speak on this subject, right? And there was a Department of Labor study they did, this was a couple of years ago, and they identified the number one complaint of employees basically across the U .S. is not being recognized for the work that they do. So number one, and to me, that's phenomenal. And then Gallup did a study, and there's studies everywhere, and they all basically, in summary, say the same thing, 65% of Americans receive no recognition in the workplace. This says last year, and I think this was a 2021 study or something like that, right? So bottom line is just like I said, we're busy. And the deadlines and the pressure on me as an owner, just as many as all my other employees, right?  

Because I run a small organization, and it's difficult, but I think I was telling you last week, it's just this concept of working to continue to remind myself of the importance of recognition, and the importance of true, genuine recognition, man. And I just encourage all the listeners, if you have anybody working for you, it is just, when's the last time you sat down and said, hey, man, I really appreciate you and what you've done, whether it's on the last project, what you did yesterday for your teammate, what have you? And so I have this mental concept of a three -post -it note system, and that is I have to use my post -it notes up every day, and I try to find people that are going above and beyond the call of duty that says, first and foremost, my workday starts when everybody else is pretty much finished. That's how I view the world, right? And I fail routinely at that, by the way, but I try to put my people first. And then going out to say, man, you did a great job. So as an example, we just put on this amazing conference, and I have a SEAL team, I'll call them a SEAL team, right? I got 10 people, man, and everybody has designated responsibilities, and we have a death chart when we go into our conferences. So if a man goes down, we got another one coming up. Like we handle our conferences like we're going to a freaking war, all right? And it's interesting because after that, everybody is just completely done. 

But my team, my God, they did an amazing job. So guess what? We're taking time next Thursday, going to a very nice stay house, and we're going to celebrate. The whole concept is me looking at every one of them going, you move the dial because understanding, and I think this is important for everybody to understand, and again, leaders, David Horsager wrote a book, and I'm trying to remember the name of the book, The Trust Edge, and he said that if you're not reviewing your why and your vision every 21 days with your employees, you're missing the book because they're forgetting about why they're coming to work. And so our why is to basically take burden, take slight burdens off the manufacturing executives that we work for. And I told my group that not only did we take some burdens off of the 550 attendees at this event, we took a lot of burdens off because people pulled me aside. We're going to celebrate that, and I'm going to thank them. In addition to that, every single staff meeting that we hold in all of our weekly staff meetings, we begin, and it doesn't matter if it's two minutes or 22 minutes of this staff meeting, but we open up with gratitude, man. What are we thankful for each other? And I love it, man, because people say, hey, and they'll do things, and I'm like, oh my God, I didn't know that happened. Caitlin will thank Letha for doing X, Y, or Z. Tony will thank Marcel, and I'm like, this is great, man. So showing that gratitude and trying to grow that bond between team members is so important. So recognition, gratitude, it all goes hand in hand. 

Again, to me, to trying to develop my culture, because guess what? I can't pay like Eli Lilly does right down the street. Right? I can't compete with the guide corporations and the roast diagnostics of the world. But what I can compete with is this concept that when you come here and I had a mom tell me, he's like Sunday night, I actually look forward to coming to work. Well, hey, man, that's the biggest compliment that I can receive as a leader when somebody says, I kind of look forward to coming to work on a Sunday evening. Now, maybe she wants to get away from the three and the five -year -old or whatever. OK, I'm going to discount that and say, she really wants to come to work. But that's what I work for each and every day, that people like coming to my place of work because they know they're making an impact to people. Going back to the Y and I keep reminding them, this is the Y, this is why we're here. And they're making a difference. Right? So I don't know if I'm rambling or if that's makes any sense. 

Bryan Powrozek 28:37

No, I, and I like the fact that in you got there, I was, I was sitting in on a training yesterday and they were talking about kind of this topic of acknowledging, you know, people for things they're doing. And there's, there's like that first level, like as you're advancing in your leadership journey, there's that first level of just getting in the habit of saying, you know, thank you, and you did a good job on this and all that stuff. But really, you're kind of getting that second or third or whatever level you'd want to call it. Where it's, it's simply not enough if you want to be a great leader to say thank you or to say you've got to tie it back to something and make it because otherwise it just comes off as, oh yeah, you know, Troy comes around and says thank you every time I do something. And it's, you know, but he doesn't really see the value I contributed. And so getting into it, you know, as you mentioned in some of those gratitude sessions of, Hey, I really appreciated the way you did this. And this is how it helped me. It shows that you're, you're really putting some thought into it versus just the obligatory of okay, anytime someone says please, I say thank you. And that's, you know, just, just the call and response so to speak that that you're going to run into.

Troy Nix 29:45

Yeah, it definitely has to be meaningful, right? I mean, there's something to be said. It's interesting. And I came in on last Monday, and I didn't know it was National Bosses Day or something like that. I didn't even know there was such a thing. And there's a card on my desk signed by all the employees with a note that almost, like I called my wife and I was just like, oh my God, you know, I got all teared up and everything. This big tough guy's getting all teared up. But for me, that was kind of an underscore. Okay, I'm doing some things right. 

Bryan Powrozek 30:24

Yeah. No, that's, that's awesome as those are

Troy Nix 30:29

It's hard. It's hard. Yeah, I screw it up all the time. You know, you know, you know, you already know. Man, I'm an intense dude, right? And that intensity and that emotion, it can swim. And there's a lot of times where I'm walking in somebody's office shutting the door going, dude, I'm really sorry, man. I kind of, you know, so I'm still working on that at my age right now at the age of what am I? 41 or something like that? 

Bryan Powrozek 30:55

That's what the bio said. I don't know who wrote it, but that's what the bio said.

Troy Nix 30:59

Hey man, it goes both ways too. And it's that acknowledgement and that ownership of I crossed the line, I did the wrong thing. And I'll tell you what, humility as a leader, man, to me is one of my main traits is you have to eat that humble pie. And I do try to put myself at the bottom of the rung. And this organization and all of its accomplishments is because of my people, truly. 

Bryan Powrozek 31:22

Exactly. I mean, no matter whether you're a manufacturer or professional services firm like us, it's the folks in the organization that make the organization what it is. So, I think it's all been just amazing insights. So, I want to kind of put a bow on everything here. I want to go back to something you kind of said in passing, but it reminded me of one of my favorite Harvard Business Review articles. You'd mentioned small incremental improvements. That's really what it takes. And if folks have never read it, there's an article about how the British cycling team used this philosophy of a 1% performance improvement to go from being not known in the cycling world to winning Olympic gold. And that's really the compounding effect of just if you made a 1% improvement everywhere in your business. And that's not a big ask. That's 1%. It's not much. The compound effect is immeasurable. So, what's your small improvement that listeners can take away of, hey, if you want to really get better at this leadership art, because it is more of an art than a science, what's the one thing they could focus on coming out of this podcast? 

Troy Nix 32:41

First of all, I want to comment on that. There's another book out there, and I forget the author. We actually brought him into an event several years ago, and it's called The 1% Solution, actually. And it is this compounding effect that takes place. And it doesn't matter whether you want to improve in your push -ups or it doesn't matter, right? If you just focus one thing a day. So I'm kind of a self -taught drummer. And I've been trying to work on my hands speed because I can't play the snare drum, and I graduated to a set, and I'm horrible at the set. So I just came back and just this 20 minutes a day, right? It's amazing what can actually happen. And I think this is kind of a difficult question. And the reason it's a difficult question is because of breadth of leadership. Like, where do you even start? And I think one of the things that you have to understand and where you have to start in our third leadership program, you start with self. And you have to understand whether you lead people or not. If you don't have anybody reporting to you and you think you're not a leader, you are dead wrong. You're dead wrong. Because leadership is all about leading thyself. And once you understand who you are as a person and how others actually view you. So here's a great example. Orange Theory the other night, it's a workout routine I do for about 55 minutes. You run, you row, you lift weights and stuff like that. And I get done and I go up to an individual across the gym and I say, hey, thanks for a great workout. Guy looks at me and goes, what? I said, man, I've been trying to beat you all day. And I told him, I said, it's amazing in life who you inspire without ever knowing it. Gosh, if we could just be more aware of that concept in and of itself that we're role models and we don't even know we're role models. If you don't think you're leading people, people are watching you all the time and you're impacting people. So you have to start with yourself and understanding who you are as a person. And I go back to that leadership philosophy as understanding truly who you are as a person. When the bullets are flying, how do you react? What are your core values in life? And those values, they're never going to go away. What are they? And how do you communicate those, not only to those above you, but to those that you might be leading?

Bryan Powrozek 35:13

No, that is awesome advice. And I know something that I can take to heart and pull some things out. I got to find out where I can get one of these ice buckets, but hey. 

Troy Nix 35:25

I'm going to send you my leadership philosophy after this. Yeah, no, I would love to see that. It took me a year to create, Brian. And it took me a year because I got feedback from my employees and I looked for the right words. And it was just nothing but editing and editing and editing. But this is, I mean, when you come in my organization, it's the first correspondence that you get from me. 

Bryan Powrozek 35:49

It's funny you mentioned it. I've heard in other things I've gone through, it's, oh, we'll have set expectations on communication. We're going to respond within 24 hours, or we're going to always call first, and then we'll send an email and establishing things like that. Those are simple tactical day -to -day things that business owners do. But how often have you heard people establishing this, that yes, this is my leadership philosophy, if you work for me, I want you to develop yours, so I understand where you're coming from, you understand where I'm coming from, and that oftentimes, and you've probably seen this, that most of those times where you have challenges in your business, where people aren't working as well as they could together, it's just not a fundamental difference. It's just a misalignment in how they're talking or how they're viewing things. And once you clear that up, you're off and running again. So... 

Troy Nix 36:45

Hey man, not to open up like a can of worms, right? But I will tell you, I'm a small organization again, and this goes out to the masses, right? And if you're not using the tools that are out there in this day and age as scientific tools when you're in the hiring process, so we use a system called the Predictive Index, right? And the Predictive Index, when you look at mine, right? It shows that I'm very authoritative. So if you come in with a problem, I'm going to try to fix it unless you tell me don't fix it. And this is important. So Page will get her Predictive Index on the first day. And so people will look at this and go, oh, so she's pretty social. So she has an idea, she'll talk it out, right? So you got to give her time. So we work on our culture to understand, it's like I have great attention to detail. So if you come in and you want to do something on a budget basis, if you come in and say, hey, I need this money, that's one thing. If you say I need this money, and here's everything that we're going to do, and here's going to be the ROI, and then a year and a half, this is what's going to happen, that's what I need to function. And I don't mean to push back and ask a thousand questions, but if you know who I am, and this is on my door, my profile is on my door, and it's on everybody's door so that we can improve the communication and also improve the, oh, now I know why they're reacting that way, cause they're under extreme stress right now. And she didn't mean to snap at me, but here's the situation, again, working on culture and leadership every day in this business, because that's really what I have. 

Bryan Powrozek 38:26

Yeah, no, and we use predictive index as well. And, oh, I didn't know that. Yeah, once got trained in it and you understood it, it's like, this is like the most common sense thing, but you don't even think about it until you get into it. So that's fantastic. I love that tool as well. So Troy, we've covered a lot of ground here, but if anyone listening to this podcast wants to find out more about MAP, if they want to find out more just about you and you're speaking, what's the best way for people to get a hold of you? 

Troy Nix 38:59

Well, I appreciate that. So it took me 10 years, Brian, to write a book. And sitting right behind me, it's called Eternal Impact. And you can go to TroyNix.com to check it out. But basically, it's not a leadership book. It's this concept of we have one life to live. How do we live that life to positively impact as many people as we can? So dude, if you start soaking in a tub in the next couple of weeks, I'll say amen to that, I impacted somebody. 

Bryan Powrozek 39:29

 There you go. 

Troy Nix 39:30

Love it, man. 

Bryan Powrozek 39:31

Awesome Troy. Well, hey, this was a real pleasure. I appreciate you taking the time to come on and hopefully we'll get to meet in person here at some point in the near future. 

Troy Nix 39:40

 I love it, man. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Podcast Outro Narrator 39:43

Thank you for tuning in. Don't forget to like us, subscribe and share on social. To learn more about Wipfli, visit us at Wipfli.com. That's W -I -P -F -L -I dot com. Perspective changes everything. 



Bryan Powrozek
CPA, CGMA, CGMA, Senior Manager

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