How to Lead Others: Lessons Learned as a Growing Leader With Kyle Porter

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Leading a team isn't easy. It's a challenge, and you're going to have to get good at it.

It's one of the most difficult things you'll ever do as a manager, but it's also one of the most rewarding.

If you're a  leader, then you've probably found yourself in this situation before: You're managing people on a daily basis and trying to get the most out of them. It can be overwhelming! You may even feel like you're not doing enough for your team members. But if you're feeling like this, then don't worry—you're not alone.

It's a lot of responsibility! And sometimes it feels like there isn't enough time in the day to do all of the things you need to do as a leader. But don't worry—Kyle here will share his experiences growing as a leader.

In this episode, we will discuss how to lead others and the lessons learned as a growing leader with Kyle Porter. Tune in and don’t miss out on this!

Kyle Porter of Conklin Media

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Atiba de Souza: Hey everybody. Welcome back to Build Your Team. I've got a special guest with me today, Kyle Porter, and listen, I gotta grab my notebook on Kyle because his agency has won so many awards. I had to write 'em all down because I was going to forget some. Top local SEO, best B2B marketing agency, top web design agency, top marketing agency.

And those were just some of the ones that I thought were cool. There were even more. But guess what? You can't win all of these awards without having great team, without having really great people behind you. And so we're gonna talk about that today. We're gonna talk about that today here on Build Your Team. Now, as always build your team is brought to you by Client Attraction Pros.

If you are an expert in your industry, but you are not a recognized expert in your industry and you realize it's time for that to change, guess what we agree with you. Your industry needs you to be a thought leader and we can help you do that.

Atiba de Souza: Hey Kyle, welcome to the show. So glad to have you here.

Kyle Porter: Yeah, it's great to be here.

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. So do this for everybody. Kinda give us the — some of the history, your history. Conklin Media. Where you were before and really what got you winning all these awards and building such a great organization? 

Kyle Porter: Yeah. So my background, I actually started as a local brick and mortar business owner. I have been teaching or had been at that point, teaching martial arts for 15 years since I was a freshman in high school. Did that job all the way through high school, all the way through college. Spent more time in college, drinking beer and chasing girls around than I did studying.

So I didn't have a whole lot of options coming outta college. So I decided to keep going with the karate thing. Ended up growing a business, growing a karate school, pretty big. Stepped out onto my own, cause I thought I had learned everything that there was to know opening and operating a business. Learned really quickly that I could do the service, but I didn't know how to bring the people in which is a totally different, unique skill set.

And at the time I was watching a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk videos, and he was like, gotta run Facebook ads. And I was like, all right, well, I guess I'll learn how to run Facebook ads. And then that sort of started me down this path of like, well, I can't run Facebook ads until I've got somewhere to send the traffic. And I can't build a landing page until I know what my offer is, and I can't make an offer until I've got an email. So it is just this kind of like, where do I start?

I dove into the digital marketing landscape, realized really quickly that I loved it. Sort of did it in tandem with running the karate school, using my own business as kind of like the guinea pig for everything that I was learning, what worked for me, what didn't work for me, where I needed to continue to get better.

All of a sudden, March of 2020 hits. COVID hit and a brick and mortar, local kids, karate school, let's grab each other, touch each other, shake each other around. Business is the wrong business to be in. Meanwhile, I got two kids at home who continue to get hungry and need groceries and food on the table, regardless of whether daddy's got kids coming to karate school or not.

So I leaned hardened into the marketing stuff, ended up growing that really well. COVID sort of, we were able to get some guidelines where we could operate the business. Built it actually back bigger than it was post COVID. And then, I got connected through a mutual friend with Dave Conklin who owns Conklin Media.

He was looking for somebody to come in and kind of run the ship and got connected with him. And I wasn't really looking for a way out of the karate school thing. But at that point I was so heavy into the digital marketing thing that it just made sense. So I made the jump and it's been incredible.

So I'm full time in the agency space now, sold the karate school, not doing that at all anymore. Just got an incredible team around me at Conklin Media. So now I can kind of serve as — the role that I think I'm best suited in, which is kind of brainstorming and brainchild, all these different strategies and then turning things over to my team, which I'm sure we'll talk about a lot today.

Sort of what that process looks like. 

Atiba de Souza: Yes. But before we get to the team, now he said, while he had the karate school, he had two kids to feed, but he now has three.

Kyle Porter: Three now. 

Atiba de Souza: And that third one, the little boy —

Kyle Porter: That's that monster? That changed everything. 

Atiba de Souza: He does changed everything. And so let me ask you this, cause I know we are gonna talk about team and business. But let's talk about team at home first. How is it having that third child after having two?

Kyle Porter: When I was running the karate school, I was used to joke that it was great for me that I had girls because I had two girls. Then we had the third and he's a boy. And when I was at the karate school all day, every day, I'm running around playing Dodge ball, getting sweaty and messy and gross and nasty.

And then I would come home and my girls were these beautiful, buttoned up sweet little, you know, there'd be candles burning and they'd be coloring at the kitchen table and I'd come home and be like, "Hi daddy, how was work?" It was so sweet. It was this perfect little like balance. I got all my rough and tumble like boy stuff out at work. And then came home and like everything was this nice, neat little package. Yeah. And then, I guess the big man upstairs decided I still needed that in my life because this dude is — he's wild, man. He's the one that's spitting up and making a mess outta everything and drooling all over the place and he screams and he yells.

 He's incredible. He's such a good baby, but just a whole different ballgame with three. And I don't know if it's just being outnumbered or if it's just something about this kid, man, but it's wild. 

Atiba de Souza: Listen, three, you are outnumbered. That is for sure. And he said, baby y'all because what he's six, seven months old now?

Kyle Porter: Yeah, he's six months now. So every like milestone — I'm not saying this as like proud dad, pat myself on the back, cause it's really like more of a pain in the rear than anything else. But like he's — babies, I guess, you look at like sort of the milestones. And like when they're supposed to happen and they're supposed to like by four or five months, they're supposed to be rolling over, right? By like eight or nine months, they're supposed to be crawling.

Well, he rolled over at two and a half months. He started crawling at five and a half months. He's gonna be sprinting around the living room by nine months, you know? So it's not like — it's one of those where I'm proud that he's like a little bit ahead of the game, but at the same time, I'm like, "Hey man, why don't you slow down a little bit, you know?" 

Atiba de Souza: Let us catch up, dude. Yeah, well, you know — hey, a son of yours, I'm not surprised.

Kyle Porter: Yeah. I guess. 

Atiba de Souza: Okay. I'm not surprised. So y'all know why I say these things about Kyle. So Kyle and I, we met through an organization. And inside of the organization — you know, like when celebrities, when you get celebrity status, you're known as prince or Michael or Sherry by the first name basis.

Well, for Kyle, we know him as "The Kyle".

Kyle Porter: There's only one, I guess. Yeah. 

Atiba de Souza: Okay. He is the — you know, not the real Kyle. He didn't need the real. He just needed everybody to know "The Kyle". So "The Kyle", getting back to work and getting back to business and getting back to building team inside of business, what was it like building team for your brick and mortar?

Kyle Porter: Yep. 

Atiba de Souza: Now building team for an agency. And is the agency, I'm assuming either hybrid or all remote, fully remote, what's the structure there?

Kyle Porter: Yeah. Two completely different experiences. But I think when you have different experiences like that, when you're doing like a brick and mortar team in that industry specifically like in the martial arts industry specifically, and then you've got a remote, more of a remote kind of thing on the marketing side of things, there are certain things that rise to the top as these sort of universal truths. Right? 

If you use those as sort of the guidepost and the pillars and sort of work your way outward from there, I think things work a lot better. And there are so many things that as I've done the team building on the marketing side, you start to go like, "Oh, this is very similar to what I did with people who are in the building with me."

And the thing about running a martial arts school, especially running one that has growth ambitions, because in the martial arts space, what a lot of people do is they are lifelong practitioners of martial arts and they wanna be the one to teach the classes. And so maybe they hire somebody to work at the front desk, answer phones, whatever, but they wanna be the one out on the floor.

For me, it was always — I treated it as a business. So like I wanted to build a team around me. I wanted to be able to step out. I wanted to be able to build an asset. Well, in order to do that, what I've gotta do is, I've gotta find a person who lives at the intersection of knowing the material. I can't just go on indeed and hire a black belt in Friday. They're just not there.

So it's finding the people who know the material and have the skills, who have the interpersonal skills to deal with both parents and kids, who not only have the martial arts skills, but who have the ability or the aptitude to become teachers. Because practitioners and teachers are very different skills and who are at a place in their life where a karate school runs from two in the afternoon to eight at night, it's a weird set of hours.

And so for me, that was one of the reasons I was like, I gotta find something else. Cause there were plenty of nights where I would get home 7:30, 8 o'clock my kids are in bed. My wife's stressed out. She's been handling everything all night. And I'm going like what do I do here?

So to find a person who I can plug into that space is very, very difficult. So there's really two options. One is you either grow them. Meaning like a kid starts karate with you at 11 and you build them up. So they're now a 15 year old, and then you can kind of stagger them into the rotation. Or what we did as a family of schools, we found people who — and I think there's sort of a universal lesson here.

So if you don't run a karate school, I'll land this plane for you. But what we found is we found people who were competing in martial arts. Because that tells me a lot about them that tells me that they're passionate about the subject. It tells me that they're young enough likely to be competing.

It tells me they're willing to travel. They're willing to do a lot of these things they're willing to put in additional time and effort. A lot of these high level competitors do like private lessons. That's a perfect model for finding the right person who's gonna be able to step into a location. And I think the lesson there is, if you are in a highly specialized field, it's really important to find where those people who are going to fill your team or gonna make up your team, like where do they already gather and how can you offer them something that they don't have access to?

Cause it's difficult to make a career out of martial arts, unless you wanna be the person to own your own school which comes with a whole different set of responsibilities and difficulties and obligations. That's one side of things.

The actual operation of it, the management of it is how do I take these 22, 23 year old, high type A personalities? How do I make them as coachable as possible? How do I teach them what I know about this process? I would do these things where I called 'em workshop Fridays, and these were people that came in, they were 22, 23 years old.

They were my staff, they taught for me, but they all had ambitions to open their own school one day. For a lot of 'em, it was as soon as possible. So what I did knowing full well that to some degree I was working against myself is on Fridays, I would bring them in and I would teach them like, here's the ins and outs of running this business.

So here's how you select a location. Here's how you get involved in local elementary schools. Here's how you set up a marketing plan. Here's how you write an email campaign. Here's how you balance your books. Here's how you do all these different things because I want them invested in that place and in that process, even though I'm setting them up to leave, right?

I'm equipping them with the tools that they need to step out and do it on their own. But I'm also building a reputation for myself of this is the place to go as kind of a way stop where you can really grow as a leader and then step into your own thing. Which I think for a lot of team builders is some — like we wanna hold tight to the people who work for us, but I think you're doing people a disservice and ultimately pushing them out the door sooner than you would, if you just invested in their development and gave them the tools to make their own decisions. 

Atiba de Souza: Man. That was amazing. Y'all, you see me? I'm taking notes here too. That was like amazing. Investing in your team's development is so freaking important. Right? So many of us forget that and we, like you said, we don't want to do it because then we feel like the more I teach 'em the smarter they get, the faster they'll want to leave, but it also makes them so much better while they're with you. 

Kyle Porter: Right. 

Atiba de Souza: Which you benefit from. 

And you're investing, right?

I hope everybody gets — and I'm just going back over the points that he made here guys is, if you're in a specialized field and you're looking for experts to work for you, be it a black belt or some special type of engineer, figure out where they're already hanging out, figure out something they're already doing and then insert yourself there and figure out what you can offer them that actually will be valuable to them to want to come and work for you. Right? That dude, those were amazing. As your guideposts and pillars, those are amazing. So now how have you taken those guideposts and pillars and now started to transition them into the marketing space and building team in the marketing space?

Kyle Porter: Yeah. So the real challenge for me as I've transitioned into the marketing space is you mentioned that we have this agency and you asked about remote versus in person and like I'm based in Atlanta, and our agency is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Most of the people in our agency are in an office together every day. And many of them directly report to me and all of them to some degree I'm managing, going like — "Hey, we've got this new client. Here's what we're doing from a paid standpoint. Here's what our SEO strategy looks like. Here's how we're gonna design their website." Like I've gotta communicate all of that to them and make sure that they're all in communication with each other.

I've gotta do that from far away. So really for me, what that does is it puts a few different levels of burden on me. One is that I can't be upset. I try to stay away from like platitudes if I can, but I can't be upset with results I didn't get from work I didn't do. Meaning, that if my team isn't communicating with me, I have to be cognizant of the fact that they're all sitting in a room together, perhaps around a literal table talking about a client and I'm sitting 500 miles away, right? In that sense, the burden and the onus is on me to reach out and make that communication.

I have to be the one to demand that I be kept in the loop, "Hey, tell me what's going on here." I've gotta extend that reach because ultimately I'm responsible and that's one of the things I really feel like about leaders is the measure to me in large part of how effective a leader is, is how willing are you to share credit and accept blame.

Meaning, if I've got a team underneath me and something really, really good happens, how automatic is my response to push things off and go "My entire team was involved in this process." Cause as a leader, the default sort of feedback is "You're the greatest, this was awesome, thank you so much for everything you did."

Meanwhile, your team is standing behind you going, "What? I'm the one who set up that campaign. I'm the one who wrote that copy. I'm the one who design". And if I go, "Well, thank you." Then all of a sudden they're standing behind me going like this guy — whereas by the same token, if somebody comes at me and this didn't work and you promised these results and da, da, da, da, da.

And I go you're right? That was my fault. I fully accept blame. This was my responsibility. I'll make sure that this gets fix. Then my team feels both seen and safe, right? So they're more willing to make mistakes. They're more willing to try new things. They're more willing to be creative because as a leader, especially when that's 500 miles away from my team, I have to put them — I don't have a choice here.

And even if I did, I would make this choice. I have to put them in charge of outcomes, not processes. Meaning, that I've gotta tell you here's the goal, here's what we're trying to do. I'm not going to micromanage the way you get to the place that I need you to be. I just need you to get there and you're accountable to the outcome, but the process is totally in your hands.

And I think that any leaders like any time you're micromanaging your team, it is a manifestation of a lack of trust in your team or a lack of trust in your own hiring or training processes. 

Atiba de Souza: Yes. Agree.

Kyle Porter: What I've gotta do is I've gotta say, here's the strategy, here's what we're doing — and part of this is my role, right?

So I've gotta say, here's the strategy. Here's what we're doing. I need you to keep me updated. I'm gonna reach out. I'm gonna check in but get there. But also feel safe that if this campaign that you design falls flat on its face, let that be a lesson for you, but don't feel like you're gonna have just fire and brimstone raining down on you.

Like you tried it. It didn't work and we'll fix it. We'll go from there. 

Atiba de Souza: We get better. 

Kyle Porter: Whereas if they're operating from this place of fear, then nothing gets done because they're scared to step outside of this groove that they have found. And one thing I believe wholeheartedly is that grooves turn into ruts really, really quickly.

So if we find a groove it's really easy to stay in that groove and that groove turns into a rut where now that's all I know, and I'm not willing to explore new pathways. 

Atiba de Souza: Yeah, no, absolutely. Something you said in there, I want to go back to really quickly and then follow up with a question, but the burden is on me to communicate. We talk about that here, a ton on Build Your Team that especially in the remote and virtual first environment.

The burden is on us as the leader to communicate. It's not okay to say I have an open door policy walk by anytime because no one's walking by. Right? You have to reach out and you have to set those almost automatic points of communication up so that you are communicating with people. So love that you mentioned that. But here's my question. You just mentioned that I've seen a lot of people deal with in the remote and or virtual space, whether or not the team, like in your situation, the team is all together and the leader is the one who's remote that scenario. Or if everyone is remote, I've seen this happen where the team or team members because you don't have the in person where you're getting the interpersonal, the water cooler, the talk about the sport team, all that type of stuff that you typically get in in office. One of the things that comes up a lot is the word that you used, fear. I am afraid of how you, my leader, my boss, my manager's going to respond based on something that I did when I was trying to do what I thought it was you wanted me to do. And it either creates timidity in actually doing anything or I did it and now I'm terrified that you're going to be just completely upset. How do you deal with that? How have you dealt with that with this team? 

Kyle Porter: I think it starts with giving people the benefit of the doubt and assuming good intentions from everyone. Right? If I assume that you were lazy, if I assume that you didn't put the time and effort in, if I assume that you did all those things, then I'm already approaching this conversation from a place of like contentiousness, right?

I'm already going — I'm gonna find the place where you messed up. Whereas if I assume — Hey, you worked your tail off on this, you researched it appropriately. You did what you thought was best. Then like we can find the place where things went wrong. But going back to the idea of like taking one of the things that I learned from the martial arts space and applying it to leadership across the board is I'm much, much, much more willing to receive feedback. And it's much more effective for me to give feedback. If I just soften it a little bit with like — Hey, I love what you did here and here. Like this works.

I mean, like it works with seven year olds throwing kicks, but it also works with 40 year olds building websites. If I go — Hey look, the design of this website is incredible. The user interface, the way you built it out, I love the way this website looks. We just gotta tighten up, like your tracking stuff wasn't set up correctly. You spent all this time making this incredibly beautiful website and I would hate for our clients to get it in their hands, have this beautiful website, but not be able to tell what anybody's doing on it. So we gotta go back through and we gotta make sure that as fun as it is to interact with this site, that we're able to see what's happening on the back end.

Now, if I'm a designer or a developer, and I hear that, what am I hearing? Well, I'm hearing like, "You're a good designer. You did good work here. We just have a little bit left to go, to get us to the finish line." Whereas if I start with, "What are you even thinking like this website? Like they can't even use this." Then all of a sudden, I immediately feel backed into a corner. I'm defensive, I'm resentful, I'm frustrated, I'm distant physically and relationally from you.

And all you're doing is driving a wedge between us. And I think if there's one sort of guiding principle that I use in any interaction, whether it's with my team, whether it's with my wife, whether it's with my friends, it's this idea of this emotional bank account. Right? I think it's a Stephen Covey thing.

And if I make deposits, if I tell you that I appreciate you, if I check in on how your kid's baseball game went, if I send you a message at noon on a Friday and I go "Hey, you've been crushing it this week. Why don't you take the rest of the day off?" Those sorts of things they just go like, "Wow! Cool."

Then what I have now, is I have the capital invested in our relationship to when I look at you and I go, this wasn't where it needed to be, then you're not going like this jerk, you know, like you're going like, okay. It probably wasn't where it needed to be, cause he's not a jerk. I've got this body of evidence that shows that like he cares about me.

He listens when I talk, he's invested in my best interest. So if he's coming to me going this isn't there, then it's probably not there. That's a statement of fact, rather than a value judgment on the person as a whole. 

Atiba de Souza: Yeah. And gets right back to where this question started — Communication. And as a leader, learning to communicate better and invest in that communication. And y'all let me tell you, it's true because when I sent Kyle, "The Kyle", excuse me, the message to say, "Hey, would you be a guest on my show?"

His response made me feel great. Like he invested even in that little transaction. That's the key. We've got to learn that we have to invest in every communication transaction with our team, which is what Kyle is pointing out here. So that's a really, really great point. So we got two more questions for you.

One is easy. One might be a little bit of a hard one. Okay. Which one do you want first?

Kyle Porter: Let's finish with an easy one. Give me what you got. Let's go. Yeah. 

Atiba de Souza: All right. So here's the hard one. So being — you are the one remote with most of your team in their own environment, seeing each other, water cooling and everything. You've obviously learned a lot. You've taken a lot from martial arts, right? Realize the principles and the pillars. And you've been applying those and you're communicating really well.

Here's my question. Where are you struggling in that? Where do you see growth for yourself as a better leader in this environment that you're seeing that's where I need to grow in. And I'm asking this because I believe it will inspire some other people as well, who are facing the same thing and realizing they need to grow too.

Kyle Porter: My dad was an elected official and had an office of people that worked for him. And so like I watched that from the very beginning. He was a public figure. He was on Dateline and he was on the news all the time. I saw him very much in a public light, but he was always just my dad.

And one of the things that I remember him telling me a story about, and he was frustrated, but he was — I think he was scrubbing out or like cleaning out cabinets, bleach and scrubbing the insides of the cabinets in the break room at his office. This was his office, right?

And one of the people who worked for him came in and were like, why are you doing that? Why are you down on your hands and knees scrubbing the inside of this cabinet? And his answer was sort of like, because it needs to be done. There's no job that's above you or beneath you.

It's that we are all sort of responsible for the same outcome and every part of what happens in the office or the team or the client relationship, if you are willing to accept responsibility for it, if you're willing to go, like I have influence over that and so I have responsibility for it. Then things start to go much, much, much more smoothly because we all want to be around people.

And we all want to work with people who don't pass the buck when it comes time to be accountable to results. And I think that that's one of the things that as a leader — I don't know that it's necessarily something that I struggle with, but it's definitely it's a like swimming upstream thing.

It's always really, really easy to default back to like, who was responsible for this? Or who built this? When something goes wrong and a client's unhappy, it's really easy to go like, this was on you or this was your responsibility. But I think if you as the leader set that tone of this is mine. And even though I didn't touch it, even though I never met with this client, even though I didn't set up the campaign, even though I didn't teach the class, even though I didn't have the interaction with the parent, even though I didn't cut that guy's hair, whatever it is that like you are responsible for or whatever it is that your team does, if you're willing to go, like, how could I in that moment have made it better? And how can I moving forward, make it better and make it so that this doesn't happen again? Then the team kind of realizes that that's the culture that the organization demands and they step in and start to behave the same way.

I see it with my kids. I see it with the team that I work with, I've seen it with everybody that I've ever worked with before is that if you're at the top, if you're at the front of the line, then people are watching you to see how to act. Even if they're not asking you about it, even if they're not talking to you about it, but if they see that you are behaving a certain way, then they go, okay, well that is the accepted standard of behavior inside this organization. Whether it's a business, a family, a whatever. And so as a leader, you are constantly swimming upstream because you've got sort of this front facing persona where you're constantly visible. And so you have to hold yourself to the standard of, how would I act right now if my entire team were standing behind me looking over my shoulder, watching me do whatever it is that I'm doing. Act in that way all the time, because what you're doing, they're watching, whether you realize it or not. 

Atiba de Souza: Yes. absolutely. And let me throw a word at you. This is not a question. Cause I said I only had two questions, so I'm just throwing a word. But there's a word that I use and it's consistency. As a leader, I've got to be consistent and that is oftentimes that feeling of they're watching.

Kyle Porter: As you said that, so in between the martial arts thing and the marketing thing full time. I left the school that I was running right after college, before I opened my own karate school and I ran CrossFit gym. So I did fitness training and did some sales for CrossFit gym and stuff like that.

But one of the things that they talk about and I think it applies to almost any endeavor is when you're talking about coaching, someone to go through exercise, right? Whether they're running or squatting or jumping or whatever it is. The first process is — this is a three step process. It's mechanics, consistency, and then intensity.

Right? So mechanics is, I've gotta teach you what to do. I've gotta teach you exactly the right way to squat, how to bend your hips, how to keep your back straight, how to do all the things that you've gonna do. Then I've gotta get you consistent with that. So it's not enough for you to do one squat the right way, and then revert back to your old practices.

It's that every single time you do that movement, it's gotta look the same, right? And only then, only once I have established mechanics and consistency then I challenge those mechanics by adding load, adding speed. So, If I can't have you squat standing up just a body weight air squat, what business in the world do I have throwing a barbell on your back loaded with 150 pounds?

There's absolutely no reason to do that until I get you to demonstrate the mechanics, demonstrate them consistently. And now I can add intensity. And I think that the same thing applies with what we're talking about here is that I've gotta teach you the right way to do things, right? I've gotta teach you exactly what I expect. How to go through this process? What it is that the outcome is that you're responsible for?

What tools are available to you? How you can access those tools? How you can leverage those tools? Then I've gotta get you doing things the right way, creating results every time under a fairly limited amount of pressure, right? I gotta get you doing things the right way, then I've gotta get you doing things always the right way.

And now I can impose a deadline on you. Now I can be like, "Hey, this client needs this set up by Friday", or "Hey, I need you to do this many kicks in a minute", or, "Hey, we've got people out the door looking to buy cupcakes. So, bake the hell out of those cupcakes". Whatever it is, I now add intensity to it.

I always told the kids when I was practicing, is that like practicing the wrong way — and I tell my kids this all the time is that like — 

Atiba de Souza: Yes.

Kyle Porter: Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If you are re-practicing or re-engaging in poor mechanics of whatever it is that you're doing, all you're doing is building neural pathways to make it more efficient to do it wrong.

And so what I've gotta do is I've gotta rewire that. So you do it right, and I've gotta make that efficient. I don't know that necessarily is like a perfectly lays over what you're talking about, but it's, let's get it right. And then let's be consistent. 

Atiba de Souza: No, it absolutely does. And I can relate to that too, because I've coached football at a high level for almost 15 years now. When I say that I've coached youth teams that have won national champ championships. I've coached high school teams that have won championship. I've coached at a very high level, got a lot of kids in college playing football and every single year without fail, I have a head coach who yells at me because why are your guys only doing one step?

It's the third week of preseason. And they're still only working on one step.

Kyle Porter: It's not right yet. 

Atiba de Souza: Because — exactly if they can't get that fundamental mechanic of that first step down, we can't move forward, but why aren't they doing this and do it? We can't move forward. There was a team that I was coaching last year and I watched as in game.

 Middle of the season. They took a kid who had not played any offense all season long. They'd only allowed 'em to play defense. Now they're down in game and they need to make a play and they put 'em in offense and tell 'em to do something. And he doesn't do it right. And to yell at him.

Kyle Porter: Yeah. 

Atiba de Souza: And I'm like, you can't do that to this kid. I understand that he's a great athlete. But the fact that he's a great athlete, doesn't matter when you haven't practiced this with him. When you haven't asked him to do this in over a year.

Kyle Porter: He has no skill. And that's — I don't wanna go too far down this path, cause it's a little bit of an side, but what I realized is I was building a marketing pathway for my own business is it's really easy and where most marketing training talks about like the pathway that you build, it talks about the pathway that the customer experiences it, right? So people become aware and then they consider, and then they, blah, blah, blah. Right? And then they make a decision. Well, that's the wrong order to build out a full scope marketing strategy, because if I go, all right, well, first thing I gotta do is get people aware. Then you go, what are you gonna do with them?

So there's gotta be a process by which like, well, what in the world are you doing, sitting down, designing a website, writing an email, whatever it is that you're doing, setting up an ad campaign. Before you've got a really fundamental understanding of who your customer is and how your offer, whatever it is that you're selling makes their life better.

What are you gonna talk about? How could you possibly set up anything because you don't even know who you're talking to or what difference you're making in their life. So get that done. And then why would they choose your thing versus all the other options that they have to solve the problem that you solve.

Now we can start taking cause now we have a message. Now we have a person, an offer and a reason. Now we can start taking that and we can start putting collateral behind it. But people wanna run before they catch the ball. Right? So it's like I'm building a website, I'm writing an email campaign and then they go digital marketing doesn't work. Well, no, you just, you did the steps back. 

Atiba de Souza: Exactly. Exactly. And, that's what for bringing this full circle back to team. That's what a lot of business owners, leaders and managers do with their teams, right? They just throw 'em in and say, go do this with no context, with no structure and without any fundamentals. And then they wonder why they get poor results. Right? Especially, if you're hiring someone brand new, you can't do that to them guys. You just can't. You gotta build them up over time. Build the muscle, gimme those three again, that I try to write 'em now mechanics, consistensy.

Kyle Porter: Intensisty. Mechanics, consistency,


Atiba de Souza: Mechanics, consistency, intensity. Mechanics, consistency intensity.

If you take nothing else from today, take that parallel into your business and with your staff. We've gotta communicate on the mechanics, the consistency, the intensity. And so if you're being intense with your team, but you haven't gone through the mechanics and made them consistent, failure is on you. We don't cut corners here on Build Your Team. So, you know, I'll tell you it's your fault. You screwed it up. And I can say that because both Kyle and I will admit, I'm sure we've both screwed that up at some point in time with someone and have to realize, oops, but we've screwed it up and learned. Now it's your turn.

So, Kyle, one more question. 

Kyle Porter: Yep. 

Atiba de Souza: This is the easier to fun question. How do you have fun with your team?

Kyle Porter: Yeah. So we really make an effort to keep things light. There's more at stake now certainly than what I was doing when I ran the karate school. Right? And I say that, but sometimes it's not necessarily true. So if I'm running summer camp, for instance, and we're a little bit north of Atlanta, and like literally there were summer camps where I loaded up a bus full of kids and took them down to the Atlanta Zoo and walked around with 50 kids at the Atlanta Zoo.

We're talking about a really high stake situation because if I bring 50 kids down to the zoo and I bring 49 kids back from the zoo, and then I've gotta make a call to a parent and say, "Hey, I left your kid down at the Atlanta Zoo". Then we've got some real, real problems on our hands, right? That's an emergency, but by and large, in the martial arts world, there are no emergencies. There aren't karate emergencies. You know, a kid comes into class and he's really struggling with whatever it is that we're doing, that's, not an emergency. In the marketing space, what I'm doing now, I think at a base level, there's more at stake. You're spending people's money, you're running campaigns for them.

But at the end of the day, if you write a blog post and it doesn't convert, or you write an email and it doesn't get opened, or you run an ad campaign and it doesn't get clicked on, like that's not an emergency. And I think that goes back to making people feel safe. So I think you build the culture of like, "Hey, let's remember what it is that we're doing here and none of us have the pressure of having to go into open heart surgery today".

So like we're writing ads, we're making people smile, we're bringing people products and services that can help them. So I think it's — that zooming out in that perspective of like enjoy it, like have fun with this. Make it an experience for people to deal with the work that you're doing.

And that extends, I think, to the conversations that you have with your team. For me mostly happens over slack. But like I'll send goofy stuff in the mail to my team. Or I'll, you know what I mean? Just like stuff like that, that just like keeps them remembering that like, there are no emergencies. Or at least putting the emergencies into a really special like break glass kind of box, like these are the emergencies, everything else, like chill. 

Atiba de Souza: That's right. There are no emergencies and you can have fun in everything and yes, just chill. You brought up heart surgery. So I'm gonna tell you a quick story if you don't mind. So it was nine years ago when I won my first championship in football. And that day we're going to, you know, it's championship day.

We know we're gonna play and you can imagine I'm a ball of nerves, right? Like freaking out nerves. And a dad that I've known for a very long time. Very good friend of mine comes up to me and he sees the state that I'm in. Okay. And he says to me, he says — so I want you to imagine for a moment that the game is being played and a referee drops down and it's starting to have a heart attack. And at that moment, everyone in the stadium turns and looks to you and says he needs open heart surgery and you have to do it coach. Go perform open heart surgery on this man right now on this field. What would you do? And I said, "Well, I have no idea because I have no idea what open heart surgery even actually means." 

I don't know what to do. I don't even have the tools. I got a football. What am I gonna do? Right? He said, "Exactly. Today, you're just coaching a football game and you know how to do that.

Kyle Porter: Yeah. 

Atiba de Souza: Go have fun and do it. And that's the thing for me, a lot of times with our teams and you are kind of touching on this is realizing that listen, you know how to do, we've gone through and worked on — what are the three things? Let me pick in my paper again here. We've worked on the mechanics, the consistency. Yeah. This situation might be a little bit more intense, but you got this. 

Kyle Porter: You build foundation with mechanics and consistency. Yeah. You are in a place because of the way you've coached because of the way you've prepared. You are in a place where intensity is the logical next step. So, is it different than a practice?

Yeah, it's different. It's more intense, but are the mechanics changing? Nope. So the mechanics are exactly the same. The consistency is exactly the same. All we need now is intensity. But you're there. You're ready for it. That's just the next step. 

Atiba de Souza: It is, but that's also how you can even inject fun because you realize I am prepared for this. I am. And truthfully 99 times out of a hundred, intensity, unless it's like physical is in your head.

Kyle Porter: That whole slowest smooth smoothest fast thing. Yeah. 

Atiba de Souza: it's in your head. Exactly. Exactly. Well, Kyle, brother, our time is up here today. But this has been amazing. I thank you for being here. I got a ton of value out of this. I mean, I was taking crazy notes, right? So I really, really appreciate your time today. Is there anything you wanna leave? Cause we're talking about business owners who some of them are hiring their first person.

Some of them are looking to grow their team. Any last words? 

Kyle Porter: Yeah. One of my favorite things that I've heard recently is, if you are only hiring people who are not as good as you are at the things you're hiring them to do, then you are the bottleneck in your own business. If you are afraid to hire somebody who has a skill that you don't have, or has an aptitude that you don't have, or who is better than you at the thing you're hiring them to do, what you're doing is you're expanding the potential of your business.

And if you refuse to make that decision because of your own ego and you can't stand the fact that somebody in your business who works for you is better than you at the thing that they do, then the business is only ever going to be as good as you are. And so you've gotta step outside that you've gotta be willing to take on people who are better than you and let them do the things that they do. 

Absolutely! Get another nugget dropped by "The Kyle". Okay. Kyle, seriously, all shows aside, thank you so much, brother. It's been a pleasure. Let's do this again soon because I think there's even more like that last point, is something that I think we could even delve into more, right?

How you bring in people who are better than you? And how you put your own ego in check as the boss when you do that. Okay. So let's do that one next. Alright, everybody. Thanks for being here. Kyle, again, thank you. All right. Bye everyone. 

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