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JB Spisso on Warrior Leadership



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Gary Pinkerton hosts US Army veteran JB Spisso to discuss his work advising C-Suite executives on leadership and culture. The two discuss his latest book Warrior Leadership. JB gives us insight into his work in special ops with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Welcome to the heroic investing show, a podcast for first responders, members, the military, veterans and anyone looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We have current employees First Responders put protections systems and a team in place to help them build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product that they’re uniquely gifted to share with others, making the world a better place for all of us. My name is Gary Pinkerton and I co host this show with Jason Hartman. This is Episode 208. Today’s guest is JB Speedo. JB is leadership and culture expert. He has over 30 years of experience in transforming individuals into leaders. He’s a veteran of the United States Army 26 years of service cluding 10 years and special operations with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment leading the country’s most talented soldiers in the combat he has taught at Officer Candidate School. He’s also taught at army West Point. He’s got a tremendous story about how he transitioned into the civilian world and continued in the leadership roles, how he taught many organizations to incredible elite performance. I think You’re really gonna enjoy that. JB is extensively well versed as a leader, trainer and educator. He routinely advises C suite executives on leadership and culture. And as a sought after speaker for industry gatherings and leadership podcasts, he understands the rigors, the risks, the teamwork and the mindset needed for success. And extremely enthusiastic individual that came out in spades here in this podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. Here we go with the amazing JB Speedo. Today we got jB sfis Oh, and he’s a 26 year veteran of the army, and an incredible senior enlisted individual who has done Special Forces stuff. And today, he’s killing it out in the world of leadership and turning companies around when I saw the list of companies on jvzoo website, and I gotta remember to ask you about that. When I saw the list of companies. My jaw dropped. There are some massive, amazing companies on there. But first of all, before we jump into all that, Jamie, thanks so much for joining our audience. spreads some, some lessons learned my friend.

JB Spisso 3:02
Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here. Gary, I appreciate you so much. This is awesome. So

Gary Pinkerton 3:07
JB was telling me a little bit about it. But I want you to kind of dig into what you did what you did in the military. Let’s not skip that. And then how you transition what what you were looking for, and now you got your own company running?

JB Spisso 3:19
Sure. Well, yeah, great question, Gary. You know, I initially, you know, join the army, you know, for the college fun, you know, back before there was the internet. Now, people can’t believe that, you know, you went down to see the army recruiter, and the recruiter said, What do you want to be? And I was like, I have no idea. So they give you this big book of stuff to do. And the need was looking over my high school transcripts. So I was a pretty good student. I played some sports. So he’s like, dropping, give me some push ups. And then he there was a bar crosses his doorway. He goes, do some pull ups. And then he’s like, Well, why don’t you be an Army Ranger and I’m like, great, what do they do? And he goes, jump out of airplanes blow stuff up. I said, sign me up. So all right. So So, I initially went in, you know, four years college fun. I wanted to be a high school teacher teach history, Coach hockey and baseball. That’s what I thought was what I was going to do. And then all sudden, you know, my first Simon I passed all the selection process and I’m in the Ranger Regiment 70 of the Ranger Regiment, and, and it’s a private and I had no idea what I was doing, just started working my way up and, you know, fortunately worked out for me and just kept getting promoted and doing great jobs. I was able to work at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which was an amazing assignment. Also, drill instructor, also Officer Candidate School, you know, was able to put in 26 years as a sergeant major, and, you know, it worked out for me.

Gary Pinkerton 4:40
That’s amazing. So, you were at West Point or army West Point, and then you were also you set out also Canada. Where is that for the army?

JB Spisso 4:47
There’s a couple different satellite sites. I was at a satellite campus at Camp Smith, New York, but the main hubs at Fort Benning, Georgia got it got okay.

Gary Pinkerton 4:54
Yeah, yeah, where we did our jump school stuff. So I went through that program. Had your friends, the black hat, hanging out. So you finished my amazing 26 years on active duty that puts you 4545 and 40. Right, somewhere on there at 4642. Right. As you’re getting ready to transition, what’s catching your eye, like how do you know this is the right move?

JB Spisso 5:15
That’s a great question. So I was actually working at West Point. This was 2005. So it was five years before I retired. And the New York Rangers NHL team professional sports team was coming to West Point to do like their five day camp. They’ve been picked finished dead last in the NHL. So their president General Manager, a great man by the name of Glenn Seder. You know, we brought the team up to West Point. So the coach of Army army hockey team at the time still is Brian Riley, he calls me in says, Hey, the Rangers want to do some type of, you know, outdoor team building military flair. I was like, What the heck do they want to do so I went to New York City. He talked to the Coach Tom Rennie. Great guy today. Yeah, we want to do this. You know, we don’t want to get any Players hurt but we want to do this type of, you know, Special Forces assessment type stuff Great. So, like you would do I got all the boys together and said, Hey, this is what we’re gonna do we’re gonna run these professional athletes through this outdoor team building course at night pitch dark weather was terrible, and it worked out okay, that was awesome. So you know, I kind of you know, Captain this for you know, the four or five days that were there. So at the end of this Glenn Seder calls me to New York City and starts talking to me and says, Hey, you know, you’re really good at this and, you know, how you are as a veteran or first responder, you always, like, downplay what you do, right? You know, right. You take it as you take it as regular work and I was like, pretty good at what he was like, you know, I watch how these men looked at you when you were talking about leadership and mental toughness and discipline and teamwork. He’s like, you know, you should think of doing this when you’re done being in the military. And that was it. That’s how it started. And, you know, started a company I co founded a company with a partner and then we went for five years just kind of doing it part time. And when I, when I retired in 2010, I said, Hey, I’m gonna do this full time. That’s just kind of how it started. And, you know, one team led to another team, a team led to some of these great businesses I got to work with and, and that’s it was just really word of mouth. And then I just started developing this process of leadership, mental toughness, cultural development,

Gary Pinkerton 7:25
when you left the military, what year was that when you did that?

JB Spisso 7:28
2010 2010.

Gary Pinkerton 7:30
And so you started JBS leaders, and that is the original company, or did you work with somebody else for a while?

JB Spisso 7:38
Right? I worked with another company for a bit. Well, you know, 15 years. It’s called elite leadership training, which I co found. And it was great. And that’s just basically how we started and like anything, you got to start like honing your craft and especially Oh, yeah, so you got to start Do you really got to start honing your craft and you got to find what you’re trying to do. Here’s the thing, what military And first responders is what they don’t do. You know, as you know, we’re in a selfless service business, right? We’re in a servant leadership business being in the military or first responder, right? That’s exactly what you are your servant leader, you’re not. But you have to understand you have special skills that people will pay for people will pay for your experience, your knowledge, your teaching. And so, you know, you have to believe in that. And then when you go out and you see these businessmen or these sports teams, you say, Listen, this is how I’ll bring you value, I’ll bring you value like this. And there’s not a whole lot of difference between like a 20 person company organization or a 30 person sports team, you know, they have the same values that we’re using, you know, in the military or firehouse or hospital or anything else like, you know, teamwork, accountability, commitment, honor, all that culture development system that we’ve you know, honed into ourselves.

Gary Pinkerton 8:58
Yeah, and I think so. Many people in the military so many leaders from the military, do very well with companies with their careers after the military. But those that really, you know, do to use an overused phrase, you know, 10 x, you know, their position in life are those that get really specific about one thing and own it. And, you know, honing your craft, I think, is just another way of saying that, Malcolm Gladwell, his book, outliers, just talked about people who spend a lot of time 10,000 hours was his number, doing one thing and get so good at it, that they just skyrocket. And so I’m not saying that it’s everybody’s goal to make millions of dollars, but making money is simply just a reflection of adding value to the world, you know, as long as you’re doing it ethically, if you add more value, make more money, right than the other guy. And so all of us want to be relevant, we all want to add value. And so it’s not about chasing the dollar, it’s about adding more relevance, like being more relevant to people, you know, and Anyway, I’m going down rabbit holes here, but my point is, that completely resonated with me when you said hone your craft, right so you honed your craft to be working with medium sized cards. companies or organizations and working directly with the leadership of that group to be more efficient? Is that pretty accurate?

JB Spisso 10:06
A lot of times you know, I love working with the C suite executives right then the head coaches and that sort of thing. But a lot of times organizations hire me to work with that next level that up and coming that emerging leader that young man or young woman or coach, assistant coach, that’s right there on the verge, right. That’s, that’s the person they see. Right? That’s the young army captain, right? That’s a ready to take over command. You know, I found my niche with with that group and helping them you know, move to the next level. It just simple leadership skills, and it’s allowing them to take ownership of who they are as a leader. You know, I say to my seminars all the time, I said, Look, I’m a cheerleader, it works for me. But if it doesn’t work for you to be a cheerleader, don’t do it because it won’t be authentic and believe it. So home with leadership style you are you don’t have to, you know, you don’t have to be the rah rah that that works for People see that they believe it. So hone your own leadership style and when you know these emerging leaders they do that they see it they believe it they continue their education they continue to learn and develop. That’s the symbol of excellence right there.

Gary Pinkerton 11:14
Nice those deep I started here. What does your day look like right now? Like, you know, man a given you know, in this year in 2019 What does it look like you’re on the road for you know, you traveled all around the country doing seminars, are they day long, three days long. Are you actually still out doing like experiential stuff out in the in the woods or what’s it look like?

JB Spisso 11:33
Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, my daily daily duties is I do a lot of this with clients one on one. So I do one on one life coaching with a lot of executives, athletes, and so that’s where my bulk of my day goes, but I also do I also do leadership seminars for companies and what I usually do is I do like a day seminar, half day seminar or split it up, you know, to uh, you know, morning and an afternoon so everybody can come right. So this way, you don’t have to stop work and then I do one on one breakout and I do one on one breakout sessions for the next two days and it’s been very pleasing because you know, people sign up, they love the one on one breakouts, they get to sit with me for 45 minutes, and they can just be like, this is what I need help with. And I’m like, okay, here you go. And you know, I don’t judge anybody on anything, you know, everything is confidential, and I try to help them on their path to success. So that’s, that’s really great. And I still do about six times a year I’ll do a big seminar you know, 500 people or more. That’s usually like like an hour and a half and yes, we still three four times a year we do do an outdoor you know, team building I called Operation victory spike, we do that where we get, you know, business people together athletes, it’s kind of a unisex outdoor team building, which just puts time in teamwork. So, you know, I just loved doing it. I thought it had a passion for and I want to tell your listeners to find what they’re passionate about. Right. And it’s I know it’s a kind of a cliche, but it’s not a couple years ago, about two years ago. ago, my daughter who’s the chief of staff for my company, we sat down and we were doing like a self assessment. And so she said to me, you know, answer these five or six questions she gave him to me. And one of the questions was, what do you do as a professional leadership coach, like, what do you do? I was writing like, all this stuff about I do this, and I do this, and I do this and this. And then she said, No, that’s not what you do. You turn individuals into leaders. I’m like, Yes, that’s exactly what I do. But you see, I was like, overcomplicated that that’s exactly what I do. I try to find that that person that up and coming rising through the ranks, and let me help you.

Gary Pinkerton 13:38
Yeah, yeah. And so your your comment there was find out what they’re good at. Right. And most of us and that was a great example that most of us and probably what you were one of the main points is that we don’t see in ourselves, especially members, first responders and members of the military because we downplay everything. I was just at a an event on Friday where, you know, they were saying, Hey, who’s having challenges marketing yourself. I raised my hand. My business is pretty new and they like they’re like, well, how could you possibly have trouble marketing yourself? And, you know, I happen to be in the insurance based personal financial management world and it’s got not a lot to do with driving and commanding submarines. But they said, just talk about this. And I was like, why would I talk about being in a submarine in my military time and they said, you guys are all the same. And they said, basically, what you said that people do not talk about their strengths because don’t even see them. And I think most of us out there as I help people just relate to them what I think they would be uniquely good at because that’s that’s kind of my bandstand, too, by the way is is helping people to put a personal financial basis in place so that they can focus on the unique genius, whatever that is. I met somebody this weekend who was an Edu trainer. And that’s a phrase I’d never heard before. But she basically takes reptiles around to schools and large organizations and they pair a lot of money to just be around that thing. Like I there’s no chance that could be my unique genius. But if people are enabled, they set up their lives to be able to focus on that unique genius. Find out what they’re really Get at a lot of times it takes hope from your family that has been my best perspective is asking my kids, my wife, my mother in law, what am I good at that you just think is amazing? Because I don’t see it. None of us see it,

JB Spisso 15:11
you know, and it’s great. Like I, you know, I go back to Glenn say they’re like he, you know, he saw something like, right, you know, he was sees not only played the sport and coach the sport manage the sport as a team president, you know, the one of the original six NHL teams, and, you know, he saw that and that’s part of like, you know, I have a book out warrior leadership Steps to Success for leaders on the ground. And I talked about mentorship. And you know, he saw me and mentored me they’re like, didn’t try to get a change. He’s like, Listen, you got something here I watch how people look at you. And that’s so you know, we should always be you and I especially and anybody else I continue to be mentors right continue to help people on the path like it’s okay you’re trying this. It’s okay. You’re trying something new. If you fell out it No problem. And that’s what we should continue because see, here’s the thing is that like, people shouldn’t get wrapped in like a timeline like, Oh, I gotta graduated 18 I got to go to college for four years or join the military for four years. And that’s what I got to do this. And by this time I should be married and you know, listen, develop your own timeline, find what works for you, everybody, everybody develops differently. And it’s okay to do that. Yeah,

Gary Pinkerton 16:17
that’s a great comment. I tell my kids all the time, you guys are gonna live to 100. It’s not like it’s Andrew Carnegie’s time where he had to, you know, work at 14, and you know, do something great by 30 because it was all downhill from there. You mess up the first 20 years of your life, just keep going. You know, that was a great, great story you told there, you know about the Rangers and him seeing something because again, you didn’t see it, but you were in a position where you were ready to listen to that, right? What advice is there out there for all these people, you’ve coached about just being observant to listen to comments from people ask questions. I mean, how do they find it? There’s really what I’m saying.

JB Spisso 16:51
Right? You know, just really, you know, be a thoughtful listener and then write it down. And then you know, don’t get so broad at your skill set. Like I can do this. I can do this. I could do this. It’s so funny. Cuz, you know, people see that I’m retired from military, they’re like, Oh, can you teach me shooting? I’m like, No, I don’t do that, like your call this guy, can you teach me? You know you’re in shape? So can you train me? No, I don’t do that call this guy. This is what I did, right? I teach leadership, mental toughness, culture development, like I will focus on the macro. That’s what I do. You know, you find your skill set. And, you know, what I’ve done is I continue to develop it over the years, like getting better and better and better, and continue to have to develop, you know, I just throw I’m on my clients like 15 years ago, like, I was just throwing so much content at them, like it was overwhelming. And actually, you know, Senior Vice President from a company was like, Oh my god, that was great. But that was, like, three days worth of information. She’s like, you know, scale that back? Yeah, you know, And oh, by the way, I’ll pay you three times for that. Right. So I was like, okay, but you know, we I was just trying to give everybody so much bang for their buck, which I still do. But I was just, it was a, you know, drinking through a firehose Some information. Yeah. So, yeah, want people to retain you

Gary Pinkerton 18:03
kind of go through this place in every field or every career, I think as you get better and better at it, you start off as oblivious and incompetent, or you know, close to that. And you just kind of get lucky every once in a while and have successes and it’s beautiful. But then you become super studied. And you’re really competent, you try to throw so much at people that I’ve seen in the sales world that I’m in people’s performance actually go down after a couple of years, because they’re just alienating everyone they meet. And it’s totally the same way as a speaker. Great comments. And then eventually you get to this mature kind of elderly state where you’re like, I mean, I don’t mean old, but like in the field, where you’re like, that’s not important. Stick with the basic stuff. And that’s, you know, I can tell that you’re well into that phase and that was some amazing guidance, but I it’s important, I think to become an expert, it’s not important to show everyone that you are because it will actually work against you.

JB Spisso 18:54
Exactly. kind of you know, my editor she always used to comment with me, she’s like, you know, you have wisdom now. You have wisdom and that’s what, you know, we tried to like put in my book is like, is that like simple takeaways, like, it’s, you know, you’re not gonna, you know, sit there and have a dissertation on my book, but you’ll have the takeaways at the end, you’d be like, you know, that’s a perfect reminder, I needed that today. Right? I needed to understand that, you know, I can’t be a volcanos a leader just because I’m upset with something, you know, I can’t come in and then just explode on everybody. You know, I have to be a thoughtful listener. As a leader. I talked about being a force multiplier. You and I, both military understand what that means. But it’s not meant in the military term. It’s meant that, you know, do whatever you have to do to help the organization win. If you walk by the copier, and the copier nice paper, put paper in the copier. You know, if you need to stay late and help somebody finish, finish a project then stay late and help somebody finish a project. And that’s exactly what that means. That’s what leaders should be as a you know, force multiplier. And I tell young leaders this all the time. I just talked to a, you know, young lady, few weeks ago. She’s talking To graduated college company hired her and she’s in charge of four people. And she called me She’s like, Listen, I’ve never been charged anybody. She I’m like, okay, here’s some simple things to do. Like Don’t overthink it. Simple things to do, lead by example and be a servant leader. She goes, What’s that mean? I’m like, well, don’t ask anybody to do anything. You’re not lead by example. But to be a servant leader, find out what their needs are and help them.

Gary Pinkerton 20:22
Yeah, so boom. All right. So this book, your books, pretty new, obviously, they can find it on Amazon. I read sections, or at least kind of the outline of it from your website, which has got a great background of what this books about. Who would you say your book is most for? Like? Is it for everyone in the audience here, which I kind of think it is, but I want to hear from you.

JB Spisso 20:42
I think it’s a great book for senior leaders to read and recapture who they are. Yeah, I think it’s a perfect book for the emerging leader. Yeah. That young man or young woman, you know, that’s that that’s ready to take the next step, whether it’s the C suite or you know, I’m running a maintenance team, or, you know, whatever that case may be. This is the book for them, it gives them It gives them simple, you know, leadership, takeaways, thought process to help you move forward. In fact, I’ve been getting, you know, a lot of great reviews, I’ve sent it to a lot of senior people that I know and they’re like, Oh, my God, this is great. I bought one for my whole team. I’m like, perfect, because that’s exactly what I want. So, you know, because the basis of being, you know, the basis being a warrior, there are physical traits, right. But there’s also, you know, emotional, mental, spiritual traits that helped me become a warrior. So that’s what this book book tells you, you know, continue to, to work to work. The process.

Gary Pinkerton 21:43
Yeah. And I think I think as we you know, those of us who are who are in you know, all of us probably listening are in this position of service, and we’re about to transition to a completely new world, what strengths that we actually bring to this new world that we take for granted. I’ve talked with a lot of client a lot of guests. Excuse me. Just the the stuff that’s not obvious to us, but it’s obvious to everybody else out there in the world. And so we’ve covered a lot like, you know, you show up on time, like you got your stuff put together, and you don’t need help on some very basic things you don’t, you’re not going to offend people you get you know that not everyone’s like you and all these kinds of things that we’ve learned in the military, and we’ve learned in, in public service. So those things we have a leg up on, but what about those leadership traits that we have don’t really know are unique, right. And that’s one of the things that I think I read a book, I won’t say it’s similar to yours. But I read a book that had discussion of very basic stuff about leadership and working in organizations. And the stuff initially, when I read it, I was like, well, that’s pretty obvious stuff. That’s not really that helpful to me. But when I went back and read it, I was like, you know, this is important to recognize that this is clearly not obvious stuff to everybody else out there. And so it’s what we bring to organizations. And so, you know, I’m partnered up with a buddy who’s starting a company from ground up and he had 10 employees, and now he’s got like, 40 and he asked me to kind of come in and help and some of the stuff that he was asking or that I was observing was really awkward. Get stuff to us. It’s in your book, I bet. But it’s also not obvious to the rest of the world. So I think it’s a nice your book is a nice for somebody getting ready to transition and go into an organization a place I’ve never been, I think it would be a great reminder, if it’s in that book and it’s obviously you remember, it’s not going to be to that organization where you’re headed.

JB Spisso 23:17
Yeah, you said it, I use the term, you know, common sense, but not common practice, right? And then it’s simple things like, you know, why do you get to work on time? Why do you show up prepared, you know, why, you know, why are the things that you know, why do you need to have a high emotional quotient EQ, right, that’s understanding people, what we take for granted, you know, the military is it is the melting pot of the country and some of the world like think about it, like, you know, you have, you know, you have people on your, your chart or with your, your mates or your from everywhere, right, so, so, you know, so you learn to like, get over differences work together, you know, And, and the big thing is, is big thing is is like a lot of times, you know, companies and sports teams, you know, they want to look to the boss, or they want to look to the head coach to push the chemistry down on them. Like, this is the chemistry and culture we’re going to have. Now, the responsibility is to nurture that make sure it’s healthy. But it’s the, it’s the people in the organization, it’s their responsibility to ensure that that culture is healthy. Right? And so they have to learn, they have to learn to work together. And that’s and that’s where that then you know, healthy culture come comes comes from, and then all sudden, and then the leader can, you know, take them to the next step, it can have a vision and a purpose, and the leader can take that organization to wherever it needs to go.

Gary Pinkerton 24:47
Yeah, awesome. Okay, so, we’re coming to the end, but tell everybody the name of the book again and the best place to come to reach out to you to be

JB Spisso 24:55
sure. My book is called warrior leadership Steps to Success for leaders online. Round, you can find that on Amazon. best place to find me is right on my website. It’s www JBS leaders.com. You can reach on there, my numbers on there, you can email me, I’d be glad to get ahold of you. And I come in and help companies. help companies be great. That’s what I love doing.

Gary Pinkerton 25:20
That’s awesome. So you hail from Las Vegas. I don’t think we said that while we were on air. And I meant to circle back and haven’t done it yet. So I gotta throw one last question in. So I saw a bunch of sports teams. So you’ve worked with a few. How many teams how many professional teams college teams, have you worked with?

JB Spisso 25:37
Professional college teams? probably close to 20. That’s all so yeah, it’s

Gary Pinkerton 25:43
just an incredible list of of emblems. You know, I guess on the website, it’s pretty

JB Spisso 25:49
well, I mean, you know, I was fortunate to be able to, you know, drink from the Stanley Cup. So, you know, not everybody gets to do that. So that was a big that was a big pleasure of mine or

Gary Pinkerton 26:00
is amazing. Well, JB, thanks so much for joining us. Any last things that I haven’t said that we should have?

JB Spisso 26:05
Now? It was great, Gary, you’re great. Keep it going keep helping out these young men and women that are transitioning from either military or from, you know, first responder life. And I’ll just remind them, like, do not devalue what you do. You bring a lot to the table, a lot of experience, a lot of leadership, a lot of teamwork, a lot of commitment. Don’t devalue that stuff. Because companies love that that’s what they want. And if you have something you want to do, and start your own company do it and and last thing is find smart people like yourself to invest with. That’s what I do.

Gary Pinkerton 26:39
That’s awesome. Great advice. Thanks so much, JB, and, everybody, we’ll catch you on the next episode.

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