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What do you know now that you wish you had known then? Kris answers this question for himself, emphasizing that leadership isn’t about looking back or having regrets; it’s about growing and looking forward. — BTB #18 One on One

Behind the Billboard- S1EP18

(0:00:00) Intro:

(0:00:06) KL:

Welcome to the Behind The Billboard podcast. Here’s your host, Kris Lindahl.

What are the things that I see clearly now that I wish I could’ve seen earlier in my journey? I just got this question from a friend of mine and you know what? It sounded like a good podcast episode topic! So I want to dive a little bit deeper into that question that I received and share that with all of you.

The first one is, I wish I would’ve got help sooner. One of the biggest regrets I have is our company could’ve been a lot bigger in size and we could’ve helped a lot more people and we could’ve created a better system earlier on if I would’ve had more help. I’ve learned over the years that it really simply is all about the people. If you don’t have people, at some point you’re going to hit capacity. So, the risk of that is that if you’re a business owner is the fear. The fear of “How am I going to pay for this person? This person is very expensive.”

I’ll tell you right now, the talented people are going to be expensive. But just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean that you should be scared. Expensive people are talented people that are going to get your company or your organization to the next level. So, I wish I would’ve got help earlier on.

The next one is personal development. This is a very important one for me. I wish that I would’ve done more personal development earlier on. Obviously, I was really busy. I ran a very successful real estate business and didn’t have a lot of time for personal development in the early days. But I wish that I would’ve made more of a focus to become a better person because I’ve started to learn over the years everything is about you, fundamentally. If you’re not “good” you definitely can’t lead others. You can’t run a successful organization. You have to be solid at the core. The way to do that is to focus on personal development. I do tons and tons of personal development work today. I wish I would’ve done more earlier on.

The next one is, having an open mind. I’ve seen so many people in leadership positions that think they have it all figured out and are very close-minded. I’d almost say that a lot of them are trying to be teachers. I think it’s really important to be a student first. If you’re not willing to learn, if you’re not willing to ask those questions, if you’re willing to get constructive feedback, if you’re not willing to fail, you’re in a bad spot. So make sure you’re a student first. Other things that I focus a lot of my time on are reading a lot. I try to read as many books as I possibly can and listen to just about as many podcasts as I can as well. Kudos to you for sticking with this podcast and listening and growing. There’s a lot of people that just quite honestly won’t put the effort in to become better. I’m trying to share my journey with you to try to help you become a better business leader because what I know is that when we share we also grow too. That’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years. Being a student first is so important. For those of you that have listened to a lot of the other episodes, that’s one thing that’s consistently come up is most of the business leaders that I’ve interviewed talk a lot about learning and being a student and not having it figured out and understanding that it’s a constant journey to become better. I wish that I would have been more of a student early on. I always had this curiosity that I wanted to learn and ask questions but I wasn’t as intentional as I am today about wanting to be better and wanting to learn. I am so focused on, “How can I grow? How can I learn more?”

I think that’s a result of all of the personal development work that I’ve done.

The next one is, empower others. You really have to invest in people and others and empower them really to make mistakes, to grow and to learn from them. I look back at some of my early jobs and I’ve looked at some of the leaders I see in other industries that really don’t quite lead the way that I would and they want to do everything themselves. “It’s just easier to do it than to explain it to someone else.”

There’s also that dictatorship-type leadership style that some of you listening can relate to that type of personality that really no one wants to work for. You don’t want to put people down. You want to encourage them to fail because of those learning opportunities are what allow them to grow. To put them in that environment you have to empower them. I’m not saying I have this all figured out! I still struggle with it at times with certain duties that I have in my organization. I can tell you it’s the feedback I get from our leadership team- “Kris, you have to continue to give up more of that control and empower us to make those decisions.”

I’m telling you right now if you’re in an organization where you’re not empowering others to grow and be better, you need to right now. There are so many leaders that are scared to grow their people because they might leave or they might go here or we don’t want to post about them on social media because somebody might see that they’re doing a good job a might poach them. I don’t believe in any of that. I believe in investing in your people and empowering them to grow and be better. Encourage them to fail! Give them that power to fail. I always say, “It’s ok to make a mistake once but don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Now if you have someone who continues to make the same mistake, that’s a different problem. But you want people to make mistakes and to fail o learn and grow. So make sure to empower others.

This next one has been a very difficult one for me. It’s to slow down and enjoy the ride. I speak all over the country. I’ve connected to a lot of very successful people. I’m very fortunate for the position that I’m in today. I hear comments and people come up to me and are like, “I’m so proud of you, Kris. It’s unbelievable what you guys are doing within your company. You have incredible people. I know ‘so-and-so.’ I’ve talked to ‘so-and-so’ and I see what they talk about.”

We get all this praise and for so long I’ve said, “We’re just getting started!”

I kind of downplayed it. I didn’t really celebrate the success that we’ve had so far and really slowed down and enjoyed that. So I challenge you that as you grow as a person and as an organization, slow down and take a little bit of that recognition in an feel it. It feels good. It feels good to know that you’re accomplishing something but here’s what I would challenge everyone with. It’s not about you- it’s about ‘we.’ So make sure that when you get compliments, you hear those things and you get that recognition, that you share it with your company and you sure it with your team and you share it with share it with the people around you because all o the people around you are all helping achieve that. It’s not about you. So, make sure that you slow down and enjoy the ride. Have fun! This is meant to be fun. Enjoy the journey! If you don’t enjoy this, maybe you need to look at doing something different. I absolutely love what I do every day and I love the people that I’m around. I can’t get enough of it!

This one is one we’ve talked about before a little bit. It kind of ties into the ‘power of no’ and it ties into protecting your time and choice management. You have to be selective of where you spend your time. You only have 24 hours in a day. You have to protect that. If you can’t protect that because maybe your personality is too much of a ‘giver’ then you have to have someone around you that can protect your time. It will make a massive difference because what will happen is that when you protect your time, you get very clear and focused on where you’re headed. When you don’t protect your time, you’re constantly distracted. You’re constantly serving other people’s needs. You have to protect your time. It’s choice management. You get to make those choices. If you’re not making the right choices, change those today. When I look back earlier in my journey, I wish I would’ve known those things. For some of you that are emerging leaders or you’re just scaling up your business or your department or your organization, I hope some of these things I shared today are really helpful. These are things that when I started I wish someone would’ve given me the advice. I just wanted to honor everyone that’s listening and just say, “Congratulations for being a student first and listening to these episodes and being willing to get better!”

There’s a lot of people that won’t make this commitment. So give yourself a pat on the back. Slow down. Enjoy the ride. Thanks for tuning in to Behind The Billboard.

(0:08:40) Outro: If you loved this episode, give us a great review, subscribe and share us socially so we can spread the word and build a community of “difference-makers” and if there’s a leader who inspires you, send your suggestions for future guests to Kris’ team at so we can get better.