BTM S1E26 Mark Graban
Adam Baruh: Welcome to Beyond the Microphone, a podcast about podcasters and the stories of how their shows came together. And what they discovered along the way. I’m your host, Adam Baru. So as we get started here today, I’d like to talk, talk a little bit about making mistakes and this notion of chasing perfection.
Um, a lot of people that I speak to that are creative types, um, whether it’s about podcasting or wanting to, to launch a business or whatever, um, you know, I’ve, I’ve had people come to me and I could tell that. You know, something holding them back from actually getting started is this notion of like needing everything, all your ducks in a row, like everything kind of planned out before you execute.
And that, that’s really tough. Um, I’ve just, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a while. I’ve been running my main company for seven [00:01:00] years and I probably side more with just less research and less prep and just getting into it now. 100 percent made many mistakes that way. But, um, but the point is, is like I’ve gone for it and then I’ve evolved over time.
And I think that’s how kind of most. People kind of operate and I, and it’s very acceptable to kind of go that route. Now, if you’re the type of person where, yeah, you, you like want to do a ton of research and kind of have a lot planned out from a detailed perspective, but you’re the type of person that still has the ability to execute them, you know, by all means, that, that strategy is probably going to.
You know, work well for you, but I find that it has been a barrier with many people that, um, have approached me and, you know, they’re, they’ve been kind of like working on a concept for years and they’re just like, what do I do to get started? Right? Well, I tell them every time stop chasing perfection, just go for it.
You’ll figure it out along the way. I [00:02:00] mean, I, as an entrepreneur, I think that the number one thing that you realize over time is that you can never really, truly. I mean, what you can prepare for are things like your mindset and your ability to problem solve. That’s where, you know, you should probably want to spend your time like preparing for some new venture.
Um, because, you know, what you’ll find in business, um, and in podcasting is. The landscape is always changing. For example, the last year, AI has been all the rage, chat GPT. And so, you know, whereas you might have kind of had one way of doing it when you got started, you better have the ability to, to read the landscape and pivot and, you know, just evolve over time. I just wanted to talk a little bit about that notion of, you know, being mistake free, really having all your ducks in a row before you execute, you know, the, [00:03:00] yes, you may have like a cleaner execution, um, So that’s really the point I wanted to make. Um, just something to think about as you’re, you know, people that are listening that are considering launching their podcasts.
Um, I didn’t have it all figured out, um, when I got into it. And I’ve just been learning over time and it’s seemingly worked for me. Um, and that, I know it’s just me, but, uh. You know, just something to think about as you get started. So with that, let’s go ahead and introduce our guest here today. His name is Mark Graben and he’s the host of the podcast.
My favorite mistake where you’ll hear CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, and other interesting people discuss their favorite mistakes and what they learned, including how to prevent making the same same mistakes again, or how to turn apparent mistakes into something positive. Um, my favorite mistake. Has a listen score of 34 and is ranked in the top 3%.
So well done with that. Mark. He’s also the author of the [00:04:00] recently released book, the mistakes that make us cultivating a culture of learning and innovation and engaging, inspiring, and practical book that presents an alternative approach to mistakes rather than punishing individuals for human error and bad decision.
Graben encourages us to embrace and learn from them, fostering a culture of learning and innovation. So with that Mark, welcome to beyond the microphone.
Mark Graban: Adam. Hi. Thanks for having me here.
Adam Baruh: I’m really happy that you’re here today, and I love this subject because, um, as, as we go forward in our discussion here today, um, I’d like to, you know, hear about some of the mistakes that you’ve made and how they’ve shaped where, you know, you’re at today, because certainly I’ve made. And I’m like happy to discuss, you know, some of the really key ones in my own experience that have, you know, resulted in where I’m at today.
So why don’t we start with, you know, how did you get inspired and interested in this work? I mean, did it all kind of stem from [00:05:00] some big mistake and you kind of decided to, uh. To really become curious about that and, and make it your life’s work, tell us a little bit about the, the early kind of, you know, how you got into this type of work and interest.
Mark Graban: Well, so when I started the My Favorite Mistake podcast, um, first episodes were released, uh, September 2020. It wasn’t because of any single life changing mistake. It was just, I think, an accumulation of countless mistakes and kind of a long building. fascination with that, not just as individuals, but you know, in a workplace culture.
Um, now, you know, you talk about not having it all figured out when you started. I started my first podcast in the summer of 2006. A podcast kind of based on my, um, kind of professional background in an area that we might call lean management, or it’s similar. The lean startup methodology is kind of an [00:06:00] offshoot of that.
I started doing that interviews. You know, format podcast in 2006 and we can talk about some of them made many mistakes, um, along the way, but I, I’d like to think I’ve learned from them and like the major mistakes haven’t been repeated knock on wood and there’s some tools though that I use that go beyond just hoping not to repeat the mistakes.
But, uh, yeah, you know, I had an opportunity. There was some happenstance here. So, I mean, pandemic times, I wasn’t able to travel for work. Um, I was doing what I could working from home, but, um, you know, I was looking for some other projects to just, you know, take my mind off of pandemic times in Los Angeles.
And so I, you know, I had been doing this lean podcast long enough where maybe the same for you or a lot of the listeners, Adam, you get pitched. By lots of PR folks, you know, somebody’s got a book out and it’d be on your show. Well, my podcast is very, very niche. Like, I don’t often find it [00:07:00] a fit, you know, with one of these pitched guests.
I’m reaching out and finding people who’ve written books in this space or, or other, um, you know, other accomplishments. Um, but a PR person had reached out with the opportunity to interview Kevin Harrington, who isn’t one of the most famous sharks from Shark Tank, but he was on season one. And he had a book coming out and I would, I thought, Wow, I would really like to meet him and talk with him.
Like for me, podcasting has been a great networking tool and I followed up with the PR with the PR person and said, Well, huh? Help me figure out a way to say yes. I’m thinking of starting it. Uh, a new, like broader business podcast and I spitballed a few ideas. One would have been so generic, like the Mark Graven show where we could talk about anything business related.
Um, and then I also had this idea, like, how about a podcast about mistakes? I’m a big Sheryl Crow fan and her song, my favorite mistake, which [00:08:00] I think using that name as the podcast was a little bit of a mistake, but anyway, I pitched this and Kevin Harrington was, um, was cool enough to be able to come on.
and tell an amazing favorite mistake story. And so with that, I’m like, okay, wow, that’s my launch guest. Now the question was, could I find more people? You know, everyone loves sharing their success stories, but I think it’s really cool when, um, really successful people are willing to share a favorite mistake story the way Kevin did.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, and because it like makes it real. Um, I mean, we all make mistakes and, uh, Um, you know, one of the things I’ve got these books right here. I’m looking to see if I have one to put on the screen. I don’t actually have one handy right here. There’s this book that as a business leader, I, I, I used to use it more often, but it’s strengths finder 2.
0, um, by Don Clifton. And it’s not a book that you would like read. Um, it’s more of kind of [00:09:00] like a reference, but at the end of the book, there’s like this little quiz. Uh, like a code that you go online and take this 30 minute self assessment and it comes back and generates this report on your top five strengths.
And what I think is really cool about that approach is, I think we spend a lot of time focusing more on what we’re not good at and trying to improve in those areas where we’re, where we’re not naturally gifted or naturally skilled and, and trying to improve those areas. Um, I think the notion of this book and this philosophy is, you know, rather than spending all this time on trying to fix what we’re not great at, let’s actually take that same amount of time and accentuate our strengths.
Like this kind of stay in our strength zone, um, we’ll find more success that way. So, you know, why do you think as a society? We, you know, look at our [00:10:00] mistakes more. We look at what we’re not good at and we try to fix those areas versus, you know, the more kind of positive approach, which is, you know, the, the focus on the, the strengths and what we are good at.
Mark Graban: Yeah. That’s an interesting question. I mean, I, I’m trying to frame, you know, through the podcast and now through the book, that learning from mistakes is a very positive, like it could be one of our strengths as an individual, as a leader, as a company, we are good at learning from mistakes, right? So I think the thing that I’m trying to help shift people away from is, you know, Like this really negative, judgmental view of, of mistakes and, and shaming people for them or, uh, punishing them in a workplace, uh, that a mistake, if we are in an environment, like say in a workplace setting where it’s psychologically safe to admit that you made a mistake, you get a constructive, helpful response from your colleagues [00:11:00] and your leader, Um, then we can, then, then we’re in a place where we can actually think about, well, why did this mistake happen?
Was it a slip up? Was there a bad assumption? What type of mistake was it? But we can focus on understanding what happened, not who messed up, but what happened and why, and then think of what actions are we going to take in the future to prevent that mistake or something worse. From happening, um, in, in the future.
So, I mean, I, I, I don’t think, you know, a focus on learning from mistakes is, is negative or, or dwelling on faults. ’cause like you said, we all make mistakes. Like we have no choice about that. But we do have a choice in how we react and what we do after the mistake.
Adam Baruh: Yeah. And so
Mark Graban: I think it’s a positive.
Adam Baruh: I think I agree with you on that. And I think, you know, I think we’re entering this age where it’s becoming okay, like you, much to what you’re saying, like it’s normalizing the [00:12:00] mistake, like it’s, it’s normalizing, um, or just, I guess, like having a culture in place in more and more companies, um, you know, when you are on like LinkedIn, you look at messages from people like Gary V the leading with empathy.
The like team first type of messaging and content. That’s, that was very motivating for me when I started my first podcast, the change, it was all about servant leadership, team first. normalizing the mental health conversation in the workplace. Um, so looking at like a lot of the changes that have occurred where, yeah, I think to your point, like more and more companies really under our understanding now the value of creating that culture that is supportive of, you know, helping people, whether it’s a mistake they made just.
because of some technical skill set mismatch, or maybe they’re in a, they’re dealing with something in their personal lives, but you know, what do you think it is over the last, I mean, do you think it was pandemic [00:13:00] inspired that really kind of fueled this movement, um, in companies to create more, I guess, empathetic, um, approaches to how they’re managing their team.
Right. Mm hmm.
Mark Graban: That’s a good question. I mean, it’s it’s hard to speak to, you know, those those broader issues. But I mean, some of it could be. I mean, I think the movement is still building. Is it a movement? There’s positive signs. There are some companies where this is true that that mistakes are not driven underground because the organization reacts with openness and constructive reaction to it.
But I mean, I think some of the benefits or some of the arguments To lead this way or to build this kind of culture come down to employee retention, you know, in the last couple of years, you know, maybe the so called great resignation has subsided a little bit, but there’s still, you know, a real battle for talent [00:14:00] and culture can really be a competitive strength for an organization to attract talent and then let them come and thrive and support them and make sure they’re a good fit with the job.
Um, have them be part of that culture of, of learning from mistakes and a culture of innovation, they’re going to want to stay. Um, and then I think when we’re not pressuring people into hiding and covering up mistakes, then we can actually improve, we can provide a better customer service. We can be more innovative.
You know, it’s not just nice. We’re really, we’re looking to drive better business results, but you know, it goes hand in hand. So that’s part of the case I’m trying to make, I think through the podcast, through the book. If there are people out, there are people out there. It’s not an if there are some people out there who still think, man, you got to punish mistakes or otherwise.
You’re just you’re creating a permissive environment where people are going to just make more mistakes. People feel bad [00:15:00] when they make a mistake, right? So to react with empathy and to be supportive, I think it’s just it’s good business. I’m hoping others would get on board with that.
Adam Baruh: Yeah. And I want to speak to this a little bit from my own experience too, because I am an employer. I have 20 or so employees that I manage. And, um, I’ve definitely evolved over the seven years of running, you know, my main company where like I, you know, probably through the pandemic and going into 2021, I really kind of, for myself, um, decided that I want to be a CEO that advocates for leading with empathy and, and try to do the things in my own company to support that.
Um, And so, you know, this idea of repeating mistakes, like, you know, if it’s somebody’s first mistake, like, I always tell them, like, don’t have, like, try to avoid having fear around making a mistake. Because, you know, sometimes those are the greatest teachers. Um, sometimes [00:16:00] that’s where we learn the best lessons that.
That help us grow like not just, you know, professionally, but personally, I mean, you know, I tell my kids that too It’s like, you know, you’re gonna make mistakes like try try to learn from them
Mark Graban: Mhm.
Adam Baruh: then you know It just happens sometimes where you have employees and and they do like these things come up again And I mean it where’s that fine line because at some point I think you do have to manage that right?
Like you want to start out probably with more of an empathetic approach, but you know, what can you recommend or what have you seen in your research? Um, that are, that’s useful for employers and managers to how to kind of navigate that kind of repeating mistake event.
Mark Graban: So, I mean, there’s, there’s two pieces that you need, you know, one I’ve already touched on, you know, psychological safety. People have to feel safe being able to say, I don’t know, I could be wrong. I made a mistake to be able to point that out without fear of [00:17:00] punishment. But the second thing that’s critical, it’s a different P.
S. Problem solving, right? So we I think if an organization decides they’re going to be non punitive. Okay, that’s probably better because now people won’t be hiding mistakes. But we don’t want people to feel safe bringing up the same mistakes over and over again. So if there are repeated mistakes, I would say instead of that being you know, a sign of individual failure or weakness.
I mean, well, maybe the organization needs to do a better job at problem solving. Um, instead of just saying, well, be, be careful, you know, you probably won’t do that again. You’ve learned your lesson, like putting things into place. Um, checklists. I use checklists with my podcasts and webinars. Um, uh, different, you know, what you might call mistake proofing techniques, a concept that comes from Toyota and the lean methodology.
So when you have You know, um, effective problem solving that’s that’s where we can actually, I think, do a [00:18:00] better job of making sure the mistakes don’t come back because really, you know, mistakes are bad. I mean, if there’s a bad impact on the business or or the customer, I’m not discounting that at all.
But I just think we need that effective problem solving that allows us to prevent, like, for example, like one time out of 750 people I’ve recorded, I’ve interviewed. I’ve interviewed. Uh, in different podcasts. One time I forgot to hit record, you know, um, I hope, I hope that never happens, uh, to, to you, Adam, but, um, you know, I fessed up to it.
I didn’t, you know, I told the guests, I don’t, I don’t even remember offhand who it was. I didn’t blame whatever technical gremlins. I mean, it’s just, you know, I forgot to hit record and that person was incredibly gracious and said, well, it’s all right. Well, we’ll call that a practice session. Right. But I don’t want to do that to people.
Right. So there’s things you can do. You can have a checklist you can set if you’re using a [00:19:00] recording platform where it starts recording automatically and edit out whatever first part of the conversation you have. I mean, there are different things either procedurally or technically we can use to try to prevent repeating a mistake.
Adam Baruh: Is your work focused mainly in the professional setting, or are you also, do you also do a lot of work and research around in our personal lives, mistakes that we make?
Mark Graban: I mean, it’s really more. I mean, the podcast and the book is more of a workplace book. But, you know, organizations are a collection of people. So there are some things that are intertwined there for sure. But I mean, I think there are, you know, commonalities between, you know, software companies that I’ve been involved in.
I’ve done a lot of consulting in hospitals and health care environments, you know, different types of professionals. And I started my career in manufacturing. There’s enough human nature and human dynamics that’s that’s similar [00:20:00] across those organizations. But You know, I think as a leader, um, and I, and I think of trying to do better, uh, in this regard myself, you know, we think of like when I make a mistake, can I be kinder to myself, you know, is that part of the journey of being more empathetic and kind when others make mistakes?
Um, can I react to mistakes in ways that are constructive and, um, you know, so there, there’s a little bit of an individual journey. I’ve interviewed a number of psychologists. Um, on the podcast, maybe I could partner up with one of them to do more of a personal focused book, but, um,
Adam Baruh: Well, no, you brought up some, I mean, you brought up like a really, really powerful, um, gold nugget of information, which, which really is the way we treat ourselves, because, um, You know, I also think this is something that is relatively new, or at least maybe different from [00:21:00] Like if we’re going to, let’s just stay in the professional setting for now, like, you know, there was this and I came up, I’m a Gen Xer and I came up in this, um, era where, yeah, there was the, the culture was very punitive around mistakes.
Right. Um, and it really, you know, would get wrapped up and then belief systems that, you know, perhaps you’re just not good at, I’m just not good at that. I’m, you know, and, and then feelings of shame and stuff like that come up. And I do think that, you know, there’s more and more dialogue around how we talk to ourselves.
Um, and something that, you know, certainly I have dealt with almost throughout my entire career is a lot of negative self talk, um, which was wrapped up in a bunch of personal stuff too. But, you know, when, when you can get to a point now and there’s great techniques for, for kind of getting there, but, you know, I think that is really, um, the, [00:22:00] the, the goal. Recipe for managing through and kind of putting an end to where you’re repeating mistakes, which is something I call looping, um, where. Instead of bashing yourself and beating yourself up, like, perhaps getting curious about why, like, Hmm, like, why did these mistakes? Why am I repeating this mistake? Like, why does this keep coming up?
Like, what is it? What am I supposed to learn? Like, what’s the big picture that I’m supposed to learn in this moment? So I can truly once and for all end this cycle. Um, and when you become curious and stop the, the self bashing, um, and get into more of like a self nurturing mode, Um, I, I find at least I’ve found for myself, that’s where, you know, just having that curiosity has led to a lot of big revelations about myself that probably did put an end to, to repeating [00:23:00] a lot of these same kind of, you know, mistakes that I was looping on.
Mark Graban: Yeah. And and one when it comes to that self talk, like one lesson. Here’s something I’ve learned from interviewing 225 plus people asking the same question and hearing their story and how they process and think through and remember a mistake and how they move forward from it. I’d have to go back and search transcripts.
I’ll put a number to it. I don’t know, like 25 percent of my guests when they’re describing their mistake. We’ll use a word like, well, that was a dumb mistake, or that was a stupid mistake. And I kind of, you know, I kind of cringe. And then that’s made me more aware, like, I caught myself doing this a couple of weeks ago.
Like, I was trying to update one of my e books in the Amazon Kindle publishing platform. And, like, my previous book, I went to go upload the new version of that. I had uploaded the file for my new book. And realized, like, as soon as I had done it, like, oh! [00:24:00] I just uploaded the wrong file and I caught myself like, Oh, so dumb, but like, I think being more like, at least I was aware of it, right?
I don’t know. I probably had a habit of doing that, um, in, in my life. And I, and I think that reaction, it just, it’s not helpful. That’s self shaming. I’m not dumb. And I know plenty of smart people who make mistakes all the time. You know, so putting, you know, I think we can try to prevent some mistakes, but we’re going to make some, but we do, I think, have more choice or we can be more mindful of the habits around how we react to mistakes.
And I think I’d be less likely to call someone else dumb. But here I was saying it to myself.
Adam Baruh: No, it’s the same. Yeah, no, I, yeah, like we’re, we’re definitely, we try to avoid, you know, getting into that where we’re calling somebody else dumb or whatever, but we do to ourselves all the time. It makes no sense. And, you know, another thing I love that you just [00:25:00] brought up is the awareness part of it, because I, I truly think that we are.
In an age right now where self awareness is really itself becoming a lot more normalized, um, you know, mindfulness is a kind of a term that’s used a lot and a tool that a lot of people use to, to reach that higher level of self awareness. But, uh, I’m, I’m certainly glad that you brought that up because I do think that’s really the key to, to work through like what we’re supposed to be learning from when we are making mistakes or what, or whatever it’s like, okay, well, no, like what?
Mark Graban: hmm.
Adam Baruh: Not just technically what, you know, the mistake that I made, like if it’s a very technical thing, what am I supposed to learn there? But sometimes there are, you know, mistakes that we make that if you’re self aware enough, like kind of reveal some like bigger picture things that again, like I think we, I think mistakes and we’re supposed to live a life where we are going to be encountering mistakes and challenges and [00:26:00] obstacles.
But you know, the point is, is not to like. Solve all these problems in our lives so that we can get to this point in our lives where everything is going to be smooth sailing from there. The point is to, is to reach a level where we become okay with our mistakes, but again, become curious and have a level of self awareness where, you know, we learn just on a bigger picture level, like what.
What we’re supposed to be learning through those mistakes. But, you know, I want to shift a little bit now and kind of bring it back to your podcast. So, um, something that you said earlier on it, I wanted to make sure to ask you, um, you were talking about, uh, when you brought in, um, The Shark Tank guy, Kevin, what is his name?
I don’t watch that show, so I’m not, uh,
Mark Graban: Yeah, that’s
Adam Baruh: caught up on all the names. But, anyway, so you mentioned about asking people their favorite mistake story, and I wanted to ask you, and we’ll kind of scope it to maybe your podcasting work. Do you have, like, can you come [00:27:00] up with, off the top of your head, like, your favorite mistake story related to your podcasting work?
Mark Graban: Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, there’s lots of mistakes. And what? And as I process and think through this, I mean, the question is meant to be very open ended and subjective. Everyone would decide on their own, whatever thought process or mental algorithm. The favorite a favorite. You know, I’m not asking people, what’s your biggest mistake?
You know, I think that that’s a different question altogether. But, you know, a favorite question, a favorite mistake is one that’s big enough. Yeah. That sticks with you and had some sort of lesson. So like in a way, I think I probably already told that story because I think, you know, the forgetting to record mistake.
Um, I think the way and gosh, I need, I gotta figure out how I can remember exactly who that was. Um, it’s a shame that I don’t, that I don’t remember more clearly, but I do remember the response of [00:28:00] them saying, it’s okay, we’ll do it again. So that stuck with me. Okay. And I’ll tell you, uh, within the past year when I was a guest on someone else’s podcast, a pretty professional podcaster, somebody who’s been doing this for a long time.
Um, we got to the end, the recording, the recording hadn’t happened. Um, and they were, there were, it was going through zoom. I did. I never, you know, I didn’t occur to me. I never until after the fact, I never got that annoying pop up notification of like, Hey, this is going to be recording. Click. Okay. Yeah. Now, you know, this person didn’t really own up to it.
They’re like, Oh, it was through another. So we haven’t run through two systems. It’ll be okay. But when you know, like about a week later, someone on the team followed up and said, Yeah, we need we need to record that again. Right. So I’m not judging them for not being as open about it because it’s embarrassing.
Right. I mean, so, you know, I’m not judging that, but I think there was a [00:29:00] lesson where me being on the other end of that stuck with me. I had to be just as gracious with that person and say, I think I used those exact words a call back to 10, 15 years earlier. That’s okay. We’ll call it a practice session.
Happy to do it again sometime. Right. So I mean, if I hadn’t been through that on the other side, I don’t know. I might have been
Adam Baruh: Perhaps
Mark Graban: I might have been annoyed.
Adam Baruh: perhaps the, the, the initial experience, um, where you made the mistake, um, you know, paved the way for how you would react to it when it happened on, you know, the other side. So, yeah, some, and that happens a lot too. Like, I think, I think a lot is kind of put in front of us for us to. Eventually pay it forward, you know, and some, I don’t know, I’m a big believer in kind of higher spirit type of stuff. And so I do think that, you know, sometimes we are meant to make certain mistakes because it’s not even meant for us to have a learning lesson in that moment, but it’s to [00:30:00] prepare us to help somebody else when, when that event happens.
Mark Graban: Yeah,
Adam Baruh: Now, on the other side to that, what would you say has been, if you could recall, like the number one highlight in your podcasting experience, some, some great moment that, you know, really resonated for you and validated, you know, for, you know, the work that you’re doing with being an author as well as your podcasting.
Like, is there a story you can share that completely, you know, validated everything that you’re
Mark Graban: Mm. Well, you know, there’s been a lot of guests that have been excited, um, to, to interview, um, one, one that comes to mind, and this was a PR firm had reached out and had found me and my little podcast. Uh, uh, Jim McCann, who was the founder of 1 800 Flowers, or 1 800 Flowers dot com. Uh, he’s now the chairman.
He’s drifting, you know, into retirement. [00:31:00] And you know, he’s somebody I recognized his his name and voice and face. He did a lot of commercials, maybe because I’m a Gen X or like in the late eighties, early nineties or whatever. So, um, I thought, great. I mean, I always love, um, the opportunity to interview a CEO and like the stories he told in the podcast were validating and, and, you know, well, you know, he told stories of how they have a culture within 1 800 flowers of sharing.
Mistakes people have made in a customer service context for the purpose of learning from each other and improving how they are doing their work. And like, even to the point, I’m not sure I would do this if I were CEO of a company like he was, Jim McCann was explaining how they would have like an award ceremony and give out an award for like the best mistake and try to be a little light hearted about it.
Right. But I mean, I think where you are in that balance of how much you’re quote unquote Celebrating like some of that’s just a function of culture, you [00:32:00] know, um, but I think as long as you’re not punishing the mistakes, then you’ve got a fighting chance to learn from. So hearing from someone like that who I really respected of like, well, he’s been doing that too.
You know, um, there were a lot of other companies that I’ve had exposure to that do that really well. But then I’ll tell you the other thing that was funny about Jim McCann. So in the process of lining up the interview, um, like, you know, like, sort of like you have Adam, I normally have a pretty locked type process of like.
Click here. Self schedule. It flows to my calendar. Automated reminders go out. It was a pretty locked type process. The mistake I made was I thought I was being considerate and I’ll save him some time. So like, okay, no, Jim, I’m not gonna ask you to do that. We did a pre call. I’ve learned it’s a mistake not to do the pre call.
Um, different different stories there. But I thought it was doing him a favor. I would set it up manually. Save him some clicks. He’s a busy guy. Um, well, then I was emailing his team and I’d sent them the wrong date and then I got flustered [00:33:00] and I made some other mistake and I started thinking, Oh, no, like they’re gonna think this guy’s a flake and I hope they don’t back out.
Um, so I, I told Jim that story like at the end of our episode and I don’t think he was aware of any of that and he just, he kind of shrugged and he looked at me. He’s like, you know what? It doesn’t really matter. It’s like, like he showed some grace or at least kind of talking me off the proverbial edge of where I felt embarrassed.
I, you know, it was probably, that’s probably a case where I was being harder on myself than the whole situation even merited. So to get that kind of pat on the back from him and then to get an endorsement from him for the book, um, that’s, yeah, that’s one, I guess, example or guest or story that was kind of gratifying in a number of ways.
Adam Baruh: you know, and you bring up something else I think is really interesting, which is oftentimes, you know, we make a mistake or where we believe we’ve made a mistake and we’re convinced [00:34:00] that the other party caught us and, you know, is making their own. Belief systems about us because of this mistake, but you know, it’s a perception thing where, you know, much like what you’re just describing, like it sounded like, you know, Jim wasn’t even really aware that you had made a mistake, but like, from your perspective, like you had already kind of built this narrative that, oh, well he, he knows that I completely dropped the ball.
He’s going to think I’m this flake. Like, yeah, I guess maybe comments a little bit of, on that perception of like, sometimes what we think in our own heads, isn’t what. You know, other people are, are going to think as
Mark Graban: I was, I was making an assumption and a lot of the stories on the podcast or even through my own, uh, work. Um, a lot of mistakes are born from a, it turns out to be a bad assumption, right? You know, we, we make a decision or we take action based on something we think is true, but then it turns out, you know, not to be true.
So I think there’s a healthy entrepreneurship habit. If not, Personal [00:35:00] habit of trying to be like pretty, pretty solid. If I say something out loud, that sounds like a fact to step back and question and say, like, do I really know that? Or am I making an assumption? Now, an assumption doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
But if we recognize there’s an assumption, there’s a risk I could be not completely correct. But then then you’re driven to go test the assumption. I would rather make a mistake on a small scale. Learn. Replace that assumption with information and then be able to succeed, right? So I could have checked earlier instead of kind of fretting about it with Jim’s people.
And I did apologize, but I don’t know how I could have checked that assumption. I probably should have put that out of my head. But there’s all kinds of assumptions that we make in the course of doing business that sometimes we just need to stop and check them.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, certainly. All right. Well, as we kind of come to a close here today, I want to ask a couple more questions. Number one is, you know, for people that are listening here today that are, [00:36:00] you know, putting their concept of their podcast together, um, and getting ready to launch, like what would be some advice that you would give to that person that, that will help them as, as they get started in their own podcasting journey?
Mark Graban: I think, you know, there’s, there’s maybe back to that point around thinking, okay, what, what assumptions am I making and to think of what’s the purpose for doing a podcast? Um, if, if the, if there’s an assumption of, well, I’m in some professional setting or in a business, I’m going to do a podcast and it’s going to drive leads and generate business.
Okay, well, that’s an assumption that maybe at some point you can only just go and test and see. And you know, the beauty of podcasting is that it’s very low cost, low risk. Um, and then if you’re not getting the results that you had predicted, if you find out some assumption was not completely true, you, you can adjust.
You can, you can pivot, you know, so [00:37:00] there’s, there’s this balance. So I think like with any startup idea, like you can go and try to ask people, you can try to get input. What do you think of the idea? How do you think this would play out? Is this appealing or not? Would you listen or not? Would you pay? What For this podcast, if that’s what someone’s trying to do or not, you may get conflicting opinions, right?
So then at some point, I think like as, as a creator, whether it’s, you know, as a podcaster or as a book author, like at some point it’s your name on it. You, you’re, you gotta be the decider, you know, if, if you will. But, um, again, like, you know, podcasting, I think it’s just such, gives such opportunities to iterate.
And there’s a lot of people who have relaunched a podcast, Season two with a slightly different focus, or sometimes people relaunch under a different name, or there’s all kinds of things we could try to iterate on, um, to reach our goal, whether that’s building a larger audience or, [00:38:00] um, attracting certain guests who we’re looking to meet and network with.
So, I mean, I think as you were saying in some of the introductory remarks, Adam, like, please, you know, I would encourage people, please don’t have this, you know, kind of perfection paralysis. Like, Oh, I’m, I’m afraid to launch because something’s not perfect. You know what? Yeah, it’s not perfect. I cringe when I go back and listen to some of the stuff I did in 2006 and in the early days, both technically and as an interviewer.
Um, but yeah, I mean, you can try to test ideas, but then at some point, all you can do is really test it for real out in the market by, by launching, asking for feedback and, uh, and adjusting.
Adam Baruh: Okay. Um, all right. Well, final two questions, um, on the theme of discoveries. The first is just about podcasting and the podcasting, you know, landscape as it evolves over time. Like what. What are some discoveries that you’ve made that you’ve noticed just about [00:39:00] podcasting and the fact that you’ve been doing it for a while now?
I mean, you can compare between your 2006 days to now. Like, what are some of those discoveries that you could point to that you’ve noticed just about podcasting between then and now?
Mark Graban: mean, I think there’s a couple things like for one and as a avid podcast listener, it’s so much easier to listen to podcasts now, like compared to downloading an MP3 file, putting it on my dedicated little tiny MP3 player. And like, you know, the guidance back in the day was episode episodes shouldn’t be any longer than the typical commute, which is like 20 or 25 minutes.
Because it was a real pain in the butt if someone ever hit stop podcast the chances of them ever picking up and resuming were probably pretty slim. But now I think like with smartphones and modern podcast apps and you know the ability to either stream episodes or they’re all, you know, you open the app and it says, Hey, here’s where you left off.[00:40:00]
There’s room for longer form interviews, so I don’t know if I’m making a mistake, but my episodes have kind of crept from like 25 minutes to 45 or 50. You know, um, I don’t know if I mean, that’s a discovery. I don’t know if everyone would agree with that. And then I think as recording technologies have changed, like I used to do it through Skype.
And for a lot of reasons, it was audio only. I didn’t even I was it wasn’t even a matter of not publishing video. I wasn’t even seeing my guest. But now in recent years with Platforms like you’re using and zoom and other ways that people can record, like for one, it’s more natural to be on video. We’re doing video meetings all the time.
And here’s the thing. I still I’m discovering. I don’t know, like to me, I feel like sometimes doing the video version of the podcast may detract from the audio version. And I’ll give you like two reasons why so like where we have a video connection [00:41:00] right now, and I’m not picking on you, but I do the same thing like for those who are just listening.
I’m talking and Adams giving me great body language. He’s he’s nodding his head. That, of course, doesn’t come through in the audio. Or, um, you know, there’s times where, um, somebody might say something funny and I give like kind of hearty smile or I lean back and now the noise cancellation has eliminated my laughter from the recording.
I’ve seen that happen before. Um, part of me wonders, and maybe I just experiment with this. If I were to do a month of podcasting and say that we’re gonna leave the video off because there’s far more people listening than there are watching on YouTube and to force everything to be a purely audio interaction.
I don’t I don’t know.
Adam Baruh: That’s a really interesting, no, it’s a really, it’s a really interesting point that you’re making. I mean, a discovery or just kind of like a, um, you know, something that you became curious about. And I, I’m curious about it now that you bring it up myself, which is, you know, what do we [00:42:00] lose when we record in an audio only environment versus a video environment?
I mean, I. We were speaking before we hit record today about baseball. We’re, you know, we’re both kind of some baseball fans and you know, what the radio broadcasters do is much different than the TV broadcasters because the radio broadcasters have to fill in a lot more emotion and analysis about the game.
Then, you know, a TV broadcaster, um, will do. And I think that kind of highlights some of what you’re talking about, which is, you know, what are we by, by sharing, you know, the video feed here as we are having the conversation. I think it’s something that I became curious about just as you brought it up is, is there something that I’m losing?
Like, how does it actually change the conversation just given the format of how we’re recording? So I know there’s no real answer on that, but it’s, it’s a curiosity thing. Really.
Mark Graban: that. Yeah. I mean, there’s good and bad to it. Like, I mean, there’s a lot of advantages. I think you can connect with people. Um, by having the [00:43:00] video, even if I wasn’t publishing the video anywhere, we can, we can gesture, we can do things to like, especially if there’s more than two people involved in the podcast, but I don’t know, there used to be kind of a certain intimacy where, you know, I’d have the microphone in the stand and I’d just be, you know, kind of leaning and leaning into the microphone.
I don’t know if that makes a difference or I don’t know. It’s just that scene of like, You know, I’m I’m listening and maybe more intently. I don’t know. And it’s just it’s it’s different. Um, it’s more of a pondering than a discovery.
Adam Baruh: Right. Yeah. Um, all right. Final question again on the theme of discovery, more kind of like personal nature, you know, as, as a podcaster and just, you’ve been doing this a while. Are there discoveries that you’ve made about yourself personally, that perhaps you weren’t aware of, you know, as you first started in the podcasting?
Mark Graban: I think it’s partly a discovery and partly feedback from from [00:44:00] people. Or maybe this is just something it’s hard to remember. Sometimes, you know, I’ve been doing this for 17 years, really regularly. I don’t know. Think I’m I get feedback that I’m a good interviewer or that I ask, you know, good questions. Or if someone’s doing a podcast tour, the questions I’m asking aren’t the same five questions they’re getting from everyone else.
And I think some of that then has carry over effect into my professional life. I think that’s a really good skill of being able to ask questions to connect dots between different things that have been said to come back to something that was said 20 minutes ago. And let’s Let’s revisit that and dig deeper.
I think that helps me sometimes as a coach and a consultant. So it’s more of, I think, well, that’s it’s a benefit. I guess it’s also, um, a discovery. I don’t think I would have anticipated at the beginning that that would be a benefit of doing podcasting of, of asking a question and then sometimes [00:45:00] learning to step back and really let someone listen.
I think that’s helpful. Not just As an interviewer. But again, like in the workplace.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, I totally agree with that. Well, Mark, this has been great to get to know you. I’m super excited to pick up a copy of your book and to check that out. So thank you so much for being a guest here today.
Mark Graban: Thanks, Adam. I appreciate it.
Adam Baruh: Mark Rabin is an author, speaker, and consultant whose latest book, the mistakes that make us cultivating a culture of learning and innovation is available now on Amazon. also the author of the award winning book, Lean Hospitals, improving quality, patient safety, and employee engagement and others, including measures of success, react less, lead better, improve more.
He serves as a consultant through his company, Constancy Inc., and is also a senior advisor for the technology company, Kinexus. Mark hosts podcasts, including Lean blog interviews and My Favorite Mistake. You can find out more about Mark in our [00:46:00] episode show notes. Are you stuck trying to take your podcast to the next level?
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