Episode #32| Leadership in the 21st Century Renaissance with Peter Winick
In this episode, he shows us how the current landscape has affected small businesses worldwide for the better and how we as entrepreneurs can benefit from starting our own thought leadership to elevate our brand or business.
Peter Winick 00:00
As an entrepreneur, we often think of ourselves as I’m less than, I don’t have the brand recognition of, I don’t have the budget of I don’t have the footprint of, I’m not as big as, and to me that is all BS and what I believe very, very strongly is thought leadership gives you the ability to punch far above your weight class.
Evan Le Clus 00:20
Hello, you were listening to The Dare to Scale Show with me, Evan.
Warsha Joshi 00:25
And me Warsha. This show is about all things scaling, scaling your business, your journey and you
Evan Le Clus 00:34
You are here because you dare to dream, dared to dream big. So, sit back and enjoy the conversation, or perhaps even joining.
Warsha Joshi 00:46
Hello, and welcome to this brand-new episode of The Dare to Scale Show. Today we have with us Peter Winnick. Peter is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage, who for the past two decades, has been helping entrepreneurs, individuals, organizations grow their revenue streams, through identifying and developing their individual thought leadership platforms. He is an immensely respected name in the industry. So, it is a treat to have you here with us, Peter, thank you for joining us.
Peter Winick 01:19
My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Evan Le Clus 01:21
Hi, Peter and welcome.
Warsha Joshi 01:23
Peter, let’s start with first of all, talking about the recovery phase now. Over the course of the past 18 months, we’ve come out of a situation that’s in the way we see it as is only going to propel us further. So, while what happened happened, now it’s time for recovery. So, what are some of the trends that you’re seeing in your part of the world that you see now continuing for the next 10 to 12 months?
Peter Winick 01:48
Yeah, I mean, I think there are things that are forever changed and I think there are things that we think might be forever changed that aren’t right. So, for example, you know, we’ve been living in a world absent in person and conferences and events for 18 months and while I’m not sure we’ll ever get to 2019 – 2018 levels in my lifetime, I do know that there is just a basic human need of getting people together and you know, all the technology and all the tools and all that we can transmit information around the globe via zoom and all these other technologies. But you know, I have yet to see and I’ve seen some cool creative things, the serendipity, that connection, the random act of being at a conference and meeting someone you didn’t plan on getting in an elevator that leads to a chat that leads to a friendship and all that. So, I think that piece has to come back. I think work has been and will continue to be absolutely totally redefined. I mean, I think it’s this concept of going to a place that isn’t the place you woke up in nine to five every day, or jumping on an aero plane three times a week, and I was guilty of it as well and I think if nothing else, it will force us hopefully, for a longer period of time, then get reverting to the norm to say, is it really necessary to you know, my standard operating system have a great phone call? And someone say great, I’ll meet you in Chicago for lunch next week? Well, it’s kind of nuts. Right? So, I think it’s going to force us to rethink, is that worth my time? Does that make sense? And it doesn’t mean that things aren’t, you know, the bar is gonna be a little bit higher, we’re gonna be a little bit more thoughtful than just reactive to those sorts of things.
Warsha Joshi 03:20
Yep, totally true. Because that’s what we’re seeing in this part of the world as well. Especially this is true in large corporate scenarios where international travel has dramatically been redefined forever. So, because we never ever realized that business can happen like this, we’re on opposite sides of the planet and yet, here we are connected, and business still continues. Work still happens. So, I totally love it.
Peter Winick 03:48
Yeah, I was gonna say, I think part of that is we’re spoiled, right? So, if this pandemic had happened, even five years ago, I’m not talking about 50 years ago, before cell phones and all that the tools were just not there yet. Like, I’ve been doing video-based calls for a dozen years and it’s not until the last you know, two or three with Zoom, that it’s consistent, reliable and steady and good. Versus every other call would start 10 minutes late, because somebody downloading something or had a call it is just too hard, too difficult to do it. It’s thoughtless. Now the way we do it, like it’s almost more difficult to make a phone call is to say, maybe on the Zoom, and I think that the richness, there’s been a lot of controversy and things that I’m reading about, you know, Is the camera on? Is the camera off? Is it zoom fatigue, etc.? I think there’s a different level of connection and richness with an on-camera experience than off and I think there’s also a level of respect, and it’s kind of hard to be checking your emails when we’re doing this. So yeah,
Warsha Joshi 04:48
it is it is and it just to me, I think I just experienced this late last evening, I was having a call with somebody in my team and it was a phone call, you know, old school phone call, picked up the phone and had a long chat and we were Talking about something quite defining and where the business is going and I asked for a zoom call this morning and I said, you know what, while we talked about all this, I’m so used to now seeing people, and it just forms for an engaging conversation. It’s just that thoughts sort of spark differently than when you’re not looking at somebody and a lot can be lost in translation in on a phone call, or in your tone of voice or like a lot can be lost in translation on email. So, for me, it just, it was a big aha moment to say, wow, I really am so in tune with having video calls like this now and of course, it’s efficient. We don’t have to travel across the city to meet somebody, or was, like I said, across the country to have lunch with someone. So yeah. How has this, are you seeing affected your small business?
Peter Winick 05:49
Yeah. So, for us, the beginning, you know, the end of Q1 beginning, Q2 2020 was terrible. Yeah, as one would expect, right? Because everybody panicked, everybody froze, everybody just stopped everything and I think part of that is human nature is such to say like, Listen, you know, I’ve been around enough to go, okay, you know, the market went down 3000 points today, the world end, like we’ve been through this, there are cycles, whatever, we didn’t have a point of reference to say, aha, this is kind of like that other thing I went through, but a little bit different, you know, there was Hurricane Katrina, and we just had a storm here either like, okay, it’s like that, but not, we had no frame of reference and nobody knows and we still don’t know when it’s going to end. But then what happened is, I think, number one, given that my clients are amazingly smart, thought leaders, authors, speakers, academics, etc., the excuse they always had for not doing the 10 other things they wanted to do is I don’t have the time. So, we’re starting to see now because you give a bunch of smart people something back, that’s invaluable time and I’m calling it sort of the COVID Renaissance, we’re seeing so much amazing books come out are people updating their work sessions and all these other things, because they’ve had the time to be thoughtful about it. So that’s really cool and now business is amazing, because people have realized a, they have to re-engineer the way they do things, right. If I was a keynote speaker, and there’s not a market for keynote speakers, I can either go on and be you know, go to dental school, or figure out how do I provide value and get paid to deliver that value to my clients in different formats and modality?
Warsha Joshi 07:15
Absolutely brilliant and I think what you said is something I’m going to probably name this episode on COVID Renaissance, because very few people take that positive spin on this to say, how are things definitely changed and yet, it’s a renaissance of sorts. That’s what it is, is redefined everything that we do, how we live, how we work?
Peter Winick 07:35
Well, actually, if you go back in history, I mean, the original Renaissance age, you know, Florence, and there were 14-1500 came after the Black Plague. You know, we’re not all that special. This has happened before. We tend to think that we’re all that unique and it’s like, you look what came out of the Renaissance period. I mean, we’re still enjoying that the amazing work five, 600 years later.
Warsha Joshi 07:56
Totally. Oh, absolutely and which brings me very nicely to the topic that we’ve been discussing for the past couple of months, almost, this is also a time to scale yourself to that entrepreneur to that person on the street, it could be anybody and you touched a little bit on that. Just like, we suddenly thought, what great if I can’t do this, or if I had can now sit back and think about something else. Maybe I want to do something. Yes. So, can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Peter Winick 08:25
Yeah, totally. So, here’s the deal. The world according to me, which is probably not totally accurate. But from where I sit it, it kind of makes sense, right? We are all being commoditised. I don’t care if you’re selling a product that literally is a commodity, or a service or an attorney or consultant, whatever. The trend is, at a speed faster than we’ve ever experienced in human history before, which will only continue, we’re all being commoditised. So, you know, an x ray technician that went to school for years and years and years and years, is now fighting for a job with a computer that can be via AI and all these other things, probably read the X rays more effectively, less mistakes show up for work every day. So, this is the reality. Okay, so that’s the negative side, the positive side is as an entrepreneur, you know, we often think of ourselves as I’m less than I don’t have the brand recognition of, I don’t have the budget of, I don’t have the footprint of, I’m not as big as and to me, that is all BS, right? And what I believe very, very strongly is thought leadership gives you the ability to punch far above your weight class. So, I’m a little consulting firm, I’ve 10 people on staff, right. I strongly believe we are absolutely best in class in what we do and not that we are competing with an Accenture or Deloitte or whatever. But we put out things that are of that quality of McKinsey, whatever, on that par that our clients look at and go, Wow, that’s interesting and I think if you’re not using thought leadership, as a way to show the world who you are, what you do, why you’re smarter than your competitors, even if your competitors are 1000 times your size, you’re missing the point, my humble opinion.
Warsha Joshi 10:03
What a brilliant opinion and I know, I’m glad you touched on thought leadership, because I know Evan has a couple of questions on that coming up. Because who better to ask those questions and you? Now I’m moving on slightly to that entrepreneur, again, still keeping the spotlight on the entrepreneur, because those are listeners and the question that I have for you, Peter is, then it comes to strategy. Most business owners focus a lot on operations, not a great deal on strategy, especially when we go into what actually anytime but especially now, when we’re going into a very strong recovery mode, what are some of the things that you would advise, and maybe your top three things that you would say, to focus on?
Peter Winick 10:42
Yeah, so number one, every single engagement that we start with a new client is a strategy development, engagement, period, full stop, like, period. So, I think what happens is, strategy is either done as an isolated activity, like oh, yeah, we did that thing four years ago, when we went to the ski resort for three days and then you know, the document is covered in dust or sitting in a hard drive. So, to me, strategy. At some level, it’s a luxury. So, I get it, a lot of entrepreneurs are stuck in the day to day of their business and serving their clients and dealing with their employees and whatever, you have to absolutely must make the time to develop a strategy period and many of us if we’re honest with ourselves are operating from either we don’t have one, we’re operating from an antiquated one, the one we’re using or reclaim that we’re using isn’t working, or isn’t working as well and I talk to our clients all the time and I’m like, Okay, that’s interesting. But that’s a tactic and dire search of a strategy and it’s easy for a typical entrepreneur who’s got no attention span, I’m guilty of this, you know, a little bit of ADD, I’m guilty of it chasing the next shiny thing to want to go do the next Oh, let me go on tick tock or Ooh, let me do this in a like, a good strategy is a dynamic breathing living tool that says, ah, how does this align to our strategy? How does this line up to what we’re trying to achieve? And how we’re going to achieve it? Or is it a distraction? Or do we need to revise the strategy? The second big point I want to make is that many entrepreneurs think like, well, I don’t need to develop a strategy, because I’m not going out there raising $100 million, right? So, a lot of people think, oh, I need the business planning and strategy. You know, Warsha, I had an idea we’re gonna open $100 million shopping mall in Dubai. Well, we need investors investors are going to need to see the plant. Right. Okay. It’s only us. So, we don’t need to do any of that. Well, that’s nonsense. Right? If you would do it for a third-party investor, why wouldn’t you do it? To honor your own money, your own time, your own resources? My again, humble opinion.
Warsha Joshi 12:38
Oh, wow and listeners, we are on a video call with Peter and what you don’t see is me silently uploading every single word that he said about strategy. That was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, loved it and it’s a living breathing document. It’s a live document. It’s a dynamic document and never find a document. It’s a continuous thought process and in must be treated like that. So, Peter, that was absolutely brilliant. Thank you, Evan, you had a couple of questions for Peter. So go for it.
Evan Le Clus 13:09
Thanks, Warsha. Actually, Peter, just picking up from what you were saying just before, just a new experience. You’re touched on like a tactical strategy for one of a better word, and then the sort of strategic level strategy. So, there’s different levels of that. When people are coming to are they normally stuck at the tactical level, like a business plan kind of level as opposed to a transformational vision?
Peter Winick 13:29
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think there’s different levels of stock. So, I think that many thought leaders get into thought leadership, totally accidentally and serendipitously, right so I always joke with clients like listen, if you had an appointment with your dentist this afternoon, Evan, and so did I and we said, you know what, let’s do this. Let’s go ask our dentist, how they became dentist and compare notes. It’s going to be an incredibly boring conversation. The next day, I went to dental school I interned I studied, I got my degrees on my certificates and now I’m a dentist, right? I’ve done this if you ask 50 thought leaders, how did you get here? I was just like, kind of the theme of a lot of my podcast answers I’ve heard literally, I was a homeless street juggler in San Diego, you know, Oh, that’s interesting. I was 27 years old; I was behind backstage at a conference with my boss, literally holding the briefcase, the boss turned around, you know, got sick and threw up in a wastebasket handed me the microphone and said, well, there’s 1000 people out there, I’m not going to make it figure it out kid and realized I love speaking, right? I wrote an email to a friend because I was really depressed and upset and he passed it to someone else and that became a blog and that became a series of blogs and that became a book and like, you know, there is a huge place for serendipity in the career or the space of thought leadership that typically doesn’t apply to most other places. There isn’t a logical linear, you know, if you want to go work for Goldman Sachs, you go, you know, go to Harvard Business School, whatever. Not that that’s a bad thing to do, or thought leaders don’t come from that approach. But there is no one best way to do it, which is what I find really amazing and fascinating and interesting.
Evan Le Clus 14:58
Wow. So, starting from all over the shop, essentially getting to that top leadership space, you also talk about a thought leader running their practice. I think you do if I remember rightly, you do sort of thought leadership work with actual entrepreneurs who like brick-and-mortar businesses, what’s the difference there?
Peter Winick 15:17
What not no, no. So most? Well, let me let me sort of split that most of the work that we do our traditional thought leaders, the product, the business is the thought leadership, right? So, they’ve got an idea of VLANs in the book and then from there, you’ve got all sorts of derivative products, offerings and solutions, right? That’s sort of classic thought leadership, then there are others. We call them organizational thought leaders, where they’re not selling the thought leadership. So, this could be high tech, financial services, professional services, some nonprofits where they’re using the thought leadership, to show the world they have a perspective, they have models, they have a framework, they have a point of view, etc. So, if I am an HR consultancy, I need to be putting out thought leadership, particularly right now on things that are relevant to the community that matters to me mental health in the workplace, the hybrid workforce, DENI, you know, all these sorts of things. People need to see that they’re not going to pay me for that. But then they go, Wow, that’s a pretty smart consultancy, etc. So, I think it really depends on are you using thought leadership? Is thought leadership the product? Or is it a vehicle to elevate the status of the brand and attract net new clients, but you’ve got other ways to monetize those clients?
Evan Le Clus 16:26
Okay, cool and when you talked about essentially, the business being the thought leadership piece that is distinct from the entrepreneur themselves?
Peter Winick 16:33
Well, actually, almost all of those folks are entrepreneurs, they might not always describe themselves that way. But yeah, I mean, ultimately, most of those are small businesses, anything from a solo with a couple of folks helping them on the Internet or scheduling to maybe I don’t know, on the high end on that side. 20-30-50 million US annual revenue, most of them much less than that. Hmm. But yeah, a lot of them are trailblazing entrepreneurs figuring out how do I you know, to me, and maybe there’s a better way to answer your question, Evan, you can have a practice which is okay, you know, there’s so many hours in the week, I want to be billable. Blah bla, bla, bla, bla, great. Moving from a practice to a business. That’s where I think the entrepreneurial lights go on. Right? Because we could debate whether practices entrepreneurial, you’re self-employed? Yes, its kind of is. But lowercase E, right.
Evan Le Clus 17:22
Just for the listeners, we’re all nodding around the table is like no. Business because you selling time for dollars.
Peter Winick 17:27
Yeah, and listen, it’s not the worst business model. But I say, Listen, if your business model is the same business model is lawyers are prostitutes, you might want to ask yourself, like, Is this really the smartest business model out there? You know, just a thought. But it moves to a different place when that entrepreneur goes, Okay, it’s not just about me, coaching, consulting, advising speaking, how do I expand and move from a practice to a business, the crown jewels of the business, is the intellectual property is the thought leadership, and it can’t be just dependent on me. So now you ultimately have two choices, am I going to go into people heavy mode, you know, having others deliver my stuff? And that’s one way to go. But it comes with its own set of issues in terms of quality control, and all that other stuff? Or am I going to go product based? Right? Am I going to take my ideas and put them into apps or video-based training system validated assessment tools, licensed? There’s an infinite number of ways to configure that, and there is no one best here’s the way to do it. Yeah, right and everything leads to choices.
Evan Le Clus 18:23
Yeah, totally love it. The basis of the questions was some of the things that we found along the way. In fact, we recently had a mastermind group together and we were talking about some of this where one of the entrepreneurs was wondering how to separate themselves from the brand, or should they be the brand? And yeah, it was an interesting discussion. Yeah and the other problem a lot a lot of entrepreneurs have is aren’t I must do content. Right and I think the distinction you’ve made there, is it thought leadership, specifically, you know, in your industry, but at what point do you find the entrepreneur is separated from the brand?
Peter Winick 18:57
Yeah, it’s a complicated question, because we’ve got a group of clients that ultimately, we’re responsible for making them highly relevant. Right? And then we have those same clients a year or two later, that we have to make them highly irrelevant. It really, you know, depends on the journey of the business, right? Because at the end of the day, no one’s ever bought anybody speaking business, that will never happen, right. But many thought leadership-based organizations that are entrepreneurial, have had exits, but the exits have to be based on solid IP not being so personality based, etc. So, at the risk of sounding consultant, the answer to that complex question, it depends, you know, there are ways to ultimately, it really depends on where your starting point is, if the brand has been all about, Evan, we can’t just change that in five minutes, because we’ll give our clients whiplash. We can think about it over 18 to 24 months and go okay, ultimately, it’s powered by Evan and then ultimately, it’s Evan who, oh, yeah, he’s sort of invented this and, you know, for example, Ken Blanchard is I think 85 years old, and it he is amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing, you know, and there are probably right now today as we speak, hundreds of classes going on based on situational leadership. I don’t know that a typical 26-year-old sitting at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, is expecting Ken to walk in the room. Right and that is the ultimate, you know, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, he’s been deceased for, I think, eight or 10 years for the books. 35 years old, there are people first cracking open that content today having a difference, right and even though it was birth of his mind, and his thinking, they did a brilliant job of separating it from him, where he’s not the only delivery vehicle for the thought leadership is one of a suite.
Evan Le Clus 20:40
Fantastic. Peter, it was a complex set of question and you answered that beautifully, because while everything is very much situational, it’s like situational leadership, right? It depends on where you are in that journey and I think that distinction that you put out, there will definitely help some of the listeners, because it’s important to be the knowledgeable person or the knowledgeable business that people can relate to, you know, it’s not just a flash in the pan. So, it’s very, very important.
Peter Winick 21:06
What I often get is a practical piece, Evan, where people say, oh, I want to be like, so and so and so. Okay, great. All you know, is selling. So right now, over the last five years, what you don’t know, is that journey took that person 30 years, and there were five books, they wrote that nobody read, there’s you know, okay, so I get that you want to be you know, nobody says I want to be where Evan was in the deepest darkest struggles for 10 years. That what they see today, and they don’t understand, well, how do you reverse engineer? Well, what did it take them to get there? Am I willing to do that? What would I do differently? You know, so I think that’s the whole piece too.
Evan Le Clus 21:39
And look, I mean, that dovetails nicely into to some of the stuff we write in our book, which is a founder to leader, it’s, it’s a journey, and there’s no such thing as an overnight success. What people see is the final result. Yeah, yeah, it definitely is a journey and there’s, you know, tenacity, and grit, and all sorts of stuff that goes into that, along with the foundational or not even foundational, it’s the transformational vision that the entrepreneur wants to put out there. Absolutely. Love it. So, I love the journey that you’ve got, and I totally love what you do with the entrepreneurs in your part of the world. Thank you. Any last thoughts? Before we wrap up?
Peter Winick 22:11
Um, no, this has been great. I mean, I think the only thoughts I would have been, I would challenge any entrepreneur out there, to figure out why they couldn’t do some form of thought leadership in some way to either elevate their personal brand, or more importantly, drive the business in a way they want to do it. To me, it is the absolutely the most cost-effective marketing tool, customer client, that new client acquisition tool, etc. But it’s different, right? And you have to learn and you have to be willing to commit etc. It’s not as easy as signing up for a Google AdWords campaign and I’m not saying it’s better than or substitute for, but it should be a tool in your toolbox, that you’re constantly sharpening and getting out there.
Evan Le Clus 22:50
Completely love it and you know what? That’s bang on point and I’m going to quote you on that in the sense that we’re working with some of our entrepreneurs, told you so and no, there is no excuse. It’s been an absolute wonder to speak with you. It’s been a good couple of months. We’ve had a good couple of conversations and it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show.
Peter Winick 23:10
Oh, my pleasure. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thank you.
Evan Le Clus 23:13
We’ll speak again soon.
Warsha Joshi 23:14
Thank you so much.
Warsha Joshi 23:18
Thank you for joining us and for listening all the way through. To get the show notes, the transcription and of course to subscribe, visit dare to scale.fm
Evan Le Clus 23:29
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