Leading Without Ego with Josh Block

1,000 Stories

Transcript

Joe Mills: What are the unique experiences that drive business leaders to keep growing, and how can the lessons learn from those stories, enable others to do the same? I’m Joe Mills,

Reid Morris: and I’m Reid Morris,

Joe Mills: and together we’re investigating who it takes and the tools to use to build companies and culture.

Reid Morris: Then we’re sharing those stories with you.

Joe Mills: This is 1000 Stories, an original show from Element Three.

Reid Morris: Okay, Joe, so our next conversation is with Josh. Can you give everyone a bit of information on where this conversation’s coming from, what you’re trying to get out of it? Yeah, so

Joe Mills: Josh is a classic business owner. He took over the family business as co-president when he was only 29.

After a little bit of a family emergency came up medically that needed to transition and so, He actually was outside of the business, hadn’t really planned on getting into it. And so that’s part of what I wanna unpack with him is like, what brought you back? What are you trying to achieve with it now?

How has that shifted? What was the transition moment like? You know, a lot of that change conversation will be interesting with him. And I also know that they’re a very mission driven business in the sense of it’s about the people, they talk about it all. It is about the people and they try very hard to live that.

And so I’m interested in seeing as another business that’s very much about the people, how does it play out for. How they implemented that. How did their leadership team think? Like all those kinds

Reid Morris: of questions. I feel like there’s maybe a thread that we haven’t pulled on too much over these conversations around when things happen, these unknown unknowns come up and happen.

How do these different leaders react to that? What’s their sentiment like? Even we think about somebody like Becky, who, you know, as we’ve talked about before, Took a step back title wise in her career. There were different variables happening in her life. She’s balancing kids and all those types of things in, in those decisions.

And that’s something that’s happened across the board. But a lot of these individuals have had things come up that shifted whatever their trajectory was and how did they embrace it, how did they make decisions around the scenarios? And I think that

Josh Block: could be interesting to explore with Josh. I am president of Block Imaging and we have about 170 people headquartered out of Lansing.

We’re a second generation family business that’s focused in the radiology space across the board from imaging equipment, parts service, and we also have a mobile fleet that we serve healthcare providers around the world. And when we set up healthcare providers for success, they serve patients. And those patients are people, you know, they’re, they’re grandmothers moms, their dads, their aunts, uncles, kids.

And so our mission really is that because people matter, we seek to create a thriving team culture that cares for healthcare providers and provides a second chance at life for equipment so that that equipment can provide a second chance at life for patients. Is that

Joe Mills: something that came from your dad when he started it or is that something that you guys have developed since

Josh Block: you took over?

Yeah, so that was kind of an evolution. So my dad retired in 2011 and right around 2011 and 12 is when we began transitioning from being a really a brokering operation to a full healthcare provider. And so we had a, a vice president of marketing who, who had a, about with cancer, and all of a sudden you go from your twenties to like, whoa, this is life changing.

And so that’s when it started to, healthcare really came alive for many of us as leaders. And so that piece as well as our deep love for people kind of collided to establish our full mission statement that was put in place in 2011 and has been in place for the last 12 years. This might be a kind

Joe Mills: of weird question, but um, do you think that the personal experience of it all is like necessary to get there?

Like where if, if you don’t have the fronthand experience, like do you think it is as authentic as

Josh Block: what you’ve put together? Obviously that’s true from a patient care and healthcare experience perspective. And yet for me, the, the biggest driver and at the forefront of our mission is a thriving team culture.

And, and growing up, I, I loved every job I ever had. I worked at a cider mill when I was a teenager. I waited tables at Cracker Barrel, I ran a golf simulator league in high school. I flipped burgers at a restaurant called Cupe. And I enjoyed every job. And then I got into my twenties and I realized like, whoa.

Most people don’t like their work or feel respected by their boss or appreciate their organizations. And so that was a collision that really led to me going like, what if we could create a place? Where people loved to work, they enjoyed the people they were working with, and they felt like their bosses actually cared about them and made solid decisions.

And so I would say that, well, healthcare is really, really significant to what we do. Creating a place where people love to work and ultimately work with customers who get to work with people that love to work where they work. That’s really probably what drives me as much as anything in this. Let’s rewind a

Joe Mills: second to high school.

You identified a few, or frankly, working at a cider mill sounds pretty cool. And running a golf simulator sounds pretty cool, but flipping burgers and waiting tables are like those classic things. People like, oh yeah, you know, I flipped burgers, I did this. Were you like ? Were you like the, um, really excited person at Cracker Barrel and everybody else around you was like, this is just a job.

Or like, what was your experience in high school being, being somebody who actually enjoyed

Josh Block: the work you were? Yeah, I, I don’t know that I was throwing a parade, you know, or anything like that, but I just, I didn’t have a negative connotation with it, like the people who are taking up smoking so that they can get a longer break, you know, that that was the sort of stuff that was happening, right?

And so if I could pretend to smoke, I could actually work less. That just wasn’t the frame that I was raised in. And so that’s, that just allows for a totally different outlook that I got to come to. I got to serve people who were having a family moment or a dinner with their spouse or whatever it is.

And then I went home. Candidly, I went home with a handful of singles as a waiter at Cracker Barrel, and I just thought that that process was always struck me as something that was really positive versus, oh man, I have to go to work. It’s an interesting

Joe Mills: reframing, like the half you got to is obviously, you know, beaten into submission by everybody.

But it’s interesting like the way you talk about the perspective shift, cuz you were in the same environment as people who were choosing to pick up smoking as an example, to have a longer break. But you were choosing that the environment was a good one while they were choosing the environment to be a bad one.

What, what was it about the way that you grew up that you think instilled that in you? Or what, what was it that allowed you to have that sort of perspective even at 16,

Josh Block: 17 years? My parents, I mean my dad, incredibly hard worker. Both parents are incredibly hard workers and both, uh, are servants. I mean, my mom to this day, my mom’s in her seventies and she has 20 grandkids and they’re constantly at her house and they’re driving around.

She’s just a life of hard work and a life of service is caring for others, and ultimately just the. The sense of accomplishment that comes with working hard is that even though there’s kind of this culture like, oh man, if I could just binge on Netflix, or if I could just watch, you know, TikTok reels all day long, or whatever it is that will fulfill that, that will actually bring me rest when in reality rest to be an outflow of work is something that I don’t know.

It’s just something that was part of my life from a very, very young. I’m somebody who also really

Joe Mills: identifies well with like hard work, but one of the things I’m interested in, the way that you describe it is like when you’re doing it, do you recognize it as the normal connotation of work or

Josh Block: does it feel different?

I mean, anything we look at the glass half empty versus the glass half full, right? There’s, there’s just, there’s way of approaching something and it’s all born out of our experience. There are people that are growing up today and we see it all over the place who are going in to pick their college major and business is a bad.

My dad was a workaholic, mom, spent too much time working or whatever it is that has kinda led to, oh, I don’t really wanna have anything to do with that whole, it’s, it’s just all about making money. And I’d say business man, business can be so much better, cooler, and more significant than the way that you’ve pigeonholed it into.

And so we see all these people, right? They go in nothing wrong. It’s great. Get a sociology major, a psychology major, counseling or teaching or social work, and those are all great things. And I would say, man, many of those things can be accomplished in the business sphere. And regardless of what major you pick, Candidly, many people end up in the business space because they have kids and ultimately need to provide for family and all those sorts of things.

And business becomes a great place to either accomplish goals or to provide for family. So let’s talk about college for a second

Joe Mills: cuz we were just chatting about your high school work experience. But what’d you go to

Josh Block: school for? I went to TA University and I, um, graduated with a degree in marketing and management.

So

Joe Mills: you were one of the people who went to school? Like, I think I’m gonna

Josh Block: be in. I knew from a very young age that I just, again, that negative connotation just didn’t exist for me. I loved entrepreneurship and going back to the money piece, like money can solve some extraordinary challenges, and you look at anyone who’s doing anything missionally, whether it be the environment or whether it be sex trafficking, it could be any number of things.

Oftentimes the vision and mission is larger than the resources that are in place to actually carry it. And so ever since I was very young, the thought of generating wealth as a vehicle and what that could do in people’s lives, whether it be outside of our organization or even providing, we have a, a fairly significant payroll, and each person is going home.

They, they came to work today and they’re gonna get paid this Friday, and ultimately it’s gonna provide for their families, whether they’re having children right now, or whether they’re sending a kid to college, or whether they’re buying a house, or whether they’re filling up their car with. Is that money could be a vehicle.

And I just thought that from an entrepreneurship and business perspective was a really cool thing. So did you know

Joe Mills: at that point you were like, I want to get into the family business, or were you sort of, I want to go out and do something different. Like I feel like there’s two routes, people taking that world.

Josh Block: Yeah, we have four brothers in the business, uh, four second generation sons, and none of us were in the business initially outta college is, I went, I actually lived in Muny, Indiana and was in, uh, community development. Even in my twenties, this thought that, hey, if we could, I started a window washing and house cleaning and power washing company is, hey, if we could provide jobs for people, that it would ultimately create stability.

And what we saw is that in the inner city, there’s tons of transients and that’s, that’s incredibly difficult when kids are moving from house to house and school to school. And so a job ends up being a bit of an anchor. And so that was a privilege to be a part of for, uh, six years. And then I transitioned outta that business and did join the family business.

But if you had told me at 21 you’ll be living in Lansing, Michigan, and that you’ll be a part of the family business, I would’ve bet you some pretty good money. That wasn’t gonna be the case. Okay, so let’s, let’s talk about that for a second. Why not? I owned the business with my brother-in-law and we were actually driving to a Dave Matthews concert in Columbus, Ohio, and just talking about the future and, and some of our goals that, that each of us had, and we decided that it made sense for him to carry that business forward and me to transition into a sales role.

And that was really gonna allow me to be in sales for the, the family business from Muni and also carry forward a lot of the community development initiatives that we were a part of from charter schools and, and housing development and all that sort of stuff. And little did I know that four or five years later I’d end up in Lansing, uh, and then three months after moving would transition into the president role in 2000.

Joe Mills: So you mentioned community development, and you mentioned that he had started like a power washing window washing. So you guys were using that company to do community development. Can you just talk

Josh Block: about what that was for a second? Again, at its core it was to provide a job. And when you provide a job stability from a financial perspective, from a housing perspective, uh, you also have incredible worth is, is at the end of the day that you, you accomplish something in exchange for a paycheck.

And all the lessons that are learned in work and serving customers and all that sort of stuff is just an incredible privilege. And so that, that was really the focus. But at the same time, we were involved in a whole bunch of other in initiatives from addiction recovery to what I said, charter schools and housing development.

Candidly,

Joe Mills: the idea of having the time and energy and space to be like, all right, I’m gonna do all this stuff and then I’m also gonna find a way to pour myself into a charter school and like community. Can you just help me understand,

Josh Block: like, how’d you weave those two together? So for us, it was ultimately starting the business.

I, I was fresh outta college, didn’t have any kids. My wife and I got married. I became very close with her brother, and the two of us just launched out. I was still in college. He kind of started, uh, moving the business forward and for the, one of the cool things about a window washing business is it’s, it’s a labor business, so it’s not a significant dollar investment to get into the.

And so started growing that. And then little by little, just like any movement and, and many of the things we’re doing here at Block Imaging today that people look at and go, wow, like Block University or your team engagement or whatever, the really cool thing that’s happening wasn’t really cool when it started like eight years ago.

It was just this little tiny seed of an idea, and that’s the same thing. The things that are going on in Mune, which we’ve been Lansing for 11. There are just extraordinary things that happen in the course of movement. And so we started the business and then little by little, uh, Leslie Draper started, uh, what’s now called Inspire Academy.

And Andrews involved in all sorts of incredible things. My sister-in-law’s the leader of Habitat for Humanity there, so there’s just a full integration of a group of people who came around a community and said, Hey, we’re gonna invest our lives in this place and this. I

Joe Mills: think it’s very interesting your point about at the beginning it never looks as cool as it looks later.

So you started that and then you mentioned you were driving to a concert and you decided, hey, it makes sense for me to move into a sales role with block imaging and for your brother-in-law to take the business and keep pushing it forward. What was the motivation

Josh Block: behind the move? There were a number of factors, but one of ’em is, and and I have this rise up every now and again and it, I don’t know if this is a human response or an any gram three or or what it is, but this idea of like, I’ve been building something, I’ve been working on something for like 5, 6, 7 years.

And if I could start over, I do things differently in this feeling like I should, like I should tear this whole thing down and start over again and my, I actually have it come up every now and again. Like, wow, if we could just tear this facility or this, whatever it is, down to the studs. I, I do some things differently and yet, Since that time when I was whatever, 25 or 26 to today, being 41, you can’t chew on that impulse.

It’s just the fact that you wanna change the color of the wall doesn’t mean you tear a building down to the foundation. Right? And so that, that was some of the drivers, man, I think I do some things differently and so why don’t we kind of restart and that was a sounds laughable and foolish at the time today, but it wasn’t.

No, man, I can really relate

Joe Mills: to that. I’m, I’m also in that agram three area, whether it’s three or four, I’m not, I, I think it’s three, but we’re working on it and so I can really identify with that, like, ah, I would do all of this differently. Like, I mean, at least once a year when I was running my gym, I was like, oh, we should just like completely shift everything and do it this way.

And I would say once a quarter with the, the responsibilities I have at Element Three, I’m like rethinking our sales process, rethinking how people experience us, like all this stuff. And I have to remind myself that rebuilding is not always the best option. Sure. That impulse remains and then you, you don’t respond to it.

Is that just by building people around you to check you on it, or have you built systems that allow you to not respond to that in a way that would be detrimental in the long run?

Josh Block: I mean, for me it’s just, it’s just shifting from rebuilding to like, what is a tweak? What’s a couple degree shift? That would have a significant impact because ultimately, sometimes if I’m, if I’m stressed or if I’m bored, I wanna buy something or build something.

My coach, who I work with talks a lot about, like, compulsive behaviors is one of the things that you do before you even recognize you’re doing it. And so this whole piece of like, Hey, you’re, you’re stressed or you’re bored. Let’s not take the organization for a tailspin because of your current condition.

Right? Okay. How are you wired and then what is the need of the organization? How do we orient around what’s really needed here for the team, for the organization, for the mission, for our customers, versus I just feel kind of like a cage lion for a few minutes on a Tuesday morning. Sure. I think that gets

Joe Mills: back to that point too around it’s not as cool at the beginning as, as at the end.

Sure. Does that same impulse help you to get through the, like, I guess like the not cool phase of things? Like can you see the end that other people

Josh Block: can’t? There’s a book that I read where her name’s Katie Davis and, and she’s just said this incredible story, but like, she just talks about taking the next right.

It’s like, so, and, and even in, uh, in Great By Choice, which is the follow up to Good To Great by Jim Collins, he talks about like bullets before cannon balls. So the organizations who are like, I’m gonna take 75 million in debt and we’re gonna buy, so we have MRIs and CT scanners and semi-trailers. And so to buy one is between about 300,000 and about 1.4 million to buy an asset that we can in turn rent.

And so the we, we bought. And then three and then five. And then now I think we have 21. And this, the business started four years ago. And so it’s that sort of thinking that like, I don’t know, are, are we gonna have 30 mobile someday or are we gonna have 250? I don’t know. But my focus oftentimes, and I hope our teams focuses on like, what’s the next right move.

And so for Block University, I, as I explained, and I’m gonna be walking through a session with 10 new team members in 30. Is like Block University just started us, Hey, how do we catch people up on our culture, values, vision that they have to come in and they have to learn a job. And they gotta learn. This new team, some of ’em have to learn a new industry.

Why do we make them have to guess our culture or the things we stand for? Cause their culture is not accidental. And so we started with this little pamphlet and like, Hey, here’s our history and here’s our values and whatever. And today there’s something that’s a, a document that walks through an actual semester.

And then we have a graduation ceremony where we have the music. So what started eight years ago was this flimsy little packet. And now, today somebody. Wow. I can’t believe, I mean, block University. That is totally amazing. And you’re like, yeah, well it was when we started. So

Joe Mills: you, you moved back to Lansing and three months later you’re in charge of the thing Yeah.

At 29 and not the oldest, the oldest person in the, in the set of brothers. So just take me through that process, like how, how’d

Josh Block: that happen? We had a family emergency and in 2011 that led to a, a very quick transition. So 72 hours from Friday in a sales role. To Monday being president of the organization with one caveat.

So we had a spinoff organization at that time, which is a parts and service team that, uh, Jason Crossroad was president and leading. And so we went to high school together and little by little we’ve actually woven the organization back together. So we have two co-presidents and he and I lead side by side.

It’s a very unique model and structure. So I just wanna clarify before sharing anything else on that transition. So Jason was and continues to be just. Integral part of leading this organization and really oversees all of our operations. But as far as the transition, yeah, Monday morning you wake up, you step into an organization that there are a few areas you bring expertise in and there’s a whole lot.

You don’t, I had not seen a profit and loss statement, new, almost nothing about our Japan operation had hired crushes, few people in my life. And so I’ll just say if we had a bucket of what I knew and a bucket of what I didn’t know, the bucket of what I didn’t know was a whole lot bigger than the one.

What was your response like? Was

Joe Mills: it, was it demotivating to see how much you had to learn or was it like invigorating? What was the feeling that Monday morning you sit down at your desk and you’re like,

Josh Block: woo. So when I think about the word humility, which Len talks about a lot, Jim Collins talks about a lot, and of course tons other leadership thinkers is humil is like having an accurate understanding of what you know and what you don’t know, where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

And so while I didn’t know it at the time, it was a great gift. To not know some of the things, to not know tons of stuff, which forced us to work together. Whereas if I had gone to executive school, you know, five years to like learn step by step by step on how to lead block imaging, there’d be a propensity to walk into the role and be like, I’ve got the plan.

I’ve gotta figure it out. This is where we’re gonna go. And instead it was the complete opposite to go to our finance leader and our HR leader and our sales leader go across the board and say, whoa. I’m gonna need your help. We’re gonna need to work together. There’s an awful lot I don’t know, and we’re gonna have to figure it out.

So humility was, even though it was a little bit intimidating, and especially around my age, there were some insecurity around just like, wow, there are a lot of people in the organization that have more experience and are older than I am. And yet being pointed toward humility was just an incredible gift.

That’s an interesting point.

Joe Mills: I’m interested in how you addressed it, the insecurity around age. I mean, it’s something that you can’t control. Like you can’t wake up tomorrow and be 15 years

Josh Block: older. Did you call it out? Somewhere in that era, I learned how to grow a beard. So I’ll tell you that growing a beard does wonders for looking and feeling five years older.

So that’s step number one. But if you can’t do that and being humble and trans. Sitting down with someone who reports nbu you and having them walk through the financials or cash flow statements or whatever, or the balance sheet, whatever that is, and actually just say, just teach me. Would you just teach me?

What would you wanna know if I were in your shoes? And people were just incredibly gracious. And it has led to an organization today where. Almost no decision gets made in a silo. We just, we don’t do cowboys. Like, if you’re not sure, and it’s a decision. As any consequence, we go across the office or we pick up the team’s call and we talk to me and say, Hey, would you help me refine or sharpen this idea before we launch?

Because it, it takes a few moments to sharpen an idea, but it takes a whole lot longer to go back and clean up poorly made decisions and execut. You

Joe Mills: started to bring up time. One of the things that jumped into my head when you talked about meeting with your sales, with your HR ops, like everything across the board, is that it sounds slow.

It slows down the speed at which like you can quote, make an impact as a new leader. Sure. Did you experience that feeling when you took it over?

Josh Block: I think everything felt like I was moving pretty fast at that time. So I don’t know that I experienced that, but I, I also, someone had handed me a book, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and that’s a book that’s on a lot of people’s shelves, and it’s a good one to check off the list.

But for me, when Pat said like, if we could get everybody rowing in the same direction, we could dominate. And then ultimately that team’s the ultimate competitive advantage. It’s like those two quote. When you’re 29 years old and you take a whole bunch of new responsibilities and feel challenged in the way that I felt challenged someone making those sorts of commitments was like gold to me.

So I was like, all right, teamwork and organizational health, if we can pull on those two levers and I, we just pushed all in on it and little by little we started to see an organization row in the same direction, and we started to see teamwork become the ultimate competitive a.

Joe Mills: How was integrating your and Jason’s leadership, like, did you start that at like the same time, like when you, when you took over, you’re like, oh, we should bring these back together, and that was something you already knew, or how

Josh Block: did that come about?

It was little, it was relational. So we were actually in two different facilities. So one of the steps was merging into one facility that we’re in today, about 120,000 square seats. Uh, in South Lansing. We have like nine entities here. So we, we were managing two different entities and little by little just broke down the walls that were present.

And there was some unhealth there of like how one team succeeds versus how another organization hits their goals. And that sort of, So we just took a sledgehammer and just one after another. Tried to model the way of what it looks like to work together. And just ironically today, as I shared this afternoon, it will be the final brick will be, it will be thrown off the wall in terms of having Jason and I, and of course a lot of other people move into what we believe their best place in the organization is for.

And so I’m gonna be leading sales, marketing, and human resources. Jason’s gonna lead all of delivery excellence and operations, and then we kinda share. What we call the course of accounting, finance, marketing, IT platform facilities, some of those sort things we kind of divide based on our strengths, passions and capacities.

And so yeah, it’s been an 11 year process to start with a wall and, and while most of it’s been torn down for the last five years, this will be the last straw. It’s

cool

Joe Mills: to think about. You mentioned it being a unique organizational structure where you have like the co-president thing and it sounds like you two have known each other for a long time and have a really strong relat.

What are those spots that have been like tension heavy in that? What? What’s been hard about it?

Josh Block: I can honestly say, and I know that not many people are gonna believe this, but I can also say there has been minimal, negligible, insignificant, and non memorable conflict in our time. We talk at least once a day and we enter conversations through two lenses.

One, how big of a deal is this to. Or to Jason, and then who carries the most experience or knowledge in that area. And so between passion and competency, if it’s an eight outta 10 for me, and frankly, and he’s the most competent, it’s gonna involve submission, Hey, I really care about this a lot. And then there’s issues for him that he’s most competent and really passionate about.

And there’s a lot of submission and deferring to strengths and passion. Uh, and when I say passion, I just mean like, wow. It’s, it really matters to me that like we, we. We could have a movie night, we’ll have like drive-in movies or we’ll have Halloween parties or, or we’ll, the way we serve a customer, the way we price something or the way we do inter organizational transactions, like I feel really strongly about this.

This is like an eight outta 10 for me. It’s a two outta 10 for you. Probably gonna be deferring to me. And if it’s the other way around, it’ll probably be deferring to Jason. And so we don’t actually say the two out of 10 talk about it. It just becomes pretty native because we’ve worked together. It’s interesting how many

Joe Mills: various, like, like frameworks or sliding scales, I feel like you move inside of, which is a really helpful way to think about it.

You talked about like perfection versus just ship it. Is this a bullet? Is it a cannon and do I care a ton about this or does it sort of not matter? Am I really competent or do I lack competency? It’s like, and then figuring out where you are in the messy middle of all of those pieces and like owning that with, with some comfort.

It’s a really nice way to think about decision making and, and moving forward.

Josh Block: I think the spectrum versus black and white thinking, which the Contrarians guide the leadership talks a lot about, like, man, the shades of gray. And so this, this idea of like the spectrum, so we have five thriving mindsets at block imaging, and one of ’em is like scarcity to abundance is none of us are on the abundance perspective all the time, or fixed or growth mindset or problems versus opportunities like none of us are gonna be on the full right or healthy side all the time.

But how can we just lean a little bit more toward the healthy side in that example? You brought up something great, like

Joe Mills: I think our brains like to have black and white, cuz it’s easy, it’s logical, it’s like it’s this or that, but I think the reality is it’s oftentimes a lot more gray than it is black and white.

Josh Block: There are lots of areas in life that are black and white, but when you’re working with people, there’s, there’s, uh, there’s sure a lot of, a lot of gray. I take it that that’s one

Joe Mills: of the reasons that you love what you do is that your, your job is really to work with people. Let’s just imagine for a second that you weren’t doing what you’re doing.

What would you be pouring

Josh Block: into? It’s gonna be pretty people heavy, no matter what. I just, I cannot imagine doing something that wasn’t oriented around. Really developing people is something I love. Strengthening Leaders is something I enjoy. One of the funnest things to do is we have people apply at the organization and they pick a position.

They’ve not been in the industry, and so they say, Hey, I wanna be in sales, or project management or engineering, or whatever, and sitting down with them and recognizing that we might have six jobs open. And the person’s applied for one, but like having no regard for what they applied for. Like, let’s just get to know you and let’s see if we can find a fit.

I had an interview not too long ago where I drew six jobs up on the board and was like, which one do you think is the best fit for you? And the person, literally we hired them. They’re not in any of those six jobs. We hired them into a job that was not even on the. And so I, I really love try almost like the memory game.

Hey, what are you born to do? Uh, what are you good at? Where could you bring value? And what do we need in trying to piece those two together?

Joe Mills: They know when they come in, like do they have an understanding of their strengths or is it more of you uncovering them? You know,

Josh Block: sure they have an understanding, but we’re looking for team fit.

We’re looking for, you have people working in offices, you have people who travel. You have people working with screwdrivers and wearing steel toe boots. Like based on your experience, probably eight outta 10 people who joined the business have not been in the industry before. So we’re really trying to, to create a fit that, Hey, I know you worked at X, Y, Z.

How does that tangibly associate and, and what would be the best place to put you to, to help you be successful here?

Joe Mills: Does it happen regularly that somebody applies and you push them into a different position pretty regularly?

Josh Block: Well, and, and again, it’s the knowledge that in, in certain areas we have way more knowledge about the actual role that someone does and a job description.

I mean, let’s be honest, like, ah, you can carry five pounds and you can, whatever. I kind of laugh sometimes as we, we all do job descriptions, but. That’s a very different picture than what is the day in and day out really look and feel like from? Are you on the phone a lot? Is it a lot of email? Is it proactive work?

Is it reactive work? That sort of thing.

Joe Mills: It’s funny, I was just reading the job description that we have posted for Element Three and I was like, yeah, this captures the role. But in all candor, it’s like the way you interact with people and who you are and how that comes out in your work is going to be so much more important than like, do you have the tactical capabilities of doing.

Josh Block: Yeah. Is proficient in Microsoft Word, right? Like, you know what in the world? Well, Josh,

Joe Mills: I love the, the frameworks that you’ve given us today, um, for thinking about like how to make decisions. One of the pieces that I’m personally taking away from the conversation is just the, the way that you’ve like, turned down the ego dial.

I don’t know if you’ve intentionally done it or not, but your ability to say like, I’m cool with doing the first step, even though it’s not the cool step and I’m. To go ask people for help and to make myself a student, even though I’m the highest ranking person in the organization. That is a, like a, a level of humility like you touched on and a level of student mindset that I think can be really valuable.

Candidly, I find it challenging, like I think when people ask a question or where, whenever I feel like there’s a, I should have the answer to this quote, unquote, I should have the answer. It’s like really hard to do that. Is there, is there anything, just as we sort of wrap here, you lean on to remind yourself, Ask the question first to be okay with not looking perfect.

Like to just be fine with that image.

Josh Block: Yeah, man, that is, that’s such an identity question, right? Especially what’s funny when you talk about the ego thing is like, you’re the leader of the organization. You’re the president, you’re the vice president, you’re whatever you are. Like, I don’t know, you’re, you’re looking for people to stroke your ego.

I don’t, you’ve got in as far positionally as you’re gonna get, but, but regardless, I think for me is being curious, teachable, humble, whatever. Whatever fits the. Builds far more trust and confidence than fake it till you make it like this idea of just going low, like to come in and I get to practice it.

And so I sometimes look at another leader of like, it’s okay, like you don’t have to know anything right now, but ultimately go into a rim of someone who’s, who is more knowledgeable in an area. Jason Crosser and I, two people, I have a fair bit of experience in leading over the last really 20 years, but 11.

And there’s still situations that I come across every day that it’s like, wow, what does he or she think about this? And to pick someone in the organization, it might be Jason, might be our leader of marketing, might be our leader of sales. Heck, it might be Wes or Chip at Cairos. It might be phone. A friend is just say, Hey, I’ve never done this before and I would just love your thoughts.

People love sharing their wisdom. I mean, I’ve never called someone an expert and said, Hey, uh, I’m looking for your help. And then be like, oh, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for that. I mean, you, how can you, like, I just have never had that happen before and I could roll through my phone today and call a hundred people and ask ’em a question.

Hey, I’m just curious. What do you think about this leadership challenge I’m facing? They’re honored. I get to learn. Everyone wins. The decision gets better, and when you make better decisions, they strengthen trust in the organization and in your leadership. And so just like to be so afraid of, I don’t know, when, I don’t know, could be building far more confidence than pretending like, you know, and falling in your.

You bring

Joe Mills: up a really good point when you say it out loud, like the illogical nature of the fear of, I don’t know, is so hilarious, but sometimes it’s like, at least for me, I,

Josh Block: I sometimes forget it. I get to walk downstairs. We have people who refurbish cts, install MRIs. I mean, honest to God, there are people in this organization that know and build and do.

I, I could not turn on an MRI today if you asked me to go down. We’ve installed hundreds and hundreds of MRIs. We service hundreds. I have a mobile MRI sitting 40 feet from my office, and if you told me to turn it on and to go scan you, I would not be able to. And so that sort of humility where you can actually walk into a room and be like, man, I’m incredible.

There are certain things that I’m absolutely amazing at. And then there’s tons of stuff that people are amazing at and I’m terrible at is that kind of keeps humility. Whereas again, just this idea of like on one end of humility is arrogance and on the other’s insecurity. And so you have these people who are like, I know everything, nobody else knows as much as I do.

And then you have the other person who’s like, I don’t know anything. Everybody else is so much smarter than I am when in the reality both of those are true. I know tons of stuff, you know tons of stuff and it’s really cool to be able to work together through that.

Joe Mills: Josh, I appreciate you hopping on. I know that you’ve got a lot going on today, so I’ll let you hop into to block you and go get some people onboarded to your awesome company and just appreciate you coming.

Josh Block: All right. Thanks so much for the time today.

Reid Morris: Okay, Joe, so

Joe Mills: good conversation with Josh. I think there’s two paths that I wanna highlight and we talked about with Josh. One of them, and this resonates so deeply with me, is getting your ego out of the way to start something like I so often run into, I just don’t wanna do it yet because it’s not good enough and it has nothing to do.

If I’m really honest, it’s not like me, it’s, I’m worried about the perception it will have from people who engage with the thing. Whether that’s like as trivial as like shooting a video for sales outreach. Wow. It’s just like wrong background. I don’t know. It’s not gonna sound right. I don’t know how to say that.

Like getting in my way and it’s not anything but my ego wanting me to look the best I can look or putting something out, like whatever it. He talked about block you. They were like onboarding and getting employees into the business. Now it’s like, you know, a whole nice book and it’s like being brave enough to go before it’s ready.

Reid Morris: We talk about this all the time ourselves, even at Element Three, and it’s idea that if the stakes aren’t high, for lack of a better word, launch, right? Like put in the world and iterate and while everything that you put out into the world will be memorialized, right? It’s there forever, but people have short memory.

And if something just gets better, like that’s totally fine. And don’t be stuck in analysis paralysis of, well how could I fix this? How could this be better? It’s like, put some stuff out, make it better. It works.

Joe Mills:  He talked about the same thing with like, Hey, if it’s a really big decision, you wanna think through a little bit more and like get it closer to right.

But there’s a lot that’s not, and again, I just like the fact that it was getting over the ego side of it. Yeah, it’s gonna improve. That’s great. But really, are you brave enough to put it out there before it’s up to. I’m perfect standards, you know? So that was one. The other one that I liked a lot was he lives just in the gray.

If there’s like a continuum from this end to this end, it likely is not either of these. It’s somewhere in the middle. And where on the continuum do I wanna be right now, even in decision making on when to launch something. How critically important is this? If I get it wrong, are we all gonna blow up?

Joe Mills: Well then I’m gonna be really  close to perfect. If it’s not at all, I’m gonna be really close to just ship. And if it’s somewhere in the middle, I’m gonna be somewhere in the middle. So like he clearly thought through. Frameworks, and we talked about a few of ’em on the show that were just like helpful to think about being okay with the uncertainty and in the gray and making decisions in that.

Reid Morris: I dunno, maybe just strip some of the emotion out of the decision making process on some level. I mean, most decisions you could argue all are emotion driven on some level, but. That correlation between risk and preparation and that type of thing. I mean, it, it’s just a really helpful thing for whether it’s marketing your personal life, anything, right.

It’s, it’s super applicable in, in all different areas. Yeah, totally.

Joe Mills:. So I love those too. I thought it was a great message. 1,000 Stories is brought to you by Element Three with production by share your. This show is part of our company mission to foster growth in people and business so they can change the world.

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