My guest today is Nick Anderson, advisor, mentor, and author of “Six-Word Lessons For Middle Managers”. In our conversation we discuss how Nick has drawn upon his experience in the banking industry coupled with how he’s overcome personal tragedy to mentor others through his company Chosen Leader. We dive into the meaning of Chosen Leader and the idea that leaders are not born or built.
Please enjoy my conversation with Nick Anderson.
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[00:01:58] - From isolated youth to discovering the power of perception
[00:07:47] - Developing empathy through personal tragedy - a salesperson is born
[00:10:31]- The shirt and tie illusion
[00:11:58]- Becoming a manager at nineteen years old
[00:12:57] - How Nick took an underperforming bank to number one
[00:15:00]- Lessons on vulnerability
[00:15:43] - What we learned about banking from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
[00:21:18] - The American Dream turns tragic
[00:23:55] - Why I asked to be fired
[00:25:00] - A life changing decision without a plan
[00:28:29] - The valuable lessons in Nick’s book
[00:38:05] - A new project
[00:40:06] - Dichotomy of salvation in the darkest hours
[00:42:05] - Self-discovery and an identity once lost
[00:43:40] - Solomon’s Paradox and why we need good advisors and coaches
Narrator: [00:00:04] Welcome to Compound Ideas, hosted by Ken Majumdar of Ridgewood Investments. This podcast will feature exceptional individuals to uncover deep insights into business, entrepreneurship, personal growth, investing and multidisciplinary thinking so that you can learn how to improve your finances, find better investments, and pursue authentic, lifelong growth, wisdom and happiness. Learn more and stay up to date at Compound Ideas. Show Dot com.
Ken Majmudar: [00:00:35] Our guest on the show today is Nick Anderson, an adviser, mentor and author. In this episode, we'll touch on how Nick overcame great personal losses and discuss his current focus on coaching and mentoring his clients. In our wide ranging conversation, we'll touch on Nick's childhood and the trauma he experienced at that time and how he overcame his challenges as a high school dropout to flourish in the banking industry. We also discuss Nick's new book and the challenges that middle managers face and how to become a leader people will choose to follow. Please enjoy my conversation with Nick.
Ken Majmudar: [00:01:14] My guest today is Nick Anderson. I'm really excited to have Nick on the podcast. As frequent listeners know, we cover a lot of new material in these podcasts, even with folks like Nick who probably are on the circuit with his new book coming out. I'm excited to talk to Nick today about his book, about his work, and really a lot about his passions and his arc life journey so far. So, Nick, welcome to the podcast.
Nick Anderson: [00:01:39] Hey, thanks so much, Ken. Thanks for having me on. Excited for this.
Ken Majmudar: [00:01:43] You know what we usually start on compound ideas is origin stories. Tell us your origin story. Start from the beginning. Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up for you? What were your formative experiences during that early stage of life?
Nick Anderson: [00:01:58] One word I'm going to say traumatic and a couple of words rocky, surrounded in love and blessed. So all these things are true. I grew up just north of the Seattle city limit, so I call myself a Seattle-lite. Born and raised. Been here all my life. The home that I was born into. My mother was an entrepreneur. She owned and operated a hair salon. And my father was both mentally ill and chemically dependent. So she asked him to leave when I was four. I don't remember much of the trauma up until then. You know, if I close my eyes hard, I can recall arguments and fights. But when he left, I didn't understand. I didn't understand why Dad would sleep. Four years old, who does. For the next six years, he was a weekend dad and mom was the den mother of my Cub Scout group and took me to soccer games and all this stuff. When I was ten, my father succumbed to his illness and addictions and ended his life. And so you talk about formative years. There's a lot that could be unpacked there. I went through my school years as a successful student. Good grades, academics were came easy to me, but socially I was detached, let's say. I got my first real job when I was 17. And when I say real job, this was something that could lead itself into a career.
Nick Anderson: [00:03:20] And that was as a bank teller. And what happened for me was like this alter ego was born. I put on a button up shirt and a tie and I walked into the bank branch and stood behind the teller window. And people made all kinds of assumptions about me. And I let them and I stepped into what they thought they were seeing and also kind of discovered myself in that. And in the very early stages of my career, I was invited into some some leadership groups by executive management, kind of identify it as an up and comer. And I just I ran with it. I ran with it. There's a whole lot of life experience in between. But another couple of high points are that I met the my future wife and mother of my children in a bank branch. True story. I was her boss, but she asked me out after I had transferred out of the office. So that was it was all good. We built a life together. We started a family and we were living the dream. But six and a half years ago, she and I were out for a walk and she was hit by a car. She didn't survive that accident. That changed everything. It's an understatement. That changed everything.
Ken Majmudar: [00:04:38] Let me pick up on a few threads here and I'm really that's a that's a tragic story, which I mean, it's got to be I can't even imagine.
Nick Anderson: [00:04:46] Well, don't. Because it's no good to imagine. Yeah.
Ken Majmudar: [00:04:50] There's a few things in life when you hear people go through that you just don't even know how. If it would happen to you, you know, you would process things. And I mean, the closest I've come is probably. I mean, 9-11 I was working around there the whole my whole life. But thank God, like fortunately I didn't personally know anyone, but it was just really traumatic because of just constantly being there and it was so much part of my life. And then recently, someone I was mentoring, unfortunately, might passed away at a very young age. That was probably the closest. What you're describing is something even hard to really imagine or process, and I'm just listening to it for the first time. But let's go back because I think there's more there. You mentioned your family situation growing up, obviously with what happened with your mom and your dad at age ten. Were you aware obviously you said at four you weren't aware, but at age ten, were you aware? Oh, you know, my dad is gone. Is that like a thought that occurs to a ten year old?
Nick Anderson: [00:05:53] Good question. Yes, and I wouldn't believe it. There was a part of me that thought it was all a lie, that I was being duped or tricked or that I was in a dream. And so for years and when I say years, let's call it a decade, I had fantasies that I would walk into the grocery store and see my dad just two heads in front of me at the checkout counter. I mean, just even saying that out loud and it makes my heart tender right now because I held on to that, you know, I'd have the thought that I'd shake it off. Oh, no. But maybe.
Ken Majmudar: [00:06:27] That's the hard thing about this, like just processing it. Like I mentioned, you know, the person I was mentoring who was a daughter of a friend might have taken her own life. That seems circumstantially to be the case. You know, I wonder about things like COVID, what role that played, and so many other things, you know, on mental health of people, that finality of it. It's just hard to wrap your mind around it that I'll never see this person again. And by the way, I'm fortunate because I, I knew her for a year, so we were close. But I mean, I can't imagine, like what her parents or her, she was such a delight that to have that gone, I don't know how you deal with it if you were constantly around it.
Nick Anderson: [00:07:07] When it's a child, spouse or a loved one, that's like a piece of you is gone.
Ken Majmudar: [00:07:13] Yeah. And the funny thing is that I just saw so crazy, like, just today, somebody on Linked. It was in LinkedIn or Instagram posted a thing. It was a side by side iPhone call from mom and dad. If you still expect to see this, then consider yourself lucky because there's a lot of people that would do anything to get this back.
Nick Anderson: [00:07:36] It's the truth.
Ken Majmudar: [00:07:38] It is the truth.
Nick Anderson: [00:07:39] Your original question was focused on the formative years, and there's so much. Packed into this experience. But one of the things to unpack really is it relates to bringing the past to the present is when you are. For me, as the child of a parent who chose to end his life, there is a big question that I'll never answer, which is Why wasn't I enough? For him to choose to stay alive. It's an impossible question to answer. It's a terrible question to ask because it's only torture, because the real answer is it had nothing to do with me. And yet that question. Was the fuel was the fire was the motivation for me to always be the best, to be very competitive to and even in a dangerous, unhealthy way, engage in relationship to the degree of co-dependency and enmeshment. Because if I lost the attention of someone whom I cared for, loved, I would fear that I lost them in my life, right? There's shadow stuff to that for sure, but there's also light. There's also goodness. And what that translated into is a skill set. Early in my career of building rapport and building relationships and connection and an ability to be vulnerable and authentic and listen and care for. And so, you know, on some level, all of that made me a very successful salesperson and a very successful manager slash leader at a young age. So I was 19 years old, promoted into bank management, the youngest at the time for sure, and may be the youngest in the history of the company for the roles that I was taking on.
Ken Majmudar: [00:09:26] And I want to touch on something related to that as well. But before we do that, because we're talking about this topic and I always like to start here because I think where we came from makes us who we are. I've learned this actually very recently. That vulnerability is like a superpower, and the more vulnerable we become, the more other people will relate to us, because everybody at some level feels this way. But have you heard of Mark Manson? I mean, he's a pretty famous author. And so he wrote this book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Right. His second book, I think it's really good, is Everything Is Fucked. The subtitle of it is A Book About Hope. And what's interesting is he touches a lot on these issues of mortality and childhood trauma and just a bunch of things that I had not really thought about. And for our listeners who are listening to this, if anybody is listening or whatever, or if you haven't you know, yourself, I mean, I highly recommend especially that second book. It's just really got some real incredible content in there, to Mark's credit. Uh, Now, another thing you touched on, which I want to touch on is you mentioned, okay you know, you got into the bank teller thing and you specifically, I thought it was very interesting the way you worded it. You said something like. People saw what they wanted to see. I wanted you to unpack that because I don't know what exactly you meant, but I thought that was just really interesting. You're in a bank teller, which is a kind of a transactional type of role. People are coming to the bank. They want their make, their deposit or whatever. So what did you mean by that?
Nick Anderson: [00:10:58] I'm going to use language. I don't know where we fall on this, but I'm just going to go right into the mock people, walk into a bank branch and they see this kid behind the teller window wearing a shirt and a tie. And there's all kinds of judgments that they pass. And for some in the modern dialogue, that's called privilege. And I just accepted it.
Ken Majmudar: [00:11:17] You're saying like, oh, you're subservient to me, that kind of dynamic?
Nick Anderson: [00:11:21] No, no. A question I was asked frequently was, where did you go to school? Which implied college? Which implied that I did, which implied that I had graduated. So they thought I was older. They thought I was college educated. They didn't know that I was a high school dropout.
Ken Majmudar: [00:11:38] It was it a power play of some kind, or it was just like they just assumed that everybody did.
Nick Anderson: [00:11:43] No, not an assumption that everybody did, but an assumption that I did because I'm speaking confidently, articulately. I'm knowledgeable. I you know, I show up.
Ken Majmudar: [00:11:51] Are you talking about coworkers or are you talking about customers?
Nick Anderson: [00:11:55] Customers? Mmmhmmm.
Ken Majmudar: [00:11:56] Okay. Interesting.
Nick Anderson: [00:11:58] My coworkers knew who I was for sure. I was promoted into a management position when I was 19.
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:04] And you would have started at what, at what age you would have started?
Nick Anderson: [00:12:06] 17
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:06] 17. So you start at 17. You're just a hardworking bank teller. You get tapped to be management.
Nick Anderson: [00:12:14] There was one role in between I was a banker, a sales person. So at 18 I was setting up bank accounts, retirement accounts, mortgage loans, home equity loans.
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:26] And this was a bank in Seattle, like a local, like a Washington State bank.
Nick Anderson: [00:12:31] Mmmhmm. Just north of Seattle. Yep.
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:32] Got it. Okay. What year would this have been or what around what time frame.
Nick Anderson: [00:12:36] Started in 97.
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:38] So we're talking late nineties. What happened after that career wise?
Nick Anderson: [00:12:42] I didn't stay in a position or a role for longer than a year before I was tapped or asked to promote it into the next one. And so it was just this progression of.
Ken Majmudar: [00:12:50] So real quick, just walk us through like not every single job but all the big ones.
Nick Anderson: [00:12:55] Teller, personal banker, assistant manager. The manager I was working with was asked to take on an underperforming branch and she said, The only way I'll do that is if I can take Nick with me. So we went and took the stack, ranked the lowest on the list and took it to number one.
Ken Majmudar: [00:13:12] How did you guys do that? What was wrong with the branch before you got there and what did you guys do? How long did it take to make it the number one branch? And we're talking number one out of how many branches of this particular bank?
Nick Anderson: [00:13:25] 40.
Ken Majmudar: [00:13:26] 40. So one out of 40, which is a top two and one half percent. Right. So how did you guys do that?
Nick Anderson: [00:13:32] Clarity of vision and accountability around execution, communication and connection with the team. So Amy and I, Amy was the branch manager. We already built rapport. She was the one that promoted me. And so we had trust. She and I had trust. That's right. Yep. We've been through some stuff. And so we came in as a team and we were really clear with the existing team that was there, that was struggling, that listen, we're we came from the number one office to the number 40 office and said, not with hubris or arrogance that we're here to be number one, but with true humility. We're here to be number one, because when you're number one, it's really fun. So here's how we do that. So the vision was we're going to be the top performing branch and then clarity around execution, which is there were a dozen or so metrics that were put into the formula to determine who is number one and two and so forth. And there were primarily sales goals, revenue producing goals. So this is how we're going to source opportunities, this is how we're going to vet opportunities. This is how we're going to close opportunities. We've got a system, we've got a playbook, and we're going to execute on that playbook and to bring the folks in the office along. Now, there's a lot of communication. There's a lot of connection. I mean, you mentioned vulnerability in my book. I've got two lessons. So the book I wrote has 100 lessons and two of them back to back are focused on vulnerability. Number one is that vulnerability is necessary for human connection. But right behind that, I say that vulnerability is dangerous without security. So we came into that office very secure knowing how to win. And so it was easy for me and safe for me to be vulnerable with the team and say, hey, look, these are the challenges that we face. This is where it's been really hard. This is where I've struggled. This is where I need your help. But I can do that from a place of security.
Ken Majmudar: [00:15:33] Now, for those that don't know, right? So because I'm an investor investment manager, so I invest in all kinds of different industries. Different businesses have different metrics and things in a bank. I believe you guys look at, at least at the branch level, is what's your total assets in that branch? How many sort of checking account type deposits you have? How many CDs do you have?
Nick Anderson: [00:15:54] Let's flip that, though, because the bank's balance sheet is backwards. So the asset to the bank is the loan. The asset is the money that the customers owe to the bank and the liability is the deposits, right? It's the money that's owed back to depositors. So banks are nothing more than middlemen. Right. And the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, it's the best example. This isn't my money that I'm lending. It's Susie's and Bob's and Joe's and Ken's, you know.
Ken Majmudar: [00:16:18] And to put a little more meat on the bone of what you're describing is exactly right. They're in a spread business. They give the depositors less than they charge the borrowers. That's one aspect of it. But on the customer side, right, you have a choice of so many banks other than the branches near you. You happen to have an account there from a long time ago or whatever. Like what are the reasons that I would choose to bank with this particular bank and this particular branch or among I can be with a money center bank. I could be with Chase, which is national, or I could be with whatever your bank was XYZ Community Bank with 40 branches.
Nick Anderson: [00:16:57] At that time, though, the bank I was working for was a money center bank. It was Bank of America.
Ken Majmudar: [00:17:02] Oh, it was okay. You are in a region of there of Bank of America, correct? Okay. Got it.
Nick Anderson: [00:17:07] So the goal is to acquire as many low cost deposits as possible and deploy those deposits with as many not necessarily high interest loans. The game is not to get a wider spread because with that spread you take on unnecessary and undue risk, right? It's risk based pricing. It's to get the appropriate spread with the right type of loan product.
Ken Majmudar: [00:17:30] And what year would this have been where you guys were put into the worst performing branch of B of A of of that 40, that group of 40.
Nick Anderson: [00:17:37] Yeah. 1999.
Ken Majmudar: [00:17:39] Oh. So very early in your just a few years into it.
Nick Anderson: [00:17:43] Yeah. So from 97, eight, 8 to 9. Yeah.
Ken Majmudar: [00:17:46] Before you got there, did you guys have to diagnose it, like to say, hey, what's wrong with this branch? What are they doing wrong? Or It was obvious because you guys already knew of it or whatever.
Nick Anderson: [00:17:56] On some level it was obvious. There's some block and tackle stuff that you just do. So we endeavor to answer the question that you just posed, which is, Why should I bank with you? So somebody comes in to cash their payroll check and we would like them to instead of cash it, deposit it into a bank account. Somebody that has a bank account with us may need to finance their children's college education, so we'd like them to use us, perhaps for the home equity line of credit if they don't qualify for student loans, etc. These are the common things. But why us? Coaching the front line, coaching the tellers on how to, number one, identify these opportunities. And number two, engage in that conversation and take that person at the teller window over to my desk where we can have a deeper conversation, explore challenges, solutions, etc. All of that was a part of the game plan, but the block and tackle stuff is right up front. How do you identify these opportunities and then what questions do you ask to see if if there's a there there and if there is, send them over to the desk.
Ken Majmudar: [00:19:04] That's great. Now fast forward. So what's your next big career? And we got to get through it kind of relatively in the next 5 minutes so we can talk about the book and stuff.
Nick Anderson: [00:19:13] So I was tapped to ask to join the bank's training and development group and teach classes was a deviation from kind of the management ladder, but it was an exceptional experience that informed so many things. Then I was brought back into the retail bank as a branch manager, some great opportunities. I then felt disenchanted with Bank of America. There's a story there. So I left and went to a very small community bank to lead.
Ken Majmudar: [00:19:40] So what year would this have been now?
Nick Anderson: [00:19:42] That was since 2005.
Ken Majmudar: [00:19:46] Okay, so now you're seven, eight years into your career.
Nick Anderson: [00:19:49] And so I join a very small community bank as the head of retail banking. So the head of the consumer branch side.
Ken Majmudar: [00:19:58] How many branches did they have?
Nick Anderson: [00:19:59] There were two. So I was going to say that title sounds bigger than, than the job was to begin.
Ken Majmudar: [00:20:04] Almost like a De Novo.
Nick Anderson: [00:20:05] It was. Yeah.
Ken Majmudar: [00:20:06] A De novo for those who are listening who don't know it's a new start up bank.
Nick Anderson: [00:20:10] Yep. Started in the year 2000 and had grown to two branches and there were growth plans. So I was brought in 2005 to lead the growth plans for branching and marketing. So we opened two more offices, effectively doubled the size of the balance sheet from 60 million to 100, and there's 110 million in deposits, to my recollection. And then the financial crisis took hold a few years later, and that bank failed in 2010, transitioned to commercial banking, went to another regional financial institution and headed up the commercial payments division, corporate treasury. And so this took me to a different side of the bank where I'm working with large corporates in there. If we think about the life of a dollar through a company, there's revenue how you pay with credit cards or ACH wire transfers, bring it in, manage the money on balance sheet, send it out for payroll and vendor disbursements is a tech heavy role was in that for a couple of years. That bank was acquired by another California Irvine based bank. Saw myself on an airplane once every few months. I had a small, young family, so that's not the life for me. Left and went to again another smaller community bank as a commercial banker, individual contributor and was living a really good life. The kids were young, my wife stopped working and we were just doing the typical American dream thing. And that's when the tragedy that I spoke of. So this has brought us now up to to 2016. And right before that occurred, the president of the bank was asking me to consider taking on a commercial team leader role, a new position that they were developing.
Nick Anderson: [00:21:52] The organization was managed really flat. He wanted some leadership in between himself and the production team and was asking me and I said no. I said, no, I don't want that. I've been in leadership roles and I'm happy with my life right now. And then I lost my wife. And when I said everything changed, everything changed. So I said yes to the leadership opportunity. And it was it was a really strange experience, Ken, because I stepped in. Knowing how to do. The job. Knowing how to do the work, but with a level of detachment. I wasn't anxious about it. I wasn't. I don't know what the right words are, but it was I would approach the work just to say, like, Yeah, you got this, it's going to be cool. Everything's going to be fine, like really chill. And then that bank got acquired and it was like, okay, everything gets turned upside down. We went through some stuff and leading a team through an acquisition where the executive management of the acquiring bank says, We want you to keep all of the customers that we just bought in this acquisition. Can you do that? And because I was in the position that I was in, just my headspace, I said, Yeah, I can do that if you give me everything I ask for. There is a real tradeoff there. And they said Yes, and we did. And I asked them for a lot and they supported. So three years into that, we're now 2021. Now we're in 2020 we're right post COVID. And I called my boss and I said, okay, I think I've done the job that you asked me to do.
Ken Majmudar: [00:23:31] All this time. So 20 a little over 20 years you've been in the banking business, right, as an executive.
Nick Anderson: [00:23:36] 25 years total. So I called my boss and I said, I've done the job that I think you wanted me to do.
Ken Majmudar: [00:23:43] What was the name of this last bank, the one that you were most recently at?
Nick Anderson: [00:23:46] The one I'm speaking of is Columbia Bank.
Ken Majmudar: [00:23:49] Columbia Bank. Okay. I've heard of them, actually. They're a good sized regional, right?
Nick Anderson: [00:23:52] Yeah, they are. And a well performing solid bank. I'm looking at my P&L from my division at this time. I managing a book of business. It's about a half a billion dollars, 500 million in commercial corporate business. And so I say to my boss, I'm looking at the P&L, I can't see a way for us to reach the level of profitability that's necessary to make sense. The only thing we can do is either affect customers by raising price or lowering interest on their deposits or raising the price of charging. Or we won't have to lay off staff on my team. Either of those scenarios are going to negatively impacts the clients of the bank. I said, I think you got to cut me. If you have to cut my position and take the folks that are on my team and put them on other teams and just cut the overhead. His first response was, No way, no way. We're not going to do that. But about three months later, he called me back, Yeah, we're going to do that. So I thought that was going to be the end of my banking career. I knocked on doors, looked through windows. The things that I was looking for didn't happen. So another bank was really interested in recruiting me. I said yes. Lasted a year. This was January of 2021. Now lasted a year. And I just I really knew my time was done. So February 20, 22, I announced my retirement from banking without a real clear plan of what I was going to do next. But here we are. I wrote a book and now I'm doing podcast.
Ken Majmudar: [00:25:12] I want to talk about the book, but then I want to go back to your experience of losing a spouse. That's incredibly impactful thing, I'm sure, in a lot of ways. So I guess you're now doing, as you mentioned, the coaching for the middle management. When did you start writing the book? How was the process of writing it? Tell us about the book.
Nick Anderson: [00:25:32] When I decided that my banking career was done and without having a clear path forward. Late one night I bought a URL and built a website just so I could feel comfortable that there was something.
Ken Majmudar: [00:25:42] Just for those listening. Just so you have a timeline. We're talking now. It's July 2022, and you left that bank in February of 2022. So it's really only been about four or five months for all of this that you're going to tell us, right?
Nick Anderson: [00:25:58] Yeah, I built this website. Chosen leader. Chosen-leader.com. And there's a whole story to that. Yeah. So one of my mentors, he was a preacher of leadership, and he would give this leadership sermon and he would say emphatically that leadership is a choice. And he he'd say it three times. Leadership is a choice, and he'd yell the third time, leadership is a choice. And I always thought I understood. What he meant was that leadership was a choice that someone made to become a leader. And that's kind of true. But that's not really what he meant. Leadership is a choice that one person makes to follow another. So John Maxwell said it this way if you think you're leading, but nobody's following. Well, then you're just taking a walk. Right. Leadership doesn't occur until someone chooses to follow. So what does it take? For someone to choose to follow you. This has been the like focus of my study and examination around leadership for years is why do people follow? So that's what I've built the brand around the chosen leader brand is that leaders are chosen. They're not just born nor built, but they must also be chosen.
Ken Majmudar: [00:27:10] It's really from the point of view of the follower. So you're essentially in order to be a leader, you have to deserve those followers, right?
Nick Anderson: [00:27:18] I don't even know if I'd put that judgement on it. To be a leader, you have to have followers and people will follow. People followed Hitler. Right? Did he deserve that? But they chose to. That's what I'm so curious about. What is it about that? So I want to spend a lot of my life understanding and working in that space examining. And then here I've got this career of failure, followed by success, followed by failure, followed by success. I have learned a lot of lessons and I enjoy writing. So I want to write a book about this, I want to share this, and I've got this urge to share comes from this place where I don't want all of the experiences in my life to be lived in vain. I don't want to keep them all to myself. I want to share them because I think that gives meaning to those things. For me, it's very selfish of me to share my experiences so that I feel like my experiences have some value. And yet when I do share story and share experience, I see others in their life and in their growth and it's very, very rewarding. So I want that. I want to step into that space.
Ken Majmudar: [00:28:29] The book is called Six Word Lessons for Middle Managers: 100 Lessons from the Field. So tell us about what's in the book and who is the book for?
Nick Anderson: [00:28:40] I wanted to be really specific about who I was writing to, and so middle managers is my target audience. Google will tell me that there are ummm 11 million middle managers in the US workforce. That's a big enough audience for me. What I found though, is that nobody really wants to identify as the middle manager. So, so maybe from a marketing.
Ken Majmudar: [00:29:06] If you wrote a book like X, Y, Z for well actually, although the For Dummies series, I guess people are willing to identify as dummies, so maybe it's not a hopeless cause. Yeah?
Nick Anderson: [00:29:14] Yeah, I don't know that one, that one's a little cheeky, the middle manager. So people are like, I don't know. There's a stigma to that that maybe I wasn't sensitive enough to from a marketing perspective, but whatever. The only autonomous corporate leader, in my opinion, is someone who is a founder, who is an entrepreneur. I mean, even a CEO of a publicly traded company is managing from the middle because they report to a board of directors.
Ken Majmudar: [00:29:38] Correct? Right. Right. Everybody answers to somebody at some level, but yeah.
Nick Anderson: [00:29:43] On some level. So that's the perspective that I took in writing the book is that this isn't about an individual's executive leadership. This is about how do you lead various constituencies where you've got maybe you've got peer colleagues that you rely on, that your team relies on their team, you've got subordinates, you've got executive leaders, like you're being pulled in all kinds of directions when you're in the middle. And that was my experience for the better part of 25 years.
Ken Majmudar: [00:30:08] By the way, I think I noticed this is this like a series, the six word lessons? It's a series, right? So there's all kinds of different six word lessons for different things. Okay.
Nick Anderson: [00:30:17] Yeah, it's the 53rd book in a series that was developed by a friend of mine named Lonnie Parcell. So when I wanted to write a book, I went to Lonnie and his wife Patti because they help folks self publish. And I had a few ideas and they said, Well, what do you think about this? And I said, Perfect, it's perfect.
Ken Majmudar: [00:30:35] So tell us briefly what's in the book. Give us a couple of the highlights. You mentioned the two on vulnerabilities, so maybe talk about it a little bit more.
Nick Anderson: [00:30:43] Well, there's another one. Yeah. You mentioned Manson and kind of his focus on hope. And so one of the lessons in my book is that hope is not a winning strategy. So in and of itself that one could challenge you. But each lesson is followed by a paragraph that unpacks it a little bit. Hope, in and of itself is not a winning strategy. Rather, hope is a mindset, and so a strategy without hope is destined to fail. But if all you're doing is hoping that things are going to work out, chances are low. And yet I live a life of hope. And even looking through the tragedies that I've shared with you, a lot of folks will ask me like, how do you have a positive attitude? And it's because, hope it's because tomorrow. And you shared a post months ago where you referenced David HUME. The sun came up yesterday and...
Ken Majmudar: [00:31:37] It was something kind of philosophical. It's not guaranteed, but you have to assume that it will happen.
Nick Anderson: [00:31:43] Yeah, that's right. And that kind of stuff hits for me so. Well, so that another lesson in my book is. Managed to the most optimistic outcome. And this came from an experience that I had working with the CFO when our bank, the bank that I told you about was failing. And I asked him he had a positive attitude and I was like, Bill, where's your head at? And he said, You have to manage to the optimistic outcome and hedge for the downside. But if all you're doing is hedging for the downside, your chances of success are. No. You have to manage to be optimistic outcome. You have to be hope oriented if you want to achieve success. In my opinion, there's balance to that too, because hope is not a winning strategy in and of itself.
Ken Majmudar: [00:32:28] It sounds like a great book. I'm looking forward to reading it myself. Folks that want to get a copy, I guess they can go to your website and find it chosen-leader.com. So talk a little bit about the work you're doing now because I know book publishing is sort of a way to give back and to give people good content, know who you are and know your expertise. So tell us about your work at Chosen Leader. Now, who are you serving? What kind of clients? How do you work? How do you help people to reach the same type of levels of high performance that you were able to generate yourself when you did all these banking type jobs? Is it for people in the banking industry? Is in other industries? Just tell us about that.
Nick Anderson: [00:33:03] Industry agnostic and I have been delightfully surprised at a very diverse array of clients that I'm working with. So I'm intentionally speaking to folks that are in middle management in corporate America. And yet in addition to that audience, folks are responding to my messages. I worked with a woman who was promoted for the first time into a leadership position, and that was right center bull's eye, of who my target audience is because many of the challenges that she's facing in this new leadership position, she didn't want to take to her boss. She didn't want to bring them home. She didn't want to take to peers. Right. All for very valid reasons. She wants to show up confident and capable. And we worked together. And for I'm going to say the first four months in her new role, we were together every two weeks and building strategy and talking through communication stuff. And so that was like I say center of the bullseye. Juxtapose that with my the most recent client that signed up a couple of days ago who is a non profit CEO, started a nonprofit organization four or five years ago and is now adding staff and at a level where he recognizes he needs to change from kind of hands on manager to executive level leader.
Nick Anderson: [00:34:25] So this is wonderful and I've got a big part of my life and career that's connected in the nonprofit sector. I don't think we have time to go there, but suffice it to say that that makes it a very good fit, which segway into. I've been advising a nonprofit board of directors for three months now around vision, mission, strategy and growth. And then there's an entrepreneur that's building a program. And so I've kinda worked with him around that. And then a business coach who is focused on culture has partnered with me to be a financial consultant to his business clients. So like there's an array of, call it, five different types of folks that I'm working with and I love it. But to go back to my ideal perfect center, Bullseye is the woman that I spoke of who is 15 year industry experience promoted into leadership for the first time. Given the keys to the car, how do I drive? Well, Nick can help.
Ken Majmudar: [00:35:27] And when they work with you. So if you're their executive coach, you're meeting with them. How often in a month? And does the company typically pay? Do they pay? How does that work?
Nick Anderson: [00:35:36] All of my experience so far has been paid for by the client. If I'm working in a corporate setting, there's a bit of conflict of interest that I'd have to reconcile with. I'd have to just be really clear because a lot of times when someone wants to get promoted, they have to change companies. When someone wants to make more money, they got to change companies. It angers me that that's the truth, but it is the truth. I feel bad if a company hired me to coach one of their managers, then I'm saying, Well, you could make 40 more grand across the street, right? But that's just the truth. And that would be my obligation to them. They're paying me directly.
Ken Majmudar: [00:36:14] So typically they would meet with you twice a month then. Is that traditional. For an hour or 2 hours. What's your format?
Nick Anderson: [00:36:22] We'll kick off with two or 3 hours of a deep dive. I got to get to know you. And I use a couple of tools called personality assessment tools that not because I'm reading the data and believing.
Ken Majmudar: [00:36:34] Which ones do you use. I'm a big fan of predictive index.
Nick Anderson: [00:36:38] My go tos. The most frequent is a combination of Enneagram and strengths finder because they approach the person from two different perspectives. Strengths Finder is as it's labeled, right? Here's everything you're good at. And Enneagram is Here's everything in your shadow. So generally what I'll do is I'll provide these tests as a part of the coaching package, take the assessment we each will review. But my questions are, what of this do you agree with? And it gives us a common language to talk through and get to the root of some things. So we start deep dive. And then I'd say the typical arrangement is once a month session. Zoom where we're going an hour. If an hour goes to an hour and a half or two, whatever, it's it's focused on that.
Ken Majmudar: [00:37:22] My main job is investment management. And I run a company. I'm an entrepreneur. We do a bunch of different things. But I actually was asked one time by somebody I knew very well to be their business coach. So I coached them for a little over a year and it was really transformative for them and actually pretty transformative for me. I got as much out of it. This is really, really cool. So if people are listening to this and they're interested in reaching out to you to maybe see if you might be the right coach for them, how do they get in touch with you? What's the best way.
Nick Anderson: [00:37:51] So on the website there's a services page. They can book a free consultation and I think it says like a 15 minute consult, but they always go 30 or 45.
Ken Majmudar: [00:38:01] So chosen-leader.com. That's where people go, right?
Nick Anderson: [00:38:05] Yep. One thing I want to add into this that is in my imagination and I plan to launch January of 2023 is a chosen leader group. I imagine this to be capped at 20 people who are in management positions already. So not up and coming, but they're there already. We would meet via Zoom on a monthly basis, let's say, but also in kind of a 24 hour real time access using platform like telegram or Signal. I've not decided on which exactly, but call it a peer to peer group with my facilitation guidance looking for members across the country. And so here again, it's like Ken runs into a problem with an employee or is having a challenge with his boss. He can take it to the group and maybe somebody's been there before and I certainly have 25 years experience. And there's a similar group for CEOs. It's called Vestige. And CEOs pay, I think like 20 grand a year.
Ken Majmudar: [00:39:05] I think it's more than that, actually. Vestige is quite pricey. I'm in a mastermind of real estate investors. I'm quite active in real estate. I'm thinking of starting one for investment professionals. I've formed groups, so absolutely peer to peer groups. There's so much value and magic in those things. I absolutely think that's a wonderful initiative that you're announcing. So what I want to end on, because we're almost at time, is I want to go back to that story that you kind of started with about you're walking down the road and I guess your wife at the time. Right, got hit by a car, obviously some sort of accident. You lost her. How do you begin to process that and tell us how you kind of got through that? And then maybe for others who might be going through something like that to maybe benefit from your strength and your experience. And then now it's five, six years, seven years later, I'm guessing there's not a day that goes by that you don't think about her. That's been the case with me and the people that I've lost. Let's end on that, the toughness of it, but also what good.
Nick Anderson: [00:40:06] There's a few punch lines to this story and I'll start with those. Number one is I thought I was in better shape than I was and I was in a really dark place for a few years. So that's truth. Number two is before this accident occurred, I was an agnostic, borderline atheist in terms of spirituality. But in the moment. Of this accident, I found myself on my knees holding her and praying to a God that I didn't know. But he responded. And we had a conversation. And that conversation hasn't stopped. Through the darkest hours of my life, there is a real dichotomy of salvation. There was hope and joy and love and pain and sadness and loss. And that took years to process. I found my way out of it with the strength of others. There are countless people in my life that showed up in ways that saved my life. The thing that I might say to someone. In this same experience is. Don't isolate. Reach out and let people help you. I resisted help for years and thought I could do it on my own and I showed up fine to the outside world most of the time.
Nick Anderson: [00:41:36] But it was at home, behind closed doors that I broke down. Really it was in that season of 2020 and the pandemic lockdowns affected so many in so many ways. And for me, the experience was one where I it was a before and after. There's definitely a before and after in my life around that, where I stepped into a self discovery and kind of boldly chased an identity that I had lost. So here's the story for me before the accident occurred. If I was on stage or or in public and asked to introduce myself, you know, we do this all the time in the networking and the things like that in the business meetings. So I would say it this way. Hi, my name is Nick. I'm a husband and I'm a father and I happen to be a banker, too. Because that was my identity. First and foremost is a husband And then a father. And then a banker. And in a minute's time. My identity was gone. And for years I didn't have identity, I didn't have purpose, I didn't have a mission, I didn't have a vision for my life. I was lost and it was horrible.
Ken Majmudar: [00:42:50] How did you get it back?
Nick Anderson: [00:42:52] I allowed people to help. So this is the vulnerability thing. And those people who I brought into my life and allowed to speak into my life said, You need purpose. You need a vision. You need something to live for. And I believed them. And so I went in pursuit of that. And now I have that. And my life feels like it has meaning again, where for a couple of years it didn't.
Ken Majmudar: [00:43:24] Well. Thank you so much for being here. Present, vulnerable. Real. Really appreciate it. Anybody listening to this? If you're in a position where and by the way, I have to say this was both my experience as a business coach, but also just in general the highest performing people all have coaches, whether you realize it or not. Certainly, it's true in sports and all. It's just not even an option. They have whole teams around them. But what you don't realize is every major CEO, most of their senior team and most high performing entrepreneurs have a coach or two. So really, if you don't and by the way, I have a video that I put out. I don't know if you've even seen it Nick, but it's called It Explains What's Solomon's Paradox and the subtext of that video. It's on YouTube on one of my, in my YouTube channel, Investing with Ken. There's a power to just having a coach, even a bad coach. And I think you're far from a bad coach, probably an excellent coach. The power of just getting together with someone, it's like a mastermind of two and having to talk through things and getting feedback on that. There's just incredible power to it. So anyone listening to this who might even be like wondering, don't even think about it, just call Nick, try it out. You'll be shocked at how powerful having a coach can be to really accelerate and transform your results.
Ken Majmudar: [00:44:45] And I mean that sincerely. Nick is not paying me for this endorsement. So just from my own personal experience, go watch my video. So because I really lay it out in 30 minutes of what, what that power of the coaching relationship is, it's broader. It's like having advisors, why advisors add value and coaches are a type of advisor.
Ken Majmudar: [00:45:05] I really enjoyed my conversation with Nick Anderson today. His stories of personal tragedy and triumph were inspiring to me, and I hope they'll be inspiring to you too. Some of my biggest takeaways from our conversation were how knowing and being aware of our shortcomings and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and accepting support from our peers is so critical. We can learn from our challenging times as much as, if not more than we learn from our accomplishments, something that I've personally experienced and also wholeheartedly agree with. I also enjoyed Nick's observations on the importance of sharing our teachings with others. In addition, I encourage you to read any of the books mentioned in the show, including Six Word Lessons for Middle Managers, 100 Lessons from the Field by Nick Anderson and the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. I encourage you to watch how Solomon's Paradox explains why we all need good coaches and advisors on my YouTube channel. Thank you very much for listening and see you next time.
Narrator: [00:46:05] Thank you for listening to this episode of Compound Ideas, hosted by Ken Majumdar of Ridgewood Investments. Connect with Ken. Learn more about the show and never miss an episode at CompoundIdeasShow.com.
Narrator: [00:46:25] Ken Majumdar is the founder of Ridgewood Investments and several other affiliated companies. All opinions expressed by Ken and podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of Ridgewood Investments or any of its affiliates. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. Clients of Ridgewood Investments and its affiliates may maintain positions in the securities discussed in this podcast.