As a US Army Airborne Ranger and Special Forces Green Beret Commander, Sean Patton earned the respect of his men and chain of command while operating in hostile and politically sensitive environments.
Now in the private sector, he has applied these lessons in new ways growing his own companies and helping others unlock greatness through Stronger Leaders Stronger Profits. Sean just released his first book, A Warrior’s Mindset: The 6 Keys to Greatness.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- A Warrior’s Mindset: The 6 Keys to Greatness
- Entrepreneurial Journey
- The Pipeline For 2022
- Where Are Stronger Leaders Stronger Profits heading?
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Coach the Coach radio brought to you by the Business RadioX Ambassador Program, the no cost business development strategy for coaches who want to spend more time serving local business clients and less time selling them. Go to brxambassador.com To learn more. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:33] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Coach the Coach Radio, and this is going to be a good one today on the show, we have Sean Payton with stronger leaders, stronger profits. Welcome, Sean.
Sean Patton: [00:00:45] Ali, how’s it going today?
Lee Kantor: [00:00:46] It is going great, I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about stronger leaders, stronger profits, how you sovereign folks.
Sean Patton: [00:00:54] So strongly, your stronger profits, you’re really focused on leadership mindset and business practices and what makes, I think, my our approach and my approach a little different is basically based on my background. So I served 14 years in the army, 10 years as an officer, including five as a Green Beret detachment commander. And after I got out, I started my own companies. So between an MBA and my entrepreneur experience and the special operations I think I bring, we bring a pretty unique approach to sort of melding those different worlds together and bringing an elite perspective to leadership mindset and business practices.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:36] Now for the listeners, can you just highlight maybe some of the overlap among an elite military professional, an elite entrepreneur? Where are some of the similarities?
Sean Patton: [00:01:52] Well, it really starts with mindset and purpose and a commitment to that mission. That’s what I I really see. You know, it’s interesting. I spent time in the conventional army, right? Big army, and that actually lets me relate to sort of the corporate leaders that I work with because it’s sort of a correlation there between the corporate, the world, the hierarchy, the systems, the standards, the leadership practices. And so I I sort of lean on that experience when I work with corporate clients and then I work with entrepreneurs. It’s more I sort of draw from the special forces experience where you’re trying to do more with less and you’re dealing with high performing, high functioning individuals, but smaller groups and some more complex mission sets and problem sets.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:45] Now is it something the way you describe it and correct me if I’m incorrectly summarizing, but traditional military is more like has more bureaucracy? Maybe there’s more politics involved. There’s still a mission, but there’s more complexity in terms of the layers necessary to take action. There’s maybe an element of CIA that isn’t there in smaller groups may be more entrepreneurial efforts. And then the special forces. This is a small group that’s charged to get something done. Less tolerance for excuses. There’s way more urgency. And there’s more. Just make it happen. Attitude?
Sean Patton: [00:03:31] Yeah, I think that’s accurate. But you know, I think it’s really it’s really a function of mission and size, right? So it’s in companies. Find this and one of my kind of specialties is actually working with companies starting to make that transition. I’m sure you’ve worked with and talked with a lot of high growth entrepreneurs that they’ve got their small team. You know, I’ve got the six, then they’ve got 12 people, 15 people, all in one room and everybody’s communicating. It’s very flat structure, it’s very fluid. You’re making quick decisions and all of a sudden they have some success and they need to hire 50 or 100 people and you can’t run one hundred and fifty person organization the same way you run with eight of your founders in a room. And so the more people that you start bringing in, the more complexity you bring in. It also requires you to develop more structure, more standards and more layers in the bureaucracy. So it’s really a function of size. I think more than anything in terms of what’s the optimal operating practice?
Lee Kantor: [00:04:32] Now is it possible to move from that nimble to the more bureaucratic in with this warrior mindset of I’m still going to be able to have a tremendous impact despite my size now not, you know, now the size, I’m going to use the size of the lever for even more impact.
Sean Patton: [00:04:53] Absolutely, and that’s that’s the key is frameworks, and that’s that’s the problem that I see with a lot of founders and entrepreneurs as they start to grow and get that high growth stage is it really takes a different set of skills and it takes strong leadership and frameworks to start transitioning to function with a larger organization. So, you know, for example, as you as you grow and you start getting levels. All of a sudden, you have to establish communications SOPs. Right? The CEO of a five hundred person company can’t have direct conversations with their with their sales staff or with their marketers, and not be looping in the leaders in the levels between them or chaos ensues. Right. So the wear’s mindset really is about. Keeping a framework freedom within a framework. Developing a mindset of gratitude. Developing a purpose for your life, a mission for your company and then you move into self discipline, and that’s really the strategic execution. And then we teach presser variance and resiliency and leadership as the final component. So really, the the key with the warrior’s mindset, what I try to do there was get leaders prepared.
Sean Patton: [00:06:20] To lead an organization of any size, but what I found working with larger companies as I was trying to teach or work with them on big organizational design processes and strategic planning and servant leadership. And what I what I realized quickly was some of these senior executives, even though, you know, they were great at their job, they were fine. They’re professionals, but they weren’t actually ready because they hadn’t built a foundation of strong self leadership. And that’s really what a warrior’s mindset is. You know, we have to we have to make sure that where we’re correct in what, how we handle ourselves. And ultimately, if you can’t effectively lead yourself, if you don’t have self-discipline, if you know, how are you going to not just manage but lead other human beings in an organization if your home life is a wreck, if your kids aren’t talking to you, right, like your values of what you say is important and what your actions are doing aren’t aligned, and that’s not a recipe to lead by example.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:21] Now, when you’re working with folks, are you finding them at the beginning of this journey or are they already at that established larger stage and have required some help to kind of maybe navigate through the. Maybe they didn’t go through the transition as elegantly as they would have liked?
Sean Patton: [00:07:36] Yeah, it’s really all levels. I’ve got some clients, you know, that are solopreneurs or just getting started and have a company with some revenue, but they’re adding their first few employees so we can really start from the ground up and focus on them. And then I’ve worked with some corporate clients where, you know, where they’re not going to pull them out of the organization and start from zero. They have a lot of skills, but we need to go back and fine-tune some of the the mindset, some of the values and some of the strategies to optimize their performance and their mindset so they can plug into their organization and make it even more efficient.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:16] So let’s help our listeners, no matter what level they’re at. So let’s work with the entrepreneur first. What are some low hanging fruit for the entrepreneur to do to kind of take control and take command of their situation right now?
Sean Patton: [00:08:31] So in terms of low hanging fruit, the first thing that you can do without a ton of sort of high level thinking and exercise is scheduled prioritization. And what I found is so many entrepreneurs are so flooded with tasks in their to do list that they’re working, working, working. We’ve probably done this right. We’ve worked, we work here 40, 50, 60 hours a week and you get done and catching your breath. And all of a sudden you’re like, What am I actually closer to my goals right now than I was on Monday? And so what I try to teach is that. We need to make sure we are scheduling our priorities, not prioritizing our schedule, so instead of. Sitting down with your to do list, which is what most people do, they start writing down like I do these 20 things and then you look at it to do list and then you start. Plugging them into your calendar based on deadlines. I’m going to do this first because it’s due tomorrow, and then this and this person’s rely on me and they you start using your to do list and you start prioritizing your schedule. Instead, you need to look at your calendar and list out what are your actual priorities like, what are your priorities in life? And then what are your seasonal priorities professionally? Then you go on your calendar and block out time for the things and activities. They’re the most important to accomplishment of your life priorities. And once that’s done and you identify what those priorities are and you have time scheduled for those priorities. Then you can go in and look and start putting those to to do list into buckets.
Sean Patton: [00:10:07] All right. Well, I’ve got a creative work block tomorrow to work on business strategy. What tasks go in there? What task do I have on my to do list that fit with networking or lead generation or systems development? And you can start plugging that into the calendar once you have times already on there. What what I found, though, is? Instead of doing that right, I’ll look at someone’s calendar and it’s packed full of stuff or just like they do list just hammering stuff out from the time they wake up at the time they go to bed. And then I look at, well, what are your life priorities? Well, if my family and then it’s my health and then it’s my well, I don’t see a single time on here to spend with your kids. I don’t see a single time on here to spend with yourself to think strategically. I don’t see a single time in here for you to get out, you know, for you to work out or to make your meals so you’re not having to get fast food. Like all these, all these components that are that are important and critical to them achieving their their actual life priorities and purpose. But because they don’t start there and they start with it to do list, they never get to the actual important things. And they spend their whole day just putting out fires and checking and responding to email and looking at social media and checking on competitors. And they never get the real work done. That matters.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:26] And then by identifying kind of these and it’s literally a handful, it’s not like you can’t have 500 priorities, so you’re you’re helping them kind of narrow down maybe a top 10 or five to 10 priorities, put those in the calendar first, block the time each week, then start kind of sorting through the To-Do list and where it fits, rather than kind of making your priorities fit in whatever time’s left over.
Sean Patton: [00:11:53] One hundred percent. And that’s really one of the first things we look at is what your calendar looks like. And the other thing I would say low hanging fruit is. Especially, you know, so many of us are working from home now, right, so especially entrepreneurs, so when they start working from home and we’ve got kids and family and other requirements and distractions. So we have to set ourselves up for success, so you have to sell your environment up for success, and as human beings, our brains work with patterns and associations. That’s just it’s how we’ve survived as human beings and gotten to the top of the food chain as we recognize threats and patterns and we set habits. And so you need to set your environment up for success, so one of the things I work on with clients is. You know, for me, if it’s during the workday, I never sit on my couch. The couch is for after work time. The TV does not go on until work is done. And conversely, when I’m at my desk, you know, I’m not watching. I don’t watch funny cat videos. I don’t, you know, I don’t. I don’t check funny emails or watch videos that aren’t about work. When I’m at my desk, the only thing I do at my desk is work. The only thing I do on my couch is relax at the end of the day. And so even when I eat lunch in the middle of the day, I sit in the dining room table or I stayed at the island.
Sean Patton: [00:13:10] And if I want to watch some videos or you’ll want to watch SportsCenter when I’m making lunch, I watch on my phone. And as you do these things, you start creating these neural pathways in your brain and these associations. And instead of having to fight these distraction, the self-discipline always being an issue. Whenever you sit down at your desk, your mind instantly says, Oh, we’re working now. And then the beauty of this thing is then when you sit on the couch with your wife or your kids. Now your mind is, oh, I get to actually relax, so it’s about focusing and setting your environment up, not just for work, work, work, work, but so that you can focus on working in one environment. Total relaxation in another environment. And then like your bed, like, don’t take naps if you have to nap or rest, the bed’s not for that. Do that from a seated position in another room because when you go to your bed and you shouldn’t read or work in your bed, either like read for work because then your body and brain doesn’t know what beds for, but bed should just be for sleeping like for eight hours or more. Right. So it’s just that’s another giant thing that most of us that work from home and most entrepreneurs struggle with. And the key is just to create environments for each component of your life, and it’ll maximize your ability to enjoy and be productive in each area of your life.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:31] Now what was it like for for you when you left the military and entered kind of civilian world and going down this entrepreneurial path? Was that a difficult transition or or were you able to kind of navigate that pretty seamlessly?
Sean Patton: [00:14:46] It’s so hard, it’s so hard and it takes so long. I think that’s the one thing that really surprised me is you think, Oh yeah, you know, it’ll take me a few months, it’ll I got to adjust, but. You know, I went in I went to West Point three weeks out of high school and I got to the military was thirty two, so literally my entire adult life had been in the military, in the army and all of a sudden all that was gone. And it takes you a while to start to reprogram your brain and you start to realize some of the things that are normal when you’re in the military, especially, you know, I was in the infantry and then I was in special forces. So, you know, all of a sudden you’re like, it’s just normal to blow stuff up and have bullets whizzing by your head and be in these high stress environments at all times. It’d be reading classified reports about all the worst things going on in the world. You’re just in that world so much. And also, you get out in the civilian world and everything kind of slows down and. You realize your mindset and what you think is normal is not normal, and it takes years to sort of reprogram yourself and start to relate to other people. You know, it’s so hard to relate to my first employees because I was used to being around Green Berets who had run through a wall and would, you know, go to the ends of the Earth.
Sean Patton: [00:16:08] And we’re committed to everything. And you had this big mission about life and death, and all of a sudden, you don’t realize why you’re your employee can’t just make 30 calls a day and you’re just want to strangle. It’s like, what is wrong with you? But it takes you a while to start to really see the world through other people’s eyes and assimilate back into a completely different culture. So now it was it was difficult, to say the least. I think I’m still doing it. I think after about six years, I’m starting to really feel like I’ve got a handle on it and also really starting to identify who I am as a human being. Outside of that identity, because your identity is for so long, you know, you’re the sir, you’re the captain, you’re the commander, you’re the you’re the army guy, you’re deploying, you’re doing these things and also all that’s gone. And it’s it does. It strips away part of your identity and you’re maybe 80 percent of your identity. And then all of a sudden you have this hole of, well, who? Who am I, really? And it takes time for you to start figuring out what do I really believe and how do I want to live my life? And how do I want to structure things? And it takes years to do that.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:15] Now, do you have any advice for people like you were able to motivate people to really kind of go above and beyond and it had nothing to do with money. It had everything to do with the big why the mission? And then you go into the civilian world and people that you trusted are loyal to will leave you for five dollars an hour or more somewhere else. Is there any advice to kind of capture that spirit of mission and fighting for for a bigger cause than themselves?
Sean Patton: [00:17:51] Absolutely, and and in my book that comes out next week called a Wear’s mindset, this is a huge thing I talk about and that is establishing a North Star and not just for yourself, but you need to do that for your business as well. And what? What I have found and what I I use in the book is evolutionary biology and metaphysics and a bunch of other things to really hammer down and psychological principles. The fact is that we’re social creatures. And what I see as individuals and companies. Is that it to capture people’s attention long term, to motivate them to to have them feel contented, fulfilled and really buy in to what’s going on with the organization? Your purpose has to be social in nature. So it has to be about impacting other people. Your your individual purpose can’t be about. It can’t be a financial goal, right? How many miserable millionaires are there out in the world, right? And then they say, Well, as soon as I get this amount, I’ll be happy and they get that and it’s not really happen anymore. Well, maybe the younger girlfriend, maybe the new faster car, maybe the bigger house. Get those still not happy. And then I see that in organizations as well, right? It’s like, Well, we’re going to we’re going to hit this metric and do this goal and then you get there. And I was like, Oh, OK, but I’m not really fulfilled.
Sean Patton: [00:19:14] And so as human beings, from an evolutionary biology perspective, we we’ve survived because we’re communal. And so what I would tell you is that you have to identify an impact that your organization is having in the world, in the community and beyond. Just, oh, we provide jobs and make money. You have to you have to set up your organization to say, Look, we’re changing the world, right? We’re changing our community. Here’s the problem. And we’re alive. You know, we’re getting rid of suffering where elevating people’s spot in life and we’re granting freedom and we’re giving them this and we’re allowing them to spend more time with their families. And you have to tie in this human component. You know, every business really isn’t is in the business of serving humans. And so we need to make business more humane and that that will capture people that’ll hit them in their soul and their spirit. Because the end of the day, you know, money’s a satisfying, but it’s not really a driver, but people will take. And studies show this. People will take less money to be part of a great culture and great organization. And conversely, the number one reason in almost every study that of why people leave jobs is because of bad leadership and bad management. Money is really a secondary factor. You might say it’s five dollars, but really it’s a lack of culture and a lack of strong leadership.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:49] Yeah, they quit bosses, they don’t quit jobs. Absolutely. Now if somebody wants to learn more is is your ideal client? Is it that solopreneur, that entrepreneur? Is it that larger organization that wants to kind of get this training for their team? Like who? Who’s the ideal client fit for you?
Sean Patton: [00:21:09] So both but with different services, so with corporate clients, I have an elite leadership workshop that I can do virtually or in person, and we divide it up into three modules. We talk about self leadership, we talk about servant leadership and we talk about organizational leadership and strategic planning. And I can tell you that for senior executives or middle management, and I think it’s important for. For those organizations to come through with their peers, with with teams and then individuals, I can work with one on one and we’re actually getting ready to launch a stronger leader society group that will be up after this after the book comes out. And in that group, we’re going to have a support team around us and do some small group training as well. So services for both. I have found recently that the more that I talk with sort of these larger organizations or I said, really these these high growth early stage companies that are starting to explode that need that leadership training to help facilitate all the challenges that come with high growth. These elite leadership workshops have been instrumental in them setting the culture training leaders to not just to be leaders, not just managers and see great results.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:26] Good stuff. Well, Sean, congratulations on all the success. If somebody wants to learn more about your practice or your book A Warrior’s Mindset, The Six Keys to Greatness. Is there a website where they can find you and the book?
Sean Patton: [00:22:41] Absolutely. If you go to stronger leaders, stronger profits, we’ll have updates on the book and a way to get a hold of me and different services and additional information. And then you can also, I’m on Instagram and Facebook as Sean Payton presents, and of course, I’m on LinkedIn just under my name, Sean Payton.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:00] All right, Sean, thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Sean Patton: [00:23:05] Thank you, Lee. Appreciate it.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:06] All right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Coach the Coach radio.