Stephen Krempl, CEO of Winning in the Work World, is an international speaker, best-selling author, facilitator, and corporate communications coach based in Seattle, WA. He has worked with thousands of leaders in more than 30 countries.
His career spans 25 years working for Fortune 200 companies, including as Chief Learning Officer, Starbucks; VP of YUM University and Global Learning, YUM Brands; Director, PepsiCo Restaurants; and Regional Manager, Motorola Singapore.
He is an expert on helping leaders stand out and get noticed in their organization even in an increasingly virtual and global marketplace. Krempl is the author of five books, including his latest release The 5% Zone, an international bestseller in six countries across multiple business categories.
Connect with Stephen on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- Type of Mindset that someone needs to have to even believe they want to do this
- Where have you seen individuals get stuck and how could they overcome that block
- Five opportunities that you can stand out in front of key management
- Some techniques that you can maximize your impact in the 5% Zone
- Why is being able to change Negative to more positive language paramount when dealing with Senior Mgt
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Speaker1: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the business radio studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for coach the coach radio brought to you by the Business Radio Embassador program, a no cost business development strategy for coaches who want to spend more time serving local business clients and less time selling them. Go to B.R. X Ambassador dot com to learn more. Now here’s your host.
Speaker2: [00:00:33] Lee Kanter here another episode of Koch, the Koch Radio, and this is going to be a good one today. We have with us Stephen Kemple with Winning in the Work World. Welcome Stephen
Speaker3: [00:00:44] A.. Thanks for having me. Great to be on the show.
Speaker2: [00:00:47] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about winning in the work world, who you serve and then how do you do it?
Speaker3: [00:00:54] Well, the winning it work well, as the title suggests, we help individuals either entering the workforce or those who have been in the organization to help to get a little bit more visible and stand out, especially through their senior management. So it’s all the people who are working there.
Speaker2: [00:01:14] So how did you get in this line of work? What was the catalyst for your business?
Speaker3: [00:01:19] Well, actually, it’s kind of interesting. I’ve had a pretty long corporate career in four Fortune 500 companies acting to more than 200 companies. And then at the end, I decided, what am I going to do? And the reason I actually found was I saw many of my colleagues being bypassed for promotion or getting that, you know, that choice project, not because they were not smart, hardworking people, but they just were not visible enough to senior management. And you know how that how important that is when you need to be picked, you know, by that. Right.
Speaker2: [00:01:55] So so now so in your career, I guess you were picked more times than your colleagues.
Speaker3: [00:02:04] Well, let’s put it this way, though. I think I understood the rules of the game, which is one of the techniques that we teach people. You have to figure out the rules of the game and then you have to decide in those five situations that the senior management either see or hear you, that you need to be seen or heard. Right. You can be at the meeting, but if you’re the quietest one or the one doesn’t say anything, then you might just be overlooked. So it’s a little bit of a strategy.
Speaker2: [00:02:36] So when did you realize that there was more to kind of moving up the corporate ladder than just doing good work?
Speaker3: [00:02:44] Well, I got to share a story. So this happened to me way back in my first first job. You know, the regional H.R. guy came to me and said, hey, Grimble, I’m going on a two week regional trip. I want you to review all our processes and tell me what’s wrong and missing. And when I come back, you let me know I’m going, wow, this is my chance because I’m really good at pointing out mistakes and finding faults. So the guy comes back and says, hey, come on in my room and tell me what’s wrong. So I went to his room. I said, Jason, this is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is missing. This is missing. And I don’t know who was in my position before I came in, but that person wasn’t obviously doing their job. He paused for about two seconds. Then he said I was the person that was in that position. And I go, whoops, I just put my foot in my mouth. Right? And then he said this, which changed my life forever. You said. Crumble, just remember this. If there’s a problem of something going on that is not right and the organization that’s probably somebody in the room, i.e. the most senior person that either has not fixed the problem or they are the ones that caused the problem. So what you should have told me was this. You said all you should have said was, Jason, if we just tweak this, this and this process and maybe improve this in this process and added this one thing, I hope our organization will be so much better. And I would have said, great job, please carry on. And then it dawned on me that most senior people don’t want to hear what’s wrong. They want to hear what you’re going to do to make it right and switch my total from a communications sample. One of the aspects is going from negative to positive right now.
Speaker2: [00:04:39] But to me, it’s it’s also kind of requiring of yourself to think more like an owner than an employee, like try to get to the heart of the problem and solve it, not just to kind of be a cog in the machine and just go along with a broken machine.
Speaker3: [00:04:56] That’s right. Don’t tell me of the problem. Well, you can raise the problem, but the one thing is more visible are the ones that can raise the problem, maybe provide a solution or provide some alternatives that, you know, that senior management should consider to get it done or fixed or resolved or improved or, you know, any one of those things doing it. And it’s really, really important to have that.
Speaker2: [00:05:21] Now, how do you counsel the individual that feels like they’re doing good work and that there’s somebody that’s doing lesser work, but they’re just able to either kind of I don’t want to say steal the work or maybe steal the credit or kind of, you know, pretend like they’re doing the work in front of senior management, but they’re really not.
Speaker3: [00:05:43] Yeah, so and this is not a fair world, as we all know. And some people I come across some of those in my my career as well. Right. However, they understand the rules of the game, though, that there are a couple of things that you have to consider. Firstly is there’s two numbers that we talk about all the time. It’s called ninety five and five. And that’s why the book is called a five percent. So. Right. So ninety five percent of the time you need to be yourself. However, in the five percent times and a five percent times we defined as being in the presence of people two levels and above in the organization, how you act in the ninety five is not the same as how you act in the five percent. So when you are in the presence of the person who is two levels above you, so your boss’s boss, your supervisor, supervisor, you need to really pay attention and figure out what they are looking for and give it to them. And most people will. Well, Stephen, you know, that’s acting and that’s not being true to myself. Right. However, that’s where you shoot yourself in the foot, because in a corporation, people act slightly differently at different times.
Speaker3: [00:06:59] And then most people go, well, that’s not being authentic. And then I give them this example. I say, look, you change all the time, though. When you are in the office, you act one way. When you go out drinking with your old college or university buddies, you know, you act totally different. And if you are married and you went to your mother in law’s house, you act totally different. And if you went to the game and your team is just scored, you act different. And if you are a person of worship, you act different if you went to that place of worship. So we know how to change, but somehow in the organization, people go, well, you see, I’m not like that. I will let my work speak for itself. And then they miss out on the opportunity because some of them don’t get to meet their bosses. The boss’s boss very often. Right. So, so. And unfortunately, that’s the the the truth. And I’m kind of telling it like it is now.
Speaker2: [00:07:53] What do you tell to the person, especially when you’re dealing with a lot of conversation about diversity and inclusion nowadays, how do you kind of counsel the folks that just may be? For a lot of people, there is that five percent time there in front of your boss’s boss. But for some people, you know, it might be a one percent or a point five percent time that they’re in front of that person.
Speaker3: [00:08:19] So totally right. So, you know, then it’s even even more important to focus on that point, five percent at one percent, because people kind of give you credence. So I do a lot of work in diversity groups. You know, I I come from a diverse background myself, so I know exactly the situation. And you. All opportunity as a diverse person, a person of diversity is actually better if you say, let’s say you and a one percent meeting and you asked a great question when you ordinarily would have kept quiet, you stand out even more. In fact, no more one. I call it the three X, right. Because, you know, people go, wow, you know, this Stephen guy, he actually thinks pretty clearly that I’m looking for somebody now who I remember I remember Stephen because he actually asks a great question. And that’s probably the only thing he said or had opportunity to say in that meeting. So. For those people who have zero point five percent, a one percent time, it’s even more importantly.
Speaker2: [00:09:30] So now let’s walk through a scenario like that. OK, so now I know I’m a maybe a person of color. I’m in one of these small subsets. There’s not a lot of me in this in that office. And I’m getting invited to one of those meetings. So I know a week ahead I’m going to be there and there’s going to be you know, all the muckety marks are going to be there and me. And so what am I doing to prepare No. One? What am I doing to prepare to kind of maximize my opportunity? Because I’m going to think strategically now that I read your book. So I’m thinking strategically. So now what do I do? What homework am I doing? Number one. And number two, after the meeting, what kind of follow up am I doing to kind of lock in that, to keep me top of mind?
Speaker3: [00:10:20] Ok, very good. You’re brilliant. So at the meeting, there are only three things that I tell people you can do. The only three. So those who are listening, taking this down, number one, you’re either making a point. So you either articulating a point of view, that means you’re you’re saying something, right? Number two, you ask a question. That’s the second thing you can do. On number three, you summarized. So you’re summarizing at the end because the leader will say any questions or comments. So if you if you are not familiar with the topic, then I suggest maybe you don’t do a you add a point of view because you may be out of your depth. Right. But you could ask a question, but that presumes you have a great question that you have already thought through and brought to the meeting because you know, the topic of the meeting or if the worst thing happens and you don’t you don’t say you don’t articulate a point of view. You don’t ask the question. And it’s right near the end, you know, is the opportunity. And when the leader says any questions or comments, you put up your hand and you don’t even have to say the all you have to do is says, you know, Lee brought up a great point about ABC and Steven over there brought up a great point about X, Y and Z. I think I like Lee’s point and I’m going to tell my peers to do exactly what Lee says. All I did was repeat what Lee and Steven said, but it sounded like I’m participating and carrying that information and doing something with it.
Speaker2: [00:11:55] Now, when it comes to asking a question, I’m sure that a lot of folks that are in that position are afraid of asking a question that might be considered dumb or obvious or to kind of show that maybe they aren’t knowledgeable and they should have known this.
Speaker3: [00:12:15] Yeah, well, that again, they’re a couple of rules. And if you read the book as well, they’re a couple of rules around asking question. Firstly, don’t ask them what we call a negative, a trapping question. And that is, Lee, you brought up this particular situation, but we don’t think it’s really good. So what are you going to do about it? So that’s trapping you, right? No leader wants to do that. They will answer the question, but their memory of you is you’re asking a negative and a challenging question. We say that any question can be asked either neutrally or positively. And most people just don’t know how to do that because they they think of the issue in their head and it comes straight out them. All right. So you can say, you know, nobody agrees with the new strategy and and so what are we going to do about it? Right. So that’s obviously a negative question. Or you could rephrase something like that and say, you know, how do we gain the support of all our employees for our new strategy? The answer is exactly the same, but the impression of the person asking the question totally different.
Speaker2: [00:13:32] But that requires kind of preplanning and kind of kind of doing your homework, you can’t just show up and think you’re going to be able to wing it on the spot. These these meetings are too rare and you got to kind of get the most out of them. So you can’t just go in there and think you’re going to wing this.
Speaker3: [00:13:50] You hit the nail on the head. We have another concept called just the work called preparation. Right. Most senior leaders prepare like mad or they just don’t tell you. Right. So I’ll give you an example. I flew down from Seattle to Santa Clara to have one of my clients who said, hey, Stephen, can you come and help me out? I have a 10 minute presentation to my CEO and I need some of your help. I spent four and a half hours with him on his 10 minute presentation. Right. But do you think that person’s going to stand up in front of a CEO and say, you know, I’ve been practicing with Stephen for four and a half hours and I like to make my presentation, know he’s going to go up, he’s going to stand up, deliver his presentation of a bang, and people are going to go, wow, that guy’s a great communicator. He has had four and a half hours practice with me. They don’t tell you, though, so most senior leaders to those people who are listening, if you have a one percent meeting, five percent or five percent meeting preparation is key, and especially if you know the only three things you can do. Right.
Speaker2: [00:14:59] Well, and it’s a it’s a great point that when something looks easy doesn’t mean it was easy. Yeah, there was a lot of
Speaker3: [00:15:09] Simple, not easy and easy is not simple. Right.
Speaker2: [00:15:12] Right. There was a lot of work to make it look easy. You know, there was a lot of sweat and tears to make it look easy. And people don’t appreciate it. They think like, oh, that’s a natural communicator. He’s just good on his feet.
Speaker3: [00:15:24] I was talking to one of the guys who was interviewing me on on on the podcast. And then he said, you know, I we were we’re doing a show and people always ask him, you know, Jason, how come you’re so comfortable in front of a camera? And he says. Between January of 2020 and April, I’ve already done two thousand, built many cars, you know, in that Pohlmann period. I’m a lot better at two thousand than I was at number one, though. Right. And people don’t realize that. Right. They see you doing the two thousand one. Right. But they never saw your number one to 10 or whatever you did in the beginning. People get more comfortable and then they become more confident. Right. And then and then that shows when you are prepared.
Speaker2: [00:16:16] So now in your work of coaching people and helping them with these kind of skills that you’ve gained over the years, how has kind of being an entrepreneur and running your own show been different for you or challenging for you as opposed to kind of climbing the corporate ladder?
Speaker3: [00:16:34] Well, as you know, for all entrepreneurs, depends what your goal is, right, in fact, probably the goals are very similar. You want to increase your business. You want to be visible in your area, in your industry or your whomever, your target audience you’re playing with. And you have to be seen as somebody who’s really good or an authority in that area of. The same skills apply to, you know, if I talk about visibility, yes, we talked about corporate visibility, are you visible in your community or your target audience that you do it right? Do you communicate? How do you communicate to your audience? Are you the person that is able to be clear and concise with their messaging, or are you the person that rambles on and on? So many parallels are the same, except that if you are an entrepreneur, you may not have the what I call the trappings or the infrastructure that if you are a leader in an organization, you would have. So, you know, I don’t have my team of 30 people. You could have an entrepreneur if you have a big business. And that’s what you want. Right. But most entrepreneurs don’t have the same infrastructure as they do, but they still have the same goals. They need to be visible. They need to increase their business and they need to communicate to the audience and be seen as an authority.
Speaker2: [00:17:56] So how do you build your infrastructure to help you become efficient so you can focus on your superpower and not get bogged down by all the stuff that is kind of the minutia of the business that’s required for it to run smoothly?
Speaker3: [00:18:09] Right. So so a couple of choices. Most people have either assistance or extended teams that come from other providers or other vendors that can provide either communication services to you, virtual assistant services to you, or even marketing services to you. So that’s a choice. Or you can have a small team, right? I have a small team and I also have a host of different providers that provide me the exact things that I need. And I’ve just chosen that choice. I in the early days, I decided that I did not want to build another organization of 50 or 100 people because in the end you end up managing people more than managing the business. So I decided to build a business where I have, as you said, do. Do my craft and then have other people just do the other things that are required to make a business run.
Speaker2: [00:19:14] Now, what’s more rewarding for you these days is having one of your clients get promoted or was it when you got promoted back in the day?
Speaker3: [00:19:23] Now, I tell you what, seeing my clients getting promoted is great. I had a lady that was in a large. An airline or aircraft company here in the US, we won’t mention names based in Seattle. There used to be house because of the class that we took and the technique she did in those five situations. So we said the only five situations that people see or hear you right. It’s the one on one meeting that the leaders have with you is the team meeting is either the small team of the large all hands or town halls, the conference call, the business presentation or the company socials. So those are the only five situations. Right. And she she did the many of the techniques that we did. She got visible and she got promoted. And and I’m I’m really proud of her.
Speaker2: [00:20:23] Now, we talked a little bit about this, so there’s the opportunity to shine during those five opportunities or being strategic at a meeting with your boss’s boss. How do you recommend kind of the follow up after one of those incidences occur?
Speaker3: [00:20:41] Yeah, I saw that there a couple of things. Right. And in in the book, we call it creating green X’s. A green X is something memorable that you do that people remember you by. One of the things that usually happens at the meeting. A couple of things. Right. So depending what time of meeting, usually the Boscoe, any volunteers to help me on this team? You know, most people duck their heads and get us out of the meeting because nobody wants to do extra work. So a possibility is putting your hands up and being part of a committee or putting your hands up and saying, hey, Lee, you know, I heard you mention that and talk. I don’t mind pulling a team together and doing a little bit of research for that for you. So that’s one thing. Sometimes just sending an email and thanking the person about what they said is another thing. How many people do that? They don’t know. I’m telling you
Speaker2: [00:21:38] How many, like you were an executive telling me how many people sent you a thank you.
Speaker3: [00:21:46] I can count on my hand one hand through all the years I’ve been there.
Speaker2: [00:21:51] Right. That’s shocking, right? That’s a missed opportunity.
Speaker3: [00:21:55] So I give you an example. At least I don’t teach people anything. I don’t do myself or I don’t suggest myself. So my youngest daughter was in her first job. Right. And this was last year. And she’s over dinner. She was saying, hey, dad, you know, my C.O. just got promoted. I just got an award. He’s one of the five CEOs in the United States that got this award. I go, wow, that’s great. Why don’t you send him an email? He said, No, I can’t do that. I just joined the company for three weeks. I said, no, no, no, you can do that. So, of course, that force that you bring your phone out and time even says, Mr. So-and-so, I just saw you on a zwart. I’m really proud to be a new employee. Great job. Something like that. Right. This one liner and send the email. She was hesitant to tell them when she pressed him. You know, then we stop the my bickering. Two hours later, she came down. She said, Dad. He replied to me, though, right. This is a simple thing most people think, you know, because the SEALs are a human being as well. Right, right. People want to get noticed even is that hey, great interview. I mean, it can be five words for having a great interview. I’m so proud to be on the team of being on the organization. People don’t realize those things. I have one more story to tell.
Speaker3: [00:23:15] Can I tell one more story? Yeah, I got that. So I was doing a talk in one of the top insurance companies in the US and on the East Coast. Right. And I was speaking to a group of 200 interns in that particular area that summer. So two hundred interns. Again, I’m doing my spiel how to win in the work world, how to stand out, yada, yada. And then right at the end after that, to your point, one intern, one out of two hundred wrote me a letter. Now, if she didn’t send me an email, she wrote me a letter. And in the letter, she essentially rearticulated most of my key lines that I said to her in the letter, which means she showed me that she was listening to me. Right. And like I tell people, if you repeat what your boss or your boss’s boss says and give it back to them, they think you’re brilliant. Let me repeat that, in case your listeners missed that, would you repeat your boss, your boss’s boss says to you, back to them, they think you’re brilliant. And for me here was this, this young lady who wrote a letter. Send it to me and said all how what she took away from that talked. Guess out of the two hundred and ten that year, because that company hired 16, do you think she was one of the six? I’d bet on
Speaker2: [00:24:50] Her
Speaker3: [00:24:51] Exactly. She was one of the 16. And I’m sure she figured out the rules of the game and going to get far ahead in that in that company.
Speaker2: [00:24:59] Yeah. And I can kind of affirm that same thing has happened. I can’t tell you how many young people I said, look, I’m available. You want to learn how to do this. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve interviewed thousands of executives. I had to do this. I’ve been doing it for years. If you want to learn more and you know firsthand, see how this works. I’m happy to do it. And like you said, it’s a handful of people that really take you up on that. And and and and then once they do, they they win. You know, they benefit.
Speaker3: [00:25:32] Exactly. It is it it really is funny because sometimes it’s not only the young ones, sometimes people who are mid career and who are dreaming is stuck also couldn’t figure that out because they they don’t do the things they get himself noticed. And I had the same experience when I was writing my book, Call your hired, done what you do that that was targeted at the call it college market. So I was into interviewing the CFO for Levi’s and I asked him, I said, you know, do you guys have interns? He says, yeah, I usually hire about eight interns every summer. And I said, oh, wow, great. Any one of these interns just stand out to you and did anything different since you’re out of the eight, only one. And it bothered to come to my assistant, booked some time with me half an hour interview. She came in, she asked me one question and I talked for twenty nine minutes right now. And then she said, did you did you hire any of those interns. Yeah, we hired two more. She one of them. Yep. She was the only one I met. So it’s like you knock yourself in the head. You have for heaven’s sakes people. Right.
Speaker2: [00:26:42] It’s right in front of you. It literally is in front of you and it’s free. It doesn’t require anything other than having kind of the guts to just ask and interact with something, be a little proactive. And it’s amazing what what’s available exactly.
Speaker3: [00:27:02] I mean, it’s like we said just now, it’s simple, but simple is not easy for some people who for some reason or the other. So but to get ahead and win and to work well, that there are many simple but practical things you need to do. Just do them. How about that? Right.
Speaker2: [00:27:22] Well, if somebody wants to get a hold of your books or work with you directly, what is the website to connect with you?
Speaker3: [00:27:31] Wow. Sounds familiar. Go to winning in the work world dot com. That’s the easiest one you can get to do to get there. And the book is called The Five Percent Zone Visibility Strategies that get you recognized and rewarded in any organization. And you can get that on Amazon. So it’s a five percent zone sometimes type type in my name, Steven Crampy, and it’ll pop up.
Speaker2: [00:27:58] Well, Steven, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you leave.
Speaker3: [00:28:03] Thank you so much for having me.
Speaker2: [00:28:05] All right. This is Lee Kanter Rules. How next time on Coach the Coach Radio.