THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Justin and David have dedicated their careers to elevating mid-market companies by forging high-performing teams. Their approach is a blend of strategic planning and leadership development designed to harness a company's collective intelligence, creativity, and innovation. The goal? To enhance performance, accelerate scaling, and cultivate extraordinary company cultures.
Justin and David illuminated the workplace concept where everyone can contribute fully and collaborate seamlessly. They highlighted a common hurdle in today's organizations: disengagement. It's a challenge that many face, yet few overcome.
According to them, the key lies in building teams proficient in communication, listening, and the art of feedback—skills foundational to engagement and a flourishing company culture.
David shared his insights on strategic planning, emphasizing the necessity of a clear and differentiated strategy that can be distilled onto a single page.
This clarity is not just about having a direction but about articulating it in a way that resonates with the entire team. Leadership systems and a culture of continuous improvement were also underscored as vital components of a successful strategy.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Introduction of Justin Follin and David Greenspan, co-founders of Blue Case
- Blue Case's focus on strategic planning and leadership development for mid-market companies
- The importance of creating a culture for people to contribute fully and work effectively
- Challenges of working in organizations and default disengagement in companies
- Emphasizing the need for effective communication, listening, and feedback in teams
- Importance of clear, differentiated strategy articulated on one page
- Discussion on leadership systems and creating a culture of continuous improvement
- Commendation of the book “Be a Better Team by Friday: A Playbook for High-Performance Business Leaders.”
- Tips for better meetings, including defining purpose, justifying attendance, and implementing effective practices
About David Greenspan:
David B. Greenspan, PhD., is a distinguished figure in leadership development as the founder and Chief Growth Officer of BLUECASE Strategic Partners. Based in Austin, Texas, since its inception in 2014, his consultancy focuses on strategic planning, executive coaching, and fostering high-performance cultures in rapidly expanding companies. Alongside this, he emphasizes the importance of cross-functional collaboration and feedback-rich environments.
As a co-author of the Amazon best-selling book “Be a Better Team by Friday: A Playbook for High-Performance Business Leaders,” David offers CEOs and executives practical strategies for scaling company growth and nurturing effective team dynamics. His expertise lies in high-performance psychology, analyzing the mechanics behind exceptional individual and team performances in challenging conditions.
With a Ph.D. in High-Performance Psychology, David is renowned for creating transformative corporate cultures and teams. He has over fifteen years of experience advising senior executives in Fortune 100 companies and executive teams in fast-growing, private equity-backed businesses. He is recognized for his ability to inspire and achieve extraordinary results.
About Justin Follin:
Justin Follin, the co-founder and CEO of BLUECASE Strategic Partners, is a crucial figure in leadership development and executive coaching. Based in Austin, Texas, his company, established in 2014, specializes in strategic planning and improving cross-functional collaboration and engagement in fast-growing companies.
Justin co-authored the Amazon best-seller, “Be a Better Team by Friday: A Playbook for High-Performance Business Leaders,” a guide for CEOs and executives focused on scaling company growth and fostering team culture. A trusted advisor to CEOs in rapidly expanding sectors, Justin has coached leaders in companies with revenues between $20 million and $2 billion.
His expertise extends to coaching various professionals, from TEDx presenters to musicians. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Justin holds a degree in Philosophy with a focus on business and ethics. He enjoys music, yoga, and frequent visits to Barton Springs pool in his leisure time.
BLUECASE Strategic Partners is a strategic consultancy specialising in harnessing untapped organisational potential. Catering to CEOs, top leaders, and team managers, BLUECASE aims to facilitate extraordinary growth and performance improvements.
Their approach integrates High-Performance Leadership Development Programs, Strategic Planning, and Executive Coaching to address companies' challenges during rapid growth.
Acknowledging that many companies operate below their potential, often due to underperforming teams, especially under pressure, BLUECASE offers solutions to enhance team dynamics and performance. They provide essential processes and skills to ensure teams excel even in demanding situations.
The goal is to quickly and efficiently elevate a company's latent potential, ensuring teams cope with and thrive under the increased demands of accelerated growth. This focus on individual and team development makes BLUECASE a valuable partner for organizations looking to reach peak performance levels.
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Links Mentioned in this Episode:
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Check out BLUECASE on LinkedIn at
Check out David B. Greenspan on LinkedIn at
Check out Justin Follin on LinkedIn at
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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence.com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence.com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, David Greenspan and Justin Fallon, you gentlemen are the co-founders of Blue Case. You're found on the web at Blue case.com. Also authors of the book Be a Better Team by Friday A playbook for High Performance Business Leaders. Justin, David, it's great to have you each.
Speaker 2 (00:01:22) - Thank you. Good to be here.
Speaker 2 (00:01:23) - Yeah. Thanks, Josh.
Josh (00:01:25) - I kind of teed you up, but I'd love to, you know, in your perspective, tell me about the work that you do and the impact that you have in the world.
Speaker 2 (00:01:32) - Well. Blue case is a strategic planning and leadership consultancy, and we work with companies who are usually in the mid-market 20 million to $2,000,000,003 billion range. And our sweet spot, our core focus is that we combine strategic planning and leadership development to create high performing teams. I would say that is what we are best in the world at, is generating high performance teams in a very short amount of time.
Josh (00:02:03) - And you have a huge roster of clients that you've worked with and you have been in business to Blue Case itself, as has been in business getting on 11 years. So congratulations on your longevity. What are you doing well.
Speaker 3 (00:02:19) - Well, you know, we've had a lot of success. You know, we've taken four companies, have crossed the billion dollar threshold and working with us. A lot of companies that we've worked with have grown exponentially.
Speaker 3 (00:02:29) - And what we have found is that there's so much innovation, creativity and intelligence in a company to exist in a company, but it's offline and the statistics are on it. It's like 70% of it is typically offline. It's literally an asset the company has, but it's not there. And we help the companies put that intelligence, creativity, innovation, engagement online very quickly. And and when you do that, the companies get great performance. They start scaling really quickly. The cultures become extraordinary. And that's really what we do well.
Josh (00:03:03) - What do you mean by online?
Speaker 3 (00:03:05) - Yeah. Great question. Well a lot of times there's something in the way for people to give their best. They don't feel like they can actually share what they think. They don't feel like the company is really even asking about how to make the company better, how to innovate. They can't work together across functionally with different departments, different functions, and so they're not able to contribute. So they basically are phoning it in a little bit.
Speaker 3 (00:03:32) - They're showing up, they're doing their best, but they're not giving their all because the company doesn't allow them. There isn't the right systems in place, the right leadership systems for them to contribute fully. It's not that the company doesn't allow them, but they feel thwarted in some way. Can't have honest conversations. You can't tell say what you really think. So that is what I mean by it's not online. There's something in the way for people to be able to contribute.
Josh (00:03:57) - Yeah. Um, why does sort of thing what you're describing does this do you think that this happens by default? That's my impression. Right. And then I think that as leaders, we have to very proactively encourage that culture or environment where we want to solicit, you know, feedback. We want to make sure that people don't feel like they're going to get shut down. It's that this very much is, you know, we want to hear all the great ideas. I don't know what's your take on that.
Speaker 2 (00:04:26) - Well, I think it is somewhat of a default.
Speaker 2 (00:04:28) - If you look at Gallup statistics over the last, not just 4 or 5 years, about engagement, but the last 20 years since 2002, you will see pretty much a flatline in terms of of engagement numbers. So it's always been in the last 20 years, around 30% engagement or around 70% some disengagement. And there's been a lot of focus in the last few years around cultural numbers, engagement numbers. They're going down. But actually, if you look at it in the last four years, there's some evidence that some of the engagement is a little bit higher than it was even 20 years ago, but it's still around median 30% engagement in a company. So it is kind of a default. And the reason for that is not because a lot of companies aren't great places to work or aspire to be great places to work, but because it's just really hard to work in an organization, it's really hard to work with other people. You're getting thrown onto a team. A lot of times people you don't know that well and just forced to try to figure it out how to do it.
Speaker 2 (00:05:27) - And so a lot of people in their work, they like what they do. They're great technically at their job. They're great program is they're great developers, they're great at sales. But then when they're working with people from other departments, people from other functions inside of a company, it becomes really difficult. There's people speaking different languages, even it almost it's they're all speaking English, but they're it's like they're speaking different languages to each other. An engineering department and a marketing department have completely different priorities, different goals, different skills. So the hard part about work, that's what we focus on is how do you make teams that know how to work together, know how to communicate together, know how to listen to each other, know how to give and receive feedback so that it increases those engagement numbers, which, by the way, Gallup found that if you do focus on those things, you can get 70% engagement. And that's what we do. We just make cultures better and people thrive.
Josh (00:06:20) - Yeah. You know, one thing, obviously, that you do a great deal of work around is strategic planning for someone, you know, business leader who's never worked with a strategic planning consultancy or consultant.
Josh (00:06:32) - What is that usually look like? What does it look like when it when we work with you?
Speaker 3 (00:06:37) - Yeah. You know, a lot of times teams, they generally know what the strategy is. But generally knowing what the strategy is looks like this. Like where people are sort of pointed in slightly different directions. And over time, those they don't go, they don't wind up anywhere near each other. It's sort of if you're one degree off and you're going for a moon aiming for the moon, you don't wind up anywhere near the moon. So a key piece is making sure that everybody has can say and articulate the strategy in the exact same way that people can have really heated tough conversations about strategy, where they can disagree respectfully with each other and have this challenging conversations. It also is really critical that the strategy is differentiated, because a lot of companies, what they would say is strategy. If they told their strategy to their competitor, their competitor would go, your strategy is to grow sales. Duh.
Speaker 3 (00:07:29) - Right. That's not a strategy. They're competing. And and a lot of them companies are competing to be the best. You don't want to compete to be the best. You want to compete to be unique. And so the strategy is coming up with a strategy that's clear, that can be articulated on one page. That includes everything from the values and the purpose and the legacy of the company to the three year, highly achievable goal that you're going to achieve and the capabilities you need over the course of the next three years to develop that when everybody knows what exactly they're doing. So strategy is really the what and the why.
Josh (00:08:07) - I bet your book Be a Better Team by Friday gets into this a little bit.
Speaker 2 (00:08:14) - Well, you know, I was talking with somebody recently and I said, you know, they said, what's the book about? And I said, well, it's about creating high performance teams so that people know how to get things done and how to work together. And they said, oh, you mean the hard stuff about work? And I think that's really important.
Speaker 2 (00:08:32) - That is what our book is about. It's about how to do this, how to have people being able to execute around a clear strategy. And Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for breakfast. So that's a pretty famous line. But we would say it's really both. And there's a lot of focus on strategy. There's a lot of focus on strategy. You have to focus on strategy. It's important, it's imperative. And there's a lot of really complicated strategy out there. So how do you make it simple enough for everyone to be able to communicate about? That doesn't mean that it's easy to execute in this strategy, but how do you make it simple enough so that everybody knows what the strategy is and can execute? And then what is culture mean? A lot of people think that culture means perks, means foosball tables. It means having a really great lunch program. But what we mean by culture, and I think what Peter Drucker means by culture is how you work together. So if strategy is what you do, culture is how you work together.
Speaker 2 (00:09:27) - And when you think of it that simply, then you want to be focusing on what are the systems, what are the practices and tools that make it so that we all know how to work together behind this clear, simple strategy? And that's what makes Blue Case great. That's what our book is really about. And that's what I think is different about what we do.
Speaker 3 (00:09:45) - Yeah, I just to build on that. Josh, most companies that do strategy, they don't really don't know how to do the leadership systems. What are the leadership systems? Even when Drucker says culture eat strategy for breakfast, how exactly do you build an extraordinary culture? What does culture mean? And, you know, how are you giving feedback? How are you developing people? People are always times focusing on attracting great people. Well, once you attract great people, how do you keep them? Great. If you're on a sports team every single day, you're getting better. You're getting better. Individually, the team is getting better every single practice, and it's fun and they're doing really hard things.
Speaker 3 (00:10:20) - They're going up against the best competitors in the world, and they're dealing with a lot of challenges, whether it's weather, injuries, unpredictable things. So at companies, how do you create that same type of that's what we mean by culture. How do you create a culture where people are getting better every single week, every single day? Um, individually, collectively, they have a shared language. They have shared systems. They know how to. They care about each other. They challenge each other, they support each other. And there's minds, shared mindsets, behaviors, practices and those key practices. That's really why we wrote the book because I, you know, we often got I have a PhD in high performance psychology. So looking at why do teams and individuals perform at exceptional levels even in suboptimal circumstances. And people are always saying, David, can you just sum it up for me? If you were standing on one foot and I'm like, well, I can't sum it up and, you know, while standing one foot, but here's a book, and if you read this book and understand these seven practices, you can apply this in your business.
Josh (00:11:17) - Yeah. The book, by the way, bestseller. You've got a ton of five star reviews. What types of leaders should be grabbing this book? And, uh, you know, again, just put a point on it. You know, the transformation that you would expect that they would be able to experience if they start applying what they read in the book.
Speaker 2 (00:11:36) - I think one of the key readers is an executive. A CEO who themselves cares about people, who knows that it's important that people are thriving on their team, but is always looking for. But how do I scale that leadership into the company? I care about it. I know what our culture can be. I hold the values is important. How do I start to see that on my team? How do I see that starting to scale through my company? Just having a very clear playbook for those leaders. I've also seen it. It's really been getting a lot of great reception with first time managers, people who are new to managing a team, who are just looking to build some habits.
Speaker 2 (00:12:13) - One time we were working with a guy who is a new manager in a company very early on that we were working with, and he comes up to me and he says, Justin, you know, you're talking a lot about leadership habits. Well, I don't have bad leadership habits. I just don't have any leadership habits at all. And, uh, this book also helps that kind of manager to just build some great fundamental tools to making sure that their team is really able to work together and have that, that skill set. So I think from senior leadership to first time managers, there's just just a way of this is going to reinforce some things that are familiar. But every single person who's read the book says, you know, it seems like common sense, but I never really thought about it that way. And that's who we want to be reaching, is people who are looking for that easy to apply, not having to think too much about it, and something that they can just make things better right away.
Josh (00:13:07) - Uh, both David and Justin, I want to compliment you're both great follows on LinkedIn. Um, so to our friends listening to our conversation right now, uh, go to Blue case.com, and you should find the, uh, or if you if you don't find the LinkedIn link there. Um, certainly just search Blue Case on LinkedIn and, and follow the content you share. Um, you know, one thing that you had created, I thought was pretty good. And, David, I'm wondering if you could just talk about this or, you know, both of you could each discuss this, how to have better meetings. It's always I'm not sure. I go into meetings with intention about things other than just addressing the fires that need to be addressed. And so I'd, you know, love. Any tips that you'd recommend, uh, you know, just about having better meetings.
Speaker 3 (00:13:58) - Yeah. Well it's great. You know, first of all, you need to have a very clear what we call fundamental why of the meeting.
Speaker 3 (00:14:04) - Why does this meeting exist? And if you can't articulate, then you need to cancel the meeting. And everyone who attends the meeting should have to be at the meeting. If you can't justify why everyone's at the meeting, the nation attend the meeting. So that's a key piece of it, because meetings are a little bit like junk drawers. Like if you don't really focus on cleaning them out every once in a while, they can get junky. So what is the why? Who needs to attend? And the meeting should be about 75% problem solving. So if you just rename the meeting and I think McKinsey actually does as the big consulting company, they call them problem solving sessions, not meetings. And you need to clearly define like what is the issue and problem you're trying to solve. Um, in this meeting. And those issues could change. You want to make sure at the meeting you have everyone check in briefly, right? People come in and meeting, they're distracted. And it's kind of like defrag your hard drive.
Speaker 3 (00:14:53) - You know, every once in a while, your computer gets people have a lot on their mind. And just giving them, you know, a few seconds to check in about what's going on personally. Professionally, you can do it in zoom, you can do it through a question and timebox it. But that, we found, dramatically improves the performance of the company because you get what's going on. Hey, I just we're in a meeting. Well, I really hurt my back yesterday. I'm in a lot of pain. Um, hey, I have someone, you know, my family is in the hospital. And you, when you know that, you know all this. And now everyone's present, more present. And, you know, at the end of the meeting, you want to give some feedback about how the meeting was, how effective is. So have people rate the meeting one through ten and then give some feedback about what worked? What can you do to improve the meeting? What's a we call it an Ebi and even better if not a critique, but just like hey, it'd be even better if and some other key practices make sure you have a parking lot up in the room.
Speaker 3 (00:15:43) - Anytime there's a off topic item, you know, have someone literally just literally written parking lot and it goes right on the parking lot so the meeting stays on track. Anytime a decision is made, document exactly what the decision is, because a lot of times people think a decision is made and then you try to document it and they say, oh no, no, we weren't that. That's not a decision and document actions document who's doing what by when. So do not leave the meeting until you spend 5 or 10 minutes summarizing all the key actions, and then make that action registry public to everybody so they can see it. So those are a couple of practices that will take meetings, most of which are awful. And you apply those. It would make most meetings great.
Speaker 4 (00:16:21) - Yeah.
Josh (00:16:21) - I'm looking at um, David, you would shared this on November 28th when we're recording this. But this is a kind of a slide deck of, you know, it's it's a great structure for meeting kind of outlining.
Josh (00:16:33) - So someone was just listening to that and we're like, oh, that sounds. Is really good. There's something you can grab seven steps to have great meetings, and I don't know if this is also a resource on your website. Blue case.com. But yeah, really, really great content here. And then of course the book which just published, it's called Be a Better Team by Friday, A playbook for High Performance Business Leaders and Kindle. It's an audiobook, but we were talking about this beforehand. Thank you so much for producing the audio book. Uh, did one of you voice it or did you hire someone for voicing it? I recorded that, oh boy, how was that experience?
Speaker 2 (00:17:10) - I loved it, that was great. I enjoyed doing it. Studio was a lot of fun.
Josh (00:17:14) - Nice, nice. Well, congratulations on your longevity. Congratulations on your impact and world. Congratulations on the publishing of the book again, Justin Fallon, David Greenspan, when someone goes to Blue case.com, what would you recommend they do? Or someone that's been listening to a conversation right now and they're like, okay, I'm intrigued.
Josh (00:17:33) - What next steps would you recommend?
Speaker 2 (00:17:35) - One thing I would recommend is going to the website for our book, Better Team Book Comm. So Better Team book.com. We actually have a free assessment. You can fill the assessment out about your team or your organization, and we'll give you some feedback about how you're doing on your journey to high performance, and give you some tips and tricks to help help think differently about building that high performance team. And then there's our LinkedIn. We're generating a lot of content putting it out there a lot. Justin Fallon is my name on LinkedIn f o l I n. And then we have blue case.com that tells you more about our company and the kind of work that we do. And particularly if you're in a leader inside of a company who is growing quickly and starting to experience the challenges of scale and M&A, when you grow fast, there's a lot of people challenges that start to happen. A lot of things start to break. So if you're having those challenges, come check us out and we'd love to talk to you.
Speaker 3 (00:18:30) - Oh, Josh, one more thing too. I want to say, if people are interested in our book and you go to the Better Team book.com, you can get a free chapter so you can download a chapter for free. So that's another opportunity for people.
Josh (00:18:42) - Better team book comm is where you get the book and the free sample chapter. Your main website blue case.com again Justin Fallon, David Greenspan, co-founders of Blue Case. It's been a joy. Thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 3 (00:18:57) - Thank you.
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