“Not everyone needs to or wants to move away from the job that they're currently in. You should applaud the people who love doing what they're doing every day and have no desire to change it. They just want to be great at doing what they're doing.”
In this episode
Don’t assume employees want to continuously grow in a company!
Paul Parisi is the Head of Silicon Valley Bank Canada, and former President of Paypal Canada.
In episode #89, Paul shares how philosophy and psychology play a powerful part in leadership.
Learn the differences between motivating a team versus motivating individuals and how leaders can create organizational alignment.
Tune in to hear all about what being a strategic leader means, how to make time in your calendar for future thinking, and how to talk to people on an individual level.
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
Being a leader doesn’t earn you respect
Motivating an individual vs a team
Having a purpose statement
Create white space in your calendar
Career pathing and forced movement
How to talk to people on an individual level
- Connect with Paul on LinkedIn
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:30
Paul, welcome to the show. Very good to have you on. I know that you’ve had an extensive leadership career you’ve been at PayPal American Express today, you’re head of Silicon Valley Bank in Canada. I wanted to rewind to maybe start from the beginning. Do you remember when you first started managing or leading teams? What were some of the early mistakes that you made in those days?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 02:40
Yeah, thank goodness, it was a long time ago. But you know, the first mistake I made is for some reason, I thought that leading meant leading like taking the lead and being the person and that leading was about me, not about other people. And I have this impression that you’ve made it right when once you’re the leader, people will look up to you automatically, because you’re the leader, and therefore you earn, you know, you get their respect because you’re the leader. And man, was I wrong? Because that’s exactly opposite to the way people think. That’s the first big mistake I made was just thinking that people would see me and respect me as a leader because someone said I was their leader.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:23
Do you remember how you figured that out? Was there a specific thing that happened? Or how long did it take for you to come to that realization?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 03:31
Yeah, you know what? So first of all, the first problem is, I actually had short term success, right? Because I jumped in on every single deal. By the way, I was a leader of a sales team. And so every single deal I jumped in on and I sort of felt that I could take the lead on it and get it across the line. And, by the way, by default, I get recognition for it, which is always really cool. Everyone wants recognition. And so I got this spike of success because I was doing every single deal. What I quickly found out is the deals started fading off and fading off and the pipeline was falling down. And I was like, What’s going on here. But what I found out is that people didn’t want to do it anymore. People didn’t want to work to make me look successful. They wanted to work really to make themselves look successful. And I started quickly realized that if I was going to be successful as leading the team, it was going to have to be because they became successful. And quite frankly, the power of 10 is far greater than the power of one.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 04:35
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. At some point, you start to realize that, hey, this works, but doesn’t really scale. That makes a lot of sense.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 04:42
For sure. And if you can get everyone on your team wanting to work hard and wanting to be successful and desire to get to the next level, you’re going to be far greater than just you yourself taking on every single piece but let me help you with another part of that answer, which is I had a very good mentor My mentor was pointing out some of these things to me was pointing out to me that, hey, you did a great job, but you took credit for the win or for the sale, and I’m telling you right now you will lose your team, you will lose them, you think that they’re going to say, Oh, hey, that’s my leader, and everyone wants to be like him. They’re not, they’re not you’re gonna lose them, because they’re gonna say, Hey, I did all the work, he took the credit. And so I had a very good mentor, that was helping me understand the psychology of how people think and why they think that way and, and how you need to lead differently. Yeah, no,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:33
that’s a very good way to put it. You mentioned the word psychology. Did you say psychology in school?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 05:39
So interesting, right? So I actually have a, not a lot of people know this. So my education is specialized honors in philosophy. This means I think, I don’t know, 26 of 36 credits had to be in philosophy. And I didn’t even know it. But just before graduation, someone said to me, Hey, you’re one credit short of a minor in psychology. And I was like, that’d be cool. And there, I should have paid attention. But yeah, so I studied psychology, but I actually got my degree in philosophy.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 06:06
That’s awesome. What are some things that you’ve learned from either psychology or from your philosophy background that you think are really useful when it comes to managing or leading teams? Like, are there things that directly translated to help you there?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 06:22
Yeah, I think the one thing people misunderstand about philosophy is they all think that it’s Descartes and Plato. And you know, in really deep thinking, that means that it has nothing, but philosophy is actually grounded in logic. And there’s an offshoot of psychology, psychology, essentially, meaning understanding people, and there’s no doubt in my mind that my success has come from my ability to understand people and why they do what they do an understanding how you motivate or inspire somebody, what their sort of true success looks like to them. And that’s all built off of psychology and philosophy that is not built off of a business degree. That’s not built off of understanding a spreadsheet that’s built off of a better understanding of the human psyche and, and what motivates people and why they think the way that they think and that’s at the heart of philosophy and psychology.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:14
That’s really interesting. So what are some of the things that you’ve done that you think have been very effective in helping motivate a team to achieve a particular outcome?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 07:24
You said a couple things in there that are interesting, right? Because there is motivating an individual and there’s motivating a team. And those are two very different things. Motivating a team is about having a common bond about having a common goal, a vision, call it what you want, but everybody working towards the same end result. I do play a lot of sports, I play hockey, still to this day, where I’m, you know, three nights a week, I’m on the rink, and we all know exactly what we’re trying to accomplish, right, which is get the puck in the net. It’s easier in sports, right? You know what you’re trying to do? Because the way you win is by doing something in the work environment, it’s not necessarily true. What’s the end result is that I sell five deals or that I sell 50 deals, I’m not sure. Is it really about selling deals? Or is it about something else. And so, from the team perspective, it’s creating alignment on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why we’re doing it. The individual piece of that is very different, because everyone plays a different role in a team. And again, if you apply it to a sport, I’ll use hockey just because I’m so familiar with it. But a defenseman has a goal, right? It’s to get the puck, typically, out of your end zone and up to somebody else who’s going to run forward with this right? Again, as you apply that to business, it’s not as clear as your goal the same as everyone else’s, you know, role in what we’re trying to accomplish. But understanding what a person wants to do, I think is the most important piece, there’s a lot of leaders that will identify a strength and someone and sort of say, hey, Aydin, you should be doing this, because you’d be awesome at it. Right? But maybe Aydin doesn’t want to do that. Maybe that isn’t what gets you out of bed in the morning and get you up and inspired. And so a great leader will identify what those things are that gets you inspired and motivated. And it might be in very likely is very different than what team entire sort of goal and vision would be.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 09:19
That makes a lot of sense. And so for some teams, I know you mentioned sales. I know that for sales teams, things like this are maybe a little bit easier sometimes because it’s you know, you’re typically choosing a number. Now that you’re running say like an entire organization and you have senior people and junior people. How do you get all of them rowing in the same direction? Like what have you found to be really effective from like an overall company or organization perspective?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 09:48
Yeah, great question and also a very great difference. Salespeople are easy. I would say first of all, recognition of where everybody plays a role in something and you sale of something and a win of something. It’s rarely the effort of the salesperson. It’s everyone behind the scenes, providing recognition and acknowledgement to what everyone’s doing all the way down to the operational person who might not really be clear that they were part of something. But to me or the leader would recognize what their role is, and provide them recognition to the sale, I think is kind of the number one thing that leaders should be looking out for. And number two is very similar is, do we all know why we’re here? Do we all know what we want to accomplish and what success looks like. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a sale, it could be a tax restructuring, it could be a new or better, more efficient use of the way that we operate, where we could save millions of dollars by doing something different from an operational perspective without ever increasing the top line. And so making sure that we all know what the end result is, and I’m dancing around a little bit around vision because I think vision sometimes overused, but I think ultimately, does everyone know what role they’re playing and why they’re playing it? And what success looks like is the number one motivator?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 11:11
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, talking about division, making sure everyone knows where they’re going. But I really like how you said that it’s also important for you maybe as a leader to draw a line from where that person or that team is, and show them how it’s directly related to that so that everybody feels like they’re an important part of the team to make that actually happen. Yeah. So on that note, another thing that you spoken a lot about is just strategic leadership, we have you saying it’s important for a leader to not only set the vision, but also provide strategic direction for the team, and help them to understand how to get their statistics show that purer than 10% of leaders exhibit strategic skills. So why don’t we start from maybe some of the basics, so what are strategic skills for a leader?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 12:03
Yeah, it’s interesting, right? Because it just to be clear on there was some referencing there to strategy versus vision. But a vision is really what you want the end result to be, I think, is kind of ultimately what you want it to be the strategic leadership is, how are you going to do that. And it’s often missed the belief is, if I point you in the right direction, and then this is the way that we’re all going to go that you’re going to know how to get there. But the reality is, there’s often a lot of different ways to get to the end. And the strategy, what I think is the strategic pieces here are does everyone know what their role is? Do we know what the strategy we’re taking your business plan? Do we have the right operational model in place? Do we have the right org design in place? Right? So the strategies of how will get us to the Watts being the what being the vision? And so having a great understanding around career pathing and org design and where you go next? And what keeps a person inspired in that space? That for me is a strategic leadership, one aspect of strategic leadership.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:10
And so how do you work it into your I guess, day to spend more time thinking strategically, I think sometimes it’s easier to get bogged down in delivering what’s immediately in front of you for the quarter, like a task that comes up, you’re in meetings, and you’re very focused on the now. And it’s sometimes becomes hard to think into the future and think about the strategy and like the broader level of how you’re going to achieve an outcome. What do you do to make more time for that? Or to do that effectively?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 13:43
Yeah, you might have just answered the question. It is about time, right in. So creating whitespace for yourself for myself in my calendar, and designating it as this is my whitespace. This is my time where I need to think about what might the organization need? Where’s our next move? What’s the next project that we’re going to work on? What’s the next strategy that we’re going to deploy? To get to a better outcome? I build time, like literally dedicated time into my calendar to do that. Shooting, that’s the most important piece, by the way. It’s also not very fulfilling. The hard part is sometimes you spend a whole day being very tactical, right? You have 150 emails that come in and you punk away and you got phone calls, you got one two ones, and you start at eight o’clock and you finish at six o’clock and you feel like wow, what a day What a day I had like I was a productive day. The reality is you actually didn’t produce anything I am you didn’t take any time out of your day that would eventually move the organization forward. That would get you to a place further than you’ve ever been before. All you’ve done is just taken care of business and one of them feels rewarding, being the tactical side that you were busy all day. But the reality is the reward actually comes when you take time out of that day, and deploy the skills that you might leaders have asked me to do. Because I didn’t come in to answer emails and do one on ones and make people feel really great. And I came in also to make sure that the organization’s moving forward that we’re building that we’re resourcing, that I’m recruiting people that we’re creating new offerings to our marketplace that isn’t available today. And the best way to ensure you’re doing that is by dedicating time to that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 15:29
So that’s really interesting, I think you make a really good point, it is one of the more difficult things of just feeling almost like accomplished unfulfilled when you’re doing these strategic things. And sometimes, like, you may spend a bunch of time and you may not like get a super tangible results. But the other stuff is almost like the junk food. Maybe junk food isn’t the right term, but it’s like, immediately satisfying, but maybe it’s like not necessarily long term, the most impactful way that you can spend your time. If you have a block that is say whitespace. What do you actually do during that time? I know everybody has like a different sort of workflow. So say that you have a two hour block, let’s get very tactical like is this in the morning? Is it an afternoon? Is it an evening? What do you do during that time? Hmm.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 16:19
It’s very during my career, I think based on where I needed to be. And when I needed to be there. COVID has changed a lot of things because the where is right here, every day, I’m here. I’ve never moved. I’m not an airport, not traveling, I’m not dealing with all of that stuff. So I block off my morning, I’m sort of a wake up, get a few things going and have my coffee, you know, etc. But then my first two hours of my day is a block on my calendar, where I’m doing nothing other than looking towards this every day. By the way. Are we fulfilling the vision that we want? Do? Do we understand what it is? What aspects of our vision are not being met today? And I’ll give you an example within SBB. I don’t we’re not going to talk about se but I’ll give you an example. We’ve just revisited who we are as an organization after 45 years, we’ve made sure Or is everyone aligned we’ve had a lot of people come in but a lot of acquisitions are we still all aligned on what we are and who we’re going to be and we created this amazing video productions, etc. But we came out with this is not a mantra this is nothing else is just for internal people to understand a purpose statement. Right? Our purpose is to fuel innovation for a better world. That’s our purpose. Right? So when I wake up in the morning, I’m thinking are what we doing today? Is it actually fueling innovation for a better world? Do we have the right tools in place to lend money to a particular type of segment? Do we have enough era activity going on? Do we have enough life sciences space going on? And so this is what I’m doing to kind of how do I continue to ensure that well, other people are being tactical, and they need to because that’s part of what their role is what but while the sales guys are in sales girls are doing what they need to do and operations are doing what they need to do, somebody needs to be keeping this ship going in the right direction, because it’s easy to kind of veer off and not get where you need to go. And so my mornings are spent ensuring that my offerings are the right ones and where I need to be and what else I need to be thinking about.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 18:28
That’s super interesting, actually do something similar. And I have a two hour block to also in the mornings. And I find it incredibly useful. For me, I guess, like the thing that I’m trying to figure out is, I know some people right now, the way that this time largely gets spent is it’s more larger blocks. And so I might know that say this month, I want to get these larger things, say we want to have a new pricing plan, or we need to hire this type of person. And so they’re kind of like the larger things. And so I use that time, mostly for stuff like that. But I know some people do things like the journal. And they might answer a question like, say that question like, are we currently the things that we’re doing this quarter? Like, are they aligned to this overall mission? And they’ll like, write out the answer to that question. That is the forcing function for them to think about it. Yeah, I’m curious, like what actually goes on tactically during that time?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 19:23
So I would say first and foremost, no one should take guidance from anyone on this, right? I’ve tried journaling. I suck at it. Like, first of all, I can’t even read my writing after it’s all done. And I’m like, why? What was I thinking about when I did that? And so I go into myself and go, How is it that I learn? How is it that I even inspire myself? I motivate myself? How is it? I’m very surprisingly, even to myself, sometimes. It’s all cerebral. It’s all thinking. I do very little writing because when I’m writing, I’m not thinking it’s just so everyone thinks differently and everyone’s wired differently. You heard that saying a lot, my wiring is all internal. I’m somewhat gifted with a memory. That’s insane. And I literally remember numbers that people will tell me and then I can give it back to them three weeks later, three months later and tell them exactly what the number was, I will often call someone out if they tell me a different number. And they told me three months ago, and so I much more cerebral, it allows me a little bit to multitask. I’ll tell you what the multitask is, it could be walking, it could be exercising, haven’t been able to do it because the gyms are closed, uh, used to be a runner, that was my favorite time when you’re running and just thinking and managing internal, but the knees are shot, but I’m very cerebral in that space right now. And I’ve tried other techniques that people have told me journaling and whiteboarding and all those other kinds of things. It all stays up top.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 20:51
That makes a lot of sense. And so I think what you said around everybody is different. All the workflows are different. I mean, you’ve got morning people, nighttime people, Cerebro, folks, people who like to write things down, I think the key is, if you don’t make the block, your time will be filled up with other things, and then you won’t get the chance
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 21:09
very much so and I also removed myself from distractions, which is very difficult to do. So if my computer is open, if it is open. And it often is, by the way, and I’m I might be reviewing somebody else’s material I might be during that time, I might be reading something that someone sent me a book and said, Paul, you should read this, or those are kind of all the different things that I’m doing during that sort of block time. The one thing I’m not doing is monitoring life phone, or my computer for emails, which again, sometimes make you feel like you’ve accomplished something, you know, it’s 730, and someone sends you an email and you’re, you click away and you answer it. And you might think, Boy, I bet you that person thinks I’m really on my game. No, they don’t, they don’t care. You’re just setting the wrong precedents for I’m always here, I’m always available, and therefore I expect you to always be available, you’re setting the wrong precedence. So I shut off all notifications while I’m doing this white spacing activity. And it could be reading, it could be articling, it could be doing a number of things that just keeps the brain flowing around what it is that ultimately we’re trying to accomplish as an organization. That makes a
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 22:18
lot of sense. And I think that’s a good summary there. Hey, there. Just a quick note, before we move on to the next part, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably already doing one on one meetings. But here’s the thing, we all know that one on one meetings are the most powerful, but at the same time, the most misunderstood concept in practice and management. That’s why we’ve spent over a year compiling the best information, the best expert advice into this beautifully designed 90 Plus page ebook. Now, don’t worry, it’s not single spaced font, you know, lots of text. There’s a lot of pictures. It’s nice, easily consumable information, we spent so much time building it. And the great news is that it’s completely free. So head on over to fellow dot app slash blog to download the Definitive Guide on one on ones. It’s there for you. We hope you enjoy it. And let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. Let’s talk about career development. So you’ve been a leader for a long time, you’ve seen people on your team rise up through the ranks, what have you learned about developing other people in the organization?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 23:34
I think the biggest learning is sometimes pointing out people’s strengths to them, whether they because they are often not aware of it. But making sure what a person’s career path is what they want, and not what I want. Right. So I see you, Aydin, and I see that you would be a great moderator. If I say that’s what I think. Except that you don’t want to be a moderator. Right. But I think you’d be a great one. And I think a lot of leaders make the mistake of saying I’m going to help you become this great moderator. That’s what I’m going to help you become well, if you don’t want to be you might by the way you might fulfill my desire for you to be successful, and then end up actually being really, really unhappy. And, you know, I can relate this to children, you know, a 16 and a 21 year old, again, in sports in hockey, you see a lot of kids that their parents are far more interested in them scoring a goal or them attending a hockey game than they themselves are. And by the time they turn 14 years old, they’re out of hockey and everybody’s trying to figure out hey, why do kids quit sport to 15 years old? Yeah, because they never wanted to do them. That’s why they never wanted to, but it was in the person who was controlling them and leading them they were making them do something it didn’t even and they were never asked, Hey, do you love this? You like doing this? What is it that you want to do? Because if you want to do it and you’re going to be emotionally attached Do it and you’re going to be in charge of being successful in it. Let me help you become successful and what you want to become successful. By the way, it might not be the head of the organization, because not everyone wants to do that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 25:12
Yeah, that’s super interesting. I think like, the other part of that is when we sometimes choose, or like want someone to take their career someplace, it’s usually because that’s maybe like the way that we think about our own career development. And we’re maybe like, projected out, it’s not always the case. So I think step one, as part of this is obviously to ask the person, but oftentimes, you find that not everybody really even knows where their career is going to go. Or maybe they’re like, early in their career, and they haven’t tried many things. And so they may not be in a good place to be able to determine where they should go.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 25:48
Yeah, I’m going to add to that. Not everyone wants to go anywhere. I think a mistake is assuming that you want to do something different than what you’re doing right now. And then you get this self fulfilling, hey, why is everyone churning in my organization? Why is everyone leaving? Or why is everyone doing? Is everyone want to move every six months? Well, you promote someone into a job and 15 minutes later, you’re saying, hey, what do you want your next job to be? Right career pathing is somehow associated with advancement and movement. But career pathing might be, you’re in a fantastic job, you love doing what you’re doing? You’re really good at it? How do I keep you motivated or recognized for doing a great job? Because that’s what you want your career to be? Not necessarily, I want to advance it somewhere. And it’s a mistake. Often people we make people feel like you’re not very successful. If you’re two years in your role, and you’re not already asking, What do I get to do next. And then you end up with this, we’re in the whole ecosystems in trouble right now. I mean, everyone’s moving everywhere, and can’t really figure out exactly why. But I do think that there currently is a little bit of lack of leadership associated with this, there’s a little bit of forced movement going on with, you’re sitting at home, you need some change, you need some inspiration or motivation. And so I’m going to get that by just changing jobs or going to another organization, because the one that I’m in, isn’t giving me really what I want right now, I find that to be kind of one of the biggest things is not everyone needs to or wants to move away from the job that they’re currently in. And it could be 18 months, it could be 18 years, you should applaud the people who love doing what they’re doing every day and have no desire to change it. They just want to be great at doing what they’re doing.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 27:39
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think LinkedIn is really happy about all the changes and all the status updates. And I think part of it is that you’re right people to large extent the changing, like your LinkedIn, you know, job title, like every so often are showing career progression like this is part of the things that we are now associating with progression in your career is like the updates to those titles. And yeah, to those postings.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 28:06
The irony is, if someone comes to me for a role, and they’ve had a new role every 18 months for four years, right? Is there some reason why I think I’m going to be different on this one, that I’m not going to be just the next step, I literally see some people who every two years on the button move, move, move, whether it’s a promotion and the company they’re in, or whether it’s a move to a different company. And I already know, in two years, they’re moving from me, like there’s nothing I’m going to be able to do because someone has ingrained in that person. The only way to get ahead, or the only way to feel or look successful, often look successful, is by going and doing another job every two years because it would be considered unsuccessful to stay in a job longer than two. I do think it’s ironic that people are looking to add names or movements quickly into their resumes, when in fact all you’re doing is indicating to somebody who really understands this, that in all likelihood, you’ve got them for 18 months to two years as well.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 29:08
Yeah, I think what you said around me, it’s really difficult to pinpoint any one thing, especially over the last few years, but I do think it is partially a leadership challenge. Like if you have an organization, you’re able to show that oh, you can actually grow within our company and you can get more responsibility or you can feel fulfilled and find that growth, even if it isn’t title growth, but like just growth and learning and taking on more ambitious task or goal. I think that less of that would happen. It’s hard to actually say what it is specifically, but I do agree with you that leadership definitely has an impact on this.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 29:49
Yeah, you know what I think it’s also the responsibility of the organization to recognize and acknowledge and reward people who love doing what they’re doing as well. And that might mean that, you know, you can’t give somebody a 2% raise or a 1% Raise. And if they don’t move, they only ever get there 1% and 1%. And they’re watching their peers around them get promoted and get 10%. And yet their loyalty is not being recognized. And they’re falling down the ladder from the financial perspective. And I think organizations have to look at that and say, How do I recognize and reward somebody who’s doing a great job in the job they’re in without forcing them to get promoted to earn more money?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 30:31
So on that topic of just inspiring and motivating teams, what are some things that your leaders can do? Or if you have examples of these in any of the companies that you’ve been at, where you were able to kind of like inspire, motivate a team to really go after a difficult and potentially, at the time a seemingly impossible task?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 30:57
Yeah, it’s so there’s a few of them, let me take way back, just so that there’s no early association here. When I moved from American Express Canada to the UK, I moved into a job that changed in the air, literally. So I was heading over to become the vice president of corporate card and travel for Europe. So I was going to lead the global team that looks after global client groups card and travel in the air, it was decided that we would split those rules, literally, the organizations would split. When I landed, I was quickly, you know, everything was buzzing everything. And the call was, hey, which one of these things you want to do? Do I do cardio one to travel, I’m like, wow, like, wow, like, that’s pretty crazy. And of course, I then had to actually get my team who had been doing both to also make the same decision and realizing how difficult that would be with the ultimate goal by the way of growing market share in both of those, which by the way, it was a what seemed to be a very difficult task, right, you’ve got a global client group, these are the largest of the largest biggest of the big, and you got people have been managing traveling card program, they’re gonna have to split and make a decision on which one’s going to be the right one, and then ultimately, then start growing them. And so now you’ve got change management going on, both in what the career direction they wanted to take. And also change management in, you’re not here is maybe unfair, but you’re not here babysitting a customer anymore. Your job is to grow that the start was you make the decision, you make the decision. So a lot of people said to me, Paul, just tell people what they’re going to do. And I’m going to go back to this Rite Aid. I’ve told you a few times now, leaders have to stop telling people that I think you’d be a great card manager, you’d be a great yep, I might be, but it’s not what I want to do. And until people realize that when I wake up every day, I really love what I’m doing. And I really want to do what I’m doing. I’m going to do it anyways. Because that’s what I’ve been raised. That’s how I’ve been doing. But if I want to have passion, and really accomplished some things, I want to do it. So the decision I made was, you decide what you want to do. Right? So that was decision number one, by the way, very difficult for people to do. The second was Okay, so now what are we going to do? Because Do I just keep doing my exact same job? Or do I do something different? And I sat down with each of them to say, Do you think there’s opportunity? Do you think the move the company just mean, was a good or bad move? And if it was, you know, either way, whatever your answer is, let’s understand how we change that, because we’re not going to change the organization, we’re not going to change what the decision was, we have to sit down and decide how do we make the best of what the situation is, in many cases, by the way, people loved it. And a lot of people did not, right. And so I’m going to tell you, this was a one on one individual discussion. In scenarios like this, you cannot lead as a group, you have to sit down and get buy in from an individual level, and gain respect from them for your leadership and let them know that you want them to become successful. And this isn’t about the organization. This is about the individual. I think if you apply this sort of individual pursuit, in all things, leadership, you’re going to win every single time. It’s difficult to do if you’re dealing with 10,000 people. But you know what? Aydin, there are very few people who are dealing with 10,000 people. There’s a most people are dealing 1020 3040 people. And yeah, it takes a lot of time to set up 40 different individual calls. But these are people and this is what we need to do as a leader. You can’t tell somebody, Hey, I really care about you. But I’m not going to talk to you as an individual. I’m going to talk to you as a group all the time, right?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 34:40
Yeah. And this is why this stuff is hard, right? Nobody said it was easy, or it was not a lot of work. But it’s very cool to see like how seriously you take this concept and To what lengths you go to make sure that everyone is acknowledged on an individual level. I think that’s awesome.
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 34:56
I do it for hiring. Right so I’m not making the decision on hiring, I’m not, unless you’re obviously direct to me. But I will pick up the phone frequently, if I know that somebody’s thinking about coming here or not, and say, let me talk to them, let me sit. And I’ll just give them what I’m thinking and let’s just have a normal conversation. It’s not often you get to talk to a CEO, who cares. By the way, my CEO, my new CEO of my new company, picked up the phone and called me we had a good long discussion, where do we talk about, we talked about my family about my interest in life and where I want to go and what I wanted to do, I didn’t talk about business, we didn’t talk about that. We talked about the personal side of it, and I realized, okay, if a CEO about 10,000 person organization can do it, then I can do it with 50. I can.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 35:42
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So, Paul, this has been awesome discussion, we’ve talked about the concept of strategic leadership, career development, psychology whitespace, how to talk to people on an individual level, one of the questions that we ask all the managers on the show is for the other leaders out there constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks, or words of wisdom that you’d leave them with?
Paul Parisi (SVB Canada) 36:11
You’ll be human, you cannot be perfect, right? And if you try to make people believe that just because someone has anointed you, as the leader, that you know all things about all things, you’re destined to fail, right? I have learned way more from my employees in my lifetime, then they learned from me, I assure you of that, I assure you, right. And I’m going to continue to ask and want and learn more from them than they are from me my of one job in life, which is to clear roadblocks and provide guidance and direction and vision and purpose for my employee base. But ultimately, that’s driven by the employee. That’s the people who work for me, it’s not driven by me, there’s very few instances other than some restructuring when someone’s brought in literally to fix something that is broken. But how often is that it’s rare, almost all people are brought into a pretty successful well run decent organization. And now you’re trying to figure out how to make it better. I assure you making it better is finding out from within the organization, how do you make it better? Because I’m not going to be able to do that. I’m going to ask those people, Hey, how do you think I make it better? And they have way better answers to that, that I’m going to have to that. That would be my kind of number one final thought on that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 37:28
That’s awesome. That’s great advice and a great place to end it. Paul, thanks so much for doing this.