July 14, 2021

Lean Aint Sexy with Jake Harrell


In this episode Jake emparts years of experience with Leadership and Continuous Improvement. Jakes layed back personality disguises his ferocious drive for personal development. You may be surprised that our understanding of Leadership is largely derrived from working for weak leaders. Clearly Jake is committed to creating a better space for the people in his charge.

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https://youtube.com/channel/UC4iOzsobf99YG1wCxn9r60w

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https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakeharrellchasingexcellence/

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Transcript
Jesse:

Where would you say the thinking comes from around? I've got to be mechanical in nature in order to achieve success. Where does that come from?

Jake:

You know, that is a fantastic question, but I think there's a, there's a huge gap between what we would call our frontline associates from leadership and that we incompetently just promote the best performer. That's what we do is, you know, you're not the best leader in a group, new guy. We wouldn't even know how to really articulate what we want out of a leader most of the time. And we just go, you move pallets on a forklift, the fastest welcome to leadership, but

Meeting with Jesus (Jesse) Hernandez-20210713_204201-Meeting Recording:

What's goingon LnM family. That is my buddy, Mr. Jake,Harrell not only is he the funniest lean guy on LinkedIn, he's also the author of Chasing Excellence and a YouTube superstar. Makes you wonder, does this dude ever sleep? Will I bet his passion for continuous improvement has a little something to do with all of his accomplishment that add. He just wants it more than anybody else. So we got about 55 ish minutes or so of, of some, some straight up leadership talk. there's a few jabs throw, which, which ain't bad and lots of laughs. I want to remind you all. We have some exclusive, hot and sexy FANS only content. Hit us up at Patreon.com/L earninsnmissteps to get access to that stuff. We're grateful that you joined us again, let us know what you think. And if you're catching us on YouTube. Spank that like button, baby. Come on with it. Give us some love. Here we go.

Jesse:

we are here with Mr. Jake Harrell, the funniest lean guy you've ever met. Man. I'm glad we connected. I play around in the con the CIA continuous improvement space and the construction industry. But you're, you're in the manufacturing industry, is that correct?

Jake:

A lot of my career, it started in manufacturing, but all the growth of the last five years has been in third-party logistics. So we're a warehouse that ships and receives for other people. That's been 90% of them.

Jesse:

Oh, okay. So there's plenty of plenty of problems to attack, huh?

Jake:

Yeah. So it is just people in the third party game. We don't own any freight to, and our own any assets. It is weird where it's leading people to ship and receive and process correctly every time.

Jesse:

People, are they not just the most beautiful contributors,

Jake:

but you know, it is my favorite part of the job is I've never been in a support role. As some people might think it's like an engineer or CI specialist. I've only been in direct leadership roles. And my favorite part is like the development and coming to terms with where people are today and helping them find their way

Jesse:

Meet them, where they're at that that's powerful, man. And with your sense of humor. So you're on a, you're on a street. Of funny memes on LinkedIn. How many days in a row are you at? Well, you

Jake:

know, that's funny that you say in a row because I committed a year ago that I would put something out just about every day, but like assessing my LinkedIn algorithm. If I drop it down to like three times a week, I get like 10 times the engagement. So slowly over the past week or so I've been Trump playing around with, do I post five times a day? Do I post twice a week week? And I'm taking as a nerd, I'm taking a two sample T test. What is the, what is the right way to do this? And I found like the less I posts, like I'll get 50,000 views on a text post, and I'll post a CIF every day and get less than a thousand views on each one of them. So to really find what works the best. And I'm still playing around with that. But I'll tell you in the past year or so, I've, I've probably posted about three, 400 times.

Jesse:

My goodness. That's that's commitment. My man. So texts, you said the text posts is getting you tons of views. And when you're posting every day, that seems to be throttling back to views. Did I get that right?

Jake:

Yeah. And so in order of importance, text gets the most, then jifs then images, then videos. And my videos we'll get like one or 200 views. The text posts, averages, or an image average is around 12 to 1300, a Jif we'll get like 15 to 17 on a regular post. And then every text posts I put out there, it gets 10 times.

Jesse:

Wow, man, you got game on, man. The

Jake:

important thing is I'm not selling you anything, you know, like I'm not on every single post. Like send me money. It is just, let's take the pain. We've all experienced in leadership and make it funny, engaging, try to teach a lesson.

Jesse:

I love that. I was having a conversation with some friends that I've connected with on a clubhouse, and I'm a, I'm a pretty, I'm a rookie, right? I'm, I'm young to the clubhouse game, not young in life. They've taught me a lot about what's the word they've helped me appreciate promoting oneself without being that sleazy, slimy salesy. Well, I shouldn't even say salesy because there are respectable professionals, sales folks out there, but just that self-serving right. That self-serving impression that I get from some people that, you know, by, by, by, by, by me, me, me, me. And so we're getting, like, we were just having a conversation about that the other day. And I was like, you know, I, I, oh, I'm not okay with it, but bottom line it's really about connecting with people and providing value to their day. And it sounds like you have the rest of you figured out, broke the code for that.

Jake:

I don't think that I'm there every time I look at a bad post and like, it only got 200 views. What did I do wrong in a while? Wollow in self pity for about four hours. But I'm training. I have a stupid amount of data in an Excel spreadsheet where I'm trending. What do I want to do with this? Just so I can correlate the two I've got far reaching dreams of sharing that in an article or a video of some form.

Jesse:

Oh, man. I think people will be kicking down the door to get that information. Yeah.

Jake:

Well, it's only relative if you're like in the BS game that I am like, you know, actual educational content solely. I mean, you're playing a whole different game than somebody who's just poking fun at everyone else on LinkedIn.

Jesse:

10, four. So, Jake, what do you want the LNM family out there to know about you?

Jake:

Well I'm the funniest guy in engineering and continuous improvement, and I have a genuine passion for talking about it. So if you just have a complex problem, like I'm not trying to sell you anything, just reach out and talk about it. Like I'm a, get me deep in any problem just to help you solve it because that's what I enjoy doing when I wake up in the morning.

Jesse:

And so based on the XL spreadsheet that you referenced earlier, I imagine you have a. A deep appreciation for data

Jake:

very much so. So the, the trickiest part for me, which I can go as technical as you like here, but I have to take whatever in level of data I've dug myself into and I have to translate it into layman's terms. I have to get the average human to go. Does this actually make sense? Instead of me talking about the standard deviation.

Jesse:

Yeah. And I still don't understand standard. Devia that's come six signal world. Yeah. That math, like, if, if it includes more than like a plus symbol, I start getting lost. Well, it's

Jake:

fascinating when you compare it to human. So basically the statement is this in the most layman's way, and that's, you can make any statement about humans, any statement, and there is a human somewhere that exists outside of the bounds of the assessment you just made. Like, I can say what percentage of people lick their boots at the end of their Workday? And you might go, holy crap, nobody, but there exists a percentage of people somewhere where that is happening today. And I try to emphasize that when I'm like meet people where they're at. Okay. Because the spectrum that humans live on is very, very wide.

Jesse:

How did you develop the mindset and appreciation for, for exactly that?

Jake:

Well it was a series of missing anthropic terrible work experiences that all culminated into one great one. So my career started doing clerical work for manufacturing company. And I was my first salary job. I made like 12 bucks an hour, but on salary and I decided I'm, I'm going to spend every other second. I can creating value here and, you know, taking my first shot at a career. And I had this fantastic leader thing was Ryan pal. And he gave me access to do anything I wanted to touch. He saw a passion in me and he took a shine to me and sure enough, before, you know, I sort of was put into a special role where I got to just do improvement projects. Like that was my full-time job. Get involved with the manufacturing facility, look at how it's done today, come to terms with it, make it better. And that was pretty good for a while. Well, they released him. It ended up working out with me a little ways after I joined the three PL game routes, head hunted for a large public warehouse facility. The culture was mixed to say the best and nobody really wanted to improve anything. They wanted the problems fixed. And as I navigated that. I then again, worked myself into a role where my full-time job was just going to be processing improvement and getting involved with what people are doing and making it better. So it was twice in my life. So I thought I'm going to work backwards and formalize all this stuff. So it wasn't actually until 2020, I went after like the six Sigma black belt and go to school for it and formalize those skills. But I have been doing that work for the past five years.

Jesse:

Okay. And so before 2020 what resources did you have access to, to build those capabilities?

Jake:

Well in 2019 I worked for a very large third party logistics center and I got moved from one warehouse to a gigantic one is one, 1.2 million square feet. And I met my new boss who would go on to be my very best friend in the world. John Thacker and lean six Sigma black belt MBA very educated put together gentlemen. And he immediately created the space because he saw how bad I wanted to win for. We're going to call you and set it operations manager. I was on an overnight shift on the weekends, said, we're going to call you a continuous improvement operations manager. You're going to come in whenever the hell you want. As long as you define a problem and want to win. And I started coming to that place 24 7 any day, I could walk through the door and engaged in it. So well, it's been since then, I've worked backwards to formalize all the skills one at a time.

Jesse:

Okay. So. Dumb question, but how important is leadership in creating a space for continuous improvement? That

Jake:

is their only job. Okay. Everything else you were doing is in the way, like, just create the space where we're allowed to experiment be okay. If it doesn't work out and give people formalized tools and processes to, Hey, I noticed, I noticed this was the failure mode. This is what I'm doing about it. And as soon as you build that, then you have the grassroots culture you want and you have people doing your job. for you

Jesse:

So it sounds like John Thacker, like that's just how he rolled. That's how he did things. He saw something in you and, and nurtured that and help cultivate where you're thinking. Is it. Was that something he did regularly?

Jake:

Yes. So our relationship started with him. We were just connected on LinkedIn because we worked with the same company. We didn't really know each other and he posted out Hey, here's a copy of my book. I'm working on getting published, but somebody that's in operations like to read it and give me some feedback. So I read the book really loved that there's practical tools about how to overcome human problems, that I felt didn't exist anywhere else in the world. I gave him a whole bunch of feedback. He said, feedback is so good. Can I come over and hold a training class with his team? So I came over and he said, you're going to come work for me. And that's like where the career took off ever since. In fact, after writing his book, I was so inspired. I wrote this book Chasing Excellence nice and good. Bye bye. Good old John Thacher. His name is in the very front of the very first page for that exact reason, because you're going to be able to read that, but that is because he just decided, he said, I want everything I touch to turn to gold. And that includes you. And that's resonated with me the rest of my life.

Jesse:

Oh man. That that's, that's a beautiful story, you know, on one hand applauds, recognize, shout out John Thacker thank you for setting the example and investing in people. And the other hand I know when you've probably, I think you alluded to this experience, some leaders that were less than awesome and, and didn't create a space where people could grow. It almost creates a space where people are dying on the vine. So since working with John Thacher, how many leadership problems have you had the fortune of tackling?

Jake:

That's quite a question, so I'm not sure what I can and can't talk about. So let me say it as general and as specific as possible. My favorite one and example I constantly refer to was a previous leader of mine was an absolute chameleon. And what I mean by that is he didn't have an opinion about anything on earth period, no matter what it was, it was this middle of the road, political response about how we're not really going to change that or do anything about it. But he was the first guy to have a problem when something went wrong. So you're not allowed to change. You're not allowed to stay the same. It led me to post a meme on LinkedIn that was Harry Potter in the closet because I'll be in my office doing absolutely nothing and pretending I don't exist.

Jesse:

But until he was pissed off about something I

Jake:

happen, it's so embarrassing. I'm like, well, you know, guys wanted to address it first, but every time they try something, they get their head cut off. Why would anybody stick their neck out?

Jesse:

The thing is in continuous improvement that I think a lot of leaders that aren't first in it there's a lot of failure, right? Cause it's a bunch of experiments until something works in, in proves the hypothesis, like you keep trying testing sampling and then, okay, boom. This is the thing. And let's now let's systematize that standardize the thing. But most, I think a lot of the conditioning in our professional environment is. Grand slam every time or you're failing. What are your thoughts on that?

Jake:

Yeah, absolutely. So I have another coworker of mine, lovingly referred to this as a cult of success. And it's where the group as a whole is not allowed to have anything outside of 100% perfection all the time. And that failure isn't to be talked about. It's embarrassing when it happens, it only happens to weak or inferior people. And we've built this cult of success. We dance around the flame and everything's perfect all the time. And that's largely been my working experience just about everywhere else. The first time something's not perfect. There's a head rolling. There's well, this person is like it's ethically correlated. Was like, this is an inferior human being for having this defect instead of, you know, coming to terms with the fact we're all humans. That's always been interesting to me. I've made a, I mean, just the two weeks ago that kind of hit on that topic and it says I don't actually do any work so I can do no wrong. That makes me

Jesse:

yeah. Like isn't there a, an Eisenhower quote about being in the arena. That same message, right? Like you can talk smack from the bleachers, but if you ain't in there making it happen, like please shut your mouth. I mean, that's not what Eisenhower said. That's my version of it.

Jake:

You get in the arena and keep your opinion to yourself.

Jesse:

Yeah. I, how could I mess up if I just sit back how about ego? What are your thoughts about the battle that leaders have? Their ego and attachment to status and actually facilitating a culture of change.

Jake:

Yeah, that's a, that's a rough part because what we get into is a bit of a philosophical gap. I don't like to think of it generationally, even though it essentially is, but this idea of company loyalty that's been around since world war II is largely dead today. So what you have is you fall into two groups and the older you go more come lends into this group, a, which is I'm going to hold onto this job, the rest of my life. And that's my very first. Cool. Whenever I assess problems, I'm thinking of how do I keep my job, or how do I politically navigate my way forward? Then it be group B that no longer lives like that. It's how do I create the most value I can today? That's what they care about the most. And the two groups inherently will never see eye to eye on anything because group age just wants, I want to keep my job. Movie's like, well, you're literally in the way of this place moving forward. And that's been a struggle for just about every role I have to until my most recent career inspiration aspirations that has been the case. But I'm finally in a spot where that is not. And we're quick to come to terms, address problems, get to work and put the sweat in to make it better.

Jesse:

Oh, that's you said it sweat equity, you you've got to put the sweat in. Otherwise you just, you just jamming your jaws. So you said this new career trajectory or endeavor you're on, what is it?

Jake:

Well, I haven't announced sent into the world on LinkedIn, but I'm still one of the third party space. I'm still doing the same job overhead just with new companies and it's still really new. So I'm four weeks in. So I know I'm looking through the world with rose-colored goggles where it's like the first six months of dating, you know? Oh, she's perfect. And they're convenient, but, but ask me that again and six months, then I'll give you an opinion that isn't incredibly biased.

Jesse:

Yeah. I love it. it's just fascinating how, how paralleled our situation is because I just submitted my letter of resignation and I'm going to be moving on to a new, sexy, beautiful, wonderful situation that I too am only seeing through rose colored glasses. A ton of colleagues that are just like, what in the hell are you thinking, Jesse? But

Jake:

it looks perfect to me. Yeah. I'm working from home these days. And so I'm coming to terms with that for the first time in my life. Instead of spending 12 hours a day in a warehouse, I spend it at home. I don't know what I'm going to think of it, but I'm four weeks in and I think it would take a shovel and a gun to get me to go back

Jesse:

I used to freak out about not being at the job site or not being at the office before everybody. I mean, there's a few people in my career, Sean Moran Rick Mendoza, Justin Bieber. That like, we had to stop competing to get to the office first because we would just end up spending the damn night. Right. So it was like, okay, let's meet early in the morning.

No later than 6:

00 AM. Well anyhow, the pandemic hit and it's worked from home, because my job was a traveling role and I was crawling in my skin for a bit, but same thing if I didn't have the op like the flexibility to do a hybrid of work from home and you know, out in the field and out at the office. Yeah. You better go get yourself. Well, because I could just get so much more done. There's so much like just a waste of traveling commuting. I can get going. As soon as I wake up in the morning and knock some stuff out when my brain is really functioning. So I'm suspecting there was a windy path to you getting to the spot where appreciating data, defining problems understanding the contributing factors and then doing some experience to make things better, right. To turn them to gold. So in your early younger days, what were your career aspirations as far back as you can go and as crazy as it may have.

Jake:

Well, if we're going to go too far back, I think I was asked this question in kindergarten garden and I kept the piece of paper and I told them, I wonder, that'd be a tank. Great. I wanted to be a tank, not, not a guy operating it. I wanted to be a tank, took me a little while to come to terms with that. Wasn't an option. So I think I went through space cowboy and a couple of others before I settled into reality. And right out of the gate, I think I wanted to be in law enforcement and a little cliche and weird, but kind of right out of high school, I was in a small town and a lot of my family was absolutely terrible and on the wrong side of the law, and I thought, how neat would it be? Like, almost my inspiration was almost completely ironic. Like how neat would it be if my whole family's in jail and I'm a police officer. So I started that for, I started to go after that for a while in high school, but then my career in manufacturing just took off faster than going after my license.

Jesse:

Okay. So how did you end up in men that end up, that sounds like a negative tone. How did you land in manufacturing?

Jake:

Well, believe it or not, I am extroverted by nature. Come out there. But yeah, I can't relate to introverted people at all. Sometimes I'll talk to a brick wall, no humans around. And I worked at a hotel comfort suite overnight, and my job was just put out the breakfast and smile at people and check them in and check them out. Right. And I've worked there for just about six years and a little more time, even afterwards on a part-time basis. Loved the job, loved everyone I met and there was an annual manufacturing meeting there with the company. I would ultimately go to work for called Clayton supply. And I would set out like their meeting space and set up their projector and whatever other stuff they had to do and chat. And I got to know everybody because the same folks come in. Yeah. And then one day they just said, Hey, you got a nice enough attitude. You could, well, you could survive in my office. And they took me with them. Okay.

Jesse:

And so they took you, but you stayed what kept you there?

Jake:

So I was married at the time and I decided that we were going to buy a home early in my life. It's from 21 at the time. And I kept both jobs full time. I worked at Clayton homes in comfort suites full-time and it was a very miserable thing because as soon as I left one job, I go to the other for the full eight hours. Not, part-time not split shifts, both jobs full time for a little over a year plus saving up money and got into my first house. And then I had had such an impact at Clayton. They said, what would it take for you to not do that to yourself anymore? And I told them and they made it happen.

Jesse:

That's amazing. So from working two full-time jobs, That's serious, man. What lessons or rather, how did that, how does that contribute to your passion for making things better? Yeah, I think

Jake:

anybody that truly knows reason in my, in my tighter circle, they know I want it more than you, whoever you compare it to right out of the gate. I want it more than you. And it's sharing that passion with the world daily and all the ways that I can. I mean, my warehouse days, I would wake up four or five in the morning, my first hour at home, I just saw all the email or the leadership crap you have to solve in a day. And then I go to work and I spend a full day at work, just interacting with people what's actually happening today. What are the gaps that can actually take place? What's a way I could expand your tool belt to solve these problems when they come up in the future. And that's been the most impactful parts of my career. Yes. Fulfilling. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. It makes me wake up in the morning and, right.

Jesse:

Yeah. So what mid early missteps did you have with people early on into your CI learning.

Jake:

Well, I had this false presumption. I know it's going to sound rare, but that humans are logical creatures. Yeah. That has been continuously proven falls again and again and again. And I thought, if I can just present, well, here's statistically, why this makes sense. It's going to make you a million dollars. Everyone's going to cling to it and run. And everybody's like, you're an asshole. We don't, we were just talking in and out. I don't know why you're in here asking these questions. And it's taken a lot of, I went from about 90, 95% data gathering and re-engineering new processes all the way down to like, that's less than 5% of what I do. 90, 95% I want to do is gather consensus on what we want to change. And then work on the rate of acceptance on actually getting them to do

Jesse:

oh my goodness. Yes. So how did you build those

Jake:

muscles? So, so through a lot of failure, trial and tribulation, so I first had to do it wrong about a hundred ways, and then I had to spend all the time I could learning the theoretical approaches aren't necessarily what reality is about, but they're all tools in your tool belt to Socratically apply when necessary.

Jesse:

Have you gathered. A larger number of friends, the more you adapted to a human approach?

Jake:

Well, that's a rough question for me because like outside of work, it's weird because a lot of times life, just your life self and your work self are two different people entirely, but almost all of my human life outside of work, being a robot. I was really personable. I had a lot of friends connect with just about everybody from a very diverse group all the time that that was never a struggle for me. And then at work, it was like, I was this whole other person that's, you know, a robot focused on how do I make the most money? How do I maximize the value for the company? What are the IQ 420 plays I can think through tomorrow so I can, you know, be psychically better than everyone else. And as I slowly scaled it back, I found just being in more of myself naturally, just about everybody is a fan of just, just about it.

Jesse:

Yeah. Yeah. So where do you, where would you say the thinking comes from around? I've got to be mechanical in nature in order to achieve success. Where does that come from?

Jake:

You know, that is a fantastic question, but I think there's a, there's a huge gap between what we would call our frontline associates from leadership and that we incompetently just promote the best performer. That's what we do is, you know, you're not the best leader in a group, new guy. We wouldn't even know how to really articulate what we want out of a leader most of the time. And we just go, you move pallets on a forklift, the fastest welcome to leadership, but that's, that's always where the career starts is. You're an hourly associate. You work hard to move forward. You think that finding out how to work harder and harder is the way forward forever. And that's unfortunately not how reality works. Yeah.

Jesse:

Would you be surprised if I told you it's the same in construction?

Jake:

Oh, oh totally. I thought construction was a very, very engineered, fantastic place that had all of its questions figured out.

Jesse:

Oh yeah, no, no. There's plenty of opportunity, lots and lots of miles and acres of room for improvement, and the, the most frequent, because you get all kinds of pushback and doubt, and like this thing and a half blah, blah, blah. But the most frequent response is Jesse, that stuff works great in manufacturing, but this ain't manufacturing, you know, as I But we have

Jake:

people, right? Like everything is the same. I get this specific art, but the theory is the same. Very curious when you run a construction project, if you an actually like dig a hole somewhere, how many people do you have to hire to watch the whole thing? Yeah. I've always wanted to know that from an expert, like what is the number that's ideal for watching that guy actually work?

Jesse:

I guess the, the appropriate answer would be, it depends on the depth of the ditch and the specific system that's going in the ditch. And, and, you know, the reason I say depth of the dibs, so let's say we're digging a ditch, that's an excess of four feet deep. We're going to require shoring so that nobody gets crushed on a potential collapse. And so you're going to have a backhoe operator. You're, you may have somebody shooting grade to make sure we're not over digging. Right. And minimize that junk that same person will likely be able to handle the shoring unless we wanted to be cheap and buy or rent the really heavy shoring. So now you need two people to manage that you have the back hoe operator and then of course you have me, right. Supervisor or foreman or somebody in that level that the, of course feels like if I'm present things are just going to be perfect. So in that case you would have three spectators part-time spectators because they are actually there to, to do something. But it's not required.

Jake:

Say there's my improvement. Number one, I have never driven down a construction project and not seen five guys. Yup. That's digging. I liken it to Tom's. If you're ever out grilling, there is not a man on this earth that doesn't pull the tongues out and give him a couple of tests. Clicks those towns of work. I don't know why I thought they wouldn't, but we were going to give him a couple of tests.

Jesse:

Oh yeah, no. W we've are you familiar with lean enterprise Institute? Yes. Okay. So we've had, A co-learning partnership with them and, one of their instructors, Bryant Sanders. Amazing. I mean, he has transformed my thinking but we walked the job site, big old data center and I could see, he was like itching in his skin and I'm like, what's going on? And he said, There's just so many people standing around. and I was like, yeah, he's like, but that's not what bugs me is. Okay. So like, what is it? He's like, y'all, don't seem to be bothered by it. And I'm like yeah, well, it's construction right in my head. That was my frame of reference. But once he took me down the path of understanding how to improve things, I could see like, oh, wow, like it's not just construction. We just have a lot of work to do to improve the damn thing. And then fundamentally, if, if the people that are with more responsibility, don't see it as a problem. That's a big, enormous problem. And I think that's what he was responding to. And your observations of the ditch. Echo that.

Jake:

Yeah, what I found in leadership is more often than not, there's more unlearning that has to happen, but then learning is I have to stop being okay with extra Y or I have to stop like accepting this in my norm. And that's really hard to do. If you've done something for 21 days, that's your habituation. That's who you are as a person, you know, my couch and tell you like, is that a link? Probably not.

Jesse:

I love it. Like couch. Oh my God. You got dirt on me

Jake:

is the tech time there is just

Jesse:

love it. Okay, so you got into manufacturing finally stopped working 16 hours a day discovered continuous improvement. And I, you know, I haven't met anybody yet. That's in the. Realm of work. They didn't really screw it up and piss a lot of people off, out the gate. So I'm glad I, yeah, like I want to find that person so that I could learn from them so I could pass that knowledge onto the next person that I'm developing or working with. But also I'm glad to, to not be miserable all by myself.

Jake:

Yeah. It's much more about Sharon pain than it is than it is. Pleasure.

Jesse:

Well, you know, if you win all the time, you think you end up thinking it's because of you, success is a poor teacher

Jake:

Yeah. Narcissism is like rampant. Like second that you're, you haven't been told no, often enough. You're like, all right, well it's just my esoteric presence. That's causing success all around me. And that's why every project is run into perfection. And there's humans that actually believe that you'll see these posts on LinkedIn. And so I just have the right undescribable X factor. And when I'm around the projects go and I'm like, no, you had a lot of good people that made the projects go and you were kind of worth it.

Jesse:

Oh yeah. Can you think back and describe what was going on inside you when you realize that the people out there doing the work. We're the key.

Jake:

Well I reflected a year after the event happened to me and it's totally changed the, my mode of living. And so in my, in my glory days in manufacturing, we had a truck, regular pickup truck. And if all else failed in our, all of our deliveries are just in time. So everything delivers that a, that a facility is going to manufacture with that day. And there is no backup, no safety stock go. So anytime something wasn't perfect, you had to go get approval from the GM to put it in the truck. And if there was nobody else who were driving it there yourself just about got to this situation with one of my customers. And I go to find my general manager who's out in the warehouse or somewhere. And I find him in before I even get done describing the situation. He said, Jake, I've never seen you make a bad decision. If that's what you feel you need to do, I encourage you to just do it. And. I took off and I've realized how that completely changed my mode of thinking in that that's where my career took off. And reflecting back on that since about a year later, I'm like, how do I get every person I interact with to feel that way, the way I did, where I had unlimited power, permission and value was the only thing that mattered. And that's kind of what shaped my direction goals.

Jesse:

Oh man, that is well said, my friend damn that's powerful. Yeah.

Jake:

Is Ryan Powell and he is, he is on my LinkedIn, which said he is a, somebody that's changed the way I do business.

Jesse:

So you've had a string of, of amazing leaders. Yeah. The

Jake:

ones I talk about. Yeah. Oh yeah.

Jesse:

There's also a string of

Jake:

absolute shitbags and my ex-wife and they're all in another circle. So it doesn't get addressed unless it's humorous.

Jesse:

Now And in terms of learning, like the say volume of lessons learned through observation, what's the ratio between lessons learned from less than amazing leaders and amazing leaders. What's the racial for you?

Jake:

Well, there's a lot of inspirational things I've taken from great people I've had in my life, but just about every fundamental lesson has come from somebody terrible making decision. Like just about everyone, I would say 99 to one on the hill. Would you do that? It's where we learn and go forward.

Jesse:

I feel you, man. I finally figured out how to be a half decent place. So I got promoted to superintendent, like just here's the keys, here's the keys to the truck. Here's a computer go be super. And, and one of the guys asked me, like, just like, aren't you worried? I'm like, no, why not? It's like, cause all I have to do is not be like him. And I'll be doing

Jake:

that's the bar. People are going to love me. If I'm just not an Ashley fellowship. I parked, I posted one a couple of months ago. That was like my employee retention approach. Not treat them like absolute shit. Like what a fantastic approach. I don't know where that came from. I don't need a pizza to do that.

Jesse:

It, but it's, it's displaying appreciation for them as human beings, listening to them, giving them space like anybody that does that for me, they're on my top 10 lists. Like if they just, they don't really even have to listen. If they just don't say anything while I'm rambling on, I feel heard. And they're now my favorite person.

Jake:

It's a puppy dog approach. I don't know how to explain it without sounding on charitable, but what are the steps you do with your dog? It makes sense. Steer eye contact, you, you over engage your expressions and you acknowledge whatever their actual behavior is. That's literally all there is to it. As long as you're doing those things. That's what I want done to me. I want somebody telling me the actions I've taken are correct. I appreciate where you are and how you got there. Even if the direction is different going

Jesse:

forward. Dude, you're imparting some like real wisdom. How much of this wisdom is in Chasing Excellence?

Jake:

So I set out to provide all of it. So I intentionally made the book is in the third party industry. I don't know how to say it without attacking other people, but you kind of get the bottom of the barrel or, I mean, I say that because I am in that end. Yeah. So the bar is not that high. Right? So the people that I work with including myself, haven't really, haven't read a book in 10 years. So step one, make the book very straightforward. So it's only 114. In this book is there's 14 chapters and there's not a chapter that's more than five, six pages long, and they're asynchronous. So you don't have to read a Mellon order. You three to like a big story to teach yourself. You can just take one at a time and it starts with here's the fundamentals. Here's a theory. You need to learn about how to solve problems and then here's how you actually do. And then here's a tool to help you do it for yourself in the future. And it's both professional and personal and a nice blend of the two. But I intentionally went back to the book and took out seven letter words and complex theoretical quotations to Socrates and dialed Jenny's and just made it simple and straightforward and heating as it can with the tool for you to do it yourself.

Jesse:

How nerve wracking was it to actually put it out there in, into the world?

Jake:

You know, I struggled with that and emotion quite a bit. So right. As I went to publish the book my social media had just started actually growing as well. And I had never been in that scene before, really. I mean, I was on Facebook a little bit, but not intentionally trying to grow with the public. I'm stuck for awhile, man. It's we're going to take one wrong person on LinkedIn to just go let's slice this whole man's career. But I had to push past that. Like if there's the one guy that doesn't like my stuff. Okay. Who cares even right now, somebody we've had on the podcast, somebody that yeah. Connect with and we go back and forth loving each other's content yeah for him like that. Some parts I wasn't too serious at some parts I was too serious and it wasn't for him. And I'm like, that's totally fine. Yeah. Where's the world where we can't have good discourse. I appreciate you, man.

Jesse:

So have you done an audio version

Jake:

yet? I have not. And you know, what about half of my connections are overseas? And so I'm just starting to break into that world. And I have one lady, her name's Patricia that we kind of go back and forth and connect regularly. And she loves my Texas accent. And I thought I'm just going to do the audio version just for that group of people I'm going to over. And Baelish like, what had it folks? Well today we're going to go through a Chasing Excellence

Jesse:

now. Oh man. You know, you gotta wear a buckle. And a hat when you record it, like you got to go full method actor on this.

Jake:

Well, so one of my friends was like, that could be misinterpreted as like some sort of appropriation and I'm, I'm born and raised in Texas. If anybody gets to do it, it's me. I'm allowed you guys can't do it. I can do it

Jesse:

well. And it's kind of back to the point, of yes. You may offend somebody. That's not your intent, but just like the book. Yes. There's probably going to be people that don't like it and guess what they get permission to not like it, like it's okay. You have permission to be offended and you have permission to not like it. And I still love you.

Jake:

Yeah. One of the chapters is about having no frame of reference for a problem and still logically working through the solution. And so it start the chapter by, alright, you're abducted by aliens and you're on this new planet and here's this wacky set of problems going on. And these straight, lazy, you know, MBA guys that opened the book and read it, they're like, what is this? But I'm really strict scratching at the creative side of your brain and saying, here's how I solved of something I know nothing about. And then I'll give you the specific tools to do that.

Jesse:

So with problems of which ones are your favorite palms are the ones that you know, the least about or the ones, you know, the most.

Jake:

You know what, that's a, that's a really biased question. And if I were going to answer that, I would say, it's the ones I started off thinking. I know the most about those are the best ones, because I start there and I have a mastery of this subject and I've done it for 10 years and I know exactly what I'm talking about. And I go and look at it and go, well, shit, that's totally new. I was wrong, Debbie. I remember one time. So one of my maintenance ops took a picture of a dock plate out in the warehouse. And they're like, well, look at this big dent on, somebody had to have hit it with this clamp while they were going in and out of the trailer. And I'm just thinking to myself, the dock ramp was angled down. The clamp picks up. Even if the clamp is on the ground, there was no logical way that would ever happen. So I messaged back really quick. Like I've been doing this for 10 years. See the picture of the dent had to come from it XYZ instead of ABC. I walked out there and I was so far off, so far diverse from whatever could have actually happened to what really did. That's when you're you really growth, you have the fortitude and the integrity to go. Yeah, man, I was wrong. I stand corrected.

Jesse:

Hm. Well, in, in the critical thing there, which is probably simple in your mind, but for a lot of, a lot of people that I've dealt with actually going out and seeing what the hell is really happening, that's how you discovered it. And too many people leaders I'll say too many leaders attempt to, or believe they're solving problems from behind the door. Have you experienced any of that?

Jake:

Oh yeah. So I posted a, a Jif meme where I'm rubbing a genie lamp. And it says you that one, three wishes. What would you like your first one to be? I wish all decisions were made where the words first wish. Well, now I have to make a decision unless you were standing on top of it, looking at it because otherwise it's a biased one. And I like to not to overcomplicate my math, but if you imagine the industry standard as a very flat line on an X, Y plane. So that's the industry standard it's ever growing, ever in the same direction. It's constantly getting better. And every time we're not challenging that we're diverging from that line. And so when did you get as these guys who I've been an executive for 20 years? And what I thought was the industry best isn't even recognizable to what's actually happening now. So I sit in a, in a chair and anything I say, doesn't even sound coherent anymore. And I'm trying to make decisions for people that can't even relate to what the problems are. So, yeah, I mean, that's the primary factor. Did you actually go out and see what was wrong? Did you actually take feedback from the people who committed the defect? I've worked in a lot, a lot of very large organizations where the perpetrator or the evil bastards that had the defect was never even consulted again, even when they had the corrective action, even when it first went wrong. I'm like, how did you expect to change anything? When our whole business is human. I got zero feedback from anybody. The entirety of the time I worked there. And then, oh, by the way, we're firing that guy. Well, did you, did you even talk to him about what he did wrong?

Jesse:

Yeah. Well, they should know like, oh really? Like how,

Jake:

when somebody says common sense that just boils my blood. I'm like, do you think we should just have not have school at all? Everybody has any common sense. Everyone has the psychic ability, you know exactly. What's right. And what's wrong for my personal frame of reference at all time. No, the hell they don't.

Jesse:

I hear words like phrases like that. But it's common sense. Like clearly it's not every time you're saying that it's an indicator that it is not, or they should have known like, oh my God. Okay. So now you didn't secure a commitment. And, or you didn't communicate the expectation. That's why you're saying should, because if you were operating on an assumption and then the response is, well, it's common sense. Okay. You answered your own question, but you don't understand, you still don't understand.

Jake:

Yeah. And then some people take it too far forward. Now on the other end of the spectrum, we've had training and the guy knows specifically what to do on a standardized document. And we're going to re update that document every single day. And we're going to force people to sign it and go on with their lives twice a week on Saturdays. This, this is also the same set of waste. Like this is at some point superfluous quality. And I don't think we talk about that end of it enough where we never address human behavior and we go, oh, I need to retrain this 500 times or whatever. I mean, it's pretty easy all humans, and there's a part about it. And this bad boy needs two things and they need an incentive for doing the right thing. And a decent, if we're not doing the right thing, that's human nature. I'm a monkey. I'll be the first to admit it. If the Mrs is going to come home and cook dinner, well, guess what? I beat her home. I'm cleaning up around the place. All right. I'm going to text her sweet little nothings. Cause you know, she's going to make dinner tonight. Both. That's how humans are built. And if you just, well, I'm just going to give a vague hint at what you should do and every time you're wrong, I'm going to attack you for it. And you don't ever make a relationship that actually works.

Jesse:

It's undefined because we don't know what value you're seeking. And if I don't know what value you're seeking, I cannot provide it. And bitching at me does not help me understand the value you're

Jake:

seeking. I hope she doesn't watch this finished review. That was not about you. What he said when he said pitching. That was not absolutely not. I would not refer

Jesse:

referencing there at all. Rebecca. You're awesome. While we're in the danger zone think back, if you can go as, as raw and painful, actually, I prefer that you go as raw and painful as possible. What was the biggest misstep you've made that has provided you with the greatest learning?

Jake:

So, so my learnings are years separated from my missteps. So I grew up in a very, very poor household,

Jesse:

I get the feeling, the energy you put off says that you've embraced. That, which is Jake Harrell. , and I imagine that that was an easy, well, I don't imagine, I still struggle with embracing that. Cause it's. It's a thing, we're we're human beings and we, we got our own issues. And

Jake:

can you take one, look at me and said it must've been hard for you to embrace it. Lean is not sexy folks. I like to think everything in life is a Rorschach test. Are you familiar with a Rorschach test? Yes. I think everything in life is that it is just a reflection of like your own intentions you put out in the world. Like I had a boss or I've worked in my previous life where in the break room, there were four TVs. But he would come out and everyone's break and turn on the TV and take the remote tech with him into his office. And I'm like, why, why would that be the case? I'm like, well, I don't trust these people. The 500 people in my warehouse to operate the TV and put it on something terrible or whatever have you. But I don't trust you with my TV, buddy. If you came over to my house, I would not leave you alone with my remote. I'm like, that is a lot more about you. And I kind of apply that to these people that are overly focused in the political realm we're in today. They'll have a very hard opinion about something it's very, I'm like this. You're evil or part of the satanic elite whatever it is. And I'm like, that's kind of a youth thing there, buddy. Society is not talking about this. That is

Jesse:

a youth thing. They're projecting. Right. They're projecting their, their beliefs and their thoughts are outward. And, and now I wish we could press a button to help people see that. But that button hasn't been created yet. And they get to do that. They're human beings. You mentioned a podcast or six episodes in that, correct.

Jake:

So that just posted seven. I wasn't a part as I was traveling, as we previously discussed that just posted episode seven, my buddy called it episode eight when he uploaded it. And so now we're all laughing on LinkedIn it's episode seven and three quarters having a good time with it. But yeah, that's where we are today.

Jesse:

What is the name of this podcast? I need to check it out.

Jake:

Quality podcast, a quality, a quality podcast podcast about quality

Jesse:

and it's

Jake:

available on YouTube. Yeah. If you hop on to my LinkedIn profile and look at articles, the last, like two or three articles I wrote, and we had a guest on, I mean the funny article where I either poke at somebody's life or their background, and you'll make it humorous in some way. And that point you where you can go watch the episode.

Jesse:

All right. We'll make sure we get people out there to know about it, because I think rather I know that your perspective and energy can help win people over and, and better contribute to the efforts that, that your dispelling your energy on, because really at the end of the day, it's about making things better for people. I mean, for me, it is anyways. how do I make it better for people? How do I help people have the, the experience you described of, wow. I can make a difference. And people trust me. And because of that, I now have agency over what it is I'm doing going forward. So you've had some amazing, you had Mr. John Thacker, Mr. Ryan Powell, as your leaders, and clearly you've taken a lot from what they've imparted to you and built upon that you haveChasing Excellence, which is sounds like a fun read. I'm going to have to read it. I guess I can order that on Amazon. Yeah, you

Jake:

can. Okay. It links to my LinkedIn pages,

Jesse:

awesome links

Jake:

to pages and follow me. But for some reason I did,

Jesse:

it's like fancy and I don't know, there's fancy software, a buddy of mine,Felipe Engineer Manriquez. he's into ivestream. And, and I say he's into it, I'm into it too. Cause I live stream with them, but I don't, I'm not the operator. So I don't know how the hell he does all that stuff, but he can put things on the bottom and on the top and all kinds of fancy stuff, which is way beyond my capabilities. So, but having spent time with amazing leaders like that, and clearly you also are an amazing leader. How do you intend to affect the world going forward?

Jake:

That's the question? I think that that answer for me has changed just about every year, over the past three years. Okay. It had initially started with how do I, I think my initial goal was just be the general manager of any warehouse anywhere, because then I'm in control of everyone in the entire town that comes in and out and are, can touch on that positive value to every person that comes through. Well, after last year I was like, well, why don't I expand that circle a little bit and just go after the world. And that's what I've been slowly building on LinkedIn was I'm trying to create that button you were talking about earlier, where you can read it laugh. And when you laugh, you don't immediately dismiss the idea. You laugh at it first and consider whatever the idea is. So I'm trying to point at, you know, can we smile? Can we not make it work such a terrible black and white cutthroat place? Can we still have more passion for it? Can we rely on tools and systems to get the outcomes we want? Yeah, yelling at each other and tearing each other down. And so as I land here today, Johnson's comment. So we went out camping. If you look at my YouTube page is both of us holding machetes in the middle of the course. And he said something over the fire that night. And he said, I don't care if I don't have anything else more than what I have today, but I just want to touch with her and everything in Nicole to get everybody to this level when, beyond with where they are in life. And I haven't found a better reason to keep going in that there.

Jesse:

Yeah. Oh man, that, that is, that is a solid and noble aspiration. When we started communicating about having this interview, I fully expected a sense of humor and you delivered my man, you delivered but your appreciation and display of leadership I applaud you, man. You got it going on, Jake. You really do. So do you have any, any final thoughts or final

Jake:

questions? I do. I do one moment. Cause I need to grab something and show it to you. So this year is my John Wilson packer ball. Okay. Not January. This year. He moved from Dallas to halfway across the country in the Maryland PA area thousand miles away. And since I was cast away on an island by myself, I purchased this ball. I'm going to send them the video and it is my constant daily reminder to, Hey, don't treat people like shit. And one of the philosophies he carries with him is it starts with, Hey, if you actually lock people, the rest of it's not that hard. And then what I carry

Jesse:

forward in life. Well, what did y'all think about that? That was a pretty damn good conversation. The interesting thing is Jake is very charismatic and very funny. And that coupled with his deep appreciation for people and, understanding of leadership is a rare combination. Check the episode notes for links to all of his stuff, to his YouTube channel, to his LinkedIn profile, blow him up, leave us some thoughts about what you think. And for my construction folks that caught this episode, you may be thinking, or you may even have said, you know, that when that's our manufacturing, That's all third party logistics. What does that have to do with construction? Well, I'm here to tell you, man, he's talking about people and leadership, and if you ain't got that out on your job site, you got bigger problems than the worry about the relationship between manufacturing and construction. and of course we want to recognize. Members of the LNM family that have not only been listeners and supporters, but went out of their way to give us some feedback. This is a shout out to my Carnal , Chris Castro. Chris and I, and a whole bunch of other cats, we've been friends all the way back to them. Tafolla days, shout out to them. Tafolla Toros Chris Castro left us a note saying, I liked the real talk that you and Renee bring out your personal experiences and familiarity with the guests you bring on. It's like a 45 minute platica seems to end very quickly for me, Chris. I'm glad man, because if you remember, I've always been a pretty damn good talker. Uh, Chris, thanks for supporting us. And also want to give a shout out to all you folks that are hitting us up on the Google Podcast we've had a sudden rise in listeners and that is not a complaint. We are grateful. Thank you all. Be cool. And we'll talk at you next time. Man you are one dedicated listener, sticking with us all the way through to the very, very end. Please know that this podcast dies without you, and we invite you to share how the episodes is impacting you along with your thoughts, questions, and suggestions. You've been gracious with your time. So we added social media links in the show notes to make it super easy for you to connect with us because to yourself, stay cool. And we'll talk at you next time.