Adrian Koehler, founder of Take New Ground

September 20, 2023


Getting the right people in the right seats on the bus, that's a classic business principle for the last 20 years, but does it still apply? Welcome to The Marketing Accelerator Podcast…featuring three insights in about three minutes. I'm Drew Dinkelacker. And today I'm speaking with Adrian Koehler; he's the founder of Take New Ground. He's a no BS coach for restless and relentless entrepreneurs and has a unique skill set that enables him to be unapologetic about speaking the truth, but he can do so with no judgment. Adrian, the right people in the right seats, comes from Jim Collins' book, Good to Great, published in 2001. What's your take on that statement?

Adrian Koehler: It's just like most of the content that goes out today; it's a bumper sticker statement. So, the challenge with it is that it gives people license, so my issue is that it's just baked in cowardice.

Drew: Alright, Adrian, you're going to have to explain that one to me. Give me some of that unapologetic truth.

Adrian: Well, it's such a generalized statement, and it's really..why I say it's got baked in cowardice in it is because it gives you these big categories like, "Oh, maybe it's the wrong position, maybe it's the wrong seat, or maybe it's the wrong person," when really there's a detailed answer to that that's going to take a lot more vulnerability to go get in that conversation. So instead, we'll do this high-end, high-categorical cut the person out and you don't want to be the type of leader that's going to deal with current reality in a way that's going to provoke honesty, camaraderie and trust in the organization. Leaders that go to the heart of the matter build trust.

Drew: You're right, I've seen this happen with my clients. So, what would be the next step to take that would require a bit of courage to walk into those kinds of conversations.

Adrian: Yes. So, if they're already thinking about this, there are some issues on the ground, there's a breakdown. And if you're a leader and you're dealing with a breakdown, it goes in a couple of different categories as a competency issue or it's an attitudinal issue, either way, and most of the time it's attitudinal, but either way, if you're a leader and there's a breakdown, before you go make a correction, you must always be willing to make a confession. Meaning like if there's something that's been happening for longer than, I don't know, a couple of days, and you've been sitting on it and you've been tolerating it, then you are contributing to the breakdown itself. So as a leader, you must think about, how have I contributed to the break down here and go start the conversation with that, 'cause before we get to the wrong person, the wrong seat, I must realize how I have not been operating with authenticity from my seat, so let me go have the real conversation there and get to the significant issues which are always the under the table omitted conversations.

Drew: Wow. That is a massive insight as a leader! What do you need to confess in order to set the stage to have a meaningful conversation with one of your team members? The Marketing Accelerator Podcast is a production of, where we accelerate marketing leaders to higher performance and increase job satisfaction. I'm Drew Dinkelacker.