Roof Connections Podcast: Episode 8 – Warrior Leadership

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David H: [00:00:00] Hello, thanks for tuning in and welcome to Roof Connections podcast. My name is David Huval,  and I’ll be your host. Today is a very special episode. I am joined today by a cohost you all know, his name is Wade Crosswhite. He is the vice president of sales at Roofconnect, and he’s joined me to cohost, for special guests we have today.

We are joined by a former army ranger, leadership mentor, entrepreneur, and author, retired Sergeant Major JB Spisso. Am I saying that right?

J.B.: [00:00:31] You are. J.B. Spisso  Perfect. Thank you, David. Wade. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Glad to be here.

David H: [00:00:38] Like we said a second ago, we’re excited to have you here. We both, we recently both read your book, where your leadership steps to success for leadership on the ground.

We thought that was great. We’re going to get into that a little bit later, we’re going to talk to you, get into your background a little bit. Oh, I know Wade’s got a couple of questions for you too. So we’ll get right into this. So. J.B. You have a long storied career in the military, starting back in what, 1984, right?

J.B.: [00:01:02] Right.

David H: [00:01:03] Including, you did 10 years with the 75th ranger regiment, which is very hooah, by the way. You retired after 26 years, with the highest non-commission officer rank of Sergeant Major. Having served in the army myself. I know that many factors, both internal or external, play a role in choosing,  to serve.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you joined and what was it about the military that made you stay in and go through all the way and make it a career?

J.B.: [00:01:32] Yeah. Wonderful question there, David. And thank you for your service, as a veteran as well. You know, I initially joined the military one, you know, for the college fund. I wanted to do some service. it was, I was a pretty good student in high school, a pretty good athlete. And I just felt like, I needed a bridge before I dove into that college experience. you know, I say it often that, you know, I aspired to be a high school history teacher, coach hockey and baseball. That was kind of my thought of what I was going to do. and I thought the bridge of the military would be, would be a good start for me. And, but, I don’t know how it was when you joined, but I, I didn’t know a whole lot about the military. Yes, my father was a World War II veteran and, you know, he would introduce me to some of his friends at the VFW and that sort of thing, but I didn’t know a whole lot about it.

 So, you know, the weren’t the programs that there are today, you know, to help prepare people for going in. A friend of mine, Jason Sweet, he’s a former air force, PJ. He runs this program called SOCOM athlete. So if you’re basically thinking about enlisting in special operations in any of the branches, like he’ll run you through this program and it gets you mentally and physically ready.

It’s genius. I didn’t know anything about that. so. You know, with help of the recruiter, I, you know, ended up, infantry airborne school and have a ranger contract. And, I tell the story, you know, the first time, I show up at Fort Benning, Georgia, I think that was the first time I might even have been out of my state of Pennsylvania.

And, now it’ s August 9th, 1984, I show up to Fort Benning, Georgia. I could have been on Mars. I didn’t know where I was. 

David H: [00:03:16] I can relate. 

J.B.: [00:03:17] You can relate. Exactly. Right. So I was like, wow, this is humidity. I was fortunate to have good leaders, even from the, you know, my drill instructors. I talk about them like, you know, they saw something in me that I obviously didn’t see and then went through that process of infantry school, airborne school, and then to the Ranger Indoctrination Program  (RIP) . And, that was my second, initial test of, wow, this is for real, because, that was a complete different program.

I remember showing up and the Senior Sergeant, he stood out in front of us, little balcony, we’re all standing information, about 150 of us. He said, “I don’t care if any of you make it!” and I believed him like, you know, he was like, I don’t care if any of you make it. So, I was like, great, here we go. 

Fortunately, I made it through there and then, showing up to the ranger regiment, I give a lot of credit to my first squad leader, Hugh Roberts, who ended up being the ranger regimental Sergeant Major.  It was funny. He actually, shot this picture for the back of my book.

David H: [00:04:28] Oh really? 

J.B.: [00:04:28] Oh yeah. He’s a, he’s a photographer now in his retirement. I had some professional photos done in studio, and then I had these photos done by him and my editor actually liked those photos better. So we stuck it on a book and gave him credit. 

David H: [00:04:43] So, he can say he’s published now, though.

J.B.: [00:04:46] Exactly. So, you know, back to your question, did I think I would make this a career? I didn’t think so. I thought I would kind of go in, I would serve, you know, get the college fund, feel all those positive traits about the military.  Then of course, being in the ranger regiment , it’s such a great organization. I was promoted quickly. I was with the best officers, NCO’s, and enlisted in the army. It kind of forged my foundation. I said, “Okay, I’m pretty good at this. I enjoy it , and let’s see where it goes.” But if you would’ve told me when I was going in, I was going to spend 26 years? I would have said. Yeah. Okay. 

David H: [00:05:33] I know if had I told you that in the middle of RIP  (Ranger Indoctrination Program) , you would have…

J.B.: [00:05:35] No, no, no, no, no.  But then it also transitioned, you know, from the ranger regiment,  My first transition out of the Rangers, I became a drill instructor, and only because at that time, the ranger regimental Sergeant Major, hall of fame, legend, Mariano Leon Guerrero, they called him Sergeant Major, LG, he said “Hey, why don’t you go be a drill instructor?” And I was like, why would I do that? And he said “You already know everything, tactically, but you’re going to learn some technical and administrative things. They’re going to make you a better platoon Sergeant.”

And wow, that was a rude awakening too, my first day there. I got to taste of humble pie. You got to remember, I show up, I’m a drill instructor. You know, I go through the Drill Sergeant program and I finished top of my class. I show up to my unit, I’ve already been a Panama, combat veteran, mustard stain, the whole thing, CIB and I’m 26 years old, Staff Sergeant, getting ready to make E7 already.

 The other drill instructors were older and wiser. And I finally had to say, “I need to listen.” And, after that initial month, you know, I shut my pie hole and I listened a little bit more. I’ve got to tell you, I learned so much in those two years, that when I did go back to the Rangers, I thought I was a better platoon Sergeant, because of the experiences. And then of course, I got to work at West point and officer candidate school and looking back over my career, I was fortunate to have all those wonderful assignments. 

David H: [00:07:19] Yeah. that’s great. You mentioned Panama. Was that your first combat tour?


J.B.: [00:07:24] was my first combat tour. Sure. I was in the ranger regiment and, and it was for real! Like, somebody asked me the other day, did you guys jump in? Howjigh did you guys jump? 500 feet? I said “No, actually it was a 465 feet AGL (above ground level)”.

David H: [00:07:37] You were 

J.B.: [00:07:37] skimming 

David H: [00:07:37] over the tree 

J.B.: [00:07:38] tops. 

I didn’t even check my canopy. I got out and I felt the opening shock, and then I saw bullets going everywhere. I said, “Okay, this is for real!” This isn’t 

David H: [00:07:52] a training exercise.!

So yeah, that’s crazy. I can’t really relate that much. I was in combat in Iraq, but we weren’t jumping into a hot zone.  It was more, for us, people just poping shots at us and then I’d run off. It wasn’t anything too bad. 

You had a lot of danger 

J.B.: [00:08:09] there. So, you know, you’re not giving yourself full credit 


David H: [00:08:15] after spending all this time in the military, did you have a, like a clear vision for what you were going to do when you got out, when you transitioned out of the military? Or how did that go?

J.B.: [00:08:24] No, I really didn’t and I was working at West point about 2005. You know, the New York Rangers, came up for their, their camp and the hockey coach asked me, Brian Riley, Rob Riley, at the time, his brother, Brian is now the coach at West point,  he said, “Hey, the Rangers want to do some type of team building, go see coach Tom Renney”, who was the New York Rangers coach at the time, “and figure out what they want to do.” I went and met him, and we had a great conversation. He said,”we want to kind of do this…” I said, “squat tackle, exercise?”  “Yeah we want it to be hooah, but, obviously, we don’t need to get anybody hurt or anything else”. No problem. So, you can imagine me going back and getting some of the NCO’s and cadets I’m like “We’re going to put a hockey team through training!” We actually did an exercise at night, five or six squads, probably four, five hours, middle of the night, dark, in the woods, the whole gamut, you know, battle march and shoot.

Right. It was  amazing! After that  Glenn Sather, the president and general manager of the team, he’s a NHL Hall of Famer too, you know, he said, “Hey, you know, you’re pretty good at this, I see how these men  look at you. Your advice on leadership, you know, you should think about doing this” and that’s kind of how it’s spawned.

It’s spawned from there. And then of course, you know, professional teams, collegiate teams, businesses, one-on-one life coaching, everybody needs an accountability coach, right? Everybody wants to get to the next level, whether you’re a C-suite executive or you’re a professional coach or whatever else you’re doing, you just need somebody that you can lean on, you can call and be like, “Hey, I need a little bit of help. This, this is what I’m trying to get to. Hold me accountable to it.” And  that’s kind of how it started. So then I educated myself more and I’m continuing to do that. You know, I probably softened my tone a little bit over the years, which is kind of a  good thing.  This is probably the longest my hair’s ever been. Yeah. But you know, it seems, it seems to work. 

You just got 

David H: [00:10:45] to keep it clean on the sides. 

J.B.: [00:10:47] Oh yeah. Yeah. So I do, I keep it clean. I made sure I shaved this morning too. Cause I was looking a little scruffy. I’m like, “I’d had better shave, Dave and Wade are gonna make me do pushups!”

So, that’s how it came about, but I wanna let people on your podcast know- somebody else saw something in me and help guide me that way. You know? So when I work with a lot of businesses, you know, before this COVID thing, I would give seminars and people were like, “How can I help veterans?”

I would say, find a veteran, hire a veteran. “Well, I I’m in a law firm…”, fine send them to law school. Right? There’s a lot of smart veterans out there, find them. And so Glen Sather saw something in me and said, “You know, you can be a success at this.” And then even throughout my career, I would always call and check in. How are you doing? Do you need any help? Do I need to call somebody for you? Right? So I think that’s all part of that, you know, mentorship program and how we can help people throughout our lives. Right? Cause we’re defined, by what we give, not by what we take. So…

That’s great. 

David H: [00:11:56] So I guess this is what got you into mentoring? Can you tell  me about a really fulfilling experience you’ve had as a coach or as a mentor? 

Well, I mean, 

J.B.: [00:12:10] I feel like I was a, you know, a small part of the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the 2009 Stanley Cup. That was, being in the locker room after that and, drink drinking from the Stanley cup and just being around the players and, maybe just imparting a little bit of leadership on their captain, Sidney Crosby, and the rest of their team.

You know, you make lifelong friends there, right? You make lifelong friends and just given people avenues to continue to help themselves. So, I think, for teams, what I bring is, I’m not their coach. I’m not trying to take their spot. I’m not doing their contracts. I’m not through GM. I want to help them be successful. 

When I worked for the Florida Panthers, I learned a lot from Dr. Derek Anderson, who’s their sports psychologist. And he actually coined a term,  “I do the macro, he does the micro.” And so we were really a great, I thought, a great, one-two punch.

And it’s just helping people on their development. Right? That’s all it is. It’s no different than at your office. Like, somebody you know, showing up a little bit late, you’re like, ‘Hey, what’s going on with you?’ You know, are those the same clothes you wore yesterday? Like what, like what’s going on in your life?

I think sometimes that we have to be thoughtful leaders in that sense. Sometimes when we say we want to be thoughtful leaders, we’re thinking “Oh, we can be wishy-washy” or that sort of thing. No, that’s not it. I just told a company executive the other day because he was talking about an issue and they have a standard and I said, if you lower the standard, then you have no standards, right? So a wavering standard is no standard, so just don’t have it then. But if you say this is what’s expected, then everybody must meet that. So. 

David H: [00:14:04] Yeah. Yeah. That makes total sense. So, I mean, that ties back to the military right there anyways. This is the standard, that you have to meet to move on or stay in. 

J.B.: [00:14:17] Correct. Yeah, 

David H: [00:14:19] exactly.

 Yep. So let’s get into your  book now.  Last year you published your first book. Again, the title is ‘Warrior Leadership. Steps to Success For Leaders on the Ground‘. Wade and I both read it. Fantastic book. I thought you did a really  good job. You gave plenty of information and examples and your own personal stories to let readers use as a guide, basically in their own lives. You put in some of your mistakes and your failures in there because that’s really how you learn the best.

So, myself, Wade and the team come up with a couple of questions we want to ask about your book. I’ll start off the first one, then I’ll let Wade jump in here. So, for our listeners who haven’t served in the military, what aspects of leadership overlap between the military and public or civilian sectors?

J.B.: [00:15:13] Yeah. Wonderful question. It’s funny, I was going through these when you sent them to me yesterday and right away, my mind’s working, and the first thing I put is integrity, right? And, the military uses the word, integrity! Integrity!  They beat you with it and sometimes we forget, this just means being honest, right? Honest in what you say and you do.

I like to use the quote “People may not always want to hear the truth, but they tend to trust those, that deal in it.” Right. So, when a leader’s truthful with you, even if you don’t like it, you tend to trust that person. Right. And so that’s it.

And from the military to civilian life, just be upfront, hold yourself accountable, and when you make a mistake, just admit it. “I screwed up, my bad. You know what? I shouldn’t have said that, you know what, I’m sorry. and I’m going to fix myself. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Whatever the case may be. Right? And, many times when we make mistakes, there’s no malicious intent in it. I mean, sometimes we just do or say dumb stuff, it happens.  And so, admit it, pay the consequences, get over it, learn from it and move forward. That’s exactly  what you can learn from the military to civilian life.

Look, there was a couple of times in the military where, you know, I didn’t do something completely right, and fortunately, I had an officer and NCO,  look out for me. They say, “All right, you know what? Let’s remediate this.” Because we’re all human beings. 

David H: [00:17:05] Oh, for sure. I’ve had some really good squad leaders. That is to say, you would mess up or do something, and you’re going to get smoked for it. You’re in the military, you mess up, that’s what’s going to happen. Right? But they use it as a teaching moment to help you understand your misatake and make sure that you’re not going to turn around in two weeks and make it again. Good leadership, good leaders will do that. They’ll use that moment  to teach. 

J.B.: [00:17:38] was just saying when I was a First Sergeant at West Point prep school, we had three cadet candidates that were downtown having, a few extra beverages and, the Fort mama’s police brought them by, but they didn’t charge him. You know, boys were just, being a little rowdy. And, I said, “Well, you can see the commandant in the morning in which case you’ll be out of the academy, or you can do First Sergeant remedial training. Which is going to be?” So of course, I smoked them and they dug a couple of fighting positions, that sort of thing. But I used it as a teaching tool. It was raining and then when they were done after five hours of pushing dirt, I said, “I said, you know, you’re all going to be lieutenants. This is going to come around again. Don’t forget this teaching moment. Don’t forget when you’re a platoon leader or when you’re a company commander, this is going to happen. So use this as a teaching moment.  I did it for them and I’m sure they’ve passed it on to others. . 

Yeah, I 

Wade: [00:18:52] was going to say, just chiming in, I was never in the military, but it’s funny how I find it that military people take ownership of stuff, more than non-military and they’ll, kind of admit mistakes. I sometimes wonder if, because like you said, the word integrity, it goes both ways, in the business world, new people don’t trust management enough to admit fault because they’re worried about the consequences. Do you ever see that.? I mean, do you think that’s something from the military that you learn, that teaches, you can kind of trust your superiors more?

J.B.: [00:19:34] Wade, that’s a great statement. And I’ve seen it firsthand, in business, consulting for professional teams and for businesses where a guy’s like, “I’m not gonna admit that mistake because, you know what, they’ll use it as a reason to fire me or not renew my contract.” Right?

So, people stay silent, right? People don’t want to disagree with the boss because, you know, they’re worried about their livelihood. I mean, I saw firsthand where, a scout doesn’t want to speak up about a certain player. He believes that we shouldn’t draft this player, but he’s not going to go against the general manager. He’s just not going to do it. You know, because he has to have a livelihood, instead of having an atmosphere where people can speak up, regardless of what decisions are made, but people’s voices are heard. That’s what I try to tell people, you know, pick whatever player you want, but let all the voices be heard. Right? And then when that’s done, everybody’s on the same sheet of music about it. 

But, not letting that person’s voice be heard… It’s the term, the go long get along business. Right. Okay. And if you want to go along and get along, will you ever be great? Now, you might be very good because you have an amazing product. Okay. Right. You invented the iPhone. Okay. But will you ever be great? You’ll never be great unless you allow people to voice opinions and give ideas. So I always tell C-suite executives, open it up, even if you’re the smartest guy or gal in the room, don’t act like it. Listen, somebody’s going to have an idea that might push you to the next level. 

Wade: [00:21:38] You know, I love that in your book, you talked a lot about toughness. I’ve got two kids. I saw you had three in your bio, I think that is something we don’t teach enough. It’s just toughness, and I love the way you started doing it. Doing the right things, even when it’s not popular. I thought that was really good.

 It goes 

David H: [00:22:01] back to integrity. It’s doing the right thing when no one’s watching. 

Wade: [00:22:05] Yeah, yeah. or, or when people are watching it and fighting against you over it. 


J.B.: [00:22:14] have to understand, and you’re exactly right Wade, you know, toughness has nothing to do with being mean, cold, callus, or insensitive. David, you saw it in the army, Wade, you probably saw growing up. You see somebody and they’re like, “Oh, that guy’s so tough!” And I’m like “that guy’s a prick!”, excuse my  language, but like it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with how you can perform at the highest level, despite of what’s happening around you, right? And you bring all that together. you know. 

There’s a famous photo, and I use it in my briefings a lot, a famous photo of General Eisenhower, before the D-Day invasion, you’ve probably seen it, and he’s talking to the  101st Airborne Division.

They’re all kitted up. They’ve got camouflage on their face and  there he is. He’s got his hands in his pockets. You know, when he’s just having a conversation. Here’s the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower at that time, history will tell you probably had more influence than the president, and here he is, likely sending most of these men off to their death. Because obviously, you know, the D-Day invasion was, you know, one of the most complex military operations of history. I mean, it’s still taught at West point. It’s taught at West point. There’s a reason why, and, and here he was having a conversation, right? That’s toughness, that’s leadership. that’s integrity.

You’re exactly right Wade, I think sometimes we don’t talk about toughness a lot and we should. You know, when your children get older and, you know, my children are now college graduates and working.  In life, you know, they run across a  mean boss or something else. Well, you know what, put yourself together, get back in there, do a good job, and, and keep climbing. And I think that’s all, all a part of it.

And so, the other thing about toughness is that you can learn it throughout your life, right? Sometimes we’re just trying to survive. Like when I was in RIP, or Ranger Indoctrination Program, I was just trying to survive. Then you kind of learn toughness as you go.

David H: [00:24:30] Yeah. Yeah. 

Wade: [00:24:32] I love that. You actually said that all of this stuff can be learned and I love 

David H: [00:24:39] that and you want 

Wade: [00:24:41] to keep getting better and keep improving. 

David H: [00:24:43] I heard you mentioned once, JB, that, and it’s true, that people aren’t born leaders, you learn to become a leader. It’s not a talent that you might be born with. You learn from, from experience, from having good leaders.

J.B.: [00:25:00] I agree with that a hundred percent. And you know, I often go to the US Military Academy, as an example. They start this recruitment process when the young man or woman is a junior, then we bring them to the Academy for four or sometimes five years if we send them to prep school first, and then after we’re done, with all this education and training ,learning, and developing, we pin Lieutenant bars on them. When they go, I hope we’ve done enough. And then every time they get promoted, what happens? We send them back to a leadership school. So it’s a constant developmental process. 

 Of course, you know, your primary caregiver, just like toughness, can imprint some of that on you, but it’s really on you. It’s a learned trait. And when people think, “Oh, that guy is a born leader or that gal is a born leader”, I remind them, that leaderships developed. 

I was just at the dentist yesterday. My, dentist is Dr. Grace Chung , a West point graduate and she was also the first captain. So, the first captain at West point is the senior cadet. She was the first Asian American woman to be the first captain. And it’s so funny because I had not seen her in 20 years. As soon as I saw her, I was like, “First Captain!” She said, “Oh my God, I haven’t heard that forever!” It’s so wonderful to see her leadership with her team and how everybody at her dental office loves working for her and it’s all that developmental process. Right? So, it’s something she’s taken, not just from the military, but now put into a successful  business life.

When leaders, especially young leaders, you get these young up-and-coming executives or coaches and I’m like, listen, you’ll learn it. Keep after it. Keep studying, keep preparing. And oh, by the way, do it before you get the position, right? Yeah, yeah. Do it before you get the position. 

Wade: [00:27:04] One of our questions I was going to ask was: What’s the hardest leadership trait to learn and what’s the easiest? And, as I was reading your book. I was thinking, to me, toughness and listening are two big focuses in your book. And  it seems, like some of the people who really have toughness, sometimes aren’t good listeners. and so it’s almost like they are, inverse of each other to some point.  

J.B.: [00:27:30] I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some leaders that are great listeners  that don’t actually  speak a lot.Who listen and understand. So, yeah, that’s probably one of the toughest things, is learn to be a great listener. 

The thing, I think in the military, we try to  make hardcore man, woman, leader, machine gun there, do this here, and then we forget the part of empathy. We forget that, as a leader, you have to have empathy. So, we want to continue to do that as a leader to say, it’s okay to have empathy. It’s okay to have a human side to you.  The easiest thing for a leader to do is lead by example.

If you’re not sure, just lead it, follow me, right? The infantry says, follow me, it’s great. Right? The Iron Mike statue, follow me,because if you’re not sure that’s what you do. 

David H: [00:28:30] Yeah. That’s exactly what I thought about when I was reading parts of your book, that’s immediately what popped in my head. Just that mentality, the “follow me” mentality of the infantry, of just being a leader. Lead by example. That’s fantastic. earlier you mentioned about how, when you get promoted in the military at different levels, there’s always a school they send you to. And I personally feel like that’s something they can use more of in the civilian world, not necessarily a dedicated  school, but when or if you’re in a management position, you should undergo some kind of leadership training. Even if it’s just like a week long webinar series, find some kind of training for your employees, so that when you do try to build them up, if you can’t personally train them, find some kind training program.

What are your thoughts on 

J.B.: [00:29:19] that? 

Wonderful, and that’s actually how I bridged my business from athletics into business.  I had a business executive who owned his own company, who was promoting people at 20, 21, 22, you know, to be in charge of four people. He soon realized that this young man or woman. maybe only had a high school diploma and had absolutely no professional leadership training. So, I started consulting for them for 10 years, every quarter and doing professional leadership training for them. And that’s exactly it, find a way to get your people leadership training.

It’s funny, the CFO of this company, and I, are good friends and we talk about this a lot. One question he asked, “What if I pay for professional leadership training and my people leave?” I said, “Well, what if you don’t and they stay?” Then he’s like, here, I’ll sign the contract.

So, I think sometimes, we just expect that, okay, you’re in charge of four people, good luck! Good luck. 

David H: [00:30:28] Yeah. What am I doing? 

J.B.: [00:30:32] What am I doing? And so yes, there are ways of doing that you should continue to develop your people, then all of a sudden, they feel inspired. They’re like, “Wow. My company actually cares about me because they’re paying for professional leadership training for me.” I have a resource I could go to and, you know, I still have people that, I’m not on contract with, that still call me and ask me for questions. And I still answer, because you forge a foundation, you want to see them be successful and you want to see them move to the next level. You want to see them learn and grow. You know, it’s simple things that sometimes, in the military, we take for granted, right? Because the military does have a wonderful developmental leadership process mentoring. Education, training, and sometimes in the civilian world, we say, we won’t spend money on that.

Wade: [00:31:35] I think one of the things we do is, we do a lot of education and we do a lot of reading in our company, and I think, you stress getting better and improvement. The one thing that, in your book I found that kind of hit me in the gut, was finding a mentor and an accountability partner. I don’t think anybody at our group has done a good job of that.

Do you have a suggestion on how to find a mentor? Should it be somebody in your industry or should it be, you know, somebody that you respect and know is looking at things from a different perspective? 

J.B.: [00:32:13] Wonderful question Wade. I think having somebody in your industry is important, but I also think having somebody not associated with your industry is important, because now they are looking at your character and maybe the character improvements needed and giving you simple advice.

You know, one of my mentors is Richard Parker. We’re not associates. He’s a self-made millionaire businessman in Florida. He doesn’t do my business; I don’t do his business. Every time I do a podcast or something, I send it to him, and he calls me and says, “Okay, this is what I thought was good. This is where I think you can improve.” If I have something. I want some feedback on, I could trust him to give me some feedback. So, I think that’s very, very important that you look for somebody that, maybe doesn’t tell you the answer you always want to hear. Right? You trust those, that deal in the truth. 

Wade: [00:33:14] Yeah. Good point. So would you just call him up and, I assume you knew him before, just say, “Hey, could we go into some kind of mentorship and they all have scheduled meetings?” Or is it just kind of random?

J.B.: [00:33:31] Yeah. So, with him, it’s just a lot of text messaging and then calls and emails and it could  go quiet for a few weeks and then back on, you know. What I do is I am an accountability life coach for a lot of people, a lot of business executives, and I schedule my calls with them.

So I do either a weekly or biweekly, usually 30 or 45 minutes, a lot of times on zoom and I go over their plan. What they’re working on. I have one after this call, I got another one tomorrow, and I had one  on Monday. So what you do is you help people with their goal setting.

You know, it’s frankly, with one, I was like, well, you said you would do this four weeks ago. You haven’t done it. Why? Why haven’t you? Then the guy would be like, “Oh, well”,and  I respond, “Okay, so we’re making excuses” and it’s a little bit funny, but then he’s like, “You’re right. I’m  going to fix it”. And I’m like, awesome! 

I think that’s very, very, very important to do, because you want to get better, you want to continue to climb, you want to improve your skillset, but a lot of times leaders, we don’t like to take feedback, right? Especially if you’re in an executive position where there’s a lot of people under you. You can’t take feedback from somebody else, but you can go to an independent source and get feedback. Does that makes sense? 

Wade: [00:35:07] Oh yeah, because as executives, sometimes, I get bad feedback from my people because they don’t want me to hold them accountable and it’s like you said, if all the people under you, like you, chances are, you’re not doing everything, you’re not holding them accountable. So, you do have to be selective on who you get feedback from. 

J.B.: [00:35:28] I also think it’s important as a leader to find help and ask for feedback. I think sometimes we get up, you know, we get on an Island and we’re like, “Okay, well I supposed to know everything”. No, you’re not. You’re not supposed to know everything.

The battlefield changes. I mean, look at the environment today, right? The battlefield. Everything’s different from the time David, you and I came in military till now. It’s completely different. I see that one army commercial. I love it. It’s a drill instructor and he’s asking these recruits, “What would it be?” You know, “I want to be a warrior! I want to be this!” And he asked this one recruit, “What do you want to be?”and the recruit says, “I want to be a graphic designer”. And the instructor replies, “You joined the world’s greatest military to be a graphic designer? Outstanding!” Now, when I was a drill instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1991, no one was saying they wanted to be the graphic designer.

David H: [00:36:24] That compensation would not have gone that way. 

J.B.: [00:36:27] Number one, we didn’t even know what that was back in 1991. And number two, it would not have gone that way. Right? But my point is, it’s all part of that. It’s all helping leaders with their development because life is changing and people understand, not too long ago, I told a professional coach, we were talking about a player and he was like, “I need this guy to play for the logo on the front of the Jersey”.

And I said, “Coach, he’s not playing for the logo in front of his Jersey. He’s playing for his name on the back. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing”. But he needs to take that and he needs to put it in his place and the  coach was like, “I didn’t really think of it that way”. I said “Exactly., You know, he’s talented. He can help you win. That’s not necessarily a bad thing”. It doesn’t mean he’s not going to give a hundred percent effort, but everybody does it for different reasons. Right? Everybody joins the military for different reasons. Everybody goes into business for different reasons. Right? So, as a leader, you have to understand what those concepts are.

The last thing I’ll end on, is sometimes when you ask leaders for adjustment, to open themselves up, they immediately think you want them to lower their standards. But I say, “No, don’t have to lower your standards, but you have to understand that life is changing”.

 Here’s a big one I’m talking to executives about right now. Many schools, kids, aren’t going back to school. So now what? So now you have a parent that’s working for you that now also has to help teach their child.  So, you better find a way that they can do that, right? You might have to flex their schedule. That parent might have to come to work for three hours, go home and help their child for three hours and come back to work or a day’s flex.

These are all things we have to think about. What are you going to do? You’re going to lose a good employee. They’re going to be all stressed out because their children aren’t getting properly educated. So, you better find a way through this. 

David H: [00:38:52] It’s this whole new territory we’re in. A lot of employers a facing that same  problem.

J.B.: [00:38:57] David, you saw it in Iraq. I was in Afghanistan. You were in Iraq. It changed every single day, right? 

David H: [00:39:06] You just try to adapt as best you can as fast as you can. That’s all you can do. Don’t worry about shit that you can’t, you know, the things that you can’t control. Focus on what you can do and what you can control and get it done.

J.B.: [00:39:20] Exactly. 

David H: [00:39:21] So I know we’re running out of time. I want to ask you one more question here. I saw you actually asked this at a conference last year where you’re speaking to a group of people and you asked – When you think of great leaders throughout history, who are three people come to mind and why? I wanted to ask you to see what your answers would be today.

J.B.: [00:39:38] Yeah. That’s what the question. I always look at, I really valued President Ronald Reagan, and the things he did as president. He was a very  timely person. He did not like meetings to go long. He say -, “If this meeting is going to take 15 minutes, that’s how long it’s going to take”. You better put everything in it, because he did not like to keep people waiting. Those types of positions, they don’t have five minutes in their day. So, I liked a lot of his philosophies. 

Obviously, I’ve talked about Dwight D. Eisenhower. You look at Eisenhower, you know, he maybe didn’t get all the pomp and circumstance that maybe MacArthur did. MacArthur was kind of the, you know, the big, bold, giant. Even, George Patton, but Eisenhower, found a way to have a million men and women under his charge and found a way to do things strategically. 

And, lastly, I will use my mom and dad, and obviously my sisters, they were very, very successful. Mom and dad are passed, but you know, worked hard and, you know, middle-class family to teach us values. I learned a lot of that. Both of my sisters are very, very successful, and, I look at their  ability to have a high IQ and a high EQ, and I think that if you can continue to put that together, educate yourself, then you’ll be successful.

David H: [00:41:15] Yeah, that’s great. So,  you got your copy of your book there, hold it up and tell people where they can find it. 

J.B.: [00:41:21] Warrior Leadership: Steps to Success for Leaders on the Ground, you could go up right on my website at JBS and buy it or on Amazon.

And the last thing I’ll tell your listeners is. If you want to ask me a question go right on Instagram @jbspisso, DM me, asked me a question. I’ll answer it. Okay. So I’ll get right back to you. I’ll try to help you out. If you need help, I’m here for you. 

David H: [00:41:50] Thanks JB. Thank you again for being on the show with us today, I had a great time . We were so excited about this.

Wade: [00:41:56] Yeah, it was great meeting you. I’m going to reach out to you. I want to talk about new leadership training.

J.B.: [00:42:02] Please, please do. Well, it was great to have you gentlmen, thanks for having me on here. I appreciate all that. Let’s keep it going. We’re moving in the right direction. The last thing I’ll tell leaders is, take a minute to do some mindfulness every single day. That means just take five or ten minutes for yourself, sit over a cup of coffee, whatever you have to do, and put some healthy reading or some healthy thoughts into your body. Start your day inspired. 

David H: [00:42:27] That’s awesome. Thanks JB. So that’s going to wrap up the show for us today, guys. if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at We also wanted to let you know, we’re recording this episode on video and we will post it to our YouTube channel as well, just searched roof connections podcast. It’ll come up or JB, you can look him up on there. He’s all over. There’s the videos of him speaking at conferences, he’s been on a couple episodes of Spittin Chiclets. I’ve seen those before, with the hockey guys. They crack me, up by the way. 

J.B.: [00:43:00] Yeah, they’re great.

David H: [00:43:01] Thanks for joining us. and we’ll see you next time, guys. Have a wonderful day. 

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