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Episode #222
Leo Bottary

Building Powerful Consulting Peer Groups

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Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people. To shed light on the premise of strength in numbers in forming powerful consulting peer groups, Michael Zipursky welcomes founder and managing partner at PeernovationLeo Bottary. As a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, Leo focuses on peer advantage in building high-performing teams. Leo unpacks the lessons he learned from a decade’s worth of academic research, including how consultants build better teams and become better leaders. Listen in as Leo shares how a group of people who share common values, yet offer different perspectives and skills, can bring remarkable ideas to life.

I’m with Leo Bottary. Welcome.

Thank you. It’s great to be here.

You are a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, podcast host and adjunct professor. You are the Founder and Managing Partner at Peernovation. You’re an expert on the subjects of peer advantage and building high-performance teams in your book, which we’ll talk more about, and what advisory groups can teach us about building high-performing teams.

That summarizes your work over decades of academic research, fieldwork and stories. Before we get into all that, I certainly want to talk about how consultants can build higher-performing teams and become better leaders. Let’s go back in time a little bit. You start your work in public relations. What type of work were you actually doing before you got into the world of PR?

Before the world of PR, I was in politics, but now you’re going way back. I was a Political Science major, graduated from Jacksonville University in Florida. My first job after selling cars, because I had this job with Senator Paul Tsongas that was supposed to start in October, we graduated the previous April, pretty much I had no money or no vehicle. The perfect job was to sell cars where after 30 days, I’d get a brand new demo that I could drive. I worked there for six months. Probably one of the educational business experiences I ever had for sure, but I worked in politics for a while and enjoyed that a lot.

At the same time, what I also recognized is that there were a lot of people who had the same interest in politics I had but worked in the private sector and we’re doing well also and nearly working the twenty-hour days that you do. At that age, you are working, especially on national campaigns and all of that. It was really through that I got my first job in PR and I was writing speeches largely for the CEO in the senior leadership team of the company at the stop and shop companies at the time, which back from 1985 to 1987. It was a $4 billion-plus company, which was a pretty good size public company back in that day.

I cut my teeth on the client-side of things in PR, and then over the years, I straddled between. I was on the client-side for a while, then on the agency side. I got experience with a lot of different kinds of companies, which was great, recognizing that you do the best PR work for the companies and the businesses that you like the best, that you can get the most enthusiastic about and all of that.

In many respects, the work I do now as a result of a pivot that was rather easy in that I went from having had enough agency jobs for a while there. I was working on my own. I was here in San Diego and I wasn’t connected to anything other than my clients, who are typically were far away. Boeing space exploration, one of my clients in Houston.

This position became available to head up corporate communications for Vistage. Vistage Worldwide assembles and facilitates peer advisory groups for CEOs and business leaders all over the world. I thought, “In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis for a company that was looking to get back on the national media stage, what a great opportunity to get connected inside the community and to move a brand down the field in an area that I took to and enjoy.”

Whenever you underestimate the impact of something, it will always come back and bite you. Click To Tweet

When you look back at those days of being both in politics and in public relations, what lessons or principles did you take or hold onto from that time that you feel is still very applicable nowadays that you hold as true guiding principles that you’re actively applying?

Whenever you underestimate the impact of something, it will always come back and bite you, or probably many. The reality is that you’ve got to be prepared, especially in this world, which is not the right way to put it, but let’s say it’s far more immediate. Back when I was first, at least doing a lot of crisis communications work in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you had time to respond to things. Everything seemed fast, but it was nothing like it is nowadays when you have people who are on the scene at any given moment with shooting video from their phones and all of that. It’s a night and day difference.

It’s taking everything seriously. Living your values becomes important when I see companies who not just put them up on the wall, say there they are, they shoved them aside and then they go about their business, but I’m talking about organizations that truly live their values. That never cost you money. Even if you wanted to make the case that somebody takes a hit in the short-term and it comes back exponentially in their favor recognizing that living your values and knowing your purpose is important as well. These are the kinds of things that people regard as, “People go off into retreat and they do their value statements in the vision, mission, purpose and these other things. They’re not meaningful.”

For some organizations, maybe they’re not, but when they are, when you decide to embrace those things, and I say that no matter if someone’s alone. These solo printers that we’re talking about, me now included. You have to embrace all of those things and start from there. If you do that and can continue to do that, not only during good times but when times get challenging, those are two pretty big lessons that I learned from communication, PR and what that looks like.

Those are powerful points for the solo consultant out there, even if it is just you, knowing what your values are, purpose and the mission. These are things that you can and should channel into your content, into your intellectual property so that you have a voice. You can tell your story. What we found over the last few years as we’ve been building our team out, that’s why people come into our world and want to be part of the team because they clearly can identify and resonate with those values.

As you think about scaling and growing the business, those are definitely central to it. You went from running public relations and being in that space in the corporate environment, working at Vistage, which for people in the US is quite a well-known organization in that corporate CEO executive type of world, to later starting your own actual consulting business. Here you are, running Peernovation. When you decided to make that shift to start your own business, how did you go about landing your first few clients? Where’d those clients come from?

CSP Leo | Consulting Peer Groups


This was a pretty easy transition. First of all, earlier in my career, I did have my public relations firm for about five years before I sold it. I had some sense of what going into a business that way would look like. I ended up with eleven employees or so. We had a successful practice. It was fun. It wasn’t something that I was excited about doing for a lot of reasons at the time, largely because my name was on the door, and I was living in a place where I thought, “I don’t know if I want to live here for the rest of my life.” I found it more limiting than liberating, and it was an interesting thing there. Me being able to sell it and continue to do the work I love to do without having that was helpful.

Transitioning from Vistage, however, was a bit different. One of the things I had done was I led a rebranding effort at Vistage near the end of my time there. I left there in late 2016. In 2013, I led a brand refresh of the company. I’d be asking CEOs, “How do you learn, grow, bring new thinking into your companies?” They were telling me things like, “I read books. I have a coach. I hire consultants. I go to events and conferences.” Some would tell me they do participate in executive development programs at places like Harvard and Stanford. Nobody was telling me that being part of a peer group was the way they learned. It wasn’t even in the consideration set.

I remember going to the board of directors as I was reporting on the rollout and I said, “We’ve been doing this since 1957. There has been a whole lot of other organizations been doing this as well. We’re all trying to sell a Mercedes to someone who doesn’t even know what a car is. Maybe we should step back and try to write a definitive narrative about the category.” That’s what we set out to do. I spent my last 1.5 or 2 years there working with the CEO, writing a book called Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth, and Success designed strictly to make a case for this so that people would make it part of their consideration set.

Things are shifting at the company at this time and everything too. There was a new CMO and all of that, which I had worked with and worked very well with the book project with the CEO, but it was the time to say, “What are we going to do with this content?” It was a decision where I left Vistage to take this content and do something with it. Initially, it was a soft landing for me because my first client, in many respects, was Vistage. I would go and speak to Vistage groups throughout the US, Canada, the UK, and that was great.

To be able to have that base and build from that, not only from an income base but the fact that I could have literally the practice, experiences and everything. I’ve done shy of 240 workshops for Vistage groups in a number of different countries. I’ve done them for other organizations as well, but there’s no question that the core experience that I had to be able to build and grow off of that was hugely helpful. It’s not like I was sitting by myself saying, “Let’s go get my first client.” I was very fortunate in that regard.

Does the majority of your business still come through the Vistage workshops that you deliver and the context you have from the world of Vistage?

Not anymore, but I remain committed to doing that for a number of reasons. First of all, they were there for me to get that role. There was no question. There’s mutual benefit from it, but I also think now they’ve found the workshop that I do, particularly for new groups. You’ve got these CEO members who join a peer advisory group and they think they know what they joined, but they don’t really have any sense of what they’re capable of doing together. I work with a lot of these new groups and we get a chance to talk about, “Who do we want to be when we grow up? What’s that going to look like a year from now?” It’s not me assessing anything.

I go through a lot of the models and the five-factor framework that was originally built through the Power Of Peers and has since been advanced through Peernovation over time. We spent time together talking about how to leverage all the intellectual and emotional capital in the room and what that can mean for everyone there. I enjoy doing that. The more that I continue doing work with groups, the more that I continue to learn. I’m doing work with other groups as well, and I’m enjoying that quite a bit.

You should channel into your intellectual property so that you have a voice and you can tell your story. Click To Tweet

The subject of the third book, Peernovation, is what peer advisory groups could teach us about building high-performing teams. It’s very true that over the years, it’s not hard to miss that what CEO peer advisory groups, in particular, do so brilliantly can be applied to help teams be higher performing and organizations, whether they’re the cross-functional leadership team in an organization or project teams. Interestingly enough, I not only take what I’ve learned through that entire process with Vistage, but if you layer in the strategic communication background, I have how we communicate with our people and how they communicate with one another is huge. These tend to blend in a way that I think provides a lot of value.

We’re going to get more into that because I want to make sure that we cover some of that information and guidance for everyone. Before we do that, I would be remiss and leave everybody on the hook if we didn’t explore one of your previous companies. There was a PR agency. You had 11 people and ran it for 5 years, and later sold it. It had your name on the door. If you go to your LinkedIn profile, the company was your name. Looking back at that experience, did having your name as the company name limit the business in any way? Did it impact the sale of the business? Were there any positives or negatives that you could attribute to your company name being your name?

Not in terms of running the business at all. In fact, it was helpful and necessary at the beginning. The only time that it only felt for me that it would have hurt was for me to walk away from the business and then what happens there. Look at Edelman and a lot of these firms, they are very successful largely because of the people behind that company and the incredible organizations they built. You look at what Richard Edelman has built. It’s extraordinary. In fact, one of the studies they do that I find to be incredibly important to my work in Peers is the Edelman Trust Barometer that comes out every January. It is incredible stuff.

I don’t care if you’re a solopreneur, entrepreneur, big corporate or whatever. This is an important study to pay attention to when we think about public trust in institutions because when we don’t trust institutions, who do we look to? We look to one another and understanding those dynamics, what that looks like. How invaluable that can be for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs is huge.

Any lessons that you took from the experience of selling your business that you’ve implemented into your business of Peernovation?

Where is this going with Peernovation? I can’t talk about it yet, but suffice it to say, you’re going to know where it’s going when I tell you that the thing that I wish I had done when I had my company, I would have benefited a lot by having a partner or two, or to have been part of a peer group back in those days because we all have blind spots. We’re all really good at some things and not so much at others. I would have benefited greatly and probably would have sold the company for tons more if I had the partners where we could have done it together.

CSP Leo | Consulting Peer Groups


I look at Peernovation, scaling this and I recognize that, could I do it myself, inch along and do that way alone? I suppose. When I think of the purpose of what I’m trying to do, and that is to extend the reach of content that I know works and can be of such value to teams all over the world, to the extent that I can get some people and resources around helping make that possible and make that pie many times bigger than I could ever grow it on my own. That’s a big thing I learned back from then. It certainly informed me to what I’m doing now.

You have a lot of intellectual property and content that you’ve developed, whether it’s through your podcast, stuff from Vistage and what you’re creating. How do you think about distribution? What are you doing? What are the best practices that have allowed you when you get your content in front of the right people is good for the business and spreading the word? Once you’ve identified who those people are, how are you spending your time to make sure that your content gets in front of those people?

At first, I try to match it up with their needs to the extent that a conversation has had if someone hears about my work or I’m introduced in some way. I want to get a sense of what precisely are they looking for them? What is this going to do for them? Also, to get a sense of their values, what matters and what that looks like? For some cases, what I do fits beautifully within a culture with other cases. That’s going to be a transition for them. To know that you’ve got a real commitment from the senior leadership team to make that transition necessary for what the challenges of the future are important.

You have that honest conversation upfront. We’re all clear. If there’s anything I learned and I think we did well when I had Bottary & Partners Public Relations and what is imperative for any relationship that engaged with a client is that we all have real clarity and agreement about what success looks like. It’s easy to have yourself in a situation where everyone at the office is high-fiving each other because they think that a great job, you go, meet with the client and they’re like all disappointed. You’re like, “What the hell?”

That should never happen. When it does happen, I personally think it’s the agency’s fault. You’ve got to figure that out and have clarity on it. Sometimes we aren’t always willing to have those harder, deep conversations early on because we think we’re going to scare the client away or something like that. When in fact you’re only going to deepen your relationship with them and be in a situation where you don’t have the surprises at the end of that or you’re going to compromise yourself for them.

What are the best works that you found for them? You’re mentioning about trying to get everybody on the same page to get clear on what success looks like. Is that simply a matter of sitting down, having a conversation and asking, “What does success look like for you?” Are there specific questions or an approach that you found that works well to get everybody aligned around that conversation?

This is interesting because oftentimes, when you’re dealing with people and companies, you’re not always dealing with one person. Sometimes people’s definition of success can vary. You’ve got to get a sense of what that is. Sometimes, I’m hearing some very different definitions of success and I have to think about how do we get these folks in a room and say, “Let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about what this looks like, what our real priorities are and how we are going to rank these on what this looks like?”

Anything I do has to be geared toward making that happen, try to reverse engineer that for them. Sometimes, they need help with what success looks like, and that’s okay too. You’re going to participate in that conversation where they’re not exactly sure what they want. They think that what you offer sounds good. There are a lot of things here, but when you talk about what the implications of it really are, for example, to oversimplify this, someone could be part of an organization where it’s very individually driven in terms of everything, awards, compensation and the whole deal.

People aren't always willing to have those harder, deeper conversations because they think it will scare other people away, when in fact, you're only going to deepen your relationship with them. Click To Tweet

All of a sudden, it’s going to be all about the team. That’s fine. You can do that, but you better have a commitment to that in every single area of your company, everything, your compensation, rewards and how you celebrate. The whole deal has got to be reinforcing, overlapping and you can’t send mixed messages about, “The team was important now, but what matters is if I hit my numbers over here, then I get my individual bonus.” You know this stuff.

There’s got to be a real commitment there too. That’s not always easy. The bigger the company, the harder it can be. That work upfront in order to create a level of clarity around what we’re going to embark upon together, what the steps look like, how this is going to work and what it looks like, recognizing that there are times during this process where we’re going to have to be comfortable being uncomfortable because we’re at the beginning when someone says, “Do you know how you’re going to approach this?”

I’ll look them right in and say, “I have no clue. We’ll figure it out over time, but I have no idea.” Nobody will answer that question for you without guessing and I’m not going to do that. As long as we can recognize that we’re all going to keep our eyes and ears open, work together and communicate, we should be okay.

I want to bring it back for the body of work that you’ve developed and continue to develop. When you look at everything that you’ve done through the books, articles or partnerships, what would you say is one of the biggest distribution wins? One of the things that you’ve done that has allowed you to get your work out there and it’s had a real tangible, meaningful progress, or when attached to it that you think maybe others often overlook. Is there some area that when you look around at the consultant friends that you have or people in professional services that you don’t think people are doing enough, yet here you are, you’ve done it and it worked really well?

It’s the people who you surround yourself with. It’s peers and peer groups. There are a few that I’ve been involved with within years that have been tremendous. Look at the C-Suite Network and Jeffrey Hayzlett, what he’s doing with C-Suite Radio and all of that. It’s not like you become part of it and you never hear from them again and you’re just part of the wallpaper of podcasters or things like that.

There’s an incredible effort at putting people together, learning from one another, being champions for one another’s work. That opened up a lot of doors, introduced me and my work to a lot of different people. The work I do at CEOWORLD magazine as an opinion columnist and now an advisory board member has been tremendous in that regard.

I was involved in more of an international group called WIN Mastermind that was run by Alexander Keehnen for a while out of the Netherlands. It was pre-COVID when I got involved in it and it’s because my travel schedule was such that I couldn’t be a reliable participant in an in-person peer group, but I also thought it would be ridiculous for me to be speaking on this stuff when someone says to me, “What group are you part of?” I’m like, “I’m not in anyone. I don’t do that.” The point is that I was able to be part of a group that met once a month for a couple of hours. We also did some things in between, but it was all virtual and I got to meet different people from around the world.

That was another way people who were doing what I was doing, but in different areas and we would help one another. There was some roll up our sleeves, do some work on the business type of stuff. There were certainly some and making contacts. These people remain my friends, many of whom I’ve never met in person. They’re all buds and we all help each other. It’s nice. It’s been a big thing.

With CEOWORLD, you’re much more involved in terms of board members and so forth, but even as a columnist, even when you’re writing and sharing your perspectives and ideas, for those who are reading and thinking, “I’d also love to be involved with an industry publication or some media that my ideal clients are often paying attention to,” can you walk us through what did you do to land that initial opportunity where you could write for them consistently?

CSP Leo | Consulting Peer Groups


I don’t even remember. I would have to look back at the very first article I submitted to CEOWORLD, but I basically contacted the work I was doing and what their editorial was lined up well. I found out what the parameters were and the things in terms of all of that. I posted my first article and then posted another one, and then I started just getting into a real cadence with them and doing it. It was a great place to post, a great way to extend the reach of the content beyond just posting it on my site, LinkedIn, Twitter or something like that.

I’m not sure how many it is now, but it’s getting close to about 75 pieces that I’ve written just for CEOWORLD alone. They’ve been wonderful and great to work with. One day, they approached me and said, “If you’d like to be an advisory board member, we’d love to have you on.” I’m doing that. I’ve also recommended some other people to write for them. I know Larry Robertson was on your show and he’s one of them.

He’s writing for CEOWORLD, among other places. He’s a content machine and a great guy. He’s someone who I met basically through LinkedIn and through some other folks. He’s been a guest on my podcast. We are advocates of each other’s work, not just because but we’ve read it, enjoyed it and believed in it. There is some good stuff there.

In your book and also on your website, you talk about this principle of, “The power of we begins with you.” Could you elaborate on that? Can you explain what that means and why you feel that it’s such a powerful statement?

A few years ago, I was at a CEO peer advisory group meeting. During the meeting, there was this conversation because I led a workshop where we have very intentional conversations about certain subjects. One of them was about the right people. Not just, “Do we have the right people in the room physically?” but are we exhibiting the right behaviors that make for good members who are strong contributors to the value proposition here?

This particular group had an issue with attendance and this conversation kept going on. It was like someone had a beach ball and they were popping it from one person to the next. There was a guy sitting next to me who we’ll call Richard. He was literally right to my left. Richard was getting annoyed with this conversation. His anger started to become palpable after a while. The next thing you know, Richard stands up in the middle of this conversation and gives about a 90-second speech about, “I’m here. I pay the dues when I can. My attendance isn’t great.” It went on and on.

Finally, he says, “When I’m not here, I’m the one who loses,” and he sat down. It was in this, “Now, what?” moment. He sits down and I’m standing up there. He gave me a gift at the end. I leaned over to my right and I said to the person over here, “Would you mind giving me one minute on what’s lost when Richard can’t be here?” The person said, “When Richard’s not here, he brings this perspective and we get to talk about this. He always contributes such,” then I go to the second member.

Lead with generosity and lead with your values. The kind of people you'll want to be working with are the kind of people who will respond positively to that. Click To Tweet

By the time I got to the third, Richard literally was welling up in tears. Now I got to run over to Richard, and I’m like, “I didn’t do that to show you up. I did that because if I asked that question about anybody else around this table, everyone would have responded in the same way. You guys are like a jazz ensemble. You can’t just yank instruments out and hope it’s going to sound the same.” The point in going back to your question is that Richard knew as CEO how much he meant back at his organization. He had no clue how much he meant around that table.

Once he recognized and owned that the power of a lot of that group began with him being there, being committed, showing up and bringing his A-game every month, the more he realized, “Now I get it.” He apologized to the group and said, “I’m going to do my best to be here more often and not be so cavalier about my attendance.” He realized now how much it mattered to everyone else that he was there. This also goes to the work of Angela Myers when she talks about how much people matter. She talks about kids. She has a non-for-profit,

It’s designed to basically say, “Here’s what I’m good at, what I contribute and what I bring to the table. To own that, bring your best at it, learn, grow and be there to contribute, whether it’s to a peer group, to your team or whatever it happens to be recognizing that.” If you see something wrong or you see something happening or you just don’t sit. It’s like people that say, “My team sucks.” “You’re on the team?” “Yeah.” “What are you doing to make it better?” Everybody’s got to be in if you’re going to make that go. When you’re not, that doesn’t.

For those who are solo consultants or small firm owners, and you do a lot of work all around accountability, leadership, high-performance teams, out of all of your body of work, what advice would you have or what would you recommend to the solo consultant or the small firm owner that would help them to grow and see more progress from your best practices and principles that relate to accountability, leadership or creating the right culture for a high performing team? What stands out for you as common mistakes that people make and therefore opportunities that exist?

I remember hearing something that Patrick Lencioni said at a speech that he gave years ago. It was something that I always did, but it was great to hear someone like him validate that. That’s about being generous. Too often, I see, especially solo consultants be a bit stingy with trying to share and do things. They want to write the proposal and then they’re all worried about what they’re going to get paid for or not, and this and that. They tend to have this little finite pie in their mind.

Patrick Lencioni only talked about the fact that, “How many people competed against where everyone’s going back and forth in the proposal?” I started working for him and helping him. We have these conversations and more people like, “We’re getting a lot.” I find that the more generous people are, you get a sense that they’ve got a lot more horsepower than they’re even letting on. Ironically, the people who are stingy about what they know, it’s usually because there’s not much. That’s all they know in some respect. It doesn’t run very deep.

I don’t say this about me in any self-aggrandizing way. You take a book like Peernovation. Just because someone reads Peernovation, you can read it twenty times. That doesn’t mean you’re going to know what I know about Peernovation. Why? Because everyone looks at a book like you’ve got blank pages and you’re trying to fill a couple of hundred pages. The reality is I’ve got 5,000 pages and I’m trying to knock it down to under 200 to make it work. These are the people who don’t see themselves as experts in what they do. They see themselves as students and what they do.

CSP Leo | Consulting Peer Groups


The Larry Robertson’s of the world, the Jake Jacobs and people like that come at it from that place where A) They were students, B) It’s much more of trying to get something to where it’s understood, but there’s a whole lot that never finds its way into the book. Not for any reason, not because anyone’s trying to be stingy, but we know no one’s going to read a 5,000-page book. We’ve got to do something with it. It tends to inform a lot in terms of working with clients. I would advise people to put out there and lead with generosity, with their values and what’s trying to be helpful to your client. The people you’ll want to be working with are the people who will respond positively to that.

It reminds me of a conversation we often have with clients around the idea of a scarcity mindset versus an abundance mindset. If you go, try and get that scarcity mindset, you want to hold back, “I don’t know if I should give away all my information. What if I go into too much detail in my article?” As you’re saying that the true and best clients are the ones that they’re not going to try and take what you have in the book and apply it all themselves.

They don’t have the time and the expertise. They want to shift that or delegate that to somebody like yourself that can get them up and running and get them the result that they want a lot faster. That abundance mindset not only benefits you, but it tends to also attract similar types of people and clients into your world and into your life, and therefore you create so much more abundance together.

I give a DIY version of what I do for Peernovation and give it away. Do you want to go do that? Go do that. I encourage them to do that. If they have a question, I’m happy to help them. I’ll do whatever. There are millions of companies. I can’t do this for everybody. Oftentimes, some people do that. What they do is they try it, get into it and are like, “This is helpful and good, but we know we can only take this so far.” The next thing you know, I get an email, a call or something like that and says, “We ran this workshop. Here’s what we learned. This is resonating with our people now. Can you help us take this now to where we need to go with it?” That’s where that generosity pays off for everybody involved.

Before wrapping up, a few more questions here. One of them is that you put out a lot of intellectual property and content. When you look at your daily routine, what are 1 or 2 habits that you do on a daily basis that you feel are critical to your success that contribute and have a big impact?

For me, there’s no daily routine. That’s number one. For some people, there is. I applaud that for people who can have a good daily routine.

A person to say that, which is why I love asking that question because there’s no one way. I had somebody on the show and they said the exact same thing, like, “I don’t have a routine.”

My routine is only that I do get off to a very early start every day. I am up early. I get rolling. First of all, I think about what I want to read before what I want to write. That’s a real balance for me that I want to make sure that when I find myself in some stretch or I feel like I’m writing and doing all this stuff and I’m not taking in enough content, to me, that’s not sustainable and not the right way to learn and grow in what I need to be doing. I try to take time to do those kinds of things. I will do some social media posts early. If I don’t feel like writing an article, I’ll go into Canva and create an infographic and have some fun.

That’s like my playtime, where I’ll get to do things that have some visual interest and usually more utility than I give it credit for when I started by the time it’s done. There are times where I do tend to write in the morning and have meetings in the afternoon by and large. I’m worthless in terms of writing later in the day. It’s doesn’t work for me at all. I can do it, but it’ll just take me three times as long. I can knock things out in the morning. It’s such a rate versus anything I could ever do in the afternoon that I know that better about myself.

I have a range of things that I like to work on is no telling when I get up in the day, what I’m going to feel like doing at the moment, but at least I have something to choose from that fits wherever I am. Even in writing the book, some people are great about like, “I took X number of hours every morning. I did and wrote ten pages a day,” or whatever their metric was for that.

I could no more do that. I’d have a week where I wouldn’t even want to look at it, and then I’d spend twelve hours and I couldn’t stop. I’m just blowing through. You’re in a zone and you’re like, “The next thing you know, it’s dark out and you’re wondering like what happened.” I’m a bit less disciplined than some. I’m not proud of that necessarily, but it’s what it is.

You talked about reading and writing. What’s one of the best books, could be fiction or non-fiction, that you’ve read or listened to?

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This was recommended to me by a Vistage member when I was speaking at their group and it’s called Primed To Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation by Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor. It’s a fascinating book. As we know, in many cases, you can listen to these things depending on how slowly they speak at 1.8. You can build up to it over time as we go.

You get used to your brain taking that in, but I do enjoy that. I did my own audiobook. I worked with John Largent, out of San Antonio, and that was so much fun. I had a professional voice talent read the first two and I’m like, “I want to do this next one.” I’m not going to tell you that when I said, “The end,” I was done doing it because it’s a pretty exhausting process, even with a not particularly lengthy book like mine was.

If it’s a novel or something like that, a professional voice talent can lend a lot to that. With a business trade book that involves a lot of concepts, personal stories and things like that, it’s fun to have the author be able to share that in person. I’ve seen Laura Kriska’s book on WE-building is a phenomenal book. That’s another great book out there. Jake Jacob’s book on culture and Larry Robertson’s book on Rebel Leadership are excellent. There is some good stuff out there and is worthwhile for people to read.

Where should people go to learn more about you, your work, book and everything you have going on? What’s the one place that you would encourage people to go to?

Connect with me on LinkedIn for sure. You can go to or Peernovation is the word peer people like me and innovation, creativity realized. It’s this idea of what we’re capable of when we do things together. Get me @LeoBottary on Twitter and @LeoBottary on Facebook, but by and large, I’m probably most active on LinkedIn and Twitter in terms of social media platforms and on my site.

Thanks so much for coming on.

I enjoyed it.

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