Why Staying Curious is a Game Changer and How it Powers Up Negotiation with Molly Fletcher

A big part of your growth is the ability to stay curious. When you think you know it all, you close off new ideas. Your arrogance can get the best of you. Staying curious is what top performs do. Today’s guest is Molly Fletcher, who is a female motivational speaker, keynote speaker, and former sports agent. We talk about the power of staying curious. We look at why that is important in leadership and also in negotiation too. Molly shares her insights on staying curious as a way to keep growing as a leader.

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Molly Fletcher: The Transcript

Target Audience: Molly Fletcher is the CEO of the Molly Fletcher Company. Molly Fletcher inspires audiences around the world as a keynote speaker, drawing on success stories from her former life as a sports agent and sharing lessons learned from the best. She is also the founder of Game Changer Negotiation Training and host of the business podcast “Game Changers with Molly Fletcher.”

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Molly Fletcher
Leaders and coaches, I see it consistently then as well. And what I often find is great leaders are consistently curious. And they create an environment internally with their teams, where curiosity is embraced, and where their employees feel safe. leaning into curiosity, asking at times, maybe difficult questions, not being afraid to push the envelope because the leaders created an environment. It’s safe to do that. So curiosity to me is an incredibly powerful thing. And I don’t think it’s, I don’t think you can put it in a box and say that it comes out in certain times of the day or in certain situations, I think we can all be curious, all throughout the day in all kinds of circumstances. And that’s how we learn and grow.

Intro [0:44]
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs of the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. You’re ready to grow?

Gene Hammett [1:01]
What are the factors that allow you to create a team that’s going to grow and adapt quickly? Well, there are many factors to this. So there’s not just one thing, but today we’re going to talk about one of them. That’s very powerful. It’s called staying curious. When you’re curious about something, you want to learn about the details, you want to learn about other ways. You take other perspectives, and leadership, it’s necessary to stay curious because you want to continue growing. And you want to hire people that are willing to stay curious today. Our expert is Molly Fletcher. This interview goes into why staying curious is important. But let me give you some information about Molly. Molly’s written five books. She’s a professional speaker, but what she’s most known for is her millions and millions of dollars of working with professional athletes as a sports agent. She’s referred to as the Jerry Maguire, of sports agents for women. And it’s kind of an interesting kind of title but we get the title Set because that movie is really, you know, a great movie if you like movies, but I’m playing through a lot of the lines in that movie that I thought was really kind of cool like Show Me The Money and so many other things. But Molly was a great interview today we talked about not only staying curious but also negotiations if you want to understand how to negotiate tune into this video because this will keep you in check with a few key factors that will allow you to get the deals done quicker, but actually create a better deal. And it relates to staying curious.

Commercial [2:36]
Thanks for tuning in here to Growth Think Tank. Really excited about sharing this with you. And before you run. I have done so many interviews in the last few weeks. I have such an exciting time to share with you that those interviews have been organized into the 12 core principles of fast-growth companies. So all you have to do to get that is going to genehammett.com/worksheet. So you can get the 12 principles, and I’ve been able to go in there and find which episodes will align with each individual episode. When you subscribe to Growth Think Tank, you will find exactly what you need so that you can move forward. And many of them haven’t been published yet, depending on when you’re hearing this, but you can tune in to the date, that means the most of you. So here’s the interview with Molly Fletcher.

Gene Hammett [3:22]
Hi, Molly. How are you?

Molly Fletcher [3:23]
I’m doing great. It’s good to be with you.

Gene Hammett [3:25]
Excellent to have you on the podcast. I know. I’ve already let our audience know a little bit about you. And the intro, but tell us about you know what you’re up to?

Molly Fletcher [3:34]
Yeah. So, you know, I spent about 20 years as a sports agent representing 300 or so athletes and coaches had a team of agents that served our clients. And then I wrote a book about peak performers. And that did well and so companies started asking me to come and speak and I love that I felt like it was a unique message, a unique perspective that was helping people. So fast forward, I left the agency business and I have five books out Speak, you know, throughout the country on performance on negotiation and we have a program we deliver negotiation training, both virtually and live we deliver another program called unleash your potential again, virtually in life and then you know I write a book about every other year. So just super, super grateful it’s fun to be on and connect with you and your listeners and share.

Gene Hammett [4:25]
Well, we’re recording this about six weeks into a little bit of a COVID lockdown. What’s happened in your life today that you weren’t expecting from two months ago?

Molly Fletcher [4:37]
Well, it’s funny when people say hey, how’s this thing affecting you? Right? I mean, I spend, you know, speak about 60 times a year and travel on airplanes to large events. So that pretty much sums up how, how it’s changed my schedule significantly, but it’s been fantastic on a perspective that, you know, we have three teenage daughters, my husband and I, and so it’s created a little bit more bandwidth and space for me to do Enjoy them and my family. But it’s also given me an opportunity, we’re launching a couple additional products now I’ve been able to lead them to some content creation, content development. So it’s created some additional space that I wasn’t expecting. that’s proven to be really productive and healthy. So it’s been bond.

Gene Hammett [5:19]
Well, you’ve had a long time career of negotiating and working with peak performers. You’ve got this kind of ideas around staying curious. So what exactly do you mean by staying curious, why is it important?

Molly Fletcher [5:33]
Well, you know, it was funny. I mean, I think, you know, I saw it with the athletes and coaches I represented, you know, whether it was Tom Izzo at Michigan State who wasn’t afraid to pick up the phone and call the softball coach to the University of Michigan to learn about, you know, what’s working, how have you created a culture a culture of winning or whether times picked up the phone and called, you know, NBA coaches or I’ve seen it with, you know, PGA Tour players, Matt cuccia, who will lean into other players you know, in Practice rounds and ask questions about scheduling performance and mindset and putting in rituals. And so I shot at the athlete and coach level significantly. And now on my own podcast, as I interview, you know, leaders and coaches, I see it consistently then as well. And what I often find is great leaders are consistently curious. And they create an environment internally with their teams, where curiosity is embraced, and where their employees feel safe. leaning into curiosity, asking at times, maybe difficult questions, not being afraid to push the envelope because the leaders create an environment that’s safe to do that.

Molly Fletcher [6:41]
So curiosity, to me is an incredibly powerful thing. And I don’t think it’s, you know, I don’t think you can put it in a box and say that it comes out in certain times of the day or in certain situations, I think we can all be curious, all throughout the day in all kinds of circumstances. And that’s how we learn and grow.

Commercial [6:58]
Molly just talked about making employees feel safe? Well, as a leader, a critical part of your job, you may not feel like your job is to help them feel safe. You just want them to get the work done. You want them to execute the projects, you know, get it done on time, make the customers happy. But here’s the thing. Studies have shown through Google and many other companies, some of the interviews I’ve had on this show, talk about the importance of making people feel safe. So sense of psychological safety. You have to tune into that as a leader. When you think about your job. It’s not just to get the work done, is to engage the people to have the kind of conversations where they develop and grow. You want to make them feel safe. So now back to the interview.

Gene Hammett [7:42]
I have heard that a lot of leaders want to hire people with a sense of curiosity. And you probably heard this too. Is there anything that you can share with us around how do you identify if someone truly is curious?

Molly Fletcher [7:55]
You know, I’m a big fan of stories, right when we when I deliver keynotes. It’s also Stories. You know, when I sell when I used to sell and recruit athletes and coaches, it was all stories. So, you know, to me, I love to try to ask great questions to people that I’m bringing onto my team about moments in their life that will bubble up things that will demonstrate to me how curious they’ve been. And I think part of that is how fearless are they? Right? I think in order for us to be curious, we have to be a little bit fearless. We have to be on afraid at some level, to maybe ask tough questions to lean into different moments, different situations to lean into change. Because if we’re gonna be fearless, we’re gonna fail sometimes. So I think to learn about moments in people’s lives maybe where it hasn’t always worked out just right because that probably was a byproduct of staying a little bit curious. I mean, I think about you know, athletes that I had pitchers that I had John Smoltz having to get to the park and you know, he had an injury he had an issue with his leg or his, you know, he had hangnails are shoveled or issues or elbow issues, and so he had to get curious about other ways to hold The baseball, she’ll throw a slider. So I saw it all the time at every level. And what that also meant though, is they weren’t afraid to fail. They weren’t afraid to get uncomfortable. All That, to me, is sort of wrapped and bubbled up inside of curiosity.

Gene Hammett [9:15]
I see this with fast growth leaders. They have, you know, a real different relationship with failure. We all know at some level that it’s you know, this is the chance to learn this is a chance to move forward. But so many people try to avoid it, right? They try to minimize their risk to take out that upside. That having the bravery to actually fail is important when you have worked with so many you know, Game Changers in your work. What do you see when it comes to like being fearless?

Molly Fletcher [9:47]
Well, I think number one, they’re not. They’re not afraid to get uncomfortable because what they know is that through that discomfort they grow, and I mean, a story that comes up for me is a couple really, but I remember you know, Smoltz was one of my guys and here we are both in Italy. On I remember, you know, when john, we got the phone call for john to switch from a starter to a closer. You know at that stage in John’s career, most people would say now I’ve been a starter All my life I play golf on my off days. I mean I chill in the dugout when I’m not pitching I mean, I have three days off.

Molly Fletcher [10:18]
Now you’re gonna put me in the bullpen and I might pitch you every day. I might get up and warm up and not go in. I mean, I don’t know if this is something I want to do. But John knew that the team between leaned into it, right he leaned into it in a world stage where he totally could have failed. But he didn’t right he had 55 saves went into the Hall of Fame is not just one of the best stars one of the best closers. So I saw it with guys like that, right? I remember Billy horschel, a PGA Tour player telling me I love this story. He was talking to Tiger about summit Tigers rituals, some of his routines that have driven to his obviously incredible level of success. And it was amazing because Billy was talking to Tiger about how sometimes He’ll go to bed at night on a Saturday night maybe at times where he’s leading. So he’ll lay in bed and he’ll play the whole final round of the tournament in his mind. And he’ll and you know, he’ll shoot a 64 he’ll win the tournament will be holding the trophy over his head, I’ll have one by three or four strokes will have drained a plot on a team to win it. T

Molly Fletcher [11:18]
iger looked at him in a practice run stability. Hey, dude, that’s great. But visualize yourself tied with the other leaders in the clubhouse in a trap on 18. And you got to get up and down in order to win your first PGA Tour event. Visualize recovering from adversity. So I think of one of the things that I see with great athletes great leaders is they’re fearless. They lean into change, they lean into discomfort, but what they do is because we know we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to fail when we do that. It’s inevitable, but they recover really fast. And that’s the key is that you don’t let it spiral you down, but you recover quickly.

Commercial [11:56]
Now hold on for a moment. Molly just talked about visualizing. One of the most powerful things I’ve added to my daily routine is before I wake up, thinking about my day, visualizing what’s going to happen, visualizing, having conversations that is difficult, or maybe their sales conversations, moving the ball forward, maybe it’s visualizing actually winning the deal, setting up the contract. The more I get in tune with the visualization, the more effective I am about showing up intentionally with the right energy, the right tone, the right emotional state, really important for you to understand, visualizing is important. Molly talked about the Tiger Woods’s story of visualizing the recovery and what it takes to do that. And having that level of tenacity and focus is really important, I think, to raise your performance in anything. Visualize the way you want it to visualize yourself, performing this, and achieving whatever these goals are every day. It will change your life. Your rituals really do allow you to shape how you show up in the world. Back to the interview.

Gene Hammett [13:06]
I love rituals. And I find that during this whole COVID-19 thing, a lot of people have forgotten their rituals and gotten away from them. Maybe they’re staying up later, maybe sleeping in a little bit more. What have you seen in from a high-performance standpoint with rituals other than Tigers visualization techniques?

Molly Fletcher [13:26]
Well, I think they’re powerful. I mean, I think at some level, they, you know, you can sort of interchange that word potentially at times with habits and habits can be really, you know, we can have good habits we can have not so good habits. So I think inside of particularly this COVID-19, you want to try to build a bit of a ritual on a schedule, I wrote a book called The energy clock that released in January. And one of the things I talked about in that is to get really clear on what are the things that give you energy?

Molly Fletcher [13:50]
What are the things that drain your energy and what are the things that are energy neutral? So when we think about habits, we think about rituals, I think to be a high performer to leave Your team to deliver results to lean into change, which many of us are having to do inside of COVID 19, it’s important to get really clear on how can you not just show up but show up, ready to add value shows up, ready to lead, show up ready to make a change, you’re ready to influence. And the only way you can do that is if you’re intentional about ensuring that there are rituals inside of your days that give you energy, right? Like, whatever it is for you working out, going to bed early, getting up early, having a quote, whatever it is for you. I think it’s important that you’re clear on what those are and that you’re intentional about having three to four of those in every part, you know, and every day is that allows us to lead that allows us to serve.

Gene Hammett [14:43]
I know one of the things you’re also known for is negotiation. And so I want to make sure we spend a little bit of time here Molly to talk about the keys in negotiation. You talked about getting deals to close, faster, get them to have actually better deal and from the output. What would you say share with us about negotiation from years of sports experience and also business experience?

Molly Fletcher [15:05]
Sure. You know, I mean, there are a few things right. But I would say a couple of high-level things are, you know, some of the mistakes that I often see people make. And, you know, one of them I think, is spending a lot of time thinking about what you want, right? What does success look like for you inside of this deal? What do you want? What what would? What would be a win for you?

Molly Fletcher [15:24]
I think it’s important to spend equally if not more time, inside of the head in the heart of the person you’re negotiating with? What matters most to them? How are they wired? What are they worried about? And making sure you adapt and lean into that? Most importantly, I remember negotiating contracts with general managers in baseball, for example, and was this one guy and he was always difficult, right? He was always tough to kind of deal with I never felt like I could connect with them. And what I realized is I was coming at it from the sort of a relational and strategic perspective, worried about the direction of the club, worried about the pitching coach worried about a lot of things, and he was just worried about what am I gonna have to pay this guy and how long do you want this deal to be?

Molly Fletcher [16:01]
I mean, what are the terms of that. And so we got to get in the head in the heart and know what matters most. Because all of that drives the conversation drives connection. And when you think about negotiation, negotiation is really just a difficult conversation. And the longer you can keep that conversation going, certainly, there might be pauses inside of it, the longer you can keep that going, the healthier it can be, I believe, and what I found in a competitive industry is that the better the deals, and the more quickly I could get them done, the more connected I was. So getting inside of the head in the heart of the person to me is integral, you know, having the courage at times to pause, you know, preparing and knowing how to ask for what you want, but do it with competence. I think, you know, one of the things that we read and that we hear and part of why I started this program is that most people are pretty frustrated with negotiation and at times want to avoid it. And it’s often because they haven’t been taught how, and they haven’t been taught how and so when you get inside of these conversations, they’re difficult. Certainly not linear, they zigzag a good bit, they’re unpredictable. So if you don’t have the tools to navigate the conversations, then conversations can be frustrating where you worry about impacting the relationship along the way. So, so we try to teach, you know, a process that helps people navigate these conversations more effectively to drive results.

Gene Hammett [17:19]
I knew it better to relate these two concepts of being curious and getting instead of someone else. What could you share with us about how do you get curious about what that other person wants in a negotiation?

Molly Fletcher [17:33]
You know, you’ve got to get in their world. And I think the best part about the world we live in today, it’s so much easier to get in the world. I mean, it’s almost frighteningly easy to get in the world of the people that you’re negotiating with. So if I was negotiating with a general manager in baseball, I’d want to understand what is he paying his other guys you know, what, what’s the market paying other national league pitchers? What’s his payroll look like? What is his own personal situation?

Molly Fletcher [17:57]
What are everything in his head and his heart in his world, from a financial from a strategic from a relational from a logistical perspective, because what we found is that there are four styles of negotiators there’s financial, strategic, logistical and relational. When you know the predominant style of the person you’re negotiating with, you can adapt, and you can connect with them even better. And you can tailor the conversation towards the things that matter, most of them will threading through the things that you need, of course, along the way, so curious to me is, is paramount, and I think it also helps us in the preparation of these kinds of conversations inside of negotiation. Certainly.

Gene Hammett [18:38]
I want to switch gears a little bit. Molly, you have put together a great career after this whole sports agent thing. What are you really curious about now as you’re evolving as a leader?

Molly Fletcher [18:51]
You know, that’s such an awesome question. I mean, I’m always curious about my gasps gene, you know, and I believe in the work that you do as a coach because I think people need coaches. And I think, you know, I look at the best athletes and coaches in the world and all of them. Even the coaches have coaches, right. Many of the good ones, they’ll lean into other coaches to help them get better and evolve. And of course, athletes all do. So I think it’s incredibly important as a leader, to be really cognizant of your blind spots, and to create an environment where your team feels safe, to tell you the things that aren’t working for them. The things that you do that make them crazy, the things that you do that impact their ability to be successful and to grow. So I’m always and consistently curious about ways that I can get better and often that’s creating an environment in which my team can help me see my own blind spots so that I can lean into those and try to fix them so that I can continue to grow the business and serve. You know, not just my customers, but equally as important, if not more important, my team.

Gene Hammett [19:57]
I just started in a new leadership development program and One of the things we want to do is create a baseline of what the company looks like before we start. And I’m always nervous because they’re already performing well, they’re already growing fast. And I always send the CEO or founder, a list of the questions that we’ve prepared for this assessment for the baseline. And he responded back with, what are we doing well, and what do we need to improve on? So he’s willing to get that feedback. It’s completely anonymous. I don’t even know who’s coming in. He doesn’t know. And I told him, that’s the only way I’ll do this program, this assessment. And, you know, having the courage to be able to get that feedback, and so you can grow from it. Yeah. When you think about, you know, what you’re seeing inside of business today. What’s one thing that you know, really kind of irritates you as far as leadership and people just not willing to get that feedback?

Molly Fletcher [20:54]
Yeah. I mean, there’s a couple that I mean, one, I think, you know, clarity and accountability to me are just integral parts of great being a great leader, you know, making sure that the people that you lead to understand, what does success look like, for me? How can I best serve this team and contribute to this team? And I think a lot of times leaders, we may mess, getting really, really clear with the people that we lead and when we’re not clear, and then we try to hold them accountable. It’s a train wreck. So I am a huge proponent of, of having the courage to create clarity. And then I think it’s also equally as important to create the accountability that aligns with what success looks like, and have the courage to remove weak players on your team. You know, we’ve all had people on our team and I think, you know, I shot in sports if you had cancer in the clubhouse if we would call it if you had one guy in a clubhouse that was toxic.

Molly Fletcher [21:56]
The impact on the team was, was enormous. I think it’s the same in a business environment. So I think you’ve got to remove weak players from the team if they’re not performing. And I think part of that means you’ve got to have the courage to provide feedback in real time. You know, I have a team that, you know, if I, if I’m on, if I shadow one of my team members on our sales call, for example, and I feel like there are things that they might have been able to do a little bit differently. Immediately after that sales call, I’m gonna, I’m going to pick up a phone call and write back and say, Hey, and in a loving and empathetic way, in a kind way in a relational way, I’m going to give them that feedback. Because then I know, as no, it’s no fun, right? leaders, it takes time. It’s exhausting. We want to try to avoid the tough conversations, right? But the truth is, you know, taking that five or 10 minutes and having that conversation is only going to create a better salesperson for you to improve the results, etc. I mean, it’s obvious, but as leaders, we don’t like to have difficult conversations, but it’s important to do it. It’s important to do it.

Gene Hammett [22:57]
I totally agree with you, Molly. I see that all the Time and I’ve had to get, you know, do a lot of work with my clients on, you know, having those tough conversations and not waiting, they hoping it’ll get better. And they see that as a positive thing like, Oh, well, I want them to do it themselves. I’m like, but that little bit of feedback, maybe it’s just a powerful question. Yeah, to see how could we do this differently? Or how can we get a quicker result or a better result? So I really appreciate you saying that. Molly, I know you’re busy. You don’t have a speech to run to but you got a busy business and a busy family. So thanks for being here on the podcast.

Molly Fletcher [23:34]
Gene, It’s an absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Gene Hammett [23:37]
What a great interview. I love having conversations with people that are out there on the frontlines. You’ve got different perspectives than may have different levels of experience. And bringing that conversation to you is quite a joy. Molly is a powerhouse. She’s so sharp.

Gene Hammett [23:51]
I really enjoy talking to her about staying curious about negotiations. We even talked offline about sales and some of the key factors We laugh together hopefully enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed creating it. If you’re a leader that is looking to push the boundaries of your own growth, to really lean into the defining moments, this is one of them going through COVID-19 and coming out the other side stronger, better and more clear about who you are and how the company is going to grow and be an impact of the future. Make sure you reach out to me, gene@genehammett.com. That’s my email address. I work with fast growth leaders that are wanting to make a difference go beyond the success they have today. Make sure you reach out to me gene@genehammett.com, as always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

 

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

 

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