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BW Businessworld

'Steve Jobs Was A Good Speaker And A Visionary Leader Of Our Times'

In an interview with BW Businessworld's Nina Kler, John Mattone, Leadership Coach, talked about his perspectives on leadership, an eventful journey from being a consultant, and a failed author to becoming one of the most reputed leadership coaches

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Today almost every single C-suite member has an executive coach. Someone who helps unlock their potential, to maximize their performance and that of their organisation.

Coaching as a career today is on the rise in India, and getting coached, is becoming a necessity for those leaders who seek ascent.

Recently, John Mattone and Blew Minds joined hands to launch John Mattone-Blew Minds Coaching University to bring coaching certifications and intelligent leadership to India.

On the sidelines of the one year anniversary of Blew Minds, the famed leadership coach and former coach to Steve Jobs, John Mattone talks to BW Businessworld's Nina Kler about his perspectives on leadership, an eventful journey from being a consultant, and failed author to becoming one of the most reputed leadership coaches second to only Marshall Goldsmith.
Mattone is high on values, married for 39 years and father of four adult children, he credits his good genes for his passion and leadership to his parents.

With great role models like Zig Ziglar, the former motivational speaker, Tony Robbins famed life coach and Marshall Goldsmith the number one executive coach in the world, Mattone has pegged his own expectations very high.

John's Journey 
John worked primarily in the space of human resource consulting for years. In 1996, he wrote a book called "Success Yourself."
Sharing his first attempt at book writing.  He shared, "I had written a book which failed miserably. The only copy that I sold was bought by my mother! It was so depressing, it literally triggered me to go back into the corporate world."
He returned to the corporate world but couldn't forget the uniqueness of the book that he had written as a debut author.

"All I did was suppress it, but I kept on looking at the book on the bookshelf for many years. I said to myself that I am going to come back to this at some point. And I did. The whole notion that I use, its what I call the Intelligent Leadership Process which my book of 2013 is based upon, ironically came out of my book Success Yourself, that didn't do anything. My motto is-You just don't ever give up."
Interestingly, John started his coaching journey at the age of 55. What he described as literally a "calling". "I started coaching in 2008 and started to apply the concepts from the book including the assessment that I created which was eventually taken by Steve Jobs as well (Which was my first really big coaching assignment in 2010). And I realized that I was getting feedback from these people saying this is remarkable. And I knew that I had something and that is when my coaching career got started."

Defining Leadership Traits And The Core
According to John, one of the biggest learning's of the life is - there is no one trait which is associated with great leadership, although, in his opinion character is a predictor. Meaning courage, diligence, gratitude, loyalty, honesty and modesty.

He shared that his new book, which is due next fall, is a little bit about this.

Because of his background in industrial psychology, he is very diagnostic and assessment oriented. "I hone in on inner core aspects, measure the inner core with my assessments. I want to get the calibration on such things as character, self-concept, value system and thinking patterns. Because I know if those elements are really strong, mature and vibrant, they are going to spill to the outer core.

The outer core is basically what the world sees, when we watch leaders. What I have discovered is that if I can help a leader understand their inner core; what's working, what's not; and help them leverage their gifts and strengths that they may not even be aware of and learn to unleash those gifts and strengths and also address gaps. I'm going to make a difference," shared John.

The importance of Vision and Legacy to close the Leadership gap
"I have discovered that leadership is all about inner core driving outer core. Ultimately, driving the four A's that create a lasting legacy. First of all, it isn't about you as a leader. It's about are you touching hearts, minds and souls? Which ultimately is about the four A's. "

Achievement: "Are you doing things that are moving the needle in the world? That's going to define your legacy."

Altruism: "The value of giving. We have massive capability all over the world. We need more heart. We need more courtesy, compassion and altruism. This needs to be ignited if we are going to have great leadership all over the world."

Affiliation: "Relationship bonds with people that can't be broken a lot of people think they have great relationships, but we can always raise the bar. And I am talking about bonds with people that can't be broken. When we start actually mentally thinking about that it forces us to play at a much higher level."

Abundance: "It's not about money it's not, it's irrelevant. At the end of the day when you put your head on the pillow, have you touched heart minds and souls? That's the key."

The processes that John works on are very strong. "It's one that invites the leader to think about their journey and partnership with a coach like me, as one of what is the essence and the vision of the leader that you must become. Not so much what you want to become. So thinking really big and very large about your destiny and your legacy.
Most people wake up every day and they do their regular thing. However, if we can ignite a bigger vision for leaders we have a much bigger opportunity to close the leadership gap," shared John.

In John's opinion, we have a massive leadership gap, "We don't have enough leaders who have the courage to ask themselves the big questions like - Am I truly a role model in my life?
A lot of people think they are doing good stuff asking that question once a week, it's not about asking the question once a week. It's about asking the question every single day. Most leaders show up and the get into the zone.
So think about your presence, your presence in your business and your personal life. Are you a magnet? Do you attract people when you walk around? Do people go to you because they must? Are you enriching others or they are enriching you? And most importantly-What is my legacy, how do I want my life remembered?"

Mindfulness and living with Awareness
In addition to one's vision, practising mindfulness is equally important in his opinion. "When I think of mindfulness I think of being completely aware of strength vibrancy and maturity of your inner core. Looking inside and calibrating constantly. What is your self-concept? Is it working? Is it working to create abundance in the world or is it more ego-based?"

There is an imperative need to assess one's strength and vibrancy of character, value system, thinking the pattern and emotional makeup.
"When I think of mindfulness I just think of people who are more aware of their inner core and understand how to translate what they learn about their inner core and drive a greatness in their outer core. Because ultimately that is the key. I'm hired to move the outer core and get help the organization stronger by igniting the inner core," voices John.

On the importance of defining Culture, Mindsets and Disruption to enable innovation and facilitate cohesiveness and collaboration at workplaces

John believes that there is immense value in being a disruptive leader, what he defines as, "Using the strength of your inner core and your outer core to think differently and think big. To be vulnerable, to leverage strengths, be courageous in execution, be vigilant and most importantly walk around with a mindset of privilege rather than duty."

Mattone has worked with Tiger Tyagrajan and admires the culture that he has created at Genpact. "A culture of a drive, motivation and zeal," in Johns opinion.

"Tiger has realised the importance of touching minds, hearts and souls, and of having a privileged mindset. If your thoughts are going to be good, your emotions are going to be good, your behaviour is going to be good, results are going to be good. It's all connected. The more we condition our minds, even in tough situations, when we look at the positive and we understand that we can all yield positive things from even difficult situations. We recognize the privilege to be around people where we can touch mind hearts and souls and have that back," voices John.

Considering the times where we live in, the competition and the distractions, John feels that this mentality keeps you laser-focused on absorbing the power of being present.

"So important with all the disruption around us and all the stimuli. The whole notion of balance to me comes down to centeredness.

And ultimately what's going to create centeredness is not what's going to create centeredness in you. It's not about you. Really the question is what is going to create centeredness in others.
How do you get balanced? Be courteous compassionate be altruistic to the people in your life. What ends up happening is you end up creating centeredness in them and by creating centeredness in them you have a chance art creating centeredness in you. Treat people the way you want to be treated."

Today in addition to being over stimulated, people are also highly stressed and more competitive than ever before. John elaborated on the importance of being disruptive to get employees to work cohesively, collaboratively and to be able to innovate.

"That is the big challenge. There is a massive need for innovation, a massive need for collaboration. The problem is that a lot of executives don't understand that it's all about disruption and if you are going to get people to be innovative you have to get them to understand the pleasure of being disrupted."

On Steve Jobs
That's what Steve Jobs did, he did it on purpose. "He knew exactly what he was doing. He was a visionary genius, but not a very good leader at all," is what John shares.

According to Mattone Jobs, his inner core was very weak, "In fact, he took my assessment and he really didn't score very well on that. And if you look at the competencies that make up great leadership he really wasn't that great of a decision maker, he wasn't that great at decisiveness. Not great at collaboration. A lot of areas where he wasn't that great but he was a creative genius and visionary and a disruptor and a change agent."

John stressed the need for executives to not fear disruption or to create and embrace new comfort zones. To be transformative and supportive of new visions and new goals.

"We have so many coaches who don't know how to train leaders/executives. However, they wonder why their businesses are suffering. That is one of the reasons for failure," stresses John.

He believes that though great leaders are usually born, leadership can be imbibed too. "In my mind, the biggest decision is that a human being can make the vulnerability decision. Because it incites learning, growth and agility," said John.

John said that Steve Jobs was a good speaker and a visionary leader of our time. "Steve was very engaging his success and had nothing to do with the box (Jobs moniker for the computer)it had everything to do with rapport. How he built trust credibility with our customers that was non-negotiable.

He did it through three ways, hiring and promoting the best talent, leadership and culture. All three were non-negotiable.

According to the John, 'Think Different Campaign' was the greatest marketing campaign by Steve Job.

"He shared with me in 2010. Mattone the think different campaign was real, but in many respects, I have used the Think Different Campaign symbolically.
Steve said that this is my only opportunity in life that I will ever get to share with the world all that I had learned. That was the inflexion point at the Apple.
If you want to get different results in your personal life, business life, I don't care what life you need to think differently!
If you want to get big results quantum leaps, the breakthrough results, it is also non-negotiable, you need to think big!"