Finding Your Value & Embracing VIBRANT Leadership with Nicole Greer

Finding Your Value & Embracing VIBRANT Leadership with Nicole Greer


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #199 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Nicole Greer. She is a principal coach and CEO of Build a Vibrant Culture™, who specializes in helping individuals, corporations, faith-based organizations, and non-profits fulfill their mission and exemplify VIBRANT Leadership™.

For the last 20+ years Nicole has worked as a coach, marketing director, master of first impressions, and sales trainer in the many facets of business. Her experiences working with all kinds of people led her to found Vibrant Coaching. Nicole is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, life and business coach. 

In this episode, Nicole tells her favorite mistake story about giving herself away and not realizing her value when she was in a property management job. Why did she agree to do what seemed like a second full-time job for free? How did Nicole realize this was a mistake? What did she learn and how did she adjust? What was “the big mistake” within the mistake story?

We also talk about change management, showing grace, and keeping employees vibrant through coaching them as leaders (which goes beyond reacting constructively to mistakes).

Questions and Topics:

  • “Master of first impressions”?
  • How do you decide the value that you bring? What you’re getting paid?
  • What does “vibrant” in terms of personality?
  • How do you define “VIBRANT Leadership”?
  • “Get LIT” Lead from within, Integrity, Transformation
  • Nicole's LinkedIn article… “The Love Habit”
  • What does “showing others grace” mean to you?
  • C3: Circumstances Conduct and Consequences
  • How have you coached leaders who struggle with how to react to mistakes?
  • Book: The One Minute Manager
  • Book: How Full is Your Bucket?

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode (no video this time)
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Nicole on social media:


"People keep saying change is hard and people don't like to change. And so that's just the totally wrong way to approach change with your team." Nicole Greer
"Sometimes you fall short and you're going to because you're a human. And so if you don't extend grace, it's very hard to get grace." Nicole Greer
"A leader's #1 job is to keep your employees vibrant. And so what you do is you give them so much positive feedback." - Nicole Greer

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 199, Nicole Greer, CEO of Build A Vibrant Culture.

Nicole Greer (6s):
My favorite mistake in my career is giving myself away.

Mark Graban (15s):
I'm Mark Garban. This is my favorite mistake. In this podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes, because we all make mistakes. But what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at For more information about Nicole, look for a link in the show notes or go to As always, thanks for listening. Well, hi everybody. Welcome back to the podcast.

Mark Graban (56s):
My guest today is Nicole Greer. She's a principal, coach and CEO for the company Build a Vibrant Culture who specializes in helping individuals, corporations, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits fulfill their mission and exemplify what she calls vibrant leadership. And I think we'll have a chance to talk about that concept today. So for the last 20 plus years, Nicole's worked as a coach, a marketing director, a sales trainer, and what she calls a master of first impressions. So she's worked with a lot of, a lot of people in organizations and as she founded Vibrant Coaching. So she works today as a speaker, trainer, facilitator, and coach.

Mark Graban (1m 36s):
She can find her website So Nicole, thank you for being here. How are you?

Nicole Greer (1m 42s):
I'm doing great. I'm delighted. Thank you, Mark, so much for the invitation.

Mark Graban (1m 46s):
Oh, well, thank you for accepting it. And so, you know, the, the first question I have to ask though is like, what, what do you mean what, what is a master of first impressions?

Nicole Greer (1m 55s):
Well, I have been in the business of, you know, impressing people outta the gate. For a long time. I was the daughter of a gentleman who ran a beautiful boutique store in St. Louis, Missouri. And he took me to work every Saturday because back in the day you didn't have babysitters and you just, you know, took your children and they decided to behave. And so, from a very early stage of life, I was very good at behaving. And I found, as I watched my father and all of the, of the beautiful women, and of course Sal, the gentleman in the shoe department run their business. They were so good at making this first impression and making people feel warm.

Nicole Greer (2m 36s):
You know, one of the things we know about first impressions is if I smile at Mark, Mark's gonna smile right back at me. You know, this whole thing of mirror neurons, it's a thing. I didn't know that when I was like eight years old, but I, I learned how to do retail from a very fr young age. And, and I think that that taught me a lot about making a good first impression. It's just about smiling and putting some good, vibrant energy out there.

Mark Graban (2m 59s):
Yes. Well said. So thank you for making a great first impression here for the episode and the audience. I, I, I hope I'm doing the same. So, you know, Nicole, there's a lot that we can talk about related to your work and leadership and coaching, but as, as we always do here, the real first question, the main first question, you know, across the different things that you've done, what would you say is your favorite mistake?

Nicole Greer (3m 24s):
My favorite mistake in my career is giving myself away, not realizing my value. I, for a very, very long time, you know, people would offer me positions or they would offer me a job, or they would offer me a promotion, and they would say, this is what we can pay you. And I would just be like, okay. Because, you know, I've just always been so excited to serve, again, back to that, you know, upbringing that I had where customer service was, you know, how you did things. So I think I got confused between what providing service and value and then getting paid for it. So I had a little disconnect there for a good while.

Mark Graban (4m 3s):
So how did you, so it sounds like there was kind of a pattern, and maybe, you know, I'm gonna talk through a couple scenarios. How, how did you realize then that that was a mistake that you were making?

Nicole Greer (4m 15s):
Well, I, I'm really blessed. I have a wonderful, very smart husband. And we got married and I was in the property management business. So my first career was in restaurant work, you know, you know, before, well, I was with daddy at the store, but then I went into restaurant work, which I adore food and beverage. I think that's wonderful. People, everybody should have to be a bartender or wait tables or be a hostess or cook in the kitchen or do the dishes or something. That's such a good training ground. And then I got in property management. Well, I was running a beautiful apartment community, and the gentleman in charge of the company gave me a call and he said, listen Nicole, I have a really great opportunity for you, you know, and I said, okay.

Nicole Greer (4m 56s):
He said, we, we would like you to continue to run your apartment community. Okay, so you're gonna keep your old job, plus what we're gonna do is we're gonna ask you to be the marketing director for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. And I said, okay, that sounds fun, you know? And I said, well, what would, what would be required to me? And he said, well, you know, you would begin to, you know, build the customer relationship management process. You would go out and do business development, you would attend these meetings, but I wanna be clear, Nicole, you're gonna be running your apartment community, making sure things are all systems go and you're meeting your profit and loss goals and all this kind of stuff.

Nicole Greer (5m 36s):
I said, okay. And I, I left the conversation without even inquiring about compensation for these new responsibilities. I just thought he's putting this new task on my plate. But really it was a whole nother job.

Mark Graban (5m 51s):
I was just gonna say, that's, that's, that's a job, not a task. I mean, there's a whole job description around that. Commensurate with a salary. So, so, so, so what happened then? I mean, did you continued diving into that, we'll call it opportunity? What happened?

Nicole Greer (6m 12s):
Well, I went home and, you know, again, I have this, you know, kind of a, a little bit of an maybe overly optimistic, you know, view of the world. And I go home and I tell my, my husband, I said, listen, what happened to me today? I got this opportunity, this new thing that they want me to do. They want me to go out and market, and I think that'll be really help me and grow my resume and, you know, make me more valuable. And he's like, well, how much are they gonna pay you?

Mark Graban (6m 38s):

Nicole Greer (6m 38s):
And I was like, oh, I forgot to ask that question. You know, cuz I've, I've always just been so eager to please, so eager to do the customer service piece that sometimes you get confused about really the value that you're bringing. And, and I'm, I'm betting Mark, that people are listening to this going, oh my gosh, my plate's overflowing. Am I getting paid when I should be get, be getting paid? I think it's really important to sit down and take a look at things.

Mark Graban (7m 7s):
So, yeah. So I wanna dig into some of that, like, you know, tips and advice for others. But, but, but help us kind of, you know, resolve the story. Did, did you, did you push back on what they were asking or did, did you, you could try it and tolerate it for, for so long, what happened?

Nicole Greer (7m 26s):
No, and that's, that's the big mistake. I wasn't brave enough, I wasn't courageous enough to get up the next day and go back and say, Hey, you know, I, I thought about this overnight and I, you know, all I had to say was I simply forgot to inquire, you know, what, how will my compensation change as I take on this big responsibility? And I think that, you know, that's the biggest mistake, not being brave enough to take care of yourself. So I, I went ahead and did it, and I did learn a lot. And here's the really good news. They did not promote me to like some, you know, corporate marketing person, but what they did do is I, I, I think they saw, you know, this gal works hard, she'll do anything we ask, be careful right there.

Nicole Greer (8m 13s):
But they did end up promoting me and I did get into the, to the home office and, and, and from that point forward, you know, I, I decided I'm really gonna get paid what, what I'm worth. So when I finally got promoted to the home office, you know, I made sure that, you know, I, I, you know, and I, isn't it wonderful to have David Greer in my life? So I sat down with him, coached and counseled with him, reached out to some friends across the industry, you know, like what, you know, what does this position pay in your company? Right? And thi this was back in, you know, the nineties, so, you know, this is before we could look things up on Glassdoor and whatever. So I really had to do my homework. And so I think you could still look at the, the glass doors you can go on Indeed, you can look at all these different places.

Nicole Greer (8m 58s):
That's my first tip. You know, go, go ask these hiring websites, you know, what the position pays that you're in, or the one you're aiming for. But then also you need to develop an incredible network of friends inside of your industry where they can, they can help guide you and coach you.

Mark Graban (9m 17s):
Yeah. So you, you did that double duty. It didn't kill you, so it made you stronger. No,

Nicole Greer (9m 25s):
Right. Yeah, you could say that. And, and I do have an incredible amount of energy, even even as old as I am today at 56. I had that same, I have the same energy that I had when I was like 26. So, and, and I, you know, my thing is, again, I I love people. I've never met a stranger. I'm very good at networking. And, and I do believe, you know, the old saying, I know, I don't think it's a hundred percent true, but there is some partial truth in the old saying, you know, it's not what you know, it's who you know, because I've, if I met people, I usually got an opportunity and then I was scrappy enough to figure out what I was doing, you know? And I think, is scrappy still a thing? I think it is.

Nicole Greer (10m 5s):
Is it a thing,

Mark Graban (10m 6s):
Mark? I think that word was popularized by the musical Hamilton of the phrase, young, scrappy and hungry. If I, I think I got that right. I'm not gonna try to sing, but

Nicole Greer (10m 20s):
Yeah. Well, maybe that's why I love Hamilton so much. I've seen it twice. And my daughter comes home from college and we in the kitchen, we're in our white sweat Sox doing the entire, you know, show singing at the top of our lungs. So, alright. I love that it's a Hamilton thing.

Mark Graban (10m 37s):
Now I'm gonna try to think of some other, okay, well maybe it'll just come up naturally. I'm not gonna force other Hamilton references here. I mean, well, so being vibrant. Okay. I am gonna bring it back to a Hamilton thing again. Okay. The advice that Aaron Burr gave a Aaron Alexander Hamilton. Yep. Talk less, smile more, I mean, oh, I don't know if that's good advice, but I mean, like, when, when it comes to being vibrant, I mean, I'm not trying to suggest really, it means talking less, but I mean, like what, before we talk about vibrant leadership, like what, tell me more about, just to you, what that word vibrant means in terms of personality.

Nicole Greer (11m 22s):
Yeah. Well, what it means to me is that the person who is vibrant is plugged into the work that brings them to life. Okay? So all of us on planet Earth have what's called a unique ability. And I learned that term from Dan Sullivan, who is a very famous coach. And I took the process of unique ability and I sat down and I looked at it and I figured out what my own things were. And I'm like, you know, it's so true. If Nicole Greer is using her unique ability, the things that she loves, the things that she is good at, the things that come naturally to her, although she does work on them to make them, you know, even more vibrant, right?

Nicole Greer (12m 8s):
So that I'm illuminating, igniting and energizing the people around me. That is what we need to do with our teams. So a person, so I have a, I have a person that works with me. Her name's Terry Bolt Zeer. And I wanna tell you, she's the most amazing woman in my life. She has nothing like me. She has a whole different set of unique abilities, and they are too, sit quietly, focus on things, run the project through the process, do the accounting, make sure the calendar's right, send the reminders, do the details. And when she's doing that, she's lit. I mean, she is like on fire, she's like a firecracker.

Nicole Greer (12m 48s):
I got that done, I got that done, I got that done. Now while her activity is like a firecracker, you know, the ones that you, you light on 4th of July and you throw 'em in the airs, like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. That's how hers is. And my energy is, you know, forward facing lots of words, as you can tell, you know, and I'm shedding that light out there and ho helping to hope, helping and hoping to help people learn something. I'm a teacher really, I mean, yeah. You know, if you boiled it down, that's really what I do. Yeah.

Mark Graban (13m 15s):
So yeah, when you've got that, that purpose, boy yeah. That can present itself in different ways. It could be smiling, Alexandria Hamilton, it probably presented more, at least as, as portrayed in, in the musical. You know, they, they kept asking him, why, why do you write like you're running out of time? Like he was driven, but it probably was a more serious, like maybe inspiring, but it a different form of vibrant leadership perhaps.

Nicole Greer (13m 48s):
Yeah. Well, you know, he, as I understand now, everybody correct me as we go along here, put it in the comments or whatever, but I mean, like, you know, he, he had training as an attorney, as I understand, right? But also he was an orphan, right? You know, his mother passed and he came to America and I think sometimes people are lit what with this other thing, like this desire to prove themselves. And, and, and, and the thing about Alexander Hamilton is like, you know, hello George Washington's like, this boy can write. So, you know, he saw that little light. And the way I see George Washington Hamilton's relationship is like, George tended it.

Nicole Greer (14m 29s):
In fact, I read a novel about Hamilton and he said, you know, let me go fight in the war. I think that's in the musical too. Yeah. You know, lemme go fight. And George's like, no, no, I need you right here doing what you're supposed to be doing.

Mark Graban (14m 43s):

Nicole Greer (14m 43s):
So I think that's what it was. He was writing like he was writing out of time because he just wanted to prove himself so much.

Mark Graban (14m 50s):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and you know, as you've touched on it, it goes to show, you know, within a team there are different leadership styles, there are certainly different personality types and, and different roles to play. So that, that can all be part of a percent a leadership team. But, you know, but back to your phrase, vibrant leadership. I mean, how, how do you define that? I'm sure you've got kind of a, a very specific way of taking just the general theme of vibrant, what it means to be a vibrant leader.

Nicole Greer (15m 22s):
Yeah. So I I, my little acronym that I teach people is we, you know, if you want to build a vibrant culture, you want to be a vibrant leader, you want to demonstrate vibrant leadership, you gotta get lit. And people love that. They laugh at first. They're like, get lit. And I'm like, yes, but not that kind of lit. A different kind of lit. Yeah. And so, you know, if you, if you've got lit on say alcohol, you'd be full of spirits. Are you with me right now? Right. Spirit, right? You have, you had a couple bourbons, you'd get lit, right? Yeah. So instead of using alcohol, what you would do is you would, again, lead from within.

Nicole Greer (16m 3s):
That's the l right? So again, I use my unique ability. I know what I'm good at, I know what I am competent at, and then I know what I'm incompetent at. And I think vibrant leaders are transparent and they tell the people around him, here, listen, this is how I got to this level. I can do this stuff and I need all you smart people that work for me to do all the other stuff because, you know, I'm either competent at it or frankly I'm incompetent. And you all have complimentary skills and unique ability that together.

Nicole Greer (16m 44s):
Now don't miss this like a fire, right? Vibrant means illuminated, lit. So if I'm building a fire, I got like four logs and we gotta keep this lit all year. And so I have Mark who's on my team, he's got four different logs, he puts those on the fire, and then I've got Terry and she puts four logs on the fire, and then I've got all my other employees or associates and I need all that fuel to, to get this thing vibrant, you know, to make it flame up and make it pa you know, number one. And so it's all about, you know, everybody bringing their gifts, their fuel to the process in that unique way. So that's, that's the first thing.

Nicole Greer (17m 24s):
So lead from within what in you do you have to bring to the party and figure that out? Yeah. So I think that's important.

Mark Graban (17m 32s):
So then what, what's, what's the rest of that framework then? So that's the l there's an I and

Nicole Greer (17m 37s):
Right. Yeah, an I and A T. That's right. And so the I is about integrity, and when I talk about integrity, I make people upset, mark. So I'm just gonna, you know, say, you know, please just listen for a second. Okay? So if I go and I speak in front of an audience, what I, which I often do, and I say how, you know, if I said, how many of you are men and women of integrity, mark, every single hand goes in the air.

Mark Graban (18m 3s):
Sure. Who doesn't want to admit to themselves or especially to others? I mean, yeah, even social pressure means your hand would go up, but

Nicole Greer (18m 11s):
A hundred percent. And it's like, you know, then, then I do this thing, I shock the audience and I say, well, it's great that you wanna be a person of integrity, but here's the truth about integrity. None of us, not myself included, are ever 100% in integrity all the time. And so my joke is, is, you know, write down the word halt. H a l t, you know, people usually are not their best selves. And you know, when you're in integrity, you're your best self, you're on your best behavior. But we're not our best selves When we're hungry, we're angry, we're lonely, and we're tired. You know, u usually those four things put us in a state where we're not as nice as we need to be, not as cordial, not as good a colleague, maybe not as truthful, dare I say that, you know, you know, not as courageous, not as brave.

Nicole Greer (19m 7s):
And you know, I shared my greatest mistake with you when I didn't go the next day back and say, Hey, I'm really excited about doing all this marketing for y'all. And I re I realized I made an error and I should have talked to you about compensation. See, I lacked a serious character trait called courage or bravery. And so I was out of integrity because I didn't do what I knew was right. I took the easy way out.

Mark Graban (19m 42s):
Yeah. Well, I appreciate you admitting that. I mean, I wanna come back, I was gonna ask you, you know, some thoughts on what it means to show others grace. I mean, you, without trying to sound like I'm lecturing you, you know, you, you, you could show yourself grace over, you know, you were sure you were in that situation, you know, instead of framing it as lack of courage, it could be framed as, I dunno how else to put it. Like, you know, if, if you were, you know, sometimes people are in an environment. I I'm thinking of different scenarios where let's say in healthcare, you'll hear sometimes people lecture, you know, people in healthcare that you have an obligation to speak up.

Mark Graban (20m 27s):
You should be courageous. But the truth is, it can be really dangerous to speak up about certain things. And like, is it fair to ask someone to be courageous when there could be risk of being harmed in some way? You know? So I think there's an obligation for leaders, you know, to create an environment of, of safety where it is safety.

Nicole Greer (20m 48s):
Hundred percent.

Mark Graban (20m 49s):
So I don't know what the direct parallel is to your situation there, but I, I guess, I guess my encouragement is, you know, not to be too hard on yourself about that. I think a lot of us, I agree that, boy, they were putting you in a, they were almost, they were taking advantage of you. That was, I, maybe that's a little strongly stated, but they were, they were putting you in a tough position, I would say.

Nicole Greer (21m 11s):
Yeah. Well, you know, here's one thing that, that I, you know, I look back at that, you know, again, I'm 30 years older than I was then, you know, and when I look back at that, I think, you know, she, she, she was not brave, however she learned from the lesson, right? So that, that's, that's where you get back in integrity, right? You know, it's like the minute you go, oh, I should have asked for compensation, you know, and you go, I'm, and the day you say, I'm never gonna let that happen again. That's when you restore your integrity. And I, I think what you were saying about healthcare, you know, be careful. So there's this other character trait called being discerning and or to practice discernment.

Nicole Greer (21m 57s):
And so I think that's one of those character traits that, you know, like you'll make a split decision or you'll not think about the risks, you know, and, and, well, if I do this, will I make people angry? You know, the, the kind of the thing you were saying. But if you're in there and you practice that discernment, then you'll be the kind of person that's like, okay, this is a place where I'm not gonna be courageous, and this is a place where I am gonna be courageous. So, you know, I have this list of 48 commendable traits, and when I work with teams, and, you know, in, in fact when I work with a personality assessment that I use called the Tilt, I give this out to people.

Nicole Greer (22m 39s):
In fact, I'd be glad to give it to all your listeners, but there's 48 commendable traits and, you know, just get your head wrapped on that. I mean, like, who could be exercising all 48 of these at the same time? I mean, that would, that's herculean stuff. But if you look at integrity that way, that there's many facets to integrity, and using those traits skillfully to your point, is what's really essential then, then you're an integrity. Like I realize character's important and I'm using it intentionally. Yeah,

Mark Graban (23m 12s):
Yeah, yeah. So we can celebrate. And I'm glad you kind of brought the story back, Nicole, to not just the mistake, but then more importantly, and this is what we try to celebrate here, the learning,

Nicole Greer (23m 23s):

Mark Graban (23m 24s):
Figuring out how to not repeat the mistake as, as you were able to demonstrate later on in, in, in your career. So we've got lead from within integrity, and I don't think we've gotten the T yet to

Nicole Greer (23m 37s):
Post someone

Mark Graban (23m 38s):
On getting lit.

Nicole Greer (23m 40s):
Yeah. So t is all about transformation and I, I belong to the American Association of Change Management, which if that is a wonderful organization, please go join. And I belong to my local chapters as well. I have studied change management, I'm an OD person, you know, I got all that stuff. And one of the things that kind of makes me insane about this change business is that people keep saying change is hard and people don't like to change. And so that's just the totally wrong way to approach change with your team.

Nicole Greer (24m 20s):
First of all, don't sit down and go, we're gonna do this and it's gonna be hard. Well, that's not very motivational, you know, that has totally taken everybody down the feeling scale. So I want everybody to realize that building a vibrant culture and being a vibrant leader and being, having vibrant leadership skills is that you are a change agent.

Mark Graban (24m 43s):

Nicole Greer (24m 43s):
Yeah. Period. Yeah. That's what you do. You change stuff. And it's as simple as, back to my daddy's story, he worked at, it was called Franklin Simon, it was this bougie boutique place. I mean, those people we're constantly changing the inside of that store. We're gonna take this mannequin out of the window, we're gonna put different clothes on that mannequin. You know, it, we're, we're in the spring season, so let's put, take down the winter display, put up the spring display, you know, that there's only two of these left, put two of 'em on the sail rack. I mean, you know, it was, the whole things changed. And that's a, that's kind of a fun example, especially for those of you who like to shop. But if I worked in a, you know, a dental office yesterday, what to the dentist, look at my teeth mark, aren't they pretty?

Nicole Greer (25m 29s):
So anyways, I went to the dentist, and when I went to the dentist, I could tell that this dental office was running on, you know, all eight cylinders. And like, I got home before I got home. It said, you know, how was your visit? You know, it was in my email box. Anything that we could do to make things better. There's an organization that's all about constant transformation.

Mark Graban (25m 52s):
Sure. Yeah.

Nicole Greer (25m 54s):
So we have to stop talking about ch like change management's something we do sometimes. It's what we do all the time. Yeah.

Mark Graban (26m 1s):
There's, I mean, I, I think there's a difference between how you react when change is imposed on you by others versus when you are able to initiate change. I, I, I I, I, I hate that generalization of people don't like change. I mean,

Nicole Greer (26m 17s):
Oh, me

Mark Graban (26m 18s):
Too. People don't like to be told what to do. That might be more directionally correct.

Nicole Greer (26m 25s):
Yeah. And so, you know, and here's the thing about people is, you know, I'm gonna go back to the point you made earlier. It was really good. You said there's all these different personalities. So the way I have been taught is, you know, I'm, I'm certified in all this stuff, Myers Briggs, disc, pep tilt, I mean a l p the list goes on and on. But essentially there are four quadrants to most personality profiles. One of those quadrants is somebody who has a strong opinion. And do we need strong opinions? We absolutely do. Who's got a strong opinion? Who's outspoken? Who's got that energy?

Nicole Greer (27m 5s):
Who's got that drive? Who, who, who is Alexander Hamilton who is riding like he is running out of time? There's a constant sense of urgency. Okay? These people are fantastic Transformers, the t in lit for our acronym, and, and they like change, especially if you challenge 'em with it. Like, that's how you say, do you think you could help me change this? Yeah. I'm thinking you're the right person to help me. Right? And they engage them, you know, you're right. Yeah, yeah. I am the right person. You know, and so they have that energy. And so you're calling in Alexander Hamilton, you know, to help you change the day and change the financial system and or not change it.

Nicole Greer (27m 50s):
Set up the financial system for the United States of America. So the, it's how you talk to that person. Now, the other quadrant is the person who is very talkative, like your guest on your podcast today.

Mark Graban (28m 5s):
Are you, are you on Byers Briggs extrovert by chance?

Nicole Greer (28m 9s):
I am flaming extrovert all the way in the outlier position. But anyway, I'm working on it. Lifelong thing.

Mark Graban (28m 15s):
I'm, I'm, I'm an introvert by the way, so that's why I'm, I'm happy to let you talk. Go ahead.

Nicole Greer (28m 21s):
Well, you, so I, an extrovert, as you said, I have lots of ideas, lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm. I'm optimistic. And so if, if Mark is in my leader and he comes to me and he says, Nicole, you always see the sunny side of things and how things will work. I've got this idea rolling around in my head and I need you to help me implement it. What are all the things you would do? So we're not calling it a change, we're calling it an idea. That's her favorite thing on the planet is a new idea. And so she's in there brainstorming with you Now, 12 of her ideas will be great, and 27 of them we're not sure. So, but you got a whole gamut of things that you can work with, right?

Nicole Greer (29m 2s):
So she's the brainstormer. All right? The third person is this person that is like, seriously, a steady eddy solid go with the flow accommodating customer service from the heart. Just, just great solid folks on your team. And they don't, they don't mind things changing either as long as you say it the right way. And here's how you say it to that group. We have been taking a couple of ideas and we've been talking about 'em. I talked to this group, which was your, you know, your, your, your opinionated get her done group. We talked to the idea group, and now we're coming to you because you know what, you kinda understand how everything's gonna hit everybody in the organization.

Nicole Greer (29m 52s):
We know you care deeply about people. So we wanna show you this idea. Now notice how my tone changed. Sure. That's how we talk. Would you please tell us how you think this might impact all the stakeholders? And if you were gonna support this idea, what strategies would support everybody? We need your help. You're so good at helping. And then finally, you have your last group of people. And these people are conscientious, solid, steady, reliable, organized, methodical. They want a plan, they want project management process.

Nicole Greer (30m 31s):
And so you go to them and you say, this is gonna be as short as possible. I've brought a diagram and an Excel spreadsheet with my ideas on it. I would like you, you guys and gals to help me get this in a methodical format. And I would like you to definitely find the flaws. Yeah. Would you please point out where this is not gonna work? And then would you offer ideas to fix it?

Mark Graban (30m 55s):
Yeah, that's, I mean, all those are all great examples of engaging people in change instead of forcing it upon them.

Nicole Greer (31m 5s):
Yeah. And so don't miss that. You gotta figure out who's who, and you gotta have four meetings. But unfortunately the leader just sends out an email, this is happening. And then of course, water cooler break room slack goes mad. It's crazy. Yeah. Yeah. So,

Mark Graban (31m 24s):
Well, Nicole, I wanted to ask you one other question, and I'm gonna put a link to this in the show notes. Again, our guest is Nicole Greer. There was an article you wrote on LinkedIn called The Love Habit. And oh, you know, it's funny, when I as an engineer who started working in healthcare, it was the first time I'd ever heard the word love in like a workplace professional herring environment. You know, felt like, you know, HR violation to use the word love back into company, really don't be inappropriate or whatever, but,

Nicole Greer (31m 58s):
Oh my goodness,

Mark Graban (31m 59s):
Great article. And there, and there was that word or this idea of showing others grace. So you, you wrote, you know really well about this in the piece. But let me ask you, for those who are listening, what, what does that mean to you of showing others grace?

Nicole Greer (32m 16s):
Yeah, so grace in the definition I use is unmerited favor. So that's, that's the definition grace. And what that means is that you may not deserve my love, but I'm gonna give it to you anyways. I'm gonna be generous right? Now, here's the thing. Remember the part where I was saying that, you know, sometimes you're out of integrity and you don't do things right or you don't follow through on your promises or whatever your thing was that day cuz you were hungry, angry, lonely, tired. So sometimes you fall short and you're going to, cuz you're a human. And so I, if you don't extend grace, it's very hard to get grace.

Nicole Greer (33m 0s):
And there's gonna be a day, you're gonna need a little grace. You're gonna need somebody to go, oh, bless her heart. Nicole Greer, she takes on too much, she tries too much. Whatever her, you know, her personality flaws are, you know, so she messed up. But I'm gonna help her clean up her act. I'm gonna help her clean up the situation and we're gonna move forward because this isn't something you're gonna, you know, here's the thing. At work, people do things and you go, you judge it. Dare I say that, just check yourself, you judge what people do and you kind of start to put them in one category or the other, which is, I like them, they're good, I don't like them, they're bad. I mean, like, these are very simple categories.

Mark Graban (33m 41s):

Nicole Greer (33m 41s):
Right. And you, we can't do that because here's how our, our work worlds are. We work with large numbers of people across the globe now across the country from one house on that corner of a house on that corner remotely or whatever we're doing. And, and we, people aren't gonna get fired over a small misstep, you know, like not hitting a deadline or something like that. And, you know, if we could get in there and talk to that person about, oh my gosh Nicole, I'm calling you because I care. Okay. And insert the word love right there if it's HR appropriate because I love you.

Nicole Greer (34m 25s):
Tell me what happened. Oh my gosh. You know, I was late because my daughter was sick all night. And actually, honestly I just didn't get it on my calendar. Yeah. Does, does any of this ring with any No.

Mark Graban (34m 37s):
Yeah, yeah. No, it's good.

Nicole Greer (34m 40s):
And so you find out the real reason and you say, well next time you get in that position, would you please call me? Even if it's nine o'clock at night so we can hit the deadline.

Mark Graban (34m 50s):

Nicole Greer (34m 52s):
Cause we're human.

Mark Graban (34m 54s):
We are. And it demonstrates seeking first to understand. I mean, you know, the one other line that I'd, I'd pull out Oh yeah. Article is that offering grace is love that focuses on maintaining relationships rather than a personal desire or need to be. Right. And, and, and I'll share reflection, there are times when I have gotten myself in trouble, not like sent to HR or fired, but where it's damaged relationships, of course, that personal desire or need to be right. Can be very counterproductive at times. That's something I've tried working on. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Mark Graban (35m 34s):
So, and I'll try to show myself some grace over past missteps.

Nicole Greer (35m 38s):
Right. Well, I I, you know, when I got my first coaching training, I got, you know, they give you a certificate or whatever and, and it was so valuable, but the master coach was, was this wonderful guy, Dave Cowan, and he told me this one time, he said, Nicole, let, let's do this. No one gets to be wrong, only partially right? We were, we were kind of debating something back and forth and he was just like, well here's the thing. I think I'm right about part of it and you're right about part of it. Let's take our two right parts and put 'em together instead of there, you know what I mean? Yeah. And, and that was so helpful to me.

Nicole Greer (36m 18s):
And I was like, that's that's exactly right. No one gets to be wrong, only partially, right. Yeah. There's a lot less hard feelings in there. Yes.

Mark Graban (36m 27s):
That's well said. So, okay, one final, final question, Nicole. Okay. You know, when you talk about coaching leaders, one thing we talked about the first time we had chatted hasn't really come up here yet today. It might be a good point to end the episode on. What is your approach or what, what have you done? How have you tried to coach leaders who struggle with this question of how should I react to mistakes when they're brought to my attention when I see them being made in the workplace?

Nicole Greer (36m 55s):
Yeah. So I, I'm a huge believer in feedback. And so here's an oldie buddy goodie, everybody go by this book. It's called How Full Is Your Bucket? Okay? And so this is really good cuz it matches our love thing that we were just doing. So in that book, they talk about how everybody is walking around with an emotional bank account. And so the, and depending on what's going on at home, how the drive-in was, how your boss looked at you in the meeting, you know, what your coworker did or did not do, whatever, all day long, that emotional bank account I is, is either getting things added to it, you're getting a deposit or you're getting a debit.

Nicole Greer (37m 38s):
Somebody's stealing some of your emotion like your joy or your happiness. So all day long you're going up and down on your emotional bank account. Well, when I coach leaders, I tell leaders, it is your number one job to keep that, that that person lit, right? Keep your employees vibrant. And so what you do is you give them so much positive feedback. Now, when I say that, I'm not saying make stuff up. I am not saying that that's so important. The people hear that I'm saying catch people doing things right. There's another old book called The One Minute Manager. If you don't have that one, that's an oldie but a goody.

Nicole Greer (38m 18s):
Go get that. And in there they talk about managing by walking around. So go catch people doing things right? And when you catch them, you're so specific on how you give the feedback. And the formula is called a C3: Circumstances Conduct and Consequences. So if I catch Mark Graban doing something fantastic, this is what I say, Mark, today at the beginning of this podcast, you greeted me with a smile. You welcomed me with open arms, you made sure I felt good and I was, or internet was ready to go.

Nicole Greer (39m 0s):
And consequently I felt like I was in good hands and that I, I was gonna have an awesome experience. And that is so important to me. So thank you. So you're very welcome. You, you're and didn't, what do you think? Did, do you feel good? Did you get an emotional deposit just now? Yes, very much. Ok, Justin? Yeah. So, so here's what I did. I said at the beginning of this podcast, that's, that's the circumstances when it happened, then I said the conduct, I said, he smiled, welcomed, he got me prepared, he checked the internet. And then what were the consequences when Mark does all these things, this thing happened.

Nicole Greer (39m 42s):
Yeah. I felt good. I was ready. I'm excited. I'm having a great experience. Whoa. That's how you made build a vibrant culture. Do more of that. Yeah, but see I didn't say you did such a great job when we got on the call,

Mark Graban (39m 57s):
It wasn't vague.

Nicole Greer (39m 60s):
It wasn't vague. Yeah. I mean like, you're like, well thank you. Right? But here's what's gonna happen. The next podcast that Mark has, he's gonna repeat those behaviors because he got such good feedback that that's successful. And it's the same thing with the people at work. You know. So if you are in a meeting, I bet you all of you people listening to this have to go to these things called meetings. So pay attention to the behavior of people in meetings. And so the example of a positive piece of feedback, a C3 would be, you know, let's say Lily's on our team, say Lilly, you know, in in the meeting today, when we were talking about Project X, you asked lots of questions.

Nicole Greer (40m 43s):
You were curious and you offered three ideas, one of which I think we're gonna use. And consequently, I'm sitting here thinking, I am so lucky to have Lily on my team. She's very driven. We're gonna be a success. Those will be the consequences of that. And Lily's like, well geez Nicole, I was just doing my job. But see Lily's gonna get in her car and she's gonna think about that and that's gonna make her feel good and she's gonna wanna go to bed, get up early and come back to work and help some more. Now if somebody is bad, has bad behavior, they lose integrity. Okay? So don't miss my eye and li in lit, it's like when people are not good, they're, they're out of integrity.

Nicole Greer (41m 26s):
That's why we're not all integrity all the time. So let's say it's, it's a different meeting with a different team and we have, I'm gonna call him George. So George does not behave in the meeting and I call him into my office privately of course. And I say to him, George, at the very end of the staff meeting, and then I pause and I say, do you remember the very end of the staff meeting? And when you ever, you give corrective feedback, you've gotta really get the person tuned in cuz people become delirious and go, what meeting? They play possum, right? And you say right at the end of the meeting today, and he goes, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nicole Greer (42m 6s):
And you say, okay, good. So at the end of the meeting it, it just hit me weird. It was different. I didn't understand it. You kind of stood up abruptly, you pushed in your chair with a little more force than necessary and you said, I'll believe it when I see it. And you were talking about the, when we were talking about Project X and consequently, I, it alarms me because that, that behavior tells me you don't believe in Project X. And so I am anxious and worried. What's up George?

Nicole Greer (42m 46s):
And George is like, well I just think it's a bunch of stuff that we're doing project X or whatever his deal is. But like, I gotta get in there with George because he's gonna be a problem for me. If, if that goes on. And if I don't correct him, then the other people on that project say to themselves, say to themselves, oh, Nicole lets people get away with nonsense.

Mark Graban (43m 11s):
Right? That would be a leadership mistake on top of the meeting behavior or the mistake. A mistake to not give that feedback.

Nicole Greer (43m 23s):
Exactly. Exactly. And, and here are the, you know, maybe, maybe even George says, when I do that, you know, cuz I'm doing it in the right tone, I'm practicing leadership presence. And I, you know, and I could extend the guy grace, I say, you know, like, that's so weird for you to do, do that. What's up? Right? You know, and he says, oh my God. He says, I got bad news and this whole thing just seems like it's gonna be more work on my plate. I was angry, you know, I lost his emotional intelligence. Now, if I'm a well-rounded leader, I might say, you know, do you know what that's called when you get mad and George goes getting mad and you're like, Nope, nope.

Nicole Greer (44m 5s):
It's this whole leadership trait called Exec Emotional Intelligence. And they do a little teaching.

Mark Graban (44m 14s):
Well, Nicole, like you said earlier, you're a teacher. You had an opportunity to do some teaching with us here today. So I want to thank you. Thank you. And again, our guest is Nicole Greer. You can learn more. Oh, there, there will be links in the show notes that LinkedIn article and, and more. Her website is So Nicole, thank you for being a vibrant guest. I, I, I need to be, I am not up to speed on this C3 model, so there's an opportunity for me to give you more specific feedback after the fact, but I'll give you the vague feedback and thanks. You know, thanks for being a great guest, an energetic, vibrant guest, and thank you for the time today.

Nicole Greer (44m 57s):
Yeah. And thank you for having me on the show and extending me the grace of the opportunity to be here. I appreciate

Mark Graban (45m 3s):
It. Well, thanks again to Nicole Greer for being our guest today. To learn more about her, look for a link in the show notes or go to As always, I want to thank you for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive. I've had listeners tell me they started being more open and honest about mistakes in their work, and they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me And again, our website is

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's upcoming book is The Mistakes That Make Us. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.