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Ep 2: Coaching Through a Crisis with Brooks Scott

How can you build trust, manage a team and lead effectively in today's new norm of remote work? In this episode, I speak with Brooks Scott, founder, owner, and executive coach of Merging Path Coaching. With 15 years of management experience , Brooks shares how you can drive meaningful connections through deep listening, speaking honest truths, and asking the right questions — in the comfort of your own home.

Ep 2: Coaching Through a Crisis with Brooks Scott

About

Brooks Scott

Radical connection is the path to every single shift you want to make.

Nothing complicated or fancy. Simple, radical connection is what has always changed the world - and it’s what will help you make the changes you want to be part of.

I’ve always been the guy that people go to when they need to talk about how to handle difficult situations. Whether I was working as a VP in the private sector building diverse teams from scratch, the lead on high-level security teams, a state trooper, a 5th-grade teacher, or an executive coach, I realized that while I was damn good at what I was doing, everything I did had a singular focus: radical connection and communication.

Now, as a professionally trained and certified executive coach through CTI (Coaches Training Institute), I specialize in Co-Active Coaching so you or your team can explore your fullest and most authentic potential through:

Active and deep listening
Authentic encouragement
Speaking honest truths
Asking the right questions

Here’s the bottom line: as humans, we are biologically wired to connect. But we’ve strayed so far from that truth that we have basically trained ourselves to be pretty shitty at connecting. The good news is...you can change that.

I create the kind of safe space that fast-tracks authentic conversations and radical connection in whatever kind of dynamic I’m working with. That's my specialty, my gift, and why I choose to be an executive coach.

References

Full Text Transcript

Harrison Wheeler:

Hey. I just launched the new YouTube channel for Technically Speaking. I don't have 100 subscribers yet to get that custom URL. So you'll have to search Technically Speaking in the search bar for the time being. Invite your friends, family, or the whole neighborhood while you're at it and tell them to subscribe.

Harrison Wheeler:

I'm Harrison Wheeler and you're listening to Technically Speaking. This is episode two. Today's guest is Brooks Scott, founder, owner, and executive coach of Merging Path Coaching. What does it mean to manage in times like these? Brooks says management responsibilities need to switch from driving performance and efficiency to taking care of our people and letting them know that you care.

Harrison Wheeler:

By the way, this is how it should have been all along. We'll dive into topics about how to drive meaningful connections, by deep listening, speaking honest truths, and asking the right questions. Thanks, everyone, for joining. Just a quick intro. My name is Harrison Wheeler. I'm a design manager at LinkedIn. And just to give you all an overview of this series, so I've started this podcast/webinar, a learning series called Technically Speaking where the goal is just for you all to be able to level up, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

I think we have a lot of conversations on portfolios and how to get your foot in the door but I really see an opportunity for us to really benefit on how we can level up our career. And I'm willing to really bring in things that have helped me in my journey throughout as a UX designer and moving into management. Why don't we get started? Brooks?

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

I would love for you to give everyone in the room an introduction about yourself and a quick background.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Thanks. Thanks, Harrison. First of all, man, it's great to see you and talk to you again, man. I think sometimes when people do these things, they practice beforehand. But I just want to let everyone know, we have not. We talked to set this up and that was it. We've both been so busy we didn't get a chance to meet till now. So you can't get any more real than that. So good to see you. Welcome, everyone. Thanks, everyone, for joining.

Brooks Scott:

I see some more Oakland peeps in here. I see Baca T.N. from San Jose. Great to see everybody. Yeah, a little bit about me. I've been executive coach now for almost three years. I own a company called Merging Path Coaching. So I started doing that. Started coaching while I was the VP in safety operations. I'm at the cybersecurity company over in Emeryville. So I've built large complex teams from zero to 40 different people and at the whole time, really focusing on diversity and inclusion and bringing that into everything that I do.

Brooks Scott:

I teach a course on critical conversations. I've had values alignment course for executive teams and I teach a course on feedback. So feel free to give me some feedback when this is all over. You won't hurt my feelings. Before that, I was at Facebook as manager of operations there for the EP team for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. So I got to run around the world with them and see some cool stuff. And before that, I was a New Jersey State Trooper. So I did that for about 10 years.

Brooks Scott:

I was on the protection team for Governor Chris Christie and Governor John Corzine. And then before that, I was a fifth-grade elementary school teacher. So interesting career path and life path that led me out here to California and I bring all that stuff into my coaching, into the managing unconscious bias courses that I teach. So yeah, that's what I do. And I just love getting the chance to help people and watch people grow and come up through this tech industry. So yeah, thank you all for joining and Harrison, thanks for having me.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. And I would say just with all that don't mess with Brooks, right? I mean, he's got quite a bit of experience on the-

Brooks Scott:

There's a whole other side, my friend. There's a whole other side. I don't let that side come out when I'm coaching. You know the interesting thing though, honestly, man?

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

Even when I was a state trooper and going into people's houses for domestic violence calls and drunk driving arrests, a lot of the principles for how I coach and how I am with people, it lies in there too. And that's what I think makes the best police officers. And there's a lot of great men and women that I've served with, who had the same mentality so there's really cool people to do their work.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. No, I think that's actually really fascinating. And I would love to just understand when folks come to you, what tend to be some of the biggest things that you think would up-level their career?

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, yeah. So, a lot of executive coaches are purposely trying to land that contract with some CEO at this huge company to really have their impact that way. My specialty is with people who are brand new to managing, never managed a team before. And all of a sudden, they went from being a really good individual contributor, and now they got a team of 10 people that they got to take care of, and they're having trouble. So, that's my sweet spot. So what I deal with a lot is people like that. They're like, "Hey, I got some bad communication issues with some people on my team and it's not going right." Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. That was actually kind of on the premise on how we met, right? And I think it was probably... How long ago? Was it about six, eight months?

Brooks Scott:

It is even longer than that.

Harrison Wheeler:

Time flies. This has been a very eventful couple of months. But I came to Brooks through something called Stride, which is around really up-leveling folks in their professional careers. It's sort of like an executive MBA if you will. For one, it was just a very transformative and pivotal moment for me because if I look at the learnings that I had, after that program, and I look at some of the situations I had, in hindsight, it would have been a totally different ballgame, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

Because my journey, I started as an IC, in Chicago. Our company got funded, I think around $30 million relocated to Palo Alto, and I was tasked to grow a team. And these are folks that traveled all the way, picked up their lives and moved to California. And you can just imagine how nerve wracking that is but having that playbook would have been so much different. And I think we would have been focusing on honestly, different objectives versus managing chaos.

Brooks Scott:

Yes.

Harrison Wheeler:

I don't think managing necessarily has to be chaotic, right? But I do think there are some pieces of that playbook that allow you to be more effective. What are some examples of things that could go down a wrong path? Where maybe even give us an example of something that could totally go down the wrong pathway but if you had the proper coaching, it would be a totally different ballgame.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, two things come to mind. First of all, designing an alliance with the people on your team. I had a great coaching call with one of my friends recently, who just started a new position at this huge tech company in San Francisco. There's two teams and they were merging together. And then this person, he was going to be the manager of both of those teams and having those merged together.

Brooks Scott:

And one thing that came up while we're talking, I was like, "Listen. You are joining their team. They are not joining your team." And that one statement that we spent a lot of time kind of talking about that. And as managers, we think that the people are supposed to change what they're doing to respond to us and it's not that way. So the number one thing is really just behind positioning yourself and your mindset when you come into these companies.

Brooks Scott:

Your number one job, as a manager, is not to manage your people and produce productivity and efficiency. Your number one job, as a manager, is actually to take care of your people and let them know that you care about them. That's the number one spot. Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. You mentioned something around building a connection. What are ways of building a connection to foster what you've mentioned before?

Brooks Scott:

Vulnerability. Vulnerability all day, every day, and putting those things out in the open. So, one example of this is just being comfortable talking about some of the things that you need to work on as a manager.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

And there's been a lot of conversations around that. And then also like, "Hey, here's how I respond to some things. And here's some things that trigger me and I'm working on. And I want to see if you can work on that with me." And then giving the person to share those things with you. A quick example, when I'm coaching people, one on one, just the way my mind works, I have to like write down stuff because I'm all over the place.

Brooks Scott:

So I tell people, "While you're talking, I'm going to be looking over and down. And I'm writing notes. I'm not texting. I'm not emailing. This is all in service of you." But what happens if I don't tell people that, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

There's some conscious things that happen. Someone's spilling their life to you and you're looking away and it causes some reaction in them. So, vulnerability, openness, letting people know your weaknesses, and letting people know how you operate and then asking them how they operate as well.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah, and one more thing I'd probably add there is active listening. Active listening is super huge. And I think one of the bigger techniques that I've been able, or even most simple techniques that I've been able to apply was not only listening but also describing how I interpreted that information, right? And I think some of my design team's actually on the call, I've started doing that. And I've actually seen them start doing the same thing to me.

Harrison Wheeler:

So I think that's like a really simple way to start driving that connection. And I think too... I don't know if there's scientific evidence around it but I will say it allows me to actually deliver better feedback to my directs by doing that.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, it absolutely does. And for those of you who are not familiar with the concept of active listening, it's about being intentional with what you're doing when you're listening. So there's three different levels to listening. And the first one is being aware of what's happening to you. How many times, for those of you... I'd love for some people to put in the chat function. How many of you have met someone for the first time and as you're shaking their hand and they're telling you their name, name's gone?

Brooks Scott:

That happens to me. I was so bad with names before, right? You're shaking someone's hand. The reason why that happens is because we are so concerned with what is happening to us. We're not listening to the other person. We're so concerned with making sure we say our name the right way. I see other people here jumping in the chat here, right? So that's the first level. Being aware of what is happening to you.

Brooks Scott:

Are you embarrassed to ask a question you know you need to ask? Are you nervous to ask a question, right? Level two is about turning that level one off and being able to really listen deeply to what the person is saying, and really connecting with them within that way. So level two is simple to get to if you are good at turning off level one. And then finally you got the third level which is just the listening for everything that is happening in the environment, listening for the things that are being said, and the things that are not being said.

Brooks Scott:

That's my favorite part of coaching is I'm actually listening for the things that you're not telling me. Because there's information in there, right? Watching body language, watching how people respond, those little micro inflections in the face, all of that is like the third level and the highest level of listening. And it's not that we have to be in our level three all the time. You want to learn to jump between the three but we want to be able to flex in any one of those areas.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. So to that, listening, when is the proper time? We hear a lot about active listening and listening is at the basis of coaching and growing. At what point do we respond or do we give feedback? Because I think I found myself in situations where we can listen, and we've talked about this before. At what point does listening go into this infinite loop? At what point do we process what we say and communicate back to them our feedback?

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, generally speaking, it's a couple seconds longer than we think it is. We're so quick to jump right into the answer. I give this example. I ran a protection team at my last job and we had all these vehicles that we used to use, and all the keys were on my desk, so people would come up, and they're like, "Hey, Brooks, where's the keys to the Suburban?" And now is not the time but... "Where do you think the keys are? Here's the keys, take it and go." Right?

Brooks Scott:

But then there's other times, as managers, where we want to give people the chance to talk and vent out what they're saying, even if we have the answers. I find this a lot with people that I'm coaching. There's this perception that speed and efficiency is the most important thing when we're managing people, right? So Harrison, you as a manager, you know your job, you know UX, you're good at it, which is why you were promoted.

Brooks Scott:

The fastest way for you to get something done is to tell your people exactly what to do and how to do it, or you do it yourself, right? Those are the two fastest ways to do it, right? But when we do that, we miss out on the relationship piece. So relationship building, yeah, it takes a little bit more time but that's where people can learn to solve the problems on their own. And that's like a really important distinction. So if you look at the arc over time, you will actually have a faster and better result when you focus on the people and the relationship instead of the speed.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah, and I think with that, one of the things that I'm taking away too, is understanding the outcome of the situation, right? There's a path for growth if you let folks and give them the opportunity to do those things themselves.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

And I think for, as a manager, that's probably the path that we want to have. Because if I'm going to tell someone the answer, every single time, they're never going to grow. And we're going to keep going back and forth.

Brooks Scott:

And you're going to run out of time because you're going to have a team of 40 people one day, and you're not going to be able to tell every single person exactly what to do and how to do it.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right. Right. And I don't like to micromanage either. So I just don't think it's a sustainable approach to things. I want to shift gears a little bit. So we're in a really interesting time right now, right? We've been thrusted into this remote work. And a lot of organizations, a lot of people... I think there's a lot of uncertainty in terms of understanding what the future of work looks like. And that could go in many ways, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

Where an organization is going, where your career path is headed, and potentially even just getting a job. What are some things that come to mind for you as a coach as we're going through this period of transition? I would almost say it's even paradigm shifting, right? Because it's very unprecedented, it's accelerating things. There are tons of theories about and research around what it could be. We're here right now, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

And so I want to understand your perspective. And it could be around things that we should not do that tend to be happening and what to look out for long-term.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, yeah. That's a great question, man. Wow. So many different parts of that. So a bunch of things come to mind. First off, a lot of people I'm speaking with and working with now who have lost their jobs and actually opened up some time on LinkedIn, on my calendar for people who are dealing with isolation and lost their jobs and they just wanted to talk a little bit. And what we've been talking about and what I've learned is a lot of people are looking for stability in work, in their company.

Brooks Scott:

So listen. No offense to anyone who owns a company or anything. But listen, companies are not built to last. They are not built to last. They're not built to be stable. They're built to live on the edge. Because living on the edge is where the companies find the most growth, right? So I mean, look what happened. After two weeks, there's some companies that laid off like 300, 400 people, and they're not that big, right? That's proof that they're built to live on the edge.

Brooks Scott:

And unfortunately, the employees that are the first ones who are going to get cut from this, right? So, I was working with someone and she was like, "I really want to find. The next job I go to it's got to be super stable." And I'm like, "Listen, stop trying to find stability in companies. What we need to do is build stability and build resiliency in our own lives." Right? Because things are going to happen. This ain't the last time people are going to get cut from their jobs, right?

Brooks Scott:

But if you have not spent time building stability and resiliency in your life, that's when you're going to have some trouble. So how can we do that? Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. That's actually really interesting. I've had, on my call up today, and then even some subsequent calls around folks that are looking for work. There's this interesting theme around where we're at today, and where we would be if the market was healthy, right? And well, what I'm seeing is that today, there's a lack of job opportunities. When the market is great, guess what? There's going to be a ton of more competition for that role.

Harrison Wheeler:

And one of the things that you can account for in terms of stability, is being able to invest in yourself, right? And one of the things with designers that I hear quite a bit is my portfolio. Your portfolio is in your story. It's actually how you keep applying yourself, right? And what you have in your portfolio too, is sort of a self-reflection, right? Because you can keep going back and refining and then learning and then applying that.

Harrison Wheeler:

To me, that is one of those things where fundamentally and foundationally that will carry through with you whether the markets are hard or whether they're healthy and that's again, you're your truths. And so if you choose not to do anything at all, guess what? You're not going to be the one that stands out when there's not that many companies hiring and guess what? You're not going to stand out when companies are hiring but yet there's a ton of more competition. So, I think that's some really excellent advice and that would be my theme and advice giving this to designers here and there.

Harrison Wheeler:

Well, I've been in a situation where the markets were stormed before. And obviously, right now this is very unprecedented. But the one thing that has really gotten me through and then continues to is continue to be learning, applying that, and just seeing that transformation because of those things.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, I love that. That is all part of the mix right there. And I think the other side of that too is yes, one you have like building things for yourself, learning things, improving yourself, right? All that can be done. The second thing is being vulnerable enough to tell the people that you love that you need help. We don't get to do all this by ourselves. And that's one thing that I have dealt with. And a big part of my life was thinking that I had to do everything on my own all the time, right?

Brooks Scott:

So if we have not spent time building stable relationships, and resilient relationships before all this happened, we're going to have a tough time when this comes back, right? So to your point, learn, build, right? Listen, I know it's tough. I know a lot of people are hurting right now and we're not out of this yet. And I get it and I feel for those people. And at the same time, we can start to build each other up, right?

Brooks Scott:

So if we focus on our relationships, and we raise our hand and tell people, "Hey, listen, I'm having a tough time and I need some help." That's how we build stability and resilience. And when we come out of this... I love seeing everybody spend so much time doing Zoom happy hours, calling friends they haven't talked to in years sometimes. And I love that. That is stability and resiliency. So we're doing it now. Are you going to continue that when we come out of this? That the question.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. I think that's excellent advice. And I almost think, in terms of, some of my strongest relationships that I've built over the years, have been through that resiliency, going through that struggle together. I'm going to pivot this question again. So we've been talking about things from a lens of a manager. And now I want to do with how can you manage yourself, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

And again, just want to relate it back to where the industry is today. When we start to see this unstableness, I think there's also opportunity. And you mentioned something around really being authentic and say, and with a manager, obviously being like, "Hey, I'm going through a lot of tough times." Right?

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

How can somebody manage their career? Let's say they want that promotion, or they want to be challenged more. How would they go about having those conversations, right? Because one of the things that I found super valuable about the coaching that we've had is that there's so many different ways that these learnings and techniques can be applied to a number of different situations, right? I think salary comes to mind. I mentioned promotion. I think there's something around creating a job path for yourself. So how would we go about doing those types of things?

Brooks Scott:

Being crystal clear with your expectations and making sure your manager is crystal clear on their expectations of you, right? Having those conversations right out the gate. "Hey, listen." One of the things that we're doing as managers and this is showing up a lot even more now with the whole COVID-19 crisis. We were really shitty at giving feedback before all this happened. And we are even worse at giving feedback now. If feedback was like a volume dial, that volume dial is all the way off.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

Because managers are... And rightfully so, we're concerned about hurting people's feelings and people are dealing with anxiety right now, right? What I've always done with all of the managers that I've worked with, is had that conversation right up front, it's like, "Listen, feedback to me, is not going to hurt my feelings. There's nothing that you can say about my work that's going to make me feel demoralized because I'm in control of how I feel not you. So there actually is nothing that you can say that's going to make me feel any type of way. I feel the way I feel because of me." Right?

Brooks Scott:

So when it comes to feedback, what I'm going to ask for you, if you see something that I'm doing wrong, that needs to be corrected, can we have an agreement that you will tell me right away? And I can promise you that it's not going to hurt my feelings, right? It's such a simple thing to do. And then the manager's like, "Well, I can tell Brooks about himself whenever I need to." Right. That's only going to help me grow from there.

Brooks Scott:

So I think that's a really simple thing that we can do for ourselves is like making people feel comfortable in that. And there's a lot behind the feelings around feedback. All bad feedback is all around feelings, right? When we don't want to feel that. I think it's a mindset shift, when people say like, "I'm really intimidated by him. I'm really intimidated by her." It's like she or he is not doing anything to intimidate you. You're feeling intimidated because that's what you are choosing to do to yourself, right?

Brooks Scott:

So when we take that power away from people, and we own it, it just makes us... We can apply that to so many areas of our life including our career growth, right? So stop pointing the finger and the blame on everyone, be clear with what you want, be clear with the people who are in your life who can affect what you want. And let people know like, "Listen, tell me if something's off and let's talk about it."

Brooks Scott:

Looks like we have a couple comments here. It looks like Katie said, "I love inviting people to provide feedback. It helps build trust and transparency right out the gate." Imagine Katie, if we do that, every time we go to a new job, or every time we have a new manager like that's what it's all about.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. Yeah. And you know what? That's a muscle that in practice, it's going to get easier and easier every single time.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

I think like once you get past that first path or that first situation. You'll feel so much relieved because it's going to be eye opening to you, right? And there's an opportunity to practice this not only at work, you can practice it with your friends, your family, with your significant other.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah. Listen. Let me tell you a little bit of secret about coaching, management problems, not getting along with people at work. Every single, complex, complicated, crazy situation you can think of at work comes down to one or two sentences. I don't care what it is. I know nothing about UX design. If you put me on your team, like the K in LinkedIn would break off and fall. I would mess some crazy shit up, right? I know nothing about UX design but I guarantee you, I can manage the hell out of your team.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

It's about focusing on what that one problem is, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah, but Brooks you're not taking my job. Just understand that.

Brooks Scott:

Hey, listen. That's all you, my friend. Listen, you don't want to be doing UX. That's for sure. But everything comes down to one or two sentences, right? So the same thing applies to our personal relationships.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

With our spouses, with our significant others, with our friends. It all comes down to a simple one to two sentences. Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. And just one more thing that kind of add on there. One of the things that I think is very important to understand, especially in this moment, we've been accelerated into this world where we are now in people's bedrooms and their living rooms with their kids, with their other housemates that are also working. And I think what it's actually starting to show... It's accelerating this belief that there's actually no such thing as like work, life, and home life. They are integrated.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

And the way that you bring yourself to work is in effect a sum of everything around you. And so I think it's one of those things that I hope we continue to do because that draws us closer together, right? And I think if anything, it's going to facilitate having those conversations, being able to connect with people, and people being more forward in terms of where they're at. Because I know, even from a body language perspective, days at my team aren't really feeling it.

Harrison Wheeler:

And I think like we've been doing quite a bit of work. And I think we touched on this before the call. This is not the time to try to be more efficient in what we're doing. Because there's a lot of heaviness that we have to deal with at the same time. We need to be respectful of people's mental health and the best way to do that is to check in.

Brooks Scott:

Yes, absolutely. It was always about that.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

Even more about that now, and I think we're starting to realize that as managers like, "Listen, stop trying to get more out of your people right now." I'm sorry. A lot of people aren't going to agree with that. But that's fine. That's how I feel. We need to take care of each other and make sure we can get through this time right now.

Brooks Scott:

Listen, everyone's got their own stuff going on. Harrison, let me ask you this. I want everyone who's on here to answer in the chat function here too. It's been about a month since we've had this lockdown here in the Bay Area. When's the last time you took a PTO day?

Harrison Wheeler:

I have not taken one at all.

Brooks Scott:

Looking for some responses here. For those of you out there. When's the last time you took a PTO day. I see Leanne in there. I see Rebecca T.N. I see Eliana.

Harrison Wheeler:

No one.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah. Vanessa's like, "What's PTO?"

Harrison Wheeler:

[inaudible 00:29:54] weekends.

Brooks Scott:

Look at this. Yes. I'm actually not surprised. Everyone who's in here. Everyone just throw it in there. I want to hear from everybody. From Katie, from [inaudible 00:30:06] Who else is here? Brian Waxen. Dennis Lee. What do we got?

Harrison Wheeler:

December 17th, 2019. That was last year.

Brooks Scott:

Jacqueline's on a roll. She's probably already in management. That's why.

Harrison Wheeler:

Wow.

Brooks Scott:

Look at this. So Katie had planned to take off on the fourth for a wedding. Wedding was canceled.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

So look at this. This is pretty amazing to me. Because here we are completely stressed out, overworked and we're pushing harder. Our managers are pushing us harder than ever before because we're remote because there's a sentiment that we're not getting work done. And look what's happening. Not only are people not taking PTO but they're working seven days a week because home and work is now blended together.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right.

Brooks Scott:

If you're on this show, and you're managing right now, I would recommend telling your team next week, "I want everybody to take a day off next week. I don't care what day it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday." Everyone's got to take one day off because we need that break. We're pushing each other too hard right now and what we need do is get through this time and get through this time together. And then we're going to need to heal because a lot of people are hurting and going through grief right now.

Harrison Wheeler:

And I think it's also important to note that we may be in the thick of it right now. But it's going to take some time before we get back to any sense of what we considered normal, right? I think if you have that perspective of, "Hey, this isn't always going to be a transition." Right? This is actually probably going to be a norm of some sort, right?

Harrison Wheeler:

Like in California, at least at LinkedIn, I think we're moving into week six. And so this isn't like a temporary thing at week six, right? We're starting to adjust how we work and we should understand and be flexible but we need to make space for ourselves to be able to just, for one, take a break.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

I think also too, I think it's a good opportunity to have some sort of reflection in terms of how you're managing your life at this point in time.

Brooks Scott:

Absolutely. How you're managing your life and if you're a manager, how you're managing your people. So us as employees need to take that step and take a day off and relax. And managers need to create that for their employees as well.

Harrison Wheeler:

Right. Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

Eleanor says, "Amen. My boss used to do that too. They don't work on the weekends. I love it. I only work on the work evenings if I had bad concentration during the day. I love it." And listen, one of the best things about my job when I was a VP at the last company. I would always say the best thing about my job is that I can do some personal stuff on my work time.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

And the worst part about my job was that I had to do some work on my personal time, right? I blended it together. And that's what I feel for me anyway has given the most healthiest lifestyle for me. Yeah.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah. Hey, so on that piece for the last question. At the beginning of this show, you talked about just the different parts of your career path. It'd be great if you could maybe dive in a little bit deeper in some of the more transformational moments or pivotal moments in your career. Because I think it's pretty fascinating that you've gone from teaching students to working as a state trooper, to then working in big tech, to then managing a large enterprise security team, right? So just take a little dive into that because I think there might be some great lessons in that.

Brooks Scott:

The thing that comes to mind first was when I was a state trooper, I applied for the Office of Public Information. And I was going to be the police officer you see on TV, something happens and there's some cop that's talking about the details. I was going to do that, it was 15 minutes from my house, I was going to get a dog, Monday to Friday. I was set, right?

Brooks Scott:

And I didn't get that job. And I was super disappointed. There's a longer story behind this too, that I'll share with some people. Just in interest of time, we can't get into it. But super disappointed, man, broke my heart. And I wanted that job more than anything else. I was disappointed and down on myself. And then I continued work in executive protection. I was with Chris Christie at this event, in Idaho, at the Sun Valley Conference.

Brooks Scott:

And that's where I met Mark Zuckerberg and I met my friend Guy [inaudible 00:34:51] who I'm still friends with. And Guy was like, "Hey, man, we like how you work. We're looking for someone to join our team. You want to come over?" And I'm like, "Dude, I'm a state trooper. I'm not leaving the New Jersey, man. What's he talking about?" So we kept in touch and he's like, "Listen, come out and we'll do an interview if you don't like it say no."

Brooks Scott:

So I was like, "Okay, get a free trip to California." Came out, interviewed, fell in love with Facebook. Literally, it was like out of a movie where they opened the door. And it was like angels were singing. I was like, "Yo." So after the interview, the interview was eight hours.

Harrison Wheeler:

Wow.

Brooks Scott:

I sat in my car for two hours in a rental. And I'm like, "Yeah, I think I'm moving to California." Right? So the crazy thing if I had gotten a job with the Office of Public Information, I would not have been with Chris Christie in Idaho. I would not have met Mark Zuckerberg and my friend Guy. I would not have come out here. And I literally would not be sitting in this chair talking to you right now. You'd be interviewing some other coach or something right now. Actually, maybe not because we would have never even met.

Harrison Wheeler:

Exactly.

Brooks Scott:

Through Stride, right? So, when I think about career changes and when we're let go from our jobs, when we're fired from our jobs, when we've invested all of our money in something, and then investment blows up in our face, there's a reason behind this. And my hope and my wish for all of you that are on this call, and for everybody that I work with is that we can look back and connect those dots.

Brooks Scott:

So I apply that to my career and all my career changes. It's like, "Hey, listen, I love what I do." I'm one of the happiest people that I know because of the stability and resiliency I've built around myself and friends and family and work and lifestyle. But when things don't work out, and things come crashing down, I stay focused on that next thing, and that's what I think we need to do now. So listen, I'm sorry a lot of us have lost our jobs now but there's something else coming up for you. So focus on that.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah, I mean, I have a crazy story that is very similar to that. So I'm going to go back to when I was at Iowa. So after I graduated from Iowa, I lived there for about three years, had a web design job. By the third year, I was like, "Man, I got to get out of here because there's just so much more out there." Right? And I just want to be in a place that can support my career.

Harrison Wheeler:

So at that time, I was doing a lot of web design, coding work. And I got an email from Google, right? And I was like, "Wow, Google. Find a website developer for YouTube. Oh, my gosh, I can't wait." And so when Google hits you up, they give you the lay of the land, in terms of, what you'll be tested on. And it was around algorithms and all these types of things. I was like, "Oh, my gosh. I'm not cut out for this."

Harrison Wheeler:

The industry had transformed quite a bit and frankly, I was just very far behind. But I tried to stick it out and me and the recruiter got on the call. And then eventually, got to a technical interview and I just completely bombed the interview. And the next week, one of my former dorm roommates, who had lived in Chicago at the time was like, "Hey, there's a company that's hiring in Chicago I work for. That's doing a UX role. Why don't you come through? Why don't you join us?"

Harrison Wheeler:

And I'm like, "All right. Perfect." I can get my foot in the door, learn more about UX. And 10 months later, like I had mentioned before, we got that $30 million in funding and moved to Palo Alto. I shit you not a year after that, we were having a happy hour at a bar in Mountain View and that recruiter from Google was sitting across from us.

Brooks Scott:

No way, man. Damn.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah, so it's one of those things where things may not manifest in this ideal way but you should keep at it. Because eventually, that path will lead there if you have enough focus. And I would probably say the same too, the same thing applies to the work that you're doing, right? There might be an idealistic vision, you might be working on a project that has all the perfect circumstances and funding. But the real world is not like that. You're going to have to improvise, right? You may be in a situation where your resources are constrained. And so you need to be willing and able to pivot and have an open mind.

Brooks Scott:

Yes, that open mind, it's all about that. It's all about that. So, you think you know what you want in life.

Harrison Wheeler:

Yeah.

Brooks Scott:

And a lot of times, that's not the thing. So we need to stop fantasizing and focusing on getting exactly what it is that we want. And it's about the process, it's about the push, it's about the learning that we're doing, the resiliency that we're building, the stability that we're building, as we're going after those dreams. But that dream that we're fighting for, it changes. I mean, how many people here... I'd love to hear in the chat here. How many people here are actually in a job that if you went to college, that has to do with your major that you graduated in.

Brooks Scott:

Probably not that many. You think you got to know what you're doing when you're graduating college, or when you start work and life has other plans. When I was locking up drunk drivers and domestic violence calls if you told me I'd be talking to a UX manager at LinkedIn if LinkedIn even exist back then. But I'd be like, "What? No, I wouldn't. I'm in New Jersey at my little house."

Harrison Wheeler:

Well, Brooks, thank you so much. We're going to wrap up right now. How would folks get in touch with you? Tell them more about your coaching service. Because I'm sure... I think this is a very enlightening conversation. I'm sure they're going to want to tune in more.

Brooks Scott:

Yeah, this is great, man. So first of all, thank you, everyone, for joining. It is super, super awesome to have all of you here. You can hit me up on mergingpath.com is my website. The name of the company, Merging Path, is guiding you from the path of where you are to where you want to be. So here's where we are right now. Doesn't matter what happened to us past. Here's where we are. Let's take this and come together.

Brooks Scott:

So you hit me up on the website. I'd love to connect with all of you on LinkedIn. And, yeah. Shoot me an email brooks@mergingpath.com and looking forward to working with all of you and all of your teams as well.

Harrison Wheeler:

All right. Thank you so much. And everyone on the call, thank you for joining.

Brooks Scott:

Awesome. Thanks, everyone.

Harrison Wheeler:

Thanks for listening to today's episode. Make sure to follow or connect on LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, or Spotify.

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