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44 Straight From the Mouths of Navy Seals - An Effective Team Requires Trust

Steve Seid & Kurt Dupuis
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44 Straight from the mouths of Navy SEALS - An Effective Team Requires Trust

Kurt Dupuis:
Welcome to The Whole Truth, where two wholesalers help financial professionals build great practices, and thrive in a rapidly changing industry. We'll bring you the stories and voices from those on the front lines of this change, and we'll have some fun along the way.

Steve Seid:
This is more than a podcast. We're building a community of financial professionals who are growing, forward-thinking, and want to get better. Thanks for listening and contributing to the discussion.

Disclosure:
The views expressed herein are those of the participants, and not those of Touchstone Investments.

Steve Seid:
Welcome everybody to The Whole Truth from the Bay Area, California. I am Steve Seid.

Kurt Dupuis:
From Hotlanta, Georgia, I'm Kurt Dupuis.

Steve Seid:
So we have a fun, kind of special episode. Kind of special because we have three Navy SEALS. You don't have that every day. So, we have the boys from a company called SA 720, John Choate, and his SEAL partners, CD and Ant. So really excited for them to come on. We'll discuss in a second what they covered, but we had some guest hosts come on. Our friend, Ben Alge, who's been on the show multiple times and as he will mention, as often as anyone will listen, he is responsible for the most downloaded episode in The Whole Truth history.

Kurt Dupuis:
Allegedly, I don't know the data's little fuzzy.

Steve Seid:
I'm trying really hard. We've had some prominent guests that have momentum and we're trying to get them over the hump of…

Kurt Dupuis:
Oh yeah, we're going to crest that.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. But so far, do you think Alge just sits in his basement and just listens to the episodes, just keep playing?

Kurt Dupuis:
I know he does. The question is how many. Is he responsible for 5% of the downloads or 50% of that?

Steve Seid:
That's a good question. He has the whole family-

Kurt Dupuis:
It's not a question of if. It's how much.

Steve Seid:
Also, we're joined by a new person on a show, Tommy Grout. Combined, Tommy Grout, and Ben run our whole Eastern division. They're great friends. They're wonderful people. We want to have them on to interview John and team, as they've done extensive work with these folks. I got to tell you Kurt, they did just an incredible job. I was editing the thing. I thought, these guys are going to be amateurs. It turns out that, I have the luxury of editing myself and they were way better from a raw perspective than I am. I can tell you right now.

Kurt Dupuis:
I think you're saying the quiet part out loud right now, Steve.

Steve Seid:
Is that’s what’s happening?

Kurt Dupuis:
Don't give them too much credit.

Steve Seid:
That's fair enough. But no, I think, Kurt and I have done close to 50 episodes at this point, and I think it's reasonable that we have from time to time others come on and host an episode or two. We will absolutely be the ones that will, vetting be selecting the content. We know our audience. We know what would resonate with you folks out there, but we'll have some guest hosts on. I think that's only, it's only fair, only reasonable.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, and we're not the only shining stars at this company. I guess it's about time that we let some other shining stars peek through and we’ve offered to a bunch of our colleagues. These are the guys that stepped up and I mean, and interviewing the SA 720 guys, what a treat. I'm a little disappointed that they got to do it, not us, but they did a fantastic job with it.

Steve Seid:
Absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about a couple of the takeaways. I'll talk about and we'll, we could talk all day, because it was a really robust interview, but we narrowed it down to two of our takeaways. I'll do the first, Kurt will do the second. The first had to do with teams. When you think about Navy SEALS, probably all kinds of things go through your head. But at its base, they're one, if not the best team in the world, that's what they do.

Kurt Dupuis:
Right.

Steve Seid:
They build teams. What are some of the takeaways that we can learn to be more effective in our teamwork? One of the biggest ones that I heard over and over, I was surprised at this Kurt. I didn't expect to have this takeaway.

Kurt Dupuis:
It's surprising.

Steve Seid:
But I had this jumped out to me and it happened a couple of times across a couple of different points that the guys made, had to do with addressing attitude and ego. They talked about that many times, they talked about being humble about self-aware about having the right attitude. These are all words for reflecting on what you, as an individual, are bringing to your teams. I got to tell you me, too, I've got a bunch of people that work under me and it's easy to come in with the big ego and you want to be the leader to I don't know, bring that back in a little bit.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, and it's not what you would expect. Navy SEALS, you expect macho, they're just the toughest guys…

Steve Seid:
Yes!

Kurt Dupuis:
…in the world and the-

Steve Seid:
I could do anything.

Kurt Dupuis:
Slaughter your enemies in their sleep.

Steve Seid:
Yeah.

Kurt Dupuis:
But it's ironic at least to hear them talk. The word that you didn't use that always strikes me when I hear them talk about this is vulnerability.

Steve Seid:
Yes.

Kurt Dupuis:
They talk to have an effective team requires trust. You can't get trust unless you're vulnerable. Vulnerability is the precursor to any good team working well together. They talked about how, in buds, the main job of the instructors is to find out what you're scared of the most to break you down.

Steve Seid:
Just drill into it.

Kurt Dupuis:
Yeah, then really just double down on what your fear is to get you to that point of vulnerability. But that is the precursor to a successful team is vulnerability. I mean the stories that they have are fantastic, but they really just hammer home that any well-functioning team, including advisory teams, got to have some level of vulnerability and removal of that ego.

Steve Seid:
So, what's the action step? If you're sitting there, you should always just ask yourself can I take myself down a peg, at least with my team? What can I do to be more vulnerable? What can I do to be more humble? What can I do to bring a better attitude? I think those are all good things to always reflect on.

Kurt Dupuis:
Well, the second big thing and control your enthusiasm, is new from the 720 group, which is a framework or a process for business development. They break down using SEAL/CIA terminology. It's this methodology called Sabre, which it's literally taking clandestine frameworks from the government and using them for business and practical purposes.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. Process around business development, you'd think, oh yeah, we should all have that. That should be no problem. But we don't. A lot of teams that I work with, hey, we generate referrals. We have this client experience, but really getting, to the next level about, about mapping out ways to grow your business, I think is incredibly important. Wonderful interview. Just want to thank Ben and Tommy and the guys from SA 720 for doing it. So let's transition to that interview right now.

If you're listening to this and you haven't subscribed to our show, please do that. Please rate the show. These are the things that prop us up that get people to see the show more. We're getting noticed more and more, which is terrific. With a little bit more push from you guys and from our audience, I think this thing can go to a whole new level. With that, let's transition to Ben and Tommy and the team from SA 720.

Tommy Grout:
Hello, The Whole Truth podcast listeners, thanks for joining us. If you've been listening for a long time, you're probably thinking this doesn't sound like Steve or Kurt. In fact, you would be right. My name is Tommy Grout. I'm a managing regional vice president here with Touchstone Investments. I'm joined by my colleague, Ben Alge, who's a divisional vice president with us. Ben, if I'm not mistaken, you're a former guest on the podcast and I believe the most downloaded episode of all time. Is that correct?

Ben Alge:
That is correct. Most downloaded episode of all time. If you're anything like me, when you open up a podcast and you hear a guest host, it's typically a quick skip to the next episode, but that's a poor idea right now. Isn't it, Tommy?

Tommy Grout:
I beg you do not skip out on this time. We've got three great guests. We've got CD, John and Ant, the executive management team of SA 720. Just real quickly on their background. 40 years of Navy SEAL and special operations experience, a JD, a former assistant DA, an MBA from Columbia and London School of Business, and several tours of duty across the Middle East. Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us. We're excited to have you.

John Choate:
All, Tommy, thank you for that very kind introduction. Ben, thanks also as well for being here and just for the record of all of that aggregate SEAL experience, without a doubt, the preponderance of that goes to CD right here.

Ben Alge:
We're excited to have you guys on. Thank you all, first for your service, but also for being with us today, a lot to get to not the least of which is how we end up with resumes like that. But before we dive into that, John, maybe you can just give us a little background on you and the team.

John Choate:
Yeah, absolutely. I guess by way of quick background for me, I was born and raised in Southern California. My family comes from a very long line of attorneys. That is not something that resonated with me particularly well. I think that probably a lot of SEALS from mine and CD's era, my sophomore year in high school, a book came out called, Rogue Warrior that was written by Richard Marcinko, the original commanding officer, founding officer of SEAL Team Six. He actually just passed away in December of this year. But reading through this book and then saying, my gosh, who wouldn't want this particular job to fly all over the world and to protect the country and hang out with good guys and jump out of airplanes and this and that, hit a resonating frequency with me right there.

It was at that point, I started looking at going to the Naval Academy. Still, to this day, if I were to apply today, there is 0% chance I would get in. I was fortunate enough to get an appointment there. Anthony, who's a classmate of mine from class of '97 there, we both live by that commentary that comes from the Naval Academy that it's a wonderful place to be from and a terrible place to be at. I'm sure Ant will give you colors on that. I have this big block of those four years right there where I remember little bits and pieces, but not much of it. I was very, very fortunate and blessed to get one of at the time, what they called the sweet 16, one of the 16 SEAL billets to go try for BUD/S for SEAL training.

John Choate:
Went out and did that, and was the officer in charge of class 218, and then went over to go to SEAL Team Three. I was drawn particularly to them because of, pre 9-11, their area of operations was the Middle East. That happened to be where most stuff was going on in the world. I was very fortunate enough, too, to be one of the first service elements that was in Afghanistan right after 9-11. Oddly enough, with CD on the phone right here, his SEAL element was part of the recon team that initially went in for the first few days. We literally passed each other in Kandahar. I mean, I'm quite certain that we gave each other a high five, but didn't really know each other.

Ben Alge:
It's not like running into an old classmate in the office. That's a slightly different dynamic there.

John Choate:
I actually, I think it's the exact same dynamic, right? It's just, it's the same clowns, different circus. That was a fun iteration there. I ended up then shifting, after coming back, I ran the special reconnaissance element for what was training detachment at that time for a few years there. And then started my first company, which is a security company, which is what Anthony is now the president and CEO of that particular company. Just had several different bidder business iterations and engagements since. Hopefully that gives you some kind of the background color.

Tommy Grout:
Yeah, it definitely does. What really led to it, transitioning into working with financial professionals?

John Choate:
First of all, my grades at Columbia when it came to capital markets are awful. I wouldn't, I don't even know. I'm trying to figure out stock, bond? I'm an operating business person, an operator in the business world as well. I make my money. I give it to my wife who gives it to our financial advisor. Our financial advisor invites us to one or two things a year that we respectfully decline every year. I just wanted the reports that show the line going up, not down. That is the depth of the experience and the knowledge associated with this.

Where we came into play within financial services in starting in 2014 was, so I had just finished up, to use military nomenclature, a tour of duty. I was recruited by a private equity firm to be the CEO of one of their portfolio companies. I spent four years running, really what was a turnaround.
We ended up exiting that particular company successfully to a strategic and so sitting around right there with, okay, so what's the next game? What's the next play? I was actually hit up by a good friend and a former SEAL as well, who did go into financial services. He called me up and said, "Hey, we've got an awful lot of practice management content that's coming up from our firm. And folks are really looking for stuff, right, wrong, or otherwise the SEAL aspect is really resonating out there." There's a little bit of the mythology associated with it, but as anything that has applicability into the business world or the non-military world, is that something given your business experiences to date that you think you might be able to address. We took a look at what the very, it was half-baked, just speaking bluntly, what some other folks had put together. That's my political response to it. It was absolute straight garbage.

Tommy Grout:
Just here we go.

Ben Alge:
There it is.

John Choate:
Yeah. The reason why we classify it as garbage is because frankly, it's stuff that everybody already knows. My criticism, and I think by proxy, my teammate's criticism, it is not to the persons behind what we are talking about here. It is to the content of what they are delivering, right? The content is basically a bunch of regurgitated gibberish that most folks have already learned through the due course of their life. Things like, “Don't Quit”. “You need to learn to communicate effectively with your people”. “You’ve got to establish trust”. “You have to empower your people”.

I didn't go into the SEAL teams of the military to learn that. I learned that from AYSO soccer in third grade, right? We looked at that content, sat down with all of my guys or not my guys, the team that I'm a part of. We're able to look at this and say, I think there really is something here. The launch point really is captured in this, two sentences, which is, look, we are in teams in everything that we do. We just take the vast majority of them for granted. But we are obviously in teams at work. That is a team structure. But we are also in teams in our communities, our homeowners associations, our houses of worship, our philanthropic engagements. I mean, frankly, the most fundamental team that each of us hopefully are part of is our family.

Right? We just don't define it as such. If we can assume, for the sake of argument, that the SEAL teams represent one of the world's optimal peak performing team entities of which I objectively believe that they are, right? How do they take individuals of such varied, socioeconomic backgrounds, varying geographic experiences, so on and so forth, how do they vet them and mesh them together, such that they're able to really do two things, to conduct very significant and important operations that have a virtually no margin of error, right? It's a pretty much no fail type of missions. That's also not withstanding the fact that every game that they play is an away game. The underlying principles, that's why they're defined as principles. They're like laws of physics, they're they're industry and vertical agnostic. The underlying principles that work for the New England Patriots are the same that work for a business operating team, are the same that work in the SEAL teams. Where are there principles that can be distilled from the SEAL teams and employed ostensibly in the work teams that we are each a part of, but not only that transcend just the work components, but to every team that we're a part of. How do I communicate with my children and my spouse and my people in my community and other engagements that I'm in?

Tommy Grout:
It was honestly perfect. And, I scribbled some notes here and there's a couple things that I took away and I might be hopping ahead. But one thing you did there, maybe without even knowing you did it, was you went through one of my favorite tools that you use and it's the reverse resume, right?

John Choate:
Yeah.

Tommy Grout:
Reversing your resume. And you did it when you were talking about Columbia and you said, "Oh yeah. I went to Columbia MBA, no big deal, but I barely even knew what a capital market was." I challenge that to be accurate. I highly doubt it, but tell us a little bit about how you can use that with the team that you might be coaching?

John Choate:
Sure. Yeah. So it's called the reverse resume. Ant, when did, we fleshed that out in like 2012? I believe.

Anthony:
It's coming up on a decade that we've been doing the activity for sure.

John Choate:
Sure. The peek under the hood is this. We have grown to despise resumes. They are two dimensional brag sheets that are a 100% controlled by the author. They're basically a spinoff of the social media aspect today. “Oh, look, how brilliant I am! And I'm, I'm eating the perfect, having the perfect coffee with the perfect date and the perfect location, right?” Nobody's posting like, "Okay. I got in a car accident because I was texting and my daughter's dating some guy that has a van." You know what, nobody's posting that stuff. And the problem that we had during a particular business engagement was we had won a relatively large government contract for our security company and the resumes that we had received, honestly, if we blacked out the names on the resumes, they were virtually indistinguishable from each other.

It's not uncommon if you talk about it with in the collegiate admissions process right now, right? Everybody is trying to look like they're omni-experienced, right? It's like everybody is a national merit scholar and plays on an athletic team and played some part in the school play and built potable water systems in Nigeria over their summer vacation. You know what I mean? It's, “look how great I am.”
And so here was our takeaway when it came to the reverse resume. It was that, first of all, you never would've made it through the cuts or to the respective desk if you didn't have certain aptitudes already. That's binary. You either can, or you can't. Okay. Now it comes down to sifting out the next piece and what we really wanted to get to was where are the boo boos?

Where are the mistakes that you have made? And how did you transcend those particular things? And because that's how we learn. We learn through throughout life, through our skinned knees. We don't learn by never having a mistake, an error, a boo boo or anything of that sort. All right. So what we did is I took my resume in what was admittedly, this was a bourbon-fueled evening, but that's what it was so-

Ben Alge:
That's where all the best ideas come in.

John Choate:
They certainly can. I took my resume. I kept all the major headings in there, which are the positions or the locations you've been, so founder or managing director or whatever else it is. But all that bulletized information that you know is three or four little cut pieces underneath each one that gives some more granular data, oh, I had Kagera growth of 54.4% over two millennia. And, whatever else it is, P and L responsibility for, this and that, that was all stripped out. I hand wrote in everything that I concealed about each one of those particular positions. The way my resume reads, it says, I went to the United States Naval Academy. I was a Hunting Memorial honor scholar through the Naval Academy Foundation. I was part of the NCAA Division one water polo, Navy water polo team. I was one of 16 selectees of 104 candidates for SEAL training.

Okay, well that's all well and good, but the reverse piece is that I graduated 923 out of 957 in my class. I played six weeks of water polo because I was, they measure it in six week intervals. I was unsatisfactory per NCAA standards with my grade point average and I also stood 177 days of restriction for a whole variety of conduct offenses. And that's not withstanding the fact, but I also failed calculus three, three semesters in a row, a legitimate F, a 0.0 in three back-to-back semesters. Now, I still graduated. I still was fortunate. Somebody had, or people had enough faith in me to get one of the SEAL billets. And that was, I mean, divine intervention right there.

But that's really what it is. it's become one of the biggest tools that we've been able to help with folks out there that also doesn't require a great deal of coaching. It just requires a great deal of honesty on part of the people that are crafting it, right? Because the CEO, the managing director, all of these types of folks, it's the people who've said, "I've been sued before. I've lost significant portions of my book because I made this error and stuff. I’ve made it back. I was able to transcend to get through it." That's really the key piece on it. It's the folks without error, they're either lying or they're delusional. There's only two choices, right?

Ben Alge:
What's interesting is when we’ve partnered with you on this exercise before, it's such a humbling and level-setting activity for financial professionals to go through with the CSA, the analysts, and then, the rainmaker, puts everybody on the same level.

John Choate:
It's the balancing effect, right? Look, man, this is who I am. I'm good at these things. Do not dislike me or discount me because I'm not strong in those others. But in this world where this, again, I go back to the social media-infused piece where perfection is supposed to be, I mean, you guys are highly intelligent. You guys, I mean, for Instagram folks, how many photographs do they take before they actually post their picture? I mean, sometimes like 1700 photographs. You're like, "That's insane, man. I'll send you a photograph of my half-eaten filet-o-fish meal there. That's what I ate today."

Ben Alge:
You mentioned in your comments, just how you differentiate from some others who do similar things with the, with the Navy SEAL background. That's obviously en vogue these days. Everyone wants to hear a story from a SEAL. What strikes me though, is from working with you and your team for several years, is the crux of your consulting work and the work you do with financial professionals, isn't based on rah-rah SEAL stories or things blowing up or, different missions you all went on. It's really an intellectual conversation and intellectually stimulating. And there are stories from your past that are weaved in, but CD I'm interested in your thoughts on how that differentiates you from others that do similar engagements.

CD:
Some of the things we talk about with the modules that we provided, I'm going to use, we use one module as we call “Teams”. It is emphasizing those critical team dynamics and what organizations like yourself and others are actually looking for.
There's four pillars. The four pillars come into self-awareness, communication, mission planning, and then practice. What we do is we distill the principles that we've learned from the SEAL team into those four pillars. And arguably, I think everyone would want to say that communication is probably the most important piece that needs to be established across the board in any organization. But we actually backed it up and argued that you really need to know that self-awareness piece it's really knowing yourself and knowing what you can provide to the organization and also telling them, "Hey, this is what I'm weak at and maybe you're going to partner that person, or, him or her up with someone else that has that as a strength, even though it may be one of my weaknesses, because now we're inseparable."

It basically builds a cohesive team based on strengths and weaknesses that you can become inseparable. I think that's where the delusion comes in with some of these other people that are talking, because, it's like, "Ah, never quit" and all that stuff. Yeah, no kidding, right? Like versus what, “Always quit”? Of course, John and I are not going into your organization or anybody else's organization saying, "Hey yeah, we've always practiced to quit, but we'd like to bring this guest speaker in and talk about how to never quit." That sounds ridiculous.

Ben Alge:
Let's re-think that concept. Yeah.

CD:
That's just one module that we overlay where we take principles from the SEAL teams and overlay them over the business and commercial construct.

John Choate:
When we're trying to set up a team or you are trying to enhance any team, all right, there, there are really two components. You're looking at aptitude and attitude, right? Aptitude is generally binary, right? You either pass your series 63 or seven or whatever, or you don't. I mean, you pass it, you get a certain GPA or you don't get the paper on your wall. In the SEAL teams, you either make the pushups and the run times and sometimes, or you don't, right? Lots of people are able to make those cuts, the aptitude component. All right, there plenty of Olympians or Olympic hopefuls that have gone through BUD/S training that quit, right? Their issue is not their aptitude. It then comes back to the attitude component to it, which is largely also a sphere of influences is the ego aspect to it.

That is really contrary to what a lot of people think that BUD/S and SEAL training is that the most egotistical are the, at least at the individual level, are the ones that are carved out first. CD has legions of stories that he could tell you about. I mean, he was a first phase BUD/S instructor for three years. Of course, you “Don't quit”. Of course, “You got to gut it through”. Of course, “You got to help your people”. Of course, “You got to figure out learning, how to communicate effectively”. But those are really the pieces that is where we predicated most of this module off of that has really resonated with us.

CD:
People get the misnomer that, it's just like another selection type training. The BUD/S instructor goes to about a year of training and you're under, critical criticism from your other instructors and your other peers, making sure that you're doing everything correctly. What you're doing is stripping all those things away because every single one of us has some kind of vulnerability inside. The root cause is that BUD/S instructor trying to find that. I even crack a joke sometimes when we're giving this presentation, I'm like sometimes people to John's point, they're hard, their aptitude is there. They can pass everything, but it's really digging down and finding that chink in their armor. And sometimes I used to even make things up just to see if I could get them to snap. I'd be like, "Oh hey, so and so likes this, or doesn't like this."

And, and he's just like, "Oh, I can't believe he just said that." I'm like, "Oh, I got him. I got him." Then people snap and they could be the alternate on the swim, freestyle, Olympic team. And they're like, "I'm out of here." And they were like the most, I would say, well-rounded in the fact of physical fitness and everything, and they're the first ones to quit. They're like, "Bye."

Tommy Grout:
I look forward over the next time we get cocktails, you doing that to Ben and how quickly you can get him to snap. That challenge accepted from CD. I'm looking forward to it.

CD:
All right.

Ben Alge:
We've alluded to some of the consulting work you all do with financial professionals today. Maybe you can walk us through at a high level, some of the areas of focus that you all have that you've partnered with financial professionals on. And then maybe we'll dive a little deeper into those as far as what your observations have been and how you coach them to improve.

John Choate:
We've spent the lion's share so far talking about what is called the Teams Program and the principles that CD alluded to and everything. You have granular practice management items, like the reverse resume, other things that you can put into play.

We just recently came out, fleshed out, got received rave reviews so far on what we call Targeted Client Acquisition. Any businesses, any company, any new business, the most difficult thing that they have, not withstanding financing, is getting your first client, right? And then it's getting ongoing clients because businesses that do not grow eventually will die. The Targeted Client Acquisition, it's actually predicated on the processes that human intelligence services throughout the world... so, MI5, MI6, Mossad, CIA, what they have learned in their past 70 some odd years of existence on how do they find, interact with their prospective clients? People that they want, that have access to information they need, that have capabilities that they are requiring so on and so forth. And how are those same types of processes employed within the commercial and the business world, because some of the world's most successful companies use the exact same process. So we have that as one of the offerings.

We have one of the ones that became incredibly pronounced, we started it initiated, I believe in 2018 or 19, it's actually our security offerings that we have, too, as well, closing in here on two decades of security experience, whether it's covering A-list celebrities or billionaires, or large, Fortune 50 companies and their security concerns. We had some pretty robust experience in that light. Where this really came about was several successful wealth management firms had said, "Hey, is this something that you might be able to provide or develop?" Of course the answer to that is always yes. Right? So what we did is we got together and said, look there, there's such this hyper focus in the past decade or so on cyber security, right? Yes, cyber security is of absolute and utmost importance. Okay. It really, really is, particularly with how connected, we are within the world. We've seen the greatest issues with the Colonial pipeline hack and how that affected gas prices on the Eastern seaboard. Obviously you have the Equifax hack that took place a few years ago. But here's the reality. At the individual level, cyber security is really three things. Don't make your password, password. Don't open attachments from people you don't know, and you're not going to win 10 million from the King of Ghana. Okay. It's not going to happen. That's literally what cyber at the individual level. The problem with the cyber security focus is that it's been done in a non-zero sum game to the deficit of our personal safety and security. We're not in a more dangerous world. We're not in a less dangerous world. It's just a different set of issues. And so let's talk about our own physical safety and security as it relates at the individual level, as it relates to our families, to our work environments, to when we travel. A lot of client events on that. Right?  Then, and our most recent one that we've developed and fleshed out, is actually specifically personal and physical security for women, which have their own unique security concerns that frankly, most males, things that we take for granted, just because we don't look at it through the same aperture, the same lens as women do. So those are the offerings again, long answer to your question, but-

Ben Alge:
You talk about communication a lot in that. And then you compare and contrast the communication challenges that financial professionals have. Then you talk about, in the SEALS, you got to be able to communicate underwater, cold, in the dark, no visibility. If they can master that, why can't we figure out how to talk to the person at the cubicle next to me? It's such an interesting juxtaposition.

CD:
It's in the SEAL Teams, we call it being artful, speak accurately, be relevant and be timely. It's like a fire triangle. You have to have all three. Once you can establish each one of those metrics, it just makes life so much easier.

Ben Alge:
Let's touch on the Targeted Client Acquisition module. And, you can't go anywhere in our industry these days without having a conversation around either net new assets or client acquisition. Certainly timely and relevant. But what's interesting to me in seeing this presentation from you all, is you change the conversation from how do I attract clients to, how do I select the clients I want, can you talk about the importance of that discrepancy, John?

John Choate:
When we, if we talk about intelligence agencies, it's called a recruitment cycle, it's not called a sales cycle, which is what is in Ben's mind? What is in Tommy's mind? Who do they have access to? So on and so forth, that because we're talking about the human mind and the egos that are aspects that are associated with it and the predispositions and the assumptions. And what are people motivated by? What are they inspired by that is the trade craft that human intelligence agencies, not just the CIA around the world, this is what they have to learn in order to find persons that are going to help them, that have the assets that they're looking, for that have the characteristics that they need, that they want. It is having financial advisors and wealth management firms to just have a paradigm shift when they're prospecting so that it shifts it from how do we get a certain prospect as a client to how do we hire that prospect? I have wonderful services, wonderful product, and a wonderful team right here. I think we are the best fit for you, but I need to shape my relationship with you, my interactions with you in such a way that hopefully you come to that realization on your own.

Tommy Grout:
The most important aspect is process, process, process, right? That's what works for these intelligence agencies. Ben and I were naturally drawn to it because we're process-oriented people, it increases success when you're working with financial advisors. Is that something that they usually immediately take to?

John Choate:
It is exactly what they take to. The SEAL teams specifically, because that's where my experience is, but special operations, all right. We have processes for almost everything and redundant processes for everything. It doesn't matter whether it's filling up a boat or a dive tank or jumping out of an aircraft or packing a parachute or mission planning. Okay. Now I think where some of the shift comes between your conventional forces and special operations, is that you also have with the special operations, there's more gray space for extemporaneous changing for shifting as things move. Okay. You have this flex that comes in there, but the processes are very, very, very pronounced. They are very robust and they're very definable. That is the same thing when it comes to targeted client acquisition.

Tommy Grout:
Right. Well, Ant, maybe we could focus on the personal security side and maybe specifically for women.

Anthony:
Certainly. John gave the background earlier about what the genesis of the personal security presentation was. It's actually called, more completely, Personal Security and Situational Awareness. The whole idea is that no one is born a Navy SEAL. Despite what the movie, The Matrix would have you believe with Keanu Reeves, no one just knows Kung Fu. The whole concept of situational awareness, being able to take care of yourself and the men and women around you, whether that's your friends, your parents, your children, whoever it is, your partner, your spouse, it is learned, and it can be taught. Women have certain unique security concerns. Perhaps it makes the hairs in the back of their neck stand up. Whereas with men, they may not be as naturally attuned to those things. In the presentation, when we talk about personal security, we start at a macro level very briefly and talk about what the government does. The government's role there is to protect the people, things like the FDA, the EPA, OSHA, right? But that's at a large level. At a micro level the things that men and women do day-to-day, of being aware was going on around them, being able to be proactive instead of reactive to a potential threat or something that bad that might happen to them or the people they're with. Those are the goals coming away from the Personal Security & Situational Awareness presentation. At the end of that module, folks are left with very specific things that they can do for themselves and they can start doing right then. It's not a secret karate move. It's not, absolutely, it's not, go buy a gun and learn how to use it. Absolutely not, because we're often asked what's the best gun for personal protection to which I respond, "It's not, it's a dog." Or a shotgun with no rounds, because if someone breaks in your house in the middle of the night and they hear, "Tsk! Tsk!" from the top of the stairs, they're running. But the end state of the security for women or the personal security modules are that folks come away with a couple of things that they could start doing in their own day to day routine, talk with their children about, talk with their parents. It makes people feel a little bit more confident about taking care of themselves.

Ben Alge:
That's fantastic. And, in our experience in partnering with you, what we have heard from our clients that have universally enjoyed these engagements, is that it is that looking through a completely different lens, you all bring in that different experience from both, the SEALS in the military, but also the personal security, the different businesses you’ve run, really bring a different aspect to consulting. And it certainly very well received.

John Choate:
Wow. Certainly hope so. I will be forever grateful to that, to the people that entrusted me and us to go to the academy to be in the SEAL Teams. I never would've met Anthony and CD, if not but for those things. I needed to be able to say that because it is how I feel.

Steve Sied:
Thank you so much to Ben Alge, to Tommy Grout, to John, CD and Ant for a wonderful interview. We're going to transition to our Costanza corner, next is The Whole Truth, stick with us.

Kurt Dupuis:
And welcome back to the Costanza corner where we like to end the show on a high note, you have something for us, Steve?

Steve Seid:
I do. I do feel like I'm a lot of times with these we're in the same topics. But I don't care, this one's going to be about climate change.

Kurt Dupuis:
Is it animals stuff?

Steve Seid:
We've done some stuff. No, it's not animals.

Kurt Dupuis:
Your other topic.

Steve Seid:
Yeah, I've got, I feel like it's like animals, climate change and medicine or something like that. I said this when I did it in a prior Costanza corner, it could be often when I look at the challenges with climate, which I see so clearly being in California with our droughts and all the stuff that we deal with out here…

Kurt Dupuis:
Fires.

Steve Seid:
Yeah. It could be overwhelming because it doesn't seem like people are really doing anything about it. But then I read this and I feel at least a bit better. So if you look at the European Union, which, as a collective is one of the largest economic powerhouses in the world, are actually doing a whole lot about it. So check this out. Total greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union reached their lowest levels since 1990. Think about that. According to official EU data reported this week, the overall reduction in 2020 greenhouse gas emissions was 34% compared to the base year of 1.9 billion tons. So they basically taken their carbon back multiple decades, which is just, I don't know. I think that's pretty cool, even though we don't seem to be doing very much, others are, which is fantastic.

Kurt Dupuis:
I've also heard that some of their, because some of the leading contributors to that I think are their utility companies, with tighter regulations they have been mandated to become cleaner. And there's just a lot more accountability over there with those types of companies. So, I actually learned about that on an investing podcast, because they talked about the opportunity the next 10, 20 years in green energy because there's definitely going to be some winners in that space.

Steve Seid:
Absolutely. So thank you to our good friends over there, our European friends for doing some things in the positive direction.

Kurt Dupuis:
Cheers, mate.

Steve Seid:
Cheers, mate. That sounded Australian, I feel like.

Kurt Dupuis:
I get them mixed up.

Steve Seid:
Thanks everyone for listening. We'll see you next time.

Kurt Dupuis:
You can find The Whole Truth and subscribe for free, on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. We'd love it if you took the time to rate and review the show on apple podcast. It helps others find the show. And for more episodes of The Whole Truth, go to www.touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth. That's touchstoneinvestments.com/thewholetruth. All one word.

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