59. Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast featuring Rocco Luongo

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Brandon Anderson:

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. Ralph Nader. I am Brandon Anderson and I am a Tri-Cities influencer.

Paul Casey:

And if we must assume, the only thing I would say is to assume positive intent. So if there's a gap between why that person behaved as they did, and you don't know the answer, fill in that gap with positive intent and check it out.

Speaker 3:

Raising the water level of leadership in the Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington, it's the Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast. Welcome to the TCI Podcast where local leadership and self-leadership expert Paul Casey interviews local CEOs, entrepreneurs, and non-profit executives to hear how they lead themselves and their teams, so we can all benefit from their wisdom and experience.

Speaker 3:

Here's your host Paul Casey of Growing Forward Services, coaching and equipping individuals and teams to spark breakthrough success.

Paul Casey:

It's a great day to grow forward. Thanks for joining me for today's episode with Rocco Luongo. He is an executive coach for professional services and he's got a fun fact I think we're all going to like today. It has to do with dad jokes. Rocco.

Rocco Luongo:

Thank you, Paul. Great tee up. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on the show. So with all the homeschooling going on, I've got three kids at home. So we do a walk every morning before school, what's on the agenda for today, how we're going to do it, and we start off the walk every morning with a dad joke. So that's my thing. So, I thought I would share today's dad joke with you all.

Paul Casey:

Please. Please do.

Rocco Luongo:

The cringe factor has to be there. Any good dad joke has to make you cringe. So today's joke was, I once had a hen who could count her own eggs. She was a mathemachicken. Ooh, isn't that horrible?

Paul Casey:

It's terrible.

Rocco Luongo:

It's terrible.

Paul Casey:

It's terrible.

Rocco Luongo:

It's terrible. But it got a big laugh.

Paul Casey:

You're owning it. And you're wearing the shirt today.

Rocco Luongo:

I even have my dad joke shirt on. You can't see it, but it is. I have my “dad joke loading” shirt on, so it's become a thing. We have to adapt. We have to adapt to these things, Paul.

Paul Casey:

We do. Well, let's dive in after checking with our Tri-City influencer sponsor.

Paul Casey:

Mario Martinez, Northwestern Mutual. Mario, what types of services do you offer?

Mario Martinez:

Hey Paul, thank you for letting me be on here. We run bifurcated practices in that we focus in two areas of a financial plan. The first one is we do protection pieces, which include life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, really the things that people should be focused on to protect their families, their businesses. And on the other side of our practices, we do investment services. And on the investment platforms, we do both the brokerage platform and we do the advisory level services. So depending on what someone is looking for, as far as guidance on their investment strategies, we can curtail and build a strategy for them that makes sense.

Paul Casey:

Mario, how can people get in touch with you?

Mario Martinez:

The easiest way, you can reach out to me directly on my business cell phone is (509) 591-5301. You can send me an email at mario.martinez@nm.com or you can reach out to us on our social media platforms. The easiest one being, Mario Martinez Northwestern Mutual on Facebook.

Paul Casey:

Thank you for your support of leadership development in the Tri-Cities. Well, welcome again, Rocco. I was privileged to meet you here in this building and Fuse, walking by your office one day. Who is this guy? He's got the word coach on the doors. I’ve got to meet this guy. Did a one-to-one I think a few months later. And we even staged a picture in this very studio, here in Fuse for the Tri-Cities Journal of Business and the podcasts that are starting to pop up all over the place. So glad you could be with us today.

Paul Casey:

So, tell our Tri-City influencers a little bit about you, a couple of your career highlights that got you to where you are today and why do you love what you do?

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah, thanks Paul. I appreciate it. Yeah, we definitely met here at Fuse. It was so great. We've seen each other around, we swim in the same circles with the chamber and with community events and things. We're both very community oriented and I think that's important for everybody to do. And so that was great. And about my career, so I've been in the business for about 22 years. My background is engineering, did my undergraduate in New Hampshire in mechanical engineering. Sold a lot of table saws, swung a lot of hammers to pay for undergraduate. And I think a lot of people probably did the same. And I sold a table saw to the right guy. He turned out to be a director of engineering for a German firm. And before long I was an intern with them working in the same town, doubled my pay, working on engineering projects.

Rocco Luongo:

It was amazing. I thought, great. I was still a senior doing my undergrad. And like I said, it was a German firm. And I said, "Hey, could I ever maybe work in Germany someday?" And they said, "Yeah maybe two, three years, with some hard work you might get there." And I thought, 'Well, that's not bad." Six months later, the project got called back to Germany and they said, "Everybody who wants to go can go."

Paul Casey:

Whoa.

Rocco Luongo:

And it was just a great opportunity. And I said, "Well, there's some more schooling I want to do." They took a look at what I was doing and said, "I tell you what, we're going to bring you over there. We'll hire you as a German and we'll put you right into our master's program."

Rocco Luongo:

And so I did my master's program there too. So I got a master's in mechanical engineering and industrial engineering in Germany, in German, which I didn't speak. So I had to learn to speak German.

Paul Casey:

Wow.

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah, that's hard. I got hazed too. They were telling me all the time, "An American engineer, is there even such a thing? Can an American be an engineer?" It's like, "Hey guys." We had one Australian there who used to always say, "Who won the bloody war?" I'm not trying to incite violence or anything, but there was definitely some hazing going on.

Rocco Luongo:

Then from there, came back to the US. Was supposed to be a two year program, stayed for five years, had a great time, just stayed there working. I had six weeks of vacation, it was an awesome time. Came back to the US. Then actually got recruited by a tech company that was a spinoff of WSU working on some very cool technology. Helped them raise 180 million bucks. They were called Infinia. They subsequently sold off a chunk. Is still here handling government projects. The other part was sold off to a company in Utah. That was a heck of a project. We did NASA projects, DOD. We made these miniaturized nuclear power points basically for Mars rovers and for other projects that we can't talk about, but other interesting things.

Rocco Luongo:

So that was really fun. From there, started my own engineering consultancy. Started realizing that management and leadership and business acumen stopped many more of these projects than engineering problems. And just, I was always managing right from Germany. When I was in Germany, every engineer, there is a manager and a leader, even if you're no good at it. And so I stumbled through, and I learned to manage by listening because I couldn't speak the language super well. So I just would listen to everything everyone said, and I would just give simple, as clear guidance as I could. Do this, do that by Thursday, Donnerstag.

Rocco Luongo:

We would just do it as simple as possible and just evolved that out into my own consultancy. Now I still do engineering work, mostly expert witness stuff. And then I do a lot of coaching and consulting for professional services for engineers, architects, healthcare lawyers. And it just expands into certain areas.

Rocco Luongo:

Like this year we had helped one of our clients change a federal law. So kicked off a lobbying campaign and got that changed because of there was just a problem... It's complicated. But a problem with the way the services were being done. The government wasn't paying on time and these benefits just weren't being paid on time to people. So we had to change a federal law.

Rocco Luongo:

Done that a couple of times with new products and new services. And so it's expansive. And I think you'll agree with this, it ultimately comes down to fundamentals. It comes down to what you get up every morning. What your mindset is, what you choose to do and what you choose not to do.

Paul Casey:

And why do you love what you do? It's apparent that you love what you do.

Rocco Luongo:

Oh yeah. It's challenging. It lets me use my whole brain. I don't have to just use the science stuff. I love science and math, but I like it when it can tell a story when it can solve a problem. That's what I always loved about engineering. It was just problem solving. And very soon I realized, in product and service development, is that the product and service is just a way of solving a problem. And that's really a business problem. Meet the customer's needs, hit the price point delivery, all those other things. And so it's really all just business problems. And so I engineer the business solutions, is what I do. And just use the good leadership techniques and help people solve their own problems. Try to lead them there, but not give them the answer so that they can solve it and learn it for themselves.

Paul Casey:

So our second engineer in a row on the show, and engineers with personality, I like to say.

Rocco Luongo:

We're a lot alike. Thank goodness. I was about to say, I'm glad you didn't say just one of them because then I'd be like, "Wait, which one am I?"

Paul Casey:

I also work with another group here in town. They call themselves accountants with personality. We like to tease some of the professions. They're scary smart.

Rocco Luongo:

Perfect.

Paul Casey:

So there were key moments along your journey. What helped you make some of those decisions about whether to jump or not to jump to a new opportunity? And what advice would you give to our listeners who have a crossroads decision to make?

Rocco Luongo:

Well, humans are emotional beings. And so ultimately, every decision you make is going to be emotional. If you're an engineer, you're going to do the math, you're going to do the projections. You'll figure it out. Hey, I'll make more money going this way or that way it'll take me more time this way or that way. But ultimately, you're going to make an emotional choice. And so what I recommend when you're at any kind of a crossroads is, examine your options, keep your options open. And one thing I like to do is I just take a look at the best case, worst case of making the choice or not. And you end up having four boxes if you take a look at that. And then you you can dig into those. You can look at financial specifics in each box, timeline specific box.

Rocco Luongo:

You should certainly include emotional impacts in those boxes. If I make the choice, wow, I'll feel amazing because I told my grandma on her death bed that I'd finally do this. And this is a big deal to me, even if it doesn't make as much money down the road. Or whatever it is. But realize, ultimately, your heart is going to choose. And so let it, but get all your thoughts together on paper so that you can sleep at night too.

Rocco Luongo:

And then when you've made the choice, do it, just do it, go and do it. And a lot more is lost due to inaction than wrong action, as I'm sure you've seen. Making rapid, high quality decisions is essential in business and in life. And one of the things that holds people back all the time is, they don't quite understand that not everything is quite as permanent as they might feel. If I'm at this crossroads, man, I'm going to be on it for the rest of my life. Not necessarily. If you look close enough, tomorrow, there'll be another crossroads you can see. And the day after that there'll be another one. Life is a series of opportunities if you keep your eyes open and you're tuned for it.

Paul Casey:

That's great advice. I love the four box system, but it doesn't have to be four boxes probably.

Rocco Luongo:

Sure.

Paul Casey:

But it's weighing out all the different categories. Like you said, emotional being one of those and that every decision you make probably isn't permanent. There's going to be a chance to iterate off that or go a different route. It's not all or nothing kind of thing.

Rocco Luongo:

That's right.

Paul Casey:

Good stuff.

Rocco Luongo:

Thanks.

Paul Casey:

What's most rewarding for you in your job? How do you stay focused on that? There's probably some hassles, disappointments like in every job, but instead of focusing on that, you're going to focus on what's rewarding. What is rewarding?

Rocco Luongo:

My client success is ultimately my success. And so, if you can just tune your services to the betterment of your client, so that literally you are doing the very best you can for them. And if you like to do that, then you're in the right field. That's going to be it. You'll enjoy it. And I also have learned, as I'm sure you've learned too, that you have to say no to certain clients, that there are just some clients that it's just not going to work out. And I can tell right away. At first, I couldn't. And so earlier in your career, you just want to try and serve everybody. I can help anybody. I can do anything. I can help with anything. And so you just learn that there are certain people who, what they need, isn't what I do.

Rocco Luongo:

If you want to grow, I can help you do that. If you want to set a measurable goal and set metrics and track them on a regular basis and adjust, I can help you with that. If you like feedback and accountability, I can help you with that. If you like treating your business like a business and actually building an advisory board, building a board of directors, if it's big enough, managing that, building your team, managing your team, if you really want to do all those things, not every company has to, but the more you want to take your business seriously, the more I will be able to help you with it.

Rocco Luongo:

I've had some clients that haven't done so well. They talk a good game, but they don't really deliver. I have been told erroneous numbers. How are sales going last week since we put in that thing? "Oh, it's going great." Weeks and weeks in a row. By the time we get to the monthly report, what's happened here? It's like a calamity. What is this dumpster fire of a report? Where are all these numbers? "Oh, I guess I wasn't right about that stuff." What are you doing? You're wasting your resources, my resources and time. You're not getting anywhere. What's going on here? I've understood what the DNA of an ideal client is. And my success is just their success. So if you'd like to grow, if you like to work towards measurable goals, especially in professional services, that's where I shine.

Paul Casey:

Your rubrics were very clear with that. So if someone, no matter what field they're listening to this podcast, how would you say they should figure out what their ideal ideal client is?

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah. And of course that can really vary. For example, in engineering, you may offer more than one service, in which case you may have more than one ideal client. Law firms, especially, too. Practice area. If you're in family law, if you're in crim or if you're in civil litigation, that ideal client is going to vary again.

Rocco Luongo:

But definitely understand your business in terms of the business model canvas, which is one of the models that we use here all the time at Fuse for the accelerator. Really take a look at who your client channels are going to be, your customer channels and customer segments are going to be, how you're going to reach them. Create personas for those people, give them a name like Paul, Cheryl, Brenda. Something that means something to you. Empathize with them, understand what it is. And then you can build it up. And then you can test it out with your clients. You can really see if that's going to be the right model for them. Am I going to be answering the questions right for them? And just try it out. You have to always test.

Paul Casey:

That is really important. So my ideal client, her name is Leslie Maxwell. I did give her a name and she's a middle manager on the way up, she reads Self magazine and does yoga and never has enough time for that. And has a couple of kids.

Rocco Luongo:

That's the perfect point.

Paul Casey:

Working with homeschooling right now and struggling with that. And I've created a whole page on my ideal clients. So that in your marketing, or as you say, when you're discerning whether this would be a great client for you, run it through that sieve and go, "Yeah. That's somebody that I could really serve."

Paul Casey:

So leaders have to keep growing or they become irrelevant. How have you matured as a leader, as a coach, even in recent years, maybe even in the last five years?

Rocco Luongo:

So, one thing that differentiates me is, I may not be the smartest guy, I may not be the fastest, whatever, but I love to learn. I absolutely love to learn and I spend a lot of time on it and I spend a lot of money on it. I'm constantly going to seminars. The last six months, not necessarily.

Paul Casey:

Right.

Rocco Luongo:

In case you guys haven't been paying attention, we've been having a bit of COVID issues going on. But I love going to seminars. I love going to learning opportunities. My wife and I actually go together. We're kind of nerdy that way.

Paul Casey:

Cool.

Rocco Luongo:

We do these things together. We're both into learning and professional development. So we do these things together. I love to read. My engineering side is math and tech heavy, so when I learn and read leadership books and business books, I can quickly distill down elements that I can work into models and tools that I can use in my practice. So I quickly build tools out of things I learn. And I can put them very rapidly to use because I've got a good recurring slate of clients on constantly trying these new things and seeing how they work.

Rocco Luongo:

So putting those things to use is really what helps. If you only read something, but don't write or create anything out of it, don't make a computer model or a guide or just a note to yourself, or whatever is meaningful to you, if it only stays in your brain and never comes to the real world, to some level, that's just entropy. That's just heat being wasted. It's energy, not being directed at a purpose. Once you write something down, that's a neural muscular process that really crystallizes your thoughts into something real. And if you want to take that and share it with a friend to hold you accountable, "Hey I wrote this down."

Paul Casey:

Even better.

Rocco Luongo:

Even better. So the number one thing really is just, I love to learn. I love to put it in action. And I think that energy just carries forward into my clients. They feel that and while we set goals and we achieve them. Your clients too, every client has setbacks, this happens. So how do you deal with a setback? How do you deal with the pivot? You just deal with it.

Paul Casey:

So you're sitting at a seminar at a conference... I'm just going to go there with you because this is so much fun. And a speaker is up there sharing. What are you doing while you're sitting there with your notebook? When right in the middle of a seminar, that person maybe sends a great idea or maybe it's just, you're in the zone with them.

Rocco Luongo:

Right. So I tend to listen with my whole body. So I just sit back and I just listen. I take it in with my eyes, my ears, just everything, the room around me. I just want to see how this whole thing is happening. It's just very exciting because I love doing talks myself. I love training. I love speaking. I did a Ted Talk. I just love this stuff. So I love watching every one of these presentations, because I'm always looking for a little nugget I can take back.

Rocco Luongo:

So what's in my notebook? Usually a top three is what I try to get, three things that are really meaningful to me out of this talk. Because I can't just spend my whole time writing notes or else I miss a lot of stuff with my head down. So I try to capture three big bullets.

Rocco Luongo:

And they are sometimes simply substantive, like a piece of information, like you can get 16% better web traffic if but blank. Oh, okay. That's cool. I'll write that down. That's a great idea. Sometimes it's about the structure. I saw one great talk and I've adopted this, and I encourage anybody out here listening to try this as well. Whenever you're doing any kind of a presentation, like a sales presentation, you're talking to a group, it's a free talk. Come on in. If you like, what I'm saying, come on, sign up. We'll have a meeting. Move into the process. I love having my clients come up and talk too. I share the stage with them. I let them talk about the challenges that they've been through, how we've solved them, how things are going now. Thank you very much.

Rocco Luongo:

So I end up doing relatively little of the talk. I provide the platform to my clients so that they can share what great things they're doing. And all of a sudden you've cleared a tremendous gap of credibility in the minds of the audience, because wow, this guy's got his clients up here saying great things. They're doing the talk for him. So I saw that one time and I'm like, "I'm definitely doing that. That's fantastic." Then I thought, "Man, can I get my clients to do that?" And guess what? You can, if you do a good job for your client. So couple of nuggets.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. Really good stuff. And just Tri-City influencers, it's really important to write after you read. And I love what you said about the neuromuscular connection that happens when you do that. I'm a massive filer, so I'll rip stuff out of magazines that have been highlighted, I'll file it by a certain leadership topic.

Rocco Luongo:

Nice.

Paul Casey:

And then that turns into a seminar or a book or something eventually. But you're right, I'm always ripping stuff out and doing stuff with it, journaling it. So much fun.

Paul Casey:

Most of our a to-do lists are greater than the time we have to do them. So that requires a leader or an entrepreneur to triage tasks, and delegate, outsource things so that you can focus on the most important tasks. So Rocco, how do you sort how you spend your time? And maybe what tips could you give on delegation or outsourcing?

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah. So how I sort my own time is, I've got overarching goals, like assets I'm building for other programs that I'm working on. I've got current client matters and I've got some administrative time. There's always some biz dev as well. So there are different categories. So I try to keep myself moving in each one of those categories. I've got a pretty good formula that keeps me moving in each one of those.

Rocco Luongo:

I developed a template I called the block and tackle sheet. And we'll probably talk later about my website, so if you can get it there later. We'll do that plug later. But it's one tool. It's a weekly organizer. It keeps me on track. I use it all the time. But how do I choose the stuff? I'm a big fan of Covey's four quadrants model.

Paul Casey:

Oh yeah.

Rocco Luongo:

The important versus urgent matrix. That one. Every now and then, we all get jammed up with too much stuff. And you've got these task lists that are maybe exploding out of control. I'm starting my third one before I finished the first two.

Paul Casey:

Day's gone wild.

Rocco Luongo:

Day's gone wild. Exactly. That's funny. And sometimes you do. I think you said triage in there. I sometimes just call it audit, but sometimes there needs to be a reboot. You got to pull the plug out on this, let it calm down for a minute and plug it back in and see what really matters. And so I generally have each one of my tasks on a little sticky note. I just like it. It's very visceral. When it's done, I put a little checkmark on it and I put a pile that at the end of the week, I review all my sticky notes. It helps me journal for my next week. So that's just my little model that I do.

Rocco Luongo:

But if the sticky notes get out of control, I will take them and literally take the four quadrants, put it up on one of my whiteboards and I'll just find a home for each one of them. And all of a sudden, you start seeing, well, man, if this thing is not important or urgent, time for them to go away. Sometimes a thing you thought was worthwhile to do, just didn't have enough priority and it kind of went away. It's been replaced by something else. And we just try to keep everything in that important, but not urgent box-

Paul Casey:

Yes. Quadrant two.

Rocco Luongo:

So you can plan it. That quadrant two. Exactly. As you know. And if anything else is urgent, then just handle it. Just handle it. And you can get wrapped up in so many things. Well, I'm a procrastinator or I feel anxious, or I just don't know what the right thing to do is. Well, you're a procrastinator or you're anxious, the same kind of thing to do is just start going. Just take action. Any action is so much better than wrong action that you are going to be moving yourself in a positive direction.

Rocco Luongo:

And if you don't know what to do, this can be the hardest thing in the world. Ask for help. Call a mentor, call you, Paul. Paul knows a lot of stuff. Call me, call any number of people. The Fuse mentor network. If you don't know them, call the pastor at your church, call the neighbor, call a friend, whatever is meaningful to you. Don't let it stew. I think people sometimes feel so very alone, especially early business folks can feel very alone, like it's me against the world. And that's really not true. Even here, especially in the Tri-Cities, we have a great community supporting entrepreneurs and there's a ton of people who'll give you help support for very little or for free. There's a lot of good people around. So ask for help.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. I love the “pull the plug and then plug it back in.” So I've asked my clients, this very week, one of the questions for an icebreaker, I asked them was, what do you do when you get overwhelmed? And you said the three things that are the number one, two and three answers. One is you’ve got to pull the plug, you got to step back, breathe, compose yourself. Second, you might have to just tackle one of those tasks and get something to done. Or make some progress, kick something down the road, spin that plate again. And then, ask for help, being that other one, because clearly it's too much for you because you're saying the word overwhelmed. So you're going to have to get some help.

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah. That's right.

Paul Casey:

Before we head to our next question on relationships and leadership, a shout out to our sponsors.

Paul Casey:

Mario Martinez, Northwestern Mutual, Mario, why should people work with a financial advisor?

Mario Martinez:

Hey Paul, that's a great question. Really. I think there's two types of people who should be seeking out a financial professional. The one person is somebody who has very limited access to financial guidance. Maybe they're a younger professional or somebody who just hasn't had an introduction to a financial professional yet. And the other type of person is really someone who has a lot of different exposure to different professionals. They just haven't found the one person that they really trust to take guidance from. So there's really an over information in that sense. So those are really the two types of people that should be looking to be introduced to a financial professional.

Paul Casey:

Fantastic. So Mario, how can people get in touch with you?

Mario Martinez:

The easiest way is to reach out to me directly on my business cell phone, which is (509) 591-5301. You can send an email to mario.Martinez@nm.com or you can find us on our business Facebook page, which is Mario Martinez, Northwestern Mutual.

Paul Casey:

So Rocco, you probably believe like I do that leadership is relationships. So talk to us about what relationships are key to your success? How do you intentionally develop relationships?

Rocco Luongo:

Well, I do agree that relationships are instrumental to leadership and business in general. Business is about people. You have to think of your customers as people, as individuals, solving an individual's problem. And if you do it right enough times, it becomes a business. And a big part of having a successful business is having good, both client relationships, but also other partner businesses that can provide complementary noncompeting services to help you become successful.

Rocco Luongo:

For example, like if we do off-sites for example, I'm not going to have everybody come to my home necessarily. We're going to go and rent a space. So you need to have that. You're going to have to understand how to work with catering. You're going to have to understand how to get your materials printed. You're going to have to understand how to work with event coordinators. In my team, I've got marketing people, I've got web people. So you need to be able to manage your team, both internal and external.

Rocco Luongo:

You also need to be able to manage your clients so that you can understand where their gaps are and augment them and help them be successful. And what I have to do to help one client be successful, isn't necessarily going to be the same thing as a different client. So I always mold my programs around their needs, as I'm sure you do too. That's one thing that a mechanical engineer learns is that people are not machines. Whether we all do something about it is different, but we all learn it pretty early. Some are just frustrated and stay stuck there. But the rest of us, we learn and people are emotional beings. And so you have to be intentional and well, start with your intention. That's how I do it. What is it that I need to get done? What value can I bring to this relationship that will be worthwhile for that person to come and get excited, and be motivated, to be a marketing affiliate or to be a service provider of whatever kind?

Paul Casey:

Which is one of the best networking tips that we could share is, go into those relationships serving. What can I do? What can I get? Can I give advice? Can I give a tip? Can I connect you to somebody else? People love those kind of connectors in our community. And people are going to love working with you if you're just kind to them and you treat them with honor and respect and value. So, I don't like the finance part of my job personally. So I've got a CPA and I've got a bookkeeper and I've got a wealth advisor and I love those folks and I want to treat them awesome because they're taking care of the stuff that I don't want to do.

Rocco Luongo:

That's right. And we need those results to be good.

Paul Casey:

We do.

Rocco Luongo:

Yeah.

Paul Casey:

Well, self-care is also essential to our mental health, especially in the land of COVID and just for top performance in general. Because if you melt down, you're not good for anybody. So what recharges your batteries?

Rocco Luongo:

So I'm a very athletic person. I played a lot of sports. I played Div One rugby in college. I love that kind of stuff. I did CrossFit for a long time. I love cycling, mountain biking. I mountain biked over the Alps while I was in Germany, a seven day trip. It was beautiful. I still go bike packing with friends. Carried that forward with my kids, biking and hiking to the level they're able. They're growing up. A lot of that has been changed because of COVID. Can't really go to the gym. It's not quite the same. So repurpose exercises as I can around the house. Going for a jog is pretty easy. You can pretty much always do that. Going for a bike ride again, pretty easy. You can always do that. Doing yoga, doing the video of yoga, sometimes some strength or flexibility based yoga is good.

Rocco Luongo:

It's really just about really picking a time to do it, and then following through on that time. And if you keep doing that long enough, then the pattern starts forming, breaks into your brain and into your heart. And then you start doing it. You look forward to it more and it becomes less of a burden and more of a true benefit. And some days you just don't feel like doing anything. And so you can honor that time too. You can say, "Well, I'm going to take a day off." If there's a couple too many of those days, then maybe you should say, "Well, maybe I'll do a 10 minute ride, not a one-hour ride?" Just get into it and do it.

Rocco Luongo:

And a lot of that, if you're resistant to it early, a lot of it's just this out the door factor. Once you're out the door doing the thing, you're probably going to like it.

Paul Casey:

Get started. Yeah.

Rocco Luongo:

It's just that activation energy to get you going. And I'm sure you've seen it too, but in coaching and consulting, you see that activation energy hurdle get in a lot of people's way on a lot of different kinds of topics. But get them started, that momentum will start building.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. A body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Rocco Luongo:

Yes. I'm pretty sure an English scientist who died a virgin said that a long time ago when an apple hit his head.

Paul Casey:

Activation energy. We just got to get going, put something into play. We've got to move.

Rocco Luongo:

Right.

Paul Casey:

Well, we've rarely discussed money on this podcast previously, but every leader, every entrepreneur has to know their organization's financials. What does evaluation of financials look like in your position?

Rocco Luongo:

So I'm also not a CPA. Pretty good with numbers. I do like numbers. And so what we do is, also bridging on what I said earlier, just to make sure no one is telling me baloney, we have standard reports that we take a look at. So I think the three most important financial reports that you look for in a business are going to be your balance sheet, your profit and loss and your cashflow statement. If I can see those things on a monthly basis and certainly on a quarterly basis, that's going to be adequate to handle that side.

Rocco Luongo:

What we do, then, we tie that back to other sets of metrics like number of impressions, or number of posts or a number of meetings, or whatever is meaningful for your business, that we can then tie to that top line in terms of revenue. And once you've done that, you basically can distill pretty much all businesses down to five numbers of business. You've got your leads, your conversions, number of transactions per client and average sale price per client, and then margin at the end, which incorporates all of your efficiencies and all of your inefficiencies, if the case may be. And then what comes out of it is profit. And so you can basically find what those four top line numbers are and tie them back into those standard three cashflow, profit and loss, and balance sheet statements. And then you can really see how the business is going.

Rocco Luongo:

And that's usually where we go, because money is an output, as you know. People get wrapped up on and it's also very emotional, but it's really an output. When you do enough of the right stuff, money ends up in your account. If you don't do the right stuff, money doesn't end up in your account. And that might seem flip, but it's pretty true.

Rocco Luongo:

What do you think?

Paul Casey:

Yeah. See, that's a lag measure. That's what you're describing. Right?

Rocco Luongo:

Exactly.

Paul Casey:

Money is that. In the lead measures, what are those things we can control? And as coaches, that's what we try to do is help people set those goals that are within their control, that's going to get them that money in the bank later.

Rocco Luongo:

That's right.

Paul Casey:

Good stuff. Finally, what advice, Rocco, would you give to new leaders or anyone who wants to keep growing and gaining more influence?

Rocco Luongo:

So the thing that I would say is, read first of all. Read a couple of key books, if you haven't already read them. Read Seven Habits by Steve Covey, which we talked about earlier. Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie. Go down the Collins road, probably do some Good to Great. That will really help you out. Boy, if you do any kind of management, checkout Blanchard stuff, One Minute Manager, that stuff is really good. I think between, I think four or five books I just said, man, if you get started there, you've really got a good foundation. Find yourself a group of other like-minded people who want to talk about these kinds of books and work together, if you can. Maybe like a little business book club kind of thing. Or come on down to Fuse or come on down to whatever your local business accelerator is.

Rocco Luongo:

Get involved. Get involved somewhere. Maybe it's a nonprofit that you want to get involved in, but put that leadership into play. Maybe become an advisor on a board somewhere or a board of directors member somewhere. Just take action, take motion, go in a direction and serve. And like we said, when you show up at that first meeting, what gift can you bring? If you go to someone's house for the first time, you're going to bring a gift. Well, I hope you will. Please bring a gift. Bring a gift with you. And this is also metaphorical. Maybe the gift you're bringing is a connection or a favor or something else, but bring some kind of a gift. And when you do that, it just makes everything easier. People are going to like you. They'll show that you care, you put some effort into this moment. Just everything goes a lot smoother if you do that. So I think you should prepare and then you should engage.

Paul Casey:

Great stuff. Well, Rocco, how can our listeners best connect with you?

Rocco Luongo:

You can check me out on my website, gorocco.pro. I've got my coaching and consulting stuff there. You can read what I do. You can see some of the other companies that I've worked with. You can also connect with me there. I have stayed pretty far away from social media over the last few months. It's just become dead toxic. So you can get on my mailing list there if you want. And I send out periodic emails with offers of services and also just things to think about and templates and tools.

Paul Casey:

Yeah. You mentioned one tool earlier. Did you want to plug that?

Rocco Luongo:

Oh yeah. The block and tackle sheet. That's my weekly planner. It's a two pager. There's a PDF. You can check it out on gorocco.pro. Go under resources, search for block and tackle sheet. It pops up. You can download it and fill it in. No charge there. Just trying to help. Trying to help you guys out.

Paul Casey:

Well, thanks again for all you do to make the Tri-Cities a great place and keep leading well.

Rocco Luongo:

Well, thank you, Paul. And thank you for having me on here and thank you for being a great leader of the Tri-Cities too. Appreciate you.

Paul Casey:

My pleasure. Well, let me wrap up our podcast today with a leadership resource to recommend. It's a program I'm offering here in the Tri-Cities for young professionals and emerging leaders. It's called Leader Launcher. You go to leader-launcher.com and it is a monthly seminar. Right now, it's virtual. We can't wait to get back together live, but it's a two-hour seminar on a leadership or personal growth proficiency. If you want to move up in your company, your organization, to the next level, you want to come to Leader Launcher.

Paul Casey:

You're going to meet some awesome people that are also at the same stage of leadership growth. You're going to pick up 12 proficiencies in a year. You're going to be able to put those right into play, like we talked about in our podcast. Again, leader-launcher.com.

Paul Casey:

Again, this is Paul Casey, and I want to thank my guest Rocco Luongo who is an executive coach for being here today on the Tri-Cities Influencer Podcast. We also want to thank our TCI sponsor and invite you to support them. We appreciate you making this possible so that we can collaborate to help inspire leaders in our community. Finally, one more leadership tip for the road to help you make a difference in your circle of influence. Leonard Bernstein said, "To achieve greatness two things are needed. A plan and not quite enough time." Until next time, KGF, keep growing forward.

Speaker 3:

Thank you to our listeners for tuning in to today's show. Paul Casey is on a mission to add value to leaders by providing practical tools and strategies that reduce stress in their lives and on their teams so that they can enjoy life and leadership and experience their key desired results.

Speaker 3:

If you'd like more help from Paul in your leadership development, connect with him at growingforward@paulcasey.org. For a consultation that can help you get past your current challenges and create the strategy for growth for life, grow your team forward. Paul would also like to help you restore your sanity to your crazy schedule and getting your priorities done every day by offering you his free Control My Calendar checklist. Go to www.takebackmycalendar.com for that productivity tool or open a text message to 72000 and type the word growing.

Paul Casey:

Tri-Cities influencer podcast is recorded at Fuse SPC by Bill Wagner of Safe Strategies.

67 episodes