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Episode 010 – Former Navy Officer and Current CEO Tom Schwab

Posted on Oct 6, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Former Navy officer and current CEO Tom Schwab talks leadership, how to praise people, and of course, Midshipmen football.
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He was an officer in the United States Navy before embarking on a successful career in medical device sales; Tom Schwab currently is COO of View from the Top, a business and life coaching business, and is the founder and CEO of Interview Valet, a white glove concierge podcast booking service.

Tom is an expert in the inbound marketing space, and he has a wealth of leadership experience and wisdom to impart to us today.


  1. Navy is 2-0 on the season and has a tough one with Tulane tonight; can the Midshipmen take care of business?
    1. Always look good!
  2. You served as a Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and in Operation Desert Storm. What did you do and how did that experience set the course for what you would go on to do?
    1. Naval Academy as mechanical engineer
    2. Nuclear power school
      1. Learned how to run a nuclear power plant
    3. Average age of people on that ship is 21
    4. Systems are what are key to that being a success
    5. He’s run a nuclear power plant and run a small business, and one of them was easy because it came with an instruction manual
    6. When something doesn’t go right in the military, it’s what is wrong with the system rather than what is wrong with the person. That translates.
    7. When mistakes are made, there is a debrief. Everyone is transparent about what happened and the lessons were shared throughout the organization. No shame in a mistake, but there is shame if it happens more than once.
    8. Some mistakes are ignorant, but those that are made after making decisions will happen.
    9. Failure is not making a mistake; failure is not learning from your mistakes
  3. Tell us about the medical device industry and some of the leaders in that field that made an impression on you.
    1. Leadership traits were similar
      1. Sharing vision of where we were going
      2. Could tell managers v leaders
      3. Not reacting to every fire that comes up
      4. Exuding confidence which is inspiring
    2. Great leaders he had
      1. Captain Haden of the aircraft carrier
        1. Praise in public, reprimand in private
        2. Only two or three years in my life I’ll get to do this; don’t want to waste a day of it by being negative
      2. John Brown of Stryker Corporation
      3. Honor to be in position they were in
      4. Excited and biggest organizational cheerleader
      5. Public praise
        1. It’s where your heart is
        2. If only done when you need something, then it comes across inauthentic
        3. Leaders don’t take praise for themselves; they give it away to their people
        4. Give it with something tangible if possible, but if not, just appreciation goes a long way
        5. Do this well, and people will stay and be loyal to your organization
  4. What were some of the lessons you learned about being a leader early in your career?
    1. Getting other people around you to get better ideas from; to get leverage
    2. Sometimes leaders early on get a Superman syndrome where they think they can do everything
    3. The smartest leaders empower people and get different ideas
    4. The limiting factor in any organization is the leader
    5. If you think you are the smartest people in the organization or that you are leading, then the people you are leading are in trouble
    6. When something needed to be done quickly, rather than taking it on by myself, I learned to get the team involved. (still a work in progress since a high D on the DISC chart!)
    7. (Daniel encourages you to put great people around you and empower them)
  5. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately and want to get your take on is the difference between leadership and management. How do you see those two terms? How are they different and how do they work together?
    1. You manage things; you lead people
    2. When you start viewing people as things to be managed, it is dehumanizing
    3. You hire a mule for his back, and hire a man for his mind
    4. Leadership mentality in people where know and understand the vision and where we’re going; they don’t need to be managed. If something happens to the manager, you’re in trouble. If something happens to the leader, others step up and lead.
    5. Mike Tyson: everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. So you have to build an organization that can respond…that takes leadership.
    6. There are a lot of people with titles that aren’t leaders, and a lot of people without titles who are leaders
    7. Leaders are determined by the followers
      1. To say you don’t have the title or position is a cop out
      2. Show up at an accident scene, you can be a leader
      3. In your family, in sports teams, etc. you can be a leader
      4. Often nobody wants to be, but the true leaders step up
  6. How have you gone about recruiting, building and retaining people in your various roles and companies?
    1. The Science of Success – Charles Kochyou hire for character
      1. If I hire people for character, I can teach them the skills
      2. Simon Sinek says start with why
      3. Every resume looks good/the same, but what do you love doing? What do you hate doing? Do you have passion for the job?
      4. (Daniel) Most employers flip the order and look at skills first and then the character
      5. If I wouldn’t trust them around my wallet or my family, then I won’t trust them in my business.
      6. (Daniel) you can wind up trying to rationalize away yellow/red flags on character/passion to hire someone with stellar skills/resume
      7. If someone comes just with skills, that is their limit, but if someone comes with character and passion, you can add to them with skills training
    2. What advice do you have both for interviewers and for interviewees to have success in their job/employee search?
      1. Have a story to tell; what makes you different?
      2. Where do you get your passion from? What do you want to go after?
      3. It’s easy to get a job and make money; it’s hard to find a job you love and that there is no dreaded Mondays
      4. The person who inspired the most in an interview were those who knew themselves well
      5. Example: orthopedic surgeons have a high churn rate, and within two years are making big career changes. The job just wasn’t a good fit for them; better to find that out as early as possible.
  7. You are big on mentorship, accountability groups, and mastermind groups. Can you describe what those look like for you and why you feel they are important?
    1. How Tom and I met
    2. Bible says not good for men to be alone, and that’s not just about marriage. It’s about humans not being isolated but being social.
    3. Happens normally in sports or school as a kid, but it’s harder and not as common to do as a adult
    4. Jim Rohn – you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with
    5. Groups can be around any time of common theme – husbands, fathers, entrepreneurs
      1. Accountability is a big part of this; you can’t get away with not
        1. Sometimes we start businesses so we don’t have to be accountable to anyone but ourselves, but the reality is we need to be accountable to our people (employees) and clients/customers.
    6. Important to share ideas/frustrations and get honest feedback
    7. Families/friends just want you to be happy and often times won’t rock the boat or challenge you; but accountability/mastermind groups just want you to be better
    8. (Daniel) We grow and become closer to what God created us to be when we live life in community.
      1. How effective are online meetings versus in-person?
    9. How can we go about forming these in our own communities?
  8. What advice do you have for young professionals who are striving to be better leaders or maybe even trying to get that first opportunity to lead?
    1. Don’t have to be limited any more to your local community; online community broadens the possible groups of people you can lead
    2. Servant leadership with the right heart and courage to step up and lead
      1. So many have the talents and skills, but are too scared to lead
      2. Similar to fear of public speaking – worse than the fear of death
        1. (Daniel) Jerry Seinfeld joke about if you have to go to a funeral you’d rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy
    3. There is no ideal time or age to step up and lead
      1. (Daniel) – some of the greatest leaders led while they were young (ex. Jesus, MLK)
    4. Another way to step into leading is to offer to help a current leader; they need help and sidekicks. And that’s a great place to learn and get an early taste of leadership
  9. What habits have been key to your success?
    1. Persistence – if you are persistent you can do anything
      1. If you have a goal, go for it
      2. When getting started in sales, a potential client commented that he didn’t know whether I was the stupidest person he had met or the most persistent, and eventually he decided to throw me a bone, and after that was never going away
      3. Married up / out of my league
    2. Focus – if you are always going after a new thing, you’ll never get success with it
      1. Instant gratification and fast cycle times are hurting people because they give up too quickly
      2. No overnight successes; lots of work went in (ex. Athletes earning gold medals)
  10. You are well known for your expertise in inbound marketing. Can you tell us exactly what inbound marketing is, why it is important and how we can take steps toward becoming proficient at it?
    1. Inbound marketing is permission based marketing
    2. Nobody likes to be sold by being interrupted
    3. Helping people make a buying decision
      1. Ex. Nobody says I want to be sold on the internet. They say “I need to fix this”
      2. Ex. Podcast is giving helpful information and not shouting advertisements at people
  11. Tell us about Interview Valet and the services you offer both to podcast hosts AND most importantly potential podcast guests.
    1. Inbound marketing agency – starting a conversation with a potentially ideal customer
    2. Could a business owner get on podcasts with targeted audiences that are potential customers?
    3. Podcasts convert 25x better than blogs
    4. Would you drive across town to speak to 10 ideal customers? Would you get on a plane and fly somewhere to speak to 1000? The answer is usually yes, and you could get on a podcast and wind up talking to thousands of people who are great clients/customers for the guest
  12. How can people connect with you and learn about your companies and programs?

Action Items:

  1. Whether you are looking for a new employer/job, or looking for a new employee, see if you can use shared values, character, fit and similar qualities as the FIRST screening mechanism, before moving on to credentials, skills and experience.  I’m betting you’ll be more successful in finding the right match.
  2. Claim your spot in a drawing for Don Yaeger’s book (episode 005) Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently.  Just go to iTunes and Subscribe, Rate and Review the show.  Next Thursday the 13th we’ll draw from those who participated!
  3. Recall from episode 004 with Renzi Stone that my wife Adrienne and I are matching donations to the Isaiah Stone Foundation for epilepsy research.  We’d love to match your gift!

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over


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