Key Takeaways

  • Clint Pulver discusses a significant moment in his life when Mr. Jensen, his teacher, recognized his talent for drumming. Mr. Jensen encouraged Clint to pursue drumming, which led to his successful career.
  • Clint emphasizes the importance of loving what you do, who you work with, and where you work. He shares his experience as an “undercover millennial,” posing as a prospective employee to gather insights about job satisfaction and workplace culture.
  • Clint draws parallels between creating a memorable song as a drummer and cultivating a positive workplace as a leader. He highlights the significance of fostering moments that make employees feel appreciated and significant, leading to longevity and a positive work environment.
  • Leaders can foster better understanding and communication to improve the work environment by asking specific questions about their satisfaction, obstacles, and career goals.
  • There is a delicate balance between performance standards and building connections with employees. While underperforming employees may need to be removed, many can improve with better guidance and connection from a supportive manager.

Executive Summary

Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on The Leader Show with Lou Carter. Joining us today is Clint Pulver, Emmy Award winner, musician, author, and professional keynote speaker. His book, “I Love It Here”, revolves around the theme of passion and love for one’s work, emphasizing significant moments in life that can bring about change.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the insights that Clint shares in this episode.

Clint’s Unique Drumming Act on America’s Got Talent and the Story of ‘Bald Man Bongos’

Firstly, Lou and Clint discuss Clint’s experience on the television show America’s Got Talent. 

Clint shares that he was contacted by the show’s producer, who was looking for a drummer. The unique part of Clint’s act involved playing the drums on the head of Howie Mandel, one of the show’s judges. Clint explains that the producers discovered him through his drumming videos on YouTube.

Clint reveals that much of the show is scripted, including his act of playing drums on the heads of bald men, which they referred to as “Bald Man Bongos.” They scripted it to appear as though Clint had come to audition for the show, and his performance included playing the drums on Howie’s head on the main stage.

The conversation continues with Lou asking about the specific rhythm Clint played on Howie’s head to avoid causing him harm. Clint responds that he played mostly single notes, with some doubles and a few paradiddles.

Clint’s ‘Inflection Point’ and the Life-Changing Influence of Educator Mr. Jensen

Next, Lou asks Clint about his “inflection point,” a term referring to a significant moment of change.

Clint recounts the story of an educator named Mr. Jensen, who recognized Clint’s constant movement and tapping not as a problem but as an indication of an inherent talent. Despite Clint’s struggles with sitting still and being deemed problematic because of it, Mr. Jensen noticed that Clint was ambidextrous, a trait often misunderstood and viewed as a disturbance by others.

Mr. Jensen once called Clint after class for a conversation, in which he challenged Clint to perform tasks that required coordination (like tapping his head and rubbing his belly at the same time, then reversing it), which Clint could do effortlessly. Recognizing Clint’s talent, Mr. Jensen gifted him his first pair of drumsticks, encouraging Clint to see what would unfold if he pursued drumming.

Clint expresses gratitude for this transformative moment and the role Mr. Jensen played in his life, allowing him to have a successful career as a drummer. Over the past 23 years, Clint has had opportunities to tour and record worldwide, play in significant events, work with the Utah Jazz NBA Drumline for seven years, and even perform on America’s Got Talent. Clint credits his success to Mr. Jensen’s act of seeing what was right with him rather than focusing on perceived flaws.

Clint’s Undercover Journey and the Dynamics of Loving Your Work, Co-workers, and Workplace

Moving on, Lou asks Clint about the dynamics of loving what you do, who you do it with, and where you do it. 

Clint talks about the importance of purpose and distinguishing between simply loving your job versus loving who you are while at work. He discusses his experience as an “undercover millennial,” where he would pose as a prospective employee to ask existing staff about their jobs in a variety of businesses. 

This approach allowed Clint to create an environment in which employees felt comfortable speaking their truth, leading to honest insights about their job satisfaction and workplace culture.

Based on this undercover research, Clint wrote a book called, “I Love It Here: How Great Leaders Create Organizations Their People Never Want to Leave.” The title reflects a recurring response from employees who loved not just their job but who they were while at work.

Clint concludes by drawing a parallel between creating a memorable song as a drummer and cultivating a positive workplace environment as a leader. Just as a good song becomes a hit through memorable moments, a workplace becomes an environment people love when it fosters moments that make employees feel significant and appreciated. This approach leads to longevity and legacy rather than being a “one-hit wonder.”

Clint’s ‘Status Interviews’ and the Art of Improving Employee Retention and Satisfaction

When asked about the kind of moments that leaders can create within their companies to foster a better work environment for their employees, Clint shares some insightful information.

He suggests that many managers are unaware of their shortcomings because employees are often reluctant to share negative feedback. He highlights that the pandemic has significantly changed the employment landscape, giving people more time to reflect on their work circumstances and consider alternative options.

To understand the status of their employees, Clint suggests that leaders conduct what he calls “status interviews.” These involve asking key employees whose departure would have a major impact on the organization three questions:

  • #1 What can I do as your employer to keep you here?
  • #2 What’s getting in the way of your success at work?
  • #3 What can I do as your manager or as your boss or your leader to help you get to where you want to go?

Clint strongly believes that asking these questions can open a window into the thoughts and feelings of employees, thus facilitating better understanding and communication between management and staff. He encourages employers not to fear potential answers but to use this information to improve the work environment.

Fostering Performance and Connection: Clint’s Insights on Improving Employee Engagement and Loyalty

On a similar note, Lou asks Clint about any information he obtained on employees who weren’t performing well or generating enough sales for their organizations.

The latter responds by discussing the delicate balance between standards (the expectations set for an employee’s performance) and connection (the relationships formed between co-workers and management). While some underperforming employees might need to be removed from the organization, he points out that many can improve with the guidance of a new manager who can better connect with them.

Lou agrees, noting that many organizations skip essential steps in the training process, such as building connections and aligning values, which are crucial for maintaining a positive vision of the future. Clint stresses that no significant loyalty can happen without significant connection, and the best way to build a trusting relationship with an employee is to show genuine interest in their well-being and development.

Lastly, Lou and Clint reflect on how their mutual interest in emotional connectedness led them to each other.

Lou and Clint go into much greater detail throughout this conversation. Additionally, Clint shows his drumming skills at Lou’s request, which elicits a response of profound admiration from Lou, adding a lively and harmonious note to their conversation.

Thank you for listening!


Lou Carter : Hey everybody, it's me, Lou Carter. How you doing? It's good to see everybody. And today's gonna be a fun day, cuz we're gonna do some drumming with Clint Pulver. And Clint's gonna show us a little bit about his book, too: I Love It Here. And it is about love, loving what you do. Also, really talking about these kind of moments in life that change you, that all leaders should be doing.

And I have a few of them myself you know, the president of my college gave me a chance to do a first college student run course evaluation guide, going from a time in my life in elementary school, where my teacher made me play the cowbell [laugh] instead of the snare drum that I wanted to play and never let me into the snare drum. So, I found George Holmes, who changed my life forever, and Clint's got someone like that too, he'll talk to you about.

And George taught me a lot. He taught me the rudiments, the stick control. And I really had that inflection point in my life. And I connect to Clint's story about that very much when he was given an opportunity. And that kind of real passion that exists between people and engagement is what Most Loved Workplace is really all about too. Creating that highly engaged, loving culture where people perform three to four times more, stay three to four times more, and everyone wants to work for you. And that really exists. And you'll see some of it today.

So, we'll play some drums, we'll learn about stories, we'll talk about. I love it here. And so ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Clint, your video. You're ready. Clint, you're on with me. Hey, Clint. Good to see you.

Clint Pulver : Good to see you. Thanks for having me on.

LC : Yeah, man, it's good to see you. And it, you know, I wanna learn a lot about you and I wanna hear too about American Idol. If we just start there, I think it'd be kind of cool. Like, you know, what happened? How did you get to American Idol? Let's talk about that first.

CP : So, as America's Got Talent…

LC : America’s Got Talent.

Behind the Beat: An Unexpected Journey from YouTube to TV, Playing 'Bald Man Bongos' [02:37]

CP : Yeah. And I was contacted by the show, by the show's producer. They were looking for a drummer and they wanted me to come on to literally play the drums on Howie Mendel's head [laugh]. That is the true story of how it all began and started. And they had heard about me, had seen me on YouTube, had watched videos of me drumming and wanted a, you know, semi, somewhat famous drummer to come on the show. And they scripted it out. There's a lot of, you know, most people don't know this, but much of the show is scripted. It's all television. It's all about creating a good story.

So, they scripted it out to make it look like we came and auditioned. And I was playing drums on the heads of bald men [laugh], and they called it Bald Man Bongos. And….

LC : I gotta put my hat on Clint so I can….

CP : Yeah, yeah. There you go. There you go. Now, now we're, now we're talking.

LC : Now we're feeling. Go ahead.

CP : And that's how it happened. I went and we auditioned. We were on the main stage. We weren't really auditioning, but, and then they brought Howie Mendel on the stage and I played the drums on his head. [Laugh].

LC : That's awesome. What did you play? So, that's the question. Like, you know, to not hurt him, were you at a four, four or six, eight? What kind of, you know, what did you play? Just, is it a kind of singles or what?

CP : Yeah, Yeah. Just a lot of singles. A lot of singles, some doubles, a couple little, little paradiddles on his head.

LC : [Laugh]. Nice. That's an awesome story. So that kind of began and, and you've been living kind of that passion, right? In everything you do and the story, I really like the story, the inflection point you had. Tell us about your inflection point, that kind of pivot moment for you when, you know, when you're a kid and you saw that sort of a leader who found this in you and I about being ambidextrous and seeing something in you perhaps that you didn't see, which is what we all need to do as leaders.

Finding the Beat: How A Unique Talent Was Discovered and Nurtured By A Remarkable Educator [04:28]

CP : Yeah. I had an educator in my life called Mr. Jensen, that was his name. And he changed my life. I was the kid that was always deemed a problem. I was the kid that had a hard time sitting still. I still have a hard time sitting still. I would just tap, I would move, I would, my hands would go, it would, it would happen when I would focus, even when I would read or I could write with my right hand. And then I could switch the pen and write with my left hand and I would tap while I was writing.

Like I just had this ambidextrous quality. And everybody saw that as an annoyance. [Laugh], [laugh], everybody saw that as a limitation, as a disturbance, as a problem. But it was that teacher, Mr. Jensen, who, you know, 23 years ago, called me after class and said, I need to see you. We're gonna have a conversation. And he sat me down and he said, listen, I've been watching you. And it's just crazy what you can do. And I know you're the kid that's kind of on the list. You're the kid that everybody, they talk about the teachers talk about you. I know you get teased, I know you get bullied, but it's crazy as I watch, you know, I wanna know if you can do this.

And he asked if I could, I could tap my head and rub my belly at the same time. And I gave it a go and I could do it. And he said, can you switch that? Can you rub your head and then tap your belly? And literally, without thinking about it, I could do it. And he looked at me and he said, I don't think you're a problem. I just think you're a drummer. And sometimes people hear that and they're like, oh geez, what's the difference between those two?

LC : [Laugh] I was just gonna say, usually that's the problem.

CP : Yeah. And I believe in moments though, I'm a huge, huge fan of moments. I think that that's in our lives, that's what we remember. We don't remember days, we remember moments. We remember those specific experiences when we're at the right place, at the right time with the right person, where this or this happens. And it's pivotal, it's significant. It's epic. It's something that really does write a great story because in that moment, Mr. Jensen, that old teacher, he leaned back in his desk, he opened up the top drawer and he reached inside and he took out my very first pair of drumsticks, my very first pair, and put 'em in my hands.

And he said, I have no idea what's gonna happen, but this is what I see when I look at you and keep 'em in your hands and let's just see how the story unfolds. And that was 23 years ago. And for 23 years, I've had the opportunity to tour and record all over the world as a professional drummer and have played some really cool shows and events and artists and touring and recording and coaching. And I worked with the Utah Jazz, NBA Drumline for seven years. My whole college education was paid for. America's Got Talent. I mean, my life has drastically changed and been a better story because one person chose to see what was right instead of seeing what was wrong.

LC : That's awesome. And, well, talking about bands and because I was just asked this the other day and they said, you know, what makes you or others really love what they do in a band, right? Even though there's conflict and there's one thing that sort of is a common denominator in everything you do, which is you love what you do.

So, the question is, there's the why question, which is kind of metaphysical, oh, I love what I do cuz I love to do what I'm doing. And you get back to the same question right, to the actual job itself. There's something bigger though, isn't there, than just, I love what I'm doing, it's love what I do and love who I'm doing this with and what I'm doing as a larger institution. Tell me more about how that works for you and how you see that within companies too. Cause I see it all the time, you know, we have jobs. I love my job, but I love my job, but do I love the company? Right? And am I in an existential crisis right now in my work? Right? Everyone's saying that right now.

So, what do you see as sort of the way for you to kind of bring that kind of same feeling of drumming, goodness, you know, and awareness of those people. What have you seen?

An Undercover Journey Into Successful Workplaces and the Resonance of Purpose [08:30]

CP : Well, I would call what you're explaining: purpose. You know, there's passion, there's the ability to provide and then there's purpose. The ability to really do something bigger than yourself. That sense of significance in the workplace, not just success. There's a big difference between those two things that it comes down to really not just loving your job or loving where you work, but actually loving who you are while you're at work. That's a big difference. And just to give a little bit of context, for the last five years I've worked as the undercover millennial, it's kinda like undercover boss without the makeup.

I would go undercover as a millennial. That's what I am by the age I was born, the year I was born. And so as a millennial, I would go into an organization undercover as someone who was looking for a job.

So I'd walk into a Chick-fil-A, a Walmart to Verizon store, a hospitality chain, a construction site. And I'd go up to the first person that I saw and I'd just say, Hey, I'm just thinking about applying, you know, what's it like? Would you recommend it? And the employee, they always get quiet, you know, they kind of look around. It feels like an illegal drug exchange, [laugh]. And then they tell me everything. Everything. Because I'm not a survey, I'm not another manager. I'm not within the company. I'm just a potential hire.

And in doing so, we created an environment where employees could speak their truth. They could be really honest with me. And we have done that with hundreds and hundreds of organizations. And I have interviewed thousands and thousands of employees undercover. And we wrote a book about it. And the book is called, I Love It Here: How Great Leaders Create Organizations Their People Never Want to Leave.

And to answer your question, that 's really the reason why I titled the book: I Love It Here, because that was the magic of the research, is when I would go into an organization and say, what's it like to work here? And employees would respond with, I love it here. I love my job, I love what I get to do. I love who I am while I'm here. You should apply. And then I'd go to the next employee and the next and the next in that organization. And they would all have similar responses.

Why? What was it that the leaders were doing in that culture to create that kind of loyalty and significance? It's the same thing I do as a drummer when I sit down and play with other musicians. I've never, in all of the years, I've played as a professional drummer. No musician has ever asked, you know, how fast can you play? And no musician ever asked like, well, you know, we'll hire you, but we only hire you if you can do the, like, the stick twirly thing. Can you twirl your sticks? Like nobody cares.

What they care about are the moments that I create in the music. That's how a good song becomes a hit song. I can sit down and I could play three seconds of We Will Rock You. And instantly people know what that is. I could play the, the, the fill for from Phil Collins right In The Air Tonight. People would recognize that I could play Wipe out, wipe out [laugh] iconic moments that drummers have made in music that took a good song and made it a hit song. And, it's the same thing in leadership. How do we create those moments where people, when they're at work, they go, yeah, I like it.

And they want to come back and they wanna be there. It's the same thing in music. How do we create a song where people go, ah, I like it. And they listen to it again and again and again and again. And in doing so, it becomes significant, legendary, not just a one hit wonder.

LC : Hey, Clint, what did you find were some of those moments if you were to define them inside of companies? I know people will wanna know that. So what kind of moments they can make for employees.

Conducting Status Interviews to Gauge Employee Satisfaction in a Rapidly Changing Work Landscape [12:16]

CP : Yeah. Right now, one of the first things I would talk about that employees talked about, again, I'm speaking from the lens of the employee because I think it's important to understand, because most managers have no idea when they're doing poorly because no employee is gonna speak their truth. No employee's gonna walk up to you as a leader and say, Hey, I just want you to know you micromanage everything that I do. Just want you to know that [laugh].

No employee's gonna say you know, I you're the guy that takes all the credit when we win as a team, I just want you to know that. You're also the guy that blames everybody else when we lose. Like most employees don't say that. So, most managers have no idea when they're doing poorly. One thing that I would recommend as we're coming into this crazy time amidst COVID and within COVID and we're, things are coming up now with the variable and we're coming into flu season, employees have two things on their mind.

Number one, they remember how they were treated during the pandemic. And currently during the pandemic. Second, they've all had time to think employees have had time. And now in the world, the landscape of employment has changed probably more than it has in the last 70, 80 years. And that's where employees are realizing, I can live in Colorado and work in New York City whenever I want and make twice as much. I can have flexibility. They've got options where most employees, yeah, especially my generation and younger, have three or four jobs. We have three or four side hustles besides the main job.

The landscape has really changed. And it's given people the chance to kind of question and go, do I really wanna be here? And so one of the greatest ways for you to tap into what your employees are really thinking, wanting, and feeling, is to conduct what I call a status interview.

Most employers have no idea what the status is. The status would determine the vital signs of how your employee is doing. And then that determines treatment. Check the vitals that determine treatment. So in the status interview, I would recommend for everybody that's listening, if you have employees, think of two or three of them that if they left tomorrow in your organization, it would put you in a hard spot. People that you just, you can't lose right now. I would create a moment with those people, bring them in, start with vocal praise, and then ask them these three questions.

Number one, what can I do as your employer to keep you here? Number two, what's getting in the way of your success at work? And number three, what can I do as your manager or as your boss or your leader to help you get to where you wanna go? Those three questions. Most employees are never asked those questions because employers are sometimes worried or are, you know, they're afraid to get the answer. And those questions, I believe open up the window to understand the status of what your employees are really feeling and thinking right now.

LC : Hey, Clint, did you get any info on problem employees, employees who weren't performing and didn't bring in sales or weren't doing very well? And yeah. Did you get any info on them?

The Power of Connection: Nurturing Employee Loyalty Through Genuine Relationships [15:27]

CP : Yep. There's always a line between standards in an organization and connection. So standards you always have to have as an employer. Well, there's a job to be done, there's business to be had, there's profits that need to be made. There's the bottom line, there's projections, there's goals, there's growth, there's development in a company. The second piece is that connection piece though, to be able to empathize. And if you have somebody in that organization that isn't pulling their weight, that isn't doing what they need to do, it's a hard, it's hard to give a, like a, a golden rule answer to this because every situation is different. But I will say that some people need to be coached out.

LC : Yeah.

CP : There are some people that need to leave your organization, but I've also seen those hard employees that are struggling and they get a new manager and then all of a sudden in literally a month or two, they change and they start performing better because of what the manager did. So it depends. There's always a different situation and there are those managers that are hitting their head against a wall with an employee and it's just not moving. And I think we have an obligation as leaders to again, help people to live fulfilling lives. And if that means they need to live a more fulfilling life outside of your company, then that's okay too.

LC : Cool. Yeah, it is funny. There's this intermediary step right to training that we don't talk about. And it seems to sort of fluffy, but it's not because connection's essential, respect. How do we collaborate? How do we keep that positive vision of the future? In what ways are we aligning values and then getting to achievement? Yeah. So we jump too quickly and we immediately grab the person and say, learn this and do that because it's too late. Right? And learn all these best practices. And there's steps in between that we forget about.

CP : Yep. In our research, we found that no significant loyalty will ever happen without significant connection. Period. No significant loyalty ever happens without significant connection. Sometimes as managers, you know, they're trying to make these withdrawals, but they've never made any deposits of trust. So, there's nothing in the bank account of that world of connection to make the withdrawals. But yet they're still trying. And it creates rebellion. It creates pushback, it creates division, it creates lack of communication. It creates a lack of empathy.

So, connect because every employee, this is something I learned firsthand. Every employee is always asking this of their employer. Let me know when it gets to the part about me. And sometimes we hear that in management and we think, well, those entitled little shining stars in my life, [laugh]. Like, let me know when it gets to the part about me, and I would say it's not so much about entitlement, it's about bringing humanity back into the workplace.

LC : Yeah. It's funny. I think we found each other through emotional connectedness. Did we? Is that what we originally did?

CP : I think so. I'm not totally certain. I don't know.

LC : Yeah, we probably did. We're really similar in some strange ways. We did academic research on emotional connectedness and employee sentiment and connected it to something called A-ffective Commitment. Affective. So the Affect and Commitment itself. And look what John just said, he said, kindred spirits. Clint, Lou and I patch for drumming purpose. Focus on changing organizations. Right on, John. Yeah, exactly. [Laugh] love. This is why I love you. This is why I love you John, Rock and Roll.

CP : Yeah. Rock on, John.

LC : Yeah. John John tells us where John will tell us. He was a drummer in the eighties for some glam bands, right, John? So [laugh], he's a cool guy. And yeah. So we all believe in the same thing actually. So Affective Commitment is basically, it's one of three kinds of ways of being committed to an organization. The other two there to is Normative. And then you, so you, kind of look at normative is basically, I think like I have to be here, right? Or something horrible will happen to me, [laugh], the other one's Continuance, which is, I have to do this because John says, “I love you too, change the world.” And so the other one is like, I've gotta be here, I've gotta continue because I need the paycheck. Right? But the new one that happens everywhere is Affective.

I feel like I want to be here cuz I dig being here. I love doing what I'm doing. And as John said, “Change the world.” So yes, connect the purpose. It's like, we're like, you and I are very similar in a lot of stuff. So it's super cool. So John's here. So let me ask you a question. Have you, you've heard of them on Johnny's beat. There's also like, Stu Copeland. Stu Copeland, when he was and you know, this is a drummer. When he was first drumming, he heard what was in between the beats, the spaces in between the beats.

And you know, this. So, and so he created kind of his personal rhythm and personal signature. Chester Thompson did the same thing, really. I mean, you go back to the beginning of time for drummers and Stu in particular did, he syncopated and he looked at what's in between the beat. And you talked about that signature sort of branding philosophy that you have in drumming too. And wipe out, you know, the own [inaudible].

What would you say, you know, we can talk about leadership, but do you have a signature drum brand that you do? I have one too. I'm just wondering if your drum brand or leadership brand or something that you, you kind of noticed when you, when you play that you do a lot and then we could kind of connect it.

Embracing Individuality in Drumming: From Unique Setups to Blindfolded Performances [21:07]

CP : Yeah, there's a lot of, you know, every drummer has like their own their own fingerprint. You could call it. Like even my setup, my setup, I am known for having a floor tom on my left side as well as on my right side. [inaudible]...don't do that. I will even mix my Toms, instead of going from an eight-inch Tom to a 10-inch Tom to a 12-inch Tom, I'll sometimes put the 12-inch here and put the eight-inch over here.

LC : Oh, sweet.

CP : And so mixing that up. So, there's just that like my symbol preferences, my depths, because that controls my sound that controls my playing style. So there's a whole [laugh] lesson in that and why I choose to play that way. So many drummers would recognize that sound just from how my setup is and how I would play or how I would tune the heads that I use, the symbols that I endorse, even down to the sticks that I play with. Because they all create different sounds. The other thing I would say is kind of a signature move. So, right now what I do a lot of is professional speaking and the drumming is an aspect of that. And so it's a lot of drum soloing, a lot of solo work. So something that I do in my solo is I blindfold myself. And….

LC : I used to do that. Yeah.

CP : I play blindfolded. So a lot of people have known me or have branded me as the blindfolded drummer. Yeah, so.

LC : It is so funny. When I was in a band after college we had a play space. This is my first band after college, we had a play space and it was pitch dark cuz we didn't have any windows. You know what I, so the guys would go do their thing, you know, the breaks, right? I was never into breaks cuz I didn't do what the guys did during breaks, if you know what I mean. Right?

CP : Yep, yep.

LC : So I was not into that. So I said shut the door, pitch dark. And I played because it is this thing about feeling, you feel the drums, you let go of one of your senses.

CP : Yeah.

LC : And then you can see all, now if we made the allegory with employees, it's you let go of this sense of feeling very angry and you let go of that emotional ego part or the politics, the roadblocks, that's whatever is in your way. And you can see more. You get rid of this idea of that I will fail. Yeah. What if I fail? You know, do I have sales anxiety, some sort of performance anxiety? You put this on and you know where everything is. You know, that you just set up your kit to be the eight, nine, right? 10 and 12 and floor and four. You probably, you know, you probably have, I bet you have a high hat on the left and right. Right. Because you're ambidextrous. Right.? I do.

CP : I do, I have it on both sides. Yeah.

LC : Totally. Sweet. You know, so like you have your brand, right? Everybody has to find that personal leadership philosophy brand, right? Yeah. And behaviors that they dig or they can be in as leaders.

The Balance of Rules and Passion, and the Undeniable Power of Connection [24:14]

CP : There's such a, you brought up a really great point. There's such a balance as a drummer that relates to business in that we have music that we play to as drummers, but most drummers don't read music line for line. Meaning that they might know how to read. But when they sit down with a band, they'll look at it, they call, we call it charts charting. They'll chart out the music. You'll have, you'll get the, you know, the breaks and where's the chorus? And we understand the rules of music and a bridge and the composition of a song. But after that, everything else that really makes a drummer significant in a band is right here. So in business we would call that tangibles versus intangibles.

So, the hardcore rules and bottom line and the development and profitability and the market and marketing. And there's rules in business. There really are. But then there's the, there's the intangibles, the love, the, the passion, the empathy, the connection, the things that you can't really chart. You can't really, you can't track that. But it does matter.

LC : That's 80-20. 20% stick control at rudiments. 80% heart, knowing what things are going here, hearing to the band. The Allman Brothers, I was up for them. I was a contract drummer and was up for them for a while. And so anyway I could tell you a story later, but the all brothers, it's all about what's in between. Right? And you gotta, and like even I know he passed away. Dickie Bets talks about this all the time. He said, you gotta hear the guitarist follow the guitarist. Cuz Allman Brothers was all lead and rhythm. So the lead rhythm was everything, right? It was everything, man. And like other bands, it's bass, other bands it's keyboards, right? And John has a lot of things he'll say, I'll John, I'll get to you in a sec.

But it was key. It was keys and rhythm. Bend Folds. He went to drum school and he got kicked out. [Laugh], everyone was making fun of him, right? So he said, I'm gonna go to the Keys. So that piano became the rhythm section. And the drummer followed the pianist. And it was mostly four four because maybe cuz he left drum school, but [laugh]. But I mean, he can do six eights and different signatures on the piano. He's brilliant, he's like one of the most brilliant musicians that I think since Beethoven.

And it's kind of crazy to say that, but I really do believe Ben Folds is the Mozart of our time. And I'm not sure what you believe. I think he's the literally is Mozart, Beethoven. He's the most brilliant mind I've ever known.

So that kind of, you know, movement from drums to piano is his sig. Right? And like his heart and his stories. That's it. [Laugh], that's what makes him extremely famous and lovable. You know these stories about where his divorces his children, his love for his children, his failures you know, abortions he went through with his family that everything about him. But John just wants to say this one thing. He had a bail ride, 22 leather, the attach photo set. Yes. Attach it John. And that John worked with the International Hotels Groups executive team with top 175 leaders through a Cadence CEO on bass drum. That's funny, man. So, yeah, I mean, that's the kind of thing, like you get a CEO get on a bass drum, you get people, it kind of makes 'em human because we always say we're all drummers. Right?

CP : Totally. And I think too, I've never had anybody come up to me after a performance or a show or a drum solo and say, that's not a drummer that comment and say, oh man, I just, I loved your technique. You know, I love Oh man, the way you played those paradiddles and your flam accents. Nobody says that. What they comment on is the energy, my passion. Like, I just like you're feeling and how it made me feel like that's what I loved. Like, they love seeing that energy. And again, so it's, it's an interesting thing between what drummers would recognize and what the general audience would recognize. And I think that's really important to know in leadership that most employees could care less on how, you know you know, I, they don't work at a company because you ran a meeting really well.

They don't work at a company because you're really good at market projections. Like, that's not what they talk about. What they talked about is how you made them feel when you got to the part about them. They talk about the moments where you communicated potential worth when you advocated for them. When you pre created growth opportunity. You look at the people in your life that you remember. You know, if I were to ask you to tell me who the last three NFL MVPs were or who were the last two Academy award winners for best actor, or could you tell me who the last two Miss Americas were? Most people have no idea. [Laugh], they have no clue who those people are.

LC : Yeah. Right, of course. Yeah.

CP : But then if I, if I were to ask you, tell me the name of the teacher that made the biggest difference in your life. You already mentioned them. What’s the teacher's name?

LC : Yeah. George Holmes. George, the Drum teacher.

CP : Yeah? Or think of, you know, what's the name of one person in your current organization who has made your life a better story?

LC : Right

CP : Like, you know, their name. And, and so it's the difference between significance and success. And it's sometimes easy to focus on that development and the successful side of business when it is really the significance that we remember. It's the significance that we cherish. It's the significance that we never forget. And I think it's a really important lesson. And some leaders don't like to hear that because that's not measurable and that's not [laugh] focusing on the bottom line, but to your people, it is everything.

LC : And you know what, you know what Clint, it is measurable. That's what people see. Because culture can be measured and you can connect it to quantifiable numbers, recruitment, retention, performance. We have that data. That's why I've gotta, we've gotta wrap. I've gotta send you this afterward. I'll show you where it is. It can be connected. And you know, like John just said, the magic happens when you stop focusing on the instrument and start listening to the band music as a team experience. You know? And what you're talking about too is though I want to, I want to, I want to acknowledge and also appreciate and respect what you just said about the audience.

Because as an undercover millennial, you said, okay, slow down everybody. You're looking at the numbers, the strategy, the 10Ks, the 10Qs. Right. You know, and you're just so dug in to this experience of the board, you're not seeing this larger picture. Because when I drum, guess what? People aren't looking at my paradiddles and double stroke roles and quadruplets and fills and they're looking at my energy and whether I'm connecting to people. That's right. And that's, that's what, that's why they will come back to get another ticket.

CP : Yep.

LC : Yep. And an issue like, so I'm gonna go undercover, figure out what the real deal is.

CP : Totally.

LC : And so you, we have got, people have to see this, they have to understand the power of this, you know, and to let them feel it and be in it because it's the next level, this feeling and performance and the connection between these two variables.

CP : That's right.

LC : I mean, it's so tangible, so tangible, man. You know.

How Drumming and Business Align [31:59]

CP : And I think when we're talking about tangibility as well, like there is something to be said for, you can have all the energy in the world, you can be passionate, but if you play in a band as a drummer and you don't know how to keep time, there's a problem. So that's why, again, there is a level of standards that needs to be met. And once that's there, like so much of everything else comes from that connection piece. But again, I do think it's important to mention that the standards still needs to be there.

You still need to know how to play the instrument. [Laugh], you still, there are laws of music in order for people to work together and to create that, those laws have to somewhat fundamentally be there. If you're playing with a group, if you're working as a team, if you're really unifying as a band, right? If everybody's playing in four, four, and I wanna play in five, that doesn't always work. So….

LC : And there are tools for that too. Like in teams knowing, and not many people do know the rules by the way, in teams. That's the thing. There are four player roles in teams, mover, supporter, challenger, mirror. If that doesn't happen, then the team falls apart. It's actually the same as in a band actually. You have to do all four of those things. List and support, challenge a bit to make it better, right. And then, and then actually mirror.

So, you have to do those things. You have to, you do have to keep time right in the minutes. And there has to be a timekeeper literally in meetings thinking about time. You know, there has to be equal air time that shows respect someone's hogging in the air. You've talked for 30 seconds, the other person talks for five minutes.

Life sucks, you know, and Cadence too. So I mean, there's a beauty to these transformational moments that can happen in the room and for people to see what's happening in the room, just like in a practice room and having those kinds of fundamental leadership management employeeship rules as well. So it's just not one side or the other.

So, in Ben Folds concerts, the audience takes part in it. He's with the Australian Symphony Orchestra, and he, the audience does all of his singing and his chords, they sing it and they say it. And they actually take part in an acapella moment with him. So, there's a connection between the two, you know, as John said, corporate, I can't believe John's like the John [laugh]. You're like, why don't you just come onto this? He said, corporate transformation is like asking executive to learn to play five, six times. You're can only manage in four four.

CP : That's right. That's right.

LC : Yeah and Right on. And what John's saying is that, you know, there's more complicated ways of you need to learn, not just in drumming, also in leadership, which might be that, you know, if you're too transactional as a CEO and you're not using enough empathy and emotional regulation and understanding the big picture thinking or even action how systems thinking, how your actions affect others, then, well, you're just a four, four drummer.

CP : Yeah. Well, and if you're trying to play jazz in a rock band, right? There's a time and a place for different styles of music, different styles of playing. Sometimes I'll hold traditional grip because I need a softer fill and the music calls for that. And other times I gotta slam that drum because that's what the music calls for. There's also, you know, the style are you playing in a Latin groove when you should be playing heavy metal [laugh].

And that doesn't work, right? It could, I also wanna be careful. There's always, you know, sometimes not rules in music. But again, if, if you're playing in a rock band and, and you're trying to play Latin you know funk music sometimes that it, it's it doesn't work. If that's not the goal of the band, if that's not the direction of what we're trying to do, if that's not serving the music that band is trying to create.

LC : Right, and that's alignment, right? What a leader does is aligned with that of the company. And, you know, you're not just signature and right meter rhythm loudness brushes. So let's get on the kit. Go on the kit. You go on the kit, man, can we bring you I love that. I love the kit. Such a sweet kit.

CP : All right.

LC : Yeah, man. So you got the, you got the kit, there you are. Yeah. and so you got the two high hats you got. And you got, oh, wow. Wow. Okay. You got latches to the left and right.

CP : High hat here. Yep. Two high hats.

LC : So this is your signature kit here. I mean, this really is you, this is uniquely you.

CP : Totally, yep. Everything on the drum set has a purpose. Everything is placed in a certain height for a purpose down to the cowbell, to my accent symbols, to obviously Tom's on the right, on the left. Sizes, depths, all of it has a reason.

LC : And you get, I was think, you know, you, you have your high hat on the left is gonna give you a lot of noise. Hard rock. The one on your right is gonna give you some nice sweet kind of you know, specific notes that you could use on the, on a hard ride, but you'd be really tight on your right. And you could, so can you. So why don't we do this? Why don't we kind of think about the kit, right? And think about like, you know, what would it be when you know, you need, you know, we need everybody to hear you, right? [Laugh], You could try the hard, try the sock. Tell me, bring me through what you, how you show the metaphor and approach when you're, when you're with people, tell us more and love what you do.

Creating Musical Masterpieces: The Art and Leadership Lessons from Drumming [37:39]

CP : Yeah. It's almost like you're creating a recipe, right? You're creating, you're creating a dish, [laugh], and sometimes you add a little salt, sometimes it needs a little pepper. Sometimes you wanna add a little oregano, [laugh]. And the drums give you the chance to do that. Whether it's through a drum fill, whether it's through an actual rhythm that you're doing. If I wanna spice it up, or if I want to keep it really simple and crisp. If I want to add some complexity, add some dynamics.

If I want to change the tone, if I want to go from a high to a low, it really is. I look at it as just me adding in different things. And sometimes less is more. But sometimes it's fun to add in a bunch of stuff and see what comes out. The cool part is, the drums give you the versatility to really control so much of how the music feels, how the music sounds. And I've just got the different tools or the different ingredients that allow me to control that.

LC : So, do you have, what would you say you wanna cook up today? What do you wanna cook up, Eddie? You know…

CP : I’ll show you. Wait, let's play a little bit. Let's see how the sound works. And let's, I'll show you the difference.

LC : Sweet man, I was just [inaudible] my mic there. That was awesome, man. Totally. I love those. I love those fills.

CP : So, can you see that kind of difference, right? Of, you know, it just starts out as a simple beat and then add in a little something, something here on the Toms to kind of break it up. And then we add a little more salt and pepper with the second high hat. And it just, it just, it takes you on a journey. It transforms the rhythm. I'm still in the same time signature the whole time, but I just spiced it up a little.

LC : Sweet. Also, you know, you were playing to your own beat, right? So if you're in a band, you might keep the beginning and then spice it up on the changes of the bridge, right? So you have to be knowledgeable of what it looks like.

So, wait, let's go to others. I love the beat you laid down. It was really cool. Show me a little bit where it gets a little more complex. Maybe throw in a little bit of different time signatures or what you wanna do. What feels good to you right now, to play. Go ahead.

CP : Ahead. Yeah. Here's an idea. I think something that's really important in business to understand and know is who are you listening to In drumming, we call this, there's on time, like when you're, you're, you're sticking on the time signature, you're on, you're counting within that time signature. Then there's offbeats where we go off that time. And I've seen many times in business where you take people or an organization that's on time, they're all synced in, they're all moving at a pace.

And then they bring in somebody that's toxic. They bring in a loud voice, or they bring in something that is off timing and it can literally dismantle an organization. And so I think it's really important in leadership to ask yourself, who are you listening to? I kind of grew up on a farm. And one thing I've always remembered is, if you put a hard to catch horse in a field with an easy to catch horse, usually end up with two hard to catch horses.

[Laugh], it's the same thing, right? Jim Rohn, classic Jim Rohn, he said, you become the average of the five people that you associate with most. I believe that you also become the average of the five managers that you're listening to the other leaders in your organization. We see this in education a lot, where a burnt out teacher can dismantle the whole school because they're just negative.

They choose to see what's wrong. And in doing so, it can throw off a culture. So I'm gonna, I'll play in a rhythm, and then I'll throw in an off timing and you can hear how that kind of throws the beat off. And I think it's a really cool leadership principle that's worth thinking about. [plays drums] Okay.

LC : Exactly. Exactly. Yes.

CP : That's how it's, you sink in and then all of a sudden it's like, okay, that doesn't sound right.

LC : Yeah.

CP : Even though I'm still on time. I just put in backbeats, I put in this off timing. And I think it's really important in leadership to recognize, okay, who's throwing us off rhythm? Who are the backbeats in the organization that we've gotta figure out, okay, how can I help you sink into what we're doing? Because if not, it can make it really difficult to follow. Simplicity, DaVinci said this, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And there's power in that, not just in music, but also within business.

LC : Absolutely. Simple, but not too simple, man, you know, we gotta gotta move that. Let me ask you, it's funny, John knows about this and we feel it too in companies and with bullies or people who, you know, are sort of out there. We had somebody actually we did a drum circle with, and John, you remember this? And he purposefully went against it. Purposefully!

CP : Yes.

LC : And stopped us. Yep. And it wasn't because we wanted him to, it's cuz he wanted to prove a point. That's right. And we didn't need to learn it at that moment. All they wanted to do was gel, just feel good. And guess what happened to him? [Laugh] thrown out and never came back again.

CP : For

LC : Sure. Because he did it on purpose. He was malicious about it. Yeah. You know, and being malicious about it, there's a sort of, you know, intention I think is important. We don't mean to sometimes not listen or be that way. Right? But then there's the other, you know, and then it's still, there's still consequences.

But then there's times we are, we do have intention to, to show or teach somebody something and Well, you gotta get kicked out then. Right? [laugh]. So let's go. I love you playing Glen. You, it's so cool that you're, you're an awesome drummer. I love, and I love the way that your drums light off, which is sweet [laugh]. We gotta talk about that. And we got Yoda in the back there too.

CP : Heck yeah.

LC : So doing a rhythm where some, where it's, where it's interrupted and helping people come back into the rhythm. And then we kind of looked at, we also looked at just you, how you splashed in a journey, a drum journey or a drum story in the beginning. What else could you show us? Would you like share with us today on your kit?

Mastering the Art of Storytelling in Music and Business [44:31]

CP : I think we can just do, you know, the storytelling in music? I can just play kind of one last time. We can kind of I can just show you the dynamics of how we would tell that story and the dynamics of it and Yeah. Just the beautiful side of music. And also I think it's worth asking yourself in business, what story are you telling for your people? Is it constant stress? Is it constant heaviness? Is it constant fast, fast, fast?

Or is it a dynamic story of connection and slowing down and making it tasteful and intentional and listening? And are we really feeling what, you know, people are wanting to say, like, I'm listening to my drums, I am listening to my drums. Cuz they all have a voice. Every drum has a voice. And in order for me to bring it all together, I gotta, I've gotta know what that voice is because if not, then I don't know. I think that's also a key factor in a good drummer is they know how to bring out each voice of each different piece of the drum kit to create that better story. So I'll try to demonstrate that as best as I can.

LC : Hey, Clint, can I offer something up? So when I heard you talk about that, I thought to myself, there are different ways of leading, right? There are times when we have to go fast and we have to rock on it, like Metallica. Well, right? And then there's other times when we're putting on the brush and hanging out and, you know, chilling if you will, [laugh], you know in a jazz. And like, there's kind of like no judgment on either one that I see because there are times when you just have to get there and we're like, this is it guys. We're going heavy metal, we're going Metallica. Now we have a client. So we have to put our best for the client. So now we're being, we're kind of going back to the, we're going back to our regular rhythm, right?

We're going back to our signature of who we are. So maybe you could show that for everyone. I'll put it back on the, the, to the just for you and the solo, just like what it's like to get, it's okay to rock out. It's okay to be that, you know, and then it's okay to be calmer, right? So maybe like high low, would you, you know, you could, whatever way you want.

I'm not gonna give you signatures and tell you what to do. I'm not your right. It just, you know, maybe show those two. I'm saying idea. Cause it's okay to be that, that ex you know, kind of hard driving leader where you, where you can show what you do and it not without hurting somebody of course. And helping other people to come around you and to jam with you. Right? And as long as it's what you do, what you're doing, right? So yeah.

CP : Every rock band plays a ballad. [Laugh], every rock band has ballad songs. They just do. Right, right. It gives them a chance. Even if you go to a concert, most concerts aren't full steam. A hundred percent chaos, heavy metal music the whole time. Most songs have, most concerts will have a break and they'll have not, not a full break, but like a ballad. Right? A slower music, a transition. Because again, they're telling a story. Musicians know how to tell a story and we in business need to know how to do that as well.

LC : Woo, there’s my man. Clint.

Ah, there we go. Clint Pulver, ladies and gentlemen. Get his book. We gotta get Clint's book and we gotta go out to check out his website. He's a motivational speaker. He'll bring his drum set. Here it is. I'm gonna put it out here so everyone can see it. And we're gonna get, I'm gonna get his book right here.

Look at his book. Clint at Clint Pulver, it's called, I Love It Here. And it is, well here. Here it is. So, and I'm gonna show you right now, Here it is. Everyone can see it. I put it out right. [Laugh] Clint put it. And then we're gonna go check out his book, with his video. Clint rocks man. Clint rocks. I love it, dude. I love it. I love, I love them, I love all the progressions.

Your rudiments, your time. That was so like, dude, that was so awesome. John said, Clint, I want a lesson. [Laugh]. Me too. I would. Wow dude! You have a lot, a lot of, of experience and rudiments and a lot going on in your head. Dude, that's a lot of good stuff. A lot of good stuff. And I mean that in a good way. Luck in your head. I mean, there's a lot of practice that went into people got type, I don't think realize how much practice and daily effort that really takes. Yeah. That doesn't, that doesn't come easily. Clint Pulver, gentlemen. Yay, Clint.