The Happy Engineer Podcast

006: Defeat Doubt with Dean Karrel

In this episode, the former Senior Vice President of Sales at Wiley Publishing, Dean Karrel, is going to help you defeat self doubt. Step outside your usual engineering department lens and learn from one of the most sincere coaches in the business.

Dean has carried the same note in his wallet for more than 30 years. A note that carried him through tough times, and served as the fuel he needed when motivation to do hard things was wearing thin. Discover what that note said, and why it matters for you today.

You don’t need to be in sales to need what Dean has to offer. Every engineer I know will benefit from this conversation, and I want to see you win!  Watch or listen below.


The Happy Engineer Podcast




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Do not underestimate the power and the value of a simple, courageous affirmation that you hold and keep with you all the time. For me, I have a small trinket in my pocket. It’s a cross made from the wood of an olive tree from the Biblical holy land, Israel. And on it, engraved, is the word COURAGE. It keeps me grounded every single day when I see that word. 

Courage. It reminds me of who I am, why I’m here, and why the struggles in life are worth it. 

Our guest in this episode, Dean Karrel, got out a note from decades ago that he’s been carrying with him this entire time. Listen to our conversation to hear what it says… All I can say is that I love it. I’ve got a few things in my life that I’ve had a long time, but nothing quite like Dean. Certainly not for that long! Dean’s had that in his pocket as long as I’ve been alive, which is absolutely awesome. He will show you how he overcame self-doubt and achieved incredible success.

Dean’s philosophy for success is built on the simple, little things that most people know how to do, but don’t. If you haven’t already purchased a copy of Dean’s book, Mastering the Basics, go get one at the link below. But right at the beginning of the book on page 17 is one page of Dean’s philosophy.

  • One, be good to people. 
  • Two, smile, and say hi. 
  • Three, have a good work ethic. 
  • Four, send thank you notes. 
  • Five, always be learning.
  • Six, confidence – believe in yourself. 
  • Seven, integrity and character. 
  • Eight, be authentic, be genuine. 
  • Nine, planning and preparation. 
  • Ten, know your priorities. Family comes first, and focus on what really matters.

The Lifestyle Engineering Blueprint, our proven system that we use in our coaching programs here at OACO, aligns beautifully with all ten of these principles.

If you have been around me, Zach White, and OACO at all, you heard me say that we must implement what we know. Knowledge without action won’t change your life. It has no power. So, what are you doing about it? What steps are you taking to change your life? Use Dean’s ten principles to lead you to specific steps. 

It’s being specific that helps you create movement. Don’t say “I’ll be more authentic.” Say instead, “I am going to tell Mary the truth about how her actions made me feel in that meeting yesterday.” Understand your blind spots and get the help from a coach, mentor or peer on what you need to do to take action and move forward. And it forces you to get out of your comfort zone, which is essential because there is no growth in the comfort zone.

Take action today. You want to be happier, what are you doing about it? You want to get promoted, what are you doing about it? You want to change industries, what are you doing about it? You want to move from engineering, into marketing, what are you doing about it? In case you couldn’t tell, this episode is going to push you into action!

Previous Episode 5: Find Perfect Fit with Kate Terrell




Dean Karrel is a career development coach, sales trainer, and the instructor of thirteen courses with over 850,000 views available on LinkedIn Learning. He has been in senior leadership positions for more than three decades with major global publishing companies, including 22 years at Wiley where he was senior vice president of sales.  He is the author of Mastering the Basics: Simple Lessons for Achieving Success in Business.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

Zach White: [00:00:00] Welcome back engineers. It’s awesome to be with you. And I’m here with my good friend, Dean Karrel and Dean is a career development coach sales trainer, instructor of 13 courses with over 850,000 views. Those are available on LinkedIn learning. Go check those out. Dean’s been in senior leadership positions for more than three decades.

[00:00:35] I want to tell you how old I am, but that’s pretty impressive. With major global publishing companies, including 22 years at Wiley, where he was senior vice president of sales. He’s the author of mastering the basics. Simple lessons for achieving success in business. I’ve got my copy in my hand right here.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:54] And I can tell you from going through this, it’s a fantastic book. Every engineer listening needs to get a copy of mastering the basics. Dean, thank you so much for making time to be with us today.

[00:01:05] Dean Karrel: [00:01:05] You bet Zach, it’s great to be with you. And you know, for the engineers, I working at Wiley what a great engineering publishing company, uh, that is.

[00:01:12] And so, uh, I’m familiar with the engineers and the topic. And so again, it’s great to be with you today.

[00:01:18] Zach White: [00:01:18] Absolutely. Hey, Wiley has a significant presence on my bookshelf. That’s for sure. So Dean, one of the things I would love to start with jumping into date, you have Dean’s philosophy right at the front of your book.

[00:01:33] And I love it because simplicity is one of my core values and this idea of focusing on simple principles. And values as a way to live and to achieve success. And one of them in particular stood out to me, it’s number four on your list. And it’s saying. Thank you notes. And if my mom hears this episode, she’s going to say, son, I told you this a long time ago, she’s going to be so thrilled.

[00:02:02] Send thank you notes. It feels kind of old school. It’s so simple, but like just, just tell me Dean, you’ve been doing. 30 plus years. Why send thank you notes? How did that get on the

[00:02:13] Dean Karrel: [00:02:13] list? You know what it is, it is a real simple thing and it is the old school, but I, I’ve got to tell you, you know, through the years I’ve sent, thank you notes to everybody.

[00:02:21] Or I send a follow-up note to everybody and the impression that it makes, because a lot of people don’t do it. Always remembered and, and you reach out to somebody, you, thanks, Zach, for letting me up here on your podcast today, or, or thanks Dean for reaching out and sending me a book. It’s amazing how it stands out and , uh, you’re being sincere and it, all it takes is a stamp and a little letter and a, the old fashioned way.

[00:02:46] And , uh, Uh, you know, through the years, I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, Dean, I still have your note. You sent to me, you know, 30 plus years ago or 20 years ago or whatever. It’s a, it’s a positive impression. That’s very simple to do.

[00:02:58] Zach White: [00:02:58] So I love the sincerity comment of that. And Dan you’re one of the most sincere guys I’ve ever met and talked to, and it comes through in the way you communicate.

[00:03:06] So, so on this point and engineer listening, all right, Dean I’ll I’ll send a thank you note. Is it a handwritten thing? Is it a , uh, an email? How do you execute that in this digital age we live in today? Well, I think,

[00:03:17] Dean Karrel: [00:03:17] you know, the old. It was a, a stamp and a letter. And I still do that occasionally, but even the simplest form is to send an email.

[00:03:24] And , uh, it’s just a two line note saying, Hey, thanks so much, Zach, for letting me be here today or, or thanks Joe or Sally for letting me participate in your, your event or thank you for the good work. It is recognizing somebody. Uh, for the actions that they’ve done and showing your appreciation. And again, that’s not rocket science, it’s not, you don’t need an MBA for that, or an advanced degree from Michigan to get to understand that.

[00:03:49]Um, and it’s just showing sincerity. So I still send the personal letters by mail the old fashioned way, but I also do email too. It’s whatever form works best for you.

[00:04:01] Zach White: [00:04:01] So let’s zoom out. We’re in this like micro slice of success and sending thank you notes. And if somebody who doesn’t know you and your background and all of the amazing accomplishments, they might say like, wow, this is, this is the golden nugget.

[00:04:15] And like, like, but, but tell me, Dean when you really think about success over the arc of your 30 years, making it to the senior vice president level coaching, you know, thousands of leaders around the world, What is it about these small moments? Things like a thank you note, you know, how does that impact someone on the long arc of big success?

[00:04:36]You know, it feels like such a small thing. Just kind of tell us more about the mindset of success.

[00:04:42] Dean Karrel: [00:04:42] Well, I think these are things we learned throughout our career and maybe early on, we have these grandiose plans, so we have to do this and that, or, or , uh, reach to higher levels than , uh, they may be that we’re capable of.

[00:04:53] And it’s, it’s, I believe it’s, it’s recognizing that enhancing the skills that we all have and how we can do things better and believing in our abilities. And I feel that’s so critically important. So when you look at the, the, the idea of success, And I think this is a good year to look at it where we all had a chance to reevaluate what so success really means to all of us.

[00:05:14]Um, you know, we all went through the issues of the past year. Well, how do we focus on what really matters? So to the priorities of our life, our families, our religion wealth, or whatever it might be. And, and just focusing on that it’s success for us personally, which is different for every.

[00:05:31] Zach White: [00:05:31] So for the engineer, listening to this, we’re recording it in may of 2021 coming off of, you know, 12 plus months of an incredibly disruptive time in the world with COVID.

[00:05:42] And so you made a statement in there though, Dean believing, believing in my abilities. Yeah. W w what is the journey to increasing your own belief in yourself? This idea of confidence in a lot of engineers I’ve talked to in coach really struggle with confidence. And, you know, from the sales perspective, I mean, you can’t succeed in sales without that, that belief.

[00:06:09] So, so just tell us is. That journey to confidence like for the engineer listening.

[00:06:15] Dean Karrel: [00:06:15] I think it’s very important to realize that when we say that people are confident or where they have a beliefs in their abilities, and it’s never that way, a hundred percent of the time people often say my Dean, you’re very confident, your view.

[00:06:26]Uh, you seem very self-assured and , uh, but. Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, whether you’re an engineer, whether you’re in marketing, whether you’re in finance, where some days are really terrific and other days aren’t. And when I say believing in your abilities, it’s stepping back and saying to yourself, you know, what can I accomplish?

[00:06:44] And what are the goals and objectives that I have not worrying about the other person or what this other person has done, or how successful that other person’s career may be, or how much money they’re making it’s focusing on yourself. I didn’t learn that at 25. At 25, I was trying to act like this person or be like that person.

[00:07:03] And then I realized at the end of the day, I just need to be myself and working on the buildings and skills that I have and enhance them that takes time to develop. And it’s also, again, recognizing that you’re going to have some days when you’re really confident everything’s going well, it puts, you’re also going to have some days when, Ooh, this is a tough job.

[00:07:23] Again. I don’t care what profession.

[00:07:26] Zach White: [00:07:26] You’re you’re so polished and, and excellent at what you do. It’s hard for me to imagine Dean on a not confident day, like take us back. What what’s one of those stories or moments. During your career where you were at the bottom end of your own personal spectrum when it comes to confidence?

[00:07:43] Well, I wasn’t

[00:07:43] Dean Karrel: [00:07:43] playing, I wasn’t planning on this question, but it’s sort of interesting. I had my wallet with me. So I’m just sharing with you a, I graduated from college. I thought I was going to be a sports broadcaster. I went to school in Ohio. I was the voice of Ohio Wesleyan, battling bishops, you know, you know, the 2200, uh, School.

[00:08:02] And I was the, uh, the voice of football and basketball. I thought I was going to be broadcasting. And then I realized that there were 10,000 people are a lot better than me. I get a job in the publishing industry as a sales person, it’s a, I’d get a territory and upstate New York. I had never heard of lake effect snow.

[00:08:18] You know, you’re from Michigan to what the Michigan, where you’re from. I grew up in Connecticut. Never heard of it. It’s snowing like crazy. I don’t know where my future is going. And what’s, and I wrote down a little note. So this is actually something I keep in my mind. And I’ve had it there all of these years.

[00:08:34] And it says, remember this date wasn’t too good. Come on Dean make it. So this is when I was 23 years old and this has been in my wallet all of these years. And every once in a while, I referred to it in my thirties. I’ve referred to it every once in a while at my forties. As you know, I changed my career six years ago, I got a great job, senior vice president of sales of a big company.

[00:08:57] I said, I want to do something different. Well, I had a few moments where I said to myself, what the heck did I just do? And I referred to that. And it, it, it’s a, it’s a real, you know, genuine and authentic way to saying to people that, yes , I’m, I’m pretty happy with myself, but that means I still have moments of self doubt and I wonder what my next steps are going to be.

[00:09:18] And , uh, so it’s showing to yourself that, that you can come around and go back in the right direction. Again,

[00:09:26] Zach White: [00:09:26] that’s an amazing thing to keep in your pocket. I mean, come on, dude. Make it. Yeah, I think that’s such a simple, powerful phrase. I know the engineer listening to this can relate to those models. Of self doubt and I can relate Danielle.

[00:09:41] You’ll appreciate this moment in my journey. When I also left a really successful career and a growing career at Whirlpool corporation to start awake, go and begin coaching engineers and do this work full time. There was a time at the beginning of this journey. Uh, you know, success was not happening at the pace.

[00:10:01] You know, my perfect engineered straight line growth plan was designed to work out and I caught myself one evening in a row. Uh, you know, just a low place of uncertainty where someone had uh, you know, joined one of my coaching programs, but then, you know, had a, an awareness of their finances and said, oh no, this isn’t going to work.

[00:10:21] And they ask for a refund and I was so discouraged because I had to refund their money and, you know, sales were precious at the time. Like every client really mattered and. 11:30 PM. Uh, I’m sitting on the laptop on my couch at home punk going away on LinkedIn messaging as many people as I could about what I was doing and asking if they needed any, any help with their engineering careers.

[00:10:47] In that moment, that wave of self doubt. And what am I thinking? What was I, this is a horrible decision to leave my company. And I think at one point in my, my mind, I had a vision of myself becoming like a ups truck driver on the third shift, like that happy overnight. Yeah. And just in a really low place and yeah.

[00:11:10] A lot of people would look at that and say, you know, whoa, that’s crazy. It’s very emotional. Or, you know, that’s not the Zack that I’ve coached with and met, like, where’s the conflict. But those moments happen. And so I just appreciate you sharing that Dean with somebody who’s experiencing that right now.

[00:11:28] What advice would you have for them? If they’re feeling that uncertainty, maybe they took a promotion. They’re feeling like an imposter. Maybe they changed industries and they went from being an expert to being the rookie again. What’s the first thing you would encourage them to do from that place,

[00:11:47] Dean Karrel: [00:11:47] you know, is in my coaching work.

[00:11:49] Now I probably hear that from everybody. And I think it’s, it’s okay to admit that you have some self doubt. You wonder if you’re the right person for that job? I don’t care whether you’re an entry-level engineer or the CEO of Whirlpool. You, if you start a new job, You’re going to have self doubt. And within that first 30 days, you’re going to be overwhelmed.

[00:12:10] You’re going to have that one day where it’s like, oh my gosh, why did I even take this job? I was fine where I was , uh, it takes 30 days to get used to a new job, 90 days, really to get settled in and six months to really get your sea legs. And it’s okay to raise your hand and ask for help. I can’t tell you how many times I say that.

[00:12:28] It’s okay to admit. I need some help And that’s something with, sometimes we’re conditioned to say I can power my way through it, especially certain professions. And from what I’m understanding, it’s certainly true in your profession as engineers, where you say, I can do this, I’ve got my master’s degree. I’ve got my advanced training.

[00:12:46] I’m going to find a way to get this done. Yeah. I think it takes greater courage and greater confidence, actually raise your hand and say, I need some help with this. And it’s also very important to say when you’re really feeling overwhelmed. Um, you know, this was self therapy for me know, years ago to write a note.

[00:13:06] What I really needed was professional help. It’s okay to ask for professional help and there’s no stigma involved with it. You know, in my era there probably was. So my therapy was writing a little note, but it is okay to ask for professional assistance and we should be doing those things. I did admitting those things.

[00:13:23]Zach White: [00:13:23] The, the timeline you just described. Dean. I just want to come back to that quickly because I hear a lot from engineers that, Hey, you know, this first 90 days I should be the expert and everything humming and execute my full strategy and make all these changes. And, you know, people get very ambitious about how quickly they ought to be able to.

[00:13:43]You know, fill in the blank, their vision of their impact. And I just heard you say it really takes six months just to get your sea legs and get really comfortable. I know that’s one of the chapters in your section, in your book. I remember that you want to take six months to get really comfortable. Why is it that we believe it can happen so fast, but the truth is the opposite.

[00:14:03] Dean Karrel: [00:14:03] You know where it is. I think we’re all so energized to start something new and we jump right in. We’re ready to go or ready to run, you know, it’s that old line. It’s, it’s, uh, it’s not a marathon. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon marathon, you know, it’s a little. There’s truth to that. And that’s why I’m a big believer in timelines.

[00:14:21] Dateline’s objectives for certain periods of time. You know, you can’t solve a complex issue, a complex problem overnight. You have to develop a timeline again. That’s certainly something you discuss in your industry is as engineers as how you go from point a to point B with a timeline and a project plan for getting things accomplished.

[00:14:41] That’s true for all professions, for sales and marketing it and finance, and I believe. Those that’s how you keep yourself focused on a timeline of things. How am I going to get something done this week? You know, again, from sales point of view, where my background is, I don’t think farther out than 18 months.

[00:14:57] Cause it’s like a fiscal year of 12 months. And then when you go into the next year of six months, I’m not worried about long-term five-year plans. That’s somebody else’s job. How do I get through the month, the quarter, the half year, year, and 18 months. So that’s how I keep things focused for myself. And I believe those are very helpful things.

[00:15:16] Again, no matter what profession you are.

[00:15:19] Zach White: [00:15:19] So Dean part of why I’m so excited that you’re here. And if the engineer lists things like this, this guy’s in sales, I’m an engineer. You know, why, why are we in this conversation? But I’m a big believer in coaching engineers. That part of the problem is we over index.

[00:15:34] In the, the left brain analytical problem solving strengths that we flex those muscles in school and grad school and, you know, everything that we do at work. And a lot of times the real barriers to career growth are in these other parts of our life. It’s in the communication skills, it’s in the ability to influence and create, you know, followership as a leader in the organization.

[00:15:59] And when I think of those. I think of sales, right? And so for the person listening, why, why can an engineer, why should an engineer pay any attention? So a conversation coming from the sales. Perspective that connect the dots for us?

[00:16:17] Dean Karrel: [00:16:17] Well, I think we’re all in sales and, and to all in varying degrees. I also think the world has changed dramatically where all departments, all functions need to know what other departments are doing.

[00:16:29] They used to be a day when I first got into business, there was the sales department here. There was engineering here, manufacturing here. Marketing over here and no one spoke to each other and everybody is the old line was that we were all in silos, right. And finance did their thing. And everybody had their own mission.

[00:16:48] The companies that are most successful, the companies that you see on the best places to work lists are the ones where. Engineers understanding what salespeople are doing. Finance people understand what marketers are doing , um, that may not agree on everything all the time. And that’s good and that’s healthy, but they understand.

[00:17:04] So as an engineer or as a marketer, you need to know that what the customer wants as an engineer, as a marketer. Our end result is to solve something for the customers that we work with. And the way you have to be able to do that is understand what everybody’s job functions are and how we can collaborate as work as a team.

[00:17:24] So it is communicating. It is being able to influence and show the best path to find the successful route for providing a solution to the customers and clients we work with.

[00:17:36] Zach White: [00:17:36] If I’m an engineer and I’m in sales , how, how does that actually look. Day-to-day Dane. Where would you say yo? Here’s a moment of sales.

[00:17:43] Here’s my. W where would I be applying that sales mindset in my day to day

[00:17:50] Dean Karrel: [00:17:50] career? Sometimes we overthink what sales is all about, you know, we’re so the perception of sales is, you know, Alec Baldwin and Glen Gary, Glen Ross always be closing or the Wolf of wall street, which I can’t stand. Those perceptions sales is communication.

[00:18:08] Yeah, and the best salespeople are good listeners. And so the best marketers are good listeners. The best engineers are good listeners. What do we need to do to solve a problem? So it’s asking good questions, salespeople ask good questions. They’re curious. They listen, they care, they solve problems. And , uh, especially in this day and age it’s then the salesperson is the air traffic controller for bringing all these departments together to get to work with the customer and the end.

[00:18:38] Zach White: [00:18:38] I think this is really important for the engineer listening. Like you do not accomplish anything in your organization alone, and to get the buy-in for your idea to influence that procurement person, to help you with a supplier who’s who’s lagging on your project to, you know, help the marketing team, understand the constraints around the design and the timelines and these like all of those interactions.

[00:19:04] Are moments where you can apply what Dean just described. Those are selling interactions. It’s not about the leads are weak. I’ll try to close. Yeah. Transactions with dollars transactions with needs to move the project to the finish line for your, your customer. And so if somebody wants to strengthen.

[00:19:24] This skillset, this sales skillset, not in a, you know, I want to go switch career paths, but I’m an engineer and I want to strengthen this team. W where would you recommend somebody to.

[00:19:35] Dean Karrel: [00:19:35] When was the last time you had a coffee or a lunch or a video call or a telephone call with a sales person and just talk, what they’re hearing in the marketplace.

[00:19:44] It starts with communication and it starts with this basic interaction. And it goes both ways. You know, they, they used to be the old squabbles of sales and marketing, not working together. And there were always the squabbles of, you know, who’s doing what, what job it is. And a lot of it, the root of it. We never understood what they did for a living both sides.

[00:20:03] So I don’t understand what engineers do and you don’t understand what salespeople do. Okay. Zach let’s have a coffee and talk about it. What are the main obstacles and opportunities you’re finding in your job and what are you seeing? And you should be asking the same thing of me. What are you hearing in the marketplace?

[00:20:20] Dean? What are buyers telling you? What are they saying about our company? What is the competition saying about our company? You could learn so much in a half an hour by just.

[00:20:31] Zach White: [00:20:31] I think this is brilliant. And I hear way too often that people don’t book a conversation like that because a, they don’t want to bother somebody or B.

[00:20:43] They don’t know what to say. Yeah, engineers are out there. Oh, that sounds great Dean, but I don’t know how to have that coffee chat. Can you just make it simple for esteem?

[00:20:54] Dean Karrel: [00:20:54] It’s asking you, what are you, what are you, what are you seeing in the marketplace? What are you hearing? You know, it’s, it’s a, what is the toughest part of your job?

[00:21:00] Zack, you know, as an engineer, what is, what are you, what are you finding? What are the obstacles you’re hearing in the business that drive you? Crazy? Dean how’s how’s business. What are you hearing? How was, how was it changed from when you first got into business? Um, just basic conversation. Think of it as talking with your neighbor or talking with a relative, you know, at Thanksgiving, it’s a , uh, you know, what are the, what are the best parts of your job?

[00:21:23] And believe me, salespeople or engineers or marketers, we happy to tell you

[00:21:27] Zach White: [00:21:27] that’s right. I, so, you know, grab one or two of these questions, Dane just described, start the conversation and then just. Yeah, listen and get curious, you know, engineers we’re naturally curious. So just be yourself in that way. Be curious, listen, ask questions and, and enjoy it.

[00:21:44]Don’t don’t put this pressure on yourself to have a certain thing. So I think this is an awesome strategy. Every engineer listening needs to book a coffee, date virtual, or face-to-face with a salesperson today. Don’t don’t miss the opportunity. You’re you listen to this right now. Pause, pause the podcast and go invite somebody right now.

[00:22:01] Great

[00:22:01] Dean Karrel: [00:22:01] advice that you just gave because sometimes we think of this. I gotta call 20 people. No, no, no, no, no. First find one. Just start with the first person it’s like networking. We think of networking. We got to meet 50 people. No, no, no, no. What you’re trying to do is just meet one person, connect with one person to say, you know what?

[00:22:19] I’m trying to learn a little bit more about the sales option. And what you’re experiencing with your job and in the marketplace. What is your impression of the engineering department? What are you hearing and believe me, you’ll find out a lot that will surprise you, but it’s with one person then.

[00:22:38] Zach White: [00:22:38] I love it.

[00:22:38] Start with one person. One leads to two leads to three, but keep it simple back to that. Very beginning Dean’s philosophy, simple principles. So Dean , you, you had incredible success making it, you know, senior vice-president there at Wiley and one of the things. I work with engineers on is mindset. What is the mindset that we need to bring foundationally that we can then apply skills and tactics and strategies on top of.

[00:23:07] I’d love to hear your perspective when someone is shifting in their career from, you know, an individual contributor role somewhere where I’m the kind of the, a player, the person getting all the work done. And then I move into a manager position. I’ve got a team underneath me for the first time. You know, that’s one of those big transitions in our careers.

[00:23:28] And then maybe the next one, even to like director or VP as well. Big shift in the scope and responsibility at either of those points. I’m curious for you. Be the mindsets that changed or the things you had to develop to be successful as you moved up that

[00:23:47] Dean Karrel: [00:23:47] ladder, it’s realizing it’s, it’s keeping your ego in check.

[00:23:51] And you know, sometimes when people get promoted, it’s like, oh, I got to act this way. I got to do this. I have to, you know, I have to manage, you know, leadership. Is helping guide people. It is not directing people. And these are basic lessons. Again, you can have four years of getting an MBA. You get an advanced degree in business and leadership and management, but at the end of the day, it’s how you’re working across the table with somebody to help them do their job better.

[00:24:16] And it’s recognizing that. You know what, yes, you got promoted, but you’re not the greatest thing in the world. You’ve have things to learn too. And it’s, and it’s working as a team to be successful, you know, some of the most difficult, so to speak leaders are ones who’ve never listened. It goes back to the basics of sales.

[00:24:33] Again, listening to your teams and it’s a, you get promoted. Well, there’s a learning curve. You’re not going to figure it out again in the first 30 days. So it’s listening and finding out what the pain points are of the team that if you’re managing and it’s asking a lot of questions, again, it goes back to all these basic principles

[00:24:56] Zach White: [00:24:56] guide.

[00:24:57] Direct you drew a really interesting distinction there. And I want to unpack that a little bit. What’s the difference between guiding somebody on your team and directing them? I mean, it’s called being a director, right? Isn’t that my goal? So

[00:25:14] Dean Karrel: [00:25:14] term, right? It’s like when you direct somebody or you’re really directing, you’re telling them what to do to me, it has an almost as a negative term, no one wants to be told what to do, what we want to be told.

[00:25:24] This is the opportunity for us. And here’s the route that we can look at to go to. So explore this avenue, explore this approach and come back to me with what you’ve learned when you direct, uh, you’re saying do this, and it has to be done this way, what you want to going back to the word collaboration and where people feel that they’re part of that team and part of that development and part of that growth.

[00:25:47]Um, you know, one of the things I’ve learned over the past few years in trying to work in the corporate world, Focused on the companies that I worked with. And now as I do coaching and, and as I work with a lot of people in different industries , uh, unfortunately I’m finding that there are a lot of managers, but very few leaders and the best leaders.

[00:26:06] And again, it goes back to those companies that are on the best places to work lists , uh, the leaders, uh, native. They, they, they show the path, but they let people do it. And , uh, it’s , uh, it’s very clear the companies that are run well and the companies where people feel like, you know, they’re confined to a, to a route that they have to go on.

[00:26:24]So, uh, uh, It’s a, it’s a learning curve for everybody. When you get those new positions and you don’t figure it out in the first month,

[00:26:30] Zach White: [00:26:30] we keep, we keep coming back as such this power. And, and honestly the engineering ego is such like the intelligence can be this, this barrier to hearing what you’re saying.

[00:26:42] And I’ll just repeat it again and again, it’s it’s okay. To not have it all figured out in the first 30 days in that new job at that next level. And , uh, I think that’s so important. So courage , you, you mentioned that word a couple of times as we’ve talked today and, and this is a Waco, the Oasis of courage and I it’s my favorite word.

[00:27:04] I love it. And I’m curious, Dean, what is it for you? That has helped you to strengthen your own courage over the years?

[00:27:14] Dean Karrel: [00:27:14] Well, again, I’ve been through some successful times. I’ve had some great years, you know, I mean, when the, in the publishing industry there, the industry exploded there. I mean, it’s just fantastic when, you know, independent bookstores and Barnes and noble and borders and Amazon was.

[00:27:28] And so I had a lot of fun. The courage comes when, when the wave shifts and the market. Shifts. So how do you manage and lead during situations like that? You know, we’re all great when the businesses running on all cylinders, but I think the best leaders come out and you, where you develop your courage is during the difficult times and how you manage and lead.

[00:27:52] So again, I’m dating myself a little bit, but you go back again to 2001 with the unfortunate tragedies of nine 11, and how the world changed then 2001. For me, it was probably the biggest changer because the big financial crisis and industries all shifted. And then in the early 2000 and tens, you know, the publishing industry really dramatically changed because there was consolidation and bookstores shrank.

[00:28:16] And so my biggest curve. And development was having the greatest job in the world and leading these great sales teams. And then all of a sudden, the world changed and business changed. And I had to do, you know, reconfiguration and restructuring, restructuring and reorganizing. So it’s the courage of businesses.

[00:28:35] Family of people I’ve hired and managed. And unfortunately I had to let people go. So courage is how do you do that with compassion and care as best you can. And it’s not easy, but those are the great lessons. It’s easy to look great when everybody’s hitting home runs, whether your team is winning or your company’s, you know, got 10% , uh, revenue increases.

[00:28:56] How do you manage and lead? When the market has shifted. And I think that’s where true courage comes

[00:29:01] Zach White: [00:29:01] in. You know, some people listening may have had those exact situations where they had to. Tough calls in the business, you know, in the last year, maybe they were in a leadership position in 2008, nine, same time talking about others, Dane on the receiving end of those decisions.

[00:29:19] And it’s hard to believe that anybody in those vice-president roles, who’s just cutting people, you know, has, has any sense of heart around family and the values, et cetera. I know you do. And you were in that space just. Yeah. As much as you’re able, you know, without sharing anything that’s confidential, like tell us about those decisions.

[00:29:38] What was that actually like for you to have to face the reality of the business clashing in a way with, with your core value of, you know, loving these people in this amazing team and their families and their livelihoods and having to let people go , like, what was that?

[00:29:54] Dean Karrel: [00:29:54] That this is probably a discussion you’re going to have for a multiple number of podcasts is how companies manage these things.

[00:30:00] And the first thing is there needs to be training for this also of how you hire and how you let people go. And most, again, every department engineers, marketing sales, we all rely too much on human resources. We all need to have the training and how you hire properly. And how you let people go with dignity and respect.

[00:30:19] And , uh, I was, uh, you know, I, it’s a very difficult thing when you have to sit across the table from somebody and say, I know I hired you, but the business has changed. And unfortunately your job is no longer, you know, You know, part of our future and that’s really painful. And I did that and do that a lot, doing it, just like I am now.

[00:30:39] And you learn how you look right in somebody’s eyes and say, I’m sorry, but it’s not working. You know, You know, it’s, it’s uh, we talk about. I wrote recently about family and team and organizations. And I’ve worked with, I think we’re good families at companies at the end of the day. It is a business. And whether you are a publicly traded company, like where you used to work at Whirlpool, there’s your reporting to shareholders and you have obligations to your shareholders.

[00:31:05] And if you’re positively held and you have investors, Asians investors, you have obligations to them to produce a profit and revenue. At the end of the day, it is a business, which means tough decisions have to be. That being said at this stage of my career, six years ago, I said, you know what? This is too much pain for me.

[00:31:24] I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m a positive person. I don’t want to continue to have to restructure reorganize, let people go. That’s why I left that great job that I had for many years is to do something different. So even I’m saying, you know what, I, it was too much for me.

[00:31:40] Zach White: [00:31:40] It’s tough. You said something that it’s really important.

[00:31:44] That we rely too much on HR for this stuff. So for the engineer, listening to this at whatever level, if you’re an IC, if you’re a manager, if you’re a director, VP, it doesn’t matter. The reality is we need to take full responsibility for our own readiness and capability to lead, and that includes hiring, but also.

[00:32:05] Letting people go with respect, dignity, and in a way like Dane just described. And I think sometimes we want to pass the buck

[00:32:13] Dean Karrel: [00:32:13] on that it’s even in the hiring process or going how we’ve all interviewed for jobs. Right. And then you get ghosted. You never hear from anybody. And it’s the hiring manager who left you, you know, if you hanging, not the HR person, it’s somebody you might’ve interviewed.

[00:32:25] I might’ve been. Zach are you interviewing with me? And all of a sudden, whatever happened to Zach, you know, it’s, it’s basic principles of dignity and respect where you call somebody up or write them a note and say, you know what, I’m sorry, it didn’t work out. We’re going elsewhere. But when, you know, we’ve all been at, we’ve all heard those stories.

[00:32:40] I applied for the job and I never heard it. Wow. I never forget those people who did that, you know, so I’d rather be known as, you know what Zack actually had the dignity to call me up and say, Dan, you know what? You were good possible for the position, but it didn’t work out. We had to go a different route.

[00:32:57] Zach. Thanks. So. You know, um, it’s taking a deep breath and doing the right thing.

[00:33:00] Zach White: [00:33:00] Yes. Yeah. So please, if you’re listening to this take note, do not pass the responsibility for your own team. If you’re a hiring manager, if you’re a director, VP, you’re hiring the, that third party recruiter, that HR talent acquisition person who’s supporting you.

[00:33:18] Okay. It’s your team. You’re responsible for the communication, the way Dean just described. And, and I tell my clients in coaching, how we do anything is how we do everything. And that’s, you know, when you don’t take responsibility there, it sends a signal to all of those people that you’re interacting with on how you’re going to show up in other moments.

[00:33:37] And it’s going to reflect on your team in a way that you don’t, you don’t want so. Please take deans , uh, counsel there and take responsibility. Hey, we, we can’t , uh, go through all this and not talk about books for just a moment. And , uh, all of your years in the publishing industry, and it just so much experience, I’m a book lover.

[00:33:56] I’ve got to have the hard copies still. I love the smell of the pages in that guy, but I’m curious, you said you sort of stumbled almost into that. The book industry, you were thinking about broadcasting and then end up there and then spent your whole career in it. So did you have a passion for books or what was it about publishing that kept you hooked for so many years?

[00:34:16] Dean Karrel: [00:34:16] Well, I’ve, I’ve always enjoyed reading. I always enjoy books. I still buy a lot of books and. My theory is, or my belief is, you know, for $16, $18, or if you’re wanting an ebook version $10, if you can get two tidbits of information or guidance out of the book, then it’s worth the investment. It’s a very inexpensive investment.

[00:34:35] And , uh, so I actually was. Salesperson. I worked , uh, in again, upstate New York called on Rochester Institute of technology to , uh, you know, to , uh, community colleges and upstate New York. And , uh, a lot of technical schools, engineering schools. I didn’t have an engineering background at a chemical engineering background.

[00:34:52] The basics of sales is that you’re never going to learn more than the person you’re selling to. So you try to figure out the key points that they need to help them again, solve a problem. So I sold textbooks for Prentice hall, which later became Pearson, a big engineering company. Again. Um, I enjoyed it. I love working with people that I work with Simon and Schuster, big trade book publishing company, and , uh, fun places.

[00:35:16] And then it just, you know, what is you get on a path and they say, Dean, you worked 22 years at Wiley. Well, I always felt that the company was changing and growing, which it did and with through acquisitions and uh, uh, so I just, I just stayed in the industry for, for many, many years and I loved it. And.

[00:35:34] Zach White: [00:35:34] Dean. Are there any must read books that you would say, engineers listening, you got to hit these couple that like, this is your top five or any of that just pop in. Everybody needs to write.

[00:35:46] Dean Karrel: [00:35:46] You know what there’s there are, you can go on bestseller lists and you know, you pick some, I, I was talking about the five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni.

[00:35:54] It’s sold millions of copies. It’ll, it’ll take you about an hour to read. And it talks about how we work with teams and how we work with individuals, with the companies and how we do like, just like what you and I are doing. Right. NASDAQ being honest. Being open , um, and listing to others. So five dysfunctions of a team.

[00:36:10] I’m a big believer in the leadership challenge by Jim cruises and Barry Posner, where they talk about modeling the way and encouraging the heart, which is a very important thing to me, of how we motivate people again for any department, any industry. I also like books that talk about it. You know, and it’s like, well, it’s not that glamorous, but how to be better organized how to do things more efficiently, getting things done, which has been around for years, that book, how to win friends and influence people, which has been around for 50 years.

[00:36:43] You know, there are books on my shelf that have been around for, for decades, the power of positive thinking. It’s like, this is again what I believe. And , uh, so it’s , uh, I, you know, as, again, as I say is find any book, look at the bestseller lists that your local bookstore Barnes and noble, Amazon, whoever it might be and, and make that investment.

[00:37:04]And, and I think it’s, it’s weird.

[00:37:06] Zach White: [00:37:06] Yeah, my coach says, you know, Zach, you can skip lunch, but never skip your reading. And , uh, uh, you know, I really believe in that and agree a hundred percent so, and I’ll, I’ll tell you, if you read like an engineer, then five dysfunctions of a team takes two hours instead of one hour a read through.

[00:37:23] So keep that in mind, Matt Dean, this is amazing. I want to be respectful of your time. And, and , uh, the thing that I share with all my clients. I’ve mentioned to you. It’s so true in coaching, the work you do. It’s true in engineering, that questions lead and answers follow, and we want to ask great questions in our lives to guide us and take us where we want to go.

[00:37:47] So for the engineer, listening to this conversation, you know, they want to be happy. They want to be fulfilled. They want to achieve success. What is the best question to lead them with?

[00:37:57] Dean Karrel: [00:37:57] What steps are you taking to make that happen? You know, we talk about things about, I want to be successful. I want to do well, but, so what are you doing about it?

[00:38:06] Are you complaining about it or are you talking about it or are you, you have an action plan and again, it goes back to what I always believe is , uh, and I talk about this with the people I coaches, what plan or what strategies do you have to make that happen? Uh, Zach, I want to be happier. Okay. Well, how are you going to do it?

[00:38:23] Are you taking time to spend with your family? Are you taking time to get away from work and away from the engineering and learning something new, doing something new opening horizons to new things, opening your mind outside of the sales world or the engineering world or the marketing world. So it is a, you know, it’s a, an action plan.

[00:38:45] What are the three things that you’re going to do over the next year? To help you get on a path for being happier, more successful and more fulfilled.

[00:38:54] Zach White: [00:38:54] Amazing. What steps am I taking to do something about it? Three steps. Don’t leave this, this recording when you listen to it without taking five minutes to answer that question right now, Dean, I know people are going to want to hear more from you and get connected to you.

[00:39:10]Uh, just tell us where’s the best place for the listener to go out and connect with you.

[00:39:15] Dean Karrel: [00:39:15] Well, I’m on LinkedIn every day. And , uh, you know, when we all think of LinkedIn, we may think of LinkedIn, uh, four or five years ago or six years ago. That was the place where, you know, you, you looked for a job or you put your resume.

[00:39:27] So to speak that communication that’s going on. And the things I learned on LinkedIn is. Really fantastic. And I post , uh, ideas and concepts a couple of times a week. And it’s amazing the, the feedback and the give and take that I’m getting from people from all different professions. So Dean Carol at LinkedIn, please reach out to connect with me and , uh, uh, and I hope we can communicate.

[00:39:52] Zach White: [00:39:52] I had the incredible honor of meeting Dean through LinkedIn and can testify that it is an incredibly powerful platform. I hope everybody will go out, follow your content, check that out in a reminder again, mastering the basics. This book that Dean put out is absolutely fantastic. It’s like a handbook of just simple practice.

[00:40:11] Actionable steps that you can take across every area of your career to move forward, you know, read a section a day and just put it into practice immediately. It’s so simple, so easy. So go get a copy of Dean’s book, uh, on Amazon or your local bookseller and grab that as well. Dean, thank you so much for your time today.

[00:40:29] This has been.

[00:40:30] Dean Karrel: [00:40:30] Zach. It’s great to be with you. I love watching your work. You’re doing some terrific things and it’s been a pleasure to get to know you more. And , uh, I’m really impressed with the steps you’re doing in advancing the growth for the market and the people you work with.

[00:40:43] Zach White: [00:40:43] Thanks Dean. Hey, let’s do this again sometime.