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adapting to change

Maki Moussavi + Grant Gooding: Past, Present and 2024 – Joel Goldberg Media

Adaptability / December 29, 2023

Adapting to change is one of the most important skills in business, baseball and in life. Despite all of your best laid plains, there will always be a few surprises that come along. And a persons ability to react to those unexpected changes will – as with most anything – influence everything that comes after.

The complex, thought-provoking nature of adapting to change makes it one of my favorite topics to keynote on. It helps us course-correct in real time, something that is as valuable as the lessons that it teaches. If we choose to pay attention, adapting to change can help make us better long into the future as well.

To me, adapting to change is small ball at its core. I can’t think of a better time of year to look at it from that lens that as 2023 draws to a close.

For the final Rounding the Bases episode of the year, I wanted to look back at some of the highlights – and curveballs – it threw our way. Joining me in the discussion were two of the most engaging minds I have met since the show began.

They’re entrepreneurial standouts who bring uniquely different approaches to using where we’ve been to help get us where were going.

First is Maki Moussavi, the high-achieving anti-hustler on a mission to redefine the success paradigm. Also joining is Grant Gooding, a self-proclaimed data junkie who – using the power of emotions – has cracked the code to proven marketing. 

Together, they’re equipping us with science-backed perspectives to make 2024 our must fulfilling, productive year to date.

SINGLE: MEDIA, AMPLIFIED

As a journalist, there was a time in my career that I took offense when “the media” was accused of perpetuating negative messages. The advent of blogging, social media and yes, even podcasts, has us all adapting to change.

It shifted the definition from a narrow one that applied only to professionals associated with major networks. Now, it includes anyone who has a platform and an audience. Information – whether it’s correct or not – is being disseminated faster than ever before.

Suddenly, content creators are competing for consumers attention, and so are major news corporations. It’s a topic that did not go unnoticed in our discussion.

“There’s just the 24 hour news cycle that doesn’t hold on to your attention unless they’re telling you not so good things,” commented Maki. She continued, “It’s either to amplify a lot of things that are maybe blown out of proportion, or misinformation.”

It’s not unlike claims of a recession, which thanks to modern media have become louder and more frequent in recent months…claims Grant refuted.

“I just don’t see a lot of negativity in the market,” said the CEO of Proof Positioning. Every day he studies leading indicators across a range of industries.  Despite what many of us have heard, the economic data is actually quite positive. “I’m extremely optimistic about 2024,” he said.

Adapting to changes in the economy is something every seasoned business person will have to do at some point in their career, but fortunately, it may not be a skill that needs to be practiced in the near term.

DOUBLE: ARTIFICIAL ADAPTABILITY

When I look back on 2023, artificial intelligence will be one of the topics that stands out to me the most. It’s been around for years, but this will mark the year it became a mainstream topic of discussion.

People in every industry have found themselves adapting to change in response to AI. “My background is in science,” said Maki. “So I’m always thinking about what it looks like when we get knowledge or have something new and a space to play with it and see how it works.”

It has created incredible operational efficiencies. It has been a brainstorming tool for marketing. And particularly in medicine, the positive applications could be groundbreaking. There are so many positives. But what about the negatives?

“If you’re not concerned about the slippery slope of what machines that can learn can do, then you’re kind of not paying attention,” warned Grant. Personally, I’ve likened it to a Pandora’s Box. We are only beginning to understand But is all of the fear warranted? Not exactly.

It’s not unlike the steroids era in baseball. When players used the drug to gain a personal edge, in the end, they weren’t the ones who got the advantage. It was the chemists who were recruited to help combat its usage. Similarly, we should expect machine learning to at some point take a malicious angle, creating additional opportunities for people – and programs – to combat its negative effects.

Nobody can be sure what machines will be capable of 5, 10 or 15 years into the future. But we can take comfort in the fact that it’s just the latest iteration of something humans have dealt with since the beginning of time.

“We’ve been down this road before,” said Grant. And just like we have done in the past when adapting to change, society will find a way to maximize the its many positives.

TRIPLE: NECESSARY DISRUPTION

The spring of 2024 will mark four years since the pandemic began. From quarantines to mask mandates, adapting to change was the only thing we could all depend on during such a tumultuous, uncertain time in history. But perhaps the biggest standout was when the worldwide workforce went remote.

“COVID was a strange business culture catalyst that gave people permission to just sort of think differently for a minute,” said Grant. “And then gave them the opportunity to practice what they were thinking.”

For some, it was a catastrophic experiment. For others, it was a healthy exercise that underscored different ways of doing things. But for many, it remains the final piece of the pandemic puzzle that is still trying to be solved.

“It was a necessary disruption,” Maki agreed. “And I feel like the really healthy part of that is it’s challenging a very old school, traditional way of thinking about work that some companies fail to grasp.”

Part of adapting to change is asking the difficult questions. When it comes to work-life balance, there is more to the best case scenario than relying on the way things have always been done. In post-pandemic culture, there has to be a reason…and a solution that benefits everyone involved in the shared success.

HOME RUN: EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN

Two brilliant guests joined me on the show. But no matter how much science, modeling or evidence is available to us, there is no surefire formula to knowing what the future will bring.

“We’re emotional beings,” said Grant. “We sort of trick ourselves into thinking that things are bad when they actually aren’t.”

Historically speaking, both noted certain ebbs and flows that can be traced back hundreds of years. It’s comforting to know that any economic disruptions being experienced are actually quite normal. Expected, even. But it still remains an unknown, which Grant aptly noted can be the scariest thing of all.

Luckily, there is another trend that has emerged this year. It could be just what we need to counteract to any worrisome uncertainty. “If we continue … not necessarily falling in line with that’s expected of us from the outside, the world could actually look like a really different place,” Maki said. “I think that actually is powerful at the collective level.”

From my perspective, everything we do is about people. And in the end, if we’re adapting to change in a way that continues to put people first, everything will be ok.

Listen to the full interview here or tune in to Rounding the Bases every Tuesday, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Learn More About Adapting to Change from Joel 

Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.


Full Transcript:

Joel Goldberg 0:12
Hey everybody, welcome in to another episode of Rounding the Bases presented by Community America Credit Union: Investing in You. This is our final episode of 2023. Still, early in season nine of this episode, or of this podcast. Nine season’s worth of podcasting, and the final of 2023. And I’ve been thinking for a while, but it’d be great to get a group together just to talk about what’s going on in the business world. And so as 2023 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at some of the highlights and curveballs, if you will, that have been thrown our way. Joining me in the discussion are two entrepreneurial standouts with uniquely different approaches to using where we’ve been to help us get to where we’re going. First is Maki Moussavi who has been on the podcast before. The high achieving anti-hustler on a mission to redefine the success paradigm. Go back and check out her episode. She used to work in the corporate world and freed herself of that and is doing her own thing now. It’s amazing. Also joining us Grant Gooding, a self-proclaimed data junkie. I thought he said data nerd, maybe it’s that too, who using the power of emotions has cracked the code to proven marketing. Together, they’re equipping us with science backed perspectives to help make 2024 our most fulfilling, productive year to date. And I love when I thought about getting Grant and Maki together. I asked each Do you guys know each other? And they said no. I said, Great. It’s in our kind of small city of Kansas City. Sometimes it feels like you know, everybody, but yet that is not always the case. And so we will bring in to the podcast right now. Maki and did I get it right? Grant data nerd?

Grant Gooding 2:02
I don’t. I mean, you do whatever you want.

Joel Goldberg 2:08
Well that’s just all love. Come on. It’s all it’s all from oh, by the way, I forgot to mention our buddy Casey Wright’s company who is a supporter of this podcast Chief of Staff Kansas City, so check them out if you’re interested. Making Connections That Matter? ChiefofStaffkc.com Okay, let’s get into this right now. You guys know the topics that I have in mind. But is there anything, Grant I’ll start with you, that sort of stands out as a defining moment? Or what you’re seeing in the in the work world of 2023? I think we’re getting a little further and further away from the pandemic, but but to me every year, are all these moments be a little bit different? What have you been seeing?

Grant Gooding 2:51
Well, I see a lot of leading indicators in a variety of industries. So I get exposed to some of that stuff. And one of the major things I think, is there’s sort of a misalignment that exists with what maybe the media says and what we actually see happening. You know, it’s almost like the media is, is incentivized to create negative spin, I just don’t see a lot a lot of negativity in the market. I see a lot of really positive KPIs. I see. People spending money. I see people unlocking balance sheet, I mean, sure. You see, you see, some people are pulling back and some people are dropping spends, but that happens no matter what. So this whole scare of a recession. I was on a on this national group and one of the members in Colorado said, is anybody else tired of waiting for this damn pandemic? This damn well, the recession to show up, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to. And I kind of agree with that. I think that that you do see some macroeconomic indicators that would say, Yeah, you know, we may lose a couple of points, but there’s a lot of positivity in the marketplace. And I’m certainly glad because, you know, more businesses thrive in in a recession than they do otherwise. And or business thrive, when there’s not a recession and then other lives. And so I think there’s a lot of positivity in the market. And

Joel Goldberg 4:30
It’s an interesting point, because I, and what we can get more into this later, I mean, social media is not new, but I’m more convinced than ever, that so much of the negativity in the world stems from social media. Used to be I get very defensive when people would say, well, the media, the media, the media, I don’t know that that’s the same thing anymore. Because the media can be anyone and and because of that, you know, the past the media was your TV stations, your newspapers, your radio, and then it turned to And the people blogging and then it turned into podcasts and then and it’s all morphed into one. And so it’s like, what are we criticizing? And oh, by the way, those traditional forms of media have had to keep up by now competing against someone that’s not in the media. And so what are they doing? They’re being quicker. They’re being less careful. It’s all about getting something out. First, it’s all about clickbait and getting the reaction. I’m not saying it’s across the board. But we’re seeing that within even major publications and major networks, I can tell you guys that, you know, in a past time, I’m going down the rabbit hole here, I’m sorry, but in a past time, people in my world. If people in my world said things that were so blatantly wrong, you got fired. Or at the minimum, you you just you pleading for forgiveness. Now you just oops got it wrong, and you move on to the next thing. And so it’s really clouded everything. That does, it adds to a lot of confusion and negativity. Okay, that’s my soapbox there. Maki, how about for you? What are you seeing in 2023?

Maki Moussavi 6:01
2023 has been a weird year. I just feel like there’s so much of what you’re talking about. There’s a lot of amplification, I think intentionally of things that are meant to create anxiety and concern, not as much focus on things that might be going well or trending in the right direction. But I do think that’s by design, you know, there’s just the 24 hour news cycle doesn’t hold on to your attention unless they’re telling you not so good things, right? And to your point, Joel, around social media and its influence, I mean, I have been pretty open about the fact that I have a love hate but more of a hate hate relationship with social media. Because I think it is really an avenue for a couple things. It’s either to amplify a lot of things that are maybe blown out of proportion, or misinformation or just people that have an opinion that their spending is fact which we’ve seen what the results of that can be like just kind of globally. And then there’s the other piece where I think we’re very conditioned as a society to think of, you know, this is what it looks like to be successful. It’s this very formulaic thing. And so here’s my opportunity via social media to present myself, or the endeavors that I’m involved in in that way, which can really breed other people doing the self comparison thing, feeling like they’re not in as good of a place as they should be based on what they’re seeing when we know that what we’re seeing is very curated a lot of the time. So it just creates a lot of confusion, I think the landscape that we’re in right now,

Joel Goldberg 7:38
it’s a great point. I mean, Grant, you study the emotions of people, and it’s so easy to get sucked into all this. I mean, I, I could find and you’ve got, you’ve got younger kids, they’re not quite at that age yet. But, you know, I went through it with teenagers, and it’s all about what everybody else is doing. And it’s but it’s very easy to pin that down on a younger generation and Instagram and keeping up and all that, don’t we see that going on in the business world to me, to me, it seems like sometimes a LinkedIn page is no different than a teenager’s Instagram page, with the way everybody wants everybody to think that this is what it is. And again, it’s all kind of getting blended together. But the word of the emotions come into this.

Grant Gooding 8:16
Well, we are a very fear based species, we can’t help it. And we are also risk avoidant. And because of that, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of like, fear around, just fear around regular communication that organizations have. I mean, normally, they just say what, you know, 10 years ago that you say what you want, and you say what you mean. And now it has to go through 20 filters. And so you always, you’re always wondered like, what is the like, what is this organization? What is What are they trying to say? Are they being authentic? And it’s confusing for consumers. And that’s, that’s a, that’s a definite negative. Just just sort of a negative environment for not only consumers to be in, but businesses as well. Don’t want to be in that situation where everybody’s concerned about saying the wrong thing, or, you know, you know, having somebody pushed back on them for, you know, you using language that someone might deem to be inappropriate. It’s a, it’s a tough, it’s a tough environment for communication.

Maki Moussavi 9:39
I think we’re in a pendulum swing, you know what I mean? So Grant, to your point, 10 years ago, it was, you know, somebody said something, even in the context of interpersonal relations, and you’d be like, Oh, that guy has been here forever. He’s just that guy. Like, he didn’t mean it that way. And we would, we would excuse that kind of behavior. And now we’re at the other end where I think the pendulum has swung all the way in the other direction and anytime someone said Something were like, What did you mean by that? Because there is, I think a level of scrutiny that is appropriate or like sensitivity that’s appropriate. But we went from excusing any old thing to being putting everything under the microscope, and we sort of have to find a way to find that balance. And that somewhere in the middle, where it’s not an immediate, you know, sometimes it really is that that sometimes people say things that are really inexcusable, and there’s just no reason there, there’s, it’s hard to hear them out. But sometimes it’s subtle enough that we should be able to come to the, to have a conversation about like, here’s why that’s not cool. Let’s talk about it, instead of just deciding, you know, this person deserves to be cut off at the knees, and we no longer want to hear anything they have to say and then just kind of the environment that we find ourselves in right now.

Grant Gooding 10:50
Yeah. And in the middle of the pendulum is appropriate authenticity, right? Because that’s, that’s how people gravitate towards and build relationships with brands and other people. And, you know, both sides of that pendulum are very dangerous.

Maki Moussavi 11:06
Exactly.

Joel Goldberg 11:08
Well, I think the pendulum is always going back and forth. Right? And so it’s gonna go to that one, I mean, that’s true of almost almost anything with trends, although, I would say that sometimes, you know, once, once we go down a rabbit hole, we can’t ever come out of it. Once we open Pandora’s box. And I’m thinking about, we’re talking about the the effects of social media and amplifying all this and, and what I mean, social media is not new. Right? I mean, we but it feels like everything. Maybe this has to do with Elon Musk, and what he’s done with Twitter, I keep calling it Twitter, because that’s what it is to me. But it looks nothing like it did in the past. And it’s just again, what’s real and what’s not. And so, social media is not new, but that that’s all evolved over the years, I bring all this up, because AI is not new. Yet, it feels like in 2023, Whoever didn’t know about AI knows about it now. And it, it’s on various levels. There probably some people that have never been on Chat GPT there are some people that may not realize that Chat GPT is not the only AI out there, that it’s it’s one of many, many, many. But I know for me, that it’s changed the way that I research, it’s changed the way that I go about things. For me personally, I want to use it as a tool. If the if Pandora’s box has been opened, I can’t ignore it. It to me personally, it’s now a matter of saying let’s use it in a way that makes me competitive and makes me better at what I do. But everybody’s discovering it. Everybody’s feeling it out. And that’s just on the smallest level. Now you start looking at the big corporations and and the competitiveness between Microsoft and Google and all these companies that would want in on it. What are you seeing from that Maki? Because I believe that our kids generation, our grandkids generation, will look back at what we’re seeing right now and say, this is like all MySpace type of stuff at this point. This is so early level that the whole world I think is going to change. And I think we’re on the early part of that. What do you say?

Maki Moussavi 13:26
Yeah, my, I think it’s fascinating. You know, my background is in science. And so I’m always thinking about what it looks like when we get knowledge or have something new and a space to play with and see how it works. And I think that like every technology, we’re going to see the pluses and the minuses of this. I think the pluses are the things that you’re referring to, which is, you know, how can I be more efficient? How can I be better? How can I take some of the maybe, you know, tedious work out of just trying to get a message out there or do the thing that I’m trying to do? My huge concern, and I think in medicine, it’s going to have amazing applications. As long as we are very diligent about how we apply it. My biggest concern with Chat GPT is, you know, in my business, specifically in the in the coaching business, there’s already…it’s an unregulated industry, okay? So you, you can get certified, not get certified, you can call yourself a coach of any kind, like it’s just wide open, right? And in the space of like thought leadership, coaching, consulting, I think there’s a real risk that people who are attracted to entrepreneurship, who maybe don’t necessarily have a deeper purpose in the work that they’re doing, can take the work or foundational knowledge that other people have put out there and pass it off as their own in a way that could be dangerous. So they may say, like, well, this person is really successful. So if I do a version of what they’re doing or say what they’re saying, then I can also attract clients and have this kind of a business Not understanding that, you know, if you don’t fully embody the thing that you’re sharing, or what you’re talking about, you actually run the risk of doing harm to the people that then see you as an expert in something. So for me, it’s, it’s the way that the, like the AI engines get trained, basically, by taking in all this information to say, here’s what you need to know. And then for people to claim that as expertise, because it’s being fed to them, even if it’s not fundamentally something that they have spent time on, or have really taken the time to embody. So my my biggest concern is, I think people are going to have to be very diligent about the information they consume. I mean, we’ve already been in that space, but even more so now, you know, if you’re looking for someone to help you with something specific, make sure that that person really embodies what they say, they know, before you make that decision, because I think that we’re just going to be more susceptible to a little bit of illusion, where chat up to knowledge is concerned.

Joel Goldberg 16:04
Grant, what do you think?

Grant Gooding 16:05
I mean, we’ve been down this road before, I mean, you know, when the internet with the internet, just, it was the same kind of fear. And that’s because, again, we’re a fear based species, and we think to the worst case scenario, we can kind of help it and I think it’s going to, it’s going to be a very similar situation where there’s a learning curve. We mess around a lot with machine learning, and we use it a lot in our business, it’s unbelievably helpful. And that will most likely be the first iteration of how machine learning makes its way through the corporate and business market is operational efficiencies, and efficiencies in messaging, particularly around sales and marketing. Because those are the easiest applications that we can wrap our heads around. If you’re not concerned about the slippery slope of what machines that that learn can do, then you’re kind of not paying attention. But you know, it’s the same. It’s the same, it’s the same situation, just just, I think, you know, repeating itself, where we’re gonna have to have AI engines that protect us from malicious AI, which sounds crazy, but it’s not really. I mean, that’s like what a firewall is, right? I mean, you’re gonna, you know, in for, it’s like, protecting yourself from physical harm. So you have a security system on your house. You know, it’s, it’s just a different iteration of technology. And it’s, it’s, I’m less scared of what’s going to happen. I, you know, I certainly see a point where you can say, hey, give me you can’t verify a lot of this information that’s being generated. That’s really no different than in Google engine. Right? Like, a way to those, you know, those engines aren’t perfect, either.

Maki Moussavi 18:30
But I think it’s a little different. So I’ll just step in, because I think you’re exactly right. I think when it comes to sales, and marketing and business, there’s a lot of application there that I’m not necessarily concerned about those applications. But I think because AI makes it so easy to just go in and say, This is what I want to talk about. And then it will just give you this nice summary that you can kind of edit and then post as your own content. That’s where I think in the interpersonal space where you’re looking to someone to maybe advise you or help you that I think that that’s going to be trickier than maybe business and sales and marketing applications. But I Your point is, you know, I definitely understand what you’re saying that the internet has made that possible for a long time, but I don’t think the Internet to this point has just given you like, here it is, you know, type it in, and then it gives it back to you.

Grant Gooding 19:19
Well, I think if you’re making the case that like fraud will be easier. There’s no doubt that’s true. Right? Like you could if you said hey, you have to set up a fraudulent consulting business. You could you could literally have AI generate you 20 articles instantly, that would look reasonable. And, and you know, apply that to any number of

They didn’t like me talking about AI industries, right? And it problem, but there’ll be checks for it. I mean, again, they’ll find ways to check on me like professors are always already using systems that can identify if AI is writing term papers for college students. And the same kind of thing will happen it unfortunately, the the malicious developers somehow are always a step ahead of the those that are supposed to be defending. And that seems to always kind of be the case. And they’ll probably be the case here.

Joel Goldberg 20:26
You know, it’s interesting, you mentioned that. I’ll, in this case, you guys know this, the audience wouldn’t but but I’m recording from Kauffman Stadium, not my home studio, because I had to run in here for a quick press conference. As you and I are recording this that was last minute. But I think about that, as you say that Grant because as long as baseball has been around, and you think to the steroid era, and everything else, that there have always been guys that are going to look for an edge to cheat. And then the counter action is to prevent the cheating. And then somebody if you go back to the steroid, and the chemicals and all that the police so to speak, we’re we’re we’re testing and snuffing it out. And then the chemists were trying to find a way to break the system. So that’s gone on since the beginning of time, it will go on since the beginning of time, I find what you’re saying comforting from a standpoint of as you talked about it being like, we need firewalls, we need our security systems, we need all that. We got our two step verification, we got whatever it is on and on, that we use, change your passwords, all these things. So it’s just gonna be the next thing. My fear Maki is how, potentially, I think there’s an opportunity for those that use it right, whether on a small level, or the biggest of levels, those that use it right to get ahead of everybody else. But I think that knows that use it wrong. And there’s gonna be the lower for people that are desperate for people that are out of work for people that that haven’t been able to figure it out. But oh, this can do it? On any level, right? Think about all these people that we’ve heard that say you have to post X amount of times on LinkedIn, or social media and let everybody know, and I’ve never really liked all those formulas. Now you’re just gonna have somebody do all those formulas for you. They were never working anyway, or a lot of them work. I just think that it’s gonna make a lot of desperate people rely on something and lose their brains, as well. I don’t know what you think I just think, use it as a tool. But don’t make it be you, if that makes sense.

Maki Moussavi 22:29
Yeah, I think this is where the challenge of conditioning comes in. You know, we’ve talked about this, we talked about this on the last podcast, we’re just very conditioned to think that there’s only there’s a formula, there’s a way that we can create our success that we have to do the things that you’re mentioning, like posting on social media X number of times and cranking out X amount of content. And the reality is that there is somebody is benefiting from those recommendations, right? I mean, it’s usually the social media platform that benefits in some way. Or if you run ads, it’s benefiting in some tangible way. And it’s okay, if it doesn’t feel right to you to do that to not do it. You know, I think that’s one of the things that that we have to unlearn a lot of what we’ve been taught or what’s constantly coming at us to say, I don’t want to do that. I don’t think that’s going to work for me, I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to act from a place of fear. I don’t want to act from a place of feeling like unless I do this, I can’t be successful. And really checking that tendency in yourself like because as Grant has mentioned, we can be very fear oriented. And so when you’re operating from fear, usually things don’t go well anyway. So the more that you can be aware of I’m about to operate from a place of fear. Why am I doing this? I’m doing it because I’m being told that I have to do this in order to be successful. But is that even true? And to start, you know, questioning yourself and your own cascade of doom and gloom and catastrophizing, before you just automatically get on a particular path, because as you’ve said that there is no one way and you don’t have to do those things. It works really well for some people, it doesn’t work for others, and you can be successful either way.

Joel Goldberg 24:08
Alright, so that is developing situation, I guess I would call it that the people that have studied AI, have been studying it for years and years. I just think it’s part of the mainstream. Now the other thing that we’re hearing a lot and you guys touched on it a little bit, and again, clouded by social media, I can go in and talk to one group that is so excited about 2024. And then the next one is completely mortified about the economy and no matter what. Now some of this gets back to differentiating between hearing what you want to hear or hearing the fear or what is it really and it’s not across the board. It’s different for everyone. But I mean, Grant What what are you hearing from your clients? What what is the concern level, like in terms of economy and where we’re going into that in 2024?

Grant Gooding 25:01
Well, you know, these businesses are made up of people, and people are different. You know, and so we have some clients that just right off 2024 is gonna be terrible year. Because that’s how they think they were told that they believe it, they plan for it. And there are some that are like, I’m not going to, I’m not going to fall for this recession nonsense until it punches me in the face. And their approaches to the year are going to be very different. Somebody’s going to be like the one that the the the owner that says there’s no recession here, they’re they’re going to be out there growing spending money, and they’re gonna let the chips fall where they may, where the one that’s playing defense is going to be playing defense. But that’s that’s the personality of the leadership team, impacting how the organization performs. I don’t think I think the the, the economists that I follow, are saying like, maybe we’re at a negative 2.5% growth rate. Well, that’s not all that bad. When you’re talking about our system, it was like negative, it was negative nine over COVID. So and that’s not including all the, you know, issues with supply chain. So that’s not that bad. And I really am not, not seeing all that much negativity in in the marketplace in general. So I’m extremely optimistic about 2024. Actually, I don’t think I don’t think there’s a whole lot to be scared of.

Maki Moussavi 26:46
I think part of what what we have started to see happening in our society is that, you know, the economy and some of what we experienced politically and societally, they’ve all kind of become intertwined. And I think that there’s the uneasiness about what’s happening from a society perspective is part of the trepidation. So to your point, Grant, the economy might be doing doing okay. But I think sometimes people take well, we just, it feels very uncomfortable, because it’s very difficult for us to relate to one another. And there’s people on different sides of the spectrum in terms of what they believe. And I think it can be helpful to sometimes take a more macro view. So I don’t I wish I could remember the guy’s name. I think it’s Neil Howe. But in the 90s, he wrote a book called The Fourth Turning. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. But it’s a really fascinating, financial, economic and generational study of the way that we go through these periods where every fourth generation, depending on where you’re counting from, goes, Yeah, goes through the degradation and breakdown phase societally, so that it can then come back and become something different. And the that book claims that were this is that decade, right? We’re in that decade, where we’re seeing the degradation and the breakdown, and it can feel very scary, you know, that’s where the fear comes in. But you know, when you look at history, that happens, you know, every 80 to 100 years. And so it’s a really interesting historical, look back at what was happening economically, politically, socially, during those periods in the past. And so a lot of what you’re seeing now can kind of be compared, at least when that’s happened in the past. And it can provide a little bit of maybe reassurance like this is a natural cycle, if you will, if you can call it that. But even if it’s not natural, it’s one that we’ve been through, and that we do sometimes go through phases where like, a lot of stuffs not working, and we do need it to break down before we can improve upon it. Unfortunately, human beings need to hit rock bottom before they fix things. And you know, we might be sinking to that level, you know, on some, in some spaces right now.

Grant Gooding 29:00
Yeah, and that is fascinating work. I’ve looked at it quite a bit. And the and by the way, human beings are greatly comforted by knowing there’s a beginning, a middle and an end, and there’s a cycle and which there is right, we just forget we’re very short memories, when it comes to looking at history and the ways that we look at history. So all of the predictors that I’ve seen i i call the boiler brothers, I think they’re brilliant economist and never write a freaky amount of time. And their predictions for the past five years have been the there will be a very strong depression around 2030. They have altered some of the numbers but for the most part, it is it is an economic inevitable. It will be it’s because of a combination of many factors. But it’s there, and you have to prepare for it. Right? Make sure you’re prepared for it, because it’s not gonna be great. It’s going to be a like kind of a ball, bouncing down a hill, right? There’ll be a little bit of recovery, but it’s going to be like a two to three year really bad deal. And then we’re going to be back in that cycle. So ironically, housework holds up, that it’s right at about that fourth turn, and then we’re back to kind of that that rebirth. And it’s, it’s there. But it’s, it’s still quite a ways off. I mean, you think about I mean, you look at Moore’s Law on how fast technology grows. I mean, we could be all flying around, and we’d be flying around in autonomous vehicles by the time that hits, based on how technology is moving. So there’s a lot of time between now and then, right? You need to have your affairs in order and everything that sounds really bad, say out loud, you know,

Joel Goldberg 30:53
Yeah, it’s, I don’t know if I’m comforted or not

Grant Gooding 30:56
The things to be most scared because there are legitimate things to be to be afraid of. And the scariest thing is the unknown. So now, you know, you don’t have to be as scared just know, hey, don’t have a ton of debt, you know, sitting out there, that’s unleveraged and 2029. Not a good idea. So, the the, but right now, we’re 2023, almost 2024. We’re miles and miles away. And so now we look at short term things to worry about. And I agree with Maki like we sort of take all of the stimulus that we have from politics and culture, and, and cloud, you know, raw economic data with those with the way we feel because you can’t help it. We’re emotional beings. And so we sort of trick ourselves into thinking that things are bad when they actually aren’t. Right? When you when you look at the numbers, and we do the opposite we make we trick ourselves into thinking that things are great when they’re not when they’re not. So it’s it’s hard in today’s world to take a myopic, or isolated view, where you look at independent variables and say, Everything’s cool. We haven’t it’s not because I watched this tiktok the other day that made me think about this, and it freaked me out. So things aren’t that good, even reality. They are but we’re, we’re we’re not that smart of a species in many ways when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Joel Goldberg 32:19
Yeah, I would I would agree with that. And it’s not I mean, yes, tiktok. And people are seeing it all day long. Shoot, I mean, go on 60 minutes, and they’ll scare the heck out of you about something. I mean, again, it’s it’s across the board. Before I get to the baseball theme questions I wanted to ask you guys one other topic that I’d thrown out there to you because I still think it’s hard to believe that this March will be the four year anniversary of what we kind of remember as being the start of the pandemic, I view the start of the pandemic as that middle of March period where everything started shutting down. And it started before that, but that’s where our worlds changed forever. Yet, I still find myself with the people that I meet and some of my clients and prospects and find it they’re all doing things differently. And what works for one group, being virtual, absolutely does not work for the next. And what this group wants is better with hybrid and this group wants this and it no one. We’re talking about formulas before and wanting formulas. I don’t know that there’s an across the board formula for that. It’s very people based I think and understanding your people. I want to ask each of you what you’re what you’re hearing and seeing as we approach the four year anniversary, Grant, we’ll start with you and Proof Positioning and you’ve got great people over there and and work with some amazing clients. What what are you hearing? Is it across the board?

Grant Gooding 33:51
No, I think it was COVID was a strange business culture catalyst that gave people permission to just sort of think differently for a minute, and then gave them the opportunity to practice what they were thinking. And they were able to figure out how this works. And they were able to figure out whoa, this totally does not work. And so it was a very expensive and sort of catastrophic for many ways, but a very expensive experiment that ultimately I think is was healthy because do you need you know, offices but d&d and not I mean, technology can make our lives you know, better and worse in this regard. You know, but again, leave it up to the personality of the business. Some people like myself, I love going to the office. I like I like like kissing the family goodbye and get into the office. This unlike in, you know, turning that on, and, and living in that different world and then separating myself and going back that I really enjoy. Some people can live in autonomous life where they don’t leave their house and both of those worlds collide, and they can be wildly productive. Why is that? Because we’re people, and we’re incredibly different. There’s a bell curve for a reason. And so it’s, I think it’s been very healthy, to help organizations go, Hey, how can we? How does our culture can we survive in this type of environment, and maybe we should start measuring people, our own people in a different way to find out how they’re likely to be most productive, because if you put me at a stay at home situation, not gonna be that productive, there’s not. But we have no, we have employees that stay home, and we gotta like, beg them to come in. And you know what, you’re awesome, you’re wildly productive. And we have folks that want to show up, we let them we’ve had the same environment the whole time. So it didn’t we’ve we’ve had a, there’s no work hours, you can come in whenever you want. That that was how we operated before the pandemic hit. But if you weren’t in that situation, you know, it forced a lot of change. And I think it was very healthy, to ultimately, when we look back, and it will be like, boy, that was really great. It just cost a lot of money, unfortunately, to get

Joel Goldberg 36:17
Maki, how about your perspective? And what so many of your coaching clients?

Maki Moussavi 36:21
Yeah, I mean, I agree, I think it was a necessary disruption. And it’s like a paradigm busting scenario, right? When, especially for businesses that have this expectation, you know, you got to come here be in your seat, be here so many hours, people have to see you there, you know, the very different from what Grants describing his organization, you know, that’s the kind of place I was at. And I feel like the really healthy part of that is it’s challenging a very old school traditional way of thinking about work that, that some companies still fail to grasp, right, they’re still trying to figure out how do we get everyone to come back in without really asking, why do we need everyone to come back in, you know, what is the actual reason why we feel like that’s necessary. And the answer can’t just be because that’s the way it’s always been. But I do believe a lot of businesses operate from that very traditional old school place. And now that people have had a taste of what it’s like to not have that and not be forced into that a lot of them don’t want it, you know, and I think, to Grant’s point, it’s great to accommodate both people are different, some people really thrive in a traditional work environment, or they thrive in a hybrid where I can go in if I feel like it, or I can stay home when I feel like it, or I’m more productive when I don’t have to talk to anyone kind of thing. And I believe that some of what drives that is the investment in real estate that those companies have made where they’re like, we’ve got these buildings sitting here, we’ve done all these things, it doesn’t feel right for them to sit empty, we don’t know what to do with the space, the market for office spaces, maybe not that great. So it’s just gonna sit there like, you know, this, this investment we’ve made, that’s not necessarily being capitalized on. But I feel like we’re just in an age where we need to move beyond that. Because you may have really, really good people that are really productive away from the office, and they don’t have to stay with you if you’re gonna force them to come back. Because now there are so many options. And so I think it just forces the conversation around. Why do we need this? Let’s talk about why we need it. And how do we accommodate the different kinds of people that we have in our environment, because I know for my clients, tons of them are not willing to go back to that traditional setting.

Joel Goldberg 38:26
I should also mention that I’m pretty sure that that they’re doing that they’re mowing something right outside of Maki’s window right now. And that only happens, that only happens. Everybody, I only bring that up, like in the old days to television secret is just just ignore it, you move on. But nowadays everybody can relate because of all the virtual because at some point, whether it’s now or somewhere over the last four years, we’ve all done a million zoom calls. We’ve all gotten used to being interrupted, we’re all okay with the kid costing in in the middle of a meeting now. So I just bring that up, because like hearing that, and you’ve done a masterful job, by the way of hitting mute every moment you could. And of course, every time you start to talk, the guy comes around in a circle again. That is if that if that’s not 2023 In our world, if anything, I think it’s taught us at least to not get so upset about those type of things. Because we have we’ve had to learn how to adapt that we’ve had to learn to adjust. Here’s my final thought before I get to the the baseball theme questions. I think still in the end the artificial intelligence the work from home the hybrid the you know, Maki, you mentioned, but we spent all this money on this building we have to fill your people don’t care about that. In the end. It’s about caring about people and taking care of people, you know, and whatever that is, right. I mean leadership taking care of people taking care of clients. That has to always be at the forefront and we so often forget about that. Absolutely. Right. Very simple. We make it more complicated. Okay. The hallmark question, Maki, you got them when you were on before, but we’ll do a little something different. And we’ll skip the small ball, the little things that add up to the big results. And let’s talk about, let’s get a little predictive here. If we can, a homerun, whether it be for, for each of you, or just where things are going in 2024. Grant, I’ll start with you. What’s a homerun we could look forward to in 2024.

Grant Gooding 40:26
I’m going to take an easy answer, but it’s the most correct one I can think of and that is application of machine learning. In our businesses, particularly around finding efficiencies, there’s no doubt to me that that people will look back at this year and go holy cow, we were able to create so many efficiencies and have such stronger organizations around managing people. And, and in streamlining tasks. That is going to be a homerun for 2024.

Joel Goldberg 41:00
Maki, how about you?

Maki Moussavi 41:01
Yeah, I guess I, you know, my Grants got this great high level view of like society at large, and I’m so embedded with like the individual person, but I would say the trend that I’ve started to see that I that I believe will be a homerun or on its way to being one, it’s just the fact that people are more willing to stop for a second and ask themselves, why they’re doing what they’re doing. And if it really works for them. You know, even as we’ve just talked about with this conversation around traditional workplaces, and what the expectations are, and I feel like if we can continue that trend of self introspection and not necessarily falling in line with what’s expected of us from the outside, that the world could actually look like a really different place, you know, if we can get people to embrace their individual viewpoints, and what brings their unique perspective and how they want to do things in a way that works for them. I think that actually is powerful at the collective level, if we have enough individuals doing that, rather than just being like, Okay, well, this is what we have to do, because this is what we’re being told. And that that has worked in some spaces in different times in our society, but I feel like we’re getting to a point where it’s not going to work as well anymore. So I want to see that continued self reflection that I think a lot of different thought leaders and business leaders are really promoting, which is, you know, encouraging.

Joel Goldberg 42:19
You guys both give me a lot of hope. So that is exciting. I should have done the swing and miss first and then ended with the homeruns. So we could end on a high note. I’ll wrap it all together and and put a nice bow on it. But how about a swing and a miss? What, what might we get wrong? Grant in 2024?

Grant Gooding 42:39
Well, I think what’s going to be wrong, what is going to be wrong with 2024 is politics. That’s definitely what’s going to ruin the year. You know, because of the influence of social media, like humans are very susceptible to propaganda, very, and the powers that be know that and they use it. It’s not an accident. And it ruins societies and interpersonal relationships. Here’s a fun game to play. This is a game I play. If I’m talking to someone and I hear a political lien, I get my phone out, or I get a piece of paper and I write down what I think they’re gonna say. And I have like a few things that are just the narratives of whatever political lien I think that they are displaying. And then I write down what I think like verbatim, and then I, and then I show it to him afterwards. And I say, you’re not using your brain independent thought would not lead you to this conclusion, unless I am a magician, which I am not. Okay. So please think for yourself, and don’t listen to the narratives because both are disruptive. And that is what’s going to tear are the only thing that’s important, which is people, nothing works without human beings, and the political narratives are destroying that.

Joel Goldberg 44:09
Also spot on. Yeah, go ahead Maki.

Maki Moussavi 44:12
I couldn’t agree more. I think politics is going to be the thing that’s going to be a big miss in 2024. I guess the thing that I would say that I think is important to keep in mind, as we’ve talked about, you know, the cycle of destruction. You know, I think a lot of what we’ve seen in the last several years, which is super painful, is we’re very clear about what doesn’t work. And I think whenever we start to see that there’s a doubling down on that, because people are going to try really hard to make the thing that’s not working work before it really makes it to the part where it needs to just go away and stop being a thing. The more that we can, I think stay grounded in the fact that this is something that has to happen so that we can get to a better place the better off we’ll be. I think the more that we can stay out of the the fear because I think there will be a lot of fun things that will happen this year that will feel really scary from a political perspective. But the more we can say to ourselves like this is a part of what we have to go through to get to the other side of it. So I want to, let’s witness it, let’s process it, let’s not be divorced from reality about what’s really happening. But let’s not get sucked all the way into the abyss of the darkness and understand that we can only come back up after we’ve gone down to a certain level. And I think that this is that year. And so in some ways, I feel like it’s a turning point year maybe. And so if we can remember that, we’re going to hit a low well, and then forget what Grant said, because in 2030, we’re really going to hit a low, but at least for the next several years, I think that 2024 It might feel like a low point for us. And so we can just remember, like, that’s part of what we’re here to experience, then it might not, we just need to stay grounded in that,

Grant Gooding 45:53
You know, I think there’s something to keep in mind. So in that is, when you put people in actual pain, they get the game perspective very quickly. Okay. So there’s, there’s basically a direct correlation. For instance, there’s a direct correlation that exists between church attendance and despair. Okay, when things get really hard, we need faith. And the same thing happens when it comes when people are not working. Or people are like, Oh, crap, inflation is so high, and my wages are so low that I’m having trouble feeding my family. And no one everybody’s everything. The government is broke, everybody’s broken, I can’t. They’ll change their perspective very quickly. So when you put people in a situation where they’re actually back to thinking about survival, they stop worrying about nonsense. And nonsense in 2024 is going to be all about in the media.

Joel Goldberg 46:53
Yeah, it’s an election year here in the United States. So that in itself will be a circus that I would like to avoid, if at all possible. It makes social media, it makes people it makes everything crazy. I’ll put the positive bow on it with this because that was not meant to be a doom and gloom. Question. I don’t think that anything that either of you mentioned, is a surprise. I wouldn’t even call it extremely concerning. I think it’s just challenges that lie ahead. And if you’re thinking clearly, you understand that that’s what it is. And we’ll we’ll move past it. We’ll move through it whichever way that pendulum is swinging. But I’ll get back to something I said before, it’s something that that Grant you just mentioned, I’ll call this that. The final small ballpoint, and it’ll, I hope, apply till the end of time, that everything we do is about people. And the moment that we forget that whether it’s through artificial intelligence, whether it’s the way that we are treating people, which is not as humans, often through social media, easy to just just throw darts at people and not have to answer to it. No accountability and all that when we remember to treat people write or have conversations and listen, I think that we have the ability to get ahead. Especially because a lot of people are forgetting to do that, or don’t know how to do that. And so I think in the end, if we still continue to make this about small ball, we’re going to be okay, just my thought, I don’t know if you guys have any final thoughts

Grant Gooding 48:19
I will not do injustice to that final point. It was great.

Maki Moussavi 48:24
I completely agree. And also, this guy is right outside my window still so it’d be more if he wasn’t.

Joel Goldberg 48:33
Alright, well, on that note, wish he won’t hear you but wish the lawn guy a Happy New Year. And this is coming out right at the end of December. So I want to wish both of you and your families and your kids happy new year at prosperous 2024 to both of your businesses. And I really appreciate it. I love the fact that we had this conversation. I knew each of you guys would be great because you’re you’re two of the most engaging minds that I have met in my journey over the last seven years of speaking and podcasting. And I I’m even more excited that we got to do this together. So hopefully the start of YouTube getting to know each other a little bit better. I love knowing both of you. Thanks for the perspective to look back on 2023 But look ahead to 2024 Maki Moussavi Grant Gooding Happy New Year. Thanks so much for joining me on Rounding the Bases.

Maki Moussavi 49:27
Thanks for having us.