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Joseph Grenny is the co-founder of VitalSmarts, one of the most respected corporate training and organizational development companies globally with clients representing 300 of the Fortune 500 companies.

Joseph also co-founded The Other Side Academy, which is a two year, peer-run residential school for those with deeply broken lives. They help people with long histories of crime, homelessness, and addiction to transform their lives at no cost to them or the government.

He is the Chairman of the Board of Unitus Labs, a nonprofit on a mission to reduce global poverty through economic self-empowerment. They’ve deployed over a billion dollars globally to battle poverty.

Joseph is a four-time New York Times bestselling author with seven books to his credit, including Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Joseph Grenny shares how The Other Side Academy started and what they do
  • How Joseph chose who to lead The Other Side Academy
  • Joseph talks about the methodology they use to drive change at the Other Side Academy
  • The businesses that have come out of the Other Side Academy
  • How The Other Side Movers are pivoting and adapting to the situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The challenges that comes with working with executives to lead organizational change and how he resolves them
  • The best way to take and understand tough feedback
  • How can you overcome procrastination?
  • Joseph shares why the Albert Bandura social experiment stands out for him
  • The original idea for VitalSmarts
  • Joseph talks about the zero lag time concept and why it’s an interesting concept

In this episode…

Change is hard-hitting and more often than not, it will require you to sacrifice ego, time, and money. But if you have to choose between sacrificing your ego, time, money, and your organization’s growth, what will it be? According to Joseph Grenny, if business leaders are not capable of showing their people that they’re willing to put your ego on the line, it will be difficult to lead change within your organization.

In this episode of the Inspired Insider, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Joseph Grenny of VitalSmart about how the training school that he co-founded, The Other Side Academy, is helping change the lives of people with long histories of crime, homelessness, and addiction. Joseph also talks about the challenges that come with working with executives in leading change, how to best receive tough feedback, and more. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Some of the founders you’ve heard of some you’ve never heard of. And, you know, Joseph, I had Luis Navone on who was the Mobileye, and he talks about the mobile eye journey that they were acquired by Intel for $13.2 billion. But what struck me what I love hearing is the challenge story like we always hear the success on the other side after just grinding it out for decades, and he talked to me about how he had to take a pay cut and sad sacrifice and he had to go back to his family and basically tell his kids and wife, I’m pulling you out of all extracurricular activities. There’s no more eating out. There’s no more niceties. You know, we have to we have just a little bit to live on. And, you know, going from that to you know, what ended up happening was remarkable. And we don’t see that kind of that grit that goes behind building a company. So check out that and many more, and this episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co-founded with my business partner, John Corcoran, and at Rise25 wheel b2b businesses connect to their dream 100 clients and referral partners and help you run your podcasts so it generates ROI. You know, but podcasting you know, just for me is a lot more personal. It’s not just about business. It’s it was inspired by my grandfather, who was a Holocaust survivor and him and his brother were in concentration camps in Nazi Germany and they were the only people to survive other family and the words and legacy live on because of an interview. Because the Holocaust foundation then interview with him and you can find out my about page inspired insider but that constantly motivates me constantly gives me appreciation and gratitude. So yes podcasting Can you know help you develop relationships but it how I think of it as helping my guests leave a legacy and myself like leave a legacy as well. So check out or email us we have questions [email protected]. I want to give a special shout out to David Allen of Getting Things Done to inspiring you know there he inspired today’s interview and Chris Marsa from Top Grading also helped inspire this interview as well. I’m going to introduce today’s guests, Joseph Grenny and in 19 eight amazing, remarkable story. You really have to binge watch every video he’s put out on YouTube or anywhere in my opinion. In 1990 he co-founded VitalSmarts which today is one of the most respected corporate training in organizational development companies in the world, with clients representing 300 of the Fortune 500 companies. VitalSmarts has been ranked numerous times by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America. Joseph has co authored seven books, including four New York Times bestsellers, crucial conversations, crucial accountability, influencer and change anything. Over 4 million of Joseph’s books have been sold. And probably you know, it’s probably been updated more than that from when I read that. But then there are standard texts in major universities. Joseph co founded the other side Academy, which is a two year pure run residential school for those with deeply broken lives. And they help people with long histories of crime, homelessness and addiction transform their lives at no cost to them or the government. And he’s also Chairman of the Board of Unitas labs, which is a nonprofit which is mission Their mission is to reduce global poverty through economic self empowerment and they’ve deployed over For a billion dollars globally to battle poverty, so Joseph, I have to, you know, usually keep the introduction short, but there’s just too much good stuff there. I had to do the whole thing. So thanks for joining me.

Joseph Grenny
Happy to be with you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz
You know, I’m there’s so much to talk about. And, you know, I figured we’d start with The Other Side Academy. There’s just some remarkable stories that have come out remarkable, you know, out of The Other Side Academy and maybe just talk a little about what other side Academy is. And we can talk about presently how they’re, they’re pivoting in the COVID crisis.

Joseph Grenny
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, with an audience that’s interested in entrepreneurship, I think this is one of the greatest challenge stories any of us who are struggling to get an enterprise off the ground ought to take is is kind of a motivator to us. So so at the other side Academy here probably about a mile from where I’m sitting right now and talking with you are about 120 people who’ve been arrested at an average of 25 times, they’ve been in and out of prison in jail most of their adult lives and, and are angry, scared, greedy, violent, racist, just that’s who they are when they arrive at the other side Academy. And yet, within a matter of days, they pull together in a way that helps them run world class enterprises that are remarkably profitable, that are highly rated that are top of class within their industry groups. So for entrepreneurs that are trying to hire the best and brightest people in the world and get their ideas to work, here’s a place that’s taking the bottom 2% and finding a way to create world class enterprises with that population. And by the way, transforming their lives while they do it. And so it’s it’s an incredible story of entrepreneurship, and it’s happening right now. So if it’s possible for us to take people that that really have no reason to succeed and run world class enterprises, what are the rest of us capable of that? That’s The Other Side Academy.

Jeremy Weisz
So, you know, with The Other Side Academy, how did that what was the original idea? How did that come come about?

Joseph Grenny
Yeah. So when I was co authoring a book called influence or the new science of leading change, we did a worldwide study of just remarkable stories of behavior change, and we’re looking at different categories. How do you stop a pandemic? That was one we’re looking at? How do you reduce medical errors we’re looking at how do you stop violence against women, so somewhere social somewhere business problems, but when it came to criminal recidivism all the research led us to a place in California called Delancey Street. It’s been around for about 45 years, and Delancey Street has helped over 15,000 people with lives like I recently described here to become a person they have never met before. And again, it’s a self reliant model. Nobody pays the government doesn’t pay insurance doesn’t pay, participants don’t pay, and they can stay for years if they need to, while they’re working on becoming a different person. So I was social struck with that model. My background is social science and, and so my endless fascination is why people do what they do and how you can help them change. And here’s this place, which is entirely self reliant and run by criminals, frankly, that is doing these remarkable transformational things I thought the whole world needs to know about this. Well, I got so immersed in it, as I wrote about it in the book, that it swept me off my feet and years and years later, I continue to think Why is this not scaling? Well, that’s what I do know, my work is organizational theory and organizational development. And so after kind of nudging the founder and saying, why is there not a bench like, like you have here in, in San Francisco, in every city in the world? I finally decided to take it on myself. So some colleagues and I, I problem one was, could we create a campus that self reliant that replicates the DNC model? And within about six months, we’ve been able to do that, and then the question was, could it be scaled? So we now have a second And soon to be a third campus as well. And I that’s where the idea came from I it not not be done. It’s too important.

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