The Power of Great Leadership

Hosted By Matt DeCoursey

Full Scale

See All Episodes With Matt DeCoursey

Mark Silverman

Today's Guest: Mark Silverman

Owner - Mark J. Silverman and Associates LLC

Leesburg, VA

Ep. #1173 - The Power of Great Leadership

Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is part of the all-week series of the powers you can channel into your company. Matt DeCoursey and Mark Silverman, owner of Mark J. Silverman and Associates LLC talk about the power of great leadership. Hear them discuss extreme ownership, being an emphatic leader, and the importance of humility. They also talk about how good leaders genuinely want their people to succeed and the importance of managing your allostatic load.

Covered In This Episode

Startup founders have a reputation for extreme focus and commitment, but many find it challenging to lead a team.

Listen to Matt and Mark talk about the challenges they encountered in their lives and turning a B player into an A player. They discuss the power in leadership and how to improve it through extreme ownership. They highlight how to be an emphatic leader without losing a sense of humility. The duo agrees that great leaders genuinely want to see other people succeed. They also discuss Mark’s books and the smartest thing Matt did.

Get Started with Full Scale

Are you ready to leverage the power of great leadership? Learn how in this Startup Hustle episode.

Check Out Our Startup Hustle Podcast


  • Mark’s backstory (1:26)
  • There is power in leadership (5:01)
  • How to improve your leadership (7:47)
  • Extreme ownership (11:54)
  • Be an emphatic leader (14:53)
  • Turning a B player to an A player (17:26)
  • Leading (22:38)
  • The importance of humility (23:40)
  • Leaders genuinely want to see other people succeed (27:13)
  • Leading and managing your allostatic load (37:53)
  • Mark’s book, Only 10s and The Rising Leader Handbook (43:38)
  • The smartest thing that Matt did was to learn leadership (44:22)

Key Quotes

You don’t have to do success by destroying your family [or] your health. You don’t have to succeed by burning the candles at both and you can do success and thrive at the same time. And now at 61, what I really really know is that you know if you’re not happy, you’re not fulfilled. Why do any of this shit? Why do any of it? So, that’s what I do all day, every day.

– Mark J. Silverman

I work with people who don’t speak up enough. And I have to get them to speak up. And then I work with people who speak up to much, right? So I teach them, you know, [that] to be effective, you have to pick a hill to die on. If every hill is important, nobody’s going to listen to you. But if you pick what’s important, the thing that you’re gonna go to the mat for, people will start to know that you actually care about this.

– Mark J. Silverman

I think that as an entrepreneur or leader, your goal is to try to build something bigger than you. We were just talking about this at Full Scale like this, the COO and myself, and we said, man, you know, we’ve done a really good job of that because we could replace ourselves, and this company is still gonna go on, and it’s still gonna go forward. And to me, that’s the greatest award that you can come up with.

– Matt DeCoursey

Sponsor Highlight

Invest in the best resources to build a great product. And when it comes to people, Full Scale has a deep pool of technical professionals you can trust. Full Scale specializes in building software development teams quickly and affordably; Meet developers, testers, and leaders that only work for you and your long-term project.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out our Startup Hustle partners. These organizations support the startup community and offer varied services for different businesses.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey  00:01

And we’re back, back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Speaking of a growing business, if you are in the spot where your business is growing and it’s taking off, you are going to be thrust into a position of leadership. And if you don’t know anything about leadership, you will quickly learn that it is the currency that success is often traded with. So learn to be a better leader. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Now, before introduce introduce today’s guest, today’s Startup Hustle is powered by Hiring software developers is difficult and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit to learn more. With me today is Mark Silverman. Mark’s the owner at Mark J. Silverman and Associates, LLC that’s a professional training and coaching organization in Vienna, Virginia. You can learn more about mark by going to There’s also a link for that in the show notes. Why don’t you give me a favor and scroll on down and click that so you can get a little bit of context about Mark. But without further ado, once again, straight out of the Vienna, Virginia. Mark, welcome to Startup Hustle.


Mark J. Silverman  01:18

Thank you, I really appreciate being here.


Matt DeCoursey  01:20

Yeah, you know, let’s, let’s jump right into today’s conversation with a little bit about your backstory.


Mark J. Silverman  01:25

You know, it’s interesting, if you go when if you go to my website, the new video on the website just dropped. And I was I was told by my coach to show up and tell my story. And they had three cameras, and and a professional film crew. So my story is like right there on the front of my website. So so when I when I tell it, it feels almost like being a short Jewish Tony Robbins, and regurgitating that kind of success story. Because the story starts with me being an alcoholic and a drug addict and living in my truck, way back in 1989. So you know, it’s not it’s not exactly the leadership journey. I went to Wharton Business School and was CEO of several companies before I came to executive coaching. I was you know, I was, I was a mess. And it was that building myself up, it was that, it was getting sober. It was, it was figuring out what to do for work in my 20s and 30s. Getting a college degree in my 40s and you know, ending up in a million dollar house driving a Lexus convertible and all those things several years after being homeless and living in a little pickup truck that formed what I do now. So when I became successful, I looked at it through a very, very different lens, I looked at it like from from like, like a foreigner. And you know, it’s going out that was being flown to club trips, you know, in Hawaii and Barcelona and that kind of thing. And it was just really weird to me. But what I didn’t, what I didn’t understand was just because my outsides were Hugo Boss suits and nice cars and a nice house and you know, beautiful family. I didn’t realize that my insides didn’t catch up with my outside. So I was working three times as hard as everybody else to prove that I wasn’t that homeless guy. I thought people could look at me and see that. So I burned the candle at both ends and and that crippling self kind of self hatred and judgment of myself just tore me apart. So that in 2008, 2009 it all fell apart again. Stone cold sober I didn’t take a drink. You know the the pressure of trying to be successful, nearly destroyed me. So I was watching, I was watching left and right as the people you know that I was working with, I watched marriage crumble. I watched people have addictions, I watched people, their mental health just fray. Didn’t think it was going to happen to me. And then it happened to me stone cold sober. So I all of a sudden, my marriage fell apart. My career started falling apart, I couldn’t sell, was having panic attacks. I was getting sick all the time. I was really sick. Misdiagnosed, several times I was gonna die. And and then just the whole thing, the whole thing was a mess. It was building myself back, you know, when I thought I was going to die when I was suicidal and depressed. And I was living in an apartment around the corner for my kids. That everything I do as a coach came into being. I built myself back even more successful than I was before, but in such a different fashion. That I was like an ex-smoker. Like, I came back with a vengeance of you don’t have to do success by destroying your family. You don’t have to do success by destroying your health. You don’t have to success by burning the candles at both and you can do success and thrive at the same time. And now at 61, what I really really know is that you know if you’re not happy, you’re not fulfilled. Why do any of this shit? Why do any of it? So, that’s what I do all day, everyday.


Matt DeCoursey  05:01

You know, I can really identify with you on a lot of this. Now, I’ll say that while my story was a little different, I was a late bloomer, myself, I dropped out of five colleges, which is kind of hard to do. But you know, with that, I love that. Well, with that, you know, watching a lot of other people around me as I got a little bit older, and seeing what they were doing, how they were doing it, and, you know, kind of came to the realization, I said, you know, I can do the same stuff, I got to figure out how to do it, when got the job, got myself some professional mentoring, and I you know, at the time, you know, here I am in my mid 20s. And everyone had told me that, like, Oh, you’d be a great salesperson. And it’s funny because I’d say I’d say why. And so you’re a great talker. I learned later that the best salespeople aren’t great talkers, they’re better listeners. But with that, as I watched other people around me, and I evolved, I realized that leadership was the way to really do big things. And I spent a lot of time effort and energy, learning more about it. And it’s a very tricky thing, you know, because the way that you lead people is different for all people, meaning you, the way you’re going to react to my leadership might be different than the fictional person that’s not sitting next to you that has a different personality style that has different hopes and ambitions and dreams. They’re at a different part in life. And I really spend a lot of time trying to learn, you know, how to communicate with different people. And I think the most important leadership lesson and here we go, dropping, dropping truth bombs at seven minutes, and is, you know, learning how to help other people get what they want. And kind of being selfless about yourself, you know, like, you get to help all the people around you get what they want, and then you magically get what you want. And then they don’t let me go back and remove that word, magically, I’d say systematically, you know, and with that, you know, there really is a power to leadership that I think everyone should embrace. Now, if you don’t consider yourself to be a leader, or you want to improve your leadership game, where do you think a good place to start is?


Mark J. Silverman  07:21

So here’s the here’s the thing, like, I’ve been a coach now for a decade, and I’ve never called myself a leadership coach. This past year, that the just the thought of myself on why not? Because it just gives me connotation, you know, I run into people who go, I love leadership, I study leadership, I live, you know, I’m just a will Nick. Um, um, you know, I eat nails and that kind of thing.


Matt DeCoursey  07:44

For leadership and mighty nails. I actually really Yeah.


Mark J. Silverman  07:47

But you know, and I, I don’t. I like art, you know, like, like, I scuba dive. But you know, that’s, that’s about as adventurous as that is. And what I realized is, that, for me, what I teach what I what I and what in it was, it was actually other people who convinced me to write this book, The Rising Leader Handbook, and to actually come out as a leadership coach, because it’s how I make my money. Right? How I show up online, how I showed up is pretty much like Oprah and like, Love, and everybody’s good, and all that stuff. But what I actually do all day, every day is I work with the C C suite executives and teach them leadership skills, but I don’t call them leadership skills. I basically say, how do you have an honest conversation with someone who works for you around a specific subject? So I teach the difficult conversations, right? How do you create agreements, instead of having expectations that are unmet? How do you speak truth to power? How do you walk into the boardroom and actually speak up so that you can be heard? How do you stop butting heads with with your peers? How do you check your ego? And how do you use your influencing skills? All of these are leadership skills. But I just I just don’t put that mantle on, I think is because I went through a leadership program a few years ago, that was just it’s one of the premier leadership programs. And I found it to be horrendous and disgusting. And I never wanted to be part of that. But again, speaking truth to power, being able to create strong relationships with your peers, being able to to speak to your people and inspire them to get, you know, all row in the same direction and, and do what needs to be done. Those are leadership skills.


Matt DeCoursey  09:30

You mentioned Jocko earlier who is in for those of you that aren’t, What’s his last name, Willink?


Mark J. Silverman  09:35

Willink, yeah.


Matt DeCoursey  09:36

Yeah. So if you’re not aware that that’s a former Navy SEAL, who has really specialized in leadership training and you know, the brand, I do subscribe a little bit to the brand, the honesty brand, you know, and that’s, you talk about tough conversations. That’s something I’ve specialized in over the years and, and here’s the thing you talked about the power of leadership, well look, that same power of leadership doesn’t always land well because you talk about talk you into this tough conversation where you have to say, you know, Hey Mark, Mark, I’m gonna put you in my fictional role here. Mark, you’ve been late to work every day for the last two weeks, you’re the first person out the door and the people on the team that you’re working with are starting to notice, they don’t really feel like you have their back. Now, that’s a tough conversation that if you know what I just said, those are words, those are just words that came out of my mouth as easy as the ones that are coming out of my mouth right now that you don’t necessarily know how those words are going to land at the recipient. If you understand what that person’s personality style is, you might have some idea meaning if they’re an extrovert, you know, they, they may get vocal about it. And introverted person might be like, Okay, I’ll do better. And then they’re gonna go back to their desk and quietly turn into a pressure cooker, you know, mad at you and upset about it. But what you know, what I find is, if you’re doing the most effective job as a leader, not everyone’s gonna vote for you in the popularity contest, as well. And I think you got to get past that if you want to embrace the power of leadership, it’s, it’s not about it’s not about trying to make everybody your best friend. It’s about being honest, it’s about being fair. And it’s literally this is gonna sound like, what is DeCoursey talking about, it’s about being a leader, you got to show people how to do it yourself, you can’t really be an effective leader, in my opinion. If you can’t walk the walk yourself, like, you can try to be an effective leader, but I think you’re gonna, you don’t really have credibility with those around you like now, if I just mentioned that to you, and I’m the guy that’s in the door after you every day, and I leave before you every day, how’s that message gonna land? And the answer is probably not that well.


Mark J. Silverman  11:54

Yeah, I’ve spoken to a bunch of CEOs on how’s your self discipline? If you’re asking this of your team, what are you asking of yourself? Right? When you tell me that you want to exercise every day, and you don’t? And you don’t keep your word to yourself? How are you going to walk in and hold other people accountable? But let’s go back, let’s go back to your example of someone being late. Right? So leadership is you and by the way, I’m a huge fan of Jocko I, there’s a bunch of stuff that I think doesn’t fit for me or but, but I teach 100% responsibility.


Matt DeCoursey  12:27

Extreme Ownership stuff, that’s the part that I really subscribe to. Yeah, right for like, ownership is, is understanding that as the leader, if the team and the team and the things that are under your direction begin to fail, eventually, it’s your fault. There’s no bad teams, there’s only bad leaders. And I think that is the exact phrase that they use in that.


Mark J. Silverman  12:49

So So back back to back to your person who’s late every day and leaves early. That you know, the second piece to that is, you know, so one leader would be a hammer, and say, you know, I noticed you’re late and you’re you you leave early, and you come in late, that stops now you don’t have a job, you know, then the soft, you know, the affable leader, you know, we’ll we’ll we’ll kind of try and make up for it and try and work around that. And then a curious leader will be like, so this is what I see. This is the effect it’s having on your team. This is the effect that that’s having on me. Help me understand why this is happening. Right? And then find out oh, well, actually, my my mother is dying of cancer, and I’m the sole caretaker.


Matt DeCoursey  13:36

Well, that’s why you ask, right. That’s why you’re asking. Yes, yes.


Mark J. Silverman  13:39

Yes. Curiosity There. And then then, of course, you know, there’s something you know, like there is a job to be done to be done and there’s accommodations to be made. But then when there’s a new agreement to be made, okay, what can you commit to? Can I count on you for this, this, this, knowing the circumstances are going to come up, right and create new agreement to come up with, you know, in the future? So, you know, it’s again, it’s having those tough conversations funny. I was I have another I have worked for a company who all the leaders work through affability they’re just such nice people, they’re super successful, but the people coming up under them are having, you know, are not working to the level that they need to work and you know, again, with this job market and with you know, the way COVID has changed the way people actually see work, you know, leading through being a hammer is not going to work because people will just get another job for more money elsewhere where they can work from Columbia, and have low low expenses. But I gave I their orders were to get a case of Kim Scott’s radical candor. Like you guys need to learn how to have these conversations that you need to have and how to have them effectively. So yeah, that’s, that’s a huge part of leadership.


Matt DeCoursey  14:53

Well, at first, the comment you just made almost sounded like you needed to be a nice person to be an effective leader. or think you can be an empathetic leader. A little different than being nice. I mean, empathy is just described as putting yourself in other people’s shoes. And trying to understand where people are coming from. For me when it comes to this, like, to leadership in general like it for me, it’s kind of a progressive program. You know, I even tell people, when they come to work for me, like, I’ll say, hey, you know, look, this is a high paced place, we have a bunch of A-lists kind of players on the team here. And that can make it hard to keep up with some people. For some people, I expect you to make mistakes, I expect you to be slow at first, but I expect you to care. And I expect you to try. Now, you’ll find that I’m very accommodating, and very understanding when you take responsibility for your errors. But when you get into the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth error that was avoidable, I’m starting to wonder if you’re paying attention, if you care, or if you’re capable of doing the job. So do your best to stay out of that zone. And we’ll be in really good shape. And we’ll do some big things together. And, you know, I feel like I didn’t used to have that talk with people. And then I would get into that point. And I think that’s fair. You know, like, I think that that’s a fair approach to people with people. And I don’t feel that asking people to not make mistakes that could have easily been avoided. To quit doing it half a dozen times is unfair, either. You know, but like I said, it kind of progresses for me. And, you know, it gets to the point. And you know, and it really kind of depends, like, yeah, there’s there’s a level of empathy and kindness and understanding that you can exhibit. But at the same time, you got to go back to you gotta remember, you’re also running a business, you’re you’re maintaining a team. And you know, I have 325 employees, and, you know, realistically, man, are all of them doing an A-plus job today. No, because math won’t let that happen. That’s just impossible. Right? It’s impossible. But, but by creating a culture of honesty and responsibility and accountability, I think that, you know, you can really be a leader without having to be in there leading all the time, too.


Mark J. Silverman  17:26

Absolutely. Especially with this job market, you’re going to you’re going to be hiring B players. And can you turn them into Aplayers? Because you just don’t You don’t have to pick a lot these days?


Matt DeCoursey  17:37

Maybe, you know, it’s so yeah, I mentioned 300 employees. Now, I mean, I’ve had hundreds before that and different things. And, you know, one thing I really learned about the true a player is they’re an A player right away. And it’s difficult to get people that don’t show up as A players to turn into them. They might be B players, but I’ve yet to have someone ever show up and do a shitty job and end up being an all star. Have you?


Mark J. Silverman  18:08

Yes. More, more than more than a few times? Yes. Watch it happen with me. I was failing at one of my jobs. I was failing as a sales guy. And it was horrible. And I finally walked into my manager and quit. And I said, I’m I need to go. And he was like, why? I said, because I suck at this job. He says What makes you think you suck at this job? I said you every single day. You telling me that everything. He says I was just trying to motivate you. I said, well, it didn’t work and my numbers prove it. And we renegotiated the whole thing. And I wound up you know, over achieving my number go into President’s Club, right and having a cigar with him. And, you know, but it was, it was just, I wish I wish I wasn’t a player on my own at that point in life. But I needed someone to believe in me. Like I I just didn’t have the self-esteem. So I needed someone to help me along. And as soon as he changed his attitude, everything changed. Right? As soon as I had someone who I felt like was in my back I learned how to soar. And I’ve done that with other people also I’ve turned you know that’s actually kind of my specialty is is I get a call from a CEO who says this person super-talented, fucking up. How can we get how can we get them rowing in the right direction or you know coach up or coach out? And I’ve only I’ve only lost two out of all the clients I’ve had I’ve I’ve failed twice and both of them I think had mental illness as part of it. But if you can, you know if you can have the right conversations if you can right find the right motivations and if you can find out what’s going on with them and what they need, right? Some people is just not the right fit. It’s not the right job. You Do you just put a square peg in a round hole and has never going to work, they have the right culture fit, they have the right attitude. They just don’t have the skills like and all of those things are factors.


Matt DeCoursey  20:10

Well speak into finding people for the right role. If you want to find experts, software developers, that doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use Full Scale platform to help define your technical needs and see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team go to to learn more. You know, you’re we’re talking about the business of determining who’s in a player and who isn’t. I mean, that’s kind of the business that we’re in at Full Scale, we actually go through 42 applicants to hire one person. And that’s where, you know, we’re selling a premium service. And, you know, one of the things is kind of interesting, when you look at determining, you know, from a leadership standpoint, there’s a lot of people that believe that when it comes to your team, you win or lose at the hiring moment. And you mentioned sometimes having to hire B players, we can’t. We can’t, like, when we do we end up they end up sitting on our bench that we regret, we have this little tiny strike zone that we’ve learned to operate. And now with that, you know, look at you look at like programmers and developers, and they’re obviously in demand. And it’s very, it’s not that difficult to measure someone’s technical skills. Here’s the test, take it. You have a good score, how long did it take you to do it? What did you get? Did you get a good grade, that doesn’t mean that that person is good at what they do. It means that they have the skills to do it. We have to go into a whole nother gamut of stuff. And like the really the thing for us that that we’ve realized from a leadership angle at Full Scale is we put this really high premium on passion. If you’re passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. And I think as a leader, that’s one of the things that we’ve really tried to do. You can’t teach someone to be passionate, you can’t teach someone to care. You could maybe do some things that might improve their current status of caring. But yeah, it’s it can be it can be a challenge. All right. So in your in your coaching methodology, you’ve divided into three categories you have Leading up, Leading across, and Leading you. Let’s talk a little bit about those. If you got a minute for that I believe you probably do. So so when we talk about leading up, what what are what are we leading up to?


Mark J. Silverman  22:38

Right? So it’s actually four things it’s leading up? Right. So becoming a trusted advisors. So I work with I work with C suite executives. So I work with people who are who this the CEO needs to turn into trusted advisors who speaks truth to power, who aren’t just a squeaky wheel for the sake of being a squeaky wheel, who learned who learned how to get recognition without stepping on other people, then there’s leading in a group of powerful peers who also have their own ambitions, own ideas, and an own agendas, right? So how do you how do you turn that into a team and stand out there? Then how do you lead your team which you know, this, enough books about that all over the place, and then leading you It all starts with you know, your own self discipline, your own self leadership and being able to speak up? So that’s, that’s where it starts. So I really help take really high achievers, right? You know, people who have just been a bull in the china closet and work their way up into the C suite, and turn them into an trusted adviser to the CEO, and a trusted peer to the to the people who work with them.


Matt DeCoursey  23:39

What’s the key ingredient to that?


Mark J. Silverman  23:42



Matt DeCoursey  23:44

Humility, okay?


Mark J. Silverman  23:45

if you want to, you know, a couple of couple things that I teach him is, you know, is you want to satisfy your ego? Or do you want to be effective? Like, it’s kind of like, do you want to be happy or right? Do you want to be effective? Or do you want to just satisfy that ego craving of yours? And those who can check their egos will actually win. The other piece is, you know, how do you get that? So one of the things I know about the boardroom, and one of the things I know about almost everybody I’ve ever met, is we’re all a bunch of adults working out childhood traumas. We’re all doing our best like we play Whack a Mole with leadership


Matt DeCoursey  24:21

that goes way past the boardroom. Right, so


Mark J. Silverman  24:24

So you know, we all look like adults, the men shave the women put on makeup, and we look like adults, but we’re actually all working out this childhood. So the person who can actually get above that, and get grounded and centered in the meeting wins. So how do you find that so that you can let everybody else kind of play ping pong with all that, and then you can cut right through, you know, with with with your wisdom because you’re present and you’re, you know, you know what’s going on. So that’s another one. The other is, you know, so so I’ll take I work with people who don’t speak up enough. And I have to get them to speak up. And then I work with people who speak up to much, right? So I teach them, you know, to be effective, you have to pick a hill to die on. If every hill important, nobody’s going to listen to you, if you’re every hills, important, the CEO is going to tune you out. But if you pick what’s important, the thing that you’re going to go, you know, that you’re gonna go to the mat for, people will start to know that you actually care about this. So it’s that kind of thing that I do, to just help check people’s ego. And then, and what happens is they wind up happier, they wind up happier at home, I get more reports of happier marriages, and better health, when I get people to step back from this just drive to be right, to strive to be seen, to strive to be recognized, as you know, all that, to how do I become effective? And how do I make this job serve my life?


Matt DeCoursey  25:48

Yeah, I agree with you, I think the, you know, I’m not a religious person. But there’s a Buddhist principle giving with no expectation of return. And, you know, that’s the person that makes the anonymous donation, the truly anonymous donation. And you can be that same donor, as the CEO and leader of the company, it’s like, you know, we’ve, despite having hundreds of employees and millions of dollars in revenue is just had its fifth birthday, we’re still young, we were just last year, old enough to even be on things like the Inc 5000, and stuff like that. And, you know, what’s interesting is, you know, as the CEO and founder, they come to me to do an interview, the local, whatever. And, you know, the first thing I say is, I’m just, I’m just the person that they assigned to accept this award, but I’m not the person that deserves it, there’s 300 people that work at my company that quite honestly, if they don’t show up to work, I’m just a guy looking for something to do. You know, and I have the easiest job as the CEO. And, you know, it’s my job to help everyone else be successful. And, you know, so you know, that that’s, that’s a level of humility, that I think too many, I don’t know, there’s this narcissistic quality that often exists with entrepreneurs, and founders and leaders, and it’s the people of the company that made it happen.


Mark J. Silverman  27:12

But what you said earlier, though, you said something, you said something earlier about, if you’re going to be in a position of leadership, you really genuinely have to want to see other people succeed. I remember when I when I was, when I was going, I was a sales guy. And I was gonna go for a sales manager position. And the really wise director said to me, he said, the only way you’re going to be successful in this job is if you care about other people’s success more than your own. Otherwise, it’s going to eat you alive to watch them standing on stage, getting awards. If you don’t fail, if you don’t, if you don’t completely fill with pride, for you know, for that you’re not going to make it and you know, that’s why I’m a coach, right? I love seeing other people succeed. I love seeing people reach, you know, and beyond their potential. And I’m perfectly happy sitting in my office and never seeing people in person ever. That


Matt DeCoursey  28:06

I am too. Yeah, I’ve got trophies and awards and ribbons and accolades. And people sometimes say to me, they’re like, oh, man, that’s awesome. And I’m like, Yeah, but it wouldn’t worth shit. And they’re like, What do you mean, I’m like, Well, I got a little plaque. And I got my car, and I went down to the bank, and I pulled up to the drive thru, and I couldn’t get it in that little tube that went back to the teller, they’re like Mr. DeCoursey, you’re gonna have to come into the lobby again. So I pull around, I go, I can’t get it under the little in the little tray. And they’re like, Dude, what are you doing? I’m like, I’m trying to deposit this Inc. 5000 award, and they’re like, I’m sorry, you can’t put that in the bank. And it’s true. You know, like the the award stuff. Now, look, I’ve I’ve also caught some criticism. When I’ve talked about that. I don’t think that’s important. Because there’s a lot of people out there that feel that, you know, the responses I got were, oh, well, you’ve already made it. Why don’t you might not care. Bla bla bla bla bla, but I’m really not driven by the awards. Because the story I just told, Well, that didn’t really happen. It kind of did. In the road, you don’t put the trophy in the bank man. Like that’s not really worth. Well, that’s, that’s some acknowledgement and validation. And then guess what, folks, four out of five of those awards, you see people win, and they probably paid money to win it. And you know, so it’s not it’s not as and I’ll never do that. I have no interest in that. I’ll tell you what, I’ve turned down 10 times more awards than I’ve won because they’re like, Hey, you’re the CEO of the Year in Kansas. And all we need from you is a check from 5 for $5,000 to buy a full page ad in some magazine, no one gives a shit about like, you know, like, I mean, but that’s that’s not what what does it. You know, I think that as an entrepreneur or leader, your goal is to try to build something bigger than you. We were just talking about this at Full Scale like this, the COO and myself and we said, Man, you know, we’ve done a really good job of that because we could replace ourselves and this company is still gonna go on and it’s still gonna go forward. And to me, that’s the greatest award that you can come up with. But I think the biggest stat, the best stat and the one that I’m most proud of is from 2022 is, you know, we had a 93 and a half percent employee retention rate during the, quote, year of the resignation, according to the Wall Street Journal. So, you know, while are you mentioned, people are shifting jobs and going and doing stuff, we created enough of a place to people to work, that’s an A grade kind of score, I tell some of my peers that and they think I’m making it up. But you know, the, I think, as a leader, are people staying at your business? Or do they feel like they’re winning? By being involved with what you’re doing? And the same thing for your clients? Like, if I don’t have clients, I don’t have revenue, if don’t have revenue, I don’t have employees. If I don’t have employees, I don’t have a company. So you know, if you’re in the service business like we are and providing services, you got to seriously look at that, like you mentioned, our do you want i, nothing would make me happier to see every single one of my clients up on a stage winning an award for what they do. Like that would feel great. And that trickles down because our our people work for them. Like, I have a weird business dynamic. And that, you know, we work at 60 different companies to try to help them find success however it is that that occurs. And you know what, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t, we have to show up and do our part. But yeah, it’s there’s, there’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot to unpack there. All right. So now next was leading across. So led  me across that, Mark.


Mark J. Silverman  31:48

So leading the team leading a team is hard. But there’s enough training, there’s enough books, there’s enough, you know, you have enough authority, if you have a title to give a go at leading a team. You know, but leading once you get a I was just I was talking to someone yesterday, whose son is brilliant, and just went to Georgia Tech, and was like valedictorian of his high school and all this stuff and ran into a wall at Georgia Tech saying, oh my god, everybody here smarter or smarter than me, right? Didn’t understand like it just needed needed the first year to acclimate to not being the star. So when you’re on a group of peers, on a team of peers, and everybody is talented, and everybody is ambitious, and everybody has good ideas,


Matt DeCoursey  32:38

Sounds like a good room to be in.


Mark J. Silverman  32:40

Right, including you. How do you state you know, so for me, I know, I know, for me, I can either be top dog, or I’ll take a back seat, that, you know, whenever I’ve taken played those leadership games, the samurai games, all those things, I noticed my tendency is to either take over or stand back. And my stretch in those games is always to stay in leadership, you know, with everybody at the same time. And that’s what I see. You know, often people either try to bulldoze in a group of leaders and try to, you know, turns into a pissing contest, or they stay quiet. And let the louder voices have that. So how do you show up in the boardroom with those people? Lead when you need to, follow when you need to, right? Support other people when they have initiatives that are worthwhile. How do you know again, never one of the things I teach is never walk into a room that you don’t know the answer to the question you’re going to ask or whatever you’re going to. So you have to stack the deck before you walk in the room have if you have an idea, if you have something you’re gonna push into a meeting? Have you had a conversation with every stakeholder? Have you talked to them about how your initiative impacts them? Have you talked to them about what they need? Have you know the answers before you walk in the room when you bring that up? Right? So that’s how you that’s how you build a bench of people. I also say, you know, like, let’s look, let’s look at how you got promoted. Is there wreckage behind you? Did you step on people? Are those people going to support you and go, Absolutely. Jerry is the one who should have been promoted and I’m gonna follow him to the ends of the earth, or are they going to be like, yeah, no, that was that was an ass kisser or, you know, he didn’t deserve it. And not Do you want to be the person who when they get promoted, gets all that support. So that’s how you lead on a team of peers.


Matt DeCoursey  34:31

I think one of the things that too many people get past in the end is they’re all I think we’re all worried about whatever other people think of us and at the same time, we’re often unaware of how little other people are actually thinking about us. You know, like there’s, there’s there it is okay to be a little bit selfish in that regard. Like it. I’ll sometimes look back at things and I’ll be like, you know, did I do a good job? Could I have done better? Did I do the best job that I could? And you know, like, my standards are the toughest ones to live up to, without a doubt. And I also remind myself Well, I mean, yeah, at the same time, it’s like, yeah, I just, I gotta have really, in the end, it’s like, I mean, if everyone else is going to be unhappy with me or whatever, who cares? If we still made the decision that was the best for everyone. And that’s the problem with a lot of people have with leadership, you know, 51% of a 51% of vote gets you the presidency. But we’re some how often is leadership it? Well, maybe not in most years. But you know, as as a leader in a company, we get, I mean, if you can you think about that, like you’re running, you’re at your business, and you went by the same standards. To me, if I only had 51% of people finding my leadership to be effective, that would be an abysmal failure, for me, but at the same time, back to what I said, in the very beginning of the show is like, sometimes when you’re doing your best job as a manager, not everyone’s gonna like you. And that’s where you have to get some thick skin around that because I think a lot of a lot of unseasoned or ineffective leaders are going to sit around and oh, I want to be I don’t want so and so mad at me. Why? I mean, as a Is it because you didn’t give them their way? You didn’t go with their idea? Like, that the the nature of productive and innovative thinking is that you’re probably going to throw away most of the ideas, you’re looking for one like my, my people asked me like, they’re like, Well, what’s your approach to entrepreneurship or business? I tried 10 things, hoping one works. And when I find that one thing that works, man, that’s that that crack I was looking for. And now I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to shove an elephant through it. You know, so you know, there’s and sometimes you’re going to be wrong, I think if you admit you’re wrong, you’re going to be a lot, people, people that land so much better. So you know, I could do a better job, it’s back to responsibility. It’s like that. Don’t be the person that shows up with a traffic ticket in their hand, upset at the cop for giving you a ticket for going 20 miles an hour over the limit. You know, that’s not responsibility. That was your fault. You were the one speeding. Now speaking of us that we had the next category that was Leading you. Yeah, I have notes here that talks about being the being your best in all situations. Is that even possible? Because we all have bad days and bad moments and the way that personality styles work, when we’re under stress, or when we’re tired are the times when our worst qualities are going to show. So can you actually be your best in all situations?


Mark J. Silverman  37:54

Yeah, nothing’s perfect. Everything Everything is Everything is great, right? But how can you reduce the number of bad days? How can you increase the number of good days? How can you reduce the number of bad interactions, right? So I talk a lot about this, this this concept called allostatic load. Do you know what allostatic load is? I don’t have to I’ve talked to thousands of people I get from the stage and I asked the audience, does anybody know what allostatic load is? Nobody knows what it is. I read it, I read an article on it. Once I did a podcast on it. Now I’m the world’s foremost authority on Allostatic load. Allostatic load is the amount of stress you’re carrying in your body at any given time. So like you wake up in the morning, and you spill your coffee, you have a little you know, little chink in the armor, then your kids are late for school, you have a little chink in the armor, you’re on the way to work, someone cuts you off, you have another chink in the armor. And by the time you get to work, the first person who crosses you, you’re gonna flame them, right? You don’t have you don’t have the capacity to give them a mulligan. So I talk about if your allostatic load is up to your ears all the time, you have no reserve to actually get yourself out of fight or flight. You are triggered immediately by everything. So how do you lower your allostatic load? Now you do that by eating right and exercising. Exercising is the number one thing I have one client who I I was I was hired for his anger issues. It’s a former professional athlete, he’s, he is the Chief Revenue Officer of a company and he’s great at what he does, but he scares everybody in his anger was driving everybody crazy. What I told him was I said, I’m not going to coach you. You know, we have another meeting in two weeks. I’ve already worked. I was already paid. So it was this was great. I said I’m not going to coach you until you’ve been into the gym for eight times because I’d asked him when was last time you were at the gym. He says it’s been a couple of years. Like you’re a former professional frickin athlete, like, so I told him I said you need to send me a picture of yourself at the gym at least eight times before we talk again. He says why? I said because you are like a five year old ADHD kid trying to be stuffed at a desk. So I can’t play Whack a Mole with your anger issues if you’re not throwing iron around. Right? He lost a bunch of weight. The CEO is, like, what did you do to him? And it wasn’t any coaching on my part. It was, like, we just got him to take care of that allostatic load by throwing some weights around. You know, now he’s doing some kickboxing and MMA. Perfect for him so that he can go to work and be even keeled. Right. So how are you taking care of that stress? How are you taking care of the stress of everybody who’s throwing things at you? Are you able to triage what’s coming at you and figure out what’s important what’s not important? So that you’re you know, I have ADHD, I wrote my first book on how to be an entrepreneur with ADHD because I can’t do A’s, B’s, and C’s, little rocks, and everything comes at me at the same intensity, I had to learn that most things can be put at bay, and there’s only certain few things that I should be working on at any given time. So how do I get them to relax? The more I can get people to relax, the better you are in all situations, then if I can get them if I can get you to do a contemplation, practice, a little bit of meditation, sitting with coffee, looking outside out the window without your phone, can I get you to breathe? Can I get you to get nature, right, that kind of thing. Then again, that adds to that muscle of being your best in every situation, so that you’re just, you’re just better most of the time. And again, my reports are when I work on these things, better marriages, better family time, right? Better life satisfaction as we teach these leadership skills.


Matt DeCoursey  41:35

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I recently bought a farm, which I now realized was to reduce my allostatic load. Allostatic load, a-l-l-o-s-t-a-t-i-c loads refers to the cumulative wear and tear on the body due to chronic stress. It’s not just the stress itself, but how the body responds and adapts to the stress that can lead to health issues. Chronic activation of the stress response can affect various biological systems and lead to a variety health problems like heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, mental health disorders, you mentioned that same thing it’s like so it’s funny that the farm thing started because I have some of my best ideas why I’m mowing my lawn. I cancelled my lawn service years ago because of that. And I was like, man, maybe if I had more lawn to mow and stuff like that, and I’ve lost 20 pounds in almost a month. And I just feel generally healthier. I think it’s back to that kind of like the athlete version. It’s like I have a very, very high level of ADHD myself. And there’s something about kind of blowing that energy out in a couple different places and feeling productive about it still like I don’t. Yeah, it’s definitely definitely been helpful. All right, so here we are, man, this went fast. And we are just about out of time on yet another episode of Startup Hustle brought to you by If you need help hiring software engineers, testers, leaders Full Scale can help. We have the people on the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts go to All you need to do is answer a few questions and let our platform match you up with people that are ready to help you solve your problems. Once again with me today was Mark Silverman, owner of Mark J. Silverman and Associates, there is a link to Mark’s website down there right next to I have a feeling he wants to help coach you if you’re ready to learn and grow on the way out, Mark, what do you want to say to the to the Startup Hustle audience out there.


Mark J. Silverman  43:37

So my book, Only 10s, is great for entrepreneurs. And it really does help especially the ADHD errs, prioritize, and it’s free on my website, you can just go there and get a free copy. And my new book is on that, by the way, The Rising Leader Handbook is going to be out in October. But there’s a summary that you can get for free on the website. Also, I give all kinds of stuff away for free.


Matt DeCoursey  43:58

Yeah, and by the way, speaking of which, you can get my book, Balance Me which is the Realist Guide to Successful Life. Amazon won’t let me sell it for like they won’t let me give it away for free all the time. I think it’s a buck 99 on Kindle. Yeah, they won’t. I’ve tried. They’ll let you give it away twice.


Mark J. Silverman  44:19

You can get it for free on my website, not on Amazon.


Matt DeCoursey  44:22

Yeah, I haven’t gone that far. But, you know, I think overall when it comes to the power of great leadership, you know, if I when I look back, and you mentioned being 61, I’m coming up on 50. I think the smartest thing I ever did was learn about leadership. It helped accelerate my growth out of a sales role into a leadership role. And why you can make a lot of money in sales. I wanted to do a little bit more. I wanted to be a little bit more of a key player. I think it’s the best thing you can do. I do want to point out that I hundred percent agree with Mark on some of these things like learning about leadership, learning about communicating and learning about personality styles, learning how to help other people get what they want ahead of what you want, is going to help you in more than just a work situation that helps you at home, that helps you raise children, it helps you at church or on your softball team or whatever. And don’t be afraid to sometimes take the backseat. So I, for years played in an adult FastPitch wood bat baseball league, where I was one of the worst players on my team. I wasn’t on a really team now in defensive myself, but I was I was like, you know, and I love showing up and being that guy. So you want me to get hit by a pitch? Do you want me to bunt? You want to be the third base coach, whatever it is, and I love that because it was like, it was like the total opposite of what I had to do all day where I had to, like, be the guy and I had to get the big hit. And I had to you know, like do all that stuff and you know, figure out where your role is in the leadership dynamic and pay attention to it and know that there’s a very rewarding and self and sense of satisfaction at the end but it needs to be about more than just you. I think that’s all I like to say on the way out. So Mark, I’m gonna catch up with you down the road, man. I’m gonna go check out your website and download this free book and listen to your podcast and do a whole lot of other stuff.


Mark J. Silverman  46:22

Thank you.


Matt DeCoursey  46:23

All right.


Mark J. Silverman  46:24

Appreciate you having me.