Prav chats with Todd Williams, an expert in customer service and leadership training.

Todd shares his unique journey from growing up around older adults to working in healthcare, then transitioning to the luxury hotel industry with Four Seasons, and finally applying his expertise to dentistry. 

He shares strategies for breaking down barriers, authentically engaging with people, and bringing out the best in staff, customers, and patients.



In This Episode

00:04:35 – Backstory

00:09:15 – School and social dynamics

00:15:40 – Study and work

00:31:25 – Four Seasons

00:39:35 – Customer and patient experiences

01:14:50 – Public speaking

01:46:15 – Last days and legacy


About Todd Williams

Todd Williams is a speaker and consultant specializing in culture development across healthcare, hospitality, and customer-facing industries. He spent 20+ years developing service delivery training for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. As VP of Culture Development at Centura Health, he focused on employee engagement and improving patient experiences. 

Todd Williams: I tell people this a lot of times it’s not what we teach, it’s what we unleash in [00:00:05] someone. And I say that to you as a leader, too. We walk into work, [00:00:10] and I feel like sometimes we put on a brain eraser and we forget [00:00:15] this. We relearn what we already know [00:00:20] outside of work. You know as well as I do with your kids. [00:00:25] It’s connection, you know that. Yeah. It’s not the things [00:00:30] you. How how do your kids know you love them? Well, I buy them nice things. Um, they [00:00:35] appreciate that, I’m sure. But that’s not the love. How do they know you [00:00:40] love them? How do your friends and family know you love them? [00:00:45] Because you connect with them? Then we walk into work and we’re like, that’ll never work. It does [00:00:50] work. I remember we used to say this in hospitals all the time. We would say it’s [00:00:55] the weirdest disconnect. We would sit in large leadership meetings and we would say, well, what [00:01:00] does the community want from a hospital? What does the community want? We need to study [00:01:05] the community. And I remember thinking to myself, where do you all live? Like you’re [00:01:10] you’re acting like this community is this other planet. [00:01:15] But when we leave work, we go get in the car and drive into said community [00:01:20] of which we are a member. Why do we come into work and now look [00:01:25] back at literally our neighbours like it’s a species from another planet? Bring [00:01:30] the best version of you into work and watch how many things you suddenly understand.

[VOICE]: This [00:01:35] is Dental [00:01:40] Leaders. The podcast where you get to go [00:01:45] one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:50] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki. [00:01:55]

Prav Solanki: It gives me great pleasure to introduce [00:02:00] Todd Williams to the Dental Leaders Podcast. And guys, [00:02:05] by way of introduction, really, it was a chance meeting [00:02:10] with Todd because Dev Patel from the Dental beauty group sent me a message [00:02:15] and goes, hey Prav, do you fancy coming along to this two day retreat? We’ve got this guy called [00:02:20] Todd Williams coming along, and he’s like a life changing motivational speaker [00:02:25] type guy. And then I got his bio in my in my, um, email, [00:02:30] and I read it and skimmed over it and thought, yeah, some, some, some old [00:02:35] guy who’s into hotels and stuff like that. And I just thought to myself, do you know what? I’m a busy guy. [00:02:40] I feel obliged to turn up to this two day retreat [00:02:45] because dev was paying for the hotel. It almost felt like, um, [00:02:50] you know, almost like a hospitality thing that an a favour. And I kind of it [00:02:55] felt like this is two days. I’m never going to get back again. On what [00:03:00] a waste of time this is going to be. Right. And Todd, that’s that that that really is my honest. [00:03:05] Yeah I even told dev about this. Right. And he said, geez, I’m glad that that played out [00:03:10] for you, Prav. And let me tell you, the following two days [00:03:15] were absolutely game changing for me, right? I have listened to [00:03:20] so many people motivational speakers on a stage, in person, networking [00:03:25] masterminds paid thousands to be in the room with such people, [00:03:30] right? And I can honestly say that the time I spent with you, Todd, [00:03:35] and in that room where you engaged us for the full two days [00:03:40] was game changing on many levels, and you really made me think. [00:03:45]

Prav Solanki: Really, really made me think about work, about my own personal life. [00:03:50] And and do you know what? My brain was popping throughout. And I’ll tell you why. [00:03:55] Because of how you related to my life and whatnot. But but there were other things, [00:04:00] right? I do a bit of speaking on stage, right? Nowhere near as much as you talk. But I was [00:04:05] sat there going, this guy hasn’t shown me a single slide in two days and [00:04:10] he ran on time. How the hell does this guy do that, right? But listen, I’m [00:04:15] gonna I’m gonna shut up and let you get on with it. Todd. I mean, um, you know, in [00:04:20] summary, Todd’s the guy behind, you know, some of the largest [00:04:25] and most successful Four Seasons hotels in North America. Hospital background. [00:04:30] Um. Amazing stories, amazing storyteller. [00:04:35] Um, so, Todd, welcome to the Dental Leaders podcast.

Todd Williams: Thank you very much. [00:04:40] It’s an honour.

Prav Solanki: And I just. Todd, I’d just like to start by understanding [00:04:45] your background. Growing up as a little boy, what your childhood was like, [00:04:50] and just just paint your story for me growing up as a kid. Yeah. [00:04:55]

Todd Williams: Um, thank you, by the way, for that introduction. That’s. It’s fun to hear. I think my favourite [00:05:00] thing is those conversions. You know, when somebody has the doubts [00:05:05] and has a guard up. So I appreciate that. My childhood [00:05:10] was, you know, I grew up in Northern California, an only [00:05:15] child with parents that had a huge age difference. So my parents had a 30 year [00:05:20] age difference, three zero. And I didn’t, you know, as a kid, you don’t know [00:05:25] that’s different. You don’t know that’s unusual. And my parents were funny. They they [00:05:30] I know they didn’t want me to be teased at school. So they never really talked about my their [00:05:35] age. I knew there was a difference, but I didn’t know how much. And so when kids at school [00:05:40] had asked me, they’d see me with my parents and they’d say, how old’s your dad? I’d say, I don’t know. And they [00:05:45] always thought I was kidding, but I really did not know how old my dad was. And, um, I [00:05:50] would get these funny moments along the way where, you know, we’d be somewhere and I’d be looking at a [00:05:55] souvenir I wanted to buy or something on a vacation. And I remember the salesperson would, like, look at me and look [00:06:00] over and go, why don’t you go ask your grandfather if he wants to get it for you? And I’m like, my grandfather’s not [00:06:05] here.

Todd Williams: Like, what are you looking at? And I still couldn’t understand what they were saying. But [00:06:10] with a dad who was so much older, he retired when I was a little kid. [00:06:15] And so I joked sometimes that I didn’t really grow up with a super strong work [00:06:20] ethic. I grew up with more of a retirement ethic, like, what do you want to do when you grow up? I said, retire, [00:06:25] it’s a job my dad has. It’s a good one. And um, I watched, [00:06:30] I think as a kid, it’s it’s at that age [00:06:35] and at that time in society that the phrase I remember hearing so much growing up was the child [00:06:40] is to be seen, not heard. And so a lot of times, my mom, [00:06:45] she liked to be a host, and she would make dinner for my dad and his friends. [00:06:50] So we dinner parties, nothing fancy, but just people coming over for dinner was sort of a regular [00:06:55] thing, and the people who came over for dinner tended to be in my dad’s circle. [00:07:00] And so basically, I grew up around old people and [00:07:05] with that notion of being seen, not heard.

Todd Williams: I grew up listening [00:07:10] to old people. And, you know, they say there’s a difference between knowledge and [00:07:15] wisdom, right? Knowledge is knowing. A tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting [00:07:20] it in fruit salad. It’s what you learn along the way. And so [00:07:25] what I realised is I was sitting at a table with a lot of wisdom. Time tested [00:07:30] things these individuals had learned in life. But of course, as a little kid, I don’t realise [00:07:35] it’s wisdom. I just think it’s old people talking. And I listened and I listened and [00:07:40] I listened, and I think that really shaped a lot of who I became was hearing [00:07:45] kind of the end of the book over and over and over, and my work, you know, paralleled [00:07:50] that. But as a kid, that’s that’s what I saw as old people. And yeah, I remember sometimes, you [00:07:55] know, I it was very familiar. We, I would call everybody uncle and so I’d be [00:08:00] like, oh, it’s, you know, Uncle Jim coming to dinner tonight like he always does. And I’d kind of get the message [00:08:05] Uncle Jim wasn’t coming tonight and never again. And so death to [00:08:10] me wasn’t ever seen as a sad thing. It was just a fact of life. And you.

Prav Solanki: Saw a lot [00:08:15] because you saw a lot of it as a kid.

Todd Williams: Right? Saw a lot of it. Yeah. Saw a lot of people pass on. [00:08:20] And, you know, I would just it was [00:08:25] always explained to me that they lived a good life and they wouldn’t be coming anymore. And I was too young [00:08:30] to really be devastated by that. It was more just, oh, bummer, really enjoyed [00:08:35] him, but that was about it. I liked his stories, but, um, what [00:08:40] I think I look back at and realise now is I was hearing the end of the book, [00:08:45] if you will, over and over. You know, we all love a good book. It’s got the opening, it’s got the middle, [00:08:50] it’s got all those parts that confuse you. And then it’s hopefully at the end tied together with a [00:08:55] bit of a wow. And that’s what makes you say, this was a good book. So being around elderly people, [00:09:00] I feel like I was getting the end of the book over and over and over, and [00:09:05] that really shaped how I entered into the rest of life, which wasn’t smooth. [00:09:10] And so was it.

Prav Solanki: As a kid growing up, were you different to the other kids? [00:09:15] You were surrounded by adults all the time, you know, funny, funny. You mention that, [00:09:20] right? Because even when we have guests around the house, we make it [00:09:25] very clear that the kids must come and socialise with the adults. They must sit [00:09:30] down at dinner, they must ask questions and engage, just like adults would, rather than [00:09:35] go and disappear in the lounge and play on their toys or whatever. Right? We want them to be a part [00:09:40] of that grown up conversation. Yeah. And what’s really clear, I’ve got I’ve got two sets of kids, [00:09:45] the older ones and the younger ones, and the one thing that people say about about [00:09:50] the older ones, the younger ones are too young yet, is that they’re really good at interacting with [00:09:55] adults. Right. And, you know, like they’ll go into a room and, you know, even [00:10:00] at the age of like 10 or 11, they’ll ask an adult, so how are you? How is your day to day, [00:10:05] what have you been up to this week. And it’s like ten year old kids asking me that, but it’s because [00:10:10] they’ve been exposed to that, right? How did that play out for you as a as a kid? [00:10:15] Did people ever make any comments like that? Were you sort of mature beyond your years in [00:10:20] that, in that way?

Todd Williams: I wish I’d been raised like that where I got those social skills earlier. [00:10:25] I think I had to do a little bit of Trial by Fire with that. I, [00:10:30] I was a great listener, but I didn’t know how to interact. And the [00:10:35] whole children are to be seen, not heard, didn’t teach me how to ask [00:10:40] those questions and how to engage. The. The funny side of it is, I think when I went out into [00:10:45] society, I would gravitate towards the adults. So [00:10:50] I would tend to, you know, if we were at an event where it was now families together [00:10:55] and there was plenty of kids playing. Being an only child, first of all, I wasn’t great [00:11:00] at the team. Sports didn’t quite understand the dynamic, but I also wasn’t maybe [00:11:05] at ease with some of those conversations. So I would kind of gravitate towards the adults. And [00:11:10] so I just that was sort of my home was listening and observing the adults. [00:11:15] I think what I heard a lot growing up was he’s such a polite boy, you know, he’s he’s got good [00:11:20] manners, but I don’t think it well behaved. Yeah. Um, well trained, [00:11:25] but I no, I don’t think there was a lot of comments about the interactions because they just weren’t. [00:11:30] I was just, you know, I was the observer and then.

Prav Solanki: So how did that [00:11:35] sort of then play out school wise? We were a studious kid. We academic. [00:11:40] What sort of school did you go to? What sort of hobbies were you into [00:11:45] as a as a kid?

Todd Williams: Yeah, that’s that’s a funny question, because I think [00:11:50] that style of observation stayed with me to. [00:11:55] So a couple of things come to mind when you say that. But as I got to school and [00:12:00] it took me, you know, this is the kind of thing you see in retrospect. But I look back now, [00:12:05] I wasn’t studious, but I was paying hyper attention [00:12:10] in class. Mhm. But I wasn’t paying attention to what everybody else was. [00:12:15] And I you know, fast forward a little bit. When I got to college, you know, when my dad retired [00:12:20] he’d put aside money for college. But by the time I got to college age, [00:12:25] his money was barely enough to pay for books. So I had to do some city college [00:12:30] and some general education to get into the college I wanted to get to, and [00:12:35] I had to work hard to get into that. And my dad, [00:12:40] I was probably the only kid in my school [00:12:45] that sort of got in trouble for getting into college. My dad was [00:12:50] when he was a young kid. He he had two brothers. One of his brothers [00:12:55] died from leukaemia when he was young. My dad was the middle brother. So he kind [00:13:00] of took over and helped raise the younger brother. And he would tell me these stories of when he was 12 and 13, [00:13:05] you know, riding an Indian motorcycle that shifted on the tank to deliver [00:13:10] things for a pharmacy. You know, that was he was working. That was his first job. [00:13:15]

Todd Williams: And so my dad grew up with that. You do the basic schooling and then you get into the workplace. [00:13:20] The workplace will teach you. The workplace is where all the lessons are, etc.. So [00:13:25] by the time I came along and, you know, college age, I’m like, dad, I’m going to go to this college and this is how [00:13:30] much it cost. And in my dad’s world, that was sort of a waste of time. You know, you’re going to go [00:13:35] spend thousands and thousands of dollars to come out and go into the workplace and learn what you could [00:13:40] have learned had you just skipped that big expenditure. But the funny thing [00:13:45] is, when I finally got to college, I remember I was sitting in this one [00:13:50] lecture hall and I was just I was sort of thinking to myself, oh, look at that. [00:13:55] That’s what a student looks like when they’re listening to the teacher. That’s a teacher teaching [00:14:00] a student. And I was observing what was happening, but [00:14:05] not from the student perspective. And so I became this observer of the situation. [00:14:10] And I would I would continue that. I would think, you know, now why does that student [00:14:15] seem to have favour with the teacher and that one doesn’t? And how come over there [00:14:20] that person made the teacher laugh? But that person almost irritated the teacher, and [00:14:25] I was I was being hyper studious, just on the wrong thing. Um, [00:14:30] ironically, I think you can see how that played out.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. So? So [00:14:35] so you were you mentioned this earlier, and now you’ve just sort of elaborated on that, which [00:14:40] is you weren’t listening to the teacher. You weren’t learning the maths or [00:14:45] the English or the chemistry or the science, but you were reading the room. It was learning.

Todd Williams: People. [00:14:50]

Prav Solanki: And you was observing people. Yeah. In the situation. Right? Yeah. Yeah. [00:14:55] Interesting.

Todd Williams: And I, I’ve looked back a million times [00:15:00] and I could have never predicted this or planned that, but that turned out to be the most [00:15:05] valuable lesson I could ever take. Take away from [00:15:10] school, take away from life was just observing people, paying attention to what [00:15:15] makes them tick, what throws them off course, what engages people? What? [00:15:20] What helps people believe in themselves? Those kind of things [00:15:25] were what I was paying attention to. No grand vision [00:15:30] at that time. It was just I think it was a product of my upbringing, the environment. [00:15:35] Just learn to observe. And that’s.

Prav Solanki: So [00:15:40] what did you what did you study out of curiosity?

Todd Williams: Well, my first my [00:15:45] first angle, I thought for sure I wanted to be a youth minister. And it had less to do with [00:15:50] the faith side of things, the religion side of things. It was youth ministers [00:15:55] just sort of played a prominent role in my life growing up. Um, I [00:16:00] think to me they were the brothers, older brothers that I didn’t have. Being an only child. [00:16:05] Um, I think I thought of them as these individuals who, you know, [00:16:10] grade school and high school can be such a transformative time for [00:16:15] a kid. They can can throw you off. And youth ministers to me were sort [00:16:20] of this beacon of stability in that vulnerable time of my life. [00:16:25] So I was inspired by that, and I wanted to go off and become a beacon of stability [00:16:30] for others. And I didn’t didn’t pan out [00:16:35] the way I thought it was going to. And as I tried to figure out what I was going to do with [00:16:40] my life, I had a friend suggest I take a job in a hospital. And I [00:16:45] thought, there’s nothing in my background. Nothing. Nothing in my education [00:16:50] that has steered me towards health care. And he he said, there’s non-hospital [00:16:55] jobs in a hospital, which I think was his way of saying nonclinical.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah yeah, [00:17:00] yeah. How old were you then, Todd?

Todd Williams: Uh, that was, that was post-college. So I was [00:17:05] in my early 20s.

Prav Solanki: So early 20s. You’ve been to college, studied [00:17:10] what did you actually studied?

Todd Williams: Religious studies. I was a yeah, [00:17:15] theology. Interesting.

Prav Solanki: So you’d done religious studies at college? Um, [00:17:20] and then someone said, go get a job in a hospital doing non-hospital things. [00:17:25] Yeah.

Todd Williams: While you figure out what you’re going to do with this background in in religion. [00:17:30] But the person who said it to me, they, [00:17:35] you know, when somebody says something to you and you know, there’s more they want to say, but they can’t, [00:17:40] but you can kind of see it in their eyes. So this person who was saying, just take a job in a hospital [00:17:45] and I was, you know, I can’t they’re like, just take a job in the hospital and I okay, [00:17:50] this person seems pretty convinced this is going to be good for me. So [00:17:55] and I need to find a job while I figure out what I’m going to do. So I took a job and I got a very it [00:18:00] was a non-clinical job, but it was helping out in the emergency room. And [00:18:05] I quickly saw the core of what I was looking [00:18:10] for in youth ministry, and that was people coming into the emergency [00:18:15] room around their most vulnerable day. And they’re really looking at you to be [00:18:20] stable while they’re going through this. And I [00:18:25] saw quickly in the colleagues that I was working with that they were the beacon of stability [00:18:30] to this person in trauma to this person scared to death. And [00:18:35] I realised then that’s why my friend was pushing me towards this. He’s like I, you know, I think [00:18:40] he understood the essence of what I wanted to do. And he saw that as an area of health care [00:18:45] that I could or he saw health care as an area where I could let that play out. So [00:18:50] I fell in love with it.

Prav Solanki: Who was this friend, Todd? Who was who was this person? Who? He was a.

Todd Williams: Friend that [00:18:55] I grew up with. And we ended up at the same college, which was kind of ironic [00:19:00] because we didn’t aim at that. That was just the way our lives went, and somehow we both ended up at the [00:19:05] same place, and we’re still friends to this day.

Prav Solanki: Amazing. So so you [00:19:10] went you end up doing this and you find this role where you are part [00:19:15] of that team of beacons of stability, right? For these people who are really vulnerable, just [00:19:20] paint a picture of me of what did you see in those first days, years, [00:19:25] whatever it is was that you were working with. Tell me some stories about the patients [00:19:30] you saw and perhaps what impacts you saw people having on their [00:19:35] lives, and maybe what impact you might have had on on certain patients. [00:19:40] Um, yeah. During that time.

Todd Williams: Wow. I can think of [00:19:45] a story literally comes to mind for each one of those. For me, one of the first things I [00:19:50] remember was some of the patients coming into the emergency room were so [00:19:55] agitated, just scared. But they’re fighting, you know, they’ve they’re taking [00:20:00] swings at you. And I hadn’t adjusted to this yet. And so [00:20:05] I, you know, I took offence to that. And they’re swinging at me. I’ll [00:20:10] swing back and um, I remember [00:20:15] I look at my colleagues, my co-workers, and they weren’t [00:20:20] being riled as much as I was. And I think I learned one of the [00:20:25] biggest lessons right then and there. And it’s just played out over and over in life. I [00:20:30] was listening to I the way I say it today is I was listening to the mouth, and [00:20:35] the mouth of the patient might have been saying, get the hell out of here. Get away! Leave. But [00:20:40] my colleagues were listening to their eyes, and I realised a lot of times their eyes were saying, [00:20:45] how did I get in this situation? I’m terrified. Don’t leave me literally contradicting [00:20:50] what the mouth was saying. And so I was being very superficial and just hearing the words and getting [00:20:55] offended. But my colleagues were looking into the eyes and seeing a very vulnerable person and responding [00:21:00] through their steadfast gaze that I’ve got you. And [00:21:05] that was one of the first big lessons for me. And I know Simon Sinek says [00:21:10] sometimes that the listening is not the act of hearing.

Todd Williams: It’s [00:21:15] the art of understanding. And I realised looking back, that’s what my team [00:21:20] was doing. They were understanding the patient, I was hearing them, but they were understanding that. And so [00:21:25] learning that was was a big moment for me and helped me fall in love with the role [00:21:30] even more. A second part of it, I later transitioned out of the emergency [00:21:35] room, and I ended up in a trained role in the physical therapy team. And [00:21:40] back in those days, wound care was a part of physical therapy. [00:21:45] It’s not today. It’s its own department. But wound care is interesting because a lot of [00:21:50] times the patients come in and are outpatients. They’re out there functioning in life, but they’ve [00:21:55] got this wound that isn’t healing. And so they come in to be treated. And [00:22:00] a lot of times it starts off with the whirlpool treatment, which means you’re putting this [00:22:05] wound into a whirlpool and then they sit for 20 minutes, and [00:22:10] it’s not like the rest of PT where you’re doing exercises throughout the whole visit. [00:22:15] There’s a bit of waiting, and I remember sometimes the patients would come back and, you know, [00:22:20] you’d unwrap this wound on their leg and lift their leg and help them set [00:22:25] it into the water. Now you’ve got 20 minutes of awkward time. And I think a lot [00:22:30] of times the therapists would go and start charting or the patient would read a book. And it was kind [00:22:35] of this, okay, let’s just be polite and quiet for 20 minutes until we can do what we [00:22:40] do and begin to treat the wound after the whirlpool time.

Todd Williams: But I remember [00:22:45] there was one patient in particular that really helped me see the patient experience differently. [00:22:50] He would come in and as we would, he had a wound on his lower leg down by his foot. [00:22:55] He wasn’t healing. It was. He was a diabetic, and it was an accidental [00:23:00] wound that now wouldn’t heal. And he was in danger of losing his, uh, leg [00:23:05] below the knee. And he would come in and as we would unwrap [00:23:10] his foot, he would look anywhere but his foot. [00:23:15] And I, in the beginning thought it was for obvious reasons. He didn’t want to see the wound. What [00:23:20] I realised is when I would use those 20 minutes to sit and talk with him, I [00:23:25] saw the human attached to the wound. And he told me one time he says, [00:23:30] you know, Todd, he goes, I want to walk my daughter down the aisle. My [00:23:35] head wants to walk her down the aisle. My heart, my soul, every ounce of me and my body’s [00:23:40] betraying me. And I don’t understand why I can’t control that. And [00:23:45] he said, I look away because it’s so frustrating to me. And I begin [00:23:50] to realise there’s a story, a big story behind these patients. It’s not just [00:23:55] I accidentally hurt myself and now it’s not healing. It’s [00:24:00] much deeper than that.

Prav Solanki: Can I ask you a quick question? Because it’s just come [00:24:05] to my mind, right? Sure. Why did he open up to you?

Todd Williams: I think [00:24:10] I was the one who would sit and talk with him when he was there. I, unlike, [00:24:15] maybe it went back to my schooling, but charting felt like [00:24:20] work, so I would rather where everybody else put off the interactions with the patient [00:24:25] and would go hide behind the clinical information in the chart. I’d put off the charting and go [00:24:30] sit with the patient.

Prav Solanki: Because he’s telling you something quite deep now, right? He’s there because [00:24:35] he’s got an ulcer on his leg or a wound that’s not healing. And he’s now [00:24:40] telling you about sunshine and rainbows or his dream that he may think’s not going to come true. [00:24:45] Yeah. Um, and you’re just the guy bathing his foot. Just listening.

Todd Williams: Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Just [00:24:50] listening. Um, but he felt comfortable enough to open up to you at that [00:24:55] at that point.

Todd Williams: Yeah, and And I learned that, I think along the way, a lot of times [00:25:00] they’re so vulnerable that it’s almost like, what have I got to lose? You know, you already know everything about [00:25:05] me. You know, every stat regarding my, you know, physical condition. [00:25:10] You’ve got a chart. So I might as well just give you the last thing that’s in my heart and my mind, too. So [00:25:15] opening up, I saw that quite a bit. And I think there’s [00:25:20] a lot of patients that want to open up because there’s so much anxiety when you come into [00:25:25] a clinical situation. Yeah, much more than what we think. It’s not [00:25:30] just about the wound. It’s that’s amplifying everything else you’re dealing with. And so [00:25:35] I think it was just a matter of being receptive to that and taking the time to listen to [00:25:40] the patient or even see the patient. As you know, later on, you [00:25:45] see this in hospitals all the time. You’ll hear a team refer to, oh, the hip down in room 424, [00:25:50] the knee down in room 423. And there’s not a knee in [00:25:55] that room. There’s a human with a life that happens to have. [00:26:00] Have a knee. Something going on with their knee. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The [00:26:05] thought.

Prav Solanki: The reason why I stopped you and asked you that question is, is in the world of dentistry, [00:26:10] which is sort of my world and yours as well, right? Is that, um, getting [00:26:15] patients to open up about why they’re here? Um, it’s [00:26:20] rarely that I want a beautiful smile or I want nice [00:26:25] looking teeth. Right. There’s more to it than that, right? It’s the fact that I talk with [00:26:30] my hand over my mouth, or I can’t eat into a steak or I’m embarrassed [00:26:35] or whatever, right? It gives them anxiety or lack of self-esteem and confidence. And [00:26:40] sometimes we talk about how do you get that out of the patient, right. Because it doesn’t come naturally [00:26:45] to every clinician, right. That once you once that patient opens up to you about [00:26:50] why they’re there. Mhm. Then the sales process is no longer a sales [00:26:55] process. Right. It’s just a recommendation, a human interaction. [00:27:00] Yeah. And whatnot. Right. And it seems like from the early days and [00:27:05] and that’s why I asked the question is these patients are opening up to you, but all you’re doing is [00:27:10] soaking their foot in water, right. There must be something deeper there that that [00:27:15] was the relationship between you and the patient that allowed them to [00:27:20] spill the beans. So.

Todd Williams: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And I’m glad [00:27:25] you honed in on that, because I do think there is an art to getting someone [00:27:30] to open up. And I think it’s a little bit it’s [00:27:35] asking the right questions, and the right questions are rarely [00:27:40] what we think are the right questions. You know, it’s you think about the news [00:27:45] and, you know, there’s a traumatic car accident. And the reporter walks up and says, how are you feeling? [00:27:50] The most obvious question you could ever ask. And [00:27:55] I think sometimes we do that, you know, how do you feel about your foot? How do you feel about [00:28:00] the situation? How do you feel about your treatment? But I think sometimes [00:28:05] just pulling back to the same question you would ask if you weren’t in that scenario, and And it’s [00:28:10] asking someone how how their day is, but with a sincerity, with [00:28:15] an honest sincerity. And I think that’s the key. It’s not, you know, if there’s something [00:28:20] I’ve learned over the years, it’s rarely what you do. It’s how you do it [00:28:25] that makes the biggest difference. And being able to ask somebody [00:28:30] how they’re doing, but asking that from a really genuine place where they hear [00:28:35] it differently, they might have heard it ten times that day already, 20 times already. [00:28:40] But the day you ask it, you said it in a way.

Todd Williams: There was something. It was your body [00:28:45] language. It was your tone of voice. But you said, how how are you today? And [00:28:50] there’s a little bit of something different. And the person you can see, they look at you and it’s almost like their eyes well up. [00:28:55] And no one’s asked me. I’m not okay. I’m scared. [00:29:00] What are you scared about? And it’s that tone. And it’s just that it’s that gentle. [00:29:05] Tell me more, tell me more. And people. That’s when the opening, [00:29:10] the opening up happens. So you’re right. It’s not just that they sit down in this whirlpool and spill [00:29:15] the beans. There’s there’s that kindness key. Yeah. [00:29:20] I remember hearing years ago talking about love, just being a loving person, a kind person. [00:29:25] They said love is the master key of connection. And [00:29:30] I think if you take that sentence, you know, in a grandiose way it sounds over [00:29:35] the top. But if you just think about it, what it’s really saying is just kindness unlocks [00:29:40] people. Yeah. And it’s getting more and more rare in society. So [00:29:45] I think being kind and getting these patients to you’re not coming [00:29:50] in with a mission. You’re coming in human first. Mission [00:29:55] second. And I think that was probably something [00:30:00] that I had learned along the way, because with my dad being retired, I [00:30:05] didn’t hear, here’s the CEO of this.

Todd Williams: This is the president of this. This is the [00:30:10] associate director of this. I never heard titles and I [00:30:15] just heard people. I would later learn what they did, but I first met [00:30:20] them as a human, and then I found out what they did. I met them as a human. Then I found out what they [00:30:25] did. And I think that’s a tremendous skill set to develop. Find [00:30:30] out the human, find out who the person is in front of you, but also just [00:30:35] as important, if not more important. Help them understand the human in front of them. [00:30:40] And people really want to know. You know, you said a minute ago about the sales [00:30:45] process takes care of itself. If I’m a human that’s connected with you, and I’ve truly [00:30:50] helped you share your needs, and I have something that actually, genuinely [00:30:55] is a solution to your situation. That’s the most natural fit [00:31:00] on Earth. You create a lifelong fan, but you have to be able to [00:31:05] trust that putting your title aside, putting your sales goals aside and connecting [00:31:10] is the first pure step. And I don’t think [00:31:15] we’re good at that. I know we’re not good at that. I see it all the time, people. Hey, how are you? Tell me about yourself. [00:31:20] Anyways, here’s what I have for you. Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Back [00:31:25] to your story, Todd, because I know I’ve pulled you away from that. Right. So, um, back [00:31:30] to your story about this guy who wanted to walk his, um.

Todd Williams: Walk his daughter [00:31:35] down the aisle.

Prav Solanki: Down the aisle. Right?

Todd Williams: Yeah, I he he continued [00:31:40] to be treated and just out of respect, I can save [00:31:45] his story, but But he his his health continued to decline until [00:31:50] a couple of years later. He actually passed at a far too young of an age, but [00:31:55] he set me on a course to really [00:32:00] pay attention, to get better at the patient experience. I remember [00:32:05] we had a social worker. His name was Sam. I just [00:32:10] I can still see the guy’s smile. And he came to the hospital I worked for was the largest hospital [00:32:15] between Los Angeles and San Francisco. And we had a huge [00:32:20] team. When you put all the therapy teams together physical therapy, occupational therapy, [00:32:25] speech therapy, we were 80 some odd people, which is that’s a good size for [00:32:30] a hospital. And he did this end service one day where he said, [00:32:35] it’s really important to understand that patients have a choice. And I remember a lot [00:32:40] of us thinking to ourselves, no, they don’t. They they get hurt, they [00:32:45] come here. That’s how that works. It’s a you know, first of all, our business is guaranteed because people [00:32:50] will always get sick. They’ll always be hurt. So we don’t have to worry [00:32:55] about them choosing someone else. That’s not an issue. So I think we pushed away what he was saying, [00:33:00] but he also talked about the way to help. Help [00:33:05] them choose you is to create a phenomenal patient experience. And I don’t think we took that to [00:33:10] a deep level.

Todd Williams: To us, the patient experience was also on the patient, [00:33:15] meaning if a patient had a great experience, it’s because they saw how hard we were working [00:33:20] and if they didn’t have a great experience, they didn’t realise how hard we were because somehow it was [00:33:25] always their fault, their responsibility. And you would get defensive, you know, you would get [00:33:30] these reports back, these patient, you know, comment cards and, [00:33:35] you know, if the scale was 1 to 10 for simplicity’s sake and you get a seven [00:33:40] and you remember that person coming in in a life and death situation, [00:33:45] it’s kind of hard to read that. You’re like, how am I getting a seven? What about that part where we saved [00:33:50] your life? Yeah, that. Was that an eight? Was that a nine? But I began to realise that the patient [00:33:55] experience that we were focusing on, quality [00:34:00] clinical treatment was expected. That’s [00:34:05] why they that’s what you expect. We advertise that there’s not a hospital in the nation in the, [00:34:10] in the world that says, come to us, we’re okay. Come to us. We try our best. Every [00:34:15] hospital says, come to us for phenomenal treatment. Come to us to receive the best. So when [00:34:20] I come in, that’s actually off the table. I’m expecting that. That’s that’s [00:34:25] why you do what you do for people in my situation, this is that’s over.

Prav Solanki: Standard [00:34:30] practice, right. Standard practice. You yeah. You walk into walk into Starbucks [00:34:35] and order a latte. You get a latte. It’s what you want. It’s what you expect. [00:34:40] It’s hot and it tastes like coffee and milk. Right? It’s standard.

Todd Williams: Yeah. And my [00:34:45] experience when I when you ask me, that’s a great example. You asked me how was my experience at Starbucks. [00:34:50] It’s 99% of the time going to be about how I felt while [00:34:55] I was getting that for sure.

Prav Solanki: Coffee for sure.

Todd Williams: The coffee’s not what I’m [00:35:00] rating. They all taste the same, you know, which is great. It’s consistent. That’s something [00:35:05] they have down pat. Starbucks around the world. Same drink. Yeah, but boy, day [00:35:10] to day you can go in one and feel a great experience. You can go in the next one and [00:35:15] decide never to go again. Yeah. And that’s what the patient experience was [00:35:20] truly about. And it’s still what it’s about today. And it’s amazing to me to [00:35:25] watch how many healthcare teams still focus on ways to [00:35:30] approach what I call the soft stuff in a clinical way, [00:35:35] and the soft stuff are those it’s the the part of life that we can’t measure, but we can [00:35:40] feel so true.

Prav Solanki: Todd but but I think the way [00:35:45] that clinicians are taught both at school and [00:35:50] after school and post-graduate, it’s very mechanical, right? It’s all [00:35:55] very much about, you know, what angle this rod goes in, how you do it, the [00:36:00] list of questions you need to go through to basically make sure you don’t get sued. [00:36:05] You know, you know, the consent forms, all the rest of it. The soft stuff never gets taught, [00:36:10] rarely gets discussed. Right? So then you end up in a situation [00:36:15] with the experience and those people who are better at that communication [00:36:20] piece. They may be lesser clinicians technically, but patients have a [00:36:25] better experience with them. Right.

Todd Williams: Mhm mhm. Because remember the patient doesn’t [00:36:30] understand what you’ve been trained in either. So [00:36:35] you’re more apt to match at that level. You [00:36:40] know, I’ve said that many times that we elevate ourselves to a clinical role, and [00:36:45] then we take them and elevate them to patient. And that’s where we talk. Okay. But [00:36:50] most patients aren’t hoping to become a patient. They’re here. Yeah. [00:36:55] And there was a time before you gain that knowledge you just referred to, you were here. And [00:37:00] if you don’t let go of that version of you, because that version of you actually climbed that ladder on purpose, that [00:37:05] version of you chose to become a clinician because you care. Excuse me? You [00:37:10] chose to become a professional because you want to serve others. That person [00:37:15] that drove you up the ladder is the person the patient is looking to talk to. [00:37:20] And I think if we can stop looking at our clinical role as a destination [00:37:25] and realise it was to achieve something that we then bring home and we connect heart first, [00:37:30] title second, we do a lot better. And I think that’s the gist of what you [00:37:35] were talking about earlier, when the patients would open up. I never sat down with [00:37:40] them and said, you know, I’m your I’m your physical therapy aide here to talk about your [00:37:45] wound. I would sit down and talk about them. And [00:37:50] as a matter of fact, this same patient, he knew I was an avid cyclist [00:37:55] and we would get in long talks. He had a son who liked to bike, too. And so he would tell me about [00:38:00] his son’s cycling and I would talk about what I enjoyed was cycling. And that [00:38:05] banter, some people might say, is a waste of time. I don’t have time for that. With today’s productivity, [00:38:10] we don’t have time for that. You don’t have time not to do that because [00:38:15] the time that saves you later immeasurable. Yeah, [00:38:20] it’s that connection.

Prav Solanki: So, Todd, how did you [00:38:25] go from bathing wounds to becoming [00:38:30] the head trainer at some of the leading Four Seasons [00:38:35] hotels in the world, setting records for, you know, amazing [00:38:40] service and all the rest of it and putting these. How do you go from [00:38:45] that guy? So you go to this, this is what I want to wrap my head around and where I want to [00:38:50] get to at the end of this conversation, if we can. Todd, you start off by going to.

Todd Williams: College. [00:38:55]

Prav Solanki: And doing religious studies, and then somewhere in between [00:39:00] there and where we are today, you open who knows how many [00:39:05] Four Seasons hotels win a ton of awards and [00:39:10] change culture in places where the stats were stacked [00:39:15] against you? Yeah. How the hell did that happen?

Todd Williams: You know, it’s [00:39:20] it goes back to that. I would say literally that in service with Sam [00:39:25] kicked something off in me. And the whole patients have a choice and the patient experience and [00:39:30] the conversations I heard afterwards. And I became friends with Sam and he [00:39:35] explained more of what I was seeing. He he was he was giving [00:39:40] credibility to what I was seeing. You know, I’m I feel like that was my life was always these laboratory [00:39:45] experiments just watching and observing and making notes. Does this ring true three [00:39:50] times in a row, or was that one off? Does this seem to ring true seven out of ten times? Then this [00:39:55] becomes a behaviour worth pursuing. So I was seeing that connecting with the patient [00:40:00] really mattered. Sam was coming in and his data was showing that connecting [00:40:05] with the patient really matters. So I wanted to help help all [00:40:10] of us in healthcare get better at connecting. And I had [00:40:15] a chance to. I think today the trendy term for students is to [00:40:20] call it a gap year. But I had a chance to move to Hawaii for a year and I wasn’t going to miss [00:40:25] that. So I thought, okay, if I can, if I can live in Hawaii, I’ll go over there and [00:40:30] I’ll find a job. They have a hospital on this island, Maui, that I was going to, and I’ll get [00:40:35] a job in physical therapy and I’ll I’ll enjoy it. Well, [00:40:40] I got to Hawaii and the hospital physical therapy team was two people, [00:40:45] and so finding a job on that team was impossible.

Todd Williams: And I did a quick thought [00:40:50] and I thought, okay, if this is a year away from home in the hospital I work [00:40:55] in, I’m going to study something that’ll help me learn more about [00:41:00] the patient experience. And I had heard about luxury hotels. Didn’t [00:41:05] understand them. That is not the income bracket I grew up in. We stayed at the cheap motels [00:41:10] when we did road trips, and I knew nothing about this world. But [00:41:15] I knew this world, and I and I had a friend that I worked with in healthcare [00:41:20] that had lived in Hawaii, and I talked to him about this move, and he told [00:41:25] me how when he was there, he’d worked in hotels. And I was fascinated [00:41:30] by this group of people because they were paying so much money, almost as much as you [00:41:35] pay in a hospital, sometimes more than you pay in a hospital for really something [00:41:40] you can’t even prove you received when you check out of a hotel. I’m [00:41:45] billing you for an experience. I didn’t fix your mouth. I didn’t fix your leg, [00:41:50] I didn’t I didn’t do anything that you can take home, per se. [00:41:55] It’s just a memory. So I thought, okay, there’s got to be a lesson here. And if I’m here [00:42:00] for a year, what if I take a job with this luxury hotel brand, learn what [00:42:05] they do specifically, and then bring that back [00:42:10] to healthcare? And that was my that was my noble intention. So [00:42:15] go ahead.

Prav Solanki: What do you mean by take a job with this luxury [00:42:20] hotel? Was was that job on the table? Had you applied for this job, was it was it on the offer or was it like, [00:42:25] I’m going to give this a crack and would you have confidence you’d get it?

Todd Williams: Uh, well, [00:42:30] I had too much confidence I was going to get it more to that, but, um, I [00:42:35] yeah, way too much. But the reason it wasn’t on the table. [00:42:40] But when I got over there and realised how small the hospital was and the physical therapy team [00:42:45] was two, I thought, oh, what am I going to do for work in this year? Well, hotels [00:42:50] are everywhere. Turnover is high in hotels, traditionally very [00:42:55] transitional job. I was only there for a year, so I, I figured I would go [00:43:00] and apply for whatever was available. Bellman room service. Um, [00:43:05] you know, pool attendant. I knew that with all the hotels and [00:43:10] all the positions, there was a certain to find a job. Yeah, so [00:43:15] I didn’t know where to start. I had heard about four seasons, didn’t know the brand, [00:43:20] just heard they were better than anybody else. So I thought, well, might as well apply there [00:43:25] first. And I went and this is where the confidence came in. I sort of, I [00:43:30] obviously can’t tell the hotel that I’m only there for a year. Right. They don’t want [00:43:35] to hire somebody who right off the bat says this is temporary. But in my mind, [00:43:40] my reason for wanting to work there was so noble, right? I’m going to learn about [00:43:45] care and take it back to health care. And so in my mind, I think I just thought [00:43:50] I was going to get the job.

Todd Williams: And I sat down in the interview, I was interviewing for a front desk position. [00:43:55] And I remember the guy said to me, pretty blunt, why do you think you can work [00:44:00] here? You’re a hospital guy. I was like, oh, I hadn’t thought this through. And now I [00:44:05] was on the spot. And I thought about it for a minute, and I remember saying in the interview, I said, well, a [00:44:10] hospital is kind of like a hotel from hell. You check in against [00:44:15] your will, you’re scared. You’re in pain. My goal is to make you [00:44:20] feel safe, to make you feel that you’re in the right place, to make you feel valued, [00:44:25] to create a sense of trust. And when you’re discharged, should you someday [00:44:30] have to come back to a hospital? You choose ours. And I remember the guy in the interview said, [00:44:35] you can have the job. So. So I got hired [00:44:40] and I started at the front desk and the next I [00:44:45] mean, we can go as deep as you want, but I’ll give you an overview, please. The [00:44:50] one year turned into 16 with the brand as [00:44:55] an official employee, and I still work with them this day as a what [00:45:00] they call a preferred consultant. And I still open up a lot of the new hotels. And when I say open the [00:45:05] hotel, do the training, that kind of establishes the culture and puts it in place and takes [00:45:10] people that don’t know what Four Seasons is, hands them, the brand teaches them in a way [00:45:15] that brings out their best, so that when a guest does check in, they say, yep, this [00:45:20] is what we expected from a four seasons.

Todd Williams: The 16 years [00:45:25] really. The first five changed my life. That’s [00:45:30] that’s how I ended up in front of you. And what I really [00:45:35] learned quickly because the hotel, the front desk job scared me to death in the beginning [00:45:40] because people would check in. And, you know, I came from a health [00:45:45] care background just a month before, and I’ve been doing it for several years, [00:45:50] 11 years to be exact. And so when we talk about things in [00:45:55] a hospital, it’s very the goal is there [00:46:00] you have a wound and we are this whole team is going to do everything we can to fix this [00:46:05] wound. You have broken bones and we are going to repair those bones and rehabilitate you to get [00:46:10] you back out there to your sports that you used to do. So in a hotel, [00:46:15] I was very uncomfortable not having that. And it [00:46:20] really quick just to go back when you said clinicians are trained very [00:46:25] specifically and they’re not trained in the soft stuff, nor nor was I. I didn’t realise that my [00:46:30] upbringing was that training. I hadn’t connected the dots yet.

Prav Solanki: For sure.

Todd Williams: Because [00:46:35] and but to be honest with you, by the way, when I first got into the workplace, I sort of resented my [00:46:40] dad for a while. It was like nothing you taught me works like [00:46:45] I grew up with this, you know, just love everything and it’s going to be great. And I get [00:46:50] into the workplace and I have to understand how to move metrics and how to, you know, take [00:46:55] over the competition and be ruthless. And I didn’t know how to do that. More to that, but [00:47:00] in the hotel, I didn’t understand [00:47:05] what I was. I just talk about fake it till you make it. I’m [00:47:10] handing somebody a registration card with a tremendous fee [00:47:15] on that card. This is the nightly rate, and you’re here for seven nights. And [00:47:20] if that looks good, sign here. And I remember thinking to myself. I wouldn’t sign [00:47:25] this if I were you. Like, that’s. I don’t even understand what you’re signing for. I work at [00:47:30] the front desk. I don’t understand what you’re going to experience. I’ve never stayed in a hotel like this. To [00:47:35] me, growing up, a hotel was $49. And that’s what you did. [00:47:40] These rooms that were hundreds and hundreds and sometimes thousands and thousands of dollars [00:47:45] for a night, I didn’t get it. And they would sign these registration cards. And [00:47:50] you sometimes you could see it was still a bit of shock. They knew what they were paying, but you’d [00:47:55] still see a little bit of colour go out of their face. Because it’s a lot to ask before you [00:48:00] felt anything. But later they had me checking some of those same guests out. [00:48:05]

Todd Williams: So now I’m handling the departure and I’m showing them these bills that are tremendous. [00:48:10] It’s not just the room rate they saw at check in, it’s now the room rate plus tax. [00:48:15] And there’s you know, there’s hotels have occupancy tax plus state tax. So it’s this huge [00:48:20] tax. There’s the food and beverage. There’s the spa [00:48:25] treatments. Whatever it is. The number is much bigger than they imagined at check in. Yeah. But [00:48:30] what’s interesting is they would settle these bills with such a positivity. [00:48:35] And I would see him and I would hand this total to them and they’re like, looks great. I’m like, [00:48:40] that does that was good to you? Okay? And they would settle [00:48:45] this bill and then sometimes they would even sit there at the desk and say, hey, before we leave, could we book again while [00:48:50] we’re here? And I was like, you’re kidding me. And I remember I’d go back and I’d get the the [00:48:55] reservations team. And I’m like, this guy would like to book another vacation before he leaves. So [00:49:00] I was fascinated by this phenomenon, and I went to the trainer and I said, [00:49:05] what in the world do we do between check in and check out? [00:49:10] That makes someone go from somewhat a little bit of trepidation to, [00:49:15] can I do it again as soon as possible? And I’ll never [00:49:20] forget, this is the trajectory that tied the whole thing together, my whole [00:49:25] story. He said. It’s not what we do. It’s how we do [00:49:30] what we do. And I bowled right past it. I’m like, that’s cute.

Todd Williams: But specifically, [00:49:35] what do we do? I know it wasn’t just a bunch of nice people out there. Tell [00:49:40] me the timing. What do we do with room service? How fast does the food get to them? And he kept saying, [00:49:45] you’re focusing on the things that don’t matter. I’m like, oh, timing matters, But I [00:49:50] understand, of course, what he was saying. That’s expected. Yeah, of course. My room service [00:49:55] comes to me fast. That’s why I pay so much. Of course, my wake up call is on [00:50:00] time to the second. That’s what I’m paying for. Of course, the service. Of course. [00:50:05] Your wine list is world class. That’s what I’m paying for. In other [00:50:10] words, when that person signs the bill, at the end of the day, they’re not because [00:50:15] you met expectations. That’s the that’s the entry fee. You [00:50:20] have to meet expectations. Sometimes I tell people that excellent service [00:50:25] is baseline. Like that’s that’s just the entry fee. If [00:50:30] you’re not excellent at what you do, you’re not even in the game. But that’s not what when someone [00:50:35] over, that’s what allows them to relax and realise they’re in the right place. [00:50:40] Now what they need on top of that is a connection. And that’s what he kept trying to tell me [00:50:45] in the beginning. So I listened to him. I’d follow him around. I became friends with him, [00:50:50] he moved on and I took his job one year, became two, became three. I didn’t want to leave Hawaii. [00:50:55] I was loving hotels. I thought I was done with healthcare. I didn’t [00:51:00] forget healthcare. I had a heart for it.

Todd Williams: But I was in this new world [00:51:05] that I didn’t expect to fall in love with, and I became a [00:51:10] trainer for that hotel then for the region. And then it just kept growing until I was reporting to the corporate [00:51:15] office. And through it all, I kept seeing time and time and time [00:51:20] again. The most effective training was teaching people how to connect, [00:51:25] teaching people how to read the person in front of them. And suddenly [00:51:30] everything I’d grown up learning was suddenly the information we needed. [00:51:35] As a matter of fact, in the beginning of my career, I would start out on the knowledge side of things. [00:51:40] Okay, we will script employees to say these three things to every guest, [00:51:45] and we will do these three things along with saying these three things [00:51:50] and three plus three equals success. And that’ll give us an award. And [00:51:55] it rarely played out. So we would you know, I [00:52:00] was thinking the way I was raised, you just listen to the person and be nice and love them. [00:52:05] But thanks dad. That’s useless. So I would come back over here and I would script out the three things to say [00:52:10] and the three things to do, and it didn’t work. So I would make an adjustment and then I would make another adjustment, [00:52:15] and then I would make another adjustment. And after two weeks of adjustments, [00:52:20] I realised I actually had something very similar to what I already threw away. Listen [00:52:25] to that guest in front of you. Get to know them. Connect with [00:52:30] them and that will tell you your next step.

Prav Solanki: Todd but [00:52:35] like listening to this now, right? Yeah, I hear you say. Right. Okay. So the secret [00:52:40] to success in this game is teaching your team [00:52:45] how to connect with people, right? Just that statement in itself, [00:52:50] I can say, well, that’s a little bit woo woo. And it sounds a bit like bullshit to me. Sure. [00:52:55]

Todd Williams: 100%.

Prav Solanki: Do you get where I’m coming from? Like, what do you mean, Todd? What [00:53:00] do you mean, connect? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, I’d like [00:53:05] you to answer that question, but at the same time, I’d like you to tell me the story about the gardener. Okay. [00:53:10] And the guest that you told us about with the the [00:53:15] partially sighted or blind wife. Because I think that that [00:53:20] is a true story about connection. That really hit home to me when [00:53:25] you when you shared that with us on the day. But actually I, I want you to just [00:53:30] qualify what you mean by we teach our people how [00:53:35] to rather than saying, okay, this is the script when they arrive, when they check in, when you see [00:53:40] someone tip your hat, smile to the person, make sure you acknowledge you know, look them [00:53:45] in the eye, whatever, whatever the you know, the rule book says, right? Um, but what [00:53:50] do you mean by the other thing? The connect thing? Because because that does sound a little bit like, well, how do you teach? [00:53:55] How do you teach that?

Todd Williams: Well, that’s such a good thing to hone in on as well, because I think [00:54:00] that’s where I began to realise I had seen the end of [00:54:05] the book so many times that these people, guessing at the end of the book, had not seen [00:54:10] and, you know, take that on a superficial level. [00:54:15] You’ve seen a movie, but now you go with your friends who haven’t seen it and [00:54:20] you hear them guessing halfway through, oh, I know who did it. And inside you’re like, hmm, it’s not what you [00:54:25] think. Yeah, well, I had that in life. It was sort of like, I get what you think [00:54:30] matters. That’s not what matters. And the reason I knew that is because [00:54:35] in all these conversations, there was there was an interesting parallel I skipped over earlier. But even though my mom [00:54:40] was 30 years younger, her job was she was the activities director [00:54:45] at three convalescent homes. So homes that took care of elderly people. [00:54:50] So even when I went with my mom to help out with work, it was around elderly [00:54:55] people and you would hear them talk about life in [00:55:00] you never, ever heard them say, you know, I’ll [00:55:05] never forget the protocol we put together to put someone at ease. And I [00:55:10] have it printed up in my. I’ve knitted it and it’s on my wall. Never. [00:55:15] It was always about, in the end, these soft things [00:55:20] connection mattered so.

Todd Williams: And remember I came in a little bit thinking [00:55:25] it was bullshit to. I was the one saying, that’s cute when the guy told me it’s how we do what we do, [00:55:30] but what do we do? But time and time again, I would try to teach something. [00:55:35] It wouldn’t work. I would watch him teach connection. It would work. So, you know, you [00:55:40] surrender after a while and I’m like, okay, show me this soft stuff. But here’s here’s [00:55:45] the thing that I think got me past past that seen [00:55:50] it as woo woo. I tell people this a lot of times it’s not what we teach, it’s what we [00:55:55] unleash in someone. And I say that to you as a leader, to you [00:56:00] already. We walk into work, and I feel like sometimes [00:56:05] we put on a brain eraser and we forget this. We relearn [00:56:10] what we already know outside of work. You [00:56:15] know as well as I do with your kids. It’s connection, [00:56:20] you know that. Yeah. It’s not the things you. How how do your kids know [00:56:25] you love them? Well, I buy them nice things. Mhm. They appreciate that I’m sure. [00:56:30] But that’s not the love. How do they know you love them. How [00:56:35] do your friends and family know you love them. Because you connect with them. Then we walk [00:56:40] into work and we’re like, that’ll never work. It does work because it turns [00:56:45] out.

Todd Williams: I remember we used to say this in hospitals all the time. We would say it’s [00:56:50] the weirdest disconnect. We would sit in large leadership meetings and we would say, well, what does the [00:56:55] community want from a hospital? What does the community want? We need to study [00:57:00] the community. And I remember thinking to myself, where do you all live? Like you’re you’re [00:57:05] acting like this community is this other planet. [00:57:10] But when we leave work, we go get in the car and drive into said community, [00:57:15] of which we are a member. Yeah. Why do we come into work and [00:57:20] now look back at literally our neighbours like it’s a species from another planet? [00:57:25] Bring the best version of you into work and watch how many things you suddenly understand. [00:57:30] And so that that connection. I could roll my eyes at it [00:57:35] too, until I realised I do it every day. I never [00:57:40] come home and think, oh, these are the two questions. I remember one of my hospitals that I was working [00:57:45] with had these connection questions for senior leaders when they were [00:57:50] rounding visiting the floors to ask nurses and [00:57:55] to ask team members. And so the list of questions was, you know, literally [00:58:00] written out, how is your day? And you half the time they’re looking at a piece of [00:58:05] paper. The next question was, do you have all the tools you need to be successful at your job? [00:58:10] That was natural.

Todd Williams: And the third one was very similar to that. Now imagine [00:58:15] if I went home to my kids with a sheet like that. Hey [00:58:20] kids, how was your how was your day? Do you have all the tools you need to be a successful [00:58:25] son? Are you pleased with your dad? I wouldn’t [00:58:30] do that at home for $1 million. Why do I think it’s going to happen at work? Sure. We already know [00:58:35] it’s about connection. So to your point, about the story, the [00:58:40] reason I tell, I’ve told this story a million times, and I don’t think I’ll ever not tell it because [00:58:45] it just brings it all together. But we had a couple [00:58:50] that was staying at our hotel where the gentleman was. [00:58:55] It was a husband and wife. They were an older couple. They were very distinguished. [00:59:00] They didn’t dress in touristy garb. He always had on [00:59:05] a sport coat and a cap and very nice outfit. She always had on a dress and they would [00:59:10] walk through our lobby arm in arm, and they just there was something about the two of them. They looked [00:59:15] like they had this connection we all dream of. And the husband [00:59:20] would greet people, and every time he greeted someone, his wife would feel [00:59:25] that and she would turn and just beam the most beautiful smile towards [00:59:30] the the same folks that the husband was addressing.

Todd Williams: And the reason I say every time she felt [00:59:35] him do that is because she was blind. We knew that she had her glasses and her [00:59:40] cane, but when she was with her husband arm in arm, she didn’t need that and he would [00:59:45] take her out in front of the hotel every day. And instead of having her wait where everybody else was waiting for their car, [00:59:50] he would take her over to this garden that was off to the side and a little more private. [00:59:55] I think he was just being protective of her so nobody would turn and not see her. [01:00:00] And she, of course, wouldn’t see the person coming at her. And the front drive is always so crowded, especially [01:00:05] on an island, because everybody has a car, either a car coming to get them or a rent a car. [01:00:10] That’s how they get around. He parked his car. We used to have a self parking lot [01:00:15] and so he would take her over and he would walk up to get his car and [01:00:20] at his pace. And in his age, he took a while and she’d be in the garden for a [01:00:25] bit. He would come down in the car, get out like a gentleman, open the door for her, get her [01:00:30] in the car, and off they’d go. And our valet guys would try [01:00:35] every day to see if they could get the car for him.

Todd Williams: Let us be the one to get your car today. Stay with your wife. But he’s, [01:00:40] you know, insistent. This is my exercise. And so same scenario plays out. [01:00:45] He walks his wife over to the garden, takes her face in his hands, gives her a kiss, and says, [01:00:50] I love you. I’ll be back. And then off he went to get his car. The valet would sometimes walk up [01:00:55] the hill with him. They’d run back down when he drove down. Rents repeat. [01:01:00] But on one particular day we had a gardener who was in that area [01:01:05] trimming those hedges, and he was using hand tools, still a very pleasant environment. [01:01:10] It wasn’t a bunch of machinery. So the husband still took his wife over there, [01:01:15] and he drops off his wife and off he goes to get the car. And this gardener [01:01:20] noticed this scene unfolding. [01:01:25] And a gardener is kind of an interesting position because other roles in a hotel, you [01:01:30] tend to be at a space, you’re at a desk, so you see the same people day after day. You’re at the concierge [01:01:35] desk, you see people day after day. Host in a restaurant. Same thing. Gardeners somewhere [01:01:40] different all over, wherever they’re needed. So to him, he doesn’t know [01:01:45] this couple. He’s sort of figuring things out. He’s realising that, you [01:01:50] know, she’s blind. He sees the cane, sees the glasses.

Todd Williams: Um, [01:01:55] kind of puts it all together. And then he sees the husband walking up the drive and realises, okay, [01:02:00] he chose my garden to have his wife wait. There’s a little bit of pride in that, [01:02:05] right? She could have waited over there, but he knew this garden area was a better waiting place. [01:02:10] And so his name was John. John, the gardener was very proud of the garden, [01:02:15] looked over at her to make sure she was okay and not going to trip over anything. Kept trimming the hedges [01:02:20] and doing his work. And John the gardener looked back several times [01:02:25] and I think felt the same thing each time. That pride of chose my [01:02:30] garden. But on one particular time John the human looked back and [01:02:35] John the human saw something John the gardener didn’t see. Wasn’t that he saw better. [01:02:40] He just saw something else. And John the human saw a lady waiting who might actually [01:02:45] enjoy a tour of that garden. He didn’t know how to give a tour to someone [01:02:50] who couldn’t see, but he felt it in his heart. So he walked over and he said, [01:02:55] ma’am, my name is John. I’m one of the gardeners here. Would [01:03:00] you like to see the garden? And she could tell by the way [01:03:05] he hesitated, that he knew she was blind. And she said, John, I would love to. So [01:03:10] he put out his arm so she could feel that, just like he’d seen the husband do.

Todd Williams: She [01:03:15] took him by the arm or took his arm. He walked her over and he began to show her the garden. [01:03:20] He had her smell plumeria. And he said, this right here is some people say this is the [01:03:25] scent of the islands. He had her feel this ginger plant. He said, this is torch ginger. And the blossom [01:03:30] feels like the Statue of Liberty’s torch. This is tea leaf tea, not [01:03:35] tea. And this is how we plant it and where we plant it and what it means. And bit [01:03:40] by bit by bit, he gave her a tour in the The Last Plant. He said, this is white ginger. [01:03:45] He plucked a blossom. He said, smell this. And because you’re married, this goes behind your left [01:03:50] ear. A little bit later, the husband came down, picked up his wife, [01:03:55] and off they went. And we would have never known that had happened if we [01:04:00] didn’t get a letter later from the husband. And he said, you know, all these years people have asked [01:04:05] me why I choose four seasons. A lot of family, a lot of friends say there’s [01:04:10] hotels that are cheaper. There’s hotels that are literally on the same beach that don’t cost as [01:04:15] much. What makes you choose four seasons? And he said, if I if I [01:04:20] list out the things, the things wonderful beds to [01:04:25] the person who’s never stayed there, they say, well, this hospital has wonderful beds to our hospital, this hotel.

Todd Williams: And [01:04:30] that’s a big, big issue in my role, by the way. But [01:04:35] if you know, if I said it was the restaurants, they’d say their [01:04:40] hotel has an amazing restaurant as well. Yeah, he says, I knew there was something different, but I just [01:04:45] didn’t know how to articulate it. And he said, my wife and I have, since the years [01:04:50] of dating, have been able to travel and see amazing things. And we come home and we talk about what [01:04:55] we saw in our married years, in our parenting [01:05:00] years, with young kids, with teenagers, with adult children. We’ve been able to go and see [01:05:05] amazing things and come home and talk about what we saw as grandparents and even as [01:05:10] great grandparents. This is what we’ve done. But two years ago, my wife lost her eyesight, and [01:05:15] from that day on, it’s hard to know what to do. Do I still travel? My wife [01:05:20] insists that we do. But I feel terrible because now it’s me seeing things [01:05:25] that she can’t see. So for the last two years, my job has been [01:05:30] consistently to see wonderful things and try to explain it in such [01:05:35] a way she can feel like she saw it too, and to really feel as though she saw it. [01:05:40] He said the other day, driving away from your hotel for the very first time since my wife [01:05:45] lost her eyesight, the reverse happened and as we were driving away, she [01:05:50] was trying to help me feel.

Todd Williams: What she had so clearly seen. [01:05:55] Thanks to the heart of your gardener. And I think that story [01:06:00] and that letter just crystallised everything for me. [01:06:05] It’s it’s what I knew and what I’d been fighting. I [01:06:10] grew up observing people. I grew up, you know, like I said, when I was in college, I’m like, [01:06:15] there’s a student connecting with the teacher. There’s a student not connecting with the teacher. I was listening to people [01:06:20] talk about connection. I was listening to what mattered most. In the end, what do we find [01:06:25] most valuable even if we were at the top of our company? How come when we retire, [01:06:30] it turns out connection mattered most. And I think [01:06:35] I got to a point where I was like, I can’t do just [01:06:40] like the movie. If you’ve already seen it, you can’t be, no [01:06:45] matter how much your friends are like, I think this person did it. If you know the movie in’s different, you [01:06:50] can’t. It’s harder to fake it with your friends than [01:06:55] it is to just accept that you know the end and let them do that while [01:07:00] you stay over here with your knowledge in the trainer [01:07:05] role, though, it’s a little bit different.

Todd Williams: Now, I had to convince this group to see things [01:07:10] differently. So that became the second part of my work is how do I teach this? [01:07:15] How do I get this across to my team? But I think before I jump to that, [01:07:20] that aspect, the biggest lesson that today has me in [01:07:25] front of groups like where you met me, talking about really what matters most. [01:07:30] Yeah, it’s been a long road of trial and error. It’s been a long road of [01:07:35] fighting what I knew early and pushing [01:07:40] the woo woo away, as you would call it, because I didn’t trust it. [01:07:45] Um, you know, there’s an author out there, Dan Heath has a book called upstream, [01:07:50] but one of his points in the book, he says we find great comfort in complexity. [01:07:55] We love to make things complicated. If we have [01:08:00] projects going and detailed sheets and scripting for our nurses [01:08:05] and and sheets that require them to round on an hourly basis. [01:08:10] These are the. This is the structure that leads to a great experience, but [01:08:15] a great experience is rarely the result of structure. It’s the [01:08:20] result of a connection. It’s the result of somebody understanding you. So I [01:08:25] finally surrendered to what I already knew and began to put that up front. And all [01:08:30] the metrics started to move. And I think in the beginning, I was a little bit frustrated because [01:08:35] I had been handed this trainer role from a trainer who had this great reputation [01:08:40] for moving metrics.

Todd Williams: His hotels had low turnover. [01:08:45] They had great engagement scores, phenomenal guests. There you go again. Guest experience [01:08:50] ratings. And then I got in the seat of training and [01:08:55] I really began to hone in on, okay, what do I script? What do I do? This is a huge [01:09:00] responsibility that I’ve had handed to me. I’m [01:09:05] not going to drop it. So I am going to learn the step by step by step process, [01:09:10] even though I knew that’s what he said didn’t lead to it. I couldn’t shake [01:09:15] it and my metrics started to slide, and I remember I [01:09:20] could feel that people would say, gosh, you know, it’s not the same. It’s not the same. And [01:09:25] I think I got to that point where I’m like, it’s not. And I don’t even like the work I’m doing because I know it [01:09:30] doesn’t matter. And I begin to put some of the soft stuff back up front, valuing [01:09:35] the human that I was training, valuing the human call to guest, valuing the blind [01:09:40] lady, valuing the gardener. And when I begin to put them back up front, all [01:09:45] those metrics started to go up and up and up to levels that I’d [01:09:50] never seen. And I guess my takeaway was what we learn matters [01:09:55] most at the end of the book. People really appreciate right now.

Prav Solanki: So [01:10:00] in your training, you’ve got to [01:10:05] get people to buy into the woo woo stuff, right? The [01:10:10] the stuff that you can’t measure, feel, touch whatever. Right. You’ve got to get them to [01:10:15] buy into that. Mhm. Is there a recruitment process for that. Is [01:10:20] there a is is there a way that you identify and that you hire [01:10:25] these people who I think the easiest way to describe it. I’m not going to sugarcoat [01:10:30] this. The give a shit. Yeah. The care right. Is there a way in which [01:10:35] do you get involved in the hiring process?

Todd Williams: I do, and I think that’s one of the absolute [01:10:40] foundational key steps. You know, if you don’t hire the right person, you’re on a, you [01:10:45] know, treadmill of trying to fix the unfixable. You cannot teach someone [01:10:50] to care. We’ve heard that there’s arguments. Can you you can, you can’t. You can teach [01:10:55] someone the steps that appear caring. But if there’s no real deep [01:11:00] passion behind it, it’s flat. We’ve [01:11:05] all been to places where people say the right things. But we know we’ll never go back. There’s no [01:11:10] passion behind it. So you definitely learn to look for that passion. You know, a lot of companies [01:11:15] out there subscribe to the technique of behavioural based interviewing, but it’s just basically [01:11:20] not. It’s less about what you know and how you behave. So that’s [01:11:25] that’s tremendous. So yes, huge. Step [01:11:30] in the whole process is looking for people where you can feel the passion. [01:11:35] But how do you get past that? Woo woo might be a better [01:11:40] thing to tackle first, because even the people that do the interviewing have to first [01:11:45] get past that as well. Right? So before you, before I can find the right person, I have to have [01:11:50] the right interviewer. And I think the thing that [01:11:55] I have found over the years that works better than anything else is connecting [01:12:00] you to something you already understand. I don’t want to argue with you. I’m not going to try [01:12:05] to win you over. I don’t want to convince you that this soft stuff matters [01:12:10] because I don’t need to. I can show you ten parts of your life [01:12:15] where you already know it. You already know it. And [01:12:20] that, to me, becomes the whole goal [01:12:25] is to connect you to something you already know and understand in your life. [01:12:30]

Todd Williams: Get you to identify what you get out of that moment. So I’m not passing [01:12:35] on. The last thing I want is a bunch of people walking around a building saying, we do this [01:12:40] because Todd said, it matters. We do this because that guy says, we have to do this. I [01:12:45] want you to do what you do because you know it matters. And so I think my training is [01:12:50] a little bit of breaking down some of the barriers you might have by showing you, hey, [01:12:55] the thing you’re rolling your eyes at and calling woo woo, you do every single day [01:13:00] in these five scenarios, you know, I’ll give you an example. You can walk [01:13:05] out of your house in the morning, see a neighbour that you see every day, greet him, [01:13:10] but immediately realise they’re greeting back to you was a little off and [01:13:15] you might walk over and ask him. Everything all right? It’s all right. I had a call with my daughter [01:13:20] last night. She’s at college. Tried to give her good advice. Kind of [01:13:25] think I made it worse. You want to talk about it? You might go inside, make [01:13:30] a pot of coffee, chat at the end. The neighbour leaves and says, you know, [01:13:35] thanks for. Thanks for seeing something. Yeah, I know you. I could tell something was off. I appreciate [01:13:40] you. There’s the the bro hug and then the two guys go [01:13:45] their separate way. And then one of them walks into work and sits through a two hour class on empathy, because [01:13:50] the company has decided that it’s time to teach, right? [01:13:55] And I see this all the time.

Todd Williams: I don’t need you to sit through [01:14:00] a two hour class on empathy. I need you to realise the empathetic moments in your [01:14:05] life. Realise what you did in those moments, identify [01:14:10] what you did in those moments, because that’s going to be different than what this person did. And that person did [01:14:15] help you understand how much it mattered when it came out your way, and then let that loose [01:14:20] in the building. When you do that, you [01:14:25] get around that woo woo because it’s pretty hard to argue with you if I know that you if you’ve called [01:14:30] me out, if I realise I already do this in my own life. I can’t really roll [01:14:35] my eyes at you for asking me to do it. And I think it’s a little bit of that battle [01:14:40] of getting people to just take a fresh look [01:14:45] at humanity again. Step away from all the crap I [01:14:50] sometimes I have a hard time with business books because you just I used to have in [01:14:55] the hotels I’d work at, I’d always have what I call a learning library where employees could come. And, [01:15:00] you know, Todd, you have a book that might help us be better at this. I’m like, I do, and here you go. And they’d sign [01:15:05] out. Yeah, but sometimes I’d walk into my office and I’d stare at that just shelf [01:15:10] after shelf after shelf after shelf. And I’m like, and they all say the same [01:15:15] thing. Somewhere in the midst of that book is the message that [01:15:20] you need to connect with people. You need to connect with purpose, [01:15:25] passion.

Prav Solanki: So I’m just going to stop right there. One second. My [01:15:30] daughter is just over there. So I’m going to pass us some keys. And then we’re going to.

Todd Williams: And then do the three steps [01:15:35] of connecting with her. Yeah.

Prav Solanki: So [01:15:50] she’s at the second day of her first job. Oh, really? As an intern? Yeah. [01:15:55] Yeah, yeah. So she’s working? Not far. So I’m driving her in and driving her home every day, [01:16:00] which is, um. Yeah. It’s nice.

Todd Williams: So. Take [01:16:05] a look at that before. Before we even start. Yeah. Look at what you just said. Yeah. [01:16:10] There’s a smile on your face right now as you talk about. That’s [01:16:15] my daughter. It’s her second day of her new job. Her first job? She’s an intern. You got a whole [01:16:20] smile on your face. You said it’s nice. You said I’m driving her in. I’m [01:16:25] bringing her home. She needed my keys. I’m doing a podcast right now, and I stopped [01:16:30] it because my daughter needs me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that is [01:16:35] everything that we’ve been talking about. Yeah, yeah, you don’t turn that off. [01:16:40]

Prav Solanki: And so when you’re training the team. [01:16:45] Mhm. Do you get them to share those [01:16:50] moments of connection and say you’ve got that. Bring [01:16:55] that to work.

Todd Williams: How is that. Is that part of your. [01:17:00] It is. So when we, when we open up a new hospital or a new hotel, [01:17:05] anytime you’re opening up. And it’s really interesting, by the way, just [01:17:10] through the way life works, the places I’ve always worked are open 24 [01:17:15] over seven, 365 days a year. Yeah. And [01:17:20] because of that, I really value the new openings, [01:17:25] because I tell people, you know, I’ll get all the employees in a ballroom and I’m like, look around, because we’re [01:17:30] never going to be able to do this again, ever. Once we open, I’ll have you know, did you go [01:17:35] to the 2:00 meeting or the 4:00 meeting, but never was everybody together. So [01:17:40] when you have that, you you capitalise on that and you ask people to [01:17:45] share and you it’s it’s the questions and one of my favourite things and it’s almost [01:17:50] what you said at the beginning of this too, is when people leave an orientation and say that is not [01:17:55] what I was expecting at all. I, I heard corporate orientation [01:18:00] and I had my mind set. I got [01:18:05] a text just the other day from an employee of Four Seasons. She [01:18:10] just passed her ten year anniversary, and she took the time to send me [01:18:15] a paragraph, a long paragraph about. She remembers [01:18:20] walking into orientation, thinking this was going to be another corporate orientation. She [01:18:25] goes, four days later. I was like, what in the world is [01:18:30] this company? It’s nothing that I’ve expected. And she says, I went through orientation and [01:18:35] I came out and I thought, well, let’s see if this company’s as good as they just said.

Todd Williams: Yeah. And she said, [01:18:40] this is the part that really got me because you got to think back. This is ten years [01:18:45] later. She says, obviously in a hotel, we’re open on holidays. [01:18:50] This was going to be my first Thanksgiving away from my family. [01:18:55] And she goes, I remember on Thanksgiving Day you were walking around the hotel [01:19:00] smiling, chatting with people and thanking them for working that day. And [01:19:05] she goes, ten years later, she’s moved on to two different hotels, and now she has a corporate role. And [01:19:10] she says, the thing I remember that made the biggest difference was that Thanksgiving [01:19:15] Day. I have so many stories of that. I can’t turn [01:19:20] away from that. So when people ask me, how do you get past the soft, the [01:19:25] people who roll their eyes? I have a million examples, but most of the time they have it in [01:19:30] their own life. Yeah, and all you have to do is get them to see it and go, oh, [01:19:35] you know, I see sometimes in a hospital I will ask people, [01:19:40] go, you go over to the emergency room and just peek at the lobby. [01:19:45] You tell me what’s on the mind of some of the people sitting there. [01:19:50] There are people with their head bowed that are doing anything they [01:19:55] can in their will to make good things happen behind those doors. [01:20:00] What is not on their mind in that moment is the latest [01:20:05] strategy that their company’s unveiling tomorrow to improve market [01:20:10] share.

Todd Williams: There’s always a perspective shift, and [01:20:15] the higher you go, the more macro your view, the more it becomes clear [01:20:20] that in the end it really comes down to love. [01:20:25] It comes down to being a good person, comes down to connecting with the human in front of you. Now, when you [01:20:30] grab that macro view and you’re brave enough, and this is the key part where you win people over because [01:20:35] I don’t shy away from it. There’s that old saying from the 60s, 70s, I’m a lover, not a [01:20:40] fighter. And I always say today the saying should be if you’re a lover, you better be a fighter, [01:20:45] because there’s a lot of high rollers out there, right? But if you take that perspective [01:20:50] and you bring it back into the workplace, and you’re brave enough to say in the face [01:20:55] of all the strategies, well, what’s the kind thing to do in this moment? What is [01:21:00] the most understanding thing we could do? What does this person actually looking [01:21:05] for from us right now? Well, there wound to be. That’s. So. [01:21:10] That’s a given. What is this person looking for? Well, [01:21:15] the wound, you can’t get past it. But if you just persist and you’re willing to fight a little bit, [01:21:20] someone will finally say, well, they’re probably looking to feel safe. And they almost say it in an angry [01:21:25] way. I don’t know, they’re looking to be heard. How are you going [01:21:30] to make them feel heard? And once somebody realises it’s it’s okay to bring [01:21:35] the best of themselves into work.

Todd Williams: Changes everything because [01:21:40] you don’t need training anymore. You’ve got it. It’s already inside you. You just have [01:21:45] to understand that missing component was the best part of you that you’ve been leaving in the car [01:21:50] when you walk into the office every day, but you never leave in the car when [01:21:55] you go home. Mhm. Yeah, I hate that phrase work life balance because of [01:22:00] the semantics of the phrase. It’s literally separating work from [01:22:05] life. Stupidest phrase in the world. [01:22:10] None of us do work outside of our life. We’re [01:22:15] living what we need is life balance the best [01:22:20] of us into each situation. Some days will be at work, some days I’ll be off. Some days I’ll be in town, [01:22:25] some days on vacation. Each one of those scenarios requires the best of me. [01:22:30] If you put that on, you won’t see it as woo woo anymore, especially when you start to see [01:22:35] the metrics move. That’s my favourite. I think that’s why I enjoy it so much, because I know [01:22:40] the doubter will become the convert. Going back to Bible school, I remember hearing [01:22:45] this phrase that I think is true when you take it out of religion. Somebody said, the greater [01:22:50] the transformation, the louder the testimony. And I’ve seen [01:22:55] that. So true. So sometimes I enjoy the doubter. That’s my favourite [01:23:00] person in training because I know when the doubter becomes the believer, they don’t [01:23:05] shut up.

Prav Solanki: Here we are on a podcast. Todd.

Todd Williams: And here we are on the podcast.

Prav Solanki: Because [01:23:10] because look, as we said at the beginning, right? I turned up [01:23:15] thinking, this guy’s probably full of shit and I’m [01:23:20] not going to get these two days back. Right? But you captured me. You can’t have [01:23:25] been on stage for more than 60s. Right? And I [01:23:30] was hooked. Yeah. And then I thought, bloody hell, I’m so lucky to be [01:23:35] in this room. Yeah. And then and then and then at the same time, you know, [01:23:40] like after the event, I went and told dev the same story. I said, listen, mate, [01:23:45] I think you need to hear this, because when you invited me, as lovely as the [01:23:50] gesture was, I thought to myself, I’m a busy guy. I got shit to do, mate. Yeah. [01:23:55] And you’ve invited me here for two days. I’ve got a choice. I could I could spend that with my [01:24:00] family. Yeah, I could spend that working on my business. Yeah. Or [01:24:05] I could spend it hanging out with a bunch of people. I don’t really know [01:24:10] that. Well, right. It’s not what I would choose to do, but but but actually, you brought [01:24:15] it all together, right? So. So here we are, the convert who is, um, who’s [01:24:20] now publishing this story. Right. Because I felt feel so strongly about the time we spent together. [01:24:25] Right. Um, and interestingly, so you [01:24:30] go from hospital to [01:24:35] four Seasons or, you know, the best hotel chain in the world to [01:24:40] dentistry. How does that translate [01:24:45] to dentistry?

Todd Williams: Yeah, that’s one of my favourite stories because that’s where I just think serendipity. [01:24:50] You know, if I’ve heard several well-known speakers [01:24:55] say they hate the phrase self-made person, and I do too, because I think [01:25:00] we tend to forget all those strokes of luck that happened along the way. Those [01:25:05] moments we remember, the moments we worked really hard and put in more hours than anybody else. But we forget [01:25:10] that one connection or that. So serendipity definitely came into play [01:25:15] here. But I left four seasons to go back to healthcare, [01:25:20] and I took a corporate role with a health care system in Colorado. And [01:25:25] then that kind of grew into the parent organisation of the [01:25:30] nationwide health care organisation. So I was speaking at conferences, speaking to doctors, [01:25:35] speaking to nurses, speaking about patient experience. Really a lot of the conferences [01:25:40] just became with the physicians and like you said, teaching [01:25:45] what wasn’t taught. And I enjoyed it. So when I was with [01:25:50] the hotel, I was doing hospital work on the side. Now I was with the hospital, still doing some hotel [01:25:55] work on the side, and there was a continuing education group that was coming [01:26:00] to do a conference at one of the four seasons I’d worked at, and [01:26:05] that group was the person doing the site inspection [01:26:10] was talking with the Four Seasons employee and the Four Seasons employee.

Todd Williams: Asking questions [01:26:15] like we do was asking about, so what kind of speakers? Because I understand you’re going to have the [01:26:20] main stage, you’re going to have the sides smaller ballroom, you’re going to have all these different meeting rooms, [01:26:25] all different speakers, same speaker. What tell me what your company does. [01:26:30] And this person said, we have a range of speakers. We have everybody from clinical to practice management [01:26:35] and everybody in between. And just off the cuff, for whatever reason, that [01:26:40] person doing the side inspection said, ah, had you been here last year, [01:26:45] I bet you would have enjoyed our trainer who was based at this hotel. He [01:26:50] would have enjoyed talking to your group. Second stroke of luck is that person said, [01:26:55] can I still get his phone number? So pretty soon there’s a call that goes upstairs, [01:27:00] and then somebody calls me in Colorado and says, the scene is unfolding. And would you would [01:27:05] you want to talk to this person? So I get on the phone with this person and she [01:27:10] tells me what her organisation is doing in this upcoming conference. And she said, what do you know about dentistry? [01:27:15] And I said, I have a dentist. That’s about it. But [01:27:20] I heard what the need was for this continuing education group, and it had [01:27:25] nothing to do.

Todd Williams: This particular conference with dentistry, it was more of these individuals [01:27:30] that helped organise these events and how do they connect with people and how do they reach out to new members? [01:27:35] And that’s my world. So I said, okay, it’s it’s a different overarching environment. [01:27:40] But what you’re asking I understand. Same shit. Yeah. So I came in and I did that [01:27:45] conference and it went really, really, really well. And I was invited to do another. [01:27:50] And I become a little bit of a it’s [01:27:55] a, I think, a side thing of ADHD, but I can hyper focus on something. So if [01:28:00] I get interested in it, I now want to learn everything I can about it. So now that I’m in [01:28:05] this world and I’m now at my third or fourth conference in dentistry. All right, tell me, [01:28:10] who is this room? What are the titles? What are the different types of dentistry? What do you do? What are your challenges in your practice? [01:28:15] I would grab a doctor and, you know, here, have a drink. Let’s talk. [01:28:20] And the more I began to dive into dentistry, the more I realised [01:28:25] it was literally the perfect combination of both of my worlds. In [01:28:30] dentistry, we’re small enough that we [01:28:35] have to be excellent at both.

Todd Williams: We have to be as hospitable as the finest [01:28:40] health, um, hospitality teams. We have to be able to meet our patients [01:28:45] needs, understand our patients, understand their fears, understand the unspoken needs. [01:28:50] But we also have to be as clinically excellent as the finest, finest, finest health care institutions. [01:28:55] We don’t get a break because we’re so small. Every eye is on us. We have to be perfect [01:29:00] at both. And so here I’ve done this job and this job which seems so disconnected. [01:29:05] And suddenly I found dentistry where they came together perfectly. [01:29:10] And the more I learned, and the more I dove in, the more that became true. [01:29:15] Then it became a quarter of my work, then half my work. And I’d say today it’s probably about 75 [01:29:20] to 80% of my work. And sometimes it’s conferences with just doctors, [01:29:25] sometimes it’s the whole team, sometimes it’s, um, focusing just on [01:29:30] patient experience, sometimes it’s on team building, sometimes it’s on practice management of literally [01:29:35] working on workflow. But it never deviates from what I learned through [01:29:40] hospitality and life about connecting. [01:29:45] And my favourite thing is when you say, how do you win over the woo woo person is you [01:29:50] are the the doubter is when they finally see their metrics move. That’s the best, [01:29:55] that’s the best.

Prav Solanki: I’ve got a question that it popped into [01:30:00] my head and I said to myself, don’t forget this Prav. Okay, so it’s disconnected from [01:30:05] from what we’re talking about right now, but if I don’t mention it now, I’ll forget. Um, [01:30:10] and it’s the whole public speaking thing that I wasn’t just blown away by your [01:30:15] stories and the way you connected to me and the audience, but it’s [01:30:20] the fact that certainly I can appreciate because I’m a speaker as well. [01:30:25]

Todd Williams: Mhm.

Prav Solanki: That how great a speaker you are. Right. And [01:30:30] can you remember the first time that you had to speak in front [01:30:35] of a group. And what that felt like was it was it, was it the heart pounding. [01:30:40] Was it, was it the nerves racing or was it the actually do you know what I’ve been growing up [01:30:45] with adults all all my life. I’m used to like hanging out with loads of people [01:30:50] and I can speak confidently in front of people. What was that like and then what was your [01:30:55] journey as a speaker, a performer? [01:31:00] And then I’ll layer this question in as well. How the hell did you engage us [01:31:05] for two days without a single slide, Without a single [01:31:10] slide, no computer, no laptop. And we were given an agenda that day, and we were [01:31:15] told at 245, Todd’s going to stop [01:31:20] and we’re going to have a break. And at this time he’s going to stop. And and you ran like clockwork [01:31:25] as well, right? Yeah. How the hell did all that? Let’s go back to the first [01:31:30] question, which is the heart pounding public speaker thing, because I remember my first day and [01:31:35] first moment and it gets easier. And you go from fearing to enjoying [01:31:40] and all the rest of it, but take me through. I’d love to hear your story on that.

Todd Williams: That [01:31:45] it’s it’s funny because I teach public speaking today, I [01:31:50] hated it. I if you asked me to list my top three fears, that would have certainly [01:31:55] been on the list, if not number one. Yeah, and I remember, you [01:32:00] know, I told you those youth ministers had an impact in my life. So I began to get to know some of them. And they’re like, you know, well, [01:32:05] hey, what about if this this week at church, you know, one of the churches I went to was [01:32:10] pretty good size. They’re like, what if you, you know, at this one point, read a Bible verse to the [01:32:15] congregation and then lead them in a prayer, oh my word. I knew that was going [01:32:20] to be good for me. And I said yes, but I can remember sitting in the pew, [01:32:25] just heart pounding sweat. Now it was time I [01:32:30] walked down. I get up in front of everybody. I look up most terrifying thing ever. [01:32:35] I would tell people, you know, I would always get the feedback. Later. I would say, okay, open your Bibles to [01:32:40] page 476. And then I would start reading. So nobody even had their Bible out of the pew yet. [01:32:45] And I would read it and I would pray and I would bolt. And [01:32:50] I was just glad it was over. Like that was the worst. So [01:32:55] hated it then. Then I got into when I was [01:33:00] in one of my first leadership roles at four seasons, I was asked to do, we have this leadership program [01:33:05] where we’re paired up with other leaders from different areas of [01:33:10] the hotel, and you do a five person presentation.

Todd Williams: And I remember one [01:33:15] of the gentlemen on my team. It’s funny how gardeners come into my life a couple of times, but he was [01:33:20] head of the landscaping department. English was the second language. This guy likes plants. [01:33:25] He likes trees. He’s not a people guy. He’s a people guy as far as being friendly. [01:33:30] But you want him to be comfortable. Go put him in a bunch of plants. You want him to be uncomfortable, go put him in [01:33:35] front of people. So he has to present and each of us have to do about two [01:33:40] minutes. Okay, I’m. I don’t want to do my two minutes. I don’t like [01:33:45] this, but I’m going to get through it because I know it’s part of my leadership path. [01:33:50] Sure. So I get up there and I do my two minutes. It’s over. Thank goodness. Next person goes up and now [01:33:55] it’s his turn and he walks up and I can just see, uh oh, [01:34:00] he’s he’s going to tank. He’s he’s the colour is gone. [01:34:05] He’s losing his confidence. And he got up there and he said about two words [01:34:10] and he just froze and I couldn’t watch. [01:34:15] I forgot about the room because I’d been working with this team of five for weeks now, [01:34:20] and my heart was going out to him because I knew how much he hated this moment. So I kind of jumped out [01:34:25] of my chair off the side, and I came back up, and I can’t even remember his name now.

Todd Williams: But I [01:34:30] basically said, so, like you and I were talking about, what is it you love about your team? [01:34:35] And he kind of looked at me and he answered robotically to me because he wasn’t looking at the room. And I [01:34:40] said, and that’s a point you wanted to make sure you made today. And I basically kind [01:34:45] of turned it into an interview so he could get through this part. And I made it look to [01:34:50] my best of my ability, like, we’d planned to do this together. And I’m [01:34:55] sure he went off wondering if he was going to quit forever. I sat down and thought, [01:35:00] man, twice of what I hate today and I’ll never forget this. [01:35:05] This person came up to me afterwards and says, wow, I can tell you love [01:35:10] speaking. And I remember you talk about a fake it till you make it moment. I said, [01:35:15] oh yeah, sure do. And inside I’m like, I [01:35:20] there’s nothing I hate more. But as I reflected over a couple of days, I’m like, [01:35:25] isn’t that interesting? That’s something we can think we’re terrible at. Yeah. [01:35:30] And assume we’re terrible at the audience is like, boy, you really enjoy this. [01:35:35] So I thought, what did they pick up on? And I started thinking about it, and I think it was [01:35:40] as soon as I realised he was in trouble, I wasn’t playing to the audience anymore. I didn’t care [01:35:45] about the audience. I was worried about him. Not literally, you [01:35:50] know, laying down on the floor. I try to keep that [01:35:55] in my mind when I got into speaking.

Todd Williams: It’s not about this audience. I [01:36:00] want these people to see a better version of their life. So [01:36:05] I’m not talking to you. I’m with you. And I think [01:36:10] seeing myself as a speaker, I tell people it’s really just a conversation from the stage. [01:36:15] It’s not a presentation. The word is terrible. We’re [01:36:20] presenting for sure, but it’s really you’re paying attention to the facial expressions. [01:36:25] You’re paying attention to the body language. You’re paying attention to whether or not phones have come out [01:36:30] and you’re paying attention to this table really resonated with [01:36:35] the humour. But this table really resonated with the statistics. So [01:36:40] I’m going to have to have a mix of both. This table likes it when I talk about team. This [01:36:45] team tunes out when I talk about team. And you spend your [01:36:50] first hour sort of figuring out who’s in front of you, which is what we do in life. [01:36:55] And if you really think about it, this is why I love the question. And I got excited when you ask it, what [01:37:00] you see me teach you to do is literally what you [01:37:05] see me doing from stage. You’re my guests in that moment, [01:37:10] or you’re my patients in that moment. I’m trying to learn. What do you need? [01:37:15] Just like a patient comes in and really wants to get out of that chair as soon as possible, [01:37:20] and hopefully without spending too much money, your hope is to get out of that [01:37:25] chair as soon as possible, because you don’t really want to spend two days, but you [01:37:30] have to.

Todd Williams: Mhm. I pick up on that in different ways. [01:37:35] And so I’ve learned what kind of opening puts you at ease. What kind of things do you expect [01:37:40] to hear versus what you actually heard. Mhm. What hook would [01:37:45] you think of it this way. I used to say from a church perspective, if you [01:37:50] think of church there’s sort of three sections to the congregation. The first section [01:37:55] comes every week. They’re bought in. You could sneeze and they say Amen. [01:38:00] The middle section is where most of life is. Those are the people that [01:38:05] some are listening, some aren’t. Some are engaged, some aren’t. That’s the world. [01:38:10] The back section are usually the people who came in late, [01:38:15] sat down, have their arms crossed. They’re sceptical. [01:38:20] They’ve been to church before and they’ve been made to feel wrong. [01:38:25] They’ve been to church before and they’ve been told that they’re what’s wrong with society. They’ve been [01:38:30] accused. They haven’t been accepted to them. Church says it’s about love and seems to be [01:38:35] about hatred. If I write my message for the front row, I win them [01:38:40] over. But I already had them. If I write my message for the middle, I get some, [01:38:45] I lose some. But if I write my message for the sceptic, I [01:38:50] get all three rows. Yeah. And I think that to me is [01:38:55] why I don’t have slides. Because slides can actually counter that. If I come [01:39:00] in and I realise a room is very, very sceptical and my first slide says, look [01:39:05] at how happy you all are, I’m screwed by my own presentation.

Prav Solanki: Did [01:39:10] you ever have slides, Todd?

Todd Williams: In the beginning, yeah. With. Because much [01:39:15] like a lot of the presentations, I’m sure you do. You’re presenting information. Yeah, [01:39:20] that is very clinical in nature. So if I’m with four seasons, I started [01:39:25] off with, you know, here’s our 17 new hotels that are on the way. Here’s the [01:39:30] leadership team. And then I would because I’m already using slides, I [01:39:35] would have 12 more slides about these behaviours. And [01:39:40] I realised that’s when I lost the audience. You know, we I remember we had a slide that says we [01:39:45] are kind of like out of the room. Or my [01:39:50] friend told me this one time, he said later there was a he [01:39:55] goes, we had a theme called boo And he goes, it had 52 [01:40:00] slides. And he goes, that’s just the comedy of how can I say boo? [01:40:05] And then have 52 slides of instructions on how to be you. [01:40:10]

Prav Solanki: Yeah. Nice. Yeah.

Todd Williams: Be be be. You should have no slides whatsoever. Yeah, [01:40:15] yeah. But but what I realised is the information that you need to present is in the room. [01:40:20] So the more engaging and so what I’m watching for are those little [01:40:25] nods. What I’m watching for is, you know, [01:40:30] like I can say at the beginning of a session, and it’s interesting when dev and I had the [01:40:35] first talks about this, by the way, he would say sort of the same thing, but how are you going to keep them engaged [01:40:40] for this long? And, you know, I had to sort of say the same thing to him, where it’s even harder because [01:40:45] he’s the one, you know, deciding yes or no in this conference.

Prav Solanki: And he’s coughing [01:40:50] up. Right. He’s. Yeah. Making the investment. And I’m basically.

Todd Williams: Saying trust me.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, [01:40:55] yeah.

Todd Williams: And so, you [01:41:00] know, there’s just a certain point where I’m like, you just at this point I can connect you with proof. I [01:41:05] can give you testimonies. But what would it serve me? Yeah. [01:41:10] To to come over and do a terrible thing. Obviously. But [01:41:15] what I’ll listen for so I can come into a room. And if I see that look, I’m like, [01:41:20] none of these people think this is going to be worth their time, and my eyes are going everywhere. So I might [01:41:25] say right off the beginning, how many of you have been to a really, really shitty orientation? Some [01:41:30] look around, some are just like, this is my moment and their hand goes higher than ever. Yeah. And [01:41:35] I say, me too. How many of you’ve been to orientations that are literally a waste of your [01:41:40] day? More hands go up. I’m like, me too. And then I’ll ask, what do you hate about those things? Me [01:41:45] too. So knowing that I hate that there’s no way I can present [01:41:50] that. So now they’re already like, well, all right, I didn’t see that opening coming. Yeah. [01:41:55] And again, that’s what I’m telling from the beginning. It’s connecting. Yeah, [01:42:00] but if I just get up there and say, you know. Hi. I’ve been brought in to give you two [01:42:05] days of information. You’re done. You’re you’re phone’s out and you’re out 15 [01:42:10] minutes later.

Prav Solanki: For sure. For sure.

Todd Williams: And the reason I don’t use slides, by the way, [01:42:15] is because we can get into the technical side of teaching. But if there’s something that’ll [01:42:20] set off an inner beacon of of irritation, it’s to read [01:42:25] to somebody.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Todd Williams: It freaking send me home with that. But don’t make [01:42:30] me sit in a room and look at a slide while you stand there and read what I can read. That feels like I’m [01:42:35] five. Yeah, yeah.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. I mean, the [01:42:40] one thing I’ll do is, um, I’ll have one word on the slide and a picture [01:42:45] and, um, if that. Perfect and it’s there as a it’s [01:42:50] there as an aide memoire. Oh, shit. I need to speak about this now. Let me tell you. Do you know what I mean? [01:42:55] Yeah. Death by PowerPoint or reading from the slide. It’s, um. Yeah, I started off [01:43:00] like that. Right. And, um, it gives you that sense of comfort. Yeah. You’ve got [01:43:05] structure. You’ve got these people watching you all eyes on you when you’re presenting for the first [01:43:10] time. You need something to as a crutch, right? Right, right. And and those [01:43:15] words really helped. And then you realise you can just let go of those right and be you, right [01:43:20] you.

Todd Williams: But here’s the good news too, that I think is in between the two things you [01:43:25] just said. You start out needing a crutch, then you say boo! But the good news is the audience [01:43:30] is your crutch. They’re your notes. So let’s say [01:43:35] in my mind, I know I need [01:43:40] to open and tell them that we’ve all been to bad orientations, but I forget to write [01:43:45] that down. Yeah, I’m off to the side. I’m thinking to myself, I’m so excited to speak [01:43:50] to this group. This is great, I can’t wait. Look at this. The Fairmont is beautiful. This is going to be fun. I get up [01:43:55] on stage and I look out at a bunch of people like this and I’m like, oh, that’s right, I need to talk [01:44:00] about bad orientations. Yeah. So you’re not actually letting go of your notes. [01:44:05] You’re just replacing paper with humans.

Prav Solanki: With people. Yeah, yeah.

Todd Williams: And they will tell [01:44:10] you what to say next. Yeah. And you can see it. And [01:44:15] then the minute someone you know, and I could say, how many of you have been to an orientation that surprised [01:44:20] you? And I see one person. I saw your face go. What surprised you at that orientation? Now, that [01:44:25] person says the message was different than I expected. It’s exactly. [01:44:30] You have a preconceived notion. But it was something different. I’m glad you said that, because today, I promise you, [01:44:35] it’s going to be different than you expected. Now, the room’s kind of on board. It’s starting to feel like a community. [01:44:40] Those are just things I learned along the way. The hard way. The hard way?

Prav Solanki: Yeah. [01:44:45] That’s amazing.

Todd Williams: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I went to I joke sometimes, I went to a conference one time [01:44:50] and I was on stage just doing the mic check, and I looked down and I, I [01:44:55] saw a slide that was completely different for this other speaker. Here’s [01:45:00] the slide that they were presenting from mirrored behind them. But this slide was like notes and [01:45:05] even had drawings on it. And so I got off the stage and I said, what was that slide off to the [01:45:10] side? And they said, oh, that’s a confidence slide. I said, what is a confidence slide? They said some [01:45:15] when when the AV set up is right, we can have two things. One, you [01:45:20] can see what the audience is seeing, but one, you can see what you need to see to stay on track. And I’m like, oh [01:45:25] my gosh. They said, you don’t know what a confidence light is. I said, no, can I have one? So I went and made one really [01:45:30] quick and they gave it to me. Oh, worst thing I’ve ever done in my life because [01:45:35] I it it threw me off. Because now I felt like it given myself a script. [01:45:40] And so I looked at the room and I said hello. And then I looked down and oh, shit, that wasn’t what I was supposed [01:45:45] to say. Yeah. And so my own notes threw me [01:45:50] off.

Prav Solanki: So yeah, yeah, yeah.

Todd Williams: Trust your, trust your gut. And you know where this comes into play. You go out to [01:45:55] dinner with friends, you never prep, know you meet [01:46:00] people at a party. You never prep know you trust your ability to [01:46:05] understand that person and have a dialogue. So same thing you’re doing from stage. [01:46:10]

Prav Solanki: Yeah. For sure. It’s hard. Um, it’s [01:46:15] getting to that point where I asked my final questions in this podcast. So I’ve [01:46:20] got a series of what I would call they’ve actually become in [01:46:25] this podcast they call Prav final questions. So, um, I’ll hit [01:46:30] you with them. And one of them is, um, imagine, imagine, [01:46:35] Todd, you’ve come to the end of the book and it’s your last day [01:46:40] on the planet and you’re surrounded by your loved ones, and you [01:46:45] need to leave them with three pieces of wisdom. What [01:46:50] would they be and why?

Todd Williams: Funny you [01:46:55] saying that makes me think of. I’ll give you [01:47:00] three and a half. I think the first one [01:47:05] is this one comes to mind because I tell it to my kids all the [01:47:10] time. My two boys. But I say. And [01:47:15] I’ve changed it a little bit over the years. The original quote that I heard was learn a little [01:47:20] bit about everything so you can talk to anyone about anything. I [01:47:25] would now replace the word talk with connect. Okay. Learn a little bit about [01:47:30] everything so you can talk connect with anyone about anything. And I think [01:47:35] when you just learn, constantly study, [01:47:40] learn, grab the magazine that’s sitting next to you. Yeah. Overhear the conversation. I [01:47:45] promise you the amount of times I’ve been able to connect with an audience because [01:47:50] somebody says, well, I do this, and I actually know something about that. [01:47:55] Yeah. So the second one, I [01:48:00] would say I saw crystallised, if you will, in an Instagram [01:48:05] post one time that just seemed to sum up everything I was talking about earlier, but it just said [01:48:10] master the art of observation. And if I literally [01:48:15] look back at my life, it’s been observing and I think [01:48:20] a formal education is phenomenal for those clinical skills that we need. [01:48:25] But the people skills. Life is an incredible school, and if you [01:48:30] learn to observe and watch and test, that’s the key thing. Test it over and over and over. [01:48:35] Does this remain true in this situation? In this situation, it didn’t ring true in this situation. [01:48:40]

Todd Williams: What was different in this situation than these two? You will find patterns that [01:48:45] are worth investing. So master the art of observation. And [01:48:50] there’s another one that I think I came across in the last year. But again, [01:48:55] looking back and that’s kind of what I do, I apply quotes and think, did this ring true in my life? But [01:49:00] whatever you do when it comes to betterment, [01:49:05] do it for you. I think we live in a world where you become better at this [01:49:10] because it’s good for your career You become better at this because it’s good for your promotion. It’s good [01:49:15] for your learn to be better for you. Don’t. [01:49:20] That will have an impact on your career. That will have an impact on [01:49:25] your relationships. But I think we can sniff that out real quick. You [01:49:30] picture your most basic relationship. I can tell when what you’re doing is meant to put me [01:49:35] at ease. What would really put me at ease is you just being you. So grow. [01:49:40] Learn for you. You what [01:49:45] you made me think of that kind of ties into that. When I said three and a half. Yeah. Is. I heard a quote once [01:49:50] that somebody said something to the effect of treat everybody you meet for one day, treat everybody [01:49:55] you meet like, you know, it’s their last day on Earth. [01:50:00] Don’t do it for any reward. Don’t try to wow that person over. But [01:50:05] you have knowledge. They don’t. Treat the interaction with respect. [01:50:10] Boy, that’ll change your life.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, I bet. How [01:50:15] would you like to be remembered?

Todd Williams: Todd [01:50:20] was is a good person.

Prav Solanki: Beautiful. [01:50:25]

Todd Williams: There’s actually a I have a sweatshirt [01:50:30] that says be a good person on it. And I think sometimes we just [01:50:35] we overthink everything. Just a good human. Yeah. [01:50:40] It’s amazing what can happen. Just be a good person. Yeah. [01:50:45]

Prav Solanki: It’s hard. I just want to say thank you for sharing the last couple of hours. [01:50:50] Uh, welcome. Obviously, I was fortunate enough to have a couple of days with [01:50:55] you in that room, and I feel like we’ve just captured a snippet, [01:51:00] a tiny snippet of what we, um, [01:51:05] covered on those two days. And even at the end of [01:51:10] that, it was like, there’s more, right? There’s more. And we’ve connected [01:51:15] since. Right. And, um, so if people want to find out about you told [01:51:20] connect with you what’s what’s the best way for someone to connect? Obviously I’ll put [01:51:25] whatever links in the, in the show notes for the, for the podcast. But what’s the quickest and [01:51:30] easiest way for someone who wants to engage with you to reach out to you? [01:51:35] Talk.

Todd Williams: Yeah. If you want to reach out to me directly. And this is kind of funny too, because [01:51:40] it can almost end up one more little tidbit of something I learned along the way. But [01:51:45] I’ve probably purchased four domain names over the years, [01:51:50] got websites up and running, and then closed them because that’s what [01:51:55] everybody does.

Prav Solanki: Sure.

Todd Williams: Um, back in the day, I’m old enough to remember [01:52:00] when the internet was new and I was trying to create [01:52:05] an email name. Didn’t even know what email was yet. And I was, you [01:52:10] know, creating an email name followed by at AOL, whatever it was. [01:52:15]

Prav Solanki: I remember that.

Todd Williams: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah. So I typed in Todd Williams and it said [01:52:20] taken. I was I remember thinking to myself, well, who the hell has my name? So [01:52:25] I began trying, you know, Todd Williams, you know, and October taken, [01:52:30] you know, an hour later, you’re breadsticks and Ferris wheels and it’s taken. [01:52:35] And I’m like, okay, something’s broken here. And I looked over and I had a pair of sunglasses [01:52:40] sitting on the table that were made by Maui. Jim and I was living on Maui [01:52:45] at the time, so I tried Maui Todd and it was available, and I took it just [01:52:50] to get this silly email set up. And now, whatever [01:52:55] it is, 30 years later, 27 years later, I’m still Maui Todd at gmail. [01:53:00] That’s my personal email. It’s the easiest way to get Ahold of me. Why? [01:53:05] I’ve never changed it. This is one of those things that really sums [01:53:10] up everything we’ve talked about. There’s the advice that you get from professionals [01:53:15] versus what you see in life. I’ve [01:53:20] been told a million times go with one of the domain names, but [01:53:25] if you knew how many people over the years have said, hey, I heard you five years ago [01:53:30] as an attendee at a conference today, I’m a leader of my company, [01:53:35] and I thought about you, and I remember you told this story about your email, [01:53:40] and that story helped me remember your email. Could you come speak? [01:53:45] So if I have advice that says I shouldn’t [01:53:50] be Maui taught at gmail, and I have 100 clients because I’m Maui taught at Gmail, [01:53:55] I’m sticking with Maui taught at Gmail.

Prav Solanki: Awesome. [01:54:00] Todd. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Todd Williams: You’re welcome. Thank you, I appreciate you. [01:54:05]

[VOICE]: This is Dental Leaders, the [01:54:10] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:54:15] Your hosts Payman Langroudi [01:54:20] and Prav Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got [01:54:25] this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay [01:54:30] for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guests has had to say, because [01:54:35] I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing, [01:54:40] and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value [01:54:45] out of it too. Thank you so so so much for listening. Thanks.

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star rating.

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