Joe Campbell once said that we hear this call to adventure. Many of us ignore it, but some of us answer the call. That’s exactly what Tom Dutta did. He answered the call and went through an eight to ten-year journey going through lot of things in his career and in personal life, and came back transformed. He is now a senior business leader, speaker, and international number one bestselling author with more than 30 years of experience helping build and grow companies in Canada and the USA. Tom shares the catalyst behind writing his book, The Way Of The Quiet Warrior. Explaining in detail each of the four different personalities, he tackles how each salesperson can discover greatness and shares his insight on how you can develop your strength and eliminate things that destroy your relationship with people.
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The Way Of The Quiet Warrior with Tom Dutta
Our guest is Tom Dutta, who is the Founder and CEO of his own company. He’s a senior business leader, speaker, and the international number one best-selling author of a book called The Way of the Quiet Warrior. He brings all kinds of leadership experience from financial services and not-for-profit and health sectors and his career includes senior roles in many of Canada’s prestigious companies. He has also been the host of his own Quiet Warrior internet radio show. He received the William Shatner Moving America Forward Awards for his TV show and the 2018 Courage to Come Back Certificate of Nomination for his incredible story. His purpose is, “To Unleash the Greatness in Others.” Tom, welcome to the show.
John, it’s a pleasure to be here.
I always like to ask my guests to take us back to their own story of origin. You can go back to childhood, high school, college or whatever was your big a-ha moments of I want to become a quiet warrior. What was the catalyst for that?
I’ve written about this in my book, The Way of the Quiet Warrior. It was an eight to ten-year journey behind that to figure out my story. Let me take you back. Let me, first of all, say that when I was asked in the past to talk about myself, I would say, “I’m a corporate executive. I build and grow companies. You can call me a hired gun. I’ve worked in five sectors across both sides of the border.” I talk like that. We finally did some self-development and started realizing I had a BS story that I was telling. Now I say this. Let me take you back. I was born and raised on a military base and in the United Kingdom. My father was a commanding officer in the military and then we immigrated to Canada. My parents are both from the Fiji Islands. My grandparents are from India. I didn’t have a childhood life maybe you or many others did. My home was full of violence. My father was a sloppy drunk. He became a violent man and a command and control style person.Get a check-up from the neck up. Click To Tweet
He never hid many adulterous affairs in the home. The things I saw and learned when I was a kid, I don’t talk about much because most people couldn’t handle it. The good news is right above my teen years, I decided to leave when the home fell apart and my parents divorced. I lost touch with the family. I went out to Corporate America and there I was. I had mentors at the time and said, “Tom, you should be in business.” I did. I climbed the corporate ladder. I was a manager at the age of 21, a CEO by 31 and I did many things. I took the rules that I learned in my childhood and started applying that into the leadership of other people and into my sales work. I started falling into what I called the leadership graveyard. I had difficulty relating and communicating with people, destroying relationships, sometimes maybe losing the odd job.
It was that moment there were three major things that happened in my life in 2007. One was the loss of my wife’s mom, which is a bigger story. Two was we were victims of a Ponzi scheme. We woke up one day, my wife, Anna and I, we lost everything, our home and all the assets we had worked hard for many years. The third thing was the loss of my job. I was a CEO in a corporate company that was international and they reorganized. I knew it was recombining and my job was eliminated. We woke up in July in 2007 with this desperation and I had so much anxiety and pain inside. As Joe Campbell says, “You’ve got to feel that pain, get angry and decide it’s time to do something different.” In 2007, I went on a journey. I didn’t know where I was going and where I was headed. What do I do with this story and the backstory? That’s what led to creating my company and the book and all the things.
Most people see someone successful and they don’t realize the challenges they had at a young age to supersede that. What was the catalyst for wanting to write the book? Firsthand, writing a book is a big endeavor and it requires a lot of commitment and focus. What made you want to write The Way of the Quiet Warrior?
This might sound odd as an author and a fellow author, but I never read books. When I grew up as a kid, my eyes would bounce on a page. I couldn’t get past it. Now I’m an audiobook listener. I wanted to write a book, but what got in the way was fear. I didn’t know how to do it. I had heard horror stories. When all those things happened in my life, I went on this ten-year journey as a seeker. As Joe Campbell says, “We hear this call to adventure. Many of us ignore it. Some of us answer the call.” I answered it. I probably should have answered that call to go seeking when I was a kid but I didn’t. Through that, I did many crazy things in my career and my personal life, including learning. I came back transformed as somebody different. I was the hired gun, “Tommy Gun,” they used to call me and I came back as a quiet warrior. I’ll tell you how the book came together and try to tell this succinctly.
I went to Holland, Michigan. I got on an airplane. I was flat broke. This was in 2012. I traveled to see a fellow named John. He said, “I’m going to spend the day with you.” He put me in a room with a whiteboard and he took every ounce of wisdom out of my head. Before that session, which was to figure out what my business model might look like, we had dinner. He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m a leader, a trainer and I’ve built companies.” He said, “What do you really do?” I said, “My mom used to say that people want to be around me. They tell me things. They want to talk to me. I quietly go on my way as a warrior and I help people. I help them see the limitations and greatness in themselves through my experiences.” He snapped his finger. He says, “I don’t know if that’s the title of your first book, but Quiet Warrior might be something.” I left that session going, “What do I do next?”
One of the things you talked about in The Way of the Quiet Warrior is that vulnerability is an undervalued virtue. Can you talk about that?
In my world, I teach some science around personalities. I know what you might be from listening to you, but there are two out of four personalities that don’t usually show vulnerability. Vulnerability isn’t throwing up or getting Kleenex and crying. Vulnerability is a strength. In the high-powered world of business, what I’ve learned through working with others and being a top leader and also being a salesperson, is that some people are wired not to show vulnerability. In other words, there’s no emotion in what they do. I listened to your talk and had you help me understand that the path to getting people to trust and follow you and maybe do something different comes through the heart, comes through emotion.
The last thing I’ll say on that is I’m a big fan of a thought leader named Brené Brown. She did a TED Talk on vulnerability and shame and this is where I learned this. She said, “When you tell your story, you need to tell it to the tribe of people that are worthy of hearing it.” Not everybody is and when you tell them, you get to write the next chapter your way. Being vulnerable can be as simple as posting a picture on Facebook hugging your dogs. Where standing up as a CEO, talking about your vision and talking about when you started the company, your partner stole money from you and you almost went bankrupt. You have to overcome this bout of depression and infuse what you’re doing with your passion for being able to come back and create what you’ve got.Vulnerability is an underrated virtue. Click To Tweet
You alluded there are four different kinds of personalities. Can you tell us what those four are? I think people would find that interesting.
Let me ask you a question to help me out. I ask this in my workshops. What are the three things you can think of that you need to have great relationships with other people? Can you come up with one?
The first one is trust.
This is what I want you to know and I tell people, “I don’t want you to believe what I’m saying. I want to stretch you out of your comfort zone.” I teach and I believe that there are three things you need. Number one is to have an intact personality. In other words, understand your strengths and limitations. In that first one, comes trust. Number two is passion. Find out what your passion is. There’s a great TED Talk done on passion that I watched and it says that most people when they discovered their passion, which comes from the early roots in your life when you’re a child usually, they don’t follow it because sometimes it doesn’t pay the bill. The third one is character. Character is big and I believe that salespeople will be rated more on your character versus your skills.
There are four types of personalities in understanding who you are. I’m going to add colors to these because that’s the way I teach it. The first type is 25% of the world is what we call red people. The second type is 37% are blue, 25% are white and 25% are yellow. Let me build this out a bit. I’m not going to talk about behavior because most of the personality science in the world teach the behavior. If you have an iceberg, you look above the water 20%, that’s what most psychologists teach us is what are you based on your behavior. I found a model based on Dr. Taylor Hartman, and he’s a friend of mine that talks about what’s below the waterline or the why behind the behavior. Wouldn’t it be powerful as a salesperson to understand why your prospect is doing what they’re doing or as a salesperson to understand maybe why you’re doing what you’re doing in your pitch?
The last thing I’ll say on this piece about the four personality types is I’ll tell you the motive. The red personality has a motive of power. They wake up to get from A to B and that’s what drives them. They’re visionary and natural leaders. The blue personality, the 37%, the motive is intimacy. Why I live is to create trusting relationships with other people. My top two natural talents might be quality and service, but here’s the thing. When I communicate, I’m verbose because I infuse my language with emotions. When I write my wife a text message, I can’t fit it on one screen but when she replies to me, it’s usually like, “Okay,” because she’s a red. The third one is white, the motive is peace. The white would be my daughter in this case. It would be lawyers and accountants and maybe doctors or engineers. The motive of peace is nothing fancy. It’s like, “Can we all get along?” If you close your eyes and you visualize puffy white clouds.
I visualize a white dove. That’s easy to remember for peace.
The two top gifts that I know about whites are their clarity and voice of reason. The last one is what I’ll call the yellow people and their motive is fun. The easiest way to explain that is yellows live in the moment. Asking a yellow, “What are you going to do tomorrow?” is painful.You got to feel that pain, get angry, and decide that it's time to do something different. Click To Tweet
What percentage of people is yellow?
It’s about 25%. Their natural talents, the top two are optimism and enthusiasm. I’m going to make a bold statement here to finish on these four types and I can delve into more as we go along. What if I was to say to you that when you’re making a pitch, whether it’s face-to-face or a small group of whatever you’re presenting as a salesperson, those chances are you’re addressing only 25% of the room? Mainly when we’re born, we only speak what I call one language. We have our own motive. Personality, I’m blue, I think you might be red or blue. That’s what we come into the world with. It never changes, but my mom and dad taught us. I have two brothers, an older brother and younger. They talked to us all the same way and we learned as kids to talk to everybody the same way. I believe sales training doesn’t always address the differences. We go out and we sell to people as if they’re all the same color.
It’s almost for me the visual of all that is you need to talk to all the colors of the rainbow in a way. When you described it that way, if you’re a red and you’re talking to red all day long, you’re missing 75% of the rest of the population. If I heard you correctly, the four colors are evenly distributed across the population. Is that correct? Did you say there are more blues than others?
I’ll give you the numbers again. Red 25%, blue 37% and then white and yellow are usually split. The thing I wanted to say is when I do my training workshops to an executive team, which is a CEO and their VPs. In all the experience I’ve done with hundreds of workshops, if you have ten of these people in a room, you’ll usually find a sea of reds in a leadership team at that level. You’ll find some blue. It’s rare to find a yellow, but you might find the odd one. You have a couple of whites in there, but that’s the distribution. I’ve gone in and talked to sales teams that are completely structured wrong because they’ve got the wrong personalities in the sales roles.
If you find yourself being a blue personality, you’re in verbal and you like connection and intimacy, and you have to call on someone who’s red, what are your tips?
I’ll give you the quick dos and don’ts of reds. In developing a positive connection with red, let’s say you’re Mr. Red. What I want to do is I want to be prepared with facts and figures. I want to present the material in a logical fashion. I want to be direct, brief and specific in the conversation. What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to expect you to be emotional and vulnerable. I also don’t want to be slow and indecisive. Here’s the thing and I’d make this statement boldly that I believe 50% on the sales are left on the table with reds because we don’t get that fact that they’re ready to make a decision in a day. You don’t go in with a PowerPoint that’s twenty slides with all the detail. They’re bottom-line driven. They are selfish people, “What’s in it for me? How’s this going to make my company better? Is there a better one out there?” If you say to a red, “Were you prepared to make a decision?” They are.
I remember coaching salespeople and I said, “It’s about taking people on a journey,” and in this particular case, they were showing all the different bells and whistles of something. The client said, “I’ll do it.” He said, “I have two other features to show you.” I’m like, “When they say yes, stop talking.”
I always like to say that if you try to be too emotional with a red, it’s like sticking an ice pick in your eye. When I went back to becoming a character, you mentioned that I believe all salespeople are going to be successful more on their character than skills. To become a character, there are two things I believe that I teach that you need to do. Number one is to develop a strength that’s not innate in your personality. In other words, if you are blue, I’m a blue and I’m not always able to be assertive. In order to be assertive, which maybe means going for the close in a deal, I become character. People notice I should sing from the treetops and celebrate because becoming character is extremely hard.Have an intact personality. Understand your strengths and limitations. Click To Tweet
The second part though is eliminating. I’m not talking about just eliminate, I’m talking about, “Knock it off.” The things that are showing up in the second part of your personality, eliminate things that are destroying relationships with people. For example, going back to reds. One of the limitations of a red personality might be arrogance and insensitivity. If I’m in a sales presentation and that ugly limitation comes out, I’m breaking rapport right away and I’m destroying a relationship. I may never get to the top of Everest. I might sit at a base camp wishing I could get to the top. We need to understand our strengths and limitations. That’s what I mean by an intact personality. We need to develop character at salespeople or as people who are pitching others. That’s where I believe most of the salespeople fail because they don’t understand themselves or how to communicate with the other colors.
One of the things you talk about in your book is 90 days to get a better life. What does that look like?
Here’s the interesting thing. If you can take ten years of a journey like I went on and turn it into 90 days and get to that same place, wouldn’t it be cool? What I did is I developed The Way of The Quiet Warrior. I own the IP and it’s a six-phase process that is the journey I went on to go from wondering why I’m not happy? Why am I not overly successful anymore to that life I desire? I’ll tell you the quick phases. They’re on my website, they’re in the book. Phase one is called the self. I start where nobody else generally wants to start, which is understanding your strengths and limitations. Going inside and looking at your subconscious mind, looking at what’s inside you and how you’re wired.
Once you’ve discovered the self, strengths, limitations, natural talents and all of that, then phase two is the vision. There are lots of thought leaders and teachers, but developing a vision of what the future looks like, what you want to get to and infusing that with passion and with a desire of something you want. Most people don’t know what that is because they haven’t done the self-work. I call phase three, the path. That’s a combination of three things: body, mind, and soul. It needs some work on getting the body physically into shape and understanding to get a checkup from the neck up. I’ve been an advocate of mental health for decades and I can tell you that every salesperson at a higher level, every senior leader will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. It happens.
Let’s double click on that because we’ve seen suicide and depression. All those things are what people think of when they say mental health issues, but there are other kinds of mental health issues as well. It’s not quite that extreme.
Basically, our brains are an organ of the body. I’m going to tell you that I went in and got myself assessed to look at how unhealthy my brain was working. There’s so much to the brain. There’s the conscious mind, which you know about, which is our current reality or five senses. There’s the subconscious hard drive which stores everything that we take in through all our senses. It’s got billions of bits of data and for a salesperson, you might be in interaction with somebody talking to them or pitching and they appear to be your abusive father. The brain says that thing looks like my dad who used to hit me and beat me. Even understanding in psychology what’s wired into our hard drive, that’s all part of mental health. We also talk about the ability to understand that you can’t create success with a negative thought. Understanding how to control our thoughts and stay focused on the part of the brain that’s positive, that’s part of a mental health picture. The biggest thing is that people think that you have suicide and depression. There are all sorts of parts of mental health.
I’ve spent several years as a volunteer, chair of a board for a mental health organization. I’ve learned that there are many things within that umbrella, personalities, and disorders, in the colors that I teach. We come across sometimes people who are what I call unhealthy personalities. If you’re in a relationship with somebody and you’re always living in the limitations of your personality, then we call you unhealthy or I call you a sick personality. That’s part of mental health. I couldn’t figure all that out.
Anxiety is one of the ones I struggle with. I’ve had generalized anxiety since I was a kid. The thing I want you to know is that everybody has some connection to mental health. I should call it mental wellness. Mental wellness is a nicer way to put it, but you have a responsibility and everybody reading this to understand that why don’t we go to a doctor and get blood tests to look at our lipids or our blood levels, blood pressure. Why don’t we go in and get a checkup from the neck up to look at the health of our brain and how we’re functioning?
Tom, the time goes fast with someone like you who’s got many colors to share with us and textures. What’s one thing you want to leave the audience with?
I want to tell you about a survey that was done in Canada. It’s a Canadian survey of 90-year-olds. They asked those 90-year-olds, “At this point in your life, what are your three biggest regrets?” These were the top three after all the data comes in. The number one was they didn’t leave a big enough legacy. Number two was they didn’t take enough risk and number three was they didn’t reflect enough. I want to encourage everyone to take the time to reflect, what’s the legacy that you’re creating and what’s your passion in life? What are you risking to be better, to go down the rabbit hole and do something different to be a better person? How are you giving back? As you reflect on what you’ve done in your life so far, how does that challenge you as you go forward to do something different for the world?
I love it especially the concept of not taking enough time to reflect so you can have a legacy and not being afraid of risk. The book is The Way of the Quiet Warrior. Tom, how else can people reach you?
My website is Kreat.ca. You can find the media page, the book page and about my services. Even the workshop I was talking about. There is a link to emailing me directly. I’ll give my private phone out, (604) 764-1990. I’m always happy to connect with people directly. The last part of the website on the book page is my media kit. In that media kit is all about my bodywork, my radio show, my TV show and the work I’m doing with the book. Thank you, John.
Thank you, Tom.
- Tom Dutta
- The Way of the Quiet Warrior
- Quiet Warrior – internet radio show
- Brené Brown
- Dr. Taylor Hartman
- Media page
- Book page
- Media Kit
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