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Pilot Training Lessons That Will Transform Your Employees with Emil and Octavian

Captain Emil Dobrovolschi and international trainer Octavian Pantis share lessons from their new book Dark Cockpit with our host Evan Hackel

We are excited to share excerpts from a recent conversation between our host Evan Hackel and two remarkable men – airline Captain Emil Dobrovolschi and international trainer Octavian Pantis, authors of the new book Dark Cockpit:  How to Communicate, Lead, and Be In Control at All Times Like an Airline Captain (Ignite Press, May 6, 2021).

The motivation behind Dark Cockpit was to revolutionize training by tapping into the treasure of knowledge that has been developed for aviation training, and to explain how it can be applied to leadership, crisis management, and other critical tasks. The authors, Emil and Octavian, have done a remarkable job of taking their knowledge about pilot training and translating it into advice all of us can use – even those of us who will never pilot a plane.

There is nothing theoretical or “soft” about their advice, because the training pilots receive can make the difference between life and death. And these two men, who both hail from Romania, are the “real deal” in providing that training. Captain Emil Dobrovolschi is a pilot with Torom, the national airline of Romania. He has been flying for Torom for 29 years, has been a flight instructor for 20 years, and has been an examiner for the last 18 years. That means that he is part of a team that examines every pilot who takes charge of a plane in Romania, and issues pilot’s licenses.

“It is a great responsibility, Emil told Evan. “At the end of the day if you do not trust a pilot to fly your family . . . my job is to judge how they perform and if they do not perform well, we will not pass them.”

Octavian Pantis, who wrote Dark Cockpit with Captain Emil, brings a similarly high level of experience to his work as an international master trainer. Also headquartered in Bucharest, Octavian manages an international training company that focuses on leadership, training, productivity and international culture.

Let’s hear what Evan, Emil and Octavian talked about in this important podcast.

Evan Sets the Context for Why Training Is Critical

Evan observed, “Pilot training can be the difference between life and death. Many companies don’t see training that way. They don’t see it as a life or death activity for their companies, but it truly is. So your insights are critically important for our viewers to hear.”

Octavian Lays Out an Approach for Training that Can’t Be Allowed to Fail

Octavian, as we noted above, is a professional trainer who specializes in training that focuses on leadership,  productivity and culture.

He explained his belief to Evan and Emil that in order for training to be ultra-effective, it should conform to these three keys:

  • First, everyone must train. “Everyone in an organization should attend the training,” Octavian said. “It is not just for newcomers.”
  • Second, it’s ongoing. “It’s regular, not only for when you have the budget or when you have the time or a subject to teach or when the manager says it’s time to do it,” he explained.
  • Third, it’s not limited in scope. “Training should be on a wide range of topics,” he said. “It’s not only on what’s new.”

Furthermore, expectations should be high for training. Octavian explained, “In air travel, training is not just about getting from Point A to Point B safely, but also comfortably, if possible. To achieve that, many things have to be in place. Without higher expectations, training would not work.”

Why Communication Is a Critically Important Training Topic in Aviation and in Your Organization Too

“Everybody knows that communication is important,” Emil told Evan and Octavian. “And in aviation, communication is critical for avoiding and dealing with mishaps. In aviation, history is written in blood!

“So for us, communication and training are vital. The way we communicate, the way we pass the message unequivocally, without access to body language, the way we manage to understand each other in a dark environment, is critical . . . for us, it’s a skill we develop over the years, but also something we learn in training. So every pilot, every year, goes twice to the simulator for eight hours.

“One session is for training in a simulator. The next session is a check, where the pilot goes if he passes that simulator training session. If the pilot doesn’t pass the simulator training session, he will not go to the second session, the check. And if a pilot doesn’t pass the check, he will be grounded until the next exam.

“Most of the people who fail this process are beginners. But there is no tolerance for mistakes, no tolerance for indiscipline. . . some pilots after maybe five or 10 years, become complacent. They know the aircraft. They may know how to make decisions, but they become complacent, and they don’t learn any more. And they are just, as I say, just floating.

“But that is not possible in our training, because the minimum mark to pass an exam is 7.5 or 8. For my company, it means achieving 8 out of 10. So if you’re not above that standard, you’re not flying the aircraft, you’re not in the cockpit any more.

“That puts pressure on the instructors first. You need to standardize the training for trainers and examiners, so they reach a good standard . . .  It’s not a punishment, but it’s a pressure on the trainers and then on the professional pilots too.”

Imparting a Sense that Training is Critically Important

In every year they fly, pilots can become a little more complacent and comfortable. And training has to fight that and help assure that pilots remain aware of the dangers they are dealing with.

“Everybody gets a little bit more comfortable,” Emil told Evan and Octavian. “But as a professional pilot, you cannot do that. Not for a minute! If I’m drinking a coffee in my cockpit at 12,000 meters, 39,000 feet, I will maybe feel a little comfortable. I can have a chat with my colleague, but my eyes are always on the instruments. I’m in a nice, comfortable environment. It’s warm or cold the way I want. But outside the window, just two feet away from my shoulder, its minus 70 degrees and the aircraft flies at 450 miles per hour! So at any moment something wrong can happen if you are not prepared for the worst every time.

“Pick every incident or accident in the history of aviation, and I will show you how there was a lack of training in that company or a lack of training of those pilots, in the way they got the license, in the way they trained.

“And if you want to maintain a high level of training, a high level of proficiency in your pilots, you have to train them not just  the technical skills, but you have to train the non-technical skills, their attitude, and the way they communicate, things like that.”

Octavian on How to Keep Trainees Coming Back and Staying Committed to Training

“One key is to keep training regular,” Octavian told Evan and Emil. “For instance, in aviation, even the best pilots in the world know that they’re scheduled for training in September and then in April.

“Yet in many companies where training doesn’t happen for a while, people are apt to think, `What’s wrong? What do you have against me? Did I do something wrong that you sent me to training?’

“But if it’s regular, then it’s like brushing teeth, it’s like having the annual or biannual performance evaluations, then yeah, when is when is the next one, the next one in September? So it’s not like, why do I have to go? You have to go because you have to, because it’s a natural part of what you do.”

A Special Offer

Captain Emil and master trainer Octavian invite all members of the Training Unleashed family to download a free chapter of their new book This book is more than interesting or useful – it is thrilling. You won’t want to pass up this chance to learn how to apply its lessons to creating training that simply cannot be allowed to fail.

Be sure to watch this critically important podcast now, [INSERT LINK] It is an experience that will transform your training and your success!

About Our Guests

Captain Emil Dobrovolschi is a pilot with Torom, the national airline of Romania. He has been flying for Torom for 29 years, has been a flight instructor for 20 years and has been an examiner for the last 18 years. That means that he is part of the team that examines every pilot who takes charge of a plane in Romania, and issues pilot’s licenses.

Octavian Pantis, who wrote Dark Cockpit with Captain Emil, brings a similarly high level of experience to his work as an international master trainer. Also headquartered in Bucharest, he manages an international training company that focuses on leadership, training, productivity and international culture.

2021-10-26T14:30:31-04:00October 12, 2021|

Succeed by Failing with Erin Diehl


Over the years, many successful people have been talking about the benefits of “failing forward.” In fact, “failing forward” has become a standard business term. It means that people and the organizations they serve can only succeed by making a series of mistakes, and then learning from each of them.

This concept only makes sense. But then someone like Erin Diehl comes along and elevates the whole idea of failing forward to an entirely new level. She us founder of ImproveIt!, a company that conducts workshops that help people and organizations “get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” In a recent Training Unleashed Podcast with host Evan Hackel, the dynamic Erin discussed the profound life lessons she learned about failure by performing improv.

That’s right . . . improv! Be sure to watch this life-transforming podcast. 

Here are some excerpts of the conversation between Evan and Erin.

Evan: I see you are sitting in front of a sign that says “Fail Yeah!” Can you tell me about that?

Erin: “Fail Yeah” is the name of a podcast that I host. The words “Fail Yeah” are based in the improvisational comedy world.

There is a rule in improv comedy. There are no mistakes, only gifts! So anything that happens on stage is not a mistake. It becomes a part of the scene. And that is such a metaphor for life, the things that happen to us, the failures that we have along the way, whether they happen in entrepreneurship, in corporate America, in our parenting and day-to-day lives.

Failures are actually supposed to be a part of our scene of life. You have to fail in order to improve . . . if you’re not failing, you’re not trying. And if you’re not trying, you’re not improving.

Evan: I have a saying for myself which is. “I hope my biggest failure is yet to come, because if it’s not, it means I’ve given up trying.”

Erin: That’s it! I love it! I love it!

Evan: I truly believe it. And you know, as training professionals, I think a lot of what we do is cutting edge, leading edge. There’s so much happening in the world of training that there are going to be stumbles. And that’s OK, as long as we learn. Someone famous once said, “We learn more from our failures than we learn from our successes.”

Erin: One hundred percent! And I truly believe in getting used to asking yourself the question, `What did I fail at today?’ And making that a normal thing that you say at the dinner table at the end of the day and making it something you journal about at night.

I love the idea of making failure a part of a company culture internally. My company does failure parties every quarter. We actually have one tomorrow. And instead of making a vision board for the quarter, we make a fail board of the quarter past . . . And it’s so refreshing because it allows our team to feel like we can make mistakes and it allows our team to feel human.

As I said to you before we hit record on this podcast, I’m a recovering perfectionist, turned influencer. I need to remind myself that failure is a part of the process. So it’s a big part of our culture. We’re really proud of it and of leaning into it every day.

Evan: It’s interesting that one of the major underlying root problems in business is people covering themselves. They’re not admitting their failures. They’re avoiding that difficult conversation that doesn’t allow the company to really understand what’s going on. Your failure meeting is a cool idea because it allows people the space to be able to admit they did something wrong.

Erin: That’s it! That is it Evan, and I truly believe in exactly what you said . . . Not allowing our full selves to be shown or almost covering ourselves. I have spent my entire career asking people in corporate America to take their masks off, which was hilarious because in year 2020 we were like, put your healthy mask on, be safe.

But what I feel really happened as a result of the pandemic was even though we were asked to protect ourselves in public, we actually started to see each other as humans because we were peering into each other’s homes and seeing families and pets and the day-to-day and that, I think, really strengthened the bond of a lot of teams and a lot of organizations. And it was a very eye-opening year, which we failed through miserably.

Back to the theme of failure, it felt like we were failing left and right. But we can take a step back and see some of the good that came from it. It’s so interesting to observe and to witness and to transform with, to be honest, so very cool.

Evan: I know you guys use a lot of improv in your work with companies. And maybe you could share why, because I think that’s a good thing to understand.

Erin: This is not an ad, this is an ask for everyone in America. Take an improv class, please! I’ll tell you why it’s such a beautiful, beautiful art form to teach.

Improv is the truest, most natural form of play. I call myself a professional pretender. I have a two-year-old son. He improvises all day long! We are all improvising all day long. But when we hear the word “improv,” it sometimes stifles our creativity and makes us think, oh my gosh, I have to think quickly on the spot. But when we can allow ourselves to truly play and to truly experience training at its finest in soft skill development, which is what we train on, we allow barriers to come down so that the masks that we’re talking about fall. And once that happens, that’s when we’re truly learning because we’re not judging ourselves. We’re not judging others in that moment. We’re in play!

So when we allow those barriers to fall, true learning occurs. That’s when we become our best selves and we grow both personally and professionally. It’s a magical teaching tool.

There’s much more to learn! Listen now. 

A Special Free Offer

Erin invites members of the Training Unleashed family to take the Daily Five Challenge, a life-changing exercise offered by her company ImproveIt! CLICK HERE to enroll at no cost . . . and start transforming your life now.

About Our Guest

Erin Diehl is a graduate of Clemson University and former experiential marketing and recruiting professional as well as a veteran improviser from the top improvisational training programs in Chicago, including The Second City, i.O. Theater and The Annoyance Theatre. Erin conducts workshops across the country leveraging improvisational techniques to improve employees’ skills in corporate settings.

Her work with clients such as United Airlines, PepsiCo, Groupon, Deloitte, Motorola, Lowe’s, Accenture, Walgreens, and The Obama Foundation earned her the 2014 Chicago RedEye Big Idea Award and has nominated her for the 2015-2019 Chicago Innovations Award. Erin was a speaker for Disrupt HR Chicago, hosted the 2016 RedEye Big Idea Awards and has been a speaker for HRMAC Chicago, SHRM Chicago, Disrupt HR, the Business Marketing Association, and Emerging Leaders of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. She is also a proud member of The Chicago Innovation Awards Women’s Cohort and graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. 

Among her many accolades, Erin is most proud of successfully coercing over 12,000 professionals to chicken dance.

2021-10-26T14:31:21-04:00October 6, 2021|

How to Use Podcasts to Market and Promote Powerfully with Tom Schwab

In a recent Training Unleashed podcast, Evan Hackel interviewed Tom Schwab, podcasting guru and Founder/CEO of Interview Valet, the category king of Podcast Interview Marketing.

If you are eager to promote and market your company or yourself using podcasts – which Tom believes is one of the most effective ways possible – you will want to spend a productive half hour watching this episode and playing close heed to what Tom has to tell you.

Here is a summary of the great advice that Tom delivered:

What Is the Biggest Impediment to Promotion and Getting the Word Out about You and Your Company?

“Our view at Interview Valet is that obscurity is your biggest problem, right now! There are thousands, millions of people you could help. There’s only one problem. They don’t know you exist!

“They’d gladly hire you if they just knew your story. And so that’s what we focus on, getting those stories out. There are millions of inspiring thought leaders and millions of people they could serve – a lot of nonfiction authors, high-level coaches, consultants, brands, companies that really need to get their message out there by appearing on podcasts.

“Early on, we had a client that said, `I love working with you because you let me be the guest and you take care of all the rest.”

What Is your Most Compelling Content?

“Your clients are your best copywriters,” Tom told Evan. “And really, that became our tagline. So we’ve got a team of 27. They all don’t work in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with me. We’ve got people in Europe, Canada, the United States and even Mexico as we launch interview Valet Espanol. And so we’re collaborating with clients to figure out what they are, who they want to talk to, what they want them to do, finding those right podcasts for them, and making sure they’re confident and prepared for every interview they go into. So they show up 10 or 15 minutes before the interview to be prepped and then go on for a great discussion.

“Our clients want the maximum return on investment of their time and their money, and that’s why they work with Interview Valet.”

Tom’s Most Powerful Tip

Evan, as he does at the end of every Training Unleashed podcast, asked Tom to give listeners his most powerful success tip.

“My tip is that you are one conversation away . . . “ Tom told Evan.

He then went on to explain, “I believe that all great things start with conversations. There are a lot of different technologies that we can use to have them. But my questions to you are, what conversation do you need to have? And how can you have that conversation to scale, and how can you have it with the right people?

“For me . . . I’ve written a lot of blogs in my life and every one felt like a homework assignment to me. But it’s easier for me to talk. So I’ll have that conversation like this one, in a podcast. I’ll then repurpose it. I’ll share it with different people.

“So I would just share with that you’re just one conversation away from ______. [Your goal goes into that blank space.] What do you want that conversation to be, and how do you need to have it?”

Tom suggests you have that conversation in a podcast.

A Final Observation from Evan

In this podcast, Evan Hackel observed that he learns better by listening than he does by reading. And he can listen and learn from podcasts even when he is driving – anytime!

An Offer to the Training Unleashed Audience from Tom Schwab

Tom would like to offer a complimentary copy of his book Podcast Guest Profits: How to Grow Your Business with a Targeted Interview Strategy. You are invited to download your complimentary copy today.

About Our Guest

Tom Schwab is Founder/CEO of Interview Valet, the category king of Podcast Interview Marketing. He is one of today’s leading experts on podcasting.

Tom knows how to build an online business. He has done it successfully several times, and now helps others find online success with podcast interview marketing. Tom helps thought leaders (coaches, authors, speakers, consultants, emerging brands) get featured on the leading podcasts their ideal prospects are already listening to. He is also a thought leader on helping companies craft and present podcasts of their own.

Tom is author of books that include Podcast Guest Profits: Grow Your Business with a Targeted Interview Strategy.


2021-09-29T17:08:34-04:00September 29, 2021|

Power Tactics that Make Training Exciting with Nancy Giere

Every training designer wants to banish boredom from the courses they create. But boredom can creep in. How and why does that happen? According to top training designer Nancy Giere, it happens when training designers are so concerned with including every idea and concept that they overload their courses. “They put in too much content,” she told Even Hackel in this Training Unleashed Podcast. 

How does that happen, and how can you prevent it from affecting your training? Here are some highlights of what Nancy told Evan in her terrific Training Unleashed Podcast, which you will not want to miss. 

Remember What Slides Are For

 “I think slides with pictures and graphics can be very powerful tools,” Nancy told Evan. “But the purpose of slides is not to help presenters organize their thoughts. They should support the audience, not help the presenter remember what to say next!”

On Different Kinds of Training

“There are different types of training,” Nancy explained. “There’s the `check the box training’ that everybody has to do – things like sexual harassment training, safety compliance training, and other topics that are required. And you can easily lose people in those courses because it’s like everybody has to do them.

“So what I’m finding is people are trying to take some of these topics and lighten them to keep people engaged. There are other types of programs, where you’re trying to improve people’s knowledge and skill level. To keep training interesting there, you have to make it clear how the training is going to affect each trainee’s job.

“It’s a matter of including the `What’s in it for me?’ but you want to add, `And why should I care , , , How is this going to improve my situation , , , Am I going to be able to be more effective in my job?` And more importantly, the most important thing is not what happens in the training, but after the training,

“People think, `I learned this great new stuff, and then when I go back to my desk, is it going to be supported? Or is it flavor of the month?’”

How to Use Stories to Create Powerful Training

“The really important element is what happens at the beginning of training” Nancy explained, “which is have a great hook where people go. A lot of people will start by posing a question of the audience. An even more powerful way is to bring them in with a story that’s relatable, where they think, `Oh, yeah, that’s me. . . you get their attention quickly, because they make a decision early on whether or not they’re going to pay attention.

“So that’s the first part. The next is to have a good structure. Give people a roadmap. Tell them, `This is the journey I’m going to take you on today , , , These are the three key ideas that I have for you.’

“The close is also just as important as the opening. And what’s really important is for the audience to be able to say, `I did this. These were the key skills that I had to embody to be able to do this. And you then get to whatever the improvement is, whatever that key idea is, or the place you want to take people.

“You want them to say, `I did it!. Look at me. And so can you!”

What Makes for a Great Story?

She told Evan that first of all, the stories you use have to be real.

“I know people make up stories,” Nancy said, “And when they do, they come off as made up. I think people can tell the story is real or not, but what are the keys?

“I remember watching someone at a Toastmasters competition. She was the test speaker and she told a story about how she was a scuba diver and something happened where her tanks weren’t completely full of air. And she went under and ran out of air and had to get to the surface. And then when she got to the surface, there was a lot of wave action, and she told the story kind of like I am telling it to you now. And then this happened and this happened  . . .  

“It wasn’t her story! I was evaluating it and I realized her story didn’t move me in any way. There was no drama, there was no emotion, she didn’t take me with her, right? I didn’t feel the panic.

“So you want to make sure that the emotions match the words. Also, you want to look at the characters. Can you make the characters come to life for us? Who did you encounter?

“For a lot of people, it’s very daunting to do storytelling and for that matter, to do interactive activities. Because, you know, they haven’t done those things before.

“Now, you might think your life’s boring, but when you really dig in, it isn’t. And if you’re speaking about something you are personally passionate about, there’s got to be a reason why you’re personally passionate about it. And if there’s a reason why there must be a story, yes, and that will speak to other people.”

An Offer for the Training Unleashed Community from Nancy Giere

Nancy invites you to download and use a complimentary copy of her eReport Eight Easy Steps to Create Training that Sells!

About Our Guest

After a lifetime in the corporate training world, Nancy knows how businesses operate and she isn’t afraid to shake things up. Her unique perspective combined with 25+ years of experience has empowered her with fresh insight and the industry’s best-kept secrets that she’s ready to share with you. On a lifelong campaign against boring training, she uses the power of storytelling and light-hearted humor to create an engaging, fun, and interactive environment. Masterfully intertwining comedic humor with life lessons, her stories make learning stick! Nancy has worked with the biggest names in corporate America like Johnson Controls, Harley Davidson, and Northwestern Mutual.


2021-09-21T17:56:03-04:00September 21, 2021|

How to become a great listener with Theresa Campbell


In a recent Training Unleased podcast, Evan Hackel and his guest Theresa Campbell discussed highly unusual, revolutionary techniques for becoming not just a good listener, but a great listener.

You will hear practical guidance on listening in this podcast – insights that you will not find anywhere else. You will want to spend some quality time watching it. Here are some highlights of their talk.

Theresa Describes How Most of Us Think about Listening

“I like to remind people that being a master of anything happens when the master knows that they’re forever the student,” Theresa told Evan. “So there’s the initial pressure of, `Oh, I’ve got to make sure I remember what he said or what she said.` But no, no, no, you’re a student and you’re just continuing to evolve and deepen your listening and your ability to connect with yourself and others. The thought to have is `I’m a student like everybody else.’ And that helps you relax into it.”

On Using all Five Senses to Listen

“Listening is not just what we hear,” Theresa told Evan. “I like people to remember that listening is a five-senses experience . . .  what are you seeing as this person says something to you? What are you feeling? What do you smell? What does that message taste like?”

Theresa – and this is unusual – believes that great listening also means focusing on your own reactions to what is being said.

“So not just what are you hearing,” she explained, “but what do you feel? What are you sensing? So when I teach people how to listen, if we can segue to that, there’s an acronym that I love that was taught to me by my first listening teacher. It’s SIER.”

Understanding Theresa’s SIER Structure

Here is what that acronym means . . .

  • S stands for sense, meaning what are you sensing, using all five senses
  • I stands for interpret, meaning that you interpret what you are taking in.
  • E stands for evaluate, meaning that you think about what you are taking in.
  • R stands for respond, meaning that you respond or react to what has been said to you.
How to Introduce Intuition into Great Listening

Theresa believes that great listening happens when people connect to much more than the words that are being said, Great listeners go on to connect with how they feel about what they are hearing, how they receive it, and how their bodies accept it.

“It’s the sixth sense,” Theresa told Evan. “You know, the sixth sense . . . What’s your intuition . . . what is that feeling . . . what is your body telling you? Because a lot of times, we’re not necessarily encouraged to listen to our feelings, right? That’s not professional! We want to keep the emotion out of it. And what I’m saying is you can become so proficient in hearing that you can have a visceral experience and trust that, even if everything somebody is saying sounds true, but something in you says, no, you can trust that. You can create a relationship with yourself and your capacity to listen to yourself.”

Theresa’s Offer to Members of the Training Unleashed Community

Theresa invites you to investigate the complimentary listening sessions that she offers through Her Life, Her Legacy.

“Oftentimes people don’t feel listened to,” she told Evan. “So I invite them to come into a space where they know someone’s going to listen to them. No judgment! I’d love to have a listening session with your listeners, and we can do that!”

Using Deep Listening in Training

Evan believes that Theresa’s ultra-effective listening approaches can help take training to higher levels. When you use them to connect more deeply with trainees, the entire training process can be optimized!

About Our Guest Theresa Campbell

Theresa Campbell is the founder and CEO of Her Life, Her Legacy, a leadership development organization dedicated to the power of deep listening. As a leadership coach, author, and life-long learner, she helps you find and listen to what matters, most.

Theresa, lovingly known by her clients as Coach T, serves humbly with an unwavering focus on service. She has over a decade’s worth of experience in the business and corporate world and has led multi-million dollar sales and marketing initiatives with a Fortune 500 organization (Ford). Her work has been featured in the likes of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Ford Motor Company, Women’s Executive Exchange of Central Florida and Journey by Afrotainment.

As a self-proclaimed, life-long learner, Theresa is committed to mastery. She’s a graduate of Michigan State University (Go Green!), received her MBA from Rollins College and is proudly coached by the world’s top leadership experts. Theresa believes that to be the best, one gets to learn from the best. It’s this attitude of growth, faith, and possibility that drives her mission in life.

She’s the proud author of three books. Her most recent work, Just Listen: Creating Confidence in Yourself, Others & God, is set to be released in the fall 2021.

2021-09-14T17:46:16-04:00September 14, 2021|

Learn from the Way NASCAR Trains with Jay Nadeau

Things can go wrong at NASCAR races. The crowds, parking areas, concessions, all offer opportunities for problems to arise. But despite those risks, NASCAR has established an enviable record of safety for both race patrons and NASCAR employees.

In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan Hackel speaks with Jay Nadeau, Director of Risk Management and Loss Control for NASCAR, the person who makes everything run safely. 

Many of the training strategies Jay uses can be applied to training in your company too. Let’s take a closer look.

Jay Describes Race Day

“If anybody’s ever gone by a racetrack,” Jay told Evan, “They know it is an empty facility for a good part of the year. And then all of a sudden, the population pops up. There are hundreds, in some cases, thousands of people supporting that event. And for every moving part you have, there’s a potential for injury or accident, and that equates to a loss, whether a personal or financial loss. Safety for any business is always going to be one of the most important priorities.”

Evaluating Success

“Year after year, we look at incidents, which we consider in two buckets,” Jay explains. “First, we want to look at what happens to our employees. And then we look at stuff that happens in our facilities with our guests. Every year, we want those numbers to be less and less.”

NASCAR’s Approach to Training

There are a lot of different roles that people need to be quickly trained to perform. In addition, there are different kinds of people who work the events.

Jay explains, “You’ll have somebody who maybe sells auto parts in his job from Monday through Friday, and then he’s going to run a food concession stand at the track. Well, that person has to be trained. Sales knowledge does not apply to making hamburgers! That’s as simple as I can make it. Without training, things would be chaos, that’s the word I would use.”

How Does Training Work?

In general, training of short-term, seasonal employees starts about two weeks before race day.

“It varies from facility to facility,” Jay told Evan. “Volunteers will come in. They could even be Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, whatever, who want to raise money. They could be helping to park cars or hand out gifts at the gate.

“So the training would be about what the workers are going to do . . . whoever the lead person is, we make sure that they have the proper training or that they have the proper credentialing, and we expect them to pass on what they know to their volunteers. When it comes to concessions, for example, there are food handling requirements, and the training will be in person. For other roles, we might offer an online training course . . .   there is never just one method of training that will work for everyone.”

Training Permanent NASCAR Employees

Jay also points out that NASCAR itself owns 15 racetracks that are located all over the country. So NASCAR has a group of permanent employees who travel to those different facilities. But even though those employees have been trained to do their jobs, they still need to be taught to adjust to the needs of the next facility where they will be working.

“So now you’ve got people who will be working at a different facility,” Jay explains. “But what we’ve learned is prior to those events, we get department heads on a phone call and kind of walk through the whole event again. You can’t have a thousand employees on one phone call, but empowering those department heads to teach their employees and come up with plans they believe are going to be the most effective . . .  it’s a team effort.”

About Our Guest 

Jay Nadeau currently serves as the Director of Risk Management and Loss Control for NASCAR.  After  20 years as a public servant he retired as Battalion Chief from the fire department in  2013. Upon his retirement he assumed the role as the Manger of Emergency services at the Daytona International Speedway “The World Center of Racing”.   After overseeing emergency operations for 6 years he moved to NASCAR Corporate offices in 2019 where he assists in OSHA Compliance, Property Insurance, and all aspects of safety at the various NASCAR owned properties.  During his spare time he enjoys hunting and since 2005 he has instructed new firefighter recruits at Daytona State College.   He is a lifelong resident of central Florida where he lives with his wife and a whole bunch of 4- legged children. (Dogs, Cats and Horses).

2021-09-07T15:10:38-04:00September 7, 2021|

The Transformative Power of Culture with Chuck Cooper

In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan Hackel and Chuck Cooper on the Transformative Power of Culture.

What steps should you take to lead your enterprise during the post-Covid-19 return to business? Every business leader is trying to answer that question today. So it was timely that Evan Hackel interviewed Chuck Cooper on this issue in a recent Training Unleashed Podcast. Chuck is a consultant and author who is a deep thinker about leadership, motivation, company culture, and more.

We know you will want to take the time listen to the powerful ideas that Chuck explored in his talk with Evan. Here are some highlights from the Podcast.

Leaders Need to Focus on the Nuts and Bolts . . . Get Things Done!

Chuck told Evan, “I think when you’re looking at where we are as a country right now as we’re making that transition into what we would consider our norm, there’s just a lot of uncertainty at this point.

“Yet I think leadership has a good handle right now and has clarity on how they want to move forward. They’re just not sure about the nuts and bolts of how they’re going to go about it. Are they bringing all the people back into the office, or are they going to continue to let part of their organization work from home? And how do you handle that hybrid?

“So there are some unknowns at this point, but I think that overall people are feeling much more optimistic and they’re more sure about where we’re going as it relates to businesses today.”

There Are Many Reasons to Be Optimistic

In speaking of his own company, Chuck said, “So overall, the last year has been really amazing . . . it really opened up a lot more opportunities for us to work with our clients from coast to coast. And so there have been great opportunities because of the number of people who have been vaccinated and the fact that we are moving very quickly. I’m feeling much more optimistic right now where we’re going for the next six to nine months. And I think 2021 is set up to be a really good year for a lot of companies.”

How the Focus on Virtual Work Has Expanded Our Horizons

“Virtual has changed everything,” Chuck told Evan. “You know, where you were in a region before, now you can be anywhere in the country or for that matter, you could be anywhere in the world. You could be in California and be working on jobs in North Carolina. I was just on a call this morning, and we had somebody from South Africa that was that was a part of our conversation.

“So virtual has opened up from a global perspective. We’ve got opportunities now to work anywhere in the world. And it’s going to create some interesting issues for people in the U.S. when we start having people from Japan or from China or other countries taking positions or, you know, accepting opportunities here in Charlotte.”

The Rubber Band Analogy

Evan and Chuck compared what we have been over the last year to stretching a rubber band.

“Over the last year we have done things so differently, we have stretched the rubber band,” Chuck said to Evan. “And if we just release that rubber band, it’s simply not going to go right back to the shape it had before the pandemic. And even if it did go right back to the way it was before, that’s not the right place to be.”

One Key Role Training Can Play

Chuck believes that training can plan an important role. As one example, he mentioned the period when employees are reviewing and renewing their participation in benefit plans.

“I think there has to be an education strategy that has to be implemented from a training perspective,” Chuck observed. “And so what we do with a lot of our clients is we actually have created annual programs for them where we will do things like `lunch and learns’ where we provide PDFs or with handouts and provide them with other tools that can help educate them just on the terminology of the benefit plans and also help them understand how to most effectively use the benefits that they have.”

An Opportunity to Create and Grow to Become Whatever We Want To . . . to Make Things Much Better

Evan and Chuck got excited when they began to discuss how exciting it will be to realize that rubber band is never going back to what it used to be. 

Chuck explained, “The reality is, we’re not going back. It’s never going to be the same. The great thing is we’ve got an opportunity right now to be able to create what we want things to be going forward . . . Let’s make something better, because when you think back the way things used to be, I can remember everybody talking about how the work/life balance was so bad . . .Well, we’ve got an opportunity to make things better. So let’s focus on that. Mental health is going to improve.”

Focus on Company Culture: A Deep Insight from Chuck

“Let’s get back, though, to culture,” Evan said to Chuck. “Because culture is king. Someone once said that every company has culture. The question is, are you the one creating it or is it being created by itself?”

Chuck was quick to take up that line of thinking and added, “Yes, most companies that I’ve spoken with over the last year have had to pivot and make a change in direction about how they are going to be able to move forward. . .  we’re trying to understand at this point exactly what we want our culture to be.

“So when I talk with leaders today, they are working very closely with their leadership teams to identify what their mission, vision, and values are, and what’s really important to them from a from their people perspective.”

“And I think that employees, when it comes to culture, are looking for leadership to be much more empathetic, to be much more transparent, to provide more granular communication so that employees can have confidence and have trust in their leadership. So they as an organization can move forward together more as a community rather than the hierarchy that we’ve seen in the past.”

A Special Offer for Training Unleashed Podcast Listeners from Chuck Cooper

If you visit whitewaterconsulting/trainingunleashed, you will find a selection of special resources that Chuck and his team have made available to the Training Unleashed Podcast community.

One of those one of the gifts is a copy of the recent Business Saver case study from WhiteWater. In addition, Chuck and his team are offering a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to viewers of this Training Unleashed Podcast.

Chuck summarizes, “We’d love to be able to be a resource for you.”

About Our Guest 

Chuck Cooper is Founder and Managing Member at WhiteWater Consulting, a Charlotte, NC-based consulting firm with the simple yet powerful mission to “help small to mid-size companies become better . . . Our team is committed to helping companies strengthen and automate their processes so that they can focus on growing revenues, managing expenses, maximizing profits, and taking care of their greatest asset, their people.”

At WhiteWater, Chuck sets the Mission, Vision and Values for the company. Over the past 25 years, Chuck has had the experience of starting, acquiring, building, and selling businesses in multiple industries. During this time, he experienced the thrill of victories and the agony of defeat. His passion for founding WhiteWater Consulting is to help enable employers and HR practitioners to drive their organizations to realize an improved company culture while simultaneously attaining enhanced financial results.

2021-08-31T17:13:51-04:00August 31, 2021|

How to Build Your Mental Toughness and Be the Best You Ever with Chris Dorris

In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan and Chris Dorris talk about building your mental toughness and being the best you ever!

Do you want to become the best you possible – a person who lives your life on your own terms and exceeds all expectations, even your own? The secret lies in something that Chris Dorris calls mental toughness. And in this life-changing podcast, Chris explains how to put its transformative power to work for you.

You’ll want to listen to the entire podcast. Here are some highlights of what you can expect.

What It Means to Be Mentally Tough (It’s Not What You Think!)

Chris told Evan that mental toughness is about making your life easier, which is something we are all empowered to do if we think the right way.

“As human beings, we are not designed to settle,” Chris said. “We are not designed to struggle . . . and we sure as hell are not designed to suffer.

“There is a guy, a Harvard dude, who has done the math on this. . . his name is Ali Binazir. Mathematically speaking, we are incomprehensible probabilities . . . We are literally miracles which were designed to create miracles.”

For Chris, the fact that each of us is a miracle is not theoretical. It can be proven mathematically.

“. . . consider the likelihood of everything that ever happened in the world before you,” he explained to Evan, speaking of the millions of chance events that led to your creation. “The likelihood that your parents would have ever met. We are in fact a miracle! Let’s create miracles! Why would you ever waste a life and waste that gift? Yet we know most people live unhappy lives because they are not satisfied.

“So why the hell would we settle? But there is an answer to the question of why we still struggle and suffer. And it’s because it’s really just the human experience. It’s the game that we get to play is to free ourselves from the conditioning of our past so that we can create magic with our reality.”

Lessons from Being in the Zone

Chris went on to tell Evan, “As a sports psychologist, I always ask people what it was like when they were at their best ever. I ask, ‘When you had your best round, your best recital, your best theatrical performance, your best game, what was it like?’

“One of the most frequent descriptors is `effortlessness.’ So I wanted to work my ass off to learn how to build that kind of effortlessness and to make the creation of effortlessness way easier.”

It All Has to Do with Training

“Mental toughness is the consequence of training,” Chris told Evan. “It is the consequence of having invested tons of effort into strengthening the way that I use my mind so that fundamentally, I only use it in ways that serve me right.

“To simplify that even further, mental toughness is characterized by emotional mastery and the ability to profoundly manipulate my psychological state. . . .  choosing is the operative word, choosing to think my way . . . to think my way into psychological states, emotions, and moods. I’m doing what I want in that moment, getting what I want in that moment, being who I want to be in  that moment . . . and therefore become an emotional master so that I can choose to manipulate my states all day, every day, in ways that make the creation of excellence easier. So that’s what I’m doing with my life, teaching people how to do that . . .”

How to Do It

Chris explains the basics as, “Start at the beginning. Really heighten your awareness to your moods. Start paying attention to how you feel and become excellent at labeling those states . . .  The happiest, mentally tough, successful people choose to live in a state of perpetual self-inquiry, meaning they’re always asking themselves questions like:

  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What state am I in right now? Is it competence? Is it fear?
  • Is it working for me right now?

Special Offers for Training Unleashed Podcast Listeners from Chris

Chris invites you to sign up for all three of the following offers by visiting ChristopherDorris.comlists

  • A complimentary subscription to his daily email newsletter, “The Daily Dose Mental Toughness Tips in 30 Seconds or Less.”
  • A personal invitation to read his blog on Mental Toughness, which is updated every second Thursday.
  • If that weren’t enough, Chris also invites our listeners to subscribe to his own podcast.


About Our Guest Chris Dorris

Chris is in the business of Success Coaching. He helps people close the gap between how their lives are and how they want them to be.

He started his career as a social worker working on the streets of Atlantic City, helping the mentally ill, drug addicted, and homeless populations upgrade their lives. Over the course of those several years, he observed that some of those folks – as a consequence of their belief and their persistence – were able to overcome some pretty serious challenges. That experience, in retrospect, was the perfect foundation for what would become Chris’s vocation.

He then decided to marry his passion for the power of the human spirit with his passion for sports. He moved to Arizona to attend graduate school at Arizona State University and created an internship with the Men’s Golf Team which evolved into a paid position as the formal Mental Toughness Coach. Over the course of those 10 years, he really learned a ton about the mechanics of training the mind. His new mission was to coach professional and amateur golfers.

Since then, Chris discovered that the Mental Toughness tools that he was using with many of the world’s greatest athletes were perfectly applicable to many other disciplines beyond sport. Since then, he has trained the minds of world-famous actors, NFL and NHL Coaches, business executives, Superbowl Champions and billionaires.

Chris states, “And now I’m a `coach’s coach’ as well, helping them build thriving practices. I can honestly say I live a work-free life. Because I truly love what I do, and I love the folks with whom I do it.”

Chris is the author of two books: The Daily Dose: Start All 365 Days of Your Year with a Dose of Mental Toughness in 30 Seconds or Less and Creating Your Dream: Confidently Stepping into Your Own Brilliance, and several audio programs including the Creating Your Dream Audio Course, The Edge: Mental Toughness for Miraculous Golf,  and ALL IN! as well as the online course, ALL IN! 2.0.

2021-08-24T12:06:13-04:00August 24, 2021|

The critical importance of compliance with Steve Vincze

In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan discusses compliance issues with Steve Vincze, President and CEO of Trestle Compliance. Steve, an attorney by training, has been specializing in compliance issues for more than two decades

You will want to hear Steve’s expert insights into the importance of compliance, because:

  • You will learn to protect your people. If you understand the critical importance of compliance, you will be doing a much better job of shielding your people from injury, death, personal legal liability, and other risks.
  • You will learn to protect your company. When you become aware of compliance issues, you take a vital first step toward protecting your company from crippling lawsuits that can cost a lot of money and, in some cases, put you out of business.
Compliance Awareness Saves Money

“In this day and age of Covid-19 and high risk, “Steve explains, “the relative cost of putting in an effective compliance program, compared to the risk of a whistleblower lawsuit or a violation because you are out of compliance, is just enormous.

“In this high risk world that we live in, a compliance program is a smart, sensible way to put in place controls that enhance and enable your business to compete and win, regardless of what your business is.”

It Takes a Trained Team to Keep Your Business Safe

“We’re all familiar with going through the airport,” Steve explains, “and the idea that if you see something, say something. And the same attitude should be internal to any company.

People in your organization have to be able to look around and say, `Hey wait a second, we are not in compliance in this area, and that could be a problem. And that’s where training is perhaps the most important element.

“Training is the glue that connects all of the structure – from policies, procedures, monitoring – and holds it all together. Through training, people understand why compliance is important. It’s the why behind the what that training really exploits.”

A Case Study that Proves the Point

Steve, who has worked extensively in the life science industries, says, “One case that really comes to mind that I think all your viewers are very familiar with is the Theranos case. Elizabeth Holmes, the former child genius from Stanford, founded that blood-testing company with the concept that it is possible to learn amazing things from just a pinprick of blood.

“Well, it sounded too good to be true. And guess what, it was. But she attracted incredible investors, and the company took off. And she was, I believe, at one point, the wealthiest woman CEO in the world. But then it all came crashing down. Why? Well, there weren’t controls in place to catch the problem, which was that the technology didn’t work. Or to catch the smoke and mirrors.

“Employees or fellow executives could have said, `Wait a second, this doesn’t sound right. Wait a second, this really isn’t working. Wait a second, where’s the science to back this up?’

“A compliance program builds that kind of internal check . . . So that’s a clear example of where a compliance program. and I would add an ethics and compliance program, could have prevented tremendous problems.

Steve Summarizes . . .

“Compliance is not about just doing what’s required, it’s about doing what’s right.”

Have you been thinking about compliance in the right way? Are you certain you are doing all you can to protect your company and your people from legal and other risks?

If you are not sure, be sure to watch this episode of Training Unleashed today.

About Our Guest

Steve Vincze, a global compliance expert and President & CEO of Trestle Compliance, provides risk assessments, compliance programs and software for BioTech, Pharmaceutical and MedTech innovators. Prior to forming TRESTLE, Steve split his private-sector career between service as an in-house or outsourced Sr. VP or VP Chief Compliance Officer for several life science companies, forming his own firms as well as serving as a non-equity partner for a “Big 4” firm. Steve also served as Counsel to a U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

2021-08-17T15:22:10-04:00August 17, 2021|

Use Intention, Small Steps and Clarity to Get Great Things Done with Terry Warren

In this episode of Training Unleashed, Evan talks to Terry Warren, one of America’s top coaches to highly successful executives, discussed his proven strategies for achieving much greater success.

In this life-changing podcast, you will learn to apply his philosophy to produce immediate benefits in everything you do.

Here are some insights you will gain from Evan’s conversation with Terry.

Intention Is the First Step toward Getting Great Things Done

Terry told Evan, “When people make an intentional choice to do something, and they commit to it . . . it’s as if they were jumping off a cliff. When they do that, the success rate is 100 percent. They’re declaring an intention, letting the world know about it, and are willing to be accountable for it. That realization came to me after coaching 30 or 40 people. I saw there was something going on there.”

Together, Evan and Terry called this, “The Power of Declaration.”

Use Small Steps to Ignite Major Change

“I once worked with a person who was tremendous when he was working with clients,” Terry recalls, “but was having difficulty internally in his communication style. And he was called on the carpet by HR and told, `This can’t continue.’

“But this person engaged with me and accepted the idea that he needed to change. Then we talked about baby steps he could take to do that. One of those steps was for him to find somebody in his own team, somebody he trusted. And then to say to that person, `I realize I need to change how I’m coming across, will you help me with that? And I am going to give you permission, not during a meeting, but after, to call me to account if I did not do well.’

“And it was transformational . . . I find that baby steps are a great place to start. And so if I’m talking to people, I say, `Let’s just commit to one small thing right now, and let’s take some baby steps to get to that, then we can come back to others. But let’s just start with one, because that doesn’t seem overwhelming.”

Try Constantly to Gain Perspective

Terry observes, “Things look different, depending on where you’re standing to look at them. The example I like is a Rubik’s Cube. Hold up a Rubik’s Cube and just look squarely at the face, and it’s a square! But if you turn it a little bit, you might see one of the other sides or if you turn a little further, you might see some of the bottom. One of the ways to change how we approach business problems is to bring a new perspective to them . . . if you get other people’s input, you might then say to yourself, `What do I need to stop believing in order to do this?’

“And I think if you get those other perspectives, that leads to clarity about what needs to be done. You get better results when you actually have a different perspective.”

Strive for Clarity 

“If you’re clear about what you’re trying to do, then you can actually accomplish it,” Terry told Evan. “But sometimes it’s not possible to get total clarity about something you want to accomplish. If that is the case, you need to ask more questions, and to get additional information. And at a certain point, you need to consider, how much information have I gathered? Have I gathered as much information as possible in the time I have? Have I gathered enough information to believe that I’m clear on what has to be done?”

Those are only a small selection of the big ideas that came into focus during this powerful Training Unleashed podcast.

Terry’s Giveaway

To thank you for listening to his Training Unleashed podcast with Evan, Terry would like to send you a complimentary chapter of his new book The Art of Choice: Making Changes that Count in Work and Life.

Follow this link to get acce

About Our Guest

Terry Warren, an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach, has more than 40 years of leadership experience in the financial services and healthcare industries. He has held senior leadership roles in sales, strategic planning, client engagement, and executive coaching. He is a member of the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management Executive Coaching Network and author of the new book The Art of Choice: Making Changes that Count in Work and Life.

2021-08-12T11:34:56-04:00August 10, 2021|
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