BC150. Matt Morse – Leadership VIP

Brian sits down with Matt Morse, entrepreneur, speaker, coach, marketing & launch consultant, former UAB Baseball player, and author of Leadership VIP to talk about leadership and what he learned from 20 of the top leadership experts in the nation. Get your own copy of Leadership VIP at LeadershipVIP.com/Cain.


You will learn…

  • Tangible ways to improve your leadership abilities.
  • Importance of communicating at a high level.
  • How to effectively lead Millennials.


Follow Morse on Twitter @MattMorse_17


Visit his website:  www.Matt-Morse.com




The bottom line is Millennials want it.  They want to be loved and they want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing in order to do it very well.  You’ve got to really enjoy it because you’re going to have to work really hard to be great at it.

Cain:  Hey, how are you doing?  Brian Cain, your Peak Performance coach, here with another episode of the Peak Performance Podcast.  This week is Week 2 with Matt Morse.  Matt is an entrepreneur.  He is the CEO of the Matt Morse Companies.  He is a coach.  He is a speaker.  He is a trainer.  Last week we talked about Mental Game VIP, lessons learned from interviewing 21 of the mental game of baseball’s best coaches.  This week we’re going to talk about Leadership VIP.

Leadership VIP again is a research-based product where Matt interviewed I believe it’s close to 20 of the top thinkers in the leadership industry.  Him and Brett Basham.  Ironically, I had Matt playing baseball at UAB.  I had Brett as a player at Ole Miss.  Brett was my roommate in 2013 with Team USA Collegiate National Team.  Brett works in the leadership training program in the athletic department at the University of Alabama.  Between the two of them they interviewed some of the best people out there.  They go behind the scenes with top leadership experts in sports and they’re going to learn the strategies and philosophies to help you maximize your potential.

In this podcast Matt is going to break down some of the key lessons he learned from interviewing people like Jon Gordon, Jeff Janssen, Marshall Goldsmith, Dr. Rod Olson, John Brubaker, Bhrett McCabe, Zac Woodfin, former Buffalo Bills receiver and Matt’s high school football coach Don Beebe, Kevin Eikenberry, Josh Medcalf, Tim Elmore, Mo Isom, Stephanie White and others, trying to learn about leadership.  Welcome to the Peak Performance Podcast, Matt Morse.

Morse:  Great to be back, Brian.  I’m looking forward to talking some leadership with you.

Cain:  Yeah, man.  I’m glad you’re here.  Let’s pick it right back up.  If people want the introduction and to learn more about you and my relationship, they can listen to the first half of Mental Game VIP.  Let’s get right into the content here, Matt.  Obviously, the idea for Leadership VIP, I’m sure, extended from the success of Mental Game VIP.  Talk about kind of the brainchild that you and Brett Basham put together that became that product.

Morse:  For sure.  Mental Game VIP was released in the fall of 2014 and soon after that I was contacted by many, actually about different VIP projects.  This one in particular stood out to me and was something I thought would be worth my time and energy to get into.  Brett Basham wanted to go and use a very similar format to dig into the topic of leadership with coaches and speakers and authors in all sports.  Where Mental Game VIP was a more baseball-specific project, Leadership kind of opened it up to all sports and more of an author and a speaker group and more, where in the baseball project it was more sports psychology/mental game.  So a year later Leadership VIP was released with 20 experts in leadership and very similar format to Mental Game VIP.  The topics and the discussion are very different, though.

Cain:  Matt, talk about some of the concepts that you learned from leadership.  Any other book that’s close to 400 pages.  It comes with the 400-page book.  It comes with the 10 CD interviews.  Tell me a little bit more about some of the keys again.  If you have it summarized, the whole product or the whole project (I should say) into five pages, what would be some of the key or three key bullet take-homes that you got from the Leadership VIP experience?

Morse:  Sure.  Well, the first question I asked everyone who was in the project was “What is leadership?”  So, Brian, I’d like to ask you that question as well.  What is leadership to you?

Cain:  Man, putting me on the spot here.  What is leadership to me?  The first thing that comes to my mind is going to be, leadership is the precursor to creating your culture and your culture then is going to dictate your behavior and your behavior is going to dictate your results.  You could say that leadership is the precursor to results.  Leadership is people living a set of core principles.  If you were to say the core principles for (let’s say) your program are going to be accountability, energy, and excellence – well, the leaders in that program are going to be the most accountable.  They’re going to have great energy and they’re going to be committed to excellence.  Leadership to me, Matt, is core principles in action that create a culture that drive behavior that helps get results.

Morse:  Awesome.  I think all 20 people that we asked that question to were all over the board.  But the very similar response is that it has to do with influence and the core values that you’re creating at – these programs that you work with, Brian, have influence and the action that the leaders take have influence on the entire program, and that’s what creates that great culture.

So one of the main take-homes in leadership was culture, the importance of culture.  Since learning more about it, I’ve kind of become a culture junkie, in that I love to see how everyone does it differently and how much impact it has on programs.  Obviously, the authors and speakers who are in this project have been around that as well inside of dugouts and locker rooms and auditoriums and board rooms.  All different industries, but they all talk about the importance of having a defined culture, a defined mission, a defined vision, and those core principles that obviously Brian preaches on a regular basis.

To boil it down, leadership is influence.  So why do you create those core values?  Why do you appoint captains?  Why do you do anything?  From a leadership standpoint, it’s to have influence upon other people in the program.  I think that’s a huge part of leadership.

Cain:  Matt, as they say, if you go for a walk and no one follows you, you’re not leading – you’re just out for a walk.  I think leadership is for sure influence and impact that you have on others.  Matt, keep rolling.  What other principles or concepts around leadership did you hear everyone say or most of the 20 people you interviewed say?

Morse:  I think a big thing in leadership is what we’re after, is how do we bring out the best in those around us?  How do we make the players that we’re with on a daily basis better players, better people, better kids, better students? If you’re an administrator, how do we make the coaches in our program better coaches?  If you’re an entrepreneur, how do we make the business owners and the other entrepreneurs around us on a daily basis better?  It may seem very simple.

I’m not talking about Pollyanna here, but one of the things that continued to come up was the importance of complimenting the people that you want to perform at a high level.  When you compliment them, when you exude that positive energy towards them, they’re going to feel it.  They’re going to reciprocate.  They’re going to be more energized to go perform at a higher level.

Versus if you have someone who is continuing to bog you down and tell you what you need to do better and that it’s not good enough – and that’s just not a recipe for Peak Performance.  That’s not a recipe for being the best that you can be.  Obviously, there is a time and a place for that but what was overwhelming in the interviews was just the importance and the power of positivity, encouraging those people that need it the most, and exuding that positive energy when you least feel like it because that’s when it might have the greatest impact.

Cain:  Yeah, it’s easy to lead when you’re playing well.  It’s easy to lead when you’re getting results but that’s not always the time that you need leadership, right?  They always want to know who is going to show up when the lights go on, but to me leadership is who shows up when the lights go out.  Who shows up in the dark times?  Who shows up when things aren’t going good?  Everyone shows up to your wedding; who shows up to the funeral?  So give us a little bit more, Matt.  Who else talked about leadership?  What else did you learn about how to become a better leader that you would want to share with the people here through the podcast?

Morse:  A concept that is extremely important, and I think is something that many people need to hear today, is that things that are built to last are not built fast.  Again, obviously, tempo and urgency are all very important but if you look at the great things that have been built in this country and this world, they were not built overnight.  They were built with strategic plans and discipline and very sustained excellent process over time.  I think that is extremely important to understand as a coach, or as someone who is in pursuit of your best self, is that you’re not going to lose 50 pounds overnight.  You’re not going to gain this much muscle overnight.  It’s more or less about attacking the best version of yourself by executing that process every single day.  Things that are built to last are not built fast.

Cain:  Matt, are there other things through this Leadership VIP program that you heard that you were like, “Damn, I wish I had learned that when I was a student-athlete?”

Morse:  I would say if you don’t take risks now – and this was Jon Gordon again talking about if you don’t take risks now, you’re going to regret that 20-30 years from now.  I was at a point where I was always more of an aggressive Type A athlete who was outgoing and had a lot of friends and whatnot; and when I got to college, I realized it was such a pivotal time that it was so important to know that if you’re going to do something special with your life, if you want to do something uncommon post-college career, you’ve got to take some risks in college that other people are not willing to take.  Otherwise 20-30 years from now you’re going to look back and wish that you had done that.

From the research and people talking and Leadership VIP, they talked a lot about how important it is that you identify the risk and that you go attack the risks or attack the adversity or whatever it might be, because that’s what’s going to open you up to some greater possibilities, greater opportunities down the road.  That’s exactly what happened in this case.  I had plenty of things on my plate to be doing but instead decided that I was going to make the time to get both of these done the right way with great individuals as a part of it, because I knew that was a risk I needed to take and if it failed, I would learn a lot along the way.

Cain:  Is there any other examples of maybe risks that you could take that you would share with our listeners?  If you’re a college or high school athlete listening to this, are there other examples of risks that you could take that you can think of?  I also loved the part you made about you made a decision to take on this project with a lot of other things on your plate.

We talked today in a group I was speaking with in the oil and gas industry here in Dallas about we’re not making sacrifices to be great, we’re making decisions.  We’re not making sacrifices to be a championship team, we’re making a decision.  Anytime you make a sacrifice you’re missing out on something else, versus a decision is I’m going to go get what I want and not let anything else take me away from that goal.  What are some of those maybe sacrifices you can think of, Matt, if you can go back and replay yourself as a college athlete?

Morse:  Real quick, right before that, I think it’s super important for the listeners to understand that this is not the way that I thought or operated five years ago.  And it didn’t happen overnight.  It’s the result of our relationship for five years and being in the trenches every day and trying to find a way to make myself better every single day.  That is, you know why I just happened to say I decided to make the time for that because that’s just the way that I’ve trained my brain to operate, and Brian has been a huge part of that, so I think that’s extremely important.

From the risks that you’re asking about for a high school or collegiate athlete to take, the one that really jumps out to me is the school that you decide to attend post high school.  There is the recruiting process; there are a lot of different opportunities out there.  But there is going to be an option that looks risky.  It might be something that you think is over your head, you might not be able to get there, you’re not sure if you’re good on playing time there.  But you’re never going to find out if you don’t go do it.  I think choosing a school and the recruiting process is extremely important.

Then, obviously, making the decision to give up your time as a college student-athlete would be considered a risk by some because their opportunity costs, or what they would miss out on for that risk would be hanging out, partying with friends, going out and doing the things that most people think college athletes should be doing.  So I didn’t necessarily think of it as a risk, but I think some people will think of it as a risk that they would miss out on the opportunity to be a college student in order to pursue something greater that might lead to something down the road.

Cain:  It’s interesting.  My last year as a high school athletic director we had a baseball player in Vermont who was very good for Vermont standards and I think had a chance.  I believe I could have called Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt and said, “Hey, give this kid a chance to walk on; you may cut him at the end of the fall, but he also may become your next first round pick that no one ever even knew who he was out of high school because he was in Vermont.”  He was very athletic.  He was very hardworking.  Very good kid.  Good body.  Underdeveloped because we don’t lift weights in Vermont in high school that much.  He chose to go to a school in the Dakotas.

I said, “What’s your goal?  What do you want to do 5-10 years from now?”  “I want to be a Major League Baseball player.”  Then take the risk to go somewhere on no scholarship where you might go get cut, but you’ll find out right away if you can be a professional baseball player if you go there and don’t make it, instead of taking like I did out of high school and taking the scholarship and maybe going north to the University of Vermont instead of saying “I’m going to go walk on at Clemson and see what happens.”  If I get cut, I get cut and I can always come back and go play somewhere else.  But taking that opportunity and that risk to go somewhere where you’re not a scholarship guy, you’re going to have to go be a walk-on because you’re walking into the right place.

I saw that at Cal State Fullerton.  We had more scouts at practice at Cal State Fullerton than I think I ever saw in a game when I was at Vermont.  I looked up and we were playing Northeastern and had a guy named Carlos Pena playing first base for them.  But other than that, I think that’s an example of taking a risk.  Going to the weight room when you’ve never been in there before as a high school student would be taking a risk.  Matt, what are some of the other important leadership things you learned coming out of the Leadership VIP?

Morse:  Yeah, Brian.  I’d love to jump in to talk a little bit about Millennials.  I think that’s been a hot topic recently.  It’s been something that everybody in this book loved to talk about.  I believe that you’re leading Millennials every day that you’re doing what you’re doing.  Whether it be coaching or teaching or leading a business, there are probably Millennials that are somewhere in there making that thing work.

The question that I asked in the projects was, What style of leadership have you found to be most effective when leading Millennials?  Brian, I’d like to get your input on this real quick.  You’re obviously around Millennials every day, be it with a football team, a baseball team, college and high school athletes.  What’s the style of leadership or what are some things that you do that you feel best help you to connect with that generation?

Cain:  For me it’s knowing their name.  You’ve heard the old cliché that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.  Well, what’s the first way that you show that you care?  You know someone’s name.  I always try to walk into a room – whether it’s SMU football with 120 players or Baylor men’s tennis with nine – I try walking into the room knowing everyone’s name first of all.  That takes a lot of work but it’s worth it.

The other thing is using video, having a visual because of the visual stimulation.  Connecting with them in a more consistent basis using Snapchat has been a game changer for me because now people can get little bits of spaced repetition from me on a consistent basis.  Using high energy.  Playing music.

Then getting people to talk, asking questions and letting them know that they’re as responsible for learning in this whole process and teaching in this process as I am.  I look at myself instead of – when I first got started, it was “I’m going to come in and deliver the mental game” and now it’s “I’m going to go in and facilitate the mental game.”  It’s a totally different approach.  To me that’s kind of some of the ways I connect with Millennials.

Morse:  All of those you’re talking about there I think build the relationship with you.  And then, and being a speaker that’s not maybe with them every single day, that relationship is probably going to strengthen whatever it is that you’re teaching them.  One of the topics that was brought up regularly in this in response to that question was just the importance of developing a relationship with the Millennial.  The other generations above them were very different in the way that they were wired.  Millennials actually (studies have shown) are far less concerned with money and fame.  They want to be loved.  They want to be cared about.  One of their big things that kept coming up over and over and over was that they want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

I think from a mental game standpoint, Brian – I’m sure you’ve seen this all the time – is that in order to get through to them what you’re trying to teach or whatnot, you have to explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing.  In Brian’s case a lot of it is about showing other players social proof of the success that they’re having at the highest levels and the tools that they’re using to sustain that level of success.  I think always understand that when you’re going into a classroom or you’re going out into the field or you’re going into work for the day that what you’re trying to teach is going to resonate a lot deeper if you put something on the front end of that that’s going to teach them why they need to do that.

An example is, the mental game and (say) a breathing exercise or visualization and imagery is, instead of coming in and saying “You need to visualize and you need to do this imagery session – now, ready, go,” let’s start out with saying, “Hey, here are seven benefits of doing visualization and imagery the night before a game and here’s an example of it; we’re going to take you through now.  You can take this and run with it and do it at home.”  And then possibly integrate some testimonials or some people in there who are talking about the success that they’ve had with imagery and visualization.

The bottom line is Millennials want to be loved and they want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing in order to do it very well.  You and I both know, Brian, if you’re going to be great at something, you’ve got to really enjoy it because you’re going to have to work really hard to be great at it, so it’s important that they enjoy doing it.

Cain:  Matt, in your research is there anything that came up consistently amongst the leaders that you interviewed?

Morse:  Yeah.  A few of the things I’d like to run through here before we finish up, Brian.  The first thing that I mentioned was influence.  That was one that was extremely consistent.  Almost everybody mentioned influence.  Whether it’s the core values or the leaders in the program, ultimately you want them to influence the others in the program.

Another question that I asked was, Are people born leaders or are they trained leaders?  Obviously, the discussion went back and forth there.  The majority would say that they can be trained, no doubt, and that anyone can be a leader if they build the skills.  Brian talks about being trained or untrained.  That’s exactly the case in leadership, no doubt.  Training leadership is something that is extremely important to be a part of every program.  I believe if you want to be able to be consistent year after year after year, you need to have consistency in your leadership.  I think that’s extremely important.

One other thing that I really thought was powerful – I’ve always believed it myself, it was good to hear it from people in this project as well – is just the power of simplicity and breaking through the clutter.  As a marketing consultant, the things that I do today, breaking through the clutter is the name of the game.  We’re trying to get people’s attention.  We’re trying to deliver value to them and meet that attention with value.  I think that really sums up leadership as well, is that the simpler that you can make it – and I like to call everything else noise around you.  The uncontrollables would be noise.  What other people think of you would be noise.

The simpler and easier to understand that you can make your core values, your culture… An example for this – Brian, I’ve seen you use this – is to ask your kids what are the core values?  Give them a 3×5 note card and ask them what their core values are.  If they’re not all writing down the same core values, it’s not easy enough to understand.  You have not trained them into understanding the core values.

So again, I think the power of simplicity is very underrated today, and especially with Millennials who are continuing to be pulled in so many different directions with social media and e-mail and the internet and different sports and coaches in the school and everything like that.  Breaking through the clutter is so important.  I think if you can simplify your message and explain to them why you’re going to give yourself a much better chance for success in leadership…

Cain:  Matt, anything that you would say I wish I knew then what I know now?  Or if we had to say if you had to take everything from the program and summarize it here as we bring this podcast episode to a close, what would be maybe your most important takeaways from the Leadership VIP and the whole program, do you think?

Morse:  Sure.  Some of this obviously is formulated from interviewing the experts in this project.  I changed the wallpaper on my computer recently to Dallas, Texas, and I’ve been asked probably 10 times by other people about why my background is Dallas, Texas.  That’s where I live right now.  I just told them it’s about making the big time where I am right now and not getting caught up in the destination or where I’m going.  It’s something small obviously, but every time I see it I think, “Man, this is right where I want to be, this is where I need to be right now and there’s a reason I’m here” versus having it be a destination.  That’s a small thing that I’ve done.

The concept is that you can do big things from small places.  You can do big things from anywhere.  That’s not going to be possible if you don’t take pride and make the big time where you are right now.  An element of that is presence, no doubt, and being where your feet are.  You’ve got to be there to really enjoy it.  The idea of being content – there’s a fine line here.  Being content and energized and enjoying everything that you’re doing is extremely important.  But obviously, knowing the end game, knowing where you’re going, where you want to go, what you need to do to get there is extremely important.  But you’re not going to do a great job where you’re at today if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.

Cain:  Make the Big Time Where You Are – one of my favorite books of all time by football coach Frosty Westering.  Fantastic.  Matt, I appreciate you making the big time where you are and being a guest on the Peak Performance Podcast here to talk about Leadership VIP, a two-part series.  Last week was Mental Game VIP.  If you missed that one, you’re going to want to go back and listen to it.  Matt Morse, thanks for joining us here on the Peak Performance Podcast.  For our listeners that want more Leadership VIP, I think you’ve got a little discount for them somewhere to pick up here as they heard it on the podcast.  How do they access that?

Morse:  Yeah for sure. So in the past, Leadership VIP has retailed for 200 bucks and that includes the paperback books, the CDs, the digital download, and the eBook, but right now. If you go to www.LeadershipVIP.com/Cain you can get the digital download of the 12 hour audio program and the eBook all for 50 bucks and if you wanted to add the paperback book on top of that, you can do that for an additional $25. So again, that the 12 hours digital download audio program that you can plug into your bluetooth, listen to anywhere you go as well as the eBook that you can open in either Kindle or iBooks and you can get that all for $50 at  www.LeadershipVIP.com/Cain. 

Cain:  Matt, thank you.  Thanks for doing that for our listeners.  If they want more from you, there is a website they can go to.  It’s www.Matt-Morse.com.  Is that right?

Morse:  That’s right, www.Matt-Morse.com.  You can see what I’m doing, what’s new, what I’m up to, and check out my social media accounts there.

Cain:  Fantastic.  Matt, thanks for joining us on the Peak Performance Podcast.  Make sure you Dominate the Day.

Morse:  Thanks, Brian.


Thanks for listening to the Peak Performance Podcast.  If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to iTunes and leave a positive review or share a link to this episode on social media using #PeakPod.  Mention Brian Cain and one thing you learned in this episode for your chance to win a free ticket to the next Brian Cain Experience Live Event.  Dominate the Day.