The Level Up Leader
Episode - 2

The Art is Listening with Jeremy Miller and Michael King

It’s an important fact that trust increases the power of your organization substantially. In fact, the Harvard Business Review states that organizations with high levels of trust have 106% more energy and 50% more productivity. A straightforward way to increase trust is by increasing your level of listening.

It’s an important fact that trust increases the power of your organization substantially. In fact, the Harvard Business Review states that organizations with high levels of trust have 106% more energy and 50% more productivity. A straightforward way to increase trust is by increasing your level of listening. 

And that’s precisely what today’s guest is doing. 

On today’s podcast, I am joined by Jeremy Miller.  Jeremy is Polly’s Vice President of Enterprise Development and an all-around great leader.  Please welcome Jeremy to the podcast.


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Michael King 0:00
It’s an important fact that trust increases the power of your organization substantially. In fact, Harvard Business Review states that organizations that have high levels of trust have 106% More energy, and 50% more productivity. One simple the way to increase trust is by increasing your level of listening. And that’s exactly what today’s guest is all about. Welcome to the level up leader podcast. I’m your host, Michael King. I’m an executive coach and founder of teams that coach, I work with sea level leaders to clarify and expand the vision, elevate their performance and level up their leadership. On today’s podcast, I’m joined by Jeremy Miller. Jeremy is the vice president of enterprise development for poly and he’s also all around great guy, and a great leader. So please welcome Jeremy Miller to the podcast.

Today, I’m super pumped for you to meet this leader. His name is Jeremy Miller, he is the vice president of enterprise development for a company by the name of Polly so he’s gonna share a little bit about that he has some military experience with the Marine Corps, he’s got 23 years in sales, small business owners for 15 years, he’s got some amazing kids, it sounds like it’s the 21 1917 and 15. So somewhere, you got pretty busy to replicate. So that’s amazing. But man, thank you so much for for joining today. So tell us a little bit more about you what makes you tick?

Jeremy Miller 1:47
People, so you know, I feed off of people, I feed off their energy. I think what makes me tick is just doing things I love to do. And that’s that’s just making people better and making company thrive. And it’s funny, because, you know, from the day that I started in, even in the Marine Corps when I was 17 years old, I’ve always, I’ve always had that need for recognition, right? Like I always wanted to be the best I always wanted to be number one, I can remember being 1819 years old and getting my proficiency and conduct marks and you know, in the perfect marine was five Oh, and, and I always usually, you know, a 4849 like proficiency conduct. And I remember one time I got like a 4647. And I thought it was the end of the world, right? So just from from the time I was young, I I got to do some extraordinary things as a young man in the military, and I credit a lot of my success and disciplines and things from from that experience. You know, I was a 21 year old sergeant in the Congo, in Africa and Zaire and I got a son now that just graduated high school who’s 19? And I’m like, Man, how did I do it? I was like, wow, you know, I see where I was at it. And it and I see where he’s at. And I think you know, some of it’s just a little bit of upbringing difference, right? You know, I grew up in West Virginia, and where I live and grew up in a coal miners home and mom and dad, you know, they didn’t have much, but they always provided and, you know, they always made sure that I never wanted for anything, but always wanted more. But I never had to really want for anything, but I always knew there was something more to have, you know, and maybe it’s just possession type stuff. But I was always driven by some of that. So yeah, so it is good. And I got into the car business after the after the Marine Corps and it started out selling cars and worked my way to finance and sales manager and then General Sales Manager worked up to General Manager position, it was up in the northern West Virginia Pittsburgh market. And just really excelled at it. And what it boiled down to was as good people, I was always honest. And, you know, I always say like, sometimes, you know, delivering bad news or telling a customer sorry, you can’t buy a car because your credit is bad, or I can’t get to that payment on that car. That was always kind of hurt inside a little bit delivering that news to people, which I believe was just a real real way of just being empathetic, right? Because wanting them to have something that you you know, like you can’t control and so and then after it was funny, I got I actually got the car guys laugh at this because I I actually took a credit application this is back when you stand to handwrite things right back, you know, when I write I was taking a credit application on an insurance agent and we’ll see what company he was with but one day and asked him what his gross monthly income was. And he he told me and I kind of looked up like okay, yeah, well, seriously, what what’s your gross monthly income? haha funny. He goes, No, that’s what I really make. I’m like, what is that you make this much money. And you you’re home every holiday you’re home, you’re home for the birthdays, you know, you don’t work weekends, and he’s like exactly nine months later I was an insurance agent.

Michael King 4:59
You That’s. So that’s exactly how that works, right?

Jeremy Miller 5:03
Yeah. So that’s how I transitioned from the auto business to the insurance business and had some great, great success as a small business owner working for another company. And then in January, as recent as January, I got offered a position here at Poly and manages, I fell in love with it, because it allowed me to marry my two experiences. So I was able to take my experience in the car business for those 10 years in my experience as an insurance agent, and I was just able to, like they just married together and I could walk into a dealership and you would think I worked in a dealership because I can speak their language, I understand their pain points. And and then from the insurance perspective, understanding why things are the way they are in insurance. So I always describe the car businesses like it’s very great, right? You can you can, you can get creative, putting deals together in the car business call it you know, it’s like that creative writing class when your dealership with insurance, it’s very black and white, it’s regulated. So you can’t get creative in the insurance world. So when the two when the two of them collide, you know, it’s great to have people with both experiences to understand, okay, I know what you’re thinking, I know, you want to pay the premium out of the car deal gross so that this car can go down the road, but the Department of Insurance really doesn’t want you to do that. We can’t do that. So. So anyway, so that’s, that’s, that’s me in a nutshell, man in a couple minutes. But it’s been a great journey. You talk about my kids. I mean, they’re Yeah, they’re fantastic. And I’ve just been very blessed to have a very supportive family. And matter of fact, we’ll we’ll probably be fishing on Greenbrier River here in West Virginia, this weekend for Labor Day. So yeah, two daughters, two sons. And, you know, I can’t can’t complain at all about it.

Michael King 6:40
that’s awesome. What I’m loving about kind of getting doing this format of diving into doing some podcasts with leaders, is I love to hear people’s stories, kind of where they came from. But I also I love experiencing people’s energy, and I love the energy that you’re bringing to the table, you just kind of like in our pre interview, you’re telling me that you just got to traveling and going around to your your different dealerships you said yeah, 1200 rooftops that you’re visiting. And making sure that, you know, funding, what’s actually happening boots on the ground type of stuff. I love that. I there was a season where I went in. So while I started off doing doing leadership through through ministry, and when I went back to school to get my master’s, I actually ended up being a finance manager for a while at an auto dealership. So I remember when I actually started to transition out of, I started to turn the blinker on with my GM to let them know like, Hey, I just want to let you know, like one of my personal goals was as soon as I’m making this amount of money in my coaching business. I’m battling out of the finance business of working at the car dealership. And I remember that I gave him about maybe about a four month notice to let him know like, hey, just want to let you know. Come November 15. I am done. I just want to let you know, like I’m done. And the finance managers at that at that specific dealership. They were making so much money that he did not believe me. He was like, you’re not you’re not gonna quit this job. You’re not going to leave my why was Yeah, exactly. It’s like no, but my why was strong enough heat. What he didn’t know is that every single dime that I’ve made from working in the car industry, I’d actually put into my company. Oh, wow. Like, so I wasn’t living off that money. Like I was literally just dumping it into going okay, this is how much I need for my first five years of operation. So this is my financial goals like so let’s rock Let’s go. In I know that God used that situation of like, you know, of me being able to pause the world work in my education, get exposure to leaders at a completely different level, but also some experiences to get me connected with real life real people in order for me to elevate what I was doing, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. But you’re the exact type of leader that I want to talk to you. You have from all the way from, you know, West Virginia Marine Corps you know, car dealership Insurance Agency Polly there’s something that’s been going on inside of you to where you have leveled up all the way across the board and I have a really good sense that you have some you have gratitude in your heart and you really like to experience next level things for the people that you serve. Can you I want to talk to you about these three specific questions the first one what is one leadership superpower one leadership tip that you feel like that you put in play that’s unique to you that you see working really well

Jeremy Miller 9:37
it’s it’s funny you ask that because honestly like I read constantly reading books and but I think I think for right now on the climate and just in the just the industry in the country the you know the labor market. I think it’s so easy as leader sometimes to lead from a from a from a calendar lead from an Excel spreadsheet and and not really understand what’s going on. And I think I think, you know, I used to, we used to call them armchair generals, right. Like in the in the military, like, you know, the guy that tells you to go do something that wouldn’t think twice of doing it himself. I never, I never want to report to that guy. And so that’s, that’s what I don’t want to be I don’t ever want to be that armchair general, that’s like a pure looking at looking at the stats going, Oh, you’re doing a terrible job, you know, I need to know why it is what it is. And that’s what I actually, you know, last eight weeks, I’ve been on the road pretty hard. I’ve probably been into, like, 6060 plus rooftops in dealerships and you know, just to help my clients, but really, it’s just so my field team knows that, you know, I care the company cares, like we, you know, we sort of, you know, I listen to a lot of podcasters, one in particular, where they talk about like, leading leading out of crisis and you don’t really think about the pandemic, like, you know, we kind of like shrug it off. Yeah, my COVID lasted three or four days wasn’t really a crisis for me, you know, like, but I mean, people experienced some real, like, there was a lot of traumatic crisis for families that lost people and jobs and relocations. There was a lot as a leader, you got to sit back and say, okay, yeah, my family. Oh, hi, COVID. We were over, like in a week. And that was it. Like it. We didn’t have really a crisis from but there was a lot of people that suffered that way. And then understanding the industries, right, the auto industry is is so different post pandemic than it was pre pandemic, right. It’s currently working. Yeah. So, so leading leading through that, that those crisis is like crazy. Right now, because I think the biggest gifts don’t take away. And it’s not it’s not like it’s a it’s a hidden secret, but it’s just showing your people that you care, I’ve been reading a book, called leaders eat last right? And by Simon Sanic in and he opens up and it grabbed me, it grabbed me, because it’s always that first few chapters of a book that are the first few pages of a book, whether I know I’m gonna put it down and never read it again. And his book opened up with that military. So we’ve read the book. Leaders eat last year. Have you ever had that?

Michael King 12:06
Yes, I have. Yes.

Jeremy Miller 12:08
Yeah. So it opens up with that story of the ATM pilot that’s up there above the clouds, right. And, you know, he just had this gut feeling something wasn’t right. comes down out of the clouds, you know, and it’s just like, that’s as leaders sometimes we got to come down out of the clouds, we got to get out of the towers, get out of the office, and just go out there and see what’s really happening before we start making like judgment calls about because sometimes, it’s like, Wow, we got this all wrong from our level, like we’re and so that’s, that would be my nugget is just really just come down out of the clouds and show your people that you care and that you’ll roll your sleeves up and and work with alongside them.

Michael King 12:42
I love that. On your on your on your show notes. When you when you submitted them, you actually said you actually worded it that lead from weeds, not from trees. Exactly. And, and I love that, that’s gonna be that’s gonna be a quotable for this. So I think that’s absolutely absolutely brilliant. And you shared a little bit some stories of some apps, apps applications, as far as you know, how you do that? Is there anything else you’d like to add? Is there any any specific story that stands out to you?

Jeremy Miller 13:11
You know, I mean, right now, there, there’s, there’s, from from the time of, of beginning, and I think we’re all like, I think we’re all kind of born leaders. I think it’s in all of us. It’s just, we excuse our personality sometimes to, to not run with that. Or I’m an introvert or an extrovert, like, Yeah, I’m a total extrovert. I don’t meet a stranger ever. And I think, you know, just from, from a story perspective, as this is really just, I think sometimes we want to, we want to respond. I had a great, great example, this past week meeting with a client where, you know, he was kind of I thought the meeting was going to go like, in a very positive way. I went in with like, a, with an agenda of like, the things we were wanting to discuss. And very quickly, very candidly, the client kind of let me have it. And I wasn’t, like, I did that prep for that type of meeting, I in my mind, I mean, it was just like a total, like sucker punch from behind. And I mean, he was very polite, and respect, but I mean, I was like, Oh, my gosh, like, I was kind of like, you know, if you get punched, like, you’re gonna get punched drunk for a second, like, what just happened? And it’s so so true. And I think our response my response to that I just had to be very honest and open with him in that moment, I think season just being season because the first thing we’ll do is get defensive. Right? And and if you want to get defensive and say, No, you can do this better. And I just had a look at the client and say, I could machine gum some responses right now that that probably would sound really well like that you would probably be satisfied with the responses, but I don’t know that they’re the responses that that weren’t your concern. So give me give me a week to get back with you on your concerns. And he’s like appreciated, I appreciate that. So, but the younger me would have just just rattled off all kinds of, you know, all the things I think he wanted to hear. And but the, the more seasoned Leader in Me said, Let’s not telling him what you think he wants to hear. And let’s, let’s just tell him the truth and get a few days to do that.

Michael King 15:25
I love it, I love it. Now. Now coming out of you know, we are coming out of out of, you know, post pandemic COVID. If there is ever going to be such a thing ever again, I’m not quite sure, but what do you feel like is the biggest leadership or business hurdle that you’re experiencing today?

Jeremy Miller 15:43
You know, I think it’s just the you and I talked a little bit before we went live, but it’s understanding what what makes what makes the labour force tick right now, because, you know, for a couple years, a lot of people got to sort of, we’ve got to kind of sit in our bedrooms and get on our teams calls and our zoom calls and in color clients. And, you know, I was working for a company prior to Paulie and you know, they, I was getting a lot of, Hey, man, you’re a rock star, you’re doing a great job. And I was dying on the vine. I’m like, I suck. Like, I’m sitting. I don’t have teams call like, this does not like, but I was sucking better than everybody else, I guess. But you know, but I was, you know, it was like, This is not me. And I’m a very relational, like, you know, we talked about, you know, what, what gets me going, and it’s people, right, and I mean, that I can do this, like what we’re doing right now, like an hour or so a day, but to do 810 hours a day, every day is like, so I think, you know, the labor force, I had a friend of mine sent me an article last week, it was called Quiet quitting. And it’s kind of talking about this Gen Z this. There’s the drive, right? Like, you know, when when I started out on commission only in 1999, you know, commission only it was like, Oh, my gosh, are you crazy, right? And but I understood that, in order to, you know, to make extra, I had to work harder, I had to make that extra phone call, I had to go out and greet a person, maybe if I would had it, you know, if I had a sandwich in my hand about the lunch, I’m starving, and there’s a customer pulls up, up at the sandwich down, wash my hands and run out, shake him because they may be the only customer I can speak to that day. So it’s like, Okay, do I eat my sandwich now? Or do I steal the car now? Like, you know, so. But I guess to answer your question, it’s really just managing through the labor force and trying to figure out what, what motivates people like what motivates your team? It may it may be it may be given them every other Friday off if they hit certain goals, or you know, and we have to be open to that, you know, because we come from, I come from a culture of, you know, if you don’t work 68 hours a week, you don’t work, you didn’t work, you know, I don’t think it has to be that way. I think I think if you can do that, if you can do that work and 30 hours a week, and it’s great. And you’re performing well, I’m cool with that. It’s just, I feel like, I feel like there’s an expectation that we reward for lack of results, maybe. So really figuring out what, what, what motivates what drives them. And one of the biggest things, I also read a book. It’s called Radical candor. I don’t know if you’ve ever read that. But it’s a great book, but it talks about really getting to know your people. And like knowing your team and knowing like are, you know, who are they married? Are they happy? Are they? Or do they have kids? Where do they live? What excites them what, so as you create these contests, or you create pay plans, or you create these incentives, you try to create it around kind of individualizing some of that.

Michael King 18:45
I love that. Now, as you know, some of the big takeaways that I’m having even just even having these aha moments during this conversation, too, is that it’s so easy for us to get caught up into trying to measuring the wrong things. And, and, you know, again, outcomes are always more important than your system, and your, your strategies that aren’t working for you. And I would say that, you know, that’s probably one of the biggest things that I’ve been working with leaders on is that sometimes leaders, they get caught in the gap of making sure that you’re checking the right number of hours that your team members are working, and making sure that everybody is in compliance with the systems and strategies that you put into place. But at the end of the day, is is everything that you’ve designed actually given you the results that you want. And I like what you just said there. I like the idea of like, there has been this massive cultural shift. In fact, probably one of the big motivations of the great resignation has simply been, we don’t want to do it this way anymore. Like we have enough pain to cause us to change. So let’s just not do this like this anymore. Right. And so I think that we’re I think we’re experiencing a lot of that and I think that these are good things, unless you’re not willing to adapt After the change, if you’re not willing to adapt into change, then you’re gonna become a relic pretty fast. Oh, yeah, just won’t have a workforce. Right. Man. Well, I loved I loved our conversation today. How can people reach you and get in touch with you?

Jeremy Miller 20:17
You know, I’m very reachable that we welcome. It’s just Jeremy Miller, my first and last name at Poly Dotco. You can email me, I’m on LinkedIn. And you know, I’ll be glad. Like I said, I, it was it was a it was a humbling for you to ask me to be part of this like, because I always think, What do I got to offer? Right? I feel like I’m learning every day. Still. You know, I’m 46 years old. And, you know, I have to sometimes still back and like, you know, even if I live to be 80 songs still, like, I still got half my life to live. Right. So there’s still a lot to learn. But yeah, LinkedIn, my email I’ll be I’ll be glad to connect and respond. And if you have questions or comments, or you take I’m a crazy man, you can say no? Worse.

Michael King 21:06
Where you come from the car industry, so I can guarantee you been called worse. So yeah, I’ve, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it. So man. Well, I I appreciate you very much for doing this. And you know, again, some of the best leaders are the ones that are looking for platforms. And I that’s what I appreciate about you, you’re authentic, you’re sincere, you’re real and you’re willing to get as you would say, lead from the weeds and not just from the tree. So thank you so much for making time for me today. And I can’t wait to see kind of what’s what’s next for you.

Jeremy Miller 21:39
Thanks, Michael, so much.

Michael King 21:39
Absolutely. Okay.

Jeremy Miller 21:41
Yeah, and you keep doing what you’re doing man it’s it’s encouraging to guys like me, like I was telling you before the call like, as you scroll through some some negative news, it’s always encouraging to see your posts and your videos and some of your advice and it doesn’t go unnoticed. I may not like or comment or, you know, send you a pom pom emoji or anything but, but it’s being watched.

Michael King 22:05
Well, I’m looking for the pom pom emoji. So thank you for joining us today on the level up leader podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, consider leaving a review on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcast. It helps us to get the word out. And make sure to like, subscribe and follow. So that way you’ll get all of our content. I love that Jeremy gets his team. He understands that understanding and listening are superpowers of leaders who drive results. He also understands that you can’t fake this, you have to care authentically. When it comes to trust it can easily be gained even more it can be easily lost. I wanted to give a special thank you to our featured artists names without numbers for allowing us to use their music that we’ve decided that we only wanted to use music that I’ve actually produced in the studio for this podcast. So I think that’s pretty cool. To find out more about everything we’re up to check us out at www dot teams dot coach. And don’t forget to join our Facebook group at teams dot coach, slash level up leaders.