Ep366: Brendan Rogers – Improve Your Performance by Being Open to Input From Others

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Quick take

BIO: Brendan provides consulting services and resources to leaders who want to become more effective and their teams to become less dysfunctional. He is the Host of The Culture of Things Podcast.

STORY: Brendan got an idea to buy shares in a telecommunications company in the early 90s. But because he and his partner were just starting a family, his partner discouraged him from making the investment. He ignored her and ended up losing almost all his money.

LEARNING: You are not always right, be open to other people’s perspectives. Women, don’t be afraid to ask your partners about money and investing.


“Lack of humility is the root of all evil.”

Brendan Rogers


Guest profile

Brendan Rogers’s purpose is to ‘improve the lives of people at work.’ He does this by providing consulting services and resources to leaders who want to become more effective and their teams to become less dysfunctional. He is the Host of The Culture of Things Podcast.

Worst investment ever

Back in the late 90s, Brendan and his girlfriend (now wife) moved back to Sydney from the UK. They were 24 years old, just starting their young family. Brendan was at the time earning decent money.

For the love of investing

Brendan has always been a person that enjoys investing a lot. So when he and his boss got talking about investing, he was interested. They particularly talked about share investing in a telecommunications company.

Ignoring his partner’s input

Brendan was pretty excited about this investment idea, and so he spoke to his girlfriend about it. However, she was flat against it. But, Brendan went against her judgment and invested 5% of his gross salary. The shares then went down very quickly, and he lost about $150,000 in the investment.

Struggling to rebuild the lost trust

The most significant impact of Brendan’s worst investment ever was not the money he lost but the level of trust that was broken between him and his girlfriend. It took him a long time to rebuild that trust.

Lessons learned

Be open with your spouse about your investments

When in a relationship, and especially a serious one where you live together and have a child together, have conversations around what might be the suitable investments and the amount of risk you are okay to take on.

You are not always right, be open to other people’s perspectives

Brendan always gets excited about investment opportunities, and he is always trying to get other people excited too. However, he has had to learn very quickly about his aptitude for getting people excited and dismissing those who are not as excited as him. Now he knows that his way is not always the right way and is not blind to other people’s perspectives.

Andrew’s takeaways

Women, don’t be afraid to ask your partners about money and investing

Women, if you are married or in a serious relationship, do not be scared to ask your partners questions when it comes to money and investing. Find out what they are doing and get involved. Research shows that women are better risk managers—a quality that is key in investing.

Actionable advice

Treat investing as a team sport. Go to the right people and build trust in that team. Be open and accept that sometimes your way is not the right way, and be open and humble to look at different perspectives.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Brendan and his wife’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to close their debt on their mortgage. Once they do that, then they can focus on their investment debt.

Parting words


“Seek out differing opinions to challenge yourself and your thinking.”

Brendan Rogers


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that the win in investing, you must take risks. But to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now to reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you my podcast listeners based on the lessons I've learned from all my guests, fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests. Brendan Rodgers, Brendon, are you ready to rock?

Absolutely, Andrew.

Andrew Stotz 00:50
Let's do it. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Brendan Rodgers purpose is to improve the lives of people at work. He does this by providing consulting services and resources to leaders who want to become more effective, and their teams to become less dysfunctional. And ladies and gentlemen, he is the host of the culture of things, podcast. Brendon, take a minute and filling for the tidbits about your life.

Like just to I guess, thank you very much for the introduction. And I'm really excited to do this podcast, I haven't had an opportunity to talk about my worst investments before. Normally, I'm talking cultural leadership and teamwork stuff. So thank you for the opportunity. Right? My own journey is, look, I'm married. I've got a couple of well, adult children now. 21 and 18. Live on the central coast of New South Wales, which is absolutely beautiful part of the world. I'm actually a Queenslander, I grew up in Brisbane. But look, if you've got to live in New South Wales, the Central Coast is a pretty good place to be. Yeah, as you said in the introduction, I've got my consultancy business, I work a lot with leaders and teams helping them become more effective, less dysfunctional. And really, that's just, I like to sum that up in a bit of a way of it's really about helping leaders and businesses learn to manage themselves first as leaders, but then also how to get the right people into the right roles, having the right interaction when they're in teams, how they had some some discipline around what they do in their organization, and how they're leading people and how they're getting people to be effective. And then wrapping that up through all of that happens through powerful and genuine conversations. I'm also a mad football supporter, I love Liverpool Football Club. So on best probably the high note to finish on as far as introduction, I think.

Andrew Stotz 02:43
Well, I do have a question about that. I mean, based upon your experience and the work that you've done with leaders, and you've seen dysfunctional, you've seen you've helped dysfunctional move to high functioning. I'm just curious if you would have like one little piece of advice, out of all the things that you've learned and seen for the audience who, you know, plenty of the listeners want to become more functional. And they, I can tell you dealing with dysfunctional teams is like everybody's struggles and time with that. So what would be like your one piece of advice there.

And I think to relate it best to your show, a lot of people talk about how money is the root of all evil? Well, I think when you're talking about leaders in teams, humility, or a lack of humility is the root of all evil. You know, when people are in teams, either leading teams or part of a team, as soon as you get people doing things for the benefit of themselves, rather than for the benefit of the team or others in the team. It's a recipe for destruction over a period of time. And the longer you let that sort of behavior go, the worse it can get. So humility is that factor, really identify people that may have a lack of humility, struggle with humility, and a little bit more egotistical and about them, as opposed to the good of the team, if you can get good at nailing that you've actually got a really solid base for people working together? Well,

Andrew Stotz 04:08
it's an interesting point, I think it's a great point. Because as I look at the work that I've done with teams, and with companies and CEOs, I've really come to the opinion that you know, to be successful. First, it takes a good CEO that provides the vision and all that but what it takes is coordination of a management team. And it's hard to coordinate when everybody's looking at their own situation. And one of the biggest challenges in this space, is that we're taught that compensation systems and measurement systems are all about identifying individual KPIs. And sometimes when you do that, you actually focus people on their navel. Like, they're like, how do I hit my goal and get my I mean, I've got to get my bonus, you know, if I don't get that it's gonna affect my family and my kids and all that So we are told, like the best way to manage people is through KPIs and all of that. But yet sometimes that can destroy that teamwork. I'm just curious if you have any thoughts about that?

Absolutely, I've got plenty of thoughts mate. But it's really I guess, to provide some really simple process around that. It's very, very important that we do have individual performance measures with PVA people need to know, you know, what's important in their role and how they can impact on their role and really doing a good job, often what gets missed. And as you said, you know, people looking at their label, and they're just focus on that, which is sort of understandable if as a group and as a leader, or leadership team, let's say that you haven't bought people's head up above that individual cloud, and made a group cloud for the team, like what is what is this team working towards, together, and I just happen to look after a certain element within the team, which is where you can get down to meet individual performance. So if you haven't ended with individual performance, but not also related to a team, collective goal, then you will get those silos happen within teams and individuals focus on themselves, rather than what's the best decision for this team. And for the goal that we're trying to achieve collectively.

Andrew Stotz 06:17
It's a great, great discussion, I think, you know, one of the things that really complicates it is the concept of compensation related to those individual goals, if we had a perfect situation where a boss worked with an employee to identify, where's your weakness that you want to fix? And where's your strength? And how do we get most out of that, and we meet on a regular basis to get that out of that conversation becomes a really authentic relationship. But the minute you add compensation into that, now, there's this subjective judgment of Did you do that not and all that. And so in some ways, getting that compensation up one other level, to the teamwork, the cooperation, the division, maybe the whole company, I think, also can defuse some of that, you know, focus on ourselves and our own individual goal. So I love

that I love the top. Absolutely, mate. you've nailed it again. And compensation can be many things. It doesn't have, you know, obviously, we always default to money, financial compensation, but it doesn't need to be that. But the, the truth, or the real key point, which you touched on is that the compensation, whatever that looks like, that needs to be a team compensation to drive team performance and team work. As soon as it comes down to individual stuff, then, naturally, you are breeding as a leader for me to maybe challenge the fact that if I do this, this is going to be good for me and my compensation, but it may not be best for the team, and the overall benefit of the team. And that's where it becomes a real challenge for people. So as leaders, again, we our leadership, or culture is reflection of leadership, and what behaviors are how are we setting up an environment that drives behavior that we really are happy with, as opposed to maybe driving something that we don't always realize we're driving, but we're driving the wrong behavior. That's just all sort of sitting up in the framing of the culture, and then how we get people to interact and work together as a team.

Andrew Stotz 08:18
Well, ladies and gentlemen, if you like what you're hearing from Brendan, make sure to go to the show notes. I'll have the links in there to his website, Brendan rodgers.com.au, and also a link to his LinkedIn. You can also just go to LinkedIn and type in Brendan Rodgers, and you'll see improving leaders and teams. Alright, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, then tell us your story.

Thanks, Andrew, like the worst investment ever. So just to frame it up a little bit. Back in the late 90s. myself, and my wife, she wasn't my wife and my daughter at the time, she was my girlfriend pregnant as well. But coming back from the UK, and I had a role in Sydney that I was coming back to. So we were 24 years of age young people expecting our first child. You know, I guess at the time I was earning, okay, money. But, you know, we were building a family we were renting in Sydney, which even back then wasn't a cheap place to rent. It's even worse now. So yeah, there was financial pressure. We didn't have any family in Sydney, we had very few friends in Sydney because it was a new place for both of us. My wife had come all the way from the UK, to Sydney fire, Brisbane, which is my hometown, but we were living in a place we're very isolated, basically. And we really were relying on ourselves as the core unit because that's all we had. Come along our first child, Caitlyn, born in the year 2000. And, you know, I was always a person that enjoyed investing a lot that I'd done a lot of it sort of pre that time. But, you know, not earning a lot of money. And I was working with a boss in a big global organization. And we talked a lot about investing. And this particular talk was around share investing. Now, I wouldn't say there was a lot of money invested in today's money. But when I did some checking against what I was earning, I was basically invested 5% of my gross salary for the year, which is probably a reasonable chunk when you think about the perspective of it, and it was a sure thing, right? heard it from the mate. Yeah, this guy, I'm not even sure if the friend that we've heard it from was actually in the sharemarket game. So yeah, there's probably one lesson to learn, like, speak to the experts, supposedly, but they, yeah, my boss said, Oh, yeah, this guy he knows, you know, it was some telecommunications company. I can't remember the name. But you know, there's 30 cents I think, share at the time. And, you know, so for a great thing came home, I was pretty I get excited about investing. And so I'm talking to Tracy, who wasn't my wife in but you know, baby and all that stuff. And she was flat against it. No way. Are we doing this? And what did I do? I still did it. There's a lot of learning that's happened since then my and sometimes I am a slow learner. But I went against her judgment or when against us as a team. And what was the impact of that was actually it wasn't the money, it was the level of trust that was just broken? Absolutely straightaway. And if you put this in the context of what I'm talking about, we had myself, my not yet wife, but we had a small child, not having friends and family around us, she was unbelievably reliant on me, I was unbelievably reliant on her, although I was still leaving everyday to go to a workplace and have adult interactions. So breaking that trust and in the only person she had to rely on is actually quite an emotional sort of experience when I thought about and looked back, because, you know, I was her world. And you know, our first daughter was her world. So to think that I could treat somebody like that to start with a round just, you know, not being a team player. And I've just spoken you in the lead up around how I value teamwork and stuff like that, while I was the most and humble person. Yeah, this is what I wanted to do. So I just went and did it. And I had no respect for my future wife and my daughter, my family. And I don't have to tell you that the investment did not work out very well. There was not a lot of money left, when the shares went down very, very quickly. So yeah, it was not was not good. And the build up back from that to obviously work and build up trust, again, around decisions on you know that that's something that took a hell of a long time to rebuild.

Andrew Stotz 13:14
And can you remember, some of the conversations you had with your wife when she was, you know, first of all, kind of shocked that you did that number one. And then when it all goes bad, you know, it's even worse, like, okay, you betrayed my trust, and you lost the money. I mean, if you betrayed my trust, and you prove that you were a brilliant guy, and it went up by 10 times, maybe I'd forgive you. But

yeah, I think I have a really, I must have a really good knack of putting trauma out of my head, because I don't. I know, I know, there was some trauma involved. not physically, but certainly some very heated conversation and what was even worse by to magnify the situation. And my beautiful wife reminds me of this, I say reasonably regularly, but I even a letter, a confirmation of shares came through the post and it was addressed to me, she didn't open it, but she had a sense of, she's got a good intuition about things. And, you know, I've should have learned early because I can't get away with anything. She just has a feeling she knows me too well. But that letter came through and I'll watch that I think it's just a newsletter from the company or whatever. Yeah, see, that just turned a bad situation to very, very much worse. So lots of again, what my to understand the magnitude of situation right now you also have to understand a person's background on endure my wife, through her own family had experienced some level of severe broken trust between her father and mother. So that sort of coming to a new country, you know, pregnant little nail a young child, you know, that was just Absolutely vulnerable. And I just, I just reiterated this, or perpetuated something that was extremely painful for her in her private life. And I've done that in a different way, but still the fundamentals of that trust. So it was, it wasn't pretty, it wasn't pretty.

Andrew Stotz 15:19
So how would you summarize the lessons that you learned?

Well, I think the key word is summarize the lesson, the number one lesson that I learned, and look, I was playing in teams, sporting semi professional sporting teams when I did this. So you think I was a much better attuned to teamwork. But I was obviously a very selfish individual, when you're going into a relationship, and especially living together and having a child together to not be open to conversation around what might be right, for the timing of, you know, even level of risk or risk levels that people are okay to take on me, I get excited about opportunities, whether they be helping people or investing or whatever. So I like to try and get other people excited about that. So I had to learn very quickly about my own aptitude for getting people excited. And then if somebody is not as excited as me, I think they're crazy. And why wouldn't I do it anyway? Because it's the right thing to do. And I learned to say, Well, I need to stop having the study group think it's individual thinking, I think my way is the right way. I think that's one of the worst things you can have with investing is just, you know, looking at your own view, not even doing some research, but not getting some perspective from others, to help you look at things through different lenses. That had to be my biggest learning experience. And that has carried me right through in everything I do today.

Andrew Stotz 16:49
Well, let me Maybe I'll share a couple things that, you know, I take away from your story, you know, you've, you've said the words, I get excited a few times. And what that highlights is a book that I have on my shelf called your money in your brain. And that book was a great example of how investing is actually a physical sport, it is a physical activity, because the anticipation of gain or the experience of loss are actually felt in our brains. there even felt on our bodies, when we know, okay, that stock just fell by 50%. You know, you can just get sweat pouring out of your body when you like, have this so that that book went through your money and your brain went through the idea of through functional MRI to show how really physical the world of investing is. The second thing is, having been in that world all of my career, it's so hard to perform well, in that in consistently do well, in managing money. And, you know, then we have to use a lot of tools. So in my work, I have other people that I work with, and we argue about our ideas. And you know, and you know, nobody will push that idea. And to the extent that they won't listen to anybody else, except in a very rare space where they say no, I'm going to do this because of digital. But so there's like a whole process that you know, in this case, obviously, you got excited. So you skipped that part of the process. The second thing that I take away is, you know, thinking about my mom and dad, and basically throughout their marriage, which they were married for about 59 years, when my father passed away, my mother lives with me here in Thailand now, and she's listening to this podcast right now. But they made financial decisions together. And I think that that allowed them to do well. And they did well, it wasn't like they started with a lot of money. And my mom didn't work, she was a housewife. My dad wasn't, you know, a super high paid executive. But over time, they steadily and slowly built up, you know, their wealth. And when my mom when my dad passed away, and we sold the house, and my mom came, I was able to go through her accounts, and we went through everything. And to be able to say you have enough money to support yourself for the rest of your life, you are financially independent, you are financially independent woman. And that means that, you know, you are not a burden to me financially. And even if you somehow we spend all of that, you know, you still have me behind you. That's a very rare situation. And I think that what I would like to highlight from your story is that for the women out there, that vulnerability is very real. And a lot of women will just hand over investing to their husband, and then find at the end of their lives that in fact, he wasn't that good at it or he didn't talk about it and you don't know anything about it. So I think that this is a really good lesson for you For the listeners out there, if you're if you're a woman, and you're married, or you have a husband or a boyfriend, or whatever that is, when it comes to money and investing, don't be afraid to ask questions about what they're doing. And how's this going, and get involved, because actually, there's research out there about IT professional investors that show that women are actually better as risk managers, basically, which is probably what's key in investing really. And that's what this podcast, you know, I talked about from the beginning. So there's just so many things about how, as a husband and wife team, it's just so much better to work together. And so I just think that you raised that point to the audience about how critical it is, and don't be afraid for women out there to speak up. In addition, last thing I would just say is, I wrote a course called How to start investing in the stock market, how to start building your wealth investing in the stock market, and I wrote it for women. In fact, I wrote it for five women. And those five women are my five nieces. When they were 18. I gave each of them $3,000, and helped them set up an investment account to get started. Because I thought the best thing I could do as an uncle would be to help them understand how they could become financially independent, and then make more of their own decision. And then hopefully, they would end up like my mom. So that's a long winded explanation. But I definitely think the audience needs to hear is there anything you would add to that?

Yeah, I mean, what you've just said there, and the action you've taken to support your niece is absolutely fantastic. And credit to you as a person. So first of all, well done on that, I think to reinforce even further the point you make about women, females being good, invest in good risk managers, even just in preparing for talking to you today, just doing some rough figures. And I thought, you know, what, roughly, I think that I've probably lost. Certainly this includes some interest and all this sort of stuff, probably somewhere in the region of around $150,000 in income or in money, real terms, when I have driven an investment in probably overrode things. And that's, that's mainly been through some property stuff, as opposed to shares. But unfortunately, probably started that the share thing as I shared, the, when my wife Tracy has been a much better contributor, and in anything driven some of the decision making those investments are still today very, very profitable for us, particularly in the property market. So once again, reinforcing and learning back to your earlier or back, your earlier question is Yeah, I've really got to swallow some pride to some extent and say, Well, if my wife Tracy thinks it's a good idea, and some we should look at, or she's come to me with something, then I probably better sit down and listen, because she's got more runs on the board than what I have.

Andrew Stotz 22:59
Well, maybe that's an excellent point that I said, for the women out there to, you know, don't be afraid to talk to your husband or whatever. But it's another great point is that to the men out there, you want to be better at investing, then take in the input from your wife, from your girlfriend, and discuss it with them and see what you get.

Absolutely, absolutely. And if you don't have a wife or girlfriend, I mean, anybody within that circle that you value, their judgment, you know, female, a Weber a really, really important in my books.

Andrew Stotz 23:33
Yeah. And that's where one of the common mistakes that I've heard from listening to so many stories is that people are driven by emotion or flawed thinking. And I often say that to overcome that, find a third party, another person outside of it, and then talk to them about it, and get their feedback. And so you know, that's an important part. So based upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

I think we've just touched on it. My that is the the key thing for me, it's in my language, I need to treat investing. And I would encourage people to treat investing as a team sport. And the way to look at that is that if you've, you know, we all have close confidence, I suppose. Make sure those close confidence aren't just going on emotion and their own perspective on you know, this, you're going to the right people, you know, I'm not going to go to the GP to get my teeth cleaned. I'm not going to go to the dentist to take my blood pressure and stuff, you know, go to the right people and build trust in that team and really, as an individual, you need to be open and accept sometimes that you know your way is not the right way and be very open and humble to looking at the different perspectives. The hardest thing I think in today Society especially is the hardest thing is to stay curious around things, you know why somebody has his perspective on something? As we know, there's so much judgment out there, you know, social media is a cesspool of judgment after judgment after judgment, rather than try and identify, well, why does a person see the angle like that, and if we can try and take that approach, as hard as it is, because when we hear something that really we don't, we don't like, or that goes against our moral values or whatever, we sort of get that back up straight away. And we, we always try and defend rather than just take a breath, get in touch with ourselves a bit and say, Hey, you know, what do you think like that? Andrew? That's a really interesting perspective. You know, it may sound a bit wonky to do but you know, there's there's gold in that understanding that because that's going to help you get a much better perspective on things in investing, and particularly, obviously, we're talking financial situation, in this particular case, why wouldn't you take that insight?

Andrew Stotz 25:58
Yeah, that's a great, great point. And I think the other part about social media is it's constantly reinforcing your opinion. And it's giving you more and more feedback about your opinion, if you thought you like Toyota pickup trucks, they may go and send you a lot of Toyota pickup trucks where maybe another pickup truck may have been a much better suit suited for you. But instead, you're focused on what they're feeding you. So great, great, great suggestion. But

great, isn't that the great thing about paid social media advertising made it, you actually get the reinforcement of what you want to hear anyway, without doing anything? Because soon as you go on social media, they flick it in your face anyway?

Andrew Stotz 26:39
Yeah. And that's, that's what makes it harder. I think, you know, what you're talking about is that's what makes it harder to get opposing opinions. You know, it just gets a lot harder. So you really, I think the lesson to take away that you've explained is that you've got to work a little bit harder to get those but those new opinions and outside voices can be so valuable. All right. Well, last last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Actually, my number one goal, why shouldn't say mine mine and my wife's number one goal is to actually just close out our personal debt. And thankfully, the only personal debt we have is a small bit of money left on the mortgage. Once we do that, and we feel that we can and will achieve that in the next 12 months, then we can focus on our tax deductible debt, our investment debt, beautiful, beautiful.

Andrew Stotz 27:34
Alright listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener to reduce risk in your life. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now and download the risk reduction checklist and see how you measure up. As we conclude, Brendan, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status, returning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

But you don't know how great that feels? I've actually finally passed something How good is that? But look, as I said and reinforce you know, treat the investing as a team sport, and really seek out those differing opinions to challenge yourself to challenge your thinking. I think if you can do that investing, you'll actually do that in life generally as well. And to me that produces far better outcomes. So work hard at doing beautiful

Andrew Stotz 28:32
well that's a wrap on another great story to help us create grow, and most importantly, protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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