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Trust featuring Frank Mona III

Released on APRIL 5, 2024

In 2011, former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, shared his views on the essence of leadership and boiled it down to a single word, trust. Powell began his military career in the US Army in 1958 and in 1989, was promoted to the rank of General. He concluded his military career by serving as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense.

As listeners of this show well know, leadership isn’t relegated to the military or government. Leadership is a crucial linchpin that ensures the wheels of business keep spinning. Frank Mona’s leadership lessons began at an early age, observing his father’s interactions in the food manufacturing plant he managed.

We discuss:

  • The value experience brings to leadership
  • Recognizing and building a culture of Servant Leadership
  • Establishing trust in an organization
  • The Impact of communication on relationships
  • The value of face-to-face interactions and human connection

Connect with Frank on LinkedIn

Francis J Consulting

Music courtesy of Big Red Horse


Rob Dwyer (00:02.09)
Yes, yes. Thank you for joining another episode. Today, I've got Frank Mona Next in Queue. Frank, how are you?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (00:10.045)
Good, how are you?

Rob Dwyer (00:11.862)
I am fantastic. I am really excited that we're gonna tackle a subject that I have yet to tackle on the show. We're gonna talk about servant leadership. But before we get there, why don't you give us the Cliffs Notes about Frank? Tell us who you are and what you do.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (00:34.813)
Well, I would love to do that. I would love to do that. Consulting, what I do is consult with business process outsourcers I do Francis J business development, anywhere from mergers and acquisitions from mergers and acquisitions to sales outsourcing to white labeling, sales outsourcing a things that I do either directly or in conjunction directly or in I've established.

And, but before that, I spent the first two thirds of my career in the telecom space, most notably with AT&T, and really got into the call center industry at the latter part of my career with AT&T, running marketing for AT&T West. And then, since then, in the last third of my career, I've been in the BPO space as a client services executive, managing portfolios of accounts of anywhere from 75 to 100 million in annual revenue.

And then, and again, as I mentioned, obviously, most recently doing consulting in the BPO space. I live in Auburn, California, which is about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills. And I've been married to my high school sweetheart. Well, actually, believe it or not, hit 39 years here at the end of March. So thank you. Can't believe it. And given how young I look, you know, we got married when I was like 10. So.


Rob Dwyer (02:04.454)
I like how you got that in there. Seriously, 39 years, that's amazing. Congratulations.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (02:09.213)
Thank you.

Rob Dwyer (02:32.398)
You know, we're recording this a little bit ahead of time when this is going to release, but I do wanna ask you, given your history at AT&T, kind of what your gut reaction was when AT&T had their service outage recently, and... kind of, if you put yourself into the contact center space, kind of how you would have gone about managing that.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (02:43.581)
Yeah, I think the first thing I would have done is obviously panicked a bit, recognizing the seriousness of what was going on. But you know, actually, when I was at AT&T, I was there during 9-11. And what I remember doing then, and I would have done the same thing now, is we immediately crafted a verbiage basically for the agents. And we had thousands and thousands of them at that time, all of which were in-house.

a statement out that just said, you know, in light of what's happening on a national level, you know, we're only going to be providing a limited amount of support today. And I forgot the exact verbiage, but basically it was a statement to, you know, ensure that the customers that we would be there to help them, but that in light of everything that was going on, it was going to be on a limited basis. We also put that similar message into the IVR. And as you can imagine that day, the call volumes were virtually nothing.

But still, and we, so I would have taken a page out of that same playbook, made sure that the agents knew what to say in terms of, you know, acknowledging what's going on, giving the customers information on how to make calls, which I know they did actually, you know, with via Wi-Fi, and obviously being able to make an emergency call despite the network being down. So anyway, that's really the approach I would have taken.

Rob Dwyer (04:10.654)
It strikes me that there are certain situations that, depending on how long you've been in leadership or in an organization that you may or may not have had an opportunity to go through, to address, to learn lessons from. And I think we often discount people as they age.

And I mean, I've talked to a lot of people who are older, and it can be challenging for them to find roles sometimes. And regardless of whether or not it's legal, ageism is a problem. And I think you illustrate exactly one of the things that gained experience can help.

give you wisdom and it gives you experience to draw upon in unusual situations that a younger leader may not have available to them because they've just simply never experienced anything like that.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (05:28.029)
I couldn't agree with you more. I think there is tremendous value in having gone through similar situations. One, just because you know what to do because you've lived it. Two, you can be the calm in the storm where people might be freaking out around you because they haven't experienced it before. And you're able to provide that wisdom and just again calm in the storm to make people feel

comfortable that yes, we're going to get through this and it's not going to be the end of the world. And then thirdly, I think that, you know, the world we live in now, I mean, if you look at what happened on that outage recently, I mean, my God, it was all over the news, it was all over social media, it was everywhere in an instant. And I think that's different than certainly, you know, what happened even just 10, you know, 10 years ago, let alone, you know, 20. So the, you know, so knowing how to navigate the new channels, but based
previous experience and applying that same playbook, then you're just expanding the number of ways you're playing off that book, but you're leveraging those tools as well to help you get the message out that you need to get out, versus just simply relying on people calling in or going to your website for a message or what have you. So I think that's the other part of it as well, is that so long as you're keeping up with technology, with how we communicate today and how information gets out today,

then you really can combine your previous experience and with these new tools to create a better solution set.

Rob Dwyer (07:05.238)
Yeah, absolutely. Well, we could probably create a whole episode just talking about how to deal with those types of events, but that's not what we're here to talk about today. So I mentioned earlier that we were gonna spend some time talking about servant leadership. And I'd like to start by just asking you, like, when did you first hear about this concept?

when were you introduced to the idea of servant leadership?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (07:38.685)
Well, it's a great question because actually I got introduced to it before I even knew what servant leadership was and it was with my father. My dad was a VP of sales for a food manufacturing company out of the San Francisco Bay area, but he was also the plant manager as well, really the general manager of the plant. And so I had the opportunity when I was in high school and college to visit him and, you know, join him for lunch. But

Rob Dwyer (07:48.299)

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (08:07.741)
Typically before we would do that, either I'd come in and we would take a walk through the plant or after lunch we would. And I got a opportunity to see my dad in action, so to speak. And whether it was the guy sweeping the floor or whether it was the operations manager running the day-to-day operation, he treated everybody with the same level of respect, same courtesy, the same whatever.

however you want to call it, the same way, regardless of the role that they played within the organization. But also you could tell that he valued what they brought to the table as well and took their input on whatever it might be, right? Whether it's a better way to clean the floors or run the operation or a new product opportunity or whatever it was. So I saw that as a great example of

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (09:03.101)
Again, not only how to treat everybody, again, regardless of role, but also leverage their expertise to be able to then apply that to my business or what I was doing or how I could help be a better leader or a better contributor to the business. So again, it was a great life lesson, but also a great lesson in how to operate in a corporate environment.

But really it was about humanity, right? It was just really about how to treat people properly and value what they bring to the table. And then again, apply that, you know, both on a personal and a professional level.

Rob Dwyer (09:40.73)
I'm wondering, did you have in-depth conversations either at the time or maybe later in life with your father about the impact that those experiences had on you?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (09:55.997)
You know, it's funny you say that because my oldest brother and I had a very similar experience with my dad and learned those things from him. And yes, so I would say at the latter part of his life that we did have those conversations. And I was able to tell him how the example that he set for me really helped me be successful and helped me interact with, you know, people in a more

meaningful and effective way and how, you know, relationship management really became a cornerstone of how I've operated. And I think that's why I've always gravitated towards roles that require me to be an effective communicator to not only to my teams, but to a broader audience, whether it was clients or whether it was just peers or, you know, whoever the audience is, because I'm just a real believer in that if you can.

build trusting relationships, regardless with who they are and what level and what it is you're trying to get accomplished, that that really is the cornerstones who success, again, I think both personally and professionally. So yeah, I did. I mean, the short answer is yes, I did. And it was very meaningful to be able to do that.

Rob Dwyer (11:13.81)
It sounds like it. And it sounds like he created a great model for you to look up to. And those impressions when we're young can be incredibly long lasting. So let's talk about servant leadership in organizations. I guess the first thing that I wanna ask about is culture.


How you, number one, let's just start here. How do you recognize that an organization has a culture that embraces servant leadership if it's a new organization to you?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (12:05.597)
say just based on how I'm being treated by, you know, whether it's my boss, my peers, maybe the new direct reports I've inherited, if, you know, if they are exuding, you know, those

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (12:22.301)
what's the word I'm looking for, behaviors and manner in which you're interacting with me that are encouraging, supportive, wanting to help me succeed, then clearly that, they have the culture, right? So then it's just a matter of capitalizing on that, demonstrating that I think similarly and leveraging that to achieve what it is we're trying to get done. Conversely, if I don't see it, then I know

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (12:50.781)
oh boy, I've got some work cut out for me. Not that people can't eventually get there and I definitely have been in organizations, in fact, the most recent one I was in, where maybe at more of a corporate level that it wasn't there, but at an operational level that I was operating at and with the peers and people I worked with, there was a similar belief in.

a servant leadership model. So we were able to capitalize that within our world, again, even if it wasn't in the broader ecosystem. So I think either way, whether it's there or not, it's a matter of me as a leader to set that tone, demonstrate that to my team, my peers, and then it becomes contagious. Because I think everybody wants to be in a supportive, caring environment where, one, they,
you demonstrate that you care about them and that you're there to help them too. They know you have your back, so that when things go south, that you're gonna be there for them, whether it's personally or professionally. And then three, that the whole goal is to get everybody on the same page so that you are, that collectively, it's a one plus one equals three, and not just doggy dog and we're out for, and we're just out for ourselves individually. So that, so for me,

That's really the model that I operate on, again, whether it's there or it's not.

Rob Dwyer (14:21.542)
Yeah, I mean, you really touched on really kind of where I wanted to go next, which is what happens when I maybe enter an organization and that is very much not the mindset and you mentioned it being contagious. Can you talk through some specific, maybe, um, ways that I can formalize?

processes or ways that I go about doing things within maybe my team that one kind of demonstrates that model, but two shows something that can in fact be contagious and be adopted by other people.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (15:11.933)
Yeah, so for me, it's all about establishing that trust and in order, because that really is a cornerstone of any good relationship, right? Is establishing trust, trust that, one, that I know what I'm doing, two, that I'm gonna have your back and I'm gonna trust you that you're gonna deliver on what it is that you need to do. So if you start there as a cornerstone, then the...

actions that support that are one that, you know, one is I'm going to, I'm going to understand our business. So I'm going to dive deep into everything that I need to know in order to be able to be value added to the operation. So, you know, whether, you know, so let's just, I'll just use the client services example. So let's say, you know, I've got a portfolio of, you know, three or four accounts, right? So my, so what I'm going to do is

I'm going to meet with all the operational leadership and understand everything that's going on with the account, history of the account, how we're currently operating, what's the trajectory, where are the bodies buried, what are the KPIs, what are the SLAs, understand the contract, understand where things are at, get their perspective on how that company operates and what's working, what's not in the relationship, all that, right? So I could go on, but really,

It's doing that deep dive in understanding the business. And then conversely, again, I'll just use a client example, really understanding that client as well. So I would do basically the same due diligence with the client, meeting with them, understanding what the pain points are, understanding the history and how we got there, understanding where we need to go next. So by doing that, I'm able to then bring back to the operation.

hey, here's what's going on, here's what the client thinks, I've heard what you guys think, based on everything you've done, I've heard, here's the steps we're gonna need to take to get it to the next level, whether it's stabilizing the business, whether it's growing it, pivoting and doing something else because what's working is not working, whatever the case might be. So, and so again, going back from kind of a checklist standpoint, it's...

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (17:30.621)
One, it's establishing those relationships on both a professional and a personal level. So, and part of that is just breaking bread with each other. I'm a huge believer in that. Whether it's a cup of coffee, whether it's a nice dinner, whether it's lunch, it doesn't matter. And I've done all of them, whether they're on a smoke break, you would know I don't smoke, but whatever it is, it's really to break down the barriers, get to know each other on a personal level, show vulnerability as well.

And if I do that, that sets that example for them to do that. So that, as I call it, they cough up their fur balls about what's going on and not hide them in the back closet for you to discover at the wrong time, right? So anyway, so going back to kind of the, I think the checklist of the things that we need to do, it's again, establishing the trusting relationship, doing the deep dive on what's going on. And then thirdly, riding shotgun with

the operation to execute on whatever those changes need to be. And that could be a million different things, right? It could be a whole performance management plan from the coaches on up or coaches on down, I should say, to the agents. It could be that we need to completely relook the workflows to make sure that we're delivering on what the client needs from a KPI and SLA standpoint. It could mean that we need to hire 50 new people because we're super far behind on staffing.

because we didn't anticipate the growth that was going to happen. So whatever those tactical operational things are that need to happen, then demonstrating that I'm going to ride shotgun with you to get those things done, whatever it might be. So if we have to develop new training curriculum, develop new workflows, get HR and recruiting involved to hire new people, open a new site, whatever those things are, demonstrating my commitment to them

getting neck deep and all of those things will show them that, one, again, I am willing to roll my sleeves up. I'm willing to get involved however I need to to help drive the business. But it also demonstrates to the client that, hey, this guy cares. This guy understands the business. He clearly understands what needs to be done in order for us to be mutually successful. Because where I have... My best examples of where...

I've been successful in, again, a client service role has been where the relationship is not just a vendor-client relationship, but it's truly a strategic partnership where we are solving problems together and growing together. The two best examples I have of that in AT&T, I took on a very small line of business that started out with 25 agents in one location.

eight locations and four continents, and became the sole source provider of that function within AT&T at frankly the highest margins of any line of business that our company had because we were the sole source provider and we did it obviously better than anybody else, including AT&T themselves. So, and then a more recent example was at my last company I was with, where again, we took on, we had a, when I took over,

an account that was beleaguered, we had 40 agents supporting one line of business. Within a year and a half, we had at the peak about a thousand agents with four lines of business across seven locations as well as work at home. So the point being on all that is if you follow that kind of checklist that I mentioned about establishing their trusting relationships, you know, demonstrating that you're going to get involved with the business at a tactical level.

and then riding shotgun on the changes and implementation of the plan necessary to achieve those things, then after that, then you just get into what I call a consistent communication cadence, right? So weekly one-on-ones, monthly business reviews, quarterly business reviews, annual business reviews, site visits in conjunction with those meetings and ensuring that they were keeping the whole train on the tracks together.

as we go down that path. So the long story short on all of that is that by demonstrating commitment at both a strategic and a tactical level, as well as establishing those trust and relationships, to me that is the best way to demonstrate servant leadership because you're in action doing it and showing it. And that's the way to get people to come along with you even if they've not operated in that environment before because they're seeing it in action and seeing the benefit of it.

Rob Dwyer (22:19.407)
Yeah. You mentioned a couple of things that I want to ask your opinion on. So you talked about breaking bread. And you also mentioned work from home. And I think a lot of us are very familiar with.

a new environment in which more and more people work from home, work remotely, work distributed, however, whatever nomenclature people use with that. How do you approach, and this may be you personally, is it different today the way that you approach that building trust portion of the...

the cornerstone of the relationship if you're unable to physically be in the same space with another person or those people and how do you approach that today if that's the case?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (23:30.493)
no doubt it is a different model in terms of how you do establish those trusting relationships when really the only tools you have are this, phone call and maybe email or Slack or some other instant messaging tools. So the way that I have found it to be successful is that you've got to be very organized and thoughtful in how you're going to build those relationships. So for me, it's

Definitely having the weekly one-on-ones of their direct report. But having those conversations just not be about the checklist of stuff that we need to get done or get status updates on it, but really use that as an opportunity to have a conversation and start off with how you're doing and what's going on, how are things working on a personal level and then moving into the professional. So that, so absolutely having a scheduled cadence of communication is critical.

The other part that's critical is doing the one-offs, right? So whether it's, again, whatever instant messaging tool you're using or whatever, or text or whatever it is, but just pinging people, hey, what's going on? How you doing? Sending them a funny joke, you know, sending them an article about something that, you know, they're interested in, just making sure that they know you're thinking about them and you're thinking of them, because it can be very isolating, sitting in your home by yourself. I don't care if your meeting's all day long, it doesn't matter, but if you're...

by yourself stuck upstairs in an office and the only person coming to visit you all day long is your dog or cat, again, it can be very isolating. So, knowing that somebody's there, that's thinking about me, caring about me, absolutely critical. The third thing is, I have traveled extensively in my career and rightfully so, because that was, for me, I don't care, I mean,

If I had to go visit somebody in their home, I didn't actually have to do that. But if it took doing that, I would. But I mean, really what it's about is that I'm really, and again, it has to be under the right circumstances and financially justifiable and all that stuff. But at the end of the day, if that person's a critical cog in the wheel and they're having a significant impact on the business, then I would find a way to go break bread with them. And literally, if it meant to me just flying there

just have dinner with them on flying out the next morning or whatever it was. I mean, if that's what it took to or takes to keep that relationship solid and to establish that trust, then that's what you do. So, you know, so again, but, you know, I recognize in most cases that may not be feasible or economically viable or whatever the case might be. So otherwise, so then you just got to leverage your tools, including just picking up the phone sometimes and having.

an old school conversation, right? So, and in fact, one of the ways I would do that with direct reports on my work remotely is, either on the way into work or on the way back from work, when I was working in an office, it'd be the phone call to one of them in the morning, one of several, whoever it was in the morning, another one in the evening, and then, and that would be it. So.

Anyway, so you would have to come up, I think people have to come up with their own ways that they do that, but definitely you gotta leverage every tool that you've got in your communications toolkit, if you will, to make sure that you're, again, establishing, but maintaining those relationships. And I think it's even more critical than when everybody's remote, than it would be where you're working hybrid or you're going in the office every day and seeing each other, because...

Again, it's much easier to get that water cooler talk or the hallway conversations when you're seeing each other versus you have to create them basically when you're using tools such as this or other electronic tools.

Rob Dwyer (27:19.146)
and each one of you can get that one or two or five or the whole way conversation. So you can use each other. It's perfect. You have to create a...

Rob Dwyer (27:33.59)
Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the criticisms or critiques of a servant leadership model is that there's not a lot of empirical evidence of its effectiveness. And I just wonder, how would you respond to someone says, you know what, no one's shown me that it's effective. How do you respond to that?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (28:02.205)
Well, I think the way I would respond to it is just to say, this is what I've done over my career. These are the results that I've had as a result of that. So therefore, whether you can find the empirical evidence in a book or in an article or wherever it might be, I'm here to say that it does work. And it is powerful. And it does transcend just accomplishing business goals.

It really is a cornerstone of establishing lasting relationships that transcend business. And so a great example of that is actually something that's happening as we speak. So a former client of mine at my last company, he and I, again, that was the one where I took it from 40 agents to 1,000. And the one that generated most of that growth was the lines of business that

that my former client was responsible for. So anyway, when I left and then he left our respective companies, we stayed in touch and it was on a personal level. I mean, yeah, we talked about business of course, but we were talking about whatever it might be. And then just literally last week, he reached out to me and said, hey Frank, the company I'm with now, we need to, we're gonna outsource a particular line of business. It's gonna be this big. We wanna do by this date. Can you...

bring a few of your vendor partners together so that we can have conversations with them. I said, sure. So we set up all the meetings and starting tomorrow and then working through next week, we're gonna have vendor meetings and then we'll narrow it down and then eventually outsource that work for them. So, but had I not established a relationship with him where that based on the operating model that I went through earlier.

I never would have gotten that phone call. I mean, it never would have, and actually it was a text, but that whole thing never would have happened had I not established my credibility with him when we worked together demonstrating my commitment to relationship management and of course being able to deliver, which I think that's the knock on this, right? Oh, it's all touchy feely and it's all about, we love each other and yeah, that's part of it. I mean, I'm not gonna say that's not part of it.

But really that's the outcome of it. It's not why you start doing it. I mean, you start doing it because you wanna build a trusting relationship in order to be able to perform. But then once you get there and do that, then that's where the magic happens because now you've established, again, those trusting relationships that enable you then to build the personal relationships, which then,

transcend business or they can help you with business five years, 10 years down the line. You never know, right? Because you've established that in the first place. And then the other benefit from it is because you've established those relationships, you get real with each other, right? You start sharing the personal stuff. We all have it. We all have things going on in our lives that are distracting us, that are holding us back, that are bringing us down, whatever the case might be, right?

If you can have, if you're able to express that and even say, hey, look, I'm not gonna be able to be in this meeting today, because I'm dealing with the stuff that you know about. That goes a long way, right? Towards being, of giving each other benefit of the doubt, of again, really being in each other's corner. And again, it goes back to transcending the relationship from client and vendor to strategic partnership, again, both on a

professional and even a personal level. And I could go on and on and on about it, but I guess the point being is that it really does provide financial benefit to the company because you are able to achieve things that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to achieve had you not employed a servant leadership model.

Rob Dwyer (32:19.37)
You know, I think one of the things that strikes me is we are in an era where

We don't have to talk to people a lot of times to get a service, right? Whatever that service is or a product, right? That is no longer a requirement.

Rob Dwyer (32:46.582)
That said, when you have really strong relationships with people, they often gravitate and want to work with you. Even if they know it might cost me a little bit more or I could shop around or whatever the case may be, there is a value to building those trusting relationships.

And you don't know when, right? In your case, right, this opportunity came about, you weren't anticipating that was necessarily going to happen. It just kind of falls into your lap sometimes. But I think a lot of people discount the value of building those relationships without an expectation that we have a business relationship or...

that I'm trying to get something out of it, just starting out and engendering that trust can go a long way. It may take a while, but it could turn into something from a business standpoint or even just a personal standpoint where you find out that someone's the right ear to bend for you.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (34:13.117)
Yeah, 100%. I've got two very recent examples of that, actually. I was just on a call, old school phone call, this morning with somebody that was a vendor of mine 15 years ago when I was at AT&T. And he noticed that I'm affiliated with a executive advisory firm because I lead their call center practice. And so he reached out and said, hey, look, I'm looking to get into consulting. What can you tell me about it?

course, you know, we had a nice conversation. And now he's interested actually in potentially joining the executive advisory firm that I'm a part of. So, you know, again, but that's somebody that I, you know, I've stayed in touch with over the years on LinkedIn, but probably had not had a live conversation with since we worked together, you know, 15 years ago. And then the same thing with another former counterpart of mine at AT&T, he and I worked together, we probably worked together for, I don't know, 15 years and then

It's been years since that I've left and he in turn reached out to me. We started networking and we were going through similar kind of challenges and opportunities. So we were helping each other with that. And then again, now he's now an executive advisor with this firm because he actually fit into a niche that we needed. So you just never know, right? You just never know how those relationships are going to...

manifest over time. And even if they don't, even if they're just, you know, just friendships that you keep, what a powerful thing that it came out of, you know, working together in a mutually respectable way and, you know, and it benefits you, again, either personally or professionally down the road. But again, it's a fringe benefit. It's not the reason why you do it in the first place.

Rob Dwyer (36:00.654)
Yeah, absolutely. I can probably give some shout outs to people that I've developed relationships with over even just over the last year. And I don't necessarily anticipate that we're ever going to work together, right? We may be in similar fields. Maybe there's a possibility at some point that it'll happen.

I don't anticipate that that's going to happen. If it does, great. But ultimately, what I get out of it are great relationships. And if I can help them in any way, then I'd love to. And I know they feel the same way. So I hear where you're coming with that. Frank, before we wrap up our session today, I just wonder.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (36:50.397)

Rob Dwyer (36:59.658)
Like, is there anything that we haven't had a chance to talk about or any insight that you wanted to share with the audience that we just haven't had a chance to get to yet?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (37:11.901)
Yeah, I think the thing I want to share is that, you know, obviously we're living in a world now of, you know, gen AI, right? And everybody's talking about how, you know, it's going to take over the world. And, you know, we're not going to need humans to do anything. It's all going to be, you know, gen AI is going to solve all the world's problems, right? So and I'm being a little facetious, but the point being is that.

Yes, it is a powerful tool. It is a game changer. It's amazing some of the things that's already beginning to do. And we're obviously at the very beginning of it, right? In terms of the impact it's gonna have on our world. However, nothing is ever gonna replace the power of relationships. In personal relationships, human relationships, whatever you wanna call them. And I harken back to 2020 during COVID, right? And you know,

All of us were in our homes, we all had to move to this model to communicate with each other and it's like, oh, you know, the heyday of people flying to meet with each other is gone. You know, you're not going to need to fly anymore. You're just going to do video and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'll never and I remember hearing that and I said to myself, I won't use the actual words I said out loud, but I said, but I said, that's just not going to be the case. People are going to be clamoring to get back together with each other because we're human.

We thrive on and we need human connection. We need to, you know, we need to, you know, again, break bread together and, you know, shake hands and obviously in loving relationships, hug each other and all the other things, right? So the whole point is, is that, and we've seen it, right? I mean, the travel bounce back, you know, and it took a little while, right? And for people to feel comfortable flying again and everything else, but ultimately travel bounce back and business travel has bounced back, you know, to where it was before as well,

there is absolutely nothing that can replace human contact and relationships. So I think as everybody, and I even posted something on LinkedIn the other day about a company that replaced hundreds and hundreds of agents with AI, and I posed it more as like, is this the tip of the iceberg or is this a one-off example or is this what we're gonna have to get used to?

And if that, you know, and I don't, we don't all know the answers yet, obviously, but I think the whole point is, is that, you know, the world's gonna continue to operate, as long as humans are controlling the world still, then it's gonna require human contact, it's gonna require us to lean on each other, and again, on a, both a personal and a professional level. So I think all of us need to keep that in mind as we move into, you know, a gen AI world.

Rob Dwyer (40:01.878)
Yeah, I absolutely agree. I was just recently on a business trip. It was a meeting with one of our partners. And it was the first time we all just got into a room together. And what was fascinating to me was over the course of less than two days, it was two different days, but about a half a day each.

a dinner in between those, not only did we gain a greater understanding of how we can help them solve challenges, but we were able to really kind of lay everything out, work much more efficiently, and have all of those stakeholders together so that we could talk through some things because sometimes in an organization, right, depending on different roles and what.

There can be some misalignment or misunderstanding or I don't have the entire picture or I don't understand this challenge that you have. And by having everyone, everyone together in one room to kind of go through some of these things, I was, it shouldn't amaze me, but I have to tell you, like I was a little bit in awe of like how much we got accomplished in a really short.

time. Of course, you know, after it's like, okay, here's our list of things we need to go knock out once we leave there. And that was a long list. But, you know, I think everyone left confident that we were going to be able to solve some challenges that had we been just doing the same thing over Zoom meetings, it would have, it probably would have taken a lot longer. And

we wouldn't have developed the same kind of relationship with each other that we were able to do in such a short time. So I'm a big believer in, um, you can be very productive in a work at home environment and a remote environment. But I also think there's a space for getting together with people, like you say, to, to break bread and to have those close proximity conversations.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (42:29.789)
I couldn't agree with you more. Absolutely.

Rob Dwyer (42:32.542)
Well, Frank, I have to thank you for joining Next In Queue today. Thank you so much for taking the time. If someone wants to get in touch with you, maybe they're looking for some of your wisdom through gained experience and they need some help. What's the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (42:53.309)
Well, certainly you can email me at and LinkedIn, of course. And those are probably the two best ways to get a hold of me. those are probably the two best ways to and I just met not too long ago as a result of an article

So I again really appreciate how quickly we were able to establish our relationship and have me on the show.

Rob Dwyer (43:30.526)
Yeah, you're welcome and thanks for taking the time. We'll make sure that everyone has access to your LinkedIn profile and the show notes. If you wanna get in touch with Frank, you know what to do, like just scroll down, find the link, get in touch with him. Frank, thanks again and have a wonderful afternoon.

Francis Joseph Mona IIII (43:50.685)
Great, thanks so much Rob, you too.