After a very successful 36 year career in production homebuilding, Farrell Middleton moved into his second career as a teacher, mentor, life coach, and guide. The Bell Curve of Life is his unique program that will help individuals perform “better” in personal and professional life.   Listen in to some valuable advice that he would like to share with you from the many lawsuits that he was a part of when he was homebuilding.   If you liked this episode, please subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. Thank you so much!

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Meg Garavaglia: Farrell Middleton, thank you so much for joining us on the How and Wow today. I’m so excited to have you as a guest and have you share some of your experience and, approach to how you deal with clients today. So Farrell, thank you for being here. 

Farrell Middleton: Well, thank you very much for the invitation. I’m excited to be here and I think we’re going to have a good time.

Meg Garavaglia: Good. Same here. Okay, so In terms of how I met you, I met you not terribly long ago, but it was at our BNI meeting. Do you want to talk a little bit about what brought you to the networking group? 

Farrell Middleton: Sure. Yeah, actually, just very quickly. I retired from homebuilding after 36 years. I did that last year. And so I started my second career of teaching, coaching, mentoring, and I decided to get into the networking business. I felt that I needed to do that. And so I started doing that earlier this year, and I just joined BNI in February, so I’m not too much more senior than you are in the group. Yeah, I was an operations guy for my entire career.

So the whole networking and socializing thing is new to me, and I never realized there were as many coffee shops around Atlanta as there are. I think I’ve been to every single one of them now. So it’s been a lot of fun. 

Yeah, same here. I have tons of meetings at coffee shops. And so yeah, if you miss any, call me. I can tell you where one is around the corner. 

Outstanding. Good. I’m glad to hear that. So anyway, yes, that is how you and I met a couple of months ago and that’s a new part of my professional life and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. 

Meg Garavaglia: Good. So can you share with listeners what it is that you did prior to launching out into your own business?

And I thought, you know, your background was really compelling. 

Farrell Middleton: Okay. Yeah, thank you. Just a very quickly. I graduated from Georgia Tech in 1986 with honors with a degree in building construction. Immediately went into the home building industry here in Atlanta back in 1986. This was probably the best place on planet Earth to get into home building. Atlanta has always had a very, very vibrant and aggressive housing market. I spent 36 years in production home building. I have been involved in some form of fashion and probably around 10, 000 houses I was with high volume builders for most of my career. A few hundred units every year for 36 years.

And so I’ve got a lot of experience with that. After doing that for so long, I had a wonderful career. I was just ready to spend my time differently. My kids are grown and I was done with the financial heavy lifting there. And I thought, you know, I want to go do something different. So that’s how I ended up here today.

Meg Garavaglia: Good, good, good. Well, that is great. One of the reasons why I thought it would be great for our audience, attorneys, or people in the legal industry to hear you you and have you share your experience is because you were involved in a number of lawsuits in your profession where you were actually the client.

 Can you talk a little bit about those cases? And you can be, of course, very general. But yeah, I’d like to dig into that experience if you would. 

Farrell Middleton: Sure. And on that, you tell me where you want to go with this. But I kind of came up with four categories of legal stuff that I was involved in. You want me to touch on each of those a smidge?

Meg Garavaglia: Yeah. 

Farrell Middleton: Okay. Well, I guess the first one in my homeowning career, it was involved with suppliers and subcontractors and with our customers. And so over the years, again, I was an operations guy. And so I would find myself making updates to those contracts on a fairly routine basis. And most of the time I would consult with our outside legal counsel to make sure that I was phrasing it correctly and that what I was saying could pass, you know, the legal smell test and that kind of thing, so I did a lot of that as well. I did work on subdivision covenants and bylaws for neighborhoods. That was a big part of what I was involved in as well. Again, most of those were drafted by outside firms.

And, you know, we would do the copy paste thing from one to the other, you know, everybody does that. And then over the years, we would tinker. I would come up with some kind of a new problem in a neighborhood. And I would say, Oh, we need to put that into the next set of covenants. You know, that kind of thing.

So I did a fair amount of that over the years. And I would review a lot of that as well. There’s no doubt about that. So, with regard to municipal government I was dealing with, you know, zoning matters and, you know, other stuff related to property recording plats and doing all of that fairly, you know, routine stuff on that side of things.

But we did have outside counsel, of course. And I did present in front of appointed and elected committees you know, with municipal government. However, those were kind of on the mediocre side of things. I can say from just the run of the mill type of stuff. Where it got really interesting was in what I will call the litigation area of you know, what happened. And most of this happened with me when I was with a semi-custom builder for 18 years out here in Atlanta.

And I was with this company for about 4, 300 houses over that span of 18 years. And with that many customers, well, yeah, the laws of averages are going to tell us that there’s going to be a problem. It’s a legal show here, but I’m not an attorney but I could play one on TV and I have slept in a Holiday Inn recently. 

Meg Garavaglia: What I really think is of value is that you have had experience being the client in several different legal situations. So when it concerned the contractual changes and things like that the attorneys, I don’t know if it was one or more than one, what was favorable and beneficial attributes that they showed or certainly their expertise I know was of value, but I always think attorneys really want to know what clients really think about them and their services. What things went well in that instance, because litigation I want to delve into separately, please. 

Farrell Middleton: Yeah. No, only on the contract side of things. It was what I’ll call fairly routine. But you know, we have the two separate ones, like I mentioned. Let’s take the one with our purchasers. We had our builder contracts or our custom ones, but a lot of this was based off the guard contracts and torch association realtors with specific stuff. But you know, as time would go by, I would want to throw additional clauses into our contracts. you Mainly regarding water drainage across lots and things like that to where the customers would agree that, hey, certain things are going to happen, that kind of deal. But with regard to our outside counsel with that, we had a law firm that represented us on these types of matters.

So there was a very high level of consistency there. And so over the years, we were very familiar with each other and when I did have another request, then, you know, my attorney was able to really understand what it is that I wanted to do because he and I, we were on the same page with most of this and they were a real estate related firm, so they knew what the intention was, and they were able to help craft the language, of course, 

Meg Garavaglia: So it sounds like they had the right experience and knowledge themselves. Tak to me about responsiveness and bedside manner.

Farrell Middleton: That can always be a challenge. We all know this, but for the most part, I would say that was never an issue. Again, we had a longstanding relationship with this legal firm and I dealt with several attorneys in the firm over the years. I would let them know when I made a request, “Hey, you know, this is kind of high priority here,” or this one can wait a little bit, or, you know, why don’t you just kind of think about this, get back to me, that kind of deal.

So I kind of had to set the stage for them to be able to respond to my needs. And I feel like I did a pretty good job with that, but they responded very well to me. I was very pleased with them. 

Meg Garavaglia: So you advocated for yourself as a client, instead of just kind of being passive and waiting. It sounds like.

Farrell Middleton: Yeah, I tried to, you know, obviously some things as well with everything, some things have a higher level of urgency and they need immediate attention, you know, that kind of thing. But with this type of stuff again, Meg, this contract stuff, it was not earth shattering and super time sensitive because we already had a contract in place with a customer that was certainly very valid.

 It was good when I made these minor tweaks to it, it was just for the next contracts that would come around. So we were in good shape. We made sure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s very well. 

Meg Garavaglia: Good. And in terms of invoicing and things, I mean, I know certainly you weren’t paying the invoice personally, but did you think that process was effective, efficient?

Farrell Middleton: As far as I know, yes. Again, I didn’t really get into the approval of the bills and that kind of stuff. You know, occasionally I would certainly get asked by our accounting department to verify stuff, but I don’t believe there was any kind of a long term or chronic issue with that. I think it all went very, very well. So as far as I can recall. It’s always appreciated by the client. Let’s be very clear. 

Meg Garavaglia: Oh, how about it? And one last question about that practice area, you know, contracts law. So would you say that they were patient and would explain things to you in a way that you could understand and you felt it was an environment where you could ask questions freely and would get a response and they had patience, that type of thing? 

Farrell Middleton: Yeah, absolutely. No doubt about it. But where I would say that we would get into a debate for lack of a better way to say it is, I’m a very practical guy. And, you know, things worded in layman’s terms are more comfortable for me and also when I express it to people, but obviously from the legal standpoint in holding up in court of law, lawsuit, you know, insurance claim, whatever the case may be, the language had to be very specific and sometimes I got kind of frustrated with that because I felt like the intent of the clause in the contract got lost in the legal verbiage. Does that make sense?

Meg Garavaglia: It does. Sure. 

Farrell Middleton: Yeah. I’m like,” Hey, come on guys. This is what I’m trying to say. And this is what I want the people to understand.” The people being my customers that this is the intent of this clause. But then it got legalized, which had to get done. So that was one part of it that sometimes it took a little while for us to, you know make our way through that. 

Meg Garavaglia: Good. Okay. And you felt like they heard you and 

Farrell Middleton: They did. And again, they were involved in real estate, so they knew exactly what I was talking about. They live in houses too. They have problems with their house and that kind of stuff. So all this stuff is very related to how people just live a normal life.

Meg Garavaglia: Litigation, which is the area where I’ve spent a lot of my time being from the e-discovery and litigation support services background of things. So can you share a little bit about that experience or experiences if it was numerous cases and you’re right. I used to be a pharma sales rep and I had an attorney that would come and present to these poor doctors over a dinner program. The name of the program I think was what to do when you get sued because you’ll probably get sued. Like you’re going to get sued. Yeah. Chances are good. So anyway, can you share a little bit about, say one of those cases? 

Farrell Middleton: Sure, actually, I’ll give you a little bit of a summary level here. As I mentioned with the semi custom builder for 18 years, I was actually involved in eight arbitrations. I have been on a witness stand three times. I have been in several mediations and I can’t count how many times I’ve been deposed over the years. So I had a lot of that and we’ll touch on the arbitrations for a few minutes because that’s pretty much, you know, the majority evidence is mostly as far as the when we had the arbitration clauses in the contracts and that kind of thing. But basically in my eight arbitrations, I can say that I was seven and a half for eight in a success rate. The other half was when I was in a matter relating to a gentleman who was in a wheelchair and he had trouble navigating around his house and maneuvering and that kind of thing. And, you know, we didn’t do anything wrong. However, it was certainly challenging. And so it was it was it was an issue.

He had his side of things and whatever, but on the other ones, basically, I guess that my what I’ll call responsible behavior and experience and that kind of thing. I was able to prove that we did not do anything intentionally wrong and nefarious. Anything like that. You know, houses are made up of lots of moving parts and that kind of thing. So I had a very good success rate there. And I’m very pleased with that as the years have gone by. 

Meg Garavaglia: I can imagine because as a homeowner, I’ve heard a lot of builders, I’ve heard a lot of homeowners, my neighbors, for instance, say that, you know, things went favorably for them. So, I’m thinking that’s probably not the outcome all the time. And with the attorneys that you dealt with, with the focus being on trying to provide any attorneys or paralegals listening to this podcast, what was beneficial? What practices did they employ that were beneficial for you as a client, to understand their process or what was to be expected?

Farrell Middleton: Yeah, I know. It’s an excellent question. And again, we had counsel on our side, of course. We’ll touch on that to start with. But basically, it was just a matter of really understanding what the issues were in the field relating to the houses and the matters and all these arbitrations were varied, of course, you know, hit every stage of a house, that kind of thing. But anyway, it was really understanding exactly what the nature of the claim was from the homeowner. Of course, we had to understand that. What are they really complaining about? What do they really want. And then how did our actions, I guess is the best way to say it in building the house and conducting the transaction, how did we produce the product? How did we manage the relationship and that kind of thing? And so they were very good, generally speaking, at really digging in and making sure they had a good understanding of my perspective on the matter and that helped tremendously. So they asked good questions, they were patient, so that worked well for the council on my side of the argument. 

Meg Garavaglia: And in terms of their responsiveness, you know, that’s a common thing that I when I keep my ear to the railroad tracks that I hear Clients or just people that I know talk about an area of frustration when they’re dealing with court matters or they’re involved in litigation, whether it be divorce or, you know, a matter outside of that, but litigation nonetheless, that they can’t get ahold of their attorney. Did you experience that ever?

Farrell Middleton: I’m sure that I did, but I’ll just phrase it this way that is not sticking in my mind as an issue that was very frustrating for me. You know, of course it was. And again, where I got I guess, kind of frustrated and actually my daughter’s an attorney now, or one of my daughters is, more legal conversation every once in a while, but it’s basically the timeframe and the delays and I think what kind of got to me, but this is part of the legal process is asking the same question again or going over the same topic one more time asking the question a different way. My father in law is an attorney as well. But from our side of things, I think that was very good because that helped prepare me for when I was going to be with opposing counsel and again opposing counsel’s job of course would be to get me off track. Attorneys are very good at asking the same question in different ways. I picked up on that somewhat quickly. But I know response time and getting back with my counselor representing me was never a problem, but oh, yeah, there was a big frustration with opposing counsel and delays and requests and things like that. Absolutely. That was a big issue.

Meg Garavaglia: Your attorneys explained that whole give and take and the dance and the life cycle of the case. They explained that really clearly to you?

Farrell Middleton: They did. And as well as with anything in life, the more I was involved in these, the more understanding I had of how it was going to work and how it was going to unfold, so by the time that eighth arbitration came along, I would consider myself a pseudo expert at how the process was going to unfold, not in the legal matter itself or whatever, but just how the process was going to go. And that made it a lot easier to navigate my way through it. The frustration level decreased quite a bit and so that did help quite a bit. But I guess experience gets you all kinds of places.

Meg Garavaglia: Having so much experience in arbitration, is there anything that you could recommend attorneys to help their clients better prepare themselves? Is there anything that they could maybe fill in that you either found helpful or in retrospect, you thought that could have been helpful? 

Farrell Middleton: Well, I think the big issue is just making sure and we’ll talk about attorneys defending my position, then I’ll talk about opposing counsel for a quick minute. But with regard to attorneys representing my interests, just making sure that they understood what my position was and the reason for my actions up to that point in time and making sure they had a good understanding of my mindset and that kind of thing. That’s always very helpful. The other part of this is and again, I picked up on this just through the experience of doing it. For what I’ll call the lay person, really try to talk in the lay person’s terms. The legalese and legal jargon is very important, there’s no doubt about it. However, that can get lost on a regular person.

Like you mentioned the dinner a few minutes ago with the attorney and the pharmaceutical people. Well, let’s do this. Let’s flip the scenario here. The Pharmaceutical guys are talking to the attorney about how he needs to take his medicine. So flip it around and it’s a great exercise.

So understand what it is that that my needs are and again talk in layman’s terms as much as possible. But of course, my counsel needed to make sure that I was aware of the consequences of inaccuracy and not, you know, living up to legal standards, that kind of thing. So there’s a balance there like with everything, but just understand what the issue is and understand what your client’s mindset and motivation is. That’s the biggest key. 

Meg Garavaglia: How about support staff in their firms? Did you have any dealings with paralegals or even receptionists at the law firm? And does anything stand out? I know I’m asking you to dig back here, but any takeaways there that you could share with our audience?

Farrell Middleton: Nothing extraordinary that comes up. However most of those types of people that you mentioned were very responsive to my needs. A big issue that the law firms had and that any other company has is the turnover. If a legal assistant or a paralegal moves on from working with a specific attorney, there’s a lot of catch up by the new person or whatever the case may be. So that certainly came up every once in a while. But for the most part, I think that they, from what I recall, provided a very good level of service.

Meg Garavaglia: And I know you worked with some large national firms, so I love that you had that experience. Were you the decision makers in probably not every scenario, but were you kind of the manager of cases internally within your company?

Yeah, generally so, but I did work for a private company, and I reported to the owner. I was directly under him. And when matters would get way out of hand like in a mediation, for example. When we were so far apart, I would certainly take a break and I would call him and say, “Okay, here’s where we are.” And he would say, “Okay, we’ll throw a little more money in or whatever the case may be.” It was his money. Let’s be very clear. And it was the insurance company’s money as well. But for the most part in the regular stuff, he trusted me to manage the situation properly and to make the right decision at that moment in time. So that worked out fairly well. 

Good. And the depositions you were involved in, did you feel prepared to do battle and answer questions? Can you talk a little bit about the experience that you had? Were you defending? You were on the defense side, I take it because it was involving the company that you worked for. 

Farrell Middleton: Yes, I was on the defense side all the time with this, and I felt like I was well prepared on number one. My attorneys did a good job of that. And on the litigation side of things, when it did get into the arbitrations and the court cases that would go through our insurance company. They would assign counsel to us. So that was different from the attorneys I mentioned that did our contract law, for lack of a better way to say it. So basically we use the same firm over the years. So with these arbitrations, I got familiar with the same staff. Occasionally another attorney would pop in, but there was one attorney that I did the majority of the work for over this many years. And so he would prepare me very well which was good. The other part of that is that I have a very good memory. I remember stuff that I did and why I did it in a fairly accurate fashion. Not all the time, of course, you know, that kind of thing. But I felt very comfortable in defending my position and why.

Either I took action or my company took action or my subcontractors took action in a certain way. I felt comfortable enough that I could defend that that position. So that was good. But for the legal counsel out there that will be listening to this. A big tip I’ve got when the opposing council was deposing me had a few things that come up.

There was one matter where it was a large legal matter, a lawsuit with a claim of in the seven figures, low seven figures, very low, but still seven figures. And we involved a lot of our trade partners in that litigation. It was a townhouse project and there was a construction defect claim. And one day I was deposed by, I think, five different attorneys representing their respective clients, either on the opposition side or on my side, but just my associated contractors.

And after the second or third one, I could tell they were going to ask me the same questions. That already answered everybody was sitting in the same room. Okay. And at one point late in the day, I just started answering the questions before they asked me them. My attorney was not really happy with me on that.

I created some spreadsheet documents for reference purposes. And one attorney said, “Are these your documents?” I said, “Yes, I created them.” Well, the next attorney said, “Hey, these documents, did you create those?” I said, “Okay. Yes, I created them.” By the time the third guy got up, I said, “Yeah, you’ve heard this. Yes, I created these documents. Can we please move on to something else?” So I am sure that I was not helpful to them, but that to me got kind of frustrating. But I’m sure that was part of their legal process with what they had to do to properly represent their client. We were all sitting in the same room. They knew the answers to the questions. 

Meg Garavaglia: That’s funny. Yeah.

Farrell Middleton: Yeah. And a part of this as well. I felt like several times during the depositions over the years in different matters, the opposing counsel was not as prepared as they could have or should have been. And in an odd way, I felt like I might have known more about legal proceedings than they did.

And I know that sounds kind of arrogant, you know, that kind of thing, but they didn’t ask good questions. They didn’t ask them in a good way. That’s a bit of advice to me, to the attorneys out there and for any professional. Know your stuff, be prepared. For the the issue at hand and that kind of thing. Everybody’s got that. 

Meg Garavaglia: When you say good questions, help me to know what you mean. Certainly, I know you don’t remember the specifics, but were they vague? 

Farrell Middleton: I would say, yeah, you’re right. I’ve gone back to the memory breaks here.

I would say, you know, maybe some vague questions or. The way they would phrase it again, my matters were related to real estate and housing and stuff like that, and I could tell sometimes where the attorney would ask me a question and he had either not been to the job site or or she is the case. Maybe they had not been to the job site or they were not as up on the specific complaint as they probably should have been.

That makes sense. Am I making sense there? Absolutely. That makes 

Meg Garavaglia: sense. 

Farrell Middleton: Yeah, because my stuff was physical. You could go see it. You could touch it. You could watch it. I lived in a professional fish bowl for 36 years. Everybody could see what we did every day. It’s all there to see. I could easily tell that they had not prepared well enough with the way they were asking some questions where they could have asked me some very specific, highly detailed bullet type questions, and they didn’t do it.

Meg Garavaglia: I could see how it could happen. You get so used to being in front of a computer and doing your work and dealing with electronic documents. And If you wouldn’t know, if you wouldn’t step away and change your perspective, I can imagine that that would be a liability. Do you have any other tips for attorneys based on your experience that you think could help for a better client experience in their firms?

Farrell Middleton: Yeah. One thing real quick. Let me step back to a quick bench trial that I had. We used a firm that was not a really good litigation firm – will not name names, of course. But anyway, during this, he got a little flustered. This was my attorney and he got a little kind of behind in the argument and he actually let me be my own expert witness.

And I’m not sure if that passes legal muster or not, but the judge kind of let it happen. And again, like I said, it was a bench trial and I really had very little chance of winning the matter anyway, because it was the big bad builder developer against the innocent homeowner. So the chances were kind of light anyway, but he just wasn’t very well prepared.

And when we walked out of the court, my boss was in the courtroom. When we walked out of that courtroom, he had some choice words for this young attorney. And so basically he just wasn’t prepared. So my goodness, prepare, make sure you understand the complaints that have been filed and that you really have a good understanding of your client’s perspective. That is just the biggest key. 

Meg Garavaglia: I think, you know, being a good listener too, and like you said, asking good questions to really understand your client’s perspective.

Farrell Middleton: We employed different firms. Like we had our closing attorney that handled the closings with all the customers.

We had our contract attorneys that handled all the contract stuff. We had the litigation attorneys to the insurance company, the end of the litigation for us. So everybody’s got their area of expertise where they can better serve the client, there’s no doubt about it. And my thought is, and kind of a Pollyanna way that I look at it is, if an attorney is not good with the case, they refer it out to a different attorney, more than likely that attorney at some point is going to throw business your way would be my thought.

It’d be my hope, I guess. Maybe that’s little wishful thinking here.

Meg Garavaglia: Yeah, if you build that relationship, sure. How did you choose the law firm to serve your needs? 

Farrell Middleton: Basically, when I started let’s say with the private company in 18 years that firm was already in place when I got there. So that was easy. But of course, I developed a very quick working relationship with them due to the nature of my responsibilities of making sure people could get to the closing table of my houses were finished.

So we did that. But over the years, some changes would be made, law firms would merge and there would be different players. So it was just a matter of are you providing a good service? Do you communicate well? Do we work well together? And the biggest thing like with closing attorneys is making sure they understood my business practices and you know, closing attorneys can make a lot of great things happen at a closing table.

Yeah, you know, it happens. There’s a lot of moving parts and that kind of thing. So we would do that. Then on the contract stuff, you know, the same thing. Occasionally, we would go outside to get a different attorney if there was like a really wacky zoning engineering type issue on a particular piece of property, somebody a little specialized. So, it just depended on the circumstances. 

Meg Garavaglia: You haven’t mentioned price. Now, I know you said you didn’t pay personally, but was pricing ever discussed? Was it a driving factor in it? Any of the decisions that were made regarding choosing counsel?

Farrell Middleton: I’m sure that it was.

Let’s take the three categories on the closing attorney. Basically we were doing a high volume again, like I said, it was a high volume guy. So the expectation was they could really close. I would end up closing sometimes 15, 20 houses in a closing attorney’s office on the last day of the month.

 The fees that they charged for the closings were very minimal just to cover the cost. But they made their money in other ways. Title insurance, all that kind of stuff. And so we knew that. Basically the hourly rates here, they’re fairly standard. So there’s not a whole lot of issue there, but if someone is going to provide good service for me, I will pay an above average or even a premium price sometimes if I know that the outcome results are going to be good and positive.

And I hope that a lot of people think that as well. I’m not getting crazy. And of course, as you mentioned with the litigation situation, the insurance company was paying the bill. I never really directly saw that, but I was very sensitive to it. I want to make sure that that I use their time effectively as well. 

Meg Garavaglia: You’re a good steward. Good steward of the resource. 

Farrell Middleton: I try to be. 

Meg Garavaglia: I know that you do coaching. Why don’t you talk a little bit more about how you could potentially serve attorneys in a law firm in the services that you currently provide?

Farrell Middleton: Okay. Excellent. Thank you. The name of my company is called The Bell Curve of Life and I’ve moved in the teaching, coaching, mentoring arena. And Meg, my material is what I call universal. I am in the people business. It’s about personal skills. I want to help business owners and leaders create healthier, more productive environments through management directives, leadership skills, personal growth and at the individual level, I just want to help people live a better life through personal directives and my material relates to personal and professional life, but my big, a big cornerstone of my program is what I call a performer, a environment, and this is relative to our traditional grading scale, you know, A, B, C, D, and F. If you put a C performer in an environment, they can become an a performer.

If you put an A performer in a C environment. They will more than likely become a C performer, or they will probably leave. And if you can create an A environment and foster and attain A performance, you cannot fail in our society. I don’t believe that you can. And so basically what I do is with the staff level, and I really want to get with managers of sorts, the younger, less experienced ones.

I am all about people having a positive attitude. Effective use of time. I’m not a time manager. There are a lot of other people out there much smarter than me at that, but I just want people overall to effectively use their time. I want them to be good problem solvers. And I want them to be good team members because it takes a team to get anything done.

And those are the things that I want to work with people on. And I’ve actually done some work with a law firm already at this point. So that’s what I do. I help people create a better environment and have better performers and producers on their staff. 

Meg Garavaglia: I said you’re like the uncle that we all wish we had. My family is spread out across the U. S. I never really had the uncle to go and say, “Hey, what do you think of this?” So, if somebody purchased your services, what do you do? Cause I think you talked about, you take teams for half a day or something of that nature, right?

Farrell Middleton: The first thing I do with a potential client is I would want to get with what I’ll call the principles owner, CEO, Director. For a no charge session, I will come in and spend about an hour, hour and a half discussing some of my higher level topics. I’ve got material for personal life and for professional life, but coming in to discuss my five main business topics to find what I will call the pain points.

Where are the issues that this company is having some challenges? This is could be in leadership. The structuring the environment, is A environment, I mentioned it could be in managing resources. It is in, gosh, outside factors that influence your business on a routine basis.

So what are the areas that are causing a company more challenges than the others? And then, once we do that, we focus on the areas that we need to focus on either with that principal owner, CEO, or with them and their other, you know, department heads. And then we get into the staff level. So it just depends on the particular client.

But I’ve got material that is very valuable for Owner, CEO, Director, middle level manager, and traditional staff level. And so whatever the needs are, there’s material in our program that more than likely can help address that issue.

Meg Garavaglia: Can you talk about a win that you’ve had since you’ve stepped out as an entrepreneur and somebody that felt your services made such a difference?

Farrell Middleton: Well, thank you. Yes, I’m actually doing some 1:1 coaching with some younger professionals. I think I mentioned that a little while ago. I’ve got three of those that I’m actually going on right now.

Anyone that gets with me in one of my sessions, either privately or with a small group or a larger group, they will walk away with some directive that they can use that day. To make their lives a little bit better personally or professionally. They are walking away saying, “Wow, you’ve given me something really good today and I’m going to use it and I can’t wait to come see you again for our next session.” So that’s giving me really good satisfaction. This was what my hope was when I developed the program for the group sessions.

Let’s say about 10 people together. We discuss some of my material. They are learning as much if not more from each other as they are from me, and I was hoping that was going to be the case because everybody participates. And another good thing is out of a multiple sessions and series, each person is getting a different outcome on this. They’re getting different directives because it’s areas that they need to work. That’s the bell curve of life. 20%, 60%, 20% – Everybody’s going to get something different that works for them and their needs to be better in life. That’s been a fascinating outcome as well. I’m really glad that it’s come come out that way 

Meg Garavaglia: I love that walking away with actionable items right away to make changes – 

 It’s really tough when you even sign up for a gym and they say, you can’t work out today. I’m sorry. You know, I’ve actually had that and I’m like, wait, why? I love that you’ve actionable items that will help. As quickly as possible. 

Farrell Middleton: One thing on that as well. The long term value of this is the topics. The principles in my topics are timeless. They can be reviewed in one year, five years or 20 years, and the fundamentals will still be the same.

The concepts are simple. It’s relationship building, problem solving, that kind of thing. But I heard something recently where I think it’s simple concepts drive complex behavior or something along those lines. This is very practical. I’m a practical guy, 59 years old.

I want to share my life experiences with other people and help them live a better life. It’s what I want to do. And it’s very practical stuff. 

Meg Garavaglia: That is a joy, no doubt, because your experience is great and you’re just so giving with your information and you couldn’t be any warmer, but also professional. I really appreciate having you in my network now and I know our listeners will too. And thank you so much for your time today, Farrell.

Farrell Middleton: All right. Well, thank you very much, Meg. I really appreciate you having me on. I’ve really enjoyed it.



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