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Marci D. Toler, LTC (Ret) is a combat veteran with several deployments under her belt. In addition to other awards and recognition, she was awarded the Bronze Star for her meritorious efforts as the Commander, 259th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion. She is currently an author, speaker, and facilitator, partnering with corporate and faith-based organizations, improving their compassion and communications while harnessing the energy of change, to propel them forward and make a difference in the world. With her over 33 years of public service, via the United States Army, she combines strategic thinking, compassion and value-based decision making to support leaders and organization in transition. Marci offers facilitated leadership coaching and workshops in value-based decision making, value alignment, and conflict resolution.
She is the Co-Founder of You Are Worthy Ministries, Christian ministry that provides Christ-centered Seminars and Retreats for women focused on learning, understanding, and accepting the truth of God’s Identity for each of us.
Marci is a proud graduate of Colorado State University in Business Economics, Econometrics and the RAM Battalion ROTC program. She went on to earn her Masters of Business Administration, Change Management and was selected and graduated from the United States Senior Service College (US Army War College) with a Masters of Strategic Studies. She hopes to finish her Ph.D. in Organization Management when life slows down.
But, she is most proud that she is the mother of three children. Katherine, a Special Education Resource teacher; Geoffrey, a student of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and Joseph, who went home too soon.
Welcome to The Art of Living big. I’m your host, Betsy Pake, and this podcast is designed to share interviews, stories, and new ideas to help you redefine what could be possible for your life. Thanks for listening. Now let’s go live big. today’s podcast is brought to you by audible. You can get a free audiobook download and a 30 day free trial at audible trial comm backslash live big. Now they have over 180,000 different titles to choose from. And you can listen right on your iPhone or Android or even your Kindle. Now I’m in the car twice a day driving my kid back and forth to high school. And so I love audible. I’ve been using it for several years. And right now, on my audible I just finished the 10 x rule by Grant Cardone really great book. If you want to check that out, you can get it for free, and you can get it by going to audible trial.com backslash live big. Now let’s go to the show. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to another episode of The Art of Living big. I’m here today with my friend Marcy toller. Hey, Marci.
Hey, Betsy, how are you today? Hey, I’m so good. I’m pumped. You’re here
with us today. Because this when I and you and I have been Facebook friends, we’re in a group together. But when I read the bio that you sent me, I was like, Ooh, this is gonna be really good. So tell everybody a little bit about you and what you do?
Well, I am a recently retired US Army Reserve Officer. So I served 33 years without Army Reserve that yes, yes, yep. Thank you. I deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and places beyond twice. And I was mobilized one other time doing all of that while keeping a civilian job. And I’m a wife and mom. So balancing all of those demands, and now I am launching a fun little project. I think that’s called conversations about leadership.
I love it. Okay, so first of all, I need a nap after you said. So, you’re in the Army Reserves, you had a full time job. You’ve you’re a wife and a mom. And I know just those two things in itself, the wife and the mom part can be really overwhelming. So tell so so I’m sure that as you’re launching this, this new endeavor with leadership, you probably have a ton to share. So tell me kind of how that came to be? And is it? Is the new endeavor, really just sharing things you learned in in this whole past experience and everything that you’ve gone through?
Well, yes, and No.
Yeah, I think how it came about is, I loved the ability to leave in the army. And I love that. Throughout the course of my career, we were always given opportunities to learn more about leading through formal training through officer development programs, and then we were given the opportunity to lead. And because we lead real life, people, you have immediate feedback on what’s going well, yeah, what’s not going well.
What was your job in the, in the reserves? And I don’t know a whole lot about the military. So I may ask stupid questions. And so you just say, you just say, Betsy, there’s no stupid questions. There’s just stupid people.
A funny little fact less than 1% of the American public has served in the military. So most people don’t know anything about the military. That’s very interesting.
Less than 1% also, less than 1% of people have run marathons. I didn’t know if you knew that. That’s like a random fact I have in my head. I’ve run a marathon though. And you’ve been in the army. So we have this in common
marathon I have no desire.
So what was your job in the military?
So I was at the end, I went through several different things, but I spent most of my time as a Logitech logistician. So what that means is I managed units and people and processes to make sure that the soldier the warfighter had food, water, fuel bullets, you know, all the things that they needed at the right time in place.
Wow. I mean, that’s a that’s a big job.
Yeah. And obviously, it takes a huge effort to make that happen. So kind of the one cool thing I guess there were many cool things points. But at one point, I commanded the largest battalion in Iraq. And we refer to ourselves as the Walmart distribution center. That everything that came into my rack went through us for further distribution.
So what was it like in Iraq and Afghanistan? Like, what was that? Like? Was it really just like, you know, when you see the pictures, it’s, it’s Sandy looking? Like it just is very Brown.
Right? Yeah. Um, where we were was kind of Central Iraq, and definitely a lot of sand. But there was vegetation there was outside of our security fence, there were people farming and goats grazing. So it was really
like, Really? Yes, that sounds very odd. So really, like you were at because I imagine it and I’m sure other people are like me. And they imagine it as the military being based there and being like, way, far away from anything else. But really, there was stuff right around you. That was like the general public that you had. Wow. Yep. That’s so interesting. And so when you were you were there for how long at a time, like a year at a time.
Mm hmm. And so obviously left your family and your your kids?
Yes. So my husband was also in the Army Reserves. So we kind of worked really hard, and had a lot of support, so that we were able to only leave our kids over the course of the war for about four months where one parent wasn’t at home. Yeah,
yeah, that’s really good. But Wow, what a sacrifice. I mean, I like it when everybody in my house leaves, but for like a weekend. Like, that seems like an excessive amount of time. So thank you for that.
So, you know, what was really your original question was, what am I doing with it now, and I wasn’t ready to give up all of those lessons learned. And today, there are so many people that want leadership that want to be led that want to be good leaders. And they haven’t really considered what that means. How do you show up not only mindset stuff that you, you know, obviously talk about and, and work through on your own? But what does it mean to lead a group of people? And how do you get them to understand what you’re saying? Each of us have basic questions that we need answered. And if you’re not providing those answers, you’re not getting them fully on board and engaged.
And I would think that the group of people that you were working with, it was a much more diverse group, right, like people coming from all different education backgrounds, and you know, where they lived, right? coming from all different places. So absolutely. So that level of leadership has really taken to a whole other height. Because when you work in a job, the people that you work with, typically work live near you, right? So you have like a general frame of reference for things. But all of that is different when you’re in the military. So I’m sure that’s a totally different skill. So to be able to pull that into something you can teach someone else, I can see where that would be really valuable.
And really fun. I love seeing people do things that they never thought they could do. Right? Like, isn’t that the most exciting and rewarding thing is when you can be encouraged or for someone to actually execute on a dream? And you’re like, I told you all along, you get this?
Yeah, yeah. Super cool. So what is something like if someone’s working with a group of people that are also different, also diverse with different belief systems and coming from different backgrounds? How do you communicate in a situation like that?
Well, I think you have to have a common language. So obviously, the military, we’ve learned from basic training forward, what is our language, but in any organization, whether it’s your church, your family, your gym, whatever, you all have a common language, and to understand what that language is in how it’s used, is really kind of the key. And from there, everyone has a personality type and I use the disc behavior personality assessment, because I think it’s easy for us all to understand, which is key. Yeah. But in that there’s four categories in each one of those has a question and you primarily want to have your question answered before you can engage in a conversation or an activity So knowing of your team who fits into what category and knowing what question they need before they can even hear you, is really important as a leader.
Okay, so that’s super interesting. Tell me more about disk. Like, what do you and I might be putting you on the spot. But you remember, like the different category? Yeah, for different categories? Absolutely. Be curious of learning a little more about that.
Yeah. So if you imagine a horizontal and vertical line, so that you have four quadrants, yep. Okay, on the left of the horizontal, right line is task. And on the right is people. Okay. And then north is outgoing in South is reserved. So you kind of have that in your mind.
Yep. Let me ask you this before you keep going is outgoing and reserved as an introvert extrovert, or is it shy? not shy? Or is it something totally different?
It’s how you behave. Ah, okay. Okay. Okay. So in that upper left quadrant? Yeah. And those of us that like the cardinal directions, that would be the Northwest quote. Yeah. Yeah. It starts with D. And it’s characterized as instead its dominance, which I’m not sure I really liked that term.
Right. Is that kind of controlling?
Right? Yeah. Right. Right. So I’m always like, who, but that’s what the work says. And they’re task oriented. You know, they’re on that far left side. Mission, they want to get the task done. They want to go the grocery store and get out of there with the 10 things on their list.
That’s me, I’m that. And even if I do stuff that’s not on my list, I add it so I can check it off.
There you go.
I know other people listening that I’m not the only one.
So let me ask you this. Do you find yourself before you can engage? Asking questions like, what are we talking about? What are we going to do? What?
Just the word
Yeah, I want to map like so then what then what then what, like, I want to see what’s going to happen? Like, I want to track lists, I want the boxes to check, you know.
And I will say before we keep going but people have kind of too dominant? Won’t. That’s not the right word, but two primary that’s the right word. quadrants. So you can be a high D and low level us right? One leaves, and then one follows. Okay. So just so you know that but
yeah, so take this test for free online, or do I have to pay like somebody to administer it for me,
you can go to conversations about leadership.com. And I have a modified test. That’ll give you kind of the first layer. And then obviously, you can go deeper with me. Yeah, yeah.
Okay, cool. So everybody can go to that conversations about leadership, calm, and then learn more, and then we’ll get put on your list. Right. So we’ll start getting information about this kind of thing, which I think Yeah,
it’d be good. And you can join my conversations about leadership. That’s how I think we learn about leadership. I like it. I like it. Okay, cool. Okay, so going to the right around the circle. The next one is an eye. It’s an influencer? Mm hmm. And their question is Who, who is going to be there? Who’s part of this project? Who do I have to deal with? And they really just want to have fun with the group that they’re in, but work really hard. But it’s more important for them to be part of that network of people. Okay,
yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Keep going around. Yeah, that next one is an S, it’s steadiness. And these are the people that I love. Because they are always asking how I can say, as a D, what are we going to do and get the answer? And they’re asking, Well, how are we going to do that? So they balance the task with the practicality?
And then the last one is the C, and they’re the contentious guys. And they’re asking why. Yeah. Why are we even bothering to do this? I think
like every four year old
is a see.
Yeah, that’s funny, though, because we kind of lose that. But don’t you think everybody sort of has that in them, but then as you become an adult, like, one or two of these traits become much more like who you are much more obvious,
is that right? Exactly. And in which one you assume in your role, because you can have a natural bent, but because of what you do you exhibit another one. Just because you’re in the circumstances that require you to exhibit, everybody can be any four of these at any given time,
right? We all have a little bit of everything in us. Right?
Right. But it’s really important if you understand your team to know, if I don’t answer the what for you. I’ve lost you in the conversation.
Right? Yes. And if I go
ahead, if I don’t tell an AI, who’s part of the conversation, they don’t even know if they want to play.
Right. So really using their language, you know, it’s funny, and I’m wondering now, if I have used this without really knowing that I’ve used it, but I had a boss that was very, very, very detail oriented, like wanting to know every little thing about every little thing with my customer. And then I had someone that was helping me with a project, who was just about the party. And so I found myself when I would go into a meeting with them, I would think, like, I gotta be really focused on the detail and make it sound super fun. You know, like, I would like I recognize that. And so I would go into a meeting and say, like, it is going to be so awesome, because at 805, we’re going to do this. And then everybody was involved. But it’s funny, because I wonder if natural good leaders not that I am a natural good leader, that might have been the only instance that really did something like that. But naturally, good leaders just instinctively feel these things about people.
Right. I think that is absolutely true. If you’re very in tune and self aware. That’s not everyone. Right? Yeah. The bad bad bosses like, well, this is what I am. And you all need to modify your behavior for me. And that’s kind of the complete opposite of a good boss.
Right, right. And so to really be a good leader, you have to understand the people that you want to follow you, instead of trying to just get random people to follow you. Right? You have to understand who who the people are that you’re working with.
Right? Because the foundation of a team is trust. And how can you build trust if you don’t have understanding?
Yeah, I like that a lot. And so how can you use this like in your family?
Oh, my gosh, so you’re just entering the fun teenage years, I have survived teenagers.
See, I can barely, I’m barely hanging on by my fingernails right now.
So understanding really how your daughter is which one of these she is really kind of explains how to approach her. My son, the wonderful kids, a great kid, and he’ll kill me that I’m talking about him. But he’s pretty quiet. And he has very male tendencies of you’re getting one word answers, right? Yeah,
So understanding how he thinks, and giving him time and space that he needs to test his answers in his own head and see how they land before he can verbalize. It. really helped me not be so impatient on wanting answers from him to my questions right now.
Oh, yeah, that’s really good. Because there are times where I’ll say, so my daughter really likes to have things laid out. Like she wants to know, like, this weekend, what are we doing? She wants to know what the plans are and what is in store for her. But if I don’t do that, like if I don’t sense that beforehand and start to lay out the weekend, or what she can expect her who’s coming over what’s happening, like her, like she has anxiety, right? So her anxiety will get much higher. Like there’ll be a whole lot more issues in terms of her just not understanding, and she’ll ask that she’ll be like, what are we doing? What are we doing?
So what is that? What is she? s? Would you say? I mean, I know, it will
have to take her take the test.
I need to know this. Everyone in the family family meeting. We’re logging on Marcy’s website.
You know, she might actually be a see. She’s asking the what questions but she’s really trying to ask why or how. Yeah, just using different languaging because here’s a fun. This is such an army thing. But we’ve heard the analogy of ready Aim Fire, right? Yeah. Okay, so a D is ready. Fire. Aim.
Oh, yeah, right.
And I is Ready, aim. Talk.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
S is ready. Ready? Ready? And a C is ready. Aim. Aim.
Aim. Yes. Yeah.
So I think those are so they’re just great little thought processes of who we are. And a fun little way to, to think about it, too.
So do you think then oh, also are do you speak? Do you go out and speak to groups?
while since I’ve just jumped off the Spree tyerman thing or into this retirement world? Yes, I am. Because
I feel like you would be this would be super interesting to, like, all kinds of groups. We’re gonna, we’re gonna get we’ll, we’ll talk about that. I have ideas. But that’s, yeah, like I can see this being like, so super valuable, to really be able to move much faster towards a goal.
And it’s not just for teams, but for individuals to know, okay, this is how I best work with things. And maybe there are things I’ve been trying to do that I get overwhelmed. But it’s because I’m either being fed it in a way that doesn’t make sense to me, or I’m receiving it in a way that doesn’t make sense to me. And if I know myself, I can reorganize that in a way that works for me, so I can move forward quicker, right?
Yes, yes. And that missing thing like in your family, you know, if you’re trying to have a vacation planning conversation with your spouse, and they’re blowing you off, or they don’t want to do it, well, how do they need to hear the conversation Aren’t you know, maybe, maybe it’s a different conversation, a harder conversation. But it’s just so applicable to really how we orient the world around us. And it I just, I love this, this process. It’s easy, we can all remember it. I had a co worker who really needed me to start the conversation with Good morning, how was your day? And I had been thinking about the task in my head for a drive into work, you know, maybe the night before I’d already really worked through the process. And when I saw her, I was just ready to jump into it. So I’d be like, hey, I need you to do X y&z yes like, well, aren’t you just lovely?
Yeah, yeah. So it seemed like, so it seemed impersonal, right? Like you didn’t care about her as a person, you were just focused on the job, which wasn’t the reality.
Exactly. And so once we understood what each one was processing, she understood that I was so focused on tasks, not right or wrong, just so focused on tasks. And then I could be all personal, but I needed to get the task done first. And she needed to be personal. And then she could focus on the task. Yeah, we could kind of come to the middle and go, Okay, I’m going to shorten your need, but I’m still going to meet it. And she had grace to go. Okay. I know that you’ve been thinking about this. Let me try to focus. Yeah,
yeah. really helped. Yeah, that’s really good. You know, just relating that to a story about my own family. I get up in the morning really early. And I like to meditate. I like to do my reading. You know, I always try to learn something in the morning, then I get ready, I got my dogs ready, I get my kid ready, I drive her to school, I come home, I get ready to work out. And that’s when my husband’s getting up. And so I start talking. And he’s recently has said to me, like, I love you, but I need you to not like I just need you to not talk. Like I’m still not just waking up. I mean, he could have been up for an hour, but he’s still processing stuff. And he’s an attorney. So he thinks through his day, you know, he walks through his whole day. But meanwhile, I’m like, oh. And then I thought this and I meditated. And this happened, you know. And so it got really overwhelming. But I think that really, we’re lucky in that we are so communicative about those kinds of things. But I think if you weren’t, and you didn’t understand how somebody else worked, that could be really like a deal breaker or a devastating thing for the day like you need to shut up for the hour that I
first wake up.
So I can see really getting to understand these things at from your family, and I’m talking so much but I got all excited about this topic. So
not just your team but your family, your kids like all of that can really be super duper helpful. I mean in a million different ways. So other different words you should use with different kinds. Have people?
Um, I don’t think there’s different words. I haven’t necessarily studied that. But I think there’s different needs that need to be met. For DS, we respond well, two challenges, right? Like, oh, you put that marathon in front of you, and you’re gonna go do it. Ah, man, I’m such a, d. And I, they want recognition. And that’s really hard for D to remember to do. Because we’re so not motivated by recognition that we forget to recognize someone else and an AI needs to be recognized, they need to be told you did a great job. You look beautiful today, you know, whatever that point that we want to make that day is.
So can I Okay, so I’m interrupting you. I know. We’re all sort of all of these things. But like, I feel like I’m definitely that like, words of affirmation is
my love language.
You know, so could I be too high of the two like the D in the eye? Okay, Yep, absolutely.
I’m a DNI and A, C and s.
Okay, and then steadiness for the s, what about them?
appreciation? Thank you for doing that. I’m not, I will say that. My my husband is an S. And he really wanted and I, you know, this is the ever popular marriage joke, right? Where you, you, as a wife need to thank your husband for taking the trash out. Right, right. For him, that was his way of saying, Look, I’m doing something for you. That is not normally in my scope to do. And I need you to acknowledge it. Right. And I was like, Are you kidding me? You took the trash out? Right?
Yes. Yes. He’ll say I took the trash out for you. Well, I’ll be like, for us.
trash in there as well. Yeah. So um, and then the C wants quality answers, they want you to be correct. They, they want the right thing because they’re looking for why. So when we say, well, because I say so or because I’m the parent. Really, that that doesn’t work for them. If you can say, here are the things that I’m concerned about and why. As, as my son got ready to go to college and was selected what college to go to, it was no, here are your three choices that you’ve applied and been accepted for. Here are the pros and the cons. And here’s why I think this is a good fit for you. Not making your decision, because you know, you’re making that decision. But as a parent, these are the reasons and I laid it out. Really, logically for him without emotion. Yeah, so she could hear my logic. And it wasn’t my mom’s telling me what to do. Right?
Are all kids that are like, do you grow up and change out of ones or not? Or is that just a coincidence that that’s just like my kid.
But I think we all go through phases until we land, but I do see that behaviors are consistent. And maybe you actually learn to adapt more as you grow older. Yeah, yeah. But, but you are pretty consistent. Interesting.
I love all this work. It’s so fun. It’s so fun. I can see why you like it so much. And I can see how all of the experience you have could really give like this much richer experience behind it.
contrast and being able to really share some really amazing stories with people. Yes, I have talked your ear off and asked you so many questions. Let me ask you, because now we’re coming up on about 30 minutes. And I know, you know, I usually like to keep people where I’m not taking up your whole day, because I’ve talked for hours. But let me ask you, what else would you like to share with people that we haven’t hit on? Like, where else would you like to go?
Um, I think I really want people to start considering their own values and how they’re using values to make decisions and lead.
Okay, yeah. And they can find out more about that. Also, by going to your website, right by going to tell us calm, conversations about
leadership, calm, okay.
So I want everybody to go there and take That little test and then we have a Facebook group you can find it at SS lB community.com. Jump in there and tell me what you came up with. Who are you? Are you a deer in IRS or a C and if you’re an AI like me, let’s tell each other how great we are. And then I’ll give you a checklist of some things to
do for your,
for your di. Pretty color coded,
Oh my god. That’s awesome. Thank you so, so much, Marcy, for coming on. This was really fun. And it was awesome to get to talk to you and get to know you a little bit better. And I appreciate your time. So thanks for jumping on. Thanks, Betsy. It was super fun. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Remember, you can find me inside my facebook group at SS lB community.com that stands for start small live big community.com. And as always, here’s a little message from my husband.