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  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E53. Negotiation, Events and Self-Improvement Junkies with Tony Anagor

Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.

Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.

Welcome to the story powers podcast, a show about the power of stories that people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Tony anago. Tony is the CEO of lifestyle DMC, an incentive and team building agency working with international organisations like IBM, Coca Cola and Google. He also works with C level leaders, helping them build and shape their companies and teaches top scientists how to get their ideas funded. Tony is a man who finds the corporate world very easy. Leadership troubles, underperforming teams, lack of funding, none of that stuff is a real challenge, when you've spent the last decade raising triplets, and not going completely insane. Ladies and gentlemen, Tony anago. Tony, welcome to the show.

Tony Anagor 1:53

Thank you, thanks for having me, and excited to be here.

Francisco Mahfuz 1:57

Tony, one of the things that that you do that I wanted to talk about, and I do realise that this might be a bit of a weird way to look at it. But but this is a show about stories and the power of stories. And I wanted to start talking to you about the part of your of your severe or your professional interest that in theory has less to do with story, which is the whole the events company, so So the things you do for for companies. And what I was trying to see what what I when I saw that, you know, I know that's part of what you do. But I was trying to figure out how much of a narrative or an overarching story goes into a planned event or or how much should it go?

Tony Anagor 2:45

Well, that's a really good question to kick off the this this interview. And actually, it's fundamental, it's key to any any event. Any event is a story. There are players in the story there are you know, that the you know, the usual hero's journey, right? That happens in a story. So, you, you they're the protagonist, so the people who you want to please, there are the people who want to please the people who want to please, there's a problem that they're facing. What when somebody does an event, when a company decides to organise an event, there's normally a reason behind it, there's a challenge that they're trying to overcome, there's a problem that they're trying to solve. And our job as event planners is to try and figure out what that narrative is what what is the problem that they're trying to solve? Oftentimes, they don't know, we get requests, like, we need something well, okay, so what does that mean? Well, it's just going to be something well, better than it was last year in the year before. So that to it to a trained event planner, there are some cues there, as to how you can begin to unravel that and find out the story and the players who are playing the parts within that story.

Francisco Mahfuz 4:01

And when it comes to to the event, it's themselves how much do you have to design a story essentially, how much is it is that level of complexity of planning that goes into it, other than just, you know, this is the was the icebreaker or this, this is just to get everybody relaxed. And then this is the you know, this is we do this thing, and then the company wants us to do that thing, how much thought has to go into, okay, well, then here, we're taking them up here, we're taking them down.

Tony Anagor 4:32

The best type of requests that we get are when the three four D events. And we have we are working with the event planning team on their side to craft and CO create the event. They're the best type of events what we get because we really get an opportunity to investigate to ask questions to provoke to then start looking at using our experience and our know Knowledge and fusing that with the experience and knowledge of the event planners on the company side and created something is really, really unique. And there are some clues, if we get asked anything from 12 to 18 months out for an event, and it's a three four day type of event, they're generally clues that the person or the company you're dealing with is really putting some thought into this. And they really want to make an impact with the event. And it could either be for the company themselves, or it could be for the company's clients that they want to do the event. But typically, the longer lead time, the longer run up you have to the event, the better prepared you can be. And it shows that it's not just an afterthought, that it's an event that really wants to make an impact. So we normally say start with the end in mind. Right? So what's the impact? You're looking to me? And who are you looking to make this impact on? And what is the reason for this impact? So we start from there, and then we can kind of work our way backwards, we use an E N W model. So we ask what would be expected from this event? So we get a list of all the things that are expected? And then we say, okay, what are the things that would be nice to have, you are flicking through a magazine one day, and you thought, oh, it'd be nice to do that be nice to do that. So then we have a list of all the nice things. And then we say what would be well, what would be really well about this event, just just dream. So then we come away with with almost like a wish list of our clients, the expected stuff, the stuff that would be nice to have in the stuff, that's well, and our job is to kind of put that into a cocktail, and fuse it together with our knowledge of event planning, and how we put that together and really come up with a unique event, you said

Francisco Mahfuz 6:43

that some companies will look out, we're organises things, 12 to 18 months out, what I find difficult to understand this, if a company is looking so far ahead, then you know, that says quite a lot of nice things about the company and how well they plan. But when they tell you what they want, realistically, how much can that be a reflection on their teams and the dynamics within their teams? When is this much time out? I mean, surely the team that the team that you get 12 to 18 months out, is not going to be the same team, at least in the sense of how they interact with each other and what moment they're going through, then the team that they originally booked the event for?

Tony Anagor 7:33

Yeah, I think it's important to establish what we mean by team. So team could be anything from five people, to to 5000. And so typically, the more complex the event. So for example, at the moment, we're working on one, for a couple of 1000 people, which will take place in 2022, we have a long lead time, we have a lot to plan, there are lots of intricate points to put into place that need to be put into place when you're moving such a large amount of people. So these require lead times now if it's an event for 20 people, then you're absolutely right, an event for 20 people, you know, need an 18 month lead time for for that type of event.

Francisco Mahfuz 8:20

Okay. And I think you've alluded to this a bit when when you talked about what they tell you when they when they book the event, but when you're talking to whoever your contact is within those companies, how much it becomes pretty obvious that how much the the stories that that come that are happening within that company become obvious. I mean, how easy it is to say, Okay, well, this company is going through this type of thing, even if they don't make it obvious to you. Yeah,

Tony Anagor 8:56

I mean, so I really love this question. And I love it for two reasons. One, because if you'd asked me this question, when I first started 20 years ago, I would have had a completely different answer. So I'll give you the answer of my 20 years experience. And we certainly feel at this stage that we cannot launch an event or begin the planning of an event with asked without asking these these key questions. You know, we want to know that what's the story? We want to know what's going on in the company for you at this point to decide to do this event? And it does require some very brave questioning questions that I probably wouldn't have asked maybe 20 years ago. But at this stage, I think it's really important. And also I think that the clients expect you to ask these kinds of questions. I'm known in the company as the chief questions officer because I don't really have all of the answers, but I just have loads of questions. And oftentimes, I'll ask the questions that perhaps you haven't Ask yourself as to you know, why you doing this event? And what it actually means. And the more they tell us about the reason they're doing the event, what's happened in the past? What are the things that they like? What things that they don't like, you know, you start to get a feel you sometimes you get the sense that actually, it's the big boss that's decided they want to do this event. And that's why we're going to Capri, because the big boss has an affinity with that particular island. But have you really asked the staff whether that's what they want to do. And so you get a feel for is this a company which has managed from the top down? Is this a company which is managed by consulting with all of the staff and making kind of decisions that are a joint decisions, taking into consideration this stuff, you get, you start to get a feel for the company that you're dealing with, from you know, the way in which they approached the their events?

Francisco Mahfuz 11:00

It's interesting, the idea that once you've been in the industry long enough, that that type of questioning becomes essential to something that a lot of people would think has nothing to do with that. You thinking organising an event is organising an event? What Why do you need to know what's going on in the company just put something nice, we'll have none of that. But I find that almost a new work that is done within a company that has anything to do with, with leadership with team engagement, missions, values, eight, almost anything. If you can't get what the real stories, then you just hamstrung that there's no way to do to do that work. And one of the things that one of the types of work that that I do and you come across that is people talking about, you know, they want to create a nicer story for their their mission. But the company's purpose is that it's okay for them. So what what's going on now? So what is what, what do people think their mission is? So what are they people think is the is are the values of the company, sometimes people act as if one thing has nothing to do with the other nine, whether we can decide what the mission is, or we can decide what the values is. And that's it. I mean, it's a leadership decision. But it's, it's not if there is a chasm between what the top of a company thinks is happening or wants to happen, and what everybody in the on the frontlines thing, then you just get people coughing it like people do today, no company missions are one of the most superfluous exercises ever, because you ask anyone that actually works in a company says, oh, you know, what are your Vedas? I mean, yeah. Okay, so that leads me that leads us into some of the some of the other work you do, which is what I wanted to talk to you more about? And is the work you do with, with C level leaders. And so there's this line you use when you describe it, and you're talking about building and shaping departments and companies. And there's there's a lot that that goes into it. But what I wanted to understand is how how story or your view of of story or narrative or however you want to think of it, how does that fit into into that part of the work?

Tony Anagor 13:24

When I when I start a coaching interrogation of interior.

Francisco Mahfuz 13:32

That's a nice Freudian slip there.

Tony Anagor 13:34

If you don't want it, because the way I'm sat here, and I'm feeling like, Okay, I'm here. I've got these lights here. And it feels like an interrogation. And my brain is saying they

Francisco Mahfuz 13:44

are your own lies. Frank, they are your brain is saying.

Tony Anagor 13:48

It's Frank, we're in a bar, we're having a talk. I'm not being interrogated. And we're just having a chat.

Francisco Mahfuz 13:53

I mean, sorry. So you mean you haven't been drinking this whole time?

Tony Anagor 13:55

Just water for now? Just what Yeah, I

Francisco Mahfuz 13:58

mean, we know who knows what's inside this bottle?

Tony Anagor 14:03

Yeah, so the setting. You know, as I said to you at the top of the conversation, this is the first time I've done this, and it's quite exciting to do. I'm quite, I'm quite enjoying it. But you're talking about stories. And I see everyone has a story. I see. You know, we it's just, we're all a story. And then we're all stories within stories. And we have these stories jostling for supremacy in our conscious mind is to okay, this is the story I'm going to tell you today. So, when I meet somebody for the first time, and we are about to embark upon a coaching journey, my brain says, Okay, I need to know this person's story, right? I need to know this person's story, but not just that is then I want to understand why is it that you chose to tell me that particular story, right, what's the what's the story behind the story? And so it's like opening these layers of an onion to try and get to the root of what is the main story I did an exercise in confinement with with my wife about maybe six or seven months ago, which was to find my story. And Frank, it was a really painful exercise, I have to tell you, you know, it took about three hours. But I said, Look, I need you to sit down. And I need you to ask me two questions. What does that give you? And why? Everything I say? Just Just answer. What does that give you, Tony? And why? Everything I say, and so it was a bit uncomfortable initially. But it took about three hours until we finally got to what was that the story behind my story behind the story. And that's, that's fascinating.

Francisco Mahfuz 15:41

So let's, let's go, let's go a little deeper in that one. When you say finding my story, what do you mean? I mean, what what what, what is the definition of my story in that particular scenario?

Tony Anagor 15:53

My why right? Why do I say yes to certain projects? And no to others? Why do I feel uncomfortable in certain circles, and comfortable enough that there's a reason there's a narrative, there's a story, I'm telling myself, and it doesn't matter whether it's true or not, it's a story. And so when when I was able to recognise that in myself, it was it was a watershed moment. And I realised that it's what I do with my clients all the time, but it's like going to the barbers, right? They're really good at doing your hair. But when you look in the mirror at the reflection of the hairstyle of the barber, you think, well, he could do with with, you know, taking some of his own lessons. And it's the same thing as a coach, we're always being pushed to look at ourselves in the mirror. And and, and you see the reflection of the lessons you should learn in the people that are attracted into your circle for coaching,

Francisco Mahfuz 16:43

I find interesting that you use a barber metaphor or analogy, given that you have a completely shaved head, I'm not sure what that says about your trust in. In other barbers skills.

Tony Anagor 16:57

Listen, I have to let you know that it this takes about an hour to go. When I go to the barbers this takes about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. I was in the detail.

Francisco Mahfuz 17:08

Yeah, I'm sure it is. Okay, so I understand. I understand that exercise. And I understand that that exercise is has immense power. But what it also will typically do or have is resistance, you know, I don't think a lot of people, at least in my experience, a lot of people are not that keen on going through an exercise like that. So when you try to do that in a coaching exercise within a company, do you get you know, how much pushback do you get? How do you overcome that?

Tony Anagor 17:45

Yeah. So before I say yes, to any coaching journey, there are a series of questions or a series of texts that I require. It's like going to the gym, right? You go to the gym, you're a good trainer would say, Okay, let's do a health check to make sure that you have no underlying medical problems. Let's try and figure out what it is you want to do in terms of you want to lose 15 kilos. Okay, when was the last time you lost? 15 kilos, never. Okay, how many kilos? Have you lost in the last 10? years? None. In fact, I've put on 15 or 20. Okay, so it starts to build a picture that the person that you're working with, is needs some more thought, Okay? So, before I get to a, to a position where I say, Okay, let's go on this coaching journey. I do what I call the the turnstile, go out of the of the stadium, think about it, and then come back in. And that works for me, it works quite well. I don't always get it right. But typically, I want somebody to be in a neutral position when they make a decision of whether they're going to do coaching or not. In other words, I don't need it to be yes, I really want to do this because that that motivation we have is a very fickle friend. It's great when you're very positive. But then in the cold light of day when you have to do some work and you have to really work on yourself and ask these questions. That motivation lacks dissipates. So I do some exercises to make sure that you've thought that process through before we embark upon a coaching journey.

Francisco Mahfuz 19:24

My wife has taken a very similar approach to our relationship. She she went outside the stadium for five years, and then came back, but I think she needed a passport when she came back. So I'm not sure how Jesus how neutral that position was. Yes,

Tony Anagor 19:49

okay, so it sounds like there's a story there.

Francisco Mahfuz 19:51

Oh, there's always i i If anything I tell too many if our mutual friend Florian Mook has, has made a point of For whenever he gives me feedback on any of my of my stories or my speaking, I think there was a point of feedback that he would just say, no more wife stories. Because I've now replaced them by children's stories, which is also very, a very prolific source of, I'm not sure if inspiration is the word or transpiration. But but one of the two, one of the two for sure. And so you you if you're working with someone, particularly within the company, is what I'm more interested in. How much how much do you find that C level executives are aware of, of this look at things as as a narrative or as a story? Is this? Is this something that is very clear in their heads already? Or is that something that you have to teach them essentially?

Tony Anagor 20:53

Yeah, so typically, sound sounds tough. But typically, I we have to unlearn what we think we already know. And that does involve an intricate matrix of asking questions of painting a picture putting putting tessellating experiences and past ideas that you may have had putting them together on a map, and then asking you to say, Well, what what do you see, I mean, that's what we try and do in in a coaching session is my job is to ask questions, observe, take the answers, put them down, keep asking questions, observe, put them down. And then I kind of show them to you and say, right, what do you see there? You know, what, what is it that you see, based on what you've told me? And then you hit No, no, actually, no, no, there was this and there was this? Okay. Right. So where does that fit in. And so we look to build a picture. And those pictures are based on the stories that you you've told yourself, or that you've heard. And in companies, there's a kind of a thing dividing line between the stories that you tell yourself and the stories that your company tells you. And sometimes you mix the two and you think that the story that companies told you is actually your your story. The most successful are when you get people who have who understand themselves and understand where the company is, what the company's values are, what the company's stories is, and then and then the work is, well, how do I make sure that I can have an impact on what the company's story is? How do I make sure without without changing my own story, without changing my own narrative? How do I make sure that I have an impact on my company and those people around me, that's the challenge.

Francisco Mahfuz 22:40

One of the things that you also do, which I started doing last year, is being involved with the with the ESA MBA, particularly with the communication part of it, which is, I think, this year, wasn't it voted or chosen or whatever, the top MBA in the world,

Tony Anagor 22:58

several several years running.

Francisco Mahfuz 23:00

I think last year, I don't know what rankings were looking at. But I think from the one I saw was from the economist and for 2020, was the top MBA, I think it seems to always hover somewhere between one and 10. Yeah, very rare. It's a good one. No, but what I wanted to ask is something that I can imagine that it's an area that you get a lot of things in common between the work you do inside the company or directly with an executive in the that communications MBA is, is effectively how they communicate. And we we know that in public speaking and most types of communication. Storytelling is a is a very useful tool for communicating. And I know that in the NBA, that's a fairly, it's perhaps a much easier sell, because they're there for that. And that's at least been my experience. How do you find that? That's the contrast there about how when you're trying to teach people how to communicate better with stories or whatever other technique you're using, how much more likely they are to listen to you and want to implement it, if you're, if you're teaching them in the MBA, compared to when you're there in the company trying to say, I see the way you're actually talking to other people, and that's not gonna work.

Tony Anagor 24:16

Well, you know, in ESA, as you said, you know, people are there for a specific reason, okay. In in many ways, you're preaching to the converted, I did they get it? They have been in positions where they realise how important communication is. When you're when I'm dealing with with with companies and I'm working with their teams. They also have, you know, they're in the real world themselves, and they, they realise that there is something else there's something missing, there's something, you know, a skill set that they could improve on. And so my work really when I work with companies outside of educational institutes visions, I like to just tell stories of how powerful communication is communication to yourself internally and communication with others. I remember 20 or 30 of years ago, I can't remember when I did the Anthony Robbins, Unleash the Power Within weekend, I remember the first thing he said was that was the quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your communication. And I think when you start with some empirical truths, whether you're in a USA, whether you're working for a corporate company, it's an empirical truth, we know that to be the truth, we know that to be the effect. And so when you start from that base, and then you begin to tell stories and narratives of how, if you follow me on this journey, and we learn to improve our communication skills, the advantages, the benefits, are clear. And I think once people are on that journey, then you there's very little pushback, I will say the big difference between working in an institution, an educational institution, like ESA, and then working in the corporate world, is there is a lot more followed through in USA, I noticed, you know, I connect with many of the students that I work with, and I can see their improvements, I can see what they're doing. They they maintain contact with me, and they send me messages of how they're doing great speeches, or how they, you know, the successes they're having. In corporate companies, it tends to be it we had a great time and then back into the real world back into the real and, and this isn't their fault. You know, it's a big bear bug that I have is that we do a great course. Where's the follow up? I'd like to meet you in six months time or in another year's time to follow up on the skills that we've we've began to work on. And that's lacking I find in corporate in the corporate world.

Francisco Mahfuz 26:53

I think you're actually like that the the Tony Robbins quote, If my memory doesn't fail me, because I've seen it not that long ago is the quality of your life is directly dependent on the quality of your questions. I think it's great

Tony Anagor 27:06

question well, which sewline was 30 years ago? So he's upgrading

Francisco Mahfuz 27:12

you might have, but yeah, as with the, with the follows through, I think, I think it's a very important point, because one of the things that I remember when I started down down the path I'm on now, which involves, among other things, and I'm speaking but also the corporate training, and I was talking to, to some of our mutual friends who have been doing this for a very long time. And, and I had this feeling of how much is a workshop that you deliver over a couple of days? How much is this actually a transformational process for a company? Or how much does the company genuinely intended to be a transformational process? And how much is this business flavoured entertainment, and I got a mix of messages. But it seems to be that I think that the further you go from the way they normally do things, the bigger the chance that if if the workshop you're running is not with, you know, the C level executives, then it's it might just be business flavoured entertainment, then then then something where they generally committing to it I've I was actually talking to, to some people from from anecdote who are a story consultancy company that has been doing this for 1617 years. And they've the way they've developed their their story programme over the years, I think the current iteration of it is the workshops. So they usually do them over a couple of days or four, four sessions now that everybody's online, but then they will have six months of, of activities online or follow through on email or messages or whatever, just to try and actually make something happen because they say, you know, there are however great the workshop is, even the people that do really well with it, if there is no follow through three months down the line, they just come back to communicate and the way they always did, particularly, you know, from a lot of people telling, telling stories as a way of communicating is not a natural way of, of communicating so, so that follow through is quite important. So what do you do about it? And how do you how can you present that problem before the work and not after the work? So so it doesn't, it doesn't become as much of an issue and it's likely to become?

Tony Anagor 29:37

Well, we I have a belief that you know, this big breakthrough kind of events or breakthrough experiences. overrated, they are important. I mean, you can get bitten by a dog today and that changed the rest of your life. You know, you can you can hate dogs, so you know, small, so those big breakthrough events do can and do have an effect, but I think they're overrated. I think the idea of small, tiny habits consistence. And discipline along the way, is much more important than then just doing one big breakthrough. And that's a message I take to a lot of companies. And finding now, funnily enough now, due to what's going on, you know, people do have more time people are able to reflect. And the narrative I'm getting with through from companies now is they're actually prepared to stop, listen, I mean, imagine you speaking to companies who they would never have let their staff worked from home two years ago, absolutely unthinkable company policy, you never work. Now they're all at home. So it's a wonderful opportunity to try and change that narrative where you can say, okay, look, while they're at home, these are some other these are some some tiny, small changes that we can make along the way that will lead to bigger, more sustainable changes in your company, but it's got to start from the top down, it cannot just be given lip service. What did you say business flavour

Francisco Mahfuz 31:07

is that business flavoured entertainment, business flavoured

Tony Anagor 31:10

entertainment? Hashtag? That was a great, I liked that line. So yeah, I think it's important to note that I'm working right now, for example, with a company who we are doing a five week programme on negotiation skills, and it's a five week course twice a week, and the staff have committed to showing up twice a week for the for five weeks, on, you know, to actually learn and practice negotiation skills to three years ago, maybe that wouldn't have happened. So we are beginning to see a change and, you know, hats off to the companies that are able to see this and invest this kind of time and resources in their in their stuff,

Francisco Mahfuz 31:52

I think there is an element of one of the elements that has helped that a lot is the fact that we are at home, you know, I you hear this from a lot of people, but I have a I have a friend here in Barcelona, young Gibbs, who whose sole work is on learnability, as he calls it, you know, making people better learners. And one of the things he's been railing against for years and not necessarily getting a great deal of, of success with that is training shouldn't be six hours every day for a couple of days. And then and then ever again, it says just people won't absorb knowledge, that way, it can work as a as a transformational experience, if you're trying for some sort of breakthrough, maybe an emotional one. But if you're trying to change people's skill base and knowledge base, that is just not the way to teach them. And I think that it would be very, it would be much harder for all parties involved. If you if we propose to a company. For example, if I'm talking to companies now about the story work I do. And I say to them, Listen, we can tailor it to whatever we think works best. But my experience what works best is were doing in a couple of hours, no more than twice a week for for two or three weeks. And that's fine, because you log on you do it you get out. But how would you ever do that? If you had to do it live? I was I'm gonna come over to your company four times over the next two weeks, and then you're going to put your I think it will just never work people meetings would get on the way that there was a bit so either you do the two days, or you just didn't do it. So that sounds I think being online has has helped that that approach? Yeah,

Tony Anagor 33:37

absolutely. Yeah. I mean, in this particular case, this this five week course is hybrid. So it's, it's, we do some stuff presential. And we do some stuff online. So that's for me, one of the Phoenixes that has risen out of the ashes of the pandemic, is this idea of being able to move through the from the digital to the physical world with ease, in order to be able to help deliver your message to company. So I mean, I'm quite positive about companies that can see this and are prepared to commit. And also it says, you know, when when a company says to its staff, this is a five week programme, where you are expected to show up to all of the sessions. In fact, in this particular company, V the boss, the bosses that top line bosses, and even the owner of the company shows up too, so they're, you know, that really shows you a commitment to real long lasting change,

Francisco Mahfuz 34:37

where it not only shows a commitment, but it shows that the project actually has a chance in hell or succeeding. Because in a lot of these cases, if it if you don't have the the top of the company, the leaders of the company, not necessarily taking part but if they're not fully bought in, then when some of the Things are just not feasible. For example, if you're doing any type of communications training, one of the things that almost every communications trainer is going to do is try to push people away from the usual PowerPoint, the approaches that everybody has. And if you don't have buy in to the company, the first time someone goes to do a presentation, and they say, Oh, you're gonna turn on your slides. Now, I don't have any slides for this one. So when you're having slides, you don't have slides. All that all that effort? It's gone. It's gone down the drain to great extent. Right. So you mentioned? Well, two things I wanted to pick up on. The first one is, you started talking about Tony Robbins, and what you just said about breakthrough events? Maybe that's not what you're meant. But I always had this sneaky suspicion with a lot of the Tony Robbins stuff. Not that it's not amazing. I've seen him live. And he's a very, very impressive speaker. There isn't there was no question that, did he, he's easily one of the best speakers in the world. But I know a lot of people and you probably do, too, who have gone to a number of Tony Robbins, unleash the power ever. So we will make a point of going like every year or every other year to it. And you know, it's it's a great event. And I'm sure there's plenty of value for things of that nature. I know you run a retreat that is sort of a pitstop. And I think the idea of a pitstop is, is there's lots of value in it. But if it's meant to be that transformational, but you want to go and do the transformation every single year, I find it a bit.

Tony Anagor 36:36

Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head there. As far as this whole world of self improvement is concerned. I got into the world of self improvement in 92, straight after university, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. And you know, I felt I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. And I hit upon this Anthony Robbins guy, and I read his book, and I was enamoured by the book. And so I went to his course and I think it was in North London, Alexandra Palace, and they were maybe 6000 people there. I mean, now he does 60,000 Hunt 200,000 But there were only 6000 people there. And so for him, that's an intimate kind of, you know, weekend, and it was groundbreaking. It was fantastic. We did the walking on fire. You know, we did all this stuff. But I do remember when I when I arrived, and everybody was screaming and shouting quite American style. Yeah, you're the best. You're the best. And I remember thinking, oh my goodness me, this is not really what I signed up for. But I paid 850 pounds for the course. And

Francisco Mahfuz 37:40

which which given how long ago it was about 3 million pounds today.

Tony Anagor 37:45

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, give or take a couple. And so I just remember Frank, I remember being in this room and seeing all these crazy, hysterical people screaming and shouting, and saying I'm the best, I'm the best and dancing to your simply the best awful Oh My Goodness me. And then at some point, I thought, Tony, you just paid 850 pounds for this. And for me, that was a lot because in those days, I was only earning 713 pounds a month working for Novartis and I remember thinking, Well, I've paid almost a month's salary, well over a month's salary on this, I'm just going to get my month's salary and more from there. So I joined them and I started and, and I think when I had that breakthrough, I really started to get into the spirit of things. But I knew in my mind that I wouldn't. I knew that after this, you know, I've got what I came to get. And I didn't feel the necessity to go back to another one. Because, uh, you know, then they set you up, they upsell you to do more and more and more. And I just that was it after.

Francisco Mahfuz 38:48

Yeah, that was the part of it that I I absolutely despised, because the event itself. I mean, there were some interesting takeaways, I don't think I can remember a single one now. But but in in the moment, there was a lot of buy in and it was great fun. We had this dancing throughout most of it. And I think if if that was the, that was a keynote for a conference that then has a whole bunch of skill based things, or behavioural change based things that are along those lines, then that would have set you off really well for the rest of the of the learning. But what it was was three hours of him being amazing. And then the worst type of sales that I've ever seen in my life where it's people telling some sort of sob story that you can clearly see he's been told 550 times in the last week, and then it's like if you run to the back of the room now then you get this at a discount and people generally running which you knew had been paid to run to make it easy. It just left me a very bad taste in my mouth that this Titan in this in the industry, arguably one of the most well known if not the most well known speaker in the world, then sells with like, with a crappy timeshare techniques. And typically what they were selling wasn't me. It wasn't even like everything they were selling another event of this, but during the day, they were sending all sorts of crap. So yeah, no, it wasn't. I went once I thought was nice. I don't know if I could bring myself to go to another one not so much because of him. I think his stuff is interesting. And I've seen him do very powerful stuff. But I think the setting and the framework for the whole event is I don't think that your take on what your take away from it is more than an interest, a nice memory of what it was. And you might just walk away with a big hole in your bank account.

Tony Anagor 40:50

Well, I mean, I remember when I went this was in 92. So there wasn't there weren't any of those frills that I've heard that that are attached to his. Maybe he didn't even have a second programme. So there wasn't anyone really selling any of that. So I probably didn't get all of the frills and paraphernalia that that subsequent events have. I do remember for example, meeting a guy who on the you know, we formed his group afterwards called the yes group. Sounds cheesy now. Yes, your excellent succeed. So that was the group we formed and, and for a good year, we would meet at this guy's house every Wednesday, and we would look to try and imbibe the the ideas of Anthony Robbins, and it was there were five of us in the group. And it was it was really good. And then, you know, obviously I'd moved off and did various things. About 20 years later, I was watching CNN, and one of the guys who's well the guy whose house we used to meet at in Hampstead, London, Simon Woodruff, he was on CNN, and I looked at him and he's the He's the founder of yo sushi, and he's one of the dragons on Dragon's Den. And I do remember when we used to meet at his house, he used to wear odd socks or coloured socks, and, and he used to share his story of how one day he's going to, he's going to run a sushi brand. And, and so he did, he took that stuff, the anti Robbins stuff, and he buys it, and he believed in it. And 20 years later, he's a multi multi millionaire, hugely successful, is a public speaker. So there are some wins, you know, from those types of courses, but of course, the majority of them are just personal development junkies.

Francisco Mahfuz 42:36

Yes, that's very much the case. All right. So the other thread that I wanted to pick on was negotiation, because it's something you do a lot of you actually wearing the shirt literally. So when you're trying to so first of all, what what what's the the thing that people? What's the most common mistake you'll find or mistakes? When you you're going to try and helping people improve their negotiation skills? What are they doing that is so terrible?

Tony Anagor 43:07

Well, firstly, you hear the word negotiate. We did a survey of 300 people and we asked them when you hear the word negotiate what comes to your mind, and they think it's win or get the deal. So we had when get the deal. And then we had trick. Okay, so, and conflict came up as well. So the word negotiation has negative connotations. When you talk about, you know, let's negotiate that. Oh, no, no, I don't know it feels something underhand is going on. And there's a good reason for this. And the reason for this is because the old way of negotiating, was I win, you lose. So if if you and I go in, it's, it's like a distributive negotiation. So for every piece of the pie I take is one piece less for you. So that's going to mean that one of us will leave the negotiation table not feeling very good. emotionally intelligent negotiation is you know what I'm really passionate about bringing the world of emotional intelligence into a negotiation, just as we did. 30 years ago, when we brought the world of emotional intelligence into leadership. Today, you would not be able to be a leader you couldn't speak to a leader who didn't have an emotional level of emotional intelligence. Wow, it's the same Well, yeah, don't go there. I know what you're gonna say no,

Francisco Mahfuz 44:33

no, I I was actually not gonna go political at all. But it's it's shocking how often you see people that don't have a finger on the pulse of what society is, is thinking. And you know, I don't want to go down the road of what's politically correct what's not but just the other day of forget a company now, but just the other day The CEO of a very large company, got onto onto a call, and started telling people how, how they should never do any unconscious bias training. Because unconscious bias is complete nonsense and bla bla bla, and, and I know that the science behind the effectiveness of the training has been challenged. And it's one thing to say, you know, I, I think this is definitely something we need to take very seriously. I am slightly concerned, because I've seen that those trainings have tended not to be effective. So I just want to explore what what other options we have other than that, he essentially started swearing it off without any context. So this is me reading it nicely. But he was just this is nonsense, unconscious bias. Basically saying unconscious bias doesn't exist, I think, I think his actual words?

Tony Anagor 46:00

Well, you know, the interesting thing about an unconscious bias is that we do not want to be separated from our unconscious bias, because it makes us comfortable. It's what we brought up with, it's what we, you know, our unconscious biases, so much better than we actually know ourselves in many, many ways. And in fact, so much so that we don't recognise it as an unconscious bias. And to try and cleave somebody away from their unconscious biases is, is like trying to kind of peel the skin off often. And it's very, very difficult to do so. And you will always come up against resistance. And actually, that's why I love this, this, this this podcast idea, because one of the most successful ways to do this is by telling stories. I was on a webinar at Harvard University, Harvard Law School last week, and they were talking about the power of stories in negotiation. And the idea being if you have an unconscious bias, instead of trying to go head to head and try and tell you that your unconscious bias is wrong and make you feel defensive. Well, that's an interesting point of view, tell me the story behind how you came up with that idea. So that I'm inviting you to reflect on how that unconscious bias actually was created. And through that journey, I probably learned some more things about you than then than I did. So it's a win win. It's a way to build that bridge of empathy, by asking the person or inviting them to reflect on the story that led them to that specific point of view. And it's a very powerful tool to use in in negotiation.

Francisco Mahfuz 47:40

Because story is our I mean, that will be my go to for negotiation, I find out what a negotiation as you said, it can be problematic, because when I think of negotiation, what I'm thinking of is when I went to when I went to Turkey, and you know, you go to the bizarre, and I don't know what it was, that was it wasn't a carpet, but it was something my wife liked. And we said, okay, so how much is it? And the guy said something like, you know, 2000 euros, and it's like, it's not 1000 euros, you know that I know that what's the actual price? And he really didn't, they don't, that's a different concept for them. It does, there is no such thing as the price. The price is what he manages to sell you for. And I, I don't want that. I just want you to tell me how much it cost, I'll decide if it's worth it or not. And that's it, and I'll move on. But there's whenever I think of negotiation, I think of this idea of okay, well, we need to anchor the price, or whatever you're trying to achieve. And it's the sort of very tactical approach to it. Whereas I would never negotiate that way. Something that people say often about stories is that they are not a push strategy, you know, throwing information at people or trying to push your agenda at people. They are a pull strategy. So you, you this is this is what it is, this is what I think and you're letting people hopefully, come to their own conclusions about what you said, if you chose the story where we told it, well, they should there, the conversion shouldn't be too far off from your conclusions from from that learning experience. Right. But when you go teach negotiation, would they be wrong in saying that most people are expecting more of the tactical type of stuff and not the, you know, the woowoo nicey nicey of let me tell you a story type of stuff.

Tony Anagor 49:37

Yeah, I mean, so we immediately dispel that myth. We like to take that myth and smash it into pieces because the idea of going into a negotiation in the 80s was win win. Sorry, not we win was win lose, right? I gotta take this guy out. I've got to take this woman out. I've got to win. And that's just so, so, so tiresome. So old school. And when you're presented with an option to go in and win the deal, or to go in and build a relationship, you win the deal. How does that make you feel? It makes you feel good for the moment. But what if you win the relationship? What if you build a relationship? What other things are you missing out? So I mean, I've asked this, these questions in my, in my courses. So when what's most important to you winning the deal or building relationship? And I hear people saying, okay, yeah, winning the deal. Okay. And then you sauce. So what other things do you think you may be missing out on having built a relationship? Give me some examples in your life where things have happened, because you've built a relationship that you didn't even expect. And then we start to open the door to the possibilities of things that may happen that you didn't even expect. And so one of the the, there's a great book, which I love, it's called never split the difference. Chris Voss both, and yeah, he's fantastic. And and he says, Never be so focused on what you want, that you may miss out on something better. And so that's the whole philosophy of having a conversation with your counterpart, having a conversation and making sure that it's not me versus Francisco, it's Francisco and me and we are going to collaborate to create a solution, right? You're talking to me on the other side, because you have an interest in what I have an interest in. So therefore, the situation is what we're going to work on the situation you've talked about, in the you know, in the Marrakech market, that's not a negotiation, that's bargaining. That's, you know, I say, 10, you say, 15. We know that that's that's bargaining. And you don't need a course to teach you that right?

Francisco Mahfuz 51:44

I do. I do. I'm pretty rubbish at that. I just walk away I go, Are you gonna negotiate this, it's too much stress.

Tony Anagor 51:55

But it does, I mean, it does require a level of emotional intelligence. You know, the wealth organisation or health organisation has placed emotional intelligence in the top 10 skill requisites that we require moving into 2021 2022. So it is a very, very important requisite, that that we need and I think if we can bring this idea of emotional intelligence into the way we communicate and negotiate, then we start to evaporate this myth that, you know, it needs to be a frosty confrontation, more of a friendly conflict conversation,

Francisco Mahfuz 52:30

I have the distinct feeling that your love and learning about negotiation has come out of the fact that you're immediately outnumbered by our children. And any type of confrontation, our approach was far fall by the wayside out very quickly.

Tony Anagor 52:48

Listen, I realised at the when they were about three years old. I looked in their eyes, and and I realised that they realised that we outnumber these guys. And, you know, they are the master negotiators, absolute masters, they they they hunt in packs, they share information, they

Francisco Mahfuz 53:08

are heinous, Donnie, that's what they are. They laugh and I was with another friend of we haven't gotten to be as rigorous. And our friends and karma have been on this on this podcast, by the way. And I was with the viewers at his house, and his kid was was giving him a bit of lip. And I think he just said to her, Do you really want to have an argument with me? And she was like, like, who always wins this arguments? And she says, You and and that was it. That was the end the conversation. And then I thought, well, Tony can pull that off.

Tony Anagor 53:46

And wait, wait, wait. I mean, I think I think Tobias his kid is seven years old. Let's wait, let's wait. Let's wait.

Francisco Mahfuz 53:53

Oh, yeah, it's true. The power of our authority as parents is, is eroded very quickly. Yeah. I I'm already finding mine eroded my kid is for. I think she's just true. She's just true, opinionated, and half of the stuff is, it's just not flying. I mean, this is not I'm not getting that respect for authority that I perhaps mistakenly remember having for my parents.

Tony Anagor 54:21

No, I mean, so our kids are now 10 years old. And we really are in the zone of negotiation for everything, you know, everything is a discussion. It's you can't get away with because I said, so. Forget that. Those days are gone. And but it's fun. It's fun. And you know, here's the cool thing. This in the world of negotiation, because it's all online. I'm doing a lot of my courses from home. And when we were in confinement, I realised the kids were picking this stuff up. And so now, you'll hear them arguing over something and then one person will say, Okay, let's negotiate this and And I will say go downstairs, I want you to negotiate. And you know, the one rule is that all of you must be happy. If only one person is happy or two people, it's not a negotiation, go back and negotiate an agreement where everyone is happy. And they actually do this. And they come back. And they say that, hey, we've got an agreement. And I say, I don't want to know the agreement. I want to know is everyone happy? Yes. Okay, fine.

Francisco Mahfuz 55:22

It kids are a great a great teachers of what works for human beings. And it's a shame that we completely forget that, because one of the things I've noticed very quickly with with Alice, and my oldest one is that when she's done something wrong, and she's really upset, sometimes you just want to tell them off because they've done something wrong, or because they're acting crazy, disproportionately so in your mind, but it just doesn't work at all. He gets, you know, results, it makes them more frustrated, and he might even caused some damage, because you might come across as you minimising What's upsetting them. So you know, you take you sit down, we look them in the eye, and you ask, you know, are you upset because of this audio now? Are you upset because and then when you find that they managed to in a voice, whatever was going on, then they calm down a little. Or when you want to teach them something, telling them doesn't work. So you come up with a story or you remember a story, you're included in whatever book they're reading, or you going find a book that has a story that tells that lesson. But then we grow up and we completely forget those things. We think okay, now, now I can tell you what, because you're a grown up now I can just tell you what to do. And that's what the way you were behaving is ridiculous. And if I tell you to do something, that's what it should work that way.

Tony Anagor 56:39

Yeah. Now, I tell you a story. When I realised my my son just had it. He was four years old, right? And he was at the table and he was eating with his hands and knees. And he was eating like a pig. And I said to him, will you stop eating like a pig? And he said, Can I say something, daddy? I said, No, no, no. I said, stop eating like a pig. He said, but I need to say something that he and I said, Son, I've told you to stop eating like a pig. Will you carry on eating? He said, but I need to say something. I said okay, what is it? He said, But pigs don't have hands they can't eat. And I remember thinking that he was four years old. And I remember thinking, I've got another 30 years of this. Winning an argument at a table over how he heats. What what hope is there for me

Francisco Mahfuz 57:30

now that already you might be forgetting the most important lesson. If you haven't been inculcating this lesson in your children, you still have time to start is explained to them that when kids get to age 18, they have to leave their houses. It's not an option. There is a very terrible curse that happens, which is the pet of all life gets sucked out, the joy of life gets sucked out of their parents if the children don't live in, would you like all all the joy of life to be sucked out of mommy and daddy? No. Well, then you have to leave at 18. All of you have to be right.

Tony Anagor 58:06

Is that what happened with you? Well,

Francisco Mahfuz 58:09

there's a lot of things that my daughter has already learned that perhaps a four year old shouldn't have learned. But one of them is that one day she's going to live in a different house where Mommy and Daddy are not. She didn't take that nicely when I told her that at age three, but I'll keep bringing it up by age 10 This will be fully expected and body and

Tony Anagor 58:31

I love kids, I must say I must say I absolutely I would I actually wanted more. But my wife said yeah, what happens if we hit the jackpot? And another three? Okay, I don't mind. But yeah, it's a delight for me. I love working with with with kids. I'm working on a really interesting project at the moment with again, somebody we know in common corner. And we're working on a really interesting project to work with children or kids between the age of 19 and 21. So I'm working on this at the moment with kind of and it's absolutely mind blowing to get into the minds of these 2019 20 year olds and what their how they think they think differently to the way you and I thought that their ego have to

Francisco Mahfuz 59:16

turn well, this is a project of trying to essentially teach children in have them not hate whoever taught them which seems to be what happened to almost every generation, right? Last ever. I don't know if if anyone else wants to find out more of the stuff that you're involved with is the best place to go. Your website,

Tony Anagor 59:39

you can hit me up on my website, www dot k t Let's keep the or connect with me on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. I love watching people's progress on LinkedIn. So feel free to connect me with me on LinkedIn.

Francisco Mahfuz 59:55

Perfect and I hope I know you mentioned before we started recording that you You normally turn these things down. You haven't done many or any of these podcast interviews before. I hope this hasn't put you off completely for life. But it was great. It was a it was a pleasure having you and talking to you again, mate.

Tony Anagor 1:00:13

Thanks very much. Talk to you soon.

Francisco Mahfuz 1:00:15

All right, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.

I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find this show. Then scroll down a little and when you see the stars tap, I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find us. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story

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