Set The Standard

about this episode

“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll.

Chris Braden 0:20
Season One was about how Todd Burnham started Burnham Law in his basement and built it to one of the most prestigious law firms in Colorado by thinking outside of the box and surrounding himself with the best lawyers and staff in the industry. Now during a pandemic Burnham Law is still growing. How you ask? Walk toward the storm and face it head on and you empower the people that help get you there. It's time to execute. It's time to make some lemonade. It's time to burn the ships. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Hey, Todd, what's going down, buddy?

Todd Burnham 0:58
Hey, Chris, I missed you. You've been busy interviewing other people, man.

Chris Braden 1:02
What's up? I have been it was funny. I had the great opportunity to talk to a lot of your staff. And it was cool, because I got to talk to partners. But I also got to talk to somebody. Kristin Weaver that is literally like a brand new attorney.

Todd Burnham 1:18
Yeah. Pretty cool. Right?

Chris Braden 1:20
You know, she was really great on the show talked about how things were different. She was like the first COVID attorneys.

Todd Burnham 1:26

Chris Braden 1:26
So they did everything on Zoom and stuff. And then I asked the question, I talked to Aaron and I was like, alright, dawg, tell me about Phish. And he told me all about it. So man, you, you know, you call it DeepBench for a reason. And after interviewing and meeting all your staff, that is definitely true.

Todd Burnham 1:46
It's really cool. Because this is new. As you keep growing and honing your our stuff. It's you know, you attract quality people. And it's so humbling to have a deep bench. You have people like you and I tell people all the time like our attorneys are bookended really, really nicely. You have really quality Super Lawyers on one end, and you have really quality soon to be rising stars are Super Lawyers on the other.

Chris Braden 2:14

Todd Burnham 2:14
And an in between. It's all of that. So I don't see many weaknesses. And and like we talked about before, they all share common traits of wanting to be great and having a work ethic.

Chris Braden 2:26
Exactly. So you texted me the other day, we listen to the same radio station, you're like March Lera talked about Russell Wilson. So today we're going to talk about setting the standard and let me set the tone a little bit for you. Because I think you're a Broncos fan, right?

Todd Burnham 2:40

Chris Braden 2:41
Okay. So Peyton Manning steps in the building at Dove Valley instantly, the standards change Peyton Manning's the first man in the building every day, last man to leave. There's a famous picture of him where he couldn't practice and he was rehabbing a knee or an ankle. So he's literally got his helmet on so he can hear the coaches out at practice. He's got his iPad so we can follow the plays. And he has his ankle dipped into the ice bath.

Todd Burnham 3:11
I remember that. And then Trevor Simeon did a parody on it like the next year.

Chris Braden 3:16
Exactly. So that's setting the tone. Since Peyton Manning has left. They're still great players with the Denver Broncos but... And I'm not even going to say they have a losing mindset because these are professionals they pride they work hard but something's changed. And I think it has everything to do with they have not been able to replace the standards Peyton Manning set for them

Todd Burnham 3:37
Couldn't agree more. And and you have different coaches coming in with different messages. Remember that with Vance Joseph it was like iron, something iron, whatever that was sharpens iron sharpens iron.

Chris Braden 3:48

Todd Burnham 3:49
And so you have and then then two years later, you have to have new T shirts made up with a different saying, you know, and so the the message is diluted, and then you're relying on people that normally wouldn't be vocal leaders like Von Miller, usually like, he leads through example, that he's asked to do things that aren't in his comfort zone or his wheelhouse, and then it's just awkward. And so I think that it's great now that they have a younger team, different identity, you have different people stepping up. And so the messaging becomes different maybe like Philip Lindsay with the the world against Philip, and he's making a 10th of what Gordon's making. And he's he's just balling out.

Chris Braden 4:26
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 4:27
Right? And so that becomes your identity. And that becomes like the messaging and it's not about the coach. It's about the players. And so it goes back to the players. This is different messaging, and I think they're really a talented group actually. They've had some bad luck, and I think Vic Fangio is a great defensive coach, you know, I mean, I don't know and I think they, they, they're doing things right now. They just beat the Patriots. I mean, no matter how they won, or why they won, they won. And Bill Parcel's always said you you are what your record says you are. So I think they're gonna I think they have a shot to I don't know, we're just talking about the Chiefs here, but I think they have a chance to shock the Chiefs this weekend.

Chris Braden 5:06
You know, we all hope so.

Todd Burnham 5:07

Chris Braden 5:08
You know something about setting the standards.

Todd Burnham 5:10

Chris Braden 5:10
Patrick Mahomes. And Andy Reid and the Chiefs has set the standard in the AFC West where the Broncos reside. But not only there they they've set the standard for the NFL as a whole the NFL is chasing the Kansas City Chiefs, because they found the formula.

Todd Burnham 5:27

Chris Braden 5:28
Patrick Mahomes Is that guy that sets the standard, but they have a lot of guys. You know what, when you have one guy that's a leader?

Todd Burnham 5:35

Chris Braden 5:35
It's easier to have 10 other leaders to hold other people accountable. Oh,

Todd Burnham 5:40
my God. That's exactly it. And so what if that? What if Patrick Mahomes had the raw talent of Patrick Mahomes, but had a mindset of Jeff George?

Chris Braden 5:49
Oh, yeah.

Todd Burnham 5:50

Chris Braden 5:50
Dude, one of the most talented of the most talented guys ever.

Todd Burnham 5:52
One of the most talented guys ever is just a headcase.

Chris Braden 5:54

Todd Burnham 5:55
In that kind of situation. It's not the talent. It's not just talent, there has to be more, there has to be a commitment to being great, and a work ethic to follow through. And that's like, isn't that just universal? It's got to be universal. And it took me like, a decade to figure that out. And it's, it's the sense of being very simple.

Chris Braden 6:17

Todd Burnham 6:17
Simple. It's like it's so things that I think, you know, this isn't some metric or formula. It's, it's really and then if you have people that buy into that, that aren't cancers in the quote, you know, the proverbial locker room or aren't like poo pooing stuff that you're trying to push out their.

Chris Braden 6:35

Todd Burnham 6:35
And yeah, and without a bidet, and then and so when you when you have those, those the right, blend, you can build something pretty special.

Chris Braden 6:46
You know, the funny thing about the NFL is, you know, I heard you so you were on with Bennion bash that book. And you were talking about Adam Gase. And it's funny because Adam Gase was known as an offensive like, wizard, but he had Peyton Manning,

Todd Burnham 7:02
I'm an offensive wizard, you know, with Peyton Manning,

Chris Braden 7:04
We all are. Yeah, it's funny, because that New York Jets team literally has quit on him.

Todd Burnham 7:10

Chris Braden 7:11
The funny thing is about Adam Gase is that the players know, like, when you're a leader, and you're not really leading, or you don't have your crew or your team buy in, the players know, and they lead themselves, they just won't listen to you.

Todd Burnham 7:26
Exactly. And I've experienced that I've had I've had, it's why like partnership is so important to me now. Right. So if you have, if you don't have leadership from the top down, or there's a crack, or there's a fissure, or there's something where there's a disconnect, that breeds something that is not, like consistent and cohesive.

Chris Braden 7:50

Todd Burnham 7:50
And that's just business, that's just life, that's just, you know, a family, like, if your mom and dad or dad and dad and mom and mom, I'm just trying to be politically correct here. If if you don't have a consistent message, then you don't have a team. Because that it's a fractured team. And so, you know, I've taken all the things that I've learned and just tried to simplify them in a succinct message. And I think, I think we're on point, if at least the way that that works for me.

Chris Braden 7:55

Todd Burnham 8:20
Works for this firm. So it's cool.

Chris Braden 8:23
And a lot of that has to do with putting Steph Stephanie Randall in as as a leadership role to filter your message for the people or the the other people in the company that didn't digest it the way you wanted them to

Todd Burnham 8:35
Well, and she gets the message across better. And it's her message. Now, it's not my message anymore. You know, like, I talk to her every day, and I'll talk to her about something. And my response to something and her implementation of after us discussing it is completely different than what I would have done. And it's 10 times better. It's because she's boots on the ground.

Chris Braden 9:00

Todd Burnham 9:00
She has invested 100%. And she cares about the people, right? And so, if we are, you know, and look, this next six weeks, all I'm doing is just trying to inspire people to hone their stuff a little bit more and in a little bit more ownership and, and commit a little bit more than what you're used to.

Chris Braden 9:20

Todd Burnham 9:21
Because if you can do that, then the sky's the limit. And it's not just growing a law firm. It's increasing everything that we do in a way that solidifies everyone around us and not just people at the top. I want everybody to want to be here forever. And I want this firm to be here forever. And there's no reason that we shouldn't be if you pay people more than they would make on their own without any personal liability, and with less stress and more flexibility.

Chris Braden 9:54

Todd Burnham 9:55
I mean, how why would that ever not work?

Chris Braden 9:58
No, I'm looking for that. That'd be great.

Todd Burnham 10:00
Welcome. Welcome to Burnham Law. So, like, I think about those things. And I, I, and I think, more and more I think about how this came about, and like, how did it become a sports message? And it's so interesting because I find it everywhere.

Chris Braden 10:16

Todd Burnham 10:17
Sports is everywhere. And it's competition is everywhere in team building is everywhere. And if you can, you can kind of boil it all down into one thing. Sports makes sense for me.

Chris Braden 10:29

Todd Burnham 10:29
In all aspects. So I love it. It's it's truth for me. It's just not I'm not trying to connect with people and a metaphor for sports. It's, it's, this is how it works for me. Find your thing/

Chris Braden 10:42
Right. Now the cool thing about it is it's funny just even being in this room. Like, I feel like this is a room you put together because

Todd Burnham 10:51
I did

Chris Braden 10:51
You know, we got Dave Matthews Band, we got tons of family and to be honest with your I've been in here before, and I never noticed the All American certificates over there or the picture up there. And I was like, that's pretty cool. You know, it's just a part of you.

Todd Burnham 11:06
It's yeah, I mean, I'm I It's the thing that I identify with, right. And, and so like that picture was we played Hobart against Nazareth, and like a semifinal game. That's a picture that was on the in the paper of me after doing like, everyone has one shot in their career that they remember. And this one was like, probably 15 yards out, and I got the ball. And I was kind of going behind the goal. And I just said, Screw it. And I did it behind the back. And it picked the corner, we win the game, picture of me jumping in someone's arms. And I remember those moments, because at the same time I look back on that time. And I'm like, why on earth? Did I go behind the back in that? And I've never done it before?

Chris Braden 11:46

Todd Burnham 11:46

Chris Braden 11:46
It was instinct.

Todd Burnham 11:47

Chris Braden 11:48

Todd Burnham 11:48
And it also gave me more and more confidence after that by trying something. Probably did it the next year, like three times it didn't make any of them. But it was it was you grow on things. And you and so I look at that. And I'm, I'm proud of that. Especially, you know, we talked about like I started playing lacrosse late. So

Chris Braden 12:06
You know, the cool thing about it, if we're talking about your daughters, and my daughters were athletes, too. It's funny it is. I'm not gonna say a lot of coaches like that. They don't want the spin shot. They don't want the basics. They don't want you to go outside of the system. And both of my daughters, especially Brooke, they were ones that wanted to try things they just wanted to play.

Todd Burnham 12:28

Chris Braden 12:29
They were elite athletes. They were fast. They just had something about them. When they played bad. It was usually when they were on a team that they couldn't just have fun.

Todd Burnham 12:39
You know, that's so funny. Having you know, I was telling, and I two things. One is Clara is you know, she does private lessons. They both do private lessons with a coach. And so I'm not coaching them. And like that's the thing, like, I don't want to be doing that, right. And so we'll have someone come over once a weekend. And the she was teaching both of them behind the backs. And so Clara went and played the game the other day, and she's like, I want to do behind the back. And I said you're not allowed to. Yeah, we're gonna have rules, you have to learn to pass and catch with both hands before you do behind the backs.

Chris Braden 13:10

Todd Burnham 13:11
And she's like, I'm gonna do it anyway. And so and then I was in. So that's the first thing that goes in my mind. And then the second thing is, like, Mae told me the other night, she's like, well, I just want to have fun, right? And she's like, and she's at the age where she's like, Well, you said the whole purpose was to have fun. I said, Yes, honey, but it's also about work ethic.

Chris Braden 13:31

Todd Burnham 13:31
You know? And, and so there's this fine balancing act of connecting with my daughter in a way that's truthful, and also trying to push her without pushing too hard.

Chris Braden 13:42

Todd Burnham 13:42
And I'm so grateful that I get up in the mornings, and I'm bringing my kids to school, because I didn't do that before. And so I'm not even if I screw up some in some messaging with her.

Chris Braden 13:52

Todd Burnham 13:52
It's not like I have to wait two more days before I spend quality time with her. We're just right back in the car. So I look at those things in and I realized that I'm constantly trying to get better at the messaging. And it's, you know, funny, my wife is like, Yeah, I think you really failed on that one. Like, she just brought me outside. She's like, Yeah, I understand what you're doing.

Chris Braden 14:13
At least now you know, right?

Todd Burnham 14:14
Totally. And it's and I also said, like, Yeah, but I'm also comfortable being uncomfortable here.

Chris Braden 14:19

Todd Burnham 14:20
I am okay, pushing a little bit. And I, I want her to want to just not just go through the motions.

Chris Braden 14:26
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 14:27
So it has a lot to it has a lot to do with what we were talking about last night. And at the same time, there's a difference between trying to keep getting better as an adult, and then also inspiring your kids to keep getting better with the added requirement of having fun. Yeah, and if I can't, and I struggle with that, because I haven't done it before. So I'm learning to break and I think that having fun is just an important part of life. And if you lose track of that, then you're just Todd Marinovich is king. like dad, you know, Robo Qb, oh, that was crazy. And then and I don't want that, obviously. And I also think that it's important that people have fun in what they do anyway. So it just kind of resonated with me that having fun is a critical piece of this, that work, keep getting better, develop a work ethic, but also, have fun doing it. And if you're successful at what you do, in anything you do, unless you're a stress back, then I think that you're gonna have enjoyment in that. And that's analogous to having fun. So I think I've just come full circle, the key is to have fun as well. And, and to do it in a way that motivates and inspires. And, and you're enjoying what you do, and you're getting better. I think that's a recipe. And I think I think I had to add a third thing to that after just experiencing it with my daughter last night.

Chris Braden 15:03

Todd Burnham 15:03
And if I can't, and I struggle with that, because I haven't done it before. So I'm learning.

Chris Braden 15:03

Todd Burnham 14:52
And I think that having fun is just an important part of life. And if you lose track of that, then you're just Todd Marinovich is king. like dad, you know, Robo QB.

Chris Braden 15:02
Oh, that was crazy.

Todd Burnham 15:04
And then and I don't want that, obviously. And I also think that it's important that people have fun in what they do anyway. So it just kind of resonated with me that having fun is a critical piece of this, that work, keep getting better, develop a work ethic, but also, have fun doing it. And if you're successful at what you do, in anything you do, unless you're a stress bag, then I think that you're gonna have enjoyment in that. And that's analogous to having fun. So I think I've just come full circle, the key is to have fun as well. And, and to do it in a way that motivates and inspires. And, and you're enjoying what you do, and you're getting better. I think that's a recipe. And I think I think I had to add a third thing to that after just experiencing it with my daughter last night.

Chris Braden 15:48
You know, the cool thing is, is like, as your parenting you just learned, I know exactly what you're talking about. Because, you know, in a game, you want to make the right pass. There's times to try things and there's time to play simple. And I found out with my daughter that you know what, after practice or something, I'd be like, Hey, you want to shoot on me? Yeah, just do stupid. They just go do your thing. And just let her there's even as a young girl, she hurt my hand.

Todd Burnham 16:16

Chris Braden 16:17
Like, Yeah, and just little stuff that you learned, then they understand that they get it?

Todd Burnham 16:17

Chris Braden 16:17
Know what I mean? These are smart kids we have,

Todd Burnham 16:21
They are and I, I'm just so the more time I spend with with all of them, the more appreciative I am of the people that have at the firm that allow me to do it. Really.

Chris Braden 16:35
You know, it's funny too, because you can learn a lot about this, if you want to go listen to Season One of deep bench, we get into this stuff pretty, pretty heavy. But so when you started the firm, you're a player, because you were by yourself in a basement, then you became the coach you start bringing people on. So now you're a player and a coach, like the position you're in right now. It's kind of like, you're the GM. So you have you have captains, which are your partners and stuff. And now you're moving to the role of kind of just like an owner.

Todd Burnham 17:07
Yeah, except you know one that watches the games?

Chris Braden 17:11

Todd Burnham 17:12
You know?

Chris Braden 17:13
Don't be Jerry Jones.

Todd Burnham 17:14
No, no. And it's and I'm not just looking at it from you know, it's not just like, Alright, how much? You know, how much profit did the team make? There's there has to be something bigger, there has to be something like that. Is that is substantive that sure that carries us all. And and and to that extent it how, what's my role in that? And how does that apply to all of these things. And even with Stephanie, it's so funny, because she's experienced is all the things that I've experienced. And she's, it's regularly, she'll say, like, I get it now. And the difference with with between she and I many, but she is someone that really wants to keep practicing law at the highest level, and also run the firm in a way that is that, like mirrors her her values and our values. And, and that's a hard thing to do, working on the business and in the business. And I'm just watching her go about it. And she does it so gracefully, so much better than I did. And at the same time, if if you don't have people underneath you or that are with you, that are partners that can't step into those other pieces where she needs help, she's going to have to, at some point make a decision to either go all in on management or, or what?

Chris Braden 18:33
Well, I think that with colleagues, if they know you, well, they have the benefitof learning from your error.

Todd Burnham 18:41
True. That's that's the key to everything, right?

Chris Braden 18:44
And it's hard to translate that to kids. Because like when my kids would make a mistake, I'd see it coming a mile away. Yeah, I'm like, Oh, they're just gonna have to live through this.

Todd Burnham 18:52
Natural consequences. Right? Yeah. And it's, you know, it's having can wait again, like pulling them out before the accident. And that's it. And so like, a lot of times, I'll find myself like, over getting involved too much and trying to explain things too much. And sometimes it's just, you know, just let it play out.

Chris Braden 19:10

Todd Burnham 19:11
But but when it comes to the work ethic piece or the, the mindset of wanting to just because you've reached the top of something, and we're and as a told Mae and Clara, natural talent is one thing.

Chris Braden 19:24
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 19:24
Honing and being an honoring natural talent is the thing that will make you great.

Chris Braden 19:30

Todd Burnham 19:31
And so like, you know, Russell Wilson, getting up and just working, you know, sleeping five hours a night and just being a coach on the field. And that work ethic is really the thing that you know, sports is a metaphor for life. And that's what you try to try to get across to people in a way that's not mandatory.

Chris Braden 19:48

Todd Burnham 19:49
Because if you make someone be something that they're not, it's just not going to feel good and it's not fun.

Chris Braden 19:54
Mm hmm.

Todd Burnham 19:55
If you can get them to a place where they they can harness their natural connection. To drive or desire to want so much more out of life, then that is something that carries them on you're teaching, you know, you're bringing the fish to water, you're not making them drink it, right? So it's a beautiful thing. It's it's a these deep, deeper, deeper, deeper levels of management and parenting, and leadership, and just being a human who's fallible is, and I'm pretty much inside my head every day about these things. And I'm getting more and more comfortable, just being happy with those things. It's pretty cool.

Chris Braden 20:33
Well, and the cool thing about it is, is that we talked about Deep Bench, I think you've done a great job of bringing people in to continue the standards, and maybe even raise the level of the game.

Todd Burnham 20:45

Chris Braden 20:45
To where it is. So good job, Todd. Thanks, buddy.

Todd Burnham 20:50
You too, man. Catch you later. Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe, and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai