The Anatomy Of A Selfless Service Leader with Jonathan Keyser [Podcast]

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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Dr. Nathan Regier is delighted to be joined by Jonathan Keyser, a missionary kid turned entrepreneur and real-estate disruptor. After setting his sights on making lots of money, Jonathan experienced a disconnect between his integrity-oriented upbringing and the cutthroat real estate industry he was in. How did he reconcile this dilemma, and what can any leader learn from a super-successful entrepreneur who has proved you don’t have to be ruthless to win? Hear more from a leader who is reimagining compassionate accountability in business.

What’s in this episode:

  • Jonathan’s journey of transformation that helped him reconcile integrity with business success.

  • The basic tenets of Selfless Servant Leadership.

  • How opportunistic and entrepreneurial leaders can be successful and serve others.

  • How to apply Selfless Servant Leadership to business development.

  • Three levels of re-invention that are needed for cultural transformation.

The Anatomy Of A Selfless Service Leader Highlights

VOICEOVER: Are you tired of the negativity and drama? Are you trying to make a difference only to be drained by people problems? The world needs more compassion, not just more civility and empathy. We need in the trenches compassion that struggles alongside people instead of against them. We need a radically different way to engage for breakthrough results. Now, here’s our host, Dr. Nate Regier.

NATE REGIER: Today’s guest is the real deal, an entrepreneur through and through, a family man, both at home and at work, and a truly authentic human being. Life is full of transformation stories, but rarely do we get to see the rest of the story, the long game, the choices and challenges that come after a transformation. This is in the trenches work. If you’re a leader who is looking for inspiration and hope as well as a practical and down to earth roadmap for bringing more compassionate accountability to your workplace, this episode is for you. Jonathan Keyser is the founder and thought leader behind Keyser, a real estate firm headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.

By using the selfless service model, in just six years, Keyser became the largest commercial real estate tenant brokerage firm in Arizona and is one of the fastest growing in the country. With more than 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, Jonathan represents thousands of companies, both domestically and internationally across a broad range of industries. He’s particularly good at identifying creative strategies to align real estate with business requirements, designing and implementing unique solutions to complex real estate challenges and solving landlord-tenant conflicts where negotiations have deteriorated in the face of rising hostilities.

In addition to being an entrepreneur Jonathan is an author, a columnist, nationally renowned speaker, and is currently working towards the launch of Keyser Institute to train companies and the next generation of selfless leaders. His awesome book, You Don’t Have To Be Ruthless to Win, hit number one on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List. This is no small feat.

Jonathan, welcome to OnCompassion!

JONATHAN KEYSER: Thank you for having me. I appreciate the invite.

NATE REGIER: Well, it’s great to be here and I’ve just so enjoyed visiting with you before and have been really looking forward to this conversation. You’re so vulnerable in the book. You share your personal stories. I know that you and I have a lot in common in terms of some of our backgrounds that have formed us. So, I’d love to learn a little bit about your journey getting into real estate. Lay the foundation for us.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Sure. Well, first of all, thank you for all the good work that you do around compassion. I think it’s a much needed topic in the business world and I’m grateful for all the good work you’re doing helping to elevate that message. I have an unusual background. My parents were Christian missionaries and I grew up in the hinterlands. They call it the bush of Papua New Guinea. I was raised to love, as you can imagine, to love, serve, give, help. Then when we got back from overseas, when I was a teenager, I had this stark new reality that I was poor and I didn’t have any concept of that overseas because we were all poor. If anything, we were better off than others. So, I decided at a young age, Nate, that I didn’t want to be poor and I wanted to be rich.

So, I went to UCLA for school, got straight A’s, thought I was going to be an attorney. My favorite professor talked me out of being an attorney. A buddy of mine talked me into commercial real estate because he said I could get rich doing it. That was the right words to use with me in the moment. As I got in, I realized really quickly, “Wow, this is a cutthroat, take no prisoners, dog-eat-dog environment.” I looked around and I said, “Okay, if this is what it takes to be successful, I’m going to do this.”

So, I became ruthless and I became cutthroat, but I was miserable as you can imagine. Being raised that way, I was miserable and I was misaligned with my core values, but I felt trapped because I didn’t know a different way. I figured the love and service stuff that my parents taught me led you to the poor house. Then 20 years ago, a speaker at a conference, which was completely unexpected, starts talking about a different way of doing business, the way of succeeding by helping others succeed. It moved and inspired me and it created the impetus to start what I’m doing today.

NATE REGIER: Wow. So, yeah, one thing we have in common, I was also a Christian missionary kid in Botswana and Zaire. Another thing, I also didn’t realize I was poor till I got back. I also wanted to be rich. I was going to get a business degree. I was going to be an MBA. I was going to be an entrepreneur and get rich. Actually, my story’s not near as noble, because when I went to buy the textbook for Economics 3, it was so thick and it had a floppy disc attached to it. Back in the ’80s, they said a floppy disc could hold as much as 100 books. That freaked me out. I was not prepared.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Rightfully so.

NATE REGIER: I went into psychology, but it sounds like we both struggled with reconciling these things and you were at a juncture. You had a choice to make. Yeah, I do want to be successful, I do want to be wealthy, but I also have these core values and I’m in an industry that seems as though that’s the only way to be successful. A lot of people would say, “I’m getting out,” but what did you do?

JONATHAN KEYSER: Well, in summarizing the stories, I think what’s missed is it’s not like there was this moment in time, Nate, where I just decided to be a jerk. It’s boiling the frog, right? It’s like you make one compromise, then you make another compromise, then you make another compromise. But what was really true for me is I saw how people behaved. For me that said, that’s what it takes to get ahead. I wanted to get ahead more at the time than I cared about my personal integrity.

So, I was willing to do the things. I remember when I first sat down with my coach and we were talking and he said, “So what are you willing to do to accomplish your objectives?” I said, “Whatever it takes.” It just came out of me. It wasn’t even a premeditated statement. He goes, “Turn that around and listen to that. Are you saying whatever it takes?” I started to realize who that conversation of who I’d become.

NATE REGIER: Yeah. Well, I wonder if that’s common in a lot of businesses for leaders is that it doesn’t happen overnight, but we see what everyone’s doing around us. We model that. We think that’s what it takes. It’s very small compromises that we make. So, you experienced a transformation. When did you realize this? Tell us about this experience for you.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Sure. Well, it started with being inspired by the speaker and his philosophy and for the first time thinking, “Huh, I wonder if I could live the way that my parents taught me and still be successful.” That was the first time I connected those two dots, but it was still this esoteric thing for me. But the fact that I felt like a used car salesman every single day, no offense to any used car salesman out there. I really, really didn’t enjoy who I felt I needed to be to get ahead. So, here I am, a successful guy in front of me on stage talking about how it’s possible to do it differently. That was enough for me. I decided that I was going to reinvent myself. Now I’d love to claim that it was this pure altruistic motives, but the reality is that came through the process.

What I also saw was the strategic brilliance of the methodology. I saw the practical, pragmatic side of it as well. As you read in my book, I saw that it felt like a more sustainable way. So, take out the right or wrong, take out the ethics, the morals. If you just look at general business strategy, I believe it’s just a better way of doing business. I saw the glimpse of that. So, it was a combination. As I got into it and as I became more and more committed to this mindset, one of the additional transformations I had to go through was this concept of transitioning from looking at it as a strategy to going all in on loving and serving people. Because basically, what I did for all the listeners is I threw my business plan away and I just started helping as many people as possible.

So, the whole concept was you help enough people. Over time, if you’re playing the long game, it’ll come back. That’s the philosophy I teach today. That’s the philosophy we built our entire firm around. But at the time, it was these rudimentary attempts and belief system that I had saying, “Okay, well if that’s how you do it, I’m going to go do that.” So, I would get involved in the community, ask everybody, “How can I help you?” Some people thought I was crazy. Some people still think I’m crazy by the way. Everywhere I go, I would just try to help people and I’d be connecting their kids or I’d be getting them business or I’d be whatever. Sometimes there’s just a shoulder to cry on and I’m hugging people. It didn’t really matter to me.

It was whatever they needed in the moment. Over time, that built into this cacophony of good that I had pushed out, that started coming back. When I went up to that speaker right after he spoke, and number one, I was skeptical, right, Nate? Because I was kind of, “Is this guy really for real?” I said, if this is so true and if this works so brilliantly, how come I’ve never heard about it? I was immersed in self-help books and sales books and everything you can imagine. Why have I never heard about this? He said, “Because it takes too long.” I said, “How long is too long?” He said, “It’ll take you about five years.”

That’s exactly what it did for me. I just happened to be either bullheaded, resilient, stubborn, I mean, pick whatever word you want, but I don’t think most people could have withstood. I was National Rookie of the Year for a national real estate firm. I was supposedly on the fast track. I mean, I wasn’t killing it, but I was doing pretty well for a young guy coming up in the business. Then all of a sudden, people thought I hit my head. I’m out in the community. I’m not selling anymore. I’m a free community concierge. So, over time, it’s cute and cool when it’s fresh, but three years in when you’re not making any money and everybody’s going, “Are you sure?” Even my wife at the time was like, “Jonathan, I mean, you’re smart. You work hard. Are you sure this is going to work?”

NATE REGIER: Well, time out there! Time out there! Because you said two really important things there and I think we’re just on the cusp of actually, what is this thing we’re talking about. How does it go from being some epiphany you have at a presentation to a lifestyle, a mindset, a culture? I want to dedicate that, but two things that make your story and your share so relatable. First thing was that we don’t get to acting contrary to our best selves overnight. That’s the first thing. It happens like boiling the frog you said. But the second thing you talked about is we all have had from time to time epiphanies. We hear inspirational people. We make these grand commitments. Overnight, I’m going keto. I’m going to lose 50 pounds in the next week.

We just change everything overnight. It seems like a good idea, but we’re naive. We don’t really understand what it means to adopt that identity. You talk about that and in the first couple chapters of the book, you talked about what it was like to be in that place where 180 transformation, but you still didn’t really quite get it. I think that transformation happens over time where you really start to live into this and realize what it’s really about. So, let’s talk about what is this philosophy of selfless service that you spent this time really starting to embrace? And then we can talk about what does it mean to truly embed it in a culture?

JONATHAN KEYSER: I love that. Thank you. For me, selfless service is a very simple philosophy. Selfless service to me is doing something for someone else without any expectation of an immediate return. Now the nuance is that I strongly believe and teach this everywhere I go, that you can’t out-give the universe. So, on one hand, let’s say that I help you with something, Nate. I’m not expecting you to do anything for me in return, period. However, which by the way, that’s unusual because usually in the world, especially business, you do something for someone, there’s an expectation of return. The fact that there’s no strings attached in and of itself as a different differentiator, but what I believe is that it doesn’t matter who I’m serving, it comes back somewhere somehow.

Now the natural followup question. The natural question that comes up is, well, Jonathan, I only have so much time and there’s endless needs in the world. How am I supposed to go help everyone and how do I have anything left in my tank and how do I make money doing? So, my response is one great question. You’ve obviously thought it through if you ask that question. I believe that selfless service, by its definition, Nate, has to be a choice. So, if it has to be a choice and you have to be able to say yes or no, then you have free will as an individual to decide on anything whether or not you say yes or no without any repercussions. I mean, I remember when I was doing this and somebody would ask me to do something for them and I would say, “Thank you and no.”

They would say, “I thought you’re the self-service guy.” I am and I’m not, right? Because if it’s a mandate, if it’s a requirement, it’s no longer service. It’s a mandate. So, within that realization that you can choose, I always tell people, especially in business, don’t change who you’re meeting with. Don’t change what you’re doing. Just change how you’re doing it. On every interaction with another human being that you are already planning on meeting with for either to get business for them or to service them or whatever, instead of your mindset being, “What can I get from this interaction?”, think about, “How much can I give to this individual?” I like to look at it in the power of three.

So, for me, finding three distinct ways to serve someone in the moment is transformative. One is like, “Wow, that guy’s pretty nice.” Two is like, “Geez, that was amazing.” Three is like, “Who is this guy?” So, if you focus, I’m talking to the audience, if you are listening to this and saying, “Hey, how do I incorporate this?”, the simplest, easiest way to do it is say in every interaction you have with another human being going forward, focus on them. Figure out what they need. Listen, probe, make it about them, not about you. Try to leave every interaction with three ways that you can help them. If you boil everything down that I’m talking about, that’s what I’m referring to.

NATE REGIER: I love how simple that can be. It’s something anyone can remember in any interaction. You don’t stop at one, don’t stop at two, go to three. I’m reminded of a similar principle when it comes to just being curious, which is how often do we ask someone a question because we’re trying to tee up the stuff we want to talk about.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Never for me, but I know exactly what you’re talking about.

NATE REGIER: Oh, my gosh, right? It’s so frustrating. So, you don’t feel heard. So, one of the principles is ask another question and another question to show you truly are interested and curious about what it is that that person is about. Great principle.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Nate, can I add on that real quick?


JONATHAN KEYSER: Because I think you just hit on something that I think is critical, which is one of the things that we teach a lot is to be able to serve effectively, you have to be good at listening and probing. You have to be good at asking questions. Because everybody’s got a story. If I said, “Hey,” I met you on the street, “Hey, Nate, tell me about yourself.” You have your 30-second, minute, whatever it is. I love to hijack those as soon as I possibly can. I’ll have people that go, “..and then I got divorced.” and then I’m like, “Whoa, that had to be brutal.” They’re not used to people actually listening anyway.

So, it’s like this weird dance that we do where we say one thing, the person’s waiting their turn, they say another thing. I’m in my head. You’re in your head. So, to really be able to selflessly serve, you have to be willing to put yourself aside and really genuinely care about learning about that person and people feel that. When they feel that, it unlocks a new level of relationship that most people never get to in their networking or important business meetings.

NATE REGIER: Powerful, powerful strategy. So important and implicit in your story. I love when you talked about choice. It’s so important. This is not an obligation. This is not a mandate. We choose to do this, which means we also choose when we’re not going to. The question I get so much when we’re talking about selfless or servant, when those two words come in, it’s like, “This is fantastic. It’s noble. I love it.” At the same time, we’re seeing higher levels of burnout than ever before, people with empathy fatigue off the charts, people that give and soak up everybody else’s pain. They’re dying on the vine and they can’t get up to serve tomorrow. Talk to me about how do you reconcile those with yourself, but also in your organization?

JONATHAN KEYSER: Yeah, I think it’s actually really simple. The first part is obvious. If you don’t have anything in the tank, you don’t have anything to give. So, self-care is critical, but everybody knows that doing things for others is a good thing. I mean maybe, but everybody already knows that. Mine’s not a moralistic argument. Mine is very simple. Mine is, if you want true long-term sustainable success, the best way to do that is to selflessly serve. So, when I give keynotes and speak, I’ll say things like, “Selflessness is selfish.” People are like, “What?” Selflessness is self-interested, because I believe the greatest act of service you could do for yourself is to serve others because it comes through you. Anything that comes through you coats you.

So, anytime you’re serving someone else, inherently you’re serving yourself. That feeling you get when you’re helping others helps you. So, the only question becomes where are you going to apply that? Where are you going to serve? For anybody in business, I always say, pick the top 20 people that you want to do business with. Figure out how to love and serve them and watch what happens instead of figure out how to go sell them. So, there’s a strategery element to it. You only have so much time. It’s already free choice like we talked about. So, if you get to choose, choose wisely.

Choose the highest impact opportunities that’ll give you the greatest opportunities to serve and the greatest opportunities to create value for you and your family. The best part of that is when you’re in alignment with that philosophy, it becomes this unbelievably beautiful dance where you’re serving someone else. They’re serving you in return. It’s not mandated, it’s not forced, it’s all people helping people. The kind of relationships, Nate, that I have are far deeper than most people that I know. It’s not because I’m some amazing guy. It’s because I’m in their world and I care about them. I hate talking about myself. I do podcasts because this is what you got to do. You got to spread the message. But for me, I don’t want to talk about myself.

If I’m in an interaction, if I’m talking about myself, that conversation’s not going well. I want to talk about them. I want to talk about their world. I want to talk about what they got going on. I want to talk about their pain. I want to talk about their struggles. Then you say, “Oh, wow, I didn’t know that. I need to connect you with X, Y, Z.” Next thing you know you are just serving. You’re just helping. It becomes such a natural outflow, but you really do have to train yourself because we’re also pre-programmed in society today to be very, very self-interested, right? So well, don’t squander that appointment. To me squandering the appointment is going in and talking about myself. Opportunistically, I want to go in and I want to serve. The impact you make has ripples.

NATE REGIER: Okay, so you’re kicking the goat here because this philosophy is very different. You said opportunistically I serve. That’s a paradox because you talked about this idea of it’s not moralistic. Most of the compassion gurus or compassion preachers that I hear, it’s a moralistic argument. It’s the right thing to do. You need to do it. If you’re thinking about yourself or you have any agenda, then you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. You have no integrity. Or the other example is, unless you’re 100% altruistic, then you’re not really being compassionate, which I don’t think is even human.

So, I think maybe it’s our personalities, but I am naturally opportunistic by nature. I’m always looking for opportunity. I’m probably not a bleeding heart. I probably don’t have within my heart that kind of unconditional love that my mom does. I probably don’t have that moral fiber and integrity that my dad did that he could just serve and serve and serve and serve and never do it. So, you’re giving people, particularly entrepreneurs, I think a different way of doing this. It really is a third way. I’m just curious, anything you have to say about that before you tell us how you’ve embedded this into your company?

JONATHAN KEYSER: Yes, I actually would. I’d love to comment on that. I think that’s the problem. I think we have couched this winning strategy in so much morality that we can’t pull it away. We can’t disembed it, if that’s even a word. It almost feels like I’m speaking something wrong when you listen to me saying it’s selfish. How dare you say that? But I think the reality is that you already know that this is right or wrong. We all know the basics and we already know, like I said before, that helping people is a good thing. So, if helping people is a good thing and we already know it and nobody’s doing it, well, how useful is that? That’s not very useful. So, what I think is useful is explaining the rationale behind the strategy.

I want to appeal to type A, driven, I want to be successful people and go, “Hey, there’s a better way.” It’s not because your dad and mom told you it’s the right thing to do. It’s because I genuinely believe you can create extraordinary success. When you look at our company, the whole point of Keyser is that here we are in arguably one of the most cutthroat, ruthless industries in the world. This is the strategy we employ and we kick and take names. That should not be a disingenuous message. That should be something that people are like, “Huh, interesting. Just in listening to you, I can tell you’re not some soft, fluffy pushover, but you genuinely love and care about people.” So, the last comment I’ll make on that is falling in love with people is my greatest joy.

There is not anyone that I walk away from a meeting with that I haven’t found greatness in. That’s a choice, that’s intentionality. That is looking for it. I’m not saying I can’t be a critic sometimes, but I really try hard not to, right? That is not my mindset. When I go into something, I’m looking for the beauty and the greatness inside of that person. The reality is you find it quite easily if you’re looking for it. Then you just fall in love with them and who they are and you empathize with them. It’s like you are in their world. I believe in love. If you really were going to boil it down, I love on people. That is the most universal truth across every philosophy, every religion. So, somehow this inherent truth that we all espouse and claim to believe is virtually non-existent in business.

Yet we spend most of our time in business. Why is that? I believe it’s because people don’t believe that they can love and serve and win. I think people believe they love and serve and they turn into Mother Teresa, right? Broke but happy. People are like, “Well, I like the happy part, but I don’t want the broke part.” That’s certainly the way I was. So, if you can show people, no, this is a path to extraordinary success and oh, by the way, if I can do it in commercial real estate and I used to be that ruthless shark and I made a change, so can you. Here’s the book to take everything that I’ve learned and give you a roadmap for how you can do it for yourself.

NATE REGIER: The book is a phenomenal roadmap. There’s 15 principles that you live by in your company and all 15 chapters dedicated to each one in the book. You talk about, “What does it mean for self?”, and you talk about, “What does it mean corporately?” I love that focus. Then great summaries at the end of the chapters, favorite books you’ve read that maybe relate to that topic. We don’t have time to go into all 15, but I’m curious if you could give us just a little bit on if I’m a leader, if I’m in a position to be able to create company culture, influence company culture, lead this kind of a thing, what are some strategies or some tips you would offer other leaders that say, “I’d like to try to bring this into my company.” What did you do?

JONATHAN KEYSER: Yeah. Well, so I teach three levels of reinvention, reinvention from the inside out. Self, like Gandhi says, you got to be the change you want to see in the world. So, this is not a tactic. This is not a strategy. This is a state of being. So, it’s simple, but it’s not easy, because the hard part is you actually have to live this stuff. You actually have to be it. It has to exude from your essence, which means that it has to be deep. So, self, you got to be the change you want to see in the world. Then you create a company culture around it and then that company culture influences the community. So, from my perspective, number one, it requires incredible transformation on behalf of leaders to become selfless leaders. That’s what I teach. I believe that that selfless leadership is not only important. I think it’s essential. I think that non selfless leaders in the future will be dinosaurs. It’s just not going to be tolerated. So, whether you like it or not, that’s the direction the world is going. You might as well get on board and transform yourself before you’re left behind.

But from a culture standpoint, if you look at our principles, it’s an integration of all of them. But taking a few things to highlight that we haven’t already talked about, because all the same things I’m talking about when you’re talking with clients, same thing applies with your people, listening, probing, serving, selflessness, all that stuff. But a couple that I love are; one is, never punish mistakes. Think about how many cultures are built around punishment of mistakes as if somehow perfection is expected of humans.

I mean, it’s insane. So, you’re constantly afraid of the review or you’re afraid of your boss or whatever. So, if you have a mindset of we’re all in this together and as long as you fail forward, learn from it, you’re not repeating the same thing 47 times, we like to celebrate mistakes, because that means you’re being bold. That means you’re being out there, because if you’re afraid of making a mistake, you’re not taking bold, fearless, massive action and that is precisely where value is created. So, you want to unlock your people. You want your people to be at their full capacity versus looking over their shoulders scared.

NATE REGIER: You do a really good job in the book of not just saying that, but you share case examples, real situations where newbies made mistakes or were scared to make mistakes and how you actually handle those, because I think we give lip service to the idea about fail forward, turn mistakes into learning opportunities, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes leaders just don’t know, how do I actually do that? What do I say or not say? So that chapter’s really helpful. It’s very practical.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Awesome. I appreciate that very much.

Another one is be your word. I can’t overemphasize that one across the organization. If you can’t be trusted to do what you say you’re going to do, you’re built on a house of cards. That’s true with clients. That’s true with people. The reality is, in today’s world, that’s the norm. Somebody says, “Hey, I’ll get you this by tomorrow.” You can pretty much expect you will not get it by tomorrow. So, we’ve built a culture where the expectations are is that we deliver. Same thing with our people. So, if somebody hears something from me and this is true across my whole life with my kids, if I say to them..

I don’t know, just the other day, my kids are like, “Dad, I need the new set of cleats.” I don’t even remember what it was. We need to go to because we need to get a new set of cleats. I said, “Well, let’s go later.” Well, I don’t say that lightly because I know that my kids know that I am my word. They’re going to go, “Hey, dad, I know you’re sitting on the couch and you’re exhausted. Remember that thing you said that we’d go later?” I’d get up and I’d go even though I didn’t want to. If your people can trust that when you say something, it’s actually going to happen, that creates incredible trust, loyalty, and confidence in your people.

NATE REGIER: So, the book is You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win. It’s about the principles. It’s about your journey, but it’s really about the formation of this company and how you do what you do. It’s a great roadmap for leaders. We’re over a decade in. This is not just yesterday. This is field tested now. You’re in the trenches.

JONATHAN KEYSER: Gaining power!

NATE REGIER: We’re down the road. So, real quick, would you share what did you learn that you maybe had to adjust to really keep this thing going, to make it real?

JONATHAN KEYSER: Well, we all learn. So, I’m on a learning journey just as much as everybody else. Over the past two years, I’ve done a transformation of my own organization where we’re launching Keyser 2.0. So, stay tuned. It’s a realization of the fact that nothing stands still and that what I know today versus what I knew 10 years ago, it’s very different. Ten years ago, I was just excited, willing to roll the dice and put it out there. Today, we’re a professional services organization and it requires a different skillset. It requires a different type of person. It requires different tools and different resources.

So, it’s been this incredible, not easy but incredible transformation of the organization from pruning the tree to make sure you have the right people on board to making sure that you’re looking at the organization with a startup mindset always. One of my core philosophies is you get stagnant if you stop looking at everything as a startup. The beauty of a startup is you’re not afraid to question things. But as things get embedded and this is just how we do things, they almost become sacred cows at some point without even trying for them to do.

So, over the past two years, I used the cover of the pandemic to reinvent the whole organization and we’re going to have record year, both top line and bottom line. Everybody’s happier making more money. So, it’s this idea of constant transformation, Nate, that really is what it is. If you bring that mindset to it, then if you just expect change and expect that you’re going to have to be constantly adapting, that’ll position you well for the future versus feeling like, “Well, this is what worked 10 years ago, so let’s just keep doing it.” In today’s world, it’s not the case.

NATE REGIER: Wow. So, many of the things you shared, I’d love to just take a tangent. I’d love to just do an hour on this, hour on that. Again, I want to just refer people back to the book and there’s so many neat things you’re doing out there that people can learn about. If people want to get ahold of you or just learn more about what you’re doing and how you’re reinventing and transforming constantly, where should they go?

JONATHAN KEYSER: I mean, the easiest place to go is, K-E-Y-S-E-R. Not like the hospital system. We spell it right. That’s what I always say. You could buy the book on Amazon. Again, You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win. I created a book website, so it’s if you want to get it directly there. But yeah, our mission is we want to change the business world through selfless service.

So, the reason I wrote the book, which as you know being an author, writing books is not for the faint of heart. The reason I put the time and energy into it was because I wanted people to see that this is possible and they could do it too. Here’s my journey for them to be able to transform. So, I try to take everything that I learned over the past 25 years and pack it into that book, but we also do workshops and we also speak and all those things. So, if we could ever be of service, just go to and you can track down any of us.

NATE REGIER: Well, we’ll put those links in the show notes and also how you can get the book. Yeah, the websites are fantastic. They give everything you need, and there’s just so many ways in which you serve beyond just the traditional discrete work of the real estate that you do.

Our mission at Next Element is to bring more compassion to every workplace in the world. I’m so grateful to have discovered you, started to get to know you, falling in love with the work you do with who you are. It’s so true that a rising tide raises all ships. So, thank you for giving your time, your energy to help raise that message and bring awareness to how important selfless service is and building cultures of compassionate accountability.

JONATHAN KEYSER: It’s my honor.

NATE REGIER: Clearly, Jonathan Keyser is passionate about selfless servant leadership. So much of his philosophy and message aligns with the principles of compassionate accountability. It was hard to narrow down three key takeaways from our conversation, but here’s what really stuck with me.

First, selfless servant leadership isn’t about moral or ethical mandates. It’s a strategic and opportunistic mindset that prioritizes helping others, and it pays back many times in the long run. I think this philosophy is a great on-ramp for people who are more entrepreneurial by nature, or perhaps don’t have the altruistic heart of Mother Teresa or maybe the moral fortitude of Gandhi. I know it certainly resonated with me. For those of you that know my personality, you’ll know why.

Second of all, selfless servant leadership is a choice, not a mandate. Serving others only works when we make the choice to say yes, and we lean in and serve them. It doesn’t mean we change who we’re meeting with or what we’re working on, but it certainly changes how we go about it. Jonathan shared the rule of three. In every interaction you have with another human being going forward, listen to them, focus on them and learn about them, and find three ways you can help them. Not one, not two, but three ways that you can help them.

Finally, selfless servant leadership is a fundamental mindset for business success. Here’s how Jonathan recommends applying it to business development. Pick the top three people or organizations you want to work with and then set out to serve them in the best way possible.

VOICEOVER: I hope you enjoyed this episode of On Compassion with Dr. Nate. If you found new hope or guidance for your life, will you share it with your tribe? If you know someone who could be a great guest, please let us know. Are you ready for a practical way to bring more compassion to your organization? We have a solution. Visit Check out the show notes for links and contact information and remember to subscribe, rate, and give a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening. Until next time. Keep your compassion mindset engaged.

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