Our third year of the On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow! podcast featured another incredible slate of leader interviews from world-class thinkers and CEOs who shared invaluable insights on how to make BIG happen for your company.
Let’s take a look back on some key tips from our ten most popular episodes. And if you haven’t already, make sure you use the buttons below to subscribe to the podcast on your preferred platform.
Guest: Rick Sapio, the founder of Mutual Capital Alliance, and its CEO for the last twenty years.
When his dad died unexpectedly, 13-year-old Rick’s life was thrown into chaos. That experience instilled in Rick both a DIY entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for finding order. During the 2008 economic downturn, Rick had the bright idea to bid on private lunches with six Texas billionaires. The investment paid off as Rick enjoyed personal master classes from some of the most successful people in the country…and it led to many more billionaire interviews. Rick discussed the thought and behavioral patterns common to billionaires, and how he believes CEOs of all sizes can leverage those patterns to create “an entrepreneur in every home.”
Key Business Insight: “A billionaire doesn’t do anything …”
“One of the patterns I realized with billionaires is they’re really, really good at finding the people to run their various entities,” says Rick. While a struggling CEO might run himself ragged micromanaging, renowned restauranteur Phil Romano told Rick, “a billionaire doesn’t do anything, they don’t even move a pinky, unless they find the perfect person to run the business.”
Billionaires know their time is valuable. According to Rick, many of them don’t even have an office to tie them down! Instead they cultivate an air of inaccessibility: Richard Branson said he bought an island because “I didn’t want people to get to me.” The Bransons and Romanos of the business world don’t waste their days making up for underperforming employees – they hire grade A-talent who free them to focus on the company’s vision. And when they find those top performers, they do whatever it takes to hire and keep them: bonuses, profit-sharing, good salaries and benefits. “I’ve learned if you can compensate people correctly a lot of the motivation and values alignment issues go away,” says Rick.
2. How 31-year old 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year and TaskUs co-founder Jaspar Weir Leads 8,000 Millennials and Built a Global Business
Guest: Jaspar Weir, co-founder and president of TaskUs, the leading provider of customer care and back-office outsourcing to evolving businesses around the world. Recently, Jaspar and his partner, Bryce Maddock, won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Greater Los Angeles award.
Since 2008, TaskUs has grown from a struggling start-up run by two entrepreneurs out of their parents’ houses into a thriving company with more than 8,000 employees around the world. Jaspar says millennials comprise over 90% of his workforce, and TaskUs has invested substantial time and resources in measuring and improving the engagement of its employees to keep building on its rapid growth. Jaspar pointed past Bulletproof Coffee and Avocado Toast memes to discuss how strong corporate culture and a defined sense of purpose can attract, engage, and retain top millennial talent.
Key Business Insight: Embrace the positive stereotypes about younger workers to unleash their full potential.
The stereotype of coddled millennials, brought up with an iPhone in-hand and feeling like they’re incredibly special exists because … Well, because it’s kind of true! “I had two brothers, and we were constantly given participation trophies,” remembers Jaspar. “We really were told, ‘You’re special.’ That’s really true in our generation.” Also, because millennials grew up with always-on, always-connected tech as a part of their lives, they’re used to their less-connected boomer parents consulting them about big purchases. Jaspar points out that a majority of home-sale searches are started by millennials – not for themselves, but for their parents.
In other words, the millennials on your staff are used to being asked for their opinions, and having those opinions respected. Jaspar recommends using that mindset “as an advantage and not thinking about it as, ‘Oh, these guys are entitled. They’re spoiled,’ but actually using that as a tool to get them engaged with work.” The more engaged your employees are, the more effective they’ll be at executing the tasks that will move your company closer to your BIG goals. And if your millennial employees feel like your door is always open, they’ll feel more free to share a potentially crazy idea that might put you at the forefront of the next big disruption in your industry.
Guest: Feyzi Fatehi, Chairman and CEO of Corent
Some people stay at the same company because it’s a perfect fit for their skill set, and their professional aspirations. Others just get complacent. Feyzi Fatehi explained how his desire for learning, development, and professional growth led him to leave a cushy job at HP, strike out on his own to build cloud-computing leader Corent, and smack complacency in the face. The company’s success led to Cloud Tech Insights featuring Feyzi on the cover of the January 2017 issue of the magazine.
Key Business Insight: Defeat complacency by focusing on wealth creation, not income replacement.
As comfort level goes up, learning and fulfillment can go down. This can be a bad combination that, in Feyzi’s case, lead to feelings of unrest and anxiety.
Of course, just considering a change can often add to that anxiety. Starting your own business doesn’t usually lead to immediate financial rewards, and can often lead to major financial insecurity.
One way to deal with these worries is to replace a complacent focus on income generation with a new focus on wealth generation. You will most likely have a controlling interest in your new company, significant equity, the overriding vision, and all the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from creating something new that’s yours. This is a whole new vision of success that you can’t glimpse without stepping outside your comfort zone, following your passions to something new and bigger, and possibly hiring an executive coach to expand your thinking.
Guest: Mikki Williams, CPAE Hall of Fame, “a speaker who lifts you up and never lets you down!”
Mikki Williams is a popular professional speaker who regularly shares the stage with TED Talk luminaries and industry titans like Tony Robbins and Suzy Orman. Mikki purposely cultivates a BIG persona. Her personality is big, her speaking performances are big, and her brand is more than just big — it’s OUTRAGEOUS. Is your company growing stagnant or complacent? If so, you may need some outrageousness to shake up your office and get your employees to Make Big Happen. Mikki shared some ideas on how to shake things up and get the energy flowing again.
Key Business Insight: Find your own personal “outrageous.”
OK, so you’re not Lady Gaga (but if you are, run with it!). Maybe you’re outrageous in more of a Dick Fosbury way. The first time Fosbury tried to perform the Olympic high jump backwards, everyone thought he was nuts. Now every top high-jumper in the world does the Fosbury Flop. Trying something new can be just as outrageous as trying something shocking — for both you and your team. What if you try to pump up your annual shareholders meeting with pop songs? What about opening your door more during business hours to invite input from your management team? Heck, I once rode an elephant to work to try to get my company thinking big! Find your outrageous and make it an important part of your company’s identity.
Guest: Ron Carson, Chairman/CEO, Carson Group Holdings, LLC
Long-time CEO Coaching International client Ron Carson grew up on a farm in a small town in Nebraska. He had few advantages. His dad was a workaholic who never spent any time with him. His mom and dad had a poor relationship. Scarcity thinking ruled the household. From those humble beginnings, Ron started selling insurance out of his dorm room in college. Soon, he was making so much money from selling that he decided to move full-time into financial services. Within a few years, he reached that elusive million-dollar producer level. Today, after compound annual growth of more than 28% for more than 30 years, his companies generate tens of millions of dollars a year in revenue. Recently, he sold a 29% interest in his companies for $35 million. Ron Carson shared his insights on accelerating growth.
Key Business Insight: Completing a “Six Most Important” each day keeps you focused on doing the most productive thing at every given moment.
“Every night before I go to bed, I list the six most important things I’ve got to get done in order of priority for the next day,” said Ron. And he has everyone on his team do it too. Once the list is made, each person goes through the six items and answers, “Is this tied to my goal? Yes or no?” If you’re doing a lot of things that are not tied to your goals, then why are you doing them, he asks. Then each person rates on a scale of one to ten how excited they are about the activity and finally, they answer, “Am I good at it?” Ultimately, a perfect six most for the day is, “You’re excited about doing everything, and you’re good at doing everything, and the activities lead to your one-year goals, which are connected to your longer-term goals.” This process drives Ron’s activity and keeps him focused on doing the most productive thing at every given moment.
Guest: Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, recognized industry-wide as one of the top business thinkers, authors, teachers, and executive coaches in the world.
After 40 years of improving businesses and changing lives, Dr. Goldsmith is still going strong because he believes that we’re all here to help people, and make the world a better place. That’s why his website features a robust library of free material that all entrepreneurs and CEOs should have bookmarked as a learning resource. Dr. Goldsmith discussed the dangers of turning your business into a competition, and how effective CEOs learn to prioritize positive, impactful actions over winning trivial, and potentially harmful, victories.
Key Business Insight: Be a poet, not a plumber.
Effective CEOs avoid trivial battles and trivial tasks. You’re the CEO. Your number one responsibility is the company’s vision. Instead of micromanaging your staff to remind everyone who’s in control, you should be setting big targets for your company’s future and focusing on executive-level activities that will help you reach those goals. Before you take on any task, ask yourself, “When I do this, is it going to help me accomplish my larger goal?” If not, it’s a maintenance issue, call in one of your plumbers. That’s what plumbers do — they fix stuff. Poets think big and inspire those around them to do the same.
Guest: CEO Coaching International’s David Sobel. His 20-year career as an entrepreneur and executive coach is full of highlights, but one of the brightest was his 13 years at Home Warranty of America. David built a replicable and scalable sales model for HWA that culminated in the company selling for $50 million. Now he helps CEOs and entrepreneurs learn how to Win the Day by breaking down BIG goals into measurable daily actions.
Business leaders who are struggling don’t have clarity of vision. They don’t have steps in place to achieve their goals. They don’t know how to Win the Day, and worse, they don’t even know what Win the Day means for them. David explained how to break down your long-term goals into a simple daily routine that can improve your personal business performance and your whole company, one win at a time.
Key Business Insight: Break your goals down, and track them.
Say your big goal is to increase annual revenue by $50 million. What would your company have to achieve every quarter to make that happen? Every month? Every week? OK, now what are the daily activities necessary to hit that weekly goal? Figure out those daily tasks that keep moving your company towards the big goal, and you’ve figured out how to Win the Day. Now go win.
Once you figure out what Win the Day means for you, and for each of your employees, the best way to make sure winning keeps happening is to track it. Wall calendars, spreadsheets, a big whiteboard in the middle of the office — the more visible the better. Winning is contagious, and so is accountability. The superstars on your team will fill up their calendars with checkmarks, indicating tasks done and days won. Anyone lagging behind will see the gaps in their own progress and try harder to win more.
Guest: Mark Moses, the founding partner of CEO Coaching International and best-selling author of “Make BIG Happen: How to Live, Work, and Give Big.”
Companies fail when their leaders fail to execute. But why do entrepreneurs fail in the first place? What are the habits of high-performing CEOs that anyone running a business should incorporate into their own routines and growth strategies? I’ve been asking these provocative questions for over 20 years, and using the answers to turn around distressed companies and guide top firms to exponential growth. I discussed the top five reasons that entrepreneurs fail to create successful businesses, and the exercises I’ve designed to make sure your business steers clear of the same pitfalls.
Key Business Insight: The CEO has to have a BIG vision.
Where do you want your company to go? If the CEO can’t answer that question, no one working for you will be able to either.
Try this: imagine you’re looking into a crystal ball. You can see three years into the future. You’re at a huge beach party with your whole company, all your friends and family, celebrating … What? What’s that one thing your company achieved that has the champagne (or Bordeaux wine) flowing? It should be something specific, measurable, and BIG, like, “We hit $100 million in revenue!” Vague ideas like, “My business grew a lot,” can’t be measured, can’t be tracked, and can’t be hit. If your vision is foggy, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Guest: Oliver Seidler, CEO of Property Force, a company that specializes in the use of technology and marketing to buy and sell real estate contracts.
Two college best friends create their dream startup. Sounds like the classic entrepreneur fairy tale. Except the startup was a real estate company, and the year was 2007. You can probably guess what happened next – that is, until Oliver Seidler decided to pivot from a small company stuck in survival mode to a BIG business. Oliver explained how he used technology, key performance indicators, top talent, and a commitment to his vision to pivot Property Force into a scalable, multimillion dollar business.
Key Business Insight: Let your KPIs be your guide.
One key to Oliver’s successful pivot was good old-fashioned number-crunching. The expansion offices that helped sustain and then grow the company while the economy recovered were becoming expensive and out-of-date. His P&L statements told Oliver that there had to be a better way to get the company BIG, more quickly.
Centralizing and focusing on tech freed up cash for a huge advertising push that Oliver knew would create much more potential business than his old model. CEO Coaching International also helped Oliver re-think how he modeled his P&Ls.
“Once I blew the P&L up to a $30 million, and then eventually a $100 million mock up, I started to see how much bigger the advertising could be than relying on auctions and MLS listings,” Oliver says. “So a lot of it was just feeling comfortable that at $30 million these other two sources are minuscule. Letting go of those sources and putting our focus into the advertising, which was much easier to scale, much faster to scale, became easy to do once I saw what the P&L looked like on a much bigger level.”
Now, P&L modeling is part of Oliver’s annual process, and adjusting that model is a top quarterly activity. And everything still filters down from Oliver’s top KPI, the return on marketing. “If I spend this on marketing and I get this return, it all works,” Oliver says “The cost of goods sold are this, the fixed expenses are this. This is what my marketing spend would be. This is all I need to get back for each dollar spent, and as long as I’m getting this, I can just keep growing.”
Do you know the financial formula for your business? What the key drivers are for your profitability? The levers you can pull to make profitable growth happen? If not, now’s the time to dig into the numbers and figure it out. Oliver’s “aha” moment came at 3:00 in the morning. He couldn’t sleep, went into the office, and started putting numbers on paper and it all came together.
Guest: Dr. Heidi Hanna, an expert on boosting your brainpower and keeping stress in check. Dr. Hanna is a New York Times best-selling author, the Chief Energy Officer and founder of Synergy consulting, and Executive Director for the American Institute of Stress.
Successful CEOs and entrepreneurs are all driven, hard-working people who demand big things from themselves. But too much go go GO can leave you exhausted, unproductive, and unhealthy. Dr. Hanna gave her expert tips on keeping our stress low and productivity high.
Key Business Insight: Be a sprinter, not a marathoner.
If you work at a high energy level, that’s good. But to maximize your productivity, and to avoid burnout, work at that high level for shorter bursts. Hold twenty-minute meetings instead of hour-long sessions. Schedule breaks in the day for you and your team. If your business is struggling, cramming more and more and more into the workday might not be the answer to what’s ailing you. Worse, it could hurt your output even more. When faced with adversity, top CEOs embrace a mindset of gratitude for what they have, which helps shift their thinking from a panicked, threatened state, to a calm, problem-solving state.
For the fourth year, we gathered together some of the world’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business thinkers in Newport Beach, CA to share their expertise on making BIG happen.
CEO Coaching International coaches:
- 142 companies
- With $5 billion in annual client revenue
- Representing 25,000 employees
- And has clients in 14 countries
I opened the summit by sharing things we have learned from coaching some of the best entrepreneurs and CEOs in the world:
- They think BIG
- They have a specific plan and they EXECUTE
- They hire TOP TALENT, no excuses
- They have FOCUS and DISCIPLINE
- They MEASURE everything
- They have a COACH
- They celebrate VICTORIES
Thanks again for listening to, reading, and sharing On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow! with your friends, family, and colleagues. We have another fantastic lineup of guests set for the year ahead, so make sure you click below to subscribe and never miss an episode.