Guest: Tom Asacker, an artist, award-winning inventor, screenwriter, professional magician, and author of several best-selling books on belief, human behavior, and personal transformation.
Overview: The story your company tells about itself can be an important part of your brand, your history, and your culture. But companies can also become so wrapped up in their stories that they lose sight of everything they’re capable of accomplishing.
On today’s show, Tom Asacker discusses the power and limitations of your business’ story and how CEOs can rewrite their narratives to Make BIG Happen.
Tom Asacker on changing your story:
“If we’re not happy with the story that we’re living, the key is to understand that we’re not living a story. When we wake up every morning, what we are is just pure potential of the universe. Yes, we have knowledge. And we have a history. But that history is not us. That knowledge is not necessarily what the future’s going to look like, it’s just informing decisions that we make. We have our brains wired in such a way that that story becomes like a river that’s flowing through us and it just carries us along such that someday we wake up and we say, ‘What happened? How did I get here? I don’t remember this. I don’t remember living like this. What should I do?’ And that’s what creates a lot of problems for people in midlife and beyond. They maybe change careers or lose a job. And then they have to say, ‘Well, what am I now?’ You weren’t anything before either. You were just doing things. You were in the moment running a company. It doesn’t matter because you can do whatever you want to do anytime you want to do it.”
Tom Asacker on creating value:
“Value is not price cost. It has all kinds of components. Aesthetic value, the value of doing good, the value of feeling better about yourself, your physical self, your social self. There’s a bundle of components to go into value. Now, if this is how you create value for the external, then now you look internally and you say, what am I doing internally in these different functions within the company that I can see a direct correlation to the value that I’m creating for the external world? And I’m telling you, if you can’t see it, if you can’t see how your finance officer’s work translates into value for the external world, you shouldn’t have a financial officer. You should get rid of them and outsource it or something. I would look at everyone that works within an organization and ask, ‘How is your department creating value?’ Because the exterior value, the consumer value or customer value, is the only thing that keeps you in business. That’s what pays the bills. Everything else is something that you’re doing in order to try to continue to do that and grow.”
Tom Asacker on getting stuck on “How”:
“When you’re trying to manage something, the story can make you uncomfortable. And it makes you comfortable to focus on the How. But people who get all worked up about the How are wasting time. You’ve got people working for you, you give them something to do. You say, ‘These are the results that we’re looking for.’ You make sure everybody understands it and you measure it and then you get out of their way and it doesn’t matter How. I had a big problem with that. I would see people doing things and it wasn’t the right How to me. It took me a long time to let go of that. Think of Dick Fosbury. Why would Fosbury’s coach care if he wanted to jump over the bar backwards? I don’t care how he goes over the bar. How high is he? And this is what happens in organizations, is this How thing is a very compelling hypnotic thing, and it makes people feel good. It gives them something to focus on. And that’s what creates these perfectionists, impatient micromanagement people. They’re not aware that the How’s irrelevant. Let people do it the way they want. And by the way, you end up with happier, more passionate, more creative employees as well.”
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About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.
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