Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

The 3 Non-Leadership books every Leader, Teacher and Parent should read

I realize that might title is a bit redundant.

A great leader IS a great teacher and vice-versa.
In industries, like internet marketing, where the amount of information doubles every 8 months, the ability to teach your team may be the single most important aspect of leadership.

So with that in mind, if you want to be a leader on one of my teams, these are the 3 books you need to read and live.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

If there was a single book that taught you how to be a great teacher and thereby a great leader, this is it.

Each day we are all faced with success and failures and we respond in 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Fixed Mindset – Each mistake is validation that you aren’t smart, talented or good enough. Conversely, every success tells you that you are innately “gifted” which is very dangerous because then you stop looking for challenges where you might fail and therefore not validate your “gifted” status.
  2. Growth Mindset – Each failure and success are a means of learning. You either learned what you wanted (i.e. succeeded) or you didn’t (i.e. failed). Either way, you have more to learn, further to go and higher mountains to climb. Your mind is ever-expanding and intellect can always grow.

Our team has summarized this in our Culture Statements as:

Learning from other’s successes is extremely valuable however sometimes learning from our own mistakes is more memorable. We embrace our mistakes, learn not to repeat them, and therefore are constantly pushing the limits to get better.

If you only have time for one leadership or teaching book, Carol Dweck’s book is it!

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle

It wasn’t blind luck that the greatest concentration of artists, sculptors and painters of all time just happened to live in the same area of Italy over a 60 year time frame in the 16th century.

It’s also not chance that the small, dingy school where Anna Kournikova learned to play tennis, at one time produced 4 of the top 50 greatest players in the world.

It’s by design that the Dominican Republic has an unmatched density of great baseball players and, amidst abject poverty, Brazil has produced some of the world’s greatest players and teams consistently for nearly 50 years.

There’s a system and a code to “talent”. It’s not merely innate and it’s not simply about working for 10,000 hours on something. It’s about mindset, commitment, and breaking down the skill or talent to it’s essentials.

Daniel Coyle tells you exactly how and it’s as inspiring a read as you may ever encounter.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

Think for a second of the tests that you may have taken to measure your intelligence.

  • IQ Tests
  • SAT’s
  • ACT’s
  • College Exams
  • High School Exams

Of the tests listed above do you know which one most closely predicts success in life?
None of them. None can be correlated to job, income, happiness or any other measure of success.

But there is a test that can.

It’s called the marshmallow test.
Put a 3 year old in a room. Give her a marshmallow and say, “You may eat the marshmallow. Or you can wait a few minutes until I come back and I’ll give you 2.”

If she waits, she understands the value of delayed gratification – working hard and sacrificing now to receive something better in the future – and it will predict her future success more accurately than any other test.

That’s one of hundreds of examples that illustrate that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is more important in our lives than IQ.

Goleman also provides great examples of how to teach 3 to 93 year olds how to improve their Emotional Intelligence and better empathize with those around us.

Those were listed in the order of importance so start at the top and work your way down.

To your success in becoming a great, teaching leader,

The 3 Videos Every Leader and Manager Must See!

Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There’s no harder challenge for leaders than to ignore their power and instead focus solely on serving their team. Simon is being interviewed by Glenn Beck and tells the best short story I’ve ever heard to help keep leaders grounded by the fact that they exist to serve not be served.

Dan Pink – Drive – The surprising truth about what motivates us

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose – Every human being desires these 3 things and Dan breaks this down with unbelievable clarity. He also shares the downsides of commissions and incentives in many job positions.

Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage

Everything you know about success and happiness is wrong. You will NOT be happy once you are successful. The truth is, you will be more successful if you are first happy.

Take back your schedule, business, and life.

In that order.

For the first time in 2 years, I spent a few days in the last week onsite at other businesses doing some consulting and training. Since I’ve been working on my own business, I just hadn’t the time to put a lot of effort into helping others. After a few days of interfacing with some very successful small business owners, it intrigued me how interested they were in my own personal daily schedule…

A few months back I noticed sales were slipping and my stress level was rising rapidly. In those moments, when you finally realize that in the last 5 working days you got absolutely nothing of value accomplished, you really need to step back. Sit in your office with the door closed or take an extra long shower since you’ll have no interruptions and evaluate a few things:

  1. What is your role as the business owner/leader? Literally, what is your job description and are you following it? No job description? Make one!
  2. What can you do that would most benefit the company in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and 5 years? Forget about what’s needed to get through today for a few minutes and focus on longer term. Unlike public companies, you don’t have next quarter’s earnings report to cloud your long-term judgement.
  3. Are you spending half of your time on marketing/sales (getting new customers) and half of your time on customer service/operations (taking care of existing customers)? Granted, your sales and marketing efforts should certainly include marketing to your existing customer base, but do not make the mistake of convincing yourself that that ONLY means dealing with current customer issues. Your sales/marketing efforts to existing customers mean up-selling, cross-selling, educating them on all the products and services you offer along with gathering referrals and testimonials.
  4. Does your schedule allow you to achieve 1-3? Obviously, this is where most business-owners, myself included, often get side-tracked.

So what can you do about it? The answer is simple, create a daily or weekly schedule.

Initially my daily schedule looked like the following:

8-9:30review schedules, answer any questions for service and address any service issues
9:30-10Review and Respond to emails
10:00-11:00Customer Complaints, Personnel issues, Inventory checks, Office Questions
11:00-12:00Service quotes, Business Accounting, Financial Reports, Daily reports,Taxes, Insurance etc.
1:00-2:00Improve Processes, Procedures, Checklists, Scripts, and Handbooks
3:00-4:00Sales and Customer Follow-ups, Office Questions
4:00-5:00Payables, Billing Questions, Payroll, Emails, Etc.

However, after realizing that the “creative” processes of Sales and Marketing weren’t really as effective in only an hour time-slot I converted to a weekly schedule with 2-hour blocks for Sales and Marketing in the afternoon and my standard morning schedule. Personally, I define Marketing as everything my business does to get a prospect to contact us to solve a problem. Once the prospect has contacted us, they are now in my sales process/system. Everything from that point of contact, till we sit down with the new customer after our work is finished to make sure they’re happy and to gather referrals, is Sales.

Monday through Thursday I alternate between Sales and Marketing and Friday is a “flip” day where I choose which one will benefit the business more (or whether I need to just go for a motorcycle ride).

So now that you know what needs to be done, do you have any doubts that in 3, 6, or 12 months, let alone 5 years, your business and therefore you will ultimately benefit from such dedication to your job description as the business leader???

Businesses generally mimic their owners according to the 3 Leaders every business needs. If you’re sales oriented you’ll love that time spent working on sales and marketing. If you’re a more technical, hands-on guy, you’ll feel much more in your element taking care of the customer issues and making them happy. If you’re a numbers person, that time from 11-12 and 4-5 where you work on payables, reports, and other accounting needs will be right up your alley. That being the case, you have 2 options:

  1. Commit to taking care of all of these items yourself.
  2. Hire someone else to help you in the areas you aren’t good at or passionate about.

If you choose the first, my Recommended Reading section is a great place to learn about books that will help educate you on all of these areas.

If you choose the second, I’d read some of the books anyway so you know if the team member or consultant you’re working with really knows her stuff. There are plenty who do not. The first item I would outsource would be the accounting stuff.

My blog title obviously infers that just by setting your schedule you’ll now have a sense of control over your business and more importantly your life… The only proof I can offer for that is to try it. Force yourself to make it a priority to follow your schedule and you will be utterly amazed at how productive you can be.

To your scheduling success, Bryan

P.S. At our weekly Team Meeting I apologized to my team for not doing my job and let them know about my new schedule. I recommend you do the same so everyone knows things-are-a-changin.

The most important life lesson… and the key to success

For as long as I can remember my father was always imparting axioms and witty sayings on me such as, “your life is what you make of it”, and “you can’t control what other people may do to you but you can control how you respond”, and “you’re the only one who can choose what your day is going to be like every morning when you wake up.” Obviously those were all paraphrased and there were certainly dozens more.

He continued my education with tapes and stories from Zig Ziglar, and Dave Yoho, and Tony Robbins and eventually Brad Sugars. Somehow he would come in contact with stories of people overcoming impossible odds to better themselves. Quite literally this started in early elementary school for me.

There’s a reason books like Think and Grow Rich (#1466 on by Napoleon Hill, The Richest Man in Babylon (currently ranked #5094 on by George S. Clason, and How to Win Friends & Influence People (currently #151 on by Dale Carnegie are timeless classics.
There’s a reason why movies like The Secret (Extended Edition) (#92 in DVD’s on are so popular; creating an almost cult following. (Granted I did laugh out loud when the older gentleman said we don’t know how electricity works.)
There’s a reason why Brad Sugar’s spent more than 1/4 of his training on how to Buy, Build, and Sell businesses at his Entrepreneur’s Masters Class simply on having the right mindset.

And the reason is simple: The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is first and foremost their mindset. As one guy from The Secret pointed out, “Thoughts become things.”

“If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right”, is in fact, a cliche’ and yet it’s still true.

As I talk to friends and family about success, making money, building businesses and living an adventurous life, I make sure they know the most important part in their success is their mindset. If you truly believe you have the ability to do something you will do it.

This mindset has created 2 personality traits in me that everyone who knows me are abundantly aware of:

  1. Confidence – some might even mistake it for arrogance
  2. Fearlessness – or in other words, they believe I’m completely averse to risk

It’s important to understand that I was not born with either trait. In fact, as a child I was very cautious and always calculating before attempting anything new. If I wasn’t certain I could do it without getting hurt (physically, emotionally, or intellectually), I wasn’t going to do it. Though I always did well in school I rarely raised my hand and even if I was the best athlete on my sports team I would always feel as if I wasn’t good enough. Actually, high school athletics are what taught me that my biggest weakness wasn’t lack of talent or skill, but simply lack of confidence in my abilities. My point is these traits can be learned.

Every successful person has incorporated these 2 traits into their lives.

Confidence – At some point it occurred to me that absolutely no one will believe in me if I don’t. More importantly, if I believe in myself, others will as well. That’s what confidence is. Having the guts to take on something you’ve never done before, but know you can learn. Taking that risk of getting ridiculed, embarrassed or harassed by leading instead of sitting back and waiting for the safe move. If you’re going to be successful in business, in your family, as a teacher, or doctor, or builder, you have to lead someone somewhere and no one follows a person without confidence. As a coach of 5 year olds, I can assure you that even children won’t follow someone who isn’t confident in what they’re doing.

Fearlessness – This is simply a byproduct of confidence. School trains you to do what you’re told. Sports teach you the same thing (I can still remember getting yelled at for putting the basketball behind my back in a high school game). Your parents teach you to listen to authority. Throughout our lives, we are taught first how to obey and then, if we’re lucky, how to think and use our imaginations. Not being afraid to leave home, or move across the country, or buy your first rental property, or invest in the stock market, or buy a business (when you’ve never run one before), or write a book, or race a motorcycle, or stand up in front of an older group individuals and have the audacity to claim you can teach them something new is not done out of a lack of fear. It’s done because of confidence in one’s ability to succeed. Though I’ve told many people (inaccurately) that I don’t fear anything, what’s most important is that I don’t fear failure. No successful person does.

The very first step to being successful at anything you choose, is having confidence that you can succeed and getting over the fear of what might happen if you don’t.

Confidence and fearlessness are not natural traits for most people. Unfortunately, our youth teaches us to trust in authority more than ourselves and to fear the repercussions of what will happen if we don’t coalesce with the rest of the group. However, don’t use that as an excuse not to be confident and fearless. Use it as motivation to prove those people wrong.

My father knew that no matter what I decided to be in life (astronaut, paleontologist, NBA player, engineer and businessman were all on my list), my mindset and attitude were going to define whether I was truly great at my profession. What my father did not know, was that the foundation he was building for my mind would be echoed by my oncologist when I came home from college before the beginning of my sophomore year. Seven years ago Dr. Earle told me that the most important thing in determining my success in overcoming cancer was my attitude.

To your success in becoming confident and fearless, Bryan