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239: Steve Coughran: Advantage is determined by customers

Steve Coughran Show Notes Page

Steve Coughran came into a 50-year old organization with a lot of systems and legacy things in place. Needing to innovate, Steve began to break things down into small pieces, executing on them and gaining team confidence and repeating the process.

Steve was born in Fallbrook, California and relocated to Colorado with his mom and three brothers and sisters at age 10. Though Steve’s father abandoned his family at a young age, his Grandpa Clifford stood in as a father figure, who instilled in him the value of education.

Steve’s Grandpa was a deep thinker who taught Steve to question assumptions and biases, listen more than speak, and dedicate himself to lifelong learning and giving. This commitment to continuous growth carried through to Steve’s adult education, and he earned an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting, a Master of Accountancy, and a Global Executive MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Steve’s curiosity and hunger for knowledge is reflected in his career where his entrepreneurial spirit guided him to launch and manage three successful companies. Steve started his first business during high school. He founded a landscape company to help pay for college, which transformed into a multi-million-dollar design and construction firm. On the side, however, he followed in his Grandpa’s footsteps to pursue a life dedicated to learning and teaching. He began consulting different business owners in the industry on how to run and manage successful organizations, teaching them financial modeling, strategy, and management skills.

Today, Steve is CFO of EMJ Corporation, a vertically integrated engineering, procurement, and construction firm specializing in renewable energy. Steve leads the finance and technology teams which provide strategic, financial, and data-driven support for EMJ’s global wind, solar, construction, and development companies. Steve helps lead the growth and innovation of a billion-dollar portfolio of energy related businesses.

Steve’s impact extends beyond his role as CFO. He believes the best way to fight poverty is to help foster market-creating innovation and business growth on a grassroots level. His purpose is to make the world a better, more prosperous place helping small businesses in emerging markets become more profitable so they can raise the quality of life in their communities.

Steve is the author of Outsizing: Strategies to Grow Your Business, Profits, and Potential and currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife and two young children, Ava and Max. When Steve isn’t busy working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, running (as an avid marathoner), or traveling to fulfill his goal of visiting 50 countries by age 50.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @SteveCoughran to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“Strategy goes much deeper than mission, vision, values.” Click to Tweet 

“There’s human elements that hold companies back from crafting meaningful, actionable strategies.” Click to Tweet  

“Companies have to power customer centricity.” Click to Tweet  

“Advantages have to allow a company to serve their customers in a unique way and provide a relevant and great customer experience.” Click to Tweet  

“It’s great to have advantages but you have to be able to convert those advantages into value.” Click to Tweet  

“You have to be able to create value but also capture value.” Click to Tweet  

“You have to have value maximizers who can execute and feel empowered in their role to execute.” Click to Tweet  

“Blend art, science and discipline together in a build, measure, learn model for successful execution.” Click to Tweet  

“On your strategy team, if you’re missing the people that are closest to the customer, you’re missing out on a lot.” Click to Tweet  

“It’s not about you and what you do to your customers, it’s what your customer feel.” Click to Tweet  

“If we don’t get into the psychology and the behavioral side of the customer and empathize and understand what motivates them to buy, we’re missing it.” Click to Tweet  

“We can subscribe to self-deception pretty easily in our organizations.” Click to Tweet  

“Advantages are only valuable if the customer cares about them.” Click to Tweet  

“70% of companies that go bankrupt are actually profitable when they close their doors.” Click to Tweet  

“Everybody in the organization has an impact on the financial performance of the company.” Click to Tweet  

“Boosting the Financial IQ of an organization empowers people and gets them to start thinking about how to convert advantages to actual profits and cash flow.” Click to Tweet  

“The key to success is working off of a solid framework.” Click to Tweet  

“Think big, start small, and act quickly.” Click to Tweet  

“In this economy it’s speed to value.” Click to Tweet  

“Be more strategic and use a framework to build upon.” Click to Tweet  

Hump to Get Over

Steve Coughran came into a 50-year old organization with a lot of systems and legacy things in place. Needing to innovate, Steve began to break things down into small pieces, executing on them and gaining team confidence and repeating the process.

Advice for others

Be more strategic and use a framework to build upon.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Distractions. We have to say no and focus on the essential things.

Best Leadership Advice

Be kind to people and empathize with people.

Secret to Success

Running. It helps me clear my head and come up with crazy ideas.

Best tools in business or life

My financial acumen.

Recommended Reading

Outsizing: Strategies to Grow Your Business, Profits, and Potential

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery

Contacting Steve Coughran

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevecoughran/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveCoughran

Website: https://www.outsizing.com/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

 

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

239: Steve Coughran: Advantage is determined by customers

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience breakout performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert & certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach. 

 

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Okay Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s really going to help us get some understanding into how you go about getting the buy-in and then therefore creating a more customer centric organization. Steve Coughran was born in Fallbrook, California and relocated to Colorado with his mom and three brothers and sisters at age 10. Though Steve’s father abandoned his family at a young age his grandpa Clifford stood in as a father figure who instilled in him the value of education. Steve’s grandpa was a deep thinker who taught Steve to question assumptions and biases, listen more than speak, and dedicate himself to lifelong learning and giving. This commitment to continuous growth carried through Steve’s adult education and he earned an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting, a master’s degree of accountancy and a global executive MBA from Dukes Fuqua School of Business. 

 

Steve’s curiosity and hunger for knowledge is reflected in his career where his entrepreneurial spirit guided him to launch and manage three successful companies. Steve started his first business during high school. He founded a landscape company to help pay for college which transformed into a multi-million-dollar design and construction firm. On the side however, he followed his grandpa’s footsteps to pursue a life dedicated to learning and teaching. He began consulting different business owners in the industry on how to run and manage successful organizations teaching them financial modeling strategy and management skills. Today Steve is CFO of EMJ Corporation, a vertically integrated engineering procurement and construction firm specializing in renewable energy. 

 

Steve leads the finance and technology teams which provides strategic financial and data-driven support for EMJ’s global wind, solar, construction and development companies. Steve helps lead the growth and innovation of a billion-dollar portfolio of energy related businesses. Steve’s impact extends beyond his role as CFO. He believes the best way to fight poverty is to help foster market creating innovation and business growth on a grassroots level. His purpose is to make the world a better more prosperous place helping small businesses in emerging markets become more profitable so they can raise the quality of life in their communities. 

 

Steve currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife and two young children Ava and Max. When Steve isn’t busy working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with family and friends running as an avid marathoner or traveling to fulfill his goal of visiting 50 countries by age 50. Steve Coughran, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Steve Coughran:   I am ready, thanks for having me.

 

Jim Rembach:    Oh man, I’m glad you’re here. Now, I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better.

 

Steve Coughran:    Yeah, absolutely. I’m super passionate about two things really, it’s strategy and finance and how those things marry together and a lot of companies to gain a competitive advantage and provide a great customer experience.

 

Jim Rembach:    So, you and I we’ve had the opportunity to have some really good dialogue prior to this interview and I want to make sure that I capture some of that because it was so important. I had mentioned that I actually double majored in finance real estate and that financial decision-making class was one of the last classes that we had in our senior year prior to graduating and it was one of the most challenging and most difficult. But when taking that type of thinking into the business realm it just really doesn’t exist very much at all. I think that’s part of the problem with companies understanding why being customer-centric is so important.

 

Steve Coughran:   Absolutely. If you look at most strategies of companies, I’ve seen so many companies and I’ve worked with so many companies and look after strategic plans and oftentimes they’re rooted in mission, vision, values and those things are great and it’s great to start with that. Some companies go a little bit further and they start listing out initiatives. One company I was working with they had over 80 initiatives listed out for the year and success for them was accomplishing 20 or 30 of those. To me that’s not strategy. Strategy goes much deeper than just mission, vision, values it has to incorporate this customer-centricity it has to incorporate advantages the financial side in order for a company to go out there and actually win. So that’s what I’m excited to talk more about today.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well, in your book, Outsizing you put together a system that enables an organization to hit all of those core elements and then become more customer-centric. So what we’re talking about is customer-centric transformation here and so when you start talking about those six steps, please share with us what they are?

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah, absolutely. Before I get into those I’ll talk about the book, when I started looking at other books out there there’s great strategy books and then there’s deep finance books I get really deep and technical and their equation based and so oftentimes people would say, Steve do you have some great recommendations? And I’d find myself saying, yeah, here’s some great strategy books but make sure you read these books too. I didn’t find a framework that incorporates all of them. With Outsizing there’s six steps I walk people through.

 

The first thing is this idea of overcoming the human side of strategy. What I mean by that is change management stuff, people are involved in strategy. There’s biases that get involved and there’s other human elements that hold people back and companies back from crafting meaningful, actionable strategies. So that’s the first thing.

 

The second thing is companies have to power customer-centricity. They have to put the customer at the very, very center of the business. So often I’ve worked with companies and they have great strategic plans but they forget about the customer and there’s no plan to serve the customer and provide a great experience. So that’s number two.

 

Number three, companies need to start with their advantages or strengths. You can’t just build advantages to build advantages the advantages have to go back to the customer and the advantages have to allow a customer or a company to serve their customers in a unique way and provide a very relevant and great customer experience.

 

Number four, is it’s great to have advantages but you have to be able to convert those advantages into value, you have to be able to create value but also capture value. So that’s where I get into the financial piece the finance side of strategy. 

 

Then we get into the people side in step five. You have to have the right people you have to have value maximizers who can go out there and actually execute and feel empowered in their role to execute.

 

And then finally in life we all follow patterns. Imagine trying to make a t-shirt from scratch or a shirt from scratch and you’re just cutting out random pieces of fabric and sewing them together that’s why we have patterns to follow. Or when we drive to work we follow a pattern because otherwise life becomes too difficult and complicated. The same thing is true for companies, strategy is a pattern, it’s blending art, science, and discipline together in a pattern in a build measure learn type model for successful execution. So those are the six steps that I talk about.

 

Jim Rembach:    As you’re talking I start seeing something that a lot of times people don’t understand is that as an organization sometimes you need to stop doing something because it no longer has financial viability. However, we’ve been doing it for 15 years but we didn’t quit. I think having people at all levels kind of understand the business acumen understand all of that will help them better to accept the fact that, hey, we’re not doing this anymore because of this and therefore we need to do something else and it makes that whole change, if you want to call it an argument or that hump, much easier to get over.

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah, absolutely. In that’s smart Jim. In organizations to stop doing something is difficult. There’s a lot of legacy thing that companies do. Oftentimes they go into organizations and they have these processes and I say, why do you have these? I don’t know, because Sally or Dave put it in place years ago. Well, where are they? Oh, they’re gone they left the organization but we’re still doing these things. So it’s really asking the why behind everything that we’re doing and asking ourselves, okay, are the things that we’re doing or adding to are really contributing to a relevant and unique customer experience? If not you to cut. But it’s so easy to add you touch that it’s so easy to add it’s very difficult to take away. 

 

Jim Rembach:    As I’m going through the book—I have had the opportunity to be in the discipline area of customer experience for the past several years. When I start talking about the discipline of customer experience there’s really a couple different models that are associated with that. Meaning that I have to have somebody own this transformation process this governance process this you know activity associated with helping us be more customer centric. There’s four different models that organizations use in order to deploy a customer centric-group or team within the organization. How do you see that structure actually working best for companies that you’ve worked with?

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah, so I encourage companies to put in place an S team, the S standing for strategic team or strategy team. I think strategy rest on the president or the CEO or whatever that position is. Somebody needs to actually lead the strategy. But in that team you need to have representation from all aspects of the business. Where people make a mistake is when they’re putting together these S teams. They often just include senior executive leaders. If you’re missing the front line, the people that are closest to the customer, you’re going to be missing out on a lot and your finger is going to be off the polls. I think courage companies to put together these teams they need to meet on a regular basis to review the strategy to measure the performance and then make adjustments. And the team needs to be diverse enough and skill set, background, customer proximity so on and so forth to make it really successful.

 

Jim Rembach:    I think you said a really important word right there that has to kind of be one of those governing elements and that’s the proximity piece. Because it is too easy to get so far removed from where the action is and the action is actually going to have impact that we could be sending ourselves in the wrong direction.

 

Steve Coughran:   Absolutely. I’ll give you a relevant example here. It’s easy as a CFO to just sit in my office and try to create policies and procedures and create systems for people to go execute and put the governance in place and the structures for people to be successful and feel empowered. But in April, I had to get on an airplane at 5:15 hours to Australia because our office out in Sydney is responsible for building one of the country’s biggest utility-scale solar farm and then the other ones right behind it’s about half the size, but two massive solar farms. I had to go out there and actually meet the team, meet the people, and experience it and walk to the jobsite drive through the jobsite touch, feel, smell, and experience everything they’re going through. Because our customers aren’t just external customers there are also internal customers but if

you don’t get it out there with that proximity, that proximately was my team I had to get close to my team and experience what they’re gone through on a daily basis, for others it’s being close to the customer and seeing what they experience, if we’re not doing that Jim as you know we’re so disconnected from what we need to be doing.

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s too easy to happen. Okay, this book is really, as I had mentioned, all about how to become more customer-centric but I think it’s really important for us to talk about the difference between customer service and customer experience from your perspective.

 

Steve Coughran:   Great. Customer service from my perspective is something that you do to a customer. It’s very reactive in nature and you’re doing stuff and then you’re going back and measuring it and then you’re trying to be reactive and correct course and it’s a bad cycle. Imagine you call and try to get your phone number change we try to deal with a cellphone provider and you go through the whole process and at the end of the call they say, are you willing to take a survey? And then you take the survey and then they get a bunch of responses and then they try to correct action and it creates this reactive type culture. We’re doing things to our customers we need to experience it from the customer standpoint we have to be proactive and anticipate where the value is and then act upon it. It’s entirely different. Companies oftentimes say, what differentiates us is our customer service. It’s actually not about you and what you do to your customers it’s what your customers feel and what they experience when they work with you.

 

Jim Rembach:    Definitely. I think part of that goes into what you are talking about in the book in regards to what has been the traditional viewpoint of persona building. And you talked about the statistical expect and viewpoints of being able to separate out certain types of customers but you’re talking about something much deeper than that. 

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah. The trap that we can fall into is by trying to put our customers into certain buckets and try to define them by socioeconomics or by demographics. It’s easy to say, okay our ideal customer is between 35 years and 50 years old and they have 1.7 kids and they live in a 2.3  bedroom home and in this zip code and that’s our customer base. But if we don’t get into the psychology and the behavioral side of the customer and really empathize and understand what motivates them to buy we’re missing it. I could tell you there’s times where I may go to a certain grocery store to buy produce because they have the best organic produce it’s expensive but it’s worth it because I know it’s good and it’s high-quality and it’s great experience. But there’s other times I go to another grocery store because the kids are throwing a fit I’m tired and it’s the closest   thing to my house on the way home. That’s the behavior that I’m talking about it’s I don’t shop somewhere because I think, oh, that grocery store is very accepting to people of my age group. I do it based on behavior. And that’s what I talk about in the book, understanding what motivations are, the circumstances of our customers, what they love and what they hate and really how that drives the buying experience.

 

Jim Rembach:     I think for me—so I’ve done a couple different coaching projects and workshops around helping to build empathy and that whole type of customer journey and persona building process and I use empathy mapping, I’m certified in emotional intelligence, and it really does focus in on when you’re going or have completed your identification process so that you can really get closer to your customer that it’s a person that comes out as a result instead of  a statistic.

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah, that’s definitely as far…

 

Jim Rembach:    Another thing when I started talking about the advantages piece that you and I had the chance to chat about we really talked about that whole value component and trying to get a little bit deeper in that. If I talk about my advantages and I talk about being able to, now look at it from a financial perspective, there’s some short term, midterm, and long term impacts and unfortunately we’re talking about one of a bias, we’re very biased towards the short term. How can we keep ourselves from falling into that trap so that we look at it in more of a longitudinal manner?

 

Steve Coughran:   That’s excellent. Because advantages—we could trick ourselves we can we can subscribe to self-deception pretty easily in our organizations. It’s easy to list out, oh, these are advantages these are things that were great at these are our strengths but at the end of the day advantages are only valuable if the customer cares about them if they don’t care about the advantage who cares if you have the advantage. And you’re right, the short-term, the medium-term, the long-term when it comes to the financial side so many companies are caught up on the short-term and that’s measuring success from the income statement. They look at the income statement go down to the bottom look at the profits say, wow, we’re making money we’re successful. However, 70% of companies that go bankrupt or when they close their doors, Jim, you may say, Steve, how is that possible? How can they be profitable but go bankrupt? It’s because the real action happens on the balance sheet but more importantly on the statement of cash flows. The cash is king. In the book where I talk about short term values accounting profit, look at the P & L say, yeah, we’re doing well here and there. Medium term you’re looking at economic profit which starts incorporating the cost of capital and then the long term is really looking at the cash flow stream that your business is producing. So you have to look at all three sides and have the long term perspective with the short term. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Talking about that short term and long term timeline I think that’s also going into that whole customer service versus customer experience component. Customer service is dealing with the short term, the interaction the transaction, however, though we have to see how that fits into that overall or long term or midterm customer experience that can affect the whole retention, the referral, the additional purchase rates and additional product sales and all of that.

 

Steve Coughran:   Absolutely. I love running so I have a running watch and I had an issue with the GPS and how I was connecting. So I called up the company, it had been over a year since I had the product, I bought it online through another source, and as I was having some issues so I called the company talked through it they couldn’t solve it over the phone so you know what they did? They did they said, you know what, just send us your watch back we’re going to send you a new one. I have the receipt I went through a third party they sent me that customer service— customer service company would say, what are you doing? You know that just cost us so much to replace this watch. Customer experience says, long term. I’m going to send this watch because I know over the lifetime of this customer he’s going to refer so many people and he’s going to buy this for any watches, you bring up a great point there. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think one of the things too, as you said that, it kind of brought to mind there was a show, I don’t want to say it’s called like the bar makeover with Jon Taffer or Tapper or something like one of those TV shows where he coaches people how to actually have a better business. And he talked about that issue as well that made a very real and understandable for me for a restaurant perspective. He said, the first time that customer goes in he goes, give them 50-75% off the bill. So what you’re going to lose money and the next time you do it again and then the third time you do it once more and you give them away because by the third time you now have a customer for life. 

 

Steve Coughran:   That’s smart. But it’s tough that takes a lot of guts takes a lot of moxie to just do that kind of stuff with that murse because in the short term we got these financial pressures we got to hit the numbers we have to bring cash in the door it takes guts for this if you do it and your bold big success can come your way.

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah, most definitely. I think that’s something that also going back to that whole connecting that front line to that top line strategy is that maybe we need to do a better job and it goes back to the business acumen piece saying, hey, take care of the customers problem it’s small it’s something that in a long term will come back to us with some huge dividends and getting everybody to understand that.

 

Steve Coughran:   Absolutely, that’s the key. I think everybody in the organization has an impact on the financial performance of the company. Whether its revenue, the very top line you have sales people, you have business development, you have other individuals that affect the top line in the middle you have your frontline workers you’re impacting direct labor cost their job materials or materials or other cost to be sold related items, you have people in functional leadership roles that are responsible for the overhead, the GNA of the company. And then you have people below the line from depreciation decisions, working capital decisions that ultimately lead to cash flow. I go into companies and I used to do workshops on this stuff more and I teach financial acumen because financial IQ, based on the financial IQ of an organization, empowers people or gets them to start thinking about how a company can convert advantages to actual profit and cash flow. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Arguably we all have to do that from a personal perspective as well. People talk

about the aging of, at least the US, and how very few people have actually saved for their retirement. I think we need these whole financial acumen on personal and professional side.

 

Steve Coughran:   Yeah, very true, very true big missing thing.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, so when I think about this transformation aspect though—you and I shared or I shared with you there’s something that I read the other day talking about business growth, talking about the outsizing, how our business is actually getting bigger and the reality of it is they’re not going through these types of activities. Like for example even digital transformation has a 90 percent failure rate companies are struggling with pivoting. And a lot of companies are growing actually through acquisition. Well, you know that you can’t keep just growing through acquisition you have to actually go and start doing some transformations. This isn’t a quick fix going back to what we were talking about this is going to take a long time it’s going to take a while. So how do we get started?

 

Steve Coughran:   You have to start with the framework. We’ve done three acquisitions since the beginning of the year, our company alone, and try to incorporate a new culture, new processes, get new customers comfortable with the company and the new way of doing business it’s a lot of work. But the key to success is working off a solid framework and it goes back to those six steps. If you can follow those six steps in the company by overcoming the human side of the strategy by being customer-centric by building off advantages by converting those advantages into actual financial value by putting the right team in place and then empowering them and then having a pattern to do this all over again you could be successful. But if you don’t have a framework it’s difficult because then you’re scattered you’re all over the place and there’s no way to scale this. So that’s the key. 

 

Jim Rembach:    You’re definitely need a whole lot of persistence and motivations and energies all of those things. And one of the things that we look at on the show in order to help us do that are quotes. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

 

Steve Coughran:   The thing I always say, and I don’t know what the origins are but I always say, think big start small and act quickly. Then what I mean by that is you have to have a big vision, where there’s no vision the people perish. You have to have this big vision and understand where you’re going and you have to communicate that so there’s clarity and direction. But then you have to start somewhere and sometimes starting small is a lot easier than starting really big. And then you got to move quickly you have to be agile. In this economy it’s speed to value. You got to move quickly. But where most companies stumble is that they think big they start big and then they move slowly and that’s death. I mean, it’s death to morale. If you have entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs within the company and they’re not seeing action those people eventually

get frustrated and leave. So it’s really this thinking big and starting small moving quickly and seeing results from that.

 

Jim Rembach:    I would dare to say too talking about moving quickly, you kind of have learned how to do that—writing this book and all of that. However, I’m sure there was some humps that you had to get over in order to get you to where you are today. Can you share with us one of those times where you did get over the hump?

 

Steve Coughran:   Absolutely. Anytime you come into a new organization or organizations 50 years old–we’ve been successful over the last 50 years there’s a lot of systems and legacy things in place, so coming into an organization and trying to innovate certain parts of the business you have to overcome a hump. And the best way that I was able to accomplish some of these successes along with the team was by breaking it down in small pieces executing on it giving the team confidence and getting them excited because they’re seeing results and then just repeating that over and over again. So that was definitely a hump to overcome coming into the company and we’re seeing some positive results.

 

Jim Rembach:    And when I start thinking about this book, when I start thinking about—you’re Chief Financial Officer within a very large organization a lot of people when they’re writing books  they have some other types of goals and aspirations, so if you could help us understand what is one of your goals?

 

Steve Coughran:   That’s a great question. My personal values revolve around two things, growing and giving. That stems back to the introduction about my grandfather I’m a growth guy I love growing businesses I love growing personally I don’t like standing still. So if I’m growing learning and doing new things I feel great. Part of that growing experience is getting myself out there and uncomfortable things that’s writing a book that’s getting up in front of audiences and speaking and then giving is just helping people along the way. Helping them understand this passion that I have the strategy and finance side so really what I’m trying to do is get my message out there. I love speaking I love running this company and working with smart individuals and seeing this thing grow that’s really what I’m about. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

 

An even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Steve, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions but your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Steve Coughran, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Steve Coughran:   I’m ready. 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. What is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

Steve Coughran:   I guess it’s distraction that plagues all of us as leaders. We have emails we have meetings we have things that are urgent constantly pressing us and as leaders we have to really say no to things and focus on the most essential things in life otherwise it’s very difficult to execute and be successful.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Steve Coughran:   Best leadership advice—be kind to people and emphasize with people. Because if you could do that people will stand behind you and they’ll run through walls for you.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Steve Coughran:   I’d say running. I get up early in the morning I run this morning I ran eight miles it’s a chance for me to clear my head and reset for the day and I come up with crazy ideas. Some type of thing, meditation, prayer, yoga, working out, whatever it is for you have to have something disconnect and clear your mind.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life? 

 

Steve Coughran:   My best tool I guess would say is my financial acumen. It’s paid dividends in whatever position I’m in it always has a financial component and that has allowed me to be successful along the way. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our legion, it could be from any genre of course we’re going to put a link to Outsizing on your show notes page as well.

 

Steve Coughran:   Favorite book is, How to fly a Horse. It talks about creativity, it talks about innovation it talks about entrepreneurship. I listened to it probably once a year on audible so that’s my go-to. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay Fast Leader Legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information for today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Steve Coughran. Okay, Steve, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you can take all the skills and knowledge that you have with you now you can take it back but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Steve Coughran:   I guess the strategy piece. Going back and seeing the mistakes that I made in the past or the impact that I had on people’s life it could have been more positive or maybe the

impact that was negative a lot of it stems from just not being more strategic and not having a good framework from which to build upon.

 

Jim Rembach:    Steve, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?

 

Steve Coughran:   I have a website, outsizing.com. I have links and contact information there or you can find me on social media.

 

Jim Rembach:    Steve Coughran, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links, from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO 

[/expand]

 

 

Leslie Peters | Finding Time to Lead

Unleash your outrageous potential with Leslie Peters

Leslie Peters Show Notes Page Leslie Peters was testing herself to be perfect and realized she needed to be on her own quest. She reminded herself not to set expectations that keep her from doing things but instead have a sense of possibility. Leslie was born in Albuquerque, NM when her dad was in the …

Access Now

Pete Williams Cadence Book

191: Pete Williams: What was a massive win became our shackles

Pete Williams Show Notes Page

Pete Williams built a company selling phone systems but gradually learned he was not getting any repeat business. That’s when Pete and his team began to discover and implement the seven levers that companies use to create a cadence for business growth.

Pete was born a raised in Melbourne Australia. Growing up as the only child of a math teach and logistics manager he spent his winters in the country and summers by the beach.

Although his parents were not business owners, both grandparents were and the entrepreneurial tendencies skipped a generation and landed squarely on Pete.

From running basketball card swap-meets to designing websites for his school, Pete’s small business journey started years before his business degree from Deakin University.

Cutting his teeth with the Athletes Foot franchise during his studies, Pete soon jetted off on a reconnaissance mission for the footwear chain across America.

Upon his return to Australia, Pete soon made a name for himself in the media across the country when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground for under $500.

This crazy project resulted in his first book back in 2007, titled How to Turn Your million Dollar Idea Into A Reality. His latest book is called Cadence – A Tale of Fast Business Growth.

Pete is also a Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program, a Small Business ICON (Best-in-Class) Recipient, and an Australian Business Award Winner for Marketing Excellence, he is the co-founder of numerous businesses across varying industries—from telecommunications services to e-commerce.

Pete’s companies include Infiniti Telecommunications, SimplyHeadsets.com.au, SpringCom Telecommunications, and Preneur Group – an advisory-consulting firm that guides business owners through the process of increasing profits, margins and other key indicators by using the 7 Levers approach to business growth.

Pete splits his time between Melbourne, Australia and California, USA with his wife Fleur and son Eli.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Pete Williams to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow –Click to Tweet

“You want to have consistency and cadence in what you do, because as you get that cadence you can build momentum.” –Click to Tweet 

“Having a framework actually gives you positive constraints.” –Click to Tweet 

“Having the pressure off is more helpful for you to be creative.” –Click to Tweet 

“These aha moments come over time.” –Click to Tweet 

“We want our people to leave better than when they started.” –Click to Tweet 

“You don’t have to be smarter, just be less dumb.” –Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Pete Williams built a company selling phone systems but gradually learned he was not getting any repeat business. That’s when Pete and his team began to discover and implement the seven levers that companies use to create a cadence for business growth.

Advice for others

Pause, think what’s the second order consequence of this action or decision you are about to make.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Saying ‘Yes’ too often.

Best Leadership Advice

Hire slow, fire fast.

Secret to Success

Planning tomorrow, tonight.

Best tools in business or life

I’m willing to get in the trenches with everybody.

Recommended Reading

Cadence: A Tale of Fast Business Growth

Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days

My Life in Advertising

Contacting Pete Williams

website: https://cadencebook.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/preneurmarketing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/preneur

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

 

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

191: Pete Williams: What was a massive win became our shackles

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s really going to help us cut through a lot of the fog in regards to providing a better customer experience. Pete Williams was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Growing up as the only child of a math teacher and logistics manager he spent his winters in the country and summers by the beach. Although his parents were not business owners both grandparents were and the entrepreneurial tendencies skipped the generation and landed squarely on Pete. From running basketball card swap mates to designing websites for his school Pete’s small business journey started years before his business degree at Deakin University. Cutting his teeth with the Athlete’s Foot franchise during his studies Pete soon jetted off on a reconnaissance mission for the footwear chain across America. Upon his return to Australia Pete soon made a name for himself in the media across the country when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground for under $500. This crazy project resulted in his first book back in titled, How to Turn your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality, his latest book is called, Cadence: A Tale of Fast Business Growth.  

 

Pete is also a southern region finalists in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year program, a small business icon best-in-class recipient and an Australian Business Award winner for marketing excellence. He is the co-founder of numerous businesses across various varying industries from telecommunication services to e-commerce. Pete’s companies include Infiniti Telecommunications, simplyheadsets.com.au, SpringCom Telecommunications, and Preneur Group – an advisory-consulting firm that guides business owners through the process of increasing profits, margins and other key indicators by using the 7 Levers approach to business growth. Pete switches time between Melbourne, Australia and California with his wife Fleur and his son Eli. Pete Williams, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Pete Williams:     Absolutely, really looking forward to. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better. 

 

Pete Williams:     It’s a bit of it of a mix, I’m really enjoying being a dad. Eli’s five and a half years old now and it’s always a big learning curve to grow and mold a human being, it’s always challenging and fun, so that’s good. The books just come out that’s a big passion focus at the moment, and Telco—look I’m not passionate about Telco but I’m passionate about business and we’ve been in the space for 15 years and I learned a lot and done some really cool stuff there too.

Jim Rembach:     So as you’re as you’re going through that and looking at your bio and all the different things that you have your fingers on and even growing a kid—I have three and I can tell you all three of them are different so that whole—what do you do to help them grow is not the same. 

 

Pete Williams:      Well the crazy thing as you mentioned, I’m an only child my wife is an only child we’ve only got one child we’re just like in this bubble of how could you raise more than one so I look forward to having to deal with three. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Well, I think you do find some commonality and that kind of ties into the book, Cadence, when you start talking about these seven levers. I have the child all these different businesses in these different industries however there are some consistent things that we have to do and they have to be part of our cadence, and I have to share with you that I’ve been using that word quite often even before I got your book I started using that word because we say in society we don’t want to skip a beat and we have a lot of these things talking about cadence. So for you, what does cadence mean?

 

Pete Williams:      Cadence means to me—I’m a triathlete I used to race triathlons and cycle a lot so cadence is more of the cycling term and a music term. Which again as you said it comes back down to the same root definition of consistency a tempo that sort of stuff. So in business whether you’re in a business you’re an employer your middle management you want to be had that consistency and that cadence in what you do. Because as you get that cadence you can build momentum and that’s what drives growth in any endeavor. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay. You and I had the opportunity to talk off mic and I think it’s be appropriate for us to kind of bring that into this conversation because it’s something that kind of—I see alignment. And even when I was looking at the seven levers I started seeing alignment with other vernacular and other types of frameworks but it does come down to is, okay, we have to get to the point of execution and we have to make sure that we are finding our way forward. And so the whole waypoint concept and not going around in circles is critically important. And so when I started thinking about cadence and the seven levers while we do have these core foundational components, and we’ll talk about them in a second, then we get all the art around all of those seven levers. I think too many people that’s where they get lost. 

 

Pete Williams:      Hmm-hmm. I completely agree. Whether you are a business owner or you’re managing a team or managing a division in a business or anything in between you can’t get lost very easily and you are almost get distracted by the art and the creativity of the marketing or whatever you’re doing in terms of your job yet you still need that foundation that roadmap to keep you in alignment. You were saying earlier about the rocks on the road if you get lost in the wilderness and you’re trying to find your way out rather than just walking around in circles as you pointed out was sort of the common human trait, leaving rocks behind where you’ve gone helps to make sure you’re heading in a straight line. And the whole idea of the seven levers or any business framework for that matter it doesn’t have to be the seven levers. Just having a framework actually gives you positive constraints and that positive constraint allows you to be creative within the goal of what you’re working towards within that roadmap.  I see so many people getting almost distracted by civil bullets or the latest social media platform or being creative with their marketing and not knowing whether it actually fits in with the actual growth of their division or the company. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s a great point.  To me it ties back to the whole thing about being a triathlete. In order for you to finish that long race, if you don’t watch your pace and know that it’s a journey, you’re not sprinting—

 

Pete Williams:      You could blow up very quickly. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Exactly. Okay, so let’s get into these seven levers real quick because I think it’s really important for us to make sure that we explore to their best extent or fullest extent. So we have you call, suspects, prospects, conversions, average item price, item per sale, transactions per customer and then margins. Now when I was looking at these things I would say, if we just stopped and took them at face value we could potentially say, well this isn’t right for me. However, as I started looking at these and what they entail I started seeing that like you were saying a lot of businesses can use these in order to help them stay focused and not get lost in the minutiae. 

 

Pete Williams:      Yeah. I think there’s two big things that come out of this sort of conversations. The first thing is a lot of people either say one, it’s not that exciting that’s not that new I’ve heard of those things before—tell me something new give me something I don’t know—which is a fair point we’ll get to that, all the people say this doesn’t apply to my business. Yet, when you look at any business any business division any product, if you’re just working in a product team this can apply to your division or whatever the thing is that you’re working on. Profit in any division or any business is driven by these seven things no matter what the business is. Whether you are a landscape gardener, whether you work in a production team inside Apple, work in a corporation, whether you’re in a call center doing something around the customer service journey of a particular product these are the things that drive the profit. And they’re not that revolutionary, I’ll completely agree with that point however, the thing that surprised me when I kind of started playing around with this was that if you increase each of these ten things by just 10%, just a small boost, the actual compounding effect is a doubling of your business or your division or your product. And that to me is the secret sauce around this it gives that framework a focus. Okay, we’re not going to grow our business our division these are the things that I need to work on but yet you don’t have to actually get them out of the ballpark every time. That’s the beautiful thing is I don’t have to worry at doubling my profit or doubling my traffic, however, these small 10% wins compounds who actually a massive success. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I’ve actually seen somebody else kind of use this model. As a matter of fact, this week I saw a sponsored thing on Facebook where they were talking about this for basically online type of communities. And it was the same type of thing they said, okay, here’s—and they wrote it out in a formula. They used essentially like you would take the levers and take the first letter and they’re like, s plus p, they make the formula. 

 

Pete Williams:      Absolutely. 

 

Jim Rembach:     And they’ve talked about, if you just do that 10 % improvement in these, but knowing that you’re not going to get across-the-board 10% improvement because it’s like with anything else, when we focus on something we get a boost that means we’re not looking at other thing. It’s a constant fluctuation and a constant refocusing but overall you’re looking at the big picture. 

 

Pete Williams:      You pointed out or hinted at it before it is that roadmap for when you’re working on your product your division your team. One way to look at it is if you’re a middle manager and you’ve got your marketing team or your division and your role is to grow the profit of that division or that product well this could be a roadmap of focus. Okay, this month we’re going to work on the first lever I’m going to try and get that 10% win. The next month we’re going to bring the team back together and have our planning session for the start of the month and go, okay, we’re going to work on the next lever and you pardon the pun cycle through the seven levers over and over again to get that cadence and get that momentum. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I think that’s a great point. It goes back to what’s your underlying plan because if not you’re going to be spinning in circles. 

 

Pete Williams:      Exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, so when you start thinking about the book you actually wrote it as a story. What really brought you to bring it to that conclusion or that outcome versus really getting into the levers themselves and talking about how do you actually do that ten percent?

 

Pete Williams:      Great question. What got me there was the first draft is really, really bland and boring. To be fully frank with you it started off as a traditional nonfiction book. I think the lane startup was the sort of style we were going for very data-driven, very case they driven. I’ve been talking about this framework for about six or seven years now so it’s sort of got a bit of a momentum and become bigger than me which is great and other people are talking about it which is fantastic. So we start to grab all those case studies and things and make it that bland business book. It wasn’t engaging and it’s not me I like stories I tell stories. So I scrapped that and went, let’s go back to the basics of what’s going to make this engaging for people and helpful? Most people who need this aren’t in that world of business so how can we get it accessible to those people? So be kind of a parable. It’s actually based on a true story. When I was training for my first Ironman race a number of years ago the bike store literally across the road from the Telco business that we have here in Australia, Dakota the owner of that store, was a triathlon coach. I went to him bought my bike there he trained me to my Ironman race and during that 20 weeks I helped him with a whole bunch of ideas to grow the business. It’s based on that loose story with a whole bunch of other writer’s flair, shall we say, just sort of really make it engaging and get other lessons in there that were the pre and post that actual experience. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Thinking about that and talking about your journey and where you’ve come also when I read your

bio we talked about you having the Athlete’s Foot franchise and then taking off across America but then there was a gap because we talked about you’re coming back to Australia then you were recognized for all this stuff, Gosh! What did you bring back that allows you to do that? 

 

Pete Williams:      Athlete’s Foot taught me a lot. The Athletes Foot was such a great franchise very much focused on a lot of stuff. They had a lot of system based stuff they had their great in-seat rules which is all about getting suspects in the store and then sitting on and trying a pair of shoes. They really got the differentiation between a suspect and a prospect in that someone who walks into your store it’s very, very different to someone sitting down with a pair of shoes on their feet and they had that big process to get that distinction just something a lot of people when teams don’t really think about. So we had that I went to the US and the plan was literally to start in Florida and work my way back to California in a whole bunch of different stores but to be frank with you I was 21, had an Australian accent and I started in South Beach, you can sort of picture how that went didn’t really leave. The most at home in Florida working at one store at Sawgrass Mills which was amazing. So I didn’t really bring a whole pack to be honest still have an entrepreneurial vibe and was reading a lot of books and then sort of went back to Athlete’s Foot. When I came back to Australia to a new store it was pretty quiet spent a lot of time behind the counter just reading books because it wasn’t busy there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic, pardon the pun, and then just sort of learn a lot and get applying stuff as side hustles. And then they sort of started to grow into what is the group and other businesses today. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Got it. So when you start talking about these levers and you start talking about moving the 10% and we talk about the art a little bit and sometimes get lost in that art but when you start talking about moving those levers and trying to make those adjustments what do you think is one of the elements that really enables you to make the most movement? 

 

Pete Williams:      I think its focus. I need to be creative in my business in my team to do whatever I want to do achieve whatever goals I need to. The positive constraint is I think massively helpful in that okay this particular period of time be it a week or month or a quarter I’m going to focus on this lever to get this movement so I’m going to be creative within this framework a lot of artists and creators talk a lot about the importance of structure. I’m not an artist I can’t paint I can’t create in that sense of the term but when you hear about these musicians and artists they always say like they work best when they have a defined block of time or a process. From the outside you think isn’t creativity just so all over the shop and not structured? Yet apparently it comes structured and this framework gives you that, okay, only want to get a 10% boost, I think that’s a massive thing. 

 

The other side of that coin is the freedom the 10% gives you. What I mean by that is that so many people—if you take a moment I think, okay, I’ve tried to do a marketing campaign for my business or my team or my division before and we did it and we’ve got an 8% increase and we felt like we were a failure. We tried to increase our traffic and we only got a 9% boost. Well, hang on the label of the sales letter said I should have got 10 people who   visited my website last week. Or we’ve tried to increase our conversion rate and I only got a small boost. And in hindsight you probably thought an 8% increase and 11% increase was actually a failure. Whereas when you look at it inside the context of the seven levers all you need is 7-10 % win to compound and double your profits. So, the freedom that it gives you it allows you to sort of take off the shackles I guess and be creative. The pressures off and I think again having the pressure off is much more helpful for you to be creative. Does that make sense?

 

Jim Rembach:     Well it does. For me also when you were saying I started going back to the whole thing of it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. We’re talking about cadence we’re talking about paying attention to your breathing all of those things that allow you to ultimately get to the victory line. Because if not you’re going to burn out and fall flat. 

 

Pete Williams:      Yes. Okay so I think taking the pressure off yourself when you are in your role in your job working towards that make it’s just like—well it doesn’t have to be that critical (17:45 inaudible)crazy you can relax you can breathe into it and enjoy the ride. It’s a terrible pansy but you literally enjoy the ride. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Well, I think that’s it. I don’t know if they use the same term in Australia but here they talk about 

Athlete’s bonking, you’ve exhausted everything and you’ve hit the wall and you can’t go any further. 

 

Pete Williams:      I did it at ten but in Australia bonkies are very different thing. In America you’re rooting for your team. If you’re rooting you’re doing again same sort of thing is bonking which is something you don’t at a public stadium. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s good to know we’ll make sure that we cut it. Okay, so this is clean for the US market as far as that would go maybe not for that short. Okay, talking about where you’ve come—you’re inspiration and your grandparents and all of that and having the child—I know there’s a lot of things that have influenced you. You talked a lot about your reading and gaining a lot of information and insight where you could but I’m sure there’s some quotes inspire you because one of the things that we look at on the show are those. Is there a quote or two that you can share that you like? 

 

Pete Williams:       There are some—from a management perspective one of my favorites is, what if you train them and they leave. What happens if you don’t train them and they stay? I love that quote. I was using that recently in the office with some team members such an important one for me. I think it’s Beware of the dream takers that’s a quote I do in that—this is your goal this is your life this is your passion beware of the dream thing. There’s going to be people who have their own agendas and try and take it away from you just be wary of them don’t ignore them don’t dismiss them don’t attack them just be aware of them. When someone comes and does gives you feedback—is there an agenda behind it? Why is that feedback coming? Is it supportive? Is it based by an agenda? Just be aware of the dream takers because they exist and if you’d be aware of them you can deal with them appropriately. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Also you talked about trying to make that trip across the American getting stuck in Florida and I could totally understand being the age you were and where you started you probably should have started like Ames, Iowa someplace like that. 

 

Pete Williams:      Exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I know you had humps to get over. Is there a time that you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

 

Pete Williams:      Yeah. If you asked me months or weeks almost when you have a team everyone sort of has those experiences. One of the big ones for us I think in a Telco group kind of led to a massive shift for us. When we first started that business we thought we were really, really clever. And the way we started that was we went into the market with no Telco experience at all we just found a demand and a gap in the market where we could actually go and generate leads and we’re very, very good at being that sales and marketing company that happened to sell phone systems who gain the leads in and we were making the sales. And what we were doing we were literally passing the actual customer to subcontractors or really competitors to do the installation and the support of the customer and that was great for us to prove the business model prove the market. What we learned very quickly was we’re getting no repeat customers. Just think about it, if you bought a phone system from somebody and then someone else came to install it give you the training and support when you had a problem or needed to buy extra handsets or expand who are you going to get back to? The people who kind of just took your money or the people who actually came and installed it. Very obvious in hindsight. And that for us was a massive issue we hit a kid a glass ceiling very, very quickly. Then we kind of sat down went, okay, well what is causing this problem for us? What is driving profit in our business currently? And what drives profit in other businesses? Ironically that point led to the discovery of these seven levers for us. That was ten years ago and from that we kind of refined it, refined it, refined it and obviously it’s been a foundational point for our business growth which has been great. That was a massive issue for us is that what we thought originally was a massive win and it was a massive win for us that business model soon became our shackles almost that was causing us to continue to be able to move forward. It was interesting to sort of have those moments where you think you’re having a win and that turns into being the hurdle for you. 

 

Jim Rembach:     So, at what point did you kind of come that conclusion and you made that shift? How did that conversation go? How did that story play out?

 

Pete Williams:     It was probably over a few months really no one has that aha moment.  I think people say I had that aha moment off in the shower. And it’s like—no you didn’t. I don’t know anyone has that aha moments. This aha moment come overtime and in your memory it was this one thing but really I think it was just a sequence of events realizing that okay we’re having a problem here we keep hitting a glass ceiling, okay, what’s interesting? What’s her business model? Okay, that’s fine that looks really good. Okay, well what was driving the profit? What are we missing? It took a number of conversations and iterations and thoughts there was that no sat down on a whiteboard and one Thursday afternoon at three o’clock and the clouds part of the sun came down and wisdom rained upon us it was a progression of different events and conversations. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Talking about that there’s not really an epiphany thing there’s something that goes on and then we take some action and I think that’s really almost where this epiphany comes from as I’ve done this show for a long time because I ask people about their hump and about that time—it’s like they know something’s been bothering them for a while and then all of a sudden they don’t just say I’m going to do something about it they actually do something about it. As far as our mind that’s kind of when we think the epiphany happened but it’s really been building up the whole time we just finally said okay I’ve had enough I’m going to do something about it and it starts today.

 

Pete Williams:      Yes. You are spot on me that. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Talking about a lot of things going on, hands and a lot of different pies, as we say—when you think about goals, what’s one of your goals? 

 

Pete Williams:      For me now—the business is really good we got great team members. We actually sat down and did the vision in the business recently and one of the big things that came out is we want our people to live better when they when they started. It sounds a bit sappy but that’s one of our visions now. We don’t work with Jim Henson ie. We don’t deal with Muppets and a whole bunch of other really funky vision statements but one of them is, we only grow when our people grow. We give a good salary and we give them good benefits and we wanted people to live and go–I’m a better person after I left within 15-20 growth that before I started, that’s a big one for me now. I think the book with its recent release is going quite well. I want this moment to be bigger than me. The reason I real back-end for the book it’s not like I’ve got this book to try and sell courses and anything like in front of (24:55 inaudible) fine system great but other than that it’s just a book. And I wanted to help people and help divisions and help companies because it’s something I think is missing for a lot of people. It can be that roadmap and it can be a bigger thing than what I am what we are. 

 

Jim Rembach:     And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

 

An even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Pete, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Pete Williams, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Pete Williams:      I think I am. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Pete Williams:      Saying yes too often. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Pete Williams:      Hire slow fire fast. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Pete Williams:     Planning tomorrow tonight.

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Pete Williams:      I think I am willing to get in the trenches with everybody.

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, it could be from any genre, and of course we’re going to put a link to, Cadence:  A Tale of Fast Business Growth, on your show notes page as well. 

 

Pete Williams:      Can I give two?

 

Jim Rembach:     Sure. 

 

Pete Williams:      My second favorite book of 2018 is Joey Coleman’s, Never Lose A Customer Again everyone in business or in a power of decision or customer experience or customer management should read this book, it is absolutely incredible. The other book is from 1923 it’s called, My life in advertising by Claude Hopkins, it’s my favorite business book of all time.

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/petewilliams. Okay, Pete, this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you won’t be in South Beach this time, and you were given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Pete Williams:      The understanding of the importance of second order consequences. I read a book recently one of the statements really stuck with me. It was, if you look back and rather than trying to pick three skills you had years ago just think of three mistakes they didn’t make where would you be? What would be better? And for most people it’s actually taking away three mistakes not actually having better skills 10 years ago. I think the ability to pause think through things and think hang on what’s the second-order consequence of this action or decision I’m about to make? I think that can save a lot of pain a lot of problems and actually you don’t have to be smarter just be less dumb. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Pete it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

 

Pete Williams:      cadencebook.com is probably the best place to go. Check me out, there’s the books there there’s links to my other stuff but really that’s the thing that probably would help them the most. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Pete Williams, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. 

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over a fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

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