Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint

Gain Freedom With The Hands Off CEO Blueprint written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Mandi Ellefson.

Through her company “Hands-Off CEO”, she rescues agency owners from the daily grind, transforming million-dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. With her expertise, she’s boosted hundreds of agencies to millions in revenue, attracting premium clients willing to pay 50-600% fees. As a former business exit advisor, she crafts exit strategies, adding up to five figures to clients’ net profit monthly so they can focus on growth. She shares her wisdom as a published author of

“The Hands-Off CEO: Triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale an Exceptional Consulting Agency that Grows Without You” and host of the Hands-Off CEO Podcast, helping consulting agencies triple fees and scale without less reliance on the CEO.

 

Key Takeaways

Mandi Ellefson, founder of Hands-off CEO, shares her journey from overwhelming debt to multimillionaire status by transforming consulting agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She stresses the importance of building systems that allow businesses to thrive without the constant presence of the CEO. Mandi distinguishes between growth and scale, highlighting the need to create capacity and systems for consistent results. She advocates for productizing services based on outcomes and emphasizes the mindset shift required to embrace delegation and empower teams.

 

Questions I ask Mandi Ellefson:

[01:45] Tell us about the frustration you encountered earlier in your career, not being able to have a company run without you?

[04:47] How does the Scale to Freedom framework differ from other types of processes?

[08:20] Is a mindset shift a necessary step in undertaking this process?

[09:00] How do you balance working with a passion for the project and embracing the need to scale?

[09:13] Why are service businesses hard to scale?

[16:21] How do you help people differentiate between growth and scale?

[22:16] Where can people connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO?

 

More About Mandi Ellefson:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to http://porkbun.com/DuctTapeMarketing24 to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.

 

Testimonial (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Mandi Ellefson , and he went from a hundred thousand dollars in debt to multimillionaire status by revolutionizing consulting agencies through her company Hands-off, CEO e. She rescues agency owners from the Daily Grind, transforming million dollar agencies into self-sustaining enterprises. She’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, the Hands-Off, CEO, triple Your Fees and Profitably Scale, an exceptional consulting agency that Grows Without You. So Mandy, welcome to the show.

Mandi (01:41): Thank you so much for having me again, John,

John (01:44): Since you put it in your bio. Let’s talk about the frustration perhaps that you felt in having a previous business that didn’t run without you necessarily to leading you to creating what you do for your life’s work now.

Mandi (01:59): Yeah. So can we tell about that experience? You’re saying that led?

John (02:02): Yeah. We want to hear frustration and embarrassment that every entrepreneur goes through.

Mandi (02:07): Yes, yes. There was definitely plenty of that and what it looked like as I was nine months pregnant and I had a 4-year-old daughter. My husband lives in a demanding graduate medical program. I had moved across the country. So you’re painting a picture of I had. It was a pretty challenging situation, right? Yeah,

John (02:23): Yeah,

Mandi (02:24): Yeah. And my business at the time, I was trying to close up shop for me to have maternity leave because it was not set up in a way where it could run without me at all. And that was a frustration just because I had managed another company before this. I was the manager and I was able to get this company to run without me as the manager. So I was pretty frustrated that I couldn’t do this within my own company. And weeks before I was about to give birth to my second daughter, all the stress of trying to make all these things work on my timeframe, it was so stressful and my health was breaking down. So I literally had my arms not being able, I couldn’t move them more than just a small amount, and I had to go and get some treatments. Thankfully, I was able to heal my arms from this, but this was not a good time.

(03:16): Just weeks before giving birth to my second daughter, and we could have used that income in our life. That was one time we really could have used it. And again, anyway, I had to shut the business down. But what that led me to look at what is actually stopping me from having this. So then I went out and I started talking to other entrepreneurs after I had my maternity leave, after I took that time and I took some time to slowly start back up to just, I wanted to make sure I got it right this time. So I started interviewing other people and I knew that if I could solve the problem for someone else, I could solve it for myself. So I just started helping other people because I knew I could break down the system and figure it out. I could reverse my engineer back into it because I’m pretty good at that.

(03:59): So I knew I’d be able to figure that out. And before I knew it, I started a consulting company. I didn’t mean to, but I started a consulting company because people asked me they wanted to pay me, help them with this, and I started seeing the patterns and the trends for what it takes to be able to take a service business, especially service businesses are very difficult to scale and remove yourself from. So I started seeing the patterns and I helped other people be able to solve this before I was actually able to solve it for myself.

John (04:26): So a lot of books consulting around this idea of scaling, making a business run without you really all come down to systems and process and operations. And I think you dive a little deeper than maybe there’s even, I’ve had Gino Wickman on the show, but EOS and Traction. How would you say that your system, which you call scale to freedom, is that right framework? How would you say that you go beyond the typical systems and processes?

Mandi (04:56): Right. So EOS and other frameworks, they’re great. They’re really effective and they can help you bring your company to a level of order. But here’s the thing is I talk to CEOs almost on a weekly basis who have implemented all of that and still have a company that’s not profitable. They may even say it’s profitable. Oh yeah, well, you know what, we’re profitable. But what they don’t tell you is that they’re not taking anywhere near a market rate salary for what they would get paid somewhere else. So they’re actually losing money every year if you look at it that way. So the thing is, those frameworks, it helps you organize a working and functional business model, but it’s not a business model and it’s not a profit model, and it’s not your pricing model, and it’s not the structure for what agreements you create with your team, with your clients. It’s not going to give you the positioning in the market. It’s not going to tell you who your profits fleet spot client is, who’s going to pay you the most. It’s going to contain those things, but garbage in, garbage out. So you to get that right first if you want to have a sustainable company.

John (06:01): You mentioned something in the very beginning that you were able to manage this company to run without you, but when you, maybe it was your own business, the CEO, and I’m curious, there’s if there’s something like instructive in that idea, right? It’s like as the CEO, you’re very married to what it’s doing, you’re emotionally attached maybe, and in some cases it’s hard to step back and give yourself the distance that it requires to properly delegate and let your people do the work that they’re there to do. Do you think there’s something, I guess I’m really talking about mindset probably. Is mindset a key role to even start embracing this idea?

Mandi (06:39): Absolutely. And there’s two different aspects of it, and I’m glad you brought it up because there is a system and then there’s a mindset. And here’s the thing is you can build the system all day long, but unless you have a corresponding mindset, then the system is useless and you won’t be able to actually use it and you won’t be able to let go. So that’s one of the things that I’ve observed too with our clients is that they might get to a point where they have the whole system in place and they’re like, I know I’m supposed to be working on sales right now. I can’t quite let go of this. And I’ve even had one of our clients called the hands-off, CEO, Twitch, he named it that. And I asked him, Philip, do you have the system in place? Do you feel comfortable? They have everything that they need to be able to do this? He’s like, yep, I do. And then he’s like, okay, I realize it’s just a mindset. So at that point we knew that it wasn’t the system, it was the mindset. And now it’s just looking at what are you committed to and your vision being bigger than whatever it is that you really want to be doing that gives you that significance.

John (07:43): And I think I run across a lot of business owners that need to, their business is growing, they need to let go of certain things. And a lot of times it’s just they know that. I mean, I don’t think anybody has to tell them that they’re holding that back, but it’s what maybe they feel valuable or they feel, or let’s face it, sometimes it’s the work they like doing, right? Web designers a great example. I mean, they love to do the work. They try to grow a business and scale business. It makes no sense at all for them to actually be now doing the design, but that’s where they are passionate. I mean, how do you get around? Or on one hand you can’t scale. On the other hand, this is what you’re passionate about. How do you get around that kind of dichotomy?

Mandi (08:25): I think the first thing is just to recognize what actually do you want? And there’s nothing wrong with you going and doing the web design work if that’s the kind of company you want, but that’s more like a freelancer company that’s not going to give you the wealth. It’s not going to give you the freedom and it’s not going to give you some of the things that you would get from a business. But it’s a very simple business. And if you really are passionate about being a web designer and you don’t want to learn the skills of managing teams and being a leader and getting all of the other things right for a business, then that might be a good thing for them. But on the other hand, if I may add to that, John becoming more hands off, what that allows you to do is pick and choose the kind of projects you want to work on. You get to have autonomy over where your time is spent

John (09:10): As long as everything’s not on fire. So you mentioned that service businesses are particularly hard to scale. Why is that? I mean, I think some of the obvious, if I’m selling a $29 product, a lot of people can do that. A lot of people can produce it, do the work. But what is it unique about service businesses that you think make them feel harder to scale?

Mandi (09:30): Well, the origin of it is first and then the structure of it second. So the origin of it is that you were good at something and you start off going out and selling this service because you’re good at it, and then you have enough people that are coming to ask you for this service. You start hiring freelancers and then maybe employees. And then after a while you’re like, well, there’s so many people, I’m going to hire a manager. So some companies just grow organically like that, and they didn’t really set out to build that big of a company. So that’s one aspect of it that makes it challenging to scale that you kind of, so what that means is that the value proposition of the business oftentimes is the skillset of the owner. So the clients are coming for the skillset of the owner, and anything less than that, they’re feeling like they’re getting the short end of the stick. And they’re also looking at it from the perspective of, okay, great, well now I get a blended hourly rate with their junior level person and I’m paying for a senior level person. So that’s one thing. And then on the flip side, well, I guess it creates a scenario where there’s not the profit margins within the business to actually properly remove the ceo. That’s actually the number one thing that keeps the CEO stuck in the day-to-day is because there is not the profit in order to remove yourself from it.

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Mandi (12:58): And then the root cause of that is the pricing structure for how you’re operating. And then the root cause of not having enough, not high enough price point to deliver the service well is that there’s not enough value. There’s not enough perceived value from the client and the prospect who’s buying the services. And there’s the root cause of that too.

John (13:19): Well, and one of the things, I work with a lot of agencies and consultants as well, and what we discover a lot of times is that people feel like, well, what I’m selling is my big brain and they have to have me to do that. Well, obviously that doesn’t scale, right? So where do you fall on? I mean, one of the things we teach people all the time is you’ve got to create a repeatable system that you can actually teach to other people and it doesn’t rely on your big brain. So where do you fall on service businesses productizing?

Mandi (13:47): I’m a big fan of productizing with a caveat. Oftentimes the way the productizing is done is saying, okay, well here’s the problem. We have the CEO is too involved in the day-to-day service, so we’re going to solve that problem by it is a knee, knee-jerk reaction of, well, we’ll remove the CEO out of it. And by doing that, they’re like, well, what is left? Well, we’ll systematize that. And that’s what productization usually looks like.

(14:13): Instead, the way I look at productization, and I would call it a service product perhaps, and you’re looking at how do you elevate the service based upon outcomes? And instead of reverse engineering it to remove the CEO, you reverse engineer it from what does it take for us to deliver this outcome? What does it take to deliver? And at first, that might mean the CEO is more involved to make sure that that you’re actually building out a system that delivers the output that the client actually cares about because the client doesn’t care about deliverables that are brought to the market as efficiently as possible and as profitably for you. They don’t care about profit, they care about the results, and that’s why they’re paying you.

John (14:54): Great add on to that point. And you could charge a whole lot if you understand the results that they’re after and you can deliver those, then they don’t care. It’s not how many hours did I buy right now? It’s like, no, I bought a result. And I think that’s a healthy way for people to think about pricing, isn’t it?

Mandi (15:10): A hundred percent. But to your point, you have to know what that problem is that you’re solving and for who it is. And a lot of times they have, I hear from people all the time that, and agency owners especially who are saying, you know what? Well, we can’t make any kind of claim. It depends so much. It depends on so many factors that are outside of our control. It’s like, well, there’s one factor that you can control and you can control who it is that you’re choosing to work with, who it is that you’re choosing to target, and what problems that you’re willing to solve, especially what minimum, what’s the minimum problem you’re going to solve? And I would recommend for agency owners to not look at solving problems anything lower than a million dollar problem because anything lower than that, you’re not going to be able to have the kind of impact where you can charge high enough price points to make it make sense, and maybe you maybe step up to that point.

John (16:04): Yeah, great point. People will pay a lot more to solve a bigger problem, right?

Mandi (16:08): A hundred percent.

John (16:10): Yeah. So a couple terms that we’ve mentioned today maybe, and I know get batted around and confused I think all the time. Where do you come down? If I were to ask you directly, what’s the difference between growth and scale? Where do you come down on trying to help people understand that difference?

Mandi (16:27): Yeah. Well, growth is where you are generating more growth with about the same resources, right? Scale is when you’re able to generate more growth without the same corresponding increase in resources. Does that sound too technical?

John (16:45): I think theoretically, theoretically it needs more

Mandi (16:48): Less, I’m sorry, we’re talking over each other, John.

John (16:50): No, I said theoretically I get it. But for the business owner, what are the different sort of mindsets around, I mean growth for growth sake, scaling the scaling have a different purpose. Let’s put it that.

Mandi (17:04): Well, here’s the thing is that scaling has become a really flashy word, and there’s a good reason for that too because that’s what people are buying. So that’s why the marketing is full of scale. And I don’t blame people for using those terms because marketers are going to use what’s going to sell. Most of the time what we’re looking at when people are say using the word scale, they’re actually meaning growth because growth is getting to a point. Scaling is a whole different level, and it does require a different mindset because a lot of times where I see the scaling stage happen is in the early seven figures, and this is where I think it would be fair to say that there’s different stages of scaling. Talk about that in my book by the different stages of scaling up. But there’s one particularly that happens in the early figures and it happens about between 900001.1 million and over about a three year period of time, I’ve seen this over and over again where their income goes up and down and it’s because they’re hitting a new threshold and scale and they’ve grown to a point where they can’t grow anymore without taking the next level.

(18:07): And that usually is putting in place a manager that is changing from being the owner operator to being able to build out a management structure in place. Maybe I went more into the answer than you were asking for, but

John (18:19): No, I mean, I think to simplify what that example you just gave a lot of times what it means is you’re going to have to take, you’re going to have to spend for capacity that you don’t currently have the ability to fill. But that’s the only way to grow to that next level is to build that capacity. But that comes at a cost.

Mandi (18:39): Well, that’s a great way of putting it to build out that capacity. And then on the flip side there is you have capacity that needs to be filled too. And there’s this stair stepping thing where you’re at capacity and you have to build out more capacity. So you hire these people now you’re like, okay, wow, we’ve got this big payroll, we’ve got to be able to make some more sales. But is a pretty challenging situation to be in. And I will tell you, I have in my own company, we’ve been here before, so I get what this feels like too. Then you have to really be employing some of the things that you teach in your duct tape marketing strategies about being able to keep that consistent lead flow so that you can actually fill the capacity too. Yep, absolutely. That takes an investment, right?

John (19:21): Sometimes you got to build it before they come, right? So you talk, there’s a term you use in the book entrapment cycle that I certainly see when growth is happening. Certainly see the entrapment cycle show up. So you want to unpack that one for us.

Mandi (19:38): Definitely. And I think it actually is a perfect tie into what we were just talking about is that cycle that goes up and down. Well, the income going up and down and where there’s a plateau of revenue, and it can also be a plateau more specifically of profit because you can see the revenue grow and then the profit stays stagnant. But anyway, the cycle itself, the entrapment cycle, what happens is sales growth happens and then you get busy, you get pulled in. So even if you have a nice team in place, you get pulled into it and then you’re like, all right, well we’re under capacity, we’re over capacity. We need to be able to hire some people. So you go through, you’re saying, okay, are we going to choose quality or are we going to choose profit when we’re looking at staff members? And you’ve got to be profitable.

(20:22): So you choose the level of person that you can afford for your level of growth, which oftentimes is not enough. So you end up having to get in there and have a lot more time and energy to either clean up their work or be kind of babysitting them. And then what happens is, meanwhile, as you’re going and doing that, working in the business, then you’re like, oh crap, our sales are down. We need to go make more sales. And then you go back in and then the only problems is you’ve got your sales cycle. So your sales cycle could be 90 days, could be 120 days, whatever that is. You wait for that to catch up and then you make sales happen again, and then the cycle happens all over again.

John (21:00): Yeah, you left out one variable there. You’re working more than ever probably. Right? I see growth is happening and so now you’re working more than ever. And that’s, to me, true wealth is like all of those things. Right?

Mandi (21:16): That’s a really good point too, John. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about describing that as an additional variable within that cycle, but what we do see happen is that it ends up that entrapment cycle makes your model into a time for money model, even if you have other team members. Because what happens is the business, it’s actually so dependent upon the CEO’s actual time involvement in it that the only way that you can actually grow is to have the CEO EO grow and more and more of their hours. That means that, and that right there it is a description between growth versus scale where you can scale income while actually the CEO EO works less and less hours, which I know, which is something that you guys have successfully done in your company, which goes to show your, because I know you guys have done really well.

John (22:06): Yeah, I do nothing. I do absolutely nothing anymore. It’s amazing. I love it’s talent. Well, Mandy, it was great having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You want invite, is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you and obviously find a copy of the hands-off CEO o?

Mandi (22:23): Yes. You can go to hands off ceo.com/and you can go there and you can download a book summary. And also there’s a scalability checklist there that shares the stages to exit the day-to-Day and the business. And that is actually something that I found people have really loved, including our clients. They love being able to know, alright, what should I do first? And there’s a checklist. You can print it up, put it on your wall, and it’s in the book. I guess you can’t see that, but it also gives you a place you can buy the copy if you’d like.

John (22:55): Awesome. So we’ll have links in the show notes, and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you will see Mandy just held up the book there, so get a copy. Again, appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon. One of these days out there on the road.

How to Balance AI Magic with Human Expertise

How to Balance AI Magic with Human Expertise written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Jeff Coyle, the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for MarketMuse. Jeff is a data-driven search engine marketing executive with 20+ years of experience in the search industry.

He is focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers build topical authority, improve content quality and turn semantic research into actionable insights. Prior to starting MarketMuse in 2015, Jeff was a marketing consultant in Atlanta and led the Traffic, Search and Engagement team for seven years at TechTarget, a leader in B2B technology publishing and lead generation. We discuss the intricate balance between leveraging AI technology and harnessing human expertise to create authentic content in today’s digital landscape.

 

Key Takeaways

Jeff Coyle emphasizes the importance of blending AI capabilities with human expertise to create authentic content. While AI tools offer efficiency, they continue to lack the ‘personal touch’ and nuanced understanding that human expertise provides. By infusing personal anecdotes, brand tone, and subject matter expertise into AI-generated content, businesses can craft compelling narratives that resonate with their audience. Striking the right balance between AI magic and human creativity is crucial for achieving authenticity and differentiation in content creation. Ultimately, by leveraging both AI technology and human expertise, businesses can unlock new levels of creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness in their content strategies.

 

Questions I ask Jeff Coyle:

[01:54] Can you set the record straight on the discourse of the inauthenticity of AI?

[03:49] What are the differences between some of the more robust technologies and the pedestrian types such as Chat GPT?

[07:44] Does feeding language models lead to more authentic outputs?

[10:36] Talk about how tools like Market Muse are perfecting AI as a tool

[14:58] How do you overcome the shortcomings of AI as an unideal substitute for expertise when using search engines?

[23:07] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you?

 

More About Jeff Coyle:

 

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Porkbun

Go to http://porkbun.com/DuctTapeMarketing24 to get a .BIO domain name for your link in bio page for less than $3 at Porkbun today.

 

Testimonial (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jeff Coyle. He is the co-founder and chief strategy Officer for Market Muse. He’s a data-driven search engine marketing executive with 20 plus years of experience in the search industries focused on helping content marketers, search engine marketers, agencies, and e-commerce managers, build topical authority, improve content quality, and turn semantic research into actionable insights. So Jeff, welcome back to the show.

Jeff (01:37): Hey, thanks John. It’s good to be here.

John (01:39): So when you proposed this topic of AI and authenticity, I jumped on it immediately because certainly that’s one of the biggest complaints. I mean, you hear people out there saying, oh, well never use AI because that’s inauthentic. So why don’t you just globally set the table for how you’re approaching that topic?

Jeff (02:00): Yeah, I think the easiest way to think about it is the AI that you may have access to isn’t equal to all of AI as a concept. And so the way I think about it is setting the table is just because the thing you have access to on your phone doesn’t do it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done a, and doesn’t mean that you are using that type of technology to inject all of the things that would represent you and your authenticity or your brand’s authenticity or your company’s authenticity. So not to say it’s user error because there’s a lot of problems with technology that exists and it is accelerating so fast. However, what I’ve heard, there are large waves of folks who are almost like discrediting an entire science based on their experience, and that is always something to take notice of. And I build content strategy, content plans, content briefs, content, state content with authentic examples, authentic items, and I think that the last piece of this, I think worth talking about is content execution, content marketing, building content doesn’t only reference the generation of text or the draft. It’s all the steps that lead up to it and it’s everything that happens after it. And those things can be built and customized made to be authentic throughout that process as long as you have an understanding of what it is and what it isn’t.

John (03:40): Okay. You said about 10 things there. I know. Let’s break up a little.

Jeff (03:43): I tried to set a table, it’s a buffet.

John (03:48): So let’s back up a little bit there. What are the differences between some of the more robust technologies, if we want to call that, and maybe the more pedestrian sort of, let’s start with chat GPT, just because so many people know that. And I’m guessing when you said that thing you had on your phone, you were talking about that

Jeff (04:05): It could be that it could be Siri, it could be, I mean, Alexa, the first time you had an Amazon Echo, you asked it a question, it probably didn’t get it right. Probably gotten better over time,

John (04:15): Right? Yeah, yeah. I listened to obscure bands. Apparently it can’t ever get that right.

Jeff (04:20): Oh, I know I did. It never does. Right?

John (04:23): So what are the differences between the more robust technologies, if we’re going to call it that, and then something that you referenced that you might have access to?

Jeff (04:33): Sure, sure, sure. So when you’re thinking about a chat GBT or a claw or Bing chat or the chat you have on a search engine, those are just your access account to query a, you’re hitting a large language model with prompt and you’re getting a response. And so the most basic prompt and response large language model, but there are complex AI to use for predicting algorithmically predicting stock picks or algorithmically predicting churn risk. You can build models that will do things that are very relevant to your business that have nothing to do with large language models. Another example is you hear quite commonly you’ll hear that. So from contrast that if I ask my phone, what stocks should I pick tomorrow? And it tells me, Hey, go pick Microsoft and Google, and I’m like, Hey, that doesn’t pick stocks, right? AI can’t do that. It can just not this.

(05:41): Another example would be complex math problems. So you ask Chad GBT to do some sort of complex college math, they won’t do it. However, there’s an entire Google team, the Minerva team who is working on college math level mathematics and doing very passive job of it. So it is the simple access to an attune for the masses large language model will get you the most predictive response to whatever, however it interpreted what you sent. So it’s trying to, and then there’s some error built in. So it’s basically saying that the capital of North Dakota is, well, 99.99999% of the time. The right answer to that question is Bismarck. It’s going to follow up with that.

(06:33): If it’s giving more of a holistic predictive step through is trying to pick words, maybe put some creativity in it, even with chat GPTs technology that GPT for now that everybody’s using, you can go in the backend and you can tweak what they call temperature, make it more or less creative. But in your experience on your phone, you don’t have that. You get one input, one output with not a lot of configuration. So you’re getting a front end on a very complex technology that even its own, even the thing you’re using can be configured in dozens and dozens of different ways to be more creative, less creative. You hear people make fun of its use of the word delves on everything, and its use of the word crucial. It’s because there are particular settings in the backend that are yielding that outcome. You can tweak all of that. It can be as customized as you might want just from the base model. So they’re giving an attribution to the user interface and the default settings of the software, not the science. And that’s really the differentiator.

John (07:44): So you mentioned a couple times the language model. I mean, essentially what you’re saying is that’s what it’s been taught. That’s what it’s been fed. And so that’s that model a lot of people are finding that they can actually teach, they can feed everything that John Jan has written in the last 15 years and build a model around that. Are you going to get closer to, if I want to be in my authentic voice, is that going to give it a much closer model by feeding it or teaching it that?

Jeff (08:14): Oh, absolutely it does. And it’s already, I mean, that’s one way that you can start to get, so what you can do is you can take something that’s been trained or an ensemble of language models and then also stack on your stuff, everything that you want. You can do just your stuff, but that could have challenges. So you can work with collections of those items. You can even do complex comparisons. So there’s a thing called an AI agent. So you might’ve heard they’re doing custom GPTs with chat GPT and that software. However, you’ve been able to build agents that do a lot of different things. So you can actually chain together various steps in a process to take and reference each of your works. Let’s just say you found out that it would be more precise to reference them individually or just step through each one in a particular pattern versus just considering you as the training model for the LLM, so that you can do different types of approaches to solve specific goals and instruction sets. But I mean, it’s not limited to that. You can get into a situation and say, only include a reference to this book by John. This is the source of truth. Everything you do must reference this book, and you should consider this to be the tome of all knowledge. So there can be specific instruction sets, and these are not tremendously complex. These are things that a business user can learn how to do, not just an AI developer or somebody in product management, engineering and data science for 20 years like me or anything.

John (10:06): So one of the things that I think a chat GPT was, so it’s both plus and minus. The plus was it’s so easy to use, you just go type something, right? The minus was you got a lot better result if you knew what you were doing, if you knew how to query deeper, if you needed that, how to ask for tone and all those kinds of things. What are, I’ll use market uses as an example. What are some of the use cases that you are building that actual steps or templates if you will? I don’t know if we’re going to call ’em that. Talk a little bit about how tools like Market Muser are actually taking the power of AI, but actually building it into use cases.

Jeff (10:45): So some of the most exciting, I mean I’m building right now, the engineering team and the data science team at market use is building by far its most amazing things we’ve ever built. I mean, we have, the content briefs that we are building now are by far the best content briefs that exist in the market, which is exciting. They’re not out yet. I’m pushing really hard. But what we’re able to do is really special. And it’s when you already have your own data and you already have your own innovations and insights, you can use artificial intelligence to work with those things very magically. There is a technology called, you might hear RAG or Rag Retrieval augmented Generation Vector databases, which if you imagine a concept in 3D space and these imagine clusters of information in 3D space, you can work with those types of technologies, what used to cost millions of dollars worth of research and innovation for thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars to get usable things that you can work with.

(11:55): And so what we’re working with now is we’ve always had this beautiful content inventorying product where we can look at your entire site, we can look at your competitor site and understand and prioritize. We’ve always been able to build out a great basic topic model, how to cover a topic comprehensively to sound like an expert, but we’re able to use all of our preexisting innovations in novel ways to get amazing solutions. Like, Hey, what article should I write today? And have that actually come from a place of knowledge, not just what you would get if you wrote, Hey, what should I write today to chat DBT,

John (12:33): Your website, your domain? I mean, that’s real estate that you want to own. If you’re an influencer, online creator, blogger, or really anyone who cares about their personal brand, then you need a unique domain. And now you can get your name.bio, right, John jantz.bio, right? Create a bio page to house all your various interests. It’s short, simple, easy to remember. Put all your links in one place instead of a laundry list of locations you want to send people in a profile, you can reserve your own link for around three bucks right now at pork bun.com/duct tape marketing 24, that’s right around $3 right now, pork bun.com/duct tape marketing 24.

Jeff (13:24): So if you think about that, it starts you on the path of having a content strategist, artificial intelligence product, which we are in effect building. We also have done the same with thousands and thousands of examples of developmental editing, which is a process of giving feedback on pages after you’ve consumed them. And we can do that from a place of expertise versus if you just ask, Hey, how should I improve this piece? You’re going to get random stuff. But when you get it from a place of an understanding of what’s going to work for organic search, what’s going to work from editorial processes, pretty cool stuff happens. I was just working on a page example and I was trying to mess with my own system and gave it something to optimize the page for that it wasn’t really about. And it coached me through how to actually make the page about something that it’s not.

(14:17): So I was like, oh, wow, this is pretty wild. And very much through the lens of expertise. And so those are the things we’re working on is how to prioritize, what to do analysis, clustering quality analysis in a very unique way. What should I prioritize? And then executing with amazing briefs. So what did I not say? Actually generating content. I firmly believe that’s the thing that these technologies do the worst. And if you can coach yourself almost there and then take it all over the finish line with your expertise built in magic, things happen. Very magic things

John (14:52): Happen. So you mentioned expertise at least four times in that answer, and it was right to my next question. Search engines are theoretically now looking for expertise, looking for actual experience when you’re writing about a topic that you can demonstrate, no, we do this or I’ve done this. I mean, that’s certainly one of the things that can be a potential shortcoming in ai. So how do you overcome that? Because again, you were clearly thinking about it because you’ve mentioned it numerous times.

Jeff (15:25): Well, I’ve been doing it for a very long time. I’ve been saying authority, a topical authority for now, sadly more than a decade, trying to get people on the horse to be thinking about quality for a long time. But now it’s true what you said. Certain queries, certain research paths require expertise. They should have always required expertise, but in reality, could it be assessed? And so what I’m being a push for is ensuring that you have a human in the loop at various stages and you understand the types of things that if you were to inject them in the process would exhibit expertise. So it’s things like brand style, tone and voice. It’s things like actually the personal anecdote that needs to be in there. It’s things like when I own a micro brewery, when I’m writing an article that it’s featuring these types of beers, make sure the one I make is in that listicle that I make, because that’s going to make it unique and illustrate expertise as well.

(16:30): If there’s a technique that I want to feature, if there’s a area of expertise, if there’s a visit to a particular country and I need to include that to represent that I’ve actually been there, those are things you can inject early in the process and keep the flow logical. So it doesn’t just seem taxonomy in like a dreaded post publish edit, which doesn’t. And those are the ones that are getting killed right now is these post publish, edit, I call them postage stamp content. They have 90% generated, and then they’ll put a personal anecdote at the bottom. You don’t even know whether it’s real or not, and the price of not being authentic, people are feeling it for the first time right now, and they didn’t go there early enough. So a lot of their pages, exhibit, exhibit, that’s actually authenticity or actually inauthentic information. And that’s where you get into a big,

John (17:26): Yeah, because before chat, GPT, let’s face it, for five, eight years, there were a whole bunch of content forms out there producing chat, GPT, like content, weren’t they?

Jeff (17:35): I’ll call it that. However, the sharps were winning, the sharps were winning, and those sharps, many of them, the really sharp folks are still winning. But yes, there was a lot of content that was, I’ll call it powder room makeup on the pig. And you are seeing that for many reasons, those sites tremendously viable right now where you had great infrastructure built. Those still are whether they were using generative AI or not. And in the end, if the content is producing information gain or when someone reads it, they’re getting value. And then it has to be part of an infrastructure that makes sense. So for example, if I put out the most amazing article ever written, it’s medically reviewed by 20 veterinarians, and it tells the story that the guide to owning a Boston Terrier, if my site doesn’t support the fact that I am the source of content for that particular dog breed, it doesn’t make sense. If my site’s about ginger ale, it doesn’t make sense that I publish that piece. So there’s pieces of the puzzle that can’t only be looked at the page level or the paragraph level, and it all tells the story of, Hey, you will pay the price if any part of your site is inauthentic. Yeah,

John (18:53): Yeah. Wait, there’s sites about Ginger A that’s awesome.

Jeff (18:55): I’m sure there is. They’re the two things I’m looking at is my dog and my ginger ale right now. So

John (19:02): I’m sure you get asked, imagine you’re talking to a group of agencies or agency owners of content folks at agencies. What’s the future for that aspect of that business?

Jeff (19:14): All the time? This is the question, right? Is what can I bring? And I think what happened was, I mean, you saw a huge fallout of low quality content providers. They’re in the process of all going away or they’re pivoting to focus on where could they go? They could go with, oh, we have to get really good at AI using it basically on your behalf, or We have to get really good at what differentiates us. So it is we will extract great information out of your expert’s head, or we will actually go find experts and tell that story. What’s the key there? The ones that are still, I wouldn’t call them thriving, but they’re surviving asterisk right now from a content delivery are ones that have experts in the loop at some level, or they have really great processes around building out extraction of information.

(20:07): I mean, what, I had a presentation that this was over a year ago called The Rise of the subject matter expert predicting. This is predicting this conversation, right? I changed that this year to be the subject matter expert has risen because they are the most important person in the room, and that is where the book’s going. It’s going to be finding passionate people who can tell a unique story that can be woven into content that’s assisted by AI has always been the magic. Now it’s going to be the only magic that works with very few exceptions, especially when topics require experience. And you’re also going to see maybe in cases where it’s really hard to differentiate. So there’s a lot of duplicative content. People are going to have to get creative and differentiate, and that’s going to be a race to the top, frankly. And so if you’ve gotten away with lots of generic content and it’s still working now, I wouldn’t feel comfortable.

(21:12): I would still want to go back and say, what are we bringing to this that’s special? Is it unique imagery? Is it personal experience? I’m not saying write a 2,500 word blog on top of all your recipes, but other industries have already gone through this, and that’s one of them. They’ve already gone through this folks. There’s only so many simple chocolate chip cookie recipes. They already had to go through this and figure out how to differentiate. And then do they differentiate with their brand? Do they differentiate with their clout to differentiate with exciting imagery video? Those are going to be the challenges that folks that haven’t historically had to deal with that are going to have to deal with if they’re still prospering with generic content.

John (21:54): Yeah, it’s kind of like in the old days, black hat SEO stuff would work, and that’s why people kept doing it, but then one day it didn’t. No

Jeff (22:03): One day. It’s the Pixar story spine, but they don’t like to finish it, right? It’s like then one day, and then we said, oh, shuck. No, it’s true. It’s all repeat, spin, cycle repeat. And these are enterprise SEO brands, large brands, large publishers away with black hat techniques. Oh, yeah. I mean, give me three beers and I’ll tell you each one and exactly walk you through the processes that they will, but they are doing, let’s count ’em down. But you aren’t able to do that. And if you are doing it, it is still a risk. It is still a risk to do some of these things. And we see that with the gains and losses. Every step you take has to be, you want to get more predictive and less speculative. And if you’re relying on tactics that are troublesome, they have a shelf life, you just have to do it with those eyes open.

John (22:58): Yeah. Yeah. Well, Jennifer, appreciate you coming and spending a few minutes on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast to talk about this interesting and evolving topic. Is there someplace where you’d invite people to connect with you, find out more about Market Muse?

Jeff (23:11): Oh yeah, sure. So you can email me jeff@marketmuse.com, market muse.com. Online. We have reverse trials so you can get free access to our paid solution, lifetime free access to some of these other solutions. Give me a call if you want to talk about more of the site level strategy, recommendations, engines, those types of things that we’re working on building. I’ve got tons of webinars, everything. I love this stuff. LinkedIn on the Twitter x Jeffrey Coil, and yeah, what I would just recommend, if you’re playing with this stuff by yourself, there’s a lot of communities trying to figure out best ways to do it. Just make sure you’re bringing your expertise with you at every step of the process and your outcomes are going to get better and better every day, whether it’s your brand dial tone format, or you’re actually bringing in your personal anecdotes and ensuring that they make it into that final product. You can get away with just some basics like that and really making this work for you. And always have a human in the loop. Don’t publish right out of the machine yet. There aren’t any examples of that working that I think don’t have a shelf life. I’ll leave it there.

John (24:23): I know that I’ve written at least 4,000 blog posts in my career, and I’ve never wrapped one up by saying in conclusion, which every single chat GPT article seems to do.

Jeff (24:35): Yeah, there are a lot of, they also, some of them say, continue

John (24:41): Or I’m out of soap. Yeah, exactly. Right.

Jeff (24:45): But the reality is being able to look at one of those thousands of blog posts through the lens of a developmental editor, guess what? I can guarantee you it’ll be 4,000 great experiences, and that’s the kind of stuff that I’m doing because you are the expert and getting through those blind spots and seeing what’s magical and what you could do next. There isn’t anything out there that’s doing that out of the box, but it’s not to say that it can’t be done. I think that’s for everybody listening. If you have a great use case, get it into the community with your people you trust, and they may have path to somebody who can do this stuff with ai, because I know some smart folks who get this stuff done on the basis.

John (25:30): Awesome. Again, appreciate you taking a moment to stop by. Hopefully we’ll run into you on these days out there on the road.

How to Hire a Fractional CMO: The Smart Way to Scale

How to Hire a Fractional CMO: The Smart Way to Scale written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Are you looking at your business goals and feeling your marketing strategy just isn’t cutting it? You’re not alone. Many businesses reach a point where the usual approaches no longer produce the desired results and everything they try just falls flat or I believe the technical term is “meh”. This is where hiring a fractional CMO can make a significant difference.

As the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, I’ve spent 30 years helping small and medium-sized businesses achieve their goals through effective marketing strategies and our Fractional CMO+ approach. My passion for empowering entrepreneurs has led me to publish best-selling books, host a popular podcast, and share insights with thousands at conferences worldwide. The Duct Tape Marketing System, born out of my desire to solve the frustrations business owners face, has revolutionized how organizations approach marketing and drive sustainable growth.

Let’s explore how hiring a fractional CMO could be the key to pushing your business forward. And if you find the concept intriguing, why not learn more?

Business owners get your FREE Marketing Success Toolkit with the Ultimate Case Study for Hiring a Fractional CMO & the Marketing Audit Checklist so you know exactly where to focus or you can schedule a strategy session to see how this could work for you.

 

The Role and Benefits of a Fractional CMO

How to Identify the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business

How to Work with Your Fractional CMO for Best Results

The Advantages of Bringing a Fractional CMO into Your Marketing

FAQs in Relation to How to Hire a Fractional CMO

 

The Role and Benefits of a Fractional CMO

So you’re thinking about hiring a fractional CMO. But what exactly do they do? And how can they help your business grow? A fractional CMO is a part-time marketing executive who provides strategic leadership to help companies achieve their goals.

Fractional CMOs usually work on a contract basis, typically for a set number of hours per week or month, and bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Unlike a full-time CMO, a fractional CMO can be hired for a specific project or time period, making them a flexible and cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes.

Fractional CMOs can work on hourly basis. Most fractional CMOs who work on an hourly basis will charge an average of $200/ hour. However, this number varies greatly based on level of expertise, experience and what they bring to the table.

You can learn more about What a Fractional CMO is and does here.

Cost-Effectiveness and Strategic Value

Hiring a full-time CMO can be expensive, with salaries often exceeding $250,000 to $480,000 per year. For many businesses, this simply isn’t feasible. But a fractional CMO can provide the same level of strategic thinking and leadership at a fraction of the cost.

According to a Forbes article, fractional CMOs typically cost between $3,000 and $36,000 per month, depending on the scope of work and the CMO’s experience level. This can be a game-changer for businesses that need high-level marketing expertise but don’t have the budget for a full-time executive.

Flexibility and Scalability

In my experience, another key benefit of hiring a fractional CMO is the flexibility and scalability they offer. As your business grows and evolves, your marketing needs will change. A fractional CMO can help you navigate these changes and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. They can also help you scale your marketing efforts up or down as needed, depending on your current goals and resources. This level of flexibility is especially valuable for startups and small businesses that are still figuring out their marketing strategy and may not have the resources to commit to a full-time CMO.

“A fractional CMO can provide the strategic guidance and leadership that businesses need to scale, at a fraction of the cost and commitment.” – John Jantsch

How do You Know If Your Business Needs a Fractional CMO?

To find out if hiring a fractional or part-time CMO is right for your business it’s worth considering some key questions, as highlighted in an article from Inc.

Some of those questions are:

  • Project Management: Do you lack someone in-house who can oversee and drive various ongoing marketing and branding projects?
  • Expert Insight: Are you in need of fresh, professional insight into complex marketing challenges, with the ability to turn these insights into actionable strategies?
  • Specialized Leadership: Is there a long-term project on your plate that demands specialized marketing expertise not currently available within your team?
  • Cultural Transformation: Do you require a leader to foster a shift towards a more brand and marketing-focused organizational culture?
  • Completion of Initiatives: Are there numerous marketing projects initiated but left unfinished that need driving to completion?

Answering “yes” to any of these suggests that hiring a fractional CMO could be a beneficial and strategic decision for your business at this time.

 

How to Identify the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business

Okay, so you’re sold on the idea of hiring a fractional CMO. But how do you find the right one for your business?

You want someone with:

  • A proven track record of success
  • Experience working with businesses of your size and stage of growth.

Experience tells me that first, you want to look for someone with a proven track record of success in your industry or a similar field. Ask for case studies, references, and examples of their work to get a sense of their expertise and the results they’ve achieved for other clients.

You should also look for someone who has experience working with businesses of your size and stage of growth. A fractional CMO who has worked primarily with large enterprises may not be the best fit for a startup or small business. Or a Fractional CMO who has worked only with national eCommerce companies might not be the best fit for your local service based remodeling company.

Aligning with Business Goals

It’s also important to find a fractional CMO whose approach aligns with your overall business objectives. Before you start your search, take some time to define your marketing goals and the specific challenges you’re facing. Then, look for a fractional CMO who has experience tackling similar challenges and can provide a clear plan for how they’ll help you achieve your goals.

So how do you define your marketing goals and challenges?

Start by identifying what you want to achieve in simple terms—like increasing sales by 20% or growing your subscribers by 500. Then, list down the main obstacles you currently face, such as limited budget or lack of specific expertise.

A straightforward exercise to help this process is to draw two columns on a piece of paper: label one “Goals” and the other “Challenges”. Fill these columns with concise points. This visual approach can quickly clarify your priorities and hurdles, making it easier to tackle them systematically.

Cultural Fit and Communication Style

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of cultural fit and communication style when hiring a fractional CMO. This person will be working closely with your team and representing your brand, so it’s crucial that they share your values and communicate in a way that resonates with your team and customers.

In general you should look for someone who is a good listener, communicates clearly and effectively, and has a collaborative approach to working with others.

How to Work with a Fractional CMO for Best Results

You’ve found the perfect fractional CMO for your business. Now what? The first step is to ensure that your marketing efforts are closely aligned with your broader business goals. Your fractional CMO should work with you to understand your overall objectives and develop a marketing strategy that supports those goals.

This might involve conducting market research, analyzing your target audience, and identifying key metrics to track your progress.

Developing a Strategic Marketing Plan

Once you’ve aligned your marketing with your business objectives, it’s time to develop a strategic marketing plan. Your fractional CMO should lead this process, working with your team or your leadership and their implementation team to identify the most effective tactics and channels for reaching your target audience.

We call our strategic process Strategy First. By name, by brand name, but it’s still it’s an approach. Do they have an approach that says, well, before we get into doing x, y, and z, we are going to study what our strategic direction is going to be. We’re going to study how we’re gonna differentiate. If your Fractional CMO is not coming with that strategy first approach, and they’re really just doing random acts of marketing, is that really what you need?

Then, after they develop your strategy (with you) they get into the tactics. This might include a mix of digital marketing, content marketing, social media, email marketing, and traditional advertising.

The key is to develop a plan that is tailored to your specific business needs and goals and then how they are going to execute on that plan. Of course, even the best marketing plan is useless if it’s not executed effectively. Your fractional CMO should work with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed on time and on budget.

They should also have the authority and support to hold your team accountable for meeting key metrics and milestones, and provide regular updates on progress and results.

Customer Focus for Premium Brand Positioning

Finally, your fractional CMO should help you focus on the customer experience as a way to elevate your brand perception and loyalty. This might involve developing customer personas, mapping out the customer journey, and identifying touchpoints where you can create a more seamless and enjoyable experience. By putting the customer first, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and charge a premium for your products or services.

Remember your Fractional CMO should be the advocate for the customer.

“A fractional CMO can help you align your marketing with your business objectives, develop a strategic plan, and execute it effectively while keeping the customer at the center of everything you do.” – Duct Tape Marketing

 

What a Fractional CMO provides for a businesses marketing strategy.

The Advantages of Bringing Fresh Perspectives into Your Marketing Efforts

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a fractional CMO is the fresh perspective they bring to your marketing efforts. When you’ve been working on your marketing for a while, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. But a fractional CMO can challenge your assumptions and introduce new ideas and approaches that you may not have considered before. They can help you think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to your marketing challenges.

In short, you want to hire a fractional CMO that is going to challenge you when it comes to how your marketing strategy can help you reach your business goals.

Leveraging Cross-Industry Experience

Another advantage of hiring a fractional CMO is the cross-industry experience they bring to the table. Many fractional CMOs have worked in a variety of industries and can draw on that experience to create unique marketing strategies that stand out from the competition.

For example, a fractional CMO who has worked in the tech industry might be able to apply some of the innovative marketing tactics used in that space to a more traditional industry like healthcare or finance. By leveraging this cross-industry experience, you can create marketing strategies that are truly one-of-a-kind and help you differentiate your brand in a crowded market.

“Fractional CMOs bring a wealth of experience and fresh perspectives to the table, helping businesses think outside the box and create truly unique marketing strategies.” – Forbes

Key Takeaway: 

 

Bringing in a fractional CMO can inject fresh, innovative ideas into your marketing efforts, drawing from a diverse range of industry experiences to uniquely position your brand in a crowded marketplace.

FAQs in Relation to How to Hire a Fractional CMO

How much does it cost to hire a fractional CMO?

The price varies, but you’re looking at around $3,000 to $10,000 per month based on experience and hours worked.

Where can I find a fractional CMO?

Check out professional networks like LinkedIn or niche agencies that specialize in executive marketing placements.

When should I hire a fractional CMO?

If your business is scaling up but has maybe hit a plateau or isn’t ready for a full-time executive leadership, it’s time to consider hiring a fractional CMO.

How much can a fractional CMO make?

Average earnings fall between $50k and $200k yearly. This swings widely with the deal’s specifics and their workload.

Conclusion

Hiring a fractional CMO is a game-changer for businesses ready to scale their marketing efforts. By bringing in a seasoned pro with a proven track record, you can inject fresh ideas, tap into cross-industry expertise, and align your marketing strategy with your big-picture goals.

The key is finding the right fit – someone who gets your vision, meshes with your team, and knows how to drive results. With the right fractional CMO in your corner, you can take your marketing to new heights without the overhead of a full-time exec.

So, if you’re ready to ditch the marketing “meh” and scale your biz like a boss, it’s time to start the hunt for your perfect fractional CMO. Trust me; your bottom line (and your sanity) will thank you.

Get your FREE Marketing Success Toolkit with the Ultimate Case Study for Hiring a Fractional CMO & the Marketing Audit Checklist so you know exactly where to focus or you can schedule a strategy session to see how this could work for you.

The FUD Factor: How Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Shape Leadership

The FUD Factor: How Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Shape Leadership written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Brendan Keegan, a seasoned executive with over three decades of experience in leadership and innovation. Brendan is also the author of the book “The FUD Factor: Overcoming Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to Achieve the Impossible.” Our conversation covers the profound impact of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) on leadership and how mastering these emotions can shape the trajectory of businesses and individuals alike.

 

Key Takeaways

Brendan Keegan emphasizes the transformative power of addressing fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) in leadership. By embracing failure as a learning opportunity, fostering a culture of fearless leadership, and developing emotional intelligence, leaders can overcome mindset barriers and drive growth. Strategies for overcoming FUD include encouraging open communication, setting clear goals, and celebrating successes, ultimately empowering individuals and organizations to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and success.

Questions I ask Brendan Keegan:

[02:11] Is there’s a personal story of how you overcame FUD?

[03:30] How does FUD show up in the workplace?

[05:00] What are some best practices to admitting fear and overcoming it?

[06:42] What inspired you to write a book about overcoming fear?

[07:39] Talk about fearless leadership

[10:55] What are some of the key traits that this fearless leader needs to learn or evolve in their arsenal?

[13:16] Would you say a high level of self-awareness is one of them?

[14:41] How does leadership act as a differentiator between good teams and great teams?

[17:32] Why does leadership matter more now than ever?

[19:56] Is there some place you’d invite people to connect with you, and learn more about the FUD Factor?

 

 

More About Brendan Keegan:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale.

John (01:04): Hello

John (01:04): And welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Brendan Keegan. With over three decades of experience, he’s known for his practical insights and passion for innovation. Brendan’s focus on leveraging technology to streamline operations has made him a trusted resource for businesses of all sizes. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, the FUD Factor, overcoming Fear, uncertainty, and Doubt, to Achieve the Impossible. So Brendan, welcome to the show.

Brendan (01:36): Alright, welcome. Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here. And just talk a little bit about marketing and fud.

John (01:41): So with St. Patrick’s Day, I’m recording this in March with St. Patrick’s Day, not too far behind us. I’ve been watching a couple Irish movies and I’m got to tell you, Brendan Keegan sounds like a character from an Irish movie.

Brendan (01:52): Yeah, well, my middle name’s Patrick, so I got the a hundred percent factor going there.

John (01:59): Awesome. So one of the main premises of the book is this idea of fud, which I think is a term that I’ve heard used by other folks. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt is kind of learn throughout our lives. I’m curious if there’s a personal story of how you overcame your own brand of fud.

Brendan (02:18): Well, it’s interesting. As a kid, your parents kind of put FUD onto, but you don’t realize it until you’re a parent. So I remember when I started realizing it when our daughter was really small, but then when she started playing sports, and I still remember she had a skateboard, and all of a sudden it’s get the helmet on, get the knee pads, get the elbow pads on, and it’s like, Hey, in case you fall now to a 5-year-old, they don’t think they’re going to fall. So I put the idea of falling into her head and with all the equipment, all of a sudden she was thinking, Hey, I’m just going to go down the hill. I’m going to ride it over to my friend’s house, house’s going to have no issues. And all of a sudden I turned what was going to be a fun ride into a very dangerous sport that she had to be very careful of. The same could be said, going downhill, ski, and you get ’em bundled up, put the helmet on and everything. But as parents, we tend to be protective because we know they can fall, but we start to unintentionally with the best of intentions, impart some of our fear, uncertainty and doubt. Fear. What if they fall, they’re going to break their arm. Well, they didn’t plan on falling.

John (03:30): So how does that show up then in the adult version of the workplace?

Brendan (03:36): Well, as you grow up, it manifests where all of a sudden someone wants to play soccer, and it’s like, I’m not sure if I’m going to make the team. Well, do I try out? Do I not try out, who am I going to ask to prom? What if they say no? It’s like, well, what if they say yes? So we start just as human beings to put the doubt inside our own heads, whether it, well, I’m not going to try off this document, I’m not going to make it. Why? Well, I’m not good enough, as opposed to, Hey, if I practice, I’m good enough. And some of that just can be environmental. Did you grow up in a house where your family, your guardian, your uncle, your parents did say, Hey, if you practice 30 minutes a day, you’re going to make the team? Or did they reinforce the, Hey, it’s going to be really tough to make the team. I coached football for a number of years, not here. Parents say, I’m so concerned, I just know if he plays football, he’s going to get hurt. And I’d say, what if I told you there’s three times more injuries in cheerleading than there is football in youth sports, or if that matter, high school sports, but you don’t have a fear of your daughter or son cheerleading. But football has that, and so we’re just programmed.

John (04:47): So you talk about this, some examples of how you’ve worked with team members to push them on because people show up then at the workplace in their twenties, thirties, and forties, still with some of that residual doubt. So what are some of the ways that you’ve found practices, tactics, strategies, whatever you want to call ’em, to get people to move paths that to like, okay, I’m admitting I’m afraid. How do I move past sales?

Brendan (05:10): I think the first thing is talking about you are going to fail, just kind of saying, okay, it’s okay to fail. So on my wall at every office, I have the saying, have the courage to fail and the faith to succeed. So the first thing, best practice is make failure acceptable. So that’s automatically, you’re going to say, well, if this doesn’t succeed, I’m not going to lose my job. I’m not going to be in the penalty box. I’m not going to get in trouble. The next thing I’d say is when you do have failures in your company, don’t hide from ’em. Talk about ’em. So if you do zoom calls, say, Hey, this week we’re going to talk about one of our successes, but we’re going to talk about one of our failures. And when you talk about the failure, talk about what you learned and how you’re a better company because of the failure, because I’ve had lots of failures in my career going into new markets, and you really learn, wow, we thought we were going to do well in this market, and you really learned that you didn’t, by the way, sometimes when you’re successful, you don’t diagnose it as much as to you just kind of keep doing it.

(06:09): So I think the first best practice is let failure be acceptable, let failure be something that’s possible, and then just some very light training on how do you overcome fear. Some of that can be design thinking, some of it can be some innovation courses. And what’s great now is whether it’s LinkedIn learning or just all the free learning online, there’s courses where you can learn how to think and then test your ideas.

John (06:35): I probably should ask this first, but you’re, by all intent and purposes from your bio, you’re an operations guy. What inspired you to write a book about overcoming fear?

Brendan (06:47): I’ve had a chance to be a CEO for the last 23 years, and I’ve gone into six different companies, every one of ’em. We were trying to either do a turnaround or a transformation, so we were trying to go against our natural momentum. And what I found is I had to spend more time internally changing mindsets than externally. Externally, you could see here’s a great market, but internally I’d have people saying, oh, here’s why. Here’s, we’re not going to be successful in that market. We’ve never pursued that market. We’re not prepared for that market. And I’d scratch my head as an outsider, saying, why? And you start to get the, well, we haven’t done that before. And my favorite is, well, we tried that when? Five years ago. Five years ago for

John (07:29): One week, right?

Brendan (07:31): Or five years ago, you might not have had the capability to do it that you have today. And just things change.

John (07:37): You talk a lot in this book about something you call fearless leadership, and I’m curious if you could help to find that, because I mean, there’s certainly lots of fearless leaders that lead people off cliffs as well, so I’m guessing that’s not exactly the same sense in which you mean it.

Brendan (07:52): Yeah, no, in Fearless Leadership is about creating an environment that allows people to fail, allows people to try, allows people to take risks, and then allows those successes to be celebrated. So it’s not reckless leadership. I’m not a fan of, Hey, let’s just pursue any market for any reason. One thing I talk about oftentimes is establish some guardrails like, Hey, we can pursue any market as long as we make 5% margin. So you’re saying, okay, you can’t pursue something that we’re going to lose money or say, Hey, we’re going to start a business, and it’s okay if we lose money in the first year. It’s not okay if we lose money in the third year. Someone might say, well, to start the business, I can’t make it profitable the first month, but I can make it profitable after a year. What I find is set up some parameters, set up some guardrails and say, okay, this, as long as we’re within here, you can operate in any way you see fit.

(08:46): And that can be how fast do we want it to grow? What clients do we want to pursue? How profitable do we want it to be? What’s the time horizon? We’re going to do this for six months, and then we’re going to assess. So it’s not reckless, but it’s creating an environment, setting parameters, and then going after it in a way that you wouldn’t have gone after. Because if you go after it in a very calculated, slow manner, there’s a good chance that the opportunity passes you by. So you do have to go about it in a very intentional way.

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John (10:37): So leadership’s one of those things that it’s like sales people are either really good at it or they’re not, right? They, they’re like born salespeople. Same with leadership. I think a lot of people say, oh, that person’s born leader, some people suggest that it can be learned. I know that you fall on the, it can be learned, but what are some of the key traits that this fearless leader really needs to have or really needs to learn or evolve in their arsenal?

Brendan (11:05): So the first is when I look at the best leaders out there that are able to do fearless things that are able to transform businesses, the first thing that they have is they’re good communicators. That’s both in writing and in person in verbal communications, they’re able to articulate their ideas, they’re able to then influence people to follow them, meaning they come up with an idea, like during covid, we said, Hey, e-commerce and last mile is going to take off. More people are receiving things at home. I was running a commercial fleet company, so we said we should pursue that more. Okay, great. Then what you needed to do is then you needed to influence more people. So you needed to create a narrative and be able to communicate so you could influence people. The third thing is people that are good disruptors or transformers or innovative or fearless, tend to be good at relationships because they know I’m asking you to take a risk with me.

(12:01): So what’s our trust level? Do you believe in me? Do we have trust? If you have trust in me and I’m influencing you and I’m keeping you up to date and I’m communicating with you, you’re much more likely to come along with me as opposed to simply just follow. Now, some of the other things are, they’re also good project managers. They’ve got some good project management skills, not, Hey, we’re going to try this anyway. So they’re able to say, we’re going to do phase one, we’re going to do phase two, we’re going to do phase three. By the way, now they don’t individually have to have all these skills. They got to make sure the team

John (12:34): Has these skills. Yeah, I was going to say, I’m terrible at project management, but I have a great number too.

Brendan (12:39): But that’s where you’d read the communications. The next thing is you’d create the vision and then you might bring in somebody that says, okay, you’re going to work in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project. You’re going to run the project side of this. And so you don’t have to have the skill, but the team has to have that skill. And that last one I talked about is you have to be able to paint a higher vision of something extraordinary, something that is above the norm so that people can strive for that.

John (13:07): I interview, I’ve been doing this show for 15 years, and I’ve interviewed dozens, probably a hundred folks that have written books on leadership. I’ll tell you the one thing that always comes up when somebody’s talking about becoming a better leader is a pretty high level of self-awareness, like understanding yourself. I’m curious where you would put that one.

Brendan (13:29): Yeah, so I put that under the banner of eq, emotional intelligence. I know at one point in my career, I got told Brendan, you got all the IQ to do anything you want in this world, but if you don’t develop more eq, you’re going nowhere. And tough message to receive In my early twenties, and this is why I believe leadership can be learned, I really learned how to have more e and self-awareness. And oftentimes you get people who are working on a project, especially if it’s a fearless project or a disruptive project, where they get myopic tunnel vision, where it’s all about their project and they don’t realize, no, you’re in a bigger company. There’s a bigger thing going on. The resources you need might be necessary, might be pulled to work on another project. So I know that was something I wrestled with early in my career. It’s like if it was my project, I was like, I was going to run it up the hill. Even if I had to even run over a team member, I have to really learn. And that’s that influence part, and that’s that relationship part where as you ratchet up your eq, most of us have the IQ to do whatever we want. We really do. It’s the emotional intelligence that oftentimes pulls us back.

John (14:37): Kind of the read the room thing. Yeah, you go as far as saying, let me find it. Leadership is the single biggest differentiator between good teams and great teams and organizations. That’s putting a lot up. Some might suggest an outsized amount of impact over product, over marketing, over talent. Helpful. Fill in the blank there.

Brendan (14:58): Yeah. So many times when we look at great products or great companies, they weren’t the first to develop it. Oftentimes they were the second, they were the third. They were the ones though that were willing. They were the ones that were ready, willing and able to go try it. So whether this is video streaming, when Blockbuster had that ahead of Netflix, the digital camera, Kodak had that before the Instagrams, if you will, of the world. How about the Blackberry? The Blackberry had a jump on Apple and Samsung, and then Apple really kind of jumped in there. So when you diagnose a lot of that and you say what held some companies back and what throttled more companies forward? It was those leaders that were able to communicate influence, build a vision, build their relationships, and get their teams to climb the hill, as opposed to at companies that had superior products, the superior product was going to get you so far before somebody fundamentally came up with something that was as good or better. And how do you bring the entire company along? And we can look at the Apples, the Starbucks, the Netflix, the Amazons, the eBays companies that they really, Tesla, their cultures became so vital to their success.

John (16:19): You imagine that meeting an executive at Kodak walks in and says, look, five years from now, nobody’s going to be using film. We have Doug Bo all in on digital cameras. I mean, I’m guessing that probably happened somewhere, and they went, get out of here. We never want to hear from you again. Right?

Brendan (16:35): Well, at that point, a huge part of their profit came from the film, just similar to at one point the HP printer division. All their profit wasn’t from the printers, it was actually from the cartridges. Now, I’m sure some engineers said, Hey, I came up with a cartridge that uses a lot less sync, and they’re probably like, oh, no, that’s not what we want. But that’s where there’s a saying, cannibalize yourself or be cannibalized. If you’re not going to do it, somebody’s going to do it to you.

John (17:01): I use the example all the time. Newspapers wouldn’t give away free classified ads because it was such a profitable part of their business, and then Craigslist came along and all of a sudden they were hurting.

Brendan (17:13): Yeah. Okay, good.

John (17:15): So you talk about six key reasons why leadership matters more than ever today. So it feels like every new, I’ve owned my own business for 30 years, and it seems like every year X matters more than ever. X matters more than ever. Why does leadership matter more now than ever?

Brendan (17:35): Yeah. So right now we’re seeing the baby boomers start to age into retirement. And so if you just look at the generations, you’re seeing baby boomers now, by the way, baby boomers are living longer and working longer. So that’s helping. But literally, when you just look at just pure math demographics at the number of people retiring and the number of people entering the workforce, it suggests that there’s a void being created now as people are entering where the voids being created is in the leadership ranks, in that somebody that’s retiring with 35 years, 40 years experience, that experience has translated into some level of leadership. Now, leadership isn’t always a hierarchy leadership. They could be an individual contributor, but they’re leading an r and d project on a given product because of their experience and what they’ve done. So when you look at the first thing is the math.

(18:29): The second is that void that’s being created, we’re asking people to lead earlier than we ever have. So when I look at companies that I’ve run over the last five and six years, I’ve had people in their late twenties and thirties running significant parts of the business that 15 years ago they would’ve been in their late thirties, early forties. And some of that’s just, you look around and you say, Hey, this is the talent that’s available. Now, what I’ll also tell you is as you look at each generation works differently, thinks differently, learns differently. One thing that when we talk about diversity, going a little off topic, one thing I talk about in leadership that a lot of people don’t is have diversity of age on your leadership teams have somebody in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. And the best example I give is if you hand a 60-year-old, a Rubik’s Cube and a 15-year-old of Rubik’s Cube, they absolutely go about it. Totally different. The 60-year-old starts spinning it around. The 15-year-old goes to YouTube for someone to watch a video on how to do it. As you build leadership, I think it’s great. I think it’s an amazing opportunity to bring younger people into leadership. I think if people that are in their mid to late career are willing to sit in the room and learn from them, I think you’re going to be a more innovative, more disruptive, more transformative company. Yeah,

John (19:50): No question. I concur. So Brendan, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there someplace you’d invite people to learn about you, connect with you, and obviously find out more about the fund factor?

Brendan (20:03): Yeah, sure. So F Factor is available online at any of the bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I’m on Instagram. That’s probably where I’m quite a bit on at BPK Brennan p Keegan Fearless. I have a LinkedIn newsletter, about 150,000 subscribers. It’s Fearless Leadership. You can hook me up on LinkedIn. I’ve got my email and my mobile phone right there. So if you want to reach out to me right there. And then I also have a website, brendan p keegan.com. If you’re looking to, you can get more information.

John (20:31): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

Mastering Delegation: How to Transform Your Business and Life

Mastering Delegation: How to Transform Your Business and Life written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Dave Kerpen, a seasoned entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author with a passion for effective leadership and delegation. Dave and I uncover the transformative power of delegation, shedding light on how mastering this skill can revolutionize both your business and personal life.

 

Key Takeaways

Dave Kerpen emphasizes that delegation is a transformative skill that empowers individuals and organizations to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and work-life balance. Overcoming mindset barriers such as fear and distrust is crucial, as is following a structured approach like the Five Cs of Delegation: Choose the right person, Communicate clearly, Coach for success, Check in regularly, and Celebrate achievements. By mastering delegation, individuals can unlock exponential growth opportunities for their businesses while prioritizing meaningful experiences in their personal lives.

Questions I ask Dave Kerpen:

[01:38] What sorts of mindset shifts do you encourage people to take in your book?

[07:14] Explain the S.H.A.R.E model

[09:51] How do you overcome the need to micromanage and delegate instead?

[12:42] What role does mentoring to create leaders inside your organization play, or do you go out and find that leader?

[14:20] What practices should we start exploring? if as leaders, we are to take balancing seriously

[16:38] How do you achieve this balance with teams working remotely?

[18:24] Where can people connect with you and learn more about the Mentorship?

 

 

More About Dave Kerpen:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

Speaker 1 (00:00): I was like, I found it. I found it. This is what I’ve been looking for. I can honestly say it has genuinely changed the way I run my business. It’s changed the results that I’m seeing. It’s changed my engagement with clients. It’s changed my engagement with the team. I couldn’t be happier. Honestly. It’s the best investment I ever made. What

John (00:17): You just heard was a testimonial from a recent graduate of the Duct Tape Marketing certification intensive program for fractional CMOs marketing agencies and consultants just like them. You could choose our system to move from vendor to trusted advisor, attract only ideal clients, and confidently present your strategies to build monthly recurring revenue. Visit DTM world slash scale to book your free advisory call and learn more. It’s time to transform your approach. Book your call today, DTM World slash scale. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dave Kerpen. He’s a serial entrepreneur with three seven figure businesses, a New York Times bestselling author of five books, an investor and most important, a father of three with and husband to wife, Carrie, who’s also a partner in the business. And we’re going to talk about this latest book, get Over Yourself, how to Lead and Delegate Effectively for More Time, more Freedom, and More Success. So Dave, welcome to show.

Dave (01:34): Thanks so much for having me. Great to see you again, John.

John (01:36): Likewise. So this book is all about mindset or mindset change, I should say. So let’s talk about a couple of the shifts that you’re going to ask people to make in this book.

Dave (01:48): So the biggest thing that holds people back from delegating well is it not knowing what to do. It’s the mindset issues or what I’d call in the book emotional detractors that get in the way. And the two biggest ones are fear and distrust. So we’re afraid that if we have somebody else do the work, they’re going to mess it up. They’re going to fail. We’re going to lose clients, we’re going to go out of business. There’s many things that we’re afraid of on the trust side. We don’t trust people to get the job done. Our people have let us down in the past, and that makes it harder and harder to trust. And then the two other ones that are a little smaller, but that I do see popping up now and again are the need to control everything and the need for things to be perfect. If it’s not perfect, it’s not worth doing. And those things get in the way of good delegation as well.

John (02:34): Over the years, I’ve learned kind of the hard way sometimes that not delegating or not letting people just run with stuff and trusting them. It’s really disempowering, isn’t it, to the team. I mean, even if it’s done with because oh, I want it done it right? I mean, it really teaches them, oh, I just have to wait for you to tell me what to do.

Dave (02:52): It is. So one thing I write about and like to remind people is if they’ve ever, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, if they’ve ever worked for somebody else, many of us have had the experience of working for a micromanager. I know I had that early on in my career and it was miserable. I felt so disempowered, I felt so just unenthusiastic about my work. And so now that your listeners are on the other side of the coin, and entrepreneurs and small business owners have an opportunity to be better, we need to remember what it was like to be micromanaged and make sure that we’re not that kind of boss.

John (03:25): Yeah. Another thing that I know I run into a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, particularly entrepreneurs that are, we’ll figure this out, whatever it takes kind of mentality. A lot of times the work that they started doing, the work that the business began with that was kind of their passion and joy. It doesn’t make sense for them to do it anymore, but they love it. And that I find is a real challenge.

Dave (03:50): What’s really funny, I’ll tell you this book is with Ben Bella, and Glen’s a wonderful guy that, he’s the publisher, he is personally involved. It’s a smaller imprint. And he did the first read and he came back. And in the book I talk about three things that every leader should do, three things and three things alone. Set the strategy and vision, hire the right people for the right seats and assure access to enough capital and resources to get the job done. Those three things alone. And Glenn pushed back a little. He said, well, what if you like doing things? What if you like doing marketing? What if you like doing sales? I said, listen, I’m not saying you can’t do these things, but a lot of people use excuses that, oh, I like doing this. I’m really good at this, or I really like doing this, so I’m just going to keep doing it. But eventually, first of all, that disempowers the team that’s supposed to be doing it. But second of all, the stakes here are big. The stakes aren’t just your successful business. The stakes are your time that you only get once. And I write about people on their deathbeds. John, do you know what percentage of people on their deathbeds say, I wish I had worked more

John (04:56): Somewhere around zero.

Dave (04:58): I wish I had built a bigger bit somewhere around zero. But what percentage of people on their deathbed said, I wish I had more time with my family. I wish I had more time with my close friends. I wish I had more time to pursue travel and passions and different things that are personally meaningful for me. So many people have that experience. So why should we get obsessed with doing marketing for our business only because we like it or we’re good at it if it’s taking us away from our family, our children, the things that are important to us. It’s just you have to weigh the relative benefits of doing any particular task or project versus other things that you could be doing with your time.

John (05:38): Well, and I said at the beginning of this, you’ve run several seven figure businesses. You do the math on that. You break evens about a hundred thousand dollars a month and can I afford to do $30 an hour work for the business at any time?

Dave (05:54): That’s right. And I’ll tell you, as I’ve gotten older, I’m more experienced here. My accomplishments have changed. I think for a while I would’ve said my biggest accomplishment in business was the money. And then I moved on to my biggest accomplishment in businesses of being rated best places to work in New York for five years in a row. You know what? My biggest accomplishment in businesses now, it’s having businesses that allow me to check out at 3:00 PM every single day and spend the next four hours with my son doing homework and having a catch. That’s time that I will never ever get back. And I’ve done that by delegating, by letting other people do the work, by empowering them, by stepping back and saying, you know what, if it gets 80% done the way I would’ve wanted to, that’s definitely enough. Who cares if it’s 99 or a hundred percent precisely the way I would’ve wanted it? I’ve had people come to me, John, and say, Dave, I built a really big business. I made a lot of money, but I missed my whole kid’s childhood. Is it really worth it? Yeah.

John (06:55): That leads me straight into the 2015 World Series. Should we talk about that?

Dave (06:59): Oh no. I knew you were going to bring that up. It’s been a while since Casey was. I

John (07:04): Know. I know. We’re trying to actually get back to respectability so I won’t bow bad mouth too much. So you actually hinted at this about the three things somebody needs to do. You actually have a model that you’ve built that you’ve given a lovely acronym as consultant author types. You’ve already kind of unveiled a little bit, but you want to put it in context.

Dave (07:26): Sure. So I’ll give you two quick acronyms here that, because I love acronyms. So the first is the share model that it focuses on the three things and the three things alone that we as leaders should be concerned with and what to do with the rest. So those three things are the S is for set, the strategy and vision. The H is for hire the right people in the right seats. And the A is for assure access to capital and resources to get the job done. The R is to remind ourselves that every other task on our plate, every other project on their plate, every other opportunity or obstacle or challenge can be delegated. And the E is for empower instead of making somebody do it, I love the word empower. Give somebody the opportunity to make their mark on that work.

John (08:15): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with a must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link. We’ll also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only.

(09:20): So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign. Today, I tell you, as my organization’s grown, and I read this somewhere so I don’t claim that I came up with it, but I love to use this term when I’m delegating something. A lot of people want to micromanage. You use the word talk about all the do it exactly this way. And I love to just say, here’s the definition of done. Here’s what it’s got to get to. What does that look like? So talk a little bit about in the book, obviously delegation’s a big part of this, so a lot of people struggle with how to do that. So talk a little bit about how to do that.

Dave (09:57): Yeah, so that’s my second acronym, right? So I’ve got what I call the five Cs model. So five Cs to remember along the way. And I’ll briefly go through each, John. The first C is choose the right person. And this is a no small task. I get it. The biggest mistake people make here is choosing the first person that happens to be there. Okay, well this is my assistant, so she’ll do it. Or this is my cousin and he works on the business, so he’ll do this. You need to be, of course, very thoughtful about who to choose to do the work. And the good news is in today’s world, there are freelancers, there are contractors, there are vendors, there are agencies, there are apprentices. One of my companies there are Fiverr and Upwork and all kinds of ways to find people and find the right person.

(10:46): The second C is communicate clearly. Verbally is great, but put it in writing what your expectations are. So there’s no misunderstanding, there’s no confusion. There’s a lot of clarity about how to do it if you insist, but better to the point we made earlier, what that expected outcome is what the finish line looks like. The third C is to coach them on their way to success and cheer them on their way to success. I never think of myself as a manager. People hate managers. I think of myself as a coach. People like coach coaches are the best cheerleaders and they help people get to a successful outcome. They help their teams win. Managers are like, oh, nobody even likes the word. The fourth C is check in on the regular. The frequency of your check-in really depends on the scope of the project, but I do not like daily.

(11:41): Some people are overdoing here with daily check-ins or hourly check-ins. Unless it’s a three day project. I like once a week check-ins, 15 minute, everything going, what are your challenges? How can I help overcome those challenges? And then the fifth, see, and this is often forgotten. Once the task is actually accomplished, congratulate them. Celebrate success, right? Let’s learn from our mistakes along the way, but let’s really emphasize how great it was that we got to that outcome so that they have a good feeling in their mouth, a good memory of the whole thing. And you allall can rinse and repeat and do it again.

John (12:18): One of the things that a lot of organizations, I see this, an organization grows, they need people to do tasks or functions, so they start hiring people, but there really isn’t. It’s a very flat organization. There’s not a leadership team per se until an organization gets really big. And so the entrepreneur is now just managing a whole bunch of people. I know the M word you didn’t want me to use, but so what role does mentoring to create leaders inside your organization play? Or do you go out and find that leaders?

Dave (12:49): Yeah, no, it’s huge. I think a mistake folks make is hiring only junior level folks or thinking they can’t afford senior level folks. So kind of keeping a junior, which can work for a certain amount of time. But the downside, like you mentioned, is over time you’re still now you’re maybe managing seven or eight different people in different functions. And that’s not easy. It is frankly very hard. You might as well be doing the work yourself at that point. So it is really important to either bring on more senior talent and folks that tell me they can’t afford it. I call BS because share some of the equity, share some of the pie, and you can afford great talent when you share some upside with folks or mentor people and raise them up and give them a chance to succeed. And I built one of my a million dollar businesses, I co-founded with my apprentice, my assistant at the time. He was 20 years old and I empowered him and I gave him an opportunity to lead and helped to mentor him. And three years later he had a million dollar business at the age of 23 years old. So people can accomplish greatness when we give them a chance and empower them and give them the tools to succeed.

John (13:59): Talk a little bit about, I mean, you mentioned one of the obvious ones. You get yourself in a place where you can leave the business, shut the door, forget about it at three o’clock, but what are some of the techniques for balancing that? I mean because the realities are, I mean there is a lot to do in a business and a lot of demands, especially on the owner, especially if money’s tight. It’s like I got to keep working to pay the people I’m delegating to. Now. Are there some practices that we should start exploring if we really are going to be serious about this balance idea?

Dave (14:28): Yeah. Well first lemme give you another good hack for delegating on the cheap is AI and GPT. And if folks, I mean maybe it’s obvious, but I keep running into folks that just haven’t used the tools. So I think it bears saying again, GPT tools like chat, GBT are really massively helpful for things like research and copywriting, drafting pieces. You should absolutely be using these types of tools. If you can’t afford an assistant, if you can’t afford junior staff, absolutely do that. I use my calendar religiously and I book time to do things and I book time that is bookable by others to work on myself to exercise, to spend time with my kids. And I’m fierce about it. It only works if you’re fierce about it. But for me, the calendar is a wonderful tool. So I highly recommend folks that haven’t been strict about using their calendar that they think through, again, their prior Vern harness said to me, you can understand your business priorities by looking at your calendar and then understanding how well you’re really utilizing that. Another surprisingly good, I wouldn’t call this necessarily a tool, but kind of a hack. You might laugh, but go on vacation,

(15:41): Literally find that excuse to go on vacation. I’m sure your family won’t mind, right? And if you think you can’t afford it, go on a staycation, go on a deeper vacation. You don’t need to go to Fiji, but go on vacation, which forces you, whether you think you’re ready or not, to start to delegate, to start to set some boundaries on my vacations, I limit myself to an hour a night of work, catch up at 10:00 PM once the wife and kids are all asleep, I do my hour of catch up and then I’m shut off the rest of the time. And that forces me to give other people at the back of the company a chance. And guess what? The house didn’t burn down. Things will be okay for you if you go on vacation and you shut off for a couple of days. Yes.

John (16:26): So increasingly, and when people hear the word delegate sometimes they’re talking about virtual assistants or people that are in other parts of the world that can do things that they need to, task that they need done. How do you kind of balance all of that with the fact that you’re not in an office? It’s really tough to build culture, to understand people’s goals and motivation. What are some things that maybe specifically need to be different, a little different, because we’re all spread out and distributed these days?

Dave (16:57): Yeah, it’s hard. I will say that I love hybrid. I love remote. We’ve built now at least one company completely remote, maybe two completely remotely, but it does require extra work and extra attention. And my biggest recommendation around this is taking a couple extra minutes in every meeting and in every conversation to go with the small talk. Because the thing is, in an office in real life, if you will, or back, I guess I would call it real life. In the old days when we had offices, we had actual water coolers and we had actual opportunities when we’re hanging up our coat to say, how about the Mets? Can you believe they crushed KC again last night in that interleague play in today’s world, people jump on a zoom and it’s immediately like, okay, task. And that’s efficient, but at what cost to your culture and what cost to your relationship? So I think the biggest thing when we’re establishing relationships with virtual employees and virtual contractors, of which I mean almost all of us have that now, right? Is to take a couple minutes at the beginning and the end to simulate what we might’ve had in the real world some years ago of like just, Hey, how was your night? Watch any good TV last night. What are you up to this weekend? That sort of thing.

John (18:18): Yeah, absolutely. Well, Dave, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by and share some with us about get over yourself. You want to tell where people are, invite people to connect with you or find obviously the book, which I am sure can be purchased anywhere,

Dave (18:32): Bookstores everywhere. Get over yourself. book.com has a free chapter download all about delegating chores to your kids, right? So I figured let’s apply these same principles of delegation to the home, and I do office hours, free office hours with anyone that wants to meet with me every Thursday afternoon. You can go to schedule dave.com. I’m delighted to help you with any of your delegation challenges or your business challenges or your book writing challenges. John, I’m so grateful. Thank you so much for having me back

John (18:58): On. Oh, you bet. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment. Hopefully we’ll see you one of these days soon out there on the road.

From Mentee to Mentor: Crafting a Path to Professional Growth

From Mentee to Mentor: Crafting a Path to Professional Growth written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Ruth, an esteemed expert in mentorship and leadership development. Ruth is the Chief Learning Officer and associate professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is hailed by nature, Wall Street Journal, and Columbia University as a globally recognized expert in mentorship.

Ruth sheds light on the transformative power of mentorship, emphasizing its significance in personal and professional growth, especially for women and systemically disadvantaged members of society. She shares invaluable insights into effective mentorship strategies and the difference between mentors and tor-mentors, drawing from her extensive experience in mentoring leaders across various industries.

 

Key Takeaways

“In every profession, those who are mentored out earn and outperform those who are not”.

Ruth underscores the transformative power of mentorship, emphasizing its critical role in personal and professional growth for both Mentor and Mentee. Effective mentorship techniques, such as active listening and fostering strong relationships, form the foundation of successful mentorship dynamics. By creating a culture of mentorship at work and seeking diverse mentorship experiences, individuals and organizations can unlock their full potential, drive innovation, and thrive in today’s competitive business landscape.

Questions I ask Dr. Ruth Gotian:

[01:44] How does working as an anesthesiologist come into the field of mentorship?

[03:26] What are the first steps that need to be taken in igniting a mentorship relationship?

[05:57] Would you say that the organizational approach outlined in your book is what people should begin using as a platform?

[10:31] How often does the mentee become the mentor?

[11:35] How beneficial is mentorship to women and marginalized groups in our society?

[14:54] How do mentorships fail?

[16:33] Can you explain the phrase from the mentor’s point of view ‘hear what’s not being said’ ?

[17:37] Should mentorships be infused in company culture?

[18:08] Where can people connect with you and learn more about the Mentorship?

 

More About Dr. Ruth Gotian:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Dr. Ruth Gotian. She is the Chief Learning Officer and associate professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine is a globally recognized expert in mentorship and leadership development, hailed by nature, wall Street Journal and Columbia University. She was named a top one of the top 20 mentors worldwide. She is also an award-winning author of The Success Factor and a book we’re going to talk about today, the Financial Times Guide to Mentoring. So Ruth, welcome to the show.

Ruth (01:42): Thank you so much. I’m excited.

John (01:44): So what’s the connection between an anesthesiologist and mentoring? That was my first thought when I got your bio.

Ruth (01:52): Well, I am a doctor, but I’m not a physician. I am based in the Department of anesthesiology and what mentoring has to do with it is what it has to do with every profession, which is those who are mentored out, earn and outperform those who are not. And that’s across the board across every industry, which is why I was so excited to partner with Andy Lata and write the book about mentoring.

John (02:21): Let’s start with you just mentioned, those who are mentored, perform better. Let’s start with the people. How do you be an effective mentor? A lot of my listeners are owners of companies. They have employees that they really should be looking at as mentees in some cases. So what are some of the factors that help somebody become a better mentor?

Ruth (02:42): I think you really need to look for what is undone and what is not said within the mentees. And if you could draw that out of people and then help them think bigger, dream bigger, see bigger, then you’re able to get them to do bigger things. Giving them these stretch assignments which push them right outside their comfort zone because we know in leadership development that true learning occurs right where the comfort ends. So if you’re able to do that and then you’re able to open doors for them doors they didn’t even know existed, that’s what makes you a great mentor.

John (03:21): You zoomed right past to the amazing relationship, right? But there’s a whole lot of people who have never done this before and don’t even know how to get started. In fact, maybe until they listened to this show, didn’t know it was their responsibility. So how, what’s the baby steps?

Ruth (03:37): I think the baby step actually starts with the mentee. Sure, A mentor, they see the diamond in the rough by all means approach them, but really it’s the mentee who should be taking the reins in the relationship. Now, you don’t go up to someone and say, John, you’re really successful. You’ve written seven books. Will you be my mentor? Where do you start with that? Right? Where do we even start the conversation? But if I gave some context and if I gave a timeline and if I showed encouragement as the mentee, then the mentor is more likely to step forward. So for example, if I said, John, I’d like to write my next book or my first book, I have a rough outline in place. I know you’ve written seven books, all the ins and outs. Could I grab 15, 20 minutes, show you my outline, tell me what you think I’m missing or how I can make it stronger?

(04:31): Well, now you’re excited as a potential mentor. I never used that label, but I gave you context. I showed you I’m interested, I showed you I’m willing to work, and I told you it’s only for 15, 20 minutes. It’s not all day. Now all of a sudden we have something, we have a template that we can move forward with and people are so worried about that labeled mentor. And I tell people, we’ve got enough labels in our life. Don’t worry about that one. If you start asking someone to be your mentor without doing any work beforehand, that’s very stressful because that makes them feel like they need to take on another job. Don’t worry about the label. That will come much later. That is an earned label.

John (05:16): It’s interesting as I listened to you describe that template. That’s a great template for any ask, right? That’s correct. Be as specific as possible. Outline what the objectives are, what’s in it for them or what their accountability or responsibility is going to be. In fact, I have had people over the years just come with that sort of blanket, would you be my mentor? And I’ve actually said, okay, prove that you deserve it. I didn’t say that. That’s right. I said, tell me this and this and come back to me with that. And half of them never showed back up again. That’s right. That’s right.

Ruth (05:50): They want you to illuminate a path, but which path they have to do some of the work.

John (05:57): Would you say that the approach that you outlined in the book is something that organizationally people should start adopting as a bit of a platform? Talk about how that might work.

Ruth (06:07): So the book is actually broken up into how to be a great mentor, how to be an effective mentee, and how organizations could really develop these programs. Because my co-author, Andy Lata and I, we looked at all these organizations. We all know that mentorship is needed, right? The research is crystal clear on this, but we couldn’t find organizations that were doing a fantastic job with this. There were so many loose ends, the platforms weren’t working, the matches weren’t working. And what happened was it just sort of fell by the wayside. So we decided we were going to offer these opportunities, these blueprints, how to create these great programs, how to make more effective matches that aren’t random. You’re not just going to put two people together because they’re both from Kentucky, that not everyone from Kentucky is the same, but that’s what people are doing.

(07:00): That’s what organizations are doing. So we decided we are going to offer a better strategy, which also includes an off ramp. So if you are going to match people up one-on-one, realize not every match is made in heaven and you need to allow an off-ramp so that a new better match could be made or the approach that we are pushing, which is more of a team approach to mentoring, which is the more contemporary approach. And we discuss how to set that up effectively with different layers and so on. But this is something that every organization should have and should revisit to make sure it’s effective because not only is it great for the mentor, not only is it great for the mentee, it’s also great for the organization. Those who are mentored actually have greater loyalty to the organization. It’s one of the best retention tools out there.

John (07:53): Yeah, absolutely. So we kind of glossed over your initial statement was that we know that they perform better. So let’s maybe break down kind of specific, and I don’t know, it’s hard to give an example maybe or case study, but in this case maybe it’s not. But what are some very specific benefits to really both parties, the person being mentored? Because I’m guessing that you’ve got some examples of people who have been mentors that say, you know what? I get as much out of this as I give.

Ruth (08:20): Yes, we have definitely interviewed many people from all over the world, but some of the most popular examples are that people who are mentored earn more money. They’re happier in their job and in their career. Why? Because your mentor will tell you, Ruth, you have been sitting in that chair doing the same job long enough. It is time to throw your hat in the ring and apply for the promotion. And then I might say, I’m not ready. I don’t meet all the criteria, all the usual conversation. And they said, nobody meets all the criteria. Put your hat in the ring and try. And when you get it, surround yourself with people that can advise you and you can ask questions, et cetera. So they give you that encouragement, they give you those guardrails, and again, they push you out of your comfort zone with that promotion comes more money, et cetera, et cetera.

(09:14): Why is it great for the mentors? The mentors are also learning from the mentees because they’re open to new knowledge. And I study, I’m a social scientist. I study extreme high achievers, Nobel Prize winners and astronauts and Olympians. And we share many of those stories in the book as well. And every single one who has served as a mentor will share how much they have learned from their mentees. One of the people was Dr. Bob Lefkowitz who won the Nobel Prize in 2012, and he shared the Nobel Prizes, usually shared two or three people. And one of his first questions when he got that 4:00 AM phone call was, who am I sharing the Nobel Prize with? And they told him, and it turned out it was his former mentee. And I said to him, that’s strange that you’re sharing that Nobel Prize, the biggest prize of your career with a former mentee. He said, strange. He said, that is the biggest honor. There is a mentor measures their success by the success of their mentees.

John (10:23): Wonder how many was

Ruth (10:23): Brilliant.

John (10:24): Well, yeah, I mean I think that’s definitely the right way to look at it. I mean, as leaders, that’s our job, right? That’s right. So I wonder, and you might know this, how many people who have been mentored then go on inside the organization to become mentors? So they’ve been mentored, become mentors.

Ruth (10:41): So the mentee becomes the

John (10:43): Mentor. They had that experience. It was a great experience for them. They’re like, I’m going to do that too, or I’m going to give back. You probably have some All of them.

Ruth (10:49): Yeah, all of them. Especially if they were mentored. Well, they always want to pay it forward. And that’s one of the great things. I have achieved great heights because of these doors that were open for me, because of the advice that I’ve received, because of the guidance, because of those guardrails, because of those stretch assignments, I now want to pay it forward. And this is really how you create not just the retention, but you also create this pool of high achievers because everyone is lifting up the next person. But the truly great organizations, even the C-suite and the CEO, all of them have mentors as well. Yeah.

John (11:31): So this is a tricky question, particularly coming from a white male. Is there significant data that suggests certainly women, minorities that maybe unfortunately still face some disadvantages in the workplace that this is even a greater boost for them?

Ruth (11:47): So there’s quite a bit of data on this, and a lot of it says also that women are over mentored, but under sponsored, and we know this, what we are advocating for is that you don’t only look for mentors who look like you. And this is especially for women and those in underrepresented groups, and that’s for two reasons. One, you’ll be in an echo chamber. Absolutely, they should be on your mentoring team because there is that empathy and that emotional intelligence that you can grasp onto. But you will be in an echo chamber if you only hear about experiences like yours. Second, there’s a very limited number of people who at those higher levels, and if every woman is going for the few women who are in the C-suite, they’re not going to have time to do their job. And then that creates a whole other problems as well.

(12:42): This goes back to what we were advocating for at the beginning, get a team of mentors. So if you are a woman, somebody, at least one person on your mentoring team will be a woman. If you are an underrepresented group, at least one person on your mentoring team will be of an underrepresented group. But you also want people who are different than you so that you can learn from them as well. And you want people inside your industry, outside your industry, senior to you at your level, junior to you across those industries, cross departments within your organization. The more people you have and they don’t all need to meet together to discuss your future, the better it’s going to be, the more perspectives you’ll have access to.

John (13:28): It’s my pleasure to welcome a new sponsor to the podcast. Our friends at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign helps small teams power big businesses with the must have platform for intelligent marketing automation. We’ve been using ActiveCampaign for years here at Duct Tape Marketing to power our subscription forms, email newsletters and sales funnel drip campaigns. ActiveCampaign is that rare platform that’s affordable, easy to use, and capable of handling even the most complex marketing automation needs. And they make it easy to switch. They provide every new customer with one-on-one personal training and free migrations from your current marketing automation or email marketing provider. You can try ActiveCampaign for free for 14 days and there’s no credit card required. Just visit activecampaign.com/duct tape. That’s right. Duct Tape Marketing podcast listeners who sign up via that link. We’ll also receive 15% off an annual plan. That’s activecampaign.com/duct tape. Now this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth. Boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to ActiveCampaign today. I was going to make that point, especially smaller organizations. Definitely reaching out across industries or certainly across companies makes a lot of sense. I think some people learn from the negative as opposed to the positive aspects. What are some of the pitfalls or the ways that people fail trying to do this?

Ruth (14:59): There are the mentors that do not do a good job, what we call TOR mentors.

(15:05): These are the people who are jealous of their mentee’s success. These are the people who don’t want their mentee to shine because they’re afraid it’ll take away from them. These are people who are very possessive of their mentees, don’t have the bandwidth to take on a mentee or not sharing. They’re keeping some information hidden. This is not good. And the bad part about this is that bad mentorship is worse than no mentorship. And the reason for that is if I’ve been burned by a bad mentor, I am not rushing to find a new one. And that’s the problem because of what we discussed at the beginning and that those who are mentored out earn and outperform those who are not.

John (15:47): So that leads me to, as a mentor, what are there a set, I’m sure anybody can learn to be a good mentor, but are there a set of qualities that are sort of human nature that really kind of make somebody a better mentor than another?

Ruth (16:03): There are. I think there are a lot of qualities in, the good part is they can all be learned. A lot of it is hear what’s not being said, see what’s not being done. Start making those connections. Start pushing your mentee of the comfort zone, the things that we talked about at the beginning. If you’re able to make someone better than they could be on their own and in a shorter amount of time than having them figure it out on their own, you’ve succeeded.

John (16:33): So you’ve said here what’s not being said twice now, and I’m just guessing there’s some people out there that are like, wait, tell me what that really means. How do you do that?

Ruth (16:43): It takes a lot of active listening, hearing when they’re telling you something. You want to start peeling layers of an onion, right? Why is it that you are saying that? Why is it that you’re doing things a certain way? And start asking those why questions a lot and then start making connections for them that they might not be able to see on their own. And once you’re able to make the connections and you see their face light up, that’s when you know you’ve got them on something good. Now you can start coming up with a plan, alright, we agree that this is what you want to do. Now let’s figure out how you’re going to get it done.

John (17:20): So I had what I would call a mentor. We didn’t officially call it that, and he would drive me crazy because he would always just say whatever I said, he said, tell me more about that, until I would loop myself into a puddle because I had nothing left to say. So at what point do you see this as culture and inside an organization?

Ruth (17:42): I think it needs to be culture. I think it needs to be inculcated into the culture of every single person who’s there into the fabric of who they are into their mission. Because if we know it works and if we know it makes the employees better and the organization better, I want someone to give me an argument about why we shouldn’t be doing it. Right.

John (18:04): Well, Ruth, it was great having you stop by a few moments, share with our listeners. You want to tell people where they might connect with you or certainly find a copy of your guide to mentoring.

Ruth (18:13): Absolutely. So I am Ruth, Ian, wherever you are on social media, I am there. The book is called Financial Times Guide to Mentoring. And wherever you love buying books, that’s where you’ll find it.

John (18:27): Awesome. Again, appreciate yourself. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

The “Bonfire Moment”: How to Solve People Problems for Startup Success

The “Bonfire Moment”: How to Solve People Problems for Startup Success written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Martin Gonzalez, a seasoned expert in startup dynamics and co-author of “The Bonfire Moment: Bring Your Team Together to Solve the Hardest Problems Startups Face.”

Martin Gonzalez is the creator of Google’s Effective Founders Project, a global research program that decodes the factors that enable startup founders to succeed. He also works closely with Google’s engineering and research leaders on org design, leadership and culture challenges. Martin is a frequent lecturer at Stanford, Wharton and INSEAD, and has advised leaders across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. He studied organizational psychology and behavioral science at Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

Martin shares invaluable insights into transforming startup challenges by revolutionizing team dynamics through a powerful workshop known as the Bonfire Moment.

 

Key Takeaways

Martin Gonzalez highlights the critical need for startups to address people issues early on, citing the Bonfire Moment workshop as a powerful tool for transforming team dynamics. By fostering open communication, self-reflection, and conflict resolution, startups can establish a healthy culture conducive to sustained growth. Implementing the Bonfire Moment workshop proactively enables startups to mitigate risks, promote collaboration, and optimize team performance, ultimately positioning them for success in today’s competitive landscape.

Questions I ask Martin Gonzalez:

[01:31] Is there a set of hardest problems startups face or does every case differ?

[02:41] Explain the concept of the one-day get together

[04:25] How do you effectively set up the one-day sessions up for success?

[04:30] What about people who have doubts about links?

[07:53] What have you learned from your experience facilitating healthy arguments?

[10:03] Would you say that a lack of leadership training is a blindspot for most founders?

[12:31] To what degree soes self-awareness of the leader play a role?

[13:14] Do you think it’s possible to be genuinely successful without a healthy culture?

[15:18] How important is it to have a second-in-command in the rare case of an apathetic leader?

[16:33] What are some of the tell-tale signs that show founders might need to start looking towards a bon fire approach?

[17:45] What does a typical agenda look like on a Bonfire day?

[21:03] Where can people connect with you and learn more about the Bonfire moment?

 

More About Martin Gonzalez:

  • Connect with Martin on LinkedIn
  • Visit his website and preorder The Bonfire Moment here

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Work Better Now

 

Visit WorkBetterNow.com mention the referral code DTM Podcast and get $150 off for your first 3 months.

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Martin Gonzalez. He’s the creator of Google’s Effective Founders Project, a global research program that decodes the factors that enable startup founders to succeed. He also works closely with Google’s engineering and research leaders on org design leadership and culture challenges. We’re going to talk about a book he co-authored The Bonfire Moment, bring your team together to solve the Hardest Problems Startups face. So Martin, welcome with the show.

Martin (01:37): Thanks for having me, John.

John (01:39): So is there a set of the hardest problems startups face or is it different for everyone?

Martin (01:45): Well, what’s interesting is that there’s a lot of research that talks about the top reasons for failure in among startups. There’s a few decades of research actually, and what has been revealed by some studies out of Harvard and McKinsey is that 65% of startups fail because of people issues, and we see that in our work with startups across 70 countries today. Bill Curran, who is now a Sequoia Capital partner, said it really well once he said, engineering is easy, people are hard, which is something we like that verbiage

John (02:22): You in fact, in the writeup for the book description of the book, you actually start with building team is harder than building tech. So obviously we’re going to dive into that a little bit. One of the things that I thought was interesting is that one of the core, I guess, tactics that comes out of the book is this idea of the all day get together. So talk a little bit about that.

Martin (02:46): Yeah, so the book actually shares with really the world now a workshop that we had built within the Google Accelerator about nine years ago now. Back then we had a lot of content around engineering and marketing and sales, and then when we discovered this research around why startups fail, I asked for a small budget to pilot something and then it was in Jakarta, but when we brought it there, it was rated pretty highly against even some of these really valuable programs around engineering and marketing and sales. We thought, okay, probably an anomaly. Let’s try again. We tried it in Bangalore, and again, it received such rave reviews that we brought it to Sao Paulo and essentially it’s reached all these countries and what we do in the book is we take what was several variations of that workshop and bring it down to a single day that founders and teams can really run on their own.

(03:44): It’s called the bonfire moment because we found that in our work with these leaders, when you bring together really ambitious teams, big goals and tight resources, there’s a certain kind of intensity that the team creates that feels a bit like you’re in the fire constantly. And so the bonfire moment is a chance for the team to step out of that fire and examine it together, bandage up relational wounds, get back in touch with the mission and really prepare themselves for that next push. As you know, the startup life is you’re constantly going from one trek to the next. So the bonfire moment is that workshop.

John (04:26): So I think in theory, I can envision this being this one day workshop that you run yourself being very effective and as you said, get people back on kind of the mission. But I also see a lot of ways it could go sideways, just kind of turn it into a bitching session or like, what’s wrong here? How do you set it up for success?

Martin (04:45): Yeah, I’ll give you some ways in which it’s gone sideways, but I think specifically around how does this not turn into bickering and digging up additional arguments that weren’t there to begin with? The ethos of the workshop is actually precisely that, which is, let’s dig up all the many people challenges that we have conveniently ignored because there were many other things that were more important during that time. We talked in the book about one of the biggest traps that we’ve seen startups face is this thing we call the trap of speed, which is when you’re running super fast, it’s easy to forget about some of the more subtle issues that really could hurt you in the long run. I mean, we find that it’s the people stuff that tends to get swept under the rug, and so we create a structured environment where people can raise some of these challenging issues, but really talk about it in a productive way.

(05:44): One of my favorite parts of the bonfire moment is what we call the bullshit circle, and the premise of the bullshit circle is that a lot of leaders, people in startups or in startup environments find themselves struggling with a lot of self-doubt and insecurity, and what tends to happen is that the way they mask that is through a few different ways that tends to contribute to some kind of a toxic environment for the team, whether it’s a toxic form of optimism or a toxic form of showing strength or detachments. We talk about those three things actually. We talk about optimism, strength, and detachment as ways that people mask their insecurities, and we invite them to reflect on what is their cocktail of poison, so to speak, that they tend to use in these moments of deep insecurity, and it then invites people to then share that openly and then talk about how that maybe shows up and invites their team to say, look, when you see this in me, really what you’re seeing is a coping mechanism.

(06:49): So we try to create a fairly structured environment so that a lot of this is done in a productive way. The one thing I will say really quickly that I think has gone sideways in these programs is we’ve seen some startups actually recognize that they have some issues that are just insurmountable and that they almost have to use kind of marriage language, some kind of irreconcilable differences, and some startups have parted ways after they’ve had this experience. Now, is that a failure of the workshop? We’d like to think that it’s not because then what we’ve done for this team is we’ve allowed them to be see that sooner and part ways and perhaps apply those learnings and their next thing. Founders are never one-time founders. They tend to found again and again. So that’s one way you’d say it’s gone sideways, but really we see it as a positive. Ultimately.

John (07:42): Yeah, that’s like ending a relationship that rather than hanging on with nobody being happy for two more years or whatever, recognize that it’s over and part ways amicably. You talk about the idea of facilitating healthy arguments. What have you found that creates

Martin (08:00): The best teams we’ve seen have a lot of conflict, but it’s conflict of ideas and not of personalities. There’s a really fun story we tell in the book by a figure in the history of computer science. His name is Bob Taylor. He was a lab manager back in what was called Xerox Spark. Xerox Spark was the place where Bob Taylor was not himself a researcher. He was not himself coding and building the hardware and the tech, which was for him a big upside. He talked about how one of his biggest jobs as a lab manager was to convert class one disagreements to class two disagreements. Let me explain what he meant by that. Class one disagreements are essentially disagreements that feel like straw man arguments where John, if you and I had a disagreement, a really easy way to win that argument is I represent your idea in its weakest form possible and therefore making it easy for me to attack it and to refute it. A class two disagreement on the other hand is where you share your point of view, John, and I’m able to share back to you your point of view in a way that is satisfying to you. So instead of a strong man argument, I create a strong man argument and Bob says that his job isn’t to resolve disagreements, it’s to make sure that all disagreements graduate from class one to class two disagreements. I think that’s one really useful thing that managers and leaders everywhere could really think about.

John (09:38): So one of the things that I’ve certainly recognized, and I’m sure you’ve recognized working with startup founders, a lot of startup founders never got any kind of formal leadership training. I mean, they had an idea, they jumped into it, they tried to make it happen, and then next thing they turn around and there’s 15 people standing around that they really have no skills, but maybe just no experience on how to manage. Do you feel like that’s really the sort of the blind spot for most startup founders?

Martin (10:08): Yeah, and I think that’s why this workshop really gained popularity, not because there was anything groundbreaking about it, but really it’s because a lot of founders come into this work wanting to just build product, and they realize that as soon as they need to scale this product, they need to put a team around it and then build a company around it if they wanted to scale. And so indeed, I think there’s another element to this too, John, which is there’s something in our culture that looks at these people problems as maybe not that difficult to solve for, and you’ll see that in the language. People will say, oh, it’s not rocket science, but we write in the book actually that what’s ironic about that statement, it’s not rocket science, is that as a civilization, we’re incredibly good at rocket science. We can launch a person on the moon within two kilometers of the estimate, but we’re not so good at the people stuff. So it’s an interesting expression in our culture.

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(12:12): Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only, so what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign today. So a lot of trying to think of the way to say this, A lot of the leadership dysfunction, there’s a good way to say it probably comes about because we talked about not having the experience, but also maybe their own fears and insecurities are really masked by having to be in charge. What level or to what degree does self-awareness of the leader play a role?

Martin (12:48): I think it’s huge though. I will say that I have learned in my years of supporting leaders that I think it’s important to firstly know thyself and then get over thyself, which I think is an element of the advice that is often lost, which is it’s important to know what your defaults are, who are you authentically, and then recognize what context you’re in and then make the shifts accordingly. I think being completely, I think just being completely yourself and knowing yourself is not nearly enough.

John (13:25): Do you think it’s possible to build something extraordinary without a healthy culture?

Martin (13:33): So surely we’ve seen a lot of really successful companies get built on a very toxic environment, and when founders come to me and ask me, well, how about this company and that company? My often response is that I go by the data. You can be an anomaly where you kind of beat the norm where you can create very toxic environments and beat the odds and build something tremendously successful, and then you can go by the data where the data shows that good healthy cultures actually surpass. There’s this really interesting study that was done out of Germany, a university in Germany. They looked at about four decades of data and they looked at what was the real economic upside of a healthy culture. What the study showed was that on regular years, on decades where there was not a big financial crisis, the benefits of a culture were very subtle, almost nil. It’s in those crisis decades during the global financial crisis or the.com crisis. That’s where you saw the real upside of these healthy cultures. And so we tell founders that the value of a good culture is subtle in calm waters, but pronounced in a storm.

John (14:51): I think we saw that from the pandemic. Frankly, the whole quiet quitting thing was really just people saying, I don’t want to work here anymore.

Martin (14:59): And look, John, if you look at all the really successful toxic companies these days, I’ll bet you that the moment their stock drops by a bit, their best people are gone. Money and a big mission can only keep someone there long enough for so long. At some point, good people realize they have options and they go,

John (15:24): I don’t think you talk about this in the book, but I’m curious, let’s say a startup. I mean there are some people that just aren’t good people that don’t have empathy, that don’t have self-awareness. Maybe how important is it to maybe find a second in command, so to speak, type of role that can play that part for a founder?

Martin (15:42): So I think it definitely can mitigate, it can definitely help. There are certain things you just can’t delegate, like being a decent human being to your team. There’s a really interesting study that,

(15:56): There was an interesting study that came out of MITI believe, that looked at whether adult supervision actually helped mitigate some of the downsides of maybe an inexperienced founder, CEO. And you see this a lot in the startup in the tech startup world, and what it found was that adult supervision actually was effective if the founder CEO had the certain amount of openness and allowed the adult in the room to make decisions on their behalf. But in environments where founder CEOs have brought in the token adults and then anyway made decisions themselves without giving control to the adults in the room, then you see no, in fact, you might even see negative effects of that.

John (16:44): What are some of the signs that a founder should start recognizing that would say, Hey, we need to do something intentional, like a bonfire type of approach.

Martin (16:55): We like to tell founders that you should do the bonfire moment as early in the journey as possible. We see this as good prevention now. We’ve also seen a lot of breakthrough in founder teams in startup teams when they do it even down the line. I think when you start to see elephants in the room, those issues that everyone knows about but no one wants to talk about, that’s one red flag. When you see issues where their feelings of unfairness between equity holders, that’s another red flag. When people are feeling like we’re not as committed as one another, we aren’t pulling our weight to make this succeed. Those are other signs too, but I’d say as early as possible is always better.

John (17:44): Yeah, it’s probably harder to fix a damaged culture than it is to just create a good culture, right?

Martin (17:49): Yeah, no, this is true. It is so true.

John (17:52): Yeah. So walk us through, and it doesn’t have to be the full one, but walk us through what a kind of typical agenda of a bonfire day. Is that what you call it? Bonfire day?

Martin (18:01): Well, we call it the bonfire moment. It’s four parts. It’s facing hard truths. It’s part one. Part two is noticing hidden dynamics. Part three is dropping the masks, and then part four is resolving unspoken issues. So at the start of the day, we really begin by creating a moment for feedback and self-reflection. We ask founders to think about how they’re performing as members of that team. We offer them a self-assessment, which they can access through our website. It has them reflect on what we’ve seen to be the best strategies that founders have deployed, and through that exercise, we then invite them to help each other through some of the biggest gaps that they’ve seen. By the way, for those who want to go even deeper, we also have an option for them to do a 360 degree feedback option where they invite feedback from their co-founders, their employees from their investors, and then we ask them to write up what we’ve called a user guide, which is part two, which is we invite them to think about what are some of the defaults I have as I do my work.

(19:11): We also invite them, and this is one of the more popular parts of the user guide, we invite them to reflect on what are their motivations for being here. We talk about the head heart in the wallet as what we’ve found to be three of the most typical motivations that founders or startup folks bring into their work. It’s either head, is this about the intellectual challenge of solving a difficult problem with very elegant technical solutions? Is it hard? Is it because you’re committed to a user group that you want to improve their lives or improve some part of that industry? Or is it wallet, which is yes, money, but it’s also what we’ve called a social wallet, which is I get access to people, I get to associate with other people or have a title that I would otherwise not have because of this without this startup.

(20:01): So that’s the second part of the day. Then we invite them to what I’ve mentioned earlier on called the bullshit circle, which is we invite them to reflect on the biggest insecurities they bring, and then finally, we then have them look through really the top 20 sources of conflict that we’ve seen in our work with startups, and we invite ’em to reflect on which of those 20 items have they not yet prepared for or spoken about. And to give you a sense, we talk there about how do we want to spend our money or do we value things like an expensive office space, or if the media asks one of us to represent the work, who’s going to be that spokesperson? Because we’ve seen this phenomenon of the Invisible Founder where there’s a spokesperson that’s public, meanwhile everyone else is working hard in the back room. You don’t want that kind of imbalance of receiving recognition for the work. And that’s the day, as you can imagine, it’s an intense day. It’s intense, it’s uncomfortable. It’s teams emerge from that day with a lot of renewed energy for the work.

John (21:09): Awesome. Well, Martin, I appreciate you taking a moment to share with the Duct Tape marketing audience. You want to invite people where they might connect you and obviously find out more about the bonfire moment.

Martin (21:19): Yeah, great. And thank you for having me. So you can find more information on bonfire moment.com, and we’re also active on LinkedIn, and so you can find us there. Thank you so much for having me, John.

John (21:30): You bet. Well again, appreciate you. Bye-Bye. And hopefully we will run into you one these days out there on the road.

Premium Pricing for Professional Services

Premium Pricing for Professional Services written by Shawna Salinger read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Are you tired of the race to the bottom in pricing your professional services? Pricing is tough and it pushes many to commoditization. There’s a better route: premium pricing. Charging a premium elevates your services above the price wars but also transforms the very nature of your client relationships.

In this post, I’ll share keys to a premium pricing strategy for your professional services. After reading this, you’ll understand the role of messaging and how to build long-term client relationships. You won’t just be adding a few dollars to your rates; you’ll completely change how you’re perceived in the marketplace and how you deliver your services.

Table Of Contents:

Eliminate Commodity Thinking in Your Pricing Strategy

When you start treating your services like they’re just another product on the shelf, you’re headed down a slippery slope. Commodity thinking is by far one of the most common pricing tactics out there and is a surefire way to get stuck in a race to the bottom. 

If you want to charge premium rates and stand out in your market, you’ve got to shift your mindset and eliminate commodity thinking.

So, what exactly is commodity thinking? It’s when you start viewing your services as interchangeable with everyone else’s. With this approach, you’ll be selling packages that focus more on a certain set of deliverables than a strategic solution. 

The Impact on Pricing Strategies

When you treat your services like a commodity, it has a big impact on your pricing strategies. You start feeling pressure to lower your rates to compete with everyone else. 

But that’s a losing game. You end up working harder for less money, and it’s tough to sustain long-term. If you want to charge premium prices, you need to break free from commodity thinking and focus on providing a valuable solution. Often, it’s fear that holds people back from charging premium rates, because it’s scary to be different from everyone else.

Premium Pricing Approach: Selling Solutions, Not Hours

In the professional services realm, the traditional billing model has long been trading time for dollars. But here’s a transformative thought: what if instead of selling hours, we sold solutions? 

When you trade time for dollars, you inherently limit your growth. There’s a cap to how many hours you can work and, consequently, how much you can earn. 

More critically, this model positions your services as a commodity, where the only differentiator becomes your hourly rate. It’s a precarious position that invites price comparison and undermines the unique value you bring to your clients.

Offering Complete Solutions

Selling complete solutions means focusing on the outcome you deliver, not the hours of work it takes to get there. It’s about understanding the profound challenges your clients face and offering a packaged solution that addresses these challenges head-on. This approach doesn’t just elevate your services; it makes you an indispensable partner in your client’s success.

premium pricing

Here are a few key benefits of selling solutions over time:

Value Perception: Your clients aren’t just paying for your time; they’re investing in a result that has a tangible impact on their business or life. This shifts the conversation from cost to value.

Scalability: Solutions can be scaled and replicated across clients without directly increasing your workload. This opens the door to exponential growth that isn’t possible when you’re limited by the number of billable hours.

Differentiation: By offering a complete solution, you differentiate your services based on the unique outcomes you deliver. This sets you apart in a crowded market where many are still selling time.

Implementing Premium Pricing

Making the transition from selling time to selling solutions begins with a deep dive into understanding your clients’ needs and the challenges they face. It involves productizing your services in a way that clearly articulates the end result and the path to get there. 

It also requires confidence in the value you provide, allowing you to price based on impact rather than effort. Lack of understanding is a top customer complaint when it comes to professional services. If you can demonstrate that understanding, you’ll have a major competitive advantage.

Premium Pricing Through Trust and Value

In order to command premium pricing, you’ve got to build trust with your clients and demonstrate the value you bring to the table.

One effective way to do this is by creating productized packages that offer clear value propositions. When clients can see exactly what they’re getting for their money, they’re more likely to invest in your services.

Crafting Productized Packages

To create a productized package, start by identifying a specific problem or need that your target clients have. Then, develop a solution that addresses that problem in a comprehensive way.

Your package should include all the elements needed to achieve the desired outcome, whether that’s a certain number of consulting hours, a set of deliverables, or access to specific resources.

The Role of Initial Engagements in Building Trust

Initial engagements are another great opportunity to build trust and set the stage for premium pricing. When you knock it out of the park on one project, clients are more likely to invest in an ongoing engagement.

Use these initial projects to demonstrate your expertise, reliability, and value. Aim to provide outstanding results, and you’re on your way to justifying those top-tier prices.

Establishing Long-term Client Relationships

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of long-term client relationships in sustaining premium pricing. When you build strong, ongoing partnerships with your clients, they’re more likely to see the value in your services over time.

Aim to always bring your A-game and knock customer service out of the park. Check in regularly to ensure you’re meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations.

By creating a productized package with a clear value proposition and set pricing, you can attract clients and build trust. And by developing that trust through an initial engagement, you can lay the foundation for long-term client relationships and recurring revenue.

Key Takeaway: 

Stop seeing your services as just another option out there. Your unique skills and approach are your ticket to premium pricing. Focus on what sets you apart, communicate that value clearly, and build trust with top-notch results.

Becoming a Premium Brand 

If you want to charge premium prices, you can’t focus on transactions. You’ve got to build real, meaningful relationships with your clients. 

This is how you become a premium brand – a must, since brand-based referrals are a limitless source of clients, if you can get them. 

Creating Brand Loyalty Through Transformational Relationships

Transactional relationships are all about the here and now. You provide a service, the client pays you, end of story. There’s no real depth or ongoing connection.

But transformational relationships? That’s where the magic happens. You become more than just a service provider – you’re a trusted partner invested in your client’s success.

And here’s the thing: clients are willing to pay a premium for that kind of relationship. When you’re truly in their corner, price becomes less of an issue. They know your value.

Strategies for Cultivating Customer Loyalty

So how do you build these game-changing relationships? It starts with really listening to your clients. Don’t just hear their words – dig into their challenges, goals, and aspirations.

Show up consistently. Be responsive and reliable. Anticipate their needs and go the extra mile to deliver. Continuously look for ways to add value beyond the scope of your engagement.

Invest in your clients’ growth. Let others in on what you know, connect them with the right people at the right time, and don’t hold back on celebrating their successes. Show that you’re not just there to invoice them – you’re genuinely invested in their success.

There is less competition in charging premium pricing for professional services compared to lower price points.

Remember, transformational relationships take time. But when you get them right, you’ll have clients who stick with you, advocate for you, and happily pay your premium prices. That’s the power of going beyond transactions.

High Value Messaging for Premium Pricing

Your pricing is premium, and your messaging should be too. The way you communicate your value plays a huge role in justifying those premium price tags.

But here’s the key: it’s not about you. The most effective messaging is all about your client. Let’s dive into how empathy and targeted communication can be your secret weapons for premium pricing success.

Empathy as a Marketing Strategy

Empathy is everything. Put yourself in their shoes. What keeps them up at night? What does success look like for them? 

The more you can empathize with their situation, the better positioned you’ll be to communicate your value.

When your messaging comes from a place of genuine understanding, it resonates on a deeper level. Clients feel heard, understood, and confident that you’re the right partner to help them achieve their goals.

Marketing to High Value Clients

Generic messaging just won’t cut it. To nail that higher price point, your messaging has got to hit the bullseye with the people you’re really trying to reach.

Speak their language. Use the words, phrases, and examples that resonate with them and their specific challenges. Show that you “get” them on a fundamental level.

Highlight the outcomes and transformations you help clients achieve. Paint a vivid picture of what success looks like – and how your premium services are the key to getting there.

Use case studies, testimonials, and storytelling to bring your value to life. Show the real, tangible impact you’ve had on clients just like them.

Keep in mind, getting your message across isn’t about showing off or trying to be too cute. It’s about communicating your value in a way that deeply resonates with your target audience and makes your premium pricing feel like a no-brainer.

Key Takeaways: 

Want premium prices? Build real, deep connections with clients. Go beyond transactions to become a trusted partner in their success.

Listen deeply, show up consistently, and invest in your clients’ growth. This approach makes price less of an issue because they see your value.

Your messaging should scream empathy and understanding. Speak directly to client challenges and how you’re the solution, making premium pricing feel justified.

The path to charging more for your professional services is built on a foundation of strategic messaging, empathy, and clear differentiation. It’s about shifting focus from the service you offer to the solution you provide—a solution to a problem so well understood and articulated that your target client feels seen and heard in a way they haven’t before.

Adopt this approach, and you’re not just selling services; you’re building relationships and creating value that justifies premium pricing. This is how you distinguish yourself in a crowded market and build a sustainable, scalable business model centered on meaningful client relationships.

Fractional CMO Insights Survey: Why Businesses Hire Them & How to Become One

Fractional CMO Insights Survey: Why Businesses Hire Them & How to Become One written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

What is a fractional CMO? What does it take to be one? 

And what is the benefit of a part-time marketing leader to companies? To the CMO? 

What is a Fractional CMO?

Think of a fractional CMO (fCMO) as a highly experienced marketing strategist on a part-time basis. They bring the expertise of a full-time CMO without the full-time cost commitment. But how does this model benefit businesses and marketers? 

In this post is hot-off-the-presses survey data from strategic marketing agency, Duct Tape Marketing,   Databox, and ActiveCampaign shows why fractions of a CMO’s time may be worth more than the whole.

For more information on what a fractional CMO does check out the Ultimate Guide to Scaling a Fractional CMO Business.

First of its Kind Fractional CMO Survey – Key Findings

Our survey polled over 260 respondents, including fractional CMOs, agencies using the model, and businesses who hire them. This gave us unique insights into the reasons behind its popularity and the potential benefits for all involved.

  • Adoption is booming. Almost half (48.6%) of respondents said they are currently working as fractional CMOs. Survey results show that most fractional CMOs are in demand for their strategic guidance and cost-effectiveness.
  • Experienced marketers thrive.  Over 70% of fractional CMOs indicated having more than 10 years of marketing experience.
  • Strategic services are key. Services like strategic planning (92.67%), marketing strategy development (88.67%), and content strategy (82.67%) ranked as top fCMO services.
  • Professional Services and SaaS industries lead. These industries see the biggest benefits from an fCMO, with SaaS/Software/Tech (65.33%) and Professional Services (55.33%) being  the top client industries.

Key Discovery: Businesses aren’t just saving money with fCMOs – they’re gaining access to top-tier strategic guidance that can transform their marketing results.

The Ideal Fractional CMO Profile

Our survey reveals the skills and experience that set top performers apart. While a solid marketing background is important, strategic thinking and adaptability are just as crucial. To thrive as a fractional CMO, be ready to offer in-demand services like strategic planning and digital marketing, while excelling at communication.

The 2024 Fractional CMO Insights Survey shows the ideal fractional CMO profile:

  • Most have 10+ years marketing experience
  • Balanced to busy workloads reflect healthy demand
  • Provide strategic planning, marketing strategy, content strategy, digital marketing, and other marketing services
  • Strong communication skills and ability to develop strategies are crucial
  • Clients are mainly in SaaS/tech and professional services

Market Opportunities for Companies and Fractional CMOs

Businesses are increasingly choosing fCMOs for their strategic expertise and specialized skills, particularly in digital marketing. This model offers cost-effective access to senior-level guidance and an unbiased perspective on marketing challenges. While finding the right fCMO takes some effort, the benefits make this a highly attractive option for many companies.

Why are businesses turning to the fractional CMO model?

  • Strategic Guidance: Companies seek fCMOs for their expertise in developing winning marketing strategies.
  • Specialized Skills: In-house teams often lack the niche knowledge fCMOs offer, especially in digital marketing.
  • Cost Savings: Fractional CMOs provide senior-level guidance at a fraction of the cost of a full-time hire.
  • Unbiased Perspective: Businesses value the fresh, objective insights an fCMO brings.

Implications: A Thriving Market for Strategic Marketers

Our survey highlights a significant demand for experienced marketers willing to work on a fractional basis. This presents several opportunities:

  • High-Value Services: Fractional CMOs can provide strategic guidance and specialized marketing expertise, becoming invaluable extensions of their clients’ teams.
  • Skill Development: This model encourages continued growth in strategic planning, digital marketing, and other high-demand skills.
  • Essential Soft Skills: Emphasizing flexibility, communication, and strategy development are crucial for success in the fCMO role.
  • Industry Specialization: Focusing on clients in SaaS/tech and professional services will maximize your impact and streamline your client acquisition efforts.

The 2024 Fractional CMO Survey Results

The survey reveals a growing trend in adopting the fractional CMO model, driven by its strategic benefits, above everything else – for all parties.

The demand for these roles is reflected in the balanced to busy workloads of current fractional CMOs. Success in this model requires a blend of extensive marketing experience, strategic and digital marketing skills, and strong soft skills like communication and adaptability.

Who Did We Survey?

Of 261 respondents who took the survey, almost half (48.66%) are currently fractional CMOs. 17.62% are agencies currently offering fractional CMO services, 14.56% are considering becoming a fractional CMO, 6.13% are companies that hired a fractional CMO, 4.60% are agencies considering offering fractional CMO services and 2.68% are companies considering hiring a fractional CMO. 5.75% didn’t fit in any of the offered options. 

Fractional CMO Perspective

There are 128 Current fCMOs and 38 who are considering becoming a Fractional CMO.

The Workload of a Fractional CMO

Fractional CMOs mostly describe their workload as balanced (26.49%) or busy (25.83%), indicating a healthy service demand. The majority have substantial experience in marketing roles before becoming a fractional CMO, with over 70% reporting having more than 10 years of experience.

How Fractional CMOs Work with their Clients

Respondents have top-ranked Strategic planning.

Main Services Offered by Fractional CMOs

Key services provided by fCMOs include strategic planning (92.67%), marketing strategy development (88.67%), content strategy and development (82.67%), digital marketing (78.67%), brand positioning and messaging (78.67%), Customer Segmentation and Targeting (72%), Brand Development (68.67%), Marketing Operations (67.33%), Lead Generation Strategies (67.33%), Product Launches (58%), and Marketing Technology (tech stack) Consulting (50.67%). This diverse range of services highlights the broad skill set required for the role.

Crucial success factors for most of them are client communication skills, comprehensive strategy development and flexibility to adapt to client needs.

Main Industries for Fractional CMO Work

Fractional CMOs primarily work with clients in SaaS, Software or Technology (65.33%) and Professional Services (55.33%), highlighting these industries’ need for marketing expertise.

Find the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business – Ideal Fractional CMO Profile

10+ years of expertise; strong foundation in various marketing disciplines (hard skills) with focus on Strategy development and Digital marketing, while also possessing excellent soft skills like communication and adaptability. Targeting industries like SaaS, Software or Technology and Professional Services could be a wise initial focus.

Marketing Agencies: The Benefits of Adding Fractional CMO Services

Agencies are getting into the fractional CMO game too! Here’s why:

  • More strategic positioning: Offering fCMO services boosts an agency’s strategic value. This was reflected in survey responses, where ‘Makes us more strategic as an agency’ was a top benefit for agencies.
  • Stronger client relationships: Clients get more personalized marketing leadership.  ‘Enhanced client relationships’ was another highly ranked benefit for agencies offering fCMO services.
  • Adapting is easy: Most agencies find the shift to offering fCMO services smooth.  [Insert the percentage of agencies who found adapting their model easy].

There are 46 agencies currently offering fCMO services and 12 agencies that are considering offering Fractional CMO services.

More Agencies are Adapting the Fractional CMO Model and Services

Most of the agencies stated that they are engaged in the fCMO concept in some way: 17.65% are Actively engaged, with numerous ongoing engagements, 47.06% are Moderately engaged, with a few ongoing projects, 21.57% are exploring the model and considering future engagements.

More Strategic Positioning

Main areas in which they help clients: main areas in which agencies most often provide (or plan to provide) assistance with Fractional CMO services are Strategic planning, followed by Digital Marketing.

Adoption is Easy

Adapting to the model: Most agencies experienced slight to no challenges adapting agency services to fit the fCMO model. No agency found it very challenging.

Strong Client Relationships

Benefits: As the primary benefits for agencies offering Fractional CMO services, Agencies mostly stated that it Makes them more strategic as an agency and Enhanced client relationships.

Success Factors: For most agencies, the Ability to develop comprehensive strategies, Client communication skills and Flexibility to adapt to client needs are crucial for success.

Client Industries: Agencies offering fCMO services primarily work with clients in SaaS, Software or Technology (57.69%) and Professional Services (51.92%), highlighting these industries’ need for marketing expertise.

Adapting to the model isn’t challenging for most agencies. On the other hand, the benefits of including the model are substantial – it’s about positioning own business as more strategic and enhancing relationships with clients. The industries they work with are, as for fCMOs – SaaS and Professional Services. Also, agencies rank soft skills are crucial for the success.

Business Owners: Find the Right Fractional CMO for Your Business

There are 16 companies that hired a Fractional CMO and 7 that are considering hiring a Fractional CMO

Top-ranked factors influencing companies’ decision to hire are the Need for specialized expertise, cost-effectiveness (compared to a full-time CMO), and desire for unbiased guidance, and the need for specialized expertise.

What drives businesses to hire fCMOs? It’s about:

  • Top-tier expertise: Specialized knowledge is harder to find in-house. ‘Need for specialized expertise’ was a top factor influencing companies’ decision to hire an fCMO.
  • Cost savings: Get senior-level guidance without the full-time salary. ‘Cost-effectiveness’ also ranked as a major reason for hiring.
  • Outside perspective: fCMOs offer unbiased advice for better decision-making. The ‘Need for unbiased guidance’ was another significant hiring factor identified in the survey.

Main areas they in which fCMO helps them: Respondents top-ranked Digital marketing and Strategic planning.

Companies reported encountering slight challenges in finding a suitable fractional CMO.

When it comes to the greatest benefits attributed to hiring a fractional CMO, companies have top-ranked Strategic expertise. Cost savings come as second.

When it comes to the importance of the factors when choosing a Fractional CMO to hire, the companies have top-ranked Ability to develop comprehensive strategies and Depth of industry knowledge, closely followed by Flexibility to adapt to client needs and Understanding and navigating market Trends. Pricing is at the bottom.

Ready to Hire an Part-Time CMO or Become One?

Our survey shows significant demand for experienced marketers to fill fractional CMO roles. This model offers high-value services while fitting seamlessly into the way clients operate.

At Duct Tape Marketing we help business owners find the right fractional CMO to help them scale and for agencies we help them transition to the Fractional CMO model themselves.

Download our free growth tools to help get you started.

Free Marketing Strategy and Fractional CMO growth tools

Inside Out: Unlearning it all and Building Leadership from Within

Inside Out: Unlearning it all and Building Leadership from Within written by Tosin Jerugba read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Scott Stratten. President of UnMarketing. Scott Stratten has Co-Authored 6 best-selling business books with his business partner and wife Alison and was formerly a music industry marketer, National Sales Training Manager, and a College Professor. They ran one of the most successful viral video agencies in the world for nearly a decade before solely focusing on speaking at events for companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Cirque du Soleil and Saks Fifth Avenue when they need help navigating their way through the landscape of business disruption. UnLeadership: Make Building Relationships Your Business.

 

Key Takeaways

In this riveting episode Scott Stratten discusses the concept of Unleadership. A sequel to their practical and effective ideas on Unmarketing. Drawing from their four-page chapters book, Scott compares leadership to culture as it continues to be made of the unseen “everyday stuff”, as opposed to what you can make a picture out of such as: a person addressing a team of individuals.

Beginning with a dose of self-awareness and the fact that “you don’t know what it’s like to work for you”. Scott challenges leaders to define what a ‘job’ really is and to question what they consider ‘insurbordination’ in the workplace, touching on the other side of the coin: the overused, misused phrase ‘we are a family’ when referring to the business, and many other overlooked yet relatable pointers in building professional and empathetic subordinate relationships required to achieve set company goals and build a culture that is understood even at the very top of the organisational structure.

Questions I ask Scott Stratten:

[01:59] When is the aptly named revised edition of ‘QR codes, kill kittens’ coming out?

[06:16] What is unleadership?

[07:26] Would you say that most leaders need to unlearn what they’ve been taught?

[15:18] Talk about how leadership is a creative act?

[16:26] How do we draw the line between the family concept of the workplace and being cordial?

[20:16] Do you have a story that sets a great leadership example of somebody you profile?

[22:23] Where can people connect with you?

 

 

More About Scott Stratten:

 

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn

 

This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!

 

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Scott Stratten. He’s the president of UnMarketing. His co-authored six bestselling business books with his business partner and wife Allison, and was formerly a music industry marketer, national sales training manager and a college professor. If we could just add NBA started, it would be amazing.

Scott (01:29): It just

John (01:29): All how professional speaker for companies like Walmart, Pepsi, Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, and the list goes on. But today we are going to talk about his book, leadership Making, make Building Relationships Your Business. So welcome, Scott.

Scott (01:46): John. If it wasn’t for my height, my endurance, my strength, my shooting ability, my defending ability and rebounding, I would be in the NBA. Thank you for having me on, John. It’s wonderful to see you again

John (01:56): As with all of us.

Scott (01:57): Exactly, exactly.

John (01:58): Here’s what I really want to know. When is the revised edition of QR codes kill kittens coming out?

Scott (02:05): The best part. The best. I know it’s a joke, but the best part about that is when you write a book called QR Codes Kill Kittens, which is a business picture book of business screw ups. When a New York Times reporter during a pandemic, Googles QR codes because they’re doing a story on how crazy they’ve been. Whose name do you think comes up first for them? Every single time I got into New York Times twice, including I have it right here beside me for my mom, an edition of the New York Times just because of that. So it’s like if it didn’t bring me anything and people were every single, I swear John, every time it came up in the news somebody, people would forward it to me. What do you think now? What do you think now? And I’m like, it only took a pandemic. And for Apple to make the iPhones have it natively in the camera. That’s all. That’s all. Congrats. Save the kittens.

John (02:55): Yeah, but they still don’t belong on Billboards on the Highway

Scott (02:58): Though. But they still don’t belong a billboard. They still don’t belong in an email. All the rules still apply. It hasn’t changed. Go back, look, go to the tape. You have me. My about it was a Whataburger conference and I had told them, I said there, I’m like in a closed system, great boarding pass killer concert ticket. Awesome. You walking around in public, not as easy to do. If you’ve ever seen a human being, it just, it doesn’t always work. So yeah, so congrats. The QR codes, they’re the true winner of the pandemic.

John (03:26): That’s right, that’s right. Good point. So one of the things I like about this book is that the chapters are all really short. There are 70 like four page chapters, and I get excited when I finish a chapter.

Scott (03:40): One of the great things with, I’m such a lucky human because Allison is a brilliant writer and I run after squirrels. I just run around and there is a reason why I got so big on Twitter, right? That’s about my length of my focus of time that I can write things for. And so when originally marketing was doing, I was writing it in the way that I thought, which was very short, great chapters. And Allison just ran that with the baton. And when we got to on leadership, one of the really key things, and the reason why there’s 70 smaller chapters in it is because if Allison, and I believe that one of the most important parts of leadership is self-awareness. Meaning knowing what you can and can’t do and knowing your people as well and how you affect them. That we can’t talk about leadership because Allison and I are blessed with the fact that we don’t go into work, that we don’t have a boss, that we don’t have a corporation and we don’t have, it’s easy for me to get on stage and say, just do this and then I get to go home.

(04:38): But for us, we wanted to say, look, if self-awareness was the key, we have to be self-aware. And so we found, we looked up and we just figured out over an extended period of time, as you’re getting a book together, you just ideas start popping and popping. And we came up with 53 UN leaders that we had learned from and either gotten to know or knew from afar over the past 15, 20 years and decided Allison interviewed every single one of them for an hour, boiled all their thoughts down to about 1100 words each and put it and put it all together. And it’s the most diverse group of industries, of levels and of human beings that we think we could find for it. And the best red thread as our Fred Damson would say the best through all of it was almost every single person in the book questioned why they were being asked to be in the book.

(05:29): They didn’t think they were, why would you ask me to be in a leadership book? And the answer was, because you’re asking why? Because you’re not doing these things to be in a leadership book. You’re not doing these things to go trend virally on Instagram or something like that, or LinkedIn or something like that that we got to. It’s one of the wonderful things, not about social media, but being an author and being in this world where we get to go and I get to see so many companies when I go through and talk to so many people and certain things just kind of bubble up to the surface and then we get to go and say, look, here’s our favorite 53 people in leadership. And it is such a joy.

John (06:10): Yeah, that’s amazing. So I guess maybe we better let you define it Al Bite, what is UN leadership?

Scott (06:18): I think leadership is really, it goes with all of our other uns, the unselling, unbranding and on marketing stuff, which is leadership is moments. It’s not in the time where leadership is not a performance review, leadership is not an all hands meeting and you get up and talk to the team, leadership is made up of everyday things because we understand that it’s like the word culture. Okay, and well, what is that? Well, it’s very simple. It’s how the person at the bottom of the org chart feels. Culture is driven top down and felt bottom up. I just did it last week. I was in front of a bunch of leaders in a room and I looked at him, I said, none of the actual culture of your company because you have power. And the culture is felt by that bottom rung. And that’s where leadership is, people looking at the people below them as their inspiration versus the people above them. That’s really what it comes down to me.

John (07:10): So a theme of really all of your books is to somewhat say what we commonly take as marketing or as selling or as leadership maybe is wrong. And that there is, here we go, pun unlearning that we have to do. I mean, would you say that’s true that most leaders or many leaders need to unlearn what they’ve been taught?

Scott (07:31): I think really it really comes, yeah, I think people individually, because the reason why I say people is because you can’t try to figure out or shift or change as a leader and not as a person. So if self-awareness is really huge, and I beg of people to hear that, that self-awareness is such a huge key to not now going forward, but also in the world that I don’t think you put on your professional persona and you can be self-aware and you then take it off and you’re not. And I think one of the things is realizing that we are part of the situation. It’s like saying for me, example, every single relationship that I broke up with somebody, every broken relationship I’ve had in my life, and there’s been many, I’m the only common denominator in those. It was never my fault, but I’m the only common denominator.

(08:25): So starting to realize those things and if you wanted to have a different relationship, maybe look at yourself too. I’ll give you an example of that even though this is right down the personal side of the road, but it’s like the phrase, you ever heard that that phrase John, that old phrase, right? Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? They usually say that line about marriage, and I’d always hear that and I’m like, yeah, that’s a good point, right? What I never thought, what I never thought was there was a third option, I be wrong, possibly wrong. Not just are you right or you’re happy, but maybe also looking at what you could be wrong. And that was never part of that equation. That was never part of that answer. It’s right or happy. No, maybe to submits you’re wrong sometimes.

(09:09): And it’s a fascinating thing in leadership that we don’t take that look at a company, look at a company with let’s say five levels, c, EO, and then we have vp, director, manager. Then the bottom of the org chart, what you drive down is the weight gets heavier and heavier as it goes down. And if you want to know how things are going, do you want to know how to be more efficient? Do you want to know how to hold onto your people they know? They all know The problem is anytime we go against what the upstream is saying, we call it insubordination, except the only way to innovation is through insubordination. Think of every company that’s ever innovated it usually broke into or took away or threatened an existing piece of business or existing way of doing something. But that insubordination, and I want you to hear this, anybody listening right now who is in a leadership position, I don’t care how high up or how down low you are, if anybody reports to you, if that individual is talking to you and you feel they’re being insubordinate, meaning they’re disagreeing with you, which is not insubordinate by the way, but they’re disagreeing with you, giving you feedback and saying, I don’t think this is going to work.

(10:14): Do you understand the risk they’re taking, that they are risking potentially their job or their future placement in the company or their relationship with you to drive this home? That’s how important this point is to them. So instead of trying to think of why I’m right or why this person shouldn’t be saying this or they were told something, we hire people so we can use their brains on top of whatever else they’re doing. And you want to keep people listen to them. You want to keep people ask for their feedback. You can use something simple star, continue the most basic thing that a bunch of people have used in the past. What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What should we continue doing? But we don’t. You don’t know what it’s like to work for you. I put that on the screen on stage and I let it sit there for about 10 seconds. It’s the juiciest 10 seconds of my day because it makes people just shift a bit in their chair. And then I say to them, this can’t be about you personally because I don’t know you, but if you’re getting a little uncomfortable reading this, take note.

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Scott (12:42): And it feels like 10 minutes. It’s so great because part of that’s for me is that’s my job. That’s what I do. So doing that type of timing something is really important on impact because also you get on stage and I’m not getting up there saying everybody’s a terrible leader. What I’m saying is we have to shake the entire foundation to say, Hey, because there’s a lot of people right now that are trying to go back to four and a half years ago. There’s a lot of people right now saying, let’s just go back to normal, back to business. And you’re missing the plot, you’re missing everything. People are not going back. Things have shifted. It was the great, we called the bluff. We had resistance to working from home for 20 years. And you know why I say 20 years? Because I asked over 20 years ago to telecommute because we called it telecommuting at the time when my son was about to be born and I traveled to train our distributors in sales and they said, no, we’re not a company that does that.

(13:43): They were also not a company that we were on the internet for a long time. And you look at this stuff and people were just like, I can use that example. And one of the problems, John, is get asked to speak somewhere. They’re like, can you talk to our audience about retaining people nowadays in a younger generation and attracting younger generation, but just don’t bring up two things. Don’t bring up pay and don’t bring up return to office. And I’m like, so the two main things, the two main things, right? It’s like there was a great phrase I saw somebody was speaking at a Davos or something. It’s like having a firefighter convention and not being allowed to talk about water. It’s literally those things. They’re your biggest things or you’re like, Hey, well why don’t we put something on, how do we attract younger people to our industry?

(14:25): And somebody pipes up an intern’s like, why don’t we do something on TikTok? And you’re like, shut up. We don’t do that here. We don’t do that type of stuff. And you’re just like, what are you talking about? What are you talking about? I’m really hoping, I’m trying to get us back to the point of understanding what a job is. A job, somebody working for you is a business agreement. It’s a contractual agreement. I offer you my skills and my intellect. You give me a job description that I’m supposed to follow, including other duties as noted, which is the worst one of the whole job description. And in exchange you give me a compensation package, but we’ve thrown that somehow. It’s just like you work here, you do what I say and you’ll like it. And I’m done with that. And so many people are too. One

John (15:12): Of the early chapters, I think it’s chapter three, chapter four, I don’t have the table here, but you essentially talk about leadership being a creative action or creative act. And I think that is something that so many people miss.

Scott (15:25): You cut out when you said the exact point I was going to talk about, can you repeat it?

John (15:30): The title is, the idea of the chapter is that leadership is a creative act. And that I think that’s a brilliant idea that so many people miss because they think they’re not creative.

Scott (15:42): Well, and that’s part of the point too, right? It’s like when you’re coming together, look, the subtitle is Make building relationships your business. It’s literally about relationship. And when you come together in relationship, the sum of what creates out of that is supposed to be something you can’t do yourself. A leader’s supposed to be able to tap into their people and stuff they didn’t think they had or think that they can come out with. It’s a great one. Jeff Alexander is in one of the chapters, he talks about partnerships even where you’re going into a partnership where you’re supposed to be looking at the other side first when you’re leading, you’re supposed to be what do they need? What do they need versus this is what I’m trying to get out of something. And it’s that same thing as a leadership subordinate relationship as well.

John (16:27): So relationships, connection, group hugs. How do we not make this family? Because I don’t believe it’s a family. I have a family. It’s not

Scott (16:38): Like my business. I agree. I agree with you.

John (16:41): How is this a fine line between when I hear relationship connection, do I start to leap to like, oh, this is a personal thing?

Scott (16:49): Yeah. Well, and that’s the thing. Okay, so there’s a couple of things. So it’s funny is the group that is most against relationships, marketing and connection and leadership are the ones that call their businesses a family. Because what they mean by that is you don’t say anything negative. You don’t bring anything up. You don’t go outside of the house. You don’t go outside. Look, and like you said, I don’t need another one. Allison and I combined have five kids. You can take your own family and do what you need to, but we’re covered here. Okay, we’re covered here. And I’m not rolling the dice again. We got five great ones. I’m not going again for anybody else coming into this. I know the odds. But there’s this thing that the problem is, it’s always the context, right? Because I’ve talked to people privately about it.

(17:31): I brought it up and I said, don’t say we’re a family here it, it’s not good. And nobody, so many people in leadership donors, because they’re the ones saying it and their intent is supposed to be good. But I really want people to go back down to let’s go to, depending on where you’re in school, it could be grade 12 or it could be maybe college. There’s the basic communication model. You just pull that out of a textbook. There’s sender and receiver, and the sender encodes the message they’re going to send and they send it to you. And then in between you there’s noise and then the receiver decodes it and takes it the way they take it. Well, that type of stuff. When you look at somebody who’s about to work here and say, we’re family, you mean one thing, they hear another. It’s just a bad way to put it, first of all.

(18:16): But I really break it down to somebody and say, what do you mean by you mean that you have each other’s back then that is not, we’re a strong team. It’s our wording. Okay, family is, I’m going to feel like I’m going to show up at Thanksgiving. I have to deal with that cousin again. I don’t have to want to see him. I got to see him twice a year. Right? Look, and people use these phrases and stuff too, and we throw them out in leadership without even knowing the context of that. Like the family phrase, blood is thicker than water. You hear that phrase? That’s an old time. And that’s not the saying it’s blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb. It’s actually the opposite of what the phrase means. That created connections can be stronger and better than family connections.

(18:59): It’s actually contradicting what you’re trying to do. And that’s where it creeps me out as well. But relationships aren’t about that. Relationship is simply, you are connected to the other person and you understand them. That’s what relationship is to me. A personal relationship is a whole other thing. I don’t think that you should have to do anything outside of the office for your job. I don’t think you should lose anything because of that. I think that I do my job and I do it well. The problem is people’s definition of, well, a team player comes out for drinks, A team player comes on, does this type of thing, going to chip in for the boss. We’re getting a gift for the boss. Jurgen chip ins, by the way, stop that. Money flows down, not out. There’s no bosses. You don’t buy bosses day stuff. Fundraising is inappropriate to do in the office when it’s directly threatened to somebody saying walk into their cubicle and say, are you going to fundraise? These type of things, no, because they’re like, well, this is professional. You’re not professional. So much of what we say and do is not in these workplaces, but they say, well, we’re this, no, it’s rules for the and not for me a lot of times when it comes to these things.

John (20:08): So you mentioned, and I know this is going to be hard for you, I’m going to do it anyway, there were 53 people you interviewed. Do you have a favorite story? It doesn’t have to be a favorite story. Do you have a story you like to tell as a leadership, a great leadership example of somebody you profiled?

Scott (20:22): Dr. Derek Kayongo. He is one of my favorite people on the planet, and for a few reasons. One, he’s the best dresser I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the coolest person I’ve ever met in my life. But beyond that, he’s the most genuine, caring person. One of the people I’ve met in my life, Derek, one of the things he noticed when he came over to America when he was stayed at hotels was that they were throwing away the soap. And he came from a country that, well, they didn’t have a lot of soap, and that would be really fricking cool if all the Soapies would throw out would go over to where I’m from. And he created an entire organization and got the entire entire country to get their soap all sent back. And they had a whole thing and disinfected it. And he created an entire soap company, saw a problem.

(21:13): I have a man bun and Derek changed the world in soap. So it’s like I spoke after him at an event and he got up there and then it was like the Kelly Brothers were the day before. So two astronauts, Derek Kayongo, man, who changed the world with soap. And then I walked on stage. I really got to plan these things better because to the moon, saving the world. And I’m just like, man bun. That’s what I do. I love ’em. But honestly, John, to give you now the cop out answer after that, literally just feed through it and then pick one. That’s Aaron Bur Aaron I knew from Twitter in oh nine, we were all Toronto Twitter people. She ended up creating willful because she noticed that Wills were very cumbersome, very kind of expensive. You had to go through lawyers. She’s like, it makes no sense. So she created Willful. Willful is online Wills in Canada. She went and worked with every province, every law board, everything else. And now she’s got a wonderful company that gives a damn. And I got to watch her build it on LinkedIn all through her posts because she wanted to change the way things were done. And that’s one of my favorite parts of people and of startups and of founders that said, it’s one of my favorite parts about disruption is customers who get so pissed off, they create the alternative. And that’s what she did.

John (22:28): I love that too. Well, Scott, it was awesome catching up with you, having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast anywhere you want to invite people to connect with you or find obviously a copy of UN Leadership.

Scott (22:40): Yeah, UN Leadership Available wherever good books are sold. And yeah, we’re at unmarketing.com. Come by, say hi, LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever you want, and just enjoy the book.

John (22:51): If I reach out to you on LinkedIn, do you want me to unfollow you? Is that

Scott (22:55): Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s my last place. I think. I’m like, I’m gone off Twitter. I’m gone off Facebook, but LinkedIn is holding on, so I’m still there for the time being. So hurry up. Awesome.

John (23:03): Alright. All right. Again, thanks for stopping. Bye. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road.