Jason Jennings, the New York Times best-selling author and business growth expert teaches proven principles for sustainable business growth discovered, distilled and documented from his years of studying America’s top performing businesses that continue to grow by 10% or more year after year.
Learn more about Jason Jennings at www.jason-jennings.com
Men, 13 multimillion dollar businesses, eight kids, get ready to enter the thrive time show.
All right, thrive nation. You are in for a treat today. Ladies and gentlemen, we are interviewing one of my favorite authors and one of the most successful business in leadership authors on the planet. Uh, Jason Jennings began his career as a radio and television reporter and became the youngest radio station group owner in the country. Later he founded Jennings mcglothlin and company and a powerful consulting firm that really became one of the world’s largest media consulting businesses. His books have been seen on the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers List, The New York Times best sellers list a USA today best sellers list. That’s like all the lists. He’s another list. Mr Jason Jennings. Welcome onto the show, sir. How are you?
A clay? It is great to be with you. And I’m doing really well because I’ve been doing a bit of snooping around and I just told you’re a associate that, uh, I’ve done hundreds of radio shows and hundreds of podcasts and these are the best questions I’ve ever seen in my life.
I appreciate that. Now I want to ask you this here, where is home for you these days? Where, where, where do you live?
Uh, so I’m originally from the Midwest and, and you have to know that I am really a midwesterner at heart. Uh, but for the past 30 years, uh, myself and the family had lived in the beautiful little bayside village called Tiburon. I’m actually looking out of my home office windows and I’m looking at the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay.
Wow. Well, I’ll tell you what, we’re looking here out on the back of Camp Clark in Chicken Palace studios and Beautiful Tulsa, Oklahoma where we have 17 acres, 40 something plus chickens. We have cats. I live behind a wall. Um, it’s, it’s the Camp Clark and chicken palace experience and I know that it’s a big tourism, a desire of your heart to come to Tulsa. And if you ever come, I’d love to give you a tour, my friend. So
I have, I have actually been to Tulsa and I know that Tulsa has more art deco architecture, uh, than any other American city. And I’ve actually walked the streets and inspected the art deco architecture.
Now, a fun factoid for you about the art deco architecture is years ago, a man by the name of Maurice Kanbar who lives in San Francisco by you who invented skyy vodka, bought one third of downtown Tulsa. And he hired me to market all the property, 90 percent of which was art deco. So I walked those. I walked to fill cade tower. I walked all these buildings in downtown Tulsa and they are truly a sight to behold, much like your book hit the ground running, which is absolutely a sight to this book. Uh, Jason was introduced to me by my partner, Jonathan Barnett. He’s the founder of Oxi fresh where we now have over 400 locations all around the country. And he said, clay, I was at the conference and this guy was talking about you got to read, hit the ground running. They’re teaching from the book. And so I just, like I do with every book I read, I’m reading the book, I’m highlighting, I’m taking notes. And I started realizing, man, this guy has done a deep dive research case studies this, this book is so actionable. It’s so practical. Uh, Jason, where did you first get the inspiration to write? Hit the ground running?
Well, I’ll tell you what, not the brightest bulb in my shoulder. So all of my books, the subjects for all of my books have come through carefully listening to other people. And so I generally do 60 to 80 speeches a year around the world. But what most people don’t know is that for every one of those speeches I interview at least 10 executives with the company and I require an hour long conversation with the CEO. And I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a good listener or if they can really tell that I am empathetic to what they’re doing and the challenges they face. But very often I’ll be five or 10 minutes into a conversation with the CEO and they’ll say, hold on a second, let me get up and close my door. And they come back and then they spill the beans and they say, let me tell you how the cutaway to cabbage and I can’t be good.
You know, we don’t have a school or a university that trains see, oh, so most people end up in the position of CEO and they don’t have all the answers. But they know they’re expected to have all the answers. And so one day I started thinking, wouldn’t it be great to identify in research and the study, those ceos who have created the greatest amount of economic value when their first three years on the job. And so then it becomes a huge research task. You know, you run the names of every one of the publicly traded companies in America and a lot of privately traded companies where financial information is available and you come up with a shortlist and then you’d get rid of the bad actors. And the people who’ve received, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. The Security Exchange Commission. Because I don’t write about that companies.
And so we finally came up with this list of, of of companies that many people will know, staples, for example, jm Smucker, a good rich humana insurance, and these were the companies where the ceos had created the greatest amount of economic value in their first three years in office. On average, they had doubled revenues in three years, tripled earnings per share, tripled and doubled profit margins. They were truly outstanding people. We went in, we gave access, which is always the very hardest thing to do, but we eventually, we, we always get our man or woman, we get inside and gain access. And then we spend hours asking questions. I mean, what did you do when you first became CEO? I mean, look at what you’ve achieved, what, what are the steps that allow you to do this? And so for a typical book, including that book, I hit the ground running, we generate about 100,000 pages of interview transcripts. And then myself, my research team, sit down the old fashioned way with highlight markers and go through and we’re looking for commonalities. What did all of these ceos share in common? And then the end result is always a book.
I cannot, I cannot overstate how valued I felt as a reader when I bought your book. Now I should disclose, I bought your book at the time. I didn’t want to say it was about $30 or so. And what times you read a book, you know, you get a book. I’m a huge. I’m a voracious reader. You’ll get a book and you go through it and you go, okay, this guy quit doing research on chapter one, chapter one, this guy kind of mailed it in here. And then I’m, I’m a person wants to complete every book. So I read it through, but like the last chapter two, I’m going just come on, get to a point. Your book is so action packed with actionable points and so I wanted to do was to have you kind of break down a few of the points and hit the ground running specifically as we go into the rules. And you have rule number one in the book that says don’t deceive yourself. You will reap what you sow. The case study of the JM smucker company story, can you break that down for us?
Completed the financial information. We gained access to Tim and Richard Smuggler, who at the time were the co CEOS and we were in an office that had originally been their father’s office and that I went to Sunday school as a kid. I mean, so I always know. I mean, you’re going to reap what you sow. I mean, I knew that was from Galatians. I couldn’t even tell you it was from Galatians six, seven, but above the desk there was this big sign and I had missed part of Galatians. It says, be not deceived. God is not mocked. So and, and if somebody is listening, who is that religious? That while you can use the word good instead of God, if you want be not deceived, good or God is not mocked for whatsoever a man sows, he shall also reap. And I asked them about it and they told me, I’m sorry it wasn’t.
Their father was the grandfather who had had that above his desk his entire life. And he said, this is what we. This is why we exist as a company, and so they don’t lie, they don’t have people around them lie and they all practice the golden rule of treating people like they would like to be treated themselves unlike what you see in so many other companies where it’s all about the CEO. It’s all about the ego. It’s all about the shortcuts. It’s all about taking advantage of customers, taking advantage of suppliers. It just didn’t happen in any of these companies. And so that’s why I chose to begin that book. Uh, with that, uh, that quote from Galatians,
I want to share with the listeners out there who are more of a, I’m a Judeo Christian, my wife and I have five kids, all of which are currently Judeo Christians. But for those out there who are more of a secular perspective, uh, we have hundreds of thousands of listeners. I want to make sure I keep a fair and balanced on. Napoleon hill once wrote, he said, nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price. And it’s just, that’s a powerful teaching moment and I’d like to, if I can ask you about your literary career, you’ve paid the price, you’ve paid the price, what price have you paid to get your first book published? Because that’s how, as I was researching you, I thought Jason, I could do 10 shows. Just about the price that you paid to get to where you are. How have you paid the price?
Yeah, the price was. The price was a huge one. You already mentioned the backstory in your introduction. Uh, I was in the broadcasting business and the consulting business and almost 20 years ago at age 40 I, I basically had my midlife crisis. I was alone at home one day. I’m sitting in the Family Room on the sofa and I went to get up and physically I could get up, but I just plop back down and I went, uh, is that other is. I mean I just got to keep buying radio stations and growing this consultant company and half the half the clients with the consultant. Are you, when you’re, when you’re supporting hundreds of people on your staff, the colored logo is green. If somebody shows up and they want to be your client, I mean you need the money so you take them. And with some of our clients, I always felt like taking a bath lifestyle and I just, I just knew that there had to be something more and so I, I thought maybe I would become a second career seminarian and I was introduced to a man, but then Dr Timothy Lowe who was head of the Pacific theological seminary, the Lutheran seminary in Brooklyn, California, and I made an appointment to go and see him and I said, you know, I really think I might like to sell everything and come back to seminary.
Became a second career seminary. And he said, that’s a big move. He said, you know, we, we should spend some time talking about that. And over the next several months, uh, it was Dr [inaudible] who eventually told me, look, uh, I don’t want, I don’t think you want to come to seminary. He said, I’d rather put you on a board of directors. And have you write us checks, he said, but I have figured out your calling in life, you love business, done well. You love leadership. Done well. He said, I think your calling in life, your gospel is to identify the greatest business leaders. I mean the greatest companies in the world. Get inside. Find out what they do. And he said, that’s what I think you need to write and talk about. So came home, sleepless night. First one of my life, I was laying in bed. God, if you’re up there, throw me a thunder bolt or something.
I mean, send me in some direction. Didn’t get the thunderbolts. But I woke up in the morning and figured that I was going to get a book contract. Now, clay, I am somebody who’s always gone through life. I’m a high achiever. I used to say I regret it now. Uh, I used to tell everybody that worked for me. There are reasons and results. Don’t give any reasons. Just give me the results. I looked back at points in my life. I must have been a holy terror. So it was time to get a book contract. Well, I got rejected by 97 publishers one after the other,
but here’s what happened. Here’s what happened. With every rejection, with every rejection, I became more determined to get a great publishing company and have a great best seller. You’re going to love this story. So finally, one day I got an email from a man at Harper Collins, the publisher at the business imprint of Harper Collins. And he said, dear Mr Jennings, I’m not interested in you. I’m not mistreating your idea. I’m not interested your constituency. Please don’t bother me again. And you know, sometimes a dramatic actions called for I hit reply and I went, Dear. So and so you are at and what you don’t know is that locked Murdoch, Merdock Laughlin and Rupert Murdoch or clients of mine, and they own your little publishing company in the next time I’m with them, I’m going to tell them what a jerk they have operating harpercollins imprint within two minutes, what would he have to lose?
But then two minutes I to reply to, dear Mr Jennings, you should have chutzpah. If you’re ever in New York, I’ll give you 10 minutes. I hit reply without even thinking. I said, I’ll be in your office tomorrow morning at 9:00. So I walked into his office the next day at 9:00 and I walked up to shake his hand and he’s one of those New York. He’s very successful, but he’s one of those New Yorkers, uh, doesn’t shake hands. And I said, oh. I said, oh, you don’t shake. I said, I’m from California. We don’t. A guy that we hug. And I walked up and I gave him the biggest bro Hug he had ever had. I, that’s the guy was going to die. And to this day he’s still my publisher at Penguin Random House, but every time I see him I say, stand up. It’s time for the hug.
So I. So I finally got a book contract with him for a little bit of money. And that was my first book. It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fascinate, the slow. So now the real story that you’re going to love is the book was going to be debuting in a few weeks and I get a call from a friend of mine who the CEO of a media company in Los Angeles and he called me and his name was Craig and Craig said, when’s the book coming out? And I said, in a couple of weeks, he said, you remember last year he said, I had some real challenges in my executive suite with my leadership team, and you came down and spent a day with us. And I said, yeah, great time. He’s remembering, I didn’t have any budget and you didn’t send me a bill. I said, well, that’s what friends are for. He said, well, it’s time for payback. He said, put together a little radio commercial for your new book, send it down and we’re going to give you a million dollars worth of free advertising.
Clay Clay, uh, I was in Omaha, Nebraska on the day the book came out and the radio campaign debuted and the book shot to number one and became the number one book in America. Not The number one business book, but the number one book in America and it really stayed there as long as the radio campaign, when people were running into bookstores, they couldn’t even say the title. I mean, do you have the book? It’s not that fat to skinny, skinny that eat the fat. I mean they didn’t have the title, right. I mean, but so powerful. What was the advertising? And of course, what gives you permission to write your second book is the success of your first book. What it gives you permission to write your third book is the success of your second book. Publishers are only interested in your success, and so that’s how the whole thing began, but there was a lot of rejections along the way.
There’s somebody out there listening who you just spoke into their life in a profound way. There’s somebody out there has been getting a ton of rejection. I know I’ve fought through that rejection and if you’re out there and you’re just feeling like you just just. You’re feeling overwhelmed by the rejections. Just understand that you can view them as learning opportunities and stepping stones and all of the great stories, all of the, all the Jason Jennings of the of the world, they all have their character built as a result of being promoted through these problems and and Jason, you have really developed a, a thick skin throughout your career from what I can tell, which is which, which is what has allowed you to get in and interview the top leaders at companies like staples. You in these fortune 500 companies, you’re, you’re able to somehow get into the companies and reach these ceos when nobody else can.
Let me tell you about that. I’m the biggest stuff that you’ll ever meet in your life. I believe that to be fully functioning compassionate human beings, we always have to allow our head to meet the heart. And if I’m guilty of anything, sometimes I allowed myself to be led more by my heart than anything else. However, I do know that. I don’t know where I heard this many years ago, but, uh, everybody else gives up. I mean, everybody wants to write a book, most people give up, everybody wants to be worth millions of dollars. I mean, most people give up, most people give up and so, you know, I’m always going to be the last man standing and I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy to gain access to these companies. Uh, it’s hard. And once I had, once I had a couple of big successful books, I thought getting access would be easier.
It just got harder because they know that somebody’s actually going to read the book and it’s all the well intended gatekeepers. I mean, who are trying to keep you out. And so we just never give up. I mean, we’ll, we’ll reach out to board members will reach out to big customers. Uh, we will threaten to run ads and newspapers and write about them with people who don’t want to be identified. I’ll do anything. But ultimately we get inside and within five minutes we know we love each other and they spew and they tell me everything.
So rule number four, your book hit the ground running. You’re sitting down with the leaders at staples and you came up with this, this rule number four, which is find, keep and grow the right people. Please share with us. This rule is all about,
okay, so at the end of the day, you only have one competitive advantage as an organization, any organization, and that is your culture because whatever you make, sell, produce, supply. Someday somebody’s going to do it better, faster, cheaper. They can steal your advertising, they can steal your people, they could steal everything you’ve got. So the only thing any organization has of any value is culture and that is built around people and you don’t. Most of the Gallup studies show that 76 percent of all employees in America today are not only not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. So Ron Sargent, the CEO of staples, now I just told you how hard it is to get into some companies. I called staples. I said, Ron Sergeant’s office plays and the next thing you know, this guy’s picking up the phone saying hello, this is Ron Sergeant. And I said, you answered your own telephone.
And he said, well, of course if I’m in the office, he said, most of my time I’m in the stores, but if I’m in the office, why wouldn’t I answer my own phone? And that’s how I began struck at my relationship with him and him. It was all about that. The number one responsibility of the person in charge is to find which is attract, which is to keep and to grow the right people. And his rules are very, very simple. Always make sure you hire the right person, never fill a spot with a body, never do it because it’s going to blow up on you. Number two, promote from within. Number three, give people do challenges and move them around. Have a program to identify the superstars. Make everyone an owner, constantly communicate with everybody, everything or they’re going to think that nothing is happening and you never want your people to think that nothing is happening and look like your customers and be as diverse as your customers. And those are his rules. Run Sergeants rules for people which ultimately allow you to build a culture.
I want to ask you this. This is a way our organization is structured with a maximum of 160 clients at any given time. I would say the average revenue, Jason is somewhere between a million and $20 million of years. Our average client revenue and a lot of times people will say, I hired somebody. I’ve communicated with everybody. They’ve been on my team for about two years or three years. They’ve kind of like been promoted to a level of incompetence where they were really good as an assistant manager, let’s say, what is it? Manager, they’re overwhelmed. They and they, they were a good person in this particular position and they still have great character. They just are overwhelmed there. What would you say to the small business owners out there who have a team of 50 employees or less and they found a good person? They’ve been on the team for a long time and they’ve accidentally promoted somebody to a level of incompetence?
Well, what I can tell you is this. I think that everybody in the world has a great bs meter, which means everybody knows everything, so if the owner of the company is unhappy with the performance of a person or things that they probably got promoted to a position they shouldn’t be, and there’s somebody else that knows that as well, and it’s that person that person knows that they are nobody. Is that delusional? So if the boss thinks that, so does the person think it and what it comes down is it comes down to have one of those come to Jesus speeches saying, you know, John, you’ve been here three years. We put you in this spot. I’m not sure if you’re cutting it, but if I think that you’re probably thinking the same thing, but you’re so good at other things, I don’t want to lose you. I mean, will you consider taking a step back? I mean maybe we’ve got to search and find something else for you. It just comes down to what I referenced earlier. When the head meets the heart
thrivers, I encourage you to listen to this podcast twice a underline it. We have all the show notes, every show is transcribed. That is such a powerful language that is so many business owners struggle to have that conversation in the way that Jason just said that so artfully. Yeah. It really demystified that for a lot of people and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen or experienced in my past life with the concrete company of not having those conversations out of the anxiety or whatever, and when you just lay it out like Jason just did, it’s just a matter of fact. Let’s see. Here’s the problem. Let’s fix it. It makes it a lot easier now. Jason.
It does in fact in my book.
The reinventors, uh, there’s a chapter about communication and, and uh, the big thing about communication is this companies, big companies, small companies, all size companies are spending more and more money, more money that’s ever been spent on communication. The problem is all the communication is top down. Everybody is overwhelmed with so much communication from a company. The company they work for, they don’t even know how to deal with it. So we kind of turned it upside down in my book, the reinventors and we talk about bottoms up communication and that is the responsibility of every bus to sit down with Mary or to sit down with Jack and say, you don’t marry. The reason I wanted to spend some time with you today is because I really think you’ve got some great talents and I really want to be a great leader for you, but I’m not going to be able to be a great leader for you unless I know a little bit more about you. So today what I want to talk is about a lot. I want to talk about you. I want to talk about your dreams, your hopes, your wants, your aspirations, what you ultimately want to achieve, and when you have that kind of a tell me conversation with people, you will then know how to lead and grow and develop people. Too many bosses, too many elders failed to take the time to have that conversation. That’s the first conversation that anybody should have with an employee.
Thursday in our office we have, we, John sits down with employees and goes over their goals and several of the young ladies who work with us, mostly the ladies at this time, they had said we have a staff of their, you know, close to 100 something people between the different businesses and this lady, the ladies were saying they wanted to get in great shape and so we were able to kind of reorganize the schedules. They can go to workout classes together and it’s a logistical thing and I guarantee you the people I’ve seen that have already started this program a few months ago. I’m not a fitness expert or expert, nor am I trying to get into their personal business. But when you ask somebody what are your goals, they say, well, apart from work or at work, my number one thing is I want to get in shape and I’m struggling to find the time to do that. So by just re organizing their schedule and blocking out time to go to a local gym and then actually paying for the gym shop is a new enthusiasm with certain folks in the office and it’s exciting to see that I cannot hammer home the importance of that bottoms up mentality more. It really, really does.
It really does. And then what happens is on an ongoing basis, then you have to be sufficiently interested for the followup. So Mary, how’s it going to the gym? How’s it going? Are you getting stronger? Are you working core? What did you do today? It just shows an interest.
I think that Jason, that’s one of the things that we teach all of our clients, is to understand that as you scale and begin to duplicate yourself, you have to have the mindset that management is mentorship. You can’t just expect people to have the same mindset as you and that’s exactly what you’re talking about.
Now, rule number seven from this book, simplify everything. It just. You’re so many good things in this book. This is the Aladdin story and it blew my mind at the time. I read it and as I was preparing to interview you again, I’m going through my book and I’m going, Oh, this is blowing my mind again to mind exploding moments there. How’s that even possible? What caused me? I mean our, our marketing agency, it’s called make your life epic. It’s one of the largest, if not the largest in Oklahoma. And uh, at the time I had these very complex systems. It was almost like you had to be able to decipher hieroglyphics or something to understand the systems there. Jason people had to work with me for two to three years to fully understand how to do their job. And your book a rule number seven, it says simplify everything that that set me off and helped me so much. Can you talk about what you mean when you say simplify everything?
The back story to that is a Mohawk carpet, one of their brands and their CEO, Jeff based in Georgia button hour and a half outside of Atlanta. And it is an unbelievable company. It’s the world’s largest carpet and floor manufacturer. They’ll do about $10,000,000,000 this year. Three billion in to the bottom line, talk about a tough cookie to get to. I got as far as his assistant gay and I could never, I mean it was just a cold shoulder, no interest. We’re not interested in talking to you. And so finally, I mean we tried a couple of board members, the board of directors and finally I went to his biggest customer who spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year with him and said, can you get, can you get him on our side? Can you get him to agree to talk to me and tell them? And so just and tell them I’m never gonna give up.
So one day at 6:00 in the morning, I’m in my office at 6:00 in the morning on the West Coast and the phone rings. This is Jeff [inaudible], mom, what do you want? I said, well, I want to talk to you about a book. You’re, you’re an incredible business person. I want to write to you, but the book, he said, I got the message you’d Never gonna give up. I said, I will never give up. He said, be in my office tomorrow morning at 9:00, so I schedule a red eye to Atlanta, getting a rental car through like three hours of morning traffic to get to location. I mean it was, and I, I get there with like two or three minutes I walk yet, and there was not much of a handshake and he was all kind of put out by this and so he said, how long is this going to take? And I said, I dunno, a couple of hours is as long as you want to go, and how does that sound? And he said, well that’s fine. And so I set up my tape recorders and uh, with redundancy for three because you never want to lose anything. Wonderful.
Real quick, I want to dial it down into that real quick. I want to focus on that because you just said you have three tape recorders. Only person that I have ever met. Now I’ve met another who I. whenever I do speaking events, I will have my laptop with me in one bag. Another person has a laptop and there’s another laptop that we pack. I travel with three laptops whenever I travel, which is why I never had problems when I did speak to the events because I actually brought my own backup, a v gear as well. Can you please talk to me about the paranoia that you have on a daily basis that allows you to bring three tape recorders and then we’ll go back to your story. I love that. That’s awesome.
Alright, well let me just tell you this before I give the backstory in the three tape recorders. And so, uh, he said, how long is it going to take a couple of hours or as long as you want to go. This is 9:00 in the morning at 6:00 in the evening. We were still there talking and as I tell you, these people talk, they talk and it’s not that I’m a skilled quester because my questions are very simple. Tell me about you and tell me your story and tell me the story of the company. That’s it. And all I really have to do is sit there and say, and then what happened? And then what happened next? And then, all right and next, that’s all I have to say because I am so captivated. William Buckley, one said that 99 percent of all people are interesting and the one person, one percent of people who are not interesting. It was interesting because they’re not interesting. And so let me ask you a question. How much is it worth for Jeff Labalme who’s worth billions and billions of dollars? How much is it worth for me to get one day of his time is worth a lot of money so I can’t afford. I remember having just my main recorder and a backup in an interview and I finished ours and the, and the main recorder hadn’t worked if I hadn’t had the backup and that’s when I went to triple. And uh, so I always travel with three voice recorders.
Your level of preparation is inspiring. It just, whenever I read your book, I just cannot stress to the listeners out there. If you’ve not read a Jason Jennings book, you’re going to spend $20 this month, chunk at a gas station. They’re going to say, you’re going to go into a gas station, the guy is going to say, do anything extra with that, and you’re going to say this. Let me get some of this. Let me get some beef jerky me overpay for a red bull. Yeah, no, no, no, no. This month, let’s have a month of abstinence. Let’s say no to $19 of random things you don’t need to buy. Let’s buy a Jason Jennings Book and you will see maniacal in a good way. Preparation at its best. It’s so good in this. This concept, rule number seven of simplifying everything. It freed me up to scale where previously as I grew the business, my personal effort would have to increase, but your concept taught me that if you simplify, didn’t you? Although you can multiply your own personal effort, you can scale your company. Please. Deep dive into that
secret. You just said something and I’m sitting here with the broadest grin on my face ever. Um, you have to know for 34 years I’ve been in the gym six days a week, wherever I am. And then my high school graduation. Wait, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been at. I eat extraordinarily clean and you know what I did today? I bought a beef jerky at a guest.
We both do that a lot here too.
And I got the jumbo size.
Are you striving for Ketosis? Is that right?
Man? So anyway, just a little bit. Bomb is brilliant. And I said, what is the magic that’s allowed you to do this? And he said, look, we just make everything as simple as possible. He said, we exist to make our customers’ lives easier and he’s not talking about people who put the carpet in their, in their homes. He’s talking about the carpet stores that sell their floors and sell their carpet. And he said, so we just have to ask ourselves how can we make our customers lives easier? And then we set about ringing out waste and efficiency. It’s about knowing exactly where we’d want to go, but taking small steps to get there and don’t try and stop things from happening. He said, every day I ask myself, how can we make this more simple? And this was a common thread that we have found in all of the companies I’ve written about for all of my books.
They just work relentlessly to make it simple. There are a lot of people in companies who bring no value to the organization. They don’t sell anything, they don’t service anything. They don’t create anything. So what they have to do with their job function is make it very to appear to be very, very complicated because if their job appears to be very, very complicated, they think they can’t be replaced. And so you have to constantly route these people out of the organization who believed that making what they do is so complicated that nobody else can do it
by William Shakespeare. And the other one is by me. And I shouldn’t quote myself chip, so you can quote me. Okay? So William Shakespeare, all, he said, brevity is the soul of wit. Gay can simplify and you can multiply. Now chip, I’ve always said our conferences like Clark. On the other hand, he, he always says complexity fails and simplicity scales. Yep. So important that you simplify, simplify. Because Jason, in the event that you try to scale something that’s not simplified, what’s going to happen to the personal life of an owner of a company, if they personally try to grow from 2 million a year, enough sales to $20,000,000 a year of sales and they haven’t simplified their systems and processes,
well, they’re not going to have a life and then they will ultimately be destroyed.
So Jason Jennings sound effect for encouraging you to simplify. Simplify. Okay. So rule number eight, a chap. I call this the Oto. Oh yes, yes. Because my vast knowledge of multiple languages. Okay. So ruler, AP accountable. The goodrich story. This, this, this story was so powerful. Can you, can you talk to us about being accountable and the goodrich story.
The man’s name is Marshall Larsen, who was the CEO who had created so much incredible value and the previous three years and what you need to know about him as a little small town. Um, let’s see, what is Enderlin Enderlin, North Dakota or Enderlin South Dakota. But he, because it was small state, he got nominated to go to west point. He went to West Point, he sort of very distinguished military career and left and got into business, so he carried a lot of that military career with him and of course what happens in the military is there is 100 percent accountability, so when he got to Goodrich, they were had been a former tire manufacturer based in Ohio. They relocated their headquarters to North Carolina and there were lots of aeronautical businesses. They’re not in the tire business at all anymore, and so his rules, he was a remarkable man to spend time with and he said, here’s what it’s all about.
He said, it’s about having a sense of personal responsibility and being accountable at all times for anything and everything that happens in the company. He said, by doing that, that allows me to set the example and hold everyone else accountable at all times. He said, there is no slack given here. He says, once you have built your accountable team, you trust your team, and he said, what you do is everyone has to have a crystal clear understanding of exactly what’s expected of exactly not some idea of what they should be trying to get done, but they should have, they should have a crystal clear understanding of exactly what’s happened to them. And then he said, forget vision statements. He said, you have to have a destination and communicated all the time.
All the time. Nonstop, nonstop. See what, what happens in most companies, guys, is this, the leaders make a big pronouncement. Uh, they sent out the memo, they hang up a couple of posters on the wall and they just assumed that everybody got it. Everybody understood and everybody’s going to live it. That doesn’t happen and it has to be communicated and lived all the time. But like you might expect from a military guy, he said, and you have to have an access and access of advance. And I was sitting there looking like I just fallen off the back of the turnip truck trying to figure out what access means. And, but to a military guy wins, you know, you have to have accountability and you have all the steps to reach your destination. Everybody has to be accountable.
I didn’t answer, but I did know that it was going to come from a military perspective because of the case study. So I had a notable quotable prepared that I want to ask you a bit of a sneak attack. Colin Powell, who many people know is the first African American Secretary of state for a decorated military leader he wants wrote. Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off. Can you talk to me about where the rubber meets the road? When someone knows what to do, they clearly know what to do and they just passively aggressively refused to do it. How would you handle it or how would you instruct our business owners to handle that type of situation?
Well, I can, I can tell you more importantly, I think I can channel Marshall Marshall Larsen here and I can tell you how he would handle it. And he would say, John, uh, we agreed that this was going to happen. You agreed that you were going to get this done. You have failed for whatever reason. What is your plan for correcting it and getting it back on track. Let’s discuss that because other parts of the organization are counting on you to get this done and if you don’t go to get it done, it’s going to slow them down and adversely affect their performance. So let’s, let’s try to figure out what you’re going to do to correct it and know that it has to be corrected and you don’t need to say anymore. Uh, because the implication is clear.
You know, Jack Welch, the former CEO of Ge, who grew the company by 4,000 percent during his tenure, he once wrote, he says, good business leaders, create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. He said relentlessly, which is what you were talking about earlier. You just have to talk about it too. You’re just almost sick of it, don’t you? I mean, you have to obsess about over and over and over articulating the same thing to get it done
over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat,
do you as an author, what do you have like a mantra that you repeat over and over and over as you go from a best selling book? Number one, best selling book, number two bestselling book. Number three, do you have like a mantra that keeps you that you have kind of your own because you’re. You’re an author, so it’s weird because you’re self employed, you lead a team, but you’re the. You’re the head of the team, probably not a whole lot of pressure from other forces to compel you to write the next book and you have to get yourself all fired up and articulate the vision to yourself and hold yourself accountable. How do you. How do you do with yourself?
I can tell you exactly what I do and it happened when the first book was just about complete excuse me, and I was about to send the manuscript in and I will be the first to admit that that book was all about me. I was so proud that I was going to have a book. I was so proud that I had a contract with a huge publisher. I was so proud of this, it was all about me, which is not a good place to be in your life. And finally I had a revelation and this was the day before the manuscript, one in a and it was, this is not about me. This book is going to be around a lot longer. This book has to be more about others. I mean that about my little world. And so in every book that I’ve worked on, every piece of research I do is coming from the place of how can I help somebody become better, uh, it will this book fulfill the promise of the title of the book.
I am driven and, and, and, and what allows me to keep my finger on the pulse is everyday I get about 100 emails from people who’ve read books and listen to speeches. And since day one I respond to every single one of them. It might only be one or two sentences, but I don’t have an assistant right then for me, I write every one and I will tell you both that I. there’s never been a morning that I don’t sit here because I’m Scandinavian heritage. Unfortunately kidneys are close to my eyes. There’s never been a morning that I sit here answering these emails or I don’t tear up once or twice because when somebody sends you an email and says you, I’m a dry cleaner in Utah. We were almost bankrupt today. We have nine locations and it’s because of you and your book less is more or you and your book think big, act small. And I mean I just sit here and give voice to it. And, and that couple wanted to travel to Chicago to a speech I was giving just for one minute to shake my hand. They didn’t care about attending the conference. They just wanted to shake my hand. And uh, so it’s not so much a mantra as it just knowing the powerful responsibility that I have.
Thrive nation. That is a powerful question. I would ask you a rhetorical is, what is your big mission? What is your big goal? Why are you doing what you do? Now rule number nine from hit the ground running is the importance of cultivating a fierce sense of urgency, cultivating a fierce sense of urgency. Mr Jason, can you break that down for us?
I mean, it’s basically, I suppose in some respects biblically inspired. I’m also a Judeo Christian heritage and background, but I remember when Jesus told challenge these people follow me and somebody said, well, you know, I got to go home and bury my father. And he said, let the dead bury that data. If you’re coming, just come along now. Well, I’ve got to go back and take care of my family first. Take, come with me first. And um, and, and so urgency was important than an urgency is important now. And um, there’s just no room for complacency in any company today. And so Keith ratty comes to mind from quest star. He was just another fabulous character in the book. And, uh, he said, look, you have to set up to win and get things done quickly and surround yourself with others who feel the same way.
He said, nothing. Nobody else can cut it. There’s no place for anybody else here. You have to. We’re all setting onto when getting things done quickly and surround yourself with others. Feel the same way. He said, we have a no spin policy on everything. We are focused and we get rid of businesses that we have no experience in. We root out any sense of entitlement or complacency and that entitlement and complacency creep is ripe. And lots of companies then he said, we do postmortems and everything that works and that doesn’t work. We ask dumb questions, we stay humble. And he said, then when you can no longer do those things leave because you’ve lost your sense of urgency.
A man who has a sense of urgency about what appears to be your life in different aspects, a sense of urgency about your diet. Yes. You say this meal, this food that is presented to me as an option, this or this does not fall into my diet or my worldview, my game plan, so I want to just get off the rails for a second. I want to hit the exit ramp and I want to ask you about your, your personal diet because you have a sense of urgency about it. I’ve, I’ve, I’ve listened to enough interviews. Probably way too many. I probably you way too many times online interviews and anything I could read about you. It seems like you’re very intentional about your, your, your diet and what you’re putting into your body. You have that sense of urgency. Can you talk about what you allow into your body except for the occasional massive beef jerky stick that you ate today?
Yes. I will understand the growing up in America Midwest, by the age of 16, I weighed 245 pounds. Now granted that was playing football and I was six too, but I was. I was 245 pounds and I was fat and I became an exchange student in France. Well, you can imagine, you know what, every 16 year old boys thinking about, they’re thinking about 16 year old girls. Well, a French people are kind of petite and tiny. I got over there, I looked like an elephant on roller skates and I just put myself on what, what was probably not healthy, but what was a starvation diet. And I got down to 170 pounds during the length of time I was there and I just became resolved that that would be where I would stay for the rest of my life. I mean, so I don’t think I’ve got any eating disorder, but over the years I’ve figured out what I need to do to stay there and uh, and, and, and stay at my top peak physical form.
And a big part of this was being in the gym every single day, six days a week as well, and really working yourself out as hard as you possibly can. So my diet is essentially very simple. Uh, I guess you could say I don’t eat a lot. Um, so, uh, I, I begin my day with one cup of decaffeinated coffee during my first hour of the day and I generally take two or three sips of that. I mean that’s, the cup is full an hour later and then about an hour after that I’d like to go 12 hours before I’ve had food. So if I’m in bed by 9:00 in the evening, that 9:00 on having a fruit and vegetable smoothie and it’s fruits and it is vegetables and a little tiny bit of Kefir, yogurt based drink. And uh, I will drink quite a bit of that. A couple of hours later I’ll have some protein, generally a couple of eggs. And then if I’m going to have a half a sandwich in the middle of the day to be a lean Turkey sandwich and I will take most of the bread off. And then in the evening I’m going to have a piece of protein and a good piece of protein. Couldn’t be as good as a couple small lamb chops and a vegetable and a salad. And that’s, that’s it. And the only exception is, other than the beef jerky today, I have no idea how that even happened.
probably once a month I will allow myself to go to woody’s yogurt and have a scoop of ice cream with a little bit of chocolate sauce on top. That’s it. And everybody says, Oh my God, you were so disciplined. It’s got nothing to do with discipline in my life. Going to the gym six days a week has nothing to do with discipline. My Diet has nothing to do with discipline. Playing. My Viola has nothing to do with discipline. It has everything to do with a lack of. Because I’m afraid of. I stopped. I would never start again. It’s that simple.
So you played the viola. You’re. I’ve read. I’d read that. That you were good at that. Are you? Very, very good. But you played this for years or
so. When I was a kid, I wanted to play a stringed instrument and my father very simply said, no ged. Kid of mine is going to ged. Play a ged instrument. You’re playing football, you’re playing basketball, you’re running track. None of this tennis crap either because that’s for sissies and so I from the earliest age one to play a stringed instrument and so 12 years ago I went online, posted an ad that I was looking for a teacher and several people applied and I interviewed one young guy who is now like the sun. I never had a as a mills, a Duke played with the San Francisco symphony. He is brilliant. And um, he came in and uh, in the first meeting at the house he looked at, I thought I wanted to play violin and he took a look up at me. He’s a smaller guy.
They said, oh my God, you don’t want a violin, viola. And he said, it’s your lucky day. I just happened to have one of my car. And he said, so he went and got it. He brought it in. I picked it up and he sat down. I only worked with serious students. He said, how serious are you going to be? And I said, well, I travel a lot. I. I said, well, how many days a year? I said, I don’t know, a hundred 20, a hundred and 30 days a year. He said, well, how many lessons are you going to have? I said, every day that I’m not on the road, other than Sundays, I’ve want to lessen. And he’s, well, how many that’d be a year. A couple hundred, probably his eyes when coaching, coaching, coaching, sketching, and then we went to work and that’s 12 years ago. And uh, I’m, I’m pretty good. Yes. I do want to be modest. I absolutely love it.
Well, you can’t say this about you, but I can say about you. I can say that if your career as an author of multiple best selling books doesn’t work out, you know, if your next book really doesn’t go well, you could be a male model.
Yeah, we’re looking good there. You’re looking good. I mean, I’m serious. You’re eating clean. I put her on the show notes. I put down your recommended diet before we get back and all this business stuff. I know we have a lot of listeners out there that one,
the only one that would want me to be a model for them would be the arp my friend.
Okay. Alright. So now you recently released an updated copy of your bestselling book. Think big act small. For the listeners out there who are not familiar with this book, where did you first get the inspiration to write that book? Originally?
So as I said, I don’t have a lot of inspiration in my life. Normally doesn’t occur to me. I wish I had amused that showed up and jumped in. My shoulder doesn’t happen that way. So it’s always from these hundreds of conversations that I have. And uh, one day I was talking to a CEO, I was going to be doing a speech for his company and he’s, I, we were talking about one of my books and he said, well, I liked your book. He said, I don’t read many business books. And I said, well why not? He said, because most of them are just filled with specialty. He said they’re written by academics who’ve never done it. And he was kinda down on business books and you said, you know what I would like to know? He said, you know, every company, somebody writes about it, they say it’s one of the best companies in the United States.
He said, I would really like to know who are the best companies in the United States. So I thought, Geez, I would do. And so that’s where these ideas come from. And because I knew at the time the companies that we hear about all the time, right, not necessarily the best companies is that they’ve got more, they’d get more promotion going for them or public relations going for them, their egos. Ceos got a lot of ego and wants to be the wine light a lot. And so at the end of the day, it’s got to come down to finance. And so what we did is I hired a research team and we evaluated a every publicly traded company in America. I’m trying to remember what the total number was. I think I can, I think it was like 70,000 companies that we evaluated for the book. And the first question we asked was a, which of these companies have grown their revenues organically, not through acquisition, which is these companies are growing the revenues organically double digits for 10 years.
Well, we went through thousands and thousands of companies and we use factset for all of our financial research and we can in the fact that there were like 123, uh, who had grown their revenues double digits every year for 10 years. And then Vj, one of my researchers. So, but that doesn’t mean anything he said, unless they were growing their profits at the same time, it means nothing. He said, of these 23, let’s see how many had grown their profits double digits every year for 10 years without a miss. And we did and we felt to 10 and we said surely these 10 companies who have grown their revenues organically for 10 years without a miss and growing their profits 10 years without a miss 10 percent every year for 10 years that I miss. These are the finest companies in the country. And they absolutely distinguished themselves, absolutely distinguish themselves.
A great companies like Sas, the fourth largest software company in the world, O’reilly automotive, pet cove, medline enterprises, that foods. I mean, these are truly the great companies. What you’d probably not do not know is that about seven or eight years later after the book came out, it was still selling very strong and my publisher came to me and said I was already working on another hardcover at the time, but he said, you know, it’s time to go back and update that book. And he said, so why don’t you see what they’ve done during the past seven or eight years? And what we found is that every one of them had continued doubling or growing the revenues by double digits every year and growing the profits by double digits every year. So they had only done it for 10 years. They’d done it for 17 or 18 years
from a time where people used to go out to dinner. I don’t know if you remember this, but they wouldn’t actually be looking down to the cell phone or a smartphone during and it would be making eye contact. There was a time dinosaurs were dinosaurs were roaming the earth and people had like a landline, yellow pages were prevalent, um, and somebody had to learn how to take and organize notes when writing a book without all of the software, without all the tools we now have available. So I’d like to get your approach because you’re old school and new school. What’s your approach to taking an organizing notes? When preparing to write a book?
I began as a journalist early on, figured out that when you were standing as a reporter in front of somebody with a notepad in your hand and asking them questions and writing down every word that they said, they became very careful about their responses because they knew the words were being memorialized. I can honestly say I have not taken a note since, uh, I record every conversation. Every interview that I have is recorded. And as I told you, people just spilled. They forget the devices there. They forget that I’ve told them that I would like to record the conversation. They forget that. And the, and my promise is. And, and I give them an added measure of safety and I say, so what I’m going to do is after this interview today, um, the, uh, our conversation will be set as an audio file a and it will become a script and I’m going to send a copy to you via email and you take out anything that you wanted to that’s in there that you think you over spoke or you said something wrong because I’m not interested in catching you on, not issued writing anything bad on the I, the guy that writes about the good stuff.
And so I believe it’s because I don’t take notes that people are so open. We are truly just having a conversation and I get to say, cheese is that fascinating. And then what happened next and what happened as a result of that. Okay, well, but you didn’t finish that stormy. Tell me about that one. I couldn’t write that much. And two, they would become very careful and cautious. So I record everything. I have it transcribed and that’s how I work.
And then have it transcribed. Now, once you have everything transcribed, it’s all recorded. Do you have a special place you’d like to be physically when writing? I mean, do you go down to a, to a van down by the river? Do you go underneath the Golden Gate Bridge? Do you go to an in and out Burger? Do you work out of your house? Where do you go when you’re actually sitting down to write?
I can only write one place. I’ve never written one word on an airplane ever. I’ve never written one word in a hotel room, a ever. And I stay. I’m on lots of airplanes and lots of hotel rooms. I have, I’ve just never had an interest in writing there. There’s only one place I write and that is in my, um, in my office, my Home Office and uh, you know, I’ve got this gorgeous view of the San Francisco Bay, but I close my door because I don’t even want to look at it. And uh, and the rule for my writing is what I’m actively working on a book. I want to write 500 words a day. Had Note I did not say 500 words a day. That’s real easy. It’s real easy to write long. Uh, I like to write 500 words, perfect words a day. Some days those come in three or four hours. Some days though, those don’t come until I leave for the gym.
Sounds like it has a lot of history, a lot of things that motivate you, that help you create that ambiance that’s conducive to writing. Could you explain to us, for those of you, for those listeners out there like myself, we’re very interested in the habits, routines and the talk to me about what your office looks like.
Wow, great question. Nobody’s ever asked that one before. Well, first of all, uh, my office would probably be a 14 by 14. Uh, it’s got a sort of sliding doors out to a balcony patio. And so every time I need to just get some fresh air or I’m just shake it off, I could walk out there and walk up and down the balcony, which looks out in the glorious hills of Northern California. Um, I imagine at that one wall is a, it’s bookcases built in bookcases, Florida ceiling. And, uh, as you might guess, um, I’m guessing there’s a couple of thousand bucks here and they are all curated so much, like a much like a library a would be. My books are curated the same way. I have a glass top desk, a large one and a glass base and there’s nothing on my desk without a, with the exception of a couple of family pictures, uh, over the years.
Every time I do a speech, somebody gives me a tchotchke or it gives me a gift. Uh, they, they don’t make it to my office. I want my office to be completely cleaned and organized. I have two guest chairs at either rented by a glass top desk. I don’t think anybody’s ever sat in them, uh, except on a Saturday morning when the bookkeeper is here. It has me sit in one of them, uh, and he wants to go over all the charges and the money I spent that week that if I turn around, I look at dual monitors and a. and behind the monitors is a huge custom piece of art that I had done. And it’s more bookcases and other side and uh, I’ve been working on dual monitors for probably 15, 16, 17 years and would work on a three monitors except I’ve read the productivity studies and you do not get any increase in productivity from three monitors as opposed to two monitors and, uh, and, and that’s it. Many, many years ago, the most important person in my life told me that simplicity is elegance. And so I am, um, I have a very simple design aesthetic and the only few pieces that exist on the bookshelves are I collect boxes. And so if I’m in China, I’m in Vietnam and Thailand, South America. If I’m in Poland, if I’m in Russia, I will always buy a wooden box of some kind. And again, they are curated and they are displayed among the books and some of the shelves.
And then the final thing is my books had been 34 languages, so I’ve got a copy of a every foreign language edition of my books also in the bookcase.
Huh? Randy Pausch was a professor. He’s a professor of computer science. He lived between 1968. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He wrote this book called the last lecture when he discovered he had terminal cancer and he talked about the importance of having two monitors. I immediately went out there and bought two monitors. Now all of our employees have two monitors and that right there could save jason somebody out there hundreds of hours or more a year. Just the ability to move data from one source to the other. That’s a powerful tool.
One of my monitors flickered this morning, briefly went dark and I almost had a panic attack and uh, so I was on the phone with my it concierge who jumped on a via team viewer and fix whatever flickering there was. But no, I really count on having my two monitors.
Well, don’t get me all nervous like that. If you get my adrenaline going, I might just send you another monitor. Okay. No, no, I’m fine now. Now you, you, you also wrote in your book, think big, act small. You write about keeping your hands dirty. I love for you to share what you mean by this because so many people say, I’ll keep your hands clean of this. Oh, you’re the boss. You’re the owner. You should keep your hands clean. What does it mean to keep your hands dirty?
I’ll answer that one very simply. We first identified this one when I was writing about a s, a s, a hardware company based in Cary, North Carolina, and uh, the CEO is Dr Jim Goodnight. One of the most incredible leaders in characters on the planet, uh, when they have not built. When you walk onto the drive onto the campus, it feels like a university campus. It does not feel like a business park. And he actually lives in the grounds. A couple of other senior executives live on the grounds. It’s filled with parks, filled with buildings, filled with schools for the kids whose families work. They’re filled with fitness facilities filled with art galleries. It’s the most incredible campus I’ve ever been on in my life. And I basically run it like a college or university, although they have increased the revenues double digits for the past 27 years.
It’s a most remarkable company and he spends Dr. Goodnight is worth billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars and you probably seen him profiled on 60 minutes. He hates paying taxes. He would rather spend the money. So if there’s any perk that he can provide his employees, I mean, you know, uh, health healthcare on the campus, done schools on the campus, does snacks on the campus, done concerts on the campus, done. I mean he would rather spend it out as people and spend it in taxes. Now, just, I, just a neat, neat guy. And when he gets a couple of inches of a object, daniels on the rocks, he tells a story. One of the best storytellers I’ve ever met, but he spends half his time, half his time out talking to customers. Half his time wouldn’t have to do that at this point it was like 50 percent of his time and all of a sudden we kept finding it in other companies, ceos who were spending half their time with customers, just asking customers, what else can we do for you? I mean, what else itches that we can scratch. How are we doing? What’s a pain point for you that maybe we could make go away and that’s become known as the 50 percent rule. I’m next week. Could it be with a 100 CEOS, their companies do a billion dollars or more a year and we’ll be talking about the 50 percent rule. Don’t ever become so self important, uh, with the title of CEO in an organization that you’re unwilling to spend half your time with. Customers
don’t ever get so busy or so self important that you don’t spend 50 percent of your time listening and talking to your customers. Now you also wrote about making short term goals with long term horizons. What do you mean by that?
So what I would, what I would say that all of these people believe is this, you don’t take care of this year. I mean, Hey, your goals, your objectives, get done what you said you were going to get done. Don’t do it as part of the grandiose five year plan. You know, when you ask somebody the question when somebody says, well, you know, today we’re about a $500,000,000 company. But in five years, we want to be a $3,000,000,000 company when that’s the reason they exist, they are almost telling you, and we will do anything including lie, cheat, and steal, to get there. They’re chasing the wrong thing and they’re also engaged in Chinese math in most instances. Now the population of China is one point 4 billion. So if only one percent of the Chinese, certainly one percent of a population would buy what we have. So I’m like, God, that’s $140 million. Oh my God. Then think about what we’d be worth if we sold a hundred and $40 million to just one percent of the people in China. So people just themselves with Chinese math, with long grandiose plans, you have to have some idea of where you want to go. You’ve got to have some idea what, what, what, what you want to be. But you know what? Every one of these companies takes care of business. Now,
this is a powerful concept. You have to take care of business. Now. You can’t have bs math. You just can’t. Jason. There’s so many people that say, gosh, my product is so good. If I could just send a one percent of the American population, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that math and it just doesn’t work. Now, you also wrote this, this book that you just keep writing these, these mind expanding books. I’ve had to duct tape my head together figuratively numerous times. Read the reinventors how extraordinary companies pursue radical. Continuous change isn’t itself. It’s inspirational teaching moment. I love the cover of the book. I mean, the book, the book cover itself is inspiring. Can you talk to us about this book, the reinventors and what it’s all about?
I can tell you where it came from. It came from my conversations with people getting ready for speeches. I remember the day that had happened. We were at our lake place in Michigan and I was up in my study. I was talking to the CEO of a small it company with a couple of hundred employees in Iowa. And uh, I said, how are you and, uh, offers. I said more than that. I thanked him for his time and explained what I hope to accomplish through the call and I said, how are you? And he said, well, I’m much better today than I was last week. And I said, well, why is that? What’s, what’s, what’s happening? What’s going on? He said, you know, he said, I just sometimes let people get me down. And, and he said, finally, I had the realization that I’m in charge and that I have to do whatever is necessary to grow this company and take it to where I promised the people it would be because it’s going to have a positive impact on their lives.
And he said, I’m having difficulty. I’m not gonna have anybody else commoditize me anymore. And so what? So what I was hearing from a lot of people were that there be downward pressure on prices. They’re being commoditized. Well, the problem is if the only thing you’ve got to talk about is price, there’s only one point of one way to go and that’s down. I’ve never seen a discussion and price go upward. It always ends up with you going down on your price. So if you, all you’ve got to talk about is price, so there needs to be something else in the game that the value add, the value that you’re going to create. And I thought I need to find the companies that had just mastered the art of getting out of the commodity marketplace, who have mastered the art of changing the rules and just constantly learn how to create more value and do more for their customers and earn more and more money.
And so it was the reinventors how extraordinary companies pursue radical, continuous change and, um, and that’s what they do. And uh, and there’s a few reasons that that has to happen. One, yesterday’s breadwinners are not going to get you where you want to go. That’s going to happen. What brought you to where you are is not going to get you to where you want to go. So you’ve got to be willing to let go of yesterday’s breadwinners. You have to get rid of same old, same old. So during my speeches, I look out in the audience and I say, I want everybody to shout out and finish this statement for me. If it ain’t broke and everybody showed stone break it and I go, there’s only one problem with that that flies in the face of the law of suckage. Starts to titter and laughed. And I said, you know what? The law says, by the time you figure out you suck, you have sucked for a long yeah. And the audience goes absolutely crazy. So you’ve got to be constantly letting go of same old, same old. You’ve got to be letting go of ego and you’ve got to be letting go of conventional wisdom. And so we basically identified the companies that have done the most incredible job. I’m constantly reinventing themselves.
I tell clients all the time, I say in the absence of value is the only consideration in the absence of value. Price is the only consideration. And if you are finding yourself in a business right now where you’re being commoditized, the prices are being driven down. You’re competing on price only. Unless you’re Walmart. That’s not a game you want to get involved and that’s why your book, I think the reinventors is a fabulous purchase for anybody and what better way to say I love you. Ciao. [inaudible] during the month of September. Then with the gift of a Jason Jennings bestselling book, the reinventors, it really is the gift that keeps on giving clear. Now in chapter three and you write about picking the destination, what does this mean to you to pick the destination?
Well, the destination, the destination that was shared with me by a CEO would take it over a troubled company and then made it into one of my books and he said, look, he said, a great ceo, a great leader is really a travel agent. And I probably looked puzzled and he said, you know, you’ve got to find a destination, you’ve got to find where you want to be, and then you’ve got to invite people to make an investment and come along on the same journey with you. And uh, his name was Pat Hassey and it was allegheny technologies and what an incredible job. He did turn that company around. So. So what is the destination is a word, and I guess as we’re coming to a close or close to a close, it’s a perfect time for me to invoke the one word I haven’t mentioned today and uh, and that word is this, and it’s almost the only word I use in my life and in my speeches into my books.
And that is the word purpose. The destination, excuse me, is actually what your purpose is, not what your vision statement is. Forget it. Not what your mission statement is. Forget it. It’s what we’re really trying to be, what we’re really trying to become, which what you’re, were you really trying to go. And let me give you a few quick examples. Inbar, comprehend. Build the world’s only global furniture brand. Ikea. An unbelievable story. So what was his vision statement and did have a position statement? What was his mission statement? He have a mission statement. He said we were not in the furniture business. He said, we exist to improve the lives of the many. He said, rich people don’t shop here. We don’t want rich people who shop here. We want the mini to shop here and we want to improve the lives of the many and the only people I want to have working here are those who want to set out to improve the lives of the many and it Ikea.
What they do every year is they celebrate price reductions. That price increases price reductions. I think of comment in Chicago and probably one of the most incredible female ceos I’ve ever met. You know what his comment? It’s a power distribution company. They shoot electricity through a copper wires. Who in the heck wants to work for them? That’s like a. that’s like a dinosaur industry. How did she turn around the fortunes of the company? She said, what you think we distribute power. She said, we don’t distribute electricity. She said, we power people’s lives. There wouldn’t be a lifesaving cancer surgery going on in white. Now, if we didn’t our people’s lives, kids would not be playing soccer games and football games at night. If we didn’t power people’s lives, people would die of heat stroke in the summer. If we didn’t empower people’s lives, people would freeze in the winter.
If we didn’t power people’s lives and she reversed the fortune of the company immediately, O’reilly Automotive, the only company I’ve ever known to have increased the revenues double digits for 59 out of 60 years. Wow. They’re not at the auto parts business. When Charlie o’reilly founded out of a rally automotive the night before, they opened the door and he said, you don’t. We’re going to do. We’re going to offer the best service in the world. He didn’t say that that service in Missouri, he didn’t say, the best service in the United States could offer the best service in the world, and so you know how we’re going to do that. We’re going to do that, but making the customer. Number two, everybody looked at what he said, we’re going to make you number one because only if we make you. Number one, can we ever hope to offer the greatest customer service in the world
because your books are so filled with powerful case studies. I encourage all the listeners out there to check out your book, the reinventors, how extraordinary companies pursue radical continuous change and out of respect for your your time. I have two final questions that I wanted to pick your brain on. The habits and routines that make ultra people that make ultra successful people like yourself are reality. There’s these habits and routines are these things you do in the first hour of your day every day that very few other people are doing. Maybe the first two hours of the day, which you share with us. How you spend the first couple hours of every day.
I will be happy to know. This is going to say remember I’m the guy that wrote, it’s not the big that heat the smallest city to slow. I wrote the high speed company so you might think that I jumped out of bed at 4:30 in the morning and just I’m rearing to go 100 miles an hour, not the case because I think. I think speed without a reason for speed is really reckless. So let me tell you, I’m up every morning at about 4:30. The first hour is for me. Why did I make it 4:30? Because nobody else is awake. Nobody’s going to bother me. That time belongs to me. And so and so what I spend that hour doing is the first time. So I make my cup of DECAF and take two sips as I told you earlier that, that, that, that’s, I don’t even like the taste, but it’s something warm.
And then the first thing I do is 10 minutes of gratitude and that is gratitude for people. It might be gratitude for a client I haven’t seen for eight years, but I am grateful for the way they touched by life. It might be a family member, uh, it might be this beautiful home that I get to live in a, it might be that I’m grateful that I’m successful enough to have a trainer in the gym kicking me in the butt six days a week, wherever I am in the world. So I spent the first 10 minutes and it really in gratitude. Then I spent the next 10 minutes and I, and I mentioned this out of my iphone. Then I spent the next 10 minutes asking what I really want to accomplish today and, and that’s not my schedule because my schedule’s already been built.
I’ll have to do, is open up my outlook calendar to know my schedule is. But I mean, um, but um, it’s a time of contemplation and asking what, what, what big do I want to get done today? And then it’s a final 10 minutes imagining what my day is gonna look like because if I can imagine the day, then I can have that day be the way I imagined it. So that takes the first half hour. Then I spend 30 minutes reading and watching, catching up on the news and that’s combination of television, several televisions, I iphones, newspapers, magazines. Then I take about 30 minutes to get ready and then I spent one hour of answering emails and that’s the first two and a half hours of my day. And then I open up my to do list and start crossing items off the list. It might be a book, it might be a podcast by speech, whatever it is, but that first hour of the morning really sets, sets the truck for the day,
listen to this part of the podcast. Numerous times, people that can design the life they want to live. It’s amazing the productivity improvement you can have because nothing that gets eaten is anything that does not get scheduled, doesn’t get done, and I love your intentionality and purposefulness of how you plan your day adjacent. For anybody out there who would like to buy your books to find out more about you, I know everybody can pick them up on Amazon, everybody knows how the, how Google works, but where would you direct people to. What’s the one point of contact where you would most like people to find out more about you and the books that you’ve put together? The years?
I guess the first point of contact would probably been my website. It’s just Jason Dash Jennings Dot com, and that dash is like a hyphen, Jason Dash Jennings.com. That’s the website and there’s a big section. All of my books. It tells you briefly a little bit. We don’t sell books on my website, so this is not a, there’s not a pitch to sell books. It’ll actually be a two step process, but if you want to find out about them, go to the website. The story of all the books are there, the pictures of all the foreign language additions are there. If you want to know anything about me, my, I’m, I’m really pretty transparent. My life is an open book and so that’s probably the best point of contact. And then of course everybody knows where to get books. Books a million, uh, uh, borders. I’m sorry. Yeah. Borders, uh, Amazon, uh, you know, they’re all over the place.
Jason, I appreciate you so much on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of listeners for taking time out of your schedule and away from your beautiful view in San Francisco to be here with us. And, uh, I’m sorry for taking you away from your beef jerky for this long, but hopefully you still have time to eat that,
uh, and uh, and, and get to the gym. I’ve got to tell you guys something. I’ve done hundreds of podcasts and radio interviews, maybe thousands. I’m not sure that I’ve enjoyed this one more than any other I’ve ever done. You guys are really, really sharp cookies and if you ever want me back, don’t hesitate. I. I really dig it.
Chop. How sharp was Jason Jennings right there on top of his game. I tell you what, man, his books are so good. His interview was. His routine is so good. Everything about it was just. It was almost too good, too. Good. Chip. I need to do, but when we. When we wrap up today’s podcast, I need to go write down a list of ways that, that Jason is beating me in the game of life and I need to stop after about four hours of writing because it’s a guy. He eats the perfect diet. He’s very intentional rights to perfect books. Yep. He plays the viola expertly. Apparently. I tell you what, thrive nation. I encourage you to go check out his website today. If you have yet to visit his website, it’s worth. It’s worth seeing. Other guy has written case studies on some of the biggest companies in the world, and, uh, you would, you would be really missing out on something if you, if you don’t read one of his books because they have the power to absolutely transform your organization as they did for me many years ago. You could learn more at Jason Dash [inaudible] dot com is Jason Dash [inaudible] dot com. And shop with any further. I do too.