We have Katharine Halpin and David Roy Newby. Katharine is America’s number one growth hacker. She helps leaders, teams and companies. She has a unique process for helping individuals and organizations become successful. David Roy Newby is an author of a book called Beyond Billions. He helps billionaires to preserve wealth.
Listen to the podcast here
Bringing Out The Best In You with Katharine Halpin
I am here with Katharine Halpin who is a keynote speaker, consultant and author of Alignment For Success: Bringing Out The Best In Yourself, Your Teams, And Your Company and Strategic Reserves of Time: Eight Keys to Managing Your Time More Effectively. Her seminars and leadership development programs focus on driving results by engaging everyone, narrowing their focus, aligning communications, and building transparency at every level in every transaction and interaction. It’s nice to have you here, Katharine.
Thank you so much, Diane. I’m so appreciative. I love your blog and your interviews. I’m happy to be able to be part of them now.
You do some amazing things. You talk about a lot of the things that I’m fascinated in terms of innovation, change and bringing out the best in others. You do a lot of different programs. I have many experts on my show who deal with communication, with culture and with all the things that I know you deal with. What is the biggest topic that they come to you for most? What’s the biggest challenge in the workplace?
What they come to me for most is productivity. I’ve built a brand around helping get the right people in the right roles focused on the right priorities. The number one challenge in the workplace is that work does not work for many people. People have gotten into leadership roles that would be much happier being an individual contributor. The reason I’m passionate about this topic is my dad died of a massive heart attack at the age of 55 after a career as a CPA. I became a CPA too because in the late 1970s, they didn’t do any career counseling for women at the University of Southern Mississippi. I became an accounting major, I’ve got my CPA, and he died around that time.
I was never satisfied. It was a big loss at 26 years old. We had been close because I had gone to work with him at such a young age when I was a kid. It didn’t work for me as a CPA. I was never supposed to be an Accounting major. I was never supposed to get my CPA license. I was never happy and never satisfied. I kept feeling if I changed jobs, I’ll fit in better, I’ll feel more of a sense of purpose, and more of a sense of community at work. Many people have not found their niche. They have not been able to articulate even to themselves what part of their work do they love and how might they do more of that. That’s what I’ve built my brand on, is helping uncover those strengths and helping align people’s roles with their strengths. If they’re not aligned with the values, the purpose, the mission of the company or they’re not aligned with their strengths, holding their hand is helping them find a role that they will be better suited for, either within the company or outside the company but maintaining their dignity during that entire process.If a leader is not happy in their role and not feeling fulfilled and successful, then that’s going to permeate into the whole team. Click To Tweet
It’s being able for them to make their own choices and have their head held high during that entire process. That’s my belief and my experience after doing this work for 23 years and that earlier career as a CPA. The culture is made up of all these individual people and mostly individual leaders. If you have a leader who’s not happy in their role, not feeling fulfilled, not feeling successful, then that’s going to permeate the whole team. There’s going to be a lot of backbiting, finger pointing, blame, and shame. By changing out that one leader, that one manager, that one small team, those frontline people might love what they’re doing and be happy and satisfied. They just need the right leadership.
It ties into a lot of the work I’m doing. I’m studying curiosity for my book. Part of why people need to deal with the things that hold them back from asking questions is because there are a lot of people aligned improperly. Nobody wants to ask the question that makes them look stupid. There’s so much behind all of that.
It’s how to create those spaces where people feel safe to say, “I have a concern or I have an idea.” People don’t often feel safe to say those things.
How do you create that, where they feel safe?
One of the key components of The Halpin Company’s secret sauce is what we call acknowledgments. Every team that we work with, whether they’re in the boiler room or their boardroom, we work with teams all at all levels. We make them stop every meeting and start with acknowledgments to celebrate the successes. I believe that every human being has a basic need above food, shelter and safety, to feel appreciated, to be acknowledged, and to feel they’re part of something bigger than themselves. For the leaders, when they celebrate the successes, they do it and they open up to everybody else. They start to see patterns and trends, “Bob and his team are good in this area. We should give them more of those kinds of projects,” so they can build on what is working instead of beating themselves up about what’s not working.
I know Millennials like to receive accolades several times a day, sometimes six, seven times a day. Sometimes Boomers feel uncomfortable giving too much and Millennials want so much. I was thinking of a person I worked with who used to tell everybody, “You’re the best. You’re the greatest.” It got to the point where he was telling everybody the same exact thing.
These acknowledgments have a couple of components for this exact reason. We’re giving each other compliments all day, but it’s not sticking. People are not internalizing that and it’s because we’re sharing our opinion. It’s easy for them to blow it off and say, “I was just doing my job. This was no big deal. This project was no big deal.” An acknowledgment has two components. It has to be based on the facts, what’s actually occurred, not just your opinion about what’s occurred. You have to say how it’s made a difference either for a customer, you, some other internal customer, for the project or for the company.
If you include those two components, it’s based on the facts, not just your opinion, and you say how it made a difference. People have a much greater likelihood of being able to internalize it, to be able to merely hear it and get it in their bones. They sit up straighter, their face lights up, they are so much more engaged and then that’s when they start to feel safer to say, “I’ve got a question about this project. We might be going south in six months if we don’t address this now.” That’s what we desperately need to increase innovation, creativity, productivity and everything. We need people to feel safe.Acknowledgement has two components: it is based on facts and the difference it created. Click To Tweet
In my research on curiosity, there were four factors that held people back from being curious. Fear was definitely one of them, assumptions, technology, and the environment. All these things tie into innovation and productivity and things that you focus on. It’s important in a team setting. Everything’s teams now. I remember going to ASU to get my degree. I remember all the activities were team activities. I remember thinking at the time, “Do they really do this?” At the time, they didn’t have that many teams. They were ahead of their time. Now, there are so many teams and it’s different. I keep hearing that the Millennials and younger generations are interested in having not so much focused on the leader of the team. There is a leader and if it comes down to it but everything is getting to be flatter. There’s not so much hierarchy. How are you helping people with all these teams? People do not stand out but blend in together if that’s what they want.
The greatest source of stress, whether it’s at home or the workplace, is what I call unnegotiated expectations. In these team environments, I’ve worked for over twenty years in organizations where there’s matrix. In a big accounting firm, this guy could be over the tax department in Seattle but he’s also got the tax people at a national level he’s reporting to but he’s also reporting to the managing partner in the Seattle office. That cascades all the way down the food chain to some entry level person that might be in tax or audit but they might have two or three supervisory people that they’re accountable to.
I have a process to help people clarify all the different hats they wear. I call it roles and goals. Let’s make a list of all the different roles that you’re involved with. You’re a committee member on this committee. You have the leadership of this project. You are accountable to deliver a piece of that project. Get all those roles down and then clarify with your supervisor, your leader, all the goals so that you can narrow the focus. If you’re trying to do all things, be all things to all people, and do everything, you’re never going to be successful. If you could agree with your supervisor, “These are the three big goals for the next week, the next month, or the next 90 days in all these areas that I’m responsible for.”
They report to many different people in these matrix organizations and that could be a process of a month to get on all your leaders’ calendars that say, “This is the role I play that I report to you on. This is what I see as the goals are. What do you see?” They can negotiate those expectations and not make the assumptions. When people don’t have clarity, they make up stories and they’re usually bad stories. That’s where the fear comes from. Get on the phone and negotiate those expectations with people all over the country you’re accountable to. I push people to do those roles and goals exercises. Often, I have to facilitate it because it’s complicated.
There’s so much crossover. How does that crossover impact in avoiding silos? What comes to mind, I want to give you a couple of things to think about when you respond to that, now that they have so many responsibilities? I’ve had many people say they get upset because people will block out multiple times on their calendar and block time the time that other people had had. I know you can stop that but I guess some companies they don’t. They’re triple booking. Are you seeing a lot of that or not?
I always have. When the iPhone was invented, our world and our workplace went to hell in a handbasket because now we’re all addicted to our devices. We have that next text message, that next email. What that does is it prevents us from being able to think strategically and think broadly. It’s much more difficult now to think critically and to maintain a broad perspective. We’re instant gratification oriented. That’s my eBook, the Respond, Not React Playbook. I have nine habits in there that I’d been using for over twenty years to help leadership teams get those nine habits, not in place every day for every person, it’s not feasible, but to try to get those to permeate the entire culture where people are free to say, “I’m blocking this time off so I can think strategically about this project or “I’m blocking this time off so I can bring my team together and we can think strategically about all of our projects.” That’s a big problem. People are distracted and they’re not able to focus properly.
When I started my career, we had what was called middle managers. We hardly ever have any. Do you ever find any middle managers before? Organizations are lean and executive assistants are doing so much that middle managers used to do to administer projects and they’ll be project managers. It is the most difficult thing but if we, as individuals, whether you’re in a leadership role or a summer internship role, doesn’t matter, if we can figure out how to self-manage and articulate to ourselves what’s important to us, what are our values? How do we want to spend our time? What activities do we want to perform? Take it all the way down to the task level. If we can articulate that to ourselves by getting some self-care, getting out in nature, getting our heart rate escalated at a frequent rate daily or three, four or five times a week. If we can do that self-management and self-leadership, it’ll be easier to find our voices and to say, “I’m not in the right job.”
It’s a hard question to face. What advice do you give them if they determined they’re not in the right job?
We start working with their leaders to see how we can craft a new job for them. Usually, it’s the leader that comes to me, not the frontline employee. I’ll say, “What are your expectations of Bob?” Let’s call him Bob. “Let’s accelerate those expectations and shorten the timeframe.” Bob, within a day or 90 days, usually it’s a week or two, can get clarity. “I don’t like these kinds of projects. I don’t want these kinds of projects.” Bob can articulate it to himself. I help the leader help escalate the process for Bob, so he could see, “This is not a good job for me.” Now we have workability. He’s been authentic. He’s speaking genuinely to his boss. His boss knows what his performance has been and what the challenges have been.
Now, they can come together. Two heads are always better than one. They can say, “Would you rather be within our department but doing more of these kinds of projects? Maybe be a subject matter expert in these two or three areas? Would you want to take a step back and go back to being a project manager, not being in a leadership role? Would you like to go back to being an individual contributor?” Once we have that workability, there is this unlimited potential to be creative and innovative. People will create whole new jobs for themselves that didn’t exist but they can see, “This department, this team or this company has a void in these areas. Let me go fill that void because that’s what I’m good at.” I help people create new jobs all the time.
The thing that interests me about this comes to mind in a company for which I worked in the past. We had a lot of examples of the Peter Principle. Some people step back a little bit. A lot of people don’t like certain things. If everybody doesn’t like to do the bad stuff, who’s going to do the bad stuff? I’d love to create a job where it’s all this type of activities. Who does the other stuff?
Especially if you’re in a leadership role, there are things that only you can do. You have to review, you have to approve, and you have to provide guidance. You can’t delegate those things, but you can decide you don’t want to be a leader. You can decide you want to go be a senior technical advisor on XYZ type of technical issues. For the most part, my belief is that we all have different strengths. If we can learn to articulate what our strengths are, and I have two or three methods to do that, then people can start to see, “I’m never going to be a detailed person. I’m always going to be a big picture, strategic thinker. I need to go work on a strategic planning team perhaps or I am obsessed and OCD about the details. I need to be a project manager role. Even if I’m a COO, I need to turn all of the company’s initiatives into project management projects, so that I can track all those details even at the C level.”One of the biggest problems is that people don’t have the awareness that they have the freedom to break free from the cages. Click To Tweet
It’s not that difficult. The biggest problem is people don’t have the awareness that they even have the freedom to say that. We get into these hamster cage things. We’re working, running from meeting to meeting, and not having any time to think strategically. Not getting enough time in nature. Not getting enough time to take a walk and ponder things. That’s the ultimate issue. What I’ve seen is once the leadership team opens this up and brings me in, everybody’s got an opinion. Everybody’s got something to say. It takes a leadership team having the openness to say, “Let’s look and make sure we’ve got everybody in the right role based on their strengths.”
When you talk about meeting to meeting, I remember leaving a company I was with for twenty years. I’ve had so many meetings. I went to another small company to try something completely different. I went into a meeting, I walked out of this meeting and I’ve got something out of the meeting. I was shocked and I’m like, “You have meetings about something and not about the next meeting.” There are so many meetings that are just about having a meeting, filling time. When did that start?
I would say that started in the ‘90s. In the late ‘90s, my clients at that time were primarily what I call random vice presidents in the Fortune 500. They were in these great big companies, but they were all caught up in the double-booking and the triple-booking. When I was in the workplace as a CPA in the ‘80s, it was much different. It was much better. That’s how I developed my nine habits because I had come from a dysfunctional family going to work for my dad’s CPA firm at a young age. I always had this feeling of overwhelm. In the workplace, whatever time management course they would let me take, I’d put together these nine habits for myself that helped me get out of overwhelm. These habits helped me think strategically, helped me look at everything, and helped me manage all the details because I’m not a detailed person. None of my work is rocket science. A decade later, we’ve got the smartphone and the pace and the intensity are great.
Now, we’ve got virtual jobs. Are you seeing a lot of virtual positions in the companies? How are they dealing with it?
It’s much more difficult to build a culture with those people because they’re not seeing them eye-to-eye. They’re not bumping into them in the hallway. You have to be much more focused and intentional about building those connections. I’m not in favor of young mothers trying to do it and keep their children at home at the same time. You can’t do either of those jobs successfully. In most cases, it’s better. People can be more relaxed. They can wear their sweats. They can think more strategically. They can get out of that overbooking thing. Even though they might still be double or triple-booked on occasion, it won’t be all day, every day. They won’t be sucked into meetings because they’re walking down the hall.
That is a good thing to give people a higher quality of work-life balance. I have seen companies go overboard and then the culture dissipates before their eyes because they haven’t found a way to build the connections. What I believe is a big part of the challenges we have is that people aren’t taking the time to build the connections. That’s why it’s easy for people to throw each other under the bus. They don’t have a connection, so it’s easy to say, “That was Bob. I was waiting on Bob. I was waiting on Betty. She didn’t give me what I needed.” When we have virtual organizations, we have to take even more time to build those connections. Force people to talk to each other and build trust and mutual respect. If we don’t have trust and mutual respect, we don’t have anything.
I’ve worked for many online organizations. I’ve been on a lot of different teams. When I was on teams and they did the video conferencing versus audio conferencing, it did make a big difference when you’re looking at people. I get up and I’m like, “I’ve got to put on some makeup or something,” but it was nice because it was much more interactive. You get on these audio conferences and a lot of people hit the mute button.
I’ve known clients who admitted to me later that they would be on one conference call on mute and be having an entirely different conversation on another line all the time. It’s not good. This is the biggest reason this is not good, either the multi-tasking or they’re being distracted. My experience is that when something’s going to go south, a project, a situation, or a relationship, there are always red flags. Sometimes six years, sometimes six months, sometimes six weeks, sometimes six days, often six hours, but the red flags are always there. The question is, “Can we pick up on those red flags?” We most often do not because we’re rushing from meeting to meeting, we’re double-booked or we’re multi-tasking.
I’ve had Tripp Crosby on my show. He has that hysterical video, Conference Call In Real Life. If you haven’t seen it, look it up. It’s the best thing on YouTube. I know we’ve been teasing a lot about your nine habits. You said you had something on your site. If you could share how people can reach you and find out more about your book.
If you’re in a leadership role and you want to accelerate the growth of your company by getting the right people in the right roles, focused on the right priorities, go to HalpinCompany.com. We have a lot of blog posts and a lot of articles about how to accelerate the growth of companies through a transition, a transaction or just because you want to grow it. If you want to find out more about me and my books, you can go to Katharine Halpin on Amazon. You’ll see my eBook, Respond, Not React Playbook, that gives you those nine habits about how to be able to be more strategic.
You’ll see my original book, Alignment For Success: Bringing Out The Best In Yourself, Your Teams, And Your Company. The first chapter is on the high cost of fear and chaos, those two killers of everything, productivity, innovation, culture change, anything. That’s the first chapter. The second two chapters are on self-leadership, leadership in your mindset, and then self-leadership in your actions. The fourth chapter is on the alignment in teams and this chapter is on building organizational-wide alignment. It’s a two-hour airplane-ride read. You can read the whole book in two hours. It’s simple and practical. It’s not anything theoretical or esoterically. Things that you can put into practice today.
Katharine, thank you so much.
Thank you for the opportunity, Diane. Thank you for the good work you’re doing, interviewing so many thought leaders.
I have great guests and you are definitely one of them.
Creating A Legacy Of Success with David Roy Newby
I am here with David Roy Newby, who’s the author of Beyond Billions. He addresses how to make an impact with your life and your legacy that goes beyond billions. He believes that as impressive as billionaires’ businesses and their successes are, there is a higher level of success available. He helps successful business owners and wealthy families create multi-generational legacies of success. It’s nice to have you here, David.
Thank you, Diane. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Alex Nghiem introduced us. I was watching some of your videos and some of the things that you’ve created to go along with your work and your books. I was fascinated with your story of reasoning for taking risks that people have. You talked about your real father, your stepfather, and some of the relationships you had that led to your interest in researching certain things. I wondered if you want to give a little bit of background of what led to your interest in what you do and your research of helping people preserves their wealth.
If someone’s wondering how anyone can go beyond billions, people have heard of King Solomon. He’s a Jewish king, that’s what most people know about him from 3,000 years ago. The ones who don’t know, he was the richest business person ever. If you put his wealth in modern day dollar, that’s at $1.8 trillion to $2 trillion. He had as much money as the 400 richest Americans in the world combined as one person. He has these teachings. They call them the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes about how to have a successful life. There are a lot of the teachings are about business specifically. That’s where the title of the book came. My other book came from beyond the billion.
My story is I grew up around a lot of foolish people. I had a bad legacy given to me. I’m going to tell you a little bit of my experience as a young adult, as a married person, and then how that led me to discover some of my root things that led me to want to get successful. I got married at 22. Throughout my twenties, I learned a lot about business. I grew up on welfare as a kid and I hated being on welfare. We lived in the Philippines in the middle of that. When my mom was in nursing school, we were on welfare. Being on welfare in America, you’re still rich. I didn’t complain about having hand-me-down clothes and being on food stamps, but I wanted to be successful. At seventeen, eighteen, I decided I’m going to be rich. I’m going to stay married because my mom was married to three men and my stepdad had ten wives.
There wasn’t a lot of stability. I moved 47 times before I graduated high school. Unless they married, I’m going to stay in one place so that my children can have the stability I never had. They can have the same friends, go to the same school, and go to the same church. By God’s grace, I’ve been able to do all those things. When I went into business, I became successful finally in my early 30s. I was able to semi-retire at age 32 with seven different income streams, mostly all in the real estate space. I published my first book. I bought a Lamborghini for my son. He fell in love with it at the Detroit Auto Show and, “What’s that car, dad?” I bought it for him the next year. I like to joke that, “This is my son’s Lamborghini, I’m his limo driver.” I drove him to school in that every day. I realized how much growing up on welfare affected my thinking and I had such a poverty consciousness. I wanted him to have a wealth consciousness.
I made an infomercial for my first book and it sold pretty well nationally. It’s not as good as Kevin Trudeau or Tony Robbins. I’m still working to get to that level. After the ‘08 crash, I lost 80% of our net worth because it was mostly in real estate. The ‘08 crash was in the Detroit market and Detroit got hit worse than any other part of the country. I started looking at my own life like, “I over-leveraged some of my deals. I took too many risks.” I could have done things safer. I started to ask and look at my own life and my own thinking and why did I take these risks.
At age 37, I realized that I had an identity of being rejected. My stepdad told me when I was almost seven years old that he was not going to adopt me. That was such a letdown. I felt so rejected that for the next 30 years, from age seven to 37, I would look for validation and approval through performance. As I talked to a lot of other successful business people, I realized that I was not alone. Most successful business people have some rejection identity that they’re looking to get affirmation to feel better about themselves. The most amazing example of this is Trump. He cares a lot about his rating on the Forbes list. Every year, he always is contesting what his Forbes net worth is. The reason why is most men are not good at vocalizing a lot of things.If you’re just trying to be all things to all people, then you’re never going to be successful. Click To Tweet
There’s nothing bad against Trump’s father. Most fathers are not good at affirming their children. Most children want to prove their worth and get their dad’s approval. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half of the billionaires in the world are still seeking their father’s approval. That’s why they are such high achievers. They don’t realize that at a root level, expert level, that’s what’s driving them. I help successful families realize this and help people have heart healing. I did a lot of work on my own heart. I operate in business from a place of, “I’m loved. I’m accepted. I’m approved. I feel great about myself.”
I don’t need any external validation, but for most of my life, I did. This is something that if it’s not addressed in successful families, it creates a lot of negative fallout. I call it the orphan spirit in my book. A lot of children of successful people have just as many problems emotionally as inner-city children without fathers do. The reason is they have this identity of rejection and not being good enough. It’s almost like an epidemic, the high percentage of successful families that fail. All this stuff I went through, it got a lot worse. I’ll give you an example. The first few times I made $20,000, $30,000 on a deal, my first inclination was to go to a strip club and party. It wasn’t to go celebrate with my family. My mom told me, “Your stepdad used to bring prostitutes home and sleep with them in the house with me there. That’s how he partied. That’s probably why that was your first urge.”
My childhood was traumatic. I blocked out my life before age seven. My mom thinks it was the final straw was when he told me he wouldn’t adopt me. My heart couldn’t take that. My mind reformatted the hard drive and I blocked out all the memories to that point. There were a lot of other worse things than that that I was modeling of his behavior. My mom told me everything he did because I’m tired of repeating his patterns even though I don’t remember what I lived through. If I can come through a legacy of murder, abuse, adultery, and all these things, anyone in our audience can overcome whatever legacy they were given.
My grandfather murdered my grandmother in front of my mom. My stepdad tried to murder both of my brothers. My first brother was born three months early, a million dollars in medical bills. He was in neonatal ICU for three months but he survived. My second brother, he successfully caused my mom to miscarry him. He died in her womb at seven and a half months. She died three times on the operating table from blood loss. They gave her blood transfusions and were able to revive her. I was given a bad legacy of bad stuff. It was a lot worse than just adultery.
That’s awful to have that background. It explains what you’re saying when you want to go buy a Lamborghini. It’ll probably make you feel you get an instant rush of something to compensate for what you’re feeling. It’s the opposite of The Millionaire Next Door mentality though. If you’ve read about how some of the richest people don’t spend their money, they’re living in modest homes and that’s how they became a millionaire. What do you think of that type of thinking?
Both are valid. In addition to studying King Solomon, I grew up around so much foolishness. I realized I needed to find good mentors, actively seek to learn about wisdom, and apply it to my life. Like most entrepreneurs, I’m driven and I want to figure out ways to do things better. King Solomon is a trillionaire and I also study a lot of billionaires. Trump is gold everything, he’s like a rapper. He’s very blingy. That’s aspirational. I always say I’m more ascribed to that level of thinking. I like nice clothes, custom-tailored clothes, things like that. You also have the Warren Buffets of the world. He lives in the same house he bought in the ‘50s and drives a Cadillac car or a Lincoln Town Car.
It’s good that we realize we should run our own race in life. You don’t have to be whoever your favorite five billionaires are. Be yourself. One thing I like, that’s not an either or, some people think you should have the best of everything or you should be the millionaire next door and be low key. That doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. I’ll give you an example. Sir John Templeton, he created Templeton Mutual Fund. How he became a billionaire were two things. He and his wife agreed to live on half of their income and then they wisely invested the other half. That’s a next level of the Rockefeller Rules which are tithed 10%, save 10%, and track what happens with the other 80%.
These guys tithe 10%, invested 40% and lived on the other 50%. When you’re producing amazing wealth because you’re managing your money wisely, by all means, go and enjoy some of the fruits of that and buy your dream house, buy your dream car, buy whatever that thing is. You’ll realize long-term that that is not going to fulfill you. The guys with the mega yachts, the yachts can’t get any bigger because these guys have a 550-foot yacht. There are only a few piers in the world Carnival Cruise Line piers that you could even dock the boat in. Guys have realized that you can’t one-up each other by building a bigger yacht anymore.
I admire billionaires that are low key and don’t want anybody to know how much wealth they have. It does make life easier. It makes it easier to travel around. I also admire guys who are flashy and build cool things. If you could build an amazing yacht or the guy in India who built a billion-dollar house, it’s amazing, the architectural marvel that you can build something like that. If you read about King Solomon’s Temple, his temples and his houses, literally if he built it the temple today, it would probably take $5 billion to $10 billion. All the walls were gold. Donald Trump was a mini King Solomon. The whole temple was gold. It’s the ultimate blinged-out building ever built. It’s fun to enjoy stuff and it’s also good to be low key, and that draws too much attention to yourself.
I’ve interviewed a lot of billionaires. I grew up in a wealthy family. My best friend’s family created U-Haul, so they had quite a bit of money and they lived next door to me.
What was that experience like? Were those guys one of your friends?
The father was a very smart, interesting guy who created U-Haul. He had a famous house. It’s a Frank Lloyd Wright House. Other than the house, they lived pretty modestly. He put all of his money back into the company. Later, it became much more successful and they were able to live a little differently as things progressed. When you are kids, you don’t know who has money. You assume everybody does and you live in a nice area like that. It was a different way of looking. What were you going to talk about in terms of that family?
Did you read the Forbes article about the fall out with the siblings? From your perspective knowing them, did you feel that the article was pretty accurate? Is that stuff that you didn’t know about as you got older? Part of what’s fascinating to me was the fact that the two siblings, they thought they needed to protect the family business. That HBO show very much touched on that thing when the next generation, if a father founder or mother as a founder starts to maybe starts making some unwise decisions, how do you honor your parents and still protect the business? There is no exact instruction manual on how to do that. You need wisdom. Between the five or six siblings, the other three hasn’t fought for the two, they basically did a “hostile takeover.”
I talk about this in my book. Affirmation of your children or heirs, if you think of it in terms of inheritance, is one of the most important things that we can do as successful people, to fight what I call in the book financial success failure. If you could imagine you’re looking at a picture of your family, you start ripping into shreds like Sinéad O’Connor on SNL ripping up a picture of the pope. I’d do that on SNL to get a laugh. If you think about doing it to your own family it’s like, “What am I doing here? I’m ripping up my family.” The more wealth that you have, the more it will tear your family apart. All of us, as parents, we don’t get instruction manuals. We all make mistakes. However, we let our children down. Those things are amplified by wealth.When people don’t have the clarity, they make up bad stories. Click To Tweet
If you’re like most men and you don’t do a good job of affirming your children, then your wealth is going to tear your family apart. As soon as you’re gone or you can no longer run the business, then they start fighting over it, “I was more involved in the business than you. I deserve a bigger share,” all this stuff. It all comes out. All these emotional things about worth and validation, it starts showing up as fighting over the money. Sadly, what happened to your friends, with the U-Haul family, it’s not an isolated incident. It’s more the rule than the exception to the rule. I had friends that work almost exclusively with billionaire clients. All of the statistics, the studies from the ‘80s up until now, show that typically in the first generation 70% to 75%, depending on the study, you can average about 2.5% of the family, the kids are going to lose the money. The money’s gone within one generation.
The second generation, typically around 90% of the money of the family, nine of the ten families the money’s gone within two generations. A friend of mine works pretty much only with the leanest. Me, it’s almost 90% in the first generation the money’s gone. 95%, 97% when it’s the second generation, the money is gone. The reason is that lack of validation, that lack of affirmation I was talking about. It causes people to blow this money to look for affirmation, to feel better about them, for the affirmation they never received. They’re given all this money without the skill set and the values it takes to sustain wealth. It’s criminal that despite having all the money in the world, those billionaire families are being this poorly underserved. They have a 90% failure rate within one generation. We need to address that and it’s a sad thing. You would think, “You had it good. You’re a billionaire.” Not necessarily. You have it worse off in some ways.
What do you think of what Bill and Melinda Gates are doing by giving up the vast majority of their wealth not to their children?
That is wise. The conversations going on amongst giving pledge numbers are smart. I talk about that in my book. They’re asking themselves, “How much money should we give our children so that we can empower them but we don’t turn them into the rich version of welfare queens or welfare kings? They’re sitting around lazy, not motivated, just living on our money.” They’re thinking, “How can we make the biggest impact on the world with our wealth? If we give all the wealth to our kids, they’re probably going to be lazy, blow it and be poor managers or stewards. If we give all of it to charity, we might impoverish our kids and that’s not fair to them either. How do we balance the two?” Those are good questions to ask. An even better question to ask billionaires is, “How do we pass on our most valuable assets to our children right now and empower the world right now?” Chuck Feeney is the billionaire who inspired Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to start The Giving Pledge. Have you ever read the book, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, about Chuck Feeney?
No, I haven’t. Tell me about it.
Chuck Feeney is the Founder of Duty-Free Shops. In the first Forbes issue, that ranked the world’s richest, the drug dealer Escobar from Columbia was number eight. Chuck Feeney was number four on the list and they thought he was worth around $4.5 billion, $5 billion. What no one knew is he had already put 90% of his shares of Duty-Free Shops in the foundation that he had formed. By the time they figured it out in the mid-‘90s that he didn’t own all those shares himself, he had given away somewhere between $7 billion and $10 billion since the ‘70s through his foundation.
He very much followed the Billionaire Next Door rule of he wanted everything done in secret. No one that he gave money to could tell anybody that he was giving them money. Here’s the reason why the Irish economy is booming to a large degree. He gave hundreds of millions to the Irish Tower System. Their tech economy is booming. He put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Vietnamese college system and now their economy is booming. He’s made amazing impact transformation with what he’s done to his foundation. He was the inspiration to the Gates and Buffet for The Giving Pledge. I encourage that 212, roughly. About 10% of the world’s billionaires have signed up for The Giving Pledge. For your audience who haven’t heard of it, they pledged to give away at least half of their net worth while they’re alive.
The key thing there is, and I talked about one of the things Bill Gates did in the book, his foundation invested about $2 billion roughly and smaller class sizes and sees if that improves student performance. They found over a similar period, it didn’t improve student performance at all. It’s important whether you’re a billionaire or whether you make $500,000 a year passive income and you give $100,000 away to charity, you measure their social ROI, the social return on investment of your charity dollars. It’s not smart to write a big check and feel good that I gave to charity if that charity is going to be wasteful with the money. If this charity has a $1 million a year budget and you write them a $1 million check, you might ruin that charity because they don’t know how to handle doubling their budget overnight.
There are some best practices we can definitely follow for our charitable giving and measuring the results that our charitable giving is producing and holding those dollars accountable. I give a blueprint for how to do that in the book. I appreciate you asking that because I agree with Peter Parker, or it says in the Bible, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Rockefeller learned that rule from his dad, which was, “With great wealth comes great responsibility.” That’s a teaching of King Solomon as well.
You bring up a lot of interesting points because a lot of people don’t know how to invest. I had a lot of people on my show who do a lot of philanthropy now. Craig from Craigslist has been on the show. He does a lot. I know that Sheila Barry Driscoll has the Billionaire Foundation and she helps people to know how to approach billionaires. It’s a different group of people. I understand that you lost the money and you’ve got this new mindset. If somebody asks you what makes you qualified to help billionaires, what would you say to that?
What qualify me are two things. One, I have compiled and arranged the wisdom of King Solomon into an app that I’m building. I can help billionaires’ access, on a regular basis, truly inner level wisdom. It’s surprising to me that no one else has done it, but they haven’t. I spent the last seven years compiling all of his teachings by topic and subtopic. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs and the Book of Ecclesiastes has twelve chapters. If you read a typical chapter of Proverbs, it might talk about ten to fifteen topics. Literally, every other verse is about a different thing. Solomon has about 40 verses about how to deal with anger. That’s important because you’ve heard about Elon Musk fired his number one assistant over her doing something wrong. That’s no knock on him. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all get upset. I have a horrible temper. I could maybe be in prison for murdering myself. I had a crazy temper as a kid. This is an example that’s no knock on Elon.
What do I do in a situation like this? He could have gone on my app, looked up what Solomon would recommend to him as a trillionaire and mentored him as a billionaire and go, “I should do this.” That’s what the app does. I can give value to billionaires in accepting a higher level of wisdom, very naked, very easy. Here are all of the teachings or guidance on how to deal with anger. He could pick the thing and apply it to the situation.
The second thing is if it’s counterintuitive. What qualifies me is I would say, “I’ve messed up my family and been through more junk than anybody and I’m willing to talk about it.” I talked about this at the Harvard Club. I had an incident with my son when he was nine months old where this is the only night that my dad ever slept at my house. My wife was working the night shift and my son wouldn’t stop crying. After 30 minutes, I changed him and I burped him. I checked his temperature and he still wouldn’t stop crying. I was holding him up against my chest and like, “Stop crying so you don’t wake up grandpa.” I was starting to get madder. I realized, “If this continues, this is how people killed their kid.”
I praise God that I had this moment of clarity when I realized this is going to end badly. I’m getting madder here. I’m holding him against my chest. I changed him one last time and he stopped crying. I talk about that. I almost murdered my son when he was nine months old. That freaked me out. I called my mom the next morning and I’m like, “Mom, what in the world is this?” That was when she told me, “That’s the spirit of murder. There’s murder all throughout our family.” A lot of us men, we have secrets like that that we might have told one person. We’ve never told anybody. My brother was molested by two people after my mom and my stepdad were divorced. For a long time, I’d beat myself up like I was a big brother. I didn’t protect him. Sometimes as men we don’t know how to talk about things like these are setbacks; how we feel in our own care, how we feel in our own family. I’m creating a space where billionaires to have these kinds of conversations.
The more powerful you are, the fewer people you feel comfortable that you can share these types of things with. There are fewer people who can relate to the things that you deal with. A lot of billionaires have their own therapist, their own coaches, and advisors for all these different things. King Solomon teaches wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors. To maintain success, you have to get wise input from a lot of different people. Sadly, not enough people are having these conversations with powerful men. How does that directly relate to their legacy? Powerful women as well, there are going to be a lot more female billionaires in the near future. I don’t want any female billionaires in our audience to think I’m excluding them, I’m not. I want to create an environment where you can have these conversations. That means people talk openly about their junk like Oprah has done. She’s has been an exception to the rule big time.
A lot of people are going to want to know how they could find out more about you. Can you share your website?
The best way is you can read my book. It’s BeyondBillions.com. They can read the sample there, a Kindle and an Audible. If people like Twitter, they can follow me, @DavidRoyNewby. On Facebook, we have Legacy Builders. That’s one of our services. We help people create lasting, multi-generational legacies.
Thank you so much, David. This was interesting.
My pleasure, Diane. Thanks again for having me.
You’re welcome. Thank you to Katharine and to David. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Katharine Halpin
Katharine Halpin is a keynote speaker, consultant, the author of Alignment for Success: Bring out the Best in Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization and her forthcoming book: Strategic Think Time: The Key to Bringing Your Best Self Every Day. Her seminars and leadership development programs focus on driving results by engaging everyone, narrowing their focus, aligning communications and building transparency at every level, in every interaction. Her proven methods eliminate overwhelm and create whitespace to think and act strategically. She is a facilitator in the areas of innovation, change, and bringing out the best in others.
About David Roy Newby
David Roy Newby is the author of Beyond Billions. He addresses how to make an impact with your life and legacy that goes BEYOND billions. He believes that as impressive as billionaires’ business successes are, there is a higher level of success available. He helps successful business owners and wealthy families create multi-generational legacies of success.
- Katharine Halpin
- Alignment For Success: Bringing Out The Best In Yourself, Your Teams, And Your Company
- Strategic Reserves of Time: Eight Keys to Managing Your Time More Effectively
- The Halpin Company’s
- Respond, Not React Playbook
- Tripp Crosby – previous episode
- Conference Call In Real Life
- Katharine Halpin on Amazon
- David Roy Newby
- Beyond Billions
- The Millionaire Next Door
- The Billionaire Who Wasn’t
- The Giving Pledge
- Craig – previous episode
- Sheila Barry Driscoll – previous episode
- Beyond Billions on Kindle
- Beyond Billions on Audible
- @DavidRoyNewby on Twitter
- Legacy Builders on Facebook