I’m so glad you joined us because we have Dr. Richard Ryan and Mark Bowser. Dr. Ryan is the Cofounder of Immersyve. He is a professor and he was named one of the eminent psychologists of the Modern era. Mark is a leadership mastery seminar consultant, author, speaker and corporate trainer. He’s worked with some of the best including Zig Ziglar. We’re going to talk to both of them.
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Motivation Psychology with Dr. Richard Ryan
I am with Dr. Richard Ryan. He’s a clinical psychologist and codeveloper of Self-Determination Theory, an internationally-recognized leading theory of human motivation. He’s also the Cofounder of Immersyve, an organizational research and consulting firm. We’ll get to a lot of this stuff as we go along. It’s so nice to have you here, Richard.
Thanks, Diane, for having me.
All that you’ve done is so fascinating to me. This is right up my alley. I had John Couch on this show who suggested you, who was Apple’s First VP of Education as you know and the author of Rewiring Education. He goes, “Have you talked to Richard Ryan yet?” I would love to. When I was looking at what you’ve done, you’re the most cited researcher in psychology and social sciences. I’m excited to talk to you about motivation.
That was a great topic.
Your last book, Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. There are 756 pages in this book. How long did that take you?
It really is a reflection of a lot of work of people around the world in the Self-Determination Theory research community. Trying to synthesize all that they’ve done was a formidable task but it is a log book. It’s got a lot of specific chapters on pretty much every applied area from sport, work, to parenting.
You deal a lot with positive psychology being a professor at the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education in Australia. I had Michelle Gielan on who’s married to Shawn Achor and they do all their happiness research. Positive psychology, what does that entail exactly? Is it only happiness? What is it?
Positive psychology is about how people’s lives can be enhanced and one of the factors that lead people to thrive. I wouldn’t describe my own work as necessarily positive psychology. It’s about motivational psychology. It’s both the good and the bad about the things that get people excited and motivate them so that things that often happen in workplaces or learning places that subtly undermine people’s energies and excitement. I’m on both the positive and negative sides.
Your degree is in psychology. My degree is in business but I wrote in my dissertation that had emotional intelligence in different aspects that touch on all of this. There’s so much to learn from psychology in the business world and that’s why I’m fascinated by all that you do. Part of what made me want to research a curiosity was I see so many of my students. I’ve taught thousands of courses. I know it’s more than a thousand. I stopped counting after that. I started to take a look at how many of them wanted you to do stuff for them or tell them how to do things and they weren’t really motivated to figure out the why and how of things, to get down and dirty with actually learning it. They wanted you to give them the fish instead of teaching them how to fish. Is it the same way with leaders? Is it harder to motivate some leaders than others? Are they naturally motivated because they made it to a leadership position?
I want to go back to your education example. Students start school with a great deal of excitement. Every kindergarten can’t wait to go to school. They love to learn. Children love to learn. It’s pretty clear that in many classrooms we’re driving out a natural interest in learning that’s a central human characteristic. We have to ask ourselves, why are there some classrooms where there is that curiosity, that excitement, and there are some where it’s dead. That comes down to classroom climate and now we transfer that over to the workplace.
Employees for the most part naturally would love to contribute, they love to feel like they’re doing a good job. They’d love to feel a sense of purpose on the job. Not all jobs allow people to feel that. Pretty soon you can have the same kind of a passive workforce that you’ve experienced in some classroom settings where people want to be told what to do. They don’t bring their own talents and capacities fully to the job. To us, that’s what I focused on leadership is all about. It’s cultivating that company or firm climate where people have that curiosity, excitement and that desire to contribute to that brings out the best in us.Motivation psychology is not positive psychology. It's both the good and the bad things that get people excited and motivated about. Click To Tweet
A lot of people saw the TED Talk where they’re talking about 85% of five-year-olds are creative. By the time they were 30, they’re 2% or so less. I wanted to see what’s beating it out of us? Is it age-related or is it environment-related? In my research on curiosity, I found four things inhibited it: fear, assumptions, technology and environment. In the workplace, your environment has a huge impact and a lot of employees are, as they say, walking dead. They’re not engaged. Maybe it’s not even because of their current environment, maybe a past environment has been a negative situation. It’s hard to know what it is. If you’re a leader, where do you start to help get your employees more motivated?
The starting point is thinking about motivation. We’ve had an old school view of motivation; which people need to be motivated from the outside. We use carrots and sticks to see if we can manipulate them into doing their jobs. That old school way of thinking was reinforced in academic psychology by behaviorism and other reinforcement techniques. As we look at the study of motivation and a deeper understanding of it, we see that people naturally have a lot of motivation. The question is not how you can control it from the outside but rather how you can facilitate and support it. Our work in Self-Determination Theory has been built around what we call maybe the three big factors that you need to support employees to bring out that natural motivation. Those are the elements of supporting their autonomy, supporting their competence and supporting their relatedness.
These are psychological needs which when employees experience them, they then want to be at work and they want to be putting their whole heart into what they’re doing. We think of those as the key factors that leaders are supporting and facilitating them. Autonomy is that sense that people have a voice and that they feel understood by their manager or supervisor. They get choices in flexibility where that’s possible. Where they don’t have choice and flexibility, they understand the mission. They’ve been given a rationale that they can get behind. Your autonomy is this sense of willingness and volition for what you’re doing. Managers play a huge role in whether that’s supported or undermined in the workplace.
It comes up a lot that people don’t have any idea of how they do at work ties into the overall mission because it hasn’t been communicated to them. Do you think it’s possible for you to know every task that you’re doing all day long and how it ties into the overall mission? How clear do you need to be with that?
Nobody willingly does a task unless they have a sense of what’s the reason for it. If you tell me to go file these 35 files, I would like to know that there’s some purpose to that that it’s going to somehow got to contribute. No matter how mundane the task or how grand the task in the workplace, there should be a rationale behind it. If you’re a good manager, you’re able to communicate what that rationale is or what the purpose of that is. In doing so, you’re helping that person invest in that goal and feel like there’s something significant doing it. If you can’t communicate the rationale or purpose of it, you probably ought to rethink why people are different in your work.
I can’t tell you how many places I’ve worked where no one knows why people are doing certain things, even the people who assigned it. It’s scary sometimes.
It’s our human nature to want to contribute to a larger purpose. That’s part of leadership. Beyond charisma, it is information. It’s about letting people know how they do contribute to the corporation and why they’re significant and meaningful.
You mentioned competence. Give us a little bit about that.
People have a lot of ideas that feeling competent is important in the workplace. In our research, we think people want to come in every day and feel like they know how to master their jobs. Most of the time you want to be doing things that you feel like you can be effective at. We’ve had these ideas in workplaces like we have to have people in flow and they have to be challenged all the time. If you’re challenged every day in the workplace, you get fatigued and burned out fast. It’s not that you’d never want optimal tough challenges in the workplace but most of the time you want to know what you’re doing. That means the job has to be well-structured so that you have the training and skills to carry it out. That’s going to lead you to get almost all the time positive feedback.
That’s what keeps people afloat and excited in the workplace. It’s that sense of the dense amount of feedback that’s almost always positive because they were in the right place. When they run into troubles, instead of getting criticism and social comparison, they get compassion and help. A scaffolding to help them build up those skills. This is a leadership and climate issue of how can you provide people with the training, education and skill building that allows them to be good at the job. That’s going to be followed by lots of positive feedback.
What I find it interesting that competence is the subjectivity of it. I meet so many people who think they’re competent at things but maybe in my perception, they wouldn’t be.
We can give them false praise and false confidence. I don’t think the art of management is to go around praising people, especially when they’re job isn’t good. It’s rather to give them what we call the effect into relevant inputs or the informational inputs that help them be good so that the positive feedback is authentic. I don’t think anybody gets that fooled by the false inauthentic positive feedback. We know when we’re doing our jobs well or not. It comes back to giving feedback that’s meaningful to help you do that job better.People naturally have a lot of motivation; the question is not how you can control it but rather how you can facilitate and support it. Click To Tweet
They say Millennials want seven to eight times a day or whatever. With different studies, you see different numbers of hearing that they’re doing well. Do you think that that’s reasonable?
I’m a person who is almost reel anytime I hear constant thing like, “Do seven of these or three of these.” That all sounds like you’re trying to manipulate people from the outside. I would rather that seven or eight times a day you actually do recognize some great things that somebody is doing and you’re able to comment on that. If it’s only three, then I’d rather that it be three. Some of the point behind those things is that we shouldn’t forget that people do need to get positive feedback about the contributions they make and sometimes in the business of the workplace. The demands the managers have, they forget to do that. It is the thing that’s helpful. All of us like to hear, “Job well done.”
We all want to feel a sense of relatedness in the workplace too. That was the third thing that you mentioned. Can you address that?
In any workplace where you’re going to function, you actually feel like you belong and that you’re included in things. That sense of inclusion some of it comes about because people convey respect and warmth towards you in the workplace. That’s not quite enough, the workplace also has to be a place where you’re experiencing things as fair. You see rewards as being doled out equitably and positive feedback is something that’s contingent on people doing things well. That sense of fairness is also important to people feeling like they have relatedness in the workplace.
It reminded me of so many performance appraisals gone through the years, where you’d have maybe a bunch of managers rating everybody but you all had the same job. If you’ve got a nice manager, he can give you all five out of five and the other guy gave you all three out of three. What does that do? That kills motivation, doesn’t it?
This gets back to both the fairness and the competence issues, to know that you don’t want to work with a manager who gives you all poor ratings but then it takes the meaning out of any positive praising. Everybody’s getting the same positive thing. To me, that’s hurting on both competence and relatedness. For me, at least in our company Immersyve when we’re working with our own employees, we want to give them feedback about what they’ve actually done well. We also want to telegraph where are the opportunities for growth, where can they learn more, where can they keep going to the company, which in doing that both supplies them some positive competence feedback. It also says, “We care about you and you’re part of this team for the long run.”
It’s helping their curiosity. What made you create Immersyve?
I’ve been in the field of motivation for a long time. We’ve seen how our motivation work and focusing on people’s basic psychological needs is so powerful in terms of predicting work outcomes and the KPIs that every company is after. In schools and training centers, how the principles of motivation that we apply are effective not only giving people to be happier with work but also in increasing their performance. This is so much of that basic science begs for application and although it’s gotten out in the popular literature in some places like Dan Pink’s book, Douglas McGregor and other places. We wanted to bring it to bear and practice in ways that we’re ecstatic. Scott Rigby and I started Immersyve. We thought this is a place where we can bring these basic principles of motivation to bear in the workplace, in a way that’s going to be maximally effective and maybe set a model for other companies.
It is interesting to look at the different work out there, not just peer-reviewed type of things but the popular work; Dan Pink, Simon Sinek, Carol Dweck, things that have made it to the mainstream. What do you think of what we’re hearing in terms of the motivation books? Do you agree with what you’re reading out there? Does it align with what you’re seeing?
A lot of those motivation books are based on what’s been happening in the science of motivation. You take Dan Pink’s book, Drive, which is largely built on the work in self-determination theory. What workers need are autonomy, mastery and purpose. These are your literal translations of our autonomy, competence and relatedness ideas in the workplace. They’re important and I appreciate whenever people are popularly translating the hard work we do in the science of motivation because that’s why we do what we do so people use it. I love seeing books on things like curiosity in the workplace. I can’t wait to read yours, Diane. I like it when Doshi and McGregor write Primed to Perform and they show the centrality of how motivation is conceived in SDTs works in the company. It’s important that there are popular books out there and you see a big change in even how they’re oriented. We call it the Copernican Turn in motivation, which these books are not oriented so much in how you control people from the outside. They’re about how you can cultivate that inner intrinsic motivation that employees can have.
That’s really an important thing and we weren’t looking at it from that angle for a lot of times. It’s interesting to read. When I was going through the literature, a lot of words are used interchangeably, like the creativity with curiosity or motivation drive and curiosity. What comes first? I kept trying to decide this, I was looking at everything and nobody agreed in general. I couldn’t get an overall consensus at least what I found. It kept seeming to me that curiosity was the spark that made you driven or motivated but then again, you’d find something you can be motivated, give up and not have curiosity. What order do you put it in?
Motivation is a big term. Motivation means that you’re moved into action. With even very little thought we know we can be moved into action in very different ways. I can be moved into action because somebody has a stick behind me and they’re threatening me, “You move or else.” I can be moved into action because I’m inspired, interested or curious about something. The stick motivation is going to last as long as the stick is present but it goes away as soon as the stick is away or the threat is gone. The ones that are on the other end of that continuum are the ones that are driven by inspiration, real value or real interest in something, those are coming from within. They’re more sustainable, they tend to be higher quality. The performance therefore tends to be better out of them. We moved toward not just to motivate people but how do you motivate people? We think the source and the drive behind the motivation are more important than even how much motivation you have.It's our human nature to want to contribute to a larger purpose. Click To Tweet
How do you determine the drive and what’s the source?
A lot of times it’s by asking people say, “What gets you up in the morning?” “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t get the paycheck.” What’s driving them is the external incentive but other people are saying, “I can’t wait to get to work because we’re doing such important things there. I want to help out my team.” You see a different motivation and even the way people talk about their jobs. That comes back to what work climate they find themselves in.
Culture and climate is such a huge topic. I discuss a lot in my courses because I teach quite a bit. We talk about working for different leaders and you’ve mentioned charisma. Steve Jobs comes up a lot obviously as an example but you wonder what motivates people to want to put up with certain leadership qualities and personalities. What do you think it was that kept people motivated to work for him even if he was so challenging at times?
I don’t know what turnover rate he had. The old adage is true, which is people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. There are managers that are better able to retain that high talent that they have around them than others. This comes back to whether they’re supporting the basic psychological needs of people. I can’t speak to Jobs in particular because I don’t know that scene but I do know from our research and our consultation that if you support the autonomy and the feelings of competence, the relatedness of the people around you, they want to stay. They want to give you their all as team members.
A lot of people get motivated to be around somebody who’s charismatic and genius. You don’t know what people’s incentives are. A lot of people who knew him to tell me that he was a completely different person in some respects. When he came back the second time, he learned some more interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence-based things that helped him a little bit more. The whole field of psychology is fascinating to me and you’re one of the eminent psychologists of the modern era. That’s huge and you’re among the top twenty most influential industrial organizational psychologist. You have three lifetime achievement awards for motivation, personal meaning, and self-identity. Does this blow you away of how much you’ve done? Did you expect to do all this? Are you just a research junkie? What led to this motivation in you?
Deci and I started Self-Determination Theory about 40 years ago. We started with the focus on what has become a much more seminal idea that of intrinsic motivation. How can you cultivate people’s intrinsic motivation? That’s part of leading to what we think of as this is a major turn in motivation work to think more about what’s the motivation that can come from the inside of people, rather than how can we make people motivated from the outside? The growth of the work is that we’ve been pretty careful in our research over time. We’ve added in theory very slowly with strong empirical evidence. When we applied it in places like schools or in corporations, we track whether our interventions work or not. We’re very data-based, we care about measurement and we care about outcomes.
That’s not just true in our research, it’s also true in our consultations. We try and make sure we’re accountable for all the interventions we do to make sure they work. The growth in the theory is, “It works.” People have noticed that whether they’re sports coaches or whether they’re managers in companies or whether they’re teachers in classrooms. This is a theory that makes sense to people and it performs and that’s grown and grown. We have our seventh international conference coming up in May. It’s happening in Amsterdam. At this conference, we’ll see researchers and practitioners from around the world come together, refining techniques and always making it better.The source and the drive behind the motivation are more important than how much motivation you have. Click To Tweet
That’s interesting you’re having in Amsterdam. I got off of the interview with David Allen who lives in Amsterdam and his work is interesting to me for productivity. I’ve had some great people on the show, John Kotter, Amy Edmondson, a lot of the work that I cite in my research. It’s fun to talk to you guys because this is all helpful to me as well. I find it really challenging to measure some things if they’re subjective and through self-assessment. How squishy is it to measure motivation?
One of the divisions of our company, Immersyve, this is what we specialize in. We have a tool that’s called Motivation Works and we also have a platform through which we measure motivation. We find that we can reliably and accurately pinpoint aspects of the work climate that are central to motivation in very short order. Most of our surveys are like seven to eight minutes long. You wouldn’t believe that you could get that much information from that but we get a lot of information. We get 27, 28 variables out of that that bear on everything from manager support to compensation strategies, to whether people are seeing the company purpose as one that’s aligned with their own values. All that stuff can be assessed pretty quickly and it’s strongly predictive of all the outcomes you care about like absenteeism in the workplace, turnover, intentions, actual turnover, the workplace productivity and happiness. All those things are quite strongly predicted by these squishy variables. We got through a lot of paid technically to get those squishy variables to work for.
Having gone through that with what I went through, the factor analysis was so much fun. I have a lot of sympathy for what it takes to create these assessments.
It’s easy to measure things like engagement. Almost any company can measure engagement. The question is can you measure the things that drive engagement? Can we measure those things? That’s what we’re about, it’s great to know how engaged your people are but even better to know here are the places I can pull some leverage to make it better.
That’s exactly what my problem was with curiosity. They were measuring whether you’re curious or not but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to find out what’s keeping you so you can fix it.
What good is an assessment unless it gives you a plan.
If people want to know more about you, how they can find out about all the research you do? Take any assessments and read any books, is there a website where they can reach you?
There’s a Motivation Works website if anybody goes to MotivationWorks.com. You’re going to find out some information about our platform or our company more generally, which is Immersyve Inc. Either Motivation Works or Immersyve are good things. Another place for the more academic side of this work so you can see some of the scientific background, SelfDeterminationTheory.org. That’s the website for our center for Self Determination Theory. There you can get beyond employee engagement. You can get information about schools and education about parenting, sport and exercise motivation, about healthcare motivation in a broad variety of domains. That’s a good place to go.
This is fascinating and I’m so glad that John introduced us. This has been great information and thank you so much for being on the show.
It’s been a pleasure to talk to you. I look forward to your book coming up. I’m glad to see that coming out.
Publishing And Sales Success with Mark Bowser
I am here with Mark Bowser who teaches people and organizations how to win in selling, leadership and customer service. He is the author of multiple books including Sales Success with Zig Ziglar and Some Gave It All with Danny Lane, which was endorsed by Chuck Norris. This is going to be interesting looking forward to it. It’s so nice to have you, Mark.
Thanks for having me, Diane. I appreciate it.
This is right up my alley of stuff. I love to talk about being in sales my whole life. There are so many nuances and interesting ways to sell. I can imagine having more of an interesting background in working with Zig Ziglar. How did that come about?
I’m a fan of Zig for many years even though he has passed away. When I first got involved in professional speaking in many years ago I wrote it, he was the master. I wrote him a letter and said, “How do I do this?” The humble man that he was, he wrote me back and he said, “Mark, this is what I recommend you do.” He outlined a number of steps. The first step on his list was Toastmasters International, believe it or not. That was a great piece of advice. For the audience who may not know what Toastmasters is, it’s like giving a toast at a wedding. It was created back in the 1940s. It’s this international speaking club and they’re all over the place. That was some of the best advices that he gave me, to get out there and start practicing, get in front of people and then it blossomed from there.
Back in the mid-‘90s, I worked on the production staff with Peter Lowe International, back then it was called Success Seminars. They were the largest business seminars in the world and Zig spoke in all those. I worked behind the scenes learning how this type of seminar is put together. I got connected with him and his organization. Tom Hopkins was on both of those. I got connected with Tom and his staff and it blossomed from there. I have formed some partnerships with the Zig Organization over the years, including some stuff that continued to his son Tom, who is a wonderful leader in himself. He’s leading this Zig Organization to even greater fruits.
You mentioned some classic people in sales. Tom Hopkins has been on the show and it was fun going to dinner with him and his wife. We got to chat about how he got to the point where he did. He started in real estate. He’s got that sales down. He’s so good at it. In some people, it seems like it comes naturally to them but of course, they make it look that way. It’s hard for everybody.
Tom is the first one to admit that he didn’t know what he was doing when he started out. You mentioned in real estate, when he started in real estate he didn’t know what he was doing it. He said his first sale, it was Saturday morning, he’s the only one in the real estate office and a couple walked in and they knew exactly which house they wanted to buy. They had already seen it obviously. He said, “If I didn’t know how to fill out my paperwork, I still wouldn’t have gotten the sale.” Tom’s forte probably because of his experiences early on is fundamental selling. Tom is the absolute best, not only in producing fundamental sales with his real estate days in particular. He probably holds the record for the most houses sold but in teaching fundamentals, he teaches fundamental selling. If you have the fundamentals down, you win at selling, you win at basketball, you win at football, whatever endeavor you have on fundamentals are the key. Tom Hopkins is the best of that. It’s missing a lot because I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, Diane, but he just retired. It’s pushing you and me the next generation to step up and take the reins.Every kindergarten starts school with a great deal of excitement. Children love to learn. Click To Tweet
He did do a lot of amazing work with all of his books and all the things that he did on the side. I find it interesting about his real estate school and some of the other things. I wasn’t as familiar with it when we were talking in more depth. I mentioned Danny Lane and I’m curious for some people he may not have been as familiar with Danny Lane. What did he do and why did Chuck Norris get involved?
Danny Lane is a hero of mine, let me put it that way. He is a phenomenal guy. A very close friend of mine and he’s my martial arts instructor. How this came about is I was looking for an instructor and I was traveling as I do, I can’t go to a gym on a regular basis. I needed something that would work with my travel schedule. Danny had a program that he could teach you through video and then you would conference with him. You would videotape what you do after you’ve listened to his videotapes, then he would critique you. That started going on, we started progressing through my martial arts training and we started to talk. I realized he had a story in there.
It was a story that he had been trying to forget for 40 years. Danny Lane is a decorated Marine from the Vietnam era. He has two Purple Hearts from that war. He was injured more than that. You didn’t get a Purple Heart every time you got injured because somebody had to see it. Somebody had to witness it, it had to be recorded and so forth. His little team of four guys that they were called a fire team, they were one of the most decorated teams during the Vietnam War. He comes back a war hero, seen all that horror that was there. He went to become a decorated detective and police officer. He trained people in SWAT and so forth.
This is how the Chuck Norris thing comes about. After Danny came back, he struggled tremendously with post-traumatic stress disorder and did so for 40 years. He couldn’t sleep because when he sleeps he said, “The demons came out.” What he would do is he’d go sweat it out. He’d get in the gym and workout. He ran across a Korean master in the martial arts who began to train him. He began to get trained, he was already a champion when he got connected with Chuck. Danny Lane is a ninth-degree Black Belt. He’s a nine-time National Martial Arts Champion, former World Kickboxing Champion. I’m being taught by one of the best. He’s in multiple Hall of Fames. He got a call one time by Chuck Norris. He began to train with Chuck and he became one of Chuck’s top Black Belts. He’s been in many of Chuck’s movies. He’s usually the guy getting beat up in the movie.
Danny started to train me and how the story of Some Gave It All came about is I knew he had that story in there. I’m a writer and I knew what needed to be told but obviously, he’s not typically one to tell it. It’s more from his wife’s urging than mine that he decided to work with me to get his story written down. Some Gave It All is his experience in Vietnam. What those guys went through, the challenges that they went through and the challenges to this day. We lose an average of 22 veterans a day from suicide and it is absolutely awful. Every war was terrible. With that particular war they didn’t even come back to people being happy or cheerful of who they were and what they did.
In Danny’s case, writing his story down has actually helped him through his posttraumatic stress disorder and it was not easy. I was asking him to go back and remember things that he didn’t want to remember. I knew it was tough on him. I was gentle as I could as we went through this process. He is a tremendous man, a man of strength and very few people know what they went through. I have a Bachelor of Arts in History. Some of the stuff he taught me that they went through during Vietnam was never presented to me in my history classes. For example, he started talking about Rock Apes and I’m going, “What are you talking about? What’s a Rock Ape?” He goes, “There were these apes. They walked on two legs. They were probably about four and a half, five-feet tall. He sat in the dusk of night. You really couldn’t tell what that was. Was it a man? Was it ape? What was it?”
The North Vietnamese and the Vietcong trained these apes to throw rocks and grenades at our troops. It was amazing. They went through things such as that. They went through the enemy sappers, which is the sapper who was somebody who would actually infiltrate our lines. They were usually drugged up dramatically on opium or heroin and they would charge through and they would have explosives all strapped around them. Their goal was if they could get through our lines, through our barb wire and all of that to run into our encampments, blow themselves up and as many Americans as they could with them. That’s what Danny Lane is and he’s a war hero.
Some Gave It All, we wrote it in more like a novel form. We wanted it to feel like a novel. We wanted it to feel like an adventure movie. That’s what we tried to do to get people back there into the foxholes with Danny and his fire team. Chuck has come alongside us, endorsed it and he actually helped promote it. A percentage of every book sale goes to the Kickstart program, which is Chuck Norris’ program for youth. It was exciting, it was a hard book to write particularly for Danny. It’s one that we know that’s not only going to be entertaining for people but very exciting for hopefully the future of our veterans, to get the awareness out there of what they go through with that posttraumatic stress disorder.A book is the best business card that you can have. Click To Tweet
You not only went off course a little bit with this type of a book but you write about time management, The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors. You have a very eclectic assortment of things you write about. I don’t know about time management if that’s in your sales book. As far as the funeral director, I’m curious why did you get so specific in The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors?
My family owns a publishing house called the Bright Corporation, which has been in the funeral industry since before 1945. My grandfather bought the business in 1945 from a gentleman by the name of C.E. Bright. What in the world is a publisher for the funeral industry? If you go into a funeral home, you’re asked to sign a register book, we make those. We make the memorial folder, which is like a church folder. It’s what they hand you when you go into the service that has some information about the deceased that has the agenda of the service and so forth. We make the memorial folders. We make the acknowledgment or thank you cards that the family will give somebody who sends flowers and so forth. That’s the industry that Bright has been in for over 70 years. We are expanding in some other industries. How The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors came about is I had a book that was published earlier called The Three Pillars of Success. I believe the three pillars for any organization, in their order of importance is leadership, sales and customer service. We started to think about how do we expand this for the funeral directors? Something specific for them and we did it for two reasons. One, to help them out in their business because quite frankly a lot of them may or may not have business trainings.
Many times, it is generational businesses that are passed down and so forth. Sometimes they’ve gotten the business training, sometimes they have not. They have their specialized training and so forth, which I won’t go into details of what that is and so we wanted to give them some business training. How do you be an effective leader? How do you sell? I’ve had funeral directors telling me that, “No, we don’t sell in our industry.” It’s everything I can do, Diane, without smacking them outside of their head and say, “Yes you do.” That was one of the main reasons we wrote it. The second reason was pure marketing for us. I am a huge believer and I learned this from Dan Kennedy. He’s semi-retired, a marketing genius, he was backing all the Peter Lowe seminars as well. We’re publishing it as a business card. A book is the best business card that you can have and people will throw away our business cards. People will throw away our brochures and so forth but very few times will throw away a book. We created this book, Bright Corporation, expand it out and we have two divisions. One of those two divisions below Bright Corporation, one of those is called Bright House Publishers and we’re more of an entrepreneurial publisher.
What that means is following more into Dan Kennedy’s format, helping business leaders, pastors and so forth publish a book so they can have more leverage in their marketplace, in their place in the market. We decided, “Let’s do it ourselves.” That’s where The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors has come out. We publish it for that industry and we put not only to have all the meat in it but we put a brochure catalog in the back of that. We put a mini catalog to advertise what we do in other areas right in the back of the book. It makes it easy for them to purchase from us our other items. Anybody who’s out there thinking about how to market their business, do it through a book.
Is it a hybrid publishing? Is it for self-publishing type of thing? Was it an actual publishing house that you accept people based on the traditional model?
It’s a little bit of a hybrid, leaning on the traditional side. If somebody is wanting to see if we want to publish their book, I’m more than happy to have them send me an email, a file, we’ll go through that and we’ll look at that. We just a published Jeff Greer’s book who’s a pastor in Mason, Ohio. Here’s where it comes a little bit into a hybrid. We are not in competition with your HarperCollins Publishing and Simon & Schuster. We’re not in competition with them. We help people take a position in their marketplace like for example, Reverend Greer. I talked to him about marketing. He’s not interested in doing major marketing. He wanted it primarily for his congregation so that he could have it for back room at conferences, so he can position it to give to youth as they were heading off to college and so forth. I said, “I’m fine with that.” If you want us to do more marketing, we can look into that. If you don’t, that’s fine and he’s taken the option of, “I’m not interested in major marketing.” That’s fine but we’ve gotten the book to serve his particular purposes. That’s what we do. We get it on all the internet sites, bookstores can buy it and that type of stuff.
In terms of doing a major campaign, that’s usually what entrepreneurs do not want necessarily. They want it to position in their marketplace. Do you know who Nido Qubein? He’s been a member of National Speakers Association for many years. He’s President of High Point University. I remember many years ago and I didn’t understand what he was meaning at that point. I was so young and naive but he said, “I published a book one time for five people.” I get it now. They were five major prospects of his and he published a book to position to those five major entities so that he could get inside of their companies to do business with them. That’s what Bright House Publishers does. If you’re a pastor out there or an entrepreneur and you’re looking for something like that, we’ll take a look at it. We can’t publish obviously everything. We’re pretty small in the publishing industry realm but we’ll take a look at it.
Is it an ala carte thing where the authors pay for specific items that they would use versus not use?
They don’t pay for us to print the book or anything like that. All we ask is for them to commit to buying X amount of copies. I remember it was 300 copies, something like that. It’s a very small amount and basically what that does covers our costs. We would actually go out there and print the book. We would ask them to have it edited pretty good. We don’t want something that’s going to be major lifting and rough. We encourage them, go out there and get a professional editor. Let them take a peek at it, let them do the work on it then send it to us so we can take a look at it more like finished manuscript. We might want to have some tweaks done and that type of stuff. In terms of a pay for play type of publisher, that’s not us. If we take your book, we’re going to take your book and we will get it into production and so forth. We want you to buy 300 copies, I have to ask our operations guy on that.To be the best in sales, you have to learn from the best. Click To Tweet
It’s interesting in how many options there are for publishing in the market. I agree that you have to have a book to prove that you’re an expert in something. People are starting to expect it because everybody else has one these days. Do you talk about that in Sales Success?
We don’t talk about that in Sales Success. Bright House Publishers is not the best fit for everybody. Bright House Publishers doesn’t even publish all my books. Some Gave It All is not published by Bright House Publishers; Sales Success is not. Those were needing a little bit more muscle in the mainstream publishing. It depends what their fit is. How Sales Success came about is it’s published by Made For Success Publishing, which is owned by Bryan Heathman, he’s out there in the Seattle area. It’s originally owned by Chris Widener, wonderful guy, speaker, great guy. Both he and Bryan are wonderful guys and strong Christian men and have your back. How it came about is they had a tape series many years ago called, Sales Success and it was a major seller in places like Costco and so forth. Bryan and I were talking about putting a book together and we got with my literary agent who is Bruce Barber. We started talking with Bruce and we came up with the idea of Sales Success, piggybacking on the tape series. Different than the tape series but playing on the popularity, the name and so forth of that. What we did is Sales Success is a business fable, it’s a story. I wrote a story that fits the entire book together and weaves it together.
We went out and get the best of the best sales coaches in history to contribute a chapter to this. The first chapter is obviously written by Zig. Zig contributed a chapter and I am thrilled to say this book took many years to get into place in the marketplace. Mr. Ziglar was still alive when we were working on this. It’s one of the big projects that he had a part of. I am honored by that. Unfortunately, he had passed away by the time it got into production, hit bookstores but his legacy lives on. Scott McKain is in the book. Scott was a mentor of mine. We’re both Indiana natives. When I was a young speaker, Scott took me under the wing and began to teach me how this professional speaking thing works. As you can tell Mr. Ziglar and Scott McKain have been a huge influence on my career. Scott’s a great guy by the way and I encourage everybody to go out there and get his new book called ICONIC. It was Wall Street Journal who said it was ranked as one of the top ten business books of 2018.
He’s a great speaker too.
He’s one of the best. Tom Hopkins is in the book. They contribute to these chapters and what I did was I weave them into the story to teach the concepts of the best of the best. I added some content chapters as well. The idea is to be the best in sales, you have to learn from the best. Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s go back and find out what did the best do, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Scott McKain, even my own experience out there and let’s learn what works. That’s what the book does and it can make a major difference into a salesperson’s life. By following what we say in the book and if they follow it and do it, they are going to sell more.
You’re listing some great Hall of Fame speakers. I’ve had a lot of them on the show and a lot of them give such great advice and sales is challenging because it’s changing so much with teams. It’s not like it used to be when they threw yellow pages at you, “Have fun with this.” It’s getting a lot more complicated and I think that we need more great content about how to reach people with such a connected world. It’s so different with social media. You did the cold calling, you did the closing, you did everything and it’s not like that anymore. I’m fascinated by how sales has progressed and I think that we definitely can learn a lot from all generations of experts in the area. A lot of people probably are fascinated but to find out more about your publishing company, as well as your different books and things that you’re doing. If somebody wanted to find out more, wanted to buy your books or learn more about you, how could they do that?
The best way is to go to my website which is www.MarkBowser.com. They can contact me through the website itself or they can just email me directly. My personal email is MBowser@MarkBowser.com. If you’re interested in Bright House Publishers, I’ll get that in the right hands. If you’re interested in my books, anything or any sales advice, let me know. Things have changed and one of the biggest avenues is how you and I got connected with you. I got connected Diane through LinkedIn and I think that’s a huge sales tool. A piece of advice is to learn sales copywriting. If you can learn to write a good sales letter, you will be fruitful in this market.
What’s your biggest recommended site or book for that?
Study the best. I’ve started learning it from Tom. Dan Kennedy has got some great work out there. Go to some of the classic, Robert Collier, Robert Collier Letter Book, for example, is a classic in that and you can learn a ton from that. Joe Vitale is one of the best copywriters in the world. I would look at those guys and learn from them. There’s a science behind it. Everybody has what you call a swipe file. It’s a rotten name but a swipe file is basically what you’ve learned that works, “This ad worked. I’m going to keep a file of that ad. This headline worked. This subject line worked.” You have a psychology that goes into that and it’s the research and you can gain it from Robert Collier stuff, Joe Vitale’s and you gather it. There are books out there that shares some of the most successful ads and letters in history. If you learn why those were successful and you don’t plagiarize it obviously but you learned those words, you learn those type of phraseology they use and you place that in your own work.
Thank you so much for being on the show, Mark.
Thanks for having me, Diane. I sure appreciate it.
I like to thank Richard and Mark for being my guest. We hit so many great guests. If you’d like to know more about Cracking The Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index, you can go to CuriosityCode.com. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.
- Mark Bowser
- Self-Determination Theory
- John Couch – previous episode
- Rewiring Education
- Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness
- Michelle Gielan – previous episode
- Primed to Perform
- John Kotter – previous episode
- Amy Edmondson – previous episode
- Mark Bowser
- Sales Success
- Some Gave It All
- Toastmasters International
- Zig Organization
- Tom Hopkins – previous episode
- Danny Lane
- The 3 Pillars of Success for Funeral Directors
- Bright Corporation
- The Three Pillars of Success
- Made For Success Publishing
- Chris Widener – previous episode
- Scott McKain
- Robert Collier Letter Book
- Joe Vitale
- Curiosity Code Index
About Dr. Richard Ryan, PhD
Richard M. Ryan, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University and a Research Professor in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester. He is a clinical psychologist and co-developer of Self-Determination Theory, an internationally recognized leading theory of human motivation, and a co-founder of Immersyve Inc., an organizational research and consulting firm. He lectures frequently in the United States and aboard on the factors that promote motivation and healthy psychological and behavioral functioning (applied to such areas as work and organizations, education, health, sport and exercise, video games and virtual environments). Ryan is among the most cited researchers in psychology and social sciences today and the author of over 400 papers and books in the areas of human motivation and well-being, including his recent, best-selling book, Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development and wellness (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Reflective of Ryan’s influence internationally and across disciplines, he has been recognized as one of the eminent psychologists of the modern era1,2 and listed among the Top 20 most influential industrial-organizational psychologists3. He has also been honored with three lifetime achievement awards for his work on motivation, personal meaning, and self and identity, and has received an honorary degree from the University of Thessaly and an honorary membership to the German Psychological Society.
About Mark Bowser
Mark Bowser teaches people and organizations how to win in Selling, Leadership, & Customer Service. He is the author of multiple books including “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar & “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane (Endorsed/Promoted by Chuck Norris).