Realizing your potential is one thing, but taking action and becoming productive is a greater thing. Today, Dr. Diane Hamilton chats with Gino Wickman, the author of Entrepreneurial Leap, a book devoted to helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making understand their genetic makeup and giving them a huge jump-start and clear, simple path to fully realize their potential. Gino talks about EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) and shares some key concepts from his book while breaking down the six essential traits necessary for becoming an entrepreneur.
The key to writing a book that sells thousands and thousands of copies in several different languages is making it interesting and fun to read. Dr. Diane Hamilton talks to Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy on Inc.com and a full-time ghostwriter and best-selling author of more than 100 books. Peter shares how he transitioned from a management position into full-time writing, as well as the process of writing a book and some strategies for getting published. Thinking about jumping into book writing full time? Then you wouldn’t want to miss this episode.
I’m so glad you joined us because we have Gino Wickman and Peter Economy here. Gino and Peter are both prolific writers and they both have some new books out. I’m excited to talk to them. Gino’s book is about taking the entrepreneurial leap and Peter’s got so many books, it’s going to be interesting to see which one we’re going to talk about. He’s also known as The Leadership Guy at Inc. Magazine. Between these two, it’s going to be an entertaining hour.
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Taking The Entrepreneurial Leap With Gino Wickman
I am here with Gino Wickman who is the author of Entrepreneurial Leap, which is devoted to helping entrepreneurs in the making understand their genetic makeup and give them a huge jumpstart along with a clear simple path to fully realize their potential. It’s so nice to have you here, Gino.
It’s a pleasure to be here, Diane.
I was looking forward to this because I saw you have an obsession with learning. Since I’m a curiosity expert, I have to say I love that. I want to get a little background on you. What led to that obsession? What got you to this point of having this super successful book and all the stuff you’re working on?
You bet and I’ll touch on the obsession for learning pieces in the story. I’ll try and give the fast version of the story and if you want to back up and go deeper, we can certainly do that. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 21 years old, out of high school and graduating with a solid 2.3 GPA, I knew that academics were not for me. As my friends all went off to college, I went to work and I tried various things. I tried to get rich multiple ways up to my early 20s. I found myself in the real estate industry because I was investing in real estate and had real estate agents putting commissions in their pockets and I figured I’m getting my license. During that process, I got involved in real estate and understood what my Dad had done, and he had built the number one real estate sales training organization in North America.
Long story short, I applied all of his teachings and was successful in real estate. When I discovered what his company did, I fell in love with the company and decided I want to run that company. By 25, I had taken over running that business. I went from a six-figure income and real estate to making $25,000 a year selling his products door to door and worked my way up through the business. I then discovered that the business was in need of a turnaround, I was able to turn the business around. I got out of some deep, ugly debt, ran it for seven years, and successfully sold it.
During that experience. I got involved in the Young Entrepreneurs Organization and also the Strategic Coach Program and all of a sudden, saw this need in the world for entrepreneurs and helping them run better businesses. The fanaticism about learning is all through my 20s. I was an absolute student of business, entrepreneurship and what makes businesses work. I had two amazing mentors. My dad and a gentleman by the name of Sam Cupp. Upon selling the business, transitioning in the new leadership team from Virginia and retiring from that business, I set out to pursue what was truly my passion and that was helping entrepreneurs get everything they want from their businesses.
Over about a twenty-year period, I created a system called EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. I’ve written five books around it. We built an organization called EOS Worldwide with 350 implementers all over the world, sold more than a million copies of those books. I sold that business a couple of years ago to pursue the next passion, which is what we’re talking about and that’s Entrepreneurial Leap. That’s going back and teaching that eighteen-year-old person that I was, a lost, confused, mislabeled, derelict entrepreneur that didn’t know what I was until 29. I want to help people know what they are much sooner and pull these entrepreneurs in the making out from wherever they are. It could be in the corporate world, the inner city, in school, wherever they are. I want them to know what they are. This is what I call the 4% of the world that possesses these six essential traits and that’s the fastest version I can give you the whole story.
That was interesting because you met Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach, I imagine. I met him at Joe Polish’s network here in Arizona. I imagine that your part of that since you mentioned some things that make me think you might be. It’s interesting to see some of the great things I’ve learned from a lot of people who I’ve met through that group of people because they do a lot to help people with mentoring and they have a world-class group of people. You’re talking about teaching your eighteen-year-old self kind of people. I’m curious what you think about having them make some mistakes. If we help them, are we having them miss out on some important lessons?
I don’t think so because the reality is, they’re still going to make mistakes. The way I describe it is, this book is written in three parts, confirm, glimpse, and path. When I describe path, what I’m doing in path is I’m showing that person who has confirmed that they’re an entrepreneur in the making, they see a glimpse of their future and now they’re going to move forward. What I’m saying is, I can help them get a huge jumpstart on taking that leap. I feel I can eliminate half the mistakes they’re going to make, but they’re still going to make the other half. That’s all part of the learning process. You cannot avoid many of the mistakes you’re going to make. They’re all part of the process, but some of them are silly and avoidable, so I want to create awareness, so they avoid the easy silly ones and bump their heads a bunch of times with the stuff they’re supposed to bump their heads with.
I like not having to reinvent the wheel thing and there’s so much of that going on that you waste so much time. If somebody else has done it, tell me that part and I can use this bit in this part from this person and I love that. It’s interesting that you have such a background in real estate because I’ve had Tom Hopkins here. I have a real estate license but I never did a lot in real estate, but I’m interested in what you learn from all of that. Any sales job is so helpful to anything you’ve done. Do you think everybody should have some kind of sales training?
There’s no question. Tom and my dad were good friends. I am aware of Tom and I knew him a tiny bit what a great guy he is. With that, absolutely. Especially if you have a reader that wants to become an entrepreneur, yes, it will greatly increase your odds of success to learn and understand sales, sales skills, and in that vein, marketing. There’s no question about that. It has served me well.Many of the mistakes that you are going to make are all part of the process of becoming an entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
You mentioned 4% have six essential traits. I’m curious about what those are.
The six essential traits are visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk taker and responsible.
I am an expert in curiosity and that’s what I’ve written about. Where does curiosity play and all that?
By nature, the combination of being visionary and driven makes you curious and makes you a learner. Visionary is an ambiguous term. This trait that is visionary, these are the idea people of the world. These are the people that are able to connect dots that most can’t. They have a sixth sense and they see around corners. They have this ability that connect the dots and that’s that curiosity, fanaticism for learning and wanting to understand, but it’s always about what they’re passionate about. It’s not about everything. It’s about this thing that they tend to go deep into. It’s the thing that they’re passionate about and driven to bring to the world.
That’s interesting that you said that because I don’t know if you’ve read the book Range, but his whole premise is sometimes we have tunnel vision that the more range we have the better. Do you think that we need to be less tunnel vision sometimes and broaden our interest?
I’ll try and answer this as briefly as I can. There are three data points that splashing on my mind on that. The short answer is, it’s a debatable topic but you’re going to hear where what side I fall on this debate. The first is we have almost 100,000 companies that run on EOS all around the world and what we’re teaching and what I’ve always taught is focus. What I have seen over time, in my years of helping companies and building companies is, focus. When I go to a client and work with a client and they and they’re they’ve got six things that they’re focused on, I try and get them down to one. I’ll start with that basic premise.
The second is Jim Collins incredible work with Good to Great, talking about the hedgehog and the fox, his research and his studies show that the hedgehog companies succeed far greater than the fox-like companies. The fox knows many things and the hedgehog knows one thing well. Your reader reading that chapter will shed some light on this topic, and now that I think about that, those are probably the most important tool to tell you where I land on this. Jack of all trades, master of none, I subscribed to that quote and all I can do is speak from experience and how living that way has worked for me, what it’s done for me and what it’s done for our clients.
Do you surround yourself with other hedgehogs?
Yes, that is exactly right. For all those other skill sets that are necessary, yes, you surround yourself with those skillsets or you have a phone number for those skillsets. I have a lot of phone numbers of the things I need done. In a simple form and almost a simplistic example is, the way I look at it, the more time I spend in my sweet spot, both learning my sweet spot and practicing my sweet spot, everybody wins. I have a phone number for everything else, so even on the home front to do the things around us. I’m not a handy person at all. I have a phone number for the things that need to be done and it’s also silly for me to spend half a day on something I don’t enjoy at all, take away from either my family time or practicing my craft is a bad formula. Unless you love cutting the lawn, fixing outlets, electrical problems or whatever it is around the house. Hopefully, that makes sense, at least in my perspective.
That ties into being passionate. You’re passionate about this thing. When you’re talking about passionate being one of these six areas, how do you develop that passion? Is this something that comes naturally to people or do you stumble upon it from other past experiences? I’m curious where this comes from.
This is an entire chapter of the book. This is a topic that I’m passionate about, no pun intended. I do think you ultimately discover it and it almost always stems from a wound of some sort. It typically stems from some pain or experience in your life. It’s like the mother who has a one-year-old and invents the next best thing for a one-year-old because of something that they were struggling with raising their one-year-old. There are hundreds of those stories. My passion for business stems from me saving a family business and turning around the family business. I believe that it stems from a wound and experience that you had. In addition to that, there are exercises you can do. I wrote a chapter on it and put a bunch of exercises, but I want to share one with you and your readers because I can share it in less than a minute and it’s helpful.
It doesn’t matter what age you are. It’s a 30-minute exercise. You sit down with a journal, a legal pad, or whatever it is you like to capture your notes in, but writing is powerful and it’s scientifically proven. I urge you to write, but you answer three questions. The first question you answer is, what are my three greatest successes? The second question you answer is, what are my three greatest failures? The third question you answer is, what has life prepared me for? I cannot remember where I learned that exercise, but I learned it years ago. For me, it was transformative. Everyone’s going to have a different answer and their journey with this but it’s exercises like that help start to bring to light what you’re truly passionate about because it’s a different answer for everyone.
I love that you’re asking questions because that ties into curiosity and curiosity ties into this problem solver aspect. What I found in my research is there were four things that keep people from being curious. That’s their fear, assumptions, that voice in our head, technology, over or underuse of it, and environment, basically, anybody who’s ever come into contact with. How do you think curiosity might tie into problem-solving? Do we need to ask these questions to solve the problems? We need to be able to see things from other people’s perspectives and develop empathy to solve the problems. I’m sure we need that right now in this time of crisis in the United States. What do you say about problem-solving when you talk about this in your book or write about it?
I’m going to grab one last piece on that previous question and bring it right into this next question because when I’m talking about passionate as one of the six essential traits, it’s truly a trait. With entrepreneurs, it’s some of these traits. They’re passionate about their thing, product, and service. They have a strong belief that they want to fill some kind of void in the world. I want to make sure that I make that final point because it’s your nature to be passionate about your thing. Finding your passion is a whole other conversation, so I want to separate those two. On this subject of the six essential traits, you’re taking us to problem solver. What’s important here is I’m saying that this is an essential trait of an entrepreneur.
My belief is that these are traits, so these are not skills. You cannot learn these and they cannot be taught. You’re born with them and you’re genetically encoded. In that, you and I could probably have a wonderful half-day debate. Assuming that is true, what I’m saying here is a problem solver is someone that has always leaned into problems. They’re creative problem solvers. When they hit a setback in their life, they lean into it. They are optimists by nature. They see solutions where other people see problems. When you talk about these tough times, it’s the perfect time because the reality of what’s happening is while everyone is running out of the fire, entrepreneurs are running into that fire right now.
It’s a great way to offer an assessment with this work and for your reader to decide, “Am I a problem solver?” This is a great opportunity to think about how are you reacting to these times. You’ll know more about this than I will because of your work and knowledge. I can’t remember the two parts of the brain, but when these times are this scary, people that are afraid spend their time in that survival, fear-based part of the brain. What you have to do is you have to shift to the part of your brain that goes into solution mode that gets ready to fight. When you’re talking about this curiosity thing that you started with, what I prescribe to every business owner is to take a clarity break.
What I would urge for anyone reading, the way a clarity break, for me, I do it sitting in a Starbucks two hours a week and it’s thinking time. It’s so hard to do. It’s a discipline, but spending time, I always recommend writing with a pen and with a journal, with a legal pad. Sit, think and get that shift to occur in your brain, so as opposed to sitting there afraid and freaking out and running, lean into this thing and spend some quiet time. You can also meditate. Meditation has been great for me in these crazy times. I’ve had incredible ideas come to me. The other thing too is it’s about talking to people. The more you talk to people, the more you start to get ideas, the more you reach out to help people and your brain starts to shift to solving problems, getting creative, and having ideas. There’s the best answer I get for you.
It’s interesting because it’s you’re talking about traits. When I studied curiosity, there’s a curiosity gene coined by the Max Planck Institute and we all have this certain level that we peak about age five and it decreases as we get older. A lot of the work I researched includes mindset and all that. Mindset might also tie into when you talk about being driven, how we decide that we’re open to learning more and doing more. I’d like to hear how you describe the driven part of what you wrote.
I would like to articulate this for your readers to think about themselves and do a checkup from the neck up and get a sense of, “Is this me?” Driven is you always have had this internal fire, this sense of urgency, and this competitive spirit. You want to succeed. You’re self-motivated and hustle. Those are the words I like to describe when I’m trying to help somebody understand what I mean by being driven.
Does that tie into being able to handle risk into the next six listings? Risk is an interesting thing because to be entrepreneurial, you have to leap. How do you develop that?
This is a fun one because when you say develop, you’re hearing my philosophy. It can’t be developed. Historically, if you have this trait, you’ve always been a bit rebellious. The point here is this is a fun one because everyone thinks that when you take your entrepreneurial leap, that’s the risk that you took. That’s what makes you a risk-taker, when in fact, that’s only 1 of 1000 risks you’re going to take over the next ten years. You are going to be faced with 1,000 tough decisions that can put you out of business tomorrow. Especially in these tough times when you took the leap, you’ve taken the risk, you started your business and you’re six years into this thing, and all of a sudden, you get your ass kicked. It’s like what’s happening to a lot of us right now. There you go, there’s a risk. Are you going to lay everybody off? Are you going to lay 20% off? Where are you going to cut expenses?
Every single day, you’re making tough decisions and that’s why I always like to say, “I’m not saying entrepreneurship is this wonderful, elitist thing that everybody needs to go and become.” It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. We’re borderline crazy and all I’m trying to do is I’m trying to help anyone that has these six central traits understand that this is why you’re considered a little wacky, kooky and a little different. With risk-takers, to pin this down, what I like to say is, this trait is where you simply don’t freeze. When you get faced with a tough decision, you make the decision. You are rebellious by nature, and you’re willing to fail. You don’t want to fail and you don’t intend to fail. Lots of entrepreneurs have a fear of failure, but you’re willing to fail. That’s part of the journey that you’re willing to fail and pick yourself back up and keep trying. That’s how I describe a risk-taker.The more you talk to people, the more you start to get ideas. Click To Tweet
As I’m looking at these six traits, I can relate to all of them, especially the next one being responsible, but for me, probably the one that I find the most painful would be the risk-taker one. I wouldn’t say I would hesitate, but I would say it hurts a lot for me to lose. I’m super competitive. The responsibility aspect, I’m super responsible. I want to talk about responsible and I want to know is there one of these six that you can do without more than any of the others?
That is my favorite question. I’ll start there and I’ll answer the responsible question because the answer is no. It’s all six of them. I’m not making this up. This is 30 years of experience. This is a lot of interviews. This is validating this and making sure that these entrepreneurs in my life say, “Yes, that is me,” and all of them taking the assessment, so you have to have all six. The second part of your question is this responsible one. I always love explaining this one because it’s the one that’s an oddball. A lot of people think, “What does that have to do with being an entrepreneur?”
First, let me explain it. This responsible trait means that you default to blaming no one. Whenever something goes wrong, you look at yourself and don’t look at others. You blame yourself and don’t blame others. The reason it’s a trait and you’re born with it, it can’t be taught and its nature or nurture, you picture a family with lots of kids. We can all picture these people in our life. For those of you reading and maybe you have siblings in two different camps. If you think about your siblings, half of those siblings, when something goes wrong, defaults to blaming everyone else. The other half default to blaming themselves. They look at themselves first.
The best way I’ve heard this described for people that have this default to taking responsibility is one of our EOS implementers. He shared the true definition of responsibility is if a meteor hits your building, your first default is, “It’s my fault.” That says it all because I chose that location and built that building. If you understand that where you are in your life is a combination of all of your decisions, it’s your fault. Long story short, that’s what we mean by responsible and half the world takes responsibility. For the record, the people that don’t take responsibility and the people that take too much responsibility, those are psychological disorders. I’m not saying either of these scenarios is healthy. I’m saying what it is. An entrepreneur tends to take responsibility and probably too much responsibility but that’s the reason they build all the things that get built in this world.
I could see that a lot of people can gain a lot of information from this book. I know you’re the bestselling author of Traction. You’ve done so much in the past and to anybody who’s reading and they want to know if they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, they’re going to want to read Entrepreneurial Leap. If they want to get in touch with you, Gino, or get your book, is there some link or something you’d to share?
For sure. Everything is that E-Leap.com. That’s the website. What they’ll find there are nine free tools, but a couple of examples are they will find the Entrepreneur in the Making Assessment where they can take the assessment for free and get a good sense of whether they have these six essential traits. The first 30 pages of the book are there. They can get a free chapter so they can get a sense of this content and if it sucks them in, then they can go ahead and purchase the book along with other great free tools to help them ultimately decide, are they an entrepreneur in the making? Should they take their leap? If they do, they greatly increase their odds of becoming entrepreneurs.
I know they can also subscribe to your Entrepreneurial Leap YouTube channel. You’ve got a lot out there like @ReadLeap on Twitter. There’s so much that they could do to find you. It’s so much fun having you here, Gino. Thank you.
It is my pleasure.
And Strategies For Getting Published With Peter Economy
I am here with Peter Economy who is the bestselling business author ghostwriter, developmental editor and publishing consultant with more than 100 books to his credit and more than 3 million copies sold. In addition, he’s The Leadership Guy on Inc.com was with more than 1,500 articles published, garnering more than 500,000 page views a month. His book, Wait, I’m the Boss?!? I’m so excited to have you here, Peter. Welcome.
Thank you so much, Diane. It’s great to be here.
I always have everybody send me their bios and their information. Yours reminds me of the most impressive CV on the planet. I’m looking at it, page one, page two and books you’ve written. These are the things you’ve been behind and articles and things that you’ve done. I’m going like, “Books. Wow.” How do you have time to write so much?
I write almost all the time. I’ve got a natural ability in this writing thing because I was a manager for many years. When I was a manager, I didn’t write much at all. They were only reports, memos, and things like that, but I didn’t realize that my natural calling was to be a writer. Once I figured that out that I started churning it out.
Those must have been some eloquent memos.
I don’t know if my employees would have said that. They may not agree with you.
You have an impressive list of things you’ve written. It’s all high-level business information. There’s so much great content in this and I know you’ve got a book. I want to talk about that. You mentioned a little bit about your background. Could I get a little bit more of what led you to this point?
I was a manager for about ten years. I worked up in that position and had never been trained in management, which is part of the motivation why I wrote this book in the first place. I was an okay manager, but I wasn’t a great manager by any means. That came to the floor when I was assigned, all of a sudden, a group of 500 people. In retrospect, I was like, “Wow,” but back then I was like, “This is great, I’m going to get paid more and I’m going to have this great title of VP.” Vice President of that whatever it was this or that. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have any training and being a manager. I’d gone from maybe managing ten people to all of a sudden to 500 people. It’s a big difference. Although I hobbled through, I wasn’t that great. I was a failure when it came to management.
Somewhere along the line, one of my friends said, “Would you want to write a book?” He was an editor with a Scott Foresman, which was a big publisher at the time. He said, “Do you want to write a book?” I said, “Not really. I’m busy doing everything else that I do.” He’s like, “We’ll pay $2,500.” I said, “You’re going to pay me money? That sounds great. Let’s do it.” I wrote a book on negotiations. It was my first book and it was published around 1990. It was called Negotiating to Win. It was my first book and I said, “I’ve checked that box and I filled that bucket. I don’t need to read any more books anymore.”
There was another book and another book and before you knew it, I was working full time as a manager during the day and at night. At lunchtime, I would be working on book projects. I continued to do that until I was laid off. Fifteen managers were laid off one day at our place of work and I was laid off. I said, “That’s okay. I’ve got this writing thing going. It’s going to be okay.” The next day, I got a call back from my employer. They said, “We found six months more money. Come on back. You can get back to work.” I said, “No. I’m going to do the writing thing.” It’s been years now that I’ve been a full-time writer. I never went back to that management position.
You are a full-time writer. I was looking at some of the titles. Some of them you ghostwrite and some of them you’re a developmental editor. I mentioned a lot of stuff, but there’s a lot of Dummies Books on here too and they’re not only one topic.
I’m the king of the Dummies, that is what that means.
I love the Dummies Books.
Thank you.Whenever something goes wrong, look at yourself and don't blame others. Click To Tweet
You have to have a sense of humor to write Dummies Books because they’re tongue in cheek a lot, don’t you think?
Exactly. That’s what they were originally. When we first wrote the first ones, Managing for Dummies, which sold about 600,000 copies, it’s in twenty different languages, three different Chinese versions, and all this different stuff. Originally, they were supposed to be humorous and tongue in cheek and fun to read. That’s the key thing. It was something that was interesting and not going to bore you to death. That was carried through. Even though the later ones that I did, they dial back the humor a little bit but they still want it to be fun to read and not boring and a textbook.
You’re going across so many categories. Some people are laser-focused and you have quite a range of topics. You have this background but to know consulting, raising capital, military flight aptitude test, and writing fiction, you’re all over the place. How do you do that?
I learn and that’s what’s good. The thing I found out from being a writer is that you have to learn the topic to write about it. I was fortunate in many cases. For example, Writing Children’s Books for Dummies. I’ve written one children’s book in my life and it was okay. I didn’t sell a super lot of copies. It wasn’t like Harry Potter or something like that, but it was fun to do. When I did that book, Writing Children’s Books for Dummies, I teamed up with a woman who has written more than 100 children’s books. She was the expert and I was more of a support role for her. I provided the Dummies’ structure and horsepower. She provided the actual expertise in children’s books, which I didn’t have. That’s been a hallmark of what I’ve done. I’ve collaborated with many people. When I do ghostwriting projects, the person I work with, who’s the actual author on the book, they’re the expert in whatever it may be. I have to get up to speed quickly on what they do and their expertise to be able to write that stuff down.
I see all levels of books. My house looks like Barnes and Noble because anybody I interview sends copies of their books. A lot of people want quick to the point books and some people want intense books. I was listening again to Sapiens, for example, and the amount of research that goes into that book, I can’t even fathom taking the time to write something like that. Do most people, when they hire you as a ghostwriter, do they want that level or do they want to get their idea out on a normal, regular book?
I’d say it goes both ways. I’d say generally that most of the books I do are quicker. Maybe 3 to 6-months process of writing the book and finishing the manuscript. There are a couple that have been in-depth ones where we did have a lot of original research and interviewing a lot of people. I did one book, Leading from the Edge. In that book, I interviewed more than 100 members of what was called YEO, the Young’s Entrepreneurs Organization. Now it’s called EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization. I interviewed more than 100 people for that book and that took me forever. Probably each interview was at least an hour, so it was 100 hours spread over months and writing the book from that. Some of those books have been in-depth, but most of them are pretty quick. They want to get it done quickly, get it to publisher or self-published in some cases as quickly as they can.
It’s hard to get a publisher these days, unless there’s somebody like you that demonstrated that they can sell 500,000-page views a month or whatever it is. What advice do you give somebody? Is it all platforms still? What is the trick to getting a regular publisher?
It has gotten tougher than ever. It’s more and more difficult. I had a client who was a president and CEO of a major, probably Fortune 50 company. He had retired and we had a hard time finding a publisher. Here’s a guy who was one of the top business people in the United States and paired up with me, which I don’t know if that was good or bad, but it was good. He had a great title and a great platform. He had so much support for his platform, but he had a tough time. We had a real hard time finding him a publisher. There are two things and these have always been true, but probably the proportion has changed, so having a strong platform and publishers now are biased towards social media. People who have podcasts as you do, people who have a lot of reach on Twitter or Facebook like tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of followers, in some cases, that makes it so much easier.
You still have to have a good idea. I’ve got publishers and I’ve been working with clients who’ve got amazing social media platforms who have a five-page marketing plan for their book when it comes out, but the publisher says, “This book isn’t up to our alley. It’s not something we would want to typically publish.” You still have to have a good idea. Traditionally, the big idea was the big thing. It was probably a 70/30. It was 70% in favor of a big idea and 30% in favor of your platform. That’s probably reversed to some degree. Maybe it’s 60% in favor of your platform, but there’s still a strong 40% in favor of your idea, you’ve got to have a good idea. That idea has to be the right idea for that particular publisher. It’s got to be something they want and will publish.
I’ve had some people say that it used to be the publishers did so much for marketing the book, but now it’s almost like not so much and you’re not getting big money upfront and all the things. Everything’s changed. I remember how it was and having one of my agents in the past. All it was, was the platform and that before I had this platform. I’ve watched what you’re saying, go through different changes. You’ve got the chops for this, so everybody’s going want to publish your work. I see so many people who are trying. I’m curious, with all these books, and you can’t pick your most recent one, because that’s going to be your favorite, but before this one, what is the favorite book you’ve written?
Before this one, there’s a book called Unlearn. It’s the one I did with a guy named Barry O’Reilly. I’ve done a lot of technology books lately. I’ve been working on that area lately, so Agile software development, product development, and this whole software product area. This guy, Barry O’Reilly, comes out of that world, the software product development world, and his book is called Unlearn: Let Go of the Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results. That was a good book. It came out in 2018. What made it so good was we interacted well.
When you’re a ghostwriter, when you’re behind the scenes, you’re a developmental editor, or whatever it may be, you’ve to have this spark and ability to work with other people. It’s not only that but also to spark conversations and deep thinking about a subject. We were kicking around ideas and philosophizing about his ideas in his book. In that book, we did that more than any other book I’ve worked on with anybody else. There was so much interaction and so much elevating the ideas. When we discard an idea, we’d bring in a new idea. We would kick it around, we’d elevate it and it would go on to the book. That book is my favorite. A lot of it is because of the process that we went through to create a good book. It’s a good book, for sure.
I haven’t read it. I’m going to because it ties into what I wrote about in my book about curiosity because a lot of us are holding on to status quo thinking. That’s on my list, so thank you for that.
You got it. I’m happy to add it. I’d be happy to add some more to your list too.
Your most recent book is Wait, I’m the Boss?!? What is this book about? Give us a little bit of idea about it?
This is a book for mostly for new managers. This was the case when I became a manager. I was not trained at all. This is pretty common for small businesses, startups, and probably medium-sized businesses, which are the majority of businesses in this country. They don’t do any real management training. They don’t have management courses set up. The large businesses, the big Fortune 500s, they do. They have entire courses and tracks that you go through to become skilled in management. They teach you those skills and they have classes and things that you go through as an employee once they’ve decided that you’ve got that kind of leadership ability or potential. Most businesses, small and medium, don’t have that.
A lot of people get thrown into management positions that never had any training at all. The only thing that they’ve seen is their boss and their manager. How have they managed and what do they do to be a manager? The bad news about that is, Gallup has done surveys and bad bosses are the number one reason why people quit their jobs. There are a lot of bad bosses, bad managers and supervisors out there. I created this book to be a guide for anyone who has been thrown into a management position out of the blue and all of a sudden. That’s what the question mark and exclamation point are all about. You’ve been thrown into this position and you’ve never been trained in it. This book has all the basic skills that every new manager needs to do his or her job well.
I remember working for a smaller to medium-sized company. When I became a leader, they did the same thing. They gave you training on how to fill out your expense reports, but not one tiny thing about leadership. I’m thinking, “Wow,” and I had that in the education industry where we’re teaching people to be leaders and yet they didn’t practice what they preach. I’ve had leaders that emulated their boss, and if their boss was a jerk, they were a jerk. It’s a tough time. It is a lot different in the larger companies.
I work for AstraZeneca for twenty years and they have incredible training. To go from that and to say, “Here’s your desk. Figure it out.” You’re like, “What happened to that two-year thing that I did in the last company?” It can be challenging for a lot of people if you’ve been in a company and switch companies. Every company has its unique thing. I’m curious about what you think is probably the most difficult problem that new managers have. Is it that they’re not trained or is there a problem they need to solve? What’s the worst part for new managers?
It’s making the transition from being an expert in something to becoming a manager. It’s a different job. Let’s talk about salespeople. Salespeople, typically if they’re high performers, they are eventually tapped to become a sales manager. They might be the best salesperson in the whole company and that’s maybe what they should be doing. Maybe they should still be doing sales instead of getting pulled, but they inevitably get pulled into sales management because you can lead a team of salespeople and you can teach them all how to be a great salesperson.
Being a sales manager is not the same as being a salesperson. There are so many people who fail because they don’t want to maybe they don’t want to be a manager and they go kicking and screaming the whole way or they’re not trained to be a manager, so they don’t know how to do it well. There’s a variety of different reasons but making that transition from being an expert in something an expert salesperson, expert negotiator like I was, or whatever it may be, and becoming a manager. That’s a tough transition for many people to make.
Hence, the chapter on the Peter Principle, I imagine?Writing something interesting means writing something that is not going to bore you to death. Click To Tweet
It’s getting promoted to something higher of your level of competence. That’s indeed the case in many cases. There’s one other aspect of that’s difficult for people too. Let’s stick with salespeople. You’re on a team of salespeople and you become the sales manager. All of a sudden, you’re leading people who were your peers, friends and who used to go out to the bar with after work and hang out with and all of a sudden, you’re supposed to manage them. First of all, they’re going to say, “What makes you any different than you were last week when we were all hanging out together at the bar? Why am I supposed to follow you now?” It works the other way too. When you’re the manager, all of a sudden being put in that position where the people who were your friends or colleagues are now your “subordinates.” That’s a tough position to be put into for that manager. You’re supposed to monitor their work, check their performance, and discipline them if they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. That’s a difficult transition to make.
Can you give advice on how to be a better manager? I thought you had three things that you can offer. Let’s see what those are.
Definitely, there are some things you can do to be a better manager. There are a million things but let’s focus on a few. Optimism is a huge thing. I’ve worked for managers who are pessimistic. If you work for a pessimistic manager, why would you be optimistic? It brings the whole office down. It’s like you have this cloud over your head all the time. Managers need to be optimistic. They need to bring up the people they work with. They need to elevate them and not bring them down. Honesty and transparency are things that are extremely important. When things are going bad, tell your people. Don’t hide it. A lot of managers think that they should hide bad news because they don’t want to get people upset.
They don’t want to get people riled up. It’s extremely important for managers to be completely transparent and honest with information as they get it and to communicate that widely. Also, be inspiring. Everybody wants to work for someone who inspires them. I would much rather work for someone who inspires me and follow someone who inspires me than someone who doesn’t. We all want to have a purpose. We all want to work in an organization that is doing good things and hopefully changing the world for the better. If you’re a leader who adopts that, embraces and wants to change the world and has found a company that can do that, inspire the people who work for you and make sure they feel that they are a part of changing the world as well.
My biggest pet peeve is a lack of respect or when people show a lack of respect when you’re trying and doing your best. It’s that snarky attitude. That is something problematic for any manager or employee. I’m curious what you think are the three things that managers should try to avoid and I’ll put that on the list if you don’t.
Avoid that, for sure. That whole snarkiness thing is something you should always avoid. A lot of managers fail to delegate and this is something that I had no problem with when I was in management. If you’re a manager, you’ve got something that needs to get done, you think to yourself, “Should I give this to this employee? I know it would be good for them to learn this, but I know it’s going to get done twice as fast and maybe five times better if I do it myself.” Managers fall into this trap of doing it all themselves because they think it’s going to be faster and better that way.
They don’t take the time to delegate work. Not only are they overburdening themselves, but they’re not developing their employees. Their employees need to develop, learn these things, learn decision making, and learn how to stand on their own two feet. What ends up happening is a manager feels like he or she can’t leave. You can’t go on vacation because what’s going to happen when I’m gone? Even if I’ll be gone for a week, is this place going to fall apart without me being there? If you’re afraid that your place is going to fall apart without you being there, you’re not delegating properly.
It’s so hard for so many people at the beginning because they want it to be perfect and they think it’s going to look like they haven’t done what they should be doing if their people fail or whatever, but you aren’t developing people if you do that.
You’ve got to give them the opportunity to fail. You’ve got to give them the opportunity to excel, but to fail and learn and they can learn what they need to learn. What classes they might need, or what kinds of assignments they might need. You won’t know until you test them, try it, and give it a shot.
Failure is such an important thing. In my research on curiosity, when I wrote not only my book but the assessment I created, I found that there are four things that keep people from being curious. The acronym is FATE. F for fear, assumptions, the voice in our head, technology over and underutilization of it and environment. We’re talking about some of these things and fear of failure is something that holds so many people back. That leads to status quo thinking. We need companies to be innovative and to do so much more. I love that you touch on all those things in all the work that you do. I’m so excited to have another. I know you’ve written more than 100 books. Is this 101? What number are you in?
We’re somewhere around 125, honestly. I let it go. I haven’t recounted. I should count up but I’m getting close to 125.
That’s how I got with my teaching. After I taught my 1,000th business course, I’m thinking, “I’m not counting.”
Exactly. Once you get 1,000, that’s huge.
I’m done. I’m still teaching but someday I’ll have to go back and figure it out. I can’t believe how many books you’ve written. They’re all so amazing, to get into the Dummies and all the things that you’ve done. I am impressed by your work. How can people find more from you if they want to get your books or find out more about you? Do you have a link?
Go to my website PeterEconomy.com and everything is right there.
Is that a name you’ve made up or is that your real name?
I wish I had made it up, but no. My great grandfather came over from Greece in 1919 or something and his last name was Economou, which was Greek. I don’t know if it was when he went through Ellis Island or someone probably said, “Why don’t you try something American name like Economy?” He’s like, “Okay, if I will, will you let me in?” “Yes.” “Economy from here on out.” That’s where it came from.
Your future grandchildren will be able to write about business and it will be a cool name for them, so there you go.
That’ll be something. I look forward to seeing that someday.
It’s been fun though to go through all your work. I was like, “Wow.” I heard a lot of your work, but some of it I hadn’t and I’m like, “I have another one to add to my list with Unlearn.” Thank you for sharing that and thank you for being here.
Thank you, Diane, I had a blast. This is great.
It was fun. Thank you.
I’d like to thank both Gino and Peter for being my guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can find them all at DrDianeHamilton.com. If you go DrDianeHamilton.com/blog, you can read them, which is great because we link everything that we talked on the site, which is so much easier to sometimes read it. We’re on podcasts, iTunes, iHeart. You name the place, we’re probably there. I hope you’re able to access us and if you ever have any questions, you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com. To find out more about my speaking and training, anything to do with curiosity, it’s there but it’s also at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you enjoyed this and I hope you join us next time.
- Gino Wickman
- Peter Economy
- Entrepreneurial Leap
- Young Entrepreneurs Organization
- Strategic Coach Program
- Sam Cupp – LinkedIn
- Entrepreneurial Operating System
- Joe Polish
- Tom Hopkins – Previous Episode
- Good to Great
- Entrepreneurial Leap YouTube – Youtube Channel
- @ReadLeap – Twitter
- Wait, I’m the Boss?!?
- Negotiating to Win
- Managing for Dummies
- Writing Children’s Books for Dummies
- Leading from the Edge
- iTunes – Take the Lead Radio
- iHeart – Take the Lead Radio
About Gino Wickman
Gino Wickman is the author of Entrepreneurial Leap, which is devoted to helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making understand their genetic makeup and give them a huge jump-start, along with a clear, simple path to fully realize their potential.
About Peter Economy
Peter Economy is a best-selling business author, ghostwriter, developmental editor, and publishing consultant with more than 100 books to his credit (and more than 3 million copies sold). In addition, he is the Leadership Guy on Inc.com with more than 1,500 articles published to date, garnering more than 500,000 pageviews a month. His most recent book is Wait, I’m the Boss?!?
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