The Carrot Principle with Adrian Gostick and Freeing Up Your Time For Business with Richie Norton

It’s really important that people feel like their ideas lead somewhere. Sometimes we have to give people credit or a little “attaboy” to lead them to the next level. Bestselling author Adrian Gostick talks about the idea behind his book, The Carrot Principle. He shares that the best leaders use recognition to bring about employee engagement and positive corporate culture, thus accelerating performance and retaining talent.


One of the biggest questions with entrepreneurship is how could you start a business and actually free up your time? Award-winning author and serial entrepreneur Richie Norton delves into his book called The Power of Starting Something Stupid when dealing with issues concerning creating products, building businesses, or business models. Richie says sometimes we’re afraid of starting something because we think they’re stupid. Richie says you have to set things up in a way that it’s not a time suck for you by focusing only on the good things that you want to do.

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We have Adrian Gostick and Richie Norton. Adrian is a New York Times best-selling author of The Carrot Principle, All In and The Best Team Wins. He has written books that have sold a million and a half copies. Richie Norton is an award-winning author. He’s the CEO of Prouduct. He’s a global consultant and helps a lot of people in a lot of different industries.

Listen to the podcast here

The Carrot Principle with Adrian Gostick

I am here with Adrian Gostick who is the author of several bestselling books on employee engagement and corporate culture. The Carrot Principle and All In have been New York Times and number one Wall Street Journal bestsellers, they were called, “A must read for modern-day managers,” by Larry King of CNN. He has a book that’s called The Best Team Wins. Adrian has been everywhere, The Today Show, Harvard Business Press, Wall Street Journal. You name it, you’ve seen him there. It’s so exciting to have you here, Adrian. Welcome.

Thanks, Diane. I appreciate your interest in our work.

I am interested. I had Chester Elton on the show and I know you two work together.

We’ve been co-authors for twenty years and I’m glad you had him on. That’s great.

He was great and I got to meet him for about 30 seconds. We were at the Marshall Goldsmith’s MG100 Group here in Arizona and I got invited to meet those guys. I ran into him in the parking lot and we were going to catch up later and we never had a chance because I had to go. I wanted to talk to him. He was great the last time when he was on my show. I talked to him a little bit after the show about the assessments that you have created. I’m working on an assessment to measure curiosity and the things that impact curiosity. How challenging was that for you to deal in that realm?

[bctt tweet=”More gets done when you work collaboratively and as a team.” username=””]

It was a multi-year process. We survey with our research partners a lot of people every year. There are almost a million people in our research database now but we’ve never created anything that helped assess what your drivers and motivators are at work. We’ve never created a tool like that so we partnered with Drs. Jean Greaves and Travis Bradberry who wrote the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. With a team of psychologists and behaviorists, they helped us create this. We thought, “We’ll throw out some ideas and we’ll put this out.” This was a multiyear process where we alpha, beta tested it, we tested with worldwide audiences. By the time we’re done, we had the most scientifically valid assessment that’s ever been created on employee motivation.

We started taking it to organizations and we thought the big a-ha would be when you took the motivator’s assessment, you’d take and you go, “That’s me.” You take it and you go, “That is me,” but there’s no big a-ha until you start comparing and contrasting it with people that you’re working with. You realize that fun is your number one motivator but maybe it’s my 23rd motivator. We’re driving each other crazy because you want to have fun at meetings, catch up, and I just want to get things done. There are so many of those ideas that we found at our work that helped teams.

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The Carrot Principle

I went through a lot of the same stuff trying to do factor analysis and trying to make it valid. That was a lot of work. I was thinking how much you guys went through. I have researched emotional intelligence for my Doctoral dissertation. I’m very familiar with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and all the work that Travis did. I have been trying to get him on the show because he and I both spoke for Forbes a long time ago.

I watched a lot of your videos and you are so impressive as a speaker. I was mesmerized by the different videos that you had on your site. I get a lot of Hall of Fame speakers and I’ve had a lot of people on my show who are impressive and do a lot of things, but there are certain people that stand out and you’re one of them. Your books have sold more than a million copies. You’ve been on Larry King and Today. It’s fascinating to see what makes somebody really good at that. Were you a natural on the stage or did you have to work on that?

I had to learn that. There are thousands of people out there who are public speakers that you can bring into your organization. We were first researchers. We were consultants. We helped organizations with their employee engagement issues or their corporate cultures. One day, all of a sudden, somebody called us and said, “Do you speak on this?” We went, “Do people do that?” That was almost fifteen or twenty years ago. We weren’t very good at the beginning but we figured out how to help organizations. We’d start taking that to help audiences. You start with your content and what you’re passionate about and then maybe you become a speaker on it versus the other way where, “I just want to be a great speaker.” No, “I want to help organizations,” then you’re just so sincere because you’re trying to help.

You come across as very sincere. I loved your story about your kid dropping the iPad, the reaction that you’ve got and made you want to keep doing business with Apple. You’re good at painting pictures and a lot of people have a difficult time learning that as a speaker. It takes a lot of practice and it sounds like you’ve had a lot of practice. You deal with a lot of things that I deal with in terms of wanting to help people become more innovative. I’m writing my book on curiosity and recreating my assessment because innovation, AI and everything, that’s the way it’s going to be going. We all give talks on emotional intelligence and soft skills. I still think that’s important, but with people losing their jobs and with all the AI, where do you think it’s headed?

I was sitting around with a group of executives in Toronto and I said, “If they ask me about the future, where can I ask them?” They said, “All we’re talking about now is AI. It’s around innovation and pushing the boundaries.” If you come up with the iPad of your industry and you’re the innovator, somebody is going to replicate it in six months. People are the differentiator and people drive that innovation, but how do you get them to think disruptively without being disrupted? How do you get them to challenge that status quo? This is real. We used to look for harmony within our teams.

The people that I’m working with who are doing some amazing things, are creating these very innovative, as you say “curious environments.” We’ve all been swimming down the stream for so long that they value those radicals who come in and say, “Why don’t we try it this way?” Not the devil’s advocate, those people are a drain on innovation. We’re talking about people who see things in a different way. For so long we’ve quashed those kinds of people or forced them out of our groups. The great innovative teams we’re working with are welcoming and looking for ways to think very differently.

Do you think that we’re changing how we look at failure? When I was in the workplace in the ‘70s, ‘80s, the worst thing in the world is to fail. What can we learn from it?

One of the companies, Tata, that we studied for The Best Team Wins, 700,000 employees and the CEO was starting to realize, “We’re too big. We’re not innovative.” He introduced this Dare to Try Award. It’s an award to recognize failure. With 700,000 people he says, “The first year I did it, I’ve got three submissions.” They’ve got the same award as all the big patent winners. The next year we had 300 people submit and the next year more than a thousand. It started to snowball but he says, “So many people were afraid to admit they had failed. How will we ever be innovative if we don’t fail fast, fix fast, and learn fast?”

You talk about challenging everything in your new book. Don’t we need to do that?

We had some great examples there. An 80-year-old Bell Helicopter that found a way to innovate and shake up the old world of the aerospace engineers by bringing in new thought and new blood. What the CEO did was he created what he called Ground Rules. The way that we should act with each other to create a robust but respectful debate. One question I get a lot is, “How do we keep this from escalating into outlaw fights?” There are definitely ways to do that.

Anything you want to share?

One of the ways is that this CEO, Mitch Snyder, created what he called Ground Rules. For example, we’re going to use a piece of every idea even if it’s wacky. You have to find a way to use every idea. We’re going to challenge the idea but never the person, we are going to listen respectfully to each other. He created these ground rules as they went into debate instead of letting it be a free-for-all, then you come back to the rules. Remember one of our rules is that we’re going to look for the best idea and not ram home our own points. “Steve, I feel like right now you’re not following that ground rule.” It became a rule discussion versus, Steve, you’re bad because you’re being a jerk.” There are some very simple ways but powerful ways that we can help our people be a little bit more disruptive while still respecting each other.

It’s important that people feel like their ideas lead somewhere. I was watching Horrible Bosses 2. There’s this scene where they’re trying to figure out how to kidnap the guy’s kid so they make money. Everybody’s giving some horrendous ideas that are way over the top. Everybody had something that they use except for the one guy that couldn’t use anything. They’re giving everybody credit and finally, they looked at him and they said something like, “You don’t have anything good, but let’s do something good,” from other people. Sometimes, one thing we hold back that we need to say can lead somebody else to the next level. With teams, it’s so different now. When I was in sales, it was just me. I didn’t have anybody, I didn’t have any team. I look at how sales has changed now, they’ve got so many people doing what one person used to do. That’s got to lead to more challenges as well though, because you’ve got different personalities.

There has been a lot of talk about Millennials and everybody’s got their theories. Of course, it’s impossible to generalize an entire generation. With that said, we are seeing a few trends that everybody should be paying attention to. One of the good trends is that more Millennials are excited about working in teams, whether in sales, research, marketing or whatever. They are much more collaborative than our previous generation where if we work in a team, we were afraid we wouldn’t get our own credit. If the team failed, that we would all go down with the ship.

Millennials realize more gets done when you work collaboratively and as a team. One of the other a-has that we had from our research is that autonomy, which was a very strong driver for Gen X and Baby Boomers, is one of the very bottom motivators of 23 possibilities that we’ve studied for Millennials. In fact, one Millennial told me as I was explaining this research, he started nodding his head and he went, “Working autonomously.” He says, “That’s terrifying.” He was serious. “Why would I want to work alone?” It’s changing the landscape of how we look at our teams right now.

[bctt tweet=”50% of people in their twenties have fun as a top motivator.” username=””]

I see a lot of young people want to have more fun at work. In one of your videos you’re talking about Fortune 100 places, 80% of them say having fun on the job was part of why they liked it there. Kindergarteners laugh 400 times a day and adults not so much. Do you deal with helping people have more fun at work? How do we do that?

This is a tough one because people reading go, “That’s all great in theory, but if we don’t hit our quotas, we’re all out of here.” One of the things we noticed, especially with the younger workforce coming in, ideas like family and friendship are a lot more important as we’ve done our research. We got more than a million people helping us understand what motivates them at work. As we extrapolate out what motivates the younger workers, starting with that idea of family and friendship, they have their tribe which is important to them.

A CEO told me that he was trying to get some people to work a very big project over the Christmas season. He says to a person, “My older workers said they would do it. I was going to give them a big bonus. He said again, to a person, my Millennials said, “No. I’ve got plans with my family or my friends. My tribe is very important to me.” Work-life balance is emerging as very important. I was with the CEO and she said, “We used to be here until 7:00 to 9:00 at night. Now, 5:00 or 6:00, this place is empty.” It’s a different world. That one is that first off, balance has become really important. That second idea, that idea of fun, about 50% more people in their twenties have that as a top motivator than when you move into your 30s or 40s in our research. I come into work, whether I work at a hospital or I work at a consultancy, I will want to have a little fun early in my career. Not everybody, but that’s we’re seeing again, a trend. Later in my career, maybe not as important. I want to get my stuff done and get home to my family. We’re seeing some interesting trends that we can’t ignore.

It brings to mind a leader I had who would expect people to work until 7:00 or 8:00 at night when everybody normally would want to go home by 5:00 or 6:00. She was in a different situation because her husband watched the kids. She didn’t have to deal with all that stuff. Later when she got divorced, “I had to take care of the kids.” She had a lot more empathy, which is part of emotional intelligence as we know. It helps you understand when you have to feel what the other person’s going through. How do you get through to those leaders who are workaholics? I’ve had people ask me this a lot and it’s a hard one to really answer. If you have a boss who is a workaholic and they expect you to be, what do you do?

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The Carrot Principle: One of the good trends is that more millennials are actually excited about working in teams, whether in sales, research, marketing, or whatever.


We’re looking at that from the perspective of the employee, which is difficult. We go in as the consultant and the “expert” coming in trying to help these managers shake up their thinking. One CEO of a large construction company said, “It used to be six days a week, twelve hours a day. That’s how I cut my teeth.” He says, “If I expect my Millennials to work six days a week, I’ll be here alone. We’re a construction company trying to find things like flexi-time, job sharing, all these things that we’ve never given thought of.” It’s very tough from an employee’s perspective that the couple of questions that you typically ask are, “Can I change this manager? Do you think I might be able to have an influence without losing my job?” Secondly, “Can I learn something from this manager in the way that he or she works? Can I get along with them?” The third is, “Is this not going to work for me? Do I need to get out of college?” That first idea of, “Can you change people?” is very difficult when you’re coming from below other than you’re trying to set the boss up for success and you talk to them about, “Here are some of the things that I’ve noticed in my generation that might be useful.” If this person’s set in their ways, it’s often very hard to get them to change.

Culture comes from above and it’s challenging. Have you researched into silos based on generations and the different countries if they have more issues with silos? I know you have a focus on customers and building bridges across functions, cultures, and distance. Do you go into that type of thing and where do you go with that?

We have done research over the years on different cultures and especially how cultures vary and how they build employee engagement. If I’m trying to engage people in China, it’s quite different than trying to engage people in Brazil or the US. Sometimes, unfortunately, our global companies tend to feel that everybody is like us, but they’re not. As we go into different countries and we give speeches for instance, one of the things we’ll do is we’ll show the Chinese data that we have. Heads are nodding and they go, “Yes, those things are very important to us here.” If I’m in Topeka, it’s a vastly different mindset. There are a lot of differences in how we manage. Why would that matter to most people? It’s because everyone’s teams are becoming more global. Whether you have people working in these countries or you simply are hiring people from these other countries, you’ve got to realize that we all come with our own set of baggage and it’s often good.

We can learn from different people who are working with us. We were on a call and they were talking about this great new product that would be put into leather because it was so high-end. The employee in Mumbai on the phone piped up and said, “That might sound great to you, but it’s not going to fly here in India if you use leather around the product.” Just simple little things but are we valuing that diversity within our teams? Not just diversity as we thought about it in the old way of thinking, but also diversity in how people think. Are we valuing that as well?

I love that you write about the drivers for each team member for maximum engagement because a lot of people want to put people into categories such as, “You’re all Millennials. You’re all extroverts.” Everybody’s different. Do you think that we’re trying to do too much of putting people into a category rather than look at them individually?

One of the things we found in our research is that we still operate on this mindset of, “I treat everybody the same because that’s fair.” Actually, it’s stupid if you’re managing people in that way. The CEO I was with was a little afraid because her salespeople, as long as they hit their numbers, she didn’t care whether they came or went. What times they came in and out, if they work ten hours or 100 hours in a week because it was all commission-based. They are 100% commission. She says, “I’m worried that I do make them come in pretty good hours because of the administrative people around here.” It’s like, “Are you serious?” That’s the worst thing you can do. Your admin people need to understand their jobs are different, being here from 8 to 5 is important.

[bctt tweet=”We tend to feel that everybody is pretty much like us. They’re actually not.” username=””]

I was in sales for decades and I can remember working at one company where they put a ping-pong table in for the salespeople because we were so stressed to let us relax. The rest of the people were annoyed because they didn’t get the ping-pong table. Salespeople often are resented because of the flexibility you get. You’ve got to understand without sales, you have nothing. People need better education as far as what everybody brings to the table because it can be challenging. Try to dial for dollars for eight hours in a row, you want to shoot yourself in the head.

100% of your compensation is based on whether or not you get a sale. The point is, we manage people very differently. If I have two employees and one wants to climb the corporate ladder and become a division president. The other wants to come in, do a good job every day, and go home at 5:00. I’m not going to get rid of that second person if she’s doing just a great job. She has a different career path ahead of her. I’m going to manage their careers very differently. I promise you both of them want to grow, learn new things, develop and that’s important to both of them, but in very different ways.

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The Carrot Principle: When managers do the work of getting to know what motivates each of their people and sculpting their jobs to be a bit more of what motivates them, they start moving the needle on engagement.


Engagement is a one-on-one skill. That’s one reason we found that engagement levels don’t increase in companies as we try to do this systemically. “Our engagement is low, so let’s put in the ping-pong tables. Let’s put it in a new benefit program.” That’s not going to move your numbers. What’s going to move is when managers do the hard work of getting to know what motivates each of their people. They need to sculpt their jobs to do more of what motivates them and less of what frustrates them. It’s hard work, but that’s when you start moving the needle on engagement.

I’ve seen so many leaders who don’t even know their employees’ names or who they are or anything about them. That’s when there’s going to be a problem. I was fascinated that you did something similar to what I was trying to do with these assessments. I love what you are working on. All of your talks were impressive. It’s great content and I’m interested to see how your new book does and I’m sure it will do wonderfully. You two make a great combination. I would love for you to share how people could find out more and I’m sure they’d like to see your site.

If you come to, that’s an easy way to find us. Our book, The Best Team Wins, is available wherever fine books are sold, as we like to say.

I hope everybody checks it out. Thank you so much for being on the show, Adrian. This was so much fun.

Thanks, Diane. It was a delight.

Freeing Up Your Time For Business with Richie Norton

I am here with Richie Norton who is an award-winning author of the number one bestselling book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid translated into ten or more languages and Résumés Are Dead and What to Do About It. He’s an international speaker including TEDx and Google Startup Grind. He’s a serial entrepreneur. Welcome, Richie.

Thanks so much. I’m excited to be here. I’ve been looking forward to it.

Do you live in Oahu?

I live at Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. I’ve been here for over fifteen years. I’m from San Diego originally but I love the islands. All my kids are born here and I love it.

You shared the stage with so many interesting people and one of them was Stephen Covey. What was that like?

It was incredible. He lives what he’s preaching. He is the real deal. I had a lot of interactions with him. I consider him a mentor and he is in love with principle based. I learned a ton from him.

You’ve obviously learned a lot. You’re featured in Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post. I can’t even think of all the places that your stuff’s been posted. You have an MBA and you went to Thunderbird. I’m in Arizona. Is that where you went?

Yes, that’s where I went. I lived in Gilbert. I did the Executive MBA Program on the weekends like Friday and Saturday. I would stay at this little hotel on campus. I would stay there, get my work done, and then come home and do whatever I had to do. We loved Arizona and Thunderbird was an incredible experience for sure.

I went to ASU and I get to meet a few people that have had a chance to experience it here. You’ve got an interesting background because you’ve done a lot of consulting and coaching. You coach multimillionaires, CEOs, growing companies. What got you interested in going into that direction? Going to Thunderbird you had a business event, but have you always been interested in coaching and consulting?

I love teaching and helping. I lived in Brazil for a couple of years. I was a missionary down there and I fell in love with the people. That wasn’t a super impoverished area in the Northeast. I saw that they have these great talents and skills and there’s a lot of ability to make money. The challenge is access and the network. I always had in my mind, “How can I help people get out of poverty?” At the same time, I had it in my mind, “You have to wait until you yourself are self-sufficient and retired at 65 to go back and help people, but that doesn’t make any sense. Let’s say I’m 25 years old, if I am going wait 40 years, that’s two or three generations away.”

[bctt tweet=”Engagement is a one on one skill.” username=””]

I thought, “How can I help people and feed my family at the same time?” That got me in a social entrepreneurship, I started doing stuff in the Asia-Pacific Rim because I live in Hawaii, and then I wrote a book. After I wrote the book, people started asking questions, “How do you do this? How do you do that? What’s my stupid idea? How do I implement it?” When I say that I was forced into coaching consulting, it was more about answering questions and how to turn that into a business model that made sense for me. The rest is history.

It’s amazing how you go someplace different and it will completely open up your mind to something. Your book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid it’s in ten languages now, right?

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The Power of Starting Something

Yes. I say ten or more because I’m not always sure. Sometimes the publisher sells rights and they get another language that I don’t even know. I’m an international business person, I’m always doing stuff in different countries. I work in China a lot too. It’s in both traditional and simplified Chinese. People will go, “What do you do?” I’ll go, “I’m an author.” “What’s your book?” I’m speaking in English at this point. They’ll look it up and they’ll see it on there, a Chinese version of Amazon and they go, “Wow.” Even if people don’t read it, it adds something to the conversation.

They call you the Stupid Guy because of The Power of Starting Stupid. There’s no way anybody’s calling you that. I saw you’ve done some work with John Lee Dumas and he was on my show. You do editing of vlogs. How many things are you’re working on? I am looking at this list. What are you working on now?

It sounds like I’m all over the place and there are a lot of different things happening and the answer is you’re right, it’s true. When I got into coaching and consulting, I realized I couldn’t be the subject matter expert for their thing. They had to be that person. I started focusing on business models. When I’m working with entrepreneurs, especially the ones who are multimillionaires, they’re trying to say, “I started this business but I have no life.” The people who were getting into entrepreneurship are saying, “I’m going to get out of a job so I can have a life.” Entrepreneurship is probably going to be even worse as far as how much time is consumed. I had a mentor that taught me, “Ask a better question, get a better answer.”

I always think, “How could you start a business and free up your time? How could it create more time for you than take time from you?” A lot of people come to me to help them build businesses or business models or change what they’re doing things. Number one is to be more innovative. The Power of Starting Something Stupid, which isn’t necessarily stupid, it’s just that we think it is and are scared. Number two is how to set it up in a way that is not a time suck for you, that you’re only focusing on the good things that you want to do. The other stuff is done through technology automation or it’s outsourced.

The reason I’m in so many different industries is when people talk to me, my mind starts going to work. I started thinking, “How can I help them solve this problem?” In coaching and consulting, I have that one-on-one and one-to-many groups, and I have courses to help identify certain things. With John Lee Dumas, we have one on podcast guesting, we have one with number one writer on Medium, Ben Harvey on how to become an author, how to start a business. When people start getting specific like, “How do I create a product?” I have a background in product creation in Asia, I put together a sourcing company. We’re creating products for people. For John Lee Dumas, he wanted to make a journal. He made a journal and he like $453,000 in 33 days on Kickstarter. He made a second journal. The first is called The Freedom Journal and the other one is called The Mastery Journal. He also released The Podcast Journal. I start working with these titans of different industries, they say, “How did you do that?” and they recommend me. There’s not a lot of marketing in it.

The editing thing is, I have worked with a ton of YouTubers. I have a son that passed away and it changed the whole way I look at life. That life isn’t just work and that work is for a life. It shouldn’t be propelling our enjoyment, not taking away from it so we can be sustained day-to-day. I did this with these bloggers who have million subscribers or more on YouTube. They love YouTube but they also hate their lives at the same time because they’re up all night and edit it. No one sees that side. It’s the same thing with podcasting. I worked for a year trying to figure out how to get people to edit their videos overnight and only that could happen was overseas because the time difference and it’s also cheaper. It’s brutal but it’s set-up and it’s running. The whole goal is, “I am one person. I can’t do it all but I can set up entities that can create time for people and income for me.” That’s what I do.

What do you mean by journals?

He wanted to do a book but he doesn’t want to do a book. It’s a literal journal with prompts. The Freedom Journal is how you can accomplish your number one goal in 100 days. Through over 100 days, it asks you questions and you fill them in and they help you. At the end of 100 days, hopefully you’ve accomplished your goal. He’s smart, he’ll sell them in a bundle, a three-pack so you can do it over the course of a year. There’s more to it but that’s that. The mastery one is more personal mastery, whatever you want to master it. It’s more than just becoming free, it’s about becoming better at this thing. He’s taken this model of book/journal and people are loving it. The podcast one is how to start a podcast in 50 days and it takes you step-by-step, “Here are the things you need and you’re checking out as you go and writing what you want to do.” It’s almost like a coach in a book.

How do you raise $453,000?

John and Kate are amazing people. They know what they’re doing. They’ve built a massive audience. What was interesting is they have a big audience, they hire people to help them spread the word. Even more than that, a year before it came out, they were curating their own audience for people that would be interested in that thing. By the time they put it up on Kickstarter, it was, “We have a Kickstarter.” People were frothing at the mouth of buying it. There is a lot of early marketing that went into it. It wasn’t a surprise that they were selling this thing.

I created a curiosity assessment and was interested in looking at Kickstarter for that. I’ve always admired people who know how to get around any of the crowdsourcing or Angel investing or any of the options that are out there. I’m going through this list of what we have in common, you get the Portuguese, we get the Hawaii, Arizona and we have real estate. I have a real estate license. You have a real estate company for more than three years. Is there anything you don’t know?

[bctt tweet=”Being an entrepreneur is like feast or famine.” username=””]

I remember going into Arizona and going, “You can get milk for less than $2?” At my local one, it’s between $6 and $10 depending on the day. I’m not exaggerating, you’ve got to figure things out and it was this thing. I started consulting a real estate company, it was during the downturn of 2008 and they were going to go out of business. I’m like “Let’s figure this out.” We figured some things out and then I realized they’re starting getting some sales but I couldn’t get paid because I wasn’t licensed. I was getting paid to coach, so I better get my license. I stumbled into it and it became like top 1% in Hawaii. We were going crazy. What I did specifically was get a ton of people to prequalify before they even knew they wanted a house. As soon as a house came up, people were fighting and they were already ready. We can make offers on the same day. That’s what we did.

You’ve got so much going over there in Hawaii right now with all the Hilo and the storm. I bet you’re not wanting to be in the real state right now.

I’m glad I’m out of it but I’m on Oahu. We didn’t get hit that hard but we’re lucky we survived the hurricane. Big Island and Maui are getting hit. There’s the volcano, there are fires, floods and people are joking like, “Who’s playing Jumanji right now?”

That would be a great place to work. I’m curious, it’s not easy for you probably to get places. Do you do a lot of virtual work?

TTL 249 | The Carrot Principle
The Carrot Principle: My goal is to be able to choose when I work and when I don’t.


All of it’s on my cell phone. There’s no need to be anywhere physically unless I have to be there physically to speak or meet. It’s mental block. I say even more for people on the mainland than they’ll be in Hawaii because even though it’s not international, it feels international. People are like, “He’s so far away.” Now that I’m used to it, it’s like, “I just get on a plane at 10:00 at night and I ride at 7:00 in the morning. It’s no big deal.” It takes longer to get there but it’s the same as anywhere else in the world. It’s so fast now you can get anywhere.

Is it hard to work virtually though? Are you a workaholic or you just never stopped working because it’s all at home?

My family might feel that way sometimes because I’m always on my cell phone, but I honestly feel like I’m always on vacation. My goal is to be able to choose when I work and when I don’t. If I am always working, it’s a choice and that’s my bad. It seems like I have all the time in the world to do whatever. The hardest thing is when the telephone pole falls down or the internet goes out. It always happens frequently. Besides that, I like the time zone difference because if I wake up at six, seven, eight, nine, ten, New York is always five or six hours different. Then all the way over to California, which would be two or three hours, depending on the time of year, Hawaii doesn’t change time zones the same as Arizona. It’s cool because if my work is done with other people, let say 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, no one else was working after that time. It’s almost like you have two days. If you get up early and get it done, you have almost two days in one day.

I am a person that likes to work early. I remember I had to call in California and they were only an hour behind us, but in the mortgage industry they would not get until 11:00 and I’m like, “That’s 12:00 for me.” That used to kill me because I want to get done with my work. You do so much work with so many different areas of business that you won The Pacific Business News Top 40 Under 40 Award for Best and Brightest Young Businessmen in Hawaii and you’ve won a lot of different awards. What do you do differently than anyone else in your group that would make you be considered the best and the brightest?

I got lucky. I batch my work. I get excited about my idea and instead of saying, “I plan on doing this,” I will say, “I am doing this,” and I turn it into a project. When I do it in a project, it makes me feel like it can succeed or if it fails, it’s okay. It wasn’t as a huge business with all this investment, I can test out an idea first. If it works I move forward and if it doesn’t, I move on. My goal ultimately, back in Brazil, is to help others. As long as adding value to other people and there’s a way that it’s helping my family too simultaneously. Sometimes it’s a straight up sacrifice or investment in whatever we’re doing. Either way, if I have those ingredients in there, helps other people, help my family, why not do it? As long as I can set it up where it’s not totally taking all my time away, but maybe even creating more time, then I do it.

You create online funnels and courses at I’m working on some of that myself right now with my own work. I have questions fresh in my mind for you on that because the courses can be challenging. Do you create the courses for people? What do you do exactly with that?

[bctt tweet=”Instead of just saying, “I plan on doing this,” say, “I am doing this,” and turn it into a project.” username=””]

It depends on the client. A lot of times when I’m working with someone before I work with them, I’ll talk to them on the phone. When I talk to them on the phone, I find out where are they at, what’s working and what’s not working, and what they need? I’ve set out these different things, then I can put them where they need to be based on where they’re at. When I first got in the courses more, I was coaching so many people. Out of necessity, I needed to put them online so that it wasn’t taking all my time away. Also that way, while they watch the course, I could still do coach them but the questions would change from, “How are you doing?” to “Richie, I just did this. It worked. It didn’t work,” and then we can implement the things they’re learning instead of learning on the phone.

When I started working with other influencers who maybe didn’t have a big audience, they’re not making any money, they don’t know how to monetize it. Selling courses is a very easy way and valuable way for their audience to make money. For some clients, we’ll go to 50/50, we’ll do it together. I and John have courses, and Whitney Johnson and I wrote a bunch of books and we did a course together called UNSTUCK45. It was all about personal disruptive innovation. I work with people and then sometimes I’m behind the scenes where it might be like a mommy blogger and I have nothing to do with that world so I’ll just have the team time.

I coach her, tell her what to do as far as how to set it up and how to sell it. She owns the content, she does the marketing, she knows the audience, and no one even knows we exist. It depends on where they’re at. What I’m trying to do is make it easy for people to free up their time, “Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Here are all the pieces I’ve spent a lot of money and a lot of times figuring out. Maybe I can help you.”

If somebody wanted to write a course, how challenging is it from a developmental standpoint? What’s the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is exactly what you asked for. People are thinking, “What do I say? What do other people want? What does it look like? How do I put it together?” This is the easiest secret sauce that anyone could ever pour into the soup, I do a survey. I ask people, “If you could ask me any question, what would it be? Where do you want to be two years from now? What stopped you from getting there?” Just questions like that in a survey and they spell it out. I’ll go through the list and go, “There’s a trend here” I go in and start answering all those questions in the course. You package it up.

Those are learning outcomes that you’re trying to come up with.

You have an idea like we were going to help people do X in this amount of time. There might be a three-week course and each day or each week there are certain things to do, but you break it up into those questions and modules. You try to make it modular but also fully-stacked on top of each other, so you can go where they’re at and where they need to be in. I might be oversimplifying, but honestly you’ll go so far if you just ask people, “What would you ask me? What’s your biggest question?” You answer them. What could be better than giving people exactly what they want? Add a little flavor on top for with whatever else they didn’t ask and you’re good.

What learning management software platform do you use?

You can do it from your website, but right now I’m using ClickFunnels. Russell Brunson is a friend and he has all the software to help you make funnels, courses and webinars. They’re all packaged into one and he makes it really easy for you to do all the things that seem hard. You can create your own unique domain or you can do it there. There’s not anything out there like it. It’s powerful.

I am sure a lot of people want to know your contact information, I know I mentioned You also have Prouduct.

That one is a very simple web page, it’s not a lot of information. It’s more about, “Tell us what you’re trying to do.” This is where we create physical products for people. We’re doing John’s book. We’re doing some stuff for Pat Flynn, he’s another podcaster. We’ve done stuff for Russel Brunson. We’ve done stuff for everything from yoga pants, women’s exercise stuff, to teepees, bizarre stuff. It’s fun. In fact, my business partner is in China with that was an Instagram client going and they’re going to make hair products or something. We’re doing all stuff and it sounds like, “How do you know?” It’s like, “We don’t, but we know how to find good suppliers.” My partner speaks Chinese and we streamline the whole process from ideation, product creation, manufacturing, shipping, warehousing and fulfillment, so all you have to do is sell it. I try to do the hard stuff that people don’t want to do so they can focus on what they’re best at.

They don’t have to reinvent the wheel too. Mahalo. It was so nice of you to be on the show. Thank you, Richie. I really appreciated it.

You’re welcome. It’s been my honor. I appreciate it too.

Thank You to Adrian and Richie. It was a great show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can go to You can find out more about my book on Curiosity and Cracking the Curiosity Code as well as a big Curiosity Code Index. It’s all at I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.

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About Adrian Gostick

TTL 249 | The Carrot Principle

Adrian Gostick is the author of several bestselling books on employee engagement and corporate culture. “The Carrot Principle” and “All In” have been New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestsellers–called a “must read for modern-day managers” by Larry King of CNN. His latest book is “The Best Team Wins.” Adrian’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than 1.5 million copies around the world. As a leadership expert, he has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and has been quoted in The Economist, Harvard Business Press, Wall Street Journal and Fortune. He is the founder of The Culture Works, a global training company focused on employee engagement and motivation. Adrian is #11 on the list of the Top 30 Global Gurus in Organizational Culture and is #25 in Leadership.

About Richie Norton

TTL 249 | The Carrot PrincipleRichie Norton is the award-winning author of the #1 bestselling book The Power of Starting Something Stupid (translated in 10+ languages) and Résumés Are Dead & What to Do About It. He is an international speaker (including TEDx & Google Startup Grind) & serial entrepreneur. Richie has shared the stage with bestselling authors and business leaders such as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell Computers, Dave Checketts, founder and chairman of SCP Worldwide and many others.

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