26: Attract A-Players With Alec Broadfoot

Alec Broadfoot is the founder and CEO of VisionSpark, an executive search, hiring training, consulting, and assessment company in Ohio, serving EOS-run companies. We discuss how firms can attract A-players using proven strategies and tools.  

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Attract A-Players With Alec Broadfoot

Our guest is Alec Broadfoot, who is the founder and CEO of Vision Park, which is an executive search, hiring, training and hiring assessment company in Ohio. And what’s special about Alex’s firm is that they focus primarily on serving companies that run on the entrepreneurial operating system or EOS. Alex graduated and got his MBA from Bowling Green State University of Ohio. So welcome to the show, Alex.

It’s great to be here, Steve. Thanks for having me.

So, you’ve been running this company, VisionSpark, for almost 10 years now. How did you become an entrepreneur? How did you get here? What’s your journey?

Yeah, it’s a great question. I was in college, and my major was international business and economics, and I thought I wanted to be an international business person. And I had an opportunity to get an MBA right after college. They offered me an assistantship, which meant my tuition was paid for. I had to work a couple hours a week for the school. And so I decided to continue writing my MBA. During my MBA, they really were teaching us at the time how to be good corporate executives, a good corporate leader.

And there was an optional Saturday program where they brought in three entrepreneurs and interviewed them. And I decided to go and I was just so inspired by these entrepreneurs. And you know, getting to listen to their stories and how they can make a difference. And my dad had worked for Corporate America and I thought, well, maybe that was my journey, but not after this and so I thought you know what someday.

I’m gonna have my own business and so I was 24 years old at the time maybe and I had an offer to work for bank one Here in Columbus had interned with them a couple years and so my plan was I’ll work for bank one I’ll you know 15 20 years. I’ll save a whole bunch of money, and I’ll start a business I that’s what I thought the plan was. And two years into working for Bank One, I had an opportunity along with some friends to buy a business. I took the leap, the bank said, hey, if it doesn’t work out, you can come back. And I thought, well, we didn’t have kids at the time and the risk was low and I decided, and that was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey and that was 25 years ago.

Wow. So, before VisionSpark, you ran some other companies?

Before VisionSpark, yes. So I had there’s a company was in the publishing industry. So that’s the one that I bought. It was all self-published reference books. And we got a little bit into we had a CD-ROM program that we sold and a web. Now it’s now it’s web based. And then I had a business in the mid 2000s where we processed mail for all the big companies in Columbus like Chase Mortgage and the big hospitals and loved that business. And that’s where the seeds were planted for VisionSpark.

I met some great individuals then and they planted some seeds about making sure you have the right people in the right seats and hiring the right people and good quality assessment tools. And so that was during that time, which was a super valuable time, and I sold my interest to my business partner at the time and decided to do consulting. And I really had this passion of helping entrepreneurs with being more profitable and just having a stronger business.

And what I was encountering, every consultant opportunity I had was that there were people issues. And like all these entrepreneurs, like Little Lemons, walking off a cliff, making these bad people decisions. And so in 2011 or so, there was a friend at the time and we were talking about this and we said, hey, let’s start a business where we can help entrepreneurs make great people decisions, whether it’s hiring or having the right people in the right seats. So that’s kind of my journey to VisionSpark. And so I love helping auctioneers overcome obstacles so they can reach their goals.

So how is VisionSpark different from other companies focused on executive search and assessment and teaming?

Right, right. It’s like a, you know, it’s a big sandbox and there’s lots of players in the sandbox. And so there are traditional executive search firms out there that are really good at what they do and they’re retainer-based and they focus on culture and oftentimes they focus on much higher salaries. So the compensation for these positions would be significant. And then there are recruiters, which oftentimes there’s some really good recruiters out there, but a lot of them don’t have great reputations, they’re just interested in pushing a resume. And there’s some tactics they use that I would not use in my business.

So you have that, and then you have the assessment folks out there, and everybody that sells assessments think their assessment’s the best thing ever, and there’s no other assessment better. And so at VisionSpark, we are focused on the small to mid-sized business that, you know, from their leadership positions to helping them find these great people to fit with their culture, we’re also focused on helping them make the right people decisions. And a lot of that stemmed out of initially we were just doing search and our clients are like, hey, can you can you help me with this salesperson? Hey, I’m, you know, I’m hiring an office manager. That assessment that you use, could I have a couple candidates take that assessment to see? And so our business has evolved to really strengthening the people component of our clients.

Okay. So for those reasons, they don’t understand this jargon, the people component. What does it mean?

So it’s something that EOS coins, but all businesses, they’re going to have some sort of component that involves people. So your employees and your managers and making sure you have the right people in the right seats as Jim Collins coined years ago. And so to have a great business, you’ve got to have the right people doing the right things and being effective. And in fact, I know, Steve, this is interesting to you because of your work. But if you had two businesses, and they were identical, and they all had great financials and great structure, and they were blue ocean, and one had great leaders and great people, and the other didn’t, which would be worth more, right? And so it’s, it’s almost impossible for companies to reach their goals without having the right people in the right seats.

Yeah. I’m rereading Beyond Entrepreneurship from Jim Collins, which is a book that’s been around for I think over 35 years. And now he republished it, BE 2.0. And it’s such a brilliant book. And actually, a lot of US ideas come from him. And what he talks about is that you have to first identify the right people before you even do your vision, your strategy. So this whole idea of get the right people on the bus, like get the wrong people off the bus, and get the people in the right seats is basically this idea of first you populate your company with great people, and then that’s going to take care of most of the habits, and you can do the vision and the set up and stuff. So tell me a little bit about this idea of being focused on EOS run companies. How did that come about and why is it good for you? And is it even a big enough population for you to target?

That’s a great question. So when we first started Visions Park, we didn’t hear of EOS. We just focused on small to mid-sized companies in the United States. And in my, I was in a Vistage group, and for those that are listening that don’t know what Vistage is, it’s a peer group of CEOs. And so one of my friends in that group, his name is Alex Freitag, he transitioned his career to become an EOS implementer. And so we, you know, we were talking one day and he’s like, you know, Alec, you need to target what you do for a company running on EOS.

So EOS, they often will recommend having an integrator, and that’s someone to really run the business so the visionary, the founder, the entrepreneur, the inventor can do what they do best. And he’s like, there’s a huge need. And that’s number one, Alec. And number two is, you shared with me some of your frustrations that your clients don’t have, potential clients don’t have any sense of wanting a great culture or they don’t talk about core values.

And he was really speaking my language because we were firing clients before we engaged with them because they didn’t value culture. They didn’t have any core values. They just wanted to get a resume in the position and like, hey, I had this guy call me. It was a it was a Tuesday afternoon. He’s like, hey, do you do CFO searches? I’m like, yeah, we do see fish, see if those searches. And and I said, well, tell me tell me about your company. And he started telling me, I’m like, what’s you know, tell me about your culture. And he’s like, I don’t care about my freaking culture. I need a CFO and I need to be here by Friday.

And if you can’t do it, I’m not gonna pay you and I said well, I I’m not gonna do it We’re not you’re not we’re not your firm. This is a process and we know it wouldn’t be a long-term fit and he was just irritated with me that I wasn’t taking his bait and I’m like, you know I don’t want to work with you or for you because One it won’t be fun and number two your culture probably stinks just based on how you’re talking to me and treating me on the phone. So that’s what had a shift maybe about six years ago into working with companies running on EOS.

So how do you find EOS-run companies being different from other companies?

Yeah, and I’m curious to learn more about some of these other operating systems that continue to evolve. But companies running on EOS, they really operate with core values. And core values and culture are important to them. Some of the tools they use, like the People Analyzer, are great tools. If you go to an EOS conference and you meet all the companies running on EOS there at the conference, they’ll be some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. And you’re thinking, man, why is this? Why are there so many nice people here? And it’s really because they operate their business on core values and they attract individuals that have their core values and they repel individuals that don’t. And so, you know, we just like, hey, this is our tribe here. This is who we want to target our business to.

That’s very cool. So you brought up the People Analyzer, which is basically one of the staple tools of the US, which both looks at whether the person is the right fit for the seat, whether they fit your core values, leave your careers and then the second is whether they get it how it fits with other assessment tools. Is this kind of simplification or is it a completely synergistic approach to some of the assessment tools? And how does that how does that work?

It is a simplification and it is a great tool. Does it solve all the problems all the time? And I would respectfully say no there are parts of it that are subjective that really may hinder someone to make the right people decision. And so that’s kind of where we really want to help. I was talking to a visionary client of mine. He was in the Midwest and he’s like, you know, Alec, can you help me? I need to make some people decisions.

And we just went through the people analyzer and he’s torn apart. He’s feeling horrible about the whole thing. He knows he doesn’t have the right people to write seats, and he knows it’s not the team that’s going to take him to the next level. And so we came alongside him and helped him with those decisions with a little bit deeper dive. With the tool we use, it measures their mental aptitudes, which measures their mental acuity and attention to detail. And then it measures personality dimensions, which are behaviors that determine success. And so you can see, like, for example, you know, I’ll give two quick examples.

Like if you had a controller who really lacked attention to detail, you could see that right away on the assessment tool. And obviously you wouldn’t hire someone if you knew that. Or let’s say you wanted an executive assistant that’s super organized. Well, you could see that right away in the assessment. So it’s a really revealing tool that shows strengths and weaknesses. And so that comes alongside the People Analyzer and it fits super well with the Colby assessment, which is a really good assessment measuring instinct and drive. And so that’s one of the tools that we use to help our clients make the right people decisions.

Okay, that’s interesting. So basically you can use both. There are two levers that you can pull. You can solve a big picture, people analyzer, and then you can dig deeper by looking at their mental acuity and behavioral and instinctual behaviors. That is cool. I’d like to switch gears here a little bit and I’d like to kind of zoom out and talk about how you built VisionSpark and your previous businesses. Did you use business management frameworks like EOS or other concepts when building your business or was it just kind of intuitively trial and error?

My company is run on EOS and I say we miserably failed at self-implementing and we have an implementer we’ve been working with the last year or so and it’s been a wonderful journey. But my other businesses didn’t really run on any operating framework. We had a vision statement, a mission statement, we had core values, but it wasn’t really, it’s kind of like the flavor of the month. And so, and then we put it on a bookshelf and I really relied on some of the things I learned in school and the previous years of running other businesses to make correct decisions. But no, we didn’t use any sort of management framework or operating system, anything like that.

So how did the I mean, why did you start using EOS? And what is your experience?

Well, number one is, we saw our clients really succeeding with EOS. And we just love learning about their success and even prospective clients, we would ask them about their journey and how much EOS has meant to them and how they were able to achieve their goals. And, you know, and so it just, you know, became very appealing. And so we tried, we were a small company, we tried to self-implement. It was a struggle. I know there are companies that do a really good job of self-implementing, but having an implementer every 90 days, you know, there with the pulse and making sure you hit your goals has made a world of difference.

So, what are your challenges with self-implementing? Why is it hard?

I think there was there was a lack of commitment and there was a lot of change. And we didn’t have someone say, hey, this is, you know, first 90 days are gonna be tough, but, you know, here’s where we’re gonna be in 90 days and this is what we’re going to accomplish. And, you know, it was just, I think my team didn’t see the commitment. You know, visionaries will often have shiny objects and maybe they’re wondering, Hey, is this another shiny object?

And once you have an implementer, it really says you’re committed and they’re there. 90 days later, Hey, did you get your rocks done or your goals or whatever? And, you know, when you run it’s, you have your L10s every week and it’s a rhythm. It’s a really neat way to run a business and to see tremendous growth overcoming. And this year, I know for a lot of people, it’s been super tough. EOS was really a huge part of our success this year. And I call it success because we just crushed it the last half of the year, you know, so yeah.

Okay. Is it just EOS that you work with or I mean, there are other, you know, operating systems or management blueprints, whatever you want to call them, there is scaling up, which is a big competitor, there’s EO, there is 3Hag, like BHAG, but for three years, 3Hag is kind of a competing system. There are at least five or six others. Are you working with other companies that use different operating systems or is just in the US?

Not yet. We do have maybe anywhere between 15, 10 to 20 percent I would say, 10 to 20 percent of our clients at any given time don’t run in the US. We have a recurring client, they are a large company, they’re I think a billion dollars in sales which is much larger than a lot of our other clients and they are well beyond a framework like like us the other ones don’t really have an operating system they use I do know that scaling up is I’m hearing more and more about them. I think you know they they came out maybe four or five years ago So we I’m curious like. I’m really you know wanting to learn more about these other operating systems. I do believe companies with an operating system will, you know, I don’t know what the research says, but my gut would tell me that they’re increasingly more successful than companies that don’t have an operating system.

So, let’s move on, let’s talk about why companies are succeeding and why are they failing and specifically about hiring. What are the big mistakes that you see entrepreneurs commit in the area of hiring and why do they come to you?

So entrepreneurs, I’m one. And so I think I can speak with authority on the subject because I work with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs are really good at understanding the needs of the market. What’s the customer need? What’s the gap in the marketplace? Why is this product gonna work? Or why is this service? They’re really good at that and that same trait also makes them really bad at hiring. And so they they tend not to be objective in hiring.

So I would say some of the mistakes are they hire too quickly, they hire on emotion and not just entrepreneurs but most hiring managers will focus way too much on the individual’s resume. And so that’s that’s a mistake they make. Not having a process, right? So, you know, companies have processes for everything, but do they have a process for hiring? Most likely the answer is no. And so, you know, those are just some of the common mistakes. Not using an expert in the hiring process.

Would it most entrepreneurs trust their taxes to themself or to, you TurboTax, probably not. They are gonna use a CPA that works with small businesses. They delegate that expertise out. And when it comes to hiring, I hear this all the time. Like, you know, I’m good at hiring. I’m a good judge of character. And I will gently push back at that. And I’ll say, you know, I’m just curious. You know, like, looking at your last 10 hires, knowing what you know now, how many would you rehire?

And oftentimes the answer is two or three. So if you think about it you know is that really a 70 to 80 percent mistake? Maybe maybe. And would you give your taxes to someone that had 70 percent of your tax returns or errors? No. But when it comes to hiring you tolerate that. And I did that research for a little bit and then what you know I was I was thinking I was onto something because I read a survey from Gallup, and Gallup, you know, they do this extensive research and they found that 82% of the time, companies fail to choose the right manager.

And I’m thinking, man, that kind of lines up to my little unscientific approach to do the research. But I think, you know, recognizing that, hey, you know what, I’m not good at hiring and I’m gonna delegate it to someone within my team that’s better or a third party. An assessment tool can really help make a better hiring decision. So, Steve, I know you’re a numbers guy and there’s a study done by the University of Michigan years ago that said an interview by itself in terms of predicting a future success was only 14% effective.

But if you add an assessment tool, a good quality assessment tool, and it wasn’t clear as to what kind of assessment tool, you actually triple those odds to 52%. So just interviewing and an assessment tool, you’ll more than triple your success rate. So assessment tools can play a huge part. Yeah, some other mistakes, hiring too quickly, hiring out of motion, hiring based on resume, which is full of, I think, what, 48% of resumes have outright lies in them, and 100% of resumes have some sort of embellishment. So, we don’t want to focus on the resume.

48% of resumes have outright lies in them, and 100% of resumes have some sort of embellishment. Click To Tweet

So that’s fascinating. So, tell me a little bit more about this process. So, I understand you go from interview 14% you can triple it with the assessment 52% What other stuff can you do to increase that that? Success ratio and and how how high can you get it?

So we’ve seen our clients double triple quadruple their success rate. So number one is have a process in that process the very first step is critical and that is to make sure you take time to identify the person, the position, what success looks like, the behaviors, traits and values. That first step in developing a target is super important. So, you know, I’m going to exaggerate something here. But, you know, let’s say, you know, company XYZ needs a salesperson. And like, hey, we need a salesperson and he’s looking for a job.

Ok, let’s bring him in and they hire him and like, well, time out. You know, you got to take time. “Oh, what is this person going to do? What success looks like? What behavior traits and values do we want?” That is super important. So there’s an old proverb. Solomon said this, an employer who hires a fool is like an archer who shoots at random. And I think that’s true in many cases that we don’t take time in developing a target a bullseye and we we shoot and We miss but we’re way off we hire and you know And what’s the cost of Steve like it’s it’s at least three times their salary to make that that bad decision

An employer who hires a fool is like an archer who shoots at random. Click To Tweet

Okay, so number two, is develop the target. Yeah, number three.

To interrogate the resume. So, the resumes are full of lies and embellishments. So you want to interrogate the resume.

How do you do that?

Well, one thing we do, and there’s a lot of things we do, but one thing is we look for gaps in the resume where there may be periods of unemployment. The second thing we do is we will ask them why they moved on from one position to the other. And if someone says, oh, I moved from here to here because it was a mutual decision, we’ll say, well, what do you mean by mutual? Well, you know, my employer sat down with me and said, hey, you weren’t, you weren’t meeting performance expectations and it was time to move on.

And, you know, so you were fired. Yeah, I was fired. So you want to interrogate the resume. That would be, that would be the second step. And the third would be to, I’d recommend a phone interview, some structured questions. And we have research-based questions we use with the response guy, but just a phone interview. And then I would say you want to interview for their values and interview for your core values would be super important. And then an assessment tool is recommended.

And then a final interview with a couple other team members is important. So I neglected to say that that target in the beginning that you develop, you want some help with that, you want some people on your team doing that, and then that same group of people would interview at the end and determine if we’re close to that target or not. And most likely you’re not gonna get anyone that hits the bullseye in the head, but which individuals are closest? And we can eliminate those that are not even close. So that’s kind of the process of what a successful process looks like. And I’m proud of our success here at VisionSpark is how we help clients. And that’s the process we use.

So we often talk with my clients about how hiring is like sales was in the 20th century. It’s often it’s the most challenging piece of the business because you can figure out how to market your business, how you generate leads. and how do you, you know, if you have a good product, how do you get the word out? But finding the right people is, you really have to go after them. People have a lot of options these days, good people, and it’s really difficult to find them and to get them to be interested and so on. Do you find that this is also challenging for you guys to feel the top of the funnel with good candidates, or it’s more the selection, which is the challenging piece.

Up until COVID, it was a challenge to find great people. And so we we would have better success because of how we wrote the job posting and where we advertised. We would have candidates that say, you know what, I was not even looking. I read your posting or my friend told me about it. My husband told me about it. My wife told me about it. And I read it and I said, this is me, this is my job. And we would hear that day in and day out.

So how that post-it is written makes a world of difference. So increasing the funnel is super important. We have found that this year that there are more people out of work, unfortunately, but a lot of employers are doing what they can to retain their top talent. And so, you know, some of our clients thinking, hey, I can get someone on sale, I can pay less money, but are you really getting an A player for your company? And are you really going to see the return on investment that you want if you decide to offer a much lower salary?

And so that’s always an interesting conversation with clients about their budget, what type of person they can afford. And for us, it doesn’t matter what their budget is. We will work with their budget. Our fees don’t change based on that. You know, with companies that need a specialist, you know, they need a civil engineer or an architect, it would behoove them to hire a recruiter that specializes in that industry because those things are often much harder.

But for general positions like office positions and sales positions and management leadership positions. We haven’t had difficulty with finding the right people in those seats because of our process and how we advertise and how we write the posting.

So, what I’m hearing is that it’s basically, you have to be really good at articulating why a position is really attractive for general audience so that you get these people, they read the ad and say, oh, this is me, and I’m going to jump on board. How do you do that? And what are the levers that you can pull in order to touch people, maybe even emotionally, that they get interested in a position?

It’s one that’s, you know, it’s important to talk about why your company is a good place to work. You know, so that needs to be in the posting. If you think about it, Google and Amazon, and we have a BMW Financials here in Columbus, and they don’t have trouble finding people because they have a great brand. They’ll only hire a small percentage of their applicants. I think it’s harder to get into Google than it is to get into Harvard, right? I mean, they have that many applicants, but smaller companies that don’t have that brand have to really make a compelling case as to why come work for you.

And my opinion, candidates do want to work for small and mid-sized companies. They just don’t know they do. And they love it. You know, they can be a bigger fish in a smaller pond and make a huge difference. And they don’t have a lot of the bureaucracy and politics. And so you really need to make a compelling case. It’s important to communicate the values in that posting too that you’re looking for. And so those are a couple things without giving too much away that companies can do. If it reads, if the posting reads like any other posting out there, you’re way off. You’re not gonna find great talent. Most companies don’t know how to write postings.

If you read them, they’re awful. You know, you’re looking for someone with a lot of qualifications, you have 75 job responsibilities, it doesn’t say anything about the company, what you do. And so candidates feel like, man, I’m gonna be a jack of all trades. I’m not gonna be valued. I’m gonna be a number. And I don’t know how these job postings started and the format that’s out there and why they started, but we all are mimicking something that doesn’t work. And so you really need to change how you write the posting to attract the right people. And that’s also the same thing that you use to select the right people.

So, if I’m an entrepreneur, I run a small business, how do I become more attractive to employees, potential employees in general? What do I do with my company to make it more attractive?

So, number one is I would recommend investing in some rending, right? So we as employers, we will spend a good portion of our revenue and when I’ve done some different speaking. I’ll ask the room I’ll say you know looking at your financials. What percentage of your budget. Do you do you spend on? Getting product in the door so include your sales team in there What he’s paying them your marketing costs you know and I’ll hear things from 20% 50% 10% and then I’ll ask the next question.

I’ll say okay now what percentage of your budget is about bringing in quality candidates? And the answer is usually zero. There’s nothing. And there are companies out there that their whole website has nothing to do with what they sell. It’s all about attracting candidates. And so it actually helps them in twofold because one is they get great candidates in because candidates like man, what a great website, what a great company, I want to work for that company.

But also their customers, potential customers like man, if they treat their employees that way, and if it’s such a great place to work, that’s who I want to do business with. Right. And so you know, that’s, that’s one thing is to is to invest in employer brand and your network super important. Hey, come work for my company. It’s a great place to work. You can have an email signature saying, hey, talk to me about working at my company or ask me about our next hire, things like that. Having a good social media presence is good, too. Just some of the things you’re doing. And it doesn’t have to be really formal social media. It could be like, hey, we did this in the middle of COVID.

We had a team lunch, and we were all remote. And we had a client who’s in the restaurant business. And so, we got burgers from their amazing restaurant and I delivered them all via Grubhub or DoorDash or something like that. And I took a picture of all of us eating their burger. And my client loved it because he’s like, this is great, it made my day. And then we showed on social media that, hey, we’re a great company and a fun place to work. And we actually had our one employee right now, she’s like, I saw that picture and I knew I wanted to work there because man, if you do that in the middle of the pandemic, that says a lot about you. So just little things like that make a huge difference.

Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I have a client who does this kind of stuff all the time. And one of the things they did before the pandemic was that they got a mini zoo in their parking lot. And then they invited, you know, all their employees and their families, and they were all, you know, petting these goats and llamas and what have you. And it just created a fun, a really fun atmosphere. It’s basically for years people were talking about that kind of stuff. And it’s obviously a great folder for social media. You can put it out there.

You can make yourself, humanize yourself. It was a great one. So switching from the hiring topic to, and maybe that includes hiring as well. My next question, being an entrepreneur, what would you consider the three most important things for a visionary like you, who is maybe not my day-to-day, you are a person. What are the three most important things that you feel you have to focus on, or any entrepreneur has to focus on in order to make the most out of that visionary position?

Yeah, number one, I would say, you know, the who, not how concept is important. As entrepreneurs, we are achievers, we work hard and we’re like, hey, we know that the result is later, the reward is later, so we’ll put the work in and we think, man, I could do it, I could do it, I could do it. And if we can think, you know, not how I can do it, but who I can do it. And so there’s a real good book by Dan Sullivan called Who Not How.

It’s behind you on the shelf.

It is on my shelf. And you can even get the Kindle version. I think it’s $1.50, but I think for every minute you invest reading that book, you’ll get a hundred minutes of productivity later. So I think, number one, understanding who not how is really important. And so if you have a project, think, man, how am I going to get this done? Think, oh, who do I who can I delegate it to? Who do I know? Or do I need to hire someone to do this? Right. So I think that’s important. Number two, the second skill, I would say to really have good people skills. And you need to be, you know, diplomatic and encouraging and a coach and calm in the storm.

And I think that’s super important. If you don’t treat your employees well, you’re not going to have a business. You’re going to have high turnover. And it doesn’t matter what kind of great product you have. And number three, you know, I would say a good business acumen. So how can we market our products and what are some other, where’s Blue Ocean? Where’s our niche? Where can we succeed? You’re talking about Jim Collins and the hedge fund concept, right? What are we passionate about? What drives our economic engine? I forget the third one, but really having-

What can be the best in the world at?

What can be the best in the world at? Yeah, very good. Really having some strong business acumen, both on the sales and marketing side, but also on the financial side, right? So you got to be profitable. You know, without profit, you can’t do any good. And, you know, really understanding that. So I would say those are the three most important things. And I could be persuaded if someone else thinks of three others, but those are my top three things.

No, I agree with you. And the school at Howe, it’s interesting, strategic coach Ben Sullivan, who is one of the co-author of this book. And he has been teaching this concept in strategic coach for several years. And I’ve been a member of strategic coach. And intellectually I got it, but I think I didn’t really viscerally get this up until fairly recently. I read the book as well, and it was on my shelf for a couple of weeks before I got to it. And I really got it, what it means.

And it makes a huge, has made a huge difference already for my business. I mean, I love to work. I don’t have employees, but I have, I don’t know, seven or eight people on Upwork who help me on different projects. And, you know, I just started to build this muscle of, okay, I wanted to research some things and how am I going to reach? Oh yeah, maybe I can find someone who will be much better at research and even if I pay them 60 bucks an hour, it’s gonna be way cheaper and more professional if they did it and they’re gonna do it quickly, I don’t have to wait for me to have time. So this is a huge, a huge concept and I think this book is gonna be very successful.

I think they’ve already sold over 100,000 copies in the short time it’s been out. Yeah, it was interesting. I was kind of thinking of a metaphor for that, and one of my friends, he is like Tim the Toolman Taylor. He has all of the construction tools, the saws and the hammers and all the gadgets, and he’s very knowledgeable of how to build a house and projects like he can put a deck on the back of his house and he can build This and he can build this and and I see him all the time and he’s he’s so busy with with things around his house because he’s like man.

I could do it all I have the tools I know how to do it, and he doesn’t have any free time because he’s doing it all right And I look at him. I’m like you know I’ll just hire that out. You know spend some more time family, but now let me look inwardly. Am I running my business that way? Am I trying to do it all in my business? And he’s probably looking at me saying, man, you know, Alec, why don’t you hire that out? You know, you’re having someone, you know, and I’ve come a long way, but I’ve always, you know, used to think, well, if it’s gonna get done, I gotta do it, right? And so I think a lot of entrepreneurs run their businesses like my friend, the way he runs his house.

It’s, you know, the first management blueprints well before EOS traction was the E-Myth. I think 1976 when it first came out or 80, no it was 84 and then the E-Myth came out 10 years later. And Michael Gerber who wrote the E-Myth, he came up with this idea that most businesses are actually not started by entrepreneurs. That’s the e-myth. That’s the entrepreneurial myth that businesses are started by entrepreneurs. No, most businesses are started by technicians. So someone who is really good at their job, maybe they are an HR consultant, but they’re really good. And our instinct is that we do it because we’re good at it and we want to be the expert.


To make this mental shift that, Yeah, maybe we are the expert, but we’re never going to be in the company if we stay in our expert role. And we have to, that’s the EOS concept is to delegate and elevate. You have to elevate yourself to something that you’re not good at yet and get out of the comfort zone and learn that other stuff, which is higher value and let other people do the lower value stuff and teach them to do it. It’s a huge mindset shift. It’s tough. It’s tough to do because you’re good at something and it’s great to be a master of something. It’s rewarding. And it kind of sucks to be a bad leader, but there’s a lot of opportunity there.

And I think it’s important that when you delegate, you let the person scrape their knees a little bit, as I had a boss that would say, it’s okay to mess up and make mistakes. And you give them that grace and that opportunity. Now, if they’ve done it 10 times in their own poorly, that’s another issue. But to give them their freedom, and that’s hard for entrepreneurs to let go and to let someone fail, but they will be much more productive the second time they do that task and then much more productive the third time. And eventually you can relax knowing that they’re going to do a great job on it.

Letting go and letting someone fail is hard for entrepreneurs, but it's essential for growth. Click To Tweet

I was just listening to yesterday to be on entrepreneurship and the new stuff that Jim Collins wrote in it. And one of the story that he tells is that when he went to Stanford to became a professor there and the Dean of Stanford said that, okay, Mr. Collins, here’s a department, here are all the resources and go and do it. And he was shocked, you know, no guidance, you know, they take this huge risk, just go out there and do it and he figured it out and then a couple of years later he bought an award for an exceptional achievement award something that he was sitting at the banquet next to the dean and he asked him, hey, you really took a big chance on me. I mean, you took a big risk. And then his response was that, well, actually I didn’t think of it as a risk. I thought of it as an opportunity to, you know, because we knew that you’re a talented guy. And if we give you the, you know, the freedom to create something that you might come up with something great.

That’s really good. Yeah. What a great story.

So that’s really the empowerment piece is huge. And you know what I find with my EOS clients, many times the business owner who brings me in, they feel like they have these bunch of employees who don’t really care and they don’t want to do, they just want to do a nine to five job and they’re too cool with the motions and don’t want to step up. And what often transpires in the focus day, the first day together, there’s so much pent up energy that is waiting to be released. And as soon as they get the green light, people want to step up. They, you know, they want to take on more. They want to take on more rocks than humanly possible. Because people are starved to be part of a big story and to have a chance to be successful.

Yeah. That’s very true.

Well, listen, Alec, I know that our time is coming to an end and I’m sure you have a back-to-back meeting. So I really enjoyed our chat and I think you’ve got a vast of resources that our listeners, my listeners, would love to get deeper into. How can they find out more? How can they contact you? You know, give me some coordinates.

So our website is vision spark search dot com and My email is alec@vision-spark.com there’s a dash between vision and spark. So Alec at vision hyphen spark.com and yeah, I’d love to or they could reach out to me on LinkedIn and

Okay. Well, I’m sure you guys are going to be in good hands, so check out Alec’s LinkedIn page and website. He’s got a great website. As I was browsing through it, I thought, I have to copy some of these. To make my website more interactive, so definitely check out his website as well. I enjoyed our chat. Thank you for coming to the show. And to my listeners, stay tuned. Next week, you will have another exciting entrepreneur sharing some business framework ideas with you.


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