Dive into the male perspective of business growth as Ken discusses three common problems that most men encounter. First is the lack of faith in other people. This often holds them back from hiring. Two, males have this income barometer or this concept of self-image that they must increase, and Ken gives you two ways how. Finally, the third one is having sacred cows. Men, more so than women, have these sacred cows that allows them to justify what they’ve been doing. Let it go and learn all the ways to improve business growth.
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Male Growth Problems
This is the podcast where I live life and catch myself talking to people. When I see the eyeballs rise and people register what I’m saying to the point where they take notes or ask me to start over and stick a tape recorder to my mouth, I realize, “I said something significant. I need to write that down and podcast about it.” Kerri and I flew out to Martha’s Vineyard. We did a couple few days of coaching and mentoring a couple dozen people. There was a gentleman there who owned a debt collection company and the advice I gave was uncomfortable. I even hesitated to make this podcast because I want to make sure this does not get taken the wrong way.
I’ve decided to do the podcast. This is episode 218 and it’s called Male Growth Problems. I need to give some backdrop here as people could laugh at the title. There’s nothing funny about this podcast. It has nothing to do with male growth problems of any physical nature. This is about business growth. I’m highly qualified to teach this as I am a male. I’ve dealt with every one of the three issues I’m about to talk about and I dealt with them at a high level. More importantly, since 1992, I have coached over 3,000 companies personally. I know that seems impossible, but if you do the math, it is possible. I have been involved in 3,000 plus growth plans and I would say 80% of these businesses are led by a male. I don’t know why that is, but it is what it is.Every decision you made for the last couple of years was a decision you wanted to make at that time. Click To Tweet
Over the decades, I have formulated my own little hypothesis of why businesses get jammed up at certain times and in certain sizes. I’ve even considered bouncing this off of other people. The reality is I’ve never written this in a book. I have never coached on this, but all of a sudden, I was face-to-face with the following story and I gave the following advice and I stand by it. I was with a gentleman. There are about twenty of us sitting in a circle and he says, “I own a debt collection company. I’m excited to say after ten to fifteen years, I finally broke down and hired a COO to run things. This person is way better than me at operations. This is going to free me up so I can go out and do what I love.” I said, “Can I stop you there. You’re going to go grow the company. Finally, you are going to work on the business, not in it,” and I started dropping all of these clichés.
He was registering. He was excited. He is definitely in the honeymoon phase of his new business. I said, “Do you guys mind if I share something?” I don’t know if it’s going to directly help this man at all. It may help him, but not for years. “I would like to say something that quite possibly can help the other nineteen of you.” I said, “Do you mind if I share?” Unless you say this person’s name was Bob,” I said, “Do you mind if I share why Bob waited ten to fifteen years to hire this COO?” which if you read the book E-Myth, Good To Great, Blue Ocean Strategy and any foundational business book, that COO should have been one of the first hires in the first 24 months.
I said, “Does anybody mind if I go off on a complete 90-degree tangent?” Everybody got out their pieces of paper and away I went. Few people turned on their tape recorders. Here’s the bottom line. I said, “There are three reasons why Bob waited ten to fifteen years to hire a COO and they’re the same three reasons that slow up many males in growing their business. These three things are not a major factor with female-owned companies, female-driven companies.” Number one, lack of faith in other people. Men, much more so than women, I’m not saying the majority of men, have a much higher tendency to lack faith in other people to lead divisions, if not even leading their whole company.
Why is that? A lot of it goes into how we’re wired. We are built to be the leaders of the household. We are built to earn. We are built to fix problems and challenges and be the king of the castle. Bob, after we talked even further unequivocally, was quaking in his boots even after ten to fifteen years when they were growing steadily to the point where it was either hire a COO to run things or implode. It’s a pleasure and pain hire.
Number one, I want you to ask yourself if you’re a male, are there positions that you know you should have hired for years ago? If I’m speaking to you, you know who you are. If you’re the spouse of a male who’s running a company or a division and you know he’s even talking about he’s overwhelmed, he can’t do it all. He drops the common clichés where, “I got to start working on my business instead of in my business.” Those are the signs that there is a lack of faith. Usually, I seldom, in 25 years, hear a woman say those types of phrases. If you’re married to a male, you might want to have them read this blog.
Number two, this is way more critical than number one. All men and all women, but mostly males, have an income barometer. You can read deeply about this in Brian Tracy books, especially The Psychology Of Selling. Bob had an income barometer that said, “I am worth X dollars,” and his company and his current take-home pay were and always will be a direct reflection of Bob’s income barometer. Income barometer is a fancy word for self-concept, self-image, or what you believe your checkbook should have on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. I promise everybody in our audience that your checkbook, your business checkbook and your personal checkbook, is exactly where you want it to be. Everybody’s going to go, “I want it ten times bigger.” No, you don’t. You want it right where it’s at. Let me prove it to you.
In the last 24 months, every decision you made of the checks you wrote out of your checkbook, the debit card you used, or the credit card you used that had to be paid by your checkbook, every decision you made for the last couple of years was a decision you wanted to make at that time. You wanted to buy that car. You wanted to upgrade to that home. You wanted to buy that new building, rent that space, or hire that janitor. Everything you wanted to do for the last 24 months you’ve done and all of those wants keeps adding up and it yields you the net dollars that are in your checkbook. Your checkbook is exactly where you want it to be.
There are only two roads at this crossroad, it’s letter Y in the road. You have two choices. Number one, you can drastically want to delay gratification. In essence, suffer and not keep up with the Joneses, not buy the fancy car, not buy the fancy house. You might do what I did. I lived in a one-bathroom, four-bedroom home for seventeen years stockpiling cash and delay gratification so someday you could buy the cars and the fancy homes with cash instead of payments. However, I’m a freak of nature, my dad was a freak of nature, and my grandfather was a freak of nature. We’re Dutch. We do things the old-fashioned way. If we don’t have the cash, we don’t buy it.
You could do the other thing that we did and that is we raised our income barometer. We raised our self-concept. We rose what we think we are worth. How did we do that? There are only a couple ways to do it. As the famous Greg Reid says, “You are exactly the equivalent of the five people you hang with and the books you read.” You are the product of every book you read, every blog you absorb, every Facebook post you read, and the five people you hang out with the most. If you want to increase your income barometer, which is the number two challenge males have, turn off Facebook, turn off ESPN, turn off whatever else it is you read that’s crap and open up the greatest business books of all time, the greatest sales books of all time, the greatest marketing books of all time, and the greatest relationship books of all time.
Feed your brain with the stuff that is going to build your self-image, your relationships, and your businesses to the point where you become bulletproof. You start exploding with a magnetism that attracts all the right people in all the right deals to you, so you can stop working so hard and selling so hard. If you raise your income barometer, the tide raises all ships. A tide that rises raises all ships. You become the tide. Let’s go further in the evidence of this. Did you know that going back 300 years in a study of five different countries studying all different industries, when people looked at their family trees, most people look at their family tree and they go, “Who is the trunk of my family tree?” Most people, 65%, look at their grandfather or their great-grandfather. 35%, it’s the grandmother or the great-grandmother. It is what it is. Then you look at who are the major branches, their children sticking off the trunk of the tree. The smaller branches may be you or it may be your parents. Then there’s finally maybe you.You are exactly the equivalent of the five people you hang with and the books you read. Click To Tweet
Most people don’t look at the great, great grandfather as the trunk of the tree. Here’s how this works. Did you know that no matter the country, the industry, or anywhere you look, the major branches of the trunk of the tree are plus or minus 15% of the income of the trunk of the tree? The next branches are plus or minus 15% of the branch coming off the trunk. What am I saying? Adjusted for inflation, whoever you view as the trunk of the tree, maybe it’s your grandfather. I can pretty much bet you an 85% chance that the children of the grandfather made plus or minus 15% of what the grandfather made adjusted for inflation.
The next branch, it’s only 85% of the time. 15% of the time, one out of eight people bump into something in life, i.e. mentorship, books, or association that adjusts the amount of input that came in from the parents and the grandparents. They adjust the input and it’s either good or bad. It’s drastically lower income than grandma, father, or mother, or it’s drastically bigger because they broke the chain. They broke the poverty model, they broke the rich model. It doesn’t matter what they break. The chain broke because their input changed.
Most men have an income barometer that says, “I’m worth X.” Brian Tracy did an unbelievable study in ‘88, ‘89, where they interviewed 500 different commission salespeople in five industries and in different countries too. They asked them January 1st, “How much do you think you’re going to earn this year?” 500 people gave a number. Did you know that on average, by August 15th, most salespeople hit that number and didn’t make another dime in the fourth quarter? Why? It’s because they reached their income barometer of exactly what they think their worth and their body psychologically shut themselves down to earn more.
I read in a book, I don’t remember who it was. It was a mentor of Brian Tracy’s, I believe. It said, “Do you want to do a great test?” It takes you five years to get the answer, but it works every time. When you get out of college, ask your friends, your five closest friends, “What do you think you’re going to earn in five years?” I happen to be a ferocious reader. It took me until I was 21 years old, 22, but I called John Traub, Jeff Koehler, Pat O’Sullivan, and Mike Helman, four guys. I said, “Guys, what you think you’re going to make?” I remember this like yesterday. This is almost 25 years ago. I go, “Pat, what do you think you’re going to make?” He goes, “I don’t know, but I’m not going to take over my dad’s plumbing company. I’m going to go on insurance, probably $100,000.”
I called Rich Belichick. I go, “Rich, what do you think you’re going to make?” He goes, “I don’t know. I’m going to be an engineer. My goal would be to work at Kraft Foods. Put me down for $100,000.” I go to John Traub, I said, “What do you think you’re going to make in five years?” He goes, “I have no idea.” He goes, “I’m going to sell. I like my first job here. I work for a cable company. I don’t know how much I’m going to make, but I know I’m going to run a team of salespeople.” I go to Jeff Koehler. I did talk to five people. I go to Jeff, I said, “Jeff, how much do you think you’re going to make in five years?” He goes, “I have no idea, but I definitely will take over my dad’s masonry company.” He goes, “If I’m running that company, I might make $150,000, something like that.” I called Mike Helman, and Mike goes, “I don’t know.” He said something like, “I just hope I have a job.”
Five years later, I called everybody up and I go, “Pat, how much are you making?” He goes, “Why are you asking?” I go, “I asked you five years ago and I’m doing a study.” He said, “I made $105,000 last year,” $5,000 more than he said. I talked to Rich Belichick. He said, “Put me down for $100,000.” He was making $92,000 at Kraft. I went to John Traub. John was running two different teams at Comcast. I don’t remember his exact number, but it was 20% more than he was guessing, it was close. Jeff had just two months before he took over his dad’s masonry company and he goes, “I don’t know. I don’t do my own taxes.” He goes, “All I know is I buy trucks and equipment anytime I want,” and he goes, “Ken, I could buy a house if I want. I own the company.” I went to Mike Helman and he was unemployed. He was the one that said, “I hope I have a job.”
Every one of my friends made almost exactly what they thought they were going to make. Why? It’s called an income barometer. You make and earn what you think you’re worth. You have to either make drastically different decisions with what you spend, which is difficult to do. It’s much easier just to raise yourself concept. That was point number two. Point number three, this is painful to say. Men have sacred cows. What is that? Men, unlike women, some women have some but not like guys. The sacred cow and I’m speaking to all the men in our audience, are the one or two things you do every single week that sucks fifteen minutes to an hour and a half of your day, on average, up to seven to ten hours a week. It could be golfing. It could be Facebook. It could be Netflix. It could be ESPN. I don’t know what it is, but every guy in our audience knows what it is.The only thing painful about the truth is the truth, because once you hear the truth, then you've got to change. Click To Tweet
How do you know if you have a sacred cow? You ask yourself, “If I put this aside for one full year and I devoted all of that energy only to the marketing and advertising of growing this company, would your company be farther ahead in twelve months?” If you answer, “Unequivocally, no doubt yes,” then you have a sacred cow. If you’re not sure, then you may not. You may just have a habit that needs to be trimmed back a little bit. Here’s why the sacred cow is critical. Your sacred cow is usually what is blocking and allowing you to justify numbers one and two.
Your lack of faith in other people might be why you dig into your sacred cow often so you don’t have to associate with other people or even think about your current growth challenges. How about number two, your income barometer? You are what you think you’re worth. A lot of people have a sacred cow so they don’t have to work so much. They can justify why they don’t make more. These are the three things that are incredibly challenging for men. These are unseen concerns. Most men don’t even know they have these problems. Once they come face-to-face with it, the only thing painful about the truth is the truth. Once you hear the truth, you’ve got to change, then it eats you alive.
Here’s what I believe to be psychological truths of why males have growth problems. Number one, a severe lack of faith in other people. I remember the first decade. I don’t think we ever went past nine employees. We were grinding and then finally I came face-to-face with Pastor Paul . He was a Green Beret military guy first before he became a pastor. We have tithed to his ministry still today. I spoke to him in 2003. Fourteen years later, we are still tithing to Paul’s ministry in Texas. Why? He’s a great man. He does not tell you what you want to hear. He tells you what you need to hear.
I remember at a conference I took Paul aside. He got done speaking onstage about one of his books. I’m like, “Can I talk to you?” I was talking to him about my business and eight to nine employees. I feel we should be doing 500% more and he literally almost slapped me in the face. He’s like, “Stop the pity party.” I’m like, “What?” He goes, “It’s very simple what your problem is, son. You have a lack of faith.” I go, “I don’t have a lack of faith. I’m a strong Christian guy.” He goes, “No, I’m not saying that. You have a lack of faith in other people. Why don’t you get out of your way, hire people, and entrust them to do projects that you know you shouldn’t be doing? Be a real business owner and work on your business and not in it.” Was that painful? That was so painful. I couldn’t hear another speaker at that conference. All I kept thinking about was that. Did I listen to Paul? We have 102 employees today. I was a good student at that time. Thank you, Paul.
Let’s go back to the sacred cow. The sacred cow is the blocker of why you might have a lower income barometer and it’s also the blocker of why you might not have faith in other people. You might use your bowling or you’re golfing as your crutch. It sucks the ten extra hours a week of the energy you need to coach someone else to run that next division, coach the next salesperson, coach the next marketer, or coach the next person to come in. The bottom line is this. We all have the same amount of time but some people jump on sacred cows to justify why they’re busy and have no time. Some of us don’t have sacred cows. I hope this helps. Take care.