Get Zapped!

Last Saturday morning I was headed back to Waco, Texas, from my friend’s memorial service from the San Bernardino, Calif., airport and needed some reading material.

If you remember from last week’s blog I had finished Greg Reid’s “Three Feet From Gold” on my flights to California and was looking for a book to read on the way home. I had a connection and long layover in Phoenix. It is not even 6 a.m. yet and I don’t land in Austin for 8 more hours so I have plenty of time to read. After perusing the books I finally see one that catches my eye: “Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose” written by Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh.

Brad Voreis, my Glass Doctor vice president, toured Zappos in Las Vegas last year. He said it was the most incredible place he had ever seen! Brad still talks about the culture there and I’ve always wanted to learn more about it and go visit.

All I knew about Zappos is that in 10 years they went from being just an idea to selling the company to Amazon for $1.2 billion in Amazon stock. I wanted learn about the incredible story it had to be. Now I was going to be able to read about it. To achieve those results the leadership had to be a prime factor for Zappo’s incredible growth.

I didn’t know anything else about Hseih (pronounced Shay). Not much else about Zappos except that my wife, Mary Kay, loves to order shoes there (even some tennis shoes for me that I love … wait, are they still called “tennis shoes” or are they “athletic shoes” or some other terminology that shows my age?) That was my total knowledge of the company—Brad, Mary Kay and money!

I picked up the book and started reading. It is only 240 pages. No pictures of all the events over the years like most books and biographies have. No ghost writer. It was simply Hseih telling his story in his own words.

The book inspired me. It inspired me from a business standpoint, a personal standpoint and especially a leadership standpoint. It inspired me to get creative and take action.

My mind raced for a couple of days trying to figure out what action I could/should take with this newfound insight. Have you ever, like me, said to yourself that needed to take action on something—yet find years later you still didn’t do it? I wasn’t about to let that happen.

In my quest to be a much better leader I decided I would provide the book for franchisees and some selected friends and family members. Then over the next 20 weeks I’d provide this group who took me up on my offer with some action items they could do every two weeks that will just take an hour every two weeks to do. I am convinced by doing this they will be better leaders.

In just one week 64 people took me up on my offer.

I’ll make a similar offer to you if you go out and buy the book and read it by May 1st. You can get it at the San Bernardino airport or purchase it from Amazon for less than $8 plus about $7 in postage if you want it in a couple days. I think it is $17 from Barnes and Noble.

Every two weeks then I’ll send you a couple action items the other 64 o do us will be doing. I am confident by doing this over the next 22 weeks you will discover things about yourself, your business and your leadership abilities.

Just send an email to mark.liston@glassdoctor.com when you order the book. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you, too, choose to get Zapped!

A Week of Experiences and Memories

This is one of those weeks where I’ll cover about three different thoughts. Leadership lessons are in each!

Subject One–Sports! (A good start to the guys who read this!)

There was a point in my life where I played and coached many sports. That was at least 15 years ago. Some of the guys at church needed another player on the softball team so I stepped up. After all, I pitched for many years. Pitching a softball is something that should be easy if you are 30 or 59, right?

What I forgot in the past 15 years is what it was like to run a full 65 feet to first base. I’m sure many of you run to keep in shape. Some of you work out. Some of you, like me, remember what it was like years ago and think that it is still easy. Fortunately, my beautiful wife, Mary Kay, thinks that beating out the throw to first base to avoid a double play after a 14 bouncer to short is a hit. (Got to love her).

My point?

Leadership is something that you have to continue to do. You can’t be inconsistent and believe that you can still be good … or even adequate … at it! Leadership is something that we all need to continue to do.

Oh, by the way, I can walk now without my thighs on fire! Thanks for asking.

Subject Two—Age!

I stopped by and saw a couple franchisees in my travels this week. I was reminded how nice it is to be “older.”

One of my very good franchisees, and a good friend, is under 35. I remember how much I thought I knew versus how much I really knew back in those days. I love having the experience of all these years and all these mistakes I’ve made. Whew! How did I ever survive?

I’ve learned how important it is to focus on what you want to be good at. I had a chance to devour, not just read, “Three Feet from Gold” by Greg Reid. Put this on your must read list!

All of it was based on “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, published in 1937. If you haven’t read this—read it in the next month. When challenged with “That book was written so long ago,” Greg replied: “Gravity was discovered a long time ago! Do we still believe that theorem?”

In “Three Feet from Gold,” the writer chronicles what happened to him once he met an older gentleman who turned out to be a mentor and absolutely changed his career and his life.

If you have an opportunity to mentor someone, embrace it. Share your knowledge so that others may benefit from your years of experience. Age does have its advantages!

Subject Three—What Impact are you Making?

I’m writing this on Friday night, April 4. I just attended my very good friend, Mark Johnson, memorial service in California. (I’ve written about him previously).

I’m walking away from this struck by how one person can positively affect so many lives.

Mark was never a father – but he was everyone’s favorite uncle. His franchisees loved him. (After 30-plus years in franchising, this seems like a miracle to me!)

I loved hearing the stories from employees how he changes their lives. He mentored them and gave them opportunities.

That is what leadership is all about. Simple, isn’t it? But the hardest thing most of us will ever do!

Have a great week.