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In this special episode of the Two Are Gathered Leadership podcast we hear from Co-Host Jim Johnson only six weeks after his recent open heart surgery.
After more than 50 years of being a hard charger in the business world he shares what his most intimate thoughts were about leadership, success and life as he was being wheeled into the surgery room for what might have been his last moments here on earth.
What really matters when it comes to building a company? How do you truly measure success? How do you know if you’re an excellent leader?
This is the episode every entrepreneur should listen to and should freely share with all of their business friends.
Join Michael and Jim for an unforgettable leadership discussion of a lifetime.
There are few things leaders and entrepreneurs enjoy more than being in control.
The truth is we never really are in control. It’s one of the great leadership delusions.
There are so many things well, well beyond our scope of control…such as rain falling, earth shaking, waves crashing and most of the world’s geopolitics that affect even the smallest of businesses. Then there are health crises.
All out of our control!
If we accept the true reality that ultimately we are not in control then as leaders it now becomes our responsibility to learn how to lead when things are out of our control.
Can we even do this? Join Michael and Jim as they explain how.
If we’re in leadership. If we’re entrepreneurs. There is an excellent chance we’re heard this phrase throughout our lifetimes: You are SO stubborn.
What’s interesting about the word stubbornness is that it’s used both positively and pejoratively. That is…it’s both a complement and a criticism.
The reason is…there really is a LIGHT SIDE, and a DARK SIDE to stubbornness.
The goal in leadership is to tap into all of the qualities of stubbornness without slipping over into the edge of stubbornness despair.
Join Michael and Jim as they shine the light on stubbornness.
One thing virtually every leader and entrepreneur wants to do…is to grow.
They want to experience interpersonal growth…intellectual growth…they want to grow their skillsets and those of their teams…they want to grow their network, their net worth…their revenues…their bottom line…their vision.
Growth is exciting. Which is probably why so many leaders can be reluctant to do the exact opposite.
That is to exercise the discipline of pruning. Yet, that’s the exact critical practice that often can result in the best kind of growth possible.
Join Michael and Jim as they discuss the power of pruning in leadership and life.
How future proof is your business? How well prepared are you for all of the things that could go wrong?
This is one of the least enjoyable parts of being an entrepreneur. Going through all of the “What if’s?” and having a strong response in place for as many of these challenges as you can.
It’s not as exhilarating as charting out plans for new product and service launches and dreaming up ways for more growth.
But future-proofing your business will be one of the most important exercises you conduct as a leader.
Join Michael and Jim as they discuss many of the most essential parts of this planning.
When you get into a leadership role one of the first great challenges you’ll have to face is realizing that things are much different than they are advertised.
Yes…those dreams of leadership and entrepreneurship. That you’ll be the captain of your own ship…that you’ll be able to create a schedule and a lifestyle well beyond anything you could have imagined.
These may be true in part or in whole. But they also arrive with the tremendous burden of responsibility. These responsibilities weigh down on us and if we’re not careful can take us to a very unhealthy place.
How is your overall health as a leader?
Join Michael and Jim and they’ll walk through a leadership health check.
What is one of the most common questions a young entrepreneur will ask a much more experienced business owner?
It’s this: “When does all of this get easier? When does running a business get easy?”
In many ways business does get easier when compared to those early frantic times of daily struggles. You build more systems. You gain efficiency. You can even work at making your job more enjoyable for you.
But…there will always be some less glamorous elements of owning a business…of being in charge. That “grind” never goes away.
Join Michael and Jim as they share some of the largest frustrations experienced by entrepreneurs and how best to deal with all of them.
One thing about leaders and visionaries…we love to see what’s far ahead and plan for the brightest of futures.
It’s about planning. It’s about growth. It’s about vision.
Unfortunately, there are those times in the leader’s voyage when things get hazy…they get foggy…and uncertain.
Forget about planning for next year or even the next six months…you’ve got to get through the next few days.
Join Michael and Jim as they share how best to drive through a leadership fog.
You have your favorite restaurant. One you’ve enjoyed for years. But…then something has changed. It’s just not as good as it used to be.
It happens with vendors we work with. You engage with them because of their amazing service and fair prices…and over time, they lose their luster.
They lose their value to you.
But, the worst case is when this is what they are saying about YOUR business. It’s just not as good as it used to be.
If they are saying this about your company, the end is near. In this competitive environment you can’t afford to let things go downhill for too long.
Join Michael and Jim as they share key tips regarding keeping your good business from going bad.
As leaders, in order for us to be successful, we must be excellent communicators. This is something we need to grow in each and every day.
And interestingly enough…as we develop our capabilities as a communicator…one of the things we need to master is not just what we say…but what we shouldn’t say.
We can destroy our business more rapidly with the words we SAY than the words we DON’T say.
Figuring out what NOT to say, is one of the important leadership tactics…and one of the most difficult disciplines.
Join Michael and Jim as they speak on this most important topic.
When you hear the word “networking” it conjures up an image of a toothy salesperson in a suit, walking through a large gathering of prospects, reaching out a well groomed hand to offer a shake….while the other hand is slipping people business cards.
The truth of the matter is…at the entrepreneur level…you really don’t have time to be attending all of these multiple events…passing out business cards like frisbees.
Your more successful business owners don’t. They rely on a networking strategy that is infinitely more effective.
Join Michael and Jim as they share advanced networking techniques that will grow your business in powerful ways.
There are few greater challenges we will face in leadership than owning our own business.
As entrepreneurs we often find ourselves in battles where it literally feels as if it’s us against the world.
Yet, we persevere and we pursue the prize because in the end there are so many benefits of being a business owner.
Many of the most valuable of these are ones that are least recognized.
Join Michael and Jim as they share some of the seldom celebrated benefits of being a business owner.
How many times have we heard this phrase: Patience is a virtue?
Often it seems like we hear this every day. But, what does this phrase…this colloquialism…really mean when it comes to business?
On one hand, you’re hearing that in order to succeed you’ve got to hustle…hustle…hustle.
And, on the other hand…you’re taught that you need to be patient, calculating and thoughtful.
So which is it?
Join Michael and Jim as they provide definitive answers regarding the virtues of patience in business.
There is a big difference between winning the lottery and winning in business. Yet, many entrepreneurs sometimes get these confused.
So many want to hit the big time with their business, but many times in this pursuit they themselves get hit…big time.
It’s the age old pursuit. Captain Ahab in Moby Dick with the Great White Whale. Or Hemingway’s Santiago…in The Old Man and the Sea.
They had to learn the hard way…sometimes you get the fish…and sometimes the fish gets you.
Join Michael and Jim as they share the untold story about landing the bigger fish.
One of the dark secrets of entrepreneurism is that it’s not all that it’s made out to be.
You’re told that if you quit your job and start your own business, that you’ll be able to choose your hours, be your own boss and the money will flow in like Niagra Falls.
Instead…you lose sleep, hair, money…and sadly, some of the relationships around you, and you ask yourself, “I did this for what reason?”
This can bring on a bad case of the Business Owner Blues.
How do keep from getting depressed? Join Michael and Jim for answers.
Who goes into business wanting to be a so-so leader? No…as leaders and entrepreneurs…we want to be high performance!
We want to go absolutely pedal to the metal, accelerating through the curves…the wind blowing through our hair and with large audiences cheering us on.
That is, until we crash.
You work so hard to be at the top of your game and then suddenly you realize there is a thin line between high performance and being overwhelmed.
Join Michael and Jim as they share how to win without being overwhelmed.
As leaders of organizations, as entrepreneurs, as wild-eyed inventors…we as a people…love getting things started.
The start of a new project. Winning a new client. Making new goals. We love great beginnings.
This is exciting.
Sadly…there is another critical aspect of business that typically is less enjoyable.
Because in the ebb and flow of life as an entrepreneur, there are beginnings…and there are endings. You’ve got to be great at both.
Join Michael and Jim as they explain that when it comes to business…all’s well that ends well.
We all need friends. We all need friendships with others. The question is…do we need business friendships?
Or should business be all about business?
If you consider that as an entrepreneur, you’ll spend somewhere in the range of 50-70% of your productive waking hours…doing business…then that’s a long time of your life to be friendless.
Of course there is value to business friendships. Yet, it’s important to know that business friendships are…well…complicated.
Join Michael and Jim as they delve into the do’s and don’ts of business friendships.
Is your project or business running out of money? You’re not alone. This is an ongoing challenge for entrepreneurs.
So many start off with a fabulous concept. Then, against the odds, they develop it out to its full fruition. Now, they are excited to get it off of the ground and to share their vision with the world.
Their big problem? They are out of cash.
There is nothing left for marketing and without the ability to get the message out this great idea is going to wither on the vine.
This is not the place you want to be, but there are some options. And, your next step will be critically important.
Join Michael and Jim as they share from their own hard learned experiences on what to do when your project is out of money.
We’re the leader. The entrepreneur. We’re the boss. We can choose our own path. Don’t we have a right to be…irresponsible at times?
Yes. But, if we actually want to design a pathway leading to success…we will want it paved with responsibility.
There is no more instantaneous opportunity to increase your revenues, your profits…your customer retention…your employee satisfaction…than becoming more responsible.
Literally, you can grow in all of these areas of improvement overnight.
Join Michael and Jim as they share key insights into leadership responsibility.
Most of our listeners are entrepreneurs, are working with entrepreneurs or are thinking someday about possibly being entrepreneurs.
Here is what you need to know. It’s hard. Really hard being an entrepreneur!
Why do so many become entrepreneurs despite this being the case? Because it’s well worth the challenges you’ll face.
Yet, being aware of the most difficult aspects of being a business owner allow you to be prepared, and you’ll have strategies in place to respond.
Join Michael and Jim as they share the hardest part about being an entrepreneur.
As entrepreneurs we are uniquely designed to go against the grain, to stop listening to how everyone says things should be done…and to go out and do it our own way.
This is both our blessing and our curse. It’s one of the great challenges of being business owner.
You want to be unique…creating a new voice that no one else has heard…while at the same time, LISTENING better than anyone else.
This is no easy task!
Join Michael and Jim and they go deep on the subject of learning to listen.
One of the most treasured elements of leadership is also one of the most elusive. Just when you think you’ve got it…it starts slipping away.
It’s traction. That wonderful feeling of, “Hey, this plan might actually work!”
It’s the exhilaration that sets in when the tires are firmly gripping the road, and you feel the adrenaline rise as everything accelerates.
Your strategy is working!
Until, you hit that patch of black ice, and your tires start sliding off of your path.
Join Michael and Jim as they explain how to regain your traction when you’re starting to slip.
One of the greatest joys of being a leader is when you get to assemble talent around you.
Then again…it’s one thing to assemble the talent. It’s quite another to get them all to play their best music…and to be in tune and timing with one another. It’s either a symphony…or a clattering of instruments.
So as wonderful it is to have all of that talent around you…and the hope for symphonic music abounding…there also is another sound…the sound of money and resources draining out of the building.
You have to get this right as people are expensive.
Join Michael and Jim as they help you get tuned up in the art of maximizing your talent.
If you were to take all of the leadership books ever written on the topic of running an organization or a business, you could sum them up into one simple question.
That question? “Are you going to do this the EASY WAY…or the HARD WAY?”
In this day of hacks, shortcuts, and claims of “Three Easy Steps to Super Success” the answer can be more elusive than first thought.
Is there an easy road? Where do I find it? Is this pathway the one that is best to choose?
Join Michael and Jim as they journey along a series of stories that collectively provide a succinct answer.
How do leaders and entrepreneurs keep their heads up when their world is crumbling around them? Simply, by counting their blessings.
Of course, this is hardly a simple task.
After all, being an entrepreneur can be a tremendous challenge. It can be one of the toughest jobs that exists.
Much of this is because many of the difficulties business owners face are ones they take on alone. This why leaders can be among the loneliness people around.
So, when the high winds are whipping around you, how in the world do you count your blessings?
Join Michael and Jim as they provide an encouraging and impactful answer.
The pursuit of leadership glory comes with many twists and bends in the road. Sadly, so many arrive at the destination and say, “Is this it?”
Much of this disappointment is due to the fact they realize they were seeking out the wrong treasure.
Then, as if it’s dust in the wind, the fool’s gold blows away, leaving them emotionally broke and terribly unfulfilled.
The true key to success as an entrepreneur is to dig in the right place to find the gold. In fact, even more important is to know what’s the right gold to pursue in the first place.
Join Michael and Jim as they dig up the hidden treasure of leadership and life.
There are those challenging times as an entrepreneur when you wake up knowing there is only one way you’re going to get through your day without it ending up a total disaster.
It’s going to take a miracle.
Yet, as crazy as it may seem, there is strategy, technique and experience involved when it comes to pulling off a miracle.
These are skills which the most effective and battle tested leaders know well.
Join Michael and Jim as they explore this topic and provide some…miraculous insights.
So often, you hear entrepreneurs saying they are waiting for their “big break” or they are hoping for their “ship to come in”.
Sadly. That could be a very long wait. In fact, there is a good chance that ship might never make it to shore to pick you up.
Being a business owner is more about learning how to row a boat than waiting for a luxury liner to arrive.
Still, there are doors of opportunity that are opening and closing all around you. Which ones should you choose to walk through?
This answer and many more will be revealed in this fascinating episode with Michael and Jim.
Leaders and entrepreneurs are among the busiest, most stressed out and exhausted people there are. So should we excuse you when you decide not to show up to an event you were expected to attend?
Not if we’re going to hold you up to the highest standards of excellence!
The impact of “just showing up” cannot be overvalued when it comes to being successful. Even during those times when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
Join Michael and Jim in their 125th episode of the Two Are Gathered Leadership podcast.
Here, they share how a poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty encourages leaders to “just show up” through all great challenges.
Entrepreneurs often start off their journeys with unrealistic expectations.
They want to leave their job, launch a new business and start their new life…without any risk of failure.
Many new business owners are oftentimes hoping for the impossible. They want to be able to jump into the pool, without getting wet.
Yet, instead of making a splash, many of them quickly discover they aren’t any good at swimming.
There is good news, however. You can jump into the deep end of the pool, and still find the waters warm and inviting.
Join Michael and Jim as they explain how.
Many leaders and business owners as they are getting started…or even midway through their company’s development…experience what’s known as Imposter Syndrome.
Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs will admit they still suffer from bouts of Imposter Syndrome where they feel completely over their heads, underqualified and totally overwhelmed.
What are you supposed to do when you encounter this common affliction of entrepreneurs?
Many will say, “Fake it until you make it.”
What do Michael and Jim say about this? Well…quite a bit in this fascinating exploration of the cure for Impostor Syndrome.
If your business is struggling…99% of the time it will come down to this…you’ve got a people problem.
DISCONNECTED. OUT OF TOUCH. You started a business to fill your needs…rather than the needs of the people you’re supposed to be serving.
Relationships are the single most important aspect of launching, growing and sustaining a business.
Don’t believe this? Then you really need to listen to this episode.
Join Michael and Jim for this extensive exploration of the role relationships play in business success.
Plausible denialability? What’s that? Well…it’s a who new entrepreneurial term created and explained here in the Two Are Gathered Leadership Podcast.
What does it mean?
First…to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be able to function while often firmly being in a state of “denial”. Because, there are too many times when things seem impossible, and you’re the only one to carry the vision forward.
Yet, there also needs to be a level of “plausibility” to these dreams, or you’ll take it all over the cliff.
Join Michael and Jim in this fascinating journey through the concept of “Plausible Denialability”.
The experience of being an entrepreneur who created something out of nothing and then ultimately climbed the highest mountain of their dreams…it’s such a great feeling.
But…it’s also…SO FRUSTRATING.
And, having to manage all of this frustration? It just makes you all the more frustrated.
It’s just something they don’t teach you in business school. It’s even left out of the fine print of those franchise agreements.
Owning a business is so frustrating!
But, here’s the good news. This frustration can be converted into a true, competitive advantage. Join Michael and Jim as they share the secret to dealing with frustration as a leader.