06 Nov November 6, 2019 – Her Name Is Awesome Alexandra Watkins and Chief People Officer Todd Davis
Alexandra Watkins – Founder of Eat My Words and Author of Hello, My Name Is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick – Read interview highlights here
Your name should make people smile instead of scratch their head.
All of those crazy domain names are what I call ‘head scratchers’
because nobody knows what they mean, it’s hard to pronounce them
and they do look like the result of a drunken Scrabble game.
Alexandra Watkins is the founder of naming firm Eat My Words. Alexandra is a recognized expert on brand names with buzz. She is frequently quoted in the press and has been featured in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, Inc., and Entrepreneur. Alexandra is a popular speaker at MBA programs and has been a guest presenter multiple times at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, San Francisco State, USF School of Management and their alumni association. She has also entertained audiences at the Proctor & Gamble alumni association, Uncollege, In-House Agency Forum, SF City Club, and many co-working spaces. Alexandra first got hooked on naming when Gap hired her to create cheeky names for their first line of body care products. Soon after, she broke into the business by talking her way into branding powerhouse Landor via a Match.com date. With her fresh, unconventional naming style, Alexandra soon became a go-to resource for countless branding and naming firms around the country, and Landor sent her enough business to open her own firm. Since then, she’s generated thousands of names for snacks, software, sunscreen, social networking sites, sportswear, shoes, sugar scrubs, serums, and seafood. (And that’s just the S’s!) She’s also named lots of things that make people fat and drunk including a nationally recognized bacon cheeseburger (which, ironically, must remain nameless). Prior to Eat My Words, Alexandra was an advertising copywriter working at leading ad agencies up and down the West Coast, including five years at Ogilvy and Mather, where she helped launch Microsoft Windows and learned the language of Geek Speak. In the mid-nineties she jumped on the dot-com gravy train, and rode it until it crashed in her SOMA backyard. Alexandra took the money and ran, spending a year in Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Fiji. Upon her return, she discovered her passion for naming things and soon after started Eat My Words.
Todd Davis – Chief People Officer at FranklinCovey and Co-Author of Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team – Read interview highlights here
Managers default to telling the team how to do it. Instead of saying, ‘Wait a minute, I hired a bunch of creative people here. You know why we are doing what we are doing; you know what we need to do. Let’s let you all decide, together with me, how we are going to do it.’
Todd Davis is FranklinCovey’s chief people officer and the bestselling author of ‘Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work.’ Todd has over thirty years of experience in human resources, talent development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. He has been with FranklinCovey for more than two decades, and is currently responsible for employees in over 40 offices reaching 160 countries. Todd led the development of many of FranklinCovey’s core offerings and world renowned content. He has delivered keynote addresses at leading conferences such as the World Business Forum, the Chief Learning Officer Symposium, the Association for Talent Development, and HR.com’s LEAD Conference. As a respected global thought leader, Todd has been featured in Inc., Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and Thrive Global. He has served on HR.com’s advisory board for the Institute of Human Resources, and is a member of the Association for Talent Development and the Society for Resource Management.
Highlights from Alexandra’s Interview
This is a brand new baby. It’s the same book, but it’s like a brand new book. It has 50% brand new content. And I’m not talking new content, like it regurgitated some old stuff and kind of fattened it up with extraneous left-overs. Nope. This is brand new, really fun stories, antidotes, examples, names, train wrecks and triumphs. It’s really fun. I added a whole new chapter on something that I’d love to talk about, corporate creativity. And no, that is not an oxymoron.
This chapter on corporate creativity is actually not about the big corporate names. It’s about what these companies are doing in their offices. For instance, at Etsy they named their conference rooms after musician-food mashups. So they have Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, Sushi and the Banshees. Really fun names like that, and the employees get involved. What makes this chapter fun for everybody is even if you’re not naming anything, these examples of how people are being creative within big corporations will inspire you. You can come up with names for everything from your conference rooms to cafeterias. Even if your cafeteria is your kitchen table, you’ll still be inspired.
I’ll give you a couple more examples. The Make A Wish Foundation, at one of their chapters, allowed their staff to come up with their own job titles, and it completely transformed the organization. Everybody felt better about their job, their title made them want to talk about their job more, it was more welcoming and friendly… My favorite one was the CFO, and he changed his title to King of Cashola. I call myself Chief Executive Boss Lady, but anyone can do this. We named a PR firm Fire Talker PR, and the woman who runs it, Lynette Hoy, calls herself the Fire Chief. So, even if you don’t work in corporate America, you’ll find a lot of free ideas in this chapter.
Here’s what happened. Flickr started it all by eliminating a vowel in their name and Hello, I’d like to buy a vowel please! It’s gotten out of control. The worst one—I’ll tell you the worst one I saw, and then I’ll tell you why. How do you pronounce this name, that this company clearly purchased because they couldn’t find an available domain name? The name is OOOOOC. It’s pronounced “Five OC.” I mean, really? People do the most ridiculous things. They’re out of business just like BAWT bought the farm. How would you know that was pronounced “bought,” or what it even was?
Yes, it feels like a lot of times that the internet ran out of domain names. There are still some left. My biggest advice to anybody trying to name a company, trying to come up with a domain name is this: Do not think that you have to have an exact match domain name. For the first 13 years Tesla was in business, their domain name was TeslaMotors.com. Facebook was The Facebook until 2005. Dropbox had countless users while using Get Dropbox. So come up with a brand name that you love, and then do a workaround.
I give other ideas for workarounds, too. For instance, there is a company that—Oh, how appropriate to be airing this around Thanksgiving time! This is safe Thanksgiving dinner table conversation, no matter who’s sitting around the table. This is a fun story. There’s a company called Greenberg Smoked Turkey. Greenberg. First of all, it’s not a great name, right? I’m sure Greenberg is a family name, but it can be spelled two different ways. GreenbergSmokedTurkey.com is kind of clunky. They came up with the most clever domain name that I will never forget. I saw it in O Magazine after the holiday issue before I went to the dentist. Afterwards, I was completely doped up on drugs, and I could still remember it. The domain name of Greenberg Smoked Turkey is gobblegobble.com. It’s a super sticky name.
I think that people need to get away from this. Look, your name—this is really important, and this is my whole philosophy—your name should make people smile, instead of scratch their head. All of those crazy domain names are what I call head scratchers. Because nobody knows that what they mean, it’s hard to pronounce them, and they do look like the result of a drunken Scrabble game.
You have to obey the laws of spelling and grammar. Sorry. There’s no spelling police or grammar police, but even if you think, “Oh, this is okay,” it’s not okay, and you will regret it later, trust me. It’s like, you’ll fall in love with it too soon, you’ll be excited because it’s cheap date, and it won’t be until later, until after you’re hitched and you’re building a life together that you realize how problematic your name is. That it’s spelling challenged or annoying or hard to pronounce.
I have something called the five SMILEs for the five qualities that make a name awesome. The first one is ask for ”suggestions.” Your name should suggest something about what your brand is or does. Take LeapFrog, it’s a child product. It’s educational toys for kids. Their name evokes children, and that your child will be leaping ahead. They’ll be going from kindergarten to Harvard, so that’s a great name. It doesn’t say “toys,” because LeapFrog is not that far removed.
Another one is Impossible Foods; that says something about the brand. It’s impossible. What’s impossible is it tastes like meat, and it’s not. I like brand names that evoke something about the brand. Or if it’s something fun like candy, what can you evoke? You’re going to get tooth decay? No. You have to just have a fun name like Razzles or Abazaba. Go for a name that evokes something about your brand.
The “M” in the SMILE test is for “memorable.” Let’s go back to LeapFrog, and let’s say you’re at a networking event. We’ve all been to those. I dread them. One of the reasons why is I always forget people’s names. Thank goodness that we have name badges, but a lot of times we don’t. So we meet Lucinda from LeapFrog. Three seconds later, I will forget Lucinda’s name. Most people do. Unless you’re a huge fan of Lucinda Williams, or maybe you have an Aunt Lucinda, you’re probably going to forget Lucinda’s name. So when she says, “Hi, I’m Lucinda from LeapFrog,” LeapFrog is going to stick in your head. Why? Because people remember names and words that we already have associations with. We can associate LeapFrog with a childhood game so our brain takes a little snapshot, and that goes into our dusty filing cabinet. When we need to recall it later, boom, there it is. We can picture it in our head.
I’ll give you a couple names. XOYONDO, VONIGI, AXXERION. Those are all names. They’re all names of scheduling software, and none of those sound like they have anything to do with scheduling. How would you remember any of those names? Your brain doesn’t have anything familiar to latch on to. What makes a name memorable is that it’s based in the familiar.
When I do my presentation, I have 10 of those names, all scheduling software, all with these horrible, complete alphabet soup names. I show them and I say, “How many of these names will you remember one week from now?” And then I ask, “How many can you remember?” at the end of the presentation. And then they disappear Yeah. Hard to remember.
The I in SMILE stands for “imagery.” LeapFog, we can picture. If you have a name where people can picture something in their head, it’s going to be easier to remember. People remember pictures much more easily than they remember words or letters. Here’s an example. Think of somebody in time who you’ve met, who has a memorable name because you can picture it in your head. I had a masseuse one time who I knew for all of 51 minutes; her name was Wilma. I don’t remember what Wilma looked like, but I sure remember what Wilma’s name is, because I could picture Wilma Flintstone in my head.
My book doesn’t have any jargon in it, but once in a while I had to write something that sounded a little smartypants. According to the latest research in cognitive psychology, we remember things that can be easily merged into our existing knowledge base. That’s not too super brainy. But I do have to tell you that I have one footnote in the book. Well, I had to do two, because I cited this study on on job titles by Adam Grant. But my other footnote, I only made it a footnote because I wanted to get the world word squirrel monkey into my book. It’s about the how squirrel monkeys don’t have good memories. They don’t have much more than a bee.
The L stands for “legs.” I talked about Lynette from Fire Talker PR, she calls herself the Fire Chief. She works in the Firehouse, she brands her PR packages things like Slow Burn… You get the idea. One of my favorite names with legs is called Latitude Margaritaville. Latitude Margaritaville is a retirement community for people 55 and older. That’s not that old. I’m 55. I know I don’t sound 55, and I sure don’t act 55. I want to go to Latitude Margaritaville. I’m sure you’re listeners know that this name was inspired and licensed by Jimmy Buffett, the famous singer-songwriter all about the laid back lifestyle. Get this. He has street names like Flip Flop Court, Castaway Way, Land Shark Boulevard, Lost Salt Shaker Way. The local business center at these retirement communities is called the Coconut Telegraph. The pet Margaritaville pet resort is called the Barkarita. I mean, what’s not to love? That is a name with legs, all inspired by Jimmy Buffett’s music.
The E in SMILE stands for emotional connection. Your name needs to resonate with people or it’s going to go right over their heads. And we’re so distracted these days, with our phones and everything else, that we can’t afford to have a name that isn’t something that sinks in with people. Make sure it resonates with you, and not just your customers. I’m going to give you a B2B example. Okay, B2B names are a snore. B2B names are so dry and boring, and “Oh, no! I can’t do anything creative!” Look, scaredy cats, you can if you want to make an emotional connection with people. People are people, whether they have their consumer shopping hat on or their business shopping hat on. There are still people your name can make an emotional connection with to really stand out.
This is a name for a health marketing consultancy, and it’s called Fresh Blood. Let me give you some other ones. Anybody can do this. We work for the Hotel Vitale, the super hip hotel in San Francisco, and they wanted cool names for their wedding services, which were really boring. Here’s what we did. We renamed the rehearsal dinner Meet the Parents. Their post-wedding brunch we renamed Bloody Married. And their post-reception bar rental we renamed Last Call for Alcohol. The bride usually drags the groom along go into it. These names were in a notebook, and they’re looking at names. Last Call for Alcohol really pops out. By the way, Hotel their sales went up 25% when they changed these names, and these were just names in a notebook.
When I started Eat My Words 15 years ago, EatMyWords.com wasn’t available, so I got EatMyWords.biz. Then six weeks after I had all of my really fancy expensive cute business cards printed, EatMyWords.com became available. I bought it for $1200 dollars, and I’ve probably paid more renewing that domain name over the years than I did for actually getting the domain name, but it’s worth the value. I’ll tell your listeners this: If you need to get a domain name with a modifier—let’s say I was Eat My Words Brand Names or Eat My Words Naming Firm, that actually helps with search engine optimization. Nobody expects you to have an exact match domain name anymore. They just don’t. We just came up with a speech list for a speaker’s bureau and the tagline is What Sensational Sounds Like. And she can’t get speechless.com or speechless.net, so she got WeAreSpeechless, which is great, perfect for the speakers, and it works for meeting planners. Be creative.
The people that come to us, no one ever comes to Eat My Words unless they’ve been trying on their own for six months. It just doesn’t happen. People try really hard. Don’t give up. Just keep trying. Look, we we spend three weeks on a project. And we’re going on this all day long. Think of it this way. Your name is the most used investment you will ever make in your business. How many times have you said School for Startups? Or have people read it? Or have people said it? Or have people seen it? I was thinking the other day about Mac and Cheetos, which is this cult sensation from Burger King that we named. How many people have ordered Mac and Cheetos and said that name? Think about how long your name will last; it’s going to last way longer than your phone, way longer than any office equipment you’ve had, a lot probably longer than whatever. Think about the value of your name and what it’s worth. You’re going to last forever. Spend some time coming up with something that you’re satisfied with.
Hello, My Name is Awesome. You can get it on Amazon. They still have my old copy up, so make sure you get the new copy. It has a blue “Hello, My Name Awesome” name tag on it, not the red one. You can go to our website, EatMyWords.com. You can also just click on the book link there and go directly to Amazon. My Twitter is @EatMyWords, and please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Highlights from Todd’s Interview
The principles and each one of these practices can be very beneficial for anyone, whether you’re in an official leadership role, whether you’re in a small company or a large company. They are universal. Practice number one is develop a leader’s mindset. That is all about the way we see things, the way we see our business, the way we see our opportunities for growth and development, and how to help others. Just in that short explanation, you can see where that’s applicable to everyone in any type of organization. The first thing to remember is, you don’t have to do any of them, If you make the choice, if you decide, “I want to be the leader that others deserve,” then practice number one is to develop a leader’s mindset.
Here’s an example. I’m sure many of your listeners have worked for a micromanager before. If I’m a micromanager, then how do I see my team? What’s my mindset around my team? It’s that they’re pretty ineffective, that they’re idiots, so they don’t know what they’re doing. And if that’s my mindset, or the way I see my team, then what kinds of things do I do? I criticize, I probably jump in and change everything you’re doing, I overcorrect all the time. I’m doing those kinds of things. Then what kind of results are this team probably going to have? Mediocre or poor. Here’s the key. What do I say to myself as that micromanager? I say, “They are idiots.” See, when we are micromanaging, we are only able to get these results, so I think I need to micromanage even more. That’s all driven by our mindset or the way we see things. That’s an example of developing a leaders mindset, where you strive for and see the potential in others, see what’s possible, allow them to make mistakes, and things of that nature.
The second practice is hold regular one-on-ones. I would assume many leaders and others are thinking, “That’s brilliant, meet with your team.” But you’d be surprised at how many leaders, many of whom have been in their roles for a long time, and those that are brand new, have forgotten or cancelled or just put aside this frequent communication with your team. Your number one goal as a leader is to create the circumstances for engagement with your team, because we all know that the more engaged team members are, the more productive they are and therefore the more successful your company is. And the best and most effective way to engage your team is to communicate with them, to meet with them on a regular basis, whether that’s weekly or monthly or every other week. The effectiveness of the one-on-one is to make sure that your mindset isn’t around, “Well, this is a time for me to check up on them.” No, this is a chance for me to engage with them, make it their meeting. Let’s talk about the things they want to talk about. What’s working for them? What’s not working for them? What would they like to do next? How can you clear the path for them? That’s what an effective, regular one-on-one looks like.
There’s no set rule on how many people to meet with or how often. Whatever it is depends on the amount of time you will create to be available for this, and the number of team members you have. Be realistic. If it’s only once a month, make it once a month. Even if it’s only every other month, be consistent and don’t cancel. If you have a team of five people, and depending on what type of role you’re in or what job you’re in, then it’s probably more likely that you could meet once a week or every other week. The more important thing is to make sure it’s a consistent cadence, and and you don’t cancel. Because the minute you cancel a one-on-one you set up, it unintentionally says to that partner, that team member, “I don’t value you as much as I valued this other urgent thing that came up.”
You’re making the effort to connect with people. And that’s the key here. To take it up to an A or more quality level, is to plan and prepare and to say, “Hey Judas, I’m really looking forward to our meeting tomorrow. Could you be thinking about the things that you’d like to bring up that I can help you with? I’ll be thinking about a few things to make sure you thought through anything that will make the meeting most most effective for you.” That sends the signal to Judas or whoever you’re meeting with that, “Wow, he really cares about me. He’s putting a lot of thought into this.” It’s that preparation, which again, takes a little bit of time, not as much as people would think, that takes it to the next level.
Practice number three, setting up your team to get results, is all about making sure you are aligned, you and your team are aligned with what the goals are of the organization or the company. We spend lots of time in in strategy meetings and other things creating the strategy or the vision for where we want to go, and then we go to those who are going to execute on it, and we somehow expect them to magically have the same amount of enthusiasm that we have. And they don’t. Especially in this day and age, people say it’s just millennials. Well, I think it’s everybody. Certainly me, and I’m not a millennial that wants to be a part of something that matters. I want to be excited about the work I’m doing. Creating or making sure that the why behind what the team is doing is known is critical. Then explain to them what needs to be done.
And here’s the biggest mistake managers make, it’s how we’re going to do it. Managers default to telling the team how to do it, instead of saying, “Wait a minute, I hired a bunch of creative people here. You know why we’re doing what we’re doing, and you know what we need to do. Let’s have you all decide together with me how we’re going to do this! Let’s get the best thinking. I don’t have all the answers.” Involve your team in how we’re going to get this done, and then they’re committed and your results end up being much better than it would have been otherwise.
You mentioned you don’t have a formal mission statement. But you said we think our listeners are really going to like it. Why do they like it? Help me understand why they like it. I would say that the why, you have articulated, and the why is because we are making a difference. We provided a tool for these people to solve the challenges and the problems they’re up against. All I’m saying is when we set up our team to get results, it’s reminding the three of us on this team to go back in and check in about why we’re so excited about this. It’s because we’re gonna make a lot of money and we’re going to grow this thing. But at the end of the day, we’re helping people, we’re making a difference in their lives, and they’re providing something that they can’t get anywhere else, at least as simply as they can get it through us. That’s what we mean by saying it’s not enough to say it once, at the first of the year or once within the company. You need to continually refer back to that. At Franklin Covey our mission is to enable greatness in people and organizations everywhere. Some people will say that’s pretty lofty or high-minded. Well, it is. And it’s really galvanizing. It reminds all of us why we do what we do. That’s that’s what the key is here.
Number four is feedback, a culture of feedback, which is my favorite one. Let me ask you something. Typically, when someone says to you, maybe not in your current startup, but when someone says to you, “Hey, I’ve got some feedback for you,” what goes through your mind? It’s a very typical response to dismiss advice from people who haven’t been in the situation in question. It can be a very entertaining response, but it’s very typical. We hear the word feedback, and we think, “Oh crap. Here’s somebody who’s going to come and tell me how we’re going to build.” Or the other reaction is, “Oh, no, what have I done? Now my boss wants to give me feedback.”
When we create a culture of feedback, where respectful, but direct feedback is the norm, it goes both ways. We’ve got the bosses and the leaders giving it to their employees, and employees feeling comfortable and safe—I emphasize the word safe—giving it to their bosses, then the entire organization, large or small, starts to get better. Those who are most effective at leadership and management create this culture of feedback. When I hear that my boss wants to give me some feedback, I don’t cringe. I think, “Oh wow, they’re going to share with me some reinforcing feedback.” We call it reinforcing feedback when leaders say things like, “I really like how you’re putting together these reports and the detail you’re going to, so do more of that.” Or they’ll give me some redirecting feedback, which is, “You do a great job. Here’s something I’ve noticed that you can tweak or refine or do differently You could do an even better job.” That’s it creating a culture of feedback. And again, that boss, she makes it safe for me to go to her as well and tell her something that I think she can maybe do that would be more effective in her role as a leader.
Only providing positive reinforcement is causing a lot of challenges. You’ve probably seen many articles and blogs written about how this generation is growing up with all of those trophies and awards, but then they can’t handle anything that doesn’t go their way or that they’re not recognized for. It’s a careful balance, but I would be careful in the business world to call it a punishment or reward. It’s reinforcing feedback, and not meaningless praise. Saying, “Hey, way to go, you’re awesome! We love that you’re here.” That may be well intended, but that doesn’t tell me anything.
But when I say, “I want you to know how much I appreciate the way you handled that meeting. So and so brought up a difficult topic and that could have gone really sideways, but you’re skilled at facilitating things and getting things back on course. I really admire that.” You appreciate that those are very different types of feedback there versus, “You’re just wonderful.” I wouldn’t call it punishing or discipline, but we need the redirecting feedback. We need to say, “Look, you’re a great person, we’re glad you’re on the team, but this this challenge is getting worse and not better. With your flexible schedule and your being unable to come in at the times that we have our meetings—or whatever the issue is, and I just don’t want to lose all the good things you’re doing because of this gap. That gap is getting bigger and not smaller. Can we figure out ways together about how we could close that gap?” That’s some redirecting feedback. It’s important to have both, unless you’ve hired a perfect employee, and I have yet to find one.
There’s the urgency changes that come up that are one and done overnight, or completed in a day or a week, and then there are other major changes, like a new direction that we’re going to build a platform for the company or something of that nature. The focus here is that when you’re in a leadership position, and even when you’re not acknowledged. Change is constant, we’re always going to change in big and little ways. I’m not saying that not being able to pay employees for a week isn’t a big change, but hopefully it’s something we can overcome pretty quickly. The point and the principle here is that as a leader, you need to get on board pretty quickly. If you’re not on board, it’s not saying, “Well, you just have to like it or lump it.” But go to your whoever decided about the change, your partners or your boss, and say, “Can you help me understand this? Because I want to be fully invested, so that I can help my team get fully invested.” It’s almost your parental role.
I remember when I was a little kid, we were driving somewhere with my parents. I think all of us have had this experience where whatever age you’re at, you realize that your dad or your mom or whoever your guardian was, doesn’t know everything. It’s kind of shocking when you’re a little kid. We were driving in a motorhome, and I remember my dad saying to my mom, “I’m not sure where we are.” This was a while ago, we didn’t have cell phones or GPS, and I remember at seven years old that panicked feeling like, “Wait, wait, wait! My dad doesn’t know the way we’re going!” This is the importance of leading your team to change. It doesn’t mean as a leader, you need to know everything. But you’ve got to be there emotionally before you expect them to get there, especially if the change is difficult.
We talked about what the four zones are the status quo, where we currently are; the zone of disruption, because things are going to get messy; the zone of adoption, which is still a bit messy, but now we’re getting on board with the new change; and then the zone of better performance or better results. That’s the whole reason why we have to change in the first place. As a leader, it’s important to understand each of those zones, and where you are in those zones, so that you can be the true leader and help your teams get there.
Taking your time and conserving energy is all about investing in yourself. I think everyone has heard for forever that we’ve got to eat right and exercise and take care of ourselves. We all know that, and more of us don’t do it than should. As a leader, what you value gets valued, and what you model is certainly modeled, and the rate of burnout in the workforce, in small companies and large companies, is horrendous. It’s taking the time to be an example, not just taking care of yourself physically, but investing in your learning and your ongoing growth. You don’t have to go to fancy MBA school, but you need to be reading and staying abreast of things. We’ve all seen the studies that predict that 15 to 20 years from now, over 40% of the jobs that we currently do will be replaced with artificial intelligence. We want to continue to be valued and add value, and to do that we have got to invest in ourselves. That’s what managing your time and energy is all about.
We’re all wired differently, but I would say the most important thing to focus on is your mindset, and reminding yourself daily why you’re doing this and what difference you’re making in the world at the end of the day. We have a lot of different things that motivate us at different stages in our lives. At the end of the day, we all want to matter, and we all want to be a part of something that matters. So I think the most effective thing, especially in entrepreneurship, where it can be tough for several months, several years, or even longer than that, if you’re getting things going. I think that connection to what’s really behind this, what is my whole motivation for this and whether it’s meaningful is important. Also, whether it’s something I have integrity around would be one of the most important things for you to focus on.
I think everyone would have a different answer to what percentage of managers are great. I’m much older than you are, and I’ve had many managers for a long period of time, and they’re all good people. I haven’t had someone who’s an evil person, although I know they exist in the world. I’ve had about 10 managers in my career, and I would say about half of them were truly great. Nobody’s perfect, but 50% were truly great managers, and the other 50% were works in progress, like many of us.
I don’t want to wax too philosophical, but I think meaning in life is what makes all the difference, and sometimes we wait too long in life to realize that. I think for anyone, young or old, if you could start out saying what at the end of my life—and hopefully that’s 100 years away, or 10 years away, or 30 years away—what do I want my legacy to have been? What do I want people who are toasting me to say, “Because of Todd, this happened, or this happened,” what do I want that to be? I think if we would focus on that more, we would all create much more meaningful lives for ourselves and meaningful lives for others.
I’ll refrain from commenting on Zuckerberg, because we’re a publicly traded company, and we have to refrain from making comments like that. But I will say that for some reason I was thinking about hiring. We hire very talented people at Franklin Covey, and we have our client partners, which are our salesforce, the largest department in the company. They are very consultative by nature. They are the face of Franklin Covey. We look for those with an entrepreneurial background or people who have had a lot of experience in entrepreneurial
type things, because they tend to be fearless. They tend to be seasoned. And that’s such a testament to what you do, and the type of business industry you’re in, to have that sky’s the limit mentality. They’ve proven they have other qualifications as well, but they have proven to be very successful because of their their vision and their creativity and their courage and their lack of fear.
The book officially launches today. I appreciate this opportunity to talk with you. The easiest way to get the book is major bookstores, like all the airport bookstores and Amazon.com.