Robert Glazer on How To Build & Scale a Top Performing Virtual Team
Today, I’m talking to Robert Glazer. Robert is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners — a $20 million business that has won over 30 awards for its company culture. The company employs over 200 people worldwide, and despite being fully remote, is recognized as a best place to work by Inc, Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur, the Boston Globe and Glassdoor.
He’s also ranked as the #2 small-business CEO in America by Glassdoor, hosts his own podcast, is a bestselling author, and his Friday Forward newsletter reaches over 200,000 readers each week.
On top of all that, he’s just released a new book, How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace — a leadership book for any entrepreneur who wants to build a world-class virtual company.
In this episode, you’ll learn what it takes to build and scale a fully-remote team, the major mistakes to avoid, and why doubling down on core values is key to long-term business success.
Key Takeaways with Robert Glazer
- Why so many businesses fail to define their values honestly–and how this hurts them in the long run.
- How Robert scaled and de-risked his businesses without making a full exit or compromising what he loved about his companies.
- How to tell if a potential business partner is truly in alignment with what matters to you.
- Why Robert became an author, how he carved out a unique niche for himself, and why Friday Forward reaches its readers at 7AM in whatever time zone they’re in and no sooner or later.
- The major mistakes companies make transitioning to remote work–and why surveillance and micromanagement is never the answer.
- Why doubling down on core values is key to long-term success.
Clips From the Robert Glazer Interview
Robert Glazer Tweetable“Your core values should not be something that anyone else could say. They should have a differentiated point of view.” – @Robert_Glazer Click To Tweet
- Robert Glazer Website
- Discovering and Developing Core Values
- Acceleration Partners
- Friday Forward: Inspiration & Motivation to End Your Week Stronger Than It Started
- Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others
- How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace: Simple and Effective Tips for Successful, Productive, and Empowered Remote Work (A Leadership Book for Entrepreneurs to Build a World-Class Virtual Company)
- Performance Partnerships: The Checkered Past, Changing Present and Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing
- The Core Value Equation: A Framework to Drive Results, Create Limitless Scale and Win the War for Talent by Darius Mirshahzadeh
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Read the Full Transcript with Robert Glazer
Justin Donald: Bob, I am so excited to have you on the show today. This is going to be a blast. You and I have really gotten to know each other quite well over this past year, being involved in kind of like a mastermind think tank together. And I have just thoroughly enjoyed your perspective and just all that I’ve learned about you. You’ve had so much success in so many different areas and I’m just excited to explore those with you today. So, thanks for being on the show.
Robert Glazer: Thanks for having me, Justin. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you as well. I’m getting my investing education from you so it’s been very mutual.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. Well, I tell you, you’re in a good position. You’ve built a very successful company. You’ve built multiple companies and you’re in a situation where you have suitors. There are people that want in on what you are building and what you are creating. At the same time, you have expertise not just in building businesses but also in education and in writing and just thought leadership in that whole realm as well. And so, I’d love to learn kind of how you got your start to all of this.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. I joked that I have a day job and a night job. I think the day job is building my company, Acceleration Partners, and then I think you alluded to, we spun off a company a few years ago called BrandCycle, but we’re in the partner, affiliate marketing space, and that’s really continued to grow. I think we’re the largest global agency that managed those programs independently, have a couple of hundred people. Passionate about what we do but as we started to build the business and as I kind of made the decision to build a business, reluctantly, I was determined to sort of not do a lot of the things that I really didn’t like about other businesses, whether that was certain aspects of culture or how we worked or leadership or management. So, along the way, we tried some new things or different things and I intentionally said, “I don’t want to create a company I don’t want to work with.” As we figured out some of these things, I started writing about them, talking about them, and getting some attention for what we were doing. So, we always say they’re sort of what we do but I’ve also become passionate about the how we do it and that’s led to my sort of nights in weekend writing career around stuff around culture and leadership and most recently remote work because we’ve been fully remote for almost 14 years. I joked that it’s gone from something that we almost literally hid from our clients. Now, I’m getting the ask to like speak at companies about it. So, it’s been quite a transformation.
Justin Donald: That’s so awesome. I mean, what a dream to build a company that kind of spawns into another company that then creates another opportunity for you. I just think most people, their goal, the American dream is to own a home and to have their own business. And you’ve been able to do that a few times over and people look to you for your expertise. Now, I’m curious based on what you said, because there are clearly ways that you believe you should run things. There are ways that you probably shouldn’t run things. So, what are some of these separators for you? Like what distinguishes your business or your culture or your leadership from what you’ve seen in the marketplace or what you’ve experienced through some of the consulting work that you’ve done and some of the speaking that you’ve done for major corporations?
Robert Glazer: Yeah. I think we think of like objectively a good and bad culture, right? Like, let’s assume that paying people well, treating them well, like we’d agree that those are good things, like treating them horribly, not paying them well, lying, deceit, that’s bad. Yes, those are clear but I actually think the general problem with companies, I equate it more to universities like my daughter’s a junior looking at college. There are different value propositions, right? Like the large city school doesn’t pretend to be the suburban liberal arts school and I think this is the problem with companies’ culture and leadership. They’re just not honest. I think some of the leaders don’t know what they want. They haven’t done the work to say, “Here’s who I am, here’s my value, here’s the company I kind of built,” sort of unapologetically about that. I think that we’re a great culture. I say this and if you look at our hiring statistic for like 1.8% of the population, based on what I can tell, who believes the same things, likes our core values, like we’re not the right fit for a lot of people. You can imagine like let’s say there are two companies like one is started by a competitive athlete, they’re growing 50% a year. It’s kind of like it’s all about upper out, 80% of the bonuses go to 20% of the people and they’re kind of changing their industry but it’s a tough, cutthroat place to work. Then you got Company B like family business, grows 4% a year, really values tenure and loyalty, not innovation.
People in each of those companies probably wouldn’t like the other company, right? But the problem is when the person at the cutthroat company says, “We value teamwork and everyone’s opinion,” it’s like, “No, you don’t. You value winning and losing and you value winning a lot.” But if you said that, then there’d be a lot of people out there. So, I think there’s just this whole intentionally or unintentionally we need values. We’ll pick the same thing off the wall as everyone else rather than saying, “Look, here’s what we are. Here’s what we stand for. It’s not for everyone but if these things are really you, you’ll love it here.”
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. And my friend, Darius Mirshahzadeh, wrote a book recently called The Core Value Equation. And many of you know him and he’s just such a fan of mine and that’s it. Like he gets into how to kind of define who you are in the culture that you have and the importance of that based on what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, what are the values that you hold, and not just so that it sounds nice. Like it’s okay to have values that maybe it is like move up or move out or may the best man win.
Robert Glazer: We value winning, right? I mean, that appeals to some people or not. People are just, yeah, your values should not be – and I know Darius well and he’s great on the company values. Your values should not be something that anyone else could say. They should have a differentiated point of view. I have similarly worked with our leaders and built a course around discovering your own personal core values. And again, when someone says, “My value is integrity,” I’m like, “No.” I can come up with six different versions of integrity like it’s got to be like I have a list of really good ones that people have said. Like, it’s got to be more definitive as to like how is it different from something else.
Justin Donald: That’s cool. So, you recently have had a liquidity event, right? And this is kind of a new world for you. You’ve been building, building, building. You’ve been an expert in this space and then you have these companies that are interested and you’ve had people and organizations that have kind of been trying to court you for some time. It’s my understanding that you found one that was a really good fit and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts there and what that experience has been like.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. I mean, when you build a business forever and after the first eight weeks of COVID, I think COVID was an interesting experience. I mean, obviously, I haven’t met anyone who wasn’t selling masks who in the first eight weeks wasn’t in an abject, panicked, and free fall. And then I think it started sorting itself out after that. But I think when you’re building, building, building, reinvesting, and you get to a point where 99% of your wealth is tied up in that business, a moment like that, you start to think about, “Well, that’s kind of scary. What does that mean for my family?” So, we had been wanting to grow, thought about sort of partnership for a while, and we talked to some folks and once the patient sort of stabilized later in the year began, our industry was consolidating and I think this was a lesson that I’ve learned too. You know, the timing is important and my friend said to me, our industry was rolling up and consolidating and a friend of mine said, “When your industry starts consolidating, either you become the roller, you roll in somewhere or you get rolled,” and I thought that was a good thing. So, we actually decided we wanted to be the roller like we thought we had a great brand, a great management team. We were going to need a capital partner and we were going to, you know, a part of that would be how could we de-risk a little bit.
So, we found a great partner and we’ve done two acquisitions already. I think maybe one of the things people don’t understand about the notion of platform or be a platform like if you work with an investor to create a platform around your company, you’re building that around your team, your brand, and then you’re going out and adding to that. When you go into a platform, you’re going into an existing team, an existing brand, and otherwise. So, there are pros and cons. It’s a lot more work to be the platform but given that our culture is so important to us, how we did business like that’s what we wanted to do.
Justin Donald: I think it’s important to pay attention to the signs and what is going on. And I had a conversation with a friend here just yesterday, and that is that most people never have the opportunity to actually build a successful company. Most companies don’t make it. And if you are lucky enough, talented enough, right timing, however that plays in where you get a company that booms, that’s exciting. Most people never make it there. But the interesting thing about it is there’s generally a peak, a ceiling. There’s a time and a place.
Robert Glazer: One or two windows, yeah.
Justin Donald: Yes. And you’ve got to execute. You can’t just think that it’s going to continue to grow. So, if you have an opportunity to capitalize, that might be the only opportunity that you ever get for some sort of an exit. And then I want to follow that up with the different ways that you can exit. So, in some instances, you’ve got people that completely exit. You sell 100% of your company to someone else, someone in the private equity space, or whoever. Maybe it’s a public company.
Robert Glazer: Strategic. Yeah.
Justin Donald: Yeah. So, that is a common way and then you’ve got other situations where maybe you don’t have a clean break and there’s an earn-out and you’re kind of tied to that company for two to four years and you’re helping with that transition and helping build it and maybe you stay on even longer than that but there are opportunities there. And then you have other ones where it’s like, “Hey, I want to invite you in. We need capital and you have the capital. I’ve got the expertise. So, I want to continue running it. I want to give you some equity but if you give me some capital to work with, we can really scale it.” And it sounds like that the latter is what you did. So, you had an opportunity for some liquidity but now you have the dollars to be able to take it to a whole nother level. Is that correct?
Robert Glazer: Yeah. Right. Every future investment, people look to me and they’re like, “Well, what do you want to reinvest?” So, that is less about looking to me and if there’s an opportunity, we can do it. I don’t have to look at it. It’s interesting. I don’t think people realize like if you’re the owner and funding the business, at some point, it just gets big enough that like even if a business is growing 40% a year, you might have cash flow needs or growth needs, or we’re going to buy the software, and those might be bigger checks than you can actually even afford to write because you’ve tied up the capital in the business. So, exactly, we were really looking for a partnership where someone come in, but both the money and the know-how in our industry we found someone who’s really the leading investor in our industry. They have just done it time and time again and they’re really good at the stuff that we don’t know how to do, like the stuff that’s endemic to just we’re at a company of our size for the first time like from a compliance and growth and treasury, like a lot of that stuff. Well, we know the industry and we say, “Here’s the company that we think would be a good fit,” but then they help us acquire it. So, yeah, there are different partnerships. I like you like shared incentives.
So, there are earn-out type deals or there are kind of deals where you’re contributing equity, they’re contributing dollars like everyone’s kind of in the same bucket with the same incentives. And I like that structure a lot better. I’ve known a lot of entrepreneurs that are just miserable, begging to get out of their earn-outs because they can’t. They’ve sold the company and they’re supposed to do certain things but then they’re not in control of those things. I would say I’ve heard the most disaster stories about earn-outs, which is why you’re not seeing them as much. I think the private equity firms and their model of rolling in equity has really started to put a squeeze on earn-outs. And it’s forcing strategics to think about how to do the deals in different ways.
Justin Donald: Yeah. How do you partner that is in more alignment? Because once it’s not your company anymore, it really is I know a ton of people that have fallen in this where it’s like they’re being bossed around on how they’re going to run their own company that’s no longer their company. That’s tough. And then there’s also ego in play and that’s a challenge and then you have a culture shift. And so, it’s interesting. You made a comment earlier that sometimes it might look really good because you’re having this month-over-month growth or quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year and that looks sexy but that doesn’t necessarily mean that cash flow is strong.
Robert Glazer: No. You have enterprise clients. They pay very reliably 120 days after your employees need to get paid, right?
Justin Donald: That’s right. I’ve experienced this in my own business that it’s actually funny. The more you grow, often the worse financial position you’re in.
Robert Glazer: Our cash flow was much better as our growth slowed like historically. It’s just more clients, more employees. Companies don’t go out of business because their profit’s negative. They go out of business because they run out of cash. But again, there are a lot of different structures. So, the one that a lot of private equity firms use these days and I don’t think a lot of people understand it, but they buy into a percentage of the business. They either put cash in, you roll equity on the same dollar as the investment, and so you have the same preferred equity with your rolled equity. You could leave on day one, right? But the whole point was that you rolled a fair amount of equity that like if you’re the CEO and you leave on day one, you would be damaging a lot of the value of your equity. So, everyone is actually in a mutually-assured destruction. And this is why the investors don’t want to piss off the management team because the management team could walk and they don’t lose what they own. You know, it actually is a really good incentive for everyone to do the right thing for the business because it’s not about waiting around for your payoff and then leave. It’s about you’ve reinvested in that business.
Justin Donald: Yeah. And I’m a huge fan. Anyone who knows me that has read my stuff or listens to this podcast, they know that I’m a big fan of having upside in your investment. And so, if you do take some sort of capital or have a liquidity event, whatever it looks like that you leave some dollars on the table, you leave some equity, you keep some equity in the business because the private equity firm, private equity has a great track record. You’ve got a VC that comes in and VC generally wants to 10x their investment. Of course, they want as big as they can get but if they think they can 10x you, they want to get in but you’ve got a much higher fail rate because you’re much earlier stage. Private equity, they generally are coming in late-stage where there’s profit.
Robert Glazer: Very, very, and they invest based on profitability.
Justin Donald: That’s right. So, the odds are really good if you have a strong PE firm that they’re going to be able to do something with it. So, if they can 10x it, you want some chips on the table that can get 10x or 20x or whatever.
Robert Glazer: Well, when you think about an earn-out, it’s often not that you see that as icing. It’s kind of them deferring paying for the cake. So, what do people do? They leave the day after their earn-out is done. So, that’s not really added value to the business. That’s hanging around to make sure that you get what you think you already deserved, rather than partnering to say how do we turn $10 million business into a $40 million business together?
Justin Donald: Yeah. And I am such a fan of having a smaller piece of a bigger pie and I think a lot of people from a scarcity mindset want the biggest piece of the pie they can get. I think it’s better to figure out who are the strategic partners that can help you grow at a level that you couldn’t have grown by yourself. And everyone takes a smaller percentage, but it ends up being a bigger win. And so, that is the key. You have some upside and I think that that’s brilliant. I know a lot of people. I’ve got a lot of friends that have taken a clean exit and the companies that they’ve exited from have 10x, 20x, 50x, 100x, and they got nothing of that. And so, I’m just a big fan. If you believe in your business and you believe in who’s coming in, keep some chips on the table because even if it’s just 5%, 10%, 15%…
Robert Glazer: Well, it’s the biggest strategy, right? Yeah. Take your original chips back. Let them ride on the table.
Justin Donald: That’s right. Yeah. House money. That’s a beautiful thing. So, let’s transition here. So, you’ve done well as an entrepreneur. You’ve done well in this space where you are a global expert. You’re leading the world. What made you decide, “Hey, I should start writing?” Because you’ve written some successful books. You have many books out. And in fact, I’ve learned a lot from you on the book writing and launching process. And I’m thankful that we connected before my book came out in January because I definitely learned some things from you but what made you think, “Hey, I want to be an author?”
Robert Glazer: You know, we had real success in our industry. There was sort of a dearth of thought leadership in our industry and we had a lot of success. I had a lot of success writing, making points, making cases that hadn’t been heard. We actually decided to write like the industry’s first book about our industry where we thought it was going. And that sort of became a goal, which most people say they want to write a book, they want to write a book. It’s everyone’s thing they have to do. I actually was in one of these, you spoke to EMP. I was in my first of EMP and I just said, “I’m going to write the book by next year.” And then just changing that sentence literally was the difference between, “Okay. I’m going to write it.” Well, now, I started talking to people about, how do you write a book? Do you self-publish? It just switched the energy to I’m going to do it. I liked it. You know, I started doing a lot more writing and I actually then separately this note that I started to my team every morning, which was originally called Friday Inspiration which was just about improvement or getting better, started to get shared outside of our company. It had kind of ballooned to now almost 200,000 people around the world every Friday and called Friday Forward. So, that actually led me to think, “Oh, maybe I should write about some stuff, not about marketing.” And that led that, actually, I went to write the book Friday Forward. A bunch of agents and stuff told me, “Hey, no one’s interested in compilations.” That actually led me to write the book, Elevate, instead.
So, I eventually realized as I got more into my values and purpose or otherwise like my core purpose is to share ideas that help people and organizations grow. So, I’m not as much a theory. I like to test with something, tinker with something. If I figure out something that works better than an existing thing, I actually don’t want to keep it to myself, like it’s more enjoyable to me to crowdsource it. So, like if I figure out a better way to launch the book, it’s like, “Oh, well, let’s have Justin launch his book that way.” That’s just sort of how I’m wired. So, that’s really what my writing has become, kind of, “Hey, if we’ve figured out a better way to run a remote company, a better way to do X, like how can I share that and sort of crowdsource that?”
Justin Donald: I love it. And you’re already a best-selling author and this time around I’m sure it’s going to be no different. You’re going to, once again, hit all the lists and you have such a great name in the space, Bob. It’s really cool to see. I didn’t realize your list was so big. I mean, for Friday Forward, 200,000 people globally, I mean, that is massive.
Robert Glazer: It’s across 60 countries and I actually like this one service I still use to send it out. All my other stuff is on a different service, but it sends, they have time-based sending. And so, it’s in every country around the world I hear from people and it goes at 7 AM all around the world. And then one or two times when I turn that off, I get all kinds of complaints from people. They’re like, I like the 7 AM. It’s like my coffee Friday thing. So, I actually have to have it out by 3 PM on Thursday because that’s the first 7 AM around the world.
Justin Donald: Wow. That is cool that you have that many different 7 AMs that you’re serving. I love that. I love that you have this demand for your product and, by the way, it’s really good. I have read it. It’s fantastic.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. My guess is it’s read mostly on the toilet in the morning at 7 AM. That’s kind of my guess.
Justin Donald: Hey, it doesn’t matter where it’s read. It just matters that it’s read and people want it. I mean, I can tell you myself, my favorite thing to do first thing in the morning is read. I actually love just, to me, it’s this soothing process. I feel like it’s stimulating.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. Reading and writing are both good things in the morning
Justin Donald: Yeah. It’s so good. I feel like I’m sharpest first thing in the morning. So, how many books do you have total now, Bob?
Robert Glazer: So, my current book coming out, How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace, that’s my fourth book. I’m working on my second marketing book, which will hopefully come out later, which is a sequel to Performance Partnerships. That’s more of a company book but, yeah, I’ve got four.
Justin Donald: That’s fantastic. And so, I’m curious why you wanted to write another book. I mean, if you were just in it for checking the box of, “Hey, I’m a best-selling author,” you did that right out of the gates and then you followed that up with future books. So, I know it’s not about that but it’s a commitment to write another book. In the back of my mind, I have all these ideas and books that I want to write, and I will likely do something at some point but it is an undertaking. So, like right now, I couldn’t even think about writing another book. So, let me in your brain here. I want to understand why now and why another book.
Robert Glazer: I mean, this will resonate with you because probably why you wrote your book. So, as I mentioned, we’ve been remote for 14 years. We used to hide it. When COVID hit, I was getting asked to speak. You know, I offered 10 free speeches when COVID hit to companies where it could be helpful. I knew people were laying off and I used to give a presentation on how to build a world-class culture. We had won 35 Best Places to Work Awards.
Justin Donald: Thirty-five Best Places to Work. That’s amazing.
Robert Glazer: I think 30 or 35, somewhere around that despite, as one of the awards said, not having a place to work. So, that was listed on our Forbes Small Giant award. So, I started to get asked a bunch. I’m giving this presentation. People asked a ton of questions. In the next presentation, I’d answer those questions. I went to my publisher. I was like, to me, it’s like inefficient to deliver the same information one-on-one, and people like you, I said, “Justin, how do I do this?” and if you’re answering it a hundred times. So, I said to my publisher, “I think I could turn this presentation into like an e-book and we could get that out in 90 days.” So, they said, “That’s great. Let’s do it.” And I was like, “This will just be…” You don’t make money on books like let’s be honest and you know this. So, I said, “But like this would be a good way to get this out. It’ll help a lot of people when they ask me these questions.” So, we got this e-book out in 90 days, converted this presentation, which was all the sort of steps, and the feedback was great. But then I had some time and there was a whole bunch of more stuff that sort of came about and talking to other companies. And there was some interest in, it was only like an 80 or 90-page e-book and that’s not enough for publishers don’t want to publish sort of full book. So, there was a bunch of interest and I said, “Look, there’s key studies, there are stories.”
So, I spent another 90 days, tripled that book, got it into the full-length one, and it actually launched in Europe. It’s launched in France. I think we just signed a deal in China and actually, ironically, the US is almost last and North America. But for me, it was like this is information that can help people and companies. I think we’ve gotten through the can we work remotely and survive COVID? And now the thing that a lot of companies are sort of dancing around is like, “What are we going to do going forward? What’s the strategy? How are we going to support it?” And I think this has a lot of information to help that. I’m not a hey-blow-up-all-the-offices-and-everyone-should-be-in-remote-type person but I do think that companies who ignore the fact that employees are looking for more flexibility are going to find an increasingly dwindling workforce who wants to work 9 to 5 in an office. So, Mark Cuban’s been saying this a lot with relation to cryptocurrency recently and I love it. He goes, “Supply and demand are undefeated,” and I would repeat that to the manager who says, “Look, we’re all going back in five days a week and that’s how it’s going to be,” because there’s a lot of people who realize they want something different.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. I love it. Supply and demand are undefeated. That is so true and there’s so much wisdom in those words. So, yeah, pay attention to what the market wants and pay attention to what the market needs. I think that’s cool. So, this book is coming out this week and I’m excited for people to be able to get their hands on it. What would you say is maybe the key takeaway and any other highlights that you have for the relevance of this book? I know you’ve shared some already but I’d love to know if there’s anything that you can pinpoint.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. So, the book’s broken up into two sections. It’s sort of what does an employee need to be, have, and do to be productive in remote and work environment? And what do the company or leadership and management need to do? And there’s an interesting theme throughout the book like because, again, it was built off that original presentation about how to build a world-class company. There’s a lot of foundational things in there that aren’t unique to remote work. I think when you look at the companies that made the transition overnight, these were companies that were good cultures with clear core values and trust and good management and delegation. And so, they were able to like make this shift and they just need some policies and procedures and some other things if they want to continue with it. The companies that really struggled was sort of like the tide went out and you saw who wasn’t wearing their bathing suit. These are with poor onboarding, micromanaging managers who manage by who’s there, not clear values, not clear systems. And like, these are the companies that sort of really struggled. So, there’s a theme throughout the book on the employer side of just a lot of the basics that I think you need to do well to make an environment that has a remote concept. You know, one of the big things is like which you should have done anyway at managing the outcomes, not inputs.
So, how when you can’t see everyone every day do you get to more of the outcome-oriented orientation? I mean, we understand this with sales. You have two salespeople, Justin, and they call in. The first salesperson says, “Hey, Justin, I made 100 calls today. I sent 400 emails.” “What did you sell?” “$500.” Second person says, “Hey, Justin, I made ten calls today. I sent ten emails.” “What did you sell?” “$5,000.” There’s no way that you like the first salesperson better than the second salesperson, right? The outcomes are pretty clear in sales that we don’t value like you might dive in if the person is not selling anything and make sure they’re making the calls. But you don’t value calls. You value sales. I think talking to CEOs and a whole bunch of leaders, this is going to be the biggest shift and they should have had it anyway but what’s the scoreboard? What are the outcomes? What are the things that you say to people, “Look, you can work how you want to work, but here is what I am looking for at the end of the day.”? And frankly, that’s a better way to manage than managing people by how many hours you see them in your desk at the seat. Because there are companies literally that are repeating that mistake online. They are installing spy software that they’re asking managers to go through logs and the employees are going on Amazon and buying mouse movers. And if this is your company, it’s a zero-sum game like this is not a good company of like high trust and productivity. If you’re monitoring employees’ keystrokes, then they’re trying to figure out how to get away from that.
Justin Donald: That’s right. And so, there are a few different levels of this I’d love to dive into because so number one is you want to be careful that you’re not working for a company that’s going to fully micromanage to the point of like surveillance and privacy breaches and all that. You don’t want that. I do think it’s really smart in the businesses that I have started and help scale, whether it be via advisory and other people’s businesses or my own business, it has always been outcome-driven because that is what I want to reward. I want to reward the behavior that is producing the best results. And I think that that’s the most important thing to look at. But we’re in a day and age where I’m hearing more and more about people that have this full-time job but they’re working from home and they take another full-time job at another company and they’re double-dipping and they’re making two full-time income so maybe a full-time and a part-time but they’re working on the same hours. And so, that’s a recipe for disaster but hypothetically, if someone could make it work and they got good results and they were a good time manager, for me, I don’t care how someone is getting their results as long as there’s ethics, there’s integrity in the process that they’re not doing anything shady. But if they’re getting great results and they’re able to figure out how to do it on less time, hey, congrats to you. You should be rewarded for that and I’m all about that.
Robert Glazer: I agree with you. And the ethics aside of non-compete, I think something’s either wrong or right with those companies if you could work two full-time jobs and do that. Either it’s in an outcome-based thing and you’re crushing it or you’re probably underpaid and that one company was capping you out rather than letting you earn twice as much by producing twice as much. But I don’t remember this. There was a big case of a Verizon engineer like four or five years ago that outsourced an entire job for two years and they found out about it. They fired the guy. I would have gone in and been like, “Show us how you did this. What about your job can be totally outsourced?” I would have paid that person to like show me what they did.
Justin Donald: That’s right. Scale the outsourcing. What else can be outsourced and then where do you spend your time? Okay. Well, this is pretty smart. Maybe we should actually focus. One of the things I always would talk about with my teams, my employees, my independent contractors as we’re scaling is it’s Pareto’s principle. It’s the 20-80, right? So, 20% of your activities produces 80% of your results. So, what are those activities? And then how do you make sure that you are spending time in the highest income-generating or income-producing, revenue-producing activities? And I would always share with my teams like, “Figure out the type of work that you’re doing. Is this $10 an hour work? Is this $25 an hour work? Is this $500 an hour work?” Because you really do want to be doing the highest-earning work. You should be spending the majority of your time there into the 20% of activities that are highest paying, highest producing activities, and then you should outsource the $10, $20 an hour work to people that are more than capable of doing that. And then you’re also creating more jobs and building and scaling in a much more sustainable way.
Robert Glazer: And it’s a really good leadership exercise or discussion because sometimes we’ll talk to someone and we’ll say, “Well, I don’t have time to do this.” And you say, “Well, what needs to be done?” I’m not saying that you need to do it all, right? So, if you own it but you can outsource 80% of it like, again, a lot of times people just actually on the reverse when you’re dealing with someone getting a company, they say, “Well, we shouldn’t do this,” because they don’t have the time. It’s actually the reverse. If it’s the most important thing to get done, let’s decide we’re going to do it, and then let’s figure out how it should get done. It doesn’t mean that you have to do the whole thing. Like I said, we were trying to figure out efficiency around a competitive intelligence report and what was really important about this report was the synthesis of the information. The collecting of it was really time-consuming and remedial. So, someone was telling me like it’s too much time or otherwise we dove into it. I’m like, “This seven hours we could give to an offshore person to pull all this data and back.” What I need the manager to do is to look at the data and tell us what do we need to know, right? And this is where good leaders, you do a deep dive on this. Again, what’s the 80-20, and which part of that do you not need to be doing?
Justin Donald: Yeah. And then surrounding yourself with people that are the highest performers and that would be in the business side of the business. So, are you attracting A-talent? Are you retaining A-talent? Are you developing and building and growing your A-talent? And are they in the right position? Jim Collins, do you have the right people and are they in the right positions on the bus? And so, like that’s one thing that I look at as in the business but then on the business, who’s the talent that you’re surrounding yourself with? Like as an entrepreneur, as an investor, as someone that aspires to live a certain life and have a certain lifestyle and be able to accomplish certain things that would be inspiring to you. Who are you hanging out with that are doing those things that you want to do? I think that there’s so much to this idea that peer group matters, mentors matter, mentors that have done the thing that you want to do, that matters, and that you’re bringing people into your environment that are the type of people on your teams that you want to be working with, that you get great results from, but you also enjoy spending time with, someone that you want to invest in from a time standpoint, from a resources standpoint. And you kind of double that down with like how committed are you to that in your life? And I know you are, I know we are. We’re in a shared community that we call ourselves the selfless givers. I love to chat about that for a little bit because that’s such a powerhouse group of just top-performing people that are all about sharing their gifts and their talents with each other to help the whole grow and get better.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. I mean, I can bridge those. You said Jim Collins and I think it was Jim Collins who said, “First who, then what.” I think so. For all these things, like I have some complicated thing, if it was about investment, I’d be like, “You know what, I’m not going to suffer. I’m going to go ask Justin and Justin is going to point me right to where I need to go.” And I think that segues well, you know, this group is sort of a mastermind group but you and I have been in these networking groups. They’re really transaction-oriented. People go in, “How do I get sales and leads?” A true mastermind group is really the opposite. It’s how do we get better individually and collectively. And even in the name of this group, you think about first who, then what. Everyone comes in they’re like, “What? Who has the biggest need and how do we all help that person this week?” And it’s not like, “Oh, I’ll just do this, and then it’ll be my turn,” like it really is how all of those people live their life and operate. And it’s such a nice, I’ve never, ever joined one of those networking groups. I hate them. I find them so like business cardy but a group like this where people are like, “Alright, who’s got the highest level need? And then let’s all support this person.” And it’s basically all who just got like, “Here’s the person you need to call. Here’s what you want to do,” and it’s a great group.
Justin Donald: Yeah. What you’re talking about when I think about like who is a great example of that, I just spent the weekend with John Hall, a mutual friend of ours.
Robert Glazer: He is the epitome of that.
Justin Donald: He is the epitome of selfless giving. And if you’ve never met him or seen him, I’m going to have him on the show. We talked about it. It’s going to be awesome. And you should look him up because his book is a game-changer as well. So, he just built this amazing community in Columbia, Missouri. We have family there and properties there. And so, part of the reason I like to invest in real estate in places where we are going to go constantly is you get to double-dip, right? I know we’ve got family there so we’re going to go there often. We often buy real estate in those markets. And so, he just built out this gorgeous new development and housed us there and it was an epic experience. I mean, everything he does is to the highest level and the whole time he’s like, “Hey, how can I serve you?”
Robert Glazer: So, John Hall and John Ruhlin are two people and I think you probably had Ruhlin on too. This is just how I would describe them and think about your network and the people. When my phone rings and it says John Hall or John Ruhlin and I pick it up, it’s, “Hey, I’ve got this opportunity for you. I just gave your name to someone or, hey, like someone needs whatever you do.” It’s never, “Hey, can you help me with something?” Like, there’s just very few people who really have that mindset on life. And by the way, like the people without a sort of abundance mindset tend to do better because who’s not going to want to do something for John?
Justin Donald: That’s right. And John Ruhlin, we’ve got his podcast that just came out. So, I’m excited that you mentioned exactly that because that is the guy who he is and how he shows up. I’m just excited for our group. It’s a way that you can serve and a way that you can really have impact. And that way, the focus is taken off you. We’re all going to probably default to consuming enough. If we’re not careful, we can overconsume. So, how do you get into networks where you can pour into other people?
Robert Glazer: It’s hard for people to understand. You know, I think spouses and groups like EO and YPO with their spousal network oftentimes they’re getting this for the first time. If you haven’t been in a mastermind or understand what it is, it comes from Napoleon Hill and it’s really a unique thing where people are there to share experiences, not give advice, help other people, like push everyone forward. Like, I would really encourage everyone. The problem, it’s not like a directory. You can go find these. It’s just a certain type of group structure that exists. But if you don’t have one in your life like it really is life-changing, not to be hyperbolic, but I mean, people get addicted. You’re probably in four or five as am I but just even when people get their first one and they’re like, “Wow. This is different from networking or my friends are all giving me advice,” or stuff like that.
Justin Donald: Yeah, it’s a game-changer. It’s really how you elevate. It’s how you elevate your, you know, I don’t want to use the catchphrase of level of consciousness but it’s that you’re in an environment where people think differently. And so, the default is that you’re going to elevate your thinking in a way or manner that other people think. And it’s just different than how you showed up. That’s been my experience. It’s a lot more thinking, planning, strategizing on the business, on your life versus in the weeds of your business or in the weeds of your life being in reaction mode versus proactive mode.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. Look, one of the best things that I’ve learned from the training at now, which is now used everywhere, I think, but YPO and EO is this notion of, Justin, you might say something and then we all go around and share experiences that can be helpful to you, not advice. Because in doing that, everyone can learn from those experiences. So, we even bring that back to our business. Like if someone says something instead of saying, “Here’s what I would do,” I would say, “In my experience when I ran into this situation, here’s what I did.” And it is really a different way of presenting information.
Justin Donald: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I have just thoroughly enjoyed our time. I want to make sure that our audience for everyone listening and everyone watching that they can get a chance to get your book, learn more about that. Obviously, that just launched and really learn more about you. So, where can our listeners find out and those watching, where can they find out more about you, Bob?
Robert Glazer: Sure. They can go to RobertGlazer.com. On there is the podcast, the book, Friday Forward, and the courses that are out there. There’s a free course with if you buy a copy of the hardcover of the book, you get the course for free. I’m also super psyched about the core value, of course, that I just launched. If you’re trying to figure out, particularly this last year, what are my personal core values and what do I want, it’s the process really designed to help you do that. It’s only about an hour long.
Justin Donald: You know what, let’s talk through that a little more because I think that there is so much value in having clarity on what your values are. Like to me, I have my values. I have my family values that my family together came up with, core business values of whatever organization it might be. Organization A needs to have its own core values. Organization B needs to have its own core values. So, I’d love to hear more on that if you can share.
Robert Glazer: Yeah. So, discovering and articulating my personal core values, which came out of a leadership retreat I did seven years ago, it was the single most important thing I did in my life, in my business. If you went through my bio and all those books and all that stuff, it is almost all after that date because similarly, the organization was like, “Oh, here’s what I should do. Here’s what I should not do,” and I started doubling down or otherwise. Most people I think know their core values only when they’ve been violated. They feel it like, “This feels wrong. The situation feels wrong. This decision feels wrong. This person feels wrong,” but they don’t have the words or the clarity to put on their desk and say like, “Go this way and not that way,” and I just didn’t find that anywhere. And so, we had built out a process. I sort of figured it out for myself over 6 to 12 months as I really believed in teaching our leaders on how to discover their personal core values because I don’t think you can be an authentic leader without doing that. And over two years, we built a curriculum and it really worked for helping our leaders at our company. And then in Elevate, I talked a lot about spiritual capacity and figure out your values and people like, “Well, how do you do that?” I’m like, “Well, there’s not an easy answer. I do this with people at our company.” Same story as before. So, I was like, “You know what, why don’t I open up that program to everyone?” So, I turn it into a course, made it public. I set up a code for your listeners too if they use “lifestyle” can get $20 off, but it’s worth an hour of your time to start the process. If you can’t tell people what your core values are, it’s just such a big difference when you can do that. I can walk into a room, see someone, and be like, “We just know like this person do not share values. I shouldn’t be in business with this person. I need to stay away from this person or otherwise.”
Justin Donald: Yeah. It helps you make decisions. I mean, what I found for anyone that says, “What am I going to get from figuring out my core values?”
Robert Glazer: Decisions. Number one thing.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It helps you make a decision right away in real-time on where you want to spend time, who you want to partner with if something is in alignment with what you believe or if it’s out of alignment. There’s just so much that I would say with clarity and my values and my personal core values that really dictates the decisions that I make in life and who I spend time with, who my family spends time with, and obviously business. We’ve talked enough about that but I would argue that your core values for who you are, how you want to live life, that trumps your business because that’s how you’re going to show up.
Robert Glazer: It does. Because your business core values, and I’ve talked to Darius about this, have to be a combination of things that multiple people value. So, there will be overlap but it’s not one-to-one because you don’t have 10 carbon copies of each other. One of the things I talked about with values is the big three. So, your chosen vocation, where you want to work, who you choose to partner with and choose as a partner and marry and where you choose to live or the community you choose to live in, if those things aren’t value-aligned, if you make those, and these doesn’t mean – my wife and I are not the same by any stretch of the imagination but like this is the big stuff like you have to agree on the big stuff. So, if you live in a place where people don’t share your values like every day it’s in your face, if you work in a place where people don’t share your values, you married to someone or partner with them, it’s not going to work. It’s going to feel terrible. So, I always say like big three I think those are areas where you really want to be clear on your values.
Justin Donald: There’s no doubt. And I just think that I hear a lot of the time like, “Hey, how do I find the peer group that you’re talking about that you found?” I mean, this is one of the most common questions that I get, Bob, is like, how do you like elevate to a certain group or break into a certain group? And I’m going to tell you, if you know your core values, you’re going to know there’s going to be alignment that you want to be around people that represent those core values. It’s going to be an easy yes or an easy no instead of a lot of people. And by the way, I’ve experienced this myself where you live in indecision like, “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to make the wrong choice.” And I don’t believe in life anymore that it’s right or wrong. I mean, I think there’s morals and ethics that you can definitely argue right and wrong but I think life in general when you’re honoring people, it’s like decision A and decision B. It’s not one’s good and one’s bad. It’s one easy, one outcome.
Robert Glazer: No. You make that the right. How do you make that the right decision? And like I said, I think we know these values things like the problem is that you know that was a bad choice and that it felt wrong but you don’t have the words like when you have the words, as you said, decision-making like, boom, like one of my – and, look, you’ve probably seen it like it’s long-term orientation. And so, you and I, you’ve helped me with some investments. We’ve been looking at some stuff like if you had been like, “Bob, you’re going to put this money in and we’re going to make 10x in like six weeks,” that just goes against every fiber of my being, like people that are super short-term and opportunities. Now, there’s a positive aspect of live in the moment or otherwise, but like I tend to try to do things for the long term. So, again, that to me would have been like setting off radar of like, “Oh, this doesn’t seem like the type of investment that I want to be involved in.” You know, we’re going to lever up and trade Bitcoin. I would have been out.
Justin Donald: Well, I think that what you’re producing, the content that you’re creating, everything that you’re doing has so much value and I just want to thank you for your time on the show here today and thank you for your generous offer to our community. I just want to encourage people to get alignment on their core values and take your course and grab your new book, Friday Forward. And I just appreciate your time and the space that you’ve created and the wisdom that you’ve brought, Bob, so thank you.
Robert Glazer: Justin, thanks. Thanks for having me. Look forward to seeing you soon.
Justin Donald: I love it. And to everyone listening and watching, I want to end today as I always end, and that is to challenge you to take some form of action today, move in the direction of financial freedom and a life by design, not a life by default, a life on your terms that has an inspiring and a compelling vision for the future, one that you wake up to that is exhilarating and exciting in a very positive way, not one that’s on autopilot or on default. So, make your move, take one step towards that today, and we’ll hit you up next week.
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