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-My name is Clay Clark, and I'm the CEO of Thrive15.com. And today I am excited to be joined with Clay Staires. I'm joined by Clay Staires, the millionaire schoolteacher. Andin this manegement training, he 's going to be teaching us the 11 major attributes that every leader has to have if they want to become successful.
This guy went from the classroom to a place in his life where he's a millionaire who's traveling all around the world teaching the leadership principles and management training we all need to know. So as you're watching today's episode, specifically, you're going to learn the traits, the attributes, the things we all need to do to lead a group of people to become successful. And who knows, today's episode may just turn out to be worth a million dollars to you.
Remember, at Thrive15.com we believe that knowledge without application is absolutely meaningless. So as you're watching today's episode, ask yourself, what do you need to do to specifically apply these principles in your own life and business. Otherwise, today's episode may just prove out to be more meaningless than a selfie taken by America's invisible man.
Today we are joined with Clay Staires, the millionaire schoolteacher.
And Clay, you're a man who's literally moved from the classroom to the point where you travel now all around the world. And companies call you and ask you to teacher leadership and success and how people can move from where they are to where they want to be. And so I figured there would be nobody else to interview about the 11 major attributes of leadership that were originally defined by the late, great author Napoleon Hill, the guy who wrote the book "Think and Grow Rich."
-I've read that book.
-That made a big impact on your life.
-Yeah, so now here's a little stat here for you, just to kind of get us introduced into this.
-I like it.
-According to a recent Gallup poll, over 70% of American workers are either actively or passively disengaged from their work, meaning 70% of people don't really care about their job. Now this is a troubling statistic. Not only is the human cost immense, the US economy takes a $370 billion hit from this army of the disaffected.
The message is clear. Leaders have to do a better job at building employee buy-in and job satisfaction.
Now, that quote comes from "Forbes" magazine, 2014. So Clay, in your mind, why are most leaders so bad and are most employees so disengaged?
-Well, I think, first of all, the primary reason why employees are disengaged is because the reason why employees get up, just so you know, Clay. Because you're very different, all right, than most other employees. The reason why employees wake up every day and go to work is to get the paycheck. That is the reason. If there wasn't a paycheck, I'm not getting up and coming to work. It's not going to happen.
And so the whole motivation and the whole inner drive to engage in a company all comes from what can the company give to me. And unfortunately, so often, the companies are in a position of saying, no, what can you give to me.
And so you've got the employee, a lot of times we see in fast food or something like that, you go up and order a hamburger. And you get a young kid that you're just kind of wondering, are you going to touch my food, you know? Well, that kid is there for a paycheck. And he's saying, will you give me money? But the employer is saying, I want you to be here because I want you to represent my company.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-And so from the very beginning, there's this real tug of war between the employer and the employee, just in their mindset, their motivation for coming and showing up for work that day. And so this idea here of 70% of American workers are either actively or passively disengaged, it's just because we're just not touching the same value systems.
-And what I have found is that it seems as though the leaders who can really inspire people and really get people to perform at a high level, they all do these 11 attributes that Napoleon Hill wrote about. They all found a way to be able to grow personally and then to ultimately grow others.
And Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, he says this. "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. Now when you become a leader, success is all about growing others." and I know that's what you help people do. And your book's entitled "Grow."
CLAY STAIRES: Bingo.
-All about helping people to grow. And so let's dive into these 11 attributes. And I'd like to get your feedback on this and kind of hear how we can apply them to our own lives.
-So the attribute number one, unwavering courage, Napoleon Hill writes, "unwavering courage based upon knowledge of self and of one's occupation. No one wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader very long."
Clay, from your experience, why is it so important for someone to demonstrate unwavering courage if they truly want to become a leader?
-Well, I think, first of all, for me, to make sure that we have a good definition of unwavering courage.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-I think it can be pretty easy for us to get this picture of, you know, Maximus. And he's the man with the sword. And he's the strongest guy round. And he's ruggedly handsome type of thing. And this guy is the picture of courage.
But Clay, I don't know about you, but I didn't have very many of those moments when I was starting my company where I felt like I was the guy with the sword. Follow me!
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-But my unwavering courage was just not stopping, just keep going, even when I'm freaking out because I was planning on that client signing up. But they didn't. I was planning on selling that product. But it didn't happen. And so for me, unwavering courage was just keep going. Don't stop.
-I've found this. And it seems like that-- and we talk about this a lot on Thrive. But it seems like that the motion is what we have to do if we want to get to success. I mean, your success is over here. We've got to take motion.
But it seems like we get the e in the way. And it just kind of blocks all the momentum here. We can't move because this e, the emotion, is in the way. It seems like we just can't really move. We get stuck there.
CLAY STAIRES: Oh, completely.
-So if I'm somebody who's struggling with this principle of unwavering courage, I feel stuck, I'm not actually moving. I'm somebody who's not taking the kind of action that you're recommending, what can I do in my mind? Or what kind of, what activity can I do to get unstuck and to keep that action going?
-Well, first of all, I think that where we have a tendency, and where the emotion begins to kick in, Clay, is when we see ourselves trying to do something really big out here. But we interpret ourselves, or we perceive ourselves as being really small. And so all of a sudden, between here and here, is a whole lot of emotion. Is a whole lot of freak out, is a whole lot of fear that I tap into. Because I'm trying to do something out here, but I perceive myself as being here.
All those negative tapes that can begin to play in our head and everything. You're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you're not going to be able to do that. And so I think first of all, what we've got to be able to do, for me personally, and what I work with, with a ton of folks in coaching, in helping them get to that place of the success that they're wanting is, we've got to get your brain there.
We've got to get the way you perceive yourself, your self-value, out there first. And once you get your self-value out there, then things become very natural. Things become very smooth.
-So you have to believe that you're capable of achieving big things.
-Exactly, exactly. And again, that's kind of where I was, again trapped in that wage cage, thinking, OK, yeah, I was really good as a teacher, but even if I'm really good as a teacher, this is all I'm worth. Even though I was awesome. And I was awesome as a teacher. And I was awesome as a coach. But I was just worth that. And someone right down the hall could be not a good teacher at all, but they were making the same amount of money. So it was really easy for me to devalue my worth.
-Now moving on to principle number two. Principle number two here, the 11 attributes of leadership, is self-control. Napoleon Hill writes, "the man who cannot control himself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one's followers, which the more intelligent will emulate." Napoleon Hill. What he's saying is, it sounds like, again, he's saying, that a man who can't control himself isn't going to be able to lead anybody else. Now when you jumped into that world of self-employment, you no longer had a schedule from the principal, or from the boss, or the superintendent.
-How did you deal with that?
-I'm freaking out. Again, I tell you, it was really something. Because again, as a teacher, you sit in the class, and kids, like cattle, come into your class. You don't have to go out and find the work. The work comes to you. But then, all of a sudden as an entrepreneur, you and I both know, whoa, I've got to go out and generate things. But I had never learned that before, Clay. And it had never been modeled to me by my parents, or by the people that I was around.
And so all of a sudden, it's like, oh, freak out mode. I'm going to have to start doing this on my own. And so one of the things that I-- the word that you're using here is self-control, I used the same concept. I used the word discipline. And my idea with discipline is I loved when I was a kid, I loved to push the boundaries. You know, if the boundary was here, and I make it small, not because it is small, but it always felt small. I wanted to do more.
And so I would just push them a little bit. And again, I was a good looking kid. And I had all the suave. I could talk. I could kind of work the people. And so they'd let me get away with it. But eventually, that wasn't good enough. And I'd, boop, push out the boundaries more and more and more and more.
-So here's the thing, I see a lot of 40-year-old men.
-Is there a problem here, Clay, that we need to talk about?
-No. I see a lot. I hang out with a lot of 40-year-old men. I see a lot of 40-year-old men. I see a lot of 40-year-old women.
-At the Y.
-There you go. I see a lot of people from all different backgrounds who, they get to the 40's, it's kind of their midlife point, and they're stuck. And they have no discipline. As you said, or they have no self-control. And I know you're a fun guy, but you also are a guy who gets things done now. What's a step I can take if I need to become more self-controlled? Is it just going out and getting a DayTimer? Or is it make a to-do list?
What's been your secret to kind of help, we all struggle with it at some point. And all of us struggle with it even today. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who have success. I know staying in that balance is hard. But what's something I can do as an action step to become more self-controlled if I struggle with that?
-I think for me personally, I had to have some tool that brought accountability into my life. Because once again, Clay, that was something that I had always resisted. It was something that I had always pushed away. And any time a person or something tried to hold me accountable, I would just get angry and blow up. Once again, manipulate the situation using emotion. Because I would push those boundaries without discipline. And all of a sudden, I would create a new reality.
And then when someone said, hey, you got to come back here, I'd go, no, can't do it. It was hilarious. First time I flunked a class in college. Flunked a class. Guess what the class was, Clay? We're going to wait until you guess it. No, I'm joking.
-Very, very close. It was basketball. I flunked basketball. I was an All-State basketball player in high school. And I flunked basketball in college. And the reason was because I never went. And when it came to the end of the class, I was just saying, yeah, well tell me how many free throws you need me to make? How many lay-ups? And I'll do it. And she wouldn't let me do it. And Clay, I couldn't manipulate her. I couldn't manipulate her.
She was the first person in my life that I found was a stone that I couldn't move. And I just remember blowing up and going crazy. She was the first one that brought accountability into my life, and I hate her ever since.
-I think self control is so important though, because I know when I have employees who work with me, we have a couple of these guys on the set who beat me to work sometimes, and it frustrates me.
-But the thing is, is that as an entrepreneur you want to set the example. Things aren't always perfect.
-I know this year, we've dealt with my dad having cancer. Some of the employees here-- one of the guys, his mother passed away. We all deal with challenges, but they look to the leader to say, how's he going to handle this adversity?
-How's he going to handle this fatigue, this whatever, and I always try to lead by example, being one of the first people there. I try to lead by example of just to hold myself to a higher standard. And for me, my accountability came when I hired somebody, because I never wanted to let that person down, or some people it comes with management.
I've seen some of the guys on our Thrive crew, the more responsibility they have, the more that they step up their game. It's a great way to add that element of discipline there.
A couple other things I would bring up. I know two entrepreneurs who have an accountant they meet with weekly, who holds them accountable to their spending. I know another entrepreneur who has their savings automatically withdrawn from their checkbook, and Braxton Fears went as far as to say that he has a check card-- he's one of the Thrive mentors and a venture capital partner-- he has a check card that simply shuts off at a certain point, so that way he can never spend more than his budget. And these are the people who are the most successful though, so that's really a neat deal.
-And Clay, I'll tell you too, when I'm talking with a potential employee, or if I'm wanting to move someone from worker to manager or from manager to leader, some of the questions that I ask them have to do with accountability, because if they don't have resources or tools in their life for accountability, I guarantee they don't have discipline, because people that don't have discipline hate accountability.
-I get it.
-It will just make them mad, and so I ask them, well, tell me a little bit about, do you have this, do you have this, do you have this? And if they're going, nope, don't have that, don't have that, don't have that, immediately I know you lack discipline.
-So if they don't have a daytimer, don't have a to-do list, they don't have a schedule, you know.
-Now, let me ask you this. Point number three here. This is point number three. This is Napoleon Hill. He's talking about having a keen sense of justice. Principle number three. He says, "without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his followers," and that's a keen sense of justice.
Now, you ran a camp-- and keen sense of justice.
-Keen. That's not a word you get to use every day.
-No, and I feel like I don't apparently write the word justice much either, so that's kind of a--
-Yeah, I like that.
-Easy for me to write.
-Keen. Now, you're really keen. Now, I'm going to just have to cross that out and just go with right there. That makes me feel more special.
-OK. So, with a keen sense of justice-- you ran a camp.
-And I know a lot of people, all joking aside, who have come to your camp, and have left just changed people. There's one young man in particular I can think of who, much like a lot of kids, unfortunately, he doesn't have a mother figure or a father figure that was stable in his life, and he comes to your camp, and it changes his whole life.
-He came, and he went to the camp, and some people go to camp, but it's a fun thing. He left with a whole different world view, and one of the things he talked about is how you ran the camp in an honorable way. But there's kids that disagree with each other, right? There's employees that are fighting. So how did you keep that keen sense of justice and make sure that you made decisions that were fair? How did you keep yourself from favoring other people? What's your code for that?
-Well, I think first of all, to get to a sense where you can even consider other people-- before you can go to that justice, you have to have a capacity to be able to think of somebody else. And part of my training in my life was going through a 13-year period of just the wheels coming off of my life. Because, remember, up until that point, until my early '20s, everything had come pretty easy to me. And so even though I had leadership positions, Clay, I was a pretty harsh leader, because I just expected everybody to be able to do it, because I was able to just do it. Does that makes sense?
-And so it was only when all of a sudden I began to experience things my life that were outside of my ability, outside of my capacity, that I began to learn how to grow. And so I think that, for me personally, the way that I'm able to connect, the way that I'm able to see justice, the way that I'm able to see another person's point of view and consider somebody else in even a very intense situation is because I've gone through that process of having to learn. I've gone through that process of having to think outside of myself.
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