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This business coaching episode explains the importance of building the right team for your organization.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: If it isn't good for society, it isn't good for your business.
  • Lesson Nugget: You are not doing your employees any favors by not firing them when they deserve it.
  • Lesson Nugget: When deciding to fire someone, keep yourself detached on the personal side and go back to your mission.
  • Ask Yourself: Is there someone in my organization that clearly needs to be fired?

[MUSIC PLAYING] human resourcing videos like coursera, management training

CLAY CLARK: Now what do I have to do, specifically, to get fired from you, though? If I steal, am I fired right away?

DAVID ROBINSON: Oh absolutely.

CLAY CLARK: OK if I just straight up lied to you, am I fired?

DAVID ROBINSON: It depends on why you lied.

CLAY CLARK: I'm late to work and I have a crazy story. There's like aliens and things are involved in the story.

DAVID ROBINSON: [LAUGHTER] The old alien story, huh?

CLAY CLARK: You've heard some ones, though. You've heard about the traffic and the guy and the--

DAVID ROBINSON: I wouldn't fire you necessarily for lying. People are human. People make mistakes. You can't just fire people for making a mistake. Now if it's a pattern of mistakes-- a pattern of lies-- that is a problem.


DAVID ROBINSON: That would be a cause for firing to me.

CLAY CLARK: Anything else that's an immediate firing for you?

DAVID ROBINSON: Anything sexual or deviant. Anything in that manner that I feel like is a menace to society would be an automatic firing.

CLAY CLARK: I'm bringing this up because you're helping somebody here in this management training, OK? There's a guy on the West Coast I dealt with and he's in the medical field-- that's about as specific as I'll get with that. But he had an employer inappropriately touch another employee, and that employee still works there.

DAVID ROBINSON: To me that's a problem.

CLAY CLARK: That's a problem.

DAVID ROBINSON: I tend to go with the society rules-- what's good for society is probably-- I won't say that. What's not good for society is probably not good for my business. So I would say that. Society allows a lot of things I don't necessarily think would be good for my business, but certainly if it's not good in society, then I'm not going to allow it in my business.

CLAY CLARK: Makes sense and I think you're giving a lot of people some clarity on these situations. Do you have a method or a game plan? I want to hear David Robinson's notable quotable on what you say. So let's say you have to fire me. I have done everything bad, and it's now time. What would you say to me?

DAVID ROBINSON: It's not me, it's you. [LAUGHTER]

CLAY CLARK: What do you say? I want to know.

DAVID ROBINSON: I don't have a quotable.

CLAY CLARK: You don't have a go-to move?

DAVID ROBINSON: I don't have a go-to move for the firing.

CLAY CLARK: You don't have a move?

DAVID ROBINSON: I would go back to say this is an opportunity for you to grow. It's an opportunity for you to learn from this. You may not feel like it's your fault, and it may not be your fault. But somehow, it falls on you. And you have to take it on as a responsibility and move forward from this and learn from it.

CLAY CLARK: OK, the reason I'm asking is is because I know a lot of people struggle with the words to say. And I know one of our Thrive venture capitalists-- he says a phrase-- he says, you're fired and it's just not working. That's kind of his thing.

DAVID ROBINSON: You're fired and it's just not working out.

CLAY CLARK: That's kind of his move. I'm just curious if you had-- so that's good stuff. The final question I wanted ask you about firing employees, because I think it's tough, is if I'm watching this and I'm struggling with firing somebody who can clearly needs to be fired. And we're obviously understanding that you that's the last resort for you don't want to fire people. But if I'm somebody watching this and I just, for whatever reason, can't seem to get to the point-- it's to the point where it's hurting my customers. My customers aren't coming back because this person keeps coming back to work.

DAVID ROBINSON: Well that's a problem.

CLAY CLARK: What would you say to encourage me if I'm the person who's really struggling to let somebody go?

DAVID ROBINSON: Mission, mission, mission. If you have a business, and you're running your business, I don't care if your brother, if it's your cousin. If you have a business and you have a mission, you've got to address that issue. That is, it's just like a cut. You're bleeding yourself dry.

And what I would tell you is, don't make it personal. You say cousin, I love you. I absolutely love you, but you don't belong here. I It's very clear that what you bring to this organization doesn't help us at all. Maybe there's a different role. Maybe there's no role. Or maybe your personality just doesn't fit our organization.

But if you can keep yourself detached on the personal side and making sure that I'm not hurting this person. I didn't bring this on.

This is something that all factors come together and its dictating this. And so I'm not saying it's your fault-- it might be your fault-- but certainly this falls on you. You had an opportunity to prove yourself-- you didn't prove yourself. So you need to go find another place or


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Principles For Creating An Ethical Corporate Culture: 4. Avoid ethical culture killers.
  • Lesson Nugget: To build a great team, first look for someone who aligns with your mission.
  • Lesson Nugget: Look to hire people with a proven track record that fit with your company's mission.
  • Ask Yourself: Am I hiring the people with the right character traits?


-Now, principle number 4 here is avoid ethical culture killers. So if I'm an employer and my desire is to create a first class organization like the Spurs.


-Like you've done at Carver. And I mention those because I think a lot of times you is as an athlete-- I don't know if you run into this, but I think a lot of people might just put you in a category. Well, that's just an athlete. You can't coach tall.

And why I frankly wanted to have you as Thrive mentor is because I have been, as a kid I was a student of you because my parents thought that David Robinson is a good guy. And then following you-- through Google Alerts you can do this.

-Google Alerts. Well, there you go.

-So I'm going to Google Alerted when things are--

-I'm gonna follow my sons through Google Alert.

-Yeah, you should. Do you do that?

-I should. I don't. But I'm going to do this.

-That's the new move. And so when you started Carver, I can get to know about it, you know, hear these things.

-OK, very good.

-It's kind of neat. But it seems like you've had success off the court. So it's not just a fluke. It's not just a, I was good on the court, sort of thing.

So, Dave, specifically, if I'm looking to hire somebody, and I'm wanting to avoid these sort of-- I'm wanting to build the right culture by hiring the right people. And I'm really, really looking here to build the right team.

What specific character traits, maybe just two or three things, should every small business owner, every leader, every basketball coach, everybody looking to build a world class organization be looking for?

-I would say-- You know, that's a tough one. I think, number one, you have to look for someone that aligns with your mission. So if your mission has to do with service, then you're going to want someone with a service streak and a service history. If your mission has to do with just bottom line end results, then you're going to want somebody with a proven track record.

I mean, you know, you have to understand what your business is about and understand what drives your business. Some businesses need creativity. Some businesses need a salesman, kind of a nonstop, kind of a go go go go go attitude. And so you just have to know those top two or three qualities that you're looking for.

And I always looked in specific settings, a school setting or in a financial setting looking for building our business through Admiral Capital, we're looking for guys who have expertise and a track record. We think we can mold them into our culture.

But we're looking for guys who have proven themselves and who understand, who have proven themselves not only in results but also in the way that they've treated the customer.

-So specifically I want to give some really good specifics for people. The Admiral Capital Fund, it's a fund where you own a lot of properties. I think you have, what, 9 or 10?

-It's a real estate fund that is a private equity fund that is a value add fund. So we go out, we acquire a property, we'll add value to it, and then we'll sell it. So we have a horizon of five to seven years.

So we have to have people who are highly motivated, who are get up and go. We've got to find new hot properties. We've got to be creative in the way we think about how are we going to add value to this property. And then we have to be diligent in being able to turn it over.

-So you're looking for, like, people that will help you acquire the properties and can analyze the deals and that. And you know specifically, this is the character traits we're looking for. And so you'll interview 10, 20, 30, however many people it takes to find that right person.

-Absolutely. And our organization also has a component where we are connected to the community. We donate 10% of our profits to the community. We find projects in those areas where we invest.

In Houston we went into those public school systems. We joined up with Hilton and the University of Houston at the Hospitality School. And now we give out 25 scholarships a year to kids coming out of high school.

We send them through a year's mentorship with some of our hotel owners. So they spend time with executives. They learn the business. And then if they are interested in hospitality, they get a scholarship going to the University of Houston.

-I love how you're doing that.

-So we try to tie our business into those communities where we invest. And so we have to have a person in our organization who understands that's what we are. That's a part of our culture.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Ask Yourself: Where does culture fall on my priority list?
  • Lesson Nugget: Your company culture should reflect your own values.
  • Lesson Nugget: If you have the right culture, you will attract the people you want for that culture.
  • "Nuts!: Southwest Airlines Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success." - Kevin Freiberg, Jackie Freiberg, Tom Peters
  • Ask Yourself: Can I define what type of person I am and what culture would fit best for my company?


-So why is it that most organizations-- people watching this-- why is it that most of us watching this, the people who own these businesses, they don't prioritize culture. Why is it that most people, it's low on the priority list? It's like, I'm going to sell some stuff. I'm going to ship the stuff. I'm going to-- and how come culture is maybe the last, if I have time--

-I think it's partially because a lot of people don't even know who they are. I think the key is you have to have some value system yourself, something that is important to you. And it's OK to express those things within the culture of your organization.

And people follow people. People invest in people. You know, it's what drives the growth. I knew at Carver a lot of our people came to work for Carver because of my personality and because they wanted to support what we were doing.

And so I think it's the same way with any business. If people see your business, they see the power of your business and they see the power of your character, they're going to want to follow you. And people a lot of times will look at an organization and they'll say, I want to work at that place. I don't care what they do. That's a place I want to work.

So if you build the right culture, I think it attracts the right type of people. But you have to have a personality. You have to have an understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. And that magnetic personality will draw people.

-I know when I first started my DJ company, we did entertainment for-- we started in the dorm room. And we grew it to the point where we were eventually doing 3,000 or 4,000 weddings and corporate events every year. And I am somebody who loves to exceed the expectations of people. That's like a game I play. I love to just kind of add that little extra something.

And I love humor. So I'm kind of like a Steve Martin meets business guy-- [RIM SHOT] I just like messing around with people. And I remember the first time I hired somebody who didn't appreciate humor. Because I had to grow from me to we, from one to two and two to three. I hired the first person who didn't appreciate humor, just put up with it and didn't like to over deliver. And I started thinking, am I weird? Well, anyway, it took me about two years, David, to figure this out.

-It didn't fit your culture?

-No. And I read this book called Nuts!, about Southwest. And it talked about the culture of Southwest Airlines and how you want to build your personality and you to build the business around your personality. And I thought, well, you know what, he probably could work someplace great, but not here. And I started hiring people that sort of shared my energy and values. And it took off.

-Absolutely That's a key. I think you have to know what type of person you are. And if you're the impetus for the business, if you are driving the business, then you have to have a business, a culture that draws people to that business, too. So I think that's very important.

-Well, David, I appreciate you giving us these principles, these tips. Because it's things that I think a lot of people might say, well, that's common sense. But it's not common. It's not happening.

-It's not happening, right.

-And I appreciate you for teaching us this stuff. Because you've been a winner on the court and off the court. So again, thank you for your time.

-Thanks, Clay, appreciate it.

-Appreciate it.

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