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This business coaching session is about checklists and systems.

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

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Notable Quotable: “One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.”
    -Atul Gawande
    (The best selling author of The Checklist Manifesto and a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.)
  • Notable Quotable: “(Without a checklist) the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”
    -Atul Gawande
    (The Yoda of checklists)
  • Fun Factoid: Kurtis Blow (Kurt Walker) is the first commercially successful rapper and the first to sign with a major record label. "The Breaks", a single from his 1980 debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song. Throughout his career he has released 15 albums and is currently an ordained minister.
  • Fun Factoid: While it was not the first single to feature rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that first popularized hip hop in the United States and around the world. The song is ranked #251 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and #2 on both About.com's and VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. It is also included in NPR's list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.
  • Notable Quotable: "Recycle like it's Al Gore's birthday."
    -Clay Clark
    (Founder of Thrive15.com)
  • Fun Factoid: "By 2008 Gore was able to put $35 million into hedge funds and private partnerships through the Capricorn Investment Group, a Palo Alto company founded by his Canadian billionaire buddy Jeffrey Skoll, the first president of EBay Inc. It was Skoll’s Participant Media that produced Gore’s feverishly frightening 2006 horror film, “An Inconvenient Truth”." - Making A Killing On Anti-Carbon Investment Hype - Forbes - Larry Bell
    -Vice President Al Gore
  • Fun Factoid: "Billie Jean" is a song by Michael Jackson. It is the second single from the King of Pop's sixth solo album, Thriller.
  • Notable Quotable: "The goal of your business systems is to empower diligent and honest people to deliver value to your customers without them (your team members) having to become experts first."
    -Clay Clark
    (Founder of Thrive15.com, father of 5 kids and 3-time Algebra-taker)

[THEME MUSIC]

-So we have some awesome trainings on the site with Dr. Robert Zoellner, and he's the CEO of Thrive15. He's one of our mentors. And his big mojo is his optometry clinics run like a well-oiled machine, because they have checklists.

-Yeah, and if somebody's watching this, they might go, well, does he ever have a mistake? Of course. But the checklist saves you from the mistakes being the norm.

I mean, the guy is seeing a hundred patients a day. I know optometrists that are on Thrive, I know doctors that are on Thrive, and optometrists off Thrive. I know a lot of these guys. And some of them are seeing six patients a day and they're like, man, keeping up with all the medical billing and all the paperwork. It's so hard.

We're talking about a hundred patients a day. That guy's on fire. Boom! I'm so excited about that.

-So it's estimated in "The Huffington Post" article, goes on to read that the implementation, in just 18 months of these checklists, saved about 1,500 lives.

-Now, if you're not excited about the statistics, that's 1,500 people. And I want to get deep for a second. People. Your life matters.

That's why I'm here in the studio recording. I could be anywhere else the world right now, but I'm here. Why? Well, part of it is because I don't like traveling, and I prefer to be here on camera with you, in your living room, at your computer, on your phone. I prefer to do this than anything else in the world. But, two, is that I believe in you. I know your life matters. It matters so much that you need to revere the sanctity of the checklist. It's like a holy document. It should be like a, ahhhh. That's what it should be like. I mean, this is like the holy grail. This is like the Magna Carta. This is the Constitution.

You have to use a checklist. When you do use a checklist, your business will succeed. When you try to do stuff from memory, you're going to bomb. You got to get rid of these oral traditions, these verbal tribal knowledge things. Just dumb. Stop paying the dumb tax, and you've got to get serious about using a checklist, every time.

-So, Clay, just to wrap up, give us one more ample example from, maybe, from the DJ company, when you created a checklist for the DJ company, where you had inconsistency all over the place. What were the steps that you started with to begin creating that checklist? I mean, he doesn't have anything. He does the same thing every week.

-Yeah.

-But how does he get into--

-Queue up "Rapper's Delight" real quick. We can do that now.

-OK.

-He's going to queue this up, and I just wanna make sure. "Rapper's Delight" was the first real hip hop song to have a break through. Some people argue and they say, no, Kurtis Blow and his song, these are the breaks, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up. That was the first hit.

That's true, but "Rapper's Delight" was like the first song to really take off, OK? So if you're a DJ and you've never DJed before, every DJ that we had was a guy that I taught. So, everybody who I hired had never DJed before. I would, if you had ever DJed for someone else before, I wouldn't hire you. So go ahead and crank it up a little bit.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Yeah, so this song, you let the song play. Now, here's the deal. You get this song playing and you get a "Soul Train" line going, OK? So I would put it on the script that what you want to do, is you want to play this song, "Rapper's Delight." You want to play "Rapper's Delight," and you want to get a "Soul Train" line going.

Why? Because this is a song that white people, non-white people, everybody can groove out to. Could you crank it up a little more here? I mean, this is a deal where like, if you're white, if you're not white, if you're black, if you're Caucasian, if you're Samoan, if you're Asian, there's no complaining, because this song works for you.

You just form two lines, you get all the guys over here, all the ladies over here, all the guys over here. And then we're going to recycle, like it's Al Gore's birthday. Recycle, right? And we would teach 80 DJs how to get the crowd going. And we would teach people how to do the "Soul Train" line.

It's like the movie, "Hitched." You know, you get two lines of people. And then the person at the end, they dance together. The guy and the girl, they dance together. They kind of break it down. And then they get to the end and they recycle, like it's Al Gore's birthday. So I had a checklist where it said, you want to play "Rapper's Delight," and after you play "Rapper's Delight," because we're dealing with a lot of people that need rhythm therapy. And no disrespect to Caucasians, but we are the ethnicity with the worst sense of rhythm, ever.

So we would queue up "Billie Jean." And I don't know if you can kind of queue up "Billie Jean" next, here. But, "Billie Jean," hear this beat, though? One, two, three, four, and five, six, and seven, and, hear that? One, two, and three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and eight. Now "Billie Jean." Can I get that "Billie Jean"? Now, we could beat match it so we can't, Marshall, in his defense, can't do that. Now we'll probably have to get you the console soon to do--

-Sure.

-I'm doing that. I'm buying you the console so you could mix it. I'm, for sure, doing that. But anyway, this song, though, beat matches in. If you notice, I can speed it up just a little bit. And I can speed up "Rapper's Delight," and I could slow this down. And I could beat match them, so the two beats would go on top of each other. So it goes, hip hop, a hibby, hibby to the hip hip hop, and you don't stop, and this beat stuff, [BEAT BOX SOUNDS], and then these two songs fit together.

And the great thing is that a new DJ, who I just hired last weekend, had no idea that "Rapper's Delight" was even a song, or that "Billie Jean" would beat match with it, or that by saying these certain words you could get a "Soul Train" line going, or they had no idea what a "Soul Train" line was. And I could teach you, in a weekend, how to, literally, go to a wedding, and you get to the part of the dance where it's time to get everybody out there, and you, literally, look down at your sheet of paper and it says, "execute the group photo."

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Editor's Note: "The Group Photo Trick" is a system developed by Clay Clark and the DJConnection.com team. This system involved getting every human in attendance at a wedding to come onto the dance floor at the same time for a group photo. Once they were out there and the photo was taken, Clay and his team would play "Shout" or another song guaranteed to get everyone dancing.
  • DJ Rule #2: "Brick House" by the Commodores must always be played before "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry.
  • NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "My first DJ performances were brutal. The first wedding photos we provided were not very good. The first haircuts we provided were not the best. But we took the time to learn from these failures and to document the proven path to success once we found it."
    -Clay Clark
    (Founder of DJConnection, Thrive15.com, EpicPhotos.com, MakeYourLifeEpic.com, EITRLounge.com, etc.)
  • Editor's Note: Clay does not speak on behalf of all Caucasians. However, he does speak on behalf of 99.5276% of Caucasians.
  • Notable Quotable: "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."
    -Reid Hoffman
    (Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn. Hoffman has a net worth of more than $4 billion.)
  • Notable Quotable: "Dude. Do you know there is two songs that fit really well together? Usher's "Yeah" and "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice."
    -Josh Smith
    (Former DJConnection.com DJ)
  • Notable Quotable: “Three classes of factors affect what an organization can and cannot do: its resources, its processes, and its values.”
    -Clayton M. Christensen
    (Author of The Innovator's Dilemma and a Harvard Business School professor)
  • Editor's Note: If you would like to know about the upcoming dates for Thrive15.com workshops and trainings email info@Thrive15.com.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

-So, you hope on the mic, and you say, all right, ladies and gentlemen, at this time, the bride and the groom, they want to do a photo. It's going to be a photo with you and the bride and the groom, and they've asked for everybody to be in this photo. Then, once everybody's out there, they look at their checklist, and it says, play shout. So, (SINGING) you know you make me want to shout. And everyone starts doing the shout, because you've tricked them. You've taken a group photo but now they're all out there, they're a captive audience. Now you're doing the shout. Then, you go into the next song, and you just follow the checklist. It's like painting by numbers DJ.

And it allowed me to produce millions of dollars of revenue by having a duplicatable system, instead of letting each DJ choose his own artistic merits, and let him figure it out. It took me years to figure out that Billie Jean and Rapper's Delight were perfectly fit together. It took me years to figure out that Brick House should always be played-- DJ rule number two. Brick House shall always be played before Play that Funky Music.

Or it took me years to figure out that whenever the party's dying, there's only certain songs that everyone knows, and so we created a party starter disk. And on that disk, it's whenever the party's dying, you just grab it. And there's like the Cha Cha Slide and there's the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle and there's the Wow, Baby, Wow, and all those songs are all on one CD.

And that's how you do it, man, you make a checklist. It's a system. It's so good. Because you can improve a checklist, once it's written down. You can go back to it and change it, and improve it. Without a checklist, it's just in your brain and you'll forget. And you can't make any incremental improvement.

-So you would literally be failing, kind of, all over the place. and maybe fail even--

CLAY CLARK: And I was!

- --10 times, 20 times, 50 times, and then you'd finally strike gold with a song, or combo, or something like that.

CLAY CLARK: Yeah

-And so you wrote it down. You wrote it down.

-Dude, this is what happened. I would be on the mic, and I'd say, all right everybody, let's play, you know, we're going to do the Rapper's Delight. So I'd play Rapper's Delight. I'd do a Soul Train line. Then after I do the Soul Train line, the crowd would always fizzle. You know, everyone's dancing, and they're, hip hop hippie, they're all doing it. They're all getting into it.

And then I would change the beat, and all the white people would go-- Because white people, when we hear a new beat, we have to, like, think about it and go-- All right, this is our inner dialogue-- I don't know what this-- this is a new beat. My body, I just got my body on this beat. And now there's a new beat. I just got my body on the other beat. I don't know. I'm going to go to the bathroom. So then we kind of, like, fake like we have to go to the restroom. We're like hey, babe, I'm going to go to the bathroom. And then we're in the bathroom and we're like [IMITATES BEAT]

-And we're like, I got it. And we run back out. Inner dialogue-- I got the beat, I can now dance again. Then we go back. And I was just doing that over and over, like, getting the crowd built up, killing the crowd. Getting the crowd built up, killing the crowd. But a checklist saved me.

-OK, so you found out what works.

CLAY CLARK: Yep.

-You wrote it down.

CLAY CLARK: Bam.

-Specifics of what worked. So one, play this song, and two, this is how you have to intro the song.

CLAY CLARK: This is how we do it.

-Specifically say this.

CLAY CLARK: Yes.

-And then number three, cue up Billie Jean.

-Billie Jean.

-OK, then, begin beat matching and transitioning into that song. And that was something that after you found that it worked yourself--

-Yup.

- --That's when you documented it. And you had a specific checklist. A timeline.

-And to make it even better, over time, other DJs had their own systems. We had guys who we would train. Josh used to do this. Josh would be out DJing, and he'd be rocking, and Josh goes, dude, you know those two songs that fit really well together? And I'm like, what? And he goes, do you remember Usher "Yeah!" when that came out? You know? [IMITATES BEAT] You know all soccer moms, like, Yeah! You know. He came up, he says, hey, that song goes perfectly after this song. And I'm like, oh, you're right. And so we add that to checklist. That's how you do.

-OK, so you take proven strategies. You document the specifics of those strategies. Do this. Say this. Execute it at this time, at this specific time. And that's how you begin implementing across an organization. But first, you've got to find out that it works, yourself, or else you're going to scale crap.

-Yeah. I mean, you're going to scale the fail. And that's just how it is. You don't want to scale the fail. That's not a healthy thing to do. You don't want to-- And people, when they come to work-- I mean, I'm just telling you. When I worked at Target, I wasn't wanting to invent my own bar code system. I didn't want to-- I wasn't excited about the complexities of customer service. I didn't care about their mission statement. I didn't care about Target. I wanted a job. I wanted to exchange my time for money. And so, I wanted to go there and do my job and know that I would get paid. You know? So when they had a system for me, they could allow millions of people to be served every day, and thousands of employees to serve them with a system. Without a system, I would have been run around, just trying to figure out what to do all day.

MARSHALL MORRIS: Sure. So the systems, you know, Clayton Christensen, in the innovator's dilemma, he talks about three different things giving a business value. The first is the core values at the foundation of the business.

CLAY CLARK: Yup.

-Core values, OK.

CLAY CLARK: Core values.

-We have a document that lists all of our core values for Thrive 15.

CLAY CLARK: Boom.

-And then the second thing is, the workflows, the systems, the processes. Because that's what a business, or an investor, or a larger company, that's what they're going to buy when they buy your company--

CLAY CLARK: Exactly

--when they invest in you. And then the third is the resources, but we're talking about the middle. We're talking about the middle. Those workflows, those systems, and so it's so crucial that we have those checklists.

CLAY CLARK: Thrivers, if you want to come out to our Thrive 15 conferences, all you got to do is email us. info@thrive15.com. Hit up Marshall. Ask him when the next one is. You can come out here, and we will literally help you work flow out your entire business model. We do that. It's all done. Boom.

MARSHALL MORRIS: So we've gotten into it. If you want more trainings, specifically for Fayez, if you want those more trainings on checklists, you can go to "Checklists, Checklists, And Getting It Done Right" with Dr. Robert Zoellner. Also Arthur Greeno talks about-- he's a multiple location franchise owner of Chick-fil-As. Chick-fil-A, one of the best systems in checklist driven companies that I know of.

-Yeah, Chick-fil-A is awesome. And they keep it simple. And people rip on the fast food industry, going, Yeah, if you don't go to college, you know, you're going to end up saying, do you want fries with that? Well, I don't know about you, but if you say, do you want fries with that? You could make over $100,000 a year managing one. I'd be happy to say, do you want fries with that, all day every day for $100,000. Boom done. I mean systems, baby, systems.

MARSHALL MORRIS: Systems. And so, Fayez, hopefully that gets you going. But, Clay, thanks for helping us out with this mailbag. We're answering questions here all the time for these Thrivers.

-Absolutely. Fayez, we appreciate you. We're excited about you. We know this is your year to Thrive. And I'm going to tell you this. There's two things I'm serious about. It's Star Wars, and it's helping you succeed. All right, so. We've accomplished both of those today.

-Clay, thank you so much.

-Boom.

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