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This business coaching episode explains how to help employees focus on core tasks.

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

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Editor's Note: Bob Hurley is a high school coach who has 27 state championships and over 1,000 wins in 39 years.
  • Lesson Nugget: As a manager, you have to take responsibilities for your team and their productivity.
  • Action Step : Make a list of everything in your business that doesn't happen.
  • Lesson Nugget: You have to take ownership of your team or company. "If it's gonna be, it's up to me!"
  • Action Step : You have to take ownership of the problems you see in your business.

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-I don't care who you're managing. I'm going to give you an example. There is a fabulous guy named Coach Hurley. I want to put a picture of this guy on the screen here.

HOST: Coach Hurley.

-Coach Hurley. He is a basketball coach. They did an ESPN, one of those "30 For 30" shows on him. But every year he takes a group of basketball players that nobody else wants at an inner city school. It's a Catholic school. And he takes these inner city kids that nobody else is recruiting, and he wins all day. His winning percentage is unbelievable. His son Bobby Hurley ended up playing for, I believe, Duke, and he ended up playing in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings.

Just a short little dude, but he ended up playing in the NBA. But his dad has an expectation of, like, if you are on this team, you are going to do it this way. You have to have that mindset. He doesn't blame the economy. He's got poverty everywhere. He doesn't blame the kids for not having dads and moms in their lives. He just says, I don't know what you're used to, but this is what we're going to do. Unbelievable. Taking ownership of that situation.

HOST: That's incredible.

-It's awesome. And those are the kind of people. Abraham Lincoln is a guy who I totally respect. One guy is watching this right now, and you're saying, Abraham Lincoln, actually, the reason why that they fought the war, it was actually not for that, it was-- stop it.

HOST: Stop it.

-What I'm saying is, Abraham Lincoln, if you read his memoirs-- he took notes-- or you read the biographies about the man, he was fighting depression because he decided we need to free slaves. And no one agreed with him. At times, his own wife was upset with them. It's un-- people didn't understand. Like, he was against the world in his quest to end slavery. The majority of people did not agree with him. But he's like, I got to do it. But he didn't blame America, and say, you guys are ridiculous, that's why we have slaves. He says, if it's going to be, it's up to me.

-So don't abdicate that responsibility. Take responsibility for your team's productivity.

-I've got to move my bathroom key back over here.

-Come on back over here.

-I've got to bring the bathroom key.

-Bring that bathroom key.

-Let me try to get the--

-So we've talked about this productivity a little bit, here. We talked about how you're responsible as a manager. What's an action item, though? Right now, for the people watching, what is the action item for these drivers? I'm going to make a list right now of everything in your business that doesn't happen.

-Make a list of everything that doesn't happen.

-Everything that's terrible. Example, well, I've got a bad sales team. Our search engine's terrible. Our bathrooms are always dirty. Our-- you know, just the morale in the office. People are negative. The morale. Just, oh, gosh, the morale.

People don't ever seem to be pumped up. They're just-- there's no pumped up. It's a bad-- it's just no aura. It's bad aura. The music in the lobby sucks. The music in the lobby, it sounds-- it's just terrible. It's like, you know what, I don't even know if there's any music playing right now. What is going on? There's no mojo in my office.

-So you're saying you've got to just list all those things out there.

-And then right here, put, my fault. And then put, my fault. And then put, my problem. And then put, my issue. And then put, my lack--

HOST: Being promoted just--

- --of training.

HOST: --means more problems. More problems.

-There it is. Just put here, my issue, my stuff. This is mine. And then realize, if it's up, if it's going to be, if you're going to make it happen, if it's going to be, it is up to me. You have to do it. You've got to take ownership over it. You have to take ownership.

Whether you work at a company, you own the company, it starts with ownership, which is the opposite of entitlement. Entitlement says, other people, it's their fault. You've got to take ownership of it. In every job, every-- take ownership of your family. If your marriage sucks, listen to me. It's our fault... Management Training.

So I could tell you what. I, as a husband, have been such a jackass so consistently before our son was born blind. And I used to just be, well, if this would happen, then this-- but it was my fault. So you've got to start to be that change you want to see. I had to start sending the love notes to my wife. I was the one who had to start, because I was such an idiot for so long. I don't even know what my wife would stay married to a man-bear-pig like me. It's obviously not my physical beauty. I mean, it's obviously-- we've received one letter from somebody--

HOST: Really?

- --talking about how much they loved my physical-- just really like, I'm just logging on to look at him.

HOST: That is very doubtful.

-And then I discovered that I wrote it to myself.

HOST: Oh, there it is.

-We discovered, it was my own handwriting. It was weird. But the thing--

HOST: Yeah, it is.

- --is, you can't sit there and say, my marriage would be better if it was her.

HOST: You've got to take responsibility.

-My business would be better if it's-- you've got to take responsibility.

-So the action item is, one, make the list of the things that aren't happening.


-Then make sure that you take ownership of those problems.

-And put it on your desk.

-Those are your problems. You've got to take ownership.

-Put it on your desk. Put it somewhere where you see. Put it where it holds you


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Success Principles : 3. Eliminate unneeded tasks.
  • Notable Quotable: "It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn;t compete with six people in blue jeans." - Steve Jobs (pioneer who revolutionized the personal computer with Apple)
  • Action Step: Make a list of tasks that don't produce results and then cross them out.
  • Success Principles: 4. Focus on making sure that each team member is working on their highest and best use.
  • Notable Quotable: "Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have." - John Maxwell (New York Times Best Selling author of multiple leadership books)

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-Principle number three. Eliminate unneeded tasks. Eliminate unneeded tasks.


-I have another little notable quotable from Steve Jobs. This is with Steve Jobs says, "It's hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300 plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans." What is he talking about? Why does that make you smile? You love that.

-Well back in the day, this is what happened-- if you wanted to get a computer, step one-- you needed like $50,000. Now I'm not talking about $50,000 of today's money. I'm talking about $50,000 of like 19-- late '70s money.

HOST: Right.

-So just if you-- we'll not go into this too much, but $1 today is worth about a third of what it was in the '70s.

HOST: Right.

-So just real talk, a house today that's $400,000 used to be $100,000. Long story short-- so $50k, in today's money-- if you want a computer, step one folks-- so imagine that you're-- whoa, what am I doing here? Let's say that you say-- roughly. Let's say that I head to the Mac store. I'm like, all right, folks. Step one-- step into the Mac store, please. All right, you step in there. Step one-- anybody with $200,000 please get into this line, and you can now buy a computer.

HOST: That's crazy.

-Step one, folks. Anybody with $200,000-- step right up. You can get your brand new desktop computer.


-Step number two-- get a big room-- big room.


-Because this is a mainframe and this computer is going to be 10 feet.

HOST: Yep.

-It's going to be 6 feet. It's going to be 10 feet long, six feet tall. Put that in a big room, folks.

HOST: Right.

-Step number one-- $200,000. Step number two, get a big room. Step number three, you're going to need a team of engineers who understand how to code.


-So you're going to need a guy who you're paying $100 grand a year to manage this system.

HOST: Right.

-Step right up. Who? The line got small.

HOST: Right.

-OK, it's just me.

HOST: Right.

-That how IBM was.

HOST: Yeah.

-So IBM was this massive company here with 4,000 something employees, IBM. And Steve Jobs and Wozniak in the Garage Majal. The garage--

HOST: The Garage Majal.

HOST: Yes, the Garage Majal. If you're watching this and you're offended by that reference, just calm down. Anyway, it's 6 people. And he was saying that Apple had six people.

HOST: In blue jeans.

-And yet they were able to beat these guys. They were able to beat these guys based on just focusing on core areas and taking responsibility of it and saying, hey, we're going to build this big company. They literally beat, by taking-- they actually hooked up, Wozniak built the first computer that was attached to a TV screen.

HOST: Right.

-Like a TV monitor. And these hommies built a company that beat the heck out of IBM. So awesome.

-And you're saying they did it by eliminating the unneeded tasks?

-They were like, all we need to focus on is making the best computer possible that will fit on someone's desk. If we can make a computer that can fit on someone's desk and the average person can use it-- so they went through here and said, if we can bring the cost down from $250,000 to like $5,000, we can win. If we can make sure it's not massive--

HOST: Right.

-We can win. And if we can make sure it doesn't require a coder to use it, we can win.

HOST: Right.

-People don't realize that Apple took off because it made computing simple. It made it understandable. It made it where a non nerd could actually do it. I know today we kind of joke about the word, "nerd."

HOST: Right.

-Because nerds all ultimately end up owning everything.

HOST: Right.

-But the thing about nerds is that nerds were guys who-- you had to understand basic coding, and then advanced coding just to turn the computer freaking on.

HOST: Yeah, that's crazy.

-If you wanted to print something, you had actually type out code to print.

HOST: That's crazy.

-I mean, now you just click on something. And calm down if you're going, well they stole the idea from Xerox. True that, but let's not get into that.

-So what action items then do you give to the manager, the soon to be manager, whoever it is that's watching right now, this Thriver? What action item do you give the matches up with this third principle, "Eliminate Unneeded Tasks."

-Make a list of tasks you're doing right now that don't produce results.


-And then begin to cross them out one by one.

-Make a list of tasks that don't produce results and then cross them out. You're saying get rid of those tasks?

-I'll give an example. Like right now, this morning, after I made my to do list, I checked my email and a guy emailed me something that was like seven paragraphs long.

HOST: Oh, wow. So you just-- you stopped and you read it all really carefully.

-This is how I do my emails. I respond and I put. "Let's talk." I do that to almost every email. Hey, let's talk. Great point. Let's set a meeting.

HOST: Yeah, you're not even going to read it. I'm not going to read that crap.

HOST: Right.

-Because it's a stupid use of my time. If I respond to a seventh paragraph email, he's going to respond with another seven paragraph. I won't do it. You've seen my emails. I respond with two words or three words on everything.

-Right, often in all caps.

-Well, if you get an email for me and it involves curse words, know that someone else has hacked my account.

-Right, it's not you.

-And they're doing it every day and I'm doing nothing to stop them.

-It's crazy. Moving right along here, moving right along. Principle number four-- so we talked about these first three. Identify what your team members need to be doing. Identify what your team members are doing. Eliminate unneeded tasks.

-Betting cleanup.

-Number four--

-Principle number four.

-Focus on making sure that each team member is working on their highest and best use. You alluded to this earlier, Clay, but this is huge, I think. And John Maxwell-- I've got a little notable quotable from John Maxwell. He says, "Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time that we have." What is he talking about here? Break it down like fractions, Clay Clark. Break it down. What is John Maxwell saying?... Management Training.

-Sorry, just a little beat box.

-That was good. I appreciate that.

-I started to get in that old school flow. I got some linoleum, want to start doing some breakdancing. If you have some linoleum right now in your garage--


-To celebrate this episode, get it. Lay it out in the garage.

-Thank you.

-Start spinning on your back.

-Go ahead and pause it and do that. It's very important.

-Like a turtle. And then come


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Ask Yourself: Am I getting the highest and best use out of my days?
  • Notable Quotable: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that is it stupid." - Albert Einstein (Developed the theory of relativity)
  • Lesson Nugget: Don't hire someone based on their needs. Hire people based on your needs or the needs of the company!
  • Notable Quotable: "A little bit of concentration on the areas of your biggest frustration will change everything for you."
  • Action Step : Evaluate your team and ask yourself, "Is everyone doing their highest and best use?"
  • Lesson Nugget: Commit to growth and doing your best in your current position so you will be recognized for your efforts.

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-Here's [INAUDIBLE], Maxwell House. John Maxwell. He's a bestselling author. He wrote the book, Twenty-one Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Guy knows his stuff. But John Maxwell, what he's talking about here is that time keeps going. Right now, time is what it is. It's got 24 hours a day. But Oprah is getting so much more done in that time then we are. Time keeps on going, but Taylor Swift is getting so much more done than we are.

Time keeps on going. But are we getting the highest and best use out of our day? If Taylor were to-- there's an Einstein quote I want to put on the screen here. But basically, Einstein-- I'm paraphrasing-- but he says, if you were to basically take a duck and ask it to climb a tree, it would spend its whole life thinking it's stupid. Because basically, certain animals can't climb trees.

And what happens is in America and other countries all across the world, we have people right now who are doing something that they are not good at and they don't like doing, and their bosses are not seeing it.

So what happens is in a business, one, you can't hire people based on their needs. You have to hire people based on your needs. So don't hire somebody and go, well, I know that you don't have the skills, talent or desire to do this. I'm really a big fan of the growth mindset. I think you can learn anything, if you want to.

What I'm saying is if somebody is saying, I really have a supernatural ability, I am gifted in this area, it would be to your advantage as a manager to put them in that area. You don't want to sit there and put them in their areas of their least strength.

So just as an example, I am really, really good at business consulting. The companies I work with grow. And I'm really good at that. I'm really not good at coding or programming. And I don't want to be. I don't like it. But the people who I know who are very good at coding, with an exception of one, are not good at presenting or coaching. But they're very, very good at coding.

So it wouldn't make any sense to go, hey, dude, we changed the org chart around and you need to start presenting, and Clay's going to start coding. Because I could eventually learn coding, but by the time I caught up with what you think is just common sense, it would have been a huge waste of time.

-So that's your highest and best use.

-So look at your team right now. Look at them and say-- and I'm just trying to give you a visual example-- but if you look at this and you say, this is my team right here. This is our team. And we're trying to get to here. And this is employee A, B, C, D and E. Look at it and go, where are we stuck?

Well, employee A, if they would just do their job better, we say, well, then maybe we would grow there faster. So maybe this area is PR. Maybe this area is sales. Maybe this area is accounting. This area is marketing. And maybe this area here is customer service. And you go, man, our PR team sucks. Our sales team is awesome. Our accounting team sucks. Our marketing team is awesome. And our customer service sucks.

Look at your team and maybe go, man, this person over here, I wonder if they would do a good job over here. Or I wonder if this person would do a good job here. And you'll start to begin to see that a little bit of movement, just a little bit of concentration on the areas of your-- well, here we go-- a little bit of concentration on the areas of your biggest frustration will totally change everything.

-A little bit of concentration--

-On the areas of your biggest frustrations will totally change everything for you. If you find an area where you're like, god, just, our PR team cannot get it together. Well, then you need to go, do I have the people in the right position? Because a lot of times in business, I'm telling you, you're growing so fast.

Once you start figuring out this whole Thrive concept and you start growing your business, it's tempting to start putting-- you're just hiring people and you're putting them on the wrong seat, the wrong seat on the wrong-- they have highest and best uses that we're not utilizing.

-So the action item you're giving us right now is to kind of evaluate your team, as a manager, and ask yourself, is everybody actually doing there highest and best use? That's the action item?

-Absolutely. And I just want to say this, it's very easy to start to say, well, the US Olympic team-- when you start to view your business as, we are the US Olympic team-- and because I didn't have a chance to look at everybody's strengths and weaknesses, we got Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimming champion, he's Olympic gold medal winner, he's going to be playing point guard for our basketball team. Because I've got a lot of stuff going on, haven't had a chance to look at everyone's skills. I'm very busy right now. But Michael's a good guy. And we can train him.

-Probably a good athlete.

-You know what I mean? He's like the best swimmer in the world. You've got him playing point guard on the team. It doesn't make any sense.

-So that's huge, is making sure everybody's in their right spot. What we've gone over is big, I think, as far as managing these details. We've talked about identifying your team members, what they need to be doing, identifying what your team members are doing, cutting out and eliminating the unneeded tasks, and then finally, folks need to be making sure that everybody's working on their highest and best use.

What final thoughts do you have here for the Thrivers that are watching as a manager or want to become a manager soon? What final thoughts do you have for them?

-I would like you to kind of take that oath that you're going to be committed to growth. Deep thought. If you take the oath and say, I'm committed to growth. I'm committed to growth. If you say that right now. Touch the screen. I'm committed to grow.


-Otherwise, most people are, most of us are loyal to dysfunction. We, for some reason, want to keep doing something because we made the decision and we're just going to stick with it. But you've got to be committed to growth... Management Training.

And if your business isn't growing, there's something that you're doing wrong. It's not anything someone else is doing, it's something that you're doing wrong. And if you're going, yeah, well, [WHISPERING] my boss is an idiot, he's crazy, you have no idea what it's like here [END WHISPERING], then you need to do the best job you can do at your job. And hopefully, the person above your boss will notice you and begin to promote you. But you've got to work.

You've got to be committed to growth. You cannot be committed to dysfunction.

-I love it. I love I Thank you, Clay Clark. Boom!

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