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-My name is Clay Clark, and I am the CEO of thrive15.com. Today, I am joined with a guy that I've always looked up to as a kid, the guy I've always cheered for, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson. Two time gold medal winning basketball player David Robinson. The guy who started an incredible school called the Carver Academy, and a guy who's done very well in the investment world. And today he's teaching us about the concept of over delivering to eventually be overpaid. This idea that you and I can exceed the expectations of others to eventually wow them, and then eventually get paid more.
Pay attention in this management training, because today's episode can change your life. I know it changed mine, and I know it will have a big impact on your life and business. Remember at thrive15.com, we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching today's episode, you have to ask yourself, what can you specifically do to apply these principles in your own life and in your own business. Because if not, today's episode may just be more meaningless than your corn supply in the game Farmville.
-David, thank you for being here my friend.
-Thanks Clay. Appreciate it.
-Well hey, we are talking today about over delivering and you will soon be overpaid. Now quick backstory here for you, I used to work at Target, and I think I might have been one of their worst employees in the history of the company.
-So you learned.
-I was there and my goal was, I would try to go and get pretzels when the manager wasn't looking. Because employees got free pretzels. So the manager would walk away and I would go get a pretzel, and then when he would show up, I'd try to act like I was working. Like I was just putting something on the shelf. I had this whole system. But the problem was, they could never point to anything that I did. And so I never got promoted, I never really got asked to be around. I didn't really get fired, but after the holiday rush, I somewhat got unhired. Where they said--
-That's not the same as getting fired?
-Well, they said we're not going to bring you back.
-OK, I see.
-You know what I mean, the whole thing. You know. You can't work here.
-We're not going to renew your contract.
-Not going to renew your contract.
-I've been there.
-All right. OK. So the bestselling author Napoleon Hill, he says, "By establishing a reputation as being a person who renders more service and better service than that for which you are paid, you will benefit by comparison with those around you who do not render such service, and the contrast will be so noticeable that there will be keen competition for your services, no matter what your life-work may be." So during your career, how did you try to exceed the expectations of the coaches and the players in the organization that you played for?
-I tried to help in every single way that I possibly could, because I understood that if the business was successful, then I was going to be successful. When I came to San Antonio, we had won 21 games the previous year. I think we had something, 8,000, a little over 8,000 season tickets sold. So we had an arena that held, I don't know, 17,000, 18,000, maybe 19,000. And so the team asked me to go out to a bunch of different cities here in South Texas and drum up some interest for the Spurs.
And I distinctly remember some of the other players telling me, man, why are you doing that, man? They're just running you around like a dog and pony show. Man, you don't need to be doing that. Just do your job. Management, they're trying to make a dollar, they don't really care about you. Blah, blah, blah, all that sort of stuff. And I thought to myself, if I don't help them, if I don't help them do their jobs, then that's going to hurt my job. I want this team to be successful. The more successful this team is, the better we all are off.
So I decided to go ahead and cooperate with the team. And I wasn't getting paid any extra for doing all of these trips down all over Texas.
-Hot in the summertime.
-So it was a lot of fun, got to meet a lot of the fans and get up close and personal to the fans, but it did drum up interest for the Spurs and it got people personally interested in our team, getting to know me and touch me. And it started something really good. Then we actually started winning, which also helps the bottom line as well.
-And I read-- now, what is your partner's name for the venture capital fund?
-It's a private equity fund, it's a value-add fund, and his name is Dan Bassichis.
-OK, and it's a private equity fund for clarification. I had read somewhere where there is a quote that had said well, if David Robinson is involved in it, I am going to-- I would like to invest. Or if David Robinson's involved, then I would like to be a part of it. And it was a interview, I believe, with this gentleman and a couple other people. And the whole idea was that you've built a reputation now where, let's just say hypothetically, that all of your accounts were emptied and you found yourself homeless. You could probably go house to house in San Antonio and probably get some food, right?
-I would not do that.
-But you're right. I've gathered a lot of favor here in San Antonio. It's a tremendous amount of favor, and even to the point where, in some places I've gone to go eat lunch, and they don't make me pay for lunch. So I might be able to eat. So certainly, yes. It's been a blessing, and it's because this concept of over delivering. It's because I care about this community and not only have I said that with my mouth, but I've tried to back it up with my resources and my time. And I think people see that and appreciate
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-I think what's interesting for anybody watching this-- you might say, yeah, well, you're seven feet tall. And yeah, you know, it's easy for you to say. Well, there's a lot of people there are seven feet tall that are drafted every year. And unfortunately, there's a lot of these guys who, for whatever reasons are not beloved by fans. Who are actually, I remember as a kid and this is why-- this one of the things I love about you the most. It's so fun.
When I met you, I had this vision of, here, I'm so excited to meet this guy. And I had this vision of like, I hope he's as awesome as I remember him being. I really did. I mean this stuff sincerely. And I--
-You're just setting yourself for disappointment here.
-No, I mean it. No, this is good though. But when I have met other athletes numerous times in my life, not all athletes, but I've met some great athletes. But I've been sadly disappointed numerous times when I met them, in the flippant attitude towards others, or the way you saw them treat the people around them. Or I've sat near courtside, and you watch the way that an athlete treats the ball boy. And you say, gosh, that person-- And when they're on their way out of their career, there probably won't be a lot of people wanting to help them.
-I mean, unfortunately, you're exactly right. I mean, it's not just athletes. I think it's all over. You can see business people as they rise up the chain. They don't have time for a hello. And who doesn't have time for a hello? You know, who doesn't have time to make eye contact, and say, hey, how you doing? Everything good? You know? I mean, that's ridiculous. It's a crazy concept.
And I remember back when I was in college, I was with a friend of mine. And the friend of mine was telling me-- he was questioning me. Why do you try to say hello to everybody? And it's-- we're at the game. We're trying to watch the game, stop signing autographs, stop talking to people. And my thing was, look these are the people that support you. So in the end, it's going to pay off, if you encourage them as well.
And so here we are 25, 30 years from that point. And over the years, I've been able to build up a nice reputation, where, you're right. If I start my private equity fund, I go out, and people have a sense because they've seen me year in and year out do what I've done. They have a sense that I'm not going to try to take their money. I'm not going to try to take advantage of them. Even if I don't succeed in my venture, I'm not cheating anyone.
I've had people come to me. And people are going to invest in other people. They're going to invest in you, because they see something in you that's worth investing in. And I like to think that over the years that I've been able to establish some credibility there.
-So let's say that I'm watching this right now. And I'm at a point in my life where I own a business. Like, let's say I own a bakery. And I decide, I'm pumped up. I'm going to exceed the expectations of my customers. What kind of things you think you can do on a small level if you're a business owner?
-Start with kindness. Just start with kindness. Day in and day out as they come in, go out of your way to greet them. And go out of your way every once in awhile. Give them a cup of coffee or something that just shows that you're thinking about them. That will engender some relationship there. And I think those small things, if you're able to do them day in and day out, if you're a person that they like to see, that brings a peace or a joy to their day, they'll look forward to coming in and seeing you. And it will increase your business.
-I met the gentleman at this facility upfront. I was talking to him. I said, how long have you worked here? And he said, I've been here for three years. And I said, well, how did you kind of get to where you are?
He said, well, I started at the bottom. I was the valet guy. And I've worked my way up to where I manage this. And it's just interesting how whenever people overdeliver, they eventually get promoted. They get notice. They gain favor.
And one of your favorite historical figures here, George Washington Carver. He explains that ultimately the measure of your success will be measured by, he says this, it is simply service that measures success.
-What does he mean by that, when he says it is simply service that measures success?
-Well, if you look at the first half of that quote, the first half that quote is, "it is not how tall a man is, or how wealthy he is or what type of car he drives, but it is simply his service that will measure his success." So he's comparing it to the things that the world typically recognizes as success images.
But for us really, it's what have we given? What are we leaving as a legacy? Who are we blessing with what we have? And that will determine how successful you've been, is how much you've poured your life into other people.
-Welcome, Dave. In your career, you've undoubtedly seen a lot of super talented people come into the league. But quickly because they maybe have a habit of putting forth less effort than what they're paid to do, they find themselves on the way out of the league. Now a lot of injuries and things can shorten careers as well. But why do a lot of super talented people not work hard? What is the deal with the guy who has the whole world right there-- he's got all in it? Whether it's the NBA or it's a business owner, who just, he has all the talent, has all the capital he needs. What's going on in the mind, you think, for a lot of people that maybe we just don't overdo-- we under deliver. what's that all about?
-I mean I think you bring up a great point. When you look at sports, right, it's easy to recognize those guys that put the extra time and the extra effort in. Back in my day, it was guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, Larry Bird. Those guys were legendary for the extra time they put in. They put in countless hours of shooting, of weightlifting, of preparing themselves. A guy like Carl [INAUDIBLE]-- You could tell you put countless hours into that body of his. He was a pretty buff out there. So, he over-delivered.
You could get by with doing less work. You could get by with showing up to practice at the last second and throwing your shoes on and playing because you're a good athlete. But over the long haul, you're not going to create any more value by doing that. But nowadays you have guys like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, and you see these guys and it's ridiculous the amount of work that they put in. How they're putting all the extra time lifting and preparing themselves. And it has created a value that exceeds what these guys are paying them.
It seems like Kobe is making a lot of money, but what he has brought to that team, I guarantee you, he's worth it to that team. LeBron James is worth that to Miami. He's worth that to the NBA in general. Kevin Durant. Same thing. He's brought a value to Oklahoma City that you almost can't even put into numbers.
-There was a guy that-- I won't mention his name because I don't want to throw specific athletes on the bus, here. But there's a guy who was being interviewed. He won an award couple years back. And they're asking him, well, what's the biggest change you did this year? And he was in the NBA, and he said, I really started working out. And I thought, what?
-Isn't that what you do every day?
-And he started saying he started working out. You peel it back a little bit. Well, this guy admitted he basically had been a party animal every night. Game night. The day before the game. The day of the game. It didn't matter. And he didn't work out. And he just started applying himself. And the income disparity between him and other people with the same talent is amazing. So it's a deal where, had he applied that effort, he probably could have won awards up to this point.
-Absolutely. I think it's such a clear thing we can see in our athletes, how they create that value for themselves. And how they work, and how they prepare themselves. And guys who create a job for themselves because they're hard workers. Because they're a guy who will put the time in and the energy in. And you wouldn't think that this is extra. But it's not the minimum. And so many guys settle for the minimum.
When I first came into the league, a lot of guys would just come in and try to get in shape in training camp. That's not a good idea. I mean, really you can get a job that way, but it's not the ideal way to get a job. And you're not creating any real value for your team. You come in early, you're in shape, you're a leader, you're a guy who sets the tone and an example. You're a guy I want to around every single year. You're a guy that's going-- I'm going to have you on my roster even if you can't play because you are you're a quality asset to my team.
And it's the same way in business. If you're a guy that brings more to the table than just what I pay you for, your value goes up it incredibly. And your job security is much better. And your usefulness becomes much better. And, inevitably, you get better at your job. You get to be a better, more efficient, more effective person.
-David, I know you're not super comfortable with me quoting you because I know you view yourself as a human who's trying to do life to the best of your ability. But I'm going to say this, in an interview you said that playing basketball was a God given gift, but it was your duty to make the most of that gift. What kinds of things do you do now on a daily basis to try to make the most out of the God given gift of maybe celebrity, or of your height, or the fact that you're recognizable? What do you try to do on a daily basis to make the most using the gifts that you have?
-I think if I could go back and probably adjust my statement a little bit, I'd say, my size is more of the God given gift. I'm seven feet tall. That's kind of a God given gift there. And the athletic ability that I have that goes along with that size is a gift. And so, yes, I've always felt a responsibility to make the most of the gift. And not necessarily for personal reason. I wasn't trying just to be successful for myself. But because I felt like there were other things in life that I wanted to accomplish. And that helps you. I think it helps you through different phases of your life. When I retired, my passion for life didn't wane. Because basketball was a vehicle, and that was one phase of my life.
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