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Leading With Class

In this transcript, David Robinson (2-time NBA Champion & co-founder of $250 million Admiral Capital Group) discusses with Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) leadership principles and customer service training on Thrive15.com!

Clay Clark:    You are talking about something right here that is so countercultural that it could almost be viewed as offensive by some. If you think about it, you have the cover of Forbes, which is a great, great organization, and then you have Fortune and Fast Company and all that. We very rarely celebrate a great dad.  

    We always celebrate the business award. We very rarely say here is a man who's a father of three and all three are doing well. You've been on the record of saying that what you're seeing with your kids in there development is more rewarding than anything you experienced. Do you really believe that, that it's more rewarding to be a ...

David Robinson:    Absolutely. I've had times when I've gone to church, sometimes I preach ... I've had times when I preached at church and on the way home argued with my wife on the way home about everything; about stuff that I said when I was preaching and all kinds of things. 

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    There's an emptiness to that. I think there is not enough talk about ... I don't even think it has anything to do with religion. It has to do with the family really is a structure that our society is built on. It really is. If we have strong families, we have strong societies, period. I don't care what your faith is. I'm telling you if we have strong families, we have a strong society.

    To me, this is where we have to find that good balance, I think, and understand you're not successful in business, you're not successful in life if you can't take care of those things that are right in front of you.

Clay Clark:    To me specifically, this is the story I used to say. My dad worked night shift, so he was never really home with me during the day so I don't know what it's like to really have a dad that's involved. What do you say for setting these expectations ... If I'm saying the reason why I do this is because this is how I was raised, this is my background. Are you telling me just take it up a notch? Find somebody that can ...

David Robinson:    Find somebody that can help you walk through that because that's the ... We need to see the examples. First we need to be the examples, then we need to see the example. I always look for people who are at that next level for me. If I go to a business or a church or whatever, I'll go find the people who are leaders, who I look up to, and I'll sit down in front of them and I'll say, "How are you doing this? I don't even know how to manage my day. How do you get through this? How do you run an organization like this and still have time for your wife?"

    I need to know this stuff. I'm not very good at it. I'm trying to figure it all out. At every level we are ... I try to be a mentor. We have a Bible study on Wednesdays and I try to be a mentor to the guys at my table in whatever ways I can encourage them and help them and walk thought things.

    I have kids who are almost all off to college now, so guys who have younger kids, I can say I was there. I know exactly what you're going through right now. Try to be patient with them, love on them and give them whatever advice and help and walk through that trial.

Clay Clark:    When you played in the NBA in 1998, you essentially were making almost $15,000,000 a year at that point, which is like $180,000 a game. The reason why I bring that up is because ... Did you ever feel like that the expectations that others were setting for you were too high? On the media we're talking ... All these guys like me, we're sitting around grilling food. We're talking about, "Well, David Robinson, he's got to bring more intensity. He's got to show more passion. David Robinson has got to play harder. He's not running back on defense the way he should." Did you ever feel like the expectations were too high?

David Robinson:    I felt like there was a lot of pressure. Other people's expectations I never worried about too much. People will put ridiculous expectations on you. I sat and I remember them talking about Michael Jordan, saying Michael needed to do this and Michael needed ... That guy is the best player on the planet and yet he still wasn't making people happy. I have no idea how that's possible. There's always someone there waiting to criticize you. That's there. 

    I think what we need to set is the expectations for ourselves, understanding that we've been gifted with certain things, and given my circumstances, my gifts, I'd better answer the bell. That's kind of a biblical thing for me. It's you've been given certain talents and you can't bury them in the ground. You've got to come back and say, "Hey, you've given me five talents. I've invested them. Here's ten. Thank you, Lord."

    I think that's were we draw our own expectations. You have talent, I don't care what it is, you have abilities and you've been gifted with certain things, you need to invest those things in people and in society and then come back and say I've used them in a positive way. 


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