In the following featured transcript, Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) sits down with 7-foot-tall David Robinson (2-time NBA Champion & co-founder of $250 million Admiral Capital Group) to discuss customer service training and discipline principles on Thrive15.com.
Clay: My name is Clay Clark and I’m the 6’1” COO of Thrive15.com. Today I am joined by the 7-foot Hall of Fame center David Robinson. We’re talking to David Robinson, a guy who has been just a successful off the court as he is on the court. Today he is going to be teaching us about the art of leadership, the idea that you and I can inspire a team of people to help us accomplish our business goals and to grow our company. Today’s episode could be worth millions of dollars to you, as most business owners that I’ve worked with and I’ve met really struggle to motivate a team and inspire people to they hire.
David, thank you for letting me harass you, my friend.
David: Oh, thanks.
Clay: I appreciate it.
David: Glad to be here.
Clay: David, during your career and since retiring, you have continued to be very open about your love of discipline. I think it actually excites you, maybe, being self-disciplined and having structures, high expectations and offering a high degree of service.
Clay: As we talk about the art of leadership, why are you into discipline? Let’s start with principal number one, discipline. In your mind, what does it mean to have discipline in your life?
David: I think it’s important to have a structure, a sense of order. I think sometimes we get too spread out. We want to do a thousand things. It’s hard to do a thousand things. It’s hard to do two things, you know?
David: It’s easy to do one thing and then do another thing, and then do another thing. Discipline just helps you get from here, point A to point B.
Clay: Why is it important as a leader we have an extremely high degree of self discipline? Here’s an example, if I own a business and I’m watching this right now, if you are watching this right now, you might not consider yourself to be a leader but you have four people that work for you. If you are looking back and there are four people following you, you are now a leader.
Thrive15.com is one of the top sites to learn customer service training, taught by David Robinson and Lee Cockerell, the man who managed Walt Disney World Resort!
Clay: Why is it so important that the leader is so disciplined?
David: Different people, I think have a disciplined personality. I am not particularly overly disciplined as an individual but I understand the importance of discipline and structure. I bring those things in and I like to surround myself with people who are disciplined, so my assistant really must be disciplined, very focused. My wife happens to be very disciplined and very focused but I’m smart enough to know that needs to be in my life. I think going to the Naval Academy, they taught me the importance of discipline. They taught me the importance of structure. A lot of times, other people’s lives depend on you when you are in a submarine or you are out in the battlefield. If you don’t do your job, the person next to you is going to suffer.
I learned that in a very strong term and I try to apply that to everything that I do now. I know that the person next to me is counting on me. If I’m the leader, these guys’ livelihood is counting on me doing my job. If I’m the follower, then my discipline is really important for the functioning of the organization and as I grow, then I become more and more an important role.
Clay: Two things I want to bring up because this is huge. I’ll give you an example. There’s a guy I worked with about five years ago, he is a home builder. He has a marketing calendar. The idea is that every Monday, these letters, these mailers are supposed to go out. Let’s say every Wednesday his team is supposed to go to these networking events and every Friday they are supposed to go ahead and pay for the billboard that goes up on the road and there are marketing activities that had to happen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then he has a staff meeting on a Tuesday and he has a staff meeting on a Thursday. These are things that just have to happen. They are sort of like the rocks, they are sort of like your mortgage, you have to pay it.
Clay: Every time, and I say every, 85% of the time that I would meet with the guy, I would say, “How was your staff meeting?” “Oh, I didn’t do it.” “How did the mailers go?” “I didn’t have time to send it out.” “How are the billboards working?” “Well, I didn’t do it this month.” There was no discipline.
David: There was no business.
Clay: There was no business and it’s kind of a cause and effect thing.
Clay: I’m wondering that why is it in business today that the law of cause and effect is not more common? I know for me, I’m not talking about you people, I’m talking about me too. I know when I was starting my business, I had about two or three years when I first started and there was no bottom to how poor I was getting. We turned off the air conditioning. We didn’t have any air conditioning in Tulsa. I didn’t have any customers and I didn’t have any discipline. Why is that I, at that age didn’t see the cause and effect of having discipline?
David: It is difficult. I think as a young person you tend to get by. You tend to think that you can do the minimum amount of work and be successful, or at least survive but when you get into a professional situation and you get into a situation where other people are actually counting on you, you begin to learn that structure is very key. You have to really teach yourself that. Teach yourself because you can’t let those things slip through the cracks. Even in sports, everyone talks about, “I want to win. I want to be a champion.” Yeah, but do you want to do the things it takes to become a champion? Everybody says they want to win. Everybody says they want to win a championship but guess what? It takes step by step by step by step.
We’ve got to build the right organization. We’ve got to work hard. We’ve got to build a culture that creates champions.There’s only one or two teams that can even fight for that championship at the end of the year. Everyone else goes home.