About Brett Gilliland
Brett has experience in high-impact, trusted-advisor roles in growing small businesses across multiple industries.
He has worked with hundreds of $1M-$10M business owners and their teams to develop and implement the organizational and leadership processes and systems they need to grow.
As the original leader of Infusionsoft’s (now Keap)“Built to Last” efforts, Brett spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7M in revenue to over $100M. Brett’s roles at Infusionsoft included: Built to Last Champion, Strategic Advisor to the CEO, VP of Infusionsoft, and VP of Leadership Development.
Brett also Co-Created the Elite Programs with Infusionsoft’s CEO, Clate Mask.
In Feb 2018, Brett bought the Elite business from Infusionsoft and named it Elite Entrepreneurs.
When he isn’t busy serving Elite businesses, Brett loves family life with his beautiful wife, Sharon, and their 8 children!
Lesson 1. What Got You Here Will Not Get You There… 05:41
Lesson 2. You Strengthen Or Weaken Your Culture/Your Business With Every New Team Member. 10:26
Lesson 3. The Power Of Co-Creating A Future WITH Your Team. 14:53
Lesson 4. B Players (And This Certainly Applies To C And D Players Even More) Take Time And Attention From The People And Activities You Love 19:19
Lesson 5. Change Your Thoughts, Change Your (Fill In The Blank…) 26:48
Lesson 6. The Best Way To Get Happy Customers (And Subsequently Happy Shareholders) Is To Build A Team Of Happy Team Members. 34:01
Lesson 7. The Growth Of Your Business Is Directly Correlated With Your Growth As A Leader. 36:48
Lesson 8. If You Have To Go Outside Of Your Business To Find The Leaders You Need, You Run The Risk Of Messing Up Your Culture. 39:25
Lesson 9. There Can Be No Effective Direction Or Correction Unless There Is Meaningful Connection First 43:51
Lesson 10. Love And Let Live 49:56 Mistakes 43:48
Brett Gilliland – What Got You Here Will Not Get You There
[00:00:06] Diana White: Hello and welcome to 10 lessons. It took me 50 years to learn where we dispense wisdom to an international audience of rising leaders. My name is Diana White and I’m your host.
This episode is sponsored by the professional development forum, which helps diverse young professionals of any age, accelerate their performance in the modern workplace on 10 lessons. You’ll hear honest, practical advice that you cannot learn from a textbook today’s guest is Brett Gilliland co-founder and CEO of elite entrepreneur.
[00:00:42] Brett Gilliland: Thank you, Diana. So happy to be here with you.
[00:00:45] Diana White: I am so excited to have you here. I’ve been wanting to pick your brain for many years, and now I have a podcast that I can do it on. So, this is amazing.
[00:00:57] Brett Gilliland: Well, I’m honoured to be one of your guests. This is a cool thing that you and your colleagues have created.
The 10 lessons. It took 50 years to learn. I love that idea.
[00:01:07] Diana White: Well, yeah, let me give some context. I’m going to read your bio here so people can understand what you bring to the table and why your lessons are going to be so valuable. Brad has experienced as a trusted advisor to growing small businesses across multiple industries.
He has worked with hundreds of one to $10 million business owners and their teams to develop and implement the organizational and leadership processes and systems they need to grow. As the original leader of Infusionsoft’s, which is now called keep built to last efforts. Brett spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from 7 million in revenue to over a hundred million Brett’s rolls at keep or infusion soft included, built to last champion strategic advisor to the CEO, VP of infusion soft and VP of leadership development.
Brett also co-created the elite programs with Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask. Back in February of 2018. Brett bought the elite business from keep and named it elite entrepreneurs. When he isn’t busy serving elite entrepreneurs, Brett loves family life with his beautiful wife, Sharon and their eight children.
So, Brett, uh, we’re going to talk about family life a little bit later because that’s a doozy. I have a quick question for you here. Got a curve ball. Uh, let’s start it off with, uh, what advice would you give your 30-year-old self?
[00:02:40] Brett Gilliland: great question, Diana. I would say the advice I would give my 30-year-old self is that I would get really clear about things that matter to me most.
I think a lot about this conversation we’re going to have, I’m going to draw mostly on my work experience. Uh, we are going to talk a little bit about my experience as a, as a father of eight. but lessons I learned in, I spent a lot of time working and a lot of time in business and I would have told my younger self to get really clear on my purpose and who I am, spend a lot of time figuring that out.
I think if we could figure that out sooner, our level of contribution would be much higher, sooner. Instead, we’d play by everybody else’s rules a lot and trying to fit in. And, you know, w we’re just not very purpose driven at that point. Usually, I don’t think I wasn’t. So, I would have told myself be more purpose driven at that point in time.
[00:03:40] Diana White: You think that that is something that is, is feasible, you know, thinking about my late twenties, thirties, and, Having the self-awareness and the confidence that did not come until age wisdom, you think there’s an ability for people that young to be able to say, I need to find my purpose and my sense of self and not have that change and vacillate with, friends and the times and social media.
[00:04:08] Brett Gilliland: Well, that’s a fantastic question. One that comes from perspectives that you have. I don’t, you know, practically speaking, probably not like I think life is set up for us to learn those things as we progress in our journey. So probably not, but you’re the one that asked me, what would I tell my 30-year-old self?
If I could go back, I think you’re right. We probably don’t get the shortcut on that. Yeah, but every chance I get, I’m trying to tell younger people, some version of that story, right? Like you, you know, what you think is important now, it’s not, there’s more important stuff. so, I guess that’s what I would try to tell my younger self.
[00:04:48] Diana White: Yeah, it’s funny. I do believe that, you know, if you say the mantra to as many people as possible, there are bound to be a few that kind of pick up on it and run with it. We see that with, career choices, right? Where there are students that hear something from a teacher and all 30 students hear the same thing, but one or two take it and they say, no, no, this resonates.
And it permeates the rest of their life. So yes, I think, I think it can be possible not with everyone, but what the, with the rare few, hopefully the few that listen to this episode.
[00:05:19] Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Well, I think our hope is parents would be dashed completely. If we didn’t think some of the lessons, we’re trying to pass down to the younger folks we’re going to stick right? So, I think there is merit to it. Uh, and I think at the same time, there’s, there’s wisdom in what you said, some lessons have to be learned over time.
[00:05:39] Diana White: For sure. Well, segue to that.
[00:05:41] Lesson 1: What Got You Here Will Not Get You There
[00:05:41] Diana White: Let’s get into your first lesson. Number one, what got you here will not get you there. There are very real stages of small business growth.
[00:05:51] Brett Gilliland: Yeah. That, that is absolutely true. And something that I’ve learned over time. And one thing I didn’t, I mean, none of this, none of this time together is super scripted or planned, but something I just thought of is that a lot of what we’ll talk about are going to be couched and lessons I’ve learned in business and leadership and business, but they applied to personal life right? There’s a personal effectiveness equivalent to organizational effectiveness lessons and vice versa. There’re organizational effectiveness lessons that can be derived from personal effectiveness understanding. Right. So, we’re just talking about. Living organisms here, either an individual person or a living organism called a business that has a system of parts that all work together to produce an outcome.
So, we’ll just play that interchangeably a little bit here, but, yeah, what got you to this point is insufficient to get you where you want to go. And, uh, the funnest way to talk about that for me is a truth that I learned in our graduate program as an organizational behaviour program. And that, you know, you spend all this time and money on school, and I got like one key takeaway.
So, I’m about to give you two years of master’s program in one statement. Okay. And here it is, all organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get. That’s from a guy named Arthur Jones. He said it that way. many others have said other versions of it, but it’s basically you get what you get because you put in what you put in.
The thing that we built is what gives us today’s result. And if we want to go to tomorrow’s results, something better, something bigger then we have to change. We’ve got to keep learning. We got to keep growing. And so, there are these stages in small businesses on the ones and threes of revenue turns out there’s a pattern to it.
And so, when you grow your business from 30,000 to a hundred thousand in annual revenue, you go from side hustle to now fully self-employed, that’s a stage change. And there’s new stuff that you have to figure out. If you want to go from a hundred thousand to 300,000, that new stuff is how to sell more.
And from 300,000 to a million, there’s a new thing. And you have to figure out how to get consistent lead generation and how to fulfill on your product or service consistently. That’s a new thing. And once you do it, you create the steady operation and you hit the million-dollar mark, and there’s a new stage change.
And from the one to three and the three to 10 and 10 to 30, it just keeps happening. unfortunately, it doesn’t naturally happen. Like you have to work to keep going. But yeah, there’s these natural, this is kind of phenomenon. Every time you triple in size, you max out what the current thing can do.
And you’ve got to learn something new. If you want to keep growing.
[00:08:46] Diana White: So that, that adage and I’m probably going to botch it up, right? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, holds true for, everything life, business relationships. It really does.
If, if you want to step to the next level of evolution, you have to make those changes. It’s all about change.
[00:09:08] Brett Gilliland: That’s right. And we often talk about it and using a bicycle analogy. I like analogies. People relate to them, and somebody is riding a bicycle multi-speed bicycle. they get started in a gear that’s easier to start in.
And then pretty soon they could be pedalling like crazy. They can pedal as hard as they want and get no more real, additional yield out of that gear. And it’s only when they shift gears that now the same amount of effort. Or even less yields, more output, yields, more productivity until they max out that gear.
And then they find themselves, just trying so hard to get more out of that bicycle and that same gear. And it’s not until we shift that, we see, added effort, yielding more output. And we do that in business a lot. I see business owners who learned how to throw it on their back, scraped and clawed and grit and tenacity, all the things that we, we talk about with entrepreneurship and they get far, but then they, then they tap out and they think that just working harder is going to get it further, but they actually need to shift gears and learn some new things.
So that’s the lesson around what got you here. Won’t get you there, which is a famous Marshall Goldsmith quote.
[00:10:19] Diana White: I love it, and I’m definitely going to steal that bicycle analogy. I absolutely love that one.
[00:10:26] Lesson 2. You Strengthen Or Weaken Your Culture With Every New Team Member
[00:10:26] Diana White: So, number two, You strengthen or weaken your culture slash business with every new team member.
Now that resonated with me big time as a, you know, a hirer and someone who’s worked with so many different people over the years. tell me about the lesson that’s in there and where, how did you learn that?
[00:10:47] Brett Gilliland: Well, I could hold that mirror right back up, but you’ve hired dozens. If not hundreds, I know you’ve hired a lot of people over your career.
And if you reflect back on that every single time, at some point entrepreneurs shift from growing their business through the next sale, right? Like when I sell something, I’ve grown my revenue. Right. But at some point, you figure out how to get customers and you’ve built a business. Now, if you want to really scale the business, it’s one person at a time that you build that business.
Not one customer at a time anymore. That’s still part of the math. Like you got to have customers, but to scale it, you do that through building a team. And so, every single time you hire somebody in to build that team, you either just made your business better or you made it worse. And I’ve seen that a lot and I know you’ve experienced anybody who’s ever hired actually felt the result of that hire.
And you either got the, the load got lighter for you as the leader, or it got heavier. And, you don’t have to look very far, but the person in the mirror is responsible for that decision and the outcome is what we, we sort of talk about a lot and say, Hey, that hires doing great, or that hires not very good, but you forget that we’re the ones that said yes to that.
[00:12:08] Diana White: It’s true. And that’s going to lead to another lesson that comes down the road, but I want one to stay on this for a moment because it’s pretty powerful. You and I work with a lot of different founders, right? My, my founders more with Chandler innovations are in the stage of, you know, just discovering their business, their target market, who they are, what their entity is going to be.
You’re working with establishments and founders that, you know, they’ve already got a culture they’ve already grown to a certain extent, and now they need to look at things in a different way. One of the things I think that resonates with all of these different stages is no one wants to be wrong about a decision that they made. No one wants to take the responsibility and saying that might’ve been a mistake.
Uh, even if you recognize it, you hire that person. And it does, you know, dip your net promoter score. Of your culture a little bit, the first thing you want to say is, they tricked me, they were supposed to be this way. This is how they presented themselves. And now look at them.
They’ve changed. And it’s hard, especially in a, in a world, right? Where we know the mantra hire slow fire fast, but when you’re growing business and you need those people on board, you need those warm bodies. Sometimes that desperation doesn’t necessarily allow you to hire slow. And so, you, try your best to figure out who’s going to be the right fit, and you don’t have enough opportunity to see who they are, after the first impression.
And so, I, I want to pick your brain. What have your founders said about these things? Are they vulnerable enough to say, yeah, I looked in the mirror, it was me? And what am I going to do to change it? What are your insights on that?
[00:13:49] Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I, the best founders are the ones who are willing to have that, moment of taking ownership.
There are people who like to put the blame externally, but really every business problem is a leadership problem. That’s just the truth of the matter. And the sooner a founder realizes that they are the ultimate creator of what’s going on in their business. Then they start to see, oh, I could have done this, or I should have done that.
Or it doesn’t mean that they have to take on everything themselves. They still need to build a great team and delegate responsibility and ownership to others. But when it doesn’t go well, that’s, that’s a mirror moment. That’s not a window moment. We’re not looking out at anybody else. That’s, uh, that’s a very personal window moment oh sorry mirror moment.
[00:14:36] Diana White: And I love that. That is, that is a mirror moment. Not a window moment. I’m going to take that too. I’m going to take just about everything you say today. Brett, just put it out there.
[00:14:46] Brett Gilliland: So not all Brett originals, things that I’ve learned over my fifty years. So that just, that’s how it goes.
[00:14:53] Lesson 3: The Power Of Co-Creating A Future WITH Your Team
[00:14:53] Diana White: All right. Well, number three, the power of co-creating a future with your team.
No way in, no, buy-in now this one confused me a little bit. So, I want some elaboration on this one.
[00:15:06] Brett Gilliland: Okay. Yeah. I’ll give you some elaboration. So, co-creating with your team, I just got done saying that every business problem is a leadership problem, and you know, that you take full responsibility as the leader for the things that go on in your business.
Having said that one of the most powerful leadership techniques, if you will, or leadership. Approaches is to enrol your people to co-create the thing that you’re trying to do together. If it’s all about you and your vision, then you have a sales job, right. And the whole time you’re trying to help rally people, get them excited and convince them why we need to go here or, keep them from being distracted by other things that make sense to them.
No, it’s over here. We’re going over here. Remember I see this clearly. You need to believe me. It’s all about my thing, if it’s my vision, but if you learn how to enrol them in the process to say, here’s what I’m seeing in the future, but I would love for you to help me put it in high definition, quality, like help me get it really clear.
Helped me see what I’m not seeing, help me create this. Let’s create it together then. You have people are saying, oh, that’s my thing now. Right? That’s our thing, not just the owner’s crazy idea. So, we kind of have to go from the old vision of entrepreneurs, being the visionaries to really capable leaders who figure out how to tap the collective power of the group to create a vision together.
And then there’s a ton of ownership and buy-in, and so that’s what I mean by no way in no buy-in, if they’re not involved in the creation process, it’s a lot harder for you to get them to want to be part of the thing that you, came up with on your own.
[00:16:54] Diana White: You see it in so many different organizations, especially larger ones that kind of have already created this, this, this culture and people come in and they have to adopt the vision and the mission.
They have to adopt the tenants. Right. They have to adopt the strategies and it always boggles my mind that usually there’s a 30 day or a 90 day or a 60 day, you know, after you started, how do you feel? I don’t see a lot of leaders asking. Well, how do you feel about the vision, the mission, the strategies, the goals.
How do you feel about these things? They were set in place before you came aboard, but are you on board? Do you have any input? And I think that would be pretty valuable.
[00:17:42] Brett Gilliland: Super valuable and, and I’m not here saying, Hey, every time you hire somebody new, you have to recast the whole vision because that’s not practical, but there are very practical ways to get, and you can build quarterly processes where we get everybody’s input on where we’re going next quarter. And so maybe there’s not a lot of room to, to change the bigger mission when a new hire comes in, but we can get clarity with them. We can co-create with them on the next 90 days. How are we going to go create this next 90 days of progress towards a bigger thing?
So, you can enrol them wherever they’re at. and when you do it’s, it’s really powerful because they’re saying this is our thing. Now, you know, a lot of new hires, Diana to come in and they use pronouns that are very indicative of where their Headspace is, right? Like you come in and, you still say they, or you as a new hire.
Like what you guys are doing this, or, or the, the new hires telling their family member. Well, they, this, and it takes a while for them to start saying we right, or this is the way I see it. We do this. I know the best companies figured out. Well, I, I know which companies are best by, how, quickly those team members are saying, we, this is us.
I’m part of this. They feel belonging and identity sooner than the other ones where it’s like, oh yeah, they, this is what you guys are doing. And I’m learning.
[00:19:08] Diana White: That is something that, and now that I look back on my history and my career, I’ve seen dozens of times and I didn’t recognize it for what it was.
that’s powerful, that’s amazing.
[00:19:19] Lesson 4: B Players Take Time And Attention From The People And Activities You Love
[00:19:19] Diana White: So, number four, you know, and this kind of ties into all of your lessons, tie into one another in some way or another. And I love that, but lesson four B players, and this certainly applies to C and D players even more take time and attention from the people and activities you love.
Now we’ve heard that before. We’ve definitely heard the concept of being C and D players, but I want your perspective on this as you talk to founders that are leveling up.
[00:19:52] Brett Gilliland: Well, I, I was super blessed as part of that time at infusion soft, we were growing ourselves as leaders as quickly as we could in order to not hold back the growth of the company.
Right. There’s a relationship there we don’t need to talk about right now, but we had to push ourselves to grow. So, we were investing in, experiences and opportunities to grow as leaders. And one of those was some time with Jim Collins in his. Is, he had a two to half day lab experience in Boulder, Colorado.
So, we just went there, and we shared everything about our business, and he gave us insights and we learned a lot of valuable things. But this lesson about B players taking time from the people or things that we love came directly from that time we had with Jim and when he helped us realize he just, he just put words to something that we had experienced, right?
The best lessons usually ended up being like that. And he just put words to it because if he, what he helped us see, as we reflect as leaders, anytime you have a B player, you take that home with you. And you’re, you’re thinking about the subpar performance or you’re thinking about the trouble they’re making and the, like it had this really great culture and somebody in there it’s kind of messing it up, even if they’re not being.
You know, they don’t have ill intention around it. Just the way they’re being is, creating some funk in the team. Right. And that, sort of weighs on you, it grates on you. And so, you’re trying to have dinner with your significant other, with your family and. you’ve got noise in your head around stuff that’s going on with the B player or the C or the D player, right.
But somebody that’s not working or the, the ship that you’re trying to move fast on. You’re trying to be the leader of this ship and get this thing moving together really fast. And, and it’s like dragging this anchor across the sand, there’s this drag, this pull. And so, every time we put up with having somebody that shouldn’t be on the team, it is hurting, it’s hurting us and it’s taking time from our loved ones or, or hobbies or passions that we’ve outside of work.
They’re all affected by what we’re allowing back at the office.
[00:22:05] Diana White: I think I speak for a lot of founders here when I say, oh, you’ve hit a nerve you’re so, so right in what you said, but Man at least I don’t have to worry about X and that’s good enough, you know? So, in their mind they’re like, okay, I’ll, I’ll take the B player and I’ll take the stress or I’ll even, I’ll even take the C player and I’ll take the stress.
As long as I don’t have to field this customer call it’s along this, I don’t have to start all over again to find somebody to manage my marketing portion of it.
[00:22:35] Brett Gilliland: I got to find them. I got an onboard them. There’s a transition time. It takes so long. Oh, that’s painful. So, I’m just going to put up with what I have today.
[00:22:44] Diana White: Exactly.
[00:22:46] Brett Gilliland: So that’s, that’s the normal thing. let me give a practical tool. Hopefully this will help at least one person. If, if you fire everybody mentally in your head right now, just say they’re all gone, and you then ask yourself the question. If I had this opening for this role. They’re all gone and then I’m going to hire these roles.
Would I enthusiastically rehire this person that’s in that role today? If the answer is yes, congratulations. You’re right. You’ve got the right person. If there’s any hesitancy, then you really should start thinking about how do I move this person to a place where I’m not hesitating where I’m enthusiastically saying yes or where I help them move on to something that’s better for them and everyone associated with my business.
And while it’s still painful, it doesn’t remove any of the costs that would be required to replace them. just remember the points in time where you did have all players, or if you’ve never had that, imagine what it would be like and what the weight would be like on your shoulders and what the peace of mind would be like for you or what the home life or the, you know, the time outside of work would be like for you.
If you didn’t have to clean up the messes or compensate for somebody’s lack over here or have this damage in the culture or the customer experience, because somebody is there that shouldn’t be there and it’s painful, but it’s worth it every time to make the change. So, I don’t know that I did anything helpful there, Diana, but I know that I’ve seen it so many times, the people who finally make the change, the founders who say, okay, this looks painful, but I’m going to do it every time.
They’re grateful later that they did every time. It never seen an exception. Was it hard? Yes. Maybe it was costly. Maybe it was painful. For a time, but the end result was better later and it’s one of those things where you just kind of have to do it and see the outcomes and go that fruit, the fruit of this change was better than putting up with the old.
[00:24:50] Diana White: It’s growing pains, right? And you, you have to understand that there are going to be some, we love analogies, right? So, you know, when I get a new place, when I get a new home, one of the first things that I know I can do, that’s cheap and easy and, I can put my stamp on it is I paint. Everybody knows that. Now do I love getting down on my hands and knees and taking off the trim and getting every doorway every door. Now, do I love doing all that stuff? Oh no, no I don’t. But I know if I don’t spend the first X and depending on how big the project is, it could be the first day, right? If I don’t spend the first day or two doing this stuff that I don’t like doing in the end, when, when I’m finished with this thing that I, that I’ve created, this thing that is supposed to make a stamp and show me what this house could be.
I’m not going to be satisfied. It’s going to be a sloppy job. And I know this, so I grid it and I bear it every single time. And it’s something that I’m used to, and, and to the point, I’ve actually found ways to kind of make it more palatable. Right. I give myself rewards that I can do at the end. You know, if you, tape off this whole room, you get to soak in the hot tub.
You know, if you tape this doorway and you do it right, you get to play your favourite song, on the radio. Right? So, a little rewards along the way that that kind of helped me now. Now, painting a room is nothing compared to building or rebuilding the support team in your organization. But I think there are some, some crossovers there that you can give yourself mentally that can help you with that painful process, because that’s really all it is.
It’s another really don’t want to do this, a painful process.
[00:26:43] Brett Gilliland: I feel like I don’t have time, right? I don’t have time for that.
[00:26:46] Diana White: Right. Right. Exactly.
[00:26:48] Lesson 5: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your (Fill In The Blank)
[00:26:48] Diana White: Well, all right, let’s go to number five, which, I’ve been told this by so many mentors, over my life and I’ve seen it in action. I’ve actually done it. keeping it up is the difficult part, not getting stuck, but we’ll, talk about this number five, change your thoughts, change your fill in the blank world, outcome results, relationships, health, wealth, et cetera.
yeah, let’s go with it.
[00:27:17] Brett Gilliland: This is a, this is an interesting lesson. I, I don’t know that everybody learns it in, in a lifetime, but I feel like those who do have an advantage that at the end of the day, most of what goes on for us in our external world starts, in here, right between the ears, right? That space between the ears is so powerful.
I believe firmly that every person is a powerful creator. And the problem is most of us are walking around, not realizing how much power we have, and it all starts with the way that we think. And in our society today, we get all sorts of messages. People will tell you what to think. Ad nauseum, right? Our newsfeeds are full of our social media feeds are full of ideas that people want you to agree with.
And I’m not here to push any particular way of thinking, but I am here to say, we’ve got to get a lot more intentional, a lot more conscious about what’s going on between the space in our head or between our ears and. It’s completely in our control. Uh, it’s not easy work. I think thought work is some of the most difficult work there is because it’s not tangible things that we’re looking at.
We can’t hold it. And our brains just do a lot of things automatically. Over the years, we learned to survive in our world by categorizing things. And then we have snap judgements and we put things in places, and we judge people that we come in contact with. We label ourselves and all of those labels going on for ourselves and others change the way we operate.
They affect everything that we do. And so, yeah, I am a firm believer that when we learn that the scripts going on in our head are the things dictating how our world shows up. Uh, we, we regain a lot of power when we realize that.
[00:29:11] Diana White: And I think part, part of this lesson is to understand that what we’re really talking about here is changing your mindset about yourself, true internal reflection, how you react to how you feel about how you deal with the things that you can’t control.
Because it’s, so many people take this and they say, um, I’m going to change my mindset. And I’m going to think I’m a millionaire every single day. And I’m just going to keep thinking of that until it happens. And that’s really not what this is. That’s part of it. Right. It’s part of thinking about the millionaire mindset or.
Thinking how millionaires think in terms of, you know, what are their daily habits? How do they invest? What do they look for those kinds of things, but really changing the mindset of I’m worthy of taking these steps to become a millionaire? I am the, the captain of that ship and where that goes. And I think people kind of use this, change your mindset thing almost as akin to prayer, which I’m a firm believer in prayer.
I’m very religious, but praying for something and changing your mindset so that you know that you have every power to make that something happen. Two different things.
[00:30:39] Brett Gilliland: Yeah. Two different things. And I’m with you on the religious front. I. Practice every day. I, first thing I do out of bed is engage in prayer.
I, believe that strongly in it. And I believe that that helps me with my mindset. But I think the thoughts we have control everything. So, thoughts, there’s different versions of this, but this is the version I used. Thoughts influence our words, the words we say, the words we read, you know, the things that we internalize. Those influence our beliefs enough, consumed words, enough said words, start to shape the way we see the world in our beliefs. Beliefs influence our actions and those, those behaviours repeated often enough become habits.
And those habits, all those patterns of behaviour end up creating the outcomes. A bit different things that you talked about at the beginning. So, it all starts though with what’s the programming, what’s our version of truth that we’re playing over and over again in our heads. And most of the time we’re playing those subconsciously.
So, the job of this lesson is to get super aware. And sometimes that requires outside perspective. I did a, an interview recently with somebody, who shared this idea. She said, it’s hard to see your own label from inside the jar. You know, sometimes we’re in the box or we’re in the jar and we can’t see the label that we’ve got that we’re operating from.
And we need that outside perspective. Sometimes that’s in the form of a loved one. Sometimes that’s in a form of a coach of some sort, my wife and I, you mentioned we have eight kids. We’re not perfect parents. We’ve learned a lot. but we have, uh, we have a parenting coach. We have somebody who helps us.
With our parenting thoughts and that’s been super valuable to get an outside perspective. So, we, we do that for one another, and we get somebody from the outside. You can help us see some of the things that we’re thinking and how that influences the way that we show up as parents. So, I would just invite anybody to consider a circumstance that they don’t like or a relationship that that might be lacking or just anything in their life that they’re not super happy with.
And just ask this simple question. Who am I being that created that? Who am I being? Who am I being? And who am I? And what am I doing that created those things? And a lot of people, including me will say things like, what do you mean? Who am I being? Who are they being? It’s them, if they’re the problem, again, we get back to the mirror window thing, but who am I being so powerful because we have control over who I am being.
[00:33:19] Diana White: Yes.
[00:33:20] Brett Gilliland: And that’s the only place we can make real change. And then it shows up differently everywhere when we do so that may have gotten a little preachy, but, uh, I feel a little strongly about that.
[00:33:30] Diana White: That is. Okay. You know, one of the reasons why I love these episodes so much is that you can tell that passion, and that somebody really had to go through some trials to get to that lesson.
Um, and everybody’s journey is going to be different, right? And so, what you say is preachy I say is, this is somebody that’s emphatically telling me their story. Like this is real for them. And hopefully somebody out there listening or watching is going to learn, it’s going to learn. So, I love it.
[00:34:01] Lesson 6: The Best Way To Get Happy Customers Is To Build A Happy Team.
[00:34:01] Diana White: So, let’s get to number six because this made me chuckle a little bit because. We do live in a world now in business where, shareholders have a lot at stake. So, number six is the best way to get happy customers and subsequently happy shareholders is to build the team of happy team members.
And I really honestly don’t think that a lot of organizations in this world, I’m going to say globally, a lot of organizations in this world understand the premise of if your workers are happy, it’s an inflection of everything you do in your organization. And it shows, and it brings positive results and positive results make shareholders very, very happy.
So, how do you get this across to your founders that you work with?
[00:34:57] Brett Gilliland: Well, obviously we start out by just laying it out in front of them. It’s sometimes people just need to see it and go, oh, you’re right. You know the focus is so much on customers and appropriately. So, like right.
No customers, no business, right? No, sales coming in. We don’t get to play this game anymore. So, sales and customer success, or customer satisfaction, those drive, the business health. But if you figure out that it starts with your team, that anytime you can invest in creating happy thriving team members, that’s going to result in happy thriving customers That’s where it starts. And I know of plenty of businesses where people have created a culture that’s toxic, it’s, it’s political, it’s not happy and there’s still customers and there’s still people buying the product or service. I know that that can happen certainly in the short term, but if you want sustainable growth over the long-term, like healthy growth, and I’m not talking about hyper, I’m just, I just mean good, healthy growth.
You can’t have that without a happy team. It’s not sustainable. So, if you have all this turnover going back in the team, because you just treat them like objects or, or you just see them, you know, more, more, more team members, more headaches, more employees, more headaches. They’re just payroll numbers.
To me, you’re not going to get the kind of team and comradery and care, that’s going to create an amazing customer experience. So, I think the best run companies are the ones that take care of their people. And those people love to take care of customers that just keep coming back. And of course, shareholders win every time that’s going on.
So that’s the relationship to me. It starts with happy team members.
[00:36:47] Diana White: Love it. I love it.
[00:36:48] Lesson 7: The Growth Of Your Business Is Directly Correlated With Your Growth As A Leader
[00:36:48] Diana White: Now this one, it actually made me self-reflect. This, this one was pretty powerful. Lesson number seven, the growth of your business is directly correlated to your growth as a leader. And that, that one got me in the fields Brett really did because it, it gave me flashbacks of so many times where, I was trying so hard to manage.
That I wasn’t trying to grow and be the leader that I was supposed to be. So, talk to me about,
[00:37:20] Brett Gilliland: yeah. And in those times when you were managing, what was you were perfectly maintaining the thing that was right. It’s like, okay, got it to this point. And, and it’s not like we make this decision consciously, but you managing what was by default meant you were not creating what could be or what would be in the future.
And that’s an unfortunate reality for many of us as business leaders, we get in there. It starts to get a little bit maybe bigger than we feel like we can handle or it’s right at our breaking point. And we just start doing everything we can to keep it from, you know, blowing up or whatever, like we’re going to keep control here and we could even have a fairly good work-life balance, and all this could be going well, I’m not meaning to sound like this is a super stressful thing.
it can be stressful, but it’s, it’s the point where we say I’m doing everything I can to keep it, how it is. And, by definition, that means we’re not progressing. And I alluded to this earlier, when we went and spent some time with, with Jim Collins and he was one of the people we spend time with, we went, we went and visited Zappos and Tony Shay, we went, and we read books and we went to things because we knew we had to progress as leaders before our business could progressing further.
If we were going to stay at a certain level of capacity of leadership productivity, right. What could this leadership team handle? If we were going to stay at the place where we were, that’s where the business stops. Like, that’s it. So again, it’s not about getting and keeping more customers that that is what we have to that’s the result, but it’s about scaling our ability to lead a larger organization, scaling our ability to grow a larger, more capable team, increasing our ability to grow other individuals.
So maybe we don’t have to go up in number of team members. We can just multiply the output from the current team members, but if we’re not growing in that way, our business is stuck where we’re done, where we’re at.
[00:39:22] Diana White: that is pretty powerful. It really is.
[00:39:25] Lesson 8: If You Have To Go Outside Of Your Business To Find Leaders. You Run The Risk Of Messing Up Your Culture.
[00:39:25] Diana White: Now related to number seven, lesson number eight.
If you decide to go outside of your business to find the leaders you need, you run the risk of messing up your culture. Now that’s scary for a lot of leaders help us help us wrap our brains around that.
[00:39:44] Brett Gilliland: Yeah, well, we, we did that. Uh, this is, this is one of those hard-earned lessons. They’re all earned.
This one was a little more painful. So, we had success growing that company infusion soft, we’ve talked about now keep from seven figures all the way to a hundred million. You know, we have hundreds of team members. We had a great culture. But we were hitting the max of that gear, you know, that we were, we had maxed out the gear we had created, and we needed to shift, and none of us had done 100 million to 300 million.
We hadn’t done that leg of the journey and we hadn’t developed ourselves enough at that point to be able to lead the company forward. So, we started going outside for people who had done that leg of the journey and in the process just about lost our culture altogether. It was so hard to see award-winning culture, like best places to work in the country types of awards that we’ve got to starting to have that turnover, right?
Best places to work and very little turnover, an amazing team and amazing customer experience. It was, it was all happy. And then we brought in all these very experienced leaders, but they weren’t always the best fit culturally. And they started to make changes that felt like very, very deep and painful changes to the way we had always done things.
And, um, it didn’t go so well. And we just got, got stuck. We learned a lot of things from that. So thankfully we were able to make some changes there and then start to move forward again. But it, it was hard. So, what’s the lesson. the best time to plant a tree, a shade tree is 20 years ago. Right? Nice big shade tree.
That was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now that’s a Chinese proverb. Uh, that, that definitely goes with the leadership development lesson. That if you got to be developing leaders as quickly as you can. And for most of us, it’s faster than we think. Like we should be investing now in tomorrow’s leaders, because if we have to go outside for too many of those at once, then we put everything at risk that we built to that point.
So that’s where that lesson came from.
[00:42:09] Diana White: so funny how you can see that in a lot of the larger organizations going back to the shareholders, right? And going back to the populace where you have a founder and maybe a leadership team that had the best of intentions, but now this, this machine, this beast, it needs to be fed and do you, do you keep that morality? Do you keep that tenant of, you know, we’re going to promote from within, we’re going to make our team members happy? We’re going to do everything we possibly can, to keep the place that I created that I would want to work in, or do we please the masses and what sacrifices made in between that it’s, it’s a hard balance.
It’s a hard balance.
[00:42:56] Brett Gilliland: I’m glad you teed it up that way, because I want to say very emphatically that. There are, times when you do have to bring people in from the outside. So, I’m not saying you can do all of this by developing people from within. I am saying you’ve got to develop as much from, within as possible and then carefully select who you’re going to bring in from the outside to not mess up this precious thing that you’ve created.
So, I do believe you can have both. I’m a, both, and I don’t like the tyranny of the or. So how do we develop people as quickly as we can from within to meet tomorrow’s leadership needs? And when we are facing things that we’ve never seen or done before, and we need outside perspective, how do we get that perspective without messing up what we’ve created?
And I think, I think it is possible, but you got to, you have to be very intentional about it.
[00:43:50] Diana White: Love it.
[00:43:51] Lesson 9: There Can Be No Effective Direction Or Correction Unless There Is Meaningful Connection First
[00:43:51] Diana White: All right now, we’re going to hit number nine, which is, uh, near and dear to my heart. Cause I’m a parent of one, your parent of eight. I don’t know. But here we go. Lesson number nine, there can be no effective direction or correction, unless there is a meaningful connection first.
That resonates. That is so powerful. I do it with one and I think I did a pretty decent job eight.
[00:44:19] Brett Gilliland: Well, I’m sure you did do a very decent job. you know, I, I do want to comment on, on the 8 kids here, because some people are listening to say what you really have 8 kids. Cause you said it at the beginning, but here we are, again, it’s a little unusual to have that many kids these days.
and just to give a little bit more perspective, they all came like really fast. So, our oldest had turned 10. He was 10 years old and five months when our, when our twins, our babies were born. So, all eight of them in a little over 10 years, 10 and a half years. Okay. They’re all packed in. We did get the two for one with the twins there at the end.
Um, more than I bargained for I’m telling you. but anyway, what, what I learned by raising a bunch of little kids where all the effort was it. feeding kids and changing diapers and cleaning up messes. I mean, it was, it was very little connecting with, with individuals. It was a lot of, we were just trying to manage life with this much family.
Like it was, it was, uh, it was a difficult time as I got older, I realized as they got older, I realized, oh, I can’t lead them as a herd. I can’t do that. I mean, that’s what I want to do because it’s more efficient. Right. Hey everybody, here’s what we’re doing next. They don’t all just come along as a group that imagine that, right.
They all have different personalities, and some want to go this way, and some want to go that way. And some of the other lessons we talked about were, you know, no, no way in, no, buy-in, that’s real for kids too. So, I learned a lot of things about how I couldn’t just tell them, oh, now, now we’re doing this, or I want you to do that, or I don’t want you to do that.
that just because I want, or don’t want something, doesn’t equal them doing it.
[00:46:06] Diana White: Right.
[00:46:06] Brett Gilliland: And, and you know that whether you have one, one child or, or eight or more, so, I don’t think that’s anything new, but I did have to learn that the hard way. And I’m still learning that. Right now, I currently have five teenagers.
So, that’s a fun time of life and I have to learn to go, and I got to slow down and connect with them individually, if I want to have a shot at them, listening to what I have to say. Cause they’re listening to a lot of other things right now, most of the time, not me. And so, the precious times that I do have to be an influence or that I do have to you know, try to get them to do something that I want. I really have to be able to connect with them. And so that’s, that’s a constant thing for me to figure out and work at.
[00:46:53] Diana White: I’ll say this, my, my daughter and I, we have, we have an unconventional, very close relationship, you know, she’s 29 I’ve raised her now, I’m, an advisor and a friend, and, it’s funny because still there are certain times where mom comes out and she’ll just look at me and she goes, okay, is this, is this the hill you want to die on?
Is this, is this worth it? And I, and I really have to second guess and say, No, no, it’s not worth it. Okay. Never mind. You know, we’ll talk about it another time, or I’ll find another way to approach it, but having raised her with enough confidence in the fact that my love is unconditional, that she can actually say, because I have a lot of friends who, you know, they they’ve got a pregame for Thanksgiving dinners.
They’ve got, uh, they’ve got a set up life so that they can handle this, this family and all of the questions that they know we’re going to come at them that are triggers from childhood. And she’s confident enough that I’m going to love her. That she can just say it. She can just call it for what it is.
I don’t like this. I don’t like this vein of the conversation. Are we going here? Really? No. And so I love that. And in rare instances in my career, I was actually able to create that dynamic with my team, which you may think that it’s disempowering. You may think, well, if your team tells you how they’re feeling at every moment, you know, you’re, you don’t have control.
It is the most powerful thing in the universe to know that everybody is moving in the same direction. And they’re not afraid to tell you that the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on. Right. So, when I read that, I said, this is applicable to. Eight kids, one kid, a staff of two, an enterprise of 3000 it’s applicable.
[00:48:49] Brett Gilliland: It’s totally applicable. And you can say it however you want. We’ve all heard things like people don’t care how much, you know, until they know how much you care. And, and I, and I say that, I’m not making fun of that, but I’m just saying we’ve all heard things like that, but it’s just absolutely true.
We put together a little leadership model for our community and right at the centre of it is the word care. And a lot of businesspeople, they don’t want to hear about care being part of leadership or, you know, dare I say, love or vulnerability or whatever. Right? Like they don’t want to hear that in a business context, but I’m telling you the best led teams are led by people who have.
They care about their team and whether it’s kids that your parent’s team or, or a team that you’re leading, like you said, people are people. And if you really want to give something meaningful to another human being, they better feel connected with you first.
[00:49:49] Diana White: And so, we’re going to round it up with lesson number 10, which I think just speaks volumes to what you just said.
[00:49:56] Lesson 10: Love And Let Live
[00:49:56] Diana White: Lesson number 10, love and let live.
[00:50:00] Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve just realized that there’s so much of, I don’t know, discord, fractured things in our world. People who don’t like one another division, you know, there’s a lot of that, and that’s not a recipe for success in any, any sort of endeavour. If you, if you really want to do well with people that you work with or that you lead or that you’re trying to influence, or just the world in general love and let live, let people be themselves. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything that they think, but why can’t they have an opinion, and you have an opinion, like you want people to respect your opinion.
Why can’t you respect theirs? So, I don’t know. I just think a lot of our world problems today come down to people not having enough care for other human beings. And it’s, it’s just sad to me, it’s a tragedy. So, I won’t get on a soap box around that. But my lesson is when I stop being scared of differences or, you know, scared of that thing that I can’t relate to, or that different opinion.
Life’s a lot, a lot better when I could see another human being. Who’s, who’s trying to make sense of their world and live in the best that they can. And I’m trying to do that and maybe we can share some things and help each other along the way.
[00:51:30] Diana White: The power of, of your acceptance, then triggers, you know, curiosity from the other side. So How, how are you just able to accept me when you know, I’ve got these opinions and guards up about you and well, what does that mean? And then, you know, I’ve seen it in action, plenty of times as, as an African-American woman, when I’m talking to different people who have assumptions about me and my culture in my life, and then we have these conversations and now they’re sharing things with me that, you know, they would have never shared because I’m compassionate and I’m transparent and I’m open.
I love it. I absolutely love it. And I think it’s the best way to round up all of the other nine lessons, because they truly come from a point of you can’t do this alone.
You got to be willing to change and you got to be willing to accept others into your sphere of power. I think that’s really what it boils down to. And I’m so happy you shared all of this today, but with all the wisdom that you’ve brought, I do have to ask you one question now in your 50 years, what have you had to unlearn?
[00:52:47] Brett Gilliland: you know, we’re going to, we’re going to answer that right where we just left off. I don’t know. I’ve always been very, I thought that I was always accepting of others, but I remember very clearly the first time that it smacked me in the face that I wasn’t accepting of all opinions. I wasn’t accepting of all ways of living or lifestyles or, you know, whatever label you want to put on it.
And it was really hard for me. I was like, wait a minute. I don’t believe that this way of being is right. Like there was this right and wrong view of it for me. And I had to unlearn right and wrong. I just had to learn different. It’s just different. And that doesn’t mean I don’t have a strong moral compass.
There are some things that I still believe very firmly are right and wrong, but it has nothing to do with somebody’s identity or way of being now it’s all-around things like, oh, it’s probably a good idea not to kill people, right. That there’s right and wrong around that there’s no right or wrong around what somebody prefers over something else.
And I, I had some of those things inside of me. I had to unlearn, you know, that’s just different. No, it’s fine for us to be different. So, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to learn that lesson and had to unlearn some things that I thought were very black and white and they just weren’t.
[00:54:13] Diana White: Well, I am so glad that you did because I’m benefiting. And so is everyone else that is listening and watching today. Thank you so much for being our guest, Brett, truly, truly appreciate it.
[00:54:26] Brett Gilliland: It’s been an honour. I mean, if everybody has an experience like this, where they just get to talk with somebody as amazing as you, your ability to host this time together, um, it’s just, it’s just a privilege.
So, I hope I’ve shared something that might be useful to some other traveller on this planet we call earth and, uh, that will help in some way.
[00:54:50] Diana White: Well, you did. And I also wanted to, uh, talk about you. You have a podcast as well.
[00:54:56] Brett Gilliland: I do. Yeah, it’s called the elite entrepreneur’s podcast. That’s the name of our business.
and we actually named it after the seven figure business owners. There’s so few of them that ever make it to a million in revenue. We, we call them elite. It’s only about three to 5% of businesses that ever start make it to a million in revenue. And like we talked about earlier, there’s a new stage there there’s a new thing. And they got to figure out people and systems and leadership and culture and, and that’s, that’s what we specialize in. So, our podcast is about that journey. Everything we do is about helping those, those founders, those entrepreneurs make the transition from entrepreneur to caring, capable business builders.
[00:55:38] Diana White: Now, how, how can we find this podcast?
[00:55:41] Brett Gilliland: anywhere where there are podcasts, uh, elite entrepreneurs is the name of the podcast. Uh, you can check us out on our website and find the podcast there. It’s called https://growwithelite.com/. https://growwithelite.com/.
[00:55:56] Diana White: Thank you, sir. I’m going to close this out. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons it Took Me 50 Years to Learn sponsored by the professional development forum. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions, interviews, parties, et cetera, and it’s all free visit professional development forum.org to find out more. Thank you. Thank you to our guest and we’ll see you next time.