Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa, California. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors.
Jason Hartman: This is Jason Hartman and welcome to the Creating Wealth Show. This is Show No. 100! 100! This is our 100th show. It’s kind of a milestone for us. We’ve got a whole bunch more shows that we’ve already recorded and we will be posting soon, so keep listening in. And for those of you, who are new listeners, be sure to listen to our Core Content. And the way to find Core Content is you need to go to www.JasonHartman.com and click on “New Listeners Start Here” and then you can see all of the core content podcasts. That’s a great place to start for new listeners.
For our regular listeners and some of you I know have listened to every show two or three times, we really appreciate you sticking with us and we will continue to endeavor to provide you the best, most current information on making your financial life better and better and safer in these turbulent times.
I am in Phoenix right now via cell phone, so I apologize for the poor quality. It’ll just be for the intro portion of the show. I have attended for the last two days Harry Dent’s Demographic School. It has been a very interesting two days. I’ve learned a lot, a lot that I will share with you on future shows, and a lot of things that really prove our theories about the way things will be unfolding, about this financial crisis that we’re in, about how debt is a very good strategy in terms of fighting what we think will be some very significant inflation coming in the future. We’ve spent the last two days talking about municipalities and states and their financial problems, and government entitlements and what that means with the S-curve of innovation and the demographic waves that are affecting the economy, not only in the United States, but around the world.
So it’s been a very interesting two days. Also I was fortunate enough to be able to hang out with Harry Dent one-on-one last night. We went out for dinner and drinks. And I got to know him personally and really pick his brain, and learn a lot about his business and his forecasting and some of the different predictions and what has been right and what has been wrong and why. And that was just a really great evening last night to be able to do that one-on-one.
Be sure to join us for our event, our “Creating Wealth in Today’s Economy” event. This is Advanced Strategies for Wealth Creation. That’s on June 6th at our office in Costa Mesa, California. And remember, if you have to jump on an airplane to come to any of our events, we will comp you in for free – you and a guest for free. The only one this excludes is the Masters Weekend. I should say that, but for Creating Wealth you can join us free, if you need to jump on a plane. If not, it’s a very nominal fee. So be sure to register for that at www.JasonHartman.com and click on the Events section.
Also, many of you have asked about the product we talked about before, our “Loan Modification Special Report” and Loan Modification Kit. The website is up so go and take a look at The DIY (DIY of course is for do it yourself) – www.TheDIYLoanModification.com. And this is a do-it-yourself loan modification program that can save you about $2,900.00 bucks on your loan modification because a lot of these firms charge $3,000.00, $3,500.00, and a lot of you can do it yourself. I was successful in modifying eight of of my loans myself. So check out TheDIYLoanModification.com and take advantage of those products you can purchase on that website.
Also we’ve had great response for our Mobile Home Boot Camp coming up in San Angelo, Texas, in the middle of June. And this is an event that my friend Corey is putting on. And again we have never ever promoted anybody else’s events ever before. And those of you regular listeners know this. But I want you to join me in Texas for this event in mid-June. It’s at the properties and it’s all about mobile home investing. Now, with mobile home investing, you can start small, you can start in the middle, or you can start big. You can purchase single mobile homes that are foreclosed upon, sell them at a profit, carry notes on them, develop long-term income from them, or immediate profits. What I’m talking about here just a few thousand dollars to start. You can buy small mobile home parks. You can buy big mobile home parks. So this works for every size investor and it’s just a really great opportunity.
Now our show today, that was-pre-recorded a few weeks ago, is with a guest, Jeff Myers. Now you know, for those of you regular listeners, you know that every tenth show, we do a non-financial topic, or a non-real estate topic. And this topic is about a legacy. Jeff wrote a book and we kind of discovered him by accident when I asked my assistant to get my friend Jeff Myers, who is a real estate market forecaster, on the show. Well, she went onto Google and found another Jeff Myers and this actually sort of happened by accident.
But he did a book called “Passing the Baton,” which is about leadership. It’s about legacy and for our 100th show I just thought it was a nice interesting topic. Again, not a financial topic, but one that is certainly valuable in life and it always translates into finance in one way or another. So listen in to my interview with Jeff Myers. And we look forward to seeing you on show # 101 very soon. Thanks for listening. Here is the interview with Jeff Myers.
Interview with Jeff Myers author of “The Handoff”
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Jeff Myers to the show. He is the author of a book entitled “Hand-Off” and his company is Passing the Baton International. Jeff, welcome to the show.
Jeff Myers: Thank you, Jason. Good to be with you.
Jason Hartman: It’s great to have you on. What was your inspiration to write Hand-off?
Jeff Myers: Jason, you know the times and that’s what we’re looking at. We realize that the year 2015 is the peak year of retirement for the Baby Boom Generation. And this generation for whatever reason, self-absorption, lack of concern, or just general busyness, has not been able to pass the baton of leadership to the next generation. And so we’re now in a place where large companies, government, churches, and so forth have a leadership vacuum.
We’re finding, for example, that in businesses today, 40 percent of businesses have no leadership succession plan. So you’ve got these leaders – and 50 percent by the way of Fortune 500 executives said they plan to retire within the next two years. Now, obviously, if the economy goes south, they’re not going to do that, but they do intend to retire within the next couple of years. And if 40 percent of these businesses have no leadership succession plan and only 25 percent of businesses have any plan to replace people below the Vice President level, the writing is on the wall, wouldn’t you say?
Jason Hartman: Yes, it definitely is. Now, one of the things though, it’s always sort of fashionable to think in a way that these times are so much different than the past, Jeff, and how do we know this is any different from the past? I mean, 30 years ago, did companies – were they more prepared for this passing the baton, if you will? Did they have better succession plans then, compared to today?
Jeff Myers: A number of things are different here. First of all, some of the companies did have better succession plans. Certainly education and the church there were better succession plans. But the nature of business has changed so much. Things are moving so much more rapidly and the population is growing that there’s much more at stake.
So, let me give you an example. One of our consultants we work with is a consultant to a very large oil company – hundreds of thousands of employees all over the world. And he told me, for example, on these oil rigs that are out in the Gulf of Mexico, he said, “You know the oil rig operator used to be a guy who was say in his 50’s, 25-30 years of experience in the oil-field business. And here’s what’s happening now, because these guys are retiring and they’ve not successfully trained anybody else to replace them, you’ve got a 27-year old guy with three years of experience operating a billion dollar oil rig.”
So it’s a number of factors; the coming generation is a lot smaller and so there are more positions to fill. The nature of business has changed. I think the dynamic is different which makes this a much bigger concern than it was even 30 years ago.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Good point. You know, Jeff, when you look at just the pure demographic issue, you look at the baby boomers about 76 million Americans and they’re retiring. They’re phasing out. You look at Generation X, which is about 46 million, I believe, and then Gen Y, which is really large, about 80 million – the largest one of all. But Gen Y is too young, you know?
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: It’s really about Gen X taking over. So, just from a pure numbers standpoint, we’re looking at just a little more than half the size, and then of course, a whole different mentality, a whole different upbringing. I mean, Gen X was the generation of the latchkey kids and the divorcing parents. And it was so different. But Gen Y kind of the pendulum shifted back didn’t it?
Jeff Myers: I think it did. The Generation Y is a little bit larger. And that’s what a lot of people are holding on to. But again, people have to be trained. You have to walk with them. You know, if you look at the great leaders through history, how did they do it? They had a lot of lieutenants who just went with them everywhere they went. And they didn’t just see what they were doing, but they had a chance to participate.
You know, in The Hand-off book we say take a look for example at Jesus. Everybody knows Jesus had disciples, but what they don’t realize is everywhere he went for three years he took these guys with him and then he continued to push challenges in their direction. “What would you say to this person? What would you do with this person here? Here’s a person who’s sick. What do you think we should do? Here are 5,000 people who need to be fed. How do you think we’re going to feed them?”
He continually asked them those kinds of questions, but the same thing would always be true in our life situation wherever we happen to be. So I think it’s probably a good time to look back at all the great leaders through time.
Jason Hartman: Tell us, Jeff, about the characteristics and what challenges today’s young people face in terms of Gen X and Gen Y compared to the Baby Boomers in the ’60’s.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, it’s a great question. In The Hand-Off book, which you can find on the website on www.PassingtheBaton.org, we have a total chapter on that issue and we call it “Why the Next Generation is so Hard to Reach”. The issue really, Jason, is what we call “psychic numbing”. When people have a major issue to face and it’s too big, they can’t imagine how they would face it, they just repress truth and ignore the problems that are too great to solve. So it’s not apathy that is the problem in this generation. It’s psychic numbing.
And you say, “Well, every generation has had its problems.” Yes, but they haven’t been 24/7 on the television, right? You know a lot of what we face today, a lot of the anxiety people feel, is not just the anxiety of bad things happening, but the anxiety of bad things happening, combined with a 24/7 news cycle that says, “Don’t stop watching; we’ve got to continually pound this into you every minute of every day.”
So you have a generation of kids who actually have higher scores on neuroticism tests than any previous generation.
Jason Hartman: You know I hear what you’re saying. But I’ve just got to think, playing the devil’s advocate here for a moment, Jeff, that it must be about the resiliency of the human condition because if you look back at the Baby Boomers, I mean in the ’60’s at their sort of most formative years, they were into sex, drugs and rock and roll. And I’m not saying that they turned out okay necessarily, but I mean they became productive members of society by and large.
Of course, the news is much more pervasive now and it’s just in your face at any given moment. Advertising and what Madison Avenue has done to help destroy culture and values, you can certainly argue that. It’s in our face, no question about it. And there’s certainly more of skepticism than there used to be and I think a cynicism probably. But you know every generation sort of has its thing, doesn’t it?
Jeff Myers: Well, I guess it’s true that every generation has its issues. And we look at each. We look at the Baby Boom Generation and see the Woodstock and the sex and drugs and rock and roll and all of that stuff. But remember that that was all revolutionary. That was all novel. It’s not any more. All of the things that were new and interesting, exciting and just a little bit forbidden to the point where it was worth paying attention to, it’s no longer that. It’s no longer forbidden. There are no longer the mores there that say, “Yeah, you really ought to be careful of this or that.”
And so I think what ends up happening is it’s the difference between somebody who experiments with drugs and somebody who has always had access to drugs. The person who has always had access to drugs has a different kind of drug problem. Does that make sense?
Jason Hartman: Yeah. That’s a really interesting point. So what you’re saying is maybe the Baby Boomers in the ’60’s and the early ’70’s were having their – sort of sewing their wild oats. They were doing their taboo things that to some extent people might argue that people kind of need to do to sort of grow up. But then they got over it. And now the difference is it is everywhere. It’s totally pervasive, where that was maybe only number one, half of the population of that age in the country at that time – the sort of anti-establishment, Woodstock, hippy-type of thing. And it was new and novel, whereas now, it’s just – it’s everywhere.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, it’s everywhere.
Jason Hartman: Is that what you’re saying?
Jeff Myers: Yes. So the factors that are so soul-destroying about it, people were kind of able to skirt the edge of it. But now, like you said, the average person sees 3,000 commercial messages a day. They’re just completely inundated all the time. And I’ll tell you, Jason, here’s what I think happens and you know I like to watch the news. Actually, I don’t watch it very much. I listen to it on my satellite radio when I’m driving. That way I feel like at least I haven’t wasted the time. At least I’ve gone some place. But when I listen to it, I’m realizing you know, there’s a problem with the 24/7 news cycle, because they say, you know, “There was a hurricane in such and such a country, or so and so had an earthquake and thousands of people died. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about whether Brittany Spears is going to get custody of her kids again.”
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it is numbing. There’s no question it’s numbing.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, it is. How do you decide what’s important? Because it’s just one frivolous thing mixed in with something that’s really really bad and serious, and after a while it tends to dumb down your ability to make decisions about what is right and what is wrong. We go through this in a whole chapter in The Hand-off book because we have got to understand this. If you intend to pass your values onto the next generation, you’ve got to know what that next generation is like.
Jason Hartman: I’ve got to tell you, Jeff, I mean I get pretty cynical about it sometimes in business. It is amazing to me how – and I kind of almost hate to put this out there because it sort of becomes self-fulfilling, if you’re not careful. But it is really amazing to me how many people out in the market place, in the business world just don’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong. They will just take with seemingly no conscience at all. You know? It seems like it was much different than that, even when I came of age and entered the business world. You know, in the late ’80’s, early ’90’s, it wasn’t like it is today.
It seems like it’s definitely getting worse. I mean there were people that you knew in the business world then that would take the advantage and do the wrong thing. But now it just seems to be like all this just kind of take what you can get type of attitude. And certainly my listeners to this show know how I feel about our public markets in terms of Wall Street. I mean that is just a criminal enterprise beyond belief. Any thoughts on how that’s changed and why that’s changed? I mean we talked about the media. What else?
Jeff Myers: Yeah, well it has changed. It some ways, Jason, it’s a values shift. I pay a lot of attention to a guy named George Barna, who is a pollster. But he mainly surveys religious people. Okay? So he’s really looking at people who have a foundation of values. And I’m not saying that people who are outside of the church have no foundation of values, but you’re more like to get people who say, “Yeah my life is supposed to be based on values.” Right? So at least that’s who he’s looking at. And he says that the percentage of people who will agree that there are absolute truths is going down every year.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, moral relativism, absolutely.
Jeff Myers: Yeah. That’s right. So he’s saying – an absolute truth doesn’t mean that you’re imposing your ideas on everybody else. It just says that there are certain things that are true across all time and across all cultures. That if you’re in business, you should be honest. If you are negotiating, you should go for win-win, or whatever those things would happen to be. There are fewer and fewer people every year who agree to those things. So, the consensus is going down and without consensus, it’s very difficult to develop community. You know we use the word conscience a lot. But conscience comes from two Latin words: con scire which means “to know together”.
So if there’s less and less that we know together, then we have less and less of a sense of what you might call public morality. And so that’s why people on Wall Street felt like they could get away with everything. They’re like, “Nobody’s watching. There doesn’t seem to be any public morality. Nobody’s going to hold me to account. And the people I’m working for love the fact that I can give them so “great profits” and so I’m just going to continue to do this.”
Jason Hartman: And then you look at the media adding fuel to that fire like crazy because it glorifies these people. You know, we look at the Forbes 400’s richest people and… I’m just making a general statement.
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: I mean it’s just criminal activity with lobbyists and lawyers and accountants that shade the numbers and manipulate things and financial engineers and so forth, isn’t it?
Jeff Myers: You know what, Jason, here’s one of the issues that we’re concerned about as an organization. We’re obviously a non-profit, educational organization. Our focus is mentoring and coaching. But here’s one of the issues that really concerns me, is that as much as these guys are crooks, they have a very well-developed system for cultivating their next generation. They have internships. They have summer programs. Programming that they know how to go to the top colleges and recruit the top graduates and bring them into their system. And unless the good guys develop systems like that, it’s just going to continue to go on.
Jason Hartman: So how do the good guys develop those systems?
Jeff Myers: I think we have to do a number of things. First of all, we have to recognize that it’s a problem and that’s a lot of what we’re doing is just kind of calling out saying, “Hey look folks, this is really an issue.” But the second thing is you develop a strategy. Where do you want this generation to be that they are not now? So you start with say a business. Okay, in my business I want my business to be some place I know I have to get the next generation to do that. I’m looking at the young people who are around me. Where do I want them to be that they are not now? And then –
Jason Hartman: So in business, they would call that a “gap analysis”. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Where’s the gap? That’s the gap. That’s the chasm we need to cross. How do we? And then you’d at least know there’s a problem, right?
Jeff Myers: That’s exactly right. But I’m suggesting do the same thing with the people who are on your team, rather than just the content of the ideas, the strategy, the tactics and so forth. So, where are our people? So we’ve got this generation, say I’ve got these people working for me who are between the ages of 23 and 40. Where are they not now that they need to be? And we’ve gone through this recently in our own organization. I realized that some of the people have, you know, they’ve kind of taken on a sort of a check list mentality. I’ll come in, I’ll check the things off my list, and I’ll do my job.
And I had to sit down with some of them recently and say, I didn’t hire you because you can check things off of a list. Anybody can check things off of a list. I hired you because of the brain that you bring to the situation. So at the beginning of every week, we’re going to sit down and we’re going to say, “Okay, how do we advance the cause of Passing the Baton International the most between now and 5:00 p.m. on Friday?” And so the whole team now is thinking together about how we’re going to do that and the younger people, the older people, everybody together is having to work through that issue.
I know that I can’t teach leadership per se, but I believe the people can learn leadership. So I’m letting them walk alongside of me as we go through that process.
Jason Hartman: Let’s talk a little bit about mentoring, if we can?
Jeff Myers: Sure.
Jason Hartman: What exactly is mentoring in the way Passing the Baton looks at it? What are the opening lines of communication to be a mentor, to get a mentor? What is there to it?
Jeff Myers: Yeah, let’s take those as two separate questions. The idea of being a mentor goes all the way back to Odysseus in the Odyssey. Mentor was the name of the character who walked alongside of him and sort of protected him. So the name/word mentor means a guiding friend and advisor. Not a peer quite. But not a boss person either. That’s really the idea of mentoring. And so a person who is going to be a mentor we believe and this is how we teach it in our organization – this is different than the way mentoring is usually taught – we teach it from a coaching mind set. So we’re asking those who would be mentors to do three things.
No. 1, learn to listen really well. Learn to listen. I was at a major meeting of decision-makers about a month ago. It was incredible. I was sitting at a table with very successful people. One guy was a New York City venture capitalist, sitting across from a young man who was probably 25, very creative and resourceful, but you know still kind of working his way up. And the guy who is 25 said, “You know here’s something that I see going on.” And the older guy from New York would say, “I know exactly what you mean.” And then he would say something that was totally the opposite of what the young man had just said.
And so I kind of came in because I’m kind of in the middle. You know I’m a Generation X-er, but a little older Generation X-er. So I came in between them and said, “You know what’s going on here? You don’t understand what he’s saying, because you haven’t really listened to him. You guys need to learn a new language to communicate across these two generations.” So listening well is huge.
Jason Hartman: And so on the listening subject before you leave that.
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: I just wanted to mention to our listeners, you know, there’s a difference between hearing and listening.
Jeff Myers: Oh, yeah.
Jason Hartman: And what you’re saying, Jeff, involves – I think you want to say, the art of active listening, of paraphrasing back, closing the feedback loop, making sure the person understands what you’re saying, if you’re talking. And then likewise in reverse, if you’re the listener, paraphrasing back and closing that feedback loop. So, is this what you meant? Questions like that to just draw the person out and get them to clarify and confirm.
Jeff Myers: Yeah. That’s exactly right. That’s exactly where we’re headed with this. And the biggest stumbling block people have, Jason, in listening because this is what I teach, you know this is my profession as a college professor, I’m teaching MBA students communication skills. And sometimes that’s tricky. But the biggest barrier that people have is they don’t listen because they’re trying to think of what they’re going to say next.
Jason Hartman: Right and they want to sound smart, and so they’re –
Jeff Myers: Exactly.
Jason Hartman: They’re worried more about what they’re going to say, than what they’re going to hear.
Jeff Myers: Exactly. So, it’s not really listening. It’s pausing, you know, while the other person talks, until they take a breath and then you can jump in and say something that would impress them. But the whole idea of really listening, active listening, engaged listening is a term that I like to use, is huge.
And the second thing is asking questions. What we’re teaching people to do is stop giving advice and start asking questions. In The Hand-off book which, if folks are interested in this at all, they’ve got to get a copy of this book because they can read it in two hours, but it will give them so much insight. We have a chapter in there called “How to Shut Up and Start Having an Influence”. There are 14 powerful questions that you can use to allow people to move toward breakthroughs, if you are a mentor and they are a mentee, that are very simple, very straight-forward. And you can ask them.
So instead of telling them what to do and giving advice, ask questions and once you learn how to ask the right kinds of questions, you realize the people learn to think on their own. You’re developing them into leaders, rather than just into followers.
Jason Hartman: Okay. So, Jeff, you can’t leave. I’m not going to let you get off that easy. The fourteen questions, give us two or three of them, if you would?
Jeff Myers: Okay.
Jason Hartman: There’s too much bait and anticipation in that one. You’ve got to give them a little bit here.
Jeff Myers: Yeah. Okay. Here’s a key question and the question is it’s kind of the gap analysis sort of question, “Where would you like to be? Where are you not that you would like to be?” Another big question is, “What are your values that apply in this situation?” If I was talking to a guy and he said, “Yeah, this is terrible time right now. My team is really tense because things just don’t seem to be coming together the way we need to.” And so I asked him, “What are your values that apply in this situation?”
And he told me, “Well, more than anything else, I want my team to be able to function well as a team.” Okay? That was a huge insight because now I know how to help guide him. In other words I’m not saying, “I’ve been in your job before, so here’s what you need to do.” He’s saying, “The most important thing to him at that moment is to help his team function well together.” That helps me mentor him. Does that make sense?
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Sure.
Jeff Myers: Okay. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m asking those kinds of questions. Another big question out of the 14, is, “How can I support you?” Because when I ask that question, Jason, I’m saying to them “I believe you have responsibility for this and furthermore, I believe that you can take responsibility in this situation. But I am willing to walk alongside of you and help you.” That way my employees, for example, come in, here’s a problem. And I’ll ask them, “Well, how can I support you in solving this problem?” They realize they’re not going to get away with putting that monkey on my back. But I am willing to walk alongside them as they figure out the solution.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. That’s a great one because I tell you, I’ve got one person in my company and she always has ideas about everything. And I say, “You know, I love your ideas. You really have great ideas. But you’re making my to-do list so long.” So now I’m gonna hand that hot potato back.
Jeff Myers: Yeah. That’s right. And now in the past, I used to say, “Don’t come in and talk to me about an idea unless you’re willing to carry it.” And then I realized people wouldn’t share any ideas anymore because they thought, “Oh man, if I share this with him, he’s gonna make me do it.”
Jason Hartman: Right.
Jeff Myers: So, what I do now is say, “You come in and tell me the idea. If we’ve got a problem, you come in and tell me the problem. And we’ll walk together through the process of it. I won’t take it all the way from you. I won’t give it all back to you. I want to walk with you.” A lot of times, the question is, “Okay, in the priorities of everything else that we have to do, where does this fit?” And sometimes we have to decide, “Okay, this is a really great idea. But we’re going to put it on the back burner for a while until we see how it merges with something else we’re working on that’s really important.” Or we might say, “This is going to take precedence over something else we’re doing.” But we think it through together. I guess that’s the idea. I love the word ‘dialogue’. Dialogue – ‘logus’ means to think, ‘dia’ means together. Dialogue means to think together. So communication really is dialogue. That’s what we’re seeking.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Excellent point.
Jeff Myers: And then the third skill for mentors is that we want people to learn to help others to set good goals. So I’ll take that smart goal-setting formula that everybody knows, everybody talks about. You can Google “SMART for goals” and you’ll see exactly what this is. But I take it, it’s very simple really.
Jason Hartman: Say that again, if you would? You’d Google what term?
Jeff Myers: Just SMART.
Jason Hartman: Okay.
Jeff Myers: S-M-A-R-T – it’s an acrostic that you use for understanding what a smart goal looks like.
Jason Hartman: All right.
Jeff Myers: Okay? In other words, it’s specific, it’s measurable, it’s actionable, and so forth.
Jason Hartman: Oh, okay. I got it.
Jeff Myers: Realistic, time-sensitive. Okay?
Jason Hartman: Sure.
Jeff Myers: So, I write out “SMART” on my page and say, “Okay, let’s turn this into a goal. Let’s make it specific. What would it be?” And then, “How do we make it measurable? How do we know that we’re succeeding with this?” And I walk them through the process of turning their idea into a SMART goal and then say, “Okay, time specific. How do you think this is going to work out time-wise? Is it going to take a week to work on this? Okay, great. Next week, let’s plan 30 minutes to get together, and I’ll just debrief with you. How are things going with your goal?”
But do you see what I’ve done?
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Jeff Myers: I’ve trained that person not to be a follower, but to be a leader. You take it. You run with it. When you need my support, you need me to knock some doors down, or whatever, then you come back to me. But then I’m assisting in the development of my team, rather than taking it over.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. And they feel good about it because they have ownership, but they also have support which is a great combo, definitely. Yeah.
Jeff Myers: I love that. What I especially love about it is in any job there are chores that have to be done, right? Just things that you don’t really want to do, but you have to do. What I’ve found is the more we set these kinds of SMART goals, the more excited my team is and the more willing they are to take on those chores with a cheerful attitude and an energetic approach because they know it’s in the service of something that’s really much more in line with their gifts.
Jason Hartman: Absolutely, good point. Hey, Jeff, you know, a lot of people feel that they’re not really qualified to be a mentor. They may have a lot of life experience but they feel that they haven’t done anything right and you have a great saying about that. You say, “Let your mess be your message.”
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: Tell us about that.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, I had to learn that I learned from my mistakes more than anything else. You know one of the key guys teaching leadership today in America is Ronald Heifetz at Harvard University. His class is just legendary and he starts the class with the undergraduates, graduate students, doesn’t matter who it is, he said, “I want you to come in with a case study of a leadership failure. Not a success – failure. Bring in a case study – detailed of a leadership failure that you’ve been a part of. Where you tried to lead and it didn’t work.” And then he says, “We start from the point of failure and figure out what needs to be done differently.”
And so sometimes when I’m with people I’m mentoring, I start off by saying, “I know that you wanted me to influence you because you think that I’m successful, but I want to tell you about a failure. Here’s a failure. What do you think I should have done differently? How should I have handled that?” And so we go through and we actually analyze my own failure, which is weird. It sounds kind of negative, but it doesn’t turn out to be negative. It actually turns out to be a real positive thing because they realize, “Wow, this individual’s trusting me, being vulnerable with a piece of information, and so I in turn want to be vulnerable and realistic about this.” And we tend to both grow more.
Jason Hartman: I think that’s a great point. One flaw we have in this society is that we study success too much. And what I mean by that is certainly in life I’ve learned a lot more from my failures than from my successes. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Experience is a great teacher. The problem is you have to have the experience before you get the lesson.”
Jeff Myers: That’s right.
Jason Hartman: And many times that experience isn’t a good one.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, you cannot give a shortcut there. I’ll tell you, a lot of our clients are Christian day schools. One of them I was with the faculty and they asked me, “So what do you think we need to do to get these kids fired up?” I said, “You need to persecute them more.”
And they said, “You’ve got to be kidding? This is, you know, we got out of all of those. You know, nobody’s getting burned at the stake and stuff like that anymore.” I said, “Ah look, don’t burn them at the stake, but persecute them. Take them off to a difficult place, on a mission trip, or to the inner city, or something like that. Put them in tough situations where they have to work hard to get out of it because you only learn leadership through those kinds of experiences. Now don’t shove them out the door. Go with them. Lead them there. But put them in tough situations and you’ll watch them grow and grow and grow.”
Jason Hartman: Yeah, good point, great point. Okay, so define – let’s talk about blessings. You know, you talk a lot about that in the book.
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: How do you give one? And how do you define a blessing?
Jeff Myers: Yeah, well a blessing – the word blessing is used, you know Jesus talked about blessed are the poor and so forth. But the word “blessing” that’s being used there is a Greek word which comes from two words “eu” and “logos” which means “well word”. And so if I say those two together, you will see it immediately right? Eulogos – which sounds like eulogy, right?
Jason Hartman: Oh, yeah.
Jeff Myers: When do we give eulogies for people?
Jason Hartman: When they die, at a funeral.
Jeff Myers: When they die! So the idea of giving a blessing is, don’t wait to give the eulogy until the person dies. Give it to them now, when they can do something with what you tell them. When they can actually improve on their life or they can do something better. And so, you know, it’s a very, very simple thing to say to somebody, “Here is something that I see in your life, that I think could make a great deal of difference in the lives of other people.” Basically, what you’re doing is you’re lighting matches. And some people have more kindling piled up than others. But you’re always lighting matches saying, “Here’s something I see in you. When you gave that presentation at the meeting, I noticed that you had a sense of presence in the room. And that’s really valuable, you know? Why do you think that was?”
Or if you say, “I noticed in the meeting you were really, really nervous, even though the content you had was good. Let’s talk about that a little bit because I’d really love to see you overcome your fear so that the great content you have can continue to come out.” Whether it’s a success or a failure, I can always move into that person’s life in a purposeful way and say “Here’s something I see in you that I think could make a great deal of difference.”
Jason Hartman: You know, that’s a great point and it reminds me of that very famous little book, “The Profit” which contains so much wisdom by Kahlil Gibran. And there’s a chapter in there on giving and taking. It says, that one day, all will be given, so why wait until your life ends to give it all? Give it along the way, which is a much better plan I would definitely think, materially as well.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, you know, one of my buddies is a musician in Nashville and one of his sayings is, he said, “So many people die with the music still inside of them.” What a tragedy that is.
Jason Hartman: Tragedy, yeah, but a great saying.
Jeff Myers: Because a lot of people have never been encouraged to put it out there.
Jason Hartman: Absolutely. A great saying; tragic experience, though, no question. Any more thoughts on how to stop giving advice and start having influence? You talked about I think it was the 14 questions.
Jeff Myers: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: And how to shut up and be more influential. You know a great lesson for sales people by the way.
Jeff Myers: You know what? The very best sales people are the ones who ask questions. Everybody knows that’s true.
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Jeff Myers: And we sometimes – I just get nervous, right? So I just go on, prattling on and on about my product, when what I really need to do is create a need. And the way to create a need is by asking questions, so the people realize, “Yeah, I really do have that need.”
Jason Hartman: Right. And so when you’re asking questions, you’re really creating that – you’re making that person – you’re leading that person, I should say, to do their own gap analysis.
Jeff Myers: Yes.
Jason Hartman: Where are they now? What do they have now? What terms of you know product, experience, whatever it is, what are they having? What are they lacking? And then show them how you can get them over that gap. I tell my sales people, “Ask questions because he who asks the questions is in control of the direction of the conversation.”
Jeff Myers: That’s absolutely true.
Jason Hartman: Yeah and I think that’s absolutely true. What other advice about the influence of quiet influence, besides questions?
Jeff Myers: Well, I think if you’ve got listening, you’ve got question asking, and you’re willing to start helping people set goals, if you do those three things, you’re really moving them in a positive direction. And what I would say is use advice sparingly. Remember the elf lord said to Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, he didn’t say it in the movie, but it’s in the book, “Advice is a dangerous gift even from the wise to the wise.”
So just always remember that if you’re telling somebody what to do, if it works for them, they will stop thinking and they will come back to you for more advice. So use advice sparingly so that the other person has to search out a little bit. And what I’ve found, I had one employee, bless her heart, she wanted to do everything right. So she would continually come to me, “How do you want this? How do you want that?” And I finally started asking her, “If I was on a trip,” because I travel a couple days a week, “If I was on a trip and I was not here and you had to solve that problem, what would you do?” And she’d say, “Well, I guess I would do this.” I’d say, “Great, that sounds great to me.” Or if it didn’t, if it wasn’t really a good move, I’d say, “Okay, let’s talk about that a little bit further. You know, what about this? Or what about that? Or what effect would those actions have?”
But most of the time, she got it right. She knew intuitively what to do. She just felt a little sense of a lack of confidence. And so instead of telling her what to do, I would just continually ask those kinds of questions. I hope that makes sense because it was just a huge breakthrough for me and for her to realize that she’s got a really great perspective. She’s got common sense. She knows what to do. I think she just lacks a little confidence. And by asking those questions, she was able to gain that.
Jason Hartman: And I think what you’re saying there, Jeff, is that the goal of the mentor in this situation is to create the opening, not to solve the problem. But to enable, to be the catalyst for solving the problem, rather than the person who’s pushing the answer on the person, but leading them to solve it themselves, right?
Jeff Myers: I think that is correct, yes. And but always keeping the lines of communication open. So I want somebody to know, “As I’m giving you this, I’m giving you permission to fail, but I want the feedback one way or the other. Okay? I want it both ways.”
Jason Hartman: Right.
Jeff Myers: So actually, I went through this process with one employee. And she came in and said, “You know, I saw this problem, I decided to address it this way. It didn’t work out. It was a failure and here’s how I would do it differently next time.”
Jason Hartman: Right.
Jeff Myers: And I thought, “That’s perfect. That’s exactly what I wanted.” I was willing to accept that failure on her part because she remedied the situation. It helped my trust in her grow. I knew that she was going to continue to be an initiative taker and that she was continuing to learn and solve problems. So, obviously, you can’t do that with everything. There are some things where the consequences are too great. Okay?
Jason Hartman: Right.
Jeff Myers: But those are the times where you give advice. Say, “You know what, I’ve been through this a dozen times, there’s only one way that works and there are a whole lot of ways to fail. Can I just give you a little bit of coaching on how to do it the right way the first time?” That’s fine. People expect that that’s the case. But I’m trying to have more and more situations on a weekly basis where I’m coaching rather than telling.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. I would definitely agree. That’s a great tip because you know sometimes you just need to be the leader and lead. And other times, build consensus, create openings, and it just depends. And that’s the point of being sensitive to the situation. There is no necessarily right answer. It’s situational at many times, isn’t it?
Jeff Myers: I think it is. Yeah, leadership is almost always situational. At least, with the examples I can think of off the top of my head. In other words, we lead based on opportunities. It’s called adaptive leadership I think is the term that leadership theorists use. But you’re always having to adapt. The same situation almost never happens twice in a row. So you’re always having to adapt and grow, which means that you want people’s reflex action to be, “How do we adapt and succeed in this new situation with a few basic principles in mind?”
You know jazz musicians it sounds like they don’t have any basic rules, but they do. There’s a set of rules that they operate from that allow them to improvise and make the improvisation sound really good. So I think it’s true in every field. Figure out what those basic principles are, the values that will not be compromised, no matter what, and then allow people to improvise from there.
Jason Hartman: And that really starts off with the beginning of our conversation when you were talking about sort of foundational values, and creating sort of a context, if you will, and a lot of the context has disappeared. You know, when people engage in moral relativism and they don’t think there are any absolutes at all and everything’s just in play, it doesn’t work. There are some real absolute truths that are timeless. That are not situational and then there are other things that are situational. And there’s a distinction between those two I would say. You mentioned some of the absolutes earlier, if you have any more thoughts on that, feel free.
Jeff Myers: You know, I learned it from my father. He passed the baton to me. And when he was running his business, he had to face a very difficult situation and I asked him, “What are you going to do?” He said, “Well, there’s only really one question. And the question is, “What is the right thing to do?” And then I have to get the courage to do the right thing, whether it’s hard or easy.
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Jeff Myers: And I think, you know, we just sense that there is something right. One of my friends, a professor at the University of Texas, Jay says, “There are certain things that people cannot not know.” Okay? You just know that that is right or wrong. And if you know that it’s wrong, then you’ve got to figure out a way to be gracious and graceful in doing what is right. Sometimes doing what is right is painful. But you know, your customers, your clients, the people you work for, all of those people when it comes down to it, they’re only going to trust people who they know will do the right thing no matter what.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. That’s a great point. No question about it. You know, just to sort of wrap this up, we live in an era where we are now witnessing, Jeff, 40, 50, depending on how you look at it, 70, 80 years creating dependency. And we have a government that is just overstepping everywhere you look. And we’ve created this mission years and years ago to eliminate all the bad things in life. Eliminate poverty. Make everything great. Have the great society. Have this utopian sort of world. And it just hasn’t worked. What we’ve really done is we’ve created a bunch of dependent people that cannot fend for themselves in many cases. And it is so sad and so unfortunate to see this. And one of the things I think that you bring up that’s really a good point is that mentors need to make sure that they are unleashing a person’s potential rather than creating a dependent person. Talk about that and give mentors some tips on how to do it.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, that’s a great point. Okay. And by the way, the point you made about society is really true. That’s what’s so frightening is that the more and more people who become dependent, the more people who believe the government is going to get them out of the mess, the longer the mess will be prolonged because we just cannot – you just can’t have that. It’s just the same conversation I had with my employees, where I said, “We can’t just be people who come to work and check things off of a list. In an economy like this, everybody has to bring their best game, every day.”
So here are just a couple of thoughts on that. No. 1, you’ve got to have that conversation with folks at some point. And there is a gracious way to do it. Just say, “I know things are tough here. My commitment to you is I still want to succeed in business. I still want to profit. I still want to grow. But in order for our business to do that, in order for us to not have the kinds of layoffs that everybody else is experiencing, we all have to bring our best game every day. We have to all take the creativity that we’ve been given by God; we have to figure out how to use it. So let’s start the conversation now about how we’re going to do that.”
And then I say to them, the second thing is, “I’m going to start wanting to meet with you each individually, not for a quarterly review, annual review or whatever. I want to meet with you weekly with a direct report at least, say 30 minutes each week.” That’s going to take me a couple hours every week. “Thirty minutes and here’s what we’re going to do. I want to find out what your goals are. Here’s where we’re headed as a company. What are your ideas for how to get there? What goals can you set?” And I actually begin the coaching process to move them through that.
No. 3, I have some accountability measures in place. So I actually want to see progress. “Here’s where we’re headed as an organization. This was the goal that you set last week. How did that do? How did that go? Did that advance the ball toward the goal line, so to speak, of where we are headed as a company? If it didn’t, well, how do we do that differently because I want everybody to think in terms of the – not just bottom line thinking, but how do we advance here? How do we advance the ball? How do we make things more profitable? I need all brains on deck, in order to make our business succeed in a time like this. And I think everybody else, everybody listening would agree.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. No question about it. Wrap up this subject of “Passing the Baton” if you would and tell people where they can find out more.
Jeff Myers: Yeah, Jason, what we’re doing with Passing the Baton International is we’ve developed a non-profit educational corporation. We’re helping organizations all over the world, mostly educational institutions, government, and so forth, but we’re helping them unleash adults, mobilize adults to mentor and coach the next generation of leaders. And folks who come to PassingtheBaton.org, we would welcome involvement. We need lots of collaborators in this process, because the task is huge and the time is short.
The easiest way to get started is to pick up my book called “Handoff”. It’s 175 pages. It’s a small book. Jason, you’ve seen it. You can read that thing in about two hours and when you get through it, you’ll realize that you now have some basic tools for in your business, in your church, in the school, wherever you happen to be, of figuring out how you’re going to pass the baton of good values to the next generation, the baton of leadership, so to speak. So come see us at PassingtheBaton.org. We have a weekly email newsletter you can sign up for that. We want to stay in touch with folks who have in their heart to do this because the question is, Jason, the students are going to look back 50 years from now at our age, and the question they’re going to ask is “Did this generation, when so much was at stake, do everything possible to pass the baton of leadership to the next generation?” That’ll be the criteria by which we’re judged in the future and so you know we’re coming around that place in the track and it’s time to pass the baton. How are we going to do it? It should be something we’re thinking about every day.
Jason Hartman: That’s a great point. And you know, I’d just like to conclude that thought with a book that I read years ago by a man named Stu Weber. He wrote a book called “Tender Warrior” and he’s written a couple others too. And I quoted him in my book, “Become the Brand of Choice” which is about marketing. But you know it’s important to set up this philosophical context and he said that, “The point of life is to not leave a monument, but a legacy.” And I think that’s what your work is all about at Passing the Baton and it’s just a great mission. So thank you for doing it, Jeff and keep up the good work out there.
Jeff Myers: Thank you, Jason.
Jason Hartman: Thanks for being on the show.
Jeff Myers: All right, you guys all press on. This is a great time to be alive, a tough time, but a great time.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I agree. That’s where the opportunities are. Thanks again, Jeff.
Jeff Myers: That’s exactly right, you bet.
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Duration: 52:00 minutes